Shawn Layden States Fans Will “Likely See Us Start To Make More Noise In The New Term” When Speaking On PlayStation Multiplayer

Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studio CEO Shawn Layden has been reemerging from Sony’s overall silent end of 2018 by speaking more to multiple news outlets. With much of Sony’s road map of 2019 for the PlayStation 4 being relatively unknown outside of the upcoming Days Gone from Bend Studios in April, one area Layden mentions fans should expect to see a higher emphasis on is multiplayer.

Speaking Business Insider, the long term Sony gaming staple touched on a multitude of topics, such as the staggering units sales that the PlayStation 4 has accumulated, which currently has surpassed 91 million lifetime units sold. While the positives for the gaming company rolled, the PlayStation guru was given a somewhat devil’s advocate approach: for all of the success this past year (and the overall console generation), what is something that PlayStation has whiffed on? “For all of the advances we’ve made, and the high bar we’ve focused on in storytelling” Layden began. “I mean, I dare anybody to experience something like The Last of Us and not feel emotional about it; and with God of War, that story of a father and son; and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and the power of Aloy, the protagonist. All of these things, I believe we’ve done quite well. I’m very happy with the Spider-Man game that went out last year. And looking forward, Days Gone is coming in a couple months. That’s not only compelling and gripping, but it will emotionally try you very hard. I think all those things we do really well. What we don’t do so much in is multiplayer.”

Admittedly, while PlayStation has been the go-to home console for many gamer’s needs this generation, they have seen a distinct drop in first party multiplayer based games. Many Sony owned franchises such as Killzone and Twisted Metal that rely heavily on multiplayer aspects, have laid dormant for year; with the former of the two last releasing in 2013, with Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4. While they haven’t necessarily been hurting because of it, due to the immaculate resume of their single player, first party experiences, it is something that Layden has noticed and looks to address moving forward.

When asked for clarification on if he meant local or online multiplayer, Layden specified his intentions on online multiplayer. “Couch co-op — I mean that’s a whole category I think the industry needs to look back at. We have that with sports titles, and some racing titles, but not with much else. And I think that speaks to the power of the internet on the one hand, but otherwise we might wanna revisit that to get more family engagement in the gaming experience. But, no, I was referencing more with the things like GTA 5 Online, or you look at Call of Duty, or Fortnite, or any of those experiences. Worldwide Studios, like I say, we’ve been going really heavy into story-driven gaming. The power of the narrative. Big, spectacular experiences. But not a whole lot in the multiplayer side of things, I think. That’s an area where you will likely see us start to make more noise in the new term.”

With confirmation of Sony’s departure from this years upcoming E3 event later last year, both media and consumers remain optimistic of the Japanese tech giant’s 2019 year, but the mystery surrounding its releases does make some cautious. Layden has gone on record via a tweet stating “see you in the new year” when pressed about the upcoming year, but many releases outside of April’s Days Gone still don’t have dates attached, including The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, and Ghosts of Tsushima. Hopefully by Layden’s recent media presence it means that more information on PlayStation’s 2019 isn’t that far in the distance.

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Norman Reedus Shares Thoughts on Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, ‘Crazy Complicated’

New comments from Death Stranding star Norman Reedus on the game have began making rounds on the web, and famed The Walking Dead actor focuses in on how ‘crazy complicated’ the game is in a positive manner.

Speaking to Metro’s GameCentral in March of last year (the contents of the interview have been under embargo until now), the zombie slaying star touches on multiple points on the game, along with this relationship with storied game developer and founder of Kojima Productions, Hideo Kojima. ‘That guy is such a genius, Hideo Kojima,’ Reedus stated. ‘I’m like, ‘Oh so they’ll be playing me?’ And he’s like, ‘No they are you. We will make them cry as you.’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? It’s a video game.”

When asked about what fans can expect from Death Stranding, Reedus elaborated ‘The concept is so far out into the future. Instead of eliminating everyone around you, it’s bringing everyone together. It’s a very positive video game, but scary and depressing at the same time. It’s kind of a new movie. I’ve never seen anything like what we’re doing. Guillermo Del Toro introduced me to him, who is also working on the game; he’s also a character in the game. I saw that video game director at the Video Game Music Awards, walk down the steps and they lit up underneath his feet like Michael Jackson and he goes, ‘I’m back.’ And the place is like, ‘Oh my god.’ Like grown men in tears. ‘I was like who is this god – whatever he wants to do I’ll do it. He’s a genius.’

Reedus, who leads a now star studded cast including Mads Mikkelsen, Lea Seydoux, Lindsay Wagner, Troy Baker, and the formerly mentioned Guillermo Del Toro, in the upcoming action game as main protagonist Sam Bridges also touched on if the game’s trailers were truly indicative of what the actual game will represent. ‘The trailers show you an aspect of it, but not a whole picture of what the game will be. That’s like a whole other thing. It’s complicated, it’s a crazy complicated game. I’ve been learning a lot about video games doing it.’

First revealed at Sony’s E3 2016 press conference, Death Stranding is currently described as an open world action game, with a mysterious somewhat-purgatory environment waiting for Reedus’s character everytime he dies. This will be Kojima’s first game since his split from Konami in 2015, and the first project under the now independent Kojima Productions. While a release date has yet to be revealed or confirmed, the game is slated to be released exclusively on PlayStation 4’s family of systems.

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Kingdom Hearts 3 Director Addresses Game Leak Ahead of January Release

On of the most anticipated titles of 2019, Kingdom Hearts 3, fell victim to a series of game leaks last week. With the game still being six weeks ahead of its release date, many fans have gone ‘dark’ on the game, trying to avoid gameplay and story details at all costs. Square Enix, developer/publisher for the Kingdom Hearts series, was made aware when leaks first started spreading on the game, and now the game’s director is speaking out on the topic.

In a tweet released by the game’s official Twitter account, director Tetsuya Nomura addressed fans on the current state of the leak and how the team at Square Enix is handling the issue. “We’re aware that a small portion of Kingdom Hearts 3 has been circulating online before its official release. We are also aware as to how this has all happened. We’re sorry to see this caused concern amongst our fans who are excited for the release.”

While Nomura-san did mention the team is aware of how the leak occurred, but does not reveal this information within his statement. Touching on the game’s epilogue and secret movie, Nomura-san said that both didn’t not ship with the final cut of the game, and will be made available upon the game’s released in what is assumed to be a day-one patch. “We want everyone to be able to equally experience the full game after its release, so we ask for your continued support on this matter.”

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in on and off development for over ten years, beginning pre-production not long after the release of Kingdom Hearts 2 in 2005. This will actually be the series’ twelfth entry, with titles spanning across multiple Sony and Nintendo systems. Kingdom Hearts 3 is set to release on January 29th, 2019 on PlayStation 4 and for the first time on a Microsoft console with the Xbox One.

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First Impressions – Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!

In 1998, one of the best selling entertainment franchises, Pokémon hit landfall in the United States with their initial two entries Pokémon Red and Blue, and overtook the gaming industry overnight. Fast forward 20 years later, and the long running franchise is still going strong, with a new main-line entry set to hit the Nintendo Switch next year. Until then, Game Freak and the Pokémon Company have given us a nice little treat to hold our hunger over the next year, by releasing Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee, which released on November 16th, 2018! This new project is one that is two fold; serving as a stepping stone of sorts to bridge the gap between Pokémon titles moving from the Nintendo 3DS to the Nintendo Switch, and also bringing in more casual users to the series through the incorporation of Pokémon Go mechanics and integration.

In the five or so hours I played of Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu! (both versions are basically identical), I was pleasantly surprised at how at home a lot of the new additions and mechanics felt in the game. At first, like many, I was hesitant on the emphasis put on Pokémon Go mechanics in the game. There are wild Pokémon encounters, but they aren’t battles. You simply catch the Pokémon you find in the wild, the same way you do in Go. You gain experience for your Pokémon in the same way in regards to wild encounters. But I’ll be honest, it doesn’t feel cumbersome or an immersion breaking experience from the original Pokémon feel. You still fight trainers in the traditional, turn based fashion, there are still gym leaders, everything you remember from the original entries of the series is in these games, outside of random wild encounters and how you interact in those situations. In terms of random encounters, when walking in grass, swimming, etc. you will see the actual wild Pokémon and have the ability to miss them. You no longer are forced to trigger a battle between a wild Pokémon if you don’t want to.

To me, that’s a huge plus. Even when I was playing the game when I was younger, random encounters always irritated me to no end. Anytime I would need to get from one area to another and didn’t want to train or deal with battles, you’d be forced to do so. Even when you needed to grind levels for some of your Pokémon in previous entires, you would enter some large grass and just circle areas until you trigger the battle animation. Either one of those just aren’t enjoyable, period. Gamers play games because they’re fun, entertaining and enjoyable; that isn’t fun. To be honest, that’s my favorite quality of life change with these reimagining. It makes me want to go out of my way to now catch Pokémon when I know I’m not forced to do so. Getting to avoid battles and see which Pokémon are available to “battle” is so welcomed, and doesn’t waste the player’s time just to do so.

The two player co-op integration is actually really seamless as well. I roped my fiancée into testing it out with me last night, and while she actually hasn’t played a mainline Pokémon game before (only the Stadium series on Nintendo 64), she seemed to enjoy the simplicity of the catching mechanic and even the two-player battle system. Bringing in a second player was really simple, too. Just pop off the second Joy-Con and by just hitting one of the buttons it will auto-sync with the console and the secondary character pops in. Catching wild Pokémon does seem to scale in difficulty when you are playing two players, which is nice in a way. Many creatures I were catching with simplicity earlier on my own, now were becoming a little tougher to keep in the thrown ball. Another nice touch, is doubling your Pokéballs in co-op as well. Considering Pokéballs are more abundant in this entry comparative to previous ones, due to the way wild Pokémon are handled, it is nice to know that if your second player is new to the mechanic of catching (like my fiancée was), you don’t have to worry as much about your inventory of balls.

While this entry in the series does a lot things that make me truly enjoy my experience with the game, I do have a few gripes with it. Like many, one of the big draws of this game is that it’s touted as the first true Pokémon title designed for a home console (the Stadium series, Coliseum, Gale of Darkness XD, Pokken Tournament, etc. don’t fit the mold of a traditional Pokémon experience), and while it does achieve what it has set out to do, it does come with some hinderances; the biggest being no Pro Controller support. Look, I get it, the Pokémon Company wants you to buy the Pokéball Plus peripheral (I have not purchased it at the time of this writing, but plan on testing it before I write my review on the game). They want you to use the motion controls for the game, and while I have tested the motion controls, and while they are surprisingly tight and responsive, being a somewhat traditional Pokémon experience lends me to want to play in a traditional control scheme. It’s awesome seeing the vibrant colors pop on my Sony Bravia X900E television, but I found myself wanting to play more in handheld for that traditional experience. Considering the official Pro Controller has gyro-aiming functionality built in and is exceptional playing games like Splatoon that utilize it, I just find it odd not including the support for it.

So far, I’m really enjoying my time with the game, and while I want to say I’m surprised that I am, I can’t necessarily say that. The Pokémon Company has all of the resources and financial backing behind it to make this experiment project work. Game Freak and the Pokémon Company have both already stated that next year we will be receiving the next true, main-line, core RPG traditional entry, and with that Generation 8 of Pokémon, but for being a “stop-gap” release, it really shines in a multitude of way. A lot of care and polish has been throw into it, and while nostalgic goggles come on at times when the depth isn’t necessarily there, it’s a title I am enjoying the ride on. Keep an eye out for the full review of the game within the next week or so!

For more updates on all things Pokémon, including the newly release Let’s Go series, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @BonusAccessory, and keep it locked in on Bonus Accessory.

Nintendo of America President Shuts Down Hopes of a Nintendo 64 Classic Coming Soon

For decades, Nintendo has not only created some of the most endearing characters in gaming, they have also developed some of the most cherished consoles as well. Since the announcement of Nintendo’s line of Classic Consoles, fans have been excited to see which systems come next for the line of mini consoles. With the release of the Super Nintendo Classic (or “Mini”) last years, Nintendo fans started to gather expectations that the company’s 1996 64-bit system, the Nintendo 64, would be getting the “classics” treatment. As the holiday season kicks into its highest gear, not a peep was mentioned by the Japanese gaming company, and now it’s US President has confirmed fans’ worst thoughts.

In an interview speaking with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed what most expected at this point: for right now, there are no plans to rerelease the system. “I would not ever rule something out, but what I can tell you is certainly that’s not in out planning horizon (in regards to the possibility of an Nintendo 64 Classic happening)”, Fils-Aime stated while in New York City last week promoting the company’s holiday 2018 line up. “We were clear when we did the first two Classic series that, for us, these were limited time opportunities that were a way for us as a business to bridge from the conclusion of the Wii U as a hardware system to the launch of the Nintendo Switch.”

The Nintendo Entertainment System, which launched in November 2016, was one of the most sought after products during the holiday season of that year. Many stores sold out of the systems almost instantaneously, with both resellers and fans alike trying to get as many as possible, due to their high demand and low supply. When Nintendo announced the mini system’s successor, the Super Nintendo Class Edition, the company promised fans that the supply & demand issues surrounding the previous console would be resolved, but many fans still had issues securing a copy. In June 2018, Nintendo announced that the NES Classic Edition would be re-released, along with providing more stock of the SNES Classic Edition as well, which seemed to resolve a lot of fan complaints surround the stock.

While fans may not see Nintendo’s first foray into the 3D generation of gaming coming to the Classics line soon, Fils-Aime reassures fans that this puts a level of importance on how the newly released subscription service for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Online, can meet fans’ nostalgic needs. “We’ve been very clear that as the consumer looks forward to engaging with our classic content is going to happen more and more with the subscription service” Fils-Aime said.

The Nintendo Switch Online service launched in September 2018, that included a library of 20 NES games that had both single player and multiplayer support through online play. Each month, the company has promised that new games will be added to the service, including the recently added Metroid, Twin Bee and Mighty Bomb Jack for November. The service can be purchased in quantities of one month ($3.99), three months ($7.99), 12 months ($19.99), along with a family plan that covers up to eight Nintendo Account holders for 12 months ($34.99).

 

For more updates regarding Nintendo, along with the possible releases of new Classic systems, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @BonusAccessory, and keep it locked in on Bonus Accessory.

 

Todd Howard: “Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 will not get a new graphics engine”

While Bethesda fans are looking forward to the newest entry into the Fallout series, Fallout 76, that releases this Wednesday, many are also looking towards the horizon for what is next for the major AAA publisher/developer. With the announcements (and very small teases) of both Starfield and the Elder Scrolls VI at E3 this past June, Bethesda has continuously reminded fans to set their time tables to the realm of realism, as both games are quite a ways off still; and to the expectation of most, to be next generation experiences (especially the Elder Scrolls VI). But, according to a new report, both titles may not see the technological leap that many are expecting.

In an interview conducted GameStar (a German publication) that was recently referenced in a Forbes discussing Fallout 76, Todd Howard, Director and Executive Producer at Bethesda Game Studios, touched on a multitudes of things, including the company’s quite dated Creation engine and why they choose to continue using it. “(Speaking on Fallout 76) The game uses a new renderer, a new lighting system and a new system for the landscape generation.” the storied game developer and “face” of the legendary game developer stated. “For Starfield even more changes. And for the Elder Scrolls VI, out there on the horizon even more.”

Bethesda’s Creation engine, which was first implemented in the massively successful the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, was developed to succeed the aging Gamebryo engine, to provide more visual realism to the developer’s games moving forward. Fast forward seven years and two additional games using the engine (2015’s Fallout 4 and the multiplayer focused Fallout 76), Bethesda seems content with keeping status quo. “We like our editor. It allows us to create worlds really fast and the modders know it really well. There are some elementary ways we create our games and that will continue because that lets us be efficient and we think it works best.”

While the Creation engine has been graphically updated throughout its lifetime, including a physically based deferred renderer and working with Nvidia to add volumetric lighting specifically for Fallout 4, it is by all accounts starting to show its age. For Starfield beginning development in late 2015, it’s possible to see understand why the studio decided to stay with same engine for the forthcoming space epic, as one would assume it could theoretically release within the next few years; the Elder Scrolls VI on the other hand? From what the public has been allowed to know on the development of the game, it is quite a ways off and almost certain to be a next generation game. But, it makes you wonder, with one of the primary benefits of using the same engine being “efficiency”, it couldn’t be completely outlandish to have both titles within the next four years.

As for now, fans of Bethesda Game Studios can look forward to Fallout 76, which drops for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018.

 

For updates on what’s to come from Bethesda Game Studios, including Starfield and the Elder Scrolls VI, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @BonusAccessory, and keep it locked in at Bonus Accessory.

Detective Pikachu Gets First Official Trailer, Summer 2019

Since its first official announcement, fans (or should I say ‘trainers’) of the immensely popular Pokémon series have been waiting on baited breath to get their first glimpse on the new Detective Pikachu movie; and today, that becomes a reality.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Entertainment have just released the first official trailer for the upcoming live-action movie, Detective Pikachu. First announced on July 20th, 2016, the film is the first live-action adaptation of the series, and will feature Ryan Reynold in the leading role as Pikachu.

Per a release from Warner Bros.:

The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim (Justice Smith) to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds): a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Staring Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe, Detective Pikachu hits theaters on Friday, May 10th, 2019.