With the assistance of modern technology, any of us can be scanned and accurately represented in a video game. Great examples are Ellen Page in Beyond: Two Souls, Yvonne Strahovski in Mass Effect 2 and 3, and James McCaffrey in Max Payne to name a few. If you’ve played through the Mass Effect franchise, you’re familiar with Samara the Justicar, a strong, wise Asari with incredible features. She has a defined bone structure, big blue eyes, and intense cheekbones — but were you aware Samara is real? Samara is modeled after San Diego native Rana McAnear. We wanted to know what it’s like to be the face of a well-known character, so we asked Rana some questions.
PAX East’s magic lies in its ability to bring together all aspects of the gaming industry — developers, gamers, and press. The three-day nerdapalooza is a rare opportunity for those three segments to mix and mingle in a surprisingly laid-back environment.
I had the pleasure of doing just that with Katie Hallahan, designer & PR director for Phoenix Online Studios. Fittingly, Katie and I met and sat in front of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center’s Phoenix Theater to discuss Phoenix Online Studios’ new adventure game series, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.
New York Comic Con 2012, the east coast celebration of all things geeky, is a week of way. The crew is gearing up for our annual coverage of anime, comics, and of course, video games, but we also have another yearly tradition: chatting with Alyssa, a cosplayer that we met in 2010.
In previous years, we discussed her connection to Mortal Kombat’s Mileena, nerd tendencies, and the joy that is New York Comic Con. This time out? Well, you’ll see.
I’ve always considered myself a gaming historian. Although I’m a relatively young gamer, I have a respect and admiration for the games and consoles of yesteryear. As such, the highlight of my E3 2012 experience was the Video Game History Museum. The hardware I saw at that exhibit was astonishing: a functional CalecoVision, a prototype N64 cart, Nintendo’s horrible Power Glove, even a functional Intellivision. Luckily I was able to land an interview with Sean Kelly one of the museum’s directors. We talked about the groups inspirations, his favorite console, and the museum’s plans for the future.
Hawken. We’ve written about it. We’ve gushed about it. But there’s still more information to share about it.
Below is an interview that the crew conducted with Khang Le, Hawken creative director and co-founder of Adhesive Games. In it, you’ll learn about the inspiration behind the game, the challenges of moving to a free-to-play model, and other chunky bits of info. Enjoy.
What’s the story behind Hawken?
The team originally came from a game called Project Onset, a fantasy game that was acquired by Intel a while back. We could’ve all gone our separate ways and just worked at other game companies, but we had enough money to last another year. At the same time the Unreal Engine was available for public use. We only had one animator, so we decided against any human-based game. We love mech games and it was the best route to go to. It’s a niche market, so hopefully we’ll get the attention that we need without competing with the other big players out there.
Final Freeway 2R, David Pasca’s loving homage to SEGA’s classic arcade racer Outrun, is easily one of our favorite iPad games to come along in some time due to its retro-style graphics, tight controls, and incredible sense of speed. In fact, we liked it to much that we have it a 2D-X Excellence Award.
So how did Final Freeway 2R come into being? We spoke with the game’s creator, Davide Pasca (the founder and CEO at Newtype K.K./Oyatsukai Dev Team), about inspirations and the development process.
A new Sonic the Hedgehog game is out and you can be sure we’re paying attention. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, the continuation of 2010′s Sonic 4 Episode I (makes sense!), came out Tuesday. While we prep our review, you can check out this tidy Q&A we had with SEGA’s Associate Brand Manager Aaron Webber and Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough!
We start off with the subject of Metal Sonic — Sonic’s mechanical rival from Sonic CD. He returns in Episode II and stars in his own Episode, Episode Metal, if you have both episodes on the same console, a likely callback to the “lock-on” technology of Sonic & Knuckles. Then we move on to the improvements in Sonic 4 Episode II, whether “Classic” Sonic will return and other Sonic ephemera comes up as well.
Let’s juice it loose! (Ugh.)
I haven’t played a decent strategy RPG in eons. Recently I’ve gone back to Final Fantasy Tactics and its Game Boy Advance spin-off to get my fix, but man, where did that genre go? It used to be so prevalent in the 16 and 32-bit eras. It’s kept on life support these days on handhelds, but it seems no one out there cares about it that much anymore.
Oh, wait! Jake Kazdal and his team at Haunted Castle Studios still care about strategy RPGs! They care about them so much they’re going to evolve the genre with their new game, Skulls of the Shogun, a hybrid fighting-strategy-chess strategy game. I’ve wanted to get my hands on it for awhile but it keeps eluding my grasp. It looks like the shot in the arm the wayward genre needs, doesn’t it? So I decided to exchange a brief e-mail Q&A session with the game’s design lead and art director, Jake Kazdal, until I get the chance to bust some shogun skulls of my own.
After I got some time with the demo for Lollipop Chainsaw, Jeffrey Wilson and I got a chance to sit down and talk with the game’s designer, Suda 51. The polite and fashionable creator of No More Heroes and Killer 7 touched on Lollipop Chainsaw, his inspirations growing up, and his stance on the state of Japanese game development. Spoiler: he’s not too worried about it.
On his inspiration for Lollipop Chainsaw: “When I was making the plan of the game, there was an image I had of Juliet,” Suda said. “And I wanted to do zombies and emphasize movement. Those were things I had in my mind as I planned … I think there’s a lot of American culture that has affected me. American culture as I saw it as I grew up on TV and movie and things. It’s a combination of all those things.”
When I mentioned how it was so fun to see American culture and society through a Japanese eye, he replied “It’s fun for me too! I think you may be interested in where I’m off.”
If there’s something almost every gamer can agree upon, it’s that we have a damned good time splattering zombie. Owen Morris, game director of ARG Zombies wanted to take zombie-slaying to the next level by giving America zombies everywhere. Coming this holiday season to both the Android and iOS devices, ARG Zombies is a title that blurs the line between reality and the game world. I connected with Owen Morris (Game Director) and David O’Hagan (PR Director) to answer some questions about the upcoming title. A title that you can help get made.