Cancelled: The Force Unleashed 3


Following on from my article about The Force Unleashed series, The Force Unleashed 3 was planned and canned and today I want to find out as much about this cancelled Force Unleashed 3 game as I can.


Let’s start with The Force Unleashed 2. The game was short and critics accused the game of being rushed. Negative reviews cited the game as a desperate cash grab, fan fiction and “one of the most underachieving games of 2010”. Its commercial response was equally underwhelming. Despite a promising opening week, less than four million copies sold in total, on all formats (including Wii and DS versions). This was not the response Lucas were looking for in the sequel to the fastest-selling Star Wars game of all time. But how could this have happened?

During the year Force Unleashed II went into production, LucasArts had no less than three CEOs, each with a different approach to executive involvement. The year Force Unleashed 2 shipped, LucasArts had had three more. Haden Blackman, the director of the first game was helming the second, but announced his resignation before the game shipped. With growing studio involvement and a hellish production schedule, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Blackman foresaw LucasArts’ grim future and wanted out. About a month before the game shipped, LucasArts sacked some 85 employees from the Force Unleashed team and before the year was out had fired even more. By the time TFU2 had shipped, a third of all LucasArts employees had been fired.

We know for a fact that a third Force Unleashed game was on the cards, but it seems likely that the internal pressures at LucasArts, ongoing staff upheaval and creativity-crushing development schedules contributed to Haden Blackman leaving LucasArts – and in turn – the third Force Unleashed game getting the can. We’ll never know for sure but this seems to be a sensible conclusion, given the facts.

What could we have expected from The Force Unleashed 3?

The Force Unleashed 2 ended with a cliffhanger so The Force Unleashed 3 would immediately resolve that end sequence. Sam Witwer, the voice of Starkiller commented on his Facebook that he and Blackman had discussed the story and that he was keen to do it. Blackman revealed that he would have like The Force Unleashed III to have been a more open-world, sandbox experience. No level-based gameplay, more of a massive physics playground. His vision of the story would have seen Starkiller and Darth Vader reluctantly team-up to fight a new threat from Emperor Palpatine. Introducing co-op play to the open-world concept, The Force Unleashed III would have been about two incredible Force users, adventuring through the Galaxy together, working together to stop the Emperor’s evil scheme to replace Vader.

For those who think Starkiller’s story should have ended in The Force Unleashed 1; Blackman’s original ideas for The Force Unleashed 2 didn’t involve Starkiller at all; one of them centred around Yoda. A kind of “Yoda Unleashed”, the game would have explored Yoda’s past and probably featured him backflipping and slicing fools heads off. Another idea was set thousands of years in the Galactic past. One was a Western-inspired story about a Grey Jedi keeping low after Order 66, kinda like Unforgiven but in space and with wizards. None of these ideas made it into TFU2, because Blackman was given three weeks to write the story. Given that the game was allowed less than twelve months development time, the team pretty much had to use whatever assets they already had.

Embracing the physics sandbox and introducing co-op play works for me. After jotting down a few story notes and assembling some concept art, Blackman left LucasArts forever. We don’t know what could have been and we likely never will. Due to the financial failure of TFU2, LucasArts canned all efforts at creating new Force Unleashed. Content. Allegedly even saying the name “Starkiller” was banned on Lucas property. In 2012, LucasArts was acquired by The Walt Disney Company and a little over six months later the studio closed, with all games development being cancelled and a further 150 staff members losing their jobs.

The chance of a third game is slim. Disney most likely want to tell their own stories, and their resources seem to be focused on movies. The Force Unleashed could have been a hotbed of creative new ideas. Had LucasArts had the conviction to see past the quick wins, who knows what could have happened? Would you have liked to see Starkiller and Vader team up in The Force Unleashed 3? Do you prefer the Jedi cowboy idea? Or are you happy to see the franchise gone?  

You can watch a video version of The Story of Star Wars The Force Unleased III on The Game Show YouTube channel.


The Golden Joystick Awards presented with OMEN by HP Shortlist Announced


The Golden Joystick Awards Presented With OMEN By HP Shortlist Announced & Public Vote Now Live

The World’s Largest Public Voted Gaming Awards To Be Held in London On 17 Nov 2017


September 21, London, UK: The 35th Golden Joystick Awards presented with OMEN by HP today announced the full awards shortlist¹ and opened voting to the public. The shortlist and voting page can be viewed now at Every person who votes will receive a free videogames e-bookazine² worth up to £15.99 after they vote.

The Golden Joystick Awards presented with OMEN by HP feature over 20 award categories voted for by the general public, as well as a selection of Critic’s Choice Awards. Over 120 different games have been shortlisted this year across categories including ‘Ultimate Game of the Year’, ‘Most Wanted’, ‘Breakthrough Award’, ‘Best Indie Game’ as well as individual categories for ‘PlayStation Game of the Year’, ‘Xbox Game of the Year’, ‘Nintendo Game of the Year’, ‘Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year’, ‘PC Game of the Year’ and more.

The 35th Golden Joystick Awards presented with OMEN by HP also introduces four new voted awards to reflect the changing nature of the industry and allow gamers’ to reward their favourite games, communities and personalities. These are ‘Best VR Game’, ‘eSports Team of the Year’, ‘Best Streamer / Broadcaster’ and the ‘Still Playing Award’, which celebrates games that have us playing all year-round, even if they were released outside the voting window. We are delighted to introduce another non-voted award, ‘Outstanding Contribution’ to the UK Games Industry, awarded to an individual by our judging panel.

Dan Dawkins, Global Editor-In-Chief, GamesRadar+ said:

“The number of different games shortlisted, over 120 in total, from over 65 different publishers and developers, reflects the fantastic variety of titles released this year across all the different platforms. Groundbreaking games bursting with originality and flair can be found in all the categories from indie games through to huge triple A franchises.”

“The ‘Ultimate Game of the Year’ category alone features indie title ‘What Remains of Edith Finch’, mobile game ‘Monument Valley 2’, Nintendo games ‘Super Mario Odyssey’ and ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’, PlayStation games ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ and Persona 5, VR game ‘Resident Evil 7’, multi-format blockbusters ‘Destiny 2’, ‘Assassin’s Creed Origins’ and ‘Dishonored 2’ and PC multiplayer game ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’.”

Topping the ‘most nominated’ list this year is role-playing game ‘Persona 5’ and Sony blockbuster ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’, which both receive five nominations. Supergiant’s party-based RPG ‘Pyre’, Nintendo’s ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ and Fullbright’s ‘Tacoma’ are next up with four nominations each.

The Golden Joystick Awards presented with OMEN by HP will be hosted by comedian Danny Wallace on November 17th at London’s Bloomsbury Big Top and will be live streamed on the night. Voting closes on November 3rd so get voting for your favourites now!

Watch presenter Danny Wallace’s shortlist announcement video here.

Picture credits: Dark Souls III winning Game of the Year 2016 (Left), Danny Wallace at the awards in 2015 (right)


To stay up to date with news from the Golden Joystick Awards presented with OMEN by HP follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Press should contact or for updates.

¹Please find below three of the shortlisted categories, for the full list of shortlisted games and to vote visit

Ultimate Game of the Year Shortlist
Assassin’s Creed Origins – Ubisoft
Destiny 2 – Bungie
Dishonored 2 – Arkane Studios
Horizon: Zero Dawn – Guerrilla Games
Monument Valley 2 – Ustwo Games
Persona 5 – Atlus
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – Bluehole Studio Inc.
Resident Evil 7 – Capcom
Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo EPD
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo EPD
What Remains of Edith Finch – Giant Sparrow

Indie Game of the Year Shortlist
Dream Daddy – Game Grumps
Everything – David OReilly
Friday the 13th: The Game – IllFonic
Night in the Woods – Infinite Fall
Pyre – Supergiant Games
Slime Rancher – Monomi Park
Stories Untold – No Code
Tacoma – Fullbright
Thimbleweed Park – Terrible Toybox
What Remains of Edith Finch – Giant Sparrow

eSports Game of the Year Shortlist
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Infinity Ward
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – Valve
Dota 2 – Valve
FIFA 17 – Electronic Arts
League of Legends – Riot Games
Overwatch – Blizzard
Rainbow Six: Siege – Ubisoft
Rocket League – Psyonix
Smite – Hi-Rez Studios
StarCraft II – Blizzard


²Each individual voter can choose from the following Future published e-bookazines (one e-bookazine per person): Edge Special: The 100 Greatest Videogames, The PlayStation Book (2nd Edition), The Best PC Games Ever, Nintendo Switch, Ultimate Guide to Minecraft vol 20, Retro Gamer Book of Arcade Classics 2nd Edition.

X-Wing Series Review


Star Wars: X-Wing and TIE Fighter

A PC series in review

The X-Wing series of PC games are immensely important. They were instrumental in setting up what would later be referred to at the Star Wars Expanded Universe. After Return of the Jedi, there were no more Star Wars stories, until the creation of the Star Wars Expanded Universe in the early 90s.

Star Wars: X-Wing PC Game

The first X-Wing series game doesn’t contribute much to the Expanded Universe, rather it just tells the story of an unknown rebel pilot, flying in campaigns against the Empire. The events in X-Wing take place alongside the first film and they culminate with the player taking control of Luke Skywalker and flying the trench run to blow up the first Death Star. The two expansions put you back in the pilot’s seat, flying missions which lead up to the establishment of Echo Base on Hoth.

star wars x-wing tie fighter pc game series review

Star Wars: TIE Fighter DOS PC Game

The second game in the X-wing series is TIE Fighter. This is where things really start to warm up. Lucas started to really put effort into establishing their expanded universe. The TIE Fighter game and Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire books in particular form the origin of the greatest villain Star Wars has ever had, Grand Admiral Thrawn. TIE Fighter defines the X-Wing series for this; It’s the first time we see a character from the Expanded Universe in a starring role, it’s the first time the books and the video games interact and most importantly it helped to establish an ongoing, connected universe of stories across multiple formats. X-wing captured the essence of A New Hope, but TIE Fighter broadened that scope and forged its own path.

TIE Fighter’s story is about an Imperial pilot, part of a special task force put together by young Vice Admiral Thrawn to root out rogue admirals who are no longer loyal to the Emperor. Set in the background of the Original Trilogy, TIE Fighter tells us there could still be stories like this happening somewhere else at the same time. Thrawn’s Empire isn’t outwardly evil; you’re playing as the baddies, but you’re preserving order, dealing with power struggles. Something which makes sense with an Empire this big and showcases Thrawn’s tactical genius, which is what makes him such a great villain.

star wars x-wing tie fighter pc game series review

star wars x-wing tie fighter pc game series review star wars x-wing tie fighter pc game series review

TIE Fighter and the Thrawn novels established a precedent for the Expanded Universe: attention to continuity across multiple platforms. You can pause a single shot in any movies and say “see that dude in the back? That droid? That ladder? There’s a backstory for that”. Combining the books, the games, the films, the comics and the TV turns what was previously a hearty meal into a banquet. Of course, that’s all optional. You don’t need to read the books to play the games, you don’t need to do either to enjoy the movies. But if you want to go Hyper-Nerd like me, well it’s a blinding experience, and there’s nothing else quite like it.

X-Wing vs TIE Fighter PC game

The third game in the X-wing series was a dodgy multiplayer-only flop and a costly lesson in what Star Wars fans wanted out of their games. X-Wing vs TIE Fighter’s one expansion added a small campaign. Incredibly XWvTF supported 8-player online co-op. Something which is still yet to be beaten for a game of its type! Despite the lack of story, LucasArts were investing in emerging technologies, something which would later define the studio.

Star Wars X-Wing Alliance

X-Wing Alliance overhauled the game engine, making the gameplay more realistic and added the ability to switch between crew members on bigger ships. More importantly, Alliance made up for the XWvTF’s cock-up by further cementing its story into events from the Expanded Universe. Like TIE Fighter before it, X-Wing Alliance threads into the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire multimedia project. One mission actually crosses over with a level from the Shadows of the Empire video game. As far as I know is an industry first. Certainly not something you see every day. Imagine the possibilities in today’s Star Wars video games!

star wars x-wing tie fighter pc game series review star wars x-wing tie fighter pc game series review

X-Wing and TIE Fighter DOS Games Series

If you’re up for trying one of these games, be aware that they’re HARD. No handholding, no tutorial levels. These are relatively realistic spaceship simulators. Expect to be switching to rear deflectors, re-routing power from the engines. Changing laser recharge and dodging incoming fire. The games use nearly every key on the keyboard. This is part of the reason the X-wing series isn’t around any more. The rise in games console revenue ushered in an age of multi-platform development. Complicated keyboard layouts became impossible to port onto a controller.

Will we get another TIE Fighter game?

Factor 5’s Rogue Squadron series did trim down the complexity into a console-friendly experience. It was revealed that Factor 5 were developing a fourth Rogue Squadron game called Rogue Squadron: X-Wing vs TIE Fighter. That might be kicking about on a server somewhere. We’ve got the technology, space sims are popular again and Grand Admiral Thrawn is back on the scene. TIE Fighter established Grand Admiral Thrawn and showed how effective marrying up the games with the Expanded Universe could be. We could still see a modern X-wing series game set during the reign of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Click here to watch my Star Wars X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC game series review. For more Star Wars gaming reviews, stick with The Game Show.

Star Wars Dark Forces

Star Wars Dark Forces DOS PC Review

In the opening cutscene of Star Wars Dark Forces, we see Mon Mothma hire a mercenary called Kyle Katarn to infiltrate an imperial facility and steal the Death Star plans. The Alliance contact Katarn again after a rebel base is destroyed by black-clad stormtroopers. Kyle discovers The Empire are building an army of battle droids called Dark Troopers. Dark Troopers can’t be bargained with, can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop until the Rebels are dead.

Attempting to stop the Dark Trooper project takes Katarn on a whirlwind tour of the galaxy, blasting Stormtroopers, Imperial officers and alien bounty hunters. Whether on alien planets or aboard spaceships, each one of Dark Forces’ 15 levels is rich in Star Wars flavour. The game brings its own cast of characters, ship designs and locations to the Expanded Universe which sit right alongside that established Star Wars-y-ness.

Star Wars Dark Forces gameplay

Dark Forces is defined by huge levels, designed with a more vertical experience than other FPSs from the 90s. It’s not just slopes and flights of stairs. Dark Forces features multi-tiered cityscapes, with elevators, bridges and towers. It’s a big, 3-dimensional experience and multiple objectives to be achieved in each stage can lead to you flailing about a bit aimlessly. All the weapons you’d expect from a Star Wars first-person shooter are present. From the humble blaster pistol and the E111 rifle to good ol’ thermal detonators, right up to exotic plasma weapons and explosives.

Some of the weapons have alt modes which was a thing back in the 90s. Thumbs up who remembers when alt fire modes were a thing! Despite all the guns, Kyle Katarn has probably the strongest punch guy in Star Wars. Punching Grans, Trandoshans, Gamorrean Guards, Stormtroopers. He even punches a Kell Dragon to death. He’s going about the galaxy punching the life out of everything. What a bloody hero.

star wars dark forces dos pc game review

star wars dark forces dos pc game review

star wars dark forces dos pc game review

star wars dark forces dos pc game review

Is Dark Forces still good today?

iMUSE MIDI music for me is an integral part of the DOS experience and Dark Forces has some really charming MIDI music. The charming 3D graphics are highly rated by me. I think these 2D sprite-based games age better than the 3D games which came immediately after them.

I really like Star Wars Dark Forces. Plenty of “better” PC and FPS games have come out since. There are even newer games in the series like Dark Forces 2 and Jedi Knight 2. I find myself playing Dark Forces again because it’s a short little game. I can blast through over a couple of nights. It’s the epitome of retro gaming for me; fire it up, play for half an hour or so and walk away. As with all games on Second Wind, this is available to purchase on GOG and Steam. If you’re new to SW games and are looking for a game to get you into it, Dark Forces is a brilliant place to start.

Watch my Star Wars Dark Forces review on YouTube here.

Omen by HP Announced As Headline Sponsor Of The PC Gamer Weekender 2017



Omen by HP Announced As Headline Sponsor Of The PC Gamer Weekender 2017

Tickets Available Now

Hands-On Game Exclusives Including Dawn of War III, Motorsport Manager, Halo Wars 2 – Blitz Firefight, Tekken 7, Little Nightmares, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, Mirage: Arcane Warfare

Olympia London
Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th February 2017


Omen by HP, the new breed of gaming machines and accessories, are the headline sponsor of the PC Gamer Weekender 2017 – the UK’s only event dedicated solely to PC gaming.

To be billed as THE PC GAMER WEEKENDER PLAYED ON OMEN by HP, the event takes place at the Olympia in Kensington, London – a brand new venue for this year’s event – and it will take place over Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th February 2017.

This is a brand new partnership for the PC Gamer Weekender, which was launched in 2016 by Future plc, home of market-leading gaming media including PC Gamer, GamesRadar+ and Edge.

Omen by HP is built on the legacy of Voodoo PC and has the experience and expertise of this legendary gaming brand coursing through its DNA. Offering an array of machines and equipment that will suit any serious gamer, no matter what their ability, this breed of machines is designed to allow gamers to work harder, train longer and rise up to relentless competition. This modus operandi is something that locks perfectly with the PC Gamer Weekender philosophy.

Yvonne Hobden – UK&I Consumer Marketing Lead, Personal Systems HP Inc UK Limited, says, “Omen by HP is super excited about partnering with PC Gamer Weekender 2017. We can’t wait to share the latest range of Omen by HP products with the PC Gamer audience and power some of the coolest features of the event itself. The gameplay on the devices will be top notch demonstrated by our gaming laptops, desktops and the ultimate Omen X.”

Jonny Sullens, Future plc’s Head of Events, says “The Weekender’s community, both online and those who came to last year’s event, have an incredible hunger for learning and trying out the latest and best rigs on the market. We’re delighted to be working with Omen by HP as this year’s headline sponsor as it gives us both the perfect opportunity to give attendees an even more immersive experience.”

The event offers a whole range of areas and activities that will provide the PC gaming community with everything to satisfy their needs, these are…


A huge gaming area that offers plenty of chances to get hands-on with the latest games. Following the success of this year’s event, both the SEGA and Bandai Namco Entertainment Zones return for 2017’s Weekender—which means you’ll have the chance to get your hands on the likes of Sega’s Dawn of War III, Motorsport Manager, Tekken 7, Little Nightmares and many more.

Microsoft makes its debut, bringing with it Halo Wars 2 – in particular its Blitz Firefight mode – while CI Games and Torn Banner will be there with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 and Mirage: Arcane Warfare respectively.

Of course this is far from the full list: there are more games to be announced in the coming weeks and months – keep an eye on for the most up to date games on show.


Exclusive show offers are available over the weekend, enabling visitors to build the ultimate gaming PC with the latest kit and components.


Seminars and interactive sessions from the people in the know teach you how to build and maintain your own gaming rig.


Hear the top dogs of the PC gaming world talking about what they do best.


Take on the challenge and prove yourself in our competitive gaming area!


Demos and developer sessions hosted by the creators of the most exciting upcoming PC games.


Some of the very brightest minds in games will take to the stage to tell you everything you need to know about gaming, developing and more.


The Common Room will be bigger and better for 2017. Come along to chat about up-and-coming Indie games.


Epic new releases will join well-loved classics from one of the world’s most successful studios.


Chill out and play Hearthstone on your phone or tablet, and recharge your batteries at the bar ready for more gaming fun.


Give your eyes a break from the screen and sit down with your pals to play games the old-fashioned way.


Find out more about SEGA’s big Valentine’s Day gaming event at this live broadcast studio

Golden Joystick Awards 2016 Winners Announced!


Golden Joystick Awards 2016
The World’s Most Popular and Credible Games Awards

The Winners

Dark Souls 3 – Ultimate Game Of The Year
Overwatch Wins Five Awards
The Witcher 3:Blood and Wine Wins Three Awards
Pokémon GO Wins Two Awards

Awards Took Place On 18th November
indigO2 at The O2

18 November 2016 – Today, the 34th annual Golden Joystick Awards, powered by GamesRadar+, honoured the very best in international gaming at a lavish ceremony at the indigO2 at London’s O2 Arena, and once again demonstrated why it is the biggest award show in the world of gaming.

This is the only gaming award ceremony in the world voted for by the gamers themselves, and the winner of the coveted Ultimate Game Of The Year in association GamesRadar+ went to Dark Souls 3. Released in January 2016, it was met with critical and public acclaim with GamesRadar+ giving it a massive 4.5 out of 5.

Dan Dawkins, Editor-In-Chief of GamesRadar+, says, “Dark Souls 3 is the very deserving winner of Ultimate Game Of The Year. On the surface, the series is most well-known for its difficulty, but it’s the impeccable combat, ingenious design and subtly-integrated, dense, lore that binds the game to our affections. Dark Souls 3 is unashamed in the demands it makes of the player, yet rigidly fair: weaving a dense, rewarding story, uniquely crafted for the medium.”

Overwatch, the multi-player first person shooter from Blizzard Entertainment picked up the most awards of the evening for Best Original Game in association with The Sun, Best Multiplayer Game in association with PC Gamer Weekender, PC Game of the Year in association with PC Gamer, Competitive Game of the Year in association with PC Gamer Pro and Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio for the Play of the game.

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, the expansion pack of 2015’s Ultimate Game of the Year, Witcher 3: WIld Hunt, picked up three awards for Best Storytelling, Best Visual Design and Doug Cockle, the voice Geralt of Rivia, the game’s lead character, won Best Gaming Performance. CD Projekt Red, the production company behind the game won Studio of the Year in association with Edge.

Global phenomenon Pokémon GO was the other multi award winner. Bringing a new dimension to mobile gaming in the summer this year, it picked up Innovation of the Year and Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year in association with Digital Spy.

Lifetime Achievement Award was this year bestowed to Eiji Aonuma, the man behind one of the world’s best loved gaming series Golden Joystick Awards On receiving the award, Eiji said – “I am glad, honoured and really humbled to be awarded the Golden Joysticks 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. I say I’m humbled because when I heard about this award, I had to ask myself… “am I qualified to be accepting this myself as an individual, when the award belongs more to The Legend of Zelda Series?” With this understanding I accept the award with pleasure on behalf of more that 1,000 creators, artists, engineers and composers who have worked on the series for more than 30 years.”

Lara Croft® was honoured with being entered into the Golden Joystick Awards Hall Of Fame. 2016 is the 20th anniversary of TOMB RAIDER, the game that catapulted Lara Croft to the iconic figure that she is today. One of the most instantly recognisable characters in gaming and film history, this honour is reserved only for the true behemoths in the world of gaming, and it is hard to argue that there is anyone bigger than Lara Croft!

Elsewhere in proceedings, 2015’s Most Wanted Game winner Fallout 4 picked up Best Audio in association with DTS, Best Indie Game in association with Kotaku UK went to first person adventure game Firewatch. Sean Plott, AKA Day(9), the eSports commentator was voted Gaming Personality of the Year in association with Guiness World Records, Competitive Play of the Year in association with PC Gamer Pro went to Coldzera’s jumping AWP quad kill at MLG Columbus, YouTube’s – Upcoming Personality of the Year was won by Jesse Cox. The Breakthrough Award went to Eric Barone’s open ended farm building RPG Stardew Valley, the Most Wanted Game in association with Green Man Gaming went to Mass Effect Andromeda, which is set for release in March 2017. A plethora of critics argued it out and selected Titanfall 2 for the Critics Choice Award and Steam was once again Best Gaming Platform.

In the individual console categories The Legend of Zelda:Twilight Princess HD won Nintendo Game of the Year in association with Gamesmaster, Playstation Game of the Year in association with OPM was picked up Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Xbox Game of the Year in association with OXM was Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Daniel Dawkins, says, “Overwatch is, arguably, 2016’s biggest breakout console hit and verges on a cultural phenomenon. Mechanically, it’s superb, but it’s the vibrant characters that have built an ultra-engaged community – and it’s this human affection that has powered Blizzard Entertainment’s game to five Golden Joystick Awards. Pokemon Go was *inarguably* a cultural phenomenon – and a deserved winner – plus it’s great to see Firewatch pick up Best Indie Game: a genuinely mature game, tackling complex human issues, but never preachy… with no guns in sight. As for Critics’ Choice winner, Titanfall 2: wow. That’s how you build a single-player campaign”.

This years awards were hosted by James Veitch.

The winners are…

Best Original Game in association with The Sun – Overwatch
Best Storytelling – The Witcher 3:Blood and Wine
Best Visual Design – The Witcher 3:Blood and Wine
Best Audio in association with DTS – Fallout 4
Best Indie Game in association with Kotaku UK – Firewatch
Gaming Personality of the Year in association with Guiness World Records – Sean Plott (Day (9))
Best Multiplayer Game in association with PC Gamer Weekender – Overwatch
Competitive Play of the Year in association with PC Gamer Pro – Coldzera’s jumping AWP quad kill at MLG Columbus
Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio – Play of the game in Overwatch
YouTube – Upcoming Personality of the Year – Jesse Cox
Studio of the Year in association with Edge – CD Projekt Red
Innovation of the Year – Pokémon GO
Lifetime Achievement Award – Eiji Aonuma
Best Gaming Platform – Steam
Best Gaming Performance – Doug Cockle
Competitive Game of the Year in association with PC Gamer Pro – Overwatch
Nintendo Game of the Year in association with Gamesmaster – The Legend of Zelda:Twilight Princess HD
Playstation Game of the Year in association with OPM – Uncharted 4:A Thief’s End
Xbox Game of the Year in association with OXM – Rise of the Tomb Raider
PC Game of the Year in association with PC Gamer – Overwatch
Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year in association with Digital Spy – Pokémon GO
Breakthrough Award – Eric Barone – Stardew Valley
Hall of Fame – Lara Croft
Critics Choice Award – Titanfall 2
Most Wanted Game in association with Green Man Gaming – Mass Effect Andromeda
Ultimate Game of the Year in association with GamesRadar+ – Dark Souls 3

The Golden Joystick Awards is proud to work in partnership with Bandai Namco, Green Man Gaming, DTS, Wargaming, Sony Playstation and Guinness World Records, and media partners The Sun, Digital Spy and Absolute Radio.

The Future of Games Consoles


I’ve been thinking lately, what’s the future of the games console? I think we’ll see some dramatic changes when the next generation is announced, due to the massive and always accelerating rate that technology advances. Of course, those halcyon days of just put the cartridge in and it just works are long gone now. With things like day one patches and ongoing system updates modern consoles are more and more like PCs than ever before, and that trend looks to increase.

Steam machines the future of gaming?

This new raft of Steam machines and SFF gaming PCs is an incredible thing to behold. Simple, tidy PCs that don’t look out of place in the living room points to PC gaming being a very viable option for the average consumer. PC gaming used to be a stuffy, trollish pastime which only attracted the fringes of society. Due to the difficulty curve and and other hurdles, the barrier for entry to PC gaming was something most consumers were not willing to event attempt to straddle. But those days are gone now. The days of long boot times, autoexec.bat manipulation, confusing operating systems and hardware conflicts are largely behind us. Buying or even assembling a PC nowadays is almost as simple as buying a PS4. PCs and consoles are meeting somewhere in the middle.

We’ve watched Microsoft’s Xbox become more and more a gaming PC since its inception. DirectX, almost off-the-shelf PC innards and crosss-platform play. And why not? Microsoft have enormous authority in the PC space. This model is proven to work, so merging the PC and console experience is an obvious move for a company whose heartland has always been in personal computers. Sony though have little authority in the desktop PC space. Outside of a few attempts to enter the desktop space and admittedly a very good stance in the laptop and tablet market, it would be fair to say Sony’s heartland is in TVs. The Bravia experience has evolved since its launch, adding in digital services, networking and recently the addition of streaming. Sony’s PlayStation Now directly rivals Netflix and Amazon. Whilst perhaps  it doesn’t have the market share of either, there is a concerted effort for Sony to bring TV and gaming together into the same space. The addition of Gaikai game streaming to Bravia TVs turns Sony’s offering into a tempting multimedia feast. With Sony pushing PlayStation Now content into a smart TV experience, it makes me wonder if the need for a physical PlayStation will be wholly necessary in a generation’s time.

Xbox could end up as living room gaming PCs, PlayStation might cease to exist in any physical sense. More like a PlayStation experience, included with the purchase of a new TV.

Nintendo and the future of games consoles

Now that leaves Nintendo. The company who historically have refused to take part in the arms race for faster, smarter machines. Fittingly now the last console standing. Never interested in bundling in a DVD or BluRay player, never forcing their hardware developers to shoehorn in the beefiest graphics card or the most cutting-edge hardware. Nintendo’s heartland is arguably games and that has shown in their thirty years of console development. Combining console and handheld gaming experiences has seemingly been Nintendo’s only motivation. Something which I’ve seen them do more and more with each passing generation and they are now embarking into with smartphones. Gunpei Yokoi’s philosophy of Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology has remained a core influence on Nintendo’s output. Never really pushing the envelope, but capitalising on the successes of others and adapting existing technology in a fun and innovative way. Nurturing their loyal, niche fanbase and serving gaming experiences, nothing more. After all after all these years, do we actually need more? Is it broke? Does it need fixing?

The world is changing very fast. Faster with each passing year. As times change, neither PlayStation or Xbox want to limit their financial opportunities. As new markets emerge, so they diversify, conglomerate and re-coalesce their businesses into something new. Adding in more technology and more features to corral more and more mainstream buyers into making a purchase. Nintendo have never really done that. They’ve always kept it simple – a games machine is a games machine. It can never be out of fashion if it never slavishly followed it. By placing sensible bets, picking their battles and crucially – listening to their fanbase, Nintendo have remained synonymous with video gaming and will most likely do so long into the future. Whilst I can see Sony and Microsoft changing more and more over time, I can’t see Nintendo going anywhere. The more things change, the more *they* stay the same.

The Future of Games Consoles (YouTube)

Golden Joystick Awards 2016 – Voting Has Opened


Golden Joystick Awards 2016

The World’s Most Popular and Credible Games Awards

Balcony Tickets On Sale To The Gaming Community For The First Time


@GoldenJoysticks / #goldenjoystick

Awards Take Place On 18th November – indigO2 at The O2


15 September 2016 – The world’s most popular and credible games awards, the Golden Joystick Awards, today announced the shortlist for its 2016 ceremony with public voting now open at

Taking place on the afternoon of Friday 18 November at the indigO2 in the world famous O2 Arena in London, it celebrates the very best in the gaming industry. The Golden Joystick Awards, powered by GamesRadar+, is the only annual awards voted for by gamers, and in 2015 an incredible nine million people cast their votes.

Now in its 34th year, the 2016 awards have 25 categories with 21 being publicly voted, with the additional special awards being chosen by an expert panel consisting of Future plc’s editorial teams. The awards recognise and celebrate every aspect of the world of gaming from the games themselves, through to the best actors in the games and the innovators who have helped create the industry as it is today.


Overwatch, rated 4.5 out of 5 by GamesRadar+, is this year’s most nominated game with an incredible nine nominations. Inside, No Man’s Sky and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End all closely follow with eight nominations each, with Firewatch and The Witness receiving seven.

A full list of categories and nominations are listed below.

For the first time in the Golden Joystick Awards history, the gaming community will be able to attend the event, with a limited number of balcony tickets being sold to watch the full ceremony. On sale now through, the tickets will be £10 each and sold on a first come first serve basis. The ceremony takes place at the indigO2 at London’s O2 Arena on Friday 18th November from 3.30pm – 5pm.


Dan Dawkins, GamesRadar+’s Global Editor in Chief, says, “It has been another incredible year for gaming. Drawing up a shortlist for Game of the Year proved to be a more contentious debate than ever, but it only demonstrates the diversity of the market and astonishing level of quality”.

“But it’s not just AAA games, Pokémon Go sent the world’s media into a frenzy, West Ham United and Manchester City were just two professional football clubs signing gamers to represent them, and the thriving video community continues to innovate. With virtual reality crafting genuinely fresh experiences, there’s never been more ways to get into games.”

The Golden Joystick Awards is proud to work in partnership with Bandai Namco, green man gaming and Guinness World Records, and media partners Digital Spy and Absolute Radio.


The 21 public voted categories are:

Best Original Game

Hyper Light Drifter
No Man’s Sky
Quantum Break
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The Witness

Best Story Telling

Quantum Break
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Tales from the Borderlands
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Zero Time Dilemma

Best Visual Design

Dark Souls 3
Hyper Light Drifter
Mirrors Edge Catalyst
No Man’s Sky
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
The Witness
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Best Audio

Fallout 4
Hyper Light Drifter
I Am Setsuna
No Man’s Sky
Star Wars Battlefront
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Best Multiplayer Game

Call of Duty Black Ops 3
Dark Souls 3
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
Halo 5: Guardians
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
PES 2017
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Star Wars Battlefront
Street Fighter 5
Tom Clancy’s The Division
World of Warships
Worms W.M.D

Best Indie Game

Banner Saga 2
Hyper Light Drifter
No Man’s Sky
Pony Island
Stardew Valley
The Witness

Innovation of the Year

Guitar Hero Live
HTC Vive
No Man’s Sky
Oculus Rift
Playstation VR
Pokemon Go
Quantum Break

Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio

Climbing the tallest building in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Flying the Falcon in Star Wars Battlefront
Play of the game in Overwatch
Returning to Anor Londo in Dark Souls 3
The Brotherhood Of Steel arriving in Fallout 4
The Car Chase in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The ending of Inside
Unleashing the BFG 9000 in Doom
Unlocking the secret of Psalm 46 in The Witness

Most Wanted Game in association with green man gaming

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3
Days Gone
God of War
Horizon Zero Dawn
Mass Effect Andromeda
Resident Evil 7
Sea of Thieves
Shenmue 3
Star Citizen
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

YouTube Personality of the Year in association with Guinness World Records

Jesse Cox
Amy Lee
Ashley Mariee
Spencer FC
Mr Woofless
Matt HD Gamer

Studio of the Year

343 Industries
Bethesda Game Studios
CD Projekt RED
Creative Assembly
Hello Games
id software
Naughty Dog

Gaming Platform of the Year

Apple IOS
Google Play
Xbox One

Game of the Year

Dark Souls 3
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Fallout 4
Halo 5
No Man’s Sky
PES 2017
Pokemon Go
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The Witness
Total War: Warhammer
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Performance of the Year

Doug Cockle
Camilla Luddington
Cissy Jones
Elias Toufexis
Nolan North
Rich Sommer
Shawn Ashmore
Victoria Atkin

Playstation Game of the Year

Gravity Rush Remastered
I Am Setsuna
No Man’s Sky
Ratchet & Clank
Salt And Sanctuary
Street Fighter 5
The Last Guardian
The Witness
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Yakuza 5

Nintendo Game of the Year

Fire Emblem Fates
Kirby: Planet Robobot
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
Monster Hunter Generations
Pokken Tournament
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Yo-kai Watch
The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

PC Game of the Year

Sid Meier’s Civilization 6
Master of Orion: Conquer The Stars
Stardew Valley
Total War: Warhammer
World of Warships

Xbox Game of the Year

Ark: Survival Evolved
Elite: Dangerous
Forza Horizon 3
Forza Motorsport 6
Halo 5: Guardians
Killer Instinct Season 3
Quantum Break
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Competitive Game of the Year

Call of Duty Black Ops 3
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Dota 2
Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft
Heroes of the Storm
Killer Instinct Season 3
League of Legends
Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void
Street Fighter 5

Competitive Play of the Year

Coldzera’s jumping AWP quad kill at MLG Columbus
s1mple’s double AWP noscope at ESL One Cologne
Huni quad kill at the 2015 World Championships
w33’s Sunstrike, Echo Stomp cancel and Tornado snipe
Suma1l’s clutch Sacred Arrow at The International 2016
Justin Wong’s comeback against Flocker at EVO 2016
LI Joe’s V Trigger dodge at EVO 2016
Daigo’s ‘magic pixel’ comeback at the Capcom Cup Final

Best Handheld Mobile Game in association with DigitalSpy

Clash Royale
Fire Emblem Fates
Monster Hunter Generations
Peter Panic
Pokemon Go
The Room 3
Zero Time Dilemma

The Dig


The Dig PC Review

The Dig PC game tells the story of a five astronauts tasked with altering the course of an enormous asteroid on a collision course with Earth. It’s discovered early on that this asteroid is hollow. Three of these astronauts suddenly find themselves engaged in the most significant scientific and spiritual discovery in the history of humankind.

The story was originally thought up by none other than Steven Spielberg. Originally as a short for his 80s science-fiction anthology series, Amazing Stories. Deeming the idea too expensive, Spielberg thought about adapting it into a film. After seeing how well Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out, Spielberg eventually decided on a LucasArts adventure game.

The Dig PC Game Story

On the face of it, The Dig might be about these three astronauts trying to get home. The game isn’t about that at all in my opinion. I feel like the themes hinted at in this game are way more transcendental that they first appear. The story covers themes like death, transcendence and immortality and addresses these themes in a meaningful and thought-provoking way.

The story reminds me a lot of Greg Bear’s Eon. A story about NASA engineers discovering long-dead alien secrets inside a hollow asteroid. It’s easy to draw parallels between The Dig PC game and movies like Alien or Prometheus. The script was written by Orson Scott Card, who wrote my favourite book of all time and the swordfight insults in Monkey Island. The dialogue is chock-full of 80s cliché but this doesn’t hamper the story. The characters themselves are brought to life by top-drawer voice talent. Robert Patrick plays Commander Low alongside Mari Weiss and probably the hardest working voice actor ever, Steven Blum.

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Accompanying the story are some of the most obscure puzzles in LucasArts adventure game history. Considering you’re playing as human astronauts lost in an alien world this actually makes sense. Most of the puzzles offer a good level of challenge even if you’re used to the usual adventure game vocabulary. But there’s three or four sections in The Dig that are just so… alien. But as I said, I think that works in the game’s favour.

Is The Dig PC game worth playing now?

By chucking out the gags and concentrating on telling a more considered, serious story, The Dig PC game stands out as LucasArt’s most ambitious adventure game. Despite a rich and vibrant colour palette, the graphics are still primitive for the time. They stand up well enough today. The Dig took six years to develop. This was unprecedented in the 90s and speaks volumes about the game’s ambition. Had The Dig PC game come out in 1989, it would have looked astonishing for the time. Graphics make up such a small part of the gaming experience for me, so it’s easy for me to overlook that.

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In summary, The Dig PC game is an imaginative, extraterrestrial adventure; a cerebral exploration of the unknown, and an attractive, cinematic story. If you’re new to adventure games then I’d start with Monkey Island, but if you’re looking for something new, I can’t recommend The Dig enough.

The Force Unleashed Series Review


The Force Unleashed series let players take control of the Force in ways unfettered by continuity or common sense. Throughout the games, players were able to wield Force powers the likes of which had never been seen before. For the first time in history, LucasArts and ILM collaborated to ensure Star Wars: The Force Unleashed featured Hollywood special effects and utilised groundbreaking simulation technology (Digital Molecular Matter (DMM), Havok and euphoria), enabling gamers to live out their wildest dreams as a Force-wielding powerhouse.

Developing The Force Unleashed Trilogy

2008 Star Wars multimedia project, spearheaded by LucasArts with direct input from Star Wars creator, George Lucas. Those of you who are old enough to remember Shadows of the Empire will remember that Lucas had previously explored the commercial possibilities of creating new chapters in the Star Wars saga, without going so far as to make a movie. Much like Shadows, The Force Unleashed project was a content flotilla consisting of video games for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles; on iOS, second-generation N-Gage, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and Java-equipped mobile phone handhelds; comic books from Dark Horse and Del Rey, novels action figures, LEGO. Two games, a game guide, a novel, a graphic novel, a toy line, a reference book, a Miniatures set, and an RPG supplement.

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The Force Unleashed was set in the fertile ground between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Darth Vader abducts and trains a clandestine apprentice to hunt down the remaining Jedi after the execution of Order 66. He unwittingly puts into motion events which would prove pivotal to not only his own destiny, but events which would forever shape the future of the Star Wars universe. The games bridged the then-two film trilogies without compromising any existing canon and stayed firmly anchored in the waters of Star Wars. The games brought new ideas to the table  like cool new Lightsaber designs or the Felucians; the tribal plant people on the planet Felucia. Originally based on the Witches of Dathomir, the Felucians eventually became much more original but they still feel Star Wars-y. Vader’s apprentice is called Starkiller, which is actually one of the first names George Lucas thought up for Luke Skywalker. That name banded around LucasFilm HQ for forty years before finding a use. LucasArts Project Leader Haden Blackman had previously worked on Star Wars games but has also written a lot of Star Wars comics and two of the Essential Guides. Through him, this project brought exciting new ideas to Star Wars. It fit reverently with the source material, and it all feels natural. They took nothing away from Star Wars but left a lasting impact on the Expanded Universe.

Starkiller – The Force Unleashed

A love of Swamp Thing comics gave  Haden Blackman a sympathetic insight into monsters. Starkiller starts his journey as the monster, but as he completes Vader’s bidding, he starts to question his purpose so beginning his journey to the light. Starkiller’s journey made him a cool character for Star Wars. Not least because Blackman worked closely with actor Sam Witwer to create a character who would resonate with fans. Witwer was actually auditioned on the strength that he looked a bit like some concept art by Amy Beth Christenson. He was playing Crashdown in Battlestar Galactica at the time, but Lucas reeled him in and were surprised to find that he was Star Wars fan number 1. His understanding of the universe made him a natural fit for the part. Since playing Starkiller, Witwer went on to voice Emperor Palpatine, he was Darth Maul in The Clone Wars and he even got a role in Episode VII. Talk about living the dream. Starkiller’s supporting cast of Juno Eclipse (whose name incidentally was originally thought up for the Clone Wars character Asaaj Ventress), along with the deadly training droid PROXY, give the story that essential Star Wars emotional grip to counter-balance all the explosions.

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The Force Unleashed!

In order for the player to wield the Force as a legitimately unleashed gameplay component, LucasArts corralled the output from three multi-million dollar software companies to complement their own in-house engine. The first of which was the now-commonplace Havok physics solution. Made famous for its use in Halo, Havok simulates collisions and other physics calculations, based on the real-world properties of the objects interacting. These interactions are further enhanced with Digital Molecular Matter, an extremely detailed and realistic material physics engine developed by the second company, Pixelux Entertainment. DMM simulates what would happen to any given material when impacted; whether lightsabered or smashed into by a flying Stormtrooper. Before DMM, game surfaces interacted with predetermined or keyframed animations. With DMM, the breaking point of each surface is calculated in real-time taking into account the mass, direction and speed of the interacting materials. Every interaction is different and fresh, meaning chucking troops around a hanger bay never gets old. The third company was NaturalMotion, with their Euphoria middleware. Euphoria gives characters advanced bio-mechanical AI, allowing characters to realistically respond to being zapped by Space Wizards. When an enemy is Force pushed, he might grab onto a railing or other soldiers. He might grab a gun and fire back. At a gameplay demo, one producer described Euphoria as the AI’s “will to live.”

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Blackman’s go-to line was that LucasArts wanted to make sure something visceral and cool happened each time you pushed a button. Gamers truly were in control of a Force-wielder whose powers were genuinely Unleashed. In fact, Starkiller’s power was so strong, it could reach outside of the Star Wars universe, sending a great disturbance through the fandom. As if thousands of voices suddenly cried out in nerdrage.

Star Wars Force Unleashed 3 Cancelled

A cancelled third game promised co-op play as players controlled both Starkiller and Vader, who reluctantly team up to stop one of the Emperor’s schemes. Witwer was on board, and remarked that he and Blackman had spoken. Blackman though, had left LucasArts before Force Unleashed 2 shipped, leaving a large creative hole in the team. After the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, LucasArts was an early casualty and all in-development work (including Force Unleashed 3, 1313 and more) was either canned or re-shuffled to suit the upcoming Episode VII. Blackman’s plan of an open-world adventure could likely have grated against what Disney were planning with the franchise and this is possibly why Blackman left in the first place.

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The Force Unleashed series were international bestsellers, praised for their compelling story, awesome technology, impressive art and Mark Griskey’s soundtrack (who also scored Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords). The second game attracted some negative reviews for a shorter story but both games are seriously worth your time, either as a fan of Star Wars or a fan of video games. The technology and the story will both be viewed, by me at least, as key milestones in the history of LucasArts and the history of Star Wars.