Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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“Things Will Go Bump In The Night” – ‘The Dead Linger’ Developer Interview

 The-Dead-Linger-interview-banner

Hordes of people love survival games, plain and simple. Myself included. The ability to stand back and admire your handiwork is rewarding, and the rush of escaping your foes is heart-stopping at times. Is anyone else just fed up of running though?

It’s time to make a stand with a few tins of beans and a bloody bat. If that’s always been a longing of yours too, then I know just the game. Brand new zombie horror-survival hybrid The Dead Linger is a throwback to the classic, gore-stained roots of zombie culture video games.

I chatted with Geoff Keene, CEO and Design Director of Sandswept Studios, to find out where they’re planning on taking The Dead Linger.

DL

IGM: The Dead Linger is a zombie ‘horror-survival’ experience. How does this hybrid of genres set TDL apart from other zombie survival games?

Geoff: The key thing people are going to notice about The Dead Linger is that we’re sticking to the roots of the zombie genre. Barricading and surviving in any way the player can imagine is the core of what the zombie fantasy has always been about. Since the first Dawn of The Dead, the slow, shambling hordes of zombies has been the core essence of the terror, and if you change that basic formula, you’re not really making a zombie survival. Many games that pass themselves off as “zombie survival” are nothing more than run-and-gun action games. We’re taking multiple steps back from that direction and building The Dead Linger from the roots of the zombie genre.


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‘ZED Absolution’ Gears Up For Fund Raising And Beta

ZED SS01

It’s been a while since I last talked about ZED Absolution (ZED). It turns out the guys over at Zombie Killers have been working tirelessly on ZED and there has been some big developments.

ZED is a top down gauntlet shooter that takes inspiration from such classics as Smash TV and Robotron 2048, updating this model and bringing it to us in an all new fast paced HD and 3D format, that’s right ZED will support the Oculus Rift.

It seems ZED is getting close to the beta stage, but before the game can reach its completion Zombie Killer will be looking for some additional funding to move ZED over the line. They hope to obtain a little extra funding through the games pre-orders that offer four different packages to suit your every need and range from $15 to $45. Alongside the game you can also buy a rather nice ZED poster to put up and show your support in the real world.

In addition to the pre-orders Zombie Killers are looking to start-up a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of raising the required capital to finish the game, and maybe implement some of the teams more ambitious ideas. Like any Kickstarter expect to see some rather great physical rewards from soundtracks to models so stay tuned for the launch.

If you would like to find out more about ZED be sure to head over to the all new ZED homepage for additional information about the game. ZED is also looking for additional up-votes on Steam’s Greenlight service, so if you would like to see ZED on Steam be sure to up-vote.

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – ‘ZED Absolution’ Gears Up For Fund Raising And Beta


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IGM Aus – The R18+ Debate

The following IGM Aus is rated R for Radness. Or maybe not.

R18 I wanted to take a little time out this week and focus on an issue that has been building up and up for a few years now. Something that many people here in Australia have been waiting on for some time which, as of just a few short days ago, has finally become reality. It is, of course, the R18+ rating.

For many countries, an R rating is a given. Restricting the sale or viewership of a certain piece of entertainment to those above 18 years of age seems rather obvious given the modern depiction of violence and our tendency to protect our children from it (where we can). Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said of the Australian industry, who’s ratings system until just recently never had an 18+ rating. That meant the sale of many games to those aged 15 or over.

MA15

As of right now, the R rating is finally a part of the code. That means games just too violent for MA15+, or featuring high levels of sexual content and language, will be allowed into the country if it passes the strict requirements under the adults only category. We already have our first entrant, the Tecmo created Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge for Wii U, which is certainly warranted given that series’ penchant for blood letting at the bucket load. In the past, such a title would have been banned in Australia (as in Warner Brothers’ Mortal Kombat reboot) or edited/watered down (a.k.a. Left 4 Dead 2).

So what does all this mean to the local Indie industry? Not a great deal, at least not yet. This rating only relates to retail stores, not those online. Given that both Apple and Steam provide their own ratings system outside of those used in any release country means that it’s up to those providers to bring about some kind of balance. Apple is actually rather strict when it comes to releasing games on their system (well, at least when it comes to content, maybe not nearly as good when it comes to quality control … but that’s another story). Both also allow some kind of parental guidance over what you purchase, warning users if the content is adult only before purchasing for example.

Trine 2This could all possibly change in the future. There’s been calls over recent years to control online ratings in the same way as retail stores, wiping the slate clean to provide one clear and concise system (or something of that sort). Given how freely it is to purchase and download anything you want these days, controlling that content was an inevitable suggestion by those with the power to suggest it. That’s not to say it’ll happen any time soon, if at all, but it’s something to keep a close eye on.

If it did go ahead, it would mean more hard work for those indie devs trying to release their game locally, instead of a universal system as it stands now. That problem has already reared its head recently, with Frozenbyte’s Trine 2: Director’s Cut on Wii U still awaiting release in Australia because of a delay in submitting to the ratings board, pushing the release date well back from its scheduled time frame. No doubt many headaches have set up shop ever since.

Huntsman The Orphanage - Help Me

Here’s another interesting note; a majority of Australian indie games rarely reach the heights of such a rating. One that does come to mind though is upcoming PC horror game Huntsman: The Orphanage. If it did ever go to retail stores (which I certainly hope it does), it’s hard to say if it would reach an R rating, given the game forgoes violence in favour of straight up horror scares. Then again, it’s hard to predict exactly what will or won’t be given such a rating in the future. Violence is one thing, but how will the board see psychological issues or depictions of scary or unnerving scenes?

For now the R rating should hopefully provide extra incentive to adults to find out exactly what it is their kids are playing, to ensure they aren’t getting involved with something that’s just not built with their imaginations in mind. Let’s not, however, use this higher rating to glorify a love of violence et al in games. That’s the last thing this world needs right now.

Devs make games that entertain, but they also make games for certain audiences, especially adult ones. That’s not a law of course, just an industry trend.

That’s all for IGM Aus this week. I think next week I might have to talk about rainbows or cookies … or maybe not. Game on!

Source: The Indie Game Magazine – IGM Aus – The R18+ Debate


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Ghosts, Suburbia, And Teens – No This Isn’t Scooby Doo – It’s ‘Phantasmaburbia’

Those Pesky Teenagers always manage to foil evil’s nefarious plans! Phantasmaburbia (wow, that’s quite a mouthful) is a soon to be released windows RPG.  The game centers around teenagers, Yoshi, Sophie, Claire, and Pat as they try and prevent the reincarnation of a transdimensional demon from taking over the world.  Each character has a unique weapon they find in their house that helps them connect with their friendly spirit helper.  The game features classic RPG battle mechanics and revolves heavily around the supernatural theme.

Check out the game’s first official trailer:

You can learn more about Phantasmaburbia and download a 20-30 minute demo from the game’s official website (believe it or not phantasmaburbia.com was available).


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Terminal Ascent: ‘Dead State’ Launches Kickstarter Campaign

If there’s one thing I’m confident in asserting in this zany world, it’s that folks love a good zombie romp. And though the setting may vary, be it in the midst of a befuddlingly designed mansion or an undead-infested urban metropolis, the goal almost always remains the same: wield firearm; shoot zombies; escape.

Not Dead State, though. The brainchild of ex-Obsidian employees Brian Mitsoda and Annie Carlson, and having been in the subject of a stop-start development cycle since 2009, the game assumes a much heavier focus on the moral and sociological implications of a theoretical zombie apocalypse than on its affordance for a pulsating spate of action-packed heroism. Players can not only forge small, tight-knit groups with other survivors in a collaborative attempt to amass supplies, food and shelter, but may also have to double-cross their friends in order to secure their own survival. Clichéd though it undoubtedly may be, Dead State is a true harbinger of the age-old “kill or be killed” adage.


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Nigoro: Hope For ‘La-Mulana’ On WiiWare Yet, Setting Example For Japanese Industry

Retro City Rampage

A few weeks back, Nicalis revealed their decision to not publish the WiiWare version of Nigoro‘s highly anticipated 2D platformer, La-Mulana. They gave some fair reasons as to why – the market for the Wii had substantially declined since the contract’s initiation – so fans were left to nod along with the change of plans.

It seems that Nigoro completely disagree with the reasons given though, writing the following over on the official blog:

“The market of WiiWare may not be active. But it doesn’t concern people who was waiting LA-MULANA.”

Due to this viewpoint, they are still hoping for a North American and European release for La-Mulana on WiiWare, and say that they have even been contacted by some publishers who are willing to help them do it. This is more than just getting the game to the players who want it and on the platform they had set their eyes on for it though. This is about setting an example to the Japanese gaming industry.

They noted that no interest for their game has been shown in Japan at all, so their only choice has been to cater to overseas where the interest does reside. They note that this is true for all indie game developers in Japan, saying that there is a severe lack of interest in its native indie game developers. They’re hoping that if they can get La-Mulana published overseas then they may have a chance of starting to change the situation around.

“We want to release LA-MULANA overseas. However, to tell the truth, Our primary reason for it is to set a example that Japanese indie game can be released.”

Their cause only brings up the words of Phil Fish at the IGF this year, where he said that most modern games from Japan “just suck”. It seemed harsh but they shook up some realizations in the Japanese game developers, some of them reflecting on the state of Japanese game production at the moment, more or less agreeing with what Fish said. Maybe they’ll start looking towards the indie game developers, that’s what Nigoro certainly hope for, as they remarked, “Japanese indie games world is untouched vein of gold.”

More information on La-Mulana can be found on the game’s official website.


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Alone No More: ‘Kenshi’ Goes The Crowdfunding Route

Kenshi

The “open ended, squad-based Strategy RPG” from Lo-Fi Games, Kenshi, is now seeking crowdfunding over on Indie GoGo with plenty of rewards for those who donate their cash to this great looking game.

The sole developer behind Kenshi is in need of some extra money for a number of things. First up, an audio engine and a guy to work on the sound design. Alongside that, a few programmers are required to be hired for sorting out the graphics, adding extra features and generally speeding up production. This is why the game is now part of a crowdfunding campaign in which, for a price, you can purchase the game and even get yourself in it if you so desire.

We’ve had our eyes of Kenshi for quite some time now for its adherence to a realistic experience with battles being visceral and the wounds from them actually taking their toll on your character and those with them. A huge, dynamic world with plenty of strategic choices awaiting the player, Kenshi is looking very good already even though it’s only in alpha. Hopefully, the game can get a dramatic shove from this crowdfunding campaign!

Check out the Indie GoGo page to donate some cash to Kenshi so that it may be in its full, glorious state sooner rather than later.

More information on Kenshi can be found on the developer’s official website.


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Take A Chill Pill: Pre-Order ‘Proteus’ For Instant Beta Access

Don’t pick up a penguin, pre-order Proteus! Perfect for a bit of downtime or just a chill out session, Proteus takes music and exploration to a whole new level of serene.Proteus has had a steadily growing reputation for months now so you may be interested to know that you can play it right now. But woah there Nelly – it’s going to cost you. Not like it won’t be worth it of course, unless you absolutely hate things chill, quiet and generally pleasant. Let’s add ‘a little strange’ to that list as well because Proteus is set within a procedurally generated, pixely landscape and features the music of David Kanaga.Somehow, in between the jagged lines and the alien-warp music, Proteus finds some hidden bliss as you frolic with awkward looking birds and skip amongst the trees

Original Source: Take A Chill Pill: Pre-Order ‘Proteus’ For Instant Beta Access

This Article was originally posted on our sister site, The Indie Game Magazine written by Chris Priestman.


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‘Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory’ Review – Meat Boy’s Clever Cousin

When I say that puzzles enliven any genre of game, I mean it. Although I will admit that there are a few exceptions. As a gameplay element, puzzles lend themselves very well to portions of other games due to the pre-frontal lobe stimulation they bring within the context of a greater challenge. For example, crossing a room is one of the simplest challenges that exists.

Original Source: ‘Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory’ Review – Meat Boy’s Clever Cousin

This Article was originally posted on our sister site, The Indie Game Magazine written by Doug Walter.


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Erik Svedang Unveils ‘else { Heart.break }’

Game developer at large, Erik Svedang, has taken to his personal blog to detail his upcoming adventure game else Heart.break . Intrigued? You should be.A lot of information can be contained within a name, though else Heart.break may just confuse you, then leave you pondering your own existence (at the very worse, that’s all we’re saying). Svedang is the type of developer whose games catch your eye, make you think and win awards; we’re thinking else Heart.break is following that trend.else Heart.break is said to be an adventure game of sorts, one that will toy with a range of your emotions while it makes your brain do backflips. Unlike most futuristic sci-fi, computers are held in the same position as a deity – worshipped and relied upon.

Original Source: Erik Svedang Unveils ‘else Heart.break ’

This Article was originally posted on our sister site, The Indie Game Magazine written by Chris Priestman.