dimanche 25 septembre 2016

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samedi 26 mars 2016

Analysis – Don’t Count On A 4K Future Quite Yet

Last week, Kotaku reported that Sony was planning a new version of its PlayStation 4 hardware, which could play games at 4K resolution. Before you speed over to your nearest big-box retailer and throw your wallet at a new television, however, keep a couple of things in mind. First, while a few anonymous sources have said that such a device is in the works, it’s not anything close to an official confirmation. Indeed, playing games at 4K is just one of several possibilities. But more importantly, such a console simply isn’t viable considering the current state of the market.

On its surface, the idea of running games at 4K resolutions sounds great. Right now, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 top off at resolutions of 1080p, which is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. A 4K display bumps that up to either 4,096 x 2,160 or 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, depending on which of the two standards you’re using (DCI 4K or UHD-1, respectively). 

The Tech Is Expensive…And Big
Want to build a new PC that supports 4K and does it well? Prepare to spend some cash. A GeForce GTX Titan X video card can run you upward of $1,000 alone. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it’s an important point. Digital Foundry ran an excellent feature that speculates on several possible hardware configurations and strategies for a so-called PlayStation 4.5, including one designed to push the GPU significantly over the existing PS4 hardware. As they call out, however, the numbers seem unrealistic for a mid-generation hardware refresh. 

It’s unlikely that Sony would – or could – produce something that could compete with the bleeding edge of PCs. High-end gaming rigs are big, heavy beasts that need space and airflow to keep their components from melting their way into the Earth’s core. Consoles are typically based on technology that’s hit the sweet spot between performance, price, and production availability, which isn’t necessarily where hardcore PC enthusiasts call home. It’s more likely (which shouldn’t be confused with meaning “likely”) that Sony would instead make a more modest improvement to the hardware in this reality. Keeping it at a $399 price point while goosing the GPU and adding the necessary faster RAM would be tricky, even considering updated manufacturing techniques that would be available in 2017.

Not Enough People Own 4K Displays
Let’s pretend that manufacturing costs aren’t prohibitive. Who’s going to be able to play these 4K games? Right now, the current install base for 4K displays sits at around 10 percent, with even bullish projections estimating it will take four years for the tech to hit a 50-percent market share. 

Compare the current state of 4K to where HD was in 2006, when the PlayStation 3 launched. By then, several dozen networks were broadcasting content in that format. It seems small compared to the options available to us today, but it was a good start. Now look at 4K. Aside from a few select Netflix shows, some YouTube videos, and video rentals from Sony’s Video Unlimited, you don’t have much to show off on your spiffy new set. Streaming video in that format requires a pretty fat online pipe – Netflix recommends 25Mbps or faster – so you’re also at the mercy of your ISP. 

ESPN is dipping its toes into the 4K waters, filming some events in that format, but they aren’t regularly broadcasting in that resolution. The network was an early adopter of HDTV, and its sports broadcasts wowed viewers with how crisp and bright the then-burgeoning format looked. Where sports go, it seems everyone follows. For the time being, the network is on the 4K sidelines, slowly edging onto the field. 

Sony has helped spur emerging technology along with its consoles, helping to bring CD, DVD, and Blu-ray players into homes, but not with a hardware revision. Mid-generation updates have traditionally been reserved for incremental upgrades such as incorporating Ethernet ports into the PlayStation 2 slim, or shrinking the form factor and creating quieter units. Introducing something as substantial as 4K gaming support to the PlayStation 4 seems like a big stretch.

VR Booster?
One of the driving factors in a decision to develop more powerful hardware could be connected to Sony’s VR push. The hardware demands of rendering gameplay at 90 frames per second is significant, and several developers expressed their dissatisfaction about the console’s power relative to the Oculus Rift and its PC-powered counterparts. As it stands, developers have to make compromises in visual fidelity to support the peripheral, which is something that competitors don’t necessarily have to worry about. 

The PlayStation VR also requires an external processor that, at least in this stage of the hardware, is about the size of a Wii console. That’s a bulky add-on; perhaps Sony is trying to work on an integrated solution, and it’s being misinterpreted as being a straight-up hardware upgrade?

It’s possible that Sony is indeed working on some kind of insanely powerful PlayStation 4.5 that will somehow play 4K games without taking up a mini-fridge-sized footprint or warming up your house like a space heater. Plausible? Nope. While it’s true that, yes, there are 4K displays that you can actually own, don’t expect Sony Computer Entertainment to be the company to roll out the red carpet for the fledgling technology – especially not in the middle of a console cycle.

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1RFZk0f

Replay – Kabuki Warriors

Receiving the low, low score of .5 out of 10, Kabuki Warriors is one of the lowest scored titles in Game Informer history. Andy McNamara, who gave the game this abysmal rating, joins us for a look back at one of his most detested games. Kabuki Warriors was developed by Genki and released exclusively for Xbox on November 19 2001.

We dive into the game's career mode to show off its unique fighting mechanics, dance moves (yes, you read that correctly), and character trading. We also play a few competitive rounds, with Andy giving us a good look at a fighting style that made his Kabuki Warriors review famous. Does he still have the skills to hit the buttons with his...well...you'll have to watch the episode to see what Andy does, but you may want to hide the children first.

After this brief look at another horrible game from yesteryear, comes the first round of the Super Replay Showdown with matches between Jeff Cork and Kyle Hilliard, Dan Tack and Brian Shea, Jeff Marchiafava and Javy Gwaltney (named by George Lucas), and Kim Wallace, Ben Reeves, and me. If you aren't familiar with our annual Super Replay Showdown, the winner of the tournament gets to play the game of their choosing for an entire Super Replay! That's a complete playthrough of a game with our commentary and shenanigans included.

Enjoy the episode, and we hope your Super Replay Showdown brackets aren't destroyed after this first round. We'll see you again in seven days!

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For more episodes of Replay, check out our Replay hub, or click on the banner below to watch episodes on YouTube.

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1RuFguy

vendredi 25 mars 2016

15 Unexplained Mysteries In The Division

The Division doesn't feature the most focused narrative, but Ubisoft Massive has built up a fair amount of intrigue surrounding the society-crashing Dollar Flu and what happened to the first wave of Division agents. However, I've run into deeper and much more puzzling questions while plundering the streets of Manhattan. Here are some of The Division's biggest unexplained mysteries.

Mystery #1: Why Are So Many Rikers Gang Members Named Alex?
Whenever I gun down a member of the Rikers gang, there seems to be about a 25-percent chance one of his buddies will respond by shouting, "He shot Alex!" How in the world does a gang contain that many Alexes? Do they only allow ex-prisoners named Alex to join? That seems like a pretty strict requirement, but given their impeccably coordinated wardrobes, not out of the realm of possibility. Or maybe there's some kind of Fight Club-style Robert Paulson situation going on? Seeing as how they all shoot at me on sight, I'll probably never know. Stinkin' Alexes.

Mystery #2: When Did Neck Tattoos Get So Popular?
The Division launched with 28 different neck tattoos that you can customize your character with. After picking your gender, you have a selection of eight heads to apply them to. I'm willing to give Massive a pass on why all Division agents look so similar, but what the heck is the lore behind the sudden popularity of neck tattoos? Given the fact that most of society has died from an infectious disease, maybe stabbing a needle into your neck thousands of times isn't the best idea. And who the heck is doing all this post-apocalyptic neck tattooing anyway? At least it's good to know that hideous body art doesn't disqualify you from landing a cushy job in a top-secret government agency.

Mystery #3: What Kind Of Super Batteries Is New York Running On?
I can buy into the premise that New York City has been ravaged by a modern-day plague and been completely abandoned. I can even accept the idea that escaped prisoners and rogue garbagemen might set up competing gangs to take over control of the city. What I can't swallow, however, is the fact that New York's ruined streets are somehow still awash in the headlights of abandoned cars. Everywhere I go, I come across chirping cellphones and glowing laptops – in the real world, I'm lucky if I can make it through a full work day without my phone running out of juice! What kind of remarkable battery technology was invented in the lead-up to the apocalypse? Because honestly it might be worth it...

Mystery #4: Is Heather Lau A Super Hero?
As any Division agent can tell you, unloading 30 submachine-gun rounds into an enemy's dome isn't necessarily a guaranteed kill. Yet when you track down your handler's missing sister, Heather Lau, you find out she somehow offed an attacker with a single swing of her acoustic guitar. Which begs the question: What kind of secret, super-human strength does Heather Lau possess, and why isn't she the one out there saving the city? Seriously, she's got plenty of spare guitars lying around her apartment...

Taking back New York would be a heck of a lot easier if you could one-shot every enemy you come across – even if your weapon of choice is a musical instrument.

Mystery #5: How Many Copies Of Discovering New York Do You Need?
I mean, even if you're new to the city, you should be able to get by with like...five copies. This guy's got eight on just two of his bookshelves! Along with other riveting reads like Banking, Real Estate, Beaches, and the number-one bestseller, Money. What a collection!

Coming Up Next: The real nature of The Division agents...

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1MHFyKq

Both Nintendo NX Controller Hoax Perpetrators Tell Us How They Tricked The Internet

The Internet was recently enamored by a convincing fake mock-up of a Nintendo NX controller. Assorted message boards debated its veracity, and a few days later another photo appeared of a similar controller. Yesterday, the creator of the original mock-up came clean, showing off the process of how he created the image. A video showing how the second photo was created appeared hours later, detailing how its creator designed and 3D-printed the controller. We were able to speak to both creators through e-mail to see how the projects came together independently.

Anatole Korczak created the original image. He's a mobile-game developer who publishes mobile games under the name Noname Games and has so far released three games.

Why did you decide to do this? Were you hoping it could help point people to your games after revealing yourself?
I'm a fan of Nintendo and I like what they do, and I decided to make it for fun. I did not think it would catch so much attention.

How long did it take?
The creation started 10 days ago, when I made drawings and some different designs. I've never studied graphic design, so I'm self-educated.

Have you done anything like this before?
I made another fake console that you can see here.

Why pick the Nintendo NX? Was your design based only on the patent?
I'm a fan of Nintendo, and I'm enthusiastic about this new console. The design was purely based on the patent with some modifications, as well as other rumors. I didn't have any inside knowledge of the future console.

Once you released the images, did you work with anyone to cultivate the hype?
The images were first released on Reddit and I also sent an email to Dualpixel. Nothing more.

How did you feel about the reactions before you revealed yourself?
I was hungry and tired! I was thinking there would be be a lot more hate reactions. I followed all the reactions, articles, forums, and news about it. It was fun because a lot laughed about it and others hated it. There were two teams, #teamreal which believed it and the #teamfake (on Neogaf), which wanted to prove that it was fake. Many people thought it was 3D printed and not a render.

What did you think of the 3D printed follow-up hoax? Did you guys interact at all?
With the first comment on Reddit, I said that I would maybe send other pictures and videos. Many expected me to do a 3D print (via 3dhub) with my model and to send out a photo and video of the print. Then the other photo appeared and I decided to make my video in three hours with After Effects. The photo of the other fake made me rush on it. My idea was to make a video where I removed the adhesive to reveal the word, "FAKE".

Do you have any regrets? Would do anything differently if you were to do it again?
Yes, I would have continued the fake and put the video I posted yesterday on YouTube on April 1. I also would have added changing buttons on the pad and made the console with the pad.

Are you excited about NX? Are you worried about Wii U?
Yes, for sure. I follow all the news about Nintendo and also rumors. For me, the Wii U has not been on my mind since they announced the new console.

After revealing yourself, did you hear anything from Nintendo?
Yes, they sent me a Nintendo NX. Do you want a picture of it?

Coming Up Next: Read our interview with the man who created the 3D-printed controller, and see the fabled tree that Internet detectives believed connected the game to Ubisoft Massive...

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1MHFxpR

The Inside Story Of Recording Metal Gear Solid

The first Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation was a turning point in the game industry. In 1998, Hideo Kojima and his team at Konami delivered a game widely praised as one of the most cinematic, interactive experiences in gaming. A large part of the game's positive reception hinged on some of the most memorable voice-work in the industry. On this special edition of The Game Informer Show, we  take a deep dive into the history and recording process of that first game.

Hosts Ben Hanson and Tim Turi (who is no longer with Game Informer) are joined by voice director Kris Zimmerman Salter and the stellar menagerie of voice actors involved with that first game, including David Hayter (Snake), Cam Clarke (Liquid), and others, to tell the full story. This is not your typical interview on The Game Informer Show, it has been edited to be more of an audio documentary (with a YouTube component) so we hope you enjoy the show.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes, or listen to this episode on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send any feedback to podcast@gameinformer.com.

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To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the timestamps below... 

2:38 - Casting and auditioning for Metal Gear Solid
11:08 - The surprising recording process
20:05 - Kris Zimmerman Salter's directing style
22:35 - The voice of Solid Snake
26:55 - Recording Otacon
32:33 - Creating the classic Game Over screams
33:30 - Recording Meryl
34:50 - Recording Liquid Snake
41:30 - Recording Vulcan Raven
47:43 - The fan reaction to Metal Gear Solid
57:55 - David Hayter's thoughts on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
1:03:50 - The legacy of the first Metal Gear Solid 

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1RE5I8q

Opinion – Manhunt Is The Dark, Underappreciated Masterpiece We Deserve

Manhunt was just re-released on PS4 this past week, so I thought I'd talk about why it's so fantastic.

It's hard for me to imagine any other company than Rockstar emerging as the defining video game developer in the first decade of this century. Not only did Rockstar popularize the open-world genre with Grand Theft Auto III and its decade-bouncing siblings, but the developer's constant courting of controversy ensured that its games would be up front and center in all mainstream news outlets. Though the technical and creative achievements of the Grand Theft Auto series are indeed laudable, for me, 2003's Manhunt has always been the developer's strongest game and remains my favorite title from the seventh console generation.

Manhunt was released in 2003 and was developed mostly by Rockstar North. The game cast the player as death-row inmate James Earl Cash, who is given another chance at life by disgusting snuff-film director Lionel Starkweather (brought to life by Brian Cox in a great performance). After being released from a dark room by Starkweather, Cash has to journey across modern-metropolis-turned-hellscape Carcer City while brutally killing members of various gangs and military outfits who have been paid by Starkweather to hunt him down. Starkweather films you via thousands of cameras placed all over the city while you murder these people in gruesome detail with scythes, baseball bats, shards of glass, and various firearms. Survive the night, do what you're told, and you'll earn your freedom, so says Starkweather. It's a pretty grim premise and more than just a tad grody.

So what makes Manhunt so great then?

I'm In Control, Right?
Nearly four years before BioShock would wow everyone with a twist ending that revealed you were just a puppet following the orders of some jerk in the midst of a power struggle, Manhunt created a narrative that constantly toys around with notions of player control in subtle but diabolical ways. Within the game, a rating system hinges on the sorts of executions you perform on enemies. The majority of Manhunt takes place in the shadows, with you sneaking around foes to get behind them and kill them. While you're standing there holding the attack button, a colored ring orbits your target's head. It goes through three phases depending on how long you hold the button: white, yellow, and red.

If you release the button during the white phase, Cash quickly dispatches the bad guy with whatever weapon he has in an animation that's brutal, but also over quickly. Animations tied to the yellow ring take a bit longer, and are generally more gruesome, while red-ring animations are absolutely disgusting and drawn out. Earning the most points for each level means nabbing as many red-ring animations as possible. To say it plainly: We're being scored on just how cruel and malicious we can be to other characters. It's revolting. It's monstrous. It's absolutely enthralling.

Yes, it's a sick game, but it's hard to deny just how fun it is (and how much skill it takes) to pull off those brutal stealth executions. You have to move quietly and think strategically, using mundane items like bricks and bottles to distract enemies so you can get the drop on them. Even years later, Manhunt plays extremely well and provides a constant challenge; it plays so well that that it turns off the part of my brain that should be horrified with the fact that I'm plunging shards of glass into strangers' eyeballs over and over again, fantasy or not. Manhunt constantly puts me in a contradictory state, one of both being horrified and entertained, and that works because the game itself is so caught up in its own contradictions. For example: the player is both Cash and the director, Lionel Starkweather, at the same time.

During executions, the camera flips to Starkweather's view, showing Cash killing his target in a bloody close up, with arterial spray often splashing across the screen. Starkweather, often acting as a sadistic dungeon master, gives you various objectives to complete as the game goes along. Kill this goon over here with a certain weapon to unlock a door. Rescue some people. Guide a drunk through the streets. Neither Cash, Starkweather, nor I, the player, can progress until these actions are complete, no matter how grotesque they may be. Manhunt, all at once, holds players hostage and encourages them to indulge in the most violent of fantasies. And what lies at the end of the game, after you've jumped through all of Rockstar's hoops? A bloody, nihilistic ending that offers neither closure or absolution, but is instead a showcase of the violent acts you've committed. You're not the savior of this story. Everything you do, both as Cash and Starkweather, brings misery and death to other people. You're a two-headed monster that doesn't deserve redemption. 

Perhaps the only way to win Manhunt in any true sense is to turn the game off in defiance of the power it wants to hold over you. But that's a battle I've lost many, many times and will continue to lose as I return to the game year after year, ready to prowl its dismal streets and earn yet another perfect rating.

I Spy With My Little Eye...
Games are often just as much the product of the culture they were produced in as they are the creations of the development teams that made them. In 2003, reality television was quickly becoming hip, with both Survivor and American Idol taking off and demonstrating that people wanted content that felt "more real." They didn't actually want reality, though; that would be too boring. Instead they wanted something that appeared to be real while still being grounded in the high-stakes drama of fiction. Reality television, whatever you may think of it, was good at producing this sort of experience: handheld cameras surging toward contestants crying, everyday people being pushed too far to the edge and then responding violently or with profanity-laced rants. It was exhilarating and raw.

Manhunt, developed and released right around the same time as this boom, was also doing the same thing with video game violence, making it more real and disturbing than what gamers were used to. During execution sequences, everything comes together to create incredibly unnerving spectacles, from the chop chop chop sounds of Cash lopping off a mercenary's head with a machete to the little splatters of meat that splash over and stick to wall when you take off half of some guy's face with a baseball-bat swing.

However, more than a decade down the line, and the significance of Manhunt's visual language and the themes connected to it has evolved with the times. In the aughts (and now, but to a lesser degree), Americans often voiced their fear of the surveillance state, that the government could and would be listening in on our phone calls and watching us at any given time. As the years passed, this idea became more bearable because it shifted into the surveillance society. Thanks to the explosion of social-media platforms and the role that such tech plays in our lives, people everywhere are either comfortable or resigned to being observed as long as they can observe others as well. We live in an age where, in a matter of moments, we can watch events unfold halfway across the world, or we can send a message to someone who we haven't spoken to in a decade just to see how they're doing. We pay for these privileges not necessarily with cash, but instead with our personal information for corporate databases and marketers to use.

In Manhunt, both Cash and Starkweather mutually benefit from working together via the wireless headset in Cash's ear and the cameras located all around the city. There are certain situations where Starkweather will tell Cash where a valuable weapon is or give him certain information to help him along for the sake of making the action more exciting. As Cash does more of what Starkweather wants, his odds for surviving the night increase while the director gets more footage for his snuff masterpiece. Like us, Cash is being watched, but he's receiving beneficial information in return thanks to the tech he and Starkweather are using to communicate, though the director certainly has the upper hand in the relationship given that he's able to keep tabs on Cash and manipulate the scenarios Cash finds himself in. It's a very twisted take on mutualism, but it's one that fits Manhunt's predatory universe — a world that mirrors our own in an uncomfortable number of ways.

Continue on to Page 2 to read about more about where Manhunt and the real world meet.

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1T9OOh0

An Exclusive Interview With The Actors Behind Gears Of War 4

With the announcement of our April cover story on Gears of War 4, we also revealed the actors that will be playing the game's three playable characters. In this feature, it's time for the actors to talk about their experience working with The Coalition on Gears of War 4. While visiting the studio, we sat down with Liam McIntyre (JD Fenix), Eugene Byrd (Del), and the prolific Laura Bailey (Kait), to discuss the excitement and pressure of bringing the characters for the next generation of Gears to life. If you're looking to learn even more about the new characters in Gears of War 4, check out our story from earlier this month.

Watch the video interview below to learn how JD's voice will compare to Marcus' and more.

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To learn more about Gears of War 4, click on the banner below to enter our hub of exclusive content.

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1RBoqai

All Of Those 'NX Controller' Pictures? Fakes

As with most recent console releases, the NX can now be listed as having been faked to fool the internet. The original picture of the NX controller was photoshop work and the two shots of the odd-looking device on a desk were the work of a 3D printer.

The two videos evidencing the creation of the items now clearly modeled after a Nintendo patent emerged online in the last 14 hours. The first, from Idriss2Dev, who “leaked” the first image to site Dual Pixels shows how he made the image look convincing.

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The other two images, which look identical to Idriss2Dev’s mockup except in black, were in fact based on that first falsehood. You can see how Frank Sandqvist made the physical fake below.

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“So, uh, it’s fake,” Sandqvist says at the start of his video. He then proceeds to show exactly how he fooled a willing fanbase.

Only one thing is for sure when dealing with pictures that randomly appear online purporting to be something entirely unseen: people will go to great lengths to make others fall for a prank.

[Idriss2Dev video via GoNintendo]


Our Take
The sooner Nintendo reveals the NX, the happier I’ll be. I’m not a fan of the speculation over anonymously posted pictures with no established credibility. Reports with solid sourcing are one thing, but people aren’t shy about their willingness to play upon others’ excitement for a cheap thrill or self-promotion.

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1T9naAJ

jeudi 24 mars 2016

GI Show – The Future Of Games, NX Rumors, Jason Mewes Interview

The annual Game Developers Conference was last week, and with it came a flood of news about the potential future of the gaming industry. From Microsoft and Sony both reportedly eyeing a shift in the traditional console cycle to rumors swirling about Nintendo's bold, new direction for their mysterious NX console, there's a lot to break down. On this week's show we are joined by three editors that took the pulse of the industry at GDC: editor-in-chief Andy McNamara, Matt Bertz, and Javy Gwaltney. In addition to a lot of industry talk and speculation, we also cover some of the more promising indie games from the show and the early verdict on PlayStation VR. After all of that adult stuff is out of the way, we're joined by Justin Woodward from Interabang Entertainment and actor Jason Mewes to talk about the pitch for their crowd-funded brawler Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes, or listen to episode 292 on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send your emails to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the timestamps below... 

:30 - The history of GDC
7:55 - Developing in VR/PlayStation VR Impressions
19:50 - Rumors of PlayStation 4.5 and improving the Xbox One
26:55 - The most promising indies at GDC/"The Indie-pocalypse"
47:40 - Nintendo on iOS
50:20 - Nintendo NX rumors
1:00:30 - Emails
1:28:15 - Justin Woodward and Jason Mewes on Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch

from www.GameInformer.com - Top Five http://bit.ly/1pKIgKC

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