Voice actors are becoming increasingly important in our industry, and perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in narrative-driven action titles such as inFamous: Second Son.
Well, in order to take a closer look at the nature of bringing virtual characters to life, we sat down with critically-acclaimed voice actor Troy Baker at a recent inFamous: Second Son event to have a chat about fleshing out the game's protagonist -- Delsin Rowe -- with voice and character and personality, as well as discussing some of Baker's most challenging roles, and the rising stock of voice actors in an industry that is truly beginning to find its feet as a narrative medium.
inFamous: Second Son has a lot riding on it. It's the first major first-party title for the PS4 since the console's launch, and excitement is clearly high for Sucker Punch's game. The bundle is already outselling the Xbox One's Titanfall package, and there's no doubt that inFamous: Second Son *looks* the part.
We'll have a much more in-depth look at the game next week when the embargo lifts and we can share our Second Son review with you.
In the meantime, we sat down for a chat with Brand Development Manager Ken Schramm at a recent event for the game, and here's a little video interview with Ken talking about how the team leveraged the power of the PS4 to try and create a more immersive experience, some of the powers and play-styles that are on offer in the game, the importance of Delsin Rowe as a character, and also about the pressure of producing the first big-name, exclusive PS4 title following the console's launch.
Last week, in a creepy, dilapidated town house somewhere in East London with bloodstained rugs (fake) and lashings of cobwebs (real) for added ambience, I had a chance to sit down for a chat with Eric Studer, the producer at Airtight Games, and discuss some of the elements underpinning the studio's upcoming adventure-mystery game -- Murdered: Soul Suspect.
Adventure games, and mystery games in particularly, have made the jump from their 2D origins to 3D in mixed fashion. But we had a blast with L.A. Noire, we got a great kick out of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, and we're looking forward to the finished version of Murdered with eager anticipation.
Here's a game that has the balls to kill your character within the first five minutes and then have you investigate your own death.
But what does that mean practically? Why doesn't Conan just float off to the afterlife? How will we interact with the physical world, if that's even possible? What's the deal with Demons? And, wait a second, did you mention powers?Click here to read more...
Eidos Montreal are no strangers to rebooting beloved IPs. They did a cracking job on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and now they've turned their attention to the master pilferer Garrett with Thief.
But stealth games are in an odd place right now. There seems to be an attitude of inclusivity that, whilst not a bad thing in and of itself, has rendered a number of games jacks of action and clandestine gameplay, but masters of neither. So it is that we've had serviceable titles such as Hitman: Absolution that have tried to walk the tightrope between two caps, but ultimately wound up disappointing both parties.
Having one's clandestine cake and stealthily eating it too has proven difficult.
Thief looks like it might change all of that. Yes, it has a glowing, sixth-sense overlay at the push of a button, but the game's apparently been balanced without it, and everything is open to customisation. Eidos' approach to solving the issue appears to have been to make the game that they wanted to make, and then let the player tweak every last aspect the want to make the game as crushingly, deliciously hardcore as they would like. You know where we stand on this: choice is always welcome.
Our review is on the way, so we'll be able to judge this for ourselves come Monday, but I recently sat down with lead level designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt and game director Nicolas Cantin to chat about how the studio went about delivering a modern reboot of this shadowy classic series, and how the dev team hope to please fans and newcomers alike.Hit the jump to check out our recent Thief interview >>
I've been on a bit of a VR trip of late. Ever since THAT mind-blowing EVE: Valkyrie Gamescom demo, in fact. So when I had an opportunity earlier this week to check out the upcoming sci-fi adventure game Loading Human, from developers Untold Games, I absolutely jumped at the chance.
You can read my account of the 30-45 minutes hands-on session in my preview here, but here's a TL:DR brief summary anyway:
Untold Games are pointing the way forwards for adventure games with Loading Human; this is a tantalising possible future for the genre and for interactive storytelling in general. But whether or not it takes off sooner rather than later will all come down to execution. We're on the cusp of having the most immersive interactive narrative experiences any of us have ever seen; fingers crossed that the tech holds up.
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Flavio Parenti and Elisa Di Lorenzo -- the creative and technical heads respectively at Untold Games for this project -- and our discussion ranged from the origins of Loading Human to how the team are pressing forward in rather pioneering fashion, to point the way forwards for the adventure genre.Click here to read more...
So, tomorrow I'll be heading to a special event for WildStar to learn about the final two classes, the Medic & the Engineer (which were revealed today). We'll be getting some hands-on time with the latest build of the game, but we'll also be chatting to Matt Mocarski, who is the Creative Director for the upcoming MMO.
So, just like with our interviews with Chad Moore and Stephan Frost, we've giving you the chance to submit some questions. Do you want to know something about WildStar that the Class Drop coverage hasn't addressed? Perhaps you want to ask about the design for the classes? Maybe you want to know how they'll all fit into the PvP side of things? Or you could use the opportunity to stir the pot for the upcoming Frost Vs Pappy developer deathmatch - it's up to you!
Go on, don't be shy - what do YOU want to know about WildStar? Post your questions below and I'll do my best to get them asked tomorrow. You can alternatively drop me a line on Twitter (@CarlPhillipsUK) over the course of Wednesday if you think of any last-minute questions.
Additionally, stay tuned to the site as later today we'll be posting part four of our WildStar Class Drop Wrap-ups, which may or may not once again demonstrate my amazing (and in no way rushed) image editing skills.
Deadfall Adventures is looking to bring a few new elements to the Indiana Jones-esque adventuring sub-genre for which Nathan Drake and Lara Croft might well be the poster children these days. For starters, the game has taken on a first-person perspective, bringing the easy immersion and immediate action of stepping directly into a player-character's shoes. But then there's also the fact that the game goes back to classic source material for its inspiration, particularly the novels of H. Rider Haggard.
We sat down with producer Martin Kreuch at a Deadfall event last week to have a bit of a chat about Allan Quatermain and his great-grandson, how to string up your chums in multiplayer with deadly traps, and why the Steam Box initiative is really exciting from a development standpoint.
We'll have a Deadfall Adventures review for you later this week.Click here to read more...
I was not kind to Ryse: Son of Rome coming out of Gamescom. Nothing I had seen of the game, nor the limited hands-on time I'd had with it, had given me much of a sense of excitement. Here was what looked like a QTE-stuffed slaughterfest with a rather basic combat system and a heavy emphasis on being cinematic -- an adjective that nearly always makes me groan.
That being said, I admitted towards the end of my rather ranty video that I'd probably end up playing it anyway because I'm a sucker for hack and slash titles, I love the setting, and the genre is so poorly represented much of the time that anything looking even remotely interesting deserves some kind of recognition.
And then I got hands-on with the singleplayer earlier in the week.
The preview is coming next week, and I won't be doing a full u-turn, but I will say this: I had fun. It's a game that I now rather want to play, in the same way that Viking: Battle For Asgard was a game that I wanted to play, and then greatly enjoyed. That doesn't mean Ryse is a good game, I can't make that assessment yet and my hands-on time answered precious few of my many questions, but it does mean that for certain fans of a certain subgenre, it's going to hold some appeal.
Of course, it helps that I had the chance to chat extensively with the design team. It's clear that the team have taken inspiration more from Rocksteady's Batman series than the God of War; the cinematography -- that is to say the manipulation of the camera to frame the action -- is simply superb; and I dig on the setting and the time period, even if the story does take a few historical liberties in terms of accuracy.
But we'll get to all of that. In the interim, here's my interview with design director Patrick Esteves, and he can tell you about the game in his own words.Click here to read more...
I've been rather underwhelmed by the exclusive offerings of both Sony and Microsoft up to this point, but Dead Rising 3 has given me a hefty hook and provided some much needed excitement. With more news each day of further game delays, and the wise choice looking like patience and prudence this Christmas, Capcom Vancouver have turned up with a game that I really, really want. I don't know how good it's going to be, I don't know just how deep all of the systems run, but I do know this: that game put the biggest smile on my face at Microsoft's Xbox One showcase yesterday, and it still hasn't come off. It's funny, it's empowering, it's expansive and ambitious, there's reams of choice and customisation. This is how you craft catharsis.
Dead Rising 3 is one of the Xbox One's flagship launch titles, carrying a hefty amount of expectation upon its shoulders. It's had a bit of a rough year in terms of reveals to the public at E3, framerate issues and Gamescom , and the stuttering, see-sawing marketing messages from Microsoft, but njow, close to launch, it looks like it's coming out of the gates hot. - Dead Rising 3 Preview
We sat down with executive producer Josh Bridge at a showcase event earlier this week to chat about how the power of the Xbox One is being used to propel the franchise forwards with this third game.Click here to read more...
The Crew is set to let us race through a massive open world on next-gen consoles and PC, at least, when it finally releases. To find out more about the ambitious proposition, I sat down with product manager Charles-Arthur Bourget earlier this year to learn more about what the exciting project has to offer - both in terms of raw scale and its innovative attempt to move the boundary between singleplayer and multiplayer.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): When The Crew was first announced at E3 2013, it very looked exciting, but was rather difficult to pin down. So perhaps most importantly of all: what is The Crew?
Charles-Arthur Bourget (Ubisoft): What we started with when we first starting developing the game is to recreate the entire USA. So we started with a huge playground to play with, and a lot of variety in that playground. The map is actually 5000km², it features a lot of different environments. So not only can you do your classic illegal street racing in the busy city centres, but you could also go offroad through the forests, on dunes, in the desert, there's pretty much no restriction when it comes to driving around.
So when we say it's an open world, we take it very seriously. It's for you to decide where you want to go.Click here to read more...
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is all set to be Traveller's Tales' magnum opus -- the LEGO game to end all LEGO games -- the best that there is. To do that, TT are doing what everyone seems to be doing these days: they're going open world, and stuffing a whole bunch of Marvel goodness into a fictional, and blocky, representation of New York City. You can find out everything that I saw at Gamescom, and my views on how the game's shaping up, in my extensive preview here (there'll be an impressions video rolling out soon), but I had a few unanswered questions.
Who better to answer them than game director Arthur Parsons, a 15-year stalwart at TT, and a man who's had his fingerprints on pretty much every LEGO game there's been. I caught up with Arthur at a preview event a couple of weeks ago to chat about how the team has gone about bridging the console generational gap, what new challenges and opportunities the open-world approach has brought to this game in particular, and how TT went about assembling their 150+ character roster.Click here to read more...
XCOM: Enemy Within isn't just Us vs Them. Firaxis' massive expansion is set to introduce a brand new human enemy faction, Exalt, who wreak havoc around the globe unless you hunt them down and rip their shadowy organisation to pieces.
After successfully managing to defeat one of their cells in our hands-on preview, but taking two losses in the process, I sat down with lead designer Ananda Gupta for a lively chat about what Exalt bring to the XCOM storyline and gameplay experience.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): We've finally met The Enemy Within: Exalt, the new human enemy faction. Can you tell us about them? What's their deal? What's their objective?
Ananda Gupta (Firaxis): Exalt is a paramilitary secret society. Their goal is to subvert, infiltrate and overthrow the council and to seize control of alien technology; to seize this power. In this way, they're opposed completely to XCOM.
Visually, they look kinda dapper. They could be anyone, they could be walking down the street next to you, be at your job, but when they get the call, they go to their secret compartment and - whoosh! Ready to go. They prefer to wage their campaign against XCOM not in the open, but from the shadows. They place covert cells around the globe that XCOM can hunt down using intelligence scans. They'll prepare operations to launch against XCOM; things like propaganda to increase panic, sabotage to go after your credit reserves and research hacks to go after your research.
Click here to read more...
We've been excited for Watch Dogs ever since Ubisoft stole the show at E3 last year. The systemic world of Big Brother-ridden Chicago set our minds racing at the potential for emergent gameplay and open-ended mechanics.
But exactly how are Ubisoft going about implementing all of these systems? Where did the idea for Watch Dogs come from in the first place? How distinct are the action and stealth elements of the game?Click here to read more...
Forza Motorsport 5 might be one of the only launch titles across the board for next-gen that I'm actually excited about in a genuine, I WILL BUY THIS fashion. I've been a fan of the series since Microsoft started packaging the second game in with Viva Pinata and an Xbox 360 controller at the advent of that console's lifespan, and it's easy to see why. Turn 10 have never subscribed to the binary choice between arcade and simulation racing, instead preferring to see things as a spectrum and offering players the choice of defining (and then re-defining) the Forza experience that they want to have.
And if you've read anything I've written over the past year or so, you'll that my perspective on things is very simple: choice rocks!
But there's a lot riding on Forza 5. The next-gen race is set to be the closest one yet -- enormously similar PC architecture, near-parallel release windows, increased connectivity and openness -- and Forza 5 is leading the charge for Microsoft. It's looks big, bold, and beautiful, but what's actually changed? What does the new tech afford Turn 10 that hasn't been the case before? What the hell does Drivatar even mean?Click here to read more...
I got hands-on with a few levels from Mike Bithell's new game Volume at Eurogamer Expo this year. It's an interesting title -- a top-down stealth-based puzzler that's all about misdirection and quick, decisive movements rather than patient, shadowy skulking -- and after I'd slipped my way past a number of gun-toting guards and gotten a feel for the game, I had a chat with the man himself about life after Thomas Was Alone.Click here to read more...
You can get a fat rundown of my initial impressions of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag here, but basically it would seem that things are looking up for the series. For a franchise that has always really only ever been as good as its time-travelling setting, taking the series deep into the Golden Age of Piracy and combining the core mechanics of Assassin's Creed with a vast, open, naval sandbox reminiscent of Sid Meier's Pirates!, looks to be a masterstroke.
Following on from my conversation with lead writer Darby McDevitt at Gamescom last month, we sat down with producer Martin Schelling at a recent preview event to have an all-encompassing chat about Black Flag. If you're interested in the nature of this piratical open world, if you're wondering why and how music came to be such an integral part of the experience, if you're itching to find out what's going on with the world outside of animus in this game, hit the jump and watch the video. It's a good one.Click here to read more...
I miss Carmageddon. I miss its ridiculousness. I miss the thrill of playing it as an adolescent. For every contentious game that would follow it, pretending towards some semblance of seriousness even in their controversial hypocrisy, Carmageddon remained a deceptively sophisticated title (the car physics, the destruction modelling, the sheer invention of some of the powerups) couched in utter anarchy and total catharsis.
Of course, now I have it on my iPhone, I don't miss it as much as I used to. But there's still room for more, I feel. And so did eighty thousand other backers. We have the rights, said Stainless. It's time to make a comeback (don't call it a comeback).
It's exciting times for Stainless, who've been wary of showing too much of Carmageddon Reincarnation thus far. "The minute we put something out there," said publishing director Jason Garber, "all eyes will be upon us. We don't want to put a single foot wrong here. We want to make sure that we do this right."
With the Kickstarter bubble bursting just a little and the realities of crowdfunding and potential pitfalls making themselves known by projects that have fallen by the wayside, Garber is keen that nothing gets lost in translation. He has a point; after all, you only have to look as far as the Xbox One to see how mismanaged communication can cost you in today's industry.
So I took some time at Eurogamer Expo this year to sit down with Jason and have a chat about how Stainless have cracked on after gaining the rights to their most infamous IP, how the new technology has afforded the development team greater opportunities than ever before,how the industry has changed since the original game first launched back in 1997, and what it means to the studio to be working for themselves rather than a publisher.Click here to read more...
We sat down (or rather stood up) with Codemasters Birmingham's Greg Pryjmachuk yesterday to have a chat about the upcoming F1 2013 and discuss how the development team are striving to balance out the simulation nature of the sport itself whilst still catering towards accessibility. We also had a natter about the Classic modes, new to this year's game; how Codemasters have improved the on-track action; and the delights that the new save game mechanism will bring to Grand Prix fans who want the full strategic racing experience, but don't always have two hours to spare.
Check it out after the jump.Click here to read more...
We caught up with Emil Kraftling, senior game designer at Avalanche Studios, at Gamescom this year to chat about Mad Max and find out how the developers are going about packing their desert wasteland full of interesting things to see and do, how their bringing the crucially important customisation mechanics to the fore, and how strongholds -- bastions of humanity out in the dune sea wastes -- will work.Click here to read more...
Having sat through a press presentation of the game in action earlier that day, I was given the opportunity to have a chat with John Drake, director of communications at Harmonix, to learn a little more about the upcoming music game tie-in to one of Disney's most iconic feature length animations. If you haven't read our preview of the presentation, you can catch up on it all here.
When asked about platform exclusivity, Drake was quick to point out that while Fantasia is coming out to Xbox One and Xbox 360, the game isn’t contract exclusive so it may end up coming out for other consoles with a camera peripheral in the future (but Harmonix aren’t ready to talk about that just yet.) Drake admitted that Fantasia was Harmonix’s most ambitious game to date, with 120 people working on the game currently in an effort to get to fill the game with new characters and even greater potential for crazy remixes.
On the topic of remixes, I asked Drake whether Fantasia would include some sort of community hub that will allow players an one-stop place to hear remixes or vote for which ones are the best, but he explained that, at least for the moment, there wasn’t a plan to include one. “I’m not sure if we’re going to do that in-game or not. Right now, a lot of that super-server depends on Disney to be all like “Oh hey, what’s your back-end technology going to be?” Disney’s work with Infinity, and the idea of players being able to share their creations online, is something the developers are watching to “see what [they] could apply from that,” but while Harmonix are working with Disney to include things like YouTube uploading (and ensuring artists get paid for their original work) the developers were waiting for all of the main work to be finished first before looking into the server-side features. Drake did finish by stating “I would like to see something like that. I think it’d be really cool.”
Click here to read more...