How Hitman’s Hokkaido level was made

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

Hitman developer IO Interactive is really good at making believable environments. Did you ever play Kane and Lynch 2? Seriously, its Shanghai is something to behold, a city of broken pavements, back alleys crusted with air-conditioning units and construction sites littered with cellophane-wrapped pallets. It’s a masterpiece of observation, one of the best representations of cities in videogames.

The latest Hitman doesn’t go anywhere so gritty, but it upholds the same values. Its levels are a jetset tour of places you believe could exist, but these aren’t just credible environments, they’re also machines for killing in. And the first season of Hitman closed with one of its best. Hokkaido is at once compact and expansive, melodramatic and credible, and I talked to IO about how it was designed.

THE MECHANIC: There isn’t really one tbh. Actually, maybe that’s the point here? That Hitman’s level design is a holistic marriage of function and form? Anyway, read on! Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Future Unfolding

Future Unfolding

Future Unfolding [official site] is a game about discovery and delight. It’s a dreamlike world which encourages you to play with the environment as you feel out how to make progress through the foresty wilderness. At its best it lets you learn how to progress without feeling like you’re being taught or led. But I also noted times when that feeling of exploration and play fell away and I ended up hugging the walls of an area, combing the trees for a missed pathway or point of interaction. So I cannot give an unequivocal recommendation, but as the game benefits so much from players going in knowing as little as possible I’m hoping this introduction gives you a sense of whether you might enjoy it.

The full WIT is after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Survival meets adventure in Kôna

Survival-meets-adventure Kôna [official site] feels like a game that admirably comes in the wake of Campo Santo’s wilderness wonder Firewatch. But it’s worth noting the Kickstarter for the game launched years before Firewatch released. Still, I suspect lessons have been learned and added in the last year, and they’re very welcome, as this proves to be a fascinating game. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Rayman Legends?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

2013’s Rayman Legends is the most recent game I’ve been playing with my three-year-old daughter, and by ‘playing’ I mean ‘she watches me play while asking approximately 80 Why? questions per minute.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Warframe: now a game of music-making as well as action

“I never thought I’d be doing this in Warframe,” says George Spanos, audio director on Digital Extreme’s free to play online third-person shooter. All of a sudden, a shooting game is a music game too – a music game in which you create your own soundtrack, then use it as a weapon. The game’s Octavia’s Anthem update, which adds essentially a bard class to the game, is out today and very different to anything they’ve done with it before. Read the rest of this entry »

The best games of my lifetime, year by year

A few people I follow on social media have been making lists of the best game released in every year of their lives. How frivolous, I thought to myself, that might be fun. And then I realised that I’ve been alive for quite a long time and that some years are very tricky because, damn, there were a lot of good games. But I soldiered on.

Below is my list, without commentary. I didn’t do a supporter post last week so I’ll be following up with some thoughts on this list on Sunday, and answering any questions you might have. I’ll even judge your lists if you care to share them in the comments or by email (adam@rockpapershotgun.com). For now, simply look at the games and rage at the years I got so horribly wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Afghanistan 11

Let’s see if I can get through this without using the W word. Afghanistan 11 is a w****** (history-steeped military strategy game with influential terrain and plausible, reality-derived unit relationships) but it would be a tragedy if w******* (habitual users of history-steeped military strategy games with influential terrain and plausible, reality-derived unit relationships) were the only people who ever stumbled into its quicksand. The W word, especially when used in close proximity to hexy screenshots, tends to imply threadbare themes and moribund mechanics. It doesn’t generally suggest a game with the irresistible momentum of Civ, or the colourful intricacy of Tropico. A game like the quietly brilliant Afghanistan 11. Read the rest of this entry »