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Steve Bitto posted a article in Industry NewsNinja Theory, the developer behind Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DMC, gave a presentation at Gamescom this year entitled, "The Independent AAA Proposition." The speech detailed the history of the studio as well as the ups and downs they've had with major publishers. While they were grateful for the opportunities publishers allowed them, the past loss of creative rights and freedom had Ninja Theory unhappy with their position in the marketplace. Then one failed project led them to change it all, coin the phrase "Independent AAA" and start work on Hellblade, That project was Razer. According to Ninja Theory, Razer, "was going to be a mix of melee and gunplay,' where players would be, "fighting an ever adapting enemy that required you to collaborate in squads and constantly adapt and change your attack pattern." They called it "the world“s biggest boss fight." The game would revolve around a "Beast" that had invaded and taken over the Earth. From a technical standpoint, "the creature was a beast that lived in the cloud driven by a complex adaptive AI server. Tens of thousands of players would take part in taking down this monster over the course of months and years. The game relied on procedural techniques to create millions of missions all over the planet." So how could such an awesome concept not go into full development? Destiny. When Destiny was announced by Bungie, no publisher wanted to challenge it outright. It stopped Razer cold in its tracks. Looking on the bright side, perhaps it truly was destiny for Ninja Theory to get halted in the publisher pipeline. To be forced to create a new niche of self-published AAA games. Hellblade may be the answer to that. Stay locked on Game Podunk to find out. Source: Ninja Theory
Earlier today, Ninja Theory answered fan's questions on Twitter regarding their recently announced title, Hellblade. They discussed everything from exclusivity, to gameplay, to its connection to Heavenly Sword. Here is a recap of the information gathered from the #NinjaQuery. Hellblade is what Ninja Theory is calling an "independent AAA" game. This means it will fall somewhere in between a traditional indie game and a AAA title from a major publisher. Expect high quality but shorter in length and at a lower price. The development team is currently very small at only 12 people and it is unlikely to grow to more than 15. The group has been hard at work for about four months and is currently optimizing combat and general gameplay using Unreal Engine 4. Hellblade is a third person hack and slash with a focus on story and combat. There will be no multiplayer and it is not open world. The story revolves around Senua, the tribal looking female from the Gamescom teaser, and will draw on Celtic mythology. Lastly, the game has absolutely no connection to Heavenly Sword. Hellblade is a completely new IP with new ideas and new characters. Sorry, Nariko fan club. Ninja Theory's new project and approach to publishing will be beneficial to gamers in the long run because they expand creativity and diversity in video games. Expect to hear and see more on Hellblade sometime next week. Until then stay tuned to Game Podunk for updates. http://vimeo.com/102969072 Source: Twitter What are your initial impressions of Hellblade and what questions might you want answered in the next #NinjaQuery?
Developer: Ninja Theory Publisher: Capcom Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC Release Date: 1/15/13 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of the game Alright then, first things first – everyone put away your pitchforks and torches, Ninja Theory“s offering, DmC: Devil May Cry has everything that makes the Devil May Cry series great (and a few things that made it just as annoying). One of the many maligned points of this game has been the story and the remixed character designs. As far as the storyline goes, think of it as an alternate universe of the mainline Devil May Cry series (kind of like the Ultimate Marvel Universe version of the series). With this in mind, the new approach to the story is a welcome shift. Redoing the origins of the famed demon hunter, Dante is transformed from a silver-haired party boy to a hard drinking, rebellious, brunette youth who sleeps around just as much as he slays otherworldly monsters. Despite the changes, Dante is still Dante. He is still cocky and flippant, still gives the smart-ass remark in the face of demons and monsters alike, and does it all with a certain swagger that only he can muster. He comes off as a more grounded realistic rendition of Dante from games“ past. Well, as realistic as you can get in a game where the world itself is actively trying to kill you. In DmC, the world is split between the human world we live in and a demonic mirror realm running parallel to ours called â€œlimbo.â€ The world of limbo acts as the biggest enemy in the game as it warps and bends to thwart Dante“s progress through the levels; floors tear apart, buildings collapse and twist up into the sky as words like â€œKILL DANTEâ€ slowly scrawl across the walls as demonic voices constantly demand your death. If anything, the locales and variety range from dark carnivals, churches, night clubs, even to high-rise business buildings. The sheer variety and design of the levels offers a great deal of challenges in platforming and traversals, especially when the levels shift under your feet. But what truly comes to mind when you think of Devil May Cry is not platforming – it is good old fashioned fighting, and it is with great pleasure that I tell you DmC does not disappoint in that regard. What makes the fighting system so enjoyable is the feature of the angel/devil weapons. Dante, has access to angelic and demonic weapons in the game, and both offer different facets to his bread and butter sword and gun combos. His angel weapons provide quick strikes which cover huge swaths of foes for excellent crowd control. While the devil armory are slow-hitting singular focused weapons which hit like a howitzer when they connect. Plus, with the press of a button these weapons can all be switched on the fly, making for a Heavenly Sword vibe in terms of combat as you fluidly swap weapons and styles mid-combo. In addition, DmC features a grapple system akin to Devil May Cry 4's Nero“s demon grapple. Dante is able to pull lighter foes towards him with his devil weapons and he pull himself towards his foes with his angel weapons. In addition certain enemies can only be damaged with certain aligned weapon types and combos. For example, in the game are shielded foes that block Dante“s attacks. The most effective manner to beat them is to pull away their shields with the devil grapple, then follow up with your attacks while they are vulnerable. While in the beginning the game sends these variants one at a time, in the later stages it will throw multiple foes with such nuances your way and each fight becomes an insane chess match as you try to exploit one foe“s weakness while keeping an eye on other enemies mauling you from behind. And much like previous Devil May Cry titles, it rewards the inventive and unique combo strings and variety with bonuses and skill points which can be used to purchase new skills for all your weapons. Plus, you have the option to reallocate any earned skill points towards any other abilities in between missions and at checkpoints. They also provide a practice mode to experiment with learned move sets to concoct new combos to unleash in the main game. While the console version of DmC runs at 30 fps, it still has fast and fluid play style that fans will enjoy. But despite all of the things the game does right, it is not without its faults. The first nitpick with the title is the difficulty. The game starts you off on â€œDevil Hunterâ€ which is their version of normal difficulty. But for anyone who has played Devil May Cry before, it is far too easy a play through for those looking for a challenge (I did not die once – save for some close calls). If you want a challenge, I suggest you go for the third difficulty level. For those still looking for more punishment, they do provide unlockable difficulty levels like Son of Sparda and the infamous Dante Must Die, Heaven and Hell, and the truly painful Hell and Hell which features incredibly tough enemies and a Dante that dies in one hit. Another annoyance is the targeting system, or lack thereof. The game has an auto-target which has Dante focus gun fire and physical attacks to the nearest foe. However, during the latter stages when the enemies are a mix of ground and air enemies, it gets rather bothersome when you are trying to shoot down a flying target only for Dante to target a grounded foe. Also, the camera gets a bit wonky, leaving off-screen enemies free to hit you without seeing them coming. In spite of these shortcomings, the crew of Ninja Theory did an excellent job bringing a nuanced and fresh approach to the Devil May Cry franchise, and I for one cannot wait to see where they take the series next. Pros: + Excellent Combat + Awesome levels and design + Dante is still Dante + Extra difficulty levels and unlockables provide replay value Cons: - Might be too easy by DMC standards - Targeting gets dumb from time to time - Camera can be weird at times Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great DmC: Devil May Cry doesn“t try to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors and in doing so, has made a unique and much needed addition to the series.