Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (previewed)
It's been half a decade since Race Driver: GRID released, and in that time we've seen multiple instalments of racing franchises such as Forza, Need For Speed, and Codemasters' own DiRT series. In that time, much of what the original GRID has stood for has seemingly become rather unfashionable. "Narratives in racing games?!" critics and consumers scoff alike. "Whoever heard of such a thing?" You only have to look at the almost aggressively apathetic reaction to The Run to see that we've potentially moved on.
Of course, it could just be argued that we simply don't appreciate mediocre games.
"I think that's the key," says senior game designer Lee Roberts. "We've experimented with storytelling in racing games before in the Race Driver games, we know what we're about, and we know what it is that we want to be doing. Racing games will always be about competitive multiplayer and beating your mates, but we want to appeal to gamers who like to play offline too and give them something to connect with. So we have this story that puts you at the forefront of this new racing movement -- WSR -- and you'll meet characters and other racers along the way who'll become rivals, so we can try and replicate some of the feeling you get when playing online against someone you really want to beat."Click here to read more...
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In our fourth episode dedicated to The Indie Stone's survival horror sandbox Project Zomboid, Carl faces off against the largest horde of zombies yet as he fights his way out of the diner. Does he survive? Do the undead finally get their fleshy meal? Will those steaks ever finish cooking? All these answers and more are in today's Dealspwn Playthrough, after the jump.
"I remember sitting down with my music director Chad Seiter for the first time a few years ago and thinking 'Why hasn't anyone done a concert of Zelda music before?'" says concert producer Jeron Moore. "So we did."
This has been a a good eighteen months for video games and classical music. This year saw two pieces of classical music from our industry make it into the top five in Classic FMs Hall of Fame. The reactions were enormously varied, from debating whether or not video game music could even be considered classical, to those embracing new music and a new audience alike. The 25th Anniversary Concert was an enormous success, following in the footsteps of the hugely popular Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy concerts that have become something of a staple as winter kicks in.
Now we come to this: a full symphony in four movements. The shows opens with a grandiose prelude, the overture making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. The audience explodes into rapturous applause before, following a series of little single-theme musical interludes, the movements -- Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and A Link to the Past -- take us on a soaring, sweeping journey that plays with Koji Kondo's unforgettable themes, expanding them into a glorious orchestral spectacle thanks to some phenomenal arrangements from Seiter.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | PS4 | Xbox 360 | Xbox One | Wii U | 3DS | PS Vita (previewed)
Developers: System 3
System 3's "best game never released for the Amiga" is back. Putty Squad, which did manage to make it onto the SNES in 1994 where everyone promptly ignored it, is being resurrected for System 3's 30th anniversary celebration. This time, it's coing to pretty much every platform you can think of and, if all goes well, there might even be a super-limited run of classic Amiga copies on-disc for old school collector types. Maybe, they're still ironing the kinks out on that front.
Of course, what reviewed fantastically well back in 1994 might not fare so well in 2013. Then again, it looks like System 3 have that pretty well covered.
You play as the titular hero Putty, who can perform platforming tricks that Mario and Sonic can only dream of -- stretching out and elongating his body to span gaps, punch bad guys, inflating like a balloon, absorbing items into his gelatinous body to be used at a later stage such as arrows and bombs and an airship. Plopped down into a series of non-linear levels, your job is to collect as many of the little red putties in a level as you find, triggering their appearances by solving environmental puzzles, navigating hazards of all shapes and sizes, and punching dapper cats.Click here to read more...
Developer: Nine Dots Studio
Space: the final frontier. Ever since man first looked up at the stars, we've always dreamed of reaching that wild black yonder... before strapping into a sleek fighter and rendering entire battlefleets into space dust with obscene amounts of neon firepower. Well, speaking for myself, at least. Kickstarter is allowing the dormant space combat genre to finally make a welcome resurgence, but now that we've played Strike Suit Zero and await the likes of Limit Theory, Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen, a new contender approaches from the humblest of origins.
Nine Dots Studio, who graduated from Xbox Live Indie Games, are working on a competitive 4v4 space sim that fits neatly into the popular MOBA sub-genre. GoD Factory: Wingmen locks two teams in a battle for survival and territory, tasked with destroying their foe's hulking carrier ship while defending their own. Boasting simple yet effective arcade mechanics, fast-paced combat alongside robust persistent ship customisation, this indie effort promised an exciting new take on the genre.
Having recently tested a very early alpha build, I'm inclined to agree.
Click here to read more...
After we got hands-on with WildStar, which you can read about in our preview article, I was given the chance to sit out down Stephan Frost, the game design producer at Carbine Studios and the narrator of the DevSpeak videos. We go into detail about the Settler player path and how they affect the open world, discuss the Elder Game and PvP leaderboards, before rounding off with some community questions (and a cameo by the site’s own mascot, Toby The Dealspwny.) Watch our exclusive video after the jump.Click here to read more...
I wanted to sleep on last night's Xbox Reveal event as, in the immediate aftermath, hurrying to get news bulletins prepped and posted, I wasn't sure that my immediate reaction could be trusted.
The parody videos and snappy edits of the event (such as the one below) have already begun to emerge, and if you didn't get the message yesterday, it's clear in the light of this morning: Microsoft are gunning all-out for the living room space. Not just games, not just films or music or TV or internet, but everything.
That's the whole point of the Xbox One. That's why it was named in this manner. It's designed to be an entertainment one-stop unlike anything we've ever seen before.
In many ways, just like Sony's press conference, Microsoft's was more of a statement of intent than anything truly revelatory. However, that's where the similarities ended. Sony presented a show aimed clearly at gamers, gaming communities, and the developers and publishers of those games. Nearly everything in that show, even the lengthy waffle about social features and hardware gimmicks, most were couched in the context of the PS4 as a games console.
By contrast, Microsoft were careful not to describe the Xbox One as a games console on a single occasion.Click here to read more...
Developer: Carbine Studios
If you have been paying attention to my ramblings on the site for the last few years, you’ll already know that I have been keeping a excited eye on WildStar, the upcoming MMORPG from Carbine Studios and NCSOFT. Their Sci-fi-western setting really impressed me back at its unveiling during Gamescom 2011, and while they didn’t plan on “reinventing the wheel” in terms of gameplay mechanics, they were aiming to make it a fun experience, pure and simple.
Now, it’s been quite some time since I last saw the game in person, and we’ve learned a lot more about what will be included in the online experience (such as player housing, warplots, and the introduction of the Dominion faction) but last week I was invited to a press event to finally get some hands-on time with the game. Additionally, I got to chat to game design producer Stephan Frost, but before any of that I sat through a presentation of the two videos that were unleashed online this morning which highlight the player paths system, before being given more information on how the Settler and Scientist paths would impact gameplay.
I also got to build a house with ALL of the pillows, but more on that later.Click here to read more...
Cometh the hour cometh the console. Following months of rumours, speculation and some megaton non-announcements that set the internet alight, we're now just one day away from the next-generation Xbox reveal, and learning exactly what Microsoft's new device has to offer.
Soon, dear reader, we can start to discuss facts rather than rumours, but there's no denying that many of us will be wondering which of the conflicting reports will come to pass, and which will be thoroughly debunked. So here, for your convenience, is a list of the most plausible, far-fetched and inflammatory rumours that have made headlines over the last few months. Get ready to tick them off from 18:00 GMT tomorrow...
Exactly what components, and how powerful they are, has been the subject of many a futile debate. Bear with me, because the insane deluge of contradictory and conflicting rumours has become utterly baffling.Click here to read more...
We once again return to the zombie apocalypse in the third part of our adventures of The Indie Stone's survival horror sandbox Project Zomboid. In today's episode, Carl braves the streets once more in a bid to get back to the safehouse. Hijinks ensue as he battles more undead, battles against a scratch, and finds more steaks. See it all after the jump.Click here to read more...
The original Metro 2033 was a flawed gem of a game. It wasn't quite polished to perfection, but 4A's take on Dmitry Glukhovsky's post-apocalyptic vision stood truly apart from its FPS peers. It was more survival horror than FPS at times, truth be told -- a game that boasted a cracking story, and an incredibly tense atmosphere.
And now it has a sequel.
Metro: Last Light released at the end of last week, we finally received our review copy through (the review itself will be coming later this week), and here's the first 20 minutes or so of the game in our latest in the series of Opening Scenes vids.Click here to read more...
Developers: Naughty Dog
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment
Lincoln unfolds before us, a lush, verdant landscape of dilapidated, crumbling buildings succumbing to nature's throttling embrace. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Ellie, commenting on a little patch of woodland. Her relatively cloistered life up to this point, not to mention her age (she's fourteen), has given her a certain childlike wonder when it comes to the calm, still surroundings. Little creatures dash about here and there, somehow having escaped the clutches of the virulent fungal infection that has starved the city of humanity.
Whereas the demo we played previously was a very tense, rather linear affair, with a number of claustrophobic, interior sections, this new build manages to evoke a sense of openness, particularly when we manage to overcome our first obstacle: a chain-link fence.
Where Nathan Drake would have leapt over the thing, probably slipping halfway for a quick QTE, The Last of Us' Joel simply picks up a plank nearby and uses it to bridge a gap between buildings. It's a simple, effective solution to a pleasantly organic puzzle of sorts that subtly highlights the fact that this game is all about the simple things: scavenge what you can, make use of the environment. There were no heroic acrobatics to be had here, but there's a pleasant solidity to everything, Joel seems to handle a little heavier than Nate, and that physicality will become impactful in time.Click here to read more...
I really liked the initial idea for Project Ten Dollar. Here was a forward thinking initiative that had everything we've been banging on about with regard to consumer relations:
It was a brilliant plan, and one that EA actually delivered upon to an impressive degree. Ok, so the free little extra bits of DLC that we were privy to in the likes of The Saboteur (boobs) or Mass Effect 2 (Zaeed) weren't mindblowing, but they were enough. Actually, in the case of Project Ten Dollar, the first game to utilise it -- Dragon Age: Origins -- provided us with one of the best characters of the entire series in Shale the Golem. She wasn't essential, but she was awesome, her storyline was meaningful, and she didn't cost us any more than we would have paid normally.
Contrast that with Mass Effect 3, where EA decided that new buyers could actually cough up an extra tenner to receive From Ashes. It doesn't make sense. EA screwed the pooch, and they only have themselves to blame.Click here to read more...
As we reported earlier this week , an alpha build for upcoming survival horror title Among The Sleep has been released by its developers at Krillbite Studio, and so we decided to get hold of it and put the game through its paces. Watch as Carl boldly navigates the darkness, gallantly rescues a teddy bear, and heroically hides under a table.Click here to read more...
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): I saw the first incarnation of this game back at E3 2011, what's changed for the team in that time. Obviously everything went rather quiet for a while, now it's back it's a third-person game rather than a first-person game, the name has changed. Can you tell us about the journey this game has taken up to this point?
Nico Bihary (Producer, 2K Games): Sure, so back in 2011 we gave this presentation for a game with a first-person perspective. But it's funny, we always talk about what's changed, but I'd like to start with what's remained constant: a focus on squad-based, tactical combat, which was evident even in 2011.
As you'd go around in this first-person perspective, which was to serve an exploration and research need, every time you ran into an enemy, or a combat situation, you'd pull back into a third-person perspective, and UI would pop-up that was kind of like a less elegant version of the Battle Focus wheel we have in place now. There were similar mechanics between the two versions. But as we evaluated that mechanics, and really started developing those battle encounters, it really started to emerge as the “bullseye” of the gaming experience. So we looked at it and said that if third-person allows for a greater tactical-perspective, if it augments and enhances Battle Focus and makes using it intuitive, then the first-person perspective really became unnecessary.
As you're in development, there are times when a game will speak to you, and it'll become clear and tell you what's good about and what's perhaps not. And that was one of those moments: we realised that the first-person perspective was almost completely superfluous, and we came away with a more refined game, and something really good because of it.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC (tested) | PS3 | Xbox 360
Developers: 2K Marin
Publishers: 2K Games
The year is 1962. The Bay of Pigs Crisis has just happened. Paranoia is rife on the US mainland as the Cold War begins to kick off, and the world is plunging into a quagmire of paranoia, secrecy, mistrust, and clandestine ops.
Only the Communists aren't the real enemy at all.
The above forms the basis for 2K Marin's tactical action title, and if it sounds eerily familiar, well that's because it is.
"There wasn't a “Big Bang moment” where the [XCOM] service just came into being, so we really wanted to tell an origin story, and we really liked the idea of setting the game in 1962, just after the Bay of Pigs incident," producer Nico Bihary tells me. "So you have this global atmosphere of paranoia, it's the start of the Cold War, and set against that backdrop we have this really believable story about how XCOM could be formed.
"So we have this clandestine organisation, constructed to defend against enemy threats and covering them up, but it takes time. So we wanted to zero in on the Bureau as this organisation that really hasn't matured yet technologically or organisationally to fight off a massive alien threat, but was really established early on to be a counter-intelligence group."Click here to read more...
XCOM is back. Again! Only now 2K Marin's tactical shooter goes by a different name -- The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. We went hands-on with the game last week, and you'll be able to read our full preview and interview with producer Nico Bihary tomorrow. In the meantime, however, we realise that Marin's game, met with heavily polarised reactions when it was first announced way back in 2010, disappeared from view for a year or two. Much has changed since we saw it back at E3 in 2011, but here are eight reasons why we reckon it's worth a second chance having resurfaced now...
Let's clarify this. The very first notion -- the brief , unexpanded idea of rebooting X-COM as a shooter -- was awful. We strode into the makeshift presentation cinema at E3 back in 2011 fully prepared for a disaster. But instead, 2K Marin admitted that they'd made a huge mistake, and revealed that the game would now be a much more strategic venture.
To cut a long story short, read our XCOM preview from two years back: what Marin had in mind back then was perhaps clumsily conveyed, but it had promise. Promise that's now been realised.Click here to read more...
It’s not a brand new release that we’re looking at today, but a game that has been a work-in-progress for some time. Project Zomboid from UK developers The Indie Stone puts players in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with absolutely no hope of surviving, and so in today’s episode of Dealspwn Playthrough Carl throws himself into the survival horror sandbox by giving the story mode a go in the latest stable build. See how he fares at the start of his adventure by checking out the video after the jump.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 | Xbox 360 | PC (version tested)
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Of all the enemies we've faced in Pandora's dangerous wastes, the Psycho is easily the most famous. Gracing both games' box art and constantly burbling all manner of vaguely threatening nonsense, these depraved lunatics charge into combat with no self-preservation whatsoever, gleefully bringing sharpened sticks to a gunfight and setting themselves on fire at the slightest provocation. They've certainly got a bit of a reputation for brainlessness, but you can't argue with the results.
However, after getting hands-on with Borderlands 2's latest vault hunter, it appears that we've grossly underestimated their intelligence. Krieg The Psycho may look every inch the tactless goon, brandishing an enormous chain axe and continually bellowing all manner of insane epithets at the top of his lungs, but he's an advanced character designed for Borderlands veterans looking for a nuanced and surprisingly tactical gameplay experience.
In essence, Krieg boils down to one simple rule. To defeat your enemies, you'll need to hurt them as much as possible... and go out of your way to hurt yourself in imaginative and masochistic ways. Before tactically - and voluntarily - setting yourself on fire.
Click here to read more...
So after interviewing Lead Game Designer Danny Belanger, I naturally jumped at the chance to talk to cinematic animation lead Lars Bonde about the artistic challenges Watch_Dogs poses, motion capture, his influences and what the next generation promises beyond shinier graphics.
That said, we're not above talking about Drive, guns and car chases either...
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Lars. Watch_Dogs must pose a massive challenge compared to other games. To my knowledge, no-one's ever had to animate someone getting splashed by a taxi before, discovering that their bank account has been hacked and his wife's leaving with the kids. That must be fun for you as cinematic animation lead!
Lars Bonde (Ubisoft): The challenge has been fun! Partially because, a lot of times in games, there are so many restrictions in terms of technology and how far you can go. But Ubisoft have been really great in saying, “you know what? Go as far as you can and then whatever you can do, we can always scale things down.” Everything has been built in layers. The AI programmer Eric [Baillargeon] has really provided a lot of those opportunities for us.
We've done a lot of motion capture, shot a lot of data, have a lot of actors and we work really closely with them on what we can do. When the car runs by [in the rain], someone has to be splashed. Yes, we're not putting water in the motion capture studio and spraying it up on them, but we have all kinds of other artefacts we can use like foam or whatever. We make sure that we have a little projector or a cannon that can blow it up on them and they can react to it. We can have something race by them so they can react to it as if it's a car.Click here to read more...