Valfaris sequel switches genres, but stays true to its roots

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As a developer, watching people play your game can be a nerve-wracking experience. It seems like an age ago (it was only 2018) that I was on a busy showfloor at the EGX Expo, peering over the shoulders of players getting to grips with Valfaris, the 2D action-platformer that myself and fellow Steel Mantis dev, Andrew Gilmour, were working on at the time.

Luckily, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The demo we had prepared was no pushover, and I remember seeing players dying over and over. But most were determined to push forward, and they eventually made it to the end with a big grin on their face. It showed me there was something about Valfaris that made people want to persevere and conquer it. Seeing this was an incredibly rewarding experience, and it made me feel we were making something worthwhile.

Fast forward to today, and we’re excited to be revealing Valfaris: Mecha Therion. Anyone familiar with Valfaris will immediately notice a major difference in the sequel – it’s not a platformer, but a shoot ‘em up. New ideas and features are, of course, entirely expected in a follow-up, but switching genres? Not so much.

Valfaris sequel switches genres, but stays true to its roots

Despite knowing players enjoyed the platforming action of Valfaris – as I’d seen first-hand at EGX and was reinforced post-launch by positive user and critic reviews – we both decided we wanted to do something new with the sequel.

Before we arrived at that decision, however, our original plan was to make a sequel to Slain: Back From Hell, a 2D hack-and-slash platformer we released in 2016. It was going to be a 2.5D platformer and we got as far as making a bit of gameplay with some 3D elements. We had a section with the character walking around a spiral staircase, and it looked pretty cool. Even at that point, though, I was already feeling that making another entire platformer was going to be a drag.

It was then Andrew suggested something totally crazy: that we abandon the project and make a shmup sequel to Valfaris instead. It was completely out of the blue, but I grew up playing games such as Thunder Force, R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden, and had already made a shoot ‘em up around 2008 called Cy-Clone, so I was very into the idea!

I was immediately enthused by the change in direction, and – as there are plenty of differences between a platformer and a shmup to consider – straight away started to think about the game from a design perspective. Most notably, a platformer generally allows the player to go at their own pace (rising water/lava levels not withstanding

Little Nightmares II Enhanced Edition, out today on PS5

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It’s been six months since the release of Little Nightmares II. Whether you’ve jumped into Mono and Six’s adventure from day one or are still new to this universe, the Enhanced Edition – out today – is a good opportunity to (re)discover these little nightmares on PS5. 

PS5 enhancements 

Thanks to the power of PS5, you can now play Little Nightmares II with ray-traced reflections, increased volumetric shadows and particles, improved loading times and a new immersive 3D soundscape mix when using a 5.1 / 7.1 audio system.

Little Nightmares II Enhanced Edition, out today on PS5

Thanks to the Graphics mode option, you will also be able to choose between Beauty and Performance modes. The first one emphasizes the resolution and the ray tracing; the game runs at 30fps with 4K resolution and optimized ray tracing. The second one locks the game at 60fps with a dynamic resolution up to 4K and ray tracing.

Owners of the PS4 version of Little Nightmares II can upgrade to the PS5 Little Nightmares Enhanced Edition for free.  

An eye on the development process

Because Little Nightmares II has such a unique atmosphere, we have been very cautious with the enhanced features we decided to use. Each one of them has been chosen and balanced for each room in order to keep the ambiance and push the visual quality to another level. 

When it came to choosing which features to add, one important criteria was also to improve player immersion. We wanted players to feel like they are diving into their little nightmares. This focus on immersion implies an important attention to details. Adding more particles which are dynamically affected by Mono in the air but also on the ground with dust on the old carpets. To make the player’s senses more alert, the 3D audio gives a hint on the direction of the danger but it doesn’t mean that it will be easier to escape. 

Zoom in on the Hospital chapter 

All the chapters in the game had great improvements, but the Hospital might have had the most important changes. Since the beginning of the development of the PS5 Enhanced Edition, it was essential for us to process each room individually to maintain their unique atmosphere. In the Hospital, we quickly decided to try to add ray-traced, real time reflections on the ground of all the indoor environments. This made the Hospital corridors come to life and reinforce the desired feeling of uneasiness while discovering its not-so

NBA 2K22 brings new Seasons and new discoveries to PlayStation

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NBA 2K22 is about to tip off. We’re thrilled to share the strides we’ve made and the unique Challenge Activities available to our PlayStation fans.

In NBA 2K21 we introduced seasons, an all-new way to level up and earn rewards within MyTeam, and we’re expanding it even further in NBA 2K22. Seasons will play an important role throughout NBA 2K22 and the best part is whether it’s MyCareer, MyTeam, or The W Online*, you’ll be able to access new content and earn rewards simply for playing with no additional costs.

Explore all there is to do in the City (on PS5) and the Neighborhood (on PS4). Leveling up will earn you more rewards, which are refreshed every six weeks at the start of a new season. All year long, seasons will offer fresh new content for you to enjoy.

PS5 MyTeam Challenge Activities

If the plethora of new MyTeam Challenges we’ve got lined up for all players wasn’t enough, PlayStation 5 players will once again have their own unique set of Challenge Activities to earn rewards from. Introduced in NBA 2K21, Challenge Activities are available exclusively to PS5 players through the PS5 Activities feature. NBA 2K22 will refresh these at the start of each season, giving PS5 players new opportunities to unlock rewards by completing special objectives within set game scenarios. Bring your A game, though, because once again players will be ranked against each other through the Activities leaderboard.

To kick things off in Season 1, we’ve got “Assists against Dirk & Luka”. This Dallas Mavericks duo have established themselves as two of the best in franchise history, and it’ll be up to you to build the ideal MyTeam lineup to beat them on PlayStation 5 and earn a Playmaker Award Pack as your reward.


Last year, seasons were exclusive to MyTeam, but not anymore! In NBA 2K22, seasons are coming to MyCareer. Within the City (on PS5) and the Neighborhood (on PS4), you’ll earn highly coveted rewards such as apparel, new Banners for your MyPlayer, and a new Grand Prize each season.

Start your engines, Season 1 is set to take players for a ride, unleashing go-karts in the City and Neighborhood as the Grand Prize. We’re thrilled to introduce go-karts as a fun way to cruise and adventure through unexplored regions – available once you’ve reached Level 40. In addition, inline skates can be used as a mode of transportation once you crack Level 30.

There will be plenty to explore and see within the Neighborhood, but we want to broaden your horizons in more tropical destinations as well. For PS4, NBA 2K22 will set sail to the Caribbean in Season 1, where you’ll showcase your skills topside on a cruise ship, and on some of the world’s most picturesque island courts.

The crown jewel for players in NBA 2K22 will be reaching Legend status, but to do so, you’ll need to reach Level 40 in four different seasons. That doesn’t mean you have to do it consecutively, but you’ll have to put in the work to earn the bragging right of an all-time great.

New Beats and Fresh Swag


The Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha hits PlayStation August 27 to 29

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Calling all PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 owners! Coming off of the reveal of Call of Duty: Vanguard just a few short days ago, we’re excited to bring more good news: from August 27 at 10 AM PT to August 29 at 10 AM PT, you will be able to participate in the Call of Duty: Vanguard PlayStation Alpha which will feature Sledgehammer Games’ innovative new game mode, Champion Hill.

This PlayStation-exclusive Alpha isn’t only the first chance at playing the newest Multiplayer mode in the Call of Duty franchise, but also the first opportunity to play Call of Duty: Vanguard before its November 5 release. This will be just a small slice of the overall Multiplayer offering coming to Call of Duty: Vanguard when it launches, but is a great chance for PlayStation players to get their hands on the game and provide valuable feedback to Sledgehammer Games.

For most PlayStation players, a PlayStation Plus Subscription is not required*. Only a console and an internet connection are needed to participate, and no preorder is required.

Before diving into details about how you can access the Alpha, we wanted to give you some background on what Champion Hill is all about as well as some tips for making sure you end up on top.

The Call of Duty: Vanguard Alpha hits PlayStation August 27 to 29

Champion Hill Primer

Sledgehammer Games is proud to introduce Champion Hill, a multi-arena survival tournament where tactics and strategy combine with quick-action, close-quarter gunplay. The mode is all about impactful gameplay, from the intense periods of combat to the decisions made in-between. 

In Champion Hill, your squad — which during the Alpha will be either a Duo (2v2) or Trio (3v3)— will compete in a round-robin tournament against seven other squads, with each squad having a set number of lives to start with. The mission is to reduce all other squads’ life count to zero in a series of timed Combat rounds, before the same happens to you.  Do that, and claim victory on Champion Hill.

In this mode, everyone starts with the same Loadout, but you will collect  cash by taking enemy lives and picking up drops scattered around the map. This  cash will allow you to upgrade your starting weapons and purchase new armaments, equipment, Perks, and Killstreaks during Buy Rounds that happen between Combat Rounds.

It’s in the Buy Rounds that the real strategy comes in (more on that below). No two matches will be the same, since the way that you use  cash throughout each match (e.g. held for bigger upgrades as the Rounds go on, or used on smaller, more incremental upgrades along the way) will greatly change how you and your squad counter every other squad. It’s a chess-

Official PlayStation Podcast Episode 407: Gamecation

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Welcome back! This week the team assembles to interview Marvel’s Avengers narrative consultant Evan Narcisse and T’Challa voice actor Christopher Judge on the War for Wakanda expansion. Then we take it to the field and chat with EA’s Mike Mahar about Madden 22.

Stuff We Talked About

  • Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
  • Fracked
  • Quake
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard
  • Marvel’s Avengers War for Wakanda expansion (interview begins at 21:37)
  • Madden 22 (interview begins at 38:38)
  • Our favorite DLCs

The Cast

Sid Shuman – Senior Director of Content Communications, SIE

Tim Turi –  Manager, Content Communications, SIE


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