Game development studio Housemarque has released the highly anticipated Returnal Ascension update today which brings with it online cooperative multiplayer gameplay. Trent Polack Lead Game Designer at Housemarque has taken to the official PlayStation blog this week to reveal more details about what you can expect from the latest update for the PlayStation exclusive game Returnal.
Returnal is third person shooter rogue adventure built on the Unreal Engine 4 games engine and was released back in April 2021. It storyline revolves around an Astra scout who lands on the planet Atropos in search of the mysterious “White Shadow” signal and finds herself trapped in a time loop.
Returnal Ascension update
“It starts just with setting the mood: how do we get another player into Returnal? Well, through Chronosis of course. Players with a PlayStation Plus subscription interact with a Chronosis and, suddenly, another ASTRA Scout enters their cycle, staring down and analyzing Selene as she emerges. It feels very surreal and uncomfortable — which makes it absolutely perfect for Returnal.
Beyond that, we really built the multiplayer experience around the idea that players can get help to progress through the game. A hosting player invites another player to join their session to help them overcome their current challenge. The host keeps this progress, whereas the joining player increases their Scout Rank, Weapon Traits, and Databank. At first, we had Chronosis in multiple places in each of our biomes, but we ultimately realized it was unintentionally resulting in players just engaging in Co-Op before major boss battles. Now, Chronosis are at the beginning of each Biome, so players are encouraged to explore and see how the game plays and evolves with a partner and how divvying up resource scarcity is immediately a new dynamic.”
“Integrating multiplayer logic into Returnal was not the simplest endeavor and is, largely, a significant technical engineering challenge and as we prepared for ship we certainly encountered more than a few “issues” along the way. Such as a Titanops that became quite attached to its prey and the occasional “Other” Scout that’s been through one too many cycles.
Beyond just the technical complications, we also talked and worked through a host of Design and UI/UX considerations to integrate another player into a host’s world as smoothly as possible. One of the first accessibility issues we ran into was simply being able to see the other player in a scene filled with fast-moving enemies and bullets everywhere. We didn’t want to go too over-the-top with this solution, so we integrated a subtle ASTRA-Green outline shader whenever your teammate moved beyond a certain distance. We also created a slick suit variation to complement the visual differentiation between Selene and the “Other” Scout.”
For more details on the new Returnal Ascension update jump over to the official PlayStation blog by following the link below.
Source : Sony