Dead State Gets a Kickstarter

Since I first heard about Dead State, the brain child (BRAINSSSS!!!) of former Black Isle/Troika/Obsidian devs Brian and Annie Mistoda, I’ve been interested in seeing what would become of this so-called “zombie survival RPG.” Zombies have been done to death (pun unintended), we all know this, but there are good ideas to be had from even the most overmined tropes and a game that’s about the relationships and politics of survival in a zombie apocalypse is right in my wheelhouse. That it looks Fallout (as in Fallout 1) inspired doesn’t hurt either. There hasn’t been much news on the Dead State front since RPS profiled it ages and ages ago, so I’ve begun to doubt whether or not this one would see the light of day, but the team is apparently still alive and kicking and they’re now the latest indie project to launch a Kickstarter campaign – one that’s already gotten two-thirds of its $150k funding target. (There’s also a fresh RPS interview with the Mitsoda clan.) The money is said to go towards bringing more of the team into the project full-time, though there’s no ETA on a final product.

If you’re interested in learning more (for what it’s worth, I’m giving to this one), check out the Kickstarter page. Here’s a quick synopsis of what the game intends to offer:

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Fun Times With Sega

I won’t lie to you, getting a booth appointment with Sega has not always been the most fruitful way to spend your time at E3. Over the past few years, for every interesting looking title, there was one that wasn’t nearly as special. In other words, for every Vanquish there was a Binary Domain. With this in mind, imagine my surprise when I left the Sega booth having played and seen three of my favorite games of E3.

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Calendar Man – Week of 6/11

I have a ton of E3 stuff to write up, as well as a week’s worth of day job stuff to get through, so let’s keep this brief.

This week we have zombies and cheerleaders to look forward to, as well as gravity defying Vita antics, another Magicka expansion and a whole lotta portable Solid Snake.

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A Whole Mess of a Eador: Masters of the Broken World Screenshots

I’ll have a preview for this incredibly intriguing turn-based strategy game from Russian developer Snowbird Games as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s a slew of screens from E3 courtesy of Snowbird.

For those playing at home:

Yes, those look sort of like HoMM. No, I don’t think it plays exactly like HoMM although the combat is clearly inspired by it.

Full gallery after the break…

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The Manifesto of Tom Francis

Tom Francis holds a relatively unique position in the world of video games. His words are read by thousands upon thousands of people through the pages of PC Gamer, but he has also spent two years working on Gunpoint – a game for which I am genuinely excited. He has the bright-eyed enthusiasm typical of new developers, while still bearing the keen awareness of mechanics (and sometimes jaded cynicism) that comes from analyzing games for a living.

Whether you are a critic, a developer, or just a player, I highly recommend reading the manifesto of Tom Francis. Some of the highlights include:

“A game that lets you be creative shifts the balance of power from the designer to you, and that’s when games explode into something more complex and fascinating than any other medium.”

“I’ll never intentionally restrict when you can save your progress, I’ll never require you to do something repetitive to earn a reward, and I’ll never make a task take longer for the sake of bolstering play time. All those are crutches to hold up bad design, and bad design should be left to collapse.”

Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown in Review

The world is still turning, Hell is still pretty darn hot, and, surprise surprise, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is largely the same game you played five years ago. Undoubtedly, this is excellent news to many of the diehard, traditionalist Virtua Fighter fans out there. But, with Capcom and Namco Bandai dominating the genre, I was hoping that Sega might ante up to draw in new fans and recapture some of its former glory in the fighting arena.

Final Showdown does nothing to push the series forward, but it is an excellent competitor nonetheless – a testament to the series’ strong foundation. Still, I am disappointed by the lack of ambition. Final Showdown features the same 18 combatants, plus newcomer, Jean Kujo, and Taka-Arashi of Virtua Fighter 3. The arenas are instantly familiar, while the gameplay can be neatly summarized as single-player, versus (online and off), and a greatly appreciated training mode. Final Showdown is light on frills, but then again, I like frills.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Decepticons

It should come as no surprise that the guy with the Transformers tattoo is looking forward to the next Transformers game. Despite some clunky co-op moments and a heartbreaking round 30 loss in Escalation, I enjoyed my time with Transformers: War for Cyberton a great deal. Fall of Cybertron, the upcoming sequel, was high on my list of games to see, right up there with Borderlands 2. This was the main reason I gave up the opportunity to walk the E3 floor for an hour to go to Activision’s booth instead and get my hands on the game.

Matt Tieger, game director for Transformer: Fall of Cybertron loves the Transformers. It’s evident in the way he talks about the game, the way he talks about the license and the way he talks about the various shows. In making this game, High Moon not only wanted to make a game that was an accessible, 3rd person shooter, regardless of the license, but also make a game that gave fans of the toys an experience that highlights part of what makes Transformers so special.

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Be a Part of Jumping the Shark

Ok, folks, here’s the deal. We lost our show from the last night of E3. It was a one in a million thing that could not have been prevented. I hit the record button, levels were showing in Audacity but unbeknownst to me, for 40 minutes of a 45 minute show, nothing was being written to the hard drive.


So, yeah, kind of hard to recover from such a thing. After spending several days away from my family, the last thing I want do to is record a new show, but I am willing to do something to make sure that folks have a new episode of JTS on Monday morning. Ask me anything, and I mean anything, either via Twitter (@MisterBinky), in the comments here, or on Formspring and I will answer them in a special “bridging the gap” show recorded on Sunday evening while I’m supposed to be playing games.

The only rule I have is that I have to have all questions by 7PM EDT. Also, if I don’t get enough questions, I’ll scrap the show. Otherwise, ask away and hilarity will ensue.


The 40 Year Old E3 Journalist

E3 2012 confirmed something I have been rolling around in my head the past few shows but was afraid to confront.

I am a relic. A relic of E3′s long past. This show has simply passed me by. This struck me at an odd time; I was walking from one end of the Convention Center to the other with Todd, my intrepid colleague and friend, hobbling from one appointment to next on Thursday afternoon as neck pain shot down my arm with every step. In truth I was in no condition to tackle E3. I have an MRI scheduled for Monday and four days of walking was not ideal therapy.

I confided to Todd that there was a good chance that this would be my last E3. Was it the pain meds talking? Was it the incessant sound of Ray Lewis yelling at me from the EA booth or the marketing tool banging on his placard in the food court about how the end was near as he promoted Resident Evil 6? I do not know. But I know this.

This was a rough E3 for me.

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Death and the High Cost of Hammers

My reason for wanting to get in to the THQ booth so badly could be summed up with one word: Darksiders. I loved the original Darksiders, even if it borrowed so heavily from other games that Vigil should have paid licensing fees to Sony, Nintendo and Valve. Between THQ’s financial problems and the game’s recent two month delay from June to August, I needed to get my hands on the game and make sure it was still going to happen.

The Darksiders 2 showing was exactly what I wanted. There was no theater, no developer driven session, no “we’re not talking about that now” set of statements. They brought Bill and I into a room with the game, gave us some headphones and let us play, only popping over to offer help when we got stuck. It’s easy to find a number of reasons as to why publishers would show their game this way, but I can’t help but look at it as a sign of confidence in the property. That’s not to say that the confidence can’t be misplaced but with so many hands-off showings at E3, being able to play a game in peace and come to your own conclusions about it is a welcome change.

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