Culture Category RSS Feed | Culture RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 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!

The Most Amazing Bayonetta Cosplay Outfits,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/title-7afc7.jpg nm3jy/the-most-amazing-bayonetta-cosplay-outfits Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Glitchiee_8928


Police Woman

Cosplayers: Cosplay Tendency and Kimiko Oroshima

Bayonetta and Jeanne step into the blue and black uniforms of the police. Wearing police caps with badges on the front, handcuffs and ties, these gals are ready to bring all criminals to justice. The police uniform for Bayonetta has a light blue top and navy blue bottom, which Jeanne's is all black.



Which cosplay was your favorite? Is there a Bayonetta related outfit you really want to seen cosplayed? Let us know in the comments!


Umbran Komachi 

Cosplayer: Hagaren

One of Bayonetta's outfits is a kimono inspired piece. The Umbran Komachi is a Couture Bullet that comes with the purchase of the Super Mirror. Hararen is stunning in this costume. The gold hair pieces are gorgeous with the purple flowers hanging down from it. The kimono pattern is perfect with the little details perfectly re-created.





Cosplayer: AkinaGasai

Jeanne was once asleep much like Bayonetta was. Surrounded by hair she waited until she was awoken. An Umbral Witch, her hair has just as much power as Bayonetta's, though hers is silver instead of black. Using magic to grow it out, her hair goes down to her thighs in the second game. Here AkinaGasai shows off Jeanne's long hair as she sleeps.

Photographer: Arienai-ten


Christmas Bayonetta

Cosplayer: Queenriot 

Queenriot loves Bayonetta so much that she decided to do up a costume for the holiday season. Red velvet, white fur trim and a santa hat complete the main part of the costume. High heels, a red garter and gloves complete the look. Glasses, gold chains, and her signature red hair ribbons really sell the Christmas Bayonetta feeling.

Photographer: Pbj Studios


Bayonetta's Bayonetta 2 Primary Outfit

Cosplayer: SatsuMadAtelier

SatsuMadAtelier looks stunning in Bayonetta's primary outfit from the second game. Black skin tight bodysuit with blue stars hanging for the edges stand out against the Tokyo background. Lollipop in one hand and gun in the other, she brings out the fun side of Bayonetta.

Photographer: Pink Spider Photography

P.E. Uniform

Cosplayer: Luthy-Lothlorien

Luthy-lothlorien dons another one of Bayonetta's costumes, this time her P.E. outfit. A white gym shirt and shorts are what the outfit is primarily comprised of. A note is attached to the front of her shirt. Wielding a large green and gold gun, she is ready for an attack no matter where she is.

Photographer: Mael-Asakura

Jeanne's Bayonetta 2 Outfit

Cosplayer: Gaghielart

Jeanne is an enemy in Bayonetta and one of the main characters in Bayonetta 2. A fellow Umbran Witch and Bayonetta's clan member, purple guns are her go to weapons. Gaghielart makes a fantastic Jeanne, wearing a red bodysuit with black stripes and silver goggles as seen in the second game.


Umbran Gekka

Cosplayer: Judy Helsing 

One of Bayonetta's costumes is the Umbran Gekka. Inspired by Chinese cheongsam, the costume comes in three colors. Here Judy Helsing wears the red version which is adorned with gold embroidery and trim. A red flower is in her hair and her gloves are black and red.

Photographer: Las Fotos de Carlos


Bayonetta 2 Outfit

Cosplayer: RizzyOkuni

In Bayonetta 2, Bayonetta trades in her beehive for a short style bob as well as upgrades her outfit. Now sporting blue guns and tassels, the Umbral witch has ramped up her sexiness even more with peekaboo cut outs going up the back of her legs. Rizzyokuni shows off how the new suit moves in this action shot.

Photographer: Lucas Freitas

Bayonetta Transformation

Cosplayer: Arienai-ten 

Bayonetta uses her hair  as a source of power. Forming her attire, it also makes up her Wicked Weave techniques. When using Wicked Weave her suit loses its arms and legs, as her hair is being diverted elsewhere. Here, Arienai-ten shows off Bayonetta mid transformation. Wearing just her Umbral Watch, shoes and gloves, she is striking. 


Bayonetta Original Outfit

Cosplayer: Caroangulito 

In this cosplay, Caroangulito dons Bayonetta's signature look. Her long hair tied is back in a beehive, gold chains are draped across her black bodysuit and white gloves keep off the gunpowder residue. Laying with a lollipop, the glasses bring out her eyes.

Photographer: Michael Homunculo

Bayonetta has released on Steam to a roar of applause from fans. First released in 2009, the third person action game was an instant success. The titular character, Bayonetta, is a powerful, sexy woman with the ability to use a variety of weapons. A popular character, there have been many cosplays of her in her various outfits. The following are some of the best cosplays from Bayonetta.

Rocket League is Going to Be F2P in China -- Here's to Hoping There Won't Be an IP Block,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/l/c/rlcn-logo-final-0044c.png dkuz3/rocket-league-is-going-to-be-f2p-in-china-heres-to-hoping-there-wont-be-an-ip-block Sun, 30 Apr 2017 11:32:07 -0400 tofuslayer

This month, Psyonix announced that Rocket League would no longer be for sale through Steam. While it is not gone forever, the vehicular soccer video game will return as a free-to-play game exclusively for PC. This change is the result of a deal between Psyonix and Tencent, the Chinese company that owns Riot (the developer of League of Legends).

Rocket League fans around the world are now wondering if the game will no longer be available once its servers are on the other side of the firewall.

Chinese users have been unable to access online play -- so far

Currently, there are an estimated 30 million Rocket League players worldwide. However, very few users in China have been able to access the game's online play due to the country's ban on Google servers. A small number of players in China have been able to access online play using a VPN or proxy, but the connections are slow due to their ping count.

Now that Tencent has exclusive rights to the game, players outside of China are concerned that the tables will be turned on them, and that no one outside of China will be able to access online play for Rocket League.

What does this mean for users outside of China?

So far, Psyonix has made promises to existing and future players in China: our friends who are already playing Rocket League in China... Though new players will no longer be able to purchase the existing version of the game on Steam from this point forward, the existing community will still have access to the game you paid for, in addition to all other currently-available features.

However, there are no guarantees for players in any other country. Existing Rocket League players outside of China would be much more reassured if they were promised the same deal as Chinese players. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether or not Tencent will make accommodations for international Rocket League players. 

Hopefully, Psyonix will be looking to expand its user base rather than reduce it. We probably won't know anything until we get closer to the game's re-release date.

Do you think this is a good move on Steam's part? Let us know in the comments below!

Sonic the Hedgehog Spins Up a Diss at Nintendo,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/4/5/245902af74b6a19.jpg uracr/sonic-the-hedgehog-spins-up-a-diss-at-nintendo Sat, 29 Apr 2017 23:18:11 -0400 ReverendShmitty

To celebrate Mario Kart 8's release on the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo tweeted about the addition of "Mario Kart buildings" for their mobile title, Super Mario Run. Then they followed up with this image:

The official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter, verified with 2.13 million followers, decided to respond to the tweet:

Nintendo, refusing to let the blue speed demon get away uncontested, returned fire:

With thousands of retweets and likes, the brief battle went viral. As of this writing, no further shots have been reported. You can survey the battleground survey the battleground here.

It should be noted that while the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter is verified, it does not state whether or not the page is officially affiliated with Sega. In fact, it seems unlikely given the page's description:

"The OFFICIAL Twitter feed for news about all things Sonic. We also like memes."

So before the flame war begins between Nintendo and Sega fanboys, let's all cool down and just appreciate that both of our beloved classics are still chugging along.

EGX Rezzed 2017: Interview with Phil Elliott, Project Lead for the Square Enix Collective,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/q/u/square-enix-collective-logo-28f04.png 5o9am/egx-rezzed-2017-interview-with-phil-elliott-project-lead-for-the-square-enix-collective Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 ESpalding

Most people reading this will already be familiar with Square Enix, developers of the phenomenal Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts but did you know that they also help indie developers? This is done through the Square Enix Collective initiative.

At this year's EGX Rezzed, the Collective were showcasing eight indie titles ranging from a Communist dystopian puzzle game to a capture-the-flag inspired couch multiplayer. There were also debuting the latest title by the same team that developed The Turing Test in a World Exclusive session.

During the event, I sat down with the creator and project lead of the Collective, Phil Elliott, to talk about what the Collective does and how it helps indie developers.

Forgotten Anne debuted at EGX 2016

ESpalding: Welcome, Phil. Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. To start with, please could you explain the Square Enix Collective to our readers.

Phil Elliott: Collective is, essentially, a service provider for indie developers. We work with teams in a range of ways – building community (via pitches on the Collective website), we’ve helped support teams through crowdfunding in the past few years (raising over $1.2m in the process), and last year we started publishing games to help developers get the most from their releases.

It’s always with developer choice as priority – so there’s no ‘lock-in’ to have to work with us; and developers always retain full IP rights and ownership of their games. So our intention is to build relationships, help find and support new talent, understand the market better (and understand more fully the kinds of games that people want to play), and help to build sustainable business in what is a challenging and ‘noisy’ industry.

Screenshot from Goetia, first game released through Square Enix Collective 

ES: The Square Enix Collective isn't your normal indie publisher as you focus, predominantly focus on community. Why was it decided to go that route rather than just being an indie publisher?

PE: Well, as a business, Square Enix has been looking for ways to bring the community into what we do more and more. You may have seen the Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod for PC a few years ago; normally that kind of thing might not have been allowed to continue, but we saw so many people having fun with it, so we spent time to find a way to legitimise it, and support it.

Another example is the way that the Final Fantasy XV team were so keen to get feedback on the ongoing development of the game, to enable that community a voice, that they released a demo very early -- and then updated it based on feedback. I think that kind of approach was unprecedented.

So as a business... although inevitably it may not always seem like it... we’re constantly listening to what the community is saying, and that feedback does lead to change. Maybe not overnight, but Collective’s community focus is another part of that.

The Turing Test. Released through the Collective in 2016

ES: So, what criteria do you have for developers who want to get involved with the Collective?

PE: That really depends on what kind of support they’re looking for. If it’s the community and awareness building bit, we open submissions to the Collective website on the 20th of each month for a couple of days, and then promote one new pitch every week to the Square Enix community.

For publishing options, it’s very broad, but currently we’re looking for teams who need marketing and release support – although at other times of the year we will be able to support with some production funding too. Ultimately, we’re interested in cool games that show a glimpse of the developers’ talent, and has some element that’s better or different to games that are already out there. But there are no specific genre requirements.

Oh My Godheads is currently on Early Access

ES: At this year's Rezzed, Collective were showing 8 games plus Bulkhead Interactive's new game Battalion 1944 which is an increase from last year so does this mean that "the word is out" and the Collective is growing?

PE: I hope so! But I also think it’s partly down to our steady growth since we first launched the website in 2014. We were always very clear that we needed to experiment and find the best route before expanding to new areas – so we’re on track compared to where we planned to be initially.

We believe we have capacity to publish up to 10 games per year – but we also have to be flexible, so if a team needs more time, occasionally that will mean schedule changes. Originally we probably expected a couple more to be released in 2016, but the games will be all the better for the extra polish.

Of course, we still plan to evolve and grow based on feedback and results, and I expect us to keep learning the whole time.

Battalion 1944 debuted at Rezzed 2017

ES: Battalion 1944 had its first public showing at this year's Rezzed. How has been the reception been?

PE: Really great! It was a bit nerve-wracking ahead of the event, because the build is still in such an early state, but I can happily say we were blown away by the positive feedback from people who played the game. We’re really happy to be working with the Bulkhead Interactive team once more, and also in a genre that Square Enix isn’t known for -- we have so much planned for the game, and I can’t wait to see it all build out.

ES: So, what are the Collective's plan going forward between now and next years event?

PE: The key ambition for us in 2017 is to just do the best possible job on the games we’re releasing. That’s really what we’re focused on, so at this point I’m not anticipating another jump in the same way we saw in the past 12 months. I’m looking forward to signing new teams to the label, and if we’re back in 2018 with eight new games, that will be an exciting prospect for us!

ES: Well, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what comes next for you! Thank you for giving me a moment of your time and for giving our readers a little insight into what the Square Enix Collective does. I'm sure it has come as a surprise to those who thought that you are just a normal game publisher. We wish you all the best for the future!

For anyone who wants to go and check what games are currently looking for votes, you can head to the Square Enix Collective website and vote for the ones you like the look of.

It's Been Nearly Two Weeks - Where Are the Bayonetta PC Mods?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/h/e/where-are-mods-header-55da6.png lpm59/its-been-nearly-two-weeks-where-are-the-bayonetta-pc-mods Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:00:02 -0400 Dan Roemer

So it's been almost two weeks now since PlatinumGame's iconic hair demon summoning witch, with oddly long legs -- named Bayonetta -- has made her way onto the PC through Steam. But the only question I have is: where are the nude mods?

What Mods to Expect

It's pretty obvious we'll see a nude mod judging by the fact when you Google search “Bayonetta PC mods” -- half of the first page is dedicated to discussions around a possible nude mod. Rather ironic considering the fact Bayonetta technically is kind of already naked, you know considering her suit is made out of her own hair I guess?

In all seriousness however, I think mods to expect are primarily going to be graphical overhaul, enhancements, and improvement mods. Because one key thing to remember is, this game is simply a port of the console versions and not a remaster. Because of this I'm sure we'll see modders release graphical overhauls to help improve the visuals of the game itself. For example within only a single day of the release there was even a re-shade mod that tries to match the darker shader of the console version.

Other mods likely to be expected are going to simply be different costumes or re-skins for Bayonetta herself. Everything from different video game characters in general, to possibly porting over Bayonetta 2's costume and hair style.

We'll also probably see plenty of different hacks, such as trainers that allow you to have infinite health and ammo, to all kinds of crazy level hacks such as clipping through environments. Which I'm sure people will abuse to try and find hidden easter-eggs or messages hidden away within the level design.

What kind of mods though would you like to see in Bayonetta on PC? Personally I'd like to see a Rocco Botte mod, let us know in the comments what you would want to see! But for everything nude mods, try Google -- but for all things Bayonetta stay tuned to GameSkinny!

If Overwatch Heroes were Pokemon, They'd Be These,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-31476.jpg 8j7v5/if-overwatch-heroes-were-pokemon-theyd-be-these Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Jerline Justo


Other types of Pokemon could match these eleven Heroes, such as Nidoqueen with Orisa or Ekans with Widowmaker. However, because of its nature, type, and abilities, these eleven Pokemon are the perfect matches for our favorite Overwatch Heroes.


If other Overwatch Heroes, like Genji or Mercy, enter into the Pokemon universe, which Pokemon would they be? Let us know in the comments below!

Zenyatta as Medicham

Zenyatta's peaceful and spiritual personality makes this Overwatch character a favorite of fans. Similarly, Medicham acts spiritually through mediation in order to increase its energy and sixth sense. Not only do they look similar, but Medicham's body movements are both elegant and swift, making Zenyatta the perfect match for this Pokemon.



Mei as Sealeo

Mei may not have a cold personality, but she is definitely the ice queen of Overwatch. Just like Mei, Sealeo knows how to use ice attacks during a Pokemon battle with attacks like Hail, Blizzard, and Ice Ball. With this cute face and ice abilities, Mei would be the perfect Sealeo if entering the world of Pokemon.

Symmetra as Gardevoir

While wanting order in society, Symmetra alters hard-light to create her world. Gardevior can use psychic abilities to manipulate living and non-living things while being able to generate black holes. With its graceful movements and psychic abilities, Symmetra would be an awesome Gardervior by controlling reality. 

Orisa as Kangaskan

During Overwatch matches, Orisa uses her firepower against her enemies while keeping her teammates safe. Similarly, Kangaskan can perform hard-hitting attacks, such as Mega Punch and Hammer Arm, while protecting her own child. Orisa would be an awesome Kanagsakn with its heavy attacks and mother-like nature.

D.Va as Venusaur

Don't let the bright colors fool you -- D.Va's tank has high defenses, close range guns, and an ultimate ability that can obliterate the enemy. Just like D.Va, Venusaur has high special defense and attack stats, and by using its flower, this Pokemon can absorb energy from the sun to perform powerful attacks like Solar Beam. In the Pokemon Universe, D.Va would make an awesome Venusaur.

Pharah as Skarmory

Just by looking at Pharah's armor, any Pokemon and Overwatch fan would think Pharah should be Skarmory. With a protective steel armor, Skarmory's sharp-edged wings can cut through enemies, and although it may look heavy, this Pokemon can fly as fast as 190 mph. Like Pharah, this Pokemon performs deadly attacks from the air by relying on its steel armor

Ana as Fearow

Being the deadliest sniper in Overwatch, Ana neither never misses nor gives up. Like Ana, the all bird-type Pokemon Fearow holds a special ability called Keen Eye, which prevents this Pokemon from missing. Along with this ability, Fearow has high and strong stamina, just like Ana's spirit. Because of its strong character and high accuracy, Fearow is the perfect Pokemon for Ana.

McCree as Marowak

During his Blackwatch missions, McCree always trusts his Peacekeeper to get the job done. Similarly, Marowak trusts its bone as a key weapon when performing defensive and offensive abilities. Because Marowak is a skilled fighter with his bone, like McCree with his gun, this Overwatch Hero would become a cool Marowak.

Lucio as Loudred

Overwatch fans know how Lucio can drop mad beats in battle, and like Lucio, Loudred can too. Trainers know this Pokemon's ablity projects ultrasonic waves through the round speakers atop its head, causing its foes to become deaf. Although it isn't as quick as Lucio, both Pokemon and Hero know how to use sound as a deadly weapon.

Bastion as Porygon 2

Porygon2 was created by humans with a purpose to travel in space, and it can perform abilities such as Recover, Signal Beam, and Magic Coat. Like Bastion, it is programmed with artificial intelligence, so it can develop emotions and act on its own. A machine body with an emotional soul -- Bastion would become Porygon2 in the Pokemon Universe.

Widowmaker as Umbreon

When it comes to hunting their enemies, both Umbreon and Widowmaker know what's best. Umbreon preys with great stealth by hiding in the dark and waiting for the enemy's next move, just like this Hero. Once it sees an opportunity, Umbreon attacks, heading straight for the throat. This Pokemon takes Widowmaker's line, "One shot, One kill," to a whole new level.


Pokemon and Overwatch are two huge franchises in the gaming industry -- and both have some the most unique, entertaining, and relatable characters of any franchise on the market today. Each Pokemon and Overwatch Hero hold a different set of personalities, abilities, and attributes that overlap. And fans have noticed.


Because of these similarities, fans have begun imagining their favorite Pokemon as their favorite Hero, such as Pikachu Tracer and Gyarados Hanzo. But what if it was the other way around -- Overwatch Heroes as Pokemon?


Based on abilities and instincts, these Heroes could very well be these Pokemon in the Pokemon Universe!

Transformers: Forged to Fight Character List,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/r/a/transformers-forged-fight-53b6a.jpg y6qj4/transformers-forged-to-fight-character-list Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Jaleesa Mitchell

Transformers, more than meets the eye. Transformers, robots in disguise.

Ah, yes. These classic lyrics have run through my mind since I first saw the cartoons as a young child. Granted, Transformers was never my favorite show, but it does hold a special place in my heart. Especially with that theme song.

Let's just go ahead and ignore the Michael Bay movies because what makes us excited instead is the Transformers: Forged to Fight mobile game for Android and iOS -- something Bay can't screw up. Yay!

With a 4.5 rating on Google Play, how can we say no to this gem? Especially with descriptions like this from Kabam:

Calling all Autobots and Decepticons!

Anyways, with a game like this it's important to get to know what characters you will be playing.

Sidenote: Transformers: Forged to Fight has a story mode. Some of the characters on this list aren't playable in the game yet, but we're hoping that this little detail might change in the future. Honestly, I figured it was better to include them than to leave you all confused in the future. These are listed with a star by their name so that you know what to watch out for.

And, it might also be worth mentioning that each of the Transformers can be found in different rarity levels. It's up to you to try to level up to 4. Just be warned that the higher the stars, the more Ore-13 needed to level up!

Lastly, I split the characters into four sections, some with subsections: Maximals, Predacons, Autobots, and Decepticons.

So, without further adieu, the Transformers: Forged to Fight Character List awaits!







Optimus Prime

Ultra Magnus

Dark of the Moon Bumblebee










Revenge of the Fallen Ironhide


Movie Optimus Prime






Dark of the Moon Barricade


Revenge of the Fallen Bonecrusher


Revenge of the Fallen Mixmaster



Revenge of the Fallen Grindor


Revenge of the Fallen Megatron






And, if that's not enough...

This list is kind of boring on its own, huh? Don't worry. I've got a remedy for that. The video below is a tier list of Transformers: Forged to Fight (and most likely a more comprehensive list). It was helpful in visualizing the game, so happy watching!

Which list do you prefer, and which bot is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

*Promotional characters only.

3 Reasons Why City Clickers is On Its Way To Being a Sim City Classic,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/3bb76f280687d21d120b78132d4b96c3.jpg afygg/3-reasons-why-city-clickers-is-on-its-way-to-being-a-sim-city-classic Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:18:55 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

Back in 2013, the highly anticipated metropolitan building simulator, Sim City, was released to the masses as a broken heap of what it was meant to be, and the public hasn’t forgotten the disaster that moved Electronic Arts to close down the iconic Maxis studio.

While there is a dedicated bunch that’re still trudging through the demanding conditions that the new Sim City game still requires of them, there are many other gamers who’re still looking to get their simulation fix under more reasonable circumstances — and there was one person who decided to take matters into his own hands altogether.

During the 1-Bit Clicker Jam event that ran just this past March, a developer by the name of Eigen Lenk submitted a self-admitted Sim City clone to the jam, and unbeknownst to the humble developer, the tribute to the Maxis simulation game was a hit among everyone involved. Coming to an end on March 31, City Clickers ranked third place in a Game Jam where there was a submission of 157 games.

How is it that a game that was engineered to be a click-heavy tribute to the renowned simulation game was somehow able to hit home with so many gamers? Well, I could think of three reasons after playing it myself, and I had to drag myself away from all that clicking just so that I could tell you why you should care.

City Clickers is Highly Accessible

One of the biggest praises that Sim City received when it did work properly was the level of depth that it offered, and the attention to all of the detail it brought to the little nuances surrounding city management. As deep as it was, however, the systems and mechanics that directed its gameplay were still a little too complex for the average player to fully comprehend—City Clickers doesn’t suffer from this issue at all, and prides itself on how easy it is to start and play.

The core mechanics of City Clickers are explained with one thorough, yet concise explanation at the very start of your adventure as Mayor. City Clickers then labors to make the pacing of its gameplay, and the new mechanics that add to the prosperity of the gameplay, as convenient as it needs to be.

Even the most rudimentary understanding of its gameplay can still be rewarded, as every little thing you do can still have a purpose that’s teaching you the dynamics of its world building -- even when you’re doing it wrong.

Another point to its easy-to-play nature is that anyone can play: City Clickers limits its control scheme to a one button interface while crafting an aesthetic that allows gamers who are color blind to still effortlessly play.

City Clickers' Presentation is On Point

Say what you will about the state of pixel art in 2017; the graphical style still has plenty of gas left in its think tank to use. And City Clickers is a testament to that. The articulate sprite work is sharply contrasted in detail against the wheat-colored backdrop, with a charming level of animation and style that makes it look like your city is alive and kicking. Even the unpleasant circumstances that can affect your city, like a natural disaster or derelict roads and dilapidated buildings, are all represented poignantly within the game’s visual conceit.

What will really hit home is City Clickers' soundtrack. And wow, what a compilation it is. The effervescent chiptune melodies will permeate the hours you dump into City Clickers with fresh, undeniably catchy music that wonderfully compliments the aesthetic it’s packaged with.

City Clickers Has the Support a City Builder Needs

This last reason is more of an exercise in trust than a definitive fact. But if Eigen’s commitment to updates and maintenance is anything like it has been the last seven days since he launched the indie title on, then it’s safe to say that City Clickers will be aptly supported.

Along with staying devoted to his product, the developer has been as transparent as he can possibly be with the state of the game’s operation and has communicated easy-to-understand log notes for anyone to review on the title’s game page.

Not to mention the guy has been consistent with responding to various inquiries and suggestions made by those who’re playing City Clickers, and need more than what’s already out there. On top of that, City Clickers is DRM-free and will continue to be DRM-free.

Additionally, other features that Eigen is planning to bring to City Clickers will be: additional public service updates to city utilities like the police department, hospitals, and fire stations, a more realistic dynamic to the game’s financial system that will feature increased interest rates on loans, and cost management to the aforementioned utilities.


Before Sim City suffered from becoming bigger than the sum of its parts, it was a series that embellished nothing more than being an ambitious builder. City Clickers returns to those roots, and hopefully, with enough support from the developer, and climbing interest in the game, we’ll see a more fleshed out version in the post-jam release. And maybe even a bid to Steam Greenlight. But until then, you can download the game for free right here.

The 3 Craziest Pieces of Nier: Automata Fan Fiction You Need to Read,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/i/e/nier-fan-fic-banner-208a9.jpg dotqj/the-3-craziest-pieces-of-nier-automata-fan-fiction-you-need-to-read Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:00:01 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

Square-Enix is taking charge for once, as it recognized the surprise success of action-heavy sequel, NieR: Automata, promising an expansion content that will be loaded with plenty of fan service for players to sink their teeth into with new costume and characters to enjoy later this May.

Surprising no one though is the fevered demand for more of the dystopian world that the YoRHa force is fighting to reclaim, leading to gamers to take to their keyboard, and offer their own spin on the narrative of Sci-Fi drama.

And well, while some of them are really bad (and really gross) there have been some gems that are just so fascinatingly weird that you can’t help but think as to what inspired them to even come to be; like, some of these made me question as to whether or not we even played the same game.

Here are three that you should check out, and if it was already clear by now, some of these are NSFW, and a lot of them reference significant plot details to the endgame and conclusions of NieR: Automata so tread carefully.

 NierR Automata: Vague Hope

Robot erotica is surprisingly easy when the cast of humanoid automatons are built around every anatomical perception of physical beauty that you can think of. So naturally, it’s low-hanging fruit of the NieR: Automata fan base to gorge on in their creative musings about the game. Still, there’s one piece that stood out not because it was wacky or gross, but it wasn’t that bad at what it was it was trying to do.

Picking up on the theme of the androids struggling with the human element within their composition, NierR Automata: Vague Hope is a story by TTY7 where the author tries to examine the romantic tension between the android soldiers in a love story that’s oddly reminiscent of The Blue Lagoon. The story is only 4 chapters long, and it's well written for what it aims to do.

 The NieR Automata - One Shot Collection

Remember how weird it in James Cameron’s Avatar when we found out that the blue people the film centered around did the nasty by touching antennae with each other—this next story gets a little liberal with its adaptation around coitus and well, it’s certainly something. The NieR Automata - One Shot Collection by Samrit is another sultry tale of the budding relationship between 2B and 9S, and with a somewhat more direct approach to its erotica.

The story gets inventive with the lore of the game that was once used in a war narrative now gets an entirely different context, like the Plug-ins adapter that are once used to enhance 2B’s combat abilities, for instance, get an entirely different use that’s…well, I’ll let you read that part and find out for yourself. The Collection is still being updated with additional chapters, in case you’re still invested on where the story leaves off on, and it’ll be posted on at some point in the near future.

 NieR Automata: The Last Dream

This one serves up the most wholesome fan service as it works to tie up the connection between the original NieR, and NieR: Automata which admittedly, I’m still a bit bummed myself that the continuity between the two isn’t very fluid. NieR Automata: The Last Dream by author 336 examines the events of a specific ending 2010’s NieR, and does what it can to tie it up with a series of events that led up to the android’s uprising against the machine in Nier: Automata. Featuring an original protagonist with motivations of his own in uncovering the truth, the story does a pretty solid job of connecting the dots in a way that translates fairly well into the presumed logic of the franchise’s world.

The story does get into some spoiler territory for the original in case you haven’t finished it and care to do so on your own terms, but if that isn’t stopping you, then I suggest give series a read. The direction of The Last Dream actually gives something back to players who invested time in both titles with content that’s arguably more meaningful than some dumb character cameos that came up in Nier: Automata.


These are just the tip of the iceberg, as there’s a lot more to uncover in the droves upon droves of material that’s being shared about the 2B, and her companion 9S, just bear in mind that if this is a road that you’re interested in exploring further, you’re going to have to prepare for some really cringe-worthy stuff along the way.


Reminder: You Can Apply for TERA's Console Beta Right Now,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/e/r/tera-e5dea.jpg 6jk5g/reminder-you-can-apply-for-teras-console-beta-right-now Sat, 22 Apr 2017 22:13:58 -0400 Paige McGovern

PSA: There's still time to apply for TERA's closed console beta. The free-to-play action-focused MMORPG has only been on one platform for the last 5 years: PC. But last month, En Masse Entertainment announced that the game is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sometime this year. If you're interested in playing either of the console versions of TERA, the time to register is now. 

How to Register:
  • Go to the closed beta registration page.
  • Choose your platform -- Xbox One and/or PlayStation 4.
  • Enter your email address.
  • Agree to the Private Policy terms.
  • Click "Sign Up Now" to confirm your registration.

Very little is known about how TERA will translate into a console game, although it will launch on Xbox and PlayStation this year. Rumors and speculation about TERA coming to console have been around since 2016. However, despite speculation, En Masse Entertainment has been reluctant to hand over any details about the game's translation so far.

In an initial announcement on March 9, En Masse asked the community to be patient as details unfolded in the coming months. So far, a month and a half later, there's been no more new information. 

However, on April 20, Spacecats, En Masse' community manager commented the following on a forum thread: 

... There aren't any announcements or details surrounding TERA console yet ...

... Remind them that an announcement will be made once more details about TERA console have been determined and we're closer to a launch date.

So, while we wait for more information regarding TERA, make sure to sign up for the game's console beta and watch the announcement trailer below:

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for the latest news about TERA's development on console.

How Much is the Nier Automata DLC and When Does It Release?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/i/e/nier-dlc-banner-cdb22.jpg 5dx76/how-much-is-the-nier-automata-dlc-and-when-does-it-release Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:00:02 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

Square-Enix recently announced the new DLC content that’s heading to their action game sleeper-hit NieR: Automata, and well, it’s probably some of the cheekiest work that the publisher has signed off on yet.

Titled “3C3C1D119440927”, the downloadable content will include a slew of new costumes, cosmetic mods for the characters and bullets, equipable masks with passive effects, and new foes to challenge in the game’s coliseum. The new costumes pay fan service to 2010’s NieR by giving the protagonist 2B access to an outfit that resembles that of Kaine from the original Nier.

Other costumes include take on Younger Nier from NieR: Replicant on the adolescent 9S, and the more commonly recognized Adult Nier from NieR: Gestalt, and similar to the contrast of Kaine’s look on 2B, the costumes give the cast a more sultry, revealing look to them than their original incarnations.

The references are an endearing effort for long-time fans of the Drakengard spin-offs, and definitely add more fluidity to property that’s infamous for its somewhat disjointed lineage. The rest of the media packed into 3C3C1D119440927 is where the extension gets pretty wacky as you’ll have the option to facedown the president and CEO of Square-Enix, Yosuke Matsuda, complete with optional bullet aesthetics that will model his gunfire after his own, screaming head. I repeat; the same rapid fire bullets are freakish disembodied heads that can be rapidly fired out you, quickly making for some Japanese-flavored nightmare fuel that mixed Kaiju and business cultures that none of us were quite expecting.

Granted, these encounters with the CEO are gated behind a special event sequence that will become available after you’ve completed certain criteria within NieR: Automata’s campaign, but the payoff is definitely worth it as again, these matchups with Matsuda is fleshed out with its own storyline synopsis and everything.

The Square-Enix president isn’t the only Suit that got a ridiculous battle-ready adaption though, as the CEO of Platinum Games, Kenichi Sato throws his name into the ring, and like his Publisher-counterpart, promises to be incredibly challenging. It all sounds neat, but I can’t help but think about the missed opportunity the Studio glossed over with the absence of Hideki Kamiya, could you imagine how cathartic it would be the people he’s blocked on Twitter over some nebulous shit to get even with him tongue-in-cheek throwdown?

The nonsense of it all is admittedly enticing, and a great response to support NieR: Automata’s surprisingly successful sales numbers. The DLC pack is slated for release on May 2nd in Japan at the price of ¥1,500, which roughly converts to just under fourteen dollars stateside. This is a standard fare for premium digital goods on a triple A game -- there’s no official word on a North American release date at this time though.

Club Penguin Finally Shut Down -- But It Will Live on in These Glorious Memes,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/l/u/club-penguin-2e584.jpg g3y7c/club-penguin-finally-shut-down-but-it-will-live-on-in-these-glorious-memes Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Jaleesa Mitchell


When someone takes the joke too far...


It's okay. Because they're going down in the molten lava.


Hey, what's worse?


Being pushed in it, or falling in from the top.


I'm thinking either way would make me come back and haunt the poor soul who tried to off me in the first place.


They say revenge is best served cold, but since it's penguin land, I'm serving a big old piping hot dish of it!


If YOU know of any great Club Penguin memes, post them in the comments below!


This must have appeared when Cribs and Soulja Boy was in, making this OUTDATED!


Although, the idea that I know what that show is and who that artist is might make me outdated.


Oh no!


Am I losing my relevance in this world due to the ripe old age of twenty something?!


If I had a dollar for every time I heard that pick up line... I'd only have the one...


It's a pretty bad one. Almost worse than the previous one I showed you.


And what's even sadder, is that it's a line that works!


The question is, what exactly is being put down?


On second thought, don't answer that. We all know what the sick euphemism is.


Art and culture at its finest...


I mean, look at the depth of that painting. The fortitude. The brush stroke. It's a masterpiece I tell you!


I wonder how much it sold for, because only a true visionary would realize that not painting the snow is the best at to paint it.


White in its purest form...




When you're looking for someone to bond with...


It seems that any little thing could get you banned from Club Penguin. So much so that people began making a game out of it.


I believe the most popular choice was using the word "cum" instead of "come." Which is interesting, because it's totally used as short hand now.


Why? I have no idea.


And we wonder why children are so cruel...


Although, if these are kids... then it's the parents who would be considered cruel.


I mean, it's learned behavior right?


All I know is if I'm drowning, you're going down with me. And, if you don't go down, I'm using you as a life raft.




Not sure if this was a joke, or if something sinister is going on. Either way, it made me laugh...


But I wonder what the parent of this child thought. Like, did the mom walk into the room and ban her kid from playing ever again, or did she chuckle and move on.


I mean, IDK, is there even a point to explaining stranger danger in an MMORPG?


*shrugs and throws up hands*


There goes that dark humor again...perhaps they were a part of the same cult...


Of course, if you're hiding the bones from the lava place in the mine, it kind of defeats the purpose of them being your enemies.


I mean, why give them a burial area in the first place.


Do they deserve that sympathy?


I think not.


If anything was going to be banned, it should have been this bad joke by Edthevamp...


The sad thing is, this is a classic pick up line.


And how did he know that he was talking to a girl penguin? He could've been talking to a boy penguin.


OMG...what if the boy penguin was playing a girl penguin and just went along with it. And then they meet IRL and find out...


I mean, stories for days. Though that could just be my obsession with And You Thought There Was Never A Girl Online talking -- you all should watch it by the way. It's an anime.


And I thought my fashion sense was lacking...


I mean, really.


It looks like someone used the Paint app (that's still a thing, right... or is my age showing?) and just scribbled all over their penguin with the ugliest color combo they could think of.


Thank you Fashion Police for going after this man... I mean, pengman... I mean, penguin.


I didn't know that Club Penguin taught the values of cannibalism, as well as supply and demand. Ha!


Or would it still be called cannibalism. Maybe it's really penguinism... although that could be equivalent to racism.


The suffix -ism seems to mean a lot of things. Perhaps it's worth looking up?


The point is, penguins shouldn't eat penguins!


Are all children this dark, or is it just this person? Either way, they're not getting away with those murders!


Unless, of course that lava is hot enough to melt the bones of his/her enemies. Then maybe.


How many bones do penguins have anyways, and are they the same density as human ones.


Maybe that theory should be tested... jokes.


Murder is wrong.


Nothing says goody-two-shoes like asking your mom about Mafia business...


But what happens when she logs onto Club Penguin to yell at the fool who asked you in the first place.


And how old are these people anyway. I mean, do they even know what a gang is?


I guess it doesn't matter... that mom probably banned the kid from playing ever again.


In all the years that Club Penguin existed, someone must have thought about an alternate universe where the penguins were the rulers and humans were a  game that you played with.


I mean, if the multiverse theory is true it's possible.


The point is, if you haven't figured out this meme by now, you probably never will...


I'm not sure who this person is, but they were clearly upset that no one laughed at their joke.


Weird thing is that the ban is what made me chuckle.


I wonder what that means for Nikoluvjules' comedic career...


Ah, well, I guess all that matters is that his meme lived on, even when Club Penguin didn't.


Club Penguin will be missed, especially now that it's been replaced with Club Penguin Island -- which many find disappointing. But it's okay, #NotMyClubPenguin will be around for a while for all to lament its passing.


But, if you'd rather laugh then cry over the loss, then you've come to the right place. Because Club Penguin Will Live On in These Glorious Memes.

Darrel Wijaya discusses A Story of the End - Revere and its Story of Redemption,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/3/t/s3tieor-406ca.jpg a12ma/darrel-wijaya-discusses-a-story-of-the-end-revere-and-its-story-of-redemption Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

You’re a new recruit and you were told that this was going to be a standard mission. Of course, they didn’t tell you this sort of mission would entail you watching as a number of villagers were shot before your very eyes. It didn’t sit well with you and when you finally said something to your commanding officer, she orders you to kill your best friend, who instead sacrifices herself to save your life. After running into the frozen wastes you soon pass out from exhaustion.

This is A Story of the End - Revere a JRPG styled game that follows Troy on his path for redemption after witnessing the atrocities the Lumerian army was capable of. You’re treated with suspicion and ire, but while the path may be slow, it will certainly be interesting.

I had a chance to sit down with the lead developer Darrel Wijaya and discuss this path, as well as his Kickstarter which as of this article is still going on.

GameSkinny (Angelina Bonilla): How do you plan to have Revere stand out among the library of many solid JRPG titles both indie and AAA? What makes your game different or special in particular?

Darrel Wijaya:  This is a tough question, however the odds of JRPG titles standing out today are very slim compared to other genres. Hopefully with the copy I’m releasing it would garner enough attention to create that “butterfly effect”.

I could say that it has good visual retro aesthetics, and the battle system has some meaning to it in terms of being related to the plot -- However, perhaps all I can do is hope that JRPG enthusiasts like myself would find time to enjoy this game at their own leisure.

GS: In the demo, Troy’s dialogue is straightforward and you don’t get much choice in what he says. Will we get to have some control over what Troy says and how he asks certain questions in the full game?

Wijaya: Yes, because the demo is pretty much setting the tone for the game itself. In the actual game, you don’t just get too choose dialogue, but, you get to poke around things and hopefully change the outcome of the story.

We’ve made it a point that when completing certain aspects of the game it will unlock different lines or speeches. Hopefully this will allow players to poke around a little.

GS: Will only the important characters have full sized pictures of themselves when they talk, or will we get to see them for some of our quest givers too to add some extra impact to the game?

Wijaya: Finding someone who can draw like that has been difficult, unfortunately because my team is solely comprised of freelancers, it’s often times that artist disappears for a lengthy period of time. We end up hiring more artists and thus cluttering the game with inconsistencies. So at some point I decided enough was enough.

WE THOUGHT, of making silhouettes but that would just ruin the aesthetics.

GS: Revere has elements of both real time and turn based battles at once. How do you plan to best entwine the two? Would it be possible for a player who prefers one style over the other to play entirely in that?

Wijaya: Well yes, the real time battle system is merely part of the story. We plan to let the player feel how he could handle the situation.

Of course given that at certain times the player must stick to a style due to the plot advancing.

GS: Will there be any optional or unlockable bosses that may not be apart of the storyline but allow for extra EXP and loot?

Wijaya:  There are TONS of optional bosses. We’ve got em’ lined up for you.

GS: Are the party members displayed on the Kickstarter page the only party members or will we have more to meet later on?

Wijaya:  As of now they are the only party members.

GS: Will each boss have their own unique battle themes or will there be universal battle theme for the mini bosses and unique ones for the later bosses?

Wijaya: There are several battle themes depending on the contexts. Of course there are specific themes for important bosses that relate to the story.

GS: Your main character Troy is out for a quest of redemption from the atrocities committed by his people, as well as his involvement with the attack on the village. The Lumerians as a whole are framed in a negative light by people outside of Lumeria but do we get to see anyone who actually likes what they are doing? Will a sort of moral grey area be present that further complicates the narrative?

Wijaya: Yes, in the game later on there is an underground society who’s trying to keep away a deranged cult that believes in genocide and racial segregation.

GS: With your focus on visual novel-esque narrative elements, how important would you say the narrative is compared to the battle and gameplay elements? What would be your ideal way of balancing the two nicely?

Wijaya:  To be honest, we wanted to make both stand out as best as we can.  We approached this visual novel-esque appeal because we took inspiration from games such as Fire Emblem which did balance out battle and visual novel elements pretty well.

By displaying character images and their sprite counterparts we’d hope this would embellish the game further -- making it more appealing to the audience.

I would like to thank Darrel Wijaya for taking the time to answer my questions. Story of the End - Revere looks like a dramatic JRPG with a story about redemption, prejudice and loss.

Check out Story of the End - Revere’s Twitter for updates. If you want to show your support, there's still time to back Story of the End - Revere on Kickstarter!

Did You Miss Last Year's Attack on Titan Game?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/t/t/attackontitan-8ac69.jpg ss6as/did-you-miss-last-years-attack-on-titan-game Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Jerline Justo

With Titans roaming around the outer walls, military soldiers racing through the air, and super huge battles taking place in an intriguing world, Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom brought anime fans and action gamers together when Omega Force first released the game in Japan around February 2016. A few months later, they released it in North America on Xbox One and Steam.

Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom covers the first season of the anime series, where the story focuses on a boy named Eren. When a Titan eats his mother, he vows to rid the world of all Titans and joins the military alongside with his friends, Armin and Mikasa.

With its easy controls and fast paced battles, the game earned an eight out of ten from us here at GS. This action hack and slash game is really unforgettable for fans of the game and franchise -- so much that we can’t help but recap what makes it so great, especially with Season 2 of the series just around the corner.

Entering Into the World With Titans and Humans

This game takes fans into the universe of Attack on Titan with various elements. One of those elements is character design. Designs from the game and the series practically reflect each other from facial expressions to fighting movements, especially when it comes to the Titans. Their awkward bodies and their sinister smiles still gives fans a creepy and unforgettable impression -- just like the anime.

Not only does the game reproduce artwork of the series, but the voice actors of the game are the same actors from the anime series. Yuki Kaji, Yui Ishikawa, Marina Inoue, and other Japanese actors voiced their respective characters in the game, remaining faithful to the anime series.

Easy Controls that Make You A Badass

At the start of story mode, players then enter in a tutorial mode, where they learn how to use the omni-directional gear. On a Xbox One format, players press A to jump while using the left analog stick to maneuver around the area.

When it comes battling a Titan, players use RB to aim and press X to launch their grapple lock onto a Titan's body part. With the left analog stick, players can move around in the air and press Y to accelerate forward to take a strike.

After getting the controls down, players can run across rooftops and jump over buildings at ease. The players’ thrill and excitement grows as they move from one part of town to the next, and within seconds, they turn into military scouts. These simple controls can make anyone into a Titan killer machine!

Teams, Upgrades, Outfits, and More!

Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom comes with more than just killing Titans. Players can buy new gear and gain materials during battle for upgrades. They can also learn new skills to level up their character into professional military scouts.

But upgraded gears and new skills are not enough to fight against the Titans. The game allows players to find and cooperate with their own teammates through battle. Outside of story mode, players have the option to play on online co-op missions as well. Although Titans can regenerate back their body parts, having a great team can take down any giant.

Slaying a Titan Always Leaves Satisfaction 

After taking down the first Titan, there is no turning back. With side missions, upgrades, and easy combat controls, players become a lot more driven to get through the game.

Not only the players become their favorite characters, like Levi, and Eren, but they also become military soldiers, defending humanity. From jumping of buildings to hunting down Titans, the game never fails to bring satisfaction to fans and gamers everywhere.

So my fellow military scouts -- fight for the human race and claim back your world!

Everything You Need to Know about SWTOR Patch 5.2,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/w/t/swtorpatch52-culture-cccf7.jpeg dy6w1/everything-you-need-to-know-about-swtor-patch-52 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:18:32 -0400 Nick Lee

The new Star Wars: The Old Republic patch 5.2 may introduce the new story arch in the "War for Iokath," but the patch brings together new items, missions, and battles for players to delve into. The devs have also done minor bug fixes and corrected issues with features found in "Knights of the Eternal Throne."

Let's take a closer look at all the goodies coming with SWTOR Patch 5.2. 

SWTOR's New Story and Loot Drop Fixes

Forcing players to choose again between the Republic and the Sith Empire, the "War for Iokath" story line tasks players with deciding who should hold a super weapon on the ancient, droid-controlled world. The story incorporates returning companions and a new operation boss named Tyth.

The story refocuses on the classic galactic conflict as players return from the eternal throne. Returning NPCs that will aid or fight against players include Sith Warrior companion Malavai Quinn and Republic Trooper companion Elara Dorne.

Tyth, the god of rage, is the first boss in the new "Gods from the Machine" operation players have the opportunity to acquire his unique force pike. This possible drop, along with a multitude of others, has been the focus of the patch. But other player rewards are in the mix. These fixes include flashpoint drop fixes, incorporating Command Experience value for all enemies killed, and more. What's more, tier drops are also getting fixes.

From the patch notes: 

  • Command Rank 300 is now Tier 4 of Galactic Command
  • Bosses will now drop the following Unassembled Gear Pieces in existing Operations:
    • Tier 2 Legendary Unassembled Gear Pieces -- Story Mode
    • Tier 3 Legendary Unassembled Gear Pieces -- Veteran Mode
    • Tier 4 Prototype and Artifact Unassembled Gear Pieces-- Master Mode (Non-final bosses)
    • Tier 4 Legendary Unassembled Gear Pieces -- Master Mode (Final bosses)
  • "Gods From the Machine" bosses will drop:
    • Tier 3 Legendary Unassembled Gear Pieces -- Story Mode
    • Tier 4 Legendary Unassembled Gear Pieces -- Veteran Mode

SWTOR Warzones, PvP, and Intro Changes Coming in Patch 5.2

PVP and Warzone Changes

Daily missions now allow players to switch factions and fight with or against players on a daily basis. PvP arenas, specifically on Iokath, can now include new features such as turrets, which players can place and use against enemies, along with other fun items like mouse droids. 

Warzones have received updates, which increase the requirements to earn "Damage Done, Healing Done, and Damage Prevented medals." 

Star Wars: The Old Republic Story Intro Changes

The introduction scenes for each of the original eight story lines players can choose from have been "significantly updated and improved." This comes after numerous fixes to voice lines listed in the patch notes, as well as some minor appearance fixes for companions. The change wasn't expanded upon much at all by the devs, but was listed as an important note.


The SWTOR patch 5.2 seeks to bring back players who may have been lost through the diverging "Eternal Throne" story line. This comes in the form of a return to the galactic conflict, fixes to the galactic command feature, and more rewards for players via drops. 

If these players will continue to stay with the SWTOR journey remains to be seen, as this is the first major update for 2017. So stay tuned to GameSkinny for all future SWTOR updates.

The 7 Best Overwatch Cosplays from WonderCon 2017,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/o/group-photo-ortega-73493.jpg 6cbwj/the-7-best-overwatch-cosplays-from-wondercon-2017 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 00:04:49 -0400 Glitchiee_8928


WonderCon 2017 -- Cosplay Music Video

Cosplayers: Unknown

While not entirely about Overwatch, this cosplay music video is a great way to end an amazing cosplay slideshow. Take a look at some of the other amazing cosplays that appeared at the convention and keep your eyes peeled for the Overwatch cosplayers.


Which was your favorite cosplay? Do you know any of the cosplayers? Let us know in the comments!


Video: Sneaky Zebra


Overwatch Group

Cosplayers: Unknown

At conventions its not unusual to end up with groups of people who have similar costumes. Here we have two Meis showing off her skins as well as a Soldier 76 holding a D.Va plush and a Tracer. This picture shows off the fun people have cosplaying at conventions. Their costumes are also perfectly created.


Photgrapher: Manny Llanura Photography


White Hat McCree


Cosplayer: Cookiebazey


McCree gets genderbent in this amazing cosplay by Cookiebazey. Selecting his White Hat skin, she hits all the points of his costume. The white cowboy hat, white armor, and gun are all on point. The weathering on the armor and gun make it more realistic. Including the cigar really helps to bring McCree to life. 


Source: GameSpot


D.Va Skins

Cosplayers: Ilabelle Cosplay, Hendo Art, Maid of Might Cosplay, Reagan Kathryn and Elizabeth Rage

More D.Vas join the cosplay party. Here they are strutting their stuff in some of D.Va's skins. From left to right the skins are: blueberry, tangerine, original, lemon-lime and watermelon. Armed with Bunny Blasters, they are ready to take down any foe. 


Photographer: Joits Photography




D.Va and MEKA

Cosplayer: Uknown MEKA: Lionel Lum

D.Va is one of the most cosplayed characters from Overwatch. A gamer girl herself, she changed from games to mechs when her home was threatened. What is D.Va without her mech though? Photographer Lionel Lum has created MEKA and brings it to conventions for D.Va to pose with. This is perched inside with her Doritos and Mountain Dew beside her.


Video: Parks and Cons


Raindancer Pharah

Cosplayer: Unknown

Pharah rains justice from above with her Raindancer skin. Even though she is Egyptian, Raindancer Pharah exudes Native American influences. Gold and blue bird totems stand in stark contrast to the black of the suit underneath. Fur embellishments hang from the headpiece as well as the shoulders to finish the costume.



Cosplayer: Diadeverde87

It is not often that characters get genderbent from female to male. Gaining traction, a wider array of cosplay creations like this have been hitting the internet. Diadeverde87 has stayed true to the image of Mercy in his genderbend of the character. White wings with yellow translucent tips, white armor, and an amazingly built staff, he hits all the marks with his Mercy cosplay.


Photographer: DTJaaaam


Mariachi Reaper

Cosplayer: Unknown

Reaper channels his inner Sugar Skull in his Mariachi skin. The costume is amazingly detailed. From the brim on the hat to the weathering on the guns, each of the details adds to the realism of this costume. The mask is perfectly crafted, giving off that Sugar Skull vibe while still being domineering. 


Source: GameSpot






WonderCon in Anaheim is a large convention that sees a variety of cosplays every year. 2017 was no exception. Among the fantastic costumes present were a number of Overwatch cosplayers. The following are just some of the talented cosplayers that attended the convention to show off their passion and hard work.


Photographer: Al Ortega

EGX Rezzed 2017: Introducing Pawarumi, the Neo-Aztec Shoot 'Em Up Hitting Kickstarter,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/15555632e6840571909fca616fb06e0d.jpg 47klk/egx-rezzed-2017-introducing-pawarumi-the-neo-aztec-shoot-em-up-hitting-kickstarter Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 ESpalding

While the show floor at EGX Rezzed 2017 was full of indie titles that have already been through crowdfunding, some are just branching out to get the vital funding they need for the future development of the game. Only a couple of days prior to heading to the event, French developers, Manufacture 43 had launched their Kickstarter campaign for their unique arcade shoot 'em up called Pawarumi.

It's not every day that you see a game that fuses ancient civilizations with futuristic spacecraft but, somehow, Pawarumi does just that. It uses a lot of Aztec imagery and architectural designs crossed with lasers and technology to create a world that is not only futuristic but maintains it's own style and atmosphere of its own.

The snow base map shows off some mighty step pyramids

So, not only is the setting something that we've not seen before, the combat system is some new and it will take a lot of practice to get it nailed properly. The developers call this The Trinity System. Everything in the World revolves around the colors red, blue and green (handy as that is the colors normally shown on a controller) and the combat system uses these in a sort of rock-paper-scissors format. All color combinations have a direct beneficial effect on your and it's your choice on how you use them. Mastering which color corresponds with which kind of attack on which enemy color is the key to success in the game.

Shooting an enemy with the same color weapon replenishes your shield energy

I'm going to admit that this kind of game doesn't normally draw me in but there is something about Pawarumi that did. When I played it, thanks to the unique combat system, it felt like there was more to it than a normal shoot 'em up. You have a system to properly learn but once you have learned it, or at least got the general idea of it, it is a lot more fun and extremely satisfying. It has definitely opened my eyes to a genre I wasn't too keen on and I love it for that!

Something is definitely about to hit the fan!

As of writing this article, the Kickstarter campaign still has 12 days left to run and they are already just shy of halfway to meeting their target. The game is set to release at some point during 2017 and will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux with a view of releasing on consoles in the future.

OUTBUDDIES - A Metroidvania Classic in the Making,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/u/t/outbuddies-df020.png 7tcyq/outbuddies-a-metroidvania-classic-in-the-making Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:45:52 -0400 Damien Smith

OUTBUDDIES is an upcoming indie Metroidvania title currently being developed and published by Julian Laufer. A Kickstarter campaign for the game just launched April 2nd, in hopes of financing the cost of the game's development up until release. A demo was made available to download on the Kickstarter page, and we decided to give it a go.

Disclaimer: This article covers the demo of OUTBUDDIES and does not represent a complete or finished product.

A sunken city of the old gods

Players take on the role of John, a marine biologist who finds himself in the sunken city of Bahlam after a shipwreck. 36,000 feet under water and gravely wounded, he is unwillingly connected to a supernatural being called a Buddie-Unit. 

The Buddie-Unit has the abilities to manipulate his surroundings using hacking, scanning, and telekinesis. With the help of his strange new friend, John must venture through the sunken city of the old gods and uncover its secrets if he is to ever return home.

The plot to OUTBUDDIES is an interesting one. It isn't often that gamers get to explore an alien world that is set in the deepest depths of the sea. It is a clever concept, and is capable of producing almost anything that the imagination can muster.

We know so little of what lays at such depths, and there is so much still to discover. This makes the deep ocean a perfect environment for video games -- and OUTBUDDIES is certainly using it to every advantage that it can. Bahlam is a mysterious place that we get only a taste of in the demo.

With strange and alien inhabitants, vegetation and ruins, there is so much I still want to uncover. And I can't wait to see what else the game has in store for me.

Good old-fashioned Metroidvania gameplay

The demo gives players a lengthy first level to experience and learn the core controls and mechanics that OUTBUDDIES has to offer. To traverse the level you will have to shoot, jump, swim, wall climb, crawl, and dash your way through obstacles and enemies if you are to survive the harsh environment.

To begin with you don't have any way of defending yourself against enemies, and must instead avoid them altogether. Eventually, you will get your hands on the Seahorse Revolver -- a living aquatic handgun that is useful against more basic enemies.

For tougher ones, you need to use the Buddie-Unit's tank orb attack, which acts something like a grenade. But that isn't all that your little friend is useful for. He is capable of moving large stone blocks using his telekinesis, giving you access to areas that would otherwise be unreachable.

The game also features a co-op option that allows two people to play at the same time -- with one controlling John and the other Buddie-Unit. John is controlled using the keyboard while Buddie-Unit is controlled using the mouse.

The gameplay is solid and is everything that you would expect from a Metroidvania game. If there was to be one criticism I would have, it would be the lack of a health bar for the boss monster you face. When dealing with such a powerful enemy that takes a lot of punishment, it would be nice to know how close it is to death. Aside from that, OUTBUDDIES is good old-fashioned Metroidvania gameplay.

If you like Metrovania games, you will love OUTBUDDIES

OUTBUDDIES has a sort of cuteness to it, while also having a horror vibe at the same time. Its level design is dark, mysterious, and anything but comforting. Julian Laufer is doing what indie developers do best -- not only bringing an old genre to a new generation, but evolving it into something unique and special.

There is no denying, even with just a single level of experience, that OUTBUDDIES is a Metroidvania classic in the making. And I can't wait to see what Laufer has in store for players. If you like Metrovania games, you will love this.

The demo for OUTBUDDIES is available to download from the Kickstarter campaign page.

Heroes of the Storm 2.0: Pre-Launch Overview of All Upcoming Changes,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-1cd2c.jpg 8iibn/heroes-of-the-storm-20-pre-launch-overview-of-all-upcoming-changes Thu, 13 Apr 2017 11:35:51 -0400 Sergey_3847

Heroes of the Storm is not the usual MOBA. It gathers all of Blizzard's famous characters and makes them fight each other on the Battlegrounds. This is a great idea, but it couldn’t make HotS the most popular MOBA on the market… yet. Blizzard is fully aware of this, and that is why they decided to deliver lots of new content that will revolutionize the formula.

Recently the developer announced Heroes of the Storm 2.0, which incorporates years of research and design decisions that should make the new iteration of the game much more attractive to its audiences. The team behind HotS looked outside the box in order to strengthen the weaker sides of the genre and bring something new to the table.

With all this we can now look at what’s coming on April 18, when the launch event for Heroes of the Storm 2.0 will begin just before the full release of the playable update on April 25.

Introducing Heroes of the Storm 2.0

The biggest change that comes to Heroes 2.0 does not touch the gameplay aspect -- instead, it influences the systems that make up the gameplay. The first and most important is the progression system that will remove the player level cap, and instead gives you the sum of all the levels you’ve gained previously.

The next one will make many people happy. The new loot system will open tons of cosmetic rewards to all players. Now with every new level, all players will get loot chests with rare, epic, or legendary items. This reward system also introduces a new type of currency, Gems, which can be purchased with real money.

During the launch of Heroes 2.0 we will also have the chance to play as the new hero -- Cassia, the young Amazon that first appeared in Diablo II. But first, let’s take a deeper look at all the upcoming changes in the progression system.

New Progression 2.0 System

The new level up system allows you to progress indefinitely! There are no limits to your journey, and the loot chests will never stop coming if you keep leveling up your hero. But the best thing is that you don’t need to gain more XP after each level -- as soon as you reach player level 12, every level after that will require the same amount of points as the previous one.

All this means that you don’t need to grind more XP for each new level, and the progression will be quick with tons of fun. If you gain bonuses, then the progression becomes even faster and may only take up to several hours before you reach your next milestone.

If you have more than one hero, then your player level will consist of the sum of all of your heroes’ XP points. This system will better showcase the skill of each individual player rather than of every separate hero. On top of that, you will get a hero-specific item as a reward every time you cross 10 levels.

New Loot 2.0 System

Loot chests with four random items are coming to Heroes 2.0! They can be either earned through leveling up or through purchases made with gems. Such loot chests may even include an entire hero, so you never know what’s coming inside one of those.

There are certain milestones that guarantee items of certain rarities. For example, every 5 levels you will get a Rare item, every 25 levels you will get an Epic, while Common items will be present in every single chest you earn.

If you don’t like the contents of your loot chest, then for 250 gold you can re-roll the chest and get new items. You can do this up to three times -- so be sure that you re-roll stuff that you really don’t need, as it will be gone for good.

If you unlock duplicate items, they will be converted to shards that can be used to craft items you’re missing in your collection.

New Collections 2.0 System

So where do you keep all this stuff that you open from the loot chests or craft with the help of shards? Blizzard introduces a new tab in the Heroes 2.0 menu -- Collections. It will contain every single item that you own or would like to buy.

There are six types of items that you can get from your loot chests and save in your collection:


Some of your favorite heroes can now announce your achievements on the Battlegrounds in a fancy way.

Voice Lines

These lines can be used to either cheer up your allies or taunt your enemies during battles.


A banner can be set on the battleground of the fallen enemy, which will showcase your dominance over their territory.


This feature was inspired by Overwatch sprays, and can be used to mark your ground with some fancy symbolism.


All heroes will now get their own collection of emojis that can be used in chat to better express the players’ emotions.


Each hero also gets an individual portrait in your profile screen.

As you can see, there is a boatload of new and exciting cosmetic content coming to Heroes 2.0. For this reason, Blizzard added a Loadout panel that will help you configure your hero’s appearance, mounts, sprays and more.

New Currency 2.0 System

As I've already mentioned,players will now have access to two new currencies in addition to gold -- Gems and Shards. Gold keeps serving the same purpose as before. You can buy heroes and re-roll loot chests, while gems serve as a virtual currency that equals real money.

You can use gems to directly purchase not only heroes and loot chests, but also separate items and stimpacks. All new players will get 1000 gems when they reach level 5, and there will be other rewards included during your heroes’ progress.

Shards, on the other hand, can be earned only through duplicates from the loot chests, and can only be used to craft cosmetic items for your hero.

New Hero: Cassia

Why Cassia, you may ask? This is Blizzard's way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Diablo series by introducing a new hero -- the young Amazon warrior from Diablo II.

She is a powerful Assassin that can withstand huge amounts of damage due to her hero trait, Avoidance. It allows Cassia to withstand up to 65% of damage against any basic attacks. However, there is one condition -- she must be moving unmounted.

This hero has two heroic abilities and three primary abilities. Here they are:

Ball Lightning (R)

Cassia shoots a ball of lightning that bounces up to 6 times off of each of the enemy targets, dealing 200 damage in total.

Valkyrie (R)

Cassia summons a rushing Valkyrie that hits all the enemies on its way, deals 190 damage to the first enemy hero hit, and stuns that hero for 0.5 seconds.

Lightning Fury (Q)

Cassia shoots a lightning javelin that hits the first enemy for 175 damage, and then splits into two and deals another 175 damage to all other enemies on its way.

Blinding Light (W)

This ability allows cassia to blind enemies for 2 seconds, and they become more vulnerable to her attacks by 15%.

Fend (E)

Cassia charges at enemies and deals damage to each of them every 0.25 seconds, although the non-hero enemies receive only 50% of that damage.

Gameplay Basics

Cassia is not an easy hero to play and will probably not suit completely new players. One of her best abilities is Blinding Light. She can use it on nearby enemies so your teammates start dealing a lot of damage to them in that short period of 2 seconds. It can also be used defensively, so having Cassia in co-op would be really useful.

In case you need to finish off a group of enemies, her Ball Lightning ability will come in very handy. It can quickly kill damaged heroes and grant you a victory.


That's all for the upcoming changes in the Heroes of the Storm 2.0. If you can’t wait to play the game, you can join beta servers that are currently available for playtesting in your Blizzard client.

Do you like the changes of the Heroes 2.0? What do you think about the new hero Cassia? Leave your feedback in the comments section.

The Watchmaker, a Puzzle Adventure Against the Clock,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-66a88.jpg zr27l/the-watchmaker-a-puzzle-adventure-against-the-clock Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:00:01 -0400 Damien Smith

It has been an interesting month for video games on Kickstarter. There are many interesting and unique games to be found on there and The Watchmaker is one such game. The Watchmaker is a Puzzle-Adventure game currently being developed by Micropsia and published by 1C Company. Micropsia currently has a demo available to download through Steam, to help promote their Kickstarter campaign and we take a look at what it has to offer.

Disclaimer: This article covers an in-development build of The Watchmaker and does not represent a complete or finished product.

The Watchmaker

Time has gone mad

You take on the role of Alexander in his steampunk world of giant clock mechanisms. For years he has spent every single day maintaining his giant clock tower, it is the only life he has ever known for equally as long. One day Alexander awakens to the voice of disembodied entity who warns him that something has gone wrong.

Some unknown being has sabotaged Alexander's precious tower and with it, time has spiralled out of control. Alexander is now ageing at an exceptionally rapid rate giving him little time to repair the damage that has been done.

The Watchmaker

With time not working properly, Alexander's memory is but a blur and with the aid of the mysterious voice, he must adventure through the clock tower uncovering its past and stopping the mysterious saboteur. The plot to The Watchmaker is an interesting and unique concept with quite a mystery behind it.

After playing the demo, it has left me wanting to know more. A small portion of the plot is revealed throughout in the form of the dialogue between Alexander and the voice. It gives a taste of what is to come and leaves you longing for more. I can't wait to see what surprises The Watchmaker's plot has in store for players.

Race against the clock

The demo throws you right into the gameplay of The Watchmaker. You must progress through the level solving puzzles and overcoming blocked or destroyed pathways. You do all this while also racing against the clock, as the digits on your backpack turn to higher numbers.

The Watchmaker

The number on your backpack represents your age, starting at 30. As your age increases, you turn from a young man eventually into an old aged man. If you reach the age of 90 you will immediately die but there are ways of countering the process.

Throughout the level, you will obtain keys that when used will temporarily make you younger again. These keys, however, are few and far between, so a hasty approach constantly needed. To help you on the way, there are a number of abilities at your disposal.

You have a magnetic pulse attack that helps you deal with hostile machines. These machines spray a purple mist over you accelerating the ageing process, so avoiding or dealing with them is essential. There is also a magnetic shield, that entirely protects you while destroying anything you run into.

The Watchmaker

To help you get through fast moving obstacles, you can slow down time temporarily. If you make a mistake, you can also rewind time by about 15 seconds. Each of the abilities except time rewinding requires power, that is indicated by the six squares on the right side of your backpack.

The magnetic pulse uses 1 power per use, slowing of time uses 3 and the magnetic shield requires all six. Your backpacks power is recharged at power stations found throughout the level. You can also pick up various items using the magnetic glove too to help you carry them to where they need to be placed. Something similar to that done in the Portal series.

The gameplay is exhilarating and intense as you attempt to figure your way through the level with the numbers on your backpack ever increasing. While it may sound harsh having the clock constantly against you, your age doesn't increase at an unfair rate. Mix that with using a key whenever you need, assuming you have one it is a fair game.

The Watchmaker

The combat in the game is a bit wonky at this moment in time, but that is to be expected of a game that is still in development. Aside from that, the gameplay is looking excellent and I am excited to see more.

A stunning and exciting puzzle adventure

The Watchmaker is an absolutely stunning game, with a beautifully crafted and breathtaking world that is unlike anything else out there. The only thing I can think of that compares to it would be that one level near the end of Medievil back on the PS1.

With an interesting plot, exhilarating and intense gameplay The Watchmaker is a game that is shaping up to be something very unique and special. If you love puzzle adventure games like the Portal series, then The Watchmaker is a game that you should definitely keep on your radar.

The demo for The Watchmaker can be downloaded through its Steam store page.

Q and A: Buffalo Guild President Explains What Extra Life Means,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/1/6/11695010-10155720128390335-3824743919298443879-0bfba.png w6emf/q-and-a-buffalo-guild-president-explains-what-extra-life-means Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:00:01 -0400 PapaSisler

What is Extra Life? Extra Life is a Children's Miracle Network Hospital fundraising program for the gaming community. Basically, what that means is that every year, gamers come together and pledge on the Extra Life website that they will raise money for the children at a local hospital off a specific list. This is done by playing games for 24 hours to ultimately raise money to save and improve the lives of sick and injured kids. All funds that are raised stay local to the hospital of your choosing and overall help over 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across North America.

When you sign up on website and pledge to play and help the kids, you automatically receive your own fundraising website, which mine is shown in a picture below. You have the option of joining for free which just allows you to go out and raise money, or you have the option of upgrading to the Platinum Extra Lifer title in which you would donate $15.00 of your own money and have the ability to earn select power ups like exclusive fundraising medals and t-shirts!

Extra Life, funding, website, charity

But just joining up and participating in the movement is just part of the fun. Recently I reached out to my local hospital -- Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo -- and got into contact with a local Guild President for the program. Yes, there are guilds! And nicely enough, this gentleman answered a few questions for me about how guilds work, how you can join them, and what Extra Life means to him. Take a look.

PapaSisler: Who are you and how are affiliated with Extra Life?

Bubba Landes: I am Bubba Landes and I am the President of the Extra Life Guild of Buffalo.

PS: What is an Extra Life Guild?

BL: The Guild is a way to be organized with the national charity and the local ambassador with the Children's Miracle Network, which is where the funds end up going for the hospital. We mainly facilitate getting more volunteers signed up and ready to play to fundraise for the cause.

PS: Can people join it and participate somehow?

BL: We will have a team on the Official Extra Life page once the Marathon gets closer, however right now, joining us on Facebook and letting us know you're new is the best way. We will be having meetings to discuss better fundraising techniques and meet ups in the coming months.

PS: How long have you been part of the Extra Life Program at Woman and Childrens Hospital of Buffalo?

BL: This will be my 5th year. We have gone from a group of less than 20 to almost 275 participants in that time.

PS: What does Extra Life Campaign mean to you personally?

BL: Extra Life is, quite simply, 'For the Kids'. We as volunteers put in a lot of hours to try and indirectly put a smile on the faces of some of these less fortunate kids.

PS: As someone who is "all hands on deck" with the program, how do you see the money being raised used at the hospital?

BL: I've seen the money go to video game systems, games, coloring supplies, books, toys, and much more. It has been discussed in the past on what we'd like the money to be directly spent on and this is what is decided.

PS: Do you have any personal touching stores that deal with Extra Life, the guild, and/or the children at the hospital?

BL: About 3 years ago I met with Lisa as one of the stronger Extra Life participants. I went to the hospital and took a tour on Kids Day. I met with the Star of the Kids Day Paper and shook her and her father's hands. I went into a room where there was a mother and 3 young boys. The boys were all jumping around yelling, like children do, but one was more quiet and reserved. He was obviously sick and the family was visiting. The boys were playing Mario Kart on the Wii U.

Lisa told the mom, "Because of people like Bubba here, we can afford to buy these games for the boys to play." This caught me off guard. The mother looked at me and said, "Thank you." "Oh, it's not a problem," I whispered, holding back my tears, "I'm happy to do it."

I'll never forget the look in that womans eyes. That even a little something like a Wii U Mario Kart game could bring a sense of familiarity and calm to the sick child is all I needed. I'll always do everything I can for Extra Life and Buffalo's Children.

PS: Any words of advice for those who are raising money and participating in this movement, and/or words of hope to bring in more support?

BL: Sometimes in order to raise money, you're going to need to offer incentives. Offer to play a game outside of your comfort zone and stream it. I played Barbies Dream House my second year -- it wasn't that great. Come out and join us, we're all people who believe in bringing great vibes to the kids of Buffalo and doing what we can to make it a bright place.

I'd like to once again thank Bubba Landes for taking the time to answer my questions.

Well, there you have it. These words came directly from a president of the local Extra Life Guild. His story with Mario Kart Wii U put me to tears after I placed myself in his shoes. If you have not joined up in the movement of Extra Life, I encourage you to do so using the link at the top of this article. If you want to know how this all started, please see the attached video below.

Thank you to all gamers who have already been participating, for those who will be joining, and those who have supported their fellow local gamers. This would not be possible without you!

Falcon Development Soars Down to Discuss Cattails and Being a Forest Cat,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/e/greenlight-screenshot-c26e7.png 4vli6/falcon-development-soars-down-to-discuss-cattails-and-being-a-forest-cat Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

A small snap of a twig alerts you to something nearby and you crouch low to the ground, ears pinned back. Digging your claws into the dirt beneath you, you catch the scent of something nearby, something that hasn’t quite seen you yet.

A mouse.

Creeping up behind it, the scent hits you full force and your tail swishes back and forth in anticipation of the kill. The creature steps on another twig, but just as it turns around to see if anyone had seen it you pounce, taking care of the creature in one swift bite.

This is Cattails an open world cat and wildlife simulation game, where you get to play as a young cat in a forest cat colony where you build your own story. Meet friends, gain enemies, have a mate and some kittens, then one day train them to be just as great as you are.

I had the chance to sit down and talk with Falcon Development about Cattails and their ongoing Kickstarter which, at the time of writing this article, is already well beyond its initial goal, adding new stretch goals every day. They had some interesting things to say about their game’s future mechanics and development process.

Cattails, attack, cat, rabbit, GIF
GameSkinny (Angelina Bonilla): Are there any particular cat-specific mechanics you're planning to implement, in the vein of Dog's Life’s scent-based Smellovision? We already have pouncing and scratching, but is there anything specific to cats you’re planning on putting in the game?

Falcon Development (Rebekah and Tyler Thompson): Yeah, definitely! We actually have a scent-based mechanic as well. As a player ranks up their hunting skill, they unlock a “scent compass” that will guide them towards nearby prey while they are sneaking around. The compass changes color based on what type of prey it’s pointing towards, so a skillful player can learn to discern between various scents, just like how cats in the wild can figure out what they’re tracking if they’re familiar with a particular smell. We also have some cat-specific items that the cats in our world place great value in, like Catnip.

GS:When it comes to building the cats’ relationships, will there be any reward, like unique quests or cutscenes?

Thompson: We’re investigating different ways to reward the player for building relationships with other cats. At the moment, if a player becomes really good friends with any of the cats of their colony, they might receive a gifts from them to show their appreciation.

GS: As it stands right now, it looks like Cattails is a choose your own adventure sort of game, having you build up skills as you journey around the world. Is there going to be any sort of core narrative you can take part in, like with characters and warring factions? We’ve seen glimpses of it in the demo with the goings on in the world itself, but what role is that story going to play in the game overall?

Thompson:  Absolutely! We’re aiming to add a “main storyline” of sorts, but it’s important to us that we don’t restrict the player from playing how they want while doing so. The “main story” will be focused on something other than the colony politics. There will definitely be territorial wars and things like that, but they will occur randomly and dynamically as the game progresses!

Cattails, Conversation

GS: Many who are familiar with this project know of a certain developer named “Falconstar” from Warrior Cats: Untold Tales, the Warrior Cats fan game that can be viewed as the distant cousin of this game. What are you planning on bringing to the table in this game that can’t be found in Warrior Cats: Untold Tales and what would you tell the fans of that game to look forward to in Cattails?

Thompson:  Cattails is a completely new experience, differing greatly from the fan-game Warrior Cats: Untold Tales. I (Tyler) created the game Warrior Cats: Untold Tales a few years ago for my younger sister. Cattails takes some inspiration from the game, but is set in a new and unique world. If you were a fan of the mechanics of Untold Tales, you’ll be happy to hear that a number of them make an appearance in Cattails with a brand new layer of polish.

GS: Will there be more ways to travel and explore in the finished game? At the moment we are just limited to the ground and the water, but these are cats after all, will we be able to climb trees and jump long distances in the future?

Thompson:  Tree climbing is unlikely but not off the table. As for jumping long distances, you can certainly do that while pouncing on critters at the moment! In the future, we’re hoping to add an “active skill” system that will include some travel-based abilities like sprinting or “fast-travel” to specific places.

GS: Do you have any sort of endgame planned? At the moment, most of the incentives to keep playing are unlocking all the coats and leveling up, but will there be anything to motivate players to keep playing after they’ve done that?

Thompson:  In the Pre-Alpha we give players the opportunity to unlock coats and spend experience on the passive skill system. In the future, the coats will be unlocked in different ways and there will be many more skills to unlock. We will also be implementing a main story which will add a great ongoing incentive. We also think that a lot of players will be investing a lot of time into creating their own colony now that we unlocked that stretch goal. On top of those endgame objectives, we are also investigating ways for the player to interact with and train their children if they choose to have them, providing an additional way to progress.


GS: There seems to be a large variety of creatures we can meet and talk to throughout Cattails, will the player have a way of keeping track of their personalities, their likes and dislikes etc.?

Thompson:  We think a lot of that will boil down to memorization or wikis in the future. When we were kids, we loved games like Harvest Moon because they had so much hidden information that you had to figure out for yourself firsthand, and we really want that to be a core element of Cattails as well.

GS: Are you planning on implementing a multiplayer mode? Cattails seems to have a great concept for players to build their own colonies and families together.

Thompson: At this time, we have no plans to implement multiplayer in Cattails.

GS: How will the player be able to develop their cat? Is there going to something like a skill tree, or do you have another way for them to get better at hunting and fighting?

Thompson:  The player’s primary skills are divided into four categories; hunting, fighting, swimming, and foraging. The player has the ability to progress any of these four primary skills with XP earned through gameplay in any order they wish. In addition, we’re planning to implement an active skills system that will allow the player to purchase new, exciting abilities with their hard-earned XP.

Cattails, Fight, Catfight, GIF

GS: Are you planning on giving the player cat dialogue options when they talk to the other cats, including a customizable portrait based on the players chosen pelt colors, in order to help immerse the player more in their own personal story as a cat?

Thompson:  We’d hate to limit the imagination of the players, so for now the main character is speechless, in the strong tradition of the games we both grew up playing.

GS: What inspired you to design an entire game around surviving in a forest as a cat, with cat colonies, relationships and things like that?

Thompson:  When I (Tyler) was a kid, we had a cat named Coco. I loved that cat, even if she didn’t love me back, and it sparked a lifelong adoration for kitties of all kinds. We recently moved to a new home, and to our surprise, a great number of community cats hang out in the neighborhood and visit us on our front porch. After a long history of making games that revolve around cats, I decided it was time to use some newly-acquired skills to make a more polished experience. And thus, Cattails was born!

I would like to thank Falcon Development’s Rebekah and Tyler Thompson for taking the time to answer my questions. Cattails looks like a fascinating experience where you get the chance to explore the world through the eyes of a wild cat, something that hasn’t been explored that often in games.

Check out Cattailswebsite for more information. If you want to show your support, there's still time to back Cattails on Kickstarter!

A Look Into the Dark and Brutal World of Hellpoint,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-7b09a.jpg lnppz/a-look-into-the-dark-and-brutal-world-of-hellpoint Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:00:02 -0400 Damien Smith

Hellpoint is an upcoming dark sci-fi Dark Souls style RPG being developed by Cradle Games. The developer currently has a Kickstarter campaign running for the game and have a demo available for Windows and Linux users through the Kickstarter page. We take a look at the demo to find what Cradle Games has in store for players.

Disclaimer: This article covers pre-alpha gameplay and does not represent a complete or finished product.

A derelict station of horror

Players take on the role of a nameless character whose intentions are entirely determined by their choices. You wake up to find yourself on a derelict space station called the Irid Novo that is in orbit around an enormous black hole. The black hole was caused by a massive quantum cataclysm known as The Merge.

Within a second of the cataclysm, everyone aboard the Irid Novo lost their minds and memories and were merged with alternate versions of themselves from parallel universes, transforming them. As if that wasn't bad enough, The Merge caught the attention of other entities of immense power that comes from the depths of other dimensions.

Your decisions will determine the outcome of the Irid Novo and the entire universe. Who do you trust and who is lying to you? The fate of existence is in your hands. The plot for Hellpoint is an interesting and rather unique concept that I am looking forward to seeing develop more in the future.

The demo doesn't offer much in the form of a plot but instead focuses on the gameplay mechanics and giving players first-hand experience on what they can expect.

Brutal and Tactical Combat

The combat to Hellpoint is very similar to that of the Dark Souls series. Each enemy is very different both in appearance, skills and how they fight. Learning their moves and figuring out how to counteract or evade them is essential to your survival.

At first, you can expect to be presented with weaker enemies that are both easier to fight and don't inflict huge amounts of damage. As you progress, however, that soon changes, as more challenging adversaries begin to appear. In one instance throughout the demo, you come across a demon using a nasty polearm weapon.

The weapon gives the monster a massive range of attack along with dealing a lot of damage. You can take it head on if you wish or you can get around it by avoiding its line of sight on its patrol route. Later on again, you come across another massive monstrosity that is capable of ripping you to shreds if it gets up close and personal.

Even in this early alpha stage of development, the combat is enjoyable and fun to play. It is exactly what you would expect from a game that is inspired by the Souls series -- visceral, brutal, realistic and difficult. If you enjoy the Souls games, you will absolutely adore what Hellpoint has to offer.

Three characters to chose from

The demo offers three different characters to choose from when starting the game. the Ancient Warrior, the Disciple and the Newborn. Each character starts with its own stats, weapon and equipment, giving a different play style for each one.

The Ancient Warrior is your typical aggressive, tank type character who can take a bit of punishment while dishing out plenty of its own. The Disciple uses weapons with longer reach while having stronger but slower attacks. The Newborn is the weaker of the characters but is much more nimble and has more stamina that the others.

It is definitely worth playing through the demo with each of the three characters, they are very different in their combat approach to each other. While this may be the case, they are each as enjoyable as each other to play with neither being overpowered or underpowered.

Interacting with a strange and dark world

Anyone who is familiar with the Souls games will understand exactly how the world of Hellpoint works. As you defeat enemies, you collect what is known as Axions. These can also be found scattered throughout the world, often in hidden crevices and hard to notice side paths.

These are your currency for leveling up your characters stats which can be done at Breaches. Breaches are essentially your campfires and act as a checkpoint system. Any Axions that you obtain from picking up on the ground must be consumed at a breach before they can be used to level up your character.

If you are killed, you will lose any Axions that you possessed at the time of death. In order to retrieve them, you need to return to where you were killed and defeat your previous incarnation in battle. You will find that certain areas are closed off to you until you find a key. In some cases, a door may require multiple keys to open.

There are also buttons that you can interact with that will elevate platforms or open paths that were previously inaccessible, along with rope like ladders that allow you to climb up or down high areas. Already there is a massive amount of detail to the game, despite its early development build.

The demo offers quite a bit of gameplay too, unlike many that give you no more than five minutes. Hellpoint gives you plenty to play around with and between trying out the different characters you are sure to get quite a few hours out of it.

I want this right now!

That was what was going through my mind as I played the demo. It is a world that I didn't want to leave. It absorbed me and I wanted to remain there as long as possible. If this is the kind of quality and depth that Cradle Games can produce for a pre-alpha demo, I can't wait to see what is in store in later on.

As someone who never really got into the Souls series, this is a title that has certainly made me want to. If that is the case for me, it is a game where any fans of the Dark Souls games, will feel right at home with. Now if you will excuse me, I have to more Hellpoint to play.

The demo for Hellpoint can be downloaded through its Kickstarter campaign page on Windows and Linux.

8 Mass Effect Cosplays to Celebrate Andromeda,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/title-78221.jpg qabx3/8-mass-effect-cosplays-to-celebrate-andromeda Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:00:01 -0400 Glitchiee_8928



Cosplayer: Nebulaluben

We end our out of this world cosplay list with another fantastic Peebee. Armed and ready to rumble the young Asari is ready for any adventure. Completely made, gun including, by the talented Nebulaluben, this Peebee shows off more of her curious, inquisitive and innocent side.


Who was your favorite cosplay? What character from Mass Effect Andromeda are you looking forward to be being cosplayed the most?


Female Shepard

Cosplayer: Equip: Freya

No cosplay list of Mass Effect would  be complete with Commander Shepard. The star and protagonist of the original story line, Commander Shepard helped end Saren and the geth threat. Here, Freya Willia dons her N7 armor and gets ready to kick ass as a female Commander Shepard.


Jack, Subject Zero

Cosplayer: Jia Jem

Jack was captured as a toddler. With extremely powerful biotic abilities, she became the core of a research project run by Cerberus. Jack is a violent and dangerous person, but joins Shepard in exchange for files detailing her time as a child with Cerberus. Jia Jem has Jack's difficult look down. Shaved head, large bar code across her skull and torso covered in tattoos, she is the living version of the borderline psychopath.

Photographer: Kevin Johnsen

Tali'Zorah nar Rayya

Cosplayer: Ruby-Rust

Tali joins Commander Shepard's crew while she is on her Pilgrimage. A mechanical genius, she brings a unique point of view about the geth as well as the history of their creation. Ruby-Rust nails her helmet as well as her outfit. The circular and parallel lines are intricate and well done.

Photographer: Zeropuntosedici

Mass Effect Andromeda Pj

Cosplayer: Chrix Design

Looking for something a bit more comfy to wear than the regular armor, Chrix Design decided to create a style set of pjs. Modeling the design after Sarah Ryder's armor, she is both stylish and easy to notice. This is definitely a cosplay I would wear any day.

Photographer: JL Cosplay Studio

Garrus Vakarian

Cosplayer: HoldW

Garrus is a fan favorite from the original Mass Effect series. A turian, he was charged with investigating if Saren had gone rogue. Eventually he joins commander Shepard in an attempt to defeat Saren. As an alien with intricate armor, HoldW has done amazing job not only creating the costume, but also making it appear as a realistic as possible.



Cosplayer: Karin Olava Effects

Pelessaria B’Sayle, better known as Peebee, is the latest addition to the Asari race. One of the main characters, she joins Ryder's team as a means to see more of the galaxy. Karin Olava Effects worked wonders in getting Peebee's skin tone correct, including the lighter stippling on the back of the head. Not only that, but the shape of the head itself, along with the rest of the costume, is right on point.

Photographer: DRportrait

Duo Ryder

Cosplayers: LadyTenebraeTabris and Straychild77

Sarah Ryder is one of the main characters of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Here cosplayers LadyTenebraeTabris and Straychild77 put their own spin on her character, creating Nite Ryder and Izzy Ryder, respectively. This is an amazing representation of the character before they even had the game in their hands.

Photographer: Bernhard Hübscher

The Mass Effect series has an enormous fan following. With a storyline that progresses through each game, memorable characters and amazing weapons, Mass Effect has created a cult following of fans. Mass Effect: Andromeda is the fourth instillation in the series which comes after years of waiting. Taking place years after the original story, it has drawn in new and old players alike.


Such a following has lead to some of the most amazing cosplays around. Be prepared as the next 8 cosplays are a feast for the eyes.

The Story So Far -- King,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/king-wallpaper-54fb6.jpg rv59s/the-story-so-far-king Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Shark Tank Gaming

If you missed some of our previous issues of The Story So Far, click on any of these links: Yoshimitsu, Kazuya, Resident Evil. Follow STG to stay tuned for more coming soon!

Donning his iconic jaguar mask and wrestling gear, King is one of the few fighters to appear across all the Tekken games. A fan favorite due to his easily recognizable costume, tragic story, along with difficult, grappling combos, King has actually had two iterations. As you will come to find (if you didn't know already), King dies tragically in Tekken 3 and is replaced with another fighter, under the guise of King (King II). However, both of their stories encompass the persona that is one of the best fighting characters in gaming history. Welcome back to The Story So Far!

King II, as he is known from Tekken 3 onward.

King's Intro

As a young child, King was an orphan who wandered the streets of Mexico with no other purpose but to get in street fights. King definitely grew up in the School of Hard Knocks. One day, King was very badly injured in one of his brawls but managed to make his way to the steps of a Marquez monastery. Thanks to the monastery priests, King was looked after and managed to recover with a new outlook on life.

Being ordained and becoming a Catholic priest himself, King looks to the orphans of his region in the hopes that he can guide them from becoming anything like his former self. With the money that King also receives from his Luchadore wrestling matches, he donates to his monastery and orphans. Some time after this goes on, King then decides that he wants to do more and build his very own orphanage for the poverty stricken orphans of Mexico.

 Armor King and King; Mentor and Student


Now that King has his life purpose, he was going to need a lot of cash to make his orphanage a reality. Upon hearing that CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Heihachi, would be holding a fighting tournament with a $1 million prize, King immediately entered the first King of Iron Fist tournament. He increased his training and pushed himself harder each day so that he could be the victor.

At this time, King found out that his friendly rival, Armor King, would be entering and competing in the tournament also. Knowing full well that Armor King is no pushover, King continued to train with this in mind. He had to beat Armor King if he was going to see any of that prize money and make his dream become reality.

After fighting through the tournament rounds successfully, King faced his rival in the competition. A tough match ensued, with King ultimately damaging Armor King's left eye. Afterwards, King was the winner of this battle, moving up to the third, final fight. While he was unable to win the tournament, King came in a close third place and managed to take enough prize money home. Immediately working on his orphanage, the children of Mexico (and King himself) have never been happier.

 King's ending FMV video in Tekken.

Tekken 2

After constructing his orphanage, an orphan under King's care happens to pass away. This left King absolutely devastated, depressed, and turning to the drink. King fled his orphanage but not before throwing his iconic jaguar mask away. King was done with everything and was content to drink his worries and memories away (a little melodramatic no?).

Having everlasting respect for his former wrestling rival, Armor King began to track King down and find his whereabouts. Clue after clue led Armor King from one place to the next, all leading up to where King had himself holed up. It seems to me that if you are an alcoholic running away from your problems, bars and taverns would be the first place you look, right?

Armor King finds his former friend slumped in an alleyway behind a dingy bar, throws his mask to him and convinces him to get his collective s**t together. He has an orphanage to run, with children dependent on him. Since the institution wasn't going to fund itself, Armor King also convinced King to get back into training and enter the second King of Iron Fist tournament (announced by Kazuya Mishima).

His time with depression and alcoholism didn't do him any favors and even though King and Armor King trained every day for the tournament, it just wasn't meant to be. Not securing a victorious place in Tekken 2, King still had enough money left to fill some children's Christmas with happiness and presents. He remembers what it was like to help kids, and never touched the drink again. King continues to fund the orphanage with his pro-wrestling money and also began teaching the children under his care how to defend themselves. A truly selfless man indeed.

 King's ending FMV video in Tekken 2. 

Tekken 3

Fast forward 15 years later, where a new, evil presence has been found by the Mishima Zaibatsu. Located in an Aztec temple near King's town in Mexico, King went to see what the ruckus was all about. Unfortunately for him, the evil being 'Ogre' was too much for him. He was killed by this beast. Upon learning this news, an orphan under King's care decides to continue King's legacy and dons the jaguar mask. King II is born...

Unfortunately, King II has had very little training and has ever only seen his hero fight on the TV broadcasts. Luchadore match after match sees King II losing, until one day, Armor King shows up out of the blue. Explaining that his friendship with the original King was one of the great things in his life, and to see someone taking up his mantle swelled him with pride, he became King II's new foster father, trainer and mentor. 

Four years of training together, Armor King decides that King II is ready for more. The third King of Iron Fist tournament is announced and Armor King enlists his new protege, to see if he can handle the world's best fighters and if his training has paid off. However, King II had another agenda; taking revenge on Ogre for killing his foster father.

Unsuccessful in this tournament, and not being able to face Ogre, King continues to fight in luchadore matches in order to fund the orphanage he now takes care of. During one of King II's victories in the arena, he becomes worried when he can't see his master celebrating the win. Bursting into his locker room, King II learns that his mentor, Armor King, has a heart illness. Tough break...

 King's ending FMV video in Tekken 3.

Tekken 4

After realizing that his master, Armor King, had cardiac problems, King was distraught. He was going to be losing yet another mentor and foster father. Before his time came however, Armor King managed to get himself killed in a bar fight. When King II heard the news, he was enraged and quickly swore another revenge mission. It seems revenge is the only motivator for anyone entering Tekken tournaments, doesn't it?

Learning that the murderer was currently serving time in Arizona State Penitentiary, King II used his pro-wrestling money to eventually bribe the warden. Securing Craig Marduk's release from prison, King II sent him a plane ticket and an article detailing the fourth King of Iron Fist tournament. King II was hoping he would find his new enemy there and exact his vengeance.

It was a grueling battle between the two fighters but with enough focus and rage, King II ended up hospitalizing Marduk. Not content to stop there, King II moved forward to win the tournament and inherited the Mishima Zaibatsu fortune from Heihachi. After using some of the money to fund his orphanage indefinitely, King II donated the rest of his fortune to help impoverished children around the globe.

Finally, the time had come for King II to get rid of the murderer he hated so much. Walking into Craig's hospital room while he was unconscious, King II was ready to end him. Before he was about to strike, King II noticed a photo portrait of Craig's elderly parents, stopping him in his tracks. He looked on and finally understood that revenge only leads to more pain (such as those losses he himself suffered). King II places the photo on Craig's chest and calmly makes his way out.

King's ending FMV video in Tekken 4.

Tekken 5

Humiliated by the fact that he was defeated at the hands of King II, Craig Marduk donned a black jaguar mask identical to King's mentor, Armor King. He even went so far as to televise his challenge to King II stating that in this tournament, he would beat him fair and square. Disgusted by this insult to his dead master's memory, King II enters the fifth King of Iron Fist tournament in a rage. He would take Marduk down, no matter what!

While making his way to Craig, King II crossed paths with Julia Chang who attempted to convince King II not to fight Craig and to let it go. He isn't worth it and shouldn't have to fight simply because Craig 'called him out.' King II is so angry that he is having none of this and begins fighting Julia when she doesn't get out of his way. He promptly beats her, only further fueling the fire in King II's belly.

King II finally arrives to fight Craig and in a very heated battle of Luchadore Wrestling VS Vale Tudo, King II emerges as the clear victor. However, something strange happens next. We would have expected King II to kill Marduk after everything that has happened but instead he stretches out his hand in friendship. Marduk slowly takes his hand and the two reconcile their differences.

After beating Craig, King II has no more reason to fight and immediately leaves the Tekken 5 tournament, continuing to fight as a pro-wrestler. The difference now? Craig Marduk and King II are a tag-team event and currently the WNW champions of the world. Everyone loves redemption stories...

King's ending FMV video in Tekken 5.

Tekken 6

It seems that if you really want to push King II's buttons, all you have to do is dress up like his mentor, Armor King. During the last tournament, Marduk was attacked by a mysterious assailant clad in the same costume as Armor King. Once King II heard about this attack on his new friend (and that they besmirched Armor King's honor to do so), enraged him to no end. It seems King and King II are either angry or depressed all the time.

Determined to uncover the culprit behind the mask, King II searched and searched. Unfortunately, due to the worldwide warfare being carried out by Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima, it was nigh impossible. After receiving an invitation from Marduk to enter the sixth King of Iron Fist tournament, King II entered with his ally in the hopes that this masked imitation would show his face (or erm, mask).

After the tournament was over, King II sat quietly in his room and stared at an old photo of his dead mentor. Both Marduk and King II were unsuccessful in finding out who the imposter Armor King was but this hasn't stopped them from attempting to find out. As King II carefully places the photo back on the sill, he accidentally drops it on the floor, breaking it into pieces. Noticing that there were two photos in the frame, King II was in shock to see two Armor Kings standing side by side in the hidden photo. Now this doesn't really make much sense until you see both Craig Marduk's and Armor King's Tekken 6 ending.

Staring at the exact same photo, the imitation Armor King sets it down and leaves his room. We then cut to Marduk digging up the original Armor King's grave just to make sure he is actually still dead. As Craig witnesses the body, Armor King walks up behind him, with King II quickly following suit. Meeting the world champion tag-team at the grave site, he insists that he is Armor King and no one else. He is the brother to the original Armor King, who had cardiac problems, and now claims his legacy as Armor King II. Marduk killed his brother (King II's foster father) and now, Armor King II wants revenge...

 Craig Marduk, Armor King and King's ending FMV video in Tekken 6. 

King's Conclusion

A great story of revenge and redemption, it's easy to see why King is a sympathetic and lovable character. Ever since the endings of Craig, King and Armor King in Tekken 6, fans have been waiting to find out what happens next! This could make things very complicated as King II has every right to feel the same way Armor King II does. On the other hand, the friendship and trials Craig and King II have gone through together could be a lesson for the newly arrived Armor King II. We will only have to wait until Tekken 7 hits consoles to find out!


So there we have it! The Story So Far has taken you through the entirety of King's life in the Tekken franchise. Hopefully when Tekken 7 is released on consoles, we will have a little bit more to add to the story. Until then, please don't forget to leave a comment.

Causal Bit Games Talks About Father/Daughter Bonding While Making "Battle Princess Madelyn",h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/p/capedcrusader-be97e.png j324m/causal-bit-games-talks-about-fatherdaughter-bonding-while-making-battle-princess-madelyn Mon, 10 Apr 2017 15:22:58 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

Thunder rolls in the middle of the night as the sound of swords crashing against one another echoes throughout the graveyard. You, a young princess with incredible prowess in battle, are tasked by your grandfather to help save the kingdom and your family. Now, alongside the ghost of your dog Fritzy, it’s up to you to save everyone. Can you do it?

Well, of course, you can. You’re Battle Princess Madelyn!

A project that originally started as an idea between father and daughter after many hours playing Ghouls ‘N Ghost, Battle Princess Madelyn has decimated its funding goal with one quick swipe of the sword and is working on hitting more stretch goals up until its Kickstarter campaign ends. This dream project has quickly become a reality for the father/daughter team, and I had a chance to sit down with developer Christopher Obritsch from Causal Bit Games and talk to him about the game and the process behind it.

GameSkinny (Angelina Bonilla): On your Kickstarter, it states that you made this game for your daughter, who’d watch you play Ghouls ‘N Ghosts and wanted to be in the game itself. Are there any other games she watches you play that get her as excited as Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, and has she given it a go herself?

Causal Bit Games (Christopher Obritsch): Sunset Riders and Turtles in Time are two other games that she loves -- she even plays the TMNT games with me! Robocop, she used to love watching me play, as well as Legend of Hero Tonma. It’s usually specific events in the game she likes: Green head for GnG, first boss fight in Sunset Riders -- same for Robocop. Legend of Hero Tonma is the final boss fight (not very easy!). Turtles in Time she likes playing in general, but loves the big Krang suit at the start saying, “Prepare to Die!”. Ghostbusters on the Genesis is one shes like to force me through, too!

GS: While playing through the demo, I noticed that there didn’t seem to be quite the same difficulty curve as there was in the game it was inspired by. You can respawn quickly after all your lives run out.  Are you planning on making multiple levels of difficulty that the players can choose from, or is it just going to be a consistent level throughout?

Obritsch: Although we now have hit a few stretch goals, which will add in some extra-hard difficulties, self-adjusting difficulty is the “Normal” difficulty setting. In this mode the game will determine how well you are playing, and if it senses that you are doing too well, it will ramp up the difficulty of the game. Or otherwise if you’re struggling, it will tone the difficulty down accordingly, without ever becoming boring or frustrating.

You will also be able to set different difficulty modes the traditional way as well, so beginners to platforming can play a nice, light version of the game that still lets them experience the story, collectible items, and exploration of the big maps!

GS: With the immense success of your Kickstarter, how long do you think it’ll take to add all of the newly met stretch goals to Battle Princess Madelyn, or were you planning on adding those anyways?

Obritsch: We know that unexpected bugs can appear while developing games, and left quite a bit of room for testing, especially as we did not know how well the pre-alpha build (in its currently unoptimized state) would run on everyone’s computers. However, we were really pleased to see it working so well in our testing on Steam, so it should balance out that the new features are done within our time budget!

GS:  Will your dog companion, Fritzy, you find at the beginning of the game, be the only sort of help you’ll be getting? Or will there be a wild assortment of creatures following Madelyn around giving her a variety of abilities and helpful power ups?

Obritsch : Fritzy gets different powers during the game -- power ups that the player can use where needed to progress the game, and since he’s a very crucial character plot-wise, he will never leave her side! He was our family pet in real life -- Maddi’s first. His character was added in during the prototype when we realized the real life Fritzy was not in the best of health as he was so old -- and that Maddi would miss him horribly when he passed away. Since this is her game, this is a nice way for her to remember him by, and she loves it!

GS: The boss fight in the demo only gave you three lives before it reset to the beginning of the fight again. Unlike the rest of the game, this was the only encounter that actually limited the amount of times you could die. Are you going to do this for the bosses throughout the rest of the game? And if so, are you going to put an indicator of just how many lives you have left in classic game style?

Obritsch: What happened here is that Fritzy ran out of Soul Magic. You collect it as you kill enemies! However, we do have a hint to share: During this particular boss fight -- if you stay far back from the boss, he will eventually hit the ceiling, which in turn summons enemies in falling coffins to get your soul magic back.

In the upper left-hand corner, you have an armor HP system. The number in the pre-alpha is a placeholder, but it lets you know how much HP you have left. In the upper right-hand corner of the screen is Fritzy’s Soul Magic meter. This number has to be above half in order for him to bring you back to life!

GS: Your choice to use two types of soundtracks in the game was an interesting way of going about it, especially in regards to allowing your players choose between them. What gave you this idea in the first place?

Obritsch: Different people have different tastes; some people want retro styled music with their game, others want it orchestrated. So we figured, why not give them both! And for some people, it’s an even bigger reason to go back and play the game, for at least a second time, just to see how the soundtrack affects the mood of the game. And because both of the musicians are bringing their own style into each track, no two are the same!

GS: Looking through though the Kickstarter, I noticed there was no indication that the game would be available for Mac or Linux platforms. Why is that?

Obritsch  Unfortunately, because we don’t have the hardware and testing teams to ensure it will work flawlessly on them, we currently have no plans to support those platforms.

GS:  Would you be willing to make more games like Battle Princess Madelyn, taking a classic retro game and adding a new twist to it?

Obritsch: We have a few other prototypes ready on the back-burner to be fleshed out once Battle Princess Madelyn is completed. We’re certainly looking into doing more retro styled games with modern comforts!

GS: Outside of it selling well and being received positively, what sort of reactions are you hoping from your general audience and what sort of audience are you looking to attract with Battle Princess Madelyn?

Obritsch: We would be so excited if players fall in love with the game as much as we have. So far, it’s been really fun turning Maddi’s ideas into actual gameplay and sprites, and we hope the player gets that same joy on their end!

I know she really enjoys watching us bring her ideas to life, too. She was over the moon the first time she saw the skeleton boss freaking out! As far as the audience goes, we’re trying to attract anyone who is willing to have fun. We’re trying our hardest to make this game accessible to children, yet flexible enough to also be as hardcore as it needs to be for an old school gamer who is looking for those familiar mechanics in a new experience!

GS: Since Madelyn is the creative assistant in all of this, does she have any enemies or powers in the game that she likes the most?

Obritsch: Sorry, I can’t tell you which enemies yet, since we haven’t shown them and it would be spoilers -- but she has quite a few! Her favorite power in the game so far is making Fritzy eat the bad guys with his giant chomping! We still occasionally get a laughing shriek out of her when she sees it!


I would like to thank Causal Bit Games' Christopher Obritsch for taking the time to answer my questions. Battle Princess Madelyn looks like just the right mix of retro fun with a zesty twist to the formula which will make you keep coming back for more. 

Check out Causal Bit Game's website for more information. If you want to show your support, there's still time to back Battle Princess Madelyn on Kickstarter!

More Than Just Players: These Unsung Heroes of eSports Deserve Love, Too,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/s/l/esl-2987b.jpg 1zjqz/more-than-just-players-these-unsung-heroes-of-esports-deserve-love-too Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 tofuslayer

Whether you're streaming an eSports tournament on Twitch, watching on television, or attending in person, you know that there is a lot of work that goes into putting on these huge events. All eSports fans know that the main attraction is always the players, but its easy to forget just how much manpower it takes to put together any tournament.

From start to finish, there are people at every eSports event working long before the start of the event and behind the scenes on the day to make sure that everything runs as seamlessly as possible for the audience. To honor these people, here's a list (in no particular order) of heroes in eSports who may not be behind the screens, but are just as important in making an event happen.

1. Coaches

Another position in eSports that is often overlooked are the coaches. Just because they're not sitting in those fancy ergonomic chairs behind the screens, doesn't mean they don't deserve any of the glory too. Players seem to understand the importance of coaches, but when it comes to the fans, sometimes it seems that their contributions get overlooked. Coaches are very skilled individuals who are veterans of the game. They have to watch all their players screens and make callouts that the players might not see in the heat of the moment. Coaches are just as focused on the game as the players during a big tournament, but often don't get the same appreciation from the fans, so give them some love the next time you're watching an eSports event!

2. Coordinators

While administrative activities are not one of the most glamorous aspects of the eSports world, coordinators play a critical role in putting on an eSports event as well as making sure the league runs smoothly. Coordinators' responsibilities range from communicating to event organizers to overseeing licenses for tournaments. Many of the day-to-day necessities (as well as long term) for any eSports league fall into the purview of an eSports coordinator. Just because you don't often see them, doesn't mean they're not a big part of the eSports events you enjoy.

3. The event team

The event team arrives to an event long before the spectators arrive and are there long after everyone is gone. Whether you're at a huge stadium for Counter-Strike or a smaller venue for Halo, every chair and table at these events has to be placed there by a person. Basically everything that isn't a permanent part of the venue is part of the event team's job. This includes moving any furniture that's already there to set up for the event, loading and unloading trucks, hanging banners, and setting up information tables. Additionally, every vendor present including team gear and food is usually coordinated by the event director. It's a big job that often times goes unnoticed. Next time you're at a tournament or streaming online, take a moment to appreciate how big of an endeavor it is to set up (and break down!) an eSports event.

4. eSports writers

I might be a little biased here, but journalists and other writers who cover eSports are people who love the game and have a passion for eSports. Whether it's for the news or for social media or even press releases for upcoming events, eSports writers work very hard to bring you the content about your favorite games. We may not be doing the heavy lifting that the event team does or have as much at stake as the coaches, but we still make an effort watch a whole event, take notes, and bring all the exciting details of the tournament to the fans.

5. Peripheral developers

We all know that the pros don't use the standard controllers and hardware that come with our consoles or local stores. At an eSports event, players use special controllers or gaming mice/keyboards as well as state-of-the-art headsets made by the best peripheral makers in the gaming world. The people who design these accessories and provide the support for them need them to be at their best before they make it to the stage to be used in a tournament. It's an exciting thing if an accessory you made is picked up by professional players or leagues. If the peripheral developers don't put their best work out before a big event, the players and the fans won't have the best eSports experience they possibly could.

7. The production crew

Arguably, the biggest part of any eSports event is the production crew. These are the people who set up all the technical equipment, set up the stream, and make sure that all the visuals and sounds are correct. Basically anything you see on a monitor or hear from a speaker at an eSports event happens because of the production crew. They are responsible for everything from the players' monitors to the lighting. Even the professional images and videos you see on social media during and after the event come from this team. Often times, it is a job that's taken for granted. It's easy to grumble and complain when there are delays in any live stream or event, but the production crew is often the first to get blamed for these problems and has all the responsibility to get them fixed.

Let's give them a round of applause, shall we?

It's easy to get swept up in the hype of the awesome narratives of the teams and players, but it's easy to forget that there is so much that goes into making eSports as great as it is for the fans. Just because the people in the aforementioned positions aren't the ones under the spotlights, I think we can all agree that they deserve a little more love from us fans.

If the Bayonetta release on PC Rumor is True, Can We Get Vanquish Please?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/v/a/n/vanquish-banner-650c7.jpg 5u6q6/if-the-bayonetta-release-on-pc-rumor-is-true-can-we-get-vanquish-please Sun, 09 Apr 2017 19:21:30 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

April Fools is one of those weird times in the industry where everyone still gets excited over the tongue-in-cheek gags that get thrown around, ones that’re just too silly to be real scuttlebutt. One company of note that has a reputation for going all out on April 1 is SEGA -- and this year was no exception, as gamers were treated to a new release on Steam that day, a side-scrolling pixelated throwback to Platinum Game’s gun-toting witch, Bayonetta.

The effort put into 8-Bit Bayonetta was a flashy tease to the heroine’s eventual port over to PC, but the extravagant prank also managed to raise some other questions about the studio’s library, specifically the whereabouts of one particular title, Vanquish.

The fast-paced, acrobatic bullet ballet known as Vanquish is to third-person shooters what Bayonetta is to hack ‘n slash action affairs, and as the years go by, it bewilders me (and others) more and more as to why the game has been denied a budget port to Steam. Long before Nier introduced the idea of throwing multiple gameplay styles into a big budget melting pot, the Platinum Games shooter did it first -- and with big talents at the helm, like Hiroki Kato of God Hand fame, Masaaki Yamada, who was one of the key-figures behind Bayonetta, and Shinji Mikami himself, the legend responsible for Resident Evil and Devil May Cry.

Each stage is a test of skill as you’re zipping back and forth on your jet thrusters between enemy strikes, firing at and punching anything in front of you with the constant sound of explosions and salvos popping off around every corner —you’d be hard-pressed to find another sci-fi shooter that offers as much pulp-action as Vanquish.

Sure, there was shooting in Bayonetta, but that gunfire was secondary to the kicks and strikes that you launched from the femme fatale, performing them in a combination of maneuvers against overwhelming mobs of angels.

Vanquish somewhat flips that dynamic, embellishing heavy artillery use among the different firearms in your arsenal, and downplaying the use of direct melee, pushing it as a last resort. What's more, the Platinum shooter had you evading in different ways, but never in a fashion that was direct and indomitable like Bayonetta. Instead, Vanquish emphatically focused on your movements as tactical and calculated, regardless of the velocity at which you played. .

The sky was really the limit when it came to this 2010 sleeper hit, and with all the emphasis it put on pumping non-stop fluid action out of its gameplay, it would be in SEGA’s best interests to deliver an upscaled remaster of the game utilizing the very best of today’s technological advancements.

Natively, the game runs at 30 FPS and 720p, which is impressive when you think about how frenetic the combat still is today, in spite of its limited processing power. Just imagine what the game would play like if it got 4K facelift at 60 FPS? It would be an entirely different game.

Granted, a game doesn’t need to run at 60 FPS or 4K support to be good; hell, just look at Breath of the Wild, the strongest game of the year contender for 2017, and it doesn’t deliver either. There are plenty of games that don’t need the treatment, and some that would be worse off running at the buttery smooth framerate of 60FPS—However, Vanquish is certainly not one of the games. The lightning fast animation would do wonders to compliment the pace at which the action title wants to run, adding more of an impact to the intensity on screen. It would be the definitive version of the game, making the experience what it was meant to be.


SEGA currently retains the publishing rights to the title, and they’re no stranger to dealing with PC, so why all the love for Bayonetta? Nothing against the lady, but she’s had her time in the sun with cameos, platform-exclusive sequels, and even an upcoming Amiibo release for the Switch port of Super Smash Bros Wii U—she’s had her time in the spotlight.

Let’s redecorate the political space-opera with the lovable Sam Gideon and Elena Ivanova running the shots at 4K resolution -- or even 1080P for that matter -- reviving the trigger-itchy frenzy at a sleek 60 FPS. The Platinum Games frenetic already-classic shooter deserves a second chance like this, especially when it can be the only real way to experience the action gem.