Thanks to Heavyarms_Kai for the above image, screenshots were a little thin on the ground this week. "Rule 34, no exceptions."
Elsewhere on the forums, our resident achievement hunter announced next month's Games with Gold titles. You'll be able to pick up Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate and WWE 2K16 for Xbox One, whilst Spelunky and Beyond Good & Evil HD grace the 360.
"Nothing for me," claims Sam, "I already own all but Warriors Orochi and don't have much interest in it. WWE is alright, Spelunky and Beyond Good & Evil are both amazing."
Not much interest? 1000 Gamerscore says otherwise.
ImmaturityRules agrees that BG&E is a must play game and, presumably, feels the same about Spelunky, given that he owns the title on five separate platforms (he has a very good, logical, reason for this but I feel it takes away the gravity of the previous statement, so I've decided to ignore it).
There's nothing there for BAMozzy though, he already owns BG&E leaving me as the only person yet to play it. I await your abuse in the forums. I'd just got over last week's Alex Kidd blunder, too. Looks like I'll be getting locked in the PTC basement again this week.
Over in the TV Shows! thread Metalrodent, Max and Plasma Wing have been praising the new Robot Wars. Rodent thinks it is "spectacular", according to Plas it's "pretty much the original show, but better", and Max takes it a step further:
"Robot Wars is the sh*t. Can't wait for the rest, loved it when I was little. Hope some more of the "classic" bots make a return to tickle my nostalgia gland."
That's me sold! I have fond memories of watching old episodes of Robot Wars with my dad, glass of whiskey in hand. Granted, it was only last week but memories are precious.
Plas also heralded the return of another classic show, "In other exciting BBC reboot news, for those of you that remember it, Time Commander is coming back too!"
For those that have no recollection of the show, it features a huge RTS-type game in which two teams re-enact historic battles via a computer simulation to see who are the greatest military strategists. It was also called Time Commanders. That minor mistake is your Plas fail for the week, I'm afraid.
Liam showed off some pistol skills, getting his first kill with the Lord of the Fries skin in Halo 5: Guardians:
I was equally as skilful in Rainbow Six: Siege, managing to get two headshots whilst firing through a partially barricaded window:
You'd think that not being able to see the targets, coupled with my inability to shoot straight, would be a hindrance; but you'd be wrong. If anything, my woeful ineptitude was a boon and, thanks to my lack of any discernible manual dexterity, we managed to secure the place of 'runners-up' in that match.
Yeah, Liam's was better. Moving on...
When he wasn't busy being a superior marksman than I, Liam put together some Infinite Warfare details, which included a gameplay video and virtual tour of the command ship.
Neither Liam nor Rodent were impressed by the "this is a classic story of good vs evil" quote, feeling that it could portend a lazy, uninspired story. BAM, however, sees things from a different angle, posting, "virtually every CoD (as well as countless other games) are a classic story of good vs evil."
That's a good point. Excepting a few titles, that is the premise of most games/films/TV shows.
If you're looking for folk to game with, Max has found himself playing Mortal Kombat X and Hetty is so lonely by herself in Neverwinter, that she has had to resort to talking to strangers. STRANGERS! Help a gal out, won't you?
We close with a track that was featured in Ubisoft's The Crew, Kyuss - Demon Cleaner.
If you've read our FRU review, you'll know it's a charming puzzle platformer that serves as the first - and perhaps last - truly great Kinect game on Xbox One. Developed by startup Through Games, we discussed the project's inception and evolution, the risks involved with Kinect development, and much, much more with Game Designer Mattia Traverso.
Except... the second dimension is actually inside your silhouette. This is a game changer, because altering the level is not about pressing a button, but about performing increasingly complex poses.
Furthermore, you are not switching the entire screen to a different dimension, but rather controlling what areas are 'dimension 1' and what areas are 'dimension 2' by positioning yourself in certain ways.
This was quite a challenge to design properly: not just because of the mechanics, but also what it requires from the player. Most of these design thoughts on the game arose over the course of its two-year development, but it all started as a quick prototype that we developed in 48 hours for the Global Game Jam.
At the time we had no idea what this game even was, we just had an idea for a concept and started playing with it. We very much 'discovered' FRU by playing that prototype over and over, rather than having 'made' it!
A look at FRU's prototype.
What inspired you and the team during the development stage? What was it that prompted the project's change in direction following the prototype phase?
As I mentioned, the project got started at a game jam. The theme that year was "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
At first we actually couldn't come up with anything we deemed interesting, but during a break (we now call it 'THE smoking break') our programmer remembered he had a Kinect, and proposed we worked with it.
Ideas snowballed, and ultimately FRU was born.
For about a year, we prototyped ideas for a very narrative-focussed game with puzzle gameplay, something like Inside - to offer a recent comparison. That definitely proved to be impossible to realise, so we decided to focus on a very strong gameplay experience, which is what you can get on the Xbox Store today.
I wrote a bit more about that original vision here, and you can find more info on our story here.
Can you tell us about your team at Through Games? Who you are, how you got started, previous experience, where you're based, etc.
There's quite a lot of us, and you can see our beautiful faces on our site.
You can also see them right here! Mattia's top right.
Most of us were students when FRU started, either studying Game Design, Game Art or Programming!
We actually met at our school, the NHTV University of Breda, which later allowed us to set up office inside it (thank you guys!).
A few of us already had industry expertise (Chi from Age of Wonders 3 and I previously worked as an indie dev), but I can definitely say that this project formed us and was an incredible learning experience.
There were really tough challenges and moments where we weren't sure whether the game'd get done, so it was a good emotional gym for things to come.
The lack of big project expertise was certainly one of the leading factors for the game's long development, actually.
How big a risk was it releasing a Kinect game in the current climate?
The Kinect audience is a sub-set of the Xbox audience and have no clear gathering place. We can just show our game to Xbox players and hope that they have Kinect or that they'd talk about it to someone with one.
So yeah, not easy at all.
"How do you communicate to people with Kinect that a game is out? The Kinect audience is a sub-set of the Xbox audience and have no clear gathering place."
What are your thoughts on VR? Is it the future? We'd like to see what you could do in that space, having already mastered one peripheral.
I'd love to try making something for it, and I am sure the rest of the team would be interested in it too... We'll see!
Personally I think it's the future in the same way that 3D was the future over 2D. People were skeptic about it and developers took time to figure it out, but it eventually proved it offered new tools to game designers.
VR offers a new axis like 3D does to 2D, except this time it's not spatial, it's psychological.
The feeling of presence of a VR game is - in my experience - unprecedented. This doesn't mean that VR will substitute previous games, but rather coexist.
I think you can build experiences that can't be built in normal games, even though strictly mechanically it doesn't offer anything new.
What games have had the biggest impact on your life, and why?
What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the video games industry?
Don't make Kinect games?
Joking aside, I'd look into video game schools. I used to think they were not great - and most still aren't - but they are really advancing.
There's so many people looking to work that it's really important to take a few years to build skills, portfolio and behaviour before you throw yourself at the industry.
If you do go to game school, please do take some time off to work on personal projects too, or attend game jams: they are extremely important.
What's next for you and Through Games? Any chance we can coax something out of you on the mysterious unannounced title you're teasing on Twitter?
It's hard to say at this point!
We certainly plan to keep supporting FRU, and there might be some research going into possible porting avenues (not confirming anything!).
That said, the company was originally founded to make this game and this game only, so we are a bit unprepared when it comes to future plans.
We certainly made a name for ourselves in the world of experimental tech, and VR is just around the corner... we'll see what the future brings!
You're stranded on a desert island that miraculously has a TV and power - you also have the incredible foresight to pack a single console - which do you choose, and why?
I just need a PlayStation One and Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time.
Fittingly, that's all folks!
You can follow Mattia @MattiaNotFound on Twitter to keep up to date.
Thanks to Mattia for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us.
FRU is currently available to download from the Xbox Store and will set you back £11.99. By the sound of it, you may eventually be able to pick it up elsewhere. Whatever platform you might choose, we recommend picking it up.
This haggard chap's from Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and he's just as surprised as I am that his game garnered a decent amount of discussion on the forum this week.
"That's the very definition of treating fans with contempt, given that CoD has a large and casual player base."
Well said, Rodent. Don't worry too much, though, as Bezza's guaranteeing it'll be available standalone next year! He's probably right, but if he isn't, feel free to tell him he sucks.
Whilst the marketing decisions caused some friction, everyone largely agreed that Infinite Warfare actually looks decent. It's hard for me to get excited about Call of Duty, even the beloved Battlefield 1 hasn't done much to grab my attention. The two mammoth franchises feel passé nowadays, despite their best efforts to diversify.
Whilst you might sigh and wonder why I just don't bother, that isn't a mindset that would've seen me surpass 300,000 Gamerscore this week!
Elsewhere, the community once again fell back on old favourites in World of Tanks (no points for guessing who), Overwatch and GTAV. We'll finally start seeing some decent new releases with the arrival of We Happy Few's preview phase, Headlander, Hyper Light Drifter and more next week, followed by the digital release of BATMAN - The Telltale Series' first episode the week after. What's more, these round-ups will be much easier to write with actual games to discuss; we've almost weathered the storm, people!
Soon after that we'll be able to get our grubby mitts on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, though Johnbhoy questions whether it's actually worth getting excited about. The undeniably awful lip sync and rigid animations he cited won't hamper the signature gameplay, though we have some bad news for Rodent even on that front.
"Having mini cutscenes and using energy each time you melee attack was naff." Yeah, that's kinda still in there...
Something so befitting of the community round-up that it pains me it can't be included occurred Thursday evening. Whilst I realise bringing that up and not delivering is a "dick move" of Activision proportions, maybe someone will point to this down the line when I'm able to disclose it.
Anyway, if you think I let you down there, just take a look this woeful fumble from Chris. Whilst discussing the recently announced NES: Classic Edition console, he asked "There's no Alex the Kid?" ... Oh dear. It's Alex Kidd, and the game was for SEGA Master System. He saw himself out with an appropriately grovelling apology, so we've since let him back into the fold.
Passed that along like a pro.
We'll close this week by having Song of the Deep's lovely main theme whisk us away to an aquatic realm of adventure.
Gaming can be an expensive hobby, but ImmaturityRules has stumbled upon a novel way to save cash in order to get hold of those pricey AAA titles – just pick up a stomach virus (the non-lethal kind) and watch the savings stack up.
“I'm on the mend now. Got my appetite back and the fever's gone. Also I saved so much money not having to buy food that I was able to buy DOOM for the PS4”.
Batman: Return to Arkham was one big hitter that was supposed to be out this month, but now it looks like we won’t be seeing it until November at the earliest, something MrkDhn10 was a little annoyed about:
“Thats disappointing. Was quite looking forward to revisiting both games, esp over the quieter part of the year (for games).”
If you own Kinect, FRU might be worth a purchase, or you could spend your time on Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which Editor James enjoyed. If you’ve had your fill of LEGO games in the past, PTC Crisco points out there is a demo available showing off some of the new gameplay, which he thought was pretty good.
I’ve personally been spending the last few weeks getting back into a different Star Wars game, that of Battlefront, finally reaching level 40 to unlock that sweet Scout Trooper skin. Purely cosmetic of course, as we all know Imperial armour can’t even stop an Ewok’s arrow, let alone a blaster bolt.
Snow Troopers’ kit looks to be made of sterner stuff however, seemingly tough enough to be rammed through an ice wall (with a little help from a thermal imploder):
There’s been a few sales recently, and after a bit of discussion crippyd picked up The Evil Within for the low price of £12, noting that even if he plays through it once he’ll get his money’s worth. That’s logic I can appreciate, as I added Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition to my pile of neglected and unfinished games for £6.
SOMA is also going for cheap at the moment, with Sam imploring those with a PS4 to “just buy it already.” You heard the man. Not owning a PS4, I can safely say I won’t be playing this and can avoid another public shaming like the one I received in last week’s Round-up after freely admitting I had never played a Bioshock game.
Max has picked up The Witcher 3 to while away the summer months, something Sam and PTC Crisco have yet to do after being underwhelmed by the second game.
I share in their opinion of The Witcher 2. I gave it a try when it went free with GWG, but I found it a little dissapointing.
BAMozzy thinks more highly of it, and made some big claims when it came to it’s successor:
“I thought The Witcher 2 was a good game - at least I enjoyed it. The Witcher 3 though is something else!! Its easily the Game of the Year, if not game of the decade. Set a new standard by which all other RPG's are going to be judged…”
Fallout 4 was PTC’s Game of the Year for 2015, and it’s one of my aforementioned neglected and unfinished titles, something I may have to remedy judging by this video from Metalrodent as it looks like I’m missing out on some impressive adventures:
Rodent’s also been playing through Battlefield Hardline’s campaign, spotting that one of the lead characters’ voice and likeness is provided by Kelly Hu, the same actress who played Suki Toyama in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3:
An image which got this reaction from TippiestRook: “0/10 – No Tim Curry”. That problem can be easily solved (skip to 2:53 for the good one):
I don’t think I’ve actually included a Plasma wing fail in my previous Round-ups, so it’s time to break my duck. Not only does Plas bring the wrong equipment needed to execute his plan in this video, but the clip is “extremely dull” as a result, so it’s really a double fail:
In Plas’ defence, he does look pretty embarrassed by the situation.
“…so who's going hunting for corpses/annoying museum staff/trespassing in people's gardens/etc.?”
The above words are not those of a deeply troubled individual, but come from Head Writer Sam, who is of course referring to the arrival of Pokémon GO in the UK. You can read James’ thoughts on it here after he managed to get hold of the game a little early.
It’s still not available in The Netherlands just yet, so I’ll have to wait a little longer, but I am intrigued to find out what Pokémon (if any) reside in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
With millions of people duking it out with Pokémon across the globe, I think it’s appropriate we finish with the original and ultimate battle music:
So, there’s been an awful lot of chatter about Pokémon Go over the past few days, but the real question is - is it worth your time (when it eventually becomes available in the UK)? To answer your question, potential Pokémon Trainer, we have braved the terrifying underbelly of the internet (otherwise known as the comments section) to get hold of the game for ourselves.
This game is very much made for mobile devices and, as such, is far more simplified than the level of complexity you can come up against in the full games. Catching a pokémon for example, is as simple as a swipe of your finger - no weakening of your opponent necessary (or, indeed, possible).
Training pokémon is based around candy, specific to that pokémon - which you can only build up by catching more of the same - and stardust, which you build up as you capture pokémon. Evolving takes purely candy, sometimes as many as 50 or more, which means you have a lot of wandering to do.
The actual pokémon you’re likely to find all come from the original 150, arguably the most well-known and most loved set of creatures, and the excitement of discovering a new one and starting to fill out your Pokédex shouldn’t be underestimated.
So far there’s a lot of fun to be had with the game, but whether it will have the staying power to hold people’s attention in the long run is what will truly be the test of its success.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to try to evolve my Pigeotto.
Chris shared some impressive Minecraft pixel art that his son had rustled up this week; Darth Vader, Deadpool, Wolverine and more are accurately captured, leading him to ponder where the lad got his artistic flair. Chris can't even paint a room without getting most of it on his face, after all.
In need of something to break up the monotony, I also opted to make a start on the Xbox One remaster of Resident Evil 6 - in co-op with Plas - because I really am a glutton for punishment.
The game isn't actually bad when taken at face value, though having Plas as a co-op partner doesn't do much to combat the infamously bad friendly AI.
He needed to press B to help me open the door. In his defence, why it takes two to open a door is beyond me...
Many a purchase was pondered on the forum this week, from games in the Xbox Ultimate Sale, to an Elite controller and 4K TVs. I can recommend the games that've been brought up for consideration - Metro, The Evil Within and Layers of Fear - as well as the Elite controller, but I'll leave the television talk to BAMozzy and his extensive tech knowledge. I know who's input I'm asking when it's time to upgrade.
There's no purchase necessary when it comes to the approaching Xbox Avatar update, yet everyone can agree that something isn't quite right about it. Max (who passed his first year at uni this week) thinks they'd do better flogging Dolmio cooking sauces, whilst they're a little more ventriloquist-dummy-looking to me. Either way, they chill Chris to the bone.
The update also introduces an inclusive wheelchair option, though Jaime Rodriguez likens adorning one to slapping a target on your back in an online setting.
There's no further purchase necessary for Xbox 360 owners of Red Dead Redemption that want to revisit the Wild West, now that it's finally been made backwards compatible. It's been a long time coming, which has left none happier than DE4N MUFC; "my son can shut up and stop constantly asking when it's coming now." We should really feature a parenting section, I'm starting to feel this community has invaluable tips that need to be shared.
Jaime took the opportunity to chime in on the subject via our Facebook page.
For anyone that's justifiably stricken him from memory, Mattrick was the bumbling former Head of Xbox that claimed backwards compatibility was impossible. As was playing offline - Xbox 360 was for those unconnected, unwashed peasants.
I regret to say we have a similar sort of person in our midst, but rest assured they'll soon be cleansed. Liam hasn't played Bioshock. Liam didn't mention this in his application, he'd naturally have been stricken from the list if he had. Liam's kindly been prescribed a dose of The Collection to set him straight. You needn't worry about Liam anymore.
Everyone else was glad to have reason to revisit the acclaimed series, albeit with different entries in mind. Myself and Bam find Infinite the weak link, craving the rusty oppression of Rapture, whilst Heavyarms_Kai favours Infinite. Why so? Because it doesn't feel like "rehashed System Shock," though I wouldn't know as I haven't played it. Shut up about black pots and kettles, they're hardly relevant here.
We'll wrap up with a track for everyone who's looking to delve the depths of Bioshock: The Collection come September. Welcome to Rapture.
This week we talk to Mark Backler at Sketchbook Games, about upcoming puzzle-platformer The Last Word, the mighty N64, Ocarina of Time and VR.
Can you tell us about your team at Sketchbook Games? How you got started, where you're based, previous experience etc
I'm currently the only one working on the game full time but have just received some funding so I'm hoping to be able to contract people more and to employ some staff soon. Ross Burt made the fantasy world art, Sidonie Maria has been working on the diary art, Yuki Chung created and animated the diary character, Joe Brammall made the audio and we have a mystery writer who is yet to be announced!
How difficult is it for indie developers in this current market? Can you take artistic risks and still make a profit?
I think that sometimes taking artistic risks is the best way to make a profit as if you're being safe then you're not doing anything different to the competition, which in itself poses a big risk!
What advice would you give to someone looking to work in the video gaming industry?
Go for it! It may seem like a hard career to get into but be persistent and you will make it. Work on your own games. Start today - even if you're still in education, no matter how old you are. Do this both as a way to build a portfolio for future jobs as well as a potential way to make money and build a reputation by releasing your own games. You will also learn loads from making your games and make some friends and potential team mates along the way! Game jams are also great for this. They involve making a game in a short space of time and are also an excellent way to finish games, meet new people and hone your skills as well as learning new ones. making games should be fun - I think the more you enjoy what you're doing the better the end result will be!
Where do you think the industry is heading - is VR the future in your opinion?
VR will definitely be a significant part of the future but I don't think it's the only future. I think it will still be a long while before screens go away and we rely on AR headsets or something like that.
What game(s) have had the biggest affect on your life, and why?
Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It was such an epic experience and I found it a very moving game in addition to having such amazing puzzles, music and gameplay.
What does the future hold for The Last Word and Sketchbook Games?
Releasing The Last Word, which will hopefully be a game that really touches and resonates with our players. We're still thinking about our next project but a narrative VR game would be fun to work on.
If you were on a desert island (it has power) and could only take one console, what would you take, and why?
An N64 - so many classic games! Mario 64, Goldeneye, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mariokart, Banjo Kazooie, Smash Bros! Still some of the best single and multiplayer games around!
Thanks to Mark - you can read what we thought of The Last Word here.
Well, that was quite a week.
First, Britain voted to leave the European Union, then the England players also decided they wanted out from the continent by way of a limp performance against Iceland in Euro 2016.
I don’t know about you, but after all that I could do with getting back to some semblance of normality, preferably by talking about games.
“I just pulled a worm out of a pig's arse - 10/10!
Imagine the lovely wallpaper you could have if there was an accompanying achievement!
Speaking of achievements, Chris had a few things to say about some of his least favourite ones this week. It seems everyone has their own take on what makes a bad achievement; whether they are ridiculously difficult, unnecessarily grindy, or even a source of regret – much like Douthy’s choice:
PTC Bezza and Sam are loathe to partake in collectable achievements that don’t improve gameplay, while Fifa 09 took the brunt of BAMozzy’s anger:
“Least favourite is easy - having to play 50hours (yes HOURS) of Fifa 09 for 1 gamerscore!!! All that just to get a gamerscore divisible by 5 after scoring in the 89th minute (19 gamerscore)”
TippiestRook found issue with ‘Ultimate Spiderman’ in The Amazing Spiderman 2, DE4N MUFC’s blood pressure got dangerously high as he tackled Goat Simulator’s ‘The Flapmaster’, and both Metalrodent and crippyd were united in their frustration at Halo Reach’s ‘If They Came to Hear Me Beg…’ achievement. You know, the one which required you to survive a deadly fall by assassinating an Elite? Yep, I couldn’t do it either, and crippyd even had to outsource to unlock it:
“I had to get my mate to log on as me and get it for me. I tried hundreds of times and never managed it. 2 minutes after my friend had logged in it popped!”
My own choice was Titanfall’s campaign achievements, but I also share in Plasma wing’s annoyance at lazy achievement artwork. Over on our Facebook page, Jaime Rodriguez shared what it would take to for him to even begin to care:
I think we’d all become avid achievement hunters if Microsoft actually made this a thing. Go on Nadella, you’ve got billions in the bank!
Away from achievements, Max set up a vote so people can help him chose what to play over the summer. See the main image above for the choice of games on offer and have your say here.
Personally I voted for Overwatch and Rise of the Tomb Raider (twice), but Metalrodent reckons Max should pick up Metro Redux and Fallout 4 in aid of “spending your summer playing gloomy atmospheric post-apocalypse games.” How cheery.
At the time of writing there isn’t a clear frontrunner, so it’s probably best just to buy them all, Max.
There was news this week that Mass Effect will be getting another four books set between the events of ME 3 and Andromeda.
Sam will be avoiding them, but hopes the story of the game will still make sense, while the choice based multiple endings from the original trilogy led Metalrodent to beg the question - “which ending will it choose to continue things from?”
Is it just me or would these games be the perfect fit for a Choose Your Own Adventure book? Let’s make this happen, BioWare (for a percentage, of course).
Heavyarms_Kai kept up his and Rodent’s dominance of the Models thread with this latest acquisition:
One day I’ll actually get around to building the Guardian statue I got from my Halo 5 Xbox and break up the monopoly you two have on this thread.
Metalrodent also had a clip from Fallout 4 to share, proving that you really don’t want to mess with the Brotherhood of Steel:
I like how Dogmeat is completely unperturbed by the horrific battle engulfing him, that’s a well-trained hound!
I also had a ‘record that’ worthy moment in Warzone Firefight when it launched on Wednesday:
I’d like to think the Jackal who made that shot would have uploaded it as part of a kill montage to the Covenant’s own version of YouTube. #Kig-YarFTW #SpartanGetsPwned
Lastly, I have no idea what a Golden Kappa is, but Sam managed to pick one up during a Twitch stream. Not being an avid Twitch viewer…I think this is a good thing?
That’s it from the Community Round-up and me this week, but as always, if you’d like to feature in one yourself, or just want to chat games with some lovely people, then join the discussion in our forums or leave a comment below.