With our January cover story on Mega Man 11, we offer insight into how a small team within Capcom resurrected the Mega Man franchise and we share exclusive impressions of what it’s like to play the game.

With this feature, we show the new development team in action … sort of. Game Informer’s Ben Reeves grabs a whiteboard and walks through the process of designing a new boss with Mega Man 11’s director Koji Oda, producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, and art director Yuji Ishihara. We should stress, there’s no way this creation is making it into the game. If you want to learn more about the real Robot Masters in Mega Man 11, check out our feature where we share all we know.

Watch the video below to watch Ben Reeves live out his childhood dream of creating a new (and unusable) Robot Master for Mega Man.

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Hangar 13, the developer behind Mafia III, has a new project in the works and has taken on some talent from Guerrilla Games to get it done.

David Ford, who worked as the lead quest designer on Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Mark Norris, who worked at Guerrilla as a senior producer, have both joined 2K and Hangar 13 on an unannounced project. Ford made the announcement on his Twitter the other day, while Norris joined earlier this year.

Hangar 13 also recently hired Simon Hamelin, lead programmer of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Jon Graham, who worked on Raven’s Call of Duty games, as tech director and VFX lead, respectively.

Additionally, Hangar 13 is hiring for Senior Combat/Enemy Designers and people with experience in open world games. It is possible we’re looking at a new Mafia game or perhaps a new IP entirely. Mafia III released in October 2016 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Since release, the game has shipped over five million copies, setting records for a launch for 2K. You can read our review of the game here.

 

Our Take
Mafia III had fantastic presentation, but the open world gameplay could be a little weak. Hiring from Guerrilla makes a ton of sense and will hopefully make for a better project.

2017 has been a long year. The longest in my life, it’s felt like. I’ve woken up a lot of mornings, made coffee, and then read one headline after another, each leaving their dizzying, devastating impact. Possible war on the horizon. Discrimination in spades. The continued downplay of the dangers of climate change. The death of one of my heroes. A bevy of personal, medical, and emotional issues haven’t exactly made things bright and sparkly. If I were superstitious, I’d tell you there’s something wrong with this year. That it’s cursed, rancid. A year of anger and distrust and fear.

It’s year where I feel like I’ve sleepwalked most days, bouncing between feeling powerless and delusionally powerful. This is a feeling I know many people share but don’t talk about. What’s the use in giving it a voice, all the dread and fear and anxiety? I’ve never found much comfort in talking with other people about fears. Writing about them, sure. You’re just talking to a bunch of white space and then people happen to read your conversation with the white space and have opinions about it. But talking with real people? About being scared of dying, of economic catastrophe, of failed ambitions, of all those little dreadful, murderous thoughts that sneak into your brain in the dead of night? Not for me. I’m trying to change that, make an art out of connecting with people on an emotional level. But it’s hard.

I’ve waffled back and forth over the power of games as therapeutic devices this past year. They’re potent devices for escapism, video games, and escapism has become a sort of dirty word, this idea that we’re escaping from our responsibilities or from confronting reality. There’s maybe some truth to that, but I don’t think that’s a new thing or something that’s exclusive to the world of video games, and I don’t think escapism is inherently a bad thing. Too much of it? Sure. But I think great art often thematically justifies its existence, even if it has a silly veneer. Great art lifts you up and leaves you with messages that could shock you to your core or inspire you to look inward and face the day with renewed passion.

For me, the best games of 2017 were all about resistance. And I don’t just mean political resistance, which has been the banner for many this year, but all kinds of resistance. In the end, resistance is about tearing down established order, especially unconscionable ones. Take, for example, Persona 5, which stars a group of high school students infiltrating the corrupted hearts of adults to make them confess their sins and turn over a new leaf. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, my personal Game of the Year, is a title that ostensibly has no overt political message but is still an adventure that focuses on the responsibility of renewing a corrupt and broken world.

In Dishonored’s Death Of The Outsider, eventually Billie ushers in a new order free of the Outsider, either through violent means or otherwise. It creates a power vacuum and the potential for further chaos, but this vacuum also allows for more people in Dishonored’s world to take more control over their lives. In these games, resistance is the key tenet. Nier: Automata has its character grapple with the cruelty of their masters as they break away in search of a world to build for themselves in an attempt to break the cruel cycle of existence they’re trapped in. The resistance to things that people know to be inhuman and monstrous, things that exist inside and outside of ourselves.

Of course, there were definitely a few games this year that were explicitly political resistance games. The established order in Wolfenstein II, ruled by the cruel nazi regime, must be torn down aggressively, with hatchets severing sinew and bullets bursting eyeballs because the order is built on bigotry and will not respond to reason. There is no debating this sort of power structure because it feeds on hate so in the end, Wolfenstein’s manner of violent resistance is more than justified: it’s deeply satisfying, especially in a year where nazis have the gall to show up at rallies to spread their garbage.

I felt a fire in my throat during certain scenes of Wolfenstein II, a grin slowly stretching out across my face as I watched protagonist BJ Blazkowicz split a Nazi’s face open with a hatchet. There was glee in my heart. Yes, Wolfenstein II is an escapist fantasy,  with its pulp sci-fi leanings and gleeful violence, but it’s also an experience that lets me play out my ideological values against unhinged, horrific ones and, in that way, lets me reinforce them. It lets me believe that good can triumph over evil. Even if that’s not the case, I need to believe it. I need to believe it so I can get up in the morning.

Everything ends, especially power structures and orders, one way or another. This is what all of mankind’s stories have told us as far back as there have been stories. Armies ransacking countries, demolishing nations. Politicians backstabbing each other. People rising up to put their former masters’ heads beneath guillotines. In a year where I’ve woken up to read headlines, pondering if the people at the controls of the nation I live in had any sense of restraint or decency, the best games that I’ve played weren’t oh-so-serious art games that looked unflinchingly into the heart of despair or pure escapist affair, but something in between. Games that let me escape into a world but also had me grappling with larger issues of despair and hopelessness, of the possibility of restoring beautiful worlds, games that reminded me of the value of looking into the horizon for any sign of hope, hope, hope.

Escapist fantasies are just entertainment. At their best, they’re skillful exercises in ideological instruction and inspiration. In the case of 2017’s video games, these works all exist separate from one another obviously but they all communicate one shared message: do not give up. The world is our responsibility and it’s good and useful to have media that we partake remind of us that important fact now and again. As two characters from Nier: Automata, perhaps the most powerful and uplifting interactive experience this year, say: “A future is not given to you. It is something you must make for yourself.” Let us hope in the years to come, as changes take hold on a personal and global scale, that the good in each of us is more than up to the challenge of keeping the peace and that there’s enough art, both in and out of games, to remind us of the worthwhileness of that struggle.

A leak from the Taiwan Google Play store says that Pokemon GO’s winter event might finally be bringing Delibird out for trainers to catch.

The leaks comes from Pokemon-focused subreddit r/TheSilphRoad posting Google Play Taiwan’s update description for Pokemon GO. In addition to new Hoenn Pokemon from the third generation, the winter event will also bring in Delibird, who has not been included so far.

Delibird is a Santa-like Ice/Flying type Pokemon from the Johto region. It is a present-giving Pokemon whose Pokedex entries talk about how it generously shares food it keeps.

Pokémon Go Adds AR+ Feature

Pokémon Go has added AR functionality for anyone running iOS 11 on iPhone 6s, fifth-gen iPads, and all iPad Pro models.

AR+ is activated in encounter mode, and it more accurately positions Pokémon, scales their size to the environment, and changes it and their perspective in relation to trainers.

This awareness to the trainer extends to one of the gameplay features of AR+ – Pokémon are aware of a trainer’s proximity and may flee if they approach too quickly. However, you get a special capture bonus if you snare them, and you can also get a new Expert Handler bonus for more XP and Stardust.

[Source: Niantic] 

Magic Leap has revealed the Creator Edition of its Magic Leap mixed-reality glasses, which start to ship in 2018.

The glasses come with a small processing unit and a controller, and they mix generated light fields and light in the area to blend real-life and digital objects.

The glasses are designed for creative, social, and display applications – as well as gaming, but no specific applications are being discussed at this time.

No price has been announced for Magic Leap.

[Source: Magic Leap] 

 

Our Take 
The company says units start shipping in early 2018, but that seems more toward developers than the general public. 

Dark Horse Comics has announced a new comic based on Nintendo’s fighting game ARMS being written by Ian Flynn, most famously known for Archie Comics’ Sonic the Hedgehog.

The ARMS comic is debuting as part of a double-issue with a new Legend of Korra comic being given away during Free Comic Book Day, a day where comic book stores and publishers give away certain issues of comics for free to drive business into stores. The ARMS half of the book is being written by Ian Flynn with art from Joe Ng, who is best known for the Overwatch comic Binary.

Dark Horse describes the ARMS comic as follows: “In a story based on Nintendo’s exclusive fighting game ARMS, a young fighter trains tirelessly to reach the top in the ARMS League Grand Prix—but first, he must defeat 599 other contenders!”

Free Comic Book Day takes place on May 5. ARMS was released in June earlier in the year, you can read our review of the game here. A Version 5.0 update has been announced with a new fighter on the way soon.

A new trailer for Fist of the North Star Yakuza (Hokuto ga Gotoku, or Like A North Star, a play on Yakuza’s Japanese title of Ryu ga Gotoku, or Like A Dragon) shows off cinematics, fighting, and…cabaret club management?

The trailer, which Sega released on a livestream earlier today, shows Kenshiro in Eden, a flourishing entertainment district. The game is most ways a Yakuza game, to the point where Kiryu’s voice actor plays Kenshiro and DLC will allow players to just straight up replace Kenshiro with Kiryu.

In the new trailer, Kenshiro can take the captions from enemy death rattles and special move screams, wielding them as weapons or crushing them to turn them into items. He can also use his patented Pressure Point Punches by pressing circle with perfect timing during combos, causing enemies to explode in bloody messes.

Kenshiro also has a host of Yakuza-like minigames available to him, such as bartending or apparently running a cabaret club similar to Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami 2.

The game was originally announced for February 2016 in Japan, but has been delayed one month to March. No western release has been announced yet, but it is likely SEGA will feel free to make announcements after Yakuza 6 gets closer to release. Hokuto ga Gotoku is exclusive to the PlayStation 4.

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Nexus Mods, the largest site in the world for all sorts of game mods, has announced a plan to start paying mod creators for popular mods.

The system, which is detailed in this blog post, is a little convoluted at first. A donation pool set up by the owners with both Nexus owner and crowd-sourced donations will begin every month and then unique mod download numbers will be paid out proportionally. The system is created as a reaction to criticism of Bethesda’s paid mods initiative and wanting to keep payment fair.

The donation point system is opt-in and only includes mod authors who want to take part. Even those who participate can still keep donation links up. The post mentions that no one will be able to quit their job from this payment, but it can help subsidize the cost of the mod work or buy a few extra beers a month.

Nexus Mods is planning to launch this program in early 2018 and is inviting feedback as they roll it out.

[Source: Nexus Mods]

A core battle of the PlayStation 3 generation’s console wars, the 2005 trailer of Killzone 3, has finally been confirmed as a concept trailer not representative of the game.

NoClip, a Kickstarter- and Patreon-backed studio that focuses on bringing behind-the-scenes looks to tell the stories of games, released their documentary on Horizon: Zero Dawn. As part of telling the story of the game’s development, NoClip looks back at the evolution of the studio, which includes the 2005 PlayStation 3 reveal of the first trailer of Killzone 2.

Guerrilla’s executive producer Angie Smets explains that the CG trailer was their vision for what they wanted Killzone 2 to look like, after initial planning for the game had it set for the PlayStation 2. After waiting a few months for their devkits, the team watched the E3 stage show intended to be Sony’s coming out party for the PlayStation 3. Sony’s now-CEO Kazuo Hirai introduced a segment where he said Sony had asked partners for footage.

Then, the Killzone 2 footage aired, blowing people away at what the PlayStation 3 could apparently do.

Guerilla was not incredibly worried, as they figured no one would believe that could be realtime footage for the game. However, the show was followed by a PlayStation Rep saying exactly that, flat out telling the world that the Killzone 2 footage was running in-game on a PlayStation 3.

“I think we had only rendered a triangle by that point,” Smets said.

The old trailer has long since been removed by Sony, but it would still be impressive from a scripting and animation standpoint today. Smets does remark that the confusion was for the better, as it convinced Guerrilla that they needed to expand to meet the expectations of the new generation of development.

[Source: NoClip – Horizon: Zero Dawn Documentary]

 

Our Take
Now that we have realtime graphics at the level of Toy Story, too, I am fascinated by how much console launch lore we can examine and attain.