What we've seen of The Witcher 3 looks breathtaking, but it's also only a tiny part of the game. The trailers and screenshots coming out of CD Projekt RED have all been taken from the Skellige Islands, just one of the many and varied locations Geralt will be witching through. Talking to us at Gamescom, story writer Jakub Szamalek revealed some of the massive RPG's other regions, as well as the stories to be found in them.
Yesterday, after a long string of complaints, Ubisoft announced that Tom Clancy's The Division will be released on PC after all. The PC version of Watch Dogs, however, was announced with much less fanfare just after the game was revealed at E3 2012. Earlier this month at Ubisoft Montreal, I asked Watch Dogs Senior Producer Dominic Guay why that is, and also discussed the PC features and hardware requirements we can expect, the potential for modding, and plans for post-release content.
Miles Jacobson is, in his own words, “a bit tired, actually.” It turns out the Sports Interactive boss was up until the small hours the previous night organising screenshots for the announcement of Football Manager 14, this year’s iteration of arguably gaming’s most famous simulation. With a promised 1000 improvements and a wealth of new features that offer much more scope for user-generated content, it sounds like a pretty substantial overhaul. So we rang him up to find out more, and ended up discussing pots, PR training and parallel universes.
Earlier this week we announced Betrayer, a self-funded indie FPS from veteran ex-Monolith personnel who have formed their own studio, Blackpowder Games. Betrayer is unique—a 15th-century atmospheric shooter set in colonial Virginia—but I wanted to hear firsthand how Blackpowder's collective decades of experience on other, more action-focused franchises is informing its work on the game.
The action-MMO first known as APB lives on as APB Reloaded. But if your memory serves, you'll recall that the urban, massively-multiplayer shooter had a quick death: APB shut down just months after launching at the end of June 2010, coinciding with the dissolution of developer Realtime Worlds.
The prolific Dave Jones (Grand Theft Auto, Lemmings, Crackdown) was creative director on APB, and while talking with him about his new project—ChronoBlade—I asked Jones to reflect on what he thought APB did well, and what went wrong with its MMOification of cars, cops, and robbers.
Late last week we learned that Arma 3 won’t initially release with any campaign content (something that should make it an interesting challenge to review, for one thing). Instead, Arma 3 will launch with 12 single-player showcases, nine multiplayer scenarios, eight firing drills, and its mission editor, while campaign episodes will parachute in shortly after release. This should allow the military sim to emerge from beta sooner at the cost of staggering its content.
I got in touch with Joris-Jan van't Land (Project Lead) and Jay Crowe (Creative Director) to learn more about about this decision as well as what we should expect from the content of the campaign.
Evan and T.J. recently sat down with Creative Assembly's Al Bickham for a guided tour through the battlefields of the 4th century B.C. in Total War: Rome II. We explore the campaign map with its new mechanics, and jump into a real-time battle to defend a key road to Rome. All the while, we bombard our gracious host with questions about the new face of Total War.
The enormous careers of Dave Jones (Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown, APB) and Stieg Hedlund (Diablo, Diablo II, Ghost Recon), are intersecting in ChronoBlade, an action-RPG published on Facebook. I visited Jones and Hedlund at their studio in San Francisco to talk about what brought them together, their thoughts on the value of independence, and the changing role of publishers in the game industry.
Paradox Development Studio has announced ambitious DLC for Crusader Kings II which will convert your saves from the medieval, Eurocentric sandbox into a playable mod for the upcoming, globe-spanning Renaissance simulator, Europa Universalis IV. Yes, this means that you could potentially play the same faction through over 950 years of alternate history, from CK2: The Old Gods' start date in 867 A.D. to the end point of EU4 in 1821 A.D. I had a chance to grill Henrik Hansson, a programmer who worked on the DLC, on the specifics.
Shadow of the Eternals has had a bit of a rough time getting started. The spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness had a rocky debut on Kickstarter earlier this year, being withdrawn from crowdfunding in June after reaching only 10 percent of its goal with 15 days remaining.
But Precursor Games has re-emerged with a new Kickstarter for Eternals, asking for a lower funding goal and promising the gruff baritone of David Hayter a place in the game. We had the opportunity to speak with Precursor’s Denis Dyack for a brief overview on why Precursor pulled the plug on the original funding effort and what plans the studio has for Eternals on the PC.
Stieg Hedlund’s list of credits are varied. He’s had a hand in Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, an Oddworld sequel, the original StarCraft and beloved cult games like Comix Zone. Prominently, Hedlund was lead designer on Diablo and Diablo II, so when I had the opportunity to speak with him recently I had to ask what he thought about Diablo III.
Lately Hedlund is working with Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones on ChronoBlade, an action-RPG available on Facebook. Look for more interview excerpts from Hedlund and Jones in the coming days.
Recently, Hi-Rez Co-founder and COO Todd Harris announced that Tribes: Ascend—one of our favorite shooters—will not receive major updates for at least six months, with development almost entirely shifting to in-beta MOBA Smite. Harris later added the news that Hi-Rez is looking into releasing map-making tools for the community, a long-requested feature.
We learned during E3 that Dean “Rocket” Hall wants to make a game about mountaineering. The DayZ creator, who climbed Mount Everest in May, tells me it’s a concept he’s wanted to pursue for years, and one he somehow found time to iterate on while ascending Earth’s hat.
DayZ creator Dean Hall is full of ideas. On the heels of his successful Mount Everest climb, he's already talking about the next game he wants to make: a mountaineering game. But speaking with him at E3, that isn't the only game concept gestating in the New Zealander's brain: Hall has an interest in making a turn-based version of DayZ, too.
In this first segment of our conversation, Hall details what a Jagged Alliance-ified DayZ might look like. Come back tomorrow for a continuation of our interview that focuses on DayZ standalone and Hall's mountaineering game.
Have you played Candy Box yet? It's a deceptively simple little ASCII browser game that's hooked more than 450,000 players during its brief lifespan. It starts with a candy counter that increases every second. You can hoard them or you can throw them on the floor. Shortly a trader shows up and offers you a sword in exchange for candies. Before you know it you're questing through dungeons, acquiring potions, meeting swawmp frogs, growing your own candy using Lollipops and going on sugar-crazed adventures.
Candy Box is creator aniwey's first publicly released game. He's a first year computer science student based in Caen, France who enjoys building little experimental games as a way of flexing his coding muscles. He had no idea that his little web game would get so big so fast, but he's already planning a sequel. I caught up with aniwey (who'd rather keep his real name private) on IM earlier to find out more about his sequel plans and try and solve Candy Box's biggest mystery - what happens when you keep throwing your candies on the floor?
It's less than a month until the longships land to bring us The Old Gods, the pagan-focused expansion for Crusader Kings II. We've been keeping close tabs on new details at our Viking Analysis Desk, and today, we've got some extra meaty details for you. Inside you'll find our massive Q&A with project lead Henrik Fåhraeus, covering everything from concubines to pagan sacred kings.
X-COM creator Julian Gollop on "brute force" blockbuster game development and the lost promise of intelligent AI
In a genial interview, strategy-game elder statesman and creator of the original X-COM: UFO Defense Julian Gollop talked to us about his imagined alternate history of gaming, his preference for procedural systems, and how he feels modern games have abandoned the promise of advanced AI in favour of shinier visuals and reward mechanics designed to massage players' egos.
Gollop first came to GDC in 1995, to discuss AI, when turn-based strategy games like UFO / X-COM were the cutting edge, just as RTS was taking over. “In those days, I believed firmly that the future of computer games was all about AI. That in twenty years time we'd be interacting with NPC characters in computer games that actually had real intelligence and could respond to you in really intelligent ways. Boy, I was wrong. So wrong!”
Earlier this week I spoke to Ed Beach, Lead Designer on the Civilization V: Gods & Kings expansion, as well as the upcoming Brave New World expansion. I asked Beach for his thoughts on Civ V designer Jon Shafer's recent self-criticisms regarding Civilization V's one unit per tile system and leader AI quirks. "He was a little harsh on it," said Beach. "And I won't try to guess as to exactly what his frame of mind was, where he's coming from."
Star Citizen is one of the most ambitious games in development—a massive, high-fidelity, multiplayer space combat sim headed by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts. Back at GDC I interviewed Roberts about how he plans to realize Star Citizen's prodigious goals, the latest development update—which details modular ship customization—and how the universe as a whole will be simulated. You probably also want to scroll down for the first in-engine screenshots since the prototype reveal.
Last August we revealed Clockwork Empires, a steampunk city-builder inspired by Dwarf Fortress (and Lovecraftian doom) from the creators of Dungeons of Dredmor, our favorite indie game of 2011. Since then we've followed Gaslamp's weekly blog updates with interest as the Vancouver-based indie assembles the systems that'll drive the game.
I caught up with Gaslamp's founders at GDC to get an update on the game's progress, its release date, and to ask Gaslamp to explain how features like combat, modding, and megaprojects will operate in Clockwork Empires.