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This week in the news; Nintendo announces NX release with tweet and financial report, lots of Warhammer, researcher wins grant to create a theory of games, No Man's Sky was almost cancelled, Call of Duty 4 Remaster announced with poop tweet, how Jim Sterling gets around Nintendo monetizing his videos, the history of ragdoll physics, Australian parliament report calls for renewed game industry funding, how games are helping veterans recover from injury, Maddy Myers gives her thoughts on the Street Fighter modding community, the rise of Dark Souls, Long War team to create five more mods for XCOM 2, Chinese developer talks about difficulty of development in China while discussing his game about a possibly never ending train ride, how a Mario Maker rivalry lead to getting punched in the balls, and more.

 

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Nintendo Announces NX Launch Date With a Tweet and a Financial Report

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NX won't be sold at a loss

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"We are not thinking of launching the hardware at a loss," Kimishima said in a Q&A about the company's latest financial report. This may come as a surprise to some, as the Wii U sold at a loss, as did the PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, and ostensibly Xbox One.

 

Nintendo's president gets grilled on its mobile business, NX plans

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This is an interesting year for Nintendo, as the company begins its headlong plunge into the mobile business. A year from now, the company will have five mobile games on the market (though there's just one, Miitomo, out now) and a new console, the NX, will have just released in March 2017.

In the face of all this, company president Tatsumi Kimishima is still cagey about the company's near-term future -- and doesn't seem to want to divulge details of those businesses until they're more fully realized.

With that in mind, we've grabbed the most interestng info from the company's most recent investor Q&A and rounded it up for you.

 

Call Of Duty 4 Remastered Apparently Confirmed With Poop Emoji

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Earlier today a pic did the rounds showing what was claimed to be a retail flyer, showing that certain versions of 2016's Call of Duty—likely called Infinite Warfare—will also include a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Now, Call of Duty’s Twitter account has seemingly confirmed this with a wink. Or, to be more precise, some poop.

I kind of like this new companies not giving a fuck style marketing, also a little strange that they found a tweet that was over two years old to reply to, so they must have came up with the idea to do this and then actively searched for the best tweet to respond to.

 

Researcher Espen Aarseth wins $2.3M grant to create a theory of games

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It's notable that an experienced game researcher and educator has won one of the ERC's Advanced Grants, which require a decade of "significant achievement" to qualify and are meant for proven independent research leaders to "pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects" in Europe.

 

Australian Parliament report calls for renewed game industry funding

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April 29, 2016 | By Christian NuttComments    Post A CommentMore: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/MarketingA new report issued by the Australian Parliament's Senate Environment and Communications References Committee recommends the reinstatement of the canceled $20 million ($15.2 million U.S.) fund for game development.

 

Calling the SWAT team on your neighbor could soon carry a 20-year prison sentence

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Video gamers are often the victims — and the perpetrators. Some players broadcast their hobby online, with cameras trained on their own faces. So when a particularly nasty gamer wants the instant, visual gratification of humiliating his or her in-game rival in real time, pop goes the call to 911.

But gamers aren't the only people who've been subjected to this kind of harassment. Journalists, politicians and celebrities have all been targeted.

Would be good to see harsher penalties for that. Not sure why people writing about this keep referring to it as a prank when people clearly do it to cause fear or to endanger the lives of people to get them to stop doing something, terrorism or reckless endangerment (in addition to the whole false police report thing) depending on who it is aimed at would probably be a more accurate description.

 

Game Critic Uses Brilliant Workaround For YouTube's Copyright Bullshit

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So, Jim Sterling hatched a plan. He went back through his older videos, and took note of what footage got slammed with a Content ID claim in the past. He then went ahead and copied that same flagged footage, and stuck it into his new video. The self-sabotage was intentional: Sterling wanted to fuck with the Content ID system.

“I figured every time I talk about Nintendo, I’m going to throw in other stuff that gets flagged by Content ID, and just watch the corporations battle it out,” Sterling said. His hope was that by pulling this stunt, he could stop any company from monetizing the video at all, since it wouldn’t be clear who really owned the footage in the first place. And if anybody did manage to monetize the video, they’d probably only get peanuts for it.

 

The Legend of Zelda will release in 2017 for NX, Wii U

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The Legend of Zelda on Wii U has been delayed again, Nintendo announced today, and the game is now expected to launch in 2017 alongside a newly announced NX version of the game.

 

New DOOM Includes Awesome Secret For Old School Fans

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The developers recently sat down with IGN and revealed a cool secret, too. In each stage, there’s a hidden lever. Once that level is pulled, a door opens somewhere in the stage. Find that door, step inside and....

That's cool, kind of like what the two new Wolfenstein games do.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided teases Adam Jensen's cyberpunk adventure in new trailer

 

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Release Date, Trailer, Gameplay Details Revealed

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Infinite Warfare's single-player campaign will cast players as Captain Reyes, a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot who helms one of Earth's last remaining warships. Air and space combat will be "a key aspect of the campaign."

 

New Call of Duty Aiming to Offer Biggest Change Since Modern Warfare, Dev Says

Call of Duty 4 Remaster Confirmed, Detailed

Zombies are coming to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Infinity Ward explains why Call of Duty is going into space

 

The Mandate: Ships and Bridges: the Fleets stand ready!

Maybe some people will remember The Mandate from the video that Joe did around the time of the community relaunch, obviously the game still isn't out but they do release updates, usually about once a month to show how things are progressing, to show different systems, and they showed off some boarding combat about nine months ago. In this update they talk about ships, ship bridges, head models, animations, and the adventure mode.

 

The Bard's Tale IV Combat Details

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One of the great things about designing for a dungeon crawler is your ability to quickly build the game on paper before you build it out digitally. We've put a big emphasis on proving out our designs by playing them out on the tabletop. Similar to playing a game of D&D, we're able to play out the bard's tale on the tabletop and make sure what we're doing is fun, strategic, and ticks all the boxes we're looking for in The Bard's Tale IV. We started from a foundation of classic blobber combat, distilling down the parts that truly compel us. But we also make note of missed opportunities for rich strategic decision-making, and brainstorm how to capitalize on them.

In other popular Kickstarter update news, some details on combat have been given for The Bard's Tale IV.

 

Raiden 5 is coming to Xbox One in May, please enjoy this trailer

 

Battleborn launch trailer features shooting, stabbing, and dancing

Battleborn Gets Tie-In Mobile Game, "Battleborn Tap"

 

Battleborn | Cinematic Intro

Someone watched Aeon Flux.

 

The Creators of Burnout Are Making A Game That's Even More Chaotic

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“We just call it a mess simulator,” the ever-quotable game developer Alex Ward was saying as his colleague Chris Roberts (the other Chris Roberts) was playing their upcoming game in Kotaku’s New York City office during a visit last week. That chaotic game, Dangerous Golf, is indeed about making messes... by using a golf ball in a barely proverbial china shop.

 

AJ's SEVEN Developer Preview

 

Stardew Valley console ports, multiplayer are in the works

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Stardew Valley will receive several major updates in the coming months, developer Eric Barone announced in a progress report on the game's site. These include a content update comprising version 1.1 of the Windows PC game, as well as a multiplayer mode, new language options and ports to other consoles.

 

New Carmageddon for PS4/Xbox One Delayed, Here's Why

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Carmageddon: Max Damage has been delayed. Previously expected to launch in June for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the over-the-top car combat game is now coming out on July 8 for both consoles, developer Stainless Games has announced.

 

Avadon 3: The Warborn announced

 

Watch Dogs 2's Main Character Could Be This Guy

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Oh good, I was worried they might make a sequel where you don't look like a jackass.

 

Stellaris - Developers Aiming for the Stars - Pt. 2 "Experiences and Modding"

A thread about the game was created here.

 

Superhot Xbox One Release Date Announced

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Superhot, the first-person shooter where time only moves when you do, will be available on Xbox One from May 3, developer Superhot Team has announced.

 

Overwatch star Winston unravels the game's backstory in new teaser

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"Are you with me?" he asks. That question is posed just before the game's next beta launch. Starting May 5 at 4 p.m. PT, players can check out the game's open beta. That campaign is available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One through May 9, and is open to all.

 

AJ's Livelock Developer Preview

 

AJ's Mirage Arcane Warfare Developer Preview

 

No Man's Sky studio taps Star Trek writer, Watchmen creator to help craft game lore

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No Man's Sky, Hello Games' highly anticipated space exploration game, won't have a traditional linear story filled with "huge cutscenes," studio founder Sean Murray said in a new post on the PlayStation Blog. But the game will have more than its share of lore for players to discover and dissect, Murray said.

How Hello Games created the lore of No Man’s Sky

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Today, I wanted to show you something new, a little bit of how we approach lore and storytelling in our universe. It’s a bit different to what you might be used to with some other games.

With a universe as open as ours – with a near infinite number of planets out there to see – we want players to discover everything on their terms. We don’t have huge cut scenes or a traditional linear story.

 

MIGHTY NO. 9 – GOES GOLD!

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Firstly, I would like to say again how sincerely sorry we are for how long we have kept all of our fans waiting. We are finally able to deliver some long awaited news regarding Mighty No. 9. We have now confirmed the following release dates for Mighty No. 9: June 21st 2016 (North America & Asia) and June 24th 2016 (World Wide). We understand that as a result of the various delays we have disappointed and let down our fans, but we are happy to finally be able to deliver the game to everyone who brought us this far.

With the game having “gone gold” we are in the last final stages of being able to deliver it into your hands, be that via your favorite retail outlet, or via digital channels.

I expect the final product to confirm my thoughts that everyone should have supported the Shantae Kickstarter instead.

 

NOSTATION, A GAME INSPIRED BY LATE-NIGHT TRAIN RIDES ACROSS CHINA

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Making a game using the web can be tricky enough, but doing it in China makes it even more difficult. Bubble describes making games in China as “Just like Hell.” The market in China is focused on making money, usually with free-to-play games. Bubble isn’t looking to make that type of game. They want to focus on the story and art of games, something they say is hard to do in China. Many of the studios and publishers are looking for profits over story. But Bubble and the people at Bubble Games Paradise are determined to finish Nostation and to make more games after that. “We will not stop making games,” Bubble says. “[This] is my dream. Games [have no] borders, I want to let the world see China [can make] great games.”

 

A GRUNGY MACHINE-AGE VIDEOGAME PRIORITIZES STORYTELLING OVER DIFFICULTY

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In The Mind’s Eclipse, players will take on the role of Jonathan Campbell, a scientist who wakes up to find that he’s seemingly the only person left alive in the ruins of a fallen utopia known as the CORE. His only companion is an AI known as L, who is just as mysterious as her single-lettered name suggests. Jonathan must rely on her as he explores the world he finds himself in, in an attempt to find his loved ones.

 

DOOM SnapMap Preview

A thread about this was created here.

 

DOOM Single-player Preview

A thread about this was created here.

 

TEEN GHOST STORY OXENFREE TO GET NEW ENDINGS IN UPCOMING DIRECTOR’S CUT

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While the PS4 version will already have all of this content included at launch, Steam and Xbox One players need not worry, as they will also receive the New Game+ mode in an update on the same day. “Upon completing the story once, players are met at the start of a new game with fresh dialogue choices and a creeping sense of deja vu,” write Night School Studio, the creators of Oxenfree. “With this feature, players will be able to further change the supernatural events of Edwards Island and the spectres that inhabit it.”

 

Asemblance: First-Person Horror Announced

 

Angry Joe Looks At Outlast 2

 

Dishonored 2 launching this November

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New details about the game will be revealed in Game Informer’s exclusive cover story, available on Saturday, May 7, with the digital edition available today. The world premiere of Dishonored 2 gameplay will take place during Bethesda’s 2016 E3 Showcase being held in Los Angeles, California, on June 12 beginning at 7pm PST, and streamed live around the world via Twitch and YouTube.

 

PIXEL ART EXPLORATION GAME GETS ITS MORAL AMBIGUITY FROM STUDIO GHIBLI FILMS

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There’s an element to Mable & the Wood that definitely calls to mind fairy-tales and children’s folklore, but it’s the Hayao Miyazaki variety of moral ambiguity seen in many of his Studio Ghibli animated films that is the strongest influence. And this is intentional according to its creator Andrew Stewart. The game was inspired by the woods of the English Peak District near where Stewart grew up, but also on the works of the Japanese filmmaker, specifically Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984).

 

Project Highrise Aims To Be A Modern SimTower

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Yoot Saito’s SimTower is one of those games I return to every so often, for the pure satisfaction of building something and watching its simulation flourish. In recent years it has increasingly become a game I wish someone would make a modern version of – and no, various mobile genre-mates don’t count.

Good news! The makers of gold prospecting town sim 1849 are now working on their second game, and it’s called Project Highrise [official site]. There’s little information so far, but there’s enough to make me excited.

 

Xenoblade Chronicles is coming to Wii U Virtual Console

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Nintendo's adding Xenoblade Chronicles to Wii U Virtual Console tomorrow, according to the company's website. The Wii game, first released in 2012, will cost $19.99 on the North American eShop.

 

Total War: WARHAMMER - Voicing the Goblin Great Shaman - Rally Point Special

During the first video they announced that Total War Warhammer is going to be giving the Chaos faction free to everyone who preorders and to everyone who buys the game within the first week of release. So you can wait a few days for reviews and if you buy it within the first week you will still get them at no additional cost. Similar to what the other Warhammer game Battlefleet Gothic is doing (except they are giving two factions to people who buy the game in the first two months).

 

Space Hulk: Deathwing trailer finally shows off some gameplay

 

Dawn of War 3 announced

A thread about this was created here.

 

Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor - Martyr Mass Destruction Trailer

A good time to be a Warhammer fan apparently.

 

CELEBRATE MAY THE 4TH NEWS WITH STAR WARS AND EA

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We know there’s a lot of ways to celebrate on May the 4th, and there’s lots of ways to get involved with Star WarsTM Battlefront, Star WarsTM: The Old Republic and Star WarsTM: Galaxy of Heroes.

 

XCOM 2 is getting five new mods from the Long War team

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Long War Studios, the team responsible for one of the most cherished XCOM: Enemy Unknown mods, has more tricks up its sleeves for XCOM 2. Not satisfied with the distinction of releasing the first XCOM 2 mod back on release date, the studio has a total of five more mods coming, publisher 2K announced today.

 

Mod Makes Fallout: New Vegas' Combat SUPERHOT

 

New 'League of Legends' Champion Revealed: Taliyah

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“That power of yours was meant to destroy. You don’t want to use it? Fine. Let it sink you like a stone.”

Those were the last words Taliyah heard from the Noxian captain before she slipped beneath the salty water, words that haunted her still. Four days had passed since that landing on the beach where she had made her escape. At first she ran, and then, when she could no longer hear the breaking bones of the Ionian farmers and Noxian soldiers, she walked. She followed the high skirts of the mountains, not daring to look back at the carnage she’d left behind. The snow had started to fall two days ago. Or maybe it was three; she couldn’t remember. This morning, as she passed an empty shrine, a cheerless air had begun to move through the valley. Now the wind grew stronger and broke through the clouds to reveal a sky clear and blue, a color so pure it felt like she was drowning again. She knew that sky. As a young child, she saw it blanket the sands. But this wasn’t Shurima. The wind here was not welcoming.

One of Riot's Champion designers ^ seems to be getting a lot of people complaining that the character isn't sexy enough and that is being blamed on his fiance who is receiving hate mail over it (as usual when this happens neither of them have any control over that). He has responded to those people.

 

Doctors Ordered: Big Pharma’s Marketing Expansion

 

Elite Dangerous expansions coming to Xbox One this summer

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Elite Dangerous: Horizons, the latest season of expansions for the spaceflight-and-combat game, will come to Xbox One some time before the end of June, Frontier Developments announced on Friday.

Horizons will include both the 2.0 Planetary Landings and 2.1 The Engineers expansions. Planetary Landings is currently available for the Windows PC and Mac version of Elite Dangerous, with The Engineers coming sometime alter.

 

Halo 5's Next Free Update Detailed, Includes Weapon Balance Changes and More

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343 Industries has shared new details about Memories of Reach, Halo 5's next free update. In the developer's latest weekly update, 343 started off by saying Memories of Reach won't be out until the week after next, meaning sometime the week of May 9. "We'll continue to keep you updated on specific timing as we get closer to release and all final work is completed, tested, and ready to go out the door," it said.

 

Hyper Light Drifter gets co-op mode in beta

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Hyper Light Drifter developer Heart Machine just added a beta version of a local co-op mode to the game, a surprise addition of a feature that the studio cut many moons ago.

"This was a mode we had cut months before we shipped due to time constraints, but have since gone back to because it's a lot of fun and felt worthwhile to take the time to complete," said Alex Preston, the game's creator, in a post on Steam today.

 

The Division gets new anti-cheating technology, ban waves have already gone out

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Ubisoft says it's caught more Division cheaters in the past few days than in all the previous weeks combined.

 

Valve Steps Up Counter-Strike's Anti-Cheat Measures

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Counter-Strike has recently begun dabbling in phone-based account authentication. First and foremost, there’s been word of a beta for “Prime,” a feature that matches players who’ve linked their accounts to their phones exclusively with each other. Get banned for cheating in there, and your number is banned. The hope is that smurfs and cheaters, who frequently switch accounts, will have a harder time scaling that walled murder garden.

 

Fire Emblem Fates Map DLC Release Dates Revealed

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"The stages included in Map Pack 2 tell an ongoing story," Nintendo explained in a press release. "Across dimensions, other versions of the Hoshidan and Nohrian children are under attack. Born and raised in the Deeprealms, these fledgling warriors must now rise up to save themselves and their parents as they unravel the mystery of their adversaries.

 

The Division's New Incursion Detailed, As Dev Teases Plans to "Reinvigorate" PvE

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The Broken Circle Incursion comes to The Division in May through the free Conflicts update.

In other news, community developer Hamish Bode said during a recent livestream that Ubisoft Massive has plans to "reinvigorate" The Division's open world PvE areas, according to VG247.

 

Goin’ Up! PlanetSide 2 Adds Base-Building

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Construction arrived in PlanetSide 2 [official site] this week, letting players build their own little bases. If you’ve been hoping to build a quiet little get-away spot, put up a shed, set out a few lawn chairs, fire up the barbie… yeah, that won’t happen. Especially given the sort of people pootling around, tooled up and looking for trouble. No, this is warconstruction, letting players build little warbases as waroutposts and even to help contribute victory points to the free-to-play MMOFPS’s wareffort.

 

Quantum Break PC Crash Fix Requires Microsoft to Update Windows 10 First

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"Microsoft has identified a Windows 10 memory management issue which may cause Quantum Break to crash on some GPUs," it explained. "This crash is seen more frequently at higher game settings. Microsoft plans to fix this in a future Windows Update."

 

Classic Sega games now have official mod support on Steam

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While Sega has not provided any official mod tools to coincide with the update, players are free to use their own and have already gotten started releasing everything from funny rom hacks to overhauls and system tweaks, like Ecco the Dolphin Rev. 01, which introduces checkpoints and other fixes from the Japanese version of the game.

 

Nintendo 3DS emulator adds HD support, makes portable games look spectacular

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Citra, an in-development emulator that plays Nintendo 3DS games, recently added high-definition resolution support and the results are pretty amazing: Games like Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7 and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds look incredible in HD.

 

Uncharted 4 multiplayer will receive updates for free

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Every new map and gameplay mode in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End's multiplayer will be offered to all players for free, Naughty Dog announced this morning on the PlayStation Blog.

Uncharted 4 PS4 Discs Stolen From Truck in "Violent Assault," Sony Says

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"We can confirm that unfortunately some contents from a lorry transporting a variety of video game and DVD titles, including a quantity of the much anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, was stolen in the UK, during a violent assault," a representative said.

5GB Uncharted 4 Day-One Patch Required for Key Features

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Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has a 5GB day-one patch that adds in a number of core gameplay modes and features, as well as making "fixes and improvements" to Naughty Dog's PS4-exclusive action game.

 

Nintendo fends off 3DS tech lawsuit following retrial

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Nintendo has won its lengthy legal battle against Tomita Technologies, which claimed the hardware manufacturer made use of its patented 3D display technology without proper licensing.

 

CD Projekt wants to emulate "the Rockstar model"

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The Witcher 3's success won't turn the company into a ten-project studio, says CEO Marcin Iwinski, but it has raised its ambitions for Cyberpunk

 

"No Plans" for Ubisoft Takeover, Vivendi Says as It Buys More Shares

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Vivendi, the French media conglomerate that once owned Activision Blizzard, has increased its stake in Assassin's Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft. The company formerly held a 10 percent position in Ubisoft, but has now increased its stake further. It now holds 17.73 percent of Ubsioft's capital and 15.66 percent of voting shares.

 

Fable developer Lionhead closes down today

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Now, after the end of a consultation period during which no further potential buyers were found to be interested, Lionhead shuts down today, Friday, 29th April.

 

PS4/Xbox One Upgrades Not Necessarily a Bad Thing, Guacamelee Dev Says

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One of the bigger news stories in gaming this year has been around the rumors and reports regarding supposed PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hardware revisions. While some believe an incremental upgrade would be very problematic, others, like Chris Harvey of Guacamelee developer DrinkBox, think it may not be such a tricky thing.

 

Square Enix Montreal enlists former Hyper Light Drifter, Fez devs

 

Epic's Gears of War 4 Would Have Cost $100 Million to Make, Dev Says

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"The profit was shrinking and shrinking," he said about the Gears of War franchise over the years. "We calculated that, if we built Gears of War 4, the budget would have been well over $100 million, and if it was a huge success, we could break even. Anything less could put us out of business."Sweeney added:

"That's what caused us to move and change business models."

Epic’s latest: Paragon, Fortnite and Unreal Tournament

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Epic may never release a single-player, campaign driven game like Gears of War or Bulletstorm again. Those games, in Sweeney’s eyes, are now for major publishers to develop or finance and then release.“

The economics of those games forces developers to work with major publishers to succeed, and that seems to be irreversible,” he says.

In the eyes of Epic, the future for companies like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft or Electronic Arts is either small and focused or big, online and persistent, which makes gamers hungry for ever-evolving entertainment.

 

Nostalrius team make announcement over Blizzard meeting

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In the forum post, the Nostalrius team seem hopeful that Blizzard will implement legacy servers, and given the huge support for Nostalrius over the last few weeks, say they now see themselves as "ambassadors of a larger movement for the entire World of Warcraft community that wants to see game history restored".

 

Why No Man's Sky Was Almost Canceled and a Story About Kanye West

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"I think if we hadn't announced the game--I nearly backed out of it--I think if we had backed out of it, and then had been flooded, it's hard to know...I think we might have canned No Man's Sky," he explained. "Because we would have been feeling really unsure of it. When we were trying to back out of it, we were like, 'What have we been doing?'"

 

Early Footage From Assassin's Creed Creator's 1666: Amsterdam

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Ubisoft acquired the 1666 property from the doomed THQ in 2013. Patrice Désilets came with the property, but was fired soon after the sale. Désilets sued Ubisoft for control of the game, finally regaining the rights earlier this month.

 

Oculus launch gets stranger as hardware hits Best Buy and others before pre-orders fulfilled

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Curious about virtual reality? You'll be able to get a demo of the retail Oculus Rift at 48 Best Buy locations starting on May 7, with more locations coming later in the summer. You'll even be able to go online, see what stores are participating and schedule your demo up to a month in advance.

Here's the kicker: You'll also be able to buy the hardware in-store, even before all the pre-order customers receive their Rifts.

 

In esports news

 

ESL lays plays to launch new 24/7 eSports satellite TV channel

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While professional competitive gameplay has been broadcast on television for years now, this new eSportsTV channel (not to be confused with other eSportsTVs) is notable for its ambition to broadcast round-the-clock.

 

BRINGING ESPORTS TO A LAS VEGAS CASINO

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The global esports market is rapidly expanding; market researcher Newzoo (via VentureBeat) expects it to grow by 43 percent in 2016 from $325 million to $463 million. By 2019, Newzoo predicts esports will be a billion dollar industry, and as it continues to grow in popularity and viewership, this so-called "esports tourism" may be a prime market for a city like Las Vegas. Sin City has the infrastructure in place to support large-scale gaming events like Evo and The International. There's even talk that Beijing-based company Ourgame International Holdings Ltd. wants to build a dedicated esports arena on the Las Vegas Strip, according to Vegas Inc.

 

French government creates an esports federation and reveals amendments to contract rules

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Esports regulation in France is moving forward. Today, as the country’s Senators start to discuss the “Numeric Law,” the French government plans to reveal a national Esports Federation tomorrow, at the French Ministry of Economy.

This organization, named “Fédération France-Esport” or “association France-Esport,” will have the mission to enable the legal framework of competitions, create a legal status for the competitors, address the subject of television broadcasts, and to develop international events. Its members will include tournament organizers, broadcasters, players, and representatives of the video game publishers—though they haven’t specified yet exactly who. Further information should be disclosed during the press conference.

 

In crowdfunding news

 

BLACKROOM: A New FPS from Romero & Carmack

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John Romero and Adrian Carmack reunite to make BLACKROOM, a visceral, action-packed FPS set in a holographic simulation gone rogue.

Romero and Carmack's Blackroom Kickstarter cancelled to develop demo

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Four days after launch, the Kickstarter for John Romero and Adrian Carmack's Blackroom has been cancelled, or 'paused'. The downtime will be used to develop a demo for "the kind of gameplay, look and innovative, cool features that make Blackroom truly unique—the things we've waited years to put into an FPS".

Probably a good idea, with the exception of the above video that someone else made, they had a terrible pitch.

 

Heroes of Dire

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In Heroes of Dire, a new massively-multiplayer tactical role-playing game by Spellbook, players command squads of fighters through strategic turn-based battles to win treasure, honor, and glory for their guilds!

 

Saltlands - Sail through the Desert!

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A post-apocalyptic adventure board game. Fight raiders, cooperate or betray your friends. Be among the first to escape the Saltlands!

 

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

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Over the next 14 days, help us add the final touches to this fully voiced pause-for-tactics RPG, where magical masks & deception rule.

UPDATE: ASHLY BURCH and FELICIA DAY will be joining the cast of Masquerada!

 

Other content I found interesting this week

 

Errant Signal - Dark Souls 3 (Non-Story Spoilers?)

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With the release of Dark Souls 3 we find ourselves having discussions about game difficulty again. Some feel the whole series is too hard. Long time fans think Dark Souls 3 is too easy. So let's maybe break down why both feel that way and also look at pretty environs while doing so.

A lot of this is going to sound old hat to people who have been playing these games since Demon's Souls and having these discussions for the better part of a decade. Still, this is my first salvo of Dark Souls thoughts - I intend to release another video that's a short collection of other Dark Souls things soon.

Oh, and if you want an interesting companion piece to this one, be sure to check out the Game Maker's Toolkit on whether Dark Souls needs an easy mode

 

Game Makers Toolkit - Should Dark Souls have an Easy Mode?

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It's the question that comes up every time FromSoftware releases a new action RPG - should Dark Souls come with an easy mode? To answer this question (sort of), we must first figure out why these games are so hard, and whether there are better ways to provide difficulty settings than a choice at the start of the game.

 

THE COMMUNAL JOY OF DARK SOULS

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Dark Souls 3 and its predecessors are known for all the wrong things. The series’ dead-paletted broodiness and nightmarish menagerie of foes is much discussed by gamers and outlets. Keyboards the world over rattle as thousands of fingers pound out theory after theory of the series’ opaque narratives and mystifying symbolism.  One cannot hold a conversation about the game with friends and acquaintances without mention of its grueling difficulty and indecipherable gameplay systems. These are all parts of the game, but they are all the wrong thing to talk about. They all miss what it means to truly experience Dark Souls.

 

The “Uncensored” World of Street Fighter Mods: The Good, The Bad, The Naked

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Not everybody wants the same type of game or type of character. That, in theory, is why mods exist. And yet the mod community continues to reinforce a preservationist and conservative mindset that fears change. This is pretty ironic, considering that the mod community is also all about making changes to the game with the intent to make it better. Ideally, that attitude would translate into a desire to make the mod community better, too.

 

Guest Column: The Known Unknowns of Subterfuge

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Guest Contributor Nick Capozzoli explains how Subterfuge blends data overload with hidden information in order to transform you into a cold, calculating tactician.

There’s no mystery as to why—Subterfuge is a fiendish, Machiavellian game. Color-coded subs do the menial work of fighting, but the true play spaces are the game’s group chat windows, where conversation (and who’s excluded from it) is what gives life to alliances, deceptions, and betrayals. Words take on a heightened import in Subterfuge because of physical limitations the game places on players. There’s a sort of thermodynamic law of conservation to the map: In order to expand in one direction, you have to take heavily from somewhere else in your territory. The resulting asymmetry means that you’re always exposed somewhere—best that it be an ally’s mutual border. But the vagaries of your allies’ moods present a problem of categorization, because nobody’s really beholden to any deal. You want to sort friend from foe, but instead other players end up presenting a sort of Schrödinger’s dilemma, wherein they’re simultaneously bestie and Brutus. Few things are more ominous than the sudden unresponsiveness from an allied Subterfuge player that always seems to presage a double-cross. So you start reading things in the dead air between their texts. And maybe you do a bit of Rumsfeldian rationalization yourself—hey, “the absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence,” right?

 

Giant Bomb Presents: Introducing Nick Capozzoli

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Austin chats with new guest contributor Nick Capozzoli about mobile strategy game Subterfuge, how architecture influences his writing, and the state of games criticism.

 

1979 Revolution: A Snapshot of Chaos and Propaganda

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These interrogation scenes are so potent because they simultaneously align the player with both Reza and the interrogator. It’s an odd situation -- you’re controlling a character you know nothing about, and answering questions about background events you haven’t witnessed. When the player cooperates with the interrogation, they learn more about Reza. If they resist too much, they learn nothing and Reza dies. The game, therefore, steers the player toward cooperating enough to keep Reza alive, but not so much that he gives away his friends. It’s a fairly nuanced depiction of what it’s like to face questioning under torture -- if you have to give up something, make it half true or even a total lie.

 

History Respawned: 1979 Revolution Black Friday

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Bob and Dr. Zackery Heern discuss 1979 Revolution Black Friday. Topics include revolutionary ideologies, religion, and America's place in the Iranian Revolution.

 

How The Witcher 3's card game within a game was brought to life

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Its origins, however, weren’t nearly as grand as its reception. Monnier, a senior gameplay designer at CD Projekt Red, and Jaki, who works in business development, began their work as fans of tabletop games who thought having one in The Witcher 3 would help improve the game. Minigames like dice poker and arm wrestling had been present in the previous two entries, and the pair also felt that minigames like Gwent provide non-combat ways for players to relax and add new layers to characters in the game.

 

The Casual/Core Fallacy - Designing for Depth - Extra Credits

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The idea that we can split our audience into "casual" and "core" is a fallacy. It's a convenient shorthand that actually holds game design back, because it's being applied incorrectly. We refer to casual players as people who will bounce off the game quickly after getting a taste of what it's like to play. We assume core players want to master the game entirely and will spend hours trying to play the game to its fullest. There's utility in looking at the playerbase that way because it gives us some design goals to kick off a project, but it's an oversimplification that no longer applies in many cases. Even our core players, who supposedly spend the most time on games, no longer have hours to invest into playing one game to find out what's great about it. They have busy lives and a hundred other games to choose from. When the game appears shallow in its first few hours as part of a design to wow casual players and doesn't offer any of the depth core players are looking for, they abandon it. You can still design a flashy introduction that hooks the player (and you should!) but we should no longer hide the game's real depth so it can only be discovered after hours of investment. Simple systems, like a battle system that rewards players for winning faster, give them the hint that there are more effective ways to play and let them explore this for themselves from the beginning. Whether it's an RPG, exploration game, narrative game, or something else, designers need to show this depth early if they want to keep "core" players around. We have to stop equating playtime with a desire depth.

 

HOW GAMES ARE HELPING VETERANS RECOVER FROM INJURY

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When he was a young private in the U.S. Army, Erik Johnson was involved in what he describes as "a bad car accident." He suffered 25 percent burns on his body, including his hands and arms.

He underwent multiple surgeries and spent long months in hospital. He was miserable, a young, active man, in a great deal of pain, suffering from the anxiety of a life turned upside down.

During his long recovery, one of the tasks he was given by the doctors was to re-establish use of his right hand. He found that playing video games helped. The doctors, somewhat bemused, allowed him to explore this self-discovered treatment.

 

Smash hits and flops: a brief history of ragdoll physics

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From noodle arms to... well, more noodle arms, ragdoll physics have been adding realism and challenge to games since the mid-90s. Here's how ragdolls got their start.

 

HOW EVE ONLINE DESIGNS, AND SELLS, WAR

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The world of Eve Online, the very history of the in-game universe, is written in virtual blood.And the ability to gain massive amounts of in-game currency and then use it to gain control, or destroy the control of others, is part of the game's core appeal."I think this is what Eve is made for, in so many ways," Andie Nordgren, the game's executive producer, told me when I asked her about the current war. "There are many other aspects of the game and people play it for many reasons, but I think these big conflicts are really the thing that can only happen in Eve.

 

Interview: BioShock Creator Ken Levine Talks the Inspiration to Create

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Ken Levine is the creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games. He is known for his work on the Bioshock franchise, Thief: The Dark Project, and System Shock 2. Ken and I connected on social media, even though we live in the same state. He’s a legendary person (like a rare Pokemon!) in the video game world, but he’s really down to earth, and I appreciate how honest he is about his own mental health.

TMS: Game Informer named you one of the “storytellers of a decade,” but I want to know what that means to you. What inspires you to create? How do you feel when you create? What kind of things do you like to write about?

Levine: I think I’m like any other writer: I create stuff because that’s what I’m wired to do. Creation is either one of the worst experiences (when it’s going poorly) or one of the best. At its best, it’s an escape from worry. I just finished a screenplay that I wrote on nights and weekends over a period of 3 months. One of the best experiences of my life. I didn’t show it to a soul when I was writing it. I didn’t talk to anybody about it. I just lived in that world. I loved getting to know the characters. I loved figuring out the story, which is sort of like a complicated puzzle to solve.

 

Interview with Bobby Vandiver (Red Comet)

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Bobby Vandiver, better known as Red Comet, is an accomplished ROM hacking and the man behind Twilight Translations. He's released a number of English fan translation patches for games, including several Dragon Ball Z titles, two Gundam titles, and the beat 'em up Streets of Rage 3. He is also a former staff member of ROMhacking.net, which has become the hub of the ROM hacking community since it was launched in 2005. Recently, Vandiver spoke with me about what goes into creating a fan translation patch.

Streets of Rage 2 was my favorite game when I was a kid. When I first found out that Bare Knuckle 3 had been heavily altered when it was brought stateside as Streets of Rage 3, I just had to fix it. This game is what motivated me to write my own Motorola 68000 cross assembler, SEKAS (Sixty Eight K Assembler), based on byuu's xkas to provide ROM hacking-specific features that other cross assemblers don't provide out of the box.

 

Adventures in Solitude: On Myst and The Witness

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The game doesn’t just strive to create a pleasant sense of solitude. In its audio diaries, I felt that it extolled the virtues of a perspective grounded in distance and detachment. And to be sure, there is much wisdom in the text of these diaries, coming as they do from people such as Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore, but they feel clumsily grafted on to The Witness as a way of imbuing the game with secondhand meaning, as if it lacks the confidence to make meaning on its own terms and in its own way. It never closes the circle, taking this wisdom and applying it to anything approximating real human experience.

 

Close Playing: Episode 1: Carolyn and The Witness

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An intimate conversation between two players about a single game. New each month.

 

Video Games And The Door Problem

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One of the reasons I like this example is because it’s so mundane. There’s an impression that game design is flashy and cool and about crazy ideas and fun all the time. But when I start off with, “Let me tell you about doors…” it cuts straight to the everyday practical considerations.

 

[SSFF] Past Mortem: The Rise of Dark Souls, FromSoftware, & Hidetaka Miyazaki

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In this episode we break down and explore the meteoric rise of the Souls series, FromSoftware, and the man at the center of is all Hidetaka Miyazaki.

 

The Highs and Lows of X-Men Video Games

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X-Men: Apocalypse is coming out in about a month, and the X-Men are my favorite superheroes, so let’s talk X-Men video games.

There are over 25 X-Men games, and I haven’t even played all of them, so ranking them would be a massive undertaking. Instead, let’s remember some of the good, bad, and in between moments in the franchise.

 

Fire Emblem – Developer Interviews with Shouzou Kaga and Hironobu Sakaguchi

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When Fire Emblem first came out on the Famicom, the early reviews were really harsh. Every game magazine gave it pretty bad scores. There weren’t really many games back then that combined the RPG and strategy/simulation genres, you see. It stung to see it get so much criticism for being “hard to understand”, or for not looking that impressive graphically… for those reasons, the reviews said it felt like some old game from yesteryear.

A half year later, though, Nakaji praised Fire Emblem in that column of his for Famitsu… that was really when things started turning around, and the sales gradually picked up.

A translated interview from 1994.

 

How A Mario Maker Rivalry Got Me Punched In The Balls

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I’ve been fending off the diabolical Mario Maker creations by Giant Bomb editor Dan Ryckert for months now. Our rivalry has always taken place over the Internet, however. At PAX East, it was a face-to-face showdown.

 

Publishers Are Missing a Major Opportunity With Licensed Games

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I don’t miss all of the shovelware and publishers trying to make a quick buck. What I do miss is when talented game devs take a license, understand what people like about it, and deliver great experiences. I miss Spider-Man 2. I miss X-Men Legends II. I miss Turtles in Time. I miss Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I miss the excellent Aladdin and Lion King games made by Westwood Studios.

There are a lot of reasons why good licensed games are such a rarity in 2016. For one, modern licensing agreements have greatly cut down on the amount of licensed video games we see.

 

Let's Remember The Bouncer!

One of the first PS2 games I played, along with Kessen and Ring of Red.

 

Metal Gear Solid 3 - Did You Know Gaming? Feat. Super Bunnyhop

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In this episode we take a look at some facts, secrets, and history of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Metal Gear Solid 3 is a stealth action game directed by Hideo Kojima. Snake Eater was developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2. The MGS3's setting was a fairly dramatic shift from previous games in the series, which led to many interesting situations during the game's development period.

 

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Has Me on Edge

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To make matters worse, I recognize that Danganronpa isn’t exactly horror either. But what it does is build up suspense and anticipation to its expected horribleness—a trait horror games and movies share.

And I just can’t handle how great it excels at doing so.

I’ve been playing 2014’s Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair lately, forcing myself to click through scene after scene to consume its excellent story. It’s not that the gameplay is terrible—it’s a visual novel with logic puzzle elements mixed in, along with a little bit of Ace Attorney attributes and some status link building as with Persona—but I haven’t quite been in the mood to play. It’s also that I’m playing it with mental hesitation. It’s the equivalent to watching something awful through the slits of my hands while covering my face. Even though I know tragedy is coming, I can’t look away.

 

'There are a lot of ways to chop off a head' - Double Fine's Tim Schafer on humor

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“At the time we were just really young 20 year old kids goofing around trying to entertain each other, and had no thoughts about the future, or anyone else ever playing them really,” Schafer began.

“We were just out of college, and we were working out of Skywalker ranch in the 80s, where George Lucas was building those Star Wars movies. Ron Gilbert had this idea for a pirate game, and I thought we were just doing temporary dialog, but then he told us it was actually going to be in the game.”

 

Xbox Live Changed Gaming Forever and Kinect Not Originally Planned, Ex-Director Says

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"When Xbox launched, one of the things we bet on was online gaming," he said. "That doesn't sound very innovative today, but in 2002, it was very innovative. That business decision changed Xbox."

 

"It's Just Emulation!" - The Challenge of Selling Old Games

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Keeping classic games in print is a surprisingly risky and difficult business. This 2016 talk from Digital Eclipse's Frank Cifaldi showcases the approach taken for Capcom's Mega Man Legacy Collection to discuss how and why old games should and will become sellable again.

 

The New Kings of Kong Are Cool With Sharing The Throne

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Like all great documentaries about niche subjects, The King of Kong touched on broader, more expansive topics beyond the immediate subject matter. One of the main themes was the power of the solitary individual. Wiebe’s pursuit of the world record was a lonely one. He practiced and played mostly alone in his garage; any public attempt for the world record was special and noteworthy. And in their limited interaction, Mitchell and Wiebe were cagey and guarded toward one another. They weren’t sharing strategies or swapping tricks; their single-minded competitiveness made them natural enemies.

In the post-King of Kong world of competitive retro gaming, however, the apparently cutthroat nature of the competition has slowly been replaced by something more vibrant and—surprisingly—friendly.

 

Custom Game: Revisiting the Single-Player Mods of Half-Life 1

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This is a video survey and critique of 17 great single-player mods for the original Half-Life. It tries to show the wide spectrum of creative output by some of the best and most interesting modders from back in the day. All of these mods are available for free to download, simply put the mod's folder in your main Half-Life directory (Often C:\User\Program Files\Steam\Steamapps\common\Half-Life) and restart Steam, or else use a provided installer.

 

The Banner Saga 2 is an Ancient Story in Modern Form

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Stoic’s The Banner Saga reaches far into the past for inspiration. At first, its reverence for Viking mythology seems pretty direct—the game’s aesthetic cribs heavily from the godlike warriors, feuding clans and wilderness journeys of Norse sagas. Beneath its surface, though, is a story meant to do far more than replicate the ancient texts it references. The Banner Saga is a reinterpretation of a bygone literary tradition whose form, twisted into new shapes via interactivity, is tailored to the sensibilities of a modern audience.

 

Our Steps, To The Night - The Banner Saga 2, feat. Árstíðir

 

The Banner Saga In Memoriam

A video about those who were or may have been lost during the first game

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