Witcher with a side of Troll


I generally avoid optional side quests and missions. When I first start playing a game, I might attack these little diversions with relish, vowing to soak up every last bit of content the game has to offer. But invariably I find that the act of hunting down Templars or helping Mrs. Remo find her stray cat takes away from the story-driven quest I signed up for in the first place, and quit playing the whole thing altogether. This freedom lasts about six months, at which point the pangs of guilt emanating from the game lying unfinished in its case spur me to slog through the remaining hours, avoiding all side content whatsoever.

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Eighteen seconds to change your world

Meet Project Beast.

Yes, it’s the latest from From Software. No, we’re not sure if it’s a Souls game. It certainly looks the part, though: fog-enshrouded doorways, atmospheric chapels with Lovecraftian tentacle monsters lying in wait, bodies impaled on spikes. And shotguns? Well, that is new.

The generous soul who leaked this footage claims that the game is a collaboration between From and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Studio, directed by series architect Hidetaka Miyazaki, and exclusive to PS4. So whether it’s Demon’s Souls 2 or something different, Sony’s E3 press conference in a little over a week should have the answers we want.

Will and Hannibal, together forever


While the second season of NBC’s Hannibal displayed in gruesome detail the dark depths of the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, it turns out that their connection stretches back to a time when the Knights of the Round made their rounds on horseback. Lecter was planting terrible seeds even then.

Transistor launch trailer shows the way


Check out the launch trailer for Transistor, Supergiant Games’ follow-up to the action-RPG Bastion. The game itself looks great but let’s focus on the particular joys of this trailer: the mysterious voice-over, the gorgeous art, the tasteful use of slow motion, the clever editing to the pulse of the music. And while we’re on the subject, the music.

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New Mitchell novel in September


I’m a couple months late to the party, but David Mitchell has a new novel coming. It’s called The Bone Clocks; it hits in September; and it sounds like he’s up to his genre-mashing, time-hopping tricks again.

Apparently The Bone Clocks concerns a girl who runs away from home in 1982 and reappears 60 years later in Ireland as the world sits on the brink of environmental catastrophe. According to his publisher, in the intervening years the woman is “encountered as a barmaid in a Swiss resort by an undergraduate sociopath in 1991; has a child with a foreign correspondent covering the Iraq War in 2003; and, widowed, becomes the confidante of a self-obsessed author of fading powers and reputation during the present decade.”

The protagonist’s life is intercut with a slow-motion war between soul-decanting cultists and vigilantes and, well yes, it’s a David Mitchell book all right!

Jonathan Lethem’s digital “Gardens”

Jonathan Lethem is a master chronicler of pop-culture obsessions. Whether he’s writing about Talking Heads, comic books, or Philip K. Dick, I can think of no author more adept at unraveling our pet fascinations and nailing what makes them so hooky. So what about video games, that greatest of all time sinks? Sadly, on that subject, Lethem has remained mostly silent, leading me to conclude that the man just isn’t much of a gamer.

Or is he?

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