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The art of Metal Gear: Yoji Shinkawa’s visual legacy

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 08:01 GMT By Dave Cook

Metal Gear artist Yoji Shinkawa has defined some of the most iconic characters in gaming history. VG247′s Dave Cook speaks with the artist about visualising Hideo Kojima’s concepts.

I’m sitting in a hotel conference room watching Yoji Shinkawa stare at a blank canvas. He’s been at it for about ten minutes, surrounded by unopened cans of paint and an assortment of unspoiled brushes, as a group of journalists look on in still anticipation.

He stands there in a trance-like state, presumably trying to visualise his art before committing it to paper. The room is silent out of respect for the man and his craft, as if the slightest sound will shatter his concentration.

Occasionally the sound of Hideo Kojima’s camera shutter can be heard, as he scurries around the room excitedly, snapping photos of dusty old books on a shelf. The director is no stranger to posting odd photos on Twitter, and it seems that even Shinkawa’s unspoken call for quiet won’t deter him today.

Even when taking a break Shinkawa
kept on sketching like crazy.

Suddenly, Shinkawa reaches towards his brushes and you can almost feel the air being sucked out of the room. After hovering his hand over his tools for a few seconds, he walks across the room and sits back down again. He’s not ready to work yet.

Luckily for me, this means that we have a window to chat about his career, and what it’s been like to give a face to characters like Solid Snake, Psycho Mantis and Revolver Ocelot.

Many people solely accredit the creation of these figures to Hideo Kojima, but it’s Shinkawa who visualises them and ultimately decides their final appearance. By that token the impact of his work cannot be understated.

Born in Hiroshima on Christmas day 1971, Shinkawa told me that his love affair with art began at an early age, but as games were yet to become a viable career prospect back then, he initially saw himself becoming a Manga artist or painter. Over time he realised it wasn’t an easy circuit to break into.

“However,” he added, “to become a Manga artist, the skill needed for that is quite different from the skills needed to paint, so I had to kind of give up on that. But I always liked games, and back then when I was young all the game characters were simple, like Manga characters. So I sought to create bigger, realer, more hard-boiled characters and environments for the games industry, and that’s when I decided to apply to work at Konami.”

Shinkawa eventually got started and
an image of Solid Snake started to take form.

Meeting Kojima

Before Shinkawa could get inside the studio, he had to undergo an entrance test to prove he had the necessary skills. It was a two-part evaluation that saw him submitting his art portfolio from his student days, and once his work was accepted he was then interviewed by Kojima. No pressure then, but he was quickly hired after pitching a game idea similar to the original Metal Gear.

“Once I entered the company and after my training period, I had another interview where I was asked what department I wanted to work for.

“The first interview was for an arcade shooting game that used modelled monsters. I was good at making models so I thought I might be interested.

“But the second interview was with Mr. Kojima again, and he told me he was thinking about starting Metal Gear, and I said I was very interested in it. So that was the beginning of how we started working together. But if that didn’t happen I might have been making something very different right now”.

Shinkawa was officially part of what would eventually become Kojima Productions, and together he and Kojima began working on designs for Metal Gear on MSX. Little did they know that they were planting the seeds of gaming’s most-cherished franchises to date.

But how did the duo create the memorable characters we know and love today? What are the golden rules for creating guises as identifiable and long-lasting as Cyborg Ninja, The Boss or Otacon? Shinkawa was more than happy to explain part of his method with me, and confirmed that it hasn’t changed since the first game.

The detail in Shinkawa’s art
is simply incredible up close.

“What I do isn’t exactly like creating artwork,” he explained. “I think my main job is to create game characters, so what I think is most important is how characters move and react in front of the users. I draw a lot of sketches and I normally select the best ones, or sometimes it happens that I just draw what I like in the first instance. Normally I create characters gradually”.

It’s an interesting response, as obviously, game characters are not static images on a page. They move, they have personality and they speak with distinct voices. Who is Solid Snake, really? What drives the man? How do his foes react to his skills as a legendary soldier? All of these elements are instrumental to the final designs we see today.

“There are two patterns,” he continued. “One is that I assume and think about a character’s functionality from the beginning and incorporate that into the design, or sometimes I give feedback to the game designers, and we think about what functions are missing, then I incorporate that into the design.”

So poignant are Shinkawa’s early designs that they regularly inform a character’s mechanics and traits at concept stage. For example, when talking with Kojima about how characters will act on-screen, the duo will bounce sketches and gameplay ideas off each other until a final design is decided upon.

I asked if any characters had to be altered or changed from a mechanical perspective based on Shinkawa’s art, but he wouldn’t be swayed into giving away the finer details of the team’s process. Regardless it’s clear that his is an influential voice among the team, and one that has made a profound impact on the series as a whole.

Seeing the image form over time
was amazing, but it took hours.

Making a mark

From the birth of the series, Shinkawa’s art has always had a distinct style that is synonymous with the Metal Gear series. He told me that although Kojima’s games are works of fiction, he feels his responsibility as an artist is to convince players that both the worlds and characters within are very much real. Without that emotional connection, how can we invest ourselves in what we see on-screen?

One character that received a particularly emotional response from both gamers and the press was Raiden. His waif-like appearance triggered immense criticism in the West, and he quickly became a figure of ridicule until his re-emergence as a hardened cyborg ninja in Metal Gear Solid 4. I asked Shinkawa to reflect on the evolution of Raiden’s design.

“When Raiden was first introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2, Japan loved the new character,” he recalled, “because he matches the stereotype of the Manga hero. But outside of Japan it was understood that he wasn’t well-received and perhaps had a weak image. I decided for Metal gear Solid 4 to create Raiden as a more dark heroic character”.

If anything Raiden grew even darker in Platinum’s Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Shinkawa designed the character throughout the process. “In the first Metal Gear Solid there was a character called Cyborg Ninja,” he continued, “and he is one of my favourite characters. So I was already thinking about using some of the elements of that character in the new version of Raiden”.

While many gamers have forgiven Kojima for Raiden’s existence since he took a dark turn in Metal Gear Solid 4, the contrasting reactions to his original design in the East and West is telling, and shows that just like any artist, Shinkawa isn’t immune to criticism. It’s all part of the job.

Shinkawa takes five before finishing
his painting of Solid Snake.

The Phantom Pain

I asked Shinkawa if the advancements in technology going in to Metal Gear Solid 5 have made his job any easier, given the symbiotic relationship between his art and Kojima’s often-wild gameplay concepts. With broader scope for new forms of on-screen action, does this make his canvas harder to fill?

“As technology advances, the reality we can show is getting more precise,” he explained. “When illustrating the question I always ask in my mind is ‘What is reality?’ That is the foundation of any piece of art I create”.

Shinkawa’s day-to-day work at Kojima Productions – much like his method – has scarcely changed over the years, yet he often feels that game producers overlook finer details when approaching design and characterisation.

He told me that Kojima is the other extreme, and that if anything, his obsession over detail has grown with each release. “He looks at every single wrinkle of each character, Shinkawa added. “He looks into details, but the first phase starts with my sketch, then modelling, then it considers a character’s actions before becoming a final piece.

At that point I had to ask if Shinkawa has a favourite piece or project – as tricky as the question may be – and he replied, “I would have to say the first Metal Gear Solid, as it was the first time we used polygons, so there were a lot of challenges. But at the same time we found that people were very happy with it.

“I don’t think we expected anything, because back then there weren’t many stealth action games using guns, so we were just making what we believed was good. We thought, ‘OK if there’s just one person who understands what we’re passionate about then that’s fine’, so we never thought the series would come this far.

“Being in Japan it’s hard to feel when we’re being received well by so many people. But when I come abroad to a launch party I just meet so many passionate fans, and they love shaking hands with me. When I see that It makes me very happy. I’m really glad.”

We finish our chat on a high and Shinkawa returns to his painting. About two hours later I pop my head through the door to see if he’s finished. I’m greeted by this:

Hands covered in paint, Shinkawa is just sitting back in his chair, talking with no-one, relaxing as if nothing has happened. By comparison everyone else in the room has crowded around the canvas to take photos and examine the painting in awe.

If any scene underlined the power of a well-crafted piece of art, then this is surely it. It’s no secret that images can spark emotion in people, but today we’ve been lucky enough to witness the process first hand, from concept to completion.

Shinkawa’s work is more than just lines on a page. It’s given rise to some of the most memorable set-pieces and characters many of us have ever experienced. Right now, both he and Kojima are hard at work creating a whole new chapter of the Metal Gear experience.

I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly excited for Metal Gear Solid 5, and I feel that I have a new-found understanding and respect for just how instrumental Shinkawa’s art is in creating the experience.

Disclosure: To assist in writing this article, Dave attended a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance event in London. All travel was paid for by VG247. Catering was offered at the event but not accepted.

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21 Comments

  1. YoungZer0

    Beautiful article, Dave.

    Yoji Shinkawa is – next to Marko Djurdjevic – one of my favorite artists.

    I love his work. I have the Artbooks of MGS 1 and 2 lying around here somewhere.

    His work is beautifully dynamic. He leaves huge chunks of characters out and leaves them to imagination, while the rest of the picture is extremely detailed. It’s absolutely unique.

    I dunno if it was his work that influenced my sketch-style, but when I do sketches, I also leave out chunks of characters, leaving the rest to imagination. Don’t do that with fully fleshed-out pictures though.

    And for the record, I loved Raiden. I don’t think he was that emo in MGS2. I think he was much more emo in 4. I don’t like what the did to him, to be honest. I hope the next MGR is based on Gray Fox and not Raiden. I hope they don’t ruin Frank as well.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @2 Thanks mate :) It was such an honour to meet him and see him at work first-hand. It was amazing to see the painting form on the canvas over time.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    I can’t imagine. I would love to see him work.

    I met him once at a huge ass entertainment store where he, Hideo and some japanese voiceactress (voiced one of the beasts) had a signing session. Still have the Subsistence Edition with their autographs lying around here somewhere. I remember Yoji did caricatures of some of the people who were there. Not of me though. :/

    Years ago, I tried to imitate his artstyle and his design. Not easy. Should’ve the picture lying around somewhere on my harddrive. I will upload it, if you care.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Lengendaryboss

    I love the art of MGS its so sophisticated and awesome at the same time.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. mathare92

    Nice piece, Dave. One of your best to date. Granted, I have a huge bias towards the series. ;) Good job on the photos too.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. grizzlycake

    Beautiful!

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Ristas

    I was lucky to be able to meet Hideo Kojima and Yoji Shinkawa a few weeks ago and took the chance to get an autograph from Shinkawa – if you can call it that.

    Cause Shinkawa’s autograph was literally the face of Raiden, perfectly drawn and incorporated into his name. It took about 3 seconds. That alone amazed me, so i can only imagine how inspiring it mus thave been to see this whole process. Great article, Dave.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @5 thank you mate :)

    @7 he did something similar with me, but a scribble of the original MGS box art in my metal gear artbook. Kojima’s autograph is in there too. I’ll cherish it forever :D

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Sadismek

    @3 I’d love to see it.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    Is it a Japanese thing to be really good at drawing really fast? I’ve seen others do that as well.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. YoungZer0

    @9: Oh, sorry, didn’t see you there. I think I did it 4 or 5 years ago.

    There you go:

    http://www.imagebanana.com/view/tkxcec8i/roof_ninja.jpg

    @10: No, it’s training. That’s something I learned at nude drawing lessons (is that what they call it in english?). They give you limited time for your drawing. First a minute, then 30 seconds, then 10 seconds. The less time you have, the more you have to focus on the important parts of the person you’re drawing.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Hellhound30x

    THIS ARTICLE WAS TOO MUCH!!! I couldn’t stop laughing… “Suddenly, Shinkawa reaches towards his brushes and you can almost feel the air being sucked out of the room.”
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *GAAAAAAAASP!* HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    *ahem!* BULLSHIT! The guy is good no doubt, but he’s not angelic, or god like in his craft. Bleh!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Dave Cook

    @13 well, that was needlessly horrible. Thank you.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Beta

    @13 Jesus, calm down sunshine.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Alex Donaldson

    It’s so lovely to see articles on the areas surrounding gaming as a craft, or as a community, or whatever else. We really don’t get enough; there’s just a lot of previews, impressions and whatnot – but it’s great to take a step back and look at the stuff on the periphery. Doubly so when the writer clearly has an interest themselves. It’s clear that you must love art, Dave, based on this.

    I could never have written this with such genuine, properly earnest love (about Yoshitaka Amano, maybe…!) and that’s why I love it! Great work. :)

    #15 2 years ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @16: I never understood the fuzz about Amano. Yes, his artstyle is pretty unique, but he doesn’t even get the basics of the anatomy and perspective right. But yeah, I agree, we need more pieces like that. Maybe next time about Akihiko Yoshida? That guys work is so underrated.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Lengendaryboss

    @13
    “Shut up, Sit Down And Relax.” Tommy V GTA Vice City.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. GwynbleiddiuM

    That is one your finest articles Dave, thank you buddy. I can has the painting pl0x? :-”

    @13 I prescribe you a self dosed of a shot in your bloody stupid, ungrateful and unappreciative brain.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dave Cook

    @19 Thank you :)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. NeoSquall

    Nice article, Dave Scook! :D

    #20 2 years ago
  21. YoungZer0

    @20: Lawl. :D

    #21 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • 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 […]