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Games Inbox: Is Sony losing their edge with PlayStation?

PlayStation 5 – do Sony know what they’re doing? (pic: Sony)

The Thursday Inbox is surprised but pleased at Sony’s continued support of VR, as a reader celebrates Breath Of The Wild’s 4th anniversary.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Losing faith
Now that the PlayStation 5 is becoming a bit easier to get hold of I’ve begun to question whether I actually still want it. At first I wasn’t sure, maybe it was just being worried at the money, but I think what’s putting me off really is Sony’s attitude at the moment. It’s the closure of Japan Studio that’s really upset but also just the fact that they haven’t really done or said anything since the PlayStation 5 launched.

They know they won the last gen so easily by just sitting back and not doing anything stupid but for some reason they’ve decided to do that again this time, even though that’s not going to work a second time unless Microsoft messes up again – which they don’t seem to be doing.

We still have no PlayStation equivalent of Game Pass, no indication that they’re doing anything with streaming beyond PS Now, no way round the ridiculous game prices, and no new first party IPs. I’m not saying they’re doing terrible or anything but to me they feel like a disaster waiting to happen. As soon as Microsoft is able to put up a decent defence with some new games they’re going to fold like a pack of cards.

Their only plan seems to be to coast on their brand name and make sequels and remakes of games that already exist. I hope this is just teething problems – the VR stuff is certainly good news – but at the moment it seems to me like they haven’t got much of a plan and it feels like they’ve kind of lost their edge.

Lesson learned
So I guess since they’ve lasted this long and the game has paid for it that CD Projekt aren’t going under? Even with that hacking scandal. I’m glad. The bosses in charge might have acted terrible but there are hundreds of people working at that company, and any big games firm, and I certainly wouldn’t be one of those people baying for their blood and insisting that they all get sacked or go bust or whatever.

I would imagine it’s fair to say CD Projekt would’ve have learned a lesson from this (so there goes any hope of see The Witcher 4 within the next five years) but what I’m interested to see is if the rest of the industry has. It seems like they have, they’ve said the right things, but there hasn’t really been any big games out since the whole Cyberpunk 2077 thing happened, so we don’t really know.

Or is the fact that they’re not, in many cases because of delays, proof that they’re already try to make sure they get rid of the bugs properly before they’re released? What a nice thought that would be!

Follow the money
Great to see Sony announce some new VR games, they really seemed to have changed their mind on VR considering how they were talking about it just last year. I wonder what happened? Did they invent some new tech or did old tech suddenly get cheaper maybe?

People say that Microsoft bend with the wind (remember when frame rate wasn’t something Phil Spencer cared about? That was only a couple of years ago) but I think Sony are just as bad. Or good in this case, because I’m glad they’ve gone back to caring about VR, for whatever reasons.

I really do think we get too caught up on supporting one format over the other. With a game you can hope that there’s someone creative and ambitious steering the ship. Maybe not in an Activision or Ubisoft or EA game but most others have some sort of spark of imagination to them. But the people in charge of PlayStation and Xbox? They’re just accountants that do whatever the sums tell them will make the most money. Yesterday it wasn’t VR, today it is, tomorrow… who knows?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Distributed development
I only found out yesterday that the devs of Destruction AllStars, Lucid Games, was founded by employees from the ashes of Bizarre Creations.

Hopefully they can recover from the lukewarm reception Destruction AllStars received. With games like Project Gotham Racing and Blur, Bizarre Creations knew how to make great driving games.

GC: They did, but their staff are scattered across many developers now. Pretty much any UK studio that deals with driving games has a few of them.

The future is more
+1 for Hammeriron’s comments about the new Battlefield needing to have big maps, loads of vehicles, destructible environments, and a modern setting. Someone else mentioned MAG the other day. Let’s get some more 264-player battles going! Surely that’s the future!

I remember playing the Bad Company demo on PlayStation 3 for the first time and being blown away. Have been a fan ever since but my interest has slowly dwindled as we’ve been given smaller maps with less vehicles. Bigger is better.

Apple Fantasy
I got really excited about Fantasian until I got to the bad news: it’s only for Apple Arcade. Urgh. I get it, Japan isn’t interested in home consoles any more so why would you expect their developers to make games for them? But if the Switch is so big, and this is a game meant to run on a phone, why not release it on that? I guess three years ago, when they started development, it wasn’t obvious how successful it was going to be but I don’t know – it was a hit pretty much from the start.

I can imagine Apple being quicker to offer development money than Nintendo though, so that pretty much explains it I suppose. On a more positive note I do like they’ve done with the graphics and using real models, I don’t know that it’s going to make any difference to the gameplay but at least it’s a more inventive way to appear retro without just going the boring/creepy route of something like Bravely Default.

I hope it turns out well. The Last Story was good, if not great, and I don’t think the guy (sorry, can’t spell his name) [Hironobu Sakaguchi – GC] is washed up yet like some older developers. If it does do well then maybe we can see some console ports and a more ambitious sequel that’s console and PC focused from the start.

Remade Quest
With Square Enix talking about all the potential remakes, do you think there’s any possibility of a Dragon Quest 8 remake?

It’s by far the ultimate Dragon Quest game, for me anyway!
RamboSi (PSN ID)

GC: It must be a strong possibility. Dragon Quest is a franchise with many sequels, which fits the criteria of what we know so far, and Dragon Quest 8 is modern enough that a remake/remaster wouldn’t necessarily involve that much new work.

Game of the generation
There’s been a lot of talk about Zelda lately, for obvious reasons, but I just thought I’d point out that Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of Breath Of The Wild. How time flies, eh? No matter your opinion on whether it’s a good Zelda game or not I stand firm that it is definitely one of the best games of all time, no matter what franchise it’s a part of.

I certainly can’t think of anything else from the last generation that has a better claim to being the best game of all time and I still don’t feel subsequent games, often with bigger budgets, have learnt any of its lessons on open world game design. Red Dead Redemption 2 might look better but its world is nowhere near as interactive or interesting and that goes double for anything Sony or Ubisoft have done recently.

Not to say they’re necessarily all bad games but nothing comes close to Breath Of The Wild for me. I can’t help but think of what it would be like if it had Nintendo’s design combined with Rockstar’s graphics but if it’s a choice between one or the other I know what I’d go for every time. Can’t wait for the sequel.

Inbox also-rans
After all the recent talk about octopuses I was amused to come across this story that shows they, or at least their cousins cuttlefish, are as intelligent as a human child. Who knew that Splatoon would end up as the most realistic work of science fiction in games?

Those old HeroQuest and Space Crusade ads sure did take me back! I never played either in their board game form but I did use to really enjoy the Amiga version of Space Crusade, quite a decent little Laser Squad style tactics game.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader David, and asks what is your experience with PC gaming and do you think it’s better or worse than consoles?

Do you own a gaming PC and if so how much did you pay for it and how well does it run modern games? What do you see as the pros and cons of PC gaming and do you feel either option has got more or less appealing in the last few years?

If you don’t own a gaming PC what would make you consider it and what has put you off so far? Overall, do you think PC gaming will become more popular in the future or less?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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