Tag Archives: double fine

Gang Beasts coming to PS4 on December 12th

The hilarious multiplayer brawler Gang Beasts is finally here, and will be released on PS4 on December 12th. I have had the pleasure of playing this at many EGX’s over the years and have had lots of fun whilst doing so. It’s being released on the same day as PUBG comes out on the Xbox One, which is probably no coincidence!

Gang Beasts will launch with a whole glut of customisation options and several new modes, including clumsy-yet-brutal 2 vs. 2 soccer matches, and a cooperative mode where up to 4 players battle against waves of thugs.

There is currently no update as to the Xbox One version of the game, as Microsoft’s much maligned parity clause (meaning indie titles must release on the same day as other consoles and/or have Xbox exclusive content) meant that developer Boneloaf halted development in early 2017. In fact, the official website makes no reference to an Xbox One version.

Starbreeze Publishing to bring Psychonauts 2 to consoles

Psychonauts 2

It might not be coming to consoles until 2018, but Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2 has picked up a prestigious publishing deal with independent publishing firm, Starbreeze AB to bring the game to consoles & PC.

Starbreeze will be the major investor in the project, which is also part-funded by Double Fine themselves, injecting a reported $8m into the title. The deal will see Starbreeze take an 85% initial revenue share from sales of the Psychonauts 2, a figure which should see them recoup 100% of the full investment, after platform and distribution fees and Fig crowdfunding share. After their investment has been recouped, Starbreeze will then grab 60% of the revenue share while all Intellectual Property rights for Psychonauts 2 are retained by Double Fine.

If you’ve not seen it before, Psychonauts 2 is a third-person action adventure platformer where players control Razputin Aquato, a newly graduated Psychonaut, possessed of powerful psychic abilities. You’ll guide Razputin around, using his PSI powers to delve into the minds of others and utilise telekinesis, pyrokinesis and levitation. Combine this with Raz’s acrobatic platforming skills and you’ll be able to explore the mental worlds of the title’s eccentric characters.

The story of Psychonauts 2 picks up directly after the events of the first game and the VR adventure, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. Don’t worry, though, you won’t need to have played those games in order to get into and be immersed in Psychonuats 2. In this new story, Raz arrives at headquarters, excited to finally become an official Psychonaut. He soon finds himself caught between the laws of the Psychonauts and his loyalty to his friends. Add to this, a secret mission that could undo everything for which he has fought so hard.

Starbreeze AB’s CEO, Bo Andersson-Klint;

Many of us gamers who’ve grown up during the ’70s and ’80s have at some point some come across the great games from Double Fine and Tim Schafer. Games like Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Brutal Legend are all in the list of personal all time favourites for many of us. We’re very proud to be able to add this prominent collaboration to our Publishing business. Starbreeze is looking forward to supporting Double Fine in bringing the new and exciting game, Psychonauts 2, to young and old gamers world wide.

So, Psychonauts 2’s long term future looks to be secured, and it is scheduled to hit consoles in 2018.

Rhythm puzzler 140 coming to Xbox One

140 game

Double Fine, publisher of some smashing titles already on Xbox One, have recently announced a partnership with serial video game adapters, Abstraction Games, to bring Jeppe Carlsen’s 140 to Xbox One.

This rhythm based puzzler will challenge anyone with, or without, any sense of timing in a quest to, well, we’re not quite sure what the quest is. It looks interesting though.

Jeppe Carlsen, for those who are interested, was the lead puzzle designer for LIMBO, so I’d be expecting something fairly devious and challenging in 140. The title has been out on PC and MAC since 2013 and even won the Excellence in Audio award at the Independent Games Festival, with in-game music by Jakob Schmid, Playdead’s current audio programmer.

Abstraction Games have been handed the task of adapting 140 from PC to Xbox One, something they’ve done a few times in the past with titles like Pixel Piracy.

What can we expect from this puzzler then? Well, if the trailer below is anything to go by, we can expect some well-timed moves to conquer an environment controlled entirely by Schmid’s thumping soundtrack.

It won’t be over-burdened by graphics either. It sacrifices plush graphics for more precise and frustrating gameplay.

Carlsen Games have 140 down as an old-school platformer at heart though. Set in it’s world of colourful yet abstract graphics. You’ll certainly need to up your rhythm game and sync up every move and jump to the backbeat. The game will give you ability to switch your playing piece between circle, square and triangle in order to traverse the current area. It’s up to you which one you pick to best meet the obstacles in your path.

140 looks to be coming to Xbox One this summer.

 

Gaming Masterclass

Hey folks, welcome to what I hope is a new ongoing series of articles (I may come up with a better name down the line), where we go through some of the best levels, segments and great ideas that the Xbox has to offer and praise them for all they’re worth. Whether it’s a memorable boss battle or some fourth wall breaking shenanigans, the purpose of these articles is to provide great examples of game design and give credit where credit is due. So without further adieu, let us start with….

The Cave (2013) is a Double Fine game from the mind of Ron Gilbert. While I found it to be a very enjoyable though slightly cumbersome puzzle/platformer, there was one moment that stood out to me above the rest of the game; the introduction. The beginning of this game is devoid of unnecessary tutorials and flow stopping pop-up menus that take you out of the experience, instead it allows you to take your time and figure the game out for yourself, something I wish more gamrs did. Within five minutes, that game’s tone, gameplay conventions and mindset are perfectly conveyed in ways that many AAA games fail to do in hours.

After a lovely little introduction from a talking cave, we finally get to meet the eight main characters of the game. A D-pad icon pops up on the lower left hand side of the screen, which is the closest thing we get to a tutorial, allowing us to change character. There is even an option to hide this popup should you wish.

 

As we switch from character to character, the cave gives us some inside info on their back-story and desires. On the surface, this is a simple exposition section, but we’re also learning how to change characters, something that becomes second nature once you proceed with the game and is vital knowledge to know.

After a couple of minutes fiddling about with characters, the next logical step is to move. You haven’t been told to do anything and you haven’t even been set an objective, so for now you’re simply exploring and experimenting. Quite quickly, you find a crowbar. The Cave Crowbar

In any other game, a tutorial or button prompt would come up that carefully explains how you pick this item up and how to use it, but here, the game trusts that after the smallest amount of experimentation and time, you can easily figure it out for yourself. Once you take the crowbar to the entrance of the cave which has been boarded up, it’s also easy to put 2 + 2 together and realise what  to do next.

The majority of the puzzles in The Cave are solved this way. Your path is blocked, so you must find an item that will unblock it. There may be variations and different methods found throughout the playthrough, but this simple opening puzzle has essentially taught you everything you need to know. Well almost.

Now that you’re in the cave, you explore as far as you can until you come to a rather rickety bridge. You are told that taking any more than 2 people over the bridge may cause it to break. There are signs scattered about that strictly tell you NOT to go this way. However, with no other objects to interact with, there simply isn’t much else to do, so you change characters, which we already know how to do, and drag two other hapless souls into the cave and drop them on the bridge, which of course makes it collapse, causing all three characters to plummet deeper into the cave, starting the game proper.the cave bridge

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to quickly realise what you were supposed to do, but I love how this almost feels like a commentary on how other games chose to teach you the game’s mechanics. It would be easy for a menu to pop up and say “which three characters do you want to take” and choose your characters with all the passion of choosing your lunch from a menu. Instead, The Cave specifically tells you NOT to do something, and the only way to advance is to break the “rules”, helping to set the tone of this dark and twisted game.

This short level may sound rather simple and not particularly mind-blowing, but modern games have a rather bad habit of assuming that all gamers have little to no attention spans or desire to learn and need to be handheld through every level for fear that they’ll get bored and quit. In the Batman Arkham series for example, you are being reminded of how things work for the entire game, even the little icon that tells you how to grapple has a little LB on it from beginning to end. While I personally find this unfortunate, I can still understand and appreciate that many modern games are perhaps slightly more complicated than 2-D platformers and may require more direct tutorials to let the player know how to play the game. That being said, finding more creative and inventive ways of teaching the player how to play your game will always be more rewarding and memorable than any tutorial can ever be, which is what the opening five minutes of The Cave is all about.

By the time you find yourself plummeting into the titular cave, you know how the controls work thanks to a couple simple puzzles and you understand what the tone of the game is thanks to the very creative character selection process as well as some dark humor scattered about. I heartily recommend downloading the demo at the very least, which contains the opening level in question, if you are interested in the fundamentals of game design, also if you want to play a pretty cool game.

The Cave Review

thecavelogo

On a dark and dreary night, the camera pans down from the musky purple backdrop to reveal seven protagonists. Three of them are to be chosen by you to go on a series of wild and wacky adventures. Awaiting you after your choice is the cave. An unforgiving, soulless, abomination. Who tends to try and make me laugh every now and then. What will the depths of the cave reveal to you? Will it reveal adventure, bliss, a mediocre puzzle game, or an instant classic? Continue reading The Cave Review