Yeah, you read that headline right. Trust me, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it too, but sure enough, a Japanese-style role-playing game from Ubisoft. Even stranger, Child of Light is by writer Jeffrey Yoha...
Farming out the development of a respected IP can work wonderfully. Just take a look at Dead Rising 2, a solid attempt to follow-up an insanely popular zombie-fest with mostly positive results. Blue Castle Games did such a good job that it was actually acquired by their employer as Capcom Vancouver.
On the flipside, Lost Planet 3 is a perfect example of how farming out existing IPs to western developers can go terribly wrong.
The thought of the Diablo franchise coming to consoles yet again was something I found hard to believe. I had a front-row seat to the launch of the original Diablo on the PlayStation, and to say it was a letdown is an understatement.
But after I had gotten in some quality time with Diablo III, I actually had faith that the pared-down mechanics could actually work outside of the PC platform -- the question is, would I actually play it all over again on a controller. In fact, when it came time to actually sit down and play the console game last week, I thought I had enough of Diablo III with a few hundred hours poured into the original PC release.
Before I knew it though, I had nearly beaten the game twice over on consoles in a single afternoon.
Rayman Origins was an undeniable treasure when it was released in 2011. A masterclass in platform game design, wrapped in a beautiful artistic style and incredible soundtrack, Origins was proof that the mascot platformer can not only still work, but can boast all the showmanship of a big-budget, Hollywood-flavored, graphically intensive shooter. That, and it was simply adorable.
Rayman Legends, originally a Wii U exclusive, has suffered a slight dent in its reputation thanks to Ubisoft's decision to delay the game in the name of a multiplatform release. Even so, the pedigree of its predecessor and a brilliant demo has been enough to assure all but the most insecure that Legends is serious business.
And rest assured, my friends, for Legends is absolutely that.
With the success of SkylandersandSkylanders Giants, it was inevitable that someone would challenge the concept of marrying toys to videogames on such a large scale. So what better company than the juggernaut that is Disney, who was able to sink $100 million dollars into research and development for the project, titled Disney Infinity.
But Disney Infinity isn't exactly the same as Skylanders beyond the concept of toys as DLC. They're fairly different games -- for better, and for worse.
It's common knowledge that it's tough to be an indie studio -- especially if you're running a competitive online multiplayer title. Despite the fact that your game may have across-the-board rave reviews, maintaining a community, constantly developing new content, and figuring out ways to monetize is incredibly hard. Ronimo Games is going through that with Awesomenauts right now.
To help Ronimo stay independent, they've launched a Kickstarter that at the time of this writing is doing quite well, nearly breaking $100,000 in just a few days. But the studio has a lot of work to do starting with the PlayStation 4 version of their game -- a version that's now launching with the console, by the way!
2K Games has lifted the lid on XCOM: Enemy Within, an expansion to the wildly popular Enemy Unknown. It'll be available on November 12, and aims to bring a whole host of fresh content to the original game.
New soldier abilities allow you to research Gene Mods to augment your fighters' physical capabilities, and the Mechanized Exoskeletal Cybersuit. MECs can use flamethrowers or grenade launchers, because it is cool when mechs use those things. New weapons and equipment will also bolster your assets.
New enemies will also rear their ugly heads, with the Mechtoid the first to be unveiled. An alien resource known as MELD, fresh tactical challenges and a whole 47 new maps are also on the cards. You'll also get more multiplayer environments, units, and powers, as well as stuff yet to be announced.
It would appear that Enemy Within plans to do the term "expansion" justice! We'll have some hands-on impressions coming soon, and will also be checking the game out at PAX Prime. Yay substantial expansions!
The first major conference of gamescom 2013 was belonged to Microsoft, and while there was some good content revealed, it paled in comparison to all of Sony's announcements. Still, there was some interesting news shared.
More importantly, Microsoft detailed their Xbox One indie development publishing program, plus how you'll find indie games on the new Xbox. Check out our coverage to see exactly how it will all work:
Splinter Cell: Conviction was, in my opinion, a superb new direction for the Splinter Cell series, but a fair few fans were unhappy with the changes Ubisoft made. It's hardly surprising then, that Splinter Cell: Blacklist pulls the classic trick of making the old seem new again, bringing Sam Fisher's stealthy adventures closer to their roots.
However, unable to quite abandon Conviction -- and the potential new fans it won -- Ubisoft has also unsurprisingly sought a compromise between the new and the old. Features from Conviction have been married to Blacklist's more traditional design, and the result is a game that's quite entertaining, if somewhat unsure of itself.
The press materials for The Bureau like to stress that, for 2K Games, this is considered a brand new intellectual property. It says this, even though the game continues to cling to the XCOM name it originally begun development with. It says this with the sore memory of angry fan reaction to the first-person shooter this was originally going to be.
Too afraid to establish itself as a full XCOM game, yet terrified of losing a recognizable brand name, The Bureau seems unwilling to commit itself to anything. This initial impression is justified within moments of playing the game, and it becomes clear just how much this game strives to compromise with half measures, never possessed of enough courage to go all the way with anything it does.
Now a third-person shooter/real-time strategy hybrid, The Bureau is a game that has twisted and writhed in a desperate bid to please everybody. The game we're getting is the third version of a game that just doesn't know what it wants to be -- a sense of indecision and timidness that permeates its stink throughout the whole product.
And yes, in this case, "product" is the best word to use.
Nobody could ever claimPAYDAY: The Heist wasn't a good idea. Tapping into every human's secret desire to be part of a beautifully orchestrated, flamboyantly daring theft of grand proportions was a masterstroke, and while the execution was spotty, the overall result was a ton of fun.
Overkill is having a second crack of the whip with PAYDAY 2, clutching its clever idea jealously while surrounding it with much more content. A deeper leveling system, greater customization options, and a ton of new heists are all on offer.
The execution is, once again, spotty, but the result is, once again, a ton of fun.
Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer has finally been revealed, and it's the biggest overhaul Infinity Ward has done since the first Modern Warfare. What I got to play at the reveal event was pretty fun, but then again that's not shocking as I've always enjoyed playing the series' multiplayer.
And I think that's how things boil down here. If you've enjoyed Call of Duty's multiplayer in the past, then you'll like Ghosts' just the same. If you've never been into the series before, well, there's nothing too different here that will suddenly pull you into the experience.
That's not to say there aren't some cool new changes that refresh things just a little, but on the whole, there's nothing huge that will make you think twice about giving this one a go.
In this debut look at GTA Online, we're shown the new-found sense of freedom that players will have online. This multiplayer component is described as a "dynamic and persistent online world for 16 players that begins by sharing gameplay features, geography and mechanics with Grand Theft Auto V, but will continue to expand and evolve after its launch."
Form a crew to rob a bank or do the standard online multiplayer deathmatches, should that appeal to you. Customize your appearance, weapons, or vehicles. Buy an apartment. Design races with a content creator. Interact with and get new missions from non-playable characters. It's all sounding like an ambitious step up for Rockstar.
Curiously, GTA Online isn't coming out until October 1, 2013 -- a couple of weeks after Grand Theft Auto V's September 17 launch. So even though this isn't being treated as "GTA V multiplayer" so much as it is its own entity, it's worth pointing out that the mode will be free for everyone who owns a copy of the core game.
Anyone that's skeptical of purchasing downloadable content around the time that new consoles are set to launch can rest a bit easier. Microsoft has revealed the Season Pass Guarantee program which will essentially assure that consumers have an alternative to re-buying all the DLC they've already purchased.
The program states that if you buy a season pass for a participating Xbox 360 title, you'll automatically be granted access to download the same season pass for Xbox One. This doesn't seem like it'll necessarily hold true for all Xbox 360 games, but Microsoft has stated that EA, Ubisoft, and Activision are all already on-board with the offer. Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 have been confirmed to be participating titles.
The big caveat here is that this guarantee only applies to season passes. If you're the type that prefers to purchase DLC à la carte, you'll find yourself restricted to one system. However, if you're willing to take the plunge on a season pass and buy the game on both consoles, this is a most-welcomed silver lining.
During today's reveal event for Call of Duty: Ghosts, a video montage showed what's new in multiplayer -- and new stuff there is. "We went through every single system in the game," said executive producer Mark Rubin, which resulted in this being "the biggest overhaul of multiplayer since the original Modern Warfare." Here are some of the highlights:
Character customization is in, including playable female soldiers. There are some 20,000 possible combinations which are both cosmetic in nature and affect gameplay.
Maps have dynamic events and environmental destruction.
There are seven new game modes, thirty new weapons, the new Marksman Rifle class, 20 new killstreaks, and a new co-op mode.
The create-a-soldier system is similar to Treyarch's Pick Ten. You'll have a budget to spend, and perks have varying number values associated with them.
You can create a squad of up to ten soldiers, each with a unique loadout, appearance, and ability to prestige.
New animations and movement systems: there's contextual leaning, a mantling system that let's you jump over obstacles, and a knee slide to go from sprinting to crouch or prone.
Modes: Cranked, where a kill makes you faster but also starts a 30-second timer in which you must earn another kill; Search and Rescue, where your team can revive you by picking up your tag or enemies can deny the revive by doing the same; and Squads, in which your custom squad competes against AI or other players.
Infinity Ward has plans for eSports following Treyarch's work on Black Ops II but only mentioned the CoD Championship and Ghosts' inclusion in the 2014 MLG Pro Circuit.
The studio is reducing the number of air-based killstreaks; for instance, the UAV is now a ground-based device instead of a drone in the air. No more death streaks, either.
The Season Pass is back with another four map packs and the Team Leader digital pack, including an exclusive multiplayer character. You can transfer your stats, prestige level, and profile across console generations, and DLC from the pass carries over too.
Talk about an information overload. Hamza is in town for the event, so expect to hear more from him about Ghosts' multiplayer, including hands-on, this week.