Even if you’re exclusively a PC gamer, you've likely heard about Naughty Dog’s Uncharted games. They’re fantastic, for many reasons, but one thing that was always outstanding about them was the writing, which Amy Henning is largely responsible for. Last month, Henning left Naughty Dog, and there was a lot of speculation about where she’ll go to next. Today we learned that she landed at Electronic Art’s Visceral Games, where she’ll act as Creative Director on the team’s Star Wars project.
Now here's an idea that makes a lot of sense: Take World of Warplanes' gameplay and monetization model, slap some Star Wars on top of it, and stand clear of the avalanche of money that's about come your way. That seems like the gist of Disney Interactive's announcement today that it is developing Star Wars Attack Squadrons, a free-to-play space combat game.
Modern developers' devotion to super awesomely rendered lens flares means that development times tend to run a little longer than they used to when we began gaming in the 1990s. Star Wars: Battlefront is no exception, having now been given a very vague estimated release window of summer 2015.
DuckTales Remastered is a thing that exists, and now it's a thing with a whole load of gameplay footage to pore over, so we can decide whether it lives up to the well-regarded NES original. Capcom took the HD remake to Comic-Con this weekend, and Destructoid captured thirty minutes of video of the Himalayas stage, which is not quite up there with the moon stage in terms of catchy chiptune noises, but still. In other news, no one appears to be working on a Chip 'n' Dale remake, so there's obviously no justice in the universe.
Capcom have confirmed that DuckTales Remastered, their self-explanatory HD remake of NES game DuckTales, will be making its way to our PCs. As we've previously learned, the game's Moon Theme is the only way our former web-editor Marsh Davies is able to function as a human being, so this is bound to be good news for him. And for people who enjoyed the original game too, I guess.
Things got a little scary after Disney bought out LucasFilm last year, acquiring the rights to all of LucasArts' games before shutting down the studio for good. What would become of classics like Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, and Knights of the Old Republic? Well, we've got our first development—the House of Mouse has signed a deal with EA to develop and publish games based on the Star Wars licence.
Ron Gilbert isn't making a new Monkey Island game. This is a fact he's very clear about. A whole two parts of his seventeen point speculative design brief for the definitely-not-happening sequel are dedicated to ensuring you understand that it's definitely not happening. That aside, it's an interesting look at how the series' creator would handle a follow-up. Which he isn't.
Disney sent a tremor through the Force today with the announcement that it's closing developer LucasArts and halting all projects. Game Informer reports the entertainment giant is shifting the company it bought last year "from internal development to a licensing model" as well as laying off the majority of its staff.
“I would say it’s within the top three pitches we’ve ever come up with,” Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart told RPS, describing Obsidian's pitch for a new game set between the end of the recent trilogy and the start of A New Hope.
"We think that timeframe is super interesting," he added. "It’s the fall of the Republic, the extermination of the Jedi, it’s Obi-Wan going off and making sure Luke is OK. You have the Sith, but you have the extermination of all Force users except for very, very few. So it was an interesting time to set a game, and you know, Chris Avellone came up with a really cool story.”
We recently talked to adventure game luminary Ron Gilbert about Disney's acquisition of LucasArts, and how he felt about the rights to Monkey Island changing hands. He wasn't optimistic that he'd ever retrieve the series he created, saying that Disney seems like a company which "hoards IP." In an interview posted by Eurogamer today, however, Gilbert confirmed that he does plan to contact Disney. If he's lucky, they'll just read the interview and save him the phone call.
Disney's recent acquisition of Lucasfilm scored it more than the Star Wars franchise: it also picked up LucasArts and its catalog of games, including Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, landmarks of Double Fine designer Ron Gilbert's career. While discussing his current project, The Cave (and his thoughts on The Walking Dead), I asked Gilbert how he felt about his work being under Disney's control.
In an interview over on GamesIndustry.biz (currently not published in its entirety, so just to be fair, there may be additional information that adds context to this), 2K boss Christoph Hartmann talks about the need for games to become photo-realistic. Not simply for its own sake though, as a visual marker of technology. No, because without such technology, we apparently won't be able to get new genres, or any real emotion from the ones we already have. Here's the relevant snippet from the site.
"It will be very hard to create very deep emotions like sadness or love, things that drive the movies," he said. "Until games are photorealistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now."
He's certainly not the first person to say this over the years, and he won't be the last - and this isn't intended to be a hatchet piece about someone saying something silly in a much longer interview. It is however an example of a commonly held position that's not simply wrong, but that actively hurts the drive for realism and in-game humanity by missing the point of what makes us laugh and cry.
Disney Universe will gather a number of different Disney worlds together in one place, and mash them all together into one brightly coloured ball of mischevious multiplayer platforming. Wall-E is the latest character to join a team that already includes the cast of Monsters Inc and Alice in Wonderland. Players will be able to work together or use items like magnets and laser blasters to hinder each other's progress through each world.
Varying costume pieces collected along the way will let each character dress up as strange and occasionally slightly terrifying versions of everyone's favourite Disney personalities. Hopefully there will be a button that will let your character go "Wwwwaaaaalll-E" in the way that made this lady cry. You'll find the new Disney Universe screenshots below. It's due out in October.
Tron: Evolution had to go some way to be of less artistic merit that its sister film, Tron Legacy. But at least that garbled gibberish-fest was occasionally fun. That’s not a word that can be applied to this clumsy and downright tiresome third-person beat-’em-up.
It’s a shame, as its predecessor, Tron 2.0, was one of the few truly great movie-based games. Evolution fits more predictably into the tie-in genre. Action game, a bit of platforming, a lot of hitting repetitive waves of identikit enemies, snore until dead. There’s a pretence of greater depth: an RPG-lite XP system lets you poke at aspects of your character’s disc powers, light cycles, health, etc. But these are just tweaks, and indiscernible in the action. Instead you just hammer at the buttons, stumbling on the billions of combos, until everything is finally dead.
TRON: Evolution is due out in time for this year's new film: Tron: Legacy. Is it a rushed job? Tim will find out for us later when he gets to see it in action at E3. It isn't the game of the film, though - it's the sequel to a game that is itself is a sequel to the original film. That's better, trust me. Also, here is a pretty trailer setting the scene for the game. Frisbee death go.