Train2Game News Suikoden coming to PSN

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Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. has responded to a huge online campaign to bring back its popular Suikoden role-playing series, and will re-release the ever-popular Suikoden and Suikoden II titles digitally via PlayStation Network in January 2015.

Both games are regarded as some of the best role-playing titles for home systems, with Suikoden originally released for PlayStation® in 1997 and Suikoden II was released across Europe for the same format in 2000. They form the first two installments of the six-game series, With Suikoden following an unlikely hero as he attempts to locate the 108 Stars of Destiny that are needed to free his homeland.

Suikoden’s hero, who can be named by the player, is the son of the Great General, Teo McDohl. With his Father summoned to the front in Northlands, the player begins the game undergoing guard training in Gregminster. Via an old friend, the player is charged with protectingthe Rune of Life and Death; one of the 27 runes that govern the world, and which lead the hero to flee the capital. He duly encounters a rebel organization and embarks on a mission to find the Stars of Destiny – comrades needed to restore peace to the land, and to save the home they love.

Suikoden II centres on an orphan called Hero, his friend Jowy and his orphan sister, Nanami. This unlikely trio find themselves in the middle of a war between the Highland Kingdom and the City States. Thus, the three heroes embark on a journey that will question their preconceptions of life, society and war as they gather the famed 108 Stars of Destiny, initially introduced in the first game.

Together, the friends will face potentially life-and-death decisions that force the player to make tough choices, while the game’s celebrated story takes twists and turns and develops based on the decisions made. The trio will also be forced to go into battle as they progress, with combat consisting of a dynamic battle style where multiple team members or enemies can attack simultaneously. Suikoden II also offers players a unique magic rune and skills system that encourages players to perform combat moves with strategy in mind.

Some 18 years after the first game’s launch, Suikoden and Suikoden II are still regarded as two of the greatest role-playing games for home formats. Both will be released via the new PSOne Classic games collection in January for PlayStation 3. Release date and price will be announced soon.

“It is a testament to the content and quality of the Suikoden series that fans still talk about it, some 18 years later,” commented Shinji Hirano, President of Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. “We have received countless requests to revisit the series, so are delighted to be able to satiate its fans with these digital editions of the first two games. We hope people enjoy returning to the world of Suikoden, and that maybe its clever mechanics and engrossing story wins it a new fanbase.”

Train2Game News: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon release date

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

What some thought to have been an April Fools joke has now been confirmed as reality. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is being released next month.

The game is set in a dystopian 2007 and Ubisoft describes the game as “an ’80s VHS vision of the future where you must get the girl, kill the baddies, and save the world”. The game will star Terminator and Aliens actor Michael Biehn who will likely voice the game’s eye-patched protagonist Sargent Rex Colt, whose mission it is to defeat a rogue cyborg army.

The title is set to be a stand alone title, you will not need Far Cry 3 to play the game. It is set to be released on Xbox Live Arcade, PC and PSN on May 1 according to previous leaks.

In addition Melbourne electronic music duo Power Glove has posted a series of new tracks that claim to be the Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon official soundtrack.

Far Cry 3’s lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem said earlier this year “I’m working on something now that will be surprising, I think, when it’s announced, but it definitely is a ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ thing, and we’ll see.”

You can enjoy a teaser trailer below, ready for the games imminent release:

You can find out more about the game by going to www.fc3blooddragon.com

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 29.03.13

Pokemon It is the end of the week so it is time for the Train2Game games industry news round up!

In exciting news for Pokémon video game players across Europe, The Pokémon Company International announced the long-awaited dates and locations for the Pokémon European Video Game Championships. The English competition will be held in Birmingham on June 2. Players will battle for the chance to earn a Travel Award to the 2013 Pokémon World Championships in Vancouver, Canada, this August. Visit www.pokemon.co.uk for more information.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced Infinite Crisis, an all-new multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Turbine, the award winning studio behind free-to-play online games including The Lord of the Rings Online. Infinite Crisis is a free-to-play game that features a deep roster of DC Comics characters and is scheduled for release in 2013 for the PC.

In further news from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, they announced two of its biggest mobile games, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown and Scribblenauts Remix, are coming to Android, exclusively in the Amazon Appstore for Android. Expanded to and completely optimized for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD offers gamers with new ways to connect to their favorite franchises.

Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network have started their Spring Sales. Xbox Live’s sale runs from March 26 – April 2, and includes such titles as Dead Rising 2, Walking Dead, LA Noire, Max Payne 3, Resident Evil 6 and some of their movie offerings. The PSN kicked off its spring sale yesterday and it is running until April 9. In addition to the sale, it’s going to have a number of limited time offers, the first of which is Killzone HD, available till the April 29. Some of its games up for sale are Rayman 3 and Trine 2.

Electronic Arts, Sega, Sony, Codemasters and more have pledged support for the first Game QA & Localisation forum, taking place June 25-26 in London. The event will focus on best practices for test plans, QA budgeting and strategy with a mix of keynotes, sessions, panels and workgroups. Paradox, Outplay, Ganz, Plarium and Abertay University are also involved with the event. Full details can be found at the official site.

Train2Game News: Developer diaries go behind the scenes of PSN RPG Rainbow Moon

Get behind the scenes of upcoming PSN RPG Rainbow Moon in not one, but two, developer diaries from Eastasia Soft.

The first video gives you an introduction to the isometric role-playing game, while the second takes a detailed look at combat in Rainbow Moon. Watch them below, here on The Train2Game Blog.

Rainbow Moon is scheduled for release via PlayStation Network on Wednesday 4th July for £9.99, with a claim that the story lasts over 40 hours.

There are more developer diaries, giving an insight into the work going into development of a variety of games, here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your impressions of Rainbow Moon? Is it a game you’re interested in playing?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: How to create a “charismatic and interesting” spider

Train2Game students can get a good look at the tricky process of designing a video game character in an interesting blog update from Alien Spidy developer Kalypso

Alien Spidy is an upcoming 2D and 3D platformer that’ll be released through on PSN, XBLA, PC and Mac.  Quick reflexes and fast paced platform action are apparently required for the game that’ll be released in June.

The PlayStation Blog post details how Kalypso designed their main character, a spider, and made him “charismatic and interesting”

“After a lot of brainstorming, coffee, comic reading, watching cartoons and lots of other inspirational tools, we thought that it would be interesting to play around with a small spider with big eyes that would be able to bring some “human” emotional connection to the game.” said Product Manager Andrew McKerrow.

“ We also decided to stick six legs on instead of the standard eight legs to make the character a little more friendly looking and little less creepy, as there are a lot of people with arachnophobia! See, we do care!” he added.

That however, was just the beginning, and the blog details how Alien Spidy went through different stages of concept art and designing a story for the game. It’s a very interesting read, which will surely be of interest to Train2Game students. It’s here on the PlayStation Blog.

What are your thoughts on the blog post from Kalypso? Does it give you a good insight into the game development process?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: How testing changed Journey after leaving producer ‘disappointed in mankind’

Train2Game students who want to see the impact testing can have on a game in development need look no further than PlayStation 3 title Journey.

Why? Because in an interview with Siliconera, Thatgamecompany’s Robin Hunicke reveals Journey previously allowed more physical interaction between players, but it resulted in them trying to kill each other, something that left her ‘disappointed in mankind’

“We were doing play tests, where we invited players to come in and play the game. However, instead of cooperating and building a relationship each other, the players just kept attacking each other and pushing each other into the pit.” said Hunicke.

“At the time, I was very disappointed in mankind; we designed all the settings so they will help each other, but they still just kill each other, as if they don’t have any morality at all.”

The Journey produced added that she spoke to a child psychologist about the issue.

“When these guys enter the game, it’s a virtual space–reality does continue into it. When that happens, they become kids, and don’t know what they’re doing is bad. In that situation, the best way to handle that isn’t to shout or hit them, but to offer feedback.”  she told her.

So Hunicke decided to remove physics from Journey to encourage players to co-operate rather than hinder each other.

“So when I went back to the prototype, we removed the physics so they couldn’t push each other into the pit.” she said.

The Train2Game Blog has previously reported on Thatgamecompany’s views that testing is an integral part of game development. You can also get an insight into life at the studio and the development of Journey in this developer diary.

So, what are your thoughts on the impact playtesting had on Journey? Is it something you often do with your own games?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game’s 2nd Webinar Part Five

In Part 5 of the 2nd Train2Game Webinar, the panel continue to discuss about the merits of tarting off on your own… The panel also address how you can get your name out in the industry, why paid internship is the best way to get experience and how transferable the skills Train2Game teaches you are in other industries?

Key quotes include

Pete Hickman on the advantages independent developers have – “It’s all being driven by a strong e-distribution business. We’ve got Xbox Live, PSN, we’ve got the Nintendo equivalent, we’ve also got Steam on PC and Macintosh, which provides a great platform for people to distribute their independent games and hopefully that continues.”

Tony Bickley on preparing for the UK video games job market – “Be the best you can, stick out beyond the crowd, don’t be despondent…Think “the better I am, the higher my skill sets are, I’m going to be in the best place to get the job”

A PSN ‘Gold Service’ could benefit indie developers (like Train2Game students…)

With the E3 expo just around the corner, it’s now that time of year when games industry rumours are appearing thick and fast. We’ve already heard that GTA V might be making an appearance, but E3 isn’t just an event for developers to show off their shiny new games…they also use it to reveal a variety of other games related innovations.  The Project Natal and PlayStation Move control systems are probably going to be the headliners in this department, but there are reports that an announcement about a Premium Service for the PlayStation Network will prominent on the undercard.

Now, usually rumours about this sort of thing can be labelled under the banner of ‘wild speculation’ However, this information has originated from the well-respected VG247, and as a result has been taken very seriously by the video games press. So, what’s actually going on with this story?

Well, VG247 claim that a ‘highly placed source’ says Sony is set to unveil a premium subscription gold service for the PlayStation network that will cost “less than £50 per year”.

Cynics may suggest that Sony are merely attempting to imitate the success of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold service, while some PlayStation gamers will no doubt have concerns that they’ll have to play for the privilege of playing their favourite games online.  Well, it seems that PS3 users have nothing to fear in that department as the report says

“Nothing planned will impact the service’s current free aspects.”

Or to put it bluntly, you’ll still be able to play, say Modern Warfare 2, online without having to pay extra. (Unless you’re happy to give Activision money for extra DLC maps anyway)

Of course, details of what this proposed Premium Service would involve are sketchy at the moment, but it’s likely Sony has something up their sleeves.

What we do know is that according to VG247, the PSN Gold subscribers would get one free PSN game a month from a choice of “two to four” every month. Their source adds:

“If you work it out, PSN games cost an average of £6-9 each, so over a year you’re basically going to be breaking even,”

For those unfamiliar with PSN games, they’re games that are bought and downloaded from the online PlayStation Store for both the PS3 and PSP consoles.  These games started out as mainly re-releases of classics from the original PlayStation, but now there are more and more independent games available from the online store. Independent games available include the highly successful Flower which has won varies titles including Best Independent Game at the 2009 Video Game Awards.

Now, with the prospect of Sony offering a ‘set menu’ of PSN games for Gold subscribers, it’s entirely possible that some of these will be independent games. So, with these games being available for ‘free’ as part of the subscription fee, we could see PlayStation users take chances on buying independent games rather than just going for something they already played and finished ten years ago.

Essentially, it’s unlikely there has been a better time for a Train2Game student to try and get into the industry. Digital downloads are getting more and more popular and with innovations like Steam, Indie Bundles and the possibility of independent games being heavily pushed on the PlayStation Network, it means there are plenty of places available for Games designers, developers and artists to demonstrate and distribute their work.

Of course, we’ll need to wait until E3 to see what Sony actually reveal, but if free independent games are part of any package then excellent news. If they aren’t then fine, it’s not a massive problem because plenty of independent games sell well on the PlayStation store. Whatever happens, the future seems very bright for the games industry and who knows, maybe in the future a Train2Game graduate will make a huge announcement at the biggest games expo of them all.