The stylish, HD-retro PixelJunk games are among the highlights on the PlayStation platform. But another cult favorite, Demon's Souls, beat the series to its latest clever innovation.
The spring update to the first PixelJunk game, PixelJunk Racers, will add the ability for players to summon and race against the ghost of any player on their PlayStation friends list or anywhere on the game's leaderboard.
Dylan Cuthbert, chief of PixelJunk studio Q-Games, told Kotaku at a recent live showcase of the add-on that PixelJunk Racers: 2nd Lap takes advantage of a PlayStation 3 "user data" service. The technology, he said, popped up on his radar last year. His team wanted to use it in one of their games. The user data service can pull player data from anyone playing a PS3 game programmed to support it.
The other game that uses the service, Cuthbert said, is the sword-and-sorcery role-playing game Demon's Souls, which records to the game's servers the lives and deaths of all of its players' characters. Ghostly renditions of those deaths are then transmitted to other players, who will see them as they play Demon's Souls. Walk up to a bloodstain in the game and press a button - you'll see the how a player died from that spot. You'll even see ghosts of other players successful playing the game. If you haven't played the game, imagine playing a Zelda and having other players' ghost-Links running past you, hacking away at enemies that aren't there. You're seeing the ghostly actions of what other players did.
In 2nd Lap, the user data of PixelJunk Racers players is recorded by Sony's servers and then made available to players. That allows gamers to obtain ghost data for anyone who has raced the game and pit their car against the ghost.
Cuthbert seemed a little bummed that Q-Games wasn't the first studio to get this technology integrated into a game, but the innovative folks behind Demon's Souls, the breakthrough innovative darling of last year are not a bad crew to be beaten by.
Trophies and some tweaks to the campaign will also be included in 2nd Lap, which Cuthbert said he hopes will be pretty cheap. The add-on will be available in the spring.