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2018-01-18T17:49:33.892Z
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Minor spoilers for Pyre ahead.

I don't know why I put off playing Pyre, Supergiant's latest, for so long. I love Bastion dearly. I was colder on Transistor but I appreciated its beautiful worldbuilding and pleasing soundtrack. But something about Pyre made it get bumped down my priority list. Maybe it was the sporty-looking gameplay or the mere fact that it arrived in the wake of the Fall release onslaught. Whatever the reason, I finally made time for Pyre this past week and, wow, this game.

This GAME.

From the get-go, Pyre had my number, its long branches wrapping around my limbs and keeping me strapped in place. I started the game with the intent of playing maybe an hour before hopping off to something else or doing some work, but Pyre's pull is powerful. It's a game that seems to have everything I want: great dialogue, an enthralling world, interesting and non-violent gameplay, a pleasing acoustic soundtrack, and a requirement for players to make hard moral choices. Anyone who knows my gaming habits knows that last feature is my kryptonite. I bend and I break with hard choices. It's an exquisite kind of torture, upping my anxiety and curiosity, making me want to replay games and see how the branches of every decision play out. I also find these hard-choice-simulations to be fascinating, no matter how great their quality ultimately is, because they all implicitly create several thematic conversations that occur in the background of whatever...

In our new cover story on God of War, we're highlighting everything that's new in the upcoming PlayStation 4 game. With today's feature we wanted to put our head in the clouds and learn more about how the development team at Santa Monica Studio is framing Kratos' radical shift in mythologies. While visiting the studio, we spoke with creative director Cory Barlog and studio head Shannon Studstill about the bold decision to have Kratos leave all of Greece behind, why they didn't choose Egyptian mythology for his next adventure, and the specifics on how the game's mythology world is pieced together.

Watch the interview below to learn more about what the shift in mythology means for the future of the series.

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2017 was an exciting year for the adventure genre, with titles like the melancholy short story collection What Remains Edith Finch and the heartbreaking and mundane odyssey Night In The Woods leading the pack. 2018 looks to be a worthy successor, with a series of adventure games that run the aesthetic gambit: with expeditions in space, plague-ridden towns, cyberpunk futures. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are the 10 adventure games we’re most excited for in 2018.


10. Pathologic 2
Release: 2018
Platform: PS4, PC
Despite Pathologic 2 having a sequel’s name, it’s actually a remake of the 2005 cult hit Pathologic. This 'sequel' finds you in a small European town stricken by the plague. Your mission is to save the town…or at least try. The original game was beloved in spite of its technical issues because of its idiosyncratic nature, offering no clear instructions and embracing a bleak atmosphere and design that allowed players to fail in their quest if they’re not careful. Hopefully, this remake presents the best version of one of gaming’s most bizarre and compelling titles when hits later this year.


9. #WarGames
Release: 2018
Platform: PC
Sam Barlow, the designer behind Her Story, tackles his latest project by creating an adaptation of the classic 1983 film about nuclear war anxieties. You know, the one starring Matthew Broderick. #WarGames' brief trailer showcased a melding of FMV...

Metal Gear Survive is a little over a month away, but we haven't see much of its single-player yet. Most of what we know revolves around the multiplayer co-op, but rest assured: You're going to be doing some solo sneaking survival come February 20.

To give you a glimpse of what that will look like, Jeff Cork, Kyle Hilliard, and I sat down with a near-final build of the single-player, and tackle a four-player co-op mission on the hardest difficulty by ourselves (it doesn't go too well). Now that being said, I did not capture my own gameplay footage from my play session, but Konami was nice enough to approximate my play session and share the footage. You can check out the video below to see fences, barricades, and bases be built to survive against the looming, facing zombie horde.

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Metal Gear Survive is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 20.

From the 2010 Christmas holidays until May 2011, Krzysztof Nosek, the multiplayer programming lead on Call of Juarez: The Cartel, was working himself into the ground. Krzysztof Nosek Due to some "unlucky business negotiations" with publisher Ubisoft, Techland hadn't been given enough time to finish the game. With a release date looming and far too much work left to complete, the team turned to one of the video game industry's most notorious practices: crunch. "We all had the enthusiasm and drive to create a good game, but there simply weren't enough hours around the clock to fit everything in," Nosek says. "Out of exhaustion we were making stupid mistakes, which required even more patching later on. We would lose our tempers easily, and at some point we developed a pretty surrealistic attitude to the project as a whole." Even staff with their tasks largely finished – with very little they could actually do to help – were expected to work extended hours. "The atmosphere was that all hands must be on deck since it would be a hit to team morale if some people didn’t sit and crunch while others did," Nosek recalls. Another former Techland developer (who asked to remain anonymous) explains that, "from Monday to Friday it was around 10 hours a day on average," but it often went well above this. Saturday was usually...

Andrew Reiner dives into the latest sci-fi news, and finds out Chewbacca is a big deal.

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Many of us are still catching up on the phenomenal games that came out in 2017, but most game developers aren't ready to stop making games yet, which means that a whole  new lineup of must-play titles will soon be vying for our time. We polled the Game Informer staff about this coming year's lineup, and here are the top 10 action games that we can't wait to get our hands on.

10. Days Gone
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4
Post-apocalyptic open-world survival games aren't as fresh as they once were, but we're still hopeful for SIE Bend Studio's take on zombie killing. Players take control of a drifter and former bounty hunter named Deacon St. John, who has been wandering the road, living in wilderness encampments, and eking out a pale existence in the wake of a global pandemic that nearly wiped out humanity. The game's zombies, called Freakers, behave differently depending on the environment. For example, they might seem weak and slow during the day, but will become fast and aggressive at night. Here's hoping the final release comes together.

09.  Mega Man 11
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Mega Man fans have had a long wait since the Blue Bomber's last adventure. Fortunately, Capcom hasn't forgotten how it's done in the interim. Mega Man 11 might look modern, but it remains true to the series' roots....

This year looks to be a full one for tennis games, with Mario Tennis Aces, AO Tennis, and Tennis World Tour all coming. Hopefully there's one more that joins the crew – Full Ace Tennis Simulator on PC.

The title has been released and updated in various forms for years now, and as of the time of this writing I believe the expectation is for a new version in 2018.

Playing a demo of the title, I really liked how ball placement isn't just about timing. Once you prepare for your stroke, a blue reticle (see shot below) appears indicating roughly where you'll place the ball. The interesting part is that avatar movement and reticle movement are on the left analog (the overall process is similar if you use a keyboard). This may seem difficult at first, but once I got the hang of it, I started to hone in on where I was placing the ball as opposed to just watching my player run around in the foreground. This not only makes you consider strategy of pulling your opponent from side to side, but it also gives a sweet satisfaction when you get the reticle and timing just right to paint the lines.

In my limited time with the demo, the overall gameplay speed is fast – which I think is a good thing. This means if you want to be a baseliner you have to hang...

In our new cover story on God of War, we share hands-on gameplay impressions of playing the new God of War. In this feature, we speak with lead gameplay designer Jason McDonald about the development and evolution of the new combat system. Removing Kratos' Blades of Chaos and replacing them with one axe is a risky move, and it took years of work before the team was happy with how it felt and played. McDonald has been working on the God of War series since the first game, and is open about the difficult task of changing things up.

Watch the video interview with McDonald below to learn about the role the axe plays in Santa Monica Studio's new vision for combat in God of War.

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2017 offered gamers lots of amazing moments, from exploring an open-world Hyrule in The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, to battling massive mechanical beasts in Horizon Zero Dawn. But now that we're finally done handing out awards to our favorite games of 2017, it's time to look ahead at the year to come. Thankfully, there are already plenty of games to get excited about in 2018, which we'll be shining a spotlight on over the next two weeks. You can expect a slew of genre- and platform-specific lists in the days to follow, but we're kicking things off today with our overall Top 20 Most Anticipated Games list. This list was compiled and debated by the Game Informer staff, and kicks the frivolous categorizations to the curb. The only two requirements are that the game has a 2018 release (making TBA titles like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost Of Tsushima ineligible), and that it excites the heck out of us. Our picks may change as new titles get announced and others are inevitably delayed, but as of right now, these are our most anticipated games of 2018. 20. Kingdom Come: DeliveranceRelease: February 13Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PCKingdom Come's sprawling forests and medieval soldiers may look straight out of the Elder Scrolls series, but you won't be wielding any magic spells or Dragon Shouts...

This week on Replay we're looking back at a pair of oddities: Wii exclusives based on popular franchises, which explore new genres.

Our main game, Soulcalibur Legends, is especially strange since it's a Wii Remote-waggling action game based on a franchise that, up until the release of this game, was exclusively an fighting game. Our second game is similar in that it is another Wii exclusive from a popular franchise that also explores a genre it which it normally does not dabble.

As always, thanks for watching Replay, and make sure to tune into our Super Replay of Vampire Hunter D, which will also see a new episode this weekend!

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2017 was a stellar year for the tabletop hobby. Dozens of excellent new games arrived on our tables, from intriguing abstract strategy games to sprawling legacy adventures that could last hundreds of hours. Our Top Tabletop Games of 2017 is a good place to start if you’re looking for something to try out with your friends and family. Now, we turn our attention to what’s coming next, as 2018 promises to be another banner year for the hobby.  Here are 10 of the most anticipated games targeting release in 2018. Entries span a variety of genres and game styles, and are listed alphabetically. Batman: Gotham City ChroniclesPublisher: Monolith Edition The Dark Knight is returning to tabletops once again, this time in a design strongly inspired by Monolith’s previous Conan board game, which won accolades back in 2016, including a slot on our 2016 Best Tabletop Games list. The new Batman game casts one player as a supervillain in a distinct story-based scenario, while the other players take on the role of Batman and his allies, working to subvert the dastardly plan. Monolith has already shown off some of the intricate miniatures that players can expect to find in the game, but the real excitement comes from the return of this amazing combat system, which puts tremendous flexibility into the hands of players to attack, defend, and maneuver in interesting ways.  Betrayal...

Many things are changing in the new God of War. Sony’s Santa Monica Studio is reimagining combat, moving to Norse mythology, and taking the narrative in a different direction. Those are the large-scale changes, but the game also explores new territory for Kratos in smaller ways, like having him traverse some of the Scandinavian wilderness by boat. Though this isn’t a revolutionary feature by video game standards, why boats are prominent in God of War – and how they enhance its storytelling – might surprise you.

Kratos and Atreus use boats for the same reason the rest of us do: They can’t swim where they want to go. Despite his limited experience exploring underwater in previous games, swimming is not part of Kratos’ repertoire in this God of War. Creative director, Cory Barlog, explains why: “As we started looking at, first, the crazy amount of investment for full 3D swimming to be awesome, and, second, to have a character follow you in in full 3D swimming, the programmers kept giving me that look.”

Ultimately, the team decided that its resources would be better spent in other areas, leaving swimming as a challenge to tackle in potential follow-up titles. However, Kratos and Atreus still needed a way to cross water. “I started investigating this idea of a big Viking longboat, and then realized you could really continue the narrative throughout,” Barlog says. “You can slow traversal down and you can change the pacing and interaction style and...

Ever since I started playing RPGs, I’ve stood by my motto: “No treasure chest left behind!” Yes, I’m an item hoarder. My inventories are always jam-packed with things I don’t use. I’m that person who ends a game with 99 health potions all because I didn’t want to waste one on the wrong battle. Whenever there are multiple paths in a dungeon, I must explore all of them in fear of missing out on a special item. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about why my playstyle is like this. It’s more than just part of my strategy – I also just flat-out like to explore, and I consider the various things I collect as mementos from the journey.

We often think of platformers such as Mario and Banjo-Kazooie when it comes to collectibles, but RPGs make them just as enticing. How games treat these collectibles differ, but all have their own ways of making sure that stumbling upon a treasure is worthwhile. Sometimes, they merely reveal more of about the world and its inhabitants, like Horizon Zero Dawn’s datapoints. Other times, rare armors and weapons make your character stronger and more fashionable, à la The Witcher 3. Even recent entries in the Tales series litter their landscapes with more things to pick up than ever before. For instance, Tales of Berseria let you pick up enhancements for your gear and search for Katz Spirits, which allowed you unlock special chests for new costumes. 

RPGs are long...

Cool video game concept art is fun to look at, but it can also be more than a pretty picture. It can provide insight into a game’s development, hinting at a studio’s ambitions and experiments at the time of its creation. Plus, concept art can also portray the last glimpse of plans that never came to fruition – pictures of what might have been.

All of this is certainly true for the new God of War’s concept art – but you wouldn’t know the details just by glancing at it. That’s why we talked to creative director Cory Barlog about a selection of pieces from various stages of the game’s development. He explains what the art depicts, as well as what it means for the game as a whole.

Click on the pictures to enlarge. All commentary below is from God of War's creative director, Cory Barlog.

This was done by the artist Jose Cabrera. We connected with him very early on; he had been doing illustrations for the Game of Thrones historical book. He did paintings that are rooted in military history and other facets of history, and his work is so amazing. We’d given him just a little bit – I talked to him over Skype and sent over a single-page document. Literally the first two illustrations he gave us – this and one other one – were the guiding principles for the whole game. He was...

Step aside, George R. R. Martin. Rian Johnson apparently enjoys offing characters more than you do. Johnson’s apparent bloodlust resulted in a surprising number of deaths in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Supreme Leader Snoke didn’t make it to the third chapter, but now lies in three parts. Luke Skywalker is catching up on much-needed father and son time within the Force. Vice admiral Amilyn Holdo is stardust, and Captain Phasma is likely ash. Johnson even killed off Admiral Akbar, two porgs, and almost all of the Resistance. That last one is the most significant in terms of shaping the forthcoming sequel. The Resistance barely exists, and the call for help to others in the galaxy wasn't heard.

Yes, there is the kid with the broom who represents hope existing. The weight of that reveal becomes more important if vast amounts of time pass between the events of The Last Jedi and Episode IX. If little time passes, the opening scroll for the next chapter could be along the lines of "The Resistance is in desperate need of help," or "The First Order tightens its grip on the galaxy." If years pass, the opening could be "Rey is training a new generation of Jedi, and "The Resistance is taking on a new shape."

Whether a jump in time is made or not, The Last Jedi left a sizeable breadcrumb trail for Abrams to follow, should he choose. I've seen the film three...

This past year introduced a number of adventure games that excelled in storytelling, as well as pushed the boundaries of how narrative and story intertwine. Some, like Thimbleweed Park, gave adventure fans a remarkable homage to a beloved era, while others told impactful stories about mental health and coming of age, like Night in the Woods. Here are the best adventure games from 2017.

Best Narrative – What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch tells a handful of short stories about a family that meets both grisly and untimely deaths. Its riveting narrative keep you invested, with interactive vignettes that are simultaneously whimsical and somber. Whether you're playing from the perspective of an infant in a bathtub or seeing reality and fantasy become indistinguishable from one another, these narrative moments are some of the best we've seen all year.

Best Setting – Observer
Observer, a horror adventure with cyberpunk themes, puts you in the shoes of a specialized police officer who can enter the minds of others to recreate crime scenes. Your search for your missing son takes you to a rundown apartment complex, where you scour through the building for clues. Dark terrors lurk everywhere, even in the memories and terrifying pasts of the residents. Observer makes use of its environment well, where you are constantly second-guessing what's real and what's not, as both the walls and confines of reality crumble around you.

We're approximately halfway through this home console generation, and 2017's slate of sports video games is a mix of new features, updates to old favorites, and pleasant surprises. So before we turn the page on the year and anticipate what steps forward 2018's glut of titles brings us, let's survey what we achieved in 2017.

These awards were decided upon by the entire GI staff, and while it has many of the year's expected heavy hitters, they exhibit a variety of successes and different experiences to enjoy.

Best Story Mode – FIFA 18 
Alex Hunter isn't the new kid on the block anymore, but the second installment of this story mode succeeds in part because it still keeps us interested in the character and his life on and off the pitch. Alex's story conveys a mix of glitzy stardom and newfound wonder while also grounding Alex as a person within the fast-moving world of soccer. Playing as different characters at appropriate times breaks up the game schedule, which is less monotonous than last year. The mode still needs to add better context around the clubs and leagues that Alex plays in, as well as improve his progression system, but we very much look forward to the third installment in Alex's story.

Best Graphics – NBA 2K18 
How good are the game's graphics? This says it all

Best Presentation...

Creative director Cory Barlog and studio head Shannon Studstill explain why now was the right time to rethink Kratos.

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They are Billions has been steadily climbing the Steam rankings, so we decided to take a look at what sets this early-access, RTS/tower defense hybrid apart.

Ben Reeves and Kyle Hilliard called on the talents of PC editor Dan Tack who played until we were decimated by the titular billions themselves – although it take far fewer than a billion to take us down.

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