Since announcing The Witness is on its way to Sony's PS4, Jonathan Blow and his development team have remained mostly mum about development. The game is still coming along, with Blow refining all of the details before the game launches, he explains on the PlayStation Blog in a video and a written post.
Video-Blow says The Witness is a true, financially independent game: His studio has the freedom to not make a profit, since it's not beholden to a publisher and doesn't "need" to. This shifts his team's goals from money to quality, he says.
"I would definitely like to make our money back on this game and I would like to make a profit on it, but it's not actually the No. 1 priority," Blow says. "The No. 1 priority is to make the best possible game that we can make, that brings the most beneficial experience to the players."
The Witness is an open-world, non-linear puzzle game that is as deep as the player wants it to be, as Blow describes it. It has no release date yet, but it's in development for PC and PS4, with the latter as a timed console exclusive.
In non-allegorical terms, gross revenue (overall sales) and net income (post-tax profit) were both down year-over-year, at $1.865 billion and $54.6 million, respectively. As far as net income, that's a 24.69 percent decrease from the $72.5 million Gamestop reported at the end of Q1 2012.
Meanwhile, mobile device sales were up 290 percent, though this massive increase was largely due to the fact that Gamestop's mobile trade-in/sales program was just getting started during Q1 of 2012. Digital sales also increased, to the tune of 47.3 percent year-over-year, while new software sales, both physical and digital, fell 3.8 percent.
As was the case during Q1 2012, used hardware and software sales accounted for the majority of Gamestop's pre-tax profit, with new hardware and software sales making up just 29.5 percent of the quarter's overall gross.
Pre-orders of FIFA 14 through GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Amazon or Origin get Ultimate Team gold packs. Each pack contains 12 items – players, contracts, stadiums, managers – to support players as they create fantasy teams of real-world athletes.
FIFA 14 is one of four EA Sports games confirmed for Xbox One, Microsoft's next-gen console revealed this week. FIFA 14 will use EA's new Ignite engine on Xbox One and PS4, but not PC or current-gen consoles.
Contrast, the shadow-shifting puzzle platformer from Compulsion Games, will not be released in May as previously planned. After being Greenlit on Steam, the game has since been picked up by Focus Home Interactive for a wider release. Contrast will now be released on XBLA, PSN and PC in Q4 2013.
We think Constrast could be pretty cool. Here's a new trailer to help you endure the longer wait.
Payday 2, the Overkill-developed crook sim, is set to launch in August. The news comes at the end of the trailer above, which teases a new web series set to start in two weeks.
We have yet to see any actual Payday 2 gameplay beyond a brief teaser issued in March, but feel free to case our gallery of in-game shots below. Payday 2 – which adds classes and a contracts database on top of its predecessor's core robbery mechanics – is planning its heist on Steam, PS3 and Xbox 360. Pre-orders are open on Steam right now and all who sign up early will get an in-game loot pack.
The update comes a week before the "Amusement Park Pack," which is scheduled to launch on May 28. EA announced earlier this month that the game has gone on to sell 1.6 million copies despite its launch complications.
We already knew Kinect for Windows would be updated with the new sensor and a new software development kit (SDK). The improved Kinect sports a 1080p RGB camera, capable of 30 FPS in full color, and can even see in the dark through infrared. The new Kinect also has a greater field of depth which Microsoft promises will cut down on the required distance from the device. It can also read your heartbeat but we try not to think about that too much because it's scary.
In March, Square Enix President Yoichi Wada stepped down and the company announced widespread restructuring that it expected to cost $106 million. Square Enix posted a net loss of $134 million for fiscal year 2013, citing "weak" sales of major console games, including Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Tomb Raider, the last of which sold 3.4 million in its first month.
The original press release for Need for Speed Rivals made no mention of a PC version; however, the PR has since been amended revealing the PC version will arrive on November 19 alongside the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game. Xbox One and PS4 versions will launch "later this year."
Other than differences in graphical fidelity and online player count, Rivals features differences in its new marquee feature "AllDrive" across current- and next-gen systems. AllDrive is the ability for the game to "seamlessly" adapt to player interaction as they cross paths in the open-world space. On next-gen consoles, players will have unspecified exclusive ways to interact with the game using other devices.
Nilsson would not detail if the PC version's feature-set would be based on the current- or next-gen platform versions.
Expanding on how AllDrive would work, Nilsson offered an example of how the game would react to friends in the same world engaged in separate chases that come across each other. With the new feature, Need for Speed Rivals would recognize player proximity and any current missions and automatically shift objectives and scoring to that of a traditional co-op encounter. Players can enter and exit each other's worlds to race and interact "on-the-fly." The core features of AllDrive will be available on all platforms.
For more on Need for Speed Rivals, read our reveal post with additional comments from the game's executive producer.
[Ed. Note: This post was updated to reflect changes to the announcement press release.]
Powered by Frostbite 3, Rivals aims to utilize the power of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to give players "the freedom to seamlessly go from single player to co-op to multiplayer" when it releases "later this year." [Update: This story has been updated for accuracy, removing mention of a release window for the next-gen versions from an outdated release draft.]
Need for Speed Rivals transports players to the fictitious Redview County, an open-world environment where players can take on the role as either street racer or police officer. Like Most Wanted before it, racers aim to become the most infamous person behind the wheel, while cops attempt to work together to drive the area's high-risk inhabitants off the road. Players can personalize the experience with custom license plates, paint, liveries decals and rims, and performance upgrades.
Current-generation consoles will also join the rivalry – powered by its own version of Frostbite 3 – on November 19. A PC version is also in the works.
The ruined-world game hinges on a realistic day/night cycle, as well as the agility and Parkour skills of the protagonist turned traceur. Day is pitched as a preparation phase, in which you scavenge a warmly lit urban wasteland for supplies and craft weapons to fend off undead walkers. The night requires a stealthier approach, if not a swift homeward retreat from deadlier monsters.
Combat in Dying Light appears to be largely based on upgradeable melee weaponry (eg. an electrified machete), with bone-breaking blows triggering an x-ray visual effect. Zombies can also be pushed into spiked walls with a jump-kick to the chest.
The frequency of fighting drops once night arrives and faster, more powerful creatures emerge. These can be detected via an on-screen pulse – one of the abilities you have by virtue of being an infected human yourself. When the monsters of the night do give chase, the camera can quickly flip 180 degrees to show their proximity, even while you dash and vault in the opposite direction. Movement certainly appears to be more fluid than in Techland's Dead Island, with which Dying Light shares a theme of smashing zombies in the tropical sun.
The openness of the environment, overall game structure and the true nature of nightfall, the publisher says, are details left for another day.
At first glance Shelter looks kind of cuddly; you play a badger mother looking after her cubs in some pleasant looking greenery. Pid developer Might & Delight is billing its next game as anything but. As this early footage shows, you'll have to hunt other animals for food, and avoid becoming prey yourself. That inferno at the end isn't too cuddly either.
Shelter, announced earlier this year, is still foraging on Steam Greenlight. Might & Delight's plans are to release it into the wilds of PC and Mac towards the end of this summer.
"That was the hardest ten grand I've ever made. And I was a paperboy," Creighton tweeted.
Pre-orders are still open, and the Kickender is now on goal two, which is "Act 3, Adequately Animated." Check out Creighton's pre-order pitch video on the Spellirium site, but be warned – once you open the page, it auto-plays some intense medieval folk music.
Spellirium is also up for a run on Steam via Greenlight.
It's not that there are too many indie games; it's that there aren't enough hours in a day to play all of them. The Joystiq Indie Pitch curates the best indies to play now and watch out for in the future.
Our game is called Jamsouls. We took inspiration from the famous tale of Pandora's Box to create crazy battles between naughty evil creatures in a vivid and colourful arena!
How have sales and visibility been on XBLIG? Is $1 a good price point for Jamsouls?
XBLIG has poor visibility compared to other games featured on the Xbox Marketplace. We feel that the platform is dying slowly, and that Microsoft is not really interested in this indie scene anymore, which is a shame.
We chose the price of $1 because we wanted the game to have maximum exposure. The price of 80 points is very reasonable for anyone wanting to try the game out.
Downtrodden horror author Alan Wake stars in the latest Humble Weekly Sale, which offers up downloadable Windows versions of Remedy's third-person shooter Alan Wake and its follow-up American Nightmare for a buyer-chosen price (minimum $1).
Bundle buyers will receive DRM-free downloads of Alan Wake: Collector's Edition and Alan Wake's American Nightmare, along with Steam keys for both games. The package features a bevy of bonus material, including digital comic books, a playthrough video, and standalone episodes of the Remedy-produced "Night Springs" fictional television series – new episodes of which Joystiq debuted last year.
Xbox Live hosts its own Alan Wake series sale this week. Through May 29, the Xbox 360 Games on Demand version of Alan Wake is priced at 400 Microsoft points ($5), while the Xbox Live Arcade follow-up American Nightmare is a dollar cheaper at 320 points. Alan Wake DLC and avatar items are also on sale through next week.
In the announcement video above, Remedy's Sam Lake (who you might recognize as Max Payne's face model) reveals that the Alan Wake series has sold over three million units to date, and addresses fan reaction to the company's decision to develop the upcoming Xbox One-exclusive title Quantum Break, rather than an Alan Wake sequel.
"We definitely want to keep on working on Alan Wake," Lake assures. "I definitely want to create something new for Alan Wake, when the time is right."
The Faction and Chronicle packs are the first listed, each aimed at continuing the single-player story of Metro: Last Light. Faction is due first, in June. The Tower pack will be aimed at Metro veterans, offering "a unique solo challenge." Finally, the Developer pack aims to offer some additional tools aiding in exploration. All season pass purchases will also unlock an exclusive semi-automatic shotgun rifle, while each piece of DLC will be available for individual purchase.
Metro: Last Light launched on May 14, with our review placing it in the company of another story-driven shooter, Half-Life. The game was originally set to be published by THQ, but after the studio's fall Deep Silver came in and acquired the game.
After clearing its $70,000 goal more than a week in advance, the A.N.N.E. Kickstarter has concluded at $100,272. The total is enough to unlock three of ANNE's stretch goals, namely Mac & Linux versions, gender swap mode and achievements, and New Game+. While stretch goals for Ouya, PSN/Vita and Wii U versions were not met, creator Moise "Mo" Breton promised in a previous update that these versions will still be made, though it will take longer.
Mo, whom we interviewed back in April, also posted an inspirational thank you video on YouTube, which retells the whole experience and, more importantly, heavily features his adorable children. "From now on, it's all about making the game," said Mo, thanking supporters for allowing him to develop full-time. He is planning to make monthly updates throughout development. ANNE is planned to launch in early to mid 2014.
Stompy Bot Productions and Mektek Studios have launched their Kickstarter project for Heavy Gear Assault, the return of the mech combat game originally introduced by Dream Pod 9, with later games published by Activision.
The multiplayer e-sports-focused, Unreal Engine 4-powered game is in development for PC and will be free-to-play with premium subscriptions options available for players. The development team is seeking $800,000 by June 29, with a dozen stretch goals already planned for the funding project.
As per the version released for consoles last year, Komplete Edition features all the game's DLC, with the expanded roster including a certain Freddy Kreuger (the regular creepy kind), Kenshi, Scarlet, and Rain. Conduit and Kinect Star Wars developer High Voltage Games, who've just released the "addictive" puzzler Zoombies for iOS, is handling the PC port.
The new Kinect features a 1080P HD RGB camera, 30 FPS color, Time of Flight technology, and microphone arrays. It has a greater sense of depth and field of view compared to the original Kinect, and thanks to infrared tech it can see in the dark. Microsoft showed us how the sensor can track two player profiles, each tied to a controller, and also demonstrated how it can estimate players' heart rates.
Each Xbox One ships with the device. The console launches later this year.
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