PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
|PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale|
North American cover art featuring (clockwise from upper center) Kratos, Raiden, Ratchet & Clank, Fat Princess, Sackboy, Sly Cooper, Big Daddy, and Nathan Drake.
SCE Santa Monica Studio
Bluepoint Games (PS Vita)
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s)||Fighting, action, platform|
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc, PlayStation Vita card, download|
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a crossover fighting video game which was released on November 20, 2012 in North America, November 21, 2012 in Europe, November 22, 2012 in Australia, November 23, 2012 in the UK and January 31, 2013 in Japan. The game was developed by SuperBot Entertainment in conjunction with SCE Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita video game consoles. PlayStation All-Stars was announced in April 2012 on an episode of GTTV.
Game development began in 2009 with a creative team that included members from several Sony and former third party development teams. Omar Kendall, formerly a designer on the UFC series, the Backyard Wrestling franchise, and X-Men: Next Dimension, assumed the role of director for PlayStation All-Stars after joining SuperBot Entertainment. After three years of development and being delayed from its initial October 2012 release, the game was released in November 2012.
A mysterious entity arrives and uses "time holes" to scatter everyone across different points in history of PlayStation. Heroes, during their journey, must overcome various hybrid versions of their worlds, encountering dangers still stronger than them and other characters, intent to discover this mysterious character and restore their worlds to a state of normalcy. Only one can reach the mysterious threat that awaits them and obtain its power. After an series of fights with other characters, the player discovers that Polygon Man is responsible for bringing all the characters together from their worlds and forcing them to fight each other for unknown reasons. After Polygon Man is defeated, the player absorbs his power and their character returns to their own world, where they receive their own ending and is shown what they do with their newfound power (Good or Evil).
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a fighting game, similar to the style of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. Up to four players can battle each other using characters from various Sony franchises such as God of War, PaRappa the Rapper and Sly Cooper, as well as third-party franchises like BioShock. There are, however, differences in how opponents are defeated. During the game, players damage other players to receive "AP" orbs that build up a power meter at the bottom of the screen (These orbs can also be found on the stage over the course of the match). Earning enough power allows players to use one of three levels of special attacks named "Super Moves" which can be used to defeat opponents and earn points. The game features cross-platform play between the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions.
The game features a traditional single-player arcade mode, in which players must defeat several randomly selected opponents, followed by a character-specific rival battle and, ultimately, a battle against the game's main antagonist and final boss, Polygon Man. Multiplayer modes include time-based matches, where players compete to achieve the most kills within a time limit, stock based matches, where players attempt to be the last one standing, and kill-limit matches, where players compete to be the first to reach a certain number of kills. The game also features a single-player challenge mode, in which players attempt to complete specific objectives.
Stages and items
Along with the host of varying playable characters, All-Stars also comes with a range of items and levels influenced by various PlayStation franchises. The game features 14 different arenas for battle, with elements in each one that can damage characters and cause them to lose AP. Each stage is based on a combination of two games, such as "Sandover Village" (based on Jak and Daxter and Hot Shots Golf), "Dreamscape" (based on LittleBigPlanet and Buzz!), "Stowaways" (based on Uncharted and BioShock Infinite), and "Hades" (based on God of War and Patapon). As time passes, a stage's second representation takes hold, usually introducing a map hazard into the level. In addition, there are several item pick-ups that can be utilized by players, such as the Hedgehog Grenade from Resistance, the Gravity Shield from Wipeout, Baumusu's Axe from Rise of the Kasai, and Razor Claws from Ratchet & Clank. These items can be used to augment a player or do damage to an opponent.
|Dante||Devil May Cry|
|Evil Cole MacGrath||Infamous|
|Fat Princess||Fat Princess|
|Isaac Clarkea||Dead Space|
|Jak and Daxter||Jak and Daxter|
|Kratos||God of War|
|Parappa||PaRappa the Rapper|
|Ratchet and Clank||Ratchet & Clank|
|Sir Daniel Fortesque||MediEvil|
|Sly Cooper||Sly Cooper|
|Sweet Tooth||Twisted Metal|
|Toro Inoue||Doku Demo Issyo|
|Zeusa||God of War|
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was originally going to be developed by Naughty Dog who was in the middle of the development of The Last of Us. Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment therefore decided to form SuperBot Entertainment in 2009 specifically to work on the game. In early 2011, it was discovered that the independent studio based in California, SuperBot Entertainment, was working on an un-announced "combat heavy" multiplayer title for the PlayStation 3. In November 2011, images of the game (then codenamed as Title Fight) popped up online, showing Sweet Tooth from the Twisted Metal series and Kratos from God of War, who appeared in both Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny and the PS3 and PSVita versions of Mortal Kombat as a guest character. It was claimed the game features a number of Sony mascots such as Parappa the Rappa, Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake (Uncharted), Colonel Mael Radec (Killzone) and Fat Princess. Arenas include a Sandover Village stage (from Jak & Daxter), a Hot Shots Golf stage, a LittleBigPlanet stage and a Buzz! trivia mini-game.
SuperBot Entertainment was linked as developer of the game, who confirmed to be working on a "very amazing PS3 game" for Sony Computer Entertainment America. According to a job advert, SuperBot was after a senior combat designer with "a strong familiarity with fighting games and fighting game theory". Another job advert asked for a lead designer with "a strong familiarity with online mode and matchmaking design as they apply to console gaming". When Eurogamer contacted Sony to ask about the rumour that they were making a "PlayStation 3 exclusive Smash Bros. rival", Sony declined to comment stating "we do not comment on rumour or speculation".
In April 2012, it was revealed that the game is called PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. A Sony survey that asked gamers what they thought of the name of the game, and the game itself, was uncovered and published by PlayStation Lifestyle. The site claimed the PlayStation 3 exclusive will be announced at E3 in June. This was followed by Sony who registered the domain for www.playstationallstarsbattleroyale.com, alongside another domain registered by Sony for the shorter www.playstationallstars.com. On April 23, 2012, a tweet by the newly formed SuperBot Entertainment Twitter page said: "Boot sequence initiated." At the same time, GTTV promised to reveal a major new PlayStation exclusive on April 26. The game was revealed on April 26, 2012 episode of GTTV as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
In May 2012, in an interview to Digital Trends, game director Omar Kendall was asked about the possibility of PlayStation Vita version of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and he simply replied, "Maybe... stay tuned." Three weeks later, TheSixthAxis spotted that Sony had registered a few domains that also hinted that a Vita version may be released. A Vita version was announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, and will feature cross-play with the PlayStation 3. In July 2012, it was announced that former Capcom community manager and Evolution Championship Series co-founder Seth Killian had taken a role at Sony Santa Monica, where he would assist PlayStation All-Stars developer Superbot Entertainment.
In late July, files found in the beta version of the game pointed to an array of unannounced characters and stages in the game, including levels set in the worlds of Resistance, Uncharted 3, PaRappa the Rapper, LittleBigPlanet, Killzone, LocoRoco, BioShock Infinite and more. An array of character names were also uncovered inside the demo's files, including Devil May Cry's Dante, Evil Cole from Infamous, Raiden from Metal Gear Solid and more. A number of leaks uncovered the information, which started on Reddit. Resourceful users of the GameFAQs forums and NeoGAF each added more information, which also included a list of in-game items. SuperBot producer Chan Park later acknowledged the leak's legitimacy, though he noted that changes had been made since the beta build's development and that the leaked content did not fully reflect the content found within the final game. With the announcement of Nariko and Sir Daniel Fortesque on August 31, 2012, all characters found in the leaked file have been officially announced.
On August 13, 2012, SuperBot Entertainment announced that the game has been delayed by one month from its original October 2012 release to November 2012. Chan Park claimed that the delay "will let us spend more time polishing and tuning the game, and it will give us a chance to incorporate some of the great feedback we're receiving from the current limited beta to ensure we are creating the best possible fighting game experience."
On July 24, 2012, the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Developer Beta (PlayStation 3 version) was released for PlayStation Plus subscribers in Hong Kong and Singapore. The beta featured the original 6 announced characters (Colonel Radec, Kratos, PaRappa, Fat Princess, Sly Cooper, and Sweet Tooth), playable in multiplayer matches. The developers used this beta to test server loads and match making features. On July 27, 2012, selected North American PlayStation Network members received codes to download the beta.
In Europe, the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Public Beta began on September 11, 2012, across PlayStation 3 and Vita for a selected number of players who opted-in to receive codes on a specific PlayStation Network Beta sign-up page, and concluded on September 18.
A new beta launched in America on October 16, 2012, and in Europe one day later for PlayStation Plus members. The beta was open for everyone else the following week, October 23, and was originally set to end on October 30, but was extended until November 10. The beta was released to all PS Vita owners on October 16, 2012, regardless of whether the owner had a Plus subscription or not. The beta supported Cross-Play, allowing PlayStation 3 and PS Vita owners to play against each other. Sony said the beta would help SuperBot Entertainment load test the game's servers ahead of its release.
Originally scheduled for a worldwide release in October 2012, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was delayed and released on November 20, 2012 in North America, November 21, 2012 in Europe, November 22, 2012 in Australia and New Zealand, November 23, 2012 in the UK and Ireland, and January 31, 2013 in Japan.
On May 1, 2012, Sony announced the PlayStation Store Royale Contenders Sale – a PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale sale to celebrate the announcement of the game. The sale included discounts on titles such as God of War Collection, God of War: Origins Collection, Killzone 3 Multiplayer, and The Sly Collection. The sale began on May 2 and ran for one week.
Sony collaborated with several retail outlets on a pre-order incentive. The pre-order bonus consisted of a downloadable content pack, which included an exclusive set of costumes for all of the game's playable characters. With the exception of the third-party characters, these costumes were later released as premium DLC on the PSN store; the third-party costumes were instead offered as free DLC several months after launch.
At gamescom 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment announced their new Cross-Buy program. New PlayStation 3 copies of the game include the ability to download the PlayStation Vita version at no additional cost. PlayStation All-Stars, along with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault, were the first games announced for the program.
A commercial including gameplay was created by the comedy team at Robot Chicken.
On November 15, 2012, Seth Killian announced that the first downloadable content (DLC) for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale would arrive in the form of two new playable characters: Kat from Gravity Rush and Emmett Graves from Starhawk, along with a new stage, "Fearless", based on Heavenly Sword and WipEout. The characters were available for free during the first two weeks of their release. Killian also mentioned that Kat and Emmett, along with all future potential DLC characters, would be treated "just like the 20 launch characters," complete with single-player story modes, minions, trials, unlockable costumes, and more content. The DLC was released on February 12, 2013. The Fearless stage was not free; however, for players who do not purchase the stage, they can still access it in online ranked matches. Additional costumes and minions are also available to purchase as DLC. After Sony Computer Entertainment ended its working agreement with Superbot Entertainment in January 2013, it was announced that forthcoming DLC would be handled by Santa Monica Studio. On February 27, 2013, Zeus and Isaac Clarke were revealed as the second set of downloadable characters. Zeus and Isaac were released on March 19, along with a new stage, "Graveyard", based on MediEvil and The Unfinished Swan. A voucher to download Zeus and Isaac for free was included with all new copies of God of War: Ascension.
Shortly after E3 2013, Shuhei Yoshida of Sony Worldwide Studios commented on future DLC releases, mentioning the game's sale of 1 million units but claiming "it was not enough to have the momentum in terms of a business standpoint to continue to add characters or do a sequel", confirming no more DLC is likely to be released. Both Abe from the Oddworld series and Dart from The Legend of Dragoon were planned for release as downloadable characters, along with a stage based on Gravity Rush and Journey; however, due to low sales of previous content, development on this content was cancelled. In response to the cancellation of the DLC characters, a journalist going by the alias 'Goniloc Ripal' started a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #ReleaseDart in an attempt to get Sony to finish the DLC. The campaign consisted of thousands of fans reaching out to Sony Santa Monica and trying to get the developers to support 'Playstation All-Stars' once again. Although ultimately Sony Santa Monica neglected to release the DLC characters Dart and Abe, the #ReleaseDart campaign gained enough popularity to warrant a massive patch as well as two free DLC costumes for Isaac Clarke and Zeus.  On August 4, 2013 Santa Monica Studios confirmed that there would be no more DLC characters or stages, but said that they planned on releasing four outfits formerly exclusive to those who pre-ordered the game, as well as skins for Zeus and Isaac.
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale has received generally favorable reviews. Critics praised the game's multiplayer and fighting mechanics, but criticized its lack of content, still images in campaign mode and few cut scenes. The use of super moves as the only way to defeat a player had mixed reception. While some critics thought it lacked depth, others believed that filling up the meter to land a knock-out added strategy to an otherwise only decent fighting experience. The game currently holds a 74 score for the PlayStation 3 version and a 75 score for the PS Vita version on Metacritic.
Video game talk show Good Game's two presenters both gave the game a 6 out of 10. While the game's combat mechanics were praised, criticism was drawn towards the "flawed" Super Moves mechanic, saying, "In most fighting games each attack you do is chipping away your opponent's health bar. Or in Smash Bros it's adding to their damage counter, and the higher their damage the further your attacks knocked them, but in this game all you have is the super meter! Each attack adds fuel to it. But if you miss with your super, all the attacking you did for the last few minutes amounts to nothing. Essentially all your progress is erased". The selection of playable characters also drew criticism, as the hosts felt many of the characters were added due to their marketing appeal rather than appropriateness for a fighting game.
Parappa character designer Rodney Greenblat was happy to see Parappa return to video games, but he was not happy to see him in a violent game. "I’m very happy that Parappa is making a bit of a comeback, but not so happy about him being in a weapon filled battle game. Actually the Battle Royal game is fun, and I have to do what I can to get Parappa back in the game scene. My hope is that Sony realizes the golden true potential of Parappa and asks me to design some new games. I’ve learned a lot, and I think Parappa could be great again," said Greenblat.
IGN gave the game an 8/10, declaring "It combines characters, environments and ideas into a tight package that’s worthy of consideration for anyone who owns a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita and considers themselves a brand loyalist or simply a longtime fan ... I know it’ll be hard for some skeptics to believe, but PlayStation All-Stars is its own game, and it even happens to do some things better than what inspired it." GameSpot gave the game a 6.5/10, commenting "There are better, more fluid games out there for the serious fighter, and there are more accessible ones for those interested in a bit of silliness. In attempting to mix the two, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale merely ends up being competent at both and the master of neither."
On December 21, 2012, the game was nominated for IGN's Best Overall Fighting Game and won the IGN People's Choice Award.
In an interview with Shuhei Yoshida after E3 2013, Shuhei said "never say never", hoping there is a future for the game. He also commented he'd "like to see us come back to the idea, but "maybe not the same mechanic".
A free-to-play minigame collection, PlayStation All-Stars Island, was released for iOS in summer 2013 as a cross-promotion with Coke Zero. The game is only available in specific European territories.
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