Bastion is a very unique game, and it is not easy to find one this hard to explain. Supergiant Games has made a game that will be built for the player, literally. While the player walks through the level, the walls, floor, items and creatures that populate every room and hallway are stacked in front of him. So, if you were to stop moving, there would be no new areas to go. You would simply see only what has already been laid out in from of you.
What’s Chester you ask? Good question. Chester is a new and unique 2D platformer from indie developer Brilliant Blue-G. With completely hand drawn graphics that have been scanned into the game the visuals have a very personal and original feel. The uniqueness doesn’t stop there by any means,. Although hand drawn is how the art starts off players will be able to unlock 18 different “styles” that can be applied to any level in real time. Styles range from blueprints to a LCD handheld system to 8-bit retro pixels.
SNK and Bouken’s upcoming title Trouble Witches Neo Episode 1 Daughters of AMALGAM has finally been priced and dated. This new title will be hitting XBLA April 27, 2011 for a MSRP of 800MSP.
Trouble Witches Neo is 2-D side scrolling shooter meant for hardcore gamers despite its cute appearance. Players have eight maid-witches to choose from, each with a little bit different handling and shooting style. One thing that will set this game apart from the rest is the ability to perform alchemy. Each witch has the ability to cast a magic barrier that transforms bullets into gold which then can be spent at the pumpkin shops to buy magic cards. Each magic card can be used to unlock a special ability to help you through you battle.
One of the beauties of being an indie studio is the ability to experiment; there is a freedom to development as there are no true limitations. The game can become a total fan service to the developers themselves. Brian Provinciano of VBlank Entertainment took the time to sit down with us recently and discuss this very fact. His title Retro City Rampage is a culmination of various pop culture references and game design mash-ups that merge into a totally unique game. We were given the opportunity to test it out and loved what we saw.
For the uninitiated, Retro City Rampage parodies the open-world action genre combining dozens of game mechanics into an 8-bit game. The game has a beautiful sense of humor, lampooning an entire era of movies, games and pop culture. Players take on the role of THE PLAYER, an anti-hero, who signs up as a henchman for a local crime syndicate. But things go chronically awry and he must soon defeat the EVIL GOOD GUYS, who will stop at nothing to end his RAMPAGE OF DOOM.
The AAA titles are continuing to look for ways to make the player feel that they have an effect on the game world. We have seen the continued success of games that feature choice, as well as multiple endings. The only issue is that many games still contiue to tell the story through in-game movies, to help move along the narrative, as well as captivate the player. Most players do not like the feeling of losing control. They hold a controller for a reason. With Bastion, it is not the cutscenes or trailers that are capturing people’s attention, it’s the narration. This isn’t just some voice walking your through a tutorial. The dynamic narration in Bastion is telling the story that you are creating. The narration in this game is designed to react tho the actions of the player, and tell the story the player is creating. Having only seen a demo at PAX, I cannot say how well this is implemented throughout, but the experience certainly stuck with me.
I reached out to Greg Kasavin, Creative Director at SuperGiant Games to delve a little deeper into the concept of dynamic narration; from how it came to be, to how it’s turning out.
Want a cooperative game that has a similar feel and style to Shadow Complex, but the gunplay of Halo? Well then you want to play Fallen Frontier. The game is currently in development at Moonshot Games, a new studio which houses some ex-Bungie developers, and already it’s looking impressive.
Fallen Frontier is a 2D platformer that has a dark, cel-shaded art style. Moonshot also added a small bit of photographic art touches, like very subtle wall sections on the forefront. It adds something small, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s the little things that really sets this title apart from the others.
You know what every great development team needs? A doctor. Hothead Games has just that, Dr. Mike Hayward, who has his Ph.D. not in medicine, but in artificial intelligence. Dr. Mike, Producer Joel DeYoung, Lead Designer Pete Low, Designer David Herron walk through elements of the game, showcasing what the Swarmites can do and what the game is all about. Check out episode 1 here as well as the remaining episodes after the jump.
Episode 1: Get Flocked
Twisted Pixel Games’ latest title, The Gunstringer, is a wild west Kinect title starring an what can only be described as an undead marionette cowboy. It’s the first real chance players have had to see what XBLA games can do for Kinect, and since its announcement back at the beginning of this month it’s been wowing the press. But with so much coverage how can anyone keep up with what’s going on? Well, fret not. We’ve got the best of all the previews after the jump.
Ensemble Studios shutting down was a bittersweet moment for a team that had grown extremely close over the years; however, as cliché as it sounds, the doors closing on Ensemble forced the team to look at open doors full of opportunity and new possibilities. For many this meant the first chance in years to break away from an already established IP in over fifteen years presenting a chance now to take risks and reinvigorate themselves. The tight-knit group showed that it really did believe in fostering community, as when the former Microsoft subsidiary disbanded as company but the majority of its members stuck together in one of four new studios: Robot Entertainment, Bonfire (now Zynga Dallas), Windstorm Studio and New Toy.
Recently we had the opportunity to visit Robot Entertainment in Dallas. While the studio may have a new name, they haven’t forgotten all the old lessons they learned. The team still believes in community both internally and with fans. Upon entering the studio, the open environment is striking: four main quadrants of desks with no cubicles or walls and a biergarten style lunch room comprise the majority of the studio. Outside of the two war rooms, server room and executive offices, it’s an entirely open floor plan mirroring the studios own level of openness with employees. The real decisions as to what games are made don’t come from a guy in a suit with a calculator, but from a collaborative process involving the entire team.
This “organic” process started six months ago. Development on Age of Empires Online was beginning to wind down, and the studio was looking toward what their next project would be. Instead of setting their sights on the traditional three year AAA development cycle, Robot chose to focus on the downloadable segment of the industry. The shorter development time allowed the fifty person team to the ability to not become re-tied down to a singular IP for the foreseeable future. Robot started to brainstorm and create basic prototypes for some of the better ideas, one of which was Orcs Must Die.