In Firewatch, the job isn't to keep the wilderness from burning down

Firewatch, the first effort from a team of notable games developers and designers, released its first trailer this week, laying out the mystery that envelops the protagonist and the distant yet intimate radio relationship he has with his partner. Firewatch is the work of Camp Santo, a studio comprising Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman, both alumni of Telltale Games' acclaimed The Walking Dead Series, as well as Nels Anderson of Klei Entertainment's Mark of the Ninja, and the well known graphic designer Olly Moss. Firewatch appears to be set sometime in the past (note the use of the typewriter at 1:15 in the above video.) The game is being developed in Unity and is planned to release for PC on the Linux, Mac and Windows operating systems sometime next year.

Tearaway started life as a fleshy finger game

Tearaway is best known as a game of delightful paper craft with fragile and playful characters. But in its first iteration, the game's main character wasn't made of paper at all — it was the player's fleshy finger. Speaking at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, Media Molecule's community manager James Spafford detailed the three main iterations the game went through to arrive at the final version, which launched on the PlayStation Vita in 2013. According to Spafford, the first version of the game was inspired by the role fingers play in gaming. Players already use their fingers to push buttons and swipe screens to make things happen in games, so what if they could actually push their fingers into the games themselves? Must Read Making Tearaway "Instead of...

Longtime Castlevania producer leaves Konami

Dave Cox, a 17-year veteran at Konami with the Castlevania series, has left the company, he said yesterday via Twitter. Cox, most recently a producer for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, said via Twitter that he will move on to another project before taking a break. "I want to thank Konami for the opportunity and all those people who supported me and the team on our journey," he said. He joined Konami in 1997 as a product manager. He also has credits on Silent Hill, Pro Evolution Soccer, and Metal Gear Solid. Recently, Koji Igarashi, a longtime Castlevania developer with a 20-year history on the series, quit Konami in March to set forth on his own.

Grand Theft Auto 5's PC version will get an updated soundtrack

The PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One editions of Grand Theft Auto 5 appear to be getting a soundtrack update, according to a voice actor for one of the game's fictitious radio stations. Yesterday, Cara Delevingne, who stars as the host of the Non Stop Pop FM channel in the game, tweeted a picture of herself arriving at Rockstar's studios "to update my GTAV radio station Non Stop Pop FM for new versions coming this Fall!" Rockstar Games' official account then retweeted the message. Earlier it posted its own picture of Delevingne (above), with the message "coming soon ..." The PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions of Grand Theft Auto 5 were announced at E3 2014; no release date for them has been given.

Tales from the Borderlands lets you stop and smell the chaotic roses

Being terrible at first-person shooters is one of my worst-kept secrets. I'm uncoordinated, my reflexes are slow and I can move my in-game characters about as gracefully as a cat in a sack race. In my panic to try to not get shot and clear levels as effectively as I can, I often miss details of the game world. I gloss over environments. I don't pause to think of the backstory. From the moment I'm thrown into the game, it's go, go, go. According to Kevin Bruner, the founder and president of Telltale Games — the studio behind The Walking Dead game and The Wolf Among Us — I'm not alone. Bruner says that in first-person shooters like Gearbox's Borderlands, players tend to only experience a slice of the game world because they're moving so fast. When players are plunged into a world of...

Hironobu Sakaguchi wanted Chrono Trigger to evolve in a series 'like a Final Fantasy'

Final Fantasy creator and Chrono Trigger designer Hironobu Sakaguchi wanted Chrono Trigger to "evolve into something like a Final Fantasy" in terms of serialization, the Mistwalker founder said today during a PAX Prime panel. Sakaguchi worked as a designer on the original Chrono Trigger. Speaking via translator at the "Hironobu Sakaguchi Reflection: Past, Present, Future of RPGs" panel, he explained that game could have had more than follow-up Chrono Cross, which Sakaguchi did not work on. "We wanted to continue it as a series," Sakaguchi said. "... But — and I think the statute of limitations has passed and expired so I think I'm okay saying this — but we just didn't see eye-to-eye with management, and so I went and fought for it, and I officially lost the battle." As for follow-ups...

Peggle 2 is coming to PlayStation 4

PopCap Games' addictive pachinko-style peg-smashing game Peggle 2 is ending its Xbox exclusivity soon. The developer announced today that the Peggle sequel is PlayStation 4-bound on Oct. 14. Peggle 2 was originally released for Xbox One in December 2013, followed by an Xbox 360 release in May. PopCap and publisher EA have released a handful of downloadable Peggle Masters for the game, including Jimmy Lightning and Windy the Fairy. The official Peggle Twitter account posted box art for the PS4 version of Peggle 2, pointing to a possible physical retail release. We've reached out to EA to confirm.

Is Activision pondering a Take-Two takeover?

Has Activision turned ts eyes on buying Take-Two? That's the Wall Street scuttlebutt today, fueled by a research note by Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey, subsequently reported by various investment sites. Hickey reckons Activision wants to get into the movie business, and would benefit greatly from some of Take-Two's franchises, most particularly Grand Theft Auto. "For Activision, acquiring Take-Two Interactive would be a no-brainer, in our view, circling some of the strongest development talent and owned IP in the world, within a company that has nearly $1 billion in cash and trades at a comparably lower multiple," Hickey said. Hickey argued that Los Angeles-based Activision, which has long enjoyed a close working relationship with Hollywood, might look like a good bet for Take-Two....

More Dragon Quest games heading to mobile, including the original, very soon

The Dragon Quest series will continue to migrate to mobile with the release of the original game in September, executive producer Yuu Miyake and mobile producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto said during a translated interview at PAX Prime today. "We are planning to release in the first part of September the first Dragon Quest," Fujimoto said. "We're hoping to release [Dragon Quest] 2 and 3 in order in a period of two or three months, in a short span. We're planning to release subsequent numbered [games] — whatever is left — we hope to release that in order as well." The first Dragon Quest game, known as Dragon Warrior in the U.S., will be a "revamped version." Dragon Quest 8: Journey of the Cursed King hit iOS in May, while Dragon Quest 4: Chapters of the Chosen was released earlier this month....

Themes are coming to Nintendo 3DS to make your old 3DS prettier

The New Nintendo 3DS is coming with customizable faceplates that will let players deck out their handheld with Peach, Mario, Isabelle and more, but you don't have to upgrade your hardware to get a little personalization on the 3DS. Nintendo is adding themes to 3DS systems new and old this October. 3DS themes will let owners of the handheld decorate the system's home screen with Nintendo-themed designs from Super Mario Bros., Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda. 3DS owners will be able to apply wallpapers — like the A Link Between Worlds wallpaper shown above — to both top and bottom screens. There will be themed folders as well: question blocks in the 8-bit Super Mario Bros.-style, treasure chests from Zelda and even Mario's overalls. Nintendo says music and sound effects will...

Super Meat Boy Forever is an endless platformer, not a little 'throwaway game'

Team Meat's mysterious new project, first revealed as A Voyeur for September, is actually an auto-runner called Super Meat Boy Forever that follows in the steps of its classic Super Meat Boy series, co-founder Tommy Refenes told Polygon today at PAX. The game features a the titular meat man himself as he dashes through levels. Along the way, players avoid saws and hop over gaps by touching the game's screen. Precision control exists in the game through a new ducking mechanic; when you're in the air and you duck, you also fall more quickly to land on different platforms. "It's not a little iOS throwaway game," Refenes said. "We want to do a full-fledged game. "There's a certain flavor to iOS games where it's just enough and there's not a real complete, cohesive experience. [Super Meat...

Ambitious, beautiful multiplayer space combat game GoD Factory: Wingmen launches today

GoD Factory: Wingman is a four vs. four mutiplayer shooter where you customize your ship and work with your team to take down the other team. It's had a storied path through development, with an unsuccessfull Kickstarter leading to a publishing deal with Bandai Namco, and the game has finally been released on Steam for $19.99. It also looks pretty great, and supports the Oculus Rift, if you're into that sort of thing. Nine Dots founder Guillaume Boucher-Vidal shared the cost, both financially and mentally, of starting your own independent studio in a recent story, and GoD Factory: Wingman is the end result of all that hard work. "Having your life in a purgatory state for three years is a very long time, especially considering all the hours put into such a project. I've been told...

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor trailer gets cozy with vile Orc

Ratbag is a sniveling, whining wretch, a scumbag, even by Orc standards. In this new trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor we get to meet Ratbag and learn about his relationship with heroic human protagonist Talion. In the Monolith game, due to be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on Sept. 30 for consoles and Oct. 2 for Windows PC, players create feuds with their enemies, even as they climb through the Orcish ranks. To find out more about the game, take a look at Polygon's new preview.

MMOs help kids learn English faster, says new study

Students of English learn the language faster when they play video games, especially MMOs, according to a new report. The study at the University of Gothenburg and Karlstad University, Sweden, looked at a group of sixth graders and how they interact with English in non-educational situations. Researchers found that those students who play a lot of English-language games gain a vocabulary advantage compared with those who do not play or only play a little. They found that people playing MMOs had the greatest advantage, for the obvious reason that multiplayer online games facilitate conversation, and English is the most widespread language online. "As a player you simply have to be able to understand what's being said, to read English and to interact yourself by both writing and...

Costume Quest 2's tricky twins are back on their beat

Double Fine released a PAX trailer for Costume Quest 2 today, and announced an exclusive costume offer for anyone who pre-orders the game on Steam. Coming to Windows PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U this October, the creepy turn-based combat and exploration game puts players in control of twins Reynold and Wren as they set off on a trick or treating adventure. They'll fight evil characters in Halloween costumes that grant them superhuman powers. "It's probably our most requested sequel, besides Psychonauts," said Double Fine's Greg Rice in a recent Polygon interview. "People have been asking for it forever. I think it's that every Halloween you're reminded about the game. We have a lot of people who are coming back to us saying they replay it...

Saints Row 4: Re-Elected coming to PS4 and Xbox One, $30 this January

Last year's Saints Row 4 is being ported to current-gen systems by High Voltage Software and branded as Saints Row 4: Re-Elected, it was revealed at a PAX panel this afternoon. The project was announced alongside a new Saints Row expansion titled Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, which is being developed by series creator Volition alongside High Voltage. The port will be available for $29.99 including all Saints Row 4 DLC, or for $49.99 as a bundle with Gat out of Hell. Both will be available January 27, 2015. The developer teased new features like voice commands (examples given: "motherfucker" and "son of a bitch") along with modding so players can create their own weapons. We'll have more on Saints Row 4: Re-Elected, as well as Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, in the next couple days.
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