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scrivener from general mayhem forums posted:
Wow, so much to cover - where do I even start? I'll just have to be careful here as there's certain things that aren't supposed to be revealed until the TGS.
Note: This post is by no means unbiased. I make no warranty that what I have to say will not piss you off – especially if you’re a one-company fanboy whore. I’ll answer questions and I'll share what I know… but I’m not going to argue with the retards lurking in the Games forum shadows… especially when I am way more informed than you are*. Believe that or not (it's a fact), I don’t give a flying **** what some pimple faced punk in the digital jungle thinks. This is a favor for those who appreciate it. Hence, if you do not appreciate inside information, then do us all a favor and **** off.
Now that that’s out of the way…
Lets start with the bad news - the launch lineup is shrinking. Originally, the list was 30 titles (1st and 3rd party). Currently, the list is about 15 titles (can’t get more specific because at this stage it literally changes by the hour). There is an up-side, however. The extra development time is making a world of difference. Some of you saw Heavenly Sword at E3 and it looked pretty good... that is, it looked like your typical 360 game. The team has been hard at work piling on layers and layers of detail and as of right now, it looks like ****ing Advent Children (you thought Metal Gear looked good? You gotta see this). It's also being given a God of War type violence upgrade, since they found out the graphical realism and brutality of the combat (bloodless though it was) was getting it a Mature anyway. Seriously, it will blow your mother****ing mind (although it’s sad that having really awesome graphics influences the ESRB ratings these days). The current release target is March.
Killzone 2 - This one has been MIA since last years E3. It is still in development and it is, unequivocally, the PS3s big "secret weapon." Announcements are being held back until closer to the PS3 launch as it's going to generate a monumental amount of buzz. It's one of those things that I can't get into too much detail about. However, it looks exactly like the video. Yeah. That video.
LAIR - This won't be out until next summer at the earliest, but this one is also abso****inglutely incredible. Missions basically involve unscripted AI-driven massive scale battles (we're talking Helms Deep here) and you control a single dragon and rider. The game is essentially playing an RTS with itself and it's up to you to influence the tide of the battles. This is also very dark and mature.
More bad news, these titles are all now Q1 '07 releases or later. Resistance: Fall of Man is being primed as the killer ap launch title. Some of you are sure to go nuts for it as it's like a crossbreed between Half Life 2 & Call of Duty. Personally, I ****ing hate both those games so I was not terribly impressed with the single player. Now multiplayer is a whole different beast, because the weapons are strange as ****. For example, there's this energy-burst weapon that just passes through solid matter. Almost everything in the environments is destructible (vehicles, concrete barriers, etc) as well and has physical properties. Hence, certain materials will offer better protection than others. Multiplayer is the big focus of R:FoM anyway, with half a dozen game types and support for up to 40 players.
Someone asked about sound in the other thread - and while specific technical details were not divulged, the sound in Resistance was discussed at length. Resistance has fully simulated sound waves. The system actually checks distances, atmospheric density, wind, what materials the sound is bouncing off and passing through, etc, and modifies the base sound accordingly. Hence, every sound travels through space in real time and distorts just as it does in the real world. There is also support for 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 sound setups... so however they are doing it, it borders on overkill.
This brings me to BluRay, a controversial topic on this forum as of late. Remember when I was talking about the 360s disc capacity and how it ****ed up Oblivion? Some of you will remember, because I got flamed pretty hard for that (OMG it still looks great, the PC version is the same, waa waa, don’t criticize my console). The Xbox totally ****ed up Oblivion, you can look at the textures and tell where Bethesda cut corners to make it fit on the disc.
As a quick side note, Bethesda is working on a special edition of Oblivion just for PS3. We were shown some screenshots (sadly, not the actual game) and it looks like an entirely different game. Every texture is being replaced with new extremely-high resolution ones. It’s basically what Bethesda wanted to do the first time until they ran into the DVDs capacity limit. BluRay fixes that little bottleneck.
Those DVDs you love so much, they’re the reason PS3 games are going to ****ing destroy anything available on the 360. 85% of the games currently in development for PS3 will not fit on a single DVD9. To give you an idea of the implications, Resistance: Fall of Man is currently 20GB, and could be around 35GB once cinematics and things are added. Publishers are not being forced to use BDs, but it’s expected that 95% of all PS3 games will use BD discs. The big exception is EA, who uniformly develops for the lowest common denominator. Sony is dedicated to helping companies develop for the superior PS3 then downgrade for the weaker systems. The fruits of this labor will probably not be seen for another year at least.
There was a demo, side by side, of an upcoming sports game (can't tell you which one). One was playing on 360 (DVD9) connected to an HDTV running at 720P. The same game was running on a PS3 (BD50) on an identical HDTV at 720P. The differences were unbelievable, simply because the BD has the space to hold all those extremely high resolution textures. The 360 could probably handle them, but they just plain won't fit on the disc. This is just one example of how storage capacity is hurting the 360. Of the parade of developers that spoke to us, the BDs capacity was the number one item of praise. No more having to cut corners or find creative ways to make your game fit on the disc. DVDs are just plain obsolete when you're talking about High-Definition hyper-detailed 3D environments.
On a similar note, those of you rooting for HD-DVD as the High-Def standard might want to start selling your stuff while it’s worth something. The format war was basically decided before it even reached store shelves. 80% of the major manufacturing plants have already adopted Blu-Ray. There’s also the small matter of Sony owning, directly or indirectly, nearly half of the movie industry. I could go into more detail, but I’m getting a little off-topic. The point is, Blu-Ray is here to stay and it’s not going anywhere. HD-DVD, having considerably less support at retail and among manufacturers and movie studios, is ****ed. Also, when it comes to the end-user, the Blu-Ray capabilities of the PS3 are going to be very very heavily advertised. Not only will the PS3 ensure that Blu-Ray is the most widely owned HD player in the world, but Sony is going to make sure that people know it and use it.
Go ahead and throw your tantrums if you want, it won’t change a thing. It’s just plain out of your hands. If you were rooting for the inferior technology – well, oops.
Concerning BD movie costs, they’ve been available for several months now and the average price is $20-$30. Amazon.com is your friend.
Ok, onto the multiplayer. Sony is going all out here. Actually, the entire philosophy behind the PS3s development is “no holding back.” You may whine about the price, you may whine about the features (and those of you that do that regularly really look like huge tards, btw. You know who you are) but Sony really wanted to deliver a system with every cool feature they could think of. Furthermore, they want to deliver a system that will survive another decade. MS may release a new Xbox every couple years, but Playstation owners know that their system isn’t going to be obsolete any time soon. Anyhoo, the online service is absolutely, positively, 100% free… no tiers, no subscription. It’s like having Xbox Live Gold, but you don’t have to pay for it. Some of the features include: multiple online IDs (not just one gamertag), friends lists, rankings and skill-based auto-matchmaking, full online profiles, EyeToy and EyeToy HD integration (photo profiles, possibly video chat).
There is a full featured web browser and the PS3 will have native Keyboard and Mouse support, although Sony will not be making any 1st party Mice or Keyboards for the system. As for using those peripherals in games, it’s entirely up to the developers but Sony is not disallowing it. Still, they would prefer developers make use of the motion sensitive controller instead.
As a side note, the controller motion capabilities are extremely sensitive and accurate. Playing LAIR and WarHawk with it just seemed way more accurate and natural than analogue sticks alone – plus it frees up the analogues for other functionality. You’ll see what I mean when you get a taste of LAIR. It’s ****ing incredible.
In terms of 3rd party support, more than 10,000 SDKs have been shipped and more than 350 confirmed titles in active development. Production of the console itself is proceeding right on target. Reports of cell yields and HDMI 1.3 available have absolutely no impact on the production process. The cell has naturally lower yields due to the fact that it’s a new and more powerful technology. The yields were of the Cell were known far in advance of active production. As some of you know, wafers are rated. Only the best make it into the PS3, the others are sorted for other less demanding uses.
The PS3 is shipping with all 8 cores enabled (1PPE + 7 SPEs). Reports of SPEs “dying” are just plain rubbish.
3rd party developers (EA, UbiSoft) have already announced their pricing schemes for next-gen games. PS3 games will generally cost the same as Xbox 360 titles. The $10 hike in price across the board is meant to cover additional production costs resulting from the need to produce higher quality HD-quality assets. Better graphics means higher production costs.
North America will be getting approximately 700,000 of the first 2 million units. For comparison, the 360 shipped 400,000 units in NA followed by a 5-month complete production shutdown. There will be a second major shipment before Christmas, with an equal number of units (which comes to about 1.4m in NA before Christmas). As of right now, the balance between 20GB and 60GB versions has not been decided. Since both SKUs will be produced at the same plants using the same materials, production can be shifted as needed. It’s most likely that the 60GB version will be the most “common”, however.
The 20GB version is indeed capable of 1080p via component. The only holdup is that there is currently no TVs on the market that support 1080p via component. It’s purely an issue of support from TV manufacturers.
For the uninformed, the difference between the two models (other than HDD size) is that the 60GB has the following additional features: 802.11g Wireless Networking, Flash card reader (CF, SD, MSP), HDMI (v1.3).
Ok, so onto some PSP news…
The GPS is currently on hold. Bummer, I know. PSP has outsold DS and DS Lite by 1.2m units (Edit: Checking on this. May actually be NA only). The PSOne emulator will be attached to an October firmware update. The online store for PSP and PS3 should launch soon thereafter (around November 11). A new PSP entertainment pack is coming next month. It costs $250 and includes a 1GB MSPD, ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin Trails (game), and Lords of Dogtown (movie). No headphones.
PSP integration with PS3 is still planned. You’ll be able to use your PSP as a remote control for your system. Currently, the plan is that you’ll even be able to see your PS3 screen on your PSP so long as both are connected to the same network (almost like a location-free player). This feature may not be ready for launch, but if it misses, it will be added in an update soon after.
More than 200 new PSP titles will ship between now and Christmas!
You know about the disaster that was UMD movies? Well there’s a reason for that. Usually Sony works with companies who license their products and lay down certain ground rules (pricing, features, etc). With UMD, they had a hands-off approach and movie studios just started releasing every piece of **** movie in their vault, without special features, at highly inflated prices. Sony is not happy about this at all and is going to try to jump start the UMD movie scene again (could take up to a year) by requiring that releases meet certain guidelines. Guidelines may include an MSRP limit of $15 and that UMDs include all the special features of their DVD equivalents. It’s possible that it may be too late to save, but Sony has a lot of muscle and the PSPs multimedia features are its biggest selling points… especially considering the target consumer is a male between the ages of 21 and 40.