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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




ArenaNet: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns 'is like Metroid and Zelda slammed together' photo
ArenaNet: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns 'is like Metroid and Zelda slammed together'
by Chris Carter

Guild Wars 2 is one of the most accessible MMOs ever made. Eschewing the Holy Trinity of class builds, you can basically pick any character you want and still fulfill a role in any group. Everyone can heal, and everyone can contribute in some way.

As a result of that design however, a lot of opportunities for advanced tactics fell by the wayside, and the endgame was too simplistic to keep everyone interested. Can the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion rectify that problem?

I had some time to talk to lead designer Colin Johanson and figure out just that.

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Exclusive: Dot Arcade is a new full color videogame for Wii U photo
Exclusive: Dot Arcade is a new full color videogame for Wii U
by Jonathan Holmes

Two of James Montagna's most well known games are Adventure Time: Hey Ice King Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!! and Wonder Momo. These games sold because of their characters. Wonder Momo had built up a strong following through her comic strip on Shifty Look, and Adventure Time was a worldwide merchandising phenomenon by the time it first hit the market. 

I'd imagine designing a game that features beloved characters must be a double-edged sword. Expectations are higher, but so are potential for sales. The pressure is on to design something that does justice to the source material, but on the other end, its the source material that will inevitably be the star of the show, not the design decisions. 

Maybe that's why James has designed his first "solo project" on videogame consoles to be something almost completely abstract. The only literal depictions of in-game characters coming form virtual "marquee art" that appears on the side of the screen. All the action takes place between on a field of simple flashing lights. That's just one of the ways Dot Arcade hearkens back to a day long before Montagna was even born, when electronic games were more analog than digital, where actual light bulbs worked as individual "pixels" and the language of videogames as we know it was still largely unwritten. 

It's a little hard to believe Dot Arcade is real, but according to James, "The game is actually finished. It's ESRB rated, and completely Nintendo Lot Check approved -- I just have to decide the release date and let Nintendo know when to pull the trigger."

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Why are so few of Evolve's characters female? photo
Why are so few of Evolve's characters female?
by Kyle MacGregor

Evolve will launch with twelve hunters: eight men, three women, and a robot, though it's referred to as a "he." Of the three female characters, two are medics (Val and Caira) and the other (Maggie) is a trapper. There are currently no female assault or support class characters.

That could certainly change in the future. The asymmetric shooter's season pass contains an additional four hunters. As it stands, though, three-fourths of the cast are men, a ratio sure to disappoint some. Others may be surprised to learn there are any female characters at all.

The topic came up in an interview I conducted with Evolve creative director Phil Robb late last year. Speaking at developer Turtle Rock Studios' office in Lake Forest, CA, Robb told me "there was no political agenda" behind the uneven gender distribution. "It wasn't a planned thing," he added.

Robb went on to describe a fluid design process, one driven by "what feels right."

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My interview with the voice of Vegeta didn't go so well photo
My interview with the voice of Vegeta didn't go so well
by Bill Zoeker

I was surprised to find myself given the opportunity to interview Christopher Sabat; the founder of voice over studio, Okratron500, and the voice actor for Vegeta, and many other Dragon Ball characters.

I've been a huge Dragon Ball fan for years, if you couldn't tell from the Just Saiyan series we once did, so this was very exciting for me. Perhaps my nerves got to me, or perhaps I'm just rusty from not having done any interviews for a while, but this did not go well. I didn't get the impression that Chris liked me very much.

If you want actual information on Dragon Ball Xenoverse, just click here.

[Disclosure: This interview took place at a Bandai Namco event held at a venue in San Francisco that I forgot the name of. It was catered by a food truck, but I wasn't very hungry. They started serving free alcoholic cocktails at 4:30. Chris was great sport with this video. I didn't actually stalk him.]

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Jacob 'Humble' Browe talks Minelands: Call of the Border photo
Jacob 'Humble' Browe talks Minelands: Call of the Border
by Brittany Vincent

Jacob "Humble" Browe is a visionary. He's just shipped a multi-billion dollar game to hundreds of retailers across the United States and Canada, with additional release dates staggered across the world.

After running a successful Kickstarter that raised over $6.5 million to campaign for Avenged Sevenfold to play in his backyard, he then created a Patreon in an effort to supplement his crippling Starbucks habit month-to-month while using kickbacks from his millionaire parents to create Minelands: Call of the Border, the game that's got millions clamoring for a sequel only a day or so after release. Now he's making waves in the industry like we've never seen before. From humble beginnings, he's rising through the ranks of the video game business like a shooting star. It's going to be one fascinating ride.

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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