Shovel Knight Will Appear in Yooka-Laylee

Playtonic Games, the new independent studio formed by several former members of Rare, has released a new trailer for their upcoming Kickstarter-funded game, Yooka-Laylee, focusing on the various characters that will be appearing in the game.  This includes major characters like the main antagonist Capital B and Trowzer the Snake (heh heh) who will teach you important techniques.  The one that’s captured the most people’s attention, however, is a special guest character hailing from another crowdfunded game.

Shovel Knight, the titular hero from Yacht Club Games’ sidescrolling action game, will appear in Yooka-Laylee as an NPC.  This isn’t the first time that the hero of shovelry has made a cameo in another game, as he is also making an appearance in SWDTech Games’ detective-based RPG Pixel Noir and will be a party member in Lab Zero’s RPG Indivisible.  The game Shovel Knight had it’s own fair share of cameos with the Battletoads appearing exclusively in the Xbox One version of the game and Kratos from the God of War series in the Playstation 4 version.

Yooka-Laylee is being built as a revival of 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie that the team was famous for as a part of Rare.  The Kickstarter campaign raised over £2,000,000 for the development of the game.  It’s set to release on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, Wii U, and Playstation 4 in early 2017.

The Hero Trap Cancelled After Undershooting Kickstarter

Despite reaching its Kickstarter funding goal, SMASHWORX’s Gauntlet-inspired rougelike game, The Hero Trap, will not be seeing released and has had development cancelled.  This is the result of the developer intentionally asking for less than with its funding goal than would actually be required to develop the game.  SMASHWORX released a statement regarding the cancellation, but has set it so that only backers can view it.  However, some have already transcribed the announcement and you can read the contents of the postmortem here (if any of the backers of the project can confirm or deny that this transcription is completely accurate, please let us know).

According to the transcription, SMASHWORX undershot their goal in the hopes that they would either make their project appear more enticing to backers and garner the actual funds they needed through stretch goals or, failing that, could use what they did raise to entice a publisher into covering the remainder of the costs.  Neither of those ideas came to fruition, and so the entire project was scraped.  SMASHWORX has promised that it will refund all of its backers, but they’ll have to do so without assistance from Kickstarter as the campaign is no longer their concern and there are plenty of potential problems that can occur as a result of that.

Undershooting crowdfunding campaigns has been a serious problem with the practice for some time.  SMASHWORX has certainly shot its own reputation in the foot with this fiasco and will have an uphill battle with any future projects they might pursue.  Not only that, undershooting in general makes crowdfunding more difficult for studios that are actually honest with their projections.  It makes their projects appear cheaper than they actually are and warp peoples perceptions on how much studios should expect for their base funding goal.  Compare The Hero Trap‘s $25,000 goal to Lab Zero’s $150,000 campaign simply to add a single new character to their already-completed game, Skullgirls.  When the specific costs of creating a character for a fighting are broken down, Lab Zero’s goal is perfectly reasonable, but just taking a casual glance at those two numbers paints a very unrealistic picture in someone’s head.

What are your thoughts on the cancellation of The Hero Trap and the practice of undershooting?  What other caveats of crowdfunding do you think deserve attention?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Shenmue III Newest Update “Be Your Own Capsule Toy Figure!”, Put Your Name In Shenmue Guestbook

Shenmue

Shenmue III Kickstarter page just got updated today with something very interesting to fans of the series’ that want to back the game’s already incredible crowd funding run. Shenmue III has become one of the top 10 most funded Kickstarter campaigns ever.

The newest update added new rewards for certain amount of money donated which includes a guestbook that gives you the chance to “put your name and a 140 character message in the guestbook of a Choubu inn.” or even have a capsule figure made after you by non-other than Main Character Designer Kenji Miyawaki.

Here is all the details below:

SHENMUE GUESTBOOK – $600 Put your name and a 140 character message in the guestbook of a Choubu inn. Write your witticism/aphorism/Shenmue-ism for all to see! Includes the $500 Reward.

*The capsule toy rewards are stand alone rewards, so will not be included in the higher rewards.

DICE DUDE CAPSULE TOY – $700 Be in the newest Shenmue capsule toy collection as your own block figure for the in-game capsule toy machines. + Give an idea for the toy’s name. Includes the $600 Reward.

CHIBI YOU CAPSULE TOY – $1,200 Kenji Miyawaki will draw you as a chibi figure for the in-game capsule toy vending machines. + Give an idea for the toy’s name. Limit 60. Includes the $600 Reward.

BFF CAPSULE TOY – $1,800 Choose Ryo, Shenhua, Nozomi, Joy, Ren, Ine-san, Guizhang, Lan Di, Chai, or Fangmei to appear with your Kenji Miyawaki-drawn chibi figure for the in-game capsule toy vending machines. + Give an idea for the toy’s name. Limit 40. Includes the $600 Reward.

Shenmue III’s campaign has been great so far and it  is lovely to see how many fans are waiting for this game. Let’s hope for the best Shenmue experience ever. Shenmue III is expected to release in 2017 for PC and PS4.

Keiji Inafune Goes to Kickstarter For Another Mega Man Spiritual Successor

Keiji Inafune

Keiji Inafune

Mighty No. 9 is considered a “Mega Man spiritual successor” made by its creator itself. After breaking crowdfunding records with the game, which is due to release on September 15th on North America and September 18th on Europe, Keiji Inafune and Comcept turns to Kickstarter once again. The new project will also be… a spiritual successor to Mega Man! Named Red Ash, the new game is not inspired by the 2D series, but the open-world adventure Mega Man Legends.

Similarities between Mighty No. 9 and Red Ash don’t stop there, as both protagonists are called Beck and can get different kinds of weapons in their left arm. Aside from these similarities, Inafune and team intend to create a gigantic anime-like world, mixing elements from action-adventure games and RPG in a near-future setting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb3O0J4hxo0

Comcept is asking for $800,00 to fund the project and in just three days they gathered around $260,000. The numbers are quite low compared to Mighty No. 9, that got $950,000 in funding on its first day. Alongside the game, a Red Ash anime by Studio 4° C also has a project, asking for $150,000 on funding.

One of the explanations for Red Ash not attracting a lot of buzz from players come from the July 4th holiday during this weekend, according to GameInformer. Also, players must be skeptical with the project since Mighty No. 9 still wasn’t released yet, which makes sense for a consumer’s point of view, but not that much for a developer studio that work in different projects at the same time. We believe Red Ash probably will hit its objective but won’t get all stretch goals as its predecessor had.

TLOU/UC4 Artist Draws Shenmue Print, Proceeds Go To Shenmue III

Shenmue

Shenmue

Lead concept artist for Sony’s The Last of Us and Uncharted 4, John Sweeney, turned out to be a Shenmue fan and have decided to help speed up the game’s Kickstarter, which have gathered 4.3 Million as of the time of writing, by drawing an official limited edition art based on the classic Shenmue game series.

His photos are found on Candb and are priced at as low as $99 up to $1600. The price range is created since the drawings are available in 2 sizes, 16 H x 31 W inch and 24 H x 47 W inch.  The 16 H x 31 W version has 3 finishes available, 

John Sweeney commented on his Shenmue artwork, saying that he is really excited the game’s finally happening.

“I’m so excited that Shenmue 3 is finally happening! I wanted to capture the moment just after Ryo’s father Iwao is killed by Lan Di. In the game the scene stops with Ryo cradling Iwao and screaming “No!”. I wanted to imagine a shot where Ryo is standing just outside the dojo where is father was just killed. It is cold and very early in the morning. Snow is falling. The morning light is still weak and only some of the wood interior is catching light from the outside. Ryo’s pose already hints at him seeking revenge.”

Shenmue III is expected to release in 2017 for the PS4 and PC.

Yooka Laylee: Top 5 Things We Want To See

Yooka Laylee

Yooka Laylee

Ex-Rare developers, now part of Playtonic Studios, recently revealed their spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie. This was the chameleon and bat duo Yooka-Laylee. Straight away for many it was love at first sight. This was proven by 73,206 backers that pledged £2,090,104 to help bring this project to life. Now with the studio having smashed all of their kickstarter targets, it’s time to think what do we want to see?

Rare was a highly praised company in its prime and over the years it has only become more and more commended (especially from Nintendo 64 lovers), be that as it may this is not the exact same team who created iconic titles like Goldeneye, Conker, Donkey Kong Country and of course Banjo-Kazooie. It’s worth noting too that it has been 13 years since Microsoft bought Rare and in all that time they were criminally underutilised. The fantastic thing is all of the test footage we have seen so far is from 3 months work which is ridiculous. Game developers spend years and do not create work as appealing as this. So obviously there are dozens of questions for what the final version will be. What aspects of Banjo Kazooie do we want to return? What level styles do we want?  What can Playtonic do to stamp their authority on the world of gaming? Without further ado, here are the top 5 things we want to see in Yooka-Laylee:

Yooka Laylee
By Maisie Poskitt

1. A Big, Fun Cartoon World

A big, beautiful, colourful, enchanting, comical, crazy world. Is that too much to ask for? It has been years since we have had a world resembling the likes of Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie. Worlds that felt endless. Worlds that when revisited you would find more hidden secrets that make you think “How did I miss that?” It’s about time it made a return and from the looks of early game-play it seems more and more likely.

Image 2

2. Collectibles

Being brought up as a Nintendo fan you are rewarded for getting everything the game has to offer. Whether this is collecting all 120 stars or all 100 Jiggys you were always guaranteed a merit for your hard work. This is why if Yooka-Laylee wants to please its fans and truly be the successor to Banjo-Kazooie it must have a collectible element to it. But what would a chameleon collect? Bugs? No matter what it is, you need a reason to keep going back.

Image 3

3. Memorable Allies/Enemies

Every now and then you need a friend. Someone to help give you hints, teach you new moves or simply have a joke with. On the other hand you also need an enemy that aggravates you therefore spurring you on to defeat them. Bottles, Gobi the Camel, Captain Blubber, Boggy the Polar Bear, Tooty and my personal favourite Mumbo Jumbo. These are memorable characters that stick with you throughout the game making the experience continuously better. Playtonic are more than capable of thinking up some witty new characters to go alongside our fearless duo. Wasting no time they have already announced Trowzer the Snake (Get it?) which is a promising sign that they haven’t lost any of their talent.

Yooka Laylee

4. A Quirky Villain

Now this is where magic can be made. The villain of a series can bring such character and Charisma. Gruntilida was and is still to this day brilliant. Her rhyming evil stole every scene but mostly it was her comical nature and quirkiness that made her iconic. For Yooka-Laylee to stand in good form long-term you need a presence that frustrates the player in one moment and splits their sides in the next. Please make it happen.

Image 5

5. Something New

I realise that Playtonic want Yooka-Laylee to be the spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie, however it has been over 15 years since its original release. I’m sure it will be a great throwback and have just as many unforgettable moments but I believe it is time to evolve the concept. Playtonic have an opportunity to give us something we’ve never seen before. Whether it’s a new game-play mechanic or unexpected take on the genre, do something to wow us and breathe new life into the retro-style platformer.

If this can be pulled off well, Yooka-Laylee could go down as one of the greats. More importantly it could reinvigorate the classic platformer. I don’t want to wait another 10 years for another Kickstarter called Project Harmonica…

Yooka Laylee

What do you want to see in Yooka-Laylee? Leave us a comment below to tell us why. 

We Happy Few Gets Kickstarted

We Happy Few

We Happy Few

Possibly the most bizarre and intriguing IP to come out in the last few years, We Happy Few, has been successfully funded on Kickstarter with a meager 4 days remaining.

We Happy Few comes from Compulsion Games, creator of the lovely and often forgotten Contrast, and it is looking mighty fine.

Here is the announcement trailer for anyone who doesn’t know what this hilariously morbid new game is about.

And if for some reason you aren’t sold, here is a rundown of what the game is, ripped right from their Kickstarter.

We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of slightly terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful delusion. Set in a drug-fuelled, retro-futuristic city in an alternative history 1964 England, you’ll have to blend in with its other citizens, who don’t take kindly to people who don’t abide by their not-so-normal rules.

It’s a first-person game, set in a procedurally generated, fully 3D city that you must escape before society collapses around you. But, like any good roguelike, you’re probably going to die a few times before you figure out how it all works. 

You will need to learn how to conform and avoid suspicion. You will need to hunt for supplies, and craft the devices and weapons that enable you to make it out of town alive. What do the Wellies approve of you doing? What makes them suspicious? What turns them into a homicidal mob? And is there anyone here who can help you?

While I’ve not put a lot of time into Contrast, I’ve been following We Happy Few since its reveal some time ago and I was beginning to worry when I noticed the clock ticking on the Kickstarter, seeing it at a time, tens of thousands of dollars shy of it’s funding goal. Thankfully we needn’t worry any longer.

Is anyone else as excited as I am for this? Let us know in the comments box below!

Shenmue III Kickstarter Announced

Shenmue

The Shenmue series defines cult classic with its two beloved entries on the Dreamcast, but was unable to continue the series due to poor sales.  Players were enamored with the incredibly detailed world and heartfelt story and have been eagerly awaiting a continuation of the series for more than a decade.

In a surprising announcement at Sony’s E3 conference, a Kickstarter was revealed for Shenmue III.  Why Sony held this announcement at their conference when they have almost nothing to do with it is anyone’s guess.  The only concern is that the funding goal is a massive $2 million.

Shenmue III Kickstarter page just got updated today with something very interesting to fans of the series’ that want to back the game’s already incredible crowd funding run. Shenmue III has become one of the top 10 most funded Kickstarter campaigns ever.

The newest update added new rewards for certain amount of money donated which includes a guestbook that gives you the chance to “put your name and a 140 character message in the guestbook of a Choubu inn.” or even have a capsule figure made after you by non-other than Main Character Designer Kenji Miyawaki.

While Bloodstained managed to raise well over $5 million and many other major projects like Yooka-Laylee and Broken Age easily passed $3 million each, they’re initial goals were more modest.  It’s certainly not impossible for Shenmue III to hit its goal, but don’t expect it to feature many stretch goals.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter has already raised $960,996 and is continuing to climb every second.  It is set to release on Playstation 4 and PC if it’s successfully funded.

You can check out the Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue III here if you want to contribute.

Bloodstained Kickstarter Closes With Over $5.5 Million, All Stretch Goals Met

Bloodstained

Now reigning as the most heavily-funded video game on Kickstarter, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has blown past Obsidian’s $3.9 million campaign for Pillars of Eternity (formerly Project Eternity) with a grand total of $5,545,991.  Bloodstained is a spiritual successor to the exploration-based Castlevania games, such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and is being developed by an all-star team famous for their work with the franchise.  Leading the project is Koji Igarashi, who has been at the helm of the Castlevania franchise since the release of Symphony, but left Konami in 2014 to strike out on his own.  Right now, it certainly looks like he made the right decision.

With its incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign, Bloodstained is set to include all of its stretch goals.  The game will release on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, and Vita, and will release on PC, Mac, and Linex through Steam and GOG.com.  There will be both digital and physical retail copies of the game.  It will include three playable characters, local co-op, asynchronous online multiplayer, cheat codes, the largest castle that Igarashi has crafted yet, a roguelike dungeon, boss revenge mode, and much more.

If you’re still interested in contributing to the development of Bloodstained, there is a slacker backer option on the Kickstarter page that you can use to receive backer rewards between the $28-5oo tiers.  Here’s hoping that Igarashi doesn’t let all of funding go to his head and delivers a masterpiece his supporters can be proud of.

Why Molyneux’s Enthusiasm Is a Problem

Molyneux

Peter Molyneux, the creator of several famous games such as Dungeon Keeper and Fable, has now mainly become known as the developer that constantly makes promises that he can’t keep.  The Fable series in particular has been known for promising grand concepts that it could not deliver on.  We all remember the infamous promise of planting an acorn in the original Fable and then seeing it grow over the course of the game.  This was only one of many empty promises that Molyneux made during the game’s development that soured reactions to the final product.  Now the recent Godus is going through similar criticism for failing to deliver on several promises that customers put money on through its Kickstarter campaign while Molyneux and most of his team is now moving on to work on The Trail instead.

The usual defense thrown out for Molyneux’s behavior is that he’s simply overenthusiastic and that it should be seen as a good thing that he has so much passion for the games that he works on.  I don’t consider that an acceptable excuse for one simply reason: almost every developer in the industry is passionate about the games they work on.  Every developer has grand visions for their games that ultimately can’t be delivered.  The only difference between Molyneux and most other devs is that he doesn’t know to keep talk of his ambitions in the office.

Let’s consider a game I’m sure anyone reading this is familiar with: Super Mario Bros.  We all know the content that made it into the final game.  There’s plenty of platforming, a variety of enemies and power-ups, underground and swimming levels, etc.  However, there was also plenty of content that lead designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his team wanted to include but never made it past the conceptual phase.  For one, a beam rifle was originally going to be a weapon in the game instead of the fire flower and made the game more of a run-and-gun style of game rather than a platformer.  Yoshi, Mario’s pet dinosaur that debuted in Super Mario World, was also conceived of this early on, but couldn’t be implemented because of hardware limitations.  This amount of cut content isn’t unusual as every game is ultimately forced to leave some ideas out for one reason or another.  Technical limitations, time restraints, and thematic concerns are simply the norm.

Now, let’s imagine a world where Miyamoto had the same talkative nature as Molyneux while developing Super Mario Bros.  He goes to gaming magazines and boasts about the game having you ride a dinosaur and wielding a rifle in this action-packed game.  The game releases just like the version we all know and love, but the heightened expectations caused by Miyamoto’s chatter only serves to harm the public reactions to the game and makes people skeptical of any future releases.  That’s just a best case scenario, as the development of the game could easily be compromised in an attempt to fulfill premature promises rather than trying to just create a quality game.  Now imagine that Miyamoto does the exact same thing with the next four or five games that he works on and promises that things will be better each time around.  That is the cycle that Molyneux is in right now and it has to stop.

I’m not trying to call Molyneux out as some overrated hack or anything.  He has brought us his fair share of landmark titles and does deserve a place in gaming history.  My point is that his impulsive bragging only serves to harm him, the studios he works for, the games he works on, and the trust of his fans.  For his own sake, Molyneux needs to learn some self-control and wait until he has solid features set in place before he starts to hype them up.  Otherwise, he is on the fast track to becoming the gaming equivalent of M. Night Shyamalan and his reputation will become more toxic for any game he is attached to rather than an asset.