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How Titan Died, and How Overwatch Was Born - Chris Metzen

Written By Kom Limpulnam on Sabtu, 08 November 2014 | 17.21

@dannyodwyer @GT_APE I feel like WoW came on an age where their cartoony graphics made sense, and wouldn't feel as cartoonish back then. Graphics weren't still at their prime back on 04. What it seems to me, is rather that they became lazy and accomodated with WoW's graphical style, so they just stuck with it. I'd like to see them actually trying to push farther and onto a more mature style for a change of pace, it's been 10 years afterall. D3 and to some extend Starcraft still had a somewhat cartoony style. 

With that being said, I'm still okay with cartoonish graphics overall. I just hope that it doesn't become too similar to TF2 due that, however.


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BlizzCar 2014 - Hey Let's Drive to BlizzCon

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  1. Does Blizzard's Shooter Overwatch Live Up to the Hype?
  2. How Titan Died, and How Overwatch Was Born - Chris Metzen
  3. GS News Top 5 - GTA Goes First-Person, Ubisoft Pulls Games Off Steam
  4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Zombie Mode
  5. Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void - Multiplayer Update: Protoss
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Does Blizzard's Shooter Overwatch Live Up to the Hype?

Hype? Its the first time I hear someone even mentioning this game. Hell its been only 5min when I learned about this game. Though game looks fun, kinda TF2, as they mentioned. Though I don't feel buying that kind of games anymore, where its just online shooting and nothing else. What for lot of people is enough, what is good, but I don't know if for me is. I bought TF2 back at the days when i come out, it seemed fine back then, but would I buy it now? I don't think so, especcialy when lot of that kind of games are free now days. Maybe not as good in quality but still. It looks kinda like Archeblade or whatever too, of course better, and not some pay 2 win crap. Even though I don't really like Blizzard, but I know they make good quality games. I guess I'll see. It looks good, I like characters, though as I understand there's no simple deathmatch? Just some kind of defending and stuff. Unless with time they will add more modes.


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The Connection Between Overwatch and Blizzard's Cancelled Project Titan

Overwatch was the surprise, team-based shooter announced at this year's Blizzcon. But coming so soon on the heels of official word that the rumored MMO project Titan was cancelled, it's only natural to assume that some portions of that game live on within Blizzard's new title.

Earlier today, during the game's reveal, Blizzard senior vice president of story and franchise development Chris Metzen had said that Overwatch shares a "spiritual continuity," but that they are "pretty different." He also described Titan as "kooky and ambitious."

During a press conference for Overwatch later that same day, Metzen elaborated on those comments further. After answering a question about the connection between Titan and Overwatch, Metzen replied, "I'm not going to get into what [Titan] was going to be or what we wanted it to be. I can tell you what it was, in a way, it was frustrating. It was a big, giant idea; it was almost like six video games in one. It was the most ambitious game ever. It was fun to try to tackle it, and boy did we tackle it. We wrestled with it for a long time. And it sucked; we couldn't figure it out. It makes you just [clenches his fist], we couldn't crack it.

"Imagine this amazing team just frustrated. 'Why can't we do this?' It's trying to fret a chord and write the song. 'We can't write the song, why can't it just sound awesome?' Can't find the harmony, whatever. And when we decided to go another way, like Jeff was saying, we've got this hook, 'Why aren't we doing that? We love that.' And we decided to do it and, suddenly, 'Boom!' The music just exploded. And we started looking at [Overwatch] for what it was, and it unleashed this tidal wave of passion and certainty and distilled, clear ideas. And this world idea. It was just this monstrous thing of energy.

"It's been the funnest year, getting our feet back under us, getting our surety back. That magnetic north thing, we found it again, and it feels good. It was part of that emotionality on the stage this morning. To some degree, we needed to get it back, and we found it. And I hope the people look at Overwatch as a very clever game. But I'll tell you, under the hood, we needed this, just as developers to feel that lightning coursing through it again."

Whatever Titan was, it's clear that Overwatch took any potential, remnant ideas from that project in a new direction. And from what we've played so far Blizzard may be on to something with their first foray into the shooter genre. We took a deeper dive into the gameplay and offered up our initial impressions earlier today.

What do you think of Overwatch so far? Is this the kind of project you were hoping/expecting to see from Blizzard? Let us know in the comments.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Overwatch

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The Unfinished Swan Review

Written By Kom Limpulnam on Jumat, 07 November 2014 | 17.21

The Unfinished Swan starts with a kind, grandmotherly voice telling the story of Monroe, a newly orphaned young man, whose mother has just passed away, leaving him orphaned, leaving him nothing but her last, unfinished painting of a swan. Soon after, the disembodied bird flaps off into the blank white nothingness of the painting, and Monroe follows. The storybook narration ends, the screen fades to white, and you're left with one of the most exhilarating moments in all of gaming.

You're left with nothing.

The screen fades to completely empty white space, with a tiny circle reticule in the center. You hit one of the triggers or the touchpad, and Monroe throws an ink pellet, making his first haphazard black splotch on the world, and highlighting the way forward.

Spoiler: The entire game takes place in Minas Tirith.

What follows is a first person game unlike anything else: An abstract, Jackson Pollock work of art of the player's making, where objects only take shape after you've splashed black paint all over the canvas, giving shape to each object, making the objects and paths stand out by contrast with the paint alone. The world of The Unfinished Swan, in this first chapter, is a world of blank castles, paths, park benches, shallow ponds, blank statues, and rusty, creaking gates, all of which exist, and yet don't exist, until Monroe makes his mark. It's an elegant, soothing aesthetic, giving the player all sorts of leeway to play and make things messy, while still creating something pleasing to the eye. After traversing the landscape awhile, you reach higher ground and are able to look back over your creation. This sight might be one of the most transcendent, fascinating moments in any game, seeing black and white spatters form shapes, animals, architecture, and natural beauty. That unexpected beauty, unfortunately, only makes the fact that the game starts filling in the blank space with color and shadow in the next three chapters all the more disappointing.

This was the issue with The Unfinished Swan in 2012, and it's not an issue that the pretty 60 frames-per-second, 1080p upgrade could ever fix. Yet, knowing what the PS4 is capable of, it's still a bit of a crestfall. That's not to say that what comes after the first chapter is bad, per se. On the contrary, taken as a separate, simple tale of a boy exploring the vast sterile wonderland of his parents' imaginations, it's still a playful exercise in curiosity and exploration. It's one of the most thoughtful and endearing uses of the first person perspective in quite some time, bolstered by a quirky, gentle electronic ambient score, and a soft, melancholy subtext of divorce and the death of loved ones.

Welcome to the Tragic Kingdom

The storybook narration ends, the screen fades to white, and you're left with one of the most exhilarating moments in all of gaming.

Because the game is so very short--about two or three hours long--no one stage lasts long enough to wear out its conceptual welcome. The game ushers you in pursuit of the titular swan, through vast, Draconian labyrinths, wide, open, Mediterranean plazas, hot air balloon platforms, twisting vines that grow and stretch in whatever direction you toss water balloons, and spooky adventures in shadowed forests, lit by the light of strange luminescent fruit. Embedded in that stage is the one section in which the game comes close to the first chapter's brilliance: a section in which Monroe jumps into a painting, and finds himself in a Cubist rendition of the current area, where he can use his ink/water pellets to create geometric shapes and platforms. It's there and gone as fast as it came, but it's still a joyous change of pace at a point in the game where it's most needed. And in between, the story is still told, through new pages of the story revealed by splashing ink on golden letters, telling fun, simple tales of the king who once ruled the empty lands, and his troubles. And yet, even then, where the game goes is not nearly as powerful a statement on artistry and imagination as where it starts. What was once snowblind exploration turns into simple problems and puzzles of physics.

We call this piece "Crazy Stairs".

While the game that follows is a satisfyingly twee Golden Book of a game, the first chapter lets the player's imagination do the heavy lifting in a way games never do. The ink only provides a rudimentary outline for your world, and any sense of the overarching land comes entirely from within. It's euphoric, that power. It stretches muscles that games don't allow unless you're playing a text adventure. Once the game starts filling in the blanks for you, giving the buildings shadows and color and concrete shapes, those muscles are laid to rest for the rest of the game. No matter how much the game's inherent playfulness and imagination is being flirted with, no matter how pleasant the narration is, especially when Terry Gilliam--yes, that Terry Gilliam--shows up for a late game cameo, the fact is that what was once abstract, existing predominantly in the player's mind, is now being made solid by someone else.

That fact strips it of a groundbreaking ambition that the gaming world needs so much more of. The Unfinished Swan presented in Chapter One could've sustained a few hours by itself. Instead, it takes up only half an hour, followed by another few hours that settle for being simply great and delightful. It's the kind of failure many developers work their fingers to the bone to achieve.


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Halo: The Master Chief Collection Review In Progress

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Halo 2: Anniversary. Halo 3. Halo 4. There's a lot of Halo in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and I'm not just talking about the four lengthy campaigns, Forge mode, and all that online multiplayer. When you play The Master Chief Collection, you get a strong sense of a larger, cohesive whole. Sure, these games are direct sequels to each other, but there's more here than just continuity of story and evolution of mechanics. As you hop from game to game, playing as Master Chief in his many incarnations, a timeline coalesces not just of the games themselves, but their place in video game history, their place in popular culture, and their place in your life.

My memories of playing Halo are inextricable from the time in my life in which each game came out, and playing through The Master Chief Collection has often felt like a stroll through an impeccably ordered photo album. All four campaigns are arranged neatly with all missions unlocked, free for you to pick and choose right from the start. The multiplayer is similarly arranged, but alas, that portion of the digital copy of the game I was provided with for review purposes was only patched in recently. Until I can put significant time into online play and mess around with Forge (also recently added), the full review will have to wait. This review in progress will focus only on the four campaigns and how they are presented in The Master Chief Collection.

Let's start with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Released just three years ago, this remastering of the game that started it all has aged a bit itself, but it still holds up really well. The story of humanity's first encounter with a halo ring is still an intriguing one, laced with quiet moments of awe and spiked with dramatic encounters. This young Master Chief lacks the speed and urgency of his most recent self, and his gliding jog and floating jump require a certain amount of recalibration for those accustomed to more modern shooters. But once you get the cadence of combat dialed in, the tension and satisfaction of battle are still potent.

Halo CE is where we first met Master Chief's signature trio of guns, grenades, and melee attacks, and deciding when and how to employ these in combat is still an entertaining endeavor that changes significantly as you ratchet up the difficulty. The tactics of the Covenant and the Flood enemies, the varying spaces in which you engage your foes, and the vehicles that are sometimes at your disposal all contribute to a campaign with enough variety and momentum to spur you onward through to the awesome final level (the slog of The Library level notwithstanding).

The gang's all here.

As in the original Xbox 360 release, Halo CE: Anniversary features both the original visuals and audio as well as remastered visuals and audio, and you can switch between them with the press of a button. Unlike in that version, the switch is now instantaneous, allowing you to more speedily flip between decades. It's a neat trick that never really gets old, though you'll probably want to spend the majority of your time with the lush, vibrant remastered visuals. The environmental details and color saturation are richer in the more modern view, but it's still impressive to see how well the original architectural design of many of the buildings holds up. The smooth lines and alien elegance of the Forerunner structures remain nearly unchanged, a testament to the quality of the original art design.

The anniversary treatment has also been applied to Halo 2, and The Master Chief Collection marks the first release of Halo 2: Anniversary. In addition to getting similarly remastered visuals and sound, Halo 2: Anniversary also boasts a completely redone line-up of cutscenes done by the same company that contributed to Halo 4's excellent videos, Blur Studio. These scenes are dazzling re-imaginings of the originals, done with a technical prowess and cinematographic flair that made me want to play through the whole campaign just to see each one. Unlike in Halo CE: Anniversary, you can flip between old and new during cutscenes as well, though you might want to save that for your second playthrough. There's a slight desynchronization between the two that will cause you to lose a second or two when switching, and the old scenes look so dated that they feel like more like creaky relics than interesting artifacts.

The remastered visuals of the gameplay proper are lively and detailed, and they often augment the environments with flourishes and signage that simply aren't there in the original version. The gap isn't quite as large as it is in Halo: CE, but it is still substantial and it's usually a good bet to stick with the remastered visuals and audio. Usually. The updated presentation isn't without issues, and there are instances in which the saturation of light and dark goes a bit off the deep end. If you're taking cover from aerial bombardment by the Covenant, the explosions can create a blinding effect that completely whites out your screen. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you're sneaking through dark interiors, the blacks can get so deep that you need to either bump up the brightness on your television (there is no in-game gamma setting), or switch to the original visuals in order to discern the layout of the level. This darkness issue also can also occur in the original visuals as well, and judicious switching can be a good way to mitigate the issue.

Lookin' sharp, gents.

On the audio side, the updated orchestration is a standout, filling out the soundtrack with an aural richness that heightens the emotional timbre of your adventure. Many of the weapon sounds have been similarly beefed up, but not all of these changes are for the better. The distinctive rolling clatter of the submachine gun has been replaced with a brasher, more metallic sound that lacks the charm of the original, while the sniper rifle's bombastic, echoing report has been slimmed down to a duller, briefer blast. You may feel differently, depending on your memories of Halo 2's decade-old sounds, but regardless of your preference, there is no way to choose audio and visual option independently. Remastered visuals are always accompanied by remastered sounds, and both are generally the better choice.

The campaign of Halo 2 has attracted some criticism over the years, splitting the narrative as it does between Master Chief and the Arbiter and ending on a less-than-satisfactory conclusion. The highs and lows of yesteryear remain largely unchanged, and the dual protagonist adventure still delivers enough excitement to make it worth playing, even if it isn't the most compelling campaign in the package. The thing that made Halo 2 such a phenomenon was its online multiplayer (no, it wasn't dual wielding), and as I mentioned above, I haven't had enough time with it yet to speak confidently about its quality.

Halo 3's campaign, however, remains one of the best in the series, and the one in which I think Bungie really nailed what Halo was about. Halo 3's campaign flowed between diverse areas in a pleasing cadence, and made vehicles available on levels that were enjoyable to play on foot as well. The traditional array of combat tools was augmented with deployable equipment and a host of new gear, all of which gave the player a variety of ways to approach a given combat scenario. This flexibility was present in previous campaigns as well, but it wasn't until Halo 3 that it really hit the sweet spot of replayability.

Teaming up to take down the big bads.

Playing solo, playing cooperatively, playing on a harder difficulty level, and playing with difficulty modifiers enabled all feel like significantly different endeavors in Halo 3. When you change these parameters, you're not just going to be doing the same thing you did solo on normal difficulty, only better. You're going to attempt daring stunts because you feel confident, you're going to experiment with different approaches when you're feeling overwhelmed, and these approaches are going to vary widely. Halo 3 cultivates this flexibility and creates these moments in which the game feels like a playground. It delights, it punishes, it motivates you to do better, and those are some of the best things a video game can do.

In the context of the original Halo trilogy, playing Halo 4 reinforces how much it feels like a new era for the series. The 2012 release shifts gears in a number of ways: Master Chief can now sprint for the first time, new enemies and villains are introduced, and the characterization of the Chief himself takes a turn. No longer the lone supersoldier upon which the fate of all humanity hangs, Chief is questioned, doubted, and treated with something less than utter reverence. That narrative twist is as much a signal of the new era as anything, and it's delivered with the best characterization, dialogue, and cinematography that the series has seen to date.

The action of Halo 4's campaign is still exciting, thanks largely in part to the through lines of combat design that have helped keep the series lively for so long. The armor abilities first introduced in Halo: Reach add another asset to the Chief's arsenal, and the new Promethean enemies bring a few new twists into combat, like the aggravating tendency to shield their allies. Though you can sense that Halo 4 is a last-gen game in it's visual fidelity, it is still an attractive, often beautiful game, especially in those Blur Studio-fueled cutscenes.

Among Blur's contributions to The Master Chief Collection is also at least one new scene, placed at the beginning of Halo 2: Anniversary, that features Agent Locke, the new protagonist for the second game in the trilogy that Halo 4 kicked off, Halo 5: Guardians. This, along with some Locke-voiced terminal videos accessible throughout the Halo 2: Anniversary campaign, show a forward-looking side to this nostalgic collection. The Master Chief Collection is aiming to not merely take you on a walk down memory lane, but to get you excited for where the Halo journey is going.

Next week I'll be chiming back in with my full review of The Master Chief Collection, once I've played a whole bunch of multiplayer and messed around a bit with Forge (including the new forge-able Halo 2 levels). Be sure to check out the video review and gameplay clips for a look at these games in action, and let me know how you think it's shaping up in the comments below.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection

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Halo 2: Anniversary - Tank Gameplay

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Review In Progress

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  9. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - Kanji Trailer
  10. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - Rise Trailer
  11. Lords of the Fallen - Developer Diary 3
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Roman Reigns on Getting Scanned Into a Video Game

Written By Kom Limpulnam on Kamis, 06 November 2014 | 17.21

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PS4 Update 2.01 Out Now, Fixes "Rest Mode" Bugs [UPDATE]

UPDATE: Sony worldwide studios president, Shuhei Yoshida, posted on Twitter that the update 2.01 is live and the "rest mode" bug should now be fixed. However, you have to opt into the update, as he notes, "This is not a forced update."

The original story appears below.

Sony announced today that a PlayStation 4 system update that should fix the issues gamers are having with the system's new "Rest Mode" will be deployed soon. The news came from Twitter.

Following the release of the long-awaited and feature-rich PS4 2.0 update last week, some users reported experiencing a bug that prevents the console from powering back on after it enters "Rest Mode" (the new name for Standby Mode).

A temporary fix available today, Sony says, is to boot in safe mode, though of course that is not an ideal solution. It is unclear how widespread the issue is.

Sony was quick to respond to the issues that cropped up following the release of PS4 update 2.0, telling GameSpot last week: "We are aware of issues reported by some PS4 users following the release of PS4's latest system software update, v2.00. We are investigating these issues and will provide an update as soon as we have more information."

No timetable other than "soon" was provided regarding the release of PS4 update v2.01.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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PS4

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