, | News

As they developed and updated Prison Architect, Introversion co-founders Chris Delay and Mark Morris regularly posted videos in which they showed off what they’re doing. They’ve got the easy rapport you’d expect from any two guys who’ve been working together for fifteen plus years. And English accents, to boot. Those videos come to a halt today. With the last update to Prison Architect, they’re signing off for the time being. But before they go, they’ll give you a look at what might be Introversion’s next game. Scanner Sombre and Wrong Wire are design prototypes that, like everything else Introversion does, is nothing like what Introversion does.

If you’re so inclined, you can vote for your favorite here. I picked the one that didn’t require any knowledge of wires and voltage.

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, | News
Calling_All_Units_announcement

Among Ubisoft’s Gamescom announcements was the Calling All Units DLC for Tom Chick’s Official GOTY 2014, a.k.a. The Crew:

Players will hit the road as a cop or street racer to prove their driving skills and team up in crews to take over the USA. This new police-chase fantasy will have a deep impact on the gameplay and on players experience all over the gigantic open world offered by The Crew. Players will be introduced to this brand-new police versus racer gameplay through a twelve-mission story that will allow them to build up their own cop style and tactics, ride in fully tuned police vehicles and collect new parts, vehicles and XP.

Oh, so it’s just some new multiplayer mode that forces you to wait in a lobby for a full team? In other words, something separate from what makes The Crew great: it’s open world?

In this always-on, all-terrain confrontation, each side will rely on a set of special abilities and a great variety of vehicles as they race across the US. As a member of the police, players chase street racers across the US in frantic, high-risk pursuits. They will perform successful arrests and get their hands on a wide range of exclusive cop vehicles, from exotic supercars to legendary motorbikes or indestructible SUVs, fully tuned up with police livery and light bars. Players who prefer to hit the roads as a racer will take off with cargo for heart-pounding rides and high rewards. Chases can be triggered anywhere, anytime, bringing even more intensity to the multiplayer experience, already enjoyed by more than nine million players.

“Always on”? Sounds like full-blown PvP to me. Consensual PvP. Some players carry “cargo”, some players hunt down the cargo carriers, and everyone else goes about their business.

Additionally, all The Crew players will be able to take part in this frantic face-off as they will have total access to the street racer gameplay, which includes special abilities such as blinding flashbangs and unlimited nitro. All players will also enjoy the new level cap, now set to 60.

So carrying “cargo” — c’mon, Ubisoft, just be like Rockstar and call it drugs already — is available to everyone as a new means of advancement, but only folks who buy Calling All Units get to be the law.

The release date is November 29th. Ubisoft also announced a bunch of other stuff at Gamescom, but I wasn’t really listening.

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, | Movie reviews
Lake_Nowhere_review

It can be difficult to go back and watch horror from the 70s and 80s. So much of that Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper stuff, so many of those Italian movies, so many of the myriad forgettable slasher films were mean-spirited and cruel. There was no creative intent behind the cruelty other than shock. It was as pointless as it was effective. Lake Nowhere is a grisly morsel that remembers this. It very nearly keeps a straight face, but it can’t help but crack its goofy Raimi smile. Not a wink, mind you. But definitely a smile.

Of course, it tips its hand early. Since Lake Nowhere barely clocks in at 40 minutes, co-directors Christopher Phelps and Maxim Von Scoy have front-loaded it with a fake commercial and trailers. The conceit is an old VHS copy taped over…well, I don’t know what it’s taped over, but it bleeds through a couple of times. My guess is the overarching story isn’t about people who go into the woods and fall prey to a masked killer. The overarching story is some kids who shot their own horror movie on a VHS camera and then years later used the tape to make a copy of a horror movie called Lake Nowhere. You’re not watching Lake Nowhere. You’re watching a physical slice of 1982.

And not the anodyne 1982 of Netflix’s Stranger Things with its running time of eight hours and its body count of one. These are the aesthetics of 70s and 80s sex and gore, these breasts, that balding forehead, this fake blood, this sickly green cinematography and grainy film stock and questionable lighting, the tracking glitches and distorted sound and popping audio. Lake Nowhere’s low-budget texture is slick filmmaking shrewdly disguised as trash. And at its heart, it is the can-do “hey, let’s go out in the woods and make a horror movie!” enthusiasm and audacity of Cunningham, Carpenter, Coscorelli, Romero, and Raimi.

Lake Nowhere is currently available on VOD. Support Qt3 and watch it on Amazon.com.

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, | Movie reviews
Bronze_review

The Bronze, about a woman who was an Olympic gymnast as a child, tanked critically and commercially. Not because women aren’t funny, although that’s always an argument always worth revisiting so you can watch some really funny movies (Bridesmaids, Sisters, Election, The Heat, Afternoon Delight, Enough Said, Muriel’s Wedding, Opposite of Sex, Pitch Perfect, Sightseers, Your Sister’s Sister, Death Proof, etc.). The Bronze tanked because women aren’t supposed to be a certain kind of funny. They’re not allowed to be as vulgar or unlikeable as men. It’s as if there’s a crassness threshold that women can’t cross. Call it a crass ceiling. Not even the shrewdly subversive Amy Schumer could break through it. Her Trainwreck script and performance carefully implied drunkenness, promiscuity, and assholishness without getting too far outside the confines of a traditional studio romcom.

Melissa Rauch will have none of that nonsense. Her character in The Bronze, which she wrote, is the character Danny McBride has made a career playing (Foot Fist Way) and replaying (Eastbound and Down) and replaying again (Vice Principals): a vulgar, self-centered, bitter, unpleasant idiot running roughshod over decent people. Rauch and The Bronze wallow gleefully, unrepentantly, profanely, comfortably in the same gutter. When her father — another meticulously underplayed Gary Cole performance — threatens to cut off her allowance, she barks, “If you cut off my allowance, I’m going to have to suck dicks in the CostCo bathroom for money.” But she’s not done. Where Danny McBride might lapse into inarticulate mumblecore, The Bronze’s athletic vulgarity sticks the landing. “Is that what you want, dad? You want me to suck on dirty dicks in a discount warehouse toilet?” If it wasn’t so raunchy, it would be poetic. Rauch twists her face into a mask of appalled rage to sell it. I hold up a little card that says 8.7. But she’s just getting warmed up.

Support Qt3 and watch The Bronze on Amazon.com.

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, | Game reviews
Abzu_review

I shouldn’t expect Aquanaut’s Holiday, but I can’t help myself. Drop me into a virtual ocean and I’m going to remember that game’s open-world wonder from a time before open-world was even a thing. It was 1995. It was a Playstation. And not a Playstation One, because there was no such thing. The Playstation 2, 3, and 4 didn’t exist yet. Just a Playstation. It was Japanese, which might explain why it didn’t feel the need to be an actual game. It was instead a virtual ocean released at a time when you couldn’t go online and Google search a forum to start a thread called “uh, what am i supposed to be doing in here anyway?” So I spent most of my time in Aquanaut’s Holiday wondering what was going to happen, if anything, and not particularly minding that nothing was happening because it was so weirdly hypnotic. Relaxing. Sometimes eerie. Years later I would discover you could build a reef to attract fish or something. I suppose that’s gameplay, but it’s nothing I ever figured out.

After the jump, what game are we talking about again? Continue reading →

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, | News
Stellaris_plant_pack

Paradox has been trying to tidy up some of the shortcomings of Stellaris with a series of patches named after science fiction writers. Asimov has been released and Clarke is under way. Given the work the design needs, I’m holding out for, I dunno, maybe Vonnegut? No earlier than Shatner, at any rate. But the ongoing patchwork won’t deter Paradox from selling DLC in the meantime. The first set of DLC is the Plantoids Species Pack for $8. It sounds like it might add some cool factions to a game whose factions aren’t cool, because they aren’t even factions (they’re randomly rolled sets of traits given nonsense names). So let’s take a look at what you get for your $8.

Fifteen new species portraits
New templates for plantoid civilian and military ships
New cityscape art

Oh. So, just plant artwork? Well what’s this that’s already in the base game?

Stellaris_mushrooms

Wait, those are fungoids. How could I confuse the two? Stellaris fans have already gotten the mushroom treatment.

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, | Game reviews
Inside_review

Sometimes you pay a price when you write reviews for people who’ve already played a game. That price is people who look to reviews to decide what they’re going to play. Where will they spend their time or money? But if I’m going to critique Inside based on what I know after I’ve played it, and if the majority of Inside’s appeal is discovery, I can’t tell you much without compromising your experience with the game.

In other words, there will be spoilers.

But first, I have three things I want to tell people who haven’t played Inside.

After the jump, don’t worry, it’s safe to keep reading! Continue reading →

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, | Game reviews
Quadrialteral_Cowboy_review

There’s a bit of The Witness in Quadrilateral Cowboy. Just a tiny bit. The Witness is a game about teaching you how to play The Witness. Period. Full stop. Quadrilateral Cowboy is, at times, a game about teaching you how to play Quadrilateral Cowboy. Dot, dot, dot.

After the jump, I promise you won’t read the word “heuristics” because this isn’t that kind of review. Continue reading →

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