The already has a release date (December 3) and price ($100), but before today, Sony’s neglected to announce one key bit of information: games. The electronics giant has finally seen fit to reveal for its answer to the wildly popular NES Classic edition. It’s a pretty solid list, all told, including some of the console’s truly classic titles and representing a wide range of genres, from fighting to racing to RPG to, well, carjacking. The miniature console is available for preorder now, hitting the U.S. and Canada on December 3. The system also ships with two controllers. Here’s the full list of titles. Battle Arena Toshinden Cool Boarders 2 Destruction Derby Final Fantasy VII Grand Theft Auto Intelligent Qube Jumping Flash Metal Gear Solid Mr Driller Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee Rayman Resident Evil Director’s Cut Revelations: Persona Ridge Racer Type 4 Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo Syphon Filter Tekken 3 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Twisted Metal Wild Arms
Believe it or not it's actually been one whole year since the release of Super Mario Odyssey. But it's easy to believe the anniversary was celebrated in an awesome way.
An illustration of a female dwarf barbarian in the Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Player’s Handbook. Designers of the game said purposefully showing diverse characters in the game’s art is one way they are encouraging a more diverse player base. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane) Dwarven wizards. Dragon-born clerics. Orc wizards. There’s plenty of diversity in the world of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), the oldest and arguably most influential tabletop roleplaying game. COMING UP THIS WEEK ON GEEKWIRE: Tech CEOs unite around Dungeons & Dragons and embrace their inner geek But until recently, the game has suffered from a particular archetype: That it was only for people who are nerdy, antisocial and overwhelmingly male. That perception — and D&D’s player base — has changed dramatically in the past decade, thanks in large part to a concerted effort from the game’s designers. At this weekend in Seattle, six members of the Dungeons and Dragons team from Wizards of the Coast, the company behind D&D, described efforts to go beyond the stereotypes and appeal to more players, including women, people of color and even middle-schoolers. Each worked on the game during the development of its most recent edition, which launched in 2014. For those unfamiliar with the game, the basic setup is simple: Players embody a character with a set of traits and abilities and play through a story set up by the game’s dungeon master. True to the role-playing game genre, some obstacles will take feats of strength and fighting skills, while some will require persuading a different character or solving a puzzle. Renton, Wash.-based Wizards of the Coast releases a huge number of manuals, play guides and other materials laying out the game mechanics, character design and possible storylines or monsters for dungeon masters to use. But the designers said much of the work to expand D&D’s reach actually happens outside the official game manuals and materials. “Streaming has been such an amazing thing for Dungeons and Dragons,” said, head of publishing and licensing for the game, referring to the practice of live-streaming video of people playing D&D around a table. Members of the Dungeons and Dragons team spoke about their experiences working on the game and its effort to expand into more diverse player groups at GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Left to right: Jaden Emme, Shelly Mazzanoble, Trish Yochum, Kate Irwin, Liz Schuh, Emi Tanji. (GeekWire Photo / Clare McGrane) “For people who play and stream their games, they have a ton of fun doing it, and you can see that when you watch them. But it also has been a great way to introduce the game to people who maybe never thought it was a game for them,” Schuh said. Fan-run streaming groups, like the popular, have been central hubs for the Dungeons and Dragons community for several years, but Wizards of the Coast only became directly involved in streaming a few years ago. Wizards now runs an official D&D streaming channel on Twitch that produces three seasons of content every year, largely featuring fan-run groups. Shuh said the company purposefully highlights a variety of players on the channel to make sure the streams represent the full breadth of D&D players. “We know that when people see people that look like them, people that seem like someone that you would want to hang out with, it makes you much more likely to get involved with the game,” she said. Diverse Dungeons and Dragons groups, like streamers and the Seattle-based podcast , are also gaining significant traction in the D&D community. Both of those groups performed live shows at this year’s GeekGirlCon. The game has also become increasingly popular with young geeks. “One of the things that’s really exciting is when educators use Dungeons and Dragons as part of their curriculum,” Shcuh said. Last year, a teacher at the Seattle-area Lake Washington Girls Middle School decided to start a Dungeons and Dragons club for a handful of students. Now the club has grown so large it takes up four classrooms and many of the girls have learned how to dungeon master their own games. “It’s such a great way for kids, especially kids who have some social challenges, to find their party,” said , the game’s brand manager. “They find a group of people that are like-minded that they go on these adventures together.” “You this opportunity to step out of yourself and become a character. And while you’re doing that, you don’t even realize that you’re learning. You’re learning analytic skills and social skills and math and solving problems. And you’re also making friends,” she said. An illlustration of the characters in Hell’s Belles, a Dungeons and Dragons streaming group made up of female and players who identify as non-gender-binary. (Hell’s Belle’s Image via Twitter) But the team has also worked to make D&D materials themselves more representative of the player base. The art for Fifth Edition materials, the game’s most recent reboot, is a great example. “We started from bare bones,” said , senior art director for Wizards of the coast. “It could be anything.” She said the art team put an emphasis on representing a huge variety of people in the official art for the new release, and that wasn’t something that happened organically. “When you don’t say someone is old, or heavy, or very very young —you get a lot of the same characters,” she said. “So we asked for it.” “We wanted to… make sure that anybody who would be playing D&D would feel like they saw themselves,” she said. That means not just including characters who are female, non-white and a variety of ages, but showing those people in a variety of roles. For example, Irwin said, women are often portrayed as healers, but in the new edition, “they were also barbarians. They were also rangers. They were in every aspect of D&D.” Join GeekWire for a with Wizards of the Coast President Chris Cocks on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Hyatt Regency at Southport in Renton, Wash. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. for more details and to register.
There are some fans out there who love Sonic as a character so much that they've decided to create a mash-up from classic and popular films and recreate them within Sonic: The Hedgehog 2. It sounds about as wacky and as crazy as you would expect.
It's always nice to know that some original game ideas will make a return in some form fashion or way. Level-5 wants to rekindle the anticipation that was originally created when a certain high-profile games was supposed to be released years ago.
If you heard a loud squealing sound over the weekend, that was probably the collective noise of fans reacting to the news that Capcom is bringing a trio of Resident Evil games to the Switch next year.
Hard to believe, but the Fallout 76 beta is up and running, with Bethesda taking to social media with an official schedule to help Vault dwellers prepare for the upcoming apocalypse.
GamesForum was held in Seattle this week at Bell Harbor Conference Center. (GamesForum Image) While Seattle has its benefits for the games industry culture — such as relative stability and plentiful job opportunities — its quirks include a surprising lack of personal connections among industry employees in the area. Those were some of the takeaways as four veterans of the video game industry got together at the annual conference in downtown Seattle this week to discuss the advantages and disadvantages for games development in the area. The panel discussion, “Seattle as a Global Hub for Game Development,” featured , former president of the late Runic Games (Torchlight) and current CEO of (Rebel Galaxy); Brian Fleming, founder and producer at (the InFamous and Sly Cooper series, and the upcoming Ghost of Tsushima); and Alison Stroll, ex-producer at 343 Industries and Microsoft. The discussion was moderated by ex-Microsoft VP , one of the team leaders on the original Xbox project. The basic benefits According to the Washington Interactive Network, the greater Seattle area is home to roughly 400 video game developers, representing around 23,000 jobs and over $28 billion in annual revenue. This causes, in Fleming’s terms, a “critical mass” of opportunities and talent; Seattle is “a place where people who want to make games are comfortable.” Compared to other up-and-coming hotspots for games development, such as Boston, this lends Seattle a certain sense of stability. Even if an employee comes to the city and their games job doesn’t work out, there are a lot of other options in the local tech industry, not least of which are Amazon and Microsoft. Ed Fries (at left) moderates a panel featuring (from left to right) Sucker Punch’s Brian Fleming, Double Damage’s Travis Baldree, and industry veteran Alison Stroll. (Thomas Wilde Photo) “This is part of the reason why Seattle does well with indies,” Stroll said. Bigger companies, both inside and outside of games, provide what she calls “anchor economies,” providing a lot of options in case a new employee’s games-industry job doesn’t work out. That’s an advantage that Seattle has over other big cities in the games industry, such as Boston, and which Stroll cites as a reason why Seattle “took over Austin’s spot” as the place to be for developers. “There are a lot of game studios here,” Baldree said, “and lots of people stay around and in the system. You can catch them easily if a studio closes down. It sounds a lot like ambulance chasing, now that I say it.” Bellevue in particular is slowly becoming a hotbed of activity for game developers, featuring companies such as Bungie, Valve, Sucker Punch, Harebrained Schemes, tinyBuild, and Niantic Labs. “Ten years ago,” Fleming said, “downtown Bellevue felt alien and unwelcoming unless you shopped at J. Crew. It’s improving. It’s not amazing, but it’s more diverse and welcoming now. Bohemian, in a good way.” The drawbacks A lot of the video game industry in North America has traditionally been headquartered in California, either around Los Angeles or San Francisco. While Seattle features a lower cost of living and comparatively affordable real estate, it can still be a tough sell for prospective hires who’d otherwise be headed to somewhere in California. This is particularly troublesome if you’re in a position like Fleming’s, competing directly with Hollywood for special-effects talent. The cold weather in Washington state can be a positive, particularly for prospective hires who are interested in winter sports, but it can be a hard sell when compared to California sunshine. “Some people want to live at Muscle Beach,” Fleming said, “and this isn’t that.” Stroll said that Seattle has a reputation outside the state as “a place people go to run away from things.” It doesn’t have the immediate appeal of other big cities in the video game industry, which can and has caused her to get into “bidding wars” over employees. The rising cost of living in Seattle itself is also beginning to cause problems. Fine artists in particular are being driven out of the city, with the last artist in Stroll’s acquaintance having just moved to Florida. You need places to live that are “funky and cheap” to attract the right kind of artists, Stroll said, and those have more or less vanished in Seattle. The lack of connections, or, the ‘Seattle Freeze’ The most interesting answer of the panel came in response to a question from Fries, regarding how the local members of the game development scene meet up and get connected. “How connected are you?” Fries asked the panel. “Should we be more connected?” “We do an absolutely terrible job of this,” Fleming said. There are any number of meetups and events, many of which are coordinated by , but founders and senior employees don’t go to them. Nearly all such events are exclusively attended by new recruits, graduates, and the occasional garage developer. “More creative industries offer ways to curate their startup culture,” Fleming said. “The goal isn’t recruitment; the goal is to create a community as connective tissue. If your game gets cancelled, then we can get 20 people who just got laid off a new job right away through the community.” He cited a regular event held by SpryFox — at which several studio heads get together for dinner on a regular basis — as an example of the sort of community-building that the local scene desperately needs. He pointed out that particularly in Bellevue’s development scene, where local companies such as Bungie or Valve will frequently earn multiple industry awards, you would never have known about it from the way the rest of the studios in the community reacted. “We need to have civic pride in our local development community the way that Silicon Valley is proud of itself,” Fleming said.
Have you been enjoying the all-you-can-download buffet of digital goods offered to you via the Xbox Game Pass? Well, if you think that smorgasbord of succulent software has upped the ante for Microsoft's console to buy-worthy heights, you may not have to purchase the console to get in on the Game...
Twitch is getting into the karaoke world with what it calls a new category of game by the name of Twitch Sings. The game-streaming service owned by Amazon announced it is developing a new game concept with Harmonix — developer of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises — at its TwitchCon event in San Jose today. Twitch is testing the karaoke concept at the event and through a closed beta. Players will be able to share their songs across the Twitch platform and perform duets with community members. Audience members will be able to request songs, create challengers and shower the crowd with Bits, the currency used to support streamers on Twitch. , Twitch said that karaoke and Twitch Sings is just the beginning for an entirely new type of game, focused on heavy interaction. We’re just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible when everyone wants to play together. There are many games and genres that are made better on Twitch, and we believe there’s an opportunity for a new category of game to emerge that’s made to be streamed, where the audience isn’t a ‘nice to have’ — they’re a crucial part of the game experience. We knew karaoke would be the perfect place to start. It’s live. It’s always entertaining. And when it really gets going, the line between the crowd and the stage disappears completely. In addition to Twitch Sings, the company announced it will expand its e-sports program, Twitch Rivals, from 55 events so far this year to 128 in 2019. Twitch also announced a series of new features on the platform that make it easier for streamers to be discovered, monetize their efforts and connect with fans. Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. Amazon went on to create a series of Amazon Prime goodies for gamers called . This year it started on Twitch. At the conference, the company announced that at any given time, there at least 1 million people on Twitch.