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Namco Bandai teams up with indies to distribute three new games – trailers inside

Wednesday, 5th March 2014 12:53 GMT By Dave Cook

Namco Bandai is on something of an indie drive right now, pairing up with three indie studios to bring their projects to PC, mobile and other devices. Say hello to GoD Factory: Wingmen, Beware Planet Earth! and Platformines.

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In a press release sent to VG247 today, Namco confirmed that all three titles will launch in 2014, starting with GoD Factory: Wingmen from Nine Dots Studio, which is described as, “a ferocious team-based space combat simulator.” It throws players into 4v4 battles to destroy the enemy’s space carrier while earning credits to buy new upgrades for their gunships. It’s coming to PC, Mac and Linux.

Here’s a trailer:

Next up is Platformines from Magiko Soft, which mixes 16-bit platforming with RPG and shooter mechanics. It’s geared towards retro fans and is coming to Steam PC on March 28. It sees players traversing a large network of randomly-generated mines filled with traps, enemies and – if you’re lucky – treasure. You can also customise your avatar with gear obtained from chests, as well as new weapons.

Watch the trailer here:

Lastly; Beware Planet Earth! from Lightmare Studio blends tower defence and time management on iPhone, iPad and Steam. In it, you need to save cows from invading Martian ships by creating better defencesm traps and more. It came out on PC initially in 2012, but the new version will feature new levels inspired by Valve’s games and more.

Trailer time:

What do you think?

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2 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    In order…

    Wingmen

    At first, this had me captivated. It was aesthetically interesting and I actually wanted to see more. Some of the ship designs were endemic of ‘fighter planes in space,’ but others were genuinely weird. I was optimistic, it looked quite lovely. Then the ship’s internal HUD had to go and ruin it for me.

    We already have heads-up displays today with Google glasses. By the time we’re in space, we’re going to have eye-implants which allow us to perceive situationally placed and contextual floating screens. If not even actual holography, it will look like it. Deus Ex: Human Revolution wasn’t even in space, but it understood that.

    Seeing the equivalent of CRT monitors in ships layouts just because stuff like Wing Commander was doing this back in the ’80s and ’90s is an immersion killer for me. I keep hoping to see people do interesting, creative things with contextual HUDs based upon the realisation that, hey, we won’t actually even need CRT monitors by that point.

    It reduces the experience to fighter planes in space, and kills the feeling of being in space, for me.

    If it had some lovely, quaint retro sci-fi aesthetic, I could maybe understand. But those big, chunky, ugly monitors look terrible, so it’s not even that. It’s just doing it because everyone else did it and being too afraid to buck the trend. So… just another space combat game about fighter planes in space.

    I’d love to see a game with a genuinely interesting ship design that’s more about exploration than combat. Perhaps something with a techno-organic ship that can morph itself and neural-link with the player. So it could literally be the eyes and the ears of the player, and morph itself to suit the player’s needs. Sort of like Iron Man’s bleeding edge armour.

    It would also be really rad if such a game had to have combat, it could have something more akin to spectacle fighters. I can’t stop thinking that having a ship like Outlaw Star, which could spew out camera drones that could be toggled between — and one that has some kind of equivalent of arms. And when dealing with enemy ships, you could spare them by specifically targeting their power cores and weapons systems.

    It would be fun if the ship were wrapped around the player, too, in a vaguely bipedal shape. Allowing for interesting forms of spatial agility.

    I dunno, I crave a space game that’s set in the future.

    My views are probably going to infuriate someone again, just because I have opinions and personal preferences, but that always happens. I always find it so bizarre that ‘fighter planes in space’ game fans are, quite bizarrely, neo-luddites who attack those who would like to see anything other than ‘fighter planes in space.’ I mean, we have so many games which are just that! Can’t we have just one game that isn’t ‘fighter planes in space.’ Please? Is that so much to ask?

    The new Elite game is the only thing that’s coming close to feeling futuristic at the moment, and that’s a little depressing.

    And I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. I’m sure that Wingmen will be a lovely game for those who’re into that sort of thing. But we’re so oversaturated with the familiar, with the known, with the already done that I can’t help but ask myself if we even need another game like that? I just wish that the majority of humanity didn’t despise the creative process so much.

    And that’s actually a thing. It’s worth reading this to understand the problem. It’s also sad because creative people will be labelled incorrectly as narcissists (something I can’t roll my eyes at hard enough) just because they don’t hate creativity, they don’t want to live in a hole of stagnant smelling familiarity. Creativity itself is kind of a mutation, but it’s being strangled by those who can’t ever move outside of their comfort zone.

    So as much as I want to like new games, I can’t avoid the feeling that, hey, yes yes, it’s another clone of X, or another clone of Y. It’s like with the MMO field and how everyone keeps cloning WoW rather than trying anything even remotely new and unique.

    I just… I don’t understand. How do you even? How do you live like that? How do you do the same thing — day in, day out — without getting sick of it, without craving novelty? I’m creative myself in that I love writing, and philosophy is important for me, as is the very nature of wonder itself. Sometimes I like just spinning in my chair and losing myself in my imagination, asking myself what a post-scarcity, post-Singularity human future would be like.

    And interesting things happen.

    * Humans choose to be informational life by abandoning their old form and existing in a mainframe which simulates their existence with 100 per cent accuracy, allowing them to control many kinds of ‘frames,’ for different tasks. Why have just one body?

    * Human clones become legal. Marrying human clones becomes legal. Genetic diversity is handled through labs where people can request DNA samples, which are then edited to form designer DNA to create new children. It might not happen often because everyone would be technically immortal by this point, so spamming new life may actually become unnecessary.

    * Humans express themselves through form and function. If you can change your body as easily as you can change your clothes, why would you stick with the same form? Everyone is going to want to have some basic upgrades. A regressive cult may exist, pushing for ‘species purity,’ but that would be a minority thing.

    * Space travel is handled by humans using frames. A central mindship is sent out containing a mainframe-person, it’s a carrier of frames which can break off of the mindship and form into whatever functions are necessary to fit the tasks at hand.

    * Diplomacy is handled through highly advanced artificial intelligences which are linked to all human minds. These allow people to remain connected over great distances, and manage data flow so that no one gets overwhelmed. The extended flow of emotional data also means that everyone has a good grasp of the feelings of anyone they need to, and thus is created a form of super-empathy. Furthermore, everyone has a counsellor on hand should they need one, which takes up only a small per centage of an AI’s processing time. This implies that pretty much any person eloquent enough could make a good diplomat with any new species they encounter.

    * The core of humanity becomes ‘the pattern,’ derived from your neural network. Essentially, the baseline of you. In that a person is based upon the sum of their mind’s parts — aspirations, ideologies, romantic inclinations, and so on. There are constant backups occurring to keep in-line with changing patterns — this occurs with every clone, as well.

    * Expression can be as important as function when function isn’t required. So if you want your mindship to look like a cephalopod in space? You can. (I imagine this would be possible via a LEGO-like system, similar to Kerbal, linked into some Spore-based technology. It could result in a lot of very interesting looking ships.)

    (Yes, I was leading up to that last one so that the background and Universe-building could explain how that sort of technology could exist and be utilised. I really want to see a shipbuilding system that works like that. …could you imagine how much fun a procedurally generated system using those tools would be, too, for stuff you could encounter?)

    Though, honestly, I don’t expect anyone to really go that far, because I know that people hate being removed from familiarity and their comfort zones. But… couldn’t we just go a bit further than fighter planes in space? After all, video games seem to be the perfect way to explore a really interesting, exotic, unusual future.

    Well, this got too long… I’ll talk about other things in a new post. And sorry, the hatred of creativity and the lack of ability to think beyond today is a bugbear of mine. It gives me very few people to talk to aside from a small minority of transhumanists. People, by and large, are disappointingly boring.

    #1 7 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    And yes, that was an effort to inspire someone.

    I mean, if that’s not my goal, then why even bother? I do this sort of thing to get the creative juices flowing. And people need to be inspired all the damn time! If I can just get one person fired up on ideas, then that’s completely awesome, and all I want. I want people to be inspired enough to take baby steps out of their comfort zones, even if only for a little while.

    To see how much more interesting things can be when you don’t limit yourself. When you don’t hold yourself back.

    I mean, right now, I’m sitting here trying to figure out how game mechanics for mindships and the frames could work — maybe you could hop into specific frames to control them directly, and use basic commands to issue contextual orders to others in a very organic, intuitive way. Such as only seeing the ability to repair other ships if they actually need it — and then being able to order those repairs, or switch over to a repair frame so you could do it yourself. Frames you’re not controlling would be controlled by your computer, of course.

    When I get started, it’s hard to stop. I love ideas. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad, at least they’re there.

    (And I admit, a little bit of it was because I want a cephalopodship. But mostly I just want to inspire people to want their own stuff which happens to not be exactly the same as what every other familiarity-loving person wants. No one has to agree with me or like my ideas, to the contrary, I want to encourage people to have their own ideas. It’s just that talking with other people would be so much more pleasant if they weren’t so… boring, I guess? Usually, a person wants more of the same and hates creativity. I wish the inverse were true.)

    So, moving on!

    Platformines

    This one looks like a roguelite platformer with lots of customisation. I’m not sure what the pitch is beyond that, but if it is just that, that’s been done lots of times before. I’d be interested in seeing what this does to differentiate itself to other roguelites. Hopefully it’s not just customisation.

    Beware Planet Earth

    Aesthetically it’s very interesting. The thing is though is that it just seems to be a tower defence with Plants vs. Zombies vibes. I’m not sure what it’s doing different beyond that.

    Conclusion

    These indies just seem to be doing what everyone else is doing — these are very, very, very safe projects. I’m guessing that’s why they found it so easy to get in with a publisher. None of them are actually doing anything radically different. Lovely looking games, all of them, definitely. But there’s absolutely nothing new about them, nothing that gives them their own personality beyond what they’re cloning.

    #2 7 months ago

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