PAX East 2013: All the games and news, live from Boston

The Penny Arcade Expo's east coast spin-off takes over Boston, Mass. from March 22 to 24, a fan-focused con that summons fans of all games, from video games to collectible trading card games, to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Just head north on Route 1 and at the seventh Dunkin' Donuts, turn right. You can't miss it. Polygon will be on the PAX East show floor to bring you all the games, announcements, interviews and miasma live all weekend long.

Agent of Mayhem: The life and near death of Saints Row's Volition

Volition, Inc. is having a strange year.

Last December publisher THQ, which acquired Volition in 2000, filed for bankruptcy. By January, the publisher was being sold piecemeal, franchise by franchise, developer by developer.

With an unannounced game far in development, Volition found itself suddenly under new management, having been purchased at auction for the surprisingly cut-rate price of $22.3 million by German entertainment group Koch Media. Volition is its first internal video game studio.

Just two months later, Volition and Koch (publishing games under the brand Deep Silver)...

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Wadjet Eye Games' Dave Gilbert on the draw of making Blackwell and publishing other projects

"I started doing this as a way to avoid getting a real job," said Gilbert, president and chief creative officer at Wadjet Eye, in an interview with Polygon at PAX East 2013. "I never envisioned doing what I'm doing now, the way I'm doing now."

Wadjet Eye is best known for its well-regarded Blackwell series. A fifth entry, Blackwell Epiphany, is set for release this fall, although Gilbert noted that Janet is pregnant with their first child, which may complicate things somewhat. "I don't know how our incoming baby will affect my work schedule," he said.

Blackwell Epiphany is "a lot darker...

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Stepping out with the Stinky Footboard, a PC gaming controller for your feet

In an era when accessory manufacturers are releasing computer mice with ever-increasing numbers of buttons, the creators of the Stinky Footboard decided to go in a different direction. They wanted to fill a niche that hasn't really existed until now, and give players of PC games not just another input device, but a better one.

Secondary buttons on mice and keyboards allow players to increase their all-important actions per minute (APM) number, but they often require you to take your fingers — and attention — away from a game's vital actions, even if only for a moment. Two and a half...

Hawken's Technician mech opens the battlefield to less twitchy players

Hawken's next purchasable mech, the Technician, will make the game more accessible to new players when it launches with the game's April update, Meteor Entertainment producer Paul Loynd told Polygon in a recent interview.

The Technician possesses a unique ability that promises to turn Hawken's mechanized battlefield on its ear: It can heal and buff its teammates. Using a gun reminiscent of that of Team Fortress 2's Medic, the Technician can channel energy through its weapon to heal friendly units, charge that energy to provide them with damage-reducing buffs or turn the weapon on foes to...

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MIT Lincoln Lab researchers discuss games as tools for teaching, evaluating real-world skills

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Lab, a federally funded research and development center, focuses on real-world problem solving through applications of technology. That technology now includes video games, although the kinds of games being made by the Lincoln Lab often don't resemble what we think of when we hear the term.

Five scientists from the Lincoln Lab hosted a panel at PAX East 2013 to discuss the growing use of games as tools to assist in solving national security problems, which is the center's primary purview. The panelists' discussion centered on the...

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Mass Effect developers reminisce about the trilogy, the ending and the fans

As divisive as the original ending of Mass Effect 3 turned out to be last spring, the Mass Effect universe remains a series with which millions of players feel a deep emotional connection, and a few of the people who helped make it happen spent an hourlong panel at PAX East reminiscing about their work on the trilogy.

Much of the session played out with journalist Geoff Keighley, the moderator, asking the panelists to relate their favorite moments from the games themselves, or their work on them over the past eight years. The audience of Mass Effect fans who packed the convention's Main...

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Irrational on partnering BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth with a 'psychopathic alcoholic' player

BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth isn't a support character; she's a computer-controlled co-protagonist, according to developer Irrational Games. During the studio's panel at PAX East, the company explained all the hard work it put into making Elizabeth a believable AI companion that still lets players enjoy the game at their own pace.

The panelists began by showing the "Creating Elizabeth" behind-the-scenes video that Irrational released last week, and then went into further detail as they referenced parts of the video.

"The big thing for us was finding out how to make her your partner,"...

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What PAX means to Gabe and Tycho

They've counted between them and decided that it's the fourteenth PAX they've put on. The Penny Arcade Expo began in Washington, expanded to Boston and will hop continents this summer for PAX Australia.

It all began because Jerry "Tycho" Holkins and Mike Krahulik saw something that was missing. They started at San Diego Comicon and traveled to other shows across the country, including a Kansas show that was held in a high school gym.

"We were doing all these little shows all over the country," Krahulik said. "And we started to realize, 'I like comic books, but I'm not a comic book nerd.'...

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Zeboyd on balancing modernity and RPG obtuseness for Rain-Slick 4

Zeboyd Games, the two-person team behind RPGs like Cthulhu Saves the World and Breath of Death 7, is known for filling its games with modern innovations of obtuse role-playing mechanics; but some players, the studio found, want the hassle.

Its games may look like those from console generations long past, but that gives studio co-founders Robert Boyd and Bill Stiernberg bandwidth to focus on the mechanical meat of their titles.

"One of the advantages we have is we don't have to focus on those AAA production values, so we can focus on story and gameplay, and what really matters with the...

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Harmonix's tour of Pearl Jam and Japan games, music licensing and more Rock Band history

"We are here not to bury Rock Band, but to praise it," began Aaron Trites, community manager for Harmonix Music Systems, at the Rock Band panel during PAX East 2013. But in eulogizing the Rock Band franchise — last month, Harmonix announced its regular schedule of downloadable song releases would end on April 2 — the studio also put to rest some longtime questions about incidents in its five-and-a-half-year history, and gave its fans some closure.

After noting they would try to tread carefully, lest they draw the ire of the studio's legal team or burn bridges with the music industry,...

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Anomaly 2 pits tower defense against tower offense

Anomaly 2 retains the concept of "tower offense" that made its predecessor, 2011's Anomaly: Warzone Earth, stand out. This time around, developer 11 bit Studios is adding a heads-up multiplayer component to the strategy title, and when humans can control both the offensive and defensive sides, they're both forced to think on their feet at all times.

We were able to play a match from each perspective on the PAX East 2013 show floor, and while we got destroyed on offense, we pulled out a victory when we had to defend. The attacking team sends out squads of forward-marching robots, while the...

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How Portal and Pan's Labyrinth inspired a game about a girl's shadowy imagination

In the game, players take on the role of Dawn, the shadow-shifting acrobatic imaginary friend of 9-year-old Didi. Didi's mother, a single mom, just landed a singing gig and Didi isn't allowed to go to the premiere. Initially, Dawn works to help get Didi to that show, but as the game progresses, the story becomes more convoluted and the problems less simplistic.

Guillaume Provost, developer Compulsion's studio head, said that the idea for the game first came to him in Lyon, France. The idea was to create a game that allowed players to control a character that can become a shadow. Dawn uses...

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DayZ's Dean Hall on the risks and rewards of an open development process

The makers of DayZ decided to be open with their fans from the start about the development process, and while they've hit some bumps in the road, they're learning from their mistakes and they wouldn't want to do it any other way.

According to project lead Dean Hall, who created DayZ as a mod of Bohemia Interactive's Arma 2 before the studio hired him to turn the mod into its own game, he and Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel had the same ideas about how to make DayZ.

"Marek really liked the process we had with the mod, in terms of communicating," said Hall in an interview with Polygon at PAX East...

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How Game of Thrones Ascent became a story-based game, not a CastleVille clone

Disruptor Beam's social game take on the incredibly successful A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy franchise has all the trappings of the genre, but it doesn't quite fit the 'Ville mold — a fact that made its potential publishers nervous, the developer told Polygon at a PAX East demo.

Disruptor Beam CEO Jon Radoff said that the title was shot down by companies who wanted it to be closer to what social gaming players expect from Facebook titles. The project, Game of Thrones Ascent, isn't so far from the archetype, with its social connectivity, timer-based actions for crafting and combat, and...

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Zombie Tycoon 2 distills MOBA and strategy genres into a cross-platform package

Zombie Tycoon 2 is a cross-play, cross-save and cross-buy enabled strategy title for PS3 and PS Vita, and is also one of the most surprisingly enjoyable games I've played on the PAX East 2013 show floor.

Like its predecessor, Zombie Tycoon tasks you with controlling hordes of zombies to conquer towns one building at a time. However, the original title was a PSP Mini, meaning it was developed on last-gen hardware, and its file size had to clock in under 100 MB. Zombie Tycoon 2 has no such restriction; it's an Unreal-powered PlayStation Network title with cross-buy functionality, meaning...

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Art design and game mechanics can tell better stories than dialogue, say developers

Video games can deliver strong narratives without packing on explanatory dialogue, instead placing cues in art design and presenting players with an array of decisions to create compelling, immersive stories.

Author and designer Austin Grossman said that Space Invaders is an example of successful narrative design without dialogue because the other elements of the game carry the weight of the narrative.

"It's a tiny brilliant package of narrative design. The words ‘Space Invaders' do the entire job of narrative exposition," he said. "You know where you are and what you're doing, and the...

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Diablo 3 on PS3 will support menu-driven item trading, but no auction house

When Diablo 3 comes to the PlayStation 3 it won't include an online auction house, but there will be a system in place to help players trade items with one another in both the online and offline modes, a Blizzard official tells Polygon.

"Players can trade (whether offline or online) using an in-game menu," a spokesperson told Polygon. "They just need to be playing in the same game. We should have more details soon."

The computer version of Diablo 3 features an in-game, real-money auction house where players can buy and sell items discovered in the game.

Diablo 3 will feature online and...

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State of Decay treats people as the primary resource during the zombie apocalypse

Zombie survival game State of Decay emphasizes the human element of the zombie genre, giving players command over a community of survivors and letting them explore how humanity bands together in the ultimate struggle, according to Undead Labs artist John "Gronk" Gronquist.

Gronquist describes the game as "a mixture of Grand Theft Auto-type freestyle play" and "Animal Crossing with zombies." Players will form their own community of zombie apocalypse survivors and spend time building shelters, hunting for supplies and building up the skillsets of each community individual.

The zombies vary...

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Borderlands 2's fourth campaign expansion teased with 'Bunkers and Badasses' at PAX East

Borderlands 2's fourth campaign expansion, which is included in the title's Season Pass, was teased with a brief video during Gearbox's PAX East 2013 panel.

The video, posted above, showed the protagonists of the original Borderlands engaged in a game of "Bunkers and Badasses" with Borderlands 2's pint-sized master of destruction, Tiny Tina. The characters debate which of the tabletop game's classes they'll play — Brick chooses the Siren, confounding his meathead stereotype — before Tina rolls for initiative as the teaser abruptly ends.

No major details about the DLC were revealed at...

Riot Games believes in the goodness of League of Legends players

As a competitive game, League of Legends inevitably gives rise to what developer Riot Games calls "toxic behavior." The term not only encompasses the specific forms of negativity — obscene language, racism, sexism, throwing a game because you're frustrated or angry — but also their tendency to spread and "infect" other players in a game.

It's one of the biggest problems that Riot faces, but instead of dismissing it as intractable or matching the players' outbursts with negativity of its own, the studio chooses to take the high road: believing that League of Legends players aren't jerks...

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Borderlands 2's new vault hunter is Krieg the Psycho

Borderlands 2's new vault hunter and sixth playable character is Krieg the Psycho, a melee-focused class that can rush the front line and deal damage to keep himself alive, Gearbox revealed during its PAX East panel today.

Krieg is an apparently reformed version of the Psycho enemy from the series who wields an axe and explosives to dispatch foes. Like the game's other archetypes, he has three skill trees: Bloodlust allows you to enhance your survivability by killing damage with your Buzz Axe (which can be used for melee or thrown), the Mania tree increases your damage as you take damage,...

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Blizzard's Rob Pardo on Hearthstone, a 'stepping stone' to more experimental games

"It's definitely a different sort of game for us at Blizzard," Blizzard's chief creative officer Rob Pardo said. "We've been doing these really huge games for quite a long time, kind of those summer blockbuster sort of games, and it's really left a lot of ideas on the table that we wished we could do.

"We wanted to see, could we make a game with just fifteen developers that was just as epic to play but was much smaller in scope."

That fifteen-person team is simply called "Team 5," being Blizzard's fifth development team, and it was formed in response to what Pardo identified as missed...

Broken Age is the official title of Double Fine Adventure

Double Fine Productions' in-progress adventure title, funded through Kickstarter last year, is called Broken Age, the company announced today during its panel at PAX East.

Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure telling two parallel stories of a young boy and girl who are seeking to break the tradition in their lives. The boy lives by himself on a spaceship, and the girl has been chosen by her village to be sacrificed to a sea monster. The game will follow the pair as they seek to alter their fates.

Fans can find more information as well as pre-order the game at the official Broken Age...

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Call of Juarez: Gunslinger plays with history, myth and memory

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger puts you in the boots of Silas Greaves, a bounty hunter in the Old West, and you quickly discover that he's a rather unreliable narrator — but in the best way.

"Back in the Wild West, telling the story was part of growing the legend," said Blazej Krakowiak, international brand manager for developer Techland, after we played a 15-minute mission from the studio's upcoming downloadable shooter on the PAX East 2013 show floor.

Gunslinger is told in flashback, with a past-his-prime Greaves relating tall tales of his bounty-hunting exploits to a small audience in a...

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The Elder Scrolls Online's character advancement showcased at PAX East

The Elder Scrolls Online represents a concerted effort on behalf of Zenimax Online Studios to bridge the gap between its franchise's diehard RPG fans and MMO enthusiasts which, aside from some perspective dissonance, is a goal the studio has achieved quite handily.

We got chance to play more of Elder Scrolls Online at PAX East, just a week after demoing the game at Zenimax's headquarters. Though there's still a few incongruous elements keeping the title from truly feeling like the franchise from which it was spun, the progression systems and open-ended character development are reminiscent...

Capcom's remastered Dungeons & Dragons duo comes with 'vampirism' and six other 'house rules'

The collection, named Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, will also include a set of game-changing "house rules" that can make the game easier, harder or just very different, said Dan Pantumsinchai, product manager for the Iron Galaxy-developed game.

The game is due out on the PlayStation Network, Wii U eShop and Steam for $14.99 and Xbox Live Arcade for 1,200 Microsoft Points this June.

As with other Capcom arcade remakes by Iron Galaxy, the game will feature an array of display options for connoisseurs of the arcade classic. The original sprites for the Dungeons & Dragons-themed...

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Might and Magic X Legacy returns to the series' roots with a modern development process

Might and Magic X Legacy will be the first entry in the original Might and Magic series since Might and Magic 9, which the now-defunct 3DO released in 2001. Its developers are looking to bring back the old games' classic feel, but they're doing it in a modern way.

Their main goal is "being truly faithful to the series," said Erwan Le Breton, Might and Magic series creative director, in an interview with Polygon at PAX East 2013.

According to Le Breton, the word "legacy" in the title is meant to signal that intention to fans of the franchise, which consisted of traditional turn-based RPGs....

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Going along for the ride with LocoCycle

Twisted Pixel's LocoCycle stars a sentient motorcycle named I.R.I.S. and her mechanic, Pablo. Although the mechanic is an unwilling participant in the motorcycle's quest for freedom — one who's being dragged along on the road — he isn't just flailing helplessly behind the crazy motorcycle.

The scenario sounds absurd already, and indeed, Twisted Pixel's trademark comedic sensibilities were immediately obvious from the moment a studio representative began our eyes-on demo. You see, I.R.I.S. isn't oblivious to Pablo's presence; it's just that they have very different ideas of the...

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Mythology and religious elements in games help tell broader stories in fewer words, scholars say

Using elements from mythology and religion in video games can help developers tell a "better" story, because providing a real-world background familiar to players can paint a broader narrative in fewer words, according to speakers at a PAX East panel today.

Vancouver School of Theology graduate student Emily Jarrett and Michael Lowings, technical team lead at genetics program developer Delta Genomics, believe that use of religious tropes and elements in games can help create greater stories, as they provide pre-existing foundations that can easily be built on or adapted.

"We're...

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Robert Bowling's Breach and Clear aims for a distilled console experience on mobile

Gun Media and former Infinity Ward developer Robert Bowling's new mobile game, tactical military hybrid Breach and Clear, aims to bring a tightly-knit tactical military experience to players who want a quick mobile fix.

In the game, players are tasked with raiding areas and clearing them of enemies, or "breaching and clearing," as the military term explains.

The game will release with four starting maps: a dusty Turkish bazaar, an underground Afghanistan bunker, a German Black Forest outside environment and a Chinese cargo tanker in a thunderstorm. Each map has four separate areas that...

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Former 38 Studios developers discuss indie life after the company's collapse

Speaking in a panel at PAX East today, a group of former developers from disbanded Kingdoms of Amalur developer 38 Studios discussed what they've learned after the studio's closure, as well as the handful of indie projects they have worked on since leaving the company.

The group unanimously agreed that the best thing to come out of 38's collapse was the camaraderie between the staff members and the establishment of a supportive community.

"There is a huge ex-38 brotherhood out there, which is really awesome," said Paul Siegel, former 38 Studios engineer and co-founder of Dancing Sorcerer...

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown coming to Mac April 25

XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be released for Mac on April 25, as revealed during the Firaxis panel at PAX East.

The port was announced earlier this month. Feral Interactive, known for their Mac ports on titles such as Borderlands, BioShock and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, will publish the game. The Mac "Elite Edition" is expected to include all previously released content, such as the Slingshot pack, Elite Solider pack and Second Wave update.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is also expected to launch for iOS devices this summer. According to lead developer Jake Solomon, the game will be a complete port.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown coming to iOS devices this summer, developer says it is a 'full port of AAA game'

Firaxis Games' turn-based strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, is coming to iOS devices this summer, publisher 2K Games announced.

The game is being ported by 2K China with guidance from Firaxis. XCOM's lead developer Jake Solomon tells Polygon that the iOS version is intended to be a complete port of the AAA console and PC experience.

"The idea was to port the game fully," Solomon says. "The one exception we made was to the number of maps in the game, but we still have all the destructible environments, there's the fog of war — this is a full AAA game we're porting. It really is XCOM."

...

PAX East panel shows how video games enter the classroom

At a PAX East panel today, Lisa Castaneda, a middle school math teacher from outside of Seattle, and Geoff Moore, a gaming entrepreneur from Toronto, discussed how video games can be introduced into classrooms, using Portal 2 as the test case.

Castaneda is an advocate for gaming in the classroom, having used Xbox 360, iPads and computers in her curriculum. Her interest in Portal 2 began with a school field trip to Valve, which is headquartered close to her school.

She and Moore use the Teach with Portals website, which Valve released to teachers last June, calling it a set of "free...

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Fuse launching May 28 in North America, May 31 in Europe

Fuse, a co-op four-person shooter from Electronic Arts and Insomniac Games, will launch May 28 in North America and May 31 in Europe, according to a recent press release.

In Fuse, players step into the role of one of four covert agents: Dalton Brooks, Izzy Sinclair, Jacob Kimble and Naya Deveraux. Each character has a unique set of skills and Xenotech weapons. According to Ted Price, CEO and Insomniac Games founder, said these weapons will offer players a special experience.

"Insomniac Games is known for delivering best-in-class weaponry that breaks the mold of traditional video games —...

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PAX East Panel explores the impact of video game tutorials and co-op on board game design

At a PAX East panel today, a group of designers and players discussed how built-in tutorials in video games influenced board game design.

"When I first played video games, they were all based on board games," moderator Russ Wakelin said.

"Now, an unthinkable number of years later, it's gotten to the point where many of the games designers, and of course many of the young players, all grow up on video games."

That role reversal has created an evolution in board game design, he said, where board game designers now look to video games when creating their products. Part of that evolution has...

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Dust: An Elysian Tail is coming to Steam, developer hoping for April release

Dust: An Elysian Tail will be available on Steam soon, creators Dean Dodrill and Alex Kain announced during a panel at PAX East today.

Dodrill said he is hoping to have the game ready for Steam by April.

"I'm really excited," Dodril said. "I'm very happy with the [PC] port, I'm not going to do a whole lot different."

Dodrill, whose background is primarily in animation, began working on the title in 2008 with no prior game development experience. After winning the 2009 XNA Developer Dream-Build-Play competition, he brought on writer Alex Kain to help flesh out the game's story and polish...

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Shoot Many Robots' jump to Android starts Demiurge's push into mobile

Shoot Many Robots, Demiurge's co-op arcade-style shooter, has been reimagined for tablets and smartphones and is the first step in the indie developer's own reimagining of its future.

The adaptation, developed by fellow Boston indie dev Owlchemy Labs, is a free-to-play infinite runner featuring the customization, robots and carnage of its predecessor, albeit in a streamlined package. Players dash down one of three lanes, hopping between them at will while dodging obstacles and shooting so many robots. Aiding them in their quest is gear they can purchase and equip from the main menu, and...

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The changing rhythm of Diablo 3's PS3 play

On computer, Diablo 3 is a game driven by the steady beat of a finger clicking a mouse. But when Blizzard's action role-playing game makes the leap to console it will be a game that has a player's thumb dancing across four face buttons, and their fingers drumming out a tattoo of special attacks on triggers.

"That's one of the changes we made with the rhythm of the game," said Joshua Mosqueira, the game's lead designer. "On PC you like to go click, click, click, click and it feels great because that's what a mouse is designed for. But with a controller your thumb wants to dance."

On...

The future of MMOs is multi-genre assimilation, mobile app integration, developers say

The future of massively-multiplayer online games will see the merging of game genres, seamless transitions between single-player and multiplayer content and big sandbox experiences, according to the developers who spoke on a PAX East panel today about MMOs.

Developers on the panel each shared their ideas of where they believe the genre is heading, with some predicting the assimilation of genres while others focused on the merging of multiplayer and single-player modes.

According to Guild Wars 2 lead designer Jon Peters, sandbox and "theme park" games will come to dominate the MMO...

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PAX panel on depression and anxiety discusses how they created a safe haven

Last year, freelance writer Matt Hughes, who had worked for media outlets like Joystiq and GamesRadar, took his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, a group of journalists came together to form the Take This Project, an initiative that aims to support those suffering from depression and anxiety by sharing personal stories and experiences with mental illness so that sufferers wouldn't feel alone. Today at PAX East, Take This Project's founders and contributors spoke on a panel about the organization, its future and the stories of those behind it.

"We had a tough day last year," Polygon's...

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From Bastion to Transistor: Supergiant brings its latest to PAX, sans platform

Three days ago, Supergiant Games announced its next game with a trailer. It featured beautiful, painterly graphics, original music, and an abstracted, isometric world; in other words, it looked a lot like the independent developer's previous game, Bastion. This weekend, a roughly 20-minute demo of Transistor is playable at PAX East in Boston, giving gamers a chance to see what Supergiant's been working on since finishing Bastion.

"We understand that it takes two points to form a line," Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin told Polygon. "And people had one data point around us...

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Dead Island: Riptide looks to refine the art of collaborative zombie-smashing

Dead Island: Riptide doesn't look like it will add the AAA polish and sheen that the original Dead Island's detractors found missing; however, it does add a nail gun.

Philosophically, that jibes with the spirit of the sequel to Techland and Deep Silver's co-operative, zombie-filled title. Fans of the first game were more than willing to overlook its technical faults — its jagged corners, graphical glitches, collision impossibilities — to bask in the violence of its four-player multiplayer offering. Based on a 20-minute PAX East demo, it seems like that violence is back in large...

Halo 4 developers discuss multiplayer, reveal a new Forge map and skill rank coming in April

A number of people involved with Halo 4 took to PAX East's main stage this afternoon to discuss the game's multiplayer component's past, present and future.

Jessica Shea, community manager at Halo 4 developer 343 Industries, began by recounting the millions of players who've racked up billions of kills since the game's launch last year. Lead designer Kevin Franklin discussed how the studio tries to keep players interested through weekly updates to sustain the player base, based in part on player feedback.

Franklin also said that the competitive skill ranking system, which will allow...

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Capcom beginning development of update to Street Fighter 4, seeks fan feedback

Street Fighter 4 will receive another set of balance changes, Capcom announced at its World of Capcom PAX East panel today, saying development is beginning on an update to the fighting game.

While Capcom didn't provide much detail on the in-development update, it sounds like it will be in the vein of Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition's "Ver. 2012" update, rather than on adding new characters or extra content to the game.

On Capcom Unity, Capcom says it's looking to players for balance feedback, taking character-specific suggestions for the next four weeks. Capcom will also solicit...

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Sacred Citadel maintains its RPG roots in a beat-em-up world

The Citadel series' hardcore RPG mechanics may not be fully realized in Sacred Citadel, the upcoming beat-em-up from SouthEnd Interactive, but there's a lot of options for players hoping to make the game's four classes their own.

RPG elements in beat-em-ups are nothing new — Castle Crashers and Ubisoft's Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game are two recent examples, featuring stats, character levels and unique special attacks. Based on a PAX East demo of several levels from the game's campaign, Sacred Citadel hopes to take those ideas (and even those from older genre staples; River City...

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Jerry and Mike answer all of the questions at a PAX East Q&A

When he took the stage on Friday alongside his Penny Arcade counterpart Mike Krahulik for a PAX East Q&A, he was dressed as a robot.

This is Kickstarter's fault.

After the pair took to the crowdfunding platform last year, they added a stretch goal that would force Holkins to cosplay as whatever fans wanted him to. People could have chosen Bayonetta. They could have chosen Sailor Moon.

They chose a metal robot known as the Fruit Fucker.

"So, it turns out when you offer a stretch goal for Kickstarter, you've got to be real careful what you promise."

And when Holkins rounded the corner in...

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Wizards of the Coast partnering with Playdek to bring D&D board games to iOS

Wizards of the Coast has entered into a partnership with game developer Playdek to bring its series of Dungeons and Dragons board games to iOS and "other platforms," it was announced at Wizards' PAX East panel today.

Wizards senior manager Mike Mearls revealed that the two teams were working to digitize the Dungeons and Dragons board game line, a standalone series which launched in 2010 with Dungeons and Dragons: Castle Ravenloft. The board games feature different rules and more codified structure than the core tabletop game, making it a slightly better fit for a video game adaptation.

M...

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DuckTales Remastered easier for modern players, paves way for future Disney-Capcom games

Yes, it will be easier, or at least it can be.

DuckTales Remastered will include a mix of new features designed to make the game more forgiving than the original. Players won't have to master the art of jumping, ducking and tapping a button to "pogo," for instance, instead they can simply jump and press a button. Maps with built-in guidance will be available in the game as well, and a particularly nasty level, which had to be played three times, has been reworked to require only one play through.

But that doesn't mean that those gamers looking for a difficult, more faithful recreation of...

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World of Warcraft's Hearthstone could include cross-play, be playable inside WoW

One of the core tenants when creating Hearthstone was to make sure it was an easy-to-understand and broadly appealing title, said Jason Chayes, production director for the game.

Much of the work is automated by the game, leaving players to focus their attention on picking up the nuance of play and mastering its tactics.

As with many trading card games, Hearthstone has players taking on the role of a main character who can summon monsters to attack their opponent. The goal of the game is to take down your opponent's hero, something you can often do without having to wipe out whatever army...

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Lara Croft's reinvention was to make her less of an 'untouchable ice queen,' says writer

The reinvention of Lara Croft drew on previous incarnations of the character, as the team wanted to create a Lara still connected to her "badass" roots but distanced from the femme fatale persona, Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett said in a video during a panel at PAX East today.

"We wanted to keep the traits players associate with Lara, but rewind to point where they were deep below the surface," Pratchett explained. "She's not conscious of what she's capable of doing. The game brings the traits to the surface."

Pratchett said that Lara's reputation as an "untouchable ice queen" was...

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New trailer shows off Diablo 3's brutal loot-hunting on PlayStation 3

Blizzard has released a new trailer showing how Diablo 3 will look when it comes to PlayStation 3 as Blizzard's first console title in over a decade.

The interface has been redesigned to suit the console format and its lack of a mouse, but otherwise it looks exactly like what players have come to expect from Diablo 3. According to Blizzard, the PlayStation version of the game features an "updated interface and inventory system ... as well as direct character control, an updated camera and monsters 'specifically tuned for console.'"

The console version of Diablo 3 is playable at this...

The 'best version' of Deus Ex: Human Revolution features improved graphics, AI, boss battles and may never leave Wii U

"Fan feedback was our main concern," said Emile Pedneault, game designer for Deux Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut. "We wanted to listen to our fans and react to that."

So the developers held focus groups and searched out some of the chief complaints about the PS3, PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Once they determined what some of the most common, significant negative reactions were to that game they set about coming up with fixes.

Some of those fixes include some significant changes to the way elements of the game work. The forced boss battles, for instance, seemed not to line up...

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Cliff Bleszinski gets personal at PAX East about family, friends and his career

He is best known as the creative force behind Epic Games' Gears of War third-person shooters, but he left the company last October after 20 years to "chart the next stage of his career."

During this period of transistion, Cliff Bleszinski admits he's been doing a lot of talking.

"So welcome," he said as he began his PAX East keynote. "I'm that guy who's unemployed and talks a lot of crap on the internet, apparently."

Amid jokes, opinions and a bit of self-effacement, the former Epic Games design director took to the stage with "Storytime with Cliff Bleszinski," a series of stories about...

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Super Time Force's time-travel mechanics have been reinvented and refined

Super Time Force's iconic gameplay mechanic, which lets characters play alongside their fallen comrades, has been completely rethought for the game's latest build — and it's an incredibly welcome change.

The game's PAX East 2013 demo showcases the new method players have for traveling in time. Previously, players would have to restart each level upon dying, generating a new hero to play along the ghost of their last attempt; a ghost they could potentially save with quick thinking. For example, by respawning and killing the foe who ended your previous run, you could save them; unless, of...

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DuckTales Remastered announced by Capcom, launching this summer on XBLA, PSN, Wii U eShop for $15

DuckTales Remastered is in development at WayForward Technologies, Capcom announced today during its "World of Capcom" panel at PAX East 2013.

It will launch this summer for $14.99 on PlayStation Network, 1200 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Arcade and $15 on the Wii U eShop.

The character sprites are hand-drawn, while the world will exist in 3D. Disney's authentic voice actors will lend their talents to the game. Capcom also showed a trailer at the panel, complete with the DuckTales theme song lyrics for singing along, that you can watch below. The game's original 8-bit songs will be...

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Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara announced by Capcom

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, a side-scrolling four-player brawler, was announced by Capcom during its "World of Capcom" panel at PAX East 2013 today.

It is a collection of two old Dungeons & Dragons arcade games by Capcom, Tower of Doom and Shadow over Mystara. Listings for both games were found on the Korean ratings board last week.

It will be available for $15 this June on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Windows PC via Steam and the Wii U eShop. Four-player drop-in/drop-out online co-op will be powered by GGPO, including leaderboards, and local co-op will be...

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Dishonored's The Knife of Dunwall tells the tortured tale of a master assassin

The Knife of Dunwall is a man cracking under the weight of his memories, burdened by doubt. After a lifetime assassinating the corrupt and unjust, has he finally set his blade to the neck of someone trying to do good?

As Arkane Studios finished development on the game and began discussing post-game content, they knew they had one story left to tell: Daud's.

"Towards the end of development on Dishonored, when we were thinking about what we could do for DLC, among the team the idea that kept coming up the most was Daud," Dishonored lead technical director and creative director on The Knife...

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Blizzard announces Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, free-to-play collectible card game

Blizzard's next game is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a free-to-play strategy title that is an online collectible card game, the studio announced today during its PAX East panel.

"We wanted to do something a little bit different, just within the studio," said Rob Pardo, Blizzard's chief creative officer, during the panel. The team developing the game has 15 developers, and Blizzard characterized it as "scrappy and versatile."

After showing the game's intro cinematic, the studio explained its design philosophy for Hearthstone.

"We really wanted to bring in a lot of the charm of the W...

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Capybara Games unveils new title Capy Fine Racing GP at PAX East

Canadian-based Capybara Games new title is Capy Fine Racing GP, an "OutRun-style racer" featuring Capy and Double Fine characters, the development studio revealed at PAX East.

The game was developed in conjunction with Double Fine, and made by Capybara artist Vic Nguyen and programmer Ken Yeung.

"It's just something we did for pure fun and loving the idea of doing cool shit with our friends, in the spirit of the Capy Double Fine PAX combo," Capy co-founder Nathan Vella mentioned to Edge Online. "While it's totally a real game, it's also not at all a real game."

Double Fine and Capybara...

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Rock Band's final song will be Don McLean's 'American Pie'

The last downloadable track for Rock Band will be Don McLean's "American Pie" and will be available along with the final update on April 2, developer Harmonix revealed at its pre-PAX East Rock Band Night.

The developer revealed last month that the weekly release of new songs added to the Rock Band library will draw to a close April 2. The support of the title ends so resources can be allocated to "several new titles in development."

Harmonix said that over 275 consecutive weeks more than 4,000 songs have been released on the Rock Band platform.

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PAX East streaming schedule includes Blizzard, Bleszinski, booths and more

When PAX East 2013 kicks off this Friday in Boston, those who won't be in attendance can still follow along through a dedicated Twitch.tv channel.

According to a post on Twitch.tv's official blog, PAX East 2013's streaming schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 22

  • Blizzard Entertainment Presents 10 a.m. ET - 10:30 a.m. ET
  • Storytime with Cliff Bleszinski 10:30 a.m. ET - 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Penny Arcade Q&A 11:30 a.m. ET - 12:45 a.m. ET
  • The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences presents: Best of the 2013 DICE Summit 2:30 p.m. ET - 3:30 p.m. ET
  • The Shaft: Digging up all the Minecraft...

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Second annual PAX East Indie Megabooth features 62 games from 50 developers

The organizers of the PAX Indie Megabooth are super-sizing the space for PAX East 2013, bringing 62 games from 50 developers to Boston for next weekend's convention.

It will be the second annual PAX East Indie Megabooth, which debuted last year with 20 games from 16 developers. Later in 2012, the group brought a larger Megabooth ― more than 30 games from 30 developers ― out west for PAX Prime.

"We're almost doubling every time we do this now," said Kelly Wallick, whose official title is Megabooth Overlord, to Polygon over email. "This time has been substantially more work since we've...

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PAX East 2013 full schedule now live

The PAX East 2013 schedule went live today, laying out all the planned panels, gaming tournaments, lectures and associated events taking place during the upcoming three-day convention.

Whatever you're interested in, it's listed on the schedule, from Friday morning's opening keynote by former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski to the final round of the Omegathon on Sunday afternoon.

PAX East 2013 will take place in Boston from March 22 to 24, and Polygon will be in attendance to bring you comprehensive coverage of the show. Polygon staff members are slated to appear on a number of...

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