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Legolas_Katarn

This Week In Gaming 8-30-16

1 post in this topic

Nintendo talks about the marketing of the NX, Sony adds two-step verification to PSN, Kotaku reviews the Olympic games, how we talk about procedural generation in video games, the death of EverQuest's 'unkillable' dragon, Battlefield's season pass detailed, a look at the cancelled Goldeneye remaster, Game of Thrones composer scoring Gears of War 4, System Shock 3 reveals "dream" development team, 11 developers talk about how they got their start in the industry, interview with Anna Prosser Robinson on using her Twitch channel to help fight abuse, Vampyr pre-alpha gameplay, This War of Mine developer teases their next game, and more.

 

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Gaming News

 

Sony fortifies PSN with two-step verification

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Sony is fortifying its PlayStation Network online service with the addition of two-step verification for player accounts.

 

Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé Discusses Nintendo NX

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Reggie Fils-Aimé discusses the company’s strategy as it prepares to unleash the Nintendo NX in spring 2017, and discusses the new marketing opportunities for the brand and its many franchises, in this exclusive interview with [a]listdaily from the Nintendo booth at E3 2016.

There's a new report about those NX detachable controllers

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NX's detachable controllers will have a couple of hidden tricks inside them, according to a new report.

 

Some Gamescom videos I missed last week

Tyranny - Character creation at gamescom

Obsidian's new RPG Tyranny will let you build your own magic spells

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Obsidian Entertainment's upcoming role-playing game, Tyranny, has a heavy classic vibe to it. Its isometric view, band of mages, rogues and warriors, and dungeon-diving fantasy gameplay will feel instantly familiar to anyone who's played games like Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale — with some exception. The game will include a creation system for players to build their own magic spells.

Tyranny: new features revealed | Gamescom 2016

 

For Honor Trailer: Viking, Samurai, and Knight Factions – Gamescom 2016 [US]

Reveals the new faction characters.

 

Titanfall 2 Is Getting Big Changes After Fan Backlash
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Major community feedback, including animated discussion here at Kotaku, shows that many players of the tech test were underwhelmed by what they experienced. In particular, players of the original game voiced dissatisfaction with key changes that altered game’s pace in relation to the original.

 

Harvest Moon creator’s next game ditches farms for gardens — and the rest of the world

 

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The newest game from Yasuhiro Wada, best known as the creator of the Harvest Moon franchise, is called Birthdays, and its first teaser trailer shows a world far bigger than the one farming sim fans are used to cultivating. The PlayStation 4 project, due out in Japan in January with a Western release planned for later next year, has players tending to a "miniature garden" — except that garden actually comprises the entire world.

 

Master of Orion - Release Trailer

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Master of Orion has blasted off and is ready for galactic domination today. The legendary 4X game of interstellar conquest is primed for intrepid explorers to eXplore, eXpand, eXterminate, and eXploit. Choose from one of 10 diverse races in your bid to “Conquer the Stars”. Take on real-time tactical battles and explore numerous paths to victory as you work your way across the galaxy to capture Orion.

 

Final Fantasy 15's Open World Becomes More Linear in the Second Half

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While Final Fantasy XV doesn't present players with an open world like that of a Fallout or GTA, it does provide large, open areas to explore. But as the game goes on, the open-world elements "tighten," according to director Hajime Tabata.

Why Final Fantasy XV Was Recently Delayed

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As Kotaku first reported, Final Fantasy XV was delayed earlier this month. It will now be released in late November. (Fingers crossed!) If you were wondering why, director Hajime Tabata recently shed some light on the situation.

Watch another 30 minutes of pure gameplay in Final Fantasy 15

 

Tomb Raider Dev Hires Dead Space Veteran to Direct New Game

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Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics announced today that it's hired Ian Milham to become a game director for the Tomb Raider franchise. This basically confirms more Tomb Raider games are coming, though that is of course no surprise given it's one of the biggest in all of entertainment.

 

New Watch Dogs 2 Gameplay Video Shows Off Open-World Co-Op, Hacking

 

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Ubisoft has released a new gameplay video for Watch Dogs 2 that offers an extended look at the hacking-focused sequel set in San Francisco. The lengthy video follows main character Marcus as he walks around famous landmarks such as Coit Tower and Fisherman's Wharf, deploying hacking mechanics and driving drones, among other things, to get the upper hand.

 

NIOH BRINGS A REAL-LIFE SAMURAI LEGEND TO VIDEOGAMES

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Fumihiko Yasuda, the director of upcoming samurai game Nioh, has been learning a little bushido lately. To bring the way of the warrior to life, he and his fellow developers at Team Ninja focused on how to translate a historic samurai legend into videogame mechanics. Emphasizing the distinct samurai fighting style, Yasuda took up the sword himself to ensure the game would feel as authentic and satisfying as possible. “I’m a little scared of how cleanly I can cut through things [now]. I’m a little hesitant,” he joked at E3, having made the flight over from Tokyo to LA, but fortunately leaving the sword behind.

 

A VIDEOGAME DEDICATED TO THE STRAY DOGS OF RUSSIA’S SUBWAYS

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Originally made as an entry for the GDC Pirate Kart game jam (which you can still play here), Spooky Squid Games is now running a Kickstarter campaign to expand Russian Subway Dogs. Although it’s no surprise that there are stray dogs in the subways of Moscow, their scavenging strategy certainly is. The dogs are said to be able to identify specific stops where they can find the best street food, and have tactics for tricking people into giving them their food.

 

NBA 2K17 Is Doing Something the Franchise Has Never Done Before

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2K Sports today announced something totally new for the NBA 2K series. "The Prelude," as it's being called, is a free downloadable NBA 2K17 app for PS4 and Xbox One that lets players make MyCareer choices before the full game comes out on September 20. The Prelude will be available on September 9.

 

Demolition Car Game Wreckfest Coming to PS4/Xbox One, as Dev Reveals New Physics-Based Racer

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Bugbear Entertainment today announced that its destruction-themed car game Wreckfest is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while the studio has unveiled a new project that sounds awesome.

 

Battlefield 1's £40 Premium Pass features French army, Russian Empire

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EA's Origin platform has jumped the gun and revealed some of the innards of Battlefield 1's £39.99 Premium Pass.

Battlefield 1 Beta Early Access Timing Revealed

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Writing on Twitter, the Battlefield account revealed that Insiders can jump in one day early, starting on August 30 instead of August 31.

 

A close look at Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3's new cover system

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I've played Relic's upcoming real-time strategy Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 for a few hours, and have reported on its new mechanics and systems for our recent preview. But one new mechanic in particular is worth going into more detail on: cover.

 

NEARLY 10 YEARS IN THE MAKING, THERE’S STILL PLENTY OF REASON TO CARE ABOUT OWLBOY

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Owlboy, which has been in the making since 2007, was at one point a joke. It sat alongside Fez (2012) as retro-sentimental platformers by independent studios that promised a lot, but seemed fated to never come out. “Do you reckon Owlboy will come out next year?” someone might ask. “Haha, yeah right,” might be the reply. Fez did eventually come out after five years of waiting, but Owlboy didn’t—it’s been nearly a decade now.

 

Vampyr pre-alpha footage broods in the moonlight

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Vampyr, you may recall, is Dontnod’s upcoming action-RPG that follows the plight of Jonathan Reid—an esteemed general practitioner-turned-vampire, forced to pit his conscience against his desire to consume the blood of others. It’s a far cry from Life Is Strange, then, and its latest pre-alpha footage is suitably dark and alarming.

 

Resident Evil 7 story, combat details spilled by ESRB

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However, a new ESRB listing for the game reveals several things - including the name of the game's main character.

Resident Evil 7 "Scaling Back" on Classic Cameos, Series Actor Says

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Not much is known about Resident Evil 7's story, other than the name of the protagonist, his mission, and a few other details. Now, Resident Evil's current Leon voice actor Matt Mercer told GameSpot the upcoming game is "scaling back" on cameos of classic characters, adding that he believes it's a good thing.

Here's some of the fine folks you'll meet in Resident Evil 7

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New Resident Evil 7 details have emerged out of a Capcom presentation at game developer conference CEDEC, along with pictures revealing new characters.

 

Frostpunk is a steampunk survival game set on a frozen world

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Frostpunk, a new game from This War of Mine and Anomaly developer 11 Bit Studios, is taking a more serious (but still fantastical) approach to what survival means in a video game. The Polish studio's new title, coming to Windows PC in 2017, focuses on "empathy and decision-making rather than optimization and resource management," its creators say.

 

Blood-Soaked Shooter Butcher Is Out This Autumn

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Transhuman Design, the makers of Soldat and King Arthur’s Gold, will release their gross and gritty 2D shooter Butcher [official site] this autumn. It’s a bloody side-on homage to classic ’90s shooters like Quake and Doom, with an extra dose of guts on the side. Here, let’s check it out in a new trailer–come on!

 

First-person thriller Virginia launches September 22

 

Mafia III - Father James and John Donovan: The Mentors

 

System Shock 3 reveals ‘dream’ development team

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In December, Otherside Entertainment—the team behind Ultima Underworld successor Underworld Ascendant—teased a third System Shock game before promising to “rekindle the legendary fantasy RPG series.” In February, Warren Spector officially joined the developer and immediately headed up development, and now Otherside has announced the team he’ll be overseeing—a well-experienced crew whose team leaders boast a total of 90 years experience.

 

Halcyon 6 Release Date: Sept 9, 2016

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We know a lot of you are anxious to play the full game and we're just as anxious to get it into your hands but we need the extra time to give it a bit more love and polish.

 

Torment Tides of Numenera Gamescom 2016: Magic vs Technology

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Planescape: Torment is nearly 17 years old, meaning an entire generation of players weren’t even born when the classic role playing game came out. Consistently cited as one of the best games of all time, it has a crazy high user rating across all sorts of aggregation websites. Will the spiritual successor, Torment: Tides of Numenera, live up to the legacy laid down by its predecessor? Developer inXile Entertainment and publisher Techland certainly hope so, and they showed off a demo of the latest build at Gamescom this year.

 

Koei Tecmo’s Berserk ‘Casca’ and ‘Judeau’ action gameplay

 

Attack on Titan - Captain Levi Gameplay

 

A Game With 2014 in the Title Is Coming Out in 2016

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Ubisoft announced today that its music game Rocksmith 2014 is getting a remastered edition that will launch this year. So that means a game with 2014 in the title is launching in 2016.

 

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs first English trailer

 

The Floor Is Lava In Klei's First 3D Game

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Chances are you’ve already played Hot Lava, the first 3D game from Klei Entertainment of Don’t Starve and Invisible, Inc. fame. It’s the video game version of the perennial children’s imagination game with only one rule: don’t touch the floor.

 

Game of Thrones composer scoring Gears of War 4

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Ramin Djawadi, a veteran composer of film, television and video games, is handling the orchestral score for Gears of War 4, publisher Microsoft Studios announced today.

GEARS OF WAR 4 IS BALANCED FOR CONTROLLER FIRST

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The Coalition’s Gears of War 4 is coming to both Xbox One and PC, but it’ll be balanced for the controller first.

 

Metal Gear Solid V Definitive Edition Sneaks Out This Fall

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On October 11, Konami is re-releasing MGSV Ground Zeroes along with The Phantom Pain and both games’ DLC.

 

HOW TO STEALTHILY INFILTRATE A REAL-LIFE 1970S CULT? LET THE CHURCH IN THE DARKNESS SHOW YOU

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The Church in the Darkness has been pitched as an “action-infiltration” game based on a real-life cult since its announcement. But even though what we knew of it was colorful—far-left radicalist group in the 70s moves to Latin America to create a socialist utopia, goes full cult—we still didn’t know much at all. The game would include some element of stealth, but there would be options on how to play it, and you would never be forced into combat. The moral status of the Collective Justice Mission’s leadership would remain in question, and could even change from playthrough to playthrough. Until now, that’s all we knew.

 

Assault Suit Leynos for PC launches August 30

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Assault Suit Leynos will launch for PC via Steam on August 30, the game’s Steam page reveals.

 

Forza Horizon 3 Lets You Drive Halo's Warthog; PC Specs Announced

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Microsoft announced today that racing game Forza Horizon 3 has gone gold, meaning its ready for the physical game to be manufactured. The company is celebrating the news by announcing some key details like a new car from the Halo franchise, the PC specs, and the achievements list.

 

Persona 5 online features give players a little help from their friends

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Persona 5 includes several online features, detailed in this this week’s issue of Famitsu, but don’t expect them to make the game an online multiplayer title all of a sudden. Instead, as a member of the Phantom Thieves Alliance, Persona 5’s optional networking system, players can step in to make battles and enemy encounters a little easier.

 

Valkyria: Azure Revolution is coming to Vita, too

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Valkyria: Azure Revolution will launch in Japan on PlayStation Vita alongside the PlayStation 4 version. Sega confirmed the handheld release as well as the game’s release date — Jan. 19, 2017 — in a new trailer.

Valkyria: Azure Revolution has cross-save support

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The latest issue of Weekly Famitsu has an interview with Valkyria: Azure Revolution chief producer Youichi Shimomoto, producer Katsura Mikami, and director Takeshi Ozawa, who share a few new details.

 

Pathologic remake is delayed into the second half of 2017

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The project has grown into something much bigger than expected.

 

Discover The Haven in Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past - Episode 5

 

Watch BioShock's breathtaking first 14 minutes, remastered

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It's impossible to wipe your memory and go back and truly experience, for the first time, BioShock's iconic opening and supremely intense on-boarding missions. A high-definition remaster will have to suffice.

 

That Weird Russian Halo Multiplayer Game Has Been Canceled

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Halo Online was first announced in 2015 as a PC-exclusive multiplayer Halo game--but only for Russia. Following a period of early-access tests and development difficulties, the developer announced today that the project has been canceled.

 

ODD NOIR ADVENTURE GAME JAZZPUNK COMES FROLICKING TO PS4 SOON

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The version hitting PS4 virtual shelves is a “Director’s Cut,” and as Jesse Brouse, of Necrophone Games, puts it: “Some of the new content was resurrected from our faithful cutting-room floor, while others tidbits were decompressed fresh, straight out of our Brain.zip files! In either case, by distilling reams of precious User Data we’ve been able to strategically shoe-horn in the smattering of new content we’d always dreamed of—but didn’t know was scientifically plausible!”

 

Here's the first trailer for the new Toejam & Earl game

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Fresh from a Kickstarter success, the new Toejam & Earl game is due out in 2017 on PC and console, courtesy of Adult Swim (the Steam page is up now).

 

A new Duke Nukem game may be announced soon

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I don't know if Duke Nukem Forever is really as bad as the legend that's sprung up around it makes out, but it sure wasn't good. Which is probably why, aside from a little spat with 3D Realms and Interceptor over what eventually became Bombshell (with a heavy emphasis on the “bomb,” as it turns out), Gearbox has been content to let the franchise lie quietly for the past half-decade. But that may be about to change.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Having Issues on PC; Preorder DLC Has a Big Asterisk

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More frustrating to some are the specifics of the game's preorder/Day One Edition DLC, which is available on all platforms. Called the Covert Agent Pack, this comes with various in-game items, such as weapons, skins, and upgrades. Setting aside one issue--that the game was designed under the assumption you wouldn't have them--there's one other problem: they're one-use-only.

Deus Ex Mankind Divided Patch 2 Fixes Mouse Oddities

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A second PC patch has been released for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, hopefully leaving fewer players divided (do you see, because “divided” is in the title of the game) over the annoying mouse issues, as well as other tidying up.

 

Halo 5: Forge hits PC in September

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Forge is the user-creation portion of Xbox One shooter. It's a free download via the Windows Store on Windows 10 PCs.

 

Prison Architect gets final update, dev tools and cheats available to all

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After several years of tinkering, tweaking, and video series updating, Prison Architect has finally launched its version 2.0—the 45th and final amendment to Introversion’s jail management sim.

 

Killing Floor 2: Tactical Response update is now live

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The Killing Floor 2 Tactical Response update is now live, bringing new SWAT perks and weaponry to the game, a new map, tweaks to existing perks and Zed resistances, plus new achievements and loyalty rewards.

 

Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel DLC leaked ahead of official reveal

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It appears Sony has leaked Bandai Namco and From Software’s big news scheduled to go out today as its Twitter account revealed Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel will launch on October 25.

 

Dear Esther update will be free for owners of the original

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Landmark Edition is being developed for current-gen consoles, with remastered audio, developer commentary, and more.

 

Blizzard rolls out livestreaming from Battle.net to Facebook

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Back in June, Blizzard announced that Facebook livestreaming was being incorporated into Battle.net. Today that option has gone live, and it's actually really slick.

 

Cities: Skylines modder to craft city-builder’s next DLC

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Behind Cities: Skylines’ sophisticated updates and real-world projects lies a dedicated community of modders. From the sublime to the ridiculous, it’s an ever-burgeoning group who never seems short of ideas—something Colossal Order and Paradox appear to have taken note of in the game’s latest DLC.

 

Europa Universalis IV - The Rights of Man, Release Date Reveal Trailer

 

The Long Dark reveals new locations in story mode update

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End-of-days disaster simulator The Long Dark’s long-awaited Story Mode will add two new regions, new clothing, improved first-person presence, and the Aurora, developers Hinterland Studio has revealed in an update.    

 

RimWorld Update Adds Drugs

 

Endless Legend unveils next expansion

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Where winter was the focus of Endless Legend’s last add-on, developer Amplitude has revealed the seven seas will play host to its next. Tempest marks the 4x fantasy strategy’s fourth expansion, bringing with it naval battles, new mechanics and the Morgawr—an aquatic-based Major Faction specialising in naval warfare and the “manipulation of other creatures.”

 

ONE OF THE MOST AUTHENTIC HACKING SIMULATORS IS GETTING AN EXPANSION

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The videogame and hacking simulator Hacknet has been praised over and over again for its dedication to realism since it arrived last year. The whole game is viewed through an interface, and the player’s tasks are all as close to actual hacking as possible, using real unix commands. It’s not a game that’s interested in babying you, but that’s all the more appropriate for the subject matter. In the original game, you were tasked posthumously by another hacker to look into his own death, piecing the plot together through careful investigation and lines of code. Now, Hacknet is getting even more mystery with the expansion Hacknet Labyrinths.

 

Battlefield 4 Update Cleans Up Menus, Gets Rid of Battlelog

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An update for the console versions of Battlefield 4 that introduces a new user interface for DICE's shooter has been released. The cleaner menu system is part of the studio's attempt to establish a unified interface across all Battlefield games.

 

New Witcher 3 Patch Coming Tomorrow, Here's Everything It Adds, Changes, and Fixes

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A new patch for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will arrive tomorrow, August 30, alongside the launch of the RPG's Game of the Year/Complete Edition, CD Projekt Red has announced. People who buy the new version of the game won't need to install the update, as it comes pre-loaded.

How The Witcher 3's Amazing Music and Sound Effects Were Made

 

Ubisoft closing four free-to-play games on PC

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Closing down Oct. 25 is The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. Might & Magic Duel of Champions and Tom Clancy's Endwar Online go offline Oct. 31, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms will be shuttered on Dec. 1.

Servers Shut Down for Five Xbox 360 Ubisoft Titles in September

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Server closures and de-listings, the root of every gamer's nightmares. With the newest generation of consoles having been available since 2013, Ubisoft is beginning to clean house on some of their older multiplayer servers. Today we bring you the regrettable news that Ubisoft has detailed their plans to shut down the online services for five Xbox 360 titles next month.

 

GameStop hardware sales tumble after Neo, Scorpio announcements

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In an earnings report, the company is reporting a 6.2% drop in total sales from last year (Non-GAAP numbers) from $1.9 billion to $1.8 billion, and a major drop in console sales of 33.4%, going from $324.9 million from Q2 2015 to $216.4 million this year.

 

Studio's Closure Leads to an Unusual Split for Its Many Franchises

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Renegade Kid, the indie developer behind games like Mutant Mudds and Dementium: The Ward, has announced it's shutting down. In its place, its two co-founders will form their own studios, with one taking Renegade Kid's 2D games and the other taking its 3D games.

 

No Man's Sky's player count has dropped 88 percent, but that's not unusual

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But compared to other, better-received recent releases, NMS may not be cratering as badly as it appears. Far Cry Primal, for instance, saw its peak player count slide 82 percent over its first month of release; Fallout 4 dropped by 74 percent; Doom fell by 85 percent; Battleborn slid by 82 percent; Stellaris dropped by 82 percent; even The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which we recently placed atop our Top 100 Games list, saw its peak player count slide by 71 percent during its first month of release. The hugely popular Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain slipped by an almost identical amount. One notable exception is Stardew Valley, which saw its peak user count slip by just 30 percent over its first month.

No, Steam Isn't Offering 'Special Exemptions' For No Man's Sky Refunds

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No Man’s Sky is not the game a lot of people wanted it to be. Over the weekend, people sought refunds en masse, and many reported that retailers like Amazon, Steam, and PSN offered unconditional or nearly unconditional refunds. That’s not entirely true.

 

The Last of Us's Ellie Actor Would Love to Return for Sequel

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The Last of Us ended ambiguously for its two protagonists, Joel and Ellie, leaving many people wondering if a sequel would continue the story or create something entirely original. We got the opportunity to speak to Ellie voice actor Ashley Johnson, who told us she would love to return for a sequel.

 

Kojima exploring virtual and augmented reality at Prologue Immersive

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Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima has joined the advisory board of California-based virtual and augmented reality company, Prologue Immersive.

 

NEW GRANT GIVES THE LGBTQ GAME ARCHIVE OFFICIAL BACKING

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Adrienne Shaw, an assistant professor in Temple University’s Department of Media Studies and Production, has been working on LGBTQ issues in videogames for over a decade now. But there was an assumption she made about the field that led her down her most recent path. Every time she would talk about her work, someone would inevitably ask her about the history of LGBTQ content in videogames. She assumed someone else would have taken on the task of archiving such work, but she was wrong.

 

No Man's Sky mod lets you fly your ship close to the ground, inside caves, and underwater

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Just be careful of crashing, smashing, and getting stuck. I've already done all three.

 

Esports News

 

Chinese company Banana Culture to host international Overwatch tournament with a $250,000 prize pool

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Overwatch is getting another major tournament this year. Chinese production company Banana Culture—owned by Invictus Gaming‘s owner Wang Sicong—will hold an international tournament for Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and North American Overwatch teams. With a nearly $250,000 prize pool, it’ll be China’s largest Overwatch event.

 

Fresh League of Legends row highlights fragile nature of a pro eSports career

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According to Dinh, such late, dramatic patches during the peak season - last year's 'Juggernaut' patch being an infamous example - undermines players and coaches' ability to properly prepare for major tournaments, despite the entertainment value of the ensuing chaos for viewers.

As a result, Dinh goes on to claim, the entire viability of a career in LoL eSports is undermined - teams with disrupted preparation face a far greater risk of suffering the significant financial consequences of relegation from the top leagues.

 

Genvid looking to enhance esports broadcasting with $1.5 million funding

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Genvid Technologies have garnered $1.5 million in its latest funding round. Led by March Capital Partners and OCA Ventures, this funding will be used to build a tool for developers to use in creating “interactive esports broadcasts,” according to VentureBeat.

 

Twitch shutters GoodGame Agency, unclear state for Evil Geniuses and Alliance

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When Twitch bought GoodGame Agency in Dec. 2014, it was on the heels of one of the biggest news for the esports industry to date—the $1 billion purchase of Twitch by Amazon. Twitch, at the time, looked invincible, and adding an esports player agency to its holdings only furthered that image.

 

Crowdfunding News

 

Didn't see anything worth mentioning this week.

 

Other content I found interesting this week

 

How 11 Developers Got Their Start In the Game Industry

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I love origin stories, especially when they’re related to games.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Sure Has Beautiful Wood

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This game is often ridiculously good-looking, especially on PC. That’s particularly true when there are no NPCs in the frame, and it’s just you and some beautifully rendered inanimate objects.

THE DISJOINTED PRAGUE OF DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED

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To find this striking balance, between imagined histories and imagined futures, in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided depiction of the iconic city was something of a surprise. Among the crude metaphors for the social divisions of race and class, and the comical kleptomania of its protagonist Adam Jensen, the game manages a detailed and nuanced portrait of a city of disjunctions.

'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided' Neglects Humans in Its Bid for Transhumanism

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There were black and white portraits hanging in the vestibule of the Human by Design conference. Within each baroque, gold leaf frame was a model sporting a futuristic, photoshopped prosthetic. They seemed well-suited to an event that was itself a sort of hybrid—part intellectual forum, part sales pitch. Courageous, CNN’s “branded content” shop, had assembled the day of panels, guest speakers, and documentary-lite fare alongside Square Enix, to buoy promotion of the latter’s upcoming game, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Academics weighed the implications of transhumanism. Futurist artists sketched out the idea of “cyborg” as a self-identifier. Most strikingly, presenters showed off the bleeding-edge prosthetics and body modifications that enable them to grip, walk, see, and hear—in some cases even beyond normal human ranges.

For Deus Ex’s speculative fiction, that’s the jumping off point for a cyberpunk dystopia where the enhancements that “Augs” possess threaten the rest of the population. This is the fulcrum around which any conversation about human augmentation pivots: whether it will prove to be a great equalizer, or simply widen the existing gaps between us. For a game called “Mankind Divided,” that answer is probably self-evident.

#GamingLooksGood #24: Deus Ex Mankind Divided

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The newest Deus Ex game featured heavy terms like apartheid all over the marketing. Sadly, they weren't treated with the respect they deserve.

Mankind Derided (The Jimquisition)

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is yet another victim of this industry's unchecked avarice. It's an ironic victim at that, given the series' themes.

So, let's chat about the preorder bullshit and microshenanigans that inevitably dominated the game's post-launch discussions.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask's dungeon design | Boss Keys

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Boss Keys is an on-going research project to analyse the level design of the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda. This time, it's the turn of Majora's Mask.

 

How One Twitch Channel Is Fighting Abuse in the Gaming Community

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Misscliks, a Twitch channel founded by four women with prominent backgrounds in eSports and gaming, is hoping to end the abuse with a different approach to community management.

The women behind Misscliks are Anna Prosser Robinson, current programming manager at Twitch; Ubisoft's Geneviève Forget, the international product manager on Rainbow Six Siege; Counter-Strike world champion Stephanie Harvey; and Stephanie "MissAvacyn" Powell, community manager for Roll20, an online service that lets players around the world play D&D and other tabletop RPGs together. The four founders each struggled with discrimination within video games, but rather than abandoning an industry they loved, they decided to create a channel that could provide a safe space to show women they were welcome, while also proving to the industry at-large that women were active participants in it for the long haul.

VICE interviewed Misscliks co-founder Anna Prosser Robinson about the organization's efforts and challenges.

 

The Witcher 3 is one of the best war games there's ever been

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The thing that The Witcher 3 does best, better than most other games, is war. This doesn't sound remarkable until you consider the huge number of games that are specifically about war - that make you do war and be in it - and that war itself never appears in The Witcher, at least not directly. We see battlefields and garrisons, occupations and barricades, but never open conflict. War is in a constant state of passing through, enormous and unseen, always at some distant proximity, but written into the land of The Witcher 3 and the people on it, in magic and misery.

Even though the larger war is probably out of your mind at the end of the game one of the three possible endings has a short side quest that has you chasing after a horse and it has a nice moment reflecting on the conflict.

 

'The Witcher 2' Didn't Try to Offer Endless Freedom, and That's Why It Was So Good

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The Witcher 3's downloadable content is all here now, and with the release of a "Complete Edition" looming, I've spent the past couple months getting back in the swing of life in the Northern Kingdom by playing through all of the Witcher games in order. Along the way, I stumbled onto a pretty surprising realization: With its devotion to openness, The Witcher 3 lost some of the magic that made The Witcher 2 such a striking, memorable game.

 

One Man’s Quest to Let People Play Games on Their Shite Computers

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Grand Theft Auto fan Lukasz Pilch owns a shitty laptop. It shouldn't have been capable of running Grand Theft Auto V, a huge and sprawling technical marvel. And yet, thanks to a series of tweaks that purposely make GTA V look like garbage, Pilch managed to beat it.

 

The Surprising And Allegedly Impossible Death Of EverQuest's 'Unkillable' Dragon

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Rare today are opportunities for gamers to step outside the prescribed outlines of a developer’s intended gaming experience, especially in MMORPGs. Back in the early 2000s, anarchic players eagerly hunted down the virtual unknown, where possibility and impossibility were deadlocked within some specter of the original game.

The other day, I heard a piece of virtual worlds lore that brought me back to those times: On EverQuest, in November of 2003, nearly 200 players came together to defeat the apparently invincible dragon Kerafyrm, known as “the Sleeper,” against Sony Online Entertainment’s designs. The story has everything: warring factions, a tomb, an invulnerable dragon, surprising partnerships and a panicked multinational corporation; and, as of a few days ago, it would have remained relatively unknown had I not received an encrypted PGP message from the moniker “Master Control Program.”

 

Kaepernick's controversy creates a watershed moment for the new Madden

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When Madden NFL 17 rolls out its third commentary update to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sometime next week, I'm going to take San Francisco in a one-off game, make sure Colin Kaepernick is the 49ers' starting quarterback, and hear what happens. It'll be a pivotal moment that speaks to Madden's renewed vision of itself as a virtual NFL broadcast partner.

Madden 17 Is Pretty Good!

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I’ve been playing Madden 17 this week, and against all the odds, I have been having a good time. You can thank a single new game mode for that.

 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Is A Perfect Blend Of Strategy And Alt History

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms (ROTK) is my Civilization, the tactical strategy game I poured hours of my life into without regret. As my parting article for my run as guest editor today, let me tell you why I love this series so much.

 

Here's what the cancelled GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster looked like

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Back in 2008 Rare was developing an HD remaster of its N64 FPS classic GoldenEye 007 to be released on XBLA. Unfortunately, copyright disputes with Nintendo saw the project shuttered.

 

YOU SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED THAT THE JAPANESE PM DRESSED UP AS MARIO

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Aside from the simple fact that Mario is one of the most recognizable cultural icons, perhaps ever, Nintendo as a company has an over 100-year old tradition of creating play experiences dating back to its playing card company days in the late 19th century. Nintendo was there as Japan nearly doubled its population, grew in military dominance, lost World War II, and then emerged again as a commercial force in the 80s. For those growing up in the shadow of Japanese culture through videogames and anime, Nintendo is instrumental to my earliest understanding of what Japan is and continues to be, particularly as someone who’s never been there.

 

Chrono Cross Was A Bad Sequel, But A Brilliant Game

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In many ways, the reason Chrono Cross is one of the most underrated JRPGs in gaming is because of the comparisons to its predecessor, Chrono Trigger.

 

THE FUTURE OF ROMANCE GAMES IS QUEER

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Sex and romance have continued throughout the years to be twisted up into the fabric of games. The infamous Hot Coffee mod from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) may come to mind first for sex in games, mostly because of the controversy it induced. But sex and romance flourished before and beyond. From the sex mini-game in God of War (2005), to its place in the simulation of life in The Sims (2000), to the ever-present marriage mechanic in Harvest Moon (1996-2015), and the many explicit porn games across the internet, sex is here to stay. So what is the next step for sex and romance in videogames?

The answer might be found in queer games.

Steam's First 'Uncensored' Sex Game Is Actually Pretty Tame

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Kindred Spirits on the Roof was touted as being the first ‘erotic game’ released on Steam in its original uncensored format, but anybody seeking out this girl-on-girl visual novel for base titillation is going to find themselves sorely disappointed.

 

Alien Languages: How We Talk About Procedural Generation

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Procedural generation has a vocabulary that you'll most likely be familiar with. It uses words like discover, unique, endless, forever, replayable. It talks in numbers and powers of ten, and bigger is always better. These words are not necessarily used falsely (although I'm sure they are in some instances, but I'm not here to cast aspersions), but intentionally or not they do mislead people, because they are very easily interpreted in a lot of different ways. 'Every Planet Unique' might mean that each planet has a complex sci-fi backstory rich enough to fill a two-part Star Trek episode. It might also mean that, mathematically speaking, there's a rock somewhere on the planet that doesn't look like any other rock in the universe. Uniqueness almost always is used in the weakest, most technically correct way possible. As Kate Compton quipped in her amazing post about procedural generators, every bowl of oatmeal is unique.

 

The Scariest Video Game Monster Is Time

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From Dragon Age’s darkspawn to Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head, video games have no shortage of terrifying foes. But there is a single enemy that is scarier than any of them. A formless, invisible beast that can never be stopped: Time.

 

Game Combat Is Great When It Gives You Time To Rest

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Games like Overwatch and The Witcher have amazing combat but how do the accomplish that? Heather Alexandra looks at a host of games to see how establishing a pace makes a huge difference.

Topic also talked about back in this 2014 video

The Importance of Quiet Time

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This week, I take a look into "quiet time," and how it relates to the story, pacing and exposition delivery of action games.

 

The Specter of Multiplayer Hangs Over 'Door Kickers'

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Everything is online now. As someone who mostly plays single-player games but who still has his console connected to the Internet, there’s no escaping the omnipresent community of friends and fellow gamers. From multiplayer to leaderboards to player-generated content—heck, even the faux-online feel of offline games like DarkMaus—I can never forget that I’m part of a larger social group.

 

The Helplessness Of Clock Tower

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Released in 1995 by Human Entertainment in Japan and inspired by an Italian horror film, Phenomena (Creepers in the U.S.), it begins with four orphans, including protagonist, Jennifer Simpson, being taken to the Barrows mansion to start their new life. Circumstances take a horrifying turn when one of them gets brutally murdered and the other two go missing.

 

The Immoral Morality of Ultima V

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Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar was a revolutionary game because there wasn’t a traditional villain to fight against. Instead, the focus was on becoming the Avatar, chasing after honor, sacrifice, humility, and spirituality. In Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny, the teachings you’ve embodied have become totally corrupted.

 

How Xenoblade Chronicles X Made Me Rethink JRPGs

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Traveling the alien landscape of Xenoblade Chronicles X (Chronicles X) is sublime. You really feel like you’ve crashed onto a whole new world, where even gravity is different and you leap through the awe-inspiring environments of Mira.

 

Metal Gear Solid 2 Was A Twisted Experiment in Mind Control

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“One day, MGS changed the world’s games,” the trailer states, intercutting into a knife fight with Olga. “And now, the world changes MGS.” Change had come to MGS and the game that I thought would be an action blockbuster ended up turning into insidious, MK ultra paranoid mind trip, more Kafkaesque than Bruckheimer, a metaphysical social experiment that felt like it would be at home in a David Lynch film.

 

HOW SILENT HILL, DARK SOULS AND THE LAST OF US INFLUENCED STRANGER THINGS

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If you watched and loved Stranger Things, you probably spotted some of the 1980s movie homages peppered throughout – many of which we listed here. But what of the games that influenced the Netflix smash?

 

The Workflows of Creating Game Ready Textures and Assets using Photogrammetry

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A couple of month ago I wrote an article on how I was able to scan an entire castle for $70, and at the end I mentioned how I was porting that castle into the Unreal Engine to use in my game World Void. Working with a huge structure with millions of polygons can bring the most powerful software solution to its knees, and a lot of people have showed interest in the creative process that I am using to port the castle into a game engine. Making the castle game ready is a very tedious and long process, and before I can explain the work that goes into splitting the castle into game assets, I found it essential to first explain the challenges of manipulating 3D scans in general. Over the past few month I struggled to find a universal process that can be used on any mesh, in fact every mesh is different and requires a different remedy. Therefore in this article I will be going over multiple techniques that I stumbled upon, experimented with, and used in order to create the textures for the castle. I will be going over many solutions to delight a texture, and create a tile-able one.

 

GTA V Players Have Spent 2016 Trying To Destroy A Possibly Indestructible Dam

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GTA players have chased bigfoot, hunted for jetpacks, stared at a face in a mountainside, and, at one point, tried to pinpoint a sewer dwelling human/rat creature. Recently, the obsessions of hardcore GTA V fans have turned slightly more bizarre, with some players latching onto the idea that maybe, just maybe, they can blow up an in-game dam.

 

Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games

 

Battlefield 1 - No Man's Land - Cinematic Movie

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Battlefield 1 No Man's Land Cinematic.

Recorded during the closed alpha on public servers.

 

The Olympic Summer Games: The Kotaku Review

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The Olympic Games is a massively multiplayer event wherein local champions from various territories convene in a single geographic location to compete in a wide variety of mini-games within larger categories (aquatic, track, gymnastics, cycling, and others). Winners in each event acquire a gold medal. Second prize is a silver medal; third prize is a bronze medal. Fourth prize is the disappointment of everyone you love.

 

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