What are we all playing this weekend?

Hello again! I missed you all last weekend. What were you playing? We’ll never know. Millennia from now, alien explorers will scan our tomb world’s data archives to recreate our society but this one absence will collapse their model. Their flawed simulation will show us as twisted monsters dragging ourselves along with our heads. So much for our virtuaresurrection. But even if all is lost, hey, there’s no harm in asking: what are you playing this weekend? Whistle as the ship goes down.
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Soldat dev’s Butcher adds easy mode, only if you want

Soldat studio Transhuman Design advertised their new run ‘n’ gun platformer Butcher [official site] with the tagline “The easiest mode is ‘HARD’!” It’s pretty hard, y’see. But if you fancy shotguns and saw traps and squishing machines and helicopters and hordes of enemies without bashing your face into a difficulty wall, you can now download a free DLC pack which adds a ‘Casual’ mode. Well it’d be false advertising if they added it the base game, wouldn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

How Enter the Gungeon brought bullet hell to the dungeon-crawler

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Enter the Gungeon [official site].

Enter the Gungeon’s conception was an idle conversation about what shape a game called Enter the Gungeon would take. And here’s what it led to:

1. It’s a dungeon-crawler in which you shoot guns.
2. You’re entering the Gungeon to find a gun so powerful it can kill the past.
3. Every enemy is a bullet.
4. The enemy bullets shoot bullets.

Great gouts of bullets. Bullets which radiate and fan out like flowers across the screen. Because if you’re going to make a game about guns, it kind of makes sense that it would feature:

THE MECHANIC: Bullet hell

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Warhammer’s Wood Elves are experimental and tricksy

One of my favourite bits of British folklore is the concept of the Elfshot. There’s a theory that Anglo-Saxons believed invisible Elves shot people with arrows, and that these attacks were the source of various maladies. Imagine it: a wee creature that just hangs around, waiting to give you arthritis or a weird rash at the end of an arrow. They were sneaky pests and pointy-eared irritants.

After playing through Total War: Warhammer’s [official site] Realm of the Wood Elves expansion, I reckon that sounds pretty accurate.

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Ubisoft executives fined €1.2 million for insider trading

Five executives from Ubisoft accused of insider trading have been fined a total of €1.2 million by French regulators, including the CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, Yannis Mallat, whose individual fine is €700,000. The company has said it will appeal the decision and continues to support the executives, saying that the regulator does not understand how its games are made.
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Wot I Think: Dead Rising 4

Dead Rising – that being the third-person action game where you murder a million zombies in a shopping mall – has always had an identity crisis. It’s like a guy who writes Christmas cracker jokes for a living then runs dog fights in the evenings. A game about dressing up in stupid clothes and bopping infinite monsters with cartoon weapons, but also a game that must be completed within a fixed time limit, with massively challenging boss fights and absolutely zero compunction about killing off NPCs if you don’t happen to walk in the right direction at the right time.

With Dead Rising 4 [official site], that identity crisis is at an end – for better or worse.

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Skyblivion is looking a lot like Oblivion rebuilt in Skyrim

As another year ends, it’s time to reflect on all that’s been done and all that’s still to come. So they tell me, anyway; I try to drink away any concept of the past or future. But bless ’em, the gang remaking The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion have worked hard and are proud of their work. A new trailer shows off Skyblivion [official site] as it stands now and yep, that’s looking a lot like Oblivion rebuilt in Skyrim. Read the rest of this entry »