Good Game

Experts set to meet with fed government about need for VR ethics, more research

Virtual worlds are coming for humanity and a group of researchers and technologists wants to make sure we’re ready when they arrive. Next week, three top researchers in virtual reality, augmented reality and body computing are having an informal meeting with members of a government regulatory agency to kick off what they hope will be a conversation about the potential dangers of immersive technology and the need for more studies into the impact they might have on people. “I see a lot of people in tech saying that they’re not responsible for this technology; they’re just developing it. That it’s up to society to figure out what’s safe, ethical and moral,” said Todd Richmond, who heads up the University of Southern California’s Mixed Reality Lab. “I say, ‘No.’ The development community...

Lake Ridden is a new, creepy walking sim

Here's an early ten-minute section from Lake Ridden, a first-person puzzle and exploration game being developed by Swedish outfit Midnight Hub. The Malmo-based indie is comprised of former staff at Mojang, Paradox and Massive, who say they were inspired by some of the better so-called walking sims. They point to Gone Home and Firewatch as examples of the sort of thing they're going after. In Lake Ridden, the player takes on the role of 13-year-old Marie, who must search a forest at night in order to find her younger sister. Along the way, she encounters basic puzzles, mostly arranged around searching out and finding stuff. A journal keeps the player abreast of narrative developments. It's certainly got a creepy, lonesome feel to these early sections, playing into our natural fear of...
Cover Story
Issue 26

February 27, 2017

What the game industry thinks of Nintendo’s Switch

We talk with third-party developers and industry executives about what to expect.

Read more

Issue At Hand: What's the problem with Iron Fist?

  • The weird and amazing indies of alt.ctrl.GDC

  • CGI: The unspeakable body horror of Animorphs

  • PeaceCraft: Things get dark at the Darkmoon Faire

  • Issue At Hand: Legion and the Runaways, explained


Former Mass Effect animator speaks out on Mass Effect: Andromeda’s visuals

Jonathan Cooper is no stranger to speaking out on the process of creating character animations in video games. Just a few years ago, Polygon interviewed the former animation director for Assassin’s Creed 3 about Assassin’s Creed Unity, which was making headlines at the time for not including a female assassin in its multiplayer because it would have been too much work. But Cooper doesn’t just have Assassin’s Creed under his belt. He has since worked on Uncharted 4, and was lead animator on Mass Effect and a cinematic animator on Mass Effect 2. And he took to Twitter today to comment on the controversy that has surrounded Mass Effect: Andromeda from the moment it released in-game footage, and reached an apex in the last week before its release. Namely, that its character and facial...

Warframe’s new character lets players make music

Digital Extremes’ free-to-play shooter Warframe is getting a new playable character, Octavia, with a unique set of skills: This new warframe uses music as her weapon and comes complete with a “fully functioning sequencer” that lets players make their own custom tunes for her attacks. “Octavia's abilities are powered by the Mandachord, a formidable tool used to mix Melody, Bass, and Percussion into a harmony of destruction,” the developer said in a release today. As you can see in the video above, Octavia has a variety of musical instruments with which to create songs. Players can even compose their tunes cooperatively with other players. The new warframe’s introduction is part of the larger Octavia’s Anthem update for Warframe. The update also includes a new photo taking feature,...

Nintendo Switch can be held vertically for some games

Some Nintendo Switch games allow players to hold the device vertically, a mode that opens up a number of possibilities for vertically oriented titles to come to the platform in the future. Reddit user HandsomeCostanza noticed this feature yesterday with the golf video game Neo Turf Masters, which is one of a handful of Neo Geo ports available on the Switch eShop. Other users in that thread are reporting that all of the Switch’s Neo Geo titles offer this option, along with the ability to stretch the image to fill the screen vertically. (Not that anyone would ever want to do that.) View post on This would be a rather uncomfortable way to play Switch games for a number of reasons. We tried holding the unit this way, leaving the “bottom” Joy-Con controller attached so we had an...
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Take a look at off-road racer Gravel in action

At a recent press event, I got a chance to play off-road racer Gravel, which is coming out this summer. Having played and greatly enjoyed Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One, my main interest in this is whether or not it can manage to give a similar off-road experience to PlayStation 4 owners looking for exotic off-road thrills. Gravel is also coming out on Windows PC and Xbox One, though I think besting Microsoft's own effort is going to be a tall order. Still, this game is not without pedigree. It's being developed by Milan-based Milestone, which is known for reasonably well-liked racing games like Ride 2, Valentino Rossi: The Game and WRC 4 World Rally Championship. Milestone Gravel Gravel is built in Unreal Engine 4 and takes place in a variety of locations,...

Mass Effect: Andromeda review

Ed's note: Mass Effect: Andromeda was reviewed using final retail code. However, until we have time to ascertain multiplayer stability in a launch environment, this review will remain provisional. I really like Mass Effect: Andromeda, but I don’t know that you will. Mass Effect has a passionate following, but you’d be hard-pressed to find just one reason for that passion. Some people love the characters; others, the sci-fi world it creates. Others loved the RPG systems of the first or the power-based combat of the second, or the cooperative multiplayer of the third. Change has been a constant, and in that respect, Mass Effect: Andromeda has shifted more than its predecessors in the five years since the series’ last installment. That change hasn’t been an entirely smooth one, though. M...

If Overwatch characters lived in Final Fantasy

Let’s be honest: It was a matter of time before an Overwatch and fantasy mashup happened. Overwatch Fantasia is a collaborative project between various Korean artists that reimagines the heroes we know and love in a classic, fantasy JRPG aesthetic — think Final Fantasy 9 or basically any installment before FF7. Some are obvious choices, like Mercy as a white mage or Widowmaker as an assassin. But there are some creative spins on what Bastion and Mei could be if they lived in this universe. Check out some of the highlights below with each character and their respective artists. Let us know what you think in the comments. CKYM / Overwatch Fantasia D.Va’s outfit and color scheme give off some serious Princess Ashe vibes from FF12. Dewgong / Overwatch...
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PeaceCraft: Raandyy steps out of the spotlight

In the last episode of PeaceCraft, Raandyy’s perfect, nonviolent record was tarnished. That’s why in this installment, he’s taking a backseat — temporarily — as he tries to get his mind, heart and spirit right. In his stead, a new champion will rise. And fall, like fifty times, because wowsers do we need to level up if we’re going to go into all these high-level zones, huh?

Pokémon Go’s latest event is making everyone a Magikarp fan

An event running in Pokémon Go right now is celebrating water-type Pokémon of all kinds, but it’s the dopiest Pokémon of all that players are most excited for. Magikarp, Pokémon’s eternal punching bag, has become the game’s most popular monster because of the Water Festival event — but not because of the Pokémon itself. The reason everyone is into Magikarp right now is because, as it turns out, it’s the first Pokémon in the game that comes in a shiny variant. Shiny Pokémon are highly coveted in the handheld series, as they’re incredibly hard to find. These rare recolors can transform a Pokémon’s entire look, and because they have different markings and colors than standard Pokémon, catching a shiny Pokémon is an obvious achievement. A shiny Magikarp isn’t just cool because it’s a...
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The unsung women of video game music

The latest episode of Game Maker’s Toolkit, Mark Brown’s insightful web series about game design, breaks down what makes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s soundtrack so powerful. But the video doesn’t just serve as a reminder of how great the new Zelda game’s music is — it’s a powerful example of just how influential women are in the gaming industry, often in less visible ways. Brown makes that clear in a series of tweets that followed the video’s release. Inspired by a commenter’s surprise by the gender of Breath of the Wild’s composer, Manaka Kataoka, he named several other influential female composers with memorable, influential work. Capcom's sound team from the 80s. L-R: Kumi Yamaga, Manami Matsumae, Tamayo Kawamoto, Harumi Fujita, Junko Tamiya. p...

Game of Thrones Emmy submission reveals how one character’s death was originally more dramatic

This story has spoilers for Game of Thrones fifth season finale. If you aren’t caught up, you’ve been warned. A Reddit user has uncovered the original script for the final episode of the fifth season, and it reveals the show’s final scene originally had a bit more dialog. Thanks to the show’s producers submitting “Mother’s Mercy” for an Emmy nomination, we learned Stannis Baratheon’s death was a bit more emotional in print. You can see the episode’s full script for yourselves, but here’s how Stannis was originally written to say goodbye: STANNIS: Do you believe in the life to come? (Brienne nods) STANNIS: I don't. But if I'm wrong, and you're right ... tell Renly I'm sorry when you get there. I don't imagine I'll see him wherever I'm going. (beat) And my daughter. Tell her ... tell...

Only ‘90s kids will remember the next decade of Hollywood blockbusters

The reboot of Power Rangers as a somewhat-serious power fantasy where teens with attitudes pilot mechs that look like dinosaurs signals one horrible truth above all others. We have finally reached the point where ‘90s nostalgia-fueled vehicles will come to rule Hollywood. If you’ve somehow been living under a rock, here’s the current situation: Power Rangers, an unbelievably ‘90s franchise ruled with a corporate iron fist by Saban Entertainment (now SCG Power Rangers, a division of Saban Capital Group), has a reboot film in theaters. It’s essentially a reboot of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the 1993 television series that used Japanese Super Sentai footage plus American teens with attitude to tell a unique story of alien invasion, high school, and martial arts. Also giant...

Carrie Fisher’s death won’t change Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the upcoming eighth episode of the film franchise, won’t be altered due to the death of star Carrie Fisher. The actress completed production before she suddenly passed away in December, Disney CEO Bob Iger assured fans and moviegoers. Iger told the crowd at University of Southern California’s SCALE conference last night that Fisher “appears throughout” The Last Jedi. She won’t be digitally recreated, as the Walt Disney Company announced back in January following widespread speculation; the film itself also will not need to be edited to make up for the loss of Fisher. LIVE on #Periscope: Robert Iger & Willow Bay #USCScale— USC Marshall (@USCMarshall) March 23, 2017 Fisher played Princess (and General) Leia Organa, a crucial role in...

What Remains of Edith Finch is coming along nicely

Separating salmon from their heads with a guillotine is not my idea of a good time. And yet, this is a core mechanic of one whole chapter in What Remains of Edith Finch. I played this chapter at a media event on Wednesday, while developer Ian Dallas looked on. This is the second chapter I've played. The first was at a press event a couple of years ago. At the time, I was impressed by the game's humor and its imagination. It's a collection of surreal short stories about the lives and deaths of Edith Finch's ancestors and relatives, set inside the family mansion. The Unfinished Swan, Dallas' previous game with his studio Giant Sparrow, was a tour de force in visual storytelling, a beautiful first-person puzzle-adventure about exploration. In this chapter, I'm reliving Edith Finch's...

Say goodbye to Blizzard’s branding

Blizzard Entertainment has dumped the iconic branding from its popular games launcher. An update, which users first encountered late last night, changes the client’s icon from the logo into one just as familiar: that of Blizzard Entertainment. That makes sense, as Blizzard first announced in September that it was “transitioning away” from the name. "Over time, though, we’ve seen that there’s been occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls — Blizzard and,” the company wrote on its blog in the fall. Yet this is the first and, for many longtime fans, most heartbreaking step toward the overhaul. When restarting the client after the automatic update, it will no longer bear...

Nintendo: Super Mario Run ‘didn’t meet expectations’

Sales from Super Mario Run failed to meet Nintendo’s expectations, company president Tatsumi Kimishima said in a new interview with Nikkei. Speaking to the Asian business publication, Kimishima and other Nintendo officials revealed that the Mario mobile game, though profitable, didn’t hit sales targets. Super Mario Run enjoyed some big, early success when it exclusively hit iOS devices in December. But the game’s pay-to-play model (and online requirements) may have turned off many consumers, and the overall reception was mixed. Super Mario Run only lets players try out the first world before hitting the $9.99 paywall. Despite all the downloads, only five percent of players paid up, Nintendo revealed in January. But Nintendo sounds committed to selling mobile games to fans at a cost...

Kingdom Hearts PS4 collection comes with some big bugs (update)

Longtime Kingdom Hearts fans are finding that some of the series’ most frustrating technical deficiencies are fixed in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, a PlayStation 4 compilation of nearly every game in Square Enix’s action role-playing series that launched in Japan last week. But many of the bugs found in the series’ early games remain in the PS4 ports, turning some players off completely. First, the good: The high-definition remasters of Kingdom Hearts and its sequel have much better load times on PS4 than on PlayStation 3, on which these remixes originally launched. That’s clear in this video, uploaded just before the game’s Japanese release: As the video’s description notes, this should be a boon for both impatient RPG players and speedrunners alike. But speedrunners will really...

Here’s what’s in Titanfall 2’s next free content drop

Developer Respawn is rolling out more free content for Titanfall 2 on March 30, including a remake of the map Colony from the original Titanfall. Titanfall 2’s Colony Reborn DLC also includes a new weapon, a rifle called the R-101, which is “well regarded for its unique versatility,” according to Respawn and outfitted with an ACOG scope. There’s also a free new execution animation, called “curb check,” which is pretty spectacular. The Colony Reborn update will also include its share of paid content in the form of Prime Titan skins, new nose art, camouflage textures and more. The arrival of Titanfall 2’s next batch of DLC will coincide with another free trial weekend, which runs March 30 to April 3. The free weekend — which will also offer double experience gain — will...
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