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Survival horror sequel Outlast 2 in development

Independent developer Red Barrels delivers terrifying news just in time for Halloween, announcing that it is developing a sequel to its first-person survival horror game Outlast.

“After shipping the [Xbox One] version of Outlast, we took some time…
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Where’s My Sequel? – L.A. Noire

Just because a game isn’t an aged classic doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a sequel. While a lot of our Where’s My Sequel features focus on titles from far earlier console generations, this one pines after the open-world detective game, L.A. Noire.

What It Is:

Built like an open-world shooter, L.A. Noire is a sleuth-y take on the genre with investigative mechanics and a hard-boiled story. Players control Cole Phelps, a war hero-turned-Los Angeles beat cop as he rises through the ranks by solving a series of increasingly high-profile crimes. Along the way, players survey crime scenes scattered across an open-world recreation of 1947 Los Angeles and discover evidence to build a case against their suspects. Once they collect enough evidence, players enter an interrogation mode in which they study suspects’ facial expressions and body language to gauge the truth behind their words.

L.A. Noire is the first (and currently only) game to utilize MotionScan, a process created by developer Team Bondi. MotionScan captures a 1:1 model of a real-life face and transplants it onto an in-game character model. The technology is crucial to L.A. Noire’s gameplay; the realistic facial animations allow players to spot tells on a suspect’s face during a heated interrogation. It’s that intuitive application of technology to gameplay that gives L.A. Noire a unique edge when held up against other open-world games.

When It Stopped:

L.A. Noire released in May 2011 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was developed by Team Bondi with the help and publishing prowess of Rockstar Games. Some DLC missions and outfit packs dropped in the months after its original release, resulting in L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition (including the game and all of its DLC—the whole shebang), which came on consoles and PC on November 15th of the same year.

After the game’s release, a series of accusations concerning Team Bondi’s managerial conduct precipitated a Rockstar/Team Bondi split – Rockstar went on to publish last year’s Grand Theft Auto V and Bondi’s currently developing its second title, The Whore of the Orient. In the wake of the breakup, Rockstar retained the rights to the L.A. Noire franchise and has played coy about expanding on it.

What Comes Next:

L.A. Noire’s story wrapped up pretty tidily, but that doesn’t choke all sequel potential — there are more places to go, people to meet, and stories to follow in the Noire universe. For example, take the dedication to its aesthetic. Even if the game world feels a little barren, L.A. Noire nails the 1940s atmosphere. In fact, it’s one of the game’s greatest strengths, arguably making it as much a period piece as it is a video game. Not only would an era shift give us something great to look at, it could also drastically impact gameplay. Depending on when it’s set, a sequel could incorporate mechanics based on forensic and investigative techniques available at that point in history. For example, if the game is set in the 1990s, we might get mechanics based on DNA profiling or criminal databases. The ‘70s saw the rise of closed-circuit surveillance cameras. Voice recordings came into the investigative apparatus in the ‘60s. The sequel’s mechanics would be dictated by its historical setting.

Now that Rockstar has the reins of the franchise, it can inject some new blood into L.A. Noire’s veins. The talent at Rockstar has the ability to craft excellent stories on top of solid gameplay basics (Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 are ample evidence). L.A. Noire’s story had some truly gritty moments and gruesome scenarios that stood in stark but dramatic contrast to the muted ‘40s color palate. The tale only got better as it got blacker, and Rockstar could make a sequel pitch black in tone.

If gamers took one thing away from seeing MotionScan in action in L.A. Noire, it’s that it produces a unique experience with visible seams. It failed to keep the game out of the uncanny valley, ultimately backfiring and making some animations straight-up creepy. After the Bondi split, Rockstar took MotionScan with it and hasn’t used the technology since. But Rockstar’s has a pretty good pedigree for hand-crafted facial animations and pushing the limits of its tools (just play Grand Theft Auto V to get a feel for what I’m talking about). With the new console generation finally finding a foothold, just think of what Rockstar could cook up with a sequel built from the pavement up using new-gen tech.

In retrospect, L.A. Noire is a strange game that’s even more fun to remember than it is to play. It was on the cusp of something truly groundbreaking, but some of Team Bondi’s design choices kept it from achieving perfection. The Bondi/Rockstar fallout appears to have left a sequel hanging in the balance, but I think it deserves a second chance. I know Rockstar would deliver an impressive sequel that would feel as unique as the original.

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Dementium series developer obtains sequel rights

Developer Renegade Kid has reacquired control of its Dementium series, a horror-focused intellectual property that birthed two frightening games on the Nintendo DS. Renegade Kid co-founder Jools Watsham took to Twitter to announce the deal:

I am…
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Legend of Grimrock iOS port announced, sequel enters beta

Finnish developer Almost Human Ltd. has two pieces of great news for fans of its classically-styled first-person dungeon crawl Legend of Grimrock: Not only has the game’s sequel reached beta testing, but the original Legend of Grimrock is now coming…
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QUBE sequel squaring up for PS4 with Project Morpheus support

Toxic Games is building a sequel to its late 2011 physics-based puzzle game QUBE. Dubbed QUBE², the sequel is in development for PS4, the studio announced via PlayStation Blog. The first-person follow-up will include refined mechanics and new…
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Ubisoft Says Its Still Working On Beyond Good & Evil Sequel

We know you've probably heard this before, so we don't blame you if you're a little skeptical, but it sounds like even after the formation of his new studio, Wild Sheep, Michel Ancel is continuing his work on the follow up to the 2003 cult hit.

Yesterday, Michel Ancel announced that he was forming a new indie studio where he would be free to work on new creative projects, but his next Ubisoft project might not be that new after all. According to IGN, Ancel's next project is a sequel to Beyond Good & Evil, a game that has already been in development for a long time.

“It's still far too early to give many details about this new title, but what we can say is that while Michel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier are working with the core tenets of BG&E, they're developing something that aspires to push past the boundaries of a proverbial sequel and leverages next-gen technologies to deliver a truly surprising, innovative and exceptional game," Ubisoft told IGN. "The entire team is excited about the direction this extremely ambitious project is taking, and we'll have more to share later, as it progresses."

It sounds like this project won't actually interfere with Ancel's work at Wild Sheep, because that studio is still working on a different unannounced title. Hopefully we'll hear more about that soon. 

 

[Source: IGN]

 

Our Take
I'd be more excited about this if there was more substantial information surrounding it. I feel like Ubisoft has been dangling this BG&E carrot in front of us for a long time, so until the company is ready to show us some actually "official" gameplay, I don't think I'll get my hopes up. I just keep telling myself, "Don't get your hopes up! Don't get your hopes up! Don't get your hopes up!"

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Beyond Good & Evil creator working on an ‘extremely ambitious sequel’

Lest you were afraid that Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel forming a new studio would mean the death of all hope of ever seeing Beyond Good & Evil 2, fear no more: Ubisoft has confirmed to IGN that Ancel is heading development of a sequel to…
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Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist web series sequel in the works

Live-action web series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist exhausted the entirety of its first routine on May 23, but Street Fighter fans know how these things go: Round two, fight! Polygon reports that Assassin’s Fist’s production team will be handling…
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NIS America’s new imports include Guided Fate Paradox sequel

Localization specialist NIS America announced three new games for North America and Europe over the weekend, kicking off with The Firefly Diary this fall on Vita. Nippon Ichi’s puzzle-platformer will be followed in 2015 by Guided Fate Paradox sequel…
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Afro Samurai sequel announced for consoles and PC

The Banner Saga publisher Versus Evil revealed that it is publishing a follow-up to Namco Bandai’s 2007 PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 action game Afro Samurai for next-gen consoles and PC platforms.

Afro Samurai’s sequel is developed by Redacted…
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