Spotlight on a dimension-hopping adventure

Danial Norjidi

Sony provided a preview of three upcoming titles for the PlayStation 5 (PS5) and PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles during its recent State of Play digital showcase.

The main highlight of the showcase was a tour of developer Insomniac’s PS5 action-adventure game Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, introducing some of the gameplay, characters and arsenal for the upcoming title, which has a June 11 release date.

The game sees heroes Ratchet and Clank go dimension-hopping as they take on an evil emperor from another reality. Rift Apart also introduces a brand new playable character to the series – Rivet.

Rift Apart’s Creative Director Marcus Smith spoke during the stream, describing the upcoming title as a brand-new, full-length Ratchet & Clank adventure built from the ground up for the PS5 console.

“Whether you’ve played every game since Ratchet & Clank’s debut, or you’re brand new to the series, Rift Apart is a standalone adventure that you won’t want to miss,” he said.

“Thanks to the new hardware, the worlds in Rift Apart are more beautiful than ever. Cities are full of life with traffic and civilians milling about everywhere.”

The creative director shared that one of the focal points of gameplay in Rift Apart is increased mobility.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. PHOTO: INSOMNIAC GAMES
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. PHOTO: INSOMNIAC GAMES

“Ratchet can now dash and wall run to traverse levels. This focus on mobility allows players to chain moves together to create exhilarating combos. Dashing allows you to evade attacks or gain strategic advantages. Enemies can’t hit what doesn’t momentarily exist.

“Dimensional tears in the world allow you to use the Rift Tether, another new traversal mechanic, to instantly pull yourself across battlefields to escape or flank enemies.”

He also explained that weapons in Rift Apart utilise the power of the Dual Sense wireless controller’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback to allow players to really feel the power of their arsenal. For example, with the Burst Pistol, players can pull back the trigger part way to peck-out accurately placed single shots, but pulling the trigger fully unleashes a rapid fire spread that covers more area. In either case, players will feel each shot burst from the weapon and connect with enemies.

Another example is the Enforcer, with each player can pull the trigger down halfway to fire a single barrel, reducing time between reloads, or pull the trigger fully and unleash both barrels with a devastating close-range attack.

“Thanks to the haptics, the player will feel the power of their shots through their hands,” he said.

The showcase demonstrated how, even during a boss fight, the player can be teleported to alternate dimensions mid-battle.

“Thanks to the power of the SSD, we can near-instantly teleport players to completely different locations. This isn’t some small arena being loaded, but the entire level from a different planet,” said Smith.

Rift Apart also includes several alternate dimension versions of classic planets from past games. “Thanks to the power of the PS5 and the 3D audio, we’ve been able to create alien planets with an immersive density like never before,” shared the creative director.

In addition to rift tethering and dimensional shifts, there are also many pocket dimensions scattered throughout the game.

“We have open areas to explore, Dimensional Clank puzzles, glitz challenges, arena challenges, aerial combat, Gold Bolts to collect, pocket dimensions to explore, armour to obtain and use in the first ever Ratchet & Clank photo mode,” continued Smith, who added that Rift Apart will also offer a slew of accessibility options.

“Experience Rift Apart’s new planets, weapons, intense high-action combat and near-instant load times all with some of the best visuals we’ve ever created,” he added.

Another title shown during the State of Play showcase was open world survival action-adventure game Subnautica: Below Zero, introduced by Jeff Tangsoc, Audio Producer for developer Unknown Worlds. Set one year after the award-winning original, Subnautica: Below Zero plunges players into a frigid underwater adventure in search of answers.

“Here, the native wildlife above and below the surface might consider you a tasty treat, assuming you don’t become an ice pop first,” it was shared.

“The previous research crew has vanished, including your sister. To uncover the truth, you’ll need to get crafty, building tools and shelter for your survival, but even that may not be enough.

“With the PS5 Dual Sense controller, every icy shock feels like it’s being sent right into your hands.

“The haptic feedback system allows you to feel each adrenaline-filled chase and provides visual and audio cues as you use resources, encounter key game moments, or get into situations where it’s probably best to run.

“By the time you squint to see what’s ahead, it may already be too late.”

It was also highlighted that when playing Below Zero on PS5, players will get a crystal clear experience, with up to 4K graphics, targetting 60fps when in performance
mode.

“If you already own a physical or digital version of the first Subnautica on PS4, you’ll be able to upgrade to the digital PS5 version at no additional cost,” he added.

Players will get to dive into Subnautica: Below Zero when it launches on PS5 and PS4 tomorrow.

The State of Play also featured a trailer for the highly popular title, Among Us. Developed by Innersloth, Among Us is a multi-player game of teamwork and betrayal, where four-10 players have to cooperate as they attempt to hold their spaceship together and return back
to civilisation.

However, one crewmate has been replaced by a parasitic shapeshifter and has the goal of eliminating the rest of the crew before the ship reaches home. As the official game page describes, “The imposter will sabotage the ship, sneak through vents, deceive and frame others to remain anonymous and kill off the crew.

“While everyone is fixing up the ship, no one can talk to maintain anonymity. Once a body is reported, the surviving crew will openly debate who they think the Impostor is. The Impostor’s goal is to pretend that they are a member of the crew. If the Impostor is not voted off, everyone goes back to maintaining the ship until another body is found. If The Impostor is voted off, the crew wins.”

While Among Us is already available on other platforms, the State of Play revealed that the game will be coming to PS4 and PS5 consoles this year, along with a Ratchet & Clank skin, hat and pet available exclusively on PlayStation.