Thinking About The Batman: Arkham Knight Information

It has leaked people. Rocksteady has long been rumoured to have a final Arkham game in development for next gen consoles and here it is, leaked through the retailer GAME. Called Batman: More »

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Exploring the Titanfall Beta

Titanfall is a game that I have been anticipating for some time now. Last year, at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, I was allowed to play it for the first time behind closed More »

Games That Truly Deserve A Return This Generation

It is safe to say that the launch of the industry’s newest darlings, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, has been extremely successful. Since launch, interest in the consoles have gone More »

The Last Of Us On PS4 – Would You Buy It?

It isn’t a secret that The Last of Us is one of my favorite games of the last generation. Hell, it’s one of my highest rated games full stop. There are a More »

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Interview: Charles Dance, Next Gen and Canon

I recently got to see the Witcher 3 at a behind closed doors showing. After having seen the amazing visuals and a truly interesting mission from the game, I was able to More »

Star Wars: Battlefront Next Gen: 5 Top Features DICE Should Use

Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefront 2 were the kinds of games from previous generations that, when you look back on them, they make you smile. It wasn’t the greatest Star Wars game More »

The New Features in Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Multiplayer Aren’t Really That New

Call of Duty is one of the, if not the, biggest game of the current generation. Since the dawn of the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, the series has gone from More »

Hands-On Preview: Battlefield 4 On PlayStation 4

At one of the biggest video games shows on the planet, Gamescom in Germany, I was invited to take part in a behind closed doors showing of EA’s top games. These included Titanfall and FIFA More »

Gamescom Preview: FIFA 14

FIFA is a series that has lasted about two decades. It has moved up from being one of the football games to being the undisputed best, selling millions and millions every year More »

Gamescom Preview: Titanfall

Despite having to wait in line for Titanfall at the EA behind closed doors showing for a considerable amount of time compared to the other behind closed doors games and my feet More »

 

InFamous Second Son Review: Lazy But Beautiful

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There is a saying that I think relates to this game completely. “Beauty is only skin deep.” This means that beauty is superficial and what is beneath the skin is better. Well this applies to Sucker Punch’s new superhero game, InFamous Second Son. All the pretty graphics in the world can only hide from the real problems in a game for so long. This was supposed to be the exclusive that gave a reason to own the PlayStation 4 over any other console, but is it that exclusive? Not one bit.

InFamous Second Son is the story of one Delsin Rowe, a minor criminal, who comes to realise that he can absorb other people’s superpowers. This occurs after he becomes endowed with the powers of smoke. After the big bad lady who controls cement attacks his tribe members, Delsin goes on a hunt in Seattle to gain her cement power and save the tribe. On this journey you fight thousands of soldiers who are from the Department of Unified Protection, set up by the bad lady, Augustine, who are searching for people with powers, branding them bio terrorists (not Conduits as is politically correct) and locking them up for testing. You must liberate Seattle from this tyranny through heroic or evil methods.

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First off let me give you the only significant positive that I found within the game. Looking at the game, just from looking on at it, this is truly next generation graphics. Lighting, clothes and people all move and look spectacular. Seeing the sun set over the brilliant looking water is something to behold in a PlayStation game. It beats all previous exclusives for graphics by being the size that it is while still keeping up the graphical quality. There have been a few instances where the frame rate dropped noticeably but it quickly resumed before it was a problem. I have seen a few reviews which say that there were no texture / object pop ins which, going by my copy, is not true. Generally, if you are looking for something that makes you think “This is how games should look this generation” then this is your game. From the trailers you can already see the particle physics at play here and they astound in game, boggling the mind as to why this was never introduced before. Unfortunately for those of us who PLAY games rather than look at them, this game disappoints in almost every area.

Something about open world games that is almost as important as the way a game looks is the way the world feels. In Second Son, the city is dead. Cars amble about every now and then while pedestrians aimlessly wonder in silence. When you become good or bad, the civilian AI starts acknowledging you in either a good way or a bad way. It swings from “Keep up the Lord’s work Delsin,” to “Go back to where you came from!” While it is a nice touch, it seems a bit weird that every person in the whole city has the exact same attitude. Also, when saving a Conduit (super powered folk) who is being mobbed by normal people, the civilians who were previously battering a helpless man turn and then scream out their praise for you… Another Conduit. This mechanic was not thought out too well and regularly annoyed me. In turn, the actions of the enemy AI is equally stupid. The only time when you die is out of your own arrogance, running blindly into a group of 15 heavily armed guards and trying to aim like a pro for head shots. On several occasions, I witnessed an enemy get completely confused about how to get to me, resorting to running in endless circles till I showed mercy on him and ended his suffering. Enemies in this game are not a challenge unless you go on the Expert difficulty, even then it still takes a good amount of stupidity from the player.

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Another factor that is important to the success of open world games is the number of activities to do in the world you inhabit. Well here you have the story, taking control of districts by doing repetitive tasks, helping or hindering people by doing repetitive tasks and lastly collecting blast shards. There is literally no side quests, nothing to do after you finish the main story which is in any way interesting or worth your time. It feels as if this should have been a linear game but at the last second was changed to an open world and some collectibles thrown in. As the past two inFamous games have been open world, this couldn’t have been the case but going by the sheer lack of things to do, it must just be pure laziness on the part of Sucker Punch.

We all know this is a game about super heroes / villains. So now is a good a time as any to discuss the powers. You start off with smoke which allows you to shoot lethal projectiles, non lethal projectiles, heavy damage projectiles, move quickly forward and hover. Your second power which is already widely known is Neon. This allows you to shoot lethal, non lethal and heavy attacks while moving forward even faster and also… You guessed it, hover. There are two other powers in the game which I won’t completely spoil for those of you who haven’t played it yet but believe me when I say they are only a very slight variation on the first two so don’t get your hopes up for massive changes. This is one of the major issues I found with this game is that for all the fancy particles and lighting, every power is the same or a slight increase in something you already have but with a different colour scheme or aesthetic. Nothing has changed gameplay wise from the original games and that is worrying. Even the deep skill tree that is available only slightly increases your powers to a level that honestly should have been available from the get go. Upgrades should noticeably affect your powers and make them different. In this game, there is nothing of the sort.

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SPOILER TERRITORY HERE FOLKS, HIGHLIGHTED IN RED SO YOU CAN SKIP THAT PART IF NEEDS BE. 

 

 

In super hero stories, the plot is important. InFamous and inFamous 2 gave players the logical choices of being good or evil to get to their goals and each path was an obvious choice that the character could have taken had it been real life. Here, not so much. Delsin’s whole motivation for going to Seattle was to save his tribe and expose Augustine for her crimes. So why, when he defeats her, does he decide to basically take over the city and become the master of all the conduits? Why does he go home and when rejected for the obviously terrible things that he has done, want to kill everyone he has grown up with and been family with? The wild changes in the character’s plot arc for the evil story line is just poor storytelling and makes you wonder if the Hero side is actually the main plot while they added in an evil one for the sake of it? 

 

SPOILERS END HERE.

This game was supposed to be one of the reasons for having a PlayStation 4 but has ended up one of the reasons to not have one. It is a true shame as I believe that the inFamous series is one that has real potential and I hope that any future games have more thought put into story, powers and general mechanics. Graphics are great but there is more to games than looking the best. The biggest compliment that I can give this game is that it is basically Spiderman 2. A decent game that would have been better had it come out 7 years ago. It is a classic case of the developers not moving the game forward in any way, shape or form. Disappointed.

 

 

4/10

 

It’s the New Batsuit for Batman: Arkham Knight

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The game is now no longer announced via leak. It is completely official. An announcement trailer has been released and new information will be coming in the next few days. But right now, through GameInformer, we have a close up image of the new suit that batman will be wearing and fighting in this year.

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This suit is much more armoured than in previous versions and is EXTREMELY detailed.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Thinking About The Batman: Arkham Knight Information

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It has leaked people. Rocksteady has long been rumoured to have a final Arkham game in development for next gen consoles and here it is, leaked through the retailer GAME. Called Batman: Arkham Knight, the game will feature Scarecrow as the primary antagonist who will unite the most feared villains against Batman (according to the leak “including Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn”). While all of this mayhem will be going on, you can drive the Batmobile, legendary car of the Batman. Will this live up to the ridiculous heights of the other Rocksteady Batman games?

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Well let us take a look at some of the info in the leak. Firstly, and maybe most importantly for many fans of this iteration of the Batman, is the inclusion of the Batmobile. As a fan of the series, when you first open Arkham Asylum and see Batman speeding through Gotham in his distinctive Batmobile, you want to be able to use it. It is every fan’s dream to be the Batman and drive his coolest toy. Seeing as no gameplay or anything other than this picture of the car has been released, I cannot tell you how it will drive. From the above image though, you can clearly see that this version of the iconic vehicle is a different beast from the one we saw in the first game. While Arkham Asylum’s Batmobile took its cues from the comics and TV shows, this version looks as if they have merged that shape with the military style of Nolan’s Tumbler. While it is a very cool way to bridge the two types of vehicle it brings to the back of my mind a little voice which says “Will they be making this third game a more Nolan-esque vision of gotham and its hero?” While the Dark Knight films were certainly well done, it is a stark contrast to the way the world was portrayed in previous games. If it stays away from this and goes back to its roots, it will be a great game. Rocksteady have not had any issues with making their own version of Batman in the past, so why would there be any problems now?

According to the leak, the game “offers gamers the ultimate and complete Batman experience as they tear through the streets and soar across the skyline of the entirety of Gotham City.” They will open up all of Gotham to Batman! Good or bad? Well, it is expected as they had to go bigger than previous games, but as the saying goes… Bigger isn’t always better. For example, on the box art for the game, there seems to be a figure throwing something fiery and the streets seem to be alight. What I don’t want is for Rocksteady to make this just a bigger Arkham City, with the streets full of hooligans. Will we get a living, breathing Gotham or one which has already descended into chaos? Seeing as we will be driving the Batmobile around the streets, I assume there will be only bad guys on street level so that you cannot drive over civilians. I know there are some of you that would try it if they let you, wouldn’t you? This isn’t GTA V after all.

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VILLAINS. Villains, villains, villains. this game looks to have some favourites back for this game. The big one that everyone will be pleased to see back is the Scarecrow who gave Arkham Asylum that truly mesmerising section which everyone raved about for months. My reservations here lies with the contrast that is inevitable. How will they top that amazing sequence that delved into Batman’s psyche and gave everyone a bit of a head trip? If Scarecrow comes back, people will be expecting a lot from the antagonist. Something really special has to be pulled out of the bag. A code in Arkham City reads “Fear will tear Gotham to shreds.” Any ideas on how this will be handled? While the Scarecrow returns, the mystery from the end of Arkham City will probably be explored. I am talking about Harley Quinn.

SPOILERS FROM HERE. 

After the death of the Joker in the second game, Batman can return to the place where Joker had been hiding throughout the game. Lying on the table is a positive pregnancy test. However, in the DLC there are multiple other tests which come up negative and the box does say “may provide a false positive.” Even if she isn’t in fact pregnant, expect some sort of resolution to this easter egg. It became too well known to leave behind for good.

SPOILERS END HERE. 

So far, there is no word on any last generation consoles getting versions of the game. While this is a shame for some gamers, it will no doubt make those of us who have the new consoles enjoy a better game which has been built up specifically for the new hardware. Perhaps this is how Rocksteady will be able to create a large Gotham landscape and incorporate the Batmobile too.

Lastly, I would just like to point out that the summary of the game also says very clearly that this is the “finale” to the Arkham series. So yes, we may get our wish for Rocksteady to take over something else or do a new IP. Also, could we see the Bat sacrificing himself? Perhaps.

It is certainly an exciting prospect to see Rocksteady return once again to Batman. Expect more details soon, I doubt that more information will be far away considering that this leak has occurred. Keep here for more as it comes out.

What do you think of the new Arkham Game? Let me know in the comments below.

Dishonored 2 Could Be Coming

Dishonored was one of those games that stands out from the crowd. A first person action / stealth game that encouraged different play throughs and styles. Critically and commercially successful, the game may be getting a follow up.

Today, a picture popped up thanks to AllGamesBeta. This image shows the title “Dishonored II” along with a hashtag “#DarknessofTryvia”. The leaked image also says that we will see a full reveal of the game at this year’s E3 show. The font of the game’s title is in line with the first game, which ciuld be taken two ways: This is an extremely well made fake or that it is geniuine. Considering how well received the first game was, it wasn’t going to be too long until there was a sequel now, was it?

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Would you be excited for a sequel to one of the most unique games in recent memory? Let us know in the comments below!

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Exploring the Titanfall Beta

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Titanfall is a game that I have been anticipating for some time now. Last year, at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, I was allowed to play it for the first time behind closed doors on the PC. When I came out, I was exhilarated and was singing its praises to any that would listen. It was different, it was fun and it gave you a massive adrenaline rush when you play. Now the beta has come out, my impressions have changed.

The Good – Before we get into the criticisms, I want to explore the plus points. The sheer maneuverability of your Pilot and the ability to jump anywhere you can see instantly makes this better than many first person shooters. If someone is attacking you, there is a chance to get away if you are good enough at using your jet pack and free running talents. It reminds me of a more smooth, futuristic version of the multiplayer in Uncharted, which was praised for having the freedom to move around rooftops and climb structures.

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On the weapons side, the Smart Pistol is very cool and as far as I have seen, quite well balanced, which is saying something for a gun which can shoot around walls. While the Pistol is on one end of the creative scale, Titanfall also has the more traditional side too. The Carbine is your stereotypical machine gun and will cater to FPS fans. As it is only the beta, more guns will have to be tested when the full product comes out to the public but for now the outlook is good.

To the main part of the game, the Titans. They are very, very well handled. When I played the game at the show last year, the Titans could be taken down with ease, presumably because not one journalist was used to playing the game. But now, if you rodeo a Titan, people will leave the behemoth and get you. I found that if you like being in Titans, you can be very tactical. But if you prefer just being a Pilot, then you can let the Titan roam free. That freedom from a developer is very helpful to a gamer.

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The Bad – As it is just a beta, there is obviously a lack of a full look at the game. So in light of that, the bad things will be small mentions. For example, the two maps on show so far have been fairly similar, with only a few real open points and most of the time they are left untouched (such as the back of the map on Fracture and the outskirts of the map on Angel City). Interiors of the buildings are very similar and I have seen a few instances where the textures or whole sections of the map are re used in other places. This use of textures is hardly unheard of in the industry but I would want some of the maps to have more of a unique feel to each so that I do not feel like I am playing the same thing over and over. Hopefully the full game will remedy this somewhat.

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As mentioned above, the maps have got sections which rarely get touched by HUMAN players. Bots may go around and roam about but they aren’t really a significant challenge now are they? But more about that later, what I mean is, i there are only 6v6 battles, why would you make such big maps. Surely making the maps that bit smaller to make battles somewhat more confined and quick paced would make more sense than promoting having bg maps only for a lot of it not to be used, it baffles me and makes me wish for a couple more players or smaller maps. Battlefield needs large maps, Titanfall does not.

The Ugly – BOTS. Respawn have been talking about how these AI controlled enemies have been put into the game and make the experience better. To be honest, they are more of a waste of space. The spectre’s AI may be satisfactory, to the point that they take more bullets so produce more of a challenge, but the grunts? Grunts are the gaming equivalent of a Star Trek red shirt or to be even more truthful… They are pigeons. Pigeons move around the place and do nothing more than take a s***. Grunts move around looking like human enemies and even if they see you, they are more likely to defecate than they are to shoot, let alone kill you. If a giant robot is about to run towards you and obviously wants to step on you, YOU WOULD RUN. The bots would rather run right under your foot, lie down and shout “My body is ready.” If they are so completely and utterly awful, what the hell is the point?

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There has been a small niggling in the back of my mind the whole time while playing this game. It is a voice saying to me “If you took out Titans, this could be Black Ops III.” I know that the game will do exceptionally well, it has massive hype around it. But to look at it and not see the blindingly obvious parts that seem to have been picked up from the Infinity Ward games and dropped into the Respawn game would make me oblivious and a liar. Call of Duty works and that is great. Titanfall has taken that and made it better. I had hoped that it would change even the visual style a little bit more. Maybe with the inevitable Titanfall 2 we will see how differently these games progress. Will the game (Titan)fall into the same stagnation that the biggest franchise in the world has? We shall see.

Agree or disagree? Please post your thoughts below.

 

Games That Truly Deserve A Return This Generation

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It is safe to say that the launch of the industry’s newest darlings, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, has been extremely successful. Since launch, interest in the consoles have gone through the roof, making those who foretold doom and gloom for the console gaming industry look slightly silly. But as with every generation, there are some games which hold a special place in people’s hearts and those gamers spend every day scouring the interwebs in search of news that their favorite game will be making a triumphant return to the screen. Some have been announced already, such as the Uncharted game teased recently and Metal Gear Solid V being the subject of a very large but yet strange marketing campaign which intrigued all, but some have yet to be seen. As a small side point, there will be no Shenmue on this list, sorry to all of you lot who are begging for the third game! Which games could we see make use of the new hardware, putting the previous games to shame?

Borderlands 3 – Borderlands is a very special series. It takes the first person shooter genre which has become stale with a lack of true revolution and turned it on its head. Over-the-top characters and combat feature heavily in the two games currently available, while the impressively stylized graphics make the game stand out against the drab and colorless shooters of today. Adding to that the ridiculous array of guns that have been created from the ground up which makes every playthrough different. One playthrough could see you loot a fire expelling shotgun with a sniper scope that does massive damage to your enemies, while a second could see you taking a measly pistol with basic bullets. Borderlands is unpredictable, fun, colorful and all together brilliant. A third game might be able to expand the series past the beautiful planet of Pandora, to another or to multiple other systems, but as always there will need to be a group of amazing characters to interact with and a bunch of fun missions to partake in cooperatively or in single player. Oh, and at least one ClapTrap robot… You know, for the Wub Wub.

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Resistance 4 – Compared to Borderlands 3, this is a more difficult sequel. Despite the series doing very well on the PlayStation consoles, Insomniac Games have gone on to be a more multi-platform studio, leaving Resistance behind. It may be great to see a new game in the series come back to dazzle us but it may be with a different studio and direction. So far the Resistance games have had a strong sense of story, set in an alternate version of history where an alien species uses parasitic methods to take over the world. It hasn’t been one to shy away from risks either, killing off major characters unexpectedly. Gameplay wise, the Resistance games mix the weapons you would expect a soldier to use in WWII era with hybrid guns or full on alien death machines, keeping Insomniac’s habit of making interesting weapons that are a blast to use similar to the more cartoonish world of Ratchet and Clank. A new game could take place further into the alternate timeline, with bigger set pieces and more old school boss fights. Could we even see other alien races other than the main antagonists, the Chimera?

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World at War 2 – Now, people hate on Call of Duty all the time. Those that don’t, argue about which one of the games is better. Let’s face it, the modern era of shooters has now become over saturated and stale. We need to have at least one game which returns to either the roots of the shooter genre or one that takes it somewhere new. World at War followed arguably the best entry in the franchise, Modern Warfare, which at the time was different and so is sometimes overlooked. But the sheer gritty angle that the game took, using the new advances to make World War 2 feel real and better story telling made this a game to remember. A second game would be very welcome and would spread out the Call of Duty franchise to more than just the modern/near future eras.  Take the game back to basics, bringing in just a few killstreaks and perks, not all the bloated options available now. Bring us back to the guns and explosives of old for a WW2 shooter nostalgia-fest. DO IT.

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The Last of Us 2 – This choice is weird for me. Yes, I want the universe of The Last of Us to continue, but I don’t want what has been so lovingly created to be risked in pursuit of a new game. What I would want from a new game is a completely new set of characters… In fact, a whole new setting, a new country perhaps. This would widen the gap between the two stories and, should the new one not live up to the original then it remains untainted. I would want to see more of the descent into savagery that some people went through and lots more of the interesting new mechanic that was introduced in the DLC, Let Behind, which is the ability to distract the Infected and make them fight the Survivor enemies. Naughty Dog’s world was so lovingly and painstakingly created, it seems mad to not visit the world again. Please, leave Joel and Ellie at the conclusion that was right.

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Are there any other games that you would want to see a return? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Do You Want To See A Lego Titan? Of Course You Do!

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Today on Twitter, Respawn Entertainment tweeted something very cool. So cool in fact I thought I would share it to those that may have missed it! We got Lego Lord of the Rings, Marvel Superheroes, Star Wars, Batman and others… now… LEGO TITANFALL!

 

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As you can see from the picture, it is fricking awesome. It was created by a Respawn employee, Bruce Ferriz (an animator in case you were wondering), in his weekend and is clearly well worth his time. The company were so impressed with it that they shared it to their Twitter feed.

Titanfall will be out in Spring next year on Xbox One, 360 and PC.

The Last Of Us On PS4 – Would You Buy It?

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It isn’t a secret that The Last of Us is one of my favorite games of the last generation. Hell, it’s one of my highest rated games full stop. There are a few people who may agree on that front. Recently, rumors have been spreading of a PlayStation 4 edition of the game.  My hopes were raised and soon quashed when it turned out to be a hoax / lie. But wouldn’t the re – release of such an important game in the PlayStation catalogue be a boon for the newly released console?

Yes it would. Upon the release of the next generation consoles, there have been a fair few games out. A range and breadth of them. Everything from Assassiny goodness to being called to duty. New games like Resogun, the reemergence of the traditional platformer with Knack and those ever present brands such as Need for Speed and FIFA. One thing that has been missing is a game that makes you emotionally invest in characters who you can genuinely come to love. Yes some may find the charm of Knack or the Marvel superheroes that resound with your inner child exciting but nothing has come close to the investment I have put into Joel and Ellie last generation. The game has even been put into a film-like format on YouTube as the story and the dialogue work so well even when the other mechanics are not explored. A piece of work that good should not be limited to one console at the very end of its lifespan. While I applaud Sony for continuing the legacy of the PlayStation 3 while promoting the next bigthing, maybe a re-release could give the game another sales boost. Game of the Year on PS4 anyone?

Flower is a game that has been released from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4 and on both systems it is an interesting game. I won’t say “a great game that everyone should play” because many would find it difficult to get in to despite its unique brilliance, but the fact that it works just as well on the new generation of PlayStation is an example of how a more mainstream game could work in the future. A new release of The Last Of Us could be made cheaper if you had the game on PlayStation 3 originally, making it easier to upgrade in a similar but still money making deal for a next generation version of the game.

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Some may say that releasing previous generation games on the newest console may be a bit too money grabbing, though. If EA did that regularly we would have a full on riot in the gaming community! Games that were re-released last generation, such as God Of War and Sly Cooper did not sell too badly. Why not do the same with The Last of Us, making the PlayStation 4 have yet another exclusive game to add to its collection and also increase hype around the game again. You never know, seeing healthy sales on another consoles may speed up calls for a sequel!

Obviously problems arise as The Last of Us was certainly an expensive game, meaning any upgrade would cost more precious investment from the Sony bosses. In addition, the new architecture being boasted by the PlayStation 4 may cause the conversion of a game to the new platform more trouble than its worth. Sony may even be waiting for Gaikai’s release because then there would be no upscaling, no conversion. Just put it on the service created for previous generation games and watch the subscriptions roll in.

Would you buy a PlayStation 4 version of The Last of Us? Or would you prefer to wait for the Gaikai service and play it in its raw form? Do you even care? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Interview: Charles Dance, Next Gen and Canon

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I recently got to see the Witcher 3 at a behind closed doors showing. After having seen the amazing visuals and a truly interesting mission from the game, I was able to get a quick interview with the producer of the game, Mikołaj Szwed (image below). What followed was an interview full of information and slyly trying to get some more juicy pieces. Here it is in full below:

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1 – The game looked brilliant. Great graphics and an all round good looking next generation game. In an interview previously with another outlet, Konrad [Tomaszkiewicz] had said that you were “working to get the max out of the hardware and thinking how one can creatively use the technology “ In terms of next generation hardware, how close is this from maxed out, it is hard to see much room for improvement!

That’s a very tricky question to answer. Think of maxing out hardware in terms of… the trunk in your car and the space it offers. Consoles have a defined performance budget – you can’t expand the memory or replace CPU/GPUs. This means you have to be very creative with how you use what you have. And this is where the tricky stuff starts. You can randomly stuff the luggage in the trunk and max out the space in no time or you can methodically place specially prepared cases to get every inch of space out of what you have. Experience shows that both the “casing technology” and the skill in packing them rises the further we are in the console’s lifecycle. Learning all the tricks takes time – that’s why maxing out hardware is possible on day 1 right when the next-gen hardware launches, yet the games near the end of the console’s life cycle always look the best.

2 – The next generation hardware has been vilified by many developers who have been calling out for a next generation platform for a while. Does this step up affect your goal of conveying emotions to the player, making sure that their actions make an impact? Or would you have been able to achieve this regardless?

I think that you can convey emotions regardless of the platform and its horsepower. Truth be told, games have been doing it for a long time, well before the era of super-realistic computer graphics. You can evoke emotions with visuals, sure, but I believe the core of the effort lies within the story. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” –  a mere six words can pack a real punch!

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3 – What is the best feature you have found in the next gen hardware? I personally like the ability to stream my game so that if a friend sees I am in trouble, they could watch and give me pointers. I think that is really helpful.

Definitely the social features of the consoles. As you mentioned, streaming videos is something very cool and I really look forward to seeing what gamers will do with it. Also, the different ways gamers can share their in-game progress status and, in general, experience games together – social interaction on this scale is really something!

4 – Many games claim to have a choice system in place where there is a variety of different outcomes. However, many end up like Mass Effect 3 with specific endings regardless of your choices throughout. Will every action in the game that is not so black and white result in a slightly different ending for your character? Or will it just be what you see in the game that gets affected, resulting in an ending that feels like it has a canon of sorts?

We will have a couple of different, main endings to the game, strictly connected to the “big” choices you’ve made during the game. Apart from that, we will also have a number of smaller scenes depicting the different changes that you affected in the world by making various smaller choices throughout the game, showing how your actions actually shaped the world and individual characters.

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5- Many people talk of story driven games and open world games separately and you guys have been touting this game as one and the same. In many open world games, the player can lose sight of the story due to the overwhelming availability of missions and side quests and collectibles etc. How will Wild Hunt combat this feeling?

The Witcher 3 is not like most open world games in this regard. We put a lot of effort into making the game’s pacing just right, as we think it’s key to avoiding the sort of feeling you describe. In The Witcher 3, two mechanisms will battle it out to determine what you’ll ultimately do – the urge to explore will compete with your need to know what happens next plot-wise. We can control the intensity of each feeling by introducing new stuff (plot and gameplay-wise) along the way, so you should never feel like there’s a million of things to do and only one Geralt.

6 –Talking of canon, the second game had many different endings. Will the 3rd pick up from whichever one is “canon” (is there a canon?), or will it be where the game asks you a series of questions in the intro/import save data and pick up where you left off?

All of the endings are canonical. Making only one “count” would really depreciate all the choices gamers made during the previous game. That’s why we decided to find one common connection and start The Witcher 3 from there. This “common denominator” is the Nilfgaardian invasion that we see at the end of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Nilfgaard is advancing into the Northern Kingdoms and Geralt is now free from all the political intrigue he’s been so tangled up in. As for the choices gamers made during the previous game, we can confirm save game importing on the PC and we’re heavily exploring various solutions for consoles.

7 – If some main characters from the books should appear in TW3 they shall be consistent with their roots or they shall be adapted by force changing theirs personality by the decisions taken in TW2?

I see what you’re trying to do here! On a more serious note though, for now, we don’t comment on the appearance of characters other than those we’ve revealed so far.

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8 – I know you either must be sick of hearing about the more “adult” nature of the games or must be proud that you handled it so successfully that people actually took it seriously and didn’t blast the game, but The Witcher 2 was praised for handling adult sexuality and romance in a mature manner that contrasted greatly with the first game’s sex cards. We know that the cards are out, but how will The Witcher 3 handle relationship dynamics? Do we get a choice between Triss, Yennefer and other women? Or is this choice out of the player’s control?

We want to continue in the vein of TW2, though I can’t tell you anything specific about the female companions that will appear in The Witcher 3 yet. We want to shape the relationships Geralt will have with various women in a mature way, that the player can feel a natural flow to the relation and at the same time still have different choices on how to approach this or that specific character. The romances will definitely not be linear.

9 – Charles Dance will be the Nilfgaardian emperor in the game. How did that come about? What traits did he bring to the game that another actor may not have been able to? Are there many Game of Thrones fans on the team?

When we were doing research on potential candidates to voice Emhyr var Emreis, Mr. Dance was always someone who came to mind. Each group of people that was consulted on the matter somehow ended up saying that we should try to reach out to him. So… we did. And he agreed to lend us his voice. As for the specific traits of his voice, what I personally like is its commanding tone. You hear a sentence and you immediately treat it as an order. This and the beautiful accent make him a splendid Emhyr! As for Game of Thrones, it’s a great show and it has a lot of fans in the studio.

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10 – Have any games or films influenced the design of this new world? Skyrim has been mentioned as a similar game but the choices in that game were essentially irrelevant in the end and while it had various regions like Wild Hunt, it never felt quite as alive as what I have seen in the trailers. Maybe that is just a well put together trailer?

Please mind that The Witcher is based on a series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski so it’s not like we had to invent the wheel for the second time. On one hand, Mr. Sapkowski leaves many blanks as for how things look like or behave, on the other, he provides a solid framework we use to keep everything together and deliver a very consistent and coherent world. Regarding the former, it’s very fortunate that he chose to do so as we have a lot of creative freedom as to how we choose to portray different monsters or locations. Also, we put a lot of Slavic heart into the game – I can’t be very specific since it would spoil the game but we’ll have some really unique moments that are deeply connected with mythologies unknown to many gamers. Other influences? Sure! Ranging from Conan the Barbarian to Game of Thrones, it’s hard not to compare yourself to things that leave a mark on you and that you really like.

11 – Lastly, can you tell us ANYTHING about Cyberpunk 2077. I mean, at all? Pretty please?

I’d love to, but that could anger the Psycho Squad representative pointing a gun at my back.

 

That Cyberpunk question was worth a try! The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is releasing for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One some time next year.
Thanks to CD PROJEKT RED for the opportunity and Producer Mikołaj Szwed for his participation.

 

Steam OS Announced

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Yes, you read that title right. After the teaser site that has been counting down to today, Valve finally came out and announced what the hell they were teasing. Steam OS is a Linux-based operating system for your living room.

The completely free OS was announced on Steam here. In addition to the announcement, Valve made a few pieces of information available to the public while still keeping that ambiguity that they still have a thing for! “Finally, you don’t have to give up your favorite games, your online friends, and all the Steam features you love just to play on the big screen. SteamOS, running on any living room machine, will provide access to the best games and user-generated content available.” What is meant by “any living room machine” is anyone’s guess, but could this be a gaming platform integrated into TVs and players?

“Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.”

The website says that if you turn on Steam and set up a game, the SteamOS device will stream your game to the big TV that you have! Cool, but kind of pointless after Big Picture mode and, you know, HDMIs and other cables which connect your PC to a screen…

“Watch for announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014. Access the full Steam catalog of over nearly 3000 games and desktop software titles via in-home streaming.”

No, it wasn’t the Steambox (yet) and also wasn’t Half Life, but is this a good enough announcement after all the hype? Let us know below.