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20 things you might not know about PlayStation 4

- November 13th, 2013

SOON.

Greatness awaits. And that wait is nearly over.

Following many months of hype, buzz and unfettered curiosity, the PlayStation 4 finally goes on sale Friday across North America. As the successor to Sony’s 80 million-selling PlayStation 3, and with a glitzy marketing campaign pinned to the “greatness awaits” slogan, expectations for the PS4 are very high indeed.

While there’s been lots of talk about the hardware specs and the game lineup and the fierce battle that will be waged between Sony’s new dream machine and Microsoft’s Xbox One, there are still some PS4 perks, tweaks and features that haven’t yet been revealed.

All that will change in a couple of days when the PS4 lands in the outstretched arms of millions of clamouring gamers, but here’s a head-start cheat sheet of 20 things you might not know about the newest member of the PlayStation family.

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E3 2013: The Last Guardian still alive

- June 12th, 2013

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Never have so many questions been asked of so many people about a single game’s status. So let’s add another piece of wood to the fire.

Notably absent from E3 this year is The Last Guardian, an upcoming (or is it?) game from the creators of the modern classic PS2 titles ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. It seems every interview with a Sony executive includes a question about the game. Is it cancelled? On indefinite hiatus? Is it going to be for the PS3 or the PS4? There have been conflicting messages.

So at the end of an interview today with Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, I simply asked him if The Last Guardian is still something we can look forward to.

“I think The Last Guardian is something we can look forward to,” House said with a smile. Which doesn’t really clear a whole lot up, other than the game isn’t yet dead. Or maybe he just meant we can look forward to it the same way we look forward to winning the lottery. Doesn’t mean either will ever happen.

No, I’m gonna go with the “will come out some day” interpretation of that remark. Trico lives!

E3 2013: Two new ones from Ubisoft

- June 10th, 2013

Which one’s fast, and which one’s furious?

Call it World of Carcraft.

Ubisoft has taken the wraps off The Crew, a next-gen driving game that’s kind of like an MMO on wheels. Set in a virtual USA that includes detailed recreations of New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and more, the game will urge players to form up into groups and take on Fast & Furious-style missions ranging from races to taking down an armoured truck

I went hands-on with the game Sunday afternoon, and it shows some promise. Developed by new studio Ivory Tower, which includes members of both Eden Games (the Test Drive franchise) and Reflections (the Driver series), the game will allow players to hop into any spot in its sprawling, persistent world, in which each city is the size of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Liberty City.

The game is developed with “co-opetition” in mind, where players group up for missions but then receive individual scores based on how well they perform. There’s a staggering amount of car customizability, and doing missions earns you the automotive equivalent of loot, netting upgrades that improve various aspects of your ride.

I played a very early build of the Xbox One version of the game (which marks my first time using the new Xbox One controller to actually play a game – felt great), and while there’s plenty of visual shine, it’s still got a ways to go. But that very specific Venn diagram overlap between car nerds and MMO fans should go nuts for the game when it comes out early in 2014.

The Crew will feature lots of licensed vehicles to race, roll and wreck.

Also coming up from Ubisoft is a new next-gen Tom Clancy game, called Tom Clancy’s The Division. Now this… THIS sounds intriguing. Based on the idea that society is always “nine meals away from anarchy” – that is, three days without food, water or services until all hell breaks loose – the game will cast players as a decidedly non-super soldier, part of a group of jacks-of-all-trades trained to activate if the world goes to hell.

The backstory of the game involves a pandemic spread through currency on Black Friday, and the game will play as a third-person shooter melded with an open-world online RPG – think Watch Dogs meets Day Z. It’s an ambitious departure for Ubisoft and the Clancy franchise, and I can’t wait to see more.