Twisting the Half-Life
People have long remarked that Gaben et al. have been responsible for some of the highest level trolling in gaming. Much of this trolling has centred around subtle hints and signals that Half-Life 3 exists, only late to quash the hopes of the fandom. In recent years the Half-Life community have taken to reassuring one another that Half-Life 3 is never coming out, and even the game’s original writer has taken to the internet in order to publish his synopsis of the ending that he envisioned to the series. To say that Half-Life fans have been put through the wringer is to put it mildly, only to be smacked in the face with this week’s mean spirited jape!
One would seriously be furious if this were not so obviously an epic tier troll designed to crush the morale of Valve’s consumers. And there would be a kind of respect in that. After all the long years of misery Valve announced the March 2020 release of Half-Life: Alyx, the fully realised (13 to 15 hours) FPS adventure following Alyx Vance between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2! A Midquel is not quite Half-Life 3, but the vast majority of series fans would have been delighted to take it – only it turned out to be a monkey paw wish. The game is VR only. It is a AAA Half-Life game made exclusively for the 0.03% of gamers who use VR. If this were any other company then the existence of a VR game and the Source 2 engine could be taken as logical precursors leading up to the inevitable release of Half-Life 3, but not so with Valve. They are the type of company to do all of this long-winded high effort stuff purely so that they can pull the rug out from under the feet of their fan base. It would be infuriating if it were not so damn amusing.
PS5 Patent and Rumour Round-Up
As the point approaches whereupon Sony’s forthcoming censorship platform, the PS5, has to be revealed so as to allow time for marketting ahead of its Christmas 2020 release, increasing information is emerging about the system. Bundled here together for consideration is a collection of Sony patents and insider leaks. Not all patents come into fruition, and these rumours have largely been taken from different sources, so likely some of these things will turn out to be true, while others will prove to be false.
In terms of patents, probably biggest one is the redesign of the DualShock. A patent for what looks to be the DualShock 5 has been discovered this week, and looks to be rather eye opening indeed. All the buttons and triggers look to be in approximately the same position as they were with the DualShock 4, with the track pad being maybe a tad bigger, but the shape of the controller itself has really taken a turn for the grotesque. It almost looks like Sony has contracted Microsoft for the controller redesign, with the controller grips bloated outwards like two gravid legs of ham [What? -Ed.]! This is predictable from a Californian design team who no longer has to answer to Japan–perfect for Burgers [What? -Ed.] who prefer to play their games using a Fisher Price Activity Centre! But then it is important to remember that this is only indicative of Sony’s thinking at one point in time, and may not manifest in the final product. The PS3 Batarang is proof of that. So maybe the DualShock 5 will not be a big, fat, ugly piece of crap.
The other patent for the week was one which, on the face of it, suggested that the PS5 may be able to upgrade system storage through swappable SSDs that are housed inside of a cartridge–a system which does not look dissimilar to the RAM expansion cartridges used in the Sega Saturn. There have been later claims that this patent actually had nothing at all to do with the PS5, but instead pertains to the Sony Toio – an educational games console. Once again it is anyone’s guess as to whether these cartridges refer to the PS5, the Toio, or whether they will fail to manifest at all. That said, it would definitely behove Sony to have some PS5 expansion options available, given that their use of highly customised SSD storage means that, this time around, consumers will not be able freely to source their own storage expansion solutions.
OK, now to dig into the rumours. It would be wise to remember that many of these details come from different people, so some may be more credible than others. Allegedly, the PS5 will be officially unveiled during February 2020, with the full information blowout to occur later in the year at E3. The system will allegedly go on sale on 20 November of 2020 at the price of $500 with a 2tb SSD hard drive. Gran Turismo 7 will apparently be a launch title, which probably does not mean a lot to the TDT readership. One is sure that inflation has pushed the price of consumer products up considerably since the PS4 launched for $400 five years ago, but the $100 jump to $500 still seems a little steep. That said, solid state drives do not come cheap, especially not when they are two terabytes, as has been rumoured.
It has also been rumoured that PS5 dev kits are noticeably outperforming Xbox Scarlett dev kits at this point. The source of these rumours points out that this does not necessarily mean that the PS5 is going to be more powerful than the Xbox Scarlett, but rather that the hardware and/or operating system of the Scarlett dev kits may not be as far along as the hardware and OS of the PS5 dev kits.
Right now, game performance is better on PS5. I believe that is probably because PS5 development hardware and software are in a more advanced state. I fully expect Scarlett to close that gap once they ship more mature dev kits and software.
It must be said, since software, not hardware, is a traditional Microsoft area of expertise, it’s very possible that they could ultimately deliver more advanced Direc[t]X development software in the end allowing games to run better on Scarlett even if the hardware is less capable.
Anyone who remembers the shockingly half-baked state that the Xbox One operating software was in when that system launched could well imagine what this revelation may entail. Again, this rumour may ultimately lead to nothing, but it will not be surprising if if the Xbox Scarlett is a mess at launch.