Sony finally launched their much anticipated PlayStation 5. It came with many new features, such as the DualSense controller that has a lot of new things to play with it as well as the much talked about SSD and the capabilities it has to almost entirely eliminate loading. One of the more lowkey ones that didn’t get revealed until very close to launch was Activities. The feature has been implemented a few different ways so far with maybe the most immediate and time-saving being Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which allows you to jump directly into main story missions and side stories directly. It seems that was also the main point behind their design.
From a report from Patrick Klepek at VICE Games/Waypoint, confidential documents about the feature given to a developer that was briefed in 2019 by Sony were obtained. While they could not directly show the documents due to risks of exposing the source, the quotes paint an interesting picture of what Sony had in mind for Activities.
First and foremost, it was said that despite what some believe, single player titles were thriving, not dying for the sake of evergreen multiplayer titles. However, Sony did say they had internal research that showed many time-pressed players sometimes played less for a few reasons, such as when they jumped back into a game they weren’t too sure where they left off so they had to reorient themselves, and they were unsure of how much time a task would actually take. From Klepek’s report:
“No idea how long I might need, don’t play unless I have 2+ free hours”
“Takes a lot of time to scan through long help videos when stuck”
“How to engage socially without risk of spoilers”
“Forgot what I was doing in this game last time, hard to get back in”
Enter: Activities. Such as the Miles Morales example given above, not only do you jump directly to a task there, it will even give you an estimate of how much time said task will probably take with side missions usually being about 5 minutes and main missions being 30-45.
It’s not to say the system is only going to be used for single player titles as we have already seen how multiplayer-based games will use them, but it does seem that was at the core of the idea behind Activities. There also is no universal system around Activities. For instance, Demon’s Souls, another first party title, is much more limited in its activities, simply allowing you to quickly go back to one of the levels that make up that game.
Like a lot of the PS5’s new features, it’ll take some time as to whether we’ll see if they will continue to be used or not. While Sony’s first party titles will no doubt use them on a consistent basis, we’ll see if third parties follow suit. On paper, however, it is a nice idea for those without a huge amount of time on their hands. I know I found myself using it quite a lot during Miles Morales, so I wouldn’t mind at all seeing Activities and even Game Help in more titles.