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That Killzone 2 E3 Video, And Looking Ahead To PlayStation 4

Move, backwards compatibility, power. So many unanswered questions.

Remember when we first saw those swirling vapour trails, dynamic animation and seemingly freeform progression as Sony first showed off Killzone 2 at E3, 2005? This was what the PlayStation 3 was capable of, apparently, and I for one was mesmerised, my attention locked for the whole two minutes.

It would, of course, later transpire to be more the handiwork of Glasgow’s Axis Animation than the undoubtedly talented Guerrilla but by then the vision was entrenched, the message clear: the PS3 was a beast, and that we were all to be very excited about it.

This year, in June, expect to see something similar.

The so-called next-generation has been a long time coming. New games continue to push what we thought the console would be capable of but there’s still a clear technological bubble that can’t be burst by Cell, RSX and limited RAM. At E3 this year, that’s all set to change, as everyone expects Sony to go all out with the reveal of the PlayStation Orbis.

That’s the codename, of course, much like Durango is that of the next Xbox console, but it’s a codename all but confirmed (and has been for nearly a year) so it’s sticking. When the final name is given it’s more than likely to be PlayStation 4, but certain age-old Japanese traditions might put a bit of a stopper on that one if SCEJ get their way.

That Killzone 2 video, which seems ironically dated now and surpassed on most levels since.
Regardless, it’s coming, and soon, with most discussion suggesting that Sony will need to beat Microsoft out of the gates to ensure they don’t lose the same sort of footing that the PS3’s delayed launch indicated.

That would point to Christmas this year, at least in Japan and the States, with Europe (potentially) having to wait behind until early 2014 – hardly extraordinary, given past precedent.

But what will it be? This time around Sony need to ensure that developers can quickly get the most out of the machine, so it’s much more likely to use off the shelf components rather than internally developed tech like Cell.

We’ve touched on this before, with various chipmakers popping up in various rumours, but the point is that the PS4 will handle like a PC, which should hopefully (if coupled with a decent amount of RAM) make multi-platform title parity much more common.

This’ll pretty much rule out backwards compatibility though – The PS4 won’t play PS3 games, retail or download. We’ve mentioned this before too, but it’s not just about rumours it’s about common sense – without the hardware in place no amount of software emulation is going to cut it. What is most likely, however, is that Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai (remember that?) will come into effect, and it’s not exactly out of the question to envisage a bank of PS3s sitting somewhere in Sony pumping out live streams of last-gen games to PlayStation 4 owners.

It’s hardly a given, but it’s a possibility.

I’m anticipating something of a crossover period, too, given Sony’s propensity for multiple versions of their key first party titles just now (with regards to Vita). Could there be an ‘enhanced’ version of The Last Of Us that runs on PlayStation 4? Will we see PS3-era games pushed out again as ‘Classics’ like the God of War and Team Ico series were recently?

An image pulled from a patent that suggests Sony are looking into merging Move with the Dual Shock. It's a bit unwieldy, but the possibilities are endless and the ability to switch between the two, or use Move for backup, could be great. Could this be for next gen?
Of course, given this train of thought, it’s unlikely that the Dual Shock 4 will be a dramatic change from the norm.

Recent speculation over newly discovered patents pointed to a touchscreen, a la Wii U, but this isn’t particularly Sony and it’s difficult to see how well that strategy will work for Nintendo long-term. My guess would be that the DS4 will look very similar to the DS3.

That said, Sony are also unlikely to abandon the moves towards choice that the Vita presented.

Whilst I don’t think there’ll be a touch screen on the new controller, there might be a touchable surface, populated with the same little icons that the Vita’s rear touch pad is.

It could be on the back, in the middle, but it could also be on the front. If it is, this’ll expand the potential control possibilities without forcing an entirely new change of direction.

Try it: hold a Dual Shock 3 – your thumbs can just about reach that bit in the middle with the PS button that does nothing of any merit during a game other than to bring up the XMB. Imagine if that area around it was a little square that you could interact with, pulling apart, swiping, twisting. It’s a gearbox on Gran Turismo, a weapon changer on God Of War, a sniper zoom in Killzone.

And whilst I’d kill for a something like Apple’s Magic Mouse (once you’ve used one, it’s impossible to go back) where the entire surface can be a touch pad, if Sony even attempt to add something to the Dual Shock I’ll be happy.

And then there’s this – a patent picked up that suggests Sony are thinking Move should be part of the controller too. That one’s a year or so old, but the idea is solid: no doubt Sony invested plenty in Move, and it’s unlikely to be cast aside for next gen when even greater accuracy is possible. Uptake from gamers and developers, too, if it’s part of the day one package.

I'm ready for next-gen Gran Turismo. GT5 was ambitious but hamstrung, a full pack of 'Premium' cars will be amazing to behold.
The games, naturally, will be the real key though, and the real impact will be delivered via gameplay trailers for (I’d hope) most of Sony’s first party line-up. You might remember an article picking out some of the potentials, but it’s easy to imagine just how amazing it would be seeing the likes of Gran Turismo, MotorStorm, Uncharted and – yes – Killzone – in their next-gen splendour.

All these rumours focused on trying to guess hardware specs and release dates are fun enough, but the real draw is the how the hardware will offer up new potentials and how those games will look and feel – and making sure we don’t spoil the surprises too much.

That’s what first struck me about the PS3 when I saw Killzone 2’s video – I thought this is going to be amazing and that’s something best experienced cold. Nobody really expected that, and although the final game didn’t quite match up in terms of visuals, I still bring Killzone 2 out of the drawer to show people who’ve never seen a PS3.

Who knows, in just six months time we might be seeing Killzone 4 do exactly the same thing again.

In real time.

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  1. Amphlett
    Since: Jul 2009

    Anyone mentioned a new media format? PS2 brought DVDs to the mainstream and then PS3 brought along BluRay. Will PS4 bring RedRay?

    Comment posted on 03/01/2013 at 17:36.
    • TSBonyman
      Since: Dec 2009

      They’ll be switching to two Blurays instead of one as the game assets will be massive. ;)

      Comment posted on 03/01/2013 at 20:09.
    • JaffaMan24
      Since: Jan 2010

      RedRay would just be a normal DVD as it uses a red laser ;)

      Blu-ray is named as such as it uses a blue laser.

      Next up will likely be UVray if we still keep using optical media. Higher frequency/shorter wavelength equals greater potential storage density but greater difficulty in getting the optics to resolve it hence higher costs.

      Comment posted on 03/01/2013 at 20:30.
      • SilverCider
        Since: Jan 2011

        I haven’t looked into it for a long time but aren’t we supposed to be seeing Holographic discs soon? Terabytes of storage apparently possible :)

        Comment posted on 04/01/2013 at 11:05.
  2. cam_manutd
    Since: May 2010

    The FF7 tech demo was something else for me around the time. Hopefully we will see something equally as mind blowing when next-gen comes.

    Comment posted on 03/01/2013 at 23:54.
  3. djhsecondnature
    Since: Forever

    Do you think that the Killzone demo’s “visuals” were better than Killzone 2? I don’t. The animation, at times, yes, but the explosion, texture and lighting were all better in the actual game IMO.

    Comment posted on 04/01/2013 at 10:00.
  4. Kaminari
    Since: Jan 2010

    GT5 didn’t have a full roster of premium cars not because the PS3 was not powerful enough — it was because the Polyphony devs were lazy bastards. How will the almighty PS4 make things any different? Hint: 200 premium cars for GT6 have already been modeled… on PS3.

    Comment posted on 07/01/2013 at 05:00.

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