Future Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Future RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The Rise of Medicinal Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/8a45z/the-rise-of-medicinal-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/8a45z/the-rise-of-medicinal-video-games Wed, 29 Nov 2017 20:09:56 -0500 KatherineZell

“Imagine what medicine can be.”

That’s the headline on Akili Interactive’s website, and I love it. What Akili has imagined is that video games can be used as a treatment for ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, autism, and traumatic brain injury. Akili aims to create a gaming platform that will help with the treatment and monitoring of patients with cognitive and mental health disabilities.

How will it work?

Using the latest research conducted by leading neuroscientists as well as a number of clinical studies, Akili is building a game with tasks that target different areas of the brain. Consistent use of these games has already shown improvements in concentration and attention in patients suffering from depression as well as children diagnosed with ADHD and/or Sensory Processing Disorder

Back in 2015, an early version of Project: EVO was actually available for iOS and Android. In this version, players moved along a river and had to complete tasks such as clicking on a certain colored NPC, which exercised players' working memory. However, it has since been removed from iPhone and Android app stores, since Akili is currently focusing on clinical studies with their own platform as well as working with the United States Food and Drug Administration to make Project: Evo an official treatment for ADHD.

Robert J. Perez, Noah Falstein, and Glenn Entis have all teamed up with Akili to help push video games into medicine. To give meaning to those names, they are Cubist Pharmaceuticals’ former CEO, Google’s former Chief Game Designer, and DreamWorks Interactive’s former CEO, respectively. With these names on Akili’s team, they clearly want Project: Evo to be a genuinely immersive gaming experience on top of changing lives.

Soon there will be prescriptions for video games!

Soon there will be prescriptions for video games!

Akili’s work in conjunction with virtual reality improvements gets me very excited about the future of video games as a treatment for cognitive and mental health disabilities. I’m no neuroscientist, but it seems logical that taking something like Project: Evo into virtual reality would increase its effectiveness, as prospective patients could not be as easily distracted by the outside world. Is this as exciting to anyone else as it is to me? Anyone else can’t wait until children with ADHD and SPD can pick up a controller instead of a pill bottle? Let us know what you think!

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The Current State of Starbound https://www.gameskinny.com/vdhrc/the-current-state-of-starbound https://www.gameskinny.com/vdhrc/the-current-state-of-starbound Mon, 23 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 Caio Sampaio

Released on July 22, 2016 by Chucklefish Games, the full version of Starbound received immediate praise from critics, scoring 8.1/10 on Metacritic, and quickly gathered a following of passionate players, with over 62,000 reviews on Steam, of which 90% were ranked as "positive" by the platform.

Now, almost six months after the release, the game is in the 1.2.2 version and the developers plan on continuing the support for the title and adding more resources to it.

As players look forward to the future of Starbound, it is important to understand what the game is doing right as of now, before we look into the future. With this said, let's see what players are happy with in this game.

The success of this production occurred for many reasons, but it mostly boils down to three elements:

Never stop exploring:

We could say that one of the selling points of Starbound is the number of locations a player can explore. While this statement is not incorrect, it also does not give the whole picture.

Many games attempt to create a universe which is as large as possible, but in this process they end up with a world that is as large as an ocean, but as deep as a puddle -- No Man's Sky, I'm looking at you. What I mean by this is that many games try to have as many locations as possible, believing that this will convince players to invest their time and explore. It will not.

Players look for diversity and interesting locales when exploring, but they also hate repetition, so finding the right balance between quality and quantity is paramount in a game that focuses on exploration. Luckily, Starbound gets it right. With a universe full of locations with interesting visuals and terrains to explore, players become invested in the experience, as they have the desire to continue playing to uncover the secrets of the world.

Games based on exploration are a tricky thing to do, but when done right, they can become powerful experiences and Starbound is a prime example.

Soundtrack:

Video games are audiovisual experiences, so even if a title offers to players mesmerizing sights and interesting locations to explore, the art would not be complete without taking care of the audio. This is where the soundtrack comes in.

Composed by Curtis Schweitzer and Solatrus, the songs featured in Starbound complement with perfection the experience, but most importantly, while it certainly has an impact on players, the songs are not aggressive, meaning that it will not try to take player's attention by force with sudden changes in rhythm or pace.

The audio and the visuals complement each other, as opposed to working against themselves, fighting for the player's attention.

Diversity of items (and how to find them):

The universe of Starbound consists of a plethora of items for players to discover and this works together with the diversity of maps, by motivating players to explore even further, in order to find a new weapon or a new armor. Not only that, but players can also find the resources required to craft these items, thus ensuring that players feel motivated to explore the universe of the game.

With a crafting system that works in tandem with the many worlds players can explore, the items and the crafting system itself add depth to the experience, as they are complementary to each other.

As previously stated, there are many reasons for players to enjoy Starbound, but the three mentioned above are the most meaningful ones.

What does the future hold?

These are the reasons why fans are excited NOW, but what does the future hold for this game? Its Wikia contains a page with upcoming features the developers aim to implement and we will list some:

Disclaimer: these are potential features for the future, that are not guaranteed to be implemented through upcoming updates.

  • Armor: The developer aims to add a new type of armor in this game, that will either be extremely rare or has massive requirements, perhaps both.
  • User-made mission sharing: In the future, players may be able to create their own missions and share them with other users.
  • Controller support: The developer wants to add controller support to the game, possible for the Steam controller.
  • PS Vita: The developer wants to port the game to this handheld device.
  • Dramatic Planet Modification: The developer wishes to increase the extent of how much players can alter their surroundings.
  • Space combat: Another possible feature for the next updates is allowing players to engage in space combat, as well as the ability to board other ships.
  • Server commands: More admin commands are likely to be added.
  • Ship upgrades: The developers want to add more variables to how players improve their ships. Upgrades may also make the vessel travel faster between planets and be more efficient, using less fuel, for instance.

These are only some of the features likely to become a part of Starbound in the future. If you want to read the full list, you can check the Wikia article here.

Conclusion:

The developers of Starbound have succeed in designing an experience that the gaming community fell in love with, but in order to maintain the success of the game, it is important to continue adding new features and tweaking the existing ones.

Through the list we have mentioned in this article, we can see that the plans for the future of this game remain ambitious and fans have more than enough reasons to keep looking forwards to the future of this title.

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Screw VR...This Game Gets Beamed Directly Into Your Brain https://www.gameskinny.com/9fq3z/screw-vrthis-game-gets-beamed-directly-into-your-brain https://www.gameskinny.com/9fq3z/screw-vrthis-game-gets-beamed-directly-into-your-brain Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:12:31 -0500 Caio Sampaio

Researchers from the University of Washington have developed a way to play video games using something other than a screen or headset to process and produce audio/visual effects.

You may be wondering what device could possibly render such an experience without a screen. The answer is simple -- your brain.

The study used a helmet that emits electrical pulses to stimulate particlar areas of the brain. With the right frequency, these pulses stimulated the brains of the test subjects in a way that allowed them to visualize and interact with the game in their heads. And the researchers succeeded in making a group of these play-testers walk through a 2D maze that was streamed directly to their brains. 

This may sounds as the concept for a sci-fi film, but it is not.

The electric pulses applied to the brains of the players created phosphine in their line of sight, which is the light you often see when you close your eyes. Applying the right frequency of electrical pulses to the brain allowed the scientists to place these lights where they wanted, thus making it possible to create a maze in people’s head -- one which they can not only see, but also interact with.

The experiment reached a success rate of 92%, which encouraged the team behind it.

While we regard virtual reality as the future of immersion in gaming, in a distant future we may take an even bigger step forward and use our brains to process games, instead of relying on computers to do the trick. It would certainly do away with hardware limitations....

You can read the full research here for more information about the study. 

What do you think about this experiment? Is it just fringe science, or the first steps toward a revolutionary era of gaming? Let me know in the comments!

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8 Geeky Gaming Add-ons for Your Life https://www.gameskinny.com/jr0p5/8-geeky-gaming-add-ons-for-your-life https://www.gameskinny.com/jr0p5/8-geeky-gaming-add-ons-for-your-life Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:15:29 -0400 Extra Wordinary

Want to learn about the mobile gadget that will revolutionize the future of gaming? Or perhaps about how a piece of clothing can replace controllers or keyboards? Here are 8 gaming add-ons for your life!

1. Hardware that makes first-person shooters more real

It's called the Father.IO inceptor. Cool name right? The gadget is even cooler.

The Father.IO inceptor is a piece of hardware, which attaches to your smartphone, allowing you to experience first-person shooters in real life. Only the following video can demonstrate how cool this is.

2. Portable controllers for your phone

Imagine this: You hop on your bus to school or work, and you see people texting, listening to music, or playing games on their smart phones. Then you see a guy using this strange device:

It doesn't get much nerdier than that.

These apple game controllers allow gamers to transform their smartphones into a portable console. Their popularity will probably rise in the future when more games are designed to be controller compatible on the Apple store.

If you decide to buy one, I don't think it really matters what you use. Keep in mind, though, some controllers are compatible with devices other than iOS. 

 3. Looking for a new activity?

Many companies are riding on the coattails of Pokemon Go, designing their own augmented reality games. Out comes Climball, a game that combines rock climbing with ice hockey, which looks hectic!

 4. Need something funny to wear? 

Try this shirt. It's perfect for that occasion when you're doing something nerdy, like: going to expos, eSport events, escape rooms, or just visiting your friend's place for games.

Pro tip: Don't wear this into your job interview. 

5. Be sure to pick up this bookmark

As a nerd, you're not allowed to have regular bookmarks. We call them save points instead. You get bonus geek points if you can get an Undertale bookmark that says "reading this book fills you with determination."

6. DIY holograms on your smartphone

All you need is some transparent plastic or glass and some glue/tape to stick them together and you get these awesome holograms. The following video will show you how to make it.

7. The glove for all your gaming needs

I mentioned the apple game controller above, but something different is the Peregrine: a glove that can control 30 actions! This glove allows you to play many games without a keyboard. It's even been optimized for games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, with more coming soon. 

Sure, it can't replace a keyboard, but imagine its practicality in the short future with virtual reality games. It'll certainly be better than using a keyboard or controller, which ruins the VR experience.

8. Cancel all the noise around you with 'Muzo'

This one's a bit controversial since it's not even been made yet, but it claims that it can cancel the noise around you, even to the point where people can't listen in on your conversations in public. Whether this is true or not is yet to be determined, but it has recently raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter and over $1,000,000 on Indiegogo.

I'm going to leave it here as a little teaser.

I hope you enjoyed these geeky accessories! Here's to hoping they won't make you go broke. If you know of any other cool accessories, please share them in the comments!

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Call of Duty Ghosts 2 will be set in the future https://www.gameskinny.com/c6rjt/call-of-duty-ghosts-2-will-be-set-in-the-future https://www.gameskinny.com/c6rjt/call-of-duty-ghosts-2-will-be-set-in-the-future Mon, 25 Jan 2016 11:50:52 -0500 BlackTideTV

Disclaimer: Please note that this is a speculation and not a news article. Don't take anything you see here to the presses, you will get laughed at. That being said, I strongly believe what you're about to read.

Oh, and one more thing: there will be SPOILERS concerning Call of Duty: Ghosts. You've been warned.

Late last year, I speculated over two articles the contents of the next Call of Duty title. In the articles I discerned that the next game will likely be Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 and that the game will likely include "advanced movement." If you missed those articles or wish for a more detailed read you can view them here:

In this article, I'd like to reiterate a key point that I'm sure tons of Call of Duty fans are wondering: will Ghosts 2 be set in the future?

To answer this question we'll have to analyze the end of the last game in the series: Call of Duty: Ghosts.

 

At the end of the game, our player Logan "kills" the villain Rorke and escapes onto the safety of the beach. All of a sudden Rorke reappears and kicks Logan's ass before hauling him off to a prison cell in some sort of forest. 

Before bringing the player to this hellhole, Rorke explains that Logan is going to help him to destroy the Ghosts. Obviously, Rorke plans to brainwash him into becoming a terrorist. 

The writers have spelled it out for us: there will be a Call of Duty: Ghosts 2.

So why do I think it will be set in the future?

For starters, Call of Duty: Ghosts was set around the year 2030. This is already a "modern-future." Now let's go ahead and stack on what we know. Rorke is going to brainwash the hero of Ghosts to become a villain. Brainwashing doesn't happen overnight, and Rorke is no hypnotist. Not to mention that military heroes don't tend to be weak of mind, making brainwashing difficult. All of this in mind, let's call it 10 years for a full brainwash.

We are now in 2040. Sure there aren't spaceships and laser beams, but it's still the future.

One thing I should mention is that advanced movement in the form of exo-suits and thruster packs like Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III, is probably off the table. Each of those games were set in 2050+, still quite a way forward in time. 

What can we expect from Call of Duty: 2016Call of Duty: Ghosts 2, a futuristic setting, little-to-no, or a different kind of advanced movement, and a story that sees the rescue of poor Logan's brainwashed mind. Of course, this entire theory is up in the air until we get the first taste of CoD:2016 news. Infinity Ward has been known to surprise.

What do you think about Call of Duty: 2016? Will it be Ghosts 2? Is it set in the future? Post your theories in the comments.

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Xbox One not the last Microsoft console (most likely), says exec https://www.gameskinny.com/rldqr/xbox-one-not-the-last-microsoft-console-most-likely-says-exec https://www.gameskinny.com/rldqr/xbox-one-not-the-last-microsoft-console-most-likely-says-exec Fri, 11 Dec 2015 02:59:10 -0500 astik_anand

The Xbox One may not be the final console from Microsoft, according to Microsoft's Xbox division head, Phil Spencer. This statement came in reply to a question about the future of Xbox consoles in light of smart, all-in-one devices that seek to displace consoles.

"No, I fully expect that you’ll see another console from us […] Our best customers are Xbox console customers, and I want to keep those people engaged both on the Xbox One and anything we might do in the future. I’m 100 percent committed to that."

"I don’t want to dilute what the Xbox console customer feels. I want to expand what we’re able to do for more customers."

--Phil Spencer to The Verge

The Verge also spoke Shanon Loftis, another Xbox executive, about the future of the company. One of the goals of Microsoft, according to Loftis, is to make gaming more inclusive across the board.

Loftis also said that the company is exploring different ways to make all of their experiences relevant across all platforms -- which means even though the games that have been announced so far are controller-centric, future games from Microsoft may be less focused on the controllers.

With the release of the new Xbox app on Windows 10, Microsoft has marked the beginning of merging of the two independent divisions of the company. Spencer said:

"As we embrace [Windows users] as an active part of the Xbox community, it opens up opportunities for our first-party games."

He goes on to call Xbox’s proximity to Windows 10 "beachfront property."

Of course with the big 'likely' attached to the news, it is more of a rumor than an announcement, and hence we might have to wait years just to know what's next. 

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Black Ops 3 story trailer shows a not-so-perfect future https://www.gameskinny.com/b7hfb/black-ops-3-story-trailer-shows-a-not-so-perfect-future https://www.gameskinny.com/b7hfb/black-ops-3-story-trailer-shows-a-not-so-perfect-future Mon, 05 Oct 2015 03:56:10 -0400 shox_reboot

'Be careful what you wish for' seems to be the name of the game here. 

Black Ops 3 shows how much thinner the line between man and machine is becoming in its futuristic world. Deus Ex jokes aside, the game feels like it will tell a rather bleak tale about how much of your humanity you have to sacrifice in order to become something more.

The phrase 'direct neural interface' comes up a few times during the trailer. Now, the standard textbook definition describes this is a communication pathway between the brain and an external device. This makes sense, seeing as Black Ops 3 seems to feature cyborgs - unless I'm extremely wrong (which I seriously doubt. I mean c'mon, there's a guy who goes by the call-sign 'war machine'!)

I guess we can take this to mean the brain is the only thing that makes these guys human, and their bodies are that 'external device'. The problem with a communication pathway though, is that it's open both ways.

If your brain is connected to a...server of sorts (I'm shooting in the dark now) in order to control that external device which is your technologically augmented body, you are exposing yourself to being controlled by external factors. Perhaps your enemies are going to be hacking into your brain and making you turn your gun on your allies? 

You don't need to take my word for it. I'm sure you guys will draw similar conclusions by watching this trailer. I'm hoping that the story will feature much more than that, since it's rather predictable. But then again, I'm one of those people who buys Call of Duty for the sole purpose of multiplayer. 

And zombies. Who doesn't love zombies? 

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Shigeru Miyamoto's emotional statement to Satoru Iwata's passing; the future of Nintendo https://www.gameskinny.com/7fppv/shigeru-miyamotos-emotional-statement-to-satoru-iwatas-passing-the-future-of-nintendo https://www.gameskinny.com/7fppv/shigeru-miyamotos-emotional-statement-to-satoru-iwatas-passing-the-future-of-nintendo Mon, 13 Jul 2015 11:57:20 -0400 Courtney Gamache

While many gamers across the world are distraught over Satoru Iwata's passing, Shigeru Miyamoto; creator of Mario and Legend of Zelda, worked with him for many years and not only lost a business partner, but a friend.

Miyamoto's moving statement

"I am surprised at this sudden news and overcome with sadness.

"The entire development team at Nintendo will remain committed to our development policy which Mr. Iwata and we have been constructing together and to yield the development results which Mr. Iwata would appreciate."

- Shigeru Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto knew Satoru Iwata as not only a colleague but a friend during the development of the Mario branch within Nintendo. Miyamoto was struck with immense sadness over the loss of his friend, while also trying to reassure the gaming community that Nintendo won't fall apart after this devastating day in video game history.

Nintendo's Future President

At the moment, Nintendo hasn't released any statements on who will become the president, but Miyamoto is a runner-up for the position that has held such of a legacy.

In the wake of Satoru Iwata's passing, Genyo Takeda and Miyamoto will run the company until a candidate for the position has been chosen. 

The Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata released a statement on the situation and the passing of Iwata.

"It is difficult to put into words the sadness we feel at this time. Mr. Iwata was a strong leader, a unique figure in the gaming industry and an important part of  Nintendo's history. He was a visionary in every sense of the word and we will miss him dearly.

"Just as Mr. Iwata challenged us to always push forward, we will ensure his legacy lives on through our ongoing work to always surprise and delight our fans. At this time our thoughts are with his family." - Satoru Shibata

While the gaming community will still mourn the loss of this legendary developer within Nintendo, they will not only remember him for his strides as a business man, but for his love of video games that transcended through his actions and creations.

Satoru Iwata, you will be missed.

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Mass Effect Devs Discuss its Future at Comic-Con! https://www.gameskinny.com/p7408/mass-effect-devs-discuss-its-future-at-comic-con https://www.gameskinny.com/p7408/mass-effect-devs-discuss-its-future-at-comic-con Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:13:21 -0400 Yasmin Curren

So... Who's looking forward to the next Mass Effect? (I AM, I AM!) But how on Earth (or any planet for that matter) do they plan on continuing without Commander Shepard?!

Some questions could be answered on Saturday, July the 26th in this years San Diego Comic-Con where BioWare will be 'sharing their experiences in shaping the next Mass Effect game with new possibilities while staying true to the critically acclaimed series.' Either this or they will just tease us with open-ended answers, but either way I'm excited to hear what they have to say.

Mass Effect developers from the Edmonton and Montreal studios will sit the panel, including: Carl Boulay (lead animator), Fabrice Condominas (producer), Mike Gamble (producer),Noel Lukasewich (senior artist) and Jessica Merizan (community manager). So make sure to have your questions at the ready! Will you be reusing planets? Have you thought of any cool new species? Will there still be awkward relationship decisions? Will there ever be a nod towards Shepard's story or past decisions? These are just a fraction of my own.

If you're lucky enough to be attending Comic-Con this year then make sure to be in Room 25 ABC at 2pm early enough to grab a seat; with over 200 people claiming to attend already on the Comic-Con website it's bound to fill up quickly!

But if you can't wait that long then make sure to join in with molding the next Mass Effect game yourself by filling out the Mass Effect fan feedback survey. This quick survey mainly asks what you enjoy most about RPG games, which for myself has to be exploration and character development. What are you hoping will be included in the next Mass Effect?

"We start by asking fans what they want... New places, new characters, new people to fall in love with. We're taking you to a whole new region of space."

- E3 2014 Mass Effect 4 Trailer 

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EA May Need to Abandon UFC and Refocus on Boxing Games https://www.gameskinny.com/zeg92/ea-may-need-to-abandon-ufc-and-refocus-on-boxing-games https://www.gameskinny.com/zeg92/ea-may-need-to-abandon-ufc-and-refocus-on-boxing-games Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:24:10 -0400 Chris_Lemus

As mixed martial arts' (MMA) popularity sweeps across television screens onto clothes, and now video games, EA Sports’s Fight Night boxing title has limped away to the corner of the ring.

While EA Sports UFC is getting all the attention, Fight Night has not lived to take part in a new fight card since 2011.

In an interview with IGN, EA Sports CEO Andrew Wilson said that “a great portion of the core of the Fight Night team” is responsible for developing their UFC game as well.  He also was willing to go on the record about a forecast for Fight Night.

“Do I see a future for Fight Night? You know, sure,” Wilson said. “But right now, UFC is where our fighting focus is.”

Sounds promising, right?

Fan Interest is Changing

From a sports perspective, it does not seem likely. MMA's popularization by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has boxing down for the count. Over time, one of the world’s oldest sports became plagued by fixing and lack of instant gratification from getting knockouts on major Pay-per-view boxing matches.

The UFC is today’s answer to boxing’s age old problems. A knockout could happen within the first 30 seconds of a match, and if a fighter does not make his opponent unconscious from a crushing blow, then they will try to dismantle each other’s body through submissions until they tap out. It is rare to say a fighter either lost or drew with an opponent because judges had to score the match, which raises concerns for fight fixing.

All these elements make for a satisfying game. Anyone who plays would not necessarily have to understand strategy, but everyone will understand the satisfaction of knocking someone out cold.

There is also the consideration of boxing’s future based on three of the biggest names currently in the sport set to retire soon without any rising star having the same appeal as they do.

Floyd Mayweather Junior is planning on retiring in 2015, and legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach announced Manny Pacquiao would have retired if he had not beaten Timothy Bradley Junior in their April rematch.

At 40-years old, Juan Manuel Marquez has all the elements set for a retirement. Marquez knocked out Pacquiao and earned seven belts in four different weight classes.

But from a video game industry perspective, it is likely that gamers could return to trading blows solely with their virtual fists.

EA Sports UFC isn't as Tight as Fight Night

GameSpot, USA Today, and IGN all gave EA Sports UFC poor reviews. Included in their criticism of the game was a complicated fighting mechanic that was not well-balanced and felt unrealistic, especially when dealing blows.

While the new IGNITE engine captured shifting flesh, painful squints, and natural reactions to defending against a barrage of mounted punches, it failed to take into account that fewer strikes would realistically send an opponent to sleep than displayed in the video game.

The controls attest to why it is hard to take a sport like MMA and make video game controls for it, as nearly every single style of martial arts could be featured in one fight. It may have been packaged neatly on one disk, but it is difficult for gamers.

While controls are a complication for a UFC game, the evolution Fight Night controls gave options enjoyable by different styles of gamers. For those who wanted more control and a realistic experience, the game featured right analog stick motions similar to the coordinating punches.

Gamers who did not like having to synchronize a symphony of right analog stick motions could just simply use the corresponding buttons for every type of punch. While a match in the octagon could feature swinging backhands and shin kicks, there are only four types of punches thrown in the ring.

IGNITE would especially flex it’s muscles when depicting the battle wounds attained by boxers during a future Fight Night game. The smudging of cheeks, treatment of sliced skin by a cut man, and sprinkles of sweat created by punches would all create a new level of realism EA Sports UFC could not offer from primarily wide shots.

But the criticism against EA Sports UFC also creates a level of uncertainty. What critics had to say about the game could be used to either follow up with a better sequel, or refocus the development team towards making another Fight Night.

Both sports are bruised, and gamers will only find out the results as the rounds go on.

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Rift, Morpheus, and the Future of Gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/4ctk1/rift-morpheus-and-the-future-of-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/4ctk1/rift-morpheus-and-the-future-of-gaming Thu, 20 Mar 2014 22:15:55 -0400 NorthwestGamer

If you could live in a game, would you? How would your life change if virtual reality was better than the real thing? The idea is incredibly interesting both for its practical "gaming" implications as well as the impact it would have on how we view entertainment in general. It's something every gamer has dreamed about but only now is starting to look like a possibility.

With Sony's announcement of the Project Morpheus VR headset on Tuesday, we have a great opportunity to reflect on the where the gaming world has come and where it's going. It's a brave new world, and one thing is for sure: it's going to be a hell of a ride.

From humble beginnings

Remember the game Computer Space? In November 1971 this game became the first commercially released coin-operated arcade game in the world, beating Pong to the scene by a year. Computer Space had no RAM or microprocessor, and was played on a 15" black and white TV screen. Later games such as Space Invaders, Asteroids and Pac Man would spread the phenomenon to a global audience eager to try the new trend.

Looking back, we can see that gaming was destined for greatness

Arcade cabinets became staples of malls and arcades alike, and by 1980 gaming revenue in North America reached 5 billion dollars and the innovations followed the money. The 1980's saw the creation of some of the most genre defining games of all time. Titles such as the The Legend of Zelda and Street Fighter continue to have significance over 30 years after their release.

time

Onward and upward

Fastforward 20 years and we enter the 21st Century, with gaming being recognized as a legitimate art form with 3D graphics and ever increasingly quality--bringing games almost on par with movies in terms of cinematic experience. The Playstation 2 was selling an unprecidented number of units and games like Grand Theft Auto lll were bringing video games to the mainstream, for better or worse.

The advent of high-definition TVs brought gaming even further with experiences that we could never have imagined back when Computer Space was released. Now it was possible for the likes of Uncharted and Bioshock to show us things we didn't think were possible in this medium.

bio

What now?

With the release of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One we have officially moved into the "next-gen" world. It's early in their life cycle and in a similar fashion to the last generation quality games seem to be few and far between for these technical marvels; however the possibilities once these consoles are fully supported by developers is limitless. But I suspect the real story of this generation will be one of incredible advances in technology and virtual reality.

Recently there have been numerous signs that we are moving closer and closer to the day we can put on a headset and enter a virtual world as real as the one we live in now. Not just the emergence of 4K TV's with ultra high-resolution, but devices which will fundamentally change the way we play and interact with our games.

Enter the Rift...

At E3 2012, the world got its first glimpse at what would become the Oculus Rift; a head-mounted, 3D virtual realty headset. It is designed to completely fill the users field of vision as well as have 1080p graphics for incredibly high immersion. A successfully kickstarted campaign raised $2.5 million dollars and led to the development of more advanced developer models.

It is suspected that the consumer version of the Oculus Rift will be released late 2014 or early 2015

Another more recent push towards virtual reality comes in the form of Project Morpheus. Fun fact: Morpheus is the god of dreams in the poem Metamorphoses written in 8 AD. A suitable name when you consider the functionality of the headset.

Morpheus is Sony's answer to the Oculus Rift, containing 3D sound and the ability to work with the dualshock controller and Playstation Move controller to immerse you in the game world. Never before have we seen a virtual reality headset released on a console that looked so promising.

njn

"There was no reason for me to stay in the real world any longer. In the real world, it didn't matter if I was there or not. When I realized that, I was no longer afraid of losing my body" - Chisa Yomoda, Serial Experiments Lain
Welcome to the Future

Putting it all in perspective, it's amazing how far we're come. However, assuming the Rift and Morpheus are just stepping-stones to bigger and better things, are we prepared to accept it? Essentially leaving reality and entering another existence within the game is likely to raise some people's eyebrows and raise questions about how far we should be going with this technology. The above quote illustrates the type of people who may be attracted to such a technology and how it would pull them away from society or the "real" world.

For all the amazing fun it would give us it would also come with the possibility of damaging some people who might not be able to adapt to this new life style that includes the virtual world.

These advancements are likely quite a ways down the proverbial road; however, I think it is still important to put these questions out there for discussion. Personally I can't wait, but what about you? Are you stoked or terrified of virtual reality? Let us know in the comments!

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A Snippet of What Video Games Look Like on Google Glass https://www.gameskinny.com/svcdj/a-snippet-of-what-video-games-look-like-on-google-glass https://www.gameskinny.com/svcdj/a-snippet-of-what-video-games-look-like-on-google-glass Thu, 30 Jan 2014 16:31:18 -0500 Richard Whelchel

Finally, news about Google Glass that isn’t porn!  In this short video released by Google, we see the foundations how gaming will be achieved through this wearable, “future-is-all-too-near” technology. 

The video showcases the two technological features built in the Glass that will be harnessed for gaming potential – voice recognition, and sensors.  Some of the early ideas shown include games like: tennis, a memory matcher, clay shooting, and a balance game.  To begin any one these in Glass, simply state: “OK Glass, play a game.”

While not the most visually impressive specimens, theoretically, these games may very well hold an infinite amount of potential.  For example, moving beyond the simple shapes shown in the clay shooting game, developers could create some decent arcade style shooters.  By utilizing the sensors shown in the balance game, one could definitely foresee some sort of “Yoga-esque” or other exercise type of game (complete with a display of quantified data on your workout as you go).  Think of the multiplayer possibilities when you introduce someone else with a pair of Google Glass; virtual ping-pong anyone?

While these may be some grand ideas in the scheme of things, Google doesn’t intend for Glass games to be truly groundbreaking.  In fact, they state that these games are meant to be played while you have a few free minutes to spare, allowing you to seamlessly jump in and out when it’s time to switch back to reality.     

It irks me a bit that in five or so years, we humans will be walking around and spouting commands to our eyewear – increasing the interpersonal wedge that is already dividing our species with technologies like this.  But hey, you can’t say that this isn’t pretty spectacular.

I want to know your thoughts on Google Glass gaming -- and other Orwellian musings on the future -- in the comments below.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more news, updates, and contests. 

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GamesBeat 2013: The Future of Gaming Technology https://www.gameskinny.com/i0hf4/gamesbeat-2013-the-future-of-gaming-technology https://www.gameskinny.com/i0hf4/gamesbeat-2013-the-future-of-gaming-technology Thu, 31 Oct 2013 04:12:12 -0400 Mary Yeager

GamesBeat 2013 concluded its second and final day of panels, including The Future of Gaming Technology Fireside Chat. Senior Editor of The Verge, Sean Hollister, was the moderator and he was speaking to two industry experts. The first was Vice President of Epic Games, Mark Rein, and the second was Tony Tamasi, Senior Vice President of Content and Technology at NVIDIA.

Originally, the moderator focused in on the aspects of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets. Most of the questions raised were not about future technology, as both panelists responded several times with the fact that the technology is already used gaming and that such gaming does have its time and place, much like PC and console gaming. This topic did, however, lead Tamasi into mention NVIDIA's project with the codename of Logan.

SoC Project Logan (system on a chip) allows users to experience gForce quality graphics on a mobile device. Using the Kepler architecture, Logan is designed to run OpenGL and DirectX 11. This allows mobile users to experience graphics just like they can on a PC. This is also part of the features of the next-gen consoles of Xbox One and Playstation 4. In a demonstration at SIGGRAPH, NVIDIA has shown that it will even run one of Epic Games' next generation PC games.

Both panelists did agree that mobile gaming has not yet caught up to current console gaming, but that it is a only a matter of time before it does catch up. Mobile technology grows much like the PC technology has. Instead of a period of time passing before the next set of features are made available like consoles do, mobile technology grows each year.

Other than the talk about Logan and what NVIDIA intends to do with the chip, talk eventually veered to virtual reality gaming. The panelists spoke about how there is a good bit of interest in the Oculus Rift, as well as other companies they knew of that were experimenting with augmented reality but could not name as these companies are not public.

The last thing they discussed was cloud gaming, which they predict is still a long time in being seen in fruition. Basically, it has yet to be proven that it could work in its entirety with technology as it currently stands. Latencies need to drop as well as the whole basis of cloud usage needs to be made more economical. They did say it is not a matter of if, however, but of when we will see cloud gaming truly hitting the industry. There are some developers trying to develop for cloud gaming, though who was not mentioned.

This finalized the fireside chat. Unlike other panels, however, there were no questions from the audience.


Watch live video from GamesBeat on TwitchTV

(Note: This panel starts at 5:15:00)

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New Role-playing Game: Ambrov X https://www.gameskinny.com/e7hsx/new-role-playing-game-ambrov-x https://www.gameskinny.com/e7hsx/new-role-playing-game-ambrov-x Tue, 24 Sep 2013 12:34:11 -0400 Alexa Serrano

Loreful, an independent video game developer that launched last fall, is creating a new role-playing game called Ambrov X. Aharon Cagle is leading a 15-person team in creating this game. Cagle used to be a marketer, but when he hit 40 he decided to that his love for games was much stronger than his love for marketing. So, he decided to become a video game entrepreneur. 

Cagle is now working with a team of writers, designers, visual artists, voice actors, and animators to bring you Ambrov X

What is Ambrov X?

The game is based on the Sime-Gen Universe novels created by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, which paints a future world where humans are divided into two subspecies: the Gens and the Simes. The story centers on the struggle of co-existence between these two subspecies.

"We're basically taking that story 1,000 years in the future. The humans have learned to live with this genetic catastrophe and are beginning to explore space," Cagle explains.  

Ambrov X will cast players into a distant future where they are leaders of a crew. Their mission is to place space beacons that will allow them to space travel faster than light.

For more information on gameplay features click here

Pre-alpha Version

Check out the video below to hear Cagle talk a little bit more about Ambrov X. The video shows a pre-alpha version of the game; however, Cagle says that the "playable pre-alpha version of the game we've been showing around [is] not necessarily how the game will ultimately look, but it shows the larger vision of what we want to do."

Release Date

Ambrov X is set to release early 2015.  The game will be available on Windows, OS X and Linux through STEAM, and alternate releases for XBox, PS4, Android and iOS will come at a later date.  The game will be released by episodes, which will range from 3–5 hours. 

Do you think this looks like a game you would be interested in checking out? Leave your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

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Xbox One Headed for an All Digital Future? https://www.gameskinny.com/dx948/xbox-one-headed-for-an-all-digital-future https://www.gameskinny.com/dx948/xbox-one-headed-for-an-all-digital-future Wed, 04 Sep 2013 20:28:48 -0400 Corey Kirk

According to an interview with Gamespot at PAX Prime 2013, Microsoft’s Xbox Director Albert Penello declares a return to a digital-only future is inevitable and will happen eventually. Penello states:

“Yeah. It’s going to happen. I don’t think there's anybody in the industry; no matter what you thought about our original policies around DRM; I don't think there’s anybody that doesn't know that someday, it’s going to happen.”

As you probably have heard, Microsoft is going to keep disc-based sharing for the time being since the backlash against the technology giant caused a reverse in official policy and functionality for the Xbox One. This move led many to label the Xbox One as the “Xbox 180” and has caused a rift in the gaming community on whether to support it or put money on the PlayStation 4.

My Thoughts:

A digital future is inevitable, but I find it rather strange that people would still trust Microsoft after its recent controversies. I am one who will not be getting an Xbox One because of my lack of trust in the Xbox Team to deliver what they promise. They have given into public demand not for the sake of appeasing customers, but to save their console from a failed launch. And now that Penello is implying a return to the original plan, my distrust is even more solidified. I predict a tragic end of the Xbox brand unless it can become a separate entity and not connected to Microsoft, but that is another story for another time.

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Resident Evil 7 Will Return to Survival Horror, Says Capcom https://www.gameskinny.com/nwteu/resident-evil-7-will-return-to-survival-horror-says-capcom https://www.gameskinny.com/nwteu/resident-evil-7-will-return-to-survival-horror-says-capcom Wed, 28 Aug 2013 01:45:52 -0400 Ceruleanjim

Resident Evil has seen a huge departure from its survival horror routes, but no, more says Capcom.

Former Capcom marketing boss Michael Pattison told MCV, "We have obviously seen the consumer response and the PR response." He acknowledges that Resident Evil 6 tried to do too much and ultimately failed.

                               

 He goes on to say,

"...there was a cry out for us to focus our attention on survival horror, rather than be too many things to all people. You’ll find where we go next will likely be more targeted at our core fanbase. 

He finishes by saying

                

"A lot is said about the saturation of this zombie, post-apocalyptic survival horror. But it is still alive and well. The Last of Us shows a good direction of what the consumers want. Tomb Raider as well, we spoke to R&D and they looked at that and they enjoyed that experience."

Capcom is finally listening to us and seems determined to make a change to the series rather than throw in the towel all together. Resident Evil 6 featured three different campaigns, and the gameplay and plot really suffered as a result. The older games were so simple, yet effective, so it will be interesting to see what direction the series will take.

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Why Insomniac Games Stands Out As One of the Best Studios https://www.gameskinny.com/inu38/why-insomniac-games-stands-out-as-one-of-the-best-studios https://www.gameskinny.com/inu38/why-insomniac-games-stands-out-as-one-of-the-best-studios Sat, 13 Jul 2013 07:59:43 -0400 Aneudys Tejeda

When tasked with having to pick my favorite studio, a couple came to mind. Platinum Games has definitely drawn my eye lately. EA has had its fair share of great games, but they also have their bad games. When it finally came down to it, it was a tough choice between Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games. After some deep thought and some serious back and forth I came to the conclusion that Insomniac Games is not only one of my favorite studios, but one that has proven itself to have matured over the span of almost 20 years.

An ode to Insomniac Games

The memories I've shared with Insomniac

I may have missed out on the Spyro series growing up for Crash Bandicoot, but I share some of my fondest memories with the Ratchet & Clank series. This is the only series I have continuously gone back to replay which is something I don't do often. I have played every game in the series, platinumed them all on the PS3 and I am beyond excited for their future ventures. Even Resistance: Fall of Man holds up as one of my favorite co-op experiences on the PS3. Being one of the first games I got on the PS3 I remember being immensely impressed with the graphics and scale they were going for with the series as I played with my brother everyday after school.

Insomniac has been around almost 20 years so its time I ask: what's in store for Insomniac Games? 

To understand the future, we must look at their past.

Humble beginnings

Insomniac Games is an American independent game developer. Founded in 1994 by Ted Price (current President and CEO). Ted has been a part of Insomniac since the very beginning. With an approximate work force of 210 people now, Insomniac has grown substantially. With its primary headquarters in Burbank, California they have expanded to a second building in Durham, North Carolina. From 2005 through 2007 Insomniac Games was ranked in the top 10 on the “50 Best Small & Medium Sized Companies to Work for in America” list. Yes, that's a real list.

Their very first game was Disrupter for the Playstation; a sci-fi FPS with live action cut scenes. Not a very popular game, and also one I've never played. But their next series would really define the PlayStation generation.

Spyro Series

 

Released in 1998, Spyro the Dragon became a mascot for the PlayStation along with Crash Bandicoot. The series showed off what the PlayStation could do with open 3D environments, the likes of which have never been seen at this point in time. The colorful world and characters brought Insomniac into the spotlight and showcased the amazing talent of the team.

The game went on to get two more sequels from Insomniac before being passed off to multiple studios like a hot potato. Seeing reboot after reboot, the game is nothing like the Skylanders we know of today.

Having only played the first game for the first time last year, I had a fantastic time playing it. Short by todays standards but very fun. Loaded with collectables, it's a series I regret not playing now as an adult.

When the announcement of the PS2 was imminent, Insomniac decided to take on a new venture--create new worlds and characters. Its next franchise would once again be a series that defined the PlayStation 2 generation.

Ratchet and Clank Series

Ratchet and Clank first made their debut in 2002 on the PlayStation 2. This unlikely duo of a lombax and a robot, who travel from planet to planet blowing stuff up with massive weapons and sheepinators, is one of the most recognized PlayStation franchises.

With a total of 9 games under their belt (not including the HD collection or PSP Spin-offs) Ratchet and Clank have garnered an illustrious reputation for putting out quality games... sort of.

The series is filled with adult jokes and humor. The story is interesting and the dialogue is enticing. The real story crafting talent of Insomniac came out in the Ratchet and Clank series. Always getting high review scores Insomniac didn't want to burn the series out so they began spreading in different directions. All 4 One proved to be an interesting concept, while Full Frontal Assault seemed like more of a flop.

In defense of All 4 One, a 4 player co-op sequel, it was something the studio hadn't done before. It mixed up the gameplay in very unique ways. By no means the best in the series, it proved that Insomniac could reinvent Ratchet & Clank and still have a great game. As for Full Frontal Assault, the tactical strategy sequel, it was once again taking the franchise in another direction to see what could be possible. It may not have worked but they learned their lesson, right?

Right! Recently, Insomniac has announced Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus. Going back to its platforming roots since A Crack in Time in 2009, Ratchet & Clank isn't the only franchise they had going during the PlayStation 3 however.

Resistance Series

During the PS3, Insomniac had began developing games with two teams. One doing the Ratchet and Clank and another doing a dark alternative timeline alien invasion FPS known as Resistance: Fall of Man. Worried at first that the studio couldn't handle an FPS, people forgot their first game was an FPS. Not to mention Ratchet and Clank's heavy focus on Guns, Insomniac knew what they were doing and they took a typical war setting and turned it on its head.

With the PS3 launching at $600 and Resistance being a launch title, it didn't sell too well and not many people played it. But by the time two and three came out and people began going back, you could see the impressive story the people at Insomniac had crafted. The dark story and the feeling of doom clouded the senses, and put the series up to par with the high quality standards that is Insomniac.

Finally, nearing the end of the timeline we reach their most recent endeavor.

Fuse

(Originally OverStrike...)

Fuse came out in May of this year with mediocre reviews. Unfortunately, the later years of Insomniac with Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault and Fuse have had people lose a little faith in Insomniac.

Fuse was an earth shattering moment for me. It was when I realised Insomniac wasn't a Sony owned studio. This was their first multi-platform game, and a four person co-op shooter with a unique art style. Published by EA, the game saw many reworks and delays, which in the end may not have paid off.

Mediocre reviews or not, Insomniac is doing different things that other studios won't do. Where as most studios will stick to what works and pump out sequel after sequel, Insomniac is branching out and trying different things.

I do not own Fuse and my opinions are solely based on the demo, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Now that were all caught up we look to the future of Insomniac.

Sunset Overdrive and Beyond!

The Future looks bright for Insomniac. Sunset Overdrive, their newest game, was shown at E3 as a Xbox One Exclusive. The games focus is on "agile combat" including wall running, zip-lines, and acrobatics. Nothing more is known other than it makes me very upset that it is an Xbox One Exclusive.

In an IGN Interview 2 months ago, Ted Price explained that there may be more Fuse in the works:

"No, I’m not talking about DLC, I’m talking about new Fuse experiences altogether."

Could this have been Sunset Overdrive? Or could they have a whole new idea on this four player co-op experience. Which as I wrote that last sentence leads me to a theory. This is the 2nd four player co-op game Insomniac has developed. They must have a grand plan for future next generation consoles and fun multiplayer experiences. 

As I previously mentioned, Insomniac also announced a new Ratchet and Clank game available this fall at $29.99. The Ratchet and Clank looks to return to its roots with fun platforming action story driven adventure.

I'd like to say I grew up on Insomniac games. Aside from Fuse (which I plan on playing) and two Spyro games, Insomniac is a creative studios that dares to be different. It can tell a compelling story of survival, or make a slight inappropriate joke while fighting interplanetary thugs. They can can establish franchises or just make a Facebook game. It's a studio that stands out and connects with people. I can honestly say, after writing this and looking back on the history I've had with Insomniac, this is undoubtedly one of my favorite studios.

There's always room for discussion. Do you agree? Whats your favorite studio? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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Bioshock: Infinite https://www.gameskinny.com/c3td8/bioshock-infinite https://www.gameskinny.com/c3td8/bioshock-infinite Wed, 26 Jun 2013 16:17:47 -0400 Branden Sumerix

Bioshock Infinite starts in the highlights of Columbia. A floating sky city of so much rich, beauty, and wonder. On the other side of things it is also a very dark, corrupt city of the sky.

It might not be fair but, Bioshock Infinite is being looked to as the savior for an amazing franchise. Many people I have looked to have seen it this way and it looks that way from the outside as well. It is the savior of a first-person shooter franchise that has gone stale and boring.

That is what the first Bioshock accomplished back in 2007 with the original consoles generation. Just like the original underwater world of Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite's sky city Columbia is a very dark, odd, and strange dystopia. 

It is very fitting that Bioshock Infinite's star city is the sky city of Columbia because that is exactly where the ambitions lie. The sky is the limit right? It will make you giddy to see just how high its successes will take you. Unlike Rapture, Columbia has such a vibrant color palette and has many welcome architectures and gorgeous vistas. 

Columbia has a very rich and well-developed setting. More so than almost any other game I can think of and even better when played on the PC. It is a little extra ambitious and a little too ambitious for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Bioshock Infinite's graphics prove a little challenging for the consoles to keep up with. Both versions have the same vast, open levels but on the consoles has a slightly muddier appearance compared to the PC version of the game. Dependent on your gaming rig, Columbia is best traversed with a computer, mouse, and keyboard. 

The story, as usual brings a lot of attention to this Bioshock, and Bioshock Infinite will not disappoint you. You are Booker Dewitt, a man who is sent to Columbia to find a girl named Elizabeth, and bring back to New York to pay off a debt. As in all the games, things slowly get weirder from this point, without ever making you question why it was put into the game. The big twist in the Bioshock games? Do not expect it to come as early as you'd hope--it is put in later in the game because, unlike the first Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite has a lower advantage in the placement due to the first few games.

Here is a quick glimpse into what you an expect... from Bioshock Infinite on the Xbox 360.

Specs:

  • Graphics - While the graphics for the series are widely known as being the lower-grade graphics to make the game more of a comic book, the graphics need a major update. I give them a six out of ten.
  • Sound - The game is well renowned for the terrific audio and this is no exception. Ten out of ten!
  • Gameplay - We expected a story and got the most out of it that we possibly could. Irrational Games made a story just right for the players of the other Bioshocks in the series. Ten out of ten.
  • Overall - I give the game an overall score of eight out of ten as the graphics are starting to get old but the sound and the amazing gameplay just bring the score close to amazing.

Want to see more?

Go find the rest of the Pixel Hunters and I HERE on FaceBook and HERE for Twitter!

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F-Zero's Future is Looking Bleak https://www.gameskinny.com/xn9ad/f-zeros-future-is-looking-bleak https://www.gameskinny.com/xn9ad/f-zeros-future-is-looking-bleak Fri, 21 Jun 2013 14:18:00 -0400 Kaitlin Silver

Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto recently informed IGN that there are currently no plans for developing a new title for the F-Zero franchise because the company has not been able to come up with fresh new ideas for the racing series. Miyamoto mentioned, despite the similar connections between the anti-gravity ability featured in the new Wii U title Mario Kart 8 and F-Zero's futuristic machines, a revival of the high-speed racing franchise is not currently in the works.

When IGN asked about the future of F-Zero, Miyamoto replied:

"I certainly understand that people want a new F-Zero game," Miyamoto said. "I think where I struggle is that I don’t really have a good idea for what’s new that we could bring to F-Zero that would really turn it into a great game again. Certainly I can see how people looking at Mario Kart 8 could see, through the anti-gravity, a connection to F-Zero. But I don’t know, at this point, what direction we could go in with a new F-Zero."

Miyamoto explained that keeping up with fan requests can be difficult:

"We come to the show and we bring a lot of great franchises and everyone says, 'Oh, well, where’s this game that I want to play? Where’s something new?' I only have so much capacity."

Another reason the F-Zero series has not been touched is simple: Nintendo does not have the staff to work on it. But, Miyamoto assured that Nintendo is currently expanding their internal staff to allow for multiple projects to be worked on at the same time, giving the company the ability to create new IP while also focusing on developing fresh new titles from its popular franchises that fans wish to see.

With this in mind, fans of the F-Zero series can still remain hopeful for Captain Falcon's return in the near future! 

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Is Next-Gen Actually Here? https://www.gameskinny.com/6t1d1/is-next-gen-actually-here https://www.gameskinny.com/6t1d1/is-next-gen-actually-here Fri, 21 Jun 2013 12:05:12 -0400 Corey Kirk

Now that the dust has settled a bit from E3, we can look back at all the news, and start to decide how we will be spending money during this next generation of gaming.  This time around, we have hundreds of games being released, never before seen support for independent developers, and two (or three if you count Nintendo) consoles that are raising the bar on what living room gaming can be. It will be an exciting time for sure, but let’s not get carried away.  As great as all the gaming news has been over the last couple weeks, I suggest to you that we are still at least a year away from true “next-gen.”

So how do we define next gen?  While there are many factors that one could say equals next-gen, let me break it down into 3 major categories: Services, graphics, and gameplay.

 

Services: The consoles of the current generation are among the first to offer services such as Netflix or Hulu, and we should expect to see even more features in both the PS4 and Xbox One.  The next-gen consoles will try to reach out to those who might otherwise skip out this holiday season by providing new experiences through the use of Kinect for the Xbox One or the Eye for the PS4.  However, as Microsoft is learning, consumers do not want to be forced into these services or gimmicks.  These things will be great when we want to use them, but only when we want to use them.  They will quickly be more of an annoyance when we are forced to use them.  If Microsoft and Sony want us to be involved with these services and features, they will start by easing, not forcing us into using them, which could take a year or two before we readily accept them as a necessity.

Graphics:  The graphical power of today’s games is astounding. We are on the precipice of the uncanny valley and need to find a way to cross it. The slew of games we saw at E3 are impressive, but nothing stood out as a graphical innovation by any stretch.  Sure the textures look smoother and more realistic, but nothing shown to us last week is anywhere near what we have already achieved this generation.  Take a look at this screenshot:

 

As you can see Crysis 3, which was released four months ago, has already surpassed most, if not all of the games at E3 in terms of realism.  With that said, developers will be able to reach past Crysis 3’s level of realism some point over the next five years.  When they do, only then will we see true next-gen graphics.

Gameplay: No matter how good the hardware is, or how realistic a game looks, people will not play a game that does not engage them and provide good gameplay.  Bad AI, confusing rules, crappy story, and boring multiplayer are just some of the things that will break a game and make it undesirable.  Out of these three points, this is the one I think we will see innovation sooner rather than later.  Games like Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall or Sony Online Entertainment’s Planetside 2 are bringing innovation and excitement to the industry.  We need this excitement to encourage developers to look beyond the current models of games and deliver something new. 

So, while we wait for the new consoles to be available, let us think about what we want to see in our games. Then, let us speak out and tell the developers, system architects, and publishers what we want to see during the next generation of gaming.  True “next-gen” is not here yet, but we can help it along by actively being involved. The future of gaming is drawing near, so let’s shape it the way we want it.

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