After more than five years in the making, gamers will finally get a chance to see what all the fuss is about when Ubisoft Entertainment SA finally unleashes its paranoia-inducing new game, Watch Dogs, on May 27.
An open world adventure set in a near-future Chicago, Watch Dogs is one of the French publisher’s biggest projects yet. Announced at E3 2012, Watch Dogs was originally supposed to land during the next-generation console launches last fall before a last-minute delay was announced.
Earlier this week, Ubisoft invited Post Arcade to visit its massive Montreal facility for some hands-on time with Watch Dogs.
The first thing Ubisoft told journalists upon arrival – and in no uncertain terms – is that the game is finally done. Developers are finished adding features and tinkering with its design.
Watch Dogs now is what it is, and it’s going to stay that way. The entire team has switched focus to ironing out the 3,000 or so remaining bugs – most very minor, we’re told – that have been reported by the studio’s play testers.
And with a new official launch date of May 27 – no fooling this time – the team has given itself plenty of time to work out the kinks and polish it all up before shipping.
Announcements at an end, Ubisoft ushered the dozen or so North American journalists in attendance into closed rooms, where we were given chairs, headsets, and controllers, and set loose to explore a virtual Windy City…
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone built a billion-dollar cartoon franchise on a foundation of irreverent shock and awe comedy that goes out of its way to deliver the unexpected.
With a few well-timed fart jokes tossed in for good measure.
With South Park: The Stick of Truth, Parker and Stone have delivered an experience that is perhaps exactly what fans of the long-running Comedy Central program might have been hoping for, but not necessarily what they expected.
On its surface, The Stick of Truth is a turn-based strategy RPG set in the small Colorado town which provides the backdrop for the adventures of its cast of foul-mouthed fourth graders: Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman.
But in actuality, the game plays like a 15-hour interactive episode of South Park — thanks to being written and voiced by Parker and Stone themselves — which immerses the player in its off-kilter animated world in a manner unlike what almost any other game based on a television show has accomplished before.
Indeed, for fans of the show, this is as close as you’re likely to get to playing a central role in the heart of the wacky action of South Park…
With six games in six years, Level-5′s series of narrative-driven Professor Layton puzzlers is one of those rare franchises that has been able to support and justify an annual release schedule.
But with Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, yet another adventure that sees the dapper doctor traveling with apprentice Luke and assistant Emmy to exotic locales to solve a variety of seemingly unsolvable mysteries, one wonders how much longer Level-5 can continue its streak.
Other than offering perhaps a wee bit more in the way of action and excitement – there’s a timed sequence in the newest game in which the trio are chasing an airship and need to shoot down incoming missiles by thinking quickly and tapping them in proper sequence – The Azran Legacy really just feels like more of the same.
And for the first time in half a dozen years, I found myself wanting something a little more from this lovely little series than merely the status quo…
Vin Diesel’s love of gaming and his status as an alpha-nerd in Hollywood are well documented, so it’s no surprise that when he came across a certain video of himself playing World of Warcraft, it was one he wanted to share with the world.
Late on Wednesday night, the actor who is perhaps best known for his roles in the Fast and the Furious franchise of films posted a video on his Facebook page showing him playing the the MMO World of Warcraft with a friend who he strongly hints could be the late Paul Walker…
It goes without saying that of all the characters created by the Walt Disney Company, none are as instantly recognizable on a global scale as Mickey Mouse.
While the basics have remained the same, over the years, Mickey’s appearance has evolved with the times. The Mickey that appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928 is unique from the Mickey that appeared in Mickey’s Christmas Carol or on the various iterations of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Indeed, children of different ages each have their own favourite version of the character, depending on the era in which they grew up.
But of all the various Mickeys crafted by the Mouse House, none is more famous or as synonymous with the character than the one sporting the oversized red robe and blue wizard hat from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment of the 1940 film Fantasia.
So when it came time for Jeff Bunker and his team at Avalanche Software to decide which version of Mickey should be included in the popular video gameDisney Infinity, it was a no-brainer which Mickey would make the cut.
Still, taking the most famous iteration of the world’s most recognizable cartoon character and turning it not only into a playable character inside a video game, but also crafting an accompanying physical game figure in its likeness, presents some interesting challenges for designers.
“He is the mascot of the company and he is the icon, but there’s a lot of different Mickeys from different roles and different time periods and films,” Mr. Bunker, who is the studio art director at Avalanche, said in an interview.
“It was very important that he was a fun character to play, and so we were looking for the gameplay that was the most appropriate for him … we were working on the intro [of the video game] that has that spark of imagination, and when you start thinking about Mickey Mouse, and then in terms of magic, the only Mickey that really works is Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey. So it quickly became clear he was the right Mickey to use.”
These days Mickey Mouse is more of a corporate icon than a beloved children’s character. Indeed, Mickey is used only sparingly in Disney programming, and the powers that be within the company who decide how and when his likeness can be used are selective about where he appears and how he is portrayed.
Getting permission to use Mickey is one thing, but handling Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey is a whole different story; if there’s a proverbial velvet rope up around Mickey Mouse, there’s bulletproof glass surrounding Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey…
A patch for the Twitch app on Xbox One set to hit March 11 will upgrade the service on Microsoft Corp.’s console to include support for live streaming of game video.
Twitch Interactive Inc.’s app has been available for Xbox One since the system’s November 2013 launch, but it is currently only partially functional, allowing players to watch others’ game video but not actively broadcast their own.
In contrast, the PlayStation 4 Twitch app – also available at the console’s launch – has offered live streaming from the start.
But the new Xbox One patch doesn’t stop at squaring things up on the broadcasting front. It also adds several features not available in the PlayStation 4 app, including the ability to archive recorded game streams and control game streaming via voice commands, courtesy of Xbox One’s Kinect sensor bar.
The patch will also allow users to join in on games with broadcasters and watch and record live streams originating from any platform, including those broadcast from PlayStation 4 accounts…
Drop your skepticism and just enjoy the silliness.
That’s my advice for those hesitant to give PopCap Games’ bold effort to turn its Plants vs. Zombies tower defence franchise into something a little more action-oriented and hardcore: An online third-person shooter.
Available only for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, this strange — and I think safe to say unforeseen — offshoot retains all of the charm and personality of its inspiration. Expect bizarre, ambulatory, sentient plants, cartoonish zombies that are more goofy than scary, and bits of humour that come from awkward character animations, absurd attacks, and whimsical menus and notifications.
Where it differs, of course, is that now you’re in direct control of a single plant (or zombie!) running around spacious three-dimensional environments.
And if you give it a chance, you may just find that change can be good…
I think it may have happened when I reached out of the shadows to pluck a pair of earrings off a noblewoman’s head. My hands were like the brush of an invisible feather. She didn’t so much as pause in her conversation.
Or perhaps it was when, after much thought and some terrific acrobatics, I finally got myself into a position to loose a blunt-tipped arrow through the heavy bars of an open window to strike a switch that unlocked a third-storey apartment. It didn’t contain much, but that didn’t take away from the satisfaction of the feat.
Or maybe it happened while I was away from the game and passing by a brass heritage plaque affixed to a building on a Toronto street. That’s when I found myself absentmindedly wishing that I had my thief’s wrench with me so I could relieve it of its mount and place it on display with all the other heritage plaques I’d stolen in my clock tower stash.