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Rooster Teeth Games switches gears to branch into game publishing

After developing and publishing a game based on the animated series RWBY last year, Rooster Teeth has announced that Rooster Teeth Games is branching out to publish games for independent developers. …


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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review – A Great Collection Leading Into What Comes Next

After
various spin-offs and re-releases, the buildup to Kingdom Hearts III has been
nothing if not drawn out. Kingdom Hearts II launched more than a decade ago,
and a whole new generation of gamers can play the early entries thanks to HD
remasters on PS3 (and later this year on the PS4). Final Chapter Prologue
should be the last new remaster before Kingdom Hearts III; it includes Dream
Drop Distance (originally a 3DS exclusive) for the first time on the big
screen. Additionally, an episode starring Aqua and a mini-movie, which shows
how this crazy journey all began, are both new for this entry. As convoluted as
the Kingdom Hearts storyline is, after playing through this collection, I have
a clearer understanding of the narrative leading into Kingdom Hearts III. Even
without the extra story context, Final Chapter Prologue is fun on its own, and
Square Enix did a wonderful job making this a worthwhile collection and not
just a port of Dream Drop Distance.

The most appealing part
of the collection is A Fragmentary Passage, which follows Aqua after the events
of Birth By Sleep. The episode took me about three hours to complete, but if
you collect every treasure, you can extend that an extra hour. Aqua is one of
my favorite characters due to her selflessness and determination to save the
world, and getting some resolution to her story was satisfying. I won't spoil
anything, but playing the episode only makes me more excited for what potential
role she might play in Kingdom Hearts III.

A Fragmentary Passage
takes you through various levels, each with its own gimmick. For instance, in
the first world, Aqua must locate five clock gears, platforming on high ledges
and rooftops, while battling enemies to achieve them. In another, she must go
through mirrors and uses their reflections to create ledges or manipulate
gravity. Square Enix says A Fragmentary Passage uses development tools similar
to Kingdom Hearts III, showing off more expansive environments and the ease of
getting around them using the air slide and a powerful double jump, so it's
almost a first look at how the tech has advanced for the upcoming entry. It
makes me excited for Kingdom Hearts III's exploration. The episode also shows
off the smoothest combat I've experienced in the series, playing out in a
faster, more fluid pace. Camera issues didn't plague me as much as past entries
have, either.

While some cool boss
fights, like a titan that takes up most of the landscape and a tower of
Heartless that morph into different shapes, test your skills, these baddies
often repeat through the short levels, and a lot of the objectives feel like
busy work. You're never just locating one thing – it's usually five, or
backtracking to get what you need. The journey is breezy, so if you're looking
for a challenge, I recommend starting on Proud Mode. You can unlock Critical
Mode after completing A Fragmentary Passage on any mode for the highest
challenge, which really tests your combat prowess.

A Fragmentary Passage isn't perfect, but I'm
glad Square Enix included completely new content, and dressing up Aqua by
completing challenges is a fun bonus. My Aqua ended up wearing Minnie Mouse
ears and having a red-and-white dress with ribbons to match. At the end of the
episode, a lengthy scene (presumably from Kingdom Hearts III) allows you to
finally see the characters embark on the next part of their journey, which is
really what we've been waiting all this time for – to see that Kingdom Hearts'
plot is moving forward instead of explaining past elements.

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The collection also features an HD movie, Kingdom
Hearts Back Cover
, which runs a little
over an hour. The movies in these collections haven't always been that
impressive, and I was skeptical knowing that this was based on a mobile game's
story, but Square Enix really spruced it up. It's the best movie featured in
all the HD collections up to this point, and sheds worthwhile light on the
series' early history and how the prophecy of darkness affected the
Foretellers. The movie is a good look at what set the events of Kingdom Hearts
into motion, and has some memorable betrayals and action sequences, as everyone
tries to do what they think is right to save the world from its dark fate.

Dream Drop Distance HD is the part of the
collection you can sink the most time into, and Square Enix has made plenty of
enhancements and changes to get the 3DS game running smoothly on console. The
battles are faster-paced, the camera benefits from a larger screen, and load
times are improved from the original handheld version. The controls are also
better on the PS4, feeling less clunky. Square Enix updated the minigames and
abilities that previously used the 3DS' touchscreen, although it's not always
an improvement. For instance, the reality-shift slingshot worked much better
with touch controls, and petting your Dreameaters felt more natural with a
stylus. Still, this version is far from just a visual upgrade (although it does
look fantastic on PS4). For those who haven't played Dream Drop Distance, or
want a refresher, this is the best way to go.

Final Chapter Prologue is a solid collection that I
enjoyed playing, and got me more excited for Kingdom Hearts III due to how it
sets up everything so wonderfully. I wish I were playing Kingdom Hearts III
instead of another remaster, but this is the best collection for getting you
prepped for what's ahead. 

What’s In 2.8?
The only previous game included in Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is Dream Drop Distance; it does not have Kingdom Hearts I or II in it. If you want to play those, you need to buy Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 for PlayStation 3, or wait for the announced PS4 versions.

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Latest Boss Keys Video Dives Into The Intricate Simplicity Of Twilight Princess’ Dungeons

After examining in depth the dungeons in the the Oracle games, The Wind Waker, and The Minish Cap, Youtuber Mark Brown examines the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, making a case for both the series' decreasing openness, and why that's not always a bad thing.

Brown's chief discovery is that almost all of the dungeons in Twilight princess use a central T-shaped design, wherein you walk up to a central hub area, tackle one spoke to your left, find an item that lets you venture right, then finish the rest of the dungeon. Although it's a far cry from the original games' more open-ended design, it allows them, according to Mark, to introduce some more complex ideas into this simple mix later on, such as the rotating staircase in the Lakebed Temple. Each dungeon also has a distinct personality, and the aesthetics of each are colorful and unique.

You can watch Mark dissect Twilight Princess' dungeons in more depth below.

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Open-source toolkit turns Tilt Brush into a game dev tool

An open-source toolkit released by Google aims to help developers painlessly import assets created with the VR gameTilt Brush into Unity. …


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Survey: Women MMO players love The Old Republic, aren’t really into World of Warcraft

Video game consultancy Quantic Foundry has published another analysis of data gathered from its survey of 270k game players that purports to break down which genres of games women play most. …


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Gabe Newell’s game design advice: ‘Get into an iteration cycle’

“It’s the iteration of hypothesis, changes, and measurement that will make you better at a faster rate than anything else we have seen,” Valve’s chief advised during an “AmA” session on Reddit today. …


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Step back into the light: A game dev’s year-end reflection

Being a developer is different now versus ten or even five years ago. Between angry mobs and bitter colleagues, it’s easy to lose yourself to anger. It’s time for us to step back into the light. …


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We’ve Given Away Our Codes To Get Into The Friday The 13th Beta

Update: Check your Game Informer inboxes! You might just have a code for the Friday the 13th beta. Thanks for commenting!

Original story:

Friday the 13th, the Kickstarted multiplayer horror game based on the film of the same name, is currently in beta, and we can help you get in.

We've got a handful of codes to give away, and all you need to get one is to leave a comment below. At 5:30 p.m. CT, I will pick random folks from the comments and send a code to your Game Informer account's inbox.

For more on Friday the 13th, head here.

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Bethesda’s Todd Howard To Be Inducted Into The AIAS Hall Of Fame

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) is inducting Bethesda Game Studios game director and executive producer Todd Howard to the organization's Hall of Fame for his work though the years on the The Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises.

The induction ceremony takes place during the D.I.C.E. awards on Thursday, February 23.

"I know that many of us in the industry have spent countless hours enthralled in the vast, open worlds that Todd has created," said Mike Fischer, AIAS president. "He's made us all reconsider the player-game relationship and extended the storytelling possibilities of our medium. We look forward to honoring Todd and celebrating his achievements and contributions to the video games industry." 

Past inductees include Hideo Kojima, John Carmack, Sid Meier, and Will Wright.

[Source: AIAS]

 

Our Take
Congratulations, Todd on the well-deserved accolade. 

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Grand Theft Auto Online Expands Into Import/Export Business Today

Today another massive content drop arrives for Grand Theft Auto Online. The Import/Export expansion builds off the previous Further Adventure of Finance and Felony track, allowing criminal enterprises to expand into car theft to advance their organizations. Stealing cars and bringing them to your HQ to modify and resell them for big money is the name of the game now. 

Your outfit can purchase an executive office garage that can eventually house a whopping 60 vehicles as you add new floors, making them the biggest automotive showrooms in GTA history. Once you own the entry level office garage (which houses 20 cars) you can build an onsite mod shop that gives you access to any customization option you would find at Benny's Motor Works.

Investing in a vehicle warehouse (which is different than the office garage) opens up a new line of cargo missions that challenge players to boost luxury vehicles and returning them unscathed – easier said than done. These missions go beyond just going to a point on the map and hot-wiring a car; sometimes all you have to go off is a photograph to decipher the location, and other missions task you with breaking into secure compounds. The warehouses can keep up to 40 vehicles. When you renovate these locations, their underground storage facilities can house the eight new special vehicles, which include a buggy with a ramped front, a truck with a massive plow on front, and several armed vehicles like a rocket firing muscle car.

As with every GTA Online expansion, Import/Export comes with another infusion of fashion clothing, and tattoos. Check out the trailer below:

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