Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

Let it Die, a new free to play game from Grasshopper Manufacture and Gungho Online Entertainment invites you travel to the Tower of Barbs, a brutal dungeon of sorts. Originally announced during E3 2014, Let it Die is a free to play game that tasks players with surviving in a post-apocalyptic  world where every moment could be your last. The game, which is only currently available on the PlayStation 4, can now be downloaded and enjoyed in North America and Europe.

Along with the release of the game comes a new launch trailer which introduces players to some of the deadly enemies that they’ll be facing. Dive in today and enter the Tower of Barbs, where you’ll begin your story to success with nothing but your underwear. Once you do finally meet your demise, and trust us… you will meet your demise, your “death data” will be circulated around the game’s servers so that other players in the game can run into your character, giving them even more formidable opponents to fend off. The sharing of “death data” is just one of the many asynchronous systems that Grasshopper Manufacture and Gung Ho Online Entertainment are pushing for the new title. 

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with the developers of Let it Die.

Let it Die looks to be an interesting and intriguing look at the Demon Souls formula, and while it isn’t exactly Demon Souls, it appears to offer up plenty of challenge for players who enjoy tough and engaging gameplay. You can check out the trailer for the game below, where you’ll get a glimpse at some of the enemies and character you can run into during your adventure.

You can check out the game by heading over to the Let it Die website, where you can see more about the world and the developers who created it.

Shacknews - Jason Faulkner

At the PlayStation Experience 2016 Showcase, a new trailer was shown that gave some new story details, and we were informed that the final update for the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demo would hit later. Capcom stated that the demo would receive one more update and this one is supposedly "massive."

The update is also bringing some new features to the demo. It now has PlayStation 4 Pro support and PlayStation VR support, which adds to the terrifying atmosphere significantly. If you already have the demo, the update should push automatically at some point today. If you haven't given it a try yet, you can download it off of the PlayStation Store for free.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Xbox One, and PC on January 24, 2017.

Shacknews - Asif Khan

Sony has announced that Windjammers, the classic arcade sports game, is coming to PS4 and PS Vita, The game will feature 6 playable characters with different skills, and an online versus mode with ranked matches. Sony didn't give a specific release date, just saying it will be out "soon." Check out the trailer!

Keep watching the Official PlayStation Experience 2016 Live Stream for more news as it breaks!

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

While Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End might have been Nathan Drake’s last story, a reveal trailer at Playstation Experience confirms that developer Naughty Dog isn’t quite finished with the treasure hunter universe after all.

A new video revealed at PlayStation Experience 2016 showcases a woman in a Hijab as she makes her way through a run down city, dodging a slew of distrustful military officers along the way. The tense situation follows the woman as she continues through the city, dealing with several rude soldiers, and later even sneaking into a locked building.

At the end of the video the woman is revealed to be Chloe Frazier, a character introduced in the second game of the series, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. According to a tweet by Naughty Dog, Chloe will be teaming up with Nadine Ross, another secondary character introduced in the latest game, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

There isn’t currently much information about the new title, aside from the two main characters. What they’re up to, however, remains to be seen, and no release date for the game has been given. We do know it will be a standalone story, but Naughty Dog have not revealed whether it will act as a full fledged game in the series, or as just an additional couple of hours of gameplay. It is interesting to see the series moving forward without it’s iconic protagonist, but we’re sure Naughty Dog will find some way to draw reference to the greates treasure hunter to walk the earth.

While we love the Uncharted series, and noted that the fourth game was a great way to end Drake’s story in our Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review, we can’t help but wonder just how true the standalone title will be to the Uncharted formula. We’re all for new characters being explored, and both Nadine and Chloe are strong characters to focus on. But, will the standalone offer up the same enjoyable story and charm that the series had with Nathan Drake at the lead? We’ll just have to wait and see.

We’ll be on the lookout for more information as it comes, so make sure to stay tuned to our site and our social media platforms for more news and details about all the reveals from PlayStation Experience 2016.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom was on display for PlayStation 4 in 2017 today during the PlayStation Experience. You can check out the trailer below, though the game was also shown last year at the previous PlayStation Experience. See both the new and old trailers below. 

Developing...

Shacknews - Asif Khan

The Wipeout Omega collection has been announced at PlayStation Experience 2016. It seems like a combination of Wipeout Fury, HD and 2048. It will be coming to PS4 in Summer of 2017.

We'll have the trailer for you as soon as we possibly can.

Check out the Official PlayStation Experience 2016 Live Stream for more news as it breaks!

Shacknews - Jason Faulkner

PlayStation Experience 2016's PlayStation Showcase ended with a huge reveal. The Last of Us Part II was revealed in a trailer featuring Ellie and Joel sometime after the events of The Last of Us.

The game is said to be in a very early state of development and not even a tentative release date was mentioned. It seems that The Last of Us Part II will center around vengeance, as Ellie makes a comment about not stopping until she kills everyone of some group. Which group? Who knows? Hopefully we'll find out more on Naughty Dog's sequel to the hit game The Last of Us soon.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

I need to go just as bad as you. What I had this morning, I don't even want to say to you. My greatest dream has come true. Okay, so that's not a part of the official rap. But this is exciting news, yo.

Parappa the Rapper has been acknowledged by the video game industry again as a real game. It's one of my favorites of all time, and it's making a reappearance in the form of a 20th anniversary edition, with a demo available right now. It looks all smooth, shiny and updated, which is pretty awesome.

Of course, that's not nearly as good news as it could have been (like a sequel, perhaps, or another Um Jammer Lammy?). But I'm happy to see it being given another chance at life, along with the likes of new versions of Patapon and LocoRoco, remastered and glossy as all heck. You can grab the demo today, if you're salivating at the mouth like me.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Nintendo's trifecta of 30th anniversary Legend of Zelda amiibos launched today: 8-bit Link, Ocarina of Time Link, Wind Waker Zelda, and a second Toon Link based on his Wind Waker incarnation.

"Each will offer random items you can use in the game when used with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," Nintendo wrote on its Tumblr. "Legend has it, you may even receive a treasure chest with a rare item if you’re lucky?!"

  • 8-bit Link: receive a random number of barrels, some containing gifts
  • Ocarina of Time Link: receive a random amount of meat
  • Toon Link: receive a random amount of fish
  • Wind Waker Zelda: receive a random assortment of plants

You can see how all four rewards materialize in-game by visiting Nintendo's Tumblr page.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will launch on Wii U and Switch sometime in 2017. To tide you over, Nintendo unveiled new gameplay footage last night during The Game Awards.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

This week, in honor of a weird spin-off game that went underground and emerged as Final Fantasy XV, we're talking about games that changed significantly between their announcement and release.

Read on to see what the Shacknews editorial staff and Chatty community had to say about games that underwent near-total metamorphoses by the time they hit shelves.


Daikatana

John Romero's Daikatana is a storied title for several reasons. It was originally meant to contain a ridiculous amount of content that would be squeezed into seven months. This was...not what happened in the end. Deadline changes, engine switches, and a massive amount of hype contributed to the game's lukewarm reception when it finally did release, though the controversial marketing campaign didn't do the game any favors, either.

After the entire development team booked it to form their own company (Gathering of Developers), in fact, the team had to switch from one engine to another following that, missing several other deadlines and much less of what the game originally had promised players. With frustrating sidekicks (part of what were storied to make the game a success), poor AI, lackluster design decisions and other missteps, everything combined to turn Daikatana from what sounded like a serviceable shooter into something massively, completely different in the end.

Fuse

Much like a teenager goes through phases, Fuse evolved from one game to another seemingly overnight. Originally announced as Overstrike, Fuse was a third-person cooperative shooter starring a ragtag group of agents working together to thwart an evil plot. They exchanged quips, had distinct personalities, and a distinctive style to boot.

When it released, Overstrike emerged as Fuse, a completely re-worked four-person cooperative shooter without the style, humor, or personality of its former self. Whether studio input or internal decisions were to blame, it was ultimately for the worse. Especially because you can see threads of the more fun experience in the finished product.

BioShock

The beloved BioShock may be a critical and commercial success, but it wasn't always the game it ended up as. In the beginning the main character was set as "cult deprogrammer" Carlos Cuello, looking to rescue a character who had been trapped within the confines of a cult in the past. It was meant to be set aboard a space station with bizarre monsters as well, but obviously the BioShock we know and love didn't turn out that way.

Good thing it hadn't, as it gave us an interesting and memorable narrative that would end up shaping the landscape of first-person shooters and adventures for years to come.

If I remember, the first announcement of Bioshock talked about how it was about discovering an abandoned Nazi bunker where they were experimenting with genetic mutations. The enemy NPCs had a caste system and looked and behaved more like insects, with workers, soldiers, etc. and wouldn't bother the player until the player became a threat. -BlackCat9

Halo: Combat Evolved

As evidenced by this list, plenty of games go through radical changes in mechanics or tone or visual style. Halo is likely the only one that completely changed genres, keeping only its world intact. Bungie has stated that it went from real-time strategy game to a shooter, and even then it was originally a third-person shooter. It also was meant to launch on Windows and Mac OS simultaneously, thanks in part to a high-profile announcement at 1999's MacWorld meant to show off Apple's gaming might.

Once Microsoft acquired Bungie Studios, Halo became an Xbox exclusive, first-person shooter. In doing so, Bungie helped define the language of FPS on consoles, all as the result of a game that was never going to be a shooter, or on consoles, at all.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

From X-COM: Enemy Unknown to XCOM, to The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, the X-COM game from 2K Marin undertook three name changes and many design changes during its nearly seven-year development period. The Bureau was originally envisioned as a turn-based strategy in the vein of its predecessors using the Freedom Force engine.

Eventually, 2K Marin decided their X-COM game would be a first-person shooter set in the 1950's. The original 2010 pitch went under the name X-COM: Enemy Unknown internally, but by the time development was announced the name had been changed to XCOM. Although the time period of XCOM carried over to The Bureau, the gameplay was far different. The game's core mechanic was to research. You would photograph and retrieve alien technology and bring them back to your base.

Due to confused game design decisions, including enemies lacking faces. Development stalled. Staff left and were moved around and eventually the decision was made to switch the game to a third-person perspective. As time went on 2K Marin decided that a creative reboot was for the best, and as deadline, after the deadline were missed, attrition set in. The base mechanics were removed, and XCOM went from centering around stealth and suspense to a more generic third-person tactical shooter. It also goes one final name change from XCOM to The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

The game released on August 20, 2013, to average to negative reviews, and was a far different product in name and substance than what 2K Marin began work on in 2006.

The game went from survival horror, to tactical shooter, to Mass Effect-alike throughout its hype stage. Once X-Com: Enemy Unknown released it became a sad throwaway as the brand nostalgia was used up on the more faithful spritual successor. -TraptNSuit

It has combat like a lite version of Mass Effect and some nifty XCOM lore. That was enough for me to enjoy it. But yeah, compared to the original design vision, it's a totally different and unambitious product. -Volatris

Destiny

Bungie's first independent project after the massively successful Halo series does bear a lot in common with its predecessor, but it underwent a late-breaking overhaul that still has repercussions on the game environment. A preview build of the game was reportedly unpopular with Bungie's management team, which found it linear. The concept of Destiny was a shooter inspired by MMOs, after all, so it was important to let the player have more freedom of movement.

The mission structure was massively altered, removing the linear elements in favor of free-roaming mission hubs. This also meant players would revisit the hubs repeatedly, which impacted its reception among players who felt it didn't have enough environmental variety.

Quake

The nail-firing, Shambler-spawning frag fest that id Software released in 1996 stands as a fast and frenetic successor to Doom. However, Quake was envisioned as something much different. John Carmack, John Romero, and their co-founders at id Software wanted to make Quake: The Fight for Justice an exploration-based game with few battles. A combination of internal politics and fatigue after cranking out Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Doom II caused id to go back to the fast-paced-shooter well.

Deciding to create another FPS of the type they had popularized didn't end id's internal disputes. Some developers crafted medieval castles and fortresses in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft. Others gave their maps a sci-fi bent. The result is a jumble of levels that don't mesh well, but when has that ever mattered in a classic id game? Most maps are a blast to play through, and Quake isn't remembered so fondly for its campaign anyway.

Borderlands

Borderlands was revealed to the public in 2007 with a trailer that showed a much different visual style than the bright cel-shaded Pandora that we came to know. Instead, the game had more of a generic, gritty sci-fi look.

Apparently, the change in visual tone for Borderlands can be traced back to internal testing in October 2008. Fallout 3 and Rage had just hit the market, and focus groups were stating that the brown, earthy pallet of Borderlands was remarkably similar to those two games. In contrast, the gameplay was much faster, and much more exaggerated that either Fallout 3 or Rage, which belied it's depressing and realistic visual language.

With the game 75% finished and time running out, Gearbox chief creative officer Brian Martel, quickly went back to the drawing board and came up with the exaggerated comic styling that Borderlands is famous for. In turn that styling influenced gameplay, with many "boring" elements being scrapped and replaced with more over the top abilities.

Borderlands released on October 20, 2009, to critical fanfare, a great deal of which was due to its cel-shaded styling and over-the-top cast. Without Gearbox's will to go against the mold stylistically, we might have had a much more run of the mill game.

Duke Nukem Forever

3D Realms announced the fourth Duke game in 1997, one year after Duke Nukem 3D became the first real contender to Doom's throne. By the time it came out in 2011, most of the core team members had left for greener pastures, and Duke was met with a cold reception from critics and even a huge portion of the Duke3D faithful.

What happened? A better question: what didn't? The abridged version: Key personnel chased new engines, causing months or years of work to be scrapped and reimagined; developers joined the team only to leave following months or years of inactivity; certain design decisions, such as limiting Duke to two guns instead nearly a dozen, felt too far removed from what had made Duke3D great; the pace was glacial; the level design hit or miss; and Duke's personality, put on ice since 1997 and a defining characteristic of his last great romp, went over like a lead balloon.

Gearbox owns the Duke Nukem franchise, and finds itself between a rock and a hard place: risk crafting a new game that fails to meld new and old conceits, a delicate balance achieved by id Software's Doom reboot; or abandon the fallen king, and leave the taste of Duke Nukem forever in fans' mouths forevermore.

Team Fortress 2

Then...

Now

Early in its development, Team Fortress 2 was planned as a strategy game set against the backdrop of a modern war. Over the course of its life, it was scrapped and re-done multiple times before going silent and appearing dormant for some time. When it finally re-emerged, it took the form of the cartoonish class-based shooter millions continue to play today.

At first it was just going to be an update of the original game, but then they scrapped what they had been working on and came out with a different art style. It was much better than the original design in every way. -Thresher

I miss some of the ideas from the TF2 that was originally shown. Requiring teamwork to have a player feed bullets into a heavy machine gun that another player was firing was a pretty novel idea. And integrated voice chat that made the characters' mouths move, in that South Park way that the first Half-Life engine was capable of, was really impressive. -BlackCat9

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