Last Week In PlayStation #2 | God Of War Ragnarok Update, Sony Plans For In-Game Ads, And Uncharted Rumours Surface

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Hello and welcome to the second edition of Last Week In PlayStation, the weekly PlayStation newsletter here on platyview.com

Publishing every Monday evening India time (early evening Central European time and late morning Pacific time), the series will round up all of last week's PlayStation news and other happenings into one single article.

This edition will cover all PlayStation news from the 18th of April '2022 to the 24th of April 2022.

If you thought last week was dry on PlayStation news, then holy guacamole is this week even drier. Last week had a couple of big stories and almost no small ones. This week, however, seems to just have a spattering of smaller stories. 

It's like Jim Ryan doesn't want this series to succeed and therefore is withholding any big news until I eventually have to skip a week. Just kidding Jim, please don't make games cost $80 now. 

But, for a week light on blockbuster PlayStation news, there is still a lot of stuff to be excited - and sceptical - about. Here is what went down in the world of PlayStation last week.

Santa Monica Studio Provides A God of War Ragnarok Update

Source: PlayStation

On the 20th of April -  the fourth anniversary of Kratos and Atreus' journey to the highest peak within the Nine Realms - developer Santa Monica Studio provided an update on God of War Ragnarok's development.

Industry legend Cory Barlog addressed the public in a video on the studios' official Twitter account. Barlog, who directed 2018's God of War, is not directing Ragnarok, instead, he is working on another game at the studio. Instead, studio veteran Eric Williams is directing Ragnarok, who VGC notes, has worked on every single God of War game as a designer. 

Barlog explains that not much has been said about God of War Ragnarok because 'everybody is heads down, hard at work'. Barlog also cites a 'perfectionist' culture at the studio, something clearly evident by the quality of 2018's God of War. 

Barlog goes on to say: "There is so much going in right now [in terms of game development], that I just wish, that we could share it with you. But it is just not ready to be shown. But I guarantee you the moment, the very second, that we have something we are ready to share, we are going to share it with you."

Barlog then thanks the fans and community for the incredible support, and reminds everyone to sit tight and that 'something cool is coming'. 

When this tweet from Santa Monica came out, there is no doubt we all thought the game was delayed. What it sounds like, however, is within the studio and PlayStation, the game is still scheduled for a 2022 release. Likely in August or September, because PlayStation doesn't really like to release games during the Holiday period. 

But, it is slightly concerning that we still haven't seen extended gameplay for the title. A State of Play dedicated to the game was expected in the early months of the year, but we are already at the end of April and it doesn't look like we will be getting it anytime soon. 

Ragnarok may be scheduled for a 2022 release, but don't be surprised if it gets delayed to 2023. And to avoid using the infamous Shigeru Miyamoto quote, I am just going to say it myself. Let Santa Monica Studio take their time with this game. God of War 2018 was great, and if a delay is needed for Ragnarok to hit the same or even higher standards, then so be it. 

Sony Planning For Advertisements In Free-To-Play Games

Source: Wired

Two weeks ago, Business Insider reported on Microsoft's plans to allow game developers to put advertisements in their free to play games. Last week, Business Insider was at it again, with a report that outlined Sony's plans to allow advertisements in free to play games. 

The report is behind a paywall, so I'll be using VGC's article for details on this story.

VGC notes that according to this report, Sony's plan is to 'incentivise developers to continue making free-to-play titles by giving them a way to monetise them'. Sony has not decided on whether it will take a cut of this ad revenue, and could instead look to 'charge partners for data on consumer behaviour in PlayStation games'.

Sony is reportedly testing software that would allow developers to place ads in their games, ahead of a reported launch later this year. VGC indicates that the report also notes that these ads may appear as if 'they are a part of the game, like digital billboards in sports stadiums'. 

At first, I was staunchly against this, both for Xbox and PlayStation games. Who the hell wants advertisements in their video games? I certainly don't. But thinking about it, this doesn't seem so bad after all. 

Imagine playing a game of PES eFootball (which, by the way, I tried a week ago and the game still sucks), and instead of the boards at the side of the pitch saying 'Konami' or 'eFootball'. they said stuff like 'Ribena Juice' or the name of an upcoming movie. I certainly wouldn't be bothered. 

As long as these ads remain in free-to-play games and don't intrude on the user experience, I see no problem with them. In fact, they may even incentivize developers to cut back on non-cosmetic microtransactions and loot boxes since they now have another source of revenue. 

But the moment these advertisements find their way into games we paid money for or games start forcing us to watch a 1-minute advertisement before this next match of Rocket League, then they become a problem.

In an ideal world, there wouldn't be advertisements in games, regardless of them being free-to-play or paid. But developers with free to play games need to make money, and this certainly isn't the worst way they could monetize their games. 

Uncharted Rumours Surface

Last week gave us two rumours (one of which is almost certainly true, the other more far fetched) about NaughtyDog's acclaimed Uncharted series.

Original post.

Starting off with the most likely one and it looks Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection is set to arrive on PC on the 20th of June. The collection, which includes 2016's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and 2017's spin-off Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, debuted earlier this year on PS5. 

As spotted by ResetEra user dex3108, an Epic Games blog post on 'The Biggest Upcoming PC Games of 2022' lists the collection for a June 20th release. I can confirm that the blog post did actually say this. 

But hold your horses, because if you were to go to the blog post, you would see that Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection is now simply listed as 'PC release coming soon'. 

Updated post.

Epic seemed to have realised that they jumped the gun on sensitive information and quickly removed the release date. Unless someone at Epic Games' content/marketing team simply decided to put in a random release date next to the game, which is extremely unlikely, it looks like Nathan Drake and team will be swinging to PCs in June. Expect an official announcement from Sony soon. 

Next up is a rumour about a brand new Uncharted game. VGC reports that Christina-Marie Drake McBrearty has joined NaughtyDog as a 'primary recruiter'. The name isn't the main focus here, but rather the announcement post by this NaughtyDog recruiter about her joining the studio. 

In this post, she notes that she will be building teams 'for not only new titles, but for the legacy of Uncharted', a series that she explains is very close to her. There have long been rumblings of a new Uncharted game in development, and while this rumour can be taken with a grain of salt, the series is likely coming back in some form. 

Source: Linkedin

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier reported last year that PlayStation's Visual Arts Support Group was planning a remake of Uncharted 1, which was scrapped in exchange for a remake of The Last of Us. 

VGC also notes that in a GamesRadar interview earlier year, two developers at NaughtyDog were asked whether the studio would be open to making a new Uncharted game. The developers responded by saying, "I think we can say for certain that we can never say never" and "the studio loves uncharted... and its a world we want to see more of".

Regardless of whether a new Uncharted game is in the works or not, I would love to see the series make a return. I love the characters and the gameplay, and contrary to what most people think, I feel the series is ripe with potential for future instalments. 

Sony Provides An Update On Upcoming PS Plus Revamp

Source: PlayStation

At the end of March, Sony announced its long-rumoured 'Project Spartacus', a revamp to the existing PlayStation Plus subscription service that would see the long-neglected PS Now merge with its more popular brother. 

When the revamped service was first announced, details were sparse, with Sony telling us the different tiers available (Essential, Extra, Premium), their prices in a few regions, a small list of games that would launch on the service (Returnal, Miles Morales, Death Stranding, etc), and a target release date of June, with staggered launches around the world. 

Now, Sony has provided us with more specific target release dates for various regions. They are as follows:

  • Asia markets (excluding Japan) -- targeting May 23, 2022
  • Japan --  targeting June 1, 2022
  • Americas -- targeting June 13, 2022
  • Europe -- targeting June 22, 2022
This seems like an odd order, but hey, I am not complaining. That May 23rd launch date in India is music to my ears.

In addition, Sony has also revealed that cloud streaming will be making its way to 30 new markets, a key step as Sony looks to expand its cloud streaming capabilities to smaller markets.

This information is all good and all, but we still don't know the game catalogue that the service's Extra and Premium tiers will have at launch. Let's hope this information comes sooner rather than later.

Syphon Filter Games Rated For PS4 And PS5

Source: PlayStation Universe

Gematsu reports that four Syphon Filter games (1, 2, Dark Mirror, and Logan's Shadow), have been rated for PS4 and PS5 in South Korea. Gematsu notes that this is likely because these titles will be a part of the revamped PS Plus Premium tier, which is set to offer games from previous generation PlayStation consoles. 

This is likely true, but if you remember, back in January, speaking on David Jaffe's podcast, Days Gone director Jeff Ross said Bend Studio were pitched a Syphon Filter reboot by Sony but turned it down. 

As transcribed by The Gamer, Jeff Ross said: "They asked us, 'what about a Syphon Filter remake'? They asked us if there were any other IPs that we have that we can use, and the only other one that we have is Syphon Filter. But honestly, I had zero ideas on how to reboot Syphon Filter so I wasn't interested in that at all."

While Jeff Ross left the studio some time ago, such a game may be indeed in development at the Oregon-based studio, and Sony may be bringing these titles back to also build anticipation for an upcoming reboot. 

This second theory is baseless speculation, and the likely outcome is simply these games being prepared for inclusion in PS Plus. Still, some food for thought.

Other Bits And Pieces:

Source: PlayStation

  • It looks like Housemarque is going to keep accessibility in mind while developing games going forward. VGC reports that speaking on the podcast PS I Love You XOXO, Returnal game director Harry Krueger says the studio 'can always do more and could always add more support for different ways to play the game'. Krueger also notes that it is 'an interesting challenge to find that sweet spot', and while 'store and gameplay are very inseparable in Returnal', difficulty and accessibility 'is something we are going to keep in mind'. This is nice to see. Accessibility in games is always good, but developers shouldn't be forced to limit their creative vision to make their games more accessible. Let's hope Housemarque and other developers can find the right balance in such situations. 

  • Insomniac Games' Mike Yosh is the Lead Animator for cinematics/ gameplay on Marvel's Wolverine. Last week, he tweeted an image of what looks like a motion capture studio with the caption: 'So peaceful and quiet, ….it will not be like this for long'. Yosh seems to be hinting that motion capture for Insomniac's Wolverine game is imminent. It's exciting to see development on the game progress, but don't expect to see it in action any time soon.

    Source: Twitter

  • Last week, Gran Turismo producer Kazunori Yamauchi teased an update for Gran Turismo 7. Said update is now out. PushSquare reports that update 1.13 'adds three new cars' and a '24-hour track layout'. The update also includes 'adjustments to Sport mode, improvements to car physics, and plenty of bug fixes'. PushSquare also notes that the update is being called 'the April update', hinting at monthly updates to the game for the foreseeable future. 

  • PC players can now update the firmware of their Dualsense controllers without using a PS5. VGC notes that earlier, 'players could only update the DualSense firmware via a PS5', but now players don't need to even own a PS5 to continue using a DualSense controller on their PCs. This can be done by downloading a piece of software from the PlayStation website, which then allows you to download and install the latest firmware updates from Sony's servers and add them to your DualSense controller via USB connection.
And that is all for this week's edition of Last Week In PlayStation. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I'll be back next Monday for round 3, with hopefully some PlayStation news of actual substance. Bye!

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