I've been firewatching out for Campo Santo's new 'exploration mystery' since hearing about the talent behind it. Artist Olly Moss, Mark of the Ninja designer Nels Anderson, and season one The Walking Dead writers and designers Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin. It's an exciting crew.
And then I saw the dang thing in its trailer and had to wonder why more games don't make use of a distinct tonal color palette, instead defaulting to an obfuscating attempt at photorealism that just drowns everything out. Compare BioShock to a "realistic" shooter; the Arkham series to Shadow of Mordor. It's just nice to see someone use color, and purposefully.
Because while Firewatch is gorgeous, it is also grounded. It is a story about people -- Henry and his supervisor Delilah -- and I felt that the moment I started controlling Henry. Not a blank player analogue or a camera on wheels. I saw Henry's inelegant, meaty paws stretched out in front of the screen still wearing his wedding ring despite divorce. Telling details are important.
Cuphead has existed in a state of unreality to me since its E3 reveal. Despite seeing footage of the game, it remained in my mind a concept. One that I was in love with, mind. 1930s style animation. A character whose head is a cup. I love it.
But because I've never played a game that was completely hand-drawn on a lightbox to look like a 1930s anime, there was always some weird disconnect between what I saw in the trailer, on-screen, and connecting it to inputting commands on a controller.
This disconnect was mended when I saw a giant corner dedicated to Cuphead at Microsoft's ID@Xbox event last week at GDC. I press a button, Cuphead jumps.
We're back with more Escalator Pitches from last week at GDC! Expect to GDsee more of them going up throughout the week.
Indie developers make some cool as heck games, but they're not always so great at selling them. We wan...
We didn't have usual cameraman Kenny Redublo during our fourth lunch of GDC (see us dining with Dale here) and things went a bit awry. Our substitute cameraman Mike Cosimano had some fun with it, though, with some silent mov...
Look on ye hungry and despair.
Familiar face Dale North joined us for the third Daily Lunch Chronicles (watch the last one here). Back behind the camera, Kenny managed to empty his plate before both of us while shooting, but...
We got a big shock at the beginning of the week when Valve announced its partnership with HTC to produce a new virtual reality headset. We all knew the company had ambitions to enter the console market with Steam Machines, but the inclusion of a VR device makes it seem all the more bold. The VR arms race we're seeing with Facebook, Sony, and now Valve shows that it's likely going to get heated in the coming years.
Over the course of GDC week, Valve let only a select few members of the press go hands-on with its device and play some demo titles. It was behind closed doors, and many people were turned away. But fortunately, Destructoid was among the few to give the new technology a test drive and experience the VR title Skyworld from the developers at Vertigo Games.
Everything you could say about Soul Axiom feels reductive. It looks like Journey mixed with Tron, except when it looks like Tron mixed with Tron. It’s a puzzler that evokes The Talos Principle in both its non-linearity and its environmental conundrums. And the story is a spiritual successor to developer Wales Interactive’s previous title Master Reboot. This is the kind of stuff I try to avoid when doing previews.
But it’s still accurate, and it doesn’t diminish how interesting this game looks. Soul Axiom is an unsettling and compelling techno/cyber-thriller, with a killer visual style that matches its high-concept premise. Whether it actually delivers on its many promises is another thing entirely, but there’s a lot to be excited about so far.
Traditionally, Game Developers Conference is a very busy show. After what seems like a three-month hibernation, the game industry slowly creaks back awake and GDC is the first time everything's in full gear again. As always, this conference is packed with games worth lookng forward to.
However, that doesn't mean we can't look back if the circumstances are right. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is one title that warrants such treatment, as it bundles Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel together on PS4 and Xbox One. It's a big ol' pack of content, but while it promises a wealth of things to do, there are some worrisome snags.
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...
We are very busy at the Game Developer Conference eating hamburgers and erecting edifices, but between those activities we are hunting for hot scoops.
Ducking behind corners of the Moscone Center's corporate labyrinth, we stu...
Owchemy Labs’ Alex Schwartz is one of the bravest men I know. In the midst of GDC, perhaps the most inside baseball-heavy of all conventions, he told a member of the press that Dyscourse was a "survival game." Of course, that phrase was immediately followed by caveats, but to use a genre descriptor that has become an enormous red flag takes an enormous amount of courage.
It also takes a great deal of faith in your game, which, as it turns out, is well-earned. Dyscourse is like Telltale's The Walking Dead filtered through old-school LucasArts. There are branching narratives, witty dialogue, an eclectic visual style, and choices that will affect whether a character lives or dies. But there’s also survival. Except it’s not actually survival. Follow me so far?
Volume is a fitting name for a polygonal, Metal Gear Solid VR Missions-looking stealth game with enough rectangles to feed a geometry class for the entire year. In the case of Mike Bithell's Thomas Was Alone follow-up, however, "volume" is more about sound than shapes.
Lead Locksley can't kill or attack. It's all about being a sneak. Noise, then, becomes an important weapon for luring guards from their posts, and every bit of noise fractures the world so you can nicely see its effect, along with the ever-present enemy fields of vision.
It's about sight, too. Sound, sight, shapes. These things come together to make a readable stealth game with enough abstraction that it feels more puzzler than sneaking romp. Think Hitman GO compared to Hitman.
The second lunch of GDC was much messier than the first, which you can watch here.
Today (well, two days ago, actually) we went with an American staple, the "Hammed Burger," so named for the first woman who ever went totally...
The winners of the 17th Annual Independent Games Festival were revealed last night in San Francisco and, my goodness, I've got names to Google today. I hardly recognize any of these!
Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000) - Metam...
Five years after the latest installment in the seminal music/rhythm franchise, Harmonix is going on a proverbial reunion tour. Rock Band 4 is in development for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and it's currently scheduled for a 2015 release. But, Harmonix doesn't want to put out Rock Band 3.5; the Boston-area developer acknowledges that it can absolutely improve upon past iterations.
In a conversation at GDC in San Francisco, project manager Daniel Sussman told Destructoid that Harmonix revisited Rock Band 1, 2, and 3 while brain-storming for the direction of the next game. Sussman readily admitted that Rock Band 3 was too much of a sprawl -- a bit unfocused to the point that it clouded the game's identity. In hindsight, it was somewhat off-putting to fans that couldn't get a definite feel for how seriously it took itself.
That's what Harmonix wants to change with Rock Band 4. The focus is purely on creating an accessible, social experience. There's a certain harmony that comes from playing and listening to your bandmates, a bonding sense that shines simply because of the format. Harmonix just wants to get back to that and make another title that people enjoy playing in the company of others.
Granted, we have to take Harmonix at its word for now. There's no playable build of Rock Band 4, and the team isn't even ready to talk about a lot of the features. That's all coming later, likely sometime around E3. But, it's worth noting that the word "evolution" kept coming up to describe the next steps in the series, a sign that Harmonix plans for Rock Band 4 to be a platform with a long-term vision, not just a precursor to sequel after sequel.
News from GDC has it that the one-time Sony exec and now Microsoft executive Phil Harrison is planning to leave his position with the company. Sources have confirmed with GamesIndustry.biz that he is stepping away after being...