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This week in the news; no Destiny 2 or main Assassins Creed title in 2016, The Witness speedrunner spends 30 minutes eating a sandwich, Rocket League starts the second season and looks into becoming an eSport, Australia’s first gay gaming convention, the documentary people interested in designing or playing games should watch, labor in the games industry, Fallout 4's DLC gets more detailed and a higher price point, the state of strategy games in 2015, thoughts on Firewatch, Twitch shares their stats for 2015, Elite Dangerous offers a standalone arena mode for those more interested in combat (free to people who bought the full game), Doom's single player length, and more.

 

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BioWare scribe David Gaider joins Baldur's Gate dev Beamdog as creative director

 

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Beamdog is the studio responsible for the enhanced editions to Baldurs Gate and Icewind Dale

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda lead writer leaves BioWare for Bungie

 

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Street Fighter 5 Server Stabilty Is Key Priority for Capcom, Says Ono

 

Capcom has apologized for server issues and says that improving stability is the problem they need to fix the most.

 

Street Fighter V Adding New Characters Monthly-Ish

 

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The first few months do look a bit like “we couldn’t finish this in time so we’ll add it a bit later”, but I suppose we’re still in early enough days for games being released like this that it’s hard to get a feel for what’s ‘normal’. It is a model built upon sustaining interest with a steady stream of newness, after all. What is normal, anyway? The pop band Blur and t-shirts bought in Camden all have strong words about ‘normality’, right?

 

Valkyria: Azure Revolution Battle Demo Gameplay

 

 

Good, it's action based, now I don't have to buy a PS4 for it.

 

Smite developer Hi-Rez is expanding into Europe

 


Hi-Rez Studios is opening its first European office this month in the United Kingdom and former Warner Brothers Interactive publishing VP Veronique Lallier will lead it

 

Fallout 4 getting three add-ons this spring and more later, season pass price going up

 

Fallout 4 publisher Bethesda Softworks announced the first details of its downloadable content schedule for the game today, saying that it has plans for "more than $60 worth" of add-ons coming in 2016 — and therefore, an increase in the price of the DLC season pass.

 

Bethesda originally announced the Fallout 4 season pass in September at $29.99. At the time, the company said that the season pass "get you all of the Fallout 4 DLC we ever do for just $30," and added, "We know that [the DLC] will be worth at least $40, and if we do more, you'll get it all with the Season Pass."

 

That will no longer be the case as of March 1, when, "given the expanded DLC plan," Bethesda will raise the price of the Fallout 4 season pass from $29.99 to $49.99 in North America (and from £24.99 to £39.99 in the U.K.). Bethesda noted that anyone who already purchased the season pass, or who buys it before March 1, will get all of Fallout 4's paid add-ons for the original $29.99 price.

A thread about this was made here

 

Fallout 4 Looks Better On Consoles Now

 

 

Good news, PS4 and Xbox One owners. Thanks to the latest Fallout 4 patch, the console versions of the game are about on par with the PC version running on high.

 

The ever-meticulous Digital Foundry took a closer look at patch 1.03 and found that thanks to new tweaks, the draw distance on both Xbox One and PS4 has noticeably improved. In layman’s terms, this means you can see the game rendering objects at a farther distance, and as you play, there’s less of that sudden ‘pop-in’ effect.

 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Being Remade in Unreal Engine 4

 

Knights of the Old Republic is being remade in Unreal Engine 4 with new missions and worlds.

 

Pillars of Eternity The White March Part 2 and Patch 3 Available Now

 

 

Elite Dangerous Spins Off Competitive Arena Mode as Standalone Release

 

Elite Dangerous: Arena launched today and it's available for free to all Elite Dangerous owners via the title menu--if you buy Elite Dangerous, you get Arena for free. If you want to start with the standalone Arena, you'll get a discount if you choose to purchase Elite Dangerous at a later date--the price you paid for Arena will be deducted from Elite Dangerous. Arena's current price is $7.49.

 

US Video Game Industry Generated $23.5 Billion in 2015, Increasing 5%

 


Combined NPD and ESA numbers show that total US sales rose to $23.5 billion, up 5 percent from $22.4 billion in 2014.

 

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is now a YouTuber

 

Kojima has launched his own Youtube channel.

 

Kojima Apparently Asked Bleszinski to Work on New Silent Hill With Him

 

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Silent Hills Collaborators Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus Reunite

 

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Minecraft Creator Receiving "Pioneer" Award Next Month

 

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Minecraft creator Markus Persson will be honored with a "Pioneer" award during March's Game Developers Choice Awards

 

 

UFC Champ Wants To Become A Full-Time Video Game Streamer

 

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“You have to think about what you’re going to do after your career,” he said. “I’ve always thought about going back to work at a warehouse or whatever I need to do to make ends meet, but now streaming and video gaming is just kicking off. All I care about is the next game coming out next month. I’m still fighting, I’m in the prime of my career and train my ass off every single day, but I’m starting my second career now. Why not? I’m building my viewership and community now, so when I’m 38 years old and I’m done fighting I can have streaming as my main source of income, hopefully.”

 

The Walking Dead: Michonne debuts this month

 

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The first episode of the three part story will be out February 23rd.

 

Games on Kickstarter in 2015

 

A look at money pledged and failed/successful games on Kickstarter last year.

 

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Seven Mods That Make XCOM 2 Less Frustrating

 

Stop Wasting My Time is definitely a good one to get, I believe it now includes what Quiet, Bradford has as well.

 

XCOM 2 Is (Un)Fair

 

A thread on GiantBomb about all the ways that XCOM 1 and 2 cheat to put things in your favor (unless you are playing on Legend). Commander in XCOM 2 is easy enough, I definitely did not need it cheating for me. That's what mods are for though.

 

Twitch 2015

 

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A look at different numbers Twitch did last year.

 

Winners! 5th NY Game Awards!

 

Award winners were annouced with The Witcher 3 taking a lot of them. Cara Ellison won for Best Games Journalism for her Embed With series.

 

Kanye West is making a video game inspired by one of his songs

 

The hour-long interview contains some nice Kanye tidbits — he wants to work with Disney and called his new track "Wolves" a "post-Drake" song — but the most interesting moment was when West mentioned the video game, which will be imagined and designed by Yeezy himself. Its inspiration, "Only One," imagines a conversation between West's daughter and his mother, who died in 2007.

 

Killscreen writes about how Kanye's video game is going to be very Kanye.

 

All of which is to say that “Only One,” Kanye West’s videogame about his dead mom, may not ever come out. It may actually be “coming soon,” as the trailer claims. It may or may not be any good. Mark me down as skeptical on all of these fronts; the long, interpersonal production process of a videogame is not conducive to Kanye’s “tear it down and rebuild it better in two weeks” ethos. But the mere existence of the trailer is, like anything Ye touches, interesting. Let’s not expect anything more than that for now.

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - Leonardo Gameplay

 

 

Leonardo can use team attacks and slow down time.

 

News Reviews Hardware Best Of Magazine Pro$10m Dying Light edition now on sale

 

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Quantum Break Coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 on April 5

 

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Quantum break will be coming to the PC, a nice preorder bonus for the Xbox One version will also get you the PC version. A later announcement confirmed that Quantum Break would not be available on Steam, only being for sale on the Windows Store. The news that more people could enjoy a video game naturally got some people angry, leading to the article There’s No Downside To A Game Ditching Exclusivity.

 

A thread about this was made here

 

Witness Speedrunner Takes 30-Minute Sandwich Break, Beats World Record

 

“I’ve never waited through this before,” said FearfulFerret (you can see for yourself at 16:40 in the above video). “I’m excited. I’m literally going to get in my car, drive like 15 minutes to What-A-Burger, get probably a fish sandwich—because I had a burger for lunch—gonna come back here, gonna eat it on webcam, and it’s gonna be delicious. It’s gonna be delicious.”

 

And that is exactly what he did. It worked, and he went on to complete the speedrun.

As seen in this video

 

You Will Not Play Destiny 2 This Year

 

The team is focused on delivering a large expansion this year, and the sequel in 2017.

 

Ubisoft Will Not Release an Assassin's Creed Game in 2016

 

After six years there will be no main Assassins Creed title released in 2016.

 

Watch Dogs 2 Will Launch Before April 2017

 

Most of the talk about it so far has been vague and mostly concerned with what will change. For example, Yves Guillemot told CVG (since closed) in 2014 that he couldn’t say if protagonist and uncle Aiden Pearce would return because he didn’t know, but that the studio was working to diversify their roster of lead characters. Ubisoft Montreal’s Lionel Raynaud also told CG that the game had “had a lot of flaws in the replayability of gameplay loops,” and that the sequel would see “radical” changes that the development of new technology.

 

Overwatch's New Progression System Is A Big Step In The Right Direction

 

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Doom's single player campaign a lucky 13 hours long

 

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A thread about this was made here

 

Why A Game About The Devil Couldn't Sell For $6.66 On Steam

 

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We Know The Devil, a Really Quite Good visual novel about queerness, summer camp, and religious horror, has been available on publisher Date Nighto’s website at a price of $6.66 for a few months. Yesterday it came to Steam, and longtime fans noticed that its base price was $7.99—aka Wrong. So, what happened? Turns out, We Know The Devil’s developers wanted to sell the game for its original price, but Steam’s rigid settings barred the way.

 

Firewatch Developer Offers Classy Response To Steam Refund Request

 

Firewatch developer responds to user considering a refund after finishing the game.

 

STAR WARS: REPUBLIC COMMANDO DEVELOPER TALKS SEQUEL PLANS AND SEV'S FATE

 

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Talk about the ideas behind a Republic Commando sequel, the fate of Sev, and what caused the sequel to fall through.

 

Heretics! Battlefleet Gothic: Armada Shows Off Chaos

 

 

Open World Tactics: Frozen Synapse 2 Announced

 

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An open world sequel to Frozen Synapse is in development.

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider takes home Writers Guild award

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider takes home "Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing", it was going up against The Witcher 3, Pillars of Eternity, and Assassins Creed Syndicate. A lot of people will likely be wondering how it managed to win for writing, possibly due to the more focused narrative that is less about player interaction and decisions.

 

Rocket League Kicks Off Season 2 With New Update

 

Update v1.11 has also brought player reporting to dob in folks who are being unpleasant, a ‘Rocket Labs’ casual playlist with prototype levels, an option to raise the maximum FPS beyond 60, and balance tweaks. It’s also added new ‘uncommon’ item drops, new hats and antennas which don’t have a straight-up random chance to drop – the odds of getting them increase every minute until one drops, at which point they reset. Hit the patch notes for more on everything.

 

Arma 3’s Shiny New 3D Editor Coming This Month

 

 

League Of Legends Retiring Dominion Mode

 

With fewer than .5% of players playing the it Riot has decided to retire the Dominion mode that was originally added in 2011.

 

The Imperial March: Total Warhammer Campaign Vid

 

 

In eSports news

 

Rick Fox's Terrible League of Legends Team Has Five Weeks To Save Its Season

 

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Two members are lost after Riot checks for valid immigration paperwork.

 

Competitive Matchmaking May Rescue Team Fortress 2 From Esports Oblivion

 

Team Fortress 2 hopes to reinvent itself with a new matchmaking system.

 

Pro Player Tries To Play StarCraft And Hearthstone At The Same Time

 

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NBA Player Says Pro Gamers "Train Just as Rigorously" as Professional Athletes

 

Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward averaged 19.3 points per game last season, but most people wouldn't know that he's also an avid gamer. He says there's an incredible thing happening in gaming right now, and he wants non-gamers to recognize it.

 

Rocket League Dev Explains New Esports Drive

 

Rocket League developer Psyonix has discussed its ongoing efforts to establish its soccer-with-cars sensation as a competitive esport. Speaking on a podcast with Larry Hryb, Psyonix exec Jeremy Dunham said it is pushing ahead with its esports strategy, which it believes will be "very good for the game."

 

Outside of news, some other good articles from the week

 

If You Care About How Video Games Are Made, Watch The Double Fine Documentary

 

In this extensive documentary produced by 2 Player Productions, the folks behind Broken Age answer those questions and many, many more, giving viewers an unprecedented level of transparency into the game development process. I’ve binge-watched it twice now, and can say with no reservations that it’s a remarkable series. In 20 episodes—some of them as short as 20 minutes—it taught me more about game development than just about anything else I’ve seen or read.

 

This is a great series to watch, and the documentary was just as much the goal as the actual game. Way too many people talk about development, budgeting, tech, adding features, fixing things, etc without having the slightest idea how any of it works. This gives you a look into the process from concept, through the highs and lows of development, to the final creation. How to make a game wanted by nostalgic players while attempting to evolve, the writing process, team member responsibilities, Skype failing them, creating an art style, the history of Double Fine's project code names, bringing in other sources of income by releasing the PC version of Brutal Legends and publishing deals for their games in other countries, when John Romero has to take you on scary car rides, etc.

 

 

Best summed up by this comment

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Guest Column: The State of Strategy

 

Guest contributor Rob Zacny explains why the big strategy games of 2015 left him wanting, while the strange, small experiments sparked his imagination.

 

Guest Column: It's Time to Talk About Labor in the Games Industry

 

Guest Contributor Ian Williams makes the case for why we need to care about labor conditions in the game industry as much as we care about the games we love.

Here are the facts, in raw form. A video game worker averages 2.7 employers every five years. 48% of those unemployed are over a year looking for a job. Figures from 2014 show a layoff rate twice the national average. 62% of workers still crunch, with 17% of those working over 70 hours a week. 36% of those who work over 40 hours a week receive no extra compensation. And 44% of those who don’t crunch work well over 40 hours a week; they don’t even know that they’re crunching.

 

GAME ON: HOW AUSSIE GAYMERS ARE FINALLY COMING OUT

 

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Once an invisible section of the gaming community, queer gamers in Australia are finally coming out – thanks, in part, to the efforts of groups like Sydney Gaymers and the arrival of Australia’s first gay gaming convention later this month. Glen Morét reports.

 

Peak Distapan is one of thousands of LGBT people around Australia with a passion for gaming and is part of a growing community of queer gamers creating a strong and inclusive gaming culture.

 

After the June Fire

 

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Firewatch is a game about people who fuck up. They don’t think. They make mistakes. They regret things, and for once in a game, I don’t find it hamfisted or awkwardly written. It’s very real. It hurts to watch. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

 

Slow Burn: Environment and mood in Firewatch

 

 

Firewatch's environment presents players with a diverse palette of emotion suited to every mood. When it needs to be vast and hopeful, it is. When it needs to be claustrophobic and foreboding, it is.

 

'The Last Game I Make Before I Die': Fighting Cancer By Making A Video Game

 

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A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Crashlands, a mash-up of Diablo, Pokemon, and Don’t Starve lobbed at Steam’s collective face with unfettered glee. It’s ambitious, funny, and fun. Turns out, it was conceived when its creator found out he had cancer.

 

Sam Coster is the co-founder of Butterscotch Shenanigans, a small game development studio where he’s now the principle (also only) artist. For a while, it was just him and his brother Seth, and they made small, silly mobile games together. They weren’t terrible, but they were ultimately forgettable. Then Sam got diagnosed with cancer in late 2013, and he decided it was time to do or, well, die.

 

Kickstarters of the week (or ones I heard about this week)

 

OVERLOAD - The Ultimate Six-Degree-of-Freedom Shooter

 

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The creators of Descent are making a new game.

 

A thread about this was made here

 

Indie G Zine

 

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An artbook for indie games

 

A thread about this was made here

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