Tuesday, September 21, 2021

THQ Nordic Announces Outcast 2: A New Beginning

THQ Nordic has announced a revival of the Outcast franchise with the upcoming release of Outcast 2: A New Beginning. Development started in 2018 with at least ten developers from the original Outcast team onboard, including the director and art director from that game. Outcast 2 revives ideas from the original sequel that was being planned in 1999/2000. Due to financial issues with its publisher Infogrames, the project was shelved indefinitely. Appeal Studios, the team behind A New Beginning, wants to make a product that feels like a successor to the cult classic. Appeal is looking to implement a non-linear narrative an enticing world to explore. Click here to watch embedded media Like the first game, Outcast 2 will take place on the planet of Adelpha, and players will step back into the shoes of Cutter Slade 20 years in the future. Due to an accident while escaping the planet, Slade was blipped out of time and found his way back decades later. To keep the world fresh, players will explore a different part of the planet and meet new inhabitants. Combat and movement have been updated, according to THQ Nordic. Outcast 2 is a third-person shooter at heart, with modular weaponry being a focus. However, Cutter will also receive magic-like “Talan powers” and a new mobility-enhancing jetpack. While we don’t have a release date quite yet, THQ Nordic informs us Outcast 2 is nearing the end of its “pre-alpha” stage of development, a good sign we’ll be seeing it sooner rather than later. THQ Nordic and Appeal Studios are releasing Outcast 2 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.   Outcast is a game that I missed out on all these years but heard rumblings of it over time. Do you have any Outcast memories you’d like to share? How did the game impact you in the late 90s and beyond? Are you excited about the re-emergence of the franchise? Tell me all about it in the comments! Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                             
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    Curse of the Dead Gods welcomes Dead Cells into its Temple

    Curse of the Dead Gods released on PlayStation 4 last month, and all of us here at Passtech Games have been glued to our screens watching all your amazing footage, feedback, and reactions. As thankful as we are for the response, we’re equally excited to show you new things. Today, we’re doing a deep dive into how we crafted the Curse of the Dead Cells Update, a collaboration between us and Dead Cells’ developers, Motion Twin and Evil Empire. Death in Curse is the gift that keeps on giving, and in this new update, we’re excited to deliver new ways for you to reach your unique fate. To that end, we’ve added new weapons, originally from Dead Cells, the Cursed Chest, and the Prisoner’s head skin for McCallister, Curse of the Dead Gods’ main character.  From a game design perspective it was a very interesting challenge because it meant taking elements of two similar but also different games and mashing them together. This also goes for the artistic direction, where Dead Cells has a somewhat cartoony, comedic vibe, which isn’t present in Curse. In Dead Cells for example, the Cursed Chest speaks to the player, pleading them to open it. This didn’t work as well for Curse, so we changed it to something we believe is true to both worlds – slightly less comedic, but still somewhat alien and quirky. We were also aware that some players don’t like crossovers, since it can pull them out of the world. That’s why we wanted to keep the content lore-friendly and fit the general vibe of Curse as well. Each new item and mechanic introduced in this update fits into our universe. Deciding which weapons to take from Dead Cells was a fun process. We started with a rather long list of badass Dead Cells weapons and then filtered it down until we had only the most iconic ones that also made the most sense for Curse: The Broadsword, the Cursed Sword, and the Explosive Crossbow. The crossbow is an entirely new weapon in Curse, which made it even more alluring to us. The Cursed Sword was a must, for obvious reasons. In Curse, we called these weapons the Broadsword of the Knight, the Sword of Conjunctivius, and the Crossbow of the Condemned. Both swords have the same effect as in Dead Cells. The Sword of Conjunctivius (see screenshot below) is a real devil – get hit once, and you’re toast. On the other hand, it’s very powerful. If that doesn’t fit Curse’s penchant for tempting players to their own doom, we don’t know what does! We took some liberties with the Cursed Chest. In Curse, there used to be two ways to get a cursed item (weapon or relic): get one at a starting altar or buy one at a sanctuary. Now, the Cursed Chest from Dead Cells gives you a third way. In Dead Cells, when you open a cursed chest, you are inflicted with a curse that lasts until you kill a certain number of enemies. We reinvented this mechanic to fit into Curse: to unlock the chest you have to kill a certain number of enemies in the room without getting hit. Fail, and the chest goes poof. Rather than simply give you a cursed item, the Cursed Chest presents you with a choice of three items, one of which is always cursed. We hope you all enjoyed this insight into how we brought a slice of Dead Cells into our own Curse of the Dead Gods. It was a pleasure to work with Motion Twin and Evil Empire, and we cannot wait to see how the update will be received by you, the players! Curse of the Dead Gods is available now for PlayStation 4. Its free update Curse of the Dead Cells will be available on April 14.

    The story behind Dead Cells’ fantastic Fatal Falls animated trailer

    Hi everyone, we’re very happy to announce that our latest DLC, Fatal Falls, has just dropped on PlayStation, with two new levels and a boss adding novel, ignominious ways to die mid-run! However, today I wanted to take a look at the way we pull together our animated trailers, as it seems that many of you are just as excited about the cartoon trailers as you are about the new game content. Play Video So, how does one go about getting a cartoon made? Unless you happen to be fantastic at 2D animation (which most of our artists actually happen to be) and have a bunch of free time (which none of our artists do), you need to find a production company that fits with the style of cartoon that you want to make. For us, we naturally thought of the French company, Bobbyprod. The people that run the studio often work with some of the best animators in France and have worked on a bunch of cartoons we love. Once you know what kind of style you want and you’ve decided who’s going to be able to pull it off, you need to know what your trailer is supposed to do. A game trailer should: Showcase the DLC, meaning showing new levels, bosses, enemies and weapons, it’s a game trailer after all. Be catchy and interesting to watch. We usually go for something funny, because that also lines up with the style of our main character. Build out the universe of your game, developing the characters and giving personality and life to a world that usually only exists as an unfairly difficult game. If you’ve figured all that out it’s time to draft your storyboard. This is probably the most fun part of the process, as it’s where you get to think up a bunch of crazy ideas and see if you can string them together into something that will do all of the above for you, while still being fun to watch. We like to let the production company propose some ideas first (it’s what they’re good at, so get out of the way and let the masters work). Once we have a first draft of a storyboard, we’ll then go through and make sure that we think all of the proposed ideas line up with the objectives from above, if they don’t, we’ll work with the production company (phone calls, email, Slack threads etc.) to refine the storyboard until we’ve got something that we think is worth animating. Now we really get to bring things to life! Bobby take the storyboard and work on their animatics, the kind of “concept art” for a cartoon that will define the visual and animation style for the trailer. We then add in the colouring to make sure that it respects the art direction that we’ve defined either for the series, or for the game universe as a whole. Finally we really look at the pacing of the whole animatic and ensure that the rhythm of the game trailer is perfect, cutting out anything that we don’t think is up to scratch. This incomplete version will be shared with the composer so that they can start to get a feel for the vibe of the trailer and the type of music that might fit. From here it’s usually smooth sailing with backwards and forwards between the musician and the animation team to ensure that everything lines up and that the overall timing of the trailer won’t change again. Final touches are adding end slates (those boring bits with the names of everyone who worked on the game) and exporting the trailer into 9,700,000 different versions for all of the stores and various places it has to be shared (kill me). All of this process usually takes about three months… Three months for a minute of cartoon, think about that next time you watch episode 984 of your favourite animated series. Thanks for tuning in, I hope that you enjoyed the trailer and that you enjoy the Dead Cells Fatal Falls DLC as much as we did working on it. Out today on PlayStation.

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