A closer look at PS5’s Game Help feature

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A closer look at PS5’s Game Help feature

How a PlayStation Plus benefit allows players to quickly get game hints through their PS5 console, without the spoilers

At PS5’s launch, we introduced a brand new feature, Game Help, so players can quickly and  easily get help during their gameplay – without accidentally running into spoilers they might find elsewhere. The feature is supported in PS5 games like Astro’s Playroom, Maquette, Oddworld: Soulstorm, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart which just launched today, just to name a few. 

Many of you may be curious about how the feature came to life, so we wanted to share some insights about this PlayStation Plus* member benefit that’s available for supported games. 

Also, check out this Game Help video demonstration from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. 

A closer look at PS5’s Game Help feature

How Game Help got started

During PS5 development, our research found that the majority of players told us they seek out help for their games. Almost half get stuck in a game on a weekly basis, and more than half said they encounter spoilers when they seek out help for a game, or spend too much time searching for the tip they are looking for.

This feedback really resonated with us, so we went to work to create a feature for players that provides them with an easy way to get hints on the specific parts of the game they are playing, without spoilers or spending a lot of time searching for tips on the internet. We worked closely with game developers to create this feature, and also incorporated key feedback from our user testing research. It’s great to see this feature implemented in supported games, to quickly provide hints to players directly from the PS5 console, so they can spend more time playing. 

Use Game Help to help Clank through a tricky puzzle

What players are using Game Help for

We’re seeing a lot of players seeking hints on puzzles. We tend to see more engagement with Game Help for games that include a lot of puzzles throughout, like Astro’s Playroom and Maquette.

We also see players seeking help when they get lost in a game, so videos that guide players where to go are very popular. Also, if they take a break for a couple of days in between their game play sessions, they may check Game Help when resuming their game session to get reoriented with the game.

Games can provide several types of hints, such as a photo, text, a video, or a combination of video and text. Of these, we found that players used video with text hints the most. 

On a collectible hunt? Look to Game Help to tie up loose ends

How hints are determined for an activity

Because all players have different preferences, the goal is to allow players to have control over how much help they are receiving. To achieve this, we encourage game creators to  provide hints that provide “progressive disclosure.” An example of this is where the first hint would be just a nudge, such as a picture and a vague bit of text. The second hint gives a bit more information, such as a short clip showing the first couple steps to take, but not any further. Finally, the third hint shows the full walkthrough or answer, such as a video with all the steps to complete the objective.

Tips for players using Game Help

Two popular features within Game Help are the pin-to-side mode and quickly accessing multiple hints, in addition to checking Activities.

Multiple hints can be accessed by pressing R1/L1 to go to the next hint. Sometimes the first hint you see may be just a slight nudge, so checking to see if there are multiple hints is worth doing to make sure you don’t miss one.

Pin Game Help to the side so you can play and follow guidance simultaneously.

Pin-to-side lets you see the hint and watch the Game Help video while you play, while also giving you quick access to the Game Help card with the rest of the hints for the objective you are working on. When you’re in pin-to-side mode, all your controls are in the game. Hitting the PS button twice switches you over to the Game Help card to easily close it, or switch to another hint.

The Game Help feature is just in its infancy, and we expect to see it evolve over time. Check out some examples of how developers are using Game Help today.

Astro’s Playroom


“Astro’s Playroom is packed with things to collect hidden in every nook and cranny. So we use the Game Help feature to give you hints of nearby locations. Once you enter an area, the game detects which collectibles you are missing and proposes you a bunch of a video clips relating to the collectibles you are missing. In the video, Astro runs in the general direction of the secret but it’s up to the player to do the final bit. There are over 100 help clips in Astro’s Playroom. They mostly cover PlayStation Artifacts and Puzzle pieces.”

Gento Morita, Lead Game Designer, Team ASOBI

Maquette


“Game Help helped seamlessly assist some of our players to experience the entire story of Maquette when encountering certain puzzles through the game. It also made it so that players who are interested in story over puzzle elements can progress without being trapped by more difficult puzzles, meaning that more kinds of players could experience the game in a variety of ways. In the last few chapters of Maquette, the difficulty ramp up caused by moving the entire recursive world can be really confusing. But, with a few hints, many of our players were able to understand the new mechanics and continue on their own.”

Hanford Lemoore, Creative Director, Graceful Decay

Oddworld: Soulstorm


“We introduce a number of systems in this game that might be new to Oddworld fans – inventory, crafting, advanced motion controls and so on, and so Game Help bolsters our own internal tutorials by immediately giving players access to pre-recorded videos and textual hints on how to use these systems and how to make the best out of Abe’s items. That said, some of the trickiest and later parts of the game have also seen Game Help used by players, even when they’ve mastered all the new techniques. The Game Help videos show the players the “easiest” way through most encounters, but we’ve heard lots of players that want to do it their own way, which is great and exactly what we hoped for.”

Bennie Terry, Executive Producer, Oddworld Inhabitants

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart


As we’ve embraced greater accessibility, we’ve started looking at game design that’s more permissive and less punitive. Game Help aligns with this philosophy; by giving assistance to the players that want it, we’re just making the game more enjoyable to a larger audience. Puzzles work great when there’s just enough information available for players to connect the dots on their own. However, we’ll never hit 100% dots-connected across all players without taking the satisfaction out of the puzzle. If you just don’t get it, for no fault of your own, Game Help prevents you from having to skip or resort to fiddling with searching and reading the solution.”

Mike Daly, Game Director, Insomniac Games

*Subscription to PlayStation Plus sold separately. PlayStation Plus is an ongoing subscription with recurring fees until canceled. Age restrictions apply. Full terms: play.st/PSPlusTerms 

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29 Comments

  • They can be great when they work, but frustrating when they don’t. Maquette seemed to have trouble realizing I’d already completed one area and didn’t need hints for it any more, and wouldn’t give me hints for the area I was actually stuck on. Something didn’t track my progress correctly, though I’d clearly done the thing it kept trying to give me a hint on.

    I suspect a lot of the usefulness of this will depend on how much effort developers put into the system – not only creating the hints, but also making sure the right hint is available at the right time based on where you are and what you’re doing or have already completed. It has some promise, but I wonder how many developers will dedicate the resources to fully implement it, especially on cross-platform games.

  • I completely forgot about this feature. Could have really used it playing Oddworld, as I was googling at one point. Going to have to remember to use this and home more games utilize it as well.

  • I’ll use it. I like PS4 games that give me hints on loading screens based on my situation in the game, but I find myself reaching for YouTube a lot of times.

  • That is fantastic feature. Can’t wait to try it, but still no luck with getting that PS5. I never had to wait this long for any console. Today is 06/10/21, the last time time PS5 was available was on 06/03/21 in Best Buy (in US), and it was gone in a blink of an eye. It has been 7 days since it was available for that split minute. Hopefully available soon.

  • Think its a really cool idea especially when your going back and revisiting your backlog. I remember how lost I was after coming back to the Witcher after a hiatus. Just trying to get back into the groove of that game again would have been much easier with this feature.

  • Its great if games actually support it going forward. However what would be even better is if we could use the Youtube app in a similar way in a small window on the side so we could watch whatever guides we wanted. Would be amazing for collectible guides for example

  • It is honestly one of my favorite PS5 features. Makes trophy hunting much more enjoyable!

  • Can’t wait to get a PS5 to have a go at this…..when are they going to be available again?

  • And so the BIG F YOU to PS4 owners continues! Jim Ryan’s latest interview had him bragging about Sony’s 100 million customers. Where is he getting these numbers from? Sony sold 116 million PS4, but a lot were doubles due to PS4 Pro purchases by owners of PS4. I bought 2 PS4 and 2 PS3 pros/ I also have multiple accounts. So, the numbers are way off. Further, does success in the past gen guarantee success now? NO! Just ask Microsoft who dominated the generation of the PS3! I can aslo say without any reservation that my buying a PS5 is OUT! Sony has shown there TRUE color and it is BAD!

  • Expertly implemented in Hitman 3 but I’ve been playing so many PS4 games you forget it’s there

  • This is innovative very useful and streamlined process no more steam guides or wikis or ad-riddled blogs for me!

  • The activities is a great feature keeps track of the percentage

  • Not a big help in Resident Evil Village. No trophy tracking only where to go. Hope trophy tracking will come to RE Village.

  • New Playstation Plus Prime Subscription at $14.99/- month. In which u will get selected day one playstation studios games at no extra cost. Xbox Gamepass R.I.P. only for JIM RYAN FROM SYFER THE GAMER

    • Playstation Studio games don’t come out every month, so you’d have to pay double to not get anything most the time.

    • They need not copy Xbox. Two best console exclusives of the presentation are not even coming to gamepass.

      I’m sure PlayStation will do it’s own thing, like this small useful Game Help feature.

  • Game pass sucks I’ll take quality over quantity AAA over AA I buy games at full price

  • This is a really great feature I didn’t know I wanted. I mean, there’s more FAQs, guides and videos around than you can shake a stick at, but when I have to use them, I have to get a second device (laptop, phone, tablet…) search incessantly, “no, this isn’t it”, “this video doesn’t collect the things in the order I did”, “I’m spoiling myself trying to find this one missing collectible! argh!”, “why are there so many ads!!!!!”, until I find it and then return to my game.

    Of course, this relies on the devs actually building a good guide, and they’re probably not accustomed to, so it’ll take some time and extra people and effort (and some help from Sony or a partner with experience writing guides wouldn’t be out place) but the result will be most welcome! I’ve been using it for Rift Apart to enhance my enjoyment, and I don’t have to use a second device! And that paired with the new trophy progression system (I know I’ve found 3/9 Craiggerbears so far) and the completionist in me is more than satisfied!

    This is a great feature, Sony, but we need more: case in point, PS4 to PS5 upgrade/continuity is, simply put, a hot mess. Why did I have to redownload FF7R for PS4 to be able to transfer my game to Intergrade? And if someone here says “You don’t have to download the whole 80 GB thing! You just have to download the first 11 GB to start it and go to the menu!”, I’ll shoot back “I should download zero GB!”. When you left this to each dev to figure out, this hot mess happened. Now you, Sony, are saying the PS4 will have the longest tail for a PS console, so are we supposed to look at 3 or 4 more years of this chaos? Green Team figured it out before they got out of the door, there’s no dishonor in following suit on a great feature.

  • Really appreciate this feature. As a very old skool gamer where we relied on game mags back in the day, this would save me trips to the book store!

    • Not to mention putting game magazine publishers, game guide creators, and hint providers out of work, and suffering the same fate of unnecessary obsolescence, which should never happen to begin with.

      That’s what anyone could see in their minds and feel awful about that outcome. I wouldn’t.

      Convenience has its costs, especially too much convenience.

  • Only feature I care about is one that we don’t have yet the PS5 dynamic themes Sony where are they at

  • Sounds good should be useable by everyone not locked behind a paywall

    • I see your point, but if you have a PS5 you really, REALLY should have Plus as well. Between the game library and the online saves and the free games (including PS5 titles) for just $60/year – less if you catch a sale – the value is excellent, even before this feature was added. And that’s from someone who doesn’t really play online much at all – what was original the main selling point of Plus.

    • Plus has no value to me, I don’t play online. I am also not interested in renting games, as they are not free as you pay for them in the price of plus and if you stop with plus you loose the game. I have no need for online saves as I have a memory stick for game backups. Also most of the games they have offered I have had no interest in playing.

  • Don’t see great interest in this at all.

    I mean, why would anyone pay a small monthly amount of money as part of said service for in-console hints about solving simplest solutions to complicated puzzles and bosses in games many have or not yet beaten? We’ve had a lot of great experience figuring out several solutions on our own, and not rely on any form of online method of ruining any game’s story when people post it all. Sure, game magazines did offer many hints, but many people completed games without them, and look at them later and find solutions not seen before. Relying on your instincts and mind to win is the best way to do it. Always fun that way.

    With all due respect, Game Help, in my perspective, is nothing more than a meager gimmick to pamper too many players of different ages, especially many younger children who think and believe spoiling games they may or may not want to play by watching everything or rather just skip to the end to make them more impatient about wanting to see the next game launched so they can skip everything in it all over again, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Robs them of naturally earning their way to victory and fun, honestly. People in the past weren’t raised to be that way when these methods didn’t exist, and they still wouldn’t today, with or without said methods.

    If any of you think Game Help can help you out with any solution easy to overcome with little to no effort, you’d be better off not to do so and keep solving them on your own.

  • PS5 Is a work off art

  • Game Help looks good, I recently got my PS5 and have dabbled with the feature already with Astro”s Playroom. But, I have a suggestion too. In the same way that Game Help is advocating for small, medium and full-level hints to be offered, how about a similar approach with Hidden Trophies? Modify the sole option currently available of ‘Show Hidden Trophy Information’ to ‘Show Hidden Trophy Name’, ‘Show Hidden Trophy Thumbnail’ and then finally ‘Show Hidden Trophy’. This is drawn from my experience of trying to work out little clues about Hidden Trophies in games without fully revealing them completely. What do we think?

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