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This week in gaming; Jim Sterling does excellent video based around No Man's Sky and the fanbase and hype culture that surrounded it, Final Fantasy XV delayed and causes hilarious outrage in the same way No Man's Sky delay did (no one threatened to kill Jason this time), Gamescom trailers and information, Danny O'dwyer talks about the games we play to disconnect and Cara Ellison talks about the escapism games offer during times of tragedy, high-bandwidth support being added to Overwatch, David Gaider talks about writing for video games, Gamespot looks at the history of Resident Evil, why Criminal Girls 2 won't be sold in Germany, Gita Jackson talks to two of her friends about why they write about games, a look at cancelled Star Wars games, and more.




Gaming News


Titanfall 2’s matchmaking is based on skill and contribution to matches


As it marches towards Titanfall 2’s October 28 release date, Respawn Entertainment has launched another episode of its on-going Inside Development video series—the latest short focusing on matchmaking.

Titanfall 2 Single Player Gameplay Quick Look

Does Titanfall 2 Need a Single-Player Campaign?


Why did Titanfall 2 abandon the multiplayer-only aspect of the first game? We chat with Respawn developers Drew McCoy and Steve Fukuda, to find out why. Written by Mike Mahardy, narrated by Rob Handlery.

Titanfall 2's Surprising Multiplayer Shift


Where does Titanfall 2 fit within the modern shooter? We chat with Respawn developers Drew McCoy, Todd Alderman and Steve Fukuda on what they've learned from their first game and how Titanfall 2 has naturally adopted hero-shooter elements.

Titanfall 2: A Full Match of Pilots v Pilots Gameplay

Titanfall 2: 6 Minutes of 'Scorch' Titan Gameplay

Titanfall 2: 6 Minutes of 'Ion' Titan Gameplay

Titanfall 2 Beta Not Coming to PC, Dates Teased


Titanfall 2's upcoming multiplayer beta will not be available on PC, Respawn Entertainment announced today. Instead, it will be exclusive to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


Final Fantasy XV Officially Delayed To November 29


It’s been ten years: what’s two more months? Publisher Square Enix has briefed certain people on the corporate level of the retail chain GameStop that Final Fantasy XV will now come out on November 29, according to a number of sources. The highly anticipated RPG was previously scheduled for September 30.

Final Fantasy XV Delay Rumors Trigger Fan Meltdowns



Remember when rumors of a No Man’s Sky delay led to outrage, fan hysteria, and amateur detectives calling dozens of GameStops? Would you believe me if I told you the same thing just happened again?

At least no one threatened to kill him this time.

Square Releases An Hour Of New Final Fantasy XV Footage


PSA: Skip the first two minutes if you don’t want some vague story spoilers.


Paragon now free to all as open beta goes live


Dishonored 2 Designer Dives Deep Into Assassin Abilities



We recently sat down with Smith to discuss his insistence on accommodating player choice and learned there's a lot more happening under Dishonored 2's hood than any trailer has even hinted.


Mafia III – The World of New Bordeaux: City Districts Trailer

Mafia 3 spotlights untrustworthy ally Cassandra

New Bordeaux, bank robbing and bad guy blasting in Mafia 3’s Gamescom trailer


Battlefield 1 open beta launches this month


Battlefield 1 will get an open beta beginning 31st August for PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin.

What Did You Miss? Battlefield 1 Teaser Trailer #3 Breakdown and Analysis


Gears of War 4 'Impact' Multiplayer Map Gameplay 1080p 60fps – IGN First


Playing as the DeeBees on the map 'Impact' in Gears of War 4 multiplayer.

Gears of War 4 'Impact' Multiplayer Map Flythrough – IGN First

Gears of War 4 PC Minimum Specs, New 4K Gameplay Video Revealed



With Gamescom underway in Germany, Microsoft today announced the minimum and recommended specs for Gears of War 4's PC version, along with 4K gameplay footage from it.


Watch the trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's 'Zombies in Spaceland' mode


Shroud of the Avatar nears a 'real life' launch with stricter guidelines



After launching on Early Access on PC in November 2014, Richard Garriott's kickstarted, spiritual successor to Ultima finally reached persistence in late July, meaning developer Portalarium is done wiping the game's servers. While this doesn't qualify as the fantasy MMO's official launch — a line that's already "blurry" at best, Garriott told Polygon — it does mark a stable state for the game. In the last two weeks, the game's player count has gone from hundreds of concurrencies to thousands.




Slayaway Camp is a puzzle game about massacring hapless teenagers, and, perhaps fittingly, it comes from a place of aggression. “After a decade [of] making gems go clink and pegs go… Peggle at PopCap,” said Jason Kapalka, one of the founders of PopCap, and now returning to independence with Blue Wizard, “I had a lot of pent-up aggression and wanted to work on something really violent and gross.”


Dawn of War 3 is Bigger and Deeper Than Ever


Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice launches September 8 in the west





You might not be surprised to find out that Osmotic Studios’s narrative exploration game Orwell is firmly linked to George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). Orwell takes place in a dystopian world not unlike that of 1984; Orwell’s world is called The Nation—and security is the highest concern of the government. A series of terrorist attacks sparked a secret (and totally creepy) security program called, well, Orwell. And guess what? You get to control it. You’re Big Brother.


Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X for PS4 ‘Elegant Medley: Glossy Mixture’ trailer


New Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor-Martyr trailer showcases "Blood and Gore"


The “Blood and Gore” trailer for the upcoming action-RPG Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is aptly named. It's all about destructible armor, targeted attacks, executions, and the many fun and interesting ways you can turn your enemies into a crunchy paste.


Deus Ex Go Release Date Announced, Is Very Soon


Zelda-Like Adventure Game Oceanhorn Coming to PS4 and Xbox One


Dragon Quest VII for 3DS ‘Discover Tactics’ trailer


Shadow Warrior 2 release date set for October


The ultra-fast, typically over-the-top sequel to first-person slasher-meets-shooter Shadow Warrior—Shadow Warrior 2—is heading to PC in October.


Inkle's Sorcery! concludes in September with The Crown of Kings





Herald’s narrative revolves largely around one question: How does your cultural heritage influence your identity? For many—including the point-and-click period drama’s protagonist, Devan Rensburg—it’s a complicated question, made even more complicated by the world’s history of colonialism. The “violent cultural clash” of colonialism plays a massive part in the complexity of the multiracial identity; and those complexities are what Herald aims to take on, through the eyes of the in-game ship’s (the HLV Herald) mixed-race steward.


Grow Up - Flight Gameplay

'Grow Up' Makes the Simple Act of Climbing a Joy


One of 2015's most delightful, out-of-left-field surprises was Ubisoft Reflections' Grow Home, a simple game about a robot trying to escape the planet he's been stranded on by climbing higher and higher, up the wildest of beanstalk-like plants. More than a year later, the UK-based studio, better known for working on triple-A hits Watch Dogs and The Division, has returned with the more ambitious but still endearing Grow Up.


Raiders of the Broken Planet Gamescom 2016 teaser trailer


MercurySteam has released a new teaser trailer for Raiders of the Broken Planet, its upcoming online, four-versus-one, asymmetric, sci-fi adventure shooter.


Frozenbyte announces co-op twin-stick wizardry game Nine Parchments


The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II launches September 6 in North America



The localization for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has gone gold


Halo Wars 2: Rift Map Reveal Gameplay - Gamescom 2016


Broken Sword creator and Pewter Games unveil The Little Acre


The Little Acre is an upcoming point-and-click adventure from Irish outfit Pewter Games—a new studio that has enlisted the help of Broken Sword mastermind Charles Cecil to craft its debut venture.


Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse - Strategy Trailer


ReCore Trailer - Gamescom 2016

Keiji Inafune on the Shadow of Mega Man and Burdens of the Past


Few video game developers can be considered auteurs, but when Keiji Inafune's name is attached to a project, it carries a certain weight. As the designer of the Mega Man series, he created a franchise known for blistering difficulty, pitch-perfect platforming, and iconic 2D combat. But at what point does that fame become a hindrance? At what point does his legacy hold him back from new creative pursuits? We caught up with Inafune at Gamescom 2016 to talk to him about his upcoming project Recore, comparisons to Mega Man, and coming to grips with the past.


Outcast - Second Contact coming in March 2017, first screens released



Outcast Reboot HD appeared on Kickstarter in 2014 with high hopes and a $600,000 goal, but it just didn't work out. Despite the promise of the developers to carry on in the face of adversity, that seemed to be the end of the matter, until Outcast – Second Contact, a remake being developed by original Outcast studio Appeal, was announced this past May. At the time, publisher Big Ben said it would be out “at the start of 2017,” and today it nailed that launch window down a little more tightly, to March 2017.


Seasons After Fall Official Trailer - Gamescom 2016


Endless Space 2 gunning for Early Access this summer


First announced just over a year ago, Endless Space 2—the turn-based sci-fi-inspired 4x sequel to its 2012 forerunner—is bound for Steam’s Early Access initiative this summer. To celebrate, developer Amplitude Studios (who was recently acquired by Sega) has launched two new faction-specific trailers for the returning Sophon and Cravers species.  


Master of Orion will leave Early Access later this month


Just over a year since it was first announced, Wargaming's Master of Orion reboot will launch out of Early Access on August 25.


Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom Official Gamescom 2016 Trailer


Bound - Hidden Savior Gameplay


Football, Powered by Frostbite - FIFA 17 Official Gameplay Trailer

FIFA 17 at Gamescom 2016


FIFA 17 partners with Man United, so PES 2017 partners with Liverpool


Hitman Episode 4 Out Now, Sees You Killing a Rock Star


Lichtspeer trailer reveals penguin Vikings, wurst zombies, and Das Walrus


It's not often that I get excited about a game almost entirely because of its debut trailer. But it's not often I see a trailer like the one released today for Lichtspeer, an “ancient Germanic lightspear-throwing simulator from the future” that's set to come out next month.


Watch 15 minutes of sci-fi Souls-like The Surge


Special Edition of Quantum Break for PC Hitting Retail and Steam on September 14



Microsoft Studios and Remedy Entertainment are happy to announce that they are bringing their hit action game Quantum Break to even more Windows PC gamers on September 14 with the retail release of Quantum Break: Timeless Collector’s Edition and the digital release of Quantum Break for Steam.


10 Minutes of Dead Rising 4 Gameplay - Gamescom 2016


ROME: Total War™ for iPad – Announcement trailer


Killing Floor 2 Shows Off Next Update


Tripwire Interactive hosted a Killing Floor 2 livestream today showing off the Swat Perk as well as all of the new weapons for the perk, the M4 w/ M203, the new armors, the new UI, and much much more!

Killing Floor 2 lines up for a full release in November


Tripwire Interactive announced today that the game is set to go into full launch on November 18, the same day it'll release on PlayStation 4.


The Witcher 3: Game of the Year Edition is out this month


The developer then confirmed a Game of the Year iteration was en route last month—and that very game now has a release date and a shiny new trailer.

The Witcher 3 GOTY Version Doesn't Let You Carry Over Save Data on Consoles


With the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's Game of the Year/Complete Edition right around the corner, developer CD Projekt Red has now confirmed new information about it regarding save data and achievements, among other things.


How the Japanese Video Game 'Criminal Girls 2' Came to Be Banned in Germany


To give people guidance on what they're buying, most video games are given content ratings, labels largely based on the amount of featured sex, violence and bad language. How those ratings are reached by the various organisations around the world that make those decisions, however, is a black box; explanations are rarely made public. But a game publisher recently took VICE Gaming behind the scenes of the complex process, after it was told its game couldn't be sold in Germany.


Destiny: The Collection Official Trailer

Destiny: Rise of Iron Trailer Shows Off Everything New


212,620 people playing No Man's Sky at once makes it the biggest Steam launch this year



From a technical perspective No Man’s Sky hasn’t had an smooth launch on PC. But in terms of sales, it’s already one of the biggest launches ever of a game on Steam.

No Man's Sky will be patched in the near future to address launch concerns


Given the scale of the game, it's no surprise that No Man's Sky has some teething issues. Players have reported a host of problems ranging inaccessible ships (annoying) through to broken games (infuriating), but Hello Games' Sean Murray has issued a statement regarding the studio's support plans, while assuring that a new patch is imminent.

No Man's Sky Sony's 2nd biggest ever PS4 launch in UK


No Man's Sky has done huge business in the UK, topping the sales chart.

No Man's Sky Could Get Paid DLC


No Man's Sky director Sean Murray admits in a new interview that he was "perhaps naive" for suggesting he would like to see the game only get free updates after launch.


[COMING SOON] Eichenwalde | New Map Preview | Overwatch

High-bandwidth support is being rolled out to Overwatch at this very moment


Rightly or wrongly, the Overwatch tick rate, that being the frequency at which the game on your PC receives updates from the server, has been a point of contention for a lot of players. The game's normal rate is 21Hz—that's 21 updates per second—which some people believe is just too slow for a competitive shooter. In June, Blizzard added a high bandwidth option to custom games that enabled play at 60Hz instead, and it apparently went over well, because it's now being rolled out to all games in both Quick Play and Competitive modes.

How Overwatch’s second competitive season is changing


Total War: Warhammer to add Regiments of Renown in DLC



Creative Assembly have been writing a bit more about upcoming additions to Total War: Warhammer; specifically about ‘Regiments of Renown’ that will be part of Lords Pack DLC.


Fallout 4's Final DLC Release Date and New Trailer Revealed


Path of Exile: Atlas of Worlds Expansion Preview


Sunless Sea’s Zubmariner expansion release date set for October


Next Halo 5 DLC Teased, New Halo Wars 2 Image Released



June's Warzone Firefight may have been the final major Halo 5: Guardians update, but more content is coming to the Xbox One shooter.


16 Minutes of Killer Instinct's Shadow Lords Story Mode - Gamescom 2016


Valve announce Monkey King, the first Dota 2 hero that isn’t a port from DotA

New Dota 2 hero Underlord revealed at The International


The addition of Underlord brings Dota 2’s hero pool up to 112 as the game enters an uncertain new era: will anonymous designer Icefrog create new heroes? Or is Dota 2 ‘done’?

They got a fast answer to that question.


Major StarCraft 2 Multiplayer Balance Changes Outlined



Big changes are on the way to StarCraft II's multiplayer mode for all three factions, Blizzard has revealed.


Rainbow Six Siege player base has almost doubled since launch



For mine, Rainbow Six Siege is the best shooter going at the moment, and while it launched to a general mood of ambivalence last November, Ubisoft has reported a significant increase in active players since then.


Nvidia's new Indie Spotlight program aims to boost devs' discoverability



Nvidia is making a show of support for indie game devs this week by launching its Indie Spotlight program, a marketing initiative that will see select developers' games hyped via Nvidia's various promotional efforts.


EA Strongly Hints That Mass Effect Games Will Get Remastered


In the year since, that position has been reversed, as EA is now strongly considering a move into the remaster space. Of all the publisher's games, one series that stands out as having strong demand from fans: Mass Effect.


THQ Is Back From The Dead (Sort Of)



It might not seem like a savvy business move to rebrand yourself after a failed game publisher, but regardless, best of luck to the folks at Nordic, who announced today that they’re now called THQ Nordic.


Riot Sues Makers of League of Legends Cheating Software



Riot Games last Friday filed a lawsuit against LeagueSharp, a cheating software for League of Legends that automates gameplay, locates enemies and boosts accuracy, allowing players to gain experience at an inhuman rate. In the lawsuit, filed in California, Riot alleges that its 67 million LoL players per month are disadvantaged by LeagueSharp, an “enormous threat” that they say has drawn tens of thousands of players.


Fan-made Pokémon Uranium pulled after 1.5m downloads


A hugely-popular fan-made Pokémon game has been pulled offline after hitting 1.5m downloads.

Despite Takedown, Pokémon Uranium Creators Say It's 'More Alive Than Ever'


“We’ve released a 1.0.1 patch already that fixes some [bugs],” said Involuntary Twitch, the creative director behind Pokémon Uranium. Pokémon Uranium was 9 years in the making, and Twitch is 22—which means she’s been working on the game ever since she was a young teenager. “We’re listening to feedback, and trying to improve the game even more. In the future, I hope to add on additional content to the game in the form of ‘Sidequests’ that will allow players to capture the 8 missing Pokémon in the Tandor Dex, and more.”


Esports News


We have seen the future of watching esports, and it is good


If you own an HTC Vive, you can jump into the game and watch pro Dota 2—like The International 2016, going on right now—in an incredibly unique way. But Stunlock Studios, creators of Bloodline Champions and its upcoming spiritual successor Battlerite, has figured out a way to bring the benefits of VR spectating to those who don’t have a headset, and I think it may be the future of esports broadcasting.


One Of The Best Pro DOTA 2 Matches In Years


If you’re looking for the must-see match of the tournament, try the back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-again showdown between EG and EHOME.

Here are the winners of Valve’s $20+ million 2016 International Dota 2 Championships


In one of the most surprising upset finales in esports, Dota 2 has a new champion at its 2016 International Championships, or TI6: Wings Gaming. Their prize: $9.1 million, from an over-all prize pool valued at more than $20 million, the biggest in esports history.

Wings becomes a top-earning esports team after winning The International


Over the weekend, Wings Gaming took home the trophy at 2016’s The International—and with it, a hearty $9.1 million dollars. Not bad. The Chinese team won the tournament with a 3 to 1 victory over Digital Chaos in the finals.


Team Chiefs Win League of Legends OPL Final



The League of Legends Oceanic Pro League final wrapped up over the weekend, with Australian team Chiefs taking out first place 3-0 over opponents Legacy.


Brazilian LoL final attracts larger viewership on TV than internet



Is Brazil about to settle the argument about whether esports can succeed on TV? Last month, SporTV broadcast the Brazilian League of Legends final for the first time live on television. This week, Riot Games Brazil reports that the regional final was spectated by 2.1 million total spectators. But only 700,000 of those were on the tournament’s online streams across Twitch, Azubu, and YouTube.


Esports are a threat to traditional sports, Premier League exec says



“I see gaming, all sorts of digital gaming, I see all sorts of young people spending time on their devices doing all sorts of things to entertain themselves, with social media generally.”


Why aren’t more women in esports? Blame 1984



Despite some internet commenters’ beliefs, there’s a lot more going on here than simply “women being bad at video games.” And while there are plenty of things to point at try to explain the gap—genetics, culture, marketing—I’d like to propose a more nuanced view.

The reason why more women aren’t playing professional esports is 1984.


Metagame looks to raise the bar on esports documentaries


But what’s most heartening about Metagame, even from this short clip, is that, in a film that could probably afford to brag to the world about where Melee is today, it still seems animated by a genuine love for the game. Too often, esports documentaries have this quality of “take me seriously!,” directed at an exterior that world too many esports fans imagine as recalcitrant and in need of convincing (N.B. that this tends to have the opposite effect, just like demanding to be taken seriously usually induces eye-rolling).


California will get another dedicated esports arena



A new esports arena is coming to the Oakland, California waterfront. Five Chinese sports and video game companies will construct the second Esports Arena in California, and upgrade the first location in Santa Ana.


A very brief history of awkward esports champagne ceremonies


It’s no secret that esports tournaments borrow broadcast conventions from more traditional sports. Many of these elements, like instant replays and snappy uniforms, were natural additions to the esports milieu; others, like the champagne ceremony, have had what might charitably be called mixed results.


Crowdfunding News




A fourth wall breaking RPG where the hero slowly realizes that you, the player, exist.


Other content I found interesting this week


“I Want to Write Video Games”



So what’s so hard about writing a video game? You come up with the story then you write it! I just wrote a paragraph and it’s awesome, see how easy it is? What more could there be to it?

Former Bioware lead writer David Gaider talks about writing for video games.


Why Video Game Scores are Useless


There are 3 big debates that always seem to come up with video games: Console vs. PC, are games art, and 7-9 review scores. Reviewing games has been a part of the industry since its inception, and everyone has tried to figure out a way to review games. Thinking about it lately, I've come to the point to finally explain why scores don't work with video games.

The video was part of the attached article.


The Makers of ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ Reflect on Happiness and Horrors



VICE Gaming spoke to the co-founders of The Chinese Room, Jessica Curry (Rapture's director and composer of its score) and Dan Pinchbeck (its writer), a year on from the game's release, to learn about its place in the studio's heart, the lessons learned from its three-year development, and what everyone in the games industry can do to make it a healthier place to be.


No Man's Sky: A Walk in the Digital Woods - The Point

A Pitching Masterclass Through No Mans Sky


Over the past few days, my constant No Man’s Sky ramblings on Twitter have led to a number of interviews from domestic and international press about the game. One thing that really caught me off-guard was just how hard it is to pitch No Man’s Sky. I decided to spend some time today looking at Hello Games’ pitch for No Man’s Sky, and came away rather impressed at the care and effort that must’ve gone into iterating the high-level concept pitch. This isn’t specifically about the expectation management, or the details or minutae of the game, but how the core of No Man’s Sky was communicated – the cumulative exploration of a procedural universe.

My First Three Hours of ‘No Man’s Sky’ Have Been Dark, and Full of Terrors


Austin, about your headline: "No Man's Sky Is the Stress Reliever I Didn't Know I Needed." All I can really say to that is I'm glad to have had Abzû as my shut-off-the-outside-world escape these past few weeks, as if I'd come into my No Man's Sky experience anticipating a relaxing time, I'd be a shivering wreck in the corner right now.

People Are Using 'No Man’s Sky' to Commemorate Lost Relatives


I've spent little time in the world of No Man's Sky, only briefly booting up the PlayStation 4 version to wrap my head around the basics. I'm waiting for the PC version to launch later today, and besides hoping for a good version of the game, I'm anxious to form an opinion on it, one way or the other. In the meantime, I've been following what other people have been doing with the game, and found myself tearing up at some of the stories I'd found, like this one...

No Man's Sky. (Emphasis on "Man")


Isn't it strange, then, that when I escaped my first planet, which the game told me I "discovered", the first thing I saw upon leaving the atmosphere was a fleet of starships? And a few clicks away from them was a space station full of Jim Henson-looking aliens with better ships and equipment than me. And on all the surrounding planets -- which, the game informed me, were still not "discovered" yet -- were evidence of advanced technology from various space-faring civilizations.

Who exactly am I "exploring" for?

The immediate impression No Man's Sky gives is that human beings are simply late to the party when it comes to space travel. Apparently, I'm some guy going around "discovering" things that the rest of the galaxy already knows about, like a little kid claiming his neighbor's backyard for The Kingdom of Ralph while all the adults humor him.

What No Man's Sky means for the future of open world games

Postcards from the Edge of the Universe: A ‘No Man’s Sky’ Gallery


Luckily, I've had barely any issues with the PC No Man's Sky – a relief after already putting over a dozen bug-free hours into the PS4 version. Despite seeing my share of worlds on console, I was more than happy to start over on PC – because of the way the game is generated, I had no real worries about replaying anything I'd already experienced, beyond the initial ship repair basics. I knew that the first galaxy I explored would be different to the one I saw on PS4 – and as I reached out into it, and went beyond, I grabbed these shots of my progression. Which showcase one advantage of the PC version over the PS4: you can lose the HUD for taking (glorious 4K) screens.


Sky Hype (The Jimquisition)

Video on the hype culture, marketing, fan bases, censoring criticism, threats surrounding No Man's Sky's release and how odd it is that No Man's Sky has attracted so many angry people to defend it when its most positive elements are its calming and meditative qualities.





Kentucky Route Zero is saying: it is okay to hurt. It is okay to fail. It is okay to never really *progress*. There is no brave future. We are lost together. But it looks for the most effective way to have technology say that.


The History of Resident Evil


With the announcement of Resident Evil 7, Capcom looks to bring the series back to its horror roots. Joey looks back on the long history of the franchise, and attempts to figure out what it really means to be a Resident Evil game.

Missed last weeks look at a franchise

The History of The Elder Scrolls


The Elder Scrolls 6 maybe still be a ways off, but people are still just as excited as they were the day Skyrim came out. Jean-Luc looks back at 15 years of fantasy, adventure, and glitchy bugs for Bethesda's classic series.


How SWERY’s Reactive Hypoglycaemia Manifests Itself In His Video Games



Back in the spring of 2014, when episodic adventure game D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die was still months from being released into the world, its director Hidetaka "SWERY" Suehiro was dealing with the early symptoms of a condition that would not be diagnosed until more than a year later.


Why We Write About Games



A lot of us that write about games end up here kind of by mistake. I did—when I left college I had very different career goals. But we aren’t unhappy. We love games, and clearly we like writing. However, it’s still curious to me to hear that my peers are making more intentional inroads into the industry. It’s notoriously unfair and, well John Oliver had that whole bit about how journalism is dying, and this is an extremely niche entertainment press and at even great danger of losing money and shriveling up.

So when I had a chance, I sat wrote some letters to friends Dante Douglas and Amr Alaaser, editors of the new games blog Deorbital, to try to get some answers out of them. The short answer is what I said above: we love games, and we love writing. But if you want the details, read below.

Gita Jackson, Amr Al-Aaser, and Dante Douglas talk about why they write about games.


Guest Column: On Monsters, Role Playing, and Blackness



Guest columnist Gita Jackson explores the myriad reflections of her own life experiences she encountered while playing Dragon Age: Inquisition.

In Dragon Age: Inquisition these social machinations are gamified in a way that is sometimes startling and sometimes immensely and specifically depressing. It goes a little deeper than explaining in broad strokes the political conflicts between races--yes, we know there's a huge amount of military tension between the Qunari and the rest of Thedas, we know that elves are historically enslaved and discriminated against. But the game allows you to see the material and social effects of these large background events. It's in the way that Solas waxes lyrical about the beauty of the long dead elvish empire, how it was so much more pure than this mixed world. It's in the way that every single fucking member of your party needles the Iron Bull about his feelings on the Qun, the apparently oppressive religion the Qunari follow that at times seems like either a stand in for communism or Islam. In a late game quest that deals with fancy pants Orlesian nobles, you must confront how your actions here may affect an increasingly angry elvish diaspora.


A Melancholy Journey Through the Lost American Dream



Kentucky Route Zero isn’t like most computer games you’ve played, because there’s nothing else like it. It’s a singularly strange and beautiful experience: a surreal, melancholy journey through the crumbling dream of a lost America. Not the mythical, rose-colored American past popularly championed by would-be demagogues and wistful racists, but the crushing and very contemporary realities of debt and displacement that have left countless ordinary people falling through the cracks of the American Dream.





We haven’t heard much from Dutch videogame studio Vlambeer for a while. Since the release of Nuclear Throne last December, they’ve been rolling out updates to that and some of their other games: Super Crate Box (2010), Serious Sam: The Random Encounter (2011), and LUFTRAUSERS (2014) are all getting updates. Besides that, Jan Willem Nijman’s been working on solo projects like DISC ROOM, which was a Humble Monthly exclusive, while Rami Ismail made Breach and Clean, a game about every hotel cleaning lady who’s ever hated you. But Vlambeer as a whole has still been kinda quiet.


Is ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ Signalling America’s Wartime Fatigue?



When its developers, Infinity Ward, announced that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare would take place (partially) in space, the reaction was kneejerk and exclamatory. With the second-most-disliked trailer on YouTube (over three million thumbs down at the time of writing), the decision to move the battle further into the future and into the depths of space was clearly risky. But as I get to see a press screening of the game, and am walked through how the game plays, moment to moment, and its basic story outline, I find it all refreshing. I don't mind the space battles, and I don't mind the ship-to-ship hopping. All I can think is: are we losing interest in a Middle Eastern theatre of war?

And how did the video game industry react? I spoke to Dr. Matthew Payne, a professor at Notre Dame and author of the recently released Playing War: Military Video Games After 9/11. "What we see in the post-9/11 moment is this response by cultural industries – film, TV, video games – to the traumatic wound of 9/11," says Dr. Payne. "[We see] all kinds of narratives, many of which are these dyed-in-the-wool, American frontiersman, masculine narratives. But then, around 2004 with the Battle of Fallujah and as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan started to take the toll on our fighting men and women, it becomes less tenable and a less politically sexy operation."


This could be the first code Satoru Iwata ever wrote for Nintendo


Frank Cifaldi, head of restoration at developer Digital Eclipse, former games journalist and unabashed pirate may have just taken possession a piece of video gaming history.


The Players Who Have Spent Years Hunting GTA V's Cut Content


Over the years, players have tried to examine nearly every pixel of GTA V. These super fans have found hidden symbols, UFOs, a memorial, and even Bigfoot. While those secrets are cool, Rockstar always intended for fans to find them. Los Santos hides even more, if you know where to look.


The Elusive Targets of 'Hitman' Transform It into Transient Art



The Elusive Targets are a part of the "live programming" that is forming the backbone of Hitman's unusual distribution model. It's being released piecemeal, as a series of episodes and events over the course of the year. Players can buy it episode by episode, or they can purchase the full game and wait for it to fill itself out. When I spoke to the developers at io during E3, they talked about it in terms of a season of television. This distribution model, they said, gave them the ability to craft a participatory experience, one that draws an entire community into its fold for a special, fleeting experience.


‘Mafia II’ Is the Game That Made Being In the Mob Brilliantly Mundane



What I found in my fresh playthrough, though, was that Mafia II's very prosaic depiction of the mob lifestyle actually ended up becoming one of its greatest strengths – it was the vehicle through which the narrative crux of the entire game was brought home to me. Mafia II does not attempt to glamourise the gangster life. Instead, it very deliberately paints a picture of brutal mundanity. In fact, it ends up treating the life of a Mafioso with all the pomp and circumstance of a menial day job.


Writing Romance in (non-Romance) Games: Branching Romances



This post is a companion to Writing Romance in (non-Romance Games): Linear Romances. You'll find a number of assumptions about our overall topic outlined there; they still hold true, and I encourage folks to start with that post before jumping into this one. Here, we'll cover three overall subjects: branching romance fundamentals, linear techniques in branching games (where we'll revisit some of the approaches discussed in the previous post), and "casting" a variety of romantic interests in a branching game.


Episode 300: Letters to My Nephews - Never Giving Up - Extra Credits


To honor our 300th episode, James wanted to share a message for his young nephews, to help them see the value of their passion for games by talking about the lessons he's learned from them. The first, most important lesson? Don't give up. Practice determination constantly, because giving up is never more likely to get you the results you want.

"If anyone ever gives you a hard time and says that there is nothing to learn from playing games, show them these."

Cancelled Star Wars Games You've Never Seen Before - Unseen64


This video reveals two cancelled projects by Factor 5. The first is a Rogue Squadron Compilation with new features, including updated online multiplayer. The game was originally planned as an Xbox game, but several factors led to the game being developed for the Nintendo Wii. This Wii version had no online multiplayer, but included new modes that supported wii motion plus. The second project was Star Wars Dark Squadron. This would be a flight combat game like Rogue Squadron, but the player would take control of Darth Vader and control the imperial army. The third game discussed in this video is an action-adventure game staring Chewbacca. The game would have seen chewy as a bounty hunter, and would have took place before he became friends with Han Solo.

Liam Robertson is a video game researcher and archiver. In his spare time, Liam creates videos and articles for Unseen64, but will also be contributing to the DidYouKnowGaming channel.


Putting the magic back into magic in fantasy games



There are few things less surprising about most fantasy games than how they portray magic, which is a pretty depressing state of affairs given that magic is, by definition, the art of doing the impossible. The impossible, it turns out, has a fairly limited set of applications. By and large, it means hitting foes with elementally-flavoured balls of fire, turbo-charging your stats or zapping wounded allies back to fighting fitness, in accordance with a collection of tactical rule sets derived from the works of Tolkien via Dungeons and Dragons.


Shin Megami Tensei - Did You Know Gaming? Feat. Gaijin Goombah


In this episode we take a look at some facts, secrets, and history of Shin Megami Tensei. Megami Tensei, known as Shin Megami Tensei in the west, is a Japanese franchise primarily developed by Atlus, and currently owned by Sega. The series was initially based on Digital Devil Story by Aya Nishitani, but has become its own entity in the years since. Most of the early titles have not been localized in the west due to religious influences which can be controversial in western video games. Games under the SMT label have sold over 13 million units.


[SSFF] What Ever Happened to Pokemon Snap?


The Game Design Challenge: Making a Thirty-Year Game


In this 2016 GDC session, panelists Chris Crawford, founder of the Computer Game Developers Conference, Nina Freeman (Cibele), Zach Gage (Sage Solitaire), and Laralyn McWilliams (Free Realms) will present their game designs for a game meant to be played for thirty years. The results may surprise you!


Star Wars: Battlefront and the Art of Photogrammetry


Photogrammetry has started to gain steam within the Games Industry in recent years. At DICE, this technique was first used on Battlefield and they fully embraced the technology and workflow for Star Wars: Battlefront. This GDC 2016 talk from DICE's Keneth Brown and Andrew Hamilton covers how they built the technology and process to scan props from the Star Wars films to generate assets for the new Star Wars Battlefront.


Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games


South Park: The Fractured But Whole demos nose-mounted Nosulus Rift


As such, Ubisoft has apparently developed the Nosulus Rift—a “fully-immersive” nose-mounted device which allows you to properly “experience the power of the new kid.”


No Man's Sky


Right now, Overwatch has 22 characters in its lineup—guns slung over their shoulders, leaning against mechs, twirling on blades as you mouse over them, making your choice. That’s probably too many to write about individually, you might think. We think differently. We did exactly that. We assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each virtual personality. The result is 22 odes.


Stranger Things

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