The Red Lantern's harsh environment can lead to death by squirrel, developer jokes about "Zen mode" and Nintendo Labo VR support

Cruel squirreld

The Red Lantern is out to tell you a story how harsh things can be in the Alaskan bush. It'll be you, your sled, and a team of dogs trying to survive the harsh environment. There are plenty of ways you can get taken out, including death by squirrel. Game director Lindsey Rostal explains...

“We have a strong narrative background. I’ve made branching games and I wanted to find a new way to have a more dynamic narrative. Something that worked more in a streaming context and for a larger variety of audiences. It’s a fun way to write. You don’t know what’s really going to happen. There’s likelihoods and there’s relationships between animals in the environments and everything like that, but things are changing all the time. The unexpected nature of the world is really exciting. You’re like, 'This is likely to happen, but [then again] this squirrel might murder me... It can happen."

As The Red Lantern has a huge narrative aspect to it, a strong lead voice actor is necessary. Many will be happy to know that the role of "The Musher" will be played by Ashly Burch, who's known for her work in other games like Life is Strange and Horizon Zero Dawn.

The developers of The Red Lantern are hoping that the narration along with the unforgiving gameplay will help immerse you in the experience. There are some other ideas the team are kicking around for immersion as well. A "screensaver zen mode" is a feature that has been considered/joked about, which would let you look at the scenery while using gyro controls. The team is even open to Nintendo Labo VR support if possible. Elaborating upon that support, Rostel said, "You never know! If they give me a parka version I’m in."

Nintendo and Studio MDHR explain how Cuphead came to Switch, and hint at "a few little extras for people to find" (UPDATE)

Drink in the secrets

Cuphead on the Switch seems too good to be true, doesn't it? Well keep pinching yourself, because this isn't a dream! Wondering how this all came to be? Game Informer spoke to Nintendo's manager of publisher and developer relations Kirk Scott, Nintendo's product marketing specialist Vincent Chon, and Cuphead co-creator Jared Moldenhauer to find out.

We’re always trying to get the best content on the platform. So it’s organic, like "Hey, this would be a great idea." Then somebody at Microsoft says, "Hey we think this would be a great idea too." Then they talk to those guys and it just happens.

Jared Moldenhauer: Well, from my perspective, and I don’t know so now I’m just speculating, but the industry is changing a little bit more to be more supportive of indies. Why should we have so many walls up? Why not support all gamers and work between the Goliaths like Microsoft and Nintendo to find a balance so that indie gaming can have a better chance… instead of locking things out for the rest of time, that’s kind of a problematic approach that I don’t think would make it in the future.

Scott: Indies are the small guys, so it’s good to give them an opportunity to launch on whatever platforms they can.

Vincent Chon: Our strategy with indies is "I really just to let you guys do your thing." We don’t want to be a roadblock there, we just want to bring great games to fans.

Will the Switch version of Cuphead have content that wasn't in the original Xbox/PC releases? It seems like there might be some special nods tucked in there, according to Moldenhauer.

...there might be a few little extras for people to find out… (Asked about Easter eggs) Who knows?

UPDATE: PopAgenda, the company handling PR for Cuphead, reached out to us with the following statement.

I just want to confirm with you that there's is no exclusive content to the Switch version. All content in the Switch version will be patched into the Free Content Update on Xbox and PC the day the Switch version comes out, April 18th.

As for Moldenhauer's comments on Easter eggs, it seems his "who knows?" answer was just him playing coy, and not hinting at something more.

Nintendo's Kirk Scott hopeful that Cadence of Hyrule is just the start for Nintendo x Indie collabs

We hope so too!

While Cuphead coming to Switch was huge news, Nintendo managed to sneak in an even bigger surprise into yesterday's Switch Nindies Showcase. Nintendo is teaming with the gang behind Crypt of the Necrodancer to create Cadence of Hyrule, a mash-up of both titles. Seeing Nintendo allow an indie dev one of their most valued IPs was a real eye-opener, as it shows Nintendo's willingness to share their IP with proven developers of any type.

Does this collaboration pave the wave for future tie-ups with other indie devs? Could we see more crossovers like this one in the future? Here's what Kirk Scott, Nintendo’s manager of publisher and manager relations, had this to say.

“I hope so. I totally hope so. Yeah, this is great. I think this is validating for a lot of indies out there.”

Nintendo and Brace Yourself Games explain how the extremely unique Cadence of Hyrule collab came about

A mash-up no one saw coming

One of the biggest surprises during today's Switch Nindies Showcase: Spring 2019 presentationw as the reveal of Cadence of Hyrule, a Crypt of the Necrodancer/Legend of Zelda mash-up. Wondering how that project came to be? IGN talked to Ryan Clark, founder of Crypt of the NecroDancer developer Brace Yourself Games, and Kirk Scott, Nintendo of America’s Manager of Publisher-Developer Relations to find out.

“We were considering making a new Nintendo Switch project and we imagined how cool it would be to have Zelda characters appearing in NecroDancer; say as DLC. To our surprise, Nintendo was extremely interested in the prospect, and before we knew it we were working on a completely new title, mashing up NecroDancer with The Legend of Zelda!” - Ryan Clark

“Developers are always reaching out to Nintendo to include IP in their games. When you look at a case like Cadence of Hyrule, there’s special cases in some instances where our Japan team see content and see titles that they want to work with and [the interest is] a two-way street, really.” - Kirk Scott

“(This) is first and foremost a new entry in the NecroDancer universe. (We) took extensive care to ensure that it could be considered to be both (a Zelda game and Necrodancer game)” - Ryan Clark

“[Brace Yourself Games] worked directly with our Japan teams to get that [Zelda] content in there, even if it doesn’t really fall in line with a Zelda-type title.” - Kirk Scott

“Zelda is well known for musical compositions among games. Being able to mix these two together into an awesome musical mashup of gameplay is definitely one of the most exciting points!“ - Ryan Clark

“...it it is one of the first independent developers to use Zelda content.” - Kirk Scott

Metamorphosis developer talks creating fun moments with the game's unique gameplay

A game filled with bugs...good bugs

You awaken one morning to discover that you have been transformed into a tiny bug. This is rather inconvenient, as your friend Joseph is being arrested for reasons unknown and he can’t recognize you like this. To save Joseph and to find the answers you seek, you must embark on a perilous journey through a strange world which, like yourself, has turned twisted and unfamiliar.

Metamorphosis certainly has a unique setup, and it seems ripe for interesting and exciting gameplay opportunities. In the video interview above, the marketing man for developer Ovid Works shares some insight into the game's approach to creating fun.

Detective Pikachu production designer explains why the film shies away from using game/anime landmarks

It's still real to me, damnit!

Detective Pikachu wants to take a very real approach to the world of Pokemon. For the team creating the movie, that meant staying away from direct-rips of locations and buildings from the Pokemon anime and games. Nigel Phelps, production designer on Detective Pikachu, fully explains the approach in the comment below.

"We've kind of shied away from [using landmarks and architecture from the games]. There are little clues with the street names, and stuff like that, there’s references to the Pokemon universe, without being specific to it. So we’ve shied away from the animation [because] the cartoons and stuff felt much too cartoon-y and unreal, and it was important to everyone making the film that this was a realistic universe."

Pokemon GO's PvP mode was designed to bring back lapsed players, and the plan worked

Players returned in droves...and they stayed as well

Pokemon GO was an absolute phenomenon when it launched, with millions upon millions of players checking it out. As time rolled on, the game maintained a large and dedicated userbase, but it lost millions of players as well. What could Niantic do to woo some of those players back, and also get lapsed fans to jump back in? According to Niantic’s Rob Giusti, the team saw PvP as the opportunity to win those players back.

“What we’re really looking for most of all was to increase our number of players. We really wanted to reacquire the lapsed players that hadn’t launched the game in the while.”

The team put a lot of work into PvP battles in order to try and achieve their goal of getting players to return. According to Giusti, the efforts were a big success. Pokemon GO saw a bump in both daily and monthly active users (for both returning and new players), positive effects on retention, extended play sessions, and positive social media coverage.

'Something really magical happened' when the Detective Pikachu team tested Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu

The role of a lifetime

Fans around the world might have wanted Danny DeVito to play the role of Detective Pikachu in the film of the same name, but it wasn't meant to be. The team ended up on going with Ryan Reynolds, which some thought to be an odd choice at first. Now that we've heard Reynolds in the role, it does seem like good casting. Wondering how that came to be? Visual effects producer Greg Baxter explains in an interview with Nerdist.

"We knew what the character was gonna be—you know, what it looked like, the size, the shape, even some of the basic movements, but then as we were looking at different actors, we would put voice from what that actor had done in the past through Pikachu just to see how that was gonna play. And something really magical happened when we put Ryan Reynolds' voice into Pikachu.

It's just not at all what you'd expect and it's just funny, because ... the way he speaks and the way he acts is almost like one giant run-on sentence. He keeps talking until jokes just fly out. And for this little, cute, little thing to have that kind of crass and sarcastic sense of humor and then just kind of keep going ... that actually affects the animation."

Pokemon.com Interview - Making Pokémon Movie Magic

Making the world of Pokemon real

Are you ready to experience an unbelievable new take on the world of Pokémon? The detailed 3-D depictions of Pokémon in the upcoming feature film POKÉMON Detective Pikachu will have you imagining what it would be like to see and feel a Pokémon right beside you. With an incredible cast of talent led by Ryan Reynolds and a crew including some of the most talented visual effects artists in the world, the film will take fans on one of the most shocking Pokémon adventures yet.

We talked to the cast and crew of this highly anticipated movie to learn more about how Pokémon is being elevated to the big screen. Grab your detective hat and magnifying glass, and come with us as we investigate the set of POKÉMON Detective Pikachu.

Check out the full interview here

Legendary Entertainment hints at future Pokemon movies

Lairon Man?

Detective Pikachu looks like it has all the makings of a hit. Could this be the beginning of a Pokemon Cinematic Universe? While Legendary Entertainment producer Ali Mendes wasn't ready to flat-out confirm that yet, it does seem like there are plans.

“[Pokemon is] such a rich universe. There are so many ways you can go inside of it. We're trying to get the first movie right, and then once we've done that, we'll see where we go from there, but absolutely. There are a lot of opportunities. Even the Pokemon themselves, there are eight hundred of them. We're going to have a lot of them in [Pokemon: Detective Pikachu], but we want to play with all of them at some point.”