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Indie Spotlight: Forgotten Anne

Tell us about your game: Valdemar Schultz Andreasen (Lead Game Designer):

Forgotton Anne is an untraditional 2D platforming adventure, with a heavy focus on the narrative and an interest in telling a very human story. We’ve done what we can to make it feel as if you’re playing inside an anime-movie, with a cinematography that swoops and zooms around.

The story centers around Anne, one of two human beings trapped in the world of lost and forgotten things – the Forgotten Lands. The inhabitants are socks, scarfs and other objects that people forget, animated into life as citizens of this world.

Anne and her Master Bonku are trying to get back to the human world, but as the story begins, an explosion occurs – somebody is trying to destroy their plans of returning home.

Since Anne has the role of Enforcer of these lands, she is sent out to locate and find the cause of the rebellion.

You play the game as you would a platformer: Anne can walk, run, jump – and then she has two tools in her belt: Her wings give her a boosted jump. Her Arca-glove on her hand can draw and transfer energy – called Anima – between cylinders and power up machines. It can even draw the Anima out of Forgotlings.

Through the story told, Anne interacts with a lot of Forgotlings, not just drawing life, in fact, mostly speaking to them. Anne encounters a lot of different situations that ask something of her situation as the Enforcer, but also moral situations for the player to contemplate.

The decisions Anne and the player makes impact aspects of the story, and it is not always clear what action leads to what reaction or consequence, which might just make it worthwhile to go through the game for a second run.

Situations of identity, loyalty and choice weave in and out of a beautifully aesthetic and engaging experience, that has a constant drive forward with new areas and situations.

The human story emerges as the story becomes an investigation of Anne – not just of her past, but also of who she is as a human being. We have done what we can to avoid turning her into a caricature or a superhero, rather trying for a naturalistic description of a complicated person full of contradictions and emotions, like any of us. While Anne is athletic and cool, she is also sometimes slightly clumsy. Our lead animator, Debbie Ekberg, was really great in portraying Anne’s movements with 2D animation. The game contains more than 5000 individual drawings, frames, of Anne. She would add these subtle touches of animation that showed Anne from a more vulnerable and naturalistic side that really rounded off her character.

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What was your inspiration to create the game

Alfred Nguyen (Creative Director): It came about after a soul-searching period after I quit my job as a creative lead at a mobile games company. I was reaching a point in my life where I wanted to make use of all the skills I had accumulated throughout the years as an animation film director and artist to express something meaningful. I think there is a space for fun addictive mobile games in our lives, but it did not allow me to go deep with crafting imaginary worlds of wonder and tell stories that affected people in a meaningful way. The same way certain games, books and movies had a lingering effect on me growing up. So the first thing I did was to reflect on themes I kept returning to as an artist and topics that kept being there on the back of my mind throughout my life. My parents were refugees from the Vietnam war and I grew up in Denmark, and so had two very different cultures vying for my identity growing up. So the search for an identity, the feeling of being lost, ‘forgotten’ I could see was a recurring theme in my life. Making a game can be a sisyphean task and so I knew it had to have a personal core that guided the project through tough times, and so this world of the forgotten began to form in my mind. From there it’s just been an incredible journey, starting a company, assembling my great and loving team who is responsible for making Forgotton Anne into what it is, and bet that years of work will feel worth it, as long as we focused on a meaningful creative process instead of calculating what will be ‘hot’ in the future to play or current trends.

Forgotten Anne is availble on Steam, Xbox and PS4 May 15th

 

Are Consoles Chasing Gamers Back to PC?

Are Consoles Chasing Gamers Back to PC?

consoles v pc

Right off the bat I’ll admit I’m a PC gamer. The time came with my Xbox 360, where I realized I hadn’t touched it in 6 months. It sat there beneath my TV gathering dust and cat fur. Eventually, I handed it down to my son. He has a PS4 now, so the old Xbox is again a corpse in the shadows of our basement. I caved in again and now an Xbox One sits beside my PC. It came with 6 games; one of which I gave away to charity, two I’ve actually played (briefly), and the last two have not been touched.

So why am I faithful only to my PC? What has the Xbox One done to earn my ire when I accidentally bump the power button and it turns on? I use a controller with my PC, so I’m not strictly a mouse and keyboard guy. I use headphones for both, they share my monitor, my desk, my computer chair, and my mini-fridge (yes, be jealous). The PC does not have a better location or peripherals.

As society evolves technologically I believe we’re going to become more dependent on the internet and PCs. They have utility. I can write on my PC, the words flowing with ease from fingers to keyboard. I can listen to music, jumping from one streaming service to another all from my browser; all without adding another app. I can practice being socially awkward along with the rest of the web. I can access my email, pay my bills, and shop. Maybe there are apps for all of that on the Xbox, but I wouldn’t know. I’m too busy surfing the web.

Then there is the library. When I’ve upgraded or changed consoles, the games went with them. Even though my PC has changed over the years, I can still play the games I had on the last machine. There’s no need for backwards compatibility. Windows being what it is, I can keep my library and just reinstall the games I love playing when I get new hardware. Perhaps Steam is the culprit then, for that is where much of my time and money has gone in the four years that I’ve owned my current rig. Yes, it’s due for an upgrade soon, but it’s still humming along.

Consoles however…well, there’s no real money to be made in making old titles work with the new system. No remaster, no reboot, no sales growth. There’s quite a few 360 titles available to play on the Xbox One, but it is limited. Mass Effect: Andromeda is coming so you want to relive the original trilogy? Fine, but you better still have your 360 because Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 won’t work on the Xbox One, and that’s just one example. There are approximately 1174 titles in the Xbox 360 catalog and only 204 of them are backwards compatible. Now we both know no one owns every title, so that matters little, but chances are the one you want to play on your shiny new system isn’t ready yet. You’ll just have to wait until they feel like handing it to you.

Sure, consoles are more stable than PCs. It’s easier for publishers to put out games for consoles because each generation is pretty standard. There’s never any major snafus with console games, and they don’t suffer hardware malfunctions like PCs.

{/sarcasm} Nope. Never. {/sarcasm}

Consoles are the family cars of gaming, they’re safe and they can entertain the kids. PCs are the sports cars, fun to drive, but dangerous to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. I don’t think consoles are driving the gamers away; PCs are just naturally more attractive.

Lifted Chinese Ban on Consoles Leads to Tomahawk F1

As some of you may or may not know, the Chinese government is very well-known for banning the use of various devices and websites within the country. For example, the 2009 Xinjiang riots in Western China sparked the banning of Facebook throughout the country. Because of this, other Chinese specific social media sites, such as QQ and RenRen, have popped up in its place.

Long before the Chinese government ever banned Facebook, however, they banned gaming consoles. In 2000, consoles were outlawed in China for fear that games would have negative effects on Chinese youths. This ban was ineffective, though, as many Chinese citizens were still able to purchase off brand and smuggled gaming consoles, which were being sold openly in many Chinese cities.

Xbox-One-PlayStation-4

In 2014, this ban was lifted with the condition that all gaming consoles must be approved by the appropriate governmental department before hitting the market. Microsoft and Sony both pushed for their consoles to be released in China late 2014 and early 2015, however have gained little momentum among the citizens of the People’s Republic of China.

In an effort to undercut Microsoft and Sony, a Chinese company by the name of Fuse has announced that they will be releasing a console specifically for Chinese gamers. This console, the Tomahawk F1, will run on an Android system and be priced at approximately 899 Yuan, or $140, which is significantly less expensive than either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

tomahawk-f1-1068x601

 

It is common in China now-a-days to find “knock offs” of popular western technology at cheaper prices. For example, there are several iPhone rip-offs, including the Oppa 9, and even a Google rip-off, called Goojje. The Tomahawk F1 is along the same lines, a rip-off. While the interface is openly Android, the console itself is designed like the PlayStation 4 while the controller is almost an exact replica of the Xbox One controller.

There is no news as to whether or not Microsoft or Sony will file legal action against Fuse. Given Apple’s recent loss in a high profile trademark infringement case against a Chinese company called Xintong Tiandi, who was using the name “IPHONE” for their line of leather products, there may be no legal action taken at all, as copyright and trademark laws are different in China.

It is Fuze’s plan to have all sorts of games available for the Tomahawk F1, including PC, mobile and AAA games. As of this time, games such as Zheros, Assassin’s Creed, Saint’s Row and more will be available for the Tomahawk F1 upon it’s release.

Happy gaming, China!

Unfinished Business

m_diablo3_01I was having an interesting conversation with my husband the other night. I was looking at the games on sale for the Xbox One and asking him if he was interested in any of them. I noted that “Lego Marvel” was on sale for $5 – but he would rather spend that on the next episode of “Tales of the Borderlands” or “Game of Thrones” (which are two very impressive episode games, much like “The Walking Dead”). I also saw that “Diablo III” was on sale for $30, the collector’s edition.

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Neverwinter Review by Queen of Hell

Dragon Age: Inquisition

sep_29_-_keyart_groupSo, I have been waiting so impatiently for Dragon Age: Inquisition to be launched. I even blew through Dragon Age 2 in 3 days to prepare for it. I’ve loved the entire series. Origins is still one of my favorite games of all time. I can’t wait to play through them all again, in order!

I have to admit that I was vastly disappointed when I realized my saved games didn’t matter. I didn’t have to plow through DA2 in 3 days. I didn’t even have to play the game. Now, that doesn’t bother me (all in all, I appreciate a game that you can pick up and play, having never played the originals); however, I’m pretty pissed that it didn’t use my previous save files like its predecessors. Of course, there is one main reason I’m upset about that and I will get into that a bit later.

When I bought the game, I only had an Xbox 360. The 360 version appears to be the most glitchy version of the game out there. Please don’t get me wrong, I loved DA:I, but this game was frustrating as hell simply because of the glitches. Even after numerous patches, they didn’t stop. I fell through terrain several times; the textures would take up to a minute to load; and, sometimes, the whole environment wouldn’t load properly. Going through equipment, the faces of my companions would bug and they would look awful. If you accidently jump before speaking, you do this weird floating dance the whole chat. My favorite glitch requires you to have the subtitles turned on because the sound files will sound corrupted and, if you don’t have those subtitles on, you have just missed an entire conversation. I wish to holy hell those were the only problems, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been playing video games since Nintendo came out and this is in the top five of the most glitched games I’ve ever played. It felt rushed, which is a shame because this would have been a polished masterpiece if it were shown the proper love it deserved.

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Understanding the question

Gaia LogoSo many times I have sat and had the same conversation with Vanri the Rogue and that conversation might surprise you. It’s a conversation that I am sure happens a lot; a conversation that should happen if you don’t understand the topic.

I didn’t understand feminism. I didn’t get it. I innocently thought it wasn’t for me in any way, shape or form. I thought, like so many others, that it was a bunch of – pardon the phrase – feminazis who were demanding everything in the world be un-girly. We honestly have such screwed up views as to what it actually is because there is no positive explanation of it in our everyday lives. When it’s brought up or portrayed, it is always given a negative undertone or worse (to me), chalked up to ‘girl power.’ *shudder* Not everything females do can be summed up in a Spice Girls song.

Well, Vanri sat me down and schooled me. She did this after I had said for the millionth time, ‘I’m not a feminist.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, dear, Crymson but you are.’ Ok, maybe not just like that, but you get the gist. She sat there and listed off all of the feminist things that I do on a daily basis. You know what #1 was? If you guessed Real Women of Gaming, you’d be right. Talk about a wake up call.

This is what she explained or, more importantly, how I understood what she explained.

Feminism is the right to choose, to decide. She explained that it isn’t unfeminine to be a stripper (which I totally assumed), it’s oppressive to not have the ability to decide if you want to be a stripper or not.

I was seriously floored. Was it really that simple? Yeah, apparently it is. When we lack the ability to make those decisions, the same ability men have, then it is oppression.

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