Gamescom, the massive annual video game expo currently happening in Cologne, Germany, revealed its show winners today. You can find the list of winners below.

Best PS4 game: Spider-Man
Best Xbox One game: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Best Nintendo game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Best PC Game: Anno 1800
Best Mobile Game: Shadowgun War Games
Best Action Game: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Best Add-on/DLC: Destiny 2: Forsaken
Best Casual Game: Team Sonic Racing
Best Family Game: Super Mario Party
Best Puzzle/Skill Game: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Best Racing Game: Forza Horizon 4
Best Role Playing Game: Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition
Best Simulation Game: Farming Simulator 19
Best Social/Online Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
Best Sports Game: FIFA 19
Best Strategy Game: Total War: Three Kingdoms

For more from Gamescom, check out the website www.gameinformer.com for all kinds of previews and coverage from the show! Here’s a story about Devil May Cry 5; here’s one about Resident Evil 2; we even have one about Life is Strange 2! Enjoy!

[via gamesindustry.biz]

During E3, we had a chance to speak with Hidetaka Miyazaki, the mastermind responsible for Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and more broken controllers than anyone (probably). Miyazaki and From Software unveiled Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at E3, a ninja-themed twist on the studio’s brutally precise concoctions. We took the opportunity to probe Miyazaki’s mind about what makes Sekiro such an intriguing departure for the storied studio.

*This interview originally appeared in Game Informer Australia issue 104

When did From Software begin work on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?
Around the time DLC on Bloodborne was wrapping up. That was when initial talks began. We don’t really have teams on projects at From. We don’t have a Bloodborne team and a Dark Souls team. But some members of the Bloodborne staff will be working on Sekiro, but also a lot of people from other projects as well.

I’d love to know more about the initial concept and how these ideas came to exist…
So, the keywords when we first set about planning this game were obviously “Japanese inspired,” “Japanese aesthetic,” and “ninja.” We wanted to make a game based on ninja; that was the main keyword. That was the impetus for the whole project.

Well, that, and some new ideas for game design. For instance, using three-dimensional movement and using a lot of mobility to traverse the map, that fit nicely with the ninja concept. And also this ability to use everything – to use a variety of skills and techniques that you have to command mastery of – that fit together really nicely with this whole concept.

And, of course, you may have noticed some similarities with Tenchu. That was actually another key word around the genesis of the project. We didn’t want it to be a direct continuation of the series or an imitation of what other companies have done with the series. We wanted to do something new, but Tenchu was a keyword and an inspiration.

In terms of the setting and the world design, the main periods in which ninja operated in in Japan were the Edo and the Sengoku periods. One of the two reasons we chose Sengoku over Edo was because it’s a period filled with war, filled with violence. It was the age of warring states in Japan. It was full of bloody battles and conflict. And this fit really nicely with the ninja aesthetic and with the kind of game that we wanted to make.

The second reason we chose Sengoku was because Edo is generally considered the early modern period of Japan, while Sengoku is more medieval. And from this medieval background we were able to take motifs and ideas from this ancient Japanese mysticism, a timeline of beauty, and incorporate that into the world design.

There’s a supernatural element to this world. We’ve seen monsters. Is that an unusual occurrence in this universe, or is this typically a supernatural, monster-filled world?
In general, it is a world based on reality, based on some real elements of the Sengoku period. But we don’t want to ground it too much in reality; we want to give it our own spin, as we have done with previous titles. You will find the supernatural elements if you look hard enough in the world. We don’t want to give too much away, but there is this unknown side to the world that our ninja protagonist can explore, but the regular folk will not know about.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice just scored a March 22, 2019 release date

A key part of your level design is one-way paths you can’t mantle back up, where you commit to the risk/reward of a route. With the added mobility, is that an element of your game design that needs to be left behind?
This wasn’t something we consciously left behind… But a big part of Sekiro’s design is this ninja concept and allowing freedom of mobility and traversal of 3D open spaces.

When we’ve made the maps for Dark Souls and Bloodborne in the past, we’ve prided ourselves on those 3D spaces; very open and vertical maps where you have to use ladders and stairs to go up and down. Through making these games over the years, we’ve been confined to ladders and stairs, and it’s a one-way system as you pointed out.

Now we’re finally able to freely traverse these maps as a ninja. This is something that I personally wanted to do. It feels like a big stress relief, like I’m able to experiment a lot more.

Is the world interconnected in the same way as a Soulsborne game?
As with previous titles, there are a couple of exceptions, but in general it is all connected sequences… We feel that this time it’s hard to specifically refer to an older title [for comparison]. Rather than saying it’s a linear one-track game, there are branching paths. While the maps are seamlessly connected, there is a level of freedom in the order that you can approach these sequences.

Is there an equivalent to the Soulsborne bonfires or lamps?
Yes. We do have an equivalent of the bonfire. We call it the Sculptor’s Idol. It’s a four-handed statue. The old man, the sculptor in the trailer, is the one carving the statues.

These “Sculptor’s Idols” are Sekiro’s bonfire/lamp equivalent

Death is a key theme in your work. How does Sekiro rethink that philosophy? What is Sekiro’s approach to death?
We have a mechanic called resurrection. One thing we thought about in designing this ninja protagonist was that you’re constantly in fear of death. You are not a knight suited in armour. You are exposed, you are vulnerable, and you are constantly at death’s door. Any mistake could be your last.

This fear of death, and this sense of risk is something we wanted to maintain from our previous titles. But it was working a little bit too well with this new ninja concept! You were dying a lot, and you were having to start, go back and redo. And this was just spoiling the flow, tension and tempo of the game. So in order to maintain that sense of trepidation and that fear of death, but while at the same time improving the rhythm between combat encounters, we introduced the resurrection system.

And then we founded this idea of resurrection fitted very nicely with the ninja motifs: this is a cold-hearted warrior who can utilise even his own death as a strategy in battle.

One thing we want to make clear is that resurrection is not intended to make the game easier. We’re going to be very conscious of that as we continue to tweak and balance it. It will have its own restrictions. It will have its own death penalties and costs associated with it. We still want the player to fear death; we don’t want to numb the player to death.

Can you give us an example of how you can use your own death to your strategic advantage in combat?
So the easiest to understand would probably be the example we’ve given in the trailer, where you do actually in fact die. Your enemies turn their backs on you and they think that they
have triumphed over you, and they ignore you, and then you can resurrect and get back up and then ambush them.

Something else we could consider, something we’re playing with at the moment, is the idea of ending your own life in some way in order to reset the situation if you’re really in a tight spot. For example, through the use of poison, or some other concoction, you could potentially reset the situation and create that strategic advantage yourself.

From Software has always had a subtler approach to storytelling. Is that continuing in Sekiro, or is it a more overtly told tale?
We have this fixed protagonist, and we are concentrating on him as a character. He is the core of the story. Him and the characters that revolve around him. At least from the outset, we feel that core plot will initially be easier to understand. But our general approach towards storytelling, towards narrative, has not changed. We want users to explore and find these fragments and piece together the rich story, and to find the depth as a reward for themselves. We want it to be a player-driven experience, rather than a story-driven experience.

Can you explain how Sekiro’s combat system differs to the Soulsborne systems we are familiar with?
Sekiro is not a continuation of the Soulsborne series, so we have created a brand-new combat system specifically for this game. Two keywords when designing the system were “intensity” and “dynamism.” The intensity comes from the clash of steel between katanas. This constant clang, clang, clang, between yourself and your foe that creates this intensity in the constant fear of death.

And the second, the dynamism, comes from the ability to jump and reposition yourself in combat, and also from the new grappling attack. Another idea that spawned from that and from our ninja protagonist is this “anything goes” philosophy, where the ninja is able to incorporate anything into his arsenal and utilise it according to the situation.

So you have to grapple to use mobility, and to get around the map, and to get a jump on your foes, and you can use stealth to circumnavigate the combat area and take out a few grunts before you engage. You can go head on from the start, or you can use the shinobi prosthetic tools to blind your foes or create some sort of advantage before engaging.

We didn’t want this to be a stealth-focused game. We didn’t want the player to constantly be sneaking around in the shadows and clinging to walls. But we did find that along with the grappling hook and the mobility it was something that we wanted to explore and to experiment with.

Has the increased player mobility necessitated a change in the way you design your boss encounters?
Our approach to bosses in general hasn’t changed. They still represent the climax of a section. We hope the added mobility and the utility of the shinobi character can add even more ways to approach these bosses. Each one will have their own kink, their own weakness, and it will be up to the player to figure out what that is, and to most effectively utilise the environment, utilise every tool in their arsenal to figure out a way to take them out.

We think this time we will have a greater variety of bosses, with a greater variety of strategies for the user to figure out.

This is probably a dangerous question to ask in a room full of Activision employees, but why have you partnered with Activision for this game?
[Laughs] We’ll leave the business side out of it, but I want to talk primarily as a director first of all. There are a couple of reasons.

We take our project proposals to certain publishers… you know we need publishers overseas to promote our games and to support us. We took it to Activision, and they were extremely supportive of the initial idea right away. They were very interested and it really resonated with them.

The other reason is they were able to fully support our ideas. They gave us 100-percent creative control. They gave the highest respect to our vision, and within that they were able to offer advice and feedback on various aspects of the game. But ultimately we have that creative control, and we’re able to use that advice how we see fit. We really enjoyed the fact that they were offering a sense of support from the start.

Also, the fact is that both from From Software and Activision had a history of publishing the Tenchu games. So there was this strange little quirky relationship there, and I thought it would be interesting to explore that again.

 

Claire just wants to find her brother. It has been two months since the events of the original Resident Evil. S.T.A.R.S. member and zombie survivalist Chris Redfield has gone missing. Since Chris isn’t answering his voice mails, Claire takes a break from college homework, and hops on a motorcycle to head over to Racoon City. Unfortunately, she’s not the only newcomer in town, and she quickly discovers the streets are overrun with undead.

During Capcom’s big showcase at E3, we got hands-on time with Leon’s campaign. Both Leon and Claire have their own campaigns, which feature unique characters and environments, but there is some overlap between their journeys. For example, Claire will tour the police station like Leon, but her journey will diverge from his in other places. At Gamescom, we got a chance to see what kind of mess Claire will get into when Leon isn’t around.

Our demo begins a few hours into the game, after Claire makes her way through the police station’s main structure and into a series of secret back rooms. At this point she encounters a young girl named Sherry. Those who played the original Resident Evil 2 (that still sounds weird) might remember Sherry is the daughter of William and Annette Birkin, two scientists who’s work helped pioneer the t-Virus that ultimately spawned the zombie outbreak. When Claire encounters Sherry, she’s hiding behind a pile of debris and she doesn’t want to come out. Claire offers to protect Sherry. Unfortunately, someone else is also interested in Sherry: a mutated giant named William Birkin.

Sherry’s father performed some gnarly experiments on himself that turned him into a gruesome freak who’s skin can withstand more than a couple hits from a napalm-spewing grenade launcher. Fortunately, Claire is packing a miniature arsenal that includes a semi-automatic pistol, a revolver, and that grenade launcher Billy laughed off.

 

My encounter with this beast – called G in the original game – wears on my nerves and the surrounding environment. We battle throughout a maintenance room full of twisting pipes and tight walkways. Some of the pipe burst under the onslaught and the room slowly fills with smoke. Given the tight corridors, I occasionally have to run and hide to reload and gain my bearings, so I rarely know which corner G will jump out from. Thankfully, Resident Evil 2’s action feels good. The controls are relatively precise and smooth, and the aiming reticle hones in on your target the longer you take to line up your shot. Sadly, I rarely had that level of patience during this tense firefight.

After burning through most of my health and ammo, I finally take down G and pull Sherry to safety. Our union doesn’t last long. A overweight cop (presumably Brian Irons) walks into the room, points and gun at Claire, and abducts our new ward.

We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the final game to rescue Sherry (again). Leon’s demo from E3 featured a lot of exploration and puzzles. This demo largely focused on Resident Evil 2’s action, and it was nice to better idea of how it works and feels.

Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake will hit the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on January 25.

With Soulcalibur VI launching later this year, fans are wondering which of their favorite characters might be returning for this soft reboot. While mainstays like Sophitia and Mitsurugi were never in doubt, Soulcalibur VI has not had many major returning villains yet with characters like Cervantes still MIA. The villainous aspect at least is being addressed with the reintroduction of Tira through a new trailer today.

Tira is the first announced DLC character for the game, which itself does not come out for two months. While she is part of the season pass, she will also be available as standalone DLC later, though Bandai Namco’s wording seems to imply that preordering the season pass is the only way to get her early. The Soulcalibur community is fairly split on whether announcing the DLC before the entire roster for the game has even been revealed is alright or not, but Tekken brand manager Mark Julio argues that it’s an extra incentive to reward players who purchase early.

Bandai Namco also revealed the Libra of Soul story mode, which involves the series’ divisive but unique create-a-character mode. Players create their own fighter and work their way through the ranks of other warriors both from the game and designed by other players to get to the top of the mode. You can check out the trailer for it below.

The mode is separate from the other Soulcalibur VI story mode, which uses interstitial art and dialogue to tell the story of how everything returned back in time.

Soulcalibur VI is releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 19.

The critically acclaimed Dark Souls series is already playable on modern platforms, but Bandai Namco is gathering the three titles’ definitive editions and DLC for a special three-disc steelbook set.

Dark Souls Trilogy gathers Dark Souls Remastered, Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, and Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades. In addition to the base games, all the DLC is included.

Dark Souls Remastered released earlier this year on PS4 and Xbox One and delivers the first adventure in 60 frames per second and dedicated servers for online multiplayer. You can read our review here. You can read our review for Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin here. For our review of Dark Souls III, head here.

Check out some shots of the steelbook below.

 

Dark Souls Trilogy launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 19 and will set you back $79.99.

The latest trailer for Jump Force, care of Gamescom, adds a ton of new heroes and stages, and teases that, “a new hero rises.”

Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, Sanji and Marshall D. Teach from One Piece, and characters from Hunter x Hunter all appear in the trailer, alongside a collection of stages like the one seen above which places the statue of liberty on Namek. At the very end, we also see a character wearing Luffy’s straw hat. I have my money on a custom character, but I suppose we will have to wait and see.

For more on Jump Force, head here. Jump Force launches some time next year.

It’s a familiar refrain to anyone vaguely connected to the video game industry: “That game would be perfect on the Switch!” It has been said from Switch owners for nearly every game past and present, from A Boy and His Blob to Zuma. At some point, someone must have also said the same of Diablo III, Blizzard’s third game in their action-RPG series, and it seems like Blizzard and Nintendo agree. 

And we do, as well, Diablo III is actually a shockingly good fit for Nintendo’s portable system. In fact, technological prowess aside, the foundational aspects of how the Switch works and the options it gives you how you play a game might actually make the Switch the best place to play Diablo III. 

Technological prowess is actually a pretty good place to start. While undocked, Diablo III runs at 720p, so the full resolution of the Switch screen. Blizzard told us that, while docked, the game runs at 960p, so not quite the 1080p the Switch is capable of for other games. The reason for this is that Blizzard’s target for the title is 60 frames per second, regardless of how many players or enemies are on the screen, docked or undocked. During our demo, while we played the game undocked, meteors rained down every second of the battle, arrows were flying, enemies were flinging giant attacks, and the framerate never wavered.

If you’ve never played Diablo III, you might be wondering what all the clamor is about for the game. The loot-driven action RPG can be played single-player or multiplayer and centers around using a created character to vanquish the devilish Diablo. The main quest is only the beginning, however, as thousands of hours of other content awaits any player willing to dive in to get more loot, crawl through more dungeons, and become a walking weapon of mass destruction.

As we mentioned during the game’s announcement, it can be played via local, local wireless, or wireless internet. Any controller permutation you can think of to make this work will work. You can pair three Pro controllers and a single joycon with the Switch hooked up to a TV if you want. You can play with two joycons on a single Switch in tabletop mode while playing online with other players who are docked, you can also do that. If you want to play with one person holding their Switch upside down while leaning off the side of the couch while another person plays with dual-joycons on the TV and then slides both joycons into the Switch to keep the game going while walking out the door with the other person, you could do that if you really, really wanted to.

The controls on most of those variations will be similar to the previous console releases of Diablo III over the years. One of the reasons Blizzard chose Diablo III for their Switch test case was because they had already mastered adapting the game to modern controllers, so that same style of control of moving with the left analog stick and rolling with the right one is retained. On the single joycon, however, rolling is handled by flicking the joycon in a quick motion. It is surprisingly reactive and accurate and works well as a solution to the lack of a second stick on the joycon.

Diablo III also uses the Switch’s HD rumble, though Blizzard is still tweaking it. The aforementioned constant meteor shower lead to the Switch rumbling consistently and loudly, prompting producer Matt Cederquist to proactively explain that they’re going to change the rumble once they realized how aggressive it was on retail Switch units.

The game uses Nintendo’s online service, which does mean that it is one of the titles that supports cloud saves. It also unfortunately means that that it uses the Switch app for voice chat. Players who are serious about playing together might want to consider external methods for communicating with each other unless they’re very dedicated to using the Switch online app on their phones.

While we only got to demo the game for a little bit, we’re definitely excited to put it through its paces when it comes out later this year. If you want to find out more about Diablo III’s Nintendo-exclusive content, we wrote about the Legend of Zelda items right here. We also asked Blizzard who they would want in Smash Bros. if they got a slot.

As part of its Gamescom presence, developer CD Projekt Red released four new screenshots for Cyberpunk 2077. You can check them out below.

They don’t offer a ton of insight into the world or story of the game, but it does confirm that it will feature a lot of guns and they will be pointed towards the ground, the sky, and towards people’s necks depending on the situation. Acupuncture is also in the game, but in the world of Cyberpunk, you don’t have to take off your shirt to do it. What a world the future will be!

For more on Cyberpunk 2077, head here. We should also be seeing the game while we’re at Gamescom so keep on eye on the site for more details soon!

[Source: @CyberpunkGame]

Tomb Raider is all about finding treasures, but you don’t have to be Lara Croft to pick up the game’s latest haul. Today at Gamescom, Microsoft announced a Shadow of the Tomb Raider 1TB Xbox One X bundle that includes a download version of the game, controller, and more.

The bundle’s price and release date were not specifically mentioned during its introduction, but the game comes out on September 14 and similarly configured Xbox One X bundles retail for $499.

For more on the game, check out our playthrough in a New Gameplay Today.

Playground Games has talked about Forza Horizon 4’s shared world, but today at Gamescom they shared some details about the racer’s team-based competitive multiplayer.

The game’s traditional competitive multiplayer games like Infected and Flag Rush are now all team based. For instance, Infected is now Survivor where your teammates can heal an infected friend.

Similarly, in a team-based traditional race (the demo showed off two teams of six players) who wins is not based on who crosses the finish line first, but by which teams scores the most points overall.

The demo also showed off new quickchat options for each mode so everyone can be on the same page.

Finally, Microsoft announced two Forza Horizon 4 bundles available at the game’s launch on October 2 – an Xbox One S bundle ($299) and one for Xbox One X. The latter also includes a copy of Forza Motorsport 7. The price was not mentioned for the Xbox One X bundle.