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    Vampire The Masquerade 5th Edition – Review

    This may come to no shock to you all, but your humble narrator was once an angsty teen. I know, hard to imagine right? Like any angsty teen growing up in the late 80s and early 90s we have a plethora of material to fuel us. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Blade, The Crow, The Lost Boys, Interview with The Vampire, The Craft… You get it.

    *Author’s Note – If you haven’t seen ANY of those movies I highly recommend you have a movie night soon.

    Back in 1991 the gang at White Wolf Publishing created the tabletop role-playing game: Vampire The Masquerade. Based on a Storytelling Engine, Vampire The Masquerade has one GM/DM, or Storyteller, guide players through the game as they struggle with being a vampire. Seduction, intrigue, politics, and feeding are just some of the things players will face as they venture from night to night. Vampire The Masquerade also introduces unique dice aspects such as Blood Dice and Hunger Dice. These dice represent how hungry a vampire is, or how much of their blood they can spend to do something extraordinary.

    Not only was this one of the first mainstream RPGs to feature vampires, it also introduced an entire World of Darkness where players can play as Werwolves, Wraiths, and more.

     

    As with any tabletop RPG, rules change over time and Vampire The Masquerade has gone through a couple of iterations. Coming in August 2018, the  5th Edition of Vampire The Masquerade will be hitting digital and physical bookshelves and I, dear readers, got an advance digital copy to look over.

    If you have been following along with the metaplot of Vampire and World of Darkness, (if you haven’t, don’t worry), then you know that there was an event (Gehenna) that basically wiped out the vampires (or Kindred). 5th Edition, or V5 as we’ll call it from here on out, isn’t a reboot of the world, but rather  new way for the Kindred to deal with the events of the past. There promises to be overarching plotlines that storytellers can use to create chronicles for their players.

    I haven’t played Vampire The Masquerade since 1991 so I wasn’t around for the rules changes nor can I tell you how much is different from the original version. For me, Vampire was all about the lore. I owned multiple clanbooks and ancillary products because I loved the idea behind the World of Darkness, I just never played in it. I say this because it is important to understand that I went into V5 as a new player to the game, but not new to lore and ideology of Vampire The Masquerade.

    Within the first few pages of the core rulebook you will be instantly flooded with page after page of just pure setting. Letters from other vampires, transcripts of secret conversations, notes from an examination that have been marked up. It’s a wonderful introduction to the world and coupled with the art and photos, helps puts the player in the perfect mindset in minutes. Immediately following the lore, the intro and rules set in, and there are A LOT of rules. The core rulebook is no light read. It’s over 400 pages of rules, lore, and more rules.

    I thought to myself, “There’s only one way to properly review this.” and I started sending emails and text messages. Within minutes I had my crew and I was set. I am lucky enough to know some amazing actresses and outgoing people who all agreed that they would take part in some sessions so that I can review the core rulebook.

    I have very few negative things to say about Vampire The Masquerade V5. In fact my biggest complaint has nothing to do with the actual rules, but rather the lack of a physical book. Having to manually scroll through page after page on my laptop, iPad, or phone was incredibly time consuming. I had to make notes about what pages players needed so I could easily get back to them. I know books are big and bulky but there’s just something about hearing the crack of the spine on that first open. It’s much easier for me to flip a ton of pages at once than it was to scroll through a digital copy. As an old school RPG player a lot of my rulebooks have sticky notes and tabs for easy access and with a digital copy I just can’t have that. My players also had a tough time endlessly scrolling trying to find the pages they needed.

    I had asked my crew to do a little bit of prep (I linked them all to older editions of the clan descriptions) and OH WOW did they get into it. Don’t believe me? Take a look

    Vampire The Masquerade Mike Robles The Mommy Gamers

    Yup, that’s my wife and her friends vamping it up and taking this way more seriously than I thought they would. What happened next was the most intense Session Zero* I have ever experienced.

    *Session Zero refers to the session where players create their characters. In a game like Vampire The Masquerade this is often best to be done in person so that they can all build off each other and determine their relationships as well as how they all came to know one another in this chronicle.

    Together my players and I spent about 6 hours total going over every detail we can find and creating characters. My wife had gotten a head start and did some research on the older versions of the game. She was able to create an entire backstory the night before and was able to help the other players. This is where my note from before came into play. With so many rules scattered across so many pages there was a lot of confusion. It took us about 2 hours before we were at a point where we could easily move on. If I’m being completely honest, I think this would have gone smoother with a physical copy of the book.

    After getting every set we ended up with two Malkavians, a Tremere, and a Thin-Blooded. While this might not make sense to you mortals, it makes for a very interesting dynamic. After about 6 hours of character creation, we were ready to dive in.

    Vampire The Masquerade is, at it’s core, a storytelling game. While yes, there are saves vs X and players can check for traps and roll some dice, Vampire is different. Players use a d10 for all die rolls and instead of adding up numbers, you’re just trying to get higher than a 5 for a “success”. A natural 10 is a critical success and counts as two successes. I’m not going to get into each mechanic of the game but I will tell you that Vampires have A LOT of powers. So dice rolling will happen a lot. Like any good RPG, Vampire makes sure that story overrules dice rolls.

    New to V5 is a revamped Hunger mechanic. This, to me, is the most interesting aspect of running a chronicle. Each time a vampire has to use certain powers they have to quell their hunger. Get too hungry and a The Beast takes over and a vampire can think of nothing more but to eat and only eat. Represented by a different color (usually red) these hunger dice will replace a vampire’s regular dice pool the hungrier they get. Making challenges much harder.

    In addition to all the rules, there is the lore and “The Masquerade”. Vampires hide in the shadows to protect themselves and their lineage. Combing secrecy, intrigue, politics, and managing hunger makes for some excellent legs for your chronicle to stand on. The core rulebook gives you so much information that it’s overwhelming. So my advice would be to take your time and learn as you go.

    White Wolf has taken great care to give players a new, revamped edition of Vampire The Masquerade with V5 and I am beyond honored that I got a chance to sneak a peek at the core rulebook. I have spent countless nights reading and rereading sections trying to come up with stories to draw my players in. After we finished our second session I thanked my players and told them that I had enough experience to write my review. Every single one of them agreed that they were way to invested and having way too much fun to stop. We all gathered around and scheduled our next session, so I guess I am now running an ongoing chronicle… and I couldn’t be happier about it.

    Vampire The Masquerade V5 launches later this year and White Wolf wants me to go broke. There’s this amazing collectors edition with the core rulebook, two extra supplemental books, and the most beautiful vampire dice. I want it. I want it bad. If you want to pre-order the book now we’ll attach a link below for you to do so.

    Like most vampires, Vampire The Masquerade has awoken from it’s slumber and is ready to take the world by storm. I, for one, am happy to be along for the ride. Pre-order here.

    The author was given a watermarked pdf of the core rulebook for review purposes.

    Pode – Nintendo Switch Review

    Pode Game Nintendo Switch Review The Mommy Gamers

    In the long line of Nintendo Indie games (adorably named “Nindies”) there are a few really standout games that have been coming out. One such game, Pode, is that about a Star who has fallen out of the sky, and just wants to go back home.

    Our little hero, Glo, has crashed landed and met up with a rock named Bulder. Together the two make quite the pair as they solve puzzles, and embark on a (sometimes emotional) journey.

    Pode Nintendo Switch Game Review Mike Robles

    Pode is, at it’s core, a co-op game. While the game can be played in a single player mode, Pode really benefits from having a partner to play with. Glo and Bulder each have their own characteristics that make Pode unique. Since Glo is a star, they can glide across water no problem where as Bulder, the rock, will sink to the bottom. This is part of what makes Pode so unique as players will enjoy figuring out the right character to use in the right situation.

    Pode Game Screenshot The Mommy Gamers

    What makes Pode stand out is it’s unique presentation. It’s hard to describe without sounding contradictory. Dark, yet colorful. Dim, yet bright. Glo can use their light to shine areas and make the plant life grow. There are some wonderfully animated cutscenes that show the relationship between Glo and Bulder and it’s just.. it’s just the most precious.

    Pode Game Review Nintendo Switch co-op puzzle game

    Pode is a real treat for anyone with a Switch and a friend. I mean… having a friend is a treat anyway. But having a friend you can play Pode with, is the best treat.

    The author was given a retail code for Pode for review purposes

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    The Mommy Gamers Podcast Episode 181: Creative Juices

    The Mommy Gamers Episode 181 Creative Juices

    Fans of The Mommy Gamers Podcast might have noticed all the creative juices flowing on our website lately. Mike Robles and Brittany “Brie” Haddock join the show this week for what we hope to make a regular monthly segment. Brie and Mike introduce themselves to the community, and chat about all the great content they’ve been creating lately.

    Marcia is here too this week, but more as a sort of ringleader as she attempts to keep this fast paced, hilarious crew on track. This is exactly the kind of fun, energetic podcast you’d expect from three life time gamers, and parents, with an over abundance of personality.

    For games Brie & Marcia chat about Realm Royale a free-to-play battle royale game they played together this week. Mike is still obsessed with Soul Calibur, but also got a lot of time with Jurassic World Evolution. Marcia expresses her loving and equal loathing of City of Brass which Mike also reviewed for us. The Awkward party game caught Mike in the feels recently and he chats about that too.

    We hope you enjoy this new monthly addition to the podcast line up. Our goal is to get you more of The Mommy Gamers in your ears and keep you entertained. Leave some comments below if you enjoyed hearing these three chat. Also feel free to leave suggestions on what other type of podcasts you’d like to hear from us!

    Social Media

    Mike Robles mentioned a new YouTube video on The Sandbox channel. You can check out his “Games That Define You” video here.  You can also follow Mike on Twitter, and check out his Twitch stream!

    Brie Haddock also streams on Twitch and you can follow her channel and hang out with her here. Give her a follow on Twitter too!

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    STRANGE BRIGADE launching on August 28th!

    I am under the firm belief that everyone in the world falls in love with a time period they weren’t alive for. For me, I love the 20s and 30s. There’s something about mobsters, jazz, bootlegging, and old adventure serials that just resonate with who I am. Although I am pretty sure that if I lived back then I would be shot for mouthing off to the wrong mobster. Kids would tell the story of Mike “The Fish” Robles, named so because he mouthed off at a seafood restaurant and was killed and fed to a shark… I’m getting off track.

    STRANGE BRIGADE is a 1930’s style co-op adventure. Think; Left 4 Dead meets Indian Jones. This is taken from the press release:

    As today’s brand new story trailer reveals, our four heroes find themselves in exotic, unplumbed corners of Egypt, where ancient terror lingers. Risen from the dead, the Witch Queen Seteki commands an army of mummified monstrosities hell-bent on terror, and only one band of brave adventurers has the gusto to sock ancient evil back into its sarcophagus! Together, the STRANGE BRIGADE® must take on treacherous traps, overcome puzzling predicaments and blast their way through hordes of malevolent monsters in a thrilling campaign for 1-4 players.

    Want more awesomeness? Check out the story trailer here

    Now I don’t know about you, but I am ALL ABOUT THIS. It looks like it’s going to be an epic adventure for anyone who plays it. STRANGE BRIGADE is available to pre-order with Standard, Collector, and Deluxe Editions. ALL pre-orders come with a Secret Service Weapons pack FREE. Those that order the Deluxe Edition get the game, the weapons pack, and a season pass for all future DLC.

    Now for you collectors out there, check out this Collector’s Edition.

    Strange Brigade Collector's Edition Details The Mommy Gamers

    There are so many amazing things here with this edition including

    • STRANGE BRIGADE boxed edition (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only)

    • Steelbook case

    • Secret Service Weapons Pack DLC

    • Airship model

    • 64-page art book

    • Exclusive suitcase design and sleeve

    As mentioned before, STRANGE BRIGADE is available for pre-order now. I know I’ll be playing on Xbox One when it releases. Who’s coming with me?

    ONWARD TO ADVENTURE!

    Battle Royale: Fortnite vs. PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds

    Time has put these two 100-person survival shooters head-to-head. PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds and Fortnite have gained a multitude of attention and people are debating which one is better than the other. While everyone has their own opinion, we’ve looked into both of these games to look at the pros and cons of each game. Just note it was very hard to stay unbiased in this article, but it was certainly fun researching. Since everyone has a preference to which massive shooter they like, let’s duke it out and figure out which one stands the test of time. You can also shout out in the comments below and tell us your pros and cons or your go-to game!

    MODES

    Player Unknown’s BattleGrounds, A.K.A. PUBG, and Fortnite are very much the same, right? You couldn’t be any more wrong. You can pick between solo, duo or squads, but Fortnite kicks it up a notch and adds explosive modes with 2v2 and the newest game mode, 50v50. Now that sounds like an epic time! On the other hand, PUBG adds two different perspectives, first person or third person.

    Character customization is also a neat feature that PUBG has which allows you to pick a few different skin colors, hair color, and length along with your wardrobe. Granted, Fortnite has outfits that you can choose from as you level up or purchase in the store. In Fortnite, you are also randomly generated into a male or female each game.

    GRAPHICS

    Graphically, Fortnite is very cartoonistic, and the llama piñatas are a party filled with loot. No chocolate though, sorry. Weapons also are featured with various colors to let you know which one is better. Let’s say you have an assault rifle on hand and its green. You come across a boring grey one. Nope, pass. Because that blue or purple, better yet, that orange one is the bee’s knees! The general concept is grey, green, blue, purple and then orange (gold).

    PUBG is more worn down, rugged graphics that replicate an apocalyptic world for this setting, which does make sense giving the concept of the game. There are also two maps that I have noticed when playing, which means double the fun. Weapons, ammunition, and gear also glow golden color to show you where they lie. PUBG has a feature in its options button that will show you what is readily available for you to pick up so you can move on to a safe spot if needed.

    The circle closes off much the same, but Fortnite is certainly more dramatic with a purple wall that makes you feel claustrophobic when it’s right behind you. PUBG sneaks up on you, and then you feel the air rush out of your lungs, and you attempt to run towards it. Fortnite also has the lines thickened so they are clear to see.

    PRICING

    Fortnite’s basic edition is free-to-play for the Battle Royale version of the game. If you want more, the Standard Edition of Fortnite will run you $30. Standard edition includes seven piñata packs and four in-game banner icons. The Deluxe Edition will cost you $60, and you receive a rare starter weapon pack that includes four weapons and a trap, eight heroes’, an exclusive founders pistol on top of 33 piñata packs, 50 vault inventory slots, ten in-game banner icons. Lastly, ten XP boosts for you and another ten to share.

    PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds runs $30.

    PLAYABILITY

    Fornite is on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Fortnite is cross-platform play, and it’s great because someone could be on Xbox, a PS4, and someone on PC. There should be no issues matchmaking either! PUBG, on the other hand, has cross-playability on mobile (Android and iPhone), leaving PC and Xbox users to be all alone. The lack of cross playability on PC and Xbox also makes it hard to connect with other players. Rumor is PUBG will be on PS4 in the coming months, but will cross-play be in the works?

    Both recently have gone mobile.

    THE LITTLE THINGS

    The party bus on Fortnite does not show how many people have jumped off, PUBG does.

    There is no ax for materials in PUBG, where Fortnite, you have an ax for wood, stone, and metal.

    If someone is shooting, there is no building a hideout and running or hiding.

    In PUBG, red areas show on the map. Those areas are getting bombed, and you will wind up dead.

    Fortnite updates much more often the PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds.

    PUBG uses two different, and good sized, maps and randomly cycles through them. Fortnite only has the one, smaller map.

    You can hear people in the lobby before dropping off the plane. When a person launches off, you can’t hear them.

    Also, this is a multi-region setup, so you have players from all over the world on the server.

    You can’t hear people on Fortnite unless you’re in a party.

    You can drive certain vehicles in PUBG.

    END RESULTS

    Researching for this article was pretty hard regarding being objective and spending the $30 to play a game that I wasn’t sure that it was going to be worth it. I’m sure everyone has that same feeling when it comes to spending money on a game, and they hope it will be well worth their time. Granted, PUBG is fun and entertaining; there is something different about it, and honestly, it turns me away from the game. I much prefer spending my time with Fortnite and all the crazy Boogie bombs and other shenanigans. Let The Mommy Gamers know what your preference is in the comments

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    TheMikeRobles Presents – Top 5 Bunnies in Video Games

    Easter is here and that means it’s time to celebrate everything that is bunny related. Being a gamer for over [REDACTED] years I have seen my share of bunnies in video games. So dear readers, I present to you (without consulting Jax AT ALL),

    TheMikeRobles’s Top 5 Bunnies in Video Games

    #5 – Reader Rabbit

    This is where it all started for me. As a WeeMikeRobles I often finished my work early in school. This meant that I was bothering other kids. The teachers eventually found out that if they sat me down in front of a computer and popped in a game, I wouldn’t bother anyone. Reader Rabbit served as Edutainment Software. A learning experience designed as a game. Since his inception in 1984, Reader Rabbit has been teaching kids language and making it fun while doing it.

    Top Bunnies in Video Games The Mommy Gamers Reader Rabbit

    #4 – Bucky O’Hare

    Bucky! Captain Bucky O’Hare (admit it, you were singing it). Had a comic book series, television series, and one heck of a great NES game. Crazy difficult with an amazing soundtrack Bucky O’Hare on the NES was ahead of it’s time. The game let you select your world and, after rescuing crew members, allowed you to switch between them for the rest of the game. It’s pretty hard to find, but if you can, Bucky O’Hare is a rare obscure gem that is a MUST for collectors.

    Top Bunnies in Video Games Easter The Mommy Gamers Bunny O'Hare

    #3 – Robbie The Rabbit (Silent Hill 3)

    Who doesn’t love cute pink mascots? Who doesn’t love cute pink mascots wearing overalls? Who doesn’t love cute… pink… mascots wearing overalls… and covered in blood… slumped over as if appearing dead? I love horror games. I LOVED the Silent Hill series. I own many variations of Silent Hill 2. Silent Hill 3 was ok, but it had some wonderful standout moments and characters. Like Robbie. His lifeless body served as a factor to make the player feel uneasy. Trust me, it worked. I the Silent Hill: Arcade game he eventually appeared as an enemy with a high pitched laugh. Like we needed MORE of a reason for him to be creepy.

    #2 – Hoppy (ClayFighter Series)

    As mentioned in my Claybook review, there was a time where games in the 90s used a lot of claymation for their visual aesthetic. This where ClayFighter came in. The first game sold great so work began on a sequel: C2: Judgement Clay. Like every new iteration of a fighting game, new characters needed to be introduced. This where we got the musclebound, Austrian accented Hoppy. A clear parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hoppy became quite popular and got a reappearance in ClayFighter 63 and 1/3 for the Nintendo 64. I’m certain that if we get a reboot of the ClayFighter series, you would absolutely see Hoppy make a return.

    Top 5 Bunnies in Video Games The Mommy Gamers Clay Fighter

    #1 – Oswald The Lucky Rabbit (Epic Mickey Series)

    Let me share some old school Disney trivia for you. Before Mickey Mouse was created, Walt Disney had another star: Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Disney lost the rights to Oswald and while on a train ride to meeting, created Mickey Mouse. The rest was history. In 2006 The Walt Disney Company managed to regain the rights for Oswald. Oswald was finally back where he belonged.

    Disney’s Epic Mickey shows the struggle Oswald endured as he was left behind for Mickey Mouse. He’s angry, he’s lonely. He questions his own self worth. Oswald is a tragic character who’s just misunderstood. The emotions felt in Epic Mickey tug at your heartstrings and make you feel so incredibly bad for Oswald. He took a version of Disneyland and created it in his own image where he is the star. I will never forget how sad I felt when Mickey stumbles up Oswald’s version of the famous “Partners Statue”. Oswald even said to Mickey

    “Now I really do see why he liked you more.” after watching Mickey do whatever it takes to save a kingdom.

    Bunnies in Video Games Easter The Mommy Gamers Oswald

    After the events in Epic Mickey, Oswald partners with Mickey Mouse in Epic Mickey 2. This time around he’s much happier, much more positive, and unfortunately, much more trusting. That’s all I’ll say about that.

    If you never played them, I highly recommend the Epic Mickey Series. It’s a fantastic, dark and surreal take.

    There you have it folks! My Top 5 Video Game Rabbits. What are yours? Were there some I missed? Leave us a comment and let us know who makes your top 5.

    Hoppy Easter!

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    The Mommy Gamers Podcast Episode 178: Pickle Juice Slushies

    Carrie and Marcia are back this week with the cure to your craving for Pickle Juice Slushies. Kidding, they are absolutely confused as to why pickle juice slushies are trending right now. But the ladies are always here to cover those trending hot topics.

    Marcia celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with some traditional corned beef and cabbage, while the mostly Irish Carrie claims she prefers the other other white meat. You’ll have to listen to see what it is. The ladies argue a little bit over whose game is better, and there’s some odd chat about llamas. They also chat Lucifer, Star Wars and all the stuff about games, kids and life.

    We’d Love to Hear From You!

    Regardless of how you watch, we’d love your feedback. Leave a review, click like on YouTube, drop us some comments to respond to. We’d love to interact with you more and we hope you are loving our show as much as we are loving creating it for you!

    You can find The Mommy Gamers on Twitter, and Carrie, and Marcia too! We’ve also got a Facebook page where you can find our content and some random gaming/parenting memes from time to time. Just do a quick search for The Mommy Gamers and you’re sure to find us…sometimes in some odd places.

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    Reveal Trailer: Another Sight

    Pioneering Italian games developer Lunar Great Wall Studios revealed Another Sight, a surreal dreamscape fantasy game, set to launch on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in 2018.

     

    ANOTHER SIGHT is a surreal fantasy adventure with steampunk elements set in 1899 towards the end of the Victoria era, in London. Built on heart, culture and character, ANOTHER SIGHT brings to life our two leading characters: Kit, a refreshingly bold teenager, who loses her sight after the under-construction London Underground tunnel she was exploring collapses, and Hodge – a mysterious red-furred cat – she meets in darkness. Together, they team up for an adventure through the unexpected, with Hodge an essential companion upon whom Kit will come to rely on.

    Kit and Hodge explore a surreal fantasy world both together and apart, using each of their unique talents to tackle environments and solve intriguing puzzles. Beneath London, in a world inspired by Neil Gaiman’s urban fantasy, Neverwhere, Kit and Hodge encounter a hidden society of the world’s greatest inventors and artistic minds such as Claude Monet, Jules Verne and other long-past cultural icons.

    Marco Ponte, CEO of Lunar Great Wall Studios said: “The world we’ve created for players to explore in Another Sight is so rich and engaging, filled with heart and discovery.” He continued, “We’re delighted to be showcasing Another Sight at GDC this year, and soon, we’ll be showcasing to the public. Another Sight represents our sentiments as a studio, that games should be emotive, with a unique and compelling experience born of cultural influences that provide different levels of meaning into the worlds we create.”

    REVEAL VIDEO

     

     

    KEY FEATURES

    EMOTIVE DRIVEN – A story about a girl and her cat companion on a journey beyond sight and the real. A tale of warmth and intrigue is woven throughout the adventure, touching on trust, companionship and losing what we take for granted. Innovative gameplay and a story of heart is galvanized by a soundscape given life by a symphonic orchestra to accent memorable moments between Kit, Hodge and the journey they’re on.

    MASTERS OF THE PAST – Throughout the journey, Kit and Hodge will meet virtuoso artists such as Claude Monet and other cultural historical figures from the past, learning more about the world and dangers it presents. Each encounter visually impacts the world, taking on aesthetics of each creative movement from the famous characters Kit and Hodge meet.

    HIGHLY CREATIVE GAMEPLAY – Use the unique abilities of each character to help Kit and Hodge traverse the world and overcome environmental challenges. The two central characters can split up to investigate different areas of the locale that the other may not be able to reach, with both Kit and Hodge perceiving the world in very different ways, opening up different possibilities for overcoming their adventure.

    About Lunar Great Wall Studios
    Formed in 2016, Lunar Great Wall Studios was founded to create unique and compelling experiences; new and emotional games that inspire and engage. With a wealth of experience, Lunar Great Wall Studios is already crafting a number of projects, the first of which is Another Sight, due to be unveiled at GDC 2018.

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