LostWinds

Spotlight

VideoFirst iOS LostWinds trailer

Frontier's WiiWare platformer out this Christmas.

David Braben: Taking Kinect to Disneyland

The Elite creator is the controller.

Frontier's David Braben

Welcome, Commander Braben.

LostWinds

Breath of fresh air.

Key events

David Braben: Taking Kinect to Disneyland

The Elite creator is the controller.

UK game developer legend David Braben is known for creating Elite, one of the most influential games of all time. But these days he's one of the brightest minds in Kinect game development.

LostWinds iPhone, iPad announced

LostWinds iPhone, iPad announced

Braben brings Wii game to mobiles.

Kinectimals developer Frontier Developments will launch mobile versions of enchanting platform adventure Wii game LostWinds this year.

Frontier boss David Braben told Eurogamer at the Develop conference today that LostWinds will launch on iPad, iPhone and Android mobiles.

It is the original games "to start with" ported across to iOS and Android, Braben said.

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David Braben slams PS3 hackers

"Right now it is Sony that is hurting."

PS3 hackers who cling to misguided 'I own the console so I can do what I like' arguments are hurting game developers and buyers and publishers - the lot.

More LostWinds blowing in

Frontier offers Elite IV, Outsider updates too.

Fans of delightful WiiWare platformer LostWinds rejoice there's more on the way, developer Frontier has revealed.

Frontier confirms LostWinds sequel

Frontier confirms LostWinds sequel

Switch seasons! Swim! Use cyclones!

Frontier has finally let the cat of the bag and revealed a sequel to LostWinds, subtitled Winter of the Melodias.

New features in the WiiWare follow-up include Toku's ability to instantly switch seasons from summer to winter - a bit like England. He can also control mighty tornadoes that smash through rocks or suck water through their spouts, and has learned to swim.

In addition, Frontier has thrown in a new in-game map and hint system, according to N-Europe's summary of Edge's reveal.

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Frontier's David Braben

Welcome, Commander Braben.

From space exploration in Elite to sniffing around the bins in Dog's Life, David Braben's games have showcased a surprising range of different experiences. With his Cambridge studio Frontier Developments currently embracing politics with the ambitious thriller The Outsider, while also working on a sequel to last year's LostWinds (as well as gearing up for a return to space sometime in the near future), we caught up with the veteran designer at the Develop Conference in Brighton to discuss the industry's history, the struggles ahead, and why he doesn't want to end up doing the noses on footballers.

Wii reviewers are the problem - Braben

Wii reviewers are the problem - Braben

Family titles critiqued "poorly, if at all".

Frontier boss David Braben reckons the problem with Wii review scores stems from the type of critic assessing the game.

"Ruling out a source of information is never a good idea," Braben told Eurogamer, responding to Peter Moore's declaration that Metacritic is irrelevant to the success of a Wii game.

"The main problem he is alluding to is that family games tend to get reviewed poorly, if at all, by many mainstream review sites, typically dropping 10 or more percentage points as a result. Anecdotally, this is because most reviewers are what are often called 'core gamers' - and these family-focused games tend to appeal less to them (us!).

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Shops "defrauding the industry" - Braben

HMV's pre-owned games move "shocking".

Frontier founder and creator of Elite, David Braben, has said that he thinks HMV's move into selling pre-owned games is "shocking", and that the increasing emphasis on the pre-owned market is a serious threat to the games industry.

Braben: pre-owned is "damaging" market

Skewed sales, unrewarded developers.

Frontier Developments boss David Braben reckons the pre-owned games market is causing all sorts of problems for single-player titles or those with less replay value.

Game quality has "skyrocketed" - Braben

Elite creator praises latest innovations.

David Braben, co-creator of Elite and head of LostWinds brain Frontier Developments, believes there is more innovation in the games industry now than ever before.

LostWinds tops WiiWare chart

Blows raspberries in faces of others.

Nintendo's European marketing chief, Laurent Fischer, has revealed that LostWinds is currently king of the WiiWare chartcastle. The game is pointing and laughing at the likes of TV Show King and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, who occupy second and third places respectively.

WiiWare Roundup

Hands-on with all the launch games.

The launch of WiiWare - small games that you can download from the Wii Shop - is the fulfilment of part of Nintendo's promise for the system. As the hype was building before the console's launch, Nintendo made much of the idea that the system would encourage creativity and lower the bar for developers - allowing people to experiment with innovation without taking huge financial risks. A year and a half after launch, here we are. WiiWare allows developers to create small games - with small teams and small budgets - and then make them available online, priced at 500 Wii points (GBP 3.50, or EUR 5.00) and upwards. Speaking with us in Frankfurt ahead of the launch, Nintendo's European marketing boss Laurent Fischer confirmed that there was no content approval process - developers can create whatever they want, provided it passes the technical approval process and gets a recognised age rating.

WiiWare launches in Europe

WiiWare launches in Europe

Six games at launch - pricing inside.

Nintendo's WiiWare service for downloadable first- and third-party games has launched in Europe with six brand new games to try out.

The headlining duo are LostWinds from Frontier Developments, which earned itself a handsome 9/10 in our review, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King from Square Enix, which is a sort of RPG Sim City.

The other launch titles are Dr Mario & Germ Buster, a Wiimote-enabled remake of the classic Nintendo puzzler; Star Soldier R, a high-scores shoot-'em-up from Hudson; TV Show King, a basic quiz game from Gameloft; and Toki Tori, a puzzle/platform game where to play as a chicken.

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LostWinds sequel already planned?

LostWinds sequel already planned?

So says Frontier's website.

With Frontier Developments' LostWinds due out in Europe on 20th May, talk has already turned to a sequel - and Frontier itself is spurring things on with some unambiguous labelling on its website.

Head to the LostWinds page on Frontier.co.uk and scroll down, and you're presented with a prompt to register for information on a "forthcoming LostWinds sequel containing amazing new gameplay as Toku and Enril's incredible adventure to save Mistralis continues". The game reportedly also ends with a note that it is "to be continued".

We've contacted Frontier for clarification.

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LostWinds

LostWinds

Breath of fresh air.

Considered by many to be the premier WiiWare launch title, it's not difficult to see why Frontier's LostWinds has garnered such an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response during recent sneak previews. Knocked up in little over three months, it's a reminder of the kind of offbeat creativity UK development talent is capable of when given an outlet, and when publishers don't interfere. Combining elements of Klonoa and Okami, it's a disarming British love letter to Japanese game development which embarrasses most Wii titles at a stroke. Or waggle.

Before we got down to playing the finished article, Frontier founder and chairman David Braben told us that the decision to self-publish the game via WiiWare rather than the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade was a decision borne out of the lead designer being a "massive Nintendo fanboy". It also gave the Cambridge-based company a rare chance to cut loose and come up with the kind of quirky game concept that many publishers would have considered too big a risk to put out as a boxed product.

Frontier describes LostWinds as "an enchanting adventure bursting with new gameplay ideas that embrace the innovative controller of the Wii". You could even say that the way the game gives the player control over the wind breathes new life into 2D platform-puzzling, although I wouldn't recommend that because you'll make people cringe. Instead, perhaps you'll say that Frontier has come up with a unique wind-assisted control system that encompasses platforming, combat and puzzling without ever feeling cumbersome or confusing, and with its own visual style that steers comfortably away from anime cliché.

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Details on each WiiWare launch game

Details on each WiiWare launch game

How they work and their features.

Since you've already stared lovingly at the European WiiWare launch line-up, some of which are due out on 20th May, we thought you might like a bit more information on each of the games. Prices listed are based on US and Japanese equivalents, as Nintendo was unable to confirm European pricing when we asked.

(Update 20th May, 7.17am: Pricing is now confirmed. The only two on this list not available at the 20th May launch are Pirates: The Key of Dreams and Pop.)

Dr. Mario & Germ Buster (Nintendo) - 1000 Wii Points (GBP 7 / EUR 10 approx)

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European WiiWare launch line-up

European WiiWare launch line-up

Eight games, but not all on 20th May.

Nintendo has announced the European WiiWare launch line-up, which is headlined by LostWinds from Frontier and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King by Square Enix.

Yesterday saw the launch of the US WiiWare service, featuring six titles, but we actually get eight in Europe on 20th May, missing out on the US' Defend your Castle and V.I.P Casino: Blackjack but gaining Dr. Mario & Germ Buster from Nintendo, Pirates: The Key of Dreams from Oxygen Interactive, Star Soldier R from Hudson and Toki Tori from Two Tribes.

Update, 12.05pm: Nintendo has been in touch to say "not all eight titles will be immediately available from the May 20th launch date". The wording in the press release was, "From 20th May onwards a whole host of brand new creative games from developers across Europe and the rest of the globe become available, including..." followed by a list. We've asked Nintendo to clarify which ones will be out when.

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WiiWare launching in US today

WiiWare launching in US today

One new game each week.

Nintendo will launch its WiiWare service across the US today.

It goes live with six titles, including LostWinds from Frontier Developments, and is set to receive one fresh game a week.

WiiWare behaves just like Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, and offers independent developers a source of distribution for their smaller-scale and usually arcade-style games.

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Nintendo WiiWare Roundup

Final Fantasy, LostWinds, Eating, Pop, World of Goo, Strong Bad.

On 10th and 11th April, Nintendo of America invited a select group of journalists to a media event to experience the company's upcoming Wii, DS and WiiWare titles firsthand. While standing in a hallway before the event began, we caught a glimpse of NOA president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime as he was ushered through a back door and out of sight. Alas, Reggie never made a public appearance at the show. Like those who track the elusive Bigfoot, we were only able to capture a fuzzy cell phone photograph as evidence of his presence. But who is going to believe us? [Or care. -Ed]