After announcing their new project back in 2015, Zoetrope Interactive Studios’ latest Lovecraftian Horror game, Conarium, is set for a PC Release on June 6, 2016.
Three Hills, Alberta is home to one of the latest Indie Game studios to appear within Canada’s borders, Tri-Coastal Games.
Sniper Elite 4 fans have a lot to be excited about on March 21, 2017 with the launch of a brand new DLC campaign and free in-game content for multiplayer.
As a result of PewDiePie’s latest controversial videos, the most subscribed to YouTuber has been dropped from his network, Maker Studios, and Google has cancelled the second season of the Scare PewDiePie reality show for anti-Semitic behaviour.
The story begins with PewDiePie, Felix Kjellberg, uploading videos about the crowd-funding site, Fiverr, in which he requested and paid multiple users to say or perform something he thought would be funny for his viewers. The joke went to far for Google and Maker Studios however when Kjellberg requested two Indian men to lift up a sign saying, “Death to all Jews” and subscribe to Keemstar. The video has since been removed and re-uploaded without ads.
“I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me — that people on (crowd-sourcing platform) Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars,” wrote Kjellberg on Tumblr. “I think it’s important to say something and I want to make one thing clear: I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.”
After Google confirmed the cancellation of the second season of Scare PewDiePie, a YouTube spokesperson further said that Kjellberg’s channel has been removed from Google Preferred, which is how the platform handles premium advertising. The complete first season of the reality show is still available on YouTube Red for purchase.
The following statement comes from a Maker Representative in response to Variety. “Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate. Maker Studios has made the decision to end our affiliation with him going forward.”
Despite having over 50-million subscribers on YouTube, Kjellberg’s content may now be considered too toxic to other networks. Once the situation dies down, it will be interesting to see if Kjellberg censors his content and who picks up the channel along with its PR nightmare.
Card games have been a part of my life since I was five-years-old. My joy for collecting and playing started with Pokémon, grew into Yu-Gi-Oh! and eventually, I made my way to the Magic: The Gathering scene. Now these games support their own digital clients and even new games like Hearthstone have emerged to claim their stake on the mobile market. The Toronto indie developed card game, Grid Legion Storm, may lack the benefit of any established media to work off of to create a powerful playerbase, but its unique gameplay and sheer depth are sure to entice any competitive card game player into giving the new title a shot.
The objective of Grid Legion is standard fare for the genre: draw cards, summon units and attack your opponent’s life points until they reach zero and you win the game. What makes Grid Legion stand out from the pack, as a MOBA inspired card game, is the interactive battlefield. As you deploy units onto the lanes of the field, you begin to notice that each tile around you has different effects, some increase movement speed, others yield resources and some can be captured to create advantageous situations for the player. In order to win you can’t just focus on luck or drawing the best card your deck can muster; you have to be wary of everything positioned on the board and develop a powerful strategy to outwit your opponent.
Instead of using mana as the key resource of the game like M: TG, Grid Legion has two resources you have to balance: gold and aether. Gold is the resource that allows you to play your cards and create reserve units to place on the grids of the field, while aether is the resource that allows you to draw from your deck. Each of the economic resources are given out at the start of a turn, but in order to fuel your best plays you will need to create more economic advantage than your opponent by capturing goldmines and using your unique unit abilities to weaken their resources. Economy is just another level of the depth to battles in Grid Legion that makes the game feel so involved at each stage of the battle. The opening of the game is key because you want to establish as much advantage as quickly as possible, the mid-game has you defending your mines as you begin stockpiling resources for ambitious plays, and the end-game is when you unleash your game winning strategies.
Unlike other titles that make you buy randomized booster packs to hopefully get the most rare and most powerful cards, every card in Grid Legion is provided to the player with their initial purchase. You can mess around with any of the games nine key domains in the deck editor and combine their strategies together to create unique synergies. If you’re a player who loves the versatility of ranged units, then you’re probably interested in playing with cards from the Sylvan domain with their elven archers and sorcerers. If you love playing cheap undead units that can resurrect after their killed, then you’re more prone to playing cards from the demonic domain. Every playstyle a competitive card game player could dream of using is incorporated when you combine together the various domains of Grid Legion.
While a lot of these features probably sound great to veterans of the competitive scenes, I can’t help but feel that providing a first-time player with so much content at launch will cause them to feel overwhelmed by the amount of micromanagement they have to handle. Throw in a sizeable amount of card effects they have to learn and I don’t believe even the provided strategy guide will be enough to calm frustrations. While more newbie friendly features such as an interactive deck-building guide will be added as the game picks up sales, the success of Grid Legion at launch is banking on veterans of other card games to pick it up and give it a chance.
For only being made by a handful of guys at Wind Jester Studios, Grid Legion has so much content and mechanics enveloped within it that it’s easy to see the potential the game has to develop into a competitive eSport. It won’t happen as fast as other games, but with a growing playerbase and an involved developer at the helm that shows care in updating the game and tweaking imperfections, Grid Legion is a card game that could take the world by a slow yet powerful storm.
What began with a simple game of Dungeons & Dragons has evolved into a blossoming Indie dev in the Toronto gaming community known as Wind Jester Games. They may be relatively unknown to the world now, but with the upcoming release of their strategic card game, Grid Legion Storm, they hope to achieve success and mark their territory as a capable eSports game developer. The story of how the studio reached this point began in 2005, when Lead Designer and Founder, Fernando Restituto, was still in high school.
“I was running a D&D campaign and my players kept wanting to build armies and fight in these large scale wars that would require tons of dice rolls,” said Restituto.
“Eventually I couldn’t keep tricking them into avoiding these massive battles so I started designing new gameplay systems to manage them. That’s how I got started designing a series of battle systems which would eventually evolve into Grid Legion.”
Grid Legion remained a concept in Restituto’s head for a couple years following those games. As his friends broke away from each other to pursue post-secondary education, Restituto began to feel depressed and gloomy. Unaware of what he wanted to do with his future, he started learning how to program and design videogames in his spare time while also working part-time jobs. Once the Xbox marketplace opened up the ability for anyone to publish their own game on the platform, Restituto had a new goal in life and began his journey as an independent developer excited to sell his creations to the public.
With the idea still fresh in his head from his days as a Dungeon Master, Restituto began to build off of his old battle systems and create his own original game. He also started to incorporate elements from some of his favourite games, including Starcraft and Magic: The Gathering. In 2011, the first build of Grid Legion was released on Xbox Live Arcade.
“The differences between our latest version of Grid Legion and the Xbox Live version are night and day,” said Restituto.
“It was hard to learn, limited in its gameplay depth, and visually weak, but people still seemed to like the core design and so it sold a little. It was a crappy first iteration with a ton of flaws, but the objective was to get as much feedback as possible.”
As the game received the updates needed to support its players, the XBLA version of Grid Legion continued to pick up steam and players who purchased the title or tried out the free demo began to leave feedback about their experience. People enjoyed what Grid Legion was developing into, but with the coming end of Xbox Live Arcade, Restituto knew that the game had much more to offer if he started from scratch. After reconnecting with his old friends and partnering with two artists from the Toronto Indie scene, Restituto solidified his new design team and studio with the creation of Wind Jester Games.
“We replaced a bunch of graphics, made a ton of new graphical systems and polished the visual aesthetic in ways I hadn’t even thought of previously,” said Restituto.
“Grid Legion is a complex game, but it really makes a lot of things visually intuitive in a clean and appealing way.”
Knowing that the title would be constantly evolving over its lifetime, the team considered multiple ways to introduce the game and build up hype for release. While Indiegogo and Kickstarter were considered in their initial plans as a way to crowdfund the project, the final decision was to market Grid Legion as an Early Access title on Steam’s Greenlight platform and take advantage of that platform’s resources. After being greenlit, Wind Jester Games went into full design mode and began refining the competitive gameplay of Grid Legion.
“Grid Legion was created out of a love for eSport calibre gameplay,” he said
“While designing GL cards I wanted to do two things. One, I wanted to capture the uniqueness and diversity of mechanics that you see on cards in Magic: the Gathering. Two, I wanted each card to have the quantity of content that you see on MOBA styled heroes.”
A key choice made early on in development was that the title would not be free-to-play, meaning consumers only need to buy Grid Legion once to unlock all of its base content. Players start off with a pre-built deck that helps to introduce key mechanics and then play through tutorials. After that they have access to every card the game has to offer. There are no rarities or variations to collect, which helps to foster a purely competitive experience.
With such a focus on competitive play, Restituto and his team began holding meta-storming events to ensure that each card felt balanced and viable to use. These events are essentially beta-tests to discuss changes that need to be made as well as introduce new cards.
When I had the opportunity to visit Wind Jester Games at one of their events, a key point on the docket they wanted to discuss was regarding a card named Cataclysm. Due to its cheap cost and powerful effect, some members of the team claimed the card required further adjusting to make it balanced, while others debated that the card should remain as is. It was interesting to hear each group bring up valuable points on what made the card viable to use and how it could be countered, some even suggested that a new card should be introduced if they wanted to keep Cataclysm unchanged. It is discussions like this that show how designing a strategic card game from scratch is such a delicate balance.
With Grid Legion’s Early Access release, Restituto plans to continue designing new features and modes to support the game’s growing community.
“While GL is in Early Access, I will be cultivating its metagame, adding new levels and graphics and polishing it in a bunch of other ways,” said Restituto.
“But I also want gamers to know that I would very much like to add a lot more than that. The money I make from the sales of Grid Legion while in Early Access (and thereafter I’m sure as well) will be used to fund the development of new features and extended goals.”
Once a player base has emerged Wind Jester Games will begin hosting tournaments, and when 5,000 sales are met, the studio will begin further developing their interactive deck-building guide, Athenie, which helps players discover new combos and strategies. Lastly, the largest features to be added after a total of 65,000 sales include a cooperative campaign for two players to experience as well as a roguelike campaign that will challenge players to think of new strategies and synergies within a limited collection of cards.
Over nine grueling years have gone into the development of Grid Legion Storm. While the Canadian studio may be young, the balanced mechanics and unique gameplay they have put into their first title shows how dedicated they are to releasing the best product they can. Grid Legion Storm is available now and a preview of the game can be read here.
On October 13, Sony’s fanbase will launch themselves into the world of virtual reality with PlayStation VR. Destined to be a hot item for early adopters this holiday season, the PlayStation VR launch bundle retails for $699.99 CAD. This bundle includes the core headset, a pair of PlayStation Move controllers and the necessary PlayStation Camera to complete the package. If you already own a set of Move controllers and a PlayStation Camera, you can instead just buy the core PlayStation VR headset for $549.99 CAD.
Inside the headset box are a total of nine components: the headset itself with its inline remote, a set of stereo headphones, the headset connection cable, an HDMI cable, USB cable, AC power cord and adaptor, and the main processor unit where everything plugs into place. With all the extra hardware and wires, it’s understandable that your home entertainment center may become a bit more cluttered to say the least. Once everything is plugged into your PlayStation 4, the console will need to be connected to the Internet so it can be updated for the necessary VR software.
The PlayStation VR headset is a beautiful piece of hardware. Starting with the 5.7-inch 1080p OLED scope, the screen displays stereoscopic 3D images at 120 HZ and is built to deliver those images with a consistent level of sharpness and richness. Both the strap and scope unit on the headset can be adjusted to fit your head’s shape, which ensures that you are always fully immersed in whatever title you’re playing. The nine blue LED’s spread across the headset also serve a purpose as tracking lights. These help the PlayStation Camera adjust to your movements in 3D space.
Look forward to our upcoming review.
It’s been a long time coming, but after 16 years worth of titles, Sega’s Total War franchise has officially surpassed 20 million copies sold over it’s lifetime. The news comes from Sega’s first quarter earnings, which show the company making a profit of $30 million. This is good news for the company, especially since in their last quarterly earnings meeting Sega announced they were operating with a $93 million loss.
After the Canadian long weekend, Toronto’s Arc Productions has officially shut down. The news of the animation company’s bankruptcy was first announced by TorontoVFXJobs and later reported by CartoonBrew. Hundreds of employees are currently locked out and many of the artists are missing wages.
“We regret to inform you that Arc is experiencing significant financial difficulties and a liquidity crisis,” wrote CEO Tom Murray to his staff. “Despite the very best efforts of management to find a solution to this financial emergency, we have not been able to resolve this matter with our lender.”
Arc’s pedigree of work may not be reviewed as amazing, but it does include children’s titles such as Gnomeo & Juliet, 9, and The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie. These productions were done when the company was still known as Starz Animation, which was their name until 2011 when they re-branded.
The company then began co-producing titles with Disney, which included the LEGO Marvel animated specials and the upcoming Netflix series, Tarzan and Jane. Arc was set to produce their next original animated film, Blazing Samurai, for a 2017 release date and was going to be distributed by Open Road Films. There is no news about the current state of the project and whether it is cancelled.
Artists knew that something was amiss last Friday when they were not paid, which was apparently caused by a “glitch” in the system. Now that employees know that in fact it was not a glitch, but the unaware financial security of the company, they want the money they are owed.
“We are still working diligently to find a solution that will allow us to pay outstanding wages due to you, but, in the event that wages are not paid and the Receiver is appointed, there is a federal government program known as the Wager Earner Protection Program where employees of companies that have gone into receivership may be able to make a claim for unpaid wages, severance and vacation pay,” Murray wrote.
Our thoughts go out to the affected people of this unfortunate circumstance and we hope that they will be able to find work soon. Another studio, Fireforge Games, has also filed for bankruptcy today.
AMD’s latest family of graphics cards will be complete in early August with the release of both the RX 470 and RX 460. The two cards join the ranks of the previously released RX 480 and all three incorporate AMD’s new, Polaris architecture.
The RX 470 will release August 4th and is being marketed for gamers who want to experience a brilliant HD experience. The card only has one available sku at launch with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and the stock models will have a base clock of 926 MHz. The 470 can be boosted to 1206 MHz, which will pair quite nicely with it’s max computing performance of 4.9 TFLOPS. To give an accurate description of the power this card has under the hood, gamers will be able to play most AAA titles at above 60 FPS with Ultra Settings, including the latest Doom, Total War: Warhammer and Fallout 4.
The RX 460 is definitely the weakest card the family has to offer, but for it’s small size it still packs quite a punch. The card is intended for gamers who wants to get into the latest and greatest e-Sports titles and will easily perform at over 90 FPS at the highest settings on Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2. The RX 460 will be the most powerful on board graphics card that AMD laptops will support to date, being 1.2x more powerful then NVIDIA’s GTX 960M. The card will release August 8 and will have two models, a 2 GB version and a 4 GB variant.
Both cards currently have no price to announce, but with their specs it’s safe to assume they will be in the mid-low tier price range of $100-$250 USD. AMD’s latest strategy to win gamer’s hearts is to market their cards and products to the everyday consumer instead of the wealthy enthusiast. Their new Polaris architecture maximizes the performance their cards can deliver, while still adding the necessary features that people want from the industries future, such as VR gaming and stable streaming capabilities.
Rehashing the name of their most powerful GPU, NVIDIA revealed the company’s new Titan X graphics card, which features their latest Pascal Architecture. The card was showcased for the first time by NVIDIA CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, at an AI meet-up in Standford.
Inside of its die-cast aluminum body, the new Titan X contains 3584 CUDA cores running at 1.5 Ghz, 11 Teraflops of power, and a massive memory bus of 12 GB of GDDR5X memory. It reaches a memory speed of Gbps out of the box and can obtain a boost clock of 1531 MHz before it needs to be over-clocked.
If you didn’t pay for the early access version of the game on Steam, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex- First Assault Online will be taking the next steps in its development by going free-to-play open beta on Thursday July 28.
Before the game enters this stage however, interested players will be able to participate in the free weekend event, “Major Reflection”, and compete for a chance to win exclusive skins. The game is being developed by NeoPle and published by Nexon. First Assault originally released on the marketplace to multiple negative reviews, but the game has undergone a number of new implemented changes influenced by Early Access players.
First Assault is an online, squad based shooter taking place in the same universe as the critically acclaimed anime, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Players play as eight cyber-enhanced operatives across three main game types. With the game entering its open beta state at the end of July, the game will receive a new update that includes a new original operative along with a new game type that involves the shooters newly developed hacking mechanics.
For readers unfamiliar with NeoPle, they are responsible for developing other multiplayer-based games such as Dungeon Fighter and the Korean exclusive, Cypher. First Assault is their first attempt at developing a first-person shooter as well as their first game involving an official anime property.