Guacamelee

The PlayStation Network is quickly becoming a bastion for independent developers. Fostered by Sony's 20 million dollar investment into its Pub Fund, the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita have already seen some amazing work by indie teams, and are on the verge of getting a handful more in the coming months. The first in the ring this spring is the Mexican-themed, 2D sidescroller "Guacamelee!"
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Terraria

In 2009, the exceptionally small team at Re-Logic, headed up by Andrew "Redigit" Spinks, released "Terraria," a two dimensional, side-scrolling, exploration-driven title, that gave players virtually limitless ability to explore the game's world. Since then, the game has sold millions (with an "s") of copies on PC, and now 505 Games have helped bring this wildly successful release to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Retaining all of the core experiences of the PC release, the console versions received additional content, as well as a handful of other upgrades. It's not uncommon for games that are originally developed for PCs to have difficulty making the transition to a different platform, but, aside from a few quirks, "Terraria" seems to be right at home on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.
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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

No matter how you look at it, "Luigi's Mansion" was an anomaly, especially for a company like Nintendo. From creating a spooky game, to having it star the lesser-known Mario brother, there were a lot of things that were different about it, yet it still managed to make its way into the launch line-up for the GameCube back in 2001. Having sold 2.5 million copies over the life of the console, Nintendo's experiment with giving Luigi his own game certainly seemed to work out, but it still took 12 years for the man in green to get a sequel. "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" is the much anticipated follow-up to Luigi's first, and only, starring role, and much to our hero's dismay, he's heading back to the haunted mansions to bust some more ghosts.
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HarmoKnight

Rhythm games just aren't as big as they were a few years ago. The genre peaked with "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" saturation, and, as such, now has somewhat of a stigma attached to it. However, that doesn't mean that the right rhythm games can't still be fun. Game Freak, the company best known for working on the Pokémon franchise, are stepping away from their pocket monsters for the first time in a long while to release a 3DS eShop game, "HarmoKnight," that pulls a lot of its inspiration from rhythm games.
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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

Yesterday, we posted the first half of our interview with Nintendo's Mr. Yoshihito Ikebata, and Next Level Games' Bryce Holliday and Brian Davis, where they discussed some of their thoughts on "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon." Today the group tackles multiplayer, some of their favorite Luigi moments from the past, and even gives us a little insight into the possible beginnings of the "Luigi's Mansion" mini-game in "Nintendo Land." Oh, they even talk a little bit about Luigi's lesser known big brother, Mario.

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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

The collaborative development process for "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon" is an interesting one. With teams on two continents working on a sequel to a decade old game there would clearly be some interesting stories to tell. As I continued my chat with Mr. Yoshihito Ikebata, Supervisor for the game at Nintendo, and two members of the Next Level Games team, Director Bryce Holliday, and Gameplay Programmer Brian Davis, I wanted to pull back the curtain a bit, and look at where the game came from, and what were some of the major influences on the final release.
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Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

Over the years, Nintendo has grown its catalog of games to include a wide variety of genres. From kart racing to puzzlers, the industry's longest standing hardware and software developer has just about all of the bases covered. However, there is one area that, when compared to other publishers, they come up a little short in - third person action adventure games.

Sure, there are the 3D Mario games ("64," "Sunshine," and the "Galaxy") that keep them covered to a certain extent, but those are really platformers at heart. Their best example is "Luigi's Mansion" on the GameCube, a game where Luigi hunted down ghosts and sucked them up with a vacuum cleaner. It's no "Gears of War," but it's also not not. So, what happens when you give this unique franchise to a team of internal and external developers with a range of expertise to create its first sequel? Well, "Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon," is the easy answer, but I wanted to dig a little deeper.

Last week during a video conference interview that spanned four different cities, I posed the question, "What was it like to make a third person action-adventure game, especially one staring Luigi?" to the game's Supervisor, Mr. Yoshihito Ikebata, as well as the Director of Next Level Games, Bryce Holliday. They both had different takes on the situation given their unique backgrounds.
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LEGO City Undercover

"LEGO Star Wars" changed the game for plastic brick-based video games. Everyone has always loved the small, injection-molded blocks that have served as a bastion of childhood creativity, but something was always lost when those playthings made their way to video games. "LEGO Star Wars" cracked up the formula, and actually created a LEGO game with mass appeal. In 2005, Traveler's Tales took a major motion picture franchise, blockified it, and turned it into one of the most endearing games of all time. By bridging the gap between kids' love of LEGOs, and (geeky) adults' passion for "Star Wars," Traveler's Tales struck video game gold. And then they did again, and again, and again - with franchises ranging from "Pirates of the Caribbean" to Batman - creating wonderful experiences for all ages along the way. However, each of their LEGO games inherited an installed audience, since they were all licensed in one way or another. So, what happens when TT Games sets out to make an original LEGO title? They make the best game in the entire franchise.
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God of War: Ascension

Kratos. Just hearing his name can simultaneously strike fear in the hearts of gods, and bring glee to gamers. The Ghost of Sparta has been the star of Sony's break-out "God of War" franchise since 2005, when players began taking on some of history's most storied gods. Over the years, Kratos has endured some of the most intense battles that video games have ever offered, while suffering through one of the most heart-breaking stories in the medium. Between accidentally killing his wife and daughter, and going head-to-head with some of Olympus' most powerful residents, it's pretty clear that Kratos has lived a challenging and stressful life. In his latest game, "God of War: Ascension" we get a better understanding of just how that life began, as it takes gamers through some of the earliest events in Kratos' journey.
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What does the future holds for video games? It's one of the most important questions of our time, so we asked one of gaming's greatest minds, Shigeru Miyamoto, and he thinks it's connectivity. "Evolving beyond being the experience that simply comes in the package, and becoming something that becomes more a part of lifestyle through connections to the network."

In a recent interview where Mr. Miyamoto also told us his thoughts on "Hyrule Historia," noted some of his favorite Famicom games, and spoke at length about Luigi, he gave us some insight into the thinking behind where some of Nintendo games are headed in the near future.
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