Less than a week away from announcing their first game, a little introduction to Hello Games: you may have spotted — especially if you were on the GDC Austin show floor — Hello’s recent appearance in Edge Magazine, where they talked about their decision to leave gainful employment elsewhere to set up shop for themselves and prepare their debut PC-, 360- and PS3-bound title.
If so, you may also have spotted (though only in print) the accompanying concept sketches by Hello artist Grant Duncan, which was basically all I needed to see to realize that the team was laser-targeting my one true heart (particularly with the cube-head at top) with whatever they had in store.
The dev team at Hello is made up of (from L to R) creative director David Ream (formerly of Kuju, where he helped expand the Geometry Wars universe with Galaxies), managing director Sean Murray (former Criterion tech lead on Burnout 3 and Black), artist Duncan (formerly artist on Sega/Sumo’s Virtua Tennis 3 and Sega Superstars Tennis), and programmer Ryan Doyle (also of Kuju, where he was lead programmer on the aforementioned Galaxies), and while none of the art sketches give too much away on the group’s debut game, it does give a distinct (and ultra-sweet) flavor of the direction they’re heading.
Below the fold then, four pages from Duncan’s sketchbook to let you get to know Hello. After you’ve taken it in, visit Hello’s website to read more (see esp.: this post, in which each of the team have been morphed into collectible diorama characters of their respective top games). (more…)
I don’t think I can precis 0 day Attack on Earth any more succinctly than I did in its April debut — where I called it a mashup of the metropolitan invasions of Sandlot’s brilliant Earth Defense Force and the overhead-mapped view of PlayStation Network favorite The Last Guy — and its new co-op mode and Google-Earth-ish extension of real-world locales make this one of my most anticipated XBLA shooters.
Originally unveiled in April as ‘Project: Cube’, Square Enix has brought this updated trailer to the Tokyo Game Show and given it its new official title, Death By Cube. While it’s almost as entirely opaque as the original, it adds a bit more mechanical depth to the original with new clean-sweeping energy swords and dash moves, but (most depressingly) appears to have lost the bass-thumping/disco light show that gave the arenas in the first trailer their disco-rave-like energy.
Not to be outdone, apparently, by scrappy puzzle-newcomer Infinite Interactive and their would-be casual/RPG champ Puzzle Quest, the two behemoths of their respective fields — Popcap and Square Enix — are teaming up for Gyromancer, due soon on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade.
The game will take the core of Popcap’s Bejeweled Twist and run it underneath a combat/RPG system designed by Square, and will see main character Rivel overcoming distinct challenges in each stage “from defeating beasts that block the player’s way, to solving puzzles before time runs out.”
The two companies say Rivel will eventually learn to “summon dozens of the unique beasts he encounters, bending their power to his will and commanding them in battle,” and can “search the map for items, coins and new beasts to join Rivel’s fight.”
From the trailer above, it looks to be a more compact and casual focused experience than the sprawling story laid out in Puzzle Quest or even its sci-fi spiritual sequel Galactrix. Expect more details soon as the two companies prepare for the ‘upcoming’ launch.
Double Fine art director Lee Petty takes you on a slightly more consumer-focused — and very much more condensed — version of the tour he gave at this year’s GDC through the basically jaw-dropping sights and sounds of the world of Brütal Legend.
I have a favourite new gaming peripheral. It’s 16 bits of mounting card, 48 four-square bits of Lego, the men from 14 games of Ludo, 100 tiddly-winks, three marker pens, some wipe-clean grids, a laptop, 280 pounds of human flesh and a roll of kitchen towel.
This peripheral is otherwise known as ‘playing the board-game prototype of Quarrel with Gary and David from Denki’. Denki you ought to know from the majestic Denki Blocks, and Gary Penn and David Thomson (pictured top, L to R) lead the team there who are currently turning that prototype into the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade version of the same, which you may well have first read about on this fine website.
The most reductive way to explain it is as a cross between Dice Wars and Scrabble: up to four players compete to dominate a map divided into a dozen or so different territories. Each player’s men are randomly scattered in squads across the map, occupying a share of the territories. Each turn, a player can have a squad attack any adjacent territory, triggering a two-player battle – against the clock – to find the highest scoring word within the same eight-letter anagram.
What makes this harder is that the total number of letters you can use is the number of men you have on that territory: so if you’ve had your squad of four attack a neighbouring squad of six, your opponent has two more letters and hundreds of thousands of more potential words to play with. It’s a highly narcotic mix of sleek strategy and good wordplay, as I found out when I spent a very happy day doing a spot of consultancy on it at the Denki studio last week.
But although I was supposed to be spending the day thinking about Quarrel, I ended up spending a lot of it thinking about the value of physical prototyping. On one of my own projects at the moment – a two-player online co-op confection – we’re at the paper prototyping stage. Paper prototyping online co-op, I can exclusively reveal, involves a great deal of running up and down corridors with post-it notes stuck to your chest. So arriving at Denki and discovering they had board-game prototyped Quarrel got me thinking, and rapidly got us playing. (more…)
Sporting a heroin-chic-weathered ‘body’ decal that likely won’t be working its way backward into the company’s toy line, French game news site JeuxVideo gets the first look at Iggy Pop’s appearance in TT/Harmonix’s upcoming Lego Rock Band — click through for the full plastic performance of The Passenger. [via mbf]
As teased earlier in the week, LucasArts has just revealed Lucidity, its latest game due for Xbox Live Arcade and PC release on October 7th. Developed by the team behind the recent original Monkey Island remake, the game sees players going inside the imagination of main star Sofi, who (as is instantly clear via the video above) must be protected, Lemmings style, by dropping randomly generated puzzle pieces on the path in front of her.
Below the fold: a gallery of high-res screens of Sofi’s fantastically drawn dreamscapes.
And sticking around Montreal for just a second: inspired by the anonymously-run bug/comment/build error blog I Get Your Fail, Polytron have just published this showcase of 26 images highlighting some of the worst fails in Fez history.
Well, they’re not all bad: the worst of the bunch are interspersed with some legitimately wicked new looks at the inside of Gomez’s trixellated world, and even some of the worst end up being some of the best, see like for instance my new electroclash-error desktop wallpaper here.
The biggest 09/09/09 10th anniversary news for still-dejected Sega/Dreamcast fans: Sega has told GameSpot that they’re preparing a “brand new [hi-def] 2D adventure coming out in 2010″ for the franchise’s 20th anniversary, currently teased as Project Needlemouse, which they see as a “critical first step that brings Sonic back to his 2D roots,” after years spent going — as the superfans would see — far, far afield.