Exploring A Lovecraftian Open World

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Exploring A Lovecraftian Open World

Lovecraftian lore is going through a revival in video games, with several recent and upcoming titles like The Darkest Dungeon, Sunless Sea, and Call of Cthulhu using the horror literature as a jumping off point for their story and settings. Bigben Interactive and Sherlock Holmes developer Frogwares have another title to add to the mix with The Sinking City. Whereas many other games integrate elements of Lovecraftian fiction like antiquated language, reclusive and detached heroes, xenophobia, and that narrow gap between sanity and insanity, Frogwares looks to be wrapping all of these into one faithful package that uses Lovecraft's oeuvre as canon.

Set in the fictional Massachusetts town of Oakmont during the 1920s, The Sinking City follows the journey of a private investigator drawn to the city by its strange predicament. A half-year ago, the city suddenly flooded for no good reason, rendering the city nonfunctional, and ominous monoliths rose from the waters. But rather than evacuating, the Oakmont denizens seem perfectly content living in their newfound water world. Even stranger, others seem to be drawn to the city as well. 

Combining Narrative-Driven Adventure With Action Puzzle Combat

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Combining Narrative-Driven Adventure With Action Puzzle Combat

Viz Media, primarily known for its prominent work in the anime and manga spaces, recently announced its foray into the gaming world. Its partnership with Rose City Games begins with a supernatural narrative action-puzzler called The World Next Door.

You play as Jun, a teen girl in a parallel world that houses magical creatures. After visiting the realm, she becomes trapped when a plan backfires. The group of characters from that realm reveal to her that humans cannot survive longer than a few days in that realm, and the quest to find a way out begins.

The segment I played had me interacting with a colorful cast of demons and other creatures who live in this parallel world. As I ready for battle, I interact with them through choice-driven, often humorous dialogue. From choosing how to react to bad news or a new challenge, to deciding whether I should accept a beer from one of these creatures, how I react affects my relationships with these characters.

Taking A Strategic Approach To Mech Combat

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Taking A Strategic Approach To Mech Combat

Games with giant robots have long been associated with fast, chaotic gameplay and Michael Bay-esque explosions, but developer Harebrained Schemes is aiming for a more thought-provoking, tactical angle to robot-on-robot battles in Battletech.

In 3025, humanity is divided among noble houses. You play as the commander of a mech mercenary outfit that assists a mutinied ruler in taking back her throne. Players have the option to either assist the ruler as an act of kindness or fight for profit. Harebrained has not clarified if taking one path will affect the story, or perhaps change how to undertake scenarios – both in managing your during and outside fights – with less coin in the pocket.

Confusing Battletech's story trailer for a new MechWarrior entry is understandable, especially since the robots themselves are called MechWarriors, but the game ditches third-person shooting, real-time gameplay for turn-based combat, which publisher Paradox Interactive says is the first of its kind in 20 years. Battles seem akin to Valkyria Chronicles but with a more overhead approach. With turns, players maneuver various mechs, each of which possess their own perks, in environments and decide how to best attack enemies.

First Dev Diary Explores Georgetown And Environmental Storytelling

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First Dev Diary Explores Georgetown And Environmental Storytelling

In a series like The Walking Dead, sometimes the most impactful stories aren't told through the lens of the characters themselves, but through the ravaged world that has been left behind. The first developer diary for Overkill's The Walking Dead, the Payday team's upcoming co-op shooter, dives into the creation of Georgetown, a key neighborhood in the game's take on Washington D.C. The dev diary explores both the exterior of the unkempt neighborhood as well as several interior shots, creating a visual story of the lives that have been abandoned in the wake of the walkers.

"One of the most important parts of being an environment artist is to always ask the question 'Why?', because then you can give everything a meaning." said Jacob Claussen, an environment artist on the project. "And if you give everything a meaning, you can get a sense of a lived-in world."

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This Sandbox Lets You Build Your Own Games

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This Sandbox Lets You Build Your Own Games

Games that give players creation tools can breed all sorts of creativity. We've seen this in Garry's Mod, Minecraft, and more. Even PlayStation has shown interest by publishing Media Molecule's Dreams, a sandbox game all about creating your own worlds.

E-Line Media, the developer behind 2014 platformer Never Alone, noticed the trend and has announced its own iteration. Named The Endless Mission, this creation-centric sandbox game gives you all the development tools you need to create a game from the ground up. You don't have to worry about coding, unless you want to. E-Line Media teamed up with Endless Interactive's Matt Dalio, who builds software for developers. E-Line Media and Endless then created a stripped-down toolset that's accessible to anyone, even for those who have never developed a game before. 

The Endless Mission aims to be a community-driven game where you can share and explore worlds created by others too. All of these worlds can be found in the main hub area called The Terminal, which takes the form of a crisp, futuristic station with hallways leading to different experiences.

Hands-on With The Bard's Tale IV Reveals The Classic Dungeon Crawler's New, Hearthstone-Like Sensibilities

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Hands-on With The Bard's Tale IV Reveals The Classic Dungeon Crawler's New, Hearthstone-Like Sensibilities

After a 30 year hiatus, a new Bard's Tale game is finally ready to grace the RPG world with its self-deprecating sense of humor and a new approach to combat that channels the turn-based strategy of digital card games. 

Taking place 100 years after the events of the 1988 release Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate, the fourth installment in the series wisely modernizes its approach to make it a natural jumping off point for the generations who didn't have to make boot discs to play the original games on DOS. The game preserves the series basics like dungeon crawling, party management, turn-based combat, puzzle solving, and exploration, but its modernized combat feels more aligned with Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls Legends than any other RPG game. 

I got to go hands-on with a segment of the game about a quarter of the way through the 25-30 hour game. My party is on a quest to destroy a wraith that has dethroned the king and restore rule to the land. 

Raising The Stakes, Banner Saga 3 Puts It All On The Line

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Raising The Stakes, Banner Saga 3 Puts It All On The Line

The Nords of The Banner Saga aren't living the idyllic Viking life of raiding coastal towns and throwing big parties with the spoils. Over the course of the last two games, we've seen their numbers diminish rapidly as a mysterious force called The Darkness takes hold and pushes an army of Dredge across the region. The third game begins at a point where hope is scarce and the humans and Varls have their backs up against the wall. 

Banner Saga 3 picks up at the end of the second game, with one caravan marching heedlessly into the Darkness while the other takes up a defensive position at Arberrang, the last bastion for the humans. The story swaps back and forth between the two. Iver's caravan, Juno, and Bolverk's Ravens take their uneasy alliance into the unknown to try and end The Darkness, while the others try to stay alive as long as they can to buy the others time. The game supports many endings that could see you lose all the heroes, lose Arberrang but purge the evil, and everything in between. Stoic wants to make sure players feel their choices have mattered across all three games rather than give a binary choice at the end. 

Awaken The Dragon In This Extended Trailer

about X hours ago from
Awaken The Dragon In This Extended Trailer

With Yakuza Kiwami 2 being announced for the west just recently, Sega has released an extended version of the announcement trailer.

The trailer shows off Kiryu being the best at looking uncomfortable during tense conversations and extends the scene a little further, giving the name of the antagonist from the game. Fans of Yakuza 0 who did all of Majima's side stories might recognize the character from the name or appearance.

You can check out the extended trailer here.

Build Your Dream Coaster, Then Ride It In VR

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Build Your Dream Coaster, Then Ride It In VR

When RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 launched in 2004, it allowed players to hop on their creations as passengers for the first time. Unfortunately, the feature was limited, as the processing power required for the first-person mode was greater than the simulation aspect of the game, and players were simply watching it from the monitor rather than actually feeling like they're inside the world. Nvizzio Creations hopes to deliver the full realization of that feature with the upcoming PlayStation VR title RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride.

At its base, RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride allows you to hop on-board a number of pre-made coasters or build your own. Using basic track customization tools, you can design your ride pretty easily. If you get to a point and want to wrap up the process, you can click a button and the game will close the circuit for you. You can set your creations in a number of different environments, but my favorite is the city setting that let me spiral the tracks down skyscrapers and in between structures.

Hands On With Human Head's Hack-N-Slash Viking Adventure

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Hands On With Human Head's Hack-N-Slash Viking Adventure

After 18 years in the drawer, Human Head Studios has dusted off its Viking-themed action adventure series Rune with a new open-world, hack-n-slash adventure.

Rather than pick up where the original game left off, Rune: Ragnarok picks up in the midst of the Nordic apocalypse. Legends foretell the fiery death of all the gods during Ragnarok, but the cataclysmic event is not playing out as believed. The hellscape has taken hold, lasting nearly a decade. Giants, dragons, and the undead lay waste to the Scandinavian countryside, but somehow amidst this chaos, Loki has fiendishly prevented the end of the world from occurring. Your job is to take down this trickster god and get the apocalypse back on track. 

I ventured into this battle during a hands-on demo of the alpha build at GDC. The game is still very rough around the edges, but I still came away with a basic understanding of what to expect from this Viking adventure, which allows you to play single-player, cooperatively, or on PvP servers.