On the cold floor, a summoning circle has been drawn and, around it, several Paradox employees sway, their forms disguised by wizard’s robes. A susurration builds to a roar, like the scratching of the pebbles at Dover Beach, the air trembles, twisting into new intangible forms, and then a demo version of Warlock: Master of the Arcane appears. Unnatural, I know, but it’s just the way things are done in that neck of the woods. Bet you didn’t know that Crusader Kings II was actually built by a blacksmith, hammering away in his forge? Fact. The Warlock demo can be found on Steam and it includes the tutorial, a preset map, two enemy mages and one to play as. The full game allows customisation of both mages and maps. My thoughts on the beta are here and we’ll have more on the game as the May 8th launch approaches.
Shortly after seeing the new SimCity in its full bendy-road glory, I had a quick chat with one of its architects, EA Maxis’ producer Jason Haber. Tackled – its lengthy development, why we’ve waited so long for a sequel, why it’s a ‘real’ Sim City, difficulty, whether important content is being sectioned off for pre-order bonuses and DLC, and how a traffic jam could make your whole city burn down. > (more…)
Thomas Was Alone first came to my attention while I was trying not to watch the GTA V trailer six thousand times to work out if one of the character models was a fatter, older version of an important bloke from a previous entry in the series. I wasn’t sure whether a platform game about quadrilateral quandaries was all that interesting but David Housden’s music decided me, mysterious and melancholy it brought about a quivering of the lip and, having just listened again, definitely reminds me of The Postal Service more than a bit. It’s something of a shame then that the music now has to fade out to make room for narrator Danny Wallace, who you may know from radio, television and books.
I thoroughly enjoyed Port Royale 2 and if your idea of buckling swash and living the life of an outlaw on the high seas involves cargo management and financial ledgers, there’s every chance that you enjoyed it as well. While the combat was about as much fun as scurvy, the economic simulation was deep enough to create a compelling experience and taking up quests across the Caribbean made it feel more like a place than a spreadsheet. Port Royale 3 looks handsome in this trailer, which also contains the greatest press quote in the history of press quotes. Observe.
Game jams are proving to be one of the most fruitful phenomena of the current era of gaming. Ludum Dare constantly throws up a bunch of fascinating stuff, and it’s tough to keep track of it all. So much of what is created – the window for making is just 48 hours – is so small and unassuming that it is likely to be missed. Tinysasters is one such microcosm, but it’s a beautiful, perfectly formed gem of an idea: terraforming an 8×8 tile based grid, while natural disasters roll in every thirty seconds to undo your work. Worth a look, if just for a moment.
The scent of parquet wax and trapped sunbeams greets you as you prise open the heavy glass door and step inside. This has to be the place, and yet, if it is, where are all the books>? Noticing your baffled expression, a librarian, all tweed and twinkling eyes, approaches. “You were expecting more books? Everyone> expects more books. At present we’ve only got the two – down there in the WW2 section (he gestures towards a shelf-lined alcove watched over by a large ceiling-mounted model of a Short Sunderland). Additional volumes should be arriving soon. Assuming, of course, visitors like yourself are willing to do their bit.”
Occasionally – just occasionally, mind – games choose to add some of our real-world bodily functions to the characters we control in them. Hunger, thirst, even nausea and sewage creation. For some reason, this is peculiarly satisfying, and as such is almost always popular with players: as most strongly evidenced by the popularity of The Sims, with its filling bladders and exponential human smelliness. But it is not just in the human-petting genre that we find such earthy processes: from Stalker’s insatiable hunger for bread and sausages to San Andreas’ hilarious obesity problem, games occasionally deign to amuse us with the things that we wrestle with every day.
The phrase “gunsmith” always makes me imagine the Ghosts ducking into a wartorn alleyway, only to discover a comfortable alcove occupied by a jolly, thick-bearded dwarf and his robust set of smelting tools. They sit down and banter for a bit over a thick hunk of black bread and some finely aged cheeses. It’s all very pleasant. Evidently, however, Ubisoft and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the subject of mythril and its effectiveness in modern combat zones. Granted, when someone else says “gunsmith,” I don’t imagine that this> is what immediately springs to mind either.
Republique is an iOS project on Kickstarter. Wait, don’t run! I’ve surrounded the entire area with landmin– urgh. Well, I was going to tell you that it’s also a very intriguing idea from brilliantly talented folks who worked on Metal Gear Solid, Halo, and FEAR, but then you rudely went and exploded. But, while I gingerly sweep still-smoking bits of you off RPS’ world-renowned lawn, I’ll tell no one in particular that Republique’s bringing its highly cinematic blend of stealth and a “symbiotic relationship” with a character named Hope to PC. This won’t be a simple port, either. If you weren’t so obnoxiously dead right now, you could find out why in a video after the break.
Thelemite isn’t exactly subtle about its influences. “Melex Archer is a boring programmer who out of boredom signs up to Free Medical Experimentation at FreeMedExperiments.eu and thus, becomes a mutant ninja,” reads its description. “This game was inspired by AAA title Prototype. It involves fighting off hordes off mutants, military, tearing down buildings, and fighting off giant bosses.” And sure enough, while playing, I karate-screamed through the air and mercilessly punted each and every one of those things. I was also able to scamper up buildings like a teenage mutant ninja squirrel and build up a special attack by sort of, you know, slaughtering innocents. So basically, it’s Prototype, but in 2D and with a goofy, occasionally laugh-out-loud-worthy “story.” The controls can be kind of wonky, but it’s big, dumb fun hit with a shrink ray. So go, play, and mash X until all the bad things go away. Thanks, Hookshot.