There is no way to describe The Swindle without using trendy buzzwords. Steampunk. Cyberpunk. Procedurally generated levels. Heists. But the greater whole seems like it could be something special. From Size Five Games, creators of Gun Monkeys and Time. Gentlemen!, The Swindle is out now on all major platforms.
The team behind Shadowrun is once again reaching into the annals of tabletop gaming for their next project. With the help of series creator Jordan Weisman, they're working on a new Battletech for the PC. The new title will be turn-based, and a return to the roots of the series.
Steeped in the feudal political intrigue of the BattleTech universe, the game will feature an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics.
The Kickstarter campaign starts this fall, but the game will have a presence at GenCon this weekend.
* CoG's policy is to not report on crowdfunded project until they've hit their funding threshold. We're making an exception since this seems similar to the CF campaign for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, in which the base game was already funded, but backer support would allow for a larger final product.
Square Enix's big Japanese announcement did end up being about Dragon Quest. Multiple news bits, in fact.
Lets get the less interesting news out of the way: the already released MMO Dragon Quest 10 will be making it's way to the PS4 with revamped graphics. DQ10 debuted on the Wii U in 2012, but had made it's way onto many other platforms in the years since.
But the bigger news is Dragon Quest 11, which will return the series to it's non-MMO roots, albeit with lessons learned from those titles incorporated into the game. Initially it will come in two versions: the PS4 version will be built on the Unreal Engine 4, while the 3DS (possibly new 3DS) version will have a 3d polygonial view on the top screen, and a 2d, top-down sprite view on the bottom screen. Previous reports had Square Enix announcing both DQ 10 & 11 for Nintendo's still mysterious NX platform, but IGN got a statement from Square Enix saying that NX versions of these games are just "under consideration" at this time. But, all of this now only applies to the Japanese versions of these games. Square Enix isn't yet talking about Western localizations.
While it's fallen on some hard times in the West, Dragon Quest is one of the most popular franchises in Japan, and the launch of each title is met with huge anticipation. While I assume that DQ 11 will make it to the West at some point, I can't begin to speculate when or for which platform or platforms.
We’re collecting and displaying at the following link.
What makes a system seller? When that question came up in discussion during the show this week, we were trying to figure out the reasoning for having a full year exclusivity for Rise Of The Tomb Raider. And when we began to talk about it, we realized from the chat room that a system seller turns out to be a very subjective question. Turns out, a system seller seems to be whatever game compels you to buy a system to play it. But I’m sure numbers exist somewhere that show a release of a game and a rise in system purchases, we just didn’t have that kind of data at our fingertips during the show. A fun discussion nonetheless.
Also, we asked for in the episode and I’m asking here as well, please...send us your game collections! Memorabilia, displays...whatever you’ve got in your home on display that’s related to gaming, we’d like to see it!
It's been swirling around in Steam Early Access for a little while now, but we now know that Armello will get a full launch on September 1 for the PC and PS4.
Armello combines elements of classic board games (think Carcasonne) with RPG elements and a Don Bluth-esque visual style. I embedded the gameplay trailer because it showcases the game better, but the new animated trailer is gorgeous. The full version of the game will be playable for the first time at PAX Prime next month.
It's the dog days of summer, which also means it's the dog days of gaming news. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about. We just wrapped EVO, the International is beginning, and now we also get 'Summer Games Done Quick.'
SGDQ is a marathon of speedruning, where talented gamers try to conquer games as quickly as possible, like the 40 minute Symphony of the Night run embedded above. Donations made during the marathon will benefit Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). You can check out the schedule here, with links to the Twitch pages of the various speedrunners. Games on the sked range from classic NES and Arcade titles, to modern PC games. I'm not the biggest speedrun aficionado, but the skill involved in these runs is amazing.
Square Enix announced today that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be coming to the PS4 and PC in 2016, after their one year exclusivity deal with Microsoft expires. Ever since the game was announced as an Xbox "exclusive" we all suspected this would happen, I just assumed the announcement would come after it launched on Microsoft's platforms.
For the record let me repeat myself: if a game isn't published by one of the platform holders, it almost certainly won't be exclusive to one of them. It makes too much sense financially to get your game onto as many platforms as possible. There are a few exceptions (Titanfall for one) but they're just that, exceptions. And that nearly universal cross platform spread is a good thing for gamers. The fewer third party exclusives you have, the more pressure the first party publishers have to make unique, must-buy games, and that makes for a better market on the consumer end.
The new trailer for Overlord: Fellowship of Evil, which turns the strategy game into a dungeon crawler, puts the focus on the Minions. Which is smart, and one of the things - along with smart, satiric writing - which sets the series apart. But you can't help but realize that Codemasters are hoping to capitalize on the Minions craze currently sweeping parts of the world. It's a smart move, and they have as much rights to the term as anyone, but their emphasis on the word seems a little...off-putting? I want the game to be good, but I generally find it cheesy when other media companies try to cash in on popular trends, and while this isn't Asylum-level knockoff movie bad, I do feel compelled to note it nonetheless.
Overlord: Fellowship of Evil will be coming to XB1, PS4 & PC later this year.
The next expansion for Hearthstone looks to add a little chivalry to the proceedings. "The Grand Tournament" launches in August and adds 132 new cards to the proceedings, including cards with the new 'inspire' keyword. Cards with that keyword trigger when your hero power is used, adding another layer of strategy to the game. Grand Tournament card packs will be purchasable with either gold or real cash, and cards from the set will be winnable in the Arena.
Just hearing that word will make some of you involuntarily input that move in an imaginary controller. Most of us know that command by heart. Quarter circle down to forward + punch. It's an easy move to pull off, but for most of us, it still fails sometimes. And if even an easy move like that will fail for many players, imagine what it's like for the super crazy ultra moves. So it's not exactly crazy that the new fighter from EVO founder Tom Cannon and former Capcom fighter guru Seth Killian is reducing all special moves to single inputs.
Rising Thunder, the debut game from developer Radiant Entertainment, will be a free-to-play PC title that tries to move fighting games in a different direction. Mechanical skill is still important, but it re-emphasizes strategy, positioning and forethought over the ability to robotically input complex move commands. Each special move has it's own cooldown timer - like abilities in a MOBA - so a fireball will have a very short cooldown, while the flashy uppercut has a longer one.
This is a sort of a sea change for fighters. Some games have tried this before, but they were always considered lesser titles by hardcore fighter fans for doing so. But with Cannon and Killian behind this, fighter junkies can't dismiss it out of hand. I'm not sure it will work, but I'm interested to see how it is received by the masses.
We’re short on staff but gained a guest at the following link.
Nate and myself take to the mics for this episode as we’re short quite a few people this weekend. Arjay was out in Las Vegas for the EVO tournament and actually does call in to give us an update. Meanwhile, Matt is off doing Star Wars charity work so we can’t hold that against him. Meanwhile, we’re joined in studio by a long time listener and friend of the show Sara, (MedusasMirror) who made the long drive just to join us and pitch in for 2 hours.
There’s a bit more of Batman to speak of, and honestly, when a company screws up this bad on a PC port, the layers just keep falling back revealing more and more of just how badly they did screw up (they’ve set a standard, pretty much). Plus we talk with Sara and get an idea of her gaming background and history.
It's hot as hell out, but is it as hot as a post-apocalyptic Boston? These rambling thoughts are brought you you by a fever, the good cough medicine, and these new-ish videos for Fallout 4. If you watched Bethesda's E3 livestream last month, these may seem very familiar. But if you didn't sit through that presentation, it will give you your best look yet at the gameplay which will likely be ruling your free time come the fall. The embedded video looks at the combat in F4, while this trailer shows off the exploration mechanics. If you're a Fallout veteran, than things like the Pip-Boy and VATS system will be immediately familiar, but there are some new wrinkles.
Next year's release of Street Fighter V will represent a shift in how Capcom handles DLC for their iconic fighter. Previously, the company had pursued an iterative philosophy for the game: a few DLC characters, but the bulk of the updates came essentially as new games. But with SFV, they're looking to create a platform in addition to a game. So instead of putting out an Ultra EX edition six months after release, all updates will be to the base game. Balance and technical updates will be available for free, while future DLC characters will be purchasable by the user through one of two currencies. 'Zenny' is the game's premium currency, which can be acquired with real cash. 'Fight Money' is the game's reward currency, earned my playing the game. And all DLC characters - although possibly not all cosmetics - can be unlocked with Fight Money. So if you're a dedicated and industrious player, you can unlock all DLC characters without paying an additional dime.
The core game - which is currently slated for a March release on PS4 and PC - will ship with 16 characters, including four totally new fighters. Considering the huge roster of combatants on display at this weekend's EVO tournament, Capcom will have a large pool of potential DLC candidates to work with.
The 2015 edition of the EVO Championships, the richest fighting game tournament of them all, has kicked off in Las Vegas. Championships will be decided in nine games: Killer Instinct, Persona 4 Arena, Guilty Gear X, Mortal Kombat X, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros, Smash Bros Melee, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Ultra Street Fighter 4.
I'm not a particularly good at fighting games, but I get a kick out of watching them. The matches are short, so if you have a few free minutes, give the streams a try and see just how incredible these high level players are.
You can find the main Twitch page for the championships here, with the full schedule available (in pdf form) here.
If you walked into a Gamestop back in 2002, the shelves would have been full to the brim with licensed games. Most major blockbuster films had game tie-ins. Big TV shows - kids and otherwise - got the same treatment. Lost, X-Men, Harry Potter, Rugrats, Terminator, Dragon Ball Z and so on. Now? While the licensed game isn't dead - a lot of us are tooling around Gotham City as Batman right now after all - the economics of the industry have largely pushed them out of the retail game market. The line between a successful game and a failure is often so thin that the licensing cost of a major property would almost assuredly land that game in the red. But for the moment, lets forget the economics of game making, and concentrate on the creative aspects.
If you could wave a magic wand and make any property into a game, what would you choose? What mix of characters, gameplay and maybe even developer would make the best licensed game? I'll get the ball rolling and say I'd love to see a Firefly game, made in the style of Mass Effect. A game where characters can shine, but one where you get to make important, game-changing decisions. Even the crew of the Serenity could fit well into the Mass Effect class system. Throw in some vehicles scenes, and you have a winning game.
We’re probably done talking about Batman at the following link.
The first hour of this show should come with a spoiler warning as we go over Batman: Arkham Knight since at least 3 of us have finally finished the game.
Outside of that, we welcome Nate back and find out what he’s been up to the last two weeks. ArJay is off to Vegas for EVO this coming weekend so while he won’t be on this coming week’s show, we hope to have some kind of update on how things are going with his two matches in the tournament.
Next week, it’s just Nate and myself although it looks like we might be joined by a special guest or two in the studio.
I think we can officially label this game 'troubled.' Deep Silver has removed Yager as developer on Dead Island 2. Their statement.
"With Dead Island 2, Deep Silver has always been dedicated to delivering the sequel that Dead Island fans deserve," Deep Silver said in a statement. "After careful consideration, today we announce the decision to part ways with development partner Yager."
"We will continue working towards bringing our vision of Dead Island 2 to life, and we will share further information at a later stage."
Dead Island 2 was announced at E3 2014, and slated for release this fall before being shifted to 2016 earlier this year. With this drastic change, it seems likely that if it is released next year, it won't be in the early part of the calendar.
The developer of the original Dead Island - Techland - has since gone on to score a modest hit with Dying Light for WBIE. Publisher Deep Silver though retained the rights to the Dead Island franchise, and they say development will continue, although they didn't specify who would be developing the game. Yager is best known for 2012's Spec Ops: The Line, a very thoughtful take on the shooter franchise which never made much of a dent at retail. No word on what their next move will be.
One of my favorite takes on the CCG is finally coming to Steam. Launched in the fall of 2013, Blue Manchu Games' Card Hunter was initially a browser-based game, which combined elements of collectible card games with d20 style dungeon crawls. I played it quite a bit that year, and while it ran fine on my browser, there were occasional issues, so I'm glad to see it come to Steam. It is a free-to-play game, but Blue Manchu managed to create a premium system which isn't exploitative, but does encourage you to spend (it is a for-profit endeavor after all). The Steam launch also includes a new sci-fi expansion which may or may not be inspired by System Shock 2. You can find the game here, and if you have a few minutes to spare, I really do suggest you try it out.
Satellite Reign the "spiritual successor" to the classic isometric strategy game Syndicate, by new developer 5lives Studios, will hit full release status on August 28. Satellite Reign has been available via early access for some time, but it will be feature complete come the end of last month. This was a minor sensation on Kickstarter last year, so I'm sure some of you will be interested to see it hit launch status.
Nintendo has just announced that their president, Satoru Iwata, passed away yesterday at the age of 55. The short statement listed the cause of death as only "a bile duct growth". Iwata was forced to miss E3 last month due to an illness, but there was no indication it was this serious. Iwata had been the corporate face of Nintendo since 2000, and was best known in the West for his appearances at E3 pressers, and more recently on the company's Nintendo Direct video presentations.