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This week ends the summer for most people in school and for those who follow the rules regarding wearing white pants. But it's not really over for gamers, since PAX is in full swing over in Seattle and the terrific rush of games for the fall hasn't begun yet.
As ever, it was a week packed full of stories for us to report and write. Plus we had some opinions we needed to share. (As well as some images, including the great one up top snapped by Borderlands studio chief Randy Pitchford.)
What follows is what we think is the best of our work. But, first, one of the best comments from our readers.
Thine article struck me at the core-
Reminded me what this site is for-
And the humor is an added perk
When stuck for hours at my work!
Stephen Totilo was initially unimpressed with Resident Evil 6, but changed his mind after playing for six hours. More »
Stephen talks to Chris Hecker about the very normal-looking people featured in Spy Party. More »
Kirk Hamilton enjoys the more video gamey version of Rock Band. More »
Kirk rounds up news of Guild Wars 2 from the team. More »
If you've been playing Guild Wars 2 at all, then you've probably seen people talking about jumping. Dancing is cool too, and actually, standing in one place is pretty neat as well, but the thing people love to do most is jump.
That's partly because jumping was impossible in Guild Wars 1. More »
Luke Plunkett takes a look at some Halo 4 vehicles and figures. More »
Luke tells a Nintendo Legend's tale of starting out as a warehouse worker. More »
Richard Eisenbeis reviews Rurouni Kenshin, the historical fiction live-action adaptation of the popular manga and anime series. More »
Evan Narcisse played an incredibly, intentionally racist game. More »
Jason Schreier tells us about the small team making Natural Selection 2, with a big helping hand from the community. More »
Stephen finds Shepard's journey exhausted in this new DLC. More »
After one day of poking around Steam Greenlight, Kate feels like she has seen this all before. And then she realizes: in a way, Steam's suddenly going all Kickstarter. More »
Fahey finds this affordable PC quite capable. More »
Kate's first log with Guild Wars 2 finds her obsessively exploring the land. More »
Tina Amini's got a piece of Adventure Time dialogue read off by Pen Ward himself. More »
Evan discusses the advantages of mirroring voice actors with their in-game characters. More »
Luke reminds us that on August 30, 1987, the very first Street Fighter game was released by Capcom. Making today the series' 25th birthday. My God. How depressing.
Not for Capcom or Street Fighter, of course. More »
Brian rounds up all the week's big Metal Gear news. Twenty five years! The time has just flown by.
If you were hoping for Metal Gear 5, you're going to be disappointed. But there was other cool stuff.More »
Final Fantasy XIII heroine Lightning will be back in a new game, and it's a very different kind of Final Fantasy... More »
Tina confesses: I'm not really anti-Kinect. It's just that a lot of Kinect games really suck. But I absolutely love Dance Central and Fruit Ninja Kinect is always a hit with my non-gaming friends when they come over for after-partying.
But those hits are few and far between.
I wasn't expecting to enjoy Fable: More »
You can pick your preference between PlayStation and Xbox. You can argue that Halo is better than KillZone or that Uncharted tops Gears of War.
But it is becoming increasingly hard to argue that the Xbox 360's online subscription service is superior to the PlayStation 3's. More »
Kirk confesses: Being a superhero is exciting, no doubt about it. You get to wear a cool costume, use cool powers, and fight crime! But what about the nitty gritty bureaucratic aspects of being a superhero-the paperwork, the scheduling, all the stuff behind the scenes? More »
Kirk says there is a special type of anxiety that arises when you have to solve one of Ron Gilbert's puzzles in front of him. This is the guy who made Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, for gosh's sake. More »
"The game is about eating and spewing and chewing and swallowing," game designer Zach Gage says in this beginning of this 25-minute video that features me and Evan Narcisse playing Gage's new card game Guts of Glory. More »
Kate says that film adaptations of popular games are almost as inevitable as game adaptations of films-and often, just as terrible.
Early this morning, we learned that Konami once again have plans to take Metal Gear Solid to the silver screen. More »
Hollywood is making a Metal Gear movie! Again! It sounds like production on the flick is just getting started (again). The project has a producer, but there's no word of a director or screenwriter. More »
When it was first shown to writers in April, Owen knew what was in store for Madden's "Infinity Engine" of real-time physics. This is the YouTube age, where a game's every gaffe, glitch and goof is filmed and uploaded within moments of release, it seems. More »
Kirk writes: if there's anything Telltale's The Walking Dead game has taught me about myself, it's that come the post-apocalypse, I'd be of no use to anyone.
We like to think that all our time spent scoring video game headshots in Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising, or yelling advice at the protagonists of 28 Days... More »
While comparatively unknown in the West, Macross: Do You Remember Love? was one of the most important anime of the 1980s in Japan and was one of the most ambitious hand-drawn animation projects of all time. More »
Tim Rogers loves Final Fantasy VII, but he must roast it: More »
The Seattle Convention Center was covered in video game characters today for the first day of the Penny Arcade Expo. There were all manner of costumes-the elaborate, the humble, the humorous, the bizarre. More »
Fears of a new chapter in the Final Fantasy XIII saga bringing another 40-80 hours of battling the same old beasts were put to rest this evening, as art director Isamu Kamikokuryo showed off a series of decidedly different mythical beasts for Lightning Returns, from gigantic dragons to decaying undead.
While I rather enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII-2, I must admit battling the same creatures from the first game over and over again left the whole affair feeling a bit stale. Judging from the concept art released thus far, Lightning Returns won't suffer that same problem.
In fact, that Red Dragon picture up top seems to indicate a much more dynamic battle system than the initial presentation indicated. Removing the Dragon's horns disable the breath weapon? Are we going to be targeting specific body parts? Is Lightning a one-woman monster dissection unit?
Check out these four videos to see Square Enix's design team talking about Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, announced tonight both here and Japan for release next year on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Square Enix promises more details on September 4.
Final Fantasy XIII heroine returns with, well, Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The game is set in the world of Nobus Partus, 13 days from its demise. Here is a first look—a first good look—at the game's stunning concept art. The urban setting of Luxerion looks very intriguing. Check it out in the gallery above.
Annonce de LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII [Square Enix]
Resident Evil, Dark Souls, Metal Gear, even Deadly Premonition, there's a variety of inspirations and a variety of awesome images below.
Series director Motomu Toriyama began a presentation in Tokyo by showing an image of a rose, saying roses have many meanings. He then said that this game is the conclusion of Lightning's saga. (No, we're not sure what that means either!)
Toriyama said Lightning will make her comeback, returning as a stronger character than she was in the first two games, FF XIII and FF XIII-2. Lightning is going to face her final battle, so he asked the character designer to convey the power in her eyes. It's the end of her trilogy of games.
From the start, Toriyama described features little seen in Japan's renowned role-playing game series. The game will offer players a lot of ways to customize their version of Lightning. Her outfits will be about more than just aesthetics. They affect her abilities.
Character control will be more dynamic. She'll be able to hang off ledges, pull herself up, jump, duck behind corners. You'll be able to move her around in battle, a first, they said, for the series.
We also saw some concept art that begins to illustrate how different this game is from the standard FF game. The world of Lightning Returns runs in real-time. When the game begins, the world, called Nobus (Novus?) Partus, is 13 days away from the end. She has 13 days and 13 nights to save humanity. The game runs on a doomsday clock, shades of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
The whole game runs on a time-of-day system, with a monorail that moves through it on schedule, like everything else in the world—you can get stuck in one region waiting for the monorail to take you to another island.
The game world touches on three themes: gothic, mechanical and fantasy.
The game will be out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2013.
But wait, there's more!
Concept art galore...
Over in Hong Kong, PlayStation's Asia branch just announced a limited edition Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 pack.
The bundle includes both games (with English and traditional Chinese subtitles and the original Japanese voices) as well as eight eight post cards. It'll be out September 13 in Hong Kong for HK$558 or US$72. No word on a Western release.
At PAX 2012, attendees who braved the massive line at the Borderlands 2 booth were treated to a first look at the fifth character class for the game, the Mechromancer, which will now be given free to everyone who pre-orders the game.
The character is a trendy, pixie-looking girl in metal armor who summons a giant, killer robot named Deathtrap to help her kill enemies. In the demo today, we got to look through her skill tree, which will give Deathtrap a number of offensive and defensive abilities—from lasers to fire to something called "Explosive Clap," which, naturally, has the robot clapping its hands together and causing a huge explosion.
When the Mechromancer headed out into the world, she summoned Deathtrap and the first thing he did was head over to an enemy, stand over him, and clap. Boom—blood everywhere. Good times.
The gearbox representative demoing the game swore up and down that they didn't start working on the DLC until after they finished the proper game, but said that it will be done sooner than expected because "Turns out we're really good at making Borderlands." So, the mechromancer will be due out in October, not too long after the game comes out.
There are, of course, lots of ideas for characters and content that got shelved until after Gearbox finished the game. "I'm pushing for a bard, personally," said Borderlands 2 producer Matt Charles when I spoke with him after the demo (he was sure to tell me multiple times that he was kidding). "That's sort of a running joke, people look at me very strangely every time I say that."
I dunno, I could kinda see it...
The Seattle Convention Center was covered in video game characters today for the first day of the Penny Arcade Expo. We saw all manner of costumes—the elaborate, the humble, the humorous, the bizarre. Tina, Jason and I captured as many as we could for our first gallery.
Up top, three ladies re-create three famous Zelda characters in what had to be the most impressive cosplay of the day. Check out their full costumes:
Dang! Check out all the cosplay below, and as always, click the images to see the full version. We'll be back tomorrow with another roundup—let us know in the comments if you got pictures of any good outfits we missed!
Looks like we might be getting a sequel to The World Ends With You after all. A new teaser image at the end of the iOS version, sent in by Kotaku reader Michael, hints that the franchise could continue soon, and translator Brian Gray confirmed its legitimacy on his Twitter account today.
The past few weeks have been one hell of a rollercoaster ride for The World Ends With You fans. First Square Enix released a teaser countdown for The World Ends With You, getting all of our hopes up. Then we found out it was just an iOS port. A good port, but still a port. Hopes dashed.
So here's another high. Let's hope it doesn't crash.
(BTW, if you want to play or replay this great game, the iPad version really is fantastic. It kept me entertained for an entire six-hour flight from New York to Seattle yesterday.)