Speaking at this week’s Develop:Brighton conference, tinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik gave examples of how large language models like ChatGPT could be used by game studios to identify “potentially problematic players on the team.” Suggestions included feeding employees’ text conversations and video call transcripts into a system to detect certain words that could indicate burnout and “time vampires”.
After receiving online criticism, Niciporchik tweeted to say that parts of his presentation were taken out of context and that the examples were “hypothetical”.
In Viewfinder, you solve puzzles by finding the right way to see things, and here you do that by both physically moving through its abstract 3D spaces and mentally wrapping your brain around its mind-bending set of rules. Perspective is key because here’s the thing: it’s a world where you can bring photos to life, with the 2D image becoming a 3D reality when you place it in the puzzle world.
It’s an amazing hook and one I’ve never seen in a puzzle game before. There are echoes of The Witness, Gorogoa and Superliminal here, but Viewfinder’s dizzying puzzles are still very clean. It impresses right off the bat and continues to pull tricks from its silky tophat until the end of its four-hour run. It’s compact, brilliant, and one of the best puzzle games of 2023.
I have now been several hours into Exoprimal, a multiplayer PVEVP game where two teams compete to wipe out hordes of enraged dinosaurs as quickly as possible. And I’m sad to report that I’m having a miserable time. This feels like another cursed game I had to rewatch this year, and I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this. The chickens – which as far as I know are dinosaurs or distant relatives of the large lizards – have gone home to roost.
A new demo invites you to marvel at a mysterious and alarming alien world in The Invincible, a video game adaptation of the 1964 science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem (the Polish author also known for Solaris). It’s basically Firewatch in space. I haven’t read the book, but I had a great time wandering around glowing 3D space spaces while taking in a BBC Radio 4 drama.
We already knew that Assassin’s Creed Mirage would return to the more intimate and focused scope of older games in Ubisoft’s sneaky, sneaky series. It looks like this restrained approach will extend to its post-launch content as well, with its developers saying they currently have no plans to expand the game after release with DLC or other expansions.
When I think back to most movie rigs I’ve played recently, it’s not the last part of their genre title that I remember the most, but the first. The lush panoramas of your Planet Of Lanas, the haunting backdrops of your Somervilles, and the gooey, malleable monstrosities of your Insides. These dramatic moments linger in the memory far longer than their respective runs and jumps, and if it’s a real platforming challenge I’m looking for, I usually look elsewhere, trading cinema for action with your Raymans, Trines and Oris.
Full Void, on the other hand, is a cinematic run and jump that manages to strike a good balance between the two parts of its personality. Following the Another World schoolhouse where gorgeous pixel art meets one-foot-wrong-and-you’re-dead-style platforming (albeit with much more generous checkpoints than its 1991 source material), there’s real athleticism to your teenage hero’s journey to bring down a despotic AI, making its intricate leaps and bounds just as memorable as its detailed game pieces.
Unboxing is, for the most part, a casual puzzle game. I had a good time pulling out all of the protagonist’s items one by one and placing them in the various locations around his rooms. From her childhood bedroom to her first home, I love how relaxing and rewarding it is to decorate every room. But after replaying it for this month’s RPS Game Club, there’s one section that gave me quite the opposite reaction.
A big part of Unpacking is discovering characters’ personalities through their items: what clothes they have in their closets, what items fill their shelves, what kitchen utensils move from move to move, and so on. These contextual clues act as a subtle yet incredibly effective storytelling device. There is one level, however, where it’s not all casual fun times and that’s when the protagonist moves in with her first partner, who I’ll now call “finance boyfriend” – and wow, he’s the absolute worst. Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t played Unpacking.
I never thought I would hear the words ‘roguelite’ and ‘Minesweeper’ together in the same sentence but here we are. Lets go ! Revolution! is a cheerful mix of minesweeper and roguelite, tasking players with tracking down a deliciously loathsome king through a series of increasingly complex tile maps to pull off their titular coup. With all the tiles face down on arrival, you’ll need to jump from square to square to flip them over and reveal the king’s hideout before moving on to the next level. But with several of his royal agents stalking the roads and highways, you’ll need to choose your route carefully, making good use of your character’s unique skills to arrive at your final destination of Beebom City. That, and using a bit of the old minesweeper noggin, of course.
You see, tiles are of two types in Let’s! Revolution! The aforementioned road tiles and the surrounding landscape tiles. These all have numbers indicating how many road tiles surround it, giving you just enough information to get an idea of where the road (and the king’s lackeys) might be hiding. Be careful though. This lot is a tricky bunch, and can overwhelm pretty quickly if revealed too early and all at once. That’s it ! Revolution! in a nutshell, at least, but the real joy of this racing-based rogue comes from its gorgeous presentation and brilliantly crafted character classes that twist and shape its basic building blocks into new shapes every time. It’s great fun and I never get tired of it.
It looked like the next PC version of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart had already exhausted its supply of brilliant Windows-exclusive features to show off; we already knew this would happen with DLSS, DLSS 3, FSR 2, and ray-traced lighting and shadows. Turns out there’s plenty more, as port developers Nixxes Software used a Sony blog post to detail a few new tech toys, including Rift Apart’s Microsoft DirectStorage 1.2 support.
DirectStorage is both one of the most exciting recent developments in gaming hardware and one of the most underutilized: it essentially adapts your PC’s process to read data from an SSD or HDD in a way that can dramatically reduce game load times, but has so far only reached prime time in Forspoken. I guess the upside is that once Rift Apart is released on July 26, DirectStorage’s list of compatible games will increase by 100%?