Wednesday , March 3 2021

Naughty Dog Vs. Santa Monica: What study should a science fiction game do for Sony?



I never liked Killzon: when I found out that the brand, which was run by Guerilla Games in collaboration with Sony, I just shrugged my shoulders … and that was it. I didn’t go crazy for this series, I didn’t delve into the plot and I always treated it like a quick adventure that I will soon forget. It was no different with Killzone: Shadow Fall, whose campaign was so bland that I don’t even remember the names of the most important characters.

Poor portfolio

The Dutch responsible for the aforementioned IP did much better with Horizon Zero Dawn, which also plays science fiction. Aloy’s story, though not the best flights, was interesting, and getting the latest juices out of PlayStation 4 consoles still does a great job today. This is one of the most beautiful games, if not the most beautiful, available for past “blue” genes. So I’m glad Guerilla can develop Horizon Forbidden West in peace and not think of another Killzon.

However, with the freezing of the brand’s text mentioned at the beginning, Sony’s shelf with the inscription “science fiction productions” shrank and yet, during the eighth generation, it didn’t fill to the brim. . Sure, we have Horizon Zero Dawn, Detroit: Become Human or InFamous: Second Son, but it’s still not enough to see how much can be taken out of the genre. BioWare has proved it in its glory years thanks to the Mass Effect trilogy.

Mass Effect or Bethesdy?

In my opinion, the Japanese giant does not yet have a brand in its portfolio that would occur in the distant future and at the same time allow stakeholders to travel between planets in space, or even go beyond the Milky Way. . And yes, I realize this seems like another part of BioWare’s most popular brand, but I still can’t understand why no publisher has tried to do something similar by looking at John Shepard’s popularity on the web. We remind you that more than eight years have passed since the premiere of Mass Effect 3.

Only Bethesda (it can be said) will sometimes look at the work of Canadian developers. Skyrim shares many features with the Dragon Age franchise and now Todd Howard is also developing Starfield, an RPG in space that will reinforce immersion by expanding the role of NPCs, often much neglected by other developers. In addition, the creators will give us the opportunity to explore the huge world, which will be very enjoyable thanks to the new offer of proprietary graphics engines, among others. more complicated animations than we’ve seen so far in American productions.

A break from the hallways?

Going back to Sony’s potential project, I wouldn’t want it to be another linear aisle, like the aforementioned Killzone: Shadow Fall. However, I know I’m asking for the impossible, because the Japanese don’t feel like creating titles full of options (not counting, of course, interactive adventure games, because they focus on that), not to mention role-playing games. .

It’s a shame, because, as I mentioned earlier, Sony definitely lacks this brand: a sci-fi RPG set in the open world, full of moral choices, well-designed thought-provoking side missions, or interestingly written characters – not just the main ones, but also the less important ones of the main plot. In addition, the creation of these games (and the release of Starfield) would be a blow to BioWare, which in the end (I hope so) would rub their eyes and notice that their new Mass Effect (2023) was announced. at the end of last year it may be crushed by the production of competitors, as long as it does not deliver the expected quality.

Since I’ve already presented what science fiction project I dream of from Sony, now I need to think about what studio I could work on. It would be a huge game, so I think Santa Monica and Naughty Dog should be considered (probably Bend is busy with the new Days Gone, Insomniac is likely to start working on another Spider-Man and Guerilla has shown that are not very good for “working in the future”).

Santa Monica …

First, let’s focus on the first team to spend this year still preparing God of War: Ragnarok (working title) for its Sony hardware release. It should be remembered that Cory Barlog has repeatedly mentioned (or rather mocked playing with the community) about a possible science fiction title, changing his profile picture and background on Twitter, or posting encrypted messages many times.

Moreover, throughout 2012-2013, Santa Monica allegedly worked on two productions at the same time – God of War: Ascension and – to our surprise – a science fiction project (the developers dug for two and a half years , according to the British Eurogamer), which was canceled in 2014 for unknown reasons. At the same time, the American team left for example. Stig Asmussen, who was the main designer of the abolished game.

If we look at the release dates of the titles developed by Santa Monica Studio, we can see a big gap between 2013 and 2018. In 2013 debuted the fourth installment of the series God of War (the prequel to the Kratos trilogy) and, in 2018, God of War (2018) appeared on PlayStation 4, so it’s safe to say that Sony’s science fiction project actually got thrown in the trash, see below).

Sony Santa Monica canceled the concept of IP arts (Darkside?)

But let’s focus on the present. Santa Monica is already getting ready for the next game, looking for, for example, an art director to create a new project hitherto unexpected. And since we already know God of War Ragnarok, there’s a good chance it’s a new IP from Cora Barlog, a big fan of the science fiction genre.

Dog intertwined …

Naughty Dog, on the other hand, is now free. The team brought The Last of Us Part II and has been working on a new production since September last year. Team leader Neil Druckmann said in a recent Twitter post that they are creating “something really fun.” Something very funny, so I could easily launch Uncharted 5 and The Last of Us 3, as well as a new IP address, because I would accept everything from code masters with open hands.

However, the supposed conceptual art of the new Naughty Dog title released yesterday stimulated the PlayStation community and gave them hope that Americans were creating something like Dragon Age, because in the pictures we could see a shaman with green eyes. and a dragon-headed warrior: his trophy. Definitely, this is not my dream space and intergalactic journey, but rather a fantasy world.

Rather like Druckmann syndrome

In short, I get the impression that Naughty Dog would be better off creating an open world or designing planets that we could then explore. Santa Monica has had a chance at this topic in the past (the project I mentioned earlier was supposed to be an open world with a strong emphasis on exploration), but her project was thrown in the trash probably not on a whim of Sony, but for other more serious problems during development. Also, I get the feeling that Cory Barlog is more likely to create a Dead Space or Alien-style corridor than a more non-linear world, as his Twitter channel might suggest.

Currently, we can only speculate. Still, I’m sure at least one of the two bands mentioned will definitely prepare a new IP for the ninth generation, which will be related to the science fiction or fantasy genre. I am very happy about this and hope that we do not have to wait for the first details until the middle / end of 2022.




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