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Leaving Sanctuary: Ska Studios’ journey to Salt and Sacrifice

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Today I’m excited to announce that Salt and Sacrifice launches on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 in 2022. 

I started working on the original Salt and Sanctuary nine years ago, and looking back, it still holds a lot of mystery to me. Development began after I’d already shipped a few games with what I’d humbly claim had adequate combat and gameplay. Like so many other indie devs, I’d recently become obsessed with the Dark Souls formula: its numerous seemingly inscrutable systems, its beautifully dark and imaginative world, and its tense moments where razor thin margins for error emerged elegantly. 

Leaving Sanctuary: Ska Studios’ journey to Salt and Sacrifice

I’d built some pretty competent combat systems in The Dishwasher series (which is now unbelievably two console generations old), so the idea of using that as a foundation for exploring an indie soulslike made sense. From there, it was a lot of world pieces, monsters, weapons, and more: all hand-drawn, hand-animated, scripted, and placed; a gradual journey to see if the bones of 2D brawling could animate the flesh of this dark fantasy RPG.

In hindsight, I’m certainly a little in the dark about what worked best for Salt and Sanctuary, not that there is a single right answer. For some, the lore stood out. For others, it was the elaborate skill tree. The fighter DNA resonated with some people. But to so very many people, the lack of online co-op was the most egregious omission, which brings me to Salt and Sacrifice.

Salt and Sacrifice expands on the world of Salt and Sanctuary by exploring a new era and region, as well as a new role: a Marked Inquisitor. A Marked Inquisitor is a criminal condemned, yet spared the hand of justice in exchange for a lifetime of service in the unending war against Mages: twisted, irredeemable creatures of elemental malice. Mages roam the world, summoning minions and wreaking havoc. Hunting a Mage is a multistage pursuit in which your quarry is just as likely to clash with rival Mages as it is with you. 

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Final boss battle episodes arrive tomorrow for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

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Hello everyone! I’m Ryosuke Hara, lead producer of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Thank you for your support of this game so far. And thank you very much for your patience while we’ve been hard at work developing the final DLC.

Today, I would like to give an overview of the upcoming DLC, Trunks – The Warrior Of Hope. In this new DLC, users will be experiencing a new arc based on the story of an extra chapter/episode of the manga/anime. This arc sets focus on an alternative future, where Gohan and Trunks fight the Androids to restore peace to a desperate world without Goku or any of the other Z Warriors. Regarding gameplay volume, you can expect just about the same length/content as the other arcs playable in the Main Story (Saiyan Arc, Frieza Arc, etc.).

The world is no longer what it used to be. As you travel through the utterly destroyed world, users will find ruins of iconic landmarks such as Orange City and Capsule Corp., and other characters such as Master Roshi who have been chased out of their original homes.

Nowhere is safe as there are countless drones created by the Red Ribbon Army on the lookout for any survivors. Being spotted by these drones can lead to a fatality, as they will set off an alert, automatically throwing you in a death match against Android 17 and 18. The androids are much stronger compared to the ones you’ve fought in the main story, and your only chance of survival is to find a way to escape by clearing specific conditions in battle.

I don’t want to spoil it for users who haven’t watched the anime, so I won’t go much further into the story, but I assure you that this will be a story you won’t forget. We will also have surprises and new discoveries for all of you who’ve already seen the show, so I really hope you’ll all enjoy that.

New skills will also be unlocked in the main story once you clear this DLC, so this may be your chance to replay the main game, or finish it if you haven’t already.

The final DLC, Trunks – The Warrior Of Hope is available tomorrow and is playable regardless of whether you’ve cleared the main story, so don’t be afraid to jump right in even if you just discovered the existence of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot through this article.

The Persistence Enhanced hits PS5 with visual and performance improvements June 11

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We’re so excited that The Persistence Enhanced launches on PS5 June 11. The Persistence Enhanced is fully optimised for the next-generation hardware with the inclusion of immersive DualSense wireless controller haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as well as the inclusion of raytraced rendering and a host of other improvements. 

Today we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect from The Persistence Enhanced on PS5 and how the next-gen technology enhances your gameplay experience aboard the decks of doomed deep space colony ship, The Persistence.

The Persistence has been on an incredible journey since its initial PS VR exclusive release in 2018. Our team here at Firesprite were delighted to bring the game to the PS4 flat-screen last year and are thrilled to offer The Persistence Enhanced as another free update for existing owners of the game.

This Enhanced Edition of our survival horror rogue-lite for PS5 flat-screen introduces a dynamic rasterized 4k60 fps Performance mode and 4k30 fps Quality mode which features real-time raytraced reflections and global illumination dialling the atmosphere and tension up to the max aboard the doomed starship.

These visual updates don’t only look fantastic, they really enhance the core gameplay too.  Improved shadows, reflections and lighting provide cues as to the positions of the creatures that now inhabit The Persistence, alerting the player to any potential threats lurking in the dark corners alongside the immersive positional audio system implemented in game. Even if an encounter with one of the mutant horde proves fatal, you’ll find yourself very quickly reprinted into a new clone body ready for another run, thanks to instant loading on PS5.

The DualSense controller brings entirely new dimensions of tactile immersion to your experience aboard The Persistence. With the haptic feedback and adaptive trigger functionality, the difference and profile of each weapon will be felt when picked up.

This extends to melee combat also, from the impact of deflecting enemy attacks to the sensation of plunging a Peacekeeper Knife into the flesh of the aberrant creatures you’ll encounter and feeling the resistance as they fight and struggle for survival.

The Persistence Enhanced features adaptive trigger pressure feedback for the various ranged weapons in the game such as the Sentinel, Valkryie, or the Grav Hook for example – each requiring different trigger pressure to master your attack. You’ll also feel the strikes and blows of different enemy attacks, and the hum of your shield as it activates, suppressing any onslaught

The delightful soundscape in Chicory: A Colorful Tale

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It’s clear that Chicory: A Colorful Tale is full of visual beauty, but when it comes to games there’s so much more that goes into making the experience immersive. Hi, I’m Lena Raine and I am going to tell you about the fun audioscape built for Chicory. I’ve worked on a lot of past titles such as Celeste, Minecraft, and Guild Wars 2. For Chicory, I did all of the music composition and soundtrack recording for the game. We also got to work with sound designer Em Halberstadt (Night in the Woods, Untitled Goose Game, Wandersong) who, along with Preston Wright, designed all of the sound you hear in the pleasant, cozy, and even spooky areas of the game. 

There’s a lot of tradition associated with music composition and implementation in screen-based adventure games like Chicory: A Colorful Tale. While composing for Chicory, I wanted to hold true to some of those traditions while also pushing conventions by drawing inspiration from the dynamic music of free-form open world games. 

Dynamic music helps give a sense of place between each screen of the game. While each major area has its own looping theme that enters alongside its title card, we made the transitions between areas feel much more smooth and gradual. So instead of simply hard cutting or fading between tracks, we have what we call “outskirts” areas that let each major area’s music drift away. 

Depending on where you come from, the music changes to a more subtle, low-key version of the music. Stick around long enough, and the track will simply fade away. But if you enter the same screen from another direction, that other area’s music will become more low-key. By making some screens music-agnostic, we’re able to help bridge the gap and smoothly transition between areas as you explore. 

Some places even have progressive music that changes and evolves as you explore, so keep an ear out to hear how the music follows your adventures!

As a fun fact, every woodwind you hear in the score was recorded live by Kristin Naigus! Here’s every instrument she recorded from the soundtrack all lined up, which joins an ensemble that also includes violin, viola, cello, and many more.

With Em’s input on the sound design side of things, the musical transition between areas was also intended to give the player a moment to sit back and listen to the ambience and all the detail we put into the paint sounds. We wanted the sound effects to help the player feel like they really are painting, so Em really made it as tactile and detailed as she could. 

Battlefield 2042 launches October 22 on PS4 and PS5: first details

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EA has revealed the next iteration of its massive multiplayer shooter series. Battlefield 2042 launches later this year on October 22 with development handled by Dice, Criterion, Dice LA, and EA Gothenburg. Coming to both PS4 and PS5, it continues the series’ ambitious trajectory of incorporating cutting-edge tech to increase the size and density of its sandboxes, while retooling and expanding its vast armory of gameplay modes and mechanics. It boasts one of the biggest maps in the series to date. The real-time unpredictability of extreme weather systems that’ll tear through the frontline. Enhanced terrain deformation. And, on PS5, a 128-player count per match. This is Dice’s proprietary game engine Frostbite flexing all-new processing muscle acquired in the two or so years since last entry Battlefield V. 

Battlefield 2042

It also marks the franchise’s return to (near) modern day. The real-world yet fictitious setting pitches a “what if” scenario of societies crumbling in the face of violent climate changes and diminishing resources. Stateless soldiers (“No-Pat Specialists”) now fight on behalf of the remaining superpowers. The setup is close enough to today to be recognisable, but far enough in the future to include advanced arsenals and destructive weather patterns. Fitting though with the series’ 20th anniversary coming up, that EA offers a nod – unintentional or otherwise – to franchise starter Battlefield 1942 in its selection of year.    

Battlefield 2042

All Out Warfare’s Conquest and Breakthrough  

There are three gameplay pillars – “experiences”- to 2042. Only two have been named. Of that pair only All Out Warfare is the focus of this first look, debuting with a duo of familiar modes. Hazard Zone, as well as the mystery third pillar – in development at Dice LA – will get their full reveal at a later date.  Dice reinforce Hazard Zone is something all-new for the franchise: a modern take on multiplayer that’s a “high-stakes, squad-based game type”. The studio is emphatic in stressing it isn’t a battle royale mode.   

Battlefield 2042

As ever, there’ll be a fleet of vehicles to jump into during matches. Players will have access to a call-in tablet, letting them request a land-based vehicle to anywhere on the map. They can be deadly even before you hop in: Dice example pinpointing a tank to land onto an enemy sniper position.

So, those two All Out Warfare modes. Conquest has two teams duking it out on a huge space, with epic clashes and more personal frays playing out in pockets across a map. Breakthrough also drops two opposing sides into a single location, but is more guided: maps are divided up into sectors, in which there are multiple capture points. Attacking or defending sides need to hold points to flip sectors and shift an ever-moving frontline in their favour. Want time to get adjusted to what’s new and test things out? You can launch both modes with AI squadmates (and Dice confirms doing so still contributes to your overall progress).  

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