Ninja Theory’s ‘AAA Indie’ Hellblade Gets a New Trailer
Taking root in real world history, the PS4 and PC third-person adventure follows a Celtic warrior battling her own psychosis, having been left mentally scarred by a viking invasion.
From the trailer, it’s easy to mistake this as a big budget actioner developed by a hundred person team. In actuality, Ninja Theory has only 15 developers working on the game. The ideology behind production is one NT calls “Independent AAA” – in other words, a title made with all the freedoms an indie dev would enjoy except benefiting from AAA production values.
NT’s Chief Creative Director, Tameem Antoniades, explains, “Digital self-publishing means that we can offer a smaller, but high quality game at around half the price of retail games.” It’s essentially the Robert Rodriguez approach to filmmaking applied to the gaming arena. Rodriguez, if you’re unfamiliar, was once described as capable of making a $40 million movie look like a $100 million.
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition Spreads to PS4 in March
From Super Stardust to Resogun, it seems Sony exclusive developer Housemarque doesn’t know how to do wrong. Few studios are able to take such simple gameplay concepts and create massively addictive experiences out of them.
Case in point: Dead Nation, a top-down, twin-stick shooter that has you blasting apart waves of the undead either solo or with a wingman. Released when download-only titles were nowhere near even half as prolific as they are today, the quality behind Dead Nation kept it atop the PS3’s sales charts for a ragged chunk of time.
Like the festering corpses roaming the game’s decrepit cities, Dead Nation cannot be killed – enter Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition, a remaster of the original game made specifically for the PlayStation 4. This resurrected edition features touched up graphics – in full on 1080p – tweaked controls adding a new quick weapon select, and comes packaged with The Road to Devastation expansion, previously only available as DLC, worked into the campaign.
It ain’t over till the fat lady shrieks. In addition to second screen implementation thanks to the PlayStation App, a new Challenge mode is being thrown in for expert zombie smashers, where you can dole out your best level runs to friends or play against an in-game avatar representing your buddies’ top hunts.
But the coolest new feature has to be Broadcast+. While streaming the game live, as you are want to do on PS4, viewers can actively vote on whether they want to positively or negatively impact your game. Maybe they throw you a bone and have extra ammo drops at your feet. But they’re way more likely to toss some shade your way and sic a horde of walkers on your ass. And it gets even funnier when they can activate “modifiers” like disabling your sprint button. Apparently in-game zombies fitted with viewers’ names can be shot at, so feel free to make frequent examples.
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition re-releases March 4th and will be $14.99 on the PS Store or absolutely free with PlayStation Plus.
American Exceptionalism, religious dogma, bigotry, parallel universes, iconoclasm, fate, life, death, gigantic Steampunk bird-men…As the credits rolled on Irrational Games’ much belated, much more anticipated Bioshock Infinite, my head was spinning. The game’s package isn’t slapped with a big, solid M just because the stylized people depicted within often meet gruesome, sky-hooking deaths. It’s because that’s what Infinite is: mature. Through and through.
You’ve likely heard this old diddy, and are likely to have your ears assaulted by the same mantra in years to come, but video games have come a long way. To put a finer point on it, storytelling in games have come a long way. Years from now, when pricey college courses banking on the culture that’s sprung up around this booming medium reflect on the metamorphosis of its storytelling from crudely simple to deeply sophisticated, they’ll reference Bioshock Infinite as an example of the ladder. Hell, it’ll get its own chapter.