5 Surprising Spiritual Successor Games

Spiritual Successor
Assassin’s Creed is such a high visibility franchise on its own that many fans don’t know that it’s a spiritual successor to the popular Prince of Persia series. Image Source: Zehta via Flickr.

Spiritual successor games may draw their inspiration from other titles, but they often look quite different from the originals in plot and style. Unlike direct sequels, spiritual successors don’t need to tie directly into the plot of a previous game, which means that they can look and feel totally different from predecessors.

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Allison Road, Petitions, and Labels: Best Fan Responses to the Konami/Kojima Split

Allison Road
Allison Road was inspired by the photorealism and psychological scares of Hideo Kojima’s P.T., and it’s become a highly-anticipated game thanks to that connection. Image Source: LilithLTD.com.

Allison Road may be only one sweet note after the bitter taste left by Hideo Kojima‘s split from Konami, but it’s a start. The loss of the iconic gaming team is a huge blow for fans of stealth games and those who were looking forward to the upcoming Silent Hills, a collaboration between Kojima and director Guillermo del Toro with The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus in the main role. With such vibrant star power, it seemed like an unstoppable force—until Konami cancelled it.

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Real Assassins: How 3 Historical Assassinations Changed the World

Screen Shot - 10-27-2015
Assassin’s Creed largely concerns the lives of fictional assassins, but real assassins have played significant roles in the world’s history. Image Source: Flickr User jblivin

Real assassins are where we get the stories of characters in our favorite video games like Ezio, Agent Alekhine, and Corvo Attano. The word “assassin” comes from a medieval order of Nizari Ismailis—a subset of Shia Islam—who formed their own army to oppose the Crusaders and were derogatorily referred to as hashashin, meaning “hashish users.” This group of real assassins served as the inspiration for the group Altaïr belonged to in the video game Assassin’s Creed.

Not all historical assassins have noble vengeance as their motivation—many real assassins were killers hired to sway political opinion or eliminate threats, and assassination was an accepted fact of the Roman Republic as leaders stabbed one another in the back, sometimes literally.

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Video Game Music: Creating a Stealthy Atmosphere with Composer Ryan Ike

Video Game Music
Gunpoint blends the world of film noir with a high-tech twist, and features video game music composed by Ryan Ike. Image Source: pentadact.com.

We chatted with BAFTA-nominated composer Ryan Ike about the unique experience of creating video game music in the stealth genre.

Video game music is a powerful tool—hearing one melody can make you revisit some of your favorite gaming memories, but crafting that music isn’t as simple as slapping a few notes together and calling it good. Music helps guide our mood and expectations as we play video games, enhancing our experience and giving us clues about what to do next.

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Spy Tools: 5 Essential Gadgets in the Video Game Spy Toolbox

Spy Tools
Because spies deal in deception, many spy tools are easy to hide or serve more than one purpose. Image Source: TeamFortress.com.

Spy tools include much more than the mental and physical prowess needed to engage in espionage—a good spy will also be armed with a variety of weapons, gadgets, and gizmos to achieve their sneaky ends. Whether they’re futuristic or rooted in age-old technology, spy tools are an extension of a secret agent’s skills in the same way that a hammer and saw serve a carpenter.

Every spy needs a good set of tools, but what are the essential ingredients? These are just some of the most essential video game spy tools, with every fictional spy preferring their own twist on the technology.

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Chills and Thrills: How Horror Games Use Stealth Mechanics to Create Better Gameplay

Horror Games
Alien: Isolation blends the fear that makes horror games so appealing with the need to sneak and avoid enemies that characterizes stealth games. Image Source: Midhras via Flickr.

 

Horror games and stealth games have a surprising amount in common. If you’re sneaking down a dark corridor, holding your breath in anticipation of whatever’s lurking around the next corner, carefully monitoring your footsteps and hoping that nothing spots you before you spot it, you could be playing a game of either genre—interesting, given that one is typically realistic while the other often employs supernatural elements to keep your on your toes.

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Spy Fiction: The Evolution and Widening of a Genre

Spy Fiction
James Bond is one of the world’s most iconic spies, but spy fiction actually started a whole century before his creation. Image Source: Ohmyn0 via Wikia.

Spy fiction comes from a long history of secret agents, spies, and other informants in a variety of media. While we usually think of spies as the gadget-wielding, smooth-talking guy we see in movies, spies actually existed in ancient China and India, as well as other major civilizations. Many modern spy techniques were even established in Elizabethan England, placing the real history of espionage a good 500 years earlier than we typically imagine it.

But it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that spies became popular in fiction, captivating audiences and ensnaring the public with tales of treachery and deceit. As the world keeps changing, spy fiction does as well—from early criticisms of oligarchy and political rivalry, we get the basis for famous spies like Jason Bourne and Sam Fisher. The evolution of spy fiction is an interesting one, often mimicking the concerns of our culture with a little extra flair.

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Hitman Release Date Pushed Back: Disappointing, But Not Disastrous

Hitman Release Date
Though the Hitman release date has been pushed back, it might ultimately be better for the game. Image Source: Hitman.com.

Despite being one of the holiday season’s most hotly anticipated games, the Hitman release date has been pushed back to March 2016. Io-Interactive announced the change on September 22, saying that they want to provide more polish and content at the game’s release without making players wait a long time for subsequent episodes.

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Historical Video Games: The 4 Best Action Games That Let You Turn Back Time

History Games
Assassin’s Creed may be liberal with its sci-fi elements, but this series of history games still lets you experience important historical settings first-hand. Image Source: Andy Cull via Flickr

History games can transport us to times and places we’ve never experienced, allowing us to interact with history as participants rather than observers. That’s the unique power of video games—reading and watching history can be powerful experiences, but actually interacting with it adds a whole new dimension.

Many history games are strategy-based simply because some of the most interesting periods of history are times of war. But action also has a strong presence in the history genre, as players can explore historical settings on a personal level, interacting with key moments and shaping the course of history.

These four history games are some of the best, marrying historical settings with the best of action gameplay.

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War Games: 3 Excellent Games That Explore Conflict in Unique Ways

Alekhine's Gun War Games
Alekhine’s Gun sticks out among war games of its kind by putting the player in a position where their character is the subject of mistrust in a wartime conflict.

War games let players explore history and combat on their own terms, whether that means letting you control strategy in games like Civilization or blast away enemies in the combat simulations of games like Call of Duty. But there is a common criticism of war games: that they glorify combat, making violence look appealing and ignoring the real-world effects war can have on people.

While some games focus on fast-paced, realistic combat, that’s not all that’s out there. These three games explore other facets of war, humanizing people on multiple sides of the conflict and creating an interactive experience that explores the consequences. While they vary greatly in gameplay, these war games all aim to do something unique within their genre.

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