Category Archives: Developer Coverage

New TinyKin Developer Walkthrough – World And Story Explained

Interstellar explorer Milo has a little problem. That is, his problem is being little. About an inch high, to be precise. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s stuck in the past (the 90s, if we’re being specific), and the local insect population have gone and discovered religion. He’s not sure if that last one is a problem yet, but it’s certainly weird.

Welcome to the strange and wonderful world of Tinykin, from publisher tinyBuild and developers Splashteam. Join co-directors Romain Claude and Marie Marquet on a whirlwind tour of its massive miniature environments in the dev vlog below for a first peek at what’s coming to PC and consoles this Summer.

Inspired by genre classics like Pikmin and Paper Mario, as well as 90s Saturday morning cartoons, Tinykin is a game about exploration first and foremost. Each room of the house that Milo finds himself trapped in is an enormous explorable space, with its own cultures, civilizations and problems to solve.

Want to see more of Milo and the strange world of Tinykin? Check out the previous developer video, looking more at the game’s core gameplay and Milo’s tools.

Splinter Cell Remake Begins Development at Ubisoft Toronto

Ubisoft has greenlit the development of a Splinter Cell remake that will draw from the rich canvas of the brand. Led by Ubisoft Toronto, the game will be rebuilt from the ground up using Ubisoft’s own Snowdrop engine – the same engine being used to develop Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, as well as Ubisoft’s upcoming Star Wars game – to deliver new-generation visuals and gameplay, and the dynamic lighting and shadows the series is known for.

To find out more, we spoke with three developers on the project – Creative Director Chris Auty, Producer Matt West, and Technical Producer Peter Handrinos – about their connection to the series, what’s being preserved, and what made Splinter Cell such a revelation.

How are you approaching Splinter Cell as a remake? What makes it a remake and not a remaster?

Matt West: To me, a remake takes what you’d do in a remaster and goes a little bit further with it. The original Splinter Cell has a lot that was amazing and revolutionary at the time it came out, 19 years ago. The gaming public now has an even more refined palate. So, I think it kind of has to be a remake as opposed to a remaster. Although we’re still in the very earliest stages of development, what we’re trying to do is make sure the spirit of the early games remains intact, in all of the ways that gave early Splinter Cell its identity. So, as we’re building it from the ground up, we’re going to update it visually, as well as some of the design elements to match player comfort and expectations, and we are going to keep it linear like the original games, not make it open world. How do we make sure that new fans are able to pick up the controller and dive right in, and fall in love with the game and the world right from the get-go?

Peter Handrinos: From a tech perspective, if I had to boil it down to a couple of words in terms of the difference, what we’re doing is exploration and innovation here. We’ve got a new engine and a new console lifecycle to take advantage of, so the tech is one area that we don’t want stuck in the past.

MW: The phrase “Stealth Action Redefined” from the original game has actually proven to be a really valuable North Star for us. We’re able to, for example, apply that to what Peter was just saying, as far as being able to prototype and innovate and test some stuff out. That is very much in keeping with us redefining what stealth action is going to feel like for a modern audience.

What aspects do you think are most important to update? What is the core of this experience that needs to be preserved?

Chris Auty: Splinter Cell was a breakthrough in stealth – as Matt mentioned, it was “stealth redefined” with a huge focus on getting that core gameplay right above all, and delivering on an ideal: be a ghost. It’s important for us to preserve the sense of mastery by supporting players who observe the situations, make their plan, use their gadgets, and outsmart the enemy creatively to deal with the challenges they are presented with. Ideally, they end up coming out on the other side with no one having realized you were even there. That’s the essence of Splinter Cell.

MW: One of the things that, from my point of view is really exciting about this project, is that the last couple of games all of us have worked on have been really big worlds. What that means is that the economy of decisions is very spread out, whereas what I love about a Splinter Cell map is every square inch represents intentionality. Every square inch is part of a choice, or directly offers a choice, or has a direct ramification. That density of gameplay is at the forefront in Splinter Cell, and that’s going to be really, really important for us. The gameplay experience we are targeting is directly tied to what we want players to feel, to capture the essence back when we were all playing the original games.

CA: Yeah, and preserving what made those early games so compelling. We recognize a huge part of the appeal of Splinter Cell is the flawless planning, execution and satisfaction you feel when you go in and absolutely ace every encounter. Seeing your mastery put on display at the end of things, especially when you go through with no alarms triggered – that’s a big part of the Splinter Cell experience, and we want to be sure we’re honoring that.

Splinter Cell is being remade in the Snowdrop engine; what does it enable you to do that wouldn’t have been possible 19 years ago, or that wouldn’t be possible with other engines even now?

PH: Snowdrop is a proven modern AAA engine. It empowers content creators and programmers alike to try things quickly, see what works, and ultimately find success. I think that’s one of its major advantages, allowing us to quickly find the modern equivalent of that core Splinter gameplay. Some other AAA engines out there do not afford this type of iteration speed, necessarily, and so this is really what gives Snowdrop an edge when bringing Splinter Cell up to speed on a modern engine.

Taking a step back, what was your first experience with the first Splinter Cell? What made it special to you in 2002?

CA: My background has been in level design and level creation for the past 20-odd years, and seeing that back then – that there could be cloths that flap as I move through them, and that there’s some sort of actual, genuine interaction between me as a player and the world I’m in; seeing the enemies moving around, allowing me to plan and make different judgment calls based on where they are and what’s happening – that had a huge impact on me early on. Things like the thermal vision and using that as a gameplay element – these things were not just graphical bells and whistles. They were actually relevant to the experience.

From a team perspective, we’re all behind that philosophy, that the stuff that gets added is not just eye candy. It has a relevance and a bearing on the on the game itself. So that was a huge, defining moment for me playing Splinter Cell for the first time, seeing that tech and being blown away by it, and then seeing it integrated into gameplay. That was a big moment, and a good memory.

Back to the present: What is your team makeup like at this point – are there any veterans from past Splinter Cell games? What opportunities are there for people who want to join the project?

PH: We want to invite anyone who’s intrigued by what we’ve said to apply to join Ubisoft Toronto. We’re building a new team, the same way we did when we started the studio. There are technical leadership openings and roles across all different job families available. But there are a lot of vets here, so we’re going to have a really good mix of people who have worked on previous Splinter Cell games, and new team members who are joining and bringing fresh energy and fresh ideas.

MW: It’s a big deal that Blacklist was the first game that ever came out the door at Ubisoft Toronto. It’s in our DNA.

CA: It’s a universal quality of everyone who’s joined so far, and everyone that we’re looking to bring on as well, that there’s a respect for the brand, and for the game and its history. I know everyone who’s currently working on the project has spent an enormous amount of time researching, playing, reading, and getting to know the games, the characters, the stories, and what makes Splinter Cell awesome at its core.

Beyond what we’ve discussed, what is most important for readers to take away from this announcement?

PH: A lot of time has passed since the original Splinter Cell, and even since the last sequel – enough time to miss an entire console generation. So now we’re going to take the time to explore what this means for us, for light and shadow, for animation tech, for gameplay, AI, even audio. We’re going to ask ourselves, “where does it make sense for us to innovate? What not only fits with the legacy, but brings the game up to a level that will be expected of us, and where can we surprise our players?” We want to bring them something new, yet still connect them to that feeling that they had two decades ago, playing that masterpiece for the first time.

MW: I’ll throw this out there: You’ve got to have a tagline, and one of the things that we’re using currently as the tagline, from the very beginning, is the phrase “respect the goggles.” I love the goggles as a symbol for Sam. We are making a game that is going to be modern, but built on the foundation of the brand’s rich history. The game earned its stripes the right way, by being innovative and challenging, and a really different experience than what was in the marketplace at the time. “Respect the goggles” helps to remind us of the fact that we have to do it justice.

There’s stuff that simply needs to be redone from scratch to be up to snuff for a modern gameplay experience. With that, though, what do we need to do to absolutely preserve the feeling of early Splinter Cell? We’re going to be straddling the line between the spirit of the old, and the comfort of the new, so that we can excite and surprise new players, but also make sure that when our returning players pick up the controller, they have that sigh of relief, saying “Ahhh, they got it.”

CA: It’s safe to say a lot of us on the team are stealth purists, and we’re behind that level of seriousness when it comes to those kinds of mechanics, and those sorts of things that we want to see in this game. And we’re very, very aware of what makes classic Splinter Cell what it is.

MW: We talked earlier about that dense world, where every square inch is important because they’re all a consequence of a choice or setting the table for the next choice from the player’s point of view. So that kind of density, that packed nature that I think was so palpable in the first trilogy – it’s going to be one of our guiding lights as we go forward.

CA: With this remake, we are building a solid base for the future of Splinter Cell.

For more on the Splinter Cell remake, stay tuned to our dedicated news hub.

Dive into VR horror with Propagation: Paradise Hotel

At the UploadVR Showcase 2021, WanadevStudio, home of the hit VR rhythm game Ragnarock, announced a new VR title from the Propagation VR franchise.

After making a name for itself with a first original experience hitting 350,000 downloads, the French studio decided to expand its Propagation VR universe with “Propagation: Paradise Hotel”, a new thrilling survival-horror adventure that will let you explore dark environments and cross paths with terrifying creatures, testing your nerves on the way.

The “Propagation: Paradise Hotel” VR experience is scheduled for late 2022, and the team is working for it to be available on all major VR platforms.

To follow the developments of “Propagation: Paradise Hotel”, a Steam page has been created where it is already possible to Wishlist the upcoming experience.

Players can discover the universe of Propagation by playing the free original Propagation VR experience, and on the Propagation: Paradise Hotel website.

New Walkthrough Trailer Gives An Insight Into Alien World Of The Gunk, Coming To Xbox & PC On December 16th

Thunderful are pleased to unveil a new trailer for anticipated story-driven sci-fi exploration title The Gunk where lead star Fiona Nova gives us a guided introduction to the game’s compelling world. This new game from the team behind the SteamWorld series will be released for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on December 16th, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one.

In the new trailer, Fiona Nova, voice of protagonist Rani, introduces us to the game’s compelling characters and spectacular alien world. Rani and her partner Becks are a space hauling duo mining the galaxy for whatever resources they can sell to make ends meet. When they come across a seemingly barren planet infested with a strange undiscovered substance they call “the gunk”, they wonder if they might be in for a big payout.

The Gunk has a big emphasis on exploration with a wondrous and diverse alien world to discover featuring biomes ranging from rocky canyons, to dense jungles, to deep subterranean caves (this is the team behind SteamWorld after all) and a few more surprises. The gunk is turning all of these zones barren, but as you remove it using Rani’s upgradable goo-sucking power-glove, you’ll discover a flourishing ecosystem seemingly suppressed by this mysterious and destructive gunk.

The intriguing questions of what the gunk is, how it got here and what kind of world existed prior to its arrival can be uncovered as you explore. Perhaps the gunk has something to do with the ruins of an ancient civilization that appears to be long gone? Scanning the environment to make new discoveries and learn more about the world will fill out your findings in a logbook. Players who dig into these entries might just find some clues as to what happened here!

“As a team, it’s been a real pleasure to branch out and supplement the charm we’re known for with the SteamWorld series with a more ‘grown-up’ story like the one we are telling with The Gunk,” said Game Director Ulf Hartelius. “We’ve been working hard to blend that intriguing sci-fi tale with the cool raymarching tech we’re using to create our mesmerizing gunk and a rich world for players to explore. We can’t wait for them to finally get to experience it all on December 16th”.

LEGO Builder’s Journey for Xbox Coming November 25

The LEGO® Group brings the critically acclaimed LEGO® Builder’s Journey to even more players this Thanksgiving, available November 25 for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One devices. LEGO® Builder’s Journey will be discounted for 20% off for a limited time beginning on launch day.

The Steam version which is available to play now will be 25% during the same time frame.

The Light Brick team has designed a stunning brick-built world that follows a father and son on an inspirational journey. Players will delight in mediatiative gameplay that is filled with geometric puzzles and graphical upgrades for the current generation of Xbox devices.

LEGO Builder’s Journey will launch on Xbox devices on November 25, and is now available on Steam, the Epic Games Store and the Nintendo eshop. To learn more, please visit https://www.lightbrick.com/builders-journey.

Explore ELDEN RING With New Narrated Preview Video Along With Pre-order Offers and Special Edition Announcements

Experience a first-look at narrated ELDEN RING gameplay giving players a deep-dive into the following areas of the game:

  • Vast world design – the meticulously designed ”Lands Between” brings unprecedented immersion to FromSoftware’s largest game to date. Secrets hide around every corner of this immense world encouraging exploration for those who dare venture off the beaten path.
  • Legacy Dungeons – Large multi-level dungeons evoking classic FromSoftware level design are integrated into the overworld.
  • Traversal – Ride like the wind across The Lands Between on your Spectral Steed, and even engage in combat while on horseback.
  • Combat – Players can engage with a variety of basic or advanced combat options across a number of weapon types and magical disciplines.
  • Multiplayer – Team up with friends and help other Tarnished take down powerful foes with co-op multiplayer.

Adventure and danger await any Tarnished daring enough to enter The Lands Between and attempt to claim themselves The Elden Lord starting on February 25, 2022, for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or PC via STEAM.

Pre-order ELDEN RING today to gain access to following items:

  • Digital Adventure Guide, containing useful information to help players as they enter The Lands Between.
  • Bonus Gesture – Receive a gesture at the start of the game. Gesture can also be obtained in-game.

The following versions of ELDEN RING have also been announced today:

Digital Deluxe Edition (Available on PlayStation, Xbox, and STEAM digital storefronts for $79.99 MSRP.)

  • ELDEN RING game
  • Digital Artbook and Original Soundtrack

Collector’s Edition (Available at participating retailers for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox One for US$189.99 MSRP, while supplies last)

  • Physical ELDEN RING game disc
  • 9-inch statue of Malenia – Blade of Miquella
  • Exclusive SteelBook™ featuring the Elden Ring
  • 40-page hardcover art book
  • Digital Soundtrack

Premium Collector’s Edition (Exclusively available on the BANDAI NAMCO Store for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox One for fans in the US and Canada for US$259.99 MSRP. Pre-orders coming very soon.)

  • Physical ELDEN RING game disc
  • 9-inch statue of Malenia – Blade of Miquella
  • Official Malenia helmet replica 1:1 scale
  • Exclusive SteelBook™ featuring the Elden Ring
  • 40-page hardcover art book
  • Digital Soundtrack

Go Behind the Fight Scenes in the Upcoming Kung Fu Action Game, Sifu

Sloclap, developer and publisher of the upcoming Kung Fu action game Sifu released an incredible behind the scenes video today that ushers fans onto a motion capture-filled combat set, giving them a detailed look at how the game approaches real-world Kung Fu combat. Featuring the gripping intensity of classic Kung Fu films, Sifu tells the story of a young Kung Fu student who has spent their life training for a day of reckoning after the brutal murder of their entire family by a mysterious assassination squad. Sifu is set to launch next year on February 22 for PlayStation consoles and on the Epic Games Store.

The newly released video takes would-be sifus behind the scenes with Sloclap’s creative director Jordan Layani and the game’s combat choreographer Benjamin Colussi, diving deep into the realism of the combat as well as the authentic approach to the culture. Everything from proper fighting form to the feng shui of the Wuguan (ie. Chinese martial arts school) has been taken into account to create an immersive, action-packed and true-to-life Kung Fu combat game.

The collaboration between Sloclap and Colussi took place over several months during early development, with the main character’s movements inspired by Benjamin Colussi, and his unique approach to Pak Mei Kung Fu. Emphasizing authenticity, Colussi and Layani worked closely together to draw from the best of two concepts: creativity and expertise. By blending these together, they created the signature fast-paced and action-packed fighting style you see in Sifu. 

Benjamin was tasked with creating more than 200 moves for the main character, including both hand-to-hand combat and the use of various weapons. He worked closely with the Sloclap developers to create visually impressive moves that have an authentic feel. Some of the most intricate fight scenes players will experience when Sifu launches were painstakingly created in real-time by Benjamin Colussi and a stunt team, in a motion capture studio.

This collaboration also explored important cultural details, such as the proper design of the character’s Wuguan – everything from door placement, decorations and placement of items in the digital Wuguan was just as important as getting the fighting moves right. Colussi’s experience training in Foshan, located in the Guandong province, brought an expertise that helped create a world that is as immersive as it is exciting.

Sifu’s unique gameplay sits in the crossroads of two established and popular genres, mashing the intensity and timeless thrill of beat ‘em ups with the gripping design of 3D character action games. Players will uncover an ancient mystery via a series of difficult confrontations that will push your skills to their limit. To overcome the odds that are heavily stacked against you, you’ll need to rely on your mastery of Kung Fu and on a magical pendant that will revive you after death. The cost of magic is dear, however, and you will age significantly every time you come back to life: time is the price you will pay for your revenge.

Set across various locations in the city, Sifu gives you 24 hours to enact your revenge for the death of your family. From rooftops in the slums of the city, filled with dealers and junkies, to the immaculate rooms of a contemporary art museum and set to a fiery soundtrack, Sifu is one of the 2022’s most anticipated games.

Preorders are available now for $39.99 USD for the standard edition and $49.99 USD for the Deluxe Edition. For more information, please visit www.sifugame.com and check out @sifugame on Twitter.

For more information on Sloclap hit up www.sloclap.com and follow them on Twitter @sloclap.

EVERSPACE 2 Headed to Game Pass. Full Launch Delayed to 2023.

Independent AA studio ROCKFISH Games is excited to announce they are partnering with Microsoft to bring EVERSPACE 2 to Game Preview on the Windows 10/11 Store through Xbox Game Pass for PC and pay per download for $39.99 / €37.99 / £31.99, available on October 21, 2021.

“After our successful partnership launching the original EVERSPACE as an ID@Xbox title in Xbox Game Preview and bringing the game to Game Pass post full release, we’re thrilled to work again with our friends at Microsoft to bring even more fast-paced space shooter action to  Windows 10 and Xbox platforms with EVERSPACE 2,” said Michael Schade, CEO and co-founder of ROCKFISH Games. “The deal not only enables space pilots with Game Pass to jump in the cockpit early, but it also provides extra funding for our team to complete the story campaign as promised, really nail the endgame, and keep pushing the envelope on all platforms.”

“The ROCKFISH Games team has an exceptional track record of delivering visually stunning and addicting space shooters on all sorts of platforms for some fifteen years, and we’re excited to have their latest, highly-praised work coming to the Windows 10, 11 and Xbox platform,” said Microsoft’s Chris Carla, Head of ID@Xbox. “With best-in-class graphics, an engaging looter-shooter game loop, accessible space combat and exploration, tight controls for both keyboard + mouse and gamepad, plus the open development approach from a talented veteran team, EVERSPACE 2 is just a perfect fit for Xbox Game Preview and Xbox Game Pass.”

While the third major EVERSPACE 2 content update, Khaït Nebula, is on track to be officially released on November 3rd with an experimental release on Steam scheduled for October 22, ROCKFISH Games has decided to push back the simultaneous full release on PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), Xbox, and PlayStation to early 2023.

First launched in Steam Early Access in January of 2021, EVERSPACE 2 takes the series from linear indie roguelike to a handcrafted, semi-open-world AA action RPG. While still in development for another full year, ROCKFISH Games has already released about 65% of the planned story content with three more star systems, two additional player ship classes, fast-travel, trading, and endgame activities left to go.

Every Friday, the ROCKFISH Games team shows off content from their latest EVERSPACE 2 dev build on the ROCKFISH Games Twitch and YouTube channel from 8 pm to 10 pm CEST / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST / 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PST. Viewers even have the chance to ask questions directly to various members of the dev team, while the CEO and co-founder, Michael Schade, is almost always moderating both chats.

Follow EVERSPACE 2 on Twitter, Facebook, or join the game’s Discord to stay in the loop on the latest developments.

Xuan Yuan Sword 7 Out Now for PS4 and Xbox One

We are thrilled to announce that Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is out now digitally on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The first game in the 30-year-old legendary series to come to the West, this entry offers a standalone story following hero Taishi Zhao, making it the perfect entry point for newcomers.

To commemorate Xuan Yuan Sword 7‘s launch, we’ve just released a special commentary video exploring the game’s story, setting and mechanics. Witness the game’s fantastical beasts, cryptic environmental puzzles, ancient board games, and a deep combat system that includes summon monsters!

This collaborative effort from eastasiasoft, SOFTSTAR and DOMO is a celebration of ancient China’s landscape, civilization and culture. With a story deeply rooted in ancient Chinese history and mythology, Xuan Yuan Sword 7 reimagines both as one fantastical and chaotic realm under the governance of a new Xin Dynasty. Witness the final destiny of the Mohists who believed in an ancient philosophy of logic, rational thought, and science that was once as popular as Confucianism in China 2200 years ago.

Physical editions will be produced in partnership with Maximum Games, available on October 12th at all major retailers in North America, Europe and Australia or directly from store.maximumgames.com/products/xuan-yuan-sword-7.

For more details on Xuan Yuan Sword 7, please visit: http://www.swd7.tw/main/index/en