Ruin for PS Vita: Lairs, Relics, and the Social Web

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Ruin for PS Vita: Lairs, Relics, and the Social Web

Ruin (working title) was last seen on the E3 2011 PlayStation stage, when the presenter wirelessly transferred his PS Vita game session to a PS3 without missing a frame of the action. As technically impressive as Ruin’s cross-platform compatibility is, I’ve learned that it’s only the beginning of what co-developers Idol Minds and SCE San Diego Studios are planning for this ambitious multiplayer action-RPG.

Ruin for PS Vita

Ruin is still early in development, but it’s being eagerly anticipated for its PS Vita-to-PS3 cross-compatibility, addictive action-RPG gameplay, and expansive social features.

Ruin’s developers are quietly building a wide, deep social network designed to keep you interacting whether you’re on the couch, on the bus, or someplace in-between. Travis Williams, Ruin’s energetic senior producer, walked me through the game’s social ambitions several weeks ago at a media showing in New York City. From the earliest days of Ruin’s development process, Williams told me, the development team was motivated to find a way to make its multiplayer competitive mode accessible and socially sticky — important considerations given PS Vita’s always-on wireless connectivity and the game’s Vita-to-PS3 cross-platform support. “We were obsessing over find a better way to do PvP (Player vs Player), a better mechanism for getting items that you wanted from other players,” Williams said.

Enter the Lair. The Lair is your inner sanctum, your pride and joy, your seat of power. ”It’s an extension of you. It’s an outwardly facing construct that other players interact with,” Williams explained. “You’ll spend as much time equipping your Lair as you will your character.” The significance of your Lair is twofold: it adds to your offense when you’re playing, and it acts as your defense when you’re not. “If you and I were rivals, you wouldn’t attack me,” Williams said with a mischievous grin. “You’d attack my Lair.”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair - Altar

Your Lair enables you to enhance your offensive power – but it serves as a tempting target for other players. Luckily, you can assign monsters and boss creatures to guard it while you’re away.

Your Lair is deeply customizable, enabling you to tweak everything from its physical layout and visual style to the types of monsters and bosses that protect it while you’re off conquering the world. As you earn enchanted relics, you’ll be able to place them in your Lair to grant synergistic bonuses that enhance your character’s defensive and offensive options. You’ll be able to swap these items in and out of your Lair’s sockets at will, and where you place them in your Lair can radically change their effects. “There’s a relic called the Poison Ivy Trophy, and you could place it in your Armory and any weapon you use will drip poison,” Williams elaborated. “Or you can put it in your Beastiary to enhance your Lair’s monsters with poison damage.”

As you encounter other players over PSN, your Lair also becomes a vehicle for advertising your social status. Case in point: If you meet another player who is adorned with spiked armor, it’s a visual clue that his Lair is equipped with a powerful relic called Heart of Titan. “If you want to take that item from him, you can challenge him,” Williams explained. “You can bet on his Heart of Titan with another valuable item. If he agrees, the game will put both items into escrow while you beat the hell out of each other’s Lairs over the next 24 hours.” And, 24 real-world hours later, the player with the highest aggregate score will claim both items – and bragging rights. “The best part,” Williams said, “is that the competition and stakes were mutually agreed upon.”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Heart of TitanRuin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Reaper

A first look at two of Ruin’s relics, the Heart of Titan and the Reaper. Where you place them in your Lair determines what enhancements they grant your character.

Though Williams confirmed that Ruin will include a co-op element of some kind, he kept our conversation firmly planted on the game’s competitive mode. “It’s important for us to create an environment that’s helpful,” Williams said, “so our matchmaking service works a bit like a dating site. We match you up with players who are the Yin to your Yang.” The ultimate goal is to pit you against other people who play at the same times as you do, who have the items you want, and who provide a good match for your skill level. Meanwhile, in the background, Ruin’s social system will serve as an instigator, goading you into action against other players with an in-game messaging system and notifications. “We’re in the role of the kid who starts trouble on the playground,” Williams said. “We’ll say, ‘sure, you could go and attack that random dude on your friends list and we’ll give you 100 XP…But this other dude just hurt you, he attacked your Lair. We’ll give you 1000 XP to go hurt him back!’”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair - Library

Your Lair is comprised of different sections, from an Armory and Beastiary to the Library shown in this new screenshot.

Ruin’s sturdy social backbone also gives the developers an opportunity to correct a host of longstanding gripes with social gaming, beginning with public enemy number one: the meaningless social game updates that clutter so many Facebook and Twitter news feeds worldwide. “Tom earned Gold, Tom earned Gold, Tom earned Gold,” Williams groaned. “Why can’t they just say, ‘Tom earned a lot of Gold today’ and leave it at that?” Williams wants Ruin to add context to your activities and accomplishments in a new and useful way without spamming you and your friends. Though the details are still being finalized, Williams envisions an “uber town crier” that intuits trends based on your play style and behaviors, then broadcasts it to your social network. “We can essentially craft a story from the way you interact with other players,” Williams said, “creating some context around these everyday social interactions.” Williams points to an example involving two imaginary players called Travis and Tom. “If Travis attacks Tom 10 times in one day, we may broadcast that as ‘Travis is being a jerk to Tom.’”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Unfinished WarriorRuin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Goblin Idol

Two more relics: the Unfinished Warrior and the Goblin Idol. Wonder what they do?

But Ruin’s social rabbit hole goes deeper still. “There’s a reason why we want to attach importance to your in-game activities,” Williams continued. “Status reports in social games tend to tell you what somebody has done rather than what they are doing. If you’re building the ultimate sword in your Lair, and it takes a long time, we’re going to put that out there so others can see it – they might try to attack you, or steal something from you,” Williams said. “And if you acquire something huge, we’re going to make that loud. ‘Tom just found the Golden Rod of Power!’ and you’re going to be like, ‘SHHHH!’”

“Ultimately, we want Ruin to be your story,” Williams said. “When you start this game, we’re going to say, ‘This is the story of how YOU became the baddest warrior on the planet.’”

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10 Author Replies

  • im picking this up for my ps3 but i do hope i also get a code for the vita version

  • how about a video walkthrough about all those features ? is it gonna be a launch title ? if we buy the ps3 version can we get vita for free ? vita NA release date please

  • I am buying the vita day 1

  • If this is anything like Diablo 3, then I’ll be picking it up day one.

  • Oh great, it’s going to be farmville with monsters. Not everyone want their games to be a social burden. This is why I quit WoW.

    • I’m trying to get Travis from SCE San Diego to hop in here and field some questions shortly – he can go into way more detail!

    • The point isn’t to be a social burden, but for the social aspects of the game to be sorta the gas that keeps competition going. We are going to go into much more detail in future posts.

  • Ok Sony that’s quite enough. Knock off the Vita pr0n. I’m sick of being made to want this thing so bad I can taste it, with no release in sight. I had a dream recently that I had a Vita in a store and couldn’t find a open cash register to pay for it. I’m only a human being guys… please stop.. please.

  • Can’t decide how I feel about this game. It looks like it could be a good time. It also looks like it could be a wretched hive of scum and villainy. By which I mean; it sounds like you’re giving players a ton of ways to troll one another. And going to great extent to actively encourage that.

    • @Puppet: I am no fan of the “Mos Eisley effect” myself. Trolling doesn’t give you anything. When someone attacks your LAIR you get XP (If they do it well they get more) if they die in the process you get more. Attacking someone doesn’t make you a griefer. As a matter of fact you will want people to attack you. Your fame goes up when that happens. The more fame you have the more awesome your relics will be.

  • I’ll be picking this ip the day it comes out for my vita and playstation. Can’t wait!!

  • I really like the idea of the lair. Been wanting a game that had equal parts character and base customization. Not too excited about the social aspect but everything else sounds really cool.

  • Please don’t make us buy both copies at full price.

    Nobody is going to pay $100 for both. You need to come up with a better solution or all the time you’ve spent on the cross platform stuff will be a waste.

    • @Krae: This is a subject we are taking very seriously. I have faith in my marketing / sales guys. There should be a happy medium.

    • @Krae – by “faith”, he means he has our car keys and we can’t go home ’till we find a happy medium ;)

  • I remember seeing earlier on here that the vita was supposed to be released February 28 2012 but it got taken down. Care to shed some light

    • That story is bogus, a complete fabrication. Everything we publish on the Blog shows up in our RSS feed permanently – see for yourself.

  • Game sounds really good. Can’t wait til you guys announce the release date for the Vita in the US!

  • 1 game two purchases?

    Lets make it like Blu-ray and you get the digital copy for free ok guys??

    It is one IP, regardless of the media its on its still one IP, and deserves no more then one purchase.

    Do it like this then.

    PS3 version is $40 and includes vita download code. Better yet include the vita version on that massive 50GB disc.

    Vita version is $25 and has no PS3 copy.

    If its two purchases I’ll just buy the vita version, I’m sure the vita hooks to a tv so why do I need a PS3 version again? Vita is high def, and PS3 games are almost never 1080p anyway.

    Time to make your argument devs, thanks.

  • This game is sounding better and better. :)

  • It looks really good, buy I cannot help but feel that more and more the PS3 is being put on the back seat. :(

    I know the Vita is releasing soon, so naturally the focus will be heavier on it, but I just am hearing and seeing less and less of the PS3 over all these days. :(

    • There is a LOT of PS Vita buzz, no doubt – but Ruin is also a PS3 game! You can play on either platform and interact with players on either platform.

  • Yep my life and wallet is going to be obliterated by the Vita and these awesome games. And for some reason I’m content.

  • 24 hours!!!!!!!!

    I have a job and family and dont play video games 24hrs a day, that isnt cool.

    Some 40yr old virgin living with his mom will be the only one to rule this games social aspects.

    Lets get real, have a preset amount of hours within that 24hr period.

    Lets say you choose any six hours of a 24hr period to compare with each other.
    Then you need a method to track xp per hour and graph it out, or just assign the 6 highest ranking hours from that 24 hours period to compare.

    Or have alternative time periods like say 2-4 hours.

    Love the idea of this game, but fear its implementation, make me proud boys and girls.

    • @Philly: Before you kill us on the social aspects realize that our goal was not to keep you occupied 24 hours a day (When would you play ModNation or MLB The Show?) Our goal was to give you some cool gameplay elements that happen during the day that you can spend from 15 min to a few hours doing. That being said our Matchmaking Rival system will match you with people who have the same gameplay habits that you have. This will make sure you play with people who are paced the same as you.

      So the guys on turbo play with other turbo players and the guys who occasionally play with have a set of rivals who do the same.

      I hope that helps answer your question/comment

  • This is how gaming should be…Kudos to the developers and Sony for coming out with something innovative and cutting edge! Can’t wait to hear more and maybe even try it out when the time comes.

  • There soooo many cool games in the pipeline, but nothing to play right now!!!

  • A forceful, bold step in the very right direction…

    If you guys need any discreet outside consulting on the product, don’t wait for betas, recruit me, I’ll work for nearly beans from where I live, and ultimately our goals are seemingly identical, to make the next biggest thing in Playstation’s library of great games, I could be your social networking guinea pig… If the price is right… haha!

  • Wait, are those PS3 or PSVita screenshots? They’re beautiful!

  • Ooooh, I didn’t realize that Idol Minds was working on this; as a Pain aficionado, this is good news. Will pick it up on both platforms

  • This looks really great, shame I’d rather wait for a Vita division, I am out game for more then 3 hours..

    If I get this for PS3, will it also guarantee a Vita version?

  • @22 from what I understand they’re going for a wider marketshare by publishing both versions of Ruin in one package, as it’s more like owning a product that goes where you want it… for one price.

    Unless I read previously released articles wrong…

  • Launch title for Vita?

  • Sid, i want your job! any tips on how i can steal it from you?

    ps: Ruin will be a must buy when i get my hands on Vita!

    • Work hard, take your vitamins….in all seriousness, learn how to communicate effectively and try out everything once. Be fearless and learn as much as you can about as many things as you can.

  • @26 convince to wager it in a battle of Lairs…

  • If it’s a PSN title then chances are it will run on both ps3 and Vita

  • Would be great if all the games that are for both PS Vita and PS3 had a special edition where they were both bundled for cheaper than buying then separately or if they just came together in the first place.

  • hurry and let use know the release date for the Vita instead of teasing us with games for it

  • vita release date please

  • This is a day one purchase for me. Both versions (PS3/Vita) in one! Yes please.

    Plus gots to support my peeps down at SCEA San Diego!

    Holla Travis!

  • Hey, Sid, it’s not clear to me. Can I still play this game on single player mode? Don’t forget gamers who neither have, nor want, friends.

  • @Enigma: WHAT’S UP MAN! At least people now see what keeps me off PAINPS3.COM lately.

  • This is a bundle right? i mean if you get Ruin you get both ps3 & vita right? thats what i understood when i listen to you guys talk about it on e3.

  • I like the way you weren’t lying when I asked you about a new article about this game :) (CommanderMeaty.. I’d love to change my psn nickname)

  • I hear Travis! Definitely looking forward to this.

    Some of the matchmaking design element you guys are incorporating, combined with the social network the Vita will provide combined with the PS3, and you have for a very interesting level of play.

    Not to mention this game just looks really cool, loving the art design!

    Quick question, since the PS3 supports a KB/Mouse… is there any plans for support in the game for that control interface?

    • No mouse keyboard interface for RUIN. Our game plays very action like so you won’t want to use a mouse. A DualShock or VITA will be the best route to go here. We wanted the combat/magic to feel more action oriented and you don’t get that connection with a mouse.

      Besides: Don’t you want the controller to shake and be able to touch the screens/menus? All that’s VITA/PS3 stuff!

  • Got to say this game came out of nowhere. After an impressive E3 showing, and some sweet news, this game is definetely on my radar. Keep up the great work fellas.

  • I didn’t read all of this because I don’t have time right now LOL, but I will say this,

    I have wanted this game since it’s first unveiling! Make sure it has a great, lenghty single player with multiple player co-op online and offline as well as a great, robust multiplayer both offline and online.

    Also, if there’s a way to play your Vita games on your PS3 and your PS3 games on Vita without the need of both PS3 and Vita being on, without the need of the game to be in the other console, without the need for either device to be connected to the internet and that you can still do anything and everything on your Vita or PS3 than do that. That would be the most epic thing in video game history and by far the biggest and best feature ever. If all those things can’t happen than at least some but if you can’t play Vita games on PS3 and vice versa without the game needed to be in the console, the console being on and connected to the internet, than you have to bundle both copies for a very reasonable price, what Pjillybunz said sounds right.

    • @Sole: We actually don’t require a constant connection for most modes in the game. RUIN syncs to the server and then you can play offline and then post your results later. There are some advantages to having the 3G Vita in that you can always sync your scores, status and react to attacks on your lair right away.

      Only your active machine needs to be on. Saves are to our cloud so you can pick up and play wherever you left off.

  • An “uber town crier”? Like a Medieval Kevin Butler?

    I like the name Ruin, by the way. It should stick.

  • hey Travis are you guys planning to have Ruin as a Playstation Vita launch title ?

  • @Blkant

    It is true, there hasn’t been any good, big, continuous amount of PS3 news for a long time now. Yes, Vita is releasing soon so I understand a little bit news being on Vita but Sony should still do 50/50 with PS3 and Vita. It’s bad enough there has been very little Move only support since launch, which has been a year ago, not to mention 0 support for Eye and Sixaxis.

  • This game sounds great in theory. I’m very excited to see how everything is executed once I’m able to pick up my copy.

  • The cross PS3/Vita play is brilliant… the social network integration is useless! I’m sorry, but I DO NOT want all my non-gamer friends and possible future employers knowing that I earned this or that Trophy or Achievement or Medal!

    • @Elektro: The social aspects of the game are not SPAM and are not there for you to bother your facebook/twitter friends with. The social aspects of RUIN are there to give you challenges/trades/missions. You don’t have to use the social networking features outside of the VITA activity streams (which are like facebook walls)

      BTW: What’s wrong with future employers knowing your LAIR is awesome?! LOL

  • wait, the Vita doesn’t have HDMI out? at all?? not even with an add-on???

    Back to the game, lighting and model detail looks great. Hopefully the textures on the PS3 version are a separate set of assets optimized.

    My mom and I used to play a *lot* of Nethack and Moria 20+ years ago. Can you have a pet in this game?

    Eager to here about local co-op on PS3 and how it interacts with remote co-op.

    Hopefully it avoids the tedious inventory management and fetch quests that games like Deathspank force upon the player. I loved the writing and adventure aspects of Deathspank, but those two broken/lazy mechanics literally ruined most of the joy I otherwise got.

  • Sounds good Travis…

    “Besides: Don’t you want the controller to shake and be able to touch the screens/menus? All that’s VITA/PS3 stuff!”

    Definitely… agreed. Makes perfect sense… and the whole more action oriented sounds better at this point than “click” “click” “click” “click” “click” “click”!

  • @Platz: Jeff (at Idol Minds) and I both hate inventory management in these games so that’s not an issue in RUIN. Also there are no fetch quests (in the traditional sense). When you enter a Dungeon in RUIN it’s to level it. So if there’s any fetching it’s a beatdown fetch… (Which BTW is my favorite kind)

  • Tom and Travis? were you listening to blink-182 lately? :)

  • After I play out Skyrimm, Ruin will undoubtedly my next big passion…

    Sincerely, to all involved in making this happen, thank you.

  • Pricing (which I personally think is ideal):

    PS3 – $60

    Vita – $40

    Combined (PS3/Vita “physical copies”) – $80 (like “collector’s edition pricing”)

    Also have it structured, where if someone bought the PS3 version only, because they did not have a Vita yet, have an in-game store option to purchase the digital version of Ruin for the Vita at a discounted $20 price.

    Just some ideas.

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