The State of The Grass

Woah, Polygonal Grass has changed.

It’s just a different theme, calm down. But with the new theme, I’m trying to decide the purpose of the blog. WordPress allows me to publish good-looking content for free, whereas Tumblr lets me post content quickly without fussing with the layout. More people browse Tumblr than WordPress, though, and that means less people read my stuff.

I’m thinking Polygonal Grass will be a place to post the stuff I’d like to look nice and professional for my portfolio. So, don’t expect consistent updates. Maybe, I’ll publish my new, weekly SideQuesting columns here.

The Cave Creator Ron Gilbert Leaves Double Fine

ImageThe Secret of Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert will leave Double Fine Productions just two months following the release of adventure game The Cave, according to a post on his blog.

Gilbert, a game designer and writer best known for his work on Maniac Mansion and the DeathSpank series says he’s not done creating games. “So many games left to be designed,” he wrote.

With the help of his former Hothead Games colleague and DeathSpank Co-Creator Clayton Kauzlaric, Gilbert has been developing an “iOS side project,” titled, “The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty: A Musical Match-3 Pirate RPG.”

Gilbert plans to post screenshots of his iOS project on the Grumpy Gamer blog “in the next few days,” and behind-the-scenes pictures from The Cave “over the next few weeks.”

“Good luck, Ron!” Double Fine President Tim Schafer wrote in a Tweet, “Thanks for The Cave!”

Gilbert will give the keynote speech at the Penny Arcade Expo Australia on June 19.

Gilbert joined Double Fine in Sept. 2010.

Source: Grumpy Gamer, Twitter

Duncan Jones to Direct Warcraft Movie, Production Begins Fall 2013

Duncan JonesDirector Duncan Jones has been all the way to the Moon, but he hasn’t been to Azeroth yet.

Legendary Picture’s live-action Warcraft movie is alive again, with Jones in the director’s chair, reports Hollywood Reporter.

The film adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s fantasy universe begins production fall 2013, and is scheduled to release in 2015.

Legendary will keep Charles Leavitt’s script, who has previously written Blood Diamond (2006) and K-PAX (2001).

Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, along with Blizzard’s Charles Roven and Alex Gartner will produce the film.

British film-maker, and video game player Duncan Jones, previously directed Source Code (2010) and Moon (2009). “So the gauntlet was thrown down ages ago: Can you make a proper MOVIE of a video game. I’ve always said it’s possible. Got to DO it now! ;),” he tweeted following the film’s announcement.

The film’s casting has not been announced.

Source: Hollywood Reporter, Twitter

Image credit: ScreenCrave

My Top 10 Games of 2012

10. Spec Ops: The Line

SpecOpsI respect Spec Ops: The Line for what it wants to say about modern, military shooters, despite the troubles it goes through to convey it. It takes a little effort to peel back its layers, but once you do, its intelligence really shines. I never want to play Spec Ops: The Line again. It’s not fun, and it makes you feel bad about yourself. It’s an overall unpleasant experience. But I think it can be all that, and still be just as meaningful, if not more, than most other games this year.

9. The Darkness 2

TheDarkness2I almost forgot The Darkness 2 existed, let alone came out this year. As much as I hate the term “quad-wielding,” it’s the best way to describe what it feels like to control two shadowy creatures along with two guns. You form a mechanical bond with the tools at your fingertips as you whip and tear dudes in half. There’s a distinct sense of speed as you lay waste to those who oppose you. It’s a controlled frenzy of blood and bullets. The quiet moments between Jackie and his girlfriend are good too. They’re intimate for the sake of being intimate. I kept expecting some weird twist or explosion to happen at the end of those scenes, but they didn’t, and I liked that.

8. Asura’s Wrath

AsurasWrathAsura’s Wrath is hard to explain without making it sound like the worst thing ever. It’s a Japanese, episodic, quick time event game. You’ll watch it like a television show, and press buttons to keep it going. The small amount of gameplay makes room for the gigantic, planet-sized action that unfolds. It’s absurd enough to make your forget you’re just following the game’s instructions the entire time. If it weren’t so self-aware, Asura’s Wrath could have been terrible. But it isn’t, and it’s one of the most surprisingly good games this year.

7. Far Cry 3

FarCry3Far Cry 3 is the first game I played on my newly-built PC. It was my entry into modern PC gaming, and proof that I could put together a bunch of electronics to make a working machine. After you get past how beautiful Far Cry 3 is, you realize how great it is to be dropped on an island, alone, with a gun. This all became clear to me after a few hours of playing. I was atop one of the games watch towers, overlooking what seemed like the entire island, lush foliage, flowing grass, and all, when the faint roar of a tiger in mid-leap rumbled through my headset. Looking down, I watched as a tiger mauled a group of bandits on patrol. One of them was not just any ordinary bandit. No, he was a armored, Molotov cocktail-throwing bandit. He wasn’t equipped with a gun. So what did he do? He resorted to his only weapon of choice, and set the a portion of the jungle on fire, killing both himself and the tiger in a fiery death. I zip-lined down into the charred remains and continued on my quest to save my girlfriend. You should play Far Cry 3.

6. Halo 4

Halo4I’m a sucker for Halo games. Always have been. Before playing Halo 4, I realized I had literally grown up with the Master Chief and Cortana, and the idea of seeing them again made me nervous. Would Halo still be the game I remembered so fondly, or had nostalgia clouded my memory? Turns out, Halo 4 is still the Halo I once loved. Sure, it’s more of the same. But that’s what I wanted. Halo remains an anomaly in the first-person shooter space, and it’s still an absolute blast to play.

5. Mass Effect 3

MassEffect3Mass Effect 3 is a testament to investment in video game fiction. Few games warrant the amount of criticism it received. You can’t end a trilogy that attempts to encompass millions of players’ choices without pissing off a few thousand people — and I think that’s great. Ultimately, Mass Effect 3 handles the expectations well, offering a solid playing game wrapped up in an impactful narrative.

4. Dishonored

DishonoredI hate stealth games. It’s the demand for precision that ruins it for me. When I stumbled out of the darkness in Dishonored the fun didn’t stop. It gave me a chance to climb over its barriers, make mistakes, and adapt to its stealth system without punishment. Before long, I was completing missions as a ghost, and manipulating the world from the shadows. I’d also like to award Blink my Ability Of The Year Award, it’s sometimes hilarious, and endlessly useful. I could live without those damn acid-shooting plants, though.

3. The Walking Dead

TheWalkingDeadI love that The Walking Dead embraces its strengths and never looks back. I loved how deep it dug into my moral depths, and didn’t shy away from confronting me with my mistakes. There’s nothing clean about my playthrough, about how things ended. But I’d never change it, and that, I think, is the true power of The Walking Dead.

2. Journey

JourneyJourney is an exercise in video game puppetry. It pulls the strings on your emotions with a well-rehearsed grace no other game has performed. It’s dazzling to look at, and at times, you forget it’s a video game. Coupled with its study of anonymous interaction, Journey is an experience worth having.

1. Fez

FezAs part of the generation of players who missed the era before games had tutorials, I latched onto Fez’s alien world. Below its indie charm lies a glitchy, cryptic underside I couldn’t stop myself from slipping into. All the message boards and failed attempts to crack the game’s final puzzle made me feel like a part of some kind of secret society of video game hackers. If anything, the scribbled symbols and ciphers on this notebook paper are proof Fez is pretty rad.

Turbine New Hires Include Elder Scrolls Designer

Veteran game designer Ken Rolston, former lead designer on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and lead creative visionary on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, joins the MMORPG studio Turbine as director of design.

“Ken will lead the vision and the implementation of all aspects of game design for Turbine,” the Massachusetts-based studio responsible for Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Lord of the Rings Online wrote in a press release Friday.

Before video games, Rolston worked on various pen-and-paper RPGs including Dungeons and Dragons, and RuneQuest.

The company announced several other new hires joining Rolston: Alan Villani, formerly of NetherRealm Studios, joins as vice president of technology, Jai Singh, formerly of Zynga, joins as executive director of technical operations, and Demetrius Comes, formerly of Petroglyph Games, joins as executive director of engineering.

Turbine is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

 

First Screenshot of Mechromancer Revealed, New Ability Detailed

An official Twitter account for Borderlands 2’s Mechromancer Gaige revealed the first in-game screenshot of the class, and detailed one of her new abilities.

In between gory descriptions of her mechanized partner Deathtrap’s murder techniques, Gaige offered to explain one of three new abilities: “Electrical Burn,” “Sharing is Caring,” or “Make it Sparkle.” The winner, “Make it Sparkle,” causes Deathtrap to deal elemental damage based on the type Gaige shoots it with. “So your normal Deathtrap slashes a dude with his digistruct claws. Which is awesome. But after I make it sparkle with, say, a fire gun, the poor sucker on the end of the Deathtrap’s claws will be bleeding AND burning AND screaming.”

The Mechromancer class will be available October 16 as DLC for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points, or free for those who pre-ordered Borderlands 2 from participating retailers.

Source: Gearbox Software TwitterGBX Mechromancer Twitter

Liberation Maiden, Aero Porter, and Crimson Shroud Available on 3DS eShop This Year

Nintendo announced its plans to release three games from the Guild01 compilation in Europe and North America as downloadable 3DS titles later this year, according to its online broadcast Nintendo Direct.

The Guild01 compilation, which was released in Japan earlier this year, consists of three games by popular Japanese developers: Liberation Maiden, by Goichi “Suda51” Suda, Aero Porter by Yoot Saito, and Crimson Shroud, by Yasumi Matsuno.

Liberation Maiden, a mech-shooter, where players fight off enemies invading Japan, is available now in the European eShop, and will be the first released at a later date for North America. Aero Porter, an airport simulator, and Crimson Shroud, an RPG set 1,000 years in the past, will both release by the end of the year.

The fourth game in the Guild01 compilation, Rental Bukiya de Omasse, created by Japanese comedian Yoshiyuki Hirai, has not been announced for 3DS.

Source: Nintendo, Nintendo UK Twitter