The PS Vita Vaults, our custom-built sampling units, are currently touring around Ireland. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the future of gaming for yourself and try out all the latest PS Vita games. Everyone who visits the PS Vita Vaults will also be in with a chance to win a PS Vita and a copy of Uncharted: Golden Abyss for keeps!
We’ll be visiting the following locations over the next 2 weeks:
March 1st-4th Galway, Eyre Square
March 1st-4th Waterford, John Roberts Square
March 8th-11th Kilkenny, Canal Square
March 8th-11th Dublin (Location TBC)
As if that weren’t enough, we’re also giving you the chance to have the PS Vita Vaults come to you, so you and up to 10 friends can have it exclusively to yourselves for a day! For full details and to enter visit our PS Vita Vaults Facebook page.
As we get closer and closer to the European launch of the PS VITA and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, myself and all the guys at Bend Studio are getting pretty amped. For us it’s been a long time in the making, from early brainstorming sessions on the PS VITA itself beginning in 2008, through production, which wrapped up at the end of 2011. When given the opportunity to create a launch title for Sony’s new next-gen handheld, we jumped at the chance. When asked what game we’d like to make, we said Uncharted! Here’s why.
From the beginning, our goal was to create a great Uncharted game, to give players, including ourselves, more of what they love, but with the PS VITA’s unique spin. The cinematic experience, the gunplay and weapons, the compelling story and characters, the mystery and treasure hunting based on real history, the puzzles, the platforming, and of course, the colourful and detailed imagery… it’s all there. But it’s on a gorgeous five inch screen that you can take with you.
If you’ve been following all the pre-release news, then you know that Uncharted: Golden Abyss also has a ton of collectibles, over 300 in fact. We wanted to not only give the game some replayability with some additional exploration, but also to tell more back story, which we do through the items you collect, locations you photograph, and other puzzles you solve. All of these are tied to Trophies that can be earned. We didn’t forget the gamer who prefers gunplay to exploration: one of the collectible types in Uncharted: Golden Abyss are the Bounties. These drop randomly from fallen enemies throughout the game and represent things that might have been found in the area you’re fighting in: old Spanish playing cards, gold and silver coins, etc. To make it more challenging, we made some the items scarce and made some them really rare. You’re not going to collect all these on a single play through.
But we’re not cruel. To make it a little easier to collect all the Bounties, we created The Black Market. This is a NEAR application that allows you select a Bounty type from your collection and send a request out to the Black Market. If any other VITA players out there (in the area where you made the request) have a Bounty that you’re missing, the Black Market will send you a copy of their Bounty, even the rarest collectibles. We even created a sixth Bounty type that you can obtain only through NEAR: if you send a request to the Black Market and no one has what you need, the Black Market will send you a carved Fetish for you troubles. Again, all of these are tied to Trophies. If you want that platinum, it’s going to take you awhile, and you have to take your PS VITA with you!
Learning how to bring characters to life with all the nuances of personality, habits, quirks and mannerisms was really Sony Bend’s first and most important job when we started to work on UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss. We have an awesome example in the UNCHARTED series, and we wanted to give the characters a level of depth that transcends the screen. These videos shows just a glimpse of our process and how we worked with our eclectic cast of characters.
I’m no stranger to writing, having written all the Syphon Filter games, but this title taught me some new tricks. By the time we started shooting in February 2011, I had gone through over 40 revisions, changing everything from setting, characters, names, dialogue and action. If we count all the in-game VO dialogue, we ended up with over 400 pages of script for UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss.
Of course, writing and performance capture was just beginning. What followed was an intense year of motion capture clean-up, animation, camera work, set building, lip-synching, prop building, editing, sound and music, by a team of over 50 artists working across five different studios.
Yes, UNCHARTED’s stunning visuals require next-gen hardware, but in the end, Uncharted’s charm comes from its characters, their friendships and chemistry. The great thing about story is that it’s hardware independent. Players can tell a good story from a bad one, great production values from not-so-great. We knew that the end result – all of that effort by all those people – would pay off in an UNCHARTED experience that would lose nothing simply because it was on a portable console. It’s the main reason I was so excited to learn the UNCHARTED approach to cinematic storytelling. On February 22nd, you’ll be able to see for yourself.