Do low game prices spell a 'mass extinction' for game developers?

This is the golden age of independent game developers, who, by their own ingenuity are able to make the games that they want to make, sell them via outlets like Steam, and promote them cheaply via social media.Many developers have become famous, at least within gaming culture. But according to one developer, the party is over. Earlier this week, Caspian Prince, co-founder of Puppy Games, delivered a provocative and controversial blog post, called 'The Dark Side of Indie PR,' bemoaning the decreasing prices of games sold via online retail portals. He said that a "cataclysmic event" had overtaken indie games, in which bundles and sales events had brought the value of indie games down significantly. "Our games are meant to be $10, but nobody buys them at $10. They buy them when a 90...

German and Russian armor clash in Combat Mission: Red Thunder

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Pokemon X/Pokemon Y

I've experienced the Pokémon World Championships, and you should too

The 2014 Pokémon World Championships took place last weekend in Washington, D.C., so I decided to tag along with a bunch of friends to check out what exactly happens at one of these events. I love Pokémon, and having grown up with the series I still enjoy playing the various entries released over the last two decades to this day. I was never into the competitive scene however, as I just prefer to enjoy the story and gameplay at my own pace. Competitive gaming is a huge part of the Pokémon World Championships – it’s in the name – but I'm not going to talk about the actual tournament itself, I want to talk about the excitement surrounding the event, and some of the things that went on around the convention center last Saturday. Pokémon is about more than just video games and trading...

Dead Rising movie snags 'Leprechaun: Origins' director

Leprechaun: Origins director Zach Lipovsky will direct the movie adaption of zombie survival series Dead Rising, TheWrap reports. Lipovsky's work includes several acting parts in addition to his work as a director on TV film Tasmanian Devils; he also appeared on a reality TV show for filmmaking called On the Lot. Tomas Harlan is producing the film, while Tim Carter penned the script as part of Contradiction Films — known for web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy. The first Dead Rising game, set during a zombie apocalypse, was released in 2006. Dead Rising 3 was released last year. Dead Rising was announced as a feature-length film in June. The movie will stream first on Sony's Crackle video service in the U.S., after which it will be available on-demand and on physical media. The Crackle...

FIFA to crack down on Ultimate Team cheating and coin-farming

Despite banning "hundreds of thousands" of accounts in FIFA's Ultimate Team mode since February, EA Sports says cheating, bot use, and coin farming and selling remains such a problem that they have to warn users they face automatic and permanent bans for certain prohibited activities. FIFA 15, according to lead producer Marcel Kuhn, will deploy with automated systems that recognize these abuses, where in the past they were policed manually. A post today on EA Sports' official site prescribes a "straight red" card — that's a total account ban — issued for any discovered instance of coin selling or farming, or for using exploits to record false match results in FIFA Ultimate Team on PC. "In the past, this banning has been manual and labor intensive," Kuhn told Polygon. "That's part of...

You haven't played these Pokémon games, but you should

Not only have you not caught them all — you haven't even played them all.The Pokémon-playing community has proven to be one of the most industrious groups of fans this industry has ever seen. That tenacity is built into the franchise's very nature. To fully complete a PokeDex in Pokémon X and Y, you have to collect over 700 discrete monsters, either through catching, trading, evolving, transferring from previous installments or obtaining from timed Wi-Fi or real-world events. To even attempt high-level competitive play requires hundreds of hours of breeding, battling and pure, dumb luck. Despite the truly gargantuan amount of time demanded by the core series, there are fans who demand more — and fans who create more. Since the early 2000s, fans with the knowhow, software and artistic...

How Pokémon has stayed relevant

Pokémon is not a video game franchise known for making huge leaps. For nearly 20 years, the series has used the same catch and battle formula. And it's working — Pokémon is still popular. The launch of Pokémon X and Y, the latest entries in the main series, saw record-breaking success. In the weekend following its launch, both games sold a combined total of more than four million units to become the fastest-selling 3DS titles. In total, both have since sold more than 12 million units in under a year. And the Pokémon franchise as a whole has sold more than 260 million games worldwide since the release of its first games in 1996. On Nov. 21, the next set in the series — remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire — will launch for Nintendo 3DS. What keeps a franchise like Pokémon relevant?...
Indie studio Question lampoons game development in The Magic Circle.

Development hell: The video game

On his wall at home, Jordan Thomas keeps a piece of artwork showing a feature cut from BioShock Infinite's development. It's a "Shadow Liz" drawn by former Irrational Games concept artist Robb Waters, from back when Thomas and FX artist Stephen Alexander experimented with a way to show that the game's "tears" were connected to the character Elizabeth. Thomas had the idea to make a "ghost" or "shadow" version of her appear next to each tear, but the team wasn't able to make it read clearly. Some who saw it thought it looked like a bug; others thought it looked like a "little glowy peanut," says Alexander. So Thomas hung up a piece of concept art for the idea as a badge of honor. "And in classic Irrational fashion, my mistake has a beautiful sketch surrounded by everybody's signatures,"...

Welcome to Pokégon: our page dedicated to Pokémon

Welcome to Pokémon week at Polygon, or as our talented design team has cutely rebranded us, Pokégon.Visit Pokégon by clicking here! What is Pokémon week? Why is Pokémon week? When is Pokémon week? Let's start with when. Pokémon week is running from August 18th to August 22nd. After Gamescom, new game releases lull before gradually ramping up in September and into fall. A handful of us at Polygon thought we'd use this time to meet one of our most common requests: more Pokémon stuff. This week, we'll be posting Pokémon stories, videos, galleries and GIFs. We'll be talking about Pokémon glitches, Pokémon urban legends and Pokémon's unflagging popularity. We'll have opinion pieces about the cultural impact of one of the best-selling games of all time. And we'll have a debate to choose...

Sony ending PlayStation Home service in Japan and Asia in 2015

Sony is shutting down PlayStation Home, its virtual hang out space for PlayStation 3, in Japan and Asia territories next year, the company announced today. Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia plans to end PlayStation Home service locally in March 2015 and will end the sale of in-game content on Sept. 24, 2014. Sony announced last year it would no longer provide new content for Home after March 2014. SCEJA is planning to hold a special event for Home users before service ends. A notice from SCEJA says that the shutdown will not affect PlayStation Home service in North America and Europe. PlayStation Home launched in beta in 2008. The service has received numerous updates, including a major overhaul in 2011 that turned Home into a social hub that connected to themed districts. Sony...
Top Games
  • Watch Dogs
    • Platforms: Win, 360, PS3, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Ubisoft
    • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
    • Release Date: 2014-05-27
  • Destiny
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, PS4, Xbox One
    • Publisher: Activision
    • Developer: Bungie
    • Release Date: 2014-09-09
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
    • Platforms: Mac, Win, iOS, Android
    • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
  • Dark Souls 2
    • Platforms: PS3, 360, Win
    • Publisher: Namco Bandai
    • Developer: From Software
    • Release Date: 2014-03-11
All Games

Want to pitch your indie game? Learn from the guy who's directing Star Wars VIII

You have, at best, a few minutes to grab someone's attention with your game. The press is deluged with pitches for coverage, with links to Kickstarters and pleas to review or preview this or that game. If you're trying to get your game noticed you have to realize that you're up against a few dozen other games on a daily basis, and that's at the best of times. The one lesson I tell every developer when I discuss how to try to break through is to make sure you can describe your game, and explain what it doesn't differently or better, in a few sentences. How a successful film director does it This lesson came through loud and clear when I watched the video director and writer Rian Johnson created to sells studios on his idea for the science fiction film Looper. Johnson has also been...
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How Dark Souls influenced Alienation, the next game from Resogun's developer

When Housemarque, the creator of Super Stardust HD and the particle-filled PlayStation 4 shooter Resogun, revealed its next game earlier this month, there was no way to know that the twin stick shooter Alienation was influenced by a series of Japanese action role-playing games — but a teaser was in there nonetheless. Mikael Haveri, director of public relations at Housemarque, told the PlayStation Blog that, like a lot of projects at the developer, Alienation began with technological experiments and tinkering, which were also influenced by games developers play. "We happily admit that we do borrow from what we think are some of the greatest games ever, but then we reinvent them in the Housemarque way," Haveri said. "For example, we play a lot of Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, and a lot...

This college student turns Pokémon cards into handpainted art

Reddit user Lunumbra caused a stir earlier this month with her hand-painted Pokémon cards. The user, a college art student named Micah, started painting backgrounds and environments on the cards to add detail and life to the previous artwork. She currently has a tumblr where she sells her cards for $12 each, and accepts commission projects. We caught up with this Poké Artist to ask how she got started. Polygon: Where did your inspiration come from? Micah: I came up with the idea after seeing 3-D cards that a friend of mine had made using Magic: The Gathering. I thought they were cool, but my heart is with Pokémon cards, so I began searching for extended art Pokémon cards instead... and couldn't find anything. How did you get started making them? A few months after the initial...

Pokémon Art Academy hits Nintendo 3DS Oct. 24

Pokémon Art Academy, a game that teaches players how to draw Pokémon, launches for Nintendo 3DS Oct. 24, Nintendo announced today. Pokémon Art Academy combines the instructional elements of the Art Academy series with creatures from the Pokémon franchise. The game will include 40 lessons on how to illustrate Pokémon such as Pikachu, Torchic, Fennekin and Charizard. Players can also use the game's Free Paint and Quick Sketch modes to draw Pokémon however they choose and share their creations via Miiverse galleries. "Drawing their way toward graduation — from the art basics of simple shapes and coloring, to exciting advanced techniques of shading and blending — players will wield a variety of tools, including markers, colored pencils, pastels and paints to illustrate popular Pokémon...

Solving Silent Hills' playable trailer

P.T., the playable trailer for the upcoming Hideo Kojima-produced Silent Hills, has been stumping players ever since its release on the PS4 on Aug. 12. YouTube user TheGrateDebate appears to have found the solution to the game's enigmatic final puzzle. Players have stumbled on the game's ending — which results in a cinematic trailer for Silent Hills — but until now, no one knew how to get to the ending consistently. Using translated clues from the game, TheGrateDebate found a sequence of triggers that they claim to have reproduced "over 30 times," with consistent results. So, how did they do it? Research, code-breaking, and good old-fashioned detective work. Research, code-breaking, and good old-fashioned detective work First, TheGrateDebate acknowledges what we already knew: that...

Sony's secretive division is hoping to find the next PlayStation or Walkman

There was a time when the word 'Sony' wasn't just a consumer electronics brand; it carried meaning about innovation and modernity.But for the last 20 years ago, the company has declined, weighed down by its own success and by the ferocious innovation of competitors in the digital world, like Apple. As management-culture has superseded innovation-culture, Sony has sought to build on the success of brands like PlayStation, without really coming up with groundbreaking new ideas. Japanese newspaper Nikkei has looked into a new unit within the company that is aggressively seeking to create new products. Created by Shinji Odajima it invites ideas and applications from Sony employees. So far, he said, response has been overwhelming. A call for auditions was met with 800 replies. The unit is...

Ancient Space brings galactic RTS action back to PC

Hankering after some Homeworld-style real-time strategy? Ancient Space from developer Creative Forge is seeking to fill the void. Due to be published on Windows PC this fall, the game is a single-player RTS that places the player in command of a galactic fleet at the edge of the universe. Players must build and upgrade their fleets while doing battle with enemies. Various TV actors from action and sc-fi shows are featured including Dwight Schultz (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager) John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise), Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), Ron Glass (Firefly) and Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers, Star Trek: Nemesis).

Legend of Grimrock 2 now in beta, iOS port of first game shown

Almost Human's island-based dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock 2 is now in a closed beta, the developer announced today, and in the hands of a select group of players. Legend of Grimrock 2 is somewhat larger than its predecessor, Almost Human co-founders Juho Salila and Petri Häkkinen said in an update — about 25 percent larger. And although the game has been playable from beginning to end for some time, they say, there's still plenty of work to be done to polish and improve upon the game. The developer didn't provide an updated release window for the game, but did provide the above teaser trailer for Legend of Grimrock 2. Almost Human also showed off a shot of the iOS version of the original Legend of Grimrock running on an iPad. "A friend of us and a coder extraordinaire, Juha...

Watch 20 minutes of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain gameplay from Gamescom

In the event that you missed Konami's livestream of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain from Gamescom last week, now's your chance to correct that. Konami uploaded all 20 minutes-plus of its The Phantom Pain walkthrough, showing off all manner of new gameplay features. The new capabilities of Snake's cardboard box are explored in the video, as are some creative ways to use the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. There's even a tactical horse excrement deployment. For the uninitiated, there's some helpful narration about what's happening in the latest Metal Gear Solid. At Gamescom last week, series creator Hideo Kojima announced that Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and its prologue, Ground Zeroes, are coming to PC via Steam. The Phantom Pain is also bound for PlayStation 3,...

Tales of Xillia 2 review: time sink

Tales of Xillia 2 is a downgrade from Tales of Xillia. This Japanese role-playing game serves as a follow-up to last year's Tales of Xillia and a return to the same world with a new hero. Buoyed by the nostalgic allure of both the Tales series and the first Xillia game, Xillia 2 has a lot to work with. Its promise of combining old characters with a new adventure is a strong one. But the game is drowned by a surface-level plot and puzzling additions that prevent it from escaping the shadow of its predecessor in coherent, meaningful way. Tales of Xillia 2 has a hard time proving its necessity. Where the first game felt fantasy-driven, with a story that revolved around spirits, Tales of Xillia 2 takes a decidedly more sci-fi approach: alternate universes. Hero Ludger Kresnik...
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