Culture Category RSS Feed | Culture RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Armada Designs: Video Game Merchandise for Gamers with Old-Lady Hobbies,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/s/b/isbl-1680x42019528971-1vz8b4iu-754ad.jpg gumx7/armada-designs-video-game-merchandise-for-gamers-with-old-lady-hobbies Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:47:02 -0400 bazookajo94

Merchandise for videos games used to be non-existent, but with the gaming industry morphing into a multi-billion dollar industry, contemporary consumers have an easier time finding cool shirts and cute figmas without having to traverse the underbellies of the internet to find them.

Still, most of the merch costs the Macklemorian “Fifty dollars for a T-shirt,” or the designs grow stale after they've been slapped on every item in every store. Some overcome the herculean hurdle by making their own video-game inspired items, while others accept the fate of three overused shirts with different variations of Link saying, “Call me Zelda one more time.”

But not all video-game inspired merch needs to be laminated or emblazoned. Some of it can come from hobbies older than video games themselves. For those who like to or are fans of cross-stitching or latch-hooking, video game merchandise isn't (really) widely available. They have to rely on their own creativity to design something -- or they can check out Armada Designs.

Armada Designs started in 2002 on Etsy and has since expanded to a proprietary website. The company even had a panel at Salt Lake City’s 2017 ComiCon. 

Customers can buy cross-stitch kits that include everything needed for any of the projects the store provides -- even the needle and hoop. But the best part is most projects and items from the shop are video game-related. From classic Pokemon to Dragonball Z to Final Fantasy sprites, Armada Designs appeases cross-stitcher enthusiasts so they no longer have to stare despairingly at a piece of blank grid paper in hopes that if they just believe hard enough, the vision in their head will appear on the page.

Though there aren’t a lot of Pokemon to choose from -- not even 150 -- most of the classics are present (Haunter, anyone? Dratini? You’re gonna make me say it -- Pikachu?), and the shop mentioned at ComiCon that whatever they didn’t have, they’d be happy to design upon request, although they did say that may take a while. 

Most of their designs range from $6 to $11, with their biggest projects costing around $30, but considering they ship everything needed with the package except a pair of scissors, that's a decent price for the solid 4+ hours of stitching. That's not to mention the awesome video-game inspired piece you'll have on your hands when you're done. 

So sure, maybe cross-stitch isn’t as practiced among the younger generation as the older -- but one day, that younger generation will grow up, and instead of spending hours playing video games, they are going to spend hours wishing they could be stitching those video games.

And Armada Designs will have probably reached 802 Pokemon by then…right?

You can visit the Armada website here.

5 Easy DIY Overwatch Halloween Costumes,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/d/d/addtext-com-mtixnzuzmzc3ma-c0b77.jpg f3e79/5-easy-diy-overwatch-halloween-costumes Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:19:03 -0400 Stephanie Tang


And that's all for now! 


With some extra effort, there are a ton of different Overwatch and Overwatch-inspired ideas that you can DIY but how many of them can you fit in the usual time- and money-crunch of pre-Halloween madness. 


What are some other ideas that you've come up with yourself? Let us know!


Happy Halloween!


How to DIY Officer D.Va 


The only thing that might give you some trouble is constructing a fairly believable looking Asian police hat, but even that shouldn't be too hard to do!

What You Need: 
  1. Baby Blue Dress Shirt: Ideally with two front pockets. This should fit you pretty well, since you're going to want to be wearing a tie with this one and won't just be letting it flop open in all the usual stress areas of temperamental button-downs.
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  3. Navy or Black Dress Pants: High waisted ones fit the bill nicely, belted at the top, with shirt tails neatly tucked in. 

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  5. Bunny Patch: You can find plenty of Etsy sellers like this one where you can buy a D.VA bunny patch, but you can always make your own and just pin it to the front of your shirt.

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  7. Wig (optional): Even if you're a brunettte with long hair, it helps to have the bangs just so. Thankfully, D.Va is super easy to style, and this kind of wig you can find almost anywhere.

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  9. Tie: Black and blue diagonal stripes make up the original, but as you can see above, you can play around with this color scheme without too much adverse effect. 

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  11. White Gloves: These are crazy plentiful during this season in costume stores and dollar stores, but you can also find them in accessory stores as well (try to look for cotton gloves instead of shiny satin if you can). 

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  13. Police Hat: Honestly, even if you nabbed a western police hat and wore it with the rest, you could still find yourself very identifiably D.Va. If you don't want to do this, take a look at your local teeny accessories store (here in Canada, I like looking up Ardene's) for a hat where you can modify the brim (felt hats are really easy to work with), add some braid, and draw the rest of the designs to pin to the front.

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  15. Makeup: What makes D.Va instantly recognizable are the marks on her face. Make sure these little triangles pop! You can use makeup or you can use face paint (this might be easier for those of you without a steady hand). If you need to, buy yourself a triangle makeup sponge from the dollar store and use it as a stamping tool.
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(image credit @kiyocosplay)


Officer D.Va


Getting D.Va's hair right may be the easiest for all of Overwatch's ladies (except Symmetra, but Sym's more recognizeable head accessories make her a bigger challenge). And while you can find D.Va's original jumpsuit almost anywhere (including the officially licensed version at Spirit Halloween), this jump-through-my-hoops skin that you receive if you played a certain number of games during one of Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm events is far easier to pull off and make up yourself. 


Since Officer D.Va's uniform is so similar to Judy Hopps's from recent Disney hit Zootopia, it makes it even easier to find the essential parts of the costume. 


How to DIY Grillmaster 76


Unfortunately, Grillmaster 76's epic combat apron doesn't look like it's actually for sale (although Blizzard did make a few for giveaway purposes). But that shouldn't stop you from being able to make you own!

What You'll Need:
  1. Red Hawaiian Shirt: Collared with short sleeves! If you check out the design, he also has a 76 on the back that you can just make a cutout in red fabric for, paint on it in white fabric paint, and either sew or glue it to the back of your shirt. 

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  3. Tan Cargo Shorts: With pockets. Extra pockets. You can bet Daddy 76 has optimal storage capacity for all that beer. 

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  5. Blue Apron: You can try and fancy it up with extra combat pockets and carabiners, but the most important part is that you stencil on and spray paint "RAISE THE STEAKS" on the front, and keep a pair of tongs and spatula handy. 

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  7. Wraparound Mirror Sunglasses: Considering how popular these shades are these days, you should be able to find a low-cost pair at your local gas station or dollar store.

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  9. White Dishcloth: Leave it hanging out of one of your pants pockets for easy access.

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  11. White Hair Color: Temporary color sprays are super easy to find at this time of year so check out your local stores to get that grayed out Daddy hair.

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  13. Beer Armband: At the very least, if you're having trouble finding something leather that you can make this with, use duct-tape and/or electrical tape to simply tape it all together and to your arm!
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Don't forget your water gun!


(image credit @playoverwatch)


Grillmaster 76


Long after Dad 76 became a meme, Blizzard finally broke down and played to what the fans really wanted out of Soldier 76 in the recent rendition of the Summer Games event. A number of details stand out to make this skin a gem among Soldier skins, but it's the pure simplicity of it that will make it a hit at your Halloween party. 


Soldier 76's original design isn't too fancy of course, but it is a lot trickier to mock up and make everything that identifies him (e.g. his visor, jacket, enormous gun). With this skin, you could ostensibly tote around a Super Soaker or a coffee mug as your weapon of choice and no one would bat an eye. 


How to DIY Doctor Mercy


Admittedly, Victory Mercy is an easier prospect, especially since the Greek Goddess is a staple in cheap adult costumes that you can pretty much hack together without a great deal of finesse or sewing skill. But the wings might give you a bit more trouble. So if you wan to forgo them entirely, here's what you'll need to cosplay as Doctor Mercy instead.

What You'll Need:
  1. Halo Headdress: You can skimp on a lot of things, but you won't get out of wearing Mercy's distinctive halo headdress if you really want to make a Mercy. You can follow Chrix's design from her tutorial above, or hunt around for a round plastic jug that you can cut up (like a large bleach bottle) and which will keep its shape. Elasticize the bottom to fit comfortably around your head, and don't be afraid to pin it into place. 

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  3. Wig (Optional): Even if you're naturally a bombshell blonde, it will generally take a wig (or a lot of styling) to really make Mercy's hair pop.
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  5. Lab Coat: The key with simple costumes lies in the details. You could have a perfectly plain, serviceable lab coat (costumes stores will likely have them, if not, infiltrate your local college campus bookstore, they're likely to stock them for $10-15) but I suggest sewing/ironing on a Mercy sleeve patch like this onto one shoulder. You can also find other methods of making your own iron-on transfers.

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  7. Stethoscope: You can try and just check pulses with your fingers, but who doesn't love an extra prop or two? Drug stores will have fairly inexpensive functional stethoscopes, but you can find fake ones in dollar stores, costume stores, and your local Walmart-type store for less. 

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  9. Business casual: While the majority of Dr. Mercy's styling comes from fanart and usually features dark pants and a gray turtleneck, how you do the rest is entirely up to you. Why not burnt orange to play on her original costume coloring, while also invoking the color of the season?  
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If you want a closer look at the patches that Mercy uses on various parts of her original costume, you can take a look at the official Mercy reference kit. 


(image credit to imgur)


Doctor Mercy


Having just lent out my own lab coat and stethoscope for a coworker's daughter's upcoming Halloween costume, I have a fair idea of how easily you can pull together a doctor costume. While this is not exactly an official costume or skin of Mercy's by any means, the Dr. Ziegler cosplay idea has spread in the wake of busy con-goers who wanted a more casual way to represent the most popular support character in the game. 


So while you could deck yourself out in full regalia, either by dropping ~$1200 for it by buying the full costume (with no guarantees that they could make it for you/ship it to you by Halloween) or by trying to make it yourself a la Chrix Design's tutorial, you're probably not going to.


(image credit to Ta-bam on DeviantArt)


How to DIY Child Reaper/El Blanco


When it comes to Reaper, you've got the opportunity of a lifetime to go as crazy or as cool or as casual as you want. Large hoods are a staple at this time of year, so you shouldn't have any problems getting your hands on one. Aand if you go the hoodie route, it ends up being even easier!

What You'll Need:
  1. Mask: Which one depends entirely on you. Making a good-looking original skin mask might be a little difficult, and you might want to shy away from the kindergarten paper plate mask. But if you wanted to make the mask from the El Blanco/Marachi skins, skull masks are easy to find at this time of year, and you can add the extra designs and embellishments yourself with a permanent marker. 

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  3. Hooded coat: Or hoodie, if you're doing Halloween Kid Reaper. Either way, you'll want a big black hood to hide your head in. Ostensibly you'll want a duster for the full effect -- but if you grabbed a Grim Reaper cloak and wore that instead, no one would fault you. 

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  5. Guns, guns, guns! Sure you could try and use Coke bottles like the cosplayer above, or you could make something quick, easy, and light out of both cardboard/foam and paint. Keep a few more in your cloak so you can just drop them nonchalantly everywhere you go. 

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  7. Shotgun cartridges: No, not the real ones (although I guess that's always an option). Making the little red canisters and stringing them together won't be difficult with a little bit of spray paint (or even construction paper and glue if you want to go super low-tech) and they'll definitely help the casual observer realize just what kind of gamer badass you really are.  
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If you want to add to your armor, you can cut and shape black foam to the front of your shirt, and use duct tape, cardboard, and spray paint to outfit yourself in his giant knee-high boots. They can look even nicer if you have Worbla available to shape around the framework you've already made.


You can take a look at some of the finer details in the official Reaper reference kit.  


(Image credit to Low Cost Cosplay)


Child Reaper/El Blanco


There are a number of things that make Reaper so easily identifiable, but you can most likely narrow it down to the original skin's mask and his twin shot guns. Making your own mask might be a somewhat daunting prospect, but if you're too late to purchase your own mask (painted or unpainted) from a variety of online sellers, you can take a look at some of the other mask designs Reaper sports throughout the game. 


This particularly super-casual spray combines the original mask with a blank hockey mask -- a super easy find during this season's love affair with classic Jason horror. 


And trust me, if you're planning on doing a Halloween costume of Reaper, nothing is too silly. Even the officially licensed version you can buy from Spirit Halloween falls pretty short of our dark, soulless edgelord. So if you want to spare your wallet and wear something just as good, check out the DIY instructions on the next slide. 


How to DIY Casual Mei


Mei's cosplay popularity is what it is because her stripped-down costume design is easy enough for a filthy casual -- and between the original design and her dozens of different skins, you can ramp up in difficulty to something even a pro would stoop to making. 


Accept it. Embrace it. The beauty of Mei (and D.Va, see later) lies in the fact that her hair is that of a real human being -- and if you're a brunette, a bun and bangs is something you can do yourself with a bare minimum of fuss.

What You'll Need:
  1. Wig (if needed): Even if you needed to buy a wig for the cause, Halloween quality wig-wear can get you a good approximation without a great deal of work, cost, or time.
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  3. Hair Stick: A chopstick, some polymer clay, a wooden bead, some paint, a short piece of jewelry chain, and a snowflake charm will produce a perfectly serviceable hair stick. With Christmas already creeping into craft stores, finding a wintery charm won't be very hard at all. 
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  5. Glasses: If you want to be super accurate, visible rivets on the frame front are a must. And even if you aren't, the classic Ray-Ban look has been around so long that you're bound to find something at your local dollar store/teeny accessories store to fit the bill. 
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  7. Blue Spaghetti Strap Tank Top: Belly-baring is totally and completely optional. You can jazz it up like Eclair (pictured above) did with some lace, or keep true to the more athletic style of the original.
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  9. Drawstring Sweatpants: Gray and/or blue is the key here. The originals are gray with a blue waistband and stripes down the sides. 
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  11. Bracelet: Light blue/teal bracelet with a snowflake charm. If you can't find something in an accessories store post-Frozen, I guarantee you can easily make your own.
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As a bonus, you'll probably already be keeping your datapad-sized phone with you at all times anyway, this time it'll do double duty as a prop. And you'll get to show up in sweatpants and still get away with being in costume. 


My advice? Bring a big fuzzy blue sweater too, just in case!


If you want a closer look at her character design (it won't help you much with your accessories, but that leaves a little room for your own creativity), you can take a look at the official Mei reference kit


(image credit to @theawakened_)


Casual Mei


It's probably a good thing that temperatures stateside have been fairly high these days and may still hold out until the end of the month -- at least if you're planning on stepping out as casual Mei from the Overwatch artbook/spray. 


The face that launched a thousand knockoff Ray-Ban sales, "Mei is bae" is source one for the eternal online in-fighting about her waistline and a million closet cosplay selfies. 


And yet... who cares? Head to the next slide for instructions on how to get this look yourself!


(image credit to Sakimi-chan on DeviantArt)


It's that time of year again! The leaves are changing, the temperature's dropping, and pumpkin spice everything is back on the market. Spirit pop-up shops are taking over, and fake skeletons are vying with Christmas trees for retail space at Walmart.


It's October, and Halloween is just around the corner. Which of course means the advent of the annual hunt and scramble for new costume ideas -- and Overwatch has a great cast of characters to use. But their costumes can also be pretty complex at times. While it would be awesome as hell to show up for game night (or any night) fully decked out in a Blizzcon-worthy costume, we don't always have the budget, the skill, or even the time to really make that happen. 


So don't! The secret to a good Halloween costume is that you're having fun wearing it, and whoever sees you recognizes you for who and what you are.


Here are 5 different ways to DIY your own Halloween Overwatch costume! 


(Image credit to Low Cost Cosplay)

Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links: Chatting with Takashi Suenaga About the GX Series Update,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/y/g/o/ygo-dlinks-logo-1920x1080-e1475501509875-53649.jpg yt24m/yu-gi-oh-duel-links-chatting-with-takashi-suenaga-about-the-gx-series-update Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:08:58 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Last year at New York Comic Con, I was able to get a hands-on preview for Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links, a mobile game that allows players to have Yu-Gi-Oh battles on their phones. In the year that has followed, the game has been updated with lots of new features -- including the newest GX Series update that released at the end of September. 

While at NYCC this year, I was lucky enough to pay another visit to the Yu-Gi-Oh corner to talk with Duel Links producer Takashi Suenaga about the new update and what fans are getting excited about. 

One of the biggest additions in the GX series update is a new hub world for Duel Links. This includes new characters, card packs, and missions for fans to complete. The more days you log in, the more gems you'll receive so you can unlock more card packs for your deck. 

Speaking of card packs, there will be a whole new set of cards based on the GX series as well. But even though the roster of cards will get larger, the size of your deck will not. According to Suenaga, card maximums will not be increased because Duel Links is a "speed duel tournament". Adding more cards would make the matches longer than they're intended to be, which would impact the pick-up-and-play nature of the game as it is right now. 

The new characters mentioned above are also noteworthy. When Duel Links first launched, it only had a handful of characters on its playable roster -- including Joey Wheeler, Seto Kaiba, and Yami Yugi. Now, the new GX series will add Aster Phoenix, Alexis Rhodes, and Jaden Yuki to that lineup. 

But of all the things the GX Series update is bringing, a few questions are still unanswered. The Duel Links subreddit is especially interested in finding out if you'll be able to team up with a friend and take down computer opponents in a new co-op mode. Suenaga told me that while this feature wasn't a guarantee, it is currently "under consideration" as an addition to the game. 

The GX update is currently available for all Duel Links players. If you haven't downloaded this Yu-Gi-Oh mobile experience already, it's available on the App Store and Google Play if you want to check out the game with these shiny new additions. 

Interview: Smosh Games Talks Operation Open World and Team Dynamics,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/m/o/smosh-games-logo-a4ceb.jpg ekyer/interview-smosh-games-talks-operation-open-world-and-team-dynamics Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:57:57 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Do you ever wonder what it's like to sit 6 best friends on a couch and give them a video game controller, just to see what's going to happen? If you said yes, you will love watching Smosh Games

Winner of the Best Gaming Channel award at the Streamies, Smosh Games is a popular YouTube gaming channel where they play games like Friday the 13th, PUBG, and even Tetris. They also produce Honest Game Trailers, where they take your favorite games and tell you what they are really about. 

I was lucky enough to sit down with Flitz, Boze, Damien, Josh and Creative Producer Matt Raub of Smosh Games to talk about their upcoming show, "Operation Open World". We also got to chat about how they choose what games to play for the channel and what their guilty pleasures are.

Operation Open World brings Smosh to Egypt to promote the new Assassin's Creed: Origins. It is their job to compare the Egypt in the game to modern-day Egypt. When asked about their thoughts on this new adventure, Josh said:

"Very exciting. When you look at the evolution and roller coaster that Smosh Games has been, to now say we have a travel show is great. It's going to be fun."

While Josh may not be excited about his 10-hour plane ride, he said that he has his Switch with him to make the time pass. He is currently playing Stardew Valley and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

On their channel, the Smosh team plays a whole variety of games -- but how do they select the games they decide to play? There are a few factors that go into the decision-making process, according to Creative Producer, Matt Raub:

"Do we want to play the game? Are we a fan? Top-down games don’t do as well but fan favorites like PUBG or Friday the 13th where you can jump in and yell at each other is just fun."

But perhaps one of the biggest draws for new Smosh viewers and subscribers alike is the channel's Honest Game Trailers series. If you are a fan of the Honest Game Trailers like I am, you know how hilarious and ridiculous they can be -- like the Pokemon Sun and Moon trailer the team uploaded recently. 

But aside from the hilarious trailer itself, the story behind the Pokemon Sun and Moon HGT demonstrates the dynamic among the members of Smosh. Towards the end of the video, the team creates new names for all the Pokemon that were featured in the teaser. Matt Raub told me the story behind that"

"We will sit with pizza and soda pop. We'll order 10 pizzas and just have like a mini party where we just sit there. It's almost like that scene in Animal House where you have like a projector and put up one of the Pokemon. We're just yelling out dumb names."

How does this tight-knit team choose which game they'll rip on next? It's mostly a matter of which games are popular, or which games each creator is currently enjoying. Smosh doesn't hate the games it makes fun of -- the team just wants to make jokes in good fun. According to Matt, it's a form of flattery that makes the show as enjoyable as it is:

"That's the most fun of that show. We can totally pick apart on stuff."

The cast is really what seals the deal, though. Matt gave them plenty of props for keeping the Smosh channel fresh and making engaging content: 

"The benefit to what we do on Smosh Games is because there are 6 different cast members and they're all into something very different."

Smosh Games takes everyone's passions and makes videos based on them. The Halloween Just Dance videos, for example, were created because both Flitz and Mari are professional dancers.  

One topic that punctuated a considerable portion of the interview was how Boze loves Tetris and would love to shout-cast a competitive Tetris tournament one day. Though Boze wouldn't describe her love of the block-puzzle game as a guilty pleasure, I did get everyone else to indulge their guilty pleasures. 

For Damien, it's JRPGs and Dance Dance Revolution. But before he could feel too embarrassed about his love for an arcade style dancing game, Matt came to his defense:

"But that's not embarassing unless you're bad at it. You just look cool."

Boze chimed in with her two cents as well:

"As a person that could play any song on doubles heavy, I do not look cool playing that at all."

Meanwhile, Josh admitted that his guilty pleasure was the Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius mobile game -- and Flitz's is Marvel Future Flight (though he has a computer to do all the hard work for him while he naps). 

What's Next for Smosh?

The Smosh team has a lot of ideas about projects they'd like to work on. Most of them (Matt excluded) are particularly keen on a series where Matt gives Boze his own personal money and lets her spend it on anything. But that likely won't appear in their lineup anytime soon. 

What Smosh fans can look forward to is Operation Open World -- a three-part series that will premiere on October 19. In this saga, Jovenshire and Mari will team up to "explore the world and take fans inside the games they know and love". The duo will bring a camera out in to the most open world of all -- the real world -- while traveling to notable events like Tokyo Game Show in Japan and Oktoberfest in Germany.


I'd like to thank Smosh games for taking the time to chat with me and giving me a peek at the team that makes the magic happen. If you'd like to keep up with the team to catch the next Honest Games Trailer or check out their upcoming projects, you can follow them on Twitter (@SmoshGames) or visit the official Smosh YouTube channel.  

Interview with Marvel Contest of Champions Producer Luke Takeuchi,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/c/o/mcoc-splash-screen-v131-1920x1080-995ce.jpg txjku/interview-with-marvel-contest-of-champions-producer-luke-takeuchi Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:19:46 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

At New York Comic Con this past weekend, fans were able to get their hands on some new characters headed to Marvel: Contest of Champions

Marvel: Contest of Champions is a free-to-play mobile fighting game where your favorite Marvel heroes go up against each other in battle. Some heroes include Captain America, Spider-Man, The Punisher, Star-Lord and many more, with new heroes being released throughout the year. 

I was lucky enough to sit down with the Producer of the game, Luke Takeuchi, and chat about what fans can expect in future updates and how important the fans are to the game.

Joey Marrazzo: Are there plans for quality of life updates for the game?

Luke Takeuchi: "In terms of user experience improvements, we are rolling out a lot of stuff. Coming out in next build, one of the things we’ve talked about is, we’re going to make some improvements to how the user sees and accesses their currencies and energies.

It’s probably going to be one of those things that's a nice user experience, quality of life improvement. Also moving forward, we are investigating what some of the more quality of life improvements we want to keep making, so we want to keep doing that on a consistent basis for our users."

JM: Do you plan on updating older heroes that came out when the game first launched?

LT: "We don’t have any specific dates right now but one of the things we’re always talking about is more consistent meta updates for champions going back to some of our launch champions and earlier ones that haven’t really seen a lot of love

We want to update a ton of champions, we’re looking through a list right now. We don’t have exact dates on when this is going to start, but when you look at the entire lifetime of the game so far, every year champions have gotten more and more complex, now with some of the characters we’ve released this year like Doc Oc, Goblin, and Morning Star.

With the new variable system, characters are more complex now and they can do a lot. Versus going back to some of the old champions when we launched the game.

If you go to their info page its like 3 lines long. Some of those champs are still usable, but back in the day we didn’t have the tech we have now so we are certainly keeping our eye what are some of those champs we want to go back and update, give a facelift, and kind of revitalize the use of the new system we have now. Whether its improve synergies or abilities, it’s something we’re looking at on an on-going basis."

JM: For the veteran players that want more challenging modes, is there anything they can look forward to?

LT: "Yup. In terms of modes, there's stuff in the works right now but it’s a while out. It’s something we’ve been evaluating, and over the coming months, players will see a lot of cool stuff coming out. In this month alone, we have some challenging content that’s going to be coming out. Thor: Ragnorak is coming out so we always pair our champion challenge in.

Next week we will be announcing another hardcore challenge mode. This is all more in the PvE solo challenges. What players want to see is more cooperative or competitive game modes for a challenge, we’re looking at how we could release that in the future, but players should know we are looking at that stuff."

JM: What is the strategy when it comes to nerfing or buffing champions?

LT: "In terms of our strategy, we have different strategies for different things. With the character updates, we want to get to a point where we are doing more consistent meta updates in the game as opposed to once every two years have massive changes because players get used to them and use them in strategies.

One thing we want to get into the process of is doing more regular updates to characters and masteries. That’s something we are working on right now is getting into a place where we can do them. When it comes to our strategy for buffing or nerfing if something is overpowered, we have to nerf it.

It depends on the characters on a character by character basis for sure, but the one thing we always want to look at is, instead of directly nerfing one character, are there ways we can buff up other ones to make good counters."

JM: Lastly, do you have a message you want to send to your fanbase that loves playing your game?

LT: "We love our players and honestly, this year has been a crazy year for us in terms of the number of releases and we’ve had some rocky releases. The big thing is that we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our fanbase. We read the forums, we read Reddit, we read all our social media, we see what gets posted.

But the biggest thing is we want to let players know we are striving to do better. Whether its features and content we are rolling out or the stability performance for the game overall. This year for us internally has been a lot of focusing on stability and performance, and of course our build last week was not up to the par we wanted it. So we'd gone over the weekend, got a new build up and running, and now we've hot fixed some of the gameplay issues that got introduced."

Marvel: Contest of Champions released an all-new Marvel character Morningstar in the game along with classic Marvel hero Blade. These new characters will be making their in-game debut later this month. 

I would like to thank Luke for spending the time to talk to me. You can download Marvel: Contest of Champions on your iOS or Android devices.

Denuvo Couldn't Even Protect Total War: Warhammer 2 for a Day,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/e/n/denuvo-header-3c777.jpeg hmrwy/denuvo-couldnt-even-protect-total-war-warhammer-2-for-a-day Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:38:50 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Once upon a time, hackers and developers alike thought Denuvo signaled the end of video game piracy. Fast forward through a few years and several additional versions of the anti-pirating software, and now it's about as intimidating as a newborn kitten. Earlier in the year, hackers managed to cut down the time it took to break Denuvo in a game from a month or so to a few days -- and recently, Sega's Total War: Warhammer 2 was cracked in just 10 hours. 

Games cost a lot of money to develop, especially AAA titles like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Total War. So it's little wonder developers want to limit piracy as much as possible. However, now that Denuvo seems pretty much pointless because it's getting cracked on every game that features it, one has to ask why developers continue to use the software at all.

There are a couple of answers to that. In the end, it may very well be that it's time for developers to move on to other ways of combating piracy, but the current methods of doing so (Denuvo included) offer the most benefit -- for now.

What the Heck is Denuvo?

Denuvo is an anti-tampering technology developed by the eponymous Austrian company. It is and isn't DRM in itself, being a type of rights management. But instead of being a standalone program, it works with a game or platform's existing DRM to help make it secure.

For example, Sonic Mania didn't have two types of DRM -- Denuvo was just there to make Steam's notoriously light DRM difficult to get through.

It's rather expensive for developers to use Denuvo, so you'll mostly find bigger name companies like Sega, Ubisoft, or Capcom employing it. But that's not always the case, as Grey Box used it for a time with RiME.

Beyond the obvious reasons of wanting to demo a game or not wanting to pay for it, there are a couple of reasons why gamers loathe the sound of Denuvo's name as well. Some claim it negatively affects a game's quality, either through slowdown or something along those lines.

Developers are always quick to say Denuvo as nothing to do with a game's performance though, just as Sega did with the Sonic Mania offline-play controversy. A more pressing issue, at least from a developer's viewpoint, is that a lot of players are quick to say that DRM of any kind just shows that developers don't trust consumers.

To that end, some notable figures in the industry, including Super Meat Boy's Tommy Refenes and the developer behind The Witcher, refuse to implement Denuvo or DRM, arguing that trusting the consumer and developing quality games will go further in preventing problems. The boost in popularity from such a move wouldn't hurt either.

The Benefits

In spite of all the hubbub around it, Denuvo continues to be used. Why is that? There has been some chatter around the Internet that developers are entitled to a refund if Denuvo gets cracked within a certain timeframe. Kotaku spoke with a Denuvo representative and posed that same question. The representative's response was slightly ambiguous, saying he couldn't speak about arrangements with individual clients but that refunds were not offered as part of the deal. If these arrangements with individual clients do include refunds, then it's not a difficult decision for a developer to make -- since one way or another, that developer wins.

So where does that leave Denuvo? After first claiming to be impenetrable, Denuvo now claims that the product will last a couple of days or a week, and that still means it fulfills its purpose. The rationale behind that claim is that most games, especially highly anticipated ones, are pirated shortly after the launch period. In that view, even 10 hours of protection might translate into a significantly lower number of pirated games than no hours of protection.

Image via YouTube

Additionally, Denuvo has gone through several versions in its lifetime so far -- each claiming to be tougher to crack than the last. The fact that Denuvo is unique for each game means that cracking one won't automatically allow a pirate to crack another. So if another update is issued, then it could be back to taking a longer time for hackers to break through again. Perhaps developers are banking on that as an extra layer of security that will prevent their specific game from getting cracked quickly and letting pirates have a field day.

Is It Worth It?

Whether using anti-piracy software like Denuvo really translates into higher numbers of legitimate purchases and more profit is another matter. A European Union Special Commission recently investigated the effects of piracy on video game developers. The result? Profits showed no negative effects as a result of piracy, and there tended to be a positive relationship between higher numbers of pirated games and higher legitimate sales. What that means is people who pirated games ended up wanting to buy a copy of the real thing, for one reason or another.

However, it's also important to note that the Western European countries examined for this investigation have historically low numbers of pirated games compared to the rest of the world. TinyBuild, developer of Punch Club, experienced this firsthand when it came to localizing their game for a global audience. France and Germany were more likely to buy legitimate copies of the game once it was translated into their respective languages -- with 46% of downloads being legitimate. Meanwhile, legitimate downloads for localized versions in the the US were between at 26.2%. In Brazil, after the game was translated into Portuguese, only 373 out of over 11,000 copies of the game were purchased legitimately -- that's a mere 3.3%.

This has led to the proposition that perhaps punishing regions more prone to piracy when it comes to localization might be an effective way of handling the problem, rather than resorting to expensive DRM like Denuvo. But that's not likely to work either. For example, Chinese hackers extensively pirated the English version of Punch Club -- so if pirates want it badly enough, they'll find a way to get it. Moreover, that kind of punitive action is exactly what Refenes warns against as far as turning away potential consumers.

What Does the Future Hold?

Will Denuvo disappear completely? Denuvo itself probably does bring some benefit or other to developers as well, whether through encouraging legitimate sales for as long—or short—a time as possible, or through the shadowy possibility of refunds for cracked products. The prospect for updated versions doesn't hurt either.

It's not likely that Denuvo will be replaced by some other DRM-free approach to anti-piracy any time soon, given the fraught nature of that approach. And any DRM-focused replacement for Denuvo would likely just end up with the same problems and payoffs as Denuvo.

In the end, it seems likely the reason developers continue to use Denuvo is that, for now, it's the most effective way of combating piracy, even if it does lead to some embarrassingly quick cracks and general fan outrage.

Header image via WordPress

20 Years With Final Fantasy: Looking Back at FF7's Impact on Today's Gamers,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/i/i/vii-header-9c265.png 2e5gm/20-years-with-final-fantasy-looking-back-at-ff7s-impact-on-todays-gamers Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Joshua Broadwell


Looking Back to Look Forward


These reflections certainly demonstrate Final Fantasy VII's quality and enduring strengths. But they do more than that. They show how influential good games (like good books) can be. Whether they shape the way we view and evaluate other games, sit snugly alongside some of our happiest childhood memories, or continue to affect our lives in the present, they leave their mark and shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us.


Image via Final Fantasy Wiki


What are your memories of when you first played Final Fantasy VII, and how did it change your approach to games and gaming? Share your story with us down in the comments!


Amy Turnbull


Community contributor Amy Turnbull's experience with FF7 was similarly formative, though she is not quite so reticent about crediting it with shaping the course she took in life.


"The Final Fantasy games were my introduction to the world of JRPGs (and RPGs in general). Though FF7 wasn’t my first game in the series (that credit goes to FF9), it is the one that left the longer-lasting impression, and solidified my love for the genre to this day.


The first time I played FF7, I found that I was very soon drawn into the individual characters’ storylines. I wanted to know more. Who were these people? What were their histories? Where would they – and I as the player – be headed together? I even found myself experiencing another first – that I was just as invested in the antagonist’s storyline as the protagonists’. Instead of my usual attitude surrounding the bad guy in games (basically, beat that bugger then relish in the subsequent glory), I wanted to know everything I could about this alluring being. I craved Sephiroth’s story just as much as I craved Cloud Strife’s. There was just something very intriguing about all of these characters that left me wanting to learn more, and so I was quickly hooked in my need to experience this game in its entirety.


FF7 is a huge game (multiple discs huge!), and I found myself playing it at every spare opportunity. It was a little overwhelming at times, as I was still not used to the vastness of RPGs. There wasn’t just the main storyline to complete, but all the wonderful little side-quests, and so many random battles along the way. I’d played video games for a good 10 years before finding FF7, but this was the first time I was bitten by the completionist bug. I couldn’t get enough of it!


From that moment on, the Final Fantasy games became a favourite series of mine, and though I’ve continued to play many of the newer releases as they’ve come out, there is something very special about FF7 that just can’t seem to be topped.


It’s also the game that propelled me into the online gaming community. Never before had I thought to seek out other gamers online, but after a little Googling, I found a rich fan community with discussions, fanart, articles, and so much more dedicated to this rich game. And just like that, I came to find a seemingly endless world of content dedicated to every game you could think of. I guess, in a way, FF7 paved the way to the point I’m at today – contributing to that very same community as a games journalist, something teenage me never could have imagined as a possibility. Yep, this game definitely deserves the very special place it holds in my heart."


Image via YouTube


Ashley Gill


Guide Editor Ashley Gill reminisced about how Final Fantasy VII's epic story not only introduced her to a new style of game, but also offered her a new way of interacting with other people.


"Final Fantasy 7 was my first console RPG and my first PlayStation game. We were really poor when I was growing up, so I basically just played NES at home until 1998. My mom started making more money and got married, so I made the jump to Genesis and then to PSX pretty quickly. We got FF7 from a pawn shop, not sure if it was used or not.


I'd played PlayStation games before at friends' houses, but nothing prepared me for the overall experience of FF7. It completely blew me away.


The funny thing was, I didn't have a memory card for a good two weeks after I got my PlayStation. I'd come home from school or spend the weekends just playing the first few hours of the game again. For a couple days I just let it sit overnight, you know, as we did in the cartridge eras. I got pretty good at rushing through Midgar by the time I got my memory card.


I didn't know spanning stories existed in games before FF7, and it completely changed my taste in games. I went from FF7 to Xenogears, FFT, Legend of Legaia, Tales of Destiny -- those were my first real non-text-based RPGs. And of course, I wandered to the AOL message boards for many of these games and ingrained myself into their communities. That set the stage for my social life moving forward, though whether that's good or bad is subjective.


I don't like to say something as cheesy as 'Final Fantasy 7 changed my life', because I'm contrarian to a fault and that's just not my style. But if not for it, I never would have found their communities and forged the years-long relationships I did. Not to mention experiencing some pretty ace games."


Image via NeoGaf


Justin Michael


For others GS community members, Final Fantasy 7 had an even more transformational effect -- ranging from opening the door to new game genres, all the way to establishing a whole way of life. Staff writer Justin_Michael's time with the game fits in with the former and takes into account every minute detail of the game.


"The first time that I played Final Fantasy 7, I was around 13 and had never played a JRPG before. Up until that point, I played mostly platformers or shooter titles -- so when my friend lent me his copy, I had no idea what I was in for. I remember how impressed I was with the cinematics and how immersive the story was.


...I felt like I had a connection with the characters, so much so that I actually got a Fenrir tattoo! And man, was I pissed when Sephiroth killed Aeris, as I had spent hours upon hours leveling her up.


The minigames were also a great touch, my favorite being the Fort Condor minigame where you had to buy troops to fend off waves of Shinra forces. All-in-all, FF7 was my gateway to RPGs -- one of my favorite genres to play now."


Image via RPGsquare




A game with these qualities does not easily fade from memory . Alongside a sense of nostalgia -- a powerful force of its own -- games like FF7 often create powerful emotional connections between the player, characters, and story, as writer Kengaskhan discovered.


"I was pretty young when I first played Final Fantasy VII...I was in middle school at the time, so I would've been around 10 or 11 years old. To be honest, I only had a superficial understanding of the plot, but it was one of the first times I actually paid any attention to a game's story, and there are some things about the game that I don't think I'll ever forget. I'm not going to say that FF7 is my favorite game (though it certainly was at the time), but I firmly believe that it's why I got into gaming.


You'd probably guess that I'd beaten FF7 multiple times by now, but I've actually only played through it twice. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to play the game a second time until very recently, as the game CDs were lost when we renovated our basement...So for over a decade, all I had for FF7 were these very fond memories for a game that I only sort-of-remembered -- an undying nostalgia that slowly intensified as the years passed.


I remembered watching my dad play, and [him] quitting the game when he got stuck like 15 minutes into the game when he couldn't climb a staircase (I picked up where he left off). I remembered wandering through the Sector 5, 6, and 7 slums and thinking, "Wow, this place is pretty charming despite being a total dump," although maybe not quite that articulately. I remembered that feeling of dread when I had to fight those inexplicably alien creatures Sephiroth left in his wake at the Shinra Headquarters. I remembered not understanding how to navigate Gold Saucer. I remembered calling Red XIII "Red 7" and how I always made sure to include him in my party. I remembered the music.


During my second playthrough a few years back, something pretty peculiar happened -- I realized that, of all the things I could forget about FF7, I forgot about Cloud's own struggle with his memories, about all the mundane things he did remember, and the few crucial things he couldn't.


I'm not usually sure how to describe the feeling of immersion or personal investment we get when playing games, but that moment of realization for me was the most a game had ever resonated with me."


Image via Well-Rendered




ActionJ4ck's experience with Final Fantasy 7 is a similar testament to the game's quality of design. For this GS Senior Mentor, encountering the game almost 15 years after its initial release didn't diminish any of its great qualities.


"Unlike a lot of people, I actually played Final Fantasy VII for the first time on PC in 2013. I had been a big Final Fantasy fan for a while at that point and had obviously heard all the fanfare surrounding the game, but I went in unsure of whether I was about to experience a timeless classic or something that was surely impressive at the time, but has not aged well.


I ended up completing it in about a week of very dedicated play. I wouldn't say that I was blown away by it or that it was even my favorite Final Fantasy game, but I also couldn't deny that it was a fantastically-crafted game that held up very well -- and if I had first played it back when it was initially released, it probably would have changed my perspective of gaming. The pacing was excellent for a JRPG, the story was better written and more coherent than most of its genre counterparts, and the graphics were much better than most of what I played back in the day. All in all, I felt that even with the passing of time, Final Fantasy VII truly exemplifies the best that a JRPG can be."


Image via Twinfinite


Lucky Jorael


For Senior Mentor LuckyJorael, Final Fantasy 7 was the perfect combination of story, world-building, and character -- all coming together to create something unique and inspiring.


"I switched off playing FF7 with my best friend at the time...We were both in utter awe as we watched the cinematics, and loved every single second of it. We did every side quest and killed every Weapon, gathered all the Materia we could find, and bred Chocobos until we finally got a black one. We totally didn't cry when Sephiroth killed Aeris -- and argued later about why we couldn't just use a Phoenix Down to revive her. Once we beat the game, we both just kind of sat back on his old couch, absorbing the adventure we had just gone on, and the fact that it was over.


Then we played it again from the start.


FF7 really set the stage for my love of RPGs. From 7, I went on to play Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, as well as FF8 and 10, and I've spent thousands of hours playing Final Fantasy Tactics -- the original on PS1, War of the Lions on my PSP before I left it on a plane, and War of the Lions again on my iPad. FF7 guided me to what a good game was and what games could achieve. Even as a kid, I knew that sensationalist news about games making kids violent and games not being art was complete crap. I had proof that both statements were wrong."


Image via Well-Rendered


Final Fantasy VII just just started celebrating the 20th anniversary of its international release on October 2, 1997. Widely regarded as the best game in the Final Fantasy series, FF7 is also proclaimed as one of the best RPGs of all time. That's high praise for any game -- let alone one in a series that essentially made the RPG genre what it is today.


But what about this game makes it so special for so many people? Is it the mold-breaking story, the grand scale of the entire game, or the memorable characters? We asked our GameSkinny staff and community writers that same question, and here is what they had to say about how FF7 impacted them as gamers and shaped their gaming passions moving forward.


Image via Download Wallpaper

Finding Out Whats New in Project CARS 2 with Slightly Mad Studios COO Rod Chong,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-35584066321-0da6f46d39-62976.png b2vvf/finding-out-whats-new-in-project-cars-2-with-slightly-mad-studios-coo-rod-chong Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:26:56 -0400 ESpalding

EGX, the UK's biggest video game expo, has come and gone and during the event, we got to sit down with the COO of Slightly Mad Studios, Rod Chong, to discuss the release of Project CARS 2 and what changes have been made from the original game.

The Project CARS games are racing simulators designed to give players the best racing experience from a game -- hands down. Where the game differs from arcade racers is that players are able to customize and tailor the experience to their particular driving style. They can even modify their cars to deal with inclement weather and specific track conditions so that they are as prepared as possible to win any and every race.

The original game was released in May 2015 and received generally high praise, selling 1 million copies in its first month. But it became clear that there were many changes that could be made when developing a sequel, so we wanted to chat to Chong about what had been done to improve the game both aesthetically and mechanically.

GameSkinny: Many thanks for giving us this interview. Let's cut to the chase: I'm sure our readers and fans of Project CARS are eager to know what is new in Project CARS 2 -- so could you tell us?

Rod Chong: When we looked at Project CARS 2, we could have done something really obvious, which would have been adding some cars, some new track locations, and come up with one new feature. That would be the obvious thing to do, but I think there is a reason why we are called Slightly Mad Studios. We set ourselves a fairly big, ambitious project and one of the first things we came up with was a concept that drives a lot of game features, which we called Anytime, Anywhere.

GS: That sounds interesting. So, what does that mean?

RC: Well, the "Anytime" builds upon the 24hrs of lighting that we have in the game, with all the different track locations. They all have 24hrs of lighting and fully dynamic weather, which we did have in the original Project CARS, but to that, we added four seasons of the year now. So you can go back to any track and tell it what date you want it to be and it could be snowing or really windy. The thing to note, though, is that it is not just a graphical trick. That's a complete condition change. 

We've also added a feature called LiveTrack 3.0 which is a continuation of our environmental conditions technology. So, every track has a living breathing environment. Like I said, it's not just a graphical trick, it is a simulation of environments. The end result of that from a gameplay perspective is that the way you drive and what you experience when you are driving changes considerably with these changeable conditions.

If you're driving while it is daytime and you have accelerated time on and suddenly the sun goes down and you are driving in the dark, the track will get cooler and that will affect the way you brake. The way that you would have been driving around the track will shift. But that can go from anything from whether someone has gone off and pulled gravel onto the track to whether puddles have formed after rainfall. It affects all aspects of the game's physics and gameplay.

GS: It sounds like it's a never-ending learning curve, where you have to know how your car behaves in certain types of weather just to be able to get by! So what does "Anywhere" mean?

RC: "Anywhere" refers to the different types of surfaces that you can race on. With Project CARS, you raced on tarmac -- normal race tracks and a couple of roads -- but now we have ice racing, snow, gravel, dirt and again, they are all changeable conditions. Also, Rallycross is a new discipline, so if you are racing on a clay track and all of a sudden it starts to rain, the conditions change.

GS: Ice racing?! That's an interesting one! Other than the dynamic weather, how else have you gone about improving the realism of the game?

RC: We have updated the physics quite a bit so they are more realistic, but, at the same time, they are more forgiving. The end result of that is that it is more fun but you can also push harder and can slide the cars around in a more realistic fashion. If you decide you want to drift or if you lose control of the car, you can catch it and pull back harder meaning you can drive in a most aggressive fashion.

GS: And what about the driving system? Have you made any changes to that from the original Project CARS?

RC: We've made a lot of updates to the tire physics systems. The drive trains are updated quite a bit as well. We've made considerable changes to the environmental elements e.g., how the cars react to the rain. We've done a lot of work on that making it less of an ice skating rink now. You can now control the car in a more linear and expected fashion in the rain.

GS: One thing I need to ask is what have you done to make Project CARS 2 more accessible? I mean, I love racing games of any sort, but I'm not a driver, nor do I have much of an interest in cars. Am I going to feel daunted by a number of settings and variables you need to understand to make the experience more enjoyable? 

RC: We've tried to make a game which is wide in that it is a mainstream title, and is very deep. The thing we say to players is that they should spend the first 20 minutes setting the game up to their level. You can set it up so that it's relatively casual. Put on driving aids and steering help, etc. if you feel like you need a bit of a hand to begin with.

There are a lot of help systems which we feel make it more accessible. You can then turn up the AI in new ways. You can control their speed and aggressiveness separately. So if you want take things a bit easy, you can turn them right down so they don't bother you that much or if you want to really test how fast you can drive, you can turn their speed up but keep their aggression down so that they aren't trying to nudge you off the track etc. Our goal was to make it quite accessible.

I should mention that we put a lot of time into revisiting the gamepad controls. So, underneath the hood, it is still a full simulation but we've laid driver help on top of that and given players the ability to customize the game for their own experience -- whether it is casual or very serious racing.

GS: So to what lengths did you go too to get the cars looking, feeling, and sounding right?

RC: We spent a lot of time ensuring that the cars drive, feel, and have the characteristics of the real thing. To that end, we had seven racing drivers that were part of the development team. They come from different disciplines, for example, GT racers, Le Mans champions, a champion drifter from America, 2 rallycross stars -- one of which is an ice racing champion and one of the top sim racers in the World. They would drive the real cars for us and then test them out in the game.

We also asked all the car manufacturers to have their drivers test the game as well. We spent a huge amount of time scanning and getting CAD data for the cars, even getting technical data from cars as they went around a track which we then compared to data from in-game. 

GS: Are there any cars that you wanted to get in the game but for some reason couldn't?

RC: I think we did quite well. We are greedy people. There is always more that we want to do. We'd love to have every famous racing car ever made in the game but there are always production limitations. But we are very happy. We signed Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and then there are a lot of people that are not interested in those brands, they are more interested in Japanese brands. So we got Honda, some Nissan race cars, etc. So we are very pleased. But, yeah, there are still a couple of brands that we want to get for the next game.

GS: Speaking of cars, what is your dream car and is it in the game?

RC: I really love this one race car since I was a small kid. I saw it race when I was very young and that is the Porsche 935. It's a 911 based race car. I probably have over hundred little models of it. I even own a replica and so I was very happy that we put this car in the game. When you drive the car in-game, the sounds you hear are actually sampled from my car.

GS: Finally, what would you say has been the hardest part of the development of Project CARS 2?

RC: I think the toughest part is always finalizing. When you're in the last four months of any game production, for any studio, it is a very challenging time. Sometimes it feels like you are walking on the edge of a cliff. You know that the finish line is over there somewhere but it feels like at any moment wind could come and just blow you off the cliff. But if you are experienced enough in game development, you know a game will be made.

You just have to stick to your guns, remain confident and work really hard. But that's always the most challenging thing is. Finishing a game, polishing it, getting the efficiency of the engine working well. Always chasing better and better performance with the game engine because you are pushing it to the maximum. If you aren't pushing the technology, you are not trying hard enough.

GS: Well, Rod, thank you very much for talking to me today. Sounds like Project CARS 2 has come on leaps and bounds from the first game! I wish you all the best with this game and I hope that becomes as successful as the first!

Project CARSis out now on PC, Xbox One and PS4. You can buy Project CARS 2 on Amazon here

Creative Director of Warface Talks About the Game's New Mission; the Future of Shooters and More,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/r/warface-e2aa7.jpg 0c8vl/creative-director-of-warface-talks-about-the-games-new-mission-the-future-of-shooters-and-more Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:15:01 -0400 Caio Sampaio

No soldier can win a war alone. This is the premise behind Warface, a free-to-play FPS game developed by Crytek, which combines the intense combat with mechanics that foster cooperation between you and your allies. Released worldwide on October 21, 2013, the game will soon live through another birthday and players will receive a gift from the developers a couple of months later.

During this year’s Gamescom, held on August 22 through 26, Crytek and the
publisher announced additional content for the game, which is set to release in December. The latest content will mark a new chapter of the conflict that drives the universe of Warface

According to the developers, the update will feature a new narrative-driven co-op mission held in Pripyat, Ukraine. Located right next to the epicenter of the Chernobyl catastrophe, it once was a vibrant location, but now, it is a setting reminiscent of the post-apocalypse. Watch the trailer below:

Crytek’s free-to-play shooter takes place in a world devastated by the greatest
recession in history. Amidst the turmoil, a group of capitalists controls most of the global wealth, and to preserve their interests, they fortified their ivory tower with the might of a paramilitary force known as Blackwood. Players join Warface, an elite squad that fights back against the worldwide dominance of Earth’s resources.

During the story, you will face new enemies, bosses, and enjoy newly refined gameplay mechanics. With new additional content on the horizon, this is an opportunity to reflect on how the game became what it is today and where it will go next.

The Future of Warface:

GameSkinny had the opportunity to hold an exclusive interview with Michael
Khaimzon (above), the creative director of Warface, to have a better understanding of what the upcoming content will bring. Apart from the future, he also discussed the past and the present of the game, ending our conversation with some predictions for what innovations might be in the making for the FPS genre. As for the new mission of Warface, he said:

“This will definitely be one of the biggest updates in our history. The Chernobyl mission is going to be epic. It has been in production for almost a year, so there are lots of new things coming. New environment, new enemies, new boss fight, and a new chapter in the Warface- Blackwood duel. Let’s not forget, though, that, in addition to this mission, the update will also include new weapons, achievements, and many other things.

December, traditionally, is the most important month for us, as many players prepare for holidays; they have a lot of free time. So, we like to release especially enticing content in this time period. This year is not an exception. Having said that, there is also a new experimental mode coming to Warface, more like an event thing, in which we will test something that we actually started over 7 years ago. We really wanted to do this mode, but never got the chance, so now is the time.”

From the answer provided by Michael, we can assume that the new update will significantly change how you experience the game. On August 28, the official Warface account on YouTube uploaded a video showing behind the scenes footage of the new mission, allowing you to take a better look on what the expansion will bring to the table. You can watch it below:

The video gives you a glimpse of what the expansion will deliver and
displays the effort Crytek put into developing the content, even sending developers to study the location personally. While we will only be sure once we can actually play the new mission, it is possible to speculate that ambiance and immersion will be two of its strongest attributes, as a consequence of their hard work and research.

We can claim this due to the fidelity of the levels, which are almost identical to the real locations they are based on. With the future of Warface covered, Michael continued to discuss Crytek’s free-to-play shooter.

Warface Today: 

One of the main challenges for any game is staying relevant through the years. Some titles pass the test of time with excellence, such as World of Warcraft, while other productions are not as fortunate and their player base shrinks over time, as seen with Evolve. Michael commented on how Crytek works to retain its community for the long run:

“I think the key is listening to the community, understanding them, and releasing regular updates. We did 70+ updates so far - that is literally an update every single month. Thus, our players see that the game is truly live. It is changing, evolving, and they can influence that evolution. All of us, the developers, have to play the game, really play it every day, face the issues, and deal with them first hand.”

Apart from creating ways to keep an audience, the free-to-play model brings
another challenge. The game is always under development, meaning that the stream of new ideas must be constant.

Designers must always craft new features, maps and fine-tune the ones that already exist. Having new ideas is an appealing process for the developers and, once the ideas are approved, the team must bring them to life. This brings us to our next topic.

Designing a Game That is Constantly Growing: 

Throughout the life of a competitive FPS title, developers often continue to expand the game by releasing new maps. To give an optimal experience to players, these levels are usually asymmetrical, meaning that both sides of the battlefield are different. The objective is to provide the player with a sense of novelty when crossing from one side to another, but this also raises a concern.

It is necessary to ensure both parts of the level have the same tactical opportunities; otherwise, a team will have an advantage, thus breaking the balance of the game. Creating two different sides for a map, while making sure they are fair to both teams is an enormous challenge, and Michael provides us with some information on how this process works:

“It’s definitely a know-how that took us years to develop. We have a very detailed level design “bible,” that teaches certain rules relevant to all levels. There are tons of things to consider – timing, positions, slides, coop climbs, and best places for each class. This is really a topic that deserves its own article.”

Level design, however, is only one of the parts that creates the experience of the player. A developer must pay close attention to the dynamics of the game modes the title offers.

In a game such as Warface, which contains a plethora of modes for PvE and PvP, a question begs for an answer; How do the creators split their attention across distinct types of gameplay while ensuring they are all fun? Michael discussed the matter:

“Well, some are more fun than others, but it’s a natural process – you have to try different things, some will work, some will not and it depends on the player’s own preferences. It’s OK, no one can predict with 100% certainty what will happen. We make assumptions based on what our players like and then go ahead and try these ideas. One thing we are definitely proud of is our Blitz mode.

We tried to take the typical Plant the Bomb mode to a different level - make it more casual and fast paced, while still quite tactical. It worked out really well. We can definitely say that Warface players prefer very dynamic type of game-play where you engage an enemy just a few seconds after the spawn or when the round doesn’t take longer than a couple of minutes - and that’s what we always strive to achieve.”

As Warface changes with each new update, by delivering new maps, modes and missions, the game continues to make its path towards the future. With the largest mission in its history set to release in December, it is time to look back and recall how it all started. On this subject, Michael offered some insights on the initial moments in the development of Warface.

Where Everything Started:

The video above shows the first trailer of Warface and it displays how much the game has changed over the years. Prior to its release, Crytek had already developed other successful titles, such as Crysis and Far Cry, which scored 91 and 89 on Metacritic respectively. After the success of these productions, then came the moment for the studio to plan their next move.

The next step for them involved beginning development on a free to play competitive FPS game. For a company that had thrived developing paid AAA experiences, the shift in the payment model may seem as an audacious move. But, according to Michael, the decision came naturally. On this matter he claimed:

“We already had a team in Frankfurt dedicated to AAA titles such as Ryse and the Crysis series, so we wanted to try a different approach – take a smaller team, and launch a title as fast as possible in a completely different way. It was also obvious to us that we were in a unique position. There was, and still is, not much competition on the F2P market for a high quality PvE COOP shooter. We knew that we had unique experience and a tool-set to get this out before others.”

Once the decision to develop a free to play FPS game became official, it was time to start planning the title. According to Jason Schreier in his book Blood, Sweat and Pixels, during the pre-production phase of a project, the developers must make decisions that will determine the future of their game; and that's just what Crytek did.

Through these preliminary stages, it is paramount to set priorities. Considering that Crytek had created successful FPS games in the past, the developers needed to decide whether they would transfer gameplay elements from Crysis (above) and Far Cry to Warface. According to Michael, the right choice was clear:

“Not much was carried over. When working on a typical box title, your main objective is to sell the game to the players. You do not have to worry about the churn rate or the playtime. In F2P there is no second chance. If you do something wrong – you lose the player forever, as he can simply delete the game. At the same time, it is easier to get people in, because there is no pay wall. In a nutshell, there is little to carry over, unless you are releasing a sequel with a different payment model.

As far as the other areas go, there is also a big difference. For example, in Crysis our objective was to make the most beautiful game, no matter the time and effort. In Warface, the focus is on performance, comfortable navigation, and map balance, as it’s - first and foremost - a multiplayer title, as opposed to FarCry and Crysis, which were about cinematic single player experience first.”

Considering Crytek’s approach of creating a brand-new design for Warface, the development team worked under the pressure of crafting innovative ideas that would resonate with the audience. The first step to developing a new game is delineating the goals of the project, and Michael spoke briefly on the subject of Warface's objectives at the start:

“Our priority was to deliver the first AAA F2P COOP title with a balanced,
cybersports ready PvP mode, and over time we managed to deliver pretty much exactly what we wanted.”

According to Michael, Crytek is happy with the product Warface has become.
Reaching the milestone of 48 million users -- according to the publisher -- proves that the game has developed a strong audience.

However, the FPS genre is a competitive market and studios must fight to stay at the top. This scenario entices competition between companies, as developers constantly innovate to get an edge over their rivals, and players benefit from this as more new and interesting games pop up.

The Future of FPS Games: 

Gamers enjoys spending time with innovative technologies; and one of the biggest developments of the video game industry in recent years is the push to create experiences in Virtual Reality (VR). While this hardware still needs to be refined, many players worldwide are already enjoying it, as evidenced by the 915,000 users who purchased the Sony PlayStation VR as of February 19. However, if you think this is the future of gaming, think again, because Michael believes that another innovation may be in store:

“One thing that will probably happen sometime soon is eye control. We will no longer need the mouse to move the cursor around and it will definitely affect the speed and precision of gameplay. As for VR, it is a very specific platform; it’s great for certain games, but not as much for fast-paced shooters. It is definitely cool, and Crytek has released some amazing games for VR, but in order for it to become mainstream, there needs to be significant hardware improvements.

No one wants to move around with heavy goggles on the head, trying to not be stuck in cables. May be once the glasses are wireless and as light as regular sunglasses, the VR will take off. But again, chances are it’s not going to replace PC for fast paced shooters.”

According to Michael, VR is still a long way from being the future of FPS video games. This is okay, because while players do wish to see developers experimenting with new tech, studios can still create innovative and enjoyable experiences with today’s hardware.

Game makers are constantly conceiving new concepts to deliver unique productions. One of the departments in which they are investing is narrative design.

Story in a Free to Play Competitive FPS Games?

On October 31, 2013, the YouTube channel Extra Credits released a video (above) discussing whether or not it is possible to implement a narrative in a competitive multiplayer game. Storytelling in gaming continues to become more mature and complex, and as this process unfolds, developers continue to bolster their skills to create more compelling narratives.

An example of this trend is Ken Levine’s presentation during 2014’s Game Developers Conference, when he pitched a concept for a story that can only be told through video games. With this scenario, some questions emerge: can game makers successfully implement a story in every genre? Can a free to play FPS game provide players with a meaningful narrative? Michael shared his thoughts on the subject:

“In F2P, the main issue is, probably, the resources – cut scenes and realistic acting is very hard to do, and it’s always a matter of priority. You ask yourself: what is the best way to utilize our time and effort? In F2P games, players want primarily action, so this has always been our focus.

Another thing to remember is that Warface is a coop game, there are five players who are not at the same place, looking in different directions, and doing different things, so it’s much harder to play a cut-scene that everyone will see. We definitely want to improve storytelling in Warface and are looking for the most efficient ways to do it without interrupting the gameplay.”

This statement from Michael may shed some light on the future of Warface, as
developers at Crytek try to discover new storytelling techniques that suit their game. Considering that their goal is to have a narrative that does not interrupt gameplay, it is possible that they decide to invest more in environmental storytelling. Whether this prediction will be accurate remains to be seen. 


Our conversation with Michael provided us with a glimpse into the future of Warface. The narrative-driven mission to be released in December will significantly change how players experience the game, according to the developer. From the behind the scenes footage, it seems that ambiance and immersion will be two strong attributes of the expansion.

Another note-worthy point of our talk was Michael’s perspective over the future of FPS games. Unlike what some people may think, the Creative Director of Warface does not believe VR will be the future of the genre. He reckons this role will fall on the shoulders of eye tracking technology.

Concerning the future of Warface, he claimed that his team is studying how to create stronger narratives in the game. However, due to the characteristics of a free to play title, the team would prefer to avoid relying on cutscenes to convey their story. This may lean them towards the use of environmental storytelling to strengthen the narrative of Warface.

To stay updated on how the game will continue to evolve and to play the upcoming Pripyat mission in December, grab your rifle and enlist today on Warface.


Hands-On Demo Impressions: All Bethesda Games on Nintendo Switch and VR,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/e/t/bethesda-5dc28.jpg vjbuu/hands-on-demo-impressions-all-bethesda-games-on-nintendo-switch-and-vr Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:01:36 -0400 Joey Marrazzo


If you are an owner of a Nintendo Switch,  HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR, then Bethesda will be your home this holiday season with its surplus of games coming out. 


While some of the games they showcased for demos aren't as polished as you'd want them to be, they all had their own element of fun that really makes it all worth it. Check out all of the games featured here when they come out before the end of the year. 


Which of these games are you most looking forward to? Let me know down in the comments!

Doom VFR (PlayStation VR & HTC Vive)

This demo was a ton of fun -- and easily the best VR game that was available to test. DOOM's graphics are really good for a VR game. And although the controls take a little bit to get used to, the game plays just like the console version that was released last year. 


When Doom comes to PSVR and HTC Vive, it will be about a 5-hour experience. The Bethesda representative I chatted with didn't mention any DLC, but this demon-addled shooter is definitely worth checking out if you own either one of the VR headsets it's been optimized for.


Doom VFR releases for both PSVR and HTC Vive on December 1.

Skyrim VR (PlayStation VR &  HTC Vive)

Entering the world of Skyrim on the PSVR was insane. Being able to take down enemies with a sword in one hand and burning enemies with fire in the other was incredibly cool while totally immersed in the world. 


The controls are simple once you get the hang of them. The VR version of Skyrim isn't as fluid as its non-VR counterparts, since the game's VR movement is based on teleports rather than walking. That said, swinging a sword and extending your hand to burn things was a lot of fun. And although using the bow and arrow did take some getting used to, I was able to get a few good shots in before my demo was finished.




The graphics aren't the greatest, though. Skyrim VR looked very blocky -- not at all what you'd expect from one of the gorgeous games released in the last decade. Of course it's understandable that graphics will take a hit in a VR port, this was more like a few uppercuts and a solid punch to the jaw. 


Is Skyrim VR worth picking up? If you like Skyrim and have PlayStation VR, sure. If you just want a new game to play on PSVR and don't feel that strongly about Skyrim, wait for it to go on sale or use the Amazon Prime discount to get it for a little less. I really wanted to be blown away by this game, but the graphics really impacted the experience. 


Skyrim for PlayStation VR will be released on November 17.

Fallout 4 (HTC Vive)

This was one of the better VR experiences I was able to try out. The graphics for the Fallout VR port aren't on par with the graphics you'll find on console or PC, but they aren't as bad as the graphics in Skyrim VR. 


Much like its fantasy counterpart, Fallout 4 VR has you teleport to move around. Using weapons in the game feels smooth and natural, making for an overall satisfying combat experience. I would definitely recommend picking this on up if you have been wanting to get into Fallout 4 or love it enough to play it again on your VR rig.


All DLC will be included when Fallout 4 for the HTC Vive is released on December 12 of this year.

Skyrim (Nintendo Switch)

When the Switch was first revealed to us last year, there was footage of Skyrim running on the console. But a port of Skyrim was never confirmed until E3 this year, when its November 17 release date was revealed. 


One of the questions that's come up frequently is: What version of Skyrim is it? The vanilla game, or the special edition that came out for Xbox One and PlayStation 4?




After speaking to the Bethesda representative, I learned that this version of Skyrim is more like the Game of the Year edition. It does include all DLC that has been released in the past but does not have the remastering that made the game look incredible for current generation consoles.


Although I imagine this choice was based on the graphical capabilities of the Switch, the fact that this isn't the remastered version of Skyrim does show when you're playing on the portable console and hurts the experience a little bit. The graphics aren't all that great -- probably comparable to the Xbox 360 graphics moreso than those on current-gen consoles. 


But despite the graphics not being up to par, the game does run really well. It's smooth and has all the quests, exploration, and looting that you'd find in every other version of the game. 


If you enjoyed Skyrim on the other consoles and want to be able to play it everywhere you go, you'll probably enjoy the Switch version. But if you've never played the game before and want to try it out, I'd recommend picking it up for PC or a current-gen, since the Switch just doesn't do this game's beautiful graphics enough justice. 

Doom (Nintendo Switch)

When this title was announced at the most recent Nintendo Direct, I was shocked that it was being ported -- and nervous about how this game would play on the portable console.


But after getting to see it for myself, I can assure you: DOOM plays really well on the Nintendo Switch. 


The graphics are comparable to the console version, but might look a little fuzzy to those who have played the game already. I played my demo using the Pro Controller, and it felt really nice. If you played the game on console or on PC using a controller, the controls are exactly the same -- so you won't feel lost when you play it on the go.




I made several attempts to get the release date out of the Bethesda representative, but she did not budge. I did, however, get confirmation that the game will include DOOM's full campaign and arcade mode. The multiplayer modes and every map released so far will be available as a download, and not on the Switch cartridge.  


DOOM will release for the Switch around the 2017 holiday season.




Bethesda has a number of big titles releasing this holiday season -- from Fallout 4 in VR to DOOM on the Nintendo Switch. Fans of the company's RPG and shooter games have a lot to look forward to as the end of the year draws closer. 


This week, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of these upcoming games to try them out before they hit store shelves. After spending time with DOOM and Skyrim on the Switch, and the VR ports for DOOMSkyrim, and Fallout 4, here are my thoughts about what's on offer from Bethesda this year.


If you want to skip to a specific demo, you can use the links below:

LawBreakers: What Went Wrong?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/e/b/website-preview-1200x630-ef7d3.jpg zz8at/lawbreakers-what-went-wrong Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:56:53 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

LawBreakers is the offspring of Boss Key Productions and respected developer Cliff Bleszinski. It aims to be a return to classic skill-based arena shooters of old, with a few modern twists thrown in -- and anticipations were high for its success around launch time. But things haven't gone according to plan. Despite initially high player counts, the number of users playing the game has dropped off sharply, which can spell disaster for a game that requires an active user base to work properly.

Bleszinski blames his brash nature and lack of basic social skills for the game's decline -- but there's more than a hint of ego in that reasoning, since it relies on the assumption that anyone and everyone who could possibly want to play the game follows him closely and reacts to his behavior accordingly. The real situation regarding LawBreakers' decline is more complicated, and centers around both flaws in the game's design and problems with its community.

I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face

A cursory glance through the Steam reviews for LawBreakers suggests there really isn't anything wrong. The game received thousands of positive reviews and an overall positive recommendation on Steam. However, if you stop to look through the reviews, you'll notice a few things stand out.  There are far fewer negative reviews, but they are consistent in their complaints. Moreover, many of the positive reviews share the same opinions about the game's drawbacks.

Chief among them is the lack of variety. Boss Key Productions tried to navigate a fine balance between adhering to modern shooter standards by adding various characters to choose from and focusing primarily on skill. Yet the overall view -- even among media outlets -- is that the characters lack enough distinguishing features to make them worthwhile inclusions or to justify return play after a while. Even the different Law and Breaker forms of the same character are largely the same.

The game modes compound this situation. There are five, but only a few seem popular enough to warrant continued play. The problem with that, however, is that you cannot choose your mode when you log in to play; instead, you're automatically put in a random match queue for whatever comes up.

On the surface, that shouldn't be too much of a problem -- regardless of game mode, you still get to experience the gravity defying fun of a classic skill-based shooter. But that's the thing: a sizeable amount of what sets LawBreakers apart from its numerous competitors is the anti-gravity mechanic. Many maps don't utilize this feature, though. Or if they do, it remains limited in use.

According to players, this combination of circumstances has resulted in a fairly stale set of interconnected areas that feature the same combat with the same characters. Some loot containers and other collectibles pop up every now and again, but they contain hardly anything that might encourage a player to log more time with the game.

A good majority of these reviewers, even the positive ones, have logged only between approximately 10 and 30 hours with the game, with a few showing longer periods of time. This suggests that despite enjoying the game, most people truly aren't playing it all that often -- lending credence to the criticism regarding its staleness and lack of replay value.

Entry Barriers for New Players

There is another significant problem that's led to this game's decline, though: the player base. LawBreakers has a noticeable learning curve, but no tutorials. If you missed out on the beta version, it puts you at a definite disadvantage compared to other players. In an ideal world, everyone would understand this situation and be accommodating. Yet that's apparently not the case with the LawBreakers community.

In addition to feeling overwhelmed at the mechanics, newcomers have been repeatedly put off by harsh teammates and unwarranted criticism through a chat system that cannot be turned off. No one wants to be publicly humiliated, even at the best of times -- but expecting someone to pay $30 to be embarrassed in a game that's really supposed to be about fun…? That doesn't seem like a good plan. 

Expect to feel like this poor red fellow quite often.

Added to these difficulties is the unbalanced nature of the class system. The game relies on skill, and it doesn't hide any particular benefits behind its rather uninspiring microtransaction program. Yet a few classes, namely the Assassin and Wraith, possess skills with the anti-gravity mechanic that make countering them almost impossible -- especially if you're facing more than one of them. If you're a newcomer, then you're even more likely to just give up in frustration.

What happens when a player does give up, or "rage quits," makes for an even less enjoyable match. In many cases, the system throws a new player into a match that only has a few minutes or less remaining. Or if it doesn't, then the match becomes completely skewed as a result of uneven team numbers.

When you consider that the servers mostly support North American and European regions, causing rather long wait times for, say, Asian and Australian players, there is little incentive to endure those times simply to spend a couple of minutes getting flattened by veteran players. As the number of players dwindles, the wait times become longer, and the cycle continues.

Game Over?

Bleszinski has planned future content updates for LawBreakers and says he is genuinely going to try and keep the game alive. Whether these updates and his view of what needs fixing meet fan expectations is another matter, though. Without addressing the problems that really keep gamers from coming back for more, it may just be game over for Bleszinski's brainchild after all.

If you've played the game, let us know in the comments what keeps you queuing up or why you haven't come back for more!

Lust for Darkness Promises A Sexy, Horrific Experience,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/367eac70961b63addd41a2f737036052.jpg 9bp0t/lust-for-darkness-promises-a-sexy-horrific-experience Mon, 18 Sep 2017 15:35:58 -0400 Kat De Shields

*Before we dive in, this preview and the trailer linked in the header are NSFW. 

In the horror genre, it's not often that you get sex to go along with your jump scares, but Lust for Darkness manages to do just that. Though this game is bound to offend some with delicate sensibilities, Lust for Darkness pairs Lovecraft, cults, and the taboo to create a new type of horror experience.

According to the Kickstarter pagethe game is: 

An FPP psychological horror of seeking satisfaction on the border of two intertwining worlds. An intriguing plot with erotic and occult themes guides the player's character through the Yelverton's victorian mansion and a perverse land inspired with Lovecraft's works and paintings of Zdzisław Beksiński.

One year after Jonathan's wife, Amanda, goes missing, he receives a letter from her inviting him to a secluded mansion. Upon his arrival, it's clear Jonathan is on the cusp of a cult ceremony, and the crowd is counting down the minutes until midnight. 

In playing the alpha, the game lives up to its name. The demo is full of nudity, sex toys, masked debauchery, and glimpses of the off-putting and terrifying. Otherworldly scenes appear in wet purple and black hues only to disappear upon a second glance. Jonathan dips between the world he knows and portals to the perverse underbelly inspired by Lovecraft's works.

The demo ends with the mother of all cliffhangers, and the image of a Cthulhu-like giant looming over the castle is one that lingers in the mind once the screen fades to black. Should the full release mirror the mechanics and mystery displayed in the demo, Lust for Darkness will be a gorgeous and grotesque game that occurs when you pair the erotic with the occult. 

At the time of this writing, Lust for Darkness has achieved more than 400% of its fundraising goal and is on Kickstarter until Saturday, Sept. 30. You can wishlist the game now on Steam

Want Indie Games On-Demand? You Need to Check Out Jump,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/j/u/m/jump-ss2-5731b.JPG 6zso1/want-indie-games-on-demand-you-need-to-check-out-jump Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:14:27 -0400 Kat De Shields

It's no secret that good indie games get buried. With hundreds of game releases each day and platforms that support a massive amount of games, there's only so much one person can sift through to find that next, undiscovered gem. 

Jump, an on-demand, video games subscription service, aims to fix that problem. 

For $9.99 a month, subscribers have unlimited access to a curated library of indie games. If it's in the library, you can play it when you want, where you want -- all you need is a computer and an internet connection. With more than 60 titles currently playable on the site, Jump is set to become the Netflix of the gaming world. 

If you want to know how Jump measures up against the likes of Steam and GOG, you may be surprised to know the team at Jump are carving out a niche market in the gaming industry all on their own. 


 Look at all those lovely indie titles. 

Aesthetics and Mechanics

Much like Steam and GOG, users have the option of downloading the Jump client to their computer or accessing it via the web. The major difference is this: games are available to play immediately and take up little to no storage space to run. 

Once you boot up Jump, you're greeted with gameplay videos from featured games and have the option to see more information or hop right into the game. Browse by featured categories like "Award Magnets" or "Off the Charts", or go the more traditional route and peruse by genre. You can also hover over individual game cards to see a short description of what you're about to get into (though some of them get cut off from time to time). 

The game pages on Jump may feel a bit sparse compared to what you see on Steam or GOG. However, all of the essential information is there, such as videos, screenshots, descriptions, dev studio, publisher, rating, platform, supported controllers, and genre. At the time of this writing, there aren't any community options or review capabilities -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. You get to play staples in the indie arena and explore unheard-of titles without anyone's two cents to sway your opinion. 

Game data and nothing else. (Game pictured is Balthazar's Dream)

Once you select a title and click on "Play Game", it takes less than a minute to load before you're on your way. How's it so fast? Jump uses special tech to keep you gaming without frying your computer's RAM or storage. According to the Jump website:

Using its HyperJump game delivery technology, the Jump service provides players with the same latency-free, high-quality experience as a game that is fully installed onto their device, but without long download times and without requiring large amounts of disk space.

Furthermore, there aren't any in-game ads or microtransactions to interrupt your gaming experience. When you're done, save your progress and rest easy knowing that you can pick up right where you left off. 

Jump's Game Library

I was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy mix of games from well-knowns like Always Sometimes Monsters and Pony Island to sleeper hits like Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor and Life Goes On: Done to Death. There's plenty to play or rediscover with the ability to game nearly anywhere you go. Right now, Jump has more than 60 titles to play to your heart's content. 

If you're new to the indie scene, Jump is a great way to get a feel for what makes indie titles so different from AAA games -- and explore a solid selection of them. If you're an indie aficionado, Jump presents an opportunity to easily jump in and out of your favorites and inexpensively sample new games. 

The Jump Windows client at full screen during gameplay.
(Game: The Bridge)

We all know indie games can be hit or miss, but the curation factor adds to Jump's value. According to the Jump website, 6-10 new games will be added each month. Games currently in the catalog have a shelf life of at least 12 months before they disappear -- though developers do have the option to leave their games on the site for longer periods of time.

Our Verdict

If you're comparing Jump to Steam or GOG, you're making a mistake. At its heart, Jump is a wonderful discovery tool for indie enthusiasts who have a desire to explore them all without breaking the bank. Since each game is curated by the Jump Team, you don't have to sift through the clones and dregs that occasionally work their ways into Steam. You can instead focus on playing solid indie titles. For the $9.99 per month price tag, it's well worth the cost. 

Users can try Jump free for 14 days before the monthly subscription fee kicks in. It is currently available on PC, Mac, and Linux, and supports Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR devices. 

The Brainchild of Homestuck, Hiveswap, Is Finally Here!,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/i/v/hiveswap-act-header-bdcd9.jpg 96ypf/the-brainchild-of-homestuck-hiveswap-is-finally-here Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:04:09 -0400 Joshua Harris

As someone who actively read "Homestuck" by Andrew Hussie back in the early 2010s, I am beyond excited that Hiveswap: Act 1 made its debut today. This was a huge deal back in 2012 when the Kickstarter campaign had met its goal within 2 days of launching. Set up as a point-and-click adventure game within the comic's universe, the story follows the journey of siblings Joey Claire and Jude Harley. 

Immediately, the player is thrown into a world full of monsters, mystery, and mayhem as Joey and Jude set out to a world that is not unlike the webcomic that inspired its creation. Writing this as someone who not only read the comic ferociously -- but also met a lot of the people that I know today through the fandom -- this game is not just for people who consider themselves staunch fans. It stands on its own merit for those who are not familiar with the source content. 

Filled to the brim with easter eggs and callbacks to the famous webcomic, Hiveswap instills an eerie feeling nostalgia that inspires the spark of creativity that "Homestuck" brought to thousands of its readers. The What Pumpkin Games Team has put a ton of work into making this look and feel what players have been expecting since the Kickstarter was completed. 

Whether you are goofing off and exploring to your hearts content, or you decide that sticking to the story is the way to go, Hiveswap wont penalize you for wandering off the beaten path. The player is encouraged to click on every object or even combine them to progress to the next section of the story, making the fun seemingly endless!

If that wasn't enough, "Homestuck" and What Pumpkin will be partnering with Viz Media to collaborate with for more awesome projects. First, they will be working together to produce printed copies of the webcomic in its entirety through a variety of volumes.

What Viz Media will do now that they are partnered with What Pumpkin studios is up for speculation -- but after taking a look at the products they've created thus far, the future of the "Homestuck" franchise looks bright. 

Final Fantasy XIV Players Raise $21,510 for Hurricane Relief,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/f/x/ffxiv-09092017-231827-1e8d7.png uxhbl/final-fantasy-xiv-players-raise-21510-for-hurricane-relief Sun, 10 Sep 2017 12:47:47 -0400 Kumotaru

For close to 12 hours on September 9th, 2017, hundreds upon hundreds of Lalafells invaded the Siren server of Final Fantasy XIV and caused some chaos. The goal was to raise awareness and money for hurricane relief. Streamers and content creators got together on Twitch and hosted for several hours a Lalafell march across Eorzea while collecting donations for Direct Relief. The FFXIV community blew the original goal of $1,000 out of the water.

Between 10 AM and 4 PM players leveled to 15 so they could gain airship access to the other cities in the game. Starting at 4 PM they gathered at Revenant's Toll (a level 50 zone) and marched (not ran) all across the game world to raise awareness and money. Hundreds and hundreds of little potato people in lumpy clumps marched as regular server players were baffled as they watched them go by. 

An after-party was held at the in-game beach resort Costa Del Sol, where Lalafells and others joined in a conga line, floated in the surf, and relaxed on the docks while listening to one of the streamers read fan-fiction about himself. By the end of the event, $21,510 was donated to Direct Relief.

Take a look at the photos below to see what you missed. Big shout out to Denmo Mcstronghuge (@Mcstronghuge) for organizing this event. 


Direct Relief is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care.

Absolver Guide: How to Unlock Stagger Early On,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/86afa6accd03defff48ce36e11f8a82c.jpg 2jvmz/absolver-guide-how-to-unlock-stagger-early-on Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:31:23 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Absolver has many styles and combat moves for you to learn. A lot of it takes time, but we all we know time is a limited commodity. And if you're trying to unlock the stagger ability, getting it early on will give you a decent advantage over some of the opponents that you encounter.

Also known as "drunken fist", stagger is a special ability that involves a little bit of stumbling, and grants your attacks several unconventional defensive capabilities. While attacking foes, you use movements that appear to make your character stumble -- fooling your foe so you can strike them uncontested.

How to Unlock Stagger Quickly: Absolver Cheat

The standard means of gaining stagger is time-consuming and rather boring. It requires you to reach at least level 15 and defeat the mini-boss Jiin Mesca, who appears randomly in various locations:

  • Along the bridge connecting the Tower of Adal altar to the courtyard near the Oratian Quarter
  • On a roof next to the Central Harbor river
  • On a path leading to the Tower of Adal from the Adalian Columbary
  • Under a tree along the Hunting Path

Kicking his butt will open a door near the altar of the Raslan Coliseum with a new NPC named Rakkio, who can grant you attendance to the stagger school. But if you don't feel like going through all of this, there's another way to acquire this teeter-tottering special ability.

Untested Ways to Unlock Stagger in Absolver

Depending on your skill level, you may be able to acquire stagger within any time frame from 10 minutes into the game to 5 hours. The key to this shortcut is PvP. All you have to do is block, defend, and dodge enemy attacks. Player versus player mode allows you to learn special abilities more quickly because your character is constantly learning and growing. 

You can also join co-op sessions to learn the skill. When adventuring with a player on a stagger school mission, you'll automatically be enrolled with the school. This will then give you access to the style and the combat deck. Again, a lot shorter than the conventional method.

Once you unlock the skill you can relive your favorite martial arts films!

Have you found other ways to unlock stagger in Absolver? If so, leave them in the comments below. And make sure to check out our other Absolver guides!

Magic The Gathering Arena: Five Facts We've Learned From the World Premiere,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-37106.jpg dg9mq/magic-the-gathering-arena-five-facts-weve-learned-from-the-world-premiere Fri, 08 Sep 2017 15:38:47 -0400 Sergey_3847

On September 7th Wizards of the Coast presented their newest digital product – Magic: The Gathering Arena. This is a stand-alone game that is not replacing Magic Online or Magic Duels, but offers a much more fulfilling experience for those who not only like to play Magic, but also enjoy watching it on live streams.

Magic: The Gathering Arena offers an authentic Magic experience with excellent new animations, sounds, and voiceovers. After the world premiere that WotC streamed through Twitch, we've gotten a pretty good taste of what the Magic players can expect from this new digital game. Here are the five most important details that were revealed regarding MTG Arena.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is Free-To-Play

The business model for this new MTG venture was one of the most discussed issues prior to the game's world premiere. Now we know for sure that it is actually a free-to-play CCG in the vein of Hearthstone that offers daily rewards, a ranked ladder, and booster packs that can be bought using either in-game currency or real money.

Since MTG Online is not affordable for every fan of the game, MTG Arena will offer a similar kind of experience that makes some important changes. According to Chris Cao, the Executive Producer of MTG Arena, players will be able to play the game without spending any real money.

This opens up the door for millions and millions of people who would never be able to fork over their hard-earned cash for Magic cards -- thus giving Magic even more exposure as a card game that it's been missing in the last few years.

Magic: The Gathering Arena Supports Constructed and Limited Formats

MTG Arena is currently focused on the Constructed Standard format -- with Limited formats, such as Draft and Sealed, coming later on in the game's life cycle after further development. If the game strikes the right chords and players enjoy how it pans out, then even more formats will be added.

It is important to note that there are about 20,000 playable cards in the entire history of Magic, so implementing all these cards and their respective mechanics would be a gargantuan feat for any game development company.

Here’s what Jeffrey Steefe, the Vice President of Digital Game Development for Wizards of the Coast, mentioned in his latest press release about how MTG Arena will gradually receive new cards:

“By the time we go into full launch, MTG Arena will feature the full card sets in Standard, with around 1,000 new cards added every year. That means deeper gameplay, more experiences to discover, and more room to explore.”

Taking this into account, it can be assumed that we will not see the full-fledged Modern or Legacy formats for years to come, since they utilize cards that have been printed as long as 25 years ago. This means that MTG Arena may not appeal to the older players who mainly play Modern.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is Perfect for Streaming

Playing games and watching games are two different experiences. It is super fun to play Magic Online, but is it as fun to watch? Well, as the Twitch statistics say -- not really! If we compare MTG Online with Hearthstone, it becomes evident that Hearthstone is much more fun to watch. And that's exactly the reason why MTG Arena was created in the first place.

WotC wants to make Magic look more appealing to the new players, and the new interface that includes various animations and sound effects should bring in more and more of those sweet Twitch views. At the same time, the game will not be simplified, but will retain all the characteristic aspects of the Magic experience, such as priorities, stacks, instants, etc.

This is a perfect opportunity for old and new Magic streamers to attract bigger audiences, and thus increase their own and Magic’s popularity.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is eSports Compatible

Playing, streaming, and watching are not the only priorities aimed at by the digital products development team at WOTC. eSports will play an essential part in the game's eventual growth, with online tournaments running worldwide.

Just like tabletop Magic: The Gathering that continually proves to attract hundreds of thousands of people to its Grand Prix and Pro Tour events on a weekly basis, MTG Arena is destined to follow the same circuit... but in a digital environment.

If all this turns out the way WotC envisions it, then MTG Arena will definitely become huge. But don’t hold your breath just yet -- the game is only in its alpha stage, so all the potential future champions will have to wait \for at least another year or so before any competitive events drop .

Magic: The Gathering Arena is Open for Closed Beta Registration

If you liked everything you’ve read about MTG Arena prior to this, then you can go to PlayMTGArena and register for the closed beta that should start by the end of this year (as announced by Chris Cao).

The game will be available only on PC for now -- but since it was built on the Unity engine, it will be possible to port the game to other platforms and mobile devices. You can also try and test the game prior to the release during the upcoming Magic events (see the schedule above).

The initial test period of the game will include all 279 cards from the upcoming Ixalan expansion that is set for release on September 28. The theme of the expansion revolves around dinosaurs and pirates, so it will definitely be a fun adventure for all involved.


Magic: The Gathering Arena is truly the next step for Wizards of the Coast in their search for the most optimal digital Magic experience. Magic Online will always appeal to the older audiences, and Magic Duels could never really blossom to its fullest potential. But it looks like MTG Arena has hit home in all possible ways, so there is almost no doubt that the game will become very successful.

What do you think about Magic: The Gathering Arena? Will you consider signing up for the closed beta? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

3 Ways YouTubers Can Conquer Demonetization,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/y/o/u/youtube-50498.jpg 9cbpg/3-ways-youtubers-can-conquer-demonetization Wed, 06 Sep 2017 17:20:26 -0400 LumpztheClown

For some time, let's players and YouTube personalities like Lazy Game Reviews and Cygnus Destroyer have been able to use YouTube's monetization system with moderate success. Both feature family-friendly content that covers epic moments in video game history -- but recently, they've come under fire from the overlords at YouTube, who began demonetizing a select few of their videos seemingly at random.

Unfortunately, even with subscribers numbering into the hundreds of thousands, both of these channels are feeling the negative financial and professional impact that comes with demonetization. When compared to bigger and profitable channels with coarser content intended for mature audiences, it really begins to feel like YouTube is cherry-picking who they want their stars to be.

YouTube: "This guy's better than you."

For example, despite the recent Internet backlash and sponsorship smackdown that Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg endured, he's still worth $20 million. And how did his subscriber count fare after his most recent controversy? 57 million, up from 53 million reported in February 2017 by TechCrunch.

Not a bad payday. But what about other large YouTube personalities like Markiplier and Jacksepticeye? Well, Markiplier has 18 million subs and a $9 million net worth, while Jacksepticeye has 16 million subs and a similar $9 million net worth. 


With that kind of subscriber count and net worth, both of those channels would still continue to be profitable even with the occasional demonetization flag due to perceived "offensive content". However, YouTube would be absolutely foolhardy to completely remove any of them from their network given the amount of traffic both bring.

But this isn't the case for smaller channels that haven't reached the superstar level of notoriety that some of the aforementioned personalities have achieved. These channels have suffered a lot more at the hands of YouTube's demonetization tactics than their bigger counterparts.

Luckily, though, there are some alternate routes that such channels can take advantage of that will allow them to keep creating content while monetizing their work to keep the lights on and continue growing. 


Start a Patreon

Already employed by multiple YouTubers, Patreon has helped many content creators monetize their work. Founder Jack Conte started the company in 2013 to help him do just that -- and as of May 2017, is on track to pay out over $150 million to its over 50,000 active creators.

Patreon pays its creators on a monthly basis, and gives users the option to include reward tiers based on monthly contribution amounts. This could be anything from pre-release sneak peeks to content collaboration between creators and viewers.

There's no need to worry about advertiser pullout, and the success of the campaign lies solely in the hands of the creator. Take a look at the Patreon pages for Jim Sterling and AngryCentaurGaming to get an idea of what works for YouTubers who create game-centric content.

Set Up a Paypal

An alternative to Patreon, PayPal gives would-be backers the opportunity to donate to the cause through a one-off payment as opposed to a monthly recurring one. Moreso, there's little pressure to deliver exclusive content to tiered backers, which is an attractive option for those who work for a living and create videos in their limited spare time.

PayPal users can elect to use either a single payout system or even a full-on crowdfunding campaign. Spanish developer Locomalito has utilized a PayPal account to accept donations on his site's download pages since I first met him over three years ago, and it's allowed him to fund his efforts, while providing him the freedom to create on his own time.

Become an Affiliate

What if you just got done writing a review of the best Atari plug and play system no one seems to talk about, or posting a video of you and a buddy trying to defend the ultra-shitty NES title Snake's Revenge that somehow got over 1,400 views? 

Whether you just discovered an unmet need that like-minded gamers are seeking out or simply talking about a specific game, consider joining an affiliate program and linking to that product to help generate passive income.

Video descriptions and on-site reviews are perfect for inserting a relevant affiliate link that sends your users to the best deals from reputable sellers. There's no pressure to buy from site visitors, your earning potential is limited only by your creativity, and you can focus on creating content that attracts them in the first place by providing actual value, not spam!

Freedom or Conformity: Taking Control of Your Content

In case you forgot, this recent spate of demonetization is not YouTube's first snafu. In fact, spurned uploaders have been saying that YouTube is dying since as early as 2009, and the conversation has reignited again and again through the years, with another bump in 2016.

One thing all of these so-called controversies have in common is that creators themselves are:

  • Not made aware of YouTube's consideration prior to demonetization.
  • Left powerless to do anything about it once a final decision has been reached.
  • Left to do the footwork of mediating research and outreach to correct any issues.
  • At risk of receiving a strike if a dispute falls through.

On that last note, once three strikes are accumulated, your account is terminated outright. Sure, you can dispute any strikes you may receive before you get to that point -- but how many success stories have you read about strike disputes recently?

Ultimately, these behind-the-scenes practices are affecting content creators who have essentially no idea that changes are even happening until they see flags on their videos or revenue drops.

YouTube will not warn you about policy changes prior to demonetization, but it will provide plenty of vague and general responses on why it did so, while directing you to dead Q & A forums. This mean that YouTube's big wigs -- and no one else -- have the power to determine who is successful on the platform, and what's deemed as being offensive by any given demographic. 

If the monetization fight with YouTube becomes too stressful for you as a content creator, keep in mind that there are other video sharing platforms out there (such as Dailymotion and Vidme) that can be used as alternatives. The latter even provides its users with a built-in tipping system that's powered by viewers, not faceless corporations who'll ding you for making 100 dick jokes in a row.

It's time to make a decision on who controls your fate (and your funding): you or YouTube? 

Has a New Fire Emblem Anime Been Revealed?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/e/a/feanime-07df2.png fucq4/has-a-new-fire-emblem-anime-been-revealed Mon, 04 Sep 2017 16:00:42 -0400 Rena Pongchai [Kazurenai]

Fire Emblem has only seen one anime adaption in the years, having a two-part OVA in 1996, based on a small chunk of Marth's storyline. You can check it out on YouTube here.

But since then, despite having so many entries that would be perfect for an anime, Nintendo has kept the series in the shadows. It didn't help that the game was largely unknown up until the last 4 years, with the release of Awakening (2013). 

Since then, the series has garnered many new fans and even a mobile game which, despite not having much news surrounding it, has a large fan-base and regulars who play the game.

And it is that mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes, which has revealed not only new official character art - but also, a bit of good news regarding an anime series.

Lucina game art

The art in question, is featured above - of Lucina's upgraded design with her wielding a spear, instead of the Falchion. At a normal glance, apart from her new design, there doesn't seem to be any hint of any thing.

But a Redditor on the Fire Emblem subreddit posted that they had flipped and translated the text on Lucina's spear, which is written in an ancient language used in Awakening

Image taken from Reddit thread.

This image seems to be verified from a variety of Fire Emblem fans, and honestly, having the language translating to those exact letters can't be a coincidence. So if this does turn out to be true and Nintendo did plan for this - then kudos to them, because it was a heck of a clever way of doing it. 

Even then, even if it is true, the problem then lies on whether it'll be a good adaption - as many adaptions of games are always used to capitalise on their trending popularity and end up being terrible. But that's a whole other issue. 

What do you think? Do you believe in the rumours? Would an anime adaption intrigue those who watch - or don't anime?

Why People Are Upset Over Denuvo in Sonic Mania (Spoilers: It's Not Just Piracy),h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/o/n/sonic-mania-drm-18eee.png q6xwo/why-people-are-upset-over-denuvo-in-sonic-mania-spoilers-its-not-just-piracy Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:04:32 -0400 Ashley Gill

DRM and its effectiveness are always a hotly-debated topic among the PC gaming community. The debate over whether it actually does what it's intended is one that started well before this generation and will continue into far into the future.

Sonic Mania's inclusion of the DRM Denuvo is the latest dramafest over DRM, but the community's outrage over it isn't solely based on what the peanut gallery says is the PC community (yet again) having a fit because they can't pirate the game. It's a little more complicated than that, and it has to do with:

SEGA's lack of transparency

This is a three-pronged issue overall, but this is the one prong that needs to be brought to light first.

The PC release of Sonic Mania saw a two-week delay, which was announced a mere four days before it was set to release on PC alongside its PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch counterparts. Many speculated it was because SEGA decided to add DRM to the PC version, but SEGA themselves did not make an announcement one way or the other.

In fact, SEGA did not reveal that Sonic Mania would contain any DRM at any point in time leading up to the PC release, and the Steam store page for the game didn't even mention Denuvo until several hours after release. The people who bought it certainly noticed, though -- many who had bought the game on the first day could not play it due to "connection issues".

SEGA ironed out the authentication issue and "enabled" offline play (enabling offline play for a singleplayer game is ridiculous in itself) yesterday, but the fact remains there was a clear lack of transparency on the inclusion of Denuvo. Sonic Mania is certainly SEGA's property -- but when requesting money for a product, the publisher should have the responsibility of keeping the consumer informed of changes.

You may be thinking to yourself that those who purchased the game could just get a refund and be done with it if Denuvo rustled their jimmies so much, but there's a catch to that, too.

Some pre-order holders could/can not get a refund

This is where things get sketchy. All of the above is generally enough to send a number of PC gamers into nuclear meltdown, but this specific part of the problem continues to be one of the biggest agitators to this whole fiasco.

To make up for the PC delay, SEGA granted Steam pre-order holders a free copy of Sonic 1 to be played in the Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Collection. This was granted exactly two weeks before Sonic Mania released on Steam.

If you're familiar with Steam's refund system, you're probably aware of the two big criteria for refunding a game:

  1. You have to have played the game for less than two hours
  2. You have to have owned the game for less than two weeks

Those who pre-ordered Sonic Mania on Steam well in advance got their copy of Sonic 1 exactly two weeks before Mania was to be released. This normally wouldn't be an issue (I've certainly never heard of this being an issue), but it seems Steam is mistaking Sonic 1 and Sonic Mania when processing refunds, which is locking the aforementioned early pre-order holders from refunding the game.

This problem in particular is likely unintentional, but it's only fueled the hate-fire over the past few days, as many unhappy with the addition of Denuvo are unable to refund the game.

If you are one of these people and still would like a refund, it's worth noting that some Steam users have had success going into Steam support and choosing the "I have a question about this product" option and inputting your grievance in the optional box. It's not perfect, but it's worth a shot.

Denuvo's servers aren't going to last forever

Whether Denuvo is actually harmful or not is a topic still up for discussion. The most passed-around link on the anti-consumer nature of the controversial DRM is heavily out of date, and most of the complaints surrounding these days have to do with its limited lifespan, online checks, and unreliability. When was the last time a game with Denuvo didn't get cracked? It's been a while.

The biggest issue the community faces with Denuvo isn't one of the now, but of the future. No server lasts forever, and in time Denuvo will fade from relevance and take all the games its meant to "protect" with it.

Because Denuvo requires online checks to allow a user to launch and continue to run a game it is attached to, any games using Denuvo will no longer be able to run once the servers are taken down. This won't happen this year or next year, but it will happen. And a lot of games are going to fall with it.

There have certainly been examples of games that have had their restrictive DRM torn from them once it's known their DRM servers will be going down, but those examples are not indicative of the norm. Plenty of titles have fallen and been lost in the wind due to their DRM's eventual folding -- and the same will happen to Denuvo, just as it did with its predecessors.

The Sonic Mania DRM fiasco is a failing on SEGA's part, primarily due to their lack of transparency on what exactly buyers would be installing onto their computers. Is it really worth this, when the game is going to get cracked in two weeks time despite the implementation of Denuvo? Sonic Mania has become yet another example of DRM causing legitimate consumers more hassle than their non-paying counterparts.

It's a shame, since the game is undoubtedly one of the best Sonic games to come out in the past decade, if not longer.

5 Things You Didn't Know About The Disney Afternoon Collection,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disney-afternoon-collection-cover-94ff8.jpg 15l09/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-disney-afternoon-collection Tue, 29 Aug 2017 14:07:13 -0400 daisy_blonde


And that's it! We hope these interesting facts about some of Capcom’s Disney games has got you hyped to play the old NES classics again on your modern system. The most well-known games in the collection seem to be those which are connected to the cartoons we remember the most, like DuckTales. 


It’s interesting which games inspired Capcom’s other franchises and which games took inspiration from said franchises. Check out our review of The Disney Afternoon Collection here


TaleSpin Plays Very Differently Depending on the Console


Like the cartoon, TaleSpin is the least well-known and probably least popular title on this list. The game released on a number of platforms, including the Sega Genesis and Game Gear. Despite being developed by Capcom, the game plays very differently on each console. 


The Game Gear version, which I owned growing up, is a traditional side-scrolling platformer with flying sections between certain stages. However, players almost always fly in the NES version. Consequently, the controls are a bit tricky, making each version frustratingly difficult instead of challenging.


Chip and Dale 2 took inspiration from Mega Man


Chip and Dale and its sequel were also produced by Tokuro Fujiwara. However, unlike the aforementioned titles, this game is quite easy, as it’s appropriately aimed at a younger market. It even got a port to the Nintendo arcade system, the PlayChoice 10.





An image of the PlayChoice 10 from the
International Arcade Museum website.


Later zones in Chip and Dale 2 will be familiar to those who have played Mega Man. Capcom, of course, developed both franchises, and the mechanical zone pictured above is extremely similar to Mega Man 3 (with the exception of the gopher sprites!). Chip and Dale 2 also takes inspiration from Mega Man in its gameplay. Unlike the rinse and repeat ball-throwing strategem of Chip and Dale, the sequel switches up boss patterns, making things a bit more like Mega Man


Darkwing Duck was Produced by the Same Person Who Created Ghosts n' Goblins


Aesthetically, you don’t need to look far to see that this game (and the original cartoon) is a Disney interpretation of Batman. With his grappling hook moves, sharp wit, and brooding tone, Darkwing could comfortably hold the title of Caped Crusader. And no one would be able to deny that he couldn't hold his own in today’s superhero brawlers like Marvel vs Capcom.


As a platformer, this game was notoriously hard. You only have two hit points, the controls can be a little fiddly, and your jumping and grappling have to be pixel perfect. The difficulty curve is most likely because of its producer, Tokuro Fujiwara, who also created Capcom classics like Ghosts and Goblins.



Fujiwara went on to create his own studio, Whoopee Camp, which made the Tomba platformers for PlayStation. These were very well received, and helped to cement Fujiwara’s reputation as a developer of very hard games!


Capcom’s DuckTales Staff Went on to Create Mega Man


Many key Capcom staff members who worked on Mega Man also worked on DuckTales. Indeed, a key artist in the DuckTales game, Keiji Inafune, produced Mega Man Zero. This installment of the game featured a Triple Rod weapon which let the player attack in up to eight different directions, while also allowing them to bounce on top of enemies. Like Shovel Knight, it seems almost directly inspired by Scrooge McDuck’s pogo jump.


Scrooge McDuck’s Pogo Move Inspired Shovel Knight


The first DuckTales game, released in 1989, is remembered as a classic partly due to Scrooge McDuck’s pogo-jump move. Not many platformers around at the time gave their main character a unique move like this – for example, Mario’s special abilities in Super Mario Bros 3 came through temporary power ups while Scrooge's came naturally. 


Shovel Knight, which is openly inspired by NES classics platformers like Ghosts n' Goblins, Darkwing Duck, and Duck Tales, was developed by Yacht Club Games. Interestingly, Yacht Club Games was set up by Sean Velasco, who used to direct WayForward Technologies. In turn, WayForward was behind 2013's remaster of the first NES DuckTales. Their involvement seems to reveal how Sean Valseco cut his teeth learning the intricacies of these old titles -- and how Shovel Knight came to be. 


During the 90's, showing cartoons at the same time kids were getting home from school was a trend. Disney was at the forefront, and releasing a selection of shows with new takes on classic characters was a large part of their strategy. There was Baloo, of The Jungle Book fame, starring as an ace pilot in TaleSpin, or the chipmunks, Chip and Dale, from the old 1940s and 1950s shorts taking up badges as crime solving detectives in Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. This block of cartoons was known as the Disney Afternoon, which is why this compilation is called the Disney Afternoon Collection, a collection that attempts to recreate that afternoon magic on the video game consoles of today. 


Capcom had the rights to make games with Disney characters in the 1990s, and they tried to encapsulate the fun of the cartoons into a series of games for various platforms of that era, ranging from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to the Sega Game Gear. Some were fantastic experiences, while others were much less so. 


However, The Disney Afternoon Collection, which includes the NES compilations of DuckTales 1 & 2Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers 1 & 2, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin was not one of the latter. Because of that, this collection was recently released as the Disney Afternoon Collection on PS4 and Xbox One.


Despite being games based on cartoons, they have a rich history that the average gamer doesn’t know. So without further ado, here are five things that you probably didn’t know about this little collection.

No, History Isn't Repeating Itself With Nintendo's SNES Classic Pre-Order Debacle,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cbc4bb35a5c0f03506d77f5dbe11ed7b.jpg vosrp/no-history-isnt-repeating-itself-with-nintendos-snes-classic-pre-order-debacle Sun, 27 Aug 2017 12:51:29 -0400 Steven Oz

Welcome to Nintendo -- home of Mario, Link, and a supply management chain that can hardly meet demands. I love Nintendo, but the company definitely has some work to do when it comes to distribution of its products. It seems like we go through a supply/demand shortage almost every time that a new console, game, or Amiibo comes out. 

Flashback to about a year ago -- the NES Classic was coming out, and people were losing their minds. It was portable, simple, and very cute. At the great price of $60 (the standard price for a AAA game) you'd get a handful of nostalgic games. The perfect gift for the lapsed gamer in your life.  

When pre-orders came out, they were gone in seconds. Retail stores could not keep them in stock, and some managers even said they would only receive two units per store. Then the retro console was discontinued, with a few hundred thousand sold.

In the case of the NES Classic, supply definitely did not equal demand. Nintendo created demand for the miniature console, and they could not (or chose not to) meet it. It's possible that the company believed it would be a gimmick collectible and didn't realize people would actually want it. It's also possible that Nintendo knew full well how popular the console would be, and generated hype around a product they never intended to make widely available.

No matter what the true cause was, the whole debacle ultimately resulted in more unhappy fans than it did satisfied consumers, and made players wary of Nintendo's ability to meet demand for the products it marketed heavily. 

Enter the SNES Classic

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last several months, you probably know that Nintendo has announced yet another miniature version of a classic console -- the Super Nintendo Classic. It has been slated to come out September 29, 2017 (just over a month from now). But so far, the only information Nintendo has given is the following statement on its Facebook page:

"We appreciate the incredible anticipation that exists for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition system, and can confirm that it will be made available for pre-order by various retailers late this month [August]. A significant amount of additional systems will be shipped to stores for launch day, and throughout the balance of the calendar year."

As soon as pre-order was announced, the warning bells began to toll for many on the internet. And everyone was wondering....would Nintendo actually be able to meet consumer demand this time around, or would we see a repeat of the NES Classic drought?

Unfortunately, fans got more of the same from the Big N.

Even though Nintendo assured us that there would be significantly more SNES Classic units made than the NES Classic...that doesn't actually seem to be the case. Store are still sold out everywhere, and supplies still seem to be far more limited than the demand that Nintendo is surely aware of by now.

Because of this, fans like myself are really starting to wonder whether it's true that Nintendo is faking its limited supplies. But if we take the time and really crunch the numbers, it starts to look less like a shady business practice and more like a pragmatic way of testing the waters before investing fully in a product.

This sort of behavior was understandable when it came to a unique flagship console like the Nintendo Switch. The company couldn't afford to overproduce this machine on its first run, because that would cost a significant amount of money. If each unit costs around $257 to make, making a 10 million units to sell would run somewhere around $2.5 billion. And misjudging the demand when you're forking over that kind of production cost can be devastating -- even missing the mark by a million units could lose the company nearly $300 million in revenue. 

At the end of the day, Nintendo isn't a parent that has to provide us with everything we ask for. It's a company that has a bottom line to meet, shareholders and profits to keep in mind, and a business plan that simply cannot make every fan happy.  Unfortunately for those of us who really want to get our hands on these products, it seems like part of the Big N's plan is to limit its production until there's real proof that a product will sell at the rate it needs to. 

Maybe Nintendo Isn't Crazy or Careless At All

It's certainly possible that Nintendo is just pulling the wool over our eyes in an effort to make itself look better to investors. But really, it seems more and more like the company is just trying to protect itself by not over-producing anything that isn't guaranteed to fly off shelves.

The NES Classic was a dumb mistake on Nintendo's part -- a case where it greatly underestimated demand and didn't create nearly enough supply. The company thought it was just a gimmick, but it turned out to be an extremely sought-after product that had tons of nostalgic value. Though this doesn't quite explain the decision to discontinue the NES Classic after its first run, at least it looks like Nintendo is sort of learning from its mistakes. 

When the SNES Classic arrives in fuller force, hopefully we'll see a second and third run of it to serve those fans who really want to get their hands on this revamped piece of their childhoods. We've created another wave of demand this time around, and now it's up to Nintendo to meet that demand with a real supply that will do right by its fans. In the end, it'll be a smart business move that'll raise their bottom line. 

The SNES Classic Edition goes on sale on September 29, and it costs $79.99...if you can get your hands on one. 

Everything You Need to Know About Minecraft's Better Together and Graphical Updates,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/8f64f1ebeb7e368ccc9a572e8a29611e.jpg bm8ii/everything-you-need-to-know-about-minecrafts-better-together-and-graphical-updates Fri, 25 Aug 2017 11:50:50 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Everyone knows Minecraft. It's the biggest phenomenon we've seen in many years, even beating out the likes of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Unlike most games, Minecraft has pierced through the gaming world and into pop culture at large. This is all thanks largely to its mass appeal to people of all ages.

In the last several years, Minecraft has spread from PC to consoles and mobile device, spawning a number of different editions for nearly every device out there. But this hit builder is about to see some big changes soon, as Microsoft/Mojang is making some moves to consolidate all these versions of Minecraft and make various other updates that will bring it into the current generation of gaming. 

In a timeframe that has only been described as “Autumn”, Microsoft will be releasing an update they are calling Better Together, a couple of different graphics enhancements, and a new Xbox One S console bundle for good measure. Here's everything you need to know about these big changes and how they might affect your Minecraft game.

Minecraft Better Together Update

The Better Together update is going to be changing a lot -- including whether or not your version of the game will continue to be supported. It's intended to unite most of the versions of Minecraft across various platforms into one common experience going forward.

This means that people who are playing Minecraft on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices (iOS/Android), and the Windows 10 version of the game will be able to play together and get dev updates at the same time.

For years now, Minecraft has had various versions out in the wild. But unifying the player experience means that everyone will need to have the same version of the game, so to speak. This means that people playing on some platforms may have more growing pains than others.

It is also important to note that old versions of the game -- like those on PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U -- will still work, but they will not be receiving updates going forward. 

What does this update mean for your specific version? Here's the rundown on what's changing for each platform. 


Minecraft: Pocket Edition is available on the App Store and Google Play for $6.99. If you already own the game on mobile, all you'll have to do for the Better Together update is download it and continue to play like normal. You should see very few changes to your play experience.

Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Digital Editions

If you own a digital copy of the game, then you're in the clear when the Better Together update launches. You will be given a free download of the new version of the game -- all you have to do is download it. This is presumed to be through a voucher code, that's not 100% clear. We'll update this article when definite information has been released. 

If you don't own the game but you want to check it out now with all the new updates coming, you can download Minecraft on Xbox One for $19.99 and Nintendo Switch for $29.99. 

Physical Editions

Fans who have a physical copy of Minecraft will be disappointed to learn that they'll might have to purchase the title again to continue receiving developer support after the Better Together update. 

How it works is a little bit complex. If you've played the game for at least 5 hours within the last year, then you'll be given free access to the updated game when it releases -- and you'll get it on the console of your choice. (And yes, you can go play for 5 hours right now and it will still count.) 

This access is only available for a limited time, but the actual window of opportunity for players hasn't been disclosed.  


There will technically be two different versions of Minecraft on PC. The Windows 10 version will receive the Better Together update. But the original version of the game, which will now be called Minecraft: Java Edition (because its programming language is Java), will not be getting the update.

Both versions are currently available for $26.99.


As of the writing of this article, the PS4 is not going to be receiving the Better Together Update since Sony has not yet agreed to allow it on their platform. But hope is not lost, as Sony and Microsoft are currently in negotiations. 

The bad news, however, is that the old version of Minecraft will no longer be purchasable after the update has been released -- meaning that the PS4 might not allow you to purchase any version of Minecraft unless a settlement is reached.

You can buy the digital version of Minecraft: PS4 Edition now for $19.99.

If you have any other questions that were unanswered by all of this, then you can also check out the official FAQ

Minecraft Better Graphics Update

Minecraft's graphics will also be seeing an improvement during the same vague time frame of “Autumn”. Basically, all the platforms that receive the Better Together Upgrade will also be receiving this graphical update to enhance the look of the game and make it compatible with higher-resolution devices. The update in question is promised to include:\

  • 4K HDR Graphics
  • Improved lighting
  • Enhanced shadows
  • Realistic water effects
Super Duper Graphics Pack

In addition to this graphical overhaul, current-gen console and Win10 users will also have access to a free DLC called the Super Duper Graphics pack. This pack will add:

"Dynamic shadows, lighting that streams through fog, movement in leaves and grass, new textures for mobs and villagers, directional lighting, edge highlighting and more!"

This DLC will be available on the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of the game. It is said to perform best on the Xbox One X and high-end PCs. There is no news as to whether this will come to the Switch.

Note: Microsoft has confirmed that players will not be forced to upgrade their graphics. If you like the old graphics, then you are more than welcome to keep them.

Xbox One S Bundle

Lastly, there is a new Minecraft Xbox One S Console bundle that was just announced alongside these multiple updates. Set to release on October 3, 2017, this 1TB Xbox One S will set you back $400.

It will include:

  1. Xbox One S Limited Edition 1TB Console
  2. Limited Edition Creeper Xbox Wireless Controller
  3. Minecraft digital code
  4. Minecraft Redstone Pack bonus content digital code
  5. Xbox One S Vertical Stand  
  6. 1-month Xbox Game Pass trial
  7. 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial 

If you are interested in this bundle, then you can pre-order it from Microsoft's website.


So there you have it folks! All the biggest, most important details you need to know about the upcoming changes to Minecraft. I hope this helped you out! If you need any more help don't forget about the FAQ that should be able to answer some of your more specific questions. And as always, don't be afraid to leave a comment down below if you want more information!

ProjectMQ: A Platform Built for the Indie Game Community,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/6/7/16707470-1318546881537171-5759246374412451038-7c9ce.jpg yiot1/projectmq-a-platform-built-for-the-indie-game-community Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:19:15 -0400 Kat De Shields

It’s no secret that the indie development scene is taking the gaming world by storm. Small dev studios are producing noteworthy and wildly popular games that rival some titles coming out of AAA studios. As the indie scene continues to grow, it’s important to take notice of the organizations and sites that work to support them. 

Enter ProjectMQ.

This is much more than a social platform dedicated to indie games. It’s a thriving community of indie fans and indie developers that seeks to educate as well as elevate.

According to the ProjectMQ website:

Game discovery/visibility is terribly broken on many computer, mobile, and console marketplaces. This frustrates gamers that are trying to find quality interactive experiences. It also makes indie developers/studios struggle to build a social audience and sell their games. ProjectMQ fixes the game discovery problem with a global community for indie game studios and fans.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Malcolm and Marcus Howard -- twins and creators of ProjectMQ --  about how they plan to connect, support, and grow the global indie gaming community. 

Malcolm and Marcus Howard, creators of ProjectMQ.

GS: How did the idea for ProjectMQ come about?

Malcolm: Playing video games has always been a big part of our lives. We’ve been playing since we were six years-old -- Super Mario Bros 3. In college we’d watch YouTube videos and think, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to share memories and have an easier way in general to watch media for games?” At the time, there wasn’t a platform that existed like that.

GS: What is your vision for ProjectMQ? How will it work?

Marcus: Project MQ is comprised of two pieces. The first is a public brand on social media channels. Our goal is to expand our active presence on platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, where millennials, gamers, and developers live. Our website offers public resources for developers, like tips for marketing on Twitter, how to start and run a Kickstarter campaign, PR best practices, and other information. The second piece of ProjectMQ is an invitation-only exclusive area where we handpick indie games from across the world to be featured on the site. People who are passionate about indie titles can access the site and check out what’s up and coming or new, too. We will use both of these pieces to offer support to the indie game community.

Steam is in business to make sales, not necessarily to promote quality indie games. With things like Steam Sales, consumer expectation is that they should only buy games at the lowest possible price or when a sale is going on. Unlike AAA studios, indie development studios don’t pad their budgets. They add in just enough to make a profit that will make their next game. Unfortunately, many consumers are conditioned to not appreciate any game unless it’s $0.99. Indie devs are small business owners and entrepreneurs in their own right. They can’t afford to make a living off of $0.99 games.

The games we select are polished and unique. Our goal is to grow ProjectMQ to support a larger number of indie developers, but we have to keep that number small now due to limited resources.

Malcolm: It’s not that we don’t want to support all indie devs -- that’s why we have the Twitter marketing aspect -- it's that we’re focused on the middle tier of the indie scene. You have a group of mid-tier devs who are spending years making a game and investing money in the games they make. It’s important that this group of people can continue to make their games.

Marcus: We aim to establish a public brand where indie devs and fans can connect around the world. We also want to provide actionable, high-value advice. Our site is exclusive to people who truly want to move the indie community forward.

Malcolm: “A rising tide floats all boats.”

GS: How are indie development studios responding to ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: We’ve received overwhelming, positive support for what we’re doing. All of our efforts are volunteer based. We don’t charge developers for the promotions we run, like #indiefeaturemonday and #indiefeaturefriday. Indies are thankful for what we’ve done; there aren’t a lot of places where they can get this level of support. Many of them don't have a marketing budget whatsoever. ProjectMQ is a platform where they can promote their work to an active audience that wants to engage with them.

Marcus: So far, we support more than 300 independent development studios across more than 25 countries.

GS: I know you’ve been presenting at investment incubators, what other successes have you had thus far?

Malcolm: In 2016, we won the Hatch House Open competition in Pennsylvania, which included a cash prize and networking/consulting services.

In April of this year, we won Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Savannah’s Bootcamp Demo Day -- a SharkTank-style pitch competition. We received a cash prize from the Savannah Economic Development Authority. We also participated and were selected as a winner in the Neighborhood Start Fund Pitch Competition in Chicago. In May, we completed the Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Accelerator Program and placed as a finalist in the Accelerator Awards for cash prizes.

GS: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Malcolm: We missed our first scheduled launch date of January 2016. Ultimately, one of our biggest challenges is time. This is a bootstrapped effort for us, and we’re completely self-funded. A lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekends. We’re trying to build a brand/audience that is global and has content available for all of the time zones our gamers live in.

Marcus: 30,000 followers in two years. We’re excited for the growth, but thousands of people have access to us at any given time. My phone dies a lot. We want the brand to be approachable and human. It takes a lot of effort to provide that experience.

GS: Project MQ has its own Slack Channel. How does this work into the larger social media platform?

Malcolm: Our Slack channel started as a temporary solution, but it’s worked out really well and it’s something that is scaleable. The community is great, and it’s a great way for us to interact with supporters and get feedback on a regular basis. One of the things we love about our Slack community is that everyone is positive and helpful. They share advice and support each other. There’s the occasional debate, but it doesn’t devolve into mudslinging.

GS: How can people get involved with or support ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: Follow us on Twitter and keep up with the ProjectMQ dev blog -- it’s the place where we share backstories, successes and challenges.

Marcus: If anyone else wants to support what we're doing, support indie games. A lot of people don't realize that making games takes an incredible amount of work. Even if you don't’ have money to spend, telling someone you like their work goes a long way. Share something if you think it’s cool. Every little bit helps.

GS: If you could go back to the beginning and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Malcolm: Scale down. Not in our efforts but in the features. That’s part of the reason why launch has been delayed. We were building out stuff like chat features from scratch, but they are better suited via the platforms we’re using now. It cost us development time.

GameSkinny would like to thank Marcus and Malcolm for taking the time to speak with us and for all their efforts to support the indie dev community. ProjectMQ is live and in pre-alpha. To see what ProjectMQ is up to, check out their website, their Twitter page or dev blog.

No Man's Sky: How to Get Star Bulbs,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/0/0/800px-nmsresource-star-bramble1-12444.jpg n6af7/no-mans-sky-how-to-get-star-bulbs Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:56:43 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

No Man's Sky has a seemingly has an endless well of resources for players to craft with, but some of those resources can be pretty touch to find. And the recent Atlas Rises update has added tons of new materials that players can collect -- including Star Bulbs. 

This beautiful item is naturally located on lush planets. These planets are usually hotter in temperature than others. If you need Star Bulbs for yourself, you can only obtain them in two ways -- mining them from the environment or farming them.

How to Mine Star Bulbs in No Man's Sky

Star bulbs can only be harvested from Star Bramble. The good thing is that Star Bramble grows wild in its natural habit. So you'll find these plants growing like weeds on lush planets.

How to Farm Star Bulbs in No Man's Sky

If you don't want to spend all your time hunting down Star Bulbs and mining them, you can also farm Star Bramble to have a more reliable supply of this resource at your disposal (with the help of an NPC).

Once you build agricultural terminals, you can hire a farmer to tend to a Star Bramble crop. A farmer can grow Star Bramble in 30 minutes of real-world time. Then you can harvest it for Star Bulbs just like you would out in the wild, but from the comfort of your own home base. 

If you land on a planet that's tropical and lush, then chances are you've found yourself a Star Bulb gold mine. You can search for them in the wild and or set up shop to have them farmed painlessly. Enjoy the tropics as you collect those stars!

Want more help exploring and gathering resources in this procedurally generated space adventure? Check out the rest of our No Man's Sky guides for everything you need to know!

No Man's Sky: Where to Find Frost Crystals,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/0/0/800px-nmsresource-coryzagen-haz-mat-5a364.JPG ya16b/no-mans-sky-where-to-find-frost-crystals Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:03:11 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

No Man's Sky has a lot of resources that players can come across and use in various ways, though many of them are fairly hard to come by. One of these resources is the Frost Crystal. Previously known as Coryzagen, this crystal is used to create glass and a few other things.

But when it comes to actually finding this frosty resource, a lot of players are getting stumped. Frost Crystals are naturally located on chilly planets and moons colored black, blue, and purple. These colors indicate that the environments have sub-zero temperatures. Once you're in the right location, Frost Crystals can only be obtained via mining or farming. 

How to Mine Frost Crystals in No Man's Sky

To mine Frost Crystals, you'll need to hunt down a plant called Frostwort. It's shiny in appearance, and can be found in any cold location. Harvesting Frostwort will yield you Frost Crystals. But be careful, because this plant can be quite deadly -- mining it is impossible unless you have hazmat gauntlets to protect yourself.

How to Farm Frost Crystals in No Man's Sky

Though you can harvest Frostwort for Frost Crystals as you traverse colder worlds, you can also farm Frostwort for a more reliable supply of this resource with the help of an NPC. 

Once you build agricultural terminals, you can hire a farmer to work in them. A farmer can grow Frostwort in 15 minutes of real-world time. This will produce 20 Frost Crystals for each Frostwort plant that's grown. You can continue this process as long as you like to earn however many Frost Crystals you need. 


That's all there is to it! If you find a planet that's cold, you've found yourself a Frost Crystal mining spot. But if you don't want to search for them in the wild, you can set up shop and farm them instead. Either way...stay frosty, and stock up on those crystals!

Need more help navigating worlds and collecting resources in this procedurally generated galactic adventure? Check out the rest of our No Man's Sky guides for more tips and tricks!

Is the First Total War Saga Going to Be Set in Viking Age Ireland?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/y/t/9/yt9z1pralhgz-1f08e.png 9e2cc/is-the-first-total-war-saga-going-to-be-set-in-viking-age-ireland Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:13:48 -0400 Skrain

Ever since developer Creative Assembly originally teased its new Total War Saga series, fans have eagerly been awaiting more information about when and where its games will be set. Though the developer has remain tight-lipped about specific info so far, fans have started uncovering evidence of what they might be able to expect. 

Some astute members of the Total War subreddit pointed out that CA's teaser image for Total War Saga (above) depicts the Eastern Coast of Ireland, just north of Dublin. This has led them to speculate that the first game in the series might focus on Ireland and Britain during the Viking Age.

Below is a comparison image that puts the teaser image side-by-side with a map rendering of the Irish coast it supposedly depicts:

Click to Enlarge

There hasn't been any confirmation of this, and there isn't much more teaser information for fans to dig into and try to unpack. But even the notion of visiting Viking Age Ireland has a number of people excited. 

Why might this era of Ireland be the perfect inaugural setting for Total War Saga? Because the series is intended to be a series of standalone titles that focus on far more specific points in history. Creative Assembly has confirmed that the gameplay will ultimately be the same, but series will not be introducing any new eras. Instead, it will expand on the timelines already set up by the main series titles, focusing on events that span from a few months to several years. If the standard Total War games is a sword slash, Saga will be more like a dagger strike. 

Ireland (and possibly Britain) could indeed be the setting of the first Total War Saga, and the chances that it could take place during the Viking Age is pretty high. This could serve as an expansion of the timeline in Total War Attila, especially the Celtic Culture Pack. Creative Assembly has shown some interest in the region before, so it's definitely feasible that the developer will revisit it. 

What Do You Think?

While I think that Viking Age Britannia sounds interesting enough, I'd rather see a more obscure subject highlighted in the first Total War Saga, like the Hussite Wars. This was one of the earliest European Wars to involve handheld firearms, and the first use of field guns in battle rather than just a siege. The political and religious impact of this skirmish was massive as well, and one could make the argument that the Hussites set the stage for further Papal reformation. 

There isn't currently a release date set for the first Total War Saga, but perhaps we can look forward to more information being revealed after the developer has launched Total War Warhammer 2 later in September.

Are you hoping this first Saga game will be set in Ireland? Or would you rather see Creative Assembly focus on something else? Let me know down in the comments!

The Advantages of The "Teen" Rated Video Game,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/i/r/fire-emblem-awakening-banner-2fcf2.jpg cbcee/the-advantages-of-the-teen-rated-video-game Sat, 19 Aug 2017 19:00:01 -0400 Greyson Ditzler (PurplePocketPirate)

In a market where both younger and more mature audiences equally contribute to sales, there exists a middle-ground in terms of mechanical complexity and emotional maturity that is less-often explored -- "T for Teen". 


It's important that we understand exactly what a Teen rating means. According to the official ESRB website, a Teen rating means

 "Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language."

Teen-rated games are interesting because they exist in a middle-ground between games made for everyone and adult games. This middle-ground puts them into a niche genre all on their own. Teenagers are unique, and they may feel too old to play "kids games" but often aren't allowed to play games for adults.

This creates a massive audience for games that find a happy average between the two age groups. The kind of games that respect the intelligence of the player, and challenge them, while still appealing to their craving for an overall fun and perhaps whimsical experience. Metroid Prime is a perfect example.


Metroid Prime is a Teen rated game that has every reason to be Teen rated and takes full advantage of it. It has elements that appeal to both teenagers looking for something more adult and adults themselves.

On one hand, the game has an enormous world to explore, colorful and interesting locations full of secrets, and accessible gameplay boiling down to shooting bad guys with lasers. On the other hand, by also providing deep combat, an ominous and alien atmosphere, and the occasional dark and cerebral story element, it has an adult appeal.

Mature themes and concepts don't need to be hidden behind an M rating. Plenty of E and E10+ games have shown this, but Teen rated games have the slightest extra advantage. Games like Fire Emblem Awakening, Xenoblade Chronicle,  and Skies of Arcadia show that mature themes and deep, compelling stories don't need a stamp on the box saying "17+".

Games like these effectively show that less is more, and the limitations of a Teen rating can be used to a story's advantage. PG-13 movies limit their use of graphic violence and profanity and use them smartly when they can. Teen rated games are no different. If you can only show blood once, or only use the word "damn" so many times, then you'd better make them count -- and a great number of developers understand this. 

The first of few bloody deaths in Xenoblade Chronicles...

... And the depressingly destitute living conditions of Valua's Lower City in Skies of Arcadia are all the more effective for their limited use and tonal contrast.

The Dark Knight is a great example of the same Teen game principle of balancing whimsicality with ground realism and a dark tone. It's a film that expertly weaves a narrative equal parts superhero fantasy and the moral ambiguity of real-world vigilante justice. If it leaned harder in either direction towards more adult or more childish it would be ruined.

A scene with imagery this silly could only be as believable and dramatic as it is through a careful balance between gritty realism and escapist fantasy. I argue that only a PG-13 movie could have pulled this off. 

The most interesting part about this particular comparison is the difference between the clarity of each system's age ratings. The criteria for a PG-13 movie is a little unclear, as the official description a little vague. The MPAA's official description of PG-13 is:

"Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers."

When I first learned that The Dark Knight was a PG-13 movie, I was actually surprised. It seems like such a dark, disturbing film to aim at teenagers, but nobody acknowledges its PG-13 rating, and more often discuss its high quality as a film. At the end of the day, that's more important than who it's supposedly "made for". 

Some games, however, couldn't be suited by any rating other than Teen. Psychonauts gameplay, for example, is well-suited for the "E for Everyone" audience, however, the game places itself in the Teen rated territory with a well-written story with a number of dark jokes and serious character moments.

The major appeal to younger audiences would be lost if the game went too mature with its subject matter, but at the same time, the down-to-earth nature of the game would suffer if it had to compromise it's writing. 

seriously doubt that an E rated Psychonauts would have been able to make Napoleonic warfare as funny as it did.

To delve deeper into this point let's compare Beyond Good & Evil and the upcoming Beyond Good and Evil 2. While the latter hasn't released yet, a number of fans felt the trailer gave off a rocky impression of the final product. One common criticism was the drastic shift in tone between the two games, with the newest entry focusing heavily on a mature setting.

Beyond Good & Evil had an overall tone that balanced itself between light-hearted adventure and sinister conspiracy theory. It was T rated, but the trailer for the sequel had noticeable amounts of cursing, blood, and violence, and will quite likely be rated M. The actual rating and quality of the final product are yet to be seen, but the concerned and confused fans raise a fair point; does a game in this series, with the subject matter it is already known and loved for, need to have such a mature shift in tone and rating? 

You can spot the discrepancy between the two games by comparing their trailers. While Beyond Good and Evil 2 could still be a great game with a compelling story, the question still remains, why limit the audience when the subject matter is perfectly suited to be more family-friendly? 

One sells itself as an adventurous - if a bit dramatic - action adventure game in space.

The other is basically the same thing... with some added blood and a few too many curse words.

There are disadvantages to every age rating, but games that are rated T also have the greatest advantage -- they can be classics in more than one category. They're a category of game that can deliver the best of both worlds with mechanical depth, emotional investment, and childlike whimsicality. Despite their intended age rating, in the end, well-made Teen games really are the games that end up being for everyone. 

Are "Life Sim" Games RPGs, or Its Own Genre Entirely?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/i/f/lifesim-bf123.jpg e5amj/are-life-sim-games-rpgs-or-its-own-genre-entirely Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:45:01 -0400 Rena Pongchai [Kazurenai]

Everyone has their own favorite game genres, whether it's strategy, horror, platformers, or just plain "action", you can usually find a middle ground to the kind of games you enjoy. For me, it's JRPGs, preferably mixed with strategy, but as long as it has a good plot and battle mechanics, I'm not too picky. However, there is one game I particularly love that I felt didn't really "fit" with the rest.

And that game was Animal Crossing.

Usually when the term "RPG" comes to mind, people think of games that follow the trend of fighting monsters, travelling across lands while honing your skills -- and basically partaking in some epic journey that bards will sing tales of for generations. Animal Crossing, however, is limited within the realm of your new town and the player partakes in social events with the other villagers. Doesn't really fit the RPG description, does it? 

If you take RPG literally, then doesn't the genre essentially mean to "role-play" as a character? In Animal Crossing, you "role-play" as a new villager that starts a new life, making friends and generally enjoying life in the process.

The Harvest Moon series, which is a farming simulation at its core, and its more RPG inspired spin-off, Rune Factory fall into a similar middle ground between well defined genres. Rune Factory was even initially marketed as "A Fantasy Harvest Moon" For instance, you farmed monsters instead of animals. It also offered similar traditional RPG gameplay elements and introduced combat mechanics - which was a big part of the game. Perhaps most importantly, it offered a storyline, as opposed to the open-ended storytelling present in Harvest Moon. All of this only further serves to blur the lines between genres. 

You can already tell from the cover art which is more fixated on farming and which seems to have a more fleshed out story. 

What makes a game an "RPG?" Is it fighting? And since so many modern RPG's have employed almost non-existent stories, can that even be said to be essential anymore? And what about the travelling to faraway lands and honing your skills?

Both Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon take place in a fictional world, both of which require the player to explore and discover new things. While Harvest Moon does actually have skills that you level up (such as walking, sleeping, farming, mining), Animal Crossing doesn't necessarily have skills but allows for a sense of personal achievement through collecting fossils, fish, bugs, furniture. While it's not the tried and true EXP based progression system, it follows a very similar structure. 

Some "goals" you can strive for in Animal Crossing include filling up the aquarium, collecting fossils for the museum, or getting badges from special events. 

Personally, I feel what prevents them from ultimately entering the realm of the RPG is the fact that the player is essentially doing what I would call, "Virtual Chores". Anything that can be done in the game, such as talking to your neighbours, catching bugs, or planting crops, can easily be done in real life. Even Stardew Valley, which is also in a similar vein as these titles, has caused many reviewers to joke about how addicting these normally mundane tasks are in-game.

Yes! After 13 in-game days, I'll harvest these babies and earn me some mad money in-game which I could do in real life but eh, who has the time for that?

So ultimately, while you can say that these games do have RPG elements, they're probably better suited to their own brand of gaming. Genres are supposed to help you understand what a book, movie, or game are about in short form and it doesn't any justice to the term RPG to just lump Harvest Moon in with Final Fantasy and call it a day. It's like comparing horror films with thriller films: just because they both shock and fill you with suspense, doesn't mean you're going to feel the same about both of them by the end. 

And that's the thing. By the end of an RPG, the story will conclude with the hero completing his main goal, leaving the player to feel accomplished in the journey that they have travelled. Whereas with Animal Crossing and life simulation games in general, you feel accomplished everyday, yet it just goes... on. You can "complete" everything you possibly can, but it never really ends and it lets you continue on indefinitely.

As games get more ambitious it doesn't seem fair, or even possible, to categorize certain games anymore. Nowadays so many games represent mashups of several different genres and it seems almost no game is safe from the addition of at least a few superfluous RPG elements, like unneeded crafting systems and skill trees that offer uninteresting perks. Sometimes all we can do is try to explain games as best as we can, and enjoy them the rest of the time.

What do you think? Are there any other games you know that fall into different, sometimes poorly defined genres?

Q&A -- Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics Designers Talk Community, Game Design, and More,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/g/o/hgods-banner-1920x1080-b5900.jpg 3prlt/qa-hand-of-the-gods-smite-tactics-designers-talk-community-game-design-and-more Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:11:21 -0400 ActionJ4ck

After successful ventures into the MOBA and Arena Shooter genres with SMITE and Paladins, Hi-Rez Studios is now breaking into the crowded CCG space with Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics. With HotG recently moving into open beta after several months of closed beta, we were eager for the chance to chat with designers Scott Lussier and Austin Gallman about the importance of community feedback, their design process, and competitive play. 

GameSkinny: Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics entered open beta a few weeks ago and has been in closed beta for a while now. How important has player feedback been for the development of the game during that time?

Scott Lussier (Lead Designer): All Hi-Rez games have made the community a factor in the development cycle and on Hand of the Gods, we have taken it one step further by giving the community direct ways to contact us through Discord. As the lead designer, my job is to ensure the best playing experience, both competitively and casually, and if I were to remove the community from the equation, I would be missing out on very critical feedback and input. This is why I asked the community to create a channel inside of our Discord called “Ask-Gandhi,” where I answer questions every week day.

GS: HotG recently added the Mayan pantheon, bringing a bunch of new cards and an interesting new zombie focus to the game. Can you tell us a little bit about the process for designing a new pantheon? Do you start with a pantheon that you want to add and try to design mechanics that fit into it, or do you take a more bottom-up approach? Is it challenging to avoid overlapping the new gameplay with existing pantheon cards or carve out a unique role for the new set?

SL: The goal of adding a new pantheon to Hand of the Gods is to create a unique play style for players to learn and master, so the first step of selecting a new pantheon is to assess the current state of the game and the competitive meta. Fortunately, Hand of the Gods currently only has six pantheons, so it is a little bit easier to discover deck archetypes we are missing. For example, our next pantheon that will be adding to the game is Hindu. The Hindu pantheon will be our first control-centric pantheon, which we have yet to add to our game.

After our deliberation, we narrow our options down to one or two pantheons and that’s when the real fun begins, AKA the research! During my free time, I spend about a week or two putting together a presentation for the entire Hand of the Gods development team. This helps the team get a feel for the pantheon so we can capture the spirit of the pantheon in special effects, design, and animation. At the very end of the presentation, I hold a round-table discussion where everyone gives feedback for mechanics or themes for the pantheon and I take down every single suggestion. With the conclusion of the meeting, Austin [Gallman] and myself review my notes from the presentation and we start designing all of the cards inside of the pantheon.

GS: Obviously, Hand of the Gods spins off from one of Hi-Rez Studios' already existing IPs, SMITE, an action MOBA. What are some of the challenges of adapting elements from an existing game into a different genre? Does it feel limiting at all? Liberating?

Austin Gallman (Designer): It is interesting really. We will typically kick off discussions about gods we plan on adding to the game by asking ourselves, “Is there a mechanic for this god that exists in SMITE that will actually transfer over to Hand of the Gods?”. Sometimes there are mechanics that can fit well with just a few modifications, such as Ymir who freezes units with his attacks. Other times, it is much trickier and we will have to think outside of the box. I have found that the gods that do not translate cross-genre as well are typically the most fun to design. We get to explore areas that we couldn’t in SMITE and that is very exciting for us!

GS: The online CCG genre has really risen in popularity lately, with games like Hearthstone, Elder Scrolls: Legends, and GWENT earning themselves some pretty devoted players. How has the presence of these games influenced the development of Hand of the Gods, if at all? Do you find yourselves trying to emulate certain aspects of these games? Do you try to steer clear of any common tropes or mechanics?

AG: We are definitely influenced by many other games in the genre. This includes new and old games alike. There are many features that players have come to expect in online CCGs and we do our best to include those -- as well as leaving our own mark with new and exciting ways to play. The key for us will always be to try and strike the right balance of fun and familiar mechanics with new and intriguing ones.

GS: HotG recently had its tournament debut at DreamHack Valencia, so it seems like there's some intention to bring the game into the competitive eSports scene. What are some of the added challenges of developing a game tailored for competitive players in addition to casual players? Do you find yourselves having to weigh whether certain mechanics or changes would benefit one but not the other? Or is there no difference at all?

AG: CCGs are inherently competitive, so we are always designing with the highest level of play in mind. With that said, it is important to not forget about the casual player. It is very critical to us to make sure that the game is very accessible to players across all skill levels while still having enough depth to create a compelling competitive experience. This is no small task and is something that we work hard to improve over time.

GS: Finally, we're obviously going to be seeing more additions and improvements as the game progresses through open beta. What upcoming changes are you most excited for players to experience in the coming months?

AG: The Hindu Pantheon! This pantheon gets me very excited for two reasons: One, it is our first control-centric pantheon, which is long overdue, and two, this pantheon features brand new mechanics that alter the entire way you currently play Hand of the Gods.

Players can gain access to the Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics open beta through HotG's official website and can look forward to the release of the Hindu Pantheon as the open beta continues. PAX West attendees will also be able to get an early taste of the game's competitive side at a $5000 open bracket tournament organized by the Hand of the Gods team. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for all of your HotG news.

What's In A Name? How Digimon Story Stole the Digimon World Name for Western Audiences,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/5/th5q09-4bde1.jpg r9vea/whats-in-a-name-how-digimon-story-stole-the-digimon-world-name-for-western-audiences Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:05:37 -0400 Erroll Maas

Digimon, short for Digital Monsters, started as a spin-off of Bandai's Tamagotchi virtual pet toys. But the franchise took on a life of its own -- spawning multiple anime series, a handful of movies, video games, toys, and even several different card games.

The first and perhaps most well-known of the Digimon video games is the Digimon World series, originally developed for the Sony PlayStation. While most players in the West might assume that the majority of Digimon games are part of the World series, this isn't actually true. In fact, many of the games that the West knows to be part of Digimon World's lineup are actually other series that were simply published for Western audiences under the Digimon World name. 

Some western fans still don't realize that Digimon World and Digimon Story are two separate series -- so let's try to clear up some of the confusion by looking at the perplexing history of the Digimon World series in the West and why they took the different monikers they did. 

Four Very Different Games

The first four Digimon World games -- which are all under the Digimon World name worldwide -- all have distinct differences from each other. Though they keep certain gameplay features intact, there's a lot of variation in the experiences between them. So it's sort of intriguing that they all share a series name. It's difficult to determine whether the distinction between these World games was due to experimentation with different gameplay formulas, an effort to create or coincide with other Digimon trends, or a combination of both. 

The original Digimon World, released in 2000 for America, tried to capitalize on the success of the franchise's toys and anime series. The gameplay revolved around raising a single Digimon from egg form, then engaging it in battles in order to evolve its forms. The forms a player's Digimon would evolve into depended on how it was raised -- closely following the caretaking of the original virtual pets that spawned this game. Paying attention to your Digimon was the central aspect of gameplay in this entry, as players needed to feed, rest, and otherwise tend to their pocket companion.

Oddly enough, Digimon World 2, 3, and 4 abandoned this style of gameplay, and fans didn't see it again until Digimon World Championship released in 2008.

New Digivolution in Digimon World 2

When it was released for North America in 2001, Digimon World 2 was the first game in the series to launch after the anime began airing. With gameplay that was vastly different than its predecessor, the player's initial experience felt rather similar to Pokémon or Monster Rancher, both of which had their first sequels released just a year earlier. 

Digimon World 2's gameplay saw the player exploring dungeons with a team of up to three Digimon. They could still evolve and be trained, but no longer needed to be rested, fed, or taken to the bathroom like the original game. The exploration and combat encounters took center stage here, rather than the more nurturing aspect that Digimon World relied heavily on.

This sequel also added a new digivolution concept known as DNA Digivolution, which allowed the player to combine two Digimon into one -- but the resulting Digimon would be one level lower than its parents. This also allowed the resulting Digimon to level up further than either of its parents. 

Digimon World 3 Makes Digivolution Temporary

The next entry in the series kept the DNA digivolution element, but changed pretty much everything else about the formula once again. 

Oddly enough, this game released in North America first in 2002, then came to Japan and Europe later that year. Unlike the first two games, this third entry in the series was more of a traditional RPG that took place in an MMORPG in which the players and other friends could get trapped (a popular concept at the time, as evidenced by the Bandai-published title .hack). Though the player still had three Digimon partners, battles were fought one-on-one, and creatures could be switched out, much like a Pokémon game. 

Digimon World 3 was the first in the series to feature random encounters as opposed to running into Digimon on the map. Although normal digivolution and DNA digivolution were still included in the game, the way these systems worked was changed once again so that each Digimon was allowed to bring three forms into battle. 

It was also the last Digimon World entry to appear on the original PlayStation. 

Digimon World 4 Ditches the Turn-Based RPG Formula

The successor to Digimon World 3 was a considerable departure from the gameplay of any past games in the series. Digimon World 4 was released worldwide in 2005 for the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. It was based on the Digimon X-Evolution animated movie -- and even went so far as to reuse a few scenes from the film. 

Instead of being a monster-raising RPG like its predecessors, Digimon World 4 was a four-player co-op hack-and-slash adventure where players took the role of certain Digimon. These playable Digimon used weapons and elemental magic rather than the special attacks fans were familiar with, and could gain a digivolution after meeting certain requirements. 

In spite of its name implying that it's another entry in the main series of games, Digimon World 4 is actually a spin-off rather than a true numbered successor. The stark departure in gameplay was a shock to Western fans who were totally unaware of the Digimon X Evolution film at the time of the game's release.

So What's With The Shared Names?

If these Digimon World games were all so different, wouldn't they have warranted different names? Perhaps so, but Bandai didn't seem to think so. 

Carrying the World name across these four distinct entries might have been an effort to keep fans flocking to a more familiar name in spite of each game not being a true sequel to its predecessors. This sort of decision isn't unprecedented -- and is similar to what we've seen in series like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. So this may have been Bandai's justification for putting a few more titles under the same name in the West, despite prodigious differences between each game. 


More Confusion for the West

Though some Western players were jarred by the starkly different gameplay of the Digimon 4 spinoff/main series entry, but the real confusion began when the Digimon Story series began in Japan. 

If you look at the covers pictured above, you might think that you're looking at two different games that share a franchise name. But in fact, besides the language of each one, these games are exactly the same title published under totally different series names in different regions.

Released for Japan in 2006 on Nintendo DS, Digimon Story was published under the Digimon World name in the West, despite being part of a separate series.

Dubbed Digimon World DS, this game took a more Pokémon-like approach to its gameplay, while also implementing some unique elements. Players controlled a team of three Digimon -- similar to Digimon World 2 and 3 -- with three more as backup. Battles were either three-on-three encounters, or three-on-one for certain bosses. New Digimon could be obtained by battling them repeatedly until their data was 100% scanned. The game featured over 230 Digimon to discover, and those not in use could be stored in Digi-Farms (similar to the PC in Pokémon games). These Digimon could only evolve by collecting experience from defeating certain species of Digimon, achieving a certain aptitude level, or increasing friendship.

At the time of its release, Digimon World DS was praised as one of the best games in the Digimon World series -- even though it was technically part of another series entirely. Either way, it marked a true return of Digimon RPGs in the West.

The West Gets A Game Based on an Anime Series

The second game to adopt the Digimon World name in the West was Digimon World Data Squad, released in 2007 for PS2. Known as a spinoff called Digimon Savers: Another Episode in Japan, this game was based on the Digimon Data Squad anime series. 

This was the first Digimon game to feature English dubbed voice acting, and the only Digimon game to feature cel-shaded graphics. Digivolution in this title shared some similarities with the first true Digimon World game, as the form into which a Digimon would evolved was affected by how the player took care of it. But it also introduced a new method of digivolution known as the Galactica Evolution System -- which determined what Digimon the player's partner would digivolve into. 

Though this game is not an actual part of the Digimon World series, it's almost understandable that it would borrow the World name for the West, since the anime series didn't air in those regions until around a month later. As such, Digimon World Data Squad was able to continue the fandom around the World series, while also making Western fans aware of the new anime series. 

A Double Dose of DS Digimon

Several years after the release of the original Digimon World DS, a two-version sequel -- Digmon World Dawn and Dusk -- hit DS consoles in the West. However, this was part of the Story series in Japan, dubbed Digimon Story Sunburst and Moonlight. This entry in the franchise introduced several new Digimon, finished out previously incomplete or mixed-up digivolution lines, and reintroduced the DNA digivolution popularized by Digimon World 2 and 3

Because it was a sequel to Digimon World DS, it obviously would have been a mistake not to use the Digimon World name. Unaware Western fans probably would have been confused by the sudden title change, especially given the similarities between these sequels and their predecessors. 

These two DS games were the next-to-last Digimon games to release in the West before a long hiatus -- and they were the last Digimon Story games (though they didn't go by that name) that saw a Western release until 2016.

The End of an Era

The last game to release under the Digimon World moniker for Western audiences was Digimon World Championship. Known solely as Digimon Championship in Japan, this title was a bit closer in gameplay to the original game that spawned the Digimon World name. 

In battle, Digimon chose which attacks they used instead of being told. The game also introduced several new Digimon with the Dracomon digivolution line. 

But due to its departure from the gameplay of the two previous Nintendo DS games, Digimon World Championship saw relatively poor reception -- so maybe relying on the World name wasn't such a great choice in this case. 

Either way, Digimon World Championship was the last Digimon-raising game the West would see for many years -- and it was the very last Digimon game to ever receive a Digimon World name change for Western audiences.

The Names in the West Are Finally Fixed

Though the West saw a few Digimon games here and there after the sub-par release of Digimon World Championship -- like the Digimon All-Star Rumble fighting game or the Digimon Heroes! match-3 mobile game -- there were no other Digimon RPGs released until 2016's Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth for PS4 and PS Vita. 

This was the first game in the Digimon Story series that didn't get a name change to Digimon World for Western audiences, and it was also the first one to see a release on both handheld and home consoles. Cyber Sleuth borrowed from and built upon many of the gameplay elements from Digimon World DS and its sequels, Digimon World Dawn and Dusk. 

2017 saw the release of yet another Digmon World game, called Digimon World: Next Order. This was a true sequel to the original Digimon World series -- so much so that it kept the World name worldwide. The game provided a modern update to the playstyle and mechanics introduced in the original games that started the series, though this time with two Digimon partners instead of one.

At the time of writing, it's unclear whether there will be another Digimon World game. But another entry in the Story series -- dubbed Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory -- is slated for release on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in Japan on December 14, 2017. It will make its way to the West sometime in 2018. 

Either way, with the release of Digimon World: Next Order and Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, it seems like Western names for this popular series have finally caught up to their Japanese counterparts. But only time will tell if the trend will continue. 

Preview: Rise of Insanity - Psychological Horror Done Right,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-2ce4d.jpg 1tk5p/preview-rise-of-insanity-psychological-horror-done-right Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:03:50 -0400 Damien Smith

Psychological horror has always been something of a rarity within the video game industry. While most developers aim for the more known and popular horror sub-genres like survival horror, every now and then we get a psychological horror classic such as Silent Hill 2 or Sanitarium. And now Rise of Insanity is stepping up to take a shot at becoming the next classic in the genre.

Rise of Insanity is a psychological horror game currently in Steam Early Access. It is being developed by indie developer Red Limb Studio. Despite its early stages of development, the game is already showing plenty of promise. With a gripping and intriguing plot, wonderful visuals, great atmosphere, and well-designed horror sequences, there is plenty for all horror fans to enjoy.

Enter the human mind

You take on the role of Dr. Stephen Dowell, a psychologist who lost his wife and son. The death of his family remains a mystery, and the police have had no success in their investigation. Were they murdered or simply just lost? The only suspect is Dowell's latest patient, who suffers from multiple varying disorders.

You must venture into the human mind, an ever-changing place where anything is possible. It is only there that you can find the answers about what happened to your family. But some places, a man was never supposed to go -- and your greatest fears will stand in your way. Only through overcoming them will you finally be able to gain the closure you so sorely seek.

The plot to Rise of Insanity is one of mystery and intrigue. As you progress, it begins to give you answers, while also introducing more. It is a story that keeps you thinking as you begin to make your own theories as to what is going on and what happened to the Dowell's family.

The game's well-written and expertly paced plot  keeps you gripped from beginning to end. And while the current build of Rise of Insanity gives you just a taste of what is to come, it is a satisfactory one that makes you excited for what the developers will add later.

There are a few typo errors throughout the game, along with rough English translation in some areas -- but aside from that, it is a story that does the psychological horror genre justice.

A well-executed horror "walking simulator"

There is no mistaking that Rise of Insanity is essentially a "walking simulator" that plays a lot like Layers of Fear. But don't let that comparison fool you -- its design and execution isn't quite as similar, leading to a very different gameplay experience between the two.

While Layers of Fear bored me to death within the first 15 minutes of playing it, Rise of Insanity thrilled me from beginning to end (of the current build), and a lot of this was due to how the game handles its horrors.

Layers of Fear felt more like a horror mansion ride you would find in a theme park, with things jumping out at you every five seconds. But here there are well-designed horror sequences that have tension and excellent build-up. Sure, it has its occasional jump scare from time to time, but they are generally well-placed enough that they don't become predictable or obvious.

As for the general gameplay, it's basically what you would expect from a "walking simulator". You explore each area, searching for clues and evidence to the mystery at hand while solving puzzles in order to progress to the next -- all while trying not to get a case of brown trousers when things get weird.

Rise of Insanity also has a unique little feature where you take control of a crow flying through a cave system. While it is a minor feature, it is an enjoyable one that fits in with the strange and ever-shifting world. And it shakes up the gameplay just enough to keep things fresh and interesting.

You can technically die in Rise of Insanity, and it is always through your curiosity or stupidity that this happens. Any possibility of death in the game is made fairly obvious, and it's always avoidable. But if you are like me, you just won't be able to help yourself in finding out what will happen.

Overall, Rise of Insanity is a "walking simulator" that does things right, especially in the all-important horror aspects. It is well-paced, resulting in a good build up of horror sequences and a careful balance between that, relatively easy puzzle-solving, and consistent exploration. 

A great atmosphere that grips you

One of the biggest highlights of Rise of Insanity is its atmosphere. Throughout the entire game, there is always a lingering sense of dread and unease. Never do you feel particularly safe, nor does the game ever give you a real moment of ease.

No matter the location you are in, there is always a dark and foreboding feeling. You know you are somewhere that you aren't supposed to be, and anything is a possibility. It really helps to absorb you into the game, giving you an even deeper sense of immersion.

Indeed, there is still some work to be done with the atmosphere in certain places -- but overall for an early build of the game, it does a cracking job.

Potentially a psychological horror classic

Rise of Insanity has all the potential of becoming an absolute psychological horror classic. Its plot is everything you could hope for in a title of this genre, its atmosphere is great and the horror sequences are all really well-designed.

It has been quite a few years since a game genuinely scared me, and there were parts of this game that did just that. It may not appeal to players who are looking for jump scares galore -- but for the more hardcore horror fans who want scares with creativity, it is sure to thrill and well worth its price tag.

So far, Rise of Insanity is off to a great start in Early Access. It has me gripped and I can't wait to see the conclusion of the plot. I really hope that the developers up the ante with the horror, while maintaining that great balance between scares, exploration and puzzle solving.

Rise of Insanity is available in Early Access on Steam at $6.99 for Windows and VR. It is currently on sale at 10% off for $6.29.

[Note: A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.]

GFE Takes Rocket League by Force,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/f/e/gfe660-35786.jpg ozom1/gfe-takes-rocket-league-by-force Thu, 03 Aug 2017 14:49:47 -0400 Lydia M

Rocket League has taken eSports by storm in the past few months, with Psyonix promising over $2.5m to Rocket League eSports, Gfinity adding it to their Elite Series, and FACEIT and NBC hosting a 2v2 Universal tournament --and we're only halfway through the year. With the influx of dedication to Rocket League eSports, organizations are taking note with familiar names like Cloud9, G2, NRG, Rogue eSports, and Renegades signing teams for the game left and right.

Gale Force Esports tops that list of teams, as they have vetted a European RLCS team since April -- and after some roster changes post-Season 3, they've been one of the teams to beat not only in their region but the world. Shortly after Northern Gaming took the crown of Season 3, GFE looked to reform anew as sights were set on the remainder of 2017 and Season 4 of RLCS.


According to Jos "ViolentPanda" van Meurs:

"My old team didn't go that well. Gale Force and I decided to build a team around me. At first Kaydop was picked up because we wanted to team together, then Turbo came up and we tried him out at DreamHack: Summer in Sweden. It's been going very well."

Photo: Gale Force Esports

"Going well" is an understatement. GFE earned second place at DreamHack: Summer, with Pierre "Turbopolsa" Silfver as a try-out, first place at the second RLCS Summer Series, then second place at the and DreamHack Atlanta back to back.

"At the start of X Games I said three teams would be good: FlipSide, NRG and EnVyUs." ViolentPanda tells us, "I thought EnVyUs would be better than NRG but we kind of let it go in the finals. We should have won but we weren't focused that much."

Forever Second Place

While it seems they've been cursed with second place finishes, you have to consider the amount of work the Europeans have put in while only having a full roster for barely one full month. Considering travel to Sweden in June for DreamHack: Summer, then a small tour in the United States to X Games in Minneapolis and Atlanta for another DreamHack championship, earning second place seems like a pretty good takeaway from the latest competition.

Language Barrier

As a European team, all three members are from differently nationalities. ViolentPanda is Dutch, Courant "Kaydop" Alexandre is French and Turbopolsa is Swedish. With three different players and three different languages, you would think the team would have difficulty with in-game communication. But ViolentPanda says they've dealt with the language barrier due to little in-game communication:

"Turbo and I are pretty good at English, but Kaydop is a bit iffy sometimes. Most of the time you can understand him, but in game it doesn't really matter because you just shout out small things."

Photo: Gale Force Esports

Developer Dedication

"Rocket League is growing enormously and we didn't expect it to get so big"

Rocket League is unique in the eSports spectrum, so Psyonix doesn't really have much to go off of when organizing Rocket League eSports. That obviously hasn't set them back with the outstanding organization for the Rocket League Championship Series, along with countless amounts of third party tournaments announced fairly regularly. Moving into Season 4, Psyonix announced a minor league series would be competing week after week along with the RLCS.

ViolentPanda does't think the new format will effect the team going into the new season:

"Rocket League is growing enormously and we didn't expect it to get so big. I don't think the different format will effect us that much because they will still have the top eight in the RLCS. In the passed the teams split up a lot because the level of play kept growing. Players that were good four months ago might not be so good now.

We're going to practice a lot and we expect to get top eight for season four. We don't focus on other teams that much, we just prepare for ourselves. Of course we want the finals but I think there will be many more tournaments to focus on other than RLCS."

Photo: Gale Force Esports


Needless to say the future is looking extremely bright for the European Rocket League team. After they recently took the top spot in Nvidia's Best Buddy Tournament, the teams' focus is now set on Season 4 of RLCS, the Universal Open, and the many other tournaments to come throughout the year. It's safe to say if they stay on this track, Gale Force will quickly become a world contender in Rocket League eSports.

You Ready for Sonic Forces to Bring Back the Edge?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/o/n/sonic-forces-edge-319bb.jpg edpra/you-ready-for-sonic-forces-to-bring-back-the-edge Thu, 03 Aug 2017 11:59:58 -0400 Adreon Patterson

With the previews of Sonic Forces coming out at lightning speed, it seems the game will be going the edgy route this time around.

This isn't Sonic Team's first foray on the dark side. Past releases like Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic 2006 have played with making Sonic's world bad and dangerous, complete with edgy rock music and dark elements. But the true bearer of this torch is 2005's Shadow the Hedgehog. Sonic Team used the game to explore dark and mature themes -- adding weapons, an action plot, and a strange dichotomy between hero and villain.  

While the reception for these games ranged from mixed to negative, players seemed to get a sadistic joy from turning Sonic's vibrant, fun world into a chaotic mess. But will this work out for Sonic Forces

It seems like Sonic needs this change after the combo debacle of Sonic Lost World and the Sonic Boom series. Those titles almost made the fanbase want to jump Sonic literally and figuratively. Going back to bright, irreverent Sonic seemed to be the right answer with the 25th anniversary of everyone's favorite hedgehog. But Sonic Team decided to go a different route with the 3D Forces. This release wants to capture the momentum gained from Sonic Colors and Generations while allowing Sonic to be in true peril for the first time ever. That's where new villain Infinite comes into play.

An Infinite Introduction

That intro would send any average being cowering in a corner. Infinite is the baddie Metal Sonic and Shadow wish they could be. The fact that he is impenetrable to the mighty Sonic's tactics and tricks makes him one bad dude. He's condescending. Egotistical. Dangerous. Evil. Everything players need in a good, challenging villain that our favorite blue hero has been needing since the introduction of Shadow.

Infinite will be a definite challenge for Sonic and his friends, as it will take the team of classic and modern Sonic to try and bring him down. The mind races with the dark, twisted "edge" Infinite brings to Forces.

Music Sets the Mood

While the intro was menacing, it's Infinite's theme that will leave players quivering with fear.  This electro-rap rock head banger from members of the band Dangerkids is a theme worthy for a menace like Infinite. The trade between angsty vocals and aggressive rap lyrics creates an uneasy tension and impending doom needed to introduce a new edge to the Sonic universe.

The theme characterizes "the edge" that Sonic Team is looking for in this latest entry for the Sonic franchise. The thought of Infinite entering every scene sends a tingle in one's spine.


All this edge might be too much for any player to handle, but Sonic fans are a different breed. They can definitely handle Infinite and his dark presence permeating Forces from beginning to end. Bring it on 4th quarter!

After reading this, stay at GameSkinny and look around for more news and information on Sonic Forces.

Interview with Lyrical: Caster for Dota 2's The International 7,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/y/r/lyrical-small-4ff81.jpg w3b35/interview-with-lyrical-caster-for-dota-2s-the-international-7 Thu, 03 Aug 2017 10:36:19 -0400 palpatine112

The Dota 2 International 2017 finals are almost upon us. The Seattle stage is set, the teams are beginning to arrive, and the fight for the $22 million prize pool is on.

Viewers from around the world will be tuning into live streams of the tournament, so it is imperative that the live streams replicate the excitement and intensity of attending the live event. Therefore, passionate and interesting commentators and streamers are a must for broadcasting the show.

Enter Gabriel ‘Lyrical’ Cruz. Gabriel is an English language Dota 2 caster from the United States, and this will be his first time ever working at a TI event. To say he is excited is an understatement.

Iain Fenton, Journalist for CompareLotto got the chance to chat with Lyrical in a pre-TI interview, and discuss how excited he is to be working on one of the biggest tournaments in eSports history, who he thinks will take home the grand prize, and even whether or not eSports can sustain its current level of popularity.

Iain Fenton: Firstly, how excited are you about TI7?

Lyrical: "I'm incredibly excited for TI7! It still doesn't seem real to me that I was invited and I have a feeling it won't until I am actually at the event and working it. But even if I wasn't invited TI is an incredibly special time of the year. I wrote a blog about this last year when I attended as a guest but for that week of the main event Key Arena and the surrounding area becomes like a Dota 2 amusement park. It's gives you a feeling of community like a big ol' bubble was placed over the area and everyone inside of it shares your interests. Not a very common thing for a gamer, but it's a huge part of what makes TI special."

IF: So the prize money this year is the largest for any sports tournament ever. How have Dota 2 and its eSports scene evolved from last year?

L: It's tough to say for me with regards to eSports as a whole. I don't keep as close of an eye on them except for the headlines. As far as Dota 2 is concerned there have been pretty monumental changes. In the casual gamer's experience we have had patch 7.00 come out, which fundamentally changed so many parts of the game. Dropping down to two majors and now the news that there will be a minor’s system implemented has altered and will continue to alter team’s choice of tournaments to attend.

The decrease in the number of majors has also opened the door for more third party tournaments to enter the scene. Overall the message from Valve seems to be the same that it was 2 years ago when we got Dota 2 Reborn, they want the game and the scene to thrive and they want that to happen via community feedback and iteration.

IF: Do you think Dota 2 has now caught up to League of Legends in terms of popularity?

L: "I don't know, I think comparing Dota and League is really tough because there are just so many different factors to consider. Popularity is sort of a tough word to compare the two as well.

I'll admit I'm not the most well versed in LoL's player base, but I know that Dota 2 has some of the most fickle players. I remember a few different articles that were released comparing popular games' fan bases and their other gaming habits, and Dota had one of the few groups of fans who basically didn't play any other games.

Also comparing the fan contribution to each game's respective prize pool... Worlds last year received 3 million if I am not mistaken, whereas Dota received around 19 million. There are other factors that might play into this, but I would guess Dota has more die-hard fans, whereas LoL has the higher player base on aggregate."

IF: What audience numbers do you expect at the event? And how many do you think will be watching online?

L: "I'm never really sure with this. I think it depends a lot on the teams that get through. The venue will be sold out; it always is, but there will be a lot of people watching on the jumbotrons outside as well so probably we will get to around 20-22 thousand live, maybe more.

Online viewership -- no idea."

IF: What will be your main role in the event?

L: "I'll be doing play-by-play casting."

IF: How do you get yourself ready to commentate/stream? Is it very natural for you or do you take the time out to do a lot of preparation beforehand?

L: "Streaming on my own channel is much more casual, so my only prep is getting giant vessels of coffee and water. Prepping for an event or a cast is an entirely different manner. I usually do practice casts of previous events either on my channel or off air with a local recording, then I'll listen back and take notes on things I want to change.

For team prep I've got a few different notebooks with a page or two per player and coach that lists recent heroes, former teams, former teammates, recent pub heroes played, and usually one or two notes that I find interesting in my research.

Besides that, just playing Dota whenever I get a chance. Since the game is so complex and there are an almost limitless variety of ways to play different heroes, you just need to feel out what’s good by playing it.

IF: How competitive do you think it is going to be this year? Is there a standout team already?

L: "This year is going to be incredibly competitive. All of the top teams now are getting to the stage where the differences in mechanical skill are negligible. It has felt for a while now that what determines success is team chemistry and decision-making in-game.

With that said, if you have absurd talent AND chemistry you will probably take the win and that's why I'm picking VP. If you look at what they did at The Summit picking a different hero EVERY game until the finals that’s got to give you some insane confidence. Plus, they are hungry for it. I think the other team that I expect to see in the finals with them is EG and they are a really similar story of talent and chemistry."

IF: The prize for first place is obviously phenomenal. Did you ever think eSports would become this big? Can it sustain this level?

L: "I never thought eSports would become this big mostly because I didn't imagine the connective power of the internet. I think most gamers to some extent feel like, or at least when I was growing up felt like, they were on the outside looking in. To see that in fact that's not the case and instead we have built a community that supports each other is amazing and I don't think it's going anywhere.

Whether it is Dota or some other game, I think it's here to stay.

IF: What kind of mentality does a champion Dota 2 player need? How important is it that the team get on with each other 100%? Do you think problems can arise if a team is made up of different nationalities?

L: "I think there have been a lot of different models for successful teams. Some run well with absolute compliance and a captain with an iron fist. Others take a holistic approach where everyone speaks their minds. Really it depends on the players to buy into whatever system is in place.

To me the most important quality a Dota 2 champion needs is the ability to build consensus and move on from whatever happened before be in the now and play your best. I don't think nationality has anything to do with team success at all. OG has a French coach and players from Denmark, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Israel -- and they have been the most successful Dota 2 team of the last year."

IF: Who are you backing to win? And who would you say is the dark horses to take the title? What kind of glory awaits the winning team?

L: "Like I said before, I'm taking VP as the winners. I don't have a dark horse to take the title. I think one of the OG, VP, EG, Liquid, Newbee will for sure win it, and none of those teams can really be classified as a dark horse. I will take LFY to go further than most of the public would expect -- I think that team is quite good.

As far as glory, it's TI and the Aegis -- there isn't a bigger trophy in eSports."

I'd like to thank Lyrical for taking the time to chat with me. To get a deeper look at his casting and Dota 2 play, check out his Twitch channel or follow him on Twitter @LyricalDota.

Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more news about the Dota 2 TI7 as it gets underway!

Will Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 Ever Be Localized?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/r/a/dragon-quest-monsters-joker-4199618-36e4d.jpg 1ilr6/will-dragon-quest-monsters-joker-3-ever-be-localized Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:25:42 -0400 Erroll Maas

Dragon Quest XI : Echoes of an Elusive Age was just recently confirmed for a Western release in 2018. All of the past main entries in the Dragon Quest series -- other than the MMORPG Dragon Quest X -- have been released in the West at some point, with certain spin-offs arriving in Western regions as well. One of the more notable spin offs, which was able to start a series of its own, is Dragon Quest Monsters

The goal in Dragon Quest Monsters is to recruit,  battle, and breed monsters, rather than just kill them -- expanding a concept which was originally seen in Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride.  The series started on the Game Boy Color and has since made its way to several other Nintendo handheld platforms, as well as the Sony PlayStation -- with the most recent being Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 for the Nintendo 3DS.

Despite positive reception, only some of the games in this series have been released in the West. But with localization of Japanese games on the rise, as well as the increase in popularity for the main Dragon Quest series and other recent spin-offs, will Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 be localized? Will this series ever come back to the west? Let's study the series' history and find out.

The Journey Begins on the Game Boy Color

The first game in the series, Dragon Quest Monsters (known as Dragon Warrior Monsters in North America) was released for the Game Boy Color in Japan in 1998, then came to Europe and America in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

Despite being called a "Pokémon clone" by some critics at the time of its release in the West, Dragon Quest Monsters has quite a few key differences. A notable feature which  makes Dragon Quest Monsters different from Pokémon, was that it has a strong focus on breeding monsters. 

Dragon Warrior Monsters released at a time when the Pokémon phemonenon was still at its peak, and right between the western release of Pokémon Yellow and Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, and even had reviewers suggesting it to fans anticipating the next batch of Pokémon titles. The game's relative success despite its strong competition helped pave the way for a sequel soon after.

Split Sequels

A two-version sequel, Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Coby's Journey and Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Tara's Adventure was released for Game Boy Color in March 2001 for Japan, then September 2001 for North America. Similar to Pokémon, each version contained slight differences -- such as which monsters appeared in each game. The well-timed release of the first game, as well as generally positive reception it received, makes it no surprise these sequels were also able to make their way Westward.

A PlayStation remake of Dragon Warrior Monsters and Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 that featured enhanced graphics was also released for Japan in 2002, but that version never made it to the West. Though other monster-focused games were seeing some decent success at the time, this remake may not have gotten a port because the developer decided it would be better to keep the series on handheld devices. 

Thus, Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 would be the last entry in the series the West saw for seven years -- though only one new entry in the series was released anywhere during that time.

The Game Boy Advance Title Stays in Japan

Dragon Quest Monsters had a single game on the Game Boy Advance called Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart, which released for Japan in March 2003. Although this game was never released outside of Japan, an unofficial English fan translation does exist.

Dragon Quest Monsters Caravan Heart is one of only two Dragon Quest games to ever be released on the Game Boy Advance. During this time, the majority of Dragon Quest games were being made for PlayStation consoles instead.

Caravan Heart may have not been localized because no other Dragon Quest games had been released outside of Japan since Dragon Warrior Monsters 2, and no main series game had been localized since Dragon Quest IV in October of 1992.

But despite the long gap in Western releases, the series made a comeback in the West with Nintendo's next hit console. 

The Series Returns to the West

The main Dragon Quest series returned to the West once the Nintendo DS remake of Dragon Quest IV was localized in 2008. Since the popularity of the Nintendo DS was rising worldwide, more Dragon Quest games started coming to the West again as well -- including Dragon Quest V, VI, and IX, as well as the spin off title Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime.

The Dragon Quest Monsters series arrived on the Nintendo DS with Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, which released for North America in November 2007, and Europe in March 2008. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker was the first game in the spin-off series to have a Western release since the Game Boy Color games, as well as the first in the west to not have its name changed. It was also the first in the series to have online play.

With improved graphics and more unique gameplay overall, Dragon Quest Monsters Joker received relatively positive reception, with many reviewers claiming it was more than just a Pokemon clone. This positive reception in the west helped lead to the localization of the sequel, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 in 2011.

Joker 2 saw some slight improvements from its predecessor -- and as usual received positive reception. But it didn't sell well in the West for a variety of reasons. With games like Pokémon Black and White and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation releasing earlier that year, it's possible that Nintendo DS owners had already had their fill of monster taming. So Joker 2 was the last game in the series to see a Western release.

Nintendo 3DS Games Start Staying in Japan

Though the release of the original DS revitalized the localization of Dragon Quest, the release of the 3DS didn't do the same. Out of the three Dragon Quest Monsters games for the Nintendo 3DS that have been released, none have made it outside of Japan. Whether this is due to a decrease in popularity and sales in the West or something else entirely is unknown.

The first 3DS title, Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D, released as an enhanced version of the first game in the series -- including improved 3D graphics, commanding four monsters at once, a day/night cycle, and randomized dungeon layouts. The second 3DS title, Dragon Quest Monsters 2: Iru and Luca's Marvelous Key, was also a remake that combined the two versions of DQ Monsters 2 into one game while keeping the enhancements fom Terry's Wonderland 3D.

Despite their obvious merit, neither of these remakes have been localized, and it's currently unknown whether there are any plans to release them outside of Japan.

The most recent game in the series, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3, released for Japan in March 2016. Joker 3 introduced mountable monsters to the series, with different monsters having different purposes and skills. Joker 3 also features over 500 monsters and the ability to customize each monster's colors after certain conditions are met.

If Joker and Joker 2 released in the West, and Dragon Quest has enough popularity to have various spin offs localized, then how come we haven't heard anything about the release of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 outside of Japan? There may be a few reasons for that.

What Might Affect Joker 3's Localization?

Joker 3 is the mostly likely candidate for a Western release, due the fact that it's the most recent entry in the series and that the Joker titles are more familiar to Western fans. But a release of Joker 3 outside of Japan may depend on a few different factors.

The Success of the Main Series in the West

Dragon Quest has seen relative success in the West over the years, with the most recent titles being the Nintendo 3DS remakes of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past, and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.

Originally, the remake of Dragon Quest VII was to stay exclusive to Japan, due to the time and money which would be needed to localize the game's expansive content. It wasn't until after fans outside of Japan, as well as Nintendo and Square Enix executives, sent numerous letters that it was decided the remake would be released worldwide.

Not too long after the 3DS version of Dragon Quest VII reached Western regions, a 3DS port of Dragon Quest VIII had already been announced for worldwide release as well. This is largely due in part to the positive fan reception of Dragon Quest VII, but also due to the popularity of Dragon Quest VIII in the West.

So how does the release of Dragon Quest VII and Dragon QuesVIII  on 3DS in the West affect the western release of Dragon Quest Monsters? It's a somewhat reliable way to measure the popularity of the franchise outside of Japan. Square Enix is less likely to localize spin-off games if the main series doesn't have much popularity or sell well outside of its country of origin. So although Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 may not have the same amount of fan response as Dragon Quest VII, that doesn't necessarily mean it won't ever be localized like other spin-offs.

The Success of Other Dragon Quest Spin Offs in the West

Due to the continuing success of the main series in the West and the increase of Japanese games being localized, other Dragon Quest spin-offs have been released worldwide to decent results in the past few years.

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below, for example, may not have had the most stellar sales numbers worldwide -- but it still successfully combines two of Japan's most popular video game franchises, and even led to the sequel, Dragon Quest Heroes II. Both games received positive reception, despite some reviewers claiming the gameplay was too repetitive and was only fun for a short while.

The same is true for Dragon Quest Builders, which introduced the series to sandbox-style gameplay similar to Minecraft. And like many other spin-off games that were localized, this title also received positive reception for being a unique experience.

Given the success of games like Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Builders, maybe Square Enix might be more open to the idea of releasing Joker 3 in the West despite its spin-off status -- although one other factor could be holding back the game's Western release.

Localization for Recent 3DS Games in the Same Genre Took a While

The Western release of Joker 3 may also depend on Nintendo, since ultimately that company itself decides whether or not it wants to distribute a game outside of Japan -- and sometimes even then the localization process can take a while. And the amount of time that passes can seriously impact sales.

The first game in Level-5's popular Yo-Kai Watch series, for example, originally released for Japan in 2013, but did not start to reach Western territories until 2015-2016. By that time, the game had a two-version sequel, an updated version of that sequel, and a third game on the way.

Even so, Yo-kai Watch still saw some success with its key demographic in North America and Europe -- though not as much as it did in Japan. Despite the drop in popularity in Western territories, the Yo-Kai Watch sequels are still being released outside of Japan.

Monster Hunter Stories is a similar case as well. This RPG spinoff of the Monster Hunter action series originally released for Japan in October 2016, but won't be localized for the West until this Fall. Although the rising popularity of the series in the West makes it strange that Nintendo and Capcom didn't localize it sooner, its lower-than-expected sales in Japan might have been a factor.

How can we apply the localizations of these two games to the possible Western release of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3? Their success -- though nowhere near the phenomenon-level hype of Pokémon's recent titles -- helps show that Nintendo owners are open to the idea of monster-raising RPGs outside the Pokémon franchise. If Nintendo and Square Enix can realize this, then Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 might get see a western release before it's too late. If not, we may not see the series return for some time.

Dragon Quest Monsters on Nintendo Switch?

Although it has been said that the Nintendo 3DS will still be supported through 2018, it's possible that the West may not see Dragon Quest Monsters again until the series has an installment on the Nintendo Switch -- if there is one. Dragon Quest Heroes is already on the Nintendo Switch, and Dragon Quest XI will be coming to the system in the future. So there's no reason to doubt that other Dragon Quest titles will release on the system as well.

Even if Dragon Quest Monsters does get an entry on Nintendo Switch, though, there's no certainty it will be localized. But disappointed fans will still be able to import the game if they wish to.

Hopefully, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 arrives on Western shores before Nintendo 3DS systems go out of commission. For now, fans can only hope that the positive response to other games will help the western release of Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3  become a reality.

A Second Look at Blue Wizard Digital's Space Tyrant,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/p/a/space-tyrant-f04f0.jpg ee1h3/a-second-look-at-blue-wizard-digitals-space-tyrant Wed, 02 Aug 2017 07:00:01 -0400 Damien Smith

After being very impressed with a pre-release preview of Blue Wizard Digital's 5X strategy roguelike Space Tyrant last month, I was excited to see how the game differs now compared to then. Not an awful lot of content was introduced in the past month, but the high level of polish and balancing makes an impressive difference to the overall feel of the game.

A Gentle Start Before a Real Challenge

When I last looked at Space Tyrant, the Galactic Senate were far more aggressive right from the beginning of the game than they are now. Previously, after completing a mission they would advance on two of the space zones at once.

Now, for the first few missions, they will only advance on one of the zones allowing players to come to grips more easily with how this mechanic works. For example, in the image above, they only advanced on the Twisting Nebula while previously they would have advanced on either the Hive Worlds or the Burrowed Fields as well.

While a small detail, it’s a welcoming one for new players to the game. Because the game features permadeath, having more passive enemies at the beginning allows those who are not so used to such mechanics to settle in, stopping what could otherwise be a frustrating experience.

Tougher Battles, Aggressive A.I., and Beefier Space Monsters

While the pre-release build was a lot of fun, there was some balancing to be done, and Blue Wizard Digital did exactly that. First is the battles between other fleets. Originally, these battles were rather easy to the point where it was actually difficult to become under attack by the larger fleet.

Now, however, you will see larger fleets defending more valuable planets and the deeper into the map you go the more resistance you’ll find. You will now need to keep a tighter balance between your varying fleets. Having one super powerful fleet and several low-level ones can quickly lead to trouble. This adds a new level of depth to the overall tactics and strategy of the game.

To further increase the difficulty a bit, your opposition is now more aggressive than before. Previously, you could leave your homeworld open for attack and enemies wouldn't really target it. Now, the risk of having your homeworld attacked is much higher, as enemies will advance as soon as they are close. Lose your home world, and you lose the mission and possibly even the game.

The enemy is also a bit more aggressive with their research than in the previous build. As they research technologies they become stronger, making them harder to defeat over time. If they advance faster than you do, you’ll start to lose your tyranny control and fall behind in technology. Keeping on top of this is essential now.

Monsters such as the Space Shark and Space Slug were improved as well. They were fearsome but not that threatening once you get a decent sized fleet. Now, they are a lot beefier than before and require a much larger and well-equipped fleet to take down.

They generally guard more rewarding planets for you to invade but along with that they also hold back enemy fleets too, as they are aggressive to everyone. They can be just as useful as they can be a hindrance, and in the right hands, they can be a really good tool.

There has been an increase in the difficulty of the game but that isn't a bad thing. It was a bit too easy, even for an average at best strategy player like myself. For tactical masters, the previous build could feel somewhat insulting as it offered zero challenge to them.

A Complete and Polished Feeling

Along with the gameplay and difficulty balancing of the game, there has been a significant increase in the overall polish to the game, giving it a complete feel. A tonne of visual improvements was added, like special effects and a whole array of new sound effects.

While not game changers, the improvements really make the difference between the game feeling like it is in an alpha or beta stage of development than being much further. If the game had more than three playable races, you wouldn't even think it was an early access game.

I love how the developer focused on this, as with these finer little details out of the way now, it leaves a lot more room for new content in coming updates.

One of the Most Promising Early Access Titles on Steam

There are several titles on Steam Early Access that are lacking in quality, and others that simply just become abandoned or the developers postponed development. This is Blue Wizard Digitals second title and it’s showing as much promise as its previous game did.

It feels polished to a degree that makes it seem further in development than it is, and most of all it’s an extremely fun and enjoyable strategy game that anyone can get into and enjoy. If you’re weary of spending money on a game that’s still in development, I can assure you Space Tyrant is a near-complete title worth playing right now.

A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.

Waiting for the Metroid 2 Remake? Try AM2R.,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/v/e/evencooleram2r-2475d.png ggovd/waiting-for-the-metroid-2-remake-try-am2r Mon, 31 Jul 2017 07:00:01 -0400 Will Dowell

Metroid Samus Returns, a remake of Metroid 2: Return of Samus, is coming to the 3DS this September. Considered the black sheep of the Metroid series, the original Game Boy release aged poorly due to the technological limitations of the handheld. With a new remake on the way, fans are excited to explore the world of SR-388 once again.

For those who can't wait for some Metroid action, there is a fantastic fan game already available for you. AM2R, which stands for Another Metroid 2 Remake, recreates Metroid 2: Return Of Samus with Super Metroid style gameplay.

While the overall objective of AM2R is the same as the original -- kill all of the Metroids -- the difference in quality is astounding. Samus controls fluidly and has multi-directional shooting that makes combat satisfying and clean. Navigation has improved with a tighter jump and the ability to navigate tight ledges. Most importantly, AM2R has a detailed map, allowing the player to track exploration throughout Planet SR-388. All of this was lacking to some degree in the original release. 

In addition to better navigation, many small inconveniences have been ironed out in this remake. For example, save points now restore health and ammunition, removing the need to grind or backtrack to regain items. Additionally, weapons stack, allowing you to gather weapons without the fear you lost an important item.

These new abilities and advantages are put to the test with the increased danger of the Metroids. In the original release, the Metroids barely put up a fight and were boring, but now they're dangerous and challenging. AM2R forces players to think on their feet and master the controls. Admittedly, some fights may feel unfair due to the low amount of invincibility frames, but those frustrations are overshadowed by the engagement seen in these fights.

Metroids are not the only dangerous foes in this remake. Powerful new bosses have been scattered throughout the world, testing the player's mastery over Samus' abilities. To handle these fights, players must use all of their weapons and items, including future series staples such as Super Missiles and Power Bombs.

However, what turns this from a fun remake into a must-play is the overhauled world. While AM2R continues the linearity of Metroid 2, each individual area feels interconnected and satisfying to explore. While the original made backtracking a chore with indistinguishable environments, AM2R makes each part of its world distinct and recognizable. This exploration is further enhanced with all new areas that utilize Samus's new arsenal. These added environments allow returning players to become lost in a once familiar alien world.

While the original's pea green world was impressive for its time, AM2R blows it out of the water with visuals that rival Nintendo's best. Every screen conveys the alien atmosphere that made Metroid so interesting to explore. AM2R understands how to update a game's art style while still providing the core engagement.

And the best part is that it's all free. There are some glitches here and there, but fans have continued to patch the game. While Nintendo has taken down the original source, it is still possible to download the game off of other websites. Not only is AM2R a great fan game, but it rivals the games it sought to imitate. Metroid Samus Returns will have to work hard to compete against this fantastic remake.

Preview: Tower of Time -- A Classic RPG with a Twist,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/o/t/tot-header-426aa.jpg 6cmsp/preview-tower-of-time-a-classic-rpg-with-a-twist Sun, 30 Jul 2017 16:53:55 -0400 Damien Smith

While there has always been a handful of classic RPG titles coming from the indie scene, it was only after the success of Legend of Grimrock did we see a surge in old-school style RPGs of all forms. While most of these games on Steam are average at best, Tower of Time is one that that really stands above the rest -- and it's currently in Early Access. 

Developed by indie developer Event Horizon, Tower of Time is a CRPG that understands what it means to be a game of the genre. It has a gripping plot full of lore and interesting, likable characters. While gameplay balance was rocky at first, the problem has since been fixed with a patch. Tower of Time is truly turning into a most promising title.

The World's Last Hope

In Tower of Time, the world is slowly crumbling. Each year, the races struggle to survive. Crops fail, devastating weather conditions kill thousands, and disasters can happen at any point because of ground instability. The only hope of returning the world back to what it once was is you.

You follow the adventures of a group of champions and their lord as they explore a mysterious tower. The lord came across this tower at a young age. After approaching the crystal throne inside, he heard a voice and ran away. Now, he returns to the tower with his two loyal champions, Kane and Maeve. Hoping to find whatever it is that lays below to save the planet, you guide the champions through the tower, riddled with dangers and alien technology.

The entire game is based around this tower. While that may sound somewhat boring in comparison to large open worlds, it is anything but that. The world, the tower, and the tower's history all have great depth to them. The story is very well-paced and written, keeping you gripped throughout.

My only issue with the writing is the dialogue. I find Kane's, Maeve's, and Aleric's personalities are too similar. It is hard to distinguish who is talking without looking at the dialogue portrait. It feels like one person speaking the dialogue, as opposed to several unique individuals. 

I would have thought that Kane, a battle hardened warrior, would have a more passive aggressive nature to him. Instead, he has the same level-headedness as Maeve and Aleric, who had very different training, and different lives. 

While the characters' dialogue isn't a plot breaker, it is quite obvious as you begin to progress and see more and more dialogue. Fortunately, the rest of the writing in Tower of Time is as excellent as is the plot and the lore.

Classic RPG Gameplay

Tower of Time consists of two separate elements. The first is exploration: you venture the depths of the tower, uncover its mysteries, and find secrets and treasures. The second element is combat: you must survive against waves of enemies or bosses to either progress throughout the game or gain objects of power.

While exploring, you will progress through each of tower's floors. There are currently four. During this time, you will also need to interact with all kinds of characters such as deities, a strange voice, and the mysterious figure known as Tower. 

In addition, you will find many notes scattered throughout the floors that give you a look into the tower's history and what happened to its original occupants. Each floor also has side quests to complete and secrets to be found. Each gives the player additional and often extremely helpful rewards.

The exploration in Tower of Time gives it that classic feeling you would find in games like Baldur's Gate or the original Fallout games. Every nook and cranny of each floor has something new and interesting to show and tell. You will never be let down.

The combat has quite a twist. When a battle starts, a battle map will load. The map is random, with each one having different layouts and requiring various battle strategies in order to win.

Before the battle begins, you will place your champions where you want them. Combat happens in real time. The player orders the champion's moves -- telling them where to go, what to attack, and what skills to use.

Enemies come in waves. If you don't kill a wave quick enough, another will spawn. Quickly eliminating monsters is essential, otherwise, you'll become overwhelmed. Players can use the environment to their advantage, such as using walls or pillars as cover from ranged enemy attack.

Every champion has their own function in battle. Kane is a Shieldguard who acts as a tank. Maeve is the ranged DPS champion, Aleric is a support character and healer, and Rakhem is the melee DPS character.

Further adding to the depth of combat, the effectiveness of weapon types are all different. For example, swords have higher DPS but are less effective against armored enemies. Axes are slower but have better armor penetration. In addition, characters can wield two-handed weapons, dual-wield one-handed weapons or use a one-handed weapon and shield. Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Mix all these aspects of combat with each champion's unique skill sets, and you have one hell of a complex combat system. But despite its complexity, it is very easy to come to grips with. If you find yourself in a tight spot, you can slow time down to give you a breather and plan what to do next. It can really make the difference between victory and defeat.

As you progress through the game, you'll find portals that allow you to move among others you've discovered on the floor. If you need to backtrack, you can move through massive portions of a floor in an instant. This feature is extremely useful and an example of excellent and modern design.

There is no doubt that Event Horizon understands what makes a game a CRPG. They have added their own twist to the genre with Tower of Time's combat system, and it works really well. The combat is fun to play and extremely tactical. You will never get tired of adjusting your party depending on the situation and enemies at hand. Sure, there are still a few imbalances here and there despite the patch release -- but overall, the combat is extremely playable.

Item crafting and in-depth character development

Unlike most RPGs, the characters do not gain experience. After all, they are champions: the best that the world has to offer. Instead, you'll find ancient scrolls containing powerful and long-lost combat techniques.

These scrolls allow you to upgrade your town that sits above the tower. Different scrolls upgrade specific buildings, with each one catering to specific champions. 

Once a building is upgraded, you will be able to further train the champions catered to that building. You can go to the town at any time while exploring. Upon returning to the tower, you end up exactly where you left off.

Leveling up your characters grants them attribute points and skills points that you can use how you see fit. At first, your champions will only have three skills available. More will unlock as they level up. Each skill also has two additional upgrades, but only one can be applied at any one time, so you must choose which of the two would be best suited to your play style.

If you want to change your upgrades, you can reset your skills at no cost. This is extremely useful if you don't like how you applied your skill points. You can also change your tactics and skill sets to prepare for each battle. 

Tower of Time's leveling system is a real twist on the standard RPG character development, and it works tremendously well. You are never overpowered at any point, and you rely on tactics over grinding and sheer brawn. 

While the crafting system is simple, it can change the course of a battle. Crafting becomes somewhat necessary as you progress since enemies are getting stronger all the time. 

As you progress through the game, you'll find crystals in three colors: green, blue, and purple. These represent rarity: magic, rare, and epic. You need three crystals to alter the rarity of an item. 

Purple crystals have a dual purpose, and can also be used to enchant epic gear once you have enchantment scrolls. You can also dismantle any unwanted equipment in your inventory to gain extra crystals of equal rarity. 

My only criticism is that there's no way to combine unwanted crystals of lesser rarity. I would like the option to merge lesser crystals to make a higher one. For example, merging three magic crystals (green) to make a rare (blue) one. You tend to get an abundance of green crystals and eventually they become useless.

Tower of Time's simple crafting system is very effective and really makes a difference in the game. Overall, the character development and crafting system work very well with a whole lot of depth. 

A title that could redefine the CRPG genre

Tower of Time is a game that shows utmost promise. Aside from character dialogue, the writing is very well done and paced. The gameplay is excellent, with difficulty settings to cater for everyone. The character development is in-depth, and the crafting system is simple yet effective.

In addition, the soundtrack is absolutely amazing and the graphics are beautiful, especially for an indie CRPG. Sure, there is still some optimization to be done here and there with occasional frame rate drops and fairly long loading times -- but that is to be expected of an early access game.

A lot of Indie CRPGs don't understand what makes a game a CRPG. They don't attempt to change anything and keep what has worked in the past. Event Horizon, on the other hand, knows what makes a great CRPG. They are also attempting to try something new and evolve the CRPG genre. We could very well be looking at a title that could redefine its genre.

A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.

An Interview With Rob Daviau: Discussing The Legacy System, Board Games, And More,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/b/rob-a2d85.jpg minrn/an-interview-with-rob-daviau-discussing-the-legacy-system-board-games-and-more Thu, 27 Jul 2017 16:55:55 -0400 glados131

Rob Daviau is a tabletop game designer responsible for some fairly well-known board games. You might be familiar with his haunted-house twist on cooperative games, Betrayal at House on the Hill, or his contributions to the miniature-based war game Heroscape. But far and away, his most well-known achievement is the Legacy system.

So far consisting of Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy: Season 1and SeaFallthe system boils down to a basic principle -- after a game is completed, it doesn't fully reset. Instead, elements of previous games carry over to future sessions in the form of stickers you place on the board, secret compartments within the box that contain new mechanics that open when certain criteria is met, and even ripping up cards. It can be difficult to have a continuous campaign, as it more or less requires a consistent gaming group, but if you're able to pull it off, it can make for some really unique fun.

Daviau currently has numerous new games in the works, including a sequel to Pandemic Legacy, and he was able to find time in his schedule to let us ask him a few questions.

GameSkinny: Do you remember how you first had the idea for Legacy?

Rob Daviau: (laughs) Yeah, I get asked this a lot. The short version is that it was just a brainstorm at Hasbro about Clue, and it was a combination of a joke that I made, about how they shouldn't keep inviting these people over to dinner because they keep murdering people -- along with sometime in the same hour -- and I don't remember exactly when we were brainstorming and I was looking at assumptions that games have, and how to turn them on their head. And I said, "What if the game didn't fully start over each time? What if it had some sort of memory of what happened before?" And in some sort of combination between that joke and that comment, we came up with the idea.

GS: So objectively, your most popular game is Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. It's been sitting at #1 on BoardGameGeek for what feels like ages at this point.

RD: Yeah, a year and a half. Which is a short run to be at #1 there. So we'll see how long it lasts.

GS: I believe Season 2 has been coming along in the background, and so, without giving away spoilers for those who haven't had a chance to play through the first one, what has it been like to work on what's essentially a sequel to a board game? And will there be options to have experiences with the first game carry over to the new one?

RD: So I finished Season 2 about a year ago. So it has been translated into different languages during that time, proper art [has been] done, production, manufacturing... Because of the success of Season 1, it had a big production run here, which is great, but it's just took a long time to get all the games because I wanted them to come out at the same time, because Legacy games can be, or have spoilers... They didn't want to do some here, some there, you know, trickle in.

I started the sequel before the first one came out. The game was going to come out in October of 2015, and we started Season 2 at the beginning, or April, of 2015. So there's this weird cycle of starting before the other one comes out.

So the good news is we had no idea how successful it was going to be, so we weren't sort of constrained or crippled or otherwise affected by its success when we started Season 2. And in many ways it was great because we had tried to figure out in Season 1, how a Legacy game would work as a cooperative game, and how it would work specifically in Pandemic, and we had already done a lot of that work and didn't have to reinvent the wheel there. What we did have to do is say, okay, we did all these cool things in Season 1; how do we not just do the same thing again in Season 2? So it was like pushing ourselves to come up with whole new ideas.

In answer to the second part of your question, there is no mechanical connection between Season 1 and Season 2. Season 2 takes place 71 years into the future. Because of the different end states of Season 1, and we didn't know at the time how many people would finish on a high note or a low note, there's a lot of variables about how a player's world can look at the end of Season 1. And so we made the decision to just move it -- sort of reunite the timelines, I guess. By moving it 71 years into the future you can say, okay, these people did these things, but -- and I'm not gonna spoil it -- then something else happened, and then you all sort of ended up in the same place.

And I know that's a disappointment to some people who wanted it to fully connect, but we were trying to figure out -- the variable end states would have left dozens, if not hundreds, of places we would have to pick up from and all have it work, and that was a bit of a difficult matrix.

GS: Yeah, makes sense. Is there any idea of a tentative release window, or is it still too early to tell?

RD: It's going to be in the fall. The reason -- and I keep meaning to email and ask if they have a specific date yet, at least behind the scenes -- because the game has all sorts of complexity with scratch-off materials and stickers and scoring and collation and pack-out, and because of the high print volume, they really didn't know how long it was going to take to do it. And so if they said, okay, it's going to be, make up a term, August 31, and then there's 10 days of delays in production because some glue isn't drying because of the humidity in China, that presents a huge problem. So I think they're waiting for the games to be done and on a ship and maybe even cleared customs in all countries before they turn around and say, okay -- so it's gonna be a pretty short window. I think they're gonna say, like, one month from now or three weeks from now, when that comes. I would expect it to be -- they've said fall, so my mind's September, October timeframe.

GS: The Legacy system has been pretty successful, to the extent that other designers have also tried their hands at making Legacy games with that system. Do you have any thoughts on that?

RD: Well, it's flattering. There have been a number of games that have [been] very close cousins to what I'm doing, which is the nature of things. Like, "I like it but I want to do it my way." So you have a game like [Fabled] Fruit, which is a card game that picks up where you left off, but there's nothing permanent. You could always start over. You have games like Gloomhavenwhich has been wildly successful, which has Legacy campaign elements, but in a very different way than what I'm doing. It's much lighter, the Legacy elements. There is a Netrunner campaign game, I think, that has some stickers and rule changes, but I don't play Netrunner, so I haven't played that game. If there's others I'm missing, I would like to know because I'd like to sit down and play -- I mean there's the Escape Room games that have all come out this year that I know are inspired by escape rooms, but also are sort of one-time consumable puzzle games, so maybe were inspired by Legacy as well, hard to say. But I haven't played one that's sort of really close to the types of things I've been designing. But I'm hoping to.

GS: Well, my next question was going to be if there were any favorites that weren't made by you, but you kind of answered that I guess.

RD: Well, I'm looking for one where people come out and say, 'This is something Legacy', like 80% of what I did. I feel like the other ones are more like 40%, so they're cool. T.I.M.E Stories kind of did the same thing but it's a little different. It's fun to sort of have these one-off experiences in games, where the designers can make them-- they can control the experience more, because they don't have to deal with infinite replayability.

GS: Looking back at your three big Legacy titles -- Risk, Pandemic, and SeaFall last year -- what are some ideas that you hit on that you think have worked especially well? And is there anything you wish you'd done differently?

RD: There's a couple things in all of those games that I would do differently, to various degrees. Well, maybe not Risk, interestingly enough, just because it was the first one and so it was just a crazy mishmash of ideas. There's some little things, I feel like there's a couple rules that weren't that great, I would change what I call the triggers to two of the envelopes to open in a different order. Like, I really want this to open before this one most of the time.

Pandemic, Matt [Leacock] and I messed up both conceptually and executionally something -- when you're about 2/3 of the way through the game, if you're sort of falling behind and we want to get you back on track, we have a little way to do [that] ,so that's sort of clumsy in concept and clumsy in execution, that justifiably we get some criticism for. Also we did some weird numbering mistakes. Like we have the big packages that you open, and there's eight of them numbered one to eight. And then the dossier doors also start over at one to eight, so you don't necessarily know which number to open. In Season 2, the packages are one to eight, and then the dossier starts with 10. There's no duplication of numbers.

SeaFall I really like, but the feedback has been that it needed another round of development. I think it had taken so long that the publisher and myself were -- I was done. I couldn't figure out any way to do anything new with it and I thought it was perfect. The publisher knew I wanted it out the door and they just kind of put it out the door, and I think looking back now, I can certainly say, 'Oh, I wish that one of us had said hold on, give us six months to play it and chop it and make some edits on it.' So that one was so big and so sprawling and I was trying to grow a business at the same time that it both consumed my time and didn't have enough time, ironically. So, you know, there's always things in games I've worked on that once they're out and you get feedback or you just get some time on it, you say, oh, okay, I could have done that differently. I think that's just the nature of it.

GS: And things that you think worked especially well?

RD: Well, the whole concept of permanently making change and having a campaign, the very conceit itself seems to have struck a chord. Which was a complete shock to me when Risk came out. Like, I thought there would be a few really crazy role playing gamers or something who would get into it.

I think the story we ended up putting in Pandemic Legacy resonated with people, which is interesting because it takes place over the course of something like 18 cards. There's very little that we tell you about the story, and it's just interesting how people put together the story. There's a hidden packet in Risk Legacy that I still continue to enjoy, and that was so whimsical that I don't know when or if I'll ever do that again. There's something that people who get like 2/3 of the way through SeaFall and open a packet -- there's a little trick in there that I also particularly like that I'm being coy about, that I think is great and fits narratively and people have really had sort of a jaw-dropping moment for it.

So yeah, it's weird. Some of the things that I think of for Legacy games are not necessarily just game design ideas but experience ideas, almost like magic tricks. What if we hid something? What if we hid something in plain sight? These sorts of things. I'm happy to be able to think that way when thinking about a game.

GS: What do you see as the future of the Legacy system? Do you see a sort of future or a way you want to evolve it?

RD: I don't know. I mean, they take a lot of time. And I'm working on a number right now, but in my head, I'm not gonna take on too many more right now, because I would love to work on some things that are a little smaller and a little easier. And I suspect like any trend in gaming, books, music, food, that people will be like, 'Okay, I've had enough of that, now I want this over here'. And so I don't think it'll go away. I think it'll have its little curve and go down, like deckbuilders or something. I don't think it's gonna be the type of thing that's all I'm making, where I'm making three a year for the next 10 years. I'd be surprised if that happened. If that happens, great, but that would be surprising.

GS: Before we wrap up, next month, you're dipping into Lovecraft a bit with the release of Mountains of Madness. From the premise, it almost sounds like a sort of Betrayal at House on the Hill setup, where it starts out fully cooperative, but your teammates slowly get crazier and crazier as you progress. Can you speak to any similarities or differences between the two?

RD: Well, there are more differences than similarities, and that's one of the interesting things about this. No one becomes a traitor in this game, and there's no hidden traitor. The game is entirely cooperative, but the players, all of them in various ways, become more and more inefficient at being cooperative due to their madnesses that they get. At its heart, it's a communication game. I used to call it a party game but that's not quite an accurate term.

Really, the heart of the game is all players have 30 seconds on a sand timer to communicate what they're going to do as a group, what cards they're going to play to deal with things, which is interesting. Some people just mess that up right out of the gate. Like, very simply, there's a sand timer and they just panic. Because when the timer goes off you can't talk about or clarify any plans, you just have to play the card or cards or don't play the cards you think everyone agreed to. And then what happens is as you both succeed and fail, because it's a Lovecraft thing, you get more and more restrictions on what you can communicate. So you might have a madness that you can only communicate with the player on your right. You do not talk to anyone else, you do not listen to anyone else, you do not hear anyone else. You start putting four people around a table, each with these various conflicting madnesses, and it becomes a real challenge to communicate effectively.

GS: So you're challenging another board game preconception -- that players will always be able to talk at will with each other.

RD: Yeah, a little bit, but this is the reason I called it a party game. Most party games do something about communication restriction. Pictionary, you can only draw. Charades you can't talk at all. Codenames, you can only say one word and one number. So a big part of party games is restricting communication and trying to get people to understand things without the use of just being able to say it. So in some ways, this hits that party game genre, but it's not a party game, like it's not a wacky social game, right? Like, there's strategy and you have to figure out when you're gonna spend some certain chips and where you're gonna go.

GS: Lastly, anything else you want to say to get people hyped for the game?

RD: It's different. Like, it's interesting, I enjoy Cthulhu, but I'm not super into the mythos. I appreciate it for what it is and I find that there's a lot of Cthulhu games that really speak to the people who know the world, and I've tried to make a game that was just more accessible that happened to be a Lovecraft-Cthulhu theme. You don't have to know all the lore and the creatures and the words and the backgrounds -- essentially, it's just an interesting communication challenge. So I think it's a Cthulhu game for people who have been daunted by Cthulhu.

A big thank you to Rob for taking the time to answer my questions!

Here's a link to Rob Daviau's website. You can also check out his page on BoardGameGeek, or follow him on Twitter.

Monolith's "After the End" Update Brings the Game to a Whole New Level,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/o/n/monolith-0b701.jpg yaexm/monoliths-after-the-end-update-brings-the-game-to-a-whole-new-level Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:40:08 -0400 Damien Smith

Team D-13 recently released a content update for their shoot'em up roguelike title Monolith that released back on June 6. The game absolutely blew me away back when it first released -- and the new update has done exactly that all over again.

This update, dubbed "After the End", brings in a whole array of new content -- including new weapons, new enemies, new enemy AI, an entirely new floor, and much more. It takes an already extremely addictive roguelike (and one of the most fun this year) and brings it to a whole new level.

A whole new floor to unlock and discover

One of the biggest features of the new update is the addition of a sixth floor to the game. At first, this floor will be locked to the player until they obtain the four ancient symbols that act as keys. These are found in a variety of ways throughout the game -- in most cases leading to a new boss battle.

As for the new floor itself, it brings an ever darker atmosphere to the game than that found in the previous levels. It is called The Forbidden, and from the moment you enter it, you feel that you are in a place where you do not belong.

The new zone adds a whole new array of enemies and threats to hinder your quest to reach the final boss of the game -- offering more of a challenge than any other from previous levels. The boss itself is strangely a little bit easier than the Overlord boss on floor 5, but still makes for a tough fight (especially the first time you face it).

Overall, the new floor doesn't disappoint in any shape or form. It offers a more difficult challenge than the previous one and really makes the game feel even more complete for those who felt it was a bit short in its base form. 

New challenges with hard mode

Have you ever thought that Monolith was a little too easy? If so, "After the End" offers a solution to that by introducing a hard mode upon completing the game. This new mode gives all enemies and bosses unique and more complex attacks than those found in normal difficulty.

The hard mode also changes to how enemies behave, giving them a far more unpredictable AI and thus making it more difficult to deal with them. It gives veterans of the genre a challenge that meets their seasoned expectations. (Not to mention giving the game even more replayability.)

New weapons, decor, alternate playable ships, and hundreds of new rooms

This update adds a ton of new content into the game alongside with the new floor and hard mode. There are new weapons like the Pulsar (a mid-range rapid-fire weapon), the Razor (a slow-firing but powerful weapon that acts like a boomerang by default), and a good old-fashioned railgun.

Each of these weapons has advantages and disadvantages that make them more suited to certain situations than others -- which adds a fresh feel to the combat.

There are also new decors for the lobby that the player can change as they see fit -- including new banners, pictures and floor mats. 

The pet ghost that you obtain as a decoration for the lobby now can have hats placed on it. These hats are found while playing the game and are obtained by defeating enemy ghosts wearing all kinds of hats. Once obtained, the player can change the pet ghost's appearance as they please. 

Along with all of that, there are new playable ships to unlock, hundreds of new rooms, secret areas to find and explore, and much more. Despite spending a considerable amount of time with the new content, I am still uncovering new content all the time -- resulting in each and every playthrough feeling fresh and unique. You truly never know how each playthrough is going to play out.

One of the best roguelikes of 2017 just got better

Monolith was a big surprise when I first played it, given how well it combined the roguelike design of The Binding of Isaac with a shoot-em-up style of gameplay.

The "After the End" update fleshes out this already great game and gives it a more rounded-out feeling. While it doesn't offer hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gameplay like The Binding of Isaac, it definitely makes it feel a whole lot more complete, than it initially did. All the new content, along with gameplay tweaks here and there, really has made one of the best roguelikes of 2017 a whole lot better.

What Even Is V on Steam?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/8/5/585974e7160857d.jpg qlopo/what-even-is-v-on-steam Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:46:08 -0400 glados131

If you've been paying attention to some of Steam's recent under-the-radar releases, you might have noticed a game titled simply V. Looking at the screenshots, it's not immediately apparent how it works, as there only seems to be a white screen with the names of colors flashing by. Confusion likely only mounts upon reading the game's description:

You are a gifted child

You will switch through every channel on the planet

The game does, however, have a "Very Positive" rating on Steam, and is free to play -- so we took a look at what V actually is and found it to be a pretty fun game.

The gameplay in V is simple. The screen will show you the name of a color, with the text also colored. If the text and its color match, you click left. If they don't, you click right. The simple premise conceals a devious design that is pretty much guaranteed to mess with your head: You're racing a time limit, so you have very little time to decide which button to press. It's far easier than it sounds to slip up -- and that's even before the game starts throwing curveballs at you like tinting the screen to obscure your vision, scrambling the letters of the word, or even inverting your controls.

The game's at its best when everything is fast-paced and you're scrambling to click the right button as quickly as possible. In this way, it's somewhat reminiscent of rhythm games like Audiosurfwith its minimalist art style and controls. But where rhythm games test your physical reflexes, is all about straining your mental muscles.

The game also has a great aesthetic, with trippy music and a menu that looks like an old TV. And just wait until you hear the achievement noise for reaching North America.


It's true that there isn't too much content in V -- I was able to beat the "story mode" (if it can be called that) in under an hour -- but there are enough secrets and enough replay value to keep you coming back for more. And seeing as it's completely free, it's impossible to argue that it's overpriced. 

So if you're looking for a fun way to kill some time -- or you just want to be imbued with a deep-seated hatred for cyan -- you should definitely give it a try.

(Warning: You should not play this game if you have or are prone to epilepsy.)

Mario Kart Arcade GP VR Looks Amazing, and We'll Never Get It,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/r/mario-kart-arcade-screenshot-b8ff6.jpg 4mq7e/mario-kart-arcade-gp-vr-looks-amazing-and-well-never-get-it Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:31:34 -0400 Zantallion

Everyone loves Mario Kart. Nintendo's flagship racing franchise has been on pretty much every system they've put out since the SNES -- the latest being the smash-hit Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch.

It's a well-loved franchise, and chances are everyone's played at least one of the games at some point in their gaming career. So it stands to reason that Nintendo's first foray into the fledgling world of VR would be with the tried-and-true Mario Kart. It's just a shame we overseas folk likely won't get to play it.

Thanks to Famitsu for the images.

Mario Kart Arcade GP VR (man that's a mouthful) is the fourth in the subseries of arcade-based Mario Kart games. Preceding it were Mario Kart Arcade GP 1, 2, and DX. All of them feature the same same basic idea as the console outings: race to be first throughout a number of Mario locales, while throwing items at your opponents to shake up the positions. The arcade cabinets feature pedals and steering wheels versus the usual controllers -- but to those familiar with the concept, it's not too difficult to adapt.

So if GP VR is so similar to it's predecessors, why is it not going to make the jump? The answer is more complicated than you might think. 

Much like Bowser and Wario, it seems like GP VR will be just out of reach.

First of all, GP VR's release is incredibly limited to begin with in Japan. You can only play it at one arcade -- VR Zone Shinjuku. When even other Japanese arcades can't get their hands on on this VR Mario experience, there's no way a Western one would.

GP VR's setup is also a lot more intensive than most other arcade cabinets -- requiring not only a large space for the physical kart that is the cabinet, but also needing the actual VR headsets to be set up properly and maintained.

Finally, unlike in Japan, where the arcade scene is still alive and well, the Western arcade business is for the most part dead in the water -- so there's little demand for a Western version, no matter how cool the game actually seems to be.

It's unfortunate, but factors like the ones listed above likely mean that GP VR won't ever be hitting Western shores. It's a shame that Nintendo's cautious first dip of the toe into the VR space is such an exclusive one. But barring a rich, eccentric fan importing a cabinet, it looks like VR Zone Shinjuku will be the only home for Mario Arcade GP VR.

The game could very well look and play like a dream, but unfortunately, it seems that this is one VR title we'll have to watch from afar. 

You Know What's Made BDO So Popular? Streamer summit1g,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/m/summit1g-edit-db6f7.jpg prfxg/you-know-whats-made-bdo-so-popular-streamer-summit1g Sun, 16 Jul 2017 11:00:02 -0400 Klinestife

Video game marketing grew past simply having a cheesy commercial on TV. Nowadays, companies are using Twitch streamers and YouTubers to get the word out. The success of Undertale is one of the best examples. While the creator was already well known for his work on Homestuck and a popular Earthbound hack, the main reason it got so much attention was because of a 2013 demo sent to popular YouTubers and streamers. It gathered exposure and popularity at that time, leading to a massive explosion on release. It's not the only game marketed like this in the last few years.

Korean Studio Pearl Abyss released Black Desert Online in the US and Europe in March of 2016. The game itself made a lot of interesting promises such as a wide open world, player driven economy, a focus on a variety of skills such as cooking or gardening, personal housing, and ship construction. Interestingly, it's kept many of these promises on release.

While Pearl Abyss isn't a small studio per say, the game did have a tiny presence in the west. The game didn't get any attention from mainstream audiences outside of a shrinking group of MMO fanatics. To make things worse, the game's release was a disaster, similar to that of the original Final Fantasy XIV. It's a relatively accepted fact that a bad launch will reflect in an MMO's longevity. Releasing on Steam was one of its last gambits for survival.

Enter summit1g. The popular twitch streamer just reached 2 million followers and averages 21 thousand viewers per session. He's been streaming popular games daily for over three years now, gathering up a dedicated group of followers simply through time, effort, and charisma.

When Black Desert Online released on Steam and gained some popularity, a group of viewers bugged summit1g to play the game until he caved. A later conversation with fellow streamer Destiny reveals that summit1g was actually lost on what games to play, and never thought he would pick an MMO up. Nevertheless, he spends a lot of time grinding up in the game now, with the help of donations from his viewers.

summit1g's impact on the game is notable. When the game first released on steam, it averaged around 17 to 18 thousand concurrent players a day. After summit1g started streaming, you can see it slowly rise to around 23k-24k players a day. Furthermore, since he started playing the game, fellow streamers joined in to take advantage of its new popularity, further spreading the word of the game around.

This is becoming a common practice in the industry. Game developers are constantly sending demos to YouTubers and streamers prior to release to drum up hype and day one sales. This is especially important for small developers that don't have the resources big AAA studios do. Since they probably can't afford an eye-catching stall at an expo or proper marketing, community advertisement is their most reliable way to spread the word.

Streamers are an important part of our culture now. Game marketers should take note of the impact streamers can have on the survivability of a game. If a popular streamer takes notice, the game can become a hit across the internet. If nobody takes notice, it can inevitably become buried under a flood of other games.

Aven Colony Preview -- A Futuristic City Builder Worth Playing,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/o/promo1600x9001-7cd68.png o3e4o/aven-colony-preview-a-futuristic-city-builder-worth-playing Sat, 15 Jul 2017 03:26:54 -0400 Nick Lee

After playing Mothership Entertainment's Aven Colony for 20 plus hours, building and failing in multiple modes and land types, I feel confident saying that Aven Colony could pass as a Triple-A title.

While playing Aven I was quickly reminded that my primary experience in the genre of city builders comes from games like Civilization where your play style can be far more varied than in Aven. In this game, it is more important to remember classic city builders like Sim City that fit Aven more accurately.

Disclaimer: This preview covers an in-development build of the game and does not represent a finished or complete product.

Single-Player Campaign

The main story of Aven Colony places players in the role of the colonies' governor who's looking to rise up through the ranks. To do this, you must successfully colonize different regions of the alien world, Aven Prime. Taking place in the future, the Earth is only briefly mentioned as belonging in the history books.

In a varying amount of solaces, or seasons, the player faces referendum votes that reveal colonists' complaints. These complaints usually relate to citizens' commute to work but can also cover a breadth of other topics. You must address these complaints in order to stay popular because falling below 50% popularity will cause you to lose the game, which is 100% how elected offices work.

The campaign plays out over the course of a series of missions. Through each mission, players face increasingly difficult climates and varying circumstances that they must adapt to. This differs from more classic city builders, giving Aven a fun option for those who like a storyline alongside their building objectives. Before playing a mission, players can choose the difficulty setting. But be warned: anything above the normal setting might as well be on hard.

Even on easy, the missions put the player in a tight spot both in the way that you must use your resources and through the way that you must acquire them. Difficulty settings range from cakewalk to insane. These extremes could be narrowed down a bit more due to the fact that the difficulty scale skews to noticeable differences on insane rather than easier difficulties. Combining this with the referendums can make the game brutal at times, particularly on higher difficulties where my games became far shorter.

Where Aven does allow for players to expand and capitalize on resources, it also comes with punishing effects. These come in the form of seasonal challenges to agriculture, winning referendums to stay in power, and attacking alien life forms. These challenges are usually easily circumvented once you know to prepare for them, but that mastery is only really obtained through experience as it can be hard to actually evolve your strategy on the go in such a way. Ultimately, these challenges just become nuisances thanks to the fact that they appear more often the larger your colony grows.

Sandbox Gameplay & Control Features

Playing through the sandbox mode felt like a more casual/less hardcore play option, which should appeal to more players. In sandbox mode, players can choose far more options than in single-player while still being given goals to fulfill. This ended up making the sandbox mode feel like a longer campaign mission in a good way. Sandbox's freedom also gives you more leeway to test out more difficult settings and environments without necessarily having the same penalties inherent to the campaign.

While playing in any mode players are given the option to address possible colony management issues through Aven's overlay system. By simply selecting the aspect you want to manage such as air quality or safety and security, you get an overlay map on top of your buildings. Each comes with a color coordinated bar that shows how well or poorly you are doing in that aspect per area. This comes in handy with making sure colonists are more spaced out and not overcrowded in certain areas.

City controls also give you another level of control over your colony. These are only unlocked as your colony grows, with each feature only unlocking once a minimum number of colonists have been attained. While some seem helpful, such as rationing to maintain colonists needs, others are outright punishing and hit with morale costs for each, such as immigration bans and martial law to stop protesters. While these can be interesting to test your less benevolent side of governance, they also felt a little too punishing in some situations. (How you fundamentally undermine democracy and maintain an approval rating above 50% is above me.) Thankfully, they are often only temporary fixes that can be switched off after a crisis is averted.

The future might need more improvements

Sadly, some of the more unique systems -- aliens and weather -- felt like they were poorly handled. This is seen in everything from the lackluster alien life forms, like the plague spores pictured above, to the overly broad effects of seasons.

The aforementioned spores float mindlessly towards your colony, seeking to infect one of your buildings. Beyond the element of surprise, they are usually easy to stop since they are entirely absent minded which means that they never really force you to dynamically react to their presence. For all the alien life that could have lived on the planet, these seem like a waste to fight.

Weather patterns aren't often what we look for in a game, so it was refreshing to have them become a strategic part of the game. Sadly, however, the effects of weather often didn't make sense. For instance, the winter solace has the same effects across all climate zones. Why would an arid desert where farming is already sparse take an extra hit by having extreme winters as well?

While these features do have some shortcomings, they also allow Aven to provide a variety of scenarios that just aren't seen in most other city builders. For instance, when weather like lightning threatens your buildings, features like creating batteries and weather defenses are available. Small features such as that which require more careful colony planning definitely add something new to the genre rather than the classic damaged building you just pay to repair like in other games.

These scenarios come into play far more while playing the single-player campaign. They also help keep players from settling into the normal city builder tempo. While many city builders run become monotonous, Aven shows the genre can be far more dynamic with multiple moving pieces that challenge players.

Appreciate a full indie city builder

It will be exciting to see where Aven Colony goes after launch. As more improvements are added, Mothership Entertainment LLC should rest assured they have more than the foundations of an excellent city builder that will have longevity. While Aven can become difficult and repetitive, its number of unique scenarios can really help it shine. Alongside features like the overlay system, city controls, and the campaign, this is a game worth returning to.

Right now players can pre-order Aven on Steam and save 10% until release on July 25, 2017.

Pokemon Go: 1 Year Ago vs. Now,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/o/b/gobirthday-034f3.jpg juybk/pokemon-go-1-year-ago-vs-now Thu, 13 Jul 2017 14:51:34 -0400 Zantallion

Pokemon is an evergreen franchise. Throughout the series' 20+ year history, it's proven time and time again that it's a juggernaut in the gaming industry. With it's fun mechanics and beloved creatures, Pokemon is one of the most iconic gaming franchises bar none.

So when everyone's favorite Pocket Monsters came to mobile devices in Pokemon Go, we all knew it was going to be big. But no one knew just how big it would end up being.

But now that we're a year into the Pokemon Go phenomenon, we have to ask -- has Pikachu's magic touch allowed this mobile experience to compete with the main franchise? Does it have the same longevity and lasting impact that games like Sun and Moon  have had? To answer that question, we'll need to take a look at how Go and its community have evolved over the game's first year.

The (Rocky) Beginning of a Phenomenon

Pokemon Go's story began way back in 2014, with a collaboration between Nintendo and Google which at first took the form of the April Fool's Day prank -- the Google Maps Pokemon Challenge. This fun little diversion saw players scouring the online Google Maps pages to catch tiny sprite versions of 721 different Pokemon. Though the idea started as a simple collaborative prank, sparked the idea of Pokemon Go that would eventually grow into the game we know today. 

Pokemon Go's pre-release period was surprisingly calm, considering how turbulent its actual release date was. Fans were excited for the game, but few could have predicted just how much of an event it would be. There were occasional debates about whether the game was going to feature only the original 151 Pokemon, whether or not Shiny Pokemon would be available, and the occasional disgruntled fan complaining that it wasn't a new main series title. Not even the Pokemon fanbase knew what was coming.

To say Pokemon Go's launch period was turbulent would be an understatement. The sheer excitement, the crowds of people out chasing their favorite virtual creatures, all the videos and photos of people was a lot. In first few days after the game's launch, you couldn't walk down the block without seeing people flicking Pokeballs on their phones to snag their latest buddy. In just a few days, the world was enraptured by Pokemon again, as if it were 1996 all over again. People couldn't get enough.

Niantic, Pokemon Go's creator, had dreadfully underestimated the magnitude of what they were dealing with. As the game went live, they scrambled to try and keep servers running, get a foothold in social media, and fix some nasty launch bugs. Alas, they were understaffed and unprepared, and so those bugs continued to plague early PoGo for quite a while.

Early on, people didn't care. They were all too busy chasing that new shadow on their radar, and the novelty was still fresh. It wasn't until later that people started to notice the chips in PoGo's paint.

A Downward Turn

What really kicked off the turnaround on Pokemon Go was Niantic's odd decision to remove the tracking system. What was once a fun way to track down the Pokemon closest to you with a decreasing footstep counter became a screen that simply told you "Hey these guys are near you somewhere."

For those in areas with tons of Pokestops, this was eventually fixed. But for those who weren't? The problem that still hasn't been addressed, a year later. All that's been done is a little grass texture has been added. Either way, it was the removal of the tracking system that kicked off criticism of the game and Niantic's treatment of it. After the tracking system got removed, criticism started ramping up, and the game's popularity started going down. 

One of the biggest issues with the game's continued popularity was Niantic's poor communication with its community. For the longest time, Niantic didn't have any social media presence -- meaning changes like the tracking removal came completely unannounced. For a long while, Niantic remained completely silent altogether. Even when the company did create social media accounts, it took those accounts a good amount of time to actually address any actual issues. And by the time they did, the damage had been done.

While the game was still popular, it was no longer the cultural phenomenon it started out as. When the game first launched, you used to be able to walk down the street and see tons of people playing and talking together. But after losing the tracking feature and getting increasingly fed up with Niantic's practices, it seemed that most players moved on -- with only a few stragglers still as open about their love for the game.

A Few Redeeming Qualities

For the most part, Go faded into the background for a while. Some people still played casually, but there were no stories of bodies being discovered by Go players, nor news articles about people quitting their jobs to play. It just became a quiet, casual thing to do while you were already out.

Some scattered events, like the different holiday Pikachus and type-centric events showed up -- but most of the changes were small. Even the new Pokestop-based tracking system, though it was cool, didn't do much to revive the community. So far, only two things have been big enough to give Go a bump in popularity have been the addition of Gen 2, and the more recent Gym/Raid Update.

Gen 2's addition caused a spike in people out on the street, but it was only temporary. Just as with the original 151, people caught all of the common Pokemon religiously for a while, before eventually getting their fill and only playing occasionally. However, the recent Gym Update seems to be having a bigger effect, mostly thanks to the ingenious Raid system.

With Raids, large groups of people are now regularly meeting up to take on Raid Bosses, once again making groups of Pokemon players a regular sight in big cities. Combined with the recent Ash Hat Pikachu event, it seems like Pokemon Go might finally be getting back in stride to get big again -- or at least find a more stable and happy player base.

It may never reach the same fervor that it enjoyed a year ago, but these latest events, and upcoming ones like Pokemon Go Fest Chicago, show that Pokemon Go is carving out a long-term niche for itself. Pokemon Go looks like it's here to stay.

So happy first birthday to Pokemon GO, and here's to many more! (And hopefully to Gen 3 sometime soon.)

YouTuber Interview: Counter-Strike Content Creator the WarOwl,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/16ea89ea6c33ffb1fc26561976f76c3c.jpg 5qaqm/youtuber-interview-counter-strike-content-creator-the-warowl Mon, 10 Jul 2017 09:25:51 -0400 Will Dowell

Counter-Strike is one of the most played games in the world. With over 10 million active players, the CS:GO community is booming. This includes the YouTube sphere, which is filled with content creators giving potential players humor, information, and excitement.

One of the more famous content creators, the WarOwl, is the go-to guy for all things Counter-Strike. Whether offering guidance on how to rise through the ranks, or seeing his experience playing the game, WarOwl is one of the premier Counter-Strike YouTubers.

Every content creator has a different story with unique challenges and successes. And we got to sit down for a chat with WarOwl to get his personal story, a look at his brand, and a preview of his goals for the future. 

William Dowell (WD): What inspired you to create your YouTube Channel?

WarOwl (WO): I originally created my YouTube Channel just for fun. I was playing games with my friends back in the day, and they kind of came up with the idea of this, saying “Hey you really got the voice of this. You should post some of these videos.” So I started doing it on the side as a hobby when I was in college and that was a pretty long time ago.

WD: When you started creating videos both as a hobby and full time, what were some of the challenges?

WO: So I started to do this full time about two and a half years ago. Obviously some of the biggest challenges to doing something like this full time is financial right off the bat, because I had to quit my job in order to devote the time I needed to achieve my passion, trying to build it. Beyond that, it’s just any normal challenges you’d face in anything you do. With what I do in particular, YouTube is highly competitive, so I mean there’s challenges that go along with that.

WD:  Since YouTube has changed a lot in the last few years, how do you think the market for creating content has changed for you?

WO: So, with something like new media, that is sort of a changing market and has been for a number of years; it’s constantly changing all the time. The people who will be around for awhile have to learn how to adapt, and I’ve noticed that a lot of channels seem to burn very bright and quick, and then they’re done. A lot of people can’t figure out how to adapt to the changing market. It’s true that what people are interested in watching even has changed dramatically over the years.


WD: With the current YouTube climate are there any issues on YouTube or Google’s side that is hindering content creators from fully creating their videos?

WO: Not that I’m aware of. I guess one of the biggest issues that has plagued a lot of people are copyright issues. A lot of companies do DMCA requests and they also have automated copyright systems which can be a thorn in the side of creators. On the other hand it can also protect creators by being overly aggressive [and] preventing a nasty lawsuit.

WD: As you said it takes a lot of time to create this video content. How do you manage a work-life balance?

WO: So, my work has become my life in that sense. When I used to work at the office. I would go to work in the morning, work, come home, and then it’s bed time. Now, I’m always at work. I wake up and I’m at work. Before I go to sleep, I’m at work. Managing that time is a major challenge for people who work at home and who start their own business and are entrepreneurs. There’s a lot that goes into managing time well and for me trying to find out what works the best and modifying my behavior and schedule around that. This job takes way more time than anything else I’ve ever done and this is the most difficult job that I’ve ever done. At the same time, it’s also the most rewarding.

WD: With creating this content, how do try to maintain your originality and productivity while your working?

WO: Originality is incredibly important with what we do on YouTube, because people are always looking for the next thing. If you get too stale, you’re not getting any new viewers and your numbers are going to wane over time, so that is a challenge. I guess a lot of that just comes from research. It comes from exposing myself to other mediums and sort of seeing what’s out there, learning from it as well.

 WD: You mentioned the failing to adapt with up and coming YouTubers are there any mistakes that other YouTubers seem to make and how can new content creators avoid them?

WO: I’ve seen a lot of YouTube channels that have done very well and made decisions, and other ones that made similar decisions that don’t do as well. So I think a lot of that is unknown and a lot of people are trying to figure that out. Obviously a lot of creators make mistakes, but I don’t think I’m the one to call them out and point it out ‘because again, there’s so much unknown. It’s a completely new type of thing. Nobody really knows how something goes viral, nobody knows how something becomes successful.

WD: For you, what do you think is your biggest struggle or weakness when creating videos?

WO: That’s a good question. I guess the thing that’s tough is finding the motivation and passion to be self-motivated.

WD: One of your major focuses is Counter-Strike, which while large, is a niche market. What do you think is essential for creating for a market that is that small and dedicated?

WO: I never really had that as a concern when I started doing Counter-Strike content. It was just content that I enjoyed doing, and the market for Counter-Strike has grown considerably over the years. When I started making content on Counter-Strike, I was one of the only people who actually played the game. I was one of the first people to get my hands on the beta for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you’re talking specifically on targeting your content for a niche audience, there are both benefits and negatives to it. Some of the benefits being that there is going to be a little bit less competition there. It’s easier to get your name out there. When I started doing stuff with Counter-StrikeGlobal Offensive in particular, there really wasn’t anyone else doing the kind of content that I do. There are fewer people there, whereas if you have a more mainstream channel, you’re competing with the top guys.

 WD: Are you still passionate for Counter-Strike or is the constant focus and videos about it starting to decrease interest?

WO: It comes and goes, I’ve been playing Counter-Strike in some form or another for about seventeen years, so most of my life has been playing Counter-Strike. It’s one of those things, one of those games that has such an addictive quality to it. Not in a bad way, but in a way that strives to improve yourself, and that’s always there. There’s always that “one more round” mentality, where you’re always trying to get better each and every game. So while yes, my interest in Counter-Strike has gone up and down because I create content, I’m doing a good job that nobody notices that. I’m doing a good job so people can still come and enjoy the content even if I’m not a hundred percent into it.

WD: With your branching out content such as your Overwatch or Half-Life videos, are you expanding the scope of your channel or still primarily focusing on Counter-Strike?

WO: I think it’s a very good idea for me and my brand to branch out. I’m not sure about Overwatch though in particular. My audience hasn’t really responded well to it and I’m always trying to make sure that my audience and people are enjoying the videos and still enjoy the content that are coming out there. I’m looking around, trying to find ways to expand my content so that it’s not just a hundred percent Counter-Strike all the time, both for my sanity and I think for the long run. Who knows where Counter-Strike will be in five years from now and honestly I’d like to be doing this for as long as I can.

WD: Is there any series or video style that you have started to get bored of, but are continuing because of audience demand?

WO: No, normally I just drop them and don’t do them any more when that happens.

 WD: When dealing audience and creating PR, what are some of the biggest mistakes new YouTubers tend to make?

WO: Well I don’t think I would be the one to answer that question since I can’t really look at what somebody else does and call it a mistake. For example, I used to have the mindset that it’s a good idea not to get involved, and I still do for myself personally and my brand, but getting involved in that drama stuff or being controversial or anything like that. It doesn’t work for my brand but I always thought it would be a bad idea for somebody, but as we’ve seen, even when people do things very scummy, it seems that their audience tends to forgive them surprisingly. That’s definitely unjustly forgive for some of the stuff they’ve done. I always thought that would be the it for somebody to do something morally repugnant, but it seems like people are still going.

WD: Speaking of the refusing to do anything controversial, what will you and your brand not do?

WO: So one thing that I’m very vocal about, and I only became vocal about it but it was something I’ve always done but not something I was vocal about until some scandals came up. I don’t get involved in gambling and that’s a big thing unfortunately in the Counter-Strike community. I think it’s really bad considering that a lot of young people are consuming this content and it could potentially get them into a really bad behavior or bad addiction. The way that I see it, the promotion of gambling as a content creator is sort-of exploiting your viewers. You’re pretty much taking money from them.

Gambling is designed as a losing game. You’re not supposed to win it and it’s something that adults and responsible people can do for fun, with the understanding in that you’re not supposed to win it. I think that unfortunately people are getting the wrong impression. It’s being forced onto young people and I think it’s having a negative reaction. So no, I avoid taking any sponsorships like that.

WD: What do you think is the relationship between the content creator and the audience?

WO: I guess a vague question requires a vague answer, so I’ll say the audience supports the creators they like and the creator creates something the audience wants.

WD: With your brand of content has there ever been a major mistake or action that you have regretted making?

WO: Yeah of course. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I started this when I was young too. I’m always trying to improve on though. If I make a mistake, I try and learn about what I did wrong and apply that to my actions going forward, but not dwelling on that failure. That is something I always try to teach when they’re learning how to play Counter-Strike.

WD: Speaking of the attitude of Counter-Strike. How do you view the Counter-Strike community as a whole?

WO: When you have any sort of large online community, and the Counter-Strike community is very large, there are over 10 million monthly unique players using the game, there are a lot of different people involved in it. I think it would be inappropriate to stereotype an entire community in that way, because I’ve met a lot of really great people who play Counter-Strike, some really awesome people, but I’ve also met a lot of numbskulls, so it could go either way.

WD: Regarding Valve’s response to inappropriate behavior and gambling, do you think they have been reactive, or do they need to take a step further?

WO: Valve conducts themselves in a very hands-off way compared to a lot of other developers, so it seems like they don’t really want to get involved in too many things in that regard. I think from what I’ve observed they try to have as little direct involvement and allow that to grow organically. In terms of gambling, there was a certain point that they had to step in and shut it down as it was both giving the game a bad reputation in even some medias and also I think, I’m not a hundred percent, you have to be careful about talking about this certain stuff, but I think there was some legal stuff going on with gambling as well.

WD: In a broad sense, how do you see your channel improving or growing?

WO: That’s something that I ask everyday and I’m trying to find the answer to it. So my channel is continuing to grow and I’d like to keep going in that trajectory. I’m just always trying to create content that people enjoy.


The WarOwl is a strong content creator and we thank him for taking the time for this interview. For more WarOwl content, check out his YouTube Channel.

Warren Ellis talks Netflix's Castlevania,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/s/castlevania-netflix-series-castle-1276-4fdb8.jpg zgpdu/warren-ellis-talks-netflixs-castlevania Sat, 08 Jul 2017 13:27:22 -0400 Thomas Wilde

If you're into comic books at all, you probably know the name Warren Ellis. His most famous work might be the cyberpunk story Transmetropolitan, his work defining the Wildstorm universe with comics like Planetary and The Authority, or his six-issue runs for Marvel on Secret Avengers and Moon Knight.

Currently, he's putting out the independent books Injection and Trees for Image and reimagining the old '90s Wildstorm superhero universe as a taut science fiction/conspiracy book in DC's The Wild Storm. His novella Normal is now available in paperback.

Ellis is also the writer and co-producer for Castlevania, which debuted yesterday on Netflix. We were able to ask him a few questions about the show.

I remember you discussing a Castlevania direct-to-DVD movie more than 10 years ago while you were putting out the Bad Signal, but it seemed like this project was stuck in development hell until relatively recently. Can you talk about the road this project's taken for you?

Honestly, I'd forgotten all about it. 10 years ago, I was [hired] to write a Castlevania movie, and the project stalled for reasons I'm still not entirely clear on. In any case, it went away, and I moved on. I have a feeling I've written two novels and one novella since then, as well as god-knows-how-many graphic novels, a few tv scripts, and etcetera. Late in 2015, I got a call from Kevin Kolde at Frederator telling me that they'd sold Castlevania, with my script, to Netflix, and asking me if I would please turn that script into four half-hour TV episodes, and also write a continuation that would fill out a one-season order.  I had to spend an hour grubbing around in my storage systems just to find the last draft of the original script. So I was a little taken by surprise.

So, I have no idea what happened in the intervening decade, but by 2016, I was working on a rewrite of a script that was 10 years old. So that was a little odd, yes. Also, pretty much the worst thing you can ask a writer to do because you're just spending all day swearing at your younger self for being such a useless hack.

Art by James Jean, for the original Castlevania project.

What did you do to familiarize yourself with the series for the project? This isn't exactly a series with a firm continuity, and much of it changed over the course of the last few games.

I'm not a gamer, and there was no access to the original game to be had anyway -- at least, not 10 years ago. Luckily, even then there was an enthusiastic fan base who put an awful lot of information up on the web. So, thanks to the fans, there was a great deal of material for me to draw on.

One of the things I like about your work is that you're usually trying to do something new with a project, such as experimenting with the format, pacing, or price of a comic. What were your design goals with Castlevania?

Well, as noted, the original thinking all happened 10 years ago -- this is before Game of Thrones made it to television, in fact, or even Vikings -- so I was trying to create an adult-oriented medieval fantasy for the screen without a lot of other people really working in that space for me to push against. My goals were really to try and put a human face on this kind of weirdness, to find the relatable (or at least funny) moments between the plot beats and the action and try and make them breathe

This led to poor Richard Armitage having to voice act his journey up a medieval shit-pipe.  

Can I just say here that our actors have been amazing, and have really lifted the piece beyond my every hope and expectation? We managed to convince an amazing cast to join us for this insane gig. One of my favorite things is that Alejandra Reynoso's Twitter background pic is now the selfie she took with Tony Amendola during a Castlevania recording session.

How much of a say did you have in when and where the story took place? Obviously, the geography's fairly well set in CV, but the various stories are set across the better part of a thousand years. Why CVIII and not, say, Simon's Quest or Dawn of Sorrow?

There's not an exciting or illuminating answer to this one, sorry. I was asked to adapt one specific story.

Is the series still set within the CV timeline, the way you said the D2DVD movie was?

Near as, damnit? It's CVIII, as per instruction, so it remains set pretty much within that period.  

How much, if anything, does the series have in common with that treatment for the earlier film? Rich Johnston has put up a saved copy of one of your production blogs, and I've noticed that Lisa Tepes is in a script sample there, as well as the Netflix series's cast list.

I made a bunch of cuts and rewrites to accommodate and take best advantage of the new four-episode structure -- I think I lost a character or two, and removing maybe half a dozen scenes? The rewriting was done in early 2016, so a lot of that is fuzzy in my memory now. I write a lot, and I am really quite old now. But, speaking generally, this four-part opening is essentially the script I wrote 10 years ago, and my contracted task was to adapt that script for an episodic framework, not write a new one. The second, forthcoming part of Season 1 is, however, all new territory.

Is the goat scene still in?

Apparently so! And you should hear some of the things I've forced actors to say in the second part of Season 1, for 2018...

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for all things Castlevania


Why Ditching 1-UPs is Good for Super Mario Odyssey,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/r/mario-048ea.jpg 8rwab/why-ditching-1-ups-is-good-for-super-mario-odyssey Thu, 06 Jul 2017 11:41:26 -0400 Bryantcpereira

The classic, green 1-UP Mushroom is one of the most iconic images in gaming history -- and its legacy died today with a single tweet. Super Mario Odyssey’s Japanese Twitter account revealed the days of “Game Over” are long gone.

Instead of lives, Mario now loses 10 coins for each time he dies. When he runs out of coins, he'll respawn at the most recent checkpoint. Albeit bittersweet, this is an incredible leap in the right direction for the series and proves Nintendo isn’t afraid of innovating.

The entire concept of lives and game overs is dated.

It all spawned in the age of arcades where the whole point was to get gamers to funnel quarters into a slot. Even in the early days of consoles, developers had to utilize lives and game over screens to artificially lengthen the time it took to beat a game. An average first-time playthrough of the original Ninja Gaiden could easily take hours, but a seasoned veteran could slice through the game in less than thirty minutes.

Over time, the system continued to hinder several games’ quality. Although considered flawless, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy didn’t add any challenge or positive aspects through their game overs. The only real penalty was waiting through loading screens, and hauling back to the level you were at. Halfway through these games, lives became so overabundant that they lost all significance anyway.

But doesn't this make Mario too casual?

Not necessarily. A rewarding level difficulty can still be attained without forcing players to sit through game over screens -- and luckily, it already has. Unanimously adored by the entire indie community, Super Meat Boy is a great example of an excellently designed platformer that ditched game overs. The secret levels in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D World are still guaranteed to challenge even the most skilled players, regardless of how many loading screens they have to wait through.

The game over system isn’t gone forever, and it certainly has its place. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild keeps gamers staring at its game over screen when they start, and it does so elegantly with forgiving checkpoints. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor gives meaning to its game overs with the use of its nemesis system. While everything has its place, I’m glad to see the end of an era -- and the beginning of a new one, with the release of Super Mario Odyssey.

Nintendo's E3 presentation blew expectations out of the water for the newest Mario release. While most were expecting a Super Mario 64 successor -- and essentially it is what they're getting -- the few snippets of information released prove that Super Mario Odyssey could be much more than an heir to the throne. Our favorite Italian plumber modernized platforming 30 years ago, and will hopefully further the evolution of the genre this October.

These 2D Games Are Better Than Most 3D Video Games,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/m/games-a2218.jpg 293gf/these-2d-games-are-better-than-most-3d-video-games Sat, 01 Jul 2017 07:00:02 -0400 leslieh88

3D games have long been the norm in the gaming industry. Ever since Mario 64 hit the scene, something about playing on the 2D plane has just seemed outdated. With that said, though, there are quite a few 2D games that are just more entertaining than their 3D counterparts.

If you're looking for a game that's got an old-school look but plays like it's brand new, you might want to take a look at one of the three games listed below. They might not have the highest level of graphical fidelity, but their gameplay can't be beat. Sometimes, simplicity masks an incredibly deep game.


starbound[Image source]

As any good Starbound review will tell you, this is a game that takes the open world survival concept and pushes it forward -- all while keeping players on a 2D plane. It's a bit like a futuristic version of Terraria, but the game is by far one of the best survival-crafting games out there. In many ways, it's even better than Minecraft, the game that helped to define the genre in the first place. 

Starbound allows players to explore new worlds, craft items, and hop from planet to planet. The crafting system is fairly intuitive and the combat is fun. The game's rough for the first hour or so, but once it opens up it becomes one of the best survival games out there. It's a good mid-point between the creativity of Minecraft and the heavy survival aspects that are found in more complicated games. In a way, it's probably the game that No Man's Sky really wanted to be.

This game is also fun because there are a ton of great mods that can enhance gameplay. Players are still trying to find new ways to expand on the content, even as the game itself continues to grow. 


[Image source]

If you're looking at the games that really helped to push forward the boundaries of 2D gaming, you need to check out Braid. A game that is generally considered to be one of the best indie games ever produced, it has a simple aesthetic that belies a fairly deep game.

For some, Braid is all about the storyline. Consistently debated and still spawning theories, it is told with no character dialogue and only sparse text narration. There's nothing very fancy about the game's presentation, but that's what makes it so charming.

One of the great things about this game is how it plays. The relatively simple design allows for some truly unique time-twisting mechanics. While you might not be jumping around a 3D environment, you will be pushing your character through a series of puzzles that are hard to beat in any format.

Braid is a fantastic game that ought to be played by anyone who considers himself or herself a serious gamer. While not the most graphically impressive game in the world, it blows most 3D platformers out of the water. Once you play it, you'll remember why you loved 2D platformers so much.

Stardew Valley 

 [Image source]

A true throwback, Stardew Valley is an obvious update of the classic Harvest Moon, using many of the same mechanics while adding a few new innovative features. It may not be the most graphically impressive game out there, but it's certainly one of the most addictive to be released in recent memory.

Stardew Valley thrives on systems. You go through the same basic tasks from the beginning of the game to the end, with nothing really changing but timing and difficulty. You'll farm crops, chop wood, break rocks, and fight monsters. When you're not working, you'll interact with townspeople and try to build relationships. The loop is oddly addictive, and you'll always find yourself pushing to play through one more day.

This game is the best example of how simplicity can often trump the bells and whistles found in newer games. On the surface, you'd think this game would be boring. After you've spent a few minutes playing, though, you'll see exactly why it's become such a popular title for players on the PC and consoles alike. 


2D gaming has come back in a big way over the last few years. More gamers are learning that it's not how a game looks that really matters, but rather how the game plays. Don't judge a book by its cover -- take some time to look at the 2D games that are out there and see if they fit your play style. You might be surprised to find that some of the best games in recent memory look more like the games you played when you were a child.

Which 2D games are you a huge fan of? Let us know in the comments section!

Remember Gunbound? You May Want to Try Mobile Clone Gungun Online,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/u/n/gungunheader-60cba.jpg f8zl1/remember-gunbound-you-may-want-to-try-mobile-clone-gungun-online Thu, 29 Jun 2017 15:57:42 -0400 Will Dowell

Gunbound is a fantastic free-to-play artillery strategy game, similar to Worms. Players will engage in fun battles in which you pit your mobiles against each other. Combat revolves around eliminating the enemies forces in a 2D plane. A progression system and social aspect kept players coming back for years.

Now, Gunbound is quite old, releasing originally in 2005 in South Korea. While there was an update in 2009, the game is close to dead. Luckily, a mobile clone known as Gungun Online is available on Android and IOS. Gungun Online is an engaging mobile strategy game that combines a mobile free-to-play game and Worms.

Gungun Online sets players against each other in 2D turn-based-strategy battles. Each player commands a set of "mobiles," vehicle units and seeks to destroy the other player's set. These mobiles are all unique, using different weapons and abilities when fighting. These are ripped straight from Gunbound and rely on strategic shots to remain effective. 

Speaking of taking content from GunboundGungun Online uses the same art style and even reuses specific artwork. They have the same maps and same "mobiles," without even changing the names. This is so blatant, that it may as well be a port of Gunbound to mobile devices. The sheer extremity of the copied assets could very well turn people away entirely. 

Gungun Online relies on social interaction, as playing with friends is infinitely better than playing with random people. The free-to-play elements cause it to have advertisements and microtransactions. Gunbound also had microtransactions, but not advertisements. This could turn away newcomers who are against free-to-play elements.

Luckily, Gunbound was well made -- so in turn, this clone is just as good. Combat slightly tests players' strategic sense, but is accessible to newcomers of all ages. Like WormsGungun Online thrives in the multiplayer environment even more with the ability to take it everywhere. For a free-to-play game, Gungun Online is a fine Worms-like title.

Gungun Online is available on Android and IOS for free. If you enjoy Gunbound, it's highly likely you will enjoy Gungun Online -- which is basically identical in all but name. 

What's New, Different in Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/z/o/d/zodiac-age-1439b.png mapbn/whats-new-different-in-final-fantasy-12-the-zodiac-age Wed, 28 Jun 2017 17:16:04 -0400 Ashley Gill

Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age is almost upon us, and whether you're a fan of the series as a whole or a fan of the original game, it's something to be excited about.

The Zodiac Age isn't just a regular remaster -- it's a remaster of a previously Japan-only version of the game titled Final Fantasy 12 International Zodiac Job System (also known as known as IZJS). This has been the definitive version of the game since its release in 2007 (a mere year after the vanilla game's release).

Unlike some of the other "International" Japan-only rereleases of Final Fantasy games that brought minor changes and bugfixes, IZJS brought a myriad of system and gameplay changes to Final Fantasy 12 that for many, elevated it from a mediocre game to a solid entry to the series. Myself included.

There are so many differences between vanilla FFXII and IZJS that it's impossible to list them all here, but I am going to go into the heftiest adjustments and additions coming in the upcoming release of The Zodiac Age. I am not sure how much has changed between IZJS and The Zodiac Age, aside from one key function. Everything else seems the same sans the typical remaster additions such as the improved graphics and reorchestrated soundtrack.

Whether you've played Final Fantasy 12 before or this will be your first rodeo in this snapshot of Ivalice history, you will be pleasantly surprised by the systems and changes in The Zodiac Age.

Zodiac Age Job Classes

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age still uses the license board system as it did on the PlayStation 2, but gone are the days of everyone being able to do everything. Now there are multiple license boards, one for each job.

When a character joins your party for the first time, you have to choose its job class before you can start investing LP into licenses. This is not a decision that can be undone and your party's set ups will have a huge impact on how easily you progress and can take on side content later on.

In the original version of the game, every character had access to the same license board and players had to prioritize the direction in which they wanted each character to go based on what they wanted them to do first, with the final result being every character having essentially the same skills and equipment options.

This time around, you're still going to be choosey about the directions your characters take with their boards, but there is no "one size fits all" license board to work with as in the original game. Each job has its own license board, forcing each character to specialize in something.

These are the classes in The Zodiac Age:

  • White Mage
  • Black Mage
  • Archer
  • Bushi
  • Foebreaker
  • Knight
  • Machinist
  • Monk
  • Red Battlemage
  • Time Battlemage
  • Shikari
  • Uhlan
Job Augmentation

This is a feature unique to The Zodiac Age that was not present in the original Japan-only IZJS version of Final Fantasy 12.

Job augmentation will allow you to have two job classes on a single character once you've reached the license for it on the character's license board. This will give a single character access to the bonuses, equipment, and abilities of a second class along with the initial jobs.

For those who played IZJS, this is a huge boon that makes choosing your initial job less of a life or death choice.

Fast Forward Button

Much of anyone's time in Final Fantasy 12 is spent grinding for XP or Gil, and in this version, it's easier than ever thanks to the speed multiplier that can be toggled on or off at whim.

You can either play the game at standard speed, 2x speed, or 4x speed. This doesn't just make pushing through every encounter faster -- it makes grinding far less of a timesink. The speed up is fantastic in any playthrough, whether standard or in one of the New Game+ modes.

Zodiac Age's Post-Game Content

All those job classes and the speed up button really come in handy in the game's two New Game+ modes and the new Trial mode.

Upon completing the game once, you unlock New Game+ Strong mode, which starts every character at level 90. This sounds great, but do keep in mind nothing you obtained in the previous playthrough will carry over.

The new Trial mode pits your storyline party against foes in 100 battles and presents a true challenge to complete. Once completed, you'll unlock New Game+ Weak mode.

Weak mode, which starts each character at a very low level (1 ~ 3) and grants no XP gains. Like Strong mode, nothing you have in your previous playthrough will be carried over. Weak mode is where you really need to put thought into your job choices and party compositions.

Removal of the Damage Cap

Easy enough to understand -- the previous damage cap of 9,999 has been removed. You can and will do damage well over the 10k mark and beyond.

Weapon Tweaks, Plus New Weapons

A number of weapons were tweaked or added in IZJS and have been carried over to The Zodiac Age. Each job class has a weapon unique to it, provided you can find it.

Not only that, but the completely terrible method of getting the Zodiac Spear in the original version of the game has been changed to something more reasonable. I won't spoil what it is -- just don't be scared of open chests in The Zodiac Age.

Not All Magicks or Technicks Can Be Purchased

That's right, you have to find them. A number of particularly useful spells and skills have to be found in chests rather than purchased. If you know where they are and can reach their locations, you can obtain some particularly useful ones early on.

All Gambits are Available From the Start

As soon as the game lets you freely go shopping, you can buy every Gambit in the game right away. I generally did this on my IZJS playthroughs every time just to get it out of the way.

In addition, there are more than 10 new Gambits to play with, some of them are more useful than others.

Espers Can Now Be Controlled

Espers were always really cool in Final Fantasy 12 but you had no control over how they acted and their built-in Gambits weren't great.

In The Zodiac Age, you can take control of your Espers as party leader and even change their Gambits up in the Party menu once they're summoned. They were cool before, but now they're even better.

As an added note, guest party members are also customization and can be directly controlled.

Quickenings No Longer Eat MP

Quickenings eating the entirety of a character's MP was my biggest qualm with the original Final Fantasy 12, and luckily in this version that system has been revamped.

Now instead of MP, triggering Quickenings uses a unique resource with three bars. The bars replenish as a character doles out or takes damage, which is far more efficient than eating all a character's MP.

Chests Now Respawn After Going One Screen Over

It used to be that chests would respawn after you went two screens over, but in this version chests will now respawn after you go over only one screen.

This is pretty useful, especially if you know a particular chest has something you want but hasn't given it to you yet. With this said, not every chest has a 100% chance to spawn.


Final Fantasy 12 IZJS was easily one of my favorite games on the PlayStation 2, and I'm excited that I, and a myriad of other Final Fantasy fans and newcomers, will finally be able to bite into this meaty morsel fully in English. Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age is nearly a new game, and not just because of the job class system.

SGDQ Will Have Another Hype Tetris Block,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5fce28022af4a8a25955bde800390657.jpg o5ft7/sgdq-will-have-another-hype-tetris-block Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:00:02 -0400 daisy_blonde

Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) is just around the corner, and will be held at the Marriott City Centre in Minneapolis, MN from 2nd to 9th July.  The event features speed runs of classic games for charity, and this year, the chosen charity is Doctors without Borders. Classic puzzler Tetris always features as a grand master iteration – this year, Tetris: The Grand Master and Tetris: The Grand Master 3 – Terror Instinct. These differ to most modern Tetris games and are tailored to suit the hype of the arcades or even a live championship.

We took a look at how these games differ to what you’re used to, and tell you when you can catch them online. 

Tetris: The Grand Master

Tetris TGM is more challenging compared to normal Tetris games you would play at home. Interestingly, while most of us know Tetris from its popularity on Nintendo consoles, in Japan, Sega Tetris is more common. The rules and gameplay in the TGM games, created by Ichiro Mihara and developed by Japanese based Arika, are more closely aligned to Sega Tetris. As speed runner Qlex explains in the header video commentary, this means that you have to make many decisions in a shorter amount of time than at home, like whether you can rotate pieces off the top of the screen and how high a stack can go.

Given its popularity in the arcades and that this was previously only available in Japan, for a long time only Japanese players achieved grandmaster status. This changed in 2015 when, as Kotaku reported, Kevin “KevinDDR” Birrell became the first player outside of Japan to attain this title. Kevin is one of the regular contributors to SGDQ, and watching him complete line after line in TGM is mesmerizing and amazing!

The main difference between TGM Tetris and regular Tetris is that there is a definite end to the game. This happens when you get to Level 999. Your level goes up by 1 each time you clear a line or another piece appears on the screen. (A piece can also be referred to as a tetromino.) The exception to this is known as a “level block”. When you are about to reach a level in the hundreds (e.g. you are moving from Level 99 to Level 100), you must clear a line before you can move up to that level. Another key difference in TGM is infinite gravity. This means that the tetrominos fall as far as they can go, giving you less reaction time to rotate the pieces (or even think) as you would on a regular version. 

Exhibition mode is very fast paced and players battle it out to get to Level 999. Once you reach the end, the credits roll and the game continues until the last player reaches the final level. One downside to TGM 1 were the funky backgrounds, which can put you off and make it difficult to see the next piece coming up. As you can see from last year’s Exhibition speed run, the slowest time is just under 12 minutes – this means that the rest of us will definitely have to up our game from the Tetris we are used to!

KevinDDR and his fellow speedrunners will be playing TGM 1 on Friday July 7th from 9.45pm ET / 6.45pm PT.

Tetris : The Grand Master 3

The difficulty in TGM 3 is ramped up significantly from the previous TGM games. Firstly, there is no score counter, meaning you don’t know your score until you complete the game - you are only told what level you have reached. You also advance up levels more quickly if you match 3 or more lines. For example, if you clear 3 lines in TGM 1 or TGM 2, you advance by 6 levels as opposed to 3

The Shirase mode, which KevinDDR will be playing at the event, is at a new level of intensity. You can advance up to Level 1300, and your grade can be deducted if you take more than one minute to complete a section.

The backgrounds also seem much clearer and do not distract you when compared to TGM 1, and you have two pieces in preview mode, meaning that you can plan your strategy more effectively.

You can watch KevinDDR play the Shirase mode this year on Friday July 7th from 10.50pm ET / 7.50pm PT.

As you can see from the videos above, Tetris as a speed run game is certainly not the pedestrian puzzler we're used to playing on our Game Boys. Even in Exhibition mode -- before it gets totally crazy -- you can see how focused and skilled the speed runners need to be in order to reach the magic Level 999.

TGM 3 has souped up the intensity both in gameplay and cool 3D graphics and seems very satisfying to play, with the master players truly being put to the test in the Shirase mode! 

Follow GameSkinny for more speed run updates from events like SGDQ.

Preview: Beyond Despair - A World More Dangerous Than Ever Before,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-ea12f.jpg nqfhy/preview-beyond-despair-a-world-more-dangerous-than-ever-before Tue, 27 Jun 2017 23:24:45 -0400 Damien Smith

It’s been a good six months since I last paid a visit to the dark and horrifying world of PixelMate’s Early Access survival game Beyond Despair. With so many updates since my last visit, I decided to see what new and deadly threats lurk on the island of Ansora that would put my survival skills to the test.

What I found was a test indeed -- new hostile enemies join a balanced starvation, dehydration and stress system. A new chapter in the plot, along with a crafting system push the game forward as well.

What’s new?

The sheer amount of work that has been done with Beyond Despair in the space of six months is something quite amazing for a small team of developers. The changes mentioned above are only a few of what was added to the island of Ansora. Let's take a look at what there is to offer.

New areas are now occupied by the denizens of Ansora

Previously, only a few parts of the island were occupied by creatures. In the build I played back in January, the only areas that had life were the southern coast, the cinema, the train station and other areas in the south-west side of the island.

While I am yet to explore the island in its entirety, I’ve already noticed the north-eastern coast is now full of life from madmen to new and strange mutant creatures like the Sapsy.

Along with plenty of enemies, the lands have been filled with various anomalies that can deal damage to you, and the ruined villages are now full of containers ripe for looting -- if you’re brave enough to do so.

To further the dangers of Ansora, two factions attempting to take ground on the island are at war, The Marauders and The Patrollers,. These armed squads are not just dangerous. but extremely tough and should be avoided at all costs for new volunteers (players).

The new enemies bring the game to a whole new level, for new and experienced players alike -- and it gives all the more reason to go out and explore the world in full.

Chapter 2 Begins

The last time I played Beyond Despair, only the first chapter of the plot was implemented. Chapter 1’s purpose is more of an introduction to the mechanics of the game than anything else, though the plot does start off near the end.

In Chapter 2 the plot begins to thicken and become truly interesting. I can't say much without avoiding spoilers, but what I can say is it starts off pretty straightforward, but begins to become more complex when the player starts losing trust in the characters.

The plot is quite interesting, and makes me want to keep progressing to see what it has in store for me. Once the story really got going, I found it hard to put the game down for any length of time.

The Crafting System

With the introduction of the crafting system, every item has a use of some kind. In some cases, specific items are needed to craft equipment, tools, and supplies. Even the items that would be considered junk have a purpose, where they can be recycled into parts which can be used to craft important materials such as steel and barbed wire.

Unused weapons, depending on strength and rarity, can also be recycled to give you a good amount of parts. There’s plenty to craft between medical supplies, weapon upgrades, food,  armour to keep you busy.

There are 66 crafting recipes to find and unlock, which are found randomly in lootable contains throughout the world. Once learned they will always be available for you to use.

The recipes are well balanced, right in between easy and frustrating. Giving practically every item a use in the game really adds a whole new level of depth to it, making even the small and seemingly useless item handy to find.

The skill system

The skill system works in similar ways to other games with RPG elements. You have three skill trees, each of which contains specific sets of skills. As you level up new sets of skills become available. For example, the second tier unlocks when you reach level 10 and the third tier at level 20.

The three trees consist of skills in crafting, fighting, and survival. The crafting tree skills make the player a more effective crafter, giving bonuses and allowing them to recycle otherwise useless items. The fighting tree gives the player skills that allow them to do more damage, have better aim with guns and an increase in their carry weight. Finally, the survival tree focuses on your character's fitness and stealth abilities, allowing you to run for longer and sneak around quietly.

You gain experience by killing enemies and completing plot missions and side quests. Each time you level up, you gain one skill point which you can place on whatever skills you wish to.

If at any point you want to change your skills, you can regain all your skill points at the cost of 1,000 parts. The skills like many of the new features add another depth of gameplay to the game. Not only do they make things slightly easier they give the game a bit of a tactical feel to it, as you need to plan out what skills are most useful to your play style.

Not all is lost upon death

Previously when you died you lost everything and started over from scratch. Now, a safe is located at the Oasis -- where you can place weapons, supplies, materials and so on for safe keeping. While you will still lose everything in your possession at the time of death, anything you have in the safe will remain there.

It allows the player to keep a stock of weapons and supplies as backup. It’s unfortunate you still respawn at the southern coast of the island.

While this is logical for new players, for those who have been to the Oasis and have items in the safe, it feels like a needless trek back just to get some of their equipment. If anything it is a bit frustrating knowing you have items in the safe and need to run the whole way there just to get them. Changing the respawn point to the Oasis once a player has been there at least once would definitely be a much more convenient respawn point.

Aside from the one criticism, having the safe is a godsend. It allows you to put items you don't need at that time away until you are ready to use them.

Lots of balancing and visual updating

Along with the many new features introduced to the game, there has been a considerable amount of balancing and visual upgrades done. As previously stated, the thirst, hunger and stress mechanics are now fully implemented and are far more balanced than they were in the earlier builds.

Unlike a lot of recent survival games, the thirst and hunger mechanic is really well done. You don't end up with a character who is a bottomless food pit that needs to eat and drink every few minutes otherwise they die off. With your thirst and food maxed out, it can take over an entire in-game day (24+ minutes) before you will need to eat and drink something.

The same applies to the stress and temperature mechanics, where the player doesn't become as stressed as easily and it is rare that you begin to take damage due to temperature drops, unlike before.

Enemies are a lot better balanced too with their damage outputs now being much better. Before, some enemies dealt too much, while others not enough. I would say now the enemy damage feels more fair. As for the visuals, there has been a major improvement to the lighting especially.

I am also certain some of the character models have had a bit of an overhaul too, making them slightly more fearsome than before. I especially found this with Lily, a creepy supernatural little girl that you see from time to time. Her design always sent shivers down my spine, but now she looks truly menacing.

The game runs exceptionally well practically anywhere in the game, moving on from some of its prior framerate issues. Despite using the Unreal 4 engine, the game isn't a system hog. Even with an older graphics card and 4GB of ram, the game runs like a champ in medium to high graphical settings.

Overall, between new features, visual upgrades, balancing and optimisation, Beyond Despair is well on its way to becoming a great survival game.

Becoming one of the best survival games on Steam

Beyond Despair has come an exceptionally long way over the course of the past six months.

The game plays incredibly well considering it still has a ways to go in Early Access.

With all the new features in the game along with the balancing, optimisations and visual upgrades, it is becoming one of the most solid survival games that you can find on Steam. Whether you’re playing alone or bringing a group of friends along to the post-apocalyptic island of Ansora, one thing is for sure, Beyond Despair will put all your survival skills to the test.

Back when I first wrote about the game in my Top 5 Unreal 4 Engine Indie FPS Games to Keep on Your Radar article, the developer said that they hope they wouldn’t disappoint me -- and they haven’t in any shape or form.

Preview: Bot Colony - A Cool Concept That Works Most of The Time,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/t/bot-colony-887ba.jpg zrhdg/preview-bot-colony-a-cool-concept-that-works-most-of-the-time Tue, 27 Jun 2017 22:27:41 -0400 Damien Smith

Back in 2003, Socom U.S. Navy Seals put players in charge of giving real orders to soldiers using a USB headset and voice recognition. It was an impressive feature for it's time -- when it worked. The voice recognition had quite a bit of trouble picking up my Irish accent, and the novelty wore off quick.

That concept was rarely revisited until 2014 -- when indie developers North Side released their Early Access title Bot Colony. The game is primarily focused on the same voice recognition, but this time it takes it to a whole new level.

In Bot Colony you take on the role of Jeff Philips, as he embarks on a mission to find missing sensors belonging to the Nakagawa Corporation. To accomplish tasks, you need to interact with robots by talking to them and giving them orders on what to do, either through typing or speaking into the microphone.

It's an awesome concept -- using voice recognition to communicate with robots complements a game that focuses on espionage like this does. The problem, however, is it doesn't work 100% of the time.

Note: This preview covers an early build of Bot Colony and does not represent a finished or complete product. This article does not cover the voice recognition of the game due to it not being compatible with the writers operating system (Windows 7). The voice recognition of Bot Colony is only compatible with Windows 8 and 10.

A steep learning curve

The entire first episode of the game is a lengthy tutorial with a steep learning curve. It covers everything about communicating with the robots from getting them to reveal certain information to commanding them to pick up and move objects.

The objective of the tutorial is to find out why a spy entered the house of a scientist and why nobody was home. You must also find and place all of the disturbed household items back to where they belong. Items like clocks, toilet rolls and so on.

You start off by asking Jimmy, the robot, questions about the family that lives in the house -- in an attempt to get him to reveal his memory through recorded videos. Jimmy will only ask you to see the videos if you use the correct questions.

Using photos of the house in its original state, you then need to place all the out of place objects back to their rightful spots. This is all sounds easy, except when it's done while also avoiding the police.

There is an awful lot to learn, and the length of the tutorial matches that. As to how well Jimmy responded to my commands, he did as I asked about 90% of the time.

The first error I found was when I told him my name. First, he called me Jeff Philips, the name of the protagonist of the game. Other times, however, he actually remembered the name I gave him.

This is pretty much the case for all things Jimmy does, particularly when telling him to actually do something. You need to be extremely specific when asking him to do things, or he won't understand at all.

The tutorial is extremely lengthy, but without it, anyone would definitely have a hard time playing. There’s so much variety in what you can make robots do or say. It’s enjoyable throughout, even if they don't always understand you.

Starting the actual game

After the lengthy tutorial, you begin your actual mission as Jeff Philips, who is hired by the Nakagawa Corp. These robot manufacturers are working to solve a problem they are having with their robots acting strangely after an infiltration. You start the game in an airport where you need to get your PDA and briefcase before you can begin your mission.

In order to advance, you must interact with various robots throughout the airport. For example, at baggage claim you direct the baggage-bot Mike, using a panel to pick out your briefcase amongst the clutter and bring it to the x-ray machine.

This sounds easy on paper, but much like Jimmy, Mike has trouble understanding sometimes. He often says he doesn't understand what you mean when you are telling him the shelf you want him to go to in the baggage area. He also has a tendency of picking up the wrong colored bag at times, too. If that wasn’t enough, after getting your briefcase you receive a message about a bomb in the baggage area -- with the only hint being that it’s in a green briefcase. 

With 10 minutes to find the bomb and an at-times malfunctioning Mike, this segment became very frustrating. Not even 15 minutes into the game and you’re already dealing with a time limit that ends in your death.

The main problem is that the game doesn’t give you enough time to put everything you learned to use. Playing the actual game and following a scripted set of instructions are two completely different things. Between that and Mike not knowing what the hell I’m talking about, the whole thing was nothing short of absolute frustration.

It was at that point, my hands were on my face as I was cursing, swearing and calling Mike every name under the sun, that I simply turned the game off and have yet to return to it.

Good visuals and voice-acting

The visuals and the voice-acting of Bot Colony are both pretty good. The visuals while not state of the art, are certainly not ugly. The design of the robots and the environment are really well done and don't look too aged for an indie game, considering Bot Colony initially released in 2014.

The human character models, on the other hand, do show their age a bit. They have a plastic, doll-like appearance to them, especially in the face. Aside from that, the environments are simply breathtaking, and the robots look great and fit in with the games sci-fi nature.

As for the voice acting, it is good for the most part. The human characters all sound well-done, crisp, and clear. The robots, on the other hand, occasionally have strange inflections in tone mid-sentence. This could be intentional due to them being robots and all, but it really gives a knock to the player's senses when the sudden change occurs. Apart from that, the robot's voice acting is well done and sounds true to their design.

Do I recommend it?

Despite my exasperation at the game from time to time, I actually find it hard not to recommend Bot Colony to some degree. I didn't expect the robots to understand everything I said, but the mechanic worked much better than I thought it would.

When it works, it’s great fun and easily one of the coolest things you can find in video games to date. I do believe, though, that only so many of the problems in the game can be fixed, as the technology is still quite young like VR.

The game definitely shows its early stage of development, but as far as giving you a taste of what it is about, it certainly does that.

If the idea of talking to robots and telling them what to do sounds interesting to you, there is no other game that can offer you that. On the other hand, if you are easily frustrated by dodgy mechanics, it’s best to give this one a miss.

A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview

Not Even Crazy Taxi Can Escape the Boring Idle Game Fad,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crazy-taxi-gazillionaire-94f01.jpg 6055z/not-even-crazy-taxi-can-escape-the-boring-idle-game-fad Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:32:36 -0400 Adreon Patterson

Since the emergence of home computers, incremental -- or idle -- games have been an integral part of the gaming experience (for better or worse). Evolving like Pokemon, the genre has seen itself move to myriad mediums and through many different models, such as online subscription gaming, social gaming, and mobile gaming. But one thing remains the same – hours of mindless, inactive fun.

Currently, idle games are all about numbers and clicks. The more clicks, the higher the numbers go. Eventually, it leads to some reward or unlocked level or character, all of which lead to more clicks and bigger numbers. It all seems mind-numbing and simple, yet players dedicate copious amounts of time to this phenomenon.

And even vaunted franchises have joined the sub-genre. 

Victim of (Mobile) Circumstances

Sega’s much-cherished Crazy Taxi series has become the latest victim of said trend. The original game and its countless sequels are built around getting a customer to his or her destination in the fastest time possible.

But Crazy Taxi Gazillionaire does away with that concept for a click-your-way-to-an-empire scheme. Instead of conventional racing, the player must build a fledgling taxi service into a booming empire by collecting and upgrading a fleet of cabs and drivers. This move toward an idle game of a beloved classic seems to a desperate move by SEGA to make a quick buck from fans.

Everything Old is New Again (But Not Necessarily Better)

But Crazy Taxi Gazillionaire is just the tip of the iceberg for SEGA, who has even more plans for mobile games. The company really wants to expand beyond the console and into the PC and mobile gaming areas by using existing IPs to draw in consumers and generate bigger results and success. SEGA's motto for success revolves around the belief that recognizable characters will make it more viable in a Nintendo-versus-PlayStation market.

SEGA isn’t alone in its quest for mobile domination, either. Nintendo has pledged to release two to three signature games a year, which began with Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. Like Sega, Nintendo seems to believe using old games and iconic characters is the best way to succeed in the mobile games market, which seems to rely on nostalgia for profit.

These two companies aren’t the first to abuse the nostalgia factor with classic titles as PlayStation launched its mobile division in 2012 to little fanfare. But that failure hasn't slowed down Sony's effort to best Nintendo as the company plans on getting back into the mobile arena with releases beginning in 2018 (whether that means old or new games remains to be seen). The only problem for Sony is that PlayStation doesn't necessarily have the IP recognition the way Sega and Nintendo do. But these mobile ventures have been met with mixed reactions from both critics and fans. Many pointing to the fact that these games are building on established franchises but take rather than add to their legacies.

But these mobile ventures have been met with mixed reactions from both critics and fans over the years. Many point to the fact that these games are building on established franchises but take from those franchises rather than add to their legacies -- adding to the dearth of original content in the space.

Lack of New but Plenty of Nostalgia

But the real problem for many gamers and fans comes from the reliance of these companies on past IPs for mobile content rather than creating new properties for mobile platforms. The lack of new content seems to signal a gaming industry unwilling to take chances on a relatively young platform. 

Their fear of failure and aversion to losing money makes established IPs a better option for profitability, but it seems to hurt not only the legacies of these IPs but the companies as well, especially when it comes to integrity and the gaming fanbase. With so many indie games popping up on all platforms, it would be more beneficial and profitable for new games to be funded rather than using vintage characters for profitable nostalgia.

These revered companies seem to be falling behind in terms of innovation and influence in the mobile games market rather than taking the genre to new levels and pushing the boundaries like they did with consoles and handhelds. SEGA, Nintendo, and Sony have forgotten they helped shape the video gaming industry and now seem to follow trends rather than setting new ideas loose in the mobile arena.

What’s so Wrong With This?

Many complaints by fans come from the simplicity of idle games, especially in the case of Crazy Taxi. The words “generic” and “rip-off” come to mind when referring to the game. Plus, it’s not even a good idle game when compared to many others on the market right now.

Like other games, Crazy Taxi relies on in-app purchases increase in-game score. This component has left many fans of the series crying foul on SEGA. On top of in-app purchases, the game relies on another idle game trademark – game activity without the player. This quality leaves many idle games boring and bland, as one doesn’t even have to interact to level up or gain rewards. That seems very unsatisfying to the average gamer.

And for a series like Crazy Taxi, one that is inherently predicated upon action and movement and player interaction, it's nearly a sin to plunk it into the idle games genre. 

Better Future?

Hopefully, as the franchise-meets-idle game train rolls on, developers will start considering (more often) fan investment when creating these mobile versions of treasured franchises in the future. Or it’ll continue to look like a money ploy for them to cheat fans.

A Look at Outbuddies Early Access Build,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/36543ea1bfbebbd14d1932e0ef5cab1f.jpg v0c7o/a-look-at-outbuddies-early-access-build Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:36:42 -0400 Damien Smith

After playing an impressive demo of the upcoming Metroidvania title Outbuddies during its Kickstarter campaign, I was excited to see what more the game has to offer throughout its development. This week, developer Julian Laufer kindly gave me access to the early build of the game that is currently only available to backers of the Kickstarter campaign.

The latest build of the game doesn't offer a whole lot more gameplay than the demo, but it definitely gives a grand taste of what is to come -- along with a few changes here and there that improve the experience.

  • Note: This article covers an early build of Outbuddies and does not necessarily represent the finished product.

What's changed from the demo?

The demo of Outbuddies definitely did a great job of showing what the game is about, but the latest build gives a taste of what is to come throughout the game's development. So what has been done with the game since my last visit?

For starters, the new build gives players extra areas to explore, bringing them as far as the village of a friendly race of robed creatures that are very excited by your presence. It is teased that visiting the creatures and their village will be a regular thing throughout the game. These new areas almost double the amount of gameplay that the demo offered. 

Along with that, there has certainly been some refinement to the game overall, with small-yet-effective adjustments to both the visuals and the gameplay. New lighting has been added as well, making it easier to see clearly in darker areas.

The gameplay has been balanced a bit better, offering the player a charged attack for their weapon while dropping the droid's grenade attack for the moment. Doing this also makes the game a bit easier to follow and balances the combat more evenly.

The boss battle now has a health bar, so you know how close you are to defeating it -- giving the game a bit more of a polished feel in its more intense encounters. 

The latest build also gives a far better picture of how the gateways work, which allow you to transport from area to area throughout the world. Essentially different colored gateways require various forms of attacks to open. Blue, for example, needs to just simply be shot at -- while red requires a charged shot from your gun to open. These are the only two gateways currently present in the game, but I foresee plenty more in the future.

As I said, not a whole lot has changed from the demo of the game -- but there is no mistaking that the refinement and balancing which has been done gives the player a real feel of what is to come.

Heading in the right direction

Without a doubt, Outbuddies is heading in the right direction. It's already nailing the atmosphere with an uncomfortable and mysterious feel -- exactly what you would expect from a game with Lovecraftian influence. 

The combat is well-designed, balanced, and fun so far. Exploration and level design are nicely executed as well, allowing for easy access to all areas via shortcuts that allow you to return to previously explored areas in case you've missed any secrets.

It is clear that developer Julian Laufer knows what he is doing with the development of Outbuddies. The passion and love for Metroidvania titles is really obvious here, making it a great game for the fans of the genre.

Note: A copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this preview.

A Second Look at the Ridiculous Fun That is Cloudbase Prime,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/b/p/cbp-f216c.jpg ln836/a-second-look-at-the-ridiculous-fun-that-is-cloudbase-prime Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:50:35 -0400 Damien Smith

Back in March, I took a look at Floating Island Games' Early Access title Cloudbase Prime. It is a 3D platformer played from a first-person perspective with FPS elements. With the exception of the game's soundtrack and some sound effects, it is being solely developed by Tyrus Peace. 

In my last preview of the game, I really enjoyed my time with Cloudbase Primealong with its zany, over-the-top and often humorous characters and fun and balanced gameplay and mechanics. With numerous updates, one including the completion of the plot, I dive in once again to see how the game has come along since my last visit.

A Journey's End

One of the major features found in the updates since the last time I played Cloudbase Prime is the conclusion of the game's plot. Previously, only four out of the six worlds were present in the game.

Now with all of the levels present, I finally got to see the conclusion to the game's interesting and, at times, over-the-top plot. I won't be giving anything away, but what I will say is I was not disappointed. The ending chapters were actually more than I ever expected from Cloudbase Prime.

From a sudden and unexpected change to one of the most memorable final levels I have played in recent memory, it was simply nothing short of spectacular

What Else Has Changed Since the Last Visit?

The completion of the plot and levels is certainly the main highlight of the game's progression, but there have been other changes worth mentioning. First, the UI has had quite a working over since I last played. The menus are a lot more fluent and polished than they were before along with on-screen tutorial prompts being more plentiful and being more efficient than they were.

First, the UI has had quite a lot of work done to it since I last played. The menus are a lot more intuitive and polished than they were before, and the on-screen tutorial prompts are more plentiful and efficient than they previously were.

You are never confused during play, even as new mechanics are introduced. On top of that, prompts never get in your way or slow the game down. The biggest change in the UI is the weapons and abilities screen, which allows you to select the weapon or power of your choice with ease.

It uses a similar selection screen to that of DOOM, where the game goes into slow motion while you choose your weapon or ability. There has also been a booster implemented that gives you a short boost while gliding, making traversing levels a bit smoother. 

Alongside those changes, controller support has been added and a whole bevy of balancing and polishing has been done to the game. Cloudbase Prime was always a very enjoyable game, but the polishing and balancing have certainly helped bring that to a whole new level.

The New Levels are Awesome

The updates also introduce new levels that are separated into two additional worlds. Each world offers a gradual increase in difficulty that while challenging everything you have learned, are not unfair or overly difficult. They are reasonably balanced and there was never a point where I was stuck or repeatedly dying.

Overall, they are well designed, fitting, and most of all, fun to play while offering new challenges and obstacles. If you enjoyed the level design prior to these being implemented, then you are going to love these just as much.

Ridiculous, Over-the-Top, Hilarious and Simply Spectacular.

That is how I would describe Cloudbase Prime. It is a game that is ridiculous and over the top while being very self-aware of this. It is a game that shares many traits with the Portal series, but they are very different games despite this.

Its characters are equally silly and hilarious and provide you with enough comedy and humor to keep you chuckling from start to finish. I haven't had as good a laugh at a game since Portal 2 and that was quite some time ago. As for the ending, it is brilliantly designed and executed and it exceeded my expectations in every way.

It is amazing that this title has been made solely by one man. The level of quality, balance, and polish that the game is showing is nothing short of excellence. Cloudbase Prime does one thing that few games can, and that is it gives the player an experience they will always remember.

Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this preview.


A Second Look at Big Fat Alien's Roguelike FPS Rogue Islands,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-cc328.jpg 3jz3z/a-second-look-at-big-fat-aliens-roguelike-fps-rogue-islands Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:21:49 -0400 Damien Smith

It has been just a couple of weeks since I initially took a look at Big Fat Alien's roguelike Rogue Islands, which is currently on Steam Early Access. Since then, there have been updates to the game on a near daily basis, with the biggest gap between upgrades being no more than three days.

With so many updates in such a short period of time, I decided to take a look and see what new features have been added to the game along with how seeing just how far it has come since my last visit.

What Noteworthy Changes Have Been Made?

There have been quite a few changes to the general gameplay of the game throughout the many updates that have been applied in the recent weeks.

Magic Pools Now Work Differently

The first big change is how the various magic pools work. Previously, only the mana pool regenerated over time, while the other two pools, Adamant and Flamestone, needed to be mined to be recharged.

Now they operate in a similar fashion to the mana pool, where they regenerate over time and the maximum amount is increased by mining and collecting Adamant and Flamestone found in rock. 

This results in the increase of the magic pools per Adamant and Flamestone collected to be vastly lower than previous iterations, but it results in not needing to constantly mine more to use the spells of the two more powerful staves. It definitely works better from a gameplay standpoint and forces the player to only use the stronger spells when needed because of their slow recharge time.

Levitation has also had a big decrease in mana consumption, allowing for longer gliding time, reduced fall speed, and easier fall-avoidance. 

Tougher Enemies Now Appear Earlier

Another big change is that tougher enemies now spawn earlier in the game. Originally, Bone Knights only began to appear in the second biome, after defeating the first boss of the game, but now, they spawn as early as Level 4.

The same applies for the floating eye monster, which now spawns from the very beginning of the game. This change gives the earlier stages a much-needed difficulty increase, making them a bit more fun and interesting to play. 

While on the topic of monsters, my one criticism in my previous preview has been fixed: enemies are now far more challenging and unpredictable than they were before.

Hazards Can be Seen More Easily

Some hazards have also been adjusted a bit. The thistles have since had their color changed to black with orange flowers, allowing them to be seen easier. Before, they blended into the background where they were easily overlooked and run into.

Balancing, Bug Fixes, and Optimization

Apart from that, there has been quite a bit of balancing, bug fixing, and optimization done to the game to give it a much more polished feel to it. On top of that, the game doesn't need such high system requirement to play at a smooth frame rate. While 

While Rogue Islands has always been a fun experience, the new changes and adjustments really have improved the gameplay in many ways and really have brought the game to the next level.

What New Additions Have Been Implemented?

New Game Modes: Explorer, Nightmare, and Permadeath

Since my last preview, one of the new additions to the game is three difficulty modes. Originally, upon starting a new game, you would choose between different magic users with different gear, making the game harder or easier. Now there is an Explorer Mode (Easy), a Nightmare Mode (Medium) and a Permadeath Mode (Hard).

Explorer Mode is for those who want to play the game for the adventure of it, as well as the Minecraft elements. This mode provides a 40% decrease in enemy damage along with making Nightmares (extra lives) extremely easy to craft. It also lets players carry more supplies at one time.

Nightmare Mode still incorporates the Nightmare mechanic, but they are much more difficult to craft because not only do they require rarer materials, they also require more of those materials when compared to Explorer Mode. Along with that enemies do their normal amounts of damage.

As for Permadeath mode, it does exactly as it says on the tin. There are no Nightmares available and when you die, it is permanent: you'll have to start from the beginning.

On top of that, the game can now be played from start to finish because the story and presentation have now been fully implemented. The player also gets a final score at the end of the playthrough.

From those looking to simply take it easy and explore the world, to those looking for a challenge to the absolute masochistic of roguelike players. Rogue Islands now caters for all of them.

Scrolls of Teleportation

Along with that, there has been the introduction of the Scrolls of Teleportation, which allow the player to teleport to the safety of their ship if a battle turns against them -- or if nightfall is coming and they want to avoid the incorrigible Ghasts.


Achievements have now been implemented into Rogue Islands, for those who enjoy hunting for them. There is a good variety of them ranging from easy to obtain to more difficult ones but all are reasonable and very possible to complete.

A New Hazard

A brand new hazard has been introduced in the form of an exploding cave spike that drops from cave ceilings, which explodes upon hitting the floor, dealing splash damage. While easily spotted, they are dangerous to those who recklessly explore caves.

Level 3 Spells

All the spells in the game can now be upgraded to level 3, giving them new properties and boosts. Adding an extra level for spells really does bring in a whole new level of thought when planning and choosing your upgrades, making your decision ever more crucial.

Fog of War

The game now has fog of war, meaning the map is only revealed as you explore. However, this actually helps players because it allows them to see where they've already explored.  

New Quests

Finally, new quests have been added to the game that add variety to the game's levels. these quests make the levels feel unique and keeps them from feeling (sometimes) monotonous and bland.

A Perfect Example of How an Early Access Title Should be Done

I've played my fair share of Early Access titles on Steam over the years and none have come close to the standard that Big Fat Alien has presented. With a near-constant stream of updates and fixes, the game is constantly evolving and continuing to be polished and refined by the developers. It is how early access titles should be done!

As far as the changes and new additions to the game go, they have done nothing but improve the overall experience. While I had a lot of fun with the title during my first visit, I have to say that I have had so much more fun in my second. 

The level of dedication and passion from Rogue Islands' developer is second to none, and it really shows in the product, even at this in-development stage. If you interested in the game but wanted to wait until a later build before buying it, then there is no better time to get started than now.

Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this preview.


Metroid Should Be at the Top of Nintendo's List of Switch IPs,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-0d1d3.jpg lu2ds/metroid-should-be-at-the-top-of-nintendos-list-of-switch-ips Tue, 13 Jun 2017 10:10:18 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Nintendo is one of the most famed video game developers and publishers in the world. And the company only got that way by having a strong stable of historically great and influential IPs. For every Mario and Zelda that garners a ton of attention, there's a Star Fox or Kid Icarus. It is in this latter category that we find one of Nintendo’s most historically influential IPs: Metroid.

Previously I’ve talked about how Capcom has mistreated Mega Man in recent years, both by slapping us in the face with an unwanted cartoon and by neglecting to release new games in the series. I’ve also talked about how Konami has mistreated the Castlevania series in the last few years. However, you wouldn't know it, given their wanton disregard for these series in recent memory, series that were once the cornerstones of their respective publishers’ business strategies.

If you look back at the GBA era, you will find an embarrassment of riches for the Mega Man franchise. Similarly, Konami strongly supported the GBA and DS with two separate trios of great games that were in the same vein as Symphony of the Night. But this was never the case for Metroid. Looking over the timeline of the series' history reveals a drought of titles in spite of the quality and success the franchise has often celebrated.

However, before we do that we must establish that this is a symbiotic relationship; the Switch needs Metroid just as much as Metroid needs the Switch. This is thanks to the fact that, behind Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, there aren't many titles available for the Switch-- exclusive or otherwise.

Image courtesy of François Coutu

This is even more important thanks to the fact that Nintendo is no longer in sync with the cycles established by Sony and Microsoft. One of the big reasons that the Wii U failed was that it wasn't a significant upgrade over its competitors while being more expensive and having a significantly smaller library; something that the Switch also suffers from. While the Switch was not released as far into the PS4 and Xbox One life cycles as the Wii U was with the PS3 and Xbox 360, it's still three years and hundreds of titles behind the curve. 

Obtained from Wikipedia

There has been no shortage of great games from Nintendo in recent years. Excellent new IPs like Splatoon have popped up and gotten sequels. Meanwhile, older IPs have been given the chance to redefine themselves and truly shine, like Fire Emblem (which only recently received a new entry), or The Legend of Zelda (whose most recent entries have all bucked long-held trends in favor of experimentation and innovation).

But the only two Metroid games released since 2007’s Metroid Prime 3: Corruption were Metroid: Other M in 2010 and Metroid Prime: Federation Force in 2016. The former was an action game that tried and failed to revitalize the series. The latter was an online multiplayer FPS that had nothing in common with the Metroid series except for its name. After 30 years, there have only been 11 entries in the series (not counting a pinball game and a Prime collection for the Wii).

Federation Force Made Fans Look Favorably at Other M.

To understand exactly how much of a travesty Nintendo’s treatment of our titular Samus has been over the years, we need to put things into perspective. And there is perhaps no better way to do this than looking at the third entry in the series: Super Metroid.

At the time of its release, the series was already about eight years old. Keep in mind, this was in a day and age when publishers were generally pumping out sequels on an annual or biannual schedule. While Nintendo isn’t your average publisher, this slow approach holds true over the course of the series.

But this is neither here nor there because Super Metroid revolutionized video games. Its design was sleek and simple, yet complex and deep. The game’s quiet, somber -- yet alien -- world, combined with a stellar soundtrack, served to create an atmosphere that set a new bar for what people knew could be achieved through video games. Its controls were intuitive and tight.

Oh, and it helped pioneer its own subgenre -- which Castlevania: Symphony of the Night would later cement -- Metroidvania. This formula centers around players exploring a world that slowly becomes more and more open as they earn new gear or abilities that let them reach new areas, thus making previously inaccessible areas accessible.

We’ve seen this used and bastardized so much in modern times that we take it for granted. But in Super Metroid, you didn’t merely unlock items that allowed you to backtrack to previously barred-off locations. Instead, many of the items allowed you to navigate the world in completely different ways, like using the ice beam to freeze enemies, which then let you use them as platforms. In fact, Super Metroid has become infamous for all of the complex ability interweaving that lets you complete the game in myriad ways -- some the developers had never intended.

In spite of this, however, the game doesn’t break. Instead, its design masterfully withstands some of the deadliest challengers around, namely, players and time itself.

Super Metroid didn't just revolutionize the industry ...

It’s still the golden standard for its genre today.

But should this treatment really come as a surprise in retrospect? After Super Metroid’s 1994 release, we saw an eight-year hiatus for the series. Meanwhile, looking at releases following Mega Man 2 or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night -- those series’ respective groundbreaking titles -- reveals dedication to these key franchises after revolutionizing the industry. Finally, in 2002, Nintendo brought us the great Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime games.

Metroid Prime would be the series’ first foray into the realm of 3D. This was a full six years after Super Mario 64 and four years after Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mega Man Legends, and Castlevania 64, which all saw their respective series branch out into the third dimension successfully (Mario and Zelda), prosaically (Mega Man), and horrifically (Castlevania). That’s right, a full console generation after we were capable of pulling off 3D, Nintendo finally decided to make a 3D Metroid. We saw this repeat again last generation, as the Wii U -- like the Nintendo 64 before it -- also saw Nintendo skipping out on new Metroid titles.

Despite the Wait for and Expectations of a First-Person Metroid, the Metroid Prime Trilogy Delivered.

Metroid Prime joined a long line of titles before and after that proved that Nintendo was willing to take creative risks on series. Sometimes it pays off, like with the Metroid Prime trilogy, and sometimes it doesn't, like with Metroid: Other M. But it's precisely because of their propensity to innovate and challenge norms that it's been so surprising to see them push one of their most innovative series to the backburner. Does anyone really doubt Nintendo's ability to make another great entry in this series, whether it be 2D, 3D, or even something new like VR? 

If you didn’t already understand what makes Metroid great and the hardships of their fan base, then perhaps you now do. We need a new Metroid on the Nintendo Switch because we need to see a return to form for Metroid. We need a new Metroid because Metroid is as historically great as much as it is currently relevant. Because this series is underserved as much as the Switch itself in its infancy is also underserved. Because we need a new, genuine Metroid title just as much as we want genuinely good games.

So heed our call, Nintendo, and Make Metroid Great Again!

For Those Not in the Know: Who Is Yu Suzuki?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/y/u/s/yusuzuki610-692af.jpg hqcl2/for-those-not-in-the-know-who-is-yu-suzuki Mon, 12 Jun 2017 18:13:49 -0400 Klinestife

Yu Suzuki is one of the most highly regarded visionaries in the video game industry, being a common name in discussions about top game designers. Throughout his career, he's made many innovations that's pushed video games forward.

The man joined Sega back in 1983, when the video game industry was crashing, and started by simply producing arcade games. After two years of helping direct and program games, he created his first arcade game, Hang-On. At the time, it was one of the most impressive arcade games, with an arcade cabinet that consists of a handlebar and brake levers, simulating a real motorcycle.

Virtua Racing was his first trip into the world of 3D polygons. It had dynamic camera angles and let the player experience the game from four different camera angles. This was considered the first game with dynamic camera angles.

The next innovation he had was Virtua Fighter, which was the very first 3D fighting game. It had what some consider to be the deepest fighting engine ever. Virtua Fighter 2 upped the ante even more, with texture mapped characters and motion capture animation. It spawned a franchise that has stayed popular throughout the years. Virtua Fighter was considered impactful enough to earn a spot in the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology Innovation.

Virtua Fighter and Virtua Racing popularized 3d polygons, with their dynamic cameras and physics engines. Yu Suzuki continued to advance 3d graphics and gameplay, developing new arcade platforms as well as creating games for them.

The first major original title he directed for a home console was Shenmue, which contained an unprecedented level of graphical detail, story, environments, and multiple gameplay elements. The Shenmue series is considered by many to be his magnum opus.

However, after developing Shenmue 2 (which was similarly critically acclaimed), SEGA mysteriously didn't continue the franchise. It wasn't until he left Sega in 2009 and formed his own company that he could finally acquire the Shenmue license from SEGA and start gathering funding for it via Kickstarter.

The game has been in development for many years now. Not many know what comes after for Yu Suzuki, but his contributions to the growth of the industry is undeniable and should be respected.

Preview: Space Tyrant - Being Evil is so Much Fun,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-500d2.jpg iyb0m/preview-space-tyrant-being-evil-is-so-much-fun Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:37:11 -0400 Damien Smith

Just when I think the roguelike genre is beginning to slow down after an almighty month Blue Wizard Digital decide to join the mix with their latest in-development title Space Tyrant. Space Tyrant is a turn-based strategy, 5X (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand, eXterminate and eXsanguinate) game where the player controls an evil overlord embarking on a campaign of galactic domination.

Despite its early stage of development, with its addicting fast-paced strategic gameplay, dark humour, a multitude of sci-fi pop culture references and hours of content, it is shaping up to becoming a cracker of a title.

Push back the Galactic Senate at all costs

At the beginning of the game, you get to choose the race that you want to lead to victory. In my build, only one of the three were unlocked and so I chose to lead the Hoplite Dynasty, a race of buff, no-nonsense space marine bunnies in their quest for galactic domination.

Your sole purpose is to overthrow the Galactic Senate. only then will you be the crowned overlord of the galaxy. To do this you must prevent the Senate from gaining control of any of the three races sectors of space.

If they gain control. your reign of terror is over. Before embarking on a mission, the Senate will advance in a particular sector. Each sector has four squares in it with the fourth one having a skull and crossed bones as shown in the image above. If these boxes fill up with Senate ships, you will lose the sector and ultimately the game.

To prevent this from happening you must complete missions in the sector they are advancing into forcing them to retreat. On the bottom of the map screen is your commanders. You will only have one available to you, to begin with, but you can unlock more as you progress.

If you happen to fail a mission, the commander you chose will be executed. If you lose all your commanders, it will also be game over. Due to the game also being a roguelike it features permadeath resulting in death being permanent and the player will need to start from the beginning again.

Having permadeath in a strategy game may sound more of a burden that a positive feature but the fast-paced gameplay of the game stops this from being the case. It is a unique approach to a strategy game and one that is quite exhilarating as every mission and every turn within that mission is important. Just one deadly mistake can screw over your entire campaign if you are not careful.

As someone who isn't a very tactical or strategic individual, I know this will worry those in the same boat as me. But unlike most strategy games which can be merciless on difficulty at times, Space Tyrant is rather lenient in that regard. 

While it has its challenges to overcome, you don't need to be a strategic mastermind to conquer what the game has in store for you. You just need a basic understanding of strategy and an aggressive playstyle. If you can be aggressive, in your tactics, then you should be able to manage rather well with the game.

A grand mixture of elements that create addicting gameplay

Any fan of strategic video games will immediately see the many influences that Space Tyrant inspires from. Such influences include Sins of a Solar Empire and the Total War series just to name the two most obvious of them.

There isn't much that Space Tyrant doesn't have in it, from fast-paced turn-based combat to playable cards that give bonuses and additional abilities to equipable items for your commander at the start of each mission to unit upgrades and commander level ups. Blue Wizard Digital have really crammed the game with as much content as possible.

As for the core gameplay, you start each mission with your commander and his fleet of ships and your homeworld as you embark on your objective to victory. Each turn you can move your fleet to a new area and begin invading planets, research labs and so on to take them over to increase your financial and research income each turn.

Most areas will be guarded by other fleets be it one belonging to the race who own the sector or the Senate. Before you can invade and take over a location, you must first defeat the fleet. After the defending fleet is destroyed, you can then begin invading.

Invading takes the form of a dice roll, where the number of the dice represents how much damage you do to the defences. Only once the defences reach zero, will the planet be under your control. Any planet or lab you own can be oppressed by the fleet in its area at the cost of a turn to increase the income from it. This is useful in times of financial or research emergency. You can also buy new ships for your fleet at any place under your rule.

After capturing a planet or base, your troops will explore it where a random event sometimes takes place. During these events, you will be given multiple options to choose from, some of which are unlocked until you gain traits from other events. The outcome of your decision is also random, and can sometimes lead to a good consequence, a bad one or at times a neutral one.

As for actual battles, they are automatic, though the player does have control over the fleets powers, with each unit having its own unique abilities. At the beginning of each battle, you get to choose from three special abilities options, that can be used only once in the battle. Using it and your units abilities at the right time can really turn the table of a battle.

At the end of each turn, the player is automatically drawn a card from the deck. These cards come in all shapes, forms and powers that grant you an advantage. They require crystals to use and how many you have are determined by how many crystals you own on the map.

So yes, there is a whole bunch of features and elements involved with the gameplay. Indeed when a developer attempts to cram in so much content it can easily backfire on them, but here it isn't the case. Every little feature of Space Tyrant has been so carefully planned, designed and executed, that all its elements join together in harmony to create an amazingly addicting experience.

The combat is simple yet very effective and fast paced. Each of the cards offers a distinctive advantage and are well balanced in both power and their cost to use them. The equipable items for your commander at the start of each level adds a whole new level of tactics as which items you should use depends on what is available to you and the objective and circumstances of the mission.

While invading may seem based on luck due to the dice roll there is a certain amount of strategy behind it thanks to the cards and being able to capture barracks that add an extra dice to your invading roll. It is a game that packed fun of content, but even in this early stage of development, is well balanced, fun and most of all fair.

Even the most inexperienced strategy gamers can easily get into Space Tyrant, thanks to its short yet effective tutorial screens and slow climb in difficulty.

A love letter to everything sci-fi culture

Blue Wizard Digitals previous title Slayaway Camp was very much a love letter to slasher movies, particularly those of the 80s. Space Tyrant follows this trend but this time it is a love letter to everything sci-fi. Throughout the game, those familiar with sci-fi pop culture will begin to see the many references, parodies and inspirations the game contains.

To name a few, there is without a doubt influence from Futurama with the Techno Slugs having a similar design to the Slurm slugs, the Hoplite Dynasty are very similar to the space marines from Starcraft except they are rabbits and my favourite the two Scutter droids from the Red Dwarf series also make an appearance.

And no doubt there are much more than I simply just having noticed with the sci-fi genre not being my most knowledgeable. If you are a fan of everything sci-fi particularly pop culture, you are bound to find your fair share of humorous moments.

Being Evil has never been so much fun

While there are a fair few games where you play an evil overlord hell-bent on absolute conquest, I honestly haven't had this much fun since the days of Dungeon Keeper. Space Tyrant is such an over the top game that really doesn't take itself seriously leading to there being plenty of humorous and chuckle filled moments.

Few games that have so many elements to them and execute them with the elegance that Space Tyrant does. It is a game that is brimming with personality, charm and most of all utter love. If this is the quality that Blue Wizard Digital are presenting at such an early stage of development, I can't wait to see what more they have in store as the game progresses.

The game is scheduled to release on Steam Early Access at some point next month. If you are a fan of turn-based strategy games or simply love the sci-fi genre, then Space Tyrant is definitely a game you need to keep an eye out for.

Disclaimer: A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.




4 Reasons Why Skyrim Is Still The Most Relevant RPG Right Now,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/y/skyrim-header-208ee.jpg 8zr8d/4-reasons-why-skyrim-is-still-the-most-relevant-rpg-right-now Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:46:35 -0400 Samuel Smith

On November 11, 2011, Skyrim was released to the world. Selling over 3 million copies within just the first few days of release, Bethesda's latest entry in the Elder Scrolls series was an instant success.

Perhaps the greater success, though, has been Skyrim's ability to stay relevant over half a decade later. Continuing to attract media attention, extra playthroughs and even first-time players -- all while fostering an ever-thriving modding community -- this is an achievement that few games can muster. But how did Skyrim manage to pull this off? Let's find out.

Additional Content (2012-2013 & 2016)

Like most modern day titles, the early longevity of Skyrim was bolstered with additional content that expanded on its story and mechanics. In a similar manner to Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Bethesda was quick to release extra content for Skyrim in the form of Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn to augment the game's universe in the first year after its release.

While some of the add-ons did not receive particularly favorable reviews, the extra year of content kept Skyrim in the headlines. More recently in 2016, the repackaged Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition included all of these add-ons, along with other updates to once again keep Skyrim front and center.

Community Mods (2011 - 2016)

The first step for most people to extend their Skyrim journey even further is using various mods created by the community. Be it core gameplay changes, visual enhancements, or once-off laughs that turn all the dragons, the huge number of mods continues to grow and develop -- enhancing the game beyond its original experience.

While the aforementioned Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition has made some of the visual mods obsolete, there are still a large number of useful mods available that add new quests, extra locations, alternative starting stories, alternative enemy types, more weapons, NPC alterations and combat changes. And there's no sign of it slowing down any time soon -- Skyrim mods are here to stay.

The Witcher 3 Release (2015)

There is no such thing as bad press -- and the release of The Witcher 3 was not all bad for the nearly-4-year-old Skyrim. Despite being an amazing game in its own right and better than Skyrim in many ways, the success of The Witcher 3 drew instant comparisons to Skyrim, allowing Bethesda's acclaimed RPG to once again revive itself in gaming forums and media headlines.

Having The Witcher 3 invoke similar feelings to Skyrim made many gamers (including myself) return to this snowy corner of Tamriel after finishing Geralt's adventures (approximately 100 hours later).

Nintendo Switch (2017)

The only thing better than playing Skyrim at home on your PC, Xbox, or PlayStation is being able to play it on the go on your new fancy Nintendo Switch. Marked for a release in Fall 2017, Skyrim once again dominated YouTube, forums, and the media upon the announcement it would be available to Nintendo's new console.

Many gamers will no doubt be grabbing a copy of Bethesda's classic to play on the train, plane, or simply away from home -- reliving the experience all over again.

These are just a few of the dozens of factors that have kept Skyrim relevant while other games have come and gone through the years since its release. There are many more we could list here, and we're certain that there will be more in the future that keeps this game relevant until The Elder Scrolls VI is finally announced. 

How many times have you played through Skyrim? What other factors do you think have contributed to its continued popularity in the gaming community? Let me know in the comments below!

Intro Indie: Band Together to Survive in the World of Pantropy,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/50825021495fe6269df5e9ff4a8faaee.jpg fm96r/intro-indie-band-together-to-survive-in-the-world-of-pantropy Fri, 02 Jun 2017 11:31:29 -0400 ESpalding

Competition in the realm of MMO games is strong, but a new indie game is aiming to make a name for itself with its unique take on multiplayer games.

Pantropy is the brainchild of Brain Stone, an indie studio from Germany, and is currently looking for your votes on Steam Greenlight. It's a sci-fi MMO that combines FPS with elements of RPG to create a game that will no doubt have you locked in at your PC for a very long time.

Teamwork is key to survival

Players start on the outskirts of an island on the alien world of Pantropy alone, and with only a few resources to build a shelter to provide some protection. As you venture further into the island to gather more resources, the creatures and landscape become harsher -- but that's where the best loot and higher quality materials are, so you need to figure out a way of getting to them. This is where the multiplayer kicks in. There are a number of factions on the island who would gladly have you join their ranks to face the world together.

Other than the creatures already inhabiting the planet, your main enemy is a biomechanical faction whose sole aim is to conquer the map. Working with your faction, your main aim will be to take them down by destroying their main base and taking down their command center.

The game includes lots of interesting features, such as:

  • An in-depth crafting and building system
  • Automated farming so you don't have worry about your crops
  • An "anti-raid" system that prevents your base from being raided by other players while you're offline
  • 20 weapons to craft
  • 5 mechs
  • Multiple biomes with all manner of unique flora and fauna
  • In-depth XP system and tier rewards

You might be forgiven for missing this Pantropy giant

The game's developers are aiming to have Pantropy released on Early Access late in 2017, with a general release tentatively planned for 2018. There is currently no news on when alpha testing begins -- but once the game has been through Greenlight, followers will be able to find out more.

If you want to give your vote to Pantropy, you can head to the game's Greenlight page where there are lots more stills and gameplay video to whet your appetite. One you're done checking it out, make sure you come back to GameSkinny to find out more information on this game and other awesome indie games!

Children Can Learn Coding While Gaming: Tommy The Turtle,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screen520x924-c522a.jpeg 3e1qc/children-can-learn-coding-while-gaming-tommy-the-turtle Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:57:01 -0400 Angelica Dimson

Now that gaming has grown to be a large part of pop culture, there seems to be more and more games that introduce programming concepts (I'm looking at you, Little Big Planet 2, with your 'and' / 'or' gates). 

To that end, Zyrobotics (an e-learning company) recently released Tommy The Turtle -- an interactive educational game that teaches young children coding. According to the app's page on iTunes, it teaches kids how to do this by using an interface of simple commands to make Tommy move, dance, or sing. They even implement a challenge mode to test kids' coding abilities.

There is also voice guidance to help kids better understand a task and 3-D animated graphics, with cute animals acting as animated tutors -- like a more adorable version of Clippit.

The best part is that it is free to play, and there are no in-app purchases or advertisements.

Although it says this game is made for kids between the ages of 6-8, Zyrobatics says kids of all ages can learn programming. Maybe I'll give it a shot, so I can finally understand 'and' and 'or' gates.

Preview: Monolith - The Binding of Isaac Meets The Shoot' em up Genre,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-80076.jpg em2l6/preview-monolith-the-binding-of-isaac-meets-the-shoot-em-up-genre Wed, 31 May 2017 16:58:23 -0400 Damien Smith

The recent surge of roguelike titles that has washed over Steam these past few weeks is quite incredible. Between Rogue Islands, Caveblazers, Oafmatch with its roguelike mode, and now Monolith I have been on quite a roguelike adventure as of late.

Monolith is being developed and published by indie developer Team D-13 and is scheduled for release June 7th on Steam for PC. It's a roguelike that combines the level design and mechanics of The Binding of Isaac with shoot'em up gameplay.

What we get is a unique take on a classic formula that brings a good dose of content with a tremendous amount of fun. Despite the impressive quality of the roguelike games I have played recently, Monolith stands as one of my favorite titles in the genre this year.

Disclaimer: This preview covers an in-development build of the game and does not represent a finished or complete product.

Descending into the depths of a long-abandoned facility

In Monolith you take control of a little ship as it attempts to battle its way to the depth of a long-abandoned facility in search of wealth, power and scattered pieces of the past. Descending into the facility works in similar fashion to The Binding of Isaac, where the player must go from room to room and clear out all enemies before being able to progress to the next.

In order to delve deeper into the facility, the player must take on one of the many varying bosses that the game has. The difference between TBoI and Monolith, however, is that the player must first destroy the Nimbus (minibosses) on the floor before being able to fight the boss. 

Throughout your travels, you uncover secret areas with power-ups, purchase items from shady merchants, receive upgrades and unlock vaults containing treasures and lost technology, all done in similar fashion to TBoI. As for the shoot'em up gameplay, this is pretty much what you would expect from the genre.

The combat of the game is fast paced, with room-filling projectiles to dodge as they are fired left, right and center by the enemy -- and with you firing back. To help you avoid enemy fire you can dash a short distance. This is useful for making your way to an area close to you that isn't full of enemy bullets.

There is no mistaking The Binding of Isaac's influence in the design of Monolith but that doesn't mean its gameplay isn't fun. It is much faster paced and more action packed, catering to those with an itchy trigger finger. This is even more evident with the ability to instantly teleport to any room you have already cleared using your map, putting a stop to prolonged backtracking.

Monolith may look like a complete clone of the game from which it draws inspiration. But once you really get into the game and see what lays beneath its covers, you begin to see the difference between the two and where it really shines.


Where the game gains its own identity 

The most glaring feature that separates Monolith from TBoI is that the combat is in the form of a shoot'em up. Just like the many games of the genre, you can expect there to be numerous powerful -- and at times outright crazy -- weapons to wield.

Essentially there are a number of different weapons that function in a particular manner, such as Revolver, Vulcan and Laser. The revolver, for example, fires a number of rounds before needing to reload. The Vulcan is a constant rapid firing weapon. And the laser is a short burst weapon.

When you find one of these weapons, they have a number of randomly generated properties added to them, that causes them to act differently. For example, a laser weapon could have three beams that each bounce off walls as opposed to just one single beam, or the Vulcan can turn into a Gatling gun that then spreads into multiple bullets upon impact.

Technically speaking there are only a handful of weapons, but with the many properties that are applied to them, you have a massive array of different weapons at your disposal. The best thing of all is that you never really know just what kind of weapon you are going to end up using, and each changes up the gameplay considerably.

Another major difference in Monolith is that you receive money (aka debris) by defeating enemies. This can then be used to buy additional supplies from shops found throughout each of the levels. How much debris you gain from an enemy depends on your multiplier at the top of the screen.

You gain 0.1 per enemy killed, up to a maximum of 2.5. If you are hit the multiplier is lowered by 1.0. This mechanic rewards the player for their skill and ability to progress while keeping health loss to a minimum. Not only that, but it allows for more purchases in the shops -- giving the player even more advantages throughout the playthrough.

Any money you come across is also placed in your bank, which can then be used to unlock new upgrades and weapon modifications from an orange cat at the start of each playthrough. These unlockables add even more gameplay changes, to make each run different from the others.

The final thing that really gives Monolith its own identity is the whole atmosphere and theme of the game. While TBoI is dark and disturbing, Monolith is a lot more joyful and light-hearted -- even when facing off against the more horrifying bosses.

Once you have looked deeper than how the game first appears, you do find something really different and unique that can only be compared to its inspiration in a few minor ways.

Difficult but fair

As you would expect from a roguelike game, Monolith isn't a title that caters to more casual gamers. In fact, it is probably one of the most difficult titles in the genre right now, but that doesn't mean it isn't fair.

With its shoot'em up gameplay, the sheer amount of enemy fire you need to avoid in Monolith is at times quite ludicrous. Unless you have the superpower of bullet time you will be taking damage, especially in the boss fights.

But with all that said, the game does give more than enough supplies to the player, particularly if they are clever about how they go about things and use ship upgrades to their advantage.

As can be expected, the game's RNG does make you slightly stronger at times, and slightly weaker at others. But unlike a lot of titles, there isn't as much of a gap where you become a powerhouse or so weak it would be best to just end the run. No matter the situation, there is always a possibility to win -- it just depends on your experience and skill with the game. So yes, it is a difficult game, but a fair one.

One of the most fun roguelikes this year

It really has been a busy year in the roguelike genre, but I can say with utmost confidence that Monolith is one of the most fun of the many titles that have been released so far this year. With so many crazy weapon combinations, a wonderful cast of enemies and bosses, good in-game balance, and an awesome soundtrack, there really isn't much to not like about the game.

Sure there are a few tweaks that could be made here and there before the game releases, but nothing worth mentioning. If you love roguelikes, you will love this game. And if you enjoy shoot'em ups, you will enjoy Monolith also. But if difficult games that require quick reflexes and have tons of bullets coming at you all the time aren't for you, then the chances are you will not have fun with this.

Monolith will be available to buy on Steam June 7th.

Note: A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview.

Interview with Twitch Producer, and Host of IndieLP: Mary Kish,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/x/maxresdefault-9bb6d.jpg jvlws/interview-with-twitch-producer-and-host-of-indielp-mary-kish Mon, 29 May 2017 22:47:02 -0400 Erroll Maas

Mary Kish is becoming a fairly well-known name in the gaming industry. She was formerly a senior editor for GameSpot, the second largest gaming news site in the world. In January of this year, Mary took a job as a content producer for Twitch, but still continues to produce some content for GameSpot.

On Twitch, Mary hosts her own live stream called IndieLP on Monday nights, in which she plays recently released indie games and interacts with the audience via Twitch chat -- and sometimes you may get to see Mary's adorable dog, Simone, depending on his mood. Mary also has a brand new Twitch show called FreshStock, which examines sneaker culture.

Over at GameSpot, Mary continues to produce and co-host Resident Kinevil with Mike Mahardy, a two-person let's play type of show in which Mary plays through the Resident Evil games while Mike helps -- or doesn't. Most recently, they started playing Resident Evil 5 together. 

Mary was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to allow me to interview her about indie games and Resident Evil. Full Q & A below.

Erroll Maas: What originally inspired you to work in games media?

Mary Kish: I was a video editor, making trailers for a Wii Publisher right after college. We started working with a few independent developers to help publish their titles. I played a lot of incredible indie games like Auditorium and Vessel. These games are innovative and beautiful, and I wanted to help bring to light other interesting self published titles.

I made my own company called IndieViddy, where I worked on trailers for indie games. I did this for several years, where I sent my trailers to games media companies like Polygon and GameSpot. At some point, a friend at GameSpot asked if I wanted to work for them during E3, and my life dramatically changed.

EM: What inspired you to produce IndieLP?

MK: Pretty similar to the first answer! I love all games, but my heart is in indie games, so I’ve constantly tried to do content around them. That can be really hard at a AAA games coverage site like GameSpot. They cover all games, but I would get pretty overwhelmed with the work load as it was, then adding a smaller title on top would get pretty tiring.

I decided to make time in my evenings by streaming them. Anna Prosser from Twitch has a channel dedicated to positivity called MissCliks, the whole thing seemed like a good fit -- thus IndieLP was born.

EM: IndieLP has a smaller fan community than other Twitch streams, although you always welcome new fans. Are you glad it's not as chaotic in the chat as other streams tend to be, or would you prefer a much bigger audience?

MK: I love my audience and core fan base. They know me and I know them. I like them the most and I’m so grateful to have a group of individuals that are as interested in indies as I am. Of course I would love to get these games seen by more people, that’s why I stream after all! I want to get the word out, people should play these titles.

EM:What was your favorite indie game of 2016 and why?

MK: Stardew Valley! What a brilliant game created by developer Eric Barone. I was fully immersed in this small farming community, from learning how to grow crops, fishing, mining and meeting the town’s people, there was always something for me to do, and I loved every minute of that game.

EM: Favorite indie game of 2017 so far and why?

MK: Currently it’s Night in the Woods for its engrossing story and believable characters. It’s always difficult for people to believe that’s what teens talk like, so many movies and shows get them wrong. But Night in the Woods really nails the mix of passion, apathy and intrigue that make up teenagers.

Next up would be Rain World, for completely different reasons. It’s beautiful and the movement is fluid and fun to play. I love Rain World.

EM: Is there anything you're particularly excited to see or play during E3?

MK: I hope I get to hear about Borderlands 3. Big fan of couch co-op games and Borderlands does it so well. Well written stories and characters, hilarious dialog, shit ton of guns. All the things I want to have a good time.

EM: You also still co-host Resident Kinevil on GameSpot with Mike Mahardy -- what inspired that?

MK: I made a promise and I intend to keep it. I like Resident Evil games, I want to play them all. Mike was very supportive of that idea and he’s been super helpful to get me through the games (most of the time). I also enjoy his company, and after I left GameSpot it was really nice to return and play some games.

EM: Is there a particular reason why the episode lengths are up to an hour or two rather than the easier to watch 10 to 20 minute segments seen on other game channels?

MK: Well it started as necessity. In the original Resident Evils we only had so many ink ribbons to save, so we had to go about an hour before using them or we’d run out. Now it’s kind of the system of the series to go about an hour or so, might as well keep it up.

EM: Would you ever consider producing a separate series focusing on indie horror games, since there are a number of titles available now?

MK: Oh wow that’s a sweet idea. I do love some great indie horrors, Soma, Amnesia, Albino Lullaby. I’d definitely do it!

EM: Do you have any specific advice for people who want to work for sites like GameSpot or Twitch?

MK: Before I even considered making a go at working at GameSpot I was making videos. I was making trailers for indie games and talking about them. If people want to break in, I suggest they start immediately. Have a Youtube channel or stream on Twitch regularly.

Get in the habit of talking about games. Hell, in today’s world you don’t need to work at a site like GameSpot or Twitch to make a living in video games. My advice is BE DIFFERENT. Twitch has thousands of variety game broadcasters. We only have one Futureman, or ManVSGame.

Find a niche, find something that makes you stand out and run with it.

I'd like to thank Mary for taking to time out of her busy schedule to sit down and chat with me. To keep up with her work at GameSpot and her IndieLP series, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch!

Interview with Jasmine Ritchie CEO of Big Fat Alien and Designer of Rogue Islands,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/5/5/955927d7c57ed0c.jpg y86xr/interview-with-jasmine-ritchie-ceo-of-big-fat-alien-and-designer-of-rogue-islands Fri, 26 May 2017 12:46:46 -0400 Damien Smith

This week, we got the opportunity to interview Jasmine Ritchie, the CEO of indie developer Big Fat Alien and designer of their latest title, Rogue Islands, a roguelike FPS currently on Steam Early Access.

In the game, players take on the role of a Gnome who sets out to save the world from The Corruption by destroying the five Lords of Torment. It is a game that combines the visuals and mechanics of Minecraft with the fast paced action and gameplay of Ziggurat.

Throughout the interview, we discuss how Rogue Islands came to be, along with what is planned the game in the future.

GameSkinny: Rogue Islands is a game where plot and backstory take a backseat, while gameplay is the primary focus. For those looking for more details and information on the world and its creatures, will there be a journal or codex that players can unlock and read to their heart's content?

Jasmine Ritchie: We don't plan on having a journal, but we will probably do a wiki-style codex online. Any player who has been through several attempts [of Rogue Islands] will have the chance to see the story points multiple times. At some point, we'll probably compile the story as well.

GS: What can players expect to experience in the Hardcore/Hard game mode when it is implemented into the game?

JR: We've had feedback requesting a more beginner-friendly experience. So we added "Explorer Mode". This allows the player to easily craft nightmares where they take 25% less damage. This eases the pressure for those who just want to explore and enjoy the game's atmosphere.

Still, though, you can only carry two nightmares at once, and [the game] will delete your save game if you die without a Nightmare in your possession. Nightmare Mode will allow the player to store only one nightmare at a time and crafting them is much more difficult. Permadeath Mode will erase the player's saved game upon death.

You cannot gain Nightmares by any means in Permadeath mode. This is the true "Rogue" mode. Most Steam achievements will be limited to this mode. There will be a special Steam achievement for beating the game on each Explorer, Nightmare, and Permadeath Modes. 

GS: What kind of side effects are you planning on introducing to the food items in the game?

JR: We've just added passive effects in a recent update -- v.39 -- which are Hunger, Traumatised, and Poisoned. The Hunger effect will kick in when your stomach is empty and causes several detrimental effects; slower movement, no levitation, and you constantly lose health.

On top of keeping you from dying, certain foods can now cure poison and trauma. The rare Bloodcap will restore full health instantly! Or eat a Puffed Bean before jumping from a mountain top and take zero fall damage! The full range of food effects I'll leave for players to explore. 

GS: One of the stretch goals for Rogue Islands is a Creative Mode. If and when this is implemented into the game, what will players be able to do with it?

JR: We worked hard to make Rogue Islands beautiful and atmospheric. The creative mode, we imagined, would turn off the AIs and environmental hazards to have an actually relaxing place to explore and, of course, build what you like by adding and removing blocks.

You'll be able to start from any biome you've unlocked in the single-player campaign and build within that. You'll also be able to save and share your custom islands with others.

GS: The second stretch goal of Rogue Islands is online Co-Op Multiplayer. Could you explain how this mode would work, should it be implemented into the game at a later date?

JR: We hope to make online co-op, as well as a LAN, an option. We've always imagined Rogue Islands would be a very fun place to explore with a friend. Heck, we want to play together and with our kids someday. Co-operative multiplayer has a lot of potential in a game like Rogue Islands.

GS: The enemies and the game's AI are currently at 50% in progression. How will the enemies differ from now to when they are complete?

JR: We've just updated the roadmap; enemies are now at 80% progression. The completion of enemies will be when they are fully balanced and challenging to fight. Early in the game, we want players to feel like it is ok, maybe even necessary, to run away from a tough fight.

Later on, when you have upgraded a player, players should be able to have fun yet challenging battles. Our process of development is very fluid and we change things constantly!

GS: What kind of new quests can players expect to embark on throughout the game's development?

JR: Nothing is nailed down right now. We watch what players are doing on Youtube and Twitch and base our modifications on that. 

We take the early access players feedback to heart and listen to what they like and don't like. We added the demon portal quest as a response to some early critique about the first island not having enough to do. There will be more side quests in the future to help add variety.

GS: Originally, Rogue Islands was intended on being a whole different game called “Radium,” which was a sci-fi mining game. How did Radium evolve into what is now Rogue Islands?

JR: Our original concept had the player piloting a small spacecraft between large, randomly generated meteors and foraging for supplies. With gathered supplies, the player could craft upgrades for the ship and themselves. Travelling between meteors would be dangerous and we wanted to design space battles as a mini game between them. 

Ultimately, we found the sci-fi theme to be too limiting. There are so many cool gameplay ideas that work better, thematically, if you're coming from a fantasy perspective. I think the environments we have now are a lot more colourful and full of life than they would have been in a space game.

GS: On the development roadmap for Rogue Islands, there are a number of interestingly named enemies that are yet to be implemented. The Shambler and Thorny being particular names of interest. Could you tell us a bit about them?

JR: On the roadmap, enemies and hazards are listed together. We want hazards to be a big part of the game and we are adding more now. It's not just about being powerful enough to beat enemies. We want players to be constantly on the lookout and on the move. All the enemies waiting to be built are just concepts for now and we will keep their attacks a surprise for unsuspecting players! 

GS: With a call for more variety from the community, which was introduced in the V.39 patch, are there any more plans for even further variety to be included in the game throughout development? 

JR: We are going to pack all we can into this single player experience. With the eventual goal being that each island is absolutely packed with a unique mixture of hazards and enemies :)


It is clear that there is a huge amount of creativity, imagination, passion, and dedication that's gone into Rogue Islands. At its core, Rogue Islands is a game that caters to both FPS fans and roguelike fans alike. 

Rogue Islands currently available on Steam under the Early Access program. There is currently no date for a full release, but the game is planned to release at some point this year.

GameSkinny would like to thank Jasmine for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish her and the rest of the team the very best of luck with Rogue Islands.

Final Fantasy XIV: Changes to Jobs in the Stormblood Expansion,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/f/x/ffxivstormblood3-bd716.jpg 232f7/final-fantasy-xiv-changes-to-jobs-in-the-stormblood-expansion Fri, 26 May 2017 12:19:08 -0400 Tinh Nguyen (Tinhn778)

Yesterday, Final Fantasy XIV held its 36th Live Letter in Hamburg, Germany. Live Letter XXXVI was hosted by Naoki Yoshida (Producer), and Toshio Murouchi aka “Foxclon” (Community Manager), along with a community translator. There was a lot of new information for players this time around -- but the biggest reveal was changes to jobs coming in the new Stormblood expansion.

Let's go over what those changes are going to be, and what new job functions you can expect from the Stormblood expansion when it launches on June 20th.

Goodbye Cross-Class Skills, Hello Role Action

A major problem regarding character progression and actions is the fact that you need to level other classes to play your main job to its fullest -- which in some cases is a mandatory chore.

To fix this, cross-class skills have been removed altogether and will be replaced with Role Actions. These are split into four categories: Tank, Melee, Ranged, and Healer. Now players don’t have to level up classes they don’t want to play.

With the addition of Role Action and changes to Job Action (which we’ll get back to), Yoshida said that one of the first things you'll do when starting the Stormblood expansion is remap your hotbar.

Streamlining the Hotbar with Role Actions

Like the Cross-Class Skills, Unused/Underused Actions are completely removed. Instead they will be merging and creating new Role Actions.

Spell related actions will be automatically updated as you level. For example, Stone 1 > Stone 2 > Stone 3 > Stone 4 will all fit in one slot on the hotbar. Other skills with multiple tiers will be combined as well, such as Thunder 1 and Thunder 3.

Whether you're using a controller and the standard mouse & keyboard setup, these changes should make it less overwhelming to perform actions. These action changes may make this iteration of FFXIV feel like a new game to master, which is exciting after four years of the same combat system.

Stylized Ability Gauges/HUD

There are a lot of things to manage during combat – self and party HP, boss abilities, AOE indicators, buffs/debuffs, etc. The FFXIV development team wanted to make tracking these elements less of an eyesore, and make buffs more pleasing both in management and aesthetic.

With Stormblood, every job will have its own unique gauge. These gauges are meant to be visual cues regarding your character's stance and numerical buffs. Simplified versions of the Job Gauges are still under construction, and the developers want feedback from players on how to improve them. 


Keeping up with buffs during combat has always been difficult -- especially when using controllers. But the UI changes coming in Stormblood are looking to fix that. Soon, buffs will not be hidden away, and you'll see them clearly in every combat situation.

To see how all these changes to jobs, actions, and HUD actually look in-game, check out the trailer above! Just keep in mind that the footage may not be totally representative of the finished version of the upcoming expansion.

Major Changes to Attributes

Attributes have a varying degree of impact on the actual gameplay in FFXIV, and tend to matter a lot more in raids than they do in other parts of the game. But the Stormblood expansion will be rebalancing and replacing a number of attributes. 


Accuracy is being replaced with Direct Hit Rate, which can only be used by DPS Jobs. Players now have a 100% hit rate (Front), 110% (Flank), and 120% (Rear) at equal or higher level than the enemy. The flank and rears have a higher percentage because of the debuffs that might occur in battle.

Direct Hit Rate also gives a higher percentage chance to land a critical action. Those critical actions aren't as strong as critical hits, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a critical action land a critical hit. Executing this will add additional critical bonus on the original crit action.


Parry is going to be replaced by Tenacity, which is only available to Tank jobs. Parry was the most useless stat in FFXIV. It grants players the ability to mitigate 20% of all physical damage, which sounds great. But when every boss does magical damage, it's not a very helpful attribute to have.

With the addition of Tenacity, tanks now have increased damage and increased reduction of incoming damage. Parries are still possible, but you won't be able to progress them as a stat with your gear.


Available only to healers, this stat's main advantage is the increase in max MP. Piety isn't getting a replacement, but it is changing from a Main Attribute to a Sub Attribute. So there will be room for more flexibility in terms of how to spec your healing characters based on your combat style.

These tweaks to the Sub Attributes provides a different feel to all jobs. Now tanks can do more damage while still having the tank stats, and DPS classes will be even more hard-hitting than before. With the addition of Direct Hit Rate, DPS can land more critical hits. Changes like these make more stats matter in a meaningful way, and could even provide some extra diversity to the jobs.


Live Letter XXXVI was an excellent information dump on the Stormblood expansion. Seeing the new changes to the jobs and all the existing issues in FFXIV has me just as excited as I was for the Heavensward expansion. These types of changes cater to new players, but give, current players a new “thing” to work towards.

FFXIV: Stormblood will release on June 20th. For those who pre-ordered the expansion, early access to its content will begin on the two-year anniversary of Heavensward -- June 16th.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more updates and guide content as the Stormblood expansion draws closer to launch!

An Interview with HelloGreedo,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e124956f142ee5a11edb899bb3d21744.jpg 9smnx/an-interview-with-hellogreedo Thu, 25 May 2017 14:02:00 -0400 Nick Lee

When it come to Star Wars on YouTube, there's only mask-wearing content creator that takes the hardest issues head on. From lore to discussing the creative minds behind the scenes, HelloGreedo covers tons and tons and tons of Star Wars

Recently, the masked emcee has been conducting more and more live question and answer sessions, giving more fans the opportunity to interact with him as he learns more about a galaxy far, far away -- and explores the intricacies of what makes it tick. 

Star Wars gaming may very well be on hold until EA Play in a few weeks, but that doesn't mean there aren't lingering questions from each and every Star Wars fan: Where are all the Star Wars games? To find out HelloGreedo's take, we recently sat down with him for an hour long.

you can read the transcript provided below or watch the following video to see what he had to say. 

Next In Star Wars Gaming 

When we asked HelloGreedo what EA and other game studios making Star Wars video games should do with the franchise, HelloGreedo said he'd love to see a return to more unique and open worlds. Although something that's typically found in RPGs like The Elder Scrolls Series, world building is often an overlooked and under-developed aspect of many Star Wars games on the market today. 

HG: Like an open world Skyrim, Oblivion, or Morrowind kind of thing. That would be kinda' my dream game right now, where you get to pick your path and profession. My all-time favorite Star Wars game is Star Wars Galaxies. What I loved about [the game] is that you weren't just playing Star Wars, you weren't just running around swinging lightsabers and shooting blasters. You were actually living in the universe, like you could be a doctor and all these random professions.

That kind of stuff; living, as opposed to running and gunning with a blaster. While that is fun, I want to experience a more broad look at the universe.

Of course, most gamers want expansion options, but many are often concerned that the progress of Star Wars gaming will be held back by EA (and their notorious decision-making process). Currently, EA holds the exclusive rights to create Star Wars games. And while it so far seems that the universe will have an FPS focus for the short term and stay in EA's hands, much to the ire of many SW fans, HelloGreedo doesn't understand the disdain for the company and the work they've done.  

HG: Every time I post a video about Battlefront -- or any Star Wars game videos -- that's the first comment. It's crazy. 'Why are you buying Battlefront? EA Sucks, EA Sucks!' I know there's probably some big justification for everyone's dislike of these giant gaming corporations, but I don't know.

Moving away from large developers, we asked if indie developers should get a piece of Star Wars pie. Greedo agreed, saying that indie gaming is one places Star Wars should go.

HG: I think that would be smart if they did that. That's such a huge, untapped marketplace for Star Wars games. You could get some really creative stuff, and that's never been done before. Star Wars is a big sandbox -- we all want to play in it -- and to give indie developers a chance to play in that sandbox would be incredible. That would be such an awesome money-making endeavor for them, too, these cheap games being made by these people who have a real passion for developing.

What Should Be in Battlefront 2 and What Shouldn't

Battlefront 2 is already shaping up to be a lot better than the current Battlefront, and HelloGreedo agreed that there's room for improvement in the new installment of the series -- like most SW gamers believe. We asked what should be in the next game, but more importantly, how should EA Dice balance what launch and DLC content.

HG: I also felt like every piece of DLC that we got [for the latest Battlefront game], it didn't feel completed, it didn't feel like it was that much content. What I hate about the current Battlefront DLC is, I play on the PC, and I have a really hard time finding a game at peak times for any of the DLCs. I don't know how you will work around that. [For example] where the payment [for DLCs] should not be an issue is with the maps. You kind of separate your gaming community when people don't like one DLC pack, so they buy another. It's a fine, delicate balancing act that they have to do.

Moving forward with the idea of performing a content balancing act, we asked HelloGreedo about the "3 times larger" reveal from EA's last earnings.  While a big proposition to make, HelloGreedo felt the earnings call wasn't the best time to release that information.

HG: I think, ultimately, it was a bad idea for them to say [it]. That gets everyone's mind wondering. People say, well the original game wasn't even [that big].

 Longevity of the Game and VR for Star Wars

An important focus of the new Battlefront game is this: Will players continue to play it long after release? HG agreed that increasing longevity was essential to the sequel's success. 

HG: I think the two biggest factors -- and maybe this is me just looking at other games and seeing what works -- but like having a server browser for people who can create their own custom server. So I'll give Counter-Strike as an example. I used to host a Counter-Strike source server, and I created a little community. The same people that would continuously come back to my server, we'd talk on the chat and it created a community within the broader Counter-Strike community.

You're not just wanting to come back to Battlefront: you're coming back to your friends. I hope I get this when the next Battlefront comes out, to host a HelloGreedo server where 40 of us can hop in and play together continuously. I think that would be incredible.

With all the customization and features of the new game, we asked about the game's new characters and what really excited Greedo about it from a macro perspective. More importantly than the game's features, we asked about the possibility of virtual reality in Star Wars gaming.

HG: The way I see VR is, to me, it's almost as inventive as the internet itself. We've just put our toe into the water of this vast ocean that is virtual reality. I think Star Wars is perfect for VR, but maybe the technology just isn't there yet, and we've got to give it 10 years or so. I mean, that is a piece of technology that I really think will absolutely change the world. That might sound a little idealistic, but I really believe that.  

Final Thoughts and Quickfire

We also asked HelloGreedo about what should be left out of the new Battlefront, and although he agrees there are some things to move away from, it doesn't mean that Greedo wants to scrap it all.

HG: See, there's a lot of stuff that I love about Battlefront. It's a really simple game. I don't like the vehicle system or the hero pickup system. I don't like any of that stuff. It'd be neat to fly your TIE fighter out of the Death Star and fly down to Endor. My dream is to have an AT-AT walking around the battlefield where you can actually control the movement.

Really the only type of game mode that I'd love to see is a completely open map with capture points. I initially said I want it to be exactly like Battlefield, and I got a lot of hate for that, and I still stand by that -- those games are fun, that's what I want to see.

Afterward, we moved into some quick questions that rounded out our talk. While we thought they were fun, Greedo warned that he isn't good at this sort of thing.

GS: If you had to redo A New Hope, who would shoot first?

HG: Han would absolutely shoot first -- I would redo the redo!

GS: Which do you prefer, old Luke or young Luke

HG: Young Luke.

GS: If you had to live in one trilogy era -- the original trilogy, prequels, or sequels -- which would it be?

HG: It's hard to say. I'm gonna say originals.

GS: If you had to be another Star Wars YouTuber, who would it be?

HG: You know, I'm gonna say Star Wars Explained, Alex and Mollie. I met them up in Atlanta, and their dedication, their scheduling of videos -- it's really infectious and neat to see how their channel has exploded. I love seeing other creators reach this insane level and have fun doing it.

GS: If only one can exist for the rest of Star Wars who would it be: Jedi or the Rebellion?

HG: The Rebellion. When I think of Star Wars, I don't think of Jedi and Sith. I think of the grit and the grime. The fight and the Rebellion -- that's what I think of, so definitely the Rebellion.

From all of us at GameSkinny we want to extend a thank you to HelloGreedo for taking the time to speak with us. And remember, the full interview is available on YouTube (with a link at the top of the page).

To support Greedo, make sure to go to

9 Star Wars Crossovers Worthy of the Force,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/title-97529.jpg gdv4i/9-star-wars-crossovers-worthy-of-the-force Wed, 24 May 2017 17:48:14 -0400 Glitchiee_8928


X-Wing Tracer and McCree Solo


Cosplayers: Unknown


This is an epic mashup of two amazing video games. Tracer dons an X-wing suit as she prepares for combat while McCree takes on the duds of Han Solo, the roguish outlaw turned roguish cowboy. Tracer's normal attire lends itself to being an X-wing pilot; with goggles and twin pistols, she is ready to fight.




Which was your favorite crossover cosplay? Did you get inspired to do your own Star Wars crossover? Let us know in the comments! 


And if you want more awesome Star Wars cosplays, check out these 14 force sensitive cosplays from the Phantom Menace to The Last Jedi.




Cosplayer: Unknown 


This is the single greatest crossover cosplay of Boba Fett ever. Wobbuffet's name lends itself to combining with Boba Fett. Painted blue armor accented with Team Rocket's red R and a Pokeball helps sell thePokemonn aspect of the cosplay. His helmet has Wobbuffets face painted helmet, making this Pokemon bounty hunter a perfect mashup. 


Stormtrooper America


Cosplayer: Unknown


When the forces of good and evil meet, you end up with Stormtrooper America. Wearing red, white, and blue, the armor perfectly matches Captain America's iconic outfit. The weathering on the shield really makes this seem like he has been through many battles. Good thing he has his shield to knock people out --instead of shooting with the cursed stormtrooper E-11 blaster. 


Tinkerbell Fett


Cosplayer: Unknown


Ah yes, another version of the Disney Boba Fett mashup. This time we have Tinkerbell Fett, a mix of the delightful pixie from Peter Pan and the legendary bounty hunter. Wearing a green dress, wings, and an accented Boba Fett helmet, this is an adorable take on Boba Fett. 


Imperial Muppets


Cosplayers: Unknown


Who would have known the muppets could look so badass? These cosplayers did when they decided to combine imperial officers and stormtroopers with the loveable puppets. Muppets wielding blasters can't have worse aim than normal stormtroopers, can they? What a creative idea that not many others would have thought of or executed on such a high level. 


Justice Jedis


Cosplayers: Unknown


There's no doubt that superheroes are on the rise in mainstream media, thanks to Marvel's growing cinematic universe and DC's growing catalog of superhero franchises. On top of that, TV shows and video games have taken the genre to a new high point fan culture. This group of cosplayers combined their love for DC superheroes with Force-wielding Jedi to form one of the deadliest crime fighting groups around. 




Frozen Fetts


Cosplayers: LifeofshelAshlynne DaeEberle Cosplay
Photographer: York in a Box


Ever since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, cosplays combining various Disney characters with Star Wars characters have skyrocketed. One of the most popular mixes comes for Boba Fett (of course), everyone's favorite bounty hunter. Here, Anna, Elsa, and Hans strut their stuff in modified and Disney-fied Boba Fett armor. 


Cookie Vader


Cosplayer: Unknown


Cookie Monster is kind of dastardly in his own right, but mixing him with Darth Vader is an unexpected combination that makes for an amazingly "evil" cosplay. The furry blue cookie-loving character from Sesame Street dons Darth Vader's attire and trades kills for cookies. Cruising around the convention, this cosplay is surprisingly intimidating. Cookies are obviously the best motivation, even for masters of the dark side of the Force. 


Darth Skellington


Cosplayer: Unknown


Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas has a cult following of his own. So mixing him with Darth Vader is such a genius idea. Taking Vader's armor and pasting it in pin strips, along with Jack's bowtie, gives the Dark Lord of the Sith a smashing Pumpkin King makeover. Armed with his red lightsaber and accompanied with Zero the dog, this is a magnificent crossover combination. 






Star Wars is an epic franchise that has spanned multiple decades and multiple formats. Soundtracks, movies, clothes, video games, and more have come from the Star Wars universe. With such fan devotion comes the inevitable melding of franchises. From other movies to video games and comics, fan creativity knows no bounds. 


But it's not just media that has seen crossovers from a galaxy far, far away. Many of the series' most devoted fans are also avid cosplayers, showing their love for the franchise by dressing up as many of SW's most iconic characters. And man, are there some great ones that mesh franchises, too. The following are some of the best Star Wars crossover cosplays. 

Interview with Tyler Owen, Lead Developer of Lacuna Passage,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-image-eb156.png mcrwf/interview-with-tyler-owen-lead-developer-of-lacuna-passage Wed, 24 May 2017 11:00:02 -0400 Dan Roemer

With plans from NASA to launch a manned mission to Mars by the early 2030s, and other private companies like Space X hoping to make humans a multi-planetary species in the distant future, the red planet has never felt so close, yet so far off.

However, until such grandiose visions of the future an actual reality, we thankfully still have plenty of media out there that gives us an idea of what that future may look like. These imaginings find their home in science fiction novels, films, and a format very near and dear to our readers -- video games.

Video games are the best format for us to potentially experience what space exploration might look like, while in the comfort (and general safety) of our own homes. NASA itself has already released a game for free on Steam -- known as Moonbase Alpha, it's an educational tool which models what the future of moon colonization might look like.

With a manned mission to Mars seemingly far off in the distant future, Tyler Owen of Random Seed Games is bringing a simulated experience to gamer everywhere with an otherworldy sandbox game called Lacuna Passage. This game aims to give us a window into that distant future, while delivering a fun and intense fight for survival.

Recently released to Early Access program May 17th, Lacuna Passage is now available on Steam. Currently the game only features a survival mode in which you're stranded on the surface of the Red Planet itself, in an open world environment spanning 25 square miles. The full release of the game plans to feature a fully functional single-player campaign, with a fleshed out narrative.

I had the opportunity recently to chat with Tyler about Lacuna Passage, its inspirations, what features players can expect, and the potential future of the game as it moves through and leaves Early Access.

GameSkinny: What about Mars -- or more specifically the Lacuna Passage itself -- inspired you to make this game?

Tyler Owen: I knew I wanted to make a game set on Mars when the Curiosity rover first sent back photos of the Martian surface. I kept thinking about how cool it would be to be in control of that rover and going wherever I wanted to go, taking pictures of anything I wanted. A game was as close as I was going to get to that experience.

GS: Were there any films or novels that lent you inspiration?

TO: Definitely. Early in the prototype phase, I got my hands on the book The Martian, and that had a big influence on the direction the game took. Of course, when the movie came out that certainly began to influence the look and feel of the game as well. But well before The Martian came along, I was a big fan of other science fiction stories like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

So yeah, I take inspiration from many places. Ultimately I wanted to make a space game that was more relaxing and exploration-driven, and not some horror action experience because those have been done to death.

GS: Have you spoken with or got any guidance from experts within the field, astrophysicists or astronomers for example?

TO: Actually yeah. I've had astrophysicists and NASA employees reach out to me during the development and offer their assistance. Sometimes I'll relay an idea and I have to find out if it is technically feasible or realistic. In the end I have to make some decisions that are just for the sake of making the game more fun, but I always try to figure out how things might really work.

GS: What went into the process of creating a terrain with this scope and size?

TO: I knew that I wanted the game world to be large, but I thought that was going to take a lot of work to faithfully recreate an environment of that scale. Then I realized, maybe I don't have to recreate it -- maybe I could create it as it actually is using 3D scans of the planet's surface. So I found someone who could help me convert those scans into heightmaps for our terrain, and that's when I knew we had something special.

In Lacuna Passage you are actually walking around on real Martian features.

GS: Looking back at these past few years of development, what would you say has been the biggest challenge or hurdle to overcome?

TO: Game development is not a straight path. You are constantly running into challenges that make you have to rethink a lot of things. For me, when we really started testing the gameplay I knew that we needed to really expand on the survival elements because it was the part of the game that really made you feel like an astronaut. That's when I decided we should shoot for a survival sandbox on Early Access. It is the best way to test and get quality feedback, and all of that will eventually serve as the gameplay foundation for our story mode in our final release.

GS: What kind of threats to survival will players encounter or have to deal with on the Red Planet in survival mode?

TO: The biggest threat is finding nourishment and rationing your supplies. Secondary to that are your life support systems that you must maintain and repair if they break down. You might go to sleep in the habitat one night and wake up when the power goes out because you forgot to run diagnostics on your equipment for the last two days.

But if you are prepared, then those scenarios aren't nearly as life threatening. It might only require taking an EVA and replacing a fuse. I've got many planned updates for the future though, like sandstorms and other unique disasters.

GS: Will there be a crafting and resource system?

TO: Yes. There is a crafting station where you can build various supplies and components, many of which can provide you with more optimal ways of equipping your habitat so that it has fewer equipment failures.

GS: Will there be any kind of end-goal or objectives to complete in Survival Mode?

TO: Currently the primary goal of the survival sandbox is just exploration and seeing how long you can survive. I will be adding a score screen so you can try to beat your previous best run, but I'll also be adding some side objectives like collecting geological research or surveying various landmarks.

GS: Will the price of the game increase once the full release is out?

TO: It likely will. The planned Story Mode that we want to include in the final release will be a significant addition and add several hours of interactive narrative. So if you want in now to help us test many of the survival mechanics, you'll definitely be getting a better deal on the price than if you wait for the full release.

I'd like to give a massive thank you to Tyler for taking the time to speak with us here at GameSkinny. If you're interested Lacuna Passage, you can pick it up on Steam for $14.99. Or follow the official Twitter account for constant updates about the game's progress. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more coverage of Lacuna Passage as it develops in Early Access and move towards its full release in the (hopefully not so distance) future!

An Interview with Battlefront Updates' Elliot,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/2a0bacdb81b44bae634357be4351c631.jpg v2m44/an-interview-with-battlefront-updates-elliot Tue, 23 May 2017 09:00:01 -0400 Nick Lee

With EA Play and new footage from EA Dice's Battlefront 2 just around the corner, the Star Wars community is patiently waiting, fervently speculating, and anxiously hoping for more out of the shooter's latest installment. 

One person at the forefront of this community of fans is YouTuber BattlefrontUpdates, whose channel is one of the most engaging of all Star Wars-centric YouTube channels. Recently, we sat down with the man behind the channel itself, Elliot, to discuss everything about the upcoming game. 

EA and What Other Content We Need

In an investors call, EA Dice compared the current Battlefront to the upcoming Battlefront 2 and stated that the game would be three times larger than its predecessor. BattlefrontUpdates covered this topic in a recent video, where he states the boast of a "3x larger" world may not necessarily be achieved. 

Elliot: They've added a single-player campaign and does that count as two times as much, three times as much? So I don't think there's going to be straight up three times as much multiplayer, maps, heroes, weapons. I think there will be maybe twice as many heroes, twice as many maps. It's hard to say exactly. We're getting singly player, three eras, and we have space battles.

When it comes to the heroes from which players can choose, Elliot has some personal favorites that may or may not make it into the game. So far, heroes and villains from all three movie eras have been confirmed for BF2 by EA

E: I think Asohka [will] definitely [be in the game]. She's probably the biggest character that isn't in the movies. I think Ashoka's [is a character] I could see [EA] potentially adding at some point. 

Adding New Game Mechanics While Fixing Old Issues


A large part of the current game is dodging your opponent's blaster fire by rolling. While some players are able to easily roll in the current game, others may find rolling to be odd -- especially if playing as a battle droid. Part of a live Q&A during Star Wars Celebration, Elliot believe that rolling will be kept to a minimum.

E: It sounded like when we asked about rolling at the Q&A, Dennis, the lead designer, said basically, that rolling will be in the game somehow. I don't think they'll have it so everyone can roll. But like you said, droids could roll in the original game and it looked very strange. On the other hand, it would be weird if Resistance, Rebels, First Order, Stormtroopers, and Clones could roll but not battle droids roll. I think they're going to limit the roll to one character class per faction -- I don't know. It's going to be limited somehow.

Issues with Battlefront's mechanics have also been a talking point of many of BattlefrontUpdates live streams. The most egregious of these issues has involved the physics of climbing up obstacles in the game. Elliot believes EA could take notes from other games in their library.

E: They have the perfect solution in Battlefield 1. It's the same engine [as Battlefront], so I don't see why they couldn't just port it. As soon as something is above knee height, you can just vault over it, and I think that works perfectly fine. I've never felt the same frustration in Battlefield as I have in Battlefront. Something simple you could do is increase the step size where basically, if you walk on a ledge or something that's not that high, you won't get stuck, so you could combine both.  

What's Realistic For the Game

As noted by EA, Battlefront 2 is going to have new vehicles -- as well as space combat. And going into the sequel, ground to air combat is one of the most wished-for mechanics from fans. Elliot agrees that the idea is something a lot of gamers want, but is one that would need a lot of work.

E: Honestly, I've never seen a good example of it working. Right now, we get some dogfights above the surface with strafe runs. I can't see a way of balancing a proper fluid space to ground battle. I don't see that [being] technically feasible. I know a lot of people want it, but I don't see a proper way of implementing it right now.

On top of that, game modes are a big question that hasn't been addressed by the game's developers as of yet, and getting to see new game play at EA Play will be a huge bonus. While BattlefrontUpdates will be at EA Play in June, game modes may or may not be officially unveiled, but he hopes some of Battlefront's game modes return.

E: Walker assault definitely [should return]. Blast obviously. Extraction is one I really want them to keep. I personally would like them to combine multiple game modes. One thing I want to note with multi-stage battles: I'd prefer if they don't combine space and ground battles in the same list. It's fun in theory, but if you don't want to fly, you feel forced.

But of all the game modes fans want in a new a new Battlefront game, Conquest gets the most requests. The current game boasts Walker Assault in place of Conquest, and both modes divide the fighting in different ways, and Elliot is unsure if EA will focus on the game mode in the upcoming sequel. 

E: It's a tough one. The current game, they have a front line. I've read a lot of discussions about Conquest. If you look at a Walker Assault and a Conquest game mode, it's completely different how people are split up. I think it all depends on the entire direction of the game. If I could have Walker Assault and Conquest, then yes, I would want it.

Single-Player Canon and Iden Versio

In Battlefront 2, players will control Iden Versio, marking a series of firsts for Star Wars. Not only will it be the first game that introduces a canon character since the Disney reboot of the franchise's history, but the first female villain lead for a single-player campaign.

E: Just in general, when I heard about the campaign, the main thing I wanted to know is, 'What happened during those 30 years that just disappeared?' Something I'm really excited for is seeing Luke make an appearance. Although that isn't necessarily Iden's story, it's still linked to her -- seeing how all that links to the movies is something I think is going to be cool.

For all that has been shown concerning Iden, we still don't know if she will be a playable villain in multiplayer. While this seems like a logical conclusion, EA has not confirmed it, nor  has any actual battle footage shown Iden. But Elliot there's no reason not to include her.

E: Why not? All we know about her abilities is that she will have a backpack droid. If she's actually going to be introduced as a new character in this entire Star Wars universe, [one] that people will relate to, then I think she deserves a spot in the multiplayer hero roster as well. 

In-Game Skins and Some Rapid Fire Questions

World-specific aliens are a huge part of the Star Wars experience, but unfortunately, these characters often took a back seat to other humanoid characters in the build up to the current Battlefront. Playing as world-specific characters when on certain planets was a huge part of the original game, but Elliot thinks there will be some limits to this as a new feature.

E: I think to some degree, [but] maybe not like the old games where you could play everything. Let's say we get Kashyyyk. I think Wookies will probably be on the Republic's side, or if you play on Geonosis, you'll have Geonosians on the Separatists' side. I think we'll see things like that, but in terms of playable [characters], I think it will be limited.

However, it's not just about characters. Skins are another area where the alien look could make an appearance. And while heroes have also been revealed to have different skins, BattlefrontUpdates is unsure of if it should extend beyond clothing choices.

E: I feel like those kind of skins are going to be tricky. I think I'd rather have skins as their outfits based on their location. I don't think Luke will be able to switch between old Luke and young Luke -- I think that would be a little bit strange. Either have them as separate heroes or have one of them.

Overall, Elliot is most excited for Battlefront 2's replayability. With everything that's been revealed so far, Elliot believes that players will have plenty to do before the game inevitably gets boring.

E: Sure, its going to be cool with the campaign, but for me, personally, as someone who plays this game a lot and makes YouTube videos, I just think having more longevity in the game, being able to customize every class, hero, ship, and every weapon means I'll have a lot of stuff to do. It's going to be something where you're constantly progressing. I'm a completionist. I want to get everything unlocked. 

At the end of our interview, we got into a round of quick fire, where we asked Elliot some hypothetical questions about the new game and YouTube, the results of which gave us a clear picture of some BattlefrontUpdate's likes and dislikes.

GameSkinny: Should Jar Jar Binks be in the new game?

E: Eh, no.

GS: Ewoks or Jawas?

E: Jawas.

GS: Would you rather have the senate decide your fate or be the senate?

E: I think I would be the senate

GS: If you had to change your channel name right now, what would it be?

E: That's a tough one. I don't think I have a serious answer, but I recently noticed the three games I talk the most about are Battlefront, Battlefield, and Battlegrounds. So maybe just BattleUpdates.

GS: If you were another YouTuber, either one you know or don't know, who would it be?

E: Probably Alex from Star Wars Explained. I wish I knew all the Star Wars stuff he does.

GS: If you had to be one blaster from the current game, which would it be?

E: If I had to be one? I would probably be the Bo-Rifle. I don't really have a good explanation. 

GameSkinny wishes to extend a huge thanks to Elliot to his channel for keeping us all updated on everything Star Wars gaming.

You can support BattlefrontUpdates through Patreon. 

Interview: World Champion Kurt "Weak3n" Schray Talks eSports and the Future of SMITE,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/e/a/weak3n-70d2a.jpg eknkc/interview-world-champion-kurt-weak3n-schray-talks-esports-and-the-future-of-smite Sun, 21 May 2017 19:00:02 -0400 palpatine112

Kurt "Weak3n" Schray is a 25-year-old professional SMITE player from Virginia. He's represented a variety of SMITE teams throughout his career, and earned himself a championship title at the 2016 World Championships for Xbox as part of Team EnVyUS. In his competitive career alone, he's earned over $40,000 -- and has earned far more through creating content for the game via streams and the like. 

In March of this year, Kurt opted to retire from the competitive gaming scene in order to concentrate on streaming. But his retirement didn't last long, as he's now the Jungler for Team Allegiance. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Kurt about his career so far, the future of SMITE as an eSport, and whether or not it can challenge the likes of big-name MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2.

GameSkinny: Hi Kurt. Thanks for chatting. Could you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Kurt Schray: I am 25 years old, graduated in December with a Bachelors in Business management. I am getting married in spring of next year.

I started gaming pretty seriously when Halo 2 was released. This oddly enough led me into WoW, where I was a top 10 Warrior/Druid combo for seven seasons before moving over to SMITE. I now have been playing competitive Smite for four years, where I have multiple LAN wins on PC (which is what I've been playing the entire time and currently compete in), and I also have a World Championship on Xbox Smite which I played for only two months.

I consider myself a competitive gamer, then a streamer, and then a YouTuber. I got into content creation because of the community aspect of it.

How did Kurt get the moniker he uses in the SMITE pro scene? Turns out, it dates all the way back to his time playing Halo

KS: My name "Weak3n" came from the Halo 2 days. I am a very vocal person; however, when I was younger I mumbled a lot. While making low health callouts, I would say they were weak or weakened, which would sound more like weaken. I like having things stand out, so I put a 3 in there instead of the e.

GS: How much would you say eSports have changed from when you started out compared to now?

KS: From when I first got into video games? It is 100% easier to get into the competitive part of just about any game with a competitive scene. Back when I was younger I had no clue where to even begin -- these days you can Google your specific game and learn about an upcoming tournaments, both pro and amateur. There is also a lot more support from the game developers, communities, and from the companies that have begun to invest into eSports as a whole.

GS: Is competitive gaming profitable in the long run for someone looking to make money? The top eSports athletes have won millions from competing, which is obviously a big factor for many people. Or do you firstly need that passion to play games where you would want to be a professional gamer even without the money?

KS: The bigger games definitely are [profitable] if you are in a top team. As you get away from the top three or so games, you start to meet that line of is the time worth the money you are making. You definitely do not want to jump into games and try to make it professional.

If it’s your dream or your goal, you should do it as a hobby. Work during the day and then play the game for 6+ hours each night and see if you can make it. As you start to make it, you can drop those other responsibilities.

As for me, I would not make anywhere near enough just playing SMITE competitively. If I did not have streaming and YouTube, I would have a normal day job as well.

GS: Do you think in the future you could earn enough from playing SMITE competitively? Will the pro scene for the game ever be able to challenge the likes of League of Legends and CS:GO in terms of popularity?

KS: It comes down to what "enough" is for you, right? Let's say your average player (finishing 4-5 each split) is getting on average $5k a split -- so $15k from winnings in a year. On top of that, say the average player is getting $800/month salary. So around $24k at the end of the year before taxes. Take away that 30% in taxes and you are making somewhere around $17,000 a year.

Most players are putting in four hours of gameplay and four hours of team practice five or six days a week. When you compare this to a job making $10 an hour, it doesn't really equal out. I don't know specific numbers for other games around this size; however, I do know it’s not too much different.

I don't see SMITE ever being that big at all. LoL was free to play at the right time, and gained a massive base because of that. CS is such an easy game to follow and get into. SMITE takes months to learn and wasn't first. It will always have its niche place in the gaming world, but will never be that big.

GS: Have you ever considered switching to playing games like LoL or Dota 2? Obviously that is where the money and popularity is at the moment.

KS: I simply don't enjoy the games enough to switch to them. Obviously it would be nice, but I know how long it took me to get to this level of SMITE and how much I had to learn. I don't have interest in doing that again at all. I am always on the lookout for new games to compete in.

For me, I have always been a shooter type of guy. I play PUBG and actually won a game in the recent charity tournament. I would kill for that game to have a competitive scene to get into. It just comes down to the love of a game for me to push myself to be a top competitor.

GS: Are you happy with the SMITE developers? Is there anything you think they can do to improve the game or promote it to a wider audience?

KS: I think the SMITE developers are killing it. They add new content insanely quick, take a lot of feedback, and are really doing an amazing job.

In terms of promotion, there is always a way to further promote a product. Most people that aren't on Twitch have no idea what SMITE is. I have a lot of real life friends who know about LoL, Rainbow Six, CoD, but have never heard of SMITE. I believe it’s hard to promote just because it’s the only one of its kind, and the game takes time to get into. So you can promote these awesome gods, art, and graphics...but when people first see it played, they get lost.

GS: Do you think gambling in eSports is a problem? There are now lots of websites offering audiences the opportunity to bet on eSports, and there have been stories recently of players intentionally throwing games in order to make money from betting. How do you feel about this?

KS: I think gambling will greatly increase the viewer bases of all games. Which will be a very good thing. However, there needs to be immense detailed laws regulating it, and rules in place to make players avoid that side of the eSport.

GS: Where do you see yourself this time next year, three years from now, or five years from now?

KS: Next year I will still be competing in SMITE and streaming as I do now. I have already started to branch out my stream and content into other games, so three years from now I will probably be streaming just a different game that I get deeply into.

Five years from now, I will hopefully be looking at working behind the scenes in eSports. I hope to get a job with Twitch, YouTube, or managing a major eSports organization. I know a lot about everything that goes on -- from players, to organizations, to the people running the games -- so I believe I would excel anywhere in the eSports world because of my experiences.

GS: Finally, are eSports the future of sports? Can they rival traditional sports such as football, tennis, etc? What skill sets does someone need in order to become a successful eSports athlete?

KS: eSports are already beginning to compete with traditional sports in terms of followings, viewership, and overall growth. That is why you see these football clubs and NBA teams getting into the eSports world now, as it is taking off.

I do not consider competitive gamers athletes either. To become a competitive gamer, it takes a lot of the same things being a pro athlete does, it’s just not as physically demanding -- which is why I do not consider them the same. In eSports, you need good hand-eye coordination, quick thinking, insane decision making, keep your body healthy (not in crazy shape), and continually learn/adapt. All these things are what gets you to the skill level -- and sometimes it takes a bit of luck to make it at the highest level.

I'd like to thank Kurt for taking time out of his schedule to chat with me about his perspective on the SMITE pro scene and eSports at large. To keep up with Kurt as he tries to get his Allegiance team to the SMITE Worlds stage, you can follow him on Twitter or check out his Twitch channel. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more awesome SMITE and eSports content!

Interview With Jakub Cislo Developer of Upcoming Old-School FPS Project Warlock,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d7c35b736670373960b75f968dfff550.jpg vcv8z/interview-with-jakub-cislo-developer-of-upcoming-old-school-fps-project-warlock Sun, 21 May 2017 06:00:01 -0400 Damien Smith

This week, we once again got the opportunity to interview young indie developer Jakub Cislo about his upcoming old-school FPS title Project Warlock. Initially, the game was named Exitium 3D, followed by Cataclysm 3D before finally deciding the game's title would be Project Warlock.

We discussed the changes made to the game since its first greenlight submission and how Cislo handled the massive criticism he received on the Cataclysm 3D Greenlight page.

In Project Warlock, you take on the role of a powerful mage who is attempting to rid the existence of evil by travelling through various dimensions and universes.

To help him in his quest, the mage uses all forms of weapons including a pistol, shotgun, SMG, akimbo SMGs, magic staves and spells. Project Warlocklike games of the era it is inspired by, will consist of 5 episodes -- with each one having a different theme.

GameSkinny:  It must have been difficult to get such a huge amount of harsh criticism on the Cataclysm 3D Greenlight page, especially as you had just given the game an overhaul. What was your initial reaction to it all?

Jakub Cislo: I was pretty sad, but instead of being arrogant, I decided to move back from greenlight and improve the game. I wanted to shut down the haters completely. Improve the game so much that they couldn't complain anymore.

GS: One of the features listed on the Greenlight page is the game will contain multiple game modes. What are these additional modes?

JC: One additional game mode that is coming for sure is survival. Basically, it is going to be a wave-based survival game mode. Another one is a "single-level game mode", where players would jump right into one fast level. I was also thinking about a "Total Carnage" game mode, where the player has a restricted time to deal as much wreckage as possible. Multiplayer is also an option, but after the main release.

GS: From the trailer for the game, I get an impression the protagonist is a silent type of a character with a badass attitude, something similar to Clint Eastwood’s characters in his Western films. Is that the kind of character you always imagined the mage to be?

JC: The short answer is -- yes. I always loved these kinds of characters. Not only in games, but also in movies. It makes them feel unstoppable!

GS: Originally there was a scoring system in place just like in Wolfenstein 3D. Is this feature still going to be in the finished game?

JC: The scoring system is still there, although changed a bit. Currently, the scoring system gives the player "unlock points" once he reaches a certain amount of score.

GS: You mention on the Greenlight page that Project Warlock will have a lives system similar to games like Contra, Super Mario Bros, etc. How exactly does that work in the game? Upon dying do you start the level over, or do you simply respawn in an area that you previously cleared?

JC: If upon death, the player has more than 0 lives, he can either choose to restart the current level, go back to the HUB to buy some upgrades, or pick a different set of levels to play. Once the player has 0 lives upon death, the game is over.

All progress is erased. Sounds rather harsh, but the number of lives found inside the levels is sustainable. We don't want to make the game frustrating.

GS: One of the notable game features is non-linear level progression. Is this in relation to the players being able to approach each episode as they see fit, or are there multiple approaches to how they complete a level?

JC: The levels are handcrafted. That means that most of the levels, excluding some simple ones, can be completed in different ways. Shortcuts, secrets, explorable areas -- everything is there.

The player can also select with which episode he wants to start with, except from the last episode -- the toughest one, which requires all previous episodes to be completed. So once the player hits "New Game", he has 3 episodes to choose from, as one requires at least one boss slain.

GS: Will there be a co-op option available upon release or at a later stage of development?

JC: Upon release, no. There are plenty of reasons, but the main one is time. Developing multiplayer and co-op components would take the time which I could use to improve on the level design, gunplay, AI and more important stuff. We want the game to be polished as much as possible.

GS: Originally there were to be only 3 episodes for the release of the game, now there are 5 in total. Is there any particular reason for the additional two episodes?

JC: Initially the game didn't feature any location-based episodes. Right now each episode is being designed in a different theme -- Medieval, Antarctica, Industrial, Egypt, and Hell.

GS: What platforms will the game be available on for release and will it become available on others at a later date?

JC:  If the game is going to get a satisfying amount of attention and sales, ports should eventually come. As said above, making additional things would move the release date.

Despite its massive overhaul and numerous changes since our previous interview with Jakub Cislo, the original concept and style of Project Warlock remain the same. At its core, it aims to create an old-school FPS that is inspired by the classics of the 90s like DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D.

Project Warlock is bound to take the interest of those who are fans of those early FPS titles, and it's looking to become a most promising game. It is scheduled to release in October this year.

GameSkinny would like to thank Jakub for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck with the development of Project Warlock.

If you would like to know more about the game, you can check out the Steam Greenlight page for more info.

The Importance of Characterization and Narrative in RPGs and Adventure Games,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/i/t/witcher-iii-wild-hunt-game-2014-d72cb.jpg xfy9r/the-importance-of-characterization-and-narrative-in-rpgs-and-adventure-games Sat, 20 May 2017 14:00:01 -0400 Stephen Brown

CRPGs have been around for decades, with nearly all of them inspired by the likes of Dungeons and Dragons in some shape or form. The genre has also slowly merged with adventure games in recent years, allowing for new dynamics (and problems) to arise in their designs. However, with advancement in technology, video games, in general, have evolved into huge, intricate, and immersive experiences. Which has led for consumer expectations to rise.

Therefore, developers need to focus on creating complex and engaging storylines filled with memorable characters. That's what will keep the genre iterating -- and interesting.

Why Are Story And Characters So Important?

Story is what holds every RPG together, and it gives the player focus throughout his or her playtime. However, great storytelling isn't just about the main narrative, but also compelling mini story arcs and side quests narratives. When the player wants to explore and seek these out, they should be engaged by them and rewarded by them -- and not just with loot. Otherwise, these side quests become mundane, a chore to get through.

Likewise, characters are pivotal to any story -- the two cannot be separated. They work in tandem with great storytelling. They must have personality to be believable. They cannot be blank and emotionless A.I. If the characters are dull and unmemorable, then it will be difficult for the player to become invested in the game.

Although the story may boil down to saving the world, telling this in an interesting way -- with relatable characters -- makes the experience so much more engaging and worthwhile. 

Where RPGs and Adventure Games Get It Wrong And Right

The following RPGs aren't necessarily bad games, but they're also not necessarily great games, either. There are certain design and development decisions, specifically in the realms of narrative and quest design, that harm each game's overall experience. 

The Assassin's Creed Franchise

The Assassin's Creed series has had ups and downs, to say the least, Assassin's Creed 2 and Black Flag arguably the best games in the franchise. On the other hand, the series' side quests have never been great, relying too heavily on treasure hunts and endless fetch quests that offer little variety and no narrative payoff.

Comparatively, its main story has always been quite engaging and complex. This has been one of its strong suits (alongside fun and likable characters, like Ezio Auditore). Although the story in later entries isn't as strong as some of the early narratives in the franchise, it still contains its surprises, ones that keep the player engaged and coming back for more.

The Final Fantasy Series

The Final Fantasy series has always put a focus on its storylines and characters, which has allowed many entries to remain memorable and iconic years (and even decades) after their releases. Entries such as Final Fantasy VI, Final fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy X are regarded as the best in the long-running franchise. Even with dated graphics, the strong stories and relatable cast of characters allow them to stand the test of time.

Now, they are not without their faults -- one of them being the lack of side quests. Final Fantasy 15 corrected this to a degree by going open world and including countless side quests of varying quality. But its plot and characters were still a huge driving force behind the game, even through the late-game parts where the pacing of the narrative felt rushed. But in the end, it was still a successful narrative with an intriguing and well-written villain that sits among the best in the franchise.

The Elder Scrolls Series

Commonly referred to as the king of western RPGs, this franchise has always been one of the best at world building, providing players some of the most intricate pieces of lore in all of video games. Flawlessly incorporated into the gameplay, lore, story, and narrative-driven side quests have brought the series acclaim and provided originality. Skyrim may have better combat than Oblivion, but the quest design clearly took a hit, going with quantity over quality.

However, memorable and likable characters have never been present in the series, which does hold the games back from staying with the player long after they finish it. With the next game in the series, Bethesda will need to fix this long-running issue if they want to compete with the next example.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt improved every aspect and flaw from The Witcher 2. Its main story was epic and hooked players from the start. Nearly every character was detailed and layered, and each was easily likable and memorable as soon as you met them --  like The Bloody Baron, Geralt himself, Ciri, and Triss to name a few.

Many critics and fans alike consistently praise the side quests and for good reason. They all have a good, and often bizarre, story to tell. Players often seek out quests for narrative surprises, not loot. 

The level of detail, care, and passion that has gone into this game is unparalleled, far more than any other game out there. It has an impeccably written story and deep characters. Why? It's because every aspect of each has been created to such a high standard. The game's multiple endings allow for more than one playthrough, so you can experience many different choices over and over again. It is the closest gamers have ever come to a perfect game.

Final Thoughts

I hope that every developer learns the importance of story and characters in RPGs. It's needed alongside strong gameplay and quest design to truly make the game a masterpiece. Otherwise, the genre will pump out one uninspiring game after another -- many with little evolution.

Do you agree, or do you think I am completely crazy? Let me know in the comments. 

Elite Dangerous on Consoles: What We Don't Want,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/7/5/77591f7721924a6.jpg jewfp/elite-dangerous-on-consoles-what-we-dont-want Sat, 20 May 2017 13:24:16 -0400 ReverendShmitty


Elite Dangerous, as an already successful title that has run on both PC and Xbox One since 2014, should be more than ready for its jump to the PlayStation 4. Frontier Developments has handled plenty of issues that have cropped up and kept the game thriving. The studio hasn't set a release date yet for the PS4 port, which hopefully means the team is taking their time to ensure everything runs smoothly.


So with any luck -- and a lot of hard work on their part -- the PS4 version of Elite: Dangerous won't have any of the hiccups on this list when it comes out.


Downed or Overloaded Servers


Without exception, any online game will have its servers go down at some point or another. Updates, reworks, patches, DLC, holiday events, severe weather, and DDoS attacks can all cause a server to go down.


But sometimes servers go down for more ridiculous things, such as high number of players. A new game launch, in particular, can bring a server to its knees under the weight of a sudden influx of players.


Elite Dangerous has been around for years though, so by now the developers should know what to expect in terms of playerbase numbers and how much strain the servers need to be ready to handle. So we're hoping that when launch day rolls around for the PS4, those servers are already primed for the onslaught of new adventurers and won't collapse under the added pressure.


We'd much rather get to actually play the game on launch day, rather than ruefully watching Elite: Dangerous streams and wishing we could. 


Broken Updates


With a long beta period, a testing period for the Xbox One, and a slew of updates to refine and add content to an already massive game, Elite Dangerous has had -- and will continue to have -- a lot of updates. These days updates are as common as pressing the start button, so you have to expect them.


Unfortunately, Elite Dangerous also has an issue of updates breaking parts of the game and creating new problems. Missing money, disappearing cargo, and an inability to access markets are all issues that have plagued the game from time to time.


They were eventually fixed, as any devoted developer will do, but some extra testing and polishing before the game's PS4 release would be highly appreciated.


(Extreme) Graphic Degradation


We know full well that it's nigh impossible to not have some sort of graphics degradation when porting from PC to console. Despite the fact that consoles are more powerful and PC-like than ever before, they still aren't quite as powerful as their desktop cousins. At least not yet.


Back in the days of the Elite Dangerous beta, some users experienced a significant drop in graphical quality, namely in lighting and shading, just after updating. With the jump to a new console and architecture, such an issue could once again arise -- and we don't want to see it fly under the radar without getting fixed. 


Incompatibility Issues


The above image in an animation issue only encountered after equipping a new paint job for a ship. Why? Because the cosmetic change is apparently incompatible with some other aspect of the game.


It's a minor grievance since the game is still fully functional and playable. But when such a glaring issue is caused by something so incredibly minor as a skin, there's no telling how many more issues can crop up. Trivial or not, in a game with thousands of active players, customization options, and interactive places and things, the little things need to be impeccably polished.


Graphic Glitches


For its incredible size, Elite Dangerous really is a great looking game. Ships are incredibly detailed, planets are beautiful, and the character creation is outstanding.


But when you can explore the vastness of space and jump from galaxy to galaxy, you're bound to come across something not so pretty eventually. And for some players, this comes not in the form of being killed or robbed, but of severe graphical glitches.


Planets failing to load properly and complete lack of textures have been reported numerous times and are definitely something best left in the past.


Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous, a space adventure, trading, and combat simulation game, premiered on PC in December 2014 -- then moved onto the Xbox One less than a year later. Now, over 1.4 million sold copies later, the game is planned to release on the PlayStation 4 sometime this year.


Unfortunately, games of a massive scale like this are bound to have issues somewhere along the way, and the console port on Xbox One is no exception. So before Elite Dangerous makes the leap to Sony's flagship, we're hoping these five issues get left behind.

Quake Champions Beta: A Full Clip of FPS Madness,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/q/u/a/quakechampionshero-b2ee5.jpg du61b/quake-champions-beta-a-full-clip-of-fps-madness Thu, 18 May 2017 17:21:51 -0400 Jonathan Moore

There's a smoldering bit of shrapnel I've got to get off my chest: As much as I want it to be, Quake Champions isn't perfect. Currently in closed beta, this FPS frag-fest has its issues. Some would even go so far as to say these issues are game-breaking. But let's face the facts: if you like Quake, you're pretty much going to love Quake Champions, blemishes and all. 

An unabashed throwback to arena shooters of the 1990s and quintessential Quake gunplay, Champions wastes no time putting you back in the boots of your favorite space marine -- or the other bits of QC's cannon fodder, such as interdimensional space lizards, galactic centurions, mech warriors, and more. 

After spending about 30 hours with the beta over the past three weeks, I've basked in the glow of glory, cowered in the corner of defeat, and learned that Bethesda and id Software have remade Quake in its own chaotic image. But at its core, Quake is meant to be a lawless free-for-all. 

You (typically) won't be camping or finding a sniper's nest in QC. If I learned anything in my time with the beta, it's that movement is paramount to winning. That means you won't be crawling through the map or traipsing through it on a needle. Instead, you'll be running full bore to join or escape the fray. 

In Blood Covenant, you'll be running through tight corridors and using verticality to frag your enemies, running into intense firefights around every twist and turn of the map. In the Ruins of Sarnath, you'll find that more traditional FPS tactics will get you through the level's relatively open ruins. And in Burial Chamber, you'll find that combat is more methodical on the perimeter, but only because the edges of the map are veritable death traps that venture only into oblivion. 

Overall, the speed at which the action plays out in the QC beta stays true to the traditional Quake mold -- but for a culture that's grown used to the plodding tempo of modern first-person shooters, it can take a little getting used to. The caveat to this is that in the game's traditional All v. All deathmatch, the pacing of QC can be a bit discombobulating and irksome with a full lobby, especially when your gameplay consists of spawn, death, spawn. 

This pattern is exacerbated by the fact that some of the weapons in Quake Champions' current build are overpowered AF, while others feel nerfed from the start.

For example, a well-placed shot from the incredibly powerful Rail Gun can decapitate your Champion instantaneously. In theory, this is OK and plays into Champions' skill-based gameplay -- but in the deft hands of a master marksman, a single player can decimate an entire squad in Team Deathmatch or singlehandedly hold position in Sacrifice. It's even more pronounced (and worse) in QC's Duel Mode, where two players choose a set of three Champions and go head-to-head. Here, players can easily camp in the game's moderately-sized maps, making play a complete nightmare depending on your opponent. 

Other weapons, such as the Nail Gun and woefully underpowered starting assault rifle, feel great when not used against a Rail Gun, Super Shotgun, or Rocket Launcher. When up against foes wielding these guns, every other weapon in the arsenal feels subpar at best. 

On the flip side, there's no denying that the arsenal at hand, alongside melee gauntlets and Champion-specific special abilities (which add nice wrinkles to core gameplay mechanics), make for gloriously gory kills. Stack all that with each map's coveted Quad Damage modifier, and QC's matches get nasty quick. 

And while some decry Champions' matchmaking and "long load times", I rarely entered a match thinking I didn't stand a chance -- and rarely was that ever the case. Even in the early moments of my time with the beta, where I was a noobish level 3, I was easily fragging opponents at levels 10 and higher. And as for the long loading times before and between matches, they're not really any longer than those found in MOBAs like SMITE or shooters like Destiny

At the end of the day, this is beta -- a stage of development meant to single out and highlight these macro and micro balancing issues. From the early stages of the closed beta to now, Bethesda and id have been diligently working to tweak the beta experience with patches, buffs, nerfs, and the whole nine. 

On the majority, Quake Champions is engaging and fun, especially for fans of the franchise. It's a shooter you're going to want to keep your eye on -- and it's shaping up to be a solid ride. Only time will tell if the final game lives up to fans' expectations. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on Quake Champions as we get closer to launch.

Interview: Rinikulous Games's Nik Mihaylov Shares Insights and New Titles,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-77f97.jpg oyi6y/interview-rinikulous-gamess-nik-mihaylov-shares-insights-and-new-titles Tue, 16 May 2017 13:28:08 -0400 Jerline Justo

Game developer, director, and artist Nik Mihaylov broke into the game industry with Steven Ritchie to establish an indie game studio called Rinikulous Games. Together, these co-founders explored amazing ideas that would create compelling experiences -- and got their feet wet with their first indie game, Lonely Sun. This mobile platformer caught the attention of reviewers and critics -- including a writer here at GameSkinny, who gave it a stellar nine out of ten.

Now they're looking forward to adding even more games to their portfolio, and I got the chance to talk to Nik Mihaylov about his role as a developer -- as well as the state of development on two of Rinikulous' upcoming titles, Hyper Beam and Unlonely.

The Work of a Game Developer

As a developer, Mihaylov tackles a lot of new ideas and inspirations, especially when designing a new game. When considering a potential idea, he tries to realistically analyze how a game will perform in the indie sphere. Mihaylov asks himself a series of questions that help him consider the gamer’s experience and the game's potential mechanics.

But of course, all that has to start with an idea. When we asked how his idea-generating process usually works, Mihaylov replied:

NM: “That’s a great question. Creative minds tend to get excited quite easily, and keeping your focus on one thing is always a challenge. When you have decided on what the game’s core mechanic or story is, brainstorming ideas to build on top of that can be tricky. You’re constantly going from one idea to another. Personally, I have to stop myself sometimes and focus on one thing at a time.”

During his first foray into development with Lonely Sun, Mihaylov and his team learned everything as they went. He soon realized that making video games had a lot in common with what he does as a Senior Creator over at Critical Mass (a digital design agency).

He tends to a game as though he is solving a puzzle that requires taking each element -- music, SFX, gameplay, and art design -- and combining them into one compelling whole. And in doing so, he often discovers new things about his own creations that he hadn't seen before. When creating Lonely Sun, for example, he only recognized its foundational metaphor -- where living one's life contains various obstacles and struggles just as the game includes them -- while he was evaluating other aspects of the game:

NM: "...while testing the controls (controlling gravity as main mechanic), I further realized that Lonely Sun won’t be an easy game or be to everyone’s taste, and I was totally okay with that. The game’s difficult on purpose. Nothing in life comes easy – if it does, there’s something wrong. Moreover, there are no checkpoints in life, hence none in the game..."

Mihaylov also applies this metaphor to his own work. He tries to tackle each task as a challenge by taking it one step at a time. Whenever he faces an obstacle, he always reminds himself about the big picture and uses that as motivation to push forward on a project. This concept later became a central part of his future works.

Upcoming Mobile Games 

Hyper Beam

After developing Lonely Sun, Ritchie and Mihaylov decided to come to back to an old project called "Quantum". Both creators planned and brainstormed ideas on art concepts and game mechanics, eventually progressing toward smaller details like the enemy behaviors and beam designs -- which is how they settled on Hyper Beam's abstract space setting.

Unlike Lonely Sun, Hyper Beam focuses solely on gameplay with minimalist approach to AI interaction, user experience, and visual effects. The purpose of the game is for the players to discover, develop, and adapt. 

This iOS space game contains two twin stick controls, which players can manipulate around to destroy enemies. The goal is to survive as long as possible through dodging, destroying, and getting hyper. As the player progresses, game increases in difficulty.

NM: "HYPER BEAM's twin-stick controls, the constraints of (limited) screen space, complimentary music and sound effects, minimal art direction, and enemy and beam behaviors all create an unique experience that puts the player in a position to embrace the inevitable nature of survival."


Because of the Lonely Sun's success, Rinikulous Games opted to give it a sequel called Unlonely. Mihaylov wanted to use this project as a show of his gratitude for those who provided so much support for his first game. So he created parts of Unlonely in collaboration with six game review sites who covered his original project --Snappzilla, iFanzine, IndieHangover, Indie Game Launchpad, Orange Bison, and our very own GameSkinny. The game will include planets and levels based on the personality, atmosphere, and brand of each website.

When we asked if there will be any difference between Unlonely and its predecessor Lonely Sun, he replied:

NM: "As of this moment, Unlonely will retain Lonely Sun’s overall low poly art direction, minimal UI and gameplay mechanics (with a few surprises, though), [while] feature brand new music/atmospheric and SFX design to match the overall vibe of each level. [It will] have a more diverse and visually appealing level design and camera movements and be a tiny bit easier in terms of gameplay difficulty than Lonely Sun."

Like any idea-rittled game dev, Mihaylov has lots of other ideas and concepts for new games -- especially some that focus on story-driven gameplay. But for now, he's focusing on Hyper Beam and Unlonely before he starts moving on to other things.

Lessons and Advice For Future Developers

Mihaylov's venture into the gaming industry was met with lots of support and positive feedback, which has left him feeling accomplished and successful.

NM: "To be completely honest, I wouldn’t call myself successful in what people in this industry may call successful. However, I am grateful for the numerous friends I’ve made and positive feedback we’ve received so far – this is success to me."

When we asked Mihaylov for advice he'd like to share with aspiring game developers, he offered a few pointers about how to work well in the gaming industry -- mostly that it requires the persistence to continually reach out to the community and persevere through failed concepts and ideas before giving up on a project.

But most of all, he emphasized the importance of respecting everyone in the industry you share with them -- even if they're critics who disagree with you or what you're doing. Everyone has different preferences, and it's impossible to please them all. But by staying true to himself, Mihaylov has learned to push forward and continue making games like Hyper Beam and Unlonely come to life. 

Mihaylov has a passion for games that makes his work unique and immersive. And his fans can continue to look forward to what he and the whole team at Rinikulous Games is going to bring to the community in the future. 

I would like to thank Nik Mihaylov for taking his time to chat with us. You can keep up with his development progress by following Rinikulous Games on Twitter. If you want to try out the beta version of Hyper Beam, check out their official website for more information.

An Interview with Star Wars Explained's Alex Damon,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/t/interview-7782c.png 80h6i/an-interview-with-star-wars-explaineds-alex-damon Tue, 16 May 2017 10:24:18 -0400 Nick Lee

There's no doubt that Star Wars is a big deal. And with the new Skywalker trilogy in full-swing, alongside a slate of stand-alone anthology films, there's a glut of Star Wars information flooding the web these days. But one of the best purveyors of that knowledge -- and the theories that surround it -- comes from the YouTube channel Star Wars Explained

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the channel's creator, Alex Damon. With more than 300,000 subscribers, SWE, which covers all things Star Wars via live streams, lore videos, news, and more has more than 800 videos, many of which have been created and archived over the past two years. 

GameSkinny: So I want to start with before YouTube; what gave you the idea to start a Star Wars channel?

Alex Damon: I’ve always been in video marketing. Comics Explained was one of my original inspirations. Every year, I participate in a huge SW Quiz at DragonCon, and every year I told myself I’m gonna study and hadn't won. The videos ended up being a way I could actually study, but that wasn’t their purpose. When I first started, it was whatever I found Interesting. I still had a full-time job and I made six weeks of videos before I even started.

GS: As your channel has grown with more subscribers and views, how has the Star Wars community been on YouTube?

AD: My commenters are especially great. I was shocked, actually, at how nice everyone’s been. Of course, as you grow, you get more trolls, but I don’t know what to say other than everyone's been nice.

GS: And you went to Star Wars Celebration Orlando, right? Did you do a fan meet up there?

AD: Yeah. So, we did a mega meet-up with other channels and my wife, Mollie, is in charge of social media, so she kept everyone updated for where we were.

GS: So switching gears slightly, YouTube's news a few weeks ago was a change to the amount of revenue received after 10,000 views. What was your response to it?

AD: I’m fine with it. It weeds out some people, but it’s ultimately [like] you’re losing out on $10, not $10,000 dollars. And just about everyone noticed around April 1 -- when the change happened. One of my favorite YouTubers is Funhouse. YouTube took big views away without much communication. The only thing people could do is crowdfund, which I’m not sure they’d want to go into, but like with Funhouse, if there was a Patreon to support them -- I’m there.

GS: So back to the more fun stuff; what was your reaction to the new game, Battlefront 2, seeing the leaked trailer before Celebration and the full one revealed during the panel.

AD: I actually got to be in the room for that. I’m so excited for a story. I love multiplayer and playing with friends, but stories, [aren't just] good for what I do on my channel, but just fun.

GS: What do you think of the new character, Iden Versio, and Inferno Squad?

AD: We don’t know a lot about Iden. I’m excited to get into her head. It’s interesting: she comes from a place that’s just willingly Imperial, so to see that is exciting.

GS: So Captain Phasma is confirmed in-game. What do you think her role will be in The Last Jedi?

AD: I hope they do more. It sounds like they will do more with her just from the trailer. It looks like she’s involved in an assault or something. I hope she actually gets to do something and they do more with her character.

GS: So we know the panel confirmed that this would be a canon story, I believe the first one in a video game that's not including Rebels. Do you think this is something they'll do more of in the future?

AD: Yeah, I think you're right that it's the first one. Anything story driven will be canon, unless it’s SWTOR, which is it’s own thing. I never played TOR, so I can’t really comment on it.

GS: From the earnings call earlier this week, EA said [Battlefront 2] will have three times more content. While that doesn't translate evenly into however many heroes or worlds there are, now it's three times more [Star Wars]. How do you think they'll handle that promise?

AD: I hope this one is as good as it looks. Hearing the developers, they seemed very excited; I trust them. In the first game, they couldn’t explore the sequels cause they hadn't come out yet, and didn’t explore the Clone Wars. So just with that, they already have two more eras.

GS: We did an article maybe a month ago about heroes and villains we want to see in the new game. Are there one or two from either side you want to see in the next game? Even if they're from Rebels or something.

AD: Well, I was going to say Ashoka. Ones I’d like to see a lot are from the TV series or more obscure. Rex would be cool to see, Dr. Aphra, though I don’t know which side she’d fight for.

GS: Are there any others you'd want, like a big wish, just throw it up there and maybe EA will hear it?

AD: Biggs Darklighter.

GS: There it is. Will they ever put Jar Jar in the game?

AD: [Laughter]

GS: Do you think they'll even bring themselves to design Jar Jar?

AD: Maybe like Force Unleashed, where there was a gungan frozen in carbonite.

GS: How do you think the inclusion of battle droids will work. Like in the current game, rolling is a big part of gameplay. So would it be weird to see a droid roll or have one jetpack around?

AD: I bet they won’t have all capabilities. They have said you won’t be able to use a jet-pack in every class, so it will be different. Battle droids may not roll, but droideka’s will roll into battle, so that will be cool to see how they do.

GS: Earlier you mentioned the big meet up and just in researching your videos, I came across a few where you did collaborations with Battlefront Updates. How's collaborating with him or others been?

AD: I love Elliot. [Laughter]. I’ve said that before. We met fairly early on.  Dashstar from Australia is another I met early in the channel. Working with others is always great; they’ve all been nothing but helpful and nice.

GS: So you've recently been doing a lore series on my favorite game, Knights of the Old Republic. Do you think Star Wars should do any more -- gaming wise -- with that?

AD: They’ve explored so little of the Old Republic. I’d love it if they did an anthology like American Horror Story or Fargo. Stuff like Revan, Darth Bane, the Jedi Civil War, all of it.

GS: I know there's been a fan petition to make KOTOR into a Netflix series. While I personally don't think it will happen, who do you think Lucasfilm would trust to make that?

AD: Netflix would be the best option; they are already partnered with Disney and Marvel. I think Netflix would do it.

GS: Are there any other things you hope Star Wars goes back into, a KOTOR 3, another Republic Commando, or my dying wish of a Bounty Hunter 2?

AD: That was a good game. I was always a big fan of Dark Forces, but I don't know how Kyle Katarn would fit into canon now. I’m very excited for Visceral’s game, which looks like it will be Uncharted meets Star Wars. Which would be cool to see with a character like Dr. Aphra, who's a treasure hunting type. So who knows, it might be my favorite Star Wars game!

I would like to extend an enormous thank you to Star Wars Explained's Alex Damon for taking time to speak with me, and hopefully, there will be more discussions about all things Star Wars gaming in the future. 

Until then, you can go to Damon's main channel or follow the adventures of Alex and Mollie as they vlog -- or follow both Alex and Mollie on Twitter and support all they do for Star Wars on Patreon. 

Also, a big thank you to Star Wars Photoshop, who created the header for this story. You can follow them on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for all things Star Wars gaming! 

TERA Celebrates Its 5th Anniversary -- Here's the New Content You Can Expect,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/8f8c1fd4772070a26d8d6b6e5e919e4c.jpg ajxq3/tera-celebrates-its-5th-anniversary-heres-the-new-content-you-can-expect Tue, 16 May 2017 09:23:57 -0400 Paige McGovern

Yup, you read the title right -- En Masse Entertainment is celebrating the fifth anniversary of TERA's launch, an MMORPG that has cultivated a large and fervent following since launching in 2012. 

So much has changed in the core game since TERA launched, and of course, one of the biggest changes to TERA has been the addition of five new classes over the years -- such as gunners in 2015. And more just keeps coming. 

On May 9, the "Velik’s Fate" content update dropped for TERA, introducing new areas to explore and armor skins to earn. As one of the new features in En Masse's "month of celebrations," this year's anniversary has a whole lot you should be looking out for. Lucky for you, you have five weeks to enjoy it all. 

TERA's Celebration Highlights 

Free New Flyer

Log in at least once during May and receive the Fifth Anniversary Wings totally free.

  • Log in once on weekends during the celebration's duration, and you'll receive up to five free pairs of wings
  • These wings are permanent and can be banked, but they cannot be traded 
Fight New Enemies in Style

To read about all the changes that dropped for patch 55.03, see the TERA 55.03 patch notes. But until then, here are some highlights. 

"Velik's Fate"

This pair of new dungeons will take players into new, uncharted territory. Full of nefarious enemies and difficult bosses, this new update take things in TERA to a whole new level. 

What you'll find: 

  • Two brand new dungeons with a terrifying boss, Laken
    • Velik’s Hold
      • Up to seven players
      • Normal and hard modes
      • Two entries per day
    • Velik’s Sanctuary
      • Five players
      • One entry per day
    • Both are available for max-level players
    • Both come with new achievements

Armor Skins

On top of new dungeons, bosses, and enemies, players will be able to pick up new armor skins, making their characters look fiercer in battle -- and more intimidating to the enemy. 

What you'll find: 

  • Three fresh, metal armor skins with a new helmet slot dropped in the latest patch: 
    • Ironward -- Brushed steel
    • Dawn’s Guard -- White with crimson accents
    • Night’s Watch --  Black
  • Each will be on sale later this month

New Gear

Brand new gear sets make an appearance as well. For those high-level players looking to up their game, you'll find: 

  • New Tier 11 and Tier 12 armor is now available
    • Both are obtainable from dungeons and battleground jackpots

New Accessories

To flesh things out even further, new accessories will be available to players as they move through TERA's world on to their next conquest. You'll find: 

  • Dungeon drop: Godstrap and Heaventrap
  • Trapped
    • Increases critical factor
  • Locked 
    • Increases power
Anniversary Tokens

Rare cosmetic items are up for grabs, but you'll have to work for them. Anniversary tokens add a new layer to TERA's play, incentivizing you to take advantage of the game's dungeons and PVP areas. 

  • Earn tokens through participation in dungeons and PvP
    • Drop chance for rare cosmetic items 


But don't let those tokens go to waste. Instead, make sure to stop by the shop and pick up rare items from time to time. 

  • Spend your tokens
  • Items change weekly
  • Buy items not normally available 
Fifth Anniversary Gift Boxes

  • Available on the online store
  • Chance for a valuable item in one of the following categories:
    • Consumables
    • Inner armor
    • Mounts
    • Costumes
Gift Exchange

How to Participate 

  • Buy a Fifth Anniversary gift box on the online store
  • Send boxes to friends to earn rewards


  • Send 1 box -- get 1 Kelsaik's Crown
  • Send 3 -- get a 30-day Elite Status voucher
  • Send 5 --  get 1 Fiery Halo 
  • Send 10 -- get 1 Cheeks pet (account-bound)
    • Receive 72 more inventory slots across all of your characters
  • Send 15 -- get 1 Ultraplasm weapon skin (account-bound)
    • See a vibrant crimson glow on all your weapons
    • Note: Ineffective on runeglaives. Cannot be claimed on a Valkyrie
Super Quiz Bowl
  • During live streams, hear TERA trivia questions 
  • Join community manager Spacecats every week to participate and gain the chance to win awesome prizes 
  • Other in-game events will be around, including finishing highlighted dungeons for the week to earn more Anniversary Tokens
Changed Patch Content

Check out the full, detailed report in the latest patch notes.


  • Returned
    • Timescape
    • Bathysmal Rise
    • The Abscess
  • Gone
    • Harrowhold
    • Ruinous Manor
    • Broken Prison
    • Lilith's Keep 
    • Shadow Sanguinary
    • Sky Cruiser Endeavor
    • Vault of Kaprima

Instance Reset Scrolls

  • Type is dependent on dungeon difficulty level
    • Previous versions dependent on dungeon itself


What are your thoughts on TERA's fifth anniversary? How have you seen TERA change and grow over the years? What feature or item are you most excited about this month? Tell us in the comments below!

Preview: Rogue Islands -- Ziggurat Meets Minecraft,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/2/5/125915ae58098e9.jpg 744xu/preview-rogue-islands-ziggurat-meets-minecraft Mon, 15 May 2017 21:14:14 -0400 Damien Smith

If there is one thing that indie developers are renown for, it is combining elements from two different games to create something new, unique, and in most cases, exciting. One such game that that falls into this category is Rogue Islands, which combines Minecraft's graphics and game mechanics (such as crafting and mining) with Ziggurat's fast-paced FPS action to create something different and fun.

Essentially, Rogue Islands is an FPS roguelike developed by Big Fat Alien. It released on Steam Early Access May 12, and while it is in an early stage of development, Rogue Islands is a competent FPS experience that does its best to break the mold from which so many other FPS roguelikes are cut. 

A Quest to Save the Deepgrove

You take on the role of a Gnome who is on a journey to save the Deepgrove (The Gnome's Home) from decay caused by the five Lords of Torment. To do this, you must travel the many islands scattered throughout the world, harvesting gems and materials to increase your powers and learn new spells.

Only then will you be powerful enough to face the Lords of Torment and restore the Deepgrove to life before it is too late. While there is a plot to Rogue Islands it is of secondary focus, while the gameplay is the primary focus in the game. And while the plot is simple, there is plenty of backstory to be had, detailing the history of the Gnome race and its many leaders and factions.

These are told as you travel from one island to another during load screens. It gives the plot extra depth, but also makes the story optional, stopping the plot from getting in the way of the gameplay.

Overall, the plot of Rogue Islands is a typical one of good verse evil, but both its backstory and history of the Gnomes are rather interesting. The narrative caters to both those looking for a story with detail and those looking for pure gameplay. It's the best of both worlds. 

Minecraft meets Ziggurat

That's how you would describe the gameplay of Rogue Islands in three words. From the Ziggurat perspective, RI has fast-paced FPS and a fairly robust weapons upgrade system; each of the three weapons gives the player new spells to cast when upgraded. Each also requires a specific power for use. For example, the first staff requires mana, which recharges automatically over time, while the other two staves require minerals. This is where the Minecraft aspect of the game comes into play.

Throughout each island, you must explore and mine materials such as diamonds, emeralds, and rubies by shooting them with your stave. On top of that, you must collect spirit dust from enemies. Gems are used to upgrade your weapons, each requiring a specific type in order to upgrade.

For example, the starting weapon requires an imbued diamond to upgrade, while the second requires imbued emeralds. You obtain imbued gems by combining a whole gem with spirit dust to make it magical and give it the power to improve the effectiveness of your staves.

While all this may sound complicated on paper, in-game, it is made simple with an easy to follow crafting screen. And it may seem like the exploring would get in the way of the action, but there are enough enemies to keep you reasonably busy along the way.

To replenish your health, you will need to find and eat various foods found throughout the islands. Each type of food works differently and has varying effects on the player. As opposed to instantly restoring your health, it slowly increases as the character digests the food and two foods can be digested at any one time. 

In the heat of battle, you need to keep avoiding enemy attacks while your health slowly replenishes. It makes the game's combat more about skill and reflexes, not stamina and patience.

Of course, being a Roguelike, it also features permadeath, meaning if you die, you'll start over from the beginning. But there is an option when starting a new game that allows for you to have one additional life to better suit those not fond of permadeath.

You won't be killing droves upon droves of enemies like in most fast-paced FPS titles, but the game offers a decent balance between its action, crafting, and exploration to keep everyone happy.

To further solidify the Minecraft influence, the game employs blocky, pixelated graphics and procedurally generated level design.

Mastering magic and levitation

Another of the mechanics of the game is levitation, which allows you to glide distances or slow down your fall. Using levitation uses up your mana, so as you increase your mana pool by mining mana charges, you will be able to levitate for longer and much further distances. It is a handy mechanic that works well, even if it is a bit tricky to get the hang of at first. You can also use your mana and levitation to give your jumps a boost.

Just like with the levitation, the more mana you have, the higher you can jump. It becomes extremely useful when needing to climb to lofty areas like mountains and treetops. They are mechanics that make traversing the islands far easier and without them, the game wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable.

There are also an array of spells to unlock and master as you progress throug the game. Spells come in both defensive and offensive forms. From simple projectiles to lightning bolts to a ball of energy that follows and protects you, there are plenty of varying spells on offer.

Each spell handles very differently and the player must learn how to use each effectively. For example, some spells only work when close to enemies, and vice versa. This results in the player having to choose the right spell to suit the current situation, giving the combat a certain tactical feel to it.

Even in its early stage of development, there is plenty of content to be found while the mechanics all work well and feel quite polished.

An array of varying enemies

The enemies of Rogue Islands each have their own unique appearance and sets of attack. At the beginning of the game, you face off against easier foes, like skeleton gnomes and bloated bees. As you progress, more powerful foes begin to appear, like fire-breathing bats, huge skeleton battlemages, and more.

There are also enemies called Ghasts that only appear after midnight. These ghostly creatures descend upon an island at night to drain the life force of Gnomes. They are completely indestructible and should you run into them, your only chance of survival is to flee.

The game does feature an array of different enemies, even in early development. They are not particularly interesting to fight, though. Their movements are all very predictable, as are their attacks (each enemy has only one attack). The skeletal battlemages, for example, are the biggest culprit in this regard. While intimidating in size and appearance, I have yet to be hit even once by them.

Aside from that one issue, the game is an extremely enjoyable experience and even if they are a bit bland, the enemies do keep you on your toes. I just wish they had a few more attacks to make fighting them slightly more interesting.

A great roguelike in the making

Rogue Islands is a great game and a promising Early Access title. Even in its early stage of development, the game is fully playable and has two of its five bosses currently implemented. It is an enjoyable experience that caters to a broad audience, offering features and mechanics that would satisfy practically any gamer.

The visuals are beautiful and the atmosphere is wonderful with daylight offering a colourful and calm feeling while nightfall brings a sense of dread along with the invincible Ghasts, looking to absorb your very life energy.

The developer is aiming to bring mining, exploration, crafting, and fast-paced action together to create a unique experience. And from what I have experienced so far, they are doing a great job doing just that.

Disclaimer: A copy of the game was provided to the writer for the purpose of this preview. This article is based on an alpha build of Rogue Islands and does not represent a finished or complete product.


Intro Indie: Embark for an Exploration on the Red Planet in Lacuna Passage,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/a/c/lacuna-a37b5.png xvhla/intro-indie-embark-for-an-exploration-on-the-red-planet-in-lacuna-passage Mon, 15 May 2017 17:46:19 -0400 ESpalding

It has been a long road for Lacuna Passage. Iowa-based indie studio Random Seed Games' third title, an open-world exploration and survival game, will finally make its way to Early Access on May 17. Set on Mars, the game gives players a pretty in-depth look at Martian exploration and the difficulties that come from just having to survive in such a remote location, let alone explore it. 

Development of the game was inspired by the Curiosity Rover's Mars landing in 2012. After a period of only a few months, the game caught the attention of gamers and space enthusiasts alike, so the developers took the early build to Kickstarter. The original target was to raise $40,000, but over 1,000 backers took the final figure over $54,000. During the same period, the game was approved through Steam Greenlight.

Lacuna Passage sees the player waking up on Mars and taking control of the exploration of the planet, gathering supplies and samples -- and, of course, surviving. You won't find any Martians to fight, though. Surviving means making sure maintaining your life-support systems, making sure you are taking on enough calories, and getting enough exercise.


Lacuna Passage is due to arrive on Steam Early Access on May 17 and is available for PC and Mac for $14.99 (€14.99, £10.99).

If this doesn't whet your appetite, then check out the Lacuna Passage prologue and let us know what you think! Don't forget to come back to GameSkinny for more news on the game once it has been released!

Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch: How is it Different From Minecraft on PC or Console?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/n/minecraft-niintendo-banner-1f04f.jpg q1veg/minecraft-for-the-nintendo-switch-how-is-it-different-from-minecraft-on-pc-or-console Mon, 15 May 2017 10:42:02 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

What was once a humble passion project from an unknown developer has now blown up into a brand that’s practically synonymous with all things gaming. Minecraft is a name that’s recognized by the masses, and the series shows no signs of slowing down.

As this resource-heavy world builder grew in popularity, it expanded to other platforms and genres outside of PC—like the mobile Minecraft PE, Telltale's narrative-driven Minecraft: Story Mode, the classroom-friendly Minecraft Education Edition, and even VR experiences for the Samsung Gear and HTC Vive. 

And now, Minecraft is coming to the latest hot-ticket console on the market: the Nintendo Switch. 

We've seen the game on console already, since it's available on last-gen and current-gen Xbox and PlayStation devices. But the Nintendo Switch port for Minecraft looks like it will tower all those other iterations of the builder game, because it's setting out to deliver a different spin on the usual blocky formula. 

This Is Minecraft With Extra Nintendo Goodness

The charm of Minecraft's open-world adventure stems from the imaginative depth that it fosters—giving players all the tools they need to etch out their own playgrounds. Meanwhile, the mythos of the setting subtly hangs in the air as a quiet backdrop. This isn't to say that the universe Minecraft is devoid of personality, though. The droves upon droves of merchandising that depicts iconic creatures like creepers and pigs would say otherwise. 

But the Nintendo Switch version is going to take this to a whole new level by including characters and environments that are based on Nintendo IPs like Mario. Players can look forward to exploring and building in a Mushroom Kingdom biome, where Mushrooms will replace the food icon and the music from Cool Cool Mountain will play in the background.

This Minecraft port isn't just settling with translating Mario and the gang into blocky husks. Instead, it endeavors to deliver the same sort of spirit that the Big N is constantly praised for—and doing so in a way that fits in perfectly with the tempo of the game's trademark supply scavenging and survival mechanics. 

For a lot of players, myself included, the experience that Minecraft offers is largely loaded with empty calories. There's a mindless sort of fun and comfort in chipping away at resources and building new things, but there's only a vague sense of personality outside of its angular aesthetic. But that's not the case with this upcoming Switch edition. The addition of Nintendo paraphenalia may seem like pandering on the surface, but the inclusion of these gaming icons rounds out a lot of the personality that's felt missing in the last six years. 

It's Different from PC, But It Will Run Beautifully

The console versions of Minecraft are obviously unable to facilitate the same kind of horsepower that the PC crowd can muster to generate that near-limitless sense of freedom the game is known for. But that's not to say these ports are watered down—and the Switch version is no exception. 

It runs at a steady 60 frames per second, regardless of whether the system is docked or undocked. The only real drawback you'll see as you play is a more limited draw distance when you're away from the TV. So it's a negligible difference for the most part. 

The gravy train that is Minecraft is still flowing, and people still can’t help themselves from eating it up, but even the most die-hard fan has come to grips with the fact that the taste is starting get a little stale. Luckily, Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch is where the experience gets fresh again. Owners of the new console would be remiss to pass it up—and for $29.99 out the gate, it’s practically a steal.

An Interview With Patricia Summersett, Princess Zelda from BoTW,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/s/unspecified-4192c.jpg 30qyi/an-interview-with-patricia-summersett-princess-zelda-from-botw Sun, 14 May 2017 21:33:12 -0400 tofuslayer

Earlier this spring, Breath of the Wild had its much anticipated debut for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U. With the new Legend of Zelda title, Nintendo brought gamers a much more immersive experience than ever before. Among the features that set this title apart from its predecessors was a greater depth of character for Princess Zelda, who had more voice acting in BoTW than in previous games.

The voice behind Zelda is Patricia Summersett, a classically trained actor with a background in stage, screen, and voiceover performances. She holds a Masters of Classical Acting from The Royal Central School in London, UK and a BFA in Theatre Performance from Concordia University in Montreal. Born and raised a Yooper in Upper Michigan, Patricia is currently a dual citizen between America and Canada. Gamers will most likely recognize her vocal performances as Hope Jensen and Galina Voronina from the Assassin's Creed games and as Ash from Rainbow Six Siege.

We got a chance to talk to Princess Zelda herself to get to know the voice behind the character and learn a little about what it was like to take part in the making of BoTW.

Credit: Andrea Hausmann

GameSkinny: As a classically trained actress, how did you get into doing voiceover work for video games?

Patricia: "I began pursuing voice work during my undergrad theatre degree, so had voiced several games by the time I studied for my Masters of Classical Acting. One of the main questions I asked myself obsessively during (and after) studying Shakespeare and other prose was “what makes this relevant?" Is this form dead or alive? How do I best communicate to an audience and breathe life into this story?

I’ve found that acting for, and collaborating in, the world of video games has those answers built into the work. It is such a dynamic industry, it’s popping at the seams with vitality. It’s a perfect fit for me."

GS: How does video game voiceover work differ from your live acting work? Does it pose different challenges?

P: "I think the challenges come as much from each project as they do the genre. There is a lot of crossover too. If it’s subtle, small work in front of a microphone, it’s similar to ADR or TV/film. If it’s video game barks, it’s more like live theatre. If it’s motion capture, it feels like a hybrid of TV and theatre. So it really depends on the project and the transformation required for the character."

GS: How did you prepare for a role like Zelda, where your character hasn't had this much of a voice before?

P: "Like any role that requires building a character, I start with the script and clues I’ve been given. I approach roles from my theatre training and the questions I’ve learned to ask through that process. In this particular case I also had the reference of a thirty year franchise at my disposal for research and imagery as well as the input and vision of the Nintendo team to guide me. So I was well supported in the process."


GS: Now that you've gotten your Switch and played some of the game, how does it feel to see how everything has come together?

P: "It’s fantastical. It’s immense. To be a part of this epic game and to be working in the presence of so many incredible artists who came together to create not just the game itself, but the longstanding series of games... talk about a humbling experience!"

GS: Did you expect the incredible reception that the game has received worldwide?

P: "I wasn’t sure what to expect. Of course I had a feeling it could be very big, but really, I’ve learned to approach all of my involvements with cautious optimism. Because until something is released, you really never know what can happen to it."

GS: What has been your favorite part about being the voice of Zelda

P: "Right now I suppose it’s either that I’m fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a warrior princess, or that I actually get to see new parts of the world and meet amazing people by having done acting work that was already hugely enjoyable. I’m very appreciative of both of these things in the scheme of my life. They were/are both dreams of mine."

Credit: Andrea Hausmann

GS: If we want to follow your work, what performances can we look out for in the future?

P: "I have some film projects--MazFareed, and a part in Mother!--and some TV roles that will release in the next year. I’ll be making announcements about some new games shortly. And hopefully releasing some new music in the next six months. I’ll be sharing those, as well as my convention adventures and lots of fan art etc. on my accounts! On Twitter and Instagram, I’m @Summersett_. You can find me on Facebook, and I also have a website."

*Header credit: Tristan Brand


For more Nintendo news, be sure to check out our upcoming coverage of Nintendo's E3 announcements as the date approaches!

How Bushido-Inspired Fighter Slice, Dice & Rice Rethinks the Genre,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slice-dice-rice-17986.png 1f7js/how-bushido-inspired-fighter-slice-dice-rice-rethinks-the-genre Sun, 14 May 2017 21:32:45 -0400 Jerline Justo

Want to fight against the most dangerous warriors in an underworld universe? Then you need to experience this indie fighter game.

On April 27, Dojo Games introduces  Slice, Dice & Rice on Steam, and players can fight against eight warriors in six unique battle stages. They must use defensive and offensive tactics to take down their opponent.

Although it may sound like a typical fighter game, Dojo Games takes their indie fighter game into a new perspective. By taking elements from Bushido Blade and mixing it with the familiar fighter genre elements, Slice, Dice & Rice sets it apart from other fighter games.

The Most Satisfying One-Hit Kill Experience

Like Street Fighter, players enter into a 2D movement plane battlefield and can perform basic low, medium, and high range attacks with their chosen character. However, the game does not give health bars, and players must try to strike with one deadly hit against their opponent, like Bushido Blade. 

Because of these elements, it pushes the players to focus solely on the movements of their opponents while making offensive or defensive choices. The game removes the idea of memorizing special moves and forces players to not button mash their way to victory, making the gameplay both simple and satisfying.

By taking both one-hit wonder kills and 2D movements, Slice, Dice & Rice combines these two elements into something refreshing and realistic.

Japanese Art Comes To Life

Fighter games, like Tekken and Soul Calibur, contain 3D animation designs that portray vibrant colors schemes in its characters and settings. But Slice, Dice & Rice takes a mix of 2D and 3D animation with minimal colors, making the designs unique.

Because the colors are less eye-catching to the viewer, the red blood stands out to the player and creates each kill to feel more dynamic. The black and white ink art style fits well with the 2D animation and makes the 3D animation feel subtle. Not only do the ink-like designs complement the hand-drawn battle settings, but it also makes this game feel like an authentic piece of Japanese artwork that comes to life.

It's More Than Just Rice

From one-hit kills to living artwork, Slice, Dice & Rice pushes the boundaries of any typical fighting game. Instead of button smashing your way to victory, players think towards their choices and perform them through battles while experiencing the artwork.

This game may not offer an online multiplayer mode and DLCs, but the satisfaction still remains by killing through AI characters and local multiplayer mode. Since this game is only about two weeks old, fans can only expect more what Slice, Dice & Rice offers next.

Have you played Slice, Dice & Rice on Steam? Share your thoughts on this indie fighter game in the comments below!

Overwatch: Everything We Currently Know About Bria,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/r/i/bria-overwatch-bde65.jpg volqu/overwatch-everything-we-currently-know-about-bria Fri, 12 May 2017 19:00:01 -0400 Jerline Justo

Before Blizzard released Orisa for Overwatch, fans learned about her abilities and character design through a series of rumors and leaks that turned out to be legitimate. 

The same has happened with three other characters that are coming to the game -- Doomfist, Ivon, and especially Bria. But the question is....are the new rumors as legitimate as the ones that cropped up around Orisa?

A 4chan user, QAAustinAutist, created a post stating that Blizzard will be releasing new heroes throughout this year. As fans watch out for Doomfist and Ivon, they've also become fascinated with Bria as well.

Although Blizzard has not confirmed these leaks about Bria, here are some things that we do (supposedly) know so far.

Character Design

Based on the 4chan post, this new hero is still a work-in-progress. Fans do not know if she will be a good or villainous hero, but they are sharing their speculations on what she may look like.

Bria is believed to be a teenager, and the smallest hero among current Overwatch characters. Her outfit mixes elements of both historical, vintage style and sci-fi equipment. She carries a wrist device, which operates like a computer and has a yellow and blue color scheme.

Bria's outfit would have a steampunk style, which is similar to these designs with its leather and steam operated technology. 

Heroic Abilities

On top of her edgy design, the leak mentions that Bria acts like an “area denial hero", which would make her an interrupt hero similar to Mei. Her abilities will also have limitations, though, where she can only block one route at a time.

Unlike Mei, her abilities will be faster and quicker. Her walls also contain bars that cage enemies from advancing around the area. When using her ultimate ability, she can also electrify her opponents in between the bars.

Is there more?

Bria is expected to release during the third quarter of 2017 based on QAAustinAutist’s post. But with all the speculations and leaks roaming around internet, Overwatch fans are amassing more questions than answers about this small hero.

They mostly question whether or not to believe this leak at all. Some fans look forward to seeing Bria, while other fans are taking all the info with a grain of salt. All in all, only time will tell whether or not any of this is legitimate. And we're sure Blizzard fans are chomping at the bit for any new information they can get.

Stay tuned for more Overwatch news about incoming new heroes. Leave a comment below to share if you want to see Bria come to the roster, along with Doomfist and Ivon!

Intro Indie: Conquer Fast-Paced Puzzles With ORB,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/r/b/orb-6175d.png 7skzs/intro-indie-conquer-fast-paced-puzzles-with-orb Thu, 11 May 2017 16:02:50 -0400 ESpalding

If you take a look at Steam Greenlight at any given time, you will see loads of indie games that all want your upvote. One such game is a top-down 2D puzzler called ORB. It is being developed by Devil's Peek Game, which is a one-man indie studio from Cape Town, South Africa. The Greenlight campaign has already been running for a month and the comments on it seem very promising.

Players take control of the titular Orb, who has fled his home after it was destroyed. Rather than finding somewhere safe to call home, he finds himself trapped in an alternate dimension called the Puzzleverse. Spanning over 12 "constellations," there are more than 140 puzzles and challenges to solve, each one unique and progressively harder than the one before it.

Another one of the unique aspects of the game is that the abilities that Orb can find increases the difficulty of some of the puzzles. This, in turn, changes how you go about solving the puzzle the second time around. So even though there are 140 puzzles, you are forced to do some again and change the way you approach them.

ORB is slated for a fourth quarter 2018 release. While it isn't clear which platforms the game will eventually land on, there is a free-to-download demo available via the game's website. The demo currently features puzzles from the Aries constellation.

Check out the trailer below and then hop over and tell the developer what you think and, if so inclined, give it a thumbs up!

5 Things We Want From Assassin's Creed: Origins,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-assasso-cweed-67530.jpg rq2sc/5-things-we-want-from-assassins-creed-origins Wed, 10 May 2017 06:06:25 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

Assassin's Creed has taken a year off for the first time in a long while. The last installment of the series, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, brought back some of the magic of the early entries, but there was a realization that the franchise needed time to find its feet again. Ubisoft decided to give the series a well-needed rest for a year and return with a fresher experience, which is rumored to arrive later this year.

The name of that shiny new adventure is Assassin's Creed: Origins. Although the title has only been revealed through leaked information, the series is set to make its return by visiting Ancient Egypt -- the earliest time period ever to be used in Assassin's Creed history. The soft reboot of the series, along with a brand new time period, means that Assassin's Creed could receive the rebirth it so sorely needs.

Will Ubisoft do it right, though? 

Origins has a lot riding on it, and fans are craving a number of revamped series elements. But which do we want the most? Here are five suggestions.

A Greater Emphasis on Stealth

Hiding in plain sight is one of the staples of Assassin's Creed, but the overall focus on stealth has been slowly pushed aside as the series progressed. Wacky gadgets and blowing up ships took precedence over true assassin techniques, so it would be fantastic to bring back the stealth element back to the series.

Origins is going back almost a thousand years before Syndicate, and with that brings the omission of many of the gadgets and inventions that flooded Victorian London. Origins would need to rely heavily on physical abilities, so this would be a great opportunity for new mechanics to be introduced that flesh out the series' stealth gameplay. Blending could even be done differently, introducing new ways for our assassin to camouflage themselves from enemies. 

A Return to Series' Lore

The First Civilization and the pieces of Eden were introduced very early on, but as the series progressed, the ties to this backstory diminished. After the events of Assassin's Creed III, story segments set in the present day were given less and less screen time. They were changed into very short first-person tasks that seemed rather uninspired when it came to gameplay.

Origins has the chance to delve much deeper into the conception of the assassins and templars, as well as the First Civilization. Plot details are of course practically non-existent at this early stage, but Ezio, Edward, and even Altair haven't yet existed in this time period, so there is a veritable ton of alternative story elements that could be explored. 

A Rich and Lavish Egypt to Explore

Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite time periods in human history. Mummification, the hieroglyphs, the pyramids -- it all makes for some brilliant cultural education.

If Ubisoft was to make full use of the opportunity to explore all of this, the results could be staggering in Origins. The game is rumored to emphasize exploration, so this wish looks to be closest to fruition Climbing pyramids and the Sphinx, as well as exploring long-lost Egyptian tombs, is a historian's dream, and something we truly want Origins to sink its teeth into. 

On that note, exploration, if done right, could be an enthralling experience that rewards us when we dig deeper than the surface. So, with that in mind, what we certainly want to have is...

No Busywork

Throughout the series, Assassin's Creed games have regularly had their maps swamped with icons of chests to loot, buildings to renovate, and locations to liberate. Side activities are rife, but many of them have felt pointless and not worthwhile. Quality over quantity is something that definitely needs to be recognized in future installments, especially Origins.

The continuing rumors of the game allude to an extremely large map that potentially spans all the way to Greece. This means that there could be a huge amount of content. What we don't want, though, is for Ubisoft to be tempted to return to old habits and give us countless, forgettable tasks to complete. Bigger and more memorable missions are what we need, and I think I speak for many when I say the world map should be used for those, rather than the overload of icons in the above picture. 

A Change to Combat

Another aspect of the series that has evolved -- but never truly changed -- is the combat. Throughout all titles, it has boiled down to pressing a button enough times to counter enemies to death. We'd like a little more complexity in Origins.

Syndicate was a step in the right direction, but reviews mentioned the major similarities that were still present from past installments. Brand new mechanics could be brought to the next game if Ubisoft explored other avenues. Both the new time period and series fatigue that fans have been experiencing are valid reasons for this.

Rumors have also been circulating that naval combat is returning once again, and the fact that Origins is to be set so far in the past means that this would need an overhaul, too. Canons, mortar fire, and huge artillery simply couldn't be an option if the title aims to be historically accurate. It'll be interesting to see how Ubisoft handles this.

Assassin's Creed: Origins is rumored to have its full reveal at E3 2017. Are you excited for the next title in the series? What do you hope to see in it? Let us know in the comments below! 

Ultimate Seeds Collection: GameSkinny's Best Minecraft Seeds of 2017,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/d/d/addtext-com-mtqwndi5mti1mty0-03c72.jpg vw276/ultimate-seeds-collection-gameskinnys-best-minecraft-seeds-of-2017 Tue, 09 May 2017 17:20:12 -0400 Auverin Morrow

Our writers here at GameSkinny just can't get enough Minecraft. That's why they're constantly searching out newer, bigger, and better seeds to play and explore in. 

From jungle seeds to temple seeds -- all the way to the naughtiest seeds around -- our writers have uncovered the best of the best for the next time you boot up Minecraft. And below, you'll find all of them in one convenient place. These are all the seeds that we've curated so far this year, with more being added all the time! 

Don't see the seeds you're looking for? Sign up on GameSkinny and create your own list of epic Minecraft seeds, and we'll add you to this page!

Our monthly seeds list: 
Our super-awesome miscellaneous seeds list:

Find some great Minecraft seeds of your own? Write your own article about them and tag it with "Minecraft seeds" -- we'll add it to this list! Want to check out our other resources? Check out our Minecraft hub page.

Also, if you ever run into a seed that doesn't work, definitely check out our article on why some Minecraft seeds don't work. Funny how the title lines up like that...

14 Force Sensitive Star Wars Cosplays From The Phantom Menace to The Last Jedi,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/title-434df.jpg 6umoi/14-force-sensitive-star-wars-cosplays-from-the-phantom-menace-to-the-last-jedi Tue, 09 May 2017 09:52:11 -0400 Glitchiee_8928


Star Wars Celebration 2017 Cosplay Videos


That wraps up our slideshow of the best Star Wars cosplays. Which cosplay was your favorite?

Before you go, take a look at these cosplay videos from Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando by Florida Geek Scene. Let us know if you see yourself or any friends in the comments below!





Cosplayers: Unknown


What would a Star Wars Celebration be without some stormtoopers marching about? It wouldn't be one, that's what.

Here, a stormtrooper, clad in his all-white armor, stands over an Ewok clinging to his leg, Return of the Jedi-style. With a questioning gesture, he is either unsure what the creature is actually trying to accomplish.


Image source: IGN






Jawa and BB-8


Cosplayer: Unknown


This Jawa went the traditional route. Covered from head to toe by a brown robe, its yellow eyes glow amongst the blackness of its hooded face. This Jawa has bundled up a battered BB-8, most likely looking to make a nice sale of the droid. 


Photographer: IGN





Grand Admiral Thrawn


Cosplayer: Rattle and Burn


Thrawn started off as a Grand Admiral in the Imperial Navy before the Galactic Civil War. With knowledge of the uncharted regions of the galaxy, he was an asset to Emperor Palpatine. Here, Rattle and Burn is covered in blue body paint and decked out in a white Imperial Navy uniform. Amazing that no paint smeared onto the white.


Photographer: OOC Photography 




Han Solo


Cosplayer: Unknown


Han Solo is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars franchise. A smuggler who falls in love with Princess Leia, he has remained a fan favorite for the last 40 years.

Here, Han gets a little genderbend, though the cosplayer stays as close to his original costume as possible. Short hair, white shirt, black vest, and a blaster, she has all the main Solo points down.


Photographer: Coming Soon





Jawa Girls


Cosplayers: Uncanny MeganDallas Nagata White


Uncanny Megan and Dallas Nagata White take a creative approach to their Jawa cosplay. Going a sexier route, they cut off the midriff and wear short skirts. Brown boots, socks, and the typical hooded top finish off the look. Glowing eyes stare from the depths of their hoods as they wait for their next target.


Photographer: Ed White


Darth Vader Unmasked

Cosplayer: Unknown

Darth Vader is obviously a very popular cosplay. The Dark Lord of the Sith, a villain with his own theme music, and a loud mouth breather, Darth Vader is a mainstay within the Star Wars franchise. It is a rarity, however, to see him without his helmet when cosplayed. Here he is, though, suit fully detailed, helmet in hand, and scarred face exposed to the sunlight. The work on this cosplay is incredible, especially the scarring on his face.


Garazeb Orrelios, Hera Syndulla, and Ezra Bridger


Cosplayers: Unknown


At first, I had to take a second look at this cosplay trio. The cartoonish aspect of their costumes is spot on, making me do a double take to make sure they were real people. The crafting, detail, and paint on the masks are amazing. The cartoonish feel of the attire matches the masks and really brings Star Wars Rebels to life.


Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 Group Cosplay


Here is a group of cosplayers from the recent Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. X-Wing Pilots, Jawas, Jedi, and Leias, as well as others, are all featured here. This is just a sampling of the cosplays and passion you will see if you attend a convention. 


Image source: Coming Soon




Cosplayer: Unknown


Dengar is another deadly bounty hunter that roams the galaxy. Hired by Darth Vader to track down Han Solo as a trap for Luke Skywalker, Dengar ended up losing the hunt to Boba Fett.

This cosplay has the weathered look of Dengar down. From the head wrap to the weathering and rust spots on the armor, there was some attention to detail that went into this costume.


Image source: GameSpot



Ewok and Wookie


Cosplayers: Unknown


While Chewbacca is the most notable Wookie in the Star Wars franchise, he is not the only one of his species. Here are two Wookies hanging out with their furry brethren, the Ewok. It's obvious these cosplayers are dedicated to their costumes of choice, as wearing layers of fur at a convention is very hot.


Image source: Gamespot




Kylo Ren and Rey


Cosplayers: Unknown


Kylo Ren and Rey were the stars of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A new generation of lightsaber-wielding characters for a new generation of viewers, this pair captured the hearts of fans around the world: Kylo Ren, the grandson of Darth Vader, trying so desperately to follow in his footsteps. Rey, a strong female who can use the Force. 


These two cosplay their chosen character magnificently. Kylo Ren is masked, with the small details in the mask and cloak really showing the dedication to recreating the character. Wielding his tri-saber, he is intimidating. Next to him stands Rey in her white outfit, wielding the legendary Skywalker lightsaber and her staff. The small details, such as her pristine hair and belt, really help the cosplay come to life.




Boba Fett


Cosplayer: Widen15


Boba Fett is one of the most notorious deadly bounty hunters in a galaxy far, far way, who, under the charge of Jabba the Hutt, is tasked with hunting down Han Solo. Here, Widen15 nails Boba's original look. From the blaster bolt on the helmet (which he received from another infamous bounty hunter) and vambraces to the intricate construction of the props, Widen15's Boba cosplay is astounding. 


Beauty and the Wookie


Cosplayers: Unknown


Princess Leia and Chewbacca get a makeover in this crossover cosplay at Star Wars Celebration 2017. Strutting his finest duds, Chewie looks great in his rendition of the Beast. Princess Leia's slave outfit gets a color change to that of Belle's channel ballgown. Gold chains, a red flower, and a blue suit jacket complete this couple's cosplay well.


Image source: Gamespot


Master Luke Skywalker


Cosplayer: Oldmasterluke  


Oldmasterluke takes on the latest version of Luke Skywalker, who has been in exile on Achto for some time. Going for gray hair and a missing hand, this cosplay is phenomenal. He looks like he just came out of The Force AwakensThe attention to detail on the robotic hand is simply astounding. The small details, such as gray hairs in his eyebrows, really help sell the old Luke Skywalker look. 


Photographer: Jon Reino









Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu


Cosplayers: Skywalker Colection IncThe RusenAriel F Noe


Anakin and Obi-Wan join Mace Windu at the Jedi Temple. Looking to converse with the Jedi Council, the three enjoy quality time in the desert. Wearing the robes of the Jedi, these three cosplayers have their characters nailed.


Photographers: Zoch FotografiaSIGNO Fotografia


Star Wars is the epitome of a cult classic. What started as a single trilogy in 1977 has grown into a multi-million dollar franchise with merchandise ranging from video games to books, movies to home decor, apparel, and more. Each year fans gather to celebrate the Star Wars Universe with official Star Wars Celebrations. Here are some of the best Star Wars cosplays, with many of them coming from the recent Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. 

An Interview with Drift0r, the YouTube Call of Duty Wizard,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/r/i/drift0r-header-e9610.png yakbw/an-interview-with-drift0r-the-youtube-call-of-duty-wizard Mon, 08 May 2017 16:34:04 -0400 ReverendShmitty

Brad Overbey, better known by his online alias Drift0r, is a successful YouTube personality best known for his Call of Duty coverage. His famous In Depth series, which has covered Call of Duty since the first Black Ops over six years ago, has gained him a lot of respect from the community, as he presents hard numbers and facts to statistically show which weapons, attachments, and perks are the best to use.

With 1.2 million subscribers and 292 million views, his channel's influence has brought him into the top echelon of first-person-shooter YouTubers, granting him access to private events with publishers and developers such as Activision and Dice.

Drift0r managed to carve out a slot in his busy schedule of covering Call of Duty World War II news, streaming Overwatchand his new Sniper Ghost Warrior In Depth series, to talk to us about the future of his channel and Call of Duty.

Disclaimer: To ensure full transparency, the interviewer is a longtime subscriber, sponsor, and moderator of Drift0r's main and secondary channel.

GS: To start off, I’m curious how this last year has been. You adamantly stuck to your guns and refused to cover Infinite Warfare, so you replaced its coverage with Modern Warfare Remastered In Depth, while also reviving the Drift0rPlays channel for other games like Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. How has all of this affected you and your channels?

D: In short, this has been the hardest and most costly decision that I have ever made. Maybe ever. MWR In Depth did okay-ish for a short while but was never as popular as Infinite Warfare content. Audience interest in it died much quicker than I expected. This caused me to lose about 80% of my income for the last six months and is projected to stay at 80% loss for the rest of this year. I also have been losing subscribers every single month, except for this one. Subscriber growth is finally back in the green. The greater CoD Community and many of my fans viewed this decision a betrayal.

I have always provided guides and the community has always supported me in return. Deciding not to post a game for moral reasons was not viewed highly by everyone. Of course, many of my fans understood and continued to support me, but not all. Perhaps more frustrating was that I became a scapegoat for various things and the CoD community outside of my fan base. The last six months has been incredibly difficult for me.

Reviving Drift0rPlays was a VERY recent decision and mostly just so that I can stream more casual Overwatch. I plan to promote it some after I've been streaming on it consistently for a few months.

GS: Looking toward the future, are you at all concerned with the so-called “Ad-pocalypse”? You said on Twitter that your CPMs are pretty high and most of your Non-Ad-Friendly strikes are reversed within an hour, but do you fear it will only get worse?

D: I am very afraid. I feel that I may be next on the chopping block. Imagine working a job that pays $10/hr but is subject to being permanently reduced to $1/hr based on the decisions of AI chatbot. Google/YouTube means well, but they frequently make broad sweeping changes with no warning or input from creators. They can change the monetization rules, copyright rules, ad types, community rules, or how the search engine works at any time for any reason. Seeing this happen to other CoD channels worries me.

GS: Do you have any ideas, theories, or just thoughts in general, about how consumers can affect the more restrictive ad strikes facing their favorite channels and creators?

D: Be vocal about it and keep watching whatever they want is the best thing.

GS: Throughout the years, you’ve had a few expansions for Drift0r as a brand, including merchandise (both professional and homemade), owning part of Team EnVyUs, and Drift0r Mobile. Are these indicative of your long-term goals with the Drift0r name?

D: I have no idea, honestly. I should be more proactive in brand building with merchandise and complementing services. However, I'm lazy and tend to just focus on my videos. Brand extensions tend to kind of come and go at random for me. I also am kind of bad about following up on designs. Long-term goals seem impossible to me. Given how YouTube works, it feels as if I am surfing a wave of chaos and liable to fall off any given moment.

GS: Pulling back to your short-term goals, how hopeful are you that this year’s Call of Duty WWII will be less supply-drop focused, more in-line with your personal ethics, and therefore permitted to coverage on your channel?

D: Primarily, I hope that CoD WWII is a great game. I want it to be good from a gameplay standpoint. If the game itself plays well, then it will do well on YouTube. Supply drops of some kind are almost certainly coming, but I hope that they are more consumer friendly and/or era authentic. If it gets too silly, it will push people away. Also, having poor long-term value will push people away. Supply drops would not be nearly as bad if I could carry them over from game to game.

GS: Following up on CoD:WWII, you said during a livestream that you prefer a modern setting over returning to World War II, but would gladly take this over another title like Infinite Warfare. Do you think WWII will bring the resurgence of players that Call of Duty lost over the last few years?

D: It is hard to say if CoD WWII will bring players back because you then have to ask where they left from. Are they fans of CoD4? MW2? The Black Ops series? Black Ops before Jetpacks? Advanced Warfare? Ghosts? All of these games are very different and many players seek to return to the roots in different places. What I am hoping is that WWII will bring in people from outside the CoD community.

GS: With a promising new title like CoD:WWII on the horizon, do you plan to continue smaller-running series such as Overwatch In Depth after its release?

D: I adore Overwatch and think it is the best shooter made in the last decade. I will absolutely continue streaming, playing, and making In Depth for it. My In Depth episodes might be a little slow, but I do them for my own enjoyment. Breaking down characters helps me learn about them, too.

GS: Your channel has also prominently featured non-video game related videos about a bevy of topics like economics, religion, psychology, spirituality, and a variety of personal stories from your own life. Can your fans expect this type of (occasionally controversial) video to continue as your channel grows in popularity?

D: I probably won't ever quit making the personal, religious, philosophical, or political videos. Part of doing YouTube is making content that is important to you. Sometimes those topics are important to me, and I want to talk about them. Also, sometimes I see it as doing some good in the world to try to encourage critical thinking. Often times, those videos are the most satisfying for me to make. What I really need to do is find a better platform for them that isn't gaming but can still generate similar views.  

GS: With your channel featuring a number of series throughout the years and your background of creating short films, do you ever consider returning to creating original content? If so, could you tell us about some of your ideas?

D: I am a bit of day dreamer and have hundreds of half-baked ideas and short scripts sitting around. The problem with short films and original content is that they are HARD. They are much harder and more expensive than you think. Some people do it and make it look easy. However, that is not true. Often, they spent years learning how to do these things quickly and efficiently. YouTube as a platform generally doesn't reward high-budget or high-effort videos. Single day filming and 1-2 day edits are the limits of profitability and sustainability for most channels.

All that being said, I want to turn some of my dream stories into comic books. I tried contacting some people in the comic book industry and got a lot of "I don't care." I think doing some script doctoring would be fun, along with film consulting. I actually love acting and being on camera, so anything like that would be super fun for me. Honestly, I think movie studios should be having YouTubers do cameos in films for easy promotion.

GS: If you were elected Lead Designer of the next Call of Duty with absolute authority and creative control, what would your setting be and how would it affect gameplay?

D: I would set it in the late 1980's during the end of the Cold War. The single player would be 90% stealth missions and have very few big action set pieces. It would all run as covert ops type stuff -- a lot like CoD 4. The story would focus on characters struggling with moral choices, incorrect/incomplete information, and unexpected consequences of their missions.

I'd love to see it have a few unique failure states that are technically valid endings, such as causing nuclear war, falling through ice, or going to jail for shooting an ally. Hoard mode would be Dinosaurs and take place in the Congo River Basin where Mokele-mbembe supposedly lives.

Gameplay would ideally have the CoD 'feel' in that everything is smooth, fast, and not clunky, while still having a few extra punishing features for realism. If it gets a VR mission, I would love for the player to control a robot to spy on people... or do a HALO Jump in real time.

GS: In addition to checking out your pair of channels, how else can people get at and support you? Anything you want to shoutout or tease?


GS: Bonus: Are you aware, that as of the time of this writing, you follow 666 people on Twitter?

D: I follow and unfollow people all the time. Don't worry too much about the numbers.

Thank you Drift0r for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

You can catch him on his main channel, where he's usually covering Call of Duty and troubles of the mind, his second channel, where he streams casual hangouts in games like Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm, and on Twitter, where he relays his strange day-to-day interactions.

Age Of Heroes VR Hits Kickstarter,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/9/5/89590cadc21a33f.jpg vhgf7/age-of-heroes-vr-hits-kickstarter Sun, 07 May 2017 19:07:34 -0400 UltimateWarriorNot

We recently covered the announcement of OmniGames new MMO-inspired virtual reality title Age Of Heroes VR. Just over a week later, the developers have launched a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign to expand the scope of the title. Age of Heroes VR looks to bring a multiplayer raid experience to virtual reality players.

The developers are seeking to improve the game's core content and have several stretch goals that go in depth about potential features for the title. However, should the game not get funded on Kickstarter, all is not lost. 

OmniGames stated: 

"We have the private resources that will allow us to deliver the core product. Actually, we expect to release the early access of the game this May. Then why Kickstarter? The answer is actually very simple. We want to make it even better with more raids, more classes, and more game modes. And only with your voice and support could make this happen. Kickstarter builds the bridge to connect us directly to you, our most valuable players." 

This means that the core game will be hitting Steam's Early Access platform incredibly soon, which likely explains why the Kickstarter campaign is only six days long. Age Of Heroes VR is set to provid features like multiplayer raids, an actual body movement system, and RPG character progression. Regardless of the Kickstarter, it won't be long until players can see the game in action on Steam.

Outlast 2 vs Resident Evil 7: Which Horror Game is Scarier?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-this-way-too-much-bitch-a5a28.jpg udpmo/outlast-2-vs-resident-evil-7-which-horror-game-is-scarier Sun, 07 May 2017 14:00:01 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

Two of the scariest games this year are upon us. Resident Evil 7 and Outlast 2 appear to be terrifying just about everyone who plays them and while it has been out for a few months already, Resident Evil 7's scare factor definitely hasn't waned just yet. However, Outlast 2 is looking to be the epitome of horror gaming. With the two titles still very fresh in people's minds, the question still remains -- which game is scarier? Is there even a definitive answer? Let's delve a little further.

Outlast 2 is the hot release right now. Streamers are peeing themselves, people are frantically searching for guides on how to do just about anything, and reviewers are making themselves heard. While certain design decisions have been received negatively, like the outdoor setting where getting lost is all-too common, the selling point of the title is where the game shines -- it's a scare fest. Gamespot's review of the game hits the nail on the head:

"Tension is what Outlast 2 does best. Its gameplay may stumble, but you're always deeply, inescapably immersed in its atmosphere.

The stumbling gameplay is due to weapons not being a viable option here. Running and hiding is the only way in which you can escape death so it may cause some frustration in that regard. On the other hand it means that tension and atmosphere are front and center.

While Outlast 2 has no weapons of which to speak, Resident Evil 7 gives you a few toys to play with. Weaponry in horror games can either be incorporated very well, or very badly, but fortunately RE7 sides with the former. Threats will always remain threats, no matter how armed to the teeth you may appear to be. So setting a flamethrower on Marguerite doesn't guarantee a smouldering corpse, no matter how singed you think she is.

The true horror of the title stems from the tension that is created rather than the in-your-face chaos, similar to that of Outlast 2. Again, coming back to another Gamespot review, they summarize it in a nutshell:

"The textures, details and sounds are, without exception, utterly gross in the best way. And impressively RE7 relies far more on its atmosphere than cheap jumpscares."

Atmosphere is indeed king in horror games, and it's what both of these titles pull off so well. It's been a dwindling genre in recent years but goosebump inducing horror games still rear their heads from time to time, as we see here.

Both Outlast 2 and Resident Evil 7 have received praise from various sources on how they provide an experience that doesn't limit itself to a cheap jumpscare -- that, we can now see. Atmosphere is what both focus on, through excellent visual and audio effects, but is there any concrete evidence that puts one above the other?

We've been talking about praise in reviews for both titles, but a quick trip to Metacritic shows that Resident Evil 7 is scoring higher across all platforms in comparison to Outlast 2's score. Is that evidence enough for Resident Evil 7 being the superior game, though? I'm not so sure. The scores are not ridiculously far apart, so they can be taken on the chin.

The general consensus is that both games are mutually scary. Outlast 2 and its ban on weapons helps to up the ante from what was established in the original, and Resident Evil 7 deviates completely from a lot of the series tropes while still keeping itself embedded in the Resident Evil franchise. The atmospheric similarities are clear, but the games are also very different.

The original Outlast was a smash hit, and once the seventh iteration of Resident Evil was upon us, fans took the forums and asked that golden question -- is it scarier than Outlast? The answers given only cement what we know even further, but an interesting point was also raised. Outlast and its sequel rely on the atmosphere and the scares to keep you engaged, but Resident Evil 7 has more gameplay to back it up.

The gameplay of Resident Evil 7 helps to add different flavor to its atmosphere. You have more control over the outcome, whereas Outlast 2 regularly boils down to "attempt to sneak through here, get spotted, run for your life to here." That isn't a bad thing in Outlast 2's case, but the inherent similarities of the two titles were created through slightly different means. The same result can often come from several methods, and these two games are an indication of that fact. 

What can be deemed from this is that there is no clear winner as to which of these two games is scarier. Of course, subjectivity may come into it, as gamers will favor one title over the other, but on the whole, both have been praised for how well they manage to pull people in with their atmospheric focus.

What's next for both series? Only time will tell. Let's hope we see something that will continue to scare us senseless. Have you played Outlast 2 or Resident Evil 7? Which one did you find scariest? Let us know in the comments below! 

Trade In Your Guns: Arcane Warfare is the Future of FPS,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/r/mirage-hero-84f19.jpg hy6g9/trade-in-your-guns-arcane-warfare-is-the-future-of-fps Fri, 05 May 2017 09:46:13 -0400 Jonathan Moore

From the developers of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare comes an exciting new voyage into the FPS genre -- one full of magic, swords, and lopped-off heads. Due to release May 23 on Steam, and currently in open beta, Mirage: Arcane Warfare is Torn Banner Studios’ latest foray into the first-person slasher genre.

Unlike other first-person shooters that predicate themselves on twitch gameplay and ludicrous loadouts, Mirage trades in high-tech weaponry for spells and scimitars, maces and gruesome mayhem. Where Chivalry is more an exercise in brute force, Mirage takes that team-based formula and vastly improves upon it, infusing raucous battles with deep tactical strategy.

After spending about 10 hours with the Mirage: Arcane Warfare beta, it’s safe to say that this multiplayer FPS is leading the charge into the future of skill-based melee combat.

Fighting in Mirage is Frenetic, Yet Full of Tactical Strategy

Sporting six death-dealing classes, which we’ll talk more about in a few paragraphs, players have a bevy of ways by which to send their opponents to the afterlife. And although fighting in Mirage: Arcane Warfare takes some getting used to -- especially if you’ve not honed your skills in Chivalry or are new to the genre -- it only takes a couple of matches in the trenches to get the hang of blocking, attacking, riposting, and skewering. Lopping off an arm with a scimitar or burning the skin off your opponent with a precisely placed meteoric firestorm feels intuitive and natural -- as if you’ve always been a death-dealing murder machine.

Toying with opponents has never been more fun. Like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare before it, your biggest ally in Mirage battles is patience. Here, skirmishes are faster and more frenetic. But waiting until the opportune moment to strike or parry is an essential skill you must learn early and implement often, lending even the most chaotic encounters a balletic ebb and flow. Games of cat and mouse are commonplace -- with players attacking and retreating, always vying for the upper hand. Until a huge fireball or lance skewers you from behind.

But what really sets the combat off in Mirage is the game’s fluid and intuitive control scheme. All standard attacks are mapped to your mouse, while all powers are mapped to the QEF buttons on your keyboard. For players with smaller hands, this layout is optimal for quick, unobtrusive recall in combat. It also means you’ll never misuse an attack in the wrong situation, retreat when you’re not ready, or drop an AOE attack to disrupt an enemy team’s offensive.

Mirage: Arcane Warfare’s Eclectic Class of Damage Dealers

Each of class in Mirage: Arcane Warfare is unique, bringing to the battlefield its own set of distinctive attacks, weapons, and abilities. On top of that, each class has two combat presets, each sporting diverse weapons and special attacks. From ranged bolts of fire to powerful AOE attacks and defensive maneuvers -- including a kickass flying carpet -- these classes provide their own strengths and weaknesses in battle, fulfilling specific team-based roles such as tank and support.

Let’s take a quick look at each and what they bring to Mirage’s combat.


Arguably the most diverse combatant on the battlefield, the Entropist is a support/offense hybrid that’s able to heal allies with Healing Well and Healing Grenade, as well as deal damage from afar with abilities like Projectile Teleport.

He’s no tank, so up-close hack-and-slash isn’t his forte. Instead, he’s highly evasive and built for dash-attack-dash combat techniques. Oh, and he’s got a crazy fun magic carpet that can easily whisk him away from immediate danger.


Next to the Entropist, the Vigilist is Mirage Arcane’s best defensive support. Capable of blocking and negating incoming attacks and shielding allies from certain death, the Vigilist is agile and vigorous. This class crowd controls like nobody’s business by using skills like Iron Dome and Disperse, and is adept in quickly parrying incoming melees to set up devastating counterattacks.


This class is the hobgoblin of the FPS. A trap specialist and highly mobile, the Tinker is able to dip, dive, duck, and dodge around and away opponents with ease while attacking in short, vicious bursts. On top of that, this class is able to lay devastating traps for any enemy unlucky enough to fall into them, using abilities such as Stasis and Proximity Mine to dole out damage. This class’ strength is pushing enemies out of fights and murdering them for engaging any ally.


Ah, the Alchemancer. A true mage class, he’s capable of delivering devastating damage through the adept use of spells like Chaos Orb and Piercing Shot. Only capable of dispatching enemies at range, the Alchemancer is fairly easy to dispatch in close quarters, but a true marksman when left in the open field.


This class is truly vicious. Whether at mid-range or up close, the Vypress relies on evasion and accuracy to kill her enemies. This class is truly aggressive and highly focused on melee attacks at close quarters. Wielding a scimitar and blade-whip, the Vypress is also best used stealthily and from the shadows. She can be a real pain in the neck…unless you’re the one doling out the pain.


This guy’s a tank. Sporting heavy armor and a terrifyingly huge mace, the Taurant class is a bull on the battlefield. Getting up close and personal is his M.O. -- especially with special attacks such as Charge, Boulder, and Leapslam rounding out his brutal repertoire of moves. Being able to take and dish ample amounts of damage, this is a class that requires less finesse than other classes, and is a good starting point for newcomers to Mirage Arcane’s battle system.

Maps and Modes: Mirage Arcane Delivers in Spades

Combat between Mirage: Arcane Warfare’s two factions currently plays out in 10 theaters of war. The diverse offering of killing floors -- ranging from wide-open desert maps to near-claustrophobic temples with abundant verticality -- are filled with arresting design decisions, many that provide players with multiple pathways to a kill (or kills). There’s nothing like rushing a room with a Taurant and murdering everyone inside -- or watching those lucky enough to escape your wrath scurry through tight entry points and corridors like terrified rats.

Each map also provides players with unique tactical advantages that play into the strengths and weaknesses of each class. So not only must players use their skill to defeat enemies, but they must also use wit and guile to exploit the advantages and comprehend the disadvantages of any lane or pathway.

On top of that, Torn Banner challenges players via modes such as Team Deathmatch, CTF, and Push -- a frenzied mode in which glyphs (or capture points) move about the map as teams attempt to capture them. Although these modes may appear passé at first glance, Torn Banner has infused each with a uniqueness -- via level design and class development -- that keeps players on edge and guessing as they play.


Meeting at the “intersection between close-quarters and ranged combat,” Mirage Arcane’s developers have promised that players will feel the crunch of maces against bone and the smell of rending flesh seared by a sorcerer’s flame-bolt. And with Mirage’s ragdoll physics and gore-centric fantasy combat taking center stage, we can officially say they’ve delivered on their promise. This game provides a powerfully tight package of competitive gameplay that will excite and engage any FPS fan.

Anyone looking to trade in their guns for a strategic, skill-based alternative to today’s over-the-top modern warfares should take note of Mirage, as its civil war is bound to recruit many an FPS fan when it launches on May 23.

From Guns to Gravity Wells, Golf For Workgroups is a Zany Take on Hitting the Links,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/99553a68e935b508f9101505457d3805.jpg wb8y5/from-guns-to-gravity-wells-golf-for-workgroups-is-a-zany-take-on-hitting-the-links Fri, 05 May 2017 08:00:02 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Golf for Workgroups is an interesting golf game (duh) that’s currently available via Early Access . It allows up to four players to join together online to play golf. There's the traditional stroke mode, wherein you compete to get the ball in the hole within fewer strokes than your competitor (or the designated par for the level). And a solo and team speed mode, wherein you attempt to get the ball in the whole either faster than your opponent or faster than the timer.

Setting Itself Apart


When you load up Golf for Workgroups, perhaps the first thing you will notice is its weird, off-putting aesthetics. For instance, you and your fellow cohorts play as a robot. You either have a revolver, teapot, or some other type of gun, such as an AK47, for your head. Your caddy is a smaller robot sitting on a wooden stool with a trash bin on top of his head. He teleports to the ball every time it lands and you can possess him in order to follow your ball through the air or just in order to move around the map really fast.

Many of the levels also prominently feature large statues of robots as well. The prominent use of robots begins to lend the game a little bit of a Nier Automata feel; just in the most periphery of ways though. Oh, and your cart has a jet on the back of it.


Golf for Workgroups differs from EA’s dominant PGA Tour games both through its open levels and its control scheme. First and foremost, the game feels slightly more realistic-- hang with me-- through the fact that you actually walk around the course yourself, as opposed to merely being teleported next to your ball like in PGA Tour. This lends the game a somewhat more personal feel to it as you stand on the ground and watch the arcing line get drawn behind the ball as it flies through the air; this is always an oddly satisfying feeling. This is also where high jinks with the carts come into play.

There is also the way that you actually hit the ball. Once the ball is placed on the game, you choose to hit it in two steps. Step one is relatively simple: you angle it in the direction that you want to hit it.

The second step is similarly simple but holds some hidden depth. Along the bottom of the screen, a bar will appear. The far right of the bar represents the start of your swing, the left represents the end of your swing. You slide your cursor from right to left to represent hitting the ball.

What makes it unique, however, is that moving your cursor above the line will cause it to curve toward the right. Similarly, moving the cursor below the line will cause it to curve to the left. By moving it from top to bottom or vice versa while swinging you can cause your ball to do curving patterns in the air. While this is interesting, the game doesn’t really explain the particularly well nor do they seem to ever really utilize it.

Some of the levels also feature unique quirks, such as the gravity wells, as mentioned in the title. Or one level where the game starts out with a giant hollowed out robot statue in the distance. Landing the ball in it will cause the ball to drain out of a port in the bottom and into the hole.

Future Direction

Personally, this is where I think the game should go: more interesting mechanics and more wacky, mini-golf like set pieces. Sure, we have gravity wells, but what about gravity whales? Some new mechanics, like time dilation zones, areas where time is slowed allowing you to hit the ball in midair, could also provide interesting challenges.

Better Structure

It’d also be nice to see more than just the 9 holes. I think a great way to utilize the levels would be in a structure similar to Mario Galaxy games (explained in greater detail in the video below). Boxboy has done a similar thing wherein they introduce a mechanic and then build it up over the course of several levels. In this way, the levels of Golf for Workgroups could even develop a strategic, puzzle-like quality to them.

The cars are also fun to control. The time-based modes can already be a thrill, so making levels specifically built around using the fun to use carts would be even better. I imagine a giant, labyrinthine hill you must navigate your way up as you race through it while competing against a friend.

New Mechanics

Some new mechanics, like time dilation zones-- areas where time is slowed allowing you to hit the ball in midair-- could provide interesting challenges. There could also be extra bouncy surfaces, portals, or interactable objects-- such as domino-esque tablets which fall over when hit hard enough changing the play space in the process.

New Modes

There could even be unique modes that facilitate these sorts of mechanics. Much like I Am Bread, in which you can play as many different types of bread (sliced, bagel, zero-g sliced, etc.), there wouldn’t be an explicit need to stay super strict with game modes.

You could revive the floating rings checkpoint based races that were all the rage in the era of 3D platformers. This would test your skill with making particular angles more so than traditional golf does. This could even utilize the unique mid-air curving mechanic rather nicely.

Like a tennis/volleyball mode. There’s a net in the middle, each player has jetpacks and time dilation zones above the court. You have a limited amount of time to jetpack to the ball as it enters your side of the field and knock it back. That could be fun. (Or maybe the pacing would suck and it wouldn’t be fun. I don’t know. Playtesting. Playtesting. Playtesting.)

I also imagine Rube Goldberg-like setups working off of things you setup in the environment. However, I think this might be exponentially more challenging to pull off than any one side mode might deserve the attention for.

You could also rip off Rocket League, by making the balls bigger and allowing the player to knock it around with their car. The sky's the limit really.


In short, I think this game holds a lot of promise. A lot more content variety and quantity could make this game extremely fun. And new modes could keep the game fresh when playing with your buddies. Ideally, this would culminate in something that makes me feel more like I am living out a Dude Perfect video rather than playing a slightly more interactive and a lot more twisted version of EAs PGA Tour.

If you are interested in playing Golf for Workgroups, then you can get it for only $4.99 via Steam for PC. It should be noted that the developers have stated that prices will rise as more content is added.

Will We Get More Info on Visceral's Unannounced Star Wars Game on May the Fourth?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/y/maythefourthheader-867d4.png xk823/will-we-get-more-info-on-viscerals-unannounced-star-wars-game-on-may-the-fourth Wed, 03 May 2017 08:00:02 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Star Wars Celebration came and went and there was still no news about the upcoming Star Wars game in the works over at Visceral Games. In fact, ever since the game was confirmed to be in development we have not really heard anything about the game. So what exactly do we know, what do we still need to know, and how likely are we to even hear about this game on May the Fourth?

What We Know

There’s not a whole lot that we know about the game. But the few things we do know are promising. For instance, we know the game has a star-studded development team. There is Amy Hennig, who worked at Naughty Dog for a number of years as a creative director on several series', namely Jak & Daxter and Uncharted. Then you have Jade Raymond, who has mainly worked as a producer for Ubisoft in recent years, particularly on the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Finally, we have Kim Swift -- of Portal fame -- who has also been announced to be working on the game. With a trifecta of highly talented and respected people working on this beloved franchise. Alongside their proven track record, this can only bode well for the game.

The studio itself, Visceral Games, is most famous for having worked on the Dead Space series. Which was a great trilogy set in a sci-fi setting, even if that setting was a little darker than Star Wars.

There were also 8 seconds of footage shown within a larger trailer which seemed to show a character walking out of Mos Eisley’s infamous cantina.

2:41-2:49 is the teaser.

This combined with the fact that we know the game takes place between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope has made some hopeful that we might get a game that heavily features Han Solo.

What We Don’t Know

There are a lot of things that we don’t know. Starting with the name of the game and continuing into major details about the game such as: where the game is set, who the main characters are, or what the gameplay style is.

There are some hints in the 8-second trailer mentioned above, but that really just connects the events of the game to Mos Eisley. It doesn't, however, tell us whether the game solely takes place on Mos Eisley or across multiple planets.

Nor does it tell you how much you can explore. Is this game linear, like Dead Space or Uncharted? Or can you expect it to be more open world Assassin’s Creed or even the Jak series to an extent?

The most likely bet for gameplay would be a 3rd person action adventure game, but that still reveals very little about the actual gameplay. Is it a 3rd person shooter, like the canceled Star Wars 1313, or is it a hack and slash, much like The Force Unleashed games?

As for the main characters, it would be safest to assume that the character portrayed in the 8-second teaser is your main character (or at least one of them). But we still don’t know anything about him. What’s his name? What’s he doing on Mos Eisley? Who is he affiliated with?

Basically, all we know is the general time period of the game and some of the developers. Everything else we can only make educated guesses about.

May the Fourth

There is a good chance that they announce something, even if it is small, on May the Fourth. But a lot of what they announce has to deal with timing. For instance, E3 is right around the corner. They could take the Nintendo strategy and jump ahead of E3 by announcing significant details now. This would ensure all eyes are on them as opposed to at E3 where you have a lot of attention in general, but it is spread out across many different games. EA could also choose to tease very little; hyping up E3 even more in the process.

The third option would be to just stay silent. Star Wars is like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, or a bank in this regard. It is too big to fail. They are the only franchise that can hire no name actors to lead their movies and reliably expect viewers to see it anyhow. They could literally come out and say,”It is available NOW!” come May the Fourth and it would fly off the shelves. (Make sure you have an extra $60 lying around come May the Fourth.)

Many hope to see Han in the game considering the timing and location.

To further consider the timing of announcing the game, however, you must think about the fact that we know Battlefront 2 is in development as well as a game by Respawn Entertainment. This could affect how they choose to approach teasing or announcing Visceral’s game. For instance, you do not want to have multiple games competing for attention, nor do you want to confuse consumers concerning the different titles.

In short, it makes sense to at least tease something for the new Star Wars game, but with several titles on the horizon and Star Wars being able to make an impact any day of the year I would not hold my breath. Particularly for something significant. All we can do now is wait and see.

Intro Indie: Take a Trip into Norse Mythology with Wartile,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/r/wartile-ca562.png v6jco/intro-indie-take-a-trip-into-norse-mythology-with-wartile Tue, 02 May 2017 08:00:01 -0400 ESpalding

One of the many indie games showcasing in the Unreal Engine room at EGX Rezzed 2017 was a new real-time strategy called Wartile. It has been developed by Denmark-based studio Playwood Project and is currently in Early Access on Steam.

Wartile is set during medieval times and explores areas of the Viking conquest. The game takes a lot of inspiration from strategy board games and uses beautifully designed diorama playing boards with movement tiles to highlight the tabletop inspiration.

Other than a straight up strategy game, Wartile consists of a lot of other features which really make the game more in-depth and challenging. There are cards to collect from missions which have both tactical bonuses and abilities on them, customizable units, and the possibility to expand your figure collection. To make it even more interesting, the game is available for single and multiplayer so you can get to grips with playing it against the AI before taking your tactics to unwitting opponents.

It is currently available on Steam Early Access and it is estimated to be released in full during the second half of 2017.

Earthfall On Steam - Aliens Feature in This Left 4 Dead Style Video Game,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/o/m/fom8z-71df6.jpg 81f1q/earthfall-on-steam-aliens-feature-in-this-left-4-dead-style-video-game Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Jerline Justo

When alien invaders take over the Earth, only humans must survive and fight against them. Players can join into the fight into this Steam Early Access game, Earthfall.

Holospark released this PC game on April 26, and since then, players can join together in a casual first-person shooter environment, completing objectives and taking down aliens. But Earthfall includes some elements that players do not know much about.

In order to get a good understand of this game, let's break it down through plot, gameplay, and online co-ops and single player. 

What is this about? -- Aliens Against Humans

As mentioned before, the game introduces a fallen Earth, where humanity becomes the endangered species against the aliens. Four characters, Maya, Jonas, Roy, and Danny, undergo various missions in the Pacific Northwest to learn more about the missing resistance team, R&D.

The casual shooter game does not explain a lot of detail towards the storyline during gameplay. However, these four maps and corresponding missions connect into one big narrative. Players gradually discover the purpose of the mission through small dialogue from these characters in the beginning of mission. 

Grab your gun and shoot aliens down! 

Like the Left 4 Dead series, the game functions as casual first person shooter. Players use your mouse to aim and shoot while using their keyboards to perform various actions, like throwing grenades, using a medical boxes, and collecting weapons.

But what makes this game different are its building options. During missions, players can block aliens with barricades, use and mount turrets, and build their own weapons with a 3D printer. With this equipment, players can shoot down these aliens. If one of the player's teammates gets captured or taken down, that player needs to rely on their team to help them out.

Time for some teamwork -- Go team, Go!

Earthfall is essentially an online co-op game, where players can team up with other players to work through each map. By teaming up, players can execute missions and tasks easily as well as help each other, especially when an alien takes down another player. It may be difficult without any chat system within the game, but they can help out their teammates when their characters call out for trouble.

Although this game is essentially an online co-op game, it also features a single player mode with AI figures. Like other players, the AI can help you when you are attacked by aliens or when you are down. Playing solo is a nice mode to practice and get used to the controls if players are new to FPS or PC controls. Earthfall also offers controller support. 

To sum up -- Shoot, Survive, and Save the Earth

Since this game is only about six days old, some issues prevent it from reaching its full potential, such as the optimization for their 4K with Ultra HD settings and the controller’s responses within the game. Furthermore, the game solely pushes on playing with others than playing with the AI, making the game feel a bit unbalanced. 

But all in all, this FPS game offers a thrilling and exciting experience that it can be pushed even further. As time passes, Holospark will continue to fix these issues and push this game into perfection for everyone to enjoy.

Want to play Earthfall? Check it out on Steam, then leave a comment below to let us know what you think!

Does Launcher for Terraria on Android Actually Work?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/a/u/launcher-be1c0.PNG a44zf/does-launcher-for-terraria-on-android-actually-work Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Paige McGovern

The Launcher app for Terraria claims to be the very first pocket edition mod app for this sandbox adventure game. Launcher currently has more than 4,000 reviews at 4.3 stars, proving its worth as an effective app for many users. There's just one problem... It doesn’t work for everyone.

The app -- which requires Android 4.1+ -- is free to all players who want new characters, building archives, and other content for Terraria. With the help of the app, your character can even become invincible and alter the environment. Of course, Developer Re-Logic has informed users that more new items and features are coming.

The latest update for the app, which released on April 27, fixed some bugs and added Google login support. Unfortunately, many users are complaining that it still doesn’t work. They are not able to log into their Google accounts -- that's not the only issue either.

On the Google Play page, the developer has stated that GGTT might not work with the following:

  • Android 7.1 devices
  • Android 4.3 and 4.4 Galaxy devices
  • Zenfone and Zenpad intel-based devices

However, the developer has stated that they plan to fix this in future updates. In addition, Android 5.1 and 6.0 users should be wary of lagging and crashes, as these bugs have been reported as well.

Those who are interested in downloading Launcher for Terraria should be aware that pre-existing data can't be transferred to the launcher. Once the Cloud Save feature is implemented, old progress can be uploaded then.

While Launcher for Terraria is far from perfect, it's made many users very happy. The developer seems to be well aware of the app's shortcomings, and we can only hope this awareness leads to compatibility improvements in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns about Launcher, send an email to the developer at You can also leave a private message on the app's official Facebook page.

What do you think about Launcher for TerrariaWill you be downloading it? Are you using it now? Let us know in the comments!