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In mid-November, Quantic Dream registered the domain singularityps4.com, suggesting a title and system for the second of two games the Parisian developer is said to be developing for Sony. Despite Cage declaring a lack of enthusiasm for the next generation of consoles, it's been evident for a while his company is eyeing future platforms.
"Singularity" is a rather curious and possibly revealing title. David Cage acknowledged futurist Ray Kurzweil's recent book The Singularity is Near as a chief influence on Quantic Dream's "Kara" tech demo, and Kurzweil's exploration of the synthesis of man and artificial machine is very much up the wheelhouse of what Cage likes to focus on in his games. When asked in an interview about whether he would elaborate on Kara's themes and milieu in a future game, Cage delivered a rather evasive non-answer. And Cage's games do sometimes have titles that are rather on the nose.
The singularityps4.com domain falls very much in line with past Quantic Dream domains heavyrainps3.com and beyondps3.com, and mirrors SCEE's general preference for domains that indicate a game's platform. Given these domain trends and Quantic Dream's status as a valued second-party Sony developer that would presumably privy to the overall strategy of their publishing partner, "singularityps4" could perhaps indicate that Sony will opt for the name of PlayStation 4 for their next console (a surprise to probably no one)—and the current codename of Orbis will vanish.
It is, however, quite unlikely that the game will come to market simply titled "Singularity." Singularity was, of course, the title of Raven Software's commercially unsuccessful time-travel-themed 2010 shooter, and Activision holds the "Singularity" trademark in multiple territories. ("Singularity" was also, oddly enough, the name of an apparently now-scrapped big-name action film at Sony Pictures about nanotechnology that Roland Emmerich and Kurzweil were collaborating on in late 2011—something that makes me wonder if Cage possibly consulted with Kurzweil for his project.) In order to use the name in commerce, Sony and Quantic Dream will have to add some sort of subtitle or additional words to make sure their name doesn't infringe on Activision's already existing mark, assuming "Singularity" is anything more than a working title.
According to Remedy Entertainment's recruitment page, the studio is now working on an "unannounced iOS project" alongside the previously known "unannounced AAA project for future generation consoles," which many believe to be a full-fledged sequel to Alan Wake.
This new iOS project is quite possibly a sequel to Remedy's first mobile release, a remake of their 1995 combat racer Death Rally that broke even in three days. Last August, Remedy's Oskari Häkkinen told VentureBeat that his studio is "going to be doing more Death Rally."
Häkkinen hinted that Remedy hopes to bridge the gap between Death Rally and the company's other franchises by placing a greater emphasis on cinematic storytelling as to "bring more life to the cars and the drivers." In terms of gameplay, he also hopes Remedy can tailor the next Death Rally with "user-generated content" in mind to allow players to realize "the craziest cars and the craziest weapons." (Additionally, a publicly accessible sitemap for Remedy's website reveals a page with the URL "death-rally-2.")
But a few weeks later, Häkkinen said in another interview that Remedy had not yet decided what its next mobile title will be. And despite the commercial imperative for a Death Rally 2, he said Remedy still wants to "create new themes and franchises" that suit its creative ambitions.
It appears XSEED is the American publisher for Suda 51's recently-revealed PS3 and Xbox 360 action title Killer Is Dead. Last week, the niche publisher registered the domain killerisdead-game, as well as presumably marketing-related sites killandlove.com and
The game is yet to be confirmed for release outside of Japan, where it is slated for release in the summer. If one wants a very iffy suggestion for a possible American release timetable, the domains are set to expire in about a year.
Also of note: XSEED seemingly almost dipped its toes into the mobile free-to-play market last year. The company very quietly put up a site, trailer, and Facebook page for a "free to play action RPG for iOS and Android" that was intended for release last summer. The game, which was developed by Japanese mobile studio Blockbuster, seems to have been a fusion of Infinity Blade-esque touch and slash gameplay and a JRPG aesthetic.
Finally, amid THQ's troubles, Alex Peters, who was the studio head at THQ subsidiary Relic Entertainment, states on his CV that he left the Vancouver developer this month to join Activision. Peters was at Relic for two years, and prior to joining the studio, he served as game director on the ill-fated RPG Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned and chief operating officer at DICE.
superannuation is a self-described "internet extraordinaire" residing somewhere in the Pacific Time Zone. He tweets, and can be reached at heyheymayday AT gmail DOT com.
Top photo: It's not a screenshot! It's a futuristic-looking dentistry robot. Photographed by David Guttenfelder | AP.
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When it released for PC in February 2012, Alan Wake came with no mod tools. Developer Remedy Entertainment said tools wouldn't be released because of their complexity, and their dependence on third-party tools which would presumably require permissions or licenses.
That hasn't stopped Alan Wake's community from hurling itself at the task, which, to change textures, requires unpacking and repacking a 2.9 gigabyte file, using a community-released tool. Against these odds, modder Xymbiot3 has defiantly released this, which gives Alan's flashlight... a Hello Kitty pattern. And Alan a Mike Tyson face tattoo. Problem is, because it all has to be repacked into a 3GB file, it's impractical to distribute. But here, at least, you can say that you have seen Alan Wake running around like Ed Helms in The Hangover II.
Alan Wake Flashlight Mod Images [Remedy Games Community, h/t Matt.]
A controller gets put down. A disc gets shelved next to dozens of others just like it. But, sometimes, the game lingers. It creeps into your sleep and live on in the backs of your eyelids, demanding ever more from you.
Here's an example: the one night that the crazy nocturnal zombies from Alan Wake showed up in my head. I was me in my dream, and not the overwrought author that's starred in two games.
I hadn't played an Alan Wake game in more than eight months. But a nightmare I had about a month ago threw me into a world straight out of Remedy's psychological horror thriller. I wasn't wielding a flashlight and automatic weapons like the writer hero of the two games. I was in trouble, prey for powerful enemies without any special video game abilities.
I don't know why some games stick around my subconscious more than others. Long after I've left them behind, they pop up when I least expect. I'm not talking about the warm fuzzies I get when remembering favorites like Phantasy Star on the Sega Master System, Shadow of the Colossus or Gravity Rush. Rather, these are straight-up ambushes from the chemicals in my brain, sneak attacks that I can't predict.
Back to that Alan Wake dream. I was on the run, inside my own clumsy body after looking back at the shadow-engulfed people that were chasing me—I can remember in horrifying detail the way that a slimy darkness snaked up their legs and over their bodies. I remember feeling utterly fucking helpless. And somewhere in the churn of my thoughts, I also remember some more conscious part of my brain thinking: "Didn't I beat this game already? And the other one after it? Why am I in here?!"
Worst was how it ended. The Dark Presence—an evil force that possesses people in the Alan Wake titles—crawling up my feet, locking first my ankles, then my knees into place. I couldn't "see" what happened next but I could "feel" it. I lost the battle against the Dark Presence. That never happens in video games, which is probably why I woke up so agitated.
This dream made me wonder about how and why certain games worm their way into my head. It makes sense that Alan Wake would stay lodged in the recesses of my brain, since so much of Remedy's game concerns what happens below conscious thought. But Bastion was more of a surprise. The first few times I fell off the world in Supergiant's acclaimed action RPG, it reminded me of the acute physical sensation of when I'd fall in my dreams: a sense of increasing momentum paradoxically paired with full-body paralysis. But the Bastion-based dream was worse than just falling. This nightmare was filled with Lunkheads, the frog-like creatures that were my most hated enemy from the game. I suspect the real reason Bastion showed up is because the game's final choice is the kind of moment where you have to think about who you want to be in both real and fictional worlds. But dreams are never that clear cut, are they? I didn't have to figure out what I'd do after a cataclysmic tragedy in my Bastion dream; I was only left haunted by giant, disgustingly real versions of some of its antagonists. Lucky me, I guess?
What's more surprising are the games that haven't lingered on the edges of my unconscious brain. I loved Papo & Yo and fully expected to have daydreams or sleeping visitations from the PS3 game. But Monster and Quico haven't shown up after I fall asleep at all. Journey's another game, impressionistic as it is, that I figured would be in my dreams. But I haven't had any kind of adventures in the Wanderers' robe since I finished thatgamecompany's masterpiece. Likewise for Silent Hill 3, a game I swore would stay with me forever after scaring the crap out of me years ago, but it never ever showed up in my most meandering thoughts or dreams.
It's tough to figure out any sort of rhyme or reason as to why some games make appearances in my subconscious and others don't. The amount of time spent playing a game doesn't seem to factor into it. Titles that I've spent hours and hours with, like the Mass Effect series, never come to bed with me. The muscle memory that's a physical part of playing games probably isn't any sort of conduit to the part of my brain that brews up dreams. But the feeling of being in a gameworld—recreated in your mind with all its terror, beauty and familiar cues, yet without a button to press or the power to control an outcome—can be a terrifying one. As much as I love games, I'm glad it doesn't happen more often.
Comedy crew Mega64 are at their best when they're out in the wild harassing innocent bystanders with obscure video game jokes, so... yeah, this take on Remedy's Alan Wake is Mega64 at their best.
Mega64: ALAN WAKE [mega64]