Yesterday afternoon, Sony held their bi-monthly Australian catch-up “PAUSE” event. In the wake of Gran Turismo 5’s stellar performance on the Aussie sales charts (it debuted at number one), it finally seemed like they had some good news and more than a bit of momentum behind them.
Kicking things off with a video presentation of Motorstorm 2 we got a pretty good look at what to expect with this trailer
. According to Evolution Studios, aside from the new jungle and wet setting, the game also introduces a new vehicle class in the form of Monster Trucks, which looks set to up the ante ten-fold when the game releases on PS3 later this year.
The next title to heat things up was Resistance 2. We were lucky enough to have an audio presentation from Insomniac’s own Ted Price (exclusively to the PAUSE event), who took us through a lot of the changes we can expect from the game upon its release. When it was announced, Insomniac promised we’d see 60 player online multi, with an eight-player co-op mode (online as well). According to Price, the co-op stuff is actually going to be a stand-alone story arc from the main single-player campaign to make things more interesting, and from the information he revealed about the 60-player stuff, it’s sounding like they’ll be looking at a Battlefield-style of game where you’re dumped into a game with immediate goals, squads and more.
Price admitted the opening sequence for the first game lacked any sort of ‘bang’ and promised they were going to come out of the gates charging with Resistance 2. He also expressed gamers felt less attached to the main character, Hale, in the first game, which is something they’ve addressed in the second. This time you're going to learn more about what drives Hale and be able to build an affinity with him through stronger character development.
There’ll be no third-person narrating the story now – apparently it’s all going to unfold before your very eyes to put you into the thick of the action as opposed to feeling like a bystander. Everything – story-wise – will kick off right where the last game ended. The virus in Hale’s body is still spreading with unthinkable consequences, while the action will shift from Europe to the US (San Fran, to be exact) where the United States is “just being decimated by the Chimera”. Price excitedly pointed out the game will consistently remind you of the power of the Chimera with just how devastated the US becomes so that every little battle you’re in will be about stopping any further damage and destruction to the nation.
Not much more about the game was revealed and we were only shown concept art while the audio ran, but it certainly seems Insomniac are taking this sequel pretty seriously. The Resistance community at large had a lot of problems with the first game and one thing I gathered from Price’s comments was that Insomniac have paid very careful attention to any and all criticisms, and they are a very fan-driven studio meaning fan voices are more often heard than ignored. This could be one of the bigger games to look out for later this year.
Onto some PS3 and Blu-Ray tech, Sony talked about BD Live, a new Blu-Ray update available with the latest PS3 firmware patch. BD Live allows compatible Blu-Ray movies to link directly to extra content sites built for specific films, downloadable content in the form of extra features and the like can then be stored on the PS3’s hard drive. The PS3 is the first Blu-Ray player to have this functionality (thanks largely to the hd).
It was also noted the PlayStation Store has had a face-lift and we were shown a few examples of how it’s going to look. Sony issued a press release with more details that outlines this for you better.
This April, PLAYSTATION®Store, the online content store on PLAYSTATION®Network, is getting a whole new look and feel – and it’s in response to feedback from the millions of PSN registrants in the PAL region.
The revamp comes in response to a survey last year which showed that many PLAYSTATION Store users wanted a better interface and easier navigation. The new design will deliver a hugely improved navigation system, much greater scope for categorisation and a dynamic new user interface.
Content will be suspended for two weeks while the improvements are carried out but users can look forward to a special update in mid-April.
There will be no weekly content updates between now and the re-launch, although users can still download content from the back catalogue, such as Warhawk™ and Gran Turismo™ 5 Prologue.
Finally we had a brief look at two new titles in the works, SOCOM Confrontation and Buzz Quiz TV. SOCOM continues the tactical tradition of that series of games which, to-date, have sold more than 2 million copies in PAL territories alone. An official announcement and release of this title will be issued later today (so we’ll update you then), but the few screenshots shown present a lot of promise for SOCOM’s PS3 debut.
Buzz Quiz TV, on the other hand, aside from keeping Jason Donovan in work, will continue to invite mainstream audiences to the Sony brand. New features include four wireless
buzzers shipped with the game, online couch quizzes, downloadable quiz packs and user-generated content. You’ll be able to upload your own quizzes and users can comment on them in the Buzz community. Despite being a fairly simple game, Sony realise there’s a ton of value here and the myriad of features and interactive community elements make this more than worth a look if you’re into your party games.
After the event we had a chance to go hands-on with a few titles, and a new level – never-before-seen – of Haze. I’ll be issuing a hands-on preview for that soon, so stay tuned for impressions of Haze and a handful of other PS3 exclusives in the coming days.