Showing results for tags 'vita'. - Extra Life Community Hub Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'vita'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Extra Life News
    • Extra Life Updates
    • Best Practices
    • Community Content
    • Why I Extra Life
    • Fundraising
    • Contests
  • Gaming News
  • Features
  • Podcast

Discussions

  • Extra Life Discussions
    • General Extra Life Discussion
    • Local Extra Lifers
    • Fundraising Ideas
    • Live Streaming Tips & Tricks
    • Official Extra Life Stream Team Discussion
    • Extra Life JSON Code Discussion & Sharing
    • Extra Life United
    • Extra Life Q & A
  • Articles & Extra Life Announcements
    • Announcements
  • Official Extra Life Guilds
    • Guild information and Discussion
    • Canada
    • Northeastern US
    • Southeastern US
    • Central US
    • Western US
  • Gaming Discussions
  • Other Stuff
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Recent Posts

Calendars

  • Extra Life Community Calendar
  • Extra Life Stream Team
  • Akron Guild
  • Albany Guild
  • Albuquerque Guild
  • Anchorage Guild
  • Atlanta Guild
  • Austin Guild
  • Bakersfield Guild
  • Baltimore Guild
  • Birmingham Guild
  • Boston Guild
  • Burlington Guild
  • Buffalo Guild
  • Calgary, AB Guild
  • Morgantown Guild
  • Charlottesville Guild
  • Chicago Guild
  • Cincinnati Guild
  • Cleveland Guild
  • Columbia, MO Guild
  • Columbus, OH Guild
  • Dallas Guild
  • Dayton Guild
  • Denver Guild
  • Des Moines Guild
  • Detroit Guild
  • Edmonton, AB Guild
  • Fargo-Valley City Guild
  • Fresno Guild
  • Ft. Worth Guild
  • Gainesville-Tallahassee Guild
  • Grand Rapids Guild
  • Halifax, NS Guild
  • Hamilton, ON Guild
  • Hartford Guild
  • Hershey Guild
  • Hudson Valley Guild
  • Houston Guild
  • Indianapolis Guild
  • Jacksonville Guild
  • Kansas City Guild
  • Knoxville Guild
  • Lansing Guild
  • London, ON Guild
  • Los Angeles Guild
  • Milwaukee / Madison Guild
  • Minneapolis / Twin Cities Guild
  • Montreal / Quebec City Guild
  • Nashville Guild
  • Newark Guild
  • NYC & Long Island Guild
  • Oakland / San Francisco Guild
  • Omaha Guild
  • Orange County Guild
  • Orlando Guild
  • Ottawa, ON Guild
  • Philadelphia Guild
  • Phoenix Guild
  • Pittsburgh Guild
  • Portland, OR Guild
  • Portland, ME Guild
  • Raleigh-Durham Guild
  • Richmond Guild
  • Sacramento Guild
  • Salt Lake City Guild
  • San Antonio Guild
  • San Diego Guild
  • San Juan, PR Guild
  • Saskatchewan Guild
  • Seattle Guild
  • Spokane Guild
  • Springfield-Champaign, IL Guild
  • Springfield, MA Guild
  • St. Louis Guild
  • Syracuse Guild
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg Guild
  • Toronto, ON Guild
  • Vancouver, BC Guild
  • Washington DC Guild
  • Winnipeg, MB Guild
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Events
  • Extra Life Akron's Events

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Hospital


Location


Why I "Extra Life"


Interests


Twitter


Instagram


Twitch


Mixer


Discord


Blizzard Battletag


Nintendo ID


PSN ID


Steam


Origin


Xbox Gamertag

Found 23 results

  1. Free games are going way for PlayStation 3 and Vita owners. Games for both systems will appear on a monthly basis as part of PlayStation Plus until March 8, 2019. After that time, the games already gained through PS+ will continue to be available so long as the user subscribes to PlayStation's online service, bot no new games will appear each month. After the cut off date, all PS+ titles will consist of PlayStation 4 games. No other aspects of the service are slated for obsolescence. The free games available for March include the following: PS4 Bloodborne Ratchet & Clank PS3 Legend of Kay Mighty No. 9 Vita Claire: Extended Cut Bombing Busters It will be interesting to see if PlayStation will up the number of PS+ titles offered for PlayStation 4 owners to compensate for the drastic reduction in monthly games for their subscribers.
  2. Free games are going way for PlayStation 3 and Vita owners. Games for both systems will appear on a monthly basis as part of PlayStation Plus until March 8, 2019. After that time, the games already gained through PS+ will continue to be available so long as the user subscribes to PlayStation's online service, bot no new games will appear each month. After the cut off date, all PS+ titles will consist of PlayStation 4 games. No other aspects of the service are slated for obsolescence. The free games available for March include the following: PS4 Bloodborne Ratchet & Clank PS3 Legend of Kay Mighty No. 9 Vita Claire: Extended Cut Bombing Busters It will be interesting to see if PlayStation will up the number of PS+ titles offered for PlayStation 4 owners to compensate for the drastic reduction in monthly games for their subscribers. View full article
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. Atlus announced yesterday that Vanillaware's unique action-RPG Dragon's Crown would be making its way to the PlayStation 4 early next year with a grip of improvements over the original. Dragon's Crown takes place in the same fantasy world as Vanillaware's previous titles, GrimGrimoire and Odin Sphere. It stars a cast of six characters in a side-scrolling melee reminiscent of the Golden Axe arcade titles mixed with more modern RPG mechanics. Players had to face down a myriad of dungeons to uncover the secrets of the titular Dragon's Crown. It can be played solo or co-op with up to four players, Gauntlet style. It made a significant splash in the lead up to its PlayStation 3 and Vita release for its exaggerated, extreme art style. Dragon's Crown Pro will give the original a face-lift with 4K resolution and updated artwork compatible with that increased fidelity. The soundtrack has been remastered with a live orchestra to imbue the action with a more robust soundscape. It's really a boon to any gamers out there looking for a new co-op experience to enjoy with friends. Dragon's Crown Pro will be available for the PlayStation 4 sometime Spring 2018. View full article
  6. Atlus announced yesterday that Vanillaware's unique action-RPG Dragon's Crown would be making its way to the PlayStation 4 early next year with a grip of improvements over the original. Dragon's Crown takes place in the same fantasy world as Vanillaware's previous titles, GrimGrimoire and Odin Sphere. It stars a cast of six characters in a side-scrolling melee reminiscent of the Golden Axe arcade titles mixed with more modern RPG mechanics. Players had to face down a myriad of dungeons to uncover the secrets of the titular Dragon's Crown. It can be played solo or co-op with up to four players, Gauntlet style. It made a significant splash in the lead up to its PlayStation 3 and Vita release for its exaggerated, extreme art style. Dragon's Crown Pro will give the original a face-lift with 4K resolution and updated artwork compatible with that increased fidelity. The soundtrack has been remastered with a live orchestra to imbue the action with a more robust soundscape. It's really a boon to any gamers out there looking for a new co-op experience to enjoy with friends. Dragon's Crown Pro will be available for the PlayStation 4 sometime Spring 2018.
  7. Nobody at Queasy Games wanted to work with Beck. Well, almost nobody. The alt-rock musician can be a divisive figure, for sure, but that wasn’t really why the team working on 2012’s Sound Shapes had misgivings about his involvement in its game. Prior to this, the game’s development possessed a distinctly “indie” feel, and the publisher, Sony, had kept red tape to a minimum. Throwing a Grammy winning rock star into the mix would surely overcomplicate things, as far as they were concerned. Yet the partnership ended up producing what many fans consider to be the highlight of the Sound Shapes experience. “Cities,” the first of three Beck-soundtracked levels in the game, is all gloom and groove, presenting a strange dichotomy between the song and the visuals on screen. It’s set against the backdrop of a war-torn metropolis and a dance-able beat. Beck sings of a dead city as the refrain “You weren’t made for this place/ It’s not your fault,” billows from smoke stacks, while missiles, bulldozers, and other instruments of destruction strut along to the beat. It’s at once distressing, relaxing, beautiful, and sad. It’s Sound Shapes at its best. Originally, Sound Shapes wasn’t even conceived as a video game, but rather as a music visualizer. Shaw-Han Liem is a Toronto based musician known by the stage name I Am Robot and Proud. After a show in his home town, Liem met Queasy Games founder, and fellow Toronto native, Jonathan Mak. The two began hanging out and playing around with the concept of fusing interactive art with sound. “At first,” says Liem, “our intention wasn’t to create a game, we just wanted to explore, in general, music and visuals.” Though Sound Shapes would grow into a multi-studio production, involving major label musicians, according to Liem, “it literally started out with two people in a basement.” In the beginning, Liem was the only musician on the project and thus, he set the groundwork for how the design teams would work with the other musicians. “I was working with the team every day so I was the closest one,” explains Liem, “so with the levels I did, we tried to have the musical aspect of the game involved at a much earlier stage for the level.” That would require the music itself to be fluid and moldable. If an object needed to make a different sound, Liem could easily make that change in his song. As Liem describes it, “The levels and music were written as one process.” When the alt-folk songwriter Jim Guthrie became involved, the process didn’t need to change too much. “He’s also in Toronto and he’s a friend of ours, so it was easier for him to be more involved and do more iterations and revisions,” says Liem. The team of designers that worked with Guthrie to make four levels based on his songs, was the same team that would go on to work with Beck’s music, though the process would prove to be very different. When it came to Beck, the team simply didn’t enjoy the same collaborative benefits it had experienced with Guthrie and Liem. “With me and Jim,” says Liem, “you could do that, but obviously you can’t call up Beck and be like, ‘can you try this drum beat 10 BPMs slower? Because the level’s too hard.’ It was an experiment for us to see – does this concept scale? Does it allow us to take an already completed song and turn it into visuals or gameplay in a way that feels organic?” Beck’s lack of involvement was a big sticking point for the team at Queasy Games, but Sony’s marketing department saw it as a worthwhile trade-off. Level designer Danny Vader and producer Mathew Kumar – both on loan from Capy Games – were handed what was, at that time, the unenviable task of translating Beck’s songs into the Sound Shapes format. Vader was the only Beck fan on staff and remembers the initial hesitation. “The other artists,” he says, referring to Beck and Deadmau5, “were secured by Sony corporate as like, ‘here, we paid these guys some money to use these songs.’ That’s totally fine, it’s just different from how we did all the other stuff.” As Vader explains, “Beck has singing and lyrics and nothing else in the game had done that. So that was a huge challenge.” Every object in Sound Shapes visually represents a part of the song that accompanies each stage. A kick drum might be represented by a hopping enemy that always lands on the beat, or a dancing blob might represent a song’s buoyant bass line. Lyrics required a completely different approach; they needed a physical, on-screen representation. However, whereas instrumentals left room for interpretation, the lyrics told a story that somewhat dictated what the designers could do. “We can’t just do whatever we want with this “Cities” level because it’s sort of saying something and we had to discern what was being said,” explains Vader, “I remember all of us sitting around listening to this song over and over again, not just trying to figure out what he’s saying, but figuring out what we are going to do with these lyrics in terms of conveying the meaning of the song.” At one point, the team even considered cutting the lyrics altogether. “I think we were pretty beaten down trying to figure it out,” recalls Vader, “it was even floated, ‘F___ it, let’s just cut the lyrics. Let’s cut the singing and just use the instrumentals. I was pretty adamant and maybe even a jerk about keeping them… We have Beck, we gotta have Beck singing. You can’t call it Beck if it’s just some beats and s___. We gotta have his voice.” They devised a few clever solutions to the problem. At one point in the song, the words “move a little/ shake a little/ hurt a little/ break a little” are personified by a platform that does exactly as the words say. When Beck says move, it moves, and when he says hurt, the platform turns red and hurts the player’s little avatar. The lyrics end up providing context and warn the player of coming danger. It’s a clever little solution to the problem, and “Cities” is full of examples just like that. Originally, however, when Queasy received the “Cities” track from Beck, it was only instrumental. Without the lyrics, the song does possess a more uplifting vibe. The original instrumental track that the developers received from Beck’s team was even titled “Happy Africa”, which caused a bit of a mix-up. Vader and Kumar worked with Pyramid Attack, a Toronto based art studio, to develop the level based on the “Happy Africa” theme. Kumar recalls the confusion. “When we got more feedback from Beck’s people, we were like, ‘oh we need to throw all of that away.’ We’d actually gotten it all wrong.” “There was all this sort of African mask stuff. We went heavily in that direction,” adds Vader. “I think the file we got from Beck – he probably just… had made the beat first and just named it Happy Africa as a file name. We got that file, and then [his people said], no no here’s the song. And we hear the lyrics and we’re like, ‘oh f___, this has nothing to do with Africa at all. He’s just using a kalimba and calling it that.” Meanwhile at Pyramid Attack, Steven Wilson, the artist working on the Beck stages, needed to redo all of the artwork he had originally conceived for the “Happy Africa” version of the level. Every time Vader and Kumar had to change an asset – which was often – they asked Wilson for a different take on something he’d already given them. “He was a trooper,” jokes Kumar, “we got back five versions of everything we asked for, until we could drill down exactly how the level looked.” In the final version, none of the African themes made the cut. “It ended up having what I think is an unexpected visual vocabulary,” says Wilson. “The concept of this level doesn’t fit the song at all, but somehow it works. The song has a sense of space and place that I really liked. I pictured an African savannah at sunset with baobab trees, swooping insects looping in the air, friendly-looking animals, huts, campfires, dancing musical instruments, etc.” Though he tends to have a fondness for the Happy Africa version of the level, Wilson appreciates that the final design helped distinguish “Cities” from the pep and color of other levels in the game. Another point of contention between Vader and Kumar and the rest of the design team, was the giant red sun that slowly envelopes the screen several times in the song. Some of the team leads were afraid that the sun wouldn’t be pliable enough for player creators in the user generated content. Player created content was the number one priority for Queasy Games – if something wasn’t useful in the level editor, it wasn’t worth putting in the game. But the designers fought to keep the sun in there. “I remember there being a lot of discussion on that,” says Kumar, “because it was such an overpowering entity in the game. But to me, that’s one of the Beck moments that we wanted. We kinda had to fight about that.” Vader and Kumar had to convince the project leads that the sun was worth keeping in the level. “I think there was a lot of discussion about, ‘ok, that is an important sound in the song,” says Vader, “but how are we going to make an entity out of that? So let’s just make that into notes, or let’s cut that sound.’ But that is such an important sound. For that not to have a gameplay component just seemed like it was going to be such a glaring omission.” The legacy of Sound Shapes is one of collaboration; players are not only listening to a song, but actually engaging with it, contorting it, and taking some ownership of it. “It speaks so much to how music is different things to different people,” says Kumar, reflecting on the game’s legacy. “We were able to create this thing that people could bring themselves to by playing the level and seeing what we have to say about it, or by taking those pieces and making their own stories with it.” Despite the challenges of working with a major artist like Beck, the team found that his involvement was well worth the added complications. “With this, we were sort of changing the idea of what authorship means - what does it mean to have a completed piece of music? So Beck was a great match because just before we had talked to him he had released an album that was just sheet music,” says Liem, referring to Beck’s sheet music album, Song Reader, which encouraged listeners to record their own versions of his songs for YouTube, just as so many Sound Shapes players have remixed the pieces from “Cities” into thousands of creative levels. Liem continues, “so he’s obviously interested in experimenting with ways of releasing music that aren’t an album on CD.” Beck has never released “Cities” or any of his Sound Shapes tracks in any other form. They exist today, only as interactive songs inside the game. “Cities” lives almost exclusively inside that context, and the team is proud of that fact. “We’re the only people to hear those songs the way he recorded them,” recalls Kumar, “We were basically told that as far as he’s concerned, the versions in the game are the versions that should be out there. That’s something I appreciate and I think Beck understood that when he gave it to us.” View full article
  8. Nobody at Queasy Games wanted to work with Beck. Well, almost nobody. The alt-rock musician can be a divisive figure, for sure, but that wasn’t really why the team working on 2012’s Sound Shapes had misgivings about his involvement in its game. Prior to this, the game’s development possessed a distinctly “indie” feel, and the publisher, Sony, had kept red tape to a minimum. Throwing a Grammy winning rock star into the mix would surely overcomplicate things, as far as they were concerned. Yet the partnership ended up producing what many fans consider to be the highlight of the Sound Shapes experience. “Cities,” the first of three Beck-soundtracked levels in the game, is all gloom and groove, presenting a strange dichotomy between the song and the visuals on screen. It’s set against the backdrop of a war-torn metropolis and a dance-able beat. Beck sings of a dead city as the refrain “You weren’t made for this place/ It’s not your fault,” billows from smoke stacks, while missiles, bulldozers, and other instruments of destruction strut along to the beat. It’s at once distressing, relaxing, beautiful, and sad. It’s Sound Shapes at its best. Originally, Sound Shapes wasn’t even conceived as a video game, but rather as a music visualizer. Shaw-Han Liem is a Toronto based musician known by the stage name I Am Robot and Proud. After a show in his home town, Liem met Queasy Games founder, and fellow Toronto native, Jonathan Mak. The two began hanging out and playing around with the concept of fusing interactive art with sound. “At first,” says Liem, “our intention wasn’t to create a game, we just wanted to explore, in general, music and visuals.” Though Sound Shapes would grow into a multi-studio production, involving major label musicians, according to Liem, “it literally started out with two people in a basement.” In the beginning, Liem was the only musician on the project and thus, he set the groundwork for how the design teams would work with the other musicians. “I was working with the team every day so I was the closest one,” explains Liem, “so with the levels I did, we tried to have the musical aspect of the game involved at a much earlier stage for the level.” That would require the music itself to be fluid and moldable. If an object needed to make a different sound, Liem could easily make that change in his song. As Liem describes it, “The levels and music were written as one process.” When the alt-folk songwriter Jim Guthrie became involved, the process didn’t need to change too much. “He’s also in Toronto and he’s a friend of ours, so it was easier for him to be more involved and do more iterations and revisions,” says Liem. The team of designers that worked with Guthrie to make four levels based on his songs, was the same team that would go on to work with Beck’s music, though the process would prove to be very different. When it came to Beck, the team simply didn’t enjoy the same collaborative benefits it had experienced with Guthrie and Liem. “With me and Jim,” says Liem, “you could do that, but obviously you can’t call up Beck and be like, ‘can you try this drum beat 10 BPMs slower? Because the level’s too hard.’ It was an experiment for us to see – does this concept scale? Does it allow us to take an already completed song and turn it into visuals or gameplay in a way that feels organic?” Beck’s lack of involvement was a big sticking point for the team at Queasy Games, but Sony’s marketing department saw it as a worthwhile trade-off. Level designer Danny Vader and producer Mathew Kumar – both on loan from Capy Games – were handed what was, at that time, the unenviable task of translating Beck’s songs into the Sound Shapes format. Vader was the only Beck fan on staff and remembers the initial hesitation. “The other artists,” he says, referring to Beck and Deadmau5, “were secured by Sony corporate as like, ‘here, we paid these guys some money to use these songs.’ That’s totally fine, it’s just different from how we did all the other stuff.” As Vader explains, “Beck has singing and lyrics and nothing else in the game had done that. So that was a huge challenge.” Every object in Sound Shapes visually represents a part of the song that accompanies each stage. A kick drum might be represented by a hopping enemy that always lands on the beat, or a dancing blob might represent a song’s buoyant bass line. Lyrics required a completely different approach; they needed a physical, on-screen representation. However, whereas instrumentals left room for interpretation, the lyrics told a story that somewhat dictated what the designers could do. “We can’t just do whatever we want with this “Cities” level because it’s sort of saying something and we had to discern what was being said,” explains Vader, “I remember all of us sitting around listening to this song over and over again, not just trying to figure out what he’s saying, but figuring out what we are going to do with these lyrics in terms of conveying the meaning of the song.” At one point, the team even considered cutting the lyrics altogether. “I think we were pretty beaten down trying to figure it out,” recalls Vader, “it was even floated, ‘F___ it, let’s just cut the lyrics. Let’s cut the singing and just use the instrumentals. I was pretty adamant and maybe even a jerk about keeping them… We have Beck, we gotta have Beck singing. You can’t call it Beck if it’s just some beats and s___. We gotta have his voice.” They devised a few clever solutions to the problem. At one point in the song, the words “move a little/ shake a little/ hurt a little/ break a little” are personified by a platform that does exactly as the words say. When Beck says move, it moves, and when he says hurt, the platform turns red and hurts the player’s little avatar. The lyrics end up providing context and warn the player of coming danger. It’s a clever little solution to the problem, and “Cities” is full of examples just like that. Originally, however, when Queasy received the “Cities” track from Beck, it was only instrumental. Without the lyrics, the song does possess a more uplifting vibe. The original instrumental track that the developers received from Beck’s team was even titled “Happy Africa”, which caused a bit of a mix-up. Vader and Kumar worked with Pyramid Attack, a Toronto based art studio, to develop the level based on the “Happy Africa” theme. Kumar recalls the confusion. “When we got more feedback from Beck’s people, we were like, ‘oh we need to throw all of that away.’ We’d actually gotten it all wrong.” “There was all this sort of African mask stuff. We went heavily in that direction,” adds Vader. “I think the file we got from Beck – he probably just… had made the beat first and just named it Happy Africa as a file name. We got that file, and then [his people said], no no here’s the song. And we hear the lyrics and we’re like, ‘oh f___, this has nothing to do with Africa at all. He’s just using a kalimba and calling it that.” Meanwhile at Pyramid Attack, Steven Wilson, the artist working on the Beck stages, needed to redo all of the artwork he had originally conceived for the “Happy Africa” version of the level. Every time Vader and Kumar had to change an asset – which was often – they asked Wilson for a different take on something he’d already given them. “He was a trooper,” jokes Kumar, “we got back five versions of everything we asked for, until we could drill down exactly how the level looked.” In the final version, none of the African themes made the cut. “It ended up having what I think is an unexpected visual vocabulary,” says Wilson. “The concept of this level doesn’t fit the song at all, but somehow it works. The song has a sense of space and place that I really liked. I pictured an African savannah at sunset with baobab trees, swooping insects looping in the air, friendly-looking animals, huts, campfires, dancing musical instruments, etc.” Though he tends to have a fondness for the Happy Africa version of the level, Wilson appreciates that the final design helped distinguish “Cities” from the pep and color of other levels in the game. Another point of contention between Vader and Kumar and the rest of the design team, was the giant red sun that slowly envelopes the screen several times in the song. Some of the team leads were afraid that the sun wouldn’t be pliable enough for player creators in the user generated content. Player created content was the number one priority for Queasy Games – if something wasn’t useful in the level editor, it wasn’t worth putting in the game. But the designers fought to keep the sun in there. “I remember there being a lot of discussion on that,” says Kumar, “because it was such an overpowering entity in the game. But to me, that’s one of the Beck moments that we wanted. We kinda had to fight about that.” Vader and Kumar had to convince the project leads that the sun was worth keeping in the level. “I think there was a lot of discussion about, ‘ok, that is an important sound in the song,” says Vader, “but how are we going to make an entity out of that? So let’s just make that into notes, or let’s cut that sound.’ But that is such an important sound. For that not to have a gameplay component just seemed like it was going to be such a glaring omission.” The legacy of Sound Shapes is one of collaboration; players are not only listening to a song, but actually engaging with it, contorting it, and taking some ownership of it. “It speaks so much to how music is different things to different people,” says Kumar, reflecting on the game’s legacy. “We were able to create this thing that people could bring themselves to by playing the level and seeing what we have to say about it, or by taking those pieces and making their own stories with it.” Despite the challenges of working with a major artist like Beck, the team found that his involvement was well worth the added complications. “With this, we were sort of changing the idea of what authorship means - what does it mean to have a completed piece of music? So Beck was a great match because just before we had talked to him he had released an album that was just sheet music,” says Liem, referring to Beck’s sheet music album, Song Reader, which encouraged listeners to record their own versions of his songs for YouTube, just as so many Sound Shapes players have remixed the pieces from “Cities” into thousands of creative levels. Liem continues, “so he’s obviously interested in experimenting with ways of releasing music that aren’t an album on CD.” Beck has never released “Cities” or any of his Sound Shapes tracks in any other form. They exist today, only as interactive songs inside the game. “Cities” lives almost exclusively inside that context, and the team is proud of that fact. “We’re the only people to hear those songs the way he recorded them,” recalls Kumar, “We were basically told that as far as he’s concerned, the versions in the game are the versions that should be out there. That’s something I appreciate and I think Beck understood that when he gave it to us.”
  9. What do you get when you lock the creator of Killer7 and No More Heroes in a room with a copy of Dark Souls and hallucinogenic mushrooms? Probably something that very much resembles Let It Die, a third-person action game about trying to reach the top of a tower with the help of Uncle Death, a grim reaper who rides a rocket skateboard. The quirky title appeared for free on the PlayStation a couple days ago and it's all kinds of strange. Players begin Let It Die with nothing but some snazzy underwear and the goal of fighting their way to the top of The Tower of Barbs. To do that, players must collect everything that isn't nailed down as they fight through crazy enemies and bosses, because those things might just help to not die. However, most players will die. A lot. Go in with that expectation because the game creators have put together a beginner's guide for those who find the game too frustrating. Fittingly, dying represents one of the main hooks of Let It Die. Every time a player succumbs to the dangers of the tower, their "death data" uploads to every other player's game and becomes an enemy in the tower for everyone playing. The free-to-play model of Let It Die focuses on death, too. When players die they can either start from zero experience with an entirely new character or fork over some cash to continue with their old character from where they died. this will probably prove to be a turn-off to many, but the core gameplay encourages players to embrace the loss and press on, much like Dark Souls. Let It Die is available now on PlayStation 4 and has Remote Play, so it can also be played on the PlayStation Vita.
  10. What do you get when you lock the creator of Killer7 and No More Heroes in a room with a copy of Dark Souls and hallucinogenic mushrooms? Probably something that very much resembles Let It Die, a third-person action game about trying to reach the top of a tower with the help of Uncle Death, a grim reaper who rides a rocket skateboard. The quirky title appeared for free on the PlayStation a couple days ago and it's all kinds of strange. Players begin Let It Die with nothing but some snazzy underwear and the goal of fighting their way to the top of The Tower of Barbs. To do that, players must collect everything that isn't nailed down as they fight through crazy enemies and bosses, because those things might just help to not die. However, most players will die. A lot. Go in with that expectation because the game creators have put together a beginner's guide for those who find the game too frustrating. Fittingly, dying represents one of the main hooks of Let It Die. Every time a player succumbs to the dangers of the tower, their "death data" uploads to every other player's game and becomes an enemy in the tower for everyone playing. The free-to-play model of Let It Die focuses on death, too. When players die they can either start from zero experience with an entirely new character or fork over some cash to continue with their old character from where they died. this will probably prove to be a turn-off to many, but the core gameplay encourages players to embrace the loss and press on, much like Dark Souls. Let It Die is available now on PlayStation 4 and has Remote Play, so it can also be played on the PlayStation Vita. View full article
  11. While the first attempt at recording Episode 41 might have failed due to technical difficulties, we've returned this week with a brand new and totally original discussion of Flower, the PlayStation 3's 2009 indie darling. While playing as the wind using motion controls might have been a breath of fresh air, has the game become stale over time? What about the prestigious "Best Independent Game Fueled By Dew" award that the Spike Video Game Awards bestowed upon Flower? Has the honor of that accolade dimmed over the past years? More importantly, is Flower one of the best games period? 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: Shenmue 'Reflections' by Reuben Kee (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01159) 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! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  12. While the first attempt at recording Episode 41 might have failed due to technical difficulties, we've returned this week with a brand new and totally original discussion of Flower, the PlayStation 3's 2009 indie darling. While playing as the wind using motion controls might have been a breath of fresh air, has the game become stale over time? What about the prestigious "Best Independent Game Fueled By Dew" award that the Spike Video Game Awards bestowed upon Flower? Has the honor of that accolade dimmed over the past years? More importantly, is Flower one of the best games period? 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: Shenmue 'Reflections' by Reuben Kee (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01159) 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! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  13. The sequel to 2012's PS Vita title has a confirmed release date for this holiday season. New environments, enemies, abilities, and characters are teased in the new trailer. Along with the trailer and date, pre-order bonuses have been laid out for fans. Those who order Gravity Rush 2 from certain retailers will snag a white DLC costume for protagonist Kat. Pre-ordering from PSN after August 2 will net customers 10 PSN avatars from Gravity Rush 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio, the developer, has put an anime into production. Called Gravity Rush The Animation ~ Overture ~, the anime is being created by Studio Khara. Khara is probably best known for their work adapting Neon Genesis Evangelion to the big screen in Rebuild of Evangalion. The anime will bridge the gap between Gravity Rush 1 and 2. No release date has been announced, but it will be released prior to Gravity Rush 2. Gravity Rush 2 will be making its way to PlayStation 4 on December 2. View full article
  14. The sequel to 2012's PS Vita title has a confirmed release date for this holiday season. New environments, enemies, abilities, and characters are teased in the new trailer. Along with the trailer and date, pre-order bonuses have been laid out for fans. Those who order Gravity Rush 2 from certain retailers will snag a white DLC costume for protagonist Kat. Pre-ordering from PSN after August 2 will net customers 10 PSN avatars from Gravity Rush 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio, the developer, has put an anime into production. Called Gravity Rush The Animation ~ Overture ~, the anime is being created by Studio Khara. Khara is probably best known for their work adapting Neon Genesis Evangelion to the big screen in Rebuild of Evangalion. The anime will bridge the gap between Gravity Rush 1 and 2. No release date has been announced, but it will be released prior to Gravity Rush 2. Gravity Rush 2 will be making its way to PlayStation 4 on December 2.
  15. The first part of Telltale Games' five part series set in the world of Minecraft is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. iOS and Android versions of will release on Thursday, October 15. The series will also be coming to Wii U and PS Vita, though Telltale hasn't said when those versions will be hitting the market. Fully titled Minecraft: Story Mode Episode One - The Order of Stone, we are introduced to the colorful cast of characters and the gigantic force of destruction that threatens to engulf their world. Patton Oswalt, Corey Feldman, Cat Taber, Ashley Johnson , Scott Porter, and Brian Posehn all lend their voices to bring the cast to life. Who would have ever thought that we would hear 80s darling Corey Feldman in a video game (ignore that he starred in the 1995 title Normality)? View full article
  16. The first part of Telltale Games' five part series set in the world of Minecraft is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. iOS and Android versions of will release on Thursday, October 15. The series will also be coming to Wii U and PS Vita, though Telltale hasn't said when those versions will be hitting the market. Fully titled Minecraft: Story Mode Episode One - The Order of Stone, we are introduced to the colorful cast of characters and the gigantic force of destruction that threatens to engulf their world. Patton Oswalt, Corey Feldman, Cat Taber, Ashley Johnson , Scott Porter, and Brian Posehn all lend their voices to bring the cast to life. Who would have ever thought that we would hear 80s darling Corey Feldman in a video game (ignore that he starred in the 1995 title Normality)?
  17. We know that not everyone who loves games has enough time to seek out and watch nearly two hours of video game announcements made from the other side of the planet, so we went and did it for you! The Sony event included a wide variety of announcements ranging from developers taking the stage to briefly talk about their upcoming games to new accessories and system price drops. Keep very much in mind that many of these announcements are oriented around the Japanese market and may or may not be coming to North America. The release dates are all for Japan unless otherwise stated. However, the chances for some of these titles making their way the North American stores is pretty high, so with that in mind, let's get on with the run down. Sony kicked things off by announcing a new array of PS Vitas that offer a variety of different colors. These systems will be available in Japan September 17. New colors will also be available for the PlayStation 4 in the form of nine colored plates for the detachable portion of the PS4 case. These new colors also come with a price drop for the console to 34,980 yen, which is roughly $290. Perhaps we will also be seeing a holiday price drop in the near future? Later in the conference, Sony announced that a limited run of gold, silver, steel black, and crystal controllers would become available in retailers shortly. One can only hope that these color options can find their way across the ocean. Following that, the first details on Bloodborne's expansion dlc dropped, including a new trailer. Titled The Old Hunters, the DLC pits the protagonist of the core game against the legendary hunters of the past who have become insane and twisted by the powers of the blood. The DLC will hit the digital market worldwide on November 24, followed by a physical release packaged with Bloodborne on releasing December 3 in North America. The highly praised Gravity Rush (known as Gravity Daze in Japan), previously only available on PS Vita, will be receiving an HD remake for PS4. This remake will be making its way to North America on February 9 in North America under the title Gravity Rush Remastered. A sequel was also announced that will release in Japan sometime next year. No word on whether that will be coming to the NA region. It could depend on how well the remaster sells. Ubisoft took the stage next to talk about their upcoming titles. The first title they talked about, For Honor, throws knights (the Legions), vikings (Warborn), and samurai (Chosen) into all out war against each other. At the conference, Ubisoft revealed a gameplay montage for the Chosen faction’s Oni warrior, who can perform brutal katana attacks, call in archer volleys, and use a variety of clever tactical weapons to win the day. For Honor is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. No release date was been announced. Ubisoft also unveiled the trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate's first DLC pack which centers around Jack the Ripper. shown for the first time. It appears to involve tracking down the deranged killer who may or may not hold some affiliation to the Assassins. Following Ubisoft, Sega announced a remake of the game that kickstarted the Yakuza franchise. The remake of the PS2 classic drastically overhauls the graphics, improves overall playablity, and adds new missions that expand the story. The Yakuza remaster will be available on January 21. Sega followed this up with an almost casual mention that Yakuza 6 will release in fall 2016 exclusively for PS4. No word on whether either of those will come to North America any time soon, though given that Yakuza has developed a bit of a cult following, chances are fairly good that we will eventually see both. Additionally, a few seconds of The King of Fighters XIV was shown. The fighting genre staple releases this coming January for Japanese audiences. Bandai Namco took the stage to talk about two of its most lucrative Japanese franchises: One Piece and Gundam VS. New titles are on their way, pretty standard. However, the larger bombshells dropped afterward. Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to PS4. Given that Phantasy Star Online just released for North American audiences, chances are pretty good that we might see the same treatment in the near future. More amazing is a PS4 exclusive named Nioh debuted gameplay footage. Nioh was originally announced over a decade ago and was long thought to have been cancelled. The title appears to be a cool mix of Dark Souls and The Witcher 3 in which players hunt a wide variety of demons in a mystical, feudal Japan. Nioh releases in Japan sometime next year. RPG juggernaut Square Enix took over to flex its JRPG muscles. World of Final Fantasy trailer looks absolutely adorable and the game itself seems to be Final Fantasy meets Pokemon with some chibi character models thrown in for good measure. The title will release in Japan sometime during 2016 for PS4 and Vita. Square Enix and tri-Ace project Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness will hit Japan on February 25, 2016. No word on a US release yet, but if one is happening it should be a month or two after that date. The trailer has some really inviting and promising scenes that get my hopes up. Square Enix announced a new entry in the long dormant Saga series titled Saga: Scarlet Grace. Not many details are available on the game, but it is cool to see Square Enix delve into its lesser used IPs. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a large HD package of games that includes Dream Drop Distance HD, Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-. I have no idea what these names mean any more, but, hey, more Kingdom Hearts (even HD re-releases) isn't ever bad news. For the 20th anniversary of the Resident Evil series (known as Biohazard in Japan), Capcom is releasing a competitive third-person shooter titled Biohazard Umbrella Corps to bring the franchise into a new decade. It appears to be players fighting one another with guns and brutal weaponry while in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. The downloadable title will be available worldwide for PS4 and PC next year. Spike Chunsoft, the devs behind Daganronpa, are teaming up with RPG legends tri-Ace for a new title called Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky for PS4 and Vita that will launch on December 17. Square Enix took the stage again to show off Dragon Quest: Builders on January 28, 2016 looks like an adorable combination of Minecraft's blocky world and the traditional RPG nature of Dragon Quest. The game appears to involve restoring a monster-riddled land to safety by helping to construct towns. Project Morpheus is now somewhat more mundanely named PlayStation VR. That about covers the majority of the big and small announcements of the press event. You can watch the full thing for yourself here.
  18. If you haven't heard of Titan Souls yet, you are missing out. Conceived of as an entry in the Ludum Dare game jam back in 2013, the idea stuck with creators Mark Foster, David Fenn, and Andrew Gleeson. Together, they decided that they would make Titan Souls a full game. And make it, they did! It releases on April 14. Until then, you can try your hand at mastering the demo they've put together that remasters their original game jam prototype. The core idea of Titan Souls is that you are armed with a bow and only one arrow. You can slay the bosses in one shot, but they can also kill you instantly if one of their attacks connects. Titan Souls revolves around carefully timing and positioning attacks. It is intense and more than a little nerve-racking in the best possible way. You can download the demo on the Steam Store page for if you're curious. Titan Souls releases on April 14 for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita.
  19. If you haven't heard of Titan Souls yet, you are missing out. Conceived of as an entry in the Ludum Dare game jam back in 2013, the idea stuck with creators Mark Foster, David Fenn, and Andrew Gleeson. Together, they decided that they would make Titan Souls a full game. And make it, they did! It releases on April 14. Until then, you can try your hand at mastering the demo they've put together that remasters their original game jam prototype. The core idea of Titan Souls is that you are armed with a bow and only one arrow. You can slay the bosses in one shot, but they can also kill you instantly if one of their attacks connects. Titan Souls revolves around carefully timing and positioning attacks. It is intense and more than a little nerve-racking in the best possible way. You can download the demo on the Steam Store page for if you're curious. Titan Souls releases on April 14 for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita. View full article
  20. Square Enix is gearing up to re-release the definitive RPGs of the PlayStation 2 era in glorious high-definition and they have a trailer to prove it. Both titles in the HD Remaster will be updated version of the international Final Fantasy X and X-2, which contain content that was never seen in the North American releases. Square Enix has set the release to be March 18, 2014. As of this time, it is unknown when the Vita versions of both titles will release, as the given North American date only applies to the PS3 releases. Anybody else gearing up to replay this or play it for the first time? View full article
  21. Square Enix is gearing up to re-release the definitive RPGs of the PlayStation 2 era in glorious high-definition and they have a trailer to prove it. Both titles in the HD Remaster will be updated version of the international Final Fantasy X and X-2, which contain content that was never seen in the North American releases. Square Enix has set the release to be March 18, 2014. As of this time, it is unknown when the Vita versions of both titles will release, as the given North American date only applies to the PS3 releases. Anybody else gearing up to replay this or play it for the first time?
  22. While at E3, I had a chance to sit down with a few of the people from Gaijin Games, the developer behind the Bit.Trip series to talk with them about the challenges of porting Runner2 to Vita and what it is like to be an indie developer in this day and age. The three members of the team that I had the pleasure of talking with during the interview were Danny Johnson – Designer Extraordinaire, Dant Rambo – Associate Producer (with the coolest name ever), and Chris Meyer – 3D Artist and Dream Maker. (Note: Gaijin's official job titles probably do not include “extraordinaire,” “(with the coolest name ever),” or “dream maker,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t apply) --- Danny Johnson: With the Vita Version, we heard the feedback from a lot of fans that there was a desire to get the game on Vita. We’ve heard from other independent developers that their games had done really well on the Vita and stuff like that, so it was a market that we really wanted to go after. It is just that we hadn’t scheduled to do it at the beginning of the project, so we finished the main game up on consoles and then have been doing the Vita version amongst other things. So, basically what we have to show is Runner2. It’s all of Runner2. It’s, you know, the same game, but on handheld. We’ve retained everything from the console version, so I think that’s pretty impressive. Jack Gardner: So, you heard from other people that it would be good to have it on the Vita. What specifically makes Runner2 good to have on Vita? DJ: I think part of it is that we heard there was a bit of a different audience on Vita versus even on the PS3. People just, you know, want to play it [on the go] or just as their main device or they don’t like playing consoles, I don’t know. I think the big thing was that people wanted access to the game without having to sit at home, [laughs] which, you know, is understandable these days. Dant Rambo: I guess I’d also add that it is cool to be a part of the big indie push on Vita, which is nuts. Chris Meyer: Sony in general, not just Vita, is really embracing the indies. JG: Did Sony approach you guys about putting it on the Vita? DJ: I’m sure they kinda nudged us and said, ‘so you’re gonna put it on the Vita, right?’ You know? So we’ve kept in contact with them all throughout development, just making sure things were going all right. They definitely like to see stuff on the Vita. We kind of had that idea that we wanted to do it and it was a little bit of seeing how it goes and when can we fit it in and now is the time. JG: Are there a lot of challenges involved in taking a game that was made with consoles in mind and putting it on a handheld? Artistically, programming-wise, etc.? DJ: I think the ideal is that we could bring the same exact game and put it on handhelds. I mean, at this point we’ve only been working on it for about a month or so, but we’ve got it running. We just need a lot of the little optimization stuff and to work out the kinks. But it seems like it has been pretty good, pretty easy. You know, always bringing a game to a new platform brings a new set of challenges, but the whole thing is that we are looking to retain the main game and keep it at a solid frame rate. CM: We just don’t want to trim it down. We don’t want to give handheld users a lesser experience. DR: And it is also cool that it is level-based, so it already lends itself well to being on a mobile device, so you can pick it up and play it for five minute or for hours. JG: With the PS4 coming out soon, will Runner2 be available on the PS4? DR: That’s not out of the question. DJ: Yeah, I think part of it was we were waiting to see how their backwards compatibility was going to work and if you could still play it on PS4. I think they’ve said they have some streaming capabilities, but I think it is possible that we would port it up to PS4. Who knows if we would add stuff or what, but the whole thing about Runner2 was we didn’t want to leave it out of the hands of anyone. We wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted to play the game could play the game. So, we put it on whatever we could. JG: Alright, makes sense. Are there plans to create a follow-up or branch out into different explorations of the concept? DJ: Um… There is still stuff yet to be done on Runner2. We’re not going to go into that quite yet, but we are not done with Runner2, but definitely at this point we are looking into other avenues, other games, future projects, a couple of exciting possibilities, but that stuff is still probably a little ways out. But we have been toying with smaller stuff and bigger stuff, so… yeah. JG: Has the reception of the game been pretty good today? DR: Yeah, I would say so. I haven’t heard anything negative. Even people who had never played it on console seemed to really enjoy playing it. CM: There are also a lot of fans who have already played it, beaten it, one-hundred percent-ed it that want to play it again on their Vita. [Laughs] DJ: The console version was so well rated, that we hope it would bring out the people who are interested on Vita. JG: Yeah, that’s always the mark of a- [clattering noise] Always the mark of a great game when someone throws their pen in the middle of an interview. [laughter] When people like the game so much that they want to buy it again so that they can play it again. DJ: We certainly love how the fans have accepted the game and gone far beyond what we would expect. Like, one-hundred percent-ing the whole game and posting videos on YouTube. DR: One related anecdote to that, is that someone on Twitter said that they one-hundred percent-ed it and then deleted their save file so that they could start again. That was nuts. JG: Wow, I don’t know of anyone that actually deletes their save file… DR: At least not intentionally. [Laughs] JG: So, about how big is your team at Gaijin? DR: It is nine, I can confirm. DJ: Nine full-time, I think we have two or three contractors. JG: And how involved is Sony in the process of creating a game like Runner2? DJ: I’m not the person that they deal with, but I think that they just sort of make sure that things are going well for us, that we have the stuff we need. I think the PS4 dev kit came before we even ordered it or anything, so we were like, ‘Oh, awesome! We’ll have to check this out!’ JG: They are kind of hands off when it comes to- DJ: Yeah, I mean they’ll talk to us when we need to. I mean we have some people over there that we know pretty well and will answer our questions if we need them. JG: But it is a pretty good relationship? DJ: Yeah, we definitely like them. We make them happy and they make us happy. Everyone wins. DR: It is a good relationship. JG: I’m just wondering with the whole indie push coming out of Sony and the implosion of Microsoft’s indie stuff, people have been kind of wondering about indie development on consoles and for big companies like Microsoft and Sony. They’ve hear a lot about how terrible Microsoft has been for developers, but I haven’t heard a lot of people talking about Sony. DJ: Part of it was, you know with all the console makers, they have a lot of guidelines that you need to go through. Some of them make it easier or harder for you, which is a bit rough. We kind of like the Steam model where they are very hands off and they let you do what you need to do to make it work. It is a different approach from the consoles, but they are a little more nimble than these big corporations. I don’t know, it is tough to say. DR: I guess there is a little bit more of a hurdle with Microsoft because they don’t allow you to self-publish. JG: Is it hard to find a publisher for indie developers on consoles? CM: If I am not mistaken, we were able to establish Gaijin Games itself as a publisher. I think we can take that route if we want to. We worked with Aksys in the past because we wanted someone to help fund our game and get it through, because that is always really beneficial to a small team to see if they can get a game out there. But we’ve allowed ourselves the ability to self-publish on some of the platforms. Whenever that option is available we like to do it, but whenever there is publisher assistance then that is also pretty helpful. DR: This isn’t even related to us, but I met someone in the Sony booth today who had an idea for a game and they said Sony and Nintendo wanted to play ball right away, but he was here trying to find a publisher for Microsoft. Which isn’t to say that it is harder or easier. DJ: And I mean, we’ve talked with Microsoft, and they do support developers. It is just that they have a different approach to who they want on their system. It’s not a terrible approach or anything like that, it is just that they have their own mindset. Sony seems to be more, ‘we’ll take any cool games we can get,’ whereas Microsoft is a bit more exclusive with their stuff. DR: One last thing: The intended launch window for the Vita version of Runner2 is between mid-July and mid-August. JG: If you loved Runner2, you’ll love Runner2 on Vita. DR: You’ll love playing it on the toilet! CM: That’s the new feature. [Laughter] Runner2, fully titled Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, is a side-scrolling platformer currently available for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, and Mac. The Vita version, as stated in the interview, will release sometime between mid-July and mid-August.
  23. While at E3, I had a chance to sit down with a few of the people from Gaijin Games, the developer behind the Bit.Trip series to talk with them about the challenges of porting Runner2 to Vita and what it is like to be an indie developer in this day and age. The three members of the team that I had the pleasure of talking with during the interview were Danny Johnson – Designer Extraordinaire, Dant Rambo – Associate Producer (with the coolest name ever), and Chris Meyer – 3D Artist and Dream Maker. (Note: Gaijin's official job titles probably do not include “extraordinaire,” “(with the coolest name ever),” or “dream maker,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t apply) --- Danny Johnson: With the Vita Version, we heard the feedback from a lot of fans that there was a desire to get the game on Vita. We’ve heard from other independent developers that their games had done really well on the Vita and stuff like that, so it was a market that we really wanted to go after. It is just that we hadn’t scheduled to do it at the beginning of the project, so we finished the main game up on consoles and then have been doing the Vita version amongst other things. So, basically what we have to show is Runner2. It’s all of Runner2. It’s, you know, the same game, but on handheld. We’ve retained everything from the console version, so I think that’s pretty impressive. Jack Gardner: So, you heard from other people that it would be good to have it on the Vita. What specifically makes Runner2 good to have on Vita? DJ: I think part of it is that we heard there was a bit of a different audience on Vita versus even on the PS3. People just, you know, want to play it [on the go] or just as their main device or they don’t like playing consoles, I don’t know. I think the big thing was that people wanted access to the game without having to sit at home, [laughs] which, you know, is understandable these days. Dant Rambo: I guess I’d also add that it is cool to be a part of the big indie push on Vita, which is nuts. Chris Meyer: Sony in general, not just Vita, is really embracing the indies. JG: Did Sony approach you guys about putting it on the Vita? DJ: I’m sure they kinda nudged us and said, ‘so you’re gonna put it on the Vita, right?’ You know? So we’ve kept in contact with them all throughout development, just making sure things were going all right. They definitely like to see stuff on the Vita. We kind of had that idea that we wanted to do it and it was a little bit of seeing how it goes and when can we fit it in and now is the time. JG: Are there a lot of challenges involved in taking a game that was made with consoles in mind and putting it on a handheld? Artistically, programming-wise, etc.? DJ: I think the ideal is that we could bring the same exact game and put it on handhelds. I mean, at this point we’ve only been working on it for about a month or so, but we’ve got it running. We just need a lot of the little optimization stuff and to work out the kinks. But it seems like it has been pretty good, pretty easy. You know, always bringing a game to a new platform brings a new set of challenges, but the whole thing is that we are looking to retain the main game and keep it at a solid frame rate. CM: We just don’t want to trim it down. We don’t want to give handheld users a lesser experience. DR: And it is also cool that it is level-based, so it already lends itself well to being on a mobile device, so you can pick it up and play it for five minute or for hours. JG: With the PS4 coming out soon, will Runner2 be available on the PS4? DR: That’s not out of the question. DJ: Yeah, I think part of it was we were waiting to see how their backwards compatibility was going to work and if you could still play it on PS4. I think they’ve said they have some streaming capabilities, but I think it is possible that we would port it up to PS4. Who knows if we would add stuff or what, but the whole thing about Runner2 was we didn’t want to leave it out of the hands of anyone. We wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted to play the game could play the game. So, we put it on whatever we could. JG: Alright, makes sense. Are there plans to create a follow-up or branch out into different explorations of the concept? DJ: Um… There is still stuff yet to be done on Runner2. We’re not going to go into that quite yet, but we are not done with Runner2, but definitely at this point we are looking into other avenues, other games, future projects, a couple of exciting possibilities, but that stuff is still probably a little ways out. But we have been toying with smaller stuff and bigger stuff, so… yeah. JG: Has the reception of the game been pretty good today? DR: Yeah, I would say so. I haven’t heard anything negative. Even people who had never played it on console seemed to really enjoy playing it. CM: There are also a lot of fans who have already played it, beaten it, one-hundred percent-ed it that want to play it again on their Vita. [Laughs] DJ: The console version was so well rated, that we hope it would bring out the people who are interested on Vita. JG: Yeah, that’s always the mark of a- [clattering noise] Always the mark of a great game when someone throws their pen in the middle of an interview. [laughter] When people like the game so much that they want to buy it again so that they can play it again. DJ: We certainly love how the fans have accepted the game and gone far beyond what we would expect. Like, one-hundred percent-ing the whole game and posting videos on YouTube. DR: One related anecdote to that, is that someone on Twitter said that they one-hundred percent-ed it and then deleted their save file so that they could start again. That was nuts. JG: Wow, I don’t know of anyone that actually deletes their save file… DR: At least not intentionally. [Laughs] JG: So, about how big is your team at Gaijin? DR: It is nine, I can confirm. DJ: Nine full-time, I think we have two or three contractors. JG: And how involved is Sony in the process of creating a game like Runner2? DJ: I’m not the person that they deal with, but I think that they just sort of make sure that things are going well for us, that we have the stuff we need. I think the PS4 dev kit came before we even ordered it or anything, so we were like, ‘Oh, awesome! We’ll have to check this out!’ JG: They are kind of hands off when it comes to- DJ: Yeah, I mean they’ll talk to us when we need to. I mean we have some people over there that we know pretty well and will answer our questions if we need them. JG: But it is a pretty good relationship? DJ: Yeah, we definitely like them. We make them happy and they make us happy. Everyone wins. DR: It is a good relationship. JG: I’m just wondering with the whole indie push coming out of Sony and the implosion of Microsoft’s indie stuff, people have been kind of wondering about indie development on consoles and for big companies like Microsoft and Sony. They’ve hear a lot about how terrible Microsoft has been for developers, but I haven’t heard a lot of people talking about Sony. DJ: Part of it was, you know with all the console makers, they have a lot of guidelines that you need to go through. Some of them make it easier or harder for you, which is a bit rough. We kind of like the Steam model where they are very hands off and they let you do what you need to do to make it work. It is a different approach from the consoles, but they are a little more nimble than these big corporations. I don’t know, it is tough to say. DR: I guess there is a little bit more of a hurdle with Microsoft because they don’t allow you to self-publish. JG: Is it hard to find a publisher for indie developers on consoles? CM: If I am not mistaken, we were able to establish Gaijin Games itself as a publisher. I think we can take that route if we want to. We worked with Aksys in the past because we wanted someone to help fund our game and get it through, because that is always really beneficial to a small team to see if they can get a game out there. But we’ve allowed ourselves the ability to self-publish on some of the platforms. Whenever that option is available we like to do it, but whenever there is publisher assistance then that is also pretty helpful. DR: This isn’t even related to us, but I met someone in the Sony booth today who had an idea for a game and they said Sony and Nintendo wanted to play ball right away, but he was here trying to find a publisher for Microsoft. Which isn’t to say that it is harder or easier. DJ: And I mean, we’ve talked with Microsoft, and they do support developers. It is just that they have a different approach to who they want on their system. It’s not a terrible approach or anything like that, it is just that they have their own mindset. Sony seems to be more, ‘we’ll take any cool games we can get,’ whereas Microsoft is a bit more exclusive with their stuff. DR: One last thing: The intended launch window for the Vita version of Runner2 is between mid-July and mid-August. JG: If you loved Runner2, you’ll love Runner2 on Vita. DR: You’ll love playing it on the toilet! CM: That’s the new feature. [Laughter] Runner2, fully titled Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, is a side-scrolling platformer currently available for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, and Mac. The Vita version, as stated in the interview, will release sometime between mid-July and mid-August. View full article
×
×
  • Create New...