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The First Fifteen Minutes Of Night In The Woods’ Delightfully Strange World

Night in the Woods is a story-driven adventure game from developer Infinite Fall. It tells the tale of a young anthropomorphic cat who returns to her hometown for the first time in years, and it turns out that a lot has changed. She must uncover the truth behind the town's spooky happenings while reconnecting with old friends, making trouble, and figuring out where she wants to go in life.

In the video below, Ben Hanson and I take a look at the first fifteen minutes of the game, and comment on how it revels in examining human emotion and presents unique, multi-faceted characters that we fell in love with. 

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Check out our glowing review of Night in the Woods by heading here. – The Feed

Jeff Kaplan Talks Overwatch’s World, Shows Spider-Like Character

At this year's D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, NV, a handful of game developers were asked to share their insight regarding the theme of "world building." The first speaker to take the stage was Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch's game director. Kaplan began his talk by focusing on Blizzard's cancelled game, Project Titan.

On the day Project Titan was put on indefinite hold, Blizzard disbanded its development team, moving some people to assist in the ongoing development of World of Warcraft and others to other internal projects. Kaplan and 40 other people weren't moved, however, and were instead tasked to make something new within six short weeks. If they didn't create a project worth green-lighting, the team would disband and join other teams.

Kaplan said this short exploration window was stressful, but helped the team focus on something special. The team didn't want to completely abandon the work they had done on Titan, and felt they just missed the mark in figuring out what it needed to be. Titan's conceptual basis, "a future worth fighting for," became the point of inception for Overwatch. The hope was to use these words to dream up a vision of Earth players would want to inhabit and fight for.

One of the first visions of this version Earth came from an artwork piece of Overwatch's characters. Even at this early state in development, the artwork showed many of the characters that are in the game today, along with several others who didn't make the cut, including a few from Titan. Kaplan showed another early conceptual piece of what they wanted combat to look like. This beautiful piece showed Genji, Winston, Tracer, and a spider-like character who we haven't seen yet (and may never) battling over a control point. Hoping to squash any rumors, Kaplan quickly pointed out that the spider-like character isn't who you think it is. That piece of art ended up being the perfect vision for the game.

When it came time to design the world, Blizzard felt Earth had been done to death in video games. The Last of Us, Mad Max, and other games had done interesting things with the future of Earth, focusing on end of days and war-torn scenarios. Kaplan knew they had to do something different. The "future worth fighting for" hook came to mean making a world they wanted to live in.

Kaplan then detailed the inspiration for a number of Overwatch's maps. Oasis was modeled after Iraq. "Is it necessary to show dusty streets
or bombed-out buildings?" Kaplan questioned. "We've seen enough of that in games." Blizzard's hope for Iraq's future was pristine and technologically advanced. In the game's fiction it is a location born of a group of scientists and researchers.

For Dorado, Blizzard wanted to bring a slice of Mexico to the game. The initial thought was to create a colorful coastal town. So someone on the development team Googled
"colorful Mexican town," and found the perfect shot of a colorful, hilly, coastal town. The team fell in love with it and started building the map. They soon found out it was actually a picture of Manarola, Italy. But they loved the vision they had built so much that they kept it in.

Although the Hollywood map has many visual connections to the movie industry, the team didn't want realism to be the driving force behind it. This map went through several iterations, including one that was modeled closely after real world locations. Kaplan says they liked the vision of "Hollywood made by the guy from Belgium" than the realistic one, since it felt more creative and unique.

The talk concluded with a brief look at several characters, including Ana. Kaplan says that the team challenges stereotypes. Ana is an older Egyptian woman, who is a sniper and a mother. Most shooters are seen through the eyes of "grizzled soldiers," Kaplan added. Blizzard strives for as much variety as possible, as well as the idea of "normal things are normal." This creative angle was used while designing Tracer, the character on Overwatch's cover, who was recently revealed to be gay. Kaplan said these little details give their characters life and make them feel real.

He went on to add that the Overwatch community is bringing more life to the characters than the development team is. He said Blizzard is now just the custodians of this world, and that the players are the life behind it now. – The Feed

You Can Now Use Your World Of Warcraft Gold To Purchase Loot Boxes In Overwatch

Want to burn through some more loot boxes to find that one Mei skin but don't have the time to grind out more matches and don't want to burn through our wallet? Blizzard's giving you another option…if you've got a World of Warcraft account.

The developer has updated the MMO's WOW Token function so it can be used across all Blizzard games with micro-transactions via users' Balance:

The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel have a golden opportunity for you, friend—introducing a new way to use your WoW® Token. It’s just as easy as ever, but now when you use gold to buy a WoW Token from the Auction House in certain regions, you can to choose whether to convert it into 30 days of game time or Balance*. You can use Balance to buy services like World of Warcraft character transfers, digital products like pets and mounts, and even purchase in-game items for other supported Blizzard games you play. 

You can find out more details by reading the post here. It's worth noting that since this exchange is linked to a balance, that you can only use this trick for the PC versions of Blizzard games, not the console versions.


Our Take
This is a pretty neat trick. A bit of a bummer console players are missing out though. – The Feed

Blizzard greenlights World of Warcraft gold being spent in its other games

World of Warcraft players can now convert their in-game gold into credit they can spend in other Blizzard games as the company continues to experiment with its pan-game economy. …

Gamasutra News

Online game firm Perfect World has executed a round of layoffs

Online game company Perfect World Entertainment has told Gamasutra that it laid off a number of employees this week, but claims the cuts will not affect any of its current game projects. …

Gamasutra News

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World Review – A Tight-Knit Port

Yoshi’s Woolly World is the best Yoshi’s Island game since the original released for Super Nintendo in 1995. Seeing its gameplay on a different platform seemed entirely possible, but the Wii U version took full advantage of the console’s HD visuals which made a port to the 3DS suspect. Thankfully, despite the small visual downgrade, Woolly World is still a great platformer, even on 3DS.

In a broad sense, Woolly World is unchanged from the Wii U version. Small things – like a different layout for the overworld – are present, but all the levels, controls, and general charm of a Nintendo platformer in a world made of yarn is all here on 3DS. It still looks great, too, and if you’re playing on New 3DS the framerate boosts to 60 FPS, making it a smoother experience.

Additions for Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World include a new auto-running mode starring Poochy and changes to mellow mode. Poochy’s auto-running levels are fun and give you a chance to collect gems, or complete missions like collecting certain items as you speed-run, or making sure you duck under that log. I like these new levels, but as a returning Woolly World fan, I would have liked to access them faster and without having to replay the campaign.

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Mellow mode, which is geared toward younger players, gives Yoshi wings and lets him fly through levels. On 3DS, a collection of Poochy Pups now follow Yoshi to help find secrets and can be used as yarn balls so you never run out of throwable items. The pups are cute, and a mode that lets my young daughter (who hasn’t mastered platforming yet) enjoy the cute visuals without getting frustrated is welcome.

Co-op mode, a destination for many in the Wii U version, is gone for 3DS, but I didn’t miss it. On Wii U, Woolly World functioned better as a single-player game. The Yoshis are large character models, and placing more than one on the screen could sometimes get claustrophobic.

If you skipped Woolly World on Wii U, Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World offers what is essentially a straight port. It doesn’t feel downgraded, even if the visuals aren’t quite as sharp. Exchanging co-op for the dedicated Poochy auto-run levels and a better mellow mode is a worthy trade. Woolly World is still the best Yoshi’s Island game since the original, even on this less-powerful platform. – The Feed

Why games are a key focus in UNESCO’s efforts to promote world peace

It’s difficult to have empathy if you can’t put yourself into somebody else’s perspective,” researcher Paul Darvasi tells Polygon. “Video games allow you to assume perspectives in an embodied form.” …

Gamasutra News

World Of Goo, Little Inferno, Human Resource Machine Heading To Switch

You can add a few more games to the list of announced Nintendo Switch titles. Tomorrow Corporation is bringing three of its older games over to Nintendo's latest console.

World of Goo, Little Inferno, and Human Resource Machine will be available when the console launches on March 3. For the uninitiated, here's a quick refresher: World of Goo is a physics-based game that lets players build bridges and other structures to make their way across gaps. Little Inferno is a strange puzzle game for would-be pyromaniacs. Finally, Human Resource Machine teaches players some of the underlying principles of software coding.

The Switch versions of the game are also getting exclusive soundtrack modes, in which players can listen to each game's music.

[Source: Tomorrow Corporation via NeoGAF] – The Feed

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. …

Gamasutra News

Mod Brings Multiplayer To Just Cause 3′s Chaotic Open World

Just Cause 3 is best known for giving players the ability to rambunctiously cause havoc and destruction in its large sandbox world. Now, thanks to a multiplayer mod that recently released, you can go on a rampage with a group of friends.

The mod, titled JC3:MP, can hold up to 100 players on its servers, so that you can explore Medici cooperatively with friends, or go against them competitively in races and deathmatches. On the mod's official website, the team describes the multiplayer addition as such: "Our modification opens the door to incredible multiplayer possibilities including racing, deathmatch, skydiving, roleplaying or free-roam."

Last month, JC3:MP was released as a beta, and you can view the trailer for it below. It is now available in full for download via the modder's website. While this is the official release, some bugs are still in the process of being fixed.

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Just Cause 2 also received a multiplayer mod by an entirely different group of modders, who were also planning to make a multiplayer rendition for Just Cause 3. However, after the lead creator Cameron Foote was hired by developer Avalanche Studios to work on the Just Cause series itself, this modder group canceled the project.

JC3:MP is created by Nanos GbR, and while it is not available on Steam Workshop at this time, you can download the PC mod here. You can also check out our glowing review for Just Cause 3.

[Source: PC Gamer] – The Feed