VR has been available to us for several years now, but 2020 could quite fairly be described as the year VR finally “arrived”. Between the debut of cheaper, better hardware in the Oculus Quest 2, and tentpole game releases such as Half Life Alyx and Star Wars Squadrons, the stars aligned to make VR more appealing and accessible than ever.

This thing beams joy directly into my eyeballs.

As a developer and newly converted VR enthusiast myself, what fascinates me the most is the ongoing development of the medium. Much of the standard wisdoms of modern game design simply don’t carry over, so the industry is largely still…

I’ve never been much of a nostalgic person. I often revisit old games, but out of curiosity rather than reminiscence. It allows me to look upon what I’ve already seen but with more experienced eyes. It’s an exercise in relearning forgotten design language as a means of informing my own creative vocabulary. This is also why I enjoy remakes, because they’re what happen when that process of re-examination and reconsideration is given a budget.

Crash Bandoicoot tangled in his own yoyo.
This is a visual metaphor for the limitations of nostalgia… or something.

Sometimes remakes are pretty straightforward: a graphical boost laid atop of a faithful recreation of the game’s original content. The Crash Bandicoot and Spyro trilogy remakes…

It’s nearly impossible to talk about the new Resident Evil 3 remake without talking about the 1999 original, but that’s exactly what I’ll be doing here.

Leave all your reasonable expectations that come with examining a remake of Resident Evil 3 at the door, I’m here to talk about why this remake is precisely the sequel to the REmake 2 it needs to be, rather than examining how closely or successfully it updates its source material.

As you’d expect, the following contains light spoilers for some of the environments and events in both Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes. …

“A perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.” — The Alien

My good friend Sam Greer once told me that Aliens is the most influential movie in gaming history. Everything from atmosphere to dialogue, technology, weapons, characters and scenes have been ripped from James Cameron’s action horror classic and reworked into games in one way or another.

(To Sam’s further credit, she brought this up as part of a larger and more interesting point that games have ripped off Aliens from front to back but failed to even consider adapting the most important component of Aliens: Ellen Ripley. …

With 2019 coming to a close, we’re about to see a lot of people (myself included) attempt to wrap up both the year and the decade with some kind of defining thoughts on all the games we’ve seen. While it’s tempting to focus on the status quo as it stands in 2019, I’d instead like to focus on two games within AAA space that have been widely described as “weird”: Control and Death Stranding. …

Gimme a minute, we’re gonna chat about The Last of Us first.

A few weeks ago, I was replaying The Last of Us, and while I had a pretty good time with it, I did have a few criticisms that didn’t occur to me back in 2013. One thing in particular that struck me was how the traversal sections that make up much of the game weren’t especially good. Typically they’d involve walking around an environment with the left stick, and occasionally overcoming environmental obstacles. These would often take the shape of walls to scale or heavy doors to lift. Push a crate to climb over, tap triangle to lift the door…

This is a piece I wrote last year as part of Greg Buchanan’s Newsletter. That month’s theme was about setting stories in space, and you can find my words alongside contributions by Heather Antos, James Swallow and Micheal Moreci right here.

The trick to telling a story in space is to ground it.

That was a joke, but it’s also the truth.

It’s important to set the rules. Even if they’re far from the rules of reality, establishing them clearly is incredibly important for a space-based story. For us at National Insecurities, we settled on something close to reality, but…

In February of 2019, I proposed a question to Twitter:

How would you make a John Wick game?

There have been many games about shooting dudes in the head, but to my mind, no game had really captured anything quite like the experience of being John Wick. Some of the responses to my tweet suggested otherwise: SUPERHOT, Max Payne, Hotline Miami and Not a Hero already exist. While I agree with parts of these observations of similarity, I feel like each capture fractions of the experience, but never the whole. …

Gary Kings

Lead Designer @ National Insecurities. Has Game Thoughts sometimes. Is loud on Twitter @Garyjkings. Hire me to write your game or edit your trailers.

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