PlayStation Mega Bits: March 2021

Another month has come and gone, which means its time to round up all the PlayStation news that’s fit to print and chop it up into easily-consumed bits (perhaps you could say…Mega Bits) for you. March was absolutely stuffed with PlayStation news, so naturally Adam has chosen this time to leave the studio and shop his new autobiography, My Name is Adam and I Hate Xbox, around to publishers. The task then falls to me, and I trust you’ll find me reasonably well prepared.

The biggest news this past month is the announcement that a new PlayStation VR is coming! A post on the PlayStation Blog made the announcement and gave us just a few little details about the new device. The new VR system will feature higher resolution, larger field of view, and improved tracking, all weak points of the original PlayStation VR. Those of you dreading two potential rounds of competition with scalpers for new PlayStation hardware in one year, don’t worry, the next PlayStation VR will NOT be launching in 2021.

We may have received little in the way of hard details about the new PlayStation VR hardware, but we did get a load of information about the new controller. Gone are the days of waving about little black plastic tubes with large, glowing balls attached to them, the new controllers are…well…controllers! Each of the new PSVR controllers will feature an analog stick, two face buttons, a grip button, and an adaptive trigger. That’s right, all those special little bells and whistles in the DualSense are going to make their way into the next generation of VR! Analog sticks was enough to get me excited, but the inclusion of haptics and adaptive triggers has me absolutely salivating.

The other major piece of news for March is the expansion of the Play at Home program. Ratchet and Clank was the first game made available for free, and if you’re reading this before March 31 you can still claim it, but a plethora of games have been added as of March 26th. Rez Infinite, The Witness, Enter the Gungeon, Subnautica, Abzu, Moss, Paper Beasts, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, and Thumper are now all available at no cost on PlayStation. I’ve played most of these games, and there are some real gems in here. The inclusion of VR titles is a pleasant little surprise, too. What’s that? That isn’t enough for you? Really? You’re greedy. But that’s ok, because on April 19th Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition will join the Play at Home lineup and can be yours for free. Forever. Well…maybe not forever…

We live in a digital age, and with digitization comes an unfortunate impermanence. I’m not some physical media crusader, I made more digital game purchases last year than I ever have before, but I know those downloads won’t be around forever…much like the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita digital storefronts. The PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable digital storefronts will go down on July 2, and the PlayStation Vita will lose access on August 27. It’s time to find those charge cables, plug in those handhelds, and download all your favorites before they disappear. Oh, and the PlayStation Network will be ending TV and movie sales, my condolences go out to the six people that use the service heavily.

But enough doom and gloom! Let us take that dollop of sadness and make it into a sadness sandwich by adding more good, good news. There was a new State of Play at the end of February! Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time‘s new PS5 version was shown off, featuring all the graphical and framerate improves you would come to expect. Sifu, a stylish-looking brawler, was revealed, and it made a positive impression on me. Oddworld: Soulstorm got an April 6 release date, and was revealed as a PlayStation Plus title. Kena: Bridge of Spirits, otherwise known as “that game Adam is super excited about”, got an August 24 release date and another wonderful-looking trailer. Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming to PS5 in June, but in typical Square Enix fashion the new version comes with a silly subtitle: Intergrade. FFVIIR: Intergrade will be available as a free upgrade for owners of the PS4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake…unless you got the game as a PlayStation Plus freebie. If you got the game for free, you cannot upgrade it to Intergrade, which is a move I just don’t agree with.

Do you know what I do agree with? Fighting games. I like to play ’em, I like to watch ’em, and my favorite tournament to watch is Evo. We didn’t get a physical Evo last year because of the global pandemic, but we didn’t get an online Evo either after some unsavory news about some of the tournament founders came to light. I won’t go into it here, but those implicated and involved have been removed from Evo going forward. Losing founding members isn’t easy, but Evo won’t be going it alone, since Sony has acquired the company. Alongside the acquisition news, a lineup for an online Evo 2021 was announced, featuring Guilty Gear Strive, Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter V, and Tekken 7. If you noticed that all of those games are available on PlayStation, you aren’t alone, but some reassurances have been made that Evo isn’t going to be a PlayStation-only tournament going forward. Heck, even Evo 2021 isn’t PlayStation-only, as Street Fighter V supports cross-play with PC, and the PC version of Tekken 7 will be used for its tournament. Those reassurances rang hollow to some paired with the exclusion of Super Smash Brothers: Ultimate, but come on. Have you played Smash online? It’s not exactly in a “tournament-ready” state.

I’ve got two more, smaller pieces of news to close out this month’s Mega Bits. The first story concerns Jade Raymond. You know Jade Raymond, right? One of the most prominent women in game development? Co-creator of the Assassin’s Creed series? Yeah, that’s her. Jade Raymond was recently at a Google-owned game studio working on games for Stadia…until Google did what Google does and lost interest and closed their game studios. Now Jade is starting a brand-new studio called Haven, and Haven’s first project will be a new IP for PlayStation! The other small piece of news is there’s going to be a Ghost of Tsushima movie! Maybe! Chad Stahleski, director of the John Wick films, has been attached to direct. It sounds like a promising start, but video game movies have a nasty habit of not getting made.

That’s it! That’s the PlayStation news for March, or at least the news I’ve hand-picked for you. It’s shaping up to be a solid year for PlayStation, and I can’t wait to experience it with you. Well…if Adam’s distaste causes him to leave the studio again, that is.

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