Coming December 14th, 2018, PlayStation VR owners can pick up a copy of Borderlands 2 VR. 2K and Gearbox Software announced that Borderlands 2 VR will bring the beloved game to the revolutionary virtual reality platform for the very first time. The critically-acclaimed shooter-looter on PlayStation VR will bring this lively world even closer to gamers hearts.
The news broke yesterday, 10/9/18, that Borderlands 2 would be getting yet another release. Except, this time it is going to be just a bit more exciting. Borderlands 2 gave gamers endless hours of enjoyment and bringing it into VR has the potential to refresh Pandora and make this 6-year-old game feel exciting all over again.
Well, this is exciting!
Experience the Borderlands universe like never before. Players can open life-size chests filled with treasure, guns, and have the chance to inspect the world from every angle. The real-world aiming system will completely immerse anyone wearing that PlayStation VR headset in Borderlands 2. There’s no telling how intense the action will get when the world on the screen comes to life all around you.
New Perspective and Features
Borderlands 2 VR includes additional features not found in the original. One that has the potential to transform how players experience Borderlands 2 VR, besides the game actually being in VR, is the new “Bad Ass Mega Fun Time” (BAMF Time) ability. Gamers will be able to slow down time in order to give them the opportunity to set up their next attack. Players will also have access to a Teleport option, allowing them to transport themselves across Pandora with ease. However, even with the Teleport option being included, it doesn’t seem as though the world is going to be any less extraordinary to explore on foot or in a vehicle.
Claptrap... in VR!
2K and Gearbox Software enhanced the Borderlands 2 VR experience as well, adding a first-person perspective when driving vehicles. Players will be able to navigate the landscape, accelerate and steer with the joystick and use their headset to aim the vehicles weapons. Furthermore, if players use motion controllers, they can interact with the menu systems in an entirely new way. Point, click, drag and drop, seamlessly flow through the menu system to save time so more can be spent playing Borderlands 2 VR.
Virtual Reality Gaming - The Future?
There are high hopes for the future of Virtual Reality in gaming and the technology is still only in its infancy when it comes to consumer headsets like the PlayStation VR. However, the headset is still capable of delivering a thrilling experience. Borderlands 2 is a massively popular title and bringing it to the PlayStation VR seems like it’s going to be a perfect match.
Stop by GigamaxGames.com in December to find Borderlands 2 VR gameplay. Find out how it performs on Sony’s consumer VR headset. Let's hope it lives up to expectations or at least comes close.
QuakeCon 2018: Rage 2 Gameplay and New Story Details
Bethesda isn't holding back on new game announcements at this year's QuakeCon 2018. On top of breaking the news about the next title in their DOOM franchise, DOOM Eternal, the company had a ton of new reveals for their other FPS, Rage 2. Fans can expect to see this title hit PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2019. Unfortunately, the developer's love for the Nintendo Switch will not be extended to Rage 2 like it has been for DOOM Eternal.
Rage Fans Like What They See
Fans of the original Rage will certainly be pleased with the gameplay demo Bethesda revealed during the Keynote. The new game keeps up the high paced action the series is known for with plenty of explosions, fast cars, guns, and murder to keep players entertained. The video points out a number of story details like who your character is and why they're going out of their way to kill off an entity simply called "The Authority". Another detail made clear during the demo was that Rage 2 is set 30 years after the first game.
Players will be surprised to see that the desert world from Rage has been replaced by a newly budding planet with pockets of flora and fauna spread across the sprawling landscape. Thankfully, traversing this beautiful open world will be a breeze thanks to the lack of any loading screens and the multitude of vehicles to drive and fight in.
Who's Ready for Some Combat?
Enemies are broken up into actions in Rage 2 and the video showed off the different ways enemies will engage with the protagonist throughout their mission. The first group of marauders the demo featured was the Goon Squad, which use ultra-violent and aggressive tactics that will surely keep players on the move. Bethesda then showed off The Shrouded, another group of bandits that managed to get their hands on some fancy military grade technology.
For a more detailed look into how Rage 2 will operate, check out the gameplay demo above. We here at Gigamax Games are big fans of the first Rage and can't wait to see what Bethesda has planned for the upcoming sequel. Be sure to keep checking back for more updates.
Australia has incredibly strict censorship laws, especially when it comes to video games. We Happy Few was the most recent video game to face the Australian Classification Board (ACB). This game was at risk of becoming unavailable to Australian audiences when it's released on August 10th, 2018.
The ACB released a statement last week announcing that they would reconsider their initial ruling of completely banning the game. News broke yesterday (7/3/18) that We Happy Few would receive an R18+ rating instead of being completely banned from the country. This all comes after their decision in May where the ACB said the game incentivized drug use. A made-up drug called “Joy” is a primary plot point in the game and that was considered to cross a line.
“A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the computer game We Happy Few is classified R18+ (Restricted) with the consumer advice Fantasy violence and interactive drug use,” read the official statement from the Classification Review Board.
History of Australia’s Video Game Censorship
Banning video games in Australia was a much more common occurrence before 2011. Before then, Australia could only rate video games up to MA15+ (similar to T in the United States). R18+ was reserved only for film, and video games with similar content would be completely banned from the country as the appropriate classification wasn’t available. In July and August of 2011, the Australian Attorneys-General finally opened up the R18+ rating for video games as well.
Some Games Banned In Australia Over The Past 10 Years
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death
Omega Labyrinth Z
Saints Row IV
State of Decay
Shellshock 2: Blood Trails
Silent Hill: Homecoming
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni
A Close Call for We Happy Few
We Happy Few almost made it on this list above before the ACB came to their senses and awarded this video game an R18+ rating. Australia takes its censorship extremely seriously. There have been many games like the massively popular Left 4 Dead 2 that were initially banned from the country, but only after a highly edited version of the original game was it made available.
Since the R18+ rating began covering video games, Australian audiences have been granted access to some of the most popular titles on the global market. This was arguably the most important development in the Australian video game industry in the past 10 years. Especially now, as video games become more realistic, there's no telling which hits would have never made it to the massive island country.
Gigamax Games played the alpha of We Happy Few before the substantial updates the game received over the past year. This interesting universe was a colorful world filled with mystery and imagination. Gamers in Australia would have missed out on a potentially incredible adventure if the R18+ rating still didn’t cover video games.
Watch Gameplay of We Happy Few Early In Its Development
E3 2018 is receiving mixed reviews but there’s no denying there have been some incredible announcements and reveals. Nintendo was the last major gaming company to hold their press conference and they did it in the classic Nintendo style. Hosting a Nintendo Direct on June 12th, they stunned the gaming community with some massive gaming news.
These top 5 biggest announcements from the Nintendo Direct were both a cause of excitement and utter disbelief. After reviewing some of the best announcements from Nintendo’s press conference, be sure to jump to the bottom of the page for the even more Nintendo news from E3 2018.
Splatoon 2 The Octo Expansion Available Today!
In a big surprise to every Splatoon 2 fan, Nintendo told the world the first paid expansion will be available today, Wednesday, June 13th. This news broke yesterday, a classic move by the world-renowned game company. The Octo Expansion is a new single-player adventure and includes over 80 new missions. Taking on the role of Agent 8, players will use this new character to fight their way through an underground facility to make it to the surface of Inkopolis. The Octo Expansion will cost $19.99 on the Nintendo eShop.
Fortnite Battle Royale Available on Switch
Following speculation and leaks, Epic Games confirmed their monstrous smash hit, Fortnite, will immediately be available on the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo loves their last-minute announcements and Fortnite is no exception. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Nintendo-exclusive skins or content but it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine a Link or Mario skin making it to the Nintendo version. Fortnite is a fantastic shooter for the hybrid console and having the option to go mobile is a perfect fit for this specific Battle Royale game. As of now, there is no cross-play with PS4 Fortnite players and PS4 gamers can't even transfer over their progress.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Character Roster - Ridley Request Granted
The wait is finally over and the latest Super Smash Bros. announcement was well worth it. Dubbed, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the game will include all the characters from the series’ history. That’s over 60 fighters people will have the chance to play. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is an entirely new game, not a port. They completely redesigned all the characters, even the classics like Metal Gear Solid’s Snake, to improve their look and the way they play. The Nintendo Direct even let fans know the highly requested, Ridley from Metroid, whom fans have been asking Nintendo to include for over a decade will make it to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The game will be available on December 7th of this year.
Super Mario Party
This fall, Nintendo fans will be able to play a brand new Mario Party on the Switch. Called, Super Mario Party, the E3 2018 Nintendo Direct presentation offered some impressive gameplay and additional details. Super Mario Party invites Switch players to get together with other Switch owners to play a kind of local multiplayer. This modern version of a LAN party gave Super Mario Party the ability to feature minigames that encourage secret collaboration between players, working together to take down the competition, unbeknownst to the other individuals using their own Switch console. The world can expect to dive right into the newest addition to the Mario Party family on October 5th, 2018.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC
Nintendo’s E3 2018 press conference revealed that the latest Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC will work off of a pair of previous updates the game received in March. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna The Golden Country will be available to season pass holders late this summer. Gamers will have a chance to pick up a stand-alone retail package of the new storyline on September 21st. Season pass holders will be able to explore this legendary new adventure as early as September 14th.
Now for More from the E3 2018 Nintendo Direct!
Hollow Knight is now available on the Nintendo Switch.
Daemon Machina, a new mech-based action game, will release on the Nintendo Switch in 2019.
Fire Emblem: Three Horses, a brand-new Fire Emblem was announced during the Nintendo Direct.
The original arcade eSport, Killer Queen Black has been given new life and this multiplayer action/strategy platformer will be making its way to the Switch.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Donkey Kong Adventure is coming!
Fallout Shelter can be played on the Nintendo Switch right now!
Octopath Traveler, from Square Enix, is coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch on July 13th. A demo will be available on the Nintendo eShop on June 14th.
Dragonball FighterZ is coming to the Switch this year!
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker will be available on July 13th.
And so much more! Stick around as the Gigamax Games crew continues to reflect back on all E3 2018 had to offer.
More than five years of work have gone into Fallout: New California, a mod that completely transforms Fallout: New Vegas. After putting in a ton of time and effort, the talented developers behind the project, Radian-Helix Media has announced that the project will be available on October 23rd for Windows PC.
Impressive Fallout New Vegas Mod "Fallout: New California" Out Soon
The team recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of the project which began June 1st 2013, although some work had gone into the game beforehand, with a brand new trailer. The mod is intended to be a prequel story to Fallout: New Vegas which was initially developed by Obsidian back in 2010. Players will start their journey in Vault 18 as an outsider to the dilapidated Los Angeles where the facility is located.
Upon surfacing, players will immediately find themselves caught in a three-way power struggle between The New California Republic, Survivalist Army, and the Super Mutant. This is the preface for the NCR's invasion and eventual control of the Mojave Desert. The story takes place in the year 2260 which is quite a bit of time before Fallout: New Vegas.
A Long and Winding Road
Back in 2015, the head of the project Brandan Lee said that New California's narrative would feature two main paths, two subpaths, and eight companion characters, which lead to many branching paths that took the development team a lot of time to get right. Initially, they wanted the mod to release before Fallout 4 but now they are trying to beat Fallout 76's launch.
According to the mod team, the game's features are all set and art assets are locked in, but they are taking a few months to fine tune all the side quests. “You hit this story with huge replete branches 16,000 lines of dialogue long you expect some little moments with characters off to the side of the big arcs, and there just aren’t any,” Lee explained on the mod’s moddb.com page. “I’d also like to take time to revise some plot holes and gaps in the open possibilities that appeared in testing.”
The Fallout: New California Team will be opening beta sign-ups in July for fans that want to test it out early, which will give a look at the main quest line and the setting. As of now the launch scheduled for October 23rd is being called a Beta 2.00 release, but that does not change the excitement Fallout fans are feeling to revisit the west coast of post-apocalyptic America.
Mega Man fans will be excited to hear Mega Man 11 will be released on October 2nd, 2018. Capcom made the announcement on Tuesday, 5/29/18 that their new game will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Mega Man 11 will be the first Mega Man the world has seen since Capcom released Mega Man 10 back in 2010.
The impending release of Mega Man 11 wasn’t the only thing for gamers to get excited about. Capcom revealed to Japan a brand-new Mega Man amiibo. It will be included with the Collector’s Package in Japan but Western gamers will need to pick up Mega Man 11 amiibo Edition. The Western version also includes 4 stickers, a Dr. Wily logo patch, a “stage select” microfiber cloth, the game, and the amiibo.
Gamers have been enjoying this classic character for 30 years and the developer is making it clear they’re not done yet. In the gameplay above, it’s obvious Capcom made some amazing improvements to this classic world. The easiest change to spot was their move away from the 8-bit art style. Mega Man and the enemies are much more “life-like” in this latest game. The new 3D graphics are stunning but the game still maintains the classic feel of the franchise. Mega Man 11 will feature, what seems to be, high-quality voice acting as well.
Capcom isn’t just improving the look of their game, they’re adding some new systems as well. The trailer shows off the Double Gear system where players can use new abilities to slow time or make Mega Man stronger. However, there is a limit to the Double Gear system. Using it will cause the overheat bar to rise and if it reaches the top, players will have to wait before using Double Gear again.
Keep Your Eyes Open!
The Gigamax crew are big fans of the Mega Man series and will be keeping a close eye on any future announcements about the new release. For a little look at the previous Mega Man Capcom released in 2010, come take a look at playlist below.
Battlefield is back in a spectacular way. It’s been sixteen years since Battlefield 1942 revolutionized first-person shooters and now DICE wants to shake things up once again with Battlefield V. Set in World War II, Battlefield V brings with it brand new game modes, mechanics, and systems. These changes will excite and possibly even worry some longtime Battlefield fans.
This week, DICE released the official reveal trailer for Battlefield V. Besides being visually stunning, it offered some great insight into what fans can expect in October of this year.
Free DLC But At What Cost?
DICE officially revealed that Battlefield V DLC's will be following a similar model to the way Overwatch handles theirs. Any and all DLC’s will be completely free for all players, no Premium Pass required. However, DICE will be relying on a steady stream of income from selling cosmetics that will not impact a players effectiveness in combat. The developer did make it clear that all the cosmetics will be able to be unlocked by playing the game as well.
New game modes - Multiplayer and Singleplayer
Eliminating paywalls isn’t the only way DICE plans on improving their latest Battlefield game. A new cooperative mode called ‘Combined Arms’ is being added. It was designed to bridge the gap between singleplayer and Battlefields in-depth multiplayer. This four-player co-op mode uses a mission generator that gives players the power to customize their experiences easily and can take place in a variety of different environments. If a mission gets out of hand, players will be forced to make a hard choice. They can either choose to keep everything they found up until that point, or push through and complete the mission which pays off in a big way.
[Image Source: Gameinformer.com]
Operations, the new mode that made its first appearance in Battlefield 1 is returning as ‘Grand Operations”. Not only will the maps evolve throughout the game, the game modes will change throughout the duration of the battle as well.
DICE gave an example of how one of the Grand Operations will play out. Set in Rotterdam, the attacking forces will begin in an airplane and drop down behind enemy lines, tasked with taking out the Defenders long-range artillery cannons. Defenders, in AA cannons, will be targeting these troop-carrying planes. Day two is a classic Operation game mode but it’s now called Breakthrough. Day three, the map transformed into a battle-torn version of Rotterdam. This is where players can see the destruction bombing runs have left behind. If attackers are able to score a decisive victory, the battle will end on day three. The battle will progress to day four if the score is close and that will be the new Last Stand mode. Ammunition is low, vehicles are either far and few between or nonexistent. If a squad is wiped, they cannot respawn so cooperation, revives, and resupplies are essential.
DICE wants to put more emphasis on squad cooperation. Players will only get a limited amount of ammo and grenades and players can’t regenerate back to full health after being shot. This will make medics and classes with ammo resupply gadgets absolutely vital. Gamers can also pick up ammo from downed enemies or regenerate health on a flag position. Resupplying at a flag point is only possible if one was constructed.
All of this could have a massive impact on the way snipers play the game. So before a sniper finds that perfect hiding spot far away from the front lines, they’ll need to either have a buddy there with supplies or go around and collect enough ammunition to hold them over. This could address those frustrating moments where it seems like there’s just no place to hide from an ace sniper in a well-fortified position.
Fortifications and Improvements To The Frostbite Engine
Speaking about fortified positions, every player will be capable of making fortifications. They will even be able to rebuild parts of broken down structures. This new mechanic isn’t just isolated to the inside of buildings, gamers can deploy sandbags out in the open, set up anti-tank obstacles, barbed wire, and even resupply centers near flag positions.
[Image Source: Gameinformer.com]
The Frostbite Engine has been a staple of the battlefield games. Being able to destroy buildings and cover not only changes the landscape but it can also force the opposing team to change their strategy. However, in Battlefield V, DICE takes it even a step further. Now, the broken parts of buildings aren’t just rendered objects, they are actually the “real” pieces of the structure. If an artillery shell hits the outside of the building, debris will be launched inwards and vice-versa. Furthermore, pieces of a destroyed wall might even be hanging on by a thread, only to fall after a nearby explosion shakes the Earth.
Towing Weapons and Grenade Spam
Coming to Battlefield V is the ability to move around those once stationary AA guns or the mighty .50 cal. Tanks can tow these tide-turning weapons around the combat zone, absolutely transforming how these weapons will be utilized. Repositioning these heavy-hitting weapons to where they will be most useful, either to defending important objectives or use them as a means of attack. Players can use the towed AA guns or .50 cals while attached to the tank. Tanks can fire the main gun as soldiers on the towed AA or .50 caliber guns launch a barrage of lead at the enemy.
The issue with grenade spam is something DICE has been working to address for quite some time. Their response to this is letting players shoot grenades out of the air and if they react quick enough, throw grenades back.
Character Environment Interaction
The way characters interact and affect the environment has also been upgraded in a massive way. Not only have the graphics taken a massive step forward, the environment reacts to gamers being present in the landscape. Adding an incredible layer of realism, when players are wading or running through water, they will lift their legs higher. Soldiers can even slip when running on mud or rocks. Characters will also charge to cover will all their might, aggressively throwing and banging their bodies on the cover when running to the new position. High grass will respond to gamers movements, potentially giving away their position to the enemy.
[Image Source: Ign.com]
Character customization has become incredibly popular throughout the gaming community. DICE took a good hard look at Battlefield V and invested in the trend. Gamers can now customize their soldiers head to toe. Face paint, facial features, hair, pants, upper torso, and accessories are all in play. This new mechanic will give players a chance to truly make their soldier their own. Female soldiers can also be found around the battlefield. DICE announced they are always willing to sacrifice historical accuracy for fun and having the option to choose and customize their character to their liking always makes a game more enjoyable.
There are so many impressive improvements and changes coming to Battlefield V. The Gigamax crew are all huge fans of the series and cannot wait to get their hands on DICE’s next game. The new WWII is expected to release on October 19, 2018, but if this seems like an unbearable weight, there’s always some Battlefield 1 gameplay below.
Indie games are rising in popularity but the market is becoming saturated with AAA titles, other indie games, and now even video games in-between these two categories. These indie developers are left scratching their heads, wondering how they can make any kind of impact in an industry that’s overwhelmed by all these games releasing at such an impressive pace.
In the wake of Cliff Bleszinski’s studio, Boss Key Productions closing their doors after three years, the video game industry is paying close attention to this massive misstep. Boss Key Productions' independently released, “Radical Heights”, failed to make up for the financial void their previous release, Lawbreakers left behind. When a studio led by such a prominent name in the video game industry can close after three short years because of one major failure, indie developers worry if there is any room left in the market for them.
Both a Blessing and a Curse
Indie developers may face shoestring budgets but this is both a blessing and a curse. Development might take longer and the resources they have are limited but one failed game might not sink an indie studio. Boss Key Productions had 65 employees as of September 2017, whereas Studio MDHR, the developers of the indie hit, Cuphead has 15. These smaller developers have much more room to experiment with ideas, fail and bounce back, and remain agile when compared to larger studios.
Even with the benefits of being an indie studio, the indie market isn’t immune to over saturation. A recent report from SteamSpy’s Sergey Galyonkin showed there were an incredible 7,696 games released on Steam in 2017, up from 4,207 in 2016. This is making it challenging for indie developers to find a spot for their games and get the recognition some of them deserve. Still, time and time again, an indie game will pop up and make waves worldwide just like Cuphead mentioned above or even Illfonic’s Friday The 13th: The Game. Yet, as the video game industry continues to mature, the fear remains that these independent developers might be pushed out of the market by not only AAA developers, but the massive increase of indie games making their way to both consoles and PC.
The Double-Edged Sword
In a previous article on Gigamax Games titled, “The Best Time For Indie Developers” it took a different view on the current state of the industry. Focused on the technologies available and range of marketing methods at indie developers disposal, on one hand, things are looking up for these creators. Now with a studio like Boss Key Production closing their doors, it’s a stark reminder that even having the resources, technologies, big names, and capabilities to create a game like Lawbreakers or their independently publish Radical Heights at the height of Battle Royales popularity isn’t enough to turn a small studio into a major player within the video game industry.
One thing is certain, the video game industry in its current form is still relatively new and figuring itself out. The popularity of indie games is growing exponentially but all this uncertainty surrounding the market may steer would-be amazing indie creators away from releasing their games to the world. However, when quality content is released to the world, people will notice. Indie games aren’t going anywhere any time soon as they continue to find their place, but Gigamax Games will be keeping a close eye on the market to see how this sector continues to progress.
Are You an Indie Developer?
Are you an indie developer? Let us know your impression of the current indie game scene and if you have a game, post it in the comments below so the Gigamax Games crew can give it a try!
If you’re an indie developer struggling to break into the market, Woodstock Productions might be able to help!
EA Reacts to European Regulators Classifying Loot Boxes as Gambling
Electronic Arts’ responded to select regulatory bodies in Europe now classifying loot boxes as gambling. The discussion took place during the conference call where EA released Q4 and fiscal year 2018 results. EA is notorious for including, sometimes seemingly malicious, loot boxes in their games. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was the most recent loot box controversy that the gigantic game company stirred up and the latest announcement by countries like Belgium could put this relatively new revenue stream for video game developers in jeopardy.
Belgium had a complete ban on “games of chance” since 1999 until 2010 when illegal games of chance began getting out of control. The Gaming Commission was instituted to regulate any games they considered to be gambling. The Belgian Gaming Commission reviewed a total of four games, Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch, and CS:GO and found all but Star Wars Battlefront 2 were classified as "games of chance".
Star Wars Battlefront 2 removed their loot boxes during the investigation, which avoided any backlash over the game that brought about so much hate from the entire gaming community.
The Double-Edged Sword
EA's products weren’t the only games mentioned in the investigation but EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson still felt compelled to make a statement during the call. He stated, “We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously. We care deeply that our players are having a fun and fair experience in all of our games, and take great care to ensure each game is marketed responsibly, including in compliance with regional ratings standards. We welcome the dialogue with Minister Geens on these topics, as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling.” https://bit.ly/2rt7dwg
The company is putting on a strong face for investors as FIFA Ultimate Team is still incredibly profitable. However, losing out to a market like Belgium could have a bit of an impact on their earnings. With a population of a little over 11 million, it can be compared to losing out on a market with the same population as the state of Pensylvania.
The Battle Isn't Over
EA has a global reach and isn’t expected to give up without a fight. Gamers and governments all around the world have recently been contemplating if loot boxes are a form of gambling. Before more European countries follow suit and classify loot boxes as gambling, EA will need to aggressively campaign in order to convince global policymakers that what they’re doing is different than a trip to a casino.
Microtransactions and loot boxes are a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are companies like Blizzard that use loot boxes for their massively popular first-person shooter, Overwatch. Blizzard is able to release free DLC’s and consistently support their creation because of the steady revenue generated by their loot boxes. On the other hand, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and their original loot box system that was essentially “Pay to Win” for multiplayer. This blatant money grab threw the gaming community into an uproar, and for a good reason. Gamers don't want to put their time into a game, only to be trampled online because a person dumped extra money on loot boxes.
There’s no telling what the future will hold for loot boxes but this is a monumental development for the gaming community around the world. Gigamax Games will keep an eye out for any more news on this battle against loot boxes and what this means for the video game industry as a whole.
Game: The Invisible Hours
Developer: Tequila Works Publisher: GameTrust/Tequila Works Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR Genre: Spherical Narrative Players: Single-player
Tequila Works was absolutely successful in delivering a unique experience with The Invisible Hours. Now available for non-VR, the flat-screen version of the game is still able to remain immersive and unbelievably exciting. The second Tesla’s body was discovered, the intricate story begins to unfold in a spectacular way. This noir is truly an experience to remember.
Watch the Review Preview on YouTube!
Following this game since its release on VR, the only thing to hold me back from actually picking up The Invisible Hours was the thought of getting sucked into a game and needing to play it on PlayStation VR all the way through. This piece of tech is awesome but it can get a bit cumbersome when gaming for hours with this hunk of plastic on your head.
Now that Tequila Works was releasing their flat-screen version, I was extremely excited to get my hands on a copy. I’m not a big noir fan, and honestly, a conversation heavy game with little to no action or incredible cinematics doesn’t often catch my attention. However, there was something a bit different about The Invisible Hours.
The Cinematic Experience Begins
Following the footsteps of Nikola Tesla and getting to the bottom of his gruesome murder felt like the right combination to catch my interest. Tequila Works sent over a review copy and I couldn’t wait to get started. They marketed The Invisible Hours as a “Spherical Narrative” something that just seemed to be clever marketing language to catch gamers attention. But it actually turned out to be so much more than that.
The spherical nature became clear in the first hour of the game. It is built, unlike anything I’ve ever played before. A story unfolding and the player doesn’t have any direct impact on the events taking place. Instead, the main character isn’t really the main character. Gamers control what seems to be a “fly on the wall” kind of entity that has the ability to fast-forward, rewind, and stop time. This primary mechanic is the gem that truly makes this game shine, taking the gamer on a circular journey back and forth to get to the bottom of this mystery.
It All Starts Coming Together
Taking place on Nikola Tesla's private island, the playable character appears without much backstory. The only option is to start walking up the winding steps in front of you. With a large body of water behind you and a sheer cliff face to your right, the steps guide you up to a large gate bearing the letters, “NT”.
A crying woman that pays no attention to your presence and a gigantic mansion are the only things of immediate interest after reaching the top of the steps. Leaving the crying woman alone, feeling slightly offended she didn’t pay any attention to me, it was time to explore the mansion. This is when the body of the famous inventor is first discovered and things start to heat up.
As the drama unfolds, tensions flare and conversations start breaking out. From the moment Tesla's body is discovered, the game truly comes alive. What seemed like an empty mansion soon started filling with characters from all walks of life. Famous historical inventors, actors, along with people that history would have never mentioned all begin to appear from seemingly nowhere. Each of the characters plays a vital role in the stories development. All have a unique perspective on the situation that’s unfolding all around them as well as develop intricate back stories that only become clear as time goes on.
The Invisible Hours Stands Out
The feature that makes The Invisible Hours stand out and what created such a unique experience is the time control feature. Being able to rewind, fast-forward, and stop time along with the fact that your playable character is completely invisible allows Tequila Works to create that cinematic feel while still allowing gamers to have some kind of control.
As characters appear, you can follow them with the rewind function to see where they came from in the mansion and what they were up to. You can even rewind to the point before everyone was notified of the murder and fast forward to after the large group breaks up and see what they are doing in their room when they think they’re alone. It gets a bit creepy, but all throughout the game, it feels like a playable movie so it’s really not as weird as it sounds.
Each character had an unbelievably in-depth backstory, their complex emotions that The Invisible Hours is able to portray while they were alone with their thoughts is enthralling. Hanging on every word while also anxiously waiting for their monologues to end so I could go back and follow someone else around.
Less than 30 minutes in game time went by and I already put hours into the game. Every minute that passed in game felt like it caused a chain reaction, sending me off on a wild hunt for clues, collectibles, bits of conversation, and story. It is strangely exhilarating, especially being someone who usually finds themselves losing interest in dialog heavy games.
Overview and Wrapup
The only real complaint about the game is the fact that you had to wait for the rewind and fast-forward mechanic to wind up in order for it to go faster. It would start off slow and gradually increase in speed. This is a bit annoying since it played such an important role throughout the game. It would have been nice to have the option to have control of how fast time rewound or moved forward, instantly.
Overall the game is an interesting introduction to the Spherical Narrative genre. Tequila Works did a great job bringing this VR game to flat-screen as well. The story is fascinating and kept my attention every second I was playing. I didn’t want to miss a word and at one point I advanced to chapter 2 but didn’t want to move forward because I didn’t have a chance to follow someone back to their room and see what they were up to. It was nice that Tequila Works included a quicker way to time travel through the start menu so I was able to jump right back to the beginning of the game.
There are a lot of secrets hiding in Nikola Tesla's mysterious mansion and the journey to uncover the truth about his death is filled with mind-blowing realizations and tense interactions. Tequila Works did a fantastic job putting this story together. I’m excited to go back and see what other secrets The Invisible Hours has in store.