Mass Effect: Andromeda is making waves today following the leak of a gif from one their developers. While short, the gif depicts the player character leap-frogging buildings using a jetpack -- not a past feature of the series. This is certainly new for the franchise; in previous titles, Mass Effect’s level design was largely linear and lacked vertical elements.
We can’t be sure about the veracity of the gifs, but leaks are hardly surprising when considering that Bioware is using roughly 200 developers to work on the game. For reference, this is up from around 50 that helped make Dragon Age: Inquisition. Andromeda’s expected release date has also been pushed back somewhat, from the holiday season of this year to the first quarter of 2017.
Our GDC 2015 interview with Sword Coast Legends developers n-space showcased the game's DM mode, which hands the reigns of dungeon management over to another player. With a few more months of development behind the game, nSpace President Dan Tudge and team have posted a few gameplay videos showcasing dungeon setup tools and gameplay.
Windward ($15) is Tasharen Entertainment’s ode to Sid Meier’s Pirates!, inspired following a Meier GDC panel encouraging developers to reuse the elements of a game that they liked; Tasharen did just that.
Windward’s RPG, MMO, and real-time strategy elements are all wrapped-up in the knots of a sailing game. Players sail the seas of a randomly-generated map, controlling a single, upgradeable ship from an overhead view.
CD Projekt Red's highly-anticipated The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt received its official gameplay trailer today, with the game's release date on-track for May 19. The trailer mostly features Geralt's overland travels and core gameplay mechanics, including some combat, dynamic enemy AI tactics, and a few quips from the game's NPCs.
Dungeons & Dragons defined the role-playing genre in nearly every aspect of its modern representation. As video games became possible and grew in popularity, upstart game developers -- to include industry legend Richard Garriott -- began adapting their own D&D campaigns to PC gaming. This spawned the likes of Ultima and similar titles, but inevitably gave way to Baldur's Gates 1 & 2, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, and many more RPGs.
Classic RPGs with tabletop-like mechanics seem to be undergoing a bit of a resurgence right now. Shroud of the Avatar is being developed by Garriott's new team, Portalarium; Underworld Ascendant just received Kickstarter funding, presented by Paul Neurath's upstart; and now, Sword Coast Legends revisits gameplay elements introduced in Baldur's Gate, with the addition of a DM mode.
Telltale Games has a recent history of expanding existing games, film, and comic book franchises into episodic adventure games. The San Francisco studio has taken its formula from The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us and applied it to the Borderlands first-person-shooter series, spawning “Tales from the Borderlands” (TftB).
I had played part of Episode 1: Zero Sum at PAX Prime last August and enjoyed Telltale’s blend of original storywriting and comedic references to 2K’s IP. Tales from the Borderlands certainly gives us a break from the run-shoot-loot formula from 2k’s games, which we had gotten tired of with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
In an unanticipated turn for the stagnant MMORPG industry, Swedish developer Coffee Stain Studios has announced its revolutionary “Goat MMO Simulator” RPG. The MMO spawned as a result of player demand, to which the developers say: “If anyone from Blizzard Legal is reading this, please don't sue.”
The existence of “virtual laziness” is either profound commentary on the degradation of human nature or an example of poor game design. We've discussed it before: Laziness developing within games is common, especially where backtracking or repetitious, unnecessary combat inhibit actual exploration of the game's world and story.
It's tough not to be hard on oneself when the prospect of holding “w” for a few minutes – because walking across a moon's surface requires shockingly little use of “s” – becomes too much to bear. It's too much work, too far to walk, and that pit of lava is looking rather inviting right now.
Our experience with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (BLPS) began with innocent GPU benchmarking, but struck enough of a chord to warrant a full review. This is in similar fashion to our Watch_Dogs experience. After hours of enduring backtracking, dull character progression, a lack of motivating storytelling, juvenile jokes, and forced, mind-numbingly boring traversal of desolate environments, we're here with the review: Borderlands is boring.
Perfect World Entrainment is nearing a closed beta for Western audiences of its free-to-play action MMORPG, Swordsman. The game is already live in
We had the chance to speak with the Swordsman devs about the game's localization for Western audiences, dynamic MMO combat, F2P mechanics, and the secret usefulness of umbrellas in MMORPGs.
We've been following Star Citizen fairly extensively since its 2012 campaign. As journalists, part of the job is "discovering" games before they make it big; I always task writers with dedicating some portion of our time at PAX to discovering indie games, the hope being that one goes mainstream after we've made it in the door early. I vividly remember Star Citizen hitting the $800,000 mark on Kickstarter and feeling like I'd missed the boat for journalistic success -- it was at the height of its campaign and everyone else had already started talking about it. Even still, we linked up with CIG CEO & Chairman Chris Roberts to discuss technology in-depth (lots of hardware conversation in that link), which had been entirely unexplored up until that point. It's still one of my favorite articles I've worked on, and much of that content remains relevant through today. Funny how much I've learned since then, too.
Months later, we caught up with Roberts at PAX East 2013 shortly before a discussion panel (filmed). Fast forward to July, and we found ourselves at the Cloud Imperium Games office in Santa Monica. At this point, Roberts' next major goal was $21 million; that'd allow him the freedom of ditching private investors in favor of crowd-sourcing the entire game, he told us, and it was no longer a pipe dream to do so. Everyone in the room knew the funding target was on the horizon, it was just a matter of when. I don't think any of us could have told you that Star Citizen would be sitting at $42 million -- more than double our July meeting -- less than a year later.
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