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Kena developers on stealing the internet's heart and making the most of PS5

cormack12

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Source: https://www.gamesradar.com/uk/kena-...e-internets-heart-and-making-the-most-of-ps5/
more at link.....

Why PS5 game Kena: Bridge of Spirits is more than just a love letter to Pixar animation

Ember Labs is well aware of your adoration for the Rot. They are the mystical creatures seen in Kena: Bridge of Spirits; chibi forest dwellers who look a bit like the offspring of a forbidden affair between a Minion and a Furby. As seen in the latest trailer for the upcoming PS5 game at the Future Games Show – Spring Showcase, Rot will help Kena in her quest to guide spirits over from one realm to the next.

"Of course, helping people fall in love with the Rot has been a big part of our strategy," admits Josh and Mike Grier, Ember Lab's co-founders. "They have grown to be an integral part of the story, as they are the key to helping Kena on her journey and ultimately represent her growth as a character."



"Kena is a novice spirit guide searching for a sacred place of knowledge," the Grier brothers tell GamesRadar+, setting the scene for Bridge of Spirit's story. "She uncovers an abandoned village afflicted with corruption where trapped spirits sow chaos and unnatural decay."

Through this journey, players will explore Bridge of Spirit's various open regions, which Ember Labs drew from its experience as an animation studio to conjure into existence. It's a jaw-dropping vision of a Southeast Asian-inspired fantasy world, invoking the very best of Pixar and Studio Ghibli while standing out as entirely its own thing all at the same time.

But this enchanting backdrop is not without its perils. In order to successfully guide lost spirits, Kena will need to defeat manifestations of the corruption holding them back, which take the form of dangerous, animal-like enemies. It's here in these boss battles, according to the Griers, where Kena's combat gameplay comes into its own.

"Kena can infuse any of her abilities with Rot to defeat enemies in unique ways," they explain. "The Rot can swarm attackers, create piercing projectiles, and even form a shape- shifting cloud to pummel enemies. Finding and growing a larger Rot team enables more powerful attacks and unlocks additional upgrades. Working with the Rot, players will discover enemy weaknesses. Additionally, healing in combat is tied to using the Rot. Players will have to find a balance between delivering a strong blow or taking the opportunity to heal."

It's easy to worry whether an experience as cinematically textured as Kena might be more focused on quick-time events than moment-to-moment gameplay, then, but that's not the case for Ember Labs' PS5 debut. Its combat promises a deep, rewarding experience, challenging enough to knock us off our feet if we're not paying attention, yet compelling enough to keep us coming back after every defeat.



As a console exclusive to PlayStation platforms, Ember Labs is also hoping to make use of the PS5's next-generation features to make Kena feel and play as good as it looks. According to the Griers, Sony's new console has allowed the studio to "build dense, lush environments", as well as add new layers of interaction to Kena's combat mechanics.

Better yet, those playing on PS5 will be able to enjoy even more of the Rot at once. With over 100 of the little guys to collect, the PS5 version of the game will "be able to show each of those little guys on the screen all at the same
 

MrS

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They need to focus on polishing the game because it looked like it was running like shit in the last video I saw of it. Less social media fuckery, more actual work.
 

kuncol02

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They need to focus on polishing the game because it looked like it was running like shit in the last video I saw of it. Less social media fuckery, more actual work.
They are advertisement company not game devs so obviously they will spend time on advertisements and not on game development \s.
 

Kuranghi

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They need to focus on polishing the game because it looked like it was running like shit in the last video I saw of it. Less social media fuckery, more actual work.

Can you link that video please because I thought it looked good every time I saw it.

Was it stuttering? Sure it wasn't just a shitty twitter-encoded video?
 

Black_Stride

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stealing the heart? should name her KANO

God tier first post.

On Topic.
Is this to say the PS5 version is the only version with ~100 Rot on screen at once? Cuz I imagine a 3080/6800XT would be able to blast through even more.
UE4 has generally been really performant.

Dont make me have to buy the PS5 version by arbitrarily gimping PC?
 

MrS

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Can you link that video please because I thought it looked good every time I saw it.

Was it stuttering? Sure it wasn't just a shitty twitter-encoded video?
Watched it on my OLED. Shit looked super janky to me and some of her movements/animations didn't look, lets say, fully developed. It's from the last time we saw it. Still buying day one in the hope that these issues are fixed at launch.
 
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Hunnybun

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This is one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen. What baffles me is how they're gonna have this run on a PS4?? Maybe something like 720p30 with quite a few sacrifices of what we've seen so far?

I just don't see a PS4 game looking THAT much better than anything else from last gen without some serious sacrifices, especially once you factor in the small team actually doing the work.
 
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This is one of the most beautiful games I've ever seen. What baffles me is how they're gonna have this run on a PS4?? Maybe something like 720p30 with quite a few sacrifices of what we've seen so far?

I just don't see a PS4 game looking THAT much better than anything else from last gen without some serious sacrifices, especially once you factor in the small team actually doing the work.

The cutscenes are pre-rendered CGI. (done in-engine.. but.. Unreal Engine is used in movies too, so that's not really meaningful)

The actual gameplay, in the last video.. wasn't that amazing looking from a graphical standpoint and was choppy. And they've shown barely any gameplay in general.

I'm baffled at the response to this game TBH.. and yeah I'm a broken record in every thread, so sue me.. I don't even get what is so beautiful about it. It looks like a kids game to me.

This game has "grift" written all over it.. release a CGI laden trailer at the PS5 event last year where everyone thinks everything is rendered on the PS5... immediately put Kena merch up on amazon.com. What even is this game? lol
 
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Captain Toad

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I have high hopes for this, but I'll keep my expectations in check as this is an unknown developer.
 

GymWolf

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The cutscenes are pre-rendered CGI. (done in-engine.. but.. Unreal Engine is used in movies too, so that's not really meaningful)

The actual gameplay, in the last video.. wasn't that amazing looking from a graphical standpoint and was choppy. And they've shown barely any gameplay in general.

I'm baffled at the response to this game TBH.. and yeah I'm a broken record in every thread, so sue me.. I don't even get what is so beautiful about it. It looks like a kids game to me.

This game has "grift" written all over it.. release a CGI laden trailer at the PS5 event last year where everyone thinks everything is rendered on the PS5... immediately put Kena merch up on amazon.com. What even is this game? lol
What is a grift?

I often read this term in the politic section but i'm not sure about his meaning.
 

Hunnybun

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The cutscenes are pre-rendered CGI. (done in-engine.. but.. Unreal Engine is used in movies too, so that's not really meaningful)

The actual gameplay, in the last video.. wasn't that amazing looking from a graphical standpoint and was choppy. And they've shown barely any gameplay in general.

I'm baffled at the response to this game TBH.. and yeah I'm a broken record in every thread, so sue me.. I don't even get what is so beautiful about it. It looks like a kids game to me.

Each to their own.

I wasn't referring to the cutscenes but the gameplay. I'm a sucker for this stuff so have watched the latest trailer a dozen or so times, pausing the gameplay every few seconds to really pore over the detail.

It looks fucking astonishing to me.

And the "choppy" performance would tend to back up that analysis rather than debunk it, as it means that even a PS5 is struggling to run it at that level of fidelity. Also, it would be particularly relevant to my main point about how on earth a PS4 will run it, if it struggles on a PS5.
 
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What is a grift?

I often read this term in the politic section but i'm not sure about his meaning.
Just implies a lack of honesty in business; focused on making money via appearances of something being great. Like people who sell vitamins claiming you'll lose 50 pounds in 6 weeks that sort of thing.

I just get the feeling this game is going to be incredibly simplistic, and not much of a game.. and more of a showcase for their CGI.
 

Black_Stride

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The cutscenes are pre-rendered CGI. (done in-engine.. but.. Unreal Engine is used in movies too, so that's not really meaningful)

The actual gameplay, in the last video.. wasn't that amazing looking from a graphical standpoint and was choppy. And they've shown barely any gameplay in general.

I'm baffled at the response to this game TBH.. and yeah I'm a broken record in every thread, so sue me.. I don't even get what is so beautiful about it. It looks like a kids game to me.

This game has "grift" written all over it.. release a CGI laden trailer at the PS5 event last year where everyone thinks everything is rendered on the PS5... immediately put Kena merch up on amazon.com. What even is this game? lol

What makes you think they are prerendered?
UHD cutscenes are such a waste of space and have a locked framerate imagine how jarring its going to be going from 144fps to 30 when cutscenes show up.

And you think the artstyle is kids game?.......well it is a kids game doesnt mean adults can enjoy the game and artstyle....hell some of favorite movies of all time are animated.

This the game they wanted to make to test themselves and obviously make money gaming is still a business.



 
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Each to their own.

I wasn't referring to the cutscenes but the gameplay. I'm a sucker for this stuff so have watched the latest trailer a dozen or so times, pausing the gameplay every few seconds to really pore over the detail.

It looks fucking astonishing to me.

And the "choppy" performance would tend to back up that analysis rather than debunk it, as it means that even a PS5 is struggling to run it at that level of fidelity. Also, it would be particularly relevant to my main point about how on earth a PS4 will run it, if it struggles on a PS5.

Huh.. gameplay looks decent graphically to me, but nothing amazing. There's not all that much going on... so it'd just be a matter of lowering details.
 

GymWolf

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Just implies a lack of honesty in business; focused on making money via appearances of something being great. Like people who sell vitamins claiming you'll lose 50 pounds in 6 weeks that sort of thing.

I just get the feeling this game is going to be incredibly simplistic, and not much of a game.. and more of a showcase for their CGI.
Ok i get it.

Well, maybe you are right but i always wait for some prolonged gameplay with some combat to decide if i wanna buy a game so they can only fool casuals with this tactic...

If i see no substance they are not gonna have my money.
 
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What makes you think they are prerendered?

The developer said they are in engine pre-rendered.

This the game they wanted to make to test themselves and obviously make money gaming is still a business.

Right, they've never made a game before.

Releasing a mostly CGI trailer at a Sony event, then immediately selling merch.. is good business (I guess.. not sure anyone actually bought it, someone linked to all the shit on Amazon and it was pretty funny). But it also kinda makes me laugh as they showed jack shit from a "game" perspective.

This is the amazon search for kena bridge of spirits:


 
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Hunnybun

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The developer said they are in engine pre-rendered.



Right, they've never made a game before.

Releasing a mostly CGI trailer at a Sony event, then immediately selling merch.. is good business (I guess.. not sure anyone actually bought it, someone linked to all the shit on Amazon and it was pretty funny). But it also kinda makes me laugh as they showed jack shit from a "game" perspective.

This is the amazon search for kena bridge of spirits:



What are you ACTUALLY trying to say? That the whole production is effectively just a cover to sell a bit of merchandise on Amazon?

Not only does that make no sense from a ROI perspective, but it also wouldn't explain how they got Sony to give them that platform and pay them for exclusivity. Maybe they just showed Sony execs the CGI too, eh?

If, otoh, you're saying that they were unusually quick to exploit a market opportunity (they would have known that they were shortly to receive a huge amount of interest following the prominent reveal) then what does that really say? That they're smart businessmen? Well, so what? That really sheds no light one way or another on their ability to develop a game.
 

Guilty_AI

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Nintendo’s entire portfolio is literally kids games and everyone loves it but when Sony seemingly does one it’s “oh no, don’t do that to me”. If I had to choose, I’ll take this over violence-depression porn that is TLOU II and such.
Thing is, nintendo titles usually have top-notch game design.
All signs indicates that Kena doesn't, and it was made mostly with visuals in mind.
 
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Sander Cohen

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Thing is, nintendo titles usually have top-notch game design.
All signs indicates that Kena doesn't, and it was made mostly with visuals in mind.
You don’t know much of anything so far. Gameplay they showed seemed ok but no way of knowing the depth and complexity of it. Can’t see Sony neglecting gameplay. When you’re showcasing your game, it’s smart to show visuals first.
 

Guilty_AI

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You don’t know much of anything so far. Gameplay they showed seemed ok but no way of knowing the depth and complexity of it. Can’t see Sony neglecting gameplay. When you’re showcasing your game, it’s smart to show visuals first.
Thats the problem, we don't know anything.
Studio has no experience with games, having worked only on animations before. Also seems the game will be pretty short. All signs indicate it won't be too deep or complex gameplay-wise and will focus mostly on providing an good audio-visual experience - or at least that should've been the correct choice with their experience.

Also, this isn't a Sony game, its an independent title that probably got some exclusivity contract with them.
 
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What are you ACTUALLY trying to say? That the whole production is effectively just a cover to sell a bit of merchandise on Amazon?

Not only does that make no sense from a ROI perspective, but it also wouldn't explain how they got Sony to give them that platform and pay them for exclusivity. Maybe they just showed Sony execs the CGI too, eh?

If, otoh, you're saying that they were unusually quick to exploit a market opportunity (they would have known that they were shortly to receive a huge amount of interest following the prominent reveal) then what does that really say? That they're smart businessmen? Well, so what? That really sheds no light one way or another on their ability to develop a game.

Don't have to be that dramatic about it.. I'm just suspicious there isn't much of a "game" here, and in particular there wasn't much of a game when they made their trailer last year.

If they end up making a great game, more great games for me.. but they have shown a few tiny gameplay snippets at this point.

The merch thing is just sort of hilarious.
 
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Nintendo’s entire portfolio is literally kids games and everyone loves it but when Sony seemingly does one it’s “oh no, don’t do that to me”. If I had to choose, I’ll take this over violence-depression porn that is TLOU II and such.
This isn't a Sony game.

I'm excited for this, but will check out several reviews before purchase. Regardless will probably wait for sale since I'm so cheap.
 

TonyK

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Why so much hype for next gen version? It's cross gen, right? So game will be the same as PS4 but with 4K and/or 60fps.

As a PS5 owner I'm looking forward to see exclusive next gen games not possible in PS4/Xone.
 
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Black_Stride

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The developer said they are in engine pre-rendered.



Fucking peasantry so stuck at 4k/1440p30 cutscenes.......the blip into higher framerates.
Damn it.
I thought we finally left prerendered behind.
Right, they've never made a game before.

Releasing a mostly CGI trailer at a Sony event, then immediately selling merch.. is good business (I guess.. not sure anyone actually bought it, someone linked to all the shit on Amazon and it was pretty funny). But it also kinda makes me laugh as they showed jack shit from a "game" perspective.

This is the amazon search for kena bridge of spirits:


I still fail to see the issue?
That the game has merchandise?
When i search borderlands the majority of the results are merch?
Theres no physical release so what were you expecting to find on Amazon?

Whats the actual issue?
 

Kuranghi

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Watched it on my OLED. Shit looked super janky to me and some of her movements/animations didn't look, lets say, fully developed. It's from the last time we saw it. Still buying day one in the hope that these issues are fixed at launch.

Okay so I only saw the video in the stream before and figured the stuttering was from the stream, I just watched it on youtube and saw the stuttering you are possibly talking about. I downloaded it just to be sure it wasn't the browser or something and checked it frame by frame and during some of the gameplay shots (Not during cutscenes or most of the gameplay though) it does have a frame repeat error, which is most likely an encoding error, so I think its likely its not the game and it will be fine natively.

I can't speak to the animations though, the heavy combat shots didn't have the stuttering so it wasn't that, you might just not be happy with how that looks and fair enough.
 
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Hobbygaming

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The cutscenes are pre-rendered CGI. (done in-engine.. but.. Unreal Engine is used in movies too, so that's not really meaningful)

The actual gameplay, in the last video.. wasn't that amazing looking from a graphical standpoint and was choppy. And they've shown barely any gameplay in general.

I'm baffled at the response to this game TBH.. and yeah I'm a broken record in every thread, so sue me.. I don't even get what is so beautiful about it. It looks like a kids game to me.

This game has "grift" written all over it.. release a CGI laden trailer at the PS5 event last year where everyone thinks everything is rendered on the PS5... immediately put Kena merch up on amazon.com. What even is this game? lol
A big draw is the game looking like a Pixar movie and it looks fun and charming. Kena could be a huge hit with kids and adults alike if it goes right
 
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I still fail to see the issue?
That the game has merchandise?
When i search borderlands the majority of the results are merch?
Theres no physical release so what were you expecting to find on Amazon?
I didn't say there was an issue; I just think it's really sort of hilarious to create merch for a game based on a single trailer being shown. A $90 Cosplay outfit? Borderlands has sold 10s of millions.

That combined with a near complete lack of real info on the game makes them come across kind of grifter-y to me. Also.. they aren't game devs...

It reminds me of a Kickstarter project that has a snazzy video presentation but no product experience.

edit: FWIW I'd happily be wrong here and they produce a great game, I have 2 PS5s.. but at this point, don't even really know what this game is outside of a few snippets of actions.
 
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Hunnybun

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I didn't say there was an issue; I just think it's really sort of hilarious to create merch for a game based on a single trailer being shown. A $90 Cosplay outfit? Borderlands has sold 10s of millions.

That combined with a near complete lack of real info on the game makes them come across kind of grifter-y to me. Also.. they aren't game devs...

It reminds me of a Kickstarter project that has a snazzy video presentation but no product experience.

Trust me, as someone who's been desperate for proper next gen gameplay footage for about 2 years, Kena is FAR from the only example of a revealed game with basically nothing to show for it.

There's almost nothing out there for anything. Hell, until recently I was convinced Deathloop was gonna be an untrawide letterboxed game cos the only footage was from those stupid "cinematic" trailers. And that's coming out next month!

I mean, this being the devs' first game is definitely a reason to doubt how good Kena will be. But other than that there's really not much to go on, either way.
 
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Saber

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Still not sure about this game. The art keeps me away and the gameplay feels a bit janky. Who knows, they could still deliver a good game but as for now I'm not into it. Maybe as the time pass I could change my mind.
And lol at stealing internet's heart.
 
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