Posts Tagged ‘GDC 2016’

Virtual Reality Summit: Gloves On With The Climb

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb – Miley Cyrus, 2009

One of the most promising VR experiences I had at GDC came courtesy of Crytek’s rock climbing Oculus Rift project, The Climb [official site].

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The Great Outdoors: The Witness

While attending GDC I was thinking a lot about how “outdoors” works in videogames and speaking to artists and designers about how they had approached those environments. I was relatively early on in my experience of The Witness [official site] but I was intrigued by how many biomes were crammed onto a small island space without it ever feeling overcrowded. With that in mind I sat down with artist Luis Antonio to talk geography, architectural decay and why a simple handrail needs an entire backstory…

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Redwall Meets Revolution: Tooth And Tail

Tooth and Tail [official site] is to Command and Conquer what Monaco was to an actual bank heist. If you took an RTS and threw it into a pot then burned off all the fat, you’d be left with something that looked a little like the latest from Andy Schatz and his team at Pocketwatch Games. But would you lose some of the flavour as well? I played the game at GDC (Pip beat me, as usual) and spoke to the team about its design, artistic and mechanical.

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Mirage: Arcane Warfare Devs On Magic – “We Want It To Feel Like You’re Throwing Bricks At People’s Heads”

While over at GDC a preview opportunity for Mirage: Arcane Warfare [official site] gave me a chance to check out Chivalry’s spiritual successor while ALSO enjoying respite from the Californian warmth (I’m ginger and pale and British – we wilt). The game offers up a very different colour palette and setting than Chivalry’s keep-n-countryside but once Torn Banner’s president, Steven Piggott, and senior brand manager, Alex Hayter, start showing me what’s happening in a pre-recorded match, Mirage’s Chivalric roots are obvious.

I didn’t get a hands-on with the game so I can’t tell you how it *feels* and whether the thunk and the heft of Chiv are maintained BUT I can tell you how it looks, how the modes work and where the team are aiming with the project:

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Hands On: Gonner Is A Superb, Stylish Action Game

They had to drag me away from Gonner [official site] in the end. Well, truth be told, they were far too polite to drag me away but they came close to turning out the lights.

‘They’ are two members of Art in Heart, creators of the game, and half of Raw Fury, a new publisher made up of industry veterans. I was playing the game in a rented loft near the heart of GDC in San Francisco and I thought then – and maintain now – that it was the best pure action game I saw at the show.

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Wadjet Eye Interview: Urban Fantasy Adventure Unavowed Returns To World Of Blackwell Series

Part RPG, part adventure game, Unavowed is the next project from Wadjet Eye Games founder Dave Gilbert and even though it features entirely new characters, it takes place in the same world as the wonderful Blackwell series. I met with Gilbert at GDC and he explained the game’s origins and intricacies, as well as talking about his love of urban fantasy, and his development as a game designer and storyteller.

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Earthlight: How Devs Are Working With NASA To Create A Virtual International Space Station

As I try to detach a pipe on the virtual International Space Station, which I’ve been scrambling across, I’m suddenly thrown backwards into space. I don’t flinch but apparently most people who play the Earthlight [official site] demo do – it then makes sense to me why one of the team had offered to take pictures of me playing. Earthlight is a virtual reality experience which is aiming to recreate experiences aboard the International Space Station, which sits in low Earth orbit and acts as a research laboratory. The developers are working in collaboration with NASA to shape the experience.

I am flagging up the fact I was unfazed by being thrown off into space in case anyone from NASA is reading this and wants to recruit me as a cool astronaut space reporter, but while I still have a terrestrial job I should probably tell you about Earthlight and the conversation I had with its creative lead, Emre Deniz.

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Pool Nation Is The Perfect VR Litmus Test

I’ve deflected blaster shots using a lightsaber, standing in the shadow of the Millennium Falcon, fought off shambling horrors in the ruins of a city at night, and constructed fantastic contraptions, suspended on a grassy plain in a bright and breezy abstract world. No attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion yet, but VR has taken me to some wild and wonderful places.

And yet, the game that convinced me of the immersive qualities of the Vive’s roomscale and touch technology dropped me into a pub, in front of a pool table. Pool Nation, in replicating an experience that I’m familiar with, came closest to fooling my senses completely.

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System Shock Meets Open World Survival: P.A.M.E.L.A.

P.A.M.E.L.A. [official site] was one of the most exciting games I saw at GDC last week. I watched around twenty minutes of live play, showing off the construction of a safe haven as night fell on the beautifully rendered sci-fi city in which the game’s particular brand of survival horror takes place. It’s an open world game, but it isn’t quite like anything else in the genre. This is a claustrophobic open world and the game in question is an intelligent and bold exploration of the core concepts found in System Shock and Bioshock. Hell, if this were carrying the title System Shock 3, I’d be delighted.

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Hands On With Star Wars VR: Trials On Tatooine

I’m standing in a shadow cast by the Millennium Falcon, which just parked up next to me. I can’t hop on board but when a ramp unfolds to let an R2 unit trundle onto the small patch of Tatooine that is my home for the duration of this brief demo, I can hear Chewbacca roaring supportively somewhere inside. Han Solo is there as well, providing directions as I patch together the ship’s junky systems from the outside.

As I finished my playtime with Valve’s The Lab, Lucasfilm and Star Wars provided the outro sting. It’s a superb fanfare.

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Hands On: The Lab, Valve’s Portal-Themed VR Games

Our Vive hands-on experience with The Lab took place in Valve’s GDC booth. Actually, ‘booth’ isn’t the right word at all. Valve had transformed a large chunk of the Moscone North hall into a suite of sleek, white virtual reality chambers. The setting itself is a statement of intent, clean and minimalist in comparison to the usual attention-grabbing showfloor stalls, and quietly but efficiently guarded. As Pip and I sat in the waiting area on the final day of the show, the ‘Demos Full’ sign out front had two stickynotes attached: “No, really.” “Really, really, really.”

We were there to see The Lab, which I understood to be a Portal-themed collection of minigames (I suspect you’ll be reading about a lot of minigames in these early stages of VR). They turned out to be four small demos that took us back to the world of Portal and explored the possibilities of the Vive’s virtual spaces and impressive motion controls.

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Everest VR Puts You On Top Of The Mountain

While lurking in the upstairs lobby of one of the enormous Moscone buildings I managed to get some time with Everest VR [official site], a virtual reality project which aims to recreate the experience of ascending Everest. I try not to go into virtual reality with particular expectations but I’ll admit that Everest VR was the experience where I was most expecting to feel disorientated. I’m not afraid of heights, but I have previously felt that stomach-lurch in VR that I get in real life when I’m close to the edge of a massive drop and there’s nothing that would break my fall.

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s City Looks Terribl-y Good

If there is one complaint I have about the original Mirror’s Edge, aside from the “combat is terrible” refrain, is that I’d have liked to see the city explored more, almost as a character of its own. The story is set in an authoritarian dystopia, but we don’t actually get to see much of it outside of the first cutscene of the game. There is a lot of promising worldbuilding hinted at throughout the levels, but it’s not nearly as developed as it could have been.

So this new page that just appeared on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst‘s website, detailing the city’s districts and factions, with wonderful pictures, is getting my hopes up. I know I shouldn’t, I know it’s against my better judgement and I’ll be sorely disappointed, so help me out here. Let’s keep the hype to a minimum and let’s all look at the negatives. Here’s a great start: the city is called “Glass.”

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It’s Upon Us: Capy’s Below Coming This Summer

Sword & Sworcery is one of my favourite games ever, and Super Time Force was great fun, so I’m terribly excited for Capy’s next project, the dark and mysterious explore-em-up Below. [official site] Jim Guthrie (Sword & Sworcery, Indie game: The Movie) providing the soundtrack is really just the icing on this delicious cake.

And a new trailer reveals we’re going to be able to taste it this summer. I can already smell its procedural generation and the rotten corpses of Dark-souls-like permadeath. Everyone beat me to all the bad jokes already, so please just follow me below for some more details and a few minutes of gameplay.

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Ooooh: X-COM Creator Julian Gollop Announces New ‘Turn-Based Tactical Combat Game’

Yer actual breaking news (by which I mean I currently have few details but wanted to inform you as soon as possible because I am very excited). Julian Gollop, legendary co-creator of the X-COM series, plus Laser Squad, Chaos and most recently Chaos Reborn, just revealed the next game from his Snapshot Studios. We only have a name, Phoenix Point, and the following description:

“Turn based tactical combat – world based strategy.”

Please tell me that means what I think it means. Is Mister X-COM doing a new, if unofficial, X-COM? Have approximately 37 Christmases all come at once?
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Greedo, Jabba’s Palace & A New Mode For Battlefront

I haven’t been back to Star Wars Battlefront [official site] since release, which is partly because it left me a little cold after I’d grown accustomed to the lovely, dad-pleasing graphics and partly because the nostalgia bubble I’d spent a couple of months in burst after finally seeing The Force Awakens. (It was Quite Good But). If they ever introduce a playable Jawa mode, I will be back faster than Han Solo telling porkies about the Kessel Run. Utini, babies. This seems sadly unlikely; for now, EA/DICE seem focused on more maps and, though beloved, C-list characters that no-one in their right mind would call Heroes.
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CliffyB’s LawBreakers To “Dial Up The Maturity”

No Nexus platform, fewer microtransactions, and fewer colours: these were the main points of the GDC panel held by Cliff Bleszinski and his Boss Key Productions about their multiplayer shooter LawBreakers [official site].

The game will be released exclusively on Steam, with an upfront purchase and their latest screenshots showcase a change in visual direction away from the colourful and cartoony look of some of its competitors. But boy, do we need some new marketing lingo in gaming. Come raise your eyebrows with me.

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RPS Verdict: Oculus Launch Titles And Touch Controls

Pip and Adam are out in the wilds of GDC, hunting the grounds of the convention centre and the streets around for the most interesting people and games in the world today. In one dark room, in an unassuming building on a busy street, they found a crowd of virtual worlds.

This was the Oculus Rift Game Day, in which the VR devices were on display along with selected launch titles. From sport to slaughter and strategy to stealth-horror, here are our thoughts on the first wave of VR games. And our first verdict on the launch window and the all-important Touch controllers.

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Her Story Creator Joins Interactive Filmmakers Interlude

With Her Story [official site] sweeping up 3 awards at GDC, more than any other game, you may be wondering what Sam Barlow is going to do next. (You could almost say: what his story is going to be.)

He teased Her Story 2 in the past, in a wonderfully tantalizing tweet, but he has also decided to join Interlude as Executive Creative Director. If you have never heard of them, that’s alright, most of us hadn’t. To put it simply, Interlude make interactive videos, which at the end of the day are not that different from FMV games.

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Nine Doom Multiplayer Maps In Less Than A Minute

It may not look especially like the Doom [official site] we’re familiar with, but the latest 43-second trailer for the incoming reboot offers a brief glimpse of the nine multiplayer maps we’ll be running and gunning around in in a couple of month’s time. Come see that in motion, as well as some related words after the drop.

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