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Remembrance of things past.

As far as reviews go, we spend an increasing amount of our time playing old games here at Eurogamer. Some companies, like Nintendo, have always been keen on repackaging their classics for new audiences. But the current fad for high definition (or portable) "remasters" is rapidly turning what was an occasional, indulgent cash-in into an important subsector of the industry, complete with its own development specialists and standards.

Just this month sees the release of new HD re-versions of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the first three Splinter Cell games, the two PSP games in the God of War series and Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica. Nintendo's Starfox 64 3D might not run in 720p, but like the recent reissue of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it has had no less care expended on it in rendering a relic from the dawn of 3D gaming surprisingly fresh, pretty and playable. We hope the same for the forthcoming iOS version of Eric Chahi's minimalist 2D classic, Another World, also out this month.

Before the year is out, we'll also be treated to HD versions of the Metal Gear Solid series, the first Halo and, as Rich discovered recently, an astonishingly lavish reworking of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath. It's the games industry's equivalent of reissuing a film back catalogue on Blu-ray - with the important distinction that the original versions are no longer available and only run on obsolete hardware.


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What's the best tale that video games have ever told?

What's the best story a game has ever told?

Perhaps it's Final Fantasy VII's emotional epic, or Planescape: Torment's dense tangle. Or maybe it's the self-referential yarn spun by BioShock, or the original Metal Gear Solid's surprisingly affecting tale, delivered before the series took on one twist too many and collapsed under the weight of its own self-importance.

Actually, for me it's none of those. The greatest story ever told for me by a game came from the PlayStation 2's Pro Evolution Soccer 6.


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Martin Edmonson on reviews, decisions and the future.

Back in PlayStation 1 days, Driver was the height of gaming, a pioneer in the open world mission-based driving genre. And Newcastle-based developer Reflections was a power-house. But Driver 2 stalled and Driver 3 crashed. Driver: Parallel Lines was better.

Atari flogged the IP and developer to Ubisoft, and PSP game Driver '76 emerged. Then, this week, along came Driver: San Francisco - a towering return to form and the best Driver game yet.

The Driver: San Francisco development team peaked at 220 staff. The project took four years. Then five, following a year-long delay. A bespoke engine was created from scratch. The game's promise? Driving in a world created by the comatose brain of hero Tanner following a car accident. And a Shift mechanic that allows Tanner's spirit to leap between hosts. In other words, Driver: San Francisco was one hell of risk.

Martin Edmonson, founder of Reflections (now Ubisoft Reflections), must deliver one hell of a sales pitch. After all, it was this game he returned to his studio to make, after having walked away in 2004 following the rushed release of Driver 3. But Driver: San Francisco wasn't flawless. And so Eurogamer sat down with Edmonson for a post-mortem, not only of Driver: San Francisco, but of the series as a whole.


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The future's orange.

And we're off to the races. From now until Christmas, barely a week should elapse without at least a couple of huge games going head to head in the battle for what's left of our pocket money and paycheques. (I don't really still get pocket money, incidentally, although given that my mum and stepdad only got hitched when I was 21 maybe I should be hitting that guy up for back taxes?)

Either way, you're going to need a lot of spare cash to keep up. September alone is flush with the likes of Driver: San Francisco, Bodycount, Resistance 3, Space Marine, Starfox 64 3D, Trackmania 2: Canyon, Gears of War 3, F1 2011, FIFA 12 and the ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection. Even if half of those are unexpectedly rubbish, we're going to be busy.

There's a well-worn drum in the back of virtually every games editorial office around the world that's beaten during the dry summer months - a drum that's designed to draw attention to the unspent money lurking in our pockets. The games industry could have plenty of that if it wanted, but instead it goes on summer films, music festivals and holidays because it's there to be spent and we're poor savers. All of which means that when Q4 is over again, someone will have lost out.


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Swift's first for Dark Void studio incoming.

Square Enix will release the latest game from former Valve designer and Portal co-creator Kim Swift, with an official unveiling due this weekend.

The game, which Square's tease dubs "incredibly fascinating and quirky", is being developed at Dark Void developer Airtight Games, where Swift is now a project lead. We'll find out more about the title this Saturday at the PAX Prime show in Seattle.

Swift joined Valve straight out of Washington tech college DigiPen in 2005, where she co-developed Narbacular Drop - the direct inspiration for Portal's basic mechanics. As well as Portal, she also worked on Left 4 Dead 2 before leaving for Airtight back in December 2009.


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Reflections' virtual city and fixing bugs.

UK studio Reflections has explained its decision to make the single-player portion of Driver: San Francisco run at 60 frames per second – and revealed the challenges doing so presented the development team.

Art director Mike Haynes told an audience at GDC Europe 2011, attended by Eurogamer today, that dropping to 30FPS would have allowed the team to double its budget for adding detail to the game world – but insisted 60FPS has its benefits.

"A question we get is, is it worth it? Can you even tell? From a gameplay standpoint, and within the engine itself, we did have a toggle that would allow you to switch to 30. And it was very noticeable the difference from playing the game. The game plays very fast-paced, with a lot of action and moving around. Navigation is crucial. It was very obvious.


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Let's face the music and dance.

For a moment there it looked as if music games had died. Activision had pulled the plug, at least temporarily, on Guitar Hero and DJ Hero, while Viacom had washed its hands of Rock Band developer Harmonix. Soon the news stories became obituaries for the genre that had conquered and cluttered the world with toy guitars.

But just as when the New York Journal pronounced Mark Twain dead by mistake, reports of music gaming's demise turned out to be an exaggeration. Guitar Hero's best days may be behind it, but Ubisoft's Just Dance is flying off the same shelves that were once packed with imitation Gibsons and there's a more-than-healthy supply of new music games on the horizon.

What those declaring the genre's death forgot was that games with pretend instruments are but one strand of a game type that also counts the booty shaking of Dance Central, Rez's techno remix of the on-rails shooter and Donkey Konga's tub-thumping platforming among its number. "Music games include rhythm action controller titles, musical shooters or platformers, simulation games like Rock Band and dance games ranging from Dance Dance Revolution to Dance Central 2," says Greg LoPiccolo, the vice-president of product development at Harmonix.


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Betraying convention.

"Choice and consequence" may be the action-adventure cliché du jour, but being able to define your own combat style through a suite of overlapping toys is definitely up there too. Pretty much ever since BioShock invited us to paralyse splicers with electricity and then whack 'em with a wrench, everyone's been at it.

Typically though, with great power comes great limitation, and in order to keep worlds like Rapture from descending into anarchy mechanically as well as narratively, designers have become jailors, building environments around you like gilded cages that lock you away from too much imagination.

So it's pretty interesting to sit down and watch Arkane Studios' Harvey Smith and Raf Colantonio play around with the tools you get in Dishonored, their first-person stealth game about an assassin with magical powers, because they insist they've taken the opposite approach.


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"It's easier said than done."

Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono has explained why Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat are unlikely bedfellows.

"I actually get a lot of requests for Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat on my Twitter feed and elsewhere," Ono told the US PlayStation blog.

"I understand why people want it, but it's easier said than done. Having Chun Li getting her spine ripped out, or Ryu's head bouncing off the floor... it doesn't necessarily match."


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And work on "new platforms".

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit developer Criterion Games is looking for staff to work on an open world racing game.

A job listing, spotted by VideoGamer, asks for an AI programmer. "Our current ambition requires an innovative programmer to deliver killer entertainment experiences with believable, open world AI Racing Drivers," it says.

Given EA's Call of Duty-style strategy to alternate Need for Speed development duties between Criterion and EA Black Box, which is making this November's game, the job ad suggests November 2012's NFS will be an open world game.


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