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Dear Esther

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

SOMA didn’t scare the scuba suit off me, but I did find a creeping sort of potential in its soaked-to-the-bone corridors. Amnesia: The Dark Descent 2 this ain’t. Or at least, it’s not aiming to be. Currently, it still feels a lot like a slower-paced, less-monster-packed Amnesia in a different (though still very traditionally survival-horror-y) setting, but Frictional creative director Thomas Grip has big plans. I spoke with him about how he hopes to evolve the game, inevitable comparisons to the Big Daddy of gaming’s small undersea pond, BioShock, why simple monster AI is better than more sophisticated options, the mundanity of death, and how SOMA’s been pretty profoundly influenced by indie mega-hits like Dear Esther and Gone Home.>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Mirror's Edge 2 confirmed for Half-Life 3

Valve might prefer to be extra super special secret quiet about it, but they do, in fact, still make games. And games, well, they tend to be more enjoyable when they’re easy on the eyes. Now that I have cracked the eons-old mystery of Why Games Have Graphics, let’s get down to business: Valve has scooped up Mirror’s Edge and Dear Esther gorgeous vista warlock Robert Briscoe. Good for Valve, because Briscoe is astoundingly talented. But wait, wasn’t he in the process of moving Dear Esther’s painterly world into Unity’s less-costly frame? What’s going on there?

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Bad news for anyone holding out for Dear Esther 2: The Legend of Jakobson’s Gold – The Chinese Room’s next step for their maudlin, poetic Taking A Walk game is to remake it. Again.

In practical terms – i.e. how this will affect people who want to play the game – this is perhaps a bit of an unstory, but the shock choice to port the game from Source to Unity is a fascinating peek behind the developmental curtain. Why, after using it for the first two editions of Dear Esther, would programmer Robert Biscoe now want to leave Valve’s engine behind? … [visit site to read more]

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

I’m firing blind to some degree here, as 1) the trailer’s in Italian 2) the website’s poorly translated and 3) the demo they sent me a) isn’t made public yet and b) doesn’t include much more than going for a walk.

However 1) That and the cheesy music reminds me of Inspector Montalbano 2) well, this one’s no bastion of English grammar either 3) a) most of it’s in the below video b) I like going for a walk.

While Dear Esther, Proteus and Gone Home comparisons are likely unavoidable, Forgive Me is more precisely a semi-open world adventure game about suicide, mystery and a spooky, possibly mystical tower in some very pretty but bleak countryside that reminds me a little of Morrowind. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Duncan Harris)

This is the latest in the series of articles about the art technology of games, in collaboration with the particularly handsome Dead End Thrills.>

Robert Briscoe is obviously not the only great environment artist in games, and it’s a bit weird to say he has a singular portfolio after working on just two titles. What makes it a lot easier is if you think in terms of levels: The Shard, Jacknife, Reflex, Velocity (from Mirrors Edge and its DLC); The Lighthouse, The Cave, The Beacon (from Dear Esther). All masterpieces up there with BioShock’s Welcome To Rapture, Half-Life 2′s Point Insertion and – quick, think of something slightly less distinguished to prove worldliness – that level in Robocod made out of Penguin bars. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Hello, everyone. I come bearing some extremely depressing news. The rapture’s happening soon, but not to us. Hm, well jeez, when I phrase it that way, it doesn’t sound terrible at all. What I mean to say is, Dear Esther developer thechineseroom’s next non-Amnesia game, the super fascinating Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, is no longer coming to PC – at all, for the foreseeable future. Sony’s nabbed it for its burgeoning army of indie exclusives, so I guess that means it’s not allowed to love us anymore. I reached out to thechineseroom’s Dan Pinchbeck, and he confirmed the bad news.>

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

I wish people took me seriously every time *I* put on a chicken mask.

You know, I never really thought about it before, but I think Proteus and Hotline Miami are videogame inverses. One’s about languidly strolling around a neon-bubblegum dreamscape paradise while the other’s about blink-and-you’ll-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-it murder in an entirely different kind of neon-bubblegum dreamscape “paradise”. They are one anther’s bizarro twin, eternally opposed but forever intertwined. Also, they’re in the latest Humble Indie Bundle together, which is neat. And neater still? Probably the fact that they’re joined by Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, and Dear Esther. Yeah, eight is pretty great. Or something.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

A prime vacation destination if I've ever seen one.

Spate looks positively bonkers. I mean that both in terms of the gloriously bizarre sensibilities that peer – with one lidless, unblinking eye – from the depths of its island’s mysterious nethers and the relative sanity of its grief-stricken main character. He’s a noir detective who’s dealing with the death of his daughter, so he’s taken up a powerful absinthe habit to numb the pain. Naturally, it manifests as a gameplay mechanic. “At the click of a button the character can take a swig of absinthe. This temporarily gives the player higher jumping and faster running abilities. But, it also makes him hallucinate, which changes the world both visually and physically. The mechanic is meant to mirror the emotional seesaw battle of drinking.” Heavy stuff. Perhaps too heavy? I suppose we’ll see. For now, though, peep a couple of incredibly impressive-looking trailers after the break.

(more…)

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