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Blog: How we exhibited our no-budget indie game at PAX without a booth

In this article, I tell the story of how we marketed our no-budget indie game by smuggling the a mobile arcade cabinet into PAX East 2017. …

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Early Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Concepts Show Link Without An Arm, Minish People, And More

This morning, Nintendo released a three-part, behind-the-scenes video series discussing the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Many of the details of the documentary were covered during Nintendo's GDC panel, like early ideas revolving around aliens, but there are a number of new details, as well as better looks at the game's early concept art.

The videos feature interviews with director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, technical director Takuhiro Dohta, art director Satoru Takizawa, sound director Hajime Wakai, and Zelda series producer Eiju Aonuma.

Development for the game truly began in the beginning of 2013 and the goal from the beginning was to break the conventions of the Zelda series. It was the team's motto. This is where the early ideas of alien invasion started, as well as the gif seen at the bottom of this page featuring Link outrunning explosions across a war-torn battlefield. Later in development, the team would take off a full week at a time to playtest the game. It's an atypical practice to devote so much time to playtesting, and it was one of many factors that contributed to the game's delays.

The video also offers a better look at Nintendo's internal 2D Zelda engine the team used to conceptualize concepts.

The game's art director also revealed that the general art design of the assorted Shiekah technology was inspired by the Jōmon period of Japanese history, which Takizawa says is an era few are familiar with.

Link and Ganon's designs were pretty straightforward, though some early concept ideas for Link show an older soldier missing an arm who can apparently change his arm to different weapons, like a cannon for shooting bombs.

Fujibayashi says Zelda was particularly difficult for the team to design and they were making changes up to the last second. They really wanted her to have a range of emotions. As an aside, Fujibayashi mentioned that in Skyward Sword, Link and Zelda could be seen as lovers, but here their relationship is more ambiguous.

Another last-second change is related to the game's boss character, the Hinox. You can actually see it is colored differently in some of the game's final trailers than it is in the final game.

The Guardians, Breath of the Wild's iconic and powerful octopus-like robots, have surprising beginnings. The team recalled playing the original Zelda and how large and imposing they felt, and they wanted to bring that type of enemy back for the new Zelda. Aonuma admitted, however, that he did not expect them to shoot lasers.

In terms of the enemies, Wakai also mentioned struggling with what sort of horn the bokoblins should use, saying that early on they experimented with them blowing a french horn to alert their peers, but someone on staff brought in a horn-shaped horn and its sound is the one that actually ended up in the game.

An abandoned concept for the game included small villages with Minish-like people. Fujibayashi expressed regret at not being able to include the concept in the final game.

According to Fujibayash, the game's size (which is 12 times the size of Twilight Princess' Hyrule) was based heavily on Nintendo's home city, Kyoto.

The sound design of the game focused more on the ambient noises of the world, with the music being more subtle and piano-focused. Wakai was nervous about making the score so piano-heavy, as Zelda orchestration has never relied on piano in the past.

For more on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can find our review here. You can also click the banner below to access our month of bonus coverage from our cover story. – The Feed

Devs without programming knowledge soon could create dynamic AI

The GDC X OLL podcast crew spoke with Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris about the work she’s doing to make artificial intelligence more accessible to game creators without programming expertise. …

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Insomniac: Sunset Overdrive May Have A Future, With Or Without Microsoft

Sunset Overdrive was one of the surprise success stories of the early Xbox One era, winning over critics with its irreverent attitude and fast-paced gameplay. For a console that lacks defining first-party games beyond the Halo, Gears of War, and Forza franchises, the Insomniac Games title seemed like a natural candidate to receive a sequel. But more than two years removed from its launch, the franchise is still dormant.

We asked Insomniac president Ted Price why there has been no movement on a sequel, and he replied, "You'd have to ask Microsoft." But with or without Microsoft's participation, Sunset Overdrive may grind again.

"We are passionate about that franchise, and we own it, so you may see more Sunset in the future from us," Price said. "No promises, and no timeline to speak of, but it is something that represents our willingness to create unexpected experiences."

Right now, Insomniac is currently working on the PS4-exclusive Spider-Man and its VR title The Unspoken, which has a full season of content planned. The studio just came off its busiest year to date, shipping Ratchet & Clank, Song of the Deep, Edge of Nowhere, Feral Rites, and The Unspoken all in 2016. – The Feed

Here They Lie To Be Playable Without PSVR

We enjoyed the horror game Here They Lie when we reviewed it last October, but the fact that it required PlayStation VR kept it out of reach for a lot of players. That's changing tomorrow, when the game is getting a free update that allows it to be played on traditional displays.

The update should be an automatic download for anyone who previously bought the game. New customers will get both versions, so if they decide to eventually buy a PSVR, they'll be able to play it that way as well. The update also includes customizable controls, subtitles, and a chapter-select screen.

The game's also getting a PS4 Pro patch, which includes better lighting effects.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]


Our Take
It's unlikely that I'm ever going to spend money on PlayStation's VR peripheral, but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in its games. I'm sure that I'll be missing out on aspects of these games that don't translate well – including that elusive sense of presence – but if it's the difference between playing and not playing, I'll take it. – The Feed

Don’t Miss: Teaching players without using words

In this 2016 blog post, Ubisoft technical level designer Max Pears explores different methods of explaining game mechanics to players without writing explicit, wordy instructions into a game. …

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Nintendo might not have flourished without help from the Yakuza

A recent video from Eurogamer takes a deeper look at Nintendo’s origins as a playing card company and how the Yakuza and illegal gambling rings helped the company survive. …

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At GDC 2017, see how Riot rebuilt League of Legends’ client without breaking everything

At the 2017 Game Developers Conference later this month, Riot Games’ art director Laura DeYoung will show you how Riot redesigned and rebuilt the League of Legends client without breaking everything. …

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Don’t Miss: How Rogue Legacy handles tutorials without being boring

How do you teach players how to play your game without getting bogged down in boring tutorials? Rogue Legacy developer Teddy Lee shares his secrets. …

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Silence Screams: Virginia tells a complex story without dialogue

Virginia is a complex thriller about a new FBI agent trying to locate a missing young man while also trying to find evidence of corruption in her partner. And no one ever says a word. …

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