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5:00 PM on 02.05.2015

To Infinity and beyond: A chat with Disney Infinity's executive producer

The near-field communication (NFC) figure craze was at its height this past holiday season. Skylanders, amiibo, and Disney Infinity figures flew off shelves in droves. I know my local Wal-Mart looked like an adorable Bat...

Jason Faulkner



Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is more than just a remaster photo
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is more than just a remaster
by Alessandro Fillari

I'll be the first to say it: it's going to be the year of Souls. With the release of Bloodborne only a month away, which looks to redefine the experience along with its wonderful change of setting, From Software has been busy as of late. But that's not stopping the studio from re-releasing its previous title Dark Souls II for new audiences on new hardware.

Recently, the developers released an update for existing versions of Dark Souls II for all players, adding in an invasion faction, characters, and even new encounters. Of course, this is to ease them into what Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin has to offer. Though there's been little information about what to expect from this revisit, the folks behind the title had a lot to say about it.

At a special Bandai Namco Games event last week, Destructoid got to go hands-on with the new and improved version of Dark Souls II and chat with Bandai Namco global producer Atsuo Yoshimura. Though many see it as simply a remaster, From Software thinks of it as much more.

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Meet the winner of Nintendo Power's The Mask II contest photo
Meet the winner of Nintendo Power's The Mask II contest
by Tony Ponce

In my heart of hearts, Nintendo Power will never die. If you were an American Nintendo gamer in the late '80s to early '90s, this monthly rag granted you unfettered access to a world of insider news and gossip that made you the envy of every schoolyard game jockey. The magazine itself may be gone, but its legacy is immortal.

Over the course of nearly 25 years, a number of features and events inside and outside the pages of Power became legendary -- the Super Mario and A Link to the Past comics, the Star Fox 64 promotional VHS, EarthBound's literally stinky ad campaign. But among the most infamous was the ill-fated The Mask II Player's Poll Contest.

In Vol. 77, published in October 1995, Nintendo offered one lucky winner a spot as an extra in the sequel to the smash hit action comedy The Mask. Production on the movie was halted indefinitely after Jim Carrey declined to reprise his role, which also meant that whoever won the contest was boned. The Nintendo Power editorial staff did eventually deliver a public apology... in the final issue. What happened in the 17 intervening years? Was the winner awarded an appropriate consolation prize, or did the Big N leave the kid high and dry?

Well, why don't I just ask him directly?

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Evolve director on DLC: 'I don't like people thinking we're doing underhanded, dirty shit' photo
Evolve director on DLC: 'I don't like people thinking we're doing underhanded, dirty shit'
by Kyle MacGregor

Evolve was peddling pre-order bonuses before its publisher had even shown off what the game looked like. A year later, we have a better idea what type of experience Evolve will offer when it releases next month. However, concerns regarding its business strategy linger.

Months ago, Turtle Rock Studios co-founder Chris Ashton made headlines when discussing the developer's plans for DLC. He stated the game was built "from the ground up" for add-on content, something he claimed Evolve would support "more so than any game ever before."

I broached the snafu with creative director Phil Robb during a studio visit late last year, a conversation that once again seems relevant in light of recent announcements surrounding the game's mystifying DLC plan and the negative reaction it has elicited from fans.

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Project Scissors dev: 'Working with a renowned film director could easily become a nightmare'  photo
Project Scissors dev: 'Working with a renowned film director could easily become a nightmare'
by Jonathan Holmes

[Art by Mariel "Kinuko" Cartwright]

We're closing out our Project Scissors: NightCry pre-release interview series with director Hifume Kono by bringing the focus back on the historic pairing between developer Kono-san (Clock Tower) and his new partner in horror Takashi Shimizu (Ju-on, The Grudge). This was the second biggest paring of a horror film director and a game developer that I heard about in 2014. The first was Guillemo del Toro and Hideo Kojima, who are currently working to develop Silent Hills.

I asked Kono-san what he thought of the pairing between Kojima and del Toro, how his collaboration with Shimizu-san might work to combine the best aspects of Ju-on with Clock Tower, and for a final word on what makes Clock Tower/Project Scissors so special.

Thanks again to Kono-san for sharing his one-of-a-kind insights and inspirations with us. He has left and indelible mark on the evolution of the survival horror genre. It will be exciting to see what fascinating, nail-biting tour of doom he takes us on next.

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4:00 PM on 01.13.2015

You play as a woman in Project Scissors because 'who wants to hear the screams of a grown man?'

The original Clock Tower was a cult hit when it was first released, and it's managed to stay fresh in the minds of horror game fans ever since. The Jennifer Connelly look-a-like lead; the shocking juxtaposition between quaint...

Jonathan Holmes





4:00 PM on 01.12.2015

The Grudge director is working on Project Scissors 'for free'

Earlier this month, our first look at Clock Tower spiritual successor Project Scissors: NightCry arrived in the form of a live-action trailer made by Ju-on and The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu. It was p...

Jonathan Holmes



RuPaul on drag, games, and those who fear a changing world photo
RuPaul on drag, games, and those who fear a changing world
by Jonathan Holmes

RuPaul has taken just about every form of media by storm. Film, music, talk shows, reality shows, live performances, comedy, drama: You name it, Ru's tried it. Now she can also scratch game development off the list as well.

Dragopolis 2.0 is a "drag puzzle-action game filled with stunning fashion, challenge, levels, outrageous humor, and more." Yes, in a move that few expected, Dragopolis 2.0 combines aspects of pinball, Bust-A-Move, something akin to Street Fighter X Tekken's gem system, and an evil super villain who hatches a plot to steal all the cutest outfits in town. This may be the closest thing to a Bayonetta puzzle game we ever see.

No one would accuse RuPaul of shying away from self promotion. Thankfully, she was willing to take the time to answer a few of our questions regarding her game, the parallels between videogames and drag, and her similarities with Sonic the Hedgehog. Her answers were relatively brief, aside from the one about Sonic. That one seemed to strike a chord for some reason.  

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A game like X-Files and True Detective? Just don't go Normcore photo
A game like X-Files and True Detective? Just don't go Normcore
by Jonathan Holmes

Oh no! It's the end of our three part interview with Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of Maniac Mansion and the masterminds behind Thimbleweed Park, a game that has currently raised over $500K on Kickstarter. We didn't learn that David Fox, the creator of Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, was on the team until after this interview was over. Otherwise we would have included him in this interview too. Sadly, it's too darn late for that, as the Kickstarter has less than 24 hours to go until it's all over

The campaign recently hit the stretch goal for full voice acting, but it's still far off from the iOS/Android goals. It'd be a big deal if they got there, as it would open up their potential audience by at least a few hundred people, maybe more if Apple could just figure out how to properly market the iPhone. C'mon Apple, when are you going to learn how to properly promote your brand?

We talked to Ron and Gary about why those smart phone stretch goals are important to them, the potential for console ports, fetishes, being otherwise unemployable, Joe Flaherty, and a lot more. Thanks again for the interview gentleman, and for returning to the style of game design that helped me to fall in love with the medium all those years ago. I've been waiting for you two to get the band back together since I was 12 years old. Now let's just cross our fingers and hope that you can live up to 25 years of built-up expectations.

No pressure.

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6:30 PM on 12.16.2014

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse Wii U releasing Christmas Day

The long awaited Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is finally about to hit the Wii U. The game has been out on the 3DS for a little while now, but I've been holding out for the home console version. Wii U-specific features like...

Jonathan Holmes

7:00 PM on 12.12.2014

Thimbleweed Park Kickstarter was a joke for five seconds

The Thimbleweed Park Kickstarter is almost over! We're celebrating this historic event with an explosive interview series starring not one, but two amazing middle aged men -- Mr. Ron Gilbert (Monkey Island) and Mr. Gary ...

Jonathan Holmes



Oddworld creator talks Jim Henson, VR, Videogame Awards and more photo
Oddworld creator talks Jim Henson, VR, Videogame Awards and more
by Jonathan Holmes

Last Sunday on Sup Holmes (also on Libsyn and iTunes) we talked with Oddworld series creator Lorne Lanning... a lot. It's the longest episode we've done, chalking in at almost 2 1/2 hours. I know that sounds like a long time, but it really flew by. On top of that, I think I talked for total of 10 minutes, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Much like his games, Lorne's brain is an endless landscape filled with surprises, insights, oddities, and brilliance. I hope to go back there soon.

He's also lived quite a life. I had no idea he worked on an Academy Award winning film, and that his wife helped create the God damn Labyrinth owl. That puts Abe just one degree of creator separation from Jennifer Connolly, Kermit the Frog, and the naked organist from Monty Python. It would be cool to see the those four in the same room someday. I bet they'd get along great.

On top of his sizable body of work, we talked with Lorne on the multiple influences that helped him to birth the Oddworld series, his experience working with (and later rebelling against) the big publisher system, his confidence that VR is on the cusp of going mainstream, why he's chosen this time to bring back Oddworld, teases of future projects, and a lot more. 

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This War of Mine is a harrowing journey of survival photo
This War of Mine is a harrowing journey of survival
by Alessandro Fillari

War, what is it good for? For starters, it makes for easy entertainment in fiction. With the rise of war games over the last two decades, it's common to see these experiences as nothing but an over-the-top spectacle to show off explosions and the might of the military. But in recent years, we've begun to see more games that pay attention to the philosophical and existential conflicts related to war.

One of my favorite last-gen games, Spec Ops: The Line, subverted expectations by reintroducing the horror and dread that war imparts on those it touches. And with last summer's Valiant Hearts, which told the stories of men and women during World War I, I'm glad we're seeing more of the human and emotional side of armed conflict.

Back at PAX Prime 2014, I had the opportunity to experience another such title called This War of Mine. Meeting with the developers at 11 bit studios, I got to chat about the origins and intentions they have with their survivalist take on war.

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Resident Evil was a difficult game to remaster in HD photo
Resident Evil was a difficult game to remaster in HD
by Alessandro Fillari

With the rise of high-definition re-releases, many fans have likely made a wish list of titles they hope will eventually get the HD treatment. Whether they be classics from the '90s or 2000s, we're seeing a variety of games find new life in today's market. Unfortunately, not every title can make that transition to modern consoles, be it for technical or design reasons.

Thankfully, Resident Evil is an exception. During a special hands-on session with the game, I experienced what it was like to return the mansion in full HD, and even got to speak with members of Capcom staff to learn about the challenges they faced with Remastered.

They certainly had their work cut out for them.

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Four things I loved about playing Assassin's Creed: Rogue photo
Four things I loved about playing Assassin's Creed: Rogue
by Alessandro Fillari

It's been four years since Assassin's Creed became an annual fixture. Every year, like clockwork, Ubisoft releases a brand new, fully developed title in the AC series. But things have changed slightly this year. In a surprising move, Ubisoft decided to ditch the cross-gen development for this year's release of Assassin's Creed, and focus on making two different titles that focused on different directions. With Assassin's Creed: Unity coming to current gen and PC only, many fans will likely miss out. But it seems like people have forgotten that another title in the series is releasing on the same day.

The ever elusive Assassin's Creed: Rogue, which was just announced two months ago, is Ubisoft's attempt to try to offer something for fans who haven't made the jump to current gen, but also aims to improve upon the design and structure set by fan-favorite Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Speaking with Rogue's producer, Karl Luhe, and after spending a good four hours with the tittle at a recent preview event, I see that there's a lot to like with this recent entry in the series.

But I still do have some misgivings.

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12:30 PM on 10.11.2014

Smash Bros. clones didn't 'increase required man-hours'

Smash Bros. for the 3DS has been out for a week now, and while reception has been generally positive, there are naturally going to be some gripes after the hype dies down -- fighting Little Mac on a totally flat course, 3DS n...

Jonathan Holmes