A Knight In Shining Armor – Swen Vincke Talks The Long Road Of Larian Studios

about X hours ago from
A Knight In Shining Armor – Swen Vincke Talks The Long Road Of Larian Studios

Swen Vincke wasn’t always on top. From basic beginnings and a scrappy, dark path through the often tumultuous games industry, the founder of Larian Studios has gone from sneaking into trade shows to helming one of the most anticipated RPGs of all time with Baldur’s Gate 3. We spoke with Vincke about Larian’s tough climb to greatness.

Let’s begin at the beginning. How did you get into video games?

I got sick. I was also very active. I like basketball. It was at my communion. So, there was a big party, I went to the communion, and lo and behold, together with my cousin, I went and drank all the sips of champagne that the adults have at those. Guess who fell down with the kissing disease a couple of days later? I had a really bad case of mononucleosis, so I was stuck at home.

Inside The Bizarre Development Of Shenmue III

about X hours ago from
Inside The Bizarre Development Of Shenmue III

Shenmue isn’t like other open-world games. In addition to the traditional fast-paced fistfights, the series gamifies some of the most prosaic moments from everyday life. While most games offer players a sense of freedom, Shenmue’s freedoms extend to opening silverware drawers, feeding stray cats, and collecting toys from capsule vending machines.

Shenmue is often derided for its plodding narrative, goofy characters, and unusual attention to detail, and yet fans have been eagerly awaiting the next entry for almost two decades. Shenmue is weird, but that weirdness has earned it a legion of fans who ponied up more than six million dollars through Kickstarter to revive the brand. In order to explore what makes this franchise tick, we traveled to Ys Net’s offices in Japan for an exclusive demo and a peek into the mind of creator Yu Suzuki.

Shenmue was supposed to save Sega. By the late-’90s, Sega was in decline. The company’s Saturn console had failed to gain traction, and the publisher had lost much of the mindshare it had gained during the Genesis era. Sega was banking big on its new Dreamcast console, but it needed premium, big-budget software to drive players to the new hardware. Sega turned to Yu Suzuki and Shenmue.

Inside The Bizarre Development Of Shenmue III

about X hours ago from
Inside The Bizarre Development Of Shenmue III

Shenmue isn’t like other open-world games. In addition to the traditional fast-paced fistfights, the series gamifies some of the most prosaic moments from everyday life. While most games offer players a sense of freedom, Shenmue’s freedoms extend to opening silverware drawers, feeding stray cats, and collecting toys from capsule vending machines.

Shenmue is often derided for its plodding narrative, goofy characters, and unusual attention to detail, and yet fans have been eagerly awaiting the next entry for almost two decades. Shenmue is weird, but that weirdness has earned it a legion of fans who ponied up more than six million dollars through Kickstarter to revive the brand. In order to explore what makes this franchise tick, we traveled to Ys Net’s offices in Japan for an exclusive demo and a peek into the mind of creator Yu Suzuki.

Shenmue was supposed to save Sega. By the late-’90s, Sega was in decline. The company’s Saturn console had failed to gain traction, and the publisher had lost much of the mindshare it had gained during the Genesis era. Sega was banking big on its new Dreamcast console, but it needed premium, big-budget software to drive players to the new hardware. Sega turned to Yu Suzuki and Shenmue.

Every Overwatch Funko Pop To Date

about X hours ago from
Every Overwatch Funko Pop To Date

Funko pumps out Pop! figures at an alarming rate, and even had one ready for Ashe when she was announced as a new Overwatch character at last year's Blizz Con. In addition to creating a figure for almost every Overwatch hero, Funko has created a variety of retailer exclusive versions that show off different skins. You'll even find some that are themed to Halloween and Christmas.

Every Overwatch Funko Pop To Date

about X hours ago from
Every Overwatch Funko Pop To Date

Funko pumps out Pop! figures at an alarming rate, and even had one ready for Ashe when she was announced as a new Overwatch character at last year's Blizz Con. In addition to creating a figure for almost every Overwatch hero, Funko has created a variety of retailer exclusive versions that show off different skins. You'll even find some that are themed to Halloween and Christmas.

Ana (Amazon Exclusive)

Brigitte (San Diego Comic Con/Blizzard Store Exclusive)

Details On An Unannounced Overwatch 2 Hero

about X hours ago from
Details On An Unannounced Overwatch 2 Hero

All of Overwatch 1's heroes are coming back for Overwatch 2. As you read this, Blizzard is updating their looks for the new game. When I visited the development team in early October, they had 13 updated hero designs, with Doomfist being the last to go through the process. As the classic characters' appearances are altered, Blizzard is also working on new heroes. We know that Sojourn will be a playable hero when Overwatch 2 hits, and there's a good chance Echo will be too, but Blizzard still doesn't want to say whether she is or not. Whenever I asked the team about Echo, they used the word "mysterious" to describe her.

During my visit, game director Jeff Kaplan quickly walked me through a PowerPoint presentation that showed off Overwatch 2's new content. One of the slides he brought up was for new heroes. The image contained four silhouettes, none were immediately recognizable as characters that were teased in earlier concept arts, comic books, or any of the art we've seen. From what I could make out, three of the forms were female. This is just a guess, mind you, as the garments they wore made it difficult to know for sure. The character I believed to be male held a crooked staff, looking somewhat like a wizard, warlock, or voodoo priest.

Details On An Unannounced Overwatch 2 Hero

about X hours ago from
Details On An Unannounced Overwatch 2 Hero

All of Overwatch 1's heroes are coming back for Overwatch 2. As you read this, Blizzard is updating their looks for the new game. When I visited the development team in early October, they had 13 updated hero designs, with Doomfist being the last to go through the process. As the classic characters' appearances are altered, Blizzard is also working on new heroes. We know that Sojourn will be a playable hero when Overwatch 2 hits, and there's a good chance Echo will be too, but Blizzard still doesn't want to say whether she is or not. Whenever I asked the team about Echo, they used the word "mysterious" to describe her.

During my visit, game director Jeff Kaplan quickly walked me through a PowerPoint presentation that showed off Overwatch 2's new content. One of the slides he brought up was for new heroes. The image contained four silhouettes, none were immediately recognizable as characters that were teased in earlier concept arts, comic books, or any of the art we've seen. From what I could make out, three of the forms were female. This is just a guess, mind you, as the garments they wore made it difficult to know for sure. The character I believed to be male held a crooked staff, looking somewhat like a wizard, warlock, or voodoo priest.

Can College Sports Make The Comeback?

about X hours ago from
Can College Sports Make The Comeback?

Recently, the NCAA voted to allow athlete compensation for usage of their name, image, and likenesses as long as it’s “consistent with the collegiate model.” While there are still plenty of issues to sort out, this is a step towards the return of college sports video games. The news is good if you’re a fan, but I’m circumspect as to the actual viability of college video games as a whole.

I think EA Sports’ first new college football title is still a few years away, but the sports game climate for the foreseeable future is a tough one. Of course, the main reason for this is that the games themselves have stagnated. This year Madden, FIFA, and NHL all scored a 7.5, with key features not executed well. Even 2K’s usually well-regarded NBA 2K series took a dip. This, layered on top of other factors such as increased monetization, buggy launches, unserviced modes, legacy issues, and spotty online play have worn the patience of fans to a prickly point. So whenever college sports games come back, the feeling of relief and excitement for their return from the wilderness won’t last long as these titles are rightly held up to the light. The situation will be further complicated by the new home consoles, which historically can destabilize some series as publishers and developers adjust to the new hardware.