Tech & Gaming

Edge May 2017

The authority on videogame art, design and play, Edge is the must-have companion for game industry professionals, aspiring game-makers and super-committed hobbyists. Its mission is to celebrate the best in interactive entertainment today and identify the most important developments of tomorrow, providing the most trusted, in-depth editorial in the business via unparalleled access to the developers and technologies that make videogames the world’s most dynamic form of entertainment.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
in the white room, with no curtains, near the station

A quick peek behind the scenes for you: Edge moved to new offices this month. It wasn’t your typical move, either. This was a real clearout, a proper life laundry – which, when you’ve been going for almost a quarter of a century, means getting rid of stuff. And we had an awful lot. Everyone comes to a point in their lives when they have to let go of things that are important to them – but game makers don’t have the luxury of waiting 25 years between clearouts. The early part of a project’s life is a time of nonstop creativity; no concept is bad until it is proven to be so, and so there is a procession of great ideas. Then there comes a tipping point, when creativity gives…

7 min.
the library

The stock market, inevitably, got into a bit of a flap about Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft’s latest Xbox One initiative will, at its launch this spring, offer 100 games to download and play for a monthly subscription fee of £7.99. The day-one line-up has its highlights: Halo 5 and the HD remake Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition sit front and centre on the marketing materials, to suggest strong, reasonably contemporary firstparty support. But beyond that lies a selection mined not from Xbox’s recent past, but its distant back catalogue: games such as Fable III, Payday 2 and SoulCalibur II. It’s this element that sent investors into a tizzy. Shares in Gamestop, the largest US videogame retailer, and Game, its UK equivalent, took a hit. The bricks-and-mortar game store relies heavily…

4 min.
game on

Now that’s more like it. We may have fussed about the lofty price, the lowly battery life and the rake-thin launch lineup, but Switch is off to a flyer. Over its first two days on sale it became Nintendo’s fastest-selling console in history in the Americas and Europe; Breath Of The Wild became its fastest selling launch title, too. In the UK, Nintendo sold more copies of the new Zelda than it did of Wii Sports in 2006 – and that was bundled. Yes, Breath Of The Wild outsold, at launch, the fifth-most popular console of all time. In Japan, Nintendo sold 313,000 units of its new hardware in a week, putting Switch within 10,000 of PS4’s launch sales in the territory. Of course, there are caveats. Wii was severely supply…

4 min.
plastic fantastic

The industry’s concerted attempts to revive plastic-peripheral-based music games in 2015 through Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4 were, in commercial terms at least, failures. The latter case, in particular, proved almost fatal for publisher Mad Catz, which shouldered the major manufacturing risks associated with the plastic instruments used for Harmonix’s game. The peripheral maker was forced to lay off almost 40 per cent of its staff following poor sales. For that reason, Hasbro’s partnership with the storied US music-game company on DropMix, which allows player to mash up songs using collectible cards played onto a chunky plastic mixing table, seems at once courageous and reckless. The starter pack, which will retail for a plucky $99.99, contains the two-footlong board (which, at one end, contains a slot into which you…

5 min.
the wonder stuff

The Sega Master System’s equivalent of Zelda and Super Metroid was 1989’s Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap. Deep, complex and full of mystery, this RPG-inflected platformer was on every owner’s radar – including that of Parisbased Omar Cornut, who went on to work as a programmer at UK studio Media Molecule on Tearaway and Dreams, at Q-Games on the PixelJunk series, and co-created the rather special Soul Bubbles on DS. In his spare time he’s cultivated a growing obsession for the Master System into running SMS Power, one of its principal fan websites, and has now established a new studio, Lizardcube, to remake its killer app with a beautiful new graphical style – albeit one that can be restored to its1989 state at the touch of a single button. Why…

1 min.
mixed reality

Narita Boy is an action RPG drenched in ’80s charm and faded-VHS visual noise. Developer Studio Koba casts you as the titular hero on the hunt for a fabled weapon, the Techno Sword. The title is also the name of a fictional game created by Lionel Pear, a mysterious, genius computer engineer for his Narita One console, but the two dimensions begin to blur. The game takes its visual cues from classics such as Another World and Castlevania, as well as more recent pixel-art creations such as Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. And those sterling visuals are supported by a pounding synth soundtrack. “Above all else, [we want] Narita Boy to be a full sensory experience that plays with the nostalgia and weirdness of the ’80s, while also mixing in some weird…