Virtual Reality And The Horror Of Deep-Sea Isolation

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We took a look at Honor Code's deep-sea horror game, Narcosis, when it was first revealed last year. Today at GDC 2015 Jeff Cork and I had a chance to strap on the latest version of the Oculus Rift VR kit and explore a flooded, derelict underwater research station. We discuss our impressions of the game's scariness and the use of VR.

Tim: Jeff, had you ever tried out the Oculus Rift before our hands-on demo with Narcosis at GDC?

Jeff: Nope. For whatever reason, I've never had any demos for games that used the device, and I never got around to trying out the one we had in the office. I'm not anti VR or anything, but I'm not frothing at the mouth to stick my face in one of those things, either.

Changing The Scope And Scale Of RTS Battles

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Changing The Scope And Scale Of RTS Battles

Today at GDC, I got to see a demo from Oxide Games' newly announced RTS, Ashes of the Singularity. It features an interesting approach to unit management, nicely lit explosions, and, oh, a few thousand ships blasting at one another with lasers and missiles, thanks to the studio's Nitrous engine.

The game's set in a far-off future, where mankind has transcended its flimsy physical husks in favor of an uploaded consciousness. Those post-humans are locked in all-out war with a rival faction, the A.I. Substrate. And as I saw, "All-out war," means more than few ships circling around and taking potshots.

Stardock brand manager Adam Biessener walked me through the demo, which was appropriately focused on the game's technology. [Full disclosure: Biessener was a longtime PC editor at Game Informer before working at Stardock.]

New Gameplay Teaser For The Screen Warping Adventure Unveiled

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New Gameplay Teaser For The Screen Warping Adventure Unveiled

At GDC 2015, Curve Digital announced that it is bringing Ludo Land’s Four Sided Fantasy to Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, and Vita, in addition to the already announced PC version. The game's main gimmick is that you can toggle on and off the ability to warp from one side of the screen to the other in order to navigate the environment.

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If you want to see more of Four Sided Fantasy in action, you can look at Ludo Land’s Kickstarter page. Not only does their Kickstarter page show many GIFs hinting at how the puzzles will evolve over time, it also offers some artwork for the main character – an unnamed businessman who wants to escape from the boredom of his office job.

Take A Spin On A Roller Coaster In New Gameplay Trailer

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Take A Spin On A Roller Coaster In New Gameplay Trailer

Atari is bringing back the famed theme park simulator with an assortment of new perks. It's been 11 years since the release of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, the most recent PC game of the franchise, and the upcoming game is the most ambitious yet.

The new trailer straps you into a roller coaster and shows off new gameplay elements, such as rides and visuals of your dream theme park. The most innovative addition to the game is multiplayer, allowing you to visit other parks, share ride blueprints with friends, and the ability to team up with others to create your own amusement park corporation.

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Stylish Roguelike Dungeon Crawler Announced In Trailer

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Harebrained Schemes, the makers of Shadowrun Returns, has unveiled the new roguelike dungeon crawler Necropolis. This sleek-looking game has a low-poly art design and utilizes combat based on timing and animation.

You play as an adventurer exploring the depths of Abraxis' necropolis. The archmage's tomb is safeguarded by magical forces and enemies, but hidden deep inside are treasures and magical items. The maze-like dungeon shifts its hallways in different directions and closes walls at a whim, creating a procedurally generated experience like no other. To survive, you must create magic potions and collect mystical books which are used to level up your character.

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The Banner Saga's Creative Director Announces New Independent Project

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Alex Thomas, creative director for Stoic's The Banner Saga has split off to create a new indie developer called Candle & Key, and he is currently working on a new project titled Killers and Thieves.

Killers and Thieves puts players in the role of a guildmaster, tasking them with building a band of thieves. Players will have to manage and upgrade their headquarters and thieves, while also maintaining enough gold to keep their operation running. Guildmasters that fail to pay upkeep for resources lose people and property, and potentially open the door for a rival to attack.

Joining the overall guild management is a an XCOM-like squad-based mission system. Players will choose a group of thieves and infiltrate a procedurally generated city block. As with XCOM, squad members are far from untouchable and stay dead after they’re killed in the field.

Gameplay Footage From Unreal Tournament's Outpost 23

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Epic Games has released a new gameplay trailer for free title Unreal Tournament, the graphics for which the studio says will be the visual bar for the title going forward.

Recently, the company announced that developers could use Unreal Engine 4 for free (with a royalty structure for any game using it that makes more than $3,000 gross), and highlighted some of the community input into Unreal Tournament in a new build of the game.

An early version can be downloaded at the official website.

We Try Our Hand At Cross-Platform Play

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Back in January, Microsoft announced  that Fable Legends would support cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows 10 users. Today at GDC, I got to try it out firsthand.

Before I got my hands on the game, I walked around the demo area to see what I was up against. It was an unremarkable setup – monitors, controllers, and two guys with headsets frantically trying to kill monsters. Then I walked around to the other side. Two other players completed the four-person team. One was using an Xbox One controller, while his compatriot was sniping enemies with his bow using a mouse and keyboard. It looked like I was going to see how well the game's cross-platform play worked.

Ultimately, the interaction between platforms was seamless; if I hadn't seen the keyboard, I wouldn't have noticed. That counts as a win for Microsoft and Lionhead, since they don't want players to focus on what they're playing on. There's a game, after all.

Graham The Squire Faces Off Against Rival Knights

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Graham The Squire Faces Off Against Rival Knights

I grew up with much adoration for Sierra's creative, fantastical King's Quest adventure games. So it was with great pleasure I got to check out The Odd Gentlemen's new sequel to the series at GDC 2015. The section of the game I checked out involves a young king Graham crossing a river to gain access to a tournament that will help him gain knighthood. But just like any good adventure game, things aren't quite that simple.

The story of this new King's Quest spans multiple eras of Graham's life, from boyhood, to his time as ruler, up to his twilight years telling his granddaughter all about his royal exploits. When acting out the tales of Graham's past, players determine how those events really played out, which will affect how the young, impressionable Gwendolyn is influenced by him. Was he the kind of king that would evade a chained-up dragon, sympathetically free it, or kill it?

One such flashback involves a gangly, less-confident Graham as he tries to gain access to a tournament testing the mettle of would-be knights. But since the bridge is out, the first thing Graham has to do is find a way across. Fair warning, if you don't want to know anything about the game's puzzles ahead of time, be warned of possible spoilers.