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Quantum Break photo
Quantum Break

Here's the new box art for Quantum Break


Featuring Shawn Ashmore. Naturally
Aug 17
// Vikki Blake
Now Shawn Ashmore has been confirmed as Quantum Break's Jack Joyce, Microsoft has revised the game's box art accordingly. At least, that's what this Amazon Germany image implies, anyway.

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...

gamescom trailer photo
gamescom trailer

Soul Axiom is looking good and weird


Hey Soul Axiom...
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
While I've known Soul Axiom to be a distinct game, the mix of games with Souls in the name and Axiom Verge this year has muddled my brain up. Soul Axiom is looking like it will muddle my brain up, too, from this surreal trai...
Chrvches play Rock Band 4 photo
Chrvches play Rock Band 4

Wow, I'm better at Rock Band than Chrvches is!


But they're still famous, so whatever
Aug 10
// Nic Rowen
I take every opportunity to watch real musicians play Rock Band that I can, I'm always interested to see how they'll do. Especially when it happens to be one of my favorite acts. Extra especially when they're playing a Rock ...

Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV airships might not make launch, Just Cause 3 dev helping


Aiming for seamless, 'full-scale' ships
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
At the start of this year, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata called airships "a huge technical challenge" and "to be determined," but they make sense for the game's big, organically connected world. At gamescom last we...
gamescom trailer photo
gamescom trailer

Watch the Rise of the Tomb Raider gamescom demo


Rise from your tomb!
Aug 10
// Steven Hansen
Brett caught up with (and previewed) Rise of the Tomb Raider at gamescom 2015 and what we saw didn't sound all that different from what I saw at E3 2015. Not too surprising this close to launch of a sequel that already has i...

First hands-on with Ninja Theory's Hellblade

Aug 08 // Steven Hansen
Hellblade is the story of Senua, a Celtic warrior suffering from mental illness that manifests in her world. Her state of mind affects the world around here. The weather gets gloomy, rainy, sky full of lighting and rolling thunder. Beefy, imposing enemies come menacing in one at a time. Working with mental health experts and sufferers, the team is still learning about the "diversity we can bring in with the psychosis element," "different visualizations" based on "the range of experiences people have." But these are not mere hallucinations or effects, as is common in games as recently as Far Cry and Batman. Ninja Theory is focused on "representing this as the reality, because, to [Senua], this is reality. There's no switch to turn it off and on; everything is real to her." It's an interesting contrast to the frequent stylistic separation between real and unreal. The first Hannibal Lector film, Manhunter, uses excellent visual affects to distinguish how its villain sees the world, versus the objective film reality. The recent TV adaptation does the same with its hero. Here, though, playing as Senua, there is no objective reality to turn to, just hers. Given Ninja Theory's past, this then manifests itself more on the nose as a literal "fight your demons," because it is still a third-person action game (there was a light puzzle in the build I played, too). [embed]297247:59881:0[/embed] I enjoy the focus on one-on-one combat, which restricts the camera and brings it in tighter because you, as the player, don't have to protect ya neck worry about additional enemies coming in from all sides. In combat there is a quick evade, block (and parry), and a few strikes. Combat feels well weighted. A successful block still feels perilous, as it should with  sword just inches away from killing out bangs on your own steel with force.  It does have the draw back of making movement less key, based on the fewer than 10 encounters in this current build. Footwork is important to a fighter, be they using sword or melee, and while most action games don't make movement too important, the ping-pong between combatants give the illusion they do (I'd argue Resident Evil 4 does it better than the typical walk/roll/sprint). Ninja Theory has the right approach with Hellblade. It uses the limited third-person perspective to render Senua's problems physical; and to "tell her story," which happens to be the story of someone with mental illness, and "represent her character in a truthful way" that is unique to her experience. "What we don't want to do is reduce [mental illness] to mechanics," Matthews said, referencing things like Amnesias "Sanity meter." Hopefully Senua's story will be a good one.
gamescom preview photo
Action game for PS4 and PC
Ninja Theory has felt like a mercenary of late. Enslaved didn't sell as well as it should have (neither did Heavenly Sword), and so the last five years has been spent 1) making a mobile game for EA-owned publisher Chillingo, ...

Star Wars Battlefront's Fighter Squadron mode needs some variation

Aug 08 // Brett Makedonski
The build of Fighter Squadron that we saw essentially operates as a team deathmatch. There were X-Wings battling against TIE Fighters -- ten humans to a side with another ten AI-controlled vehicles, which brings the total to 40 players in each game. Aside from attempting to shoot down others, occasional large transport ship would spawn. They needed to be either defended or destroyed. The way your ship functions is the best thing about Fighter Squadron. Everyone has a set of blasters that are prone to overheating, a homing missile that's effective (yet still challenging to use properly), and a set of evasive maneuvers. The difference between sides is that TIE Fighters have a boost mechanic, while the X-Wings get a shield. The trick is that everything needs to be used in moderation because reusing it all is on a short timer. Generally, this sort of fast ability freeze-out wouldn't be too big of a deal, but it is because of the pace that Fighter Squadron moves at. With all the other pilots making quick cuts across the battlefield, you need to perfectly time when you pull your punches. Otherwise, your lasers get lost in the great void. [embed]297271:59829:0[/embed] For a more authentic experience, players can switch to a cockpit view. This first-person seat is where Fighter Squadron looks the greatest but plays the worst. As previously mentioned, this mode is relentlessly fast. Trying to play from the pilot's seat only decreases the already limited time to get off a good shot. Despite everyone controlling a standard vehicle, Fighter Squadron has bigger opportunities. Power-up icons put the player in a hero ship -- The Millenium Falcon and Boba Fett's Slave I are the two we were told about. We didn't see either, but those situations will likely draw the attention of everyone in the skies. These hero ships are an example of the potential that Fighter Squadron holds but doesn't live up to yet. Simple team deathmatch grows old quickly, as it needs more variation. TIE Interceptors, A-Wings, and Y-Wings are all planned and might accomplish that goal if they play differently enough from one another. Better objectives need to be implemented too. Defending and attacking transports felt largely without consequence and tacked-on. Star Wars isn't necessarily all about dogfighting, but it's integral enough to the franchise that it can't be overlooked either. If Star Wars Battlefront is going to be the seminal title in the series for the foreseeable future, it needs to do dogfighting right. Fighter Squadron just misses that mark because it isn't quite interesting enough yet. There's still time for that to change, though.
Battlefront preview photo
For now, it's a nice distraction
Thoughts of dogfighting over the surface of the planet Sullust should raise your heartbeat a little bit. It's an exciting prospect. Really, that goes for piloting any vessel in the Star Wars canon through any franchise l...

Lara Croft GO captures the essence of pure Tomb Raider

Aug 08 // Brett Makedonski
Lara Croft GO fits soundly into that latter category by more than just name alone. Despite being a mobile title, it nicely captures the spirit of the very first Tomb Raider games. Donning her classic outfit, Lara works through level after level in search of an artifact. Puzzle-solving and exploration are earmarks, just as they had been all those years ago. However, the mobile format is what makes GO distinct. Rather than continuous action, this game is turn-based which places a greater emphasis on thinking before moving. A rudimentary example might be a pair of snakes that are facing opposite directions. You always have to attack from the side or back, lest they strike and kill you first. There's only one path that allows for the correct order of operations; the others just leave you dead. But, even when Lara Croft GO deals out frustration, it doesn't negate progress. This is the mobile crowd, after all -- a group that might not have the patience to have its time wasted. Checkpoints come frequently and everything is ever-so bite-sized. On a micro-level, the scale of each section is obviously intentional. Routon says that the studio knows who it's developing for. Despite Lara Croft GO allowing for minimal time investments, Square Enix Montreal is seeing a more encouraging trend. "People intend to play for five minutes, and they end up playing for an hour or more," Routon comments. "We tell playtesters they can leave, but they say they want to finish this puzzle first. I guess that's not a bad thing." [embed]297421:59880:0[/embed] It really doesn't come as a surprise that people don't want to put Lara Croft GO down. It elegantly encapsulates what makes Tomb Raider work, and boils it down to its purest form. Swipe, swipe, swiping on the screen is so simple, yet it doesn't feel cheap to lead Lara on an adventure in this fashion. Helping production values are the strong aesthetic and the narrative told only through gameplay details. Although it's in the mobile market, Square Enix Montreal prices its titles more traditionally. GO will be available on August 27, but the cost is unknown right now (Hitman Go released at $4.99). Once invested, this game is fully playable at any speed; there are no energy meters to temper progress. Routon confirmed that there will be microtransactions of some sort, but their nature will be puzzle solutions for those who are struggling. In a wasteland of freemium games, this price model is commendable. More commendable, however, is the way that Square Enix Montreal boldly gets back to the roots of Tomb Raider. Series veterans will rediscover a Lara Croft that they know and love in a format that's undiscovered to them. Fitting, seeing as Tomb Raider should be all about discovery.
Lara Croft GO preview photo
Swipe right
Antoine Routon grinned. "We have people knocking down our door saying 'Can you do our game too?'" Routon's the lead programmer at Square Enix Montreal -- the publisher's studio that's dedicated to mobile titles. Square Enix h...

gamescom trailer photo
gamescom trailer

The Technomancer gets chased through Mars, is not Total Recall


Sci-fi RPG for PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Aug 06
// Steven Hansen
The Technomancer is not about a man who goes to Mars to have his eyeballs bulge out. Rather, "we watch our hero Zachariah attempts to communicate with Earth, as he is chased by Mars’ illusive secret police, tasked with...
Ori expansion photo
Ori expansion

Ori and the Blind Forest is getting an expansion


For Xbox One and Windows 10
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favorite games on Xbox One. It looks, sounds, and plays magnificently. I'm surprised and delighted it even got made, and that goes double for its commercial success. The game was "already...

Halo 5 has some changes that longtime fans will have to get used to

Aug 06 // Brett Makedonski
Longtime Halo players might find this change jarring or even possibly off-putting. There are people who pride themselves on getting their way through the story on legendary difficulty, trying again and again until they finally hit the next checkpoint. Halo 5 could render that sensation largely moot thanks to a new revival system that's akin to the one in Gears of War. It gives second chances, something that Halo hasn't really done before. Design director Brad Welch says he doesn't think that will be the case. He commented that those who are playing on those higher difficulties will find a familiar level of challenge. "We've approached Halo from a completely new perspective," he said. "It might take people a little while to adjust, but we've worked for a long time on the balancing," he offered as he explained that being careless with your teammates will just lead to everyone dying rather quickly. Once that happens, it's right back to the checkpoint. There's a similar AI implementation in multiplayer that's a departure from what everyone has been used to. The 12-on-12 Warzone mode will feature computer-controlled bosses and defenders, as opposed to humans dictating all of the action. Again, Holmes and Welch say it'll take some getting used to, but this expanded game is their vision for Halo 5. [embed]297354:59849:0[/embed] Warzone's particularly significant in that it's one half of 343 Industries' initial multiplayer push. Classic four versus four arena play is available for purists, but Warzone is the mode for those who want action in larger numbers. Holmes explained that they designed these two kinds of multiplayer with two different types of player in mind -- that's why they're distinct styles. In fact, Warzone is such a priority that 343 is launching Halo 5 with it in place instead of Big Team Battle. However, Holmes clarified that Big Team Battle would be implemented within weeks of release. This is rather indicative of the developer's approach to post-launch content. Halo 5 will ship with 20 maps, but it'll eventually grow to around 50 -- all of those being added for free. Holmes elaborated that he wanted to get away from paid map packs because those do nothing but segment the community. He wants everyone to be able to play with whomever they want without putting that access behind a paywall. It's ambitious for sure, but everything about Halo 5 is ambitious. The sheer scale of it all tips its hand about that. 343 Industries and Microsoft are both on a mission to make a lot more Halo, and it looks like they'll accomplish that goal in the short-term -- even if it means players will have to make some small adjustments.
Halo 5 preview photo
There's a lot of the familiar, though
It was one year ago when I sat with 343 Industries as key developers told me all about the studio's plans for The Halo Channel. At the time, Halo 5: Guardians was more than a year on the horizon, and Halo: The Master Chi...

gamescom 2015 photos photo
gamescom 2015 photos

The gamescom 2015 show floor gallery: Wish you were her!


Love the smell of my boyfriend's Cologne
Aug 06
// Steven Hansen
It is the second day of gamescom and boy are my arms tired! On account of having flown to Germany a couple days ago, I mean. Phew. Saved it. God, look how haggard I look. Pasty, eyes dead, hair unkempt and thrown forward to a...

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a little easier on Lara (but still kicks the shit out of her)

Aug 06 // Brett Makedonski
The most obvious example lies within the fact that Rise of the Tomb Raider places less emphasis on campfires. They're still necessary for fast travelling and general checkpointing, but they're no longer required to upgrade skills. That can be done on the fly, meaning that Lara can become a more formidable foe in the thick of the fighting. She also has the opportunity to use materials in the wild to her advantage. Rise of the Tomb Raider features a new crafting system (again, no campfire needed) that acts as further upgrades. The likes of berries and pelts can be collected and turned into items far more useful than berries and pelts. Hardly the first game to do it, but it'll place more emphasis on exploration and scavenging when that should be a pillar of Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics knows that was a drawback of 2013's game, and it's making right this time. Speaking with members of the development team at gamescom, they assured that there will in fact be more tomb raiding in Rise of the Tomb Raider. The early section we played was a critical path tomb, but there will be more optional ones -- they'll be more expansive and intricate, to boot. One of the more intriguing aspects of this is that Lara will have to become proficient in various languages to access certain areas. We saw her discover a religious-looking artifact that raised her Greek skill a level. It seems as if finding these along the way will be the only method of unlocking certain side paths. It can probably be assumed that these languages correlate to the many countries Lara will find herself visiting. The demo we played took place in Syria, and those events led to her winding up in Siberia (which was shown at E3). When asked where else she'll go, we were given the well-rehearsed PR-trained line of "We're not ready to get into that quite yet; right now, we're focused on talking about Syria." Though brief, the demo showed nicely showed what Rise of the Tomb Raider has in store. It's just as cinematic, dramatic, and action-filled as we'd expect. Lara's going to do plenty of rough falling, labored climbing, and "wow, you just barely made that" jumping. Even though it's an origin story, she should know by now that tomb raidin' ain't easy.
Tomb Raider preview photo
At least she might learn something
Lara Croft has never been the best archaeologist. Carefully digging for hours so as to not damage an artifact wouldn't make for a very good video game. Still, there's a disconnect when she knocks over human skulls that are pe...

gamescom photo
gamescom

Final Fantasy XV confirmed for 2016 release


Director confirms internal date set
Aug 06
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy XV's lengthy development time has been long documented. Square Enix's promised strong showing for the next mainline entry this gamescom amounted to a fairly boring trailer, doing nothing to reassure anyone that ...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

The Phantom Pain lets you sneak into players' bases and steal their men with wormholes


Mother Base and FOBs explained
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
The Mother Base side of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is detailed enough to necessitate a half-hour demonstration out of gamescom, and I'm loving it. There's a lot to parse, but thoughtful editing and delivery keeps t...
Homefront gameplay photo
Homefront gameplay

Who is building all the damn metal ramps in Homefront: The Revolution?


Also, it's a stupid game
Aug 05
// Steven Hansen
I noticed this watching Homefront: The Revolution's trailer live at gamescom: there are a ton of convenient, incredibly sturdy corrugated metal ramps, bridges, and walkways in occupied United States. It seems like 40% of the...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

These are the next three Heroes of the Storm


Artanis, Kharazim, and Rexxar
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
I don't think I'll stray far from Valla (especially now that I have her Master Skin), but I have been stockpiling gold for another Diablo character in Heroes of the Storm -- Kharazim, Monk of Ivgorod. At gamescom, Blizzard opened up about the Monk and shared details on two other heroes (Warcraft's Rexxar and StarCraft's Artanis) as well as a new three-lane map, Infernal Shrines.

Sam Lake explains Quantum Break's television show tie-in

Aug 05 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297184:59794:0[/embed] What's weird, though, is that while my suspicion and low expectations haven't changed even as the game has, there's some magic in hearing Remedy's Sam Lake tell it. Few can string together scripted nonsense like "intense story-driven action game spectacle" and still seem genuine with a kind of unassuming, unironic grin. It's adorable At one point Lake noted that the team destroyed yet another giant ship in the demo we were shown. "We are destroying another ship here as we did at last gamescom," Lake said, explaining that Remedy doesn't hate ships or the shipping industry. "We love shipping. Shipping games." Pause. "Hah hah." That was a "hah hah," not a laugh, and a perfectly delivered one. So we've seen "I'm a super badass baby-faced dubstep killer" wreck house on crews of heavily outfitted corporate military already and it's a little goofy as the guy in jeans and a Guess jacket brushes off assault rifle fire. He's aided by the time powers granted by a failed time travel experiment that is bringing about the end of time (hah). Time Rush allows Jack to run forward with time stopped, either to avoid environmental obstacles in platforming sections or to combo into running punches. Time Dodge is a quick dash out of harm's way or into an enemy to bump them a bit. Time Blast is an offensive projectile, Time Shield is a bubble shield, and Time Stop freezes time in one focused area. Some of Monarch's soldiers are outfitted with fancy backpacks that give them some of these powers, too, so you're not just up against folks shooting you. Quantum Break is "a story about warring philosophies," Lake says. The fatalist antagonist thinks the future can't be changed or fixed no matter what, the protagonist thinks that's bogus. The game focuses on the perspective of the latter, while "the show is about villains," focusing on the Wire half of the cast and what's happening at evil Monarch. So how does it work? "You first play through an act of the game, Lake says. "It culminates in a special scene that is the junction moment, where you make a choice," which opens up an episode of the show "based on the choice you make." So you get roughly 22 minutes of programming tailored to your decisions. And all of Quantum Break is "shaped by your choices." The given example of a junction moment is where evil corporate bad guy Paul Serene has to either: 1) kill a student activist who's witness to some shady things or 2) threaten to murder her family to bend her into submission. Both bad, one less bad, I suppose. Her death, should you choose, is reflected in the protest scene from last year's trailer. On the other hand, should she live, she becomes Jacks ally, helping to dig up dirt on Monarch. Sometimes these two parts of the game weave even closer. A live-action conflict between Monarch folks who've captured Jack ends at an anticlimax as their guns disappear and Jack is shown to have gotten away. On the game side, there's a cutscene of Jack waking up in the back of the van, noticing the conflict outside, and escaping (and gun jacking) during a time skip. With Xbox having killed its original programming arm, Lake also clarified that, "the game and the show ship together as one item."
Not skippable photo
'[They] ship together as one item'
It's been over two years since I first side-eyed Quantum Break, the television show and third-person shooter hybrid from Remedy (Alan Wake, Max Payne). Quantum Break finally has a release date it probably won't be delayed out...

Hitman studio just wants to 'get back to Hitman'

Aug 05 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]294082:59060:0[/embed] From what we saw, creativity should be a pillar of gameplay this time around. There's so much happening at any given time, leading to seemingly endless possibilities. Seifert pointed out how almost everything could be used as either a distraction or an instrument of death. Chandeliers can be cut loose, gas lamps can be tampered with, weapons could be smuggled inside electrical equipment, liquor could be poisoned, et cetera ad nauseam.  Our approach was a bit more customized. We planted an explosive device behind a guard and then threw a coin to alert him. Proficient in his line of work, he noticed the mine, disarmed it, and picked it up so no one would get hurt. He took it to the guard center inside which was past security. All we had to do was retrieve it later. Sucker. People who know and love Hitman might pick up on this style immediately, but newcomers won't necessarily know how the game's systemic nuances work. Seifert's solution to bridging this gap is an "opportunity alert" that doesn't quite guide the player, but informs them that something can be done. He noted that it's very important that the feature be able to be disabled. "Hardcore players will turn it off right away," Seifert said. "They want to discover things on their own." There's a lot to do in Hitman, and all these unique methods stem from the density of the levels. The stage we saw was set at the iconic Parisian Fashion Week (not my first time virtually touring the French capital). Seifert said that this was one of the smaller settings, yet it's still six times larger than anything in Absolution. Likewise, Absolution had around 30 NPCs with their own routines and lifecycles per level; Hitman will have around 300. Everything's bigger in Hitman, but it's not just for the sake of being bigger. It all leads to more options, which is exactly what players want from a Hitman game. There's no trick to being more efficient implementing this, either. It simply just takes more time. Seifert says that it has taken IO Interactive around a year to complete any given level. They take a while to create, but those levels will likely get a lot of use over time. One of the major planned features is an assassination mission that rotates out every two days or so. The catch is that players are only given a single try. If they botch it, the target gets away and they have a black mark on their permanent record. Success will be rewarded with unique items to carry into the campaign and leaderboard glory. This is indicative of Seifert's beliefs on post-launch content. He doesn't think that developers should spend four years creating a game, put it out, and then get working on another four-year cycle. Instead, he wants to offer players new things with regularity. That mindset isn't too unique, but Seifert is interestingly against paid DLC. That's why Hitman will have none. He said it's a model that he lobbied for, and admitted that it was a "tough sell." Everyone likes their money, after all. Still, somehow he won. The price of the base game is all people will have to pay to fully experience his game. Really, when you boil it down, Seifert's adamant attitude toward constant content is just another angle for all that Hitman wants to accomplish -- it's another way to give players options. The appealing idea here is that everyone will have a personal experience with the game -- their own stories to tell about an assassination gone right or awry. That, as Seifert would put it, is how they're getting back to Hitman.
Hitman preview photo
And the response to Absolution
"Hitman is 15 years old," IO Interactive head Hannes Seifert said. "That's a long time. Tastes change. It's time to get back to Hitman." That was Seifert's explanation for why the next game in the series has forgone a su...

Kamiya: Scalebound 'not a simple action game that Platinum is known for'

Aug 05 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297186:59795:0[/embed] Kamiya noted that Scalebound is, "a story about Drew...who has been transported from our modern world into this fantasy world," and by some held back plot point ends up in union with Thuban, the last of his kind. Very Dragonheart. Drew's devil may care attitude (and Devil May Cry Dante comparisons), "might be too early," according to Kamiya, who noted Platinum has released little information thus far. The "partnership between Thuban and Drew" is one of the many themes, both within the mysterious story and in gameplay. You're able to issue the AI-controlled Thuban basic commands which fall into 1) attack (at varying levels of scorched earth) and 2) fall back a bit. The latter is important because Thuban's stronger attacks can wipe enemies clean out of existence. If Drew downs them, he is able to crystallize them and collect the resulting red gems which can be used to customize Thuban. It's a bit weird you can actually change what kind of dragon he is, but hey, RPGs. "Pulse" drives the world of Draconis with its floating islands and colorful palette. It's also what powers Drew's Mega Man buster cannon-reminiscent pulse shot and the "colored accents on Thuban." I believe Kamiya called them green and I don't want to disagree, but they look pretty blue to me. I will ask my mother.  Aside from incentivizing you from not leaning too much on Thuban through the gem system, the demo continued past defeating the mantis boss in the trailer and into a much more narrow area where Thuban has to fly ahead and thus isn't free to use in combat. That means that, because of Thuban, "the world can't be too small," so there'll be plenty of open plains like the ones seen in the trailer. Other tidbits: Drew's transformation is "dragon mode" as it stands. Some trailer-like features montage showed off a large, NPC-filled city. There is also some sort of skill point system that seems like it's based on how well you perform combat. Drew also has access to a wide variety of weapons (halberds, enormous anime swords, etc.) that appear to be housed in a block-based inventory system (think Resident Evil 4). And, as learned yesterday, there's four-player co-op. "As kind of a policy for myself when I start creating a game, I am not creating to please everyone," Kamiya said. "My job is that you fall in love more and more with what I created." From what has been released, this feels like the most straightforward Platinum/Kamiya game. Basic action RPG stuff is appropriate for trade show reveals. Still, I think as crazy story details and mechanics are unveiled en route to the holiday 2016 launch (crossing back into the modern world? increased dragon skills and combo attacks?), I will get more and more into what is already a pretty, nice looking action game.
Scalebound at gamescom photo
Customizable dragon
First, note that I wanted to get Scalebound's Hideki Kamiya to say, "Ask your mom" on video, but gamescom meetings are too tight, too perpetually behind to get much good one on one in. Still, I got to see an extended playthro...

Final Fantasy Explorers chasing that Monster Hunter cheese

Aug 05 // Steven Hansen
[embed]296955:59743:0[/embed] It seems like modest fun, though. Things like the Fortune Teller, Item Shop, and Work Shop were closed down during my demo, but I took on a Flame Djinn hunt (Final Fantasy summon mainstay Ifrit), switched to my Dragoon pants, and embarked on a flaming dungeon with Chocobo and Goblin allies in tow. The targeting system feels a bit lose and using the d-pad for camera direction means your thumb's off the circle pad, but combat doesn't ask anything too complex. There's a basic attack button, while the shoulder buttons bring up special attacks, and doing real-time dragoon Jumps is fun. There are also even more limited special attacks accessed by pressing both shoulder buttons. Ifrit did do me in two times, but all reviving costs (with the boss' health still depleted whatever you got it to) is three minutes against the clear time. It seems like it'll be a grindy time-waster, but maybe the familiar trappings can catch folks who otherwise struggled to get into Monster Hunter. Not me, though. I'll keep listening to the Chrystal Chronicles OST. That'll do.
Hands-on at gamescom photo
Hands-on at gamescom
Square Enix is bringing Final Fantasy Explorers west come January, so I went ahead and played it here at gamescom (we also previewed it back in 2014 at Tokyo Game Show). The clearest thing to me is that I will never get anoth...

No more last gen ports? photo
No more last gen ports?

Ubisoft on The Crew's Wild Run expansion not coming to 360


'Shifting its development force'
Aug 05
// Steven Hansen
If you're in the small subset of people who: 1) enjoy Ubisoft's weird ass open world racing game The Crew, 2) play it only on the Xbox 360, and 3) are excited for the upcoming Wild Run expansion (November 17) , then I have ba...
Elite: Dangerous photo
Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous gets Horizons expansion, planetary landings


From Space Trucks to Space Buggies
Aug 05
// Josh Tolentino
Time to kick the tires, Commanders. Frontier Developments, they who run premier space-trucking sim Elite: Dangerous, just announced Horizons, the next expansion for the game. Due to open on PC and Xbox One this year, Ho...
Just Cause 3 photo
Just Cause 3

I won some Doritos out of a dumb Just Cause 3 claw machine


Did I say dumb? I meant awesome
Aug 05
// Brett Makedonski
Square Enix has no problem embracing how stupid and great and terrible and awesome its game -- and all video games, really -- can be. That's why there's a Just Cause 3-branded claw machine that's dishing out Doritos at gamesc...
FIFA 2016 photo
FIFA 2016

FIFA 2016's FUT Draft mode gets a trailer


Oh that banter what cheeky legends
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
Want to see two footballers have some incredibly forced “top quality bants”? Want to have your soul ripped out of your eye sockets and fed to a swarming flurry of crows? Well don’t worry, EA has you covered...
Unravel photo
Unravel

Unravel shows off live gameplay at gamescom


Make Martin Sahlin the King of Games
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
The true star of E3 is back, now at gamescom. Nervously taking to stage once more, Martin Sahlin and Yarny showed off some live gameplay of Unravel while giving a heartfelt speech about what presenting at E3 really meant to ...
The Sims 4 photo
The Sims 4

The Sims 4 go European with the Get Together expansion


Windenburg looks like a fantasy MMO
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
EA has announced a new expansion pack for The Sims 4, the Get Together expansion pack. The new expansion will bring in a European-style city called Windenburg, and is due to be released in November this year. EA has said it ...
Star Wars Battlefront photo
Star Wars Battlefront

Fighter Squadron brings dogfights to Battlefront


FINALLY!!!
Aug 05
// Laura Kate Dale
Today at gamescom we got our first trailer for Fighter Squadron, a twenty person dogfight mode for Star Wars Battlefront. You can pilot a bunch of different ships, including the Millenium Falcon, and there will be twenty AI fighters flying in the skies alongside the twenty human players. Yep, this looks pretty cool. I'm glad we finally have this confirmed for the game.
Knights of the Fallen Emp photo
Knights of the Fallen Emp

New Star Wars: The Old Republic - Knights of the Fallen Empire trailer shows off gameplay


Back to 'BioWare-style storytelling'?
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
BioWare has shown off some more of its upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, at gamescom. The newest trailer that actually shows gameplay can be seen above. The expansion will feature ...

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