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Telltale’s Twist On Borderlands Doesn’t Deviate, But Does Delight

When Telltale and Gearbox announced a collaboration that would put 2K's shoot-and-loot franchise in the hands of The Walking Dead team, we wondered just how the two would be blended. The answer? About how you would expect, and that's not a bad thing.

Our demo put as at the start of the game, as Rhys (one of the two playable characters) and Vaughn touch down on Pandora. The game takes place after the fall of Handsome Jack, and the local population isn't exactly friendly to Hyperion employees. Unfortunately, for Rhys and Vaughn, their paychecks come from the Big H.

The two have been tasked by their boss, Vasquez, to purchase a vault key from someone named August. Along the way, the two piss off a local bandit gang and find themselves in a bloody fight to the death.

Thankfully, a colleague on the Hyperion space station, Yvette, drops a weaponized Loader Bot to defend the pair. The combat will feel familiar to anyone who has played a Telltale game. Nothing has been revolutionized here, and you'll be pointing and clicking to pull the trigger and fire missiles when in control of the robot.

What does differ is the ability to customize the loadout of the robot before it lands. I also noticed that players accrue money during the game, which might mean a trip to a vending machine or a visit to see Marcus.

Where Tales from the Borderlands differentiates itself from Telltale's past work is in the tone and writing. Gearbox is heavily involved in crafting the story, and the writing is exactly what you'd expect: crude and giggle-inducing.

The cast is colorful, and some familiar faces (both alive and dead) pop up quickly. My ending involved a cameo from one of Borderlands 2's vault hunters, but Telltale shared that there are multiple options based on the last dialog choice.

What caught my attention was that the entire demo was actually a flashback, with Rhys serving as an unreliable narrator. It's a literary tactic that has been used in games before (Call of Juarez: Gunslinger comes to mind), but not one that has been bled dry.

There are hints that Fiona, the other playable character, is also not entirely trustworthy. This could have significant impact on how Telltale's decision-based narrative structure works over the multi-episode season (and, in turn, could be the biggest differentiator in gameplay).

We'll know for sure when the first episode arrives this fall. You'll be able to play it on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and iOS.

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Nintendo doesn’t view pure gameplay livestreams as fun

The gaming-dominated Twitch.tv might be the most popular livestreaming site in the world, but the Wii U remains without support for the service that helps PS4, PC and Xbox One players broadcast their games. Rather than the absence stemming from a…
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Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris doesn’t mess with success

Relax, Crystal Dynamics hasn’t ruined the wonderful, action-fueled, puzzle-solving fun that made Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light such a joy. When it comes to the basics, at least, Lara Croft and the Tomb of Osiris has it down. The fundamentals…
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[Update] Ken Levine’s Team Doesn’t Have A Name Yet

Update: Ken Levine contacted us regarding this story. It looks like the Irrational name might not be guaranteed after all.

"We don't have a name. Anybody got any ideas?" Levine wrote in his correspondence. Our source, GamesIndustry, has also edited its story. "Zelnick notes that Levine will be keeping the Irrational Studios name for his next project – but is vague about the fate of BioShock," the story said prior to update.


Original Story:

When Ken Levine and 2K Games announced that Irrational Games was winding down, a number of details were unclear. Among them was whether Irrational Games would cease to exist entirely.

In an interview with GamesIndustry, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick confirms that Ken Levine will keep the Irrational name. The new project will be called Irrational Studios, though information on what Levine and his small team will be working on has yet to be revealed.

As for BioShock, Zelnick says that the series is “beloved” and in 2K Games’ hands. Again, no information is available on what might happen to that franchise moving forward.

[Source: GamesIndustry]

 

Our Take
In marketing and branding, names don’t just have power, they have real monetary value. They also have baggage. Levine is choosing to keep the heritage of the Irrational name, including its successful releases and the unfortunate layoffs of approximately 75 individuals

Additionally, Irrational will be thought of as “the BioShock studio,” giving Levine a big challenge with a smaller budget and team. It’s up to Levine to prove that keeping the name was the right choice.    

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Nintendo eShop goes indie, doesn’t like, need your approval, conformist

The Nintendo eShop has launched a hub for indie games, collecting and amassing a wealth of titles for both the Wii U and 3DS. Currently, the hub features Cave Story, Attack of the Friday Monsters, Moon Chronicles, Steamworld Dig, Gunman Clive and…
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South Park: The Stick of Truth doesn’t have Uplay integration, guy

Despite being an Ubisoft game now, South Park: The Stick of Truth doesn’t require or even use Uplay in any way. The news comes from developer Obsidian, who took to its Twitter account to confirm the PC version is a Steam game, and a Steam game…
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Rocksmith 2014 doesn’t wanna miss a thing, adds Aerosmith DLC

Ubisoft has made five new songs available for Rocksmith 2014, and this time the honored artist is Aerosmith. “Dream On,” “Legendary Child,” “Oh Yeah,” “Same Old Song And Dance” and “Sweet Emotion” are available individually for $ 2.99 per track, or …
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Fire Hose Games’ indie incubator: ‘It’s ridiculous this doesn’t exist’

President of Boston’s Fire Hose Games, Eitan Glinert, breaks down four types of indie developers he sees in the wild:

  • The developer starving, eating ramen, with no support system because she’s nobody
  • The developer begging publishers to give him money, but it turns out the publishers drive him nuts and everything turns to crap
  • The developer mooching off every single relative she has to fund her game
  • He’s already famous

“If you’re already famous, that’s great, but if you don’t have that stuff it’s just so hard to get your thing off the ground,” Glinert says. There are options for first-time developers – submitting a game to IGF or the PAX 10, or being featured on big websites – but he says there are still roadblocks in the current system.

“I’m sick of it – and it’s a solvable problem,” he says. He may have solved it, with help from the rest of the team: Fire Hose Games is transitioning into an indie incubator, with plans to take on fresh developers and offer them a place to work, a monthly living wage, revenue share when their games launch, plus advice, experience and a creative atmosphere.

“We want to go ahead and remove the hurdles to game development that these small indie developers face, and we can get some absolutely phenomenal talent in the process,” Glinert says. “It’s a big win-win. We help these developers make the games they want without all the burden of getting all these bits and pieces aligned, when all they want to do is make the game. We get fantastic talent in the process; we get great games in the process and we’re all helping each other.”

Continue reading Fire Hose Games’ indie incubator: ‘It’s ridiculous this doesn’t exist’

JoystiqFire Hose Games’ indie incubator: ‘It’s ridiculous this doesn’t exist’ originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 14 Nov 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Super Mario 3D World doesn’t herald end of Super Mario Galaxy, assures Miyamoto

Super Mario 3D World may be the “present culmination of 3D Super Mario,” but that doesn’t mean Nintendo’s EAD team is done with Super Mario Galaxy games. Speaking in a recent Iwata Asks interview, EAD General Manager Shigeru Miyamoto assured fans there could be another entry in the series that appeared twice on the Wii to high acclaim.

“The same team can’t make both [Super Mario 3D World and another Super Mario Galaxy game] at the same time,” Miyamoto said. “And we can’t bring in a second party and slap the name Super Mario Galaxy on it. I suppose we could idealistically make both in Tokyo, but we want to do something new too, so there was that dilemma.”

The same interview revealed a few interesting tidbits about Super Mario 3D World, including that fifth playable character Rosalina is unlocked by beating the main game i.e. getting the ending, and her unique ability is a “special spin attack” (see above.) Also, the cloning power-up that lets you control multiple heroes was inspired by a mistake, after an EAD developer accidentally used a placement tool to put in two Marios.

Not that it’s very surprising, but 3D World Director Koichi Hayashida also noted Nintendo had the Wii U game in mind ever since it began development on 3DS entry Super Mario 3D Land. As for future Mario adventures, Miyamoto said, “Personally, I would like to take on a variety of new challenges with Super Mario Galaxy and design 2D Super Mario games in an easy-to-understand way within certain restraints.”

Super Mario 3D World is out next week on November 22 for the Wii U.

JoystiqSuper Mario 3D World doesn’t herald end of Super Mario Galaxy, assures Miyamoto originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 14 Nov 2013 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why Spry Fox doesn’t want a digital publisher for its free-to-play games

Spry Fox’s David Edery argues why, for the most part, his company has backed away from publishing deals — because there are some things more valuable, long-term, than being funded. …


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