A lot of you know Pachter as the most quotable analyst in videogames and from his Pach Attack show. He talks about his upcoming DICE Europe 2015 session, as well as some general nerd stuff. Learn about Pachter’s session, as well as his thoughts on the upcoming Star Wars movies and his view on A Song of Ice & Fire vs. Game of Thrones, by clicking the interview linked above.
While not as “game famous” as Pachter, Greg Essig is just as charming. Formerly with Apple and Creative Artists Agency, Essig has taken a new position with FunPlus. At DICE Europe 2015, he’ll be talking about “defining value in mobile gaming.” He told me a bit about his session, as well as his love for Sigur Ros and the Avenger he identifies with the most.
So yeah! Please do me a favor an check out the two interviews linked in the last two sentences of the first paragraph. You’ll be my favorite person in the world if you do!
Blizzard has announced that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraftis now available for Android and iOS phones. The collectible card game (CCG) was initially released for Mac OS and Windows PCs, which was followed shortly by an iPad release. In late 2014, Hearthstone came to Android tablets. Today’s release gives Blizzard an even bigger reach with Hearthstone, hitting millions of people that play games on their phones (or as they say in England, mo-biles). You can download the game through the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was one of my favorite games of 2014 and is still something I’ve played most days this year. It’s easy to learn and incredibly addictive, while offering numerous gameplay styles. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing it on my iPad and MacBook. I’m positive that I’ll spend hundreds of hours in 2015 playing it on my iPhone 6 Plus. It’s great fun and I hope that several of you RPadholics download the game on your phone, so that we can play against each other. Maybe we’ll get a tournament or something going and I’ll send a prize to the winner. Yeah! Let’s bring back the RPadTV Invitationals!
Having said all the praise for Hearthstone, the game can be frustrating. There’s certainly a pay-to-win element to it, in that players that sink lots of money into the game will have access to better cards. As a free player, it’s annoying when I run up against a guy or gal with multiple legendary cards in his or her deck. Blizzard is an amazing videogame company — easily one of the best in the history of the business — but the matchmaking in Hearthstone can suck. While I hope that all of you guys and dolls play the game, please be prepared to run into some trust-fund kid that will beat the pants off of you, simply because he bought his way into a killer deck.
Now that Hearthstone is available for phones, will any of you be giving it a shot? Please let me know in the comments section. Do it for the RPadTV Invitational!
The ludicrous sensations known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here! For the next week or so, I’d love to hear all about your wishes and wants for this year’s shopping spectacular. As the deals pile up, please use the comments section to post any sweet deals you’ve snagged or that you recommend to your fellow RPadholics. If you’d be so kind as to keep an eye on Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals page, picking something up would really help out RPadTV (if you hit the link in this sentence before buying).
Sadly, I’m way too poor to buy much of anything this year. So I’m going to live vicariously through you guys and gals. Hopefully a bunch of you will enjoy some stellar deals so that I can feel a bit of joy and possibly bust out the following saying:
Ha! So let’s have it (please)! Share your Black Friday and Cyber Monday wishes and gets below (again, please).
Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about the rocky career of RGKnee, Derrick Rose’s endless aches, or the extremely unfortunate breakup of Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
I’ve been avoiding writing about #Gamergate because it’s stupid, overblown, and generally not worth thinking about…but this clip from The Colbert Report is too good. Watch Stephen Colbert chat with Feminist Frequencyauthor and media critic Anita Sarkeesian about the Gamergate situation. Yes, Gamergate has cost me a couple of thousand dollars because some a-hole Breitbart readers click-botted my website, but I believe that you only have two choice in such situations — laugh or cry. Thanks to Stephen Colbert, I can chuckle at the whole stupidity of Gamergate and feel a little bit better about my day. Check out the clip when you get a chance and let me know what you think of it. You can earn bonus RPad points by identifying all the games you see in the clip. (Note: RPad points are worth as much as your Xbox Gamerscore…which is to say that they’re worthless.)
Edit: The video has been updated to two videos! The intro to Colbert’s Gamergate piece is above, while the chat with Ania Sarkeesian is below.
I’m totally charmed by Rakuen. This upcoming adventure/puzzle game is being headed up by Plants vs. Zombies comoposer Laura Shigihara and it looks like a fantastic time for old-school gamers. On the gameplay front, Rakuen looks like a classic RPG, but the focus is on exploration and puzzle solving. The graphics also feature old-school flair, but use a distinct color palette. The music I’ve heard so far is lovely and totally works for the game’s dreamy tone.
Speaking of dreamy, I believe that the word rakuen is Japanese for paradise (I only took one semester of Japanese). The game’s story is about a sick boy whose dreams become a reality. Here’s an excerpt on the story from the game’s official website:
Rakuen is a story about a little Boy who lives in the hospital. His mother reads to him everyday from his favorite storybook, which is about a tribal child living in a fantasy world called “Morizora’s Forest.” One day the child wakes up to find that everyone in his tribe has disappeared. He soon learns that in order to escape danger, his tribe sailed away to a paradise isle called “Rakuen.”
The Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with your own story.
On paper, Rakuen looks like one of those games that will melt your heart with a touching story enhanced by charming graphics and music. As a huge fan of 8-bit and 16-bit games, I’m predisposed to Rakuen’s perspective (that’s how the world is supposed to look, damn it!). I have a feeling that this game will work for me on every level and can’t wait to see more of it (and also play it, duh).
Rakuen is due out by the end of 2014. Check out the trailer and screenshots below, and let me know what you think of the game when you have a chance.
If you’re looking for an old-school hardcore platformer then you should definitely check out Fenix Rage. The game is being developed by Green Lava Studios and published by Reverb Triple XP. Fenix Rage is a relentlessly difficult platform game that’s extremely addictive and has lots of replay value. Some gamers that have watched videos of the game believe that it’s the next Super Meat Boy.
Check out the interview above with Reverb Triple XP executive producer Ted Lange. He provides copious details on Fenix Rage. For additional info on the game, be sure to check out the Fenix Rage coverage on PaulSemel.com.
A nifty side note about the game — some of its character and level designs were influenced by SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. I totally forgot about that cartoon until Ted mentioned it. Good times.
Fenix Rage will hit Steam and other PC digital distribution platforms on September 24, 2014. The game will hit the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles in early 2015.
A couple of weeks ago, I caught a demo of Endless Legend, an upcoming 4X strategy game (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) for PC. The game is being developed by Amplitude Studio, the creators of Endless Space. Endless Legend takes place in the same universe as Endless Space, but is set during an earlier time period. As you’d expect from an experienced 4X strategy game developer like Amplitude Studio, Endless Legend is shaping up to be a deep, cerebral, and engrossing experience.
Versatility is one Endless Legend’s fortes. The game accommodates a wide variety of playing styles. The different clans offer various strengths suited to a particular style. Whether you prefer a militaristic offense, an airtight defense, or economic supremacy, Endless Legend offers complex gameplay that will tickle your fancy. Best of all, you can experience the game in different ways, depending on the play style and clan you choose.
Like other 4X strategy games, combat and exploration are heavily featured on the surface level, while intense resource management serves as the game’s underpinning. There are four basic resources in Endless Legend: food, industry, science, and dust. The last one is a resource that can be used for purchasing and maintenance, while one clan uses it in lieu of food. I was told that “influence” serves as a fifth resource of sorts, making it the Brian Epstein of Endless Legend resources (What? No Beatles fans?!?).
Speaking of clans, the developers gave me a quick rundown of some of the factions in Endless Legend. The Wild Walkers are the rough equivalent of elves featured in numerous fantasy games. The Broken Lords are knights and builders, that may or may not have a problem with dust-related vampirism. The Necrophages are evil, zombie-like insectoid beings that aren’t particularly nice. The Roving Clans are renowned for manipulating dust for profit. Lastly, the Vaulters are the science nerds of Endless Legend and their society revolves around ancient technology. The last one was slightly disappointing, as a strategy-game clan comprised of pole vaulters sounded all kinds of awesome. Lastly, I was told that there are up to 16 minor factions that can drastically alter gameplay.
The game’s main quest is divided into eight chapters, with each faction offering a unique experience. While side quests for minor factions are more generic, the developers told me that they aimed for variety with the main factions. In addition to battling, there will be quests that revolve around exploration and economy building. The player will sometimes be given broad goals, with multiple ways to achieve them. For example, the player can be tasked to get 10 of “resource X” and can do so through different means.
From what I was shown, Endless Legend looks like an intense game that will satisfy a very particular type of gamer. While 4X strategy doesn’t have the broadest appeal, gamers that are into it are super into it. Endless Legend looks like a home run for those kinds of gamers. At the same time, the game is surprisingly approachable. Yes, it’s very involved, but it’s also accessible to gamers that are curious about 4X strategy and have never delved into it. It certainly won’t appeal to balls-and-guns gamers, but there’s a chance that Endless Legend will create new 4X strategy fans while satisfying existing ones.
Arena of Fate is an upcoming multiplayer action game that’s being developed by Crytek’s Sofia studio. It features five-on-five battles with characters from different eras and cultures (both historic and fictional). On the practical side, Arena of Fate skirmishes can be completed in 20 minutes or less, making it ideal for gamers with tight schedules. On the cool-as-hell side, it’s awesome watching Little Red Riding Hood vs. Jack the Ripper, Nikola Tesla vs. Frankenstein, Baron Münchhausen vs. Robin Hood, etc.
In the E3 2014 interview above, Crytek publisher producer David Bowman talks in detail about Arena of Fate. Kindly watch the clip to learn more about the game and to see it in action. For additional details, the press release is copied below.
History’s Greatest Heroes Clash in “Arena of Fate” – a Brand New IP from Crytek
Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Sofia (Bulgaria), May 22, 2014 – Step into the shoes of legendary heroes from history and fantasy and lock horns in “Arena of Fate”; an action-packed online multiplayer game coming to PC and consoles soon from Crytek.
Featuring fast-paced 5 vs. 5 battles, Arena of Fate expands Crytek’s range of Games-as-a-Service, and will be playable for the first time at this year’s E3 expo in Los Angeles. Players will be free to choose from a huge roster of famous characters before engaging in star-studded skirmishes with fresh gameplay twists.
Among the iconic figures in Arena of Fate are the likes of Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper and Baron Münchhausen. Tap into their famed traits in battle as you bring Frankenstein back from the dead, use Jack’s cleavers to gruesome effect, and launch across the map on Baron Münchhausen’s cannonball!
Managing Director of Crytek Black Sea and Game Director of Arena of Fate, Vesselin Handjiev, said: “Imagine Joan of Arc and Robin Hood cooperating to hunt down Little Red Riding Hood – Wouldn’t that be terrific? But besides the game’s iconic heroes, which everyone in the team really loves, we are also challenging ourselves to carefully craft a streamlined player experience that allows for both greater accessibility, and rich, deep, action-packed gameplay. We are very excited to meet the first wave of players in the arena this summer, and will be listening carefully to the feedback we receive and making the community’s contribution a key part of our efforts to perfect the fun.”
The game is being developed by Crytek’s Sofia studio, which was established in 2008 following Crytek’s acquisition of Black Sea Studios. Originally founded in 2001, Black Sea
Studios made their name with critically acclaimed real-time strategy game “Knights of Honor” and sci-fi online RTS/RPG hybrid, “WorldShift”.
Now that we’ve all had a few days to absorb the multimedia assault that was E3 2014, let’s talk about the show! I was working for two outlets during E3 2014, so my schedule was all over the place. I did see a lot of great games, but it’s likely that you guys and gals were exposed to more from reading various articles and watching different videos. The thing that surprised me the most about E3 2014 was that there were a lot of mainstream games that excited me. For the last couple of years, independent games like Journey, Sound Shapes, and The Unfinished Swan were my big favorites. While I certainly enjoyed several indie games at E3 2014, there were a lot of mainstream games I had a blast with too. Here are some random thoughts on the show…continued
Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the start of the 2014 World Cup, getting into a car accident on the way to The Vape Summit, or said accident crushing your coverage plans, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
Now that we’ve all had a few days to absorb the multimedia assault that was E3 2014, let’s talk about the show! I was working for two outlets during E3 2014, so my schedule was all over the place. I did see a lot of great games, but it’s likely that you guys and gals were exposed to more from reading various articles and watching different videos. The thing that surprised me the most about E3 2014 was that there were a lot of mainstream games that excited me. For the last couple of years, independent games like Journey, Sound Shapes, and The Unfinished Swan were my big favorites. While I certainly enjoyed several indie games at E3 2014, there were a lot of mainstream games I had a blast with too. Here are some random thoughts on the show.
Nintendo Ruled — The Nintendo booth is usually the happiest place at any E3, but this year it was my happy place. I absolutely loved Yoshi’s Wooly World, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and Super Smash Bros. 4. Although I kept calling it Zelda Samurai Warriors, I had more fun than I expected to with Hyrule Warriors. Kicking ass with Zelda was extremely satisfying. I knew nothing about Splatoon going into E3 2014, but it was great fun as well. At the end of the day, Yoshi’s Wooly World was my favorite game of E3 2014.
Nintendo’s E3 2014 lineup was so well received that many people said things to me like, “I’m totally getting a Wii U now!” and, “Sweet! I’m really looking forward to dusting off my Wii U!”
On a side note, I pitched a high-ranking Nintendo of America exec on using Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” to market Yoshi’s Wooly World. Can’t you hear the commercial?!? “Oh baby baby, it’s a Wooly World.” That totally works…in my head, anyway.
Because I’m Batman: Rocksteady Studios’ first couple of Arkham games took Batman (and really, all superhero games) to new heights. I have a strong feeling that Batman: Arkham Knight will be the best yet. The demo had several elements from the previous games that I loved, plus some all-new Batmobile gameplay. The Batmobile stuff was so much fun that I can see myself enjoying that aspect of the game for hours and being completely satisfied. While I was disappointed that Batman: Arkham Knight got pushed to 2015, the E3 2014 demo showed a game that’s absolutely worth waiting for.
Indie Love: Naturally, there were several indie games that I ended up loving. Some pals from Sony instructed me to play Hohokum and I’m so glad that they did. This exploration/puzzle game is so aurally and visually pleasing that it’s easy to forget about the game’s goals while you’re soaking up the lovely sights and sounds. The game’s soundtrack is by Ghostly International and features several tracks by Tycho. Hohokum just made me happy every time I played it and the same thing happened to everyone that I dragged over to spend time with the game. This was probably my second-favorite game of E3 2014, so thanks Nate and Zach for making me check it out!
Meanwhile, at the Microsoft booth, my buddy Charla instructed me to check out Lifeless Planet at the ID@Xbox area. Another exploration/puzzle game, I was really struck by the sights and sounds of this one too, but in a very different way from Hohokum. While Hohokum is all about making you feel happy, Lifeless Planet is all about creating a sense of isolation as you explore a desolate world. The game’s graphics and sounds do a fantastic job at creating a sense of foreboding solitude. I definitely want to see more of this one…but in a brightly lit living room so as not to wig out.
Lastly, Galak-Z is an old-school sci-fi shooter that blends elements of classic anime and shooting games. It’s fun to play and watch other people play. If you’re into masochistic shooters that delight you with difficulty then you’ll definitely want to check out Galak-Z. I fully expect this game to be a darling among videogame journalists.
Les Unite: Several of you feel that Assassin’s Creed 2 was the pinnacle of the series and the games have been going (slightly) downhill ever since. I’m totally with you on that, so I was cautiously optimistic after being delighted by the Assassin’s Creed Unity trailer. After seeing the demo, half of me feels that Unity will be the Assassin’s Creed game that many AC2 fans are crying for. The other, more cynical half of me fears that Ubisoft whipped up an outstanding trailer and demo. Still, let’s be optimistic here and (cautiously) hope that Assassin’s Creed Unity ends up being the game that many longtime AC fans want.
Your Turn: Naturally, I want to hear how E3 2014 played in your head. What did you love? What did you hate? Any games surprise you? Any games disappoint you? As excited as I was to be at the show, I’m more excited to hear your thoughts on E3 2014, so fire away in the comments section (please)!
E3 2014 is just around the corner. Honestly, I’ve been avoiding thinking much about it. My June is pretty nuts — E3, The Vape Summit, hosting a pair of store grand openings, family visits, and more. Obviously E3 shows are something that I always look forward to; they’re wondrous events that are unlike any other trade show I’ve attended (and I’ve attended a ton of ’em). It’s always awesome seeing new games, seeing how other games are coming along, watching the press conference spectacles, watching the publisher pissing contests, and (most of all) catching up with longtime colleagues in the gaming business. Still, I’m so detached from the industry at the moment that I don’t…continued
Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, 50 Cent’s new album, the rumor that Marvel will cancel the Fantastic Four comics to spite Fox’s FF movie, or weeping that AJ Lee is off the market, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
E3 2014 is just around the corner. Honestly, I’ve been avoiding thinking much about it. My June is pretty nuts — E3, The Vape Summit, hosting a pair of store grand openings, family visits, and more. Obviously E3 shows are something that I always look forward to; they’re wondrous events that are unlike any other trade show I’ve attended (and I’ve attended a ton of ’em). It’s always awesome seeing new games, seeing how other games are coming along, watching the press conference spectacles, watching the publisher pissing contests, and (most of all) catching up with longtime colleagues in the gaming business. Still, I’m so detached from the industry at the moment that I don’t have the giddy feeling that I usual get going into E3 2014.
That’s not to say that I won’t be busy. I’ll be spending the bulk of my E3 2014 days working for EGM and a couple of minutes each day doing daily video recaps for a foreign outlet (they love me in Singapore). While I won’t have much “free” time, I’ll be using it to check out a few indie games that I’m high on and checking out stuff for you guys.
So how about it? What are you looking forward to at E3 2014? Are there any games that you’d like me to check out on your behalf? Is there an aspect of the console war that you’d like me to keep tabs on? Is there an executive you’d like me to throw a drink at? Share your E3 2014 hopes, wishes, dreams, and requests in the comments section (please!).