Two classic games in one new-and-improved package, due out this summer
All of us here at Double Eleven are excited that PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita has been officially announced, and we can finally start to talk about the game!
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is a twin stick shooter that is as much about blasting things as it is about exploration, puzzle solving and collecting things. Within Shooter Ultimate, players interact with environments that run an advanced fluid dynamics simulation. These interactions are needed to solve puzzles, overcome enemies, and progress through the levels.
For those who remember the original PixelJunk Shooter games, Ultimate combines the campaigns of Shooter 1 and 2 into a single experience. It certainly doesn’t stop there as we have done a ton of work on top of that to make this the third game in the series!
So here’s our list of nine things that hopefully make our PixelJunk Shooter worthy of the title ‘Ultimate’:
1. A full visual make-over for PS4
When we were trying to decide what a PS4 version of Shooter should look like, we knew that it needed to remain true to that classic razor sharp vector-based 2D aesthetic, which continually threw new ideas to the player while still being able to stand beside PS4 titles of today. Furthermore, from a gameplay perspective we wanted to make combat more intense, engaging and overall provide for a more rewarding experience.
So, we decided to introduce real time environment lighting, a host of new visual FX for things like projectiles, explosions, thrusters and more. And it didn’t stop there – we’ve also worked on making the fluids look even better by increasing the resolution of the particles, improving shaders and adding anti-aliasing to the edges of the fluids. We have also revisited the colour palette, and colour grading has been added to every scene, which hopefully makes it look and feel more immersive.
2. A redesigned ship for PS4
Something that a lot of people loved about the ship in Shooter 1 and 2 was the way it managed the relationship between momentum and resistance to changes in motion. This is not something we wanted to mess with, but we did want to improve the visual feedback to the player, to make that relationship more accessible.
To achieve this, we decided to introduce a 3D ship allowing us to add animations for aeronautical manoeuvring that give better visual feedback. The ship is also treated to the newly introduced real-time lighting, as well as the other visual improvements.
3. 60 FPS on PS4 FTW
For the uninitiated, higher frame rates capture much more of the action every second, so there’s much less opportunity for action to blur when you’re in the middle of some heavy action. Behind the scenes, our physics and fluid dynamics simulations also run at 60fps, meaning that the game is more responsive to how the player interacts with the various environments. It also improves on the control feedback and responsiveness. All of this was really meant to make the combat feel more intense, and we feel we have achieved that.
4. Awesome environmental interactions on PS Vita
One of the most understated aspects of the Shooter series of games was the highly complex fluid simulation. Most of the puzzles in the game require the manipulation of various fluids (water, lava, magnetic fluid, acid), each of which are made from several thousand particles to get the simulation looking perfect. The computational power to run this has given some quad core PC processors issues, so bringing this game to a portable handheld was always going to be a major challenge. This has all been made possible thanks to some excellent research and development by our team, and we are really excited that we can bring this experience to PS Vita.
5. Everything you loved about Shooter 1 and 2 in one seamless experience
PixelJunk Shooter: The Depths of Disaster introduced us to the Yellow Dart, and its mission to save trapped scientists. PixelJunk Shooter 2: Belly of the Beast picks up exactly where the first left off. In PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate, you can enjoy an uninterrupted and complete experience, with all the new features introduced in Shooter 2, such as the super spin, across all chapters.
6. A new-look HUD
Ultimately, we wanted the HUD (heads-up display) to be more intuitive and informative. After evaluating the original HUD elements, we also realised that too much screen real estate was being used up, that was particularly problematic on PS Vita.
The newly designed minimalist elements have a level of opacity, which allows for more action to be seen, especially before it’s too late. More so, we thought about what other information the player should know and we’ve added new elements to show things such as how much treasure is still to be found in a level and enemy health bars were made more clear. The end result is a clean and sharp HUD, which looks more relevant and efficient.
7. Play multiplayer on your PS4 versus your friend on PS Vita
As gamers, we love it when consoles and handhelds work well with each other. We can all remember thinking when we were much younger, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could play on your handheld with your friend on a console”. As a result, adding cross play seemed like more of a cool thing that we would want for ourselves, so it was one of the first things we looked into. Now you and your friend can play together, without both of you needing the same device.
8. Progress on one platform, and continue on the other
Another thing we find useful as gamers is Cross Save functionality, and this is something we have added to Shooter Ultimate. With this, you can take your save game on the move on Vita, and then continue your experience at home, with all the new graphical effects on PS4.
9. A new and improved scoring system.
We’ve reviewed the entire scoring system, and without giving away too much we’ve hopefully balanced it to accommodate those who are just starting out, those that enjoy competitive play, and to those that would challenge their friends on the leaderboards.
We are really pleased with how PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is taking shape, and we can’t wait for you to grab it on PS4 and PS Vita this summer.
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate will have it’s first playable preview on 7th March at the upcoming BitSummit MMXIV in Kyoto at both Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia and Q-Games‘ booths. Be sure to follow @DoubleElevenLtd for future announcements and updates.