the Playstation 5 is not retro. Heck, it’s the opposite. The system has not yet been released. Yet this week PS5 revelation gave me nostalgic vibes, and all because of the focus on a specific genre: 3D platform games.
Games that focus on cute characters jumping through colorful levels in 3D spaces used for much of the PlayStation platform. Series like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the dragon helped establish the PlayStation brand. 3D platforms have been even bigger on PlayStation 2 thanks to franchises like Jak & Daxter, Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank.
Ratchet & Clank still had a strong presence on PS3, but it was clear that we were out of the golden age of 3D platforms. Jak & Daxter developer Naughty Dog has focused on third-person action games like Uncharted and The Last of Us. Sly Cooper Sucker Punch studio created the open world franchise Infamous. Even Insomniac, which still made a lot of Ratchet & Clank games for PS3, has divided its focus on a new first-person shooter series, Resistance.
Things felt more dramatic on PS4. Sure, we still have a Ratchet & Clank game and the great Astro Bot: Rescue Mission (which you need virtual reality), but most of Sony’s big exclusives were open world action games and the third person. Except for Knack, which is a kind of platform game… I think.
Cute characters are welcome
This is why I am so happy that Sony presented so many 3D platforms at its PS5 event. The new Ratchet & Clank, Rift Apart, Looks fantastic. It is the most powerful centerpiece for new generation hardware to date, with its colorful world filled with movement and action. Seeing Ratchet travel across different worlds via portals with only one or two seconds or travel time also shows how faster loading of the SSD can really make games more interesting.
While many were expecting a new Ratchet & Clank, I don’t think people were considering an Astro Bot sequel. And unlike the original, Astro games room does not require an RV. I’m so excited to see more people trying out the fun and joyful gameplay that I experienced in Rescue Mission.
And it was not the only surprise. Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet gets their own game. Instead of a 2D platform game focusing on creating your own levels, Sackboy: a great adventure seeks to focus on 3D platforms (alone or with up to three friends). As someone who has never liked LittleBigPlanet’s creation tools but found the Sackboy character to be sustainable, I think it’s great.
I hope this is just the start of the 3D platform on PS5. The successful remakes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro have opened everyone’s eyes to the quality (and profitability) of these games. I want Sony to keep investing in new games, and I also hope that we will see other classics get some fancy remakes (just waiting for the Ape Escape trilogy).
The RetroBeat is a weekly column that delves into the game’s past, delving into classics, new retro titles, or examining how old favorites – and their design techniques – inspire today’s market and experiences. If you have projects or scoops on the retro theme that you want to send my way, please contact me.