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Freedom Planet - Overview video

If Treasure made a Sonic game, it would probably look a lot like this.Freedom Planet is just dripping with authenticity, with a presentation and indescribable feel that hearkens back to the Sega Genesis days of old. It manages to pull off a difficult balancing act, borrowing and transforming elements from games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Rocket Knight Adventures without coming off as derivative. It's got bipedal, talking animal hybrids — a staple of platformers from the era. It has so many things, which we try to outline in the Overview video posted above.

Battlefield Hardline's singleplayer tells the story of a good cop framed

Previously ... on Battlefield Hardline: Visceral Games' cop-drama take on Electronic Arts' military shooter franchise was delayed into 2015, mainly over concerns with the online multiplayer experience that just went through a beta in June. What does that mean for the game's singleplayer story? While extra time is always useful for polishing things, it sounds as though Battlefield Hardline wrapped shooting in May and the story is basically finished. Wendy Calhoun (writer and producer of Nashville, Justified and other TV series) is aboard as a narrative consultant to the story, bringing along Bill Johnson as performance director (whose editing credits include The West Wing, and also Justified). Battlefield Hardline will be the story of a cop who gets framed and goes underground to clear...

Play Settlers of Catan Anytime thanks to HTML 5

Microsoft today released a preview for a free browser-based version of tabletop game Settlers of Catan that will work across any online device with a modern browser regardless of operating system. Catan Anytime was built using the latest HTML 5 web standards with the help of the original creators of Catan, Mayfair Games and Bontom Games as part of Microsoft's Rethink "experiences." The beta version of the game, which is live now, supports four-player games, turn-based asynchronous gameplay with auto-trade and auto-roll features and the ability to keep up-to-date on your game via email. The Microsoft plans to release the full game, which will offer complete parity with the tabletop version, in August during Gamescom, according to Internet Explorer group product manager Justin Garrett. ...

Square Enix's CTO and Final Fantasy 14 tech director has left the company

Square Enix chief technology officer Yoshihisa Hashimoto has left the company, it was confirmed to Polygon today. In addition to his role as CTO, Hashimoto served under director-producer Naoki Yoshida as technical director for Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. Hashimoto was also manager of the company's Advanced Technology Division and headed development on Square Enix's new Luminous engine, which powers the 2013 Agni's Philosophy tech demo. Japanese site Game Watch reports that Hashimoto cited "personal reasons" for his departure. He had been with the company since 2009, having come over from Sega to help with development on the Luminous engine. Hashimoto will serve as technical adviser where needed for both Final Fantasy 14 and Luminous, but his remaining responsibilities will be...

Shadow of Mordor's Wraith is the ring forger himself, Celebrimbor

The mysterious wraith character in Monolith Productions' Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was revealed today to be Celebrimbor, an elf who originally helped Sauron forged the Rings of Power, according to the game's director of design Michael de Plater. The action adventure role-playing game, which will launch on Sept. 30, is set in the 60-year period between the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Players will take on the role of Talion, a slain ranger who has been resurrected by a mysterious Wraith, and now seeks retribution against the evil Sauron. Players will be able to switch between Talion's ranger skills and the Wraith's powers. Speaking to Polygon, de Plater said the developers chose Celebrimbor to be the Wraith because of what his history and...

Lords of the Fallen pre-orders get free upgrade to Limited Edition

Pre-orders for Lords of the Fallen will be automatically upgraded for free to the game's Limited Edition, which includes an exclusive add-on for the campaign, publisher Bandai Namco announced this week. Known as Monk's Decipher, the DLC "enables players to uncover hidden secrets" throughout the game, according to Bandai Namco. The Limited Edition also comes with the Lords of the Fallen soundtrack and the Demonic Weapons Pack, which features three special weapons. Namco Bandai released the new "Sins" trailer above alongside the Limited Edition announcement, showing off some of the beasts that Lords of the Fallen hero Harkyn will have to contend with. Lords of the Fallen is in development at Deck13 Interactive and CI Games, and is set for release Oct. 28 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC...

Freedom Planet gameplay video - A Sega Genesis-style gem

What Shovel Knight did for games of the NES era, Freedom Planet — an action-platformer that launched this week on Steam — does for the classics on Sega Genesis. Imagine if you will, a title with Sonic the Hedgehog's style and speed, the combat of Rocket Knight Adventures and a heaping helping of Gunstar Heroes' presentation. Then, stop imagining, and watch your dreams manifest into reality in the gameplay video for Freedom Planet posted above.

Yogscast's game failed, but this is why the game that fans are actually getting didn't

When Yogscast's Yogventures project was officially canceled last week, fans who had backed the game through Kickstarter were promised Steam keys for at least one new game to hang their hopes on: TUG.Developed by a team of 25 people at Nerd Kingdom, TUG is an open-world sandbox survival game that's openly inspired by Minecraft but also looking to expand that formula with a unique art style and evolving design. Sound familiar? That's basically the exact same pitch as Yogventures.  And in fact, TUG was Kickstarted as well. The only difference is that TUG is already playable through Early Access on Steam and already receiving largely positive reviews from a growing player base. How did TUG succeed, then, where Yogventures failed? Nerd Kingdom founder Peter Salinas says that step one was...

How cows predicted the seedy underbelly of social gaming

It is reasonable to assume that the most ironically successful sardonic game of 2010 is getting a sequel, and probably soon.If you make your way over to the official website for Cow Clicker, a game designed by lecturer, professor, author and game maker Ian Bogost, you'll find at the top of the page a giant image of the iconic cow with a pointer hovering over its midsection, perhaps rebounding from a click. Click on the cow and it turns into the number two with a cow udder dangling from its lower horizontal line. So Cow Clicker 2 is likely inbound. But why? This week marks the fourth anniversary of Cow Clicker, a game designed to poke fun at everything bad about FarmVille, which in turn became a moderate success riding on those same derided principles. I spoke with Bogost earlier...

Nathan Fillion and co-stars will reunite for Firefly Online

Firefly actor Nathan Fillion and his co-stars will reprise their roles once again for the upcoming online strategic role-playing game Firefly Online, io9 reports. The news was announced at San Diego Comic-Con. In Firefly Online, players act as the captain of a ship. They'll hire a crew, lead missions, and trade and compete with other players. The game is set in the Firefly universe created by Joss Whedon for TV in 2002. Although the show is widely regarded as a cult classic, it was canceled after only 11 episodes. Serenity, a film based on the series, was released in 2005. For a teaser look at the game — and a cameo featuring Firefly's best captain — watch the trailer above. Firefly Online was announced at Comic-Con last year. The game is being developed by QMXi and Spark Plug Games...

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham's Comic-Con trailer shows the Justice League in action

Warner Bros. shared a new Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham trailer in honor of San Diego Comic-Con this week, and boy there sure are a lot of super heroes in this game! The trailer above shows the famous Justice League in action against Batman's nemesis the Joker and a legion of other baddies hailing from the DC Comics universe. Of course, everything has been given that special Lego games-flavored brand of humor, so while the situation may look dire, it's not too dire for a few silly jokes. In addition to getting hands-on time with the game at Comic-Con this week, attendees of the show can stop by the LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham panel on Sunday, July 27 at 1 p.m. PT and get posters signed by the game's voice actors at 2:30 in the DC Comics booth. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham will launch...

Eve's new executive producer has a plan to attract new players with the help of old ones

The massively-multiplayer online game set in space, Eve Online, recently got a new executive producer, and she wants to empower the game's existing players so they can help bring new players to the game. Andie Nordgren joined Eve Online developer CCP in 2010 as a technical producer. In her new role as executive producer, a large part of the Eve business is now in her hands. Speaking to Polygon, she said her mission is to hand over more of the game's sci-fi universe to players, which will not only strengthen the existing community, but hopefully also grow it. "One very specific thing we're doing, which is kind of a behind-the-scenes thing for the normal player, is we're investing even further in our platform for third-party developers," Nordgren said. "Today we provide a number of...

No, Facebook won't control the games you create using the Rift

The second-generation development kits for the Oculus Rift have begun shipping, and developers found a rather troubling piece of legalese in the documentation. "You may use the headset to develop commercial software intended solely for use with the headset, provided that you may only distribute such software via distribution channels that have been approved by Oculus in writing," the licensing portion of the manual stated. This was bad news; no one wants to be told what they can and can't do with the games they create, especially not by a company that has been acquired by Facebook. The issue was quickly cleared up. "That line is from a pre-announcement hardware/software license that was only meant to be distributed to a few very close business partners," Oculus founder Palmer Luckey...

It takes 40 minutes to drive across country in The Crew, watch it happen right here

The Crew is a mammoth undertaking for Ubisoft, an attempt to blend the open-world nature of most of their new games with a touch of massively online multiplayer and then, of course, inject it into a solid racing title. One of the game's many selling points is that the entire country is, in some form, represented in the game. That doesn't mean it's a one-to-one recreation of the United States, just that the game allows you to visit regions and drive literally across country. How literally? Just watch the video below. In it, YouTuber Birds AT used the PC beta release of the game to drive from Miami Beach, Florida to Marina del Ray, California in a single take, with no loading screens. The entire 40-minute journey takes the player across three regions: The South, Mountain States and West...

GTA 4 now looks as good as GTA 5 — if you have a PC

The best Grand Theft Auto 4 mod — arguably one of the best mods of all time — has been updated. iCEnhancer 3.0 further improves upon the mod that increases the graphical fidelity of GTA 4 to levels that rival and sometimes surpass its successor. But unlike GTA 5, the iCEnhancer mod has been developed externally, albeit with Rockstar Games' tacit support. Which is to say, they haven't shut down the mod with a cease-and-desist. The mod introduces a number of new features and tweaks some preexisting ones to improve the overall look, including depth of field, lens textures, post-effects, bloom, motion blur and color processing. And all of the features are customizable, allowing players to tweak the game's appearance, ideal for those who hate when bloom lighting makes the game look like a...

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will now launch one week earlier

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will now launch one week earlier than initially announced, developer Monolith Productions announced today. The PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions will launch on Sept. 30, while the Windows PC and Steam versions will be available later that week on Oct. 2. According to a statement by publisher Warner Bros., the decision to bump up the release date was based on "hearing fans' excitement." Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, originally slated to launch on Oct. 7, is set in J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic fantasy world and features a storyline set chronologically between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Players follow Talion, a slain Ranger who has been resurrected by a mysterious Wraith that shares Talion's desire for revenge...
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