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Ruin for PS Vita: Lairs, Relics, and the Social Web

Sid Shuman's Avatar Posted by Sid Shuman on Sep 22, 2011 // Senior Manager, Social Media

Ruin (working title) was last seen on the E3 2011 PlayStation stage, when the presenter wirelessly transferred his PS Vita game session to a PS3 without missing a frame of the action. As technically impressive as Ruin’s cross-platform compatibility is, I’ve learned that it’s only the beginning of what co-developers Idol Minds and SCE San Diego Studios are planning for this ambitious multiplayer action-RPG.

Ruin for PS Vita

Ruin is still early in development, but it’s being eagerly anticipated for its PS Vita-to-PS3 cross-compatibility, addictive action-RPG gameplay, and expansive social features.

Ruin’s developers are quietly building a wide, deep social network designed to keep you interacting whether you’re on the couch, on the bus, or someplace in-between. Travis Williams, Ruin’s energetic senior producer, walked me through the game’s social ambitions several weeks ago at a media showing in New York City. From the earliest days of Ruin’s development process, Williams told me, the development team was motivated to find a way to make its multiplayer competitive mode accessible and socially sticky — important considerations given PS Vita’s always-on wireless connectivity and the game’s Vita-to-PS3 cross-platform support. “We were obsessing over find a better way to do PvP (Player vs Player), a better mechanism for getting items that you wanted from other players,” Williams said.

Enter the Lair. The Lair is your inner sanctum, your pride and joy, your seat of power. ”It’s an extension of you. It’s an outwardly facing construct that other players interact with,” Williams explained. “You’ll spend as much time equipping your Lair as you will your character.” The significance of your Lair is twofold: it adds to your offense when you’re playing, and it acts as your defense when you’re not. “If you and I were rivals, you wouldn’t attack me,” Williams said with a mischievous grin. “You’d attack my Lair.”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair - Altar

Your Lair enables you to enhance your offensive power – but it serves as a tempting target for other players. Luckily, you can assign monsters and boss creatures to guard it while you’re away.

Your Lair is deeply customizable, enabling you to tweak everything from its physical layout and visual style to the types of monsters and bosses that protect it while you’re off conquering the world. As you earn enchanted relics, you’ll be able to place them in your Lair to grant synergistic bonuses that enhance your character’s defensive and offensive options. You’ll be able to swap these items in and out of your Lair’s sockets at will, and where you place them in your Lair can radically change their effects. “There’s a relic called the Poison Ivy Trophy, and you could place it in your Armory and any weapon you use will drip poison,” Williams elaborated. “Or you can put it in your Beastiary to enhance your Lair’s monsters with poison damage.”

As you encounter other players over PSN, your Lair also becomes a vehicle for advertising your social status. Case in point: If you meet another player who is adorned with spiked armor, it’s a visual clue that his Lair is equipped with a powerful relic called Heart of Titan. “If you want to take that item from him, you can challenge him,” Williams explained. “You can bet on his Heart of Titan with another valuable item. If he agrees, the game will put both items into escrow while you beat the hell out of each other’s Lairs over the next 24 hours.” And, 24 real-world hours later, the player with the highest aggregate score will claim both items – and bragging rights. “The best part,” Williams said, “is that the competition and stakes were mutually agreed upon.”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Heart of TitanRuin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Reaper

A first look at two of Ruin’s relics, the Heart of Titan and the Reaper. Where you place them in your Lair determines what enhancements they grant your character.

Though Williams confirmed that Ruin will include a co-op element of some kind, he kept our conversation firmly planted on the game’s competitive mode. “It’s important for us to create an environment that’s helpful,” Williams said, “so our matchmaking service works a bit like a dating site. We match you up with players who are the Yin to your Yang.” The ultimate goal is to pit you against other people who play at the same times as you do, who have the items you want, and who provide a good match for your skill level. Meanwhile, in the background, Ruin’s social system will serve as an instigator, goading you into action against other players with an in-game messaging system and notifications. “We’re in the role of the kid who starts trouble on the playground,” Williams said. “We’ll say, ‘sure, you could go and attack that random dude on your friends list and we’ll give you 100 XP…But this other dude just hurt you, he attacked your Lair. We’ll give you 1000 XP to go hurt him back!’”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair - Library

Your Lair is comprised of different sections, from an Armory and Beastiary to the Library shown in this new screenshot.

Ruin’s sturdy social backbone also gives the developers an opportunity to correct a host of longstanding gripes with social gaming, beginning with public enemy number one: the meaningless social game updates that clutter so many Facebook and Twitter news feeds worldwide. “Tom earned Gold, Tom earned Gold, Tom earned Gold,” Williams groaned. “Why can’t they just say, ‘Tom earned a lot of Gold today’ and leave it at that?” Williams wants Ruin to add context to your activities and accomplishments in a new and useful way without spamming you and your friends. Though the details are still being finalized, Williams envisions an “uber town crier” that intuits trends based on your play style and behaviors, then broadcasts it to your social network. “We can essentially craft a story from the way you interact with other players,” Williams said, “creating some context around these everyday social interactions.” Williams points to an example involving two imaginary players called Travis and Tom. “If Travis attacks Tom 10 times in one day, we may broadcast that as ‘Travis is being a jerk to Tom.’”

Ruin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Unfinished WarriorRuin for PS Vita: Lair Relic - Goblin Idol

Two more relics: the Unfinished Warrior and the Goblin Idol. Wonder what they do?

But Ruin’s social rabbit hole goes deeper still. “There’s a reason why we want to attach importance to your in-game activities,” Williams continued. “Status reports in social games tend to tell you what somebody has done rather than what they are doing. If you’re building the ultimate sword in your Lair, and it takes a long time, we’re going to put that out there so others can see it – they might try to attack you, or steal something from you,” Williams said. “And if you acquire something huge, we’re going to make that loud. ‘Tom just found the Golden Rod of Power!’ and you’re going to be like, ‘SHHHH!’”

“Ultimately, we want Ruin to be your story,” Williams said. “When you start this game, we’re going to say, ‘This is the story of how YOU became the baddest warrior on the planet.’”

//Add Your Own

134 Comments   45 Replies

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+ albinopig123 on October 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm said:

I trust that Idol Minds and SCE San Diego will price the game well. There will hopefully be an option of buying Vita version and the Playstation 3 seperately. I’m planning on picking this up for the Vita, day one.


+ lisatsunami on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:52 pm said:

@56 remanutd5: it’s antisocial. Christian is being kind, & is aptly named.


+ lisatsunami on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:55 pm said:

Oh, & this whole, new cross-platform/transferring innovation? I will most definitely buy games with this feature & Ruin may just be the first one (as long as it has a solid single player mode). So I’ll be keeping up with the news about Ruin.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Cristian Cardona on September 22nd, 2011 at 5:56 pm said:

    There’s plenty more to talk about, so keep an eye on it!


+ ModernYorkster on September 22nd, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

How exactly will the trophies work a ps3 list and a vita list or one universal?

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:52 pm said:

    @Modern: I’m actually working on that right now. When you make new features like this you always end up making new pals inside Sony (because they have to help you solve this). When I get the answer I can share with you I will let you know. For sure this is something we never had to deal with before so RUIN is kinda making people scratch their heads.

    What does everyone else think? One list or two?


+ Darewind on September 22nd, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

The game looks great I will probably only get the ps3 version (if priced right).I was interested in the Vita until I saw the expected battery life while playing with low settings no network etc and was turned discouraged from purchasing one.If this game ends up like what I have read about and saw thus far I would drain a Vita battery quickly while out and about.


+ SoleAddict23 on September 22nd, 2011 at 5:49 pm said:

Wow, Travis Williams is great, he’s been responding comments from the beginning and still is. This makes me want your game even more and tells us how much you care about your game and community.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:54 pm said:

    @Sole: Thanks mang!


+ LAAG64 on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:08 pm said:

Does the PS3 version & Vita version share trophies or does each game have a Platinum….do Vita games have Platinums?


+ burningwind on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:11 pm said:

Now that I have read more about the social aspects I like the idea more. This game is seeming better and better the more I know about it.


+ Astronica on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:35 pm said:

Wow can’t wait to play this game!!!


+ DJNorthSky on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:46 pm said:

@Travis Williams. Ive been reading your replies. It sounds like you are on top of things. Reading your responses, i know now I am going to get this game more so than after seeing it at E3. I havent read all this yet, but as long as me and my buddy can team up together (im sure that is a feature). This will be a perfect title for me.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:41 pm said:

    DJ: Co-Op play is not the main focus of RUIN and we are developing modes for it but at its core RUIN is a much more competitive solo/multiplayer game. I just want to make sure I am not selling you on features that are not our core.


+ akab211 on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:56 pm said:

I think it looks like a fun game. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it!


+ krae_man on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:58 pm said:

Thanks Travis,

I’m glad some people want to find a solution to this issue. Hopefully they can convince the people that make the decisions to do the right thing.

Sony’s been charging full price for both copies of MLB The Show for example for ages, so I’m not holding my breath.


+ Falaut on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:52 pm said:

Looks great! Wish this got a super push (AAA) and competed with DIII. One of the games that will probably find its way onto my PSV. The transfarring is an amazing idea, but I strongly feel there needs to be a standard set on pricing. Some good ideas above. My personal opinion is to have the PS3 version of the game (not Ruin in particular) be 79.99 and you get PS3 PSV versions. Then PS3 stand alone regular 59.99. Vita 29.99. This requires alot of SKU in retail, so I know that’s an issue.


+ DJNorthSky on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:56 pm said:

Actually after reading the article, it seems that you guys are more focused on competitive gameplay. What aspects are you considering for co-op? As long as my buddy and I can team up and destroy stuff together, I’m all for this game. If it’s left out, I doubt he’d get it anyways. Let me know what’s up.


+ etur0 on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:58 pm said:

@EnigmaNemesis I agree that is all you do in diablo 1&2 and pretty sure 3 as well while the game itself is fun but that part starts to hurt your hand after a while

and I love the loot system in this game because in games like this over 90% of the loot is stuff you can’t use or don’t want and it takes for ever to get anything that you want to use

so far my only problem with it is the pricing since I want both version of the game which I have read you are working on


+ iTofuMan on September 22nd, 2011 at 6:58 pm said:

Seems interesting! still debating whether or not i should get a Vita. I LOVE the psp, but Sony neglecting it now just tells me that Sony might do the same thing for the Vita. Maybe they should focus on the launch titles as it seems like its going to be released soon (with in this year/early next year) And unless this is a launch title for Vita it would be a waste to keep our hope up on this game if its only going to be released 3-5 years from now.


+ remanutd5 on September 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 pm said:

lol nice answer Cristian but it would have been better if the end was , ” coming soon , very soon “


+ etur0 on September 22nd, 2011 at 7:08 pm said:

@Travis that is good to here because games that block for you gets kinda boring and you are right most games like ruin all you do is hit the attack button over and over until they are dead and maybe anther button or 2 on a boss
that is one reason why I love oblivion because you had full control over your chr from everything in attacking blocking and dodging


+ etur0 on September 22nd, 2011 at 7:14 pm said:

@Darewind why that is about the same battery life of the psp and I have never fully drain my battery when I was out I have drained it fully when I’m home though a couple of times just to see how long it will last but most of the time when I’m home playing on it is plug in since where I usually play on my psp there is an electric outlet near by


+ etur0 on September 22nd, 2011 at 7:16 pm said:

@Falaut I agree and from what I have seen from both games Ruin is going to be better than diablo3


+ XINTSUAI-BR on September 22nd, 2011 at 7:24 pm said:

I think one of the problems of marketing done by Sony, is stay talking about this technical aspects of the games. should concentrate on the game itself, the story, the characters and etc … create motivation to play the game. Nobody will want to play ruin because can play on ps3 too. will play if the story is interesting, the gameplay is exciting etc…

lbp is a wonderful game, but even have a story straight, or very few people know the history of the game. what is the motivation? The motivation has to be clear and objective. “Save the princess.” no point in telling me that there is a story behind lbp. and the fact that all marketing is about creating content, etc., technical, and so on. speak more of the story you have to tell, conquer the players with the right reasons.

RUIN seems an excellent game, but I see the same mistakes in your marketing.


+ RE_Player on September 22nd, 2011 at 8:35 pm said:

Is this a launch Vita game? If so I would buy a Vita version without a doubt and possibly a PS3/Vita bundle for $70.


+ Tridrakious on September 22nd, 2011 at 9:05 pm said:

Day One purchase!


+ AmpMunkey on September 22nd, 2011 at 9:40 pm said:

Oh my God! This game is the reason I’m getting a 3G Vita!!!
Soon as they showed this I was sold on the vita.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:49 pm said:

    @Amp: I like the way you think dood!


+ PuppetShoJustice on September 22nd, 2011 at 10:37 pm said:

I appreciate the response. All I really need to know now is if I can dungeon crawl with my friends.


+ AizawaYuuichi on September 23rd, 2011 at 1:46 am said:

Since it’s technically the same game, just for both home console and on the go, I’m personally hoping that they do a $60 combo-pack (PS3 blu-ray disc with digital version for Vita), then a $40 Vita-only version. This way it can be played on the PS3 right now, for those who don’t get a Vita at launch, but they’ll have the Vita version which might encourage them to eventually buy a PSV if they really enjoy the game. And those who only want to play the game on-the-go, or in their hands at home, they can go with the cheaper option.
And considering that trophies are tied to a PSN account, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is only one trophy list for games that have cross-platform gameplay.


+ KPobjie on September 23rd, 2011 at 2:26 am said:

Apparently Shuhei Yoshida in an interview said that the PS Vita and PS3 versions will be packaged together. Is this true?

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:44 pm said:

    Yoshida-san is my boss’s boss’s boss’s BOSS. You are not gonna catch me saying something different from him here. He sees everything #backtowork


+ ein_nineteenth on September 23rd, 2011 at 5:17 am said:

Demon Souls + Dungeon Keeper = This.
Your dungeon floor is lumpy, order your minions to jump up and down.


There is one thing I don’t seem to like. I’m all for mutual agreements to attack each other, but items should be discoverable without using the dueling system.

I hated the hell out of the forced trading in Fable 3 to the point I just didn’t even bother. ( Weapons and drops only spawn once, if you connect to someone else and trade that weapon you’ll ever get another one in game and you had to do this to unlock areas.)

I do hope there is an option to a fully game by yourself. I hate being forced to interact with other people, I don’t play games to be with other people. I play games to get away from people. You’d do it too if your job involved 400-500 people on a daily basis.

That said – Sounds interesting.


+ Ultranza on September 23rd, 2011 at 6:17 am said:

Sounds absolutely great! Though I have ONE question!

Are you gonna implement some sort of co-op??

That would be super great :D


+ Sindred on September 23rd, 2011 at 6:45 am said:

Looking Damn Good!


+ PatricioUSA on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:43 am said:

This will be one of my first games for my VITA.
PVP With ingame ladder.
etc. Some kind of meeting point. Example: Pokemon for the other portable console has a great mechanism to do PVPs

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:47 pm said:

    Actually I call it PVEVP. So you will have quests that pit you against another player as you try to get better loot, times, scores than the other player. You can even wager items. I think that’s so cool. You don’t have to wager items on the outcome but it sure is tense when you know something real is on the line.


+ Ratchet426 on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:38 am said:

“Besides: Don’t you want the controller to shake and be able to touch the screens/menus? All that’s VITA/PS3 stuff!”

Yeah, I’d LOVE the Vita to rumble, but from what I’ve read it (inexplicably) doesn’t contain any kind of vibration/haptic feedback functions at all :’-(

This is the one glaring “miss” on the Vita’s design, imho. A mobile gaming platform with touch screens should have some kind of haptic feedback. Even just to confirm button presses, etc.


+ colstripcapn on September 23rd, 2011 at 9:40 am said:

You guys keep dodging the question which has me scared… the question about if you have to buy both versions of the game.

I’ll be very disappointed if you do. Very, very disappointed. So disappointed I won’t buy it. Sorry, but otherwise you would just be greedy. I can buy say World of Warcraft and play it on my PC, play it on my laptop, play it on a Mac, or play it on a friends computer … all without having to buy additional copies of the game. The same goes with every game I buy off Steam. I can buy a PS1 classic and play it on my PSP or play it on my PS3, again without having to buy two copies… just make it so you can’t play both copies at the same time and you’re golden.

Don’t be greedy!


+ R0M3Ox53 on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:22 pm said:

FINALLY!!! Some New Info on this game. Ive been very excited about this game since I saw it at E3 but the lack of info about this game has been making me have second thoughts. Im definitly am going to be getting this game and I hope more info about this game comes out.

    Sid Shuman's Avatar


    + Travis Williams on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:45 pm said:

    @R0M: Thanks for the kind words. We are working on the community site and we will announce when it goes live. Then I can answer even more questions. Until that time sorry for the silence… I’ve been kinda busy. :-)

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