When Sega was in the hardware business, its stable of developers enjoyed luxuries like having an intimate familiarity with the hardware and only developing for one console. In addition, during Sega's tenure as a platform holder, developers could petition for hardware changes to assist development.
"When Sega stopped making hardware, things really changed in development," says Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. "For everyone in Sega making software, we were pretty used to and found a lot of upside in being able to be on our own hardware. If we had requests for our software, we went to our hardware team and said, 'Look, I'm making a game like this, I need this to happen. Make it happen.'"
In the late 1990s, developers approached Sega's hardware team about adding a second screen to the controllers that allowed for minigames on the go. The result was the Visual Memory Unit for the Sega Dreamcast. However, this wasn't the first time developers approached the hardware team for support.
Ultimate Team – or any of the monetization modes in the sports games – are big business, and it's not all real-money exploitation, either. These fun modes have captured the imagination of gamers, and for some, are the preferred way to play the games. I have been thinking about this supposed shift in the balance of power away from the traditional single-player career track towards a multiplayer mode like Ultimate Team (which, BTW, I'm going to use as an umbrella term for all of these fantasy modes in this article, whether it's NBA 2K17's MyTeam or Pro Evolution Soccer 2017's MyClub). The chance to build a roster of players from different teams is obviously a big draw, as is the excitement of ripping packs for the gratification of getting a star or rare player card.
Due to the marketplace values, the involvement of real money, and the carrot/stick nature of these modes, grinding for packs (and/or the coins to buy them) is fundamental to them. While the modes have mixed it up over the last few years by featuring different kinds of challenges, ladder/gauntlet structures, and quicker ways to play, for gamers who don't want to spend real-money the prospect of all that grinding to build their teams up can be daunting.
Stunlock Studios' spiritual successor to Bloodline Champions, Battlerite, is in Early Access now and available on Steam.
Join Daniel Tack and Matt Miller as they explore this fast-paced character-driven arena brawler that skips the creeps, lanes, leveling, item upgrading, and bases of the traditional MOBA and aims for an extremely fast skill-centric experience with small teams. Players can play against bots to practice and then engage in 2v2 or 3v3 battles in tiny arenas that force the action. Short cooldowns, fast reactions, and adapting to the battle are all part of the mix.
We play a few different matches and check out a few characters in this episode of Test Chamber!
All this month, multiple times a week, Game Informer is highlighting aspects South Park: The Fractured But Whole from Ubisoft San Francisco. With today's video, we're taking a deep dive into the new team's approach to RPG/Strategy combat. We sat down with senior gameplay designer Kenneth Strickland to understand how and why they're rebuilding the game's combat from the ground up. Leaving behind South Park: The Stick of Truth's Paper Mario-inspired system for a new world of approachable tactics is a challenging task, so we had a lot to discuss.
Watch the video below to learn what Matt Stone and Trey Parker wanted from the combat system this time around, and how they hope to win over RPG-rookies and fans of tactics.
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Last year, over the course of four months, we played through Shenmue for the Dreamcast in its entirety. It was an experimental video series, with an undefined schedule that allowed us to take in all the feedback for each episode by reading and responding to comments in (almost) real time. The experiment was a success! So we immediately decided (after playing through Dark Souls III, Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon, Shadow of the Colossus, and Resident Evil 4) that there was no time like the present to return to Yu Suzuki's masterpiece. For the sequel, we're playing the Xbox version that was published by Microsoft in 2002.
In the first episode we explore the city a little bit, make a friend with a fellow capsule toy collector, and get all our stuff stolen. There's also a lady who forgot to finish getting dressed who really likes her motorcycle. In episode two, we make some progress by giving a hungry guy who loves naps some money, and getting a job that's almost as cool as being a forklift driver.
Stay tuned for more episodes at some point, and leave us lots of comments! We'll probably read yours on the next episode.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was one of my favorite Xbox One games last year, so I could think of worse fates than playing it again on PlayStation 4. As much as I looked forward to diving back into the campaign, I decided to prioritize the new content, which is focused around Croft Manor – including a chance to visit the iconic location in virtual reality. It’s definitely seen better days, but getting to walk around its halls is still a thrill.
The Croft Manor content is split into two discrete experiences, Blood Ties and Lara’s Nightmare, and while Blood Ties supports the PlayStation VR headset, it’s not required. You can also download it on Xbox One, but you obviously won’t be able to play in VR.
Blood Ties is a story-driven adventure, which offers a relatively brief but interesting opportunity to check out the home where Lara grew up. Her father died without leaving a written will, and her uncle is making a claim on the property. That simply won’t do, so you have to conduct a search to find some kind of documentation that will let her retain the family home. There’s no combat in Blood Ties or any opportunities to flip around the place like you may have done in the past. Instead, it’s more akin to a point-and-click adventure, where you have to scour your surroundings for clues and items necessary to fully explore the manor.
This year on The Game Informer Show podcast, we kicked off GI Game Club that has us playing through games and discussing them in detail with our community. We recently tackled the original BioShock from Irrational Games. We want to thank everybody from the community that played along with us or wrote thoughtful emails to email@example.com. Please let us know what you'd like to see from Game Club in the future, either the game choices or the format. We'll be announcing our next Game Club choice soon, so stay tuned to The Game Informer Show podcast for more updates!
Part 1: BioShock's opening up through Fort Frolic.
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I recently had the chance to travel to San Jose to check out some of the games Oculus was showing off for both the standard Oculus setup (headset plus controller), and the new setup taking advantage of the upcoming touch controllers. Good news: I managed not to get motion sickness, yay! Better news: I saw some really cool games. Here are the five best ones.
Robo RecallRobo Recall, a full-fledged expansion of last year's Bullet Train demo, was revealed during the keynote speech and immediately became one of the most talked about games at the show, and for good reason. The game's colorful, vibrant action channels the aesthetic of Time Crisis and it doesn't hurt that the game will be free to anyone who owns an Oculus. I got to play through a single level of the game and had a fantastic time with it. I'm still not quite a believer in VR reaching its gaming potential, but the demo for Robo Recall is a fantastic time, and had me wowing at all of its combat options. You can read a more in-depth preview of my time with the demo here.
The Stick of Truth is great, and we're confident about The Fractured But Whole, but there was a time when South Park and video games didn't get along.
We've got all kinds of features planned this month about why we think South Park: The Fractured But Whole (which is on our cover this month) will be a good game, but we wanted to take a moment to remember the South Park license back before its creators stepped in and said, "Stop it. Let us take care of this!"
We focus mostly on the Nintendo 64 South Park games where Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, myself, and special guests Yoda and Wade Wojcik check out Chef's Luv Shack, South Park Rally, the simply titled South Park (which we did play on a previous episode of Replay). We also play a bit of the Xbox 360 Xbox Live Arcade game, South Park: Tenorman's Revenge (which former editor Dan Ryckert gave a 2). We promise you're not going to have a bad time.