Digital Foundry: Hands-on with COD Infinite Warfare on PS4 Pro

PlayStation 4 Pro’s enhancements for supported titles are proving varied from what we’ve seen so far, ranging from resolution bumps to more fine-tuned visual tweaks. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare gave us more insight on this – the one game to demo the hardware at EGX 2016 this week. Running on a guarded row of six PS4 Pro machines, we could compare it to a similar multiplayer build running on the original PS4 – a rare chance to see the prospective gains for supported titles as we approach the new console’s November 10th launch.

Between myself and colleague John Linneman, the consensus was the core visual make-up is perceptibly very close between PS4 and PS4 Pro right now, with resolution being the only enhancement. Though the maps shown on each console differed (with PS4 Pro running a neat sci-fi edition of the Terminal map from Modern Warfare 2) there’s no sign yet that Sony’s newer machine offers higher quality scenery or effects work while simultaneously rendering out to a 4K screen. Instead, the resolution bump is clearly the focus.

Here we saw the very same game, but rendering at a higher pixel rate to hand in a vastly clearer image. The code we saw suggests that Sony’s checkerboard upscaler is in effect here. As with Horizon: Zero Dawn and other titles seen at the PlayStation Meeting, this renders out a 2x 1080p pixel count in a 2×2 checkerboard format, extrapolated out to get perceptibly close to the real deal. This can also manifest as a subtle stippling pattern on high-contrast edges in motion, difficult to pick out unless you ogle the screen closely.

Pirates of the airwaves: How Sega won the hearts and minds of a generation

The year is 1992. In a typical British household a typical British family is huddled around the television, still unsure about what has just transpired during the ad break of their typical British soap opera. Nestled among the traditional commercials for washing powder and breakfast cereal is a blistering whirlwind of fast editing and bizarre imagery; a smoke-filled barber’s shop, a handsome hero with bionic implants and a generous helping of slickly-edited footage from a series of video games, punctuated by an infectiously catchy slogan: To be this good takes Sega. The effect is mesmerising. This is the family’s first taste of an advertising campaign that will change the way video games are promoted in the UK forever. This is the birth of ‘Pirate’ TV.

The road to this pivotal point in UK televisual marketing history is one that has been documented widely over the past few decades, but bears repeating. While Sega and Nintendo may be pretty cosy bedfellows today, thirtysomething players will vividly recall an era when these two giants fought tooth and nail, marking a dividing line in school playgrounds all over the world long before Sony and Microsoft came along and assumed the same roles. While there are subtle differences in the tale depending on whether you’re based in North America or Europe, in the UK, Sega’s ascendancy came out of a steadfast desire to swim against the tide and buck trends whenever possible, and the man who oversaw this gleefully disruptive approach was Nick Alexander.

Alexander’s entry into the video game arena occurred in 1983, when he became Managing Director at Virgin, aged just 27. His relationship with Sega began when Virgin purchased British budget label Mastertronic, the firm responsible for Sega’s European distribution, towards the end of the decade. “Sega had delivered its shipment of Master Systems to Mastertronic too late for Christmas, so furious retailers understandably cancelled their orders,” Alexander explains. “Mastertronic was plunged into a financial crisis which was only solved by our acquisition of the company and the merger with Virgin Games to become Virgin Mastertronic, with myself once again in the role of Managing Director. As it happened, Sega had also failed to deliver on time to their distributors in France and Germany, and asked us if we would take on those two regions as well as the UK. We could see the NES was exploding in North America so it seemed like the right deal at the right time, so we agreed, laying down the foundations for Sega Europe – which Virgin Mastertronic would become in 1991 when Sega purchased the firm outright and I became Sega Europe CEO.”

Games of EGX 2016

Hello again from Birmingham’s NEC, where we’re wrapping up day three of EGX 2016. And what a day – announced, a hugely-promising look at , and a chance to watch Ian and Bratt making themselves .

Treadmills aside, EGX is full of gems to try – and if you’re here tomorrow, or are simply looking for our opinions of what was great here this year, look no further. Below, we’ve each picked a particular favourite to recommend to you. And so, without any further do:

Generating some of the biggest buzz on the showfloor and attention any AAA-sized game would go green as a lizard in envy for, Yooka-Laylee lit up EGX this year. It’s kind of appropriate, really, for a game whose team seem to be punching above their collective weight in every way. Sure, as a group of a dozen or so veterans they have a hundred years worth of experience in the industry (mostly at British legend Rare). But Yooka-Laylee is also a type of game we don’t see much anymore – a retro-feeling 3D platformer, heavy on nostalgia and collectibles – from a small team with their heads down, hard at work in a room in the Midlands.

Failbetter Games announces Sunless Skies

Failbetter Games has announced Sunless Skies, a sequel to Sunless Sea, live on stage at EGX 2016. The follow up to the Victorian exploration game is currently in the very early stages of development, with a Kickstarter campaign due to launch in February of next year.

As you have almost certainly guessed, Sunless Skies swaps the murky waters of the Unterzee for the open air, in a move best described as ‘doing a Bioshock’.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Hannah Flynn of Failbetter Games said: “We hope Sunless Skies will be another helping of what players loved about Sunless Sea: the choices that make you close your eyes as you click, delivered in our finest prose, surrounded by atmospheric and lush art.

Game Genie declassified: That summer I played 230 Game Boy games

It was the summer of 1992. Nirvana dominated the airwaves, Batman Returns squatted resolutely in multiplexes all over the world and Alan Shearer became Britain’s most expensive football player with a now laughable £3.6m transfer from Southampton to Blackburn. But to be honest, I had to look all this up on Wikipedia, because I really didn’t notice it at the time. I was locked in a small office on a Leamington industrial estate testing Game Genie codes for the Game Boy.

If you don’t know what a Game Genie is, congratulations, you are very young. Designed by games publisher Codemasters and sold by US toy giant Galoob, it was a cheat cartridge that you slotted into the back of your console, before plugging in a game – it would then let you enter codes to get extra lives, or unlimited cash or other juicy benefits. It was a brilliant example of idiosyncratic British innovation, and typical for Codemasters at the time, a plucky irreverent company, run out of a barn in Southam by brothers Richard and David Darling. They were already making their own NES cartridges for titles like Dizzy and Micro Machines because Nintendo wouldn’t give them a developer license. Then, one night they came up with a fantastic idea while brainstorming in David’s Leamington flat, with engineer Ted Carron.

“With our NES games, we were thinking of adding switches on the cartridges for more lives or powerful weapons or extra speed,” recalls David. “Then we just made a mental leap and thought, why don’t we put the switches on an interface between the game and the console and then it could work on any game?

Forza Horizon 3 at 4K 60fps is simply breathtaking

It’s extremely good on Xbox One, but with the right hardware, Forza Horizon 3 is breathtaking on PC. Building on the DX12 foundation of the excellent Forza Motorsport 6 Apex, Playground Games has assembled a technological masterpiece for PC owners – one that I was eager to test out at 4K resolution at a fully unfettered 60fps. A Core i7 6700K paired with Nvidia’s Titan X Pascal mostly does the job with minimal tinkering and it’s an absolutely phenomenal experience.

Forza Horizon 3 on PC appears to be based on three solid foundations. Firstly, it’s down to just how impressive the ‘base’ Xbox One version of the game is – the undoubted quality of the car models is match by a rich and varied, animated environment, beautiful skyboxes and sublime lighting. Secondly, there’s a sense of scalability to the assets and the quality presets: detail pops at 4K on PC, view distances are pulled out, pop-in is reduced and effects work is more refined.

Motion blur is smoother, shadows and reflections are more crisp and more detailed, and obviously, there’s the big one: the ability to run at 60fps. The final pillar is the quality of the core engine itself: Forza Motorsport 6 Apex is a fine piece of work, but Horizon 3 adds more ambition technologically and visually – as you would expect when the console version has double the render time available to produce each frame.

Watch Saturday’s EGX 2016 sessions live

We’re back at the NEC in Birmingham for day three of EGX 2016. Do say hello if you’re here, or if you’re not – well, then you have more time to watch Saturday’s developer session schedule.

All of today’s sessions are streamed live on the EGX Twitch channel – which you can watch right here if you’re so inclined.

Miss one? We’ll have each panel archived on YouTube too so you can catch up.

Destiny: Rise of Iron’s new raid finished in just two hours

Destiny’s new raid went live last night – and it was defeated in record time.

Rise of Iron’s raid, named Wrath of the Machine, unlocked at 6pm UK time. A couple of hours later, it was done and dusted.

Destiny clan Redeem was first, a feat by Bungie to have taken only two hours. Second and third place teams finished very shortly after.

Jelly Deals roundup: Monkey Island, Dragon Age: Inquisition, GTA5 and more

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a new deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. (It also has the best name.) We’ve invited the Jelly Deals team to share a weekly roundup of (mostly) gaming-related bargains with us, so we can pass their tips on to you. Full disclosure: if you make a purchase from one of these links, we will receive a small commission from the retailer. Hopefully you’ll find it useful!

Right now, over in Birmingham, EGX 2016 is happening and fancy new games are getting shown off amongst crowds of excitable people and flashy lighting. That all sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Does it change the fact that we’ve got another week’s worth of deals to look at? No. No, it doesn’t.

If you’re not at EGX, take a peek and some of the things below – maybe you’ll see something you like and save some cash. Heck, feel free to do that even if you are at EGX. Me? I just finished playing Virginia. If you haven’t yet nabbed yourself a copy of that, I cannot recommend it enough. Don’t take my word on it, though. Go and read

First-person VR Pac-Man is as ridiculous as it sounds

The future is here, and it’s a first-person Pac-Man game with VR headsets and a slippy treadmill which requires oversized Crocs.

We sent Ian Higton and Chris Bratt into this dystopian future and yes, the results were as just as we planned.

You can try this setup for yourself at EGX 2016, where Pac-Man VR is running on Android Gear headsets and ROVR treadmills.