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Going underground with Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Tuesday, 9 April 2013 08:12 GMT By Dave Cook

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen isn’t a full sequel but it is an incredibly smart release, argues VG247′s Dave Cook. Director Kento Kinoshita has also warned it’ll kick your ass sideways.

DD: Dark Arisen

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen launches on PS3 and Xbox 360 in the US from April 23 and across Europe on April 26.

The expansion is set on Bitterblack Island, a hotbed of fierce new creatures. Check out a handful of them in this gameplay trailer, courtesy of Capcom.

Rift Crystals will be used in many new ways throughout Dark Arisen, check out our report on these new mechanics here.

Capcom announced a project called ‘Deep Down’ at Sony’s PS4 showcase earlier this year. They say it’s a new IP, but my money’s on a spiritual sequel to Dragon’s Dogma. It’s probably wishful thinking, but still, the clip’s lovely isn’t it?

I remember when I first met Dragon’s Dogma director Hideaki Itsuno. He was giving an introductory speech about why he chose to pitch the game to Capcom and explained that he had the base concept in his mind since childhood.

He seemed genuinely thankful to be standing in front of the press talking about what – in his opinion – was a dream come true.

The game eventually launched in May 2012, and just a month after releasing in all territories it had sold over 1.05 million units.

The numbers weren’t astronomical by any means but here was a new IP loosely inspired by old-school Capcom games like Dungeons & Dragons, developed in Japan, and enjoying relative success in the West.

It could be considered something of a modest triumph, and there was a certain warmth that came with seeing Itsuno’s work pay off.

But why has it proven to be so popular among a certain sect of gamers? It’s certainly not RPG-heavy like The Witcher, or as action-packed as Capcom’s own Devil May Cry series, yet it treads a strange, uneven line across the company’s history, pinching ideas here and there.

I’ve always viewed it as a cluster of disparate concepts that gelled perfectly around Itsuno’s clever ‘Pawn’ system. The idea that all players allow their Pawns to be hired by others is fascinating, and reminded me of Dark Souls’ messaging and co-op summoning mechanic. In the end everyone is helping each other to beat what is effectively a very difficult game.

Or you could do what I did and hire your friend’s Pawn – in this case an elderly midget woman – and hurl them off a cliff for a laugh:


SEEYA!

I know, terrible right? But I gave her a few well-cooked steaks and sent her back to my friend as an apology, but only after taking the above image in-game and sharing it with the in-built Facebook app for the world to see.

Dragon’s Dogma is a clever, socially integrated and best of all, very fun game. It came at a time when sequels were dancing on the grave of creativity and the West was lapping up Dark Souls like hungry kittens on a saucer of milk. Said milk is poisoned by the way.

Capcom announced Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen last year, an expansion that takes players to Bitterblack Island just off the coast of mainland Gransys. It’s massive, includes the first game in full and retails at a budget price.

In the days of $60 releases with five-hour campaigns, this is a great way for the studio to raise awareness of the Dragon’s Dogma name, considering Capcom has made no secret that it now wants to turn the IP into a full franchise. My money’s on Capcom’s PS4 game ‘Deep Down’ being a spiritual sequel. Just you watch.

But why do an expansion at all? I spoke with Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen director Kento Kinoshita and asked that very question. ” I have been longing to expand the world of Dragon’s Dogma and so to provide it as early as possible we chose this route rather than a fully-fledged sequel,” he replied.

“At the same time, we wanted it to have a fresh, distinctive look and atmosphere, hence our use of a different colour palette to deliver a more foreboding tone. To further this we have added more enemies that possess magical abilities which will provide players with a whole new challenge and add real tension to the action.”

It certainly does look darker than the core game with dank caverns, grim underground lairs and – again just like Dark Souls – a penchant for the death, as seen in the game’s new undead enemy types. I asked Kinoshita what new monsters players can expect to fight.

I wasn’t expecting him to say you fight Death himself, but yeah, he’s totally in there. “He provides a real threat as one touch from his scythe and it’s all over”, Kinoshita explained. “However, if you manage to defeat Death then you will be rewarded with an extended health gauge, so players might want to make this one of their goals during the game.

“Secondly we have the Necrophagous class which consists of a number of different beast types that appear to feast on the rotting remains of defeated enemies. They appear at random so just when you think you can take a rest they burst onto the scene, dramatically altering the flow of the action.

“Amongst the Necrophagous foes I would highlight the fearsome Cursed Dragon and the Garm which attack in packs. Finally I can’t forget Daimon. Like a character in a fighting game it possesses real strength in its standard attacks, but also has the ability to use powerful magic which can be unleashed after only a short enchantment.”

I’m already intimidated as hell. Dark Arisen certainly won’t be easy, so I dared to ask Kinoshita how he felt about the game being compared to Dark Souls. “Both “Dark Souls” and “Demon’s Souls” are fantastic games, so it is a real honour that Dragon’s Dogma has been compared to them,” he replied.

“That said the game design of Dragon’s Dogma is very different from these two titles so, for me, I would always hope that Dragon’s Dogma was viewed as a great game in its own right. Taken as a whole, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is harder than the first title.

“However we’ve taken a gradual approach for the difficulty level with the new content – the upper level being easier than the middle and lower levels of the underground realm. While any player new to Dragon’s Dogma could access Bitterblack Isle after about an hour, though we would recommend being at around level 40 before you venture there.”

Kinoshita explained that it would still take about 20 hours for veteran Dragon’s Dogma players to fight from the top of the Bitterblack Island area, right down to the lowest level. That’s massive when you consider the scale of the core game, underlining Capcom’s smart approach to value.

I’m well aware that many gamers don’t like the way Capcom charges for micro-DLC in its fighting games and so on. But bear in mind that Dragon’s Dogma is made by a bespoke team that has been generous in the content department, so it’d be refreshing to see Dark Arisen enjoy similar success to its predecessor at launch.

In closing Kinoshita wanted to express his thanks to Dragon’s Dogma fans and anyone reading this piece, “I’d like to express my big thanks to all of the Dragon’s Dogma fans out there. Because of you, we are now able to deliver Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen.

“Even now we still receive a lot of comments from players many opinions from users. Looking ahead, I still plan to keep my ears open to the comments from players of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen so I can take them into consideration when creating new content.”

Nice, but my money’s still on ‘Deep Down’ being a Dragon’s Dogma game, seriously.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen hits PS3 and Xbox 360 across North America from April 23 and across Europe April 26.

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12 Comments

  1. foxmulder555

    Looking ahead, I still plan to keep my ears open to the comments from players of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen so I can take them into consideration when creating new content.”

    here this “I want a PC VERSION “

    #1 2 years ago
  2. DrDamn

    Missed it first time round due to gaming backlog, but want to pick this up. This sort of title demonstrates where I think NextGen gameplay expansion will be. I.e. looking at online as something other than adversarial shooting/fighting. There have been hints of features and extensions in this area this gen with titles like Dragons Dogma, Demons/Dark Souls, UGC. With a couple of consoles designed to be always on that could really expand massively.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. orakaa

    I absolutely LOVED Dragon’s Dogma.
    I was quite a bit sad at the end when I had nothing left to do (“platinumed” the game on PS3).

    Actually it’s the only game I’ve platinumed, with Demon’s Souls (I need to buy and do Artorias abyss in Dark Souls to get the platinum on this one as well).

    The “Souls” series and “Dragon’s Dogma” are different, but equally enjoyable to me. And they both managed to create a feeling of community that was refreshing to be a part of. For the Souls series, the wiki and forums was an essential part of the game (to get some materials to forge rare weapons, you had to get help from others, otherwise you’d have to grind hopelessly for hundreds of hours). For DD, at the end of the game, you have a “world” boss who has a gigantic health bar, and is accessible by EACH player connected online. This means that each player coming to face this boss participate to lower his health. You can find on Facebook a group dedicated to items exchange, but mostly to keep record of the boss health (there is an achievement/trophy to kill him, as well as good rewards). THIS is the kind of multiplayer and social interaction that I like.

    Regarding difficulty, I don’t really agree: Dragon’s Dogma is really easy. Only the first encounters can be hard and frustrating when you wander around and find some boss-like monsters wandering around the world. But quite quickly, you become TOTALLY overpowered, with very little challenge (until the very end, with the world boss who is ridiculously hard in comparison with the rest).
    I played a warrior until I max’d it, then switched to a wizard, and finally turned into a Magic Archer (I love the magic bow). Being able to completely change class is really a great idea.

    Anyway, I will buy Dark Arisen. $30 for 20 hours of great gameplay is excellent.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. silkvg247

    I wanted to try this game given the praise it gets.. and I did.. but it’s unplayable. I don’t know why but I keep getting really bad screen juddering and awful framerate drops. The first fight was an absolute ballache because of it.

    (360 version)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DrDamn

    @4
    Was that the demo or full retail, did you try installing?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. stretch215

    This game is a prime example of why new ip should always have demos. I had never heard of this game, played the demo, and purchased it day 1. The guy @ gamestop told me I had grabbed the last copy, and that most of the people who bought the the mentioned the demo being their reason for doing so. I’ll definitely be grabbing this also. Edit: the 360 version (& demo) were fine for me. None of what #4 mentioned at all.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. BrutalZen

    Hope you guys do not mind answering a question about this game. Does this release include the original of 2012 AND the Dark Risen add-on or is it JUST the add-on.

    From what I’ve seen and heard (and read) about Dragon’s Dogma, it’s a must buy if this release contains both the original and the add-on. Shame I missed the original release… Seems it has some similarities with Kingdoms of Amalur which I loved.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Samoan Spider

    @7 “It’s massive, includes the first game in full and retails at a budget price.”

    Edit @9 Which I haven’t so I’ll be grabbing it.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. orakaa

    Dark Arisen is the original game + the new area/content.

    So yes, it’s a REALLY good deal for anyone who hasn’t played Dragon’s Dogma before

    #9 2 years ago
  10. adge_uk

    It was my faveourite game of 2012, like the best of Skyrim and Dark Souls mashed into one amazing action RPG. The sheer size and physicality of some of the monsters was really impressive, plus the day/night cycle was so well thought through… I can recall many times thinking “I can get there in a day” and ending up it terrifying battle through the woods.

    Really looking forward to more of this.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Rosseu

    I have the original and really liked how smooth the animation is especially in combat. However, as #4 mentioned it suffers from massive fps drops and I found that some parts of the environment were poorly designed and felt bland (something I encountered in AC3 for the PS3). I really hope the series goes next gen, and comes out for the PC as well.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. fihar

    I remember Capcom getting a lot of flak for doing this with UMVC3 and SSFIV.
    Dark Arisen might be a sizable expansion but so was Dragonborn and Bethesda have no trouble putting that as a DLC.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ll definitely pick this one up, but the double standards on display here is maddening.

    #12 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]