Here's What Ted Price Would Have Done If He Took Over Rock Band In 2008

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With everyone discussing the Rock Band 4 announcement, several editors in the office engaged in conversations about Rock Band's storied past. One of the talking points was a potential new direction for the series by a game developer you wouldn't expect.

In 2008, I challenged a handful of game developers to design a sequel to one of their favorite franchises that they hadn't worked on. Bethesda Game Studios' Todd Howard outlined his vision for a Final Fantasy sequel, Naughty Dog's Jason Rubin provided insight into how he would reinvent Resident Evil, and Insomniac Games' Ted Price walked us through his plans for a Rock Band sequel.

Below is Price's idea for a Rock Band that focused more on the story and the musicians than we've seen in Harmonix's series. Keep in mind, this piece ran in 2008, and a lot has changed in the world of game development between then and now. Regardless, Price's vision is fascinating. I'd love to see a music game dive deeper into the connection between the player and character.

The Very Best Indie Games Of GDC 2015

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Update: Our ever-expanding GDC 2015 indie coverage continues with Extreme Exorcism and The Behemoth's Game 4.

The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is a mecca for intelligent talk about triple-A game design, but it also hosts a huge assortment of indie games. We've got boots on the ground at GDC 2015 and controllers in our hands, playing and vetting through dozens of upcoming indie games to let you know what's worth getting excited for. Check out our evolving, expanding list of the best indie gems from GDC 2015.

This story includes contributions from the GDC 2015 crew, including Jeff Cork, Kim Wallace, Matt Bertz, and me (Tim Turi)

Valve's First Foray Into Virtual Reality Is A Convincing One

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Three days after Valve announced its virtual reality partnership with HTC, we finally had a chance to test out the technology we have heard rumors about from giddy developers for a couple years. Though the initial setup is much more cumbersome than the other VR demos we've tried, once you drop into the virtual demos created to showcase the possibilities of the technology, those concerns fade away.

The vast majority of VR demos I've experienced to this point have involved a headset, a chair, and a controller. Valve's is considerably more complicated. Two base stations positioned on the top of shelves in the corners of the room are set up to track the player location with laser sensors. The headset isn't considerably different feeling than the Crystal Cove version of the Rift, with straps that hold the goggles in place on your face. The player also uses two wand-like devices that are currently tethered to the Vive with cords. The final retail model will be wireless. I also had to wear a belt that keeps the cords from tripping me up.

Test Chamber – Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition

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Test Chamber – Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition

First, there was the Devil May Cry series. Then there was a reboot from developer Ninja Theory. Now, we have the remastered version of that reboot, complete with small tweaks and visual improvements. Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition is the same game at its core, but with an extra layer of polish.

The full review will be up next week, but you can get some early impressions by watching me and Kyle Hilliard highlight some of the new additions. If you're a hardcore fan of the original version, some of the changes will probably make you very happy...but some might be so small that they escape your notice. See for yourself in the Test Chamber below.

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If You Like Destiny, You Should Try Helldivers

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Helldivers just released on PS4, PS3, and Vita yesterday, and our review of Arrowhead’s new game offers an enthusiastic recommendation for anyone looking for something new to try out this month. However, with its sci-fi setting, focus on cooperative play, and character upgrade options, there’s one group of gamers that definitely shouldn’t miss out on the title; players of Bungie’s Destiny should take a break from raids and bounties, and check out what Helldivers has to offer.

Destiny has been a divisive game, but there’s no denying the tremendous success it has had in keeping gamers playing since release in September. Many players have poured hundreds of hours into the shared world shooter, and continue to do so to this day. However, with a lengthy break looming between now and the next major expansion, many of our devoted Destiny players here in the GI office are looking for something else to scratch the itch, and I bet we’re not the only ones.

Enter Helldivers. Arrowhead’s new twin-stick shooter has a very different style of gameplay from Destiny, but look past the differences between top-down and first-person perspectives, and there are a number of similarities that make Helldivers a perfect distraction as you wait for the next big Bungie release. 

25 Years of Maxis – Living the Simulated Dream

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Author's Note: This article originally appeared in issue 236 of Game Informer. With the news of Maxis closing its doors, we wanted to post the feature to give you a look at happier days at the legendary studio. I conducted these interviews in September 2012 – prior to the release of SimCity and The Sims 4 – to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Maxis. Though recent developments may be missing from the conversation, I left the studio impressed by the dedication, passion, and creativity of the staff. Even if the Maxis brand persists in some altered form, the Emeryville location was the core of the studio, and I'm sad to see it go.

The year 1987 is a pivotal one in gaming history, introducing iconic series like Mega Man, Metal Gear, and Final Fantasy. Though shooting robots and fighting wizards were the most prominent gameplay moments from that year, a new type of experience was taking shape at the newly formed Maxis Software – a small studio in Moraga, California formed by Will Wright and Jeff Braun to publish SimCity. In the gaming landscape of 1987, a simulation about urban planning was risky, but Braun and Wright hoped that it would find an audience.

Nintendo Highlights Five Upcoming Wii U Indies

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Nintendo Highlights Five Upcoming Wii U Indies

At Nintendo’s eShop Showcase, Nintendo recently highlighted the variety of indie games coming to the eShop this year. In addition to sharing five trailers for some of its most promising Wii U eShop games Nintendo also shared release date information for the games on both the Wii U and 3DS eShops.

Read on for some information about the five indies Nintendo featured, including Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Runbow, Swords & Soliders II, Affordable Space Adventures, and Never Alone. The release date information for both eShops is below the trailers.

Don’t Starve: Giant Edition

15 Years With The PlayStation 2

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The Beginning Of An Unprecedented EraDespite the monumental success of the PlayStation 2, it wasn't always guaranteed. The console debuted in Japan on March 4, 2000 to wild anticipation, but Sony was unable to meet demand. This continued for the North American release later in the year when Sony cut its launch day stock from a million to 500,000 units.

The high demand was a good sign, but a weak launch lineup (remember Fantavision?), competition from the Dreamcast, and the specter of history (no console manufacturer to that point had dominated in back-to-back hardware cycles), meant victory wasn't assured.

I was in Japan for the console's release, with the task of securing a unit for the office so we could review the launch titles in the magazine. What could be easier than walking into a store in Akihabara and buying one on launch day? When I got to the famous Tokyo electronics district it was absolutely packed with people waiting in lines and milling about hoping to get a PS2.

The Very Best Indie Games Of GDC 2015

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Update: We expand our look at the best indie games at GDC with impressions from a variety of Nintendo eShop games, including Runbow, Box Boy, and Affordable Space Adventures.

The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is a mecca for intelligent talk about triple-A game design, but it also hosts a huge assortment of indie games. We've got boots on the ground at GDC 2015 and controllers in our hands, playing and vetting through dozens of upcoming indie games to let you know what's worth getting excited for. Check out our evolving, expanding list of the best indie gems from GDC 2015.

This story includes contributions from the GDC 2015 crew, including Jeff Cork, Kim Wallace, Matt Bertz, and me (Tim Turi)