A Spoiler-Filled Discussion Of Final Fantasy XV's Finale

about X hours ago from
A Spoiler-Filled Discussion Of Final Fantasy XV's Finale

Final Fantasy XV finally released at the end of November, and several editors here at Game Informer have now invested 50 hours (or more) into the experience. We've seen the credits roll, but we also still have questions. 

Join me, Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, and Brian Shea as we discuss what happened in the ending, as well as major developments along the way. We talk through the characters, their motivations, and how Final Fantasy XV draws inspiration from other games in the series. We speculate about the meaning of certain elements, and laugh at others. You can see it all unfold in the video below.

As always, be warned: spoilers follow!

Blizzard Gives Us A Revealing Tour Of Overwatch's Oasis Map

about X hours ago from
Blizzard Gives Us A Revealing Tour Of Overwatch's Oasis Map

Needless to say, we love Overwatch. While Blizzard released a quick video fly-through of its newest map Oasis, we wanted to learn more about the evolution of its design. We Skyped in Overwatch's lead writer Michael Chu and assistant game director Aaron Keller as we walked around the control map's three points to learn more about Blizzard's map design philosophy and the story team's vision of this sci-fi take on Iraq. If you enjoy this type of deep dive, let us know in the comments below!

Watch the video below to learn more about the Oasis map than you could possibly imagine.

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Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

about X hours ago from
Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

When I decided to turn the 12.31 Super Replay into an annual event, I knew the focus needed to be on bad games. People enjoyed watching us suffer; that was the hook that stood out. We used Overblood as the foundation for the type of game we were looking for each year. Blue Stinger, Illbleed, And Martian Gothic were all games that delivered a similar stench. They were perfect selections for the annual Super Replay.

When Tim Turi left Game Informer to work at Capcom, I realized this Super Replay event wouldn't be the same without him. He played through all of these bad games, and, well, I don't think it would have been fair to continue on without him. Out of respect to Tim, we are moving away from the survival-horror angle, and are falling back on my original pitch: it needs to be a bad game period.

As it turns out, there are many different flavors of terrible video games, and I think we found another example in Sonic the Hedgehog that is every bit as enjoyable, campy, and unbearably bad as the original Overblood. The game is simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's often referred to as Sonic '06. It's developed by Sonic Team for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is another failed attempt to give the blue speedster new life.

The Year Of The Shooter: How The Genre Came To Rule 2016

about X hours ago from
The Year Of The Shooter: How The Genre Came To Rule 2016

This article originally appeared in Game Informer issue #285.

For many, 2016 will be remembered as a year filled with turmoil, world-wide anxiety, and grief over the deaths of talented artists. However, in the world of video games, perhaps what would best epitomize this year is the number of quality shooters that have emerged in that short span of time. It’s rare to have a year where this particular genre has this strong of a foothold, the last being 2004, which saw the release of Half-life 2, Halo 2, and Far Cry among other quality first-person shooters.

This year’s releases ran the gamut from colorful, accessible multiplayer-only games to grim, story-driven experiences taking place on the blood-soaked battlegrounds of The Great War.

Important Questions For The Nintendo Switch

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Important Questions For The Nintendo Switch

This Thursday night Nintendo is holding a Switch event that promises to reveal details about the upcoming system. While we will no doubt find out some bits of info such as the price of the platform, there are many other issues regarding the system and what it's capable of that will be important at launch and down the road.

Note: Parts of this article originally appeared in Game Informer issue #284. 

What's In The Box?

Test Chamber – Why Gravity Rush 2 Tops The Original

about X hours ago from
Test Chamber – Why Gravity Rush 2 Tops The Original

The Gravity Rush series has a number of things going for it (the gravity-bending powers, the chaotic fighting, the beautiful vistas), but the first game has issues giving you enough ways to user your cool powers. Gravity Rush 2 improves on that original game in a number of smart ways, but can't manage to do its wonderful powers justice. You can read more about why in our review.

But with as great as it looks and as visual as its gameplay is, you need to see it in action to really get a feel for what it's like. Kyle Hilliard and I sat down to show off how the game improves on the original, some of the cool social aspects of the game, and demonstrate some of the weirder quests and environments the game has to offer.

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The Sports Desk – Expressing Momentum In Sports Games

about X hours ago from
The Sports Desk – Expressing Momentum In Sports Games

A couple of weeks ago the FIFA subreddit erupted when a mention of "momentum" in relation to the game's Ultimate Team chemistry system appeared in apparent game files for the PC version of FIFA 17. Whether sports games have momentum, rubber-banding, or catch-up A.I. to automatically try and level the playing field or give one team the advantage in certain situation is always a hot topic. Some swear developers put it in there, while others think it's all conspiracy talk. And when you layer on the charged world of FIFA Ultimate Team in particular (with real-money involved), people can get very angry when they feel they've been treated unfairly.

Along with the file's mention of momentum, player traits are listed, some of which (like Low Concentration, Super Sub, and Chicken Header) are not surfaced to the player in the front end. The insinuation being that the game makes players act a certain way under the hood at times.

I contacted EA about the matter to try and receive some kind of explanation or context for the mention of momentum and player traits listed, but did not receive a response.

Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

about X hours ago from
Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

When I decided to turn the 12.31 Super Replay into an annual event, I knew the focus needed to be on bad games. People enjoyed watching us suffer; that was the hook that stood out. We used Overblood as the foundation for the type of game we were looking for each year. Blue Stinger, Illbleed, And Martian Gothic were all games that delivered a similar stench. They were perfect selections for the annual Super Replay.

When Tim Turi left Game Informer to work at Capcom, I realized this Super Replay event wouldn't be the same without him. He played through all of these bad games, and, well, I don't think it would have been fair to continue on without him. Out of respect to Tim, we are moving away from the survival-horror angle, and are falling back on my original pitch: it needs to be a bad game period.

As it turns out, there are many different flavors of terrible video games, and I think we found another example in Sonic the Hedgehog that is every bit as enjoyable, campy, and unbearably bad as the original Overblood. The game is simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's often referred to as Sonic '06. It's developed by Sonic Team for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is another failed attempt to give the blue speedster new life.

Afterwords – Watch Dogs 2

about X hours ago from
Afterwords – Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 improves on much of what the first game lacked, with a vibrant new setting of San Francisco and a more interesting protagonist named Marcus Holloway. We spoke to senior producer Dominic Guay of Ubisoft about the ups and downs of the game's development.

Many thought the original Watch Dogs had its share of flaws. Was there a lot of pressure to address the issues of the first game?You always want to make the best possible game. The team is driven by passion. We are gamers too. We listened to the feedback and definitely considered it in our decision making process. It is not to say that we were reacting solely to that feedback, but we definitely considered both what various people liked and disliked in the original game.

Was there much debate amongst the team about including Ubisoft’s San Francisco office in the game and how far down that rabbit hole to go?
That was an idea we had in early conception of the game. WD 2 focuses on hacking – if we are going to allow the player to hack so many things in the city we should also allow them to hack a virtual Ubisoft. We found it healthy to poke a little fun at ourselves, to not put ourselves above others. 

The 2016 RPG Of The Year Awards

about X hours ago from
The 2016 RPG Of The Year Awards

The RPG genre is among the most time-intensive in all of gaming. If players are expected to spend 40-plus hours with these titles, it is especially important that RPGs draw players in with compelling worlds, stories, and mechanics. Last year had plenty of great games to get immersed in, with satisfying offerings across the entire RPG spectrum.

The genre continues to be hybridized, and RPG-style progressions has infiltrated practically every other type of game – but straightforward RPGs remain strong. In 2016, we finally saw the long-awaited release of Final Fantasy XV, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (our 2015 game of the year) got even bigger with the release of the Blood and Wine expansion. Looking past the big names, games like Darkest Dungeon and Tyranny provided grim experiences that delved into the darker side of role-playing. And, of course, Pokémon's familiar formula proved to be as successful as ever. Many collective hours were lost to these great games throughout 2016, and now we’re bestowing our awards for 2016’s biggest victories in the genre.

Best Narrative: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine