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2014 Most Anticipated – #6 The Order: 1886

Formed by ex-members of arguably the best games studio in the world, Naughty Dog, Ready At Dawn have been waited for ten years to finally unleash their creativity on a product entirely their own. Having enjoyed critical and commercial success through spin-offs of the God of War and Jak and Daxter series’ on PSP, The Order: 1886 represents the talented team’s first foray onto home consoles outside of ports.

Creative director Ru Weerasuriya has already cited Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a real classic of the generation gone-by, as one of the main inspirations for The Order. The team at Ready at Dawn have lofty ambitions of creating a action-packed blockbuster rife with drama, tension and emotion. As a PlayStation 4 exclusive, also, The Order: 1886 isn’t a game going to be held back by current-gen ports. Ready At Dawn have the opportunity to put themselves in the big-leagues of major developers and give birth to a new franchise at the same time.

Despite its status as a new IP, the lack of killer-apps currently present on the PlayStation 4 suggests the possibility of stronger sales than the developer have ever witnessed. Whilst Knack and Killzone: Shadow Fall were strong releases in the context of a console launch, people will be looking for more to play on their new system and thus The Order could cement itself as another big first-party franchise.

It might not be ready until at least the end of next year, but with this alongside Sucker Punch’s InFamous: Second Son and the small matter of a new Uncharted game 2014 is shaping up to be a very big year for Sony. It may lack big franchise power, but you can be sure people will be talking about The Order: 1886 right up until its eventual release.

Let’s just hope Ready At Dawn can make the transition from quality handheld releases to blockbuster console titles and take us on a hell of a journey.

2014 Most Anticipated – #16 Assassin’s Creed V

With Assassin’s Creed’s swash-buckling triumph Black Flag restoring the series’ momentum, the prospect of a new open-world epic next year is undoubtedly tantalising. Ubisoft Montreal broke free from the shackles of the series’ modern-day backstory and created a giant, action-adventure title brimming with the humour of The Curse of Monkey Island with Black Flag last month, and now the massive developer can apply that kind of flair to a brand new historical setting.

Will it be set in Victorian Britain, Ming Dynasty China or perhaps even in the modern-day? The reason I anticipate each new Assassin’s Creed release so much is because Ubisoft could take the series anywhere across history, and the team are capable of carrying out huge-scale research to accurately re-create the feel and flavour of different historical periods.

Then, of course, we have the small matter of next-generation’s consoles. Whilst Black Flag marked the series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it’s quite possible that its release on current-generation consoles may have limited the team’s overall scope of the project. Assassin’s Creed V could very well be a next-generation exclusive, using the full power of Microsoft and Sony’s new machines to create an open world that’s full of the kind of detail that simply wasn’t possible before.

The Assassin’s Creed series has had its ups and downs – Ezio’s trilogy dragged a little and Assassin’s Creed III was, to me, underwhelming – but Ubisoft Montreal have had a lot of success in introducing new elements to the game’s winning formula.

Naval combat, AI assassin allies and traversal enhancements have all seamless fitted into the Creed experience and the Canadian developer now has the power to take out what didn’t work and add in what did. Not all of what Assassin’s Creed V will bring to the table will work, but as a result of the developer’s willingness to try new things the series is in a position now where it can consistently get better and better.

Assassin’s Creed is one of gaming’s biggest franchises and it’s perhaps the most exciting and anticipated annualised franchise in recent memory. New games in the open-world franchise have proved to be highlights of gaming in many years gone by, and there’s no reason why 2014 will be any different.

 

Saints Row Dev: “Being The President Was Kind Of The Next Step”

At a promotional Saints Row event in London, and the team at Volition are celebrating. Saints Row IV, the latest installment in Deep Silver’s latest no-holds-barred open-world action game, has just gone gold. Having been first invited to play the first two hours of the campaign, I sat down with associate producer Kate Nelson to discuss the studio’s new release, which is out later this month.

One Hit Pixel: Saints Row IV started life as Saints Row: The Third downloadable content. Was it a difficult transition between ‘Enter The Dominatrix’ and what you have now?

Kate Nelson: What happened with that was that we were working on this DLC expansion for Saints Row: The Third. Jason Rubin from THQ came by, he looked at it and said “this is amazing, you guys need more time, more resources and make a whole new expansion based off of this DLC”. And that’s what we did. It was actually invigorating for everyone as we could take the ideas we had and really blow them out to proportions that were good for a whole game. For example, we had the concept of superpowers, but this gave us the opportunity to blow out the story and add more superpowers – things that would not have made it in. It helped us turn our crazy nob up to eleven.

Saints Row IV also underwent a change of publisher mid-way through its development. Did that have any effect on?

Luckily for us, it did not. We had to figure out some new ways of communicating, but overall they bought Volition because we’re a senior studio and they really loved the Saints Row franchise. They basically came in and said “do what you know, we love this, just go for it”. You’d be worried that if a publisher buys your studio they might have certain things they might want you to do, or certain changes to make.

When Saints Row originally came out it was almost billed as a ‘GTA-killer’. With Grand Theft Auto V coming out in the same release window as Saints Row IV do you see an element of competition between the two games?

We do not, in some ways we never necessarily did. They’re both open-world games, they both take place in a city, and GTA was first so a lot of people like to compare the two games, but Saints Row brings a very different experience. With the introduction of superpowers, and even some of the stuff in Saints Row: The Third, people can see we’re going for a different angle. Especially with customization of the character, you get to be who you want to be, use the tools you want to use, have fun is our sandbox. That is what our angle is.

After IV, is this the end of Saints Row?

I think there’s some sense of closure in this game, we do try to have a throwback to things that have happened in the past, but as far as the franchise goes we don’t have definitive plans as far as what’s next.

Saints Row Dev: Being The President Was Kind Of The Next Step

Are there any games in particular you feel inspired by?

I think any good game developer has people who play games and may analyse games and we check them out. I think Saints Row feels different from any of those games.

Were superpowers always in the pipeline since Saints Row: The Third?

Yeah, Saints Row: The Third had a DLC pack that did have some superpowers, and that really got our team excited and buzzing. When ‘The Third’ was done we were thinking, how do we top it? It’s so crazy, right – you’re this awesome social icon and everything else. Being the President was kind of the next step from there and gameplay-wise we wanted to introduce some new elements to up our combat. It seemed natural to move into that space.

Is Saints Row IV potentially going to arrive on next-gen hardware?

When we were developing Saints Row originally it was before the consoles were really announced and before we really knew about them. The timing of it didn’t really work out for next-gen. All our current fans of Saints Row: The Third have the PlayStation 3 and Xbox so it made sense to focus on these consoles.

Do you have any projects that could be for the new consoles?

All I can say is that we’re looking into the technology and we’re excited for it.

Saints Row IV launches on August 23 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Destiny Gameplay Revealed At Sony E3 Conference

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Bungie’s Destiny is right up there with my most anticipated games now. Some cooperative gameplay was shown, and it was oh so impressive.

The MMO shooter is hitting the PlayStation 4 (as well as the PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360) in 2014, and it closed Sony’s E3 conference in style in masterful fashion.

Sony’s partnership with Activision and Bungie was also detailed, with exclusive content coming to PlayStation consoles to boost the new system’s launch.

Elders Scrolls Online Coming To Next-Gen

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Bethesda Software’s latest iteration on the beloved Elder Scrolls franchise is coming to PlayStation as part of a new partnership between the Japanease company and Fallout developer.

MMO The Elder Scrolls Online is having an exclusive beta on PlayStation 4, with its launch coinciding with that of the PC release. The game will also, as it happens, be available on Xbox One when it launches in spring 2014.

David Cage’s Latest Tech Demo Sees A Return For The Old Man From the PlayStation 4 Reveal

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Titled The Dark Sorcerer, Quantic Dream have revealed a new tech demo for the PlayStation 4 which showcases impressive facial details and an irresistible chunk of humour.

Quantic Dream are no doubt finishing off Beyond: Two Souls, which also featured in the conference, and these tech demos are surely leading to a brand-spanking new, next-gen title from the Heavy Rain developers.

Still no news yet as to what that game is, however.

Ready At Dawn Announce Steampunk-Themed New IP The Order 1886

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The first reveal of Sony’s conference landed with a seismic thud with The Order 1886, a PlayStation 4 exclusive developed by Ready at Dawn and produced by Santa Monica.

Ready At Dawn’s experience is in making the acclaimed God of War PSP titles, and their new title proved to be one of the PlayStation conference’s most promising reveals.

It’s unclear when this new title will launch, although it will appear on the PlayStation 4 only.

New Rabbids Interactive TV Show Debuts At E3

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A brand new concept which Ubisoft are describing as an interactive TV show was debuted at E3 by Ubisoft. Rabbids Invasion will be broadcast on Nickelodeon and viewers can play along with their consoles, tablets and smart phones.

The French publisher naturally have wide ambitions for their new concept, and Rabbids Invasion acts as their first foray into this very new, innovative game type.

Rabbids Invasion will be on TV “very soon”.

Rayman Legends Gets A New Trailer Ahead Of August Release

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Michel Ancel’s latest creation, Rayman Legends, received a brand new trailer at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference.

The new 2D platformer, which unlike 2011′s cult hit Rayman Origins will feature online multiplayer modes alongside stellar single-player/co-op levels, is arriving on current-gen platforms and proved to be a focal point of the French publishers conference.

Rayman Legends will launch on August 30 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PlayStation Vita.

Ubisoft Toronto Begin Collaboration With Ubisoft Montreal On Future Assassin’s Creed Title

We may have only just heard about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the first title in Ubisoft’s open-world action franchise to feature on next-generation consoles, but studios owned by the French publisher are already hard at work on a future iteration in the series.

Ubisoft Toronto revealed they are currently working on five different projects in total – which include two already announced Tom Clancy titles and two new IP’s in addition to the new Assassin’s Creed.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen annual iterations ever since the success of Ezio’s first outing Assassin’s Creed II, and so it’s unsurprising that work is being done on future titles within the franchise.

505 Games Announce Sniper Elite 3 For Current And Next-Gen Platforms

505 Games don’t exactly have a stellar reputation as a studio, but Sniper Elite V2 was one of their most accomplished titles and became a surprise success when it was released last year. With this mind it will surely come as good news that work has begun on a sequel to the military shooter.

Continuing the story of Karl Fairburne during the second world war, the new game will be released in 2014 and judging by the official logo will see the American sniper travel to Africa this time around.

The series’ last outing sold 1.1 million copies in the year of 2012, which is quite an achievement considering it wasn’t a particularly heavily marketed title, and so it’s unsurprising that 505 have opted to continue the franchise.

Co-developers of the game Rebellion revealed that “fans can look forward to the same heart-pounding action they have come to expect from a Sniper Elite game as well as refined and new features that will blow them away”, which suggests the new title won’t deviated too far away from the formula of the last two titles in the series.

Sniper Elite 3 will release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC as well as Next-Gen platforms in 2014. Stay tuned to One Hit Pixel for all the latest news on this upcoming title as and when it comes in.

Two New Characters And Unfinished Swan Stage Coming To PlayStation All-Stars

Sony’s brawler PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale failed to light up the world despite it being “one of the best fighters of the year”. Despite this, Santa Monica are continuing to support the title – not developers SuperBot Entertainment who have cut ties with Sony – via downloadable content and the latest pack for the game has been announced.

Joining the roster are Dead Space protagonist Issac Clarke and God of War’s Zeus, alongside a brand-new stage inspired by indie-hit The Unfinished Swan.

The DLC will hit the PlayStation Store on March 19, but it is unclear whether this will be free of paid content as the last DLC pack was available at no cost for a limited time after release.

Lara Croft Is Reborn In Tomb Raider Launch Trailer

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The upcoming release of Tomb Raider is very much the talk of the industry at the moment – with Square Enix’s latest endeavour in the long-running franchise is already gaining extremely positive reviews.

With this in mind a new trailer for the action game, focusing on the title’s single-player offering, has been revealed and as ever it looks absolutely stunning.

Tomb Raider will launch on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on March 5.

Media Molecule Show Off PlayStation Move Sculpting For PS4

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Whilst there were no game announcements from Media Molecule, the British studio behind the LittleBigPlanet series, they did have a presence at Sony’s PlayStation 4 conference and showed off some interesting PlayStation Move concepts on stage.

The studio showed the PlayStation 4′s ability to use the Move wand as something which can create 3D, interactive sculptures. The studio were seminal in the ‘Play Create Share’ genre, and so this creative demo feels very much like something Media Molecule could integrate into their next title.

The studio’s last major project was LittleBigPlanet 2, but they have since announced PlayStation Vita exclusive ‘Tearaway’.

Blizzard Announce Diablo III For The PlayStation 3 And 4

So Blizzard rocked up at the Sony conference and told the world they’d entered a partnership with Sony in order to “take over the world”.

Their first step of world domination is by putting Diablo 3 on both the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4 – with gameplay being revealed at PAX east.

The popularity of Diablo 3 surely makes this announcement a big win for Sony – although no real details have been revealed.

Capcom Announce New Engine ‘Panta Rhei’ And New IP ‘Deep Down’

Capcom kicked off talk of third-party support at Sony’s conference by unveiling an all new engine code-named ‘Panta Rhei’, and subsequently showed it off with a new IP in ‘Deep Down’.

The game looks to be a medieval-themed RPG, with the trailer featuring heavily armoured warriors and, (naturally), dragons. The tagline for the game was “conquer your fear… or die a coward”.

Use of social connectivity was also hinted at during the short trailer, which seemed to show some very impressive in-game footage. It should be noted that ‘Deep Down’ was described as a working title, so that may not be the name of the finished product.

MotorStorm Dev’s Announce New Racing Sim – ‘Drive Club’

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Evolution, the talented studio behind the acclaimed racing series MotorStorm, are bringing a brand-new racer to the PlayStation 4 in Drive Club.

Described as a ‘team-based’ racing game, Drive Club focuses on realism and aims to replicate real-word super-cars in incredible detail.

The game will also utilise the social connectivity of the PlayStation 4 in a similar way to Need For Speed does with the Autolog system.

Japan Studio Announce New IP For The PS4 – ‘Knack’

The first game to be announced at Sony’s ‘PlayStation 2013′ announcement show is ‘Knack’, a new game from Japan Studio with an animation-type art-style.

It seems like an attempt to create a new mascot for the PlayStation 4 – and is bears some resemblance to the iconic PlayStation exclusive franchise ‘Ratchet & Clank’.

The project is being headed by Mark Cerny, who spoke at the conference about the specs of Sony’s new home console.

Knack appears to be a 3D platformer, and it was also confirmed that the title will utilise the cross-play feature with the PlayStation Vita.

Hotline Miami Coming To PlayStation 3 And Vita In Spring

Hotline Miami, one of 2012′s most acclaimed indie titles, is heading to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, developer Deannation has confirmed.

The title will utilise the cross-buy feature, meaning that you’ll only have to pay for one copy of the game to play the title on each system.

One Hit Pixel’s Harry Bandell loved the game when he went ‘Hands-On’ with it at last years Eurogamer Expo, proclaiming that “as far as I’m concerned, it’s a riot and an immensely enjoyable surprise of a game”.

The indie title received similar acclaim in reviews, with the PC version holding an impressive ’85′ score on Metacritic.

A video officially announcing Hotline Miami’s release on the PlayStation Network is embedded below:

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

Unless you’ve been hiding in some kind of nuclear bunker for the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Sony are holding a little conference on Wednesday to discuss ‘the future of PlayStation’. We’ve been talking about, as has all the gaming press, it’s been all over Twitter and Facebook, heck, even the mainstream outlets are covering it. With the reveal for the PlayStation 4 now two days away, the excitement is reaching peak levels with wishlists and ‘must-haves’ being feverishly discussed. So, I’ve come up with a few of my own.

Money, Money, Money

Sony’s biggest mistake with the PlayStation 3 was its pricing. Launching at such a high price put it out of the reach of many, and they’d be foolish to make the same mistake again. I’m willing to go on record and say that I believe the cost is going to be mentioned during the conference. Whether they outright put a price tag on their new system or perhaps instead discuss pricing options (for example paying a monthly fee for your console), I’d imagine such matters are going to be discussed.

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

Whilst we’re on pricing, the excellent PlayStation Plus service will surely be integral in the new system as well and could be included via a contract-styled monthly fee (rather than the quarterly or yearly current options) but perhaps in a long-rumoured higher-tiered option. Since Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai rumours have been rife about how the PlayStation 4 will be able to stream games (some the Wall Street Journal are claiming also), and I wouldn’t be surprised if this service was implemented into PS+ membership. The main drawback with the monthly subscription based programme at the moment is the lengthy download times required to install triple-A blockbuster onto your system, so streaming would appear to be an obvious solution.

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

It’s All About The Games

The really exciting stuff in regards to Sony’s conference will no doubt come from game announcements, presuming of course there are any. Whilst the Japanese entertainment giant will no doubt want to hold back a lot of content for this summer’s E3, I would expect we will find out what some of Sony’s own studios have been working on. Sucker Punch have been quiet about what they’ve been working on since they released inFamous 2 in 2011, and so I would expect to see them either announce either a new IP or a continuation of the inFamous franchise.

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

The very biggest Sony-owned studio, Naughty Dog, could also potentially announce their latest project. Yes, they do have a game coming out this summer in The Last Of Us, but the studio split in to two teams when they finished 2009′s widely acclaimed action game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and so the team that worked on the third iteration of the Uncharted franchise must have been working on something throughout 2012. I feel Naughty Dog would enjoy the creative freedom of a new IP, but it’s entirely possible Sony would want them to continue Nathan Drake’s story as he could potentially be a mascot for the new console. With that said, another Jak game isn’t out of the question either.

Guerilla Games are another big studio and they’ve confirmed that they’re working on another Killzone title, so a fourth major iteration of the Killzone franchise feels like a safe bet – plus it would also be a great title to show of the vastly superior power present. There’s also Media Molecule to consider, who are bound to be hard at work on another project for the PlayStation 4.

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

Sony will also no doubt be keen to have a racing title to help launch the new PlayStation, and this could come from one of two studios. Polyphony have already spoken about work on Gran Turismo 6, the follow-up to the PlayStation 3′s best-selling game, but I would expect Evolution to deliver the goods at launch. MotorStorm was probably the PlayStation 3′s most successful launch title and the studio haven’t had a major project singe MotorStorm: Apocalypse, so I would anticipate an announcement on their new game. Whether that’ll be a new MotorStorm, WipEout or new IP, I’m confident it’ll definitely be of the racing genre. Gran Turismo 6 would be a big reveal since it’s such a huge deal to the PlayStation brand and would be perfect to show off the new console’s technical capabilities, but I wouldn’t expect a release for quite some time.

Sony have enough first-party studios to fill an entire conference, but third-party game announcements, especially cross-generation titles, should also probably be expected even if they are only given a passing mention. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs would be a natural choice as its been announced for a while and the French publisher claiming it’ll be “truly a next-gen adventure” in some leaked promotional work . As would Destiny, the new title from Halo developers Bungie that has just been formally revealed. Star Wars 1313 and perhaps even Grand Theft Auto V, which was recently delayed until September, are also not out of the question.

There are also certain studios not owned by Sony but are loyal to the PlayStation brand, such as Insomniac and Quantic Dream, who could reveal new titles as well. Ultimately with so many options it would be criminal for there to be no announcements coming with the PlayStation 4, but Sony will also want to make a huge impact at E3 so I would only expect a few of the above projects to be announced.

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

Under the Hood

As for the hardware itself, one thing that will probably be discussed is the PlayStation Vita, and how (if at all) it will be integrated with the PlayStation 4. Whilst Sony’s struggling handheld won’t have the processing power to run next-gen games, it’s possible it could take advantage of Gaikai’s streaming service so that you can play console titles on the go.

More likely than this, however, is the possibility of it being used as an alternative controller similar to the way the Wii U uses the GamePad tablet. Sony has already begun implementing this to the PlayStation 3 in a number of ways, and this seems like an obvious potential use for the Vita. This also links with the leaked controller images we had last week, which show a standard DualShock with a fitted touch-pad. If these images are legitimate, that would confirm Sony are going down the touch-control route and this links with potential Vita implementations.

PlayStation Meeting: The PlayStation 4 And My Hopes And Expectations

Whilst we’re on the subject of next-gen rumours, there have been news stories left, right and centre containing inside information from ‘trusted sources’. Many are probably complete bogus, but naturally some are far more likely than others. I’m not sure the PlayStation Move was enough of a success to justify an update for the PlayStation 4, but some rumours state that motion control will be built in to the new system and perhaps even be included on the standard controller (as seen in the leaked photo). Whether that will come in the form of a new Move wand, something more in the vein of Sixaxis or even a built-in Kinect-esque camera, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of motion control on offer.

Other reports indicate that the PlayStation 4 will support 4K resolution, which is essentially ultra high-definition that uses untold numbers of pixels. Whilst not particularly relevant in today’s market, Sony took a chance on Blu-Ray with the PlayStation 3 and so I wouldn’t be surprised if they support new technology once again with their new console. This could potentially future-proof the console in case 4K takes off in a big way – something Sony are pushing strongly as well.

It’s entirely possible I’ve overcooked these predictions slightly and February 20 will just bring a brief announcement and not much else, but the prospect of all of the previously mentioned potential reveals is well worth discussing. One things for sure though – Wednesday simply cannot come fast enough and all of us here at One Hit Pixel are excited to see what Sony have to offer.