While we know the look of the PlayStation 5, the games that will be playable, and its specs, we don’t yet really understand how the general experience will benefit from the generational leap. How will the console make the most of the increased power, and will it be more than just about playing games?
According to Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, the PlayStation 5 might be trying to cut out the need for online guides, you instead being able to lean on your friends for guidance — and also the game itself.
On how the PS5 will leverage its social features, Lanning didn’t want to reveal too much, but it sounds like Sony will be going all in:
“…the social stuff that’s been built into the PS5 — I’m still not sure about how much I can really talk about […] I want to be careful, but they’re doing a lot more things that are like, enabling you to sort of open your experience a little wider to your […] human network of people that you’re connected with.”
Lanning explained further in the interview:
“[There are] ways that it’s enabling, sort of helping [with] problems that you might be having in the game, more intelligent monitoring of people having difficulty and — I wouldn’t say AI level, but it’s kind of smart things that are going on. Like, ‘if you take advantage of this new feature, you’ll be able to help your players where they normally get stuck in this way.’ And so there are some really clever things going on there that involve this sort of extension into other networks, other people, other points of feedback and giving people information on how to play the game better, how other people might play or solve these problems.”
It also seems like next-gen in general may be wanting the player to stick to the console for everything they need:
“Before we’d say, ‘Okay, I’m playing my console game…” And there’s connectivity and there’s friends, sharing of stats and stuff like this, but a lot of it, you’re still going to the web to engage in the discussion. […] I think we’re going to see in this generation a lot more of that interlaced, where you’re not leaving the console as much to go get the other data. […] It’ll be really interesting to see how much the audience takes to it and what they do with it, and what developers do with it.”
While this all sounds very interesting, what will be more interesting to see is if players really take to this supposed extra level of integration. Technically, the PS4 already has the ability for video guides within its own ecosystem, it allowing players to share video clips and all sorts within the Live from PlayStation tab, though this is a feature that — within my bubble at least — never seems to be talked about. It’s also a tad on the cumbersome side.
You can actually go to external websites within your PlayStation 4 trophy list to give you a clearer picture on what you need to do to get a trophy, but again, this isn’t something anyone ever seems to discuss. It’s a mostly forgotten feature, not helped by the PS4’s browser just being so slow. It’s usually quicker to just look stuff up on mobile.
But it might actually be much more than just simple video guides. My mind instantly goes to the Soulsborne series and its brilliant messages system that allows players to vaguely warn others of dangers — or lead them directly to it. Perhaps next-gen will see contextual in-game pop-ups whenever you run into trouble and continually struggle, like a tricky boss battle or a puzzle that’s just not adding up.
As someone who runs a website and YouTube channel that’s traffic is usually propped up by game guides, I am pretty intrigued to see how this will change things going forward. I guess it will be all about how it’s implemented, whether it’s all as smooth as it should be and if players even want such an integration. It’s likely that guides-focused content creators will still make a killing, but as much a killing as right now? Who knows.
Oddworld: Soulstorm is due for release later this year for PC, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4. This month’s Official PlayStation Magazine also includes features on Cyberpunk 2077 and a pretty much complete list of everything coming to PS5. You can subscribe here.
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