To step onto the show floor on Press Day at Gamescom is to experience the calm before the storm: the lull that comes ahead of a quarter of a million people over four days. Of course, up in the meeting rooms it was anything but calm, with journalists and suited businessmen scurrying frantically to and fro, desperately trying to remain faithful to a packed schedule of appointments on the first day of the show. We were no different in this regard. Having shared our highlights from the array of press conferences yesterday, here's a brief look at some of the best things we saw from Wednesday.
Eagerly anticipating a behind closed doors action regarding Capcom's official announcement of Remember Me, one could have been forgiven a pang of disappointment at its no-show follow up in Cologne. However, visiting Capcom this morning did bring the opportunity to finally try out DmC and see if it actually warranted the suspicion/scepticism/vitriol/cautious appraisals that its been treated with ever since Ninja Theory relaunched Dante as a swaggering teen with the cheekbones of Eddie Redmayne.
Happily, a spot of hands-on delivered an impression that may hopefully allay the fears of some series fans out there: setting aesthetic opinion aside, the game really does play like in a manner befitting its title.
Ninja Theory have proven that they can do combat – Heavenly Sword was evidence of this. Unfortunately, Enslaved rather indicated that they could also create a game that, for all of its strengths, failed in the action department. A Devil May Cry game needs to be slick, it needs to be responsive, you need to feel both empowered, but constantly alert to the creatures around you – aware of your own substantial ability to deal out damage in a variety of cool and acrobatic ways, but also wary of the dangers that the demonic beasts around you can pose.Click here to read more...
If we were worried about Gamescom being a little quiet this year, then today taught us otherwise. A strong start from Capcom and a fresh reveal in the form of Remember Me (aka. The Game Formerly Known As Adrift) led to a very interesting showing from IO Interactive later that day as they demoed a new game mode for Hitman:Absolution that will allow players the freedom of creation through gameplay, as they showcased Contracts – a feature that will allow for near-unlimited replayability as any character becomes a potential target. A businesslike presser from EA reeled off several blockbuster reminders, before Sony took to the stage for an impressive curtain-call that (thank god!) was heavily centred on the Vita, and a string of new IPs.
Having frantically rushed around Cologne for most of the day, we thought we'd pick out some highlights in our first in a short series of Postcards From Gamescom 2012.
Remember Me was hugely intriguing. The cyberpunk feel, the insomniac female protagonist, and the Neo-Parisian setting all combined to set imaginations racing. The combat system looks interesting, and typically slick, but the real question will surely revolve around the game's concept, and DONTNOD's handling of it. Will they be brave and really push the envelope? Will it be an afterthought? The insomniac protagonist is no new thing by any stretch of the imagination, but the nature of the world, not to mention Nilin's profession makes it a cliché with a very curious twist. At the end of the day, I rather hope it's more a third-person Deus Ex than Starbreeze's Syndicate...high expectations, perhaps, but the former is over a decade old. Expectations should be high.
Hitman: Absolution's Contacts mode is something that I'll no doubt talk about in more detail after get to grips with it properly later this week, but it cemented a game that has done a complete U-turn in my eyes. IO took a risk in presenting their franchise revival in action-heavy terms to begin with, but Jon came back from E3 with a spring in his step, and comforting reports. The Contracts mode is an excellent notion, with the create-through-gameplay feature removing a barrier that might have prevented curious parties before from engaging in other games that thrive on user-generated content: a dauntingly detailed creation suite.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Developers: United Front Games
Publishers: Square Enix
It's been a long, long road for The Game Formally Known As True Crime Hong Kong to get here. Originally an original IP with the title Black Lotus that emerged in 2009, Activision slapped the True Crime label onto the game, only for the publisher to drop the game two years later as a result of numerous delays and high development costs. Six months in the self-funded wilderness ensued before the game was eventually picked up again by Square Enix, and re-branded as Sleeping Dogs.
It's a twisted narrative that almost seems good enough to be movie-material, but the final chapter is yet to be written, and there are still obstacles in the way. The studio's first open-world title, Sleeping Dogs has taken a stuttering route to get here. But does the glass slipper fit? Is it the (fairly large) little game that could? In Activision we have the perfect pantomime baddie (only EA perhaps would have been better cast as the villain), a resurgent Square Enix attempting to play the role of talent-spotting saviours. But the epilogue is everything. Is the game actually any good? And will it sell?
However, we reviewers only have to concern ourselves with the former, and in order to do just that it's important to set aside Romantic notions and try to ignore this fairytale backstory. Thankfully, Sleeping Dogs looks set to give summer gamers something to be excited for.
At the game's core is the same basic formula by which all open-world games are made. To echo the word's of one of the game's producers, you run, you shoot, you drive, you fight. The fictionalised version of Hong Kong island is laid open for exploration - there are no boundaries in terms of where you can go from the start of the game - but the area itself is smaller than that of GTA IV. Those expecting an opus on the scale of Rockstar's will find themselves disappointed. Those of you, however, looking for a game with a little more character to it, are in for a treat.Click here to read more...
It's the middle of August, and that can only mean one thing: it's Gamescom time! After a hugely successful E3, we'll be bringing you all of the hottest coverage from Cologne as the Koelnmesse opens its doors to the biggest games expo in the world. Once again, we'll be getting to grips with some of the biggest upcoming titles of the next twelve months, interviewing some of the developers working hard behind closed doors, bombarding you with the latest news, previews, and interviews from the show and giving you our opinions on some of the hottest properties in the industry. We're expecting a few surprises, and one or two new reveals, and everything will be easily navigable from this page.
Do also keep abreast of action as it happens via our main site Twitter stream for 140 character reports straight from both the show floor and clandestine closed-door meetings. Our Facebook page will have a steady stream of site links too.
Gamescom 2012 Preview: We take a look at this years show, who'll be there, and what they're likely to be showing. We chat about the notable absences, cast some predictions reagarding the press conferences, and name some games that we think may well be the stars of this year's show. Click here to check it out.
Gamescom 2012 Community Feedback: We want to see hear what you're excited about too. Tell us what you're anticipating most at this year's Gamescom. If you have a burning question about a game, or want to follow up on any of our coverage, this is the place to be. Ask direct questions of Matt and Brendan while they're out in Cologne, and we've got a packed schedule, so if there's something you really want to find out, now's the time to let us know. Click here to learn more.
NB. Click on the individual conference titles for all of the news, trailers and updates for the specific presser.
Tuesday, August 14th
Capcom (click for coverage)
Electronic Arts (click for coverage)
Sony: 7:00pm CET / 6:00pm BST / 10:00 am PST/1:00 pm EST
Wednesday, August 15th
Ubisoft: 3:00pm CET / 2:00pm BST / 6:00 am PST/9:00 am EST
Each day Matt and Brendan will be giving an overview of what they've seen, highlights from the show, and reaction to the hottest news coming out of Cologne.
Tuesday: Press Conference Day
Wednesday: Capcom, 2K, Konami, Bohemia, and THQ
Thursday: EA, Sony, Bethesda, Wargaming, and CCP
Friday: CD Projekt, Ubisoft, Activision, Warner Bros., and Disney
Aftermath: Post-convention PWNCAST
Hello, and welcome to the 25th Episode of the PWNCAST! We've been asking for your input and suggestions for this particular milestone, and we got a few comments on site, and a number of emails into the contact address. Having sifted through the small mound of feedback, we've opted for a double-barrelled podcast, taking on both Shadowmancer and ODB's suggestions to bring you a podcast that looks both back with rose-tinted lenses, and forward with a critical eye.
This week we chat about our favourite gaming moments
Some of the things that get covered this week:
...and much, much more.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.
Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
We're tactile folk, here at Dealspwn. Given the choice between fiddling with buttons and multi-layered interfaces and menus, and poking and prodding and swiping and stroking our way around things, we almost always go for the latter these days. 1-to-1 touch control is a beautiful thing, revolutionising puzzle games, and breathing fresh life in the classic adventure formulae of yesteryear. A touch interface is a creative's dream - manipulating worlds directly - but it's also a platform-fan's nightmare: the lack of precision often too much to bear.
Thankfully, the Vita is armed to the teeth with diverse input mechanisms.
There's something glorious about hearing Stephen Fry's mellifluous tones hit my ears, especially as I'm wedged between two snoring suits on a rush hour commute, Vita firmly pressed against both palms. It's almost soothing. In all honesty, since enjoying a half hour playtest of LittleBigPlanet Vita back before the console even launched, I've been practically frothing at the mouth with excitement at the prospect of a handheld LBP.
Development duties may have been handed over to Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven, but the recreation of Media Molecule's masterpiece is bang on...albeit quite a bit smaller than you might be used to on the TV in your front room. Sackboy is an charmingly wayward as usual: the floaty skiddy platforming of the home console big brother firmly intact, for better or for worse. You can still dress him up as a smiling cowboy or stick him in a morphsuit or transform him into a grumpy transvestite should you wish, all the while collecting little bubbles, unlocking new costumes, and slapping amusing stickers on everything that you can see.Click here to read more...
With Sleeping Dogs only a week away, we sat down earlier this week with producer Dan Sochan to have a little chat about the game, what the partnership with Square Enix has done for the title, Sleeping Dogs' violence following a bloodsoaked E3, and the struggles of telling the story of an undercover cop in an open-world title.
Matt Gardner: Obviously, once upon a time, Sleeping Dogs was known by a different name. What did it mean to you as a studio to have the title picked up by Square Enix after Activision dropped the project?
Dan Sochan: You know, we believed in the game all along. It actually started out as a new IP that was later branded as True Crime. After we were dropped, we kept going, it was self-funded and so we continued to work on it, and later it was picked up by Square Enix. And it's been great!
The extra time has really allowed us to polish the game, and I think with open-world games, especially considering this is our first one, it was important to develop our own tech and our own tools, all of which takes time. It also allowed us to add in a few new cool features, and the game really is in a better state than it's ever been before.
Matt Gardner: Was there anything specifically that the relationship with Square has brought to the game?
Dan Sochan: Well they clearly believe in it, I mean they've talked about it possibly becoming a franchise for them. They've brought in some cool elements as well – aside from suggesting things like the upgrade system and the online social challenges – the artwork, for example, that line art, that's really something different. That's just one of many ways in which I think that they've helped establish this game's identity, and helped to differentiate between the large number of other open-world games out there, so we're not just going to be buried by the large number of sequel titles coming out later this year. So there are elements they've brought in to try and ensure a long tail, that there are reasons to come back to the game even after you've finished the main story, and maybe put us in a position where we can make a sequel if the game does well.Click here to read more...
Mario Balotelli's Hulk celebration has made it into FIFA 13. A new behind-the-scenes video from EA Sports shows Jay DeMerit and Alain Rochat doing all sorts of nifty things whilst wearing ridiculous mo-cap suits, including pulling a Mario.
We're not sure if Balotelli's legendary strops have made it into the game, mind.
It's hard being an undercover cop. The line between good and bad gets pretty blurry at times, and you sometimes have to dabble in some rather dark things if you want to accomplish your goals. Wei Shen is a conflicted man, but he also kicks ass, as you'll see in this Sleeping Dogs launch trailer.
The game's out for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on August 17th, and we'll have a review for you next week.Click here to read more...
We've already had PaRappa and Sweet Tooth, but the latest batch of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale vids focus on the Fat Princess and Sly Cooper.
The former, as you might imagine, is all about leaping into the air and then using her considerable bulk to body slam foes. cake mirages and fat chickens also feature. Sly Cooper, on the other hand, is all about the stealth. With no block available to him, he's forced to rely on invisibility and hiding in barrels of dynamite.Click here to read more...
I want an Animus.
True, my ancestors probably weren't assassins. They were probably fairly mediocre free-runners, and I doubt they counted Leonardo da Vinci amongst their friends, but time-travelling's cool, dammit! This latest trailer from Ubisoft uses the Animus to explain some of Ass Creed III's multiplayer features.Click here to read more...
United Front Games' open-world tale of undercover cop Wei Shen drops next week, and apparently Square Enix have hinted at the possibility of turning the game into a franchise should it do well, provided that the fans are happy.Click here to read more...
Trion Worlds' MMO shooter Defiance is shaping up rather nicely, and we'll be snaffling a look at the game in its current state at Gamescom next week. The intriguing cross-platform title has gotten itself a new dev diary in which the team behind the game take a look at what it actually means to be a shooter MMO.
It's out of PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 next year. Colour us excited.Click here to read more...
Sleeping Dogs producer Dan Sochan told Dealspwn at a recent event for the game that he's glad the game is coming out in August rather than in the traditional October/November crunch zone, stating that "it doesn't make sense" for some games to release late in the year, and arguing that just because the weather might be warmer, that doesn't mean gamers won't want new games.Click here to read more...
It's felt a bit like I've had a phone plastered to my ear this past fortnight, I'm surrounded by Excel spreadsheets and colour-coded timetables, I've started dreaming about closed-door interviews, and that can only mean one thing in August: we're gearing up for Gamescom.
The world's largest gaming event - during a week that will see over a quarter of a million members of the public cram themselves into the Koelnmesse convention centre - has risen to become something of a European equivalent to E3. Expect some new reveals, Sony in particular have taken to making Cologne their preferred location for dropping big news, plenty of things to shout about, one or two surprises, and reams of content for the next couple of weeks.
But unlike E3, Gamescom provides an opportunity to put one's upcoming wares in the hands of the most important people: the consumers.
It's for this reason that one might raise an eyebrow at some of this year's absentees. Microsoft won't be at the show, aside from Major Nelson and Acey Bongos on hand at Activision's stand to help deliver the world's first Black Ops II multiplayer opportunity. Now, Microsoft don't have the largest cupboard of exclusive, but with Master Chief returning this year, one might have thought that giving the public a taste would have been a good idea. Halo is an immensely strong brand, but with a new studio at the helm there have been many questions asked of this latest instalment, and a strong Gamescom showing would have done much to answer those.Click here to read more...