Archive for April 1st, 2013

Torchlight 2 gets a few new friends

, | Games


Runic Games updated Torchlight 2 with the long-awaited editor, Steam Workshop integration, new monsters, items, and areas. They also added a few new pets to keep your adventurer company in the dungeon depths.

New Unique and Legendary weapons for every item class
New class armor sets
New MapRoom maps
Additional side dungeons in Act 1 and 2 during New Game Plus play
Nether-Realm portals take you to a new Nether-Realm tileset, with new creatures
Headcrab pet
Alpaca pet
Panda pet
Stag pet

Wait. What?

After the jump, let’s see the new buddy! Continue reading →

Transistor may have ghostly multiplayer

, | Games


Supergiant’s recently revealed follow-up to Bastion, Transistor, may have a multiplayer element that will seem familiar to players of Fable 2 or Dark Souls according to what Creative Director, Greg Kasavin, told Rock Paper Shotgun.

“Something we’re more interested in is a sense of feeling connected to other people who are playing in a subtle way,” Kasavin said. “You can still have your personal experience around the story, but you always know you belong in a larger [world]. For example, players can sometimes see traces of other players’ paths moving around. Things of that nature. What’s interesting to us about this world is that it lends itself to some interesting things like that.”

Kasavin specified that the multiplayer feature will be optional.

“If we do it properly, I think it’ll be completely transparent – offline or not. It’s not like an ambitious always-online DRM strategy. That’s not what we have in mind!”

Which big internet company still doesn’t understand videogames?

, | Games


I used to read specific publications for news. These days, out of laziness, I just swing by Google news on the way to checking my email. All the news that’s fit to print — and then some — is arranged in handy categories. World, U.S., sports, health, technology, entertainment.

But why is everything relating to videogames clustered under technology? What does a Bioshock Infinite review or a GDC announcement or Diablo 3’s success have to do with technology? Or, more precisely, why does it have more to do with technology more than any given movie, which is where it belongs under entertainment? Don’t movies use even more technology than videogames?

To many people, videogaming is a facet of the platform on which it’s played. The news isn’t about videogaming so much as it’s about Xboxes or PC or iPads. Which is absurd and a far greater obstacle to meaningful videogame discussion than the idea that videogames are for kids. At least other stuff for kids — The Croods, for instance — is evaluated on more dramatic terms than the latest cell phones. For me, the next milestone in public acceptance will be when videogame news lives where it belongs next to TV news, movie news, and music news. Videogames are entertainment, not technology.

But maybe I shouldn’t complain. Entertainment is the same category where I found out that Justin Beiber’s monkey was confiscated by German customs agents. That uses up a space in my brain where I could instead know the capital of Latvia.

(The answer to the question in the headline is “both of them”. Yahoo, which includes esoteric categories such as fashion and theater under entertainment, has everything videogame related under technology.)

The saddest talk at this year’s GDC

, | Games


One of my favorite talks at GDC this year was from Stone Librande, the lead designer of the latest Sim City. Lebrande shared with the audience the one-page design documents he created to express Sim City’s gameplay to the development team. These pages — they’re diagrams, really — stress elegance and simplicity. They look great. They’re drawn with a degree of charm that you can see in the game’s graphics. And the ideas they express should be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played Sim City enough to know how thoroughly, miserably, heart-breakingly broken the game is.

Listening to Lebrande talk reminded me that I really want to play the game he designed. I hope one day Electronic Arts finishes making it.

April 1st: wallet threat level green

, | Features


For an April Fool’s Day joke, I considered pretending that Super Black Bass 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, out this week, is an awesome game. But I’ve never been able to pull off April Fool’s pranks. Speaking of which, maybe Trion’s online shooter/Syfy series tie-in, Definance, is awesome. I wouldn’t know. But it’s worth noting I would have been similarly dismissive of their previous game, Rift, until I played it.

Cities in Motion 2 is the sequel to Cities in Motion 1. Before you get visions of a Sim City that works, I should warn you that these games are strictly about public transportation. I live in Los Angeles, so I have no idea what they’re on about.

Also out this week is Sang-Froid, a werewolf-themed tower defense/action game for the PC. It seems to share gameplay DNA with Orcs Must Die. I’m eager to hear people try to pronounce the name. I’m pretty sure it’s “sang-fwaa”, which is something I’d never attempt to say in public. The latest add-on for Borderlands 2 will raise the level cap and add a super badass difficulty level for your third playthough. In other words, it is of no use to me whatsoever and likely won’t be for a long long time, but I wouldn’t dream of not owning it. Just in case.

Finally, Electronic Arts will release a free patch that makes Sim City work exactly as intended, along with an offline mode for people without reliable internet connections or any interest in playing with others.