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Don't Starve photo
Don't Starve

Don't Starve: Pocket Edition probably won't actually fit in your pocket


Above: so glad they put me in-game
Jul 08
// Joe Parlock
Everyone’s favourite shaving simulator Don’t Starve is coming to iPad! The inaccurately titled Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition does two things: Includes the base game and Reign of Giants, both optimised for to...
Lara Croft GO photo
Lara Croft GO

Lara Croft GO headed to mobile and tablet 'soon'


'Set in a long-forgotten world'
Jun 16
// Darren Nakamura
Square Enix has some experience putting out mobile games with big name IPs. Hitman GO released last year and by most accounts it was a solid title. Now it looks like it's our favorite tomb raider's turn with Lara Croft GO. Co...

Adam Tierney and Mariel Cartwright on the evolution of Til Morning's Light

May 17 // Jonathan Holmes
Tell us about the origins of Til Morning’s Light. Where did the concept come from and how did you two get involved? Adam: It started as an original WayForward pitch that Mariel and I teamed up on 5 or 6 years ago. In fact, I think it might have been the first project we worked on together. Mariel: I had just gotten started working with WayForward at the time, as one of my earliest game industry gigs. I do a lot of art for WayForward’s game pitches, and this was one of the first ones I did art on! I always thought it was a cool concept so it was great to see it come back after all this time. Five years is a long time. What changed about the concept between that initial document and the game you ended up making? Adam: Not as much as you'd think. From the beginning, the main character was always a teenage girl named Erica, locked in a haunted house, trying to survive overnight and escape by morning. The enemies were different - just bugs and rats and bats, from what I recall. And the concept was originally envisioned as a 2D sideview game (like the original Clocktower), whereas the final game is fully 3D. But thematically, it didn't change much. Mariel: Yeah, surprisingly, from my end the biggest thing visually that changed about Erica was her outfit. It was actually fun to revisit just a few drawings I did back then and really try to bring that character to life. Can you talk about each of your roles on the game? Mariel: I was the lead concept artist.  I designed Erica, the NPCs, and most of the creatures under Adam’s direction. I also storyboarded all the cutscenes in the game, and did a few bit illustrations you’ll see in the game. Adam: I wrote and directed Til Morning's Light, and led the design team. I basically oversaw all creative aspects of the production, working with all the artists and coders as they implemented everything. How would you describe Erica? What did you hope to accomplish with her? Adam: I've always loved the standard setup of a young female protagonist in horror games and films. In the original pitch, we had a very clear visual for Erica (from Mariel's art), but she didn't have much of a defined personality back then. After the game was signed with Amazon Game Studios, we came up with the idea of making her very meek and timid at the start of the game, then slowly evolving her to be more aggressive and powerful over the course of her adventure, so that the girl who came out at the end would feel like a completely different character. Mariel: I think Erica is someone that a lot of girls can relate to— smart, self-aware, but shy and afraid to stand up for herself. Adam: Stephanie Sheh (who voices Erica) really brought Erica to life as sort of a cute dork. Once we heard her take on the character, all remaining dialog was written with that personality in mind. So Erica got a little more hammy and sarcastic as production went along. In what ways does Erica “evolve” over the course of the game? Adam: In terms of VO and story, she begins the game timid and easily-frightened. Her wit and sarcasm is still there, but it's less confident. As the game progresses and she has to defeat all these insane bosses and creatures, Erica gets more and more frustrated and aggressive, so that by the end of the game she's the strongest person in the house. It was a lot of fun to build a story around the idea of your main character slowly evolving over the course of 12 story hours. Mariel: She also changed visually as well - starting with just her normal outfit at the beginning and becoming more tattered, dirty and messy as she progresses through the house. It’s a cool way to evolve her both mentally and physically and show how far she’s come. How would you compare Erica to other WayForward characters? Adam: She's much more subtle than most of WayForward's heroines. With characters like Shantae, Patricia Wagon, and Kebako (Cat Girl) you have very loud, action-packed, dynamic personalities that hit the ground running. With Til Morning's Light, there were still the usual WayForward sensibilities (especially in the visual design and gameplay), but we wanted a very slow build of the characters, and a slow reveal of plot points, with more emphasis on emotional highs and lows than we typically include in our game stories. Mariel: Yeah, Erica is less cartoon-y and more relatable of a character, I think. I definitely I see a bit of myself in her and I’m sure many others will too. Is Til Morning’s Light a “horror” game? How scary is this thing? Adam: Most people would consider it a horror game, I think. "Spooky" might be a slightly more accurate term. There are lots of unsettling, creepy moments, but there's no real blood or gore. If you've ever seen the film Coraline - which is kind of a film for teens, although there is still real risk and death - we're tonally pretty close to that, but maybe a little bit older and darker. I'd say our bosses are probably the scariest thing in the game - even though they're each charismatic (in their own ways), they're also a tremendous, deadly threat to Erica. What’s the gameplay like? Is it a mix of action and puzzling? Adam: Yeah, the game is equal parts exploration, combat, and puzzling. You explore the mansion grounds, which spans over 100 unique locations. Advancing through the game is very lock-and-key driven (in typical horror genre fashion). Combat is rhythm-based, using a touch input system of taps and swipes that get more complicated and challenging as you advance. And puzzling involves a little of everything - deciphering clues, finding pieces, combining and manipulating objects - everything you've come to expect in this genre. Mariel: Erica is a normal girl that’s been thrown into a crazy situation, so she doesn’t have an arsenal of weapons to blow up her enemies. She instead has to rely on what she has, which is basically just herself, so the combat and puzzles were designed around that. Are there any unique features in the game you can talk about? Adam: Most of the ghosts you encounter in the game are friendly. As a general rule in this game, ghosts are good and creatures are bad (and it's explained why through the story). But occasionally you'll come across a ghost that's lost and attempts to flee from Erica. These moments provide a game-long secondary objective to locate and essentially rescue all the 'lost souls' in the game (ghosts without memory of who they are or where they come from). This process involves first revealing the ghost by using the camera on Erica's phone (a mode that's enhanced in the Fire phone version of the game), then after the ghost is revealed, chasing it around the area until Erica absorbs it. Performing this process on all lost souls in the game yields a very special reward. What’s the story like in this game? And how did that come together? Adam: As I mentioned, it's really all about Erica. Although there are over a dozen speaking characters in the story, the story revolves around her. And even the types of secondary characters we included were done as a way to highlight different aspects of Erica (romance, confidence, being a child, being an adult, etc). I'd say the story legitimately runs the gamut of being very funny at times, then very unsettling, then very depressing, and ultimately a (hopefully) very satisfying conclusion. Mariel: I did all the storyboards, so it was important to really show how she changed from scene to scene. Everything from her expressions, posture, and appearance changed as the story progresses, so I’m hoping people really relate to that. Adam: The story was developed between WayForward and Amazon Game Studios. As a publisher, they are very collaborative and tend to assign 'experts' in each area of the game. So rather than me working on the game's story with only producers, they had a story expert who would go back and forth with me on plot, characters, and drafts of the script. The process was very exciting, and I think the story and dialog we ended up with is more developed than if we'd just put it together on our own. The game is getting a release on iOS, Fire phone, and tablets. Were there any challenges in making a game like this for mobile devices? Adam: Not really challenges as much as things we needed to keep in mind. Thematically, there are a lot of complex actions Erica performs in the game. But we wanted the game's controls to essentially support single-touch throughout the adventure. So boiling down a fairly complex, traditional horror game design to a handful of single screen taps took some real thought. The combat, as I mentioned before, is rhythm-based, and this came from us experimenting with a variety of different approaches early on. Initially, we tried combat that was directly-controlled (hit for hit), but to get that feeling good on a mobile device, we had to essentially overpower Erica (which worked against the game being a horror title). So, we ultimately went with a minigame-like rhythm interface, similar to Buddha Finger or Elite Beat Agents. Once we did that, we were able to have tight, challenging combat, but still keep Erica as only a semi-confident combatant. How is TML different from other action-adventure games offered on the iOS and Fire devices? Adam: First and foremost, it's a really meaty game. I think gamers will be surprised by just how much content is here - story, characters, locations, secrets, battles, etc. It feels like a console experience shrunk down for mobile devices, rather than the more bite-sized adventures you often see on mobile. There also doesn't seem to be a tremendous amount of deep horror games on mobile devices. There are a few that attempt this – Amazon Game Studios just shipped another great horror game, Lost Within, on mobile devices a few weeks ago. But overall, I think most publishers and developers don't attempt the genre on mobile because they doubt the possibility of something being creepy and immersive on a tiny screen. Hopefully Til Morning's Light will go toward proving that these types of games are very possible, and work well, on mobile devices.  How has working with Amazon on this game been? Adam: Amazon Game Studios has been a dream to work with. They're very hands on, but at the same time never interfered with the process or put up walls. I think their primary goal is to understand the kind of game that the developer is envisioning and then do everything they can to help realize that vision. Whether we were tackling story or combat or puzzling, I don't recall ever getting any mandates or notes I disagreed with (which as publisher, would be completely within their rights to do). They just sought to fully understand what this game was all about then use any and all expertise they had available to help make it as great as possible. I look forward to working with them on another project in the future. Were there any previous games in particular that influenced your work on Til Morning’s Light? Mariel: Oh man, I love horror games— Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Resident Evil, Fatal Frame — with a soft spot for ones with female protagonists, like Haunting Ground. I love stories where a normal girl is thrown into a terrifying situation and has to fight her way out, so I tried to channel that into Erica. Adam: I've loved horror games and films ever since I was a kid, so I'm sure it all had a subtle influence on this game. My project previous to Til Morning's Light was a Silent Hill title, which is my favorite game series. So SH fans might note some similarities in this game. The same goes for Resident Evil, Luigi's Mansion, Castlevania, Metroid - anything creepy with room-by-room progression.  Who’s the target audience for this game? Adam: Core gamers, the same people enjoying the best games on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and Steam PC right now. From the beginning, Amazon Game Studios let us know that this product should appeal primarily to core gamers, which is why Til Morning's Light is a very robust, console-like experience. Obviously we tailored the controls to what works best for mobile devices and tweaked some of our design implementations based on how people enjoy mobile games. But the goal was generally to create something very substantial and immersive. At the same time, there's no real blood or gore in the game. So although it can get pretty dark and unsettling and tense at times, younger gamers who aren't easily frightened should also find the game appropriate to play. Anything else you want to let our readers know about Til Morning’s Light? Mariel: I’ve wanted to be part of a horror game for a long time, so it was awesome to be given the opportunity to work on Til Morning’s Light. I can’t wait ’til it’s out so everyone can see what we put together! Adam: This is the most personal game I've ever worked on, and the talent on this team was some of the best that WayForward's ever put together. I can't wait for gamers and horror fans to check the game out, and hopefully it resonates with you all the same way it did with us.
Til Morning's Light photo
Skullgirls and WayForward devs speak
[Til Morning's Light is a new horror adventure title from WayForward and Amazon Game Studios, bringing together talent from titles such as Aliens: Infestation, Skullgirls, and... Sailor Moon? We've got a v...


Til Morning's Light is a smart take on traditional survival horror

May 15 // Jonathan Holmes
Til Morning's Light starts off with protagonist Erica Page being forced into a big spooky house by two of her more narcissistic, subtly sociopathic peers. While they aren't as overtly monstrous as some of the enemies Erica will encounter later in the game, they definitely come across as soulless. I won't be surprised in the slightest if they turn out to be cannibals. Erica doesn't seem deterred, even in the face of harsh teenage snark and a probable death trap. This is the point in the game where Til Morning’s Light first shows you're playing as a character who has probably played a lot of the same survival horror games you have. Like the movie Kick-Ass, where the costumed heroes are open fans of superhero comics like Batman and Spider-Man, Erica seems to recognize how much her current dilemma feels like something from a PS1- or PS2-era horror title. It's a risky move, which if done poorly, could have easily broken suspension of disbelief. Thankful, Til Morning's Light has the tact needed to have the opposite effect. Erica seems even more believable and easy to relate to given her knowledge of survival horror. If you are the kind of person whose mind might wander to memories of virtual Raccoon City if you were ever trapped in a old, abandoned mansion, then you and Erica already have something in common.  You won't have too much time to sit and relate with Erica, though. It only takes her a few minutes of mansion exploring before she comes into contact with some serious threats in the form of giant flying insects. In the face of actual danger, she's less apt to wear her experiences with horror games on her sleeve and more apt to get into a kill-or-be-killed mentality, which also makes her easy to relate with.  Til Morning's Light is coming to multiple platforms, but it was designed for touch screen interfaces, which might have some of you worried about how fun its combat might be. Much as Superbrothers did with Sword and Sworcery, WayForward has found a smart way around the touch-only design interface that keeps the action simple but tense. Bumping into an enemy on the exploration screen triggers a battle not unlike in a turn-based RPG. Once you start fighting, there's no time for passivity. Things break down into a design that's probably most easily comparable to Elite Beat Agents, except without the upbeat party feel and all the fear of total failure. Tap a circle at just the right time as a ring closes around it. Hit it at the perfect time, do big damage. Come close, you'll squeak by. Fail outright, and you take a hit. Circles appear on screen at unpredictable rhythms and placements, so you'll have to keep your eyes and fingers active to stay alive.  It might not sound like it should work for a horror game, but the level or powerlessness and tension I felt during these encounters was a perfect fit for the genre. Like most real-life fights, combat in Til Morning's Light seems like it should be simple -- just hit the thing that's causing you problems and don't screw up. Of course, these fights are rarely that simple (especially as you gain new weapons that change the combat system) leading to teeth-clenching suspense where even the smallest mistake can make you suffer. These bloodthirsty bugs might feel like arbitrary horror game enemies at first, but dig a little deeper and you'll find that there is a valid explanation for their place in the mansion. I don't want to give too much away, but rest assured that in my time with Til Morning's Light, none of the action, exploration, and puzzle solving felt like it was there just to follow the "rules" of survival horror game design. Everything had an explanation, even the Resident Evil 4-like shop keeper who manages to pop up in the most unusual, dangerous places. Knowing that those explanations are there, should I be brave enough to discover them, was just one of the things that kept me wanting more from Til Morning's Light.
Til Morning's Light photo
Self-aware, spooky, but not smug
[Til Morning's Light is a new horror adventure title from WayForward and Amazon Game Studios, bringing together talent from titles such as Aliens: Infestation, Skullgirls, and... Sailor Moon? We've got a variety of exclusive ...

Project J photo
Project J

Project J looks like a trippy little game I could waste some time with


'Darkness cannot drive out darkness'
Oct 20
// Darren Nakamura
Sometimes I just want to zone out with some synth music, bright colors, and pure gameplay. Super Hexagon works well for that, but it is always nice to try something new. Project J has an interesting hook to it, where the lig...

You’ll play Skullduggery greedily, whether fast or slow

Sep 10 // Brett Makedonski
Two things are certain in this world -- death and taxes. Skullduggery staunchly enforces the idea that even in the former, the latter’s still an inevitability. Dammit, maybe Wes Snipes was onto something, even if he’s spending some time in the clink as a result. Skullduggery’s titular skull (maybe he has a name; let’s call him Johnny Rotten because that sounds punk rock as H-E-double hockey sticks) is out to collect taxes in the afterlife, and even the post-alive like to keep what’s rightfully theirs. Rock, flag, eagle, and all. That’s where the flicking comes into play. Well, actually, that’s the whole game (pay attention!) Three-quarters action with maybe one-quarter puzzler dashed in, Skullduggery requires the player to constantly send Rotten flying through levels in search of more and more to claim in the name of the undead IRS. Each level features three artifacts that typically aren’t completely obvious as to where they are, and judging by my time with the demo, will get continually more difficult -- both with regard to skill required to obtain, and cleverness with which they’re hidden. The artifacts, just like the three objectives presented in each level, aren’t necessary for advancement, however. They’re just there for a sense of fulfillment. (Have you been the best little tax collector you can be? By the way, Rotten -- working for the man isn’t very punk rock.) Just getting through the levels might prove challenging at times; definitely in the instance of the boss that I encountered. Facing a skull about 30 times the size of my suddenly harmless-looking Rotten (so many skulls, it’s like an Affliction shirt up in here!) I was given no choice but to run away. Run away quickly, that is. This is where one of Skullyduggery’s more nuanced and handy mechanics come into play. While in the air, you can tap and hold the screen to slow down time considerably, giving temporary faux-pause to more selectively line up your next move. For a game that’s seemingly centered on the premise of speed and greed, this facet significantly changes the approach you’ll take to Skullduggery, as you now find yourself seamlessly shifting between quick and slow play. Given more time to analyze any given situation, the wise decision’s just a well-placed flick ahead, but gah, there’s more gold in that offshoot, and I can definitely snag it quick before this giant skull smashes me, right? Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. But you’ll probably try. That’s because Skullduggery makes everything look so easy, so attainable -- even when crushing defeat is imminent. Who knows what damned you to an eternity of tax collecting, but your greed just damned you to the welcome mat of the after-afterlife. Change your fortunes by playing it slow and carefully considering your flicks next time. Things might work out better that way. But, whatever happens, never stop flicking.
Skullduggery preview photo
Turns out tax collectin’ is more fun than tax payin’
Flick, flick, flick. That’s all you’ll be doing in Skullduggery. Flicking to collect treasure. Flicking to outrun bosses. Flicking to line up stealthy headshots on unsuspecting enemies. You can play the game howe...

PC games photo
PC games

Anyone surprised to hear 92% of all PC game sales are digital?


Digital sales are up 16% over 2012
Aug 19
// Alasdair Duncan
To the surprise of probably no one, it looks like the vast majority of PC games that are sold are through digital channels. PC site PCR has been told by analyst DFC Intelligence that in 2013, 92% of games sold were digital, w...
Nvidia Shield photo
Nvidia Shield

Nvidia Shield tablet now shipping


Nexus 7 killer?
Jul 31
// Brittany Vincent
The newest entries in the Nvidia Shield family, the Shield tablet and the Shield wireless controller, have joined the Shield portable as part of Nvidia's homegrown line-up of gaming-focused Android-based devices. The Shield t...
Gaiman game, man photo
Gaiman game, man

Author Neil Gaiman's first game is up on Steam right now


Steam user reviews currently not good
Jul 15
// Steven Hansen
Almost a year to the day after its announcement, Wayward Manor from author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Sandman) and the team behind  The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, is now on Steam.  The Beetlejuice-esque puzzle/adventure game set in the 1920's has you playing a ghost trying to scare the current residents from your old manor. 
Banner Saga photo
Banner Saga

The Banner Saga coming to tablets this summer


Banner? I hardly even know her!
Jun 25
// Steven Hansen
Versus Evil has announced Banner Saga is coming to tablets this summer. Those beautiful visuals would be nice to curl up with in bed. Though if you want to play the strategy game on PC, it's on sale on Steam right now.
Surface Pro 3 photo
Surface Pro 3

Third time's the charm? Microsoft reveals Surface Pro 3 tablet


'A full PC, and a brilliant tablet'
May 20
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft won't give up on the Surface because of failures of past iterations. No, it's intent on making an impression on the tablet market. As such, Microsoft revealed the Surface Pro 3 today. It seems that Microsoft's prima...
Final Fantasy Agito  photo
Final Fantasy Agito

Check out six new clips showcasing Final Fantasy Agito


Free-to-play, you say?
May 14
// Brittany Vincent
My Final Fantasy hype meter is at an all-time high. What with all the glorious Theatrhythm news and the upcoming Final Fantasy XV, I'm positively ticked pink. Now we've got a handful of gameplay videos on the horizon for Fin...
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Trainfinity transforms tablets to train tracks


48-hour jam game needs to be in my life
Feb 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
Watch this. It's a teaser for Trainfinity, a game developed in 48 hours during the Nordic Game Jam last week. A local cooperative multiplayer game, tracks run in three lanes from one player's tablet to the next while trains ...
Moebius photo
Moebius

Jane Jensen's Moebius is arriving April 15


The first game from the veteran game designer in four years
Feb 20
// Alasdair Duncan
After 2012's successful Kickstarter campaign, we'll get our hands Jane Jensen's new game, Moebius: Empire Rising on April 15, 2014. It's Jensen's first game since 2010's Gray Matter, so it's been some time coming. Players wil...
The Witcher photo
The Witcher

Take on monsters in the Witcher Adventure Game


It's actually a board game, not a point-'n'-click title
Jan 08
// Alasdair Duncan
Whilst fantasy RPG fans like myself bide their time until the arrival of The Witcher 3 later this year, we might have another game set in the world of Geralt of Rivia. The Witcher Adventure Game isn't actually a point-'n'-cl...
Shadowmatic photo
Shadowmatic

Play with light and darkness in Shadowmatic


I wonder if there will be any hedgehog silhouettes...
Dec 19
// Darren Nakamura
Shadow art is one of the cool things I've seen on the Internet and marveled at, knowing I could never come close to creating something similar. Taking three-dimensional objects and arranging them in such a way that they cast...

Contest: Win a Nexus 7 pre-loaded with Tiny Death Star!

Nov 26 // Mr Andy Dixon
[embed]265152:51218:0[/embed]
Nexus 7 giveaway photo
A $199 value!
[Update: Contest over! Winner is Qtwentyseven!] Our friends at Disney have just handed us a brand new Google Nexus 7 pre-loaded with their hit game Star Wars: Tiny Death Star to give away to one lucky Destructoid community me...

DICE+ impressions photo
DICE+ impressions

Impressions: DICE+


High tech hexahedron
Nov 26
// Darren Nakamura
Earlier this year, we got our first look at DICE+, which promises to combine the physicality and social aspect of board gaming with the wider appeal of tablet-based videogames. With tons of features listed, it appeared to be a pretty slick piece of technology, but limited by its short list of compatible software. For now, that is still a pretty accurate assessment.
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Moga releases new controllers for Android phones, tablets


Perfect for your emulators!
Nov 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Just in time for the holiday is the perfect new controller for all of you Android users that just play Super Nintendo games on your emulators. What? Don't look at me like that. You know it's true. The full-sized Moga Pro Powe...
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Apple announces iPad Air, iPad mini Retina


Thinner, lighter, more powerful
Oct 22
// Dale North
At this morning's Apple press event, the new iPad Air was announced.  It still has its 9.7" Retina display, but the bezel is 43 percent thinner now. The device is 7.5 mm thin -- 20 percent thinner than the last generatio...
Surface 2 photo
Surface 2

Microsoft shows off Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2


Pre-orders open tomorrow morning
Sep 23
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft has announced the latest iterations of its tablets -- the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 -- and they're launching October 22, 2013 for $449 and $899, respectively. The devices will debut in 22 markets including the Uni...
Mecanika photo
Mecanika

Mecanika wants to teach Newtonian mechanics with robots


Robots in motion tend to stay in motion; robots at rest tend to stay at rest
Sep 09
// Darren Nakamura
As somebody who has had ideas for using games as tools for education, things like Mecanika are particularly interesting to me. Though physics has become more prominent in games as time has passed, developer CREO wants to uti...
Mimpi photo
Mimpi

Cute! Mimpi is a puzzle platforming doggy


Waise the woof
Sep 09
// Darren Nakamura
This is Mimpi. See Mimpi run. Run, Mimpi, run! Avoid that rotten tooth that could crush you to death! Fetch the bone, Mimpi! Don't touch the starfish! Admittedly, the most noteworthy thing about Mimpi is the colorful, almost...

The Crew seeks to redefine online racing

Aug 23 // Alessandro Fillari
The Crew: (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One [previewed])Developer: Ivory TowerPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: Q1 2014 The Crew is an open-world driving game set across the United States. From the get go, players can freely explore the 2000-square-mile game space, take part in races and unique challenges, and meet other players online to either team up with or race against. Sectioned across five different zones -- from the West Coast, mountain states, Midwest, the East Coast, and the South -- players can race across a variety of different landscapes. In the process, you'll build up your own collection of vehicles, resources, and influence in the online space. Dubbed a "social action driving game" by the developers, the intent was to create a world that allowed for seamless online integration with other players around the world. When racing with other drivers, the player can choose to join up with new drivers and form their own crew to take on races and challenges, and pull together resources for body work and customization. While it's totally possible to play the game offline within single-player mode, doing so would mean missing out on a major part of The Crew's living and active game world. To help realize its vision for an open-world racer, Ivory Tower utilized the new next-gen technology and developed a graphics engine that minimizes loading and keeps things seamless. Players can fast travel across the map at anytime to meet up with friends and engage in active challenges, with little to no loading whatsoever. While in the map you can zoom in and out and analyze the different tracks located in the cities and countryside. You can also use this to observe races in progress and see what new challenges have popped up. [embed]260646:50182:0[/embed] Speaking with online producer Tristan Lefranc, the developers at Ivory Tower have been hard at work on The Crew for more than four years. While they've done some additional work on the Test Drive Unlimited series, this is the developer's first game built from the ground up. Their goals for this title were to craft a richly detailed game world, while designing the innovative networking systems that will bring players together. "We very much wanted to be able to make a racing game for everyone," LeFranc said while going over the car customization. "We believe that with the size of the world and the content we placed in it, there would be a variety of different play styles that we players could use." During my time playing, it was clear that the developers wanted both gear-heads and casual racing fans engaged. There's usually two schools of design when it comes to whom the developers are catering to. Arcade racers focus on over-the-top action with pick-up-and-play mechanics, while simulation racers emphasis realistic driving physics and fine tuning your vehicle. For The Crew, Ivory Tower is focused on delivering a title that blurs the lines between the action of arcade style racers in the vein of Burnout and Fuel and the attention to detail and planning that comes from racing sims like Gran Turismo. A key part of the player's experience with The Crew is customization. With dozens of brand named vehicles and vehicle types, such as compacts, convertibles, street racing vehicles, and off-road cars, the developers want players to find a car that suits them and their personality. To take things even further, every car in the game is fully customizable from the ground up. Your own custom vehicles will come in handy in the various missions and challenges across the U.S. These missions range from standard street and off-road racing, to the more peculiar stunt racing tasks like Follow the Line, and even time trial challenges against other players' scores. I spent much of my time in the mountain states and southern zones, where I took advantage of transforming my street-racing vehicle to a more off-road-friendly version to take on the challenges. I do have to say that I got kick out of seeing a muscle car being turned into a decked-out off-road vehicle with massive tires. An aspect of the game that was clear was its usability. The Crew is an easy game to get a handle of, as it seeks to bring in players of all interests. Controls are very smooth, and getting a feel of new cars comes very quickly. One element I particularly enjoyed was how it keeps players engaged and always in the action. With the exception of your map and car customizations, player/crew networking and communication is all done in real time and not in separate menus. Your character has the use of an in-game smartphone, which allows them to access your collection of vehicles on the fly. From the engine parts, chassis, tires, and the decal, you can stick with your favorite car for the long term or alter it in anyway you see fit. When completing missions, you're reward cash and a random vehicle part. At first it felt a bit overwhelming, but the car customization becomes much easier to handle once you've got a feel for the system. Changing a street-racing vehicle to a fully functional off-road vehicle is not only an effective strategy for some missions, but a necessity. Some challenges call for taking advantage of different car types during races, and mixing and matches parts is a vital strategy for winning.The developers wish to give the game somewhat of an MMO feel. Specifically in the sense of players having their own identity in the game space. This is not only reflected in the cars they drive, but the skills they employ. The Crew also introduces a perk and comfort system, which will give players an edge during challenges. When players complete missions, they'll come across NPC characters from different fields -- such as FBI agents, businessmen, and stuntmen -- that will offer their services to your crew in the form of perks and comforts. Perks allow for players to have various types of bonus abilities; such as easier police evasion, better braking, drifting, buffs to nitrous, etc. Comforts function somewhat like perks, but are far more specific. When completing challenges and missions, you'll gain points which can be used to spend on comforts that can lower costs of jail time, less expensive car customization, etc. More points that you put into a specific comfort, the more useful it will become. I came away largely impressed with Ubisoft's new racing title. I'm actually not too interested in the genre outside of a few exceptions, but this particular game managed to impress me in ways that I didn't expect. The Crew expresses a lot of thought in its design, and the sheer amount of content on offer is simply staggering. In a way, it feels like racing title that isn't afraid to walk ride that fine line between staying traditional, and knowing when to take an unorthodox approach for giving what players want. Currently, The Crew has been scheduled for a Q1 2014 release, and the developers at Ivory Tower still have much more fine tuning to complete. But judging from my time with the game, this ambitious and thoughtful racing title has got all the right moves.
The Crew preview photo
Social online action racing
Making its debut at E3 2013, The Crew is Ubisoft's attempt to create a new and fast-paced racer for the next-gen consoles. Although the publisher has definitely got some stiff competition from other racing titles, what separa...

Battlefield photo
Battlefield

Battlefield 4's second-screen feature is next-gen only


Sorry, Xbox 360 and PS3
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
The second-screen feature of the new Battlelog service for Battlefield 4 will only be available on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox 360, DICE has confirmed to Engadget. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players won't be able to use ...
Breath of Fire 6 photo
Breath of Fire 6

Breath of Fire 6 coming next year, you'll be sad to learn


Bated breath
Aug 01
// Steven Hansen
And here I thought the tardy release of a third Golden Sun was awkward. Show of hands: Who has been waiting patiently for a proper Breath of Fire game? Well cut your filthy peasant hands off and slap yourselves in the face wi...

Contest: Win a Kindle Fire HD and a copy of 9 Lives!

Jul 29 // Mr Andy Dixon
Grand Prize (1) Kindle Fire HD Digital download of 9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx Set of two Green Throttle Atlas controllers HDTV connector kit Runners-Up Prizes (4) Digital download of 9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx Set of two Green Throttle Atlast controllers HDTV connector kit
Kindle Fire HD Contest photo
Also up for grabs: Green Throttle Atlas controllers and HD TV connectors
[Update: Contest over! Grand prize winner is Dogzilla! Runners-up are VoltySquirrel, Frans Van Carpels, Unholyrath, and bloocheese565!] To celebrate the launch of their latest title, 9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx, our friends at...

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Surface RT

Ballmer: We made too many Surface RT tablets


The first step is admitting there's a problem
Jul 27
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft's Windows Surface RT tablet hasn't exactly been the hottest commodity since its release, and the boss men are finally coming to terms with it. CEO Steve Ballmer recently admitted at a company meeting that the techno...
Neil Gaiman's game, man photo
Neil Gaiman's game, man

Wayward Manor: Neil Gaiman making an ideal game, man


Famous author making a macabre adventure game releasing this year
Jul 26
// Steven Hansen
Award-winning author Neil Gaiman, perhaps known as much for his graphic novels (Sandman) as his novels (American Gods, Coraline), is branching into videogames with the help of The Odd Gentleman, makers of the excellent The M...
Golem Arcana photo
Golem Arcana

Shadowrun dev builds board/videogame hybrid Golem Arcana


Expect a Kickstarter campaign next month
Jul 24
// Darren Nakamura
Jordan Weisman has a pretty impressive résumé, not only for the quality of games he has been behind, but for the fact that they have been in both the board game and videogame arenas. With titles such as Shadowr...

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