Koei Tecmo Bringing Atelier Sophie To North America, Offers Limited Edition

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Koei Tecmo announced that it's bringing Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book to North America this June. In addition to the regular version of the game, super fans can splurge on a limited edition that includes, appropriately enough, a hardcover art book.

This entry is the first in the series to appear on PlayStation 4. It takes place in a European town, and stars a young alchemist named Sophie. She gains possession of the titular book, which kicks off an epic adventure. Kim spent some time with the game during September's Tokyo Game Show, and it left enough of an impression to make her wish list of games that she wanted localized. Dreams do come true, apparently. 

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Urban Empire Gets Political With The City Sim

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Fans of city builders like SimCity or Cities:Skylines may find a lot to love in the upcoming Urban Empire, as players create enormous, sprawling cities. But a lot more is going on in Urban Empire than just trying to run your city – your political aspirations and motivations play a huge factor as you take your city through time, from the early days of industry to the modern digital age. Players can also choose to simply just play the game in one era, but taking the multi-persona family-line sprawl through the eras is an intriguing prospect. The result is an interesting mix of Civilization, SimCity, and backroom diplomacy all in one.

Politics are a huge component of the game. Once you stop being able to pay for things out of your own pocket, you have to curry favor and call votes to get your town plans passed. Make too many enemies, and you could even lose the game. In fact, that’s the only way to lose the game. The fail state condition is when folks decide you’re no longer fit to be the mayor and oust you from power. There are a variety of ways that you can use and gain political power, including dredging up secrets on your opponents and using that knowledge against them, pleading for things, and even making threats. 

Pantheon: Rise Of The Fallen Brings New Twists To The Classic MMORPG

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Visionary Realms is bringing back some of the elements of classic MMORPG play in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, like social experiences and group-centric combat. Combined with a perception system that replaces the "in your face" exclamation points and pop-up boxes that are part of the more modern MMO and a heavy focus on exploration and discovery, Pantheon may have roots in the past, but it's looking toward what Visionary Realms thinks is the future of MMORPGs. At GDC 2016, I had a chance to get my first taste of what makes Pantheon tick (in a very, very pre-alpha build).

Combat includes classic concepts – pulling packs of monsters to your group, hoping they don't alert allies, and taking on big bosses with classic core classes like clerics and warriors. The group dynamic is important – players often have a variety of buffs and boons they can use on their companions.

Loot And Shoot To Survive An Alien-Infested Open World

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Loot And Shoot To Survive An Alien-Infested Open World

Publisher Free Reign Entertainment announced Shattered Skies today, a new open-world MMO set in an alien-infested post-apocalyptic world. The game is scheduled to enter open beta this summer, with a full release planned before the end of the year.

Shattered Skies will pit players against aliens, mutated humans, and other survivors in an open-world sandbox environment. Gameplay will focus on third- and first-person shooting, with an emphasis on looting for precious and rare gear. 

Fans of the genre may recognize Free Reign Entertainment from last year’s zombie survival horror MMO Romero’s Aftermath

Tokyo RPG Factory Wants I Am Setsuna To Be More Than Just A Nostalgia Grab

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At GDC 2016, I had the opportunity to meet with Square Enix and take a look at Tokyo RPG Factory's upcoming homage to '90s JRPGs, I am Setsuna . Tokyo RPG Factory says its desire is to revisit, "the methods used to develop past RPGs to create a completely new RPG series, which will introduce the authentic JRPG style to current hardware using the technologies of today."

When I sat down for the meeting I was skeptical about the game. The biggest thing we knew about I am Setsuna is it draws inspiration from the JRPG classic Chrono Trigger. Director Atsushi Hashimoto and his staff took some time to explain I am Setsuna is about a young woman and the sacrifices she must make to save her people, to reiterate that the game was an attempt to return to what the development team considers to be the golden era of JRPGs.

Our First Look At Sniper Elite 4's Blood-Gushing, Bone-Breaking Action

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Our First Look At Sniper Elite 4's Blood-Gushing, Bone-Breaking Action

Ask anyone who knows the Sniper Elite series what the first thing that comes to mind, and I suspect you'll get the same answer from most. The stealth series is known for its brutal X-ray kills that show the stark reality of what happens when a high-velocity projectile rips through the body.

Bones break, organs rupture, and players wince. This time out, Rebellion has added more of the vascular system, and the effect is more gruesome than ever.

But underneath the blood-soaked franchise is competent stealth, clever A.I., and attractive settings. The latest game in the series takes us to pre-war Italy and sports a number of features that add to and refine how the franchise works.

A Bright Summer Release Window

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Have you been anticipating Capybara Games' Below? Good news! The game isn't far off from release.

Capy revealed a summer release window at the end of the IGF awards today, but not without giving us another look at the game with a new trailer. 

The procedurally generated dungeon crawler focuses on survival, and the trailer below showcases the dark trek you'll be going on. Be sure to turn up the volume to get a sampling of the fantastic music. 

New Trailer Explores The Hellish Maps Of Doom

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Bethesda released a video today on its blog, showcasing nine new multiplayer maps for the upcoming release of Doom.

The new maps are looking hellish, in a good way. They range form the underground depths of a chasm to a Union Aerospace Corporation on Mars. Bethesda explains in their post that, "These multi-tiered combat arenas are littered with hazards, and packed with items that can turn the tide of combat at a moment’s notice."

The announced maps include:

Brutally Kill Zombies In Virtual Reality With Into The Dead

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PikPok's iOS and Android game, Into the Dead, just received a new trailer in anticipation of its release on the Oculus Rift.

Into the Dead is an action-packed horror game that pits you against several gruesome zombies, and tests how long you can stay alive. It originally released on mobile devices in 2012.

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The Weapons And Enemies Of Gears Of War 4

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Gears of War has always had a fair amount of creativity stocked in the enemies it throws at players, as well as the weapons it has given them to mow them down. Though Gears of War 4 looks to make some changes when it comes to tone and scope, The Coalition aims to keep both enemies and weapons as delightfully nasty as they've ever been.

Old favorites like the chainsaw equipped Lancer and the trusty snub pistol return, but with some aesthetic changes. To help instill the more survival-horror aspects of the game, the Lancer now has a flashlight attached to it that simultaneously makes targets easier to see and highlights their creepier features. Of course, not all changes to the classics are done for pragmatic reasons. The team admits the Gnasher now has a shell rail attached to it simply because, "it looks cool." While these additions are mostly cosmetic and don't fundamentally change how these weapons function, they are pleasant to look at.

The new weapons we've seen are essentially construction equipment that has been repurposed for violent means. The Coalition chose construction equipment in particular as an inspiration because of Gears of War 4's setting becasue the humans left on Sera are trying to build a new life after the war with the Locust. The two new big weapons we saw (and played with) are the Dropshot and the Buzzkill.