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Found 830 results

  1. I caved. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but I'd been hearing for years about this niche Japanese game and how great it was. It looked weird. A cartoon bear featured heavily in a lot of the images I'd seen from the title. What was it about? What kind of a game was it? I had no idea. Based solely on the recommendations of friends and colleagues, I picked up Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and took my first steps into a strange new world. Danganronpa might just be one of the oddest games I've played. It's equal parts mystery novel, adventure game, and courtroom drama with all of those disparate elements coming together in a way that makes sense. It contains horror and violence, but can turn on a dime to be comedic and slapstick. The game uses every trick it can manage within the tight confines of its gameplay to bring the player through the full gauntlet of human emotion. Completing an episode of Danganronpa can be an absolutely draining experience - not because of difficult gameplay, but because the game demands empathy from the player. It needs the player to see and feel through the eyes of the characters; a daunting task that many games never accomplish. If you don't already have some idea of what the game is about and the previous paragraph sounded interesting to you, stop reading and go play it on PS Vita or the remaster of the first two games that released on PC and PlayStation 4. It's best to go in blind with as few expectations as possible to allow the game to allow you into the lives of the various characters. If you've played it already or aren't planning to play, but still have some curiosity, read on! So what is Danganronpa? Ostensibly, the scenario revolves around Makoto Naegi, a typical Japanese high school student who has been accepted into Hope's Peak Academy, the most rigorous and prestigious school in the country. The people accepted into the school have to display "ultimate" skills in a given field. Makoto, unable to manifest any remarkable talents, receives his acceptance when he wins a raffle, proving himself to be the "ultimate lucky student." On the first day of school, Makoto feels nervous, knowing that the other students will have excelled in various fields while he seemingly possesses no expertise of his own. Gathering up his courage, he steps through the doors of Hope's Peak... only for everything to go dark as he loses awareness of his surroundings. He awakens some time later within a twisted version of the school. The doors and windows have all been sealed from the inside by huge sheets of heavy metal. The only way in or out of the school seems to be a gigantic vault door that has been locked. Strangest of all, the entire school seems empty with the exception of a handful of students. These classmates introduce themselves to one another, discovering that they have all had an experience similar to Makoto's loss of consciousness. Each of these new characters begins going through different emotional beats in to reaction the sudden change in their perception. Before the strange situation can be fully processed, a voice calls out to them through the school's intercoms. A high-pitched, lilting voice that simultaneously encompasses playfulness and death. The unnerving voice tells the group of students to assemble in the gym. Lacking any alternative, the newest class at Hope's Peak Academy follows their instructions. In the gym they meet with the main antagonist of Danganronpa: A robotic, black and white stuffed bear that goes by the name Monokuma. This strange creature lays out the predicament with which the students must now contend. The building has been sealed, completely and utterly. Monokuma is the only one capable of unlocking the colossal vault door covering the one entrance and exit. They can either live within the school with all of their needs met for the rest of their lives or they can be the last one standing in a "killing game." To win, a student would need to murder one of their classmates and then successfully pin the murder on another student following an investigation and trial conducted by the remaining members of the class. With that announcement, Danganronpa begins in earnest. The core gameplay consists of living life alongside the fourteen other students, investigating murders, and conducting class trials to determine who was responsible. The normal day-to-day life in the school consists of seeking out the characters you find the most interesting and engaging them in conversation to learn more about their wants and desires. This actually has a gameplay benefit beyond informing the subsequent stories that unfold. Gaining a character's trust unlocks abilities and skills that can be used during trials to give the player an edge in the mini-games and logic puzzles. Each conversation ends with the option to give a character a gift, which they may or may not like, further affecting Makoto's standing with that individual. These interactions seem pretty mundane, but they are a really subtle and effective way of investing the player into the story and characters, which makes the twists and turns of the murder cases become all the more interesting and fraught with genuine emotional energy. You never know if the person you invested time into could be the next victim... or the next murderer. Each murder is followed by a shift in the nature of the game. The students become investigators, looking for clues in various parts of the school. This serves as a bit of a farewell to each of the slain characters as Makoto observes the murder scenes and follows up on leads. It's a sad, somber, and sometimes perplexing affair as both the characters on screen and the player struggle with loss after loss while also attempting to piece together clues to prove who committed the crime. All of this concludes with a class trial which plays out as a series of logic puzzles where the player literally needs to poke holes in incomplete or inaccurate accounts of events, argue against other classmates in rhythmic rhetorical battles, and piece together new clues on the fly from unexpected evidence presented by the other students. The stakes are high, too, as the penalty for failing to uncover the true killer is the death of the entire class while the murderer goes free. With these three modes of play you wind up with Danganronpa, a strange amalgamation of Sherlock Holmes mystery, slice of life visual novel, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. A game with just that as an elevator pitch might be good. Danganronpa doesn't settle for just being good and it does that by engendering empathy. Empathy is difficult. Empathy requires making a connection with another person to the point that you can understand what they are going through. It's not to be confused with sympathy, which involves caring for and feeling bad for someone, but ultimately being unable to understand their feelings and situation on a fundamental level. Empathy involves taking the time and expending the energy necessary to know someone enough to understand them and, to a certain degree, forgive them. It doesn't mean excusing actions that have hurt yourself or others, but it does entail connecting on some level with the person behind that hurt and understanding their humanity. I'm going to take a bit of what might seem to be a detour here, but bear with me. When I was growing up, one of my best friends in the whole world hurt me with a lie. Then it became several lies. Ultimately, it spiraled into an uncomfortably loud conversation in the halls of our school where we parted ways angrily. He refused to see things from my perspective and I refused to consider things from his. It seems a little thing now in retrospect, but at the time the hurt went deep and it caked my heart in an icy sheen of bitterness, a protective layer of despair. In time, that veneer faded and I was left with the understanding that my failure to empathize and forgive cost me one of the most important friendships I had ever had because I found the task to be more than my pride and perceived injury could bare. The point I'm trying to make with this bumbling example is that empathy is really, truly difficult - and it also might be the most important skill to possess in a life surrounded by other people. Danganronpa understands empathy on a fundamental level and structures itself around doing everything it can to help players empathize with its characters. Talking and gift-giving are small, seemingly meaningless gestures, but they serve a similar purpose to naming XCOM soldiers. Suddenly the player isn't just investing in the mechanics of the game, but also investing meaning into the characters themselves. Giving the right gift means that the player has taken the time to learn about the character and gone through the effort of using that information to make an informed gifting decision. It's a conscious effort to consider things from that character's perspective. For all of the murder that happens in Danganronpa, it never asks you to hate any member of the cast. For all of the deceptions and sometimes cruel violence, the player is asked to engage with everyone, victims and murderers both, as a fellow flawed human being. We learn about each character, we spend time with them, and eventually we discover their failures. Even when the murderers are finally unmasked, Danganronpa takes the difficult and morally complex path of allowing them to remain human. They aren't othered or given an out, they are achingly, disturbingly human, stuck in the same awful situation as everyone else. You feel for them as they meet their elaborately ironic executions at the hands (paws?) of Monokuma. Ultimately, Danganronpa stands as an ideological battlefield. On one side holds the belief that life is an absurd, meaningless wasteland with suffering and death as the constant background noise to all things. The other side contends that life has worth proportional to our love for others aside from ourselves, even for the people who have wrong wronged us. And I suppose when you get down to it, empathy depends on allowing one's self to love other people. Hope's Peak Academy mirrors life, often in uncomfortable ways. We are all born into a world full of strangers and asked to exist for as long as possible. We never know if the people we befriend and love might one day be on the giving or receiving end of awfulness from one of their fellow humans - an eventuality that we all encounter in our lives at some point. The best we can do, the hope that Danganronpa presents to its players, is to meet that hurt with a courageous empathy that does not give into bitter despair. It is the hope that we can put in the effort, the very real work, to understand the antagonists of our own stories and in that understanding find a way forward that isn't mired in the mistakes of the past.
  2. I caved. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but I'd been hearing for years about this niche Japanese game and how great it was. It looked weird. A cartoon bear featured heavily in a lot of the images I'd seen from the title. What was it about? What kind of a game was it? I had no idea. Based solely on the recommendations of friends and colleagues, I picked up Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and took my first steps into a strange new world. Danganronpa might just be one of the oddest games I've played. It's equal parts mystery novel, adventure game, and courtroom drama with all of those disparate elements coming together in a way that makes sense. It contains horror and violence, but can turn on a dime to be comedic and slapstick. The game uses every trick it can manage within the tight confines of its gameplay to bring the player through the full gauntlet of human emotion. Completing an episode of Danganronpa can be an absolutely draining experience - not because of difficult gameplay, but because the game demands empathy from the player. It needs the player to see and feel through the eyes of the characters; a daunting task that many games never accomplish. If you don't already have some idea of what the game is about and the previous paragraph sounded interesting to you, stop reading and go play it on PS Vita or the remaster of the first two games that released on PC and PlayStation 4. It's best to go in blind with as few expectations as possible to allow the game to allow you into the lives of the various characters. If you've played it already or aren't planning to play, but still have some curiosity, read on! So what is Danganronpa? Ostensibly, the scenario revolves around Makoto Naegi, a typical Japanese high school student who has been accepted into Hope's Peak Academy, the most rigorous and prestigious school in the country. The people accepted into the school have to display "ultimate" skills in a given field. Makoto, unable to manifest any remarkable talents, receives his acceptance when he wins a raffle, proving himself to be the "ultimate lucky student." On the first day of school, Makoto feels nervous, knowing that the other students will have excelled in various fields while he seemingly possesses no expertise of his own. Gathering up his courage, he steps through the doors of Hope's Peak... only for everything to go dark as he loses awareness of his surroundings. He awakens some time later within a twisted version of the school. The doors and windows have all been sealed from the inside by huge sheets of heavy metal. The only way in or out of the school seems to be a gigantic vault door that has been locked. Strangest of all, the entire school seems empty with the exception of a handful of students. These classmates introduce themselves to one another, discovering that they have all had an experience similar to Makoto's loss of consciousness. Each of these new characters begins going through different emotional beats in to reaction the sudden change in their perception. Before the strange situation can be fully processed, a voice calls out to them through the school's intercoms. A high-pitched, lilting voice that simultaneously encompasses playfulness and death. The unnerving voice tells the group of students to assemble in the gym. Lacking any alternative, the newest class at Hope's Peak Academy follows their instructions. In the gym they meet with the main antagonist of Danganronpa: A robotic, black and white stuffed bear that goes by the name Monokuma. This strange creature lays out the predicament with which the students must now contend. The building has been sealed, completely and utterly. Monokuma is the only one capable of unlocking the colossal vault door covering the one entrance and exit. They can either live within the school with all of their needs met for the rest of their lives or they can be the last one standing in a "killing game." To win, a student would need to murder one of their classmates and then successfully pin the murder on another student following an investigation and trial conducted by the remaining members of the class. With that announcement, Danganronpa begins in earnest. The core gameplay consists of living life alongside the fourteen other students, investigating murders, and conducting class trials to determine who was responsible. The normal day-to-day life in the school consists of seeking out the characters you find the most interesting and engaging them in conversation to learn more about their wants and desires. This actually has a gameplay benefit beyond informing the subsequent stories that unfold. Gaining a character's trust unlocks abilities and skills that can be used during trials to give the player an edge in the mini-games and logic puzzles. Each conversation ends with the option to give a character a gift, which they may or may not like, further affecting Makoto's standing with that individual. These interactions seem pretty mundane, but they are a really subtle and effective way of investing the player into the story and characters, which makes the twists and turns of the murder cases become all the more interesting and fraught with genuine emotional energy. You never know if the person you invested time into could be the next victim... or the next murderer. Each murder is followed by a shift in the nature of the game. The students become investigators, looking for clues in various parts of the school. This serves as a bit of a farewell to each of the slain characters as Makoto observes the murder scenes and follows up on leads. It's a sad, somber, and sometimes perplexing affair as both the characters on screen and the player struggle with loss after loss while also attempting to piece together clues to prove who committed the crime. All of this concludes with a class trial which plays out as a series of logic puzzles where the player literally needs to poke holes in incomplete or inaccurate accounts of events, argue against other classmates in rhythmic rhetorical battles, and piece together new clues on the fly from unexpected evidence presented by the other students. The stakes are high, too, as the penalty for failing to uncover the true killer is the death of the entire class while the murderer goes free. With these three modes of play you wind up with Danganronpa, a strange amalgamation of Sherlock Holmes mystery, slice of life visual novel, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. A game with just that as an elevator pitch might be good. Danganronpa doesn't settle for just being good and it does that by engendering empathy. Empathy is difficult. Empathy requires making a connection with another person to the point that you can understand what they are going through. It's not to be confused with sympathy, which involves caring for and feeling bad for someone, but ultimately being unable to understand their feelings and situation on a fundamental level. Empathy involves taking the time and expending the energy necessary to know someone enough to understand them and, to a certain degree, forgive them. It doesn't mean excusing actions that have hurt yourself or others, but it does entail connecting on some level with the person behind that hurt and understanding their humanity. I'm going to take a bit of what might seem to be a detour here, but bear with me. When I was growing up, one of my best friends in the whole world hurt me with a lie. Then it became several lies. Ultimately, it spiraled into an uncomfortably loud conversation in the halls of our school where we parted ways angrily. He refused to see things from my perspective and I refused to consider things from his. It seems a little thing now in retrospect, but at the time the hurt went deep and it caked my heart in an icy sheen of bitterness, a protective layer of despair. In time, that veneer faded and I was left with the understanding that my failure to empathize and forgive cost me one of the most important friendships I had ever had because I found the task to be more than my pride and perceived injury could bare. The point I'm trying to make with this bumbling example is that empathy is really, truly difficult - and it also might be the most important skill to possess in a life surrounded by other people. Danganronpa understands empathy on a fundamental level and structures itself around doing everything it can to help players empathize with its characters. Talking and gift-giving are small, seemingly meaningless gestures, but they serve a similar purpose to naming XCOM soldiers. Suddenly the player isn't just investing in the mechanics of the game, but also investing meaning into the characters themselves. Giving the right gift means that the player has taken the time to learn about the character and gone through the effort of using that information to make an informed gifting decision. It's a conscious effort to consider things from that character's perspective. For all of the murder that happens in Danganronpa, it never asks you to hate any member of the cast. For all of the deceptions and sometimes cruel violence, the player is asked to engage with everyone, victims and murderers both, as a fellow flawed human being. We learn about each character, we spend time with them, and eventually we discover their failures. Even when the murderers are finally unmasked, Danganronpa takes the difficult and morally complex path of allowing them to remain human. They aren't othered or given an out, they are achingly, disturbingly human, stuck in the same awful situation as everyone else. You feel for them as they meet their elaborately ironic executions at the hands (paws?) of Monokuma. Ultimately, Danganronpa stands as an ideological battlefield. On one side holds the belief that life is an absurd, meaningless wasteland with suffering and death as the constant background noise to all things. The other side contends that life has worth proportional to our love for others aside from ourselves, even for the people who have wrong wronged us. And I suppose when you get down to it, empathy depends on allowing one's self to love other people. Hope's Peak Academy mirrors life, often in uncomfortable ways. We are all born into a world full of strangers and asked to exist for as long as possible. We never know if the people we befriend and love might one day be on the giving or receiving end of awfulness from one of their fellow humans - an eventuality that we all encounter in our lives at some point. The best we can do, the hope that Danganronpa presents to its players, is to meet that hurt with a courageous empathy that does not give into bitter despair. It is the hope that we can put in the effort, the very real work, to understand the antagonists of our own stories and in that understanding find a way forward that isn't mired in the mistakes of the past. View full article
  3. An intriguing indie adventure game has appeared on the horizon. Today, french indie studio Big Bad Wolf revealed The Council, an episodic adventure game set to launch this February. The new entry in the genre offers players the opportunity to make difficult choices that will have "permanent, long-lasting consequences." Aside from being a narrative adventure game in the same vein as Telltale's work, what exactly is The Council? Set in 1793, players become Louis de Richet who journeys to the private island estate of Lord Mortimer after receiving a cryptic invitation. Gentlemen and women from across the world seem to have been invited, as well. George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte count themselves among Lord Mortimer's guests. Those who operate the levers of power in the world have all assembled for a mysterious purpose... and suddenly a murder interrupts the gathering. Everyone seems to have their own schemes and plots, but the players will have to uncover the mysteries of the island and guests while discovering the true nature of The Council. Big Bad Wolf has developed a new system for navigating conversations that they're promising will be unique. The Social Influence system relies on players to use skill and various resources to come out on top and achieve ideal outcomes. Those resources will be gathered during exploration segments that also provide opportunities for players to learn the weaknesses of the other island guests. Should an encounter be failed, there's no game over screen in The Council. Instead, player choices are permanent and can result in physical disfigurement, mental trauma, or (rarely) boons that will hinder or help players for the rest of the game. As players proceed, they will have opportunities for Richet to hone his skills. Perhaps the diplomatic approach appeals to you? Maybe history or science would make worthy allies? Or could it be that detective skills are what will make the difference? Over 15 skills are available, adding an almost RPG-like dimension to The Council. These skills will allow players to explore the island their own way, uncovering dark secrets as they progress into Lord Mortimer's abode. The Council’s first of five episodes, titled 'The Mad Ones,' arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February, 2018. View full article
  4. An intriguing indie adventure game has appeared on the horizon. Today, french indie studio Big Bad Wolf revealed The Council, an episodic adventure game set to launch this February. The new entry in the genre offers players the opportunity to make difficult choices that will have "permanent, long-lasting consequences." Aside from being a narrative adventure game in the same vein as Telltale's work, what exactly is The Council? Set in 1793, players become Louis de Richet who journeys to the private island estate of Lord Mortimer after receiving a cryptic invitation. Gentlemen and women from across the world seem to have been invited, as well. George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte count themselves among Lord Mortimer's guests. Those who operate the levers of power in the world have all assembled for a mysterious purpose... and suddenly a murder interrupts the gathering. Everyone seems to have their own schemes and plots, but the players will have to uncover the mysteries of the island and guests while discovering the true nature of The Council. Big Bad Wolf has developed a new system for navigating conversations that they're promising will be unique. The Social Influence system relies on players to use skill and various resources to come out on top and achieve ideal outcomes. Those resources will be gathered during exploration segments that also provide opportunities for players to learn the weaknesses of the other island guests. Should an encounter be failed, there's no game over screen in The Council. Instead, player choices are permanent and can result in physical disfigurement, mental trauma, or (rarely) boons that will hinder or help players for the rest of the game. As players proceed, they will have opportunities for Richet to hone his skills. Perhaps the diplomatic approach appeals to you? Maybe history or science would make worthy allies? Or could it be that detective skills are what will make the difference? Over 15 skills are available, adding an almost RPG-like dimension to The Council. These skills will allow players to explore the island their own way, uncovering dark secrets as they progress into Lord Mortimer's abode. The Council’s first of five episodes, titled 'The Mad Ones,' arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February, 2018.
  5. Code Vein has been on our radar since its mysterious tease and subsequent reveal. If there were any doubts about the inspiration Bandai Namco took from From Software's Bloodborne, there can't be much more after seeing the latest trailer. "We fight, we drink blood, revive, and then fight some more. Our lives are pretty much one endless loop." This quote from the trailer refers to the vampyric apocalypse the main characters find themselves struggling against. However, it also sums up the mechanics of Code Vein, which thrusts players into the role of a newly turned vampire who must fight and drink blood in order to retain sanity in a world wrecked by a mysterious cataclysm. The quote could also be interpreted to mean a nod toward Bloodborne, a game that might also be summarized as, "fight, blood, revive, repeat." However, it seems apparent that Code Vein has taken pains to distance itself from those comparisons. While there's certainly some gothic inspiration in the art design, it's tuned down in favor of a more jagged, ruinous apocalypse. The characters also retain their anime-inspired designs, a feature that extends into the animated opening created by studio ufotable. Not only that, but the soundtrack as showcased in the trailers to date seems to be a mixture of operatic Final Fantasy and dark rock. The previous trailer offered up a sweepingly orchestrated score, which stands in stark contrast with the latest soundscape. The newest trailer features the opening theme of Code Vein, the track 'Underworld' by a band called Vamps. Code Vein is set to release sometime in 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4, and PC. View full article
  6. Code Vein has been on our radar since its mysterious tease and subsequent reveal. If there were any doubts about the inspiration Bandai Namco took from From Software's Bloodborne, there can't be much more after seeing the latest trailer. "We fight, we drink blood, revive, and then fight some more. Our lives are pretty much one endless loop." This quote from the trailer refers to the vampyric apocalypse the main characters find themselves struggling against. However, it also sums up the mechanics of Code Vein, which thrusts players into the role of a newly turned vampire who must fight and drink blood in order to retain sanity in a world wrecked by a mysterious cataclysm. The quote could also be interpreted to mean a nod toward Bloodborne, a game that might also be summarized as, "fight, blood, revive, repeat." However, it seems apparent that Code Vein has taken pains to distance itself from those comparisons. While there's certainly some gothic inspiration in the art design, it's tuned down in favor of a more jagged, ruinous apocalypse. The characters also retain their anime-inspired designs, a feature that extends into the animated opening created by studio ufotable. Not only that, but the soundtrack as showcased in the trailers to date seems to be a mixture of operatic Final Fantasy and dark rock. The previous trailer offered up a sweepingly orchestrated score, which stands in stark contrast with the latest soundscape. The newest trailer features the opening theme of Code Vein, the track 'Underworld' by a band called Vamps. Code Vein is set to release sometime in 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4, and PC.
  7. Darksiders 3 has been pretty quiet since the third entry in the series was resurrected by THQ Nordic back in May. Yesterday, it surfaced once again with almost two minutes of gameplay. Fury, the new protagonist of Darksiders 3, traverses a flaming hellscape as she whips skeletons into shape or, perhaps more accurately, out of their various skeletal shapes. The tease shows some whip-swinging action and the combat mechanics of larger encounters when Fury runs into a giant, flaming suit of armor. While there's no big reveals to be had in the new gameplay trailer, it's good to see the project in functional action! Darksiders 3 is expected to ship sometime in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  8. Darksiders 3 has been pretty quiet since the third entry in the series was resurrected by THQ Nordic back in May. Yesterday, it surfaced once again with almost two minutes of gameplay. Fury, the new protagonist of Darksiders 3, traverses a flaming hellscape as she whips skeletons into shape or, perhaps more accurately, out of their various skeletal shapes. The tease shows some whip-swinging action and the combat mechanics of larger encounters when Fury runs into a giant, flaming suit of armor. While there's no big reveals to be had in the new gameplay trailer, it's good to see the project in functional action! Darksiders 3 is expected to ship sometime in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  9. The fine folks at Robot Loves Kitty found themselves in a bit of a bind recently. For the past few years, they'd been working on a game called Upsilon Circuit, a crazy mixture of game show, RPG, and online multiplayer. The studio consists of the self-taught indie duo Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble. The scope of Upsilon Circuit and grew to the extent that it required more members on the team than Stolzer and Goble, so the team hired additional staff. Unfortunately, the funding source that they tapped into to hire those team members pulled out before the game was ready to be done. As part of the cancellation announcement, Robot Loves Kitty put out a statement saying, “We just wanted to make this game we were both so passionate about, and we were sacrificing so much to do it. When things fell apart it left both of us feeling overwhelmingly sad, angry, ashamed, and depressed.” The lack of funding brought the entire project to a screeching halt. As of right now, the quirky indie dream that was Upsilon Circuit is no more and the gaming landscape is poorer of the loss. That being said, Robot Loves Kitty has a new project on the horizon called Super Tony Land! The indie game thumbs its nose at the Super Mario Bros. series in an adventure starring Tony, a plumber from Brooklyn who finds himself in the world of video games. Players can build their own levels, share them via Steam Workshop, and even create entire story lines! The tool set being used to give players the power of creation is called Tronics, a visual programming language that can be used to make functional robots, ships, clockwork contraptions, or even dialogue trees. It opens up some really interesting possibilities that allow for never before seen mechanics, stories, and characters. Players will also be able to make use of power-ups and a character creator to really bring their world to life. Super Tony Land should be available on PC Spring 2018. View full article
  10. The fine folks at Robot Loves Kitty found themselves in a bit of a bind recently. For the past few years, they'd been working on a game called Upsilon Circuit, a crazy mixture of game show, RPG, and online multiplayer. The studio consists of the self-taught indie duo Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble. The scope of Upsilon Circuit and grew to the extent that it required more members on the team than Stolzer and Goble, so the team hired additional staff. Unfortunately, the funding source that they tapped into to hire those team members pulled out before the game was ready to be done. As part of the cancellation announcement, Robot Loves Kitty put out a statement saying, “We just wanted to make this game we were both so passionate about, and we were sacrificing so much to do it. When things fell apart it left both of us feeling overwhelmingly sad, angry, ashamed, and depressed.” The lack of funding brought the entire project to a screeching halt. As of right now, the quirky indie dream that was Upsilon Circuit is no more and the gaming landscape is poorer of the loss. That being said, Robot Loves Kitty has a new project on the horizon called Super Tony Land! The indie game thumbs its nose at the Super Mario Bros. series in an adventure starring Tony, a plumber from Brooklyn who finds himself in the world of video games. Players can build their own levels, share them via Steam Workshop, and even create entire story lines! The tool set being used to give players the power of creation is called Tronics, a visual programming language that can be used to make functional robots, ships, clockwork contraptions, or even dialogue trees. It opens up some really interesting possibilities that allow for never before seen mechanics, stories, and characters. Players will also be able to make use of power-ups and a character creator to really bring their world to life. Super Tony Land should be available on PC Spring 2018.
  11. Metal Gear Survive hits store shelves in February, but before the official release Konami will open up a beta in January. the beta will run from January 18-21. The beta will open up the game's co-op to test out the core mechanics (and network stability) of Survive: Base building, crafting, and combat. People who play the beta will be given in-game bonuses in the core game, such as a FOX HOUND name plate, a bandana, and a Metal Gear REX head. The beta will be immediately available to everyone on January 18. Speculation has run rampant about the future of the Metal Gear franchise since the high profile departure of Hideo Kojima. Konami's follow up to Metal Gear Solid V certainly raised some eyebrows when it was announced at E3 2016. The shift to some kind of zombie survival game struck many as odd and the lack of information on the game only caused people to become more uncertain, especially after the guiding force of the franchise split from the company. To give players an idea of what to expect, Konami has released a lengthy, commentated trailer to give an overview of Metal Gear Survive. First off, the story is not canon. It takes place in an alternate reality where following a massive attack at the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V a portal opens up to another dimension, sucking up parts of structures and soldiers from Mother Base. One of the soldiers from the base, the protagonist, manages to avoid being sucked into the wormhole, but is sent into the rift several months later by a shadowy government organization. Once on the other side, the protagonist must hunt for food, build a base, fight off the ever-present zombie threat, and complete missions out in the strange, new world. Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  12. Metal Gear Survive hits store shelves in February, but before the official release Konami will open up a beta in January. the beta will run from January 18-21. The beta will open up the game's co-op to test out the core mechanics (and network stability) of Survive: Base building, crafting, and combat. People who play the beta will be given in-game bonuses in the core game, such as a FOX HOUND name plate, a bandana, and a Metal Gear REX head. The beta will be immediately available to everyone on January 18. Speculation has run rampant about the future of the Metal Gear franchise since the high profile departure of Hideo Kojima. Konami's follow up to Metal Gear Solid V certainly raised some eyebrows when it was announced at E3 2016. The shift to some kind of zombie survival game struck many as odd and the lack of information on the game only caused people to become more uncertain, especially after the guiding force of the franchise split from the company. To give players an idea of what to expect, Konami has released a lengthy, commentated trailer to give an overview of Metal Gear Survive. First off, the story is not canon. It takes place in an alternate reality where following a massive attack at the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid V a portal opens up to another dimension, sucking up parts of structures and soldiers from Mother Base. One of the soldiers from the base, the protagonist, manages to avoid being sucked into the wormhole, but is sent into the rift several months later by a shadowy government organization. Once on the other side, the protagonist must hunt for food, build a base, fight off the ever-present zombie threat, and complete missions out in the strange, new world. Metal Gear Survive releases on February 20 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  13. The developers at Virtuoso Neomedia Enterprises describe Blazing Legion: Ignition as "an introspective, character driven, tactical first person bullet-hell about mecha and the consequences of becoming who you have to be." It is a concept that the game's producer and lead developer Ethan Redd has summarized as "Top Gun meets Gundam." And, honestly, that's one appealing pitch for pretty much anything - someone turns to me and says, "Top Gun meets Gundam" and I'm gonna respond, "Cool, let's do whatever that is!" Players take on the role of Vana, a legendary ace mecha pilot, as she comes to the forefront of a populist revolution against a galactic empire. the action hops between the present day realities that threaten a massive space war and Vana's memories of past missions with the Burning Legion, her former comrades. The team at Virtuoso hopes to balance out the frantic action with more thoughtful, quiet moments that give context and meaning to the explosive, kinetic action sequences. If the striking color, stylish combat, giant robots, and dramatic sensibilities of late 90s anime are up your alley, then Blazing Legion definitely deserves to be on your radar. Blazing Legion: Ignition should be released for PC sometime in 2018 with a show-ready demo surfacing around GDC in March. View full article
  14. The developers at Virtuoso Neomedia Enterprises describe Blazing Legion: Ignition as "an introspective, character driven, tactical first person bullet-hell about mecha and the consequences of becoming who you have to be." It is a concept that the game's producer and lead developer Ethan Redd has summarized as "Top Gun meets Gundam." And, honestly, that's one appealing pitch for pretty much anything - someone turns to me and says, "Top Gun meets Gundam" and I'm gonna respond, "Cool, let's do whatever that is!" Players take on the role of Vana, a legendary ace mecha pilot, as she comes to the forefront of a populist revolution against a galactic empire. the action hops between the present day realities that threaten a massive space war and Vana's memories of past missions with the Burning Legion, her former comrades. The team at Virtuoso hopes to balance out the frantic action with more thoughtful, quiet moments that give context and meaning to the explosive, kinetic action sequences. If the striking color, stylish combat, giant robots, and dramatic sensibilities of late 90s anime are up your alley, then Blazing Legion definitely deserves to be on your radar. Blazing Legion: Ignition should be released for PC sometime in 2018 with a show-ready demo surfacing around GDC in March.
  15. Fueled with a love of retro PC RPGs and the dream of reviving them for the current generation, four Finnish developers put everything on the line to craft Legend of Grimrock. Their creation climbed to the top of the Steam sales charts and spawned both a sequel and a successful Kickstarter for a live-action series (which has yet to materialize). While it certainly has flawed AI and a repetitive environment, Legend of Grimrock deserves another look for the way it brought a dormant genre back to life. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Secret of Mana 'Variations of Fear' by Kylok, Bree, and Trev Wignall (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03647) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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 View full article
  16. Fueled with a love of retro PC RPGs and the dream of reviving them for the current generation, four Finnish developers put everything on the line to craft Legend of Grimrock. Their creation climbed to the top of the Steam sales charts and spawned both a sequel and a successful Kickstarter for a live-action series (which has yet to materialize). While it certainly has flawed AI and a repetitive environment, Legend of Grimrock deserves another look for the way it brought a dormant genre back to life. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Secret of Mana 'Variations of Fear' by Kylok, Bree, and Trev Wignall (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03647) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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
  17. "The truth is we screwed up," said Creative Assembly's creative director Mike Simpson as part of an extended apology and explanation regarding the delay of a new game mode for Total War Warhammer II titled Mortal Empires. The addition of Mortal Empires would effectively combine the campaigns of Total War Warhammer I and II into one colossal campaign that will dwarf previous Total War campaign maps. Essentially, the Total War franchise has had a lot of experience merging content across different games in the same series. They went into Total War Warhammer II's merger with Warhammer I content with the expectation that it would go just as smoothly as it had with past titles. They started merging the content of the two games and quickly began running into problems. Simpson explains that the sticking point has to do with the studio's confidence in their process that happened to overlook the file containers the data for the game was stored within. "We got so good at branching and merging builds, we thought we had it mastered. [...] Although the data itself didn’t clash, improvements to the infrastructure of WH2 meant the containers the data was going into had changed significantly." The team was set on adding the Norsca from Warhammer I to Warhammer II, as well. This meant that as the bugs of merging the two games together grew, the Norsca specific problems reared their head more and more at every step of the process. Simpson elaborated on the challenges they encountered and the various approaches they used to attempt to overcome them: The first attempt to integrate Norsca in the routine way caused an immediate tsunami of bugs. We smacked our heads against it, realised it was unsolvable in a short span, and had to back out. We started on a second, more careful approach, which has been glacially slow, with deeper and deeper issues with the integration tools and process becoming apparent at each stage. Modding Norsca into the final game, just as a modder might, would be much quicker and easier. But adding content to the final game rather than the source, which takes a great deal more careful implementation, would produce the same problems as modding; every new game update may break it. It would be a bodge. The changes to the database structure between Warhammer I and Warhammer II and the ongoing code and database changes for Mortal Empires made it very difficult to un-tangle the Norsca content, once it had been copied across to Warhammer II. As the weeks passed, we realised that it would probably be easier to re-implement Norsca in Warhammer II, rather than straighten out the Norsca content copied over from Warhammer I. And so, having lost months, we’ve now decided to pick the next point where all the branches are back together (after the next major content update), and then re-implement Norsca from scratch in Warhammer II. This won’t be quick, but it is guaranteed to work. And so we add one more thing to the long list of dumb mistakes we’re never going to make again… All of that being said, Creative Assembly has revealed their revised schedule for Warhammer II. December will see the rollout of the Reprisal Update for Mortal Empires that will bring a bunch of new fixes and tweaks for Old World Legendary Lords and Chaos alongside a new game mode that hasn't yet been announced. January has been designated as the release month for the first campaign expansion pack. This will contain new elements for Eye of the Vortex and Mortal Empires. Finally, Creative Assembly aims to have the full implementation of the Norsca in Warhammer II sometime in May. What do you think? Was this a good apology from the Total War Warhammer II team? View full article
  18. "The truth is we screwed up," said Creative Assembly's creative director Mike Simpson as part of an extended apology and explanation regarding the delay of a new game mode for Total War Warhammer II titled Mortal Empires. The addition of Mortal Empires would effectively combine the campaigns of Total War Warhammer I and II into one colossal campaign that will dwarf previous Total War campaign maps. Essentially, the Total War franchise has had a lot of experience merging content across different games in the same series. They went into Total War Warhammer II's merger with Warhammer I content with the expectation that it would go just as smoothly as it had with past titles. They started merging the content of the two games and quickly began running into problems. Simpson explains that the sticking point has to do with the studio's confidence in their process that happened to overlook the file containers the data for the game was stored within. "We got so good at branching and merging builds, we thought we had it mastered. [...] Although the data itself didn’t clash, improvements to the infrastructure of WH2 meant the containers the data was going into had changed significantly." The team was set on adding the Norsca from Warhammer I to Warhammer II, as well. This meant that as the bugs of merging the two games together grew, the Norsca specific problems reared their head more and more at every step of the process. Simpson elaborated on the challenges they encountered and the various approaches they used to attempt to overcome them: The first attempt to integrate Norsca in the routine way caused an immediate tsunami of bugs. We smacked our heads against it, realised it was unsolvable in a short span, and had to back out. We started on a second, more careful approach, which has been glacially slow, with deeper and deeper issues with the integration tools and process becoming apparent at each stage. Modding Norsca into the final game, just as a modder might, would be much quicker and easier. But adding content to the final game rather than the source, which takes a great deal more careful implementation, would produce the same problems as modding; every new game update may break it. It would be a bodge. The changes to the database structure between Warhammer I and Warhammer II and the ongoing code and database changes for Mortal Empires made it very difficult to un-tangle the Norsca content, once it had been copied across to Warhammer II. As the weeks passed, we realised that it would probably be easier to re-implement Norsca in Warhammer II, rather than straighten out the Norsca content copied over from Warhammer I. And so, having lost months, we’ve now decided to pick the next point where all the branches are back together (after the next major content update), and then re-implement Norsca from scratch in Warhammer II. This won’t be quick, but it is guaranteed to work. And so we add one more thing to the long list of dumb mistakes we’re never going to make again… All of that being said, Creative Assembly has revealed their revised schedule for Warhammer II. December will see the rollout of the Reprisal Update for Mortal Empires that will bring a bunch of new fixes and tweaks for Old World Legendary Lords and Chaos alongside a new game mode that hasn't yet been announced. January has been designated as the release month for the first campaign expansion pack. This will contain new elements for Eye of the Vortex and Mortal Empires. Finally, Creative Assembly aims to have the full implementation of the Norsca in Warhammer II sometime in May. What do you think? Was this a good apology from the Total War Warhammer II team?
  19. In the year 21XX, Mega Man was reborn as Mega Man X, a robotic bounty hunter taking on the robo-criminals of the future. The X series spanned three console generations before its final entry in 2005 with Mega Man X8. Next summer all eight games will be available for the first time on modern systems (there was a Mega Man X Collection on the GameCube and PlayStation 2, but it only included the first six games of the series). While more information has been promised in the next several months, there are definitely still some questions. Capcom has made a habit of releasing some robust collections, breaking up the mainline Mega Man series into two packages. The Mega Man Legacy Collection included the first six games of the franchise, followed by The Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, which held Mega Man 7-10. Does this mean X will get a similar treatment with X 1-4 as one bundle and X 5-8 as another? Or perhaps all in one bundle? It also isn't outside the realm of possibility that Capcom might see fit to release them all individually. However Capcom decides to do it... MORE MEGA MAN X! That's always a good thing. Look forward to seeing X on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime next summer. View full article
  20. In the year 21XX, Mega Man was reborn as Mega Man X, a robotic bounty hunter taking on the robo-criminals of the future. The X series spanned three console generations before its final entry in 2005 with Mega Man X8. Next summer all eight games will be available for the first time on modern systems (there was a Mega Man X Collection on the GameCube and PlayStation 2, but it only included the first six games of the series). While more information has been promised in the next several months, there are definitely still some questions. Capcom has made a habit of releasing some robust collections, breaking up the mainline Mega Man series into two packages. The Mega Man Legacy Collection included the first six games of the franchise, followed by The Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, which held Mega Man 7-10. Does this mean X will get a similar treatment with X 1-4 as one bundle and X 5-8 as another? Or perhaps all in one bundle? It also isn't outside the realm of possibility that Capcom might see fit to release them all individually. However Capcom decides to do it... MORE MEGA MAN X! That's always a good thing. Look forward to seeing X on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime next summer.
  21. The Blue Bomber has just turned 30 years old and Capcom has given everyone's favorite robotic defender a gift: The surprise announcement of Mega Man 11! The new Capcom title aims to take the series in a bold new direction. While Mega Man 9 and 10 adopted the retro aesthetic of the original NES classics, Mega Man 11 makes use of 3D models and lighting to give the decades old franchise a new coat of paint. On top of that, the gameplay clips shown on the 30th anniversary livestream put on by Capcom offered glimpses at a handful of Mega Man's new powers. Charged shots, the return of Rush the robo-dog, an ability to summon a series of brick cubes on top of enemies, and an impressive ability that seems to temporarily supercharge Mega Man round out a few of the fun tools players will have at their disposal. Oh, and newcomers to the series who find the traditional difficulty daunting can take refuge in a lower difficulty mode (and those looking for additional challenge might just find more demanding modes). Capcom reassured fans who might be put off by the visual tweaks saying, "with an expert development team at Capcom, many of whom have been working at the company since the early 8-bit era, we’re revitalizing and revolutionizing Mega Man for a new generation while keeping the series’ tight classic gameplay and the heart of our beloved hero intact. Veterans can expect the series’ signature challenge, and we’re inviting new players to the mix with a variety of difficulty options to choose from in the game." Mega Man 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in late 2018. View full article
  22. The Blue Bomber has just turned 30 years old and Capcom has given everyone's favorite robotic defender a gift: The surprise announcement of Mega Man 11! The new Capcom title aims to take the series in a bold new direction. While Mega Man 9 and 10 adopted the retro aesthetic of the original NES classics, Mega Man 11 makes use of 3D models and lighting to give the decades old franchise a new coat of paint. On top of that, the gameplay clips shown on the 30th anniversary livestream put on by Capcom offered glimpses at a handful of Mega Man's new powers. Charged shots, the return of Rush the robo-dog, an ability to summon a series of brick cubes on top of enemies, and an impressive ability that seems to temporarily supercharge Mega Man round out a few of the fun tools players will have at their disposal. Oh, and newcomers to the series who find the traditional difficulty daunting can take refuge in a lower difficulty mode (and those looking for additional challenge might just find more demanding modes). Capcom reassured fans who might be put off by the visual tweaks saying, "with an expert development team at Capcom, many of whom have been working at the company since the early 8-bit era, we’re revitalizing and revolutionizing Mega Man for a new generation while keeping the series’ tight classic gameplay and the heart of our beloved hero intact. Veterans can expect the series’ signature challenge, and we’re inviting new players to the mix with a variety of difficulty options to choose from in the game." Mega Man 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in late 2018.
  23. It's official, the game that took 10 years to develop is one year old. Final Fantasy XV celebrated it's first birthday today and to celebrate Square Enix made a few announcements. To commemorate the event, Square Enix held what it called an “Active Time Report” which was a live stream with voice actors from the game and Kingsglaive and discussed "the past, present, and future of Final Fantasy XV." The biggest news to come from the stream was the details of December update. It was revealed that players will be able to switch between Noctis Ignis, Prompto and Gladio during the main campaign of the game. While there are some restrictions to this, notably the Chapter 9 Leviathan fight, this feature is available mostly in the open world. During the Japanese stream, it was revealed that there would be more episodic installments for the game with Episode Ardyn being confirmed as one of them. There was no word on the character focus for the other two, but there has been speculation that they might be about Aranea and Lunafreya. Yes please. The goal for release on these is 2018. In addition to all of that, we also got to see the first three opening minutes of the upcoming Episode Ignis which will be released Dec. 13. The multiplayer expansion Comrades made an appearance as well with the update on that coming out around the same time as Episode Ignis. Updates for Comrades are also planned for next year, with the possibility of a playable Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Prompto. FFXV wouldn't be anywhere without its fans, and Square included its players in the celebration with a Moogle Fan Art Competition. "To help celebrate the one year anniversary of FFXV, we’ve made a limited number of handmade FFXV moogles, kupo!" said the announcement. The competition is open now until Dec. 31. View full article
  24. It's official, the game that took 10 years to develop is one year old. Final Fantasy XV celebrated it's first birthday today and to celebrate Square Enix made a few announcements. To commemorate the event, Square Enix held what it called an “Active Time Report” which was a live stream with voice actors from the game and Kingsglaive and discussed "the past, present, and future of Final Fantasy XV." The biggest news to come from the stream was the details of December update. It was revealed that players will be able to switch between Noctis Ignis, Prompto and Gladio during the main campaign of the game. While there are some restrictions to this, notably the Chapter 9 Leviathan fight, this feature is available mostly in the open world. During the Japanese stream, it was revealed that there would be more episodic installments for the game with Episode Ardyn being confirmed as one of them. There was no word on the character focus for the other two, but there has been speculation that they might be about Aranea and Lunafreya. Yes please. The goal for release on these is 2018. In addition to all of that, we also got to see the first three opening minutes of the upcoming Episode Ignis which will be released Dec. 13. The multiplayer expansion Comrades made an appearance as well with the update on that coming out around the same time as Episode Ignis. Updates for Comrades are also planned for next year, with the possibility of a playable Noctis, Ignis, Gladio and Prompto. FFXV wouldn't be anywhere without its fans, and Square included its players in the celebration with a Moogle Fan Art Competition. "To help celebrate the one year anniversary of FFXV, we’ve made a limited number of handmade FFXV moogles, kupo!" said the announcement. The competition is open now until Dec. 31.
  25. The indie title Mulaka has been gathering some buzz in recent months. The action-adventure game follows the shaman Sukurúame as he races to battle the otherworldly powers corrupting his homeland. Developer Lienzo created Mulaka in the hope that their game will be both enjoyable for players and also teach about the Tarahumara culture. Sukurúame and Mulaka are based largely on the Tarahumara, a people indigenous to northern Mexico. The Tarahumara were known for their stamina and ability to run vast distances in the sprawling landscape they called home, but they were far more than that. To help players better understand the beating cultural heart of Mulaka, Lienzo has launched the first episode of a three part educational series about the Tarahumara. Mulaka draws from the legends and myths passed down by the Tarahumara to create a visually unique world full of incredible demigods and magic - all grounded in real-world locations and beliefs. Lienzo hopes that giving the Tarahumara people a story within a modern game will help to shad some light on a culture many people might never have heard of otherwise. "Even though I didn't know the mythology, it is still part of the city I live in, and the state and the country I live in. So I really feel proud that we can get to share part of this amazing culture with the world," says Lienzo's lead developer Adolfo Rico. The next two videos will be coming soon. Expect to see them go up sometime before Mulaka's early 2018 release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. View full article
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