Bonus Round: Virtual Insanity

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. With God of War Ragnarök around the corner, it’s fitting that we’ve seen a flood of PlayStaion news this week. Let’s get into it!

PS VR2 retail box

PS VR2 price and launch date announced

Sony has been trickling out details of its new PlayStation VR2 headset for over a year. Now, we finally know when it’s coming. PS VR2 will launch globally on 22 February 2023, but it won’t be cheap. The headset, controllers and stereo headphones will set you back by a cool £529.99/€599.99/$549.99. A bundle with Horizon Call of the Mountain will also be available for £569.99/€649.99/$599.99.

The timing for this couldn’t be worse. The global economy is tanking and many households are feeling the full force of a cost of living crisis. A PS5 is already an expensive luxury, and now PS VR2 will cost even more than that. This news is going to price many gamers out of the VR market, and I’ve got a feeling the sales are going to reflect that.

By all accounts, PSVR2 is a fantastic piece of tech. That’s not really in question. But there just doesn’t seem to be the range of games to justify dropping this kind of cash. Sony published a partial list of launch games on the PlayStation blog; there are some great games in there, but many of them are already available on other VR platforms. Horizon Call of the Mountain seems really cool, but is it a compelling enough reason to buy PS VR2 over the cheaper and self-contained Meta Quest? I’m not sure it is.

Screenshot from Uncharted 4

Is a new Uncharted game in development?

Sony is in the process of establishing a new internal development team in San Diego, and we might already have an idea of what they’re working on. VGC reported last Friday that a job listing states that the currently unnamed studio is ‘co-developing an exciting new project with Naughty Dog in a beloved franchise.’ Naughty Dog, of course, is best known as the developer of The Last of Us, but that’s not the only juggernaut

Look, I think we all know that this ‘beloved franchise’ is probably Uncharted. Each game in the series was a huge success, and after years away, a new entry would sell massively. Even the movie adaptation was a decently-sized hit too, within the context of a sleepy post-pandemic box office. It makes total sense to bring the series back for a new generation of gamers.

If we are going to get a new Uncharted game, I hope it’s a completely fresh approach. There have been six mainline games in the series, and while they became increasingly technically impressive, they stuck to a fairly rigid gameplay structure. I want this new studio to completely dismantle Uncharted and build it from the ground up, with totally new mechanics. I’m asking, I suppose, for the Uncharted equivalent of 2018’s God of War.

Still, Uncharted isn’t the only major franchise in Naughty Dog’s history. A big part of me is holding out hope, however irrationally, that this partnership will result in a new Jak & Daxter game. The series is long dormant, but I have a lot of fond memories of those games; I’d love to see Jak & Daxter get the next-gen Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart treatment.

Still from HBO's The Last of Us
The Last of Us CR: HBO

The Last of Us HBO show coming in January

The marketing rollout for HBO’s adaptation of The Last Of Us has been picking up steam over the last few months. We’ve had a couple of teaser trailers to whet our appetites, and now we know when we’ll be getting the main course: The Last of Us will debut on HBO on Sunday 15 January 2023.

For us here in the UK, that means we’ll be able to see the first episode on Sky and Now TV on Monday 16 January. There’s another reason 16 January is a significant date: it’s my birthday! I’ve mentioned before that I’m very interested in this show, so getting the first episode will be a lovely present. Maybe not quite lovely enough to make up for my birthday falling on a Monday next year, but what can you do?