Jason Rubin Joins the Oculus Rift Team

Jason Rubin Joins the Oculus Rift Team - 2014-06-10 15:41:53

Today it was announced that Jason Rubin is joining the Oculus Rift team as the Head of Worldwide Studios, making him responsible for all first-party initiatives in Seattle, San Fransisco, Menlo Park, Dallas, and Irvine.

Rubin is an industry veteran best known as the co-founder of Naughty Dog, the studio responsible for Crash Bandicoot, The Last of Us, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted. He spoke of his first experience with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset as the one that convinced him to make the jump to VR development.

“There have only been a handful of times in my life where I saw something that I knew would change everything. The awe-inspiring tech Oculus is building is a portal into an incredible world that my daughter will one day consider to be normal,” Rubin said.  “The moment I put it on, I wanted to help define that future.”

 

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Coming to Next Gen Consoles

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Coming to Next Gen Consoles

Square Enix Senior Product Manager, Sakura Minamida, has announced via the Playstation blog that Final Fantasy Type-0 will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

“Ever since the original PlayStation Portable release in Japan, you guys have never given up on it, raising your voices in an effort to see this title come to North America and Europe,” says Minamida. “Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s coming and it’s going to be in HD.”

No other details have been released, but we’ll update this as soon as we get them.

 

Nintendo’s E3 2014 Presentation Recap

Nintendo's E3 2014 Presentation Recap

The final conference at E3 has finally come to a close just before E3 finally begins today. How did Nintendo’s non traditional press conference go? Read on to find out.

Super Smash Brothers for Wii U will allow Miis to enter the clash. The Mii Fighter comes in three different styles; The Brawler fights with their fists, the Sword Fighter uses a sword, and the Gunners use a hand cannon like Samus.

-Also shown was Nintendo’s new Skylanders like figures known as Amiibo. These figures can be placed on the Wii U gamepad and transfer data into the game. In Smash Bros. the more you fight with them, the stronger and better they’ll become. The figures constantly update the data contained inside of them.

-A developer diary for Yoshi’s Wooly World was shown as well as some gameplay. The game is a successor to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and like it will feature a two player co-op mode. The game will launch some time in 2015.

-The Captain Toad mini levels form Super Mario 3D World will get a stand alone game called Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker, coming in 2015.

-A short announcement for the new Legend of Zelda game was told by franchise veteran Eiji Aonuma. Much like A Link Between Worlds, the new Wii U Zelda game won’t have a set path with puzzles and exploration. A short trailer was shown where Link was chased by a giant flying squid thing, firing lasers. Link eventually leaps into the air and fires some futuristic looking arrows at the creature. The new Wii U Legend of Zelda game will launch in 2015.

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will launch worldwide on November 21st.

-Some brand new footage for Bayonetta 2 was shown before gameplay of the original game was shown which featured Bayonetta wearing Nintendo costumes. Both Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 will launch on the same disc in October of this year.

-Both Princess Zelda and Midna were confirmed as playable characters in the upcoming Hyrule Warriors. Zelda uses a light blade as well as light arrows, and Midna uses a stone wolf that resembles Link’s wolf form from The Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess. Hyrule Warriors launches on September 26th in North America.

-A sequel to Kirby Canvas Curse was announced in a gameplay trailer. Kirby Rainbow Curse has a claymation art style and will launch on Wii U in 2015.

-A new story trailer for Project X was shown, and the game has been retitled to Xenoblade Chronicles X. It will launch on Wii U in 2015.

Mario Maker will allow players to create their own levels in the original Super Mario Bros. game, as well as in New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. The palettes between the two can be swapped at any time while editing, which allows players to see their creations in 8-bit and in HD. It will launch some time in 2015.

Splatoon is a brand new multiplayer IP. Players will play as squids in human disguises and face off in 4 v 4 online shooter battles. Players will have to shoot as much paint around the level as possible to win. Players can jump into their own team’s paint to get around the area faster. The game will launch in 2015.

-The goddess Palutena from Kid Icarus is a character in the new Smash Bros. games.

-Nintendo also teased Star Fox U to be announced later today.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GisRY6h100U”]

E3 2014: Microsoft and the Power of Co-Op

E3 2014: Microsoft and the Power of Co-Op - 2014-06-10 12:41:56

Microsoft really wants you to make some friends.

That’s one big takeaway from their E3 2014 press conference. Along with the announcements of the Master Chief collection, an impressive sizzle reel of indie games, and the reveal of a Tomb Raider sequel, cooperative online play was a massive theme running through many of the company’s biggest announcements.

Evolve was one of the first of the conference to show this, revealing an all-new monster controlled by a player and used to antagonize the four player-controlled characters hunting it. Relying on the strengths of their respective classes, players are meant to work together to effectively bring the massive creature down.

Rumours of it being a cooperative game were put to rest when it was revealed that Assassin’s Creed Unity would allow up to four players to work together on different missions with “randomized events, alternate paths, and various tactical options.” Set in France during the French revolution, Assassin’s Creed Unity also allows players to explore the streets of Paris together “from its steeples to its sewers.”

Fable is making its grand return to the Xbox with Fable Legends, a cooperative game where players work together as four different heroes to take down a villain. Much like Evolve, that villain is controlled by a player, whose ability to set traps and give orders to creatures allows them to be a devious antagonist.

[youtube url=”http://youtu.be/xzCEdSKMkdU”]

Project Spark is adopting the “Play, create, share” model from games like LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers by allowing players to create their own games and share them with others online. While it’s not cooperative in the same sense as Evolve or Fable Legends, Project Spark’s very premise is heavily based on the idea that people on Xbox One will want to create their own works and share them to be played with others.

Finally, The Division returned after wowing at the Ubisoft E3 2013 press conference with another demo not unlike the original. Aside from a basic pandemic premise and heavy emphasis on multiplayer, there’s still a lot we don’t know about The Division. What was seen of the game at Microsoft’s press conference, however, confirmed that teamwork and cooperative play is a major part of its core mechanics.

So, what’s to be made of all this? It’s certainly a risky move to base an entire game around the concept of forcing players to work with others to achieve an objective. Even more so when it’s considered that many of the previous games that have called for cooperative play allowed people an option to play solo if wanted.

However, cooperative play and arming players with the ability to be a bad guy does create an interesting dynamic. It allows for emergent gameplay stories and mechanics, giving people the chance to create their own unique encounters that can later be retold like old war stories between soldiers. And let’s not forget the fact that the stakes are significantly higher when it’s more than a mere computer controlling an enemy. Knowing that someone somewhere is responsible for your death by dropping a horde of Hobbes on you is definite motivation to get your revenge fires fueled.

The ability to share creations in games such as Spark sets up for some interesting interactions as well. We’ve seen how popular it was in LittleBigPlanet; could it take off in the same way here? No matter which way one looks at it, it’s an innovative way to approach multiplayer; a way to capture couch co-op for the digital age. Whether or not it will make good on its premise is yet unknown, but innovation is rarely a bad thing.

Ubisoft Names Toronto Graduate Artist Apprentice for Concept Work

Ubisoft Names Toronto Graduate Artist Apprentice for Concept Work 1

(Image: Winner Brian Zuleta, left, and Art Director Scott Lee of Ubisoft Toronto in front of Zuleta’s art piece, ‘Stance’)

 

Brian Zuleta, graduate of the Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto, was named the Ubigallery Artist Apprentice at an Ubisoft Toronto offices and gallery on March 29, 2014, based on a portfolio of work and his concept art pieces.

The Ubigallery in Toronto, Ontario, prior to the announcement of the winner. Five finalists had their work displayed in Ubisoft Toronto’s gallery.

He was announced at 7 p.m., at the gallery showing of the five finalists’ art.

 

Zuleta’s pieces, created with Photoshop, included panoramas such as ‘Street’, and a profile shot ‘Stance’, which rely on a lot of dark colours with red as light, which Zuleta said was challenging to create.

 

“That’s tough. Lighting has to be good when you’re doing really dark pieces. I guess I was inspired by a lot of old movies like Guyver and Blade Runner, a lot of cyberpunk.”

 

Ubisoft’s Toronto office reached out to Ontario post-secondary institutions in April, requesting students in their final year. There were 50 initially considered, and the five finalists were brought to the offices to have their portfolios reviewed.

 

“I think Toronto might actually have the best raw pool of talent that I’ve actually experienced.” said Scott Lee, Art Director for Ubisoft Toronto. “I’m amazed at the depth of talent here.”

“We’ve always had a good relationship with the local schools. Better yet, we really wanted to give an exceptional student graduating an opportunity to work in the office. The response was amazing.”

 

Zuleta will work with Ubisoft Toronto for three months on an unannounced title, with potential for long-term work.

 

Ubisoft Toronto selected Zuleta not just for his art, but for his ability to work with others, according to Lee.

“When it came down to Brian, it wasn’t necessarily his style, per se, it was his fit. What we were looking for someone who had potential, here was potential.” Lee said. “It was potential for growth, it was potential for fit. That’s the reason why with our five finalists we went in for interviews; It’s very different than awarding someone for the best image. We were looking for someone who could really grow with us. These guys all had enough talent to make the cut, to hang on our walls and potentially work here, but ultimately we asked ‘can we see this person within three months be good enough to do this for a living?’ That’s what we got out of the interview process.”

 

“(Brian) really had a breadth of work.” Lee said. “I thought he did environments well, I really found a lot of power in his work. He was also ambitious, and he took on a lot of projects that were difficult to do.”

 

Zuleta said he is looking forward to working alongside Lee.

 

“It’s fun. I like the environment.” he said. “I love how everyone’s really friendly and everyone’s really nice. It’s just been great. I’m really excited to work here.”

 

Get Directly Involved in the Renaissance – Open a Painter’s Guild!

Get Directly Involved in the Renaissance – Open a Painter's Guild! - 2014-06-10 04:16:42

It’s a beautiful day in Florence. The sun is shining on our little artists’ pavillion and the apprentices are eager to ply their developing skills. Pixelated Italians clad in their blocky finery have amassed outside, patiently waiting to purchase a piece that strikes their fancy. It’s time to set the Painter’s Guild into motion.

Painter’s Guild is perhaps the most unassumingly pleasant simulation game in recent memory. The developing product’s free alpha, available here, is a vignette about a young Leonardo da Vinci learning from and surpassing his master. Their humble abode hold space for a practice desk, canvases of various dimensions, and a chair in which to rest. Patrons queue to supply requests of differing sizes and difficulties, each precipitating a portrait or few-bit recreation of a classic work as the completion progress bar is pushed by one of or both of the artists. Your duo needs you to shuffle them between the stations to maintain energy levels and cash flow efficiently enough to survive until Leonardo’s inevitable arrest on charges of sodomy.

That last bit isn’t so amiable, but Painter’s Guild’s full release looks to retain the gentle sense of fostering and expression of the rest as it greatly expands the scope. Recognizeable Renaissance figures will join the randomized cadre of artists, relationships will flourish, artistic styles will differ, and your guild hall will expand. Sim fans and patrons of the arts will want to keep an eye on it.

 

Sony’s E3 2014 Conference Recap

Sony's E3 2014 Conference Recap

So the last of Monday’s E3 conferences has finally come to a close. How did Sony do this year? Here’s our recap of everything they announced.

Destiny got a new story trailer, and will have a PS4 exclusive beta on July 17th. PS4 users will be able to play the alpha demo this week.

-A  Destiny bundle will come out on Destiny‘s launch date. The PS4 will be white and have 500GBs as well as thirty days of PS+

-A new gameplay demo of The Order 1886 was shown and finally gave players a glimpse into the supernatural side of the game. The player was chased through hallways by a werewolf like creature.

inFamous is getting a standalone story titled First Light. It tells the story of Amanda, the neon powered conduit. It comes out this August.

-A live demo of a new ip called Entwined was shown. Players will use both sticks to control two souls in love but who can’t be together.

LittleBigPlanet 3 was shown in a live demo. This time players can play as three new characters; Oddsock can wall jump, Toggle can weigh down platforms and can turn into a tiny ball, and Swoop can fly. Also revealed was the ability to play every user created content level from every other LittleBigPlanet game at launch. The game will launch this holiday season on PlayStation 4.

-From Software’s Project Beast has an official title: Bloodborne, coming in 2015.

FarCry 4 had another gameplay demo that showed off new takedowns from vehicles, and the on the fly co-op. It was also announced that on PlayStation4 you don’t need a copy of the game to play co-op with a friend. There were also elephants wrecking things and that’s just awesome.

-Deep Silver released the first trailer for Dead Island 2, which apparently takes place in California.

-The PlayStation 4 version of Diablo 3 will feature enemies from The Last of Us.

Disney Infinity 2 will launch first on PlayStation and will have a collector’s edition.

Magika 2 had a live action and gameplay trailer will be released on PlayStation4.

-In an unexpected announcement, the legendary adventure game Grim Fandango will be remastered and released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

-Devolver Digital is literally bringing everything ever to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita including Broforce, Titan Souls, Not a hero, and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

-A new Suda51 game was announced called Let It Die and will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive. It looks just as insane as his older stuff.

-Former Journey devs are making a new game called Abzu which takes place deep underwater.

-A new gameplay trailer for No Man’s Sky was shown. It features more planet exploration and dogfights in space. Players will be able to seamlessly fly between planets and space in real time. It will have online multiplayer where everyone starts off an a different planet.

-Youtube will finally be coming to PlayStation 4 and will allow users to upload from their console directly to their accounts.

-Twitch streamers can have their watchers interact with them more during streams.

-25 Free-to-Play games coming to PlayStation consoles such as Planetside 2.

-PlayStation TV will finally be coming to North America. It allows PlayStation 4 users to play their games on another tv in their house, and will be PlayStation Now compatible. It will retail for $99, but will have a $139 bundle that includes a DualShock 3 controller, a HDMI cable, and an 8GB memory card.

-The first Mortal Kombat X gameplay was shown. It features intractable environments from Injustice: Gods Among Us. it also showed two new characters; a woman who is part wasp, and a big burly guy who has a smaller person on his shoulders. It alsogave a few glimpses of some of the new fatalities.

-A tv adaptation of the comic series Powers will be coming to PlayStation. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Powers follows a cop who was once a superhero but lost his powers. He investigates superhero related crimes.

Ratchet and Clank: the Movie is a thing that is happening in 2015. On the same day, a remastered version of the original Ratchet and Clank will be available on PlayStation 4.

The Last of Us on PlayStation 4 will launch on July 29th. The trailer features some pretty big spoilers from the game, so watch at your own risk.

-The already leaked Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain trailer was shown.

Grand Theft Auto 5 will be coming to next generation consoles and the PC this fall. Owners of save files from last gen consoles can transfer their save data to the newer version.

-The first gameplay for Batman:Arkham Knight was shown. Batman glided throughout Gotham before jumping into the Batmobile, and then seamlessly jumping out and into stealth gameplay. Just before questioning the Penguin, the presentation was “hacked” by Scarecrow, the main villain for the game. He addressed Batman and the audience, questioned them and their sense of justice.

-The press conference ended with a trailer for the new Uncharted game, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The trailer and the title heavily hint towards the death of Sully or Nathan Drake himself.

Sony Announces Little Big Planet 3 at E3 2014

Sony Announces Little Big Planet 3 at E3 2014 - 2014-06-10 00:45:27

Toward the start of Sony’s E3 2014 press conference, developer Sumo Digital appeared on stage to announce and demo Little Big Planet 3.

The demo saw the return of Sackboy, along with a few new friends including Toggle, Oddsock, and Swoop. Each of the new characters have their own unique abilities that aid them in particular platforming sequences. Among them, Toggle will be able to switch from big and heavy to small and light, Swoop can fly, and Oddsock has the rare ability of being a wall-jumping dog.

Little Big Planet 3 will return to the series’ core mechanic of content creation, and all of the 8.7 million levels created in Little Big Planet 2 will be up-scaled and available to play in 3.

Little Big Planet 3 will release on the PlayStation 4 this November.

Sony Debuts New Uncharted 4 Trailer at E3 2014

Sony Debuts New Uncharted 4 Trailer at E3 2014 - 2014-06-09 23:39:24

Sony ended the first day of E3 2014 with the debut of an all-new trailer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It doesn’t tell us much about the game’s story itself, but we do see hints of a haggard, older-looking Nathan Drake and hear voice over of Drake trying to convince Sully to join him “one last time.”

This debut comes in the wake of troubling news involving the departure of several of its key developers at Naughty Dog. Since then, it’s been announced that The Last of Us heads Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann will be overseeing the project.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is set to release in 2015.

Rainbow Six Siege Revealed at Ubisoft’s E3 2014 Press Conference

Rainbow Six Siege Revealed at Ubisoft's E3 2014 Press Conference - 2014-06-09 20:54:43

Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot closed the publisher’s E3 2014 press conference today with a look at Rainbow Six Siege, the latest in the iconic Tom Clancy tactical shooter franchise.

The demo at the press conference featured a 5-on-5 multiplayer match in which two teams – a terrorist team and a Rainbow operative team – fought over a hostage. The terrorist team was responsible for reinforcing their hideout, while the operative team worked together to extract the hostage and take down the opposing forces.

Rainbow Six Siege is the first to be seen of the Rainbow Six franchise since the infamous Rainbow 6: Patriots went dark a few years ago. The game is being developed by Ubisoft Montreal and is set to release in 2015.

Ubisoft Announces New Fitness Game Shape Up at E3 2014

Ubisoft Announces New Fitness Game Shape Up at E3 2014 - 2014-06-09 20:39:01

During their E3 2014 press conference today, Ubisoft announced Shape Up, a new fitness game that promises to “finally” entice gamers.

The game uses the Kinect 2.0 peripheral and features multiple modes that allow players unique ways to improve their fitness. Creative Director Charles Huteau demonstrated this first by showing off a cardio section that borrowed elements of Dance Dance Revolution and pitted him against an avatar of himself.  He later brought out a colleague, and the two competed against each other in a push-up competition taking place in a well-detailed in-game arena.

Fitness games have long had a reputation as something that appeals more to the getting-in-shape mom demographic, but maybe Shape Up‘s varied game modes and interesting approach to interactive fitness with be able to change their image.

Shape Up is set to release on the Xbox One this November.

Far Cry 4 Footage Debuts at E3 2014

Far Cry 4 Footage Debuts at E3 2014 - 2014-06-09 19:38:08

Ubisoft started their E3 2014 press conference today by debuting the first five minutes of Far Cry 4, the upcoming sequel in the popular open-world shooter franchise. Along with some brutal violence and a little monkey, the video gave us a first look at the game’s infamous villain and hints that both he and the player character have a history together. At this time, the story behind their relationship is unknown.

A departure from the tropical paradise previously visited in Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4 is set in Kyrat, a region hidden within the Himalayas and governed by a fierce dictator. As the player, it’s up to you to rid the region of the brutal leader and set the people free. Through copious amounts of gunfights and explosions, of course.

Far Cry 4 is set to release on November 18th for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC.

See the first five minutes below (Warning: NSFW):