Months after being announced with a promise to launch on Steam Early Access, H1Z1 is still in closed testing. Whisenhunt says his team doesn't want to rush to market, instead setting a goal to release a game to Early Access that's as technically stable as it is fun.
"I would love to have it next week," Whisenhunt laughs. "The thing about [Early Access] is the community takes a look at a bunch of streams and says 'It looks really cool. It looks playable. Please release it.' But our concerns aren't the shiny things, it's making sure that our server isn't going to ... look, we know we are going to have a server issue within the first week of Early Access," he admits.
"We do want to make sure that we're ready to respond to that the right way."
Suddenly I spotted it: the flash of a white tail as a deer sprinted away from me through the brush. I pressed down the sprint button and went after it, chewing through my stamina and cursing my lack of four legs or gasoline-powered wheels.
The deer led me on a grim chase through the mostly silent woodland. At one point, a wolf appeared out from behind a tree and sprinted after the doe as well, although it couldn't catch up and eventually became disheartened (or glitched out). Yes, I felt both gruesome and silly spending my moments at the demo booth trying to kill Bambi, but I needed to know if I would be able to survive in this environment.
One wrong move and I was upon the prey, bringing it down with a sickening thud. Continuing to hack away at the carcass with my axe found me rewarded with more crafting materials and a dented conscience. Stricken, I wandered away and roamed up a hill, only to encounter a strange solitary sign with a skull on it.
"That marks the border of the game," a nearby developer told me while another dev professed amazement that he had never seen such signs before. "If you go past here, you'll die," the first dev cautioned.
Maybe I deserve to die. If chopping through a tender critter is what it takes to survive in this new world, is that worth the cost? I put down the controls and walked away, innocent no longer.
Although Saints Row 4 was released in August of last year, Volition is keeping up support for the game with two projects, both due on January 27, 2015: Saints Row 4: Re-elected will port the base game and all the DLC released so far to Xbox One and PS4, while Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a standalone expansion that sends players literally into the bowels of Hell.
PAX Prime 2014 is already underway, but as fun as joining a swarm of people buzzing around video game displays can be, you don't even have to leave the house to get this weekend's highlights. Well, unless your house is a black hole for Internet and phone reception ...
The point is, Joystiq is on the front lines of PAX Prime, ignoring sensible limitations to bring you a slew of news and previews. With this morning's proof that survival in numbers is a relative concept in Don't Starve Together and a reminder that thinking every MOBA is interchangeable is a mistake when it comes to Gigantic, the good stuff is already underway. There's always yesterday's reveal of Xbox One and PS4 versions of Saints Row 4 too, as well as a new, standalone expansion called Saints Row: Gat out of Hell.
Stick with us until PAX Prime's conclusion on Monday, September 1, and in return we'll tell you all about the show's highlights without subjecting you to the dreaded PAX Pox. For now though, we've got a full recap of this week's news, reviews and features. Amazon's surprise acquisition of Twitch, Nintendo's new 3DS models, reviews of Madden NFL 15 and The Walking Dead's season finale, an examination of what makes Early Access such a valuable space to developers ... it's all arranged neat and orderly-like for you after the break!
On paper, it sounds like yet another MOBA, the rapidly-expanding genre pioneered by games like League of Legends and Dota 2. In practice however, while the game's DNA is undeniably colored by the m-word genre, you'd be doing the game a ... well, gigantic disservice to think of it as another imitator.
Don't Starve Together is unique in that it encourages both cooperative and competitive play. Plopped down in the middle of the unforgiving wilderness, up to four players team up to build a camp, hunt wildlife and eke out a meager existence, strengthened by their bonds of friendship.
The core Don't Starve experience can be much more forgiving, for instance, when you assign one friend to craft survival supplies while another goes and chops firewood. If you ran into any opposition alone and unprepared, you'd be in serious trouble, but with an armed buddy watching your back (and reviving you when you're overwhelmed), being stranded in the wilderness isn't so bad after all.
If one of your teammates decides to choose the pyromaniac character class, though, you could be in for a world of hurt.
Expanding the role of nature is essential to the immersion of H1Z1's survival aspect. Wolves, deer, and bear roam the countryside, getting into the occasional tiff with each other and the undead. They're useful if you can take them down quickly, since the harsh elements (such as rain and snow) will soon be programmed to degrade your well-being and those animal pelts could be made into clothes.
Whisenhunt walked us through the four essential stats to staying alive in this world. Stamina is for sprinting and attacks, and while it regenerates quickly, neglecting it will ensure your body will draw from your hydration and energy levels instead. Your health is also constantly ticking down and replenished by the food and water you drink, meaning that you'll always need to be looking for more to scarf up and quaff in your journeys. Stashing your food in your backpack is a good option, although the team is still tinkering with the style of inventory to make the limited storage another survival factor.
When H1Z1 goes into early access later this year, there will be one "vanilla" server on which no punches will be pulled (this is doubly true as all players will start with only their fists as weapons). Other types of servers, such as player-only or PvE rulesets, are possibilities once the team assesses how players are engaging the game in beta.
Cara Delevingne recently tweeted that she was "with @rockstargames to update my GTA radio station Non Stop Pop FM" for this fall's ports, with Non Stop Pop being an adult contemporary station on GTA5's dial. Rockstar hasn't announced plans regarding radio content for the ports, so it's unclear whether we can hope for radio hosts other than Delevingne to swing by and freshen up their shows as well.
We're still waiting on a specific date for our returning trip to the San Andreas area, but in the mean time you can compare trailers from the original release and the upcoming port. Or you could join us at shaking our heads over Lindsey Lohan's latest leading role in ... a lawsuit with Rockstar.
Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.
Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.
This isn't the only throwback hardware The Behemoth has on display at PAX, though. Hit the break below to get a look at some unique arcade cabinets created for Alien Hominid, Battleblock Theater, and Castle Crashers.
A new generation seems to come with it a series of new versions of some of our favorite games. But what about the less obvious choices? Capcom bringing the original Resident Evil back makes sense, but what about Nintendo's cult-hit Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem?
The Joystiq staff has reached back into the last decade-plus for its obscure favorites to present a list of some games we would like to see make a return in remastered form.
Of course this is only a small slice of our favorite obscure games we'd want to revisit. Tell us your selections and why and they may be added to our gallery.
In the game first announced at E3 2014, players return to the scene of the crime as Agent 47 – the killer for hire anti-hero from the Hitman series. Players take up a perch and rid the world of 47's targets from afar. Though the game focuses on long-range sniping, earning a high score borrows from the tenets that make the main series a success. Even from a mile away and with a rifle, stealth and being creative are paramount.
Peggle 2 hit Xbox One at launch and the Xbox 360 in May, though in 2013 we learned that the game was bound for "as many platforms as possible," and a Korean rating for a PS4 version popped up that year. Surprise or not, Peggle 2 PS4 players can rejoice today (and again in October).
Tabata stressed that Final Fantasy Type-0 is approaching a more mature tone in comparison to other games in the series, including magic and special abilities acting as "devastating attacks" that can cause enemies to burn to death, for example. Additionally, much of the feedback Square Enix received after launching the game in Japan revolved around its steep difficulty. To alleviate those concerns, the developer implemented four difficulty modes and tuned the combat balance so the HD port "makes sense for the big screen," Tabata explained.
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