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We haven’t seen The Last of Us

Posted by Karen Jacobson On Tuesday 22 July 2014ADD COMMENTS

Joel and Ellie prepare for the painful remastering process.

There are rumblings of a future sequel to the critical and commercial success story of 2013 The Last of Us. In an interview with VideoGamer, community strategist for Naughty Dog Arne Meyer stated, “We’re just starting to explore ideas of what more could there be in this universe and starting that decision process. That doesn’t mean the end result is guaranteed.”

For those who were asleep in 2013, The Last of Us was a survival horror game widely praised for its rich story and characters. The potential of a sequel would certain excite many, including those at The Black Panel. Meyer and Naughty Dog don’t seem to be eager to churn out a quick sequel to cash in, stating “It really comes down to is there something interesting in this universe we’ve created that we want to continue to explore?”

An enhanced version of the game, known as The Last of Us Remastered, is due to hit PS4 later this month.

Ubisoft still under fire for dropping female characters

Posted by Erin Marcon On Monday 21 July 2014ADD COMMENTS

A scene from October’s Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Ubisoft may be impressively progressive when it comes to hiring parkour experts, but the company has again been targeted for failing to include playable female characters in the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Last month a spokesperson for the French publisher claimed that such characters were dropped from the game because of the additional work associated with creating the in-game models. Given the overall scale of the production, some industry observers found this claim to be dubious. Now a prominent video game voice actress has weighed into the debate.

Ashley Johnson, who delivered an acclaimed performance as Ellie in The Last of Us, told Videogamer that “I was like, give me a fucking break! It’s 2014!” The BAFTA award winner went on to emphasise that “it would be nice to see stronger females in a game that are not just the damsel in distress, the love interest or she’s oversexualised. She doesn’t even necessarily have to be a badass. Just like a normal female character.”

Ubisoft released a statement to Kotaku in June alluding to the presence of a major heroine in Assassin’s Creed Liberation and claiming that Assassin’s Creed Unity will still feature “strong female characters”.

Phantom Pain to question US worldview

Posted by Erin Marcon On Sunday 20 July 2014ADD COMMENTS

Is there anything worse than a close talker?

For all its outlandish characters, bizarre plot twists and questionable depictions of the female form, the Metal Gear saga has always been peppered with serious social commentary.

Previous games have tackled hot topics such as the proliferation of seemingly amoral private military companies and the tragic role of child soldiers on the world’s battlefields. The recent Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes took place in a brutal detention camp in Cuba, a fictionalised location with obvious parallels to Guantanamo Bay.

It now seems that the next game in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, will continue to challenge audiences with it weighty themes. As relayed by CVG, series creator Hideo Kojima recently told The Guardian that “Hollywood continues to present the US army as being the good guys, always defeating the aliens or foreigners. I am trying to shift that focus. These movies might not be the only way to view current affairs. I am trying to present an alternate view in these games.”

Infinity Ward vets Reload

Posted by Erin Marcon On Friday 18 July 2014ADD COMMENTS

Triangles are so hot right now.

Two years after a group of Infinity Ward staffers broke away and formed Respawn Entertainment, another batch of Call of Duty developers have struck out on their own. Also home to a handful of former EA and THQ developers, Reload Studios this week announced itself to the gaming world.

While the Californian team is yet to reveal full details of its debut project, co-founder James Chung has indicated a strong interest in virtual reality based experiences. “When I first saw what the latest round of VR devices could do, I realised these were not just peripherals but brand new platforms that could transform the way we experience, interact with and create media,” he said.

Could Reload be working on a title for Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus? It’s too early to say, but we do know that the team is planning to produce an FPS with some sort of VR support. The new studio is aiming to bring its first title to market in 2015.