James Ohlen Talks About Leaving BioWare, The State of Anthem, And His Future Prospects

about X hours ago from
James Ohlen Talks About Leaving BioWare, The State of Anthem, And His Future Prospects

Earlier this month, 22-year BioWare veteran James Ohlen announced his departure from the famed RPG studio. After decades of making renowned games like Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, Ohlen wants to step away from game development for a while. 

As he moves into a new phase of his career, I hopped on the phone with him to discuss why he left when he did, his self-perceived biggest successes and regrets from his two decades at the company, BioWare's future prospect, and his return to the D&D roots that informed his approach to game design. 

Ikaruga is Gaming’s Greatest Poem

about X hours ago from
Ikaruga is Gaming’s Greatest Poem

Poetry, and writing about poetry, has long enjoyed the sort of amorphous characterization that comes along with the territory. Ask a hundred poetry readers or poets what a poem is and you’ll get a sea's worth of different answers in return. Formalists and traditionalists will probably give you the dictionary definition of a poem as “a composition in verse” and preach about the importance of rhythm, cadence, and of the trials of creating a unique voice within very strict parameters. Other schools of thought tend to focus on the looseness of the medium, saying that is the prime vehicle of artistic expression, requiring no narrative thread or justification, and that poets should write whatever the hell they want however the hell they want with little regard for antiquated structure and woebegone elder notions of what makes poetry good.

Ikaruga is Gaming’s Greatest Poem

about X hours ago from
Ikaruga is Gaming’s Greatest Poem

Poetry, and writing about poetry, has long enjoyed the sort of amorphous characterization that comes along with the territory. Ask a hundred poetry readers or poets what a poem is and you’ll get a sea's worth of different answers in return. Formalists and traditionalists will probably give you the dictionary definition of a poem as “a composition in verse” and preach about the importance of rhythm, cadence, and of the trials of creating a unique voice within very strict parameters. Other schools of thought tend to focus on the looseness of the medium, saying that is the prime vehicle of artistic expression, requiring no narrative thread or justification, and that poets should write whatever the hell they want however the hell they want with little regard for antiquated structure and woebegone elder notions of what makes poetry good.

Hands-On With The Biggest Resident Evil 4 Graphics Mod Of All Time

about X hours ago from
Hands-On With The Biggest Resident Evil 4 Graphics Mod Of All Time

Since its original release on the GameCube in 2005, Resident Evil 4 has been ported to seemingly every console known to gamers. The last three PlayStations, iOS, a surprisingly good Wii version and a Central/South American console called the “Zeebo” are just a few of the platforms included in the game’s long legacy. Despite its breadth however, Resident Evil 4 has never really received the loving remasters as in titles like Crash Bandicoot or Shadow of the Colossus. The current versions can run at 60 fps and a variety of resolutions, but the game’s muddy textures and 2D models have only grown more pronounced with each console generation.

Enter the Resident Evil 4 HD Project. In production since February of 2014, the “project” is a mod that’s updating and replacing virtually every single texture in the game. As ambitious as that sounds, the mod’s scope extends far beyond simply making things prettier. The HD Project replaces flat objects with 3D models, corrects mapping discrepancies from the original game, and even visits real-life locations for additional reference work. The breadth of this mod is breathtaking and, perhaps due to its two-person development team, remarkably consistent.

Albert: Look familiar? (XLV) Palmyra (Syria) carving detail in RE4 !! https://t.co/81ljwSH8lI #re4hdproject pic.twitter.com/KhXEz94JL3

Hands-On With The Biggest Resident Evil 4 Graphics Mod Of All Time

about X hours ago from
Hands-On With The Biggest Resident Evil 4 Graphics Mod Of All Time

Since its original release on the GameCube in 2005, Resident Evil 4 has been ported to seemingly every console known to gamers. The last three PlayStations, iOS, a surprisingly good Wii version and a Central/South American console called the “Zeebo” are just a few of the platforms included in the game’s long legacy. Despite its breadth however, Resident Evil 4 has never really received the loving remasters as in titles like Crash Bandicoot or Shadow of the Colossus. The current versions can run at 60 fps and a variety of resolutions, but the game’s muddy textures and 2D models have only grown more pronounced with each console generation.

Enter the Resident Evil 4 HD Project. In production since February of 2014, the “project” is a mod that’s updating and replacing virtually every single texture in the game. As ambitious as that sounds, the mod’s scope extends far beyond simply making things prettier. The HD Project replaces flat objects with 3D models, corrects mapping discrepancies from the original game, and even visits real-life locations for additional reference work. The breadth of this mod is breathtaking and, perhaps due to its two-person development team, remarkably consistent.

Albert: Look familiar? (XLV) Palmyra (Syria) carving detail in RE4 !! https://t.co/81ljwSH8lI #re4hdproject pic.twitter.com/KhXEz94JL3

9 Video Game Plot Twists Hidden In Plain Sight

about X hours ago from
9 Video Game Plot Twists Hidden In Plain Sight

Spoilers are an issue with trailers and pre-release promotion today, but rarely are they used to enhance the experience. Usually, trailers give away the final shot, cameos and plot twists. On top of that, games coverage is so comprehensive that very little is left to the imagination by the time a title comes out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, spoilers can be hidden right under your nose via clever box art and smart storytelling. There are times when the promotional material—such as trailers, posters, and box art—contain the biggest spoilers, with you never knowing until you have context. Below are some of the games that had major spoilers and plot points that were under our nose the whole time.

Warning: Spoilers for all the following games!

9 Video Game Plot Twists Hidden In Plain Sight

about X hours ago from
9 Video Game Plot Twists Hidden In Plain Sight

Spoilers are an issue with trailers and pre-release promotion today, but rarely are they used to enhance the experience. Usually, trailers give away the final shot, cameos and plot twists. On top of that, games coverage is so comprehensive that very little is left to the imagination by the time a title comes out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, spoilers can be hidden right under your nose via clever box art and smart storytelling. There are times when the promotional material—such as trailers, posters, and box art—contain the biggest spoilers, with you never knowing until you have context. Below are some of the games that had major spoilers and plot points that were under our nose the whole time.

Warning: Spoilers for all the following games!

Developers Weigh In On Octopath Traveler's Partial Spoken Dialogue

about X hours ago from
Developers Weigh In On Octopath Traveler's Partial Spoken Dialogue

I'm currently on a role-playing game kick. My time is divided between Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, which I'm approximately 60 hours into, and Octopath Traveler, which I just began a day ago. The two games couldn't be more different in tone, story, or gameplay, but I'm finding both are jarring for the same odd reason: only a portion of their stories feature spoken dialogue. I know this isn't a new thing that is happening in games. RPGs in particular have been offering a mix of spoken dialogue and written text for decades, but Octopath Traveler's handling of it is oddly irritating.

Bouncing from a long sequence with spoken dialogue to city exploration without any isn't the problem. That actually works fine. A clean transition is made. Most RPGs figure out the best points to use it or not. Octopath Traveler's problem is that won't shut up when the quiet sequences arrive. In these moments, characters offer just one or two words (and maybe even a grunt) instead of saying their lines. The back and forth between people talking ends up being unintentionally comedic given how little their are verbalizing.

Developers Weigh In On Octopath Traveler's Partial Spoken Dialogue

about X hours ago from
Developers Weigh In On Octopath Traveler's Partial Spoken Dialogue

I'm currently on a role-playing game kick. My time is divided between Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, which I'm approximately 60 hours into, and Octopath Traveler, which I just began a day ago. The two games couldn't be more different in tone, story, or gameplay, but I'm finding both are jarring for the same odd reason: only a portion of their stories feature spoken dialogue. I know this isn't a new thing that is happening in games. RPGs in particular have been offering a mix of spoken dialogue and written text for decades, but Octopath Traveler's handling of it is oddly irritating.

Bouncing from a long sequence with spoken dialogue to city exploration without any isn't the problem. That actually works fine. A clean transition is made. Most RPGs figure out the best points to use it or not. Octopath Traveler's problem is that won't shut up when the quiet sequences arrive. In these moments, characters offer just one or two words (and maybe even a grunt) instead of saying their lines. The back and forth between people talking ends up being unintentionally comedic given how little their are verbalizing.

The Latest On Skateboarding Sensation Session

about X hours ago from
The Latest On Skateboarding Sensation Session

Montreal's Crea-ture Studios grabbed the world's attention with their skateboarding game Session at E3 when Microsoft showcased the title during their press conference. Session is coming to the Xbox One and PC, and will be in Steam Early Access and the Xbox Game Preview program in late 2018, with the first version of the title in 2019.

I met with some of the dev team at E3, and asked them about some additional game details since we covered it late last year.

Since we last saw the game, a mid-spin catch mechanic has been added, which is just the start of how the game is going to continue to evolve until it hits Early Access and beyond. At that time Crea-ture says it wants the game to be "almost perfect" despite being an Early Access title. Having said that, it doesn't intend for the feature set to be locked at that time per se, but it will continue to add bits and work on what's currently there. One of the examples of this is the game's skater customization feature, which has already grown. There are plans to allow you to change the tightness of your trucks, board concave and width, and more.