343 Details Halo 2’s Many Changes And Additions

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343 Details Halo 2’s Many Changes And Additions

At PAX 2014, a large Halo panel from 343 Industries dove into the the future of the Halo franchise, including Halo 2’s myriad changes as it makes its way to Xbox One.

The panel included 343 Industry’s Frank O’Connor, Certain Affinity president Max Hoberman, Halo series executive producer Kiki Wolfkill, senior director for publishing Paul Lipson, and Halo: Master Chief Collection executive producer Dan Ayoub.

The panel began with a showcase of impressive Halo cosplayers where one (dressed as the comical Mister Chief) proposed marriage to another Spartan cosplayer. “Thanks for saying yes,” O’Connor said after she said yes to the proposal, “That could have been awkward.” After the romantic opening, the panel moved onto Halo.

An Unsettling Adventure

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An Unsettling Adventure

Neverending Nightmares has come a long way since its Kickstarter reached its funding goal last year. Part of its Kickstarter pitch involved a downloadable demo showcasing a bit of gameplay, but creator Matt Gilgenbach said that so many improvements had been made to the game since then that he is now embarrassed about that demo as he invites me to check out the latest build in a darkened corner of PAX’s indie section.

As Gilgenbach detailed when he first sought funding for the game, Neverending Nightmares is a product of his own struggles with depression. It's not be a literal representation of the nightmares Gilgenbach has experienced, but many elements of the game, like the general tone and the gruesome self-mutilation, are products of Gilgenbach’s personal struggles and dark imagination.

The demo begins with the protagonist in his bed. He awakes suddenly, gets up, and begins walking around. I stepped into the bathroom to find three recently discarded teeth tossed in the sink. The game is in black and white, but the roots of the teeth are red with blood. As I explore the home, I make my way into a darkened basement. When it becomes too dark, I am suddenly transported back to my bed to start over.

Dodging Saw Blades On A Touchscreen

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Dodging Saw Blades On A Touchscreen

One of the nice things about being entirely independent is you can work on whatever you want whenever you want and Team Meat, comprised of Tommy Refenes and Edmund McMillen, are taking full advantage of that status to finish up the mobile version of Super Meat Boy. Team Meat’s other ongoing project, Mew-Genics, has been placed on hold while the duo works on Super Meat Boy Forever – a version of Super Meat Boy built from the ground up for release on mobile and tablet devices.

You don’t control the direction of Meat Boy in Forever – he moves on his own. The right side of the screen is the jump action, while the left side the screen is a fast fall button or duck/slide action. You may lose the ability to control Meat Boy’s left an right movement, but the new fast fall option gives you the ability to aim for tiny platforms and dodge the ever-present saw blades positioned throughout the levels.

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things With A Round Of Halo 2 Multiplayer

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In the best and most complimentary way, Halo: Master Chief Collection's Halo 2 multiplayer feels identical to the game I’ve already played.

It’s hard to discover any intricacies or small changes made the game with only one round of team deathmatch on Lockout with the Master Chief Collection, but as near as I can tell, the game is unchanged except for its visuals.

After starting up the game, I jumped into the menus to change my controls a bit. I am one of those weirdos who plays inverted, and a representative from Microsoft even scoffed jokingly at my request to change. To make things more complicated though, I also play with the boxer layout, where your melee and grenade buttons are switched. Thankfully, both options were changeable, and the button layout is even still called boxer, which means other weirdos like me shouldn’t have a problem changing their controls to the way they remember playing.

Meet Ratbag, Talion's Cowardly Orc Companion

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Meet Ratbag, Talion's Cowardly Orc Companion

Shadow of Mordor is a dark tale that has the former ranger Talion seeking revenge...but that doesn't mean every second of the story needs to have brooding. It looks like the team at Monolith is lightening the mood a bit with the introduction of Ratbag, a sniveling orc who wants to be warchief.

In the video below, we get a taste for how Talion and Ratbag interact. The orc seems to put his own best interests first, so it will be interesting to see how long Talion (and players) are willing to put up with him.  

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See Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal Gameplay In Action

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The blue hedgehog is back and he'll have to use his speed and friends to take down the evil Lyric.

Sonic Boom is a new extension to the Sonic the Hedgehog canon. A TV series debuts this fall on Cartoon Network along with two games: Lyric for Wii U and Shattered Crystal for 3DS.

Today, Sega put out some new screens and a trailer for Shattered Crystal that shows off the gameplay. As expected, Sonic still speeds through levels collecting rings, but in Shattered Crystal, you can also play as multiple characters all with their own distinct abilities. The trailer shows Sonic and Amy bantering, but it's short-lived when danger approaches Amy. Get a taste of what you can expect below.

An In-Depth Look At The New Harmonix Shoot-Em-Up

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Harmonix announced yesterday its latest game, a surprising departure from their current work on Dance Central and Fantasia that instead embraces the excitement of classic shoot-em-ups. A City Sleeps draws on the musical heritage of the development studio, but also integrates twitch shooting and strategic combat choices. I got a chance to see an extensive demo of the game in action, and came away excited about the game’s unusual premise.

As revealed yesterday, A City Sleeps focuses on the tale of a young woman named Poe, who awakens in her home city of SanLo to find its residents in a curse-induced slumber. Luckily, she happens to be a dream exorcist, and she sets out to free her city by confronting each person’s nightmarish dreamscape. 

Gameplay unfolds as a classic side-scrolling shoot-em-up. Poe fires off attacks and slashes nearby enemies with her koto sword, even as a bullet-hell-like spray of attacks steers her way. A hit box on Poe’s torso can take several shots before a loss state, so there’s some flexibility on taking some hits, unlike some shooters that involve a one-hit kill. 

In Dying Light, Movement Is Survival

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Today marks the start of PAX 2014 here in Seattle, which means the public will have a chance to go hands-on with a number of upcoming titles. Techland and WB have Dying Light here at the show, with a new trailer that showcases the game's movement through the undead-infested environments.

In this first developer diary, the team discusses how it evolved its design to allow player freedom. Techland makes big claims not only about what the movement in Dying Light does for the game, but how it will change the FPS genre.

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Dying Light is due out in February 2015 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. For more, check out a recent preview from Gamescom.

Revamped Lockout Joins The Roster Of Classic Halo Maps

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Revamped Lockout Joins The Roster Of Classic Halo Maps

Halo 2 players will undoubtedly remember a familiar location from the game when they play the upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Multiplayer developer Certain Affinity has announced that a revamped Lockout will be joining the roster of six returning maps.

"We're thrilled to be bringing this fan-favorite back, and are paying close attention to the details and subtleties that made the original great while also making a couple of very careful, very calculated enhancements," says Max Hoberman, president of Certain Affinity and a lead designer on Halo 2's original release. "Most prominent among these are a bit of cover added to the ‘Elbow,’ the long walkway connecting the grav lift to the sniper tower, and a dynamic element that should help counter an entrenched group of enemies. Of course this can be disabled in Forge for players who want a near-match of the original experience.”

Take a look at a flyby video below to see the updated level. You can also check out some of the original images from Lockout compared with the remade version in the screenshot gallery below.

Watch Sherlock Holmes Observe, Deduce, And Interrogate

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's master detective, Sherlock Holmes, has had a resurrgence in popularity in the last few years. While two television incarnations have brought the brilliant sleuth to the 21st century, Focus Home Interactive has left him firmly in the late 1800s.

A new trailer for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments coinciding with its PAX appearance gives us a look at how interrogation works. Examining an interview subject for clues before asking questions will give you the information to know fact from falsehood.

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Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is due out on September 30 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. For more, you can check out a recent video of over 20 minutes of gameplay.