There was a time when I thought I’d never write this post. I still kind of can’t believe I am, to be honest.
RPS Feature Be Excellent
Update: It’s over. You can read all about it below, though. The short version: it’s Doom, but with ludicrously violent, ultra-fast melee finishers. Not even sure if Bulletstorm was on this level in that respect. Otherwise? It looks ok. Fast combat, linear levels, emphasis on madcap action over scares.
Original: It’s QuakeCon O’ Year again, and you know what that means: Doooooooooom. No, seriously. Despite a Carmack-shaped hole in its heart, developer id Software has promised a big reveal. Apparently it’s for attendees’ eyes only, but I will do my best to convey the big moment with the mightiest BFG of them all: language. Join me below as I semi-liveblog the event from my phone, because there’s no WiFi here and QuakeCon is really weird this year, you guys.
RPS Feature Enough Talk, Have At You
For so many reasons (many of which I’ll elaborate on soon), GaymerX raised the bar for game conventions in my mind. I usually come away from these things drained and a little bit sad, a B.O.-scented ball of cynicism, but GaymerX actually left me energized after it came to a close on Sunday. The small San-Francisco-based con was dedicated to inclusivity and community in games, marketed foremost to the LGBTQ crowd but accepting of all (despite confusion on the latter part for some people).
To discuss what exactly made it so different, I gathered a small RPSfriend panel made up of Sentris creator Samantha Kalman, Treachery in Beatdown City master gentrification-suplexer Shawn Alexander Allen, Dominique Pamplemousse maestro Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai, and PopCap game designer Scott Jon Siegel. We talked the show’s ups and downs, queer representation in games, a bunch of games ranging from Perfect Woman to Borderlands, and heaps more. Watch below.
Unlike many videogames, Fragments of Him only contains one death. It’s a man, a man who had a life, a history, a family, loves, and losses of his own. The game’s story, then, centers around those who knew him before an accident took his life. The first version of the game, while quite basic and linear, is quite powerful in places (and freely available), but developer Sassybot is aiming for something much more robust with the new version. I dutifully picked up a few fragments of new info from designer Mata Haggis. Also, I plucked a new trailer fresh from the Internet’s trailer fields, and that’s below.
A Portal game without portals? “Why, that’s like removing puppies from the Puppy Bowl,” you might say. “What is even the point?” The point, fellow small dog enthusiast, is paint. Physics-affecting paints (think bouncy gel, etc) were part of Portal 2, but they weren’t the main focus. Paid standalone mod/game Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative puts them front and center, and it looks like sticky, slippery, hundreds-of-feet-in-the-air-hurtling fun. It’s out now, and a trailer’s below.
OlliOlli is a skating game in which you can grind a dinosaur. And a tank in wartime. And a Japanese mech’s beam saber. And… well, you get the idea. The soundtrack also contains liberal helpings of jazz, apparently. Or maybe that’s just a joke on the game’s Steam page. I don’t know. Point is, OlliOlli looks zany as all get-out, which is exactly what I want from my raditudeitastic wheelboarding adventures. It’s doing a 360 laserspin pop shove-it, skin it, put it in a saute pan for 10 minutes, add spices as needed, cough on it until your natural juices have corrupted the meat, and let sit for a couple minutes afterward to cool onto PC next week. Do something sick (like a great jump or vomiting) past the break for a trailer.
Gigantic pretty clearly wants to be a big deal. It’s from the former lead designer of StarCraft and Guild Wars, it has $20 million in backing, and its team size is kind of, er, gigantic for an indie studio. So it can talk the talk, but can it justify a series of costly expenditures on the part of shadowy investors and/or see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? That’s the $20 million question, but it certainly looks like an intriguing prospect. Gigantic includes MOBA elements (teams of five facing off in a big ol’ battle arena), but the difference is you’re not on defense. Rather, both teams have a hulking colossus that accompanies them into combat, with defending/destroying them serving as your main objective. Meanwhile, the whole thing is action-based, with physics-based abilities and WASD controls steamrolling over the classic top-down approach. Impressive debut trailer below.
I’m not the biggest fan of the blocktacular voxel art style that’s all the rage these days, largely due to a) simplicity and b) the looming influence of games like Minecraft, but Enemy‘s got me reconsidering my stance. It’s hardly the most attractive game on the block, but it adds complete environmental destrucitibility and random generation to a classic-X-Com-inspired turn-based combat system. Oh, the possibilities for those willing to think outside the box. But, you know, still inside a series of bigger boxes, because if you’re hoping to find any other shape in this game you will be sorely disappointed.
I do love a good looming doomsday apocalyptic humdinger. I like to ask myself, “Man, what is going on here?” as a giraffe necked alien monstrosity twists my head off my body like it’s de-stemming a cherry. Good invasion stories are rarely about the what. It’s the why that hooks people. What are these creatures? What’s their motivation? Where did they come from? Or, in the case of The Hum, where did everybody go? In this scrumptious-looking survival-horror game, a nauseating humming noise ushered in the end of humanity. Just like that, most people disappeared, and only dilapidated cities remained. Well, that and the occasional Half-Life-2-Strider-esque spindle monster. Trailer below. (But why?)
The phrase “skin codes” always gets me. I imagine League of Legends characters running around with their bones, muscles, and organs fully exposed, glistening triumphantly in the summer breeze. Skin codes, one must assume, let them clothe their frail undercarriages in flesh. Mercifully, however, that’s not the case. Instead, skin codes unlock new outfits/looks for LoL characters, and are as a result hungrily coveted by players who sometimes stare at the same character for hours and hours on end. Naturally, then, some buy them with real money from resellers, especially in the case of limited edition skin codes given out at conventions and things of the like. Problem is, many resellers are scammers, and Riot’s not cool with that. So come next week, it’s shutting the whole operation down.
Cliff Bleszinski is a man who used to be called CliffyB, co-created Unreal and also invented the chainsaw gun, because videogames. Then he retired, but now he is unretired and returning to his roots. Except for the CliffyB part, at least so far as we know.
His new game, codenamed BlueStreak, will be an arena shooter with a modern (and F2P) twist. Nexon is publishing, and Bleszinski just fielded a bunch of questions about the game. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Sonic Meets Trials Meets Butts
Are videogames art? Or are they toys, children’s playthings powered by tech so cutting-edge that it can cut the edges off other edges? Action Henk replies with a curt, confident, “Why not both?” It’s a toy-themed (think Toy Story) racer-platformer that hearkens to classics like old-school Sonic as well as modern leaderboard-driven stunt games like Trials. It’s simple and, as a result, refreshingly pure. It’s just you, the level, and your own easy-to-learn, hard-to-master bag of tricks. You vs other people’s times, you vs NPC ghosts, you vs yourself. It’s already quite good, is what I’m saying, and it’s only in Early Access. Watch below to see me play a bit and show off some of my favorite levels so far. Also I literally die in a fire on a few occasions, which should be fun for some of you.
I’m really looking forward to Crawl. The concept – a dungeon crawler where your friends control the monsters – is as brilliant as it is elegantly simple, and it’s got oodles (or blob monsters, as it were) of style to back it up. Last we heard, it was gonna hit Steam Early Access in a week, but then The Beast, The Dragon, The Creature That Sees All From Behind Ever-Shifting Lidless Eyes, That Which Oozes From The Cracks Of Society Like Rancid Pus From A Wound, tax organization the IRS got in the way. Go below for an explanation that will make you smile in spite of yourself.
If I were to explain how I feel about my gaming diet right now using an extremely overwrought simile, I would say it’s akin to swimming in a giant pool of alphabet soup where the only letters are R, P, and G. 2014 has been extremely generous on that front, and while Divinity: Original Sin and Shadowrun: Dragonfall are splitting my time right now, I’ve got Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity on the horizon. The former has been in beta for quite some time, but the latter will finally be set out to cool on the windowsill next month. The only downside? It’s backer-only, for now.
Banished is, to hear Alec tell it, a desperate, painful, vexing experience, but in a (mostly) good way. Eventually, though, even survival against the brutal elements, creeping disease, and human nature gets boring. That’s why we invented videogames, doncha know. Fittingly, then, developer Shining Rock is currently hard at work on an infrastructure that will allow Banished players to create even more videogames from the one they already put out. They call it “mod support,” presumably named for British mod culture in the early ’60s. Details below.
Early Access? For a game that’s been out since 2007? Yes, that is, in fact, a thing that can exist. Valve has decided to leave Mann Corp’s doors ever-so-slightly ajar so that fans might run around on Team Fortress 2‘s magical murder playgrounds before they officially hit live servers. So it’s a series of test servers for maps, essentially. Details below.
True fact: the song “Roundabout” by mega-proggers Yes is one of the greatest things. Case in point: here it is making JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure infinity times better. But that’s not actually what we’re here to talk about today. Roundabout: The Game has little (perhaps even nothing) to do with jaunty ’70s rock tunes.
Except that’s not really a problem when it’s just a different kind of great. As John highlighted last year, Roundabout is (round) about navigating a ceaselessly spinning limousine through an open world, a potent metaphor for life if ever there was one. And it has intentionally terrible FMV cut-scenes! September can’t swerve into our lives, wheels all-too-literally painting the town red, soon enough.
As you might have guessed by now, I’m all about hugs in videogames. I’d say I’m RPS’ foremost hugsman, but that title probably goes to John, who hugs bears and rhinos into submission in his free time. Even so, the prospect of huggable party members in Dragon Age: Inquisition – which is now a confirmed thing, at least for “some” of them – is tremendously exciting to me. Oh also I guess there’s now 16 minutes of raw footage for you to watch. That’s pretty neat too. No hugs, though :(
RPS Feature House Of Gold
Fortnite is, technically speaking, Epic’s first free-to-play game. The crayola colored smash-and-shoot-and-loot-and-build-er is being designed primarily as a co-op thing, but with persistent MMO-style progression underlying it all. There’s also still-nascent PVP in the works, further necessitating balance in the name of fair fun. Fortnite is, however, a giant mixed bag of moving parts, multiple genres (action, building, crafting, a Gears-of-War-style horde mode, etc) mashed together. How do you make all of that free-to-play without mucking it up?
I asked producer Roger Collum about Epic’s plans, influences from games like League of Legends and Team Fortress 2, the potential emergence of a tedious grind with things like XP boosters in the mix, whether or not you can really equate time and money as free-to-play devs so often do, and more. It’s all below.
To hear some incensed fans tell it, The Sims 4 without pools or toddlers is a barren hellscape, an empty, rotten womb where fun is but a dim memory. I think those people might be overreacting just a smidgen bit, but you know, everyone’s got their priorities. It’s totally fair to wonder what exactly drove EA and The Sims Studio to yoink two staple features from the series, though, and now the team has explained itself. Kinda.