Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (March 29, 2018)

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Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (March 29, 2018)

Shenmue, Celeste, and Sea of Thieves all get time in the blogging community spotlight this week, along with the tricky topic of limited saves in games. Time to get reading! 

Community Blogs For March 15 – March 28:

A Gaming Life: Pt. 2 – A 3DS Localization Wishlist Dominic Cichocki writes about some games we desperately need to see localized for the American audience. All of these games sound really interesting, but I have a soft spot for the Monster Hunter title, because, well, Monster Hunter, and its cats rock.

New Gameplay Today – Jurassic World Evolution

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New Gameplay Today – Jurassic World Evolution

Have you ever watched any of the Jurassic Park movies and thought to yourself that you could do a better job? The upcoming game from Frontier, Jurassic World Evolution, will let you put your money where your... thoughts... are. Dan Tack and Ben Hanson got to play the park sim recently, and they patiently sat down with Leo and me to share their experiences – as well as a killer "your mother" joke that goes over quite well.

Frontier is known for its work in sim games, including RollerCoaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon, but this one is a little different. You can still zoom into the micromanagement stuff, like adjusting prices on the concession stands and carving trails in the landscape, but some of the attractions in Jurassic World Evolution want to eat the guests. Watch and see how Hanson and Tack accommodate those desires.

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The Virtual Life – Far Cry 5 Pulls All Its Punches

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The Virtual Life – Far Cry 5 Pulls All Its Punches

Since its reveal, Far Cry 5 has been billed as a game that would boldly look into the dark fears that underlie the current geopolitical climate. Creative director Dan Hay has been frank in his conversations about the paranoia and armageddon nightmares that fueled Far Cry 5's inspirations, as per his interview with The Telegraph late last year:

I felt like the global village was being pulled apart, and we're starting to hear people talk about separation, people talking about "us" and "them." It really felt like we had taken a turn. I was in downtown Toronto and there was this guy who came around the corner wearing a sandwich board, and he was kind of disheveled and basically said "the end is near." I remember I had two thoughts from that.

Thought number one is "well that guy is probably right," and thought number 2 is "that's the first time I've ever looked at somebody wearing that sign while thinking he might be right." It dawned on me: we had taken a step closer.

Ten Video Games Churches That Fill Us With Awe

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Ten Video Games Churches That Fill Us With Awe

Has a video game made you pause before? Whether it's one of Shadow of the Colossus' awe-inspiring giants or a sweeping vista from Horizon Zero Dawn, there's a certain power to majesties like these move us to marvel out of wonder, shock, or even fear. These reactions are similar to standing before iconic religious buildings ranging from the Great Mosque of Mecca to the Mormon Tabernacle in Utah. Regardless of what belief (or lack thereof) you may profess, people from all walks of life are drawn to these structures because they carry the weight of their architects' faith. In light of Far Cry 5's blatant approach to religion and churches spread across its world, we've toured the varying glories of digital sanctuaries and temples to bring you the most memorable ones.

Sector 5 Church – Final Fantasy VIIMegacorporations are stereotypically bent toward unhinged greed and power at the expense of all things holy, and Shinra is emblematic of that kind of greed. In Final Fantasy VII, the company absorbs the planet's Lifestream, which gives all things life. The consequences of its conquest are evident in the bleak, industrial landscapes Cloud and his friends travel through, but strangely enough, there's one place that boasts signs of verdancy in the smog: the Sector 5 Church.

Deck Nine Talks Deleted Scenes And Queer Characters In Life Is Strange Prequel

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Deck Nine Talks Deleted Scenes And Queer Characters In Life Is Strange Prequel

Spoiler warning: This interview contains spoilers for the first Life us Strange, as well as Life is Strange: Before The Storm.

Deck Nine took on an ambitious project when it signed on to create a prequel to Dontnod's Life is Strange, bringing Chloe and her relationship with Rachel Amber to the forefront. What resulted was a beautiful tale of friendship, love, and grief. It fleshed out Chloe to bring a more human side to her polarizing personality, portrayed how her relationship with Rachel was a defining chapter in her life, and offered a new perspective to Arcadia Bay.

With Before the Storm's episodic story completed, we sat down with lead writer Zak Garriss to discuss the challenges of taking the reins from Dontnod, the research that went into writing queer characters, and the scenes that the team had to regretfully cut to keep up with tight production deadlines. 

An Up-Close Look At Atari's New Console, VCS

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An Up-Close Look At Atari's New Console, VCS

Last week, Atari pulled the curtain back from its "Atari Box" to announce the Atari VCS. The Linux-based system was on-hand at Game Developers Conference, where I was able to learn a bit more about the project.

While working prototypes exist, the model Atari brought to GDC was a non-working unit. However, it features the current set of ports, as well as the current working external design. Two controllers were also in the private room Atari based its GDC operations out of. The first controller was slicker rendition of the classic Atari joystick form-factor (with lights that illuminated in the direction you tilt the stick). In addition, the stick rotates to work with games that originally required a paddle controller. For the more complicated games that VCS plays, Atari also has a controller that looks and feels similar to the Xbox 360 controller. The biggest difference between Atari's controller and Xbox's is the d-pad, which I wish I could have tried out. Even without using it, the controller prototype feels great to hold.

Science-Fiction Weekly – Should You Go See Ready Player One?

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Science-Fiction Weekly – Should You Go See Ready Player One?

Ready Player One is a reminder of why I love going to the movies. Steven Spielberg turns Ernest Cline's novel into a gripping visual bombardment, dazzling theatergoers for two hours with off-the-rails action sequences and a nonstop machine-gun blast of pop-culture references. Cline's book focuses primarily on the 1980s, but the film (which Cline co-wrote) opens the floodgates to incorporate all decades of geekdom, including things you may have just fallen in love with, such as Overwatch. I'm willing to bet it is the only place where you'll see Hello Kitty sharing screen time with Freddy Krueger. The film ends up being silly in the best possible way – you can't help but laugh through most sequence, even if they do carry a deeply troubling warning about the world we live in today.

Watch Us Do Sick Stunts Live In Far Cry 5 Today At 3 PM CT!

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Watch Us Do Sick Stunts Live In Far Cry 5 Today At 3 PM CT!

While reviews of Far Cry 5 are mixed, the potential for the open-world antics that the series is known for remains a selling point. Join Jeff Cork, Jeff Marchiafava and more at 3 PM Central (three hours from this posting) as they dive into Montana in co-op, taking your suggestions in the chat and turning them into sick stunt magic. 

You can catch the livestream over on Twitch or YouTube, or with the video embedded below!

The Highs And Lows Of Soulcalibur’s 14 Guest Characters

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The Highs And Lows Of Soulcalibur’s 14 Guest Characters

For years, the Soulcalibur series has stood out among fighting titles for being accessible to button mashers but deep enough for dedicated fans of the genre. Soulcalibur is also known for its exciting and surprising crossovers with other gaming franchises in the form of playable guest characters – including wacky backstories on how they were transported to the fighting universe.

From Soulcalibur II to the upcoming sixth entry, here is a rundown on the various special guests and debating how cool they are in the 16th century setting.

Heihachi Mishima in Soulcalibur II on PlayStation 2 (2002)One day after training with his pet bear, Heihachi Mishima from Tekken passes out after accidentally cutting his finger with a piece of Soul Edge, an evil blade with powers that can possibly corrupt anyone upon contact. That slice somehow sends Heihachi on a trip back to the 16th century. Using his Mishima-style fighting karate, Heihachi tests his strength and skills against the Soulcalibur combatants.

A Spoiler-Filled Conversation With Iconoclasts' Creator

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A Spoiler-Filled Conversation With Iconoclasts' Creator

Iconoclasts is a surprisingly dark game with a mature story, especially considering its nostalgic art style. It caught me by surprise in a great way so we decided to speak with its developer, composer, artist, writer – everything – Joakim Sandberg, about the game's prolonged development, surprisingly dark story, religious themes, and much more. We go deep into late-game spoilers, so fair warning if you haven't played the game yet!

How long has Iconoclasts been in development?

I started on a project called Ivory Springs in 2007 that the game is sort of based on, but the actual project started properly in 2010. With some losses of motivation, the project went off the rails along the way. It has basically been eight years of doing that and not expecting it to take so long. It becomes your life for a long time.