Fan Creates Awesome The Last of Us 2 Art

The Last of Us 2 Ellie Snow

Although the game was released in the twilight years of the last console generation, The Last of Us is seen as one of the standout games of the PS3. The Naught Dog-developed Sony exclusive, which bizarrely started life as a failed reboot of Jak & Daxter, gained a huge fanbase and massive critical acclaim, and there was plenty of praise for the game’s tight story and extremely tense moments. The post-apocalyptic horror was a commercial smash too, selling 6 million copies by March 2014 alone – not bad for a game that its own co-director expected to fail.

The game’s success has continued well beyond its original release, however, as The Last of Us saw an impressive remastered re-release for the PS4. Meanwhile, fans of the game have had some hope that there would be a sequel to the title that is generally thought to be one of the best games of the last console generation. Voice actor extraordinaire Nolan North stoked the fires of fan expectation during a Q&A panel at MetroCon, by casually stating that he knows “they’re doing a The Last of Us 2.”

Since then, Troy Baker has clouded the water somewhat, with the voice of Joel stating that he does not know anything about a potential The Last of Us sequel. However, that hasn’t stopped some gamers from wondering about exactly what form the sequel would take, with one intrepid fan even creating some hugely impressive fan art for the as-yet-unconfirmed project. The Last of Us player Sackboy_305 took to the official PlayStation Forums to unveil a pair of excellent fan-made images of how The Last of Us 2 may look.

The two images, which showcase Ellie in a pair of in-game environments, use Naughty Dog’s own —> Read More

Former Destiny Composer Wins Lawsuit with Bungie

destiny guardian jumping

While the video game industry can at times seem as far away from a traditional business venture as possible, it does have an ugly side that comes with the billions of dollars of revenue being generated from popular titles like Destiny and Halo. Sometimes, like in the case of Peter Molyneux’s series of failures with 22 Cans, the failures and disappointments that can stem from being a high profile employee in gaming are on display for public consumption throughout the entire process.

Sometimes, however, internal conflict remains largely hidden, quietly resolved before arbitrators and judges are brought in or too low-profile for major media outlets to cover. The situation regarding ex-Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell and his former bosses was one such instance, with details of the lawsuit remaining obscure…until today, that is.

A report from Venture Beat released today announced that Marty O’Donnell had won what they termed as the “epic lawsuit” he had filed against his former employer, Bungie. O’Donnell is the composer who created the iconic, haunting scores that characterize the Halo series and Bungie’s more recent project, Destiny. Bungie terminated O’Donnell’s contract without cause back in April 2014, also choosing not to pay him for all his unused vacation time and other benefits he had accrued in his fourteen years of employment. Bungie also stripped O’Donnell of all his shares in the company, stating that his ownership of them would create a “bothersome presence at board meetings and in the company”.

O’Donnell clearly felt he had been wronged, and in the end, the arbitrator assigned to his case agreed with him: Venture Beat reports that O’Donnell is entitled to $142,500 for his share of the profit that he has missed since the case began and the shares he was stripped of, on top of a previous settlement. —> Read More

Grow Home and the pleasures of a world you can touch

If you play enough first-person shooters, something really weird can set in from time to time – something strangely off-putting. In certain games the depth of the environment can drop away after a while, the world steadily losing its tangibility, and you start to realise that, underneath everything – or maybe somehow above everything – you’re just a reticule scudding over the screen, roving and hovering and blasting.

It’s so odd when this happens – when a rich 3D world suddenly becomes entirely 2D, when the animations become little more than dressings for hit boxes, when you realise that you are little more than a deadly camera passing across the environment from a polite and uncrossable distance. It’s not only first-person games, either. The original Mercenaries, good as it was, could often turn into a reticule experience. Even the first Uncharted did it on occasion.

This probably helps explain why developers spend such a lot of time laying on little elements that draw you back into the fiction of the world – back into the fiction that there is a world in the first place. Here’s your hand working away during a reload. Here’s a little bit of motion blur as you turn. Here’s splattered blood or splintered light playing against the lens of the game, to suggest to you that there is a lens – not that this would make it any more real, of course, but for video games realism must be approached from a jaunty angle – and that there is a landscape beyond the lens.

—> Read More

Review: Armello offers board game fun, woodland creatures, and blood | GameCrate

At its core Armello is a four-player digital board game, with simulated dice and cards and even a board of sorts made up of hexagons. In contrast to digital adaptations of pre-existing board games however, Armello was built from the ground up as a video game experience, which means that its “board” is made up of intricately detailed natural environments, and neutral AI characters move around the board posing obstacles to all players. —> Read More

Xbox One Getting Reputation System Changes

The initial release of the Xbox One was slightly more rocky than Microsoft would have hoped for. The console saw backlash from fans before it even hit store shelves, with criticism over a proposed always-on internet requirement and a strong stance against gamers playing used games. Indeed, the dogmatic policies not only caused a stinging PR message from Sony, but also strong criticism from members of the US military due to their restrictive nature.

Thankfully, Microsoft loosened on those ideas, and a much more flexible approach over other policies has also come to the surface since the console’s launch. A much-criticized launch parity requirement, which ruled out an Xbox One release for indie games that initially saw life on another console, has since been softened. There have also been a number of other improvements to the console, with Microsoft trying a make amends for a number of much-wanted but ultimately missing launch features.

Now, it looks as though the tech giant is going to take another step towards tweaking the Xbox One. Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management for Xbox, took to Twitter to explain that there are going to be some major changes to the way in which the Xbox One’s online reputation system works. Ybarra spoke out to his Twitter followers, explaining that “We’re looking at reputation and have changes in the works. More on this soon.”

We’re looking at reputation and have changes in the works. More on this soon.— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) September 3, 2015

When the Xbox One’s reputation system was initially revealed, Microsoft made its end goal abundantly clear. The system would aim to “reward” good players, whilst punish trolls and aggressive behavior. The player’s rating would be separated into the categories of “Good”, “Needs —> Read More

Xbox One Owners Can Upgrade to Castle Crashers Remastered for Free

Castle Crashers Remastered - E3 2015 gameplay

When people talk about the games that defined Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360, one of the most common games that is brought up is Castle Crashers. The addictive co-op brawler from The Behemoth won over Xbox 360 gamers everywhere, leading to over 2 million players and enough financial success to justify re-releasing it as Castle Crashers Remastered on Xbox One.

Castle Crashers Remastered is one of the strongest indie games on the way for the system this holiday season, as evident by Microsoft proudly displaying it in their ID@Xbox montage at E3 2015. Well, now fans know exactly when they can get their hands on Castle Crashers Remastered, and The Behemoth is even throwing in a bonus deal to sweeten the pot.

Castle Crashers Remastered will be available to purchase on Xbox One beginning September 9th, but for those that already own the Xbox 360 version of the game, it can be downloaded for free until September 20th. While a free upgrade to Castle Crashers Remastered would’ve been more than enough to satisfy fans, The Behemoth is taking that deal a step further. The Behemoth is allowing 360 owners of the original game that failed to take advantage of the free download to purchase it for a discounted price of $5 starting September 21st.

This is a great deal for gamers and is a very consumer-friendly move on the part of The Behemoth. And it’s not like Castle Crashers Remastered just a lazy port, either. The game is boasting 60 frames per second, improved visuals across the board, and a brand new multiplayer mode called Back Off Barbarian.

The good news for Castle Crashers fans doesn’t stop there, however. For those that, for whatever reason, don’t want to upgrade to the new version of the game for free, The —> Read More

Hard West Preview | GameRevolution

You got some Old West in my X-COM! You got some X-COM in my- BLAM! …death rattle.

“Have you played XCOM before?” asked Kacper Szymczak, the Lead Designer at Creative Forge Games, before I sat down to take a look at Hard West, a tactical RPG with a western setting. His question was indeed the fastest way to explain Hard West, which borrows liberally from Firaxis’ exemplary sci-fi SRPG. —> Read More

Assault Android Cactus Preview | GameRevolution

Dual-stick shooters are well represented at PAX Prime, but Assault Android Cactus clearly separates itself from the crowd. The game features multiple characters with distinct weapons and play-styles, and my time with the PAX demo was pure fun on every level. Assault Android Cactus understands that people love to shoot things and watch them blow up, but it also features rankings and leadboards for folks who prefer to prove their hardcore abilities. It’s a best of both worlds approach that works well, and makes it one of the standout indie titles of PAX Prime. —> Read More

Hironobu Sakaguchi Clears the Air on Final Fantasy VI

So, when I had the opportunity to speak with Hironobu Sakaguchi about his mobile RPG Terra Battle earlier this year, I knew I’d have the chance to sneak in one question about Final Fantasy, at the very leastso I wanted to make it a good one. At some point in time, it was accepted as conventional wisdom that Final Fantasy VI met with disappointing sales in Japan and moderate success in America, most likely due to its dark themes and unconventional structure. It’s a factoid I’ve heard tossed around plenty of times in the 20 years I’ve been reading about the game on the Internet, so I decided to go right to the source and ask Sakaguchi himself. —> Read More

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