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

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.

[videoyoutube]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?

[drop]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.

[drop2]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.



  1. Let’s just see how many ducks can fit in the bathtub on PS4…

  2. i remember being gobsmacked with the old tyranasaurus rex tech demo on the original playstation.

    • I remember that! Made me hope for a new primal rage game!

  3. Lots and lots of rumours and hopes. I think a touchable controller would work, maybe on the handle part of the controller, where you grip?

    Whatever happens, Sony need to bring out something solid, with lots of great games at launch, otherwise people wont buy it. I know I wont. KZ4 has to look amazing for me to buy the next game personally, I thought KZ3 was shockingly bad.

  4. I think they should avoid trying to cram too many gimmicks into it, just because they can. After all, how many top quality move games are there?

    • The thick layer of dust on my Move controller will attest that there are zero great Move games.

      • Same here, except I don’t even know where it is!

  5. Announce a PS4 with a new Uncharted, GT, Killzone, Motorstorm, Jak & Daxter, a few new IP and some classic IP and I think most would be happy. No need to cram extra tech in. A standard controller is fine, work on the other tech and release it when its ready.

    The early adopters want games not gimmicks. They come later when the console needs some new life and ideas.

    • tech has to be in day one, or it won’t work. if the new controller doesn’t have Move built in, Move will never gain traction.

      it will.

      • You can bundle a move controller with the console but don’t just stick tech in for the sake of it. It’s costs must have dropped a bit since launch and it’s not as though there are loads of great Move games. Unless Sony have several great ideas for Move games they may as well drop it or bundle it rather than force it in the the main controller and mess up a design which is one of the most iconic things about playstations.

        Look at the sixaxis controller. It was pretty much a laughing stock (and the prototype before it) not helped by it’s main game trying to push it (Lair) being pretty rubbish.

        Despite the Wii U tablet style controller they’ve still got essential a dual shock 3 as a main controller. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel.

        Kinect certainly sold well enough, it just didn’t have anything other than dance games worth playing. If you advertise well and have the games you can release it just about when ever you want.

      • Ironically, this web site gained more traction than Sixaxis ever did!

  6. How serious is the whole number 4 thing in Japan? Serious enough for an actual name change? If so, labelling it PS4 everywhere but Japan would be the ideal solution, even though the Japanese should realise it’s just a number and anything that has happened regarding the number 4 is merely coincidence.

    Regardless, I’m hyped for next gen now tbf. This year has some great games lined up, but after them I am truly ready and waiting to see/explore the next gen consoles.

  7. So if Sony need a bank of PS3’s to run Gaikai, I’d imagine they’d need a lot of PS3’s to do that. They are welcome to buy mine back off me, for a wee discount off the PS4 ;-)
    That is if I actually own my PS3, and under Sony t&c’s they actually only lease the thing to me ;-)

  8. Speculation is always nice, but backwards compatibility better be handled well this time. It was pathetic with PS3 and pretty much non-existant on the Vita. I’ve got so many games from Plus this generation that i’d like to transfer to the PS3’s successor.

    Sure, i get that there will be the counter arguement that people want to play new games on a new console, but it’s nice to have your complete back catalogue of games on your new device. I was pleased at how quickly and easy it was to get my exact iPod Touch layout exactly on my new iPhone and ready to continue where i left off.

    That was long winded, but i think it’s something that will annoy a lot of people again, along with the possibility of pre-owned games locking.

    • BC is almost certainly out.

      • Hmm, it’s sad but i’ll just stick with my dying PS3 for a while longer in that case then. I’m still really excited about what it can do but it’s a bit annoying when Sony sort of ignore everything that came before and make us buy new stuff all the time. Saying that, Gaikai will help hopefully and Sony need to make this as cheap as possible.

    • It’s only likely to come at a high price. They will most likely need a hardware solution which’ll increase the price of the console. Of course they could release two models. Then we’d see who’s actually prepared to pay for backwards compatibility. Personally I’d take the cheaper console.

      • True, i think people would rather have a cheaper console than paying way over the odds so they could play last generation games.

        As long as Sony are a lot more honest this generation and there’s no ‘Oh, we just think rumble’s last generation’, ‘Yes, it’s in-game footage’ or the dreaded ‘ … ‘ .

      • If the more expensive model you hypothesise would be released cost what a PS4 would cost plus the current cost of a PS3 (let’s say adding another £100) I would probably get it because I doubt my 2008 PS3 will last too long into next-gen, and it would make sense to have it in one box.

      • I’d certainly pay the higher price, I know for a fact I won’t be having two consoles under my TV. So if there is no BC then Sony won’t be selling me a PS4 until PS3 support is well on the decline.

    • I honestly don’t get this BC thing people go on about. Yes you have lots of games on your PS3, just play them on your PS3. New console, new games. What’s the point in buying a new console and playing old games on it?

      • I think most people trade in their old console when buying a new one. The difference this time is with online games, ps+ catalogue and trophies there is more to keep the interest in the (soon to be) old gen games.

      • As i’ll probably have to trade my ps3 in for a ps4 there’s no way i’m going to throw away seven+ years of purchases and then start buying stuff all over again – or paying/using up my bandwidth to stream games i already own – if that is what they’re planning to do with Gakai.
        I think Sony should have realised this would become an issue with the arrival of a persistent online store presence and the move from disk-based to digital purchases.
        The early days of PS4 will be interesting, with an online store filled with hundreds of games, many of which i’ll already own, but i’ll be confined to just a handful of whatever games are initially available for PS4… doesn’t sound terribly appealing, even if the new games are awesome to the power of n.
        I guess i’ll just have to be content to be a late adopter this time around.

      • As I have mention I know lots of people who don’t like lots of clutter under the TV. I don’t want more than one home console when I have enough other crap under there. I also do know people who have 3 or 4 consoles under the telly but that’s not for everyone. The only way for me to get a PS4 would mean getting rid of the PS3 so I won’t be rushing to do that.

  9. The four thing in Japan is kind of a big deal because the character reads as ‘death’. Xbox fanboys might want The PSdeath but I’m not sure Sony execs would. Having said that, the number of games that involve killing people, maybe we should just embrace it full on! ;) That said, I think if the games are there, the rest will follow. If it is easier to write for than the Ps3 was, this should help in the long term. Happy to have BC via some sort of Gaikai/Ps plus deal. I’m sure that graphics will be a sell point for most. For me, I’m more interested in how the increased power can result in better story telling as that’s where I’m most drawn to in gaming.

  10. The OUYA has touch on its controller. Perhaps it will show the way of the future? I’m seriously excited for the next gen reveal. Gran Turismo has to be in the launch line-up, it’ll be a fantastic system seller. And GT Vita please.

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