Posted by Ben at 18:43
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is set to release on Steam next Tuesday (back to work day here in the UK) 26th May

For those a bit confused by the brace of Guilty Gear games imminently releasing, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is a 2D version of the game, which originally came out on the Vita, PS3 and 360 (I think)

I can't say I've played Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, although I do have some experience with the 2D Guilty Gear games, and they do feel a little snappier than Guilty Gear Xrd, or from what I remember. Pretty too

Any way, there's a trailer below

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Posted by Ben at 17:07
This looks a little more set in stone.

The interesting looking Lost Dimension, where you must work out who amongst your squad is a traitor by watching them in battle, talking to them... I've undersold this, I think we posted a trailer that made it look good

Anyway, Lost Dimensions will be out August 28th. It's not entirely dissimilar from something like Danganronpa in that it's a who-dunnit of sorts, only with srpg style combat. It also takes the novel approach that the traitor for each level is random, so you can't simply follow a guide all the way through the game.

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Posted by Ben at 07:34
There's a few asterisks in there. It's not an official date, and no one is exactly sure what we mean by "Europe" yet. Apparently there's been an issue before on PSN with Arc System Works games being locked out of local PSN stores across Europe.

Hopefully not, but regardless retailer Game has Guilty Gear Xrd listed, and according to this tweet tree it's dated for June 3rd

Like I said, a whole bunch of caveats. I've had a look at the Game listing myself and it's not got a date, so I'm not sure how accurate the twitter one is. That and it also appears to be download only, hence the preamble about PSN store issues across Europe.

For what it's worth I, and many other Europeans it seems, already bought Guilty Gear Xrd from the US store when it was cheap, cheaper than Game has those download codes listed for. I hope it all works out for those that buy it, and for Arc System Works, but as a genre fighting games tend to suffer from long delays, they're easy to manage when imported, and in these days of online the community has moved on
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Posted by Ben at 16:26
It doesn't show a huge amount, but it puts names to faces, and I'll be honest, I'm looking forward to Steins;Gate

Click below for the trailer that has a tv show/Persona look to it

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The Grandia Weekly
Episode 11
May 20
Posted by Ben at 16:11

A delayed Grandia Weekly this week. I had some fairly severe, and expensive, computer problems over the weekend, but never doubt my commitment to this project!

Not a great episode, I'll be honest, recorded late at night, I was a bit tired, not very chatty. However, we pass through Misty Forest, have a peek at Luc Village, before bracing for the worst at the top of the God of Light Mountain. All while wishing we could access our stored items and start dishing some magic out

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Axiom Verge

May 19
Posted by Mark at 17:00

For a while it was fast-paced, unforgiving twitchy precision platformers- the likes of Super Meat Boy and N+- which were the darlings of indie developers. Now, as times have changed- bringing ambition and budgets with them- it's Metroidvanias, such as Castle In The Darkness a few months ago, and Axiom Verge, which has just made the leap from PS4 to PC.

While Castle's Metroidvania leanings only became more aparrent as time went on, Axiom more immediately has its sights set on Nintendo's franchise. Like Samus before him, your pixel-art hero runs, jumps, crawls and shoots through a range of alien structures, all with names that sound like responses to wrong answers on Shooting Stars collecting up new weapons and skills in order to reach more oddly-named locations.

First impressions, however, aren't great. Some of the earlier rooms feel a little too familiar- and the choice to make health pickups red and pulsating seems odd given that not only are the enemy projectiles red and pulsating, so is the initial environment.

Another obvious nod to the Metroids is the save points- huge, room-filling contraptions which punctuate the world in conventient locations, which seem to serve no other purpose than to refer back to genre tradition, death only returning you to the position of the save point, and not the state of your game at death.

The game starts to pick up when its unique weapon arrives. The Address Disruptor can be applied to many of the enemies and glitchy-looking blocks throughout the game, changing the way they behave. Initially this is little more than another key that opens a quirky-looking door, but soon becomes integral to puzzles and bosses.

Further, late-game twists also make you see many gameplay and story elements differently to how you saw them at the start, subverting its own functionality and playing with genre tropes in a way that enhances the game, rather than parody or simply being change for the sake of change.

Another one-man show, like Castle In The Darkness, Axiom Verge manages to showcase exactly what great minds can create given enough determination and most importantly, time. Thomas Happ has taken what could have easily been a knockoff, rushed out to bring at least some money into a Starving Artist's wallet and made a tribute to a genre which deserves to be listed among its greats.

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Posted by Ben at 17:03
I feel Like I've posted about a release date for Steins;Gate before, but now it's been confirmed by the publisher PQube.

Steins;Gate will be released on European PS3's and Vita's on 5th June

I wouldn't ordinarily do this, I'm not entirely sure when we last mentioned Game, probably when they almost went bankrupt. however, if you want a phyiscal copy of the game and haven't preordered from Rice Digital, Game are selling limited edition versions of Steins;Gate for both PS3 and Vita, which include an art book
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Splatoon First Play
Gameplay Video
May 12
Posted by Ben at 17:04

At the weekend Nintendo launched a 'stress test' for the upcoming paint-em-up Splatoon. Myself and James managed to get in on it, me only for an hour, but I did capture most of it, then talk over it

Splatoon seems fun, obviously that's based entirely on an hour with the Turf War mode, but it ran well and at least one of the maps is good

Click the bump below for some gameplay

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JM: *Clears Throat*:
The videogame Kickstarter
and creative control
May 12
Posted by James at 06:27

It's fair to say that crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have gone from strength to strength in allowing developers to attain the necessary funding as a first step toward realising their visions, visions which may not have a wide enough market for publishers to sign them up in the traditional sense.

Take Playtonic Games' Yooka-Laylee, a 3D platformer from many ex-Rare staff who are promising a revival of the games they made in the late-nineties during what many fans see as a golden era. It quickly became the fastest game on Kickstarter to reach $1m in funding, and at the time of writing has nearly surpassed Elite: Dangerous, a project which closed at just below £1.6m ($2.5m).

46,000 backers isn't quite enough to justify a traditional market for a game in a genre many have said has fallen out of fashion -- Yooka-Laylee's current average spend lies at around £32 ($50), so we're likely looking at a niche, highly focused group who are willing to put as much money as they want towards it.

But it will ensure that a start-up with low overhead and the right talent and exposure (remember, many of Playtonic Games' staffers were from Rare and hold a connection with those willing to pay for it) can make the right steps towards feasibly developing, marketing and eventually releasing their game.

This is undeniably great news. As the top-end of the industry shifts toward a hit-driven AAA space, it's understandable that big publishers find themselves in positions where they cannot take these projects under their wing. Games like Ubisoft's excellent Grow Home are exceptions rather than the rule -- part of their garage development scheme, it and Child of Light are used to nurture and prepare talent within the company.

Publishers get their fair share of criticism whenever they have their say on all sorts of aspects of a game's development process, whether they are creative (Timesplitters: Future Perfect's main lead, Cortez, was publisher EA's call) or financial. Sometimes developers don't end up making the games they strictly wanted to make. Publishers see this process as a means of minimising risk and maximising potential success.

Stripped of the shackles of the traditional publisher, the Kickstarter model should also allow developers to control more of the creative process. But does it?

Some of these problems also apply to Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms. As a developer pitching to backers before and throughout the development process, you're still trying to please the guy with the money. It's shifted from publishers to backers, both hopeful of seeing a return.

With the projects in question being primarily creative in nature, you can imagine all sorts of decisions in the development process dividing backers. This in theory can end up shaping a game's direction.

A recent case would be the backlash Playtonic and one of its composers received for including an orchestrated soundtrack as a stretch goal option for Yooka-Laylee. Veteran composer Grant Kirkhope recently felt disheartened, since it was evident that he might not be producing the music he wants to, given pressure from some backers who'd rather the game sounded a particular way.

It's conflicting. Viva Piñata and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts proved that Kirkhope's compositions translate extremely well to the sounds of the bombastic orchestra and the measured big band. Not everyone saw it this way, though, with a vocal minority of backers challenging Kirkhope about the decision on social media.

The outcome is to be expected. Backers shoulder part of the risk, after all, and moral hazard is still a possibility. Developers see a need to gain trust with their backers, many welcoming community input as part of the development process.

This goes back to the narrative of answering to fans rather than publishers, and it's one of the creative dilemmas of the Kickstarter process. Still, it isn't necessarily a bad thing if the developer's primary aim is to involve the fans and satisfy them. While its quality is still arguably unproven, a high profile example would be Comcept's "Mighty No. 9", a not-so-subtle throwback to Mega Man.

Indeed, Playtonic's Kickstarter campaign does state the following:
Another challenge is to find the perfect balance between our own ideas for Yooka-Laylee and the expectations of the community. We're well aware that many fans are deeply, passionately attached to our past work and in some ways probably understand and adore its intricacies even better than we do. That's why over the coming months -- and during this very Kickstarter campaign -- we'll be consulting the community on some design issues and then ultimately making the final decision within our development team on the absolute direction.
While Yooka-Laylee's music isn't outlined as something the team will be consulting the community on, it's easy to see how this was misinterpreted. Callouts to the community across numerous Kickstarter campaigns are probably changing the expectations of backers -- it's likely this same scenario would have occurred even in the absence of the above paragraph.

In this case, backers shouldn't have the ability to guide parts of the development process that were never explicitly outlined. Orchestrated music is a clearly defined stretch goal, implying it is part of the developer's original vision. The terms of community input were also made clear, accounting for specific parts of the game's development cycle in the future.

Perhaps more clarity is needed. At the end of the day it's another story of trade-offs: Yooka-Laylee and its ilk likely wouldn't have been funded without crowdfunding, so like many other developers in a similar situation, Playtonic are right to work with what they have and make the most of it.

Backers should be reminded that they are only entitled to what is promised and described in the project's description. If they do not share the vision that the team has laid down for their project, then they shouldn't donate. Yesterday evening, the team at Playtonic surpassed their stretch goal for orchestrated music -- hopefully this will give Kirkhope enough confidence to produce the music he's always wanted.
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Posted by Ben at 02:10
I'll be honest, when I started Grandia Weekly I wasn't expecting to be following it with Grandia news, but, while I don't want tot take all the credit, it seems there's been a resurgence in interest in the franchise recently

Obviously it's way too early for news on a release date, but GungHo Online Entertainment, the publisher, has said that the PC port of the Dreamcast classic will have mouse & keyboard support, gamepad support, and, of course, Steam cards

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