Sensing your surroundings in Heavenly Bodies, coming in 2021

Hello! Alex here, I’m a designer and the technical lead at 2pt Interactive. As many of you may know, we’re the little indie studio making the challenging, physics-based game Heavenly Bodies.

Ahead of our fast-approaching 2021 release (put it in your diaries, folks), I wanted to take some time to share why we’re so excited to be working with the PS5 to make our passion project.

A quick refresher

For those who aren’t as familiar with it, Heavenly Bodies is a game about cosmonauts, the body, and the absence of gravity. You move the limbs of a weightless, physically simulated space engineer (or two, in local co-op) to assemble and maintain structures and systems aboard a rickety space station. Your assigned tasks will often appear straightforward, but without gravity to keep you grounded, even the most mundane requests will require wit and willful coordination to perform.

Make sense? Okay, Welcome aboard.

Why we love using the DualSense wireless controller

At its heart, Heavenly Bodies has been created with the love for rich detail, physicality, and tactility. We’ve engineered a uniquely challenging movement scheme which lets you manipulate each limb of your weightless body. While (very) tricky at first, these flexible controls paired with physically simulated environments make for a world that begs to be tinkered with.

With a game that quite literally requires you to feel your way through the environments, you can only imagine our excitement with the opportunity to use the features of the DualSense controller. With the triggers used to grasp your cosmonaut’s hands and a chaotic, zero-g environment where bumps and thumps are inevitable, it made so much sense for us to use the adaptive triggers and haptic functions to transport you into the floppy suit you see on screen.

Feel the palms of your hands… at your fingertips

The best way to play Heavenly Bodies is by using your cosmonaut’s hands. You’ll need to grip with the triggers to grab onto objects and to push yourself off walls. The DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers are remarkable at communicating what objects and surfaces are within your cosmonaut’s grasp.

For example, when doing some weeding in the oxygen garden, you’ll feel the delicate stalkiness of dry plants compared to the thick, hard metal framework of the station.

And this scrunchy piece of paper? You can bet it feels scrunchy.

What’s really cool, and somewhat terrifying, is sensing objects and surfaces ripped from your grasp when your hands can’t quite hang on.

Sensing the bumps and thumps of the job through your suit

A whole new sensory dimension is added from the DualSense controller haptics. To support the physicality of movement, it’s important to us that you can feel all the bumps and thumps of your body up against surfaces and objects. You can only imagine what being trapped in a soil centrifuge would feel like, but soon you won’t have to:

We’ve also designed a system which allows vibrations from around the station to transmit across surfaces and into your arms. You’ll be able to feel equipment buzzing through the walls, or pressurised fizzy drink cans blasting like small rockets:

The sounds of space, in 3D

While space aficionados will rightly tell you that there’s no sound in space, we’ve taken some guilty pleasure in filling our environments (air-pressurised, or otherwise) with the rich sounds of space station equipment. 

The PS5’s impressive 3D audio works to envelope you in the buzzes, beeps and groans emanating from around the station. A particular highlight for us is when you’re tasked to navigate a mineral extraction pod through a dense asteroid field. The violent, metallic thumps of the asteroid rocks bashing against the pod always leaves a grin on our faces.

That’s all we have for today! Remember, Heavenly Bodies is coming in 2021, so keep your eyes peeled for release announcements soon!

Applications open for Jackie Robinson Foundation / PlayStation-MLB The Show Scholarships

Back in January Sony Interactive Entertainment, San Diego Studio and the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) announced a new partnership. We committed to donating $1 for every MLB The Show 21 Collector’s Edition sold in the US through December 31, 2021, including the Jackie Robinson Edition, the Jackie Robinson Deluxe Edition, and the Digital Deluxe Edition to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. 

Those donations were used to create multiple JRF/PlayStation-MLB The Show Scholarships which will provide students of color with financial assistance to attend institutions of higher learning. It was important for us to write more than just a check. 

Applications open for Jackie Robinson Foundation / PlayStation-MLB The Show Scholarships

The partnership with the JRF will include SIE employees serving as mentors to the JRF/PlayStation Scholars throughout their four years of college, and paid internships at San Diego Studio during the JRF Scholars’ junior and senior years. The internships provide real world on the job experience at one of the best video game studios in the industry. We couldn’t be more excited to kick off this partnership with Jackie Robinson’s Estate and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.  

How to apply 

Are you a graduating African American high school senior, with a passion for video games? Do you want to work in the video game industry after college? Would you like an opportunity to intern and work at the San Diego Studio? If the answers to all those questions are yes, please keep reading for more details. 

To be eligible for a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship, an applicant must:

  • Be a graduating, African American high school senior
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Present evidence of financial need
  • Demonstrate a record of academic excellence 
  • Demonstrate leadership potential and a dedication to community service
  • Submit an official SAT and/or ACT test exam score from junior or senior year*
  • Plan to attend an accredited and approved 4-year college within the United States or affiliated with a United States-based college or university
  • Not possess a degree from, or be enrolled in, a 2 or 4-year college when applying 

*JRF recognizes the challenges of taking standardized tests during the COVID-19 pandemic and will accept PSAT scores. Applicants with NO TEST SCORES to submit will not be disadvantaged in the selection process.

Completed applications must include:

  • Official high school transcripts
  • One letter of recommendation from a non-family member

Application link:

The application deadline is Wednesday, January 12, 2022. All applications and supporting materials must be received on or before the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Regional virtual interviews with the semi-finalists will be conducted in the Spring 2022. Scholarship winners will be announced in early summer of 2022. 

If you have questions concerning the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship or the application process, please contact JRF staff at

Official PlayStation Podcast Episode 413: Blink And You’ll Miss It

Email us at!

Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or RSS, or download here

This week the team celebrates 5 years of PlayStation VR and shares more games they almost missed out on.

Stuff We Talked About

  • PlayStation VR
  • Sheepo
  • Moss 2
  • Jackbox Party 8
  • Jett: The Far Shore
  • A whole bunch of games we almost missed out on

The Cast

Sid Shuman – Senior Director of Content Communications, SIE

Tim Turi –  Manager, Content Communications, SIE

Brett Elston – Manager, Content Communications, SIE

Thanks to Cory Schmitz for our beautiful logo and Dormilón for our rad theme song and show music.

[Editor’s note: PSN game release dates are subject to change without notice. Game details are gathered from press releases from their individual publishers and/or ESRB rating descriptions.]

The story behind Jett: The Far Shore’s interstellar soundtrack

Jett’s out now, it’s resonating, and we’re thrilled. It’s the latest videogame from Superbrothers A/V and Pine Scented, it was co-created for years by two full-time people and composer scntfc, then bolstered by an all-star Jett Squad of contributors. It took a village to get Jett done, and we’re all immensely proud of our efforts together.

Jett is my second video game as director, writer, art director, and music coordinator, among other roles. Unlike Sword & Sworcery, Jett is grandiose, with depth and breadth, intricate, and byzantine.

So, I had a pretty heavy workload for a while there. However, an advantage of being at the intersection of those roles is the opportunity to try to craft something very distinct, in keeping with the Superbrothers A/V approach.

The Superbrothers A/V approach goes roughly like this:

  1. You start with a vision, and a vibe.
  2. You marry the picture to the sound, get them to stew together.
  3. You get it to move right and feel right.
  4. You present a world with intriguing narrative concepts, with credible naturalistically-proportioned intelligent characters with heart and soul, who have interesting concerns.
  5. You choose your moments, intimate or epic, a few here and there, and you get those exactly right.
  6. Nested within all this, you figure out a design that supports that vision, and that vibe.

Foundational to creating a distinctive vibe, and powering Superbrothers A/V’s approach, is audio. Sound and music, and how they fit. Getting the spirit of the music and sound right is essential, as music ends up being foregrounded in our videogames, often becoming almost the primary text.

For Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP we collaborated with Toronto composer, maestro Jim Guthrie, whose immediately appealing and memorable score accounted for so much of sworcery’s magic. 

As an album it found its way into headphones and speakers around the world, and resonated.

This time out, for Jett, we were so fortunate to have on deck the brilliant Seattle-based composer scntfc since day one, with whom we collaborated for years. 

The story behind Jett: The Far Shore’s interstellar soundtrack

C Andrew Rohrmann, known in the biz as scntfc, has since composed beloved scores to several video games, most notably Oxenfree. However, scntfc’s first videogame contribution was to Sword & Sworcery back in 2010.

On Sword & Sworcery we had the idea for a “number station transmission” and we were put in touch with scntfc, who cooked up some relevant audio in his laboratory, audio that ended up in Sworcery’s “moon grotto” as well as at Sworcery’s memorable finale.

As I explored scntfc’s back catalog I encountered sweeping atmospheric music and rich ambiances, and these immediately became Jett’s target vibe. 

It was evident to me that scntfc was precisely the right person to carve out a broad musical terrain for the science fiction universe Patrick and I were then feeling compelled to build.

I travelled to Seattle in 2013 and 2014 to pour Jett’s audio foundation alongside scntfc, in his underground laboratory. His instincts, preferences, ideas, and insights shaped Jett’s aesthetics and feel in innumerable ways, he had a creative seat at the table with Patrick and I throughout.

Jett’s audio design and musical score was something we shaped together, with me steering and curating, and Andy composing and inventing. At a certain stage, in around 2016, it became necessary for scntfc to build a single grandiose musical edifice to align and harmonize all the discrete pieces of music he had previously been composing. The result, the sixteen minute “Soak In Brine” is Jett’s low-key overture. 

Let Jett’s 0.Embark listening room play and let scntfc take you on a suitably grandiose Kubrick-inspired musical odyssey.

Then in 2019 we were able to assemble an all-star Jett Squad, Jett benefited from heavy lifts from A Shell In The Pit, an audio vendor company in Vancouver who delivered on, and surpassed, our vision for sound effects and voices.

Also integral to Jett’s soundscapes are the contributions of Priscilla Snow, whose expertise made “the hymnwave” possible, as well as the choral music heard here and there. Priscilla was also crucial in the creation of Jett’s in-game spoken language, “volega”. 

In the clip below you’ll hear all this in Jett’s memorable first few moments, as the player abruptly awakes in a hutt on the steppes, emerging into the warmth of a mournful farewell song before ‘mounting up’ into the jett and going aloft..

The story behind Jett: The Far Shore’s interstellar soundtrack

Another song that has a very special place on Jett’s score is Jett To Cosmodrome, which is derived from a pre-existing song by new age composer Morgan Kuhli, a friend of scntfc’s who lives quietly on an island off Oregon’s misty coast. 

When Jett was just a baby, a simple prototype put together over a weekend in 2011, our Jett gameplay began with a distinctive wind-up sound and this song.

Now, ten years later, a Jett-ified iteration of this song accompanies the players first moments at the helm of the jett.

To me this song has always struck a perfect tone for those first feelings of flight and wonder, and we couldn’t resist using this song on our launch trailer last week. It is warm, wonderful, and nostalgic. For those of us aboard Jett Squad, it bottles up a lot of emotion.

The story behind Jett: The Far Shore’s interstellar soundtrack

So please, soak in this ocean of new music, devised over long years by the brilliant composer scntfc, in deep AV collaboration with me, at Superbrothers. 

I recommend you experience scntfc’s work first in-game, then seek out Jett: The Far Shore’s Official Soundtrack, two hours of atmospheric music from the videogame ranging from symphonic spectacle to otherworldly synths, ambiances and off-kilter oddities, and old songs sung under new stars.

An inside look at Zombies and Campaign mode in Call of Duty: Vanguard

As we near the release of Sledgehammer Games’ Call of Duty: Vanguard on November 5, we’re excited to share with PlayStation players a deep-dive on two of the game’s core modes. It’s time to take a closer look at the epic characters and stories you’ll encounter across the single-player Campaign mode and in Zombies, the latter of which is developed by Treyarch, the studio responsible for bringing Zombies to Call of Duty more than a decade ago. 

From the international heroes forming the original Special Forces group, Task Force One, to the undead threat of Kortifex the Deathless, Vanguard is set to take PlayStation players on one wild ride on November 5, in addition to the massive amount of content players will experience with 20 maps coming to the Multiplayer mode at launch.

An inside look at Zombies and Campaign mode in Call of Duty: Vanguard

“Der Anfang”: The Next Chapter in the Zombies Saga

The next iteration of Zombies, developed by Treyarch Studios, is coming to Call of Duty: Vanguard on November 5.

Prepare to face a new type of evil, bond with new allies, and meet terrifying new enemies in a gameplay experience that gets you to the fun faster, all wrapped in a brand-new dimension of Zombies that you’ve never experienced before.

In Call of Duty: Vanguard, Treyarch is introducing a Zombies experience that builds on the Dark Aether universe introduced in Black Ops Cold War, in a franchise-first crossover that provides continuity from a lore standpoint while innovating on the core gameplay loop.

It began with the opening of the Dark Aether gateway at Projekt Endstation. As the Nazi experiment went catastrophically wrong, punching a hole through the dimensional veil, the effects traveled far and wide.

You are now stranded in the snowy graveyard of Stalingrad, held in by the dark magic of Kortifex the Deathless, one of five Dark Aether entities bonded with mortals via their otherworldly artifacts. The other four — Saraxis the Shadow, Norticus the Conqueror, Inviktor the Destroyer, and Bellekar the Warlock — are in revolt against Kortifex, and are now there to help you defeat him and Von List.

An inside look at Zombies and Campaign mode in Call of Duty: Vanguard

“Der Anfang” — the Beginning — introduces players to these Dark Aether entities via their artifacts, which were plundered by antagonist Oberführer Wolfram Von List, officer in command of the Die Wahrheit battalion in search of mystical antiquities to help turn the tide of the war in the Nazis’ favor.

Von List, now bonded with Kortifex, has gained the power to raise the dead. What better field to create an army of undead than the mass graves of Stalingrad, a year following the Nazis’ worst defeat in one of the war’s most decisive battles?

In this new chapter, Treyarch Studios takes players straight to the action, whether you’re looking for a quick match or a deep run. In addition to classic features like Perks, the Crafting Table, weapon upgrades, and the Pack-a-Punch, you’ll encounter the new Altar of Covenants, offering randomized upgrades for unique build options in every match.

The mode is developed on the same engine as the rest of Vanguard, for a seamless experience between all three of the game’s core modes. Additionally, you will be able to advance through Vanguard’s Battle Pass system via unified progression between Multiplayer, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Zombies. Your player level is shared between the modes, too, so you’ll always earn progress in tandem for a fully unified experience.

Campaign: The Rise of Special Forces 

In the single-player Campaign for Vanguard, Sledgehammer Games is bringing you to epic, history-altering battles across multiple fronts, seen through the eyes of five ordinary soldiers who become heroes forged in the fires of World War II. The story of Vanguard is ultimately about the origins of the original Special Forces unit that these five soldiers comprise — Task Force One — and about stopping a plot that could spearhead a Nazi resurgence as WWII appears to be coming to an end.

The game’s story arc begins at its climax: as a newly recruited soldier within the budding Task Force One, you are en route to a heavily fortified Nazi facility to obtain vital military intelligence — stemming from something code-named Project Phoenix — before it is smuggled out of Germany. 

Your squadmates are five soldiers whose individual actions helped turn the tide of World War II across four major fronts.  Each comes from a very different background, and none would have imagined themselves in the situation they’re currently in.  But each has had a moment in the war that allowed them to stand out from the rest: Australian Private Lucas Riggs in the North Africa Campaign, American Lieutenant Wade Jackson in the Pacific, Russian Lieutenant Polina Petrova who defended her home country in Stalingrad, British Sergeant Richard Webb in France, and your leader: Sergeant Arthur Kingsley of the British Army’s 9th Parachute Battalion, also in France.

Through Vanguard’s Campaign, you will live out the moments that made them heroes in the battles that helped change the world, and learn how they came together to spearhead Task Force One. You will also get to know the concept of international “Special Forces,” and ultimately, what brings them face-to-face with the man who is spearheading Project Phoenix: the ruthless Nazi Officer Hermann Wenzel Freisinger.

It is a deeply immersive, moving and character-driven story, that will be sure to keep players engaged throughout.

With an incredibly immersive single-player Campaign, an action-packed new Zombies experience, and a massive launch-day Multiplayer offering coming to Call of Duty: Vanguard, there will be a mode for every type of player from day one. Now gear up and prepare for the fight.

Deploy starting November 5. Rise on every front.

Battlefield Hazard Zone revealed: full details on the new experience for PS4 and PS5

How high are the stakes in the all-new Battlefield Hazard Zone? Let’s just say it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. A tense, squad-focused survival experience, Hazard Zone combines edge-of-your-seat gameplay with the best of the Battlefield sandbox. 

Before we dig into the details, let’s give you a little of the in-game history that will help you understand this new mode. In the year 2040, a worldwide event known as The Blackout took out roughly 70% of satellites in orbit – decimating worldwide communication, navigation, and surveillance. Prior to this mounting tensions caused by rising sea levels, economic collapse, and massive waves of the displaced set the stage, but it was The Blackout that completely destabilized a world already on the brink. 

International distrust inspired both the US and Russia to engineer a surveillance solution: the use of satellites equipped with capsules containing radiation-hardened data drives. These capsules (and the precious intelligence they contain) are dropped into their respectively controlled territories for the Occupying Forces to secure.

Of course information isn’t only prized by the superpowers, many of the Non-Patriated (or No-Pats) are very interested in getting their hands on the data drives as well. Some want them for the price they’ll fetch on the Dark Market, while others are more focused on using it to keep themselves and their friends and families safe. Regardless of their reasons, the No-Pats are very motivated to intercept as many data drives as possible – so much so that they’ve organized and funded Task Forces for this sole purpose. And in Battlefield Hazard Zone you and your squadmates will make up one of these teams. Your job: locate, gather, and extract data drives before a storm overtakes the area. 

Oh, and did we mention you only get one life to do it? Hey, we did warn you the stakes would be high.

So how does this all play out? Well, there are five elements to every match:

Step 1 – Strategize and equip 
Step 2 – Insert on all seven maps from 2042
Step 3 – Retrieve the intel 
Step 4 – Extractions
Step 5 – Pat yourself on the back and claim your rewards

You’ll start with a Mission Area Briefing where you’ll get the info you need to succeed, from regions of the map with a high probability of enemy combatants, data drives, and Uplinks. The latter are powerful items that can turn the tide of battle. Three types of Uplinks will be available at launch: Vehicle, Ranger, and Reinforcement Uplinks. Whether you need to bring back a buddy, gain a quick tactical advantage, or get the heck out of Dodge – Uplinks have got you covered.

You’ll then select the Specialists and loadouts you and your squad will join the fight with. Choose wisely (and strategically) at this stage and you’re likely to do well. So balance your squad and skills carefully before you deploy. 

From this point on you’ve got just one mission – securing those capsules and data drives. Of course you won’t be the only ones doing so. Rival squads will have the same objective and then there are Occupying Forces who will guard the contents of those capsules with their lives.

Ok great, you’ve defeated your enemies and secured the data drives…now what? Let’s just say getting out in one piece – intel in hand – is going to be pretty tricky. Two extraction windows are available per match at randomized locations, but only for a short period of time. To succeed in your extraction, you will have to wisely consider whether you’re going for the first window, or, risk it all and stay until the very end. Locate the LZ then get there as fast (but as safely) as you can. Naturally you won’t be the only ones to show up, so you’ll need to defend the area against rival squads and Occupying Forces long enough to get everyone on the aircraft. If any of your squad don’t make it they’ll get one more shot during final extraction, but remember, if you’re all left behind, you’ll lose everything you’ve gathered!

Congrats, No-Pat, you beat the storm and your opponents and made it out in one piece with plenty of data drives – that means you’re going to rack up both XP and Dark Market Credits. The former’s pretty self-explanatory, and the latter means you get the opportunity to unlock more (and better) equipment options for you and your squad in the next match.

Hazard Zone, All-Out Warfare, and Battlefield Portal will allow you to take on revamped fan-favorite modes, discover new innovative experiences, and witness an unprecedented scale that adds a new dimension to your multiplayer battles. Are you ready to plunge into the chaotic near-future combat of Battlefield 2042? Deploy on launch day, November 19, 2021, or pre-order the Gold or Ultimate Edition now and put boots on the ground starting November 12.

The inspiration behind new games in The Jackbox Party Pack 8

Hi, my name is Spencer Ham and I’m a game director at Jackbox Games. It’s time to dust off your cell phone because we’re releasing The Jackbox Party Pack 8 at PlayStation Store on October 14! That’s right, we’ve broken the record for most Party Packs. Please text us back, Guinness World Records. 

This year’s release feels especially rewarding since our studio was completely remote during production. Although that brought on its fair share of challenges (seriously, Allard, you’re still on mute), it also inspired us to work in new ways. Gone were the days of us huddled in a room, brainstorming game concepts with quick paper tests. Being forced to move to a completely digital landscape meant we had to adapt and find new approaches to our (record-breaking) method. 

The inspiration behind new games in The Jackbox Party Pack 8

Here’s some insight into how three of the games in this year’s Party Pack came to be.

Drawful: Animate

As you may know, each Party Pack has at least one sequel in it. This year, it’s Drawful’s long-awaited turn. An astute observer will notice that it’s not called Drawful 3, and that is intentional. Since it’s an exciting new twist on the core mechanic, we view it as having its own identity rather than just a continuation of a franchise. 

In this version, players create looping, two-frame animations based on absurd prompts. This concept thrived as a digital prototype because it would’ve been much harder to showcase how fun and effective the animations are if playtesters had to awkwardly fumble through a paper flipbook. 

The Wheel of Enormous Proportions 

The inspiration behind The Wheel of Enormous Proportions came very organically. One of the morale boosters for us this past year was using a digital wheel to raffle off random items. The prizes weren’t even that good—they were things like a t-shirt or a mouse pad, but that didn’t matter because wheel frenzy would take over. During a spin, chat would light up with comments like “Obey the Wheel,” “The Wheel knows all,” and “WHEEL.”

So that got us thinking. What if we replaced a branded mouse pad with a prize just as, if not more, fun? Winning a trivia game. So that’s exactly what we did. The more trivia questions a player answers correctly, the more slices they receive on a wheel that will distribute points. Not great at trivia? No worries, because it’ll ultimately be up to the all-knowing, mysterious Wheel to decide! 

The Poll Mine

The Poll Mine is an intense survey game where competing teams try to deduce how the group answered as a whole. If you guess incorrectly, your squad will open a door full of terrifying monsters that will devour you whole. But no presh. 

As you might imagine, this game requires a lot of group communication. Teams must do a lot of speculating before they make their decision. Prototyping this game on Discord was a great proof of concept. Instead of playing this exclusively in a room and then hoping it would translate to video conferencing platforms, we streamed it from the outset and knew it would work well in either environment. 

Although this past year was certainly challenging, it was also inspiring. Just like in some of our games, limitations fuel creativity. We hope you enjoy The Jackbox Party Pack 8 as much as we do!

Horizon Chase Turbo: Senna Forever expansion launches October 20

Ayrton Senna was a legendary Brazilian driver who changed history – his name is still commonly remembered as one of the most iconic racers of all time.

So what better way to honor his memory than to have a Brazilian-made PS4 game relive his steps in a nostalgia-driven arcade-style racing game? 😉

Horizon Chase Turbo: Senna Forever is the game’s largest expansion to date, debuting an entirely new set of cars, tracks, and features inspired by Senna – which, by the way, is all thanks to the partnership and support of Senna Brands. Part of the profits obtained with the expansion will also be dedicated to support Ayrton Senna’s Institute educational programs, isn’t that amazing?

But let’s get to the fun part: racing! The trailer below shows just a little bit of everything we’ve packed for you, check it out!

Horizon Chase Turbo: Senna Forever expansion launches October 20

Career Mode? Championship Mode? Achievement system? New exclusive skins? Multiplayer? You name it, we got it. If you heard a familiar tune in this trailer, your ears are also quite right, because it was made by our dearest Barry Leitch, the very same composer for the soundtrack of the main game. The expansion also features tailor-made new tracks for you too!

Imagine being in the shoes of such an amazing driver, especially in first-person view gameplay. That’s exactly what you’ll do on Senna Forever’s Career Mode. There are five different chapters, each with a set number of races from his life you’ll have to go through – oh, there are also his own achievements, which we call Senna’s Marks, that you can complete here as well!

Oh, did I mention you get a cool narrative screen like the Rain Master for completing these? Yeah! Senna was known as the Rain Master because he was so good at racing in this weather – will you too? Let’s find out!

For the first time ever, you’ll get to feel the heat of the moment from the inside of a cockpit in Horizon Chase Turbo with this brand-new first-person view, a feature exclusive to this expansion.

Normally, in Horizon Chase Turbo, you’d have a selection of cars to choose from. Only this time, you’re Senna, so you’re using cars inspired by the ones he drove. To maintain the strategy, there’s a new mechanic before each game where you’ll have to pick your focus: Enhanced Tires, Advanced Aerodynamics, or Special Fuel.

Of course  new cars are also coming! There are 6 new ones coming to the Career Mode and also 34 different other playable cars to choose from on Championship Mode. Fancy, huh?

If you’re worried about the replayability of this game, the Championship mode has you covered.There’s 18 different teams to choose from and more than 30 cars to unlock. There are three categories depending on what kind of challenge you’re looking for and also randomized competitors, tracks and weather so you’ll never know what’s coming.

Remember, as kids, when we used to all sit together on the couch to play? That was awesome, wasn’t it? We think so too! That’s why you can play Horizon Chase Turbo: Senna Forever with up to four local players, also with randomized stuff from the Championship Mode.

So, are you excited? Because we certainly are. As you read this, we’re thinking of new challenges to keep the game going for quite a long time yet, so stay tuned for more.

Celebrating five years of PlayStation VR

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day PlayStation VR was introduced to the world, and we want to take this moment to thank all of our fans and our talented development community for embracing this platform and supporting PS VR through the years. It’s amazing to see how virtual reality has really established itself in these past five years as a platform for gaming, and we’re pleased to have PS VR play a big role in VR’s growth.

And to celebrate this PS VR milestone, we wanted to give a special thank you to PlayStation fans: Starting in November, PlayStation Plus* members will get three PS VR bonus games for no extra charge. Stay tuned for more details in the PlayStation Plus update in the next few weeks.

Since the PS VR launch, we have seen a diverse range of unique experiences that showcase a sense of presence we set out to achieve with this platform, including critically acclaimed games such as the thrilling sights and sounds action shooter Rez Infinite, the epic rescue mission platformer Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and the stealth action of Hitman 3.

With more than 500 games and experiences available on PS VR, let’s take a look back at the top five most played** games on PS VR worldwide since launching five years ago.

 Most-Played PlayStation VR Games Globally

  • Rec Room
  • Beat Saber
  • PlayStation VR Worlds
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard

Most-Played PlayStation VR Games, By Region

  • Europe: Rec Room, PlayStation VR Worlds, Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR, Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • North America: Rec Room, Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, Job Simulator, Firewall: Zero Hour
  • Japan: Resident Evil 7 biohazard, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, PlayStation VR Worlds, Beat Saber, Gran Turismo Sport

There’s plenty more PS VR games to look forward to, with games in development  such as Moss: Book II, Wanderer, After the Fall, Humanity, Puzzling Places, Zenith: The Last City and more. The games created for PS VR come from some of our industry’s most talented developers who consistently challenge themselves to bring amazing experiences to the platform.

To mark this occasion, we decided to take a trip down memory lane with developers who share with us what their experience was like when they first got their hands on PlayStation VR.

Celebrating five years of PlayStation VR

Can you tell us about your first experience with PS VR?

We were working on a VR prototype in 2015 and had been talking to the PS VR team. I wasn’t still sure about what PS VR could do at that time and they encouraged me to check out the demos at that year’s GDC in March 2015. The London Heist demo completely sold me on the hardware and its potential. The first scene had you being interrogated by a brutish looking fellow and he would respond to your head movements and where you were looking. The second scene you were rifling through a desk looking for items with full hand interaction using Move Controllers and then getting into a fire fight while taking cover behind the desk.  It was the most high quality content I had experienced in VR at the time and I found myself getting on the floor of the demo area at GDC. Exhilarating!

– Chandana Ekanayake, Outerloop Games

VR was technology  I was always interested in, so I was very excited hearing that PlayStation was creating a VR headset for a household setting. The first time I got to really experience PS VR was working on the prototype for KITCHEN, which was arguably the prologue setting things up for what later would become Resident Evil 7 biohazard. Initially, I had only seen the prototype through a regular monitor and could only imagine how things would be in a VR environment, but I was not anticipating just how much the scare factor ramped up seeing things from within the headset. It really was astounding to see how much more immersive of an experience VR could truly be.

– Masachika Kawata, Capcom

As far as I can recall, my first experience of PS VR was actually with a prototype of Project Morpheus (the codename of PS VR in its early phase) where I found myself at the top of a very high diving board with an Olympic pool right below me. This demo was meant to show how we can get a sense of vertigo in VR. And it worked remarkably well.

– Nicolas Doucet, Team Asobi

As a gamer, I have great memories of playing Thumper on PS VR around the launch in 2016.  The heady mix of insanely high speeds, beautiful worlds and rhythm based play come together to create a game which is incredibly tight and compelling.  I was also blown away by getting to be the Dark Knight in Batman: Arkham VR, it helped me realise the immersive power of being a character in PS VR could be a game changer for how we could make games in the future.

– Stu Tilley, Firesprite

 I remember way back in 2016 getting a sneak preview of London Heist at Carnegie Mellon University from an alum who showed early demos at the Entertainment Technology Center. It was so exciting to see that Sony was fully embracing VR in a way that wasn’t happening on any other console. 

– Jesse Schell, Schell Games

I think our first PS VR experience was with Rush of Blood and RIGS: Mechanized Combat League. Rush of Blood was and is one of the best horror experiences in VR to date, that game is awesome. I want more! RIGS: MCL was a ton of fun, it showed us the potential of true multiplayer in VR and inspired us in many ways. It was truly before its time and was one of the better MP VR shooters out there.

Hess Barber, First Contact Entertainment 

I remember playing Thumper at a friend’s place who showed me PS VR for the first time. I was impressed how such a simple switch to its VR mode completely changed the game experience for me. It was still the same game but somehow it felt like a totally different world which was more epic than its 2D counterpart.

Vladimír Hrinčár, Beat Games

How has PS VR changed what you thought was possible for console gaming?

 I think the biggest shift was realizing that players were no longer watching things on a screen, but that they could enter the virtual environment and truly be within the game world. Even if you’re offering the player the same base gameplay experience, it was fascinating to see just how different that same gameplay experience could be from a regular TV environment to a VR environment.

Masachika Kawata, Capcom

PSVR has given a whole new way of playing that wasn’t quite the same beforehand.  Being able to move your hands around to aim a weapon, lift a hatch, drag yourself up a mountain, or throw a donut into a neighboring cubicle felt totally unique compared to regular gameplay.  The immersion PS VR offers through the quality of the displays is the ultimate way to experience a game world – sitting at the dinner table of the main house in Resident Evil 7 on PS VR is truly unforgettable!

– Stu Tilley, Firesprite

PS VR really brought us an opportunity to simplify the experience to a very instinctive level. The best example I can think of is the entire removal of camera control. By becoming the camera, you no longer have to learn camera manipulation and can focus on the action. A simple glance left and right, leaning to see behind a wall, all these are every-action we do without thinking but are actually quite hard to incorporate in traditional games. With PS VR, we got all of these virtually for free (pun intended) and that helped us make a more accessible game!

– Nicolas Doucet, Team Asobi

PS VR is very comfortable to use for extended periods of time which opens up all sorts of design possibilities for different types of games. It led us to make three different distinct experiences for the platform: Wayward Sky – a third person diorama action adventure, Dino Frontier – a western town simulation game with dinosaurs, and Falcon Age – a first person action game with a pet falcon. All three of these took advantage of the PS VR hardware and we had to rethink each genre approach during development to fully embrace what was possible with the hardware.

– Chandana Ekanayake, Outerloop Games

 I think PS VR is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where VR will go. I truly believe that one day, VR will be the preferred way to play all games. PS VR is the only real dedicated gaming VR platform. It still has more quality games than any other VR platform around today. With so many high quality titles it really is the gateway to AAA VR Gaming. It showed us just how effective VR can be and the potential direction of VR gaming in the future

– Hess Barber, First Contact Entertainment

It is like a night and day difference – PS VR with Move controllers unlocks so many options which were not possible to experience on a 2D screen with just a normal controller.

Vladimír Hrinčár, Beat Games

What should people know about when developing games for PS VR? Any key learnings?

 We learned early to try things out on the hardware as soon as possible even if it’s the silliest idea. What you think will happen vs what actually happens when you tried it out on PS VR differed greatly.  While making Falcon Age, we worked with a real-life falconer in Washington to make sure we were accurate in how we treated falconry in the game. She gave us some pointers on how the falcon should behave after a hunt, how it spreads its wings and protects a kill, and how falcons react to water.  There was a scary part during our time with the falconer. She warned us to not look directly at the falcon’s eyes as it would see us as a threat! It’s hard not to stare at a beautiful bird like that but we managed to do it and no developers were hurt during production.

– Chandana Ekanayake, Outerloop Games

[W]e worked hard on Kitchen,  which was a PS VR prototype that would be a stepping stone for eventually incorporating VR into Resident Evil 7 biohazard. It was our first time venturing into that kind of game scape, so we did a lot of internal testing. I still remember coworkers participating in the play tests would jump out of their seats or slip out of their chairs from fright and would laughingly and angrily remark that the experience was “too scary.” We released a snippet of that footage back in the day, so I’m sure it’d be a good chuckle for anyone who is interested in checking it out.

– Masachika Kawata, Capcom

When developing our horror game, The Persistence for PS VR, we would often have the headset on whilst developing features, being totally lost in the nitty-gritty of the work.  But the game also supports a companion app where you change things in the world.  One member of the team (who shall remain nameless!) used to love dropping enemies in behind people who were working away on their features.  Suddenly they would get attacked from nowhere by a raging mutant and you’d hear them screaming across the studio!

– Stu Tilley, Firesprite

 Halfway through the development of Firewall, we realised all our playtests were so much fun because we (the team) all knew each other and everyone naturally communicated. We realized if people were playing [with] strangers and were shy, it could really limit the experience and we were worried. But the funny thing about PS VR is that it is so immersive and the mic is already a part of it, (most) people just naturally become social. Not only did the game thrive with the communication but it also formed so many relationships, people from all over the world have come together, some have been married, some even had children together.  The thing we were worried about actually is one of the best features about the game, it’s incredibly social and friendly.

Hess Barber, First Contact Entertainment

*PS Plus is subject to a recurring subscription fee taken automatically until cancellation. Full terms:

**Data from October 13, 2016 – August 31, 2021, excludes The Playroom VR

PlayStation®VR is not for use by children under the age of 12. A PlayStation®4 or PlayStation(R)5 system (sold separately) is required to use PlayStation®VR.

Designing for the DualSense controller – the UI of Disciples: Liberation

When we started development on Disciples: Liberation, we knew one of the biggest hurdles we’d face would be bringing a genre not that widely available on consoles to an entirely new audience of players. Taking something like a dark-fantasy-strategy RPG, a genre that had predominantly lived on the PC platform, and moving it across to the PlayStation 5 and DualSense wireless controller was a challenging but satisfying adventure, especially for a small but passionate team. 

From the get-go, we knew we would only have the time and resources to focus on a single UI (user interface) philosophy and due to the game’s availability on PC, this would need to serve two completely different input methods: both the DualSense controller and a keyboard and mouse. In bringing Disciples: Liberation to the PS5, our objective was two-fold: 

  • Ensure veterans of the franchise didn’t feel like anything was simplified or sacrificed in making a complex dark-fantasy-strategy RPG for consoles 
  • Developing intuitive menus and button mapping that felt organic to the DualSense controller 

As the lead UI/UX designer for the project, it was my responsibility to marry those two worlds, ensuring the game’s interface was deep and intuitive whilst perfectly in sync with the DualSense controller. Due to ongoing back issues (by spending both work and free time sitting at a desk) I have been using the DualSense controller full time when gaming on PC and PS5. I was thrilled with how well the controller worked across both platforms, so much so that I even transposed my entire UI layout from some of my favourite MMOs (no small feat!). With this unique background, I knew I was up to the task of building Disciples: Liberation as the perfect DualSense controller coupling. If I could give more accessibility to players, allowing any type of person to choose whichever input they would like to play our game, I would consider my job a success. 

It was fairly early in development that we started to lean towards a virtual cursor for the in-game menus. For those that don’t know, a virtual cursor is one which players are able to freely move around the screen using the left or right analogue stick. From my experience playing other games using this same system, I knew we could come up with something really special if we spent the time considering how best we could create menus that felt at home on the PS5.   

To begin, we put some time into researching a handful of previous titles that had implemented a virtual cursor in their interface and quickly noticed that a fairly fast-moving cursor that slows over buttons and interactive elements, to give players time to react and stop over them, was perfect. We also used Fitt’s Law for the menus and on-screen button interactions, a law that states that any target is harder to hit the smaller and further away it is. 

Keeping this in mind, we decided the best way to virtually increase the size of a button (make a small button feel larger to the player) would be to slow down the speed of the cursor when players passed over it. For example, if the cursor moved at 100 pixels per second and the button was 200 pixels wide, it would take the player two seconds to cross it, whereas if the cursor slowed to 50 pixels per second when moved over a button, we would have just doubled the time players have to hit that button when making their selection. 

Once the design was complete, I discussed it with our lead programmer, and we went to work. Two days later, we had a very convincing prototype and spent the next couple of weeks adding features to fine-tune the experience for players. This included small but significant changes such as setting a specific cursor slow-down rate on a ‘per element’ basis (so we could adjust the speed of the cursor interactions with individual buttons) background counter-scrolling (making the screen move in the opposite direction to the cursor for a virtual increase in speed), and adding a platform-specific filter to any element on the screen, allowing us to tailor the UI experience specifically to PS5 players. The filter worked much like those old red/blue “3D” glasses – the information for all platforms would always be there but if you enabled our filter, just the DualSense controller prompts would show to the player. 

Having a virtual cursor also meant we could easily create layouts that felt organic and were aesthetically pleasing across all platforms. In designing the menus, we even used Fitt’s Law to tweak tiny interactions, such as having an inventory item populate from the left or the right side of the screen depending on an element’s on-screen location. This meant less travel time between a category and the first items in a player’s inventory list, and resulted in a really satisfying, buttery-smooth user experience. 

In terms of gameplay, we applied a similar philosophy, ensuring that core actions were easily accessible via the buttons on the DualSense controller. In game, moving and zooming the camera during combat and assigning actions to your units all feels very natural and we also added button shortcuts to actions that could be repetitive or that may have the player move their cursor back and forth across large swathes of the screen. Instead, players would have the choice to either select the button using the virtual cursor or use one of the DualSense controller’s face buttons to upgrade an item or skip a results screen. Our QA was pretty happy with that one.  

Designing Disciples: Liberation for the DualSense was a unique challenge but I’m extremely proud of the game and can’t wait to hear what PlayStation players think when it launches on October 21.