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While we were at Gamescom a few weeks back, we got to check out The Witcher 3. We also managed to pin down Michal Stec, the game’s art producer, who was kind enough to answer a whole lot questions.

Here’s the thing: we did something a little different in this interview. Those of you who were paying attention on NAG’s Twitter, Facebook and Forum pages will have seen a call for reader questions. We went into this interview armed with the best questions that you lovely lot wanted answers to.

Some of your questions were a little tricky, so the ones that Michal wasn’t able to answer have been left out of this transcript. There are, however, a lot of interesting snippets of information to be found, including some odds and sods that haven’t been covered anywhere else online. Exclusives!

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Coming home from a long, hard day at work, the last thing you want to do is think. You want to sit down, relax, shut the brain off and get involved in some mindless, stress-relieving carnage. There are more than a few games that sate this desire, but one in particular from 2003 won the hearts of a lot of gamers: Crimsonland. It was one of the earliest examples of blood-soaked arena shooters and one of the first games to move the action to a 2D plane in the wake of Serious Sam.

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Hexcells V0 2013-07-22 13-23-38-28

I absolutely hate Minesweeper. That tiny piece of fluff-ware that seems to be bundled in so many operating systems simply irks me to no end. I feel this way because, while there is some strategy involved, most of the gameplay boils down to blind luck. And when chance takes preference instead of direct influence over the outcome, I simply lose interest. With this bitter taste in my mouth, I was cautious when I approached Hexcells, whose description bears more than a passing resemblance to the infamous ‘sweeper. Thankfully, my prejudices weren’t realized and I found it to be a rather delightful puzzle experience.

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It’s rather embarrassing you see, because this game has been around for over a year already. I’m tempted to throw in an obscure Star Wars reference about ships this small not having cloaking devices, and then liken Enemy Starfighter to the Millennium Falcon, but in explaining that analogy I have inadvertently obviated its need. So let’s carry on then!

Enemy Starfighter is another upcoming space simulator that’s gleefully riding atop the crest of the genre’s resurgence. I for one welcome our new space sim genre overlords because they remind me of my youth when I’d while away the weekends playing Wing Commander and X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter. I’m waiting for EA’s inevitable realisation that space simulators are a thing once again, and for them to go on and announce a new Star Wars space simulator. That distant shrieking you’ll hear shortly after that announcement will in all likelihood be me as I spin around in circles, get dizzy and puke from excitement.

Enemy Starfighter, however, is not big budget. It’s nowehere near as gargantuan a project as Star Citizen, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something that should be ignored. Allow me to put this game firmly on your radar (assuming you were, like me, fast asleep and completely oblivious to its existence because we’re terrible, terrible human beings) by describing it as such: it’s pretty much Homeworld but you fly the space ships as well. OH GOOD GOLLY BUT IT HAS MY ATTENTION NOW.

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Remakes have always been a touchy subject, but lately it seems as if the topic has ignited a whole new inflammatory debate, with all manner of sanctimony attached to every side’s argument. Our very own Chris Kemp decided to tackle this controversy recently, and suffice to say things weren’t exactly rosy. It becomes even more of a problem when you’re dredging up a really old game like Shadowgate, giving it a new paint job and trying to simultaneously appeal to both a new generation and old fans alike. Is this modern remake of a 30 year-old classic up to the task?

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Yesterday at Gamescom we sat down with Jonty Barnes (the director of production for Destiny) and Jessie van Dijk (the lead concept artist) to talk about the recent beta, the team’s nerves, and wizards that come from the moon! The chaps at Bungie have always been an easy-going bunch of people, so it was nice to learn that this online, company persona of theirs translates into real life. Our interview (and really, it was more like a friendly chat about their upcoming game) was heaps of fun, and it offered a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of a development team that’s about to launch one of the biggest games in the industry’s history. In that regard it was a thoroughly refreshing and honest fifteen minutes. A lot of the time, developers are held on very tight leashes by the PR people who sit next to them, but in this case there was really very little that was off limits for discussion.

If you’re excited for Destiny, or you’re just a Bungie fan (and we know many of you wonderful readers are total Bungie fans – we don’t blame you) then hit the jump and give our candid chit-chat a read.

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They say change comes from within, but the last time we went digging around our insides we came out with handfuls of blood and squishy bits, and a free trip to the hospital. With that in mind, we decided that the best place to seek change is beyond. Or outside… What’s the opposite of within? Anyway, the point is that we want you to tell us what change you’d like to see at NAG Online, or if you’re absolutely happy with everything, then tell us that!

In exchange for a few moments of your time spent answering a mere 23 questions, we’ve secured some great prizes from Incredible Connection, Rectron, Ster Kinekor Entertainment, Pinnacle Africa, and Hobby Island. Right at the bottom of the survey we’ll ask you to choose which draw you want to enter, so we’re sure there’ll be something to appeal to everyone!

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The Skylanders franchise is no stranger to mobile iterations, but to date those versions have been smaller spin-offs that have opted to play it safe. Eschewing full console ports in favour of touchscreen-friendly controls, and gameplay styles that fit with that particular input method, the Skylanders mobile offerings have never been much to write home about. Development team Vicarious Visions has helmed the mobile versions of Skylanders, but have also been behind the 3DS release of Spyro’s Adventure and the Wii U version of Skylanders Giants. Insofar as mobile versions are concerned, Vicarious has always been held back by limited hardware.

With the latest tablet versions on the market getting comparatively close to last-generation console processing power, Vicarious Visions is no longer limited. So that’s one hurdle cleared in the race for a true mobile version of the Skylanders franchise. The last remaining hurdle? The series’ main hook: getting toys into game worlds. That final hurdle, it seems, has just been cleared with athletic sure-footedness.

For the upcoming Skylanders Trap Team, Vicarious Visions and developer Toys for Bob are bringing the full console version of Trap Team to mobile tablets. That means a new retail offering with an exclusive tablet version of the now synonymous Portal of Power. If it sounds like a money-making gambit based on yet another mobile cash-in, rest assured that it isn’t. Skylanders Trap Team is going SERIOUSLY mobile.

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Sorry we’re late. Had a spot of car trouble. Plus, RedTide took forever to decide on an outfit, and he kept complaining that he simply couldn’t get his hair to behave, which makes a weird sort of pseudo-sense given that he’s not got any hair.

Anyway. Remember Rainbow Six: Patriots? Which we had on our cover that one time? Well, please stop remembering it, and go home right now and set fire to that issue as a sort of memory cleanse. Because all eyes are now on Rainbow Six: Siege, which looks an awful lot like someone at Ubisoft woke up one morning and decided that the best way to go forward is to go backward. And we love that, because Rainbow Six‘s best days were its early days. We love the look of Siege so much that we’re forcing you to look at it too by putting it on our cover.


After the break, obviously.

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Give that spider a McSmack.

Commercialization in games is a controversial subject. As the medium has attracted more mainstream appeal, it is inevitable that it’ll be considered as a potential marketing vehicle. Nowadays, we bemoan the fact that endless product placement appears in AAA titles, but it’s hardly a new occurrence. Back in 1992, McDonald’s – considered by many to be the de facto face of unrestrained consumerism – lent its likeness to several video games, the best of which is arguably M.C. Kids.

Being a platformer originally for the NES released in the wake of Super Mario Bros. 3, many dismissed it as a lacklustre attempt to wedge in on the Italian plumber’s turf. Indeed, there are superficial similarities, such as a world map and collecting coins, albeit in the guise of the McDonald’s “M”. However, those who looked past its branding and apparent unoriginality quickly found a surprisingly playable chunk of platforming goodness.

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