PlayStation Store: August 2021’s top downloads

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The top downloads charts for August are here, revealing the top performers on PlayStation Store last month. Madden NFL 22 took the crown for PS5 and PS4 downloads across US and Canada. In Europe, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut grabbed the top spot on PS5, while Grand Theft Auto V secured a number one position on PS4. On free-to-play, Splitgate continues its run atop the charts for Europe and US and Canada. 

Take a look at the full chart listings below. 

PS5 games

1Madden NFL 22Ghost of Tsushima DIRECTOR’S CUT
2Ghost of Tsushima DIRECTOR’S CUTHades
3HadesAssassin’s Creed Valhalla
4Aliens: Fireteam EliteAliens: Fireteam Elite
5Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesF1 2021
6Assassin’s Creed ValhallaFIFA 21
7DOOM EternalMarvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
8Ratchet & Clank: Rift ApartDOOM Eternal
9Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold WarMetro Exodus
10MLB The Show 21It Takes Two
11Mortal Kombat 11Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six | Siege
12Tribes of MidgardCall of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
13Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six | SiegeMadden NFL 22
14The Elder Scrolls OnlineRatchet & Clank: Rift Apart
15Marvel’s AvengersTribes of Midgard
16It Takes TwoThe Elder Scrolls Online
17Watch Dogs: LegionMortal Kombat 11
18Demon’s SoulsDemon’s Souls
19FIFA 21Watch Dogs: Legion
20Scarlet NexusMarvel’s Avengers

*Naming of products may differ between regions
*Upgrades not included

PS4 games

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One sleuths to PS5 November 16

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Hello PlayStation fans! My name is Serge and I am the Head of Production at Frogwares, a video games studio most known for its Sherlock Holmes series and The Sinking City. Today, we want to show you something that we’ve been working on in our studio for months – a new trailer and a new gameplay video from our upcoming open-world mystery adventure Sherlock Holmes Chapter One. So pop on the kettle, brew some hot tea or coffee and grab that magnifying glass – we have a case to solve detectives. 

Sherlock Holmes Chapter One sleuths to PS5 November 16

In Sherlock Holmes Chapter One we tell the story of a young Sherlock Holmes before he becomes the world-famous detective. On the outside, he’s a young, confident, maybe even borderline cocky man who is still trying to figure out who he really is. His life purpose is still not known. Now, what happened in his life that turned him into this antisocial genius? What events shaped him into the character that we now know and love. These are the kind of questions that we asked ourselves in the studio, and are somewhat answered in our game. 

Our game starts when you, the young Holmes, arrive on the island, Cordona together with your good friend Jon. The reason for your trip is to dig up and heal old emotional wounds. You are here to uncover the mystery of your mother’s death. You’ve always felt that something didn’t add up, and now you have received even more reasons to discover the truth as to what happened to her on that island.

Speaking of the island, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One takes place on the Mediterranean island of Cordona, in the late 1880’s. This beautiful, almost paradise-like place is a melting pot of different cultures. But as it normally pans out in life, under all of this beauty there is a layer of flaws. As you venture out into this open world, you will see that apart from the different regions of Cordona, the island has its own social class hierarchy too. And those at the bottom don’t always get to live the paradise life that you see in front of you. 

As you experience the island, you will come across cases and mysteries that only a future detective can solve. Murders, missing jewels, even a runaway elephant are all there waiting to be solved. What tools are in your detective arsenal you ask? Well, take a look at our latest gameplay video to get a better idea on how you will be able to use that intuition of yours!

From Resogun to Returnal: the evolving VFX magic that brought Atropos to life

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Besides captivating gameplay, Housemarque is known for over the top particle effects. Titles such as Resogun, Alienation, Matterfall and Nex Machina all used proprietary VFX technology to bring colorful explosions to the screen in order to reward players for destroying enemies or completing levels. In Returnal, Housemarque switched from top down to a third person camera, but also to a more grounded and darker art style than before. In this article, Risto Jankkila, Lead VFX Artist, and Sharman Jagadeesan, Senior Graphics Programmer, give us a closer look at how they utilized their VFX tech to make the alien planet of Atropos and its inhabitants come to life.

Below you can find the full breakdown video covering some of the showcase VFX features of Returnal. In addition to that, we’ll go a bit more into detail with some of those features in this article.

From Resogun to Returnal: the evolving VFX magic that brought Atropos to life

The history of our VFX tech 

We have been working on our proprietary VFX tech since Resogun (2013 PS4 launch title), where the first prototype of our current particle system was used on some of the showcase effects. After Resogun, the particle system got a graphical user interface and we started referring to it as Next Gen Particle System (NGP). In 2014 we made the decision to produce all of the particle effects for Alienation with NGP. After shipping Alienation, the system was used for Nex Machina and ported to Unreal Engine for Matterfall.

NGP is designed to be a GPU-only VFX authoring system with minimal CPU overhead. Focus is on good performance and flexibility. Particle authoring is done by VFX artists who write compute shader snippets that define particle behaviour and data. NGP takes care of memory allocation and most of the boilerplate code, while artists can focus on behaviour and visuals.

Currently NGP is not intended to handle only particle effects. It can also be used for controlling voxel behaviour in volumes or for generating dynamic procedural geometry. We also have several modules that generate data to be used as an input for effects. 

For example, we have our own fluid simulation module that can feed its simulation data to NGP. Another example is a module called voxeliser which can convert an animated mesh to voxels. That data can be then used for volumetric character effects. Other resources like textures, bone matrices and vertex buffers can also be used as inputs for particle effects.

The VFX magic behind enemy tentacles and bullet trails: node particles 

From early on in Returnal’s development, it was clear that we wanted to do something special with enemy creatures on Atropos. Game director Harry Krueger wanted them to res

Bringing the lead character of Kena: Bridge of Spirits to life

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Ember Lab is very excited to share our first game with the world next week. In the game, you play as Kena, a young Spirit Guide who travels to an abandoned village in search of a sacred mountain shrine, and who must help the wandering spirits trapped there.

Kena’s original character designs were created by Wanchana “Vic” Intrasombat. He was a close collaborator on our commercial projects in the past, but this time he had a blank canvas and we can see so much of his charming and unique view of the world in all of the character designs.

The first sketches portrayed a very young girl. As the mechanics and story evolved, we realized she needed to be very skilled, and that her work as a Spirit Guide would require her to draw on more life experience when helping the other characters in the story. She gradually became older and more knowledgeable.

Kena was realized in 3D for the first time by Rodrigo Gonçalves. He built the prototype model and later continued to refine and explore real-time techniques for various details like her hair. We also collaborated with Carlos Ortega, who many revere for his beautifully clean 3D character work.

We iterated quite a bit over the course of the project, adding finer textures and exploring alpha card techniques that we had seen in other incredible games before us. For the hair, we eventually found a blend between solid geometry, which could give very clear shapes and catch light nicely, and alpha planes to show the detail of individual hair strands providing some more variation and imperfection. Similar attention would be given to the clothing, adding different fabric patterns and even some worn edges.

We love details like this, and it is something we try to do in all aspects of the game. The wear on her clothing communicates some experience and adventure. The beautiful staff she carries and various ornate decorations on her clothing aren’t loud, but reflect a reverence for tradition and a devotion to a greater purpose.

She is fully brought to life in animation, where much of her personality is conveyed through the way she moves and acts. The scope of the game and story was much larger than our past projects. This presented an exciting challenge in creating expressions with more emotional range and depth, and that had the right warmth and compassion for our hero. With many animations across the game, we created a library of expressions and other details like hand and hair poses. This provided a fast way to refine and unify animations and ensure that Kena always felt inhabited by the same soul from beginning to end.

A biome full of perilous hills to skate down.

On PS5, you’ll be able to appreciate all the epic and super wacky level details in stunning 4K. And when you’re absolutely crushing a level, chaining trick after trick at the highest possible speed down the biggest possible hill? No stress, because you’ll be doing it at 120 FPS (4K and 120fps with compatible devices).

Welcome to Burntrock

Burntrock is a new biome we wanted to reveal today and just one of five distinct biomes that make up Radlandia. It’s a desertscape full of camping cactus-folk, giant ancient fossils, and the legendary Burntrock Fest. Take a closer look at the locale below:

Cruise or crumble.

Well placed landings are key in Burnt Rock.

Even though it’s a desert, it’s not barren but brimming with character, and that was something that felt really important to us when we were developing our game – we want it to be a living, breathing world for players to explore. The levels in Burntrock are designed to teach you new techniques, like grabs, whilst simultaneously providing you a chance to polish up the skills you’ve developed through the game so far. And that means… well, it means you’re going to slam!

But the work that the art and design teams have put into Burntrock, makes that its own kind of


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1Madden NFL 22Grand Theft Auto V
2Grand Theft Auto VMinecraft
3MinecraftFall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
4Far Cry 5Far Cry 5
5Friday the 13th: The GameThe Crew 2
6Call of Duty: Modern WarfareCarX Drift Racing Online
7Red Dead Redemption 2Red Dead Redemption 2
8Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold WarThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
9Gang BeastsNeed for Speed Heat
10The ForesteFootball PES 2021 SEASON UPDATE
11Need for Speed HeatThe Forest
12God of WarFriday the 13th: The Game
13CarX Drift Racing OnlineFIFA 21
14Assassin’s Creed ValhallaCall of Duty: Modern Warfare
15Fall Guys: Ultimate KnockoutJump Force
16ARK: Survival EvolvedThe Last of Us Part II
17Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi StrikerDishonored 2