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Back on track: Final Fantasy creates head of steam at E3

Friday, 21 June 2013 14:19 GMT By Alex Donaldson

Final Fantasy swapped Versus for XV and showed it has a real future in Los Angeles last week. Alex Donaldson reports on a series reborn.

“When we originally launched the Versus XIII project, we thought that action-based would fit the title. I believe that there is a future for both action-based RPGs and command-based RPGs. It’s not that we’re not thinking of the future of command-based, but we think that this action-based RPG fits FF15.”

Final Fantasy VII is pretty damn famous within gamer culture. One of the best known lines of the game, delivered by walking black stereotype Barret Wallace, embodies Square Enix’s approach to its flagship series over recent years – “There ain’t no gettin’ offa this train we’re on!”

For the best part of a decade now, the series has felt lost. It’s been motoring along the track at speed, yes, much like the trains of the Midgar slums, but the track in question has been one with a muddled identity, and one too obsessed with chasing the success of the quoted game.

This generation’s effort, the Final Fantasy XIII saga, has often felt like it’s been dashing about beneath the shadow of the most successful entry in the series, searching for a soul and an identity. Heroine Lightning was pitched as a female version of Cloud, for instance, and FF13’s combat system was built to mimic the look of FF7 movie Advent Children’s action sequences – all while juggling the turn-based RPG roots and expectations of the series.

Worse, development of the game was a protracted, expensive five-year process. When released, the expensively developed game still split opinion – in large part, I think, due to a lack of an identity unrelated to aping other successful games in the series. Expensive development inspired sequels, too, so assets could be reused – and those also polarized gamers.

Excessive development time and cost combined with modest sales of sequels and the gigantic bungle that was Final Fantasy XIV to leave the company in trouble – something new CEO Yosuke Matsuda admitted and apologized for in an E3 presentation.

“Since the last fiscal year, the news of our earnings call and the change in CEO, I realize we have caused many worries,” Matsuda, replacement for Yoichi Wada, said. “With E3 2013 as our base point, we plan to begin to move forward in a stronger and bigger way.”

And they have, I think. The company clearly hopes that press, fans and investors alike will see their showing at this year’s E3 as a sea change for the company. It’s early days yet, but I’m actually rather inclined to agree, at least based on what we know and have seen so far.

So, here are the headlines: Final Fantasy Versus XIII is now officially Final Fantasy XV, while Kingdom Hearts III is also now in development. Both are coming for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, meaning the game previously known as Versus has lost its intended exclusivity and Kingdom Hearts will make its very first appearance on an Xbox platform.

That news in itself is all pretty exciting. Versus has just about always looked more interesting than the original FF13, and it puts Tetsuya Nomura – a key component of the massively successful FF7 – back at the front and centre of the series.

It was a difficult secret to keep, and many of Square Enix’s own PR team confessed to me they hadn’t seen the trailer until the moment it aired at Sony. “I was so excited I couldn’t get to sleep,” Shinji Hashimoto, Producer on the game, told the press.

Before talking about that game in detail at their E3 presentation, Square Enix wanted to cover that game’s direct predecessor – the upcoming relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV, titled A Realm Reborn.

“We believe that an MMORPG, FF14 contains the heart and soul of the FF series,” Producer Naoki Yoshida told the assembled press. The E3 trailer pushes this agenda – it’s a story-driven piece, filled with snippets of FF staples such as Ifrit, Ultima Weapon and an airship-piloting Cid.

A key announcement for the company was that the title would also ship on PS4 in addition to PS3 and PC – though that version won’t arrive until 2014. As underlined in our previous coverage, the most impressive fact about this reboot is that it is a true do-over; next to none of the original release remains. It’s been an expensive undertaking, and is something the company argue is an example of their new commitment to quality, to getting it right.

Also out soon are remastered HD versions of Final Fantasy X, X-2 and Kingdom Hearts for PS3 as well as the aforementioned third sequel to FF13, Lightning Returns. The latter is described by its producer at a game that will make fans ask “Is this really Final Fantasy?” thanks to a more action-based approach to its combat.

Even more action-based, though, is what we’re really here to talk about – the fifteenth main-line entry into the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy XV doesn’t just mark a change in terms of Square Enix committing to showing the game and getting it out on time, but also represents a change of direction for the series in general.

In gameplay footage we’re shown at the event lead character Noctis jumps about the battlefield in a manner that appears more fitting for a third person action game such as God of War or Castlevania, and the massive on-screen HUD elements of FF13 are largely absent. At a glance, it looks more like an action game.

This has some RPG fans concerned, but I actually think it’s a rather exciting change. Turn-based battles have struggled to mesh with the action-packed, mainstream vision Square Enix has held for the series in the modern cinematic experience driven age. The end result has been titles like FF13, which ended up failing to fully satisfy either fan base.

It’s an issue that FF15 Producer and Final Fantasy brand director Shinji Hashimoto had to field at E3 – with FF15 taking this approach, what happens to the more traditional systems of FF’s past?

“When we originally launched the Versus XIII project, we thought that action-based would fit the title,” he explained when quizzed. “I believe that there is a future for both action-based RPGs and command-based RPGs. It’s not that we’re not thinking of the future of command-based, but we think that this action-based RPG fits FF15.”

“For people like me, I want the game to be easy to operate – so I’m asking the development team to be a little bit flexible about the difficulty level,” he added – promising to ensure the game will be easily playable for fans of the older, slower-paced games.

Even if a portion of the most hardcore fans of the series are reluctant to stand behind the action-focused approach of FF15, the draw of the footage Square Enix released at E3 is undeniable. As with every year, their booth at the show was defined by a massive cinema-style screen with rows of seating in front of it.

When it aired trailers for games like Lightning Returns or the surprisingly clever Murdered: Soul Suspect, those seated in E3 exhaustion seemed to only partially pay attention – but every time the FF15 trailer came on, people seemed to become mesmerised. More would be drawn into the stand from the walkways, and phones would be raised to film the screen.

“I want you to understand that the FF series is always evolving. It’s always taking on new challenges; this is a positive change.”

It was surreal to see; after years of apathy for the series, people seemed invigorated, excited and interested in Final Fantasy in a manner I haven’t seen since the start of this generation – when FF13 was considered a potentially generation-defining, console war-winning game.

In that sense this is a massive victory for Square Enix, and marks the first time in too long the Japanese side of the company seems to have looped a lasso around what made their past games special. As a massive fan of PS1-era Final Fantasy (9 is my favourite) I couldn’t help but feel a stab of excitement at that trailer – and it’s fantastic to feel again.

It’s worth noting that there are still worries – the gameplay footage shown at the event, less flashily cut than the trailer, is a little less impressive. There are frame rate problems all over, and in places the combat looks dangerously close to the simplistic and I think boring Dynasty Warriors-style battles of Kingdom Hearts.

Even so, things such as an awesome-looking teleport ability, a glimpse of an open-ended in-game map, teases at stealth and underwater gameplay and Uncharted-like set-piece sequences all seem to indicate the game intends to drag the best of Final Fantasy kicking and screaming into the HD, cinematic era of gaming – just in time for the next-gen.

It sounds silly to say considering this game has been in development for some seven years, but it is also early days – it is just reannounced, and hopefully the frame rate improves.

And what of those fans who absolutely can’t stand an action-based title? Shinji Hashimoto wouldn’t be drawn too far, but did essentially say this isn’t the end for that gameplay style.

“The Final Fantasy series always has different systems and mechanics for each title,” he explained. “Each time, the development team for that title reviews the popular gameplay systems. For 15, we have an action-packed game system. That doesn’t mean the next title will be a similar way – but we’re not ready to comment on the future.”

“I want you to understand that the FF series is always evolving. It’s always taking on new challenges; this is a positive change.”

And so the train keeps rolling. As Barret said, there’s no getting off it, especially for Square Enix. Hopefully the tracks are now leading to redemption rather than ruin – fingers crossed.

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19 Comments

  1. bitsnark

    Brilliant article Alex – especially enjoyed the rampant FF7 analogies!

    But yeah, I can’t honestly remember the last time I was as excited for a FF title as I am now with FF XV.

    It must be the Nomura-effect or something :D

    #1 2 years ago
  2. tezzer1985

    All main line FF games have been very good RPG’s in my opinion, I have enjoyed every single one…FF9 is also my favourite.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Sini

    meh dont care for this action crap in ff games. Turn base combat in ff13 was the only thing i liked about the game, and they’re taking it out now

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Takeshi

    Great read. Every article concerning Final Fantasy XV = I gobble that shit up. Now I just hope we won’t have to wait until 2015 or something for a release date. Maybe they’ve waited so long to announce it so exactly won’t have to wait for years to see it.

    I do wonder how far they are with XV. I mean, we’ve seen outside areas in other trailers.

    I’m truly happy for SE. I want them to do well with their upcoming releases. Yeah, Kingdom Hearts III and FFXV. Now if they could just also get that Type-0 localization going as well.

    It’s either VIII or IX for me. Just because they don’t get as much love as VII. :D

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Zana

    “I want you to understand that the FF series is always evolving. It’s always taking on new challenges; this is a positive change.”

    Which is why the series was never really “out” of tracks… This choice of words is annoying. FFXIV 1.0 was their only failure and they made up for it already.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. salarta

    It’s nice that the Final Fantasy series is finally getting back on track with FF15. FF12 was a fairly good game, but it still wasn’t as promising and inspiring as FF10, the last FF game that was really able to pull that off. And FF13 doesn’t even really count as a Final Fantasy game, it’s just the names of things and bastardized Final Fantasy concepts slapped into an idea for a brand new IP, which is a long-running problem with Motomu Toriyama and the crap he makes.

    There’s a difference between evolution and mutilation; FF15 so far looks like genuine evolution.

    Whether the gameplay is action-based or turn-based is nowhere near as important as the atmosphere, concepts and themes of Final Fantasy. So far, FF15 is capturing all three.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. LordDjinn

    This game better deliver Square Enix, ive been so disappointed with your Final Fantasy Brand lately.. the darn 13 series.. >:/

    #7 2 years ago
  8. hitnrun

    @6 “slapped into an idea for a brand new IP”

    That’s what’s so mystifying to me about FF’s direction over the last 10 years. They obviously can poop these settings out in an afternoon. They’re just a mishmash of cool ideas loosely stemming from the same steampunk base.

    The “Final Fantasy” in the title already sells the game far better than continuity. Why does every FF need to be the base for a half-decade of spin-offs and sequels?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. deathm00n

    And that’s why Final Fantasy is one of the greatest series that exists, every new game is almost completely different from the predecessor, even in XIII series: XIII is different from XIII-2 wich is different from Lightning returns. Hate it as much as you will, XIII never broke the series, it sold a lot and a lot of people like it, it’s the second best game in the series for me, behind only VIII. XV is looking awesome, it’s reason enough for me to buy a PS4 the day the game releases. Say what you want, but you don’t play Final Fantasy for the gameplay or the story or the graphics, you play it because it always mix all these things in a way no other series can.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. salarta

    @8: The main reason Squeenix seems to think every FF needs to result in half a decade of spinoffs and sequels is that before FFX-2, fans of a particular installment constantly clamored for sequels to their favorite installments. They loved the worlds presented, they wanted to see more of those worlds.

    Unfortunately, the Squeenix that got their hands on actually making sequels was the one that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about quality, only about doing whatever they think it takes to sell more copies of a game. That’s how we ended up with FFX-2, 3rd Birthday, FF4:TA, and all of FF13 (I’m only covering the Japan side, otherwise there would be more games to cite). Now, when they make a game, they immediately decide every single game automatically needs to have sequels and spinoffs planned for it, solely because in the past, fans were dying to see more. They also figure that since making a sequel means they can re-use art assets from games they already made, it’ll be cheaper and quicker.

    Which is also part of the problem. Their assumptions of what gamers and fans will put up with leads to a lower opinion of them. A REAL sequel to Final Fantasy IV would have been awesome. Instead, it was a load of half-baked crap that lazily recycled old plot devices while purposely undoing major character development from the original game, just to give an excuse to put their moneymakers like Kain on a pedestal to sell more copies.

    It’s also part of why I look forward to FF15. For once since 2003, it looks like all the people with influence on the project actually give a fuck about making a great game that fits Final Fantasy. I need to mention that it’s obvious Matsuno cared about FF12, he had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized over it after all, but it was also clear that the people above him at Squeenix wanted to force their ideas onto his vision, ideas that were based in their idiotic notions of what would make them more money.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Rosseu

    They better not return to that slow ass combat system FF13 had.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. machy

    FF13 was great and this should have stayed exclusive on ps i fear it may ended up just like ff13 with a lot of hate

    #12 2 years ago
  13. hitnrun

    @10: Interesting. Gaming theory moves so slowly in JRPG-land that I forgot about the old time lobbying for same-world sequels by enthusiastic (unrealistic?) FF fans and assumed the sequels were akin to the mindset that’s currently gripping the western publishers, i.e. “annual sequels/find the next Call of Duty.”

    I’m not as big an FF fan as you, but I was very enthused by that reveal. If nothing else, it killed a hilarious punchline vaporware game and moved the series forward to an actual real next installment in one stroke.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. salarta

    @13: I was seriously starting to refer to Versus 13 as the new Duke Nukem Forever, because that’s exactly what it was turning into.

    Anyway, yeah, I’ve been around for the series since the very beginning, albeit without the full knowledge of Squaresoft’s activities and processes when I was younger. I doubt hardly anyone in the U.S. would have known about how what got ported over as Final Fantasy II was really Final Fantasy IV and so on. I played and loved everything Final Fantasy that I got my hands on, including Final Fantasy Mystic Quest… until FFX-2 came along.

    FFX-2 was the point at which I started seeing the franchise getting treated worse and worse as time went on, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the quality started to go downhill as soon as Sakaguchi was no longer around. I don’t think the series absolutely requires his touch, but the kind of crap that’s been going on over the past decade at Squeenix is certainly far beneath the greatness that the series possessed. People, like me, clamored for sequels and spinoffs to their favorite games because they thought Squeenix would continue to not suck. Unfortunately, we got what we asked for, but not in the manner we thought we would get it. Like that oft-repeated tale of wishing for a deceased loved one to come back to life, only for that person to come back “wrong.”

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Mr Sparkle

    They need new character designers. FF games are never bad (they’re expected to be great because of the older classics in my opinion), but they do need a redesign visually. Prettier graphics because of new hardware doesn’t count!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. KineticCalvaria

    Final Fantasy… world of emo’s.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. salarta

    @15: Squeenix’s obsession with having the absolute best graphics imaginable on a platform has to go. Squeenix has been utterly obsessed with the idea that graphics are a required selling point for the franchise ever since FF7 wowwed people with CG and FMVs in a time when they expected video games to be sprites. Graphics aren’t what sell Final Fantasy games, and it’s really sad that Squeenix refused to learn that lesson from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. sahand

    I’m sure this game is gonna be the best Final Fantasy ever.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. exiled

    “For people like me, I want the game to be easy to operate – so I’m asking the development team to be a little bit flexible about the difficulty level,” he added – promising to ensure the game will be easily playable for fans of the older, slower-paced games.”

    Now what the hell? If you’re going to make an action game, make it a good one. Just because I’m a Final Fantasy fan doesn’t mean I can’t kick Demon’s Souls ass. Are they really just going to serve up a DMC-wannabe “mash button to watch movie” type experience? Bleh…

    #19 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    We have five digital copies of acclaimed graphic novel Ricky Rouse Has A Gun to give away on iPad. Ricky Rouse Has a Gun – Out Now from Oiffy on Vimeo. Named one on the best graphic books of 2014 by The Boston Globe Ricky Rouse Has A Gun has been praised by Minecraft creator […]

  • Dying Light reviews round-up, all the scores

    A few reviews of Dying Light have started going live and we’ve gathered them all. As you’re probably aware, review copies for Dying Light were sent to outlets only 24 hours before the release date. As a result, it’s taking most of them a while to play and asses the game. There are a few […]

  • Best Destiny videos of the week – epic kills and loot rage

    Destiny Guardians continue to prove they are the funniest, most talented and wildly handsome players around. This week’s top Destiny videos are a short but sweet bunch. We’ve mostly got Crucible material this time, kicking off with two particularly awesome kills. This first one comes from Steven Genore. I don’t want to call it a […]

  • Ouya scores $10 million cash injection – rumour

    Ouya has been granted a new lease on life thanks to a hefty investment. Ouya games and software may be added to Alibaba’s set top box following a $10 million investment, according to rumours out of the financial world. The Wall Street Journal cited “people familiar with the matter” for the news. No further details […]

  • Chinese console trial to expand nation-wide

    China will open its borders to video game consoles. Last year, the Chinese government allowed a trial of video game console sales in Shanghai, ending a 14 year ban. Bloomberg reports the trial went well enough that China has elected to allow the business nation-wide. Platform holders still have to wait on local governments, who […]

  • 3DS life to date sales top 50 million, Wii U at 9.2 million

    Nintendo has released update hardware life to date sales figures. According to figures released in Nintendo’s latest financial briefing, the 3DS has sold over 50 million units, and spawned 215 million software sales. The poor old Wii U is still languishing at under 10 million hardware sales, with 52 million software sales to its name. […]

  • Destiny heavy ammo bug to be fixed, probably won’t break everything else

    Praise the Sunbro, Bungie is finally going to fix the heavy ammo bug in Destiny. If Destiny has one bug that has gone too long unresolved, it’s the heavy ammo issue. For quite a while now Guardians wearing armour that increased heavy ammo capacity have found their supply emptied whenever they respawn, return to orbit […]

  • MLB 15 The Show continues year-to-year saves, has real time sun and shadows

    MLB 15 The Show is going to be oodles better than last year’s effort, judging by a list of planned improvements. SCE San Diego has released a list of features and improvements coming to MLB 15 The Show. For those keen on the franchise the news that year-to-year saves are making a return is an […]

  • Nintendo outlines 3DS and Wii U release dates for the upcoming year

    Nintendo has published a list of release dates for upcoming 3DS and Wii U games. There aren’t a great many surprises on offer, unfortunately, but if you’rew wondering what’s next for your faithful 3DS and Wii U, you can now consider yourself fully informed. It’s worth noting that these dates are subject to change, and […]

  • Majora’s Mask Hyrule Warriors DLC is just too, too cute

    Majora’s Mask might be the creepiest Zelda but its Hyrule Warriors incarnation is so adorable I don’t know whether to eat it or tuck it up in a little blankey. The Majora’s Mask DLC hits Hyrule Warriors is due on February 5, and includes a version of young Link so sweet that I need a […]

  • Fahrenheit remaster doesn’t play nicely with unusual Steam names, apparently

    Fahrenheit will reportedly not work for you if you have special characters in your Steam name. Fahrenheit, or Indigo Prophecy as it is sometimes known, has been re-released on iOS, Linux, Mac and PC thanks to Aspyr Media. It’s not much of an upgrade, but it is pretty cheap and a great way to experience […]

  • Bloodborne PS4 bundle pops up on Amazon Spain

    Bloodborne should definitely get its own PS4 bundle. It just makes sense. A Bloodborne PS4 bundle has popped up online, although there’s been no official announcement form Sony. Amazon Spain listed the pack, which includes a 500GB console and goes for €440. In other words it’s very similar to existing game bundles and doesn’t include […]

  • Ermac joins Mortal Kombat X cast

    Mortal Kombat X will see the return of the red-clad ninja with origins in myth and glitches. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Twitch stream made good on NetherRealm’s promise of a new roster reveal. As a few of you guessed from the teasers, the latest character to be announced is Ermac, another of the ninjas. Like […]

  • Badland: Game of the Year Edition coming this spring to multiple platforms

    Frogmind Games has announced it will be bringing its action-adventure game Badland to multiple platforms this spring with Badland: Game of the Year Edition. Initially released in 2013 on tablets, the game is a mix of physics-based gameplay with varying level designs and power-up featuring cloning, growing and slowing down time. Badland is set in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront concept art shows Endor, map details teased

    With Star Wars Battlefront set for holiday 2015, it’s high time we were told something about the FPS. Today, a slight bit of information was released on the game, along with a piece of concept art. Finally. While we wait until spring for the first look at the game, we’ll have to be sated with […]

  • You can now catch Emboar and Serperior in Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

    Two new Pokemon are now available for Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire through the official Pokemon website’s special event. You can pick up the fire, fighting type Pokemon Emboar from January 28 – November 30, per IGN, using the special code POKEMON500. Enter it into the Mystery Gift section from the main game menu to […]

  • Fight demons, save the world in The Awakened Fate Ultimatum this March

    A new set of videos for The Awakened Fate Ultimatum have been released by NIS America, showing off the roguelike RPG coming to PlayStation 3. In the game, player will guide a high school student named Shin Kamikaze as he comes to term with being a god. After having a dream featuring a girl talking […]

  • You can now pick up Heroes of Might & Magic 3 HD Edition on PC, tablets

    Heroes of Might & Magic 3 HD Edition is now available on PC as well as Android and iOS tablets. The fifteen year-old title has been revamped in full HD and includes the seven original campaign scenarios and 48 skirmish maps. Local multiplayer mode, a map editor and a Steam lobby are also included.

  • 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 […]