Think back to the stories of your childhood - Farthing Wood, The Wind In The Willows, Jack Rabbit – and wonder if they were mixed with today's fascinations with the political intrigue and espionage of shows like Game Of Thrones. Somewhere in between those ideas sits Armello.
It’s been a great year for developers from downunder and the good times just keep on rolling. Armello is finally with us, and we’re happy to report it joins the likes of Hand of Fate, Framed and Expand as prime examples of the wonderfully creative indie games merging from small Australian studios. Armello does have a couple of issues that keep it from being truly awe-inspiring, but with the right group of friends it can be a magical experience.
It’s a beautifully designed and charmingly animated attempt to marry a fairy tale aesthetic with a story of corruption, deception and outright betrayal. The story of Armello centres on The King, a lion who has managed to unite the other clans (themed to animals) and forge an empire filled with moderate good will and friendship. It is in this careful balancing act that we see how quickly it can all come tumbling down. The sudden onset of Rot – a malicious black force of untold evil – in The King suddenly pits the other clans against the monarch and each other to secure the throne by any means necessary.
There are more games than you might expect out this generation, and it’s no small thanks to the indie revolution. Will Publishers Ever Fight Back?
We’re all about the indie games here at Grab It, which until recently was blossoming just on mobiles and PCs. However, it would now appear that the current-generation of consoles has come to the party, too. At the pre-launch E3 conferences of both Microsoft and Sony, the companies talked up their claims of having the best console option for fans of indie games. Shortly after launch, however, I remember thinking that it had all been talk, and by E3 2015, the indies were barely mentioned at all.
However, a recent report shows that 550 games have been released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (combined) since they launched in November 2013, and of those, 297 have come out of the indie scene. That’s 54% of the games available to consumers right now or, to put it more bluntly, the majority.
It’s quality gaming, too. For last year’s PAX AUS event, Grab It published the official indie show guide as an iPad app. In it we featured the games and interviewed the creators of the 68 indie titles that were to be on display at the show. It’s an epic read, and you can still check it out now. At the time, I was concerned that there would be a handful of gems, a bunch of mediocre titles and a lot of dross that was going to be painful to cover. I was wrong.
All 68 titles were genuinely interesting, and made by people with fascinating personal stories to tell about their development. It was clear to me then that indie gaming was set to conquer the industry. So here we are; proof that more indie games are being released than those through the major publishers. It’s a beautiful thing.
However, will the publishers ever fight back and retake their position as being the number one outlet for console gaming experiences? Potentially, but not through the older model of delivering giant, expensive blockbusters at large intervals, or through churning out sequels. They’re going to have to diversify their offerings and provide experiences that appeal to those with indie sensibilities. But how?
A few years ago EA went on a rampage, buying up indies like Firemint and Iron Monkeys, and the industry giant has now started to show the results of those acquisitions with indie-like titles such as Unravel. Ubisoft has taken the indie concept internal, building the UbiArt engine and then using it to provide gamers with sweet indie-likes such as Child of Light and Valiant Hearts. Elsewhere licensed affairs such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Adventure Time have gone indie-like by reverting to old-school genres and visuals.
For gamers it’s all good news. With 550 play options already available on the two stores, and incredible diversity coming from the indies making up the majority of that number, it’s something of a Golden Age. If the publishers start to sprinkle their release schedules with indie-likes as well then the good times will continue.
Some of the differences between install sizes of games on current-generation consoles are mind-boggling.
Installing games on consoles is just horrible. Gone are the days when playing a newly purchased game for the first time could occur moments after arriving home with it. Now gigabytes of data needs to be transferred to your hard drive (possibly after burning desperate minutes deleting or moving something first), and then likely a patch needs to be downloaded and installed, too. Isn’t avoiding this laborious process why gamers stopped playing on PCs and move to consoles in the first place?
But installs and huge downloads are now a part of the modern gamer lifestyle, and it turns out that Xbox One users need to do a fair bit more of that than their PlayStation 4 counterparts.
Finder.com has published some data comparing the top 20 disparities in install sizes between games on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So these are games that are multiformat and appear on both machines, yet require different amounts of hard drive space to do so. And the differences are quite staggering. Warframe takes top spot, with a 19.63GB variance between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. But it’s not alone, with The Elder Scrolls Online at 18.58GB and Alien Isolation at 16.35GB.
These are real differences, which users would experience right now if they were to download both games from their respective stores. Click here for the full list.
What’s more concerning - at least from an Xbox One fan’s perspective – is that only two of the top twenty games are bigger on PlayStation 4. Batman: Arkham Knight (6.07GB) at 15th, and Destiny (5.57GB) at 18th. So what gives? Why is the Xbox One so much more challenging to compress for; or is Microsoft just more lax on what it enforces of its developers?
Considering that these titles are more-or-less identical, some of these disparities just don’t add up.
You know a universe is big when your expansions requires more hard drive space than most full games.
One of the interesting pieces of information to emerge today after the publishing of The Full List of PS4 Game Install Sizes (some 460 games) was an install size for upcoming expansion Destiny: The Taken King. Despite being able to leverage all the exciting code and assets already installed on your system, it will still be a 17.4GB install, a hefty sum.
A full list of Xbox One game install sizes exists too, but does not feature Destiny: The Taken King. Surely it will be very similar, however.