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Deciphering Dark Souls 2′s ‘accessibility’

Friday, 24 May 2013 08:29 GMT By Stace Harman

Dark Souls 2′s very existence has Stace Harman rather delighted, but he questions whether making the game more accessible might rob it of its appeal.

Dark Souls 2

Unlike its predecessor, Dark Souls 2 is being developed simultaneously for PS3, 360 and PC, which should help avoid the criticisms levelled at Dark Souls somewhat lacklustre PC port.

Dragons are once again set to play a large role throughout the game. From the gameplay so far, we’ve seen a tentatively titled Mansion of Dragons and around a dozen dragons featured during a bridge-crossing segment.

The decision to keep Dark Souls 2 on the current generation of machines was made partly for the sake of expediency .

Despite the series offering an infamous degree of challenge and my own personal first play-through of Dark Souls clocking in at 100+ hours, this super-human individual was able to complete it in just 86 minutes.

There are many stories that offer an insight into the mind of Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creative driving force behind Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. There’s one about a digital photo frame that displayed varied feedback to Demon’s Souls, which the director kept on his desk throughout the development of its follow-up.

There’s another about Miyazaki watching tapes of dedicated Demon’s Souls players completing the game with the weakest character class, so that he might better understand the level of devotion that the game was capable of inspiring.

My personal favourite tells of how the air of ambiguity that surrounds series features like World Tendency and Covenants is a considered and deliberate choice on Miyazaki’s part.

It is the director’s attempt to recreate the mix of awe and incomprehension that he himself experienced during childhood as he struggled to understand the foreign language of western fantasy literature.

By not providing all of the answers and leaving some mysteries unexplained, Miyazaki hoped to encourage players to invest themselves in the fiction of his Souls series and to engage their imagination to fill in the blanks.

It’s these stories that go some way to helping us understand what Miyazaki has brought to From Software’s celebrated series, in terms of both mechanical design and emotional impact. It’s these same stories that make it difficult for fans to not be concerned by the fact that Miyazaki’s involvement in Dark Souls 2 is at a supervisory level only.

What’s more, his replacement, Tomohiro Shibuya, has stated that Dark Souls 2 will be less obtuse and easier to understand, while on a recent trip to Namco Bandai’s UK HQ I was told that the game’s narrative will be clearer and its story more structured.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to make something easier to understand and many will feel that the secrets of series should, at the very least, be decipherable through exploration of the game, rather than an online wiki. However, all of this makes me wary of the direction that Dark Souls 2 could take if pursuit of these notions is not expertly managed.

A more structured story suggests a clearer idea of where to go and what to do next, which risks depriving players of having to make their own exploratory journeys to figure it out for themselves. To be denied this joy because a wider audience might be disorientated by too many paths or frustrated by the lack of obvious direction is one of my biggest fears for Dark Souls 2.

Say what you see

Watching a Namco Bandai rep playing 20-minutes of the sequel cannot hope to address these concerns but it does reveal a number of clues concerning other key elements of the game.

The gameplay that we’re shown is that which was revealed last month, so rather than give a blow-by-blow account of it it’s more useful to focus on some of the finer details. In this vertical slice of gameplay, an armoured knight is depicted entering a ruined keep, lighting a bonfire and descending a ladder into the depths below.

The bonfires are amongst a number of features to make a return from Dark Souls. In this pre-alpha gameplay there’s much that is yet to be pinned down, but nonetheless the basic form and function of the HUD appears familiar. The health and stamina bars are the same as before, although there’s what appears to be a sun and moon icon where the humanity counter was previously.

There’s no word on whether this is indicative of a shifting day/night cycle, although it doesn’t appear to be the case from what I observe. It could be an emblem that depicts covenant allegiance or is linked to the character class; similarly, it might just be a placeholder at this point. Humanity was one of the core concepts of Dark Souls, affecting numerous game factors and so it wouldn’t be surprising for it to feature in the sequel in one form or another.

The HUD in the bottom-left of the screen looks largely familiar. One key difference is the ability to assign three weapons to the right-hand weapon-slot compared to Dark Souls’ two. There are also smaller item slots next to the main cardinal-point display that suggest an expanded number of secondary items will be accessible without having to dip into the inventory system.

The inventory system itself is currently implemented in only its most basic form. It still takes up most of the screen but is offset to give you a view of your character. While this affords a vanity view of your avatar as you swap armour and equipment it has the more important function of allowing you to see if you’re about to be attacked; it’s unknown at this stage whether you’re able to pause the game.

Aesthetically, Dark Souls 2 shares the ruined beauty of its predecessors. The art direction once again lends personality to crumbling grandiose structures and harsh natural landscapes. A new engine has been developed in order to address the frame rate issues of Dark Souls and with the new engine come a handful of new tricks. The lighting effects are excellent and also serve a gameplay function.

It’s now possible to carry a torch to illuminate those dark corners but doing so deprives you of the ability to equip a shield and so it may be a case of sacrificing the ability to effectively defend against that which is trying to kill you for the relative luxury of being able to see it.

Outside, wind rustles clothing and, in one dangerous sequence, slows movement across a bridge to a crawl as dragons circle overhead. It looks likely that we’ll see more varied weather conditions that we have before.

In truth, there is nothing on show here that offers any cause for alarm. No wholesale changes, recharging health or ill-advised cover mechanics to sully the series’ pure roots and challenging gameplay.

Instead, there is just that one nagging worry that without Miyazaki’s constant presence, the rest of the team might be tempted to tip the balance further in the player’s favour or face publisher pressure to chase a bigger audience by relaxing the firm hand that the first two titles maintained throughout.

Perhaps it’s unfair to be concerned or maybe it’s the unavoidable by-product being so invested in the franchise. I keep coming back to the idea that Miyazaki’s show-not-tell approach is completely at odds with so many other high-profile titles. Without him, will damaging sacrifices be made in a bid for mass-market acceptance?

Of course, neither Dark Souls nor Demon’s Souls were made by just one man. Therefore, I can only hope that those who worked alongside Miyazaki paid close attention to his methods and share his passion for treating players like intelligent adults. Ultimately, I want some of the mystery to remain intact so that I might savour the experience of figuring it out for myself.

Dark Souls 2 will be released on PS3, 360 and PC either later this year or early next.

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12 Comments

  1. The_Red

    This is exactly how I felt about the DS2 gameplay reveal. I was worried about a lot of things. Then saw the footage and everything felt good (Regarding how there haven’t been any major bad changes and how there wasn’t a real cause for alarm).

    Yet… those words about more “accessibility” and more streamline approach to storytelling are still there :(

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Kieran

    @1

    exactly its difficulty is what made it popular in thee first place im all for more people playing it but i would like it add a difficulty mode but lose the accessibility part

    #2 2 years ago
  3. polygem

    i just finished demon´s souls 2 weeks ago or so and started it the week before. this game is unbelieveably good. i haven´t played the game before because all the press and fans made it much harder than it actually is imho. i always thought the game will be great but frustrate me too much. well it didn´t, if anything it motivated me to start and finish it in about a week and after 46 hours i realised that i killed every demon in the game (cannot wait for my ng+) just wishing to go on and on and on.
    i just started dark souls now, i am only 12 hours or so in and i really enjoy this game but i think i found demon´s more accessible which is strange because having played demon´s really helps to understand how dark souls works. i think it is the design of the gaming world, the nexus vs. the more open worldish approach in dark. i think i really preferred the nexus more. it was more streamlined, more accessible, it gave me the option to browse through the levels in the nexus, planning my ride through the game a little more…you can still plan what to do next in dark souls and you freaking have to but it feels different. i never thought of needing a guide in demon´s but for dark i am getting the feeling that i absolutely need one, like it is even esential to have a guide to play the game properly. right now i am a a bit lost in dark. most bosses i encountered feel too hard yet, i travelled to many locations but i do not make much progress in any of them right now…i know, this is part of the game, i must think for a way out of this, this is exactly what makes this game feel so depressing, dangerous and fun at the same time, but all this was there in demon´s too but it encouraged me to press further in the game more. i returned to the nexus, felt save for a while, skilled my char, might go somewhere to grind if i wasn´nt making progress, instantly hopped into another world later..tried to survive longer…it felt better to me. not saying dark is a bad game. the opposite is true, i love some of the levels, some of the enemy animations are outstanding, the atmosphere is great….but yeah, i think demon´s was more accessible.

    BTW : FANTASTIC ARTICLE!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Stace Harman

    @1+2 I’m really looking forward to seeing more and being able to go hands-on for a few hours in order to play a chunk of the game and get a feel for how it’s set-up. I’m positive about it in general, I just have one or two concerns that I’d like to be cleared up sooner rather than later!

    @3 I agree that some elements of Demon’s are actually more accessible; the level structure is a big part of that. Having distinct worlds makes it easier to tackle, but that’s why I prefer the coherence of Dark Souls’ world and having to figure out where to go next rather than going from A to B.

    Thanks for the feedback, folks.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Mineral4r7s

    What I love about Dark Souls is the fact that you have one wide open world. Filled with tons of shortcuts. Every shortcut found for the first time blows your mind. Everything is connected everything is easy to reach. Its such a small world that seems so hugh because of all the possibilities. If you look closely you can see where you will be next and if you reach that spot and you look back you can see from where you came and it always, still, after 250 hours of dark souls, blows my mind.

    The world design is simply genious.

    Even after having played so long, watched so many videos I still encounter things I did not know about previously. Each playthrough is partially a new game, a new playstyle, a new world. If you know how you can approach the game from all directions its just astounding. Game is too easy for you? Choose Deprived at start and play naked the whole game and try to remain human for added pvp difficulty.

    Beating a specialized PvP character with a greenhorn character you just created feels just so good. I really do love this game. Not many games have moved me like this one. This games story made me cry, jump in joy and tremble from fear.

    I have heard about the rumous regarding Dark Souls 2, I have not watched a single piece of gameplay as I want to see it all for myself. I hope they do it right and if they don’t I can still play Dark Souls 1. They don’t need to make a better game, I don’t know if they even can, just a game like this that gives me hundreds of hours of joy.

    Did you know that you can see the Asylum Stray Demon, the first boss you encounter as you enter the fighting room? Its standing on the roof and watching you, and as you approeach he jumps down.

    You can see the Moonlight Butterfly, outside of the fog, clinging to the wall if you look closely.

    There are so many details I can’t write it all down.

    I have to go now so I stop here.

    I believe in you From Software, don’t screw up.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TheBlackHole

    I’ve had many an argument over this with people at work.

    IMHO, I’m all for keeping the game tough at its core and not shifting on that vision, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t add a different/easier/harder/more accessible mode.

    People who don’t like trial & error or unreasonable difficulty are never going to play the game anyway, but making some concessions on one aspect of the gameplay still allows people to experience an incredible world full of depth, character, combat and exploration.

    I really feel the focus on difficulty being this game’s USP does it a disservice.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. redwood

    I am happy with where ds2 is going. but what is miyazaki doing? what’s his secret project. I just hope he doesn’t go the path of fumito Ueda, i.e fade away.. I want him to keep making games (for as long as he likes)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. MFBB

    There will be little changes, just like from Demons Souls to Dark Souls.

    But in the end, all fans of the first two games will enjoy it for sure :)

    I hope they do a better job on the technical side of the game.

    A bit concerned about the Playstation version since they use the PC as lead… ports to the PS3 from Xbox/PC tend to be the worst version with the most issues.

    Even so all those 3 games would not be possible without the Playstation fans who made this series successfully, so dont force me to buy the PC version…wanne play this on the couch again :)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Mineral4r7s

    @8 PC version is the superior version. You can mod the game, it looks way better, DSCfix enables easy coop with friends or duels with friends. PC version is the recommended version, imho.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Rafa_L

    @9 I don’t know, I’m put off by the many videos of hackers, I play on ps3 and aside the flickering graphics glitch and some lag, I love it.

    I do like mods, but at this point the multiplayer is all there is to me, though some appearance mods are cool, many people hack and make pvp horrible.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Mineral4r7s

    @10 I can tell you from my experience that hackers exist but they are rare. Most of the time you have fair duels, I invade constantly with my slvl 40 char other players in the forest while running through the world of dark souls, killing bosses and I always have fair 1n1s. I also happened to invade a world with 2 players. One cosplayed Smough the other one Ornstein :D, I invaded together with another player and we both had fair 1n1 fights. Its hella fun. If you somehow get your hands on dark souls for PC, I am pretty sure it will soon be reduced on steam in the summer sale give it a try, its like a whole new game.

    ps:
    pvp lvl on PC is 100

    greetings
    my name

    #11 2 years ago
  12. HighWindXIX

    For what it’s worth, I’m excited about a little more transparency to the setting and the story. On one hand, it is cool to notice little things linking an item to a story event while reading it’s description but the fact that I didn’t pick up on it till my third play through is also kind of a bummer. As much as I like the joy of discovery, realizing that there’s probably way more to the story that I won’t enjoy unless I scour every item description or read a wiki is also a little disheartening. I know several people who didn’t even know what the choice they were making at the end of the game meant. So if Dark Souls is a 2 out of 10 on a scale of clarity and explanation, how about we make Dark Souls 2 a 3 out of 10.

    #12 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Watch the first 20 minutes of Life is Strange

    The first 20 minutes of Life is Strange have been posted online for anyone to watch. The opening 20 minutes of Life is Strange set the stage for what kind of game it is. The kind that you’ll probably like if you’re a fan of Telltale games. The video is courtesy of consolewarsofficial and you […]

  • Don’t blame Ubisoft for cancelling keys – blame the culture of overpriced games

    Publishers need to drop PC games prices in order to stem the flourishing grey market, says Matt Martin. “How are you going to sell me Far Cry 4 for £45 when I can pick up Far Cry, Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3, Far Cry: Blood Dragon and extra DLC for just £30?” Some players […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online is real, full reveal in this week’s Famitsu

    What’s been heavily-rumoured to be the next instalment in the Dragon’s Dogma franchise, Dragon’s Dogma Online, will be fully revealed this week. According to a recent post by Famitsu, the magazine’s upcoming weekly issue, which releases January 29, will contain a massive feature on Dragon’s Dogma Online. The magazine will dedicate 18 pages to all […]

  • Valve responds to recent Counter-Strike match-fixing scandal, bans offenders

    Valve has investigated the recent case of match-fixing involving two teams in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional scene and decided to ban those involved from future tournaments. Recent allegations involving match-fixing between iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com – two of the professional teams that played in Cevo Season 5 – came to light. Valve has took notice […]

  • Having issues playing Grim Fandango Remastered on PS4? Sony is offering help

    Sony has offered a few steps to help those who are having issues with their pre-loaded PS4 installs of Grim Fandango Remastered. A few reports have started to appear online from users who’ve pre-ordered and pre-loaded Grim Fandango Remastered on their PS4 consoles. Sony has since posted a support thread on the official forums, to […]

  • Get Dragon Age: Inquisition for $36 and more in EA’s Xbox One sale

    Many EA digital games are being offered at considerable discounts on Xbox One right now. The latest EA sale is pretty good, offering sales on many AAA titles. It’s only available on Xbox One, with extra savings for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The list below covers prices for Gold Subscribers. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare […]

  • Grim Fandango Remastered reviews round-up, all the scores

    Grim Fandango Remastered is a classic game brought into the new generation, so it’s time for everyone to know how great it is. The reviews for Grim Fandango Remastered have started popping up and as per usual, we’ve collected a few of them below. Grim Fandango Remastered is, as the name suggests, a remastered version […]

  • The Witcher 3: latest build is 1080p on PS4, 900p on Xbox One

    The recent preview build of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was running at full-HD resolution on PlayStation 4 and 900p on Xbox One. German website Gamestar attended the recent preview event for The Witcher 3 and examined the three versions that were on offer, PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Here’s the quote, courtesy of Google […]

  • Joystiq is likely to close – rumour

    AOL is rumoured to be closing its video game site, Joystiq. Re/code is reporting that AOL is likely to close its video game site Joystiq soon, according to “various sources.” The move is part of a company-wide restructuring that will affect Joystiq and other “under-performing content properties.” Joystiq is one of the most renowned sites […]

  • The Last of Us movie will be “pretty faithful” to the game

    The Last of Us will bring many of the same elements to the big screen as the small one, according to writer Neil Druckmann. Although The Last of Us will have to be adapted in various ways to make the transition from lengthy interactive adventure to cinema-friendly story arc, Druckmann is hoping to keep the […]

  • Microsoft is fixing Xbox One’s slow controllers

    Xbox One control pads have many charms, but quick start up is not one of them. The Xbox One controller currently takes up to five seconds to connect to your console after switching on, which is an eternity for someone with an attention span as short as mine. Luckily, Microsoft is working to fix this […]

  • Lucius 2 releases on Friday the 13th (of course)

    Lucius 2 has a really fitting release date. Lucius developer Shiver Games has produced a follow-up to the dark tale of an evil child, and it’s coming your way on February 13 – which just so happens to be a Friday. Lucius 2: The Prophecy will set you back $20, and release through Steam. As […]

  • Saints Row 4: Re-Elected PS4 recalled in Australia, incorrect content to blame

    Saints Row 4: Re-Elected has been recalled in Australia due to a mysterious manufacturing issue. An Australian PR representative said that the retail PS4 version of Saints Row 4: Re-Elected has “a serious manufacturing issue” and has been recalled nation-wide. Here’s what we were told (emphasis mine): “A manufacturing issue has caused an incorrectly classified […]

  • The Whispered World follow up now coming to PS4, too

    Deadalic’s gorgeous-looking adventure Silence has been confirmed for a fourth platform. Originally announced for Mac and PC with an Xbox One port one revealed at a later date, Silence is now on its way to PS4 as well. All versions are due later this year. Silence is Deadalic’s first multi-platform release and in my mind […]

  • Mythbusters to tackle DOOM this weekend

    DOOM is the subject of the next episode of Mythbusters. Having been airing for over ten years now, Mythbusters has pretty much run out of myths to bust, which is why we find ourselves in 2015 with an episode dedicating to answering the question “could DOOM be real?” Bethesda has rveealed that the January 31 […]

  • Destiny hosting a Bungie Bounty – go go go

    Destiny players have a chance to take down Bungie employees in return for one of the most exclusive vanity items in the game. Destiny’s Bungie Bounties usually feature guests from the community, and today’s event is no exception. Joining Bungie community manager David “Deej” Dague are several members of Bungie.org, the developer’s most staunch fan […]

  • Elite: Dangerous developer issues lay-offs

    Elite: Dangerous team Frontier Developments has had to let staff go. At least 15 staff have been laid off from the developer’s Halifax studio. According to an investor update, this decision will allow Frontier to focus its efforts at its primary studio in Cambridge, England. “With its business emphasis now on two major self-published franchises, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition tavern songs free for a limited time

    Dragon Age: Inquisition tunes can be yours for the bargain price of zero cashmoney. The tavern songs from Dragon Age: Inquisition will be made available for purchase from various digital distributors sometime after February 9. Until then, though, you can have them for free – including their sheet music. To take advantage of this generous […]

  • Even the Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 teaser is frightening

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is probably going to be just as tense and uncomfortable as its two prequels. This teaser for Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is the first we’ve heard of the project since creator Scott Cawthon confirmed it is in the works. The third entry in the series is now up on […]

  • 6.6 million Xbox consoles shipped last quarter

    Xbox One and Xbox 360 console sales were strong last quarter, although Microsoft isn’t talking hard numbers yet. Microsoft shipped 6.6 million Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles to retailers in the quarter ending December 31, the company revealed in its latest financial briefing. This figure wasn’t broken down by platform, and Microsoft didn’t supply […]

  • Homeworld Remastered Collection: five minutes of b-roll footage

    We may not have proper, uncut gameplay footage of the Homeworld Remastered Collection, but we have the next best thing. Homeworld Remastered Collection was confirmed to release on February 25. Gearbox has only showed a trailer, but no extended gameplay demos. There was however a b-roll video showing at PAX South, and we’ve embedded it […]

  • Grim Fandango Remastered looks sharp in these new screens

    Grim Fandango will come back from the dead with the Remastered edition, and it’s looking great. Grim Fandango Remastered has a few new screens available to prove that even old games can look stunning with the right remaster, especially ones with an already well-defined art style. Have a look at them below and get excited. […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: beta weapons, maps, modes, progression system and more

    The Battlefield Hardline beta will include a third new map and a new game mode, on top of what’s already announced. You may remember last week DICE started a community mission for all Battlefield 4 players. The goal was to reach 2 billion points playing Rush mode. That goal has been achieved and as a […]

  • Dying Light launch trailer is one last display of its forte

    The launch trailer for Dying Light is here one day ahead of the game’s release. Techland and Warner Bros. have put out the launch trailer for Dying Light. The trailer is a short reminder of the game’s main selling points: free-running, weapon crafting, drop-kicking zombies. Reviews should start to come out tomorrow for the game […]

  • Watch The Witcher 3 developers stream new gameplay on Twitch

    The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt RED is hosting a Twitch live-stream to show off brand new gameplay footage and answer some fan questions. The live-stream will start at 7:00pm GMT, 2:00pm EST, 11:00am PST. It will show off plenty of new footage, some of which was shown only to the press so far. The […]

  • Finally, some screens for Final Fantasy 15

    Patience is a virtue and we finally have our hands on a few gameplay screens from Final Fantasy 15. There’s not a lot of them, but they show the impressive lighting and they’re all gameplay as far as I can tell, so take a look. There is no release date for Final Fantasy 15 as […]

  • Here’s 15 minutes of gameplay from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in 1080p

    The Witcher 3 has a new direct-feed, 1080p video available that’s 100% gameplay. Would you like some gameplay of The Witcher 3 in beautiful 1080p? Why, of course you would! The gameplay below shows combat, conversations, travelling. In short, it’s a small sample of everything the game will offer. If you’re looking to learn much […]

  • Two Mortal Kombat X characters to be revealed this week

    Mortal Kombat X will get not one, but two character reveals this week. Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon has been at again on Twitter, teasing all kinds of reveals over the past few days. Firstly, Boon tweeted this image, which at first glance appears to show a character holding a bow. However, further examination by […]

  • Planetside 2 successfully claims the Guinness World Record for biggest FPS battle

    The Planetside 2 community has successfully organised an online battle involving over 1000 players, breaking the previous Guinness World Record. The event, which was organised by Planetside Battles was pitched to the community last week. 1,158 players have answered the call, smashing the record for “Most Players Online in an FPS Battle.” The previous 999 […]

  • Microsoft aiming for Xbox One-to-PC streaming to function while you watch TV

    Streaming Xbox One games to PC while you watch TV on the console through the HDMI pass-through is something Microsoft is hoping to achieve when the service launches with Windows 10. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has been on Twitter answering fan questions following last week’s Windows 10 event. One interesting bit that came out of those […]

  • Everything we know about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is sure to be one of the biggest RPGs of the year, due for release in May on PC, Xbox One and PS4. Delayed since its target release of 2015, CD Projekt Red’s latest game takes the series to a true open world environment, and charges the player with tracking […]

  • Battlefield Hardline beta date leaked – rumour

    According to an email sent to some YouTubers, the upcoming beta for Battlefield Hardline is scheduled for February 3. The date for the Battlefield Hardline beta is believed to be February 3. It comes from an email that’s been sent by Ronku to various YouTubers reminding them of the starting date, February 3. Ronku is […]

  • The history of The Witcher: beyond the Road With No Return

    We take a look at The Witcher franchise, from the original short stories to its blockbuster video games. The world was first introduced to Geralt through a set of short stories called The Witcher (English translation) written by author Andrzej Sapkowski. The first short story was published in the Polish fantasy and science fiction magazine […]

  • Bringing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to life

    In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt RED takes a whopping enormous map and fills it with stuff you actually want to see and do. Do you remember back before Oblivion came out there was a lot of chat about how much more lifelike and realistic the NPCs would be? Rather than just hanging […]

  • The big Witcher 3 questions answered: delays, playing as Ciri, and why enemies don’t scale

    Spending some time with The Witcher 3 level designer Miles Tost we were able to put some of our immediate questions to him after playing the game for over 4 hours. “That sense of improvement doesn’t happen if the monsters around you remain the same strength, there’s no sense of achievement.” Tost is a relaxed […]

  • The Witcher 3 sets a new generational standard for graphics

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the new standard in outrageously pretty. “The Witcher 3 is more than just eye-candy. Destiny, once the loveliest thing I had ever looked upon, has been outclassed.” The Witcher 3 is even better looking than the screenshots would have you believe, and until you see it in motion, running […]

  • The Witcher 3: hands-on with the RPG of the year

    Getting to know a bawdy hero; Geralt of Rivia’s third outing is accessible, untamed, and dripping with story. Warning: some spoilers are inevitable. “The Witcher 3 is horror and violence. It’s charming, witty and cheeky. Like Geralt, it knows what it wants and it’s going to grab it with both hands.” The Witcher 3: Wild […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel gets Lady Hammerlock DLC tomorrow

    The Lady Hammerlock DLC for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will be released on PS3 and Xbox 360 tomorrow, January 27. The new playable character comes with three skill trees and the action skill Cold As Ice. If you haven’t bought the season pass for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel you can download the DLC for $9.99, you lucky […]

  • A limited edition 20th Anniversary PS4 just sold for $128,000

    Sony has just auctioned one of its limited edition 20th Anniversary PS4 consoles for over $128,000. The model had the serial number 00001, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We appreciate all who participated in the auction and are surprised at the highest bid price, which was higher than our expectations,” said a rep for […]

  • Here’s Killer Instinct’s new Omen and Golem fighters in action

    Microsoft has revealed Killer Instinct Season 2′s fighter Omen in a new trailer. Stick around for the end of the video and you’ll also get a peek at another new fighter, Golem. Omen is a bonus character and as such isn’t available as part of the main season roster. He’s available for free to Ultra […]

  • Digital copies of Far Cry 4 are being deleted from Uplay

    Ubisoft appears to be deleting copies of Far Cry 4 bought through digital third-party retailers. According to the Ubisoft support forums, copies of the game acquired via G2Play and G2A are being removed from Uplay. Users had not been given any warning by publisher Ubisoft that the game will be removed, although it is now […]

  • Gearbox wants “badass” talent for the next Borderlands

    Borderlands 3 may not have been announced at PAX this weekend, but studio boss Randy Pitchford is currently recruiting for the next game in the series. We are recruiting for next Borderlands. This is the big one. Industry badass? E-mail me: heyrandy@gearboxsoftware.com pic.twitter.com/ZG9dLytX1B — Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) January 26, 2015 A recruitment push would suggest […]

  • Destiny: less grind, fairer economy in House of Wolves DLC

    Destiny developer Bungie has said it aims to lessen the grind in House of Wolves, and it won’t repeat mistakes it made with rewards in The Dark Below. Gear rewards will be fairer, according to lead designer Luke Smith in a Neogaf thread. For example, buying from a vendor should not invalidate gear rewarded for […]

  • Halo: The Master Chief Disaster

    Over two months since release and Xbox One’s big Christmas game is still a turkey, says Rich Stanton. “The game has now been available for two-and-a-half months, including the blockbuster Christmas season, and by any reasonable standard it doesn’t work.” Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched worldwide on November 11, 2014. Intended as something of […]

  • Homeworld Remastered Collection dated, first gameplay footage released

    Homeworld Remastered Collection has a release date, and as promised, the gameplay footage of Gearbox Software’s remake has been released along with the news that Homeworld Shipbreaker development continues. The video was shown during the Inside Gearbox Software panel earlier this morning at PAX South. Last year, Gearbox had said hoped to release the title […]

  • Clock Tower spiritual successor Night Cry has landed on Kickstarter

    The Kickstarter for Clock Tower spiritual successor, Project Scissors, recently announced as Night Cry, has launched. A teaser directed by The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu was released for the game earlier this month, and the full short film can be viewed below. Shimizu is also creative director on the project and Silent Hill creative and environment […]

  • Toukiden Kiwami mission trailer released, pre-order bonuses detailed

    Pre-order bonuses for Toukiden Kiwami have been announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita. Here’s the pre-order bonus list for each participating retailer: North America GameStop – Armor inspired by new slayers Reki and Soma’s costumes and classic armor from Toukiden‘s six original NPC slayers. Amazon – 2 exclusive pieces of armor: a set of Tenko […]

  • More Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Final Fantasy 15 info doled out by Tabata

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD director Hajime Tabata took part in a Reddit AMA yesterday, and answered a variety of questions pertaining to the game and Final Fantasy 15. According to Tabata, the first playthrough of the game will last around 40 hours, but “the real fun” starts from the second playthrough which contains new events. […]

  • This video gives you an idea of what Borderlands Online is like

    A video for Borderlands Online, the China-exclusive title from 2K, Shanda Games and Gearbox, has been released. Posted on MMO Culture, the video was released to announce the “technical test” which started today. Borderlands Online is an instance-based online shooter, and will probably never reach western shores. Still, you can have a look anyway.

  • Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the MMO’s first expansion

    The first expansion for Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thorns, was announced today during PAX South, and ArenNet has posted a few content details for it on the official webiste. Heart of Thorns contains a reimagined progression with the new Mastery system, which provides new training opportunities for characters beyond level 80. Players will be […]

  • Turn-based action platformer Ronin has been polished up, nets a publisher

    Tomasz Waclawek has polished up his freeware title Ronin and will be releasing it through publisher Devolver Digital later this year. The turn-based action platformer stars a vengeful ninja who is determined to kill important memebers of a powerful corporation. Weapons at your disposal include razor wire and a katana, or you avoid combat by […]

  • Footage of cancelled Justice League brawler surfaces

    Footage of the cancelled Double Helix-developed Justice League brawler has surfaced online. The game was supposed to be a tie-in title for the also cancelled Justice League film directed by George Miller, according to leaked images and information from 2012. Jon Gwyn, the game’s artist and now Rockstar San Diego staffer, said at the time […]