Are you suited for the trucker lifestyle in these fine United States of America? I won't let you spend another fidgety night in bed pondering that burning question. You deserve a refreshing slumber.
You can find some much-needed guidance in the newly minted demo for American Truck Simulator, which is said to "identical" to the full game minus the number of jobs available and Nevada. Las Vegas is out, but don't worry -- I have it on good authority you'll be safe and warm in LA.
Any progress you make in the demo (and by that I mean "all of the debt you accrue from botched jobs because safely operating a giant-ass vehicle is hard") will carry into the full version.read + comment
Let me tell you about questions: I like 'em, I love 'em, and I want some more of 'em. Podtoid 322: Football or Gay Porn? was a great 'cast -- that's shorthand we in the biz use to refer to a podcast. And do you know why it was a great 'cast?
That's a rhetorical question by the way, just another tool of the trade in the 'cast biz. The answer, dear listener, is questions. Not the rhetorical kind. Voi wrote in a doozy o' some good questions here in the comments and we (Kyle/Brett/Darren/Steven) had a rip-roaring good time answering them.
So ask us some more!
Bless.... read + comment
As I trekked through Firewatch's forested western Wyoming landscape, one song kept entering and leaving my head, and it wasn't one of the game's serene, folksy acoustic guitar tunes. It was a song I listened to a lot in high school, but maybe didn't understand the profundity of at the time. It's about sadness and hope, insecurities and loneliness. It's kind of a great analog for Firewatch's strongest quality.
That song is "Across the Sea" by Weezer. In it, lead singer and songwriter Rivers Cuomo tells of an unconventional two-way relationship with a young woman in Japan. "I've got your letter, you've got my song," he ends each chorus. That sounds like any rock star/fan dynamic, but it means more to Rivers. There's an infatuation and it's therapeutic.... read + comment
LNeoX spent ages creating one of his favorite fictional locations -- Anor Londo of Dark Souls fame -- in Minecraft. It's a 1200x1200 map, complete with a dungeon and a minecart system. The screens are definitely awe-inspiring, though the atmosphere is clearly touched up a bit and the reality (in the gallery below) is less haunting.
While people generally gush all over Anor Londo constantly (and the first Dark Souls in general, come at me), I really liked the Drangleic Castle in Dark Souls II as well, and have come to like it quite a bit more after several replays of the Scholar of the First Sin edition. Every Souls game has a least one iconic location like this!
Anor Londo [Planet Minecraft]... read + comment
For the past week or so, people have been asking me non-stop if we're going to review Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. I wasn't actually sure if Bandai Namco was going to send a copy (it sent everything else), so for the game's launch last week, I decided to pick it up and start cracking away. The publisher sent it a few days after I bought it.
But you know what? I actually had a good time, so it's cool.... read + comment
Everybody knows cinema tickets are expensive as all hell. You spend upwards of £20 to sit in a room with a load of noisy, obnoxious arseholes and ultimately get a worse experience than if you just watched it in your underwear at home. That would all remain true for the upcoming Warcraft movie too, had Blizzard not just managed to sweeten the deal somewhat.
According to email surveys sent out by Blizzard, it is considering giving everybody who goes to see Warcraft a free copy of World of Warcraft and all of its currently released expansions. Dubbed the Ultimate Movie Edition, the bundle would also include a month of game time and a free, exclusive item.
While many on reddit initially assumed this was some sort of phishing attempt, a Blizzard rep confirmed that it is indeed considering this deal. There has yet to be an official confirmation that it will be going ahead, but it’s an appealing offer nonetheless.
I’m not entirely sure why somebody who’s never played WoW would sit through the Warcraft movie (other than for my lovely Durotan, of course), but hey, a free copy World of Warcraft might just be a good enough deal for me to put some trousers on…read + comment
It used to be that making a game in Game Maker was a badge of dishonor for some game developers. Thankfully, the potential for a developer to suffer that stigma seems to be getting smaller every day, thanks in part to developers like Zack Bell and Greg Lobanov who have pushed what the the engine can do in surprising and exciting new directions.
Wandersong, Greg's upcoming game, integrates singing mechanics in a way that few games have ever attempted. Like John Cleese once said, engaging in play can free us to experience potential epiphany in ways that that few other activities can. In other words, singing to a cloud just may take you to heaven, but only if you give it a try. And who's that bald man selling candy? He looks like I feel.
As for Zack, he's in an interesting place in his career, having gained a name for himself by helping other aspiring Game Maker developers get more out of the tool, while never reaching a point where he was truly satisfied with his own work. From the sounds of it, that may change with the release of Fara and the Eye of Darkness. The top-down action exploration game seems to actually impress this otherwise un-self-impressed young man. I can't wait to play it at GDC in a few months.read + comment
Mega Man, meet badges. Badges, Mega Man.
According to Famitsu, Capcom will be partnering up with Nintendo to bring the Blue Bomber and company to Nintendo Badge Arcade, in the form of special in-game rewards and boards. Right now the promotion is only announced for Japan, but with Mega Man Legacy Collection coming out soon it would make sense to go worldwide.
It looks like they're limited to the original NES series, as the Robot Masters on display are hand-picked from Mega Man 1-6.
Mega Man [Famitsu]... read + comment
Assuming you're all caught up with Part 1, Part 2 of this analysis brings up how the way we discuss and perceive The Witness has been warped by its hype, and the media portrayal of both it and the primary game designer, Jonathan Blow.read + comment
When Bungie announced the Crimson Days event for Destiny, my heart sunk a bit. I mean the notion is nice, but really, we all know that the Tower makeover is basically just an excuse to sell more microtransactions.
"But you can pay for the [insert popular meme here] Drake Dance." Should I just...uninstall it now, or?... read + comment
Independent Bulgarian developer Kyodia has unveiled Project Elea today, which is an "interactive storytelling adventure inspired by the work of classic 20th century sci-fi authors." It'll wield the Unreal Engine 4 to tell a story regarding AI and interstellar travel, which either sounds pretty dope or pretty tired, I can't really tell.
Kyodia promises a "dramatic story," citing Stanislaw Lem (Solaris), Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey), and Frank Herbert (Dune) as direct influences -- that's...quite the pedigree! It's only in development for PC, but they're thinking about VR compatibility and other systems (including "Nintendo's upcoming next-gen console").
I'll have to keep an eye on this one.... read + comment
The Super Smash Bros. series has had its fair share of mods, but I think this just might be my favorite one yet. Modder Smb123w64gb has taken the liberty of swapping everyone on the Super Smash Bros. roster with Bayonetta's character model, and the results are simply fabulous.
I never thought I'd see so many Nintendo characters with legs for days, all trying out their sexiest poses. And then there's Kirby, who has gone full-on Rayman. Lucas has got to be my favorite, though; he's really grown into a confident young man!
I would totally play a few rounds of Smash in Bayonetta mode, although I'd probably crack a rib from laughing too much.... read + comment
What do you imagine a decent Sonic the Hedgehog film would look like? Fully animated, being able to properly utilise the many colourful and fantastic locations the games are known for? Maybe even a feature-length version of the frankly pretty brilliant Sonic Boom TV show?
Because no matter what you think, I can almost guarantee you that you’re not thinking of a live action-meets-animated mashup. That’d be a silly idea, right? We’ve seen fan videos try it before and... well... the less said about that the better. Seemingly nobody told Sega Sammy, however, as it’s exactly what’s coming in 2018.
In an interview with The World Folio, President and CEO of Sega Sammy Holdings Hajime Satomi confirmed that we’ll be seeing a feature-length Sonic movie in 2018, to be produced by Sony. It’ll combine live-action footage with animated elements, presumably meaning Sonic and friends having their adventures in ‘the real world’:
Sega Sammy Group is currently planning with Sony Pictures to create a live-action and animation hybrid “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie scheduled for release in 2018. Like with this CG animation production, we would like to expand our business into other entertainment areas beyond what we are currently involved.
Now I might be being a bit too hard on this. After all, Sony’s got some pedigree with animated films with stuff like Hotel Transylvania and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I really hope it’s good because I love Sonic the Hedgehog, but I am having flashbacks to the President of the United States having a photo of Sonic and Shadow on his desk in the Oval Office…
Sega’s new era in entertainment [The World Folio]... read + comment
I only jump onto Star Wars Battlefront every so often with friends as it got stale pretty fast, but for those of you who still play, there's a double XP event this weekend. This is because the community managed to complete over four million challenges, so everyone gets to reap the rewards. As far as timing goes, it'll run from February 12 until February 14.
Cool? Too bad this doesn't have real online split-screen -- I'd love to play this side-by-side with my wife for Valentine's Day.... read + comment
Some new, 20th anniversary Pokemon junk is going on sale in Japan this month. February 27, if you want to plan a trip around it. Playing up the re-releases of Red, Blue, and Yellow (and their subsequent themed 2DS models in Japan), Amazon Japan and Pokemon Center retailers will be selling things based around the original artwork.
Pikachu hat: ¥5900
Not Pikachu hat: ¥5400
Pen case: ¥800
File folder: ¥280
Hand towel: ¥400
Bigger towel: ¥1000
Those shirts suck bad. But the pillows, bag and backpack are aight.
Pokemon sprite merchandise to be sold in Japan starting February 27 [Nintendo Everything]... read + comment
CoroCoro Magazine has revealed a brand new Pokemon, Magiana. Evidently this 'mon is going to show up in the new movie, where Volcanion will be chasing after it for some unknown reason that will likely be a revelation. Said film has a title, by the way: "Volcanion and the Exquisite Mechanical Magiana." Descriptive!
According to the info so far, Magiana is a "man-made Pokemon" (?), that was created over 500 years ago. Its metallic body is supposed to drive the point home that humans made it, even though there's several existing metallic Pokemon out there. What is Game Freak trying to tell us? That all metal Pokemon are man-made?
CoroCoro Reveal [Serebii.net]... read + comment
The new Hitman boasts bigger crowds than most games, but it has some of the more reasonable minimum (and recommended, actually) required specs that I've seen in a while, according to the Steam page:
If those do indeed kill you and I was being insensitive by assuming you might have such a computer, well, you may console yourself with the PS4 or Xbox One versions. If you don't have either of those, why are you even reading an article about Hitman's specs? Geez. Get a life.... read + comment
After months of waiting, Telltale has finally decided to unveil the premier date for The Walking Dead: Michonne. It'll drop on February 23 on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One -- as usual, the iOS and Android versions are coming later. They're actually doing a monthly cadence this time around, with episode two arriving in March, and episode three in April. It's $14.99 for the whole shebang.
I wonder if this will end up feeling more like a gaiden, like 400 Days. I actually liked that one but all I constantly hear about is how pointless it is from fans. The decision to only have Michonne limited to three episodes is interesting as well. If you want to see more, Telltale is showing the first five minutes on its YouTube channel on Sunday at 8:30pm ET.... read + comment
After a successful Kickstarter campaign a couple years back, The Molasses Flood is set to release its first game, The Flame in the Flood, later this month. The team, comprised of industry veterans who have worked on AAA games such as BioShock, Rock Band, and Halo, has been hard at work on this “rogue-lite” river adventure which seems to be a modern-day take on Oregon Trail, only the trail is a river and you never have to ford it (at least I hope not).
Players will be foraging for supplies, crafting tools, evading predators, and generally fighting for survival on their way down the unforgiving, procedurally-generated river. They won't have to go it alone, though, as the faithful canine companion, Aesop, will keep players company and help out in any way he can.
The newest teaser trailer shows off some of the predators that can be found in the surrounding wilderness and how to deal with them. You might want to employ a different strategy around the bears, though. It's probably best to stay very, very far away from the bears.
The Flame in the Flood will be coming to Xbox One, PC, and Mac on February 24 for $19.99.... read + comment
It's been clear from the get-go that Valkyria: Azure Revolution is a spinoff from the Valkyria Chronicles series that graced the PS3 and PSP. It is much more anime-y, there are overwrought swords and melee combat, as well as this smaller party system more like a JRPG than a turn-based strategy game.
This demo, which is included in the Japanese release of the PS4 version of the original game, shows you just how different the gameplay is. And it's pretty different, with apparent zoned instances along a linear track, unless that's solely reserved for this stage as a kind of tutorial. There are even combat rolls and super Lolita attire.
Honestly...eh, I am not feeling it. I just replayed the original last year and it holds up real well, especially in how much care was put into each stage and making it distinct in terms of layout and strategy. This is more like an action RPG with live character swap among the three. There's even a giant enemy crab boss at the end. Oh well. It's not the game I wanted, but I'll likely still give it a shot. Otherwise, there's always XCOM 2 and Fire Emblem: Awakening.... read + comment
Have you ever wondered just how Cueball McFurrowed-Brow became the famously good killing man of the Hitman series' glory years? Of fucking course not, which is why the need to string Hitman: Absolution together into some S&M nun story fell kind of flat last generation.
The new, cleanly-named Hitman from IO Interactive does want to tell you Agent 47's origin. This takes place in the Prologue, which is one part of the first chunk of game in Hitman's "episodic" release schedule. That years-long, nose-buried Absolution development cycle? IO wants to be a bit more agile than that from now on, so we have another Street Fighter V-style "games as platform," at least for 2016.
The short of it: pay $15 for the Prologue + first location (Paris) on March 11, then $10 per location every time a new one is loosed or pay $60 from go and wait for your meal piece by piece. There's also a $50 Upgrade Pack you can tack on to the initial $15, but why? Why would you do that? You're already paying $5 more than $60 for your pansy-ass caution, why not just do it in the $10 increments? Also, the whole thing gets a full physical release towards the end of 2016.... read + comment
Over a third of Mad Catz staff will be let go by the end of April 2017.
Following missed financial targets, the hardware company is expected to save $5 million by cutting 37% of staff.
Despite having its second-highest quarter to date (a 114% year-on-year increase to $65M), net income is down by 10% to $1.2M with the previous nine months chalking up losses of $4.4M.
According to new president and CEO Karen McGinnis, Rock Band 4 sales were “strong” but initial sales forecasts were overestimated.
“Rock Band sell-through was lower than originally forecast resulting in higher inventory balances as well as lower margins due to increased promotional activity with retailers,” said McHinnis.
“Looking ahead, we are confident in our ability to further monetise our diverse range of products and are focused on updating and improving many of our product offerings to better leverage the opportunities we see ahead.”
Maybe charging eleventy gazillion dollars* for each RB4 peripheral dampened sales?
Our thoughts and best wishes to all who’ve been affected by these cuts. <3
* May be an exaggerationread + comment
When Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4 released on Steam last year, developer Krome Studios teased that the previous games would also eventually make their way to the platform. It has now finally, officially announced that the original Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is coming to Steam Early Access in March
The video up top shows some of the nice tweaks being made for the re-release, including a higher resolution, more detailed backgrounds, and the inclusion of anti-aliasing. It doesn’t look too different, but as far as HD re-releases go it definitely isn’t the worst one.
While I am excited to see how this turns out, it does annoy me somewhat that the game is being released for early access. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was released back in 2002, so the idea of it coming back as an unfinished game 14 whole years after its PS2 and Xbox launch is questionable as hell. This really feels like the sort of thing Krome should’ve just quietly worked on until it was done.
But hey, if you feel like paying for an unfinished port of a 14-year-old game, you can do so when it hits early access in March. The rest of us can just impatiently wait for it to be done.... read + comment
The Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account is teasing something. If it isn’t just memes (which we’ve all come to expect from the Sonic Twitter), then it’s something potentially huge.... read + comment
The 5th Annual New York Game Awards took place tonight in Arizona. Nah, nah. It was in New York. I fooled you for a second, though, I bet. The event is put on by the New York Videogame Critics Circle, which counts Samit as one of its members. Sports!
Anyways, the award show gave out its inaugural Game Journalism Award, meant to "serve as an affirmation of the value of games journalism, and as a denouement for the hard work and creativity demonstrated by the journalistic and critical community throughout the year." That's the year 2015, by the by, which I am still writing on all my checks!
Cara Ellison took home the 2015 Game Journalism Award. Her opus last year, to go with regular columns and other great writing, is Embed With… The crowd-funded series was a roughly year-long stint of spending each month with a new game developer for some meaty, embedded journalism. It's damn good and has since been compiled into a book you can buy, Embed with Games: A Year on the Couch with Game Developers, while the original online versions are still up as well.
Another interesting thing about the games journalist whose work was so revered by her peers that she won this inaugural award? No longer a games journalist!
Here's her goodbye from last May. It's a good read and bitterly amusing in its matryoshka nesting of a goodbye from Kieron Gillen, who spent 10 years as a games journalist (PC Gamer, then co-founded Rock Paper Shotgun) before splitting in 2010. As Gillen wrote then, "games journalism isn't a career for life yet." Clearly it still isn't as Ellison had to jump ship, too, despite peerless work. If the best in the industry can't find sustainable work, who can? If you're wondering why the field is such a revolving door of people.
Look, I'm going to level with you, internet, I haven't actually played Undertale yet. You don't need to boo and hiss at me, I know I'm scum. I've wanted to play it since it came out, but after seeing these amazing Undertale figurines (especially the little dog in armor) available for pre-pre-order at Fangamer, I think I'm going to move it up the backlog to the very next game I play.
You can't actually purchase these figures yet, but you can submit your name, email, and figure preference to be notified when they are available for pre-order. I'd roll my eyes, but apparently the demand is so high for these little guys, Fangamer needs as big a head start as it can get.
There's also a plushie Toriel available if you like your collectibles cuddly. I haven't even played the damn game and I have to admit it's pretty cute. No wonder people won't shut up about it.... read + comment
If you're a fan of Testuya Mizuguchi's work (Rez, Lumines, Space Channel 5, Child of Eden) and enjoy smartphone games, well buddy, let me tell you, 2016 is looking like one hell of a year.
Go ahead and complain about mobile games in the comments, but I'm in the market for something new to play in line at the post office, and that art is pressing all the right buttons. A game that can evoke Persona, Catherine, and The Cat Returns all at once is clearly doing something right.... read + comment
As promised, Rocket League is coming to Xbox One soon. Developer Psyonix plans to self-publish its darling soccer-with-cars multiplayer game on Wednesday, February 17 for $19.99. I'm thrilled for a new audience to discover if it's as good as folks say (it somehow is).
This port includes three DLC packs (Supersonic Fury, Revenge of the Battle-Cars, and Chaos Run) at no extra cost, amounting to even more cars and customization items. Xbox One players are also getting a pair of exclusive vehicles based on Gears of War and Sunset Overdrive among other Xbox-centric cosmetics like the Overcharge Rocket Trail shown above.
According to Psyonix, Rocket League is now "11 million players strong." I'd say that's deserved.... read + comment
I love Twitter.
But the quasi-public nature of it means it's kinda of like plopping down at a crowded beach. You don't expect fellow beach goers to come up to you and interrupt conversations between you and your friends, or tell you that they're going to kill you later tonight, but it happens. On Twitter, I mean. Beach people are usually pretty nice in San Francisco, except for the assholes from the golf club arcoss the street that ride their horses down at Fort Funston and leave pounds of shit everywhere and threaten the safety of all the cute pups.
This is exacerbated by online anonymity but not the lone reason, given how many people post extreme, offensive comments via their personal Facebook page, like "i'm going to kill your family while you're at work" or "ciabatta is the best bread." Truly disgusting.... read + comment
Normally, the Amazon Web Services Terms of Service is an interminable slog of legalese and jargon, a veritable Dagobah-esque mire only decipherable by super ambitious law-school kids. And with the addition of Amazon's new Lumberyard game engine come new rules to follow, including a clause that lays out Lumberyard usage in the case of a zombie apocalypse.
Yes, nerds sure do love their zombies, even going so far as to legally define a zombie apocalypse for the sheer purpose of a joke you would only notice if you bothered reading the Terms of Service. That's the kind of commitment I can get behind.
The clause can be found in point 57.10, restricting the use of Lumberyard in "life-critical or safety-critical" systems, like "medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat." Basically, Amazon is covering its ass in the event someone builds, say, a self-driving car using Lumberyard and the car ends up killing a whole bunch of people.
Of course, you can throw all that out in the event of "a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization." This epidemic will need to be defined by the Center for Disease Control, or a "successor body," like that one guy from the first season finale of The Walking Dead.
So, hypothetically, a scrappy band of nerds could use Lumberyard to program robots (military use in connection with live combat) to fight zombies, and it would be legal as defined by Amazon's terms of service. I call this hypothetical film...Lumber(ing)yard. You're welcome, Hollywood.... read + comment