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Fables photo

First screens and details on Telltale's Wolf Among Us

Move over Walking Dead, there's a new Wolf in town
May 07
// Allistair Pinsof
Telltale is developing The Wolf Among Us with the weight of the most critically acclaimed game of 2012 on its shoulders, but it's starting to look like the studio may have another ace up its sleeve. Game Informer's interview ...
Square Enix photo
Square Enix

Kingdom Hearts HD comes to PS3 on September 10

Pre-orders come with 24-page art book
May 07
// Allistair Pinsof
Publisher Square Enix revealed today that Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX will arrive on PlayStation 3 on September 10, filling the need for Kingdom Hearts and awesomely bad game titles in one swoop. Pre-orders will be treated to...

Shoot monkey, get happy in GUN_MONKEYS

A 2D arena shooter from the developers of Time Gentlemen, Please
May 07
// Allistair Pinsof
Indie developer Size Five Games continues to make its transition from adventure titles to action games with the upcoming release of GUN_MONKEYS: a 2D deathmatch shooter that its creator describes as "2D Unreal Tournament mee...
Assassin's Creed photo
Patrice Désilets: "I intend to fight Ubisoft"
[Update: Assassin's Creed creative director Patrice Désilets has responded to his departure from Ubisoft, calling it a "baseless" termination. Here's what he told Polygon: "Contrary to any statements made earlier today...

So nasty! photo
So nasty!

Like gross stuff? This new Last of Us clip should satisfy

This is why you need to wash your hands after handling mushrooms
May 06
// Allistair Pinsof
I'd tell you everything this new behind the scenes clip of The Last of Us contains but I had to shut it off halfway through. The enemies -- the focus of the clip -- freak me out too much, which is to say that fungi freaks me...
Cancelled photo

Get sad: Over an hour of Star Wars Battlefront 3 footage

More gameplay of cancelled 2008 game
May 06
// Allistair Pinsof
Free Radical's Star Wars Battlefront sequel has made many appearances on various streams and video hosting channels since cancellation in 2008, but this weekend saw one of the most generous videos: an hour-long playthrough o...
Lust the dust photo
Lust the dust

Doritos Crash Course 2 arrives on XBLA this Wednesday

This is the moment we've been waiting for
May 06
// Allistair Pinsof
Minecraft. Call of Duty. Doritos Crash Course. These are the games that have defined our console generation and, at long last, we will reenter the magnificent world of Doritos-flavored platforming with Doritos Crash Course 2,...

Plants vs. Zombies 2 gets July release and new subtitle

May 06 // Allistair Pinsof
PopCap photo
Don't most decent videogames have a sequel out by now?
PopCap beat us to the punch by relabeling its game Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time within a new teaser trailer that also reveals the game's July release. This trailer was announced on the official Plants vs. Zombies Fa...

Angry Birds photo
Angry Birds

Apple counts down to 50 billion downloads, lists top apps

Them birds are still so darn angry
May 03
// Allistair Pinsof
It's a monumental weekend for Apple, which is days (hours? minutes?) away from 50 billion downloads. It's not hard to think back to a time when the App store seemed insignificant, but looking at Apple's published lists of the...
Star Wars photo
Star Wars

Pinball FX 2 comes to Steam on May 10

No balls of steel required
May 03
// Allistair Pinsof
Outside the dedicated and nebulously legal emulation scene, PC hasn't received much virtual pinball love lately despite being its birthplace. Zen Studios is changing this by bringing Pinball FX 2 to Steam on May 10. The titl...
Nintendo photo
Wii U Mario will be released by October
A source told CVG that Wii U releases are slim this spring due to an initiative at Nintendo to stop most first-party releases until the summer patch is out, which will further improve the system. This follows April's patch wh...

Multiplayer photo

NPD Study: 72 percent of gamers play online

Up by 5-percent from last year
May 03
// Allistair Pinsof
I hope you like Tomb Raider's forced multiplayer, because NPD's latest study provides more coal to big publishers's firery intiative to have multiplayer in more games. NPD polled 8,800 US gamers, discovering that 72 percent p...
FREE! photo

MoshiMoshi teaches kids about meth, death, and shooting

If only my elementary school teachers taught me these valuable lessons
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Colorful, ecstatic, and utterly bizarre, free indie shooter MoshiMoshi may be the oddest game you play today. Conceived at a Braingale game jam, MoshiMoshi is a brief but fun twinstick-style shooter with gaudy visuals and an...
Kojima photo

Zone of the Enders HD frame rate patch coming to PS3

Only announced for Japan, at the moment
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Not all platform releases are born equal. PlayStation 3 owners got the short end of the stick with the release of Zone of the Enders HD Collection. While the game played favorably on Xbox 360, the game's frame rate took a ser...
Yippe! photo

Game & Wario comes to Wii U on June 23 for $39.99

Europe release: June 28
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Game & Wario arrives in North America on June 23 and then Europe on June 28. It comes with a budget price of $39.99. I'll bite my tongue and hold back any Wii U gaming drought comments, because Game & Wario is finally...
Super Mario World photo
Super Mario World

Mario invades the world of Metal Slug, chaos ensues

Now you're playing with power
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
With the growing trend of videogame crossovers by fans, it was only a matter of time before Super Mario World mashed with Metal Slug. Restylzed in Metal Slug's Neo-Geo asthetic, Mario roams the recognizable levels of the arc...
Hey, sissies! photo
Hey, sissies!

SiSSYFiGHT 2000 aims to return, takes to Kickstarter

Seeks free, open source rerelease
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Hey, sissypants! If you had one more wrinkle, you'd be a prune! You're so dumb you stole cookies from a free cookie stand! You smell like a can of fish left in a hot car for a month! OK, so I'm not so great at berating peopl...
Gearbox photo

Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina DLC announced (Update)

Gearbox's Anthony Burch's tweet confirms title
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
[Update: Gearbox has cleared us to share with you the following, in light of today's leak. Borderlands 2's Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, which follows Tiny Tina who is running a role-playing tabletop game, will come...
Kickstarter photo

Calling all Metroidvania fans: Check out Valdis Story

Latest update adds A.I. teammates
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
It's hard to keep track of all the Kickstarters out there, but I regret not reporting on Valdis Story: Abyssal City because it's shaping up nicely. A year after Kickstarter funding ended, we now have more footage of the Metr...
Shmups photo

Dreamcast shooter Sturmwind released, 16 years later

Sturmwind and Ghost Blade keep console's shooter legacy alive
May 02
// Allistair Pinsof
Shooters, SHMUPS, STGs. Call them what you want, but let's agree we don't have enough of them these days. Indie developers are changing that and are doing it on an unexpected platform: SEGA's Dreamcast. The latest two shoot-...
Tech photo

Fallout fans: Build your own functional PIP-Boy today!

*Assuming you are much smarter than me
May 01
// Allistair Pinsof
In the age of the iPhone, the benefits of an armband computer that weighs you down is ludicrous. Nevertheless, Fallout's PIP-Boy 3000 is among the most wanted fictional tech toys among game enthusiasts. Hell, even the milita...
Cyberjunk photo

Shadowrun Returns now available for pre-purchase on Steam

Also, new video shows Matrix realm
May 01
// Allistair Pinsof
Cyberpunk role-playing game Shadowrun Returns is now available for pre-purchase on Steam. $17.99 for the standard version or $31.49 for the deluxe version, which includes a soundtrack and an eBook (PDF) that contains short s...
Always bet on Duke photo
Always bet on Duke

The REAL Duke Nukem Forever released 16 years later

DNF 2013 is based on levels from original DNF trailer
May 01
// Allistair Pinsof
Gearbox's Duke Nukem Forever may be a let down, but things are looking up with the release of a fan-made mod that recreates Duke Nukem Forever's E3 2001 trailer in the Duke Nukem 3D engine. The results are glorious. Let me t...

This is not an article about David Cage

Apr 29 // Allistair Pinsof
It's kind of uncomfortable. The Tribeca host who introduced Cage on the stage is now staring at the side of Cage’s face with dead eyes, like a cat high on feed who believes the kitchen wall has something very important to say about cat life. It makes me think of that wonderful Konami E3 press event. Meanwhile, the audience is staring at their answerphones, occasionally looking up to see if that guy ... yes that guy is still talking, well okay then ... In the most long-winded way possible, Cage explains that his latest game Beyond: Two Souls is about a homeless girl on the run and a ghost buddy that helps her out. He says that but with 500 extra words about emotion, art, and thoughts on the future of videogames. I'm just kind of occupied by the press notes I was handed that proclaim him to be the creator of "story bending," an innovative technique that blurs the line between player and storyteller. Tribeca should have also included the rumor that Cage invented the internet. The Cage may leave GDC, but the GDC may not leave the Cage.Who is David Cage? I thought I saw him pretty clear in one moment. Actress Ellen Page, who plays the female lead in Beyond: Two Souls, commends Cage's directing in a really forced, Hollywood-nice way, like you do on a panel in front of 200+ people. Cage just stares at the ground with a goofy smile. Like a shy fat kid complemented by his piano teacher, he's so overwhelmed he can't work up the words. These are the moments Cage lives for. Moments of validation. He's a starf*cker, too, but of a different type. He wants to be a fox skin that David Lynch wears around his neck and occasionally pets. People seem to really dislike Cage around here. It's rare a Cage-related story is posted without the majority of comments ruthlessly tearing the guy apart, staff included. I can't help but laugh at some of these comments because there is truth to them. There is also truth to something Herman Hesse said, "If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us." Reacting to low review scores like falling on a sword, gamers can be overly emotional -- just about every topic online is met with a heated reaction. There is often a desire for validation, wanting film critics and politicians to respect and love our medium as we do. You ARE David Cage (how's that for a twist ending?) OK, I lied again. I'm going to talk about David Cage for five more paragraphs. But know now, starf*ckers, this is not an article about David Cage. It is about the technology, creative talent, and studio that lets Cage be Cage as he approaches a new era of MAXIMUM CAGE with Beyond: Two Souls and his upcoming PlayStation 4 title, of which we only know contains old-man tech. Hollywood olds need love too. Despite being flown across the country, shacked up in a hotel that looks like a futuristic, glass hen house for humans with more money and escorts than they can shake their dicks at (Dear fellow at room 1908, I enjoyed the discussion you and your two female friends had at 2 A.M. about who has the “most perfect tits.” Glad you settled it. Sincerely.) and invited to a game demo disguised as a film premiere, I didn’t actually talk to David Cage. Frankly, I don't think I'm missing much. The man has said a lot. He’s a vocal and emotional speaker who wants games to progress. Whether you agree with him on what a game is or what “progress” really means is not as important as that he is such a visible figure that you can know what he stands for at all. This is a man, after all, who recreated himself virtually so he could introduce the player to his virtual game (see: 2005’s Indigo Prophecy). He stands up for what he believes in, sometimes against gamers and sometimes against ratings boards. I think this is a good thing. So, really, this is an article about everything not David Cage that goes on at Quantic Dream. But, you probably shouldn't take my word for things at this point. Similar to Cage, I too like to pause the dialog so I can seek validation for my interests and hobbies. I spent $40+ on macarons: please let me know if this is agreeable, dear reader. Dat dank motion capture tech I’ve been thinking lately, is it David Cage’s fault that Heavy Rain kind of sucks? Do note I say “kind of,” as I enjoyed the game. The atmosphere, quick-time events that made interacting with controller into a game of Twister, and pace of the script was a bold and refreshing approach to adapting adventure games for current consoles. Mention TellTale's Walking Dead and I'll mention its sluggish pace, gameplay at odds with storytelling (slowly investigating every area of a train for a vague magical adventure game object while in dire straits = double ugh). But like most, I was dumb-founded by the performances and finale of Heavy Rain which is where the "sucks" part comes in after the "kind of." A better question: Is it David Cage’s fault that Beyond: Two Souls is kind of awesome? Like any Cage-related post on Destructoid, there will be comments below saying Cage isn’t even capable of making a movie. Hey poo-brains: Cage has never attempted to make a movie. That is known. What is unknown to most is the bizarre, convoluted performance capture setup Quantic Dream used during Heavy Rain: first, voice is recorded in a sound booth and captured alongside facial animation. Then, body animation is captured while the audio recording is playing. Finally, these two different elements are spliced together. Strangest of all, each performance is done solo. These different performances are stacked together to make a series of awkward conversations on screen. As Cage observantly points out, “All subtlety is lost.” Beyond: Two Souls may not be a next-gen title for consumers, but it may be called a next-gen title for those working on the production. The leap in capture equipment between Heavy Rain and Beyond is significant. Quantic Dream’s new tech lets Cage be an honest-to-God director instead of some sort of magician, miraculously making the most out of amateur French actors playing Americans with stilted dialog delivered through a complicated performance capture process. Now, Cage gets to place up to seven actors in a room that act out scenes in a tiny 20 x 20 theater where performers must wear skin-tight black suits and white balls (90+ on face alone) all over. It’s not exactly a natural setting, but neither is sitting in a make-up trailer for two hours before shooting a film. "At first it was [distracting], you can't physically touch your face if you are crying you have to break everything up," Ellen Page said at a panel following the Beyond: Two Souls screening. "I got used to it. When you shoot a movie you need to do make-up and hair every morning; this was nice because you just put on your suit and you're done. That was actually faded away pretty quickly, but of course on the first day it's unusual." This new capture setup lets Cage, at long last, be an actual director. Free of two-part recordings and isolated performances, Cage can now direct the flow of conversation, action, and (HOLY FUCKING SHIT SNACKS) emotion. The results are good. The performances are natural and, at times, powerful, even when the words are not. "From a tech standpoint, we now have the ability to capture faithfully their performance and present it in real-time 3D," Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière told me in an interview (ostensibly, the 12 minutes that I flew out to New York for -- well, that and the macaroons at Bouchon Bakery which are delicious, especially the lemon). "That wasn’t the case before. To a certain extent, why ask these terribly talented people to bring their craft to videogames if we can’t do anything? Today we can." Can? Sure. How about should? On why Ellen Page will probably never do a game again (it's hard work!) Like their writer, the characters of Beyond: Two Souls are direct, vocal about their feelings, and intensely emotional. Despite a lack of subtlety in writing, Ellen Page and her surrounding cast make it work. Color me surprised. When Heavy Rain debuted in 2010, the term "Uncanny Valley" graced many an editorial. The facial models of Heavy Rain were advanced for the time, but the crude emotional reactions created an unnerving effect -- by looking too human, these characters were suddenly freakishly non-human. Going into Beyond: Two Souls, I expected the effect to be tenfold since these are faces I know very well as a lover of film. Even Rockstar, a developer that played a key role in progressing videogame performances to where they are now, has turned against celebrity actors since the PlayStation 2 days. "When you know the actors, it’s a little more challenging for us, the developer. I think it's still not perfect. but the more tech evolves, the more we are going to have means for faithfully representing the actors," Fondaumière said, "but only now have we reached a point -- I hope you seen it tonight -- we are not totally through the uncanny valley but we are close to it. We are through it 99-percent of the time. It’s a challenge." It may read like hyperbole, but I agree. When watching the in-game performances side-by-side with the studio performances, it becomes clear how uncanny valley is a thing of the past. Part of this has to do with stylization, changing Page and Willem Dafoe's (getting that PS4 old man wrinkle tech may be the missing 1% that Fondaumière suggests) faces just enough so that they aren't an exact representation of them. Rockstar used celebrity actors to bring character depth to its rough PS2 polygonal models, leaning on immediately recognizable voices and personalities. Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson, even if the script says different. In contrast, Quantic Dream is bringing character depth to celebrity actors, in hopes of weaving a more believable narrative that keeps the illusion of high stakes and consequence alive throughout the adventure. With no camera, 360 capture, no lighting, and no marks on the floor, Beyond's cast is able to enter a natural stage second only to theater. "It takes you back to the purest form of acting. It was really wild. He guided us and we had a lot of fun together," actor Eric Winter said at the panel. The experience is still a grueling one, Page said, due to shooting 30+ pages a day (compared to 3-to-5 on the set of upcoming indie thriller The East), memorizing a 2,000-page script, and delivering separate reactions that play on different emotions within the same recording session. These are issues specific to games writing that have nothing to do with technology. These challenges will be here to stay. It will be interesting to see what performers are capable of rising to the tremendous task. Ellen Page may be one of the first. Meet David Cage's dad Before meeting Fondaumière, I didn't know what a co-CEO is. I'm still not entirely sure. A nice way of putting it is that he runs the business while Cage runs the creative process. Another way of putting it is that he's Cage's dad. He's the one that sets Cage up on his playdates with Hollywood talent, finds the funding to let Cage be Cage, and pushes for better, new technology. Without him, Cage would still be around but he wouldn't be nearly as well known. Also, dude's been knighted! KNIGHTED!!! I had one question I was very anxious to ask Fondaumière: David Cage is a very visible game designer who is vocal about his feelings on design, people either hate him or love him -- are you ever concerned with how this affects business? Fondaumière's response in full: We talk a lot about it. He and I. It’s always difficult. On one hand, we both want to move the medium forward. I, on my side, step forward and try to move things. I had a talk last week about "Are games culture?" We both don’t want to be here just to make money. We make it for a living, but we love the medium and want to push it forward. But of course there is always a risk; by talking out loud, people start pointing fingers at you and disagreeing with you. Maybe that affects the rest of the business … you have to be careful sometimes. David has even said, 'I don’t want to speak out anymore,' but I keep pushing him. He says important things and he should continue to say them; sometimes it hurts; sometimes we may lose sales because of it, but in the long run, we are pushing certain discussions forward or at least contribute to it. I think it’s important. Fondaumière shied away from directly discussing it, but it appears that he tries to influence development in subtle ways. Lately, he has been bringing on Hollywood talent to work at Quantic Dream, guiding Cage in developing his stories. You can read this one of two ways: Cage only can write so many 2,000-page scripts on his own or Fondaumière read the reviews of Heavy Rain. It may just be a mix of both. "David has so many ideas that Quantic Dream doesn’t have enough resources to put all of these ideas into games," Fondaumière said. "Our job is to turn these ideas into projects. So we are trying to attract talent: script writers, directors, photographers. That’s currently what we are working on. It’s challenging but a very interesting process." Cage is now joined by two other writers in script writing Quantic Dream's PS4 game in development. The results are "very positive" Fondaumière said, but are they positive enough to sustain Quantic Dream? No other developer puts such a focus on narrative storytelling while pursuing expensive talent and production, which makes me wonder if Quantic Dream can survive the FPS-hungry market climate. Does Beyond: Two Souls have to sell more than Heavy Rain, in order for Quantic Dream to continue, I asked. "If it’d sale the same, yes. It’d be sustainable business. The production budget of Beyond is comparable but a little higher than Heavy Rain," Fondaumière said. Fondaumière said the project will be a success if it sells 2.5 million units, but he hopes it well sell more. MAXIMUM CAGE Evolving capture technology, Hollywood talent, an amiable business partner. These are the things that let David Cage be David Cage. But, there is one other thing that I haven't mentioned yet: YOU, the people who buy his games, discuss his GDC talks, and listen to what he says. It's validation Cage wants and it's validation you give, even by hating him. But why not validate him and his arguments, when no one else is getting on stage? No one else is going to Tribeca or insisting on spending a chunk of its production budget on Hollywood talent. Cage is a contradiction of sorts. He's a pioneer but not a visionary. A director but not one always concerned with game design. He is not gaming's David Lynch, because gaming's David Lynch hasn't arrived yet. David Cage has to come first, along with all the things that prop him up.There is no red button we can slam that will prevent David Cage from being David Cage. So, let's hope MAXIMUM CAGE is a good thing.
Beyond: Two Souls photo
Ok, I lied
The first twelve paragraphs are about David Cage. AKA David De Gruttola. AKA Composer-turned-game designer. AKA Founder of French developer Quantic Dream, responsible for excellent implementation of David Bowie (see: Omikron)...

PlayStation 4 photo
PlayStation 4

David Cage joined by film writers and directors on PS4

Cage refuses to direct anyone else's screenplay
Apr 29
// Allistair Pinsof
It's not normal for a man to write a 2,000 page script or direct a 10+ hour film, so I can't blame David Cage if all of Beyond: Two Souls isn't golden. Realizing how this strains developer Quantic Dream's game director, co-CE...
PlayStation 4 photo
PlayStation 4

Quantic Dream's PS4 engine predates Beyond: Two Souls

Company began work on PS4 over two years ago
Apr 28
// Allistair Pinsof
When I asked Quantic Dream co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière if its upcoming, untitled PlayStation 4 game would be based on Beyond: Two Souls' engine, I got a response I wasn't expecting. The developer began development ...

Beyond: Two Souls Tribeca trailer + 35 minutes of footage

Apr 28 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]252645:48402:0[/embed] If you do watch, you'll see just how far Cage has come as a director, presenting scenes from interesting angles and getting great performances out of his cast. You also may see some questionable writing choices. Keep your eyes pealed for the cleanest birth ever and a man reacting to Jodie landing from a three story jump by saying "I don't know how you did that, but it was incredible!" It certainly is emotional.  
Beyond: Two Souls photo
Let's talk about emotions and stuff
Say what you want about David Cage, but I dare you to watch the above trailer and not be impressed. I feel you are going to prove me wrong, but join me, however briefly, with enthusiasm for Beyond: Two Soul's immense trailer...

Hollywood photo

Heavy Rain was written for John Goodman and Clive Owen

David Cage's ideal Hollywood cast revealed
Apr 28
// Allistair Pinsof
David Cage has said in the past that he writes characters with actors in mind for roles. With better tech and a bigger budget, Cage finally got the cast he wanted with Beyond: Two Souls which stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe...
Beyond: 2 Soups photo
Beyond: 2 Soups

Watch hour-long Beyond scene and trailer on stream

Live from Tribeca Film Festival
Apr 26
// Allistair Pinsof
Just because I'm in New York this weekend covering Beyond: Two Soul's presence at the Tribeca Film Festival, doesn't mean you have to. Have to be in New York that is, since the hour-long clip and trailer will be live streamed...
Batman photo

Rumor: Scribblenauts Unmasked takes place in DC universe

PC, Wii U, and 3DS superhero title may make E3 appearance
Apr 26
// Allistair Pinsof
The next Scribblenauts, tentatively titled Scribblenauts Unmasked, will take place in the universe of DC Comics, including characters like Batman and locations like the Batcave, IGN reports. The title is for PC, Wii U, and 3D...

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