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Kickstarter

Perception photo
Perception

Ex-Irrational devs announce new horror game Perception


Realising a vision
May 27
// Vikki Blake
Deep End Games -- a new studio consisting of many ex-Irrational developers -- has announced a Kickstarter campaign for a brand new horror game called Perception. The first-person horror adventure places you in the shoes ...
Bloodstained photo
Bloodstained

IGA's whip gets cracking on Bloodstained level design as Ayami Kojima joins project


$3M bucks later, development gets going
May 26
// Steven Hansen
What with all the excitement around Castlevania: Symphony of the Night assistant director and subsequent series producer Koji "IGA" Igarashi's Kickstarter project, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, it's easy to forget that ...
Enless Shadowrunner photo
Enless Shadowrunner

Shadowrun returns again with Shadowrun: Hong Kong


Coming this summer
May 22
// Steven Hansen
One of the concerns I've had that could affect a possible Kickstarter bubble burst is a sort of "what next?" Fans fund an IGA-led Castlevania-like en masse, then what? Do they fund it again once the novelty wears off? In 201...
Bloxels photo
Bloxels

Bloxels is a tactile tool for building video games


I kind of wish I were a kid today
May 20
// Darren Nakamura
As a kid, I loved playing with blocks, and I loved playing video games. I think the combination of the two is at least partially why Minecraft is so popular with kids these days. Well, here's another product that I wish exis...
Bloodstained photo
Bloodstained

Bloodstained will now have a PC beta, similar to Mighty No. 9


$60 or more
May 20
// Chris Carter
If you backed Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, you may want to take a look at your contribution level. IGA and his team have just added another bonus to the $60 tier, which includes access to a PC beta by way of Steam. Whil...
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

The Mighty No. 9 PC beta is being pulled later today


Grab/play it while you can
May 20
// Chris Carter
For those of you who backed at a certain level for the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter, you were granted access to a PC beta by way of Steam. That test is ending today, so if you haven't had a chance to try it out, go download ...
Sunset photo
Sunset

1970's revolutionary thriller Sunset out this week


Orange you glad you read this post
May 19
// Steven Hansen
You ever notice how blue the Nolan Batman films are, or the blue and orange trend that slathers everything from Drive to Transformers to Battlefield cover art? Turns out humans respond well to color and when creating a work ...
Kickstarter photo
Kickstarter

Dimension Drive's trolled Kickstarter is back for more


It's time for Jack to let 'er rip!
May 19
// Mike Cosimano
Dimension Drive, the indie game famous for having been trolled by a fraudulent 7,000 euro pledge, has returned to Kickstarter for another shot. "We've had [support] from all over the world. People calling us, sending us ...
Aquatic Adventure photo
Aquatic Adventure

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human has awesome underwater boss battles


Shadow of the Colossus of the sea
May 18
// Ben Davis
It's starting to feel like underwater adventure games are set to become the next big thing. With upcoming titles like Subnautica, ABZÛ, and Neptune, Have Mercy, it looks like we're going to be spending a lot of time di...
Trigger photo
Trigger

Trigger looks to examine the PTSD process from the inside out


A visual novel about trauma
May 17
// Jonathan Holmes
Amy Dentata is a game developer's game developer, though her next project doesn't look like it's made to appeal strictly to game design theorist. Trigger is a visual novel about suffering from PTSD and the process of discover...
Crysis: Analogue Edition photo
Crysis: Analogue Edition

Haha sure: Crysis board game on Kickstarter


Tactical battles and chest-high walls
May 14
// Darren Nakamura
Crysis Analogue Edition - The Board Game. Huh. Okay. I have been pleasantly surprised in the past with video game shooters turned into tactical board games, but I'm still a bit skeptical about this one. I mean, Crysis's bigg...
Kickstarter photo
Kickstarter

Indie Kickstarter trolled by fraudulent last-minute 7,000 euro pledge (Update)


Dev team is 'speechless'
May 14
// Mike Cosimano
[Update: Kickstarter has sent over an official comment, courtesy of  Director of Communications David Gallagher. "We work hard to keep Kickstarter a safe and trusted platform. Our Integrity Team actively monitors the sys...
IGA plays photo
We had no sword or whip
Nearly 25,000 people have backed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night assistant director and subsequent series producer Koji "IGA" Igarashi's Kickstarter project, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. This, despite the fact that ...

Yooka-Laylee photo
Yooka-Laylee

Yooka-Laylee will have DLC, which 'won't start development until it ships'


Good
May 12
// Chris Carter
Playtonic has reached the two million mark for its Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter, and now, it's thinking far ahead of its "extra polish" stretch goal. It has set its sights on DLC, and the way it is handling it...
The Black Glove photo
The Black Glove

Ex-Irrational developers shelve The Black Glove


So long, space minotaur
May 11
// Jordan Devore
Steven told us about The Black Glove, a surreal first-person game from former Irrational (BioShock) developers, a couple of times. That was several months ago. The Kickstarter didn't make it. Determined, the team at Day for N...
Yooka-Laylee snake photo
Yooka-Laylee snake

Yooka-Laylee has a shorts-wearing snake named Trowzer


Lovely
May 11
// Jordan Devore
You just knew someone in Yooka-Laylee was going to rock shorts. If not the titular chameleon and bat duo, then a side character, surely. Today, Playtonic Games gave us the goods. "Trowzer is a business-snake whose career neve...
Bloodstained funded photo
Bloodstained funded

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night fully funded in less than four hours


$500,000 and counting
May 11
// Darren Nakamura
Full disclosure: I backed this at the $60 tier. I almost went for the $125 tier, but "No," I said to myself. "Let's be reasonable." The Kickstarter campaign for Koji Igarashi's Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has only been ...

Castlevania's IGA back with 'dream game' Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

May 11 // Steven Hansen
Bloodstained stars Miriam, an orphan stuck in the middle of "a classic tale of magic, or rather faith and belief, versus science," Igarashi told me through a translator. A group of alchemists, fearing its waning relevancy as science captures the 18th century setting, try to warn against the world losing faith. Start fucking loving science, they warn, and a bunch demons will take over. When that doesn't happen, egg on face, the alchemists start fusing demonic crystals into orphans to call the demons to earth, attempting to instigate a global annihilating "told ya so." The demon crystals have a, "natural inclination to expand, eat away at hosts' bodies," not unlike bad videogame companies, perhaps. "Stained glass" acts as an artistic motif reflected in the art style, but those pretty shades in characters' skin are also the basis of gameplay. Enemies drop materials, which are forged into gems, which can be formed into weapons. Rare materials can be forged into ability crystals that can be stuck in Miriam's body. They can also be combined in a number of ways, like adding a strength+ attribute crystal to a double jump for a double jump attack move. Igarashi explained the new system would be a little less repetitive than old Castlevania's, naming Aria of Sorrow specifically, where "you're just grinding on the same enemy to create the same thing." Why stained glass? "Stained glass is already cool-looking as it is, but stained glass weapons is badass." A recent walk through Grace Cathedral in San Francisco has me in agreement. Igarashi, "wanted to have a more colorful palette," and so on top of the stained glass, you have a blue-heavy protagonist, purple tinted key items (candles, keys), and an active blood orange sky in the background (thanks to parallax scrolling) inspired by an 18th century Icelandic volcano eruption that killed 23,000 Brits and bore a "bloody sun rising." All of this is framed by classic Gothic gray. If the mock up is any indication, it could look lovely. That's a "could," of course, because the game has not been made yet. Igarashi is someone you can likely depend on to make a Castlevania-style game. Inti Creates has been delivering for a long time. And Bloodstained isn't even held hostage by its Kickstarter, though it's meant to fund the last "20%" of development (and make for physical, pressed Xbox One and PS4 discs). Still, it's a way's out. Igarashi hasn't been gone from Konami much more than a year and shopping this proved difficult, hence last year's "hold." Igarashi "scoured the globe" and "pitched every major -- even minor -- publisher on this concept." "There was a ton of interest, but for various reasons, from, 'we do distribution for Konami and...don't want to anger them,' to 'Oh, this looks like a Japanese game.' But they didn't realize Igavania games sold better in America than any other territory." Incidentally, despite the widening popularity of the term "metroidvania," the team is eschewing the "castle" and "metroid," opting for the term "Igavania," explaining, "We want to make sure we don't anger Nintendo, and Igavania is a more accurate name." This project will likely irk someone at Konami regardless -- "Konami doesn't know about it," Igarashi said last month -- perhaps even more if it proves successful, like Mighty No. 9 or the recent not-Banjo-Kazooie platformer from ex-Rare folks, Yooka-Laylee. Given those examples (or Double Fine Adventure Game, or a number of others), it feels like a sure thing, but Igarashi does seem a bit more unsure after constant publisher rejection. "A lot of them were more interested in AAA stuff," he said. "There's a big disconnect between what the publishers are giving people and what the fans want." Inafune's success, specifically, "proved that the Western audience would put its money where its mouth is and support the creators that it loves." Igarashi doesn't expect he'll generate "anything close" to Mighty No. 9. He remains modest about the whole thing. "I spent the last year trying to make this work because I believe that's what the fans are telling me. And if the Kickstarter campaign shows that's not the case, then in the end the publishers were right and I was wrong." "From Iga-san's perspective," the translator, explains, "the most frustrating, saddening part is that he did his due diligence. He tried to work within the standard publisher model." It does seem surprising that Mr. Castlevania shops around a Castlevania and no one bites. Then again, why did Igarashi have to leave Konami in the first place to make this sort of game? "In the good old days, it used to be, as a producer you'd put your neck out on the line to make a game and if it's didn't work out, then you'd be done," Igarashi explained. Speaking specifically of Konami, at least as far as he left it a year ago (and somehow it was in a better state then), "Recently, there's more of a delicacy at [Konami] towards how they handle IP to the point where rather than maybe making new games, 'let's just not touch it'" becomes the mantra. "Or, 'we have to do it a bigger way." The 3D Castlevania, perhaps. Igarashi thinks it's "more risk averse" because someone used to, "pledge it would be okay, and it was their responsibility," but given that he would've have pledged on a new Castlevania, or Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima's likely ending relationship with the company, I'm not sure that's all of it. But Konami is in the past now. Inti Creates is making Bloodstained under Igarashi's direction. "We had several developers that were interested," he explained. "We needed a team that was both capable, but more importantly passionate. "They said, 'Listen, ever since becoming an independent studio, we've wanted to do three games.' One was a Mega Man type game, which they're now doing. The second was an Igavania game. And the third is a Zelda-type game, which they will probably never get a chance to do," Igarashi chuckled. Nintendo seems more open these days, though. Igarashi did dredge up some past, scoring the composer of Symphony of the Night, Michiru Yamane. "I basically tricked her into joining the campaign by getting her really drunk and making her promise she would help," Igarashi said. "You think that's a joke, but it's the truth." I believe it. And I believe Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's campaign shouldn't have a problem, "proving that this is a concept that the fans really want." I mean, all you have to do is ask "Sword or whip?" and they flip.
IGA's metroidvania photo
Publishers wouldn't touch it
Last year, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night assistant director and subsequent series producer Koji "IGA" Igarashi left Konami after nearly 25 years with the company. At GDC that year, Igarashi ended his interesting Symphony...

Wasteland 2 photo
Wasteland 2

Wasteland 2's Game of the Year Edition will be a free update on PC


Target individual body parts!
May 07
// Jordan Devore
Come this summer, you won't want need a PC to play Wasteland 2. inXile Entertainment is bringing its harsh post-apocalyptic role-playing game to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with an expanded Game of the Year Edition. Existing p...
Planet  X photo
Planet X

SoundShapes vet back for PS4/Vita/PC ryhthm defense Loud on Planet X


Tegan and Sara and Metric!
May 05
// Steven Hansen
A bunch of Canadian hepcats, including talent from the lovely SoundShapes, have teamed with a bunch of indie bands (one of 'ems called "Fucked Up"!) for a Plants vs. Zombies tinged rhythm game, Loud on Planet X. It's already...

Review: Chroma Squad

May 04 // Josh Tolentino
Chroma Squad (PC) Developer: Behold StudiosPublisher: Behold StudiosReleased: April 30, 2015MSRP: $14.99 Not that they really needed to, of course. Such a "feature" would interfere with play, and there's plenty of service in the game as it is for fans. The play, in this case, is of the turn-based tactical variety, as if Behold took XCOM and ran it through the parodic, pixelated filters of Knights of Pen and Paper.  Like the former, players will manage a small squad of combatants, with unique classes and abilities, running them up against groups of goons and the occasional boss, one turn at a time. Like the latter, every mechanic serves as a distillation of tokusatsu's essence through heavy referencing and a clear, almost palpable appreciation of the source material. The premise alone is ripe enough with potential that it's baffling more games haven't taken advantage: Players manage a fledgling production studio, with each mission treated as an "episode" of an upstart spandex superhero show. Names, casting, and even catchphrases are up for customization, as well as the requisite selection of bright primary colors to outfit the roster with. If players want to commit sentai sacrilege and name a non-red-colored character the "Lead," no one can stop them but their inevitable guilt (guilt, I say!). Cast members can also be selected from a pool of actor candidates, each with their own special qualities.  [embed]291251:58411:0[/embed] When the cameras start rolling and the minions exit wardrobe, the fight is on. The goal of any given mission is to amass as much "audience" as possible, by performing flashy attacks, fancy stunts, and of course, winning the fight. Additionally, optional "Director's Instructions" add extra conditions, such as finishing off boss monsters with a screen-filling finishing move, or not killing off the boss before dispatching the cannon-fodder minions. Such extra goals help introduce variety to the combat, which is more simplistic than one might find in XCOM or other dedicated tactical titles. Enemies follow simple patterns and lack much in the way of extra abilities, so most of the tactics devolve to crowd and ability cooldown management rather than more elegant stratagems. Chroma Squad's main mechanical wrinkle comes in the form of "Teamwork," which allows squad members to leapfrog over each other to boost their movement range, or carry out simultaneous attacks with adjacent teammates. This, alongside somewhat simplistic giant-mecha boss battles, give the game enough of a unique flavor to override its otherwise thin tactical substance.  Following the mission, gained audience is converted into "fans," and also into increased studio funding, the better to buy one's way out of Papier-mâché costumes and into some real spandex duds. Behind the scenes, the studio itself can be outfitted with various upgrades that improve performance in each episode. Buying health care for the actors improves their health in combat, and improving the lighting on set reduces enemies' chance to dodge or counter blows. Materials dropped in combat can also be used to craft customized gear with semi-random statistics, a useful (and cheap) alternative to costly store-bought costumes and weapons. Fan mail can be answered for flavor and smaller benefits, and players can even choose marketing agencies to confer more benefits. Going with a niche-market enthusiast firm might increase the amount of fans gained after an episode, but will likely lack the mass-audience-gathering benefits of a more mainstream advertising push. Tradeoffs like that characterize much of Chroma Squad's meta-game. Speaking of meta-things, the game's narrative and missions regularly break the fourth wall, and form one of the game's potentially divisive aspects. While the self-aware script and obvious understanding of tokusatsu's many conventions and tropes lend it an endearing level of charm, some players might be turned off by references to dated Internet memes and other metahumor. Personally, I found the story hit quite a bit more than it missed, but I will admit that at times the dialog read more like a forum chat log than a script, and wasn't always helped by rough spots in the localization and editing. Then again, it's not like tokusatsu attracts its fans for complex plotting and characterization, so it may balance out in the end for players in the right mindset. What isn't as easy to let by are some unfortunate, if minor, technical and design blemishes on Chroma Squad's pristine pixelation. Mission scripts would occasionally freeze in "cutscene" mode, forcing me to start the mission over. A nasty little bug accidentally equipped low-level equipment on my giant robot, making some late-game boss battles much more tense than I'd have liked them to be. One bug even gave me control of an enemy unit rather than my own squad members for a few turns! Thankfully, dev posts on the forums appear to indicate that Behold is aware of most of the bugs I encountered, and a patch is in the works at the time of this writing. Beyond that, the lack of a mid-mission checkpoint or save, or a mission-select option is inconvenient for players wanting to explore the game's branching story paths (especially for those curious to see what Behold has to say about Kamen Rider). That said, the team has stated a New Game+ option may yet be in the cards for a future update, so repeated playthroughs may become more appealing in the future. Zordon may have wanted "teens with attitude," but Chroma Squad and its unabashed, utterly geeky love-in for all things tokusatsu shows something even harder to find: A game with heart and soul. That heart shines through the rough edges, and in some ways even turns them to its advantage. It might have taken quite a while in getting here, but fans of spandex-clad superheroic finally have the videogame to help them fill that little fantasy. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Chroma Squad review photo
Lights, Camera, Henshin!
Ever since a badly-dubbed lady popped out of a dumpster on the moon, sending a weird computer-man to seek "teenagers with attitude," geeks of a certain age have been on the lookout for a game that can capture the essence of w...

Yooka-Laylee photo
Yooka-Laylee

Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter is still going strong, reveals final stretch goal


It's still ticking up as I type
May 04
// Chris Carter
When Yooka-Laylee arrived, it hit all of its stretch goals in less than 24 hours. At the time, the highest goal was a simultaneous Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 release in addition to the planned PC platform. Since then, the "old ...
Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter photo
Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter

Yooka-Laylee hits all stretch goals in less than a day


Expect simultaneous release on all planned platforms
May 02
// Darren Nakamura
Developer Playtonic Games must be sitting pretty right about now. Two days ago, the 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee revealed its official name. Yesterday, it launched a Kickstarter campaign with a base funding goal of about $270,0...
Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter photo
Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter

Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee now on Kickstarter


Hits funding goal in just 40 minutes
May 01
// Darren Nakamura
It has been a whirlwind these last couple days for Yooka-Laylee. We have known about "Project Ukulele" for a while, but just yesterday we learned its official title (with googly eyes in the logo and everything). Today, the t...
Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Run the Japanese superhero TV studio of your dreams in Chroma Squad


Out now for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Apr 30
// Jordan Devore
Chroma Squad, the game about running your own Japanese superhero television studio, is now available on Steam, GOG.com, and the Humble Store for $14.99. What a cool niche. This is part tactical role-playing title, part manage...
Project Ukulele photo
Project Ukulele

Yooka-Laylee is the successor to Banjo-Kazooie


I love where this is going
Apr 30
// Jordan Devore
Yooka. Laylee. Yooka-Laylee. Yep, they've still got it! We've talked about Project Ukulele a few times now, but, quickly: it's a vibrant 3D platformer in development at Playtonic, a fresh new studio founded by former Rare dev...
Elsinore Kickstarter photo
Elsinore Kickstarter

Elsinore takes Shakespeare's Hamlet through a time loop


Try not to end up face down in a lake
Apr 29
// Darren Nakamura
There is something about Hamlet that inspires creators to want to adventure through it. First there was Ryan North's chooseable-path adventure book To Be or Not To Be, now there is Elsinore. Maybe people want to change the o...
OUYA for sale photo
OUYA for sale

OUYA now available for purchase (the company that is)


Get it while it's hot?
Apr 28
// Jed Whitaker
OUYA, the microconsole that was a $15 million hit on Kickstarter, is in financial trouble. According to a confidential email obtained by Fortune, OUYA is deep enough in debt that it's going to be put up for sale. This coming ...

Review: Broken Age: Act 2

Apr 27 // Caitlin Cooke
Broken Age (PC)Developers: Double Fine ProductionsPublisher: Double Fine ProductionsReleased: April 28, 2015 MSRP: PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac, Linux, Ouya: $25 / iOS and Android: $15 Broken Age is very much designed and intended to be played as one game, not chopped up into two parts. If you've managed to hold out this long to play both acts together, rest assured that you've done yourself a favor. The second act gets straight to business, dumping the player into some heavy plot points right off the bat. The game’s challenging puzzle logic also comes through in full force with no time to ramp -- progressing in the game relies heavily on prior knowledge of the landscape and characters. I asked for more puzzle complexion in my review of Broken Age: Act 1, and boy did I get it. The puzzles are of the same kindred as the first act -- difficult to piece together at first, with a dash of trial and error mixed in. However, this time around the obstacles are far more difficult and obtuse, requiring deep creative thinking, but more often than not bordering on the “impossible to solve without help” realm. I found myself pondering puzzles for long periods of time until eventually giving up, clicking through every possible option as a last resort. Where the first part of Broken Age had more environmental exploration and shorter, more gratifying puzzles, the second act tends to lean on more long-term challenging puzzles. Puzzle solutions from the first portion of the second act were used throughout almost the entirety of the game -- much of my time was spent drawing out diagrams on post-its and endlessly referencing them. The ability to switch between stories is still present, which comes in handy when stuck on a puzzle or in need of a change of scenery. However, during certain parts of the game some puzzles require information from the other side of the story. This caught me off guard at first but was less annoying once it became obvious that this would be a theme throughout the latter half of the game. The bar from Broken Age: Act 1 is definitely met if not exceeded in Act 2 in terms of the visuals, nostalgia, and clever dialogue. However, the setting in the second act is practically the same as the first half of the game, with the exception of a few minor changes. Although I adore the characters in Broken Age and was happy to see them again throughout the second act, I had hoped to experience new scenery and perhaps new characters. The story in Act 2 goes in a strange direction, and feels rushed -- especially compared to the first act, which has an even progression and was much more cohesive. Conversations are had between characters that lay plot points out on the table very quickly, and in an uninventive way. It seems a tad thrown together, and I would have preferred to discover the plot through means of gameplay instead of having it explained via single lines of conversation. Unfortunately, by the end of the game I was also left with with a lot of unanswered questions. Since it had taken a year for this second installment to make it to us, I had expected a little more on that front. Broken Age: Act 1 was so perfect that perhaps my expectations were inflated when playing through the second half. However, despite the challenges Broken Age is still very much a beautiful game with a heartwarming story. The puzzles, as frustrating as they are, come from a place of creative invention that defines the point-and-click genre. I choose to treasure its high points-- the charming characters, ingenious dialogue, and silly childlike whimsy. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. This reviewer also backed the game's Kickstarter campaign.]
Broken Age 2 review photo
Mostly worth the wait
[Disclosure: I backed the Kickstarter. A review copy was used for this verdict.] Three years since the launch of the infamous Double Fine Adventure campaign and a year after Act 1’s much-anticipated release, Broken Ag...







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