Part V: The Last of Us Part II

Welcome to Part V of Chasing the Stick: The History of Naughty Dog during the PS4 Era.

I decided to break-up the six parts of my history into individual episodes as well, for more choice for you, the listener. This episode focuses on the tumultuous and generation-long development cycle of The Last of Us Part II. I hope you enjoy.

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PS1Digital Review, HDMI for PlayStation 1 – Digital Foundry

DF Retro Hardware: PS1Digital Review – HDMI for PlayStation 1 – Pristine Image Quality! by John Linneman for Digital Foundry

The PS1 is getting some time to shine in the FPGA spot light. This is not using a FPGA to emulate the hardware, but rather to upscale and output the video signal in a digital format.

This is a huge stride toward bringing real PS1 hardware to the modern display era. You seriously cannot believe that a game console from 1994 is capable of outputting such clean, sharp pixels. This video also makes me want to replay Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

Part IV: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Welcome to Part IV of Chasing the Stick: The History of Naughty Dog during the PS4 Era.

I decided to break-up the six parts of my history into individual episodes as well, for more choice for you, the listener. This episode dives into the rapid, slammed development of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. From pre-production to release in just 15 months, The Lost Legacy is a marvel to explore. I hope you enjoy.

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Nobody Cares About Sound – hyperduker

Nobody Cares About Sound – hyperduker by Stephen Malone

Sony has spent a lot of time talking about the PS5’s new sound technology, and now Microsoft is using Halo Infinite‘s new “acoustic engine” as a selling point (and to distract people from the dull graphics). This is all well and good, except for one thing: nobody cares about sound.

This isn’t 1995, we’re not buying Soundblasters and begging game developers to use MIDI. Good sound is incredibly missable: you can’t hear all that fancy audio when you’re watching trailers on your phone, and you can’t hear it when you’re playing on your TV’s tinny-ass stereo speakers. It’s difficult and invisible, which means it’s bad for marketing.

Nobody caring about sound design is simply not true. Bad sound design sticks out like a sore thumb. Great sound design can entirely change a game. Look at Dead Space, PT, the Kurosawa Mode in Ghost of Tsushima, Return of the Obra Dinn, and even Super Mario Bros. It can make all the difference in a racing game like Forza Horizon. Sound is essential in a game like Rainbow Six Siege. Heck, it even can make a game more accessible to different players.

Sony has put tons of money into developing their own 3D audio engine that claims to change how sound is perceived and experienced across multiple sound output devices—from fancy headphones to “tinny-ass stereo speakers.” This needs to be tested out in the real world, but the potential is immense. And with a company like Sony, that has invested millions and developed countless audio devices and platforms, investing in video game’s audio future, it is easy to imagine it being successful.

Audio is one of the most immersive elements in games. It can blend seamlessly into the setting and subconsciously amp the engagement the developer is going for. It can be right in your face and move you emotionally like Journey. Audio makes truly immersive VR possible, something Sony definitely has stake in.

I think audio is about to get a major and long overdue upgrade in console gaming. I believe this is going to be like the jump from 2D to 3D games for our ears.

The Last of Us Part II Review

John Sweeney, Art Director at Naughty Dog

For this review, I am going to delve into the entire plot of The Last of Us Part II. I want to fully discuss this game’s narrative, themes, and how they are explored through mechanics and design. Don’t worry, this will be here when you finish the game.

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