Creating The Extraordinary Machines Of Horizon Zero Dawn

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If there's one thing that's impossible to ignore about Horizon Zero Dawn, it's the gigantic machines you go head-to-head with. All of them resemble different wildlife, from dinosaurs to crocodiles to hyenas.  Guerrilla Games spent a lot of time thinking about various features of these mechanical beasts, from their role in the game's ecosystem to their weaknesses and values. While in Amsterdam, the team gave insight into the intricate process of bringing these intriguing creatures to life by showing us how the Shellwalker came to be.

Taking Real-World Inspiration

Guerrilla tries to look for inspiration in nature for all its designs, using recognizable wildlife to form its robotic creatures.  "We go for that...that there is a recognizable element in there," says lead designer Dennis Zopfi. "We try to twist it a little bit, so that there's something new to it." This all ties into giving you familiarity before stepping into battle. "The reason for that is so that you expect certain behaviors and movements, so it's all about readability," explains managing director Herman Hulst. "The combat encounters need to be fluid and easy to read."

Super Replay – Resident Evil 4 Episode 9

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Super Replay – Resident Evil 4 Episode 9

Much like the zombie creatures Resident Evil is known for, we can't seem to rid ourselves of former Game Informer editor turned Capcom associate brand manager, Tim Turi. He tries to leave and we think he's gone, but suddenly he, and his unquenchable desire to play Resident Evil while others watch, comes back to life.

We embrace this kind of reanimation though, and were happy to make Tim play through Resident Evil 4 in its entirety in order to remind everyone that that game has found yet another set of platforms on which to exist – the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Join us as we reminisce about one of the best games on GameCube (and later PlayStation 2, then PC, then Wii, then Zeebo then Xbox 360, then PlayStation 3, and then iOS and Android), pressure Tim to tell us more about Resident Evil 7, and bring in different editors to push against the Los Ganados threat. Above, you can watch a trailer teasing what's to come, and below you can watch the latest episode of our playthrough. We'll be posting new episodes on Sundays and Wednesdays until we finish the game, so stay tuned!

Five Great Games That Tell Stories Without Words

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Within the interactive medium of video games, there are several ways to tell an engaging narrative. Games like BioShock tell immersive stories through audio logs and spacial narratives, while titles like Gone Home rely on the player exploring its environment and piecing together the plot themselves. Others, such as Campo Santo's Firewatch, use snappy dialogue primarily to weave a tale.

So, what happens when a game developer takes on the challenge of having no dialogue or words whatsoever in their game? The result can create a more ambiguous story that's up for interpretation, and a reliance on characters' body language to set a tone. It can make for a narrative that is minimalistic or thought provoking in its simplicity. While some games, such as the point-and-click game Dropsy the Clown, don't always hit the mark, others like Virginia are able to impress us by overcoming this creative challenge. Here are five games that stand out for how they tell a wordless narrative. 

Opinion — Pac-Man Has Always Been The Bad Guy

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Dear Video Game Fans,

As readers of this fine web site and magazine might know, I recently reviewed the 2016 video game Pac-Man Championship Edition 2. I loved the way it reworks concepts from the classic Pac-Man arcade game and modernizes them without compromising its core conceit: eating dots and killing ghosts. I wrote that review with confidence in my assertion that it was one of the exalted Good Games and stand by what I wrote.

However, as I continued playing more of it in my free time post-review, a seed of doubt began to grow within me. I had been wantonly chasing high scores for the better part of an hour, looking to score an S-rank on the Hexagon course. As I devoured my umpteenth ghost train, one of the little suckers’ eyes caught my attention. They may have just been several dots put together without a mouth or visible reaction, but they nonetheless evoked an empathy I’d never felt before.

Replay – Star Wars: Demolition

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Replay – Star Wars: Demolition

Between the release of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, Star Wars received one of its stranger video game spin-offs, and Andrew Reiner, Jeff Cork, Jeff Marchiafava, and I decided to see how it holds up.

Released in 2000, Star Wars: Demolition was developed by Luxoflux, the studio behind Vigilante 8 and later the True Crime series. It's a vehicle combat game comparable to Twisted Metal (or perhaps more appropriately, Vigilante 8) where players battle it out for Jabba The Hutt's entertainment. In the Star Wars storyline, it takes place right before Return of the Jedi, but does feature some Phantom Menace vehicles and robots. When Disney announced it would be getting rid of all the expanded universe Star Wars fiction ahead of the release of The Force Awakens, we mentioned Demolition as a game we did not mind being forgotten, and this episode of Replay does a good job explaining why.

For the second part of Replay, we take a look at a PlayStation 2 game that time has been much kinder to.

Game of Thrones' Kristian Nairn On His Favorite Games

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On this week's Game Informer Show, we had the surprise guest appearance of the actor Kristian Nairn, who is best known for his role as Hodor on HBO's Game of Thrones. Nairn worked with Blizzard in voicing a character for World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion, and now he's lending his talents to the free-to-play mobile game King of Avalon: Dragon Warfare. We spoke with him about his experience playing games on the set of Game of Thrones, his whirlwind life as a touring DJ, and how he hopes his future contains more work designing video games.

Watch the interview below, or subscribe and listen to the audio of the podcast by clicking here.

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Test Chamber – The First 30 Minutes Of Killer Instinct's New Single-Player Mode

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Test Chamber – The First 30 Minutes Of Killer Instinct's New Single-Player Mode

Killer Instinct's new Shadow Lords Campaign mode is out this week, and it looks like the kind of fighting game single-player you can really sink your teeth into. It's more than a "cutscene, fight, cutscene" mode, and it looks like it eases you into all of its mechanics slowly.

It seemed like a pretty major thing, so Brian Shea and I went into the mode blind to see what it had to offer. I haven't played much Killer Instinct before this, but after seeing the game has to offer, I'm interested in playing more of it. You can watch us mess around and do terrible accents below.

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Funny To A Point – Ode To Blowing #%$& Up

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Funny To A Point – Ode To Blowing #%$& Up

In the past few months since I've launched this column, I've poked fun at some games, the haters of other games, the industry, and mostly myself. Today I want to do something a little different by waxing poetic about most one of gaming's most time-tested and artistic expressions: blowing sh-- up.

Perhaps it's because construction workers have spent this week playing with the biggest, coolest toys in the lot across from our office, but lately I've spent an I-swear-I'm-not-crazy amount of time thinking about all the destructive things we do in games. Sure, video games allow us to do a lot of good things: They task us with difficult philosophical choices, help us expand our horizons, and provide new perspectives on life. I appreciate these amazing and positive aspects of gaming, and they deserve all the heaping praise they get. But none of that makes blasting the crap out of things any less fun.

Test Chamber – 20 Minutes Of The Last Guardian Gameplay/Impressions

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Test Chamber – 20 Minutes Of The Last Guardian Gameplay/Impressions

At Tokyo Game Show, Kimberley Wallace got hands-on with The Last Guardian – and she brought some of that gameplay footage home.

Join Kimberley, Jeff Cork, and I as we watch her playthrough, hear her hands-on impressions, and briefly try to extrapolate what we can about The Last Guardian's lore based on what little we've seen. 

The Last Guardian recently suffered what is hopefully its final delay, and the game will release for PlayStation 4 on December 6.

Horizon Zero Dawn's Lead Writer On The Game's Biggest Mysteries

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Horizon Zero Dawn's Lead Writer On The Game's Biggest Mysteries

With our October cover story on Horizon Zero Dawn from Guerrilla Games, we're pulling back the curtain all month long on the creation of this bold new world for players. While visiting the studio, Game Informer's Kimberley Wallace sat down with the game's lead writer John Gonzalez to learn more about the process of developing Aloy's motivations and a coherent logic to this land infested with robotic dinosaurs. To learn more about Guerrilla's challenges developing this game and leaving Killzone's gameplay behind, you can check out our other video feature on the game's origins.

Watch the interview below to learn about Aloy's childhood, the different tribes you encounter, and why you might want to read Guns, Germs, and Steel.

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