Hello all, as you may have noticed from Dyl’s post, we’re back. I’ve had my hands full with Tea-Powered Games recently. If you haven’t checked us out yet, go see if we are your cup of tea.
Sorry, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least mention it, but I think we have some exciting stuff brewing for anybody who wants to see games tell stories in new and interesting ways. With the shameless plug out of the way, let’s talk about a game you might know nothing about: Democracy 3.
I have a confession to make: I’m a long time Zelda fan, but lately I’m less likely to pick up and be impressed by a new Zelda title. It’s not that I think the overall quality has gone down – probably the reverse – I’ve just changed as a consumer and feel like I’m no longer the target audience. Rather than ignore this feeling or sweep it under a proverbial rug, I’d like to take this opportunity to deconstruct it, and hopefully come out the other end of this post with a better understanding of what I hope I like about A Link Between Worlds.
In honour of our new series, Playing with Aesthetics, and with a new Pokémon game approaching, I’d like to take this opportunity to dredge up the topic of Core Aesthetics again, and use it as a lens on the design of Pokémon games (and the upcoming Pokemon X/Y). I believe that a lot can be learned about the broad appeal of Pokémon games by examining how it covers many different core aesthetics. Through iteration and improvement over its history, the Pokémon games have kept many core game elements constant. Instead of constantly changing or over-developing, the game has steadily spread to reach many more aesthetics than the average game can.
Dragon’s Crown is Vanillaware’s latest masterpiece, and I plan to lose myself in it for many hours. It is an Action Beat ‘em-up style game, self-described as ‘Swords, Dungeons, Sorcery, Dragons’ with ‘gamemaster-style storytelling’. From Vanillaware’s past work (Odin Sphere, Grim Grimoire, Muramasa) I know to expect a beautiful, solidly-designed game.
You don’t know Project Evolution (at least not the one I’m talking about), and I can’t link you to a convenient description. It’s a rough design for a tabletop roleplaying game I’ve been working on this week. I am running an early prototype playtest this weekend just to feel out the main concepts and mechanics, and thought it would be interesting for you to read about what I’m hoping will work out in my own design this time around.
After a series of diversions, I’d like to return to form with this column. WIHILA is kind of my way to deliver a hypothesis about a game before I’ve played or finished playing it. This hypothesis is generally prompted by the questions ‘What do I hope I’m going to like about this specific game?’ or ‘What is this game in a position to do, from which I might learn?’ This week, that game is Dungeons & Dragons, and more specifically D&D Next (the next iteration of D&D, currently in open playtesting).
You have probably gotten accustomed to my formula by now. What do I expect from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? Stuff a lot like previous Final Fantasies and similar games, but with an MMO twist. What do I expect from Elder Scrolls Online? Stuff a lot like previous Elder Scrolls games, but with an MMO twist. What do I hope for from both of them? That they do it well, as has been demonstrated is possible by successful examples mixed and matched from said previous games. Might the games have shots of creative brilliance? Of course, and I hope they do, but I’ll leave that as a task for the developers, and be pleasantly surprised if they deliver. Continue reading →