Tagged With kotaku uk


I’m an emotional sort and, if there’s one thing guaranteed to win over my sensitive side, it’s a good love story. I’m putty in the hands of any number of saccharine-sweet chick flicks, there only to sell us on the dream of the fairytale romance far removed from real life.

We all know that, but folk like me will buy into it every time anyway. Because it’s love. And what could be more special than true love, even the Hollywood-manufactured kind?


Sitting down to watch a Pokémon reveal trailer and being shown a greatest hits showreel of your homeland is a strange feeling: rolling fields, the clock tower at London St Pancras, a version of the Cerne Abbas Giant but with a swirl of elemental power instead of his colossal ... um, club. Flashes of all the things I was supposed to see through the car window on family holidays, except I was too busy staring at my Game Boy.


FromSoftware’s games are known first and foremost for their difficulty and challenge, a fact that has dominated nearly every aspect of the conversation around Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice since release. It’s impossible to talk about it without confronting the challenge it presents. The discussion often circles around certain presumptions about difficulty and punishment, however, rather than focusing on the more important aspect of accessibility.


In 1992, Michealene Risley was brought in as Sega of America’s director of entertainment and consumer products, and her first job was to steer a new deal with ABC for shows involving Sega's hottest property: Sonic the Hedgehog.


When film producer Lawrence Gordon walked into a New York bookstore and perused its bargain bin, he had no way of knowing the effect that this casual browse would have on pop culture.


For me, the real appeal of the 1979 sci-fi classic Alien isn’t the creature itself but the world the film creates. The perfect antidote to the Star Wars and Star Trek sagas, it paints an engagingly bleak picture of a future where profit, not the desire to seek out new civilisations, drives space exploration.

Upon first viewing the film I was fascinated by the situation the film’s characters found themselves in; crawling through the cosmos in a spacecraft, the Nostromo, that was as sleek as a garden shed and only marginally more spaceworthy. I’d have kept watching even if the Alien hadn’t started dispatching the crew who, as it turned out, weren’t going to make it to their next paycheque.


Making a high-end, graphically impressive sports simulation game is tough, and for a solo developer perhaps even verging on the impossible. In a world where FIFA and Forza already exist, competing from your bedroom would be a fruitless task. But if your interest is less in making shiny looking games that look the part, and more on the numbers… maybe there’s a way.


There are few genres that depend so entirely on their atmosphere and script than point-and-click adventures. The nature of these games is cerebral rather than skill-based, and so their success or otherwise depends on whether players enjoy spending time in this place with those characters. Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer are such beloved designers in this space for many reasons but the most important of all is that they're funny. Nobody loves Grim Fandango or Thimbleweed Park for the inventories; it's because hanging around in those worlds is both intriguing and a great laugh.


When The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories released in late 2018, I actively avoided playing it. I tend to love games by Hidetaka Suehiro, better known as Swery, for his over-the-top characters and ludicrously heavy-handed approaches resolving situations. But I wasn't confident in his ability to tell a calm and contemplative work about something serious and timely in a way I would enjoy.


So. This is awkward. I mean it’s fine, obviously, but I did sort of invite you to my birthday and a few people didn’t show up. No, no - it’s alright, really! I know Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings between 11pm and 1am are ‘you-time’.

Overtime, date nights, Zumba ... It’s all go at all hours for you in this crazy world. But I did spend an hour on the invites and I did send them to everybody.


Sometimes, what makes a game interesting is how complex mechanics work together, or a detailed and surprising world, or some sort of well-judged progression system. But sometimes it’s as simple as the idea behind it. A single human experience expressed in a relatable way, an interactive take on real life that hits you with the shock of the new and/or familiar.


Over the past nine years or so since Kirby's Epic Yarn released on Wii, Yoshi and Kirby games have become something of an artistic testing ground for Nintendo to experiment with visuals that put style over raw processing power. From worlds made of string and felt, to claymation, we've seen numerous iterations of these two platformers push the physical craft aesthetic forward.

At a glance, Yoshi's Crafted World looks like just a natural extension of this design philosophy, but in practice it's often much more ambitious than that. It's a game that leans fully into tying its visual design and level design together in creative ways, and is all the more charming for it.


Is it all over for Call of Duty campaigns? The last instalment of the wildly popular shooter launched without a traditional single-player mode, with developer Treyarch focusing on adding multiplayer-only elements like a battle royale mode. That in itself reflects a wider industry shift, as Activision looks to adapt this golden goose to current trends, as well as find ways to make more money out of its playerbase.


At some point in Britain’s modern history, a small idea was cultivated in an unassuming building. People designed and created something. No-one at the point of conception understood how influential this idea would come to be, or imagined it ever becoming a byword for a nihilistic fiction full of apathy, misery, and anger.

But enough about Brexit, let’s talk about something the U.K. can be proud of: Warhammer.


Sometimes, video games we love end up getting a bit repetitive after years of replays. The challenge is gone, the surprise factor isn't there, and players need a way to keep their beloved classics fresh. For one player on Twitch, who wanted a new way to experience Super Mario 64, it all came down to using a fascinating limited control scheme to beat the game.


If you enjoyed Undertale, or its pseudo-spiritual successor Deltarune, you are probably aware of the work of artist Temmie Chang, who appears as a lovable self insert character found in both titles. Her memorable art in those games may be where many people first found her work, but now she's releasing games of her own too.


Few titles describe a game as well as Bulletstorm does. It’s edgy, it’s 'badass' in a corny, self-aware way, and it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Bulletstorm is a game about shooting, kicking and cursing your way through the endless swarms of enemies who're unlucky enough to get in the way of this storm of bullets. They don’t make them like Bulletstorm anymore.

Hell, they didn’t even make them like that in 2011. Hence Bulletstorm’s failure to turn into a long-running series, despite the backing of a big publisher and a middleman with a Midas touch. Bulletstorm, however, made a splash big enough to be revered by shooter fans and receive a remaster a couple of years ago.


When you think about game development towns in the UK, a few big names jump to mind before others. Places like Leamington Spa, which has grown a vibrant indie community from large-scale studios attracting talent, and Guildford, where the collapse of certain big players led to veteran talent leading a generation of new teams. But what about places that never had a Lionhead or a Codemasters in the first place? What kind of dev community emerges when the opportunities aren’t so grand?