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1:45 PM on 03.10.2015

Escalator Pitch: Armello dev goes all in on escalator etiquette

Indie developers make some cool as heck games, but they're not always so great at selling them. We want to them work on their pitch game until they're at Bumgarner levels and we want to take advantage of the the horrib...

Steven Hansen



3D Realms: Bombshell is the only one who could kick Duke Nukem's ass photo
3D Realms: Bombshell is the only one who could kick Duke Nukem's ass
by Brett Makedonski

3D Realms is keenly aware of what players know it for. Sure, there are plenty of titles in the publisher's history that should stand out, but for all intents and purposes, the company might as well re-name itself The Duke Nukem Guys.

In the case of its next project, Bombshell, 3D Realms is absolutely looking to distance itself from the Duke tropes -- at least as far as this game is concerned. Despite a lot of thematic similarities (oh hey, aliens took over again), Interceptor and 3D Realms have created a hero in Bombshell (Shelly Harrison is her proper name) who is a polar opposite from Duke in a lot of ways. Interceptor CEO and 3D Realms vice president Frederik Schreiber said that the two probably wouldn't get along too well. Then, Schreiber went so far as to say "Bombshell is the only one who could kick Duke's ass."

She's come a long way since our introduction to her last year. 3D Realms fully fesses up that the first take was premature. There was pressure to reveal Bombshell before it was ready. 3D Realms was trying to do something -- anything -- to take eyes off the lawsuit with Gearbox and to prove it was more than just The Duke Nukem Guys. The result was a trailer that was almost universally poorly received. That was more than enough of a cue to go back to the drawing board.

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6:00 PM on 03.09.2015

Escalator Pitch: Ska Studios talked me into a cat cafe timeshare

I have proven time and time again that when I have money, I do dumb things. I think that Ska Studios knew that this, combined with my strong affection for kittens, made me an easy target. Looking back, they probably couldn't...

Brett Makedonski



Windows 10 makes it even easier for gameplay videos to go viral photo
Windows 10 makes it even easier for gameplay videos to go viral
by Brett Makedonski

The latest generation in gaming has brought with it an emphasis on sharing. Screenshots and gameplay videos can be relatively easily captured and uploaded for anyone's audience to see. It's a smart way to drive interaction -- whether it's to share an unbelievable kill streak in Halo, or something as irreverent as a lunatic stabbing goats in the butt.

With the announcement that Windows 10 will, in part, contribute to the "Xbox ecosystem," it really opens the door to the accessibility and possibility of sharing content. In what was called a "platform demo" at GDC in San Francisco last week, we got a first-hand look at how simple Windows 10 will make this process.

Available for any game played on Windows 10 (even non-native Xbox titles) is a Game DVR that operates similarly to the "Xbox, record that" function of the Xbox One. Mapped to the Windows + G command, the DVR captures the past 30 seconds of gameplay, regardless of what's playing.

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Firewatch has topless teens, meaty hands, and mystery photo
Firewatch has topless teens, meaty hands, and mystery
by Steven Hansen

I've been firewatching out for Campo Santo's new 'exploration mystery' since hearing about the talent behind it. Artist Olly Moss, Mark of the Ninja designer Nels Anderson, and season one The Walking Dead writers and designers Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin. It's an exciting crew.

And then I saw the dang thing in its trailer and had to wonder why more games don't make use of a distinct tonal color palette, instead defaulting to an obfuscating attempt at photorealism that just drowns everything out. Compare BioShock to a "realistic" shooter; the Arkham series to Shadow of Mordor. It's just nice to see someone use color, and purposefully.

Because while Firewatch is gorgeous, it is also grounded. It is a story about people -- Henry and his supervisor Delilah -- and I felt that the moment I started controlling Henry. Not a blank player analogue or a camera on wheels. I saw Henry's inelegant, meaty paws stretched out in front of the screen still wearing his wedding ring despite divorce. Telling details are important.

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Hands-on with Cuphead: Equal parts charming and challenging photo
Hands-on with Cuphead: Equal parts charming and challenging
by Steven Hansen

Cuphead has existed in a state of unreality to me since its E3 reveal. Despite seeing footage of the game, it remained in my mind a concept. One that I was in love with, mind. 1930s style animation. A character whose head is a cup. I love it.

But because I've never played a game that was completely hand-drawn on a lightbox to look like a 1930s anime, there was always some weird disconnect between what I saw in the trailer, on-screen, and connecting it to inputting commands on a controller.

This disconnect was mended when I saw a giant corner dedicated to Cuphead at Microsoft's ID@Xbox event last week at GDC. I press a button, Cuphead jumps.

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2:45 PM on 03.09.2015

Escalator Pitch: Would you invest in Majora's Mask?

We're back with more Escalator Pitches from last week at GDC! Expect to GDsee more of them going up throughout the week. Indie developers make some cool as heck games, but they're not always so great at selling them. We wan...

Steven Hansen

8:00 PM on 03.08.2015

GDC 15 DLC #4: Pita wraps, damn good fries and ragtime

We didn't have usual cameraman Kenny Redublo during our fourth lunch of GDC (see us dining with Dale here) and things went a bit awry. Our substitute cameraman Mike Cosimano had some fun with it, though, with some silent mov...

Steven Hansen

4:45 PM on 03.08.2015

GDC 15 DLC #3: Japanese katsu curry with Dale

Look on ye hungry and despair. Familiar face Dale North joined us for the third Daily Lunch Chronicles (watch the last one here). Back behind the camera, Kenny managed to empty his plate before both of us while shooting, but...

Steven Hansen



Skyworld takes unique advantage of Valve's new virtual reality tech photo
Skyworld takes unique advantage of Valve's new virtual reality tech
by Alessandro Fillari

We got a big shock at the beginning of the week when Valve announced its partnership with HTC to produce a new virtual reality headset. We all knew the company had ambitions to enter the console market with Steam Machines, but the inclusion of a VR device makes it seem all the more bold. The VR arms race we're seeing with Facebook, Sony, and now Valve shows that it's likely going to get heated in the coming years.

Over the course of GDC week, Valve let only a select few members of the press go hands-on with its device and play some demo titles. It was behind closed doors, and many people were turned away. But fortunately, Destructoid was among the few to give the new technology a test drive and experience the VR title Skyworld from the developers at Vertigo Games.

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Soul Axiom is a cross between Journey and Tron photo
Soul Axiom is a cross between Journey and Tron
by Mike Cosimano

Everything you could say about Soul Axiom feels reductive. It looks like Journey mixed with Tron, except when it looks like Tron mixed with Tron. It’s a puzzler that evokes The Talos Principle in both its non-linearity and its environmental conundrums. And the story is a spiritual successor to developer Wales Interactive’s previous title Master Reboot. This is the kind of stuff I try to avoid when doing previews.

But it’s still accurate, and it doesn’t diminish how interesting this game looks. Soul Axiom is an unsettling and compelling techno/cyber-thriller, with a killer visual style that matches its high-concept premise. Whether it actually delivers on its many promises is another thing entirely, but there’s a lot to be excited about so far.

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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection shines in some spots, has problems in others photo
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection shines in some spots, has problems in others
by Brett Makedonski

Traditionally, Game Developers Conference is a very busy show. After what seems like a three-month hibernation, the game industry slowly creaks back awake and GDC is the first time everything's in full gear again. As always, this conference is packed with games worth lookng forward to.

However, that doesn't mean we can't look back if the circumstances are right. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is one title that warrants such treatment, as it bundles Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel together on PS4 and Xbox One. It's a big ol' pack of content, but while it promises a wealth of things to do, there are some worrisome snags.

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7:00 PM on 03.05.2015

Elite: Dangerous has bold plans for the future

Things have been going well for Frontier Developments. With the success of Elite: Dangerous, which features a sizeable and passionate community of space explorers, and having won the prestigious Audience Award from the 2015 G...

Alessandro Fillari

6:30 PM on 03.05.2015

Call of Duty developer Activision showing off Fun at GDC

We are very busy at the Game Developer Conference eating hamburgers and erecting edifices, but between those activities we are hunting for hot scoops. Ducking behind corners of the Moscone Center's corporate labyrinth, we stu...

Steven Hansen



Dyscourse is a survival game that's light on survival photo
Dyscourse is a survival game that's light on survival
by Mike Cosimano

Owchemy Labs’ Alex Schwartz is one of the bravest men I know. In the midst of GDC, perhaps the most inside baseball-heavy of all conventions, he told a member of the press that Dyscourse was a "survival game." Of course, that phrase was immediately followed by caveats, but to use a genre descriptor that has become an enormous red flag takes an enormous amount of courage.

It also takes a great deal of faith in your game, which, as it turns out, is well-earned. Dyscourse is like Telltale's The Walking Dead filtered through old-school LucasArts. There are branching narratives, witty dialogue, an eclectic visual style, and choices that will affect whether a character lives or dies. But there’s also survival. Except it’s not actually survival. Follow me so far?

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Volume is a more thoughtful approach to Metal Gear Solid VR Mission-like stealth photo
Volume is a more thoughtful approach to Metal Gear Solid VR Mission-like stealth
by Steven Hansen

Volume is a fitting name for a polygonal, Metal Gear Solid VR Missions-looking stealth game with enough rectangles to feed a geometry class for the entire year. In the case of Mike Bithell's Thomas Was Alone follow-up, however, "volume" is more about sound than shapes.

Lead Locksley can't kill or attack. It's all about being a sneak. Noise, then, becomes an important weapon for luring guards from their posts, and every bit of noise fractures the world so you can nicely see its effect, along with the ever-present enemy fields of vision.

It's about sight, too. Sound, sight, shapes. These things come together to make a readable stealth game with enough abstraction that it feels more puzzler than sneaking romp. Think Hitman GO compared to Hitman.

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