Games Inbox: Sony losing the plot with PS5 remakes

The Tuesday letters page does not understand the emphasis Sony is putting on PSVR2, as one reader recommends Grounded.

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The Sony formula
I realise the dangers of saying this and being accused of stoking the console wars, but I think we have to seriously ask whether Sony has lost its collective mind when it comes to… well, everything it’s been doing for the last 12 months. The lack of communication and lack of games is one thing but this new obsession with remaking games that absolutely do not need it is getting out of control.

It now seems likely that The Last Of Us Part 1 is part of a new template: remake a game that’s barely more than five years old, make a live service multiplayer game out of it, do a VR spin-off if you can, and then rinse and repeat for the next sequel. Well, as a fan of both The Last Of Us and Horizon I can say that I absolutely do not want any of this and consider it all a complete waste of time of money.

GC half joked about whether God Of War was next but there now seems a very good chance that it is. It came out only a year later than Horizon Zero Dawn, so if it gets remade next year it wouldn’t be a surprise at all. Except for the fact that it absolutely doesn’t need it and the main problem with Ragnarök is that it looks like a PlayStation 4 game, rather than the original not looking like a PlayStation 5 game.

I don’t know how any of this makes sense to anyone at Sony. And if it’s not true just say, other companies deny things all the time, but apparently not Sony. Although in this case I think that’s because it’s obvious true.

Serious work
So just a couple of days after GC do a feature about what Sony’s 10 live service games are likely to be and we get a rumour about one of them being exactly what they predicted, with the Horizon Zero Dawn news. I have to admit, I didn’t really pay much attention to that feature but suddenly it’s all beginning to seem like a pattern.

They already announced The Last Of Us multiplayer, we’re probably now getting Horizon, and God Of War and Twisted Metal are probably not far off. I bet they do bring back Uncharted and SOCOM just for this too. I’m sure people will just come out with the usual let-off excuse of ‘you don’t have to play them’ but let’s remember these games aren’t growing on trees. They’re being made with developers and money that could be used to make proper games, that people actually want.

Instead, we’re going to get live service versions and like it or lump it. It’s like that Xbox 360 era craze where every single-player game had to have a multiplayer mode, whether it made sense or not. Except then it was a quickly made afterthought and here it’s something that is going to take developers away from serious work for years at a time.

Bad timing
What is going on with Sony?! A remake of Horizon Zero Dawn and it’s not more than five years old? Even if it’s a remaster don’t tell me they’re going to try and charge anything less than £40 for it, and probably more. Spider-Man: Miles Morales was £50, so it’ll probably be that price.

And then there’s that story about them going all in on VR. I don’t see how that would’ve made sense at the best of times, let alone with the PlayStation 5 still having stock problems and the world going to hell in a handbasket. Unless Sony is going to take a Game Pass like bath on the price the PlayStation VR2 is going to cost the best part of £500, based on the specs. Who on earth is going to pay that at the moment?

I mean, I guess escaping to an alternate world has a lot of appeal right now but otherwise it’s madness. And is the reason why Sony hasn’t announced any new games for so long? Surely they can’t be that crazy? Right? Right?!

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A bug’s life
Grounded seems very good from the four hours I’ve played so far, now it’s out of early access with a full single-player campaign. The Honey I Shrunk the Kids aspect is immediately appealing and it’s well presented with the game world. The story is also giving a compelling reason to explore, and the crafting aspect seems pretty expansive and works pretty well on controller. It’s a surprisingly tough game as well, even on medium difficulty. Early game any bug noise through my headphones gets my heckles up.

I normally steer clear of crafting and farming games like Subnautica and Stardew Valley. Not because I don’t enjoy the core mechanics it’s just they’re massive time sinks normally. But Grounded has got under my skin so I’ve accepted I’ll probably won’t see the end game for some time and put in session around the upcoming mini glut of single-player games I want to play in Scorn, A Plague Tale: Requiem, God Of War Ragnarök, and High On Life.

Exclusive period
So how long are we expecting it to take for God Of War Ragnarök to appear on PC? Sackboy: A Big Adventure and, probably, Returnal were a little less than a year so it’s probably going to be no more than that, right? The idea is that the gap gets shorter every time until they’re coming out at the same time or near enough as makes no difference to a sensible person?

Perhaps it’ll be like movies and streaming, where I think it’s down to 40 days now for some film, 90 at the max. That seems to be what Sony is going for and while I don’t see how it makes any sense for them, as a company that’s trying to sell a console, it sure makes sense for me as someone that does have a PC and doesn’t want to spend £450 on an extra chunk of hardware.

I’d bet a considerable amount of somebody else’s money that Call Of Duty: Warzone 2.0 won’t be any better for stopping cheats than the current ones. I know that is supposed to be half the point of it but I really can’t see it making any difference and if you take that out what’s really the point?

I’m not interested at all, and yet I will admit I am keen on Modern Warfare 2 this year. The modern setting is what I prefer from Call Of Duty and despite some people grousing about the beta I think everything sounds pretty good so far.

I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion so what interests me is what if Modern Warfare 2 does a lot better than Warzone 2.0? Will that see the focus swing back to the paid-for game or will Activision just throw resources at Warzone until it’s a hit?

I don’t hate Warzone but I do prefer the traditional Call Of Duty so I wouldn’t be at all upset if battle royale took a rest and more effort was made coming up with new modes and weapons for Modern Warfare.

4 out of 5
The Reader’s Feature of overrated games, not a fan of the others but I do like Metroid games. I am not bothered that the reader found it overrated as it’s an opinion.

What I would like to know is, what are the best in the genre and how do they compare to Metroid? I quite like Metroidvania games in general so am wanting alternatives.
Alek Kazam

GC: It’s a genre filled with greats, including the excellent Metroid Dread, but some of the best modern ones include Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, the two Ori games, Yoku’s Island Express, Steamworld Dig 2, Owlboy, Guacamelee! 1 and 2, Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, and Axiom Verge (but not really the second one).

Cutting back
The recent Reader’s Feature regarding the cost of living resonated with myself, as I’m sure it did many others. Similar to the author, my household was firmly rooted in the ‘not poor/not rich’ category; we have always been conscious of our spending and have a 15-year-old car that does exactly what we need it to, which allowed us to enjoy social events without generally needing to consider the prices involved before committing to them. For example, after work drinks that roll into a meal out, travelling across the country to see family, stag/hen weekends, and so on. But this has now changed.

We bought a house last year, which needs renovating, so we have the (high) mortgage payments plus the DIY costs. Fortunately, the mortgage is fixed for four more years, but all our bills have gone up and continue to do so, and the general cost of living increase has us officially worried.

We’ve cut back on what we buy at the supermarket (less meat), we’re cutting out all alcohol for a while (to be healthier and save money), and I’m consciously saying no to social events that I deem too expensive, or that I’m not really bothered about doing – sometimes to my friends’ chagrin. And, as I said, we’re not poor. I honestly do not see how some people are going to survive the next six months, especially if we have a cold winter, as lots of people are scared to put their heating on.

Until recently, I hadn’t even thought about the energy costs of gaming, partly because I use my gaming PC for work, but I definitely will be avoiding leaving it on whilst I have lunch now. I also have a Switch, but that seems to use considerably less electricity than the other consoles. I’m subscribed to PC Game Pass but using Microsoft Rewards I’m finding I rarely need to actually pay the monthly cost.

The last game I bought was Elden Ring, after it was out for a few months and down to £30, so there’s no chance I’m ever paying £70 for a game. But, if Nintendo do announce a Switch 2 next year, there’s no way I’ll be able to consider picking one up at launch.

Inbox also-rans
If video game technology had been up to 2022 standards in the early 80s then games based on Knight Rider and the A-Team would have been flipping awesome.
John Atkinson

I’d like you to check out Hyper Demon. Would like to know what you think of it.

GC: It’s probably a bit late for a review now, but we do mean to try it anyway.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Razzledazzle, who asks what game mechanic have you never been able to get the hang of?

His example was the web-swinging in Spider-Man, but it can be any element of a game, from a general concept such as flying to something more specific like the special moves in a fighting game.

Are you completely unable to pull off the mechanic or is it more that you’re just not very good at it? How much effort have you made to get better and what would you change to make it easier?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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