Put on your wizard robe and hat, It's time to go a-questin' in PlayStation Home.
PlayStation Home isn't exactly known for its sense of bustling activity. In fact, of the various games and virtual worlds I've tried over the years, Home probably bears the most crushing resemblance to real life, in that it's mostly full of people who are busy watching television, waiting in a queue to go bowling or staring silently at the ground. An update for the social platform, arriving sometime this fall, is hoping to liven up the place a little, by introducing "MMO-style" quests and adding a host of new areas based around gaming genres.
According to Jack Buser, Director of PlayStation Home, the quests will range from simple "play X amount of enemies in game Y" affairs and daily quests to "extremely complex quests that last months." He also mentioned that the quests will be story driven - though how much space there is for a compelling narrative in a space like PlayStation Home is yet to be seen - and will feature branching storylines that remember players' previous choices. Now, no one is doing these quests for free, a quest without reward is just work, so what kind of loot can players expect to come away with when it's all said and done? Costumes, apparently, as well as items for their virtual avatars and upgrades for existing games. Buser even mentioned that "Spaces", the premium player housing which retails for around fifteen bucks a pop, could be potential rewards for longer quests.
The quests are found on an activity board in the imaginatively titled "Hub," the new central area which replaces the perpetually haunted plaza from previous versions of Home. From there, players will be able to access Home's new districts, which in turn then provide access to certain genres of games. The districts, according to this here press release, consist of:
The Action District: A gathering place for the hardcore demographic, the Action District has a gritty, urban feel reminiscent of a first-person shooter level and provides a direct travel point to action and horror games.
The Sportswalk: The Sportswalk has an exciting outside-the-stadium feel with instant major league sports scores, headlines and highlights, ample space for sports-themed games and provides direct travel points to sports-related games.
The Adventure District The Adventure District drops you in a lush island jungle with an air of mystery, hidden treasure and discovery, where players will be able to launch directly into adventure-themed games.
Pier Park: A waterfront boardwalk leads players to carnival, puzzle, outdoor and arcade games. Take a ride on the Pier Park Ferris wheel or visit the arcade for some bright entertainment.
The theme park feel is apparently very deliberate: Buser cites Disneyland as one of the chief inspirations behind the redesign - I'm going to assume he's talking about Disneyland California there, I've been to Disneyland Paris and it pretty much resembled a level from Silent Hill, it wasn't really an environment I'd call conductive to social interaction. Regardless, being able to wander around a theme park, playing games and completing quests without having to step over people's screaming toddlers? I can get behind that.
The update will also feature numerous under-the-hood adjustments and UI tweaks designed to "get players into the game as fast as possible."