It's no secret that gaming conventions are fertile ground for developers to try out their new creations. Back in April, Jonathan Holmes got the chance to check out SoundSelf with Robin Arnott, the creator of the unorthodox horror title Deep Sea, and saw first hand the impression it had on players. Utilizing virtual reality, players are taken for a ride through their own personal odyssey of light and sound.
During the hustle and bustle of PAX Prime, I got the chance to go on a special trip of my own, and it was clear that SoundSelf made quite a name for itself on the show floor. I also got some time to speak with Robin Arnott about his creation and the desire to create an existential experience that brings players to a state of zen and wonder.
Hironobu Sakaguchi is best known as the creator of Final Fantasy; a man responsible for some of the most influential and well-respected role-playing games of our time.
His sprawling worlds and epic adventures have touched millions of people, many of whom may be surprised to discover how significant a departure Sakaguchi's latest endeavor is compared with the titles we typically associate with his name.
Destructoid recently met with the living legend in Seattle to see that new project, Terra Battle, and believe us when we say you haven't seen anything quite like this before.
[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]
Leading up to PAX Prime, Clapfoot released a trailer for its base defense shooter Fortified. It caught my eye for a few reasons, notably the '50s sci-fi movie theme and its general resemblance to Double Fine's Iron Brigade (formerly Trenched). There aren't too many games like it.
The build playable at PAX was fairly early in development but offered a decent enough idea of what to expect. Aliens are invading the city and you and up to three friends need to shoot them down, one wave at a time. I selected the character class with a jetpack, while my co-op partner had the unique ability to command soldiers around the battlefield. I think I made the right call.
We had the freedom to place defensive structures like machine gun turrets, a slowing device, and sandbags wherever we wanted within reason, and the shooting felt good -- surprisingly good. My favorite weapon was the rocket launcher, because it sent robot invaders flying all over the place. The physics were wobbly, exactly as you would hope. Again, think lo-fi science fiction.
With some proper maze-building techniques, we managed to funnel robotic spiders into a single lane so we could concentrate fire on flying saucers and other stragglers. The boss, a hulking robot, must have been inches away from our base before he went down.
I wasn't able to see the two remaining characters, upgrades, or any other levels -- I'm told they will more than likely all be set within a city -- but I liked what was playable enough to keep Fortified on my radar. The game isn't releasing on PC and Xbox One until next year, so there's time for more features and polish. In speaking with art director Adam Garib, it seems like the studio has a solid grasp on what's needed to flesh out the experience. Fingers crossed.
Anyone who has played Super Mario 3D World knows what to expect from Nintendo's upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. That's because Captain Toad made an appearance periodically in his own levels throughout 3D World to lend a slower, more methodical style to the cat-suited platforming that mostly defined the game.
Nintendo realized that it may have a hit on its hands with the Captain, and thus Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was born -- a game comprised solely of those bits where the protagonist hunts his way through puzzling levels for coins and gems. It's a simple concept, and one that our own Darren Nakamura covered in depth in an E3 preview.
At PAX Prime, I got my first and what could be only opportunity to try Upsilon Circuit.
You see, once it goes live, eight people will be able to play at any given time. That's eight people, total. And the "permadeath" here is actually permanent. You lose? Your turn is done.
While everyone else watches, waiting for their coveted chance in the spotlight to hack away at monsters and explore, they can directly influence the direction the game takes. The audience has control to, say, spec out players' skill trees, or spawn a deadly trap.
Legend of Dungeon creator Robot Loves Kitty is billing this as part online game show, part action-RPG. At PAX, I saw more of the latter than the former, but Upsilon Circuit's Max Headroom-esque digital host Ronny Raygon was set up on a nearby television to talk smack to attendees. He got into an argument with some kid about whose glasses were cooler.
Before you ask who would pay for something like this -- for a chance, maybe, to play once -- know that it's going to be free. In speaking with Robot Loves Kitty's Alix Stolzer, it sounds as if a large part of the monetization will be geared toward trolls or audience members who otherwise want to screw over the player characters, not help out. I told her that was a good idea.
It's still early days for Upsilon Circuit and there are a lot of unknowns, but what was shown at PAX gave me confidence in this somewhat crazy, definitely ambitious project. If the game catches on and finds a stable audience, it's going to be a fascinating experiment to take part in.
A very specific connotation pops into your mind when you think about spaceship fighters. Your brain's flooded with thoughts of dogfighting ships zooming around, barrel rolling, and flipping end-over-end to fire unceasing space lasers at equally nimble opponents. That's not what Dreadnought is; not even close, in fact.
Dreadnought -- which is currently only slated for PC -- is a thinker's game, a title for those more adept at thinking two steps ahead rather than those that rely on their twitchy fingers. It's a chess match in space -- a chess match that trades in kings and queens for lumbering, massive ships that actually feel like they have weight to them.
If Upper One Games’ Never Alone sticks out to you as one of the best examples of storytelling in recent memory, don’t be surprised. It sort of has an unfair advantage. You see, the tale it tells has only been passed down throughout several generations’ time. But, while its roots are in the past, the way it’s being told is unique and wholly original.
Never Alone is a puzzle platformer that’s about an old folktale of the Inupiat people -- one of seven major indigenous groups in Alaska. The project actually came about because the Inupiat’s tribal council wanted a way to pass their heritage down to the youths, who had become more enamored by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and of course videogames than they were with their own history. They reached out to E-Line Media to see if the educational game company would be interested in helping develop a game that would share a bit about them. The result was the creation of Upper One Games.
No, the next game from The Behemoth isn't a sequel to Castle Crashers. I mean, yeah, that'd be nice to have one day, but I'm loving how the studio is continuing to try new things. And its next project, the to-be-properly-named "Game 4," is most certainly a New Thing for the team.
It's a turn-based strategy role-playing game with the style and humor we've come to expect from The Behemoth. So, pretty freaking great. Will Stamper even returns from BattleBlock Theaterto narrate again. What begins as a typical fantasy adventure with swords and shields quickly morphs into a tale of robots, vampires, and anthropomorphic cupcakes. Knights getting extracted via space shuttle? Yeah, something's not quite right here.
As shown in the teaser trailer, a space bear has crash landed into a planet -- your planet -- and the universe hasn't been the same ever since. Just chaos, left and right. I was fortunate enough to spend well over an hour with Game 4 at PAX Prime and in that time, far more questions were raised than answered. I laughed more than a few times, though, and really dug the combat.
Back at gamescom, Atari announced RollerCoaster Tycoon World, a new installment to the much-loved amusement park series. However, after a 10-year series hiatus from the PC and the debut of the polarizing RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, which was loaded with microtransactions and other annoyances, many had reservations about the potential for a brand new title.
But during a private showing of RollerCoaster Tycoon World at PAX Prime 2014, the developers along with the CEO of Atari, Fred Chesnais, were keen to show how it's a welcome return to what made the series great. Right from the get-go, the developers at Pipeworks and publisher Atari were adamant about the title being a little more accessible while still retaining the deep customization and park management system.
Still, returning to the classic formula was a challenge, and the folks involved were open to listening to the community about what they want for the next game.
I've played and enjoyed all of the Saints Row games to date, but wonder how much longer this can last. How much more ridiculous can the series get, and even if there is room to up the insanity, do we even want that? Where Volition goes from here, I'm not sure.
Gat Out of Hell, a standalone expansion, will give the studio some breathing room to figure that out while keeping the series on store shelves. As will Saints Row IV: Re-elected, a "Game of the Year"-style re-release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Both are due out January 27, 2015.
I played a brief demo of Gat Out of Hell at PAX Prime over the weekend and spoke with studio creative director Steve Jaros about how the game is influenced by Disney films. Yes, really.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is taking Square Enix's beloved RPG series in a bold new direction. According to director Hajime Tabata, it's "much more mature in comparison with previous titles" and provides "a completely new take on the franchise" for adults.
Destructoid met up with Tabata over the weekend in Seattle to check in on how the remaster of the 2011 PSP game is coming along. Visually speaking, it looks quite good, though that's far from the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One title's most striking quality.
Telltalle has been a busy beehive lately. Having wrapped up The Walking Dead Season 2 and season one of The Wolf Among Us, this fall will bring us right into the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands. Darren seemed positive on the game when he saw it at E3, but for a series like Borderlands that built its name more on its genre fusion gameplay than it's setting, I didn't know what to expect or hope for going into this demo.
After it was over, I came out with confirmation that Telltale is still the best at what it does.
One of the games I knew I had to check out at the Indie Megabooth this PAX Prime was N++. I liked its predecessor on Xbox Live Arcade a great deal, which is to say it infuriated the hell out of me but was satisfying beyond words when I managed to push through the challenge.
This is a platformer, the kind that gives you precise control of a more-than-capable character who can bounce off walls. As such, the levels can require perfection -- or something close to it -- while technically still being "fair." Evil, yes, but not unfair.
Your ninja has a distinct momentum and weight, which you'll get a feel for after a while as you're eased into new obstacles and enemy types. It's been ages since I played N+, so I was rusty. But since I only had time to play cooperative and race levels with another PAX attendee, that didn't matter too much. Just needed to be better than the other guy.
Mighty No. 9 is probably one of the most anticipated games of 2015. After a massive Kickstarter, creator Inafune and developers Comcept and Inti Creates have kicked off a long line of products to hype it up, including Mighty Gunvolt and a potential cartoon.
After all that hype though we finally have a chance to play the game. I have to say, it has the feel of a Mega Man game, but a few aspects definitely took some getting used to.
There was some initial skepticism when it came to Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions and its so-called "3D action." For starters, it's been several years since the last games entered our lives to rekindle old leaderboard feuds. There was also confusion surrounding developer Lucid Games who, as it turns out, is made up of former Bizarre Creations staff.
Even if I hadn't known that fact going in, I like to think I would've picked up on it instinctively during a hands-on session at PAX Prime. Despite a few significant changes such as the shift from a flat playing field to planet-like 3D stages, Dimensions unmistakably feels like Geometry Wars.