New Game Preview
New Game Preview
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Get a sneak peek at the most anticipated games of the year. From action-packed adventures to mind-bending puzzles, we've got something for everyone. Stay ahead of the game with our exclusive previews!
Star Wars Outlaws Preview – Venturing Into Space
Star Wars Outlaws Preview – Venturing Into Space Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Massive Entertainment Release: August 30, 2024 While visiting Massive Entertainment to be among the first to get my hands on Star Wars Outlaws , I enjoyed playing through stealth sequences, shootouts, conversations, and open-world speeder gameplay. However, one piece of the Star Wars Outlaws puzzle I did not get a chance to experience firsthand is the space gameplay. Thankfully, in addition to playing a chunk of Star Wars Outlaws during my time in Malmö, Sweden, I also had a chance to ask the developers how the game works once you jump into your ship and leave the planet or moon. In Star Wars Outlaws, you play Kay Vess and her companion Nix as they travel around the galaxy to locales both familiar and new. Players can land on and explore planets and moons like Tatooine, Kijimi, Akiva, and Toshara, but when Kay enters her ship, the  Trailblazer , she can enter orbit and explore. The  Trailblazer  was created in close collaboration with Lucasfilm Games to ensure it feels like it fits into the Star Wars galaxy. Elements like silhouettes, realism, and personality were all considered to make something believable within the galaxy. For the Star Wars Outlaws team, having the basis of the game be about crafting a scoundrel adventure meant that space gameplay was a must to complement the on-world element. "What we were trying to work out is, 'How do we create a gameplay experience with a multitude of different possibilities?' because we always knew we wanted to do a huge open-world game and have space travel, hyperdriving, several planets, several locations to explore," creative director Julian Gerighty says. "I think that's the play of fancy for the outlaw. It really is when you think of, 'What would I like to do as an outlaw in Star Wars?' It is stealth. It is combat. It is fisticuffs. It is hanging out at the cantina and having choices – meaningful choices – as a scoundrel, as an outlaw. It is flying. It is jumping on your speeder and going from one settlement to another. It's all of those things. So, it was important for us to have that ambition and push not just the technology but also the design team to have all of those things at the highest possible quality level." Much of my gameplay session was spent exploring the underworld of Toshara within the city walls of Mirogana in particular. However, near the end, I had the opportunity to venture outside the walls on Kay's speeder. "There is a huge element of exploration – the openness, the vibrancy, the boldness of landscapes, visuals, and all these elements that you get from it just going with your speeder outside to find locations and exploring bits of the world," art and world director Benedikt Podlesnigg says. "And from this, you also have among the stars. We take our ship flying to space, which is vast but also very risky. It's wondrous, it's lucrative, but also there's a lot of unknown about it." Though I don't get to see it, Podlesnigg describes how one of his recent gameplay sessions went. After exploring Toshara, he jumps into the  Trailblazer  and takes it out into orbit because he heard some intel that somebody in a space station was looking for an item he had in his possession. As Gerighty explains to me, planets and moons have an orbit around them that serves as an explorable area for Kay while aboard the  Trailblazer . Once you reach the edge of the explorable area surrounding the planet or moon, you hyperdrive into the orbit of your destination.  "This is problem-solving for video games, basically," Gerighty says. "We wanted to have an orbit around it with lots of different points of interest, things to do, battles to get in, places to explore. So, the orbits for each one of the moons or planets that we created had to be populated with lots of different things, and we didn't want to create endless space, so you hyperdrive from the orbit of a planet to the orbit of a planet. So, all of the space areas that we have are full of things to do." As Podlesnigg arrived in space during his playthrough, he received an emergency signal that a freighter was being attacked, so he hurried to their location to help them fight off the attackers. Finally, he landed on a space station. While he can't go too deep into how big these space stations are, there are things to do, including vendors for trades and potentially some side-quests. I don't get to touch a controller while Kay is piloting the Trailblazer , but the team hopes to appeal to a wide range of players by creating approachable gameplay for spaceflight. "We wanted to make spaceflight as accessible, fun, and action-packed as possible," Gerighty says. "The controls are extremely easy to get into. There's always something to do. It's fast to travel; you can hyperdrive at any moment, and there's combat, of course, both on an intimate dogfight scale but also on an epic scale too. And there's exploration. There's a lot of things to do in space." I assume we'll eventually get our hands on the space gameplay before the release of Star Wars Outlaws, and outside of the intricate Reputation System , this element is one of my most intriguing parts of the game right now. Star Wars Outlaws arrives on August 30 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. For more exclusive information on Massive Entertainment's upcoming scoundrel adventure, visit our coverage hub at the banner below! Purchase
Game Informer PreviewsApr 19
Hades 2 Preview – A Thrilling New Chapter
Hades 2 Preview – A Thrilling New ChapterGet a sneak peek of Hades 2's exciting new features and magic mechanics in our latest preview.
Previews – CGMagazineApr 18
Kingdom Come: Deliverance II Preview - Here Comes The Kingdom
Kingdom Come: Deliverance II Preview - Here Comes The Kingdom Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Publisher: Deep Silver Developer: Warhorse Studios Release: 2024 Kingdom Come: Deliverance faced a rocky launch in 2018, with outlets ( including Game Informer ) criticizing its widespread bugs and general lack of polish, but it found success regardless, going on to sell two million copies and release a slate of DLC and updates. Six years later, Warhorse Studios is getting ready to launch a sequel and invited Game Informer to take a look at some early footage and trailers. While it's too early to speak to any performance issues, it's clear Warhorse has greatly expanded its work on the first game, and fans of the medieval ages may be in for a treat. The Kingdom Come series is an action RPG set in the early thirteenth century, and while its plot is fictional, the games strive for historical accuracy wherever possible. The sequel follows the continued journey of Henry of Skalitz, a man who set out on a quest for revenge after his village was raided and destroyed. Squire to the carefree Sir Hans, he aims to take down Sigismund the Red Fox, the king of Hungary. With five hours of cutscenes (compared to the prior title's three), this story is a big focus for the game. While the narrative is a direct continuation of the events of the first entry, Warhorse Studios says newcomers should feel free to hop in at the newest entry. The series plans to expand on more than just its story. For one, the world map is double the size of its predecessor. This includes the massive medieval city of Kuttenberg ("Too big," says creative director Daniel Vávra), which Warhorse claims to be its greatest challenge during the game's development. The urban area is contrasted by the natural wilderness of an area called Bohemian Paradise, a lush green space full of unique rock formations. This diversity of environment and color was particularly important for the game's visuals, according to art director Viktor Höschl, who wants to express that the era wasn't all mud and famine. Lead character artist Anna Pačesová adds to this sentiment, saying, "It was really colorful. It wasn't dark at all." In addition to the world, gameplay has been expanded in several ways. The series offers first-person swordplay, but the sequel adds new ranged options as well. In addition to the inclusion of crossbows, Kingdom Come: Deliverance II features early firearms, which look like short-range handheld fireworks. The developers also emphasize the series' focus on player freedom and choice, adding new ways for the player to interact with the world’s many characters and new ways for those NPCs to respond. If the player wanders around drunk and naked, for example, townsfolk will verbalize their discomfort, and the player is free to apologize or taunt right back at them. Our preview ends with a performance of a song from the game's soundtrack. Composer Jan Valta returns with a period-appropriate score, conducting an ensemble of instruments and a choir performing a piece that harkens back to the religious compositions of the 1400s.  Kingdom Come: Deliverance II will be released sometime later this year, and it simply looks better than its predecessor in every significant way. When Warhorse was founded 10 years ago, it was only 11 members strong; now, it's up to 250. It's no surprise, then, when creative director Daniel Vávra, seated in a dramatically lit Kuttenberg cathedral for the video presentation, says, "What we are making now is what it was supposed to be in the beginning, but we were not able to do it because we didn't have enough resources and experience and all that stuff. We've proven that the concept works, and now we can take it to another level." Purchase
Game Informer PreviewsApr 18
How Star Wars Outlaws' Reputation And Wanted Systems Work
How Star Wars Outlaws' Reputation And Wanted Systems Work Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Massive Entertainment Release: August 30, 2024 As Kay Vess, the main protagonist in Star Wars Outlaws, you must work within the thriving underworld to accomplish your goals. Because Kay's adventure takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi , the underworld is thriving. The Empire is focusing its efforts on finishing off the retreating Rebel Alliance. While many of the moons and planets are under Imperial occupation, its primary focus is finding Rebels. Kay must take advantage of the criminal underworld, which led developer Massive Entertainment to create the Reputation System, a reflection of her standing with the criminal organizations she interacts with. After Sliro of Zerek Besh puts a bounty on her, Kay must work towards the goal of pulling off the ultimate heist to attain freedom for her and her companion Nix. Navigating the Star Wars underworld, Kay interacts with four syndicates, each with its own leader. Jabba the Hutt is the most iconic as the leader of the Hutt Cartel, but Kay also crosses paths with Lady Qi'ra (who many know from Emilia Clarke's portrayal in  Solo: A Star Wars Story ) of Crimson Dawn, Queen Ashiga of the Ashiga Clan (a new syndicate created in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games), and Gorak of the Pyke Syndicate. Massive Entertainment wanted to create a game in which you must navigate an underworld where, as a scoundrel, you live and die by your reputation. You can improve your standing with the syndicates by taking on jobs, performing tasks, and making choices in favor of the various criminal organizations. If you have a good relationship with one syndicate, your life will be easier when interacting with them or when you're in their territory.  "Very early on, we knew that we wanted to do a scoundrel story and we knew we wanted the game to be about choice and consequences," lead systems designer Matthieu Delisle says. "So pretty naturally, reputation came as the medium for the player to interact with the game. That's the foundation for the game and then we built the game around that. So, all the features in the game are, one way or another, connected to reputation." Through having a good relationship with a syndicate, you get access to more jobs to take on, better deals and special stock at shops, high-stakes Sabacc tables, intel, rumors, and more access to that syndicate's territory. Not only that but if you get into trouble with another syndicate and find yourself in a chase, a syndicate with whom you have a good relationship might jump in and help you get away. But it's never so simple; Massive assures me that as a scoundrel, you will get into trouble. While I don't get a sense of just how challenging the balancing act is, an example that emerged during my hands-on demo demonstrated that sometimes your choices will force you to take sides. During my demo, I found a sensitive video file that showed a member of the Pyke Syndicate looking to overthrow Gorak. Kay's original plan was to take it to the Pyke Syndicate leader to fetch a pretty penny and improve her standing, but when she turns in the job she was doing when she uncovered the evidence, the client is revealed as a member of Crimson Dawn. Kay thinks that they might have a keen interest in that sensitive data, so the player is given a choice of who they want to hand the video file over to, with Kay's reputation with that syndicate getting a bump with Crimson Dawn. Because of this newfound standing with Crimson Dawn, my next mission is a bit easier as the Crimson Dawn guards let me walk right into their territory. "It's really about choosing whichever syndicate benefits her in the moment," senior systems designer Alice Rendell says. "It's really up to the player to decide how they want to balance their reputations throughout the game. You can go all in with one syndicate, but obviously at the risk of displeasing others, or you can try and play the underworld a bit more and try to find something a bit more balanced." But reputations are designed to ebb and flow. Your reputation with a syndicate can take a hit from making a decision against the syndicate or through your actions. For example, if I go into a part of a syndicate's territory where I'm not supposed to be and get spotted, Kay's reputation will take a hit. Similarly, if you're spotted on a security camera or you raise an alarm, your reputation takes a hit. In one sequence, I alerted the Pyke Syndicate to my presence and began piling up bodies; I didn't get to experiment too much more with my reputation with the Pyke Syndicate, but I imagine I'd have some work to do to repair that relationship. Still, even with that transgression against the Pyke Syndicate in their own territory, you're never entirely cut off from any of the factions. After all, you're dealing with criminal organizations who are primarily concerned with how you can benefit them. If they think you're the right person for the job, they'll still let you do work for them.  "The way that people in the world react to Kay will vary depending on the reputation, but it is very transactional," Rendell says. "These aren't friendships, so it's still very, 'Okay, can Kay help you out in this moment?'" But Kay doesn't just have to manage her reputation with the Hutt Cartel, the Pyke Syndicate, Crimson Dawn, and the Ashiga Clan. While they're all key players in the criminal underworld, in this period between  The Empire Strikes Back  and  Return of the Jedi , the Galactic Empire is arguably at the peak of its power. While they are largely distracted in their relentless hunt for members of the Rebel Alliance, if you get in the way or break their rules, they won't ignore you for long. Because the Empire holds such power, you don't have a reputation meter with them. Instead, the Empire reacts to you based on your wanted level. If you break enough rules, your wanted level rises. The more wanted you are, the worse the Empire makes your life.  More imperial troops join the hunt for you as your wanted level goes up, with the maximum level summoning elite enemies to hunt you down. You can try to hide to decrease your wanted level, but the higher your wanted level, the longer it takes the Empire to call off the search. You can also meet with corrupt Imperial officers who might take a bribe or, in the worst-case scenario, participate in a challenging in-world event at the maximum wanted level to get the Empire off your back.  I didn't get a chance to experiment with the Wanted System at all, nor did I get a chance to truly push the Reputation System beyond the standard interactions and botched stealth sequences of my demo, but I did get a feel for it in action. I'm excited to see how the system reacts to player choices, particularly since when I ask creative director Julian Gerighty if there's a way to max out all syndicates' reputation meters, he says, "Not that I've been able to find."  The Reputation System feels like an essential piece of the scoundrel video game puzzle, and if it can deliver in all the ways Massive touts it to, it's the element of Star Wars Outlaws I'm most excited to play around with. If it can, indeed, provide the level of player agency and systems flexibility an adventure like this all but necessitates, we should be in for an incredible adventure when Star Wars Outlaws arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on August 30. Purchase
Game Informer PreviewsApr 17
Woodo Preview
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Previews – Niche GamerApr 15
Yield: Fall of Rome Preview
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Previews – Niche GamerApr 15
Meet Kay And Nix, The Protagonists Of Star Wars Outlaws
Meet Kay And Nix, The Protagonists Of Star Wars Outlaws Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Massive Entertainment Release: August 30, 2024 As you navigate the galaxy in Star Wars Outlaws, you do so as Kay Vess, a pickpocket-turned-thief who gets in over her head and winds up with a bounty on her head. Early in conversations, Lucasfilm Games and developer Massive Entertainment agreed that telling a scoundrel story was the way to go. Through these discussions, Massive decided it wanted to portray a "resourceful underdog" for its main character rather than the trained soldiers that star in The Division. In the various meetings with Lucasfilm Games, Massive Entertainment looked at the various archetypes available to players in the Star Wars tabletop RPGs, including Jedi, spies, operatives, and more. Massive wanted to create a game with a unique perspective within that universe. Several games put you in the shoes of lightsaber-wielding Jedi or the Empire-fighting Rebel, but fewer let you play as the archetype that stuck out to Massive: the scoundrel. In the Star Wars galaxy, the scoundrel is personified by Han Solo, but even though this story takes place during the Original Trilogy, Massive didn't want to retread that ground by making a Han Solo game. "Not once did that come up," creative director Julian Gerighty says. "We wanted to tell different stories with different main actors, as well." "We felt that one of the venues in Star Wars that, especially recently, hasn't been explored as much is that of the scoundrel character," associate narrative director John Björling says. "A relatable character, a rookie kind of taking their first steps into the galaxy, exploring the world, and really getting involved with the people and factions that make up the fabric of the galaxy. That was something that we knew very early on we wanted to pursue: to have that personal story and really make the galaxy come to life." Once Massive set its sights on a scoundrel experience set during the beloved Original Trilogy between the events of  The Empire Strikes Back  and  Return of the Jedi , it needed to create the right character for the adventure. "A scrappy underdog is going to use every trick in the book to get out of a tricky situation," Gerighty says. "Sometimes, a scoundrel should avoid getting into combat, so stealth became incredibly important for us as well." To that end, Kay Vess started out as a mere pickpocket growing up in the worker's district of Canto Bight, the planet most known for the casino scene in  The Last Jedi , but after graduating to full-on thief and getting in with the wrong crowd and having a bounty placed on her head, she has to pull off the ultimate heist to attain freedom. Because of her resourcefulness, cunning, and scrappiness, she can approach situations through both stealth and gunslinging; the choice is often up to the player. Her rough and tumble upbringing equips her well for her adventures, and the team reflects that background in her visual design. "We put a lot of care into her design and what she's wearing and how she looks to tell her story," associate art director Marthe Jonkers says. "She has a lot of elements in her design that tell a bit of her story. For example, she has a broken nose. She's been through a lot; you can see that she has scars and stuff. She also has a hairpin; I love that element because she uses that to lockpick doors, and you can use that from the beginning to do some thieving." The team clicked particularly well with Kay because she's neither a Jedi with superhuman reflexes nor one of the greatest fighters or pilots in the galaxy. "I think it's very relatable as a human being on planet Earth that this character doesn't have any magical powers or properties beyond her daring, her skills, her tools, and her buddy Nix," game director Mathias Karlson says. "The personality type is also perfectly suited for going on a swashbuckling adventure. I think that's something I really resonated with thinking about this character in terms of building a game and gameplay around it." "I think she's a much more modern protagonist than we usually see in games," Gerighty says. "She's somebody who is very much a street thief who gets thrown into things that are beyond her control, and that she kind of has to think her way out of, and that makes it a little bit more relatable than somebody who has all the confidence and sarcasm and just comes off as somebody who is not believable. So having her be relatable in that way was something extremely important for us." But Kay is not the only protagonist in Star Wars Outlaws. Massive looks at Kay and Nix as dual protagonists. As such, players are always in control of Nix as well, since Kay has the ability to send him off to perform tasks like pressing buttons, retrieving items, and distracting enemies. "Nix comes from a real gameplay need, which is to give the scoundrel character a little bit more reach, a little bit more possibilities while going through the environments while sneaking and while fighting," Gerighty says. "We really considered them as a scoundrel/thief duo. And Nix is absolutely adorable towards Kay, but very fierce and protective as well, so he has two sides to his personality, and we're very proud of what we created." Nix is a merqaal, a new species created by Massive in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. Nix comes from an unknown rainforest planet, but at a certain point, Kay and Nix meet and become partners. When creating Nix's design, Massive looked toward the various pets that members of the team have in their households. "Basically, he has something of all our pets in there," Jonkers says. "Everybody had a bit of an influence on that, I would say. But also real-world animals, for example. We really wanted him to be very helpful to Kay, so he could pick up things so we looked at lemurs or monkeys. But the other side we wanted him to also have a bit of a tough side, so he has some skills, and is more reptile-inspired." Another crucial part of Nix's design is his ears, which help him express his emotions and mood. "When Kay's sneaking around, you will see that he'll put them onto his body and make a smaller silhouette," Jonkers says. "When he's alert, he will put them up, and I think that's also a unique element to Nix that really gives him a lot of personality." When I ask if the relationship between Kay and Nix is similar to that of Han Solo and Chewbacca, Jonkers quips, "I always say, 'Kay's not a Solo, Kay's a duo.'"  "We have Kay as the main character, but it's actually Kay and Nix," Jonkers continues. "They are the main character. We really wanted to bring this unique duo as the main character to the Star Wars galaxy. They work together a lot, and Nix helps you, but he's really her buddy. [...] That relationship and having this duo is what makes Kay a very unique character, like a unique scoundrel. She's not on her own. She's not doing this all by herself. She actually has her partner in crime. That brings a unique take on the scoundrel archetype." For more on how the gameplay between Kay and Nix works, be sure to check out our hands-on preview here . Star Wars Outlaws arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on August 30. For more, be sure to visit our exclusive coverage hub through the banner below! Purchase
Game Informer PreviewsApr 15
Wild Woods Preview – Newer yet slower build
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Previews – Niche GamerApr 13
World of Grimm Preview – Fairy tale deckbuilding action
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Deathbound Preview – Party-based soulslike action
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Previews – Niche GamerApr 13