Returnal: the making of that unforgettable Hyperion fight

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Hey everyone, we’ve been very happy to see Returnal resonating so strongly with players, and this time we wanted to do a deep dive into one of our Bosses. In general, Boss battles have always been an essential test of skill for players in action games, and of course they’ve been a strong staple of the Housemarque formula in our past titles as well. With Returnal we really wanted to dedicate some time to create something special for our Boss encounters, and provide players with some powerful and memorable moments. We’ve been thrilled to see that players have been enjoying our Bosses so far, and today we wanted to share some notes on Hyperion, who seems to have quickly become a favorite among players!

SPOILER WARNING: this piece contains spoilers about the story of Returnal. It’s generally recommended that you read this only after defeating Hyperion, and ideally have seen credits roll. 

The inspiration 

From the very beginning, our goal with the story of Returnal was to haunt the player. On a personal level, many special and haunting moments I’ve experienced in games and film have often been accompanied by powerful music. In many cases I feel that music can be single-handedly responsible for creating the emotional impact and mood of a scene. This ability of music itself to express very complex, raw emotions in a unique way – to express the intangible – was the initial seed of inspiration here.

This importance of music was also directly woven into our story, along with our other central elements and themes early on. It started by envisioning our key story beats (beginning, middle and especially our end), and then consciously working backwards from there: identifying which puzzle pieces we would seed throughout the experience to get under the player’s skin, and create the feeling of an overarching, layered mystery for players to solve.

One of the crucial puzzle pieces was intended to be a specific piece of music, and throughout the game there are multiple clues that a particular melody is very important to Selene. (Note that I’m being intentionally vague to avoid spoiling too much here!)

In parallel, we also knew that we’d want to have some epic bosses in the game. These would need to be memorable highlights that would provide a challenge for players and serve as milestones of progress, but they would also need strongly resonate with players emotionally and be thematically tied to our story as well. In addition to the harsh, dark sci-fi elements of Returnal, we also wanted to explore some more psychological/surreal themes with our story. Our Bosses would serve as climactic manifestations of those themes. So from very early on we knew that we’d have one Boss that would play with this theme of musicality. This boss was simply codenamed “The Musician” internally, eventually this became Hyperion.

The idea for the Musician came first, and then the rest of the Echoing Ruins was built around it to support its presence.

“The Musician’s” visual design 

There were some keywords we used to guide our initial concepting for Hypersion: unsettling, musicality, tragic, dramatic, theatricality. Much like our other Bosses, we wanted to make this encounter feel majestic. And what could possibly be more majestic than using an alien Church Organ?

I’ve always found the church organ

Weaving replayable tales in the Griftlands, out on PS4 June 4

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Hey everyone, my name is Kevin and I’m a designer at Klei Entertainment. I’m really excited to give everyone a look at Griftlands which launches June 4 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 backwards compatibility. Griftlands is a narrative RPG featuring multiple branching stories to experience based on your actions and choices. It’s also a deck-building card game with deep interlocking systems driving both combat and negotiation through card mechanics. We think players are going to have a lot of fun fighting, lying, cheating, bribing, and smooth-talking their way to victory. Let’s dive in.

There are three main characters in Griftlands, each with their own problem to solve. Sal the bounty hunter wants revenge. Rook the spy is working on a mysterious contract. Smith is trying to collect his inheritance, and have a good time doing it.

Those high-level goals are the same every time you play, but the day-to-day obstacles that you overcome in their pursuit vary wildly. Different subplots and events get drawn from a pool each time. The cast of characters shifts as different NPCs get cast in different roles and react to your choices. Your friend in one playthrough, with their unique mechanical strengths and weaknesses, may be your enemy in the next. We even switch up the boss fights that you encounter at the end of each day, to keep things fresh.

Most problems in Havaria can be solved either with your words or with your fists. However, in Griftlands both are driven with unique card deck gameplay mechanics. You play out both physical and verbal battles by playing cards! Playing cards make them stronger each time they’re played and picking one deck over another will give you the option of adding a new card to it at the end of successful encounters. 

Succeeding comes down to having the right cards and playing them correctly in each situation. But you can’t always do exactly what you want – context matters. Your decks get stronger with use, so it’s important to balance your use of each, lest one of your skills falls behind and you get caught off guard by a powerful opponent. NPCs will also notice everything that you do and treat you accordingly. Saving someone from wild animals will earn their respect but killing someone’s best friend for example will have them seeking revenge and actively working against you. 

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How co-op came to Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, out on PS4 June 1

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Get ready to challenge again! The noble knight Arthur sets out on a new adventure to rescue the princess from the Demon Realm in Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, coming to PlayStation 4 (and backwards compatible with PlayStation 5) on June 1.

Some 35 years ago, the first Ghosts ‘n Goblins made its grand debut in arcades. Few players knew what would await them as they dropped that first quarter into the machine, and fewer still could have guessed that beating the game would set them up for a ghoulish surprise; the game wasn’t over until you completed it a second time after a brutal second loop of the game.

The hard-as-nails legacy of Ghosts ‘n Goblins has earned the franchise a reputation for its difficulty over the years but for this entry, we’ve kept the challenge while making the game far more accessible. Not only are there multiple difficulty modes that cater to players of all skill levels, we’ve also included a series first: two-player local co-op.

To shine a light on the decision to give this traditionally single-player experience a two-player twist, we spoke with the game’s Chief Producer, Yoshiaki Hirabayashi (a.k.a. “H”). Best known for his work on the Resident Evil franchise, H was kind enough to speak with us about how this mode came to be. 

“The local co-op mode was an idea that existed from the earliest stages of the development phase, and was brought up by Director Tokuro Fujiwara,” says Mr. Hirabayashi. Long-time Capcom fans may recognize that name – Mr. Fujiwara was also the director of the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and returned to direct Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection, as well. 

“The first time the format and goals of this mode were presented by Director Fujiwara, I felt that it was spectacular and I wanted to make it happen, ” says Mr. Hirabayashi.

When you consider how long the franchise has been a strictly single-player affair, it raises the question: What made this the right time to add co-op? 

“This IP has been loved by many players for over 35 years, and those who played the earlier titles may now have kids of their own,” explains Mr. Hirabayashi. Mr. Hirabayashi recalls that the entire dev team was excited by the idea of co-op mode, hoping this addition would allow the game to transcend generations and offer a great way for long-time fans to share this arcade-style experience with their kids or even family and friends who may be new to platformers. 

“Of course, it was a challenge for us to prepare this mode, as we knew there were going to be certain expectations since this is the first title within the series that supports this kind of gameplay,” says Mr. Hirabayashi. “Overcoming the difficulty the game provides while having fun playing and communicating with your friend or loved one is a brand new concept, and we weren’t sure how players were going to react to this.”

Ghosts ‘n Goblins Resurrection

Despite these concerns, Mr. Fujiwara seemed confident in its inclusion and the joy it would bring to players both young and old. 

“When Director Fujiwara first explained the

How Han Solo’s adventures were adapted into Star Wars Pinball VR’s newest table

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Today, we at Zen Studios could not be happier than to announce free DLC for Star Wars Pinball VR right here on PlayStation Blog. The classic Han Solo table from the Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within pack, enters the game as the ninth amazing table, joining the likes of Classic Trilogy tables, Rogue One, The Mandalorian and more. But what goes into creating a table like Han Solo? If you haven’t already run off to download it (and I really can’t blame you for that), let’s take a look behind the curtain.  

1. Picking the theme

First, we have to figure out our topic — something we work very closely with Lucasfilm Games to decide. Sometimes the topic ends up being a show like Star Wars Rebels, sometimes it’s a general theme like Jedi versus Sith in Masters of the Force; in this table’s case, it’s a wisecracking Correllian smuggler. Han Solo was a natural fit to get his own board, as his life is filled with funny shenanigans, exciting moments, plus he flies the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

2. Pinball table layout

Once we agree on the topic, that’s where things get technical. As pinball legend Roger Sharpe, famous for lifting the ban on pinball in New York City in 1976, told Vox, “Each game is different — each game has different geometry, each game has different rules.” This means we need a strong base of lanes, rails, sinkholes, and everything else you might recognize on any machine. This gives you the main gameplay layer, where a satisfying ramp shot can make or break a table, whatever theme you put over it. 

3. Translating iconic moments to missions 

Once we’ve nailed the concepts, that’s when we turn on the pizzazz! All the different rules, multiballs, lamps and animated characters come into play. This is where we have to nail the best moments and translate them to pinball form. For Han Solo, our design team got together and created an extensive list from the classic-era happenings involving our favorite nerf herder — and his loyal copilot.


The different “modes” (which are missions on a pinball table, each needing you to shoot a different part of the table, or a combination) will take you back to epic moments like freeing Princess Leia from the Death Star in A New Hope, navigating the asteroid field from Empire Strikes Back, and escaping from Jabba in Return of the Jedi. If you complete all of Han’s adventures, it all culminates in what we call the ‘Wizard mode’ (anyone like The Who?) named General Solo. This is an epic mode w

Genshin Impact Version 1.6: Go wild in a midsummer adventure

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Hello, Travelers! Your Genshin Impact dev team is back once again, bringing you details for Version 1.6 coming on June 9. As the world of Teyvat enters the hot summer season, in the upcoming update we’ve prepared for you tailor-made summer outfits and a brand-new series of sea and island adventures to refresh everyone from the heat. Meanwhile, Kaedehara Kazuha, the first new playable character from Inazuma, will join in and lead the Archon Quest to a new chapter.

Genshin Impact Version 1.6: Go wild in a midsummer adventure

Travelers who’ve completed the main storyline in Liyue will be able to move onto the new Archon Quest with Kazuha. You may also spend some of your splendid summertime in Teyvat in an uncharted sea area for a limited time during Version 1.6.

Midsummer Island Adventure

If you’re fond of sailing, exploring, and fighting, we may have something for you in Version 1.6’s main seasonal event: Midsummer Island Adventure. The story begins when Klee receives a mysterious letter from a Dodo-King threatening to take Dodoco away from her. To help Klee and Dodoco, the Traveler will sail on a boat called a Waverider and explore a secluded archipelago scattered over a remote sea area.

The Midsummer Island Adventure main event will be divided into four stages, each featuring unique gameplay. In the first stage, players need to sail on the Waverider and destroy enemy floating towers and encampments, either through firing your boat’s cannon or in close combat. In the next stage, players will be challenged in a race that combines both sailing and flying. The third stage will put your combat skills to test with the new opponent, Maguu Kenki. And finally, players will be asked to clear out nearby monster encampments with the aid of three kinds of Harpastum Bombs.

We also want to introduce a bit more about the new monster mentioned earlier, Maguu Kenki. With its unique Inazuma-style aesthetic, Maguu Kenki also has its own attack style. When Maguu Kenki’s health falls below a certain amount, it will summon phantoms and can deal both Anemo and Cryo damage against players. In addition, any ranged attack will be blocked if Maguu Kenki is not engaged in close-range battle, forcing players to confront it face-to-face.



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