Saints Row IV is coming this October and its better than ever. Playing as the newly elected President of the United States, you’re walking through the “White Crib” when an alien invasion commences. We were given a hands-on and more personal approach when we play tested for the half hour we tested, we were given opportunities to talk to members of the Volition dev while play testing. They were walking around, inquiring about our opinions and what we liked and disliked along with tips and future plans for the game.
While we were playing, the art director for Volition came by and we had a small Q&A, and he mentioned things such as multiplayer, where it’s now a drop in and drop out over Xbox Live where players are free to come and go as they please with their friends whenever they want. Unfortunately, its still only 2 player maximum coop, we were hoping that it had been increased to more. As you can see from the pictures we took, there’s a new range of weapons and they added superpowers, such as the super jump, and sprint charge, it draws inspiration from games such as Crackdown and expanding on that platform and taking it to newer depths albeit in a ridiculous and entertaining manner. Moving on the new weapons, you can see in the top left there’s a strange looking gun that we were told was the “Dubstep gun” where your gunshots play Dubstep and violently disrupt pedestrians in the game. Overall, it was an amazing experience to discuss with Volition their plans for the game, while also being able to more personally experience Saints Row IV. Expect more than these teaser pictures soon.
Regarding the Xbox One on one, this was an exclusive appointment only conference where photos and video were not allowed as things being shown were demos only demonstrating hardware capabilities and some things they were “Not ready to show yet, but will be soon in a press release statement”. It started off as them demonstrating CPU loads and how they intertwined cloud computing with it. The demo they were presenting was a model of the solar system that Frank, one of the programmers that flew down for this demo, coded from scratch off of a massive amount of data they got from NASA, including planets and asteroids, all with orbits and trajectories being individually tracked by Xbox One. Initially, they had the One tracking 30,000 celestial objects running solely off the computational power of the Xbox. When cloud computing was activated, pulling computations off of 40,000 servers Microsoft has set up, bringing the items being tracked up to over 330,000. This was a proof of concept, showing how they have given developers the tools to make maps almost infinitely large, due to the fact that any time any extra computations are required, the One will automatically pull what it needs.
The next tech demo that was shown was in regards to the Kinect 2.0 sensor. We were informed that the newer Kinect is eight times more powerful. This was shown off via an FPS tech demo, believe it or not. Frank demonstrated that developers had the opportunity now to incorporate both controller and Kinect play at once, while shooting and actively using his controller, he raise the controller up to his face and a shield popped up to defend from oncoming foes. He stated that they were capable of (and most conveniently) capable of incorporating “small” and “natural” movements in to gameplay, such as raising the controller up, and another small (not quite natural, unless you're Professor X) movement, tapping your temple. When he did that he turned on this sort of x-ray vision where he could see the invisible enemies and take them out. He tapped his temple again to turn it off, and went on further in to the demo by moving about the level and physically tilting himself to move his in-game character. He went about describing how they achieve this by using particles to bounce off your spine and use that to calculate what needs to be done in game, which he described us as being a giant thumbstick (maybe later on in life we'll grow up to be actual controllers!) that the developers can interface with, giving them even more options during development. The last tech demo which we noticed was a huge improvement was the Kinect microphone functionality. In this demo he started the level off by telling us he had a bunch of enemy helicopters in bound and how he would need something to shoot at them. He then lifted his fingers up and dragged them to the helicopters, essentially 'painting' the targets with his fingers and saying “Fire missiles”, and off they fired. Note the use of language here, it was not screamed. It was not yelled. It was 'said'. It was a room 16 people, adjacent to the entire exhibitor hall, and all that was required was to talk at average level. We were discussing this as the presentation went on about microphone sensitivity and actually brought that up with Frank. He said that they improved noise cancellation technology by making it both “smarter” and “sensitive”, so that leads us in to questioning developers choices in relation to microphone usage as what Bethesda did with Skyrim, but hopefully on a larger and more intuitive scale.
Another surprise that we got was incorporation of Smartglass and live TV. They noted via demonstration that he was subscribed to HBO and ESPN and how he was able to switch from one channel to the next seamlessly. He was also able to bring up a separate menu for twitter, while watching Game of Thrones, he brought up ESPN with current games and highlights. An interesting note was him able to use that information and stream it to his Smartglass, to watch both Game of Thrones on the Xbox One, and highlights on the Smartglass. We asked them to comment on the incorporation of Smartglass and the Xbox One, and they stated that it's entirely up to the developer and their discretion, which hopefully we'll see some action with that technology. We inquired about Micorosft points, and how those will interact with the Xbox One, and it was confirmed that they would be transferred into real currency, keeping at least the value you spent at the store.
To end this post, we gave you guys some goodies and visual eye candy on upcoming games for you PlayStation lovers (we wouldn't leave you guys out now, that'd just be mean of us) such as The Last of Us, Gran Turismo 6 (complete with car simulation control booths!), Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remake, and Kingdom Hearts 1.5
That's all for now folks, and be on the lookout for another appointment only, exclusive, and hands on and behind the scenes footage of Call of Duty Ghosts and Destiny coming up tomorrow!