Following a hectic Not-E3 season, July has been fairly quiet as far as PlayStation news goes. Despite a lack of announcements, one of the few that did make headlines was probably the announcement most fans have been waiting for: God of War Ragnarok has a release date set for this November. Funnily enough, Ubisoft also revealed Skull & Bones was releasing this November, a day before Ragnarok. I've seen a lot of video games get eaten alive by not properly planning their launches, and this one seems ripe for disaster. But we'll see!
Elsewhere, Bloomberg reported that the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake was in trouble at Aspyr, and it doesn't look good for the acclaimed RPG.
Though it was a quieter month, here's what you may have missed in the world of PlayStation.
God of War Ragnarok finally has a release date
I'll readily admit that I didn't think God of War Ragnarok would release this year. Despite insiders claiming that most work on the game was finished and Kratos actor Christopher Judge taking responsibility for its initial delay because he needed multiple surgeries in 2019, I fully expected its release date to slip into 2023. As it turns out, whether because it's actually ready or Sony is feeling pressure from investors, Ragnarok is set to release on Nov. 9, 2022.
Along with this announcement came preorder details, including a Collector's Edition and Jotnar Edition that come packed with a 16-inch replica Mjolnir hammer. I can't justify the purchase after already buying the Regalla Edition for Horizon Forbidden West earlier in the year, but I am disappointed I'll be missing out on that nifty dice set.
I loved God of War from 2018 and consider it to be one of the best PS4 games I've ever played, so I'm eager to see how Ragnarok stacks up. Sony Santa Monica has been reticent to reveal too many details about what players can expect. While I appreciate being kept in the dark for surprise's sake, I do wish we'd learn a little bit more about it beyond just that Ragnarok is coming.
Skull & Bones hits PS5 a day before Ragnarok
Speaking of delayed games, remember when Skull & Bones was originally set to release in 2018? That was four years ago, well before the pandemic began. Reports, including one from Kotaku, pointed to Skull & Bones undergoing a very turbulent development cycle undergoing several changes. It only seems to be releasing because Ubisoft is legally obligated to do so (the government in Singapore, where the main studio working on Skull & Bones is based, subsidized much of it).
That's led us to today, with Skull & Bones getting a firm release date from Ubisoft for Nov. 8, 2022. Yes, that is exactly one day before God of War Ragnarok releases. I feel bad for the development team having to contend with that (provided that neither release date gets bumped). However, the two games cater to different audiences, so maybe the release dates won't matter.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake is in deep trouble
Fans have been begging for a remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for years now, and just when it seems within reach thanks to a deal between Aspyr and PlayStation, a new report from Bloomberg dashes those hopes. According to the article, the Knights of the Old Republic remake has been delayed indefinitely amid internal turmoil at Aspyr.
Earlier this month, the studio allegedly fired the game's art director and design director. Despite finishing a vertical slice that the team seemed happy to show Lucasfilm and Sony, leadership still paused the game, stating that it wasn't where it wanted it to be.
Near the beginning of the project, Aspyr had told partners that the game would be ready by the end of 2022. Speaking to Bloomberg, the developers believe a 2025 release date would be more realistic at the rate at which the project is moving.
Aspyr will also apparently pursue "new contracts and development opportunities," per the report. Some within the studio think that Saber Interactive, which had joined the project in May for outsourcing work, will take over development completely.
As a huge Star Wars fan, I'm hoping the project can get back on track, but we'll hold off on making any assumptions until we hear any more news.
Bungie is officially part of the PlayStation family
2022 began with PlayStation revealing it had entered a deal to purchase Bungie for $3.6 billion, and that deal finally closed as of July 15. Bungie is now officially, for better or worse, part of the PlayStation family.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, not only in terms of what Bungie brings to the table with its live service experience on Destiny 2, but also how it may affect PlayStation's overall culture. For example, PlayStation notably forbid its developers from speaking out at the time regarding the leaked Supreme Court documents indicating it had the votes to overturn Roe vs. Wade (which it inevitably did), but Bungie was not shy about making a public statement. It reiterated its stance this month, stating:
"The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade cuts off millions of Americans from that access and leaves open the possibility of even further restrictions on life-saving healthcare for all of us.
"Bungie is committed to ensuring that every one of our employees and their families have safe and affordable access to essential healthcare needs. As we continue to expand our digital-first workplace to more states, we will now be implementing a travel reimbursement program for any employee to use when they or a dependent cannot get access to the healthcare they need where they live.
"We remain undeterred in our commitment to stand up for reproductive choice and liberty."
Would Bungie have been able to speak out if the deal had closed earlier? It's tough to say, but I hope it can continue to bring about change both within and outside of the PlayStation organization.
Cats are good, actually
Stray released for PlayStation and PC on July 19, and I had a surprising amount of fun playing it. I'm a dog person through and through, but by the end of Stray, I was so touched by the cat's journey and its attachment that I sat there wanting to adopt a cat of my own. My current dog would never allow that to happen, but I guess it's the thought that counts.
If anyone has 6-8 hours to spare and is looking for a chill, atmospheric adventure to play, then I'd highly recommend giving Stray a shot. It's simple, but there are some clever puzzles, an easy pace, and even a slightly creepy and mysterious story. Those who were interested since its announcement have nothing to worry about here as developer BlueTwelve stuck the landing with this one.
How many games let you press O to meow? Game of the year, no notes.
PlayStation teams up with Backbone
PlayStation's move into mobile gaming has been swift as of late, with the company regularly reiterating its commitment and investments in the sector. A huge part of mobile gaming over the past few years comes down to mobile controllers, which the company Backbone is very familiar with.
After revealing that an Android version of its Backbone One controller would be available this fall, it's now announced a partnership with PlayStation to bring the branded Backbone One: PlayStation Edition to store shelves.
Aside from its design, which is meant to emulate other PS5 accessories like the DualSense and PULSE 3D headset, the Backbone app will now include various PlayStation integrations. Players scrolling through the app will be able to find a row dedicated to the latest PlayStation releases and updates, and selecting a game will link players directly to the PlayStation app where the title can then be downloaded to PS4 or PS5.
While the Backbone One: PlayStation Edition seems to only be for iPhone at the moment, an Android version is expected to release sometime down the line. Regardless of when the Android-compatible model comes out, this is just another way that PlayStation is showing players it's serious about mobile.
PlayStation Stars program rewards players for gaming
PlayStation has a new loyalty program that rewards players with digital collectibles, and we must have done something right as a society somewhere because they thankfully won't be NFTs or utilize the blockchain. It's similar to Microsoft's rewards program and will allow PlayStation fans to earn points by doing various tasks, such as playing a game or being the first to platinum a particular title in your region. These points can then be spent on games, DLC, and digital collectibles from iconic Sony franchises.
I don't use my Microsoft Rewards all that often (or even at all because I just checked and my lifetime points are sitting at 7,066, the exact same as my available points), so we'll see just how useful this PlayStation Stars program is. For what it's worth, I can get a $5 Xbox store gift card for 5,000 points. So I guess free money is better than no money?
Getting ready for fall
I have to admit, July began with me being excited — though cautiously optimistic — about God of War Ragnarok being ready to release this year. Now that July's over, my focus has turned toward Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and I'm more than a little worried about what this report means for the project. In any case, the next few years should be interesting to watch unfold.
– Jennifer Locke
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.