Nov. 08, 2013 | 10:54 a.m.
The first Neil Gaiman-authored video game may not have many words from the celebrated fantasy writer. But that’s exactly the way Gaiman wants it, said Matt Korba, co-founder of developing studio the Odd Gentleman. “Wayward Manor,” initially unveiled this summer and due in 2014 for the PC and Mac, puts players in control of a ghost on a haunting spree. When the L.A. studio and Gaiman first began discussing the project, said Korba, Gaiman had an early request: no lengthy in-game cinematic sequences. The story, requested Gaiman, would be told via player actions rather than scripted, plot-heavy moments — what the gaming industry refers to as “cut-scenes.” This, said Korba, is when he knew the collaboration would work. “From the start,” Korba remembers, “Neil said, ‘We’re not telling the story through cut-scenes.’ Like, ‘That’s boring. Nobody plays games to watch cut-scenes.’ This is […]
Nov. 06, 2013 | 5:54 p.m.
In the late 2000s Walt Disney Imagineers were tasked with solving a problem that doesn’t typically crop up at Walt Disney World theme parks: How do you make the place more kid-friendly? Answer: Give it something that resembles a video game. That initial question led to what is now known as Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, a real-life game that dates to 2009 and has players traversing Epcot’s series of country-themed pavilions to trigger hidden interactions within the park environments. The Florida attraction, said designer Jonathan Ackley on Tuesday, was inspired by the narrative-driven LucasArts games of the ’80s and early- to mid-’90s. “There was the perception at the time that there wasn’t enough stuff for kids to do at Epcot,” said Ackley, a former LucasArts employee. The location-based game has a spy theme and deviates from the international flavors […]
Nov. 06, 2013 | 12:18 p.m.
Ubisoft writer Jill Murray has a simple piece of advice for game designers who are struggling to find compelling female protagonists. “There’s a trick to finding inspiring women,” Murray said at a game industry conference on Tuesday. “You just type anything, and then you type ‘women’ into Google. So if you want women warriors, just type ‘women warriors.’ This is a piece of cake.” But scan the launch titles for this month’s Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and you’ll find lots of sports titles, lots of action games and lots of dudes. “I hope that we can fix this epidemic and oversight that’s been existing in games,” said Murray, “and when we do, it’s going to be fun.” Murrary, whose credits include the just-released “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” the female-centered “Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation” and the young adult novel […]
Oct. 15, 2013 | 12:30 p.m.
“Watch Dogs,” which had been one of the most anticipated new games of 2013, just became one of the most anticipated new games of 2014. Ubisoft announced Tuesday that the release of the title has been pushed back until at least spring of next year. “Our ambition from the start with ‘Watch Dogs’ has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming,” read a statement attributed to the “Watch Dogs” development team. “It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014.” Set in Chicago, “Watch Dogs” presents a world in which governing forces are spying on citizens with hidden surveillance systems and guns are easy to come by. Gamers play as protagonist Aiden Pearce, who has the ability to hack into the […]
Oct. 12, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.
The new Nintendo handheld device the 2DS seeks to solve a puzzle that may not, to the casual games observer, seem in need of a solution: How does a company get more games in kids’ hands? Nintendo has stressed in promotional materials and interviews that the 2DS, available today, is a budget-friendly gaming device that is geared toward first-time players, most notably children. Yet in crafting a gadget that looks like an entry-level tablet rather than an ultra-sexy gaming machine, Nintendo has managed to walk the line between a toy-ish contraption and an accessible way for people of all ages to game. When it was first unveiled in August, the 2DS raised some eyebrows among Nintendo fans and the gaming community. After all, the company’s current portable gaming machine, the foldable, dual-screen 3DS, is doing quite well for itself. The […]
Oct. 10, 2013 | 7:41 a.m.
Stroll end to end at IndieCade, a now-annual game festival and conference in Culver City, and there’s as much for the spectator as there is for the player. Look right, and four people are walking around with robots on their heads, walk left and players are gazing off into digital worlds via virtual reality headsets. In between, players sampled a crowd-funded board game such as “The Perfect Heist,” or tried out new games for Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s upcoming PS4. Well over 120 games were playable the four-day IndieCade, which concluded on Sunday. Ten awards were handed out on Thursday night to a potential 36 nominees and an additional 19 games were on display as honorary mentions. One can spend four days playing games at IndieCade and barely scratch the surface of what’s available. The 7-year-old event recognizes only […]
Oct. 10, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
“Rain,” Sony’s download-only PlayStation 3 title released last week, plays with an idea central to many fairy tales. What monsters come out to play when the lights are turned off? But ultimately, it ends up dealing with a far darker question — is there any monster quite so scary as loneliness? “Rain” puts players in control of an average young boy whom we know little about other than he was denied his wish of attending the circus and went off to bed in a sullen mood. When he awakes, he is invisible to the world and to the game player. His silhouette is noticeable only when he is led into the rain or into the mud. The boy’s shouts for help go unheard and not a grown-up is to be found on the streets of this European-inspired town. It’s never […]
Oct. 09, 2013 | 11:22 a.m.
Thor, Loki and their Asgardian pals are getting the Lego treatment in a new parody of the “Thor: The Dark World” movie poster. The poster, released Wednesday, features Lego versions of the stars of the upcoming Marvel film in a promotion for the “Lego Marvel Super Heroes” video game, due out Oct. 22. The game — for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PC and later for next-gen consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — will allow players to control more than 100 characters from the Marvel universe, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine and more. “We wanted to touch every corner of the Marvel universe that was possible,” Marvel Entertainment’s interactive manager, Chris Baker, told Hero Complex. “You can’t make an infinitely long game, but you can make a long […]
Oct. 04, 2013 | 6:30 a.m.
This weekend more than 120 games will be playable on the streets of Culver City as part of IndieCade, a now annual game festival where risk-taking design choices and anything-goes unpredictability take precedence over commercial success. But this year, there are signs that the indie gaming world is catching the eye of much larger players. Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4 console will also be there, as will Nintendo’s Wii U and the still-in-development Oculus Rift, a headset industry observers believe will finally popularize virtual reality. Still, only independent games will be playable at the event. Take “Deadbolt,” where a player must take a look at fellow players, then answer a series of questions, such as who among the group is the most beautiful. Or which player is the most intimidating. And it’s all done with a real-life pen and paper. “The […]
Sept. 26, 2013 | 1:01 p.m.
“Mortal Kombat Legacy 2,” the sequel to the popular Machinima Web series, launched Thursday with a very different take on one of the franchise’s beloved characters, Liu Kang. The formerly well-meaning monk has taken a turn toward the dark side in Kevin Tancharoen’s newly envisioned tale, and actor Brian Tee appreciates the sinister twist (to watch him in action, check out the first episode in the new season below). Hero Complex recently caught up with Tee to get his insight into the character and what it took to bring him to life. HC: When did you first get into “Mortal Kombat”? BT: I grew up playing “Mortal Kombat” as a kid. I was always a fan of the video game. Saw the movies as a kid as well. When I found that YouTube video of Kevin’s updating “Mortal Kombat,” it […]