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Swapnote Sequel Swapdoodle Available Now On The 3DS eShop

Nikki is coming back to help you draw silly doodles to send to your friends. This adorable messaging app is free-to-start, with lessons to draw Nintendo characters starting at $ 2.99.

Swapdoodle will let you send hand drawn doodles to people on your friends list through Spotpass. Writing more notes unlocked additional backgrounds in Swapnote, though it's uncertain if that will return here.

Nintendo used Swapnote for a variety of promotions in the past, with Miis of Reggie Fils-Aimé, Eiji Aonuma, and Shigeru Miyamoto visiting to deliver messages like they do in Streetpass Plaza. The service was shut down in 2013 as some users circulated explicit content with the software.

You can check out a trailer for Swapdoodle below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
It's awesome to see the return of Nintendo's adorable messaging app. The drawing lessons should be great for anyone who wants to learn, though hopefully this service won't be shut down for the same reasons as last time.

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Reader Discussion – Would You Play A Jade Empire Sequel?

Mass Effect Andromeda is the big news today. However, let's talk about another Bioware game, yeah? Fellow editor Matt Bertz recently compiled an oral history of the company (which you can read the full version of in our latest issue) and one of the biggest stories to emerge from that was Bioware's attempts to make a sequel to Jade Empire. The developer canned the project to focus on what would eventually become Dragon Age and Mass Effect. 

However, BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw said that "Jade as a sequel is never dead," which means that the studio isn't opposed to creating a sequel. One day. Maybe.

The question then is would you play it? I know I would. Jade Empire is without a doubt the funkiest, and strangest of Bioware's entire catalog. However, it's also one of the most creative titles in a line of rich games. I'd love to see a sequel in the Frostbite engine. 

What about you?

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Where’s My Sequel? – Dead Space

Dead Space led EA’s 2008 charge to create new and innovative games to combat the perception that the company was solely focused on annualized, exploitable franchises. Dead Space was a critical darling, and it was successful enough to spawn two sequels and multiple spin-offs. The series has been MIA since Dead Space 3’s release in 2013, but now would be the perfect time for Dead Space to make a comeback.

What It Is
The first Dead Space is a fusion of many iconic horror and science-fiction films and games blended into one package. It’s a poster child for the phrase “better than the sum of its parts,” because it knows how to balance and blend its inspirations and original ideas. Sending an inept band of characters to a derelict ship with an unknown threat is undeniably pulled from Alien and Event Horizon, but it’s also surrounded with a ton of original lore that give it its own flavor. Shooting is reminiscent of Resident Evil 4, but affords you the extra mobility needed for agile enemies. Necromorphs were faster foes in addition to being an interesting twist on the classic zombie formula. Killing Necromorphs took more than just a well-placed headshot too and opened the door for “strategic dismemberment,” which forces players to carefully aim at limbs and not spray wildly.

Dead Space 2 took the baton from its predecessor and improved almost every aspect. Enemies were more varied, controls were snappier, Isaac evolved into a deeper character, and the game’s visuals were noticeably upgraded. Dead Space 2 had more of an action tilt but it worked in the game’s favor since the explosive moments were paced out well enough to make the horror more effective. All of this made Dead Space the fresh new series that we needed in the early years of the last hardware generation.

When It Stopped
Dead Space’s abrupt end coincided with Dead Space 3’s weak commercial and critical reception in 2013, despite Game Informer’s praiseworthy review. Just before release, EA added pressure to the series by setting high sales expectations for Dead Space 3. Former EA Labels President Frank Gibeau told CVG (in an interview that has since been taken offline) that the game needed to sell five million copies for EA to “continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space.”

Trouble brewed post-release when an unnamed source told VideoGamer.com that EA allegedly shut down Dead Space 4 prototypes at the now-closed Visceral Montreal after Dead Space 3 failed to meet its sales expectations (which has been disputed by some EA employees). After initially declining to comment on this report, EA came out after the story was published to say, “While we have not announced sales for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and the franchise remains an important IP to EA.”

It’s difficult to tell if the IP was important to EA given the company’s refusal to use it. Lower review scores, lofty sales expectations, Dead Space 4’s supposed cancellation, and Visceral moving on to develop Battlefield Hardline paints enough of a picture to show plausible reasons why Dead Space has gone on a hiatus.

What Comes Next
Like a corpse turning into a Necromorph, Dead Space may be resurrected one day. While the sincerity of EA’s commitment to Dead Space may be questionable, it gave Mirror’s Edge – another underperforming franchise that released the same year as Dead Space – one more chance, albeit eight years later. While Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s quality shouldn’t set a precedent for Dead Space, its position as a prequel and reboot should. This makes the most sense since the ending to Dead Space 3’s DLC, Awakened, doesn’t leave much room for a true sequel.

Dead Space needs to recapture the mystery, horror, and sense of isolation that held up the first two entries, something only a reboot could accomplish. This means a new Dead Space has to be a purely solo experience that shifts the focus back to creeping tension and creative jump scares. Cramped, dimly lit environments that are foreign to the character would be essential for evoking the necessary amount of dread. Being stranded in a broken down, alien territory is where all horror thrives and a new setting would have to tap into that. A deserted facility or spaceship is the easy, sensible answer, but there are plenty of different locations that could elicit the necessary fear of isolation, darkness, and narrow hallways.

Going back to horror shouldn’t mean abandoning the shooting. In fact, the series needs to revisit and enhance its strategic dismemberment mechanic. Carefully popping off limbs should be expanded on to better reward players with hitting specific weak spots along with clever ways to punish inaccurate shots. New Necromorphs should have unique limb structures to take advantage of these improvements, which would also go hand in hand with creating a new sense of mystery. Shuffling through dark, desolate halls with unfamiliar threats lurking in the vents would retain the tension that made the first two games so fantastic.

A new protagonist would be an essential part of establishing a sense of horror in the future. Isaac had a good arc in the first two games. He went from scared engineer to traumatized monster expert to overcoming his fear, but he began to stagnate by the third entry. A new character should mirror some of Isaac’s traits but break out in ways to keep the character from being a clone. Like the best horror protagonists, their profession should add something to the character and reflect inexperience in combat. Being an engineer made Isaac an amateur soldier but gave him insight into how to fix things and mechanically approach situations. The new protagonist could be a scientist, doctor, firefighter, or mechanic; all backgrounds with little to no weapon experience but all containing skills that could influence the mechanics and the character’s personality.

Their motivation should also take influence from Isaac and change up the details. Isaac’s reason for visiting the USG Ishimura – the mining ship from the first game – was twofold: to see his girlfriend who was stationed aboard the ship and fix any mechanical issues. His personal and non-personal stakes in the mission should be reflected in a new protagonist and work in parallel to their profession. A doctor could be visiting a soon-to-be-infected ship to tend to the patients and their sick parents while a mechanic could be fixing escape pods for the stranded citizens while ensuring their family safely escapes as well. Horror stories thrive off personal investment because you have to care about the character in order to care about the character’s survival. A Dead Space reboot would be wise to use Isaac’s dual motivations as an inspiration.

Dead Space had a good initial run but Dead Space 3 is not how the series should be remembered. It should be remembered for how it started: a refreshing take on the action-horror genre. It came out in 2008 when that genre needed a new shake up, and 2016 is in a similar situation.

For more hopeful sequel wishes, check out the Where's My Sequel? for Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Psychonauts, and Grim Fandango.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Reader Discussion – Would You Play A Jade Empire Sequel?

Mass Effect Andromeda is the big news today. However, let's talk about another Bioware game, yeah? Fellow editor Matt Bertz recently compiled an oral history of the company (which you can read the full version of in our latest issue) and one of the biggest stories to emerge from that was Bioware's attempts to make a sequel to Jade Empire. The developer canned the project to focus on what would eventually become Dragon Age and Mass Effect. 

However, BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw said that "Jade as a sequel is never dead," which means that the studio isn't opposed to creating a sequel. One day. Maybe.

The question then is would you play it? I know I would. Jade Empire is without a doubt the funkiest, and strangest of Bioware's entire catalog. However, it's also one of the most creative titles in a line of rich games. I'd love to see a sequel in the Frostbite engine. 

What about you?

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

BioWare: Jade Empire Sequel Is “Never Dead”

Back in 2005 BioWare released Jade Empire, its first video game not tied to a pre-existing license since its debut game, Shattered Steel. The martial arts action/RPG was unlike any other RPG at the time, and garnered strong critical praise. Game Informer's Matthew Kato scored it a 9.5, saying "this game proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the company is more than capable of standing on its own two feet." But instead of receiving a direct sequel, the franchise stayed frozen as if it were hit with a vicious blow from a master of the Paralyzing Palm style. 

That's not to say BioWare didn't try to make a sequel. A small team tried several different approaches to improve the combat and take the franchise in a new direction. But by the time they landed on a workable idea, studio heads Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk made the tough call to shut down the project to focus resources on its upcoming fantasy and sci-fi offerings, which became the successful Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. More than 15 years later, the desire return to Jade Empire still burns brightly in some of those who worked on the original.  

"Jade as a sequel is never dead," said BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw, who worked as a lead writer on the original.

"There are a lot of people still at the studio who worked on that game and want to get back to it," said BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn. "I think one of the advantages to getting back to it after a long time is not only nostalgia is a very powerful feeling in people, but skipping a generation of hardware is actually really exciting because it feels like it's not an evolution. It's a revolution of what you can do, and I think that's the kind of thing that brings people. What if we were to revolutionize Jade Empire and brought it back in that regard? That's the kind of talk that still happens around the studio."

To read more about Jade Empire and the rest of BioWare's rich past, check out the 16-page "Dungeons & Doctors" oral history in the latest issue of Game InformerPrint subscribers should see their issues arriving in the next week or two, but it will be available later today if you subscribe digitally (available on PC/MaciPadAndroid, and Google Play). You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on NookKindle, and Zinio starting tomorrow. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here. To create a new subscription to the digital edition, click here.

Our Take 
Jade Empire may not have met the financial goals BioWare set for the project, but the vibrant world begged for a sequel. Here's to hoping one day the studio returns to the martial arts setting.  

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EA Indicates Star Wars Battlefront Sequel Coming Next Fall

During Electronic Arts' second quarter earnings call, the company signaled that a Star Wars Battlefront sequel should hit next fall.

In the question and answer period of the call, Blake Jorgensen, EA CFO, talked about the various Star Wars titles the company has in the works. He described the timing of the next Star Wars Battlefront title as, "a year from now."

Previously, the company has said a new Battlefront title would appear in 2017, but Jorgensen's comments seem to narrow that a bit.

[Source: Electronic Arts]

 

Our Take
The analyst's question that Jorgensen replied to was about how EA would financially make up for sales from Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 next year, further implying that the next Battlefront would fall into a similar timeframe.

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Deadpool Director Not Working On Sequel Due To ‘Creative Differences’ With Ryan Reynolds

Of all the superhero action movies this year, Deadpool might be the most surprising. It managed to deftly translate the source comics' style to film effortlessly, becoming a financial and critical success.

Unfortunately, one of the people behind the film's success, director Tim Miller, will not be around for the sequel. According to a report from Deadline, Miller will not direct the film after "creative differences" between him and Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds emerged. Miller will be working on the film adaptation of Influx, a film adaption of a David Suarez novel.

We don't know what the creative differences could have been over, so it's hard to know if this will benefit or hurt the film in the long run. All we can hope for is that this doesn't lead to another X-Men Origins: Wolverine situation.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Zen Studios’ Planet Minigolf Sequel Puts Focus On Customization

Where do you go after colonizing an entire planet with miniature golf? How about someplace endlessly larger? Zen Studios has announced the sequel to Planet Minigolf, a little something called Infinite Minigolf.

Players will be able to customize their avatars, naturally, but they'll also be able to design their own courses, and then share them with friends. The game is coming to Steam Early Access on October 6, with a full release in 2017. The trailer below shows off the first course, Giant Home, in which players experience the always-delightful phenomenon of being a little person in a giant world. 

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The Early Access version of the game is priced at $ 14.99, and the full game will set you back $ 19.99 when it releases next year on PC.

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The Director Of The Rival Schools Series Wants To Make A Sequel

Rival Schools, a Capcom fighting game series from the late 90s and early aughts, sees players chose teams of two students to fight for the honor or their high school. It wasn't as popular as some of Capcom's other fighting titles, but even after only one update to the original game and a sequel, the series maintains a small following.

Now, over 15 years after the last game, series director Hideaki Itsuno hinted he'd like to get a sequel made. When asked in an interview with CFN Portal about when he would get around to making a new Rival Schools game, Itsuno replied by saying, "I want to make one even now!" He hinted at having already completed the scenario for the game, and urged fans to tweet at him using the hashtag #rivalschools3. "Batsu, Hinata and Kyosuke haven't graduated yet," he said in the interview. "They started their third year just when the story finished."

The full interview dives into the history of both Rival Schools and Star Gladiator (a 3D fighting series). Itsuno talks about how the concept for Rival Schools came to be, the designs of a few characters and how the ratio of male-to-female characters was higher in the series than in most other fighting games because of the game's high school setting.

[Source: CFN Portal via Shoryuken.com]

 

Our Take
I'm excited about the return of any obscure fighting game series, but I'm a bit skeptical about Rival Schools. The characters and setting would be nice to see again, but Capcom would have to add a few twists to the game's actual fighting to make it interesting today.

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Bethesda And Arkane Outline The Changes Coming To Dishonored’s Sequel

Dishonored 2's developer and publisher, Arkane and Bethesda, posted a blog this morning rounding up many of Dishonored 2's new mechanics and changes.

The information's not new, but it serves as a reminder of what we know about the game (as well as what we wrote about in our cover story) ahead of the game's release in November. The game picks up 15 years after the original, gives a new voice to the first game's silent protagonist, Corvo, and makes Emily, who was a child in the first game, a fully playable character with her own set of powers. The blog also touches on Emily's upbringing, which outside of the events of the first game, was privelaged and mostly without incident. You can find the full blog post on Bethesda's website.

For more Dishonored 2, you can access our hub of content form the when the game was on our cover by clicking on the banner below.

[Source: Bethesda]

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