Games Inbox: Who is Sony’s best video game developer?
The Wednesday Inbox debates the future of open world games in the next gen, as one reader asks whatever happened to Bizarre Creations.
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Simple as ABC
After reading your Ghost Of Tsushima Review, I was a little disappointed that Sucker Punch wasn’t able to elevate itself as an A-tier developer. After making games such as Sly Racoon and Infamous they have always been in the shadows of Naughty Dog, Insomniac, and Santa Monica, which are considered to be Sony’s A-tier.
In between you have Guerilla Games who are on the cusp of being in the top tier after Horizon Zero Dawn. Polyphony Digital, Media Molecule, Japan Studio who are seen as B-tier. Bend Studio, San Diego Studio, and London Studio would be seen as C-tier. Sucker Punch remains in the B-tier but despite that I have always been a fan of their games.
I find it important for consoles to have studios who make exclusive games for their respective systems and it will be interesting to see how Xbox Game Studios flourish next gen. Nintendo surprisingly have shown little output of games even though the assumption in my mind, is that both their portable and home console developing teams would be working on games for the Switch.
2021 is an interesting year to see what the developers of each company has to offer.
Solid Liquid Solidus Snake
GC: A lot of those designations seem rather arbitrary to us. Polyphony Digital make Gran Turismo, one of Sony’s most important franchises. And we’re not sure we’d rate Insomniac above Media Molecule or Japan Studio.
Really can’t wait for Ghost Of Tsushima, having been watching the old black and white samurai movies from The Hidden Fortress, Sanjuro, and The Sword of Doom – a personal favourite of mine. I read that some inspiration for the game from came from those movies and a black and white cinema mode which I have waited forever to play a game like that.
Also, that they really loved Red Dead Redemption as a template to make the game with, which is one of my favourite games ever. The dead eye showdown from Red Dead Redemption was also to inspire the duel mode in Ghost Of Tsushima too. Just hope developers make more samurai games as a positive result of Ghost Of Tsushima.
Long live the samurai, hai!
bigboss1960 (PSN ID)
GC: Although there are some similarities to Red Dead Redemption, it’s Assassin’s Creed that’s the most obvious comparison. It’s also super obvious they love Sanjuro, the showdowns are straight out of that film.
I genuinely can’t think of a worse game to compare Ghost Of Tsushima to than Days Gone. Genuinely my most despised game of this entire generation, and up there with my most hated ever. Just rubbed me up the wrong way.
Great review as always though, despite my disbelief. Sad to see this generation coming to a close. Personally I think it’s been one of the best.
GC: Well, it’s not that similar but they are both open world games from Sony. And Ghost Of Tsushima and Days Gone are clearly on one side of the first party fence, with the likes of God Of War and The Last Of Us on the other.
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Four of the same
Very good review of Ghost Of Tsushima, GC. The line that struck home to me was that if I’ve played any other Ubisoft formula game I’d be able to imagine this. And you’re right, I can imagine it, and it’s put me right off. Open world games have become so generic I can no longer distinguish them all, especially ones in the same franchise.
It seems ironic to me that the reviews broke just as Ubisoft had their big event, showcasing… three open world games in existing franchises that barely seem to have a new idea to rub together. I didn’t really question it at the time but all three are very similar and show know sign of breaking the formula.
I got bored of Assassin’s Creed a long time ago but I have previously enjoyed Far Cry. But the uninspiring looking setting, prequel pandering to Far Cry 3, and strange refusal to show any gameplay has put me off before they started. If the main selling point of your game is that it stars a vaguely recognisable actor from an old TV show then I think you’ve got problems.
Just so I don’t sound too cynical though I am hopeful that the SSDs of the next generation will help transform the open world genre, with their super-fast loading. Something needs to happen to give them a kickstart and I did used to like them.
Chalk and cheese
I have been given a £50 voucher to use online as a thank you from work for working through lockdown. Now your reviews are in would you spend it on The Last Of Us Part 2 or Ghost Of Tsushima?
To me it seems that the Last Of Us is the better game but is overly long and that Ghost Of Tsushima is more like Far Cry Japan.
GC: The Last Of Us has its problems but it’s easily the better game overall. They’re not really very similar though, so it really depends what kind of games you prefer.
Great review for Ghost Of Tsushima. I was expecting a higher score but I’ll still get it as I love anything samurai related. The game had me with the special feature to play it in black and white, like a video game version of a Kurosawa film.
I couldn’t help agreeing with you about the time setting. Although the Mongol invasions were a traumatic event for anyone who was at the receiving end, I would have thought that with such a rich history and culture, maybe a more recent time setting such as the Edo period would have been better suited.
An open world game based on the manga Lone Wolf and Cub would have been even better.
Still, Ghost Of Tshushima may have opened the door for more developers to use medieval Japan and the samurai as the basis for more historical games.
GC: We agree, we increasingly found the whole invasion plot just got in the way of stuff we would’ve actually liked to have seen in the game – as well as encouraging it to follow the Ubisoft formula even more closely than it might already have.
British racing project
In response to Penfold’s query about UK set games, Project Gotham Racing 2 on the original Xbox had lots of tracks in London and Edinburgh and was a great racing game (from someone who normally detests them).
Wish they would make a new Project Gotham – does GC know what happened to the studio behind them?
GC: Bizarre Creations were bought by Activision in 2007 and shut down in 2011. The Project Gotham Racing franchise still belongs to Microsoft though.
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Death of a console
Just yesterday I turned my PlayStation 4 on, only for it to not come on. A picture would appear of the PlayStation logo and then vanish. The console would then continue to struggle turning itself on in vain, making all sorts of worrying noises coming from the powerbase.
Eventually, I had to reinitialise the console – after only having had done so the day before and now the fourth time in less than eight weeks! I have quite the collection now, so I usually have them organised into folders but this time I didn’t bother.
Now the console comes on fine. Bear in mind that this is a very old model and when playing something like the Resident Evil 2 or 3 remakes, the fans roar like a space rocket causing me to have to turn the volume up.
Which begs the question: Sony will repair the console for £125. A PlayStation 4 slim is sitting in my local store for just £50 more. Is that worth it? Naturally, the PlayStation 5 would be a better long-term solution – assuming that it is fully backwards compatible – but I need a short term solution for right now. I think my PlayStation 4 has only days left. I’ll be crossing my fingers every time I switch the thing on. So, repair or replace? What do you reckon?
GC: We reckon it’s only four months till the PlayStation 5 comes out.
That Lego NES is… beautiful, there’s no other word for it. And I say this despite the fact that the NES is actually a really ugly console. The way the screen moves is just genius.
On the Xbox One I was able to change and save my control settings for Blazing Chrome. It’s under an app called Xbox accessories and you can have many profiles for different games and control set ups.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Ollie who simply asks what 2020 game are you most looking forward to in the second half of the year?
The year’s over half done now, so what games are you planning to get from now until Christmas? Do you already have a plan (and a budget) or does it all depend on the next generation console announcements? How many more games do you expect to buy this year, in total?
Our release schedule lists the confirmed dates of most major titles but there’s also others without a date yet, such as Call Of Duty 2020, Halo Infinite, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Deathloop, and the rumoured Super Mario remasters (which we’ll treat as real for the purposes of this Hot Topic).
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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