George Lucas may be retired, but somehow he's still making movies. Lucasfilm recently announced an animated film called Strange Magic that was based on a story Lucas wrote at some point in his life. The film is being directed by Gary Rydstrom, the sounds director behind classics like Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan.
Strange Magic has been co-written by Rydstrom, Irene Mecchi (The Lion King), and David Berenbaum (Elf), and the voice-cast includes Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Maya Rudolph, Kristin Chenoweth, and Alfred Molina. Check out the trailer here.
After an unannounced project was cancelled at Double Fine, a dozen members of the studio's staff had to be let go. Many of the company's already announced titles will be unaffected.
"One of our unannounced projects was unexpectedly cancelled by its publisher," Double Fine studio head Tim Schafer told GamesIndustry.biz, "forcing us to reduce our staff by 12 people. Our remaining projects – Broken Age, Massive Chalice, and Grim Fandango Remastered, were unaffected."
We're still waiting for a release date for the second half of Broken Age, but you can watch our own Tim Turi play part of the game before its initial release here, and then watch Massive Chalice's project lead Brad Muir sound off on the development of that title here.
[Source: GamesIndustry.biz via Polygon]
Our TakeThis is always tough news to hear, and it's undoubtedly tough on Double Fine and the staff that were let go. I'm happy to hear that Broken Age, Massive Chalice, and Grim Fandango Remastered were all unaffected, but this is bad news for the studio in general, which has struggled with its finances in the past. I hope it is able to keep its heads above water, because I love the creativity coming out of that studio, and I'm still waiting for Broken Age part 2.
Gamers who still long for the days of 16-bit RPGs can pretend it's 1994 with another release of Pier Solar HD, a classic RPG originally created by indie studio WaterMelon for the Genesis system in 2010 (not a typo), which has how now made it's way to the Xbox One.
Pier Solar has already made it's way to the Genesis, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Ouya, and how it continues its journey to take over the gaming landscape by hitting the Xbox One today for $14.99. Read our review of the game here, and our interview with developer Tulio Adriano here.
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The sci-fi MMO Eve Online is so big and sprawling that it's hard to describe in only a few words. Thankfully, CCP Games has collected the words of many of its players to craft this spellbinding trailer that makes this 11-year-old title very enticing.
In September CCP Games issued a call to EVE Online players to submit some of their most memorable moments from in-game voice communication, and then the studio crafted it into a trailer that advertizes a 14-day free trial. Check out the censored version below or go here for the uncensored version.
Our TakeI've never played Eve Online, but I once had a roommate that was obsessed with the title; now I see why. If you find that you have too much time on your hands and you've always dreamed of piloting a spaceship and exploring the galaxy, this seems like a good deal.
Tons of new games have been released in the past few weeks, so many that it’s hard to keep them all straight. It should come as no surprise that this weekend the GI staff is playing catch up. Kim’s boldly juggling Dragon Age: Inquisition and Far Cry 4, Tim’s getting ready to blow Alien: Isolation out of the airlock, and Jeff M’s doing housekeeping with Shadow of Mordor and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. What titles are you chipping away at this weekend?
Tim Turi (@timturi): This weekend is an exciting one! I believe I’m drawing to a close in Creative Assembly’s impressive Alien: Isolation. Hopefully I can make it off the doomed Sevastopol Station without too much issue so I can move onto cleaning up Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s campaign. In addition to completing Sledgehammer’s campaign set in the studio’s vision of the future, I’d also like to play a lot more multiplayer. After all the dust has settled there I hope to crack open Dragon Age: Inquisition and see what all this potential Game of the Year nominee kerfuffle is all about.
Ben Hanson (@Yozetty): The release of a new Smash Bros. game is like a total solar eclipse, rare and awe-inspiring. I hope you all go out and buy the Gamecube controller adaptor, dust off your old controllers, and invite some old friends over for a good time. Other than an unhealthy amount of Smash, I'm looking forward to booting up Far Cry 4. There's also some little game called Pokemon that I should put some more hours into as well. And then there's Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Has anybody played Kirby? I'm curious what you think of it and how it compares to previous entries.
Jeff Marchiafava (@GIJeffM): There are about a million games to play before the end of the year, and I’m trying my darnedest to keep up. After struggling to enjoy Assassin’s Creed Unity all week, I think I’m ready to put it on the back burner to try finishing up Advanced Warfare and Shadow of Mordor. I'd like to finish up one or both of them before jumping into Dragon Age and Far Cry 4, both of which will probably consume the rest of my free time until 2015.
Dan Tack (@dantack) World of Warcraft, will be punching out challenge mode dungeons and exploring the new 10th anniversary Molten Core. Also Persona Q. Persona Q is AMAZING.
Kim Wallace (@kstar1785): Dragon Age: Inquisition! I’m considering doing a completionist run. I’m just having too much fun with this game to not do everything. I’m also working on Far Cry 4. There’s so many great games out and I’m having a hard time making time for everything, but that’s like the best problem to have!
Sam Stewart (@_SamStewart): Happy Smash Bros. Day everybody! Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was undoubtedly my most anticipated release of the year and I can’t wait to start playing online with friends. However a big update for Dota 2 just launched this week so I’ll be spending some time with that as well. I caved and bought the new Phantom Assassin Arcana so I’ll be taking part in the Nemesis Assassin Event which seems like a lot of fun.
Jason Dafnis (@nintendufus): I’m trying to finish Sunset Overdrive so I can move on to getting Spartan: Total Warrior and Chibi-Robo out of my backlog. Cooking Mama 4 will keep me busy in between those, but if all goes well, a majority of my weekend will be spent with a controller/handheld in my fingers. But these things never go well.
Matthew Stolpe (@matthew_stolpe): I’m firmly entrenched in my playthrough of Shadow of Mordor, and this free Lithariel DLC has me excited. I’m all for killing uruks in terrifically gory ways and (kind of) looking like Daenerys Targaryen while doing it. Evil Within and Destiny are also calling out for my attention, and I’m likely to play a bit of them, but right now there are just too many cooks.
As developers explore new business and development models, one that has become a growing favorite is “early access.” While Steam’s offerings of titles that aren’t fully released isn’t unique or original, the platform has become synonymous with the practice.
Yesterday, Giant Bomb reported that changes were made to the Steam Early Access. Valve confirmed to us updated rules for developers seeking to distribute games using this mechanism and provided the full text of the notification.
These are broken up into firm rules and guidelines that serve as suggestions for operating under the program. The new strictures are designed to provide transparency and honesty about the Early Access model.
1. You must include Steam Early Access branding and information about the current state of your game on any third-party sites where you are distributing Steam keys for your Early Access game.
We work really hard to make sure that customers understand what they are buying when they get an Early Access title on Steam.
But we've seen that many of these titles are sold as keys on other websites where there is no explanation of what Early Access is or what the current state of your product is now versus what you hope to achieve. As a result, we are now requiring developer to include the Steam Early Access branding as well as information on the current state of your game and a link to the Steam Early Access FAQ on any site where you are selling Steam keys for your Early Access title. You should also include the Early Access questions that you answered when setting up your Steam page.
2. Do not make specific promises about future events.
For example, there is no way you can know exactly when the game will be finished, that the game will be finished, or that planned future additions will definitely happen.
Do not ask your customers to bet on the future of your game. Customers should be buying your game based on its current state, not on promises of a future that may or may not be realized.
3. Steam Early Access titles need to be available to customers through Steam.
If Valve is enabling your Early Access game we expect you to have the Early Access game available for sale on the Steam store. Do not offer it for sale on Steam any later than you offer it anywhere else.
4. Don't overcharge Steam customers.
We expect Steam customers to get a price for the Early Access game no higher than they are offered on any other service or website. Please make sure that’s the case.
Valve’s guidelines, while suggestions, seek to reduce the chance that games will stall out before release. Valve recommends openness about new builds and whether they will impact previous save states, and the right timing for launching in Early Access.
Developers are urged not to launch before there is an actual game. Tech demos are considered too early.
On the other side, if a game is released, Early Access is the wrong model. The program should not be used for bug testing.
Of particular note is Valve’s clarification about financial realities. Early Access should not be used as a way to fund the rest of the development exclusively. In other words, developers should be able to complete the game without reaching a sales threshold prior to release.
“If you are counting on selling a specific number of units to survive and complete your game, then you need to think carefully about what it would mean for you or your team if you don't sell that many units,” Valve writes. “Are you willing to continue developing the game without any sales? Are you willing to seek other forms of investment?”
We’ve reached out to Valve with follow-up questions about the new rules, particularly the fourth entry about price parity. Currently there are some free-to-play games available via Early Access that require some kind of purchase to gain access.
In these cases, it is not unheard of for a game to be available without purchase through another channel. We’ll update should we receive clarification from Valve.
[Source: Giant Bomb]
Our TakeAny step towards transparency, especially when consumers are taking a gamble with developers, is a move in the right direction. I continue to be skeptical of Early Access, though I want to be clear that there are developers doing it right. The most we can ask when buying an unfinished game is a fair representation of the risks and challenges.
Remedy has shared the names of two previously unannounced actors for its upcoming Xbox One action game, Quantum Break. An image of the duo in motion capture suits accompanies confirmation of their involvement.
Shawn Ashmore, who played Bobby Drake/Iceman in the X-Men films and Agent Mike Weston in The Following has joined the cast. Alongside him in the picture is Lord of the Rings and LOST star Dominic Monaghan.
There’s no word yet on who the actors will be playing in the game. For more on Quantum Break, check out our preview from Gamescom.
[Source: Remedy Entertainment on Twitter]
Our TakeI’m a fan of both of these actors, and look forward to learning more about their roles in Quantum Break. I’ve been excited for the game, and now find myself anticipating the release even more.
Even in the face of heavy-hitting console releases, these mobile offerings vie for your attention. How could you say "no" to that face?
Join us tomorrow, November 22 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 p.m. Eastern as we continue our playthrough of The Evil Within. You can tune in HERE and catch up on the first five chapters of the game below.
And we thought the battle versus Chainsaw Chuck was bad. He's got nothing on Crawling Carol, who killed us at least half a dozen times.
Also, we've got more jump scares, stupid music, and hilarious fanfic (if you have a liberal definition of the word "hilarious"). And if you want to spend some time catching up, you can do so with every piece of the stream-through here:.
Part One - Chapters 1 and 2:
Part Two (1 of 2) - Chapter 3 :
Part Two (2 of 2- The epic conclusion with "Chainsaw Chuck."):
Part Three (1 of 3 - Including earning a trophy from "Chainsaw Chuck," with special guest Candice Shane) - Chapter 4:
Part Three (2 of 3):
Part Three (3 of 3 - including a pool of blood, "Crawlin' Carol" and more):
Part Four (1 of 5) - Chapter 5 (the remainder of this part is available on our YouTube playlist):
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Yesterday, executive editor Andrew Reiner and I started to discuss this year’s Top 50 and the games we haven’t yet played. The conversation then turned to a recent release called The Evil Within, which somehow flew under my radar.I hadn’t paid much attention to it, because as you might recall, I don’t always love the horror genre. Thankfully, Reiner convinced me that the game was just poorly named. In fact, he described it as “the spiritual sequel to Flower.” He even showed me a picture of lovely sunflowers from the game. Given that I do enjoy Flower, especially after a stressful day, I thought that this might be a good fit. Reiner suggested that I liveblog the experience, too. (Admittedly, this seemed like a strange request, but he’s my boss, so I rolled with it.)Later today, I’ll be live streaming my experience with this meditative game (at this link). Check back with us at 10:30 a.m. Pacific / 1:30 p.m. Eastern. What could go wrong?
As recently as TGS, Microsoft had sommitted Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest for release this year. Unfortunately, that is not to be.
In an announcement on the game’s website, Moon Studios informs that the title will not arrive until 2015. “While we’re extremely excited for all of you to get your hands on Ori and the Blind Forest as soon as possible, we made the decision together with our partners at Microsoft Studios that we’ll need just a little more time in order to add a final layer of polish to – what we hope – will be an unforgettable gaming experience,” the developer writes.
For more on Ori and the Blind Forest, check out our coverage from Gamescom. You can also check out a video interview from E3. Ori and the Blind Forest will also be coming to PC next year.
[Source: Ori and the Blind Forest via Joystiq]
Our TakeOri and the Blind Forest is just one of many smaller titles committed for 2014 that likely won't make it in the few remaining weeks. We'll take a look at the roundup of quietly delayed games as we get closer to the end of the year.
This delay wouldn't be quite as impactful if it didn't mean Microsoft was ending its year of exclusives on the abysmal launch of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. If 2014 was "the year of delays," let's hope 2015 is "the year of launching games that work."
A developer called Q42 created 0h h1 (a play on "oh hi") for browsers. The self-described "little logic game" tasks players with filling in a colored grid with blue and red tiles. The trick is to have two of both colors in every horizontal and vertical column and row. And you can't repeat any patterns horizontally or vertically.
A single click makes a red tile while the double click forms blue. If you mess up, the game will explain what rule you've violated. A handy back button undoes your latest turn. A hint eyeball provides tips if you're stuck. Once you're feeling confident you can jump up from 4x4 grids all the way to 10x10.
It's got a little bit of Picross and a dash of Sudoku. Plus, it's easy to get into and the flexible difficulty lets you go with the challenge you're ready for.
Head to the official site to give it a try.
As we head into the holiday season, there's one thing we can all be thankful for: However bad it may seem at times, at least we don't have to worry about zombies. DayZ players know that zombies are only part of the problem facing survivors of the apocalypse, but not everyone has played the game. Bohemia Interactive has released a free new browser game that provides a taste of that experience while offering a new perspective on survival.
MiniDayZ is a 2D, top-down game that you can play here. You won't mingle with other players (which, as DayZ veterans know, isn't necessarily a bad thing), but you will have to battle the undead as well as your own basic human needs. Good luck out there.
Our TakeI've played the game for a little while now, and it looks like I've got a lot to learn about staying alive. Maybe my time with Frank West has made me soft.
This is the kind of week we live for (and for which our wallets weep). Retail and digital channels have been flooded with new releases, making us all wish for just a little bit more time to play them all.
We’re curious what you’ve picked up and, if you’ve acquired multiple games this week, which you are playing first. Are you diving into Dragon Age: Inquisition’s campaign or taking on the darkspawn and demon hordes with friends?
Are you cruising through Kyrat, weaponizing pachyderms and liberating outposts in Far Cry 4? Maybe you’ve been saving your money and attention for Nintendo’s one-two punch of Smash Bros. and Pokémon today. Or, is a return trip to Los Santos on your itinerary?
Let us know what you hauled in this week and how you’ve been apportioning your time. And regardless of what you’ve decided, we hope you’re having as much fun as we are.
Poster artist Marinko Milosevski returns to our pages today with a celebration of the latest Pokémon titles. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are out today, and we have no doubt that some of you are still trying to choose which version to go with.
Milosevski’s poster features the legendary Pokémon from both versions, Groudon and Kyogre. It also includes some of the creatures exclusive to the different versions.
We also recently featured Milosevski’s take on Super Smash Bros., Nintendo’s other big release today. You can check that out here, as well as on his website, where you’ll find interpretations of The Legend of Zelda and classic Pokémon titles.
This morning, Microsoft delivered some free content to Sunset Overdrive players via the Xbox Live messaging system. If you’ve played the game, sign in and see if you have a code that unlocks seven cosmetic items, including a helmet modeled after a fly's head.
Additionally, the publisher is throwing open the doors to Sunset City starting Saturday, November 22 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern. You’ll be able to play a full trial of Sunset Overdrive for 24 hours.
You’ll earn achievements and start on your path toward the end-game during this time. If you choose to purchase it later, your progress will carry over.
For more on Sunset Overdrive, check out our review. If you want to make the most of your time tomorrow, here are the game's achievements.
[Source: Major Nelson]
Our TakeI’ve barely scratched the surface of Sunset Overdrive’s world, but I’m really enjoying what I’ve played so far. It’s definitely grabbed my attention thanks to self-referential humor and a casual use of profanity that would make my grandmother ashamed.
Ubisoft has identified the cause crashing on all three platforms on which Assassin’s Creed Unity has been released. For the time being, you won’t be able to use one of the basic social features.
"We have discovered one of the issues that may cause the game to crash at the main menu after pressing the continue button," the company writes. "This issue affects all platforms."
On the live updates site for the title, Ubsioft says that if you add recent players to the “game contacts” section you may experience crashing. Further, if you have already added anyone to “game contacts,” you should delete those.
Ubisoft says this should repair crashing at the main menu. For more on Assassin’s Creed Unity’s litany of problems, visit our previous coverage.
Our TakeWe have now entered the realm of ridiculous. This is a basic game feature that has appeared in many titles, and it just doesn’t work. Ubisoft should be ashamed of the state in which Assassin’s Creed Unity was released. At this point, it’s hard for the average consumer to know if there is a good game underneath it all, because so much of it is broken.
Free-to-play games have been criticized for trying to hook consumers with in-app purchases and microtransactions. Now, Apple has changed its iTunes store labeling system to reflect these realities.
As you can see in the picture above, the download button for these type of of games now says "Get" instead of "Free." Apple says that this has been done to be more accurate for consumers. Recently, the European Union forced Google to change its Google Play store labeling of "free-to-play" games, so it's very possible that this move has been done to preempt any action on the part of the EU.
[Source: TechCrunch via Joystiq]
Our TakeThis is a good move, especially for parents of younger consumers who might be tempted by these supposedly "free" games.
The annual VGAs did more than just announce its award nominees today, it teased some possible news on Batman: Arkham Knight.
This teaser trailer for the awards mostly usual pre-show hype and game clips, but ends in more interesting fashion. Iconic villain Scarecrow, who is known to be in Arkham Knight, shows up and says, "All that's left for you to do is watch."
The 2014 Video Game Awards take place on December 5th at 6PM Pacific/9PM Eastern.
For the most complete information on Batman: Arkham Knight, check out our cover story hub page.
The much-anticipated documentary that found the legendary buried cache of Atari E.T. game cartridges is now available on Xbox Video for free.
The documentary, entitled Atari: Game Over, has been well documented in the last two years. The filmmakers went on the trail - and eventually found - a large cache of E.T. cartridges that had allegedly been buried in the desert outside of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
The film is getting good notice. Read GI's Kyle Hilliard's impressions of it here, and then watch the trailer. Recently, the city of Alamogordo auctioned off excavated cartridges on eBay.
Here's the film's Xbox Video page.
Our TakeI've been waiting to see this film for some time. I've always found the legend (now proven true) of the buried E.T. cartridges to be a fascinating bit of game history. The movie will also stand as one of the few successes of Microsoft's now-shuttered Xbox Entertainment division.
Update: The patch designed to address matchmaking, gameplay, and other issues is now online.
You can find full, in-depth details about the update by heading to Halo Waypoint, but here's the short version from 343.
Our latest content update is live, and is now being rolled out to all regions. If you don’t see the update right away, don’t fear, as it will arrive shortly.
Hopefully this will lead to smoother matchmaking experience for players.
[Source: Halo Waypoint]
The launch of 343 Industries' Halo: The Master Chief Collection hasn't gone as planned, but the studio is continuing to try and address the title's problems. The next patch for the game is scheduled to come out today, and will address matchmaking, gameplay, and other issues.
The studio says that it plans to put out a patch later this afternoon (Pacific time) that improves matchmaking, tweaks the UI, and features a host of game-specific fixes.
For a full list of what's in the update, head over to the Halo waypoint site.
[Source: 343 Industries]
Our Take:There are a lot of moving parts to any game, and with a collection like this I wonder if having so many different developers working on all its pieces played a role in this situation.
D4, the bizarre murder-mystery, time-hopping game from the mind behind Deadly Premonition, has released its soundtrack online.
You can find and stream the soundtrack here, or you can head there to buy the two discs for $14.99 each.
For our review of D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, head here.
[Source: accessgamesrecords.bandcamp.com, via @AccessGames]
Our TakeRegardless of what you think of Swery's games – love them or hate them – most appreciate their soundtracks. They're always weird and always enjoyable.
If you walk into an Apple store today, you’ll be able to purchase the tablet version of Skylanders: Trap Team. You might recall from our earlier coverage, that this is the first time that Activision has released a full version on mobile devices, complete with a portal.
The mobile starter packs, which come with two characters and a trap, are also available on the Apple Online Store. The starter also comes with a bluetooth controller, but features touch controls and two built-in characters so it can be played with just the tablet.
For more on Skylanders: Trap Team, check out our review. If you’re interested in diving into this year’s collection, you can also check out the list of characters available now and coming over the next few months.
Our TakeI’ve had the chance to check out the tablet version, and I’m impressed by what Toys for Bob and Vicarious Visions were able to accomplish. The game looks fantastic and plays well with the included bluetooth controller. Putting it in front of more people (especially as they are buying holiday electronics) is a smart move.
BioWare has announced a new, extremely limited Dragon Age collectible. Morrigan, who traveled with the Grey Warden in Dragon age: Origins, will be available in statue form.
The statue is cast in polystone resin and depicts her walking down a stone staircase. The 19.5-inch collectible is limited to 1,200 pieces worldwide, with pre-orders open now.
Click to enlarge.
Retail price is $330, with an $80 deposit. The remainder will be charged in the third quarter of 2015, when the item ships.
You can pre-order the item from the BioWare store. If Mass Effect is more your style, be sure to check out our coverage of a new Tali figure from N7 day. For more Dragon Age: Inquisition, check out our review.
Forget the VGAs and last year's VGX. The Game Awards is a new event to honor the year's best games and developers. Today, producer Geoff Keighley announced the nominees for the inaugural year.
Today in an informal Twitch announcement, Keighley shared the nomination process involving 28 publications (of which Game Informer is one) from the United States, Canada, Japan, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and more. This year's event, which is not affiliated with the programming of past years produced by Viacom, includes a number of new categories. Here are the nominees:
Best Role Playing Game
Best Fighting Game
Best Family Game
Best Sports/Racing Game
Best Online Experience
Best Independent Game
Games for Change
eSports Player of the Year - (To be voted on by fans)
eSports Team of the Year - (To be voted on by fans)
Trending Gamer - (To be voted on by fans)
Best Fan Creation - (To be voted on by fans)
Developer of the Year
Most Anticipated Game - (To be voted on by fans)
Game of the Year
The Video Game Awards will be held on December 5 at 6 p.m. Pacific / 9 p.m. Eastern. You can read more details about viewing or attending here.
Today RedLynx released a free update for all versions of Trials Fusion adding the feature to create Teams. Groups of racers can combine their progress and work their way up a global leaderboard and compete against other Teams. Teams can create their own name and emblem to represent them online, and each team will have their own leaderboard to help them communicate.
Teams will also be able to compete against each other in multiplayer races once the online multiplayer update for the game goes live in early 2015. This mode will allow 4-player races on Xbox 360, and 8-player races on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You will be able to race against random players online or with friends in private games.
Anyone who purchased the game on PC has a chance to get an invite to the online multiplayer beta which launched today alongside the teams update. RedLynx will also be giving out codes through their TrialsLive site as well as social media. Check out their site for all the details.
Our TakeI love the Trials games and bought the season pass version of Trials Fusion so I'm happy to hear that RedLynx is continuing to support this game, and with free dlc no less! I don't know if I will ever make use of the teams feature, but I think racing my friends online rather than their ghosts will be fun.