What is Fallen Empire? It’s more than just the biggest SWTOR expansion to date. MacLean summed it up succinctly by arguing that this expansion is “a return to BioWare’s cinematic storytelling — it is a Star Wars epic where you are the central hero.” He emphasized that this expansion is about going from heroic story moment to heroic story moment and described the game as “cinematic action-packed RPG experiences thick with plot twists, surprises, betrayal, redemption, and hard choices.”
We ask tough questions. Whether the devs answer them truthfully — or at all — is on them! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
This was my E3 2015 introduction to Vladimir Piskunov, CEO of Bitbox and friend to veterans of Shadowbane, Darkfall, and other PvP games (or at least, the guy inviting the veterans to Life is Feudal‘s alphas).
While Heroes of the Storm just released, Blizzard is not resting on its laurels. The Eternal Conflict is coming, first on the public test realm June 23rd, then in a hoped-for release on June 30th, but the overall push will last a few months.
This expansion has had a quick cadence, especially after Technical Director Alan Dabiri and Senior Artist Phill Gonzales admit that the game’s basically been released in all but name for awhile now. I spoke to the pair at this year’s E3 2015. Read on!
Massively: We’re on the horn with The Secret World Lead Designer Romain Amiel, who’s taking time out of his schedule to answer some questions about the game’s recent storytelling milestones — and perhaps hint about where it’s going next. So Romain, now that Tokyo’s wrapped up and you’re able to look back on it, what would you say was the zone’s greatest success in terms of development?
Romain Amiel: I was quite happy with the overall result of Kaidan. The environment captured pretty well the urban essence of a giant city like Tokyo, or rather what it would be feel like under similar circumstances. It felt huge and eerily devoid of life. It gave us a great source of inspiration to create memorable characters and stories of survival.
When Perfect World and Runic Games announced last week that Torchlight was stretching out into the mobile market, it caught many folks quite unawares. (It’s not often a studio can keep something under wraps so well in this industry!) So of course I was looking forward to meeting with these studios at E3 2015 to learn more about this little surprise. What I didn’t expect was to get my hands on a nearly completed version of the game and test it out!
Before I delve into my experience, I must preface this hands-on with the confession that with the exception of Fruit Ninja, I have never played — nor even been interested in playing — any mobile game. Well, unless Tetris counts! I am very much a PC gamer who wants the more in-depth worlds and experiences that come with that platform. That means I definitely have no bias toward or inclination to favor this genre of game. With that said, you can better appreciate this statement: I might very well start playing Torchlight Mobile on my own device when it launches!
The dust hasn’t even settled from H1Z1’s recent base-building update, and already Producer Steve George has revealed to us at E3 2015 another great construction-related feature that will be hitting in the coming weeks. What could be better than the watchtowers and foundation expansions that were just added to the game? How about a way to easily store, manage, and use the resources to make said towers! George introduced the concept of construction boxes, a secure container with a special interface that can be dropped at a construction site and used to build the the walls, doors, and other components neccessary for a base. These boxes go well beyond the current storage containers and will streamline and improve the constructon process.
“HEX is unique. I had to roll out features as they come. Most big companies have enough money to say, ‘No no, we’ll wait till the cake’s baked, and then we’ll put it out.’ I’ve had to go, ‘Oh, this part’s baked; I’ll peel this off and serve it. Here’s some frosting on the side!’ I’ve had to piecemeal you this cake, which is not a good way to serve cake.”
I’m more an MMORPG player than a Dungeons & Dragons tabletop gamer, but I’m familiar enough with D&D to be intrigued by the addition of a third online game in the franchise to the market. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my Dungeons & Dragons: Sword Coast Legends demo at E3 this year. We have two other D&D MMOs, and Neverwinter already has a way to let players build dungeons for other people to play and enjoy in the form of the Foundry. How could SCL be different?
As some of you recall, Gigantic is one of those games that looks like a MOBA and smells like a MOBA but — for a while, at least — was refusing to give in to the MOBA label. Unless you’re one of the big four MOBAs, the genre has a rep for doom (I’m probably one of the few people mourning Solstice Arena, but it was actually a clever little game.) But Motiga is now grudgingly calling Gigantic a “shooter MOBA” now, and at my demo at E3 yesterday, I did my best to peel back the labels to see the game for what it really is.
How does the guy who got motion sickness from Kirby’s Air Ride get assigned to the flight simulators every year? Yes, at this year’s E3, with my guns functioning and my ship mostly flying in an upright position, I checked out Elite: Dangerous with a few tips from the game’s director, David Braben.
Braben is interesting because he’s an old school developer from the times when PCs were certainly king and consoles were on the edge of disaster. He says he enjoys both platforms equally, though. In fact, he prefers using a controller to mouse and keyboard (at least for Elite). While you may play games in a slightly different way, Braben believes the type of game you play doesn’t change with the platform, which is precisely why he wanted to bring Elite to the Xbox One.
What’s the big deal about Ark: Survival Evolved? Honestly, I don’t know. To me it looks like yet another in the endless horde of early access survival sandboxes on Steam these days, but it also seems to be really popular. Plus, dinosaurs.
Gamasutra recently interviewed creative director Jesse Rapczak, who had a hand in Microsoft’s Hololens development as well prior experience at various game development studios. It’s an interesting read if you’re into game design, as it details everything from realistic landscapes vs. gameplay to handmade environments vs. procedurally generated ones.
The piece also mentions that modding tools are coming to Ark with the 1.0 release.
Chris Wilson: Really well. We’re five weeks into the closed beta of our largest expansion ever: The Awakening. We’ll be releasing it in early June, and it’s a big game changer for Path of Exile. In addition to the huge amount of Act Four content, we’ve also introduced a socketable passive skill tree that can be customised by craftable jewels. This expansion also introduces our newly rewritten networking code, which improves the experience for a lot of users.
In other news, we recently launched Path of Exile in Russia and various other CIS countries with the help of Garena Online.
The full story on Blizzard’s decision and subsequent reappraisal of grounding flying mounts in World of Warcraft is still being revealed. In a new interview, Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas denied that the move to institute Draenor flying was reluctantly done, although he did say that the topic’s been difficult from the start and grew worse when players revolted.
“We thought at the time that we had the right answer, but what we heard from the community is that once the word ‘never’ was out there, it changed the conversation a little bit,” Hazzikostas said. “There’s a certain terrible finality to the word ‘never.’ Before, people might have accepted not being able to fly in Draenor, but when they started to realise that, ‘Wow, I’ll never be able to use Invincible’s Reins or Mimiron’s Head’ or some other prized possession that they’ve worked for, suddenly that sparked an emotional response.”
He said that the team is happy with the proposed compromise and will continue to “do what’s right by the game as a whole and the majority of players” in the future.