Overture: Blade Symphony Now On Steam Early Access

Blade Symphony is the sort of name I can’t help but appreciate. It is blunt yet majestic, giving us a crimson-flavored taste of exactly what we’re going to get (swords!) paired with a certain high-class flourish, an alluring suggestion that this is far, far more than mere cyber-ninjas dueling each other into awesome giblets. One day, I will name my child Blade Symphony, I think. That way, no one – and I mean no one – will mistake what he or she is all about. For now, though, the videogame of my future offspring’s namesake is available for all to play via Steam’s early access program. The Jedi-Knight-II-inspired showdown sim will run you a few bucks, but it looks quite intriguing, to say the least.

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Epig Games: Epigenesis Is Sport Of Kings, Tornadoes

If you have no idea what's going on here, don't worry: you're not alone.

Not so long ago, we brought you word of Epigenesis‘ victory in this year’s Make Something Unreal competition, the theme of which was “Mendelian inheritance: genetics and genomics” because that is something it is indeed possible to make games about. So of course, Epigenesis turned it into a sky-scraping, neon-pulsating ball sport. I mean, how else would you convey that idea aside from literally every other conceivable way ever? But you know what? Now that a new trailer’s out in the wild, the idea’s actually starting to win me over. It’s just crazy enough to work, and where it wasn’t crazy enough of its own accord, developer Dead Shark Triplepunch (yes, that’s their real name) just added tornadoes. Done and done. I believe that also qualifies it for victory by default in the first annual Sports Nathan Wishes Were Real competition. The prize is getting mentioned in a throwaway joke that’ll be appreciated by nines of people and also several million dollars. Anyway, trailer, break, etc. Go watch.

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Out And Aboat: Leviathan Launches With New Jazz Trailer

If only all games were so easily summarized.

Not a nu-jazz trailer, though, thankfully. I don’t think the world’s ready for that. But are you, dear, patient reader, ready for more absolutely dire (aka wonderful) boat puns? Delivered in a soulful yet nonchalant vocal style that will make you rethink your choice of Morgan Freeman or Brian Blessed at the next god election? Of course you are. Is that even an actual question? And so, the best trailer in recent gaming memory has unfurled the sails on a follow-up. Oh, and also I guess Paradox’s Leviathan: Warships is out now, if that sort of thing floats your boat. Ugh, apologies for that one. What is it up here? Amateur hour? I can’t even look at myself right now. See a real professional in action after the break.

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Wot I Think: Eador – Masters of a Broken World

The shards of Eador’s Broken World drift in space, waiting to be conquered by a commander versed in turn-based combat, RPG levelling, questing and looting, and town management. Fortunately, despite my extreme cowardice and feeble frame, I am just such a commander, and after many hours of play, I’ve finally decided wot I think.

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Chapter & Verse Of Space Hulk

ephemeral jazz hands!

Rummaging my empty head for games I was particularly excited about in 2013, I largely came up worryingly blank. I think, though, that’s got a lot to do with the fact that a lot of the most exciting upcomers are happening via Kickstarter, which means ‘twould be foolish to presume any of them will actually happen this year. Also because The Mainstream is all bound up in those new XStation things due out in the back end of the year, and of what we do get from that on PC, we probably won’t be shown much of it until Microsoft starts talking about its next big, ugly, advert-spewing box. One thing my brain did burp up without much prompting, however, was Space Hulk. I want that on my PC and I want it now. (I also want it on my tablet thing, but that’s primarily for when I’m not, erm, sitting on a chair). I haven’t seen it myself yet, but I am so far convinced by dev Full Control’s enthusiasm for it. In the following video Q&A, there’s a bunch more of that, plus some very pleasing hints about what they’ve got planned post-release. Maudlin, semi-traitorous hands in the air, fellow Dark Angels fans!
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Jump Scare City: Cry Of Fear

Maybe there’s more to Half Life 1 mod Cry of Fear than screaming, gibbering faces and jump scares – the trailers have shooting, conversations and chainsaws – but my nerves, frayed rather than reinforced by years of vacationing in Silent Hill, failed to survive the opening scenes when I played last night. There’s something about the look and feel of the dated engine that unnerves me far more than something draped in bells and whistles ever would, although I’ve just conjured the image of a jester at a rave and that’s as petrifying as it is ridiculous. The Half Life engine has taken on the quality of a museum or funhouse packed with animatronics, and it’s perhaps that aspect that is most troubling. Well, that and the jump scares. Here’s how I got on.

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Eve Tenth Anniversary ‘Origins’ Video Is Nebulous


With Eve‘s consolebox tie-in Dust 514 appearing soon – and persistently defying sense with its failure to appear on PC (I give it six months before a PC announcement) – as well as the tenth anniversary of the game looming, CCP have started ramping up Eve things. One such promotional moment is a new video (below) which charts the origin on the Eve universe, as well as its future. It’s fascinating to see the game poised to expand into other dimensions of play, and it certainly has covered some distance in that decade.

Makes you wonder if it really could make it another ten.
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Neverwinter’s Open Beta Live – Help Start The RPS Guild!

Town centre on a Saturday night.

Update: Well, that was a disaster. It turns out the silly game only lets you start a guild if all members of your current party are over level 15, or bought a Founders pack, or transferred Zen into the game. So it didn’t happen tonight. However, if those who tick any of those boxes want to email me either via above, or in the game (jennifer@bothererer), we can try to organise something soon.

Sorry I wasn’t able to respond to everyone’s questions in game – that tiny little chat box and the sheer volume made it impossible.

Cryptic’s Neverwinter has just gone live into open beta, not half an hour ago. Which means that now all and sundry can return to the Sword Coast to swash, thieve, bludgeon or feyly dance through it’s grrrrr-based adventures. And so it is that it only seems appropriate for there to be an RPS guild within. If you’re interested in joining, we’ll need some help getting it going – details below.

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GTA V In Cars, Guns, Strippers & Posturing Shocker

Isn't that Harvey Pekar?

There will be a new GTA game soon. Maybe it’ll be on PC. It has three characters, all of which are violent, sweary men. It has some improvements to the graphics. It’s spent a lot on music and voice-acting. It has the same sort of gags as the last dozen GTA games/expansions, but with different words. It really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really wants to be a movie.

Here are three new trailers, cunningly combined into one, and focusing exclusively on the story rather than on what you get to do. With crushing, miserable inevitability, there is a strip club scene, because there is always a strip club scene. IGN or someone will have a shot-by-shot analysis any second now, but you can watch the plain old videos below if you really want to.
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Where Eager Devs Dare: Lose Yourself To Ludum 26

I wonder if 'EatYourBeef_Doug' ever expected his name is 8-point lights like this

Yeah, Notch’s game got a mention on its own, because a big name is a good way to encourage those who otherwise wouldn’t be interested to take a look at the many splendid things created as part of the twenty-sixth Ludum Dare global game jam. It is very important to reiterate, in this case via the medium of a post (and in addition to the one below singling out The Unseen), that you will be generously rewarded for looking at LD anyway, regardless of whether or not anyone you’ve heard of is involved. Ludum Dare – and many other speed-development events across our blue’n’green marble – is the bleeding edge of game-making, where ideas and pure talent hold far more sway than fancy graphics and big-budget explosions. It is ur-game and omni-game, a wild, wonderful badlands for all the potential that software holds.
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More Than Meets The Eye: The Unseen

Given that Ludum Dare 26 spawned several trillion games, we’ll probably be talking about it for the next 30,000 or so years. I will, however, almost certainly do a round-up sooner or later, seeing as the theme – minimalism – has led to a teetering tapas tower of bite-sized, sometimes seconds-long experiences. Don’t get me wrong, though: I have come across a few slightly meatier efforts. Of those, The Unseen stands out as well worth a mention, if only because I’d love to see it take on a life beyond LD26. Doubtless, it’s got some oily, hair-strewn warts on its style-savvy skin, but the core idea is brilliant on a number of levels. See, you’re dead. And how’d you die? Well, while searching for your body, you’re almost certainly going to find out. Agonizing step by agonizing step.

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Mark Jacobs Explains Camelot Unchained


The Kickstarter to create a new Realm Vs Realm MMO successor to Dark Age Of Camelot has just two days left on the clock. They need three hundred thousand dollars at the time of writing. A tense time, then, for its lead Mark Jacobs. I spoke to the man behind Dark Age Of Camelot and Warhammer Online, and asked him about the story behind Camelot Unchained.
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Satan Your Curiosity About Techland’s Hellraid

He looks terribly upset. In fairness, however, he does live in hell.

Over the course of my many years as a game-enjoying human fleshcreature, I’ve been on many adventures that could be described as hell raids. I cannot, however, claim to have experienced the Hellraid – which might also be some kind of lava-themed rollercoaster/water slide/burrito. But now, with Dead Island and Call of Juarez developer Techland claiming hell and the raiding thereof as its professional purview, that’s all about to change. And by change, I of course mean “bear a rather strong resemblance to either devil-thwacking Dead Island or first-person Diablo.” Here’s hoping for more latter and less former. Details after the break.

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Payback: Game Dev Tycoon Fights Piracy With Piracy

We may have reached a point where many developers are attempting to coexist semi-peacefully with the big, bad, money-chomping wolf that is piracy, but that certainly doesn’t make the situation ideal. Pirates are still sauntering away with sloshing tubs of developers’ blood, sweat, and tears, so I think a little (or more than a little) spite is only fair. In the past, that’s meant theft-thwarting failsafes like Batman: Arkham Asylum’s flight-impaired hero and Serious Sam 3’s immortal pink scorpion, but Greenheart’s recently released Game Dev Tycoon might just be the best yet. In short, the pirated version makes your games crash and burn once they’ve hit the market because of – wait for it – piracy.

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Half Life 2 Magnifici-Mod MINERVA, The Director’s Cut

Hello?

I hate Adam Foster, creator of last decade’s rapturously-received Half-Life 2 mod series MINERVA (not to be confused with BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den) and more recently a Valve employee. I hate him not because he is talented, not because he works at a cool place and not because I have a pathological distaste for people called ‘Adam.’ (Smith, you’re fired). I hate him because today he has made me feel SO OLD.

One of the first long-form pieces I ever wrote for RPS was an interview with Mr Foster about his excellent, thoughtful mod, and its fine accomplishments in level design and mood. That was in 2007. Now it is 2013. Six years later. And I am posting about MINERVA again. He now works at Valve, and meanwhile I’m still typing words into the same CMS, but older, grimmer, fatter. At least I’ve changed my chair twice since then. Something Foster has also done is repackage and spit’n’polish his mod for a well-deserved re-release on Steam today.
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Anomaly 2 Deviates From The Common Rule

‘Anomaly’ remains a word my brain doggedly refuses to spell right, but fortunately the little red squiggly line in my word processor always knows what to do. One day we’ll hire that guy, or girl. We’re equal squiggly opportunities here, you know. ‘Anomaly’ is also the first word in the name of the upcoming sequel to 11-Bit Studios’ inverted tower defence game, Anomaly: Warzone Earth. The sensibly subtitless Anomaly 2 arrives in just over a fortnight, on May 15, and while we usually don’t post about preorder incentives because it’s a slightly different weapon or a stupid hat or just being bullied by the man in Gamestop, when it’s a free extra copy of the game it’s rather less slight, stupid or bullying. It’s still bloody preordering, of course, and you wouldn’t preorder a car. You wouldn’t preorder a handbag. You wouldn’t preorder a television. You wouldn’t preorder a movie. Actually, people probably do pre-order all those things, don’t they? Political correctness gone mad, I call it.
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Hexagonal: Notch Releases New Thing Called Drop

A game titled Drop that's full of dance music? I am expecting dubstep as the twist ending.

Last time Notch competed in a Ludum Dare game jam, he made Minecraft again, only tiny. Also Zelda. And this time around? He, er, didn’t throw his unmistakable hat into the ring at all. But he coincidentally released a game that practically fits the theme – minimalism – to a tee on the same day the competition wound down, so close enough. Titled Drop, this one contains no traces of survival, blocks, or ill-timed creative blocks. Instead, it’s about typing, pulsing dance beats, Super Hexagon, and Notch’s home ceiling. Naturally, I’m expecting it to be the next Call of Duty.

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Bruce Begins, Conroy Ends: Arkham – Origins Gallery

We all love origin stories here at RPS. Who could forget Doom: Origins, in which it was revealed that Doom Guy’s actual name was Wallace Burgerstance, a man born from the unholy union of a lady Archvile and a nervous sprite-faced man? And what better example of the form can there be than Half Life: Origins – who could have guessed that the G-Man was both Gordon’s MIT post-grad professor and his brother from another dimension? Arkham: Origins may not tickle our fancy in the same way though because it is out of Rocksteady’s steady hands, doesn’t have Kevin Conroy’s Batman voice and actually exists. Let’s have less Origins and more Oranges. Loads of screenshots below.

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Sojourn ‘Em Up: Walden, A Game


“I’m in the front row at New York University’s last “Practice” developer talks, staring at the projector with intense wariness. A trap?”

Walden, A Game could not be any more RPS*. Developed on an arts grant, this is the upcoming tie-in game to Henry Thoreau’s 1854 philosophy book Walden. A book detailing the author’s experience of escaping modern life by living in the woods near Lake Walden, Massachusetts, for two years.

In other words, it’s a first person sojourn simulator.

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