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Titanfall photo
Titanfall

Nexon and EA partner up to bring Titanfall Online to Asia


Titanfall-flavoured free-to-play PC action
Jul 29
// Vikki Blake
Electronic Arts has teamed up with Nexon to bring a free-to-play version of Titanfall to Asia. Details are scant, but we do know it'll be available on PC and called, unsurprisingly, Titanfall Online. Talking to IGN, Nexon pre...
PS Home closure photo
PS Home closure

Sony to shutter PlayStation Home in Japan and Asia


You can never go home again
Aug 24
// Kyle MacGregor
PlayStation Home is being snuffed out in Japan and the rest of Asia next year. SCEJA will no longer sell virtual items for the service after September 24, and will close Home's doors for good in March 2015. Speaking with Game...
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CES expands to Asia with a new tradeshow in Shanghai


Launching May 2015
Jul 17
// Dale North
The Consumer Electronic Show is one of my favorite events. It was Destructoid's very first trade show, and we've been back every year we've been in business. While not necessarily a videogame trade show, it still brings us bi...

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That pizza joint looking Mario 3DS XL gets a US region release


In Asia
Jun 23
// Dale North
Before you get too excited, this Mario White 3DS XL is not being released in the U.S., but it is region coded for U.S. so feel free to import. Tiny Cartridge says that Southeast Asia is getting this release thanks to Maxsoft,...
PS4 Asia launch photo
PS4 Asia launch

PS4 dated, priced in Korea, Hong Kong -- all before Japan


December 17
Nov 08
// Steven Hansen
The PS4 will be launching in South East Asia -- Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Korea -- on December 17. Meanwhile, Japan is still waiting until February 22, 2014. My guess is that, after the Vita's launc...
Korean cyber attacks! photo
Korean cyber attacks!

South Korea suspects North attacking it with free games


Damn teens!
Oct 24
// Steven Hansen
The South Korean National Police Agency is warning internet users of free game downloads that could potentially be developed by insidious North Koreans waging cyber wars. Arirang News reports. The police allege free game soft...

Tokyo Game Show indie showing: A good start

Sep 24 // Dale North
Despite the looming launch of two brand new game consoles, Tokyo Game Show 2013 lacked a lot of the buzz and excitement one would expect. Big things are coming as far as hardware goes, so Xbox One and PS4 got plenty of spotlight, as did the new PS Vita TV and new Vita hardware models. But there was a weird absence of excitement for the top game franchises this year.  What a perfect time to step up indie game presence. First-time visitors might have been put off at just how small the indie game section was this year on the business days. But for long-time visitors of TGS (this is my sixth show), any presence is appreciated. It's a start. But the dozen or so of the business days expanded to 50 or more on the public days in Makuhari Messe's Hall 9. Aside from dedicated company mini booths, the indie area also featured a massive stage for Indie Game Fest 2013, where a large crowd gathered to hear about the newest titles. Stage presentations for a new Toho game, game maker profiles, live talks, streaming events, and more took place here over the weekend. Overall, a fantastic showing for indie's first time out. Exploring the indie area was one of the most enjoyable parts of my TGS 2013 coverage. Each exhibitor's area was small -- just enough space for a banner, some promotional material, and a computer or tablet to show off their game. But that didn't stop attendees from lining up to see what was on offer. I moved from booth to booth, spending all of the available time I had to get my hands on whatever looked interesting. It wasn't just Japanese indies, though. Folks from all over the world were there to show of their work. It was interesting trying to work out previews over some of the language barriers. But that kept things lively. _____ We'll have larger previews coming for some of the following titles, but for now I wanted to list some of the highlights from my finds. These are just a few of the solid offerings I played at TGS this year. La Mulana 2 -- Nigoro's freshly announced follow-up to their platformer was just barely teased at the event, but it was enough to get me excited. A blonde hero wearing a leather bomber jacket with a strange patch that mixes the America and Japanese flags gets her whip on in what little they showed of the early concepts. Her adventure takes her through ruins that have a Metroidvania-style layout. So far it looks and sounds wonderful. Do not expect this game to be easy. [embed]262388:50602:0[/embed] CuBeat -- I think there's another game called CuBeat, but they've never caught my attention like this competitive puzzler has. I spent a good amount of time at the booth of developer Team PSC clicking through this color-matching title. You click to remove any block, letting ones of like colors fall together -- there's no block movement at all. It sounds simple, but that's perfect for competitive play. Fun comes with free mouse movement, which lets you shoot your opponent's cubes too. O!Beat -- This touch rhythm game is not unlike those you might find in a Japanese arcade, though it's pitched as a way to play with indie music instead of J-Pop. Points float from the center of a circle toward the edges of the screen. It's your job to touch these points as the pass the edge of the circle, which is timed with the beat of the music. When the points really start flying you'll have to use multiple fingers to keep up. Fluff Eaters -- It took me a bit to get, but I eventually found that Henry Kun's touchscreen game Fluff Eaters is like jax. Your job is to clean up fluff for a purple cat named Chub. You do this by dropping Chub at any point on the the screen. While he is in the air, you poke at fluff balls to remove them. You have to do so before Chub hits the ground. Obstacles, moving platforms, and other tricks gradually increase the difficulty as you work through stages. [embed]262388:50603:0[/embed] Hero Emblems -- Taiwanese studio HeatPot Games had this cute side-scrolling RPG on display. This upcoming iOS title plays like a RPG and a puzzle game at the same time, with your matches generating moves. You'll work to clear debuffs while trying to clear emblems to increase your power. Puzzling to role-play isn't new, but this is probably the best-looking example I've seen. _____ Establishing an indie section was a good move for Tokyo Game Show. Both the business and public showings were always filled with attendees, with non-stop lines though all days. Again, the indie area lacked the fanfare, spotlights, and booth babes that the bigger companies had, but somehow ended up being just as exciting for the lack of those things. New game experiences are just as attractive to games are big franchises are. I'd like to see a bigger booth area next year. Also, more organization and more promotion. They could put more weight behind this and make it huge. In the West, we're fully prepped to give indie game makers the spotlight at all of our trade shows. It's nice to see Japan and the rest of Asia working to catch up. Here's hoping next year's indie area at Tokyo Game Show is even bigger and better. 
Indies at TGS photo
New section shows promise
The new indie section of Tokyo Game Show was a breath of fresh air. Literally! CESA opened up a new hall this year for the public days of the show, adding a fair bit more room for exhibits and attractions. Starting on the fir...

Ubisoft's Southeast Asian outpost, Ubisoft Singapore

Aug 11 // Dale North
Singapore is still relatively young, striking out on its own in 1965, following a breakaway from Malaysia. Although a tiny city-state , Singapore has grown to be a world power, sitting at number four in the list of the world's financial centers, and now sporting the world's third-largest per capita income. One of the studio's own told me that one out of every four Singaporeans are millionaires. I don't know if that statistic is true, but to say that Singapore is doing well would be an understatement either way. Singapore is also a stunningly beautiful city. They call it the Garden City, and you'll understand why when visiting. Strange and colorful trees and flowers line every street and yard. The city's botanical garden is so full of varied tropical plant life that it looks more like a movie set than a city park. Singapore prides itself on its striking skyline and bold architecture, but below sits acres of the most lush green parks and clearings I've ever seen. Singapore was originally planted directly into a tropical jungle, and while over 5 million people live there now, it's still not uncommon to see wildlife like monkeys and exotic birds running around the downtown area.  So you can understand why Ubisoft wanted to set up shop here. Back in 2008, Ubisoft were looking to expand. With studios in most major territories already, it seemed that Southeast Asia was the only untapped area. And looking into the area, they liked what they saw. Singapore has a great infrastructure, an excellent education system, a large talent pool of English speaking citizens, and a cultural diversity that can't be found elsewhere. The city quickly became a technical powerhouse for this side of the world, and the potential for game development there could be huge. Beyond this, the blend of mostly Chinese, Malay and Indian people, along with smaller numbers of people from the rest of Asia, makes for a unique living and working experience. Oh, and that same cultural blend makes for some fantastic food.  Singapore's government runs such a tight ship and has such strict anti-drug laws that crime and illegal substance abuse are practically nonexistent. Being a world financial leader, it's a pretty expensive place to live, but it's stunningly clean and modern, which more than makes up for the cost. It's also a bustling city with a very high population density, but Singaporeans seem to lead a more relaxed way of life than some of their Asian neighbors do. All of the locals I met during my visit were kind and welcoming.  Tempted by all the positives listed here as well as several others, like the financial perks the Singaporean government provides larger companies setting up shop, Ubisoft took the challenge head on. They set up Ubisoft Singapore in 2008, and in five short years it has grown to employ a staff of 270, making it the largest studio in Southeast Asia. Studio Managing Director Olivier de Rotalier told me that they started from scratch, from him initially setting up shop to putting together a team. Though centered around some of Ubisoft's seasoned vets, this new team had never worked together before, so they started out small, working on games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. They went on to work on Assassin's Creed II, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and Assassin's Creed III, working up from contributing a few maps to now playing a major part in a top franchise game's production.  Alongside Assassin's Creed IV, online first-person shooter Ghost Recon Online is still in production at Ubisoft Singapore, and is in beta now, set to launch in full soon. Singapore itself has proved to be inspiring for the team. As one of the top five busiest ports in the world, Singapore served as idea fuel for the naval elements of both Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV. Singapore's aquarium, which features the largest aquarium tank in the world, had the team visiting for inspiration for the sea life of ACIV. Beyond this, the tropical setting of the city itself is beautiful and can be quite inspiring on its own. Combine this with the outlandish architecture and the unique attractions on Singapore's bay and you can see why Ubisoft Singapore's team is full of good ideas.  I totally understand. Singapore is somehow both exciting and relaxing. It's packed full of attractions for visitors, too. Taking a boat ride along the Singapore river to get a different view of historical Clarke Quay or the impressive triple towers of the Marina Sands resort captured both feelings equally. Visit highlights included snacking on food in Chinatown, shopping on the glitzy Orchard Road, touristing out on the resort-y Sentosa Island, scoping the lively nightlife, getting lost in city cabs, and gagging on durian.  All of the team members I talked to at Ubisoft Singapore love their home. They all say that you get used to the high heat and the insane humidity, and that other than the high cost of living, there are no other detractors. These are hot but happy people. Hopefully they can keep cool enough to have Assassin's Creed IV wrapped up in time for its October release.  
Ubisoft Singapore photo
Studio behind Assassin's Creed IV and more
The sweltering, tropical city-state of Singapore is home to one of Ubisoft's branch studios, Ubisoft Singapore. This is the studio behind the naval combat segments of Assassin's Creed III, and those went over so well that the...

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Xbox One coming to 'select markets' in Asia in 2014


But Japan? Who knows.
Jun 11
// Dale North
WSJ reports that gamers in Asia won't see Xbox One until late in 2014. Alan Bowman, regional vice president of sales in Asia, said that the system will come to select markets: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and South Ko...
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SmileGate developing Marvel MOBA for Asia


Codenamed Project PK
Nov 09
// Jordan Devore
You're already dreaming up the possibilities, aren't you? A multiplayer online battle arena game centered around Marvel characters sounds too good to be true -- and perhaps it is -- but it's happening. Disney Interactive has ...

Hong Kong: The city that defined console generations

Jul 17 // Allistair Pinsof
Whenever I think of Deus Ex I think of Chinatown. Foggy interiors of an Asian shrine were the first images I saw of the game in PC Gamer magazine, and the alleys, vendors, and gondolas below are the lasting images that come to mind when I recall the game. The Unreal Engine, still new at the time, made large exteriors, populated city streets, and mood lighting possible. Being able to interact with civilians and watch them live their lives -- regardless of how limited those “lives” may be -- was a rare thing at the time. Seeing signs with giant characters above and vendor goods spread out on tables all around set a tone and sense of place for Deus Ex’s futuristic Hong Kong. Though the game took the player to New York, Paris, and other major cities, Hong Kong was the most fully realized of them all, even if it was the smallest in size.Looking back, it’s almost laughable to think I was once so impressed with the layout. Deus Ex made Hong Kong look more like a warehouse with a couple alleys that extend to clubs and a harbor than a bustling metropolis. Though developer Ion Storm took a great leap forward in creating a virtual city, its lack of detail and scope makes it feel a bit cheap when compared to modern games. The vendors look like cardboard homes, neon lights are far and few between, and the city backdrop is generic and shallow. Despite being dated, Deus Ex’s Hong Kong still evokes a mood and has a charm to it. It’s representative of Ion Storm’s fantastic level and art designers as well as the hardware limitations of the time that could only render so much space and detail at a time. In Shenmue II’s transition from a humble Japanese city to the sprawl of Hong Kong, little was sacrificed in detail and a lot was added in scope. Shenmue lacks the mood and lighting of Deus Ex, but it makes up for it in terms of size. At the start of Shenmue, you can see large ships sailing out from Hong Kong’s harbor, rundown alleyways with seedy characters, and vendors on the street with detailed goods. At a time when Grand Theft Auto 3 gave players little to do and look at when on foot, Shenmue II overwhelmed the player with distractions, mini-games, and visual detail among the streets of its depiction of Hong Kong. While Shenmue’s Hong Kong highlights the city's English colonial influence, it lacks the bright lights and spectacle that the city has embraced over the last century. The glamour that many have identified with the city is nowhere to be found in Shenmue’s quaint city streets. This was due to the limitation of the Dreamcast’s hardware that struggled to create the long streets of Hong Kong and populate it with more than 5-7 people on-screen at a time. Showering the cityscape with complex neon lighting was beyond the scope of the Dreamcast’s capabilities, and Sega wasn’t going to recreate the game from the ground up for Xbox. Nevertheless, Shenmue recreated Hong Kong with a scale never seen before at the time. I can hear you just fine: I know Yakuza takes place in Japan which is more than a mere stone’s throw away from Hong Kong. Nevertheless, Tokyo mirrors Hong Kong’s blend of cramped, industrial spaces and scenic, spacious areas throughout the city. When you weren’t directly dealing with the citizens and language in Yakuza, it was easy to imagine you were walking the streets of Hong Kong. Shenmue II’s textures benefited from the Xbox port, but Yakuza was the first open-world game that took place in modern Asia, specifically designed for this generation of hardware. Playing Yakuza, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that members of Shenmue II’s development team worked on this new Sega series. Yakuza was the first game to bring an Asian metropolis to life with an abundance of neon signs, giant buildings, and intricate city streets that made up a convincing vision of Tokyo’s red-light district. The series improved over time, but this first entry left the biggest impression for being so different than anything else at the time.Like the above games, Yakuza couldn’t display very many pedestrians at a time (roughly 25 or so), making one of the most populated cities in the world feel like a ghost town. The streets themselves were bare, lacking the street vendors, street musicians, and other street-level detail of Shenmue. Nothing but vending machines, faceless pedestrians, and thugs on these streets. Released late in the PlayStation 2’s life, Yakuza used the system’s hardware to add detail to the buildings and neon lights above while leaving the streets below empty. Even still, seeing a city street lined with flashing signs was a sight to behold in 2005. Nothing could make the technological jump from the original Deus Ex clearer than a return visit to Hong Kong during second half of Human Revolution’s story. Ok, so it’s not really Hong Kong; it’s a city called Hengsha, but it might as well be Hong Kong. Built on a heavily modified Crystal Engine -- which powered Tomb Raider: Legend and its sequels -- Human Revolution was able to bring more space, detail, and dynamic lighting to the city. In contrast to Hong Kong in the original, Hengsha is a much grimier setting with desolate living spaces, sketchy clubs, and armed guards suppressing the locals. It lacks the charm and character of the original, but it’s very impressive on a technical level. Being able to run along the rooftops and look down on a sea of pedestrians and vendors below is a great display of how much technology has advanced since the original Unreal engine. It’s a shame then that the game’s divisive art direction makes such a potentially unique setting look so much like the ones before it in the game: more gold and black tinted cement. Walking out of a small, dingy diner and into a narrow alleyway, crowded by vendors, pedestrians, and bright neon advertisements is a special moment in Sleeping Dogs. The key word above is “crowded”. Just as Deus Ex once blew me away by having pedestrians at all, Sleeping Dogs impressed me by having enough details and foot traffic to make its world feel realistic and not like the cheap virtual attractions of the past. Whether you are driving by the monoliths of central Hong Kong or walking the streets of the city's various districts, there is a lot to take in and admire in its layout and intricacies. Square Enix have recreated the entire island of Hong Kong and even portions of its surrounding islands. Whether you are racing down the winding roads of Victoria Peak, walking through the fish markets in the day, or driving past the dense urban areas at night, the city of Hong Kong will always be visible and accessible to the player. With advanced lighting, anti-aliasing, and draw distance on PC, Sleeping Dogs might finally give us virtual tourists the trip to Hong Kong we’ve always been dreaming of. Maybe we’ll even take out a triad or two in the process. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #IntelAlwaysOn.
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With support from our partner, Intel, we're exploring how technology is evolving and improving the gaming experience. The company's goal is to develop tools that, in the right hands, allow us to play new and exciting games. H...

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Asia Game Show beats out TGS, gamescom in attendance


Dec 29
// Dale North
gamescom 2011 attendance: 275,000 Tokyo Game Show 2011 attendance: 222,668 (largest attendance on record!) Asia Game Show 2011 attendance: 472,000 Folks, we have a winner! The Asia Game Show, held in Hong Kong over Christmas,...

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