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Archive | July, 2013

Grand Theft Auto 5 rated R18+ in Australia

31 Jul

Hush your worries, Australian fans; Grand Theft Auto 5 has been rated R18+ in Australia, ensuring it is eligible for local release.

The Australian Classification Board awarded the highest rating to Rockstar’s open-world adventure, noting high impact drug use.

The game also exhibited strong impact themes, violence, language, nudity and sex.

GTA 5 is due on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in September.

The GTA series has been controversial in the past and was retroactively refused classification in Australia over the San Andreas Hot Coffee scandal. As a result, fans had been holding their breath over the game’s classification.

Australia introduced an R18+ ratings category for video games on January 1 2013, but did not significantly slacken its content guidelines; the category was intended to divide adult material from that suitable for minors, not necessarily allow more extreme content. The Classification Board is particularly harsh on incentivised drug use and sexual violence; as a result, both State of Decay and Saints Row 4 were refused classification for content falling outside guidelines.

State of Decay developed Undead Labs resubmitted a modified version where drugs were replaced by vitamins; Saints Row 4 publisher Deep Silver appealed the board’s ruling, but was unsuccessful. It has submitted a modified version, too, so there’s a good chance local release will follow.

Thanks, AusVGClassifications.

Levine: gamer rage “counterproductive for the gamers”

31 Jul

Attacking or abusing game creators online doesn’t make games better, BioShock creator Ken Levine has warned; in fact, it can be detrimental.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Levine addressed the recent torrent of abuse levelled at Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar over a Black Ops 2 patch, and the ongoing dramas which caused Polytron’s Phil Fish to leave the industry.

Levine said that he personally isn’t upset by online abuse, and has a pretty good life – but he worries about what knock-on effects gamer rage could have.

“It can end up being counterproductive for the gamers’ own interests,” he said.

“Like, for instance, Vonderhaar. Especially to start bringing your family into it. I’ve had people say threatening things to me. You know, it’s like, why would he want to get up the next morning and go try?”

Levine said he doesn’t know Fish and can’t speak for how much through went into the Fez creator’s decision to quit games development.

“But there are guys who I respect and like who walked away from the space because it’s just not worth the trouble any more,” he said.

“Especially if you’ve got families and got lives. Everybody’s entitled to do what they want to do, but just like the developer at some point is entitled to say, you know what? It just isn’t worth it for me any more.”

Levine said that while he personally stands strong against it, some developers are likely to make poor artistic decisions because they feel pressured by fan expectation.

“Say if it was someone besides me, the amount of pressure to get DLC out, I could say, fuck it, let’s cut half of it so we can get it out sooner. I’m used to the pressure, but there may be a guy who’s not like me, who doesn’t have the experience, who will give into that pressure and release something that’s not as good because they feel that,” he said.

“And that’s what I worry more about is how it affects games. As a gamer, game comes out, I hope it’s good, and if I like it I play it and if I don’t like it I don’t play it, and I think you can get in a strange space where it ends up being counterproductive for the gamers. But for me, it’s just part of the job at this part, but I don’t think it helps gaming.”

Thanks, GamesIndustry.

Star Wars: Battlefront expected in 2015

31 Jul

EA has put a tentative release window on Battlefront, the first of multiple Star Wars projects the publisher has in the works.

Speaking to shareholders during a briefing call, as reported by Eurogamer, EA said the shooter is likely to hit in northern summer 2015.

“The first game that we’re focused on is Battlefront. It’s a traditional game that’s done extremely well and this will most likely come out around the same time as the Star Wars movies start to come out, probably in the summer of ’15,” EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen went on to mention a number of other Star Wars projects.

“We have partnered with Walt Disney and LucasFilm to develop a whole new generation of Star Wars games for the console as well as for mobile and handheld devices,” he said.

EA previously announced that Star Wars games are under development at Dead Space developer Visceral and Mass Effect developer BioWare, which was responsible for KOTOR and MMO The Old Republic.

Star Wars: Battlefront is in the works at DICE, but the team has promised it’s not a re-skinned Battlefield. It is the third Battlefront game and fondly called Battlefront 3 by fans, but is a reboot of the series and not the long-rumoured sequel.

DUST 514 tournament prize includes renaming a planet

31 Jul

The universe shared by PlayStation 3 shooter Dust 514 and PC MMO EVE Online will be permanently altered at the end of an upcoming tournament.

The Prime League Tournament is explained in-lore as a follow-up to Mordu’s Challenge; according to the shooter’s ongoing story, the Legion wants to establish which merc group is the best in order to assess whether it could take it on head-on.

As such, it’s sponsoring a tournament by offering ISK, equipment, and the chance to rename a planet in New Eden as prizes.

The tournament will be open to 24 teams each from North America and Europe. DUST 514 players who are either CEOs or directors of their corporation can register their corporation, submitting a full team list. Matches begin on August 12,and will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through September 4 between 8:30PM and 10:00PM CT and GMT for NA and EU respectively. Championship matches begin September 9 and end on September 18.

More details and full rules are available on the DUST 514 forums. Sign up for the tournament via co-host Urgent Fury.

Thanks, PCGamesN.

Killer is Dead footage shows gunarm man no match for katana

31 Jul

Five minutes from what seems to be the start of Killer is Dead has turned up online, and although it’s a little bit light on action it’s excessively beautiful.

Killer is Dead is due on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on August 27 in North America and August 30 in Europe.

Thanks, AllGamesBeta.

KOTOR 3 was in pre-production at Obsidian

31 Jul

Today in news likely to make you fall to your knees and do the Darth Vader “noooo”, the never-greenlit Knights of the Old Republic 3 sounds like it was going to be totally sweet.

KOTOR 3 was in pre-production at Obsidian Entertainment, Chris Avellone told Eurogamer in a podcast – and that’s why KOTOR 1′s Revan didn’t appear much in KOTOR2; the character would have made a return in the third game, closing the trilogy.

“I always liked the idea that Revan, as smart and powerful as your player-character was, was actually even more of a brilliant strategist than became apparent in the first game,” Avellone said.

“The entire second game is littered with clues as to ‘why didn’t Revan destroy the infrastructure here? What was he trying to make sure was still intact? What did he/she see that no one else saw?’

“I thought that was giving a nice nod to ‘wait a minute, Revan realises there’s an even larger force at work here, and he’s focusing his efforts on that and keeping the big picture in mind’. That was one thing – the idea that there was a larger, global conspiracy.”

The conspiracy in question concerned a previously unencountered kind of Sith lord.

“The idea was that even before the ‘modern day’ Sith came into being in The Old Republic there were even more distant Sith Lords that were considered the true Sith, and the idea that they were still lurking out there in the galaxy waiting for a chance to strike, kind of like the Shadows in Babylon 5, I thought would be a cool finale for that Old Republic trilogy.

In the proposed third game, players would have fulfilled the role of a character called the Exile, who would have attempted to track Revan down. It’s not certain whether the two characters would ever come face to face.

It sounds like Obsidian had qite fleshed out-ideas; the game would retain familiar features like the Ebon Hawk, the base and the player character’s home, and would see the return of companions T3-M4 and HK-47. In one sequence, HK-47′s legs would be removed, and the player would carry the robot in a backpack; it would provide cover fire.

Despite its ambitious plans and the success of the first two games, Obsidian was unsuccessful in getting the sequel greenlit.

“It was a matter of getting LucasArts to greenlight the title. To be honest I don’t know all the reasons that went into this, whether they wanted to have an internal team do it, whether they logistics didn’t work out…” Avellone said.

“Ultimately, it felt like we were pitching and pitching and it just wasn’t going anywhere, and at some point people just drew a line and said ‘it’s just not going to happen’, which made us kind of sad, but, OK, if that’s the business, that’s the business.”

The full podcast report goes into detail on why Obsidian released KOTOR 2 unfinished, and includes a heartfelt thanks from Avellone to the modders who helped restore the lost content so players could experience it. It’s pretty much a must-read (or listen) for any KOTOR fan.

Wasteland 2 duplicate playthroughs a “virtual impossibility”

31 Jul

It’s extremely unlikely that two players will have the same experience in Wasteland 2, inXile has claimed.

Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, inXile founder Brian Fargo pomised that choices really matter in Wasteland 2. It’s not just cosmetic reactivity, he said; that’s a “magician’s trick” where you end up “getting the same thing” whatever you choose.

“It’s not that. It’s a virtual impossibility for two people to have the exact same experience of the game,” he said.

Project lead Chris Keenan said inXile isn’t “shy” about “shutting off entire levels of gameplay”. “We really wanted to make that happen,” he said.

InXile president Matt Findley said these potentially shut off sequences are quite a substantial portion of the game’s content.

“We have so many sequences. About half the game, most people will never see,” he said.

“We’re not afraid at all to create content that’s off the critical path or can be closed off permanently.”

“You can shoot or kill anybody in the whole game. That in itself [is huge],” Fargo added.

“If someone joins your party, you can kick them out, kill them, whatever you want. There’s whole sequences you’re not gonna see later because you offed the guy. We just deal with it. There’s no replacement – no NPC that joins you and acts just like him functionally. He’s out. You’re just not gonna see it.

“On the biggest level, there will be areas that will be completely different. Gone, destroyed. There’s not one just like it to make up for it. It’s just gone.”

Wasteland 2 was recently delayed; it will go into beta in October, after which inXile will be able to set a new release date.

Thanks, PCGamesN.

Phantasy Star Online 2 video shows off Episode 2, Part 2

31 Jul

SEGA has released a new video for Phantasy Star Online 2, showing off Episode 2, Part 2.

The video gives you an idea of some of the new gear, costumes, maps, and other goodies which are coming with the update on August 7.

The firm also said that Episode 2, Part 3 is already in the works, and should be out sometime in December.

If you head on over to Massively, you can also watch a couple of odd commercials for the game on PC and Vita.

Phantasy Star Online 2 is still heading west at some point, after being delayed from its initially panned early 2013 release.

Prison Architect update 12 adds contraband, liquor, drugs, more

31 Jul

Prison Architect’s lasted update is massive and contains contraband such as shivs, drugs, and alcohol. We’re assuming the later is pruno, or prison wine.

But liquor won’t be limited to inmates, apparently, because scotch can be stolen from the administrators’ bottom desk drawer.

Prisoners in the workshop will also be able to use screwdrivers, hammers, saws, and drills to off guards and other prisoners, so you will need to make sure they aren’t carried back with them to their cells.’

In order to do this you will need to search them with a metal detector or by patting them down. You can even search their cells.

There are so many other additions and changes with the update, and PCgamesN has posted the lot. Read more about it over there.

The more I read about this game, the more I want to play it, honestly.

You can get your Alpha update on Steam is you haven’t already and non-Steamers will get an email link to download a DRM version.

Xbox Live program manager details how new reputation system outs “cheats and jerks”

31 Jul

Xbox Live program manager Micheal Dunn has detailed how the new reputation system will work a bit more, stating that the new system will no longer be a play for cheats or jerks to run wild.

Speaking on Xbox Wire, Dunn said his team has been working hard on a community-powered reputation system which will help filter out people you don’t want to play with.

“No question that Xbox Live is a distinct community of passionate gamers,” he said. “We love that. But just like in life, there are all types of people – some shy, some polite, some aggressive, some snarky, some annoying and some that can’t avoid swearing at #$%^ happens to them.

“Most Xbox Live players are polite online and know how to socially adjust to people they’re playing with. But not everyone does this. And, it can be challenging to pick up on social cues when you are connected online and not face-to-face in the same room.

“With the new community-powered reputation model for Xbox One, we want to help you avoid the players you don’t want to play with. If you don’t want to play with cheats or jerks, you shouldn’t have to. Our new reputation model helps expose people that aren’t fun to be around and creates real consequences for trouble-makers that harass our good players.”

One of the ways the team is going about it is by simplifying the mechanism for Xbox One: moving from a survey option to more direct feedback, including things like “block” or “mute player” actions into the feedback model.

“The new model will take all of the feedback from a player’s online flow, put it in the system with a crazy algorithm we created and validated with an MSR PhD to make sure things are fair for everyone,” Dunn explained. “Ultimately, your reputation score will determine which category you are assigned: ‘Green = Good Player,’ ‘Yellow = Needs Improvement’ or ‘Red = Avoid Me.’

“Looking at someone’s gamer card you’ll be able to quickly see their reputation. And, your reputation score is ultimately up to you. The more hours you play online without being a jerk, the better your reputation will be. Most players will have good reputations and be seen as a ‘Good Player’. The algorithm is looking to identify players that are repeatedly disruptive on Xbox Live.

“We’ll identify those players with a lower reputation score and in the worse cases they will earn the ‘Avoid Me’ reputation. Before a player ends up with the ‘Avoid Me’ reputation level we will have sent many different alerts to the ‘Needs Improvement’ player reminding them how their social gaming conduct is affecting lots of other gamers.”

Dunn said the algorithm is “sophisticated” and won’t penalize you for a few bad reports, as even “good” players might receive a few player feedback reports each month. The algorithm weighs the data collected so if a dozen people are reporting a single user, the system will look at a variety of factors before docking their reputation.

“We’ll verify if those people actually played in an online game with the person reported – if not, all of those player’s feedback won’t matter as much as a single person who spent 15 minutes playing with the reported person,” he continued. “The system also looks at the reputation of the person reporting and the alleged offender, frequency of reports from a single user and a number of other factors.”

Dunn said the system will continue to evolve and get better as more feedback is received and tracked, and Microsoft will also add “more consequences for the jerks.”

“Of course, the system will be as good as you make it, so all you need to do is report the players that are abusive, cheating or causing mayhem and their reputation will reflect that,” he concluded.

Xbox One is due o shelves sometime this November.

Destiny looked to Borderlands and Far Cry for missed opportunities to “capitalize on”

31 Jul

When developing Destiny, Bungie said it took some inspiration from other open-world shooters such as Borderlands and Far Cry, by looking at the things it felt the developers did right, and the opportunities the teams may have missed.

Speaking with Edge, creative director Joe Staten said some of those misses opportunities could be capitalized on.

“We are absolutely doing things that would be familiar if you’ve played any kind of open-world game,” said Staten. “I mean… Far Cry, even. We would be idiots if we didn’t look at an awesome game like Borderlands and ask, ‘What are they doing well and how can we try to hit that same ball?’ I have never played a game where I have such a great attachment to my gun as I do in Borderlands.

“When we look at a game like that, we look at the things they’re doing well and also at opportunities they might have missed that we can capitalize on. You can party up with a group of people and then go around with that group, but never in Borderlands are you going to collide with a group of other people doing it too.

“We don’t do that just once or twice in the game, we do that all the time, everywhere. You see other people on the horizon, hear gunfire over a hill and see space magic flying behind some trees, and you know… there are other people out here, that [changes everything].

“Borderlands right now is: ‘I’m going to walk into that space and we’re going to clear them out and keep going’. And frankly that’s not just Borderlands, that’s any co-op shooter.”

But you can play the game solo as well if you wish, according to Bungie, and while you can avoid the multiplayer the firm feels you will be missing out on some fun times.

Destiny will launch on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One in 2014.

Dragon’s Crown reviews hit, get the scores here

31 Jul

Dragon’s Crown reviews have started landing online, and we’ve got a few listed for you below.

The lovely looking Vanillaware title isn’t expected in North America until August 6, but you can get an idea of what critics think of it a few days early.

Slated for PS3 and Vita, fans in Europe will get it later this year.

PS3

Game Informer – 8
Destructoid – 9.5
IGN – 8.5
Polygon – 6.5
Joystiq – 4.5/5
GamesBeat – 9
Meristation (Spain) – 9.2
Kotaku – “Yes”
PlayStation Universe – 9
The Escapist – 6
Digital Spy – 8
RPG Gamer – 8
Dark Station – 8
RPGfan – 8.5
PlayStation Lifesytle – 9
Gaming Nexus – 9.5

Vita

Pocket Gamer – 9
Game Revolution – 4.5/5
RPGfan – 8.8

PS4, Xbox One will be “bigger than last-gen,” says Riccitiello

31 Jul

Former EA CEO John Riccitiello believes PS4 and Xbox One will be “bigger than the last generation.”

Speaking in an interview with GI International, Riccitiello feels the console will benefit from ease of use with the average consumer, and the fact that the systems are more connected.

“I think they’ll be bigger than the last generation, actually,” he said. “The last generation can be described as supercharged engines – they had super-powerful boxes. But the entirety of the online communication and being able to connect to your friends and all that stuff, a seamless, smooth, social experience, was just masking tape – barely put together.

“Remember that this was eight years ago. Most people were just moving on from their 28k modems. Now these are fully functioning, fully integrated online computers connected to the best screen in your house. You put a super computer under your TV, plug it in with one connection and it works. It knows who you are, it knows what your games are and it’s unbelievably simple; it’s not like PC plug and play, it’s just plug and play.

“The next generation of consoles are going to be a massive improvement on user interface. So I think that ‘s going to matter.”

Despite how well he thinks the new consoles will be received by the consumer, he feels tablets are the future. That being said, he feels consoles and touch devices will be able to “happily coexist.”

“I think touch changed everything, I think tablets are incredible,” Riccitiello said. “I think they’re probably… one of the best ways to game out there. I’m still a believer in the next generation of consoles but another billion and a half people came into the industry as a consequence of mobile and I think that’s a pretty cool place to focus.

“I’m a gamer, I like games, I like people who build them, and I’m going to continue to work with them.”

You can read more of the interview through the link above, or just go over some of the highlights we pulled for you, such as his thoughts on: Battlefield 4 finally winning over Call of Duty; the risks triple-A publishers face; and his distaste for developers who only get into the industry to make a quick buck.

Riccitiello: “consequences are huge” for triple-A failure, industry “driven by top 50″

31 Jul

John Riccitiello has said the inherent nature of a hits-driven business means a publisher which is successful now, can go under rather quickly, because that just the nature of triple-A development and being “driven by top 50.”

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with GI International, the former EA CEO said because of such a focus by the larger publishing firms, it makes it harder for them to try anything relatively new like the indies are doing.

“We’re driven by top 50. The indie movement, I hate to say this, but you go to a lot of indie conferences and the numbers are really small,” Riccitiello said. “And people are doing it out of love, not business economics. And I’m in this industry for the love of it, but the fact is that the top 50 are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and I think they’re going to absorb the lion’s share of the business on mobile, just like they have on console and on other formats.

“And then the question is how do we build products that serve that intelligently? I don’t know that in mobile we’ve got a pattern; we think we’ve got a pattern but we’re only a few years old.

“The consequences are huge. If Ubisof fell on Assassin’s or Activision gets the lead on shooters taken away by EA, that’s going to be cataclysmic, and there’s going to be huge issues there. I mean what do you think GungHo will do if Puzzles & Dragons fades?”

Riccitiello said companies need to realize there is more to game design that “resource management around the money that you put into a game,” in order to create satisfying entertainment.

US Court of Appeals tosses EA’s First Amendment claim over player likenesses in NCAA games

31 Jul

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that EA cannot use the First Amendment as a defense to justify using student-athletes likenesses in video games without their permission.

According to the ruling against Electronic Arts and the NCAA, the case will be remanded back to the trial court where the case will proceed against all defendants.

The case was originally filed on May 5, 2009, in US District Court in Northern California, by Sam Keller, a former starting quarterback for Arizona State University and University of Nebraska.

Keller and his attorneys at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP claim that EA’s NCAA games use the athletes’ likenesses, accurately depicting the height, age, weight and other information, without permission.

“The Court of Appeals confirmed that EA’s defense – the First Amendment claim – was fundamentally and fatally flawed,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.

“We expect that when we appear before the trial court again this fall, the defendants will have a very difficult time mounting a new defense for their blatant exploitation of student-athletes.

“Today’s ruling, combined with the NCAA’s decision not to renew its license, speaks volumes about the actions of the defendants. We are confident that EA and the NCAA made millions of dollars at the expense of student-athletes by improperly taking property belonging to the athletes and the athletes alone.

“This ruling will give us a chance not only to recover the value of the images for the college athletes, but also to punish EA and the NCAA for intentionally profiting off of things they knew were off limits to them.”

A status call on the case is scheduled for September 5.

The suit alleges EA Sports knowingly used the likenesses of real NCAA players for its college basketball and football game, but under invented names, and claims the two companies conspired to deny players due royalties.

The NCAA recently chose not to renew its relationship with EA Sports following a successful monopoly lawsuit spearheaded by the same law firm. The chief attorney in the case against EAs aid this was a move designed to evade responsibility.

EA Sports signed up with the CLCinstead.

Battlefield 4 vs Call of Duty: Ghosts – Riccitiello “pretty confident that EA’s got better cards”

31 Jul

John Riccitiello, former CEO at EA, feels this may be the year Battlefield finally tops the Activision juggernaut, Call of Duty.

Speaking in an interview with GI International, Riccitiello said the continues success of the Call of Duty franchise, and Activision in general will boil down to two different scenarios.

“What’s been fascinating watching Activision over the last few years is that I’ve heard that mentioned before, about them not being the company they could or should be. They’ve pulled off some notable successes,” he said. “The one thing I know most about now is Battlefield and CoD and I feel pretty confident that EA’s got better cards.

“But the last billion dollar brand created from scratch in this industry was Skylanders. Is the next billion dollar brand going to come from Activision? I don’t know. But if it does then they can sustain the loss of leadership in the field of shooters.

“There’s one scenario where they ship a new MMO, it replaces WoW, Call of Duty stays at the top of the charts, Skylanders goes from strength to strength. They do a couple of things with their licenses, everything goes fine.

“Then there’s a scenario where WoW continues to decline, Battlefield takes the mantle from CoD, Skylanders proves to be a flash in the pan and Activision proves to be a shitty company at that point.”

Battlefield 4 will be available October 29 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and will also be made available for PS4 and Xbox One once the consoles launch.

Call of Duty: Ghosts releases worldwide on November 5 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 with PS4 and Xbox One versions landing alongside the consoles.

SimCity Update 7 contains tool that create bridges, overpasses, and tunnels when you draw roads

31 Jul

The next update for SimCity will allow players to create bridges, overpasses, and tunnels while drawing roads thanks to a new tool.

According to a post on the official forums, when building your road, pressing the comma or period key will “lower or raise the road accordingly creating overpasses, bridges and tunnels.”
However, existing road layouts cannot be raised or lowered.

Other improvements added include traffic behavior “to make it smarter,” and reduce the number of lines formed by all available vehicles converging on a single spot.

This will affect all vehicles including: Police, Fire Trucks, Moving Trucks, Garbage Trucks, Recycling Trucks, Resource Trucks, Buses, Ambulances, and Civilian vehicles .

New tree tools will allow you to place individual trees around your city, and are located at the end of the Nature Parks palette.

Some fixes will also be implemented:

  • Terrain: Fixes an issue some player’s see where terrain covers sections of roads while the camera is zoomed out.
  • Fixed an issue where the fire animation would sometimes continue when fire was extinguished.
  • Parks: Sports parks are now accepting Sims 24 hours a day.
  • Airship: The number of Airship passenger trips should now be correct over multiple days.
  • Vehicles: Vehicles now accelerate and decelerate faster, allowing them to leave buildings and go through intersections more efficiently.
  • Freight: Freight trucks now only leave factories if they have a valid delivery destination.
  • Gifting: Money gifting should be more reliable.

The update is currently being tested and should be rolled out soon.

Dragon’s Crown (PS3) – Review

31 Jul

Having only previously played Muramasa: The Demon Blade out of all of Vanillaware's work, it's safe to say I'm not as familiar with the developer's work history as I'd like to be. Having done a little bit of research about the company's previous efforts on PS2, DS, and PSP, as well as the effort of Dragon's Crown, it's safe to say I think it's time I remedy that. Not only do they consistently put out beautiful, engrossing games that blend RPG elements with other genres, but I'm beginning to think that we're looking at pieces of one collective work rather than the seperate-but-similar approach we've all been duped into believing. I submit that the collective works of Vanillaware's history are not, as we've come to be told, unique works, but a series of sequels and prequels set in the same world.

Check out the store!

I mostly joke, but given the graphical similarities between Dragon's Crown and previous efforts such as Muramasa: the Demon Blade, Odin Sphere, and various others, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that each and every one of these titles takes place in the same world, with the same history, but in different eras and regions. After all, the only real difference was that Dragon's Crown was western European fantasy and Muramasa was Japanese fantasy; east meets west, as it were. Hell, both games even use the same font! Next up, we need to see them do a superhero game set in modern Manhattan. I'd buy that, but I digress. Regardless of the similarities in aesthetics, I'm not complaining; quality is quality, and Dragon's Crown is just as pretty as, if not prettier than, any of Vanillaware's previous titles. I'm not sure if what we have here is cleverly disguised, high quality sprites or polygons with some of the best paint jobs I've ever seen, given the depth and 3D effects that are seen; either way, Dragon's Crown is, as expected from Vanillaware, an absolute marvel to gawk at. I really don't think I need to extol the virtues of the graphics: just take a look at the enclosed screenshots. I'll let them do all the talking.

The story is simple, told by an omniscient narrator who acts as both a guide and storyteller. Every bit of the plot, save a few sentences of dialogue, is recited by the narrator as though you were in a particularly engaging Dungeons and Dragons campaign and he was the dungeon master guiding your way. He tells you what you see and what you feel, and fills in the blanks. Much of what he says is a combination of exposition and gentle nudges in the right direction, so if you're lost, don't worry, the narrator tells you where to go and what to do every time you come out of a shop! Helpful, yes, but it eventually gets annoying once you've been told the same piece of advice a dozen times or more since you're busy doing side quests rather than the main story. The plot is about as simple as you'd expect from a game entitled “Dragon's Crown”: legends say that there is a crown that can control dragons, and the royalties of Hydeland are all scrambling over one another to gain control of said crown, using you (the player) as a pawn. There's clearly more to it than that, but that's all I will say since I don't want to spoil anything.

This is an excerpt from the full story which was originally featured on gamrReview, read the full version here - Dragon's Crown (PS3) - Review

Riccitiello takes “opportunists” to task for putting profit over creativity

31 Jul

EA’s former CEO John Riccitiello has taken what he calls opportunists to task who only get into game development in order to make money instead of for creative purposes.

Speaking with GI International, Riccitiello especially chided those which he feels are “working on a Puzzles and Dragons rip-off,” and only changing the colors and boast about creating “the next generation of new ideas.”

“Let’s be realistic. I’m going to be cynical for a minute,” he said. “I find this terribly hilarious – you talked about game companies, things you write about on the website, these game companies who are going to create the next generation of new ideas, they’re all about fun etc. And they’re working on a Puzzles and Dragons rip-off, except they’re going to change one of the colors to blue.

“I mean, wait a minute. Are you in this because you want to create something or does it look like the easiest way to make money is to take one of the top-ten games and tweak it?

“One of the reasons we’re seeing a lot of stuff that looks alike and plays alike is because that’s how a lot of stuff gets born. It gets funded that way. I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more differentiation as people get bored of seeing the same apps in the top 200. They’re going to come at it and realize that if you don’t make a fundamentally different product then it’s very difficult to replace something that’s up there with your own original design.”

“What I don’t like in the games industry today is that there are too many opportunists who are there to make money. I think making money is a fine byproduct when you’re trying to do something great, but I don’t think you do something great because you set out to get rich. I think you get rich by trying to do something great.”

There’s plenty more from the man himself through the link.

TowerFall heading to PC, is “going to be a massive update”

31 Jul

TowerFall creator Matt Thorson will release and enhanced PC port of the competitive brawler, which will consists of an entire single-player campaign, he’s told ShackNewa.

The Ouya-exclusive 2D multiplayer port to PC will take around “a couple months,” and will cost around “$15 or $20 if the content justifies it.”

“I’m already testing a bunch of new content for the Versus mode,” Thorson told the site. “There’s two new towers, some new powerups, archers, and variants, and a bunch of balance changes.

“I’m also planning a fully fleshed-out single player mode for players who don’t have friends to play versus mode with. It’s going to be a massive update.”

A Mac and Linux version also “look possible,” tech wise Thorson said, but he didn’t confirm either as being in the works.