On Friday the 17th October, I had the opportunity to attend the latest PlayStation Pause event, with Insomniac games President Ted Price. I assembled at the Arts Technica school in Darlinghurst, Sydney, with the usual suspects - including Sony Computer Entertainment head honcho Michael Ephraim, a friendly guy whom goes out of his way to greet the invitees. Soon enough we are herded into a theater where Ted Price is bought onstage to demonstrate a level from the finished build of Resistance 2. The cut scene which sets the tone for the level is full on, featuring a convoy of trucks transporting Nathan Hale and fellow soldiers being ransacked by the Chimera through the woods. It's both exciting and visually spectacular with a visually appealing look, with strong fog and convincing HDR.
Price commentated throughout the presentation, and whilst nothing revelatory was announced, he did mention that they have toned down the battles, taking players on more of an anticipatory roller coaster ride, responding to criticisms from the first Resistance of "everything turned to 11", whilst at the same time upping the gore quotient. Price was eager to stress the focus on the strong online multiplayer aspects of the games, featuring up to 60 players, dispersed into 5 groups.
After the presentation there was a short Q and A with Price. At that stage I was still unsure of my ability to obtain an interview with the man himself, so I asked the question I wanted the answer to the most:
TT Gamer: Are you able to make to talk about any PlayStation Home integration?
Price: Not yet. We are waiting to see when Home launches, and we will have a presence there. [Whispers] It's going to be cool. [Laughs]
So clearly that wasn't going to be revealed today.
Soon after, we disbanded to play Resistance 2 on the demo consoles. Having played through the first Resistance, it was fairly easy to pick up and play, however the player before me (was it you IGN?) had depleted almost all my ammunition and I died almost instantly. Still, it was fun while it lasted. Then I turned around to see none other than Ted Price standing behind me. "What did you think" he asked. "I liked it" I replied. "Call it superficial but I was pretty impressed with the visual look of the game. I've been getting a little sick of the next generation brown" I added. Ted smiled and ushered me out for an interview.
TTGamer: The first Resistance was quite visually spectacular, especially for a launch title, as was Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction. What have you learned from those two titles that have been applied to Resistance 2?
Ted Price: We've made a lot of improvements to the lighting system, so that the levels pop even more and so that we have a lot more dynamic lights in the game, creating real time shadows and more punch to the levels. We've added some really cool tech for our water, it's fully refractive, fully reflective and we've done a lot more optimisation of the engine so that we can add even more and more enemies, more effects, you name it, so it's really helped us with the overall detail and size of the game.
TTGamer: The PlayStation 3 system has evolved quite a bit in the last two years
Ted Price: Well the engines for the PlayStation 3... our engine has evolved significantly, the PlayStation 3 has, of course, remained steady.
TTGamer: Yes, but in terms of adding, for instance, Dual Shock 3, Trophies
Ted Price: Oh right, I'm sorry.
TTGamer: How does that affect development on the console? Because it almost seems as though they are making it up as they go along.
Ted Price: Well, Dual Shock, the vibration was relatively easy for us to add because we had done it on PlayStation 2, so it was surprisingly easy to add that into the games, and I think it really did help the games.
TTGamer: I digress; I'm not speaking so much about Dual Shock, but just in general of the evolution of the system, compared to say PlayStation 2, where you know, you got it out of the box, and that was it for the duration of the consoles life.
Ted Price: [Pause] I don't know...We haven't felt that it's changed significantly. I mean, most of the changes have been superficial, so what's important for us is that the hardware itself, the core, the cell processor itself is consistent, because that's what we focus on the most.
TT Gamer: How much power is there on PlayStation 3 that has so far remained unused?
Ted Price: Well, it's different for every developer. For us, I think we have a long way to go in terms of how much we can pull out of it. With every game, we discover new ways to optimise our routines and move more over to the SPU's. So I think what's great about the PlayStation 3 is you'll see continued improvements over the next few years with the games coming out.