Articles by Luke Plunkett

Neo Geo

World Heroes Was A Damn Good Fighting Game

When Street Fighter II hit the big time in the early 1990s, it spawned a lot of competition. Some of these rivals emerged as beloved fighting game series in their own right, and would live on for years. Others, like World Heroes, couldn’t quite escape the crush of the bandwagon. Developed by Japanese studio Alpha Denshi and published by SNK for its Neo Geo arcades (and console), World Heroes was released in 1992, at the height of Street Fighter-mania. And boy did it show. The game’s primary mode involved selecting one of eight players (the same number as Street Fighter) and then beating them all on the way to a boss battle. The game’s “star” was a Japanese martial arts expert, who had a twin character that dressed in identical robes, only they were red. There was an American wrestler instead of a boxer. There was a guy with extendable limbs, just like Dhalsim. There was a character with a dragon kick. Even some of the game’s graphics looked eerily similar, especially the effects used when somebody caught fire. In the West at least, this helped the game – along with the relative rarity READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

alien

The Art Of Alien: Covenant

Now that the movie is out, the artists who worked on Alien: Covenant are free to share their stuff. And regardless of your thoughts on the movie itself, it’s all very pretty. Note that this isn’t everything from the vault, nor is it encompassing the work of every single artist who contributed to the movie. It’s just a selection, comprising the work of both concept artists and those responsible for the models and effects you see on the screen. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

halo

A Cinematic Trailer For A Fan-Made Halo Game

This is the world we live in now. Where even fan-made, multiplayer-only Halo games get four-minute cinematic trailers. This clip is for Installation 01, a back-to-basics Halo fan game for the PC that we first took a look at last year. Fans Building New Halo Game On PC A group of over 30 Halo fans from around the world, fed up with the limited options available to… Read more Looks like things are coming along nicely. Advertisement Installation 01 is an attempt to get back to the roots of Halo’s multiplayer, and the developers claim that their work is 100% legal and cool and fine, saying “We are carefully following the rules set forth in Microsoft’s Game Content Usage Rules. No content in our game has been ‘ripped’, it’s all handmade by our team.”  READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kong skull island

Kong: Skull Island Is Full Of Cute Video Game Easter Eggs

Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of Kong: Skull Island, hid a bunch of video game tributes and influences throughout the movie so well that nobody noticed. So he’s now pointing them out. Some of the homages made it into the finished film: And some stuff didn’t: If you were going to ask “well why isn’t this guy making a video game movie”, he is: Vogt-Roberts is the latest director attached to Metal Gear Solid, a project that let’s not forget was announced five years ago. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

indie

Killers & Thieves Is A Game About Medieval Burglary

This is one of the nicest video game surprises I’ve had in a long time. Stoic, creators of the excellent Banner Saga, dropped a game on Steam this week out of almost nowhere. And it’s pretty good! Killers & Thieves is a game made by Stoic co-founder Alex Thomas, and is all about the daily operations of a thieves guild. Like a Darkest Dungeon Lite, without the combat and depression. Taking charge of a roster of thieves, acrobats and knife-wielding cutthroats, you need to manage their HQ, send them out on missions, recruit new members and work your way through a campaign. The game is split into two sections. There’s a management aspect, which you play via a gorgeous cutaway illustration of your thieve’s HQ and some lush top-down maps, but you’re also directly responsible for the missions you send everyone out on. Advertisement The missions are played in real-time from a side-scrolling perspective, with the idea being you need to manage your thieves (who each have various skills) to get them in the right place at the right time, so they can pull off heists as quickly READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

fine art

Take A Closer Look At The Backgrounds In Star Wars

Nick Hiatt is a concept artist and matte painter who has got to work on some of the biggest and best stuff of the last few years, from Force Awakens to Destiny (and Destiny 2) to Game of Thrones to Doom. That’s why there are a lot of screencaps of Star Wars: Episode VII here, because Nick got to paint the backgrounds in each of them. You can see more of Nick’s work at his personal site and ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kotaku soundtrack

Track: Our Only Master | Artist: Dunsmuir | Album: Dunsmuir

Track: Our Only Master | Artist: Dunsmuir | Album: Dunsmuir Track: Our Only Master | Artist: Dunsmuir | Album: Dunsmuir Kotaku Soundtrack is a selection of the stuff we’re listening to at the moment. Luke Plunkett is a Contributing Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

PlayStation Store Now Has Curation From Big Developers

As we’ve discussed, Steam’s implementation of third-party curation has been a bit of a mess. So it’ll be interesting to see how Sony fares now that they’re trying something similar. Valve Still Hasn’t Fixed Steam Curators As part of the recent Steam front page revamp, Valve gave curators an even more prominent spot and… Read more Launching today, The Creators is an attempt by Sony to get curation on the PlayStation store, only instead of turning to “influencers”, they’ve asked people responsible for actually making games to do it instead. Advertisement The initial lineup of creators include PlayStation boss Shuhei Yoshida, the development team behind Final Fantasy XV, Media Molecule co-founder Siobahn Reddy and CAPY. Sure, there are some predictable and repeat choices—lots of people like good games, and most suggest their own releases!—but also some very useful spotlights for games you’ve probably missed/forgotten about, and which appear for the most part to be genuine recommendations. Yoshida gives a shout-out to the excellent Sound Shapes, for example (a game he used to talk about a lot on Twitter), while Rocket League creators Psyonix are here to remind us about Sportsfriends and VIDEOBALL. I’m curious to see where this goes. I…

Blasphemous

Blasphemous Is Basically A 2D Dark Souls

GIF There’s a Kickstarter campaign for Blasphemous, a game which looks very cool for a number of reasons, but mostly because it looked like some guys went “hey we should make a side-scrolling Dark Souls” then actually went and did it. Here’s the pitch: Blasphemous is an action-platformer that combines the fast-paced, skilled combat of a hack-n-slash game with a deep and evocative narrative core, delivered through exploration of a huge universe comprised of non-linear levels. But perhaps of more interest to you, as someone who can’t actually play the game (yet), is pixel art like this: GIF and this: GIF and this: GIF The development team—the same studio behind The Last Door—are looking at bringing Blasphemous to PC, with stretch goals present to try and get it to console as well. Advertisement Advertisement Blasphemous is asking for $50,000. You can back it here if you want. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

fine art

Cyberpunk Cityscape In Need Of Urgent Cleaning

Gary Sanchez is an artist who has worked at studios like Quantic Dream, Cloud Imperium and Ubisoft. You can see more of Gary’s work at his ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! More Fine Art: The Art Of Persona 5 The Art Of Mass Effect: Andromeda The Art of READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

fine art

3855 Artists Imagine What Lost Civilizations Could Have Looked Like

GIF Some of the best artists working in video games, TV and film have taken part in a massive competition, judged by folks responsible for the look of series like Halo and Assassin’s Creed. Called Ancient Civilizations: Lost & Found, the competition was held over at industry site ArtStation, and featured almost 4000 entries from professionals and amateurs alike. The brief was to “go beyond imagining a bygone civilization, and bring it to life with a compelling narrative.” The competition ran from March until May 8, and was split into two stages—Vis Dev & Production—so that artists across the working spectrum could take part. A Masterclass In Character Design Carlyn Lim is an artist at ArenaNet, and has worked on games like Guild Wars 2. Read more The winners have now been announced, and as you’d expect given the field, the results are incredible. You’ll find some highlights below (including a winner we featured in its own Fine Art showcase), but you should really head over to ArtStation to see the complete range of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners (and honourable mentions) across the categories. Ancient Civilizations: Award Winners and Honourable READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

If Overwatch Was A Turn-Based Tactics Game

A modder has brought a little Overwatch to the excellent Invisible Inc., adding two new agents—Sombra and Widowmaker—to the stealth title’s roster of thieves, hackers and spies. Invisible, Inc.: The Kotaku Review Let’s get straight to it: for some of you, Invisible, Inc. will be close to the perfect video game. Read more The mod, made by Saltrain, may as well be an official and blessed addition. Both agents look great, having had their designs modified to fit Invisible Inc’s art style, and their stats are appropriate for both characters. Advertisement Even their gear and abilities carry over: Sombra gets EMP blasts and translocators, while Widowmaker gets her Infra-Sight and sniper rifle. This must have taken a ton of work, but it was certainly worth it, because it’s something Blizzard probably wish they’d thought of and could charge for. You can add it to your game here. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Amplitude

Endless Space 2: The Kotaku Review

There have been a lot of 4X games set in space lately, from Stellaris to the Master of Orion reboot. Some of them have been good! None, however, have been as good as Endless Space 2. The Art Of Endless Legend & Endless Space 2 Amplitude are the creators of beautiful (and excellent) strategy games like Endless Legend and… Read more A lot of 4X games, and I’m especially talking about ones set in space, often struggle on two fronts: they’re visually dreadful, and their interfaces can be charitably described as “functional”. Endless Space 2 continues Amplitude’s great work with Endless Legend (and indeed the first Endless Space), in which these genre norms are thrown out the window in favour of slick, clean and stylish menus. Bros before Horatios Everything in ES2 works as it looks like it should. Every command or button is sat next to other, similar things. There are helpful tips explaining how almost everything works if you just hover the mouse over a button. You never get lost looking for a command, or overwhelmed with information. Everything you want to do in this game is rarely more than 2-3 clicks away, and READ FULL STORY AT…

fine art

The City Never Sleeps

Rob Watkins is an artist who has worked on games like Halo Wars 2 (where he was Lead Concept Artist), Fable 3 and Fable Legends. Halo Wars 2: The Kotaku Review The nice thing about Halo Wars 2 is that it works. Read more You can see more of Watkins’ work at his ArtStation page. To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner. Advertisement Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, drop us a line! More Fine Art: The Art Of Persona 5 READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!