Greetings, and welcome to Replay, WIRED's rundown of all of the week's big videogame news. This time around we have news about the forthcoming PlayStation 5, Final Fantasy XIV, and Google Stadia. Let's get going, shall we?
The PlayStation 5 Will Have a Controller
… and it seems like a nice one! In a new blog post this week, Sony introduced the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller, a sort of evolution of the traditional DualShock that has a couple new features and some clear design refinement.
In addition to its new black and white color scheme—which looks, uncharitably, kind of like an Apple product slipped and fell in some tar—the controller's big upgrade is its use of something called Tempest 3D AudioTech, which is basically an enhanced force-feedback system. Hands-on reports, like from our own Peter Rubin, suggest that the controller has an enhanced haptic feedback system that offers granular vibrations for all types of in-game interactions, creating a more active feeling of touch. The triggers, L2 and R2, now also have "adaptive triggers" which apparently let individual games incorporate different amounts of tension into those button pulls.
The controller is also purported to have a more comfortable grip and better battery life, which is good because bad battery life was one of the biggest complaints about the DualShock 4. Also, the Share button, which used to be the Options button way back in the day, is now called the Create button. Cool?
Final Fantasy XIV 's Next Big Patch Is Delayed Due to Covid-19
As detailed in a new letter to the Final Fantasy XIV community by director Naoki Yoshida, its next patch, 5.3, is being delayed due to the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic on development. The patch, which was initially slated for release sometime in the middle of June, is going to take longer than that to finish. This also explains why the most recent patch, 5.25, was released on time: It was largely finished before the advent of quarantines and lockdowns.
I'm not a Final Fantasy XIV player, so I can't speak to the granular game details, but what's interesting here is the letter's explanation of how Covid-19 affects global game development. As detailed by Yoshida, the creation of an ongoing game like this requires a regular pipeline of work from all over the globe, from assets coming out of North America and East Asia, voice acting out of Europe, and core development out of Japan. Now all these regions are being affected in asynchronous ways by the global outbreak. So even though people are working from home, the workflow is impacted and slowed. It's a fascinating and honest look at how these things function, and how a global pandemic really does throw a wrench in the gears.
Google Stadia—the Platform, at Least—Is Free for Everyone
All you need is a Gmail account, which is easy enough. As reported by Rock Paper Shotgun, Google's streaming game service is now available to whoever wants it. You'll still have to buy many of the games, mind you, but you don't need special Google hardware or licensing to try it out if you're so inclined. What's more, there's a two-month trial for the Stadia Pro subscription service, which lets you play around with nine games: Destiny 2: The Collection, Grid, Gylt, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, Serious Sam Collection, Spitlings, Stacks on Stacks (On Stacks), and Thumper.
That is an eclectic collection of games, but most of them shouldn't strain your bandwidth too hard if you're curious about how game streaming works. Just don't forget to cancel that subscription. That's how they get ya.
Recommendation of the Week: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice by From Software
Games with incredibly high difficulty curves are, for some of us, startlingly therapeutic in times of crisis. They can allow players to disappear fully into a game's challenge, losing themselves in the rhythm of trial and failure and eventual success. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest and most compelling games I've ever played. Fully embody the warrior spirit of a shamed samurai bodyguard. Find your charge. Protect him with your life. And keep fighting.