I failed to post a Patch Notes last week, but I’m back now! And man was there some big news over the past few weeks to talk about. I’ve picked a few topics to quickly chat about, from the PS5 being announced in surprising fashion to new Star Wars games so let’s delve into this!
PS5 Announced & Specs Revealed
Sony surprised everyone by revealing the PS5. In an exclusive interview with Wired Mark Cerny told the world what can be expected from Sony’s next console. It wasn’t officially named the PS5 but…I mean, come on.
The PS5 will have a Ryzen 8-core CPU at its core, giving the console a massive processing boast over the PS4. The current console generation has been severely lacking in terms of processing power with neither the Xbox One or PS4 actually boasting much more than the Xbox 360 and PS3. With an AMD processor under the bonnet developers will have a lot more oomph to use when it comes to A.I. and things like open world games.
There’s going to be the expected graphical leap, too. In the interview it was mentioned that the PS5 will support Ray-Tracing. Currently, that technology is only available on Nvidia graphics cards. If you aren’t sure what it is, ray tracing models the movement of light through environments. This allows things like reflections to be improved dramatically.
Interestingly in the interview Cerny mentioned that ray tracing is being used to enhance the audio, too. According to him ray tracing can be used to help determine if a player can certain audio sources or if an enemy can hear the player. To that end the AMD chip is going to include a custom 3D audio unit. Cerny reckons this will allow for much better positional audio with noises coming from above, below and to the sides. He even claims this will work through your standard TV speakers, although personally I have major doubts about that. Cerny does say that headphones will be the best way to experience it.
The claim that me raise an eyebrow was that the PS5 will support 8k resolutions. Considering we can’t even get consistent 1080p games at 60FPS and that even powerful PCs can struggle to run games at 4K and 30fps targeting 8K is pointless. I can only assume that the 8k support will be for video content because 8k gaming simply isn’t in the realm of possibility right now without insane costs.
Perhaps the most exciting reveal, at least to my mind, is that the PS5 will boast an SSD for vastly superior load times. According to the Cerny in the Wired article the SSD reduced fast travel time in Marvel’s Spider-Man from 15-seconds to 0.8 seconds. The one downside is that I’m not expecting a lot of storage space. While the price of SSDs has dropped a lot they are still quite expensive at over £100 for 1TB. Perhaps Sony are going to go with a small SSD and urge people to expand their storage with an external HDD.
It was also stated that the PS5 will be backwards compatible with the PS4. Transitional games were also mentioned, meaning we’ll see titles being released for PS4 and PS5.
Finally, Wired did ask about the future of VR in regards to Sony’s PS5. Cerny refused to give any details, but did say that VR continues to be “very important to us” and that the current PS VR unit will be fully compatible with the PS5. I imagine they are planning on launching a new headset down the line, though, one that hopefully also comes with much improved controllers. Perhaps they may even launch two headsets as the big strength of current PS VR is that it’s relatively cheap. VR is a slowly growing market, and so having a cheaper alternative seems smart.
All in all the newly announced PS5 seems like its going to be a bigger leap than the PS4 was. Now we just have to sit and ponder what the price-tag is going to be. Those are some impressive specs, so unless Sony is willing to take a massive hit on their console is the price going to be too high?
Xbox One S All-Digital Edition Coming In May
While Microsoft didn’t attempt to fight console fire with console fire they did officially announce the worst keep secret ever: the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. As the name implies it’s exactly the same as an Xbox One S in terms of specs but it doesn’t have an optical disc drive. That means the console will sell for £199 or $249.99 if you’re one of those American types.
The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, aside from being a mouthful to say, seems to be the perfect partner to Microsoft’s Games Pass service. Indeed, Microsoft also revealed their new Games Pass Ultimate with combines both Games Pass and Xbox Live into a £10.99 per month package. If you bought Xbox Live and Games pass separately it’d normally cost £13.98, so you save about £3.
This news honestly doesn’t excite me, but then again that’s because I have no need to pick up a new Xbox One. What does make this story interesting is that the Xbox One S can already be picked up for £150-200, so even without the optical drive this new edition costs…well, the same. But you do get Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves and Minecraft bundled with it. And yes, I did say it was Forza Horizon 3 and not Horizon 4.
However, Microsoft did neglect to mention HDD size which is a vital component in a machine seemingly built with Games Pass in mind.
I just don’t get this one. This is clearly not a console aimed at exiting Xbox One owners since there’s no reason to swap over. That must mean it’s aimed at the relatively small amount of people who don’t own an Xbox yet and haven’t opted to jump in even with the low price of the standard S edition. So why is this new All-Digital version more expensive? Surely it should be priced at a much lower price?
Regardless, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will launch on May 7th.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Announced by Respawn
Respawn Entertainment, the people behind Titanfall 2 and Apex Legends, have announced a Star Wars game. Titled Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order it’s going to be a fully single-player title written by the man who penned Knights of the Old Republic 2. Apparently it follows a padawan who managed to survive Order 66, the very order given by Emperor Palpatine to kill all the Jedi.
The trailer didn’t blow my mind but it looks solid. Respawn proved themselves able to craft a good single player game with Titanfall 2, so I’m optimistic. The Star Wars universe is vast and has so much potential for storylines outside.
While I’m excited by the prospect of the game itself, it’s EA’s antics that have interested me most. Over the past few years they’ve cancelled a Star Wars project codenamed Ragtag and shut down the studio because the game couldn’t be monetized to their satisfaction. At the time they wanted to focus on multiplayer games and the concept of games as a service.
Now, however, EA are acting like it’s amazing that it will have no loot boxes or microtransactions whatsoever in Fallen Order. Like we’re supposed to applaud that. EA tweeted: “No microtransactions. No loot boxes. And no, we won’t be adding them. A single-player Star Wars story for those of you who are ready to become a Jedi.”
It’s a single player game, EA, loot boxes and other crap should never have been in the equation. Don’t act like this is something worth celebrating.
Perhaps it’s a response to the bad headlines of late. Stars Wars: Battlefront 2 got heavily criticised for its loot boxes and microtransactions. Then a large petition appeared online to have Disney take the Star Wars licence away from EA. Maybe EA have noticed the large demand for single player games that tell good stories and are backtracking on their previous multiplayer focused stance.
I’d highly recommend checking out this Eurogamer article where Amy Hennig speaks about the new game and the cancellation of RagTag. To her credit she doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge and is genuinely excited to see more of Fallen Order, as am I.
Vader Immortal: Star Wars VR Announced
Even more Star Wars news was revealed over the past few weeks, too. Vader Immortal: Star Wars is set to be a 3-part series set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. You’ll be playing as a smuggler working close to Mustafar before getting captured by Vader. Gameplay details include getting to swing a lightsaber around, which lets be honest is reason enough to play it.
As with any VR game the trailer didn’t really do the game justice. And truth be told, it does look more like an interactive movie. However, it’s good to see VR getting more support, especially from bigger licences that can help draw attention to the technology.
Personally, I admit to being quite excited by the prospect of crossing blades with Darth Vader in VR. Early impressions from those who have gotten time with the game are strong, too. Plus, there’s the promise of getting to play around with force powers in the second episode.
The game will launch for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest before the summer.
Horizon Zero Dawn 2 Accidentally Revealed
Playstation 4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn has sold over 10-million copies, so a sequel has always been expected. However, I imagine Sony wanted to make the official reveal a bit bigger than this.
Voice actor Janina Gavankar accidentally let the sequel slip at the recent Star Wars Celebration event. Janina is mostly known for playing the lead character in Star Wars: Battlefront 2, but she also played minor character Tatai in the Frozen Wilds DLC for Horizon Zero Dawn.
Speaking at the event Janina happily said, “Just wait until you see the sequel. You’re gonna die. I know some secrets. You’re gonna die.”
Now the big question is whether Horizon Zero Dawn 2 will perhaps be a launch title for the PS5?