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  1. Merle Dandridge, the actress behind the face of Alyx Vance has posted a picture of herself in full mocap onto her Twitter page with the caption "Lovely Vera opening last night. And a very mo cap mornin' to ya!". While there isn't any indication of what this motion capture work is for, it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to jump on the Half Life 3 hype wagon seeing as shes done the voice acting and face work for Alyx Vance for every single Half Life game released so far. Another reason to jump on the hype wagon is the response from Ashley Johnson, the actress playing Ellie in the Last of Us for the Playstation 3. She reposted the image posted by Merle with the caption "Alyx Vance #HL3 #insidescoop" Again, not a confirmation by any means, but certainly reason enough to get your undies in a knicker. You can view the image and Ashley Johnson's tweet above and below. You can also view the original posts here and here.
  2. From the beginning of development all the way to the day the game is ready to print, things are being changed around. Whether it is something small like the position of a plant, or something large like a complete character redesign. Things are just always being replaced for better and for worse. Usually you'll never get to see or hear about these changes since they never make it into the finished product, but some changes are just so huge they deserve to be front and center every once in a while. These are some of the biggest changes in recent history regarding some of the most popular games on the market, and you just won't believe some of the things going on behind closed doors. The Original Gordon Freeman Looked Like A Dwarf When anyone so much as mentions the Half-Life series, the first thing that pops into a person's head is the iconic look of Gordon Freeman. People have become so used to seeing Gordon Freeman's face that any other face sporting a goatee and glasses is automatically considered a Gordon Freeman lookalike, as evidenced by every single Breaking Bad ad ever released. Things would have been a lot different if all of Black Mesa's scientists looked like him. But back when the original Half-Life was still being sorted out, Gordon Freeman looked much much different. So much so that if Valve had decided to go with their original design for our scientist-turned-hero, I doubt we'd have ever gotten Half-Life 2 or any other expansions, let alone a potential Half-Life 3. And the reason is simple. Gordon Freeman was a freaking dwarf. I don't mean "dwarf" as in a little person either; I mean "dwarf" as in he looked more likely to storm an orc fort before ever being put in front of some serious science experiment. In fact, he looked so wildly different from the Gordon Freeman we know and love that his original nickname was "Ivan the space biker." Team Fortress 2 Was Once A Real War Game Continuing the trend of Valve's tendency to just change everything is the wildly popular title, Team Fortress 2. As I'm sure you're all aware, Team Fortress 2 makes use of an extremely cartoony game world reminiscent of any number of Pixar films that have been released in the last decade. While the game itself was extremely fun on its own, there's no denying it would be a totally different experience if the game had a more realistic appearance. So wait, are these engineers? ONE TO A TEAM, PEOPLE! And that image above ladies and gentlemen, is what Team Fortress 2 first looked like when it was in development a hundred years ago. You would be hard pressed to tell the differences between the original Team Fortress 2 and a game like Counter-Strike based off of that image above. Sure, it probably would have been just as great as the Team Fortress 2 we have now, but think about all of the things we would have missed out on. For one, the "Meet The..." videos would have never taken off. A blank soldier has no real personality to work with. You would have been left identifying characters based off of what weapon they carried instead of how they acted and what they looked like. It would have been kind of boring. And don't even get me started on how awful things would have been without Saxton Hale. Halo: The Ever Changing Game Remember Halo Wars? No? Well that's alright, because nobody remembers Halo Wars. But there was a point in time when the game was actually just known as Halo, and the fate of the entire franchise and even the Xbox itself rested on a few key design choices going on behind the scenes at Bungie. At one time, Halo was a real-time strategy game. And it was pretty basic. To be fair, this was back in 1996-1997 when they really started to put things together, so of course things aren't going to look great by today's standards. But even compared to the finished product, the RTS version of Halo just looked horrible. The developers must have realized this as well because, of course, it was changed. Pictured: Not the savior of the Xbox Changed into a third person game, that is. You now controlled a single spartan on his or her journey through what was essentially an empty map with a few buildings here and there to show off how far they had come with applying textures to things and making their models look a bit nicer. But there was still a problem with the camera. The camera really had no boundaries. In the demo footage shown you could just move the camera right through the walls and stare off into infinity. That was less than great, obviously, so they started working on a first person shooter. Shortly after, they began work on the Xbox version and the rest is history. Until of course, an ancient evil awakens. The Shadow Of The Colossus Multiplayer Mode Do you know what would have made Shadow of the Colossus an even better game? Two things. First of all, more colossi. As many as you could possibly fit on the disc. Secondly, some form of multiplayer mode to take down the really big colossi as a team. Sadly, both of these things were originally going to be included in the game, but ended up being cut. We'll start with the multiplayer concept first. A while before Shadow of the Colossus came to be, Team Ico was passing around a disc titled Nico ("Ni" being "two," and "Ico" being the first game; how adorable, its a play on words!) The gameplay shown in the video looked very similar to the finished product we have today, with the key difference being there were a whole bunch of people climbing the colossus all at once. My heart screams out for this. It is a call that will never be answered. Admit it. Despite the desolate landscape and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness present in Shadow of the Colossus, you would have loved some crazy form of multiplayer. I have no idea how it would have worked, but the Nico disk is proof enough that they were working on it. If you would like to get your hands on a Nico disk then I say good luck to you, sir. They're stupid expensive and there's no actual gameplay to be found. Just videos. Now on to the extra colossi. I'll keep this real short since there isn't much to explain. Another piece of Shadow of the Colossus memorabilia floating around is the game's coveted artbook. Just like the Nico disk before it, this thing can get extremely expensive. But within its pages you'll find image after image of scrapped colossi that just didn't work out. The reason these dozen or so colossi were cut is simple. They were either too difficult or they already had enough with sixteen. Still, just looking at them makes you wish for more. I Hate You, Spore Spore was everything I wanted in a game, only corrupt and wrong. The creature creator was good, sure. But past that there was nothing. There was no God game where you watch the planet evolve to see which race comes out on top; you simply stood around and waited until your creature decided to build a house. And after that, you just stood around and waited for your creature to destroy every one else's house. Then you got your spaceship and had to deal with things like random attacks all the time. It was the opposite of what I wanted, and it hurt. Not just because I hated the game, but because I knew there was a better version sitting on a computer somewhere. You could have been something special, Spore. But you just had to betray me. Back roughly one hundred years ago, Will Wright was showing off the creature creator for the first time. While it wasn't the most realistic looking monster creator ever, it looked even better than the finished product. The creatures had a more natural look to them compared to the final build of the game, and it was revealed you could edit whole planets down to the plants that you saw. Not only this, but you could cross breed animals and plants to see what new creations formed and just sit back and watch how the planet dealt with them. Of course, barely any of this made it to the final game for multiple reasons, none of them being good. It had to do with making the game more accessible to younger folk and making things easier. And that is why I hate Spore. ------------------------------ Before we end this whole shindig, yes I know "alphas" isn't the right word to put into the title. It should be more along the lines of "Five Video Games And What They Looked Like In Their Earliest Stages". But that title isn't nearly as clean and to the point. And the word alpha is pretty close to the same meaning either way so just deal with it. Other than that, thanks for reading!