Archives for posts with tag: Hideo Kojima

Here’s your weekly look at what’s new on A Game with Chums!

Monday saw the latest instalment of our continuing let’s play of Life is Strange, in which Max raided everybody’s dorm rooms, got her best friend headbutted, and then ran into her old chum Chloe. Or rather, Chloe almost ran into Max. Also, Chloe has a Twin Peaks license plate, so she’s pretty cool with me.

Part 4 of the series, which finishes up Episode 1, will be up tomorrow!

On Thursday, our newest quick look was P.T., Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro’s ill-fated playable teaser for the sadly-cancelled Silent Hills. We’re all still pretty cut up about that, as P.T. was an absolute masterclass in nerve-shredding tension. Dan and I had played the game at launch but Paul, not being a PS4 owner, had missed out and so he wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We made him play it, and he didn’t make it very far. This one’s best watched with headphones on.

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One of the surprise inclusions at Sony’s Gamescom stage show was a bizarre trailer for a new horror IP called P.T. Announced via a teaser showing gameplay footage interspersed with audience reactions, the game was apparently being developed by an unheard-of team called 7780s studio. A playable teaser (oh, I see what they did there…) was then put up on the PlayStation store for people to try for themselves.

Making it to the end of the demo revealed that it was actually a teaser for Silent Hills, a new game in the much-loved franchise brought to us by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, starring Norman Reedus. It’s not the first time that Kojima has used a fake game and developer to announce one of his titles – everyone remembers Moby Dick Studio’s The Phantom Pain – but this announcement took things even further; it’s actually a pretty genius piece of viral marketing – the demo was put on the store for all to download with the game announcement stuck on at the end, meaning that the first person to finish P.T. effectively got to announce a new game. That honour fell to the UK’s SoapyWarpig over on Twitch. Below, you’ll find the full teaser for Silent Hills.

But let’s talk about the teaser, as it bodes well for the direction of the full game. I’m superficially reminded of two games, the first of which is Silent Hill 4: The Room. Now, bear with me – I know SH4 wasn’t the most beloved of the series, but it does appear to take some cues from that. The demo essentially takes place in two rooms and an apartment corridor, and is in first-person like Silent Hill 4‘s apartment sequences. For me, those were the best parts of SH4, penning you into a small environment and making you watch through your character Henry’s eyes as strange occurrences and hauntings began to take over his home. P.T. achieves a similar tone here, though in far, far more unsettling ways.

Setting you loose in first-person in confined spaces really ratchets up the feeling of claustrophobia, and like Silent Hill 4 we also hear strange, disembodied snatches of audio (think along the lines of “Remember – I’m always watching you,” and you’ll have some idea). Then there’s the horrible scratchy, croaky breathing that will make you spin around, time after time, to try and see where it’s coming from. Sometimes you’ll even see what’s making the noise, and then wish you hadn’t; there’s a malevolent spirit stalking you in this place, and it seems to have something to do with the skinned horror in the bathroom…

This feeling of being enclosed is amplified by a minimal approach to interaction that brings to mind something like Slender: The Eight Pages – like that game, P.T. simply drops you into an area with no explanation and expects you to figure things out for yourself. You’ll walk that corridor many, many times, solving some kind of idiosyncratic puzzle to unlock the door at the end, often without even knowing what you’re supposed to be doing until you stumble upon it. The only thing you can really do is walk around and ‘zoom in’ to look closer at things, and the fact that you can’t really affect the world around you works in tandem with the claustrophobic, smothering atmosphere. For a video game – which so often are about power fantasies and wish fulfilment – it makes you feel uniquely powerless. All you can do is stare at things in the hope that you discern some clue, and who knows what’s happening behind you while your attention is locked on that curious photo on the wall.

It’s certainly an immersive experience, and it’s not just the first-person perspective that achieves that. The game features no HUD, no battery indicator for your flashlight – no screen furniture at all. You’re simply in a creepy place with an evil spirit, forced to look at everything through your characters eyes. It puts you right into the game, and some typically-Kojima tricks like messing with what you’re seeing through some visual effects (visual distortions, intentional screen tear – I even had the game white-screen on me once, and I genuinely wondered if it had crashed) really gets under your skin. It’s reminiscent of that classic Psycho Mantis battle from Metal Gear Solid, but it works so much better in a horror game, especially when you’re seeing through the eyes of the protagonist. You’ll be surprised how something as simple as changing the colour of the lighting can be quite so unsettling – just as you feel like you’re getting used to the environment, something in the way you perceive it shifts and it takes on a new kind of malevolence.

But how does this all tie into the greater Silent Hill franchise? Is it a reboot or a sequel? We’ll have to wait and see, though I did notice something during the demo – a message appears above the ‘safe’ door that reads, “Forgive me Lisa, there’s a monster inside of me.” This could be a reference to Lisa Garland, a character from the original Silent Hill who nursed Alessa Gillespie. I haven’t yet noticed anything else that would tie this game to events of the rest of the series, but I haven’t finished the demo yet so who knows what else I’ll see. I did manage to record some of my time with P.T. however, so if you don’t have access to it you can get a good feel for what’s going on by watching my video below. Be sure to use headphones.

Time will tell whether the Lisa mentioned here is the same one that Harry Mason stumbles across in Alchemilla Hospital, or whether there’s anything connecting this new entry to any of the older games. We can also hope that Akira Yamaoka will be returning to handle the soundtrack – the little teaser at the end of the trailer seems to suggest as much. But one thing’s for certain; Silent Hills is definitely in the right hands. Kojima knows how to mess with our minds, and that’s in full effect in P.T.

Kojima Productions have today announced that the previously platform-specific bonus missions in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will soon be made freely available to both PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

The announcement was made during the Kojima Productions podcast earlier today, and then tweeted by director Hideo Kojima’s assistant Ayako. The DLC will be made available on May 1st – at least in Japan. Hopefully some clarification will be forthcoming on when other territories can expect the freebie. It’s worth noting that the image in the linked tweet is missing the Xbox One SKU – this is because the console has yet to launch in Japan, rather than an indication that the XBO version of Ground Zeroes will be left out.

The missions in question are ‘Deja vu’ on PlayStation and ‘Jamais vu’ on Xbox. Deja vu tasks players with recreating scenes from Shadow Moses while playing as ‘Classic Snake’, the character model from 1998’s Metal Gear Solid. You can see an IGN walkthrough of the mission here. On Xbox, players take control of cyborg ninja Raiden as he is tasked to eliminate bioroids posing as marines in Camp Omega. It’s a nice call back to Kojima’s Snatcher, and good fun to sprint about the base as Raiden. I’ve played Ground Zeroes on Xbox One (a mini-review will be forthcoming, tl;dr version: I loved it) and had a good time with it. Below, you can see a short video I made of the Jamais vu mission.

From what I’ve seen, Jamais vu looks like the better mission – IMHO and all that. Still, it’ll be nice to get a chance to play Deja vu as well. It’s good that owners of both systems will be able to actually get all the content, but what would be nicer still is if all this platform-specific nonsense died out. Unfortunately, in an industry where we now frequently see retailer-exclusive content, I can’t see it happening.

Konami has released a studio update for the Zone of the Enders HD Collection, ahead of the game’s appearance at E3.

In the video, series creator Hideo Kojima talks about some of his inspirations behind ZoE, as well as the improvements that we can expect from the re-release.

Kojima-san also mentions a new opening cinematic for the HD Collection, created by Sunrise Inc., the anime studio behind Gundam, My-HIME, Cowboy Bebop and others. You can see the action packed intro below.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection will be released on the PS3 and Xbox 360. No European release date is yet announced, but the game will be out in Japan this October.

Kojima teases new ZoE title

A full-fledged sequel to 2003’s Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner has been outed by creator Hideo Kojima.

At a Japanese event to showcase the series’ upcoming HD collection, the audience was treated to artwork and a scale model from the as-yet untitled ‘Enders Project’. The game is apparently still in an “experimental” phase, and Kojima is looking to use the Fox Engine to power it. In the meantime, we have the aforementioned Zone of the Enders HD Collection, due some time this year, to look forward to.

Platinum announce Anarchy Reigns delayed in the west

Sega has delayed the Western release of Platinum Games’ brawler Anarchy Reigns, even though the game is ready to go.

A note on Platinum’s website confirmed Sega has changed the date to TBC (to be confirmed), and added: “While our work on the game is finished, localised, and ready to go, as publisher, Sega gets to make the final decision as to when it is released. The Japanese release date, however, remains unchanged for 5th July 2012.”

In a video, a Platinum rep noted: “The game is fully localised. If you buy the Japanese version or any version, it’s going to have all the languages in it.” So if you’re planning to import, at least language won’t be a barrier.

Persona 4 Arena confirmed for Europe

Atlus has announced that PS3/360 fighting spin-off Persona 4 Arena will be released in Europe.

The game, which is a collaboration between Atlus and BlazBlue developer Arc System works, features characters from Personas 3 and 4 and is set after the latter game. The characters are drawn in Arc System Work’s trademark hand-drawn style, and we can presumably expect it some time after its August US release.

Sony developing Shadow of the Colossus movie

Much-loved Team Ico classic Shadow of the Colossus is to be adapted into a feature film at Sony Pictures.

According to a report on develop.com, Chronicle director Josh Trank will helm the film. He apparently sought out the project, having been a fan of the game. There are no details yet regarding script-writer, cast or release date.

Wii U controller undergoes subtle redesign

An image posted to Twitter has shown a subtly different Wii U tablet to the one we saw at last year’s E3.

The photo came from the Twitter feed of a quality assurance tester at Traveller’s Tales, developer of the Lego “insert-franchise-here” games (and Sonic R! Come on!), and shows that the pad now has actual analogue sticks, rather than the 3DS-style slide pads it previously sported. The start and select buttons have also shifted position.

Personally, I think this is a positive change. As much as I like the 3DS’s sliders, they’re good for a handheld. On a home console, I think they’d feel inadequate.

Are these the only changes we’ll see? We’ll no doubt find out for sure at E3.