Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home To Get Remodeled

Today in the Playstation Blog, another revamp in the ever-shifting entity known as Playstation Home was announced, set to take over somewhere in the timeline of "Fall" of this year.  Before you roll your eyes and move along, I should point out that the things mentioned are actually fairly cool and, if executed properly, might just do a little to raise general opinion of the....game?  App?  Social Networking device?  Which, in the end, could only be a good thing, clearly, since developers seem to think Home is still worth cursory support (given that Sony and everyone involved actually likely makes a good bit of money.  There's a reason MMOs can survive on micro-transactions alone, you know.) and I'm sure at least some of us would like to experience those side efforts first-hand.

The breakdown of the update is that there's a huge overhaul in progress so that the areas you've come to know and...k...know (or not, should you have never ventured into Home) will likely be gone (the first-party areas, that is; Central Hub, the mall, etc.) and will be replaced by areas bigger and shinier and newer, where the existing games and game spaces will be moved to different parts of what I'm calling "Home Island" because, well, look at it.  Sure, you kinda see the picture branching off into land at the back, so it's probably not an island, but Home Island sounds better than Home Peninsula.

The above appears the be the revamped Mall section of the "Hub" area which....compared to the (semi) current mall is pretty much a stark improvement in every way.  (For the record, yes, I did, at one point, just run around in Home and take pictures with the in-game(?) camera you got to show them off.  Sorta did a mini-Let's Play (Explore?) of Home for a friend a while back.  That's why I have some pictures to share.)  Admittedly, I don't quite remember how the Mall had changed from that picture to the last time I was there, but it wasn't too much of a change, which it certainly needed.  Still had eight storefronts (Or ten.  Man, I am abusing parentheses) some posters here and there, the video board and the four lonely chess boards at the top that were either always occupied or never occupied.  There was never any only one game going on, they were either full or a ghost town.

I know with this whole map set up above, that I'm hoping for areas that actually....well, link to each other.  The old/current Home did/does a fairly good job of it with the first-party things, as your apartment links to the Central Hub, and the Central Hub links to the Mall, Movie Theater and Bowling Alley.  But there were other areas that were just designed to be Home hang-out areas that just never were connected, despite the possibility of it and the actual design of the areas.  (Doors off on the borders of the areas that could have lead somewhere, etc.)  Basically, the map has never really felt cohesive, since to get most places, you had to whip out your PSP Tablet Computer thing and pick a spot from the XMB-themed menu to teleport there.

Not a lot of information has been shown off besides the pictures linked here (and a few more in the article proper) describing, in only the barest of bare details, the surrounding areas of the Hub where most of the games will be located come Fall.  In the comments of the article, the Director of Home did his best to assure everyone that the spaces paid for/downloaded and etc. will all still be available past the update, so I would imagine the game spaces that exist currently (inFamous' Empire City area, Uncharted 2's giant mini-game extravaganza, etc. etc.) will all still be around, just shuffled about.  How they'll be 'blended' into the environment is beyond me, of course, so we'll just have to see how that works out.

On top of that, another little detail was slipped out ever-so-slightly, that a "questing system" will be implemented into Home itself, allowing for a more game-like feel to Home itself, for those who need incentive to actually do something in Home after starting it.  If there's anything to be excited for, or at least look forward to from this upcoming update, it would be this, as, if there was anything Home needed, it was clearly direction, which hopefully the questing system will put in.  And not in a "Go play some mini-games" way, but in a way that truly bids you to go out and check it out, see what it has to offer and, perhaps even appreciate it for what it is.

Behold!  My decoration skills!  (Kind of.)
If you haven't guessed it already, I've always had something of a shaky relationship with Home as, in all honesty, Home has the stigma of "having little to do in it" for a reason, though admittedly an exaggerated one at this point.  There are, of course, mini-games to do, reward items to earn, and places to visit, if just to see how it all looks, but there's no real incentive to do it unless there's an item involved, and then the only incentive would be if you want that item to decorate with.  Unsurprisingly, I enjoy having options while decorating, and we know I enjoy some decoration, so I did find myself going through the motions, doing this and that to get the virtual items, even if I was never going to use them.  Because, hey, who knows!  I could have used them.  I still can, all things considered.

This is why I may, admittedly, be looking at this upcoming update to Home with a little more optimism than most.  Then again, with the way the 'gamer crowd' has panned Home (as we have panned so many things in the past, like Cell Phone games and achievements), it could be that others are just looking forward to this with entirely too much blind pessimism and aren't even looking to attempt it after it's changed; simply falling back on prodding at it because Home manages to be one of the things you can still make fun of and not really face much opposition.  We won't really know how to make heads or tails of it until it's out, of course, so until then!

No comments:

Post a Comment