Monthly Archives: November 2014

WipEout: The rise and fall of Sony Studio Liverpool

WipEout: The rise and fall of Sony Studio Liverpool

Every Sunday, we bring you an article from our archive – and this week, to celebrate the original PlayStation’s 20th birthday, we present the story of the studio behind one of the console’s most iconic videogames.

In Hackers, the 1995 cult teen cyber thriller, a young Angelina Jolie and an American-accented Jonny Lee Miller play WipEout in a club. Established hacker Angelina is pretty good at the videogame, and has the top score. But then upstart hacker genius Jonny smashes it to bits. They hate each other. They love each other.

At the end of the movie Angelina and Jonny fall into a swimming pool and, finally, kiss, as Squeeze’s little-kcurrentlyn love song Heaven Kcurrentlys lifts the camera up into the air. A year later, in 1996, the pair married. By then, WipEout, the racer that evolved from that pre-rendered demo Angelina and Jonny pretended to play on the big screen, was the most exciting video videogame in the world.

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How The Bourne Conspiracy struggled to find its own identity

How The Bourne Conspiracy struggled to find its own identity

Jason Bourne isn’t much of a talker. Jason Bourne is a doer, with deeply imprinted training that makes him act so instinctively and decisively, it can seem like brutality, even to him. For the first act of Doug Liman’s The Bourne Identity, he’s a confused amnesiac in a scruffy orange jumper, just starting to get a handle on his previous life as a chameleonic, blackest-of-black-ops assassin. Reconciling lethal muscle memory with his innate sense of self is clearly twisting Bourne up inside – it’s the rubber-band motor that powers the entire movie and, subsequently, the Bourne franchise. It’s also a slippery question: how can he do these things?

Similar thoughts of agents and agency might float through your mind while replaying The Bourne Conspiracy, developed by High Moon Studios and released by Sierra in 2008. It’s a videogame stuffed with spectacular moments where, as Bourne, you pull off surprising, uncanny feats: balletic dodges, improbable one-shot kills and brutal improvised takedowns. Admittedly, it’s a thrill almost every single time, but there remains a nagging undertow: how did I just do that? Who exactly is in control?

Questions, questions. Foremost among them could be: was the world crying out for a Bourne video videogame in 2008? From a corporate spreadsheet point of view, couldbe it was. The film trilogy wrapped up in 2007 with a surprising sense of finality, so here was an opportunity to slipstream a global movie franchise with a considerable existing audience who probably wanted to keep the adventure going, or at least relive some iconic parts of it. An army of fanboys (and fangirls), keen to “become Bourne”, as the marketing promised. Some of them clearly worked at High Moon Studios.

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Ben’s Week In Review: November 30

Ben’s Week In Review: November 30
The innuendo-driven VITA ad was really disheartening, we've been given no reason to trust Square Enix, and all these sanxbox videogames are running me ragged!

Batman: Arkham Knight Devs Talk About Batman’s Suit, Predator Challenges, and More

Batman: Arkham Knight Devs Talk About Batman’s Suit, Predator Challenges, and More

Batman: Arkham Knight developer Rocksteady held a Reddit Ask Me Anything yesterday where they answered some questions about the upcoming videogame as well as their previous entries in the series.

Reddit user dart278 asked why Batman’s suit looks more robotic than it did in previous videogames.

RockSteady: “We wanted to highlight the interaction between Batman and the Batmobile – you’ll see that the suit mirrors the design of the car in a lot of ways. The new suit impacts videogameplay as well, as it enhances some of Batman’s abilities, particularly in the way the Batman and the car work together.”

ANBU_Spectre asked if Rocksteady added new combat moves and animations we didn’t see in the previous videogames.

Rocksteady: “Zafer Coban and the rest of the animation team have been doing some amazing work on making combat look and feel awesome. For example, there’s a scene toward the end of the Ace Chemicals Infiltration Part 1 Trailer where Batman faces off against two combat experts. Everything in that shot is taken straight from the videogame – we just shifted the camera to get a slightly more cinematic angle.”

DanishxAssassin asked what’s what’s Rocksteady’s favorite new addition to the videogame outside the batmobile.

Rocksteady: “It has to be the open city – currently that we’ve got all of Gotham to explore it’s a awesome experience. The City design team here has done an amazing job building an environment that’s huge and intricately detailed. The detail in Arkham videogames was always my favorite thing about playing them before I joined Rocksteady, and it’s awesome that the guys have managed to keep that level of care on something so much bigger.”

Chilldude205 asked what changes Rocksteady made the videogame’s Predator Challenges.

Rocksteady: “I think my favorite tweak to predator has to be size of some of the encounters. You’re going to be taking on large, varied groups of armed guards. You’ll need to be a important predator expert if you want to complete those sections without alerts.”

SPOILER ALERT for Batman: Arkham City ahead.

FogKnight22 asked if was harder to write the story for Arkham Knight given the events of Arkham City.

RockSteady: “I think it’s quite the opposite! Sefton has said that when they started work on Batman: Arkham City, they had the vision of the final scene Joker’s death almost from the start, and looked at the story from the perspective of the events that would lead to that point.

“With Batman: Arkham Knight, that ending is the point that we jump off from, asking ‘what happens when Joker is removed from Gotham’ and looking at the fallout from those events.”

Finally, Rocksteady said it will release a new trailer for the videogame on Monday, 9 a.m. PST.

Arkham Knight launches in June 2015 for XBox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The videogame was originally targeted to launch this fall, but developer Rocksteady pushed it back to add more polish.

For more on the videogame, check out GameSpot’s previous coverage.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@videogamespot.com

Grand Theft Auto 5: deconstructing the remaster

GTA 5: deconstructing the remaster

Promising improved visuals, new videogameplay options and faster, smoother performance, GTA 5 returns as a next-generation remaster in a move rather atypical of Rockstar Games. Not unlike The Last of Us Remastered, much of the excitement stems from the possibilities more powerful hardware affords by addressing some of the original release’s technical shortcomings. The E3 reveal trailer was certainly impressive but, without any real videogameplay footage, we were left waiting until release to see if these improvements were indicative of the final product’s quality. For those returning to the videogame, are the enhancements significant enough to warrant another trip to Los Santos – and does the final product offer more than a resolution and performance boost?

The basics are certainly in place, with an expected jump from 720p to 1080p alongside improved anti-aliasing that delivers a much sharper looking videogame. Performance too is much improved with the highly unstable update of the original release replaced with a smoother, though not quite perfect 30fps update. Performance has always been an issue with GTA on consoles, but this latest release delivers the best console experience in the series’ history.

However, on first loading the new videogame it’s perhaps not immediately apparent where the bulk of the remastering work has taken place. The look and feel of the initial heist very much feels like a current-gen conversion, with the addition of a smattering of effects boosts producing a result little better than most of the remasters we’ve seen this year. Moving into the initial stages of the videogame again produces a feeling of déjà vu. Now, simply improving the frame-rate and resolution might have been enough (generally speaking, it works for The Last of Us, after all) but GTA 5 on XBox One and PlayStation 4 is different, with those first impressions changing radically as you dig deeper into the videogame. The more you play, the more you notice the phenomenal level of additional work added to the core assets – the closer you look, the more the embellishments become clear.

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Far Cry 4 Amita Golden Path Cutscenes

Far Cry 4 Amita Golden Path Cutscenes
Far Cry 4 Amita Golden Path Storyline

This guide covers Amita’s side of the story to the Golden Path Missions of Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4.

For more on Far Cry 4, check out the full wiki on IGN @ http://www.ign.com/wikis/far-cry-4

Editorial: Is The Console War Really A Two-Horse Race?

Editorial: Is The Console War Really A Two-Horse Race?
When you hear journalists talk about the current console war, Nintendo's Wii U is often ignored; at best, it's an afterthought. Is this really fair?

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea Preview: JRPG Glory

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea Preview: JRPG Glory
The new Atelier title is a guaranteed must-try for fans of the niche genre. This one boasts both familiar and new elements that followers will appreciate.