Naughty Dog, the renowned developer behind franchises such as Uncharted and The Last of Us, has released a statement on its multiplayer title in The Last of Us universe. In the post, the developer says it needs more time than originally forecasted for the multiplayer project, but softens the blow by teasing an unannounced single-player-focused game.
"We know many of you have been looking forward to hearing more about our The Last of Us multiplayer game," the statement reads. "We're incredibly proud of the job our studio has done thus far, but as development has continued, we've realized what is best for the game is to give it more time. Our team will continue to work on the project, as well as our other games in development, including a brand new single-player experience; we look forward to sharing more soon. We're grateful to our fantastic community for your support – thank you for your passion for our games, it continues to drive us."
May 26, 2023
This statement comes on the heels of a report from Bloomberg, which communicated troubles on the development of the title. According to the report, the development team has been scaled back while the studio's leadership decides on a direction.
This multiplayer project was originally in development as a mode for The Last of Us Part II, similar to the multiplayer mode of the original The Last of Us. However, as the scope of both the single-player campaign and the multiplayer mode expanded, Naughty Dog made the call to prioritize the single-player campaign, which came out in 2020. In June 2022, Naughty Dog announced that the multiplayer component was now a standalone project and shared a piece of concept art (above). Earlier this year, Naughty Dog released another new piece of concept art (below) and promised more details on the standalone multiplayer project later this year.
Naughty Dog's most recent all-new game, 2020's The Last of Us Part II, received universal critical acclaim with a 93 on Metacritic but has proven divisive among players. In the time since that launch, Naughty Dog has released the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, which included remastered versions of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and The Last of Us Part I, a remake of The Last of Us and The Last of Us: Left Behind. Perhaps the biggest impact The Last of Us has had in 2023 came in the form of the first season of the HBO series starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, which garnered widespread praise.
There's no word on when we'll hear more from Naughty Dog on either this multiplayer game or the single-player project it mentioned in this statement, but with this week's PlayStation Showcase neglecting to mention any of the studio's projects, it could be a while before we know substantial details.
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Release: (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), 2023 (Switch)
At times, an event or character can be profoundly impactful to its originating fiction, but not the right choice for a dedicated spotlight project of its own. It’s hard to think of a more potent case in point than The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a game that fundamentally misunderstands the appeal of its source franchise, focusing on a character who, by almost any measure, is the wrong choice for a lead. That said, it’s not impossible to imagine the game that might somehow have made the unusual premise click. This is not that project; like its miserable and piteous lead, this game is best avoided at all costs.
Gollum tracks the story of the titular fellow in the time period between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, mostly during his slavery and misuse in Mordor and the related escape to pursue his precious ring. With its drab colors, focus on cruel and unappealing characters and chore-focused gameplay, it feels at odds with most of the core tenets and themes of Tolkien’s fiction. Even stripped of its connection to that vaunted legendarium, the storytelling is poorly paced, meandering, and often incoherent. A promising exploration of the dichotomy between the Gollum and Smeagol character initially seems compelling but is never leveraged in a meaningful way.
Gameplay is split chiefly between old-fashioned linear traversal sequences and clumsy, uninteresting stretches of stealth. In navigation of the stages, the jumping is imprecise, stages are poorly structured to communicate where you can go, and the camera is unwieldy, or sometimes even broken, flipping entirely upside down while climbing or refusing to rotate to view the next necessary jump. I died repeatedly and frequently to jumps that should have been easy or mistakenly guessed where the next platform could be reached. The only small blessing is frequent checkpoints to soften the blow of the endless repeats.
While terrible, I longed for those platforming sequences every time the game switched to one of its plentiful stealth sequences. Unlike any modern stealth game, Gollum has no interesting tricks or tools to enrich these passages. Instead, the slippery protagonist can only glide between the shadows past immeasurably stupid guards, along paths upon which it’s hard to know whether you’ll be seen. No sense of mastery or control over the environment emerges. Again, respawns are constant. Whenever the game asked me if I wanted to reload to the last checkpoint, it was a force of will to continue.
Technical problems and poor implementation abound. Sound mixing often makes voices hard to hear. Character faces (with the exception of Gollum) are poorly animated or not at all. Onscreen figures move in perfect synchrony with one another, like something seen in early PS2 games. Textures are muddy and lack detail. More than once, the game demanded an objective that didn’t function or appear and did not respawn upon a checkpoint restart; only redoing the entire level would fix the problem.
I constantly struggled against the controls, camera, and objectives as they were presented. And nothing about the story or characters of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum offers reason to push past the frustration. As a longtime fan of Tolkien’s fiction, it’s possible that I liked the game even less for the way it seemed to misuse the source material. It’s hard to have a more damning indictment than to say that this Gollum game isn’t for fans of The Lord of the Rings, but here we are.
About Game Informer's review systemPurchase
This episode of All Things Nintendo asks a simple yet important question: Now that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been out for a couple of weeks, what does the rest of 2023 look like for Switch owners? Marcus Stewart joins Brian to run down what we know so far. But first, the two catch up on the news from the last week.
If you'd like to follow Brian on social media, you can do so on his Instagram @BrianPShea. You can follow Marcus on Twitter: @MarcusStewart7.
The All Things Nintendo podcast is a weekly show where we can celebrate, discuss, and break down all the latest games, news, and announcements from the industry's most recognizable name. Each week, Brian is joined by different guests to talk about what's happening in the world of Nintendo. Along the way, they'll share personal stories, uncover hidden gems in the eShop, and even look back on the classics we all grew up with. A new episode hits every Friday!
Be sure to subscribe to All Things Nintendo on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.
00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:35 – Pokémon Home Update Date Mistake
00:05:30 – New Games Added to Game Boy Advance Library
00:22:48 – Samba de Amigo: Party Central Release Date
00:26:53 – Mortal Kombat 1 Gameplay At Summer Game Fest
00:35:17 – Nintendo's Post-Tears of the Kingdom 2023
01:14:22 – Rapid-Fire This or That Predictions
01:22:18 – eShop Gem of the Week: Dredge
If you'd like to get in touch with the All Things Nintendo podcast, you can email AllThingsNintendo@GameInformer.com, messaging Brian on Instagram (@BrianPShea), or by joining the official Game Informer Discord server. You can do that by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the All Things Nintendo channel under "Community Spaces."
For Game Informer's other podcast, be sure to check out The Game Informer Show with host Alex Van Aken, which covers the weekly happenings of the video game industry!
Final Fantasy XVI’s Valisthea is sprawling, comprising a mix of five main nations, various more-linear dungeons, and some open field areas. The primary focus of FFXVI will be playing through Clive’s story and all it entails, but there’s more to the game than just the main scenario.
I was curious about how players will get around Valisthea, especially with developer Creative Business Unit III at the helm. In its MMO, Final Fantasy XIV, mounts are abundant. You can ride chocobos, the Regalia from Final Fantasy XV, Magitek armor, and more. There are dozens of mounts to acquire in-game, and I wondered if that would bleed over into FFXVI.
“To tell you the truth, it’s pretty much just chocobos,” FFXVI director Hiroshi Takai tells me. “In past Final Fantasy games, you’d have canoes or boats or cars to travel in. But in Final Fantasy XVI, because our game is based on that main world map and traveling from that world map and doing fast travel from that, we found that there wasn’t really a need for any kind of expanded type of traversal systems. So yeah, currently, we only have walking and the chocobos.”
However, Takai notes there are parts in the story where Clive will use other types of traversal, but these aren’t accessible elsewhere.
As Takai notes, a lot of FFXVI’s traversal happens through the game’s beautifully designed, tilt-shifted 3D map. You can fast travel from Cid’s hideaway to side quest locations or even main scenario areas. You can also travel to the game’s open field areas by way of fast travel. For the most part, fast travel is how you’ll get around. But within open field areas and more linear areas, you can walk, run, and ride a chocobo to get around, too.
I’m still hoping we’ll acquire something unique and secret, like FFXV’s Regalia Type-F, in which the car you drive around for most of the game turns into a flying vehicle. But if the director says it’s just walking and chocobos, I should temper my expectations. Fortunately, we have less than a month to go until FFXVI hits PlayStation 5 on June 22.
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
Super Replay returns, and we're checking out Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts! Join us today Friday on Twitch at 2 p.m. Central as we kick of the adventure, which will continue each week until we roll credits. We'll also have every episode available the next day on our Game Informer Shows YouTube Channel (or you can watch the videos in the above playlist).
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was released for the Xbox 360 on November 11, 2008. The third (and, so far, final) entry in Rare's beloved platforming series centers on vehicle creation, where players collect and slap together hundreds of parts to assemble their own wacky contraptions to explore. The bevy of possible combinations and emphasis on player choice and creativity was largely unprecedented at the time, paving the way for future games such as the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. However, this direction would divide fans due to how much it strays from the traditional Banjo formula. So where will I land on it? Let's find out.
Join me, Marcus Stewart, alongside Kyle Hilliard as we explore one of the Xbox 360's biggest hidden gems to see whether it holds up or falls apart like a poorly constructed doohickey.
If you enjoy our livestreams but haven’t subscribed to our Twitch channel, know that doing so not only gives you notifications and access to special emotes. You’ll also be granted entry to the official Game Informer Discord channel, where our welcoming community members, moderators, and staff gather to talk games, entertainment, food, and organize hangouts! Be sure to also follow our second YouTube channel, Game Informer Shows, for to watch other Replay episodes as well as Twitch archives such as Replay, GI Live, and more.
During our Final Fantasy XVI cover story trip, I played a few hours of the game much of the press experienced. But I was also given an exclusive tour of FFXVI’s endgame and other supplementary content by creative director Hiroshi Takai and combat director Ryota Suzuki.
It’s safe to say there’s plenty to play, especially if you enjoy chasing numbers in combat.
FFXVI features an Arcade Mode, allowing players to run through stages they’ve already completed, this time with an on-screen score calculator and combat grader. But a New Game+ playthrough opens up two additional versions, and both are more difficult than the game’s base Story Mode and Action Mode difficulties. It’s important to note you can play through New Game+ on one of these base difficulties if you’d like, but you’re missing a lot of features intended for New Game+. If you’re after treasures you missed or PlayStation Trophies you didn’t collect, Stage Replay might suit your needs better. And if you’re after some combat training or a speedy, destructive action fix, there’s a special training mode, accessible through a statuesque Arete Stone within Clive’s main hub.
New Game+ lets you play through FFXVI with all of your previously unlocked abilities and gear from the jump, but the highlight is Final Fantasy Mode. This increases the game’s difficulty, changes monster placement, and remixes which enemies might appear in combat.
“The main design philosophy is that the first playthrough is about learning Clive, learning the controls, and then enjoying the story,” Suzuki says. “The second playthrough, we want to shift that focus – because the story hasn’t changed – to the action. For example, in Story Mode, while players may encounter waves of enemies, a lot of times, enemies don’t attack at once to allow players to be able to handle everything. In the harder modes of the game, we have removed these limitations so that you have multiple enemies all attacking Clive at the same time.
“Basically, what we’ve done with [Final Fantasy] Mode is give players controlling Clive the sense that they’re always in danger, that death is around the corner, and that you’ll need to really, really pay attention to be able to clear the content.”
In a Final Fantasy Mode New Game+ playthrough, by interacting with the Arete Stone in your hideaways, you can complete Final Fantasy Mode difficulty stages in Arcade Mode or an even more difficult variant called Ultimaniac Mode. Arcade Mode’s global leaderboards will only be active in these two modes.
“[These modes were] pretty much created solely for the hardcore players, those players that pride themselves on their skills in action games,” Suzuki says, noting that the only exclusive reward players can earn from these modes is pride. “[It’s] a challenge that, even for them, is going to be very difficult to complete.”
And Final Fantasy and Ultimaniac Mode are just two things awaiting you in a more challenging run of New Game+. A New Game+ run also allows you to upgrade your weapons further beyond what you can in your initial playthrough. You can also upgrade accessories, which is only possible in the game in a Final Fantasy Mode playthrough in New Game+. You’ll also gain access to the Final Chronolith Trials, or if you’re not in Final Fantasy Mode, just Chronolith Trials.
These trials are the most difficult challenge in FFXVI, Takai says. They consist of multiple stages, each with four rounds of enemies. The first three rounds will be standard waves of monsters, each increasing in difficulty as you progress. The fourth round, however, will feature a boss. Chronolith Trials are also time trials, and every stage contains a list of moves, combos, and objectives you can execute to gain more time. However, pulling these off won’t be easy because there’s no healing in these trials, save for recovery that immediately begins after activating any Limit Break move.
Each Chronolith Trial is based on an Eikon. I watch Takai and Suzuki play through Phoenix’s Trial by Fire. In it, you only have access to Phoenix’s Eikonic abilities, forcing you to play much differently than you might outside these trials, where you can mix and match Eikonic abilities on the fly. And like Arcade Mode, the Chronolith Trials contain a global leaderboard but only in Final Fantasy Mode. As you play through the game, you’ll find stones similar in appearance to the Arete Stone, and interacting with these unlocks Chronolith Trials for you to complete.
I can’t go hands-on with any of this endgame content, but what I watch Takai and Suzuki play is blisteringly chaotic, fast-paced, and sure to bring the challenge fans of Devil May Cry might expect, as Suzuki also helped design combat in Devil May Cry V for Capcom.
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
Zelda received its second post-release patch last night, and just like its first post-release update, the patch notes cover a lot of ground without diving into many specifics.
Here are the patch notes from Nintendo's website:
Ver. 1.1.2 (Released May 25, 2023)
Audio Bug Fixes
• Fixed an issue where the sound would play at an extremely high volume in certain conditions.
• Fixed an issue in the main quest, “Camera Work in the Depths”, where players could not progress beyond a certain point. Downloading the update will allow players to proceed past that point.
• Several issues have been addressed to improve the gameplay experience.
Alongside fixing the audio issue and the Camera Work in the Depths quest, the "Several issues have been addressed to improve the gameplay experience," note is covering a lot of ground. It seems most if not all of the duplication glitches players discovered, which allowed them to duplicate rare items in the game with suprisingly little effort, have effectively been removed from the game, according to posters on the r/NintendoSwitch subreddit.
For more on Zelda, you can read Game Informer's Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review, our beginner tips guide, our interview with producer and director Eiji Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi, our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Amiibo guide, this feature of stupid screenshots, and a tip of how to find interesting sidequests.
The latest Pokémon Trading Card Game expansion, Scarlet & Violet – Paldea Evolved, arrives next month. As the name implies, this new version delivers plenty of evolved forms of Paldean Pokémon while expanding on the pre-existing catalog of Paldean and non-Paldean monsters.
This second expansion in the Scarlet & Violet series of cards brings with it more than 190 new cards, including 15 Pokémon ex cards, Tera Pokémon ex cards with a crystalline appearance, more than 30 Trainer cards, and dozens of Pokémon and Trainer cards with special illustrations. The Pokémon Company sent over several booster packs for us to open and see what we could pull, and those with the special illustrations ended up being the highlight of my pack-opening experience.
You can see my favorite of the cards I pulled in the gallery below.
I was pretty happy with the cards I pulled from the packs. My favorite is probably the special Elite Trainer Box Pikachu card, which features the three Paldean starters in the background, though I also love the Pikachu I pulled from a booster pack. Outside of that, I enjoyed seeing the various Paldean starters' evolved forms, though, for some reason, my pulls skewed heavily toward Quaxly's evolution line. Outside of this most recent generation of Pokémon, I was happy to snag some updated cards of old favorites, such as Gyarados, Raichu, and Tyranitar.
In addition to being the second Pokémon Trading Card Game to bear the Scarlet & Violet name, it's also the second pack to come at a higher price tag. However, The Pokémon Company has at least tried to deliver some benefits to this, as each pack includes more foils, and even the wrapper of each booster pack feels thicker and of higher quality than the original Scarlet & Violet expansion.
Pokémon Trading Card Game: Scarlet & Violet – Paldea Evolved arrives on June 9. For all things Pokémon Trading Card Game, head to our special hub by clicking the banner below!
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Pieces Interactive
Before Resident Evil and Silent Hill, 1992’s Alone in the Dark helped lay the foundation for 3D survival horror before the genre even had a name. Players explored a haunted building laden with elaborate puzzles and scary monsters, with gameplay emphasizing thoughtful management of scarce resources. It even featured two playable characters with separate scenarios, an idea later adopted by Resident Evil 2. Numerous sequels of varying quality followed, but it’s been many years since the series was culturally relevant.
Last year, developer Pieces Interactive announced its plans to revisit the celebrated first game and reimagine it for a modern audience. Alone in the Dark rides the recent wave of survival horror remakes, and a dedicated showcase gave us our first look at how the classic is being rebuilt from the ground up.
This new vision of Alone in the Dark largely sticks to the blueprint of the 1992 game. After receiving a disturbing letter from her uncle, Jeremy Hartwood, Emily Hartwood enlists the aid of hardboiled detective Edward Carnby to figure out what happened to him. They visit the haunted Decerto countryside hospital, where Jeremy checked himself in after claiming to be plagued by an evil entity called the Dark Man. Emily is also grappling with a mysterious family affliction known as The Hartwood Curse, and their visit soon spirals into a fight for their sanity and lives. Pieces is going all-in on this remake by enlisting actors Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, Free Guy) and David Harbour (Violent Night, Stranger Things) to lend their voices and likenesses to Emily and Edward, respectively.
Like the original, Alone in the Dark has two separate campaigns for Emily and Edward, and though the story has the same setup, events unfold in a different manner. People behave differently around each character, and they’ll also visit exclusive areas, encouraging players to experience the game twice to see everything. Pieces also teases that progress from the first playthrough, such as the items you find, will have a subtle impact on the second. Fans should expect new twists on the original tale while also keeping an eye out for copious references and easter eggs littered about.
As you explore Decerto and beyond, you’ll be assaulted by all manner of supernatural monsters, from strange insect-like critters to grotesque humanoid creatures made from vines. You can blast them apart with firearms, but ammo is limited, so you’ll have to pick your battles and use your resources, and your environment, wisely. That means relying on melee weapons, hurling stray objects, and triggering hazards such as shooting pools of gas to ignite enemies into flames. Alone in the Dark also places heavy emphasis on puzzle-solving. Decerto is laden with strange contraptions and riddles, and you’ll need to wear your detective hat to find clues pointing to the right direction.
Alone in the Dark is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC in time for Halloween on October 25. You can get a taste of what’s to come by playing a free downloadable prequel chapter called Grace In The Dark. Launching today, this brief demo is inspired by Alone in the Dark 2’s Jack in the Dark prologue game and stars the young Grace Saunders exploring Decerto weeks before the main game begins.
With Resident Evil helping usher in a survival horror renaissance with quality new titles and Silent Hill making a comeback, now’s as good a time as any for Alone in the Dark to awaken from hibernation. We just hope Pieces can recapture its magic and remind players why the series was once so highly regarded among horror fans.Purchase
In this week's episode of The Game Informer Show, the crew reacts to the recent Mortal Kombat 1 reveal and talks about why Mortal Kombat 11's story is significant, shares details behind Game Informer's Planet of Lana review, Marcus' hands-on preview of Exoprimal, and more discussion about The Legend Of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. At the end of the show, Marcus interviews WWE tag team Pretty Deadly about their history with games and their inclusion in WWE 2K23.
Prefer to watch the video version of the podcast? Find it below:
Follow us on social media: Alex Van Aken (@itsVanAken), Marcus Stewart (@MarcusStewart7), Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard)
The Game Informer Show is a weekly gaming podcast covering the latest video game news, industry topics, exclusive reveals, and reviews. Join host Alex Van Aken every Thursday for a chat about your favorite games – past and present – with Game Informer staff, developers, and special guests from around the industry. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.Matt Storm, the freelance audio editor for The Game Informer Show, edited this episode. Matt is an experienced podcast host and producer who's been speaking into a microphone for over a decade. You should listen to Matt's shows like the "Fun" And Games Podcast and Reignite, a BioWare-focused podcast.
Jump to the timestamps to get to a particular point of discussion:
00:00:00 - Intro
00:08:57 - Mortal Kombat 1 Reveal
00:11:33 - Mortal Kombat 11 Spoilers Begin
00:15:47 - Mortal Kombat 11 Spoilers End
00:21:41 - Street Fighter 6 Open Beta
00:29:33 - Planet of Lana Review
00:45:54 - Exoprimal
01:01:15 - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
01:13:25 - PlayStation Showcase Predictions
01:15:15 - House Keeping and Listener Questions
01:19:09 - Interview with Pretty Deadly
During my hands-on time with Final Fantasy XVI for our cover story, I play through the game’s opening hours, which feature moments from Clive’s childhood when he’s 15 years old and a flash forward to a 28-year-old Clive. Here, Clive meets Cidolfus Telamon, or Cid for short – because this is Final Fantasy, after all. Shortly after, Cid brings Clive to a place dubbed Cid’s hideaway.
This hideaway is one of the main hubs in FFXVI. While I’m not sure of its location in Valisthea, the continent where the game takes place, it looks built into a cavernous structure. It features a pub where you speak with locals about what’s going on in the world, side quests to pick up, and a music player, as well. I discover music tracks exploring Valisthea, and while these are new tracks from the score of FFXVI, I suspect music from other Final Fantasy games might also be discoverable.Cid's hideaway
Elsewhere in the hideaway, there’s a blacksmith where I can purchase new weapons and gear and upgrade what I have, and there’s a general goods stand for buying things like potions. I also find Harpocatres in the hideaway, who I can interact with as I progress through FFXVI to learn more about Valisthean history.Hideaway loresman Harpocrates
Otto’s Counter is a feature of Cid’s hideaway players will interact with a lot, I suspect. Otto is the manager of sorts for the hub, and his employees will be helpful in Clive’s journey. One of them is Gaute, who handles Alliant Reports. These keep track of Clive’s ongoing relationships, and players can interact with a special menu to read the reports scouts create to record people in trouble across the realm. Clive can fast-travel directly to these locations to help them – or, in other words, complete a sidequest.
Not far from Gaute is The Patron’s Whisper, run by Desiree. At The Patron’s Whisper, you’ll receive gifts from people you’ve helped in the form of crafting resources, Gil (Valisthea’s currency), and more. These gifts are tied directly to the Renown Clive earns around Valisthea as his name and good deeds spread to its people. The rewards from Renown aren’t what you get from completing quests – you’ll get those immediately – but rather, a bonus.The Patron's Whisper
The third major aspect of Otto’s Counter is the Hunt Board. If you’ve played Final Fantasy XII, this board is familiar because it looks and works similarly. That’s not surprising, considering a good chunk of FFXVI’s team leads worked on FFXII. At this board, you collect bounties and perform hunts throughout Valisthea. Sometimes, you’ll stumble upon a hunt without the bounty, but there’s no need to stress about picking it up. If you complete the hunt, you’ll receive the reward associated with it next time you return to the Hunt Board.
The enemy will be boxed within a virtual arena at a Hunt location. The fight must occur here – exit the arena and the hunt will end, making it easy to escape if you’re in over your head.
Separate from Otto’s Counter but within the hideaway is Clive’s chambers. Here, Clive can read letters he receives. Sometimes these letters will lead to new side quests; other times, they’re updates from characters you’ve interacted with, and sometimes they’re warnings. You can also add some personality to Clive’s room via the Wall of Memories, which begins as empty shelves and spaces where trinkets from Clive’s journey will one day sit as a reminder of what he’s accomplished, where he’s been, and who he’s helped.
Overall, the tour I got of Cid’s hideaway was expansive, but I get the sense there’s even more to it and I’m excited to see all of it when FFXVI hits PlayStation 5 on June 22.
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
As part of this month’s cover story, we traveled to Japan to speak with several of Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit III leads. In this exclusive interview, localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox breaks down the lore of Final Fantasy XVI, including its world, characters, political strife, and how the narrative frames crystal-use in exciting ways. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into the world of Valisthea.
Watch the video here:
Editor's note: In the video interview, we incorrectly cited Koji Fox's title as senior translator. His accurate title is localization director.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you enjoy this video because there's another interview with composer Masayoshi Soken on the way. Special thanks to freelance video editor Daniel Berlin for bringing this project to life!
When discussing Final Fantasy XVI’s combat or watching gameplay, it’s hard not to think about other action combat games, such as Capcom’s Devil May Cry series. And if its combat reminds you of DMC, it’s probably because the combat director of FFXVI is Ryota Suzuki, who helped design combat on Devil May Cry 4 and Devil May Cry 5. But he also worked on Marvel Vs. Capcom 2.
While the DMC inspirations laced within FFXVI’s combat are hard to miss, Suzuki told me that Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 inspired some of FFXVI's systems as well.Final Fantasy XVI Combat Director Ryota Suzuki Final Fantasy XVI Combat Director Ryota Suzuki
“There’s actually something from Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 that we took and put into Final Fantasy XVI, and that is, as you may or may not know, in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, we had the Assist system where you could give orders to your partner in battle,” Suzuki says. “And by implementing that system, we were able to create the sense of not just one-on-one but multiple people fighting at the same time to create this very frenetic battle system.
“We brought some of that knowledge into creating the system with Torgal [Clive’s companion dog that can be commanded in battle to do different things] and being able to give the pet commands where you’re by yourself but still working together.”
He and the team at Capcom created that Assist system 22 years ago. In it, you give orders to a partner in battle. Doing so creates a period where the main character can’t act. He says Creative Business Unit III didn’t want to do that in FFXVI, so it removed that aspect of the Assist system.
“[That way], when the player gave that order, the player would be able to continue to act, so it’d create more types of frenetic battles where both the partner [Torgal] and the player could still be playing and participating in the battle even though the commands are being given.”
On top of that, Suzuki notes that special actions in FFXVI’s combat were inspired by Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 as well. When you time certain commands just right, it will unlock, in real-time, even more special types of moves, something players experienced with combos in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 will find feels loosely familiar.
“[These special moves] are one of the things we wanted to implement early on [...] that’s not necessary, but players, if they have the skill, would be able to pull off in of those base foundations.”
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
Atari and developer Sneakybox have announced Days of Doom, an apocalyptic turn-based tactical roguelite. The game hopes to subvert the expectations of those who are tired of the brown and gray color palettes of other apocalypse settings by placing the action over vibrant and colorful backdrops as you battle through hordes of zombies, raiders, and mutant lizards.
Navigating the wasteland to reach a sanctuary will require strategy, as you must combat the encroaching mutated forces using your group of distinct survivors. Beyond the turn-based tactics at play, you must also manage your scarce collection of resources and keep your wits about you as you maneuver through the hordes of the undead.
Each of the eight survivor classes features unique abilities that can be used to shift your fortunes in battle. For example, the Pyro class allows you to burn enemies and leave them with residual damage each turn while combining the Hydromancer with the Thrasher can drench enemies with water before electrocuting them for a devastating synergy. Players will need to use these abilities to their advantage and think strategically with these abilities to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds.
And, of course, with it being a roguelite game, players can expect each run to feel unique. More than 50 randomly occurring events present risk-reward scenarios for players during their runs, while more than 70 collectible items and runes can help you turn the odds in your favor in your given run. However, as you play several runs and make progress, you unlock permanent upgrades, such as party size increases and resource accumulation speed.
If you'd like to learn more, you can check out the reveal trailer below.
Days of Doom arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Atari VCS later this year.
Today’s PlayStation Showcase saw Square Enix unveil a squeaky-clean online shooter called Foamstars.
This wacky new multiplayer shooter pits two teams of four against each other using weapons that shoot, you guessed it, foam. Battlefields are covered in soapy foam, which players can use to their advantage by creating slippery surfaces to slide at high speeds. Foam can also be used in other ways, such as to shield yourself and your teammates from attacks or create vantage points. The trailer shows off a bunch of goofy weapons and the game pretty much feels like the anti-thesis of Splatoon.
Square Enix promises to share more about Foamstars in the future, but it’s coming to PlayStation 5 and 4.
To close out today’s PlayStation Showcase, Sony and Insomniac pulled out the big webs for a new look at Spider-Man 2. The long-awaited sequel is now targeting a release this fall, and an extended gameplay sequence showed us what we can expect.
An opening cinematic reveals some insight into the villainous Kraven the Hunter. Tired of easy prey in the deep jungle, one of his minions suggests a move to a new hunting ground in New York, where the likes of Spider-Man, Black Cat, and Tombstone promise more challenging targets.
The action jumps to six months later in Queens, as a black-suited Peter Parker bursts from a basement to battle some of the Hunter’s goons. The gameplay sequence that follows is impressive, showing off Spider-Man’s new symbiote abilities, which allow for an array of tentacle attacks that can often bring down many opponents at once.
After the battle, Peter learns Kraven’s team is hunting Doctor Connors, otherwise known as the Lizard. And since the hunt is happening in Harlem, he won’t be able to get there in time. He immediately calls Miles, and the perspective changes, suggesting the game (while single-player) allows for change-ups between the two Spider-Man leads.
Miles has some new tricks of his own, including some slick wingsuit capabilities that send him zipping at high speed between buildings, and web lines that let him chart his own path to taking down foes from above during stealth passages.
After a sequence trying to track down the Lizard, we learn that Connors has shed his skin and is clearly growing into a larger reptilian form, with an equally larger appetite. After linking up with his friend, Ganke, and the ominous arrival of Peter in his black symbiote suit, a thrilling chase sequence ensues down the East River, where Peter and Miles are taking down drones, jet skis, and boats as Kraven’s team chases the Lizard.
While it’s not clear why Peter and Miles are so interested in saving the Lizard (traditionally a villain in the stories), there seems to be some information they need from him, making his survival a must.
The rest of the gameplay sequence is equally exciting, from a crash into the water to a headlong escape along the water as The Lizard tries to attack from below. From animation to pacing to camera work – the entire sequence looks like it wouldn’t feel out of place in the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Except, of course, Spider-Man 2 is a fully interactive experience where players control the two Spider-Men along the way.
As the extended demo winds down, we see Peter acting in a very un-Peter way, doubling down on aggressive and dangerous tendencies he’s been showing throughout the sequence, leaving Miles worried about his friend and mentor.
Amid several notable reveals and new videos over the course of the PlayStation Showcase this afternoon, Spider-Man 2 stood out for its remarkable polish, taut action, and a focus on complete and uncut gameplay sequences. The game looks fantastic and is one to watch closely in the lead-up to its launch later this year.
Nomanda Studio, the maker of 2018’s Gris, has revealed a beautiful new title called Neva. The game stars a young woman and her wolf companion as they survive a dangerous world together.
The game follows the woman who adopts the wolf as a cub, with players getting to watch it grow up into an adult and the bond that blossoms along the way. The pair must battle dark forces plaguing a dying world. A press release states gameplay includes platforming, combat, and puzzle-solving with minimal UI and a stunning presentation.
Neva is coming in 2024 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, and PC.
The 2020 first-person action title Ghostrunner has garnered a strong community of fans thanks to its precise controls and high-octane action. Perhaps that's why, less than a year following its initial PC release, a sequel was announced. However, outside of some concept art, we haven't seen or heard much from developer One More Level or publisher 505 Games.
However, that changed today, as the studio released a first gameplay look for the highly anticipated sequel. Revealed during today's PlayStation Showcase, the trailer shows the game's cyber-ninja protagonist, Jack, participating in the series' trademark fast-paced, always-forward combat and traversal. According to the team, the sequel looks to elevate the formula in every category, including the addition of vehicular combat.
You can see the trailer for yourself below.
Ghostrunner 2 arrives later this year for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
Bungie is best known as the team behind Halo and Destiny, but it's digging through the crates of its past to bring back one of its original successes, Marathon.
Marathon was first released for the Apple Macintosh in 1994 and was a first-person shooter centering on a space-faring security cop fighting to stop an alien invasion. It was followed by two sequels, with the third entry arriving in 1996. This new Marathon sports a distinctly vibrant look and will also be a first-person shooter, but is a PvP extraction-style experience. Players control a runner in order to, according to the game's website, "compete for survival, riches, and renown in a world of evolving, persistent zones, where any run can lead to greatness."
The game's website also has the following synopsis:A massive ghost ship hangs in low orbit over a lost colony on tau ceti iv. The 30,000 souls who call this place home have disappeared without a trace. strange signals hint at mysterious artifacts, long-dormant ai, and troves of untold riches. You are a runner, venturing into the unknown in a fight for fame… and infamy. Who among you will write their names across the stars?
Marathon is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It will support cross-play and cross-progression but does not have a release window.
One of the biggest 2023 PlayStation Showcase announcements was a confirmation of the long-rumored remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. At the tail end of that announcement, however, was another exciting, admittedly smaller announcement that the first three Metal Gear Solid games will be ported to PlayStation 5 in one presumed package.
The single image above appeared at the end of the Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater remake teaser with the words, "Sneak back into the original games on PlayStation 5," with an autumn 2023 release window. The package is called Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Volume 1, which implies more Metal Gears may be on the way. A Volume 2 could, hopefully, finally free Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots from its PlayStation 3 prison – the only platform that game has ever been made available on.
Update: According to the game's listing on the PlayStation Store, the package will also include the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Here is how the the listing of included games is worded on the page.
Beat Saber has been promised for PlayStation VR2 for some time, but the game is finally officially available on the platform today as a free update for those who own the PlayStation 4 version of Beat Saber. Revealed during the PlayStation Showcase, a Queen music pack will also be available for the game. The pack will also be available on other platforms where the game is available.
During the PlayStation Showcase event today, the company announced "Project Q," its internal name for a handheld remote-play device.
Check it out below:
Details are scarce as of writing, but we know it'll allow you to play games installed on the PS5 over wifi to the device, except for VR games. Project Q will have an 8-inch screen and the shape and features of the PS5's Dualsense controller.
Additionally, the company revealed PlayStation wireless earbuds, compatible with PS5s and PCs, and smartphones via Bluetooth.
No further info was given, but more details are expected to come "in the near future."
Ubisoft showed off a new look at Assassin’s Creed Mirage at today's PlayStation Showcase. The trailer shows protagonist Basim as he leaps, slides, and fights his way across the ancient streets of Baghdad.
Basim was introduced to Assassin’s Creed players in the earlier release of Valhalla, but this new game jumps back to an earlier time in the character’s life.
The action on display looks slick and modern but strongly calls to mind the flow of gameplay that longtime players may recall from early games in the series, controlling the likes of Altair and Ezio as they moved through large urban cityscapes. The new combat system, in particular, features some especially impressive animations and combat moves. The trailer also suggests that players will have a number of choices in how to approach a given mission, with clear decisions outlined in pre-mission briefings and then the chance to execute on a chosen plan.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage is targeting release on October 12 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PC.
The fan-demanded sequel to Dragon's Dogma has been announced for some time, but during the 2023 PlayStation Showcase, we got our first look at the game's visual direction with a bit of what appears to be gameplay. The footage lacked U.I., but there is no reason not to believe the game will look like this.
The footage shows a very realistic art style with impressive creatures and magic effects. Unfortunately, a release date for the game was not shared.
The rumors were true. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is getting remade for PlayStation 5 and Xbox.
The remake is officially called Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater. A cinematic teaser showcased a jungle filled with dangerous animals vying for dominance, with Naked Snake emerging from the depth of a bog to show off his remade look. Originally released in 2004, the title is a 1960s-era prequel to the Metal Gear series that tells the origin story of Big Boss and lays the groundwork for the entire Metal Gear fiction.
Unfortunately, we don't get to see gameplay, and the title doesn’t have a release window, but the first three Metal Gear Solid games are also being bundled in a collection heading to PlayStation 5 this fall. What do you think of this first look at Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater? Let us know in the comments!
Alan Wake 2 had an appearance today during the PlayStation Showcase event. And as you might've guessed, the trailer left a lot of questions. But it did answer an all-important one: when the game is coming out.
Here's what we gathered: Alan is trapped ... somewhere. According to him, he has to write to escape. Ostensibly, that's from the cult members chasing and attacking seemingly everyone within a 50-mile radius. Alan is writing about the police investigation into the death of Robert Nightingale, one of the antagonists of the first game. Here, the trailer splits into multiple perspectives: that of Alan and that of two investigators (one of which is voiced by James McCaffrey, of Max Payne fame, which Remedy also developed). Notably, we see that we'll play at least two different characters in Alan Wake 2: Alan, of course, but then also one of the investigators, a young woman named Saga Anderson.
The trailer closes with the game's release date: October 17, 2023.
Alan Wake 2 was originally announced back at The Game Awards 2021 via a cinematic trailer. This is the first time we've seen the game in action.
During PlayStation's 2023 Showcase Sony showed Towers Of Aghasba – a game about rebuilding a strange alien world. The admittedly early footage from the game shows a character rebuilding a town, gliding through the air on a paraglider, riding and fighting strange creatures, and collecting resources. The trailer also showed flying whales in the sky.
Towers Of Aghasba comes from Dreamlit and appears to be taking ample inspiration from Breath of the Wild and should be arriving next year.
Today’s PlayStation Showcase brought the reveal of Sword of the Sea, a new game from Giant Squid, the development team behind Abzu and The Pathless.
The most striking visuals of the new game come from a vast desert that brings to mind thatgamecompany’s Journey. That’s not coincidence, since Giant Squid’s founder is Matt Nava, who was previously art director at thatgamecompany. But while this new game is destined to draw strong comparisons to that classic title, there were some notable differences on display. First, the desert itself looks much more like a flowing sea, and the character you control like a surfer moving through the water. In certain sequences, the desert seems to actually transform into water, suggesting a mystery at the core of the game.
In the footage shown, we see a focus on flow movement for the protagonist as they ride across the sand and trick off of half-pipes. From surrounding descriptions about the game, we know that you control a character named the Wraith, who was brought back to life to restore life to a ruined world, while facing off against vast leviathans that attempt to block progress.
Sword of the Sea is coming to PS5, but no word yet on a release date.
Helldivers is making a comeback in the form of a sequel. Helldivers II is coming this year for PlayStation 5 and PC.
A humorous trailer showed off the game’s sci-fi action and sense of humor. The most notable aspect is the game’s switch to third-person shooting as opposed to the purely top-down perspective of 2015 original. You'll team up with up to four friends to blast apart scores of extraterrestrial threats using a variety of high-tech weaponry.
For more, you can read our review of the first Helldivers here.
The Talos Principle is a well-regarded puzzle game about androids discovering sentience and grappling with those ideas. During the 2023 PlayStation Showcase, Sony revealed The Talos Principle II with mysterious voiceover declaring a new world awaits you full of dangers and mysteries all while showing impressive vistas and structures.
The Talos Principle II arrives this year.
Phantom Blade 0, a new entry in the Phantom Blade series, was announced today during the most recent PlayStation Showcase via a cinematic and gameplay trailer.
While it was hard to ascertain specifics from the trailer, we did get glimpses at the game's action RPG combat, which is fast, frenetic, and stylish. According to a YouTube description, Phantom Blade 0 is inspired by Chinese martial arts and steampunk. In it, you play as the Dark Raider, out for revenge against "The Order." Additionally, the voiceover twice asks a disembodied character what they will do with what little time they have left. Specifically, 66 days. Their response is to get their heart back.
Check out the trailer below:
No release information was given.
Phantom Blade 0 is being developed by Cruel Man Studio, based in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. The studio was founded in 2019, and thus far, has worked with Tencent and Square Enix.
Sony kicked off its 2023 PlayStation Showcase with a new game called Fairgames. The pre-rendered trailer began with complaints about needless wealth and transitioned to a team working together to pull of a heist in a skyscraper. The trailer ended with the tagline take it till you make it and QR code link to taketheir.money.
Little else was offered about the game from the footage shown, but considering the showcase it appeared on, it;s safe to assume it will be releasing in a PlayStation console. The game is being developed by Haven.
After playing several hours of Final Fantasy XVI in Square Enix’s Tokyo, Japan, offices for this month’s cover story, I spend about 20 minutes in one of the game’s various open field areas. FFXVI isn’t an open world game, but it features several large areas where players, as Clive, are free to explore the location, fight monsters, pick up side quests, find treasure, and more.
I spend about 20 minutes checking out every nook and cranny of one of the earlier open field locations in the game. After that, I check my map to see how much I had covered in the area I was permitted to explore – it was about an eighth, which is to say these zones are massive. But much of the game occurs in focused, dungeon-esque missions where players make their way through more linear areas, defeating monsters and bosses along the way.
After playing through this, I asked producer Naoki Yoshida why the team opted for open fields rather than a full open world game, especially in a time when the style is more popular than ever. One of the more surprising reasons is 2016’s Final Fantasy XV.
“If we look back at Final Fantasy XV, a lot of the criticism about that game was kind of centered on the story,” Yoshida says before listing out some of the criticism. “‘Some of the storytelling elements weren’t as good as they could have been,’ or, ‘Towards the end, the story kind of loses its focus,’ or, ‘We have this story that needs to be told in DLC’ and then that DLC gets canceled so it can’t be told.
“So there are lots of problems there with the storytelling that we find. And for Final Fantasy XVI, we wanted to make sure that again, our focus [is] on storytelling […] so that we can cover those gaps that [FFXV] had.”
Yoshida says he and the team, as players, play many open world games, but telling a succinct and focused story in that format would have been tough because FFXVI takes place across an entire continent.
“For example, if you create this open world of the 23 wards of Tokyo, then basically, your story has to take place in the 23 wards of Tokyo, and it can’t take place outside of that,” Yoshida says. “You can create more areas outside of that, but then that takes a lot of resources, and the more that you create, then the bigger chance that you have of that giant area that you created becoming empty, and that’s the one thing that players hate the most: [a] huge open world but there’s nothing to do in it.”
Creative Business Unit III wanted to avoid this very dilemma.
“To begin with, Final Fantasy XVI and the Final Fantasy series in general, have always been about traveling to a lot of different exotic places, meeting a lot of different people and cultures, and ultimately saving the world,” Yoshida continues. “And so if we’re restricted by a smaller open world area, we can’t do that. And because we wanted to do that, that’s why we ended up going in the direction that we did. We could have created an entire open world that would fit, but then by doing that, development time takes just that much more time.”
Instead, Yoshida says the team looked at the story and the script to see where the main narrative would take players. The team then decided this journey didn’t fit an open world setting.
"And rather than trying to take that [journey] and force it into an open world setting because open world games happen to be popular, we decided that, 'No, we want to tell the story the way we want to tell it and make it a global scale type of thing and this is probably going to work better,'" Yoshida tells me. "Once the core development team had seen the story and where it’s going to take us, then there wasn’t really a discussion about [making it open world].”
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
For a few years now, we’ve heard Final Fantasy XVI is inspired by HBO’s Game of Thrones, and during my cover story trip to Tokyo, Japan, to speak with Creative Business Unit III, I learned more about this. Specifically, and perhaps critically, I learned that the team was inspired by the first four seasons of Game of Thrones. Or at least, that’s where it started.
“Right around the start of the game’s development back when we’re in that early period is right about when [Season 4 of Game of Thrones on HBO] was airing,” FFXVI producer Naoki Yoshida tells me. “We had seen it grow into this television show that was loved around the world, not just by older generations but younger generations as well. So we bought the Blu-Ray box of Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4, and made everyone on the team watch it basically to get across to developers that this is what’s trending in the world – that this is the type of fantasy that people are enjoying.”The Iron Kingdom
But Yoshida says the team took great caution to avoid FFXVI feeling like a carbon copy of Game of Thrones. While its inspirations are clear, it feels like its own thing after playing and watching the game for roughly five hours. Plus, with everything else going on in the game – specifically the Eikon vs. Eikon combat – the team drew on other sources of inspiration like Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Godzilla, Ultraman, and more.
Not only does Game of Thrones inspire the story and world feel of Final Fantasy XVI, but it also inspires a lot of its visual style, according to art director Hiroshi Minagawa.Final Fantasy XVI Art Director Hiroshi Minagawa
“When I joined the team and spoke with Takai-san about the overall look of the game, we had that broad stroke that we wanted to have something that’s going to have that Game of Thrones feel, that kind of pure standard high fantasy that you’d see in that type of program and visual medium,” he tells me.
While people today still argue where Game of Thrones began to falter, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks the answer is somewhere in those first four seasons. Those episodes are fantastic television, and if FFXVI’s take on fantasy comes close to rivaling them, we could be in for something special. Fortunately, we don’t have too wait long because FFXVI hits PlayStation 5 on June 22.
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
Mortal Kombat 1’s incredible cinematic debut trailer ignited the collective excitement of a fanbase champing at the bit to see it in action. Looks like they'll only have to wait a couple more weeks.
Host Geoff Keighley has confirmed that Summer Game Fest will include the gameplay premiere of Mortal Kombat 1, presented by NetherRealm Studios head, Ed Boon. The annual live summer showcase of new video game trailers and world premieres will be livestreamed on June 8, beginning at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET.
Don't miss the world gameplay premiere of @MORTALKOMBAT 1 when Ed Boon (@Noobde) joins @geoffkeighley live on stage at #SummerGameFest on Thursday, June 8.— Summer Game Fest (@summergamefest) May 23, 2023
Watch the livestream at https://t.co/gO9QVWF4nN
Join us in person at @youtubetheater - Tickets: https://t.co/vpFuPnfyTe pic.twitter.com/VCjxZNCnx9
Mortal Kombat 1 is the first entry of the new timeline following the events of Mortal Kombat 11. So far, all we know about its gameplay are Kameo Fighters, a new feature described by NetherRealm Studios as a unique roster of partner fighters that aid players during matches. It feels all but confirmed that we'll see this mechanic in action at SGF alongside the game's other bells and whistles ahead of its September 19 launch.
Summer Game Fest is the biggest event happening in June, but it's far from the only video game showcase on the horizon. You can keep track of every big livestream taking place around it by checking out our June Summer Game Fest streaming schedule.
When Marvel's Spider-Man 2 was announced in September 2021, it showed off various elements that got players frothing at the mouth for the sequel to one of the greatest superhero games of all time. While seeing Venom emerge from the shadows was extremely exciting, the bulk of the trailer showcased Peter Parker and Miles Morales working side by side to take down several goons in the streets of New York.
That in itself was merely an eyebrow-raising affair, but it's hardly confirmation of cooperative play. However, when Miles Morales voice actor Nadji Jeter responded to a SacAnime panel question about whether or not Spider-Man 2 is a co-op game or not with, "I don't know if it's been announced or not, but I think so," that added fuel to the fire.
Yesterday, when a Twitter user asked if the speculation and rumors were true, Insomniac Games unexpectedly jumped in to clear the air. "Nope! It is an epic single-player adventure!," the tweet from the official Insomniac Games account said. This seems to fully debunk the speculation from fans and comments from Jeter, and that Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will follow in the footsteps of Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales in being a fully single-player experience.
Nope! It is an epic single-player adventure!— Insomniac Games (@insomniacgames) May 22, 2023
This isn't the first time a Spider-Man 2 voice actor has seemingly confirmed details about the game without the permission of the studio or PR team. Back in March, Venom voice actor Tony Todd announced to the world through his Twitter account that Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is expected to launch in September of this year, with commercials starting to appear in August. While we are still waiting to see if that pans out better than Jeter's comments about co-op, Todd has since deleted the original tweet.
With a PlayStation Showcase set to air tomorrow, we might not have long to wait to learn more. For now, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is set to arrive on PlayStation 5 later this year.
The Legend of Zelda franchise is among the most revered in gaming. Year after year, generation after generation, Nintendo's crack team of developers releases consistently great entries that are almost always Game of the Year contenders.
For the purpose of remaining focused on the core entries of The Legend of Zelda franchise, several spin-offs and obscure titles are omitted. Titles like Hyrule Warriors, Link's Crossbow Training, Cadence of Hyrule, and the CD-i games are left off. Even with those missing, we still have 21 games where Link battles the forces of evil to save Zelda, Hyrule, or whatever equivalent exists in that respective game. Since the series has been running for more than three decades, we must consider both legacy and impact, as well as how much fun the games are to play today.
Despite the large number of releases over the course of more than three decades, the Zelda franchise has yet to strike out. Even the lowest-ranked games on this list are worth playing. Because of this, the order of this list was highly contested from top to bottom.
As a game that encouraged players to work together to solve fun puzzles and progress through a colorful world, Tri Force Heroes is a fine game. Unfortunately, when stacked against the rest of the core Zelda titles, Tri Force Heroes isn't up to snuff. The humor and puzzles serve as the highlight, but the forgettable action sequences and repetitive gameplay loop prevent it from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the other games in Zelda's storied franchise.
You can read our review of Tri Force Heroes head here.
Spirit Tracks stands out as a different take on the series that delivered inconsistent results. Using touchscreen controls, players guide Link as he travels by train from location to location. The dungeons and combat are generally improvements over the previous Zelda game on DS, Phantom Hourglass, but by having Link ride the Spirit Tracks in the overworld, the game removes one of the best parts of the series: the exploration. When combined with an inconsistent quality of level design, this makes it one of the lesser entries in the series.
You can read our review of Spirit Tracks head here.
After the original Legend of Zelda game captured players' imaginations through stellar exploration and great top-down combat, the dramatic change in direction that took place with Zelda II: Adventure of Link was a shock to the system. While some of the side-scrolling areas were enjoyable, the overworld navigation was not nearly as fun or rewarding as its counterpart in the original game. Still, those who braved the maddening difficulty found a uniquely engaging experience that put some good ideas to use.
To read more about the history of Zelda II, with quotes from Shigeru Miyamoto about its development, head here.
Taking several cues from A Link to the Past, Four Swords delivers strong gameplay, but the multiplayer focus made it difficult to play due to the hoops to jump through to connect four Game Boy Advance systems. In addition, the randomized dungeons sometimes led to poorly conceived designs. To make it even more of an uphill battle, Four Swords was packaged with the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past, putting it in direct comparison with that beloved entry. Despite this, Four Swords is a strong entry point for the series, possessing surprising depth and fun multiplayer. For those who want to play it now, the Anniversary Edition added a single-player mode and additional content.
Much like its Game Boy Advance counterpart, Four Swords Adventures places the emphasis on multiplayer. Some aspects of Four Swords on Game Boy Advance were refined for this release, including hand-crafted dungeons rather than randomized levels and better graphics that took certain aspects of Wind Waker's cel-shading and combined them with the A Link to the Past-inspired visuals from the original Four Swords title. The multiplayer was overly complicated to take part in, however, as each player needed to have a separate Game Boy Advance system connected to the GameCube to participate.
You can watch us play the game on a recent episode of Replay here.
The touch controls turned many off to Phantom Hourglass when it released in 2007. Using the stylus to control every aspect of Link was often written off as overthinking the tried-and-true formula, but once you acclimated to the new take, you were able to see the good sides of Zelda's DS debut. The game serves as a sequel to GameCube's Wind Waker, and the design conventions shine through in similar ways as they did in that game. In addition, the unique control scheme delivered fun encounters and fresh takes on familiar themes.
You can read why Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma considers it his favorite entry here.
Oracle of Seasons launched alongside Oracle of Ages in 2001, but the games were much different than other simultaneously released games like Pokémon. The two games possessed different dungeons and different focuses; Oracle of Seasons shined the spotlight on the action side of Zelda. Unfortunately, the 2D action has never been one of the highlights of the series. While it's fun to slash your way through enemies and rely on your animal companions for their abilities, the true satisfaction of the Zelda series comes with puzzles, something Oracle of Ages had more of a focus on.
Much like Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages takes a similar adventure and flavors it with one of the mainstay elements of the Zelda franchise. With Oracle of Ages, the focus is on puzzles and clever dungeon design. That doesn't mean you don't get some fun action sequences on top of those strong puzzles. In addition, Oracle of Ages' multiple-era mechanic was superior to Oracle of Seasons' seasonal-shift mechanic, making it the better of the two simultaneous Game Boy Color releases.
Link's Awakening is more compact than other games in the series, but it more than makes up for it with strong exploration, excellent level design, fun boss fights, and quirky elements that make the experience memorable. Perfectly fusing silly side-quests with darker, more serious moments, Link's Awakening is an important entry for setting the tone of the rest of the Zelda franchise. It stands out as one of the greatest titles to ever grace the Game Boy, and it's easily playable today via the upgraded DX version which added color and an extra dungeon to play through.
For more on the development of Link's Awakening with quotes from its director, Takashi Tezuka, head here.
The game that started it all is about as important as video games come. The Legend of Zelda perfectly blended combat, exploration, puzzle solving, and collection elements in ways never before seen in a video game. It hasn't aged particularly well, but it remains the blueprint for every game on this list, and a huge chunk of other games within the genre as a whole. The Legend of Zelda did more than create lifelong gamers at a critical time in the industry; it expanded the video game world in ways few other games have.
Taking one of Link's earliest and most charming adventures and remaking it, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch remains mostly faithful to the beloved Game Boy title you just read about. However, with vibrant visuals, better inventory management that makes use of the Switch's additional buttons, and modernized minigames, this version of Link's Awakening is an excellent way to experience this classic title in the modern age.
You can read our full review of the Link's Awakening Switch remake here.
Skyward Sword featured some of the most well-designed dungeons the series has ever seen, as well as a compelling story that, according to the official timeline, predates all other entries in the series. Unfortunately, the mandatory motion controls were a major turn-off for many on its original release. On top of that, despite the bright color palette, the world was not as vibrant to explore as other 3D Zelda games, and the game suffered several pacing issues thanks to sidekick Fi, who rarely gave the player a chance to figure out what to do next on their own. Nintendo released an HD remaster in 2021 that offered button-only controls and a handful of other nifty quality of life updates that make the Switch release the definitive version.
To read our review of the original Skyward Sword, head here, or read about the Switch version here.
Link's inaugural Game Boy Advance adventure isn't as long as most of the other games on this list, but The Minish Cap still gave players strong, classic Zelda action with creative dungeons, as well as new kinstones and figurines that add interesting quests for completionists. The dungeons remain some of the best in any 2D Zelda game, and the visual style is endearing today as it was impressive on the Game Boy Advance over a decade ago.
After fans were divided on the direction of Wind Waker, Nintendo delivered the dark, gritty, adult version of Zelda many clamored for. Twilight Princess casts Link into a desperate version of Hyrule that is being absorbed by the Twilight Realm. Even Link is affected, as he is able to transform into Wolf Link and enter the alternate dimension. This mechanic is central to not only the story, but the advancement through the dungeons. The clever way the back-and-forth gameplay forces players to think outside of the box, as well as the unconventional design many of the game's areas mean that Twilight Princess delivers arguably the best dungeons in series history – no small feat when you look at the other games on this list. If you're looking to play this game now, the HD version on Wii U (pictured) is the way to go.
To read our thoughts on the Wii U re-release of Twilight Princess, head here.
When it debuted, the cute, cel-shaded graphics of The Wind Waker were as divisive as any single element in gaming can be. However, as time has passed, most have come around on the visuals and learned to appreciate the sheer brilliance and character contained in the design of Wind Waker. While many still wish the greater navigation elements didn't confine you to a small boat, nearly all agree on how unique and clever the game is. In addition, it features arguably the best 3D combat of the series, as well as maybe the most exciting final boss encounter of the entire franchise; the last fight against Ganondorf gives players the ability to take part in the perfect David-vs-Goliath moment.
To read our review of the Wii U HD re-release of Wind Waker, head here.
As the follow up to the more straightforward Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask was a hard sell for many. Perhaps the most unorthodox and unique entry of the entire core series, Majora's Mask takes the series in some of the most interesting directions we've ever seen. It uses the engine, assets, and core controls of Ocarina of Time, but the comparisons don't carry much further than that. The timing-based system gives players reason to watch the clock like a hawk while trying to complete missions to find someone and save Termina from an impending moon-based doomsday. It's dark, it's peculiar, but most importantly, it's brilliant. While the original N64 version was somewhat of an exclusive experience thanks to its Expansion Pak requirement, the game was remastered for 3DS in 2015.
To read our review of Majora's Mask, head here. To read our review of the 3DS remake, head here.
When Nintendo announced it was working on a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, it set itself up for failure. Following up a game like that is no easy task, but somehow, Nintendo delivered an outstanding entry that followed in the footsteps of one of the most beloved games of all time, while still evolving the mechanics in meaningful ways. The superb world carried over from A Link to the Past, making exploration enticing, and the improved combat and traversal make it a thoroughly more accessible option for a more modern audience.
For our review of A Link Between Worlds, head here.
Following up Breath of the Wild was a tall task, but Nintendo demonstrated it was more than up to the challenge. In addition to the massive, sprawling version of Hyrule in this game's predecessor, Tears of the Kingdom expands the explorable world to both the skies above and the depths below. Add to this an innovative suite of powers that fundamentally change the way you exist in and traverse through the world (and share experiences on social media), and Tears of the Kingdom delivered one of the highwater marks for the series.
For more on why The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is so great, check out our review.
Skyward Sword's reception was overall positive, but there was no denying it lacked the explorative exuberance normally associated with the series, and Zelda's creators took note. For Breath of the Wild, Nintendo re-examined everything about Zelda, from its item distribution, dungeons, weapons, and even how it told its story to deliver something wholly unlike the Zeldas that came before it – and the results were phenomenal. Exploring Breath of the Wild's Hyrule is a joy, and it's already a classic only a few years after its debut, but it's difficult to compete with the long-term legacy of the games that took the next two spots on this list.
To read our review of Breath of the Wild, head here.
Similar to how the original Legend of Zelda blazed trails for the 2D action adventure genre, Ocarina of Time was a true innovator in the 3D space. Hyrule was brought to life like never before in a beautiful, expansive 3D space. The new 3D design gave the developers new ways to challenge players with exploration, puzzles, and dungeons, but perhaps the biggest accomplishment was how amazing the controls were for Nintendo's first attempt at a 3D Zelda game (aided greatly by the innovative Z-Targeting system). The feeling of walking out into Hyrule Field for the first time and exploring every corner was a revelation in 1998, and most parts of the adventure still hold up to this day. The soundtrack by Koji Kondo remains one of gaming's musical masterpieces, and the contrast between Young Link and Adult Link in the two very different eras was mind-blowing. When you look at the most important and influential video games to ever release, Ocarina of Time must always enter the conversation.
To read our review of the 3DS remake of Ocarina of Time, head here.
Few games possess sequences that can be described as ingenious. Every so often, modern games release with a level that blows you away with its brilliant design. With The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, nearly every dungeon is layered with genius. You would be hard-pressed to find a game with as consistently brilliant design as A Link to the Past. After Zelda II: The Adventure of Link deviated from the formula laid out by the original Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past not only acted as the series' return-to-form, but as the genre's masterpiece.
The game improved on every aspect of the original Legend of Zelda, greatly expanding the scope and adding a new Dark World element that set the template for many future entries in the series. A Link to the Past also added to Link's arsenal with a massive collection of exciting and effective items to help in his fight against Ganon. To this day, the visuals are a treat to look at, the dungeons are a thrilling challenge to work through, and the world is as engrossing as we've seen. A Link to the Past isn't just the greatest Zelda game, it has withstood the test of time to remain one of the finest video games ever created.
If you want to read more of our rankings of game series, check out our ranking of the Super Mario series and our ranking of the Assassin's Creed series.
Since the reveal of Final Fantasy XVI, players have asked about a potential PC version of the game, especially given that the PlayStation 5-exclusivity reveal came with a six-month window. Some potential players have assumed when that window is up, a PC version of FFXVI will be released.
During my FFXVI cover story trip to Square Enix’s Tokyo, Japan, office, I asked producer Naoki Yoshida about a PC version of the game. While it sounds like it’s on the way, he stresses that it will be longer than six months before players see or even possibly hear about it. I’m guessing he mentions six months because of the aforementioned exclusivity window, but he reiterates that this window expiring does not mean the PC version of FFXVI will go live then or anytime soon.
So for now, and presumably quite a while after the game’s release, if you want to play FFXVI, you’ll need a PlayStation 5.
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
One of the more interesting facets of interviewing various members of Creative Business Unit III, the studio behind the development of Final Fantasy XVI, during this cover story trip, was hearing about the differences between developing an MMO in Final Fantasy XIV and a new single-player Final Fantasy. With the former, CBUIII gets to create settings and characters they can easily return to in future patch quests, expansions, and more. But theoretically, that’s not the case with the latter – Clive Rosfield’s story wraps up in Final Fantasy XVI.
And right now, that indeed could be the end of Clive and the rest of Valisthea’s story because currently, CBUIII has no plans for FFXVI DLC, according to director Hiroshi Takai. He and producer Naoki Yoshida say the team’s priority is getting the game into players’ hands to see what they think.
“It’s a one-off game,” Yoshida tells me. “We’re asking players to pay the full price for this experience, and so we want an experience that’s going to equal the amount of money that players are going to be paying and we want them to have satisfaction equal to what they paid or even more than that.
He, Takai, and the rest of CBUIII I speak to reiterate they created Valisthea to be vast, and it’s a world the team would like to return to. I get the sense if the demand is there, CBUIII is ready on a moment’s notice to return, perhaps through DLC or, harkening back to its MMO expertise, an expansion. At this point, considering recent entries like Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII Remake did receive DLC, it’d be unusual to see FFXVI not receive any.
“We have no idea if people are going to fall in love with Valisthea and fall in love with Clive’s story and want to see more of the world and more of its characters,” Yoshida says. “So while we always want to consider DLC or spinoffs or those types of things where you can learn more about the game, first we want to see if Valisthea and Clive are really things players around the world want to see more of and then make that decision.”
On a similar note, Takai says there aren’t any plans for non-game tie-ins a la FFXV’s Kingsglaive to supplement the world of FFXVI for the time being.
For more, be sure to check out Game Informer’s exclusive FFXVI coverage hub by clicking the banner below.
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Publisher: Private Division
As a development team, the members of Piccolo Studio have an apparent interest in artistic interactive representations of uncomfortable realities. Their previous project, Arise: A Simple Story, was an affecting and powerful portrayal of death and heartbreak. After Us has broader ambitions, telling an allegorical tale about life after humanity and the complicated and often-devastating relationship we have always had with nature. The conclusions it leaves to the player to draw on those subjects are thematically heavy-handed but still impactful. The traversal-focused adventure that gets you there features moments of brilliance and beauty but some frequent frustrations along the way.
Players control a nymphlike girl who embodies the spirit of Gaia, moving through a world long left in shambles by human mishandling. Across an impressive variety of large interconnected stages filled with symbolic representations of nature’s destruction, players leap, sprint, and flit to chase down and recover the spirits of animals driven to extinction by humankind’s arrogance.
After Us’ most memorable elements are these surreal landscapes, filled with towering monuments to consumerism, piles of refuse, and towering human statues in anguish over what they’ve wrought. I looked forward to discovering each new destination. As exploration continues, the discovery of different animal spirits begins to populate each area with ghostly blue apparitions of the long-dead animals, sad and moving in equal measures.
The core gameplay of jumping and fighting back the devouring human spirits along the way fails to hold up to the surrounding visual feast. Leaps and other traversal mechanics are often imprecise, leading to too many respawns because landings are so floaty and hard to detect. The infrequent and rudimentary battles lack even the most basic abilities to lock-on or move laterally, resulting in strange retreats to gain some distance before the occasional quick turn to fling out an attack. I was eager to push past those moments and get back to exploration.
Most areas introduce clever new twists and gimmicks that help to keep the action lively. In one ruined landscape, I had to dodge between covered areas before the poisoned rain dragged me down. In another, I could teleport between abandoned televisions if they were tuned to the same image. Light puzzle solving comes into play with these new mechanics, but the solutions are rarely involved or complex.
While I was entranced by each locale I visited, each place I uncovered seemed to drag on too long. After Us is a game that could have scaled back on its scope and size significantly, and I would have felt its impact all the more. As it is, the long stages and vaguely ethereal music sometimes have a soporific effect.
After Us poses some well-tread but timely questions about our impact on the world and its living things. However, optional discoveries throughout the game suggest that Piccolo is trying to present a slightly more ambivalent take on the subject. Some of that is best left for the player to discover for themselves. I recommend After Us strongly as a piece of visual artistry. It’s less successful as an interactive experience, but none of its problems are so glaring that it should dissuade someone from discovering its striking and haunting world.
About Game Informer's review systemPurchase