Have you ever wondered about how a unique alternative controller game gets designed? In this mini postmortem I go through how we designed our installation game, Emotional Fugitive Detector. …
ZaziNombies, a YouTuber known for creating Lego replicas of video game weapons, has dedicated his latest video to Symmetra from Overwatch. With about 450 Lego pieces, he built her powerful photon projector that Symmetra wields in-game.
This Lego version of the gun weighs a bit more than one pound and measures 15 and a half inches. In-game, Symmetra's photon projector uses a homing beam that deals an increasing amount of damage to enemies when used.
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[Source: ZaziNombies on YouTube]
Nintendo’s Wii Shop Channel is still kicking — and now one at least one Wii emulator, Dolphin, has advanced enough to be able to access the digital storefront and purchase games. …
During today's South By Southwest "Gotta Go Fast" panel, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka announced that the Sonic Mania development team needs a bit more time to deliver the game they want to make. Originally scheduled to release spring 2017, Sonic Mania will now launch this summer.
Sonic Mania delivers classic-style gameplay, visuals, and sound. For more on Sonic Mania, check out our recent hands-on preview.
Sonic Mania is now set to launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC this summer.
Sega has recently shifted away from its previous strict approach to deadlines. We most recently saw that with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, which seemed to benefit from its yearlong delay, seeing as how it was a much better experience than the two previous Sonic Boom games. This appears to be another example of Sega's new approach to striving for quality over a timely delivery.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor turned heads for its unique nemesis system and fun action combat when it launched in 2014. It went on to find a place on many game of the year lists, including winning Game Informer’s best action game for that year.
Last week, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions finally unveiled a sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, which picks up right where the last game left off. The Dark Lord Sauron’s power has only grown, since he’s gathered his army. Back in the shoes of Talion and Celebrimbor, can you rise up and turn all of Mordor against him?
Shadow of War isn’t a distant release, with its launch on August 22. Today marks the first slice of substantial gameplay we’ve seen and it already looks like Monolith is improving on the foundation set by its predecessor by enhancing the nemesis system and setting a more epic scale for battles. At this year's GDC, we saw the game in action and interviewed Monolith VP of creative Michael de Plater to find out what’s in store. Here are our biggest takeaways.
The Nemesis System Is More Complex
The nemesis system was Shadow of Mordor’s biggest draw. It reacted to your actions in the world by altering your missions and conflicts based on previous encounters. This meant no two players ever had the same exact experience in the game, as enemies and battle conditions varied by gameplay choices. Shadow of War is greatly expanding on this, offering more memorable exchanges on the battlefield. “We’ve expanded the amount of A.I. and history and memories and stories that we’re tracking in the nemesis system,” says Monolith VP of creative Michael de Plater.
Just as before, your foes taunt you and profess what you’ve done that’s angered them, trying to get under your skin. For Shadow of War, de Plater uses an example of an orc who just loves to take your sword and snap it in half right in front of your face when he defeats you. We get a taste of these tense face-to-faces when we meet our first big foe in our demo. The mission is to gain control of a region by taking down a fortress called the Mountain Valley of Seregost. To do this, we must face off against Thrak: The Storm-Bringer, and our history with him isn’t great. We left him to die, and he took revenge by joining up with the Dark Lord. He shouts, “Come charge into the flames of your reckoning!”
What’s different this time is that your followers get more involved in the action, having their own special moments to shine in battle. Many times during the demo, we have close calls where we are just about to meet our end, but just in the nick of time, one of our followers comes in with a life-saving action. In one instance, Thrak sneaks up on us and throws us to the ground. As he’s about to slice us to death, one of our allies comes to the rescue, sniping from afar and blasting his hand off. Being rescued just makes your appreciate your comrades all the more, especially when it saves you from a game over screen.
Creating stories of betrayal, rivalry, or friendship with your followers is a big part of the experience this time around. “When they’re your enemies, we want you to love to hate them,” de Plater says. “And when they’re your followers, you hate to love them. Because they’re orcs. They’re always driven by violence and hatred and fear of their master, so it’s always this very violent society that you’re messing with.”
In addition to your personal bonds, the orcs also have their own friendships and histories with one another. “Individual orcs can have rivalries with each other, or be blood brothers with each other, or have these personal relationships with each other, which will then feed into what they remember, how they react, or if they’ll follow or betray you,” de Plater explains.
More Options For Building Your Army
Building up your own army was fun in the first game, but Shadow of War provides even more options. You take over regions with your followers in tow, but you have even more classes and skills to craft a strategy around in Shadow of War. For instance, when infiltrating Seregost, we have followers that can get us through an array of challenges. Ragdug, an iron mount, gives us access to his armored cavalry, allowing us to charge through flames of artillery fire. Another member we select for the mission is Ar-Laar: The Demolisher, who is a living battering ram, tearing down enemy defenses with ease.
Once you take over a region, you can select an overlord from your followers to rule it. Orcs now belong to different tribes, so depending on who you pick and what tribe they belong to, the region will reflect their tendencies and values. “What’s really fun and different is whoever is in control of that fortress – if it’s the mystic fortress or feral fortress – that influence and that culture actually spreads right throughout the region,” de Plater says. For instance, if you select a beast master as your overlord, you will have more creatures roaming around, and since he’s from a feral tribe, expect your followers to go on more hunting missions. If you select a leader who is from a more industrial tribe, you have more slaves working for you with a focus on mining. In our demo, we give the overlord honors to Ragdug, as he helped us out of a near-death experience. The bonus with promoting him is that, as a marauder, he’s more likely to loot and pillage the region for us.
You can also upgrade your fortresses along the way, improving defenses and power to withstand Sauron’s counterattacks. You can command the fortress staff at any time, sending them on missions to either attack enemy bases or gather resources. You can choose to accompany them or just let handle these missions on their own. In addition, you can also can assign bodyguards and summon them to help you at anytime.
Click to the next page to learn about mounts, the expanded gear system, and the fun lore surprises…
The game sets players on a sci-fi adventure in another galaxy, when a major event known as The Collapse happens, trapping half of humanity on the other side of a wormhole with a host of dangerous threats to fight off. During a playthrough, players spend time touring the sector, upgrading their ship, stockpiling weapons, and fighting off enemies. The description also hints at further crew-management mechanics.
If you die in the game, returning with a new life will unveil new challenges. From Other Suns also offers three-player cooperative multiplayer.
You can see the full trailer below, as well as a gallery of screenshots from today's reveal.
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This article presents the journey of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Pirates from a premium app to free-to-play, analyzing all the price adjustments made to increase revenue along the way. …
Germany is infamous for their draconian restrictions on video games. Titles released in the country are often altered to tone down their violence, lest they be put on the dreaded Index, the notorious List of Media Harmful to Young People.
In October, Volition's 2001 shooter, Red Faction, was removed from the index after 15 years of being banned from sale in the country, and now its sequel, the aptly titled Red Faction II, has also been removed from the list of forbidden video games. Why were the games on the list in the first place? The violence surely had something to do with it, but the games have a strong "workers of the world unite" vibe, and perhaps those themes didn't sit well with the people in charge of the list. In any case, both classic PS2 Red Faction titles are now available for purchase in Germany.
The last entry in the series was 2011's underwhelming Red Faction: Armageddon, and the series has been dormant since then, though the original title was recently released as a PS2 on PS4 classic. See GI's Replay of that first title in the series here.
THQ Nordic's re-release of the original Red Faction on PS4 might just be an effort to make a quick buck, but they might also be gauging interest in a potential future for the franchise. Red Faction was pretty big back in the day, before 2011's Armageddon went over like a lead balloon. Whatever the case may be, it's always great when banned art is made available to the masses. Red Faction II isn't my favorite RF title (that would be the original, of course), but it's a solid shooter with a fun story and some great setpieces. Here's hoping for a PS2 on PS4 port.
At a recent preview event hosted by EA and BioWare, we got the chance to play sections of Mass Effect Andromeda. After the play session, we also sat down to chat with producer Mike Gamble about the legacy of the series, the love for its characters, and what fans can expect from (and after) Andromeda.
Game Informer: Mass Effect Andromeda was pitched to the public as a standalone game apart from the trilogy. What have been some of the challenges in breaking away from the first three games to create something that has to stand on its own legs while respecting the legacy of what came before?
There have been a few definitely. So moving away from the Unreal engine to Frostbite, there’s been a lot of tech and engineering around that, which took us some time to do. Frostbite allows us to do some cool things, which we couldn’t do before.
In terms of the trilogy itself, we have a lot of fans who love a lot of characters – whether it’s Liara, Javik, Garrus – they’ve grown to love these characters over a decade nearly. Starting out with a new game and introducing new characters, you have to make the characters interesting from day one, make sure they’re fun to romance and get to know. That was a focus for us because we don’t have the inheritance of 10 years of being with these characters.
The story as well. We wanted to do something fresh and new in Andromeda and to do that from the ground up just means we have to make it so new players don’t feel ostracized at all. If they don’t understand what a Turian is, it doesn’t matter. All that kind of stuff, we have to build into it, but at the same time we have to build in things for existing fans. So bringing all these things together is probably the biggest challenge.
For us, it’s not only “let’s make a new Mass Effect game in Frostbite,” but also, “how can we take Mass Effect back to its roots and make it the game we’ve always wanted to ship. So you’ve got the open exploration planets, you’ve got critical path stories with characters, but you’ve also got a lot of side content to do in the game. It’s the biggest game we’ve got.
What makes the new cast stand out?
It depends on the character, honestly. They’ve all got their quirks, their idiosyncrasies, and luckily we’ve been able to build on a decade of knowledge and building that knowledge of the franchise in order to make them cool.
PeeBee, for example, is bubbly and whimsical and wants to give the impression that she really ties into the exploration mission. And Vetra, first of all she’s very organized, very logistical – the person who keeps the wheels on.
So she’s Ship Mom?
[Laughs] Yeah she’s kind of Ship Mom. And then we’ve got Drack, who’s older than any Krogan we’ve ever had, wisdom way beyond his years, he’s seen some stuff. He’s been in the Milky Way and he’s been around and he can bring that knowledge to Andromeda. Having that narrative of the trilogy to build these characters on really does help. Returning players know what Krogans are and who Wrex and Grunt were, so they can say, “oh, this is how [Drack] is cool and new.”
The squad rounds itself out nicely. We haven’t introduced everyone yet, but when do I think players will be like, “Oh yes, there’s ship mom, there’s old and wise, angry Krogan guy,” and so on.
We’ve seen fans get really hyped up over Mass Effect and Dragon Age characters before, but it also feels like fandom has reached its zenith in the past year with the likes of Overwatch. Do you think the characters of Andromeda will hit that level of fever pitch?
I hope so! I really hope so. I mean, you want these characters to get a life of their own and then we build on that. For example, Garrus in the first Mass Effect was not Garrus in Mass Effect 3; we grew him with the players and we hope to do that with these characters as well.
So is there a hardcore defense force for the Mako at BioWare?
Some people like the Mako, some people like that it’s an attack vehicle, but it didn’t work for this game because we have massive planets and we have to be quick. I mean, some people like the way the Mako handled, but let’s say that most people didn’t so we had to do something about it or we’d be in trouble.
So the Nomad is the response to that. It’s quick. It’s agile. It can go around planets quickly.
The planets in the game are all crafted, not procedurally generated, correct?
That’s right. No procedural generation.
No Man’s Sky was the center of quite a bit of controversy because of its planets and how many people felt there was nothing to do on them. Is the team nervous about how players will react to planetary exploration, if they’ll feel that these planets are huge but have nothing to do on them?
I mean, all they have to do is play it, really. People can come in with preconceived notions that they have because of other games they’ve played, but once they come in, play it, and see how the narrative ties in and once they see the gameplay stuff they can do on the planets, once they see how the planets have been hand-crafted – I think all those concerns will be addressed.
If someone mainlines the story, how long will it take them?
We don’t talk times, but this is certainly larger than any other Mass Effect game. The critical path is larger. The side content is certainly larger. You’d be hard pressed to find any Mass Effect experience that didn’t take longer than this one.
Video game series seem to escalate, in terms of action, as they go on. Gears of War did it, as did Resident Evil, and it seems Mass Effect is doing it now as well. Is Andromeda a de-escalation for the series?
I’d say the scope of the story is tighter. Mass Effect has always had these epic threads. Andromeda still has that, but we wanted to tell a focused story, a story of explorers, a story of coming to a new galaxy and being the alien, basically.
And call it what you want but it is definitely a more central, a more grounded story. So you’ve got the story aspect and the exploration aspect, and I do harken those things back to the first Mass Effect. That was a game that was about becoming the first human Spectre or wandering into the Citadel and thinking, “wow.” We want to try and capture that again with Andromeda, so it’s less about a fight against the Reapers or a threat and more about, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we just decided as a species to go to Mars.”
So much of the appeal for the original series was tied into having one character and going on a journey with that one character for three games across a number of years. Will Andromeda remain its own self-contained story or will there be a continuation?
Honestly, it’s impossible for us to say that right now. We don’t know how many people are going to fall in love with the Ryders. There are definitely stories we want to tell that are related to this story, there’s definitely continuation, escalation, a metastory that ties everything together. But it’s too early to say whether it’s going to be one of the Ryders. What I don’t want to do is tie players into… “Well, if you don’t know what happened with the first one, you have to play the first one to understand the second.” We have to do better at that because that’s isolating for certain people, but at the same time we have to maintain character continuity and choices and all that kind of stuff. And I’m not saying we have to import anything at all or anything like that. What I’m saying is the Helius cluster is a living thing; things are happening in it, decisions are being made, and we have to make sure we reward players for that.
If you want more Andromeda coverage, you can check out my impressions from the time I spent with the game here or our cover story hub by clicking on the banner below.