Last week, we asked you to shine a light on gaming best friends using #PSshare #PSBlog. Here are this week’s highlights:

KenKenVega1 shares Ratchet & Clank from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

K_Alien121 shares Clive and Gav sharing a drink in Final Fantasy XVI

jdbolzan shares Boozer and Deacon in Days Gone

Lny_Trpr_EE7 shares the titular Stray and robot friend B-12

scottoka1 shares the Persona 3 Reload protagonist and companions

HomuraChihiro shares the Hunter and their eagle companion in The Pathless

Search #PSshare #PSBlog on Twitter or Instagram to see more entries to this week’s theme. Want to be featured in the next Share of the Week?

THEME:  Comfort
SUBMIT BY: 11:59 PM PT on February 28, 2024

Next week’s theme is all about games that bring you comfort. Share a moment from your go-to comfort game using #PSshare #PSBlog for a chance to be featured.

Since the mid-90s, the developers at Team Ninja have earned consistent praise for their precise, satisfying combat. Look no further than the Dead or Alive franchise’s dynamic fighting system or Ninja Gaiden’s lightning-fast combat for prime examples. The developer aims to continue and expand that legacy of satisfying melee mechanics in Rise of the Ronin.

Rise of the Ronin allows players to battle through a storyline set in the final days of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan, known as Bakumatsu, where they can enjoy an accessible but deep combat system using different play styles combining melee weapons and firearms. This involves draining enemies’ Ki, mastering Martial Skills, and becoming proficient with multiple fighting styles. Mix and match to find your approach on PlayStation 5 on March 22. 

To help players get ready to battle through historic Japan, Team Ninja shares a new behind-the-scenes developer diary diving into the combat of Rise of the Ronin.


Rise of the Ronin: Inside Team Ninja’s diverse weapons and combat styles

Ki-depleting battle actions

In Rise of the Ronin, Team Ninja combines its signature combat action with Katanas, spears, other melee weapons, and ranged weapons like foreign firearms. As a Ronin, you will battle foes utilizing these two types of weapons. 

The basic combat strategy involves performing melee attacks with Square, defending yourself from foes’ attacks with L1 to guard and Circle to dodge. When your foe’s Ki is completely depleted, they will become vulnerable and incapacitated, making it easier to deal massive damage with critical hits.

Similarly, when your Ki is exhausted, you temporarily won’t be able to attack or run, so pay attention to your Ki as you battle.

Using Counterspark and Martial Skills to damage Ki

When facing formidable foes, effectively parrying with the Counterspark action and utilizing Martial Skills can lower their maximum Ki, making it easier to defeat them.

Counterspark is an action that parries enemy attacks. To Counterspark, press Triangle to rotate the melee weapon in a large arc to counter the foe’s attack. When you use Counterspark to evade damage from attacks that you cannot guard yourself against, your foe’s Ki reduces, and they will be stunned briefly. This can create a window to deal even more damage to reduce their maximum Ki.

Martial skills (holding down R1 while pressing Square/Triangle) inflict more significant damage. They are also highly effective against strong foes.

Know your foes, weapons, and combat styles 

Each Japanese and Western weapon—Katana, spears, dual blades, bayonets, and sabers—has its own capabilities and attack actions. As you build bonds with characters you meet, you will acquire new combat styles and further evolve their capabilities to enhance your battle experience.

As you battle your foes, knowing which one of the three combat styles, Ten (Sky), Chi (Earth), and Jin (Human), is advantageous against their weapons and can help you gain the upper hand in battle—and parrying them with the proper combat style will knock them back significantly.

Main combat styles

Mumyo Style

Originating in the Kurosu Clan from an unknown master, it is a versatile martial art combat style performed in pairs. Those who mastered the style were called Veiled Edge.

Hokushin Itto Style

This style of swordsmanship, founded by Shusaku Chiba in the early 19th century, is used to overwhelm foes with a series of attacks. Their teaching is rational, emphasizing the mastery of techniques through training performed by an attacker and a defender. Their dojo, established in 1822 in Edo (today’s Tokyo), remains operational today. 

Yagyu Shinkage Style

The renowned military instructor of the Tokugawa clan founded this swordsmanship style. Starting with Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun, generations of shoguns and the Tokugawa clan are known to have studied this swordsmanship.

Nine weapons will be available for battling enemies, including dual blades, Oxtail Swords, great swords, and Odachi.

Long-ranged weapons

Bows and firearms require careful aiming to attack from a distance. Leveraging silent weapons like bows, you can perform a stealth takedown on unaware foes. While firearms are powerful, the gunfire will give away your attack to your enemies. 

The timed firing of a handgun will stun foes for a prolonged period. It can be used as an attack opportunity to reduce the foe’s Ki cap limit.

Fire Pipes blow powerful flames. You can use this long-range weapon to set a group of enemies ablaze or ignite a gunpowder barrel to explode.

Ingenious grappling rope actions

You can throw the grappling rope at a latching point to gain leverage in a flash. You can also wield it to pull distant enemies in during combat. Keep the grappling rope in mind to take control of the battlefield from afar.

You can hold down R2 to wield a grappling rope to grab a nearby gunpowder barrel and throw it at enemies. The barrel will explode, setting the enemies on fire and inflicting epic damage.

There is no right or wrong way to approach combat with the multitude of options in your arsenal. Experiment with gear and master the many styles Rise of the Ronin has to offer on March 22.

We cannot explain to you how grateful we have been for everyone who has picked up Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 over the holiday season. Everyone here at Insomniac Games is proud of the game, and we’re very excited to share details with you about the major title update that will hit your PS5 console on March 7

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 version 1.002 will bring New Game+ to the game. We know many of you have been eager to replay the game on a harder difficulty, with all your suits and abilities carrying over. Or perhaps you want to just replay a favorite mission or two – you can do that, too! And there’s more to unlock – with Ultimate Levels, Golden Gadget styles, and more!

Speaking of styles: we’ve added suit styles for several of Peter’s symbiote story suits in the game, allowing you to further customize your look if you play and unlock them via New Game+ Ultimate Levels. And yes, you’ll be able to set which color your symbiote abilities are as well. But we couldn’t just stop at new styles – we know how much you all love when we add suits with no additional cost to the game. You’re in luck – we’ve brought Marvel’s Hellfire Gala suits to the game for both Peter and Miles. Peter sports the design created by Russell Dauterman, and Miles gets his iconic look from Bernard Chang’s gorgeous Hellfire Gala variant cover for Miles Morales: Spider-Man #8.

And you’ll want to show those looks off as much as possible with our updates to Photo Mode – including action figure mode and stickers. You’ll also be able to change the time of day once you complete the story, allowing you to get all those cool Photo Mode shots with just the right lighting. Make sure you share them with us on social by using the #InsomGamesCommunity hashtag!

This update also contains some major updates for Accessibility. We’ve added Audio Descriptions** and Screen Reader** to the game. We know that these features were highly anticipated, and we’re thankful to the community for giving us a little extra time to ensure they were polished and ready to be released. We also have additional features like Cinematic Captions and High Contrast Outlines, among several new features added to this update.


Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 update adds New Game Plus and new suits on March 7

We’re also excited to announce two new suits for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 that Insomniac Games, Marvel Games, and Gameheads have partnered to create. Early access to the Fly N’ Fresh suits will be available for $4.99. Starting March 7,2024 and continuing through April 5, 2024, PlayStation will donate $4.99 (100% of the purchase price) of each Fly N’ Fresh Suit Pack in the United States to Gameheads, up to $1 million*. We appreciate your help in supporting Gameheads’ mission of empowering low-income youth and youth of color to thrive in the video games industry. Don’t worry, we don’t plan to start charging for suits in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2; the Fly N’ Fresh Suit Pack will be available for at no additional cost to all players at a later date.

Fly N’ Fresh Suit Pack includes;

  • Fly Suit for Peter
  • Fresh Suit for Miles
  • 10 photo mode stickers
  • 2 photo mode frames

Working with Gameheads as part of our efforts to increase representation in the videogame industry is an important cause to us. Insomniac Games President Ted Price shares more in this video:


Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 update adds New Game Plus and new suits on March 7

To talk more about our collaboration with Gameheads, I sat down with Malia Atta, Insomniac’s Manager of Culture and Belonging, Damon Packwood, Director of Gameheads, and Eric Monacelli, Senior Director, Product and Franchise Development at Marvel Games for more insight.

What is Gameheads?

Damon Packwood: “We develop diverse talent and bold new voices in gaming, train students for the tech ecosystem and prepare them for college, career and civic life. We serve low-income students, and underrepresented students (ages 15-25) in 15 different states with expansions to Honolulu and Atlanta.  

What is the origin of the Gameheads and Insomniac partnership?

Malia Atta: “Gameheads has been a partner of SIE for many years; however, the partnership with Insomniac Games began when we brought on three apprentices in our Core Technology, People Experience, and Design departments. Each apprentice made meaningful contributions to the game, and we saw an awesome opportunity to support and elevate the Gameheads Mission by asking their artists to design suits for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.”

That sounds really great – what’s the goal?

Malia Atta: “The partnership benefits both Insomniac and Gameheads by providing our teams with opportunity to mentor, coach, and develop emerging talent who then infuse fresh ideas and energy into our games and culture. This partnership also makes way for more people from different backgrounds to gain access to the industry.

From a bigger picture, Insomniac Games is focused on creating a supportive, vibrant, and diverse environment that reflects our players and communities. We are currently focused on uplifting and amplifying the voices of our devs and allowing them to bring their unique voices and gifts to how we make games.”

Eric Monacelli: “Our creative collaboration with Insomniac values fostering a world of belonging via our characters in our video games. The Gameheads initiative is a real-world manifestation of this. Marvel has always been about reflecting the world outside one’s world authentically, especially in ways that make creative endeavors and Marvel storytelling more accessible, diverse, and inclusive.”

What was the process like collaborating and iterating on the suit designs?

Damon Packwood:  “We had a great time working with (Insomniac artists) Bobby Hernandez, Johnson Truong and Davison Carvalho. We had six of our students creating iterations for the suit and stickers over the summer. The process was pretty professional. Our students went through 1-2 week sprints, showcased their artwork to the Insomniac team, got feedback and after a few weeks we settled on a concept. Once the concept was approved, each of the students picked a different aspect of the suit (shoes, texture, mask, web shooters) and we finalized the suit and the stickers in August.”  

Tell us more about the final Fly N’ Fresh designs:

Damon Packwood: “The inspiration for Miles Morales’ Fresh Suit design was a 90’s b-boy. Peter Parker’s Fly Suit design was inspired by 90s television’. Marisa Diaz, who designed the suits, was just having fun. We never expected Insomniac to like it but it was definitely fun to design. Our designers had fun being silly and the older folks, me and the Insomniac crew, had fun reminiscing on our 90’s fashion choices.” 

That’s all for now! Thanks to everyone for all of your support, and we can’t wait to see you swinging back through Marvel’s New York in your Hellfire Gala and Fly N’ Fresh suits while checking out New Game+!

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is available now, only on the PS5 console.

*PlayStation will donate $4.99 per pack sold in the United States from March 7, 2024  through April 5, 2024  to Gameheads up to $1 million via its fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives. This purchase is not tax deductible. Community Initiatives is tax exempt. https://communityinitiatives.org/.   Gameheads is not tax exempt. https://gameheadsoakland.org/

**Only available in English, Spanish (LATAM), Spanish (Spain), Italian, German, French and Japanese

Aspyr is proud to announce, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the beloved Star Wars Battlefront series, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 will soon be able to play the classic Star Wars Battlefront games online and offline in a complete collection.

On March 14, PlayStation players can get back online and fight in iconic battles from across the Star Wars galaxy.


Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection PS4 & PS5 features reveal

Classic Games, Bonus Content, And much more

What’s included? Let’s take a look:

Star Wars Battlefront (Classic)

  • Includes Bonus Map: Jabba’s Palace

Star Wars Battlefront II

  • Includes Bonus Maps: Bespin: Cloud City, Rhen Var: Harbor, Rhen Var: Citadel, and Yavin 4: Arena 
  • Includes Bonus Heroes: Asajj Ventress & Kit Fisto

Bonus content!? That’s right. Classic bonus content has been restored, included, and is premiering for the first time on PlayStation.

We welcome Jedi General from the Clone Wars and member of the Jedi High Council, Kit Fisto as a playable hero. Kit’s special abilities are Saber Throw and Force Orb, making him a fierce contender in Hero Assault for hybrid ranged/melee players.

Villains fans, don’t feel left out. We’ve also brought the Linksaber wielding Sith assassin, Asajj Ventress. Asajj’s special abilities are Star Blades and Force push, making her a great choice for close-ranged encounters and quick escapes.

With all original maps and the new bonus maps, we are packed with fan-favorite planets from across the Star Wars universe.

Battlefront Classic: 17 total maps
Battlefront II: 22 ground maps, 6 space maps, and 9 more space maps exclusive to the single-player campaign and galactic conquest

(Up to) 64 Player Online Multiplayer is Back

We’re excited to announce that cross-gen multiplayer is supported, so whether you’re playing on PlayStation 4 or PlaySation 5, get ready to jump in.

Conquest: Capture control points and deplete the enemy resources

Capture the Flag (CTF): Play with 1 or 2 flags, on the ground or in space

Hunt: Clear the battlefield as soldiers or defend your planet as native species (yes, you can play as an Ewok)

Assault (Space): Pilot legendary starships: TIE fighters, X-wings, and more in space and air dogfights

Hero Assault: Originally only available on Tatooine, hero assault pits heroes against villains in an arena battle for the highest score. We’ve expanded Hero Assault to be playable on all ground maps, which means you can face off on the Death Star, Kamino, Naboo, and many more locations.

Looking for an Offline Solo Experience?

XL mode premiers on PlayStation 

Storm the sandy beaches of Kashyyyk, survive the dusty dunes of Geonosis, or relive the iconic Hoth battle, complete with AT-ATs, snipers, mounted guns, snowspeeders, and tow cables.

The return of Galactic Conquest

Craft your own Star Wars story in Galactic Conquest. Devise your strategy, recruit your troops, and execute your tactical vision for conquering the galaxy. Will Luke Skywalker kneel to the might of the Empire? Will Mace Windu defeat Lord Sidius? The galaxy’s fate is in your hands.

And the classic single-player campaigns

Relive iconic battles from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,  Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in Star Wars Battlefront I’s campaign mode, where you’ll be at the center of the galaxy-shaping events. 

PLUS

Join the elite 501st Legion of Stormtroopers and experience the rise of Darth Vader in Star Wars Battlefront II’s campaign mode. 

A few final details

Offline 2-Player splitscreen is included. Cozy up on the couch because 2-player splitscreen is included. And it feels like an offline blast from the past.

Trophies are included! A personal favorite is Execute Order 66: Defeat a Jedi hero by knocking them off the map in Battlefront II

Thank You for 20 Years! We hope you enjoy reliving iconic battles from across the Star Wars galaxy. We’ll see you online March 14.

​​

Hello! Nick Suttner here. You may have seen my name on PlayStation Blog before in various guises (most recently, as the writer behind Carto), but I’m super excited to be coming to you today as co-founder of the small studio Furniture & Mattress, to reveal our debut PS5 game Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure.


Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure revealed for PS5

What the heck is role-puzzling, you may ask? Well, we’ve spent the past few years building the kind of world that you’d expect to find in a role-playing game: curious towns and moody wilderness areas to explore, quirky characters to meet, and weirdo monsters to battle in dungeons. But in Arranger, everything is expressed through the language of a puzzle game. Hence: role-puzzling!

The entire game world exists on a sprawling, interconnected gameplay grid, and as our protagonist Jemma moves around, everything on the same row or column moves with her. She can also loop herself – or other objects – from one edge of the grid to the other. Over the course of our 8-10 hour, single-player adventure, we regularly twist and subvert these simple mechanics in a host of interesting ways, trying to keep things breezy while still providing some satisfying head-scratchers. (And several assist options to skip past them if you’re not in the mood.) 

Of course, no RPG would be worth its mettle without a satisfying story. And like our puzzles, we’ve tried to craft something fun and light-hearted, with some challenging themes and ideas if you’re open to them. Foremost, it’s a journey of self-discovery, as small-town misfit Jemma heads out beyond the confines of her hometown for the first time – only to find an exciting, yet divided world, overrun by the immovable force known as static. Can she disrupt a stagnating world, and shake things up a bit?

Admittedly, we didn’t keep all of the RPG tropes. We don’t have any XP to accrue, or new powers to unlock that gate progression – instead, we supply a regular stream of new ways to test your understanding of the mechanics. And there’s no in-game inventory to manage, either – everything you’ll need to interact with exists on the grid alongside Jemma. So if you find a locked door, well, you’ll need a key of course – but in Arranger, you’ll need to figure out how to move it there one tile at a time, down sometimes twisty paths and past unexpected obstacles.

Lastly, if the art looks at all familiar to you, there might be a good reason. That’s because the game is art directed by my co-founder David Hellman, artist behind the modern classic puzzle-platformer Braid. It’s his first full game as lead artist since, and along with a small crew of super talented artists to support him, they’re striving to create something visually striking and unique. David also leans on his background as a comic artist for our cutscenes, creating evocative comic-style panels to express many of our most important story beats. Along with my other co-founder Nico Recabarren, designer of fan-favorite Ethereal, and the incredibly talented composer Tomás Batista, we’re bringing decades (!) of game-making experience to the sensibilities of a tiny team, to craft you something special.

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure launches Summer 2024 on PS5, and we couldn’t be more jazzed that we can finally reveal it to you. Thanks for checking it out!

Launching today, our latest wireless headset, Pulse Elite, brings crisp, immersive audio to the gaming experience on the PS5 console; to PlayStation Link supported devices including PS5, PC, Mac, and PlayStation Portal remote player; and to Bluetooth compatible devices such as smartphones and tablets. Pulse Elite follows the launch of our first wireless earbuds, Pulse Explore, with both audio devices featuring planar magnetic drivers to further enhance the PS5 console’s Tempest 3D AudioTech. When combined with PlayStation Link, the planar drivers precisely deliver the output of the 3D audio algorithms directly to the player’s ear without loss, and nearly no distortion or delay. 


Pulse Elite wireless headset launches starting today: the starter’s guide to PlayStation’s latest line of innovative audio products

Caption: Learn more about all the features to expect from the Pulse Elite wireless headset.

Here’s our quick-start guide on setting up and using the Pulse Elite wireless headset, along with Pulse Explore wireless earbuds.

Set up and use sidetone and 3D audio features on PS5

A tour of the headset appears when you first connect the Pulse Elite wireless headset or Pulse Explore wireless earbuds to your PS5 console via the included PlayStation Link USB adapter. Before diving into a game, I recommend personalizing 3D audio settings and adjusting sidetone volume (changing this adjusts how loudly you hear your own voice in your ear when you talk). It’s also possible to create a custom name for the headset, with standard letters, symbols, and even emoji.

After the tour, you can change settings at any time while the headset is connected by navigating to the Settings menu and selecting Accessories, followed by Pulse Elite wireless headset. 

Both the Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds also support Mono Audio when connected to a PS5, which can be toggled within the Settings menu.

Access the Sound Quick Menu on PS5 with a one-button shortcut

For an even quicker way to access settings within a game, press the PlayStation Link button three times in quick succession to access the Sound Quick Menu. The PlayStation Link button can be found on the right side of Pulse Elite’s headband, or on the bottom of either Pulse Explore earbud. Within the Sound Quick Menu, you can make adjustments to features like Equalizer and Game Chat Balance (which adjusts the voice chat volume against the in-game volume).

For Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds, you can set up to three custom equalizer presets in addition to the Standard, Bass, and Shooter premade presets. Once it’s configured on the PS5 console, equalizer and sidetone settings carry over from the PS5 to all other devices including PlayStation Portal, Mac, and PC (via PlayStation Link), Bluetooth devices, and also devices connected to Pulse Elite’s 3.5mm audio jack.

Take advantage of all the microphone features

The Pulse Elite wireless headset has a retractable, adjustable boom mic that pulls out of the left side of the headset. Here, you’ll notice that we included the iconic PlayStation Shapes as a design detail on the mic – and it actually functions as a grippy surface for you to quickly pull the mic out. The mic mute can be controlled from either the DualSense controller’s mute button, or the mute button on the Pulse Elite headset. The LED located on the boom mic allows you to quickly check if you are currently muted as well.

The microphones on both the Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds feature AI Noise Rejection, which does a fantastic job of filtering out background noises. We’ve tested this with various activities like eating crunchy chips, vacuuming the room, turning up a loud fan, and opening up the window to loud outdoor traffic, and the player on the other end has always been able to hear us clearly and without background noise. Give it a try! 

Connect and switch seamlessly between the PS5 console, PlayStation Portal remote player, and PC/Mac

Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds can switch seamlessly between your PS5 console, PlayStation Portal remote player, and PC/Mac using PlayStation Link wireless audio technology.

You can do this by simply pressing the PlayStation Link button for about one second (until you hear two distinct sounds) then releasing. 

When you switch to the PS5 console with a PlayStation Link USB adapter, a “PS Link device found” notification pops up on screen, and pressing the PS button on the DualSense controller and selecting “Connect” on screen will then connect the audio.

When you switch to the PlayStation Portal remote player, pressing the PlayStation Link button on the device connects the audio.

When you switch to a PC/Mac that also has a Playstation Link USB adapter, pressing the PlayStation Link button on the USB adapter connects the audio.

Set up the included charging hanger for storage and display

Inside your Pulse Elite wireless headset box, you’ll also find a charging hanger for convenient storage in between gaming sessions. The hanger has a port to connect the included charging cable, and can be mounted* nearby on desks, tabletops, or on the wall.


Pulse Elite wireless headset launches starting today: the starter’s guide to PlayStation’s latest line of innovative audio products

Caption: Hear about the innovative audio technology behind Pulse Elite and Pulse Explore from audio experts on the SIE development team, Audeze, and Insomniac Games.

We hope you enjoy our newest line of PlayStation audio devices with Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore wireless earbuds. Enjoy!

*Additional mounting hardware (such as screws) not included.

Your adventure beyond Midgar begins in just over a week when Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on PS5 February 29. You may have taken your first steps into that wider world already, thanks to the recent demo, or marveled at that expanse via the State of Play dedicated to the game. And what sights there are. Sprawling, densely detailed open areas and cityscapes, redesigned character models, reimagined threats and new enemies, side-quests and mini-games galore. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth packs a lot in. 

To understand how this evocative experience is being achieved on PS5, we turned to the action RPG’s creators, which include the majority of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s development team. Looking under the hood with us? Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Director Naoki Hamaguchi, who has been on the FFVII Remake project since the start, to talk us through how the studio brought the world of Gaia to life. 


How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

As a developer, what were your first impressions of the technology of the PS5?

With SSDs improving data loading speeds and allowing necessary resources to be loaded instantly, we felt that significant changes were needed in the system design to ensure a smooth gaming experience without any loading times for players. In fact, to take advantage of the high-speed SSDs in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the graphics pipeline and asset streaming system have been revamped from those of the previous title.

What learnings did you take from developing Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade to help you develop Final Fantasy VII Rebirth? 

From the beginning, we were conscious of the disc size for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and we made it an absolute requirement for the disc size to be within 150G— even including the world map—while still allowing for cinematic locations to exist as they did in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. (Intergrade has a disc size of about 80GB.)  For texture compression, experiencing the practical use of Oodle Kraken* and Oodle Texture** in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was very helpful in planning the disc size for this game. While the PS5 is equipped with an SSD which dramatically improves loading speed, there is still a limit to the size of the original disc that can be read, so this technology is truly indispensable.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was created as a PS5 game first and foremost, so how did you take advantage of the hardware when it came to the graphics and the gameplay? 

To create a sense of density within the world map, rather than simply polishing how it looked within a single screenshot, we focused on increasing the actual “quantity” of assets to enhance the feeling of a well-populated map. PS5 has implemented a new PrimitiveShader as its own geometry pipeline, and in combination with the ComputeShader, the rendering pipeline was designed to be able to render a large quantity of assets. This approach also matched well with the SSD, which could load a large number of assets instantly. Through this, players can expect a beautiful, diverse, and expansive world to explore in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

How did you leverage the PS5 SSD’s capabilities in this game? 

The PS4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake had to be preloaded due to loading speed constraints, which squeezed the memory capacity and compromised assets. Streaming was also necessary, as we knew that the seamless world we needed to build for this game would be even more demanding in terms of memory usage compared to previous games. One of the challenges we found with Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was that, in most cases after loading, the CPU processing time required to expand memory for additional space was too time-consuming, due to the high speed of SSDs. For this title, the CPU load for memory expansion is set to be as close to zero as much as possible, and the file format is designed to be a memory-allocated layout to take advantage of the high loading speed of SSDs. In particular, the pipelines for rendering and streaming background models were newly designed. The performance of PS5’s high-speed SSDs was incredibly helpful in loading assets in much finer increments, enabling us to render objects in a highly detailed manner when they’re up close, and more roughly when they’re in the distance.


How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

Character models in both Final Fantasy VII Remake and the PS5 upgraded version Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade were – and still are – visually impressive. Did PS5 allow you to add any additional details to the returning cast’s designs?

The characters in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, including Cloud, were created based on the PS4 generation of consoles. This time, the models have been changed to meet the specifications of the PS5, and the main characters have been completely redesigned, from their hair to their outfits. In addition to the renewed character’s expressions during close-up shots, I’d love for people to take a close look at their detailed hair and skin as well. I believe you’ll be able to palpably feel the enhancement in physical textures and details. 

Besides modeling and textures, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth also features enhanced shading, animation, and lighting, and the overall character visuals that combine these various components greatly exceed those of Final Fantasy VII Remake, so please look forward to it.

Similarly, the cast expands with the arrival of Cid, Cait Sith and Vincent. Did you apply the same creative process as the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s cast when reimagining these characters with modern technology?  

New characters were created using essentially the same process, but I can say that this flow has been refined since Final Fantasy VII Remake. The majority of the development team from the previous title has continued working on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, enabling us to start production with prior experience already gained and allowing us to really polish the physical textures and details of the new characters, Cid, Cait Sith, and Vincent. We hope you will take a closer look at these characters when you play the game.

PS5 developers have offered players the option to enjoy their games in either a Graphics mode that prioritizes 4K graphics, or Performance mode that prioritizes smooth action at 60FPS. Can you share what we can expect from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and why you decided on these options? 

In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, there is also a Graphics Mode that emphasizes 4K graphics and a Performance Mode that emphasizes 60 FPS, which users can freely select within the option menu. Selecting between these two modes has become a trend among players of PS5 games, so we felt it was an essential feature for this title as well.

The DualSense wireless controller’s unique features such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers can immerse players more fully into the experience. How did you leverage these features for the game?  

We’ve actively incorporated haptic feedback and adaptive triggers in battles and cutscenes— game segments with strong action elements and cinematic presentation— so that everything conveyed through the graphics is also directly synchronized with the controller too. In addition, because there are many minigames for this title, we plan to utilize the DualSense function for each minigame. In addition to haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, you can also experience a wide range of features, such as the motion sensor, built-in microphone, and touchpad.


How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

How did you utilize 3D audio?

This title makes full use of Tempest3D audio. This allows for most of the voices, sound effects, and background music in the field to come from each object and character, with the sound varying according to its distance from the camera and the surrounding space. The 3D audio system also actively responds to verticality, and in some areas, we’ve placed different sounds above players for them to experience movement and objects within that dimension of space as well. We look forward to you experiencing the realistic and immersive ambiance that comes from this 3D audio, such as the Shinra helicopter flying over the field, or the various ambient noises within the vast Grasslands area, or the background music from the sky when you’re exploring the Gold Saucer. The recent SDK version upgrade also supports the Dolby Atmos output, so if you have a soundbar, speaker system, or other compatible devices in addition to headphones, you can enjoy this output as well.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade included a Photo Mode: is this feature returning in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and has it had any changes? 

Photo mode is, of course, implemented in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. A photo frame function has been additionally implemented for this title as well, making it possible to select a frame of your choice for all of your favorite snapshots. In addition, Photo Mode itself is integrated into the game’s worldview, with side content featuring a photo enthusiast character named Snaps, who asks Cloud to snap pictures at various photo locations around the world map. Completing these requests will unlock additional photo mode features, so please look forward to those as well.

Is there any particular scene, location, moment of feature in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth that you feel really encapsulates what you’ve been able to achieve thanks to PS5? 

To be honest, every scene utilizes so much of the PS5’s specs that it could not be realized without it… but if I had to pick one, it would be the town location. Towns require a large number of NPCs to be placed, while also increasing the density of assets in general. Crafting a sense of vibrancy and life for the NPCs in the town is something we put special care into, and I think you will be able to fully experience the PS5’s capabilities by walking through the streets. Personally, I love how the town of Junon is depicted during the inauguration parade of President Rufus, so I hope you can experience that for yourself in the game as well.

What other PS5 games have impressed you? From a developer’s point of view, how did you feel that they took advantage of the PS5’s capabilities?

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was a game that let me experience the capabilities of the PS5 the most out of the titles released in 2023. Utilizing SSDs truly sped up Spider-Man’s web-swings and wall runs, enhancing my exhilaration as I played. In addition, the fast travel feature was jaw-dropping, and I almost felt moved by how there was virtually no wait time when traveling via the map screen. Even from a developer’s perspective, I felt this was a game that could not have been actualized without the PS5’s high-speed SSD. 


How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on PS5 February 29. 

*Oodle Kraken is a data compression technology developed by RAD Game Tools, designed specifically for reducing the size of video game assets and improving loading times without sacrificing visual quality. 
**Oodle Texture is a component of the Oodle suite that focuses specifically on texture compression. It employs innovative techniques to shrink texture file sizes while preserving their visual fidelity.


More on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth


  • State of Play Recap: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth demo out today, 11 minutes of new gameplay revealed
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: Square Enix discusses reimagining iconic characters Sephiroth and Aerith
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth hands-on report – playable Sephiroth, Chocobo exploration, Junon and more
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: developer interview reveals fresh gameplay details as new trailer debuts at State of Play

Gear up for your first look into the gameplay of the sixth DLC of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, officially named Goku’s Next Journey. The DLC retraces the steps of the last episode of Dragon Ball Z, which takes place ten years after the victory of the Saiyan warriors over Kid Buu at the hands of Goku and Vegeta. In this episode, the Martial Arts World Tournament is the main event, gathering all the earth’s warriors together.

While playing this DLC, you can encounter familiar characters who have aged and moved on in their lives, as well as Pan, Goku’s granddaughter. As usual with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot DLCs, you will experience first-hand the events and battles shown in the series, but also have access to original dialogues, storylines, and more.

Together with the main events of the DLC, you will have access to new sub-quests that will have new, unique rewards. Today, we will give you a sneak peek at one of these Side Quests: A Day in the Krillin household.

The quest revolves around recovering the lost necklace of 18, now Krillin’s wife, after their daughter Marron returns from a shopping spree. True to the tradition of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, this quest allows you to peek into the daily lives of the characters living in the Dragon Ball world.

As they search for the necklace, Goku and Krillin discover that it has simply fallen while 18 was returning to Krillin but has been found and taken by two suspicious men. Once confronted, they will use a capsule to summon a squad of Skull Robos, attacking Goku as Krillin chases after the men.

Once defeated, the quest will be complete, and the rewards will be given.

While you will not face any major super-villain or world-ending threat like Majin Buu, but who knows, maybe even harder challenges will await you after the World Tournament?

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The end of the quest and what makes it unique is that the epilogue allows you to see deeper into the characters’ feelings, which is a point of view that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has at its heart. On this occasion, Android 18 describes her feelings for Krillin, and we can see how much she truly cares about him.

By recovering a necklace, you can discover the hidden feelings and relationships between the characters of the world of Dragon Ball that only a game like Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot can have the space to express fully.

I recently had the pleasure to speak with Abubakar Salim, founder of Surgent Studios and creative director of Tales of Kenzera: Zau, about founding his gaming studio and how his childhood, grief, and becoming a father were essential building blocks in the development of Tales of Kenzera: Zau coming to PS5 April 23. Listen to the full interview below.

PlayStation Blog: We’ve been curious about your game ever since you announced it on stage at The Game Awards. How do you feel now that all of it is out there in the open?

Abubakar Salim: Terrified, absolutely terrified. It’s one of those things where we’ve been building it behind the scenes for so long, and you reveal it to people, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, wow, you’ve been building this. It looks so great.’ And you’re like, yes, so much blood, sweat, and tears went into this, but I’m super happy that it’s being received so well.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau is your first game. You’re originally more of a gamer, so what was the journey there?

I got into video games from my father. Essentially, he introduced me to them, and he would play a lot. Well, he would watch me play a lot, and he would dive in now and then. It’s always been my medium of taking in stories. I didn’t know you could have a career or work in games. It was this thing that you put a CD in a PlayStation, and gremlins work their magic inside. 

It was one of those where it didn’t cross my mind that you could do it as a career. So I went into acting because I’ve always loved telling stories. Then, I started working in games, and Assassin’s Creed Origins was the first game that I did. I was a massive fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. So then, to be in it was mind-blowing. And that gave me the behind-the-scenes of, oh, wow, there are actual people making this stuff.

You’ve said the game’s gated exploration is well-suited to discussing grief. Can you explain that?

The beauty of these Castlevania or Metroid-like games is you throw the player into a map that they have no idea about, that they’re lost. They’re trying to gauge an idea of what it is, and the longer they spend in it, the more comfortable they feel, but at the same time, it’s still dangerous. And I think that is, to me, the perfect explanation or personification of grief. 

You learn to live with it, and it’s not a bad thing. You then find your boundaries, and you play with them. I’ve accepted that, yeah, I will sometimes feel sad, and sometimes I feel angry. But sometimes, I’ll feel an element of relief and freedom, and that’s okay. At first, it’s a bit alien, but after a while, it’s like, Alright, cool. Let’s play. 

The game is inspired by Bantu mythology. Can you tell us more about that mythology and why you chose it? 

It comes from the stories that my dad would tell me as a kid. My grandfather was a nganga, which is a traditional sort of healer. And my dad would tell me all these wild stories of what he would do and talking to spirits and whatnot. He also told me of the different types of spirits and genies and all this jazz, and I realized that it all comes from Bantu myth.

Bantu is essentially all these different cultures within Africa, like the Zulu, taking a lot from their stories of creation or cosmology, and it’s so rich and vibrant. They have all these incredibly artistic stories that all have a lesson to them, as wild as Greek mythology and Norse mythology to a degree. It felt right paying homage to my father, what he would share with me, and his way of telling stories. It’s just a different perspective that I feel very lucky to have been exposed to.

The game is about getting over grief, but the world is colorful and vibrant. Was it to simply contrast to grief, or was there more to it regarding the art direction?

When I was pitching this to EA, and even to the team, I wanted to tell the story of grief, but I wanted it to be vibrant, colorful, and reactive. I remember feeling, after my father passed away, like the shutters were just open. Everything turned vivid and loud. And I remember it was almost like I was exposed.

Even though there is beauty and a celebration of these different cultures and colors, you’re experiencing them through a kid who is grieving. It doesn’t change the world outside, and that’s part and parcel of it all. Zau still has to do his thing to get to where he needs to, and he needs to react to a world that continues to spin, even though he is in a different mindset.

The theme of fatherhood reminds me of Cory Barlog’s God of War. How has becoming a parent affected the game? 

A lot of the time, what grief can do is make you feel quite insular, makes you think about yourself, and now, being a dad, I joke about this with my friends. I’ve never felt the impulse to jump in front of a train for someone who doesn’t really know me for the first few months of their life. It’s such an animalistic love and care that it helped shape the world of Tales of Kenzera. 

The game originally had these health pickups that you would go to, and it would increase your health, and since having Syrah, my daughter, the inspiration of actually, instead of them being these casual health pickups. What if there were just moments of reflection? What if there were moments of talking about how you feel? 

Can you tell us about the music? 

Nainita Desai and Rob Brown have conjured something magical. We brought Nainita on very early when I was going to explain the game. It’s about this young shaman’s journey, but it’s a story within a story. So you’ve got these two different kinds of cultures clashing and two different perspectives clashing, and she ran with it. 

This whole experience has been surreal. I started this journey with this mentality of I want to make a game, and deliver what I feel is honest and true to me. And the fact that now I’m talking to PlayStation. I’m like, what, this is nuts. This has been really, really magical. Thank you very much.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau will be available on PS5 on April 23.

We’ve all wondered why no one gets in a car and drives away from the terror in scary movies and games. Pacific Drive by Ironwood Studios lets us live out that scenario. This upcoming first-person survival adventure drives a customizable station wagon into the genre.

Ahead of the February 22 launch date, we spoke with the game’s director, Alexander Dracott, about the inspiration behind this genre-twisting game and its development journey.

PlayStation Blog: What was the inspiration behind Pacific Drive?

Alexander Dracott: The initial idea goes back to some of my hobbies and growing up driving station wagons to go camping and out into the woods of the Pacific Northwest. The seed came from the things I saw driving alone in the woods, fog, and rain, seeing things like mining towns that haven’t seen the light of day. The game started as simple test car in the woods, and as we started inserting more mechanics, we decided you should be able to turn the car off and on. It should have gas like you should have to refuel your car. It became apparent that there’s this overlap between the maintenance of a car you would expect and the item juggling you want from a survival game. What we ended up doing is taking the pressure that is always on the player in a lot of survival games and pushed it onto the car, and it clicked. You’re forming this relationship with this car that becomes your protector.

Where did the idea of the Olympic Exclusion Zone come from, and how does it contribute to the game’s mechanics?

I’ve always been a big fan of zoned stories and players being isolated, but in a space filled with interesting mechanics. For example, a lot of the enemy anomalies aren’t zombies that you just shoot. They’re more interesting and unique, and discovering what they are is part of the experience. The idea behind the Exclusion Zone, something that the government has walled off, instantly clicked because it gave us the freedom to both tell an interesting story and build this world while also filling it with things like those anomalies that people are going to have to learn and discover through the game’s mechanics.

Why did the team decide on this smaller-scale gameplay loop versus a free-roam open-world title?

Initially, we were considering something that was a little bit more like a traditional survival game on a relatively large map. Our maps are big because you have a car and go quick. We found that while all of our survival mechanics were working, we wanted those rest stops. We wanted those breaks like looting and fixing up your car. With that came the birth of the garage as a permanent place that you could go to and fix up your car, take the time, and engage with the different systems that are in the game. That cemented into this idea of, “Okay, I’ve got my garage, but now I can go out and take these trips to other parts of the game world.”

Was it difficult to build so many mechanics around a car?

Pacific Drive is a big game full of systems that interact with each other, so there’s a general complexity behind it that’s always going to be hard to manage. On one hand, you want to be figuring things out, but on the other, these systems all need to be built up on their own. You don’t get a good picture until many are present and exchanging with themselves individually. And with car physics, unlike a lot of other car games where a lot of the focus on those titles is, “let’s take one engine that we’re building our game in and have 300 cars that feel distinct and unique.” For us, it’s the opposite. We’re going to have one car, but that car has to be able to get customized in different ways as players express themselves. How does the car still feel like the car between two players that have built it out completely differently? We build dedicated tools around that and figure out the right way to do it.

Are there any additions that didn’t quite make it into the final version of Pacific Drive you wish could make it in?

It’s a bit of a cop-out answer, but the answer is always just “more.” Whatever number of items that we were going to have, we pulled it back to a more reasonable number. That’s the case across our game, which is still absolutely packed with different items. Because there are tools you can use, resources you can grab, things you can interact with throughout the world, special things to bring back to your garage, and tons of car parts because so much of the car is customizable. We were always planning more of those, but we ended up pulling back to a reasonable number.

What’s your favorite feature in Pacific Drive?

As the guy helping to form the original idea, I’m biased by the atmosphere. The moments where the gameplay complements the atmosphere are absolutely incredible—those moments where this world absorbs me due to weather, visuals, and general vibe. What we were aiming for is a very unique field for the zone and its isolated beauty. You’re alone out there, but you still have those elements of gameplay that are present. You might see a dreary building in the fog and think, “Yeah, it’s a cool piece of set dressing, but maybe there’s stuff over there. See if there’s anything I can grab for my car.” Those moments stand out strongly for me.

What unique PlayStation 5 features can players expect from Pacific Drive?

The big one is the DualSense controller, for sure. We had something special once we started tuning the haptics, especially for the [adaptive] triggers, and how they interacted with the suspension, and what the car is doing. We figured out a very clever way to translate the change of the change of the suspension differences that the car is handling as it drives along and map that out into our rumble. You might drive over a bump and feel like the controller reacts appropriately. If something pops the wheel off your car, it will drop, and you’ll feel it drop. We also added noise into the simulation to help make it feel correct when driving on off-road surfaces. We’re really pleased with how the game feels on this controller.

Pacific Drive takes everything about the survival genre and throws a car into the mix, with tons of relevant atmosphere, obstacles, and pleasantries. When the game launches on February 22, 2024, you can tune up your car and hit the lonely roads.