Author: Andrew Rainnie - UK Correspondent

In addition to being Warp Zoned's UK Correspondent, Andrew Rainnie is a screenwriter and filmmaker. You can email him at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com or you can, if you're inclined, visit his personal website.

Kickstart This! Pine

Those of you who were hoping for a game based around the life of Star Trek captain and Wonder Woman love interest Chris Pine are going to be sorely disappointed, and then pleasantly surprised, with Pine. This Kickstarter campaign launched just as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizons: Zero Dawn landed on shelves, reinvigorating the open world adventure genre, and leaving gamers ready to embark on another big quest. Pine limits its open world by setting it on an island, a smart design choice for an indie open world game, but more intriguingly, it asks the question, “What if man never made it to the top of the food chain?”

Let’s find out! (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS4, Switch, Top Story, Xbox One |

Battle Princess Madelyn smashes its Kickstarter goal in two days

Casual Bit Games’s latest crowdfunding project, Battle Princess Madelyn, has managed to hit its target of $60,000 CAD on Kickstarter in less than two days. Not only that, but the project has also burned through nine of its stretch goals with more than 24 days remaining on their Kickstarter clock.

And if backers help Casual Bit reach their last goal of $150,000 CAD, they have promised to port the game to the PS Vita. Though it is already heading for the Nintendo Switch, so backers will have at least option for a portable version of the game.

Battle Princess Madelyn takes its licks from Super NES classic Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, and the titular trainee knight and her ghost dog Fritzy will embark on a similar journey to save the kingdom from an evil wizard. The spectral canine can be used to solve puzzles and deployed to tackle end level bosses.

The team at Casual Bit Games is now adding more features to the game as a result of the enthusiasm and support shown during the crowdfunding campaign, including an “Insanity’s Blade King Mode,” which ups the difficulty of the classic Arcade Mode. The developer expects to release the game for the PC, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One, and Switch in February 2018.

With fast-paced 2D action, silky smooth animation, and a retro soundtrack set against an epic fantasy story, Battle Princess Madelyn might just be the next Shovel Knight.

Posted in News, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One | Tagged

The Games of March 2017

Well, it’s no surprise that here at Warp Zoned, we’re all talking about the same thing: Nintendo’s Switch! Nicole didn’t manage to snag a pre-order because she is some kind of newbie, but everyone else got one. Read on to see what they’ll be playing as soon as they pick up their Switch consoles! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |

Warpback: What We Played in February 2017

The month of February was a cold one, but at least we had our games to keep us nice and warm! We all did a little bit of dipping into our various backlogs, trying to get some gaming done before so many other games we’re looking forward to hit the shelves. Hit the jump to see what games we were playing here at Warp Zoned in February! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |


Interview: Serving Up Conversation About Joysticks, Pints, and Kickstarter With the Owner of Glasgow’s First Arcade Bar

One of the rare delights of following projects on Kickstarter is when you spot someone trying to build something in your own town or city, be it a video game, an album, a film, or, in this case, a bar. There is an instant, and intimate, connection of homegrown pride and creative curiosity. That’s especially true after Super Bario popped up on my radar late in its campaign.

For my sins, I never contributed to Super Bario when the project was live, despite my love of both video games and tasty craft beer. The arcade bar occupies a small space on King Street in Glasgow, Scotland, in an area teeming with art and creative spirit. It backs onto the Tron Theatre, while directly opposite there is Trongate 103, home to Glasgow Print Studio, Street Level Photography, and the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre.

I have now become a patron of the bar, and try to pop in when I can, enticing friends who love video games, or those who remember being a kid standing before that monolith of entertainment… a cabinet of wood and a CRT display flickering sprites into our awestruck eyes.

Super Bario has proven to be a great success, a space for gamers to chill and enjoy a drink while sucking in the sweet smell of nostalgia. Amidst the craziness, I managed to chat with co-owner Shaun Murawski, who along with Scott McLauchlan and George Black, conceived of the arcade bar back in 2015, and fought hard to make it a reality with the backing of 166 donors. (more…)

Posted in Features, Retro, Top Story |

Activision Blizzard to help veterans with Brass Personalization Pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered

Activision Blizzard has made a lot of money from its highly successful Call of Duty series, but behind the dramatic stories and Hollywood villains, a lot of real men and women have lived through what players only see.

That is why it is nice to see the company launch the Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) Brass Personalization Pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Priced at $4.99, the pack contains in-game items such as a Player Card, Universal Weapon Camo, Universal Reticle, and Emblem. Activision will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of this pack to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit set up by the game company to help veterans find high quality jobs after their military service has ended.

The Endowment’s Executive Direct, Dan Goldenberg, revealed the impact that previous packs have made on veteran’s lives and livelihoods:

Through our previous Personalization Pack and Calling Card programs, the Call of Duty community contributed over $2.1 million to help 3,400 veterans secure good jobs. Employment is vital to providing stability when transitioning from military to civilian life. Raven, Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, Sony, and Microsoft continue to be indispensable partners in this effort, as the in-game program would not be possible without their generosity and commitment. We are grateful for their continued support.

To date, the Call of Duty Endowment has managed to find full time jobs for over 31,000 veterans, and aims to raise this number to 50,000 by 2019.

Posted in News, PS4, Xbox One | Tagged ,

Kickstart This! Apocalypse Now

I ummed and awwed over whether to cover Apocalypse Now as part of Kickstart This! I try to steer the column towards games that may be overlooked and are desperately seeking funds, but the film, and by close association this game, feel more relevant than ever.

All is fair in love and war, but crowdfunding campaigns are the perfect analogy for Vietnam. And in its day, re-imagining Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness served as a masterful allegory for the souls of the men sent to fight in a war that history has shown to be a massive mistake. Though this is not the first time Heart of Darkness has graced the gaming world. 2K’s third person shooter, Spec Ops: The Line, also used the book as a basis for its story, and is worth checking out.

Apocalypse Now seemed to strike a chord with many backers, but with each passing day it looked less and less likely that development studio Erebus was going to reach its lofty target of $900,000. And then what happened? The developer cancelled the Kickstarter campaign after reaching less than 20% of their goal.

This is the message they delivered to fans as the last Update on their now defunct Kickstarter page:

When we launched this campaign, we made a mistake. We forgot that many of you have been disappointed by overreaching games and overreaching promises. We had stopped paying attention to the Kickstarter world, when we put our heads down and went to work on this full-steam about 18 months ago — first with documents and then with prototypes. Because we went upriver, we did not remember that those of you who love games and those of you who love Apocalypse Now would immediately treat the announcement not with excitement, but with concern.

But the men and women behind the game have not given up. No sir. They have relocated the crowdfunding campaign to the official Apocalypse Now website, and issued a rallying call to all those who want to see this game happen. It will be done on their terms… and with a much larger funding target.

Queue Ride of the Valkyries(more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS4, Top Story, Xbox One | Tagged

SAG-AFTRA voice actor union holds another rally in Los Angeles as strike continues

With the continuing strike between the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and a cabal of 11 video game companies locked in a stalemate, the union held a rally in Los Angeles to help support the striking voice actors.

The strike, which has been active since October 21, is an ongoing dispute about working conditions and salary for motion capture and voice artists when working on video games. However, there has been little movement in negotiations on the matter, according to SAG-AFTRA’s Chief Contracts Officer, Ray Rodriguez, who said the purpose of the rally was “to get people refocused that the strike is happening.”

In addition to demanding better safety conditions for its members, SAG-AFTRA is seeking additional bonus payments for actors that work on a game that sells well. The union has suggested an extra payment for games selling two million copies, with additional bonuses up to eight million copies sold.

However, lawyers for the 11 companies, which include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Take Two Interactive, Insomniac Games, Warner Bros., and Disney, do not see room for compromise. Scott Witlin, their Chief Negotiator, released a statement saying, “We remain disappointed that SAG-AFTRA leadership remains focused on outmoded ideas about how compensation is structured rather than the real dollars and cents that the video game companies put on the table.”

The contingent of companies, who have seen their premises picketed over the last few months, have proposed an immediate 9% wage increase, instead of a 3% annual increase for the next three years, which is what SAG-AFTRA is asking for on top of the bonus. The video game companies are also offering additional payments, which could be as high as $950 per game, dependent on the length of time an actor works on a specific title.

SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee Chair Keythe Farley said, “I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this contract two years later. I thought we’d be done by lunch on day one. I figured we were all eager to update the substandard, 20-year-old contract that we’ve been operating under and start fresh with a modern, industry-standard agreement that protects, and fairly compensates, performers working on today’s video games. The one thing that keeps me going is our members’ dedication and commitment to a fair contract. It’s the same dedication they bring to their performances, so I guess it’s no surprise, really.”

The SAG-AFTRA rally, which began at SAG-AFTRA Plaza and stretched to the nearby La Brea Tar Pits, attracted 500 union members and was joined by the aptly named David Ryu, an LA City Councilman. He offered strong words of support for the crowd, saying video game companies “need to pay their fair share” and telling the SAG-AFTRA protesters “you should not give in.”

Posted in 3DS, Mobile, News, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One |