Bloodborne Comic Incoming from Titan Comics

Bloodborne is a Fantastic Risk

Fans of Bloodborne rejoice, From software’s hard-as-nails lovecraftian romp. The new comic will be published by Titan comics.

Bloodborne originally released back in 2015 and was met with both critical success and praise from fans. The game went on to sell 2 million copies and even received a downloadable expansion known as the Old Hunters which released on November 24, 2015. The title went on to win the Golden Joystick 2015 for the best original game.

The new comic will be titled the Bloodborne: Death of Sleep and will be penned Ales Kot (Generation Gone, Zero) featuring art from Piotr Kowalski (Wolfenstein, Dark Souls). The story, as it is outlined in the press releases, details as: “a nameless Hunter awakens in an ancient city where horrific beasts stalk the shadows and the streets run slick with the blood of the damned. Seeking an escape from the endless Night of the Hunt, the Hunter embarks upon a dangerous, gore-filled quest with the hopes of ending Yharnam’s twisted endemic.”

Bloodborne Coming Incoming from Titan Comics

Ales Kot went on to talk about his chance to work on the project, he said:

Bloodborne is one of my all-time favorite games. I put close to two hundred hours into playing it and researching its universe, and that was before I even knew there would be a comic — I was obsessed. I am honored to be working within the Bloodborne universe. There will be mystery, the weird, the eerie, the horrific and the bloody — and there will be an undercurrent of decaying romanticism, walking hand in hand with brain-mashing, soul-cleaving action, together ascending towards the Blood Moon as drawn by the talented and depraved Piotr Kowalski. Ascend with us, Hunters old and new. And do remember — one has to seek Paleblood to transcend the hunt.”

Issue #1 of the Bloodborne: Death of Sleep is slated to hit stores and digital devices in February 2018!


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Artist Recreates Bloodborne’s Environment in Unreal Engine 4

Artist Recreates Bloodborne’s Environment in Unreal Engine 4

DICE Environmental Artist Simon Barle recreated Bloodborne’s environment using Unreal Engine 4, making the world more vivid and vibrant than ever. Barle also worked on projects like Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline and Battlefield Heroes, making him no stranger to triple-A art design.

The artist recreated the environment of Hunter’s Dream, the central hub within the game. Barle’s gorgeous rendition of the area is the most beautiful look at Bloodborne’s gloomy world yet – and that’s saying something, because Bloodborne is  already graphically impressive.

Artist Recreates Bloodborne’s Environment in Unreal Engine 4 1
Bloodborne
Artist Recreates Bloodborne’s Environment in Unreal Engine 4
Unreal Engine 4

Barle’s artwork displays the stunning potential of Unreal Engine 4. While it is mostly used to reimagine the worlds of older games like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, even a recent title like Bloodborne certainly benefits from the Unreal Engine 4 treatment.

While this is Barle’s first time working with the world of Bloodborne, he has a ton of other awesome artwork that you can find on his portfolio.

 

Dark Souls Developer Teases Next Project

Dark Souls Developer Teases Next Project

FromSoftware uploaded a video to their YouTube channel showcasing the developer’s history, and all but announcing the name of their 2017 project.

According to the video, the game will come to PC, Xbox One and PS4, as well as featuring PlayStation VR integration.

Last week, FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki announced that the company is working on a new IP, and has no plans for any Souls-related games. In fact, in a recent interview, Miyazaki said “there is absolutely no plan right now for any sequels, spin-offs, or tie-ins… Development of a new IP has already begun.”

Little is known about FromSoftware’s 2017 project. Miyazaki thinks “it’s time to take a step in a new direction.”

Perhaps this “new direction” means the developer will venture away from the Souls and Bloodborne style of games, and toward entirely new genres.

It’s likely that more details on FromSoftware’s next big project will be released soon.

Is The Witcher 3 Still Game of The Year Material

Is The Witcher 3 Still Game of The Year Material

I’ve been holding off on writing this article for quite a while now. I needed time to collect and focus my thoughts, as well as spend some deep time with the titular game. Now that The Witcher 3 has sold 10 million copies, I think I can finally get this off my chest.

Read moreIs The Witcher 3 Still Game of The Year Material

Where Are PlayStation’s First-Party Exclusives?

Where Are PlayStation’s First-Party Exclusives?

After the PlayStation Experience keynote ended, one major complaint most people had was the lack of first-party announcements. What are Sony’s video game studios up to?

There’s an obvious answer for that—making games for the PlayStation 4, of course. Any time Shuhei Yoshida (President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios), Scott Rohde (PlayStation Game Development Head), and other PlayStation leaders are asked about the lack of first-party PS4 games, they say not to worry. Long-dormant studios like Sony Bend and Santa Monica are indeed hard at work. But fans can’t help but feel frustrated, and understandably so.

Ni no Kuni and Kids' Games: Simplicity without Patronizing 2
Ni No Kuni

The PSX keynote was filled with interesting games and some exciting announcements. Level 5’s Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom looks just as charming as the beloved PS3 original; Team Ninja’s samurai game Ni-Oh looks stunning and satisfyingly bloody, and the wealth of zany indie games are always welcome. Heck, you can play Vlambeer’s long-awaited Nuclear Throne today. But for diehard PlayStation fans, first-party exclusives like God of War, Syphon Filter, Shadow of the Colossus, and Uncharted have always been the cream of the crop. These games are what excite fans the most, and that is what PlayStation Experience is all about right? Pleasing PlayStation fans and giving them something to cheer for, and not revealing even a single first-party game at the conference just seems strange and disappointing.

The last first-party games to release for PS4 were, believe it or not, 2014’s DriveClub alongside the annual MLB: The Show from SCE San Diego.

DriveClub was originally supposed to be a launch game for the system, but was delayed for a whole year. In 2015, not a single PS4 title from a first-party studio was released. It has all largely been third-party exclusives: Until Dawn, The Order: 1886, Bloodborne, and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. PlayStation fans are used to seeing and playing a wealth of first-party exclusives from Sony. In 2013 alone the company released God of War: Ascension, Gran Turismo 6, Puppeteer, The Last of Us, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Knack for both PS3 and PS4. It’s unlike Sony to go a whole year without doing this, and you can see why PlayStation fans would not be used to such a drought.

Until Dawn
Until Dawn

People expected Sony Bend in particular to finally announce its long-awaited debut on the PS4. The developer has been dormant since releasing Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita back in 2011, alongside the bite-sized card game Uncharted: Fight for Fortune in 2012. But not a single peep from one of Sony’s oldest studio. To put things into perspective, Naughty Dog released Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception in 2011, The Last of Us in 2013, and now it’s wrapping up Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for early 2016.

But there are some positives.

PS4 has had a commercially successful year in 2015—it has sold over 30 million units worldwide, and interestingly all without a single first-party game. Maybe exclusives actually don’t really matter that much. Instead, having clever partnerships with Activision and EA and associating the PS4 with blockbuster games like Black Ops III and Battlefront actually does. There’s always the argument that Sony doesn’t need to panic and churn out its first-party titles anytime soon. This is a stark contrast from when it actually did quite the opposite, as detailed in 2013 where it released retail triple-A exclusives on an almost monthly basis. Commercially, that strategy didn’t really do much for Sony.

The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886

Let’s also not forget that 2016 is looking very promising for PS4 owners. Three high-profile exclusives have been confirmed for 2016 so far: Uncharted 4, The Last Guardian, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Plus who knows, Sony might just have a few surprises up its sleeve and announce a few more first-party games for next year.

My biggest problem with how the PSX keynote turned out is still intact, however. Sony clearly does way too many conferences, spreading its big announcements too thinly. Only a little over a month ago it had a full-blown conference for Paris Games Week. The company needs to rethink how it conducts these events on a yearly basis because it feels as though it’s currently doing way too much.

Why throw a keynote that’s clearly aimed towards hardcore PlayStation fans and opt to spend more time talking about Call of Duty DLC map packs rather than actual, exciting, first-party PlayStation games?

Bloodborne The Old Hunters (PS4) Review

Bloodborne The Old Hunters (PS4) Review

When I was a wee lad, in the long-long ago era of the mid-90’s, walking into a store and seeing an expansion pack for a game I liked was a thrilling feeling. Knowing that for a fraction of the cost of the original game, I would be able to experience new weapons, new classes or units, and new missions. Brood War, Opposing Force, and the fifty different expansions for Duke Nukem are ones that spring to mind, but there were many more.

Then high-speed Internet became ubiquitous, and the gaming companies discovered a whole new way to provide new and exciting content for their customers. No longer would we have to wait months for a deep, polished, and worthy addition to our favourite game. We, as consumers, could download it right to our machines and get that new content right off the bat.

bloodborne_the_old_hunters_V2

Then Horse Armour happened, and “expansion packs” became DLC. Rather than releasing a complete package in one go, the evil gaming corporations found out they could make far more money by releasing little tiny pieces, bit by bit, for more money. Instead of an entirely new campaign, we got new outfits. Instead of a whole new class of character or group of units, we got new skins for our weapons. As a gamer, this infuriates me, but as somebody who grasps basic business concepts, I understand. If you can charge people small increments of cash for what is essentially the same content they already own, why wouldn’t you do it?

Luckily, the team at FromSoftware seems to empathize with gamers who are frustrated with the ever-increasing cost of BS non-content and released an expansion that would fit right at home in the bygone era of getting your money’s worth for new content. The Old Hunters is the first, and as far as we know right now the only expansion we’ll be getting for Bloodborne, but luckily it’s got enough to warrant the $20 price tag.

The expansion features both new locations and twists on old ones, fresh enemy types to battle, some of the toughest boss fights in the game, and most importantly: new weapons.

We’ll start with the new locations. The gore-soaked gothic atmosphere of the original game is carried on in the expansion with plenty of black, oaken buildings, and ornate crenellations lit by eerie, eldritch lanterns featuring nasty looking medical equipment and corpses. Endless corpses. There are so many piles of bodies in the first half of The Old Hunters that it gets to a point you barely notice it anymore. Several of the new locations will tug on the nostalgia strings of Souls veterans, including a stunningly gorgeous and creepy hospital (complete with moving staircase) and rotting village that boasts a strong similarity to Blighttown.

bloodborne_the_old_hunters_gameplay_4

One of the major complaints levied against Bloodborne was the lack of variety when it came to the weapons. The previous games were famous for touting endless varieties of weaponry to suit any play style, but Bloodborne really boiled down to the same basic mechanics no matter which armaments your character was packing. The Old Hunters gives players ten new trick weapons and five new firearms, and the developers were definitely focused on variety this time. There’s something here for every build, whether you want a strength based rocket hammer to smash enemies, a sword that transforms into a bow (finally) for you skill builds, or a giant, blood-fueled mace with a crazy Frenzy attack if PvP is more your thing. However, From is keeping to their restrictive options for leveling these new toys, with only one blood rock available to fully complete your chosen tool. So choose wisely.

Difficulty wise, The Old Hunters (along with the base game) is one of the easier entries in the Souls series. Players who thought that Bloodborne was too easy won’t find anything extreme in this expansion to really test them, but the DLC does boast two of the toughest bosses to be found in the game. Your first battle with the legendary Ludwig (of Holy Blade fame) will definitely have you coming back a few times, along with one of the latter bosses who is also a rather difficult battle. However, Fume Knight they are not, and despite being a tough fight by Bloodborne standards, the bosses are not “pull your hair out and throw the controller at the TV” challenging.

theoldhunters-V4

My only real complaint with The Old Hunters is the length. Depending on how you play it, you can easily finish the entire thing in under a few hours. Of course, as with any game like this, there is plenty to explore after all is said and done, and with the amount of new weapons and armour available (and the usual hunting for upgrade materials), there’s still tons to do once you’ve beaten all the bosses. Either way, The Old Hunters is a worthy expansion, and shows what DLC can still stand for, despite the market being flooded with garbage. If you liked Bloodborne, or just can’t wait until Dark Souls 3 drops in March, it’s no question that you should go and grab this.

Show, Don’t Tell: The Art of Subtle Storytelling

Show, Don’t Tell: The Art of Subtle Storytelling

I hate cutscenes. I haven’t played a Metal Gear Solid since MGSIV because I felt like half the game was some contrived, overly dramatic and downright boring student film. I realize a lot of you out there absolutely love this kind of thing, and more power to you, but I play games because I like playing games—not watching something that would be critically eviscerated and laughed at if it were an actual film. If you have to break the immersion several times a level and force me to sit there and watch a badly acted and poorly lip synced interaction between the characters so you can shove the story down my throat because you, as a game developer, think I’m too stupid to figure it out on my own, then you’ve clearly never taken a writing class in your life and are ignoring the most hallowed of all literary commandments “Show, don’t tell.”

There have of course been multiple series that take a different approach; Doom, Dead Space, System Shock, and KOTOR allow you to figure the story out on your own through conveniently misplaced audio logs, journal entries and video diaries, but even this design tactic is a tad lazy. Sure, you’re not having the story completely spelled out for you, and it is up to you to somewhat piece it together, but you’re still completely aware that because these pieces of plot are literally placed in a perfect order as you progress the game, this is yet another instance of handholding by the devs rather than an engaging and intuitive method of exploring a realistic and flowing narrative.

Metal Gear Solid 4
Metal Gear Solid 4

This difficulty in telling a story in a videogame when contrasted with a movie, or a book, or a television show, is what separates the clever, creative developers from the rest. The latter three mediums are independent, and the narrative exists entirely on its own, completely, no matter the level of your engagement with the subject matter. Despite the endless opinions and thoughts on interactivity, and injecting yourself into a story, the world in a book or a movie remains static in its entirety without you. That story will progress the same way, with the same characters, using the same methods, every single time no matter who is consuming it. Games don’t work that way; games areinteractive, they rely on the player to exist within the framework of the game’s world and make changes to it. With this interactivity in mind, shoehorning the storyline into the game using the same approach as a movie is uninspired and lazy.

Don’t get me wrong; some companies excel at this kind of thing. Naughty Dog is famous for making games that are as enjoyable and entertaining as a movie, on top of playing well. But for every The Last of Us, there are fifty other games that don’t do it well, and it really affects how enjoyable the game is. If I’m so bored and unengaged that I’m skipping cutscenes, or reading audio logs purely to check if there’s a door code hidden in there, then you suck at that aspect of game design.

Hybrid designs also work well. The Elder Scrolls series does, on occasion, cram their trope-filled, generic fantasy story down your throat, but at the same time the world of Tamriel is filled to the brim with background lore in books, diaries on corpses hidden in caves, and the conversations you have with NPCs. If you want to delve further, go for it; there’s plenty of lore there to investigate. If you can’t be bothered, that’s cool, here’s a quick clip of a dragon attacking a town.

Then you have the games that do it so well that players have built entire communities and wiki’s to help explore and explain just what the hell the game is about. Bloodborne in particular is downright incredible in this regard. You could play the entire game, start to finish, ten times, and not know anything about the plot. But if you’ve got a slice of Holmesian DNA floating in you, there’s a crazy amount of detail and layers to sift through to piece together what ends up being quite the meticulous narrative. Upcoming games like Firewatch are also experimenting with their approach to storytelling, opting to go for a hyper-realistic conversational technique where the story unravels itself through engaging and realistic dialogue as you explore the game’s world.

Bloodborne is a Fantastic Risk 2
Bloodborne

Basically, what I’m getting at with this long-winded rant, is that a good story can elevate a game to legendary status, but the method in which you tell that story will make or break it. Leave it up to the player to figure things out. The era of dumbing down games for a lazy, low-attention generation is ending. Players want to be proud of themselves for figuring things out, not bored by yet another unskippable, non-interactive video clip they’re not even watching because there’s something far more interesting on their phone. Games are meant to be played, not watched, and this idea extends past combat, crafting, or exploration. There’s no reason a story can’t be told in a way that encourages the player to participate. Show, don’t tell.

Bloodborne Servers Shut Down for “Emergency Maintenance”

Bloodborne Servers Shut Down for "Emergency Maintenance"

If you are planning on utilizing any of Bloodborne’s online content, you’ll have to put that on hold for a few days.

“We are currently conducting emergency maintenance on the game servers,” says the game’s official Japanese Twitter account. “The maintenance should be complete within a few days.”

There’s no word the exact reasoning for the intentional takedown, but lead hosting engineer of Bloodborne Tim Wernicke did shed some light on the situation. “We’ve received some really important feedback about an exploit and serious issues that exist in the game,” says Wernicke in a Reddit comment, “we’re working non-stop to get some things patched and back online.”

This is some bad timing for such a serious issue to occur, considering the game’s first DLC, The Old Hunters, was just made available last week. Hopefully, the issue isn’t too serious and everyone can get back to gaming as soon as possible.

Dark Souls 3 Screens Leaked

Dark Souls 3 Screens Leaked

Pre E3 is a magical time in the videogame industry. Fans are excited for up coming titles, developers and publishers are prepping for three days of marketing, and some journalists are dreading the marathon they are about to encounter. During all of this confusion, someone messes up, or someone does just enough digging and we all lose a bit of a shock factor because something gets leaked. It happens every year, and this year Dark Souls 3 is the victim.

The YouTube Channel-and Rooster Teeth Show- The Know has their watermark smeared across what they are calling Dark Souls 3 leaked images. So get hyped they look awesome. Along with these images, it’s reported there will be 10 classes accessible from the start, 45 new enemies and 15 new bosses, 100 new weapons 40 new armour sets, and 200 new items. All of those numbers don’t include anything returning. There will also be 12 new areas. There’s a lot of information thrown in their video.

It’s interesting we’re getting another Souls game so soon. Dark Souls 2 released just over a year ago, and the cycle is starting again. This title is slated for a 2016 release, which means we will have played 3 Soul style games in the last two years if you include Bloodborne, which came out in March this year. I guess we all like suffering.