Crystal Dynamics: A New And Upgraded Headquarters

CD_Name

Crystal Dynamics – the developers behind one of the best- and fastest-selling video games of recent history; the multi-award winning video game – Tomb Raider. This video game also reincarnated the iconic female protagonist, Lara Croft. Take that, Nathan Drake! Nah, just kidding. I’m a huge huge fan of both games. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to the news. Crystal Dynamics recently posted in their Tumblr account that they just upgraded their workplace, gearing up for better games in the future. Here are some of the details. Sit back and let us take a peek at the new home of Crystal Dynamics.

Crystal Dynamics: A New Home

Welcome to Crystal Dynamics
Is it just me or you also want those Lara Crofts on your desk?

Scot Amos, co-studio head of Crystal Dynamics, revealed that they have new facilities and rooms for their developers or employees to work and play around. He said in the post that,

“After months of planning, building, and some very late nights for the construction crew, we’ve just moved into our glorious new state-of-the-art studio!”, he continued, “We have some great new amenities, from hydraulic desks for everyone to adjust as they like, to black-out shades and light absorption paint for those darkness-loving developers.”

I don’t know about you guys, but, I’m digging those black-out shades.

Aside from the “performance boosting” environment, he also stated that they added an on-site Motion Capture stage. Now, that is a great investment to make more award-winning video games.

About on-site Motion Capture stage

Crystal Dynamics: Motion Capture stage

He stated, “We’ve expanded to six fully equipped sound proof audio rooms too,” continued Amos. “With the growth of our team, we’ve also increased our studio meeting area and naturally outfitted it with tons of next-gen 4K screens, as well as dedicated console and PC gaming stations next to the huge new kitchen. Lastly, we’ve added two specialty rooms for optimal development efficiency: a photogrammetry capture space and our very own, on-site, fully equipped Motion Capture stage!”.

For those readers out there who doesn’t know what this means: the new photogrammetry capture space gives the artists and animators the ability to create ultra realistic expressions and textures. Various video games are already using photogrammetry. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Uncharted 4 are just some one the games that used this to produce highly detailed textures.

Photogrammetry capture space

One more time, Crystal Dynamics: Motion Capture Stage
I wonder what they’re talking about…

Ron Rosenberg, co-studio head of Crystal Dynamics, also stated that, “The new studio will help Crystal Dynamics take our work to the next level,” he continued, “Crystal Dynamics’ new studio is nearly double the size in order to make room for all the new positions we’re hiring over the next year.”

You heard that right. For those aspiring game developers, artists, designers, and others out there who are looking to work in the game industry, they are hiring in various areas. You can check their website here.

Here are other photos included in their post. Enjoy!

CD_Gathering Hall
I wonder what those fellas are playing…table-top RPG?

Like to play guitar?

CD_Guitar
See those guitars? If I’m there, I’ll always be playing those in my free time…

Do you know what this one means?

CD_Media Room
Wonderful. Just, wonderful.

Like This One like I do?

Crystal Dynamics: Pantry
This is probably where you’ll see me all the time, haha

Also, here is the trailer for The Avenger project they released:

So how about that. What do you think about Crystal Dynamics’ new headquarters? Do you believe that these upgrades will further help them produce more award-winning games in the future? Leave your comments down below and let’s have a discussion.

I’m Officially Hyped For Mass Effect Andromeda

Andromeda

The last several times we’ve seen Mass Effect Andromeda, it has been nothing but disappointment thanks to underwhelming videos that, more than anything, teased us.

While teasers have their place, we have all waited far too long to see what this upcoming game has to offer, and while I still cannot confidently say that the gameplay is great, at least we now have our very first look at the story.

Here it is in full; beware of potential spoilers.

I feel that this trailer spends a bit too much time showing off potential late-game spoilerific content, but wow does that ever hit hard. This is what I’ve been… mostly wanting from BioWare for over a year now. We’ve had such obnoxious or disappointing teasers that I’ve ranted about already, but this definitely begins to scratch the itch I think we all collectively feel.

Part of me still feels a bit bitter that N7 day didn’t feature a gameplay trailer, the very fact that it is actually going to be shown off in a few weeks is a comforting thought, and this trailer in all its glory, managed to make me a thousand times more excited for the game than I was before.

New Battlefield 1 Campaign Footage Is Filled With Dread

Battlefield

With Battlefield 1 creeping up on us, it is a bit surprising the amount of effort put into only the multiplayer aspects of the game thus far. We’ve seen almost nothing on the campaign which, to be fair, has a lot to prove.

Battlefield games, in general, aren’t remembered for having great campaigns. However, judging by the recently released gameplay, maybe things have finally changed for the better.

Here are twelve minutes of Battlefield 1 gameplay.

The most interesting part of this is how it seems that dying doesn’t yield some arbitrary game-over screen, and instead, swaps you to another named soldier to continue the fight. Whether or not this is representative of the entire game is at the present time, unknown.

What is known, though, is that the Frostbite engine looks utterly phenomenal. It never ceases to amaze me with what is possible right now. Battlefront before this looked breathtakingly beautiful on both PC and consoles, and Battlefield 1 seems to be no exception.

I also find it quite interesting that they’re potentially opting for a more serious, mature version of war. The pure grit of this game is quite fascinating. Especially when you see a tank gunning down enemies that are shellshocked. Few games before this ever attempted to demonstrate that side of these unnecessary conflicts.  While we won’t know until launch whether they’re committed to this or not, it seems to be a good sign.

New Mass Effect Andromeda Footage Just Isn’t Enough

During Sony’s PlayStation event earlier this week, they unveiled the new PlayStation 4 Pro to much dismay. Along with it, they showed off several games that benefit directly from the added power including Mass Effect Andromeda. The last game anyone expected to see.

While this was a nice surprise at what I can only call a disappointing event, and I understand that the gameplay is meant to demonstrate power, it still left much to be desired.

Here it is in 4K if you can handle that many pixels.

The best thing I can say about Mass Effect Andromeda is that it looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The atmospheric lighting and overall art direction really shine especially with the new console. However, I think that’s where I’ll stop as far as praise goes.

I am a huge Mass Effect fan but we have been teased repeatedly for several years now with absolutely nothing concrete. Many of us die-hards expected a great E3 showing but got nothing but more obnoxious fragments. While I understand that they cannot share four hours of gameplay, at this point I feel that the marketing team has actively hurt itself and the product it wants to sell.

Why do they insist on continuously teasing us? Why is it that we cannot get a proper trailer demonstrating new unique systems that the sequel can offer? If EA decided that the PS4Pro event would be the true first reveal for Andromeda, why stop just as it becomes interesting?

It looks like a shiny new toy, but that’s about it. The iffy voice acting and awkward animations aside, there was a severe lack of substance to the gameplay that really sells itself short.

Hopefully, N7 day in November will bring me back into the fray with some great gameplay, but the marketing thus far has actively made me less interested than before it was unveiled, which is such a shame.

Check Out The Final Uncharted 4 Trailer

With Uncharted 4 creeping up on us at a rapid pace, it is fitting that Sony has, via their official PlayStation Youtube channel, published one final gameplay trailer to continue their colossal hype-train straight on ’til May 10 when the game is finally released to the public.

While this trailer isn’t particularly chock full of new things and borders on being a teaser in length, the fast-paced arrangement and the crazy over the top action definitely hit the spot for keeping us interested.

Check it out in full below.

With Uncharted 4 being the last game in the franchise, it is great to see that we’re seemingly receiving the best effort yet for Nathan Drake. With a darker tone, new interesting characters, and the anxiety-inducing subtitle of A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog clearly wants us to remember this as the true end of an era for them.

So close, yet so far.

Uncharted 4 Story Trailer Drops Jaws

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has been nothing but a consistent tease for the last year. We’ve been given small gameplay demonstrations, and there was that closed beta a while back, but until now, we haven’t really had a chance to see the narrative of the game.

Thankfully, for those of us still chewing our nails waiting for any new details before it releases on April 26, Naughty Dog has dropped a meaty story trailer for our visual consumption.

And here she is.

I am repeatedly astounded by how amazing Uncharted 4 looks. The visual fidelity on display here is almost unrivaled, and this trailer is possibly the best demonstration of how good Naughty Dog is at creating beautiful worlds to date.

Couple that with all these subtle story threads and intriguing new characters, and I am more anxious than ever to devour this game the moment I can. Though, I think the original trilogy needs a dusting off first.

Pokemon Sun And Moon Announcement: Video Analysis & Theories

Earlier today (26/02/16), fans of the Pokemon game series waited anxiously to hear news and potential confirmation of the newest installments to the series leaked the day before. However, after a very tense wait, the details leaked prior were confirmed and the squeals of excited Pokemon fans echoed worldwide, Pokemon Sun & Moon are officially on the way, due later this year (2016).

Now, in correspondence with the order in which the Pokemon games are usually released, fans were expecting more of a Pokemon Z release, especially after the X and Y game releases followed by the Ruby and Sapphire remakes (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire). I appreciate this makes little sense to those outside the community of avid Pokemon fans however, those within these borders will understand that it was what we were expecting. Now, that said when the titles Sun and Moon were trademarked, it was fair to say we were surprised however, the excitement for these new installments is still present regardless. Now, let’s look into the reveal video itself.

Although a brief video, we can make several assumptions about what we can inspect in the latest installment. The first notable thing we can see in this video is the new assumed flying type Pokemon, resembling either a woodpecker or humming bird of some kind. This leads us to believe the obvious that there are in fact going to be a number of new additions to the Pokedex in Sun and Moon. Could this mean some more mega-evolutions are going to be unveiled also? Furthermore, we can see numerous conceptual designs for vehicles. The most recent incorporation of cars and land vehicles in the Pokemon game series was in X and Y in which Lumiose City possessed a taxi service to help to traverse the enormous city. Could this be hinting towards a potential follow on to Kalos much like Black 2 and White 2? As it no longer seems we are getting Pokemon Z, or for a while at least shall we say.

 

new pokemon

 

Pokemon Sun And Moon Theories 

As expected of the dedicated Pokemon fans, many theories of the new installments have already arisen in regards to the new designated region, new potential mega-evolutions, legendaries and generally about how the new games are going to tie in with it’s predecessors.

From what I have gathered so far, there are several reoccurring ideas:

  • Zygarde and it’s newly released forms are to be associated with the sun game. This is because of it’s forms needing photosynthesis in order to develop.
  • Sun and Moon are definitely going to have some relation to Kalos, whether they actually be based in Kalos or islands situated around Kalos. This is due to references in X and Y for instance, the sundial in Anistar City (Pokemon Sun).
  • Potential Mega-evolutions of Solrock and Lunatone both representing each of the games, possibly posing as exclusives.

All of these are relatively plausible ideas seeing as Zygarde’s new forms would seem redundant if only used in the new Pokemon movie. Futhermore, it would seem out of character for Nintendo & Gamfreak to not incorporate Kalos into the new games in some shape or form also considering how they are due a Pokemon X and Y follow on of some sort.

 

zygarde forms

 

As this year progresses more teasers are bound to be put out there to taunt us but until the profoundly awesome moment in which these new games are released, it is fair to say we are going to let our minds run wild with these brilliant theories in order to get by.

 

Dark Souls III Shows Your True Colours In New Gameplay Trailer

Bandi Namco has released a brand new gameplay trailer for the social life killing Dark Souls III today, and boy is it ever haunting.

Set to the tune of ‘True Colors’, a song I’ve certainly never heard of, this trailer seems to want to emphasize the straight up slaughter you will be involved with when the game launches on April 12th in North America.

What are you waiting for? Check it out below and prepare to be amazed forever!

The sheer amount of enemies and bosses displayed here is almost upsetting. I used to pride myself on the fact that I went into these games as blind as possible as to not spoil the designs of enemies and the locales you’ll visit throughout your journey, but trying to resist a new Dark Souls III trailer is like trying to resist sour gummy worms. I can, but I don’t want to.

Dark Souls II had some truly strange trailers, but the melancholy nature of True Colors seems to capture some of the thick and oppressive atmosphere that the Souls games are known for. An odd fit, but a fit nonetheless.

Platinum’s TMNT Project Leaked, Activision Releases HD Trailer

The first ever trailer for PlatinumGames’ upcoming TMNT game titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan, has been leaked ahead of schedule.

While there is very little combat, it is nice to see the look they’re going for and how the game is shaping up from the conceptual stages.

Here is the full trailer in HD, courtesy of Activision.

 

While I can’t truthfully say that I am a big fan of anything TMNT related, it is nice to know that the game seems to be achieving a genuine comic book aesthetic, rather than some bizarre Michael Bay deformity.

Furthermore, it’s reassuring to know that TMNT is in the hands of the talented people at PlatinumGames, who have a nearly flawless record of developing fun and frenetic action games. Even if they seem to have about ten thousand projects on the go at once.

I am certain we will be seeing much more on TMNT in the coming months, so definitely stay tuned for whatever is next.

Check Out This New Xenoblade Chronicles X Survival Guide

Xenoblade Chronicles X, the cleverly-named sequel to one of the Wii’s best games, Xenoblade Chronicles, is coming out in a few days. For those of us who are riding the hype train and need something to calm the nerves, Nintendo has released another episode in the insightful ‘Survival Guide’ series based around several aspects of the much-anticipated game.

This episode focuses on gamepad integration and the very deep map system.

According to one source, this video doesn’t even cover the entirety of the map system in the game. You might consider reading the manual for additional details, as it seems that this game has a lot of things going on.

Finally, for those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the other survival guides, I’ve dropped them below for your convenience. I’d highly recommend checking them out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxO6qaXUcGc