April 20, 2024

Sea of ​​Stars available on launch day as PlayStation Plus Game Catalog title August 29 – demo out today – PlayStation.Blog

Sabotage was founded with a clear goal: to present our own definitive editions of the game genres we grew up playing. By combining retro aesthetics with modern design, we envision experiences that showcase what we love about old games while leaving behind the features we feel might hold us back today.

We knew from the beginning that out-of-combat controls would be an important aspect to tackle for our modern take on classic turn-based RPGs, and one of the pillars of Sea of ​​Stars.

Sea of ​​Stars will be available as a PlayStation Plus Game Catalog title on launch day

We are delighted to announce that Sea of ​​Stars will be joining the Playstation Plus Game Catalog (available to all Extra and Premium members) on launch day, August 29. It’s incredible for us to imagine how many more players around the world will experience Sea of ​​Stars and participate in the conversation around our project.

After working on this game that is so dear to us for five years, we are now just a few weeks away from release, and we are happy to share this moment with the PlayStation community.

Try it for yourself: PlayStation demo available now

You can get a taste of the Sea of ​​Stars crossover system in the demo available now on both PS4 and PS5.

The demo features areas that will be part of the final game, but we made sure to pick a slice that didn’t reveal any major spoilers from the main story. It’s designed to give a hint of context but mostly shows some gameplay systems and mechanics around dungeon crawling and combat. It aims to understand the bias and the vibe without giving away the highlights of the tour.

It’s not exactly the final product, but we think this playable chip is what we’re looking for. We hope you enjoy it!

Why is crossing so important to vision?

Too often, we have to fight epic monsters only to go out of our way to find the next objective because a fallen tree blocked the way. With Sea of ​​Stars, we set out to move as far away from tile-based movement as possible to create something that felt lighter and more seamless, while allowing for more varied movements, and in turn, offering players more opportunities to interact with the environment during their adventures. We wanted the exploration to be as thorough as the combat.

The wide intersecting stripes were tackled in order to foster a sense of touch in the surrounding environments, inviting players to touch everything they see and for the game to acknowledge their actions. The vision was a promise we wanted players to hear while playing: “If it looks like you can grab and lift, you can. And if the ledge is clear, feel free to jump off and see if there’s treasure down there – you can always climb back up afterwards. Put aside any game rules you expect, look around and act on what seems to make sense physically, and the game will catch you.”

That’s easier said than done, and we might have demanded catchy music, catchy combat, and an exciting story while we were at it, but we still gave it our best shot.

A big part of keeping level layouts engaging is making sure they have lots of micro-loops and interactions that allow us to play with the pacing, whether it’s with movement speed, different animations, or small modules that players have to decide how to traverse, often with more than one possibility, all connected seamlessly into the wide open areas that support the story we’re telling.

Starting from the perspective of the classic camera, our character moves in eight different angles with movements that include swimming, climbing, jumping out and up ledges, tightrope walking, and maybe an upgrade or two in the future, which we won’t go into here for spoiler reasons. The MVP here is definitely elevated as it allows much more verticality in the game than is usually seen in games of the genre.

In short, by moving the player’s movement beyond walking in four angles and climbing in one angle gave us what we wanted to break free from the classical movement bound to the grid we wanted to modernize.

Intersection design: a concrete example

As mentioned earlier, the use of a crossway can support different intentions. In the following example, it is used as a way to teach the players to swim, or rather, it is part of the actions available to them in Sea of ​​Stars. For our levels to depend on swimming going forward, we need to first make sure that the players have learned the action, and that they will know to look for bodies of water in the future.

This is how the player’s will is used in the early stages of the game to ensure that they teach themselves to swim competently rather than reading a pop-up card. First, let’s look at an early design sketch that will lead to the final version of the swimming tutorial section found in the final game.

Pictured below is the moment the level design organically reflects the swimming feature. After a short fight, the main path leads to one way forward, leaving the player with only one option to progress: walk the plan.

To support players who don’t even know that swimming is worth it, the level art emphasizes a clear path, indicating that the adventure is invited to jump off a ledge into a pool of turquoise water that forces players to try a jumping action and find out what happens.

All environments are designed to be tactile and reinforce the habit of players to repeatedly try to discover new things on their own without the need for intrusive tutorials or UI indicators that would break the immersion.

This is just one example, of course. Traversal’s gameplay is designed inch by inch to be presented as sequences that support progression and flow throughout the game.

Simply put, when players aren’t fighting or reading dialogue, they’re exploring, or rather, traversing. While players are free to explore at their own pace, deliberate pockets like this are present everywhere, each serving a different purpose, whether it’s helping to assimilate narrative information, cooling down after a tough fight, offering an optional moment of reflection, or learning a new skill through invisible instruction.

Sea of ​​Stars will be available on PS4 and PS5 on August 29. Stay tuned.

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