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GDC awards photo
GDC awards

Bethesda's Todd Howard to receive GDCA Lifetime Achievement Award


Directed Fallouts 3-4, Oblivion, Skyrim
Feb 05
// Steven Hansen
Hot on the heels of Fallout 4, Todd Howard, director of later The Elder Scrolls and Bethesda's Fallout 3 and 4, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th annual Game Developers Choice Awards in March. Fallo...
Awards photo
Awards

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture won the British Writers' Guild's award for best video game writing


Everybody's Gonna Get Awards
Jan 19
// Joe Parlock
The British Writers’ Guild Awards is an annual event where the best of British writing across TV, film, radio, stage, and video games are acknowledged and celebrated. For those in the industry, it’s a fairly big d...
Game Writing photo
Game Writing

The Witcher 3, Pillars of Eternity score Writers Guild Award nominations


Assassin's Creed gets 9th nomination
Jan 12
// CJ Andriessen
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an unstoppable, award-winning machine. While it failed to take home the industry's top prize, the Destructoid Game of the Year Award, it has secured victories from other, lesser organizations ...
GDC Awards photo
GDC Awards

Metal Gear Solid V and The Witcher 3 lead all nominees at GDC Awards


Four a piece
Jan 08
// Brett Makedonski
When the Game Developers Choice Awards take place March 16 in San Francisco, two games will already have a leg-up in their odds of bringing home some hardware. The award show has revealed all the nominees for its nine categor...

2016 IGF photo
2016 IGF

These are the 2016 Independent Games Festival finalists


Lots of love for Undertale
Jan 06
// Jordan Devore
The 2016 Independent Games Festival has figured out its finalists. The Seumas McNally Grand Prize will go to either Darkest Dungeon, Her Story, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Mini Metro, Superhot, or Undertale. If you're a...

Destructoid's award for Best Xbox Game of 2015 goes to...

Dec 23 // Brett Makedonski
[Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles and episodic games that are not fair to assess as standalone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
GOTY 2015 photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Before Nathan Drake, there was Lara Croft. This is important to note because recently, for a good number of years, Nathan Drake was Lara Croft. Shrewdly, developer Naughty Dog took the cinematic action baton and ran far,...

Best Mobile Game photo
Downwell
There were some great slow-paced, methodical games up for this award (Lara Croft GO, Alphabear), but Downwell proves twitch action can still work on phones. It achieves this through its dedication to simplicity. Three colors....

The best new IPs of 2015

Dec 18 // Laura Kate Dale
Undertale While Undertale's release this year was a complete surprise to most people who played it, a turn-based JRPG bullet hell game that remembers your actions, allows you to avoid murder, and has dateable skeletons is a pretty easy pitch to get people to check it out. The game has quickly amassed a rather large and dedicated fan following, and it's not hard to see why. The unusual blending of genre mechanics, the homages to EarthBound, the stellar writing, and the screenshotable nature of the cast was just prime for spreading like wild fire. Undertale may not be the longest game, and it's unlikely to ever get a direct sequel, but it has firmly cemented itself deep in the hearts of many a gamer this year. I laughed, I cried a bit, I screamed in frustration, and I walked away guilty. That's more of an emotional ride than can be said for most video games. Even if I now do feel my sins crawling on my back. Bloodborne While Bloodborne had a considerable head start on many of our best new IP contenders, as the spiritual sequel to the highly successful Dark Souls games, this particular IP did not take the easy design route. Taking Dark Souls' unforgiving combat style and pairing it with a rich new lore, additional mechanics that incentivized aggressive combat techniques, and a considerably upped gameplay pace, Bloodborne invites players to fight their way through a world that was memorable, challenging, and surprising on a regular basis. While there is a new Dark Souls on the way, Bloodborne is the franchise I'm more excited to see a sequel to. Splatoon Splatoon is the very embodiment of Nintendo looking at what other people were doing, and creating something fascinating by adding its own Nintendo Twist. The idea is simple: make a competitive online shooter where players' primary aim is not to shoot other characters, but to shoot non-sentient structures and surfaces. Online shooters are incredibly popular as a genre, but there's very little in the way of options for younger players to get into playing (you know, unless they play Call of Duty in spite being seven). It's an under-served market, and Nintendo seized it perfectly. Splatoon not only managed to capture attention with a unique art style and colour palette, its consistent long-term roll-out of new content has kept players engaged longer than many other comparable releases. Life is Strange Okay, I'll be the first to admit my beloved Life is Strange isn't perfect by any stretch. It's melodramatic, it's at times stilted in its writing, and it has some major issues with pacing. Still, the series is also one of the most memorable things I played this year, and it does things no other games are daring to do. Life is Strange managed to get a lot very right. It used time travel as a gameplay mechanic to get around not knowing the context of your choices in episodic narratives, allowing players to properly commit to choices they made. Pick a choice, watch it play out, rewind, check out another choice, decide which you want to commit to, and go ahead fully in favour of your actions. Life is Strange also managed to tackle some tough themes in a tasteful way, giving agency over real-life situations to powerful effect. Oh, and I really, really like Chloe. I played the entire game constantly trying to kiss her at every possible moment. Her Story Her Story is an ambitious game that tried something untested, and managed to pull it off. Set on a late-nineties British Police computer database, the game tells a nonlinear narrative through tagged, live-action video files. The concept was simple. Start with the word "murder," search the database for any relevant clips, investigate a woman's statements to police, and unravel a deeply bizarre crime. The performances of the game's leading lady were truly top notch, as was the narrative and the natural structure for unraveling plot threads. There was always something to look for more information on, and as additional clues became visible, the plot had numerous unexpected turns. Seriously, Her Story is really damn strong. SOMA SOMA is a terrifyingly grounded horror story about themes of desolation, humanity, sacrifice, and what it means to truly exist. Yep, those are heavy themes to tackle, but SOMA handles them admirably. Giving a wholly bleak view of humanity's future, it makes a strong case that everything we do is ultimately meaningless. Not a depressing thought at all. Besides the strong story, it also wowed with its presentation. From elaborate degrading structures to creature designs that twist expectations, I was constantly impressed with the cohesive structure of the game. Also, SOMA is just plain scary. Until Dawn Until Dawn is an interactive horror movie game, built from a collection of well-known genre tropes mashed together. Throw a bunch of kids in a spooky remote cabin with nightmare monsters, and see what happens. The genius of Until Dawn's design is that the tropes being drawn from are not consistent or predictable, making plot turns hard to see. Experienced horror genre fans will at times see what's coming and be able to make informed choices regarding what to do. Personally, I was a fan of deliberate murder. Let's see what we can do to kill everyone off as gruesomely as possible. I suppose you could try and keep people alive too, if you want.  I just hope we get new Until Dawn games in the future that are not on-rails VR shooters. Ori and the Blind Forest On a simple mechanical level, Ori and the Blind Forest is decent, but nothing special. It's a side-scrolling metroidvania that does everything solidly, but doesn't push much in the way of new ground. So, why is it on this list? Because it was god damn beautifully, visually and as a narrative. Picture those Rayman games from a little while back, but done to a much higher level and accompanied by a Ghibli-esque soundtrack. Ori and the Blind Forest is a technical masterpiece and I can't wait to see what the studio works on next. The Beginner's Guide The Beginner's Guide is a weird game, in that it caused a huge splash upon launch, with many reviewers hesitant to say anything at all about it. People were affected by it, not always positively, and it clearly had a strong impact on many players. A few months on, it's still unclear how genuine the narrative told is, or how much we can rely on the narrator of the experience. But if you have around and hour and a half and want to be floored by an unexpected narrative, you'll be hard pressed to do better than The Beginner's Guide. Just make sure to complete it within your Steam refund window, as there are legitimate reasons to want to return this game after purchase. [To clarify the above statement regarding refunds, while I view this game as a work of fiction, and recommend people play it as such, many players view the narrative as an accurate work of non fiction. If you fall into the camp that view this as non fiction, an aspect of the narrative implies that the content is stolen wholesale from another developer. While I paid for the game and believe doing so is a morally acceptable action, what I wish to make clear is that if players disagree with my reading of the narrative and feel I reccomended them an experience they didn't morally agree with, there is a financial way to back out of that purchase. This is not an encouragement to back out of payment due to length, but simply me pointing out that if you finish the game and believe the narrative to be non fiction, and if you believe that you purchased stolen goods, there is a way to avoid your money remaining with that developer in this very specific case. My initial vague comment was an attempt to avoid a major spoiler for the narrative, but has unfortunately left the reasons for my recommendations open to wider interpretation]  Dropsy In the lead up to launch, many people following Dropsy assumed that before its end, it would take some upsetting or dark horror twist. A point-and-click adventure, it is actually anything but a horror experience. It's a simple game about a socially isolated individual who wants nothing more than the simple joys of companionship. Beneath the initial appearance of Dropsy the clown is an individual whose primary interaction with the world is a hug button. Quests are told through pictorial desires. You bring people together, people see the good in you, and you hug. Dropsy is one of those games that's a beautiful palette cleanser. If you're feeling video game murderer fatigue, it's an experience poised to make you feel just a little better about the world. Gravity Ghost Gravity Ghost is a simple game mechanically. You play the ghost of a young girl, jumping among planets and stars to reunite animal bodies and spirits. It's relaxing. There are no punishments for failure, and the experience is almost mesmerically smooth and simple. It is a gorgeous, laid-back experience hiding a deep and relatable human story. The game deals with themes of growing up. It deals with taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions, processing loss, and the connection that remains to those we lose. Gravity Ghost's narrative is simple, elegant, and resonant in a way few games manage. Read Only Memories Read Only Memories is a charmingly written, wonderfully stylised, instantly memorable point-and click-adventure that released earlier this year. It tells a cyberpunk story of crime, politics, technology, and relationships that's super intriguing from start to finish. Oh, and it also happens to have a cast full to the brim with simply handled diversity. You've got gay characters, trans characters, a bunch of other different types of characters, and the fact they may be gay or transgender never becomes the forefront of who they are. They just happen to be those things without any fanfare, and it's wonderful to behold.
Best New IPs photo
Not every series is Assassin's Creed yet
Video games are increasingly expensive products to create. Every generation as graphics increase in quality, the sheer size of teams required to put together new amazing, fantastic worlds grows dramatically. With video games ...

The best new characters of 2015

Dec 17 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Gortys I didn't know it before, but Gortys was exactly what the Borderlands universe needed. Apart from its particular brand of humor, the series is known for its pessimistic world, where if the indigenous wildlife doesn't kill you, the local bandits will. Countless people live on Pandora and just about everybody hates it. Everybody except Gortys. Gortys's unrelenting enthusiasm is so out of place it highlights just how absurd this world is, after three previous games have numbed players to its oppression. Voice actor Ashley Johnson is perfect in the role, delivering Gortys's unbridled joy and naivete, along with some of the best lines out of the whole cast. My favorite line in the entire series is down a particular dialogue branch; I didn't even hear it the first time playing through. As Gortys is trying to convince a corpse to get moving, Fiona and Rhys explain that he's dead. Gortys gets a sad look on their face, then the protagonists elaborate that the dead man was very bad. Without missing a beat, she perks up, says "Oh, well then good riddance!" and scoots away. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Undertale: Asgore The entire cast of Toby Fox’s runaway success Undertale could’ve made this list, as the entire game is full of interesting and memorable characters. From the skeleton brothers Papyrus and Sans and the awesome fish soldier Undyne, to Alphys the massive weeaboo, the list goes on and on with fantastic monsters to encounter and potentially befriend. However, I don’t think any of them are anywhere near as endearing, tragic, or adorable as King Asgore Dreemurr. Asgore both stole and broke my heart. Originally made out to be an unstoppable, terrifying force who will rip you limb from limb, over the course of the game the various citizens of the underground fill you in on how wonderful he is. He loves making cups of tea and tending to his garden, and each Christmas he’ll dress up as Santa and leave gifts for the monster children of Snowdin village. Not to mention one of his favourite jumpers is a knitted pink one with ‘Mr. Dad Guy’ written on it, and if that doesn’t make Asgore utter perfection, then I don’t know what does. Finding out how lovely King Fluffybuns is only served to destroy me at the conclusion of the game. I’ll avoid specifics because of them being major spoilers, but Asgore is a truly lovable but incredibly emotionally damaged man put into a horrible situation where anything he does will result in causing suffering to a lot of people. What he’s done is truly evil, and while he thinks his actions were necessary, it doesn’t make them any easier for him to come to terms with. I really, really love Asgore. He’s friendly, likable, and kind, yet he’s also one of the most conflicted and multi-dimensional characters in the whole game. Interacting with him and learning more about him as I progressed through Undertale is easily one of the biggest emotional gut-punches I’ve had this year from a game. But for King Goatdad? Totally worth it. Undertale: Papyrus Papyrus is basically the best. ...What? You want to know more? I mean, it should be pretty obvious why he's so great. But if you really want the specifics, here are a few pieces of trivia about our neat skeleton friend. - He likes to say, “Nyeh heh heh!”- He's a member of the highly esteemed Royal Guard! ...well, not yet. But someday he might be!- He's really good at making spaghetti. It's practically edible!- He's very cool and strong. Just check out this picture of his sunglasses. And his biceps. And his biceps' sunglasses.- He has really high standards when it comes to dating. Potential dates must have, AT MINIMUM, zero redeeming qualities.- He dabs only the finest MTT-brand Beauty Yogurt behind his ears. Wait... you're saying he doesn't have ears?!- He's always prepared. In fact, you can't spell “prepared” without several letters from his name!- He has the greatest theme song. I could go on, but you get the idea. Papyrus is simply a cool dude and a great friend. Just ask his brother, Sans! King's Quest: King Graham Okay so he's not entirely "new," and he isn't even a proper king in the first episode, but the updated characterization of Graham really made me fall in love with The Odd Gentlemen's new take on the series. As one part Guybrush Threepwood and two parts lovable scamp, you can feel his unbridled enthusiasm for the adventure through the screen. The storybook style framing only augments the character, as the always wonderful Christopher Lloyd does a great job of playing the older version of Graham, re-telling his tales to his granddaughter. It's adorable, and although narrative techniques tend to overstay their welcome, Lloyd plays it off with such panache that you won't get mad at a death, because it's met with a chuckle and a pun. Although I'd love to see his son Alexander take on the series in the future, this one of the better reboots in recent memory. Splatoon: All the Inklings It would be fair to criticize me for not singling out one specific character for this article, like one of the Squid Sisters or the default "Inkling girl" as she appears in most of Splatoon's promotional art, but that wouldn't be honest. The truth is, the concept of the entire Inkling species and what it represents is my favorite video game character of 2015. The way Inkling culture revolves around the seamless combination of style worship with competitive social cliques is such a fun adaptation of teenage life. Even the physical makeup of the Inkling is feels teenage -- mushy and unstable, stuck between baby-cute and grown-up-tough, not quite one thing or the other. Most teenagers will tell you that depending on what social environment they've been thrust into at the moment, it may be smarter for them to show their true colors or just hide in the ink until they're less likely to be torn apart by their enemies. They may not actually use the word "ink" when describing that scenario, but the underlying feeling remains the same. When it comes to tying visual design, gameplay mechanics, and surrounding lore into central, cohesive metaphor for the teenage experience, the Inkling is about as perfect as it gets. Yo-Kai Watch: Jibanyan Two words: Ghost. Cat. Let those sink in. When you first come across Jibanyan he is waiting on his owner while attempting to beat up passing cars at the very intersection where his physical life was ended by them. After a brief chat Jibanyan tells you how his prized possession, a picture of his owner, was taken by some local Yo-Kai bullies. Once the bullies have been taught a lesson and the picture returned, Jibanyan joins your side with his fierce but adorable Paws of Fury.  There hasn't been a ghost this awesome since Patrick Swayze, nor a living dead cat this feisty since Pet Sematary.
Best new characters photo
Very excited to meet you!
Video games have a fair share of legendary heroes. They've been around for years and their stories have spanned generations (of both consoles and humans). They are household names: Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, Solid Snake. Thi...

GOTY 2015: Best logo

Dec 16 // Brett Makedonski
Immutable as I am in that belief, one game this year had the most brilliant logo that I've seen in a long time. Maybe ever, honestly. Gross as it is to shine a light on these marketing efforts, it's an easier pill to swallow given that the logo might be the best thing about this game. Pat yourself on the back, 2K marketing team; Evolve had the best logo of 2015. At first glance, Evolve's logo is nothing to write home about. It's minimalistic in its presentation, nothing more than some squares, rectangles, and a modest font. Actually, if you didn't know anything about the game, it'd be easy to mistake it as a really dull and uninspired look. At least Fallout 4 sprung for a lightning bolt in the "o." So, let's get just a little backstory on Evolve. It's a four-versus-one asymmetric multiplayer game. A team of four players takes on one giant monster. That's what's happening in the logo -- four letters in small squares are pitted against the final "e" in Evolve, a letter that gets a rectangle as long as the first four boxes combined. That rogue "v" represents a legal system-style "versus," as if this should be the way all court cases are determined. It's tough to remember a video game logo that's so on-the-nose, yet so clever about it too. Usually, understatedness is left wanting. Dead Island has a palm tree so you know there's an island, Rage has an anarchy sign so you know that there's anarchy, and Sonic Boom boomed so hard that it cracked all the letters. These are not examples of good logos. Even though it's almost 2016, so many game logos are stuck in 1996. They are hellbent on having attitude (or, 'tude as the designers might say). It's why so many gleam of gun-metal gray or have electricity shooting from the letters. Whatever it takes to let you know that This Is One Of The Cool Video Games. It's the equivalent of box art with a man toting a gun slung over his shoulder looking slightly away from the camera. Evolve skirts that and it does everything right (well, as far as its logo is concerned, anyway). Instead, it's simple and elegant and functional and restrained. More simply put: Evolve's logo was not dumb while most other logos were very dumb.  It's not like the competition was any good, but Evolve ran away with the best logo of 2015. In a wasteland of bad video game logos, 2K and Turtle Rock created one worth looking at and one worth thinking about. The game's legacy probably won't last a whole lot longer, but hopefully its logo's legacy lasts for years to come.
Best logo photo
More like LOTY
As media, we have no business caring about the marketing of video games. In fact, we actually have a professional obligation to parse through it, finding the good information and discarding the bullshit. That's, like, half th...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best PC Game of 2015

Dec 12 // Steven Hansen
Here are the nominees for Destructoid's Best PC Game of 2015: The Beginner's Guide Downwell Her Story Heroes of the Storm Invisible Inc. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Rocket League Soma Tales from the Borderlands Undertale The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best PC Game 2015 photo
Got a PC? Then you've got a computer!
The personal computer ("PC," to those in the know) is always good for a clutch of unexpected surprises and in 2015 it was no different. There heavy hitters are there, from Metal Gear to The Witcher. But there is also an unexp...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Wii U Game of 2015

Dec 10 // Jordan Devore
Best Wii U Game of 2015 Affordable Space Adventures Splatoon Super Mario Maker Yoshi's Woolly World Xenoblade Chronicles X [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best Wii U Game photo
Fun for everyone
As much as the Wii U isn't the runaway commercial success Nintendo would like it to be, and as much as it's more of a first-party machine than anything else, it remains one of my favorite consoles in recent memory. The game r...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Xbox One Game of 2015

Dec 10 // Brett Makedonski
Life is Strange Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Ori and the Blind Forest Resident Evil HD Remaster Rise of the Tomb Raider Shovel Knight: Xbox One Edition Tales from the Borderlands The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best Xbox Game photo
The Gold Standard
What are you looking for from a game on Xbox One? Do you want narrative excellence? Action perfection? Platforming prowess? Xbox One had all of that in spades in 2015. That is to say, a lot of good games came to Microsoft's c...

The Game Awards photo
The Game Awards

Over two million people watched The Game Awards 2015


More eSports for 2016
Dec 10
// Joe Parlock
Blimey, a lot happened at The Game Awards this year, didn’t it? Psychonauts 2, a Telltale Batman series, and a very obvious lack of Hideo Kojima were among this year’s highlights, and according to host Geoff Keigh...
PlayStation Awards photo
PlayStation Awards

Metal Gear Solid V, GTA V win big at the PlayStation Awards 2015


V has come to...the top sales bracket
Dec 03
// Josh Tolentino
The Game Awards may be coming up soon, but another awards show made minor waves just a few hours ago: Sony's PlayStation Awards, the yearly event hosted by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and Asia to give a pat on the back ...
Game Awards photo
Game Awards

Expect ten 'world premieres' at this year's Game Awards


What do you want to see?
Nov 25
// Vikki Blake
Host Geoff Keighley confirmed yesterday the rebranded VGA/VGX award show, Game Awards 2015, will feature ten world premieres and ten "on-stage" awards. The Game Awards 2015 takes place in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2015. Tune in from 9pm ET/6pm PT. Ten world premieres at The Game Awards 2015, confirms Keighley [VG24/7]
The Game Awards 2015 photo
The Game Awards 2015

Nominees announced for The Game Awards 2015


Fallout, Metal Gear, Bloodborne
Nov 13
// Darren Nakamura
The Game Awards, the closest thing the video game industry has to film's Academy Awards, is scheduled for December 3. With only three weeks until the event, nominees have been announced for the 22 categories. After the usual ...
The Game Awards photo
The Game Awards

The Game Awards 2015 are in less than a month, here are all the details


Taking place December 3
Nov 09
// Brett Makedonski
Geoff Keighley has been producing video game awards shows for a while now, but it was only last year that he just put the entire thing together himself. In Las Vegas during PlayStation Experience last December, the inaugural ...
Golden Joysticks  photo
Golden Joysticks

Vote for your favourite games in this year's Golden Joystick Awards


21 awards need your help!
Sep 02
// Vikki Blake
Voting is now open for this year's Golden Joystick Awards. If you do contribute a vote -- and nine million of us did in 2014 -- you'll also receive a copy of the very excellent Bioshock Infinite on PC via Green Man Gaming for...
Reggie for full effect photo
Reggie for full effect

Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards will be back this December


Announced in June and no one noticed
Aug 19
// Jed Whitaker
Remember The Game Awards, the Geoff Keighley joint production not to be confused with the train wreck that was the VGAs aka VGXs? Well last year's show must have gone well enough to warrant another this year as it w...

Destructoid's eight great games from gamescom 2015

Aug 14 // Steven Hansen
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain I didn't see shit with respect to The Phantom Pain at gamescom because I already played the damn thing for 14 hours months ago and there wasn't going to be anything too new compared to E3. Just more cut trailers and word that you can Looney Tunes-style kidnap soldiers from other players' bases. Bless this game. Roughly two more weeks.  (-Steven) Rise of the Tomb Raider Lara Croft's up to her usual shenanigans in Rise of the Tomb Raider. You know the drill by now: traverse dangerous terrain, avoid deadly traps, brutally murder everyone she encounters. Somehow, it doesn't feel old yet. Actually, it's still pretty damn fantastic.  Rise of the Tomb Raider steadily throws challenge after challenge at the player, usually with impeccable style. It's the slow-motion "act quick or Lara's definitely dead" moments that stick with you, but don't underestimate the times when you stand still for a minute and try to pick apart the next puzzle. This game leans heavily on the framework established in 2013's Tomb Raider, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's a bad thing. More of that is perfectly welcome. In our gamescom showing, Lara traded her flairs for glowsticks but the rest of the flashy demo proved that this girl definitely still has flair. (-Brett) Dark Souls 3 There is fear of Souls fatigue and completely sane fear this Dark Souls 3 is easy garbage for casuals, but From Software's tough-but-fair macabre fantasy world remains alluring all the same. I have high hopes for new settings and genres, but once more into a bonfire and flask-filled world of nightmare creatures isn't a bad way to spend some time. (-Steven) Scalebound While Scalebound looks like Platinum's most mainstream-appealing game yet, what with it being an open-world RPG with a vaguely fantasy setting, I'm confident in Hideki Kamiya's ability to bring the weird and inject some life into this Dragonheart successor. Even if it doesn't get too off the rails, it is a completely gorgeous game, with action principles that extend beyond Platinum's typical style (though terms like "open world" and "weapon degradation" do spook the "I like shorter games" side of me). But I'm still pretty sure at some point we're going to be riding that dragon real-time through the completely modern city streets of Drew's world. (-Steven) Hellblade As early a showing as it was, Hellblade has all the right ideas. It's all going to come down to execution. Taking the parlor trick that is hallucination sequences in games and making them "real," because the game takes place in Senua's point of view and her vivid visions are her reality, is a great way of blending theme and form. It gives you a good excuse for a moody third-person action game, too. If Ninja Theory can continue to do Enslaved and Heavenly Sword style stuff on a smaller scale, that will be a win against the homogenization of the industry. (-Steven) We Happy Few First comes credit for cutting this brilliant, unsettling trailer. Then comes credit to me for finally figuring out what the hell this game is. Basically it is an open-world survival sim not unlike Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Everyone is on their happy pills, keeping them in line; you are not on your happy pills and want to make your way off crazy person island. The world is randomly generated each time, but there are five distinct areas to get through, story characters to encounter en route to freedom, and so on. And those faces are still intimidating. (-Steven) Mirror's Edge Catalyst I generally wouldn't feel comfortable making this sort of bold statement after seeing a game in preview form, but here goes: No one who loved Mirror's Edge will be disappointed by the gameplay in Mirror's Edge Catalyst. With some hands-off and hands-on time under my belt, at least that much seems very obvious. The reason is that Catalyst's open-world free-running feels absolutely fantastic. An EA DICE representative gave a tightly-rehearsed presentation and said the word "fluid" about fifty times, and with good reason too. The developer put seamless movement at the forefront when creating this game, and it shows. Everything is fluid. Running across the City of Glass is a treat, not a chore -- that's exactly how Mirror's Edge should be. (-Brett) Kingdom This way my surprise game out of gamescom and I am in love. It takes the complexity of sprawling empire-building games like Civilization and distills them down to one button press. As King or Queen on your high horse, you gallop left or right to expand your kingdom. You do this by dropping coins from your purse. Drop a coin in front of a wandering vagrant and they become a loyal subject. Drop two coins in front of the arrow shop and it will produce a bow that an unemployed subject can pick up to become an archer, who then hunts to add funds back to the national treasury and defends the kingdom during the night cycle as horrible monsters attack. Resource management, strategy, expansion all simplified, easily readable, and supported by a lovely art style and fanastic music. Can't wait to play it again. (-Steven)
Best games of gamescom photo
All the winners, in no particular order
Another year, another gamescom. The show wrapped up last weekend and both Brett and I are safely home in the United States of America, clutching out guns and dystopian healthcare, but we've loosed out iron grip just long enou...

And Destructoid's E3 Game of the Show is...

Jun 26 // Niero Desu
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Konami isn't shy with what it has in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. With most titles, publishers tend to sit you down and let you play through a well-crafted chunk of game -- maybe 15 minutes before shuffling you off the station. That's the common preview experience. Not this time. Instead, Konami plunked three of our editors -- Jordan, Steven, and Brett -- down in chairs and let them have at The Phantom Pain from the very beginning. Jordan and Brett got a solid two hours in; Steven wound up with a staggering 14 hours. If this is some sort of vertical slice trickery, it's the most elaborate in the history of video games. Much more likely is that we got to see the final product (or very close to it), and Kojima's going out with a bang. The Phantom Pain has an open world that somehow doesn't feel all that open. Just ahead at pretty much all times are guards who are dead set on shouting things at you, throwing bullets with their guns, and just generally blowing the cover off this whole stealth operative you fancy so much. But, it's plenty open world in the sense that nothing seems scripted. You're given the reins (to a horse and the game), and the plan-of-attack is entirely up to you. The encounters often sprawl and there are just so many ways of doing anything and everything. For that to be pulled off with any degree of competency takes some seriously skilled design. That's not to say that our efforts were always executed with a degree of competency. The Phantom Pain has a way about it where you just sense that nothing you did was quite good enough. Sure, it got the job done, but that's not how real Snake would've done it. Botch job and all, it still has a neat "totally meant to do that!" air about it. Man, that kid makes fucking up look cool. Wait. Now, go ahead and jettison a guard away with a weather balloon -- err, your Fulton. That guy works for you now. And that horse you're riding? He poops when you want him to. Big Boss, indeed. All that stuff is indicative of what will surely make The Phantom Pain a great video game. Not only is it incredibly polished and detail dense, but it also has enough silly stuff to remind you that you're playing a game. There's plenty of weirdness to be found, and Kojima's tightly tethered it to the title's core mechanics. As we finished our play sessions, it was tough for us to imagine a game that would be more deserving of Destructoid's Best of E3 award. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain just plays so damn wonderfully. In hindsight, Konami wasn't going out on a limb by letting us have at it at our own pace; it did exactly what any publisher would do if it had something this special on its hands.
E3 Game of the Show photo
So many good options
We've hemmed. We've hawed. Destructoid's editors and judges have kindly suggested, boldly voted, bickered, scolded, stabbed each other with rapiers, revenge-slept with each other's illegitimate cousins, and finally have come ...

Banjo-Kazooie photo
Banjo-Kazooie

New Banjo-Kazooie shown at SXSW


Motion control for everyone, literally
Mar 15
// Jed Whitaker
Are you ready to have a sad? The SXSW Gaming Awards had Banjo and Kazooie on screen being flown through the air via audience participation with the use of motion controls. No new game has been announced from Rare just yet, th...

Here are Destructoid's Top 10 games from PAX East 2015

Mar 14 // Kyle MacGregor
Just Shapes & Beats Imagine a shoot-'em-up without the shooting. Just Shapes & Beats is just that, an addictive multiplayer experience about avoiding an incoming barrage of bullets headed your way. Enter the Gungeon We headed to PAX East with high expectations of Enter The Gungeon and came away even more excited about the top-down gun-fighting shooter -- if that's even possible. Downwell Downwell is a lo-fi platformer that really nails the gameplay. In fact, we had so much fun with it that developer Ojiro Fumoto commented on how long we stayed at the booth. Twitch gameplay bliss. Knight Squad Chainsawesome Games describes Knight Squad as Bomberman meets Gauntlet. What does that mean? An incredibly fun multiplayer game that grabs you and doesn't let go until the party's over.  Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, one player wears an Oculus Rift while another sifts through a real-life binder and walks them through the process of diffusing a bomb. Wow! Tumblestone Don't dismiss Tumblestone as "just another match-three" game. This is a truly intelligent puzzle game with mode variants that completely change the way you approach the genre. Affordable Space Adventures Affordable Space Adventures makes excellent use of the Wii U GamePad. Anyone who likes asymmetric co-op multiplayer should check this out. It feels like the game Wii U was made for. Severed Severed may have had a lengthy demo, but it left us craving more. Between its dark story, unique touchscreen inputs, and Drinkbox's signature art style, it's definitely something to keep an eye on. Necropolis Harebrained Schemes really took us by surprise with its new third-person action game,Necropolis. This is an absolutely gorgeous roguelike with thoughtful combat and personality in spades.  Axiom Verge Axiom Verge is certain to draw a lot of comparisons with classic Metroid titles, but it's so much more than just that. Come for the nostalgia, stay for a unique experience that stands on its own.
Top 10 PAX East photo
All the winners, in no particular order
PAX East ended several days ago, but its memory lingers on -- as does the sickness it bestowed on a handful of us poor Destructoid staffers. Much like how Jesus died for our sins, we risked our health for you, dear readers. S...

Tim Schafer open to revisiting Psychonauts

Mar 13 // Laura Kate Dale
With that out of the way, we got Tim to chat a little about his career over the years. First up on the chopping block was a question we had been dying to ask Schafer for a while. Just how did he expect people to get through his obtuse adventure game logic back in the day? I have no idea; people were smarter back then. Playing the games I sometimes wonder that myself. I think, "This puzzle's really hard, how are people supposed to get that?" Part of the reason is that back in the day [...] the thinking was "people are not going to finish this game." Sometimes we thought that. That's why we did the easy mode in Monkey Island 2, but the answer is for most of these puzzle the hints are there if you keep talking to people, if you keep digging down. Most of them are hinted at if you keep exploring all the dialog.  So we made the first half of Broken Age and the first half is always easier than the second half of a game. We were like "this is too easy." We made Grim Fandango and that's too hard. Adventure game fans are hard to please. Next up on our list of questions was one that readers have been trying to get an answer to for a while. Which of Tim's series means the most to him, and which would he most like to revisit? That's a tough question because of course every game is important at the time. There's things people don't expect when they ask me this like Kinect Party -- did you ever play Kinect Party? It was our lowest-selling game of all time. It's a Kinect game where little kids play with their grandparents together and it was really rewarding to see families playing that, it was just so rewarding, you know? The world of Psychonauts is so interesting because you can just keep creating more brains every time you meet somebody and wonder what the world inside their brain looks like. It also feels like the kind of unfinished story of Eddie Briggs [Brutal Legend] would be a great excuse to work with Jack [Black] again. It's hard because of how Grim ended. It was a really rich and full world but I feel like that character had such a complete progression that I feel like he's done with. I don't know if I want to go back down that road with someone who isn't Manny. All the other ones, a lot of them at least like Psychonauts you can just imagine. For Brutal Legend it's kind of already designed because we had to throw away half that game to get it done two years late. It's a lot easier to imagine going forward with that or Psychonauts. A recent hot topic brought sharply into focus by Peter Molyneux's Godus was the effect crowdfunding campaigns can have on audience's faith in developers. From pitching your game to fans for financial investment before development has begun to the pitfalls along the way, with Schafer himself previously facing the firing line from disgruntled Kickstarter backers, we wanted to know if he plans to continue crowdfunding his future projects and what effect he thinks Kickstarter failures have on the reputations of developers. There were so many great things to Kickstarter when it first exploded and we had that rush of not just money but also goodwill too. That love and support from the community told us that people want to play adventure games still and that was really important to us. Because everything's announced at the start of creating your game and not the end like we normally do, it makes more sense to be transparent like we were. That made us vulnerable to a lot of criticism because people could see "oh, the schedule's changing" or "You're doing this thing the way I don't want you to do it." The experiment's not over yet and I'd still call it an experiment, but being that exposed and vulnerable was difficult. There were some good things and toward the end there have been some bad things. My hope was that by being really transparent and showing all the ups and downs of game development, that people who play games would start to understand more of what goes on when making a game. But still, after all this time, it still seems like people get super mad about things that are totally normal. Things like schedules slipping happen on almost every project but people just don't hear about it because we don't usually show people.  I think developers have to learn like publishers had to learn before the warning signs when a game is in trouble and what is just going through the normal ups and downs of development. The question I personally wanted an answer to the most: when is Broken Age: Act 2 coming? Well we're in beta now and we're going to come out this spring. There's not much time left in spring. When's the last day of spring? It's coming out this spring which is very soon. At this point we pushed him on how soon was very soon? We confirmed basically that it's more than three days away still. Well, not this week. I've been playing the Vita version on the plane over here. It's finished, we just want to catch all the bugs. Finally, with all our serious questions out the way, we ended the interview on a slightly lighter note. Yes, you guessed it, we asked him about his favorite butts in videogames. We mainly learned that Tim Schafer rarely thinks about butts when designing a character. Favorite butt in videogames? Are there a lot of butts in videogames? I guess everyone has a butt but you don't often get to see them. I guess in third-person games you're running behind them. I'm now trying to do the interesting task of trying to visualize butts from videogames, they don't usually get a starring role. I'm now seriously worrying I've not been paying enough attention to butts in the games that I've made. Have we ever shown any butts in my games? Yep, you've stumped me with butts. Manny's butt in Grim Fandango is boney; it's basically just a pelvis in a suit.  In Costume Quest actually there was a cat that had a very prominent butt featured, so I guess that butt.
Tim Schafer interview photo
Schafer talks Broken Age, crowdfunding, narrative, and butts
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...

The Last of Us actress 'wasn't prepared for the positive' response to Ellie's sexual orientation

Mar 13 // Laura Kate Dale
[Small spoilers below for The Last of Us.] When asked if she would be interested in reprising the role of Ellie in a future The Last of Us sequel, she replied simply with an energetic "Oh fuck yeah!" before apologizing to the amassed journalists for her use of language. When pushed on the issue and asked how she would go about portraying an older Ellie, she cautiously told us: It just depends if they want to revisit the story again. Ellie could go either way, [Joel] lied to her so you don't know how she would take that -- would she be mad at him, would she be okay with, there's many places you could go. Interestingly, we also learned that while Ashley Johnson has done on screen roles in huge projects like The Avengers, she is still recognized more often for her work voicing Ellie. I probably get recognized for The Last of Us more than anything, which is crazy because it isn't physically my face. Last of Us has changed my life in so many ways and we shot it for over three years so, and including the DLC I guess four, so being part of something for that long and the experiences you have, the relationships you form, I wouldn't change it for anything, it's one of my favorite things I've worked on. Considering Johnson was up against some pretty tough competition for this years Best Performance award including Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker, we asked her how she felt about her win and if there were any nominees she expected would win the award instead of her. I feel good, I mean I'm kind of a little overwhelmed I guess, shocked and um, yeah. Struggling to find my words. Everybody up for the award was awesome obviously, that's why they were all picked out. For me Troy Baker, and I'm not just saying that because I know him, but his character in Far Cry 4 was so ridiculous and amazing. Melissa Hutchison, I'm such a fan of those games, she's just incredible. Obviously Kevin Spacey, he's a pretty good actor. Those first two in particular though they both really stood out to me. Even though Ashley Johnson had just won a BAFTA for her performance as Ellie, we asked her if there were any aspects of her performance that she looks back on and cringes. There are definitely times playing through Left Behind where I wanted myself to get out of the way. Ellie would just get right in the way and I'd be like "just fucking move." She'd start whistling randomly and Clickers are right there and it's like "Okay they're right there can you please just shut up because now they're definitely going to hear us." Just as our time talking with Ashley was coming to a close, we decided to ask her a couple of ending questions about Left Behind being a coming out story for her character. Firstly, we wanted to know how she felt watching players learn that her character is gay. Usually when I try to tackle any role I know early on in the process what the sexual preference of that character is because that can be a huge part of who they are. With Ellie it was something that wasn't ever really discussed. I think with Ellie growing up in this world it wasn't something that was every really necessarily brought up. When we finally got to the DLC and Neil Druckmann told me what he wanted to do, I was like yeah of course, that completely makes sense for who Ellie is and why her relationship with Riley was so important to her. I was surprised by the way people reacted. We didn't know how people were going to respond and I think I was more prepared for the negative comments. What I wasn't as prepared for was the positive ones. I've had so many men and women come up to me and told me things sometimes they haven't even told their parents. It has profoundly changed my life. We finished up the interview by touching on the critical reception that Left Behind had. I wanted to know if Ashley Johnson thought Left Behind would have won the BAFTA for Best Story if Ellie had been in a heterosexual relationship rather than a homosexual one.  I don't know, I think for me it's just hard to answer because now that's who Ellie is and that is what it is. I know that Neil didn't want to make that decision based on trying to make a crazy statement of get any kind of controversy. It was just a character based decision and I think that relationship did have a big impact on people. I don't know, but I'm really going to think about it. I think they definitely took some risks with the story. I think if you told most people Left Behind was just the story of two teenage girls hanging out and figuring out their place in the world, I think a lot of people wouldn't be interested in playing that. I think after the full game came out and players had a chance to connect with Ellie, I think they wanted to know more about who she was. I sat down with Neil and he told me what the story would be and he just sort of said to me "I think Ellie is gay, this is her story. I think Riley was her first love and that's the story that I want to tell" and right then I was like "Yeah, I'm on board, let's do it." I think in general the story is focused on their love and that relationship and the importance of that which excited me a lot.
Ashley Johnson Interview photo
An interview spanning high and low brow material
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 L...

Writers Guild Award photo
Writers Guild Award

Big names dominate Writers Guild Award nominations


Two Assassin's Creeds, Alien, and The Last of Us DLC
Jan 13
// Brett Makedonski
Anyone that's of the belief that mainstream videogames are often devoid of great writing will need to look somewhere other than the Writers Guild of America for vindication. The organization's nominees for Outstanding Achieve...

2014's Game of the Year from 2006 because 2014 kind of sucked for games

Jan 09 // Steven Hansen
Because Clover Studios and my chance at happiness are dead, I want to take a moment to look back at 2014 instead of shoulder clasping and hand shaking even older ghosts. My "Steven Hansen's Destructoid's GotY 2014" awards started out as (and continued to be) a joke, but ended up going to games I really did like last year (Invisible Inc, Samurai Gunn, Transistor, Kentucky Route Zero). So 2014 wasn't bereft of good times. Especially because I can play Bushido Blade in any year, except for when I time travel to years before it was made.  But if there was a trend I noticed in my writing on or about the marquee titles of 2014, it's an almost comical nostalgia for 2006. For Clover (and that era Capcom), really. In one of the more personal, overwrought-titled things I wrote this year about San Francisco, punters getting kicked in the fucking face, and squeezing beauty out of money, I used Okami as the lead image.  My Halloween inspired take down of Resident Evil 5 (in honor of my friend Dale North, who also rightly thinks it bad) is a close look at how Capcom haphazardly aped--and broke--a finely designed game (Resident Evil 4) and got away with it because having fun in co-op is an easy way to ignore that a game is bad. The company was rewarded handsomely and we got Operation Raccoon City and Resident Evil 6 out of the deal. This is why we need to expect more.  I cited the Resident Evil 4-Okami-God Hand trifecta more directly in my post about how Shadow of Mordor should've been a dating sim. It's there where I pinned down the underlying notion that was bothering me, a stale conservatism in big-budget design. I'm still baffled by the high praise Mordor received for tacking on one new system to a checklist of open-world action design. And misty-eyed over Chris Carter's more muted, "s'alright, I guess."  Maybe the climate for experimentation, exploration, and completely new mechanics/controls in big releases doesn't exist anymore as budgets skyrocket and the prettier titles need to be, "like blank but blank" for marketability. Maybe it never did exist. Clover was shut down.  I don't mean to be just sour. I want to credit Alien: Isolation, a more expensive game than the ones I gave funny awards to, though I still need to play it in full. Ubisoft made Valiant Hearts, smaller project that it is.  I want to hoot and holler my anticipation for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It may not be wholly different, but this, at least, is an example of different enough and I'll cling to it if I have to, if there's no spiritual Zone of the Enders, a "something else" at the end of the tunnel. There's the weird, at least. The idiosyncrasies that show a human made this. One lucky enough to be buoying his employer and, thus, given free rein to commission code and art assets for wolf puppies and proper rock climbing form and new ways to pop out of boxes and cool backwards elbow crawling.  Let's celebrate The New in this third Year of Luigi, especially in the big-budget space, because that's where moneyhats need direction, need to know we won't settle. Cool folk will make turn-based stealth games and waifu bartending sims and warm magical realist adventure games regardless. Recent, pre-2014 years have given me things like Tearaway, Gravity Rush, Portal, and Catherine. Just hoping that in 2015 Big Gaming gives me something else totally new to clutch and love fiercely like the mama bear I am. 
GOTY 2014 (2006) photo
Goddo Hando delivers a Reverse Hell Kick Granny Smacker to 2014
Yes, it's now 2015--though I'm still writing 2014 on all my checks!!!--but how can anyone do a definitive Game of the Year award until the year is officially over? Until that big dang ball drops down in The Big Apple, the Big...

PS' GOTYs photo
PS' GOTYs

PlayStation owners loved Destiny more than any other game in 2014


Dark Souls II won best PS3 game
Jan 08
// Brett Makedonski
We're well into the new year, but not everyone's put 2014 squarely in their rearviewmirror. PlayStation Blog just finished tallying the votes to determine which games Sony fans were most fond of last year. All PlayStation pla...
IGF 2015 photo
IGF 2015

2015 Independent Games Festival finalists named


A bunch of cool games are getting awards soon
Jan 07
// Steven Hansen
We're a couple months away from March's Game Developers Conference, where everyone has to travel to where I live (uh, the city, not my home) and I just get to roll out of a nice non-hotel bed and make my way to appointments. ...

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