GTAV

Less than a week after the modern take on Grand Theft Auto turns 10, Rockstar Games has announced GTAV by no more than a simple Tweet containing the hashtag #GTAV. Right now, the only thing known about Grand Theft Auto V is the logo that adorns Rockstar’s website with the first trailer scheduled for next Wednesday. Don’t expect much footage however, the publisher tends to tease their products by artistically crafted snippets but it’ll be enough to get many major sites scanning it frame by frame to see what’s hiding within. The five in the logo is reminiscent of a that found on an American five dollar bill. Whether that is any indication of what to expect is anyone’s guess.

One of the many older rumours surrounding GTAV was that it could well be a launch title for Nintendo’s Wii U and the timing of this announcement may well support that rumour. Latest educated guesses is that the Wii U will launch next Summer of Holiday season which is around the time I’d expect to see another GTA since the fourth game came out in 2008. But who knows, this trail of thought could go on for ages so lets just see what next Wednesday has in store.

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Frogger makes yet another come back.

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Frogger is undeniably a classic video game, relevant for its generation and fun the first few times around. But publishers seem to think that just because a game is dubbed a classic, it can be churned out again and again on everything that houses a microchip. Why, just the other day I was manoeuvring a reptile through a busy street via a microwave. So here we are again at the dawn of yet another Frogger game, Frogger 3D for the 3DS. Konami announced the game last night at their pre-E3 conference and Destructoid bagged themselves a trailer which I have to say, does look interesting. Traditional Frogger modes will be accompanied by new stages and puzzles to navigate plus new enemies and allies too. Still, I don’t think this by any means will spark a resurgence in Frogger popularity but may be a tad entertaining in the short run. Then again…

The beginning of an icon

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This video starts with a young lady plunging into the water, against her own accord. She wasn’t diving or enjoying a casual dip, she fell and that fall was the beginning of the end of her youth. She had to become a woman. She became Lara Croft.

Dramatic huh? Well, the debut trailer for Square Enix’s Tomb Raider reboot has drama by the barrel load. There’s not an ounce of in-game footage but in this instance, that doesn’t matter. This video is about setting the grand scene for Lara, a reboot after many previous reboots that failed to really take off due to overwhelming similarities and less than stellar experiences. But where once stood a real-life model dressed as a video game heroine, prancing around for uncomfortable dudes, now stands a trailer showing an anatomically proportioned girl thrown into a rather unpleasant situation.

The words ‘A survivor is born’ flashes up towards the end and if all the hype is to be believed about a dramatic shift in Tomb Raider, this could be the reboot which finally counts. You’re looking good Lara!…the video I mean… damnit, old habits die hard…!

L.A. Noire official launch trailer makes me wish it was Friday (next Friday)

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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the official launch trailer for Rockstar Games’ next big hit, L.A. Noire. How do I know it’ll be a hit? Given the wealth of hype surrounding the game what with its startlingly realistic facial animations, film festival-wooing story line and the fact that it’s a Rockstar title, I’d be more surprised if it wasn’t a hit.

Though considering Team Bondi have developed quite a different game for Rockstar, the trailer does stick with the tried and tested method of focusing on gun fights and action. That’s not a bad thing, far from it, the footage looks awesome and something I’d very much like to be playing just a little different from previous trailers that champion everything else about the game, like interrogating witnesses and searching for clues. But lets face it, the mainstream audience don’t want to see those kind of things, they want action, they want shooting and Rockstar wants this game to sell. I’ve got my copy pre-ordered (yes I know, I’m part of the problem) and know at least a few more who’ll be picking it up next week. So that’s at least three copies… anyone else planning on getting it? (as if I need to ask!)

As clean as Cole

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Every time Rockstar release a trailer for L.A. Noire, I always harp on about the facial animations, how lifelike they appear and how they could raise the bar for in-game acting. So I’ll spare you the flowery butt kissing, even if trailer number three above once again looks stunning and state some of the facts. Hero Cole Phelps is one step removed from the usual Rockstar protagonist. He isn’t being forced to kill for money or has any kind of shattered American dream to face. What he does find challenging is keeping the rest of the LAPD on the straight and narrow what with all the dirty money flowing through their grubby hands. The new trailer details some of his plight as an clean-cut detective but I have to wonder if we’ll be able to decide whether he remains that way throughout the game. Can we turn him from a life of unquestioning duty to just another bent cop on a severely bent police force? Not that I would of course, I tend to stick to the path of good when games offer moral choices but it’ll be interesting to see if L.A. Noire can, or rather has the option to, tempt me into the world of sleaze and corruption when its released in Europe on May 20th.

Is one second enough?

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After scooping a BAFTA for recognition of his contribution to video games, Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios released an ominous short and sweet teaser for the company’s next game. From the video, the game is called 1 Second Perfection (like an unfortunate nickname for a high schooler) or at least that’s its working title.

The video quotes famous Elite developer, David Braben who once said: “Why can we not make a game that will last days, not just hours?”. Now that we’re well and truly in that era of video games with some titles lasting numerous years, Peter Molyneux has asked a question of his own: “Can we create a game that lives forever but is only played for 1 second?”. I don’t know, can you? After both those quotes pop up, something that looks rather like a thrown-together robot with glowing green eyes turns to look at the viewer. “How would you play your 1 second” flashes on screen followed by the name and announcement of an open beta coming in Autumn this year.

In the past, Molyneux has been highly ambitious with his games, maybe too ambitious perhaps which resulted in his apology to the public for promising things in games that were never delivered upon. Is this just another one of his wild ideas, never quite working out the way he wants them too? I still believe the man’s a visionary and we’re lucky to have someone like him in the industry. The games – mainly his Fable series – may have over promised and under delivered but that didn’t stop them all being great games and didn’t stop our connection to their core ideas. How would I play my 1 second? I have no idea but am keen to find out what Lionhead are offering.

Was Techland dead wrong?

When Techland released a trailer for Dead Island a few weeks ago, no one quite knew how popular it would be. Taking Twitter by storm, the beautiful and emotional video showed a family caught admits the zombie outbreak desperately struggling to survive. Excitement grew within the gaming community at the prospect that Dead Island will be the turning point for the multitude of zombie games, rebooting a predictable genre. After various outlets got their hands on the game recently, it turns out the trailer couldn’t be further from the truth.

Techland didn’t produce that video, Glasgow-based Axis Animation were hired to put together a promotional tool for the game which began development over four years ago. That’s nothing new, studios often outsource promo trailers for their games, it means they can concentrate on making the game. But the separation between video and in-game content has earned Techland their fair share of criticism as the game itself won’t be anything like the video. Techland’s international brand manager Blazej Krakowiak told NowGamer quite defiantly: “Obviously a CGI trailer is not the game. Even FPP games often use TPP cutscenes, to show something from a different point of view or even, as is the case with the Dead Island trailer, to tell a side story to expand the game world for the viewers.”

The intention of the video was to set the tone of Dead Island not represent its content. However what seems to have happened is Axis Animation created something poignant and touching that many gamers will find it tough not to associate with final gameplay. The hopes that a new level of maturity (for lack of a better word) has come to zombie games is fading with every preview I read but it does sound like Dead Island will at least be adding new and interesting mechanics to the fold, combining all the best elements of previous undead games into one. But it’s still not quite the promise we were given when the majority of people were introduced to the game via the now infamous trailer.

Krakowiak argues that we as gamers should come to expect a major difference in trailers and content: “I believe that gamers know the difference between CGI and gameplay footage very well and they both serve a purpose,” adding “Take an honest look at the best CGI trailers of recent years. As a gamer I love watching them. Sure, they’re a different form of entertainment but they’re still about the games I care about. Still, even the best CGI trailers are never too close to the actual gameplay and that’s quite all right, there are other videos for that.” It’s a fair point, there are indeed other videos to show what to expect from a game and maybe we should have seen them first before arguably being led astray.