Posts Categorized: Videogames

Hyper Light Drifter by Heart Machine

Explore a beautiful, vast and ruined world riddled with unknown dangers and lost technologies. Inspired by nightmares and dreams alike.

Every so often, a project, whether it’s a book, a film, a videogame, or whatever, crosses my path and I can’t help but stop to stare. The first time I laid eyes on Hyper Light Drifter‘s protagonist, a nameless Drifter, lounging beside a pixel-perfect fire pit, I fell in love. When I read a description of the game’s ambitions, I knew it was true love. Hyper Light Drifter is a “2D Action RPG in the vein of the best 8-bit and 16-bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.”

“Miyazaki films have taught me that beautiful animation and design add life to a world,” described Hyper Light Drifter Lead Designer, Alex Preston in the game’s Kickstarter campaign. “From characters to background elements, everything is lovingly crafted while I hum show-tunes and squint suspiciously at the flickering pixels until they perform as intended.

“I want it all to be as beautiful as possible, forging color with the dark and eerie wastes and intimidating landscapes.”

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Nintendo Vs. Sega
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris

Buy Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris: Book/eBook

Seth Rogen, best known for those movies you either love or revile (there seems to be no middle ground) and longtime-collaborator, Evan Goldberg, are working on a film about the great Console Wars of the 1990s. Now you might be wracking your brain, trying to place the great Console Wars of the 90s, and how they resulted from the end of the Cold War and the Gulf War… but you’re overthinking it. We’re talking about the rivalry between Nintendo and Sega, two of the great videogame developers and publishers of that decade. Rogen and Goldberg acquired the rights to “Blake Harris’s Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, an upcoming behind-the-scenes oral history of the classic gaming industry battle,” explained Kwame Opam of The Verge, based on the original report from The Collider. Rogen and Goldberg provided a foreword for the book.

Hoping to follow in the steps of The Accidental Billionaires, which spawned Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, a semi-ficitonal biopics about the creation of Facebook, Harris’s Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation is “a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.” Scott Rudin, producer of The Social Network will serve as executive producer.

The big question is who Rogen will cast as the legendary, inestimable Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Japanese businessman who, as the third president of Nintendo, turned the company from a small playing card manufacturer in the ’50s into one of Japan’s most successful multi-billion dollar companies, and defining the childhood’s of millions of people worldwide in the process. Any videogame fan above the age of 25 lived through that golden age of the industry and likely knows how fascinating the industry was during the mid-90s, as it continued to recover from the devastating crash in the 70s and began planting the roots of what would eventually become the goliath we know today.

Unfortunately for Rogen, we all have the benefit of hindsight and know that the eventual winner (and objectively more awesome/superior) game console is Nintendo’s SNES. So, uhh… spoilers for the film, I guess?

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation is available on May 13, 2014. There is no release date for the film.

Game of Thrones by Telltale Games

Last month, I reported on a rumoured videogame adaptation of Game of Thrones by Adventure Game-kings Telltale Games. The developer, through CEO Dan Connors, confirmed the adaptation this week, indicating that it will be a
“multi-year, multi-title partnership” with Martin and HBO. The game(s) will be based on Game of Thrones, the television adaptation of Martin’s popular fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. The first release will be an episodic narrative-driven adventure similar to Telltale Games’ other successful videogames such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. It is unclear whether “multi-title” refers to these various episodes, or if Telltale Games has more in the works beyond this initial offering.

Polygon reports on the announcement made during VGX 2013:

Telltale Games’ agreement to make a Game of Thrones game based on the HBO television series will be a “multi-year, multi-title partnership,” according to a media release from the studio.

The collaboration between Telltale and HBO Global Licensing was confirmed during VGX 2013 when Telltale Games CEO Dan Connors said the studio will be taking advantage of all of George R.R. Martin’s fiction “to make something great.”

The official teaser trailer for the Game of Thrones videogame is available for viewing through Telltale Games’ official YouTube page. The first episode will release in 2014 for “home consoles, Windows PC, Mac and mobile devices.” Polygon has an interesting opinion piece about how Telltale Games might take Martin’s narrative and create a successful adventure game out of it. “Game of Thrones is filled with more characters to keep track of than nearly any other similarly popular franchise,” says Jonathon Dornbush. “Yet this scope doesn’t mesh with Telltale’s style to focus on a single main character or two and a core cast of secondary players. While Telltale could follow just one family or a single character’s plight, this choice would take away from the series’ signature style. If this is the case, it may be in Telltale’s best interests to tackle another fantasy franchise with far less baggage if they need to forsake Thrones’ main storytelling conceit.”

At this point, it’s safe to say that Martin’s creation has moved well beyond a book series and into the realm of licensing juggernaut. With revenues for these tangential ‘side’ projects possibly set to exceed that of book sales (if they don’t already), it’s uncomfortable to think about the idea that Game of Thrones might soon supersede A Song of Ice and Fire as the flagship Westeros entity as the popularity of the HBO adaptation continues to soar. At what point does this happen? And at what point does the divergence in canon between the show and the novels become and issue? Interesting times ahead for Martin and his friends.

persona-5-reveal

Ending several weeks of speculation (and a couple of years of wishful thinking and fervent hoping among fans), Atlus announced Persona 5, the latest installation in the long-running Japanese RPG series. “Persona 5 will launch for PlayStation 3 in Japan during winter 2014,” reports Polygon, followed by ‘three spin-off titles coming for various platforms.’

At this point, Atlus has only released a (traditionally) vague teaser trailer for Persona 5 highlighting the game’s early tagline: “You are a slave. Want emancipation?” Each of the recent Persona releases have also featured a predominant colour in their design, blue for Persona 3 and yellow for Persona 5, and it appears that the next game will heavily feature the colour red in its design.

NeoGAF user Duckroll has translated early reports from Dengeki (a Japanese videogame magazine), with some vague details about the game’s premise. “The setting of the chairs in the teaser is a highschool classroom,” Duckroll translates. “The theme of the game is about the emotion joy of being released after overcoming trials – hence the imagery of chairs and chains. The game will continue to be focused on school juvenile setting of the series, but the tone this time will be completely different.”

It’s interesting to note that Persona 5 has been announced for release on the PlayStation 3, rather than the recently-released PlayStation 4. Atlus, and the Persona series in particular, has a history of releasing instalments on legacy platforms. Persona 4 was released on the PlayStation 3 several months after the PlayStation 3 hit stores.

In addition to Persona 5 several other titles were announced. These spin-off titles include:

  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Nintendo 3DS), an Etrian Oddysey-style ‘dungeon crawler that brings the heroes of Persona 3 and Persona 4 together.’
  • Persona 4: Dancing All Night (PlayStation Vita), a ‘sound action game [where] players will be able to compete in “Battle Dances” against shadows.’
  • Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold (PlayStation 3), a sequel to Persona 4 Arena.

At the time of this article’s writing, there is no North American release date for Persona 5 or any of its spin-off titles.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

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.