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Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Xbox: 'Sony does a really good job in mainland Europe'


'It's good competition which is good for everybody'
Jul 02
// Vikki Blake
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has acknowledged that the company must "do better in Europe." In an interview in the latest Edge Magazine, Spencer said, "when I look globally, mainland Europe is definitely an area we want to focus on....
gamescom photo
gamescom

Xbox sounds like it's going big for gamescom


Now's the time
Jun 30
// Brett Makedonski
It's fitting that Microsoft has big plans for gamescom this year; after all, it is the biggest video game trade show in the world. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said last month that the platform-holder has just as much in store for ...
Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Remedy taking a (Quantum) Break from E3 this year


More at gamescom
Jun 08
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft and Remedy are taking the exact same approach to E3 plans for Quantum Break that they took last year: Do absolutely nothing. The developer and publisher are opting out of the world's grandest stage in favor of...

June 9 photo
June 9

Major Final Fantasy XV demo update lets you fight giants


June 9
Jun 05
// Steven Hansen
Square Enix has released a video for Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae's 2.0 patch, the major update that is hitting the Final Fantasy XV demo next week on June 9. Yes, weird. As previously noted, it "features camera/targeting...

Stella, Versus' opening party scene no longer in Final Fantasy XV

Jun 05 // Steven Hansen
Stella was a straggler. "Stella was presented as the heroine to play opposite Noctis in Versus XIII. We wanted to keep her as a heroine in FFXV’s story, and pursued ways to tie her in to FFXV’s design as well, but we found it increasingly difficult to make sense of Stella’s character and role within FFXV. So then we thought, do we want to recreate Stella with a different role and image, or do we want to start over with a new heroine? And after a lot of consideration, we decided not to include Stella in FFXV. Instead, we have a new heroine named Luna, who has a different role within the story. So we will be talking more about her in the future." That future is likely Gamescom, where Final Fantasy XV will have a big presence. It is basically skipping E3. Other characters from what was Versus, like the woman dragoon, "are still in the game with their own important roles within the story." Still, the erasure of a major character emphasizes what Tabata wants to get across ahead of the big reveals at Gamescom, that Final Fantasy XV "is indeed a different game now." Another specific change Tabata points out is that the party scene from Versus, followed by the attack on the city, has been removed. "So now, the sequence is: Noct and his retinue leave Insomnia, and...then the Niflheim army attacks the crown city," he explained. "There’s an extremely important reason behind this decision. In fact, it could be construed a spoiler, so I can’t tell you about it here." Even that change comes with a serious concern over fan reaction to these changes. "We decided to delete the scene of a party in Insomnia, which is a city like Shinjuku. So then we became concerned that the players who were looking forward to some gameplay in that city might worry that they would be losing that gameplay as well," Tabata said. "So I thought I should let you know here and now that we are preparing situations that would involve gameplay in the Shinjuku-like city of Insomnia. We had previously released information on Versus saying you would begin combat right after the Niflheim army attacks the city, but the new gameplay would not fall in around the same timeline."
New heroine Luna photo
New heroine Luna & the Versus transition
A lot has changed since Final Fantasy XIII Versus was announced. We have a black president now! Seriously. We're going on a decade now. It's not just minor things like titles or planned consoles that have changed, director H...

Xbox photo
Xbox

Xbox boss: We have just as much in store for gamescom as E3


Microsoft looking to capitalize
May 29
// Brett Makedonski
Everyone knows that E3 is the crème de la crème of shows for publishers. They want to put their best foot forward, as it's the biggest event of the year for them. That's especially true for platform-ho...
Sony photo
Sony

Sony opts to not hold a press conference at world's largest videogame show


Siding with the Parisians instead
May 06
// Brett Makedonski
In early August, hundreds of thousands of people will descend upon Cologne, Germany for gamescom, the largest videogame trade show on the planet. Publishers and platform owners will have plenty to announce with all game enthu...

Final Fantasy XV getting demo update, mostly skipping E3

Apr 28 // Steven Hansen
The two also talked new features that will make it in Final Fantasy XV, including difficulty options. The more action-oriented style seems to have fans clamoring for an easier setting. Voice acting will be improved, too, as the demo's acting represents non-final dialogue (Noctis will sound less like Batman). The sexy mechanic Cid, however, will stay sexy. "She's actually not meant to be an erotic character," Tabata said, explaining that her cleavage represents her "energetic...cheerful, and active character." He was also perplexed by the "too sexy" complaints, which mostly came from Europe, combined with the desire for a female party member, again hitting up the "bro-trip, men can't be themselves around women" excuse that sort of flies in the face of series history. Other little changes are already promised or underway. A mini-map will be added with enemy radar now being considered additionally. You'll be able to evade and cancel out of most attacks. You were meant to be able to warp outside of battle, but the team hasn't been able to implement it without bugs (and might not be able to). So, if it wasn't obvious, Final Fantasy XV is still a work in progress. This is where we loop back to the headline and note that the game will have a short trailer at E3, but "the promotion for the main title will officially begin at Gamescom" in August, a month ahead of the Tokyo Game Show. Final Fantasy XV feedback live stream full report: Episode Duscae 2.0 coming mid-May [Gematsu]
Final Fantasy XV photo
Demo gets camera, combat and targeting tweaks, main game gets difficulty settings
Ok. Final Fantasy XV isn't skipping E3. It'll only pay lip service, though. The above Final Fantasy XV Active Time Report, which is helpfully subtitled in English, sees director Hajime Tabata and marketing manager Akio Ofuji...

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gamescom gaining on E3 for PR impact


Whatever the hell that is
Sep 02
// Dale North
We don't attend videogame trade shows for their "PR impact," but it is interesting to hear that gamescom is gaining on E3 as far as that measurement is concerned. Analytics company ICO Partners says that the European event is...

Shadow Realms, the new BioWare RPG, has a lot of strong and unique ideas

Aug 25 // Brett Makedonski
The initial pitch for Shadow Realms is a videogame adaption of pen and paper RPGs. The developers cited their love for an experience where you never know what's going to happen and is completely unique every time as the reasoning behind this. They're porting this sort of dynamic feel to Shadow Realms by letting a human mastermind the dangers that the team of heroes will have to face. Teams of four will be pitted against one overpowered opponent called the Shadowlord. These four players (made up of Warrior, Wizard, Assassin, and Cleric classes) fight through arenas as the Shadowlord throws enemies, traps, and challenges at them -- much like a Dungeon Master would. The Shadowlord can also opt to join the fray himself by possessing one of the baddies; this is indicated to the team by casting a glow around that particular enemy, letting them know that it should probably be their main priority. Throughout the course of battle, both sides get increasingly more powerful. Being god-like in nature, a well-played Shadowlord inherently has the advantage. To (somewhat) counter this, the team is given the ability to change their loadouts at checkpoints so that they can tailor their approach to combat. This also serves as a way for BioWare to let players play however they want. Cognizant of the tendency to get pigeonholed into traits of a particular class, the developers insisted that it's okay to play as a "uzi-toting Wizard." We didn't have the chance to go hands-on with Shadow Realms, so it was tough to get a feel for how the action played out. The modern gothic setting looked interesting enough and the ordinary person character models were welcomed, but beyond that, we don't know how it controls. Of the people that did play in our demo, the Shadowlord was victorious. We asked a developer how this might bar off progress if the heroes are continually unable to beat a Shadowlord, and were cryptically told that "Even when you're defeated in Shadow Realms, you won't be upset." That's where there's potential for the largest disconnect in the game. BioWare's touting that Shadow Realms will have a deep and unique story where players experience their own tales of humor, betrayal, and romance. It seems as if much of this will take place in an overworld setting, with players popping into battle to further the narrative. It's unclear if this will come off as seamlessly interwoven with combat leading to bigger plot points, or if the two will be disjointed. For all of the unusual approaches that BioWare's taking with Shadow Realms, possibly the most drastic is that the game will be released episodically. Truthfully, it sounds as if the studio's are trying to capture some of Telltale's lightning. With all of the purported branching moral choices and cliffhangers that were said to be found throughout, BioWare seems focused on offering a new gameplay take on the style that Telltale recently popularized. The developers so much as stated that their intention is for players to have a "watercooler" mentality with Shadow Realms where they can't wait to talk to their friends about the game's most recent happenings. They also thought that some would "binge play" as if it were a show on Netflix to get caught up on the releases. Something that BioWare wasn't too eager to talk about is their monetization plans for Shadow Realms. One developer expressed the studio's caution by simply saying "We want to be the good guys," as far as pricing models go. He offered that the game will initially be released with a lot of content, which will probably pave the way for smaller chunks. However, no one would give suggestions as to how long each episode will be or how often content will be released. All-in-all, BioWare has a lot of strong individual ideas for Shadow Realms. The asynchronous multiplayer could be a hit for both sides -- the heroes motivated by teamwork and enhancing their character, the Shadowlord motivated by an obvious god-complex and some narrative elements unique to him. The modern fantasy setting is one that's not overdone and could offer something beyond the tropes that define the genre. And, the episodic release model could do wonders for the plot of an RPG. But, we'll have to wait until 2015 to see if BioWare can make all of these strong ideas gel into a cohesive experience.
Shadow Realms preview photo
How will they all come together?
Anytime you sit in on an early look at a new videogame, the presentation's sort of structured the same. Throughout the introduction to the title, the developers always -- always -- pepper the speech with catchy phrases a...

Pre-orders photo
Pre-orders

gamescom gave Wii U game pre-orders a nice bump on Amazon


Well, yeah, there's a lot of good stuff on the way
Aug 21
// Jordan Devore
Recapping data provided by Amazon, MCV reports that Wii U games saw an 8.67 percent increase in pre-orders following gamescom, while pre-orders for PS4 titles were up 5.16 percent and Xbox One software reservations rose by 2....

Alcohol-fueled benders are the quickest way to traverse Sunset Overdrive

Aug 21 // Brett Makedonski
At a presentation at gamescom, Insomniac went into a little more detail about Sunset City, the virtual skatepark that Sunset Overdrive gives the player free rein of. And, when we say free rein, we mean it. The entire map will be unlocked right from the very beginning of the game, leaving the player to explore to their heart's desire. Popping into debug mode, the developers raised the camera high into the sky to lend some perspective as to how big the world is. It's quite impressive, and should prove to be an aptly sized playground -- even for someone that's constantly on the go. The only reprieve from the ceaseless movement (ironically) comes from Sunset Overdrive's fast-travel system. Yes, for a game about bustling activeness, sometimes you'll want to thoughtlessly warp to the other side of the map. Even when Sunset Overdrive betrays the very foundation of its own experience, at least it does it in style. After selecting an available fast-travel spot, the game cuts back to the protagonist who pulls out a bottle and chugs it until blacking out. Seconds later, they stumble out of a port-a-potty with a wicked hangover, but at the desired location. Ridiculous? Definitely, but it's just another example in a long line of what Insomniac's preached from the beginning -- with Sunset Overdrive, fun trumps realism. That's why an entire city has seemingly turned into a giant bouncy house. That's why I watched the developers forge a legendary sword by repeatedly trampolining it to the bottom of a nuclear reactor. And, that's why alcohol's the quickest way to get across Sunset City -- because it's just the most fun prospect. Coincidentally, it's also the only time you'll get a break.
Sunset Overdrive preview photo
Just stop for a second
Go, go, go. Always on the move. That's all that we've seen of Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive since its initial 2013 reveal. Seriously, think back. Do you remember seeing any footage of the game where the oddball prota...

Quantum Break piqued my curiosity, but it still has a lot to prove

Aug 21 // Brett Makedonski
The majority of the challenge in Quantum Break will come in the form of third-person combat sequences. As Monarch unleashes an army of ground troops to deal with Joyce, he combines his newfound powers and good ol'-fashioned lead to fend off the threat. In the hands-off presentation that we saw, Joyce could freeze time in small pockets, effectively bringing a single enemy to a standstill. Turns out that soldiers aren't too difficult to dispose of when they literally can't fight back. Alternatively, Joyce could (presumably) speed up time around him, zooming from spot to spot, and bashing unaware guards into submission. There's an obvious concern here: Is the time-warping mechanic enough to sustain the humdrum that usually accompanies cover-based shooting? Although we really only saw one combat section, the fear is justified. Despite the fact that there are some more explosive elements sprinkled in (typically literal explosions) and some stylish kill cams, it has potential to turn into a rote affair if Remedy isn't careful with the variety and frequency of these sections. Although humans wielding guns are certainly a formidable and dangerous opponent, Joyce's battle against time is a more intriguing prospect. As a result of the experiment gone wrong, time will suddenly stutter, creating large sections where everything is frozen in place. It can come at any time like in the middle of a firefight, or as we saw in the demo, as a cargo ship was about to collide with a bridge. These stutters mark the second style of gameplay in Quantum Break, and they appear to be crafted to be action-puzzle sequences. Rightfully unpredictable as time fractures, people and items within these areas exhibit all sorts of different behavior as Joyce moves through the stutters. Bullets in mid-air that can be examined from a 360-degree view could suddenly pop to life without any warning, or other objects that are stuck in time-loops can serve as obstacles that need some well-timed platforming to clear. From the demo that we saw, Joyce needed to use his own powers to best these areas. As objects snapped to life, he'd freeze them or move them to create a path across the crumbling bridge. In the event that he was too slow, well, it probably would've resulted in a truck landing on his head. What the presentation didn't make apparent was how scripted these sections would be. Do you have a set amount of time to get through an area before the stutter passed and all hell broke loose? Or, would the events trigger upon reaching a certain point? Is there any room for creativity with how things are handled? Or, will it all be very guided, and lead to instant death if you don't play the exact way Quantum Break wants you to? These questions all hang over the game, and we won't really know what kind of beast Quantum Break is until they're answered. The stutters look fantastic to walk through and explore, and it's amazing to see the destruction frozen in place in a way that lets you inspect all the detail. But, whether they'll create unique and memorable experiences for each player, or are simply glorified, over-the-top set pieces remains to be seen. When initially introduced in 2013, Quantum Break was designed to meld the television and videogame mediums. During our presentation, creative director Sam Lake did a bit to outline the strategy for this. The videogame bit will focus on heroes, while the television part will center on the villains at Monarch. Actions in-game will supposedly affect the video series, and it sounds as if the two halves will seamlessly interweave at designated points throughout. While it's all shipping together on the same disc, it's unknown if the television parts are optional or mandatory watching. Any finer details surrounding the plot are also predictably unclear, as Remedy wasn't willing to discuss it at all. By the time that the half-hour demonstration was over, we had seen a lot, but maybe came away with more questions than answers. It's always aggravatingly cliché to say that a game has potential, but that's exactly what Quantum Break has. Potential to be a fine cinematic experience whose core mechanic leads to larger-than-life sequences. Potential to be the example that the videogame and television mediums can exist in blissful harmony. And, potential to be a linear, disjointed affair whose shoot-'em-up and time-stutter sections never complement one another and are underwhelming on their own. We'll have to see more of Quantum Break before we get a better idea of how it all comes together, but for now, it has potential.
Quantum Break preview photo
It could go many different ways
Remedy Entertainment has made a living by following a tried-and-true formula: take a third-person shooter, support it with a catchy and innovative gameplay mechanic, and wrap it all up with an emphasis on narrative. Max Payne...

Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Here's your first look at Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain's multiplayer


Yeah, I didn't know it had multiplayer either
Aug 18
// Brittany Vincent
This off-screen footage from gamescom shows off your first real look at the multiplayer porting of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Mother Base will be customizable, and you can manage your resources how you'd like -- i...
Ghost of a Tale photo
Ghost of a Tale

Indiegogo project Ghost of a Tale makes an appearance at gamescom 2014


Tilo the mouse explores dungeons, flees from crabs
Aug 17
// Rob Morrow
SeithCG's ridiculously adorable stealth-action-adventure title, Ghost of a Tale (or GoaT for short) sneaks its way into gamescom in this newest trailer. Since its humble Indiegogo origins, Ghost of a Tale has progr...

Crookz puts a '70s heist movie spin on tactical gaming

Aug 17 // Dale North
[embed]279728:55320:0[/embed] Crookz is a single-player tactical game has players guiding the movement of a crew of thieves through their missions as they infiltrate buildings, sneak around guards, and work through obstacles to lift their heist target. These thieves all have unique skill sets that forces players to think about how they'll work together achieve goals. For example, a technician might have to cut the security cameras off so that the specialist can enter a room to pick a lock.  The game is presented in an isometric view, with the ceiling removed from a missions buildings and obstacles, letting players guide crew members through. Each member is directed by clicking on interaction points, like doors or locks, where context-sensitive options will pop up. Some of these situations have timing attached. For example, the runner would want to wait until an armed guard passed by before sneaking down a hallway. Otherwise, the game's action stays paused, leaving the player to issue commands and develop strategies. Crookz's missions play out like a large, multi branched puzzles. While applying different crew members' specialities to is at the heart of the gameplay, there is some freedom for creativity with the game's single-use items and found treasures. With the right item, the runner could temporarily take on the role of a technician to hack surveillance gear, for example. I watched a mission where a crew of three had to break into a protected building, work their way through laser traps, pick locks, sneak past guards, find keys, hack junction boxes, and more, to make their way to a room where an erotic gold statue protected a huge diamond. It sounds complicated, but you don't take all of these challenges on at once. With the way the player is able to move about the map and thoughtfully apply skills and item use, Crookz has a pretty laid-back pace. The music I heard during this showing was quite good. We were told that they hired a band to track the funky soundtrack, which comes complete with wah-wah guitars and drums.  There are a lot of games with thieves in them, but not many where they sport afros and leisure suits. I dig how the heist vibe somehow really fits with its tactical gameplay. With its 20 missions to work through, Crookz looks like a game that could be really groovy to really dig into. Crookz is coming to PC, Mac, and Linux in 2015. 
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First look at gamescom
A tactical game with a '70s heist movie theme? Finding something like that at gamescom is about as unlikely as finding a videogame trailer with porn star Ron Jeremy in it. But here we are with both. 

Star Citizen multiplayer photo
Star Citizen multiplayer

This Star Citizen multiplayer crew gameplay demo looks amazing!


Suit up, gather your crew, and head into space in this latest Star Citizen demonstration
Aug 16
// Rob Morrow
Chris Roberts' ambitious space trading and combat simulator Star Citizen has come a long way since its crowdfunding beginnings back in 2012. In this latest footage from gamescom 2014, Roberts and his staff demonstrate h...

Rediscover a Lara Croft you already know in Temple of Osiris

Aug 16 // Brett Makedonski
Perhaps the biggest alteration that Temple of Osiris employs is simply the number of people that are in on the action. Whereas the first game in the series featured two-player co-op, Temple of Osiris drops up to four into the fray. The characters pair off into two groups with unique capabilities. Lara and fellow treasure hunter Carter Bell can grapple to distant locations, while Egyptian gods Horus and Isis are equipped with light staffs. Each proves essential for clearing certain sections, but no characters feel more powerful than others. In the event that there's only a single player, Lara is given a staff to assist with certain sections. On the surface, Temple of Osiris is all about teamwork. Traversing across several tombs in an Egyptian setting in an effort to stop the god Osiris' evil brother Set is technically the reason for this dangerous endeavor. Your partners will feel invaluable as you fight monsters, solve puzzles, and wander off into intriguing nooks. Don't be naive -- they have an ulterior motive just like you. Underscoring the entirety of Temple of Osiris is a sense of competition. The game ranks players after each level, elevating the top performer on a pedestal where they're showered with gems. These gems act as the game's currency, so it's easy to get caught up in wanting more than your compadres. Before long, you're scrambling to pick up the point bonuses, get the final blow on enemies, and find that secret area first. It gives you that one-up that isn't necessary, but you just want so badly. [embed]279606:55317:0[/embed] The pursuit of gems is how the game accentuates its light RPG system. A treasure room that's available in between levels features a wealth of chests that all have random gear to equip. Chests vary in cost to open -- the higher the cost, the better the chance that it'll hold rare items. Crystal Dynamics isn't too willing to talk about the economy of Temple of Osiris yet, so it's unknown whether you'll be able to just buy specific items. Regardless, it's a certainty that gems are something you'll want lots of. Temple of Osiris offers the ability to go back to previous sections and grind out gems if you so wish. After each level, an elevator option is available, which takes the team back to an overworld hub where everything's replayable. It'll end up being a great help when seeking to clear side challenges or set high scores, especially considering that doing so is how some of the game's best gear is unlocked. These challenges won't be a cakewalk. In our demo, gameplay wasn't overly difficult, but it also gave the impression that it'd be tough to do consistently well. Dying resets a point multiplier along with a deduction in points, meaning that consistency is absolutely key. Compounding matters are the typical flaws associated with this style of game. Depth of field and precision platforming aren't Osiris' strengths, but it's likely that familiarity will eventually mitigate most frustrations that arise as a result. It may not be perfect but it works, and it'll probably work really well. It brings with it a sense of exploration and adventure that'll be welcome by those who grew up with Lara. Crystal Dynamics may have taken divergent paths with her character, but Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris proves that it hasn't forgotten the series' roots.
Lara Croft preview photo
She likes shootin' and lootin'
Which Lara Croft do you prefer? Crystal Dynamics has two versions of her, splitting the iconic character into distinctly different properties. The recent Tomb Raider reboot and the scheduled follow-up Rise of t...

California is not an island, but here are my Dead Island 2 impressions

Aug 16 // Dale North
I played in a group with three others, with each of us playing one of the two available classes in the demo. The berserker class does exactly what you'd expect: crowd control. Named Ryan, he can push through with big weapons, breaking up zombie traffic with only a few swings. But I played as Dani, a speeder. She's quicker, and can slice limbs off with her blade. She's great for the type of player that likes to slash and run.  Both types work great on the standard zombies, called walkers. A short bout of slashes has their heads flying off easily. There are runners that charge at you out of nowhere, though. Playing Dani made it easy to get in and get things done. She was also great for getting the hell away from the suiciders -- the zombies that explode after they chase you down.  Dani has this great move where she can sneak up on a big zombie thug tank-type character, get behind it, kick it to have it fall on its knees, and then cut it up in a big way. I did that a few times. Her big attack required a wait, but if it hit right it would slice most zombies clean in half. It's too bad that our demo had no real objectives outside of a short defense mission, guarding a video store. That was still a good time, though. I looted an electronics store to upgrade my weapons, snuck around a neighborhood, fought in backyards, and found some great vantage points to enjoy the view. I enjoyed playing with the various weapons the demo had available. Picking a lock in the back of a gas station had me finding a wood axe to get slashy with. And throwing propane tanks into crowds is always fun.  Dead Island 2 isn't finished -- what I played was considered pre-alpha -- but it's looking pretty nice already. Things lagged a bit when the crowds got thick, and there was a weird blur when I spun the camera around. Still, the highly detailed neighborhood was easy to appreciate, and the California sun that drenched the streets was just as I know it to be. The Hollywood sign served as a backdrop to all of this. Crowd control in a small, closed space is only fun for so long, but I'm sure there will be plenty of next-gen gutting in the final game. We'll get a better look at it as we draw closer to its Spring 2015 release date. Dead Island 2 is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. 
Dead Island 2 photo
Hands-on at gamescom
You'll be able to explore Los Angeles, Santa Monica, some beaches, a golf course, and maybe even more in the final version of Dead Island 2. But what Deep Silver was showing at gamescom 2014 was pretty limited. I only got to run around a small, closed-off section of the Los Angeles suburbs. It was a short taste of what the Southern California zombie-slaughtering life is like. 

Here are Destructoid's top ten games from gamescom

Aug 15 // Brett Makedonski
Alien: Isolation It's easy to understand why everyone has initially opted to take a decidedly guarded approach to Alien: Isolation. Fool me once, and so on. But, after several hands-on sessions with the game (including three different extended sections), it's almost impossible to contain our excitement for Isolation. Creative Assembly looks to have cultivated an atmospheric thriller that's actually deserving of the highest praise -- being compared to Ridley Scott's Alien. That's elite (and almost unspeakable) company, but all the demos we've seen nail what made the film so haunting. Turns out it's a considerably more terrifying experience when you're not just watching, but actively eluding this monstrosity. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Horses and cardboard boxes. Bikini model posters. Stealth and theft. Shit skids. It's serious and silly, stuffed into a highly anticipated next-gen package. At gamescom this year, we didn't see much more of MGS than we saw at E3, but seeing it again made me crave it that much more. But take your time, Kojima. If this is as good as we're hoping it is, it'll be worth the wait. Evolve Turtle Rock Studios' Evolve lets you pick your play style. Prefer team-oriented action, or the god complex that comes alongside being a hulking behemoth? It doesn't matter which you choose, both look to be equally fantastic. Evolve's four-versus-one asymmetrical multiplayer thrives because of one thing -- balance. It's remarkable how despite all the different character pairings and ability combinations there are, a harmony's always struck to never give either side an unfair edge. In the many matches we've played, it's constantly up in the air as to which will prevail, proving that it'll be an ideal experience for both solo and multiplayer goers alike. Life is Strange Both of Dontnod Entertainment's efforts, 2013's Remember Me and the upcoming Life is Strange, feature prominent female characters. The team says it isn't trying to "fix" the videogame industry, but it's just telling the stories it wants to tell. After seeing Life is Strange for an hour, it's difficult to imagine the tale being told from anyone else's perspective. Thrust into the role of teenage girl Max Caughfield, Life is Strange is about exploration, adventures, curiosity, and in all likelihood, growing. As Max and her friend Chloe investigate the disappearance of a classmate, they'll investigate the world around them, too. What parts do they play in this existence? How do they fit into it? Do they even want to fit into it? To complicate things, Max has the supernatural ability to rewind time. If an event played out to her disliking, she can take a mulligan and have another go at it. Not that it'll necessarily make matters easier. How can you expect a confused, inexperienced, misunderstood, and scared girl to make perfect decisions? All you can expect is that she'll inevitably grow. No Man's Sky Hello Games' Sean Murray told us that his studio was formed to make No Man's Sky. This is their dream game, satisfying their desire for a true science-fiction game with the ability to freely navigate the universe, exploring strange alien planets. It's a world we'll have to jump in to fully appreciate, but what has been shown so far has already captured our imaginations.  Assassin's Creed Unity As the Assassin's Creed franchise commits fully and takes a leap of faith into the new generation of console gaming, it's impossible not to recognize the upgrades that the change in hardware affords it. Apart from a visual enhancement, Unity's Paris in the throes of revolution simply looks and feels more alive and complete. This is essential for Assassin's Creed to take its next step. The series has always thrived on the playground that it gives the player. By creating a world that absolutely oozes dissent and uprising, Ubisoft seems to have reached a new pinnacle for the sandbox. And, that's precisely the element that ties the entire experience together. Bloodborne Do you love From Software's Souls games? Great. Upcoming PS4 title Bloodborne is going to be your dream game. But, if you've never bothered, I still think this one is going to draw you in with how they've approached their formula with new combat mechanics, much more gore, and a seriously freaky world to explore. The new area and beasts we saw at gamescom this week have us even more excited (and scared) to start playing. Ori and the Blind Forest Yeah, Ori and the Blind Forest is gorgeous. Anyone that's laid eyes on even a screenshot of the game knows that. But, good games are a lot deeper than superficial aesthetic. Luckily, Ori is more than just some beautiful art. Ori and the Blind Forest handles wonderfully as a platformer. With several different mechanics and abilities that open up through progression, it's a skill-based endeavor that challenges the player and taunts them into mastering its systems, but is never unfair. Those visuals are just the cherry on top. A giant, delicious cherry. Yoshi's Wooly World Soft, wooly eye-candy with Nintendo's platforming know-how made Yoshi's latest outing a crowd-pleaser on the gamescom show floor this year. Making the little dino the star of the action makes for a fresh experience, like soft towels just out of the dryer. Bllleh! Until Dawn Two years ago, Sony showed a campy, horny teen horror PS3 game that would be played solely with a PS Move controller. Now, Until Dawn has completely transformed into a full-fledged PS4 adult horror game with a Hollywood cast and branching gameplay that can lead players to one of hundreds of endings. Oh, and it's legitimately scary. Most improved player award.
Best of gamescom photo
All the winners, in no particular order
Gamescom is the largest videogame trade show in the world. Sound like a big deal? It absolutely is. Hundreds of thousands of people cram together in a convention center that's massive, but doesn't feel even close to huge enou...

Far Cry photo
Far Cry

Far Cry 4's take on Shangri-La sure is stunning


The Himalayas look nice, too
Aug 14
// Jordan Devore
As someone who tended to stick with the bow as the weapon of choice in Far Cry 3 -- and especially in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon -- I like the look of the mythical Shangri-La in Far Cry 4. In these levels, you'll fight against ...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Here's a full look at one of Assassin's Creed Unity's open-ended missions


11 minutes of footage with developer commentary
Aug 14
// Jordan Devore
With Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft is promising missions that feature multiple ways to complete a given objective. Hamza talked about this "black box" design in his recent preview, and here's a look at one of the ways an e...
Hellblade photo
Hellblade

Ninja Theory wants to involve you in their game-making process


Reminds me of Planescape: Torment for some reason
Aug 14
// Brittany Vincent
Hellblade was announced for PS4 to be developed and published by Ninja Theory (DmC: Devil May Cry, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Heavenly Sword). Hellblade is set to focus on a Celtic-inspired twisted world, with brutal com...
The Witcher photo
The Witcher

Set aside five minutes for this Witcher 3 footage


Nothing good ever comes from swamps
Aug 14
// Jordan Devore
An evil force is causing the villagers of Downwarren to sleepwalk into a nearby forest, never to come back, and it's up to Geralt to figure out what's going on. Yesterday's images looked as good as ever but there's no compar...
gamescom photo
gamescom

Gamescom looks absolutely hellish


Just be glad you aren't there right now
Aug 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Gamescom is in full swing, and it's difficult to envy those attending Europe's largest gaming convention this weekend. Just look at all those bodies. Envision the endless queues and pungent odors housed within the Koelnmesse. The things we do for videogames... Brian Albert [Twitter via Kotaku]

The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise

Aug 14 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]279449:55232:0[/embed] Videogames aren't just about playing games anymore. They're about being an inclusive experience through all methods of media consumption. They're a service. That's unabashedly apparent with The Halo Channel. It's an easy prospect for skeptics to guffaw at, but anyone that wants to be immersed in everything Halo would be hard-pressed to find a better place to do it. Microsoft's branding the channel as an "interactive digital network." All of those claims are true. 343 Industries is putting an emphasis on two-way communication -- not only can it deliver its message to you, but you can deliver your message to it and all of your social contacts. After all, conversation helps things grow; it's how a stagnant experience turns into a talking point. Maybe the key to The Halo Channel is the balance of passive and active activities for users. The active ones are obvious, but still somewhat nuanced. Want to simply play Halo? Hop into a game from the network's hub. Watching a match and fancy some multiplayer of your own? The exact game type that you were viewing can be instantly set up, turning you from a spectator to a player in seconds. However, it's the passive aspect of The Halo Channel that will really justify its existence. The channel will boast a video on-demand service along with a continuous rotation of programs. Microsoft's keen on producing a lot of unique video content that strengthens the Halo lore, so there's sure to be no shortage of shows to watch. With the videogame industry putting more and more emphasis on eSports all the time, 343's direction with The Halo Channel might be a good indicator of its approach to the subject with regard to Halo. 343 producer Kiki Wolfkill explained that the studio's "doubling down" on Halo as a spectator sport. Twitch will be integrated to the channel so players can watch matches at any time, and as mentioned previously jump into similar matches at a moment's notice. When asked what 343's future plans for Halo as a competitive eSport are, the team sort of dodged the question, but remarked that Halo 2 would be well-suited for that kind of thing. Whatever happens with all aspects of the franchise in the future, The Halo Channel is 343 and Microsoft's way of ensuring that fans stay invested and interested in the present. It'll be fairly easily accessible, as it's coming to Xbox One and Windows 8 devices soon, with plans to release on Windows phones sometime down the line. It might be an ambitious project for a singular brand, but if there's one in Xbox's arsenal worthy of the honor, it's Halo. And, if it's as simple, streamlined, and packed with content as it looked to be during the presentation, Halo fans won't need to go anywhere else to get their fix.
Halo Channel photo
Games as a service
Xbox's flagship franchise isn't something that Microsoft's going to stray from anytime soon. Why would it? If there was any doubt about Halo's lasting appeal, it was dashed with the E3 reveal of Halo: The Master Chief Collect...

Until Dawn has hundreds of endings and thousands of branches

Aug 14 // Dale North
As eight friends stranded in a mountain getaway work to survive, you'll control each of them, making choices for them. The paths you go down take every action into consideration, from small choices, like choosing to pick up a book, to large moral dilemmas. You might have to decide to shoot your friend in the head, for example.  This is important as Until Dawn was designed so that every character can survive and/or die. And if they die, they stay dead -- no restarts here. The game will adapt the story if a character dies, so every decision you make can alter the story completely. During some of these choices, a small butterfly icon will appear in the upper right side of the screen. This indicates that the Butterfly Effect is underway. Pulled straight from chaos theory, the butterfly effect has it so that any one small change can bring about larger changes further down the road. For the purposes of Until Dawn, any one choice you make can have you going down any one path, eventually ending up at one of any of the hundreds of endings.  To demonstrate, Samuels shared a great visual that I wish we had a copy of. Using an image of a butterfly, its very center represented the story's origin. Highlighted veins branching from that center represented the first few choices, and all of the subsequent branches fanned out to the very ends of the butterfly's wings, with each end representing the hundreds of possible endings. The branches fanned out and connected at various points along their length, representing the thousands of possible paths.  So opening the wrong door, picking up the right clue, or saying something when you should have said something else will take you down your own path. There's a good chance that your path and ending will be nothing like your friend's path and ending. As the game progresses, there's a good chance that two people won't see the same scenes or hear the same dialogue.  Believe it or not, Supermassive shot and recorded every possible scene and outcome for these branches and endings. They believe that being able to experience your choices adds to the suspense and horror of Until Dawn so they went to the trouble of auditioning 200 actors before getting to their current cast, which includes TV star Hayden Panettiere. They wanted only top actors to fit with the high-definition capture and high volume of voice work required. From what I saw, they've done a nice job with both the casting and capture. Supermassive has come a long way from the campy PS3 Move game they showed here at gamescom two years ago. They went from flashlight scares to a full-fledged PS4 playable horror movie that lets the player decide on its story and outcome. What an overhaul! Read our hands-on preview of Until Dawn here.
Until Dawn's many endings photo
The Butterfly Effect
Supermassive Games' Pete Samuels and Will Byles held a behind-closed-doors session during gamescom to give us a better look into upcoming PS4 horror title Until Dawn. During that session they explained how their PS3 Move-only...

Ori and the Blind Forest is a lot more than just a beautiful game

Aug 14 // Brett Makedonski
For the 30-minute showing, Moon only really wanted to talk about the gameplay and platforming aspects of Ori. Starting approximately three hours into the game, the demo began right as a new mechanic was obtained -- the bash ability. It's just one of the several unique mechanics that will be introduced as Ori runs its course, but the core philosophy will be the same each time. Like all well-designed games, Ori makes sure that the player knows how to use the tools in its arsenal. When something new is opened, the next several sections will ensure that the player's honed -- if not perfected -- the skill before moving on. Later in the game, an amalgamation of the abilities combined with some platforming prowess will be the only way to advance, so it's essential to know them early. In our demo, bash (which might as well have been called "dash") was the one that Moon wanted to focus on. It's a multi-faceted tool with many uses to accomplish different goals. With regard to puzzle solving, it's a means to redirect projectiles in different directions. In terms of combat, it's a handy alternate attack if you ever feel like switching things up. And, maybe most crucially, it bolsters the platforming by adding some much-needed distance mid-jump. Even though Ori looks as if it'll be a lot of things, that last one's the heart of the entire experience -- the platforming. Without it, Ori would be just another beautiful puzzle game (not that there's anything wrong with that). However, it's the incessant platforming challenges that make the game a true test of skill -- something that looks as if it'll cause actual frustration instead of being a walk in the park. Luckily, that frustration won't come as a result of Ori's ineptitude. If the final release is as polished as the demo was, any failures will fall squarely on the player's shoulders. It's been a long time since I've felt platforming controls that were as tight as Ori's, evoking memories of my time spent with Super Meat Boy. That's not bad company to have in this conversation. Really, that's the aspect of Ori and the Blind Forest that I'm most excited about -- the well-controlled platforming. These games can have a million tricks up their sleeves -- gorgeous aesthetics, unique mechanics, wondrous music -- the list could go on forever. But, without a solid core tenet tying everything together, it'll ultimately come off as sloppy. Fortunately, that's not the case with Ori; it's poised to be a platformer that we remember for a long time, and not just because it looks so damn good.
Ori preview photo
There's a really solid platformer in there too
One glance at Moon Studios' Ori and the Blind Forest is enough to be immediately enamored by the game's visuals. Actually, it's almost an inevitability. Every piece of media that Microsoft releases for Ori draws att...

Ryse on PC photo
Ryse on PC

Ryse: Son of Rome on PC shows tons of detail, runs at 4K


But you'll need a pretty nice rig
Aug 14
// Dale North
This fall, Xbox One launch game Ryse: Son of Rome comes to the PC with some significant visual upgrades. This morning at gamescom, we met with Crytek's Brian Chambers, senior producer on Ryse, to check out the PC build for the first time. It looks goooood.
 photo
Put your hands in the air, this is for the players
Sony came and delivered pretty much what I expected from their gamescom 2014 press conference. They had a boatload of indie games with interesting visual styles. They've continued their expansive trajectory of porting bigger...


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