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Super Bunnyhop talks about NieR, designer's ideas on the industry and politics that lead to NieR and Drakengard, the stage play, and what lead to a sequel. Night in the Woods creator and Carolyn Petit on "Does this have to be a game", new Overwatch character, how game design has to improve at representing darker skin tones, Newgrounds foretold indie experimentalism, beta news for Quake/Battletech/LawBreakers, Train Jam capturing magic of travel and development, Frog Fractions documentary, another Uncharted is unlikely, Narcissa Wright out of retirement, talks and games from GDC, SSFF looks at the history of Marvel vs Capcom, how games end and the progress of progress, rise of the talking simulator, the wide open spaces of Breath of the Wild, how Cities Skylines modders turned a hobby into a career, and more.




Gaming News (Announcements, release dates, previews, interviews, expansions, DLC, updates, company news, new tech, mods)


Indie Devs Are Taking Over: The 10 Hottest Indie Games From GDC 2017



Danny O’Dwyer’s favorite elements from 10 of the hottest upcoming indie games:

The 10 Best Games of GDC 2017


The annual Game Developers Conference is many things. A time to learn, a time for fellowship. A time to wake up drunk from attending yet another late night party. It’s also a time to demo the new games that will challenge and shape the mechanisms, tropes and themes that will inspire minds and infiltrate the mainstream in the years to come. In that vein, this year’s event did not disappoint. Here are our ten favorites from the show.

More GDC Games


Steel Division: Normandy 44 is a realistic WW2 RTS coming this year


The creators of Wargame and RUSE announce an all-new strategy game focused on division-level warfare.


'A Mortician's Tale' Has Something to Say About Death


Indie developer Laundry Bear on being inspired by the 'Death Positive' movement and using a game to teach us about accepting the inevitable


Watch us play Prey with the developers from Arkane


Raphael and Ricardo took us through the first hour and answered your questions along the way.


Ion, the space survival game by Dean Hall and Improbable, is dead



There is no bigger stage to announce a video game on than a platform holder's E3 press conference, and in 2015, Dean Hall, creator of DayZ, stepped onto Microsoft's stage to announce his new game Ion.


Preside over court cases during the Reign of Terror in Polyslash’s We The Revolution



Outside of Assassin’s Creed and some strategy games, the French Revolution is woefully underrepresented as a time period within videogames. With intrigue, social upheaval and all those heads being chopped off, it ticks all the boxes for a great potential setting. Polyslash are attempting to shed more light on the French Revolution, with their judicial simulator We The Revolution.


RPG Codex Preview: No Truce with the Furies



The line between lunacy and genius is an indistinct one, and strange and wonderful things emerge from those that live on it. Somewhere on that line, in a Northerly port city besieged by fog and the grey nothingness of the pale, a fiercely dedicated group of udarniks toil to bring into the world their vision: a computer role-playing game based on the most advanced role-playing system in the known universe, worldbuilding like Tolkien’s but better, destined for success so great its auteur Robert Kurvitz will buy the Star Wars and Planet of the Apes franchises, merge them, tell the fandom to pick the Jedi ape they want to be now, bitches, and finish his day with the immediate dismantling of the State. All this in time for the centenary of the Great October Revolution.


These new Agony trailers show demons behaving (very) badly


I'm really looking forward to the first-person survival-horror game Agony, even thought I'm still not entirely clear what it's all about. The new gameplay trailer released today doesn't to much to clarify things: The player, who is in control of a powerful demon, strides across the icky surface of Hell in search of the Red Goddess, who possesses the only means of escape.


Mass Effect: Andromeda's Exploration trailer highlights 'the heart' of the game


Exploration and discovery are what it's all about.

The First 13 Minutes of Mass Effect Andromeda (4K 60fps) - IGN First


The beginning of your journey in Mass Effect Andromeda begins here.

Kumail Nanjiani as Jarun Tann


We sat down with Kumail Nanjiani to hear what it’s like voicing Andromeda’s salarian politician, Jarun Tann. Beneath Tann’s high-handed commands, his insecurity becomes clear.

Check out Mass Effect: Andromeda's 'Golden Worlds' in this new trailer


One of these planets will eventually be your new home.

Mass Effect: Andromeda won’t be getting a multiplayer betaMass Effect Andromeda: Exploration and Discovery Trailer


“While we will have live multiplayer at PAX East, there will no longer be a multiplayer tech test for players at home. Thank you to everyone who signed up. We look forward to seeing you in Andromeda.”

Mass Effect: Andromeda features over 100 planets, but only ‘a handful’ can be explored


Unique characters and quests await on each explorable world

Mass Effect Andromeda: How To Skip Multiplayer Missions And Still Get Rewarded


Mass Effect: Andromeda's multiplayer missions, which reward you with items and XP that carry over to the main game, are skippable--but you can still grab some rewards.

Mass Effect: Andromeda multiplayer maps will be free


BioWare has also revealed more about how the single and multiplayer components will work together.


Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds launches May 16 in North America, May 19 in Europe



Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds will launch both physically and digitally for PS Vita on May 16 in North America and May 19 in Europe, publisher Idea Factory International announced. The game will be compatible with PlayStation TV.


The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III introduces prologue, first characters



The latest issues of Weekly Famitsu and Dengeki PlayStation have four-page and six-page features on The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, respectively.


Murder time! Danganronpa V3 PC release confirmed


That rapscallion robot bear Monokuma is at it again, imprisoning more schoolchildren in a school and forcing them to play a life-and-death game of murder and mystery-solving in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony [official site]. Developers Spike Chunsoft have now confirmed that yup, the next in their adventure-o-visual novel will indeed be coming to PC too. While past Danganronpa PC versions have followed a while after their western console releases, this one will arrive on the very same day: September 26th. Peep this trailer:


Persona 5 ‘Sizzle’ trailer


Anticipated RPG less than a month away.

Persona 5 - 15 Minutes of ENGLISH GAMEPLAY


Phil takes Griffin on a quick tour through the first dungeon of Persona 5 and spills early details on this anticipated new RPG.


God Wars: Future Past delayed to June 20 in North America, June 16 in Europe



NIS America confirms western delay.





Nidhogg 2 seems like it has the potential to offer the same kind of experience. It’s structurally identical: two players fight to the death as they try to make a run for their finish line at either end of a multi-screen level. But while the first Nidhogg embraced a graceful minimalism, Nidhogg 2 is going for more: more weapons, more levels, more backdrops, more sound, more color, more detail, and loads more violence.


One of the best, weirdest visual novels is finally coming West



The acclaimed 428 gets English debut


Kalypso turns its attention to railroad sims with Railway Empire



It's been a decade since the last entry in Railroad Tycoon — the series that practically made the word "tycoon" into its own games genre — and, as I was told, Simon Hellwig figured that was long enough. The Kalypso co-founder and president wanted one, if not for business purposes, then at least for himself.


English Blue Reflection trophies surface



English PlayStaiton 4 and PS Vita trophies for Blue Reflection: Sword of the Girl Who Dances in Illusions have surfaced on Exophase.


Voodoo Vince Remastered is coming to the PC in April


The "quirky puzzle platformer" Voodoo Vince was originally released in 2003 for the Xbox, and an Xbox-exclusive it remained, having never been made compatible with the 360. Last fall, however, Microsoft revealed that a remastered version was being developed by Beep Industries for the Xbox One and PC, and today the studio announced an April 18 launch date and released a new trailer showcasing its work.


Channeling the 1970s in The Church in the Darkness



Starring A-list voice talent and a AAA developer pedigree, this upcoming 'action infiltration' game pits the player against a fictionalized Jonestown.


The Battletech backer beta and launch target have been pushed back



Senior producer Chris Klimecky said Harebrained made two big decisions heading into the planned beta launch that had a bigger impact on the process than expected: It opted to make "desperately needed" upgrades to its development infrastructure, and it moved to the latest version of the Unity engine. Neither went smoothly: The infrastructure upgrade caused issues that led to delays in getting new versions of the game built and tested, and while the Unity upgrade improved its performance, it also "broke a lot more of our systems than anticipated."


Styx: Shards of Darkness trailer shows off co-op kills


Cyanide Studio’s stinky goblin stealth sequel Styx: Shards of Darkness [official site] nicely polishes ideas of the first game, our Adam thought after he played a preview version, but there’s one new feature he didn’t get to touch: co-op.


Dawn of War 3 is a best-of mashup of Warhammer 40k



Among the many things that might wake you up in the morning – coffee, cigarettes, aggressive thrash metal – nothing really comes close to being chased by a towering Space Marine Titan, spewing out fire and bullets in a wanton display of horrifying aggression as pitiful Orks scatter and flee. Dawn of War 3’s [official site] invigorating multiplayer is like a shot of adrenaline, blood-pumping, loud and messy.

Dawn of War 3 multiplayer hands-on: tough, complicated, spectacular


Online is where Dawn of War 3 gets serious.

Dawn of War 3 release date set, pre-orders detailed with trailer


Answer the call of duty this April.

Dawn of War 3 Full Faction Overview


We've played all three factions extensively now. Here what we think of each overall in terms of their units, heroes and abilities.

Dawn of War 3 - 8 Minutes of Intense Multiplayer Action


See the brutal, first-ever footage of Dawn of War 3's unique multiplayer skirmishes, with some truly epic battles.


'Tacoma' Makes Space Feel Personal



The newest game by ‘Gone Home’ creator Fullbright gives you room to breathe in a setting with no oxygen.


Outlast 2 is coming in April


Unfortunately, the disc-based Outlast Trinity is not coming to PC.


9 new things in Middle-earth: Shadow of War


With Middle-earth: Shadow of War officially announced, Johnny has gone through the trailer to pull out nine new things coming to Middle-earth: Shadow of War.


Slowly, quietly: Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 delayed again



Patience is key when sniping so if you aren’t prepared for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 [official site] to be delayed time after time then it’s probably not a game for you anyway. CI Games today announced they’re bumping the stealthy first-person shooter back from April 4th to April 25th. Why the delay? Because they want to make the game better, obvs. Following feedback from their beta test, they’ve decided three weeks of tweaking would do it good. In the meantime, hey, Sniper Elite 4 is quite fun and only came out a few weeks back.


Premature Evaluation: For The King



Death comes easily to the intrepid hex explorer. If you’re lucky, you’ll just get a quick bandit axe in the forehead. But if you’re like me, only the most scurrilous death will do. In a poison bog surrounded by old swamp hags, for example. Or deep underground at the hands of deranged cultists and their bat minions. These are just some of the ways you can (will) die in For The King, a shiny and modern-looking RPG that nevertheless retains a good and ancient heart. And by that I mean it has absolutely no qualms about murdering you.


2Dark trailer sneaks out ahead of next week's release


It's set in a city named Gloomywood. It's not a happy place.


Colourful Wii oddity de Blob coming to PC next month



Restore colour to a miserably grey city.


This Isn't An Operating System, It's An RPG


In Kingsway, Andrew Morrish’s upcoming PC role-playing game, monsters are pop-ups, quests are emails and your backpack is a cluttered file folder. That’s right, it’s an OSRPG.


LawBreakers smashes into closed beta this month



I don’t know if LawBreakers [official site] is trying to conjure up images of Judas Priest and The Clash with a name like that, rock ‘n’ roll rebels, but I’ll always think of those two cranks sick of jaywalkers. But if you want to see more of the upcoming multiplayer FPS from Boss Key, the new studio founded by Cliff Bleszinski of Unreal Tournament and Jazz Jackrabbit fame, you can sign up for the closed beta which starts March 16th.


On the spattered line: Quake Champions beta signups


Beta signups have opened for Quake Champions [official site], the next rocketjumping, gibspraying multiplayer shooter from id Software. Champions brings in the modern ‘hero’ strand of shootybangs, giving each character “unique attributes and abilities”, and I’m interested to see how that works out. We already have two decades of Quakes doing minor variations on the near-perfect Quake formula so sure, go on, give it the ol’ twisteroo and show us what you’ve got. Oh, yes, a new trailer is a good start:


The First 23 Minutes Of Nier: Automata


The first 23 minutes of the Square Enix and PlatinumGames action RPG, Nier: Automata. Nier Automata is the sequel to the 2010 title, Nier, and takes place in the Drakenguard universe.

Nier Automata Lets Players Buy PSN Trophies With In-Game Money


Players looking to snag a platinum trophy for Nier: Automata will have an easier time after a few playthroughs. Trophies will be available for purchase using currency collected in game.


Zero Escape director teases next project



We don’t know what it is, but we want it now


System Shock remaster gets unsettling new gameplay trailer, switches to Unreal 4 engine


Nightdive Studios are showing off a bit more of their faithful recreation of the original System Shock, and it’s starting to look very nice indeed.


Lucasfilm issues informal cease and desist order to fan-made Indiana Jones remake



Another day, another promising player-made remake of a big-budget developer's game gets shut down. Hardly surprising nowadays, but it's always a shame to see such ventures being forced to close—especially when being distributed for free. The Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis Special Edition project is the latest to bite the dust, after its creators were "politely" asked by Lucasfilm to cease development of their ambitious remake.


Riot Risks Stifling Creativity In League By Banning Players With Unconventional Strategies



Last week, a player who goes by “Take the Draw” in League of Legends was handed a 14-day ban. The punishment wasn’t because of the champion they played, but the way they were playing it—and now, Riot risks setting a precedent for how you have to play the game.


New Overwatch hero Orisa introduced


New tank hero joins the cast of Overwatch

Overwatch Team Will Roll Back Bastion’s Unpopular Buff


Earlier this week, Overwatch’s Bastion buff went live and, as usual, the sky fell. Players were so devastated about the changes, and so vocal, that the game’s director Jeff Kaplan just said he’d roll them back, a little consolingly. But two days post-patch, did players really have enough time to develop workable strategies to counter the apparent monster?

Overwatch patch 1.9 notes - new tank hero Orisa, Bastion nerf, Zarya nerf, and more


Overwatch patch 1.9 is now live on the PTR. The headline news, of course, is a slight rollback on the controversial Bastion buff, as well as the introduction of Orisa, a new Tank hero. Zarya's also on the nerfing block. Read on for more.

Orisa abilities list: here's what Overwatch's new tank can do


A big, long-range gun and a mini-Zarya ult are among the highlights of the latest Overwatch challenger.

Orisa skins: here are all the looks for Overwatch's newest hero


The robotic tank looks rad in carbon fiber.

Blizzard Talks About How They Came Up With Overwatch's New Hero, Orisa


Overwatch’s newest hero, Orisa, isn’t what you’d call, er, typical. She’s a quadrupedal robo-tank with horns, and she kinda came out of nowhere. In creating her, Blizzard faced some unique challenges.

Overwatch Players Are Abusing Custom Games To Farm XP


Overwatch’s new custom game browser has given rise to everything from tense “predator” games of cat and mouse to sex role-play rooms. Good times all around, in other words. Other players, however, have taken to abusing the feature.


Battlefield 1’s They Shall Not Pass DLC detailed: 4 new maps, French army, Frontlines


You can watch the new trailer above, which gives us a bit of historical insight into the reason EA decided to settle on the name they chose for the DLC.


Ubisoft announce free PVP update for Ghost Recon Wildlands, alongside its season pass


Ahead of its March 7 launch, Ubisoft have revealed its post launch plans for Ghost Recon Wildlands. This includes details on the game’s season pass, alongside an upcoming free PVP update.

Ghost Recon Wildlands' portrayal of Bolivia prompts government complaint


The French embassy has yet to respond to or comment on the complaint, but already this conversation highlights one of the potential, albeit rare, issues game developers can face when their fictitious game world overlap with reality.


Naughty Dog: Another Uncharted After The Lost Legacy Is Unlikely



During our recent cover story trip for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, we chatted with various members of Naughty Dog about its award-winning franchise. While at the studio, the team reiterated it is done with Nathan Drake, feeling it had wrapped up his story perfectly and to open it back up would be a disservice to Uncharted 4. But is it done with the series, or is The Lost Legacy an attempt to see if it can be successful without Drake?


No Man’s Sky’s next update is imminent, adds a planetary vehicle



The next content update for No Man's Sky, the Path Finder Update, will be released this week, developer Hello Games announced today.


Leak suggests Ninja and Centurion are coming in For Honor's first DLC release



Picture posted online may have revealed the first DLC heroes.


Meet Heroes of the Storm's newest character, Probius


The small drone is looking to make a big difference


Some YouTubers Are Overjoyed That Maker Studios Is Firing Them


“The only time I ever got good tech service was when my contract was about to expire,” Mason told me, a claim I’ve heard echoed from several Maker partners. “I thought I was the only one, but just about everyone I know from Maker is saying they’re excited that it’s over.”


Feud between G2A and Tiny Build sparks up during GDC panel



Moderator tries to calm the room amid accusations of money laundering


Wargaming CEO accepts blame, vows renewed focus on World of Tanks



World of Warships and other studios will be allowed to find their own path to success


SEGA and Creative Assembly acquire Crytek Black Sea, forming Creative Assembly Sofia



In a strategic expansion of the growing UK game developer, SEGA and Creative Assembly have announced the formation of a new studio under the Creative Assembly banner. Following the acquisition of 60 person, Bulgaria-based studio Crytek Black Sea, Creative Assembly have now set up a new studio named Creative Assembly Sofia.


Riot awarded $10 million in Leaguesharp lawsuit settlement



The League of Legends studio has also been granted control of all Leaguesharp websites.

Riot Games accuses Arizona man of trafficking stolen League of Legends accounts


League of Legends maker cracks down in federal court again


Nintendo says the Switch outsold the Wii at launch


Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the biggest stand-alone launch title

Switch Owners Report Hardware Problems, Though It's Tough To Tell How Many


With every new console launch comes a suite of hardware issues, and the Switch is no exception. People who bought Nintendo’s hybrid console say they’re running into all sorts of problems, ranging from big (crashes) to small (dead pixels).

Nintendo Flags YouTuber For Using Switch Sound


YouTubers who feature Nintendo games and products have long had issues YouTube’s controversial Content ID system, and Nintendo’s aggressive usage of that system is already impacting how YouTubers cover games on the Switch. Recently, a YouTuber had their video flagged by YouTube’s Content ID system over a sound effect from a Switch launch game.

Nintendo awarded $9.5M in case against flashcart distributor


Newsbrief: Nintendo has been awarded $12.76 million CAD, roughly $9.5 million USD, by a Canadian court following a legal dispute with Go Cyber Shopping and Jeramie King, who the Mario-maker accused of violating its copyright through the distribution of devices that could copy and store illegally obtained games for Nintendo devices.


Fan-Made Mother 4 Is No Longer 'Mother 4'



Mother 4, the long-awaited fan-made sequel to Mother 3, will be rebranding after several high profile DMCA takedowns of other fan games.


How two Cities: Skylines modders turned hobbyist work into life-changing careers



A road to full-time development, rediscovering art and battling depression.


Halo 5 Skee Ball Games Keep Getting Better



People have made all kinds of things inside Halo 5 using the game’s Forge mode, but Skee Ball seems to have a special place in the hearts and minds of the game’s players.


How the Cemu emulator's devs got Zelda: Breath of the Wild running in just a few hours



And some early answers about the long, long road to fully playable compatibility.


Esports News


Dota 2's Kiev Major gets its first contenders



Valve chooses the eight teams worthy of a direct invite.


The Weekend In Esports: Counter-Strike Pros Light Up Poland



The final weekend of the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland is upon us. Don’t miss as Astralis look to continue as the best team in Counter-Strike and the best teams clash from across the world in Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II.


Astralis Maintain Dominant Streak With Win In Katowice



Champions of the most recent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major, Astralis chalked up another tournament win today in Katowice, Poland at the Intel Extreme Masters, defeating FaZe 3-1.


StarCraft Pro Topples Number One Player To Win IEM Katowice Championships



Jun “TY” Tae Yang doesn’t have the illustrious career of many other StarCraft pros. Despite playing the game for a decade, since the age of 12, Jun had never won a premier event until January. Today, at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, Jun took his second-ever first place finish at a premier, besting the top player in the world to do so.


Dota 2 Teams, Tournament Organizer, And Production Staff Say They're Being Stiffed



Several Dota 2 teams that participated in last November’s Northern Arena BEAT Invitational have yet to see their prize money from the tournament, and the tournament organizer and event production staff say they haven’t been paid for their services either.


Pro Esports Team Analyst Caught Betting On His Own Team's Matches, Which Is Somehow Legal



Esports was rocked earlier this week when Ad Finem’s team analyst Allen Cook sent out a casual tweet saying that he’d placed bets on the outcome of the Boston Major Dota 2 tournament. Specifically, Cook bet on both his own team and another team, OG, because (he said) he believed that AF and OG were highly likely to place first and second in the tournament. He ended up being right: OG placed first and Ad Finem placed second, resulting in some significant winnings for Cook. Specifically, he won 1,110.15£ in total. That’s $1358.32 in US dollars.


Piglet Takes Over Team Liquid Mid Role In Push To Reach League Playoffs



Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin is one of the most well-known marksman players in League. Having won the Season 3 World Championships on Korean team SK Telecom T1, he’s proved himself as one of the best in his role—now, he’s defining his position in a new lane.


Team Wins In League Series Despite Picking A Bug-Ridden Champion



During last week’s North American League of Legends Championship Series matches, FlyQuest drafted a Mordekaiser pick for their marksman player Johnny “Altec” Ru. It was a potent pick for the team in their match against Envy, winning both games in FlyQuest’s 2-1 victories.


Stadium Concepts in Esports



As the Las Vegas Sun recently announced, a new Esports Arena will launch in the city of Las Vegas this March, adding to the multitude of local entertainment options. Building physical stadiums is one of many approaches to creating physical links for esports fans. Esports being largely digital is a problem for teams, organizers and fans alike, as local connections tend to create stronger emotional environments, opportunities for merchandise and food sales, and facilitate closer ties to teams. While sports teams traditionally represent a single city, this hasn’t been the case in esports, leaving many fans unsure about their options and consequently disloyal.


Crowdfunding News




“Greetings Earthling! Welcome to the greatest competition of the universe: the Intergalactic Antegods Tournament! Where pilots from around the galaxy battle in their giant Stonepunk mechs to prove who's the sharpest and smartest!"


Content I found interesting this week (interviews, reviews, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, criticism, etc)


The Secret Shame of Steam Cheaters That Lasts Seven Years



"At first, the shaming sucked," he said. "Then, it started to become hilarious as people would get so flustered and could not accept any reason that someone would beat them or be better than them. People shut up quickly when you pointed out the fact that the VAC ban was older than their accounts."


Horizon Zero Dawn Players Are Using Photo Mode To Take Some Killer Pictures



For those who haven’t tried it, Horizon’s photo mode lets you tinker with pretty much everything: angles, depth of field, aperture, brightness, color, time of day (!), and more. You can even add a fancy vignette, border, or logo if you want. On social media, players are starting to share how they’re making use of the tool, and the early shots are damn beautiful. Here’s a taste.

'Horizon Zero Dawn' Star Ashly Burch on Her Voice Acting Heroes and Playing Aloy


From the looks of it, Horizon is primed to be a success. What’s it like to give a voice to a character that will end up being really important to a lot of people? Is there a responsibility that comes with that?

Yes, holy hell. When I auditioned for Horizon initially, I didn’t realize it was going to be such a big game or such an important game. But as soon as I realized that this was a beautiful, massive open-world game that Sony is really putting their weight behind… and that most open-world games give you a choice between a gender, and that Aloy was the only protagonist option, I felt an incredible responsibility. I think the industry is shifting, especially since Gamergate. We’re more aware of representation and more companies are shifting practices to include more women and people of color. But it’s still slow-going. Horizon is a big push, and I really wanted Aloy to feel like a character that was memorable for personal reasons, but that nobody would be able to write off for being a woman and that any sensitive Gamergate dude could play without having any complaints.

Horizon Zero Dawn's Little Details Are Polished And Well-Styled


The new PS4 game Horizon Zero Dawn does a lot of big stuff well. Literal big stuff, like robots the size of buildings. It also nails a lot of small things. Amazing leg animations, sure, but also things that more directly affect how it feels to play the game.


When Miyamoto First Played Zelda: Breath of the Wild, He Wouldn't Stop Climbing Trees



Nintendo creative maestro Shigeru Miyamoto is a genius. He’s generally considered to be the greatest game developer of all time. And, just like you and me, all he wants to do is climb trees.

Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Gets Video Game Collectibles Right


At first, I found Korok seeds purely by accident. One time, for example, I saw a tall mountain looming massively in the distance. Nothing about it looked out of the ordinary, really—it was a mountain range, there was plenty of terrain just like it. But I got that itch, that strange, inexplicable desire to scale it, just to see if I could. I wanted to test out the limits of Link’s stamina. I wanted to test the boundaries of what the game would allow, wanted to see if would truly give me the freedom to do something completely unnecessary, just because the mechanics were available to me.

'Breath of the Wild' Solves Zelda’s Wacky Pacing Problems


This is Zelda as a self-directed study, not a didactic course.


Torment: Tides of Numenera is beautifully detailed



The more you look, the more there is to see.


The Genie Level In Aladdin Is Unadulterated Disney Magic



Disney is at its best when it abandons pretense. Every great Disney animated film has that moment when the wheels come a bit loose. A big burst of creative energy threatens to derail the whole production with its absurdity. Aladdin’s go-for-broke moment is “Friend Like Me,” the musical sequence where Genie introduces himself to Aladdin in the Cave of Wonders. In Capcom’s 1993 Disney’s Aladdin for the SNES, this moment comes to life in a video game, and in one level in particular.


Hey Video Games, What’s the Problem with Dicks?



Thankfully, developers are finally overcoming an aversion to nobs, with a handful of titles now providing wobbly wang fun and frolics.


Frustration Can Improve Video Games, Designer Found



Last week, Duelyst designer John Treviranus gave a talk on frustration during the “Lost Levels” micro-conference that takes place in the park next to GDC every year. He said his big takeaway from working on Duelyst, which mashes up turn-based tactics and trading card games, is that people sometimes want to be mad, and game designers should take advantage of that. Intrigued by the idea, I decided to ask Treviranus a few questions. Because it’s me, we also talked about Overwatch.


For Hidden Folks Designer Adriaan de Jongh, Games Are About People



You only need to play Hidden Folks for a few minutes to discover how blissfully joyful it is. Similar to the popular Where’s Wally / Waldo? puzzle books, it has you scan hand-drawn landscapes to find certain characters and objects hidden inside. The task gets harder as the size of the canvas grows and becomes more densely populated, moving from jungles to farmlands and eventually bustling cities. It’s not always enough to use your eyes, however, as the game makes use of its interactive format to better hide its targets: tents need to be opened, trees shaken and treasures dug up.

Building thousands of tiny interactions into Hidden Folks


Visual puzzle game Hidden Folks has been compared to the Where’s Waldo? books a number of times since it came out in February for Steam and iOS. It makes sense: both task you with scanning large 2D scenes crowded with people to find a hidden target. But the comparison fails to acknowledge how much design work was required to take the Where’s Waldo? format and turn it into a compelling video game.


Meet the World's Most-Watched 'Hearthstone' Streamer Octavian 'Kripparrian' Morosan



He also feels that his simple, human regard for his audience sets him apart. "I actually respect the people who watch me," he says. Unlike other Hearthstone personalities, he never limits his chat to channel subscribers, and he doesn't clutter his broadcast with donation pop-ups or chintzy overlays. "My goal is to be as respectful and thankful to every viewer that comes and watches. And I think over a long period of time, the people that stick around are the ones who realize that."


Train Jam perfectly captures the magic of both traveling and game dev



Thus it was that Adriel Wallick, doyenne and major domo of the jam for the last four years, settled on “Unexpected Anticipation” as the theme for all of this year’s games. She spoke above the cheers of a 300-strong crowd in the newly refurbished Burlington Room of Chicago’s Union Station, christened by the opening ceremonies for this unique event.  For the first time, this eclectic bunch of game developers would have the train entirely to themselves, with Amtrak’s enthusiastic blessing.

Two Minutes With 10 Train Jam Games at GDC 2017


There are a lot of AAA game developers haunting the halls of Moscone Center every spring looking for fresh gamer blood to harvest, but if you ask me, GDC is for the indies.


The For Honor community is divided over what honor really means



You might think that the three-way battle between Vikings, Knights, and Samurai is as deep as the conflict gets in For Honor, but on its forums and subreddits, there's another war brewing. While swords clash on the virtual battlefield, lively discussions are happening across forums and subreddits about whether or not combatants in Ubisoft's fighting game should adhere to an imaginary code of ethics. For the hardcore players, the subject of exactly what 'honor' means in For Honor is of absolute importance, and it's an argument that cuts straight to some of For Honor's questionable systems.


Speedrunners Compete To See Who Can Beat Samurai Pizza Cats And Other NES Games The Fastest



Speedrunner Coolkid, aka DaBiGBoOi, won this weekend’s sixth ever Best of NES Big 20 Race, a competition in which players see who can finish a bunch of old NES games the fastest. His time? 2:44:11.


Famous Speedrunner Narcissa Wright Is Back From Retirement, But Still Worried About Health


Breath of the Wild is an exciting game for speedrunning, inspiring attempts before the game was released and early world records. The game’s unique structure and pace is now bringing famous speedrunner Narcissa Wright out of retirement.

Narcissa Wright is a speedrunner best known for her work on games like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. In 2014, she completed Ocarina of Time in 18 minutes, ten seconds. It was a world record at the time and thought to be unbeatable, although many glitches since then have allowed other runs to surpass it.


There’s No Reason for 'No Russian' to Exist in ‘Modern Warfare 2’



As a marketing tool, it was effective. But as a coherent part of the game, it's a failure and a waste of time.


Thief: tense narrative through level design and mechanics



Recently, I've had the chance to showcase my analytical work and poster on Thief: The Dark Project at the 2017 Game Developers Conference as part of the Game Narrative Review Competition, in which I was named a Gold Winner. Essentially, what I did is that I fully expounded to attendees the ludonarrative nuances and elements that made Looking Glass's magnum opus such a consummate example of environmental storytelling.


The Balance of Power: Progression and Equilibrium in Real-Time Strategy Games



It is my contention that the “traditional” model of RTS design contains some inherent or baked-in features which provide players with incredible autonomy, but ultimately drives a very steep slippery slope or “snowball” curve that can erode the quality of gameplay. In this article I will attempt to address what I see as the strengths and weaknesses of common themes in real-time strategy base and economy management, and attempt to identify aspects of a variety of games I see as ultimately the most empowering and engaging for players. And hopefully, I will be able to explain why I feel this is important.


Hollow Knight's charming art sets the bar for hand drawn games



The indie metroidvania is one of the best looking platformers in years.


How things end



Alexis Kennedy on the progress of progress.

It's 1978. You're standing in front of a cabinet of monsters. This is Space Invaders, and you'll fight the monsters until your space-craft is irredeemably compromised. Once that happens, the game will end. Once that happens, you'll begin again, with the world wiped clean. Every game always ends. Nothing remains between games but high scores, memories and finger grease.


Why math is strangling videogame morality



Too many games still reduce their most important decisions to a number.

When I played Ultima IV as a kid, there was an element of mystery to it, by which I mean my friends and I had no clue what was going on. We took turns being in control and arguing over how best to live up to the eight virtues of honesty—compassion, justice, sacrifice, spirituality, valor, humility, and honor—necessary to adopt the mantle of the Avatar. That's a hell of a thing to ask a group of 12-year-olds.


Nintendo Flashback: The Disastrous Power Glove



It could never actually do what the ads promised, but it still became a geek touchstone for the Eighties


How one man lost over 50 pounds playing a VR game



Fitness isn't the most advertised use for VR, but Telltale's Job Stauffer says it saved his life.


Narrative Sorcery: Coherent Storytelling in an Open World

Creating Interactive Film Scripts For 3D Adventures With Ink

Snap to Character: Building Strong Player Attachment Through Narrative

Designing System Driven Dialogue in Mafia III

The Freedom Fallacy: Why A Precise Understanding of Player Autonomy Matters

Systems Make Statements: Simulations and Intentional Design


Breathing life into Seaman



Yoot Saito recalls swimming against the stream with his seminal Dreamcast aquarium life simulator


Tips for writing better marginalized characters


Treachery in Beatdown City developer Shawn Alexander Allen offers advice for well-intentioned creators


Unreal’s updated VR editor is set to launch on April 17


Following its massive Unreal Engine presentation at GDC 2017, Epic Games has announced that its new VR editor for Unreal 4 is set to launch on April 17. This editor is designed specifically for creating VR worlds, allowing designers to use the full creation toolset of Unreal 4 while wearing a VR headset.


Oregon Trail creator wants to see game reimagined from the Native American perspective



Early in the panel, Rawitsch spoke about how the popular stereotype of Native Americans from Western movies as savages who would attack innocent travelers was historically inaccurate. In his research while working on Oregon Trail — which included reading dozens of diaries of travelers who made the journey west — he discovered that it was much more common for Native Americans to offer aid and information to any travelers they encountered.


Remembering the Identity Crisis of Licensed Video Games, Through the Lens of ‘Alien 3’



If you wanted to play the events of the movie, you had two main choices—and neither of them was really “right”.


The awful thing that happens to you at the start of Resident Evil 7 was almost much, much worse



Director Koshi Nakanishi shares the bloody secrets of Capcom’s horror reboot at GDC.


Black Skin Is Still A Radical Concept in Video Games



Over the past few years, there has been notable improvement to the range of representation in games. Last year alone saw two separate big-budget titles featuring black protagonists, Mafia 3 and Watch Dogs 2-an embarrassment of riches, compared with the last few decades. As we begin to see more characters in games who resemble us and more developers taking the time to think about us, a question worth asking is: How well do games visually represent black people and others with darker skin tones? The clues to begin answering this are situated in the history of film, a medium to which games owe much of their visual aesthetic.


‘Night in the Woods’ Is Soulful, Empathetic, and Too Real



The new game about a young college drop-out’s return to her struggling hometown hits very close to the mark.

"Does this Have to be a game"

Falling Upwards: Gravity Rush as guide for the complex intersections of women’s lives



Kat isn’t always a great protagonist but I really like her. I like how she has real world problems like finding a place to sleep and aesthetic decisions about her bedroom. Gravity Rush is a complicated matrix of lines, a graph of intersecting realities. It doesn’t let the player play peacefully. Its always agitating. I am falling headfirst towards the sky in my sepia toned anime with my galaxy colored cat. But I’m also thinking about that quest where I found out about the man who has been stalking me. The game made me forgive him. Apparently Kat should have payed more attention to him. I reach the zenith in the open air far above the city which from this angle is the sky. An endpoint, finishing off the line. A strange town situated on a strange line.


In Praise of the Impressive Impatience of ‘Nier: Automata’



Most role-playing games tease their stories over tens of hours, giving away nothing in the opening few. Not here.


As CRT Supplies Vanish the Classic Arcade Machine is Virtually Dead



The classic arcade cabinet will soon be all but extinct. The niche market of manufacturing CRT televisions has officially hit a wall and the experience of playing a classic arcade game as it was originally intended will be a very rare thing in the near future.


How Flash Games and Newgrounds Foretold Today’s Indie Experimentalism



The Flash games I played were creative, weird, and often incredibly subversive, not unlike our current indie ecosystem.





Ben (@perplamps) here, writing during the fourth hour of our plane ride back across the country. We’re coming back from the Game Developers Conference, which is a huge all-week event in San Francisco where people in the game dev community run talks, show off their games, schedule a billion meetings, and go to way too many parties.

I figured I’d do a bit of a recap of our experience and some random post-GDC thoughts since it was Rebecca’s and my first ever GDC (and she’s asleep)!


Battlefield 1's voice actors played catch with cinderblocks while recording their lines


War—and probably World War I in particular—is hell. A cozy, insulated recording studio in Stockholm, Sweden is not hell. How does Battlefield 1 developer DICE get its voice actors to capture the adrenaline and arduousness of war?


‘Breath of the Wild’ is the Zelda Adventure I've Always Wanted



With a focus on exploration and experimentation, the Nintendo Switch's most important launch title is my favorite game in years.


How Torbjörn became the art inspiration for all of Overwatch



Blizzard's artistic direction began with tradition, tech camels, and the turret-building dwarf.


Zelda on Switch runs more smoothly in portable mode


In terms of performance, it's immediately clear to the naked eye that the docked Zelda stutters in places where the mobile experience does not - and to confirm this, we manually counted frames by eye based on our camera shots to ensure accuracy in producing the performance test below. It's really easy to isolate this issue as it occurs frequently in the open world, right from the beginning of the game. In some places, we see the smooth 30fps update while docked drop down to a momentary 20fps - confirming a basic double-buffer v-sync implementation.


'Spelunky' Is Obsessed With Death



'Spelunky' is a game that is fundamentally about dying in interesting and spectacular ways


The Invaluable Rise of the Talking Simulator



Charting the rise of one of gaming's most important genres.


Eleven Essential Books that will help shape your Game City



Designing an imaginary city is not an easy thing to do. Even less so when it’s a videogame city, the construction of which will also have to take a myriad of technical and cost constraints into consideration. Still, one has to start from some place when one has to build a city, and should one honestly desire to come up with a believable, functional, and thus also immersive urban environment, I do suggest one starts by taking the time and reading the books I’m about to suggest.


Developing Crashlands while facing a terminal cancer diagnosis



In 2013, the 23-year-old game artist and developer Samuel Coster hallucinated a dragon made of blood bursting from his chest. The hallucinations continued and soon increased in regularity. “I figured I was struck with a strange virus,” Coster recalled, in a session titled 'The Last Game I Make Before I Die' delivered at the Game Developers Conference this morning.


Sean Murray compares No Man's Sky development to a rocketship ‘being fired into the sun’



After its first trailer was shown, working on No Man's Sky turned from a pleasant hobby into a "rollercoaster ride."


Writing Mafia 3: 'We had a lot of very uncomfortable conversations'



Today at GDC, Hangar 13 narrative director William Harms took the stage to break down how the studio pulled it off. Most notably, in the face of some praise for how Mafia 3’s pulpy revenge story effectively treats with themes of racism and discrimination, Harms pushed back against the notion that tackling racism was a core goal of the game’s narrative design.


Lessons learned by an 'art-house indie' who joined a F2P game studio



“I’m Margaret, and you’re about to discover more about my career and my life than you perhaps bargained for.”

With those words veteran game designer Margaret Robertson opened her talk at GDC today on what she’s learned in her journey from a self-described “art-house indie” to someone who works at a free-to-play game studio.


How Prompto's AI-driven selfie system in Final Fantasy XV was built



The in-game snapshots and selfies captured by the protagonist's companion Prompto aren't always in focus, but the way in which they capture both actual and imagined in-game moments delighted players and inspired more than a few game developers.


Warren Spector traces Deus Ex's development back to a game of D&D



"I would not be here, you would not be here, if not for that game of Dungeons and Dragons"


Mods are (not) blasphemy! | Field Notes for Play: Fallout 4 Edition


Wherein I discuss the strange position that mods occupy in the world of Fallout 4.


History Respawned: This War of Mine


Bob talks with Professor Ivana Maček about This War of Mine and the history of the Bosnian War. Topics include The Siege of Sarajevo, everyday life during the siege, looting, bartering, scavenging, and ethnic and racial violence.


[SSFF] Past Mortem | The History of Marvel vs Capcom


From Atoms to Infinity, we navigate more than 20 years of licensing deals and NDA's to bring you the (mostly) complete story behind the cult fighting game series. And yes, we used the soundtrack from Marvel vs Capcom 2!


Noclip Turns 6 Months Old! (A Postmortem & Request)


On March 12th Noclip turns half a year old. So here's a short update about our mission over the past six months, and a request for you to help us grow for the next six:


Frog Fractions: Lesson 1 - Noclip Documentary


Our mystery series continues with a look at the flash game odyssey that is Frog Fractions. Before you watch, make sure you play Frog Fractions: http://twinbeard.com/frog-fractions


Why Breath of the Wild's Empty Space is So Important - Writing on Games


Spoiler-free, don't worry!

So, that new Zelda sure is a beaut, huh? I can't remember the last time a game instilled such a childlike sense of awe and desire for exploration like Breath of the Wild has. In this episode of Writing on Games, I explore the idea that the reason the game can accomplish this is because of its use of space—both in its world and game design.


Games as Lit. 101 - Interactive Temptation


Video game choices are one thing, but can video games tempt their players in meaningful ways? Let's take a look.


The Shadow of Mordor you never knew existed


Shadow of War has finally been announced in a brand new Shadow of War trailer. The sequel to Shadow of Mordor has been long anticipated, but did you know there was another Shadows of Mordor game released 30 years ago that's very different to the one we can play today? Check it out as Ian shows off the Shadow of Mordor you never knew existed!


alt.ctrl | Hands-On | GDC 2017


How the GTA Hot Coffee Scandal changed age ratings forever - Here's A Thing


In this week's episode of Here's A Thing, Chris takes a look back at the infamous Hot Coffee mod for GTA: San Andreas and the impact it had on how games are now rated by the ESRB.


What You Missed From NieR


In which I try not to let how little fun I had with this game ruin everything.

Something in the Direction of Exhibition - Nier, Part 1


Note: Because this blog ended up far longer than I’d initially anticipated, I’ve chosen to split it into two parts.

Upon starting Nier, we’re greeted with a litany of premises that would be instantly familiar to avid game enthusiasts, both when the game was initially released and playing it today. The camera slowly lingers on a world struck by some apocalyptic event, although what that event was isn’t immediately clear. Time continues to advance, but the human world appears frozen in time. Snow falls upon buildings that somehow look both pristine and destroyed, almost like a graveyard that hasn’t been tended to in ages. The lack of human characters in these early scenes further contributes to the desolation we feel while also adding an air of somber loneliness to the mix.


Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games


Hearthstone Developer Records a Rap About Journey to Un'Goro Expansion


The trailer for Hearthstone’s latest expansion, Journey to Un’Goro, doesn’t feature anyone bursting into song. This came as a disappointment to many fans, given that the trailers for previous expansions like Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and The League of Explorers included corny but lovable songs. The Journey to Un’Goro trailer has some epic music in the background and a fun monologue, but no one bursts into song—at least, until now.


Stardew Valley (IGF) - Hey Ash Whatcha Playin'?


Bobby responds to the massive success of Stardew Valley.


Ron Gilbert


'Horizon Zero Dawn' and 'The Witcher' Share Beautiful Twitter Moment


Guerrilla Games and CD Projekt RED create their own Aloy/Geralt fan fiction


There's no hookshot


Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


Why I love Peggle and hate Peggle: Blast



Peggle is divine. Peggle: Blast is an aberration. This is a story on how a videogame first touched perfection and then became a vessel for evil. It could be compared to The Fall of the Abrahamic religions, when humankind was collectively expelled from Paradise— if the Demiurge was perverse enough to have invented microtransactions along the way. If Peggle was an almost mystical experience, Peggle: Blast urgently needs an exorcist.


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