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Found 414 results

  1. Jack Gardner

    Conversing about Collidalot with Grunka Munka

    It can be easy to lose sight of the smaller indie titles with all of the high-profile games releasing as we near the holiday season, but one in particular stands out following its release last Friday: Collidalot. Collidalot is a fast-paced hover car combat game with a heavy emphasis on local multiplayer for up to four people. Players attempt to ram one another off the map or into hazards like spike traps. These vehicles receive a speed boost by riding rails with even higher speeds gained by riding rails painted their particular color. Each vehicle comes with its own special move to help give it the edge needed to pull out a victory. Also, it has a jammin' techno soundtrack that you can listen to for free on the company's SoundCloud page. The story of Seattle-based Grunka Munka Games begins with most of the team still in college where they worked together on a project called "The Enragement Ring." Even in an unpolished state, it gained attention from professors and it wound up making a circuit around the Seattle game dev scene where it won the Audience Choice award at both Seattle Indie Game Competition and Intel Game Developer Showcase among several other nominations and distinctions. All of that buzz landed the team at Grunka Munka on Nintendo's radar and after years of work, Collidalot has finally released! I had the opportunity to ask Andrew Ward, the CEO of Grunka Munka Games, some questions about Collidalot and he was gracious enough to provide some insightful looks into the world of scrappy game dev and shipping a studio's first game. --- What were some of the ideas for games that got bounced around before landing on what would become Collidalot? Originally, the game was intended to be giant spaceships slamming into other ships and knocking them out of the “sumo ring” arena to destroy them. We also wanted the game to be a local multiplayer game. Beyond that, everything we implemented was in an effort to achieve those intentions. We found that it is really boring to fly giant, slow spaceships at each other, especially if there are no projectile weapons, which we didn’t want. We thought that might be better if the ships were small and fast, so we tried it. It was better, but it was so easy to fly out of the map into the emptiness of space. Then we thought about how to add a better sense of control, so we ended up adding energy rails to grind on. This essentially created the first iteration of Collidalot. At what moment did you feel like Collidalot had enough potential to build a gaming studio around it? People seemed to love the first version of the game even though the controls were terrible and the game was slapped together so loosely that it would be a stretch to even call it a demo. It also had a terrible name, “The Enragement Ring”. It was fun though, and definitely unique. That gave us a lot of initial momentum. Most of us were still in school at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Seattle, but the excitement around early versions of the game during class got the attention of the staff. The most notable staff member to take note was Peter Huff. He handled most of the event coordination for the school and invited us to join iFEST 2017. Things moved quickly from there. People were asking us if the game was out because they enjoyed it so much at iFEST, even though we didn’t have any menus in the game yet. Someone responsible for helping run another local gaming event, Power of Play, approached us at iFEST and asked us to show the game off there the very next weekend. We went to Power of Play because it was a great opportunity, but we had no idea what to expect. While there, a representative from Nintendo approached us asking if we would be interested in bringing the game to the Wii U. Remember, the game had no menus, little content, and was barely a working prototype. We were still students with more than a year left until graduation. This was the turning point for us. We took this positive momentum and ran with it. No matter how hard it got, we pushed through because we knew this game and this team was on the right track for success and we didn’t want to squander such an opportunity. There aren’t any guns in the game – how did that decision get made and what does that absence of guns bring to Collidalot? The game was supposed to be all about slamming spaceships into each other originally, although that eventually changed to slamming jet-powered hover cars into each other. If you give players guns, that opens up the option to avoid other players and to shoot at them from a distance instead, bypassing our original vision. For this reason, you could say it was initially a design choice to get people to play the game [as it was intended]. We wanted people to be in each other’s face in game and out of game since it was a local multiplayer game, and you don’t really feel that intense connection if you can play without ever going near each other. Later, we realized that having no guns is kind of a big deal for many kids and families - a large portion of our target audience. We want everyone to experience our games and that design decision makes it easier for many families to feel comfortable with Collidalot. What were some of the inspirations for the mechanics behind Collidalot? Inspirations for Collidalot come from every corner of the universe. Warhammer 40K was the biggest one in terms of the concept for the game. Towerfall Ascension is one of our favorite local multiplayer games, so we tried to sneak many of their brilliant design choices into Collidalot in subtle ways. Smash Bros, Splatoon, Mad Max, Tony Hawk, Extreme-G, Kinetica, Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, and a ton of other sources outside of video games served as inspiration to us. Collidalot seems to have racked up a large number of awards since it began making the indie game circuit – which one has meant the most to the team? The Seattle Indie Game Competition’s People Choice Award 2017 (received at Power of Play 2017), is the award that means the most to us. It was our first major award. It was also the first award we worked towards months before receiving, and it felt incredible to earn it. Receiving that award was not just about us, either. It was about showing the people who have given us so much amazing support that we were not going to let them down; we were going to push ourselves to succeed. Collidalot is Grunka Munka’s first project, what are the biggest learning experiences you’ve had trying to ship this game? There have been so many and they are unique to each person on the team. We had to learn everything from scratch, like how to use the Unity game engine and how to make a game in general. Things that seem simple, like making a player select UI, were difficult because we hadn’t done it before. Most things took research and several iterations, so they took a while. We also had to learn how to form and run a company on top of it all, which added even more chaos into the mix. Then there were things like attending conferences to demo the game, joining competitions, and figuring out how to market the game so people would simply know it exists. Being a game developer is a learning experience that never ends. The Grunka Munka team participates in Extra Life – how did that begin? Why is it important to you all? One of our team members previously interned, and later worked, in the medical field before, during, and after undergrad. He’s always had a tremendous level of respect for the entire industry. That’s where it began. Since we work within a few blocks of Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), he quickly started reaching out to SCH and Extra Life about how we can get involved and help. After he joined the team, we started chatting about what we can do to help out and contribute. We all have been gamers since we were young and remember specific games that we loved both then and now. We know that hospitalized kids and their families could always use more reasons to smile and we simply couldn’t stop thinking about how to help. This drove us to get more involved with the Extra Life Seattle Guild, who immediately amplified our ability to spread some gaming happiness with SCH and beyond. We are proud to be a part of the Extra Life Seattle Guild and are incredibly excited for the work we are doing with them right now and will continue to do. What message did you want to send with Collidalot? What do you want people walking away from a session with it to be thinking about? I think everyone on the team has something different they want to say through the games we make. We all agree that moments in life are more special when you can share them with others. Collidalot aims to bring people together so that they can make and share those moments. We also want to show that there are still many amazing, unique things games can do that have never been done and that they are worth making. What sorts of projects is Grunka Munka interested in making in the future? Our goal is to create original ideas and new types of gameplay. Having just launched Collidalot, we are prototyping new ideas and deciding on our next project now. We are definitely interested in expanding concepts from Collidalot beyond its 2d/3d layout. We also have a number of completely different ideas for games we would like to work on. Our main focus will be to create something new and push ourselves creatively. Why do you believe Collidalot should succeed? What’s your best elevator pitch to someone who’s undecided? Because Collidalot is a unique take on the 4-player brawler. There are a lot of games available nowadays and it’s always exciting when there is something new and different to experience. We appreciate when people are a bit confused, yet excited by novel, unique games. Games should incite this and we feel we have captured that feeling. We pitch the game as “Collidalot is Jet-powered destruction derby crossed with high-speed rail grinding”. Basically, think Smash Bros. in jet cars. Collidalot is available now on Nintendo Switch. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. It can be easy to lose sight of the smaller indie titles with all of the high-profile games releasing as we near the holiday season, but one in particular stands out following its release last Friday: Collidalot. Collidalot is a fast-paced hover car combat game with a heavy emphasis on local multiplayer for up to four people. Players attempt to ram one another off the map or into hazards like spike traps. These vehicles receive a speed boost by riding rails with even higher speeds gained by riding rails painted their particular color. Each vehicle comes with its own special move to help give it the edge needed to pull out a victory. Also, it has a jammin' techno soundtrack that you can listen to for free on the company's SoundCloud page. The story of Seattle-based Grunka Munka Games begins with most of the team still in college where they worked together on a project called "The Enragement Ring." Even in an unpolished state, it gained attention from professors and it wound up making a circuit around the Seattle game dev scene where it won the Audience Choice award at both Seattle Indie Game Competition and Intel Game Developer Showcase among several other nominations and distinctions. All of that buzz landed the team at Grunka Munka on Nintendo's radar and after years of work, Collidalot has finally released! I had the opportunity to ask Andrew Ward, the CEO of Grunka Munka Games, some questions about Collidalot and he was gracious enough to provide some insightful looks into the world of scrappy game dev and shipping a studio's first game. --- What were some of the ideas for games that got bounced around before landing on what would become Collidalot? Originally, the game was intended to be giant spaceships slamming into other ships and knocking them out of the “sumo ring” arena to destroy them. We also wanted the game to be a local multiplayer game. Beyond that, everything we implemented was in an effort to achieve those intentions. We found that it is really boring to fly giant, slow spaceships at each other, especially if there are no projectile weapons, which we didn’t want. We thought that might be better if the ships were small and fast, so we tried it. It was better, but it was so easy to fly out of the map into the emptiness of space. Then we thought about how to add a better sense of control, so we ended up adding energy rails to grind on. This essentially created the first iteration of Collidalot. At what moment did you feel like Collidalot had enough potential to build a gaming studio around it? People seemed to love the first version of the game even though the controls were terrible and the game was slapped together so loosely that it would be a stretch to even call it a demo. It also had a terrible name, “The Enragement Ring”. It was fun though, and definitely unique. That gave us a lot of initial momentum. Most of us were still in school at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Seattle, but the excitement around early versions of the game during class got the attention of the staff. The most notable staff member to take note was Peter Huff. He handled most of the event coordination for the school and invited us to join iFEST 2017. Things moved quickly from there. People were asking us if the game was out because they enjoyed it so much at iFEST, even though we didn’t have any menus in the game yet. Someone responsible for helping run another local gaming event, Power of Play, approached us at iFEST and asked us to show the game off there the very next weekend. We went to Power of Play because it was a great opportunity, but we had no idea what to expect. While there, a representative from Nintendo approached us asking if we would be interested in bringing the game to the Wii U. Remember, the game had no menus, little content, and was barely a working prototype. We were still students with more than a year left until graduation. This was the turning point for us. We took this positive momentum and ran with it. No matter how hard it got, we pushed through because we knew this game and this team was on the right track for success and we didn’t want to squander such an opportunity. There aren’t any guns in the game – how did that decision get made and what does that absence of guns bring to Collidalot? The game was supposed to be all about slamming spaceships into each other originally, although that eventually changed to slamming jet-powered hover cars into each other. If you give players guns, that opens up the option to avoid other players and to shoot at them from a distance instead, bypassing our original vision. For this reason, you could say it was initially a design choice to get people to play the game [as it was intended]. We wanted people to be in each other’s face in game and out of game since it was a local multiplayer game, and you don’t really feel that intense connection if you can play without ever going near each other. Later, we realized that having no guns is kind of a big deal for many kids and families - a large portion of our target audience. We want everyone to experience our games and that design decision makes it easier for many families to feel comfortable with Collidalot. What were some of the inspirations for the mechanics behind Collidalot? Inspirations for Collidalot come from every corner of the universe. Warhammer 40K was the biggest one in terms of the concept for the game. Towerfall Ascension is one of our favorite local multiplayer games, so we tried to sneak many of their brilliant design choices into Collidalot in subtle ways. Smash Bros, Splatoon, Mad Max, Tony Hawk, Extreme-G, Kinetica, Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, and a ton of other sources outside of video games served as inspiration to us. Collidalot seems to have racked up a large number of awards since it began making the indie game circuit – which one has meant the most to the team? The Seattle Indie Game Competition’s People Choice Award 2017 (received at Power of Play 2017), is the award that means the most to us. It was our first major award. It was also the first award we worked towards months before receiving, and it felt incredible to earn it. Receiving that award was not just about us, either. It was about showing the people who have given us so much amazing support that we were not going to let them down; we were going to push ourselves to succeed. Collidalot is Grunka Munka’s first project, what are the biggest learning experiences you’ve had trying to ship this game? There have been so many and they are unique to each person on the team. We had to learn everything from scratch, like how to use the Unity game engine and how to make a game in general. Things that seem simple, like making a player select UI, were difficult because we hadn’t done it before. Most things took research and several iterations, so they took a while. We also had to learn how to form and run a company on top of it all, which added even more chaos into the mix. Then there were things like attending conferences to demo the game, joining competitions, and figuring out how to market the game so people would simply know it exists. Being a game developer is a learning experience that never ends. The Grunka Munka team participates in Extra Life – how did that begin? Why is it important to you all? One of our team members previously interned, and later worked, in the medical field before, during, and after undergrad. He’s always had a tremendous level of respect for the entire industry. That’s where it began. Since we work within a few blocks of Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), he quickly started reaching out to SCH and Extra Life about how we can get involved and help. After he joined the team, we started chatting about what we can do to help out and contribute. We all have been gamers since we were young and remember specific games that we loved both then and now. We know that hospitalized kids and their families could always use more reasons to smile and we simply couldn’t stop thinking about how to help. This drove us to get more involved with the Extra Life Seattle Guild, who immediately amplified our ability to spread some gaming happiness with SCH and beyond. We are proud to be a part of the Extra Life Seattle Guild and are incredibly excited for the work we are doing with them right now and will continue to do. What message did you want to send with Collidalot? What do you want people walking away from a session with it to be thinking about? I think everyone on the team has something different they want to say through the games we make. We all agree that moments in life are more special when you can share them with others. Collidalot aims to bring people together so that they can make and share those moments. We also want to show that there are still many amazing, unique things games can do that have never been done and that they are worth making. What sorts of projects is Grunka Munka interested in making in the future? Our goal is to create original ideas and new types of gameplay. Having just launched Collidalot, we are prototyping new ideas and deciding on our next project now. We are definitely interested in expanding concepts from Collidalot beyond its 2d/3d layout. We also have a number of completely different ideas for games we would like to work on. Our main focus will be to create something new and push ourselves creatively. Why do you believe Collidalot should succeed? What’s your best elevator pitch to someone who’s undecided? Because Collidalot is a unique take on the 4-player brawler. There are a lot of games available nowadays and it’s always exciting when there is something new and different to experience. We appreciate when people are a bit confused, yet excited by novel, unique games. Games should incite this and we feel we have captured that feeling. We pitch the game as “Collidalot is Jet-powered destruction derby crossed with high-speed rail grinding”. Basically, think Smash Bros. in jet cars. Collidalot is available now on Nintendo Switch. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Ingress, Niantic's previous real-world mobile game, laid the foundation for the phenomenon that became Pokémon Go. Armed with a warchest filled with the success of Nintendo's foray into bringing Pokémon to life on Earth, their next stab at Ingress seems to be going all-out. The game has an anime series, live-action teasers, and seems to be doing everything it can to create a self-sustaining player base. Ingress Prime brings players into a secret war between the Enlightened and the Resistance, two groups with opposing views on how to use the mysterious resource known as XM. Coming from portals all across the world, XM seems to hold massive power and the potential to reshape humanity on a massive scale. Players travel to these real-world locations to gather the resources for their particular faction and complete mission. In the past, some of these missions could mobilize hundreds of people - Niantic seems to be hoping Ingress Prime will reach even larger numbers of players. Ingress Prime is currently available for mobile devices. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. Ingress, Niantic's previous real-world mobile game, laid the foundation for the phenomenon that became Pokémon Go. Armed with a warchest filled with the success of Nintendo's foray into bringing Pokémon to life on Earth, their next stab at Ingress seems to be going all-out. The game has an anime series, live-action teasers, and seems to be doing everything it can to create a self-sustaining player base. Ingress Prime brings players into a secret war between the Enlightened and the Resistance, two groups with opposing views on how to use the mysterious resource known as XM. Coming from portals all across the world, XM seems to hold massive power and the potential to reshape humanity on a massive scale. Players travel to these real-world locations to gather the resources for their particular faction and complete mission. In the past, some of these missions could mobilize hundreds of people - Niantic seems to be hoping Ingress Prime will reach even larger numbers of players. Ingress Prime is currently available for mobile devices. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. The city of Nivalis stands at a tipping point, though to the outside observer it appears to be ticking along much the same as it always has. That is, until one fateful night Rania makes a deliver for Cloudpunk, a delivery company with a special disregard for the law. Nivalis changed forever over the course of that night. Ion Lands has announced a new kind of cyberpunk game: Cloudpunk. It's a story-driven game featuring a colorful cast of characters both organic and synthetic. Players will have the towering city of Nivalis to explore either on foot or by hover car as they make delivers that touch the lives of people from every part of society. Decisions players make can change the course of the story and have long-term impact on residents of the city. Those who explore carefully and pay attention to the stories around them will be rewarded with access to hidden locations and additional or expanded narrative opportunities. Your name is Rania. This is your first night working for Cloudpunk, the semi-legal delivery company based in the sprawling city of Nivalis. You go everywhere, from the Marrow below to the spires that pierce the grey clouds high above before scraping the edge of the troposphere. No delivery job is too dangerous, and no one is faster than a Cloudpunk driver. Ion Lands Cloudpunk has an open-ended release window of sometime in 2019. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  6. The city of Nivalis stands at a tipping point, though to the outside observer it appears to be ticking along much the same as it always has. That is, until one fateful night Rania makes a deliver for Cloudpunk, a delivery company with a special disregard for the law. Nivalis changed forever over the course of that night. Ion Lands has announced a new kind of cyberpunk game: Cloudpunk. It's a story-driven game featuring a colorful cast of characters both organic and synthetic. Players will have the towering city of Nivalis to explore either on foot or by hover car as they make delivers that touch the lives of people from every part of society. Decisions players make can change the course of the story and have long-term impact on residents of the city. Those who explore carefully and pay attention to the stories around them will be rewarded with access to hidden locations and additional or expanded narrative opportunities. Your name is Rania. This is your first night working for Cloudpunk, the semi-legal delivery company based in the sprawling city of Nivalis. You go everywhere, from the Marrow below to the spires that pierce the grey clouds high above before scraping the edge of the troposphere. No delivery job is too dangerous, and no one is faster than a Cloudpunk driver. Ion Lands Cloudpunk has an open-ended release window of sometime in 2019. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  7. With a new Western-themed animated short, Blizzard introduced the world to Ashe, McCree's former flame and lawless renegade. Ashe runs Deadlock, a band of outlaws that McCree interrupts in the middle of the train heist players have seen the aftermath of on the map Route 66. Blizzard also released a trailer teasing Ashe's gameplay abilities. She appears to have the ability to launch herself in a given direction with a well placed shotgun blast and possesses a mid-range rifle that can be used in a more aggressive sniping style. The trailer shows her able to throw a bundle of dynamite and shoot it to detonate the explosives and take out enemies. Her ultimate move has her summon her trusty robot sidekick Bob to knock up enemies in a line and act as a kind of turret, blasting the people he knocked up while Ashe continues to rain havoc on her foes. Ashe is cool and a great addition to the OverWatch cast. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  8. With a new Western-themed animated short, Blizzard introduced the world to Ashe, McCree's former flame and lawless renegade. Ashe runs Deadlock, a band of outlaws that McCree interrupts in the middle of the train heist players have seen the aftermath of on the map Route 66. Blizzard also released a trailer teasing Ashe's gameplay abilities. She appears to have the ability to launch herself in a given direction with a well placed shotgun blast and possesses a mid-range rifle that can be used in a more aggressive sniping style. The trailer shows her able to throw a bundle of dynamite and shoot it to detonate the explosives and take out enemies. Her ultimate move has her summon her trusty robot sidekick Bob to knock up enemies in a line and act as a kind of turret, blasting the people he knocked up while Ashe continues to rain havoc on her foes. Ashe is cool and a great addition to the OverWatch cast. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  9. Lucas Pope, the dev behind the highly acclaimed indie title Papers, Please, brings us Return of the Obra Dinn. Enter a high seas murder mystery set in the 1807 when everything was black and white and made of pixels. As an insurance inspector armed with a mystical assessment tool, players are dispatched to investigate the Obra Dinn, a ship believed to have been lost at sea for five years. What has the ship been doing in its years at sea? What happened to the ship's company? Why has the vessel just sailed back into the port at Falmouth, seemingly under its own power without any crew? To answer all of these questions and solve the mysteries of the Obra Dinn, players have a watch-like device that has the ability to replay the scenarios surrounding an individual's death. Players will have to make clever use of the device's abilities to access new areas of the ship and, as befits an insurance investigator, identify the remains of each member of the crew, how they died, and who, if anyone, killed them. Almost four years ago, I gave my thoughts on a preview build of Return of the Obra Dinn. It wasn't a long build, but it left a lasting impression. The haunting visuals and beckoning mystery don't leave you easily. And now, Return of the Obra Dinn has silently sailed into the harbor of digital PC storefronts - check it out if you're looking for a gameplay experience like you've never had before. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  10. Lucas Pope, the dev behind the highly acclaimed indie title Papers, Please, brings us Return of the Obra Dinn. Enter a high seas murder mystery set in the 1807 when everything was black and white and made of pixels. As an insurance inspector armed with a mystical assessment tool, players are dispatched to investigate the Obra Dinn, a ship believed to have been lost at sea for five years. What has the ship been doing in its years at sea? What happened to the ship's company? Why has the vessel just sailed back into the port at Falmouth, seemingly under its own power without any crew? To answer all of these questions and solve the mysteries of the Obra Dinn, players have a watch-like device that has the ability to replay the scenarios surrounding an individual's death. Players will have to make clever use of the device's abilities to access new areas of the ship and, as befits an insurance investigator, identify the remains of each member of the crew, how they died, and who, if anyone, killed them. Almost four years ago, I gave my thoughts on a preview build of Return of the Obra Dinn. It wasn't a long build, but it left a lasting impression. The haunting visuals and beckoning mystery don't leave you easily. And now, Return of the Obra Dinn has silently sailed into the harbor of digital PC storefronts - check it out if you're looking for a gameplay experience like you've never had before. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  11. Star Citizen has been in development for the past six years following a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign. The game has been envisioned and pitched as a spiritual successor to the Wing Commander series with modern sensibilities and a massively multiplayer galaxy. Though Star Citizen has received most of the media attention, the original Kickstarter was also for a single-player campaign set within the Star Citizen universe. That single player campaign was originally slated for release in 2014. However, one thing that neither Cloud Imperium Games nor the fans who backed Star Citizen could have planned on was the massive and ongoing crowdfunding that has gone on since the initial success of the Kickstarter. To date, the company has raised well over $150 million from players who have fallen in love with the dream of what Star Citizen could be. With all of that extra money, the scope of both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 has expanded. The new single-player game will have considerable star power, like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, John Rhys-Davies, Mark Strong, Andy Serkis, and more high profile actors and actresses. The acting chops going into Squadron 42 is pretty astounding, even by blockbuster gaming standards. We get to see snippets of that throughout the trailer as Cloud Imperium also shows off their impressive game tech, interesting sci-fi universe, and proves that Squadron 42 still exists and will eventually release. So it is that four years after the projected release date of Squadron 42 we are just now seeing an extended trailer full of gameplay and story (but still no release date). Overall, the trailer is incredibly impressive and looks to be the next hard sci-fi experience on the horizon with a chip on its shoulder to tell a compelling narrative. Add on deep and engaging space combat, and you have a great recipe for something really special. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  12. Star Citizen has been in development for the past six years following a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign. The game has been envisioned and pitched as a spiritual successor to the Wing Commander series with modern sensibilities and a massively multiplayer galaxy. Though Star Citizen has received most of the media attention, the original Kickstarter was also for a single-player campaign set within the Star Citizen universe. That single player campaign was originally slated for release in 2014. However, one thing that neither Cloud Imperium Games nor the fans who backed Star Citizen could have planned on was the massive and ongoing crowdfunding that has gone on since the initial success of the Kickstarter. To date, the company has raised well over $150 million from players who have fallen in love with the dream of what Star Citizen could be. With all of that extra money, the scope of both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 has expanded. The new single-player game will have considerable star power, like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, John Rhys-Davies, Mark Strong, Andy Serkis, and more high profile actors and actresses. The acting chops going into Squadron 42 is pretty astounding, even by blockbuster gaming standards. We get to see snippets of that throughout the trailer as Cloud Imperium also shows off their impressive game tech, interesting sci-fi universe, and proves that Squadron 42 still exists and will eventually release. So it is that four years after the projected release date of Squadron 42 we are just now seeing an extended trailer full of gameplay and story (but still no release date). Overall, the trailer is incredibly impressive and looks to be the next hard sci-fi experience on the horizon with a chip on its shoulder to tell a compelling narrative. Add on deep and engaging space combat, and you have a great recipe for something really special. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  13. Being a buster of ghosts without a proton pack takes a lot of work. HellSign tosses players into a dark and spooky world filled with hauntings and supernatural beings out to make the world a living nightmare. Each new case will have players tackling a new kind of monster; it'll take some sleuthing and preparation to correctly identify the spirit take it down successfully. As a paranormal investigator, players will create their own characters from scratch. Initially armed with nothing but some rust-covered hunting gear, players will work their way up the ranks of ghastly entities. Each case will help further open up the non-linear narrative, making each journey through HellSign unique to that investigator. HellSign takes place in Australia where players earn a living by fighting ghosts n' ghoulies. The game was created with the intention of mimicking monster-of-the-week television shows like Supernatural or The X-Files. Not gonna lie, the idea of becoming an Australian ghost hunter with an RPG framework and intriguing mysteries to solve is an easy sell for me. Players will explore locations like abandoned houses, barns, warehouses, etc. as they try to figure out what happened to draw a supernatural creature to that area. While exploring these spooky locales, various clues can be discovered, like blood spatters, tracks, or mysterious relics, that will help point toward what kind of apparition might be present. Everything a player discovers and identifies will be recorded in the Cryptonomicon for future reference. Once players have figured out, or believe they have figured out what sort of being haunts the area, it's time to gear up for battle. Players can only hold so many items at a time, so there's an element of inventory management and survival gameplay going on. Do you take the silver bullets or do you need a specialized scanner to see the creature? How you answer questions like that will mean the difference between victory and defeat. HellSign manifests on November 7 via Steam Early Access. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  14. Being a buster of ghosts without a proton pack takes a lot of work. HellSign tosses players into a dark and spooky world filled with hauntings and supernatural beings out to make the world a living nightmare. Each new case will have players tackling a new kind of monster; it'll take some sleuthing and preparation to correctly identify the spirit take it down successfully. As a paranormal investigator, players will create their own characters from scratch. Initially armed with nothing but some rust-covered hunting gear, players will work their way up the ranks of ghastly entities. Each case will help further open up the non-linear narrative, making each journey through HellSign unique to that investigator. HellSign takes place in Australia where players earn a living by fighting ghosts n' ghoulies. The game was created with the intention of mimicking monster-of-the-week television shows like Supernatural or The X-Files. Not gonna lie, the idea of becoming an Australian ghost hunter with an RPG framework and intriguing mysteries to solve is an easy sell for me. Players will explore locations like abandoned houses, barns, warehouses, etc. as they try to figure out what happened to draw a supernatural creature to that area. While exploring these spooky locales, various clues can be discovered, like blood spatters, tracks, or mysterious relics, that will help point toward what kind of apparition might be present. Everything a player discovers and identifies will be recorded in the Cryptonomicon for future reference. Once players have figured out, or believe they have figured out what sort of being haunts the area, it's time to gear up for battle. Players can only hold so many items at a time, so there's an element of inventory management and survival gameplay going on. Do you take the silver bullets or do you need a specialized scanner to see the creature? How you answer questions like that will mean the difference between victory and defeat. HellSign manifests on November 7 via Steam Early Access. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  15. The sequel to the Russian cult classic has donned its plague mask and begun its final march toward release. Pathologic 2 gives players twelve days to explore its mysterious and creepy open world, a land stricken with a deadly disease. While the people who reside there have become ever more paranoid and prone to extreme reactions to newcomers, something about the outbreak seems to have attracted the attention of otherworldly entities. The society presented in-game will almost certainly collapse, leaving players to navigate its ruins. Do you look out for everyone you meet or blaze your own violent trail? Either way, one of the core tenants of Pathologic 2 is a simple phrase: You can't save everyone. There will be unwinnable challenges to face where every choice brings with it a bitter downside. A variety of mysteries invite players to investigate. Uncover why your father, the town's chief doctor, was murdered and who killed him. There's also someone who might possibly be your twin who seems to be mixed up in the outbreak somehow. And as the adults join gangs and begin spreading death in their own ways, the town's children seem to be acting strangely.... Developer Ice-Pick Lodge will be showing the alpha version of Pathologic 2 at PAX West at the end of the month to those who attend the show. If you're interested in trying the game for yourself, you can sign up for alpha participation on the game's website. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  16. The sequel to the Russian cult classic has donned its plague mask and begun its final march toward release. Pathologic 2 gives players twelve days to explore its mysterious and creepy open world, a land stricken with a deadly disease. While the people who reside there have become ever more paranoid and prone to extreme reactions to newcomers, something about the outbreak seems to have attracted the attention of otherworldly entities. The society presented in-game will almost certainly collapse, leaving players to navigate its ruins. Do you look out for everyone you meet or blaze your own violent trail? Either way, one of the core tenants of Pathologic 2 is a simple phrase: You can't save everyone. There will be unwinnable challenges to face where every choice brings with it a bitter downside. A variety of mysteries invite players to investigate. Uncover why your father, the town's chief doctor, was murdered and who killed him. There's also someone who might possibly be your twin who seems to be mixed up in the outbreak somehow. And as the adults join gangs and begin spreading death in their own ways, the town's children seem to be acting strangely.... Developer Ice-Pick Lodge will be showing the alpha version of Pathologic 2 at PAX West at the end of the month to those who attend the show. If you're interested in trying the game for yourself, you can sign up for alpha participation on the game's website. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  17. Known for his work creating the Dragon Ball franchise, artist Akira Toriyama's iconic designs take the spotlight in the latest Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age trailer. The famed artist's signature designs have given life to the Dragon Quest series since its origins in 1986. This fall, the latest entry in the Dragon Quest series will finally see a worldwide release. In a recent statement issued in the Dragon Quest 30th ~ And Now Towards a New Legend ~ TV special and translated by Crunchyroll, Toriyama addressed his work on the Dragon Quest series: Really, if I had known that it would still be going on after 30 years, I don't think I would have taken the job! Honestly, if I had known how long it would last, I would have politely declined. I'm not good at doing the same thing over and over again. Designing characters for Dragon Quest is fun but difficult work. Nowadays, there are a lot of people working on the series, and all of the ones responsible for designing characters are good and serious people, so I don't have to do as many designs. I'm personally not terribly interested in designing wholesome characters, so I don't have many variations to offer. [...] But don't worry. I've undertaken this work with the full principle of my being, and so this time with Dragon Quest 11, I'm also endeavoring to design with all of my might. It will be a little while still before it's ready to be released into the world, but please look forward to it. Take a look at Toriyama's designs in motion in the latest Dragon Quest XI trailer. The eleventh entry in the mainline Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI, much like its sister RPG series Final Fantasy, serves as a standalone experience. It tells the story of a young man who learns that he might be the reincarnation of a hero who saved the world from the forces of darkness in ages past, forces which once again seem poised to invade the lands of Lotozetasia. In an effort to learn more, he departs to the capital to learn more of the ancient hero and his own potential future. Unfortunately, the king seems to have other plans for would-be heroes.... From there, the story takes off with all of the flourishes one might expect from a seasoned JRPG. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age releases for PS4 on September 4. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  18. Known for his work creating the Dragon Ball franchise, artist Akira Toriyama's iconic designs take the spotlight in the latest Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age trailer. The famed artist's signature designs have given life to the Dragon Quest series since its origins in 1986. This fall, the latest entry in the Dragon Quest series will finally see a worldwide release. In a recent statement issued in the Dragon Quest 30th ~ And Now Towards a New Legend ~ TV special and translated by Crunchyroll, Toriyama addressed his work on the Dragon Quest series: Really, if I had known that it would still be going on after 30 years, I don't think I would have taken the job! Honestly, if I had known how long it would last, I would have politely declined. I'm not good at doing the same thing over and over again. Designing characters for Dragon Quest is fun but difficult work. Nowadays, there are a lot of people working on the series, and all of the ones responsible for designing characters are good and serious people, so I don't have to do as many designs. I'm personally not terribly interested in designing wholesome characters, so I don't have many variations to offer. [...] But don't worry. I've undertaken this work with the full principle of my being, and so this time with Dragon Quest 11, I'm also endeavoring to design with all of my might. It will be a little while still before it's ready to be released into the world, but please look forward to it. Take a look at Toriyama's designs in motion in the latest Dragon Quest XI trailer. The eleventh entry in the mainline Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI, much like its sister RPG series Final Fantasy, serves as a standalone experience. It tells the story of a young man who learns that he might be the reincarnation of a hero who saved the world from the forces of darkness in ages past, forces which once again seem poised to invade the lands of Lotozetasia. In an effort to learn more, he departs to the capital to learn more of the ancient hero and his own potential future. Unfortunately, the king seems to have other plans for would-be heroes.... From there, the story takes off with all of the flourishes one might expect from a seasoned JRPG. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age releases for PS4 on September 4. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  19. Jack Gardner

    Assassin's Creed Goes Greek

    Assassin's Creed Odyssey made a huge splash at E3 2018. It seems to be a natural extension of its predecessor with its creative director even straight up describing it as an RPG, which feels like a big step for the series. It also makes the comparison to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt make that much more sense. Which... yeah, there's a pretty strong Witcher 3 influence at play in Odyssey (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all). Players take on the role of a lowly mercenary as either Alexios or Kassandra, a descendant of Spartan King Leonidas. Despite being abandoned as a child, Alexios/Kassandra inherit the broken spear of Leonidas which seems to possess some kind of power all its own. This artifact allows players to pull off arrow barrages, sneaky stealth takedowns, and table-turning melee moves. And this power to beat up dudes is conveniently bestowed upon the main character when Greece found itself embroiled in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a perfect time period for assassin shenanigans. In short, Assassin's Creed Odyssey looks cool, fun, and good. And it's great that we won't have to wait too long to see if it lives up to its initial impression. Assassin's Creed Odyssey will release on October 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
  20. Assassin's Creed Odyssey made a huge splash at E3 2018. It seems to be a natural extension of its predecessor with its creative director even straight up describing it as an RPG, which feels like a big step for the series. It also makes the comparison to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt make that much more sense. Which... yeah, there's a pretty strong Witcher 3 influence at play in Odyssey (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all). Players take on the role of a lowly mercenary as either Alexios or Kassandra, a descendant of Spartan King Leonidas. Despite being abandoned as a child, Alexios/Kassandra inherit the broken spear of Leonidas which seems to possess some kind of power all its own. This artifact allows players to pull off arrow barrages, sneaky stealth takedowns, and table-turning melee moves. And this power to beat up dudes is conveniently bestowed upon the main character when Greece found itself embroiled in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a perfect time period for assassin shenanigans. In short, Assassin's Creed Odyssey looks cool, fun, and good. And it's great that we won't have to wait too long to see if it lives up to its initial impression. Assassin's Creed Odyssey will release on October 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. View full article
  21. With the words, "Piracy Is Dead, Long Live Piracy," Justin Farren, the creative director of Skull and Bones, put pirating back into the limelight at E3. The world has changed and piracy in the west has been all but shut down. The east, however, still presents intrepid pirate captains with opportunities. Skull and Bones puts players at the helm of a pirate ship sailing the Indian Ocean, turning it into one wide open hunting ground. Will you be the one who climbs the ranks of the infamous and bloodthirsty to be remembered as one of the most successful pirates of all-time? The central premise of Skull and Bones seems hard to pin down, aside from all of the pirating of course. Players sail the seas in search of treasure and adventure. By various means, players can uncover clues or tips that hint at locations of interest where treasure might be or the route of a vessel worth plundering. Be warned, however. The seas are also home to other players who are also on the hunt for gold and glory. This, I believe, is the central tension around which Skull and Bones has built its gameplay. When players will encounter one another on the high seas - will they ally to take on bigger missions or will they start a fight to the death for one another's booty? Seeing some gameplay helped to give the game a bit more substance. Players will be able to disguise their ships and essentially enter stealth mode by flying the colors of friendly vessels. This will give the advantage of surprise to wily captains or be necessary to sneak by imposing, land-based fortifications. Each ship can be outfitted with a variety of equipment for aesthetic or functional purposes. Some examples include anti-boarding armor, a variety of cannons, and even a ship-based battering ram. Attacking weak trading ships will alert nearby warships that will attempt to corner players and sink them to reclaim stolen property. The largest of these will require the assistance of several players to fight off successfully. Different ships have different special abilities, which will make cooperation all the more important if players wish to survive.... it will also make backstabbing after cooperation has ended more appealing to the more mischievous out there. Skull and Bones will release sometime in 2019. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  22. With the words, "Piracy Is Dead, Long Live Piracy," Justin Farren, the creative director of Skull and Bones, put pirating back into the limelight at E3. The world has changed and piracy in the west has been all but shut down. The east, however, still presents intrepid pirate captains with opportunities. Skull and Bones puts players at the helm of a pirate ship sailing the Indian Ocean, turning it into one wide open hunting ground. Will you be the one who climbs the ranks of the infamous and bloodthirsty to be remembered as one of the most successful pirates of all-time? The central premise of Skull and Bones seems hard to pin down, aside from all of the pirating of course. Players sail the seas in search of treasure and adventure. By various means, players can uncover clues or tips that hint at locations of interest where treasure might be or the route of a vessel worth plundering. Be warned, however. The seas are also home to other players who are also on the hunt for gold and glory. This, I believe, is the central tension around which Skull and Bones has built its gameplay. When players will encounter one another on the high seas - will they ally to take on bigger missions or will they start a fight to the death for one another's booty? Seeing some gameplay helped to give the game a bit more substance. Players will be able to disguise their ships and essentially enter stealth mode by flying the colors of friendly vessels. This will give the advantage of surprise to wily captains or be necessary to sneak by imposing, land-based fortifications. Each ship can be outfitted with a variety of equipment for aesthetic or functional purposes. Some examples include anti-boarding armor, a variety of cannons, and even a ship-based battering ram. Attacking weak trading ships will alert nearby warships that will attempt to corner players and sink them to reclaim stolen property. The largest of these will require the assistance of several players to fight off successfully. Different ships have different special abilities, which will make cooperation all the more important if players wish to survive.... it will also make backstabbing after cooperation has ended more appealing to the more mischievous out there. Skull and Bones will release sometime in 2019. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  23. There's no getting around it; the biggest reveal of Ubisoft's E3 show had to be Jade as the antagonist of Beyond Good & Evil 2. The flashy trailer takes its time to introduce each member of the lovable space pirate crew, with special attention paid to series staple Pey'j and two new characters. We're given a brief insight into the life of the holistic chief medical officer Uma as she works on crewmen affected by Pey'j's cooking. The camera lingers on an interaction between chief engineer Callum and his loving engine. And then everything blows up. Gabrielle Shrager, narrative director on Beyond Good & Evil 2, described the game as a space opera. That label might have been hard to see for a game from the early 2000s about an adventurous photographer, but the sequel (which is confusingly a prequel) seems primed to live up to that term. Players take on the role of a space pirate captain in the 24th century that has somehow, probably with some kind of botched heist, earned the ire of the DomZ, the powerful alien race from the first game. Following the explosive trailer, the world was treated to the first look at Beyond Good & Evil 2 in action. The scenes shown took place largely in or around the ancient city of Ganesha. It offered brief, tantalizing snippets of gameplay showing an expansive world, multiple modes of travel including aircraft and jetpacks, and both aerial and ground combat. It was difficult to get a sense of how the game actually plays, but the general impression given was that the world will be colossal in scope. The universe of Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be so big, in fact, that Ubisoft has partnered with an open platform called Hit Record to help fill it with art via the Space Monkey Program. Ostensibly, they are doing this because there's more work to be done than can be feasibly done in-house and Hit Record will allow them to meet their perceived needs. The company, run by Joseph Gordon Levitt, will be paying collaborators for their contributions to Beyond Good & Evil 2, though that hasn't stopped some industry watchdogs from crying foul. Critics say that, while the idea of more opensource development for huge projects might be an interesting one, it will ultimately be a way of hiring freelancers to avoid paying for things like employee benefits or committing to contracts. This move has become more common in the game industry over the last few years, putting specialized creators into the unpredictable position of constantly moving from one job to the next with no stability and no guaranteed payment. This is called speculative work or spec work and spawned the hashtag #NoSpec on Twitter where various voices from around the industry gave their thoughts on the subject. While we don't have any hard release date for Beyond Good & Evil 2, we do know that there will be an event later this fall dedicated to the game and its community. BGE Fest will take place in Montpellier, France where we will likely present more details on what kind of creative community they aim to foster around Beyond Good & Evil as well as the game itself.
  24. There's no getting around it; the biggest reveal of Ubisoft's E3 show had to be Jade as the antagonist of Beyond Good & Evil 2. The flashy trailer takes its time to introduce each member of the lovable space pirate crew, with special attention paid to series staple Pey'j and two new characters. We're given a brief insight into the life of the holistic chief medical officer Uma as she works on crewmen affected by Pey'j's cooking. The camera lingers on an interaction between chief engineer Callum and his loving engine. And then everything blows up. Gabrielle Shrager, narrative director on Beyond Good & Evil 2, described the game as a space opera. That label might have been hard to see for a game from the early 2000s about an adventurous photographer, but the sequel (which is confusingly a prequel) seems primed to live up to that term. Players take on the role of a space pirate captain in the 24th century that has somehow, probably with some kind of botched heist, earned the ire of the DomZ, the powerful alien race from the first game. Following the explosive trailer, the world was treated to the first look at Beyond Good & Evil 2 in action. The scenes shown took place largely in or around the ancient city of Ganesha. It offered brief, tantalizing snippets of gameplay showing an expansive world, multiple modes of travel including aircraft and jetpacks, and both aerial and ground combat. It was difficult to get a sense of how the game actually plays, but the general impression given was that the world will be colossal in scope. The universe of Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be so big, in fact, that Ubisoft has partnered with an open platform called Hit Record to help fill it with art via the Space Monkey Program. Ostensibly, they are doing this because there's more work to be done than can be feasibly done in-house and Hit Record will allow them to meet their perceived needs. The company, run by Joseph Gordon Levitt, will be paying collaborators for their contributions to Beyond Good & Evil 2, though that hasn't stopped some industry watchdogs from crying foul. Critics say that, while the idea of more opensource development for huge projects might be an interesting one, it will ultimately be a way of hiring freelancers to avoid paying for things like employee benefits or committing to contracts. This move has become more common in the game industry over the last few years, putting specialized creators into the unpredictable position of constantly moving from one job to the next with no stability and no guaranteed payment. This is called speculative work or spec work and spawned the hashtag #NoSpec on Twitter where various voices from around the industry gave their thoughts on the subject. While we don't have any hard release date for Beyond Good & Evil 2, we do know that there will be an event later this fall dedicated to the game and its community. BGE Fest will take place in Montpellier, France where we will likely present more details on what kind of creative community they aim to foster around Beyond Good & Evil as well as the game itself. View full article
  25. As the Microsoft E3 press conference drew to a close, Phil Spencer's final statements were cut off by a burst of static, as though the Microsoft stage had been hacked by outside forces. Sure enough, it was the long-awaited reveal of Cyberpunk 2077. In January 2013, the game was first promoted with a provocative teaser trailer. Five years later, we finally have a new look at the highly-anticipated RPG from the developers of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Unlike that initial teaser, which was entirely pre-rendered, this new trailer consists entirely of in-engine footage. Cyberpunk 2077 is a follow-up to the legendary pen-and-paper RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, and puts players in Night City, California, a science-fiction world of corporate espionage, wealth disparity, cybernetic modifications, and bright neon lights. While no actual gameplay was shown, the imagery on display points towards a number of prospective gameplay mechanics. The video begins on a subway, suggesting a vast city and public transportation system for players to explore. The protagonist is seen driving a retro-future 1980s car, so maybe vehicles will be a central component of the game, a 21st century counterpart to Roach, the horse from The Witcher III. The trailer offers fleeting glimpses of underground fight clubs, people who are augmented to the point where they're more machine than human, children playing virtual reality video games, and even a basketball player using booster jets attached to his boots to gain an extra edge. More than any gameplay revelations, the trailer offers a look at a city on the brink of collapse, wallowing in a mix of despair, glamour, violence, and rollicking freedom. As the unnamed protagonist of the clip says, "It's a city of dreams, and I'm a big dreamer." While Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably still as mysterious as ever, we now have a solid look at the setting of the title, and the appropriately punk rock tone Polish developer CD Projekt Red is attempting to capture. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be shaping up to capture the spirit of the Cyberpunk movement, the tech-based optimism of its 1980s inspiration, and the role-playing mastery of its developers. Cyberpunk 2077 will release "when it's ready." View full article
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