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indieoutlook
Bridging the Japan-only PS Vita title Surge Concerto: Ciel nosurge and the three Ar tonelico titles stateside gamers did receive, Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star seems fated to tempt GUST’s fans. But for those without an appreciation for JRPGs- fear not, a salvo of additional software is imminent.
From FIFA 15 to Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes this week’s list of releases seem to signal the beginning of the holiday shopping season, especially with the latter getting a two week jump on its collectable/NFC competitor, Skylanders: Trap Team.

Bridging the Japan-only PS Vita title Surge Concerto: Ciel nosurge and the three Ar tonelico titles stateside gamers did receive, Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star seems fated to tempt GUST’s fans. But for those without an appreciation for JRPGs- fear not, a salvo of additional software is imminent.

From FIFA 15 to Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes this week’s list of releases seem to signal the beginning of the holiday shopping season, especially with the latter getting a two week jump on its collectable/NFC competitor, Skylanders: Trap Team.

freekeyfridays

#Freekeyfridays Week 58 Raffle!

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Free Key Fridays is holding another giveaway where participants can win up to three games. This week’s picks are as follows:

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Freaking Meatbags throws you into a futuristic world where robots have jobs, cephalopods aren’t confined to a single dimension, and humans pretty much just stand around talking to themselves. As a lowly cleaning robot, your task is to gather precious materials from each world before the solar system goes kaboom.

As soon as you land, you realize this gig isn’t going to be as simple as you had hoped. During the day you’ll scramble to gather resources, build structures and keep your base in good repair. But when it gets dark, get ready to fight. Those rampaging wild robots aren’t here to have a knitting competition.

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Tease, chat and finger-joust to the death as you use smart strategies to collect tiny coloured circles against the clock! This award-winning touchscreen tap-out is fun, frantic and totally hilarious!


Circulets takes the fun for families and parties to the next level by introducing two players to a competitive play on a single device. Define your own rules as you collect circulets (or not) to play. Circulets is a new kind of experience for your mobile devices.

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Serious Sam explodes into the second dimension using everything in his arsenal to battle the abominable legions of Mental’s horde. Pull the trigger to let the heavy ordinance fly in Serious Sam Double D XXL, a completely reloaded version of the indie sensation Serious Sam Double D with all-new missions, weapons, enemies, and challenges. Pile on the firepower with the revolutionary Gunstacker and fire all your weapons at once in a symphony of destruction! All that stands between victory and annihilation is a man in a T-shirt and jeans wielding a great big pile of guns.

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

#Printscreen - Gabriel Knight
Gabriel questions as many voodoo experts as he can for his book, but some of them can be a little… off. At least Magentia is helpful.
Gonçalo GonçalvesSocial Media AssociatePhoenix Online Studios

#Printscreen - Gabriel Knight

Gabriel questions as many voodoo experts as he can for his book, but some of them can be a little… off. At least Magentia is helpful.

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

The Gabriel Knight series has always featured radically different art styles between entries. The first entry employed 2D, VGA graphics with an icon based parser, similar to earlier Sierra titles such as King’s Quest VI. The second game utilized digitized photography, full motion video and live actors whereas the third entry is entirely comprised of 3D polygonal graphics.
All styles featured pros and cons from a technological standpoint though today we’ll focus on the first game and how the backgrounds were updated in the 20th Anniversary Edition.One of the most noticeable technical/stylistic aspects of the original was the fact nearly half of the screen was taken by the dialog and inventory boxes. 


St. George’s Book Shop in the 20th Anniversary Edition.

This means the screen view is letter boxed and while it presents a cinematic view it has the side effect of limiting the player’s view. The 20th Anniversary Edition allows for players to view the action on a full screen without any limitations. Sins of the Fathers allowed players to hide the icon window, a feature was also brought back for the remake.
The original game’s backgrounds consist of hand painted images which were then scanned onto the game itself. While the art itself if beautiful, the technology of the time limited these to a maximum of 256 colors and a resolution of 300x200. As a result the backgrounds suffer from artifacts and other issues. 


The classic scene where Gabriel meets Malia.

All of the backgrounds for the 20th Anniversary Edition were created so as to preserve the spirit of the original. Rather than going for realism, the characters and backgrounds feature their own distinctive art style. The Schloss Ritter castle also received a major update. This time it was made to more closely resemble its Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within counterpart while still keeping the rooms that were so characteristic of the first title. 
Finally we have the comic book panels. These have always been one of the defining features of the original entry in the series. All of the panels have been re-done while still introducing new ones and new elements to the story. 
There is little changed in the overall mood of the game between then and now beyond updating it for the new generation of fans. How longtime players will react to the 20th anniversary edition isn’t clear, but its setting and mood have always done a thorough job at delivering an emotional impact to the overall story.
Gonçalo GonçalvesSocial Media AssociatePhoenix Online Studios

The Gabriel Knight series has always featured radically different art styles between entries. The first entry employed 2D, VGA graphics with an icon based parser, similar to earlier Sierra titles such as King’s Quest VI. The second game utilized digitized photography, full motion video and live actors whereas the third entry is entirely comprised of 3D polygonal graphics.

All styles featured pros and cons from a technological standpoint though today we’ll focus on the first game and how the backgrounds were updated in the 20th Anniversary Edition.One of the most noticeable technical/stylistic aspects of the original was the fact nearly half of the screen was taken by the dialog and inventory boxes.

St. George’s Book Shop in the 20th Anniversary Edition.

This means the screen view is letter boxed and while it presents a cinematic view it has the side effect of limiting the player’s view. The 20th Anniversary Edition allows for players to view the action on a full screen without any limitations. Sins of the Fathers allowed players to hide the icon window, a feature was also brought back for the remake.

The original game’s backgrounds consist of hand painted images which were then scanned onto the game itself. While the art itself if beautiful, the technology of the time limited these to a maximum of 256 colors and a resolution of 300x200. As a result the backgrounds suffer from artifacts and other issues.

The classic scene where Gabriel meets Malia.

All of the backgrounds for the 20th Anniversary Edition were created so as to preserve the spirit of the original. Rather than going for realism, the characters and backgrounds feature their own distinctive art style. The Schloss Ritter castle also received a major update. This time it was made to more closely resemble its Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within counterpart while still keeping the rooms that were so characteristic of the first title.

Finally we have the comic book panels. These have always been one of the defining features of the original entry in the series. All of the panels have been re-done while still introducing new ones and new elements to the story.

There is little changed in the overall mood of the game between then and now beyond updating it for the new generation of fans. How longtime players will react to the 20th anniversary edition isn’t clear, but its setting and mood have always done a thorough job at delivering an emotional impact to the overall story.

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

#Nostalgia - Gabriel Knight - Sins of the Fathers
If you’re a Gabriel Knight fan chances are at one point you knew the game inside and out. However, do you know about the content that never made it to the final cut?



This was the title screen for an earlier version of the game. It uses the subtitle, “Shadow Hunter” which gives away the plot, so it was probably changed because of that.
In the normal title screen, the game draws the options on top of the image by using other game assets. But the unused screen has them applied to the artwork already. There’s also “Tutorial” option instead of “Exit”. The final game features interactive help, but does not have a tutorial.



Another change was Gabriel itself. On the left we see an unused portraits versus the one we all know and love on the right. Gabriel looks a bit older in the unused portrait, his hair looks a lot more manageable, and his skin tone is somewhat darker than in the final.
It’s interesting to think about how little changes like these could have affected our perception of the game. If Gabriel Knight had kept the “shadow hunter” subtitle would we have seen the twists coming a mile away?
Gonçalo GonçalvesSocial Media AssociatePhoenix Online Studios

#Nostalgia - Gabriel Knight - Sins of the Fathers

If you’re a Gabriel Knight fan chances are at one point you knew the game inside and out. However, do you know about the content that never made it to the final cut?

This was the title screen for an earlier version of the game. It uses the subtitle, “Shadow Hunter” which gives away the plot, so it was probably changed because of that.

In the normal title screen, the game draws the options on top of the image by using other game assets. But the unused screen has them applied to the artwork already. There’s also “Tutorial” option instead of “Exit”. The final game features interactive help, but does not have a tutorial.

Another change was Gabriel itself. On the left we see an unused portraits versus the one we all know and love on the right. Gabriel looks a bit older in the unused portrait, his hair looks a lot more manageable, and his skin tone is somewhat darker than in the final.

It’s interesting to think about how little changes like these could have affected our perception of the game. If Gabriel Knight had kept the “shadow hunter” subtitle would we have seen the twists coming a mile away?

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

Phoenix Online Studios was at this year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games. We had a booth set showing off our line-up which included The Last Door, Quest For Infamy and of course, the 20th Anniversary Edition of Gabriel Knight.
It was an amazing experience being able to show our line-up to gamers and media alike while sharing our experiences with other indie developers.



We even got to meet Nathan Gams, the creative art director for Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within.
Finally we also got to hang out with the Guys Games and Beer podcast, they were even kind enough to share a few beers with us.It was an awesome ride and if you go to the Boston Fig next year remember to stop by and greet us. If you’d like to see more Boston Fig pictures or images from any other game conventions we’ve been to check out the Phoenix Online Studios Pinterest.
Gonçalo GonçalvesSocial Media AssociatePhoenix Online Studios

Phoenix Online Studios was at this year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games. We had a booth set showing off our line-up which included The Last Door, Quest For Infamy and of course, the 20th Anniversary Edition of Gabriel Knight.

It was an amazing experience being able to show our line-up to gamers and media alike while sharing our experiences with other indie developers.

We even got to meet Nathan Gams, the creative art director for Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within.

Finally we also got to hang out with the Guys Games and Beer podcast, they were even kind enough to share a few beers with us.It was an awesome ride and if you go to the Boston Fig next year remember to stop by and greet us. If you’d like to see more Boston Fig pictures or images from any other game conventions we’ve been to check out the Phoenix Online Studios Pinterest.

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

freekeyfridays

#Freekeyfridays week 57 raffle!

This week’s Free Key Fridays raffle is up! Here are the games you could win:

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Unclaimed World is a single player game for the PC which takes the colony sim genre into the future, onto a lush planet where humans are making their first foothold.

Characters and alien wildlife are brought to life through a rigorous simulation and the game plays out as a tug-of-war between humans and nature on a planet full of opportunities and dangers. Understanding the alien environment is crucial – the resources you discover will provide a number of production options making you able to adapt when food gets scarce and equipment breaks.

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ROCKETS fire ROCKETS at ROCKETS in this action-arcade arena-combat festival-of-fireworks! Multiplayer and single-player fast-paced combat not your cup of tea? Try our figure-skating-esque ZEN MODE where ROCKETS learn to LOVE.

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Whispering Willows is an adventure, horror themed game that features a dark and rich narrative, beautiful 2-D visuals, and haunting melodies that will leave you yearning for more.  The game has released for OUYA, Windows, Linux, and Mac.  The emotional story will unfold over four riveting chapters, each more intriguing than the last.  The story will immerse you in a rich history steeped in the depths of the human soul as you solve the mysteries of wayward spirits.

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

#Printscreen - Gabriel Knight
The Gabriel Knight interrogation scene now remade for the 20th Anniversary Edition. Crash is brought in as a suspect for the voodoo murders but he’s too afraid to talk. Even Mosely’s interrogation tactics have no effect on him. Why is he so scared?
Gonçalo GonçalvesSocial Media AssociatePhoenix Online Studios

#Printscreen - Gabriel Knight

The Gabriel Knight interrogation scene now remade for the 20th Anniversary Edition. Crash is brought in as a suspect for the voodoo murders but he’s too afraid to talk. Even Mosely’s interrogation tactics have no effect on him. Why is he so scared?

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Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was originally released in 1993 and the music in the game has withstood the test of time and most of the tracks are still beloved by adventure game fans to this day. And going back to the roots of the series for the 20th anniversary remake has been a journey for composer Robert Holmes as he tried to recapture the magic from the original and update it for today’s audience.



Composer for both the original and 20th Anniversary releases of Gabriel Knight.


The technology to compose music was a lot different twenty years ago. While today you can synthesize pretty much anything you want, back in the 1990s everything was done using MIDI and the output was done using less powerful sound cards or even the PC speaker itself. Mark Seibert, the music director at Sierra, tried to keep the company up-to-date with the most “bleeding edge” music technology at the time, but even so there were limitations to what could be done back then.

Robert had been a part of the Sierra family for a couple years working on soundtracks, but when Gabriel Knight came up he was paired instantly with Jane Jensen to work on the music for the game. Because he was brought in during the formative stages, he knew exactly what Jane wanted soundwise. The darker adult themes fit perfectly with his background and interest in the old Hollywood style and pop music. He wanted to make the soundtrack memorable so that you could instantly recognize it even when not playing the game and listening to it on its own. And he succeeded in this as a lot of the tracks are still very memorable today.


Gabriel Knight’s soundtrack took a subtle approach in its ambiance


They wanted to stay away from traditional New Orleans and Cajun music as it had been already done many times before. A “new” kind of darkness was what was needed to make Sins of the Father stand out both as a game and form of media. A more subtle ambiance that “bubbled” up the subtext of the subject being represented through music. There were several influences to what would become the soundtrack to the game, including movies like Promised Land, Key Largo, and Gone With the Wind. And, of course, musical influences like Elton John, Genesis, and Brian Eno.

When it came time to re-score the game’s soundtrack for the remake Robert actually had to relearn a lot of what he wrote. He had forgotten most of the music and needed to relearn how it went. As they went back and fine-tuned the tracks, Robert had the time to look back on his choices twenty years ago. There is little changed in the overall mood of the music between then and now beyond updating it for the new generation of fans. How fans of the original will react to the 20th anniversary edition isn’t clear, but music is one of the areas of gaming that really give an emotional impact to the overall story.

Serena Nelson Social Media Intern Phoenix Online Studios

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was originally released in 1993 and the music in the game has withstood the test of time and most of the tracks are still beloved by adventure game fans to this day. And going back to the roots of the series for the 20th anniversary remake has been a journey for composer Robert Holmes as he tried to recapture the magic from the original and update it for today’s audience.

Composer for both the original and 20th Anniversary releases of Gabriel Knight.

The technology to compose music was a lot different twenty years ago. While today you can synthesize pretty much anything you want, back in the 1990s everything was done using MIDI and the output was done using less powerful sound cards or even the PC speaker itself. Mark Seibert, the music director at Sierra, tried to keep the company up-to-date with the most “bleeding edge” music technology at the time, but even so there were limitations to what could be done back then.

Robert had been a part of the Sierra family for a couple years working on soundtracks, but when Gabriel Knight came up he was paired instantly with Jane Jensen to work on the music for the game. Because he was brought in during the formative stages, he knew exactly what Jane wanted soundwise. The darker adult themes fit perfectly with his background and interest in the old Hollywood style and pop music. He wanted to make the soundtrack memorable so that you could instantly recognize it even when not playing the game and listening to it on its own. And he succeeded in this as a lot of the tracks are still very memorable today.

Gabriel Knight’s soundtrack took a subtle approach in its ambiance

They wanted to stay away from traditional New Orleans and Cajun music as it had been already done many times before. A “new” kind of darkness was what was needed to make Sins of the Father stand out both as a game and form of media. A more subtle ambiance that “bubbled” up the subtext of the subject being represented through music. There were several influences to what would become the soundtrack to the game, including movies like Promised Land, Key Largo, and Gone With the Wind. And, of course, musical influences like Elton John, Genesis, and Brian Eno.

When it came time to re-score the game’s soundtrack for the remake Robert actually had to relearn a lot of what he wrote. He had forgotten most of the music and needed to relearn how it went. As they went back and fine-tuned the tracks, Robert had the time to look back on his choices twenty years ago. There is little changed in the overall mood of the music between then and now beyond updating it for the new generation of fans. How fans of the original will react to the 20th anniversary edition isn’t clear, but music is one of the areas of gaming that really give an emotional impact to the overall story.

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Serena Nelson
Social Media Intern
Phoenix Online Studios

#Nostalgia - Gabriel Knight
The original Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers was a risky venture for Sierra On-Line. Not only was it a new franchise from a creator that wasn’t as well known as the Williams or the Coles, it also employed a darker storyline than previous Sierra games. Moreover, due to its production values it had a very high budget when compared to games of its time. Reportedly, Gabriel Knight was issued a budget of $1 Million, a very hefty sum for 1993. The team was so proud of their accomplishments they even created a “making of” video for Gabriel Knight which can be seen here:



It came with the CD version of Gabriel Knight and featured interviews with Jane Jensen and even the voice actors. At the time voice acting in videogames was still new and few, if any titles employed a star-studded cast like this one.
Gonçalo GonçalvesSocial Media AssociatePhoenix Online Studios

#Nostalgia - Gabriel Knight

The original Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers was a risky venture for Sierra On-Line. Not only was it a new franchise from a creator that wasn’t as well known as the Williams or the Coles, it also employed a darker storyline than previous Sierra games. Moreover, due to its production values it had a very high budget when compared to games of its time. Reportedly, Gabriel Knight was issued a budget of $1 Million, a very hefty sum for 1993. The team was so proud of their accomplishments they even created a “making of” video for Gabriel Knight which can be seen here:

It came with the CD version of Gabriel Knight and featured interviews with Jane Jensen and even the voice actors. At the time voice acting in videogames was still new and few, if any titles employed a star-studded cast like this one.

image
Gonçalo Gonçalves
Social Media Associate
Phoenix Online Studios