It’s been three years since Celeste, the pixel-perfect platformer, first came out. Since then, the people who made it have banded together to create a whole new studio — Extremely OK Games — and have been hard at work on what comes next.
Today, that question finally has an answer: Earthblade, a “2D explor-action game” set in a “seamless pixel art world”, with the entire Celeste team working together to create a worthy follow-up, due in “20XX”.
Hi again! Back in March, we shared the news that PlayStation fans can get 10 free games this Spring to help make time spent at home a bit more fun. We were really excited to highlight some of our favorite indie partners and I really hope you had a chance to download these amazing games (and I’d love to hear what your favorite is so far, if you want to drop a note in the comments).
Did you forget to download your free games for PS4 and PS VR? No worries, we have you covered. This amazing selection of PS4 games and PS VR games will be available for free download until April 22 8:00pm PT / April 23 04:00 BST / 05:00 CEST.
I also mentioned that Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is coming to PlayStation fans for free as part of Play at Home 2021. Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is available to download free between April 19 8:00pm PT / April 20 04:00 BST / 05:00 CEST and May 14 8:00pm Pacific Time / May 15 04:00 BST / 05:00 CEST.
Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition
In an era where machines roam the land and mankind is no longer the dominant species, a young hunter named Aloy embarks on a journey to discover her destiny. In a lush, post-apocalyptic world where nature has reclaimed the ruins of a forgotten civilization, pockets of humanity live on in primitive hunter-gatherer tribes. Their dominion over the new wilderness has been usurped by the machines – fearsome mechanical creatures of unknown origin.
Plus, expand the vibrant, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon Zero Dawn with this stunning new add-on included in the Complete Edition.
In The Frozen Wilds, Aloy travels to the borderlands of the survivalist Banuk tribe to investigate a mysterious new machine threat. Only by enduring the harsh landscape and earning the respect of the Banuk, will Aloy gain the allies, abilities and knowledge she needs to uncover a secret from the past – and stop a threat to the future…
Funimation / Wakanim
Don’t forget: in participating countries, we’re also offering an extended trial of Funimation (or Wakanim, depending on region), a joint venture of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Aniplex of Japan. The anime-focused subscription service includes shows such as My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Attack on Titan, and Fruits Basket. This extended trial is available through April 22****.
Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to check out the Play at Home content drops this Spring. There is more to come, so please stay tuned and check out the Play at Home page. And remember: stay safe, stay socially distanced and wear a mask!
Thanks again to the community — and stay tuned, we’ll have another Play at Home update to share soon.
****FUNIMATION — On top of the standard 14-day trial, new users can get an additional three months. WAKANIM — New users will get 90 days. Unless you cancel your subscription before the end of the period, your subscription will automatically roll into a paid-for, ongoing subscription with a recurring monthly fee. Age restrictions apply. Offer available from March 25 8pm PDT – April 22 11:59 PDT.
Celeste and TowerFall developers Extremely Ok Games have announced their next game. Sort of, anyway. They’ve announced its name and given a “vibe reveal” in the form of a poster, logo, and music by Lena Raine. If I had to describe the vibe, I’d call it magical and hopeful, but you can do your own vibe check on Earthblade right now.
Extremely OK Games, the developer of Celeste, has teased its next game and it’s a pixel art, 2D “explor-action” game called Earthblade.
Extremely OK Games’ Maddy Thorson released a blog post today all about Earthblade and the team is referring to the announcement as a “vibe reveal.” The reason the team went with “vibe reveal” is because it “didn’t want to reveal much about the game or its story yet,” but it thinks this reveal will establish “the world and feeling of being in it.”
The vibes, as it were, come by way of a new teaser poster, which you can view above, and a track from the game’s soundtrack, which is being composed by Celeste composer Lena Raine. You can listen to that track here.
Thorson says the “air of mystery” surrounding this vibe reveal works well for the game, which is why Extremely OK Games has opted to save details about the game’s story and more for a “big reveal that will hopefully blow your socks off.” As for what is known, however, it took the team four different prototypes to “find Earthblade,” according to the blog post.
It’s not mentioned in Thorson’s blog post, but if you click the link to their teaser poster embedded in the post, it takes you to a page that calls Earthblade “a 2D explor-action game in a seamless pixel art world.” It also says it’s coming in 20XX — at least we know it’s coming this century.
The team originally hoped for the game to be released sooner than five years from their last release, which Thorson remarks is how long it took for Celeste to come out after TowerFall, but “now it sounds optimistic to say out loud that Earthblade could be released within five short years of Celeste.” Extremely OK Games doesn’t know how long it will take for Earthblade to come out, but it does know that “it will take as long as it takes…and that it will take a long time.”
“I can see the general shape of it, and I feel really good about where it’s going,” Thorson writes. “Now it’s our job to turn this ephemeral, pristine mind-object into a real, imperfect and human actual-object. We’ll be here, slowly grinding away at that task every day. We really hope that at the end of this, some of you will enjoy what we make.”
Path Of Exile kicked off its latest expansion Ultimatum on Friday, a launch which was unfortunately part of a challenging week for the developers and players both. Server issues created a domino effect of troubles on launch day between Path Of Exile’s developers, their players, and livestreamers. That was just the cap to a week which was already troubled by accusations of an unfair ban from what turned out to be an invented player. Most issues appear to be resolved now, but here’s a look at what’s been going on.
Sony has changed its decision and will now be keeping the PlayStation Store operational for PS3 and PS Vita devices.
As detailed on PlayStation.Blog, this is a reversal from its announcement in March 2021 that it would be closing down the PlayStation Store for PS3 and PSP on July 2, 2021, and the PSN store for the Vita on August 27, 2021.
In a letter to the community, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said that it was “clear that we made the wrong decision here,” and that the stores for PS3 and PS Vita will continue to live on. However, PSP commerce functionality will still end on July 2, 2021.
“When we initially came to the decision to end purchasing support for PS3 and PS Vita, it was born out of a number of factors, including commerce support challenges for older devices and the ability for us to focus more of our resources on newer devices where a majority of our gamers are playing on,” Ryan wrote. “We see now that many of you are incredibly passionate about being able to continue purchasing classic games on PS3 and PS Vita for the foreseeable future, so I’m glad we were able to find a solution to continue operations.
“I’m glad that we can keep this piece of our history alive for gamers to enjoy, while we continue to create cutting-edge new game worlds for PS4, PS5, and the next generation of VR. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us – we’re always listening and appreciate the support from our PlayStation community.”
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, we’re running a series of features looking at a specific aspect — a theme, character, mechanic, location, memory or something else entirely — from each of the mainline Zelda games.Today, Mitch discusses goofing around with puzzles in one of the lesser-known, under-celebrated entries in the series…
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares twists the series’ survival horror gameplay by adding elements of roguelike gameplay. You’ll need to explore, hunt for supplies, uncover clues, and fight your way through each anomaly – each consisting of semi-procedurally generated instances where both the environment, and the undead, are out to kill you!
Immediately after the events of Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles, you find yourself trapped within the remains of Arzt Memorial Hospital – the hub to organize your inventory and storage cache, level up your character, or just to take a breather before venturing back out into the chaos. There’s more to discover in the world besides murderous hordes of the undead – find the journals scattered about to learn more about the outbreak and ultimately where to find refuge! Don’t think death can save you – every time you die, you’ll awake trapped in this nexus.
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares focuses on extreme replayability by offering multiple character options – each with their own abilities, upgrade paths and more! Each time you venture into the anomaly, it’ll change and become increasingly difficult as you grow in power. You’ll need to think carefully about what weapons, healing items, and other supplies you’ll bring along. If you’re lucky, you may find storage caches that give you access to your expanded inventory, and offer an opportunity to restock. But it’s all on you to search your environment for supplies. If you run out … your fate is sealed!
NOTE: You may pre-download this game, but it will not be playable until the release date/time: 05/18/2021 – 5:00 PM (check the product page for release date/time in your region).
NOTE: This game leverages Smart Delivery allowing access to both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions of the game.
Hello! I’m Balthazar Auxietre, the co-founder and creative director of Innerspace VR, the team behind Maskmaker, a spell-binding PS VR adventure game launching tomorrow.
We’re excited to dive into the making of the game, and the adventure awaiting players in the mysterious mask realm.
From studying cinema to exploring VR
While I was still in school, I had taken a more traditional course in cinema, but after graduating I found that I wasn’t very eager to join the cinema world, as I felt there were a lot of stories that had already been told through the medium. I remember as a child, I was intrigued by the potential of video games to tell different kinds of stories, so after making a few short movies, I moved onto using game engines and exploring that potential.
I had heard about this post-graduate art center, where artists were experimenting with new technology to move storytelling beyond the traditional language of cinema, so it was a perfect fit for me. I was able to get there and started working VR for the first time. Right away I spent almost all of the grant I had on buying this really primitive headset, which had a resolution of no more than 800 x 600 pixels and tried to do all sorts of things on it to make it work. It was how VR was in 2010!
… pretty underwhelming. But as I started to dig more into the potential of storytelling in VR, and it was very clear to me, even with the limitations of the technology at the time, that there were so many possibilities to tell these amazing stories through this medium.
The DNA and philosophies of Innerspace VR
Our studio was founded in 2014 in Korea, during the very early stages of the rise of VR. Early on, we started with a really small team that grew organically, project by project, and eventually moved back to Paris.
These past few years we have worked on all kinds of VR projects, and have been recognized for our sense of innovation and our artistic approach. A Fisherman’s Tale was our first game, but besides games we still work on many other experiences such as VR art installations.
Our DNA is both narrative and artistic, however we’ve always followed closely where gaming in VR was headed. Our goal hasn’t changed much over the years: we strive to explore the medium artistically, especially the storytelling potential through interaction, and try to make great VR, whatever that is! One of our mottos is that if VR cannot bring something significantly transformative to whatever it is that we are creating, whether it is a narrative or gaming experience, then we need to rethink our approach.
Learning from the past
Our first game was A Fisherman’s Tale, which was a real blessing for us as it is now recognized as one of the best VR narrative games. But of course, as a studio, there is always room for improvement and evolution.
With Maskmaker, we wanted to challenge ourselves and expand beyond the little world we had created in our previous game, and get away from the linear structure of storytelling. We also wanted to create a longer experience – which was the most critical feedback we heard with A Fisherman’s Tale.
So we started thinking about how we could achieve that and create this rich adventure that takes place in a more open ended world. Maskmaker is definitely our biggest game to date, and it’s certainly not an easy task, especially for a VR game.
A fascination with masks
I grew up surrounded by masks as my father is a collector of them. As a young boy, I used to spend a lot of time in his workshop, imagining their purpose, the spirit behind them, and thinking of what kinds of people around the world had worn them, their environments, their lives – all of that was peppered with the magic of childhood imagination and its fantasies.
But it was only when I later discovered VR and its capabilities that I fully realized the potential of masks as a subject for a game project, and I wanted to explore what that could look like. Then quickly came this concept of playing with magical masks as portals to another world. When we started thinking about Maskmaker, we were aiming to explore something more dark and mysterious than what we had previously done in our projects. What I really like about masks is that there is something really whimsical and wondrous about them, but also something a bit spooky, so the project became this dark fairytale about masks and the magic they hold.
We carefully designed the masks and the environments in the game so that each would have a distinct identity to give the players a strong sense of being immersed in different cultures and being almost part of this world.
Becoming a craftsman in VR
In Maskmaker, the core gameplay lies in crafting the masks that you’ll then use to travel within the mask realm. So it was really important for us to create an experience that helps players feel like they really are crafting the masks themselves in the game.
The designs of the mask start off pretty simple in the beginning, but as players progress, they’ll really need to get creative and find the proper materials and blueprints in order to unlock more areas of the mask realm. With the magic of VR, we’re able to mimic these real movements – sculpting the masks using the chisel, painting with brushes and more – and make them really precise to create some of the more intricate designs of each mask to make them feel like they are experienced craftsmen-women!
Designing immersive puzzles
In comparison to our previous work, Maskmaker is more of an adventure game than a “puzzle game” in the strictest sense. Puzzles are set in the players’ way across the different levels – the biomes of the mask realm – and they’re more a means to challenge the exploration of the users so they can reach for new crafting components, and learn the truth behind the story of the world and its king, Prospero.
We designed the puzzles inside the type of natural environment and background story of each biome, so in that sense, they are also more inherently connected to the level design than individual puzzle set pieces.
Players will be challenged by different kinds of puzzles: there are puzzles that give access to crafting components to make new masks, enabling players to travel to different parts of the world, there are puzzles that allow progression in each biome by mending some parts of the magic realm that has been damaged or abandoned by Prospero long ago. And there are puzzles linked to what we call rituals, which are based on gestures players have to reproduce to complete steps of their apprenticeship.
We really tried to intertwine the feeling of being challenged by the puzzles, being moved by the story and being visually amazed by the environments.
It’s been an incredible journey creating this game with the support of Creative Europe, MEDIA programme of the European Union and the Ile-de-France region, as well as the publishing team at MWM Interactive. We’re so excited for players to step into the magical adventure of Maskmaker, and we hope they will fully experience the magical atmosphere of the world and find a feeling of freedom and discovery in wearing those masks and traveling through them.
A class action lawsuit over drift in Xbox controllers will be settled outside of a courtroom.
GamesIndustry.biz reports that the lawsuit has been compelled to arbitration (in which a third party makes a binding decision to settle a legal dispute). After the class action lawsuit and the firm behind it, CSK&D, claimed that Microsoft had distributed faulty Xbox controllers, Microsoft requested to have an impartial adjudicator handle the claim outside of court.
GamesIndustry.biz reports that the case was filed in April of last year by CSK&D with allegations that a large number of players using Xbox One controllers had been affected by controller drift as a result of nothing more than using the controller as intended. CSK&D has filed drifting cases against Sony and Nintendo as well, and like this case, the case against Nintendo moved into arbitration.
According to CSK&D, the cause of the drift in the Xbox controllers stems from the potentiometer, which “is the mechanism that translates the physical movement of the thumbstick into movement within the video game”.
The class action lawsuit claims that this faulty potentiometer has been in Xbox controllers since 2014. The issue of these faulty controllers will be solved outside of court now that it’s been moved to arbitration. According to GamesIndustry.biz, CSK&D have stated that it is committed to recuperating damages from Microsoft, even if outside of the court, as the law firm has a “sufficient volume” of faulty controllers.
Those involved in the class action lawsuit will find out what comes next when CSK&D and Microsoft go into arbitration. Drift isn’t the only problem facing Xbox controllers at the moment. IGN reported last month that some players are experiencing unresponsive buttons on their Xbox Series X|S controllers — specifically the Y button.