State Of Play Roundup February 2021

Sony unveiled the PlayStation slate of content for the first half of 2021 by showing off their PlayStation 4 and 5 titles which are soon to be released. This was a mix of first and 3rd party titles with few surprises.

The show itself was pretty tight, was approximately 30 minutes and mainly showed off titles and content we’d seen before – although there were a couple of hidden surprises at the back end of the show from Square Enix and the Final Fantasy team. Unfortunately, we had no updates on Ratchet and Clank, Horizon Forbidden West and God of War 2.

Crash 4 kicked off the show with an updated version coming to PS5 which is going to offer 4K and 60FPS gameplay, 3D Audio, loading times and haptic feedback from the PS5 DuelSense Controller. Returnal was shown off again, this time with some extended gameplay. This is an upcoming third-person shooter psychological horror game developed by Housemarque and published by Sony themselves. Returnal is set to be released for the PS5 on April 30, 2021.

Knockout City was shown off again having been shown during the Nintendo Direct. This is a dodgeball battle royale game that has an interesting trailer, but a less interesting gameplay trailer. Imagine Fornite crossed with Dodgeball and you’ll have a good idea of what was shown off. This one looks like it’s going to launch cross-platform across PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC.

We got a first look at SIFU which is a new martial arts game from Sloclap. This looked like close-quarters martial arts action and looked pretty interesting. SIFU appears to be a modern 3D twist on a scrolling beat em up style game, with lots of punches kicked and throws with various enemies that get in your way.

Solar Ash was shown next from Heart Machine, makers of Hyper Light Drifter and it’s going to be published by Annapurna Interactive. This looks like a very stylish game with fast-paced action where a stylised character navigates a 3D alien-like world. It looks very different from Hyper Light Drifter, but from what we saw this one looks very exciting and is definitely one of my most anticipated games of 2021.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Security Breach was up next which is coming out for PS4 and PS5. Personally, not my cup of tea but if you’re into this then it could look like fun. Oddworld Soulstorm was shown off again in an almost unnecessary showcase. We’ve seen this shown twice before and I think there’s only so much Oddworld we can see. I am sure if you’re a fan of the Oddworld series then this is welcome news, however, I think we’ve seen it, we know what it is and we’re ready for its release.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits was given much more time on the showcase. It’s an upcoming action-adventure game developed and published by Ember Lab. The story follows Kena, a young spirit guide who uses her magical abilities to help deceased people move from the physical to the spirit world. The player uses Kena’s staff for attacking enemies, and her pulse ability for defending against attacks. They are tasked with collecting small spirit companions known as the Rot, who help to complete tasks and battle against enemies.

The game’s development is led by brothers Mike and Josh Grier, founders of Ember Lab. Having spent several years creating commercials and branded applications, the development team shifted to creating an original video game. They partnered with Sony Interactive Entertainment for a console-exclusive deal and grew the team to 15 core employees. The game’s art is created in collaboration with Vietnamese animation studio Sparx, and its fictional world is inspired by Eastern locations such as Japan and Bali (Indonesia). The original score is composed by Jason Gallaty, who collaborated with Balinese ensemble group Gamelan Çudamani to create respectful gamelan music. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is scheduled for release for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on August 24, 2021.

Deathloop was also shown off with a nice new trailer, very similar to a James Bond intro sequence. It’s an upcoming action-adventure game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. Deathloop transports players to the lawless island of Blackreef in an eternal struggle between two extraordinary assassins. Explore stunning environments and meticulously designed levels in an immersive gameplay experience that lets you approach every situation any way you like. Hunt down targets all over the island in an effort to put an end to the cycle once and for all. The game is to be released on May 21, 2021, for PlayStation 5 (under a one-year console exclusivity deal) and PC.

Finally, and surprisingly we saw Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. This is a new chapter for Final Fantasy VII featuring Yuffie. FFVII Remake is also getting an upgrade to PS5 with better graphics, faster loading times and you can upgrade for free if you own the PS4 version. FFVII Remake is also coming to PS Plus in March.

Although it wasn’t part of the State of Play Stream, Sony also updated us via their blog about PSVR coming to PS5. First details on the next-generation VR system coming to the PS5 console. Here’s what Sony had to say about PSVR on PS5.

More than four years ago, we launched PlayStation VR to offer a transformative new way to play games on PS4, providing a much stronger sense of presence and deeper immersion to players compared with traditional games. In that time, we’ve seen tremendous experiences that have propelled virtual reality gaming forward, including highly acclaimed titles like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Tetris Effect, Blood & Truth, Moss, Beat Saber, and Resident Evil 7 biohazard. We’ve also enhanced the experience for some PS VR titles when played on PS4 Pro and PlayStation 5.

Today I’m pleased to share that our next-generation VR system will be coming to PlayStation 5, enabling the ultimate entertainment experience with dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity. Players will feel an even greater sense of presence and become even more immersed in their game worlds once they put on the new headset.

We’re continuing to innovate with our new VR system so that our fans can continue to enjoy the unique experiences that are synonymous with PlayStation. We’re taking what we’ve learned since launching PS VR on PS4 to develop a next-gen VR system that enhances everything from resolution and field of view to tracking and input. It will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience.

One of the innovations we’re excited about is our new VR controller, which will incorporate some of the key features found in the DualSense wireless controller, along with a focus on great ergonomics. That’s just one of the examples of future-proof technology we’re developing to match our vision for a whole new generation of VR games and experiences.

There’s still a lot of development underway for our new VR system, so it won’t be launching in 2021. But we wanted to provide this early update to our fans, as the development community has started to work on creating new worlds for you to explore in virtual reality.

Even though we didn’t get news of Ratchet & Clank, Horizon Forbidden West and God of War there’s still plenty of games here to be excited about. Kena looks beautiful and we have a release date for that one, Deathloop looks very good indeed and Solar Ash continues to be one of my most anticipated games in 2021.

Let me know what you think of Sony’s State of Play.