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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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  • 50 finalists for Bohemia Interactive’s Make Arma Not War contest announced

    The 50 finalists for Bohemia Interactive’s €500,000 Make Arma Not War contest have been announced, after the firm combed through over 250 entries. Finalists chosen in the single-player category were chosen by Arma 3 players, and the add-on and multipkayer entries were selected by Bohemia Interactive. Winners for the next round will be evaluated by […]

  • Here’s a new batch of gruesome Killing Floor 2 screenshots

    Tripwire Interactive has released a new batch of screenshots for Killing Floor 2. The screens show various weapons as well as a variety of Zeds ready to tear you to shreds. Killing Floor 2 is slated for release this year on PC and PlayStation 4. It will also be made available for SteamOS.

  • Hatred is now available for pre-order, new video released

    Hatred is now available for pre-order through the game’s official website. There are two editions to choose from: Digital version with the official game soundtrack for €16.66; or the Digital version with the game soundtrack and a T-shirt for €36.66. The second edition is limited to 1,485 units. Hatred, which was handed an AO rating […]

  • This The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D TV spot is sort of creepy

    With The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D arriving on the first Friday the 13th of the year, it’s only fitting Nintendo would release a slightly creepy TV spot for it. The game’s concept is rather dark, and while it the commercial isn’t too creeptastic, for as short as it is the message is conveyed […]

  • GTA 5 “documentary” chronicles the life of a Tennis Pro

    Here’s another user created video featuring footage from GTA 5, but this one is a documentary instead of crazy stunts, mayhem and face-plants. Created by Bombastic Gamer Films, the documentary delves into the life of Tennis Pro Andreas Schmovakovic, who is both the “greatest player in the world, and the worst.” It’s rather good honestly. […]

  • World of Tanks Xbox 360 updated with console exclusive Pacific Island map, JapaneseChi-Nu Kai tank

    World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition has been updated with a new and exclusive console-only map called “Pacific Island”, which also comes with a Japanese tank. Players will be able to wreck havoc in their very own Japanese Chi-Nu Kai tank, which ca be picked up through the in-game store for Tier 5. It tank […]

  • Here’s the first trailer for OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood

    Roll 7 has released the first trailer for OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood. Gameplay in the second outing will include ramps, jumps and hills, allowing for plenty of air and split level routes. It comes with a deeper combo system with Manuals, Reverts, Revert Manuals and Grind Switching. The ‘Tricktionary’ has also been updated with new […]

  • Learn all about the single-player mode in this Evolve video

    A video showing off the single-player portion of Evolve has been released by 2K and Turtle Rock. All content in the game can be played in either online multiplayer or offline in single-player. The video below contains two matches of Defend mode played from both the Monster and Hunter perspective. AI obviously takes on the […]

  • Super Smash Bros. Wii U update comes with 15 extra stages

    An update for Super Smash Bros. Wii U has been released, and it comes with 15 new stages for the 8-player mode. The update, version 1.0.2., is 316MB in size and the stages are split with nine normal stages and six Omega stages. Here’s the list: Regular stages Animal Crossing – Smashville Animal Crossing – […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update includes Metroid Prime Trilogy, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. demo

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Shadow of the Ninja on Virtual Console and a demo for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Here’s your update: Metroid Prime: Trilogy – Wii U Rock ’N Racing Off Road – Wii U Frenchy Bird – Wii U Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – […]

  • Battlefield Hardline open beta takes place next week on all systems

    Details and dates for the Battlefield Hardline open multiplayer beta were announced by EA and Visceral Games today. From February 3-8, the beta will be available to all players worldwide on Origin for PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You’ll notice that the dates coincide with the Microsoft slip up earlier in […]

  • Transistor, Yakuza 4, Thief headline February PS Plus offerings

    Sony has announced your free PlayStation Plus games for the month of February. Come February 3 in North America and February 4 in Europe, Plus members on both side of the pond will be gifted with the following: Transistor (PS4) Apotheon (PS4) Yakuza 4 (PS3) Thief (PS3) Rogue Legacy (PS Vita|PS4|PS3) Kick & Fennick (PS […]

  • Life is Strange launch trailer and final dev diary released

    With the first episode of Life is Strange releasing tomorrow, Dontnod Entertainment has released the last developer diary for the title as well as the launch trailer. Titled Creating Arcadia Bay, the video provides more information on the licensed soundtrack as well as the voice actors behind Max and Chloe. It also touches upon how […]

  • LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers out this year

    LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers have been announced by Warner Bros., the former was outed by Toys R Us and then teased at the end of LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, if you recall. LEGO Jurassic World encompasses all four Jurassic Park films and will be made available in June for 3DS, PC, […]

  • Pokemon, Super Smash Bros. top Nintendo’s million units sales list for Q3

    Nintendo has posted a list of titles which have sold millions of units as part of its quarter three earnings release. Global unit sales of 3DS titles for the nine months ending December 31, 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: 9.35 million (life-to-date, same) Super Smash Bros.: 6.19 million (life-to-date, same) Tomodachi Life: 2.11 […]

  • How to take a screenshot on Xbox One: a lesson in frustration

    Trying to do just one simple thing seems to have 360 steps with Microsoft – why is the Xbox One’s functionality such a car crash? “The Xbox One’s definition of usability is in fact the exact opposite – this is a console designed to make life inconvenient for its players unless they sign up for […]

  • Game of Thrones’ Westeros is being made in Minecraft by 125 people

    WesterosCraft, the project dedicated to creating the entirety of Game of Thrones’ Westros has resurfaced. There are more than a few ambitious Minecraft projects, but hardly any as impressive as WesterosCraft. We first came across it all the way back in January 2013, but it looks much better now. “I would say the world is […]

  • Dying Light exploit gives you unlimited money and items

    Dying Light has been out for just over a day and an infinite money and item exploit is already out there. A simple exploit has been discovered in Dying Light that lets you duplicate weapons, all of which you can sell for profit. Win/ win. YouTuber PowerPyx lays out the steps in the handy video […]

  • Sunset Overdrive concept art is as jovial as the game itself

    Sunset Overdrive is a colourful game which is partly due to its concept art. The concept art featured below is created by Vaughan Ling, one of the concept artsists who worked on Sunset Overdrive. Anyone who’s played the game will immediately recognise the locations, weapons, character designs and general atmosphere of the game through these. […]

  • Get an extended look at the PS4 version of Project CARS

    The PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS has been shown in 1080p 60fps. The video below is captured by racing game enthusiasts Team VVV from a preview build. You can see different racing disciplines being demonstrated here, on different circuits. The game’s impressive visuals get even better when the weather gets worse.

  • Battle Pod is the Star Wars arcade game you’ve waited your whole life for

    Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade game that lets you replay the battles of the original trilogy, and features an incredible cockpit. If you’ve never played a game at an arcade before, Star Wars: Battle Pod will definitely be the one to change your mind. It’s an arcade cabinet out of a classic Star […]

  • CoD Exo Zombies: how to unlock the Ride of the Valkyries Easter egg

    To no one’s surprise, Exo Zombies mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has some Easter eggs. The first Exo Zombies Easter egg, of surely many more to come, has been discovered. It’s a musical one that involves Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. How you unlock it is not as convoluted as you might […]

  • Dying Light is sub-1080p on Xbox One, full 1080p on PS4 – report

    Early analysis of Dying Light on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has revealed a few technical details about both ports. Digital Foundry has produced some analysis of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports of Dying Light based on some early testing. Both versions manage a solid 30 frames-per-second, only dipping below that in […]

  • Battlefield 4 Second Assault DLC free to all EA Access members

    EA is offering Battlefield 4′s Second Assault expansion free to anyone with an active EA Access subscription. Anyone with an active subscription to EA Access can download the Second Assault expansion pack for Battlefield 4 starting January 29 and through February 28, free of charge. All you need to do is find it on the […]

  • The Witcher 3 is getting optimised, but no visual downgrade

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the final stages of development and developer CD Projekt RED is making sure optimisation work doesn’t impact the game’s visuals. The Witcher 3 art producer, Michal Stec, spoke to Eternity in an interview and was asked whether the team will downgrade the visuals to get better performance. “No. […]

  • Can’t download Dying Light on PS4? Here’s a fix

    If you’ve bought Dying Light on PS4 and you’re having trouble downloading it, you’re not alone. Here’s how to beat the bug. Techland’s Dying Light is stumbling out of the blocks a little this week, with many PS4 users experiencing problems with their full-game downloads. A bug’s to blame. Your console thinks you’ve already installed […]

  • What The Witcher 3 owes to Skyrim – and how it surpasses it

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt owes more than a nod to Bethesda’s Skyrim. I went to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and had a great time. I went in a fan of the books but not very experienced with the first two games. I came out with The Witcher 3 top of my gaming […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online has great monsters

    Dragon’s Dogma Online looks pretty rad – an undesirable quality in a game unlikely to come west, from our perspective. The first Dragon’s Dogma trailer was released this afternoon; admire its beauty below. The free to play online RPG was announced for PC, PlayStation 3 and PS4 overnight, but Capcom doesn’t intend to bring it […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X map about five times the size of last game’s

    Xenoblade Chronicles X is not a small game. This week’s Famitsu has a feature on Xenoblade Chronicles X giving some details on Monolith Soft’s next RPG and first Wii U game. According to Siliconera‘s translation of reports on the feature, the game’s map is about five times the size of that in Xenoblade Chronicles. The […]

  • Take on Mars expected to hit beta in April

    Take on Mars, the space sim from Bohemia Interactive will soon be reader for wider consumption. According to a new Take on Mars development roadmap, the sim will go into beta at the start of April, with full release expected in June. The project is currently available via Steam early Access, but between now and […]

  • Can you guess the next Mortal Kombat X character reveal from this fatality audio clip?

    Mortal Kombat X will have at least one very liquid-sounding fatality. NetherRealm is revealing Mortal Kombat X’s cats one character at a time, and has promised a new reveal during a community Twitch stream tomorrow. It also provided the following teaser video – it’s audio only, and apparently taken from a fatality sequence. What’s your […]

  • Nintendo Creators Program now recruiting YouTubers – PewDiePie, others weigh-in

    Nintendo has opened a Creators Program designed to ensure creators get a slice of ad revenue from videos featuring Nintendo assets, and some prominent YouTubers aren’t pleased with the company. Update “What Nintendo are missing out on completely is the free exposure and publicity that they get from YouTube,” wrote Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) on his […]

  • Xbox Live issues under investigation

    Can’t sign into Xbox Live? Microsoft is on the case. Xbox 360 and Xbox One users report being unable to sign in to Xbox Live. Microsoft is already aware of and working on the problem. “Our team is hard at work right now trying to get this resolved. Thank you for staying patient while we […]

  • Make money from your non-Valve mods with Steam Workshop

    Valve has opened the money-making side of Steam Workshop to third-party titles, giving enterprising modders more ways to make money. Steam now hosts curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the first non-Valve games to support the scheme. What that means is that community members can create, vote on and eventually even […]

  • Check out DmC: Devil May Cry’s new manual lock-on

    DmC: Devil may Cry developer Ninja Theory has released a video showing off the new, controversial lock-on mode. The new manual lock-on is causing quite a stir, although its reception is probably better than the white-wigged Dante who makes fans even more upset than the original makeover. “The primary purpose of this video is to […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes looks pretty fun

    Dragon Quest Heroes is yet another Omega Force take on an existing property – like Hyrule Warriors or the One Piece games. And it looks pretty sweet. We haven’t heard much from Dragon Quest Heroes here in the west because it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside Japan. This isn’t terribly surprising as we still […]

  • Square Enix to reveal new PS4 game this weekend

    Square Enix is doing something pretty mysterious right now. The Final Fantasy publisher is teasing something called Project Code Z. The project, which Square Enix is tweeting about in Japanese, English and German, is due for reveal at Tokaigi 2015 on Saturday. It’s a PS4 game, but that’s all we know. There’s a website you […]

  • Tetris has crowned its first known western Grand Master

    Tetris fans have a new western champion. Tetris is one of those gaming obsessions that goes much deeper than you might expect. For example, did you know that some versions of the game assess your performance and over you the chance to become a “grand master”? Turns out that’s a thing, and according to Polygon […]

  • Ken Levine’s next game teased as “sci-fi-ish” small, open-world RPG

    A series of tweets from BioShock creator Ken Levine has shed a sliver of light upon his next project. According to Levine he and his team are considering something a bit sci-fi and contemplating first-person mode. The team is developing the game for PC with a large in scope, expandable, systems-based narrative where more can […]

  • Become a lynx in new Shelter 2 trailer

    Shelter 2 casts players in the role of a lynx, which makes for quite a different experience to the badger of the first game. The first Shelter game had you evading predators, but in the second, you becomes one yourself. That doesn’t mean there are no dangers to face, of course. Judging by the trailer […]

  • Why King of Fighters 13 isn’t coming back to Evo

    Evo, the premiere western fighting game tournament, has dropped support for a few previously favoured titles. King of Fighters 13 had a loyal following, but isn’t featured in the Evo 2015 line-up. “Many things go into what games makes it to Evo, but the most obvious one is, ‘Is the community playing this game?’” Evo […]

  • An average Evolve match takes less than ten minutes

    Evolve players are pretty quick at hunting each other down. Evolve developer Turtle Rock has released an infographic brimming with statistics garnered from its recent beta test. One of the key takeaways is that all three monsters, and all four classes, are working as intended – their performance in game matches Turtle Rock’s designs. If […]

  • Super Mario Amiibo can be pre-ordered on Nintendo UK, Mario and Peach sold out

    The latest set of Amiibo in the Super Mario series is now available for pre-purchase through the Nintendo UK Store. Each of the following sports a red base and will run you £10.99: Bowser, Luigi, Mario, Peach, Toad and Yoshi. It looks like Peach and Mario are both sold out, though. All six can be […]

  • The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 free to download now

    League of Legends has excellent music, and now you can have it too. The Music of League of Legends Vol. 1 collects 15 tracks from the MOBA’s history, and is available for free. You can grab the music from iTunes, Google Play or via direct download. Tere’s an example track below to get you in […]

  • Super Bowl 49 update arrives on Madden NFL Mobile

    With Super Bowl 49 occurring this coming Sunday, February 1, EA Sports has updated Madden NFL Mobile with new feature enhancements and Super Bowl-themed Live Events. Updates include: League vs League Tournaments Obstacle Course Super Bowl Bonus Players Tom Brady and Richard Sherman Super Bowl Legends Super Bowl Moments Upgraded Auction House The Super Bowl […]

  • See Super Smash Bros.’ unused custom moves

    Super Smash Bros. was originally intended to have 16 custom moves per character. The final version of Super Smash Bros. only features 12 custom moves per fighter, but Nintendo left animations for some of the cut moves in place. A Youtuber called RED has dug these cut mvoes out of the brawler’s code, and displayed […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt contains 16 hours of sex scene mo-cap data

    Sex is nothing new to the The Witcher games, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is no exception. In fact, it contains 16 hours of sex scene motion capture data. Giggity. There’s a reason for the bedroom dalliances though, as Geralt is a flesh and blood human, or a modified human at any rate, with […]

  • Here’s the launch trailer for Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered

    A launch trailer for Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered has been released after an Amazon listing was revealed for it over the weekend. Key upgrades include: High-definition Graphics — All of the in-game textures have been meticulously recreated in HD for mobile and desktop. Widescreen Support – A true widescreen (not cropped) view strengthens the game’s […]

  • The open beta for Battlefield Hardline will be dated tomorrow

    The exact dates as well as more information on the Battlefield Hardline open beta will be shared tomorrow. This is according to the latest blog post from developer Visceral Games. “We’ll share the exact dates and info on the Battlefield Hardline open beta tomorrow,” wrote Visceral boss Steve Papoutsis. “Stay tuned, thanks again, and keep […]

  • Upcoming Hearthstone patch to apply balance change to Undertaker

    An upcoming Hearthstone patch will apply a balance change to the Undertaker card, Blizzard has announced. After the release of Goblins vs Gnomes, Blizzard said it kept an “eye on the state of game balance” as more matches were played using the additional cards. Released with The Curse of Naxxramas, Undertaker is considered an overly […]

  • February Games with Gold offers up Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

    The free games on offer in February via Xbox Live Games with Gold have been announced. Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One can download #IDARB during February. Xbox 360 users can grab Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from February 1-15, when it will be replaced by Sniper Elite V2 from February 16 -28. […]

  • Kinguin blames unidentified Russian for deactivated Far Cry 4 keys

    Third-party game key seller Kinguin is issuing refunds to those who found their games deactivated through Ubisoft’s Uplay service. Customers which purchased keys for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Far Cry 4, The Crew and Watch Dogs are affected. Kinguin said 4,600 customer tickets were submitted over the last 72 hours and 35 out of 3,400 of […]

  • Video Unlimited to be re-branded as PlayStation Video starting in February

    Like Music Unlimited, Sony’s Video Unlimited service is being replaced and re-branded PlayStation Video. PlayStation Video will become part of PlayStation Network to streamline digital services for the over 64 million PSN users. PlayStation Video and PlayStation Music will be added to PSN which is already a destination point for the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus, […]

  • Spotify arrives on PlayStation Music this spring, Music Unlimited closing

    Spotify will launch on PlayStation Network this spring as part of a new music destination called PlayStation Music. PlayStation Music is a replacement for Music Unlimited, and those with a PSN account can link to Spotify which can be used just for music, or when playing games on PlayStation 4. Existing playlists from current Spotify […]