Since the Fall 2012 release of the Wii U, Nintendo has been trying to convince gamers to make the switch from their tried-and-true PlayStation 3s, Xbox 360s and Wiis, for a new, shiny Wii U. The problem, those systems are already in gamers living rooms/dens and have a ton of good games, many still to come. It’s never safe to count Nintendo out, especially when you’re an long time fan of their mainstay franchises, and they’ve certainly taken a big step towards winning over gamers with today’s announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, a full-HD remake of the classic Nintendo Gamecube game. Unlike many HD ‘remakes’ release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which are little more than uprezzed versions of classic games, with little attention to detail given to updating the gameplay for a new audience, this appears to be a full remake. Think, if you will, the remake of Resident Evil released for the Gamecube, rather than the recent remake of Okami for the PlayStation 3. Both are terrific games, but the ideals behind the remakes are entirely different.
These screenshots are gorgeous. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is known for its bold and (at the time) divisive art style. Though it’s 10 years old, the original release holds up better graphically than games released five years afterwards. To see Nintendo giving such care and attention to the game makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. The bloom lighting is a little much, but I’m banking on the idea that it will look more organic and impressive during gameplay. I’m waiting anxiously for video of this remake.
Set 120 years in the future, the premise revolves around a plausible future Earth, one that has developed near space flight, but nothing much faster. The story opens with Earth discovering a signal from an alien life. This discovery kicks off something called the Morning Star protocol, an agreement that outlines what to do if alien intelligence is discovered. The research vessel MSRV-Joplin is outfitted with military weapons and sent to Saturn, where the signal is coming from, to explore.
It’s not so much an announcement, as knowledge of Scalzi’s involvement with the creation of a videogame has been floating around for a while, but this is the first concrete information about the title. Scalzi reports on the project:
As most of you know, for the last year or so I’ve been working on a video game with Industrial Toys, the new video game studio formed by former Bungie founder Alex Seropian. We’ve been quietly chugging along in the background putting the game together; my job has been working with them to create an overall game concept as well as the narrative that fits into that concept. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun, in no small part because my co-workers at Industrial Toys are some of the smartest and most creative people in the video game business.
As the trailer notes, the video game is a first-person shooter, but with a bit of a twist: It’s designed specifically for mobile gaming on tablets, which means that everything — gameplay, controls, story — was put together incorporating both the physical layout of tablets and the gameplay dynamic of mobile gaming. It’s not a port from another video game medium, in other words: It’s at home in mobile. Which is also very exciting.
Internet sleuths, generally being videogame enthusiasts on the side, have unearthed the first images of Destiny, the first game developed by Bungie since they handed the reins of the mega-popular Halo series to 343 Industries. While not gameplay or in-engine screenshots, this collection of concept art is gorgeous and gives fans a good idea of what they might expect from Destiny, an MMORPG for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Continue reading
As reported by several websites, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the second in a planned trilogy of games that will together form StarCraft II, is set for release in March, 2013, just a few months away. Polygon explains what fans have to look forward to in March:
Heart of the Swarm will be available at a suggested retail price of $39.99 both in stores and digitally from the official StarCraft 2 website. A collector’s Edition that includes digital and physical bonus items will also be available at select retail stores for $79.99. This includes a behind-the-scenes DVD and Blu-ray, a collector’s edition soundtrack, a hardcover art book and a Zerg Rush mousepad.
Users can receive both Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty from Battle.net for a discounted price of $59.99 — a 24 percent discount from its $79.98 price tag when purchased together.
Having not played the first in the StarCraft II trilogy (I guess?), the option of buying both games for sixty bucks is appealing, but it does chafe a bit to pay nearly full price for what is, ostensibly, the second/middle part of a game, regardless of how much content/how many missions are available in each ‘part.’ Just a matter of branding, though, I suppose. StarCraft: Wings of Liberty, StarCraft: Heart of the Swarm, and StarCraft: Legacy of the Void wouldn’t seem so bad, would it?
Art by Akira Toriyama
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The best news last week was that a 65 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as Conan the Barbarian in an upcoming film. The best news this week? Dragon Quest VII, a much debated and eternally long volume in the much-loved RPG series, will be coming to Nintendo 3DS early next year. In Japan.
Even the synopsis, taken from the original Playstation release, is charming:
You play the role of a 16 year old boy who lives in the village of Fishbell and aspires to be a great fisherman, like your father Borkano. Once The Hero and his friends Keifer and Maribell start exploring Estard Island, they discover that there used to be more to the world than just their small piece of land. The trio will have to collect ancient tablet shards and use them to revive the lost continents, uncover why they were lost, and who erased them to begin with.
This immediately leaps to the top of my list of most anticipated games. Based on the above scan, the release appears to be a full-on remake, much needed for one of the ugliest (if charming) games of all time. Though this has only been announced for a Japanese release, the previous Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest‘s 4-5 were well received in North America and sold respectably, suggesting that an announcement of an overseas release is likely an inevitability. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.