In the late 90s, Activision wasn't the powerhouse it is now. Bobby Kotick's baby was on unsteady ground; the company wasn't sure just how successful the console industry would truly be, and having seen success in PC gaming and bought up big-name licences left, right and centre, it looked on at the burgeoning PlayStation and struggling Saturn with concern. In the midst of all this, Kotick and Activision had the Apocalypse project - already three years in development - and it was stuck in a rut.
Apocalypse was a third person action game which took advantage of the new analogue control system for PlayStation, and featured a star turn from none other than Bruce Willis. Looking back now, the platforming aspects were a litte hit and miss and the voice work - already captured before Neversoft came onboard - was weak and lacked impact.
"The vision for [Apocalypse] was for it to be a 'buddy game', where you would play and Bruce Willis would be your AI partner," says Aaron Cammarata, a level designer on Apocalypse. "There was the possibility of couch co-op, but apparently the team was concerned everyone would just want to play as Bruce Willis, not as his friend". He has a point. However, a second problem soon arose; "The team was having a hard time getting the AI and buddy system to play well, and for the AI to respond in an intelligent way". This was all happening within Activision, and the company...
Capcom's remake of Resident Evil 2 will launch for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 25th January 2019.
A fresh trailer with our first proper look at the game was just demoed during PlayStation's bizarro E3 2018 press conference. We saw a darker take on the game as people get flesh ripped out of them, rats getting turned to zombies and Leon once again looking handsome.
Both Leon and Claire will have their own, separate campaigns.
Maybe it was such a strong part of your childhood you simply couldn't let it go, or maybe you simply forgot you had it tucked away somewhere - whatever the reason you kept your 1MB Amiga machine, go dig it out again, because a new game has been released for it!
The new game is Worthy (a canny title), a good-looking, top-down maze game full of vibrant colours and fiendish puzzles, by the looks of things. There are 50 levels, multiple endings and even "catchy tunes".
Worthy is made by Pixelglass and runs on all 1MB PAL Amiga machines (including A500, A600, A1200, CD32 and so on).
With cross-platform play once again in the spotlight after it emerged you can't use your Epic account on the Nintendo Switch version of Fortnite if you've used it on the PlayStation 4 version, many within the FIFA community have also wondered whether the feature might come to the world's biggest sports video game.
Currently, FIFA has no cross-platform play at all. Unlike, say, Rocket League, which lets PC players match with other players across PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch (the PS4 can't be matched up with Xbox One nor Switch), FIFA does not let players on different platforms play together.
FIFA does not let you use one account across multiple platforms, either (FIFA players have long called for the ability to use the same account for a persistent FIFA Ultimate Team experience across console and PC). And the online FUT marketplace is platform specific, too, which limits market activity.
At E3, CD Projekt pulled the curtain back on Cyberpunk 2077, its upcoming sci-fi open world game. As it did, one major revelation emerged: Cyberpunk is a first-person role-playing game.
Not everyone, it seems, is thrilled at the news. The Witcher 3, CD Projekt's previous game, was of course a third-person adventure. The switch to first-person for Cyberpunk 2077 means the game is in part a first-person shooter, and it's this realisation that seems to have worried some fans of the studio's games.
So, why did CD Projekt go with first-person for Cyberpunk 2077? Quest designer Patrick Mills told me there were a few reasons for it. First up, the developers wanted the player to feel like they were in the body of the character they control.
The man behind the wonderful fake Kaz Hirai Twitter parody account has finally revealed himself - and it turns out he's a scouser.
The @KazHiraiCEO Twitter account, which for a number of years parodied roasted Sony while being followed by 128,000 accounts that include top PlayStation executives such as Shuhei Yoshida, retired this E3 with a charity blowout for SpecialEffect.
With that done and dusted, the person behind the account took to Twitter to explain himself.
Once more, we close the book on yet another E3. Whether or not you feel like you saw what you wanted to see, it was certainly the annual spectacle we've come to expect. At the very least, we've seen some Death Stranding and as such, it seems we now have the video game version of Kevin Costner's The Postman we've all quietly wanted for years. On top of all of that, we've got another batch of this week's best deals to check over.
As usual, we've got deals that'll work in the UK, deals that'll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let's get started.
The vast GOG Summer Sale comes to an end this Sunday but the lovely folks over there have gone and sent us a few hundred game keys to give away to folks just like you. To be in with a chance of winning (and there's a fairly good chance you'll get something), follow the link below and enter.
After spending some time with Pokémon Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee, I now understand why The Pokémon Company was at pains to break tradition and mention its plans for a separate, full RPG game in 2019. If it wasn't clear from the brief snippets of footage shown in Pikachu and Eevee's reveal trailer, a few minutes of hands-on gameplay confirms these Pokémon games are very different from the ones you are used to - even more than I was expecting.
Despite the familiar Kanto region setting and the franchise's original, best known crop of Pokémon characters, Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee's simplicity is immediately evident when you pick up its optional but fun Pokéball controller, whose single input is a clickable control stick which can handle direction and confirm actions. With this, and a few wrist gestures, you can control the full game.
There's something remarkable about this - and something solidly Nintendo about the little device itself - and I was surprised how well it worked overall. Holding it in the palm of your hand (wrist-strap attached, of course), you simply ensure the top of the ball (the upper red part) is the side closest to the screen so you are aiming it in the right direction. The ball's gyro-powered throwing mechanic works accurately, but the best part is its rumble, which jolts and tremors convincingly when a Pokémon is seemingly captured inside.
One of the most memorable reveals of the last year's Microsoft E3 media briefing, 4A Games' Metro Exodus seemed to offer a formula that looked too good to be true - a successful transition of an established linear shooter into a similarly well-crafted open world epic. One year on, having spent a few hours hands-on with the game, there's the sense that the promise suggested by that stunning demo has been fulfilled. Exodus is indeed Metro as we know it, but built within a more open-ended environment, with all the opportunities that offers.
Strictly speaking though, while the new 4A game looks and plays like an open world shooter, it's more accurate to say that it's actually more of a collection of smaller sandbox areas, though the developer says that taking the straight, linear path through just one offers around five hours of play. Concentrating the focus opens the door to more variety from one area to the next, simultaneously retaining the sense of a hand-crafted - as opposed to a semi-procedurally generated - environment. There's also the sense that aside from some clearly signposted objectives, the player is very much left to his own devices; side-quests abound, but your map won't get populated with masses of non-descript icons. Extracurricular activities aren't a box-ticking exercise here, but rather something that you organically discover during play.
Metro series purists can certainly rest easy. Despite Metro's emergence into a bigger world, the game feels instantly familiar. It begins with your kit:...
Sony kicked off the PlayStation E3 2018 conference with a spectacular moment - a kiss in The Last of Us: Part 2.
A new trailer, set in a replica of the festoon-lit marquee Sony's attendees were briefly gathered in (then moved from - it was complicated), showed The Last of Us protagonist Ellie being led onto the dance floor by a lady called Dina, and then they kissed. It's the first gay kiss I can remember being featured so prominently in a trailer at E3.
Then, in the blink of an eye, we were back into ultra-violence, with Ellie in a different scene stabbing necks and hacking at faces as she struggled to survive against human enemies - there was still no sign of Clickers.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 doesn't have a single-player campaign - but it does have an egregious season pass.
The Black Ops Pass, as it's called, includes a bonus zombies experience available at launch, four additional zombies experiences, four exclusive Blackout (battle royale) characters and 12 multiplayer maps. Activision has yet to announce how much the Black Ops Pass will cost.
It's the 12 multiplayer maps part that has Call of Duty fans shaking their heads, as it means Activision's first-person shooter series continues to split its competitive-focused userbase between those who pay and those who don't.
Black Ops 3 is now available as a surprise giveaway for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Sony made the announcement during its E3 press conference, where it revealed four classic Black Ops maps - Jungle, Summit, Slums and Firing Range - would be coming to this year's Black Ops 4.
That's not all - if you pre-order Black Ops 4, you get to play these four maps in Black Ops 3, too.
OVERWHELM is a tricky game, sure, but it is mostly just incredibly oppressive. It is too close to your face, somehow. Its breath smells wrong, and you can smell its breath because it is too close to your face. Its worlds are drawn in an unloveable internal-organ palette of reds and purples, so cone fatigue plays a certain role in its queasy success. You finish a game and feel like you've emerged from something, like you've been swallowed and have spent an age fighting your way out. How long was I in there? Oh. Five minutes. But what minutes they were.
My mum has a word for things like OVERWHELM. The word is "horrid". Horrid is one of the lonely Everests of her vocabulary, the word that stands at the uppermost peak of how a given thing might be. If something isn't nasty, if it isn't even wretched or ghastly, mum will say it's horrid and you know - jeepers! - that whatever she's talking about wasn't screwing around.
Horrid, by its sheer power, is almost a compliment in a way. Well done at being so committed to unpleasantness. And so it is with OVERWHELM. OVERWHELM is a pixelly action blaster side-scroller thing in which you drop down into a Hive - listen up, Anthem, this is the effect of the right fictional word in the right fictional place - to reclaim a series of crystals. The crystals are, of course, blood red, and they are, of...
To say that The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an unusual novel is a pretty laughable understatement. This debut from Stuart Turton is how I imagine having a fever dream on a rollercoaster might feel; it leaves you breathless and sweaty in a crumpled heap on the floor, yet somehow still strangely compelled to go round again.
And go round you will, because this book is properly bonkers. It's unnerving and intricate, and just when you think you're beginning to see where it's going it tricks you like a Covent Garden magician and leaves you howling with rage but completely addicted.
To distill the plot into a couple of lines is pretty darn tricky. Our man Aiden Bishop finds himself in the woods surrounding a crumbling mansion, the ominously named Blackheath House. Terrified and confused, he arrives at Blackheath to find a weekend ball in progress. To the other revellers, he is Sebastian Bell, a doctor and friend of the Hardcastles, Blackheath's presiding family, but at this point Aiden has no idea who he is or why he's there. What follows is a murder-mystery of epic proportions, with the added fun of body-swapping characters, knotty ethical battles and the revelation that Aiden must solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle in order leave the house. The trouble is, the murder hasn't happened yet, and it's also happened a thousand times already. I know! Bear with me. Aiden is trapped in a purgatorial morality tale,...
Sea of Thieves' latest update is now live and marks the start, at long last, of Rare's regularly scheduled live events and smaller-scale activities for the piratical multiplayer adventure.
With The Hungering Deep now over, and the ancient megalodon now returned to the depths of the ocean, the Bilge Rats, which were briefly introduced in the last update, have now become a fully fledged faction in Sea of Thieves - joining the likes of the Merchant Alliance, Gold Hoarders, and Order of Souls.
The Bilge Rats work slightly differently to the base game's Trading Companies, however; rather than offering a never-ending supply of quests for purchase, the Bilge Rats present one activity to complete for a fixed duration, with new activities being introduced every week or two. As you progress through the current activity, you'll earn commendations, titles, and a new currency: doubloons - which can be spent on items in the Bilge Rats' store.
FIFA is returning to Switch later this year, in the form of FIFA 19, and EA has confirmed that this latest iteration will finally enable players on the console to head online and play matches against their friends.
When FIFA 18 launched on Switch last year, one of the loudest complaints revolved around the state of its online play. For reasons unknown, EA elected to only provide random match-making for online games. No means of playing with friends over the internet was available.
This time around, however, EA says that Switch owners will be able to invite anyone from their friend list to play Online Friendlies, enabling players to "track your rivalry through a five-match season, both in FIFA and FIFA Ultimate Team".
Uniqlo is no stranger to licencing designs from notable video game companies. You may remember, just under a year ago, the company launched its official Nintendo range - well, now it's Blizzard's turn for the Uniqlo treatment.
The official Blizzard x Uniqlo collection includes a range of T-shirts featuring designs based on World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Diablo, Starcraft and Heroes of the Storm and are available in-store and online right now.
As this is Uniqlo we're talking about - a company that prides itself on offering quality clothing at abnormally cheap prices - each of these shirts will only cost you £12.90 (shipping is £3.95, for what it's worth). As with most official Uniqlo crossover collections, the stock is limited and only available for a certain time, so if you happen to be a particularly Blizzard-tinged fanatic, you may want to get one of these sooner rather than later.
The developer of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has debunked what it calls "misinformation" and "oversimplified tales" about the way the game is developed.
The criticism here revolves around the re-use of certain assets across PUBG's maps, and the buying of pre-made assets from the Unreal marketplace. Posts like the one below occasionally pop up on the PUBG subreddit, alongside the accusation that the vast majority of the game's maps were bought-in. Some even accuse PUBG of being an "asset flip" game.
This debate kicked off again this week after PUBG creator Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene expressed his frustration at the "asset flip" jibe in an interview with Geoff Keighley at E3, saying it "kills me a little inside".
The communities behind space games Eve Online and Star Citizen have gone to war over a new "copycat" spaceship.
On 14th June, Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium announced a new spaceship that would be made available for people to pledge for: the Drake Vulture.
The Vulture, which costs £112, is a single-person ship designed for solo players who want to get into the salvage career. It looks like this:
I'm not going to quibble with Nintendo's policy, now long established, of addressing fans directly through a pre-recorded showcase at E3 rather than going through the rigmarole of a live event. Nor am I going to dispute that the Nintendo Direct videos that have proliferated through the gaming year to offer roundups, announcements and deep-dives work well for both Nintendo and its community; nor argue that it is a bad idea to spread these moments around rather than concentrate them in a single info-burst in June. They make Switch feel like the bustling, exciting platform it absolutely is.
I do think Nintendo missed an opportunity yesterday, however, with an E3 Direct that will have left everyone but the hardcore followers of a single one of its game series cold.
Nintendo has chosen to put a square focus on a single game at the last few E3s, which worked superbly with Zelda: Breath of the Wild two years ago and with Super Mario Odyssey last year - but these were games with a broad appeal offering much new to discover and explain, and still neither of them got the relentless and granular focus that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate enjoyed over 25 minutes, more than half of yesterday's broadcast. Now, Smash is a very popular game with a rabid following, but it is also an iterative and technical fighting game and, thematically, it is almost the definition of an inside joke - an indulgent bit of fan service that revels digging...