Lost Sphear director talks changes from I Am Setsuna, gameplay length, design goals and more

The following info comes from a Kotaku interview with director, Atsushi Hashimoto...

“The story focuses around the protagonist and his friends. They awaken a power within themselves to fight against this phenomena. What we’re trying to do is basically use the base of the Japanese RPGs from the ‘90s, the Golden Age of RPGs and use modern game technology and development methodology to enhance new JRPGs with that core.

We got a lot of feedback from people who played I Am Setsuna, and they said they were feeling a little limited by the fact [that they couldn’t move around]. We did a number of experiments, and then we decided to be able to move characters freely was the best approach.

If you found a certain way of defeating enemies [in I Am Setsuna] you could keep repeating that one winning formula, and it could maybe get a little stale. This time around, we give the enemies more depth to make them something you can really sink your teeth into. Rather than making them harder, give them more damage, we decided to make sure that you have to really think about how to beat each one separately.”

For Lost Sphear, what you’ll see is a world that’s made up of different cultures. There’s a machine-based culture; there’s a magic-based culture. You’ll see how these cultures mix and track with each other, and that’s led to a much more varied world—there’s a lot more variation this time.

We didn’t set out with the idea that we’d take inspiration from Final Fantasy X and make a similar story. We set out to make a story we felt was interesting and what we wanted to do. In the end, after we made it, we said, ‘Hang on, yeah, we have made a similar tale in some ways.’ So this time we’re not setting out to make a game based on a particular preexisting Final Fantasy story, but there is very much that chance that when we’ve finished it, it’ll be a bit similar to something else.

Originally we were aiming to make it the same length [as I Am Setsuna]. Ultimately it’s worked out to be a slightly longer game. It probably will take you about 30 hours.

We did a lot of experimentation to find out what would work well for this game and make it different than Setsuna. For Setsuna, we pretty much concentrated on those depictions of snow scenes... This time we got to branch out a lot more, work out how to best depict other things, give the right feel and impact. We really had to think very hard about how to do those other things as well, that maybe Setsuna couldn’t so much.

One big reason we wanted to put the game on Switch is that we like that it can fit into different gamers’ lifestyles and patterns, and they can find the best way of playing for them. The other thing is that the technical capabilities and specs of the Switch fit very well with the type of games we’re trying to make at Tokyo RPG Factory.

I really want to talk to you about all the details, but I can’t mention so much. There’s a lot of little things we’ve added. Even within different dungeons, there’s gonna be a lots of little changes.”

Namco Museum to include Pac-Man Vs.

Bandai Namco has revealed that Pac-Man Vs. will be included in Namco Museum for Switch. Pac-Man Vs. was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, developed by Nintendo, and originally released for GameCube in 2003. It involved gameplay using both the TV and a GBA. Later on, it was remade for release on DS.

Yooka-Laylee enters Switch-specific testing

Let's hope all goes smoothly and we end up with a release date soon. I'm doing my best to hold out for the Switch release to play!

Minecraft - "Better Together" update, more DLC hitting Switch, Wii U tonight

As you probably know, we’ll soon be bringing you the Better Together Update, which will combine console and mobile editions into one super-lovely version of Minecraft - but that doesn’t mean we're twiddling our thumbs in the meantime! Console Edition will still be getting updated with new features, and those platforms which won’t support the Better Together Update will continue getting updates even after it lands.

With that in mind… here’s an update for you! Yay! It should be rolling out right now across Xbox and Playstation platforms, with Switch and Wii U to follow on later tonight.

New Features:

7 new Achievements/Trophies
New UI engine (saving significant memory - which should boost performance!)
Woodland Mansion
Treasure Maps
Observer Block
Totem of Undying
Illagers! Vindicator, Vex and Evoker!
‘Bouncy’ Beds
Dyeable beds
Option to change Biomes size to match other platforms (since they are smaller on console by default)

As well as all these fancy features, the release also makes two new bits of DLC available:

There's the all new 'Giants' Glide track pack, featuring a trio of deadly aerobatic challenges in which players swoop around oversized furniture, weaving between the limbs of massive mobs, and even through the icky tubes within the human body itself! Gross! But cool!

That's joined by the Mini Game Heroes skin pack - the second of our packs especially designed for elite competitive Minecrafters. Check out the skins here.

Lots of good stuff - with much more to come. Enjoy!

StarFox 2 devs gather to celebrate the upcoming launch of the game

As we mentioned earlier, StarFox 2 dev Dylan Cuthbert is shocked and elated to see that the game is finally seeing release. So much so that he gathered up some other devs from the game, in order to head out and celebrate! You can check out more pics of the gathering via Cuthbert's Twitter account above.

Cuthbert also had more to say on the game's release via a Kotaku interview.

“It made my day. It’s bloody awesome! It was a pretty cool engine and had a lot of features. I’d expand the scripting engine we had to allow more complex expressions. I did this for the next engine I wrote for Blasto on the PlayStation and expanded the scripting engine heavily in that direction with some great results.

Working with Nintendo heavily influenced the level of detail at which we iterate on ideas. We don’t have the luxury of ‘Mario Club’ as it used to be called, the QA and feedback department at Nintendo, so we try to emulate that as best we can. Working at Nintendo gave me that goal in the first place, [because] I saw the process up-close.

Totally weirded out and totally psyched. I mean, I had completely given up on the chance that it might come out. I spent two years of hard work making it and loved every minute. Finally people get to see all the little cool tweaks and things, all the touches and special ideas we threw in there. This game had so much experimentation at the start and that really shows in some of the encounters you’ll come across.

I hope people don’t think they cleared the game with just one playthrough! In that sense, it is a very unique game.”

Just Dance World Cup returns, Sophia Grace to judge UK national finals

LONDON, UK – JUNE 27TH — Today, Ubisoft® announced the new season of the Just Dance World Cup, with a brand new competition format for the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Endorsed by 5 well-known social media celebrities, and even more special guests, the Just Dance World Cup aims to become the first talent competitive show based on a video game.


For the last three years, the Just Dance World Cup has successfully taken a unique approach to the world of eSport competition: not only has it been the perfect match between video games and physical activity, but the only existing eSport show.

This year, the Just Dance World Cup reinvents itself, by transforming its qualification process and adopting a reality show model in France, UK, Germany, Italy and Spain:

Online selection per country: local qualifications will start online on July 16th 2017 and will allow 4 candidates to qualify per territory.

A new qualification format: each capital city will pick their 4 candidates during a series of European auditions organised on September 16th 2017 in Paris, Berlin, London, Rome and Madrid, in front of a jury of experts, with the support of the social media talent who will be at the casting. France will select 3 candidates during its auditions, with the final slot awarded to the winner at Paris Games Week[1].

To be broadcasted on a major national channel, the best candidates of both selection processes will secure their chance to participate in the National Final to become the National Just Dance Champion. Each National Champion will then move on to the final stage of the competition; the Just Dance World Cup Finals in early 2018. The worldwide champion will have the unique opportunity to participate in the next Just Dance, with the creation of their own map in Just Dance Unlimited*.


For its 4th season, the Just Dance World Cup has partnered with the most talented Youtubers in Europe. Natoo in France, Sophia Grace in the UK, Julien Bam in Germany, Favij in Italy and Paula Gonu in Spain will bring their personality and creativity to the JDWC, and will sit in as jury members during the National Finals.

In addition to the five headline stars, many more Youtubers such as Une petite Jajoux, Tim in France or Eleonora Olivieri and Riccardo Dose in Italy will report on the progress of the competitors during the Just Dance World Cup.

Just Dance Unlimited is an additional on-demand subscription service available through Just Dance 2016, Just Dance 2017 & Just Dance 2018.

For more information about Just Dance World Cup, please visit justdancegame.com

Pokemon news - Sun/Moon distribution in Japan, Shuffle update

Pokémon Sun & Moon - Alola Cap Pikachu

- ties in with the 20th movie, Pokémon! I Choose You
- if you prebook tickets in Japan, you will get a Serial Code for one of six Pikachu wearing one of Ash's caps
- this distribution provides Alola Cap Pikachu, which has Ash's hat from the Sun & Moon series of anime
- knows the move Iron Tail which Pikachu can't normally get in Sun & Moon
- comes with the Pikashunium Z Z-Crystal which turns the move Thunderbolt into the Z-Move 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt.
- distribution is available until July 17th 2017, with a repeat coming in September

Pokemon Shuffle - content update

- special stage for Unova Cap Pikachu has begun and runs until July 4th 2017
- special stage for Luxray has begun, which run until July 4th 2017
- Latios Escalation Battle has begun a repeat run until July 11th 2017
- new competitive stage has begun for Shiny Mega Gyarados and comes with several restrictions
- you can only use Electric or Normal-type Pokémon
- you can only use Mega Ampharos, Mega Audino, Mega Kangaskhan or Mega Lopunny as your Mega Evolution
- top 100 players in Europe, 100 in North America and 500 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 5 Mega Speedup and 10 Raise Max Level
- top 300 players in Europe, 400 in North America and 1500 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 4 Mega Speedup and 8 Raise Max Level
- top 500 players in Europe, 800 in North America and 3000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 3 Mega Speedup and 6 Raise Max Level
- top 900 players in Europe, 1300 in North America and 5000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 2 Mega Speedup and 4 Raise Max Level
- top 1800 players in Europe, 2500 in North America and 10000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 2 Mega Speedup and 2 Raise Max Level
- top 3600 players in Europe, 5100 in North America and 20000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 1 Mega Speedup and 1 Raise Max Level
- top 5400 players in Europe, 8000 in North America and 30000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 1 Mega Speedup and 1 Skill Booster M
- top 7200 players in Europe, 10000 in North America and 40000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up, 1 Mega Speedup and 1 Disruption Delay
- top 9000 players in Europe, 13000 in North America and 50000 in Japan will get 1 Level Up and 1 Attack Power
- top 13000 players in Europe, 18000 in North America and 70000 in Japan will get 1 Disruption Delay and 1 Attack Power
- if you don't already have the Gyaradosite, you will get that rather than the Level Up
- all other players will get an Attack Power

Watch the Pokemon North American International Championships Live

The largest competitive Pokémon event of the year is about to begin, and you can watch the action live! Watch all three days of the North American International Championships from June 30 to July 2 at Pokemon.com/Live, where we'll show exciting Pokémon TCG and video game battles across three channels. Be sure to stick around all the way through Sunday's finals to find out who will become the first North American International Champions! This event is the last chance for players to earn major Championship Points toward the Pokémon World Championships and other great prizes, so every battle is sure to be intense.

The live stream will feature play-by-play and analysis by our expert commentators.

Pokémon TCG commentators: Jeremy Jallen, Josue Rojano, Kyle Sabelhaus, Kyle Sucevich, Kenny Wisdom, and Josh Wittenkeller

Pokémon VGC commentators: Adam Dorricott, Duy Ha, Evan Latt, Ray Rizzo, and Gabby Snyder

And remember, you can also watch the North American International Championships in person at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Get details on how to register as a spectator for the big event.

Be sure to visit Pokemon.com/Live from June 30 to July 2 to watch exciting battles live from Indianapolis at the North American International Championships.

Original Pokémon Episodes Now Available in HD

You can now rediscover the original exciting adventures of Ash, Pikachu, and friends with rental and purchase of the first season of Pokémon the Series on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. And for the first time ever, these episodes will be available digitally in HD. In these episodes, you'll get to see Ash's first journeys into the Kanto region, and how he met his best friend Pikachu.

Check out the entire first season of Pokémon the Series today on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

The world of Ever Oasis – part 2

Creating a new world

When making a game, I always start by building the world. So for example, to create a fantasy game world, I start with these questions:

Is the world a planet?
What sort of chemical elements is the planet made of?
What climate and terrain result from these chemical elements?
What kinds of beings live there?
Are there humans or other humanoid creatures?
How do those people live?
What sorts of factions are there and what are their peculiarities?
What kinds of tools do they use?
How are things evolving over time?

Full feature here


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