At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the third set of seven of those games.
Known best for the Dead Island and Call of Juarez series, Techland is currently working on the Chrome Engine 6-powered dark fantasy action title Hellraid for Xbox One as well as PC and PlayStation 4. Hellraid, which is set in a world that has been invaded by the forces of — wait for it — hell, was first announced in 2013 and originally envisioned as a Dead Island mode. It will have both single-player and two, three and four-player co-op options that give players melee, magic and ranged combat abilities for use in dispatching invading demon scum. Techland is promising diverse fighting styles for the game’s various weapons, which naturally includes the ability to crush skulls with hammers. If you’re not the skull-crushing type, then perhaps the game’s various crossbows or spells will be more your style.
Meet Haris Orkin, writer and voice director behind the critically acclaimed Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. He assisted Techland on the first Juarez game back in ’05, when he suggested the polish developer hire an American writer to get the dialogue right. He’s been working with them ever since.
In a ‘making of’ documentary posted by Ubisoft, Orkin recounts the process behind how Gunslinger came to fruition. From the beginning when Techland didn’t know if they needed a traditional story since this was a “downloadable game”, through the process of developing Silas Greaves and presenting the tall tale history of the Wild West.
“They came to me with the idea of the entire game being narrated a la Bastion,” Orkin recounts. “They told me they wanted narrative tricks in the game; that things in the game world would change depending on the narrators story. I thought that idea was pretty brilliant and mirrored exactly how the history of the West came to be written in the first place.”
To delve into that rich history of the Wild West, Techland wanted the larger-than life personas that cut out a living during the time. “They wanted the game to feature some of the most iconic Western legends and characters from the past,” Orkin says. “Together we crafted a story based on that premise. The character would be someone who brushed against all those famous characters.”
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger was developed by Techland and published by Ubisoft. It was released May 22, 2013 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
There’s a revered mysticism to the myths and legends of the Old West – larger-than-life characters carving out their own niche in American history through gritty living and frontier justice. No one can say for certain how much of it is true, and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger acknowledges that, embraces it and delivers one of the best examples of storytelling you’ll find west of the Mississippi. Its modern approach in form and function elevates the material rather than overshadowing it, and in the process creates a wholly unique experience that’s not to be missed.
Here’s what we liked:
How the West was won, sort of – Gunslinger weaves the tale of famed bounty hunter Silas Greaves as he recounts his murderous exploits to a handful of saloon patrons over the course of an afternoon and too many whiskies. You’ll play through a series of flashbacks as Silas, all the while his narration and foggy recollection frame and change each level like an evolving campfire story that plays off the audience. When he backs himself into a corner or spins a yarn too ridiculous to believe, he’ll slyly conjure up an escape route, parting the mountainside to reveal a new path or remembering things a little differently and going back to reveal how it really happened. It’s this light-hearted, self-aware delivery that makes Gunslinger so effective. Though the story itself is quite good – especially in those moments Silas grapples with personal demons – the banter between Silas and his audience and the way it transforms the game world mid-mission is the creative and endearing draw of the campaign.
Techland and Ubisoft’s Call of Juarez was a great game. Its prequel, Bound in Blood, was quality too. The Cartel changed the setting and disappointed fans. So in a surprise move the series is making a jump to digital with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. The game brings the series back to the old west; players will control an as-yet-unnamed bounty hunter going after famous outlaws like Jesse James and Billy the Kid. Hit the jump for the first screenshots.
If you’re a racing fan then you’re already somewhat spoiled for choice on XBLA, with games like Hydro Thunder Hurricane, TNT Racers and Skydrift, and many more are on the horizon. However for all the diversity of those games, XBLA has yet to see an ATV racer. Techland and Ubisoft are changing that with the release of Mad Riders, a mostly fun racer that doesn’t quite have as much personality as its name would imply.
The first trailer has been released for the newly-titled Mad Riders from Techland. You’ll see some huge air the ATVs are getting in loads of tropical locales across the …