Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Improbable nets $20M to keep developing virtual world tech

London-based startup Improbable has raised $ 20 million from investment firm Andreesen Horowitz to fund its continuing efforts to develop better technology for creating and operating virtual worlds. …


Gamasutra News

Exploring The Deadly World Of Mad Max

If you've played Just Cause 2 from Avalanche Studios, you understand the team's passion for creating gigantic worlds for players to explore. With their new game, Mad Max, players will be set loose in the Wasteland (which kinda sorta isn't Australia) and tasked with finding the resources to create their ideal customizable death car. We spoke with game director Frank Rooke and lead artist Daniel Persson about the process of designing this brutal environment and what you'll encounter in the final game.

Watch the video interview below to learn what features and enemies Mad Max will come across in the Wasteland.

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For more on Mad Max, click on the banner below to enter our hub of exclusive content that will be updated throughout the month.

 

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Creating a ‘world of infographics’ in Metrico

A look at how Roy van de Mortel tackled the challenge of creating gameplay that changes the “abstract” world of Metrico — from conception to completion. …


Gamasutra News

Five Things We Know From Playing Lego Jurassic World

The announcement of Lego Jurassic World was good news for families, mine included. Traveller's Tales' Lego games have been a co-op fixture at my house since my kids were old (and interested) enough to pick up controllers. Like most kids, my children happen to be obsessed with dinosaurs, too. We've watched a lot of dinocentric movies and TV shows over the years, and they've ranged from being pretty OK to unbelievably terrible. Jurassic Park is one of the best dinosaur movies around, but my sons are way too young to watch it. Lego Jurassic World will let us experience the stories of those movies, but without quite as many scares. I played it recently, and I've got five things that Lego fans should know about the game.

One quick note: Despite the game’s title, Lego Jurassic World doesn’t just feature the events from the upcoming film. That’s included, as well as the previous three movies. There are five levels for each of the four movies, as well as a pair of hub worlds.

 

The Tone Has Been Tweaked, In A Good Way
Jurassic Park is great, but despite what the park's creator John Hammond might think, it's not exactly a place for young kids. Its balance of action and suspense remains just as effective since its release. Showing it to the little ones is a great way to ensure that they'll ask to sleep in your bed. TT Games has shown that it can work with licenses that skew older, such as the Lord of the Rings films and some of the later Harry Potters. Lego Jurassic World takes a similar approach, softening the edges off the scarier and more violent moments with slapstick and the silliness that comes with the Lego brand. The best example I saw was with the T-rex. Mike Taylor, head of design at TT Fusion, says the team approached the hungry beast as though it were an oversized puppy. Sure, it's a puppy that's taller than a stack of mastiffs and it has a mouth filled with spiky teeth, but it's still kind of goofy. 

One of the sections I played took place after the creature grabbed one of the Jeep Wranglers and flipped it upside-down – with Timmy and Lex Murphy trapped inside. Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm have to find a way to distract the T-rex and rescue the kids. After solving a few puzzles, Grant builds a contraption to do just that: a large jack-in-the-box. He cranks the handle, and it plays a music-box version of John Williams' Jurassic Park theme. The dino isn't interested, so Grant kicks the box. Out pops an oversized, squeaky chew toy, which immediately catches the T-rex’s attention.

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You Can Play As A Dinosaur
The dinosaurs are obviously the main attraction at Jurassic Park. They’re not trained circus animals; part of the appeal is that attendees are able to see them as wild as they can be. It only makes sense that these beasts aren’t exactly ready to wear saddles. Even though they have a tendency to devour people in the movies, players will need help from dinosaurs to break through barriers and get into areas that might otherwise be inaccessible. If you can’t ride them, what do you do? In Lego Jurassic World, you can become the dinosaur. That comes in handy when the characters are trapped behind a fallen log. One solid ram from a rampaging triceratops is enough to transform the obstacle into a pile of splinters. That kind of dino encounter is much less stressful when you’re in charge.

You Can Play With The Dinosaurs
Each of the game’s levels contains a hidden chunk of amber. As expected, they contain prehistoric insect bloodsuckers, which have fragments of dino DNA in their little bellies. Collect enough of one type, and you can reconstruct that dinosaur. You can then populate your island hubs with the critters, and you can mix and match elements from the 20 types to create your own monstrosity. Taylor says there are more than 1,000 combinations, not including color and skin-pattern variations. From what we’ve seen of the film Jurassic World, messing around with various species is a fantastic idea, and nothing bad could possibly arise from that. 

The Humans Aren't Half Bad, Either
Lego Jurassic World features a cast of more than 100 playable characters. I only saw a fraction of them, but TT Fusion seems like they’ve captured their essence through their animations and special abilities. Grant is a versatile guy, able to construct helpful objects out of the environment and cut through thick vegetation with his machete. Malcolm can toss flares, but from what I played, his biggest skills are in acting frightened and bouncing around with nervous energy. Paleobotanist Ellie Sattler hops into smelly piles of dinosaur scat, which leave other characters gagging. She can pull out vital clues (lysine!), or the occasional electric guitar. My favorite is Lex. Her screams could be irritating in the movie, but they’re a glass-shattering godsend in Lego Jurassic World.

It Gets Weird
Mr. DNA is a playable character. Let that sink in for a moment.

 

Lego Jurassic World is coming this June on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, 3DS, and Vita.

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Video: Building the touchy-feely world of Tearaway

At GDC 2013, Tearaway creative lead Rex Crowle described the challenges of designing and building a world that can flex, fold, tear and crumple under the fingertips of players. …


Gamasutra News

Test Chamber – Completely Absorbed By Ori And The Blind Forest’s Gorgeous World

Metroid established a formula that developers the world over are still trying to emulate today. Moon Studios is a developer that doesn't even have an office, but the company has perfectly paired Metroid's blueprint with Rayman's precision platforming. The result is a game that feels great and looks amazing.

Andrew Reiner, Wade Wojcik, and Ben Reeves take a journey through Ori’s jaw-dropping world and get completely absorbed by the game's heartbreaking story. For more on this charming indie title, check out our video interview with Ori's gameplay programmer and our feature on the title's development process.

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Ori and the Blind Forest releases for Xbox One and PC on March 10.
Check out our review
, and for more Test Chambers, click the banner below or visit
our hub.

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10 Badass Things We Did In Mad Max’s Open World

Earlier this week, we announced that the original
post-apocalyptic anti-hero, Mad Max, graces the newest cover of Game Informer.
We traveled to Avalanche Studio's office in Stockholm, Sweden, to test our
mettle in an exclusive hands-on session in the open-world Wasteland. I survived
several hours roaming a vast, dried-out sea bed looking for trouble, and compiled
the moments that made me feel most like the Road Warrior himself. My exploits
include impaling raiders with harpoon guns and punching my way through
oil-pumping shanty fortresses.

Become Death On Four Wheels

Mad Max is only operating at maximum efficiency when he's
joined by his better half – a badass car. Max's deformed, Igor-like mechanical
assistant, Chumbucket, refers to the game's featured vehicular murder machine
as the Magnum Opus.

Pursuing and taking down enemy vehicles feels awesome. Max
has tools like a turbo boost, spiked grill, tire-shredding rims, mounted guns,
and flamethrowers at his disposal to take out the Wasteland's trash. I love the
options available when it comes to dismantling enemy cars. Sidling up next to
another car and watching sparks fly as your rims shred theirs. Seeing would-be
hijackers accidentally impale themselves on your defensive spikes. Even good,
old-fashioned head-on collisions are a blast when you engage the boost to
obliterate your enemies with a beefy grill.

Modifying the Magnum Opus is almost as fun as driving it,
but that's a topic we'll dive deeper into later in our month of exclusive
online content
.

Harpoon Mayhem

Early on in Mad Max, Chumbucket helps our hero by attaching
a harpoon weapon to the Magnum Opus. This gun's primary function is to launch a
cable-tethered spear into objects, which can then be dragged or pulled with the
car. Discovering new ways to dissect and demolish structures and enemies with
the harpoon is one of Mad Max's most fun features.

Players can take aim on objects like fortress walls and
sniper towers while driving, then use their car's momentum to yank them to
bits. Even more fun is tearing pieces of a pesky foe's car apart, then
eventually blasting the harpoon into the driver themselves. Winning a heated
vehicular battle by dragging your enemy off the back of your car is rewarding.

Chase Down Convoys

The Road Warrior's
unforgettable climax involves an intense assault on a moving caravan that's
barreling through the Wasteland. Moments like this one have been integrated
into Mad Max's open world. Players are likely to see huge clouds of dust
billowing up in the distance. Should they follow these cues, they're likely to
drive up on a convoy of up to 12 vehicles defending a lead truck carrying
precious cargo.

Charging grill-first into these wheeled warriors isn't the
smartest idea. Max could easily succumb to a rear-mounted flamethrower, get
caught in a pincer attack between two cars' grinding rims, or be boarded by an
enemy. Players are better off picking off cars one-by-one. Destroying the lead
vehicle of a convoy scores Max a hood ornament, which can be attached to the
Magnum Opus for an automotive stat boost.  

White-Knuckle First-Person Driving

Mad Max is primarily a third-person action game, but players
have the option to look through the Road Warrior's eyes when driving. I'm
usually averse to driving in a restrictive first-person view when I have the
option to see more of my surroundings in driving games, but this is different.
Seeing Max's jagged metal-studded gloves and the beefy engine jutting out of
the hood elicited a cathartic, joyful thrill I haven't felt while behind the
wheel in a game for some time. The sense of speed when cruising down a worn
road and the visceral impact of boosting into a wrecked enemy vehicle feels
amazing.

Crack Skulls

Max is fast behind the wheel, but his more lumbering
fighting style still packs a wallop. This bruiser's approach to combat feels
inspired by the popular mechanics first seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Max doesn't
have Bruce Wayne's martial-arts training, but he can manhandle enemies with a
more straightforward and murderous approach, complete with visceral suplexes
and leg locks.

Enemies surround Max, sizing him up before closing the gap
for a punch. Max has the opportunity to counter these attacks and follow up
with a flurry of brass-knuckle punches. His Fury Mode helps differentiate
itself from similar combat systems, too. Following up light attacks with a
heavy attack deals more damage to goons and fills his Fury level faster.
Fighting enemies builds up a meter that, when activated, sends Max into an
adrenaline-fueled state where he deals more damage faster than usual. Similar
to another post-apocalyptic tale, The Last of Us, Max can pick up rare shivs to
take enemies out of the equation even faster.

Up next: Pushing the boundaries of the Wasteland and making an impact on the big, wild world.


www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Blizzard To Allow Players To Buy World Of Warcraft Gold With Real Money

Blizzard has taken a significant step away from subscriptions in World of Warcraft. The company has announced a plan to let players exchange in-game gold for game time, but also real money for gold.

This will work via the “WoW Token” system. Players will be able to purchase tokens via the real money shop. These are then sold at the auction house, where players can spend gold on them. When redeemed, each token is worth one month of game time.

The flip side is that players will be able to receive in-game gold via a real money purchase (via a two-step process). The amount of gold will be set by the WoW economy, which varies by server and time. Players will receive the amount quoted at the time of listing regardless of sale price. 

The token system will arrive in an upcoming patch. Pricing details have yet to be announced.

Blizzard says it is implementing the system to provide a secure method for players to purchase gold (something that was previously prohibited). The publisher says that third-party gold purchases are a leading cause of compromised accounts.

[Source: Blizzard]

 

Our Take
This is an enormous change to World of Warcraft, even though it mirrors the PLEX system used in EVE Online. It will be extremely interesting to watch the in-game economy once this goes into effect.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Square Enix Removes The World Ends With You From iOS App Store

Square Enix has removed one of its titles from the iOS App Store. The World Ends With You, originally released on Nintendo DS in 2008, received an iOS overhaul that made it compatible with a single screen in 2012.

Unfortunately, the game had significant problems on Apple’s latest mobile operating system (iOS 8). The issues were so widespread that Square Enix decided to remove the game from the storefront while it works on repairs.

“Upon examining the impact of recent iOS updates to the title, we determined that the affected areas were greater than originally assumed,” a representative told us via email. “We were working to address this matter, however, the title has been regrettably pulled from the Store. Square Enix is actively working with all related parties to make available the software update; however at this time, we are unable to communicate a clear and adequate timeline.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to determine a solution.”

The iPhone version of the game was priced at $ 18, with the iPad version at $ 20. While those that did purchase it can still download the title, if you’ve upgraded your operating system, you’re likely to have problems. 

We’ll let you know as soon as we receive word of the title’s return to the app store.

[Source: Siliconera]

 

Our Take
When this returns to the App Store (and gets a clean bill of health), I strongly urge you to check this out. Even if you’ve played the original on DS, the changes made to put things on single touch screen are brilliant. It’s worth the $ 20 price of entry. I just hope I can play it again some time soon.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

World Of Tanks Fires On Xbox One This Year

World of Tanks took the number five spot in MMO revenue in 2014 with active communities on PC and Xbox 360. Last year, World of Tanks beat out Dota 2, Hearthstone, and Counter-Strike Online in the online gaming earnings list.

Wargaming has announced plans to add another platform this year, giving console gamers more opportunity to take to the battlefield. The company says that an Xbox One version is in development, with plans to launch some time in 2015. 

Xbox 360 players will be able to transfer their accounts and progress when the new version launches. The platforms will communicate also, so you can continue playing with your friends, even if they haven’t upgraded consoles yet.

[Source: IGN, Superdata Image: World of Tanks on Xbox 360]

 

Our Take
With Wargaming’s continued success, this is a logical move. As more players upgrade from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, this ensures that World of Tanks fans will be able to keep playing (and spending money).

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed