[UPDATED] “The Cave” Trademarked by Double Fine

Due to some internet delving, it was discovered that Double Fine has recently put in a trademark for something called “The Cave,” and it is listed as being “computer game software and video game software.” While that is the only information we have at this juncture, I think it is pretty safe to say that this is the new adventure game that they raised money for.

For those of you who are unaware, a twitter and email conversation between Tim Schafer of dDouble Fine and Minecraft creator Notch led to them creating a Kickstarter project to develop a new adventure game. Even though this isn’t Psychonauts 2 like we’ve all been wanting, I appreciate any game that come from the mind of Tim Schafer. I’m now just really curious as to what The Cave holds in store for us.

[UPDATE] Apparently “The Cave” is not the Kickstarter project. A representative at Double Fine has stated “While we can’t comment on unannounced projects, we can say that Double Fine’s Kickstarter-funded adventure game has not been started, designed, or even imagined yet. No trademarks have been filed on its behalf.” Well, there you go. I guess I have to eat my own words. Such is the life of a journalist.

[UPDATED] New Metal Gear Solid Planned for Development

While we are still eagerly awaiting to get our hands on Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance by Platinum Games, it appears that Konami is already looking to give us more from the series. The developer has posted job listings for the next MGS that will be coming to “PC and high-end consoles.” They are asking for people who have had experience developing games for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.

While this is very awesome news, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Even though Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots wrapped up everything very nicely, we have heard that from creator Hideo Kojima that a true sequel was coming. Now we just know that it will becoming sooner than we may have expected. Hideo has said, however, that his involvement in this won’t be nearly as great as it was for the original Metal Gear Solid. He his, after all, also busy working on “Project Ogre,” whatever that is.

Now, the question is what do you think this game will be about, and who do you expect to make an appearance? One concept image that is displayed shows a person with an eye patch, a badge that appears to read “[something] Dogs” with a picture of a dog on it, and a dog standing behind him. That’s a lot of hounds. So that’s all we have to go off of for now. Let’s start hearing those crazy theories. Ready? Go!

My first theory: the game will be called Metal Gear Solid 5: The Dogs of War… and you play as a dog.

[Update] Thanks to to a picture Hideo Kojima posted on Twitter, it is probably safe to assume that the badge says “Diamond Dogs.” Does this mean that David Bowie  is going to be in the game? I vote “yes.”

Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena confirmed for North America

We knew this was coming anyway the minute it was announced last year (oh please, Atlus USA loves its fans in case you haven’t noticed yet). Not to mention the teaser image they released last week which was very P4 Ultimate Mayo-related.

Oh and yes, they’re simply calling it Persona 4 Arena, which makes sense. I do would’ve preferred though if they kept, at least, the Mayonaka name because it just sounds “right” unlike by simply calling it “Arena” that somehow feels generic, sort of.

Anyhoo, here’s the ad (story mode, woot!) and it’s coming out in Summer 2012. Nice!

Brian Taylor Writing and Directing a Twisted Metal Movie

Okay. I know I’ve already made it clear that I’m a fan of the Twisted Metal franchise. So how can I not talk about Brian Taylor writing and directing a Twisted Metal movie? I’ve crunched the numbers, and, as it turns out, it’s not possible.

We’ve already gotten a pretty decent fan-made trailer, and that’s enough just to whet our appetite, but fans will need more now that the new game just dropped. So, now we’ll be getting an honest-to-god movie by the guy behind both Crank movies, Gamer, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence. While I haven’t seen any of those movies, it’s to my understanding that they are pretty over-the-top. That seems like it would be a perfect fit for a Twisted Metal movie, because, I’m not sure if you realize this, a bunch of cars that have machine guns and rockets attached to them is pretty over-the-top as it is.

Granted, this will be a video game, and those don’t have the best track record. In fact, talking about them tends to make us rage quit our podcast. Be that as it may, Twisted Metal does have a solid universe behind it, that can be melded into an interesting movie plot if it’s done correctly. That’s a big “if,” but you can bet that I will be following this thing closely before I decide whether or not I will drop my hard-earned money on seeing it.

Who am I kidding. I’ll see it even if it’s garbage.

Psychonauts 2 May Come Our Way

Tim Schafer is one of the more notable game designers currently in the industry. One of his games, Psychonauts, was praised by critics. Unfortunately, it did receive the commercial success that it should have. This made the possibility of a sequel very unlikely. In an interview with  Digital Spy Mr. Schafer said that he has pitched the idea fora sequel a few times, but there were no takers.  He goes on to explain that he still need as few million dollars to back the project.

Thankfully, the right people were reading that interview. Specifically, Markus Persson (AKA: Notch), the developer of Minecraft, read it. So, earlier today, Notch decided to shoot Tim a tweet saying, “let’s make Psychonauts 2 happen.” The best part about that tweet: he’s serious! So far, all that has come from it is an exchange of emails between Notch and Tim with no official word about what will happen. Notch does warn everyone that everything is very vague at this point and no one should really get their hopes up. However, this is the gaming community we are talking about. Everyone’s hopes are always up for sequels to sleeper-hits like Psychonauts. The damage is already done. So I hope, for your sake, that Psychonauts 2 actually happens, or else you’ll have a mob of angry nerds on your hands. I’ll be the one in front with a pitchfork.

Furthermore, if this game actually happens, no one can ever say that Twitter is pointless ever again. It would have made video game history!

Twisted Metal Demo Impressions

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m a huge Twisted Metal fan. Twisted Metal 2: World Tour was one of my favorite games for the original PlayStation, and Twisted Metal: Black was the first game I got for the PlayStation 2. So I’m sure it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the PlayStation 3 version of the franchise. When the demo dropped, I hopped right on in. After spending some time with it, I can comfortably say that I like were the series is headed. It’s been a while since I’ve played any of the games, but after an hour or so, it all came back to me. Everything started to feel familiar and natural.

While the formula has pretty much remained unchanged, the guys over at Eat Sleep Play have offered a few new things to keep the veterans on their toes. There are the basic things, like new weapons, that are to be expected. The sniper rifle rewards players for keeping their target in their sights for longer period of time, while the shotgun is most effective when you stay up close an personal with your opponent. Some classic weapons return but have been tweaked to have a charge up ability, which gives them the potential to do more damage. So you can either spam your opponent with a bunch of weapons that range from low damage to medium amounts of damage, or you can be surgical with your attacks by using weapons that can offer a large amount of damage if you take the time to master them. It all really depends on the your play style you feel most comfortable with. This becomes glaringly obvious when you realize that each car actually has two different special attacks that favor each strategy, as opposed to the previous games in which each car only had one special attack. Read More

Insomniac Putting Resistance to Bed

We were big fans of Resistance 3 here at Lost Level. While the first two games were decent and got the job done, the third installment really blew us away and exceeded our expectations. With that, it seems as though developers are ending the series on a high note. The Insomniac CEO Ted Price said, “We won’t be making any more Resistances.” There’s really not a lot o wiggle room for interpretation in that statement.

While it is sad that we be won’t be seeing anymore of the series after Insomniac has finally nailed the formula down, it also bring s a sense of comfort. We won’t have to see them announce a new iteration of the game and worry about them messing up what they so finely polished. Furthermore, it’s rare that we see the end of a series these days. Companies find their cash cow and ride it until the thing passes out in the middle of the street and holds up traffic, creating an annoyance to the public. Okay, that metaphor may have gotten away from me. Read More

BioShock Infinite’s 1999 Mode. Let’s Do This!

Needless to say, games have changed a lot since 1999. They look better. The stories they tell are (generally) deeper and better, with characters you care about. And even though the action has been ramped up, games have somehow become easier. Back in the day, beating a game felt like an accomplishment. You wore it like a badge of honor. Now, it’s almost expected of you to beat the games you play. Granted, this makes sense because the designers want you to witness the whole experience they have slaved over for you, and they don’t want you to just give up because it’s gotten too hard for you pansies. So we’re given things like regenerating health and more ammo than one person can feasibly carry. Sure, Resistance 3 had an “old school” feel because it brought back the health pack, but the classic challenge still wasn’t there.

Ken Levine, who has worked on Thief, System Shock 2, and the original BioShock, is currently working on BioShock Infinite for its release this year, and he longs for the days when a game really challenged him. That’s why he is including “1999 Mode” in BioShock Infinite. “1999 Mode” is said to be a more demanding playthrough of the game. You’ll have to really learn how to manage all your resources and build your character in a way that compliments your play style. Your aim will have to be exceptional and you can’t walk around like bullet sponge. As for game saves, Mr. Levine said, “there are game saves, and you’re gonna f***ing need them.” It’s things like that quote that makes him one of my heroes. Levine goes on to say the following: Read More

Mass Effect 3 Not Launching on Steam

Without a doubt, Mass Effect 3 is one of the most anticipated games coming out this year. It’s true because Spike TV’s VGAs said so, and we all know how credible that is (SPOILERS: It’s not). This is a title that many gamers are going to want the day it comes out. So, if you wan to play it for the PC, Steam may not be your best option… or an option at all. BioWare’s community manager, Chris Priestly, hit the forums last weeks saying that Mass Effect 3 will not “initially” launch on the popular digital download service. Whether or not these means they have plans to launch the game for Steam on a later date is unclear.

Of course, this is so that EA, Mass Effect 3‘s publisher, can pimp their digital download service, Origin. In fact, any PC version of the game will require Origin to launch it, like they did with Battlefield 3. Because, god forbid playing a PC game would be as simple as installing and launching the product. Noooooo. That would be far too easy. Instead, you have to download and install Origin as well. Then you have to authenticate your copy of the game through the service. Requiring Origin to play the game may not sound like much, but it’s just a minor headache that doesn’t have to be there. EA shouldn’t make their customers have to jump through hoops just to play their products.

EA cites that the decision to not launch Mass Effect 3 on Steam stems from the distributor’s restrictive terms of services. You can choose to believe that if you want. However, I’ll go on believing that it’s because Steam the largest of the digital distributors, and EA is trying to topple this Goliath. Sure, in the end all EA wants to do is make money and not launching Mass Effect 3 on Steam ensures more money goes to them, but in the end it still makes them look like a whiny little brat that will keep stamping its feet until it gets its way. You can almost hear EA shouting, “No! It’s our game! You can only play it through us!” You don’t know how glad I am that I’ll be picking up Mass Effect 3 for the Xbox 360, and won’t have to put up with Origin.