Posts Tagged ‘E3 2012’

CD Projekt On Game Of Thrones, Sex’s Place In Gaming


Yesterday, I mind-melded with CD Projekt CEO and owner of the most victorious last name ever, Marcin Iwinski, on all things Cyberpunk. Also, DRM. However, with those topics covered and safely underneath fluffy wordblankets of information, the conversation weaved its way toward the next natural stop. I’m speaking, of course, of Westeros. Read on for Iwinski’s thoughts concerning parallels between The Witcher and Game of Thrones, the male-driven nature of geek culture, and where E3’s utterly archaic reliance on booth babes and titillation fits into that.  

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Kim Swift On Quantum Conundrum’s Past, Present, Future

It’s the final day of E3. Most attendees have died exhausted and alone, with only XXXL shirts and fliers for NOS energy drinks as bartering chips in their bid to enter the pearly gates of the great beyond. I shuffle into a tiny booth cubicle – technically for an appointment, but mostly in vain hope of discovering some hidden developer pillow mountain. Inside, I instead find Quantum Conundrum mastermind Kim Swift… excitedly chatting with Square Enix PR about Left 4 Dead, energized as someone who just woke up from being frozen in a block of ice for thousands of years.

It was pretty surprising at the time – given that she was coming off not only a grueling E3 but also an entire development cycle. But then, I suppose there’s a sort of giddy limit-defying elation in finally crossing the finish line. And, as Swift went on to tell me, she got to do it her way – even with a titan as large as Square Enix looming over the production. Which is kind of incredible, when you think about it. So then, how did all of this come about?

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4A Talks Multiplayer Metro, PC-Specific Features

On Friday, I picked Metro: Last Light communication lead Huw Beynon’s brain about wising up to the fact that players don’t want “dumbed down” games and, er, wrote an ode to a gas mask. It’s incredibly promising things like these that set Metro apart, and yet – this time around – it’s opting to hop aboard the multiplayer train, which also contains, oh, you know, the entire gaming industry. But why? And how will this affect 4A’s laser-sighted focus on single-player? Meanwhile, in the last leg of this last part of this Last Light interview: games journalists howling like giant monstrosities while 4A pretended to shoot them. Seriously. It’s all after the break.

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4A On Making Metro Smarter – Not Dumbing It Down

Metro 2033 had its fair share of rough edges. Shooting was clunky, some systems felt overly complex, and others were so under-explained that many players didn’t even know they existed. Even so, a lot of love obviously went into the construction of its bombed-to-the-brink-of-extinction post-apocalyptic Russia. In smoothing out rough edges, however, many other game series have opted to lop off entire aspects of what made them so great – generally in the nebulous name of “accessibility.”

4A Games, though, doesn’t believe that’s necessary. In fact, according to communications lead Huw Beynon, Last Light‘s adding – not subtracting. So then, how exactly will that work? And, if this is something that’s in such high demand, why aren’t more developers trying it? Read on for answers to those questions and many more.

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Why Metro: Last Light’s Best Character Is A Gas Mask

When I walked into the E3 demo room for Metro 2033 sequel Last Light, I was immediately presented with a small, thin military-green bag. Inside it, I found an actual, factual gas mask – sturdy yet pliable, and reeking of fresh-off-the-assembly-line rubber. It might seem like a curious object to take home from a gaming convention, but given the events that unfolded during Last Light’s demo, I can’t think of anything more fitting. So what follows is the story of a videogame. And also a gas mask.

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The Two Deaths That Defined Tomb Raider

'Can't we talk about this,' asks the deer's facial expression. Unfortunately, deer cannot talk.

Tomb Raider‘s demo made me realize something: it’d be a stretch to call what we do in games killing. I mean, yeah, we’re probably the only medium that can (and frequently does) tout multiple physics systems specifically capable of calculating the way bullet-perforated brain bits dance majestically through the air. But really, all we’re doing is knocking down hyper-detailed action figures. We pull the trigger or aim the bow or bury the shank in a fertile bed of neckflesh, and they go down. Then we move on to the next faceless thug, rinse our knives, and repeat.

The Tomb Raider scene I sat in on during E3 really struck me because it didn’t let Lara cut people (or animals) down and then continue gleefully on her way. Death is messy and scary and awful. While the Nathan Drakes and Persian Princes of the world slay 300 people and then sweep corpses under a rug with a dumb joke, Lara – intentionally or not – sticks around for her victims’ final moments. I guess what I’m saying is, I sympathized with an irredeemable, cold-blooded murderer and, er, some random deer. They died scared and spittle-soaked and alone, and I really didn’t feel good about that.

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Interview: Molyneux In The Moment, Pt 2

So then, cubes. Admittedly, they’ve been closely associated with games before, but during E3, Peter Molyneux told us about his ambitious plan to think outside the box by putting a mysterious item inside a box. As is typically the case with the extremely excitable mind behind Populous, Black & White, and Fable, it all sounds gleefully insane, and it showed in his blindingly sunny demeanor. Today, though, we discuss darker, more sinister things. Social games, for instance, and indie developers’ place at the kiddie table during shows like E3. OK, fine, we also discuss more cubes.

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Hawken’s Next Step: Probably Story-Based Single-Player

Kill building.

As it stands, Hawken is the story of a few robots shooting a few other robots. Perhaps there’s subtext and pentameter and denouements underneath it all, but right now, this is far from the Black Swan of artfully destructive mecha-ballets – let alone the Nutcracker. A recent live-action trailer, however, suggested that – for probably the first time in history – there’s more than meets the eye to robots. And, if the folks at Adhesive Games have it their way, there’ll be even more where that came from.

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It’s The End Of E3 As We Know It, And I’m Feeling Fine

For whatever reason, the conclusion to this year’s E3 found me sitting in a retro-style 1950s American diner. Brain nearly as fried as the egg on my sandwich, I couldn’t help but zone out for worryingly long spells while reintroducing my body to the concept of nourishment. During my brief moments of lucidity, however, I noticed that game developers were just sort of appearing – like drops of water beading on a glass that also played Elvis’ rendition of “Hound Dog.” Turns out, they were flocking from a party one building away. What happened next was, well, kind of incredible.

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Interview: Molyneux In The Moment, Pt 1

Peter Molyneux is excited. It’s early in the morning of E3’s notoriously draining day two, but it certainly doesn’t show. The god of god games seems energized and animated – reinvigorated, even. Admittedly, this is a man who – in the past – has been known to become lightheaded at the prospect of hyper-realistic videogame acorns, but there’s substance behind the passion this time around. After years of being caught up in triple-A content churn, Molyneux’s finally doing everything his way. His team, his project, and – perhaps most importantly – his wildest ideas.

Will they even stick, though? Can his 22 seemingly abstract experiments be fun? Should they be? Will this gigantic cannonball into the deep end of gaming’s least charted waters even make any money? For now, these questions couldn’t be further from Molyneux’s mind. In his own words, he’s “just experimenting,” and – while many of his former colleagues continue to stick to game development’s straight-and-narrow – he has no idea what he’ll find. So, near the ruins of what appeared to be a truly formidable breakfast, he and I chatted about that.

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Interview: Zenimax Defends Elder Scrolls Online

This is, of course, a picture of me after the end of E3. I'm the corpse way in the back.

If you’ve only got 15 minutes to wow a crowd, it stands to reason that you’d unload your biggest guns until even the most ardent doubters would have no choice but to fly a white flag with your face on it. Elder Scrolls Online‘s E3 presentation, then, was worrisome. The action-based combat looked hollow and unconvincing, and we spent the bulk of our time watching a perplexingly un-Elder-Scrolls-like quest chain involving ghosts, time travel, and “collect X amount of Y item” prompts unfold. Meanwhile, the potentially unique three-way factional PvP battles got a chaotic 45-second flyby video that looked like what’d happen if an upturned anthill learned magic.

But then, let’s face it: even at their best, MMOs don’t demo well. That in mind, I attempted to get a clearer picture from creative director Paul Sage. So then, what exactly sets TESO apart from a legion of increasingly same-y looking online worlds? Can we mix and match classes as we see fit? Can we slaughter random NPCs? Does TESO stand a chance in a hostile MMO landscape that’s even chewed up SWTOR? And, most importantly, will there be books? It’s all after the break.

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A Game of Dwarves Bedtime Story Trailer


Paradox’s latest trailer for A Game Of Dwarves shows us the antagonist in the game – mages! Dastardly wizards, it seems, are responsible for dwarven hardships, and it’ll presumably be the becowled-ones that you’ll be taking on as you carve your kingdoms. The presentation of the backstory as a bedtime story is cute, too. Which sort of sums up this entire “if Bullfrog made dwarf fortress” sort of affair…
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Yikes: Lucius Is Going To Hell In October


The Ladies & Gentlemen aboard the VG247 newsblimp have beamed up another interesting minor announcement, which is that Shiver Games’ spooky Omen-like horror game Lucius, in which you play a demon-child offing people in a country house, is to arrive in October. It’s an open world thing, which gives you the run of the house, allowing you some invention in how you kill off characters before your journey to hell. Looks both worrying and intriguing.

Trailer below.
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Hieronymus: ACE Team Explain Zeno Clash II

Explore ze weird!
Carlos Bordeu from ACE Team is excited about being able to talk about his new game, Zeno Clash II. And that makes for good reading. We talked to him about open worlds, new technology, and how a game inspired by “the punk fantasy art of John Blanche” is going to play. Read on for elucidation.
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Purple In The Face: Planetside 2’s E3 Bit


We’re all acutely aware of this one, now. The big remake of the only MMOFPS to have got it right, 2003’s Planetside. So close. Yeah, and there’s still no date on this. The closed beta is in progress, and this is one of so, so many trailers. Come on SOE. It’s time. Let us at it!

Another spectacular red-on-purple-on-yellow/blue action below.
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Hacker’s Paradise: Ubisoft On Watch Dogs

And also, everybody is Spider-Man.
Much like the news that your house is being repossessed after a particularly brutal bout of identity theft, Watch Dogs came out of nowhere. Hot on the heels of a Ubisoft press conference that could charitably be described as “at least probably not offensive to some breeds of orangutan,” Watch Dogs mopped up that particular mess and then some. Main character Pearce hacked everything from cell phones to traffic lights as naturally as most of us draw breath. He stalked, he talked, and then, well, he shot some dudes. Lots of them, actually.

So Ubisoft’s spilled quite a gooey glob of GTA into our Deus Ex, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Do we really need a rather large helping of lead to spice up our near-future cyberpunk intrigue? I spoke with producer Dominic Guay about that concern, Jedi hacker powers, how discovering someone’s sexual history can lead to a side mission, and more. Hack your way past the break to read on. Or just click on it like a normal person.

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“Sacrilegium” Is Actually What They Are Calling It

He seems nice.
Topware and Reality Pump (who previously worked on the Two Worlds games) have just announced a survival horror game called, well, Sacrilegium. Starring a lady called Alex, it’s an international tale of horror and combat, in which you’ll meet numerous unsavoury characters, and uncover occult plots in North America and Europe. The gallery of images show a classically spooky world, where everyone is doing their business at night. The feature list talks about combat and motion capture, stuff, but also – oddly – eye-tracking: “Eye-tracking: 3D-ET™ – the revolutionary proprietary technology that offers three dimensions, providing a more real and captivating experience than any other implementation available today. Already tested and reverently welcomed by actual PC players.”

THAT HORROR GAME IS WATCHING YOUR EYES.

PC Gaming: E3’s Dirty Little Secret

It’s a bit odd to cover E3 with a PC-focused slant. Initially, I felt horrifically out of place roaming the LA Convention Center’s banner-plastered halls. The Kratoses and Master Chiefs of the world leered at me from their billowing sky perches, and I longed for the warm embrace of, say, a game about embracing people – as Rambo. Xbox controllers and PlayStation pads contorted showgoers’ hands into unnatural, vice-like claws, and I could only grasp feebly for a mouse that failed to materialize.

But, after the initial explosion of senses-overwhelming glitz and glamour, I started taking stock of the show’s inner workings. And you know what? Turns out, this is a PC gaming event – perhaps moreso than anything else.

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RPS Decides: Who Won E3 2012?

I'm retiring now.

With all the press conferences over, and the action switching to the show floor, it’s time to ask that all-important question: Who won E3? Because saying what games are coming out is a game. One you can win. And we decide who that was.

Let’s begin with the rules: Firstly, naturally, no slaps. Secondly, don’t forget the Hotpants Bonus! And of course most importantly, dubstep.

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Agni’s Philosophy: Square’s Final Graphics Fantasy

INDIVIDUAL BEARD HAIR FOLLICLE RENDERING

There’s a very good chance this will prove to be entirely irrelevant in time, given this is a blog about Spectrum Amiga board foot-to-ball PC gaming, but I post it as an honest point of curiosity as well as due to the potential that a Square-Enix internal studio might use it for something like a Deus Ex or Hitman or Thief or Sleeping Dogs or something further down the line. Real-time tech demo Agni’s Philosophy is intended to demonstrate Squeenix’s next-generation engine, which will most likely be used for a hiss, spit Final Fantasy game for whatever the next round of consoleboxes turns out to be. It’s impressive stuff for sure, even if it’s transparently impossible that a properly interactive game with hours of content cannot possibly look anywhere near as strong and detailed as this regardless of what graphicsability future-consoles and PCs might have. The idea that we might get anywhere near it is enticing though, most especially because the hair rendering could mean some incredibly convincing beards. Beards are what PC gaming is all about, after all.
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