GDC 2008 highlights

February 26, 2008 — Leave a comment

Originally published in The Daily Toreador.

Last week the 2008 Game Developers Conference took place in San Francisco.

Like the D.I.C.E. Summit earlier this month, GDC is a gathering of developers to share ideas and strategies. It is often considered a higher profile event in the general public’s eyes, as several developers also announce and show off unreleased games during the show. Some highlights from the event include:

– Gears of War 2 was announced, surprising no one in particular. Nothing else is really known, except that player will now be able to take part in chainsaw duels.

– Even if you don’t know the name Will Wright, you know his work. Sim City? His. The Sims? His. He’s been an extremely influential man in the video game industry. He gave a great speech one night at GDC to a room of drunken developers (really). He talked about stories in general, covering topics such as Gilligan’s Island, James Bond, Legos, Star Wars, Battlestar Gallactica, Godzilla, and lunchboxes. And his ‘Russian Space Minute’? Fantastic. Look for it online if you have a chance.

– Bionic Commando and Bionic Commando Rearmed were shown and demonstrated. Both games look very promising. Rearmed, the 2D remake of the original Bionic Commando released on the NES in 1988, should be here around May. The new game, coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC later this year, also looks like a lot of fun.

– Street Fighter IV was playable and looks great. As a fighting game fan I can’t wait to try it myself. The game has 3D visuals but 2D Gameplay, bringing back memories of the old arcade days. While Capcom claims that the game is only about halfway complete, it should arrive both on consoles and in arcades later this year.

– Too Human: I’ve been interested in this game for quite awhile now and I’m extremely glad to see it finally coming together. It’s an action RPG that focuses on the idea that the “gods” in Norse mythology were really highly advanced in the ways of technology. Thus, it’s a sci-fi adventure with some fantasy sprinkled in.

– Fable 2: Sequel to the original Xbox and PC “Fable” title. The key features announced were an interesting cooperative mode, plus a gambling Xbox Live Arcade side game that will net you money in the real game. Neat idea, at the very least.

– Final Fantasy: My Life as King: One of the more interesting titles that will be downloadable via Nintendo’s WiiWare service at some point (the services launches in May), it’s like Final Fantasy, but also like a strategy game… Or something. Sounds like it could be addicting.

– Mario Kart Wii: It’s Mario Kart… On the Wii! Lots of courses, online play, and bikes…

– Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1: It’s quite possible that this game – with a mouthful of a name – will be entirely bogged down with super crude language and content like the comics often are, but it looks like a ton of fun. Half point-and-click adventure game, half RPG, it’s based on the extremely popular web comic. It will be released episodically starting later this year.

– Lego Batman and Lego Indiana Jones: If you played either of the Lego Star Wars titles then you might know what to expect with these games. A popular franchise converted into little blocks and made into a great game. The results of the Star Wars experiments were quite successful, so hopefully these new games will be as well.

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

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