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11:00 AM on 03.31.2015

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China gives the series a fresh perspective

It's not often we see a major player in the big leagues of yearly releases reinvent itself in a more modest and distinct way. With Assassin's Creed titles expected every year, it's been a bit of a challenge for Ubisoft to kee...

Alessandro Fillari



EVE Online's new focus is putting power in the players' hands photo
EVE Online's new focus is putting power in the players' hands
by Brett Makedonski

The developers at CCP face a unique challenge with EVE Online that other studios don't necessarily face. Its players expect an incredibly deep and detailed experience, which means that evolving the game is particularly difficult. In the past, CCP accomplished this by holding the reins tight. Player freedom was a necessary sacrifice.

Moving forward, EVE Online pilots will find that they're going to have more options. That's not a one-off change; that's something that according to executive producer Andie Nordgren is a concerted effort from CCP -- something that will hopefully define the EVE Online experience from now on.

The two most evident examples at Fanfest 2015 were the announcements of untethered structures and a wealth of ship skins. The former is something that will greatly vary the gameplay in EVE Online, as starbases could previously only be built around moons. Now, that those can be positioned anywhere, it opens a world of possibilities for players.

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Dirty Bomb aims high with its focus on hardcore FPS action photo
Dirty Bomb aims high with its focus on hardcore FPS action
by Alessandro Fillari

The folks at Splash Damage have been busy over the last two years. Since the release of Brink and a stint on Batman: Arkham Origins' multiplayer, they figured it was time to return to their roots with a heavy focus on PC-oriented competitive multiplayer gameplay. As the masterminds behind the legendary Quake 3 Fortress mod and the multiplayer for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, they were keen on rekindling the magic found in their earlier work for their shooter. With their upcoming title Dirty Bomb having been in closed alpha for the some time now (since 2013) the developers are now ready to get the masses in on their return to form FPS title.

With a deep focus on free-to-play and pay what you want gameplay, the developers seek to keep Dirty Bomb fair for all with its "Free-to-Win" mantra. Published by Nexon, it's one fo the rare Western developed titles for the F2P publisher. Though this one's got quite a pedigree from the developers who've worked on Enemy Territory and the multiplayer for Return to Castle Wolfenstein. At a special event hosted by the publisher Nexon, we got to go hands-on with this over-the-top and self-proclaimed "hardcore" shooter, where we got to speak to some folks from Splash Damage about its development. With access to the game available now, they wanted to hit the ground running by showing what their title is all about.

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EVE: Valkyrie wants to be the leader in VR eSports photo
EVE: Valkyrie wants to be the leader in VR eSports
by Brett Makedonski

It was almost a year ago (ten months, more accurately) when I sat down with EVE: Valkyrie's developers, and they told me "We're ready to ship when Oculus is ready to ship." At the time, Valkyrie was considered a flagship title for virtual reality, but it's unclear if that's still the case. There are a lot more entrants in the arena now, after all. However, EVE: Valkyrie's developers have their sights set on a more aggressive goal.

"We just extend our ambitions," Valkyrie executive producer Owen O'Brien told me when asked what it's like to stretch out the production schedule an extra year on a title that has been technically ready for quite some time. O'Brien elaborated "A year ago, I don't think I would've stood up and said 'I want to be the best multiplayer game in VR,' but now I feel completely comfortable saying that. So, I think an extra year in the production cycle, it's fine because we're not a huge team. We're working on bleeding edge technology that is still developing. CCP as a company kind of knew what they were getting into. That's something that was to be expected with VR, and we're still very happy to be at the forefront of it."

But, not only does O'Brien want Valkyrie to be a heralded multiplayer title, he wants it to be the pinnacle of VR competition. Thinking about his ultimate goal for Valkyrie several years down the road, he offered "I would love this to be the eSports of VR."

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Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is a dark reinvention of classic fairytale fiction photo
Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is a dark reinvention of classic fairytale fiction
by Alessandro Fillari

Over the last three years, Kickstarter has totally changed the game for many developers. With the option to crowdfund projects, cut out the middle-man (publishers), and communicate directly with fans to help create the game, we've seen a number of projects find audiences well before their release. And many of these projects seek to offer something a bit different than what you'd expect from retail releases.

That's what the developers at GRIN Game Studio (no relation to former developer GRIN of Bionic Commando: Rearmed fame) are planning with their uniquely macabre journey through fairy-tale fiction in Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. In this re-imagining of the classic tale, Red must exact revenge against an army of clockwork soldiers while traveling through a dark and twisted world filled with monsters and other foes from fairytale fiction.

During our chat with the CEO of GRIN at the Game Developers Conference, we learned about their vision for this two-part adventure, and how crowdfunding breathed new life into the project.

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2:00 PM on 03.13.2015

Tim Schafer open to revisiting Psychonauts

Last night Destructoid attended the videogame BAFTAs in order to do some hard-hitting journalism. Speaking to Tim Schafer, who was in attendance to hand Shadow of Mordor the BAFTA for Best Design, we spent ten minutes discuss...

Laura Kate Dale



The Last of Us actress 'wasn't prepared for the positive' response to Ellie's sexual orientation photo
The Last of Us actress 'wasn't prepared for the positive' response to Ellie's sexual orientation
by Laura Kate Dale

Last night Destructoid attended the videogame BAFTAs in order to do some hard-hitting journalism. Speaking to Ashley Johnson following her BAFTA win for Best Performance for voicing Ellie in The Last of Us and its story DLC Left Behind, we asked all the big questions.

While a possible sequel to The Last of Us with an older Ellie and her feelings on winning a BAFTA for best performance were both discussed, let's start off with the question on everyone's minds. Whose is Ashley Johnson's favorite butt in video games?

My favorite butt? It's tough, I'm thinking about it. I'm going to go with Fetch from First Light. She's also my friend, it's Laura Bailey, she has a really good butt. It's just perfectly round and beautiful and I usually just give it a grab if I can.

With that out the way, we got to obviously far less important questions touching on Ashley's career, award wins and upcoming projects. You know, silly stuff to lighten the mood following our hard-hitting butts questions.

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Sega brings back OutRun with style for the 3D Classics Series photo
Sega brings back OutRun with style for the 3D Classics Series
by Alessandro Fillari

One of the great things about Sega's ongoing 3DS Classics series is that it allows retro games from the publisher's past to find a new audience. And given its rich and diverse history of quirky and fan-favorite titles, there's plenty to remaster for quite some time.

One of the upcoming remasters is Sega's legendary racing title OutRun. Though it was already released overseas last year, western audiences are finally able to get their hands on the title on March 12 (that's tomorrow!).

But before you do, why don't you take a minute to learn just what went into this port. I managed to get some hands-on time with the remaster, along with a quick chat with Sega producer Yosuke Okunari, who had quite a lot to say about its transition to new hardware.

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Xbox to indie devs: There's a place for your game on Windows 10, no matter the size photo
Xbox to indie devs: There's a place for your game on Windows 10, no matter the size
by Brett Makedonski

Microsoft announced last week at GDC in San Francisco that it was introducing cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. That opens a world of possibility in ways for developers to deliver games to their audience. Some will likely take full advantage; others will be more reserved. But, the option's there, nevertheless.

Following Xbox boss Phil Spencer's talk, I sat down with ID@Xbox program director Chris Charla to discuss what this new ecosystem meant for independent developers. There was a lot of ebb and flow to the conversation, but the main takeaway was "There's a place for [indie devs] -- no matter what size or scale the game is -- on Windows 10."

Charla was the man that was brought aboard by Microsoft almost two years ago to try to keep Xbox in the never-ending arms race to court independent developers. The Xbox 360 generation saw Microsoft use up a lot of goodwill in that department, and it needed to re-establish its name. That's what ID@Xbox was built for: to recruit developers that bring a different flair to the Xbox stable of games.

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2:45 PM on 03.10.2015

The DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition changelog is extensive

With DmC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition out now, fans of the series have another title to keep them satiated till the next one is ready. As you've likely read, Chris gave his impressions of the game earlier. He was im...

Alessandro Fillari



Skyworld takes unique advantage of Valve's new virtual reality tech photo
Skyworld takes unique advantage of Valve's new virtual reality tech
by Alessandro Fillari

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.

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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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