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Found 204 results

  1. Today, Chet Faliszek, formerly of Valve and Bossa Games, and Dr. Kimberly Voll, a longtime designer at Riot Games, announced that they have formed a new independent game studio called Stray Bombay. The two have given themselves a mission to create projects that simply don't work within most existing studios. They want to make games where artificial intelligence can improve not just enemies but facilitate jolly co-operation and even narrative itself. Many people haven't heard about Chet Faliszek or Dr. Kimberly Voll by name, but their work is familiar with millions of people around the world. Faliszek was responsible for the creation of Left 4 Dead's stories as well as its sequel and both Portal 1 and 2 along with Erik Wolpaw. Dr. Voll, on the other hand, brings her expertise in AI and designing systems for humans to affably interact with AI. She has spent the last three years at Riot Games as a senior technical designer helping to smooth out the gameplay experience for League of Legends, one of the most played games in the world. She was also instrumental in the creation of Fantastic Contraption, a critically acclaimed VR puzzle title released in 2016 for the HTC Vive. Both Faliszek and Dr. Voll have come together to take a risk and make gameplay experiences and narratives that aren't possible without AI, what they call "collaborative gaming experiences." Their new Seattle-based studio will carry on with the vision of what Faliszek conceived and began working on at Bossa Games before he and the studio parted amicably to pursue other their respective creative visions. Stray Bombay will also prioritize personal time off so that even when development ramps up, people will be able to step away and properly take care of themselves. It's being founded with the help of Riot Games and venture capitalists. "As Kim and I talked over the years about the kind of games we want to make, we realized we want to create games that give players a place to breathe and live in the moment," Faliszek explained in the announcement on the studio's new website, referencing a letter he received from a soldier in Afghanistan who thanked him for saving his marriage with the game. "Games that tell stories knowing you are going to come back again and again, that change each time you play them without feeling completely random, and that help you feel like a real team that supports each other... not a bunch of folks in each other’s way. And where AI drives not just the enemies but helps drive the entire experience." According to a statement made to PC Games Insider, the project Stray Bombay will be tackling already has a working prototype running on Unity and Unreal Engine. Despite that, don't expect to see this AI-driven experience anytime soon. After they fill the several open positions at the studio, something they will likely be able to do during GDC itself, they plan to go dark and buckle down to bring this dream to life. "We know the direction we're going," Chet said as he laid out the plan going forward. "As people join the team, that'll help find the game more clearly. We're very iterative, everyone is a designer, everyone participates in the process. [...] Obviously, we have a plan, there's a framework that we can hang it all off, but everyone will be able to express themselves and have an impact." AI has the potential to improve human life in a lot of ways, but just how it could improve the narrative experience in games hasn't been explored in as much depth as one might think. What Dr. Voll and Faliszek are undertaking might change how games tell stories going forward. Imagine a roguelike adventure overseen by something akin to Left 4 Dead's AI Director, only not just enemies, but the story itself unfolds in response to player choices and actions. That could be a game changer in the industry and break down the longstanding barrier between liner and open narrative design in a way unlike anything before. We will have to wait and see. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. Today, Chet Faliszek, formerly of Valve and Bossa Games, and Dr. Kimberly Voll, a longtime designer at Riot Games, announced that they have formed a new independent game studio called Stray Bombay. The two have given themselves a mission to create projects that simply don't work within most existing studios. They want to make games where artificial intelligence can improve not just enemies but facilitate jolly co-operation and even narrative itself. Many people haven't heard about Chet Faliszek or Dr. Kimberly Voll by name, but their work is familiar with millions of people around the world. Faliszek was responsible for the creation of Left 4 Dead's stories as well as its sequel and both Portal 1 and 2 along with Erik Wolpaw. Dr. Voll, on the other hand, brings her expertise in AI and designing systems for humans to affably interact with AI. She has spent the last three years at Riot Games as a senior technical designer helping to smooth out the gameplay experience for League of Legends, one of the most played games in the world. She was also instrumental in the creation of Fantastic Contraption, a critically acclaimed VR puzzle title released in 2016 for the HTC Vive. Both Faliszek and Dr. Voll have come together to take a risk and make gameplay experiences and narratives that aren't possible without AI, what they call "collaborative gaming experiences." Their new Seattle-based studio will carry on with the vision of what Faliszek conceived and began working on at Bossa Games before he and the studio parted amicably to pursue other their respective creative visions. Stray Bombay will also prioritize personal time off so that even when development ramps up, people will be able to step away and properly take care of themselves. It's being founded with the help of Riot Games and venture capitalists. "As Kim and I talked over the years about the kind of games we want to make, we realized we want to create games that give players a place to breathe and live in the moment," Faliszek explained in the announcement on the studio's new website, referencing a letter he received from a soldier in Afghanistan who thanked him for saving his marriage with the game. "Games that tell stories knowing you are going to come back again and again, that change each time you play them without feeling completely random, and that help you feel like a real team that supports each other... not a bunch of folks in each other’s way. And where AI drives not just the enemies but helps drive the entire experience." According to a statement made to PC Games Insider, the project Stray Bombay will be tackling already has a working prototype running on Unity and Unreal Engine. Despite that, don't expect to see this AI-driven experience anytime soon. After they fill the several open positions at the studio, something they will likely be able to do during GDC itself, they plan to go dark and buckle down to bring this dream to life. "We know the direction we're going," Chet said as he laid out the plan going forward. "As people join the team, that'll help find the game more clearly. We're very iterative, everyone is a designer, everyone participates in the process. [...] Obviously, we have a plan, there's a framework that we can hang it all off, but everyone will be able to express themselves and have an impact." AI has the potential to improve human life in a lot of ways, but just how it could improve the narrative experience in games hasn't been explored in as much depth as one might think. What Dr. Voll and Faliszek are undertaking might change how games tell stories going forward. Imagine a roguelike adventure overseen by something akin to Left 4 Dead's AI Director, only not just enemies, but the story itself unfolds in response to player choices and actions. That could be a game changer in the industry and break down the longstanding barrier between liner and open narrative design in a way unlike anything before. We will have to wait and see. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Way Deep Down's Half Past Fate aims to combine romantic comedy with the adventure game genre with delightful style. Published by Serenity Forge, the company behind games like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and The King's Bird, Half Past Fate tells the story of three relationships, some forming within hours and others maturing over years. "To answer a big question we've been getting, yes you do get to play a very wide cast of characters. Imagine if you mash Love Actually (film) with To the Moon (game), that's pretty much our main inspiration," said Zhenghua Yang, the founder of Serenity Forge. Half Past Fate follows six different characters as their stories interweave with one another, making connections full of joy, comedy, love, and heartbreak. The story is careful to touch on people from all walks of life; Half Past Fate might rely on some rom-com cliches, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to give those tropes a unique spin. Half Past Fate takes place in a gorgeous world that combines the classic look of 2D sprites and charming 3D environments that mesh well together. It basically looks like a game following in the endearing aesthetic footsteps of Paper Mario and Octopath Traveler. Way Deep Down conveys the story via text and adorable pixel portraits that do quite a bit of work characterizing the cast of colorful personalities. It's important to clarify that Half Past Fate doesn't appear to be a dating sim. Instead, it is a structured, linear narrative designed to tell a cohesive story, much like To the Moon. The core conceit of the game aims to show how love takes on many forms and can come out in unexpected, heartfelt, and occasionally hilarious ways. With that central ethos, expect the unexpected, especially if it relates to spilling tea or exploding coffee makers. With a year of development time under it's belt, Half Past Fate will be making its official debut at PAX East at the Indie Megabooth later this month. PAX East will run from March 28-31, so more information is nearly upon us for this intriguing indie game about romance. If you're going to be at PAX East, be sure to check it out! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. Way Deep Down's Half Past Fate aims to combine romantic comedy with the adventure game genre with delightful style. Published by Serenity Forge, the company behind games like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and The King's Bird, Half Past Fate tells the story of three relationships, some forming within hours and others maturing over years. "To answer a big question we've been getting, yes you do get to play a very wide cast of characters. Imagine if you mash Love Actually (film) with To the Moon (game), that's pretty much our main inspiration," said Zhenghua Yang, the founder of Serenity Forge. Half Past Fate follows six different characters as their stories interweave with one another, making connections full of joy, comedy, love, and heartbreak. The story is careful to touch on people from all walks of life; Half Past Fate might rely on some rom-com cliches, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to give those tropes a unique spin. Half Past Fate takes place in a gorgeous world that combines the classic look of 2D sprites and charming 3D environments that mesh well together. It basically looks like a game following in the endearing aesthetic footsteps of Paper Mario and Octopath Traveler. Way Deep Down conveys the story via text and adorable pixel portraits that do quite a bit of work characterizing the cast of colorful personalities. It's important to clarify that Half Past Fate doesn't appear to be a dating sim. Instead, it is a structured, linear narrative designed to tell a cohesive story, much like To the Moon. The core conceit of the game aims to show how love takes on many forms and can come out in unexpected, heartfelt, and occasionally hilarious ways. With that central ethos, expect the unexpected, especially if it relates to spilling tea or exploding coffee makers. With a year of development time under it's belt, Half Past Fate will be making its official debut at PAX East at the Indie Megabooth later this month. PAX East will run from March 28-31, so more information is nearly upon us for this intriguing indie game about romance. If you're going to be at PAX East, be sure to check it out! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. The upcoming indie platformer Hoa looks incredible. The hand-painted aesthetic and adorable character design bring a vast amount of charm to the adventure of the titular Hoa, a small spritely creature trying to make her way home. Hoa is being made by a group of university graduates based in Singapore. The team currently includes four members working in their spare time to bring their vision to life. The devs wish to follow in the footsteps of classic, visually interesting platformers like Limbo and Rayman. To that end, the team experimented with a variety of different designs and discovered that their work meshed nicely with the distinctive look of Japanese animation. Much like Limbo, the entire game has been designed to only encompass a few hours, bringing players on a memorable and moving journey as they struggle with being a little being in a big world. Deciding to emulate the style of a masterful animation outfit like Studio Ghibli proved to be difficult to follow through on. In a recent interview with 80 Level, the game's director Ryo Cao Son Tung said: At that moment I was not really sure if we can do it. Ghibli’s artist like Kazuo Oga have decades of painting experience, and we have to match that quality. If we cannot pull it off, then the project is over right at the beginning. We spent a lot of time watching all Ghibli movies, researching their background art, breaking down the techniques, then finding a way to recreate that in Photoshop. It was a really tough task, but as we paint more we start to get the hang of it. After a few months of continuous researching and practicing and playing with different brush settings in Photoshop, our works reach an acceptable level. [...] In production, take the forest scene we posted for example, it took us about two weeks to finish painting all the background elements for the scene. Though Hoa remains a long way off from being completed, a playable demo should be finished within the next several months. Based on community feedback the team plans to refine the demo into a proof of concept to entice their investors to stick around. If they succeed in wrangling the financial backing, they expect Hoa to ship sometime next year for PC and Nintendo Switch. If it proves to be popular, they're even open to considering a mobile port. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  6. The upcoming indie platformer Hoa looks incredible. The hand-painted aesthetic and adorable character design bring a vast amount of charm to the adventure of the titular Hoa, a small spritely creature trying to make her way home. Hoa is being made by a group of university graduates based in Singapore. The team currently includes four members working in their spare time to bring their vision to life. The devs wish to follow in the footsteps of classic, visually interesting platformers like Limbo and Rayman. To that end, the team experimented with a variety of different designs and discovered that their work meshed nicely with the distinctive look of Japanese animation. Much like Limbo, the entire game has been designed to only encompass a few hours, bringing players on a memorable and moving journey as they struggle with being a little being in a big world. Deciding to emulate the style of a masterful animation outfit like Studio Ghibli proved to be difficult to follow through on. In a recent interview with 80 Level, the game's director Ryo Cao Son Tung said: At that moment I was not really sure if we can do it. Ghibli’s artist like Kazuo Oga have decades of painting experience, and we have to match that quality. If we cannot pull it off, then the project is over right at the beginning. We spent a lot of time watching all Ghibli movies, researching their background art, breaking down the techniques, then finding a way to recreate that in Photoshop. It was a really tough task, but as we paint more we start to get the hang of it. After a few months of continuous researching and practicing and playing with different brush settings in Photoshop, our works reach an acceptable level. [...] In production, take the forest scene we posted for example, it took us about two weeks to finish painting all the background elements for the scene. Though Hoa remains a long way off from being completed, a playable demo should be finished within the next several months. Based on community feedback the team plans to refine the demo into a proof of concept to entice their investors to stick around. If they succeed in wrangling the financial backing, they expect Hoa to ship sometime next year for PC and Nintendo Switch. If it proves to be popular, they're even open to considering a mobile port. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  7. Bending the rules for the podcast a bit, this week we tackle A44's action-RPG Ashen. Released late last year, the Dark Souls-lite game takes players on a perilous journey through a world filled with monsters. With a disarming art style and tight controls, this indie came out of the shadows and surprised quite a few people. Could it be one of the best games period? To help us tackle that question, we brought on wonderful Noe Monsivais AKA Trobadour_XP on Twitter. The English teacher/streamer nominated Ashen to throw a bit more of a spotlight on what might be one of the most underappreciated indies from the past year. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 'While the Wind Fish Sleeps' by bGevko (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03868) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  8. Bending the rules for the podcast a bit, this week we tackle A44's action-RPG Ashen. Released late last year, the Dark Souls-lite game takes players on a perilous journey through a world filled with monsters. With a disarming art style and tight controls, this indie came out of the shadows and surprised quite a few people. Could it be one of the best games period? To help us tackle that question, we brought on wonderful Noe Monsivais AKA Trobadour_XP on Twitter. The English teacher/streamer nominated Ashen to throw a bit more of a spotlight on what might be one of the most underappreciated indies from the past year. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 'While the Wind Fish Sleeps' by bGevko (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03868) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  9. The spooky and talented folks at Red Hook Studios have teased a sequel to their dark and macabre roguelike RPG Darkest Dungeon. Here's everything we know so far about Darkest Dungeon 2. The reveal included a roughly 30-second trailer with an intriguing key visual and a haunting voice-over. It depicts a mountain, frozen with ice and snow half covering twisted rock formations set in what appear to be screaming faces. As the camera zooms out, one can pick out the six core classes that released in the original game (though none of the additional classes that released as DLC) standing astride a nearby mountain staring at the even more foreboding peak in the distance. The voice-over comes courtesy of Wayne June, who lent his vocal performance to the original Darkest Dungeon. PC Gamer conducted an interview with the developers that's very much worth reading in full. Beyond the trailer, we know that Darkest Dungeon 2 will be a departure from the manor-delving that made up the majority of the original's metagame. Instead, players will be on a journey that exposes more of what's going on in the outside world. The scope of the game seems to have expanded dramatically, too, with Red Hook almost tripling in size from its original team. Much like the first game, Darkest Dungeon 2 will enjoy a period in Steam's Early Access category while the developers add content, fix bugs, and listen to community feedback. Darkest Dungeon was one of the best indie roguelikes of 2016, and earned quite a bit of acclaim even during its Early Access period. It put players in the position of an inheritor of an estate that had belonged to a deranged family member. Of course, arriving on the estate grounds, all of its various sections are overrun by madmen and monsters. Using various adventurers willing to risk both mind and matter, each section must be cleared to fully claim the inheritance hidden beneath the manor. It's very much worth the current $6.24 asking price on Steam. No word yet on when fans should expect to see Darkest Dungeon 2 hitting Early Access, so we'll have to be patient and not succumb to madness... for now. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  10. The spooky and talented folks at Red Hook Studios have teased a sequel to their dark and macabre roguelike RPG Darkest Dungeon. Here's everything we know so far about Darkest Dungeon 2. The reveal included a roughly 30-second trailer with an intriguing key visual and a haunting voice-over. It depicts a mountain, frozen with ice and snow half covering twisted rock formations set in what appear to be screaming faces. As the camera zooms out, one can pick out the six core classes that released in the original game (though none of the additional classes that released as DLC) standing astride a nearby mountain staring at the even more foreboding peak in the distance. The voice-over comes courtesy of Wayne June, who lent his vocal performance to the original Darkest Dungeon. PC Gamer conducted an interview with the developers that's very much worth reading in full. Beyond the trailer, we know that Darkest Dungeon 2 will be a departure from the manor-delving that made up the majority of the original's metagame. Instead, players will be on a journey that exposes more of what's going on in the outside world. The scope of the game seems to have expanded dramatically, too, with Red Hook almost tripling in size from its original team. Much like the first game, Darkest Dungeon 2 will enjoy a period in Steam's Early Access category while the developers add content, fix bugs, and listen to community feedback. Darkest Dungeon was one of the best indie roguelikes of 2016, and earned quite a bit of acclaim even during its Early Access period. It put players in the position of an inheritor of an estate that had belonged to a deranged family member. Of course, arriving on the estate grounds, all of its various sections are overrun by madmen and monsters. Using various adventurers willing to risk both mind and matter, each section must be cleared to fully claim the inheritance hidden beneath the manor. It's very much worth the current $6.24 asking price on Steam. No word yet on when fans should expect to see Darkest Dungeon 2 hitting Early Access, so we'll have to be patient and not succumb to madness... for now. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  11. Take a nostalgia trip back to the heyday of the 8-bit era with Odallus: The Dark Call, an action-platformer coming to Nintendo Switch. Odallus: The Dark Call tells the story of Haggis, an aged hero who embarks on a quest to save his son and avenge the destruction of his village. Battling demons, cultists, and eldritch beings, Haggis presses onward to spare his son from becoming a dark sacrifice. Brazilian developer JoyMasher masterminded both Odallus: The Dark Call and Oniken, which will also be receiving a Switch port. The company specializes in retro game development, with Odallus covering the Metroidvania action subgenre and Oniken representing JoyMasher's take on the old-school Ninja Gaiden. They also have a game currently in development called Blazing Chrome, a 16-bit run-and-gun action-shooter in the vein of Super Contra or Metal Slug. Odallus: The Dark Call initially released in 2015 for PC, receiving mostly positive reviews for its heartfelt send up of the Castlevania of old. It includes classic 8-bit cutscenes, a large world full of secrets, and clever gameplay twists that might trick even the most veteran of players. Now, the adventures of Haggis are coming to Nintendo Switch in February as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this spring. Odallus: The Dark Call features eight levels that can be explored for more secrets when players have acquired more abilities. Levels are populated by over fifty different enemy types and offer chances to face off against colossal bosses. Players who stick through to the end will spend, at a minimum, eight hours completing the game, only to find a veteran difficulty awaiting them for added replayability. When it launches, Odallus: The Dark Call will be available digitally. However, Eastasiasoft will be offering a limited run physical edition of the game. These physical copies will work on all systems worldwide, but may have some limitations on their online features. The following will be offered physically: Odallus: The Dark Call (PS4) Oniken + Odallus Collection (PS4/Switch) Oniken + Odallus Collection: Limited Edition (Switch) Odallus: The Dark Call releases for Nintendo Switch on February 8 and will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime during spring of this year. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  12. Take a nostalgia trip back to the heyday of the 8-bit era with Odallus: The Dark Call, an action-platformer coming to Nintendo Switch. Odallus: The Dark Call tells the story of Haggis, an aged hero who embarks on a quest to save his son and avenge the destruction of his village. Battling demons, cultists, and eldritch beings, Haggis presses onward to spare his son from becoming a dark sacrifice. Brazilian developer JoyMasher masterminded both Odallus: The Dark Call and Oniken, which will also be receiving a Switch port. The company specializes in retro game development, with Odallus covering the Metroidvania action subgenre and Oniken representing JoyMasher's take on the old-school Ninja Gaiden. They also have a game currently in development called Blazing Chrome, a 16-bit run-and-gun action-shooter in the vein of Super Contra or Metal Slug. Odallus: The Dark Call initially released in 2015 for PC, receiving mostly positive reviews for its heartfelt send up of the Castlevania of old. It includes classic 8-bit cutscenes, a large world full of secrets, and clever gameplay twists that might trick even the most veteran of players. Now, the adventures of Haggis are coming to Nintendo Switch in February as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this spring. Odallus: The Dark Call features eight levels that can be explored for more secrets when players have acquired more abilities. Levels are populated by over fifty different enemy types and offer chances to face off against colossal bosses. Players who stick through to the end will spend, at a minimum, eight hours completing the game, only to find a veteran difficulty awaiting them for added replayability. When it launches, Odallus: The Dark Call will be available digitally. However, Eastasiasoft will be offering a limited run physical edition of the game. These physical copies will work on all systems worldwide, but may have some limitations on their online features. The following will be offered physically: Odallus: The Dark Call (PS4) Oniken + Odallus Collection (PS4/Switch) Oniken + Odallus Collection: Limited Edition (Switch) Odallus: The Dark Call releases for Nintendo Switch on February 8 and will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime during spring of this year. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  13. Bungie has issued an update on its official channels announcing that they will be splitting from the partnership with Activision that birthed the Destiny franchise. The almost decade-long deal has changed quite a bit since it was first announced, and it seems like the two companies have decided to part ways, though nothing is set in stone quite yet. Bungie initially partnered after it broke free from Microsoft in a bid to create something entirely new after years spent developing the Halo series. The developer had supposedly been working on the idea for Destiny for some time, but needed a publishing partner to make it happen. They turned to Activision to help them secure the funding necessary to make their vision a reality. However, as these things go, Activision initially envisioned Destiny and future sequels receiving yearly updates, DLC, and more. Word is that Activision was unhappy with the pace of development on Destiny and its expansions. This led to years of raised tensions between Bungie and its publisher. With that in mind, Bungie posted to the company website today that they were in the early stages of extracting themselves from the partnership they've maintained with Activision since 2010. Despite the difficulties behind-the-scenes, Bungie's announcement thanked Activision for their eight-year partnership which has led to Destiny becoming a recognizable force in the industry and public landscape. Part of the statement clarified the future of both Bungie and Activision: We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects. The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible. In other words, Bungie will assume full creative and publishing control of Destiny and become an independent developer. They will be able to publish whatever they please for PC platforms and will be free to work on their own with console manufacturers to get their games onto various devices. Activision, meanwhile, will be freed up to focus on its own projects. This feels like a positive move for both companies, though it does leave Activision in a strange place where its only major franchise will be Call of Duty. If popularity for that game series dips, they could be in a really tight place with such an open publishing slate. For Bungie and everyone who has followed their development history, this is an exciting and risky time. While they will be continuing to work on Destiny for the foreseeable future, their departure from Activision probably means that they will be able to work on other game concepts - and gamers should be excited to see more games from the people who brought Halo and Destiny into the world. All things come to an end, but something even better might be just around the corner. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  14. Bungie has issued an update on its official channels announcing that they will be splitting from the partnership with Activision that birthed the Destiny franchise. The almost decade-long deal has changed quite a bit since it was first announced, and it seems like the two companies have decided to part ways, though nothing is set in stone quite yet. Bungie initially partnered after it broke free from Microsoft in a bid to create something entirely new after years spent developing the Halo series. The developer had supposedly been working on the idea for Destiny for some time, but needed a publishing partner to make it happen. They turned to Activision to help them secure the funding necessary to make their vision a reality. However, as these things go, Activision initially envisioned Destiny and future sequels receiving yearly updates, DLC, and more. Word is that Activision was unhappy with the pace of development on Destiny and its expansions. This led to years of raised tensions between Bungie and its publisher. With that in mind, Bungie posted to the company website today that they were in the early stages of extracting themselves from the partnership they've maintained with Activision since 2010. Despite the difficulties behind-the-scenes, Bungie's announcement thanked Activision for their eight-year partnership which has led to Destiny becoming a recognizable force in the industry and public landscape. Part of the statement clarified the future of both Bungie and Activision: We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects. The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible. In other words, Bungie will assume full creative and publishing control of Destiny and become an independent developer. They will be able to publish whatever they please for PC platforms and will be free to work on their own with console manufacturers to get their games onto various devices. Activision, meanwhile, will be freed up to focus on its own projects. This feels like a positive move for both companies, though it does leave Activision in a strange place where its only major franchise will be Call of Duty. If popularity for that game series dips, they could be in a really tight place with such an open publishing slate. For Bungie and everyone who has followed their development history, this is an exciting and risky time. While they will be continuing to work on Destiny for the foreseeable future, their departure from Activision probably means that they will be able to work on other game concepts - and gamers should be excited to see more games from the people who brought Halo and Destiny into the world. All things come to an end, but something even better might be just around the corner. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  15. Have you ever wanted to run a day spa? No? What if I told you that your day spa could be run, operated, and patronized by adorable, smiling marshmallows? That's exactly the case with Marshmallow Day Spa, a new (and free!) game coming out of the Winter Jam 2019 game jam event hosted by itch.io. Winter Jam 2019 had the theme of "hot chocolate" and the event received fifteen submissions. Teams had from January 4 at 1:59am CST until January 7 at 1:59am CST to come up with an original idea for a game based on the prompt and create a working version of that idea from scratch. Game jams always bring out the strangest and most creative ideas from developers by putting them under strict time constraints. Occasionally, this leads to some brilliant ideas for games that can be fleshed out in more detail later. One of the stand outs from this year's Winter Jam event was Marshmallow Day Spa, a game that puts players in the marshy body of a mallow who just wants to run a great spa for its fellow mallows. Players have to run around the spa to see to the needs of their stressed out guests. To optimally take care of them, players need to create the perfectly warm hot chocolate hot tub for them to really let go of their anxiety. Don't forget to add the very necessary milk and toppings! Marshmallow Day Spa was developed by Ryan Pocock, Jasmin Habezai-Fekri, Megan McCurdy, and Maeve Broadbin. Pocock handled the programming and general design of Marshmallow Day Spa with Habezai-Fekri crafting the environments and pitching in with the textures. McCurdy wore many hats, working as both a 3D and texture artist, rigging and animating the world, and designing the levels. Broadbin came up with the concept art and designed the user interface. Keep in mind that all of this game was, essentially, thrown together in three days - which is pretty freakin' incredible. It even has controller support if you don't want to use a keyboard to play. You can download and play Marshmallow Day Spa for free on itch.io. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  16. Have you ever wanted to run a day spa? No? What if I told you that your day spa could be run, operated, and patronized by adorable, smiling marshmallows? That's exactly the case with Marshmallow Day Spa, a new (and free!) game coming out of the Winter Jam 2019 game jam event hosted by itch.io. Winter Jam 2019 had the theme of "hot chocolate" and the event received fifteen submissions. Teams had from January 4 at 1:59am CST until January 7 at 1:59am CST to come up with an original idea for a game based on the prompt and create a working version of that idea from scratch. Game jams always bring out the strangest and most creative ideas from developers by putting them under strict time constraints. Occasionally, this leads to some brilliant ideas for games that can be fleshed out in more detail later. One of the stand outs from this year's Winter Jam event was Marshmallow Day Spa, a game that puts players in the marshy body of a mallow who just wants to run a great spa for its fellow mallows. Players have to run around the spa to see to the needs of their stressed out guests. To optimally take care of them, players need to create the perfectly warm hot chocolate hot tub for them to really let go of their anxiety. Don't forget to add the very necessary milk and toppings! Marshmallow Day Spa was developed by Ryan Pocock, Jasmin Habezai-Fekri, Megan McCurdy, and Maeve Broadbin. Pocock handled the programming and general design of Marshmallow Day Spa with Habezai-Fekri crafting the environments and pitching in with the textures. McCurdy wore many hats, working as both a 3D and texture artist, rigging and animating the world, and designing the levels. Broadbin came up with the concept art and designed the user interface. Keep in mind that all of this game was, essentially, thrown together in three days - which is pretty freakin' incredible. It even has controller support if you don't want to use a keyboard to play. You can download and play Marshmallow Day Spa for free on itch.io. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  17. Overcooked! A game about cooking and such. Is it a best game period? Is it not? We sort of get to the bottom of it by the end of this episode. One thing is certain: It's a game about culinary delights and skills that you can shove in your friends' faces. I hear it's delightful and it even got a sequel! Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mario Kart DS 'Tilt & Drift' by YoshiBlade (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01108) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  18. Overcooked! A game about cooking and such. Is it a best game period? Is it not? We sort of get to the bottom of it by the end of this episode. One thing is certain: It's a game about culinary delights and skills that you can shove in your friends' faces. I hear it's delightful and it even got a sequel! Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mario Kart DS 'Tilt & Drift' by YoshiBlade (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01108) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  19. Vane, an upcoming indie game courtesy of developers who previously worked on The Last Guardian, thrusts players into the skin of a bird who can take the form of a young child to explore the ruins of a decrepit civilization. Created by the folks at Friend & Foe Games, players will have to delve deeper and deeper into the mystical ruins of a culture long gone (or is it?). The trailer seems to intentionally remind the viewer of minimalist titles like Ico and Journey. Vane comes to us courtesy of Friend & Foe Games, a studio founded in 2014 by several developers who have worked on titles like the previously mentioned The Last Guardian, but their pedigree also includes action-oriented games like Battlefield 3 and Killzone. Despite the impressive credentials, the studio isn't a large one. Their website only lists a team of eight who have worked on Vane. They also seem to have another project in the works; an arcade brawler titled Dangerous Men, though not much is known about it at this time. As far as the story goes, all we know is that a pile of mysterious, golden dust transforms a curious crow into a young child. Armed with curiosity and the ability to transform back into a bird form, the kid begins to explore a vast world filled with wonder, excitement, danger, and dread. Mysterious technology begins to churn to life at the child's approach, reshaping the world as they continue their journey to who-knows-where. As the journey continues, who knows what shape the barren desert might take as it awakens. If you ever wondered what Ico would be like if you could turn into a bird and were exposed to existential terror, Vane might be right up your alley. in many ways it reminds me of Rime, last year's indie game about a child exploring a strange world from Tequila Works. That's some high praise given that Rime was flippin' great. Also, the synth music buoying the action in the above trailer is just excellent. Vane will release on January 15 for the PlayStation 4. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  20. Vane, an upcoming indie game courtesy of developers who previously worked on The Last Guardian, thrusts players into the skin of a bird who can take the form of a young child to explore the ruins of a decrepit civilization. Created by the folks at Friend & Foe Games, players will have to delve deeper and deeper into the mystical ruins of a culture long gone (or is it?). The trailer seems to intentionally remind the viewer of minimalist titles like Ico and Journey. Vane comes to us courtesy of Friend & Foe Games, a studio founded in 2014 by several developers who have worked on titles like the previously mentioned The Last Guardian, but their pedigree also includes action-oriented games like Battlefield 3 and Killzone. Despite the impressive credentials, the studio isn't a large one. Their website only lists a team of eight who have worked on Vane. They also seem to have another project in the works; an arcade brawler titled Dangerous Men, though not much is known about it at this time. As far as the story goes, all we know is that a pile of mysterious, golden dust transforms a curious crow into a young child. Armed with curiosity and the ability to transform back into a bird form, the kid begins to explore a vast world filled with wonder, excitement, danger, and dread. Mysterious technology begins to churn to life at the child's approach, reshaping the world as they continue their journey to who-knows-where. As the journey continues, who knows what shape the barren desert might take as it awakens. If you ever wondered what Ico would be like if you could turn into a bird and were exposed to existential terror, Vane might be right up your alley. in many ways it reminds me of Rime, last year's indie game about a child exploring a strange world from Tequila Works. That's some high praise given that Rime was flippin' great. Also, the synth music buoying the action in the above trailer is just excellent. Vane will release on January 15 for the PlayStation 4. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  21. Back in 2015, a small, four-person team based in France launched a Kickstarter with the modest goal of raising $44,000 to create a game in the classic JRPG mold. Their pitch for their dream game wound up bringing in almost four times that amount and development on Edge of Eternity began. Three years later and a team of nine people, Midgar Studio has released the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity along with a development road map - and the game certainly looks impressive as heck. Though released to the public, the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity remains very much in its alpha stages. It only includes the first chapter of the story that will bring players on a journey through the first major area of the game built around the hub city of Herelsor. The first portion of the Edge of Eternity's Early Access includes six self-contained sidequests and a number of procedurally generated quests alongside the main story. It will also contain a portion of the soundtrack composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the man responsible for the soundtracks of Chrono Trigger, Xenoblade, and Shadow Hearts. The actual gameplay in Edge of Eternity combines classic open world roaming with turn-based tactical battles that rely on an innovative hex system. Players will explore, level up, and unlock new abilities by using a system that seems similar to Final Fantasy X's ability grids. With each major update milestone, the gameplay systems will be expanded upon and deepened with new abilities, items, and more. Edge of Eternity takes place on the fictional world of Heryon, a planet in turmoil following an invasion of technologically superior outsiders known as the Archelites. In order to survive, the nations of Heryon banded together under an organization called the Consortium and managed to trap the invaders within their mobile fortress by turning to the powerful magic found within the crystals native to their lands. The war entered a prolonged stalemate for decades until the invaders released a new weapon: The Corrosion. The plague ripped through the cities rendering those afflicted with it to develop strange mechanical mutations while slowly going mad from the agony of the disease. In an effort to combat the incurable sickness, those who brew too close to technology or made unauthorized use of it would be labelled as criminals and sent to their deaths. Edge of Eternity follows Daryon, a soldier for the Consortium who receives a fateful letter from home telling him his mother has fallen ill with the Corrosion. That knowledge spurs Daryon down a path at odds with the forces around him. Through a twist of fate, Daryon meets the renegade Selene, a young woman on the run after being found guilty of illegal use of technology. The two will need to rely on one another to survive in a world of war and monsters. Interestingly, Midgar Studio will also be including a set of modding tools for Edge of Eternity called The Eternal Forge that will come with a built-in mod manager. I wouldn't typically think of JRPGs and extensive modding, but the possibilities mixed with the solid foundations of the game itself. Following this initial release, here's what to expect coming as free updates in the near future, bearing in mind that each major update will include new zones, sidequests, monsters, items, and abilities. The Plains of Solna - Late February 2019 - Another section of the open world with a new city named Old Herelsor, the devs describe a farm "sheltering a very, very special creature," too. The Reunion - Spring 2019 - A new segment of the open world with an entirely different environment biome, a dungeon, and a continuation of the main story The Man who survived the Corrosion - Summer 2019 - A new city with expansive quest support and a new party member (it is a JRPG after all!) “As a small indie team of nine people, making an epic JRPG adventure is a huge and work-intensive task. We believe that the labor done so far and its results are already quite an achievement, but we’re still a long way away from getting the game to where we want it to be,” said Jeremy Zeler, founder of Midgar Studio. “Following on from our successful Kickstarter campaign, launching Edge of Eternity into Early Access allows us to further involve our community through the development. It allows us to get direct feedback on new story content, new areas of the game world, the general feel of the game as we expand and build towards the full, polished release our fans and followers are expecting us to deliver.” Edge of Eternity is currently available for PC players through Steam Early Access. People who buy it now will be able to help squash bugs and offer the team suggestions to shape development as the title heads for its full release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  22. Back in 2015, a small, four-person team based in France launched a Kickstarter with the modest goal of raising $44,000 to create a game in the classic JRPG mold. Their pitch for their dream game wound up bringing in almost four times that amount and development on Edge of Eternity began. Three years later and a team of nine people, Midgar Studio has released the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity along with a development road map - and the game certainly looks impressive as heck. Though released to the public, the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity remains very much in its alpha stages. It only includes the first chapter of the story that will bring players on a journey through the first major area of the game built around the hub city of Herelsor. The first portion of the Edge of Eternity's Early Access includes six self-contained sidequests and a number of procedurally generated quests alongside the main story. It will also contain a portion of the soundtrack composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the man responsible for the soundtracks of Chrono Trigger, Xenoblade, and Shadow Hearts. The actual gameplay in Edge of Eternity combines classic open world roaming with turn-based tactical battles that rely on an innovative hex system. Players will explore, level up, and unlock new abilities by using a system that seems similar to Final Fantasy X's ability grids. With each major update milestone, the gameplay systems will be expanded upon and deepened with new abilities, items, and more. Edge of Eternity takes place on the fictional world of Heryon, a planet in turmoil following an invasion of technologically superior outsiders known as the Archelites. In order to survive, the nations of Heryon banded together under an organization called the Consortium and managed to trap the invaders within their mobile fortress by turning to the powerful magic found within the crystals native to their lands. The war entered a prolonged stalemate for decades until the invaders released a new weapon: The Corrosion. The plague ripped through the cities rendering those afflicted with it to develop strange mechanical mutations while slowly going mad from the agony of the disease. In an effort to combat the incurable sickness, those who brew too close to technology or made unauthorized use of it would be labelled as criminals and sent to their deaths. Edge of Eternity follows Daryon, a soldier for the Consortium who receives a fateful letter from home telling him his mother has fallen ill with the Corrosion. That knowledge spurs Daryon down a path at odds with the forces around him. Through a twist of fate, Daryon meets the renegade Selene, a young woman on the run after being found guilty of illegal use of technology. The two will need to rely on one another to survive in a world of war and monsters. Interestingly, Midgar Studio will also be including a set of modding tools for Edge of Eternity called The Eternal Forge that will come with a built-in mod manager. I wouldn't typically think of JRPGs and extensive modding, but the possibilities mixed with the solid foundations of the game itself. Following this initial release, here's what to expect coming as free updates in the near future, bearing in mind that each major update will include new zones, sidequests, monsters, items, and abilities. The Plains of Solna - Late February 2019 - Another section of the open world with a new city named Old Herelsor, the devs describe a farm "sheltering a very, very special creature," too. The Reunion - Spring 2019 - A new segment of the open world with an entirely different environment biome, a dungeon, and a continuation of the main story The Man who survived the Corrosion - Summer 2019 - A new city with expansive quest support and a new party member (it is a JRPG after all!) “As a small indie team of nine people, making an epic JRPG adventure is a huge and work-intensive task. We believe that the labor done so far and its results are already quite an achievement, but we’re still a long way away from getting the game to where we want it to be,” said Jeremy Zeler, founder of Midgar Studio. “Following on from our successful Kickstarter campaign, launching Edge of Eternity into Early Access allows us to further involve our community through the development. It allows us to get direct feedback on new story content, new areas of the game world, the general feel of the game as we expand and build towards the full, polished release our fans and followers are expecting us to deliver.” Edge of Eternity is currently available for PC players through Steam Early Access. People who buy it now will be able to help squash bugs and offer the team suggestions to shape development as the title heads for its full release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  23. Tabletop gaming can sometimes be seen as the older brother of video gaming that's more set in its ways. We hear quite a bit about how indie game developers are pushing the visual medium in new directions, but there are people out there doing the same in the tabletop space. One such pioneer is Everest Pipkin, an artist, creator of a multitude of neat things, and sometimes game developer. Yesterday, Pipkin announced their latest endeavor: To create a tabletop game about building a world. In a series of tweets, the developer outlined the basic premise and goals of the game. Titled the ground itself, 2-6 players spend a few hours putting together a world and its history. It can be a fun thing to do on a whim or as part of a larger world building effort for a different tabletop like Dungeons & Dragons or Exalted or any other setting into which someone might struggle breathing life. Players make use of simple gaming tools like decks of cards, a coin, a common six-sided die, and paper to help navigate the ground itself's systems. "Fundamentally, [the ground itself] is about the echoes and traces that are left behind events- whether those traces are physical, social, emotional, or almost invisible. it is about dialing into the stories that are held in the physical memory of one single place," said Pipkin as part of their initial announcement. When exactly the ground itself might become available for people to experience remains a tricky question, though Pipkin has said they expect to release the game within the next month (maybe in time for the holidays?). The game is currently undergoing playtesting to work out the kinks, but this seems like just the thing an old-hand at world creation might want to try with some of their friends to form a fresh world full of new possibilities in the coming new year. Keep an eye on Pipkin's Twitter or Patreon for the official release date. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  24. Tabletop gaming can sometimes be seen as the older brother of video gaming that's more set in its ways. We hear quite a bit about how indie game developers are pushing the visual medium in new directions, but there are people out there doing the same in the tabletop space. One such pioneer is Everest Pipkin, an artist, creator of a multitude of neat things, and sometimes game developer. Yesterday, Pipkin announced their latest endeavor: To create a tabletop game about building a world. In a series of tweets, the developer outlined the basic premise and goals of the game. Titled the ground itself, 2-6 players spend a few hours putting together a world and its history. It can be a fun thing to do on a whim or as part of a larger world building effort for a different tabletop like Dungeons & Dragons or Exalted or any other setting into which someone might struggle breathing life. Players make use of simple gaming tools like decks of cards, a coin, a common six-sided die, and paper to help navigate the ground itself's systems. "Fundamentally, [the ground itself] is about the echoes and traces that are left behind events- whether those traces are physical, social, emotional, or almost invisible. it is about dialing into the stories that are held in the physical memory of one single place," said Pipkin as part of their initial announcement. When exactly the ground itself might become available for people to experience remains a tricky question, though Pipkin has said they expect to release the game within the next month (maybe in time for the holidays?). The game is currently undergoing playtesting to work out the kinks, but this seems like just the thing an old-hand at world creation might want to try with some of their friends to form a fresh world full of new possibilities in the coming new year. Keep an eye on Pipkin's Twitter or Patreon for the official release date. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  25. If you're in the market for a heartwarming and hilarious tale about a frog detective (and why wouldn't you be?) the latest game from Grace Bruxner and Thomas Bowker definitely delivers. The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game stars a detective who happens to be a frog as the trusty amphibian investigates a supposedly haunted island. No tricks, this isn't going to suddenly turn into a bloody horror fest or take a turn into uncomfortable territory like Doki Doki Literature Club. Seriously, this game's adorable. It's all about trying to figure out who or what is causing problems for a kindhearted sloth for cryin' out loud! It takes about an hour to complete and sells for $4.49 on Steam. It boasts impressive features like the following: a frog lots of new friends to meet amazing and nice original soundtrack a great time to be had If those aren't intriguing video game features then I just don't know about you anymore, Todd. The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game is available now for PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
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