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Interview: Runic’s Max Schaefer on Torchlight and Torchlight II

Friday, 7 January 2011 10:54 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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Runic Games is on the up. Having clocked more than 500,000 sales for 2009′s universally-loved indie ation-RPG Torchlight on PC, the developer hit the big leagues this week with a place on CES’s Microsoft keynote stage and confirmation of an XBLA version.

While the console outing has received a complete UI and control overhaul over the PC smash, Runic’s rushing towards a “May” launch of Torchlight II on PC, replete with online co-op, overland areas and more.

We spoke with Runic co-founder Max Schaefer in December on the state of play for PC development in general, the original thinking behind Torchlight as a project and what we can expect from the much-anticipated sequel.

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VG247: You had a real hit with Torchlight. What was it about the game that resonated so well with PC users? Do you think there was just a gap in the market for another point-and-click action RPG at the time?

Max Schaefer: Yeah. I was involved with the whole Diablo series as well, and the motivation was the same then as it was when we started making Torchlight, and that is, like you said, that there’s a gap in the market.

There are a million people out there trying to make WoW-killers, and the standard MMO genre is very, very crowded right now. For whatever reason, there seem to be precious few good action-RPG titles. That was the basis for why we wanted to make Torchlight to begin with.

Also we took a couple of gambles with Torchlight that I think paid off, and that was that people just want a fun game, and don’t so much care if it has multiplayer. Assuming there are people that will play a single-player RPG was the biggest risk.

But also we felt that in PC games in general, the projects have got too big, and too labourious, and they take too long and too much money to make. We figured that we could make a really fun, compelling game and only have to charge $20 for it – no subscription fees, no item sales or anything like that – and that people would be receptive.

I think they were, and I think that’s an approach that we’re going to continue to take as we go forward.

To expand on that, then, the climate at the moment, especially on PC, is seemingly very kind to mid-budget developers delivering games which are not quite so fully-featured but have a lower price and are more easily digestible. Torchlight’s a great example, and Minecraft’s another one. We’re seeing very big numbers for these games. Do you think this is because people have just got tired of spending too much money for games which are too big?

Max Schaefer: Right. And just from a business perspective, when you make these $50 million games, it’s so hard to make your money back that publishers are very conservative about what sort of games they’ll greenlight. So you get a lot of sequels, copycat games and conservative plays. When you come down to a rational budget and a rational team size, you really are freed to take more risk and do more creative things. I think Minecraft is a perfect example. I’m obsessed with Minecraft. I can safely say that Minecraft will slightly delay the shipping of Torchlight 2 [laughs].

It just proves that one guy can make a clever and compelling game. I hope we see more of it, because I think what the PC business really needs right now is more creativity, more responsiveness to customers and more fun, compelling titles. If we’re going to spend $50 million and take four years to make each game, we’re just not going to serve the market.

On the subject of lightweight, easily digestible games, part of Torchlight’s success was almost certainly down to the fact that it would basically run on anything. This is a tactic that Blizzard put to very good use with WoW back in the early days. Is it going to be a similar deal with Torchlight II?

Max Schaefer: Torchlight II runs on the same graphics engine and technology as Torchlight. Now, since there are more people on screen and there’s a little bit more happening, it won’t be identical in its performance, but it’ll be very, very close. Like you say, it really helped World of Warcraft a lot, and I think it has an even more profound effect to a game like Torchlight, for several reasons: firstly, if it runs on old machines, then the market is bigger; also, action-RPGs really benefit from a smooth frame-rate more than other game genres do. By going low-spec, your frame-rate goes up on your good machines as well. If you have a super-high-end gaming rig, Torchlight runs smooth as silk on it, and it just feels good.

Taking a low-tech approach has benefits in performance on any machine, not just running on low-end machines.

Also, not doing bump-maps and shaders and all this sort of stuff, means that we can make stuff faster and it’s easier to iterate. We actually get to spend more time polishing, and more time with the art direction, and more time iterating on the things we’re designing, because the production of the art assets is just a lot easier and faster.

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It seems that taking this approach to development actually keeps you very nimble. Is this the sort of space you want to stay in? You don’t want to move towards higher-end graphics cards?

Max Schaefer: I think we’re definitely going to stay in this area. For one thing, we want to keep a small company; we don’t want to grow to be a thousand people like Blizzard. We don’t want to do five-year projects. We want to stay as a small team that does one thing at a time and focuses on it and does it quickly.

I think pretty much anyone in the game business has a least a small measure of attention deficit disorder, and as developers we certainly do as well. It’s certainly a lot more satisfying to get a project on the shelves in 11 months, as we did with Torchlight, than to spend five years on something that may or may not ever ship.

Talking about the game itself, then. Obviously, it’s built very closely to the Diablo II formula: were you very clear when you set out that you weren’t going to deviate from click, kill, loot, sell, in any way at all?

Max Schaefer: Yeah. I think that was the one area in which we were fairly conservative in our approach. We have a bunch of people on our team that have a proven and long history of making this sort of game. We know that we can do this sort of game well. We know that we can put out a compelling, fun product in this genre. Given that we were going off-board with a lot of the other approaches we were taking, it was the one area that we did want to be conservative and make sure we got right.

And I’m glad we did. Now that we’ve established the Torchlight franchise, and established the development tools and our team, let’s see what we can do with it now, see what other people who are making action-RPGs, who have a more labourious process and have bigger teams, can’t do. We want to be able to go places that maybe Diablo III won’t go. We’re a brand new company, and Torchlight is our only product to date, so we want to see where we can take this now.

As you say, we are more nimble, and we can experiment more easily and get results and feedback faster than other companies.

You touched on Diablo III there. That’s a hugely anticipated game. There were some incredibly flattering remarks about Torchlight being a worthy stop-gap between now and Diablo III. How did you feel about that?

Max Schaefer: We’re very, very pleased to be a Diablo III stop-gap [laughs]. Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Blizzard and what they’re doing with Diablo III, and we really respect the fact that they’re going to take the time to do it right. Obviously, we’ll be day one purchasers of Diablo III, and it’ll delay whatever we’re working on at the time, but at the same time we’re glad we don’t have to do it. They have incredible expectations, and there’s almost no way that they’ll be able to please everybody with what they do. It’s a scale and a level of responsibility and a situation that in some ways we’re glad we’re not in.

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I just wanted to talk about a few of Torchlight’s gameplay elements. One of the things I noticed immediately is that the game’s Normal setting is incredibly easy. Are you planning on adjusting that for the sequel?

Max Schaefer: Yeah. I think we went a little overboard with it. The theory was that we were assuming that with the Normal setting this is a new customer, and not someone who’s spent 400 hours playing Diablo. If you have spent a decade and many hundreds of hours playing Diablo, you’re going to come into Torchlight and be able to breeze right through it on the Normal setting.

There’s a new generation of people out there, a new generation of gamers who came into the fold after the Diablo titles happened, and they may be very used to the WASD, WoW-style of play. We wanted to make sure they didn’t feel incompetent when they fired up Torchlight on Normal mode.

Having said that, I think we maybe did overdo it a bit, and it was a little too easy. We’ll make a minor adjustment for that in Torchlight II.

I’ve been playing through it as the Alchemist, and it’d be really great if there was more in the way of pet and minion control. Do you have anything planned in that regard for the sequel?

Max Schaefer: I don’t think we have anything particularly specific for controlling minions. I think that we could do a better job of honing in their behaviour, so that you don’t feel as though you have to control them as much. That’s the area we’re going to be hitting.

Torchlight II is going to be a little different to Torchlight in that we do have a little more time now to polish. We started Torchlight with blank computers and no software and had a shipping title 11 months later. During that time we had to develop our technology, experiment and figure out an art style, write our development tools, develop an art pipeline and a method of putting things together and everything else, so a lot of time was kind of swallowed up.

We’re hitting the ground running with Torchlight II. We’re using the same tools, the same graphics engine, most of the same staff, and everyone is better at doing this. We can really hit the ground running and spend more time of things like minion behaviour and late game balance, a lot of the things we didn’t have the luxury of doing in Torchlight.

Are you going to be keeping the sidekick mechanic for Torchlight II? That was actually awesome. I thought that was a very neat way of getting round some labourious problems.

Max Schaefer: Absolutely, and we’re going to expand on it considerably. The pets were a universally popular addition, and we want to go a little bit further this time, have more pet options and maybe give them some more abilities as well.

The main addition to Torchlight II, obviously, is online co-op. We’ve seen this is action RPGs before, the one immediately springing to mind being Titan Quest. Are you planning to innovate in any way? Are you planning on giving something new, or are we going to see something tried and tested but in the Torchlight mould?

Max Schaefer: I’d say that from a gameplay perspective, our goals are relatively modest for this. Basically, we just wanted you to be able to play Torchlight with your friends, and we wanted to be able to do it, again, without having to do subscription fees, or items sales, or any of the other junk that you generally have to do nowadays to play online action-RPGs with your friends.

There’ll obviously be skills and things that are designed specifically for multiplayer, and we’ll do as many cool things as we can with it, but I don’t think we’re going to be looking for a revolutionary new gameplay style with our multiplayer model.

Can you play the whole game in co-op? Is it four-way co-op?

Max Schaefer: It’s entirely soloable, so you can play as one person. We haven’t set the party maximum just yet. The sweet spot, just from playing in the office, is 1-4 players. There’s no technological reason why we can’t increase that, but once you get up to, like, eight players, it gets ridiculously crowded if you’re at all in the same area.

It is possible to have a group of four in the late game and then another group of four in the early game in, technically, the same game session and you just never see [each other]. It works fine. It’s an ongoing debate right now where we set the maximum number of players in the game. It’ll probably be between four and eight.

Will the campaign itself be longer?

Max Schaefer: Yes. We’ve got considerably more content than we did in Torchlight. We’ve got multiple hub cities, vast overland areas and lots of lots of dungeons.

Is there any PvP stuff in it?

Max Schaefer: We’ll probably enable a PvP mode that’s just basically for people to have fun with. We’re not going to spend any time trying to really balance it very well [laughs], or make particular games for it. We want PvP to basically be something where, if you just want to see who’s stronger between you and your friend, you can do that.

The second thing that really stuck out in that reveal trailer was the overland stuff. Has bringing the action out of the dungeon helped your co-op design by giving you more space? How have overland areas affected the overall project?

Max Schaefer: Technically, these are really just outdoor dungeons. They’re still randomly-generated areas – they’ll be different every time you start a new game – but they change the feeling of the game entirely.

There was some valid criticism of Torchlight that said it was a relatively claustrophobic game. You were underneath one particular town, and there clearly wasn’t much of a sense of an actual world up there. There’s a pretty striking difference. Just walking out across the wilderness to get to a town, it really feels more like an actual world.

The difference is a lot more than you would think. You get it within five minutes of playing. There’s the promise of more. Because you’re walking outdoors right at the beginning of the game, walking towards a town, you get the sense that you’re going to be seeing a lot of cool different places and a lot of different terrains, and you’re going to be really exploring a world instead of just a delving beneath one town. It really has changed the feel of the game substantially.

It also lets us explore different terrain types and different styles, and it breaks up the game better. There’s something psychologically refreshing about coming out of a dungeon and then heading across the wilderness. Even though, technically, it’s a trivial difference it just feels different.

A lot of an action-RPG is pacing. If your levels are too long, you just start to get bored, or you start to get frustrated. A lot of honing and making an action-RPG fun and compelling is the pacing of it. It really helps with pacing to be able to come indoors then outdoors, and so on.

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While you’re changing the physically scenario of the game, I assume you’re overhauling the classes as well. Are you keeping the classes from Torchlight and adding more, or are you starting again?

Max Schaefer: We have four new character classes, and you’re not going to be able to play the old classes any more. Those old classes will be in the game as NPCs and still part of the world lore, so you are still in the same world.

We’re starting where Torchlight’s story left off and you’re going to see some of the same NPCs that you saw the first time around, but we wanted to get away from the notion that we’re tacking on multiplayer to Torchlight. We wanted to emphasise that we’re making a completely new game, so there’s all-new skills and all-new character classes. There’ll be four character classes this time.

Care to share any of the classes?

Max Schaefer: We’ve already revealed the Railman, who’s sort of a tank with engineering skills. As per the lore, he’s out building these railways across the dangerous and monster-strewn wilderness, so he’s both got to be able to build things and fight off dangers. He’s sort of a mellee tank, but he also has engineering skills, which are pretty cool.

The other one we’ve already talked about is the Outlander. He’s a sort of wandering magician, ranged fighter type of character. The idea is that he’s not part of any structured society; he’s a lone wanderer. He’s sort of a magic, ranged counterpart to the melee tank of the Railman.

The other two characters will fill in the gaps from there.

Finally, when’s it actually coming out?

Max Schaefer: We’ve been saying April or May. We’re a game developer telling you a due date, so take that with a pinch of salt. When I say “April-May,” I probably mean “May” [laughs]. As someone told me, “You mean April 45th?”

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3 Comments

  1. Blerk

    Great interview, I hadn’t realised that there was a possibility of it being more than 2-player co-op. I’m already sold on Torchlight 2, anyway – no further pimpage required, I’ll be getting it for sure.

    One question which does spring to mind – is the sequel also going to be coming to console, or does that depend on the performance of the first one?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. mingtons ghost

    I’d imagine the sequel will come to consoles, the same thought popped into my head whilst i was reading, if its all the same engine and what not, why not release the sequel across all platforms at the same time…….monies, why miss out on all the first game wonga

    Sounds like all the hard work is done, it’ll just be a waiting game to convert and release the sequel on xbox…probably during ‘summer of arcade 2012′ put that prediction in your pipe and smoke it!

    #2 4 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    Fantastic interview. Well done. Great game and I like the way Max thinks. Can’t wait for tourchlight II.

    #3 4 years ago

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    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]

  • This video shows Sid Meier’s Starships being played on iPad

    Sid Meier’s Starships will be released on iPad alongside Mac and PC, and to give you an idea on how it plays on the tablet, a new video has been released. Watch below as Pete Murray and lead producer Stuart Zissu show off the iPad version. The 4X space-strategy releases on March 12.

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announced as standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel to The New Order, will release May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes pace in 1946, and and players take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz as he embarks on a two-part mission in Bavaria. Part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, […]

  • Observer Mode coming soon to Evolve as a free update

    Observer Mode will be released for Evolve as a free update for all platforms, 2K and Turtle Rock have announced. The community feature was designed to give Evolve players the ability to observe and add commentary as well as livestream, allowing a sixth user to “passively enter a custom game” with the ability to switch […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes and PS4 top Media Create charts in Japan

    The PlayStation 3 and PS4 skus for Dragon Quest Heroes were the top sellers on the Media Create charts in Japan, moving a combined 594,749 units. Elsewhere on the chart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was in third place with 39,751 units moved, and last week’s top seller, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, […]

  • Watch Hideo Kojima answer lots of your burning Phantom Pain questions

    What’s better than learning the official release date of MGS5: The Phantom pain? Hideo Kojima talking more about it, of course! Hideo Kojima has decided to answer a few fan questions about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, to help boost everyone’s hype to insane levels. He talks about the game’s story, his relief […]