A new IDW-published Gears of War comic details how General Raam, the main baddie from the first game, ascended the ranks of the Locust horde. Gears of War: The Rise of Raam is written by Kurtis Wiebe and illustrated by Max Dunbar, and will will release on January 24.

If the first few pages are a good indicator of the quality of the rest of the series, then I’m sure Gears fans will be interested to see how Raam, one of Gears’ coolest bad guys, became a general among the Locusts. Wiebe also created a neat Marcus and Dom-like dynamic between Raam and Gears 2’s equally awesome main baddie, Skorge.

Check out the first seven pages below.


Winter is one of the best times to cuddle up with a game and stay indoors. As we try to stay warm in Minneapolis and gear up for another fun year of gaming, we’re happy to introduce Game Informer’s intern crew for the Winter of 2018. These awesome writers will be helping us cover all the important video game news and culture over the next three months as they further their knowledge of working in the industry.

Expect to see plenty of news, features, and more popping up on the website from Jon Bowman, Robbie Key, and Joey Thurmond (click their names and get to know them better by reading their introductory blog posts). We’re excited to have these fine folks on board, so please extend a warm welcome!

Are you considering a career in video games writing? If you’re
looking to further your existing writing or journalism education through
an internship at Game Informer, we’re currently accepting applications
for the upcoming summer term. For more information, email me at the
address below, or click here to learn more.

Downwell Creator Joins Nintendo

Downwell, the fast-paced vertical platformer that focuses on falling, was a huge hit when it released on iOS, PC, and consoles over the last few years. Now, the developer behind the game has joined Nintendo, according to his Twitter.

Ojiro Fumoto, a graduate from Tokyo University of the Arts with a concentration in opera singing, started developing Downwell in 2014. The game was an Independent Games Festival finalist and nominated for The Game Awards for Best Mobile/Handheld Game. Fumoto was also one of the developers named to work on games for the UFO 50 collection published by Spelunky developer Mossmouth.

Fumoto happily tweeted this morning in Japanese a very simple “I got a job at Nintendo! I’ll do my best!” when run through translation tools. It is not known where within Nintendo Fumoto will be working, but he has expressed excitement at developing a game as part of a team.

We have reached out to Mossmouth to inquire into Fumoto’s involvement with the game now and will update the story when we hear back from them.

 

Our Take
Downwell was a genuinely fantastic game and I lost hours to playing it. I can’t imagine Fumoto is starting off at Nintendo heading his own project, but he’s definitely a rising star within the company based on how Downwell was received.

2017 saw several fantastic PlayStation titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, Nier Automata, and Persona 5. It looks like this year holds just as much promise. Fans have long-awaited Kingdom Hearts III, and that thirst will soon be sated. Some great exclusives are on the way too, including the post-apocalyptic Days Gone that brings a biker twist to zombie killing. Others titles, like A Way Out and BioWare’s Anthem, show that studios aren’t afraid to do something different thematically or through gameplay. Here are our most anticipated PlayStation games of 2018.

For more of our most anticipated games of 2018, check out the following lists:

10. Days Gone
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4
Post-apocalyptic open-world survival games aren’t as fresh as they once were, but we’re still hopeful for SIE Bend Studio’s take on zombie killing. Players take control of a drifter and former bounty hunter named Deacon St. John, who has been wandering the road, living in wilderness encampments, and eking out a pale existence in the wake of a global pandemic that nearly wiped out humanity. The game’s zombies, called Freakers, behave differently depending on the environment. For example, they might seem weak and slow during the day, but will become fast and aggressive at night. Here’s hoping the final release comes together.

9. A Way Out
Release: March 23
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Directed by Josef Fares – whose previous work includes Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – A Way Out follows the adventure of two convicts who escape from prison and remain on the lam. The unique twist to this prison break is that the entire game is built around split-screen co-op, and must be played with another player, either locally or online. This means that while one player is engaged in a certain task, they will always see the progress their partner is making in a separate window. For example, while one player distracts a guard, the other player might hunt around for a tool to aid their escape. We’re still not sure if players can keep their attention split throughout an entire game, but we’re excited to see how this oddball take on co-op actually plays.

8. Valkyria Chronicles 4
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch
With a gorgeous watercolor art style, memorable characters, and intriguing mix of real-time action and tactical gameplay, Valkyria Chronicles has long been a cult favorite in the G.I. offices. That’s why we’re so happy to see that Sega is finally bringing the series back to consoles after two PSP sequels. In addition to a new grenadier class, Valkyria Chronicles 4 features an all-new cast of characters and a more grounded setting that harkens back to the original game. Given the missteps of the recent Valkyria Revolution spin-off, we’re ready for a return to form.

7. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Release: March 20
Platform: PlayStation 4
Yakuza might have finally reached a tipping point in the west. We love the series’ wacky vibe and the freeform open world. Yakuza 6 looks to give players their money’s worth since it will be jam-packed with a variety of unique missions and side quests. The story centers on mainstay Kazuma Kiryu who returns to Hiroshima after a three-year prison sentence. Of course, after we’re done in Hiroshima, he’ll probably be on his way back.

6. Far Cry 5
Release: March 27
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Montana may not be the most exotic location in Far Cry’s history, but it does offer an enticing perk: a co-op companion. For the first time in series history, players can play the entirety of Far Cry 5 with a friend, which should make all the flying, shooting, and exploding even more fun. A wide-open map allows players to take on Far Cry 5’s town-occupying cult anyway they see fit – provided it includes copious amounts of mayhem.

5. Anthem
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Mass Effect may currently be in cryosleep, but that doesn’t make us any less excited for BioWare’s new sci-fi series. Up to four players can rocket around Anthem’s expansive open world in jet-propelled exosuits, and the E3 demo showed off plenty of gorgeous locations, deadly weapons, and strange alien creatures. EA clearly hopes that Anthem will be its answer to Destiny, and while we have many unanswered questions, we can’t wait to learn more about the game in the coming year.

4. Kingdom Hearts III
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
It might star Donald Duck and Goofy, but Kingdom Hearts III is serious business. Fans have been waiting over 10 years for the next numbered sequel in Square Enix’s action RPG series, which promises more party members from Disney’s ever-expanding cast of characters, bigger worlds to explore, and new weapon transformations for Sora’s iconic Keyblade. All that plus the long-anticipated ending to Xehanort’s story arc has G.I.’s Kingdom Hearts fans jumping up and down in anticipation.

3. God of War
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4
After putting the Greek pantheon six feet under, Kratos escapes to the frozen north, hoping to live the rest of his life in relative peace. Unfortunately, the Norse gods aren’t keen on leaving Kratos alone. Players get to use Kratos’ new magical axe to cut through an army of trolls and Jörmungandr, level up his rage-fueled abilities, and issue commands to his son Atreus. Despite a greater and more mature focus on storytelling, the new God of War still features plenty of larger-than-life action, which feels more personal thanks to the new camera perspective.

2. Spider-Man
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4
QTE sequences be damned, Insomniac’s take on everyone’s favorite wall-crawler looks like a good time. Set within its own continuity, this version of Spider-Man lets players explore an open-world version of New York as our hero battles low-rent criminals and iconic super villains. Fortunately, comic characters like Mr. Negative will give players some fresh faces to punch. Insomniac hasn’t detailed all of Spider-Man’s mechanic, but the brief looks we’ve had of the stealth and action look bombastic in all the right ways.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Release: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
We still don’t know a whole lot about Red Dead Redemption 2; Rockstar has only released two trailers for the game since its announcement in 2016. However, those all-too-brief glimpses promise players the kind of meticulously crafted open-world experience that only Rockstar can provide. In addition to exploring the vast American frontier, we’re particularly excited to see how Rockstar translates the GTA Online formula to the Wild West; we’re guessing pistol duels at high-noon, backroom poker games, and high-speed train robberies are only the beginning of what Rockstar has in store.

Hot off the heels of a successful beta last month, Outpost Games
has released its streaming-centric survival sim in Early Access on Steam today.

SOS tasks 16 players with finding an ancient relic on a
monster-ridden island, and then escaping via a rescue helicopter. Teaming up
with other players is imperative if you want to survive the island’s deadly
beasts, but with only three seats available in the rescue chopper, you’ll need
to choose your friends wildly.

Outpost Games is developing SOS to be as fun to watch as it
is to play, and is incorporating its own Hero streaming feature to maximize
interactions between game participants and the audience. Outpost Games is hoping
to channel the alliances and backstabbing of the gameshow Survivor, putting the personalities of streamers front and center, which is certainly evident in the game’s new trailer.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Interested players can check out SOS in Early
Access right now.

Did you miss out on last year’s wildly successful
Kickstarter for the board game adaptation of  Deadly Premonition? Now’s your second chance.

Rising Star Games tabletop adaptation of the cult-classic
video game reached its funding goal in just
eight hours last year
, and shipped out to backers last month. However, a limited
retail release was also planned, and you can pre-order
a copy on Amazon
right now. This deluxe edition of the game will set you
back $60, and comes with a few bonuses including a cloth mat, custom dice, and the
original soundtrack of the video game to play during tabletop sessions. You’ll
also get a code for Deadly Premonition Director’s Cut on PC.

The Deadly Premonition board game has been generally
well-received, and can be played in 30-45 minutes by 2-4 players. Amazon will
start shipping copies on January 31, so you won’t have to wait. You can find
out more about how the game plays by checking
out the official website
.

 

Our Take
Investing in any Kickstarter project
is always risky, so it’s nice to see a guaranteed retail option after the
campaign has ended. The $60 price tag puts it on par with the Special Edition
version that was available during the Kickstarter, give or take some of the
bonuses, so if you’re kicking yourself for not investing earlier, it sounds
like a good deal.

God Of War Releases On April 20

Fans have had many questions about God of War since its initial reveal at E3 2016. Why Norse mythology? Why does he use an axe? Why give him a son? Now that we have answers to those questions, Sony just needed to answer one more big one: When does the game come out?

According to the latest trailer, God of War releases on April 20, 2018. That isn’t too far away, so start sharpening your axe.

That’s not all the information we get from the trailer, though. It gives new insight about what sets Kratos and Atreus off on their journey, and the issues they confront regarding their godly lineage. It might be a bit spoilery, but if you don’t care about going into God of War completely fresh, you can watch the full trailer below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

For more about God of War, check out our month of exclusive coverage by clicking the banner below.

THQ Nordic, developer Obsidian Entertainment, and independent publisher Versus Evil have struck a deal whereby THQ Nordic will put out a physical edition of the upcoming RPG Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.

The game is coming to PC, Mac, and Linux, and THQ Nordic says that it will share a specific release date, price, and other release info about the game soon.

For more on the game, see why we included it in our list of our Top 10 Most Anticipated RPGs of 2018.

[Source: THQ Nordic] 

A significant change is coming to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, with the announcement that subscribers will be able to access Microsoft Studios’ Xbox One-exclusive titles on their release dates. The first new release to be included is the upcoming Sea of Thieves, which is coming in March.

Other games, including State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3, will be part of the Game Pass lineup, too. Phil Spencer revealed the news on Major Nelson’s blog, where he alluded to upcoming – and unannounced – entries in the Halo, Forza, and Gears of War series, which will also be also included in Game Pass. 

Spencer also outlined details about a new Game Pass subscription card. A six-month subscription to the service, which includes complete access to more than 100 games, will be priced at $59.99.

[Source: Major Nelson]

 

Our Take
This is great news for people who are already invested in Game Pass, and it could also be an attractive offer for people who haven’t made up their mind about the service. It would be made even more enticing if Microsoft could step up its first-party development, too.

By poking fun at slasher films and providing a captivating interactive horror experience, 2016’s Until Dawn was a pleasant surprise. Developer Supermassive Games’ successful storytelling made me hopeful for Until Dawn’s VR prequel, The Inpatient, but I struggled to keep interest due to mediocre scares and a forgettable cast.

The Inpatient takes us back 60 years and is set in the Blackwood Sanatorium, the dilapidated hospital you explore in Until Dawn. Playing as a patient with amnesia, you attempt to unravel a conspiracy and escape, all while savage monsters are on a killing spree. Although The Inpatient sheds more light on some of Until Dawn’s mysteries (such as the slaughter of the sanatorium staff), it fails to make this history interesting.

Like Until Dawn, your choices mold the story and have consequences. These decisions occur during dialogue with other characters, and they impact who lives and dies. Unfortunately, it never feels that tense, since the game is plagued with dull characters. Most of the hospital staff you’re grouped with seem emotionless, and are held back by stiff voice acting. Because it’s a short narrative experience, you don’t get much time to become acquainted with them.

Since the narrative changes based on your choices, you can replay The Inpatient to see its different endings. While there aren’t any huge revelations or entirely new sections that open up, I was happy to notice some noteworthy changes when making different decisions on my second playthrough, depending on how much others trusted me and who I managed to save. 

As for its VR component, Supermassive took another step to add a sense of presence. With voice controls, you can choose dialogue options simply by speaking into the headset’s microphone. Though it’s a small addition, I found it effective and fun, making it feel like I was directly speaking to other characters.

Good scares are few and far between, but some made me jump or shout obscenities because they were up close and personal in VR. Physically turning around to find a monster appear out of nowhere and seeing bloodied bodies appear and disappear on stretchers is terrifying. With the headset strapped to my face, I couldn’t look away and had to face these fears. I enjoyed exploring green-hued nightmares that tormented my character, where I’d walk through an otherworldly version of the sanitarium. Voices whisper unintelligible words while cell doors open and close on their own, making it a frightful experience. The Inpatient is at its best when it delves into psychological horror, but these nightmarish sections make up only a small portion of the game.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

As you make your way through the hospital, often your only light source is a flashlight. This was initially spooky, but long stretches of time are spent walking through barren hallways without much happening. Lacking in interesting dialogue and effective scares, these sequences left me bored as I wandered through the sanitarium.

As you explore, you can use either the PlayStation Move controllers or the DualShock 4 to maneuver. I found it much easier and comfortable to use the standard DualShock 4 controller, as the Move controllers are more awkward. You have to click a button on the left controller to move forward while tilting the other controller in the direction you want to go. I grasped the controls better as time went on, but it never feels natural. One advantage is that one Move controller also acts as a flashlight that you can wave around to light up areas, making it feel like you really have one in your hand. 

VR is great for immersion, but it can cause some unwanted side effects. Luckily, The Inpatient’s camera limits your movements to 30-degree pivots, reducing the chance of nausea. That worked for me; I never felt queasy during my time with The Inpatient, though I did experience headaches after about an hour of use. 

The Inpatient is a difficult game to recommend, with inconsistent scares and a mundane cast. It still offers some frightful moments, but they aren’t wrapped up in a captivating enough narrative to keep you engaged. Even if you’re a hardcore Until Dawn fan, this watered-down horror experience is probably worth skipping.