Sunday, 6 September 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 Multiplayer Will Have Microtransactions, But They "Won't be Aggressive"

Cyberpunk 2077_04

Microtransactions and aggressive monetization of games has become a widespread issue over the course of this generation, but while most publishers have resorted to implementing such tactics in their major releases, CD Projekt RED have been one of the few developers in the industry who have refused to do so. Their post-launch models have been praised universally, and Cyberpunk 2077 is poised to follow in the steps of The Witcher 3 in that regard.

Details on Cyberpunk 2077's post-launch DLC and expansions will be revealed soon, but beyond its single player content, another major piece of post-launch content it'll get (way down the line) is a full-fledged multiplayer component. Given its multiplayer trappings and a setting that inherently lends itself to monetization opportunities, can we expect monetization in Cyberpunk 2077's multiplayer mode as well?

We can, it seems. Speaking to investors in a recent Q&A (transcribed by Wccftech), CD Projekt president Adam Kiciński said that Cyberpunk 2077's multiplayer will indeed have microtransactions, since it is "a great setting for selling things", but assured that those microtransactions won't be aggressive, and will instead be designed in a way "that makes people happy to spend money."

"We're never aggressive towards our fans," he said. "We treat them fairly and we're friendly. So of course not – we won't be aggressive – but you can expect great things to be bought. The goal is to design monetization in a way that makes people happy to spend money. I'm not trying to be cynical or hide something; it's about creating a feeling of value.

"Same as with our single-player games: we want gamers to be happy while spending money on our products. The same is true for microtransactions: you can expect them, of course, and CP is a great setting for selling things, but it won't be aggressive; it won't upset gamers but it'll make them happy – that's our goal at least."

Monetization is always a sticky topic, and so often we see developers and publishers failing to strike the right balance with microtransactions in their games. Hopefully, CD Projekt RED will have better luck than most with Cyberpunk 2077's multplayer.

Though the multiplayer component is still a long ways off, Cyberpunk 2077 itself is on track to launch on November 19, when it will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with a Stadia release coming later.


PS5 Might be Compatible With PSP and PS Vita, As Per Recently Published Patent

ps5

The PS5 is going to launch with plenty of shiny new accessories that will leverage its new hardware capabilities, but it's also possible that the console will also be compatible with some older PlayStation hardware. A patent filed by Sony back in February that was published in August (spotted by GameRant) suggests that the upcoming console could be compatible with both of Sony's handheld gaming systems, the PSP and the PS Vita.

The patent goes over compaibility with accessories, and in an illustration (which you can see below), shows various accessories, ranging from a PSVR headset and the PlayStation camera to a mouse and a keyboard to a regular old controller to, notably enough, both the PSP and the PS Vita. Both handhelds are also explicitly mentioned in the patent.

It's possible that Remote Play will return with the PS5, which would explain why it might be compatible with the PS Vita- though the PSP, with only one analog nub and no touch screen and rear touchpad, has much fewer control input options than the PS Vita, so its inclusion is particularly interesting, and raises plenty of questions.

Of course, as is the case with any patent, there's no guarantees that this will materialize as anything tangible, and it might just be a case of Sony protecting its ideas and technology. Either way, we'll keep you updated should we learn anything new, so stay tuned.


DualSense Will be "Transcendent" for Horror Games, Says Developer

ps5 dualsense

The DualSense is perhaps one of the most exciting things about the PS5, and Sony have definitely been placing a lot of emphasis on it in the lead-up to the console's launch. Similarly, developers in the industry have also been speaking about the controller quite a bit, and what its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback will enable in games going forward, from Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyoto Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden Westto Gran Turismo 7 and Demon's Souls.

Another developer that's excited about the potential of the PS5's new console is Dual Effect Games, who're working on Tormented Souls, the classic old school survival horror title due out next year. In an interview with SegmentNext, in fact, the developer said that thanks to the much better tactical response the DualSense will allow, the controller will be "transcendent" for horror games in particular.

"I think that DualSense would be very transcendent for horror games on PS5, since it will help to increase player insertion in the experience," the developer said. "I can imagine a transparent plastic artifact full of spiders that you have manipulated with your hands using the joystick movement sensors, while you can feel all those little spider legs going wild through your palm."

The DualSense's adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and even the PS5's 3D audio engine are things that developers brought up quite often while talking about increased immersion in next-gen games, and it does seem like horror games in particular will benefit from that more than most other genres.

The PS5 is due out some time this Holiday, so hopefully we'll learn a lot more about how exactly developers are using the DualSense not long from now.


Xbox Velocity Architecture Trademark Application Filed by Microsoft

xbox series x

Microsoft have made a big deal about the hardware capabilities of the Xbox Series X. It is, undoubtedly, an impressive piece of machinery, and the one thing that Microsoft have put the spotlight on more than anything else is the Velocity Architecture, a catch-all term for the various new technologies and techniques Microsoft are using to make for a faster, more powerful, and more efficient console.

And it seems they want it to be much more than just a catch-all term. As spotted by Genaracion Xbox, Microsoft have filed an application for the trademark registration of Xbox Velocity Architecture. Microsoft do love their marketing phrases and buzzwords, so it's not a surprise that they've taken this step with something that seems to be so crucial to the Xbox Series X's hardware. Additionally, assuming that the rumoured Xbox Series S also uses the Velocity Architecture, we'll probably be hearing a lot more of it in the future.

Microsoft are moving full steam ahead to launch the Xbox Series X in November (early November, according to leaks), and new information is reportedly scheduled for this month. Stay tuned, and we'll keep you updated as more details come out way.


Marvel's Avengers Tops UK Charts on Debut

marvel's avengers image

The charts for boxed video game sales in the UK for last week are in, courtest of Gfk (via GamesIndustry), and the top 3 is dominated by new releases. Marvel's Avengers was the biggest new release this week, and it has, unsurprisingly, topped the sales charts. Developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, it's sold 2% more physical copies at launch than 2018's Shadow of the Tomb Raider (which was primarily developed by Eidos Montreal) did.

However, as compared to Marvel's Spider-Man, it's sales are significantly lower, with less than a third as many physical copies sold at launch. Square Enix have said, however, that this being a live service title, they're more focused on sustained sales over a prolonged period, so this might not come as too much of a surprise to them.

Meanwhile, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 – the collection of remakes of the first two games in the classic skateboarding franchise – debuts in second place, with extremely impressive physical launch sales. It has, in fact, sold 448% more physical copies at launch that the universally panned Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, which launched in 2015.

The third major new release of the week, NBA 2K21has also charted pretty high. Coming in at No. 3, it has actually seen a dip in physical sales though, with sales 37% lower than NBA 2K20's physical sales at launch last year.

You can check out the full UK software charts for the week ending September 5 below.

  1. Marvel's Avengers
  2. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2
  3. NBA 2K21
  4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  6. Minecraft (Switch)
  7. Grand Theft Auto 5
  8. FIFA 20
  9. Ghost of Tsushima
  10. PGA Tour 2K21

Gotham Knights Receives New Details on Progression, Combat, and Equipment

gotham knights

With a story that puts the focus squarely on four unique characters in equal measure, Gotham Knights is looking like a very interesting prospect. Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, and Red Hood are all unique heroes, after all, and they each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so with all of them available as playable characters, this is a game that has the potential to have a lot of variety on offer.

And it definitely seems like that's what developers WB Games Montreal are going for. Speaking recently with the PlayStation Blog, creative director Patrick Redding spoke about various aspects of the game, and while zeroing in on progression, the unique playing styles of the four characters, and more, highlighted how Gotham Knights aims to deliver plenty of variety in more ways than one.

Though Gotham Knights' combat has previously been described as being "comfortable" for those who've played similar third person action games, each of the four heroes will, as you might expect, has a different style and unique attributes. Redding describes Batgirl as an "efficient" melee fighter who uses her hacking abilities to weaponize things in the environment. Red Hood is supposedly a "brutal brawler with a focus on gunplay". Nightwing is much more acrobatic and has a more "exaggerated" fighting style. Finally, Robin focuses on stealth, and specializes in crippling foes with status effects and ailments.

Each of the four also have their own individual progression charts, each with their own unique ability tree and craftable gear (though the developers have previously said that there won't be any level-gating in the game). Players will never be forced to play with any single character, and can instead choose to play the entire game as just one hero if they wish. Meanwhile, Redding also says that equipment being used by the heroes will have dynamic appearances, and certain visual cues will align with their applications in combat.

"Some of those visual effects tell you what damage type you have equipped on your weapons," he said. "So it's a way for the player to receive signs of feedback… that lets them know what protection they have, what they're going to use against their enemies, both in terms of ranged and melee attacks."

During this same interview, Redding also gave further details on the game's open world, its structure, and how it's going to be much more of a living and breathing environment than Gotham has been in video games in recent years. Read more on that through here.

Gotham Knights is due out some time in 2021 for the PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. WB Games Montreal have given assurances that it'll be a self-contained story, and is not being developed as a live service game.


PS5 Pre-Orders Will Go Live "Any Day Now," As Per UK Retailer

ps5

It's more than a little strange that this close to the launch of the PS5, we still don't know how much it will cost or what it's exact release date it. People are understandably getting antsy- but we do know that it's out soon. And it unsurprisingly, as we approach its imminent launch, retailers around the world are getting ready to open up pre-orders.

In fact, UK retailer SimplyGames has recently been sending out emails to customers, telling them that they are expecting pre-orders for the console to go live "any day now". The retailer also warns that the console might not be available through general sales owing to short supply of stocks, and so the best way to get it is going to be to register interest in pre-orders.

Sony themselves also recently opened up their own pre-order registration page in the US, and said something similar. In fact, due to the limited supply, they've put several stipulations for pre-orders in place, such as only allowing one pre-order to be placed per PSN profile, and approving them on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Sony have previously said that pre-orders for the PS5 won't go live out of the blue, and that they will provide enough notice before that happens, so if pre-orders are indeed going live, hopefully an announcement isn't too far away. Recent reports have said that another PS5 event is scheduled for mid-September, so maybe we'll learn more about the console's launch date, price, and pre-orders there.


Returnal Might be Targeting a 2021 Launch

returnal

Sony announced a surprisingly large amount of PS5 exclusives at their reveal event back in June, and one of them, which caught the eye of many, was ReturnalDeveloped by Housemarque with Sony's full backing as a PS5 exclusive, the sci-fi shooter's weird premise has piqued the interest of quite a few people- and it seems it might be out as early as next year.

As spotted by @bogorad222 on Twitter, a profile on LinkedIn may have spilled the beans on the game's intended launch window. Laura Glibert, who is a game user researcher who worked at PlayStation until 2019, has Returnal listed under the games she's worked on, and mentioned a 2021 launch window alongside it.

Of course, given the fact that Gilbert hasn't been at PlayStation since 2019, it's entirely possible that plans may have changed in the time since then. But if Returnal has been in development for that long, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the game launching in 2021.

Either way, it's all up in the air for now, so don't take this as confirmation of any sort. We'll keep you updated as (or if) this story develops, so stay tuned.


Cyberpunk 2077 Post-Launch Plans Will be Revealed "Fairly Soon"

Cyberpunk 2077_08

CD Projekt RED's post-launch support of The Witcher 3 drew a lot of praise back when it was an ongoing thing, with Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine both serving as excellent expansions. The studio has said that its upcoming release, Cyberpunk 2077 will follow a similar post-launch model, and though details on that haven't been revealed yet, that will be changing soon.

In a meeting with investors, CD Projekt president Adam Kiciński spoke about Cyberpunk 2077's post-launch plans. After re-iterating that the upcoming RPG will follow a similar post-launch roadmap as The Witcher 3 did in terms of DLC, updates, and expansions, Kiciński said that details on that will be coming soon, and that "everything will be clear" before the game is out (transcribed by VGC).

"You can expect a similar path [to The Witcher 3] after release," Kiciński said. "You can expect more, actually. We're not going into too many details today, but everything will be clear before release.

"As we are close to the release, expect the post-release plans to be revealed fairly soon; a series of free DLCs and expansions will be described – as I said, you can expect it fairly soon and then everything will be made clear."

CD Projekt RED are also working on a full-fledged multiplayer mode for Cyberpunk 2077, but given the fact that that won't be out until after 2021, details on what exactly we can expect from it likely won't be coming for a while yet.

Cyberpunk 2077 is scheduled for November 19, with CD Projekt RED saying that the game is on track to hit that release date following multiple delays over the past year. It will be releasing on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (PC requirements will be revealed soon), with a Stadia version coming later in the year.

Meanwhile, CDPR recently also confirmed that PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of The Witcher 3 will be coming as well- read more on that through here.


Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is Probably Going to be a Much Bigger Deal Than You Think

The PS5 announcement event a few months back shed light on many things about Sony's upcoming hardware behemoth. The games, the features, the look of the console, and the optional digital edition were all notable nuggets of information we learned. But easily one of the more tantalizing items featured in that event was the new Ratchet and Clank game; Rift Apart. The Ratchet and Clank series is one of PlayStation's oldest at this point. Certainly, one of their oldest of their still relevant series, at least. Given that, the announcement of a new game in the series was not a huge surprise.

Many of us here at GamingBolt and other outlets saw that coming a miles away, actually. Ratchet worked well as an early PS4 title, so why not stick it right at the launch window of the PS5 to round-out the selection of launch titles? Well, Rift Apart, the newest of the long-running sci-fi platformer shooter series, was in fact announced, but still managed to surprise us all for several reasons. It's those reasons, as well as a few others, that people should definitely keep an eye on this game. It could absolutely end up cutting through the competition in a bigger way than many of us realize, and surprise us all over again with how big of a game it could very well end up being.

The first thing you'll notice when seeing either the announcement trailer or the extended gameplay trailer that recently dropped is just how drop dead gorgeous this game is looking. Ratchet and Clank games have always been vibrant and interesting games, even the PS2 original games still look great, but obviously nothing even comes close to touching how visually stimulating Rift Apart is promising to be. Everything from the outrageously saturated colors, the 4K textures, and of course the real-time ray-tracing that can be seen on Clank and a handful of other surfaces, this game will have plenty of eye candy for every technophile and graphics hound out there, and really seems to be delivering on the promises of the PS5.

The 2015 Ratchet reboot, despite its flaws in certain areas gave us a taste of where the series could be headed in terms of graphical prowess, but with Rift Apart, it appears to have reached its destination. A true Pixar-esque look with all the real-time reflections and advanced shaders and textures that come along with that are all present here, with a nice dose of insane particle effects sprinkled on top of everything else. Surely there are more graphically intensive games that will end up on the PS5 within the launch window, and surely Rift Apart's style isn't going to be for everybody under the sun, but what the game's visual style does do that it's competition doesn't, is show all of these things off in such an over-the-top way, that the next-gen bells and whistles will be completely impossible to ignore. This game will appeal to the typical Ratchet and Clank audience, yes, but as a result of these visuals, it will also be in a unique position to also appeal to those who are just interested in seeing what the PS5 can really do on day one as well. That alone, should lead to a more than successful launch for the game.

The graphics and presentation aren't the only way the new Ratchet and Clank plans to harness the power of the PS5 though. As you will undoubtedly notice from watching either official trailer that has dropped so far, this Ratchet game has a unique twist with what appears to be rifts in the space-time continuum that amount to wormholes, or portals from one location to another, allowing you to skip whatever distance there is in-between, and skip virtually all the loading times as well. It's important to note that the total functionality of these rifts remains somewhat unclear. So far we've largely seen them used in two main ways.

ratchet and clank rift apart

First, as a tactical mechanic that can send Ratchet popping out of one end of a firefight and pop into another. This seems geared at giving the player a way to flank enemies and circumvent more problematic areas when traversing a level. Kind of like the portals in Pac-Man, but in Ratchet and Clank. Second, as a more noticeable departure from one world to another, entirely different one with different lighting, color pallets, and entire design. This is a rather impressive little wrinkle to have on top of everything else and a very creative way to illustrate what PS5 games will be made capable of when they can shrink their load times into such small windows of time that they are basically unnoticeable.

Outside of concealing load times and blowing our minds with graphical prowess, Insomniac's latest entry in this long-running mascot franchise also has another distinct advantage that puts it well ahead of much of its competition, itss built-in audience. While it is true that many absolutely amazing games have and will be coming out this year, most of them can't say they have an audience that spans all the way back to the PS2 era. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart does.

As a result, the pool of types of gamers that are interested in this new game, is much larger than it might seem. Those that had PS2's the better part of two decades ago all likely played a Ratchet game at some time between then and now, and as such, are at least somewhat interested in Rift Apart. This type of support goes a long way. While not every gamer who played the franchise back in the day is guaranteed to pick up the newest one at launch, many will, and that is an advantage that many other games launching this year simply don't have, as they have to create their own audiences brand new, from scratch.

ratchet and clank rift apart

Something that Rift Apart also seems to be doing is breaking the rules of the series a bit. Or at least bending them a little, by seeming to revolve around Ratchet and Clank being separated for much of the game. While this isn't exactly reinventing the wheel for the series, as much of the previous games had long sections where the characters were separated, that particular narrative device has not been deployed in such a central way for the story as it appears to be here. Given the title of the game and the nature of the rifts that the game seems to be centered around, it's probably safe to assume that Ratchet and Clank spend much of the game apart, trying to reunite all while keeping the forces of Nefarious at bay and saving the universe from whatever evil plan he's cooking up this time. This particular element might not move a ton of units on its own, but it could push some off of the fence who might otherwise be worried about this game being "more of the same" despite the ample evidence to the contrary.

Rift Apart is in a nice position of being able to show off the power of the PS5 while also bringing back a beloved PlayStation franchise that has laid dormant for several years. Given that, and the fact that it appears to be some form of a sequel to the latest game in the lineage, Into the Nexus, it should do a good job of serving old fans of the series, technophiles looking to benchmark the PS5's triangle-pushing capabilities, as well as the more casual early PS5 adopter who just wants to blow crap up in 4K on their PS5. All good reasons to pick up the game, and all reasons why it's likely going to be much bigger than we think.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.


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