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Gaming: Iron Man VR blasts off at last; Sony spotlights indie games' PS5 future; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Iron Man VR for PlayStation VR

It’s taken Tony Stark a little longer than planned to suit up for his first virtual reality outing, but the time has finally arrived: Iron Man VR is blasting off this week for headset-wearers who want to wield the power of Marvel’s iconic red exo-suit.

After multiple delays — the most recent owing to the coronavirus pandemic — the game releases Friday, putting players in a 3D world that leaves the Earth’s surface behind for plenty of air time to take the fight to the bad guys in the sky. Stark Industries’ tech gets hijacked for nefarious uses in the setup for Iron Man’s VR debut, and it’s up to Tony (voiced by actor Josh Keaton), with help from Nick Fury, Pepper Potts, and F.R.I.D.A.Y. to take on Ghost and Living Laser, “who have joined forces in attempt to take him and Stark Industries down once and for all,” according to developer Camouflaj.

Check out the launch trailer below:

When you’re not ion-thrusting through the air, your downtime will put you back in Tony’s tricked-out garage, where you can customize Iron Man’s armor and upgrade its abilities with all the MCU tech we’ve come to know (and envy) on the big screen. Iron Man VR is a PlayStation VR exclusive, and Sony is sweetening the incentive for first-time VR buyers with a $349.99 all-in-one bundle that includes the full game, as well as the PS VR headset, PlayStation Camera, a VR demo disc, and a pair of PlayStation Move controllers.

Iron Man VR suits up starting Friday, July 3, priced at $39.99 for the base game, or $49.99 for a digital deluxe edition that includes four custom armor skins plus an Iron Man PS4 theme, a digital deluxe soundtrack, and 12 in-game research points right from the start.

In the aftermath of all the big-name games that Sony teased in June’s PlayStation 5 reveal, the company is renewing its commitment to also make the new console a friendly place for indie developers and fans by spotlighting some of the upcoming titles in the works when the PS5 arrives later this year.

Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Shuhei Yoshida took to the PlayStation Blog this week to formally unveil the PlayStation Indies Initiative for the PlayStation ecosystem (including the PS5), a developer-focused program aimed at supporting “the best of the best indie games being published on PlayStation and the entire indie community as a whole.”

Making sure players know what that means in terms of actual games, Yoshida also shared a sizzle reel featuring nine new indie titles currently in development for PlayStation. Take a peek in the preview clip below:

In addition to indie games that Sony featured during its June 4 “Future of Gaming” event (which especially struck a chord with fans who watched and re-watched the YouTube trailer for developer Ember Lab's upcoming Kena: Bridge of Spirits), the new indie lineup includes Creaks, a creepy exploration game; Maquette, a “recursive world simulation & puzzle-making” game; Recompile, a hacking-themed platformer; and Haven, a “chill” co-op exploration adventure set on a mysterious planet.

In keeping with the initiative’s focus on building momentum for indie developers, Yoshida also confirmed that a new indie game title will land for the PlayStation Now service every month, beginning in July with Hello Neighbor, a survival horror stealth game that’s already out for other platforms.

Part of the thinking behind giving indie development a boost for the PS5 is to tap the talent of small-scale game makers who can craft their ideas into a finished product with fewer resources than it takes the big studios to deliver AAA titles.

“The indie community is increasingly important for the future of the video game industry, as AAA game development has grown so financially demanding that big companies are finding it harder to take risks to invest in new concepts that may or may not work,” Yoshida explained. “We trust indie developers with strong vision will continue to bring ideas that have never been tried before, creating whole new genres of games and advancing the art and meaning of video games.”

Ubisoft is loading up a new entrant into the battle royale arena, unveiling a new cyberpunk-themed game called Hyper Scape. The free-to-play run-and-gun shooter is set in the distant future, and adds hacking and platforming parkour elements to the typical battle royale gameplay mix.

It doesn’t take long to grasp how vertical leaping up and down Hyper Scape’s sprawling, “100% urban” future-opolis of Neo Arcadia will factor into the action, as you can see in the frenetic launch trailer below (as well as an additional gameplay trailer here):

Hyper Scape comes with two play modes — the last-one-standing skirmish scenarios that define the battle royale genre, as well as a “capture the crown” mode that has your squad riding out the clock as the other side tries to force it out of your possession. Like Apex Legends before it, Hyper Scape was something of a surprise reveal when first footage from the game showed up (and quickly caught fire) today on Twitch, but it’ll be later this year when PC players get their hands on the full game, before its eventual arrival on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

PC gamers who want to get in on the game’s early tech test can head over to Ubisoft’s landing page and follow the instructions to link their accounts ahead of Hyper Scape's  global debut.