Video Tour: Unit 13 Takes Shooters Social on PS Vita

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Video Tour: Unit 13 Takes Shooters Social on PS Vita

There’s no sense mincing words: The next game from SOCOM creator Zipper Interactive represents a fairly radical rethinking of the competitive shooter genre. The game doesn’t include a traditional single-player story or a conventional multiplayer battleground, instead focusing squarely on bite-sized, highly replayable scenarios that can be played alone or with a friend. In dropping the well-worn ways of the past, Unit 13 is positioning itself to be on the forefront of an entirely new way to think about multiplayer. The game will track and report your virtual exploits and broadcast them to friends both far (via PSN) and near (via…Near).

To get a handle on this brazen new approach to shooter design, we asked Creative Director Seth Luisi to outline Unit 13’s feature set and functionality in a video tour. Afterwards, we looped in with SCEA Producer Ara Demirjian to get answers to our burning questions. If you have any burning questions of your own, be sure to leave them in the comments!

Unit 13 for PS Vita

PlayStation.Blog: In your mind, what’s key for a mobile shooter?
Ara Demirjian, assistant producer, SCEA:The ability to jump into a scenario, get your play time in, and feel like you accomplished something when you’re done. Unit 13 is set up to be an on-the-go game that gives you satisfaction when you play, especially when it propagates to your friends and your local area via near.

PSB: Will SOCOM fans find the mechanics and overall gameplay for Unit 13 familiar?
Demirjian: Yes. Zipper is known for contemporary third-person shooters — it’s what they’re good at! Unit 13 is built from the ground up for PS Vita and while the gameplay itself will feel familiar to SOCOM players, there are some different aspects given the PS Vita’s hardware features.

When you pick up the PS Vita, it’s kind of like using a DualShock controller with a huge screen: it feels good in your hands, the analog sticks feel smooth, and all the controls operate exactly how you’d expect. We have implemented touch controls for picking up weapons, reloading, vaulting over barriers, completing objectives, and accessing your tactical map, among others. We kept the implementation straightforward, but it allows us to do a lot of new things. We also use the rear touchscreen for swapping shoulders when you’re aiming down the sight; it can help you get a better shot on your enemy when you’re peeking around cover.

PSB: So there’s no traditional single-player campaign?
Demirjian: Unit 13 is built to be a mobile shooter: it’s designed around instant action, not a lengthy story mode. The mission grid gives you 36 unique missions, all playable independent of one another. Across all the missions, you’re trying to achieve a wide variety of objectives whether it’s taking down high-value targets or destroying weapons caches.

The scoring component is a major focus for us here. We want to make this an asynchronous socially competitive experience, so your scores will post to PSN and the near leaderboards so your friends can see if you top their score on a given mission. With a 3G PS Vita unit, this data can be updated automatically, and you can browse the status bar to see who is doing what at any time.

Unit 13 for PS VitaUnit 13 for PS Vita

PSB: What will bring players back to keep competing with one another?
Demirjian: We’re planning a number of Daily Challenges, which will bring a unique mission objective to the game every single day. We’re not planning on having any repeats for a looo-o-oong time! This is a great opportunity for a player of average skill to make their mark on the leaderboards: once that 24 hour period is up, nobody can post against your score. So if you’re aggressive, you might be able to hold a number one position on the global leaderboards and get some bragging rights with your friends.

PSB: The game features six operatives, but how different are they? Can I level them up?
Demirjian: Each operative has different statistics, play strategy, and weapon loadouts. Some are better at stealth, or run-and-gun, or assault, or infiltration. Things like ammo capacity, rate of fire, accuracy, health regeneration and many more factors are all in play, too. You have the ability to chose whichever character you want for any mission, but certain classes will naturally perform better in certain missions.

You can level up your operative through 10 levels, and the bonuses are different from class to class. If you level up as a stealth-based operative, you’ll gain additional stealth infiltration bonuses for your score, the ability to carry new weapons and explosives, and your ammo capacity and health regeneration may improve.

Unit 13 for PS Vita

PSB: How will the co-op play work?
Demirjian: Every single mission will be available for two-player cooperative play. You’ll be able to go your own way and proceed the way you want, or work more closely together if you choose. You won’t have to worry about your buddy running deep into another part of the level because we break the mission into a series of objectives.

When you’re playing co-op over Wi-Fi, we also automatically turn on the PS Vita’s internal microphone to keep communication channels open. You can turn it off, of course.

PSB: Just to be clear, co-op will be available only via Wi-Fi, right?
Demirjian: Co-op is over Wi-Fi, yes. The 3G functionality is for stat sharing via near, for getting real-time updates on scores, and for seeing when new high-value target missions or Daily Challenges become available. 3G is about the social component and seeing what your friends have been up to.

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7 Author Replies

  • Sick cant wait!!

  • Looks interesting, but I am more of a Single player (story mode) gamer. It would be nice if Zipper could develop a SOCOM game for PSVITA.

    Also I think SOCOM franchise needs a reboot, considering how it is doing lately :(

  • MAKE MAG 2

  • Ahhh another project for Zipper to come blasting out the gate with only to quickly dump it and move on to something lamer.

    MAG was something that could have been evergreen but now its just rotting away, SOCOM was awful and from what I hear is going just as poorly….and sorry sony I love the Ps3 but your support on handhelds is well….sorry.

    By all means MAG 2 would be great, but let some other devs work on it and by all means sony support it not everything needs to be a carbon copy of COD to make money and bring in players

  • The weak story mechanic and… more desert… setting kind of a turn off. I think I’m gonna skip this game. You can do something with the ladder I’m sure, but the former is to late in the game. I suggest showing us other environments as it seems like every game out there lately has a desert setting…..

  • Any game will be good on Vita, but please no COD ones!

  • Ps Vita is out today in Japan can you start focusing on NA Euro Zone.

    I pre-ordered my Console but a lot of stuff i hear on the net, is making me wanna cancel that preorder, can we get some details on the system and software. also will ps+ members be able to purchase an additionnal warranty like for the ps3.

  • No single player, no story, no competitive multiplayer aside from scores. Just a bunch of missions to complete against lame AI enemies?

    Can’t say there is really anything I’m interested in here.

    Looks to be more social than game; passing on this.

    • Reasonable minds can disagree here, but I will tell you that I often look for faster, speedier fixes when I’m playing on a mobile device. I don’t necessarily want a gigantic story mode or cinematics, what I do want is to dive into the action instantly. Thanks for your feedback!

  • I like this. Too many developers don’t take into account that they’re making games for a PORTABLE system. Bite-sized missions and daily goals are good ideas, plus the FPS market is a sea of COD/MOH clones. Nice that Zipper see this, and are actually making a game custom-designed for the Vita.
    This could turn out to be the portable shooter-to-beat. Zipper, make it so!

    • Roger that. I think there’s room for all kinds of games on PS Vita, from games with a heavier story focus (Uncharted: Golden Abyss, even Gravity Rush) to super quick pick-up-and-play games like Escape Plan and Super Stardust.

  • How about does who will buy the Wi-Fi version? Will the challenges work with that too?

    • Sure will — just as long as you connect at some point to access them. So if you’re at home or at work or school and there’s Wifi, you’ll get the same updates.

  • CANT WAIT!!!!

  • i cant wait. I like that it isnt a campaign, but getting to take on missions it whatever order you so choose. I have a feeling this is gonna be one of those games where every trophy is easy, but theres always one thats impossible lol (resistance 2)

  • I don’t play 3PS games.

  • Not including a single player story is actually smart. Why invest time creating a story that’s going to be cliche in the end.

    • I find it hard to disagree! :) Every minute not focused on creating a cinematic cutscene is a minute the devs can spend on something else, like new modes or more weapons.

  • Available at Vita launch?

  • sorry but zipper will not support the game long and quite honostly i hope its a fail. especially what they did to us on socom 4. i paid 150.0 bucks for the bundle socom4, paid for all the dlc including socom pro which was to give access to all dlc for free, which did not happen then told us they would no longer support the game. they just pissed on us just like they will with any other game they come out with. i have been a loyal socom player since socom 1 and i feel very disrespected ripped off and misled by zipper as well has thousands others that bought there trash recently. give socom back to slantsix, i thought confrontation was bad til i played socom 4.

  • So for the social component such as stat tracking and what not.. Do you NEED 3G for that? Will it still keep track of stats and gather info to then sync via Wi-fi later on when you connect to a hot spot?

  • read all these very careful. they never fullfilled there promisses

  • lol I see they still got that bogus cover system and trash OTS view lmao. When will these people ever learn lls. Guarantee this doesn’t sell over 100k units Id be surprised if it sold 50k . Taking bets on the over under 5:1 odds if it sells over 100 K.

  • After reading the notification stuff and the invites stuff similar to facebook, I WANT TO ASK PLEASE MAKE THIS OPTIONNAL! I HATE RECEIVING INVITES FROM RANDOM PEOPLE EVERYDAY!

    please don’t start on a Mag 2, I believe there is alot of life left for MAG… and also, if you start a new IP, something different for the studio would maybe be refreshing. heads up

  • I have one special question that will can change my decision of buying the vita
    can the vita play online with/against the ps3 players?

    • It can depending on the game; Wipeout 2048 supports PS3-to-PS Vita crossplay in Wipeout HD Fury, so you will be able play multiplayer against the PS3 owners and vice-versa over PSN. No word on other games yet, but stay tuned.

  • “Unit 13 is built to be a mobile shooter: it’s designed around instant action, not a lengthy story mode.”

    that right there ruined it for me.. if i remember correctly when socom 1 came out you guys didnt even expect people to even find out socom had a online mode

    games were great back then because of the story mode.. because thats what made the games what they were.. the online/versus/co-op modes were just added incentives to me for the replay value afterwards

    to me gaming has gone downhill massively with all this online only, facebook integration, recycled multiplayer mode crap ..

    “Yes. Zipper is known for contemporary third-person shooters — it’s what they’re good at!” — not anymore fella’s you had your time in the limelight w/ socom2.. and that was about it

    and thats coming from someone who bought every game you released .. and multiple copies of socom2 because i burned rings into the discs due to long hours of playin your best game

  • I dont know if its just me but skipping the whole story mode in a game..just sounds like a lazy thing to do.Whenever it comes to a 3rd person shooter im custom to having a nice story that will hopefully follow through on the next for online co-op mission thats where the “mini missions” come in to play.Im also a little disappointed that there is no multiplayer mode. many of the game modes that are not included in this ZIPPER GAME have bin included in the psp SOCOM games..why is that? oh well this seems to be a game rental for me..cant say i dont want to give it a try but i will say i will not purchase to keep :p

  • @nYcFrEeWiLL82 i dissagree, i think this will be wicked fun an i don’t care about mulitiplayer mode

    @Agent_Clutch you may not like the cover system or the OTS view but i do an i love socom 4

    this is my #1 game for the vita, well untill rockstar games releases a gta for the vita

  • Thank you for the response Sid, even if my comment was not so positive.

  • This is perfect for on the go gaming. I love the Daily Challenge. This is the kind of game that goes perfectly with handheld gaming. I love that Zipper is developing for the PS Vita. Take ALL my money!

  • So will the game or PS Vita be aware of anyone that I bump into that has the same game without having a Wi-fi connection at the time? And then is it able to sync that info instantly or does it have to be whenever I connect to a Wi-fi connection?

  • Questions aside, I hope that prices for games start getting announced and if the prices for memory cards can be set in stone soon as well! I really want to get a lot of these games along with a 16 or 32 GB memory card , but at the prices that have been posted, I think that I will have to hold it out with the First Edition Bundle until the prices drop.

  • Also, this style of games is exactly what the PS Vita needs… full on console style games and games that can be played 5-10 minutes at a time, which are perfect to take on the go since there’s hardly any bus/subway/skytrain ride that will take 30-1 hour in order to get some actual progress.

  • i was under the impression that Hustle Kings supported crossplay between ps3 and vita

  • It seems like the most innovative thing Zipper could come up with for the ground-breaking Vita was…leaderboards! :/ Um, didn’t SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo for the PSP have leaderboards back in 2005? Anyway, as a fan of TPS’s, I think Zipper has made some good ones, even though this “tactical” stuff Seth is always spewing is limiting their success with Mainstreams. With that said, it was good to hear him say there are modes for running & gunning in Unit 13. And there’s no MP to screw up with friendly fire on and vote to kick to be abused. However, no MP at all isn’t going to help attract gamers either. So, Unit 13 won’t make me buy a Vita, but if I happen to see some games that will, I might pick up Unit 13 to fill a little of my TPS needs.

  • If this game becomes a launch title, then the PSV could have one of the biggest lineups ever. I am starting to save my money today to get the WiFi PSV with two maybe three games. This might be one of them because it focuses on bit sized chunks with lots of vareity.


  • I want this!

  • Bring it to me !!!!!

  • Please stop promoting Zipper products until they get rid of Seth Luisi.

  • “Zipper Interactive’s next project is a bold reinvention of the competitive shooter genre where every day represents a new chance at global victory. ”

    Yeah, like SOCOM 4 was supposed to be a bold reinvention of the SOCOM series. In fact it was such a bold reinvention it longer resembled a SOCOM game. It bombed just like all Zipper games deserve to until they listen to their fans and give us a real SOCOM game. Unit 13 is just a re-skinned SOCOM 4.

  • 30# That’s correct.

  • Socom 4, M.A.G. and Confrontation was complete failures do to the lack of DLC and sever updates. Not to mention their lack of listen to want the people wanted. So I’m sure this game will be something else pushed out just so they can be on the new hand held. (How many people will you lay off after this title)

    Only real games they made worth having was SOCOM 1,2,3, and Combined Assault.

    And they will not make HD remakes of those games because they know that is the only games worth having.

  • game looks great controls look a little clunky like all zipper games reloading on touch screen infront seems odd taking your hands off the controls is never a good idea in a shooter.reload should of been on back touch screen .
    hope i can remap the controls. no stort GREAT quick mission GREAT leaderboards GREAT .

    but you assume we all are going to have a bunch of friends to play against as i know i am the only one of my friends getting this system and NOT having MULTIPLAYER will not allow me to meet friends with your game.

    i HATE COD but just watch they will do team death match PLAYER vs PLAYER and use chat and make friends.

    as for quicker games for handnelds i agree but this is a system in your hands not a handheld and will mainly be played plugged in until a longer battery is made .

  • Released around launch… this mean that the game should be available around april – june … knowing zipper’s skills at meeting deadlines.

  • Looks good


  • I’m Not Degrading This Game, But If Zipper Or Any Other Game Producer Makes Another Socom Game Like This Or Socom 4 For Ps3, I’ll Sell My Playstation. This Game Looks Cool, But In My Oppinion Will Not Captivate The Seasoned Socomers. It Is Way To Different, Almost Like Socom Four. Socom Confrontation Is Perfrect sincfe all the Patches Were Implemented. (Minus The Cheaters Of Course).

  • By The Way, Socom COnfrontation Was Not A Failure.
    Sold Over 1.2 Million Copies Its First 7 Months, And In 2009 Was The Most Online Played Game On The Ps3 Network.

  • reminds me of Payday, I love me some Payday.

    But two player max seems a little odd.

    Also 3G is not for multiplayer? Why not? Is this what we can expect for all games as far as 3G functionality?
    Is 3G too slow or something?

    If games wont be using the 3G for gaming why would anyone buy this more expensive version I wonder?

    Perhaps eventually games will use it?

    I like the idea of new scenerios for a long time with no repeats.
    But when repeats occur it would be nice to have a dynamic system kind of like in R2 online coop mode where even the same levels can play different each time due to enemy placement, order of objectives, etc.

    Speaking of which i want the R2 coop mode to be brought back on the Vita!!! Make it so.

    I loved MAG forever, but the last big change ruined it for me. Nerfed all my guns in Raven and kept all the Sver guns OP. This is what killed MAG, cause no one wants to play on easy mode Sver cause it feels like cheating, except the cheapo’s stacking in Sver thinking they good, including the Zipper team.(they were on Sver and why Sver remains OP to this day).

    Dont mess this one up ok.

  • Oh and I loved SOCOM Confrontation for awhile, basically until I fell in love with MAG.

    See you guys can be my fav dev’s, just make sure to add ample amounts of love.

    Maybe show me some of that love in one last attempt to revitalize MAG?? give all factions the same guns and equipment, its time. You shared all the maps to all factions, time to do it again to truely equalize the playing field.
    I think this will bring MAG back for one last Hurrah!!

    Or keep dropping support for games before they dead and let word of mouth be your worst enemy.

    I tell you the way you handle MAG coupled with your latest games defines your company, its your choice how that definition is realised. I gave a simple suggestion, as a show of faith to your loyal customers.
    Will you make the effort??

    This will define my future purchases with your company and franchises.

    Please think about it, Cheers.

  • After Socom 4, I’m done with Zipper products unless it’s a HD version of the original Socom or Socom II.

  • the graphics look almost as good as socom 4

  • Shove this garbage copy and paste job of socom 4 in the trash can. All we want is SOCOM BACK SONY!!! SOCOM 1 or 2 released in HD! What is so hard about that honestly, Sony go look at your blog share ideas we have 12k votes for S2 hd and near 2k for S1hd! To zipper I hope you clowns are fired after this game flops to, no way in hell will I touch your games again after socom 4

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