About Author: Nick Santangelo

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Nick has been a gamer since the 8-bit days and has been reporting on the games industry since 2011. He is not to be interrupted while questing his way through an RPG or desperately clinging to hope against all reason that his Philly sports teams will win any given game he may be watching. Find Nick Santangelo on Google+ and Twitter.

Posts by Nick Santangelo

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Telltale reveals first Game of Thrones trailer and returning actors from the HBO show

Telltale's Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage

Four of the stars of HBO’s Game of Thrones will reprise their roles in the upcoming first episode of Telltale Games’ video game adaptation, Telltale has announced alongside the release of a new trailer.

Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady, Natalie Dormer and Ramsay Snow will voice Tyrion Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell and Iwan Rheon, respectively. Additional cast members will join them in subsequent episodes.

The first Game of Thrones episode, Iron From Ice, is still without a firm release date but is scheduled to arrive before the end of the year. Five more episodes following House Forrester behind the scenes of seasons three, four and five of the HBO program will follow.

Fans recently got their first look at the game thanks to some leaked screenshots, but now you can view it in action after the break.

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Never Alone review (Xbox One)

Never Alone was developed by Upper One Games and E-Line Media and published by E-Line Media. It was released on November 18, 2014 for $14.99 on Xbox One. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Never Alone's Mystic NPC

Do you remember the arrival of the first tightly crafted indie Xbox sidescroller that disproved the notion that a Big Developer with a Big Budget was needed to create games of the highest quality? Neither do I, and that’s because it’s an event guilty of such unrestrained reproduction that it’s hard to recall its inaugural occurrence. Was it the release of Limbo? Mark of the Ninja? Braid? Something else? Regardless of what game kicked off this most welcome — even if now slightly clichéd — trend, it’s seemed apparent since its announcement that Never Alone would be the next game to continue the movement.

Its pretty graphics, intriguing setting and story aspiring to teach players something new caused many to think that Never Alone would be the next big little game. Maybe that’s an unfair burden to have placed on it. Maybe gamers should have instead anticipated only a game that would deftly introduce them to a culture that was heretofore both underrepresented and misrepresented in popular media. Certainly Never Alone does just that, offering a glimpse at the Iñupiat people’s ways that’s worth seeing. But while Upper One Games and E-Line Media have wonderfully succeeded in educating their audience, they’ve come up disappointingly short in entertaining it.

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Kalimba (née Project Totem) gets December release date and new trailer

Project Totem is now Kalimba

Project Totem, the puzzle-platformer from Press Play, has been renamed Kalimba and is coming to Xbox One on December 17, the developer has announced. A new trailer showing the formerly titular totems platforming across various color-coded stages was released alongside the announcement.

Kalimba, which features both single-player and a co-op modes, has players controlling living totems that are stacked on top of each other to form poles. Creative Director Asger Strandby calls the co-op mode a “friendship tester.” XBLA Fans can speak to that point; our preview recounts some of the difficulties the team had in coordinating with each other to overcome the game’s obstacles. Shouting at your co-op partner is an inevitability.

Each totem pole piece is a different color, which is more of a design choice than it is an aesthetic one. Each stage in Kalimba‘s three worlds is filled with colored barriers that can only be passed through by a totem of the same hue. To progress through the game, players need to stack and align their totems so that each one is set to pass through barriers with their corresponding colors. Check the trailer after the jump to see this mechanic in action.

Players start with a limited number of totem pieces, but they’re given more to work with as they move deeper into the game and come closer to rescuing the island of Kalimba from an evil shaman.

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Telltale’s Game of Thrones has six episodes, focuses on War of the Five Kings

Game of Thrones Iron from Ice for Xbox One

Telltale Games today announced that, in a departure from its usual five-episode format, the studio’s upcoming Game of Thrones adventure game will span six episodes centering around House Forrester’s involvement in the franchise’s War of the Five Kings. The first episode is titled Iron from Ice and will release later this year on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and several other platforms.

As was previously revealed, Game of Thrones (the game) is based on the HBO program, which itself is based on the George R. R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire books. Now, Telltale has narrowed down where its game will take place in relation to the TV show. The first episode will open around the same time the events of the show’s third season come to a close, and the sixth episode will run up into the beginning of HBO’s fifth season, which is set to air in 2015.

House Forrester’s involvement in the game was already public knowledge, but Telltale has now gone into further detail, saying that Forrester will be “placed in a precarious position where members of the household must do everything they can to prevent the house from meeting its doom.” The Forresters, a noble house loyal to the Starks and hailing from Wolfswood in Westeros’ northern region, have yet to make an on-screen appearance but are mentioned in Martin’s A Dance with Dragons.

Another previous revelation was that the game would follow five playable characters. Telltale has expounded on that design wrinkle, saying that it believes the approach “reflects the epic scope of Game of Thrones.” Gamers will need to be mindful of the multiple player-characters since the decisions made by just one can have ripple effects throughout all of House Forrester, and combining those choices with the actions taken by the four other player-characters will exponentially increase the potential ripples. Making the right choices will be the difference between winning and dying in the titular game of thrones.

Source: Telltale Games

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Never Alone release date slips to November 18

Never Alone platforming

E-Line Media and Upper One Games’ Never Alone will not be releasing tomorrow on Xbox One as originally planned. Instead, the developers have announced that the puzzle-platformer will arrive on November 18.

The delay announcement was actually made all the way back on October 1 via the game’s official blog. No press release was sent out, however, and few major publications covered the two-week setback.

Upper One Games cited the usual reason that game releases get postponed: “to make the absolute best game” that it’s able to make. The studio wrote in its blog post that it would not be happy with Never Alone being something that is merely “good” or even “really good,” and that it would settle for nothing less than greatness.

“We want it to be a reflection of all the heart and passion that has been poured into the project by both the development team and the broader Alaska Native community. And making things great sometimes takes a little more time than expected.”

Source: Upper One Games

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Phil Spencer: Minecraft 2 may not be something that ‘makes the most sense’

Minecraft for Xbox

When Microsoft announced in September that it would acquire Minecraft developer Mojang for the price of $2.5 billion, no one outside the company seemed to be able to agree on what it should do with its new asset. Many gamers, journalists and analysts did agree on one thing, however: a sequel probably isn’t a good idea. Microsoft apparently isn’t ready to prove them wrong.

Speaking in an IGN podcast, Xbox head Phil Spencer insisted that his company knows it must first satisfy the needs of the current Minecraft community before expanding the franchise. That means that a sequel to the almost inconceivably popular world-building game may not be in the plans.

“I don’t know if Minecraft 2, if that’s the thing that makes the most sense,” said Spencer. “The community around Minecraft is as strong as any community out there. We need to meet the needs and the desires of what the community has before we get permission to go off and do something else. It doesn’t mean that everything we’re going to do is going to map to 100 percent of their acceptance, because I don’t know if there is any topic where 100 percent of people agree. But we look at Job 1 is to go out and meet the needs of the Minecraft community first, and then we can think about ways that we can actually help grow it. That’s our sole focus.”

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Microsoft releases Voice Commander, a free-to-play, multiplayer RTS

Voice Commander for Xbox One

Xbox One owners now have a new reason to talk to their consoles. Released Wednesday, Voice Commander is a free-to-play, voice-controlled, eight-player RTS developed by Microsoft Garage.

Voice Commander is described as a mashup between a real-time strategy game and a top-down shooter. Up to eight players can simultaneously shout commands to help defend Earth from “relentless attacks.”

Microsoft Garage consists of interns and employees from around the company who work together to turn their “wild ideas into real projects.” The group previously created some social, mobile and wearable technology apps.

Source: Major Nelson

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Limbo for Xbox One appears on Korean Ratings Board

Limbo possibly coming to Xbox One

Xbox 360 puzzle-platformer Limbo could be headed to the Xbox One, a Korean Ratings Board listing suggests.

Microsoft Korea submitted “Limbo Xbox One” to the board for classification on October 17. While the submission is something short of a confirmation of the existence of an Xbox One port, but many games have first been discovered through various countries’ ratings board listings. XBLA Fans has reached out to developer Playdead about the listing and will update this story in the (unlikely) event that the studio issues a response.

Playdead first released Limbo on Xbox Live Arcade in 2010 before porting it to PC, iOS and PlayStation 3 and Vita. Last year, XBLA Fans ranked the game as one of Xbox Live Arcade’s top 10 releases, noting that its dark atmosphere made players fearful of every boss encounter.

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo saw Playdead unveil the existence of its next game, Inside, through a trailer showing a boy hiding among rows of seemingly lifeless people. The ID@Xbox title will release on Xbox One first in 2015 before being brought to other platforms.

Source: Korean Ratings Board via Eurogamer

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Get a sneak peek at The Behemoth’s Game 4 next week

The Behemoth Game 4 stream for Extra Life

The Behemoth has been careful to only reveal information about its next game at a slow trickle. The developer elected not to show or tell the press or public anything relating to Game 4 when it was first announced earlier this year at PAX East. Later, an initial teaser asked gamers if they could deduce what type of game it was rather than telling them.

Unless you had the chance to attend PAX Prime and play the game for yourself, you’re probably still not terribly familiar with how Game 4 plays. Next week, though, The Behemoth will give everyone a chance to see its latest in action when it streams the game as part of the Extra Life Charity event. The studio will be streaming the game on Raptr’s Twitch channel from 3:00 – 4:00 pm PST on October 24. The Behemoth has confirmed that aside from introductions and some info about the charity, the entire hour will be dedicated to the streaming of Game 4.

The Behemoth is hoping to raise at least $1,000 to donate towards Rady Children’s Hospital in the developer’s hometown of San Diego. Players who donate at least $10 will be entered into a raffle to win a mystery plushy. Those wishing to donate can do so here.

Extra Life is a charity 24-hour gaming event founded in 2008 in honor of Victoria Enmon, who lost her life to acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This year, for the first time, the charity will support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of each streamer’s choice.

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Telltale teases House of Forrester’s involvement in Game of Thrones

Telltale's Game of Thrones Ironwood Sigil

This story contains some spoilers for the end of the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones as well as for parts of the book A Dance with Dragons.

When Telltale first announced that it was working with the Game of Thrones property, gamers began wondering what part of the universe the studio would explore. Would it follow the books? The shows? Something entirely different from the world of Westeros?

Telltale has previously said that it would stick to the HBO show rather than George R. R. Martin’s novels, but the studio recently tweeted out a teaser image implying it may be doing a bit of both. As Mashable points out, the image Telltale released contains a quote from Martin’s most recent book, A Dance with Dragons.

The quote mentions ironwoods, which are a type of tree indigenous to Northern Westeros, including the haunted forests beyond the Wall. Fans of the show will remember that its latest season ended with Stannis Baratheon, the Lord of Dragonstone, arriving beyond the Wall with an army at his back just in time to put a stop to the Wildlings’ siege of it. This could mean that the game will show some of the events before Stannis’ arrival or delve into those immediately after to lead into the show’s fifth season.

However, as Mashable points out, the ironwood is also the sigil for House Forrester, whose involvement in the game was teased in August. In A Dance with Dragons, House Forrester provides Stannis with scouts to aid in his march to Winterfell, but the noble house has otherwise gone largely unmentioned in both the show and the books.

Telltale has confirmed that Game of Thrones‘ first episode will release this year.

Source: @telltalegames via Mashable

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