Following the release of ‘P.T’ a horror-themed ‘playable teaser’ involving skin-crawling psychological horror and painfully difficult puzzles, it was revealed that a brand new next-gen entry into the venerable Silent Hill series is on the way. Silent Hills is going to be the product of a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro. How exciting! Read more …
Oh sure, P.T. came out last week during Gamescom. I downloaded it, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to Silent Hills. The teaser had oodles of atmosphere and plenty of “scary” bits, though a little less reliance on jump scares would have been preferable. But all the time I was playing, I was thinking of a game that I enjoyed a lot more. One that, for me, was a lot more unsettling, a damn sight less frustrating and overall more rewarding to play. Then I realised that I’d never spoken about it in one of my articles, which simply won’t do.
Let me talk to you about The Mirror Lied. Read more …
Sony has been lacking a truly compelling Mario Kart clone for… well, for ever. We’ve had a whole spectrum of games which have attempted to ape Nintendo’s pole position racer, from the truly awful ModNation Racers: Road Trip, to the mediocre LittleBigPlanet Karting and at the other end of the scale, the surprisingly solid Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, which was a great early addition to the Vita’s line-up.
Hideo Kojima stole the show as Gamescom with P.T., an alleged demo for a first-person horror game on the Fox engine available for free on PSN that, once completed, revealed that Kojima and acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro would be working together on the new Silent Hill game, Silent Hills.
It was a deft move and set the internet ablaze. It turned out that ‘P.T.’ was a complete horror experience in itself and the teaser was an unconnected bonus for whoever managed to complete it. At around an hour or two in length, I’ve played and reviewed shorter horror games (Saturn 9 comes to mind). Read more …
I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret. Come in close.
Ready? Okay. Here goes.
I’m a huge geek. Just thought I would let you know that. It’s good to get it off my chest, actually. I already feel lighter for having come out with it.
I don’t mean that as a “Oh, I play video games so I must be such a geek” kind of way. I mean it in a “I have had to purchase an entire shelving unit just for my comic book action figures” kind of way. In a “I have three copies of Star Wars (the original trilogy, mind you) on DVD and yes, it was intentional” kind of way. In a “I spent hundreds of pounds to spend last weekend strutting around Manchester in a shiny gold suit at Discworld Convention” kind of way.
But there is one thing I do that still surprises people. That makes people realise just how far gone down the geeky path I really am. That makes my wife cringe when I talk about it in public.
I play tabletop role-playing games. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, tabletop (or pen and paper, depending on who is throwing the labels around) RPGs are, in many ways a precursor to the video game as we know it. In fact, if you’ve played a video game with hit points, you’ve experienced that influence first hand. The term covers a wide range of rulesets and settings, from the technomagic dystopian future setting of Shadowrun to the high fantasy classic that is Dungeons and Dragons to settings and rules based on your favourite TV shows and books.
Specifically, I play a game called Pathfinder, which is a revision of the most well known RPG on the market, Dungeons and Dragons. I have played it since it was in open beta and have played nearly every week for the past seven years. I have played multiple campaigns, or stories, both as a player and as the creator of the story, destroying nations and saving the world countless times along the way. You could say I am a big fan of the ruleset.
“But Trent, you glorious and handsome example of manliness,” I hear you ask. “This is a VIDEO game website. Explain this nonsense you are spouting at us!”
Well, as it turns out, Pathfinder publisher, Paizo Publishing, has just announced a deal with Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: Order of the stick developer Obsidian, meaning that the company responsible for the fantastic Neverwinter Nights 2 now has the rights to develop video games based on the Pathfinder ruleset and setting. In fact, there has already been a game announced that is based on the Pathfinder Cooperative Card Game, due out on tablets within the next year. As that announcement, made at an annual convention of tabletop RPG publishers from all around the world, specifically referred to this as the “first” game being developed under the license, it is very likely that the we’ll see more and more titles announced in the coming months as Obsidian seems very keen to utilise this intellectual property.
This is good news, not just because it means that I am going to get to play a PC game set in the very deep, varied, and fun setting, but also because we should get a return to form for the company that had such great success working with Wizards of the Coast to bring us games based on their widely known Dungeons and Dragons brand. It seemingly signals the permanent end to the partnership that also brought us Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, with Obsidian jumping ship to join up with D&D’s biggest rival in the industry.
There is a lot that can be said for this decision and a lot that we can speculate on. The Pathfinder brand is now five years old, which is relatively old for the market, and it doesn’t have the kind of name recognition that Dungeons and Dragons does, which has just released the fifth edition of its ruleset. This would, theoretically, give Obsidian a boost in exposure as they ride the publicity generated from such a release. However, it is likely that Wizards of the Coast, who publishes Dungeons and Dragons, wants to focus on their existing MMO, Neverwinter, which has so far struggled to find the player-base that they were hoping for. The fact that Obsidian is instead in bed with rival Paizo could speak to their feelings toward the fifth edition rules that have just been released (I haven’t seen them yet so I can’t comment) or it could just be a desire to team up with someone new. The PR from both Paizo and Obsidian has been exactly what you’d expect from them, so there isn’t much you can read into just yet.
We’ll likely have to wait until the release of Pillars of Eternity this winter before we find out anything more concrete about future Pathfinder games from Obsidian, but, at least for me, it is a very exciting prospect. Paired with last year’s release of Shadowrun Returns based on the very popular Shadowrun setting and rules, it could be a sign that developers are going to get more and more adventurous in what sources they mine for upcoming RPG titles. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to bring the wide variety rules to life for the masses.