Sony’s been trying to nail down pricing on PlayStation Now for half a decade. Today’s dramatic price drop brings the streaming game service as close to reasonable as it’s ever been. Here’s how pricing breaks down by region.
That’s not bad. A $9.99 charge from Sony for something you forgot you subscribed to is a lot less shocking than a $19.99 charge popping up. There’s something soothing about single digits.
Along with the new pricing plans, Sony is adding a selection of big-name PlayStation 4 games to the service for a limited time, including God of War, Grand Theft Auto V, inFamous: Second Son, and Uncharted 4. These four games will be available on the service now through January 2020, and more games will be rotated in and out on a regular basis.
Sony is so excited about the price changes it’s made a minute-long commercial.
First a lot better, now a lot cheaper. Nice moves, PlayStation Now.
Fine Art[Fine Art](https://kotaku.com/c/fine-art) is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some art you’d like to share, [get in touch!](mailto:[email protected])
Jin Kim is a concept artist who has worked on games like the most recent God of War.
Cosplay ShowcaseKotaku’s Cosplay Showcase is a feature that highlights the unique work of cosplayers, artists and photographers as they seek to tell new stories and push the boundaries of the craft.
German cosplayer Kes von Puch and her boyfriend Marcel are to thank for this incredible piece of God of War cosplay, which didn’t just require the creation of a costume, but the transformation of a man.
While Kes was spending over 1000 hours crafting Kratos’ outfit, making everything from his belt to his pouches to his pants to his weapons (including a ton of work stitching actual leather), Marcel was hitting the gym (and the bathroom) in an attempt to become Kratos.
He normally has hair, and doesn’t have a beard. Those things had to change for this cosplay, and Marcel now shaves his head clean every time he dons the costume so that he can be as authentic to the character as possible (a process that can take up to eight hours when you include the body make-up).
The paint and outfit come off at the end of a show/shoot, but after growing it out for he cosplay, “the beard is a keeper”, Kes says. “We consider it part of the family now.
The latest Game Maker’s Toolkit video is all about video game cameras and how developers can use them to help make gameplay more challenging, to scare the player or to better serve a story. It also is a great reminder of how much work and thought goes into something that, if done right, most players won’t even notice.
Basically, cameras in games can serve two purposes: Gameplay or aesthetics. So a camera can focus on the action, like in a fighting game. Or you can have cameras that pull out to provide sweeping vistas like seen in Uncharted 3. The key for developers is knowing when to use a certain camera because it is very easy to make a game feel bad because the camera isn’t right for that moment.
Batman: Arkham Asylum does a wonderful job of having a dynamic camera which pulls up close to Batman during story moments, but also flies away from him during action moments. The camera will also tilt when he is poisoned, to represent Batman being sick and feeling loopy.
The whole video is worth watching and goes into depth about all the little details that go into different camera angles and how they work to scare players, make them feel powerful or help them connect to the character.
It is interesting to think about how a good camera in a game is often ignored by most players. I know I don’t think about how great a camera is while playing a game. But if that in-game camera starts to break or not feel good, then I notice it and start to complain. It’s like good music in a movie. You don’t notice it until it’s gone or replaced with something terrible.
What is the worst camera you can remember from a video game?
“A lot of this performance is a love letter to my kids and it’s an apology,” says voice actor Christopher Judge in a new in-house documentary about the making of the PlayStation 4 hit God of War. Judge played the game’s lead character, Kratos, and when he talked about his performance, he teared up. As an actor working on projects requiring him to be away from his family for long stretches of time, he says he saw a lot of his own experience in what Kratos is dealing with in the game.
The stress of raising kids while doing your job is a constant theme in Raising Kratos, the 115-minute documentary that Sony released on YouTube today.
It’s fitting given the themes of the game itself. The 2018 God of War takes the mythology behind a bloodthirsty action hero and uses it to tell a more mature story about being a parent as players direct Kratos through an adventure in which he is constantly accompanied by his pre-teen son Atreus.
Game director Cory Barlog attributed that creative choice in part to his own experience of becoming a father, and the protagonist Kratos’ struggle to bond with a child he’s never known in many ways ends up mirroring some of the same struggles of the other people who worked on the game.
At one point one of the documentary producers asks Shannon Studstill, the game’s executive producer, about the sacrifices she’s had to go through during the making of the game. She tears up and declines to answer.
Making the game was rough. The documentary chronicles the personal struggles and the creative challenges. God of War began development in 2013, which is where the documentary, a combination of behind the scenes footage and sit-down interviews, begins. “Doubt is the demon that lives in the ear of everyone in this industry,” Barlog says at one point, and much of the documentary focuses on the team trying to figure out when things need more work and when they’re finally good enough.
In one part of the documentary Barlog watches a group of play testers try out the game for the first time and is unable to parse their facial expressions. Afterwards they tell the person leading the focus group that Kratos’ son, Atreus, is simply too powerful and makes the game less fun. This leads the team to go back to the drawing board and try to balance enemy encounters.
In the homestretch of development, as Barlog’s questions and requests for changes continue, some of the developers let their frustration show. At one point he grills someone working on the game’s user interface about how the menus work. Right before the camera cuts the person flashes an exasperated Jim-from-the-Office look directly into the lens.
“‘It would be nice to have this effect. It would be nice to have this breakable. It would be nice to have this and that,” one member of the team says while paraphrasing Barlog. “And it’s like dude, we’re 10 days away from beta.”
Throughout production, the game’s parental themes kept reverberating through the real lives of the people involved with the game.
Near the end of the documentary, Studstill opens up about her anxieties as a parent. “We as working parents always wonder and question do we really spend enough time with our children,” she says. “I carry that with me everyday and I never have the right answer. All I can do is be the best that I can be in those moments when I do have my children. That I’m really able to engage and hopefully the stresses of the job don’t get in the way of being the best parent that I can be.”
Her comments echo the remarks she eventually made last December after accepting the award for Game of the Year at the Game Awards. “I want to thank my children for being the very best, and all the families of the God of War team who road this wave with us, and for the support that we were given over the course of many months, many hours, many years,” she said.