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News Wii U

Platinum Games Says E3 Wasn’t the Best Environment to Debut Star Fox Zero

After a long wait made longer by several delays, Nintendo finally launched Star Fox Zero on Wii U last month. The highly-anticipated return of Star Fox to the home console didn’t get the reception Nintendo was hoping for when they officially unveiled it at E3 last year, as many conference attendees (including several members of the Gamnesia team) found the controls less than user friendly.

Platinum Games Directors Yugo Hayashi and Yusuke Hashimoto recently sat down with US Gamer to discuss their recent release, and Hayashi addressed the game’s lackluster reception. While he admitted that a crowded venue with time constraints like E3 was probably not a good place to debut a game with such a radically different new control style, he believes that players can do “cool things” once they’ve mastered the controls.

“Thinking back to that E3, it’s obviously an event where there are lots of people around and you get a very short amount of playtime, so it definitely did feel to me then that it probably wasn’t the best environment to be presented with a completely new control style. And what’s great about an action game is that you have these responsive controls that you master and they become very intuitive and you’re able to do all these cool things, so what we want people to get out of this game is being able to get used to these controls, master these controls, feel like they’re able to do cool things with them, go for higher scores – really enjoy the arcade action.

“And just to continue on from that, it’s precisely that reason that we added the training mode in the eventual full version of the game, because we felt like people would need a lot of time to get used to the controls, to really have them feel good. Another thing that was important with the training mode is that people would be able to try out vehicles before they ever see them in the story mode so that, the first time they show up in the story mode, they’re not just completely confused. So, it’s definitely something we were cognizant of – the need for people to have a slow warm up to the controls. So the training mode is definitely something that we want people to play before they do play the full version.”
— Yugo Hayashi

Star Fox Zero got a mixed reception from reviewers at launch, and the controls continued to be an especially divisive element.

Source: US Gamer

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Miyamoto Says Nintendo’s E3 Lineup Was About Surprising Players

Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event back in June had a theme of “Transformation,” with Nintendo showing off a variety of spin-offs and new takes on games. The presentation was widely criticized, with many fans feeling that it was underwhelming and that certain titles (Metroid Prime: Federation Force in particular) were not what they expected or wanted.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime defended the game, stating that changes to the formula have to be made to keep games
fresh and appealing. In a more recent interview, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto expressed similar sentiments, saying that Nintendo needs to change game formulas for new hardware, and that the lineup of games shown at E3 was meant to surprise the audience.

“In terms of Metroid, yes, it wasn’t exactly what fans expected. With Animal Crossing [Happy Home Designer] we have a new type of gameplay but it is still the same franchise – perhaps not along the traditional line of what you expect but what we always try to do is work with the hardware we have.

“If you look across the line-up of what we have for this year we’re using the amiibo cards, amiibo, the [Mario Maker] editing tool, two screens. Both the new Metroid and Zelda: Triforce Hero titles are new in terms of their gameplay.

“Even moving on to the year after, we’re always thinking of ways to surprise the audience.”
— Shigeru Miyamoto

Looking at the combination of Nintendo hardware, software, and accessories that will be available this year and next, are you satisfied with the lineup? Do you think Nintendo is doing a good job of keeping things fresh, or have they missed the mark with some of their recent changes? Sound off in the comments!

Source: Eurogamer

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Here’s How Xbox 360 Games Will Work On the Xbox One

Ever since Microsoft’s E3 announcement a couple of weeks back about backwards compatibility, many fans have been wondering how the Xbox One plans to run all of their old Xbox 360 games. In an interview with
Giant Bomb‘s Jeff Gertsmann, Phil Spencer and Kudo Tsunoda answered exactly that question. Spencer mentions that the process was very difficult, but it was ultimately a worthwhile investment.

“[Emulating Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One] is hard, and it was our decision on the leadership team to make the investment…

“…The approach that we’ve taken is to actually emulate the full…Xbox 360 hardware layer. So the OS for the 360 is actually running when you run the game. And if you watch the games boot right now, you’ll see, actually, the Xbox 360 boot animation come up…

“…Live thinks you’re on 360…The 360 games think they’re running on the 360 OS, which they are, and the 360 OS thinks it’s running on the hardware, which it’s not. It’s running on an emulated VM. On the other side, the Xbox One thinks it’s a game. That’s why things like streaming and game DVR and screenshots all work… It thinks there’s one big game called ‘the 360.'”
— Phil Spencer

While the announcement may have come late for many fans who have already sold their Xbox 360 and games, I still think that it is a cool feature to add to the Xbox One. Perhaps the addition of backwards compatibility for the Xbox One will boost sales this Holiday season. What do you think about the backwards compatibility feature? Do you think it was a smart move? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: YouTube

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News PlayStation 4

Square Enix Announced the Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 to Boost PS4 Sales

Sony’s E3 press conference had several big, exciting announcements that riled up the crowd, and one of the biggest (even though the surprise was let out of the bag a little early via the rumor mill) was a complete remake of the beloved RPG Final Fantasy VII. Fans have been pleading with Square Enix to remake the game for years now, and the Japanese publisher finally gave them their wish. When asked why they chose to announce it when they did (during E3, and specifically during Sony’s press conference), director Tetsuya Nomura revealed that he’s hoping it will boost PlayStation 4 sales.

“Why now? This week at E3 we announced several titles coming to the PS4: not only FFXV, Kingdom Hearts 3, and World of Final Fantasy, but [also] a new Star Ocean and more. Rather than announce the remake after those titles went on sale, we wanted to give gamers something that would make them happy – open them up, perhaps, to buying into the PS4.” — Tetsuya Nomura

PlayStation 4 is already selling very well on a global scale, but its sales have been disappointing in its home country of Japan. The
Final Fantasy VII remake definitely has the potential to excite Japanese gamers. The remake is confirmed to launch first on PlayStation 4, but it could come to other platforms at a later time.

Source: Engadget

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Konami Shows Four Different Approaches to Completing the E3 Demo of MGSV

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is promising a stealth experience fueled by player choice. Snake can take down enemies in any number of ways, and missions can be completed with loud or quiet approaches. Konami is showing off just how much variety players can choose from in a new video featuring four different approaches to the previously showcased E3 demo. Using Quiet’s sniping or a cardboard box, it’s impressive seeing how much is at Snake’s disposal.

Check out all four playthroughs above. Each lasts about seven minutes.

Source: GamesHQMedia

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Many Big Upcoming Games are Running on Havok Engine

Havok has taken their bragging rights public today. Many of the most talked about games from E3 2015 are going to use Havok’s technology for physics or visual. Brian Waddle, Havok’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, made a statement about the company’s feelings about this increase in popularity along with a press release showing a list of games using Havok’s engines:

“We were so happy to see all the amazing work of our development partners and the industry in general at E3. Their hard work and innovation is being rewarded by the sheer excitement of gamers around the world. We’re proud that developers behind some of the biggest AAA titles in the world are turning to Havok to realize the true potential of the new console platforms. We’re beginning to see the future of gaming come to fruition, and that future is spectacular.” — Brian Waddle

Here are a few of the games using Havok that you might of heard of:

  • Star Wars Battlefront – Electronic Arts
  • Dark Souls III – BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
  • Fallout 4 – Bethesda Softworks
  • Halo 5: Guardians – Microsoft Studios
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn – Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Just Cause 3 – Square Enix
  • Need for Speed – Electronic Arts
  • No Man’s Sky – Hello Games
  • The Last Guardian – Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Ubisoft
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division – Ubisoft
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Sony Computer Entertainment
  • DOOM – Bethesda Softworks

Are you happy to see Havok being used more? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Businesswire (via DualShockers)

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Iwata: Unlike Other Booths, People Were Smiling and Playing Our Games at E3

Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event was met with a lot of criticism, and Nintendo has acknowledged that many fans were underwhelmed and disappointed. However, that’s not to say that they’re unhappy with their presence at E3. Speaking with shareholders at the 75th Annual Shareholders Meeting, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that fans on the show floor were actually quite pleased with the games. In fact, according to Iwata, there were more people smiling and picking up controllers to play games at Nintendo’s booth than at other companies’ booths.

“(While playing a video for shareholders) This is the footage from the E3 show floor. E3 takes place at a venue called the Los Angeles Convention Center, which you may want to compare with Makuhari Messe in Japan, and this is Nintendo’s booth. One thing I should say about Nintendo’s E3 booth is that, unlike the other booths in general, most of the visitors to our booth were smiling and actually picking up the controllers and playing with our games. So, this was one big difference because a number of the visitors to other booths appeared to have spent a lot of time just watching game videos. Other than these show floor activities, Nintendo did not hold a press conference this year, but we did air our “Nintendo Digital Event” Internet program, and even before the Digital Event, we aired another video presentation to announce the new content of “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U.” We also broadcast our event titled “Nintendo World Championships 2015” live via the Internet. This event used several Nintendo game software titles to decide the world’s most skillful player. There was a lot of excitement from the visitors and the contenders. So, we listen sincerely to the voices of fans who were not happy about the announcements we made in the online Digital Event, and we will have to make further efforts to improve. But when it comes to the reactions to our E3 activities overall, the reactions from trade customers and the media were not that unfavorable. I hope you will understand it.”
— Satoru Iwata

Speaking as someone who spent a lot of time on the E3 show floor at Nintendo’s booth as well as Microsoft and Sony’s booths, I think Iwata’s statements here are partially true. It’s true that other companies had a lot of video presentations and live demonstrations, but it’s not true that Nintendo had more total playable games. Nintendo had more first-party game available to play than the other companies, but Microsoft and Sony each had a much more robust lineup of third-party and indie games than Nintendo, as Nintendo only had two playable games that weren’t first-party.

All three companies had plenty of people playing games at their booths. Lines were longer at Nintendo’s booth, but that was partially due to the fact there were less demo stations, as a large portion of Nintendo’s E3 show floor was devoted to the Nintendo Treehouse stage and seating area.

Source: Nintendo

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News

E3 Twitch Viewership Doubled This Year With Microsoft and EA Leading the Way

Twitch has become increasingly more popular each year, especially in its relevance to the video game industry. During this year’s E3, more than 21 million people tuned in to Twitch to watch the various events, which is nearly double the numbers from last year. In particular, the press conferences held by Microsoft and EA attracted the most viewers of any event. Total viewing figures for these conferences were not made available, but peak viewership during their presentations was over 840,000 people at one time! It looks like E3’s digital presence is stronger than ever.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Nintendo Received “Many” Proposals for Third-Party Partnerships at E3

One area where Nintendo has greatly lacked in recent years is third-party relationships. Nintendo has a wonderful lineup of first-party games, but they’ve struggled to attract multiplatform titles and third-party exclusives and have been very wary about entering into partnerships. We’ve seen that start to change this year, with Nintendo announcing partnerships with DeNA and Universal Studios, as well as a Skylanders/Amiibo partnership with Activision.

Nintendo is more open to working with partners than they have been in a long time, and people are taking notice. According to Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, “many” different third-party companies proposed partnerships to Nintendo at E3.

“Nintendo is collaborating with various software publishers. At E3, which was held in the U.S. and is the largest trade show in the video game industry, we received many proposals for joint initiatives. In addition, Japanese software publishers have close relationships with our licensing department on a regular basis. As for collaborations with software publishers or their games, please consider that there are various ongoing projects below the surface.”
— Satoru Iwata

Whether these joint ventures are for games, accessories, or something outside of gaming is yet to be seen, but it’s good to hear that Nintendo’s third-party relations are improving. What third-party companies would you like to see Nintendo work with?

Source: Siliconera

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Articles Features PC PlayStation 4 Xbox One

Unravel is Unlike Anything Electronic Arts Has Ever Published

Electronic Arts doesn’t have the best reputation. The company has been criticized for hamfisted DRM, an overabundance of DLC, and premature launches of buggy games. Yet, it is debatably the biggest name in the video game industry. It has built franchises up to reputations that have become household names. If there’s any company that I feel represents the highs and lows of triple-A publishers, it’s Electronic Arts.

Considering EA’s reputation and position in the industry, the company’s reveal of Unravel at E3 sticks out like a little indie apple in a pile of action-packed oranges. Sandwiched between Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (complemented with Kenny Loggins’s “Danger Zone”) and Mass Effect: Andromeda (complemented by Johnny Cash’s “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”), a nervous man took the stage to talk about his studio’s physics-based sidescroller. The juxtaposition is almost laughable in retrospect. Unravel didn’t quite fit in with Electronic Arts’ line-up. It shouldn’t though, as it is something completely new for the publisher. Unravel represents an expansion into smaller, quieter games for Electronic Arts. That’s worth welcoming.

As I wandered the South Hall of the E3 show floor, I noticed a two-hour line for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst twisting around the corner of EA’s booth. Checking the other side, I found an even longer wait for Star Wars Battlefront. Dubstep blared over the speakers. Giant televisions proudly displayed the latest Madden and FIFA games. Against the wall, a logo for Unravel could be seen with a handful of people forming a line in front. The wait for every other EA game dwarfed this one. I had to kill some time, so I hopped in the line. Thank goodness I did, because Unravel is magnificent.

The game’s plot revolves around a grandmother connecting with her family over a long distance. What better way to symbolize this link than through yarn, a material that provides warmth and that can literally tie two things together? Contradicting the safety of the yarn was the environment. The serenity of the constant raindrops and moonlit trees gave a melancholic air to the gameplay. The creeping isolation of the level didn’t only invade my disposition though; the friendly appearance of the protagonist Yarny is juxtaposed with sadness and fear in his (her? its?) face. The atmosphere complements the family connection that Yarny ties together, showing that love can overcome the adversity of the harsh world.

Alright, I may be reading a little too much into the game. However, no Electronic Arts title has ever moved me enough to ponder on its themes and storytelling on a critical level.

Unravel’s artistry, modesty, and simplicity strongly contradict recent titles from Electronic Arts. This is a new frontier for the publisher, and I hope EA’s first foray into this kind of game is successful. If Unravel sees a healthy return, I wouldn’t doubt that Electronic Arts would seek to fund more games made by itty-bitty studios. I love Mass Effect and Mirror’s Edge, but the company’s massive funds could be poured into more creative, unassuming titles.

Unravel can be seen as EA’s UbiArt Framework title. Much like Child of Light and Valiant Hearts, it’s a game that bears very little semblance to its publisher’s other output. Considering the high quality that both of those two Ubisoft games have achieved, I hope more companies begin to fund smaller games that they believe in. Unravel‘s placement in EA’s press conference is a telling sign that the company has big plans for the title. If a trendsetter like Electronic Arts publishes more games along the lines of Unravel, I may see that hope become a reality.

Going onto the E3 stage, Martin Sahlin was visibly shaking when he was talking about his studio’s work on Unravel. While some may say the developer wasn’t fit for E3, I disagree completely. Sahlin’s labor of love was finally being revealed to a desired audience. His nervousness and shakiness are what I love about this medium. The man was tremendously happy, so happy he was nervous. And I’m happy that he’s happy. That sort of developer excitement really shows how much of a personal investment Unravel is. The demo that I played gives me the hope that the final product will see that investment pay off for both developer and publisher.

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The Makers of Animal Crossing are “Always Thinking About What to Do” for the Next Game

With the upcoming releases of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, many long-time fans of the franchise are wondering what the future holds. Will Nintendo continue producing spin-offs, or will they go back to the tried and true formula Animal Crossing is known for? During E3, GamesBeat sat down with the franchise’s director, Aya Kyogoku, to find out what Nintendo and the Animal Crossing development team had planned, if anything at all. Kyogoku responded by saying that the development team is always thinking about what to do with the future of Animal Crossing.

While
Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival seem like decent games, I’m still waiting for a more traditional Animal Crossing. According to Kyogoku, it isn’t out of the question, but it’s also not set in stone either:

“We’re in full development for Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival. We’ve been focusing on that. When we think about Animal Crossing, including the main Animal Crossing series, as a development team we’re always thinking about what to do for the next installment. Whether that’ll be a cutout and an expansion of a certain feature or a full-blown Animal Crossing game, that hasn’t been decided yet, but as a team we’re constantly thinking about what we can do for the series in the future.”
— Aya Kyogoku

What do you want to see out of the
Animal Crossing franchise? Is there an aspect of the series that could make a good spin-off?

Source: GamesBeat

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Sony is Live Streaming an “E3 Restrospective” on July 3, Hosted by Shuhei Yoshida

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio will be live streaming an “E3 Restrospective Special” via Niconico at 10:00 PM JST on July 3. The presentation will be co-hosted by SCE Worldwide Studio President Shuhei Yoshida and Public Relations Coordinator Yasuhiro Kitao. While it hasn’t been confirmed if any new information will be revealed, Yoshida and Kitao will be looking back on Sony’s E3 showing, and trailers from their press conference will be replayed. Those who understand Japanese can follow the source to watch the Retrospective on Niconico.

Source: Niconico (via DualShockers)

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Animal Crossing Director Discusses Amiibo Support, Customization, and Future Games

Animal Crossing has been in the public’s eyes since its two games, Happy Home Designer for 3DS and Amiibo Festival for Wii U, were showcased at E3. A full lineup of Animal Crossing Amiibo were also announced and shown. Many questions still remain about these games, however: What makes Happy Home Designer more unique than a normal Animal Crossing title? Will the Amiibo also play a role in Happy Home Designer? What can the new Amiibo do? What can we expect from the future of Animal Crossing? GamesBeat writer Mike Minotti got to answer these questions with director Aya Kyogoku during E3 last week.

Amiibo clearly have a role in
Amiibo Festival, but they will also play a part in Happy Home Designer, such as being able to make the Amiibo appear in your house and much more:

“That’s one of the functions of Amiibo, to be able to invite animals and create this scene where you can take a picture of a birthday party or a concert that’s going on. That’s one big aspect of the Amiibo function. To be sure, Happy Home Designer can be played without any Amiibo cards. The animals will hang around in front of Nook’s Homes thinking, oh, I want a house like this. You’ll talk to them and take on their requests and build their houses. But with the cards, you can reach out to animals in particular. You’ll be making a call and saying, hey, would you be interested in building a house with us? For a lot of Animal Crossing
fans, it’ll be great to be able to reach out to their favorite animal at will and come to build a house for them. That’s one feature. The second feature is, in the Animal Crossing series, there are two general types of animals. The ones that move into your town, they become residents, they become your neighbor, you develop a relationship with them. Then there are characters like Tom Nook or K.K. Slider who serve a special role in the game, but don’t necessarily live in your town. Using Amiibo cards you’re able to build a house for them as well, which is something new.”
— Aya Kyogoku

Kyogoku went on to discuss that Amiibo is influencing Animal Crossing to branch out into new territory:

“This time around, there’s obviously this new thing called Amiibo. The development team for Animal Crossing, we just really wanted Animal Crossing Amiibos. We thought it would be cute. We thought fans would be happy. In the past, Animal Crossing has only been Animal Crossing, but we thought that with the addition of Amiibo — how could we make an Animal Crossing game that would be fun by adding Amiibo features? What resulted was Happy Home Designer on 3DS and Amiibo Festival on the Wii U. This was a way to try different ways of playing Animal Crossing. We kept thinking, this idea might be fun, that idea might be fun. Eventually we ended up with these two different games. Amiibos are really cool figures, but beyond that, the biggest difference is the way they’re linked with gameplay. It’s important that there’s a game to go along with Amiibo. We felt like Amiibo could benefit from an Animal Crossing twist and Animal Crossing could really benefit from Amiibo as well.”
— Aya Kyogoku

There was further discussion about
Happy Home Designer as well, explaining that you will be able to customize your avatar and that new pieces of furniture can be unlocked as the game progresses. There was also a question asked about the infamous budget past Animal Crossing games have imposed on their players:

“No, we got rid of the idea of a budget. Whether to include one or not was something that we thought hard about and discussed amongst the development team. What we wanted to get out of this game was for the player to reflect their creativity in the game. We didn’t want any constraints from budgeting to be an issue. In real life, depending on the budget you had, you might have to give up on some things you wanted to see. We didn’t want that to happen in the game world as well.”
— Aya Kyogoku

It’s interesting to see the
Animal Crossing series expanding into new territory, but what does this mean for future games? I know I’m still hoping for a full-blown Animal Crossing on Wii U, and Kyogoku still sees this as a possibility:

“Obviously, as you said, we’re in full development for Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival. We’ve been focusing on that. When we think about Animal Crossing, including the main Animal Crossing series, as a development team we’re always thinking about what to do for the next installment. Whether that’ll be a cutout and an expansion of a certain feature or a full-blown Animal Crossing game, that hasn’t been decided yet, but as a team we’re constantly thinking about what we can do for the series in the future.”
— Aya Kyogoku

What do you think about the next two
Animal Crossing games and their Amiibo? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: GamesBeat

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Here’s Five Hours of Street Fighter V Footage From E3

Street Fighter V launches early next year, but you’ll have plenty of chances to play it before then. The hotly-anticipated fighter will be playable at Six Flags in July, and there will be an open beta on PlayStation 4 starting July 23rd. E3 attendees already got to go hands-on with the game, but you can have some of that experience from the comfort of your home. You can check out a YouTube playlist with five hours of E3 Street Fighter V footage by clicking above!

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Report: Nintendo Discussed NX With Third-Party Partners at E3, Got a Positive Reception

Nintendo won’t be unveiling any details about their next piece of hardware, codenamed NX, until next year, but that only applies to the general public. When it comes to business partners, they need to get the details flowing much earlier. According to a report from Fortune, that’s exactly what happened at E3.

No specifics were given, but Fortune’s “insiders” report that Nintendo pitched NX to third-party partners during E3, and the reception was positive. If true, it’s good news for Nintendo, as Wii U has struggled mightily to attract third-party support. Can NX get off to a better start than its predecessor?

Source: Fortune

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News Wii U

Reggie Didn’t Train Before His Smash Match with Hungrybox in the Nintendo World Championships

In a recent interview with Kotaku, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé discussed the Nintendo World Championships, including his one-on-one Smash Bros. match against Hungrybox.

According to Reggie, he lost so badly in the match because he has never been a good Smash Bros. player; he also stated that he had not done any training before taking on Hungrybox, aside from one match to test out Ryu. Here’s Reggie’s full statement:

Fils-Aime: “You’ve seen my Nintendo 3DS. You know I play our content.”

Kotaku: “No doubt, no doubt. And I also heard you’re amazing at Wii Tennis. I heard that a while ago.”

Fils-Aime: “You saw my progress in New Super Mario Bros. 2. I can show you my Animal Crossing house. I can show you the progress I’ve made on every single Zelda title. I play our content. The fact of the matter is I’ve never been a good Smash player. Never. Never.”

Kotaku: “Right.”

Fils-Aime: “And so in a momentary loss of control last year, I made a bombastic statement that came back to haunt me. Hungrybox is actually right here in our booth right now. Great guy. But yeah he kicked my butt.”

Kotaku: “Had you done any training beforehand?”

Fils-Aime: “No. No. I picked up the controller once leading up, because I played a new character. And so… no. I had not done any training. Maybe that was my problem.”

What do you guys think? Perhaps Reggie should have put in a few more training matches? Sound off in the comments!

Source: Kotaku

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Articles Features PlayStation 4

Horizon Zero Dawn’s E3 Presentation Showed the Benefits of Differentiating from the Last Generation

Going into this E3, I was ecstatic with excitement. I could run around and play a new Star Fox and watch gameplay from Uncharted 4 and wait two hours to play Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. The abundance of content at this year’s E3 made my first year on the show floor a special one. And then, one title came out of nowhere and stole my excitement.

Horizon Zero Dawn makes a strong case for purchasing a PlayStation 4. While The Last Guardian and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gave phenomenal presentations, I can see myself waiting a few years and a couple price drops to give those games a whirl. It’s not inherently bad in knowing what to expect from these games, but there’s a lack of urgency to play them. On the other hand, Guerrilla’s robot dinosaur hunting mayhem starring futuristic Merida from Pixar’s Brave is the first game I’ve seen from Sony that truly awed me. The PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One may have already launched years ago, but Horizon is a reminder that this generation should push itself creatively more often than it has so far.

For the past few years, the industry has been infatuated with continuing franchises. Launch titles such as New Super Mario Bros. U and Forza 5 brought old IPs onto new hardware with very little change to the established formula. The aforementioned Guerrilla Games remained tied to its banner franchise of the previous generation, with Killzone: Shadow Fall launching alongside the PlayStation 4. While these new entries weren’t necessarily mediocre, the imbalance between hardware upgrades and software innovations had been obvious.

This isn’t to say that a new IP equates to innovation. Plenty of new franchises merely echo the ideas of titles of the last generation, such as Battleborn’s similarities to Borderlands and MOBAs. Few developers have attempted to create something truly different; to me, this new generation has felt like a continuation of the last one.

Guerrilla Games is finally stretching its legs and proving what it can do with Horizon Zero Dawn. The developer is free from the restraints of the Killzone universe, ready to embrace the PlayStation 4 architecture and create something completely new. The live gameplay demo I witnessed on the E3 show floor gave me a glimpse into the vast, imaginative world Guerrilla has crafted in Horizon. Plains populated by synthetic creatures stretch for miles on end. Mountains touch the sky far off in the distance. There’s a reason that this game is called “Horizon,” and I assure you it’s not because that’s the main character’s name. That’d be stupid. The horizon is the limit of exploration, a boundary almost impossible to fathom.

Guerrilla’s ambitious open world heavily contrasts the fairly linear layout of the Killzone titles, proving the studio’s range in game development. The archery combat utilizes several types of arrows as well as plenty of slow-motion flips and dives, while stealthy maneuvers between flower fields and cliffs can keep players out of sight from the giant mechanical dinosaurs that wander the world. It’s guerrilla warfare, if you will. The melding of quiet tribal stylings with bombastically exploding beasts blurs the line between prehistoric and futuristic settings, producing a unique atmosphere and look that sets Horizon apart. All of these components make up a game the likes of which Guerrilla has never crafted. The map isn’t just the player’s frontier; this is new ground for Guerrilla as a developer.

The last hardware cycle gave the industry tentpole franchises like Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect, while old IPs like Call of Duty and Spyro reinvented themselves, changing the medium as we know it along the way. Now that the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii are firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s the perfect time for developers to start brainstorming again. Games such as Splatoon and Titanfall have already shown how creative developers can be when breaking away from their established franchises. Horizon Zero Dawn is another fine example of this practice.

There’s certainly a place for continuing the success stories of the last generation; however, it’s important to remember just how imaginative a developer can be when freed from the constraints of its previous work. The impressive E3 presentation by Horizon Zero Dawn and Guerrilla Games is a shining example of the praise warranted by innovation in video games.

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Poll: Who Won E3 2015?

With E3 2015 coming to a close, the time for debate has begun. This year there were more conferences than ever before, with Bethesda, Square Enix, and even PC all having their own conferences alongside the big guns of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and Ubisoft. While each conference had its own incredible moments (some more than others), no conference was outright bad. The sheer amount of incredible games and services announced this year made E3 2015 one of the best E3’s we’ve ever had.

And now we debate. Who do you think won E3 2015? Personally, I think that Sony owned it this year. With a full and entertaining conference all the way through, and some surprise reveals (and re-reveals) of both The Last Guardian and a Final Fantasy VII remake, no other conference could top the hype and fanservice found within Sony this year. Although a special mention goes to Ubisoft for announcing a brand new South Park game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, right at the beginning of their conference, and EA for all of the Star Wars goodness in the form of more Battlefront footage and gameplay, as well as an expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire.

Who do you think won E3 2015? Sound off in the comments below!

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3DS News

Reggie Hints that the Smaller Model of New Nintendo 3DS May Come to North America‏

Nintendo of America’s president, Reggie Fils-Aime, may have hinted that the smaller version of the New Nintendo 3DS could be coming to North America soon. Speaking to Kotaku at E3 2015, he suggested that readers “stay tuned and maybe some special SKUs might show up.”

While Reggie said that Nintendo had “nothing to announce” regarding the 3DS at E3, he did say that the company thought the 3DS XL and 2DS would be their best line-up.

“We analyzed the results in Japan and saw the lion’s share of the volume was on the XL model, and that’s with no 2DS existing in the Japanese market. And so as we thought about: ‘What’s the best line-up for us?’ We thought the new XL and 2DS would be our best line-up. Not going to make any promises but, you know, I would suggest to your readers that they stay tuned and maybe some special SKUs might show up.” — Reggie Fils-Aime

Source: Kotaku

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Kojima Addresses Concerns That The Phantom Pain is Too Dark

The
Metal Gear series has always had themes of war and revenge incorporated in its games. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is no exception to that trend. The recent trailer for the game that was released for E3 last week has sparked comments and remarks claiming the game may be too dark. Renowned game director Hideo Kojima took to his Twitter account to respond to the reception of the trailer.

Translation:

After watching the E3 trailer of “MGSV TPP” I noticed impressions that say “is it too dark?” Try to watch more the actual gameplay video. The degree of freedom is high. That’s the positive tone that I would like to remain in this world. That said, among that gameplay, the story develops darkly.” — Hideo Kojima

Translation:


MGSV TPP” is a story of revenge. However, in order to achieve that revenge, we’ll have to improve our ability all over the [game’s] world doing the wet work (missions). The requirements and contents of the missions are various: Intelligence, rescue, interdiction, destruction, interference. Through the free infiltration, our army will collect technology. While improving our base, we’ll acquire the opportunity for revenge and learn the identity of our revenge target.” — Hideo Kojima 

What do you think of the trailer and Kojima’s response? Seems to make perfect sense to me. Let us know in the comments below! 

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