Kanye West Is Making a Game

After conquering the music world and the fashion world, rapper Kanye West is taking on his next big challenge: video games.

West was on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club radio show recently discussing his next album and his collaboration with Adidas when he briefly mentioned that he’s currently working on a video game based on one of his songs.

“Right now I’m working on a video game for Only One, and the idea is that it’s my mother going through the gates of heaven and you have to bring her to the highest gates of heaven by holding her to the light,” West said. “We’ve been working on it for like six months.”

Only One, which you can hear in the video above directed by Spike Jonze, is dedicated to West’s mother, who passed away in 2007.

West didn’t say which platforms the game is for or who’s developing it with him. If it comes to mobile, he’s going to face some stiff competition from his wife Kim Kardashian, whose successful Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game was estimated to generate as much as $200 million last year through in-app purchases.

Want Grow Home on PlayStation or Xbox? Tell Your Friends to Buy It on PC

Grow Home, the experimental platformer from Ubisoft’s Reflections studio, could come to consoles if there’s enough demand, the developer has said.

“Want to see Grow Home on consoles? We have to prove ourselves on PC first, so tell every PC gamer you know they have to buy it!” art director at Ubisoft Reflection Jack Couvela said on Twitter.

Couvela also said that the game is not likely to arrive on iPad because it’s designed for a controller, and that it will need more PC sales to justify a Mac version as well.

Grow Home came out of a small team within the UK studio, much like Ubisoft’s other smaller games we’ve seen recently, Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War.

The platformer stars a little robot named BUD, who must climb his way up a giant beanstalk. GameSpot’s review of Grow Home gave it an 8/10 for its unique animation system that gives BUD real character, and its gorgeous, cel shaded environments.

Battlefield Hardline Xbox One Is “Extremely Rare”

Sadly, so far all we have is this tiny picture of it, but a new, custom Battlefield Hardline-themed Xbox One has appeared on Microsoft’s website (via NeoGAF).

It looks like the “extremely rare” Xbox One will be available only through a sweepstakes in Microsoft’s Bing Rewards program. To enter, you’ll have to create an account if you don’t already have one, and spend points you earn by using Microsoft’s search engine to enter a chance to win.

The custom Xbox One comes with a copy of Battlefield Hardline, a 12-month EA Access subscription, and without a Kinect.

This sweepstakes ends on February 26 at 9:00 AM ET and winners will be announced on March 17. You can find out more about the sweepstakes and its official rules here.

Battlefield Hardline’s release date is March 17 in the US and March 20 in the UK on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more on the game, check out GameSpot’s previous coverage.

Ex-Battlefield Director Says AAA Development Stifles Creativity

Ex-Battlefield 3 lead designer David Goldfarb has said that the development process for big-budget games restricts creativity.

“I think the risk/reward for the companies that can spend the marketing money and that have big successful franchises, for them it’s still worth laying out that investment,” Goldfarb told Gameindustry.biz in an interview. “But for people who don’t have that kind of capital, you’re not really in a practical success loop. AAA is the equivalent of the One Percent right now. It comes with all these caveats. You can’t make the crazy stuff really.”

This isn’t the first time Goldfarb shared this opinion about AAA game development. Last summer, after leaving his position at Payday developer Overkill Software, Goldfarb said that he’s “abandoning AAA,” for the same reason.

Other notable developers have also criticized AAA development lately. Last year, creative director of Just Cause 3 developer Avalanche Studios said that AAA development is unhealthy and unprofitable. Even Metal Gear Solid developer Hideo Kojima shared Goldfarb’s sentiment last year, saying that it’s hard to maintain creative freedom when working on such a large scale.

“I do think there’s a spot between the $100-$200 million dollar AAA games and the $1 million indie games that is not being adequately explored,” Goldfarb said. “To me that’s a really rich field to plow and you can do awesome stuff there.”

Earlier this week, Goldfarb announced a new, Stockholm-based, four-person studio called The Outsiders. The company’s first project is an untitled role-playing game that is aiming to launch for PC and possibly other systems later.

Ex-Battlefield Director Says AAA Development Stifles Creativity

Ex-Battlefield 3 lead designer David Goldfarb has said that the development process for big-budget games restricts creativity.

“I think the risk/reward for the companies that can spend the marketing money and that have big successful franchises, for them it’s still worth laying out that investment,” Goldfarb told Gameindustry.biz in an interview. “But for people who don’t have that kind of capital, you’re not really in a practical success loop. AAA is the equivalent of the One Percent right now. It comes with all these caveats. You can’t make the crazy stuff really.”

This isn’t the first time Goldfarb shared this opinion about AAA game development. Last summer, after leaving his position at Payday developer Overkill Software, Goldfarb said that he’s “abandoning AAA,” for the same reason.

Other notable developers have also criticized AAA development lately. Last year, creative director of Just Cause 3 developer Avalanche Studios said that AAA development is unhealthy and unprofitable. Even Metal Gear Solid developer Hideo Kojima shared Goldfarb’s sentiment last year, saying that it’s hard to maintain creative freedom when working on such a large scale.

“I do think there’s a spot between the $100-$200 million dollar AAA games and the $1 million indie games that is not being adequately explored,” Goldfarb said. “To me that’s a really rich field to plow and you can do awesome stuff there.”

Earlier this week, Goldfarb announced a new, Stockholm-based, four-person studio called The Outsiders. The company’s first project is an untitled role-playing game that is aiming to launch for PC and possibly other systems later.

Killer Instinct Teases Its Next Ghostly Fighter

Microsoft has released a new Killer Instinct trailer showing off Aganos, the sixth character joining Season 2 of the fighting game. As usual, the trailer ended with a tease for the next fighter that will join the game, who Microsoft is tentatively calling “Ghost Girl.”

The mysterious character wields a curved sword, is dressed in a kimono, and looks a lot like an “onryo,” a type of ghost from Japanese folklore that you might recognize from the original versions of horror movies The Ring or The Grudge. Over at the official Killer Instinct forums, Microsoft said that the character died 465 years ago, and that she’s a new addition to the lore, not a returning character.

The most recent update from Microsoft also details changes to the game’s leveling system, hints at future characters, and reveals new costumes.

Killer Instinct shipped on the same day as the Xbox One launch, with Jago available to play for free. Players could unlock other characters and items by paying a fee.

Killer Instinct developer Double Helix was acquired by Amazon last year, casting doubt on continued support for the Xbox One fighter. Microsoft claimed the game would not be affected and said that the franchise, which it owns and is now being developed by Iron Galaxy, would continue on.

Star Citizen’s Incredibly Deep Mining System Explained

The upcoming space simulator Star Citizen, has explained how its mining occupation will work in the game, and it sounds incredibly involved.

“Mining presents players with a variety of challenges requiring skill and intelligence, whereas mindless repetition of a task and idle drudgery are explicitly avoided,” Tony Zurovec, Director of Star Citizen’s Persistent Universe said. “There are no aspects of mining that allow a player to simply press a button and wait without concern for a result, or that require players to perform an action repeatedly without some element of thought and/or dexterity coming into play.”

The most valuable materials in the game will often reside in dense asteroid fields, so pilots will have to avoid compressed pockets of gas, volatile materials, and seismic vibrations. Combat isn’t inherent to mining endeavors, but if you’re carrying valuable cargo, you could be an easy target for other players who want to steal your stuff.

You can work as a freelance miner, finding and selling materials as you please to best take advantage of the market, or on contract, agreeing to retrieve certain materials for a set fee.

The mining operations itself is also divided into multiple roles, which either other players or hired NPCs can fill. There’s the self explanatory position of the pilot, the scan operator in charge of launching probes that find materials, a beam operator in charge of extracting the materials, and a cargo operator who crushes the materials and stores them. Ships that have their own refineries will also need a refinery operator.

You can read more about Star Citizen’s mining occupation in much greater details on the game’s website.

Star Citizen and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts already raised close to $73 million in crowdfunding, making it the most-crowdfunded project of any kind in history. Roberts recently said that the game still has a lot of room left to grow.

For more on Star Citizen and Roberts himself, check out part one and part two of GameSpot’s interview with the legendary designer.

Next Mortal Kombat X Character Might Be a Masked Gunslinger

Mortal Kombat X‘s companion comic book may have revealed one of the new characters that will join the fighting game’s roster.

The character, named Erron Black, appears in issue #4 of the comics. Black looks like a Wild West gunslinger, with a wide-brimmed hat, ammo belts around his body, a gun holster, and poncho. He’s also standing next to two character who are new to the Mortal Kombat series, D’vorah, and Kotak Khan, who introduced black as one of his deadliest warriors in the fight against Mileena, another character in the game.

Black’s name, design, and introduction, make him a likely candidate to be one of the new fighters yet to be announced for the game. Mortal Kombat also has a history with gun-wielding characters, such Kurtis Stryker, who was first introduced in Mortal Kombat 3.

Earlier this week, developer NetherRealm Studios confirmed that Mortal Kombat X will not get a demo, and that we’ll see another character revealed later this month.

Mortal Kombat X comes out on April 14 for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. Just recently, we learned about the game’s four collector’s editions and how the game’s female characters will be more realistically proportioned.

For more on Mortal Kombat X, check out GameSpot’s look at its new new modes below.

We Might Get a Settlers of Catan Movie

Gail Katz, the producer of The Perfect Storm, Air Force One, and other movies, has acquired the movie and television rights for the board game The Settlers of Catan.

“I’ve been wanting to see an adaptation of the game for years, ever since my Catan-obsessed college-aged kids introduced me to it,” Katz said in a statement. “The island of Catan is a vivid, visual, exciting and timeless world with classic themes and moral challenges that resonate today. There is a tremendous opportunity to take what people love about the game and its mythology as a starting point for the narrative.”

This doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to see a Settlers of Catan movie or TV show, but the producer wouldn’t acquire the rights if she didn’t intend to do something with them.

The Settlers of Catan is a German-style board game first designed by Klaus Teuber. It’s a classic resource management game, in which players compete to build settlements, cities, and roads across the island of Catan, which is divided into hexagonal tiles.

The board game has been adapted into a video game before on Xbox Live Arcade and Nintendo DS as Catan. You can also download Catan to your iOS device from the iTunes App Store for $5.

What do you think the story of The Settlers of Catan movie would be? Let us know in the comments below.

Grow Home Review

Grow Home took me by surprise–not least because it was announced only a few weeks ago. Grow Home, that announcement said, started as an internal experiment, and stars a charming little robot named BUD, who has to wobble and climb his way up a giant beanstalk and across a series of floating islands. With only this scrap of information, I went into Grow Home not knowing what to think. I came out with several distinctly different, hard to synthesize impressions.

To assess Grow Home in a vacuum is to trip over the compliments that spill forth. The game’s colorful island, cute creatures, and the planet’s ambient sounds are immediately charming. You explore this world as BUD, a robot on a quest to retrieve seeds for a plant that can re-oxygenate his home world. To do this, BUD climbs the giant “Star Plant” stalk, occasionally taking control of its quick-growing branches and driving them head first into the glowing islands in the sky. The Star Plant sucks out the green glow, and then grows a little bigger. It’s all very cute (and a little, uh, phallic).

Make sure to imagine BUD’s worried chirps for the full effect.

Grow Home is a strikingly beautiful game, especially in motion. Everything hums with bright, colorful life. Through its use of cel-shading, low-polygon models, and subtle environmental animation, Grow Home builds a gorgeous, minimalistic style. And then, as the stalk and its branches sprout up through the sky, Grow Home sets that minimalism against overwhelming scale. Beauty is everywhere: You can let your sight linger on the butterflies, or you can look upwards, to the towering Star Plant reaching into the upper atmosphere.

While the environments shine, BUD is the real star attraction. His bobbing head, wide smile, and eager chirps make him lovable, but it’s the way he moves through the world that makes controlling him such a joy. BUD’s animation is procedural: instead of having the frames of his movement handcrafted by an animator, the developers programmed a system for BUD’s limbs to animate according to the player’s input. You direct BUD around the world with the left analog stick, using the left and right triggers to control his hands, which can grip anything they touch.

As you try to deal with the quirks of BUD’s unpredictable movement, the result, at first, is a sort of comedic flailing. This was never frustrating for me, but I can see how it might be for others. Maybe you misjudge the amount of momentum BUD will have as he lands on one of the “branches” of the massive stalk, and wind up flinging him thousands of feet down to his demise. Or you might think you’ve got a firm grip on the cliff face, only to find that you’ve actually grabbed onto a loose boulder. Whoops. You can supplement your control of BUD with some environmental tools: springy plants give you a way to boost BUD’s jumping power, while flowers and leaves work as parachutes and hang gliders. But these often lead to other stumbles. Pro tip: if you crash into anything while floating around with that leaf, you lose hold of it and go into a headfirst dive. Whoops, again.

For such a small game, Grow Home sure knows how to use scale.

This is all reminiscent of games like Octodad and Sumotori Dreams, both of which leverage uncontrollable bodies for the sake of humor. But unlike these games, there comes a point in Grow Home where you attain a sense of control that feels both elegant and exuberant. BUD’s body never becomes Ezio Auditore’s–it always bounces and leans in unpredictable ways. But Grow Home isn’t a game about laughing at atypical bodies. Instead, it’s a game that lets you become familiar with limbs that don’t quite work like your own do, and it teaches you to take joy in using tools to augment your natural abilities.

I invoked the name of Ezio because the second way I experienced Grow Home was in the context of Ubisoft’s recent offerings. For Ubisoft, 2014 was a year of too safe (and often too broken) output. Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed: Unity were technical disappointments, and, worse, failed to mix up the increasingly tired open-world formula common to Ubi’s tent-pole releases. The Crew tried to apply that formula to a whole new genre, and in doing so missed a chance to do something really special. And while Far Cry 4 was well received, the common refrain was “It’s more Far Cry 3.” It’s easy to imagine how Grow Home’s vision of climbing-and-collecting might fit into the familiar open-world Ubisoft blueprint. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a version of this new climbing model eventually finds its way into an Assassin’s Creed sequel. But Grow Home never falls into the design traps that show up in other recent Ubisoft titles. Yes, you do search for collectible crystals, but these aren’t carelessly scattered by the hundreds across the environment. They’re placed carefully, to encourage exploration and to challenge you to understand how BUD moves. And yes, these crystals unlock new abilities (such as a jetpack!), but these upgrades aren’t doled out along a carefully scheduled arc to maximize your attachment to the game.

If you prefer the sensory overload of those aforementioned games, you might find yourself disappointed with Grow Home’s lack of density. Sometimes you spend a few minutes plotting a course across the sky to a hovering island in the distance, only to find it empty but for a hidden crystal and a small collection of plants. Grow Home does not provide you a screen filled with side objectives and a constant stream of narrative reinforcement: It is happy to let you take your time, to meander, to move at your own pace for the few hours it takes to finish it. And while you might see its “short” length as a negative, it’s Grow Home’s brevity that lets it shine.

Night time is perfect for hunting down glowing crystals… or for gently gliding around in the moonlight.

No game exists in a vacuum, and sometimes it’s hard to confront the contexts that color our experiences, especially when they make us second guess ourselves. Is Grow Home a charming game that’s worth your time? Yes. Do I believe this because Grow Home contrasts so sharply with Ubisoft’s recent output? Also yes. Yet no matter how prone to cynicism you may be, you shouldn’t let this surprising gem go unnoticed.