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News and gameplay from PAX, Jim Sterling talks about how a contact told him about Square Enix's meddling with Deus Ex, ModDB aquires GameFront, YouTube reveals confusing policy on monetizing video, Cyberpunk 2077 in full development, Amy Hennig talks about her Star Wars project, Football commenter Chris Kamara tries out Call of Duty shoutcasting, an analysis of Undertale, a thorough look at the Baldurs Gate series and looking at one of the dungeons of Baldurs Gate as a teaching example of game design, EA employees talk about why they make games, designing multiplayer games and a look at lag compensating weapons in MechWarrior Online, what it's like to work on a video game flop, and more.

 

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Gaming News

 

What it's Like to Review a Console That Hasn't Even Been Announced

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On Tuesday, reporter Laura Kate Dale posted a review and video of the PlayStation 4 Slim. Problem: the console isn’t out yet, nor has Sony announced it at all.

This is not the first time an apparent PS4 Slim has been seen in the wild. Earlier this month, one appeared on UK auction site Gumtree. It seemed to be a smaller, sleeker replacement for the standard PS4, rather than a machine with new guts and capabilities. Shortly after, there was an unboxing video, and Eurogamer ran a story in which they “confirmed” the PS4 Slim by visiting a person who’d obtained one. However, they removed their video of the machine almost immediately “upon taking legal advice”.

Looks Like The Unannounced PS4 Slim Already Has A Teardown

Sony CEO, citing Pokémon Go, says they're 'aggressively' pushing into mobile gaming

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Sony, eyeballing Nintendo's success with Pokémon Go, is "aggressively getting into" mobile gaming, chief executive Kaz Hirai said.

 

Report: Nintendo NX will use cartridges, not discs

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting "people familiar with the matter" have stated that Nintendo will go back to some form of cartridge as the storage medium for games on the NX, the company’s upcoming console.

 

Cyberpunk 2077 May Feature Driving/Flying Vehicles

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Cyberpunk 2077, the next major RPG from The Witcher studio CD Projekt Red, may feature vehicles, if newly discovered job ads are any indication.

The Witcher Dev's Cyberpunk 2077 Is Now in Full Development

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With The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt done and dusted - and its Game of the Year Edition available on store shelves - developer CD Projekt Red is unsurprisingly shifting its attention elsewhere. We first heard about Cyberpunk 2077 what seems like a lifetime ago, and now, the Polish studio has confirmed that the game is finally in full development, even though we imagine that this will have been the case for a while.

Cyberpunk 2077 Development Team Is Bigger Than The Witcher 3's

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"There are currently more game developers working on Cyberpunk 2077 than on The Witcher 3 in its most intensive month,"

 

Echo is a third person sci-fi action puzzler with evil clones

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Echo is the first game from Danish studio Ultra Ultra, a third-person sci-fi-inspired action game with some neat puzzle mechanics. After awakening from a century in stasis, protagonist En finds herself in the Palace—a strange sentient building which creates doppelganger Echoes as a means of security. She’s then forced to plan her escape around them.

 

BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION

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BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION - From the makers of STASIS.

 

Titanfall 2 introduces six new playable Titans

 

Firewatch is coming to Xbox One on September 21st!

 

H1Z1: King of the Kill will leave Early Access on September 20

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King of the Kill, the multiplayer Battle Royale mode that spun off from H1Z1 to become a standalone game, will leave Steam Early Access on September 20. The price is rising to $29.99, but developer and publisher Daybreak Games has announced that the current price of $19.99 will remain as long as the game is in Early Access, meaning you'll be able to buy it for the lower price right up until launch day. You can watch the announcement trailer above.

 

Gandhi returns to lead India in Civilization 6

 

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer beta not happening on the PC

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Activision rolled out a Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer overview trailer today, showing off the game's new "customizable combat suits" called Combat Rigs. There are six base rigs to choose from—Warfighter, Merc, Synaptic, FTL, Stryker, and Phantom—each of which can be kitted out with three different payloads and three persistent “traits” that can be combined to suit just about any style of play you like.

See First Multiplayer for Call of Duty 4 Remaster, Infinite Warfare Right Here

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Activision has showed off quite a lot of campaign footage from Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare Remastered, but not multiplayer. That's changing today, as the publisher will reveal the first multiplayer footage for both games during a livestream event that kicks off at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. The briefing is being held today to kick off Activision's Call of Duty XP event in California.

Modern Warfare Remastered will have all of the original maps, after all

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered has all 16 of the original game’s maps, Activision announced during its Call of Duty XP fan event today. That’s up from the amount the publisher originally promised when the game was announced in June.

Reaper Blade Action - Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Gameplay

 

Battlefield 1 Beta, Other EA Games' Server Issues Ironed Out

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After a fairly smooth rollout yesterday, the issues began popping up today as a much wider pool of people were allowed in. Players are unable to connect to EA's servers, presenting them with the screen seen below that reads "Failed to connect to EA Online." Being an online-only multiplayer beta, that is, suffice it to say, a major problem.

 

Exclusive Escape From Tarkov Weapon Customisation Gameplay

 

I Like Big Gods: No Place For Bravery Announced

 

Serial Cleaner - PAX West 2016 Trailer

 

Friday the 13th Game's New Trailer Shows Off Brutal Executions

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When the new Friday the 13th game was announced, its developers said they didn't plan to hold back on the blood and gore. That definitely appears to be the case, as a new trailer for the game released at PAX West is incredibly brutal and unsettling.

 

Twit-Twhen? Owlboy Release Date Announced

 

Hitman: The Complete First Season will be out at the end of January

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The episodic rollout of Hitman has gone pretty smoothly so far, with four episodes and various elusive targets going live without any major snags. There were a few technical bumps along the way, but the biggest problem, at least for those of us who like discs and boxes, was probably the delay of the physical edition into early 2017. That was the last we'd heard about it until today, when Square Enix finally got around to nailing down the release date to January 31.

 

Shadow Warrior 2 release date set, trailer shows chainsaws and selfie sticks

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The Shadow Warrior series, both past and present, is best known for its off-the-wall, gruesome and gory mash of samurai sword slashing and shooting. The latest trailer for Flying Wild Hog’s incoming sequel follows suit with the inclusion of hi-tech bow and arrows, chainsaws, rail guns and, um, selfie sticks. It also reveals the PC version’s launch date: October 13.

Shadow Warrior 2: Crazy Action and Boss Fight

 

Amy Hennig Talks About Her Mysterious Star Wars Game and What it Means to Write a Star Wars Story

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During a panel at PAX West, Former Uncharted series Creative Director Amy Hennig, who is currently working at Visceral Games on a completely new Star Wars action-adventure game, talked at length about her vision of creating an authentic Star Wars story and gameplay for the title.

 

Super sentai RPG Chroma Squad is coming to consoles

 

Silence, formerly The Whispered World 2, is coming in November

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It's been well over a year since we last heard anything about Silence, the follow-up to Daedalic's 2010 fantasy point-and-click adventure The Whispered World. But the publisher recently revealed that the game, with a slightly modified title, will be out on November 15, and we've got a handful of new screens to look at too.

 

The new Mirage: Arcane Warfare gameplay trailer is a 12-minute massacre

 

Gearbox's Duke Nukem 3D remake is a remix of new and old Duke Nukem

So that's why the Megaton Edition was delisted from Steam/PSN. At least the people working on Shadow Warrior games know what they are doing.

 

After Konami Feud, Beloved Train Game Gets Sequel

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Last year was a totally bizarre year at Konami. One of the oddest moments was when game creator Akira Sakuma tweeted that his long-running train series Momotaro Dentetsu was officially over after a very public feud with Konami. Odder still is that a new Momotaro Dentetsu game was just announced.

 

FIFA 17 reveals top 10 best-rated players

 

Redout Gameplay - A Full High Speed Time Trial Race - PAX West 2016

 

Pokemon Sun and Moon Trailer: Ultra Beasts and Aether Foundation

Pokémon Sun and Moon is basically bringing back Pokémon Snap

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A slew of new Pokémon Sun and Moon details emerged this morning, but none were more exciting than Poké Finder, a new feature that sounds familiar to old-school Nintendo 64 fans. That’s because, after 17 years, we may have our successor to the classic spinoff Pokémon Snap.

 

Forza 6 Apex Launches Leaves Beta With Wheel Support

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You can download Forza Motorsport 6: Apex free through the Windows Store. You’ll need Windows 10 and a system capable of DirectX 12.

 

New Sea of Thieves Video Shows Off the Game's Gorgeous Water

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In Sea of Thieves, players will spend a good amount of time aboard a ship in the open water. As you may have seen in previous trailers, the water Rare made for the Xbox One and PC game looks very good. Now, Rare has published a new video that talks more about how the team designed and developed the water.


Virginia - Trailer [HD]

 

7 Minutes of Sonic Mania Gameplay - PAX West 2016

 

8 Minutes of Viking Squad Gameplay - PAX West 2016

 

Batman: Return to Arkham out this October

 

Watch six minutes of Hot Lava, Klei's scorching parkour game

 

4 Fantastic Indie Games - PAX West 2016

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Zelda as a fox? Co-op crafting in space? Alexa talks to Danny, Scott and Jean-Luc about some of the best indie games we've played at PAX West 2016.

 

New Halo Wars 2 Gameplay Footage Arrives, As Dev Teases "Completely New" Mode

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Today during a PAX West panel, 343 Industries showed off some new Halo Wars 2 footage and teased a new mode for the RTS.


15 Minutes of Tacoma Gameplay - IGN First

 

Gears of War 4: Horde 3.0 - 11 Minutes of Scout Gameplay

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See the brand new Horde Mode 3.0 in action with 11 minutes of gameplay showing off the scout class.

 

See the first gameplay footage from Klei’s Oxygen Not Included

 

Watch six minutes of Cuphead gameplay from PAX

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Cuphead is gearing up for release nearly two years after being debuted at E3, and the Polygon team got some time to go hands on with the latest build at this year’s PAX in Seattle.

 

Tokyo 42's open world of blocky assassination coming to PC, Xbox One and PS4

 

4 Minutes of Bleed 2 Gameplay - PAX West 2016

 

5 Minutes of Rive Gameplay - PAX West 2016

 

NEW TEASER FOR WHERE CARDS FALL DOESN’T SHOW MUCH, BUT IT’S ENOUGH

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Toronto-based app developer Snowman has been having a delightful amount of success lately. Its endless runner (endless snowboarder?) Alto’s Adventure (2015) is a lighthearted, beautiful game that seemed to take great joy in doing backflips over towering mountains. Its popularity was as much due to the love and care given to the art as to the air tricks you could perform, and it would be reasonable to expect that a follow-up would share at least some of those traits. It’s surprising, then, that Snowman is preparing to do an about-turn towards melancholy with the new game Where Cards Fall.

 

Mafia 3 details its DLC expansion plans

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The makers of Mafia 3 detailed plans at PAX West for their free downloadable content coming to everyone after the game launches Oct. 7.

 

The new Titan Quest Anniversary Edition is free on Steam for owners of the original

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The recently-renamed THQ Nordic is continuing its efforts to breathe new life into old brands with the release of Titan Quest Anniversary Edition. The heavily-updated version of the sorely-underrated Iron Lore action-RPG includes both the original game and the Immoral Throne expansion, and if you happen to own one of the previous releases of the game on Steam, you get it for free.

 

This is what really happens when swords hit armour

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One of the most common misconceptions about medieval combat is that armor could be easily pierced. You can often see knights in full plate armor that are easy targets for common medieval weapons. In the new “Weapons vs. Armor” video, we demonstrate how armor holds up to weapons in reality and in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

 

Yakuza 6 Will Let Kiryu Go Online To Chat With Cam Girls

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Sega shared a peek at the latest of Yakuza 6 in this week’s issue of Famitsu magazine with the “Live Chat” feature that lets you take on live chat sessions with various cam girls.

Yakuza 6's Arcades Let You Play Virtua Fighter 5

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Among the distractions you'll find in the world of Sega's Yakuza 6 are a collection of arcade games--including a fairly recent one in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown.

 

Two Surprisingly Good Hours With Final Fantasy XV

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These are the things you think about when you’re playing Final Fantasy XV, a new video game from Square Enix that will be out on November 29. At PAX in Seattle last week, I played two hours of the next marquee Final Fantasy, and I left with two main thoughts:

1) This game is kind of janky, but also kind of amazing?

2) Just how much product does Noctis use? And when do I get to play more?

 

Streets of Rogue is a fun procedural city-based free-for-all roguelike

 

Blackwood Crossing will pull on your heartstrings

 

Sega’s Space Channel 5 coming to VR

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Dreamcast-era rhythm game series Space Channel 5 is coming to virtual reality. Sega and mobile provider KDDI will showcase Space Channel 5 VR "Ukiuki Viewing Show" at this year’s Tokyo Game Show — just don’t expect a full game or a port of the 1999 original Space Channel 5.

 

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove - New Environments and Ghost Cows Gameplay

 

Three New For Honor Trailers Show Off Samurai, Viking, and Knight Warriors

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Ubisoft debuted three new For Honor trailers today at PAX West, focusing on the Samurai, Viking, and Knight classes. The publisher also released official descriptions for each class.

 

 

Developer: Madden Review Scores Are Going up Because of Improved Realism

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The Madden video game series has had a bit of an up and down history over the last few years. While sales have held steady, there have been complaints each iteration fell short of bringing enough to the new versions to warrant gamers shelling out $60 a pop. Madden NFL 17 has seemingly bucked that trend with healthy sales figures so far, as well as mostly positive reviews.

 

The Walking Dead Season 3 gets title and release date

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The third season of Telltale's The Walking Dead adventure series will be titled The Walking Dead: A Telltale Series - A New Frontier. And it will be released on PC, Mac, console and mobile platforms in November.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2 release date set

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Telltale’s episodic spin on Batman endured a rocky PC launch, however seemed to steady the waves via a launch day performance patch. As detailed in his review, James appeared to enjoy parts of Episode one—named Realm of Shadows—however felt its narrative promise was hamstrung at times by Telltale’s design and engine limitations.

 

Torment: Tides of Numenera trailer shows Earth one billion years from now

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Gamescom wrapped up well over a week ago, so why are we just seeing the Torment: Tides of Numenera Gamescom trailer now? This, I cannot answer for you. I can say, however, that it looks really good.

 

Divinity Original Sin 2 - First Look #3 - Arena Warfare

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We look at some arena combat, where you can challenge other players at the turn-based battling!

 

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero pulls a Final Fantasy XV

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September has lost another one. In an update posted today on the Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Kickstarter page, developer Wayforward announced the gorgeous looking game has been pushed back by about six weeks. A new release date isn't expected to be announced until after it has been given the green light by the console manufacturers.

Some more information can be found in their Kickstarter update.

 

Paradox shares more Stellaris Heinlein 1.3 patch and DLC details

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This week’s Stellaris update from Paradox once again looks at the upcoming 1.3 Heinlein patch as well as plans for DLC.

The developer blog specifically looks at Fallen Empires and what’s being added and changes as either free or paid DLC when the Heinlein patch releases.

As an obvious Babylon 5 fan, I like the sound of this update.

 

Europa Universalis 4’s Rights of Man release date set for October

 

Hitman Episode 5 Release Date and Mission Details Revealed

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IO Interactive has announced the next chapter in its episodic Hitman series will launch on September 27 and take place in Colorado. Titled "Freedom Fighters," episode 5 tasks players with infiltrating a Colorado farm compound that serves as a training camp for a private militia.

 

Rainbow Six Siege Could Get Another Season Pass

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Siege's season pass does not consist of the major DLC expansions that add new operators and maps--those have been offered to everyone for free. Siege season pass owners instead get early access to those operators along with exclusive cosmetic items and discounts on the in-game store. They also receive other perks that don't split up the player base in the same way that Call or Duty or Battlefield do with their premium map packs.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided sees the return of Frank Pritchard in first story DLC

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Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was just released last week, but the studio is already detailing the first story DLC for the game, which will see the return of main character Adam Jensen’s friend and former colleague, Frank Pritchard.

 

Armello DLC Not Coming To GOG Version

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The Game-of-Thrones-with-animals virtuaboardgame’s first paid DLC, the Usurpers Hero Pack, launched this week on Steam with four new playable characters and some shiny new rings. It has not launched on GOG. It will not launch on GOG, or at least not in its current form or any time soon.

 

Ark: Survival Evolved Players Not Pleased With Decision To Charge For Early Access DLC

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Dinosaur survival playground Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the most popular games on Steam, regularly ranking among the top ten most-played games on the whole service. Despite this, it’s still very much an Early Access game, something players are worried developer Wildcard is forgetting.

Ark Dev Responds Concerns About "Finished" Expansion

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In a statement posted on the game's website, Studio Wildcard explained why it's launching an expansion pack before Ark is even finished.

ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED UNVEILS A WHOLE NEW WORLD

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Studio Wildcard today announced the Scorched Earth expansion for its dinosaur-combat RPG Ark: Survival Evolved, creating a new desert-based island that's the same size as the core land-base. Available today, the expansion has effectively doubled the game-world's size, for those willing to pay extra.

 

The new Overwatch update is live, deploys Eichenwald map, Season Two, and more

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After running in Blizzard's public test realm for a few weeks, Overwatch version 1.3 went live earlier today on PC. The patch is headlined by an overhaul to how Competitive Play works, including the elimination of sudden death, which will now allow for draws. And in along with a few new emotes and Reinhardt skins, new map Eichenwald joins the pool.

Looks like a lot of good changes.

Overwatch's Mei Buff Is Useful, But Only If You're Smart

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Yesterday’s surprise Overwatch patch brought with it some balance changes—most importantly (to me), Mei’s buff, a thing of both immeasurable good and evil.

 

Enter the Gungeon update adds: "a gun shaped like a bullet that shoots guns"

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The top-down roguelike shooter Enter the Gungeon is getting a major free update later this year called Supply Drop. The expansion will add more than 100 new rooms to die in (repeatedly), plus new enemies, companions, bosses, shrines, and of course, guns.

 

ModDB pulls GameFront back from the brink

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Mod database and sharing site GameFront has been saved thanks to a late intervention from fellow mod haven, ModDB.

 

How Square Enix Kept Meddling With Deus Ex (The Jimquisition)

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Sterling's little birdies are tweeting secrets again, this time bringing the delectable stories behind Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's cash-grab elements.

How much warning did Eidos Montreal get about the microtransactions? Exactly why was Breach mode included? And what about the next Deus Ex game?

The Jimquisition has naughty secrets to share.

 

Metal Gear Solid 5’s cancelled Mission 51 ‘definitely not the ending’, says Konami

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Although packing a pretty impressive 50 missions, the ending of Metal Gear Solid 5 remains a point of contention for many of its players. In November, Samuel wrote about why the award-winning stealth ‘em up’s conclusion is one perfect moment in an otherwise bad story (warning: obvious spoilers within), however many players consider it to be incomplete—particularly against the fact the game’s Collector's Edition owners were treated to seemingly work-in-progress storyboards for the now cancelled mission 51.

 

Nintendo Shuts Down "No Mario's Sky," But the Game Still Lives on Kind of

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Nintendo has apparently issued a copyright claim that has forced the developer's of "No Mario's Sky" to take the Mario/No Man's Sky game down. Developer ASMB Games wrote on its website that "No Mario's Sky is no more-io!" This was probably always going to happen, considering the game's use of the Nintendo IP.

Nintendo Took Down No Mario's Sky Fan Game, So Creators Renamed It DMCA's Sky

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Last week, Kotaku reported on No Mario’s Sky, a procedural game where you could make the plumber leap in a spaceship and explore different worlds. Two days ago, the team received a copyright takedown notice. Undeterred, they rebranded their game and pressed forward.

 

Fallout 4 pays tribute to player who passed away

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In Fallout 4’s latest amusement park-set expansion, Nuka-World, there’s a chap who lives in the Southern-most point of the new area named Evan. You might’ve seen him kicking back atop a caravan, chilling under a well-worn parasol, but what you may not know is that his character represents a touching tribute from Bethesda.

What Happens If You Wear The Silver Shroud Costume In Fallout 4's Nuka World DLC

 

EA admits remastering Mass Effect would be a way to earn an 'easy buck,' but won't remaster them

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Electronic Arts chief competition officer Peter Moore told IGN just yesterday that EA isn't interested in remastering the Mass Effect trilogy. According to Moore, EA wants to move forward rather than keep one foot in the past.

 

Sega explains why Shenmue remakes haven't happened yet

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Sega has said it is "looking into" remasters of the first two Shenmue games.

Despite interest from both fans and Sega itself, the holdup lies with the games' scope, their age - the original Shenmue was released on Dreamcast back in 1999 - as well as licensing issues.

 

Guillemots increase stake in Ubisoft to fend off Vivendi takeover

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Ubisoft founders the Guillemot brothers have upped their stake in the French publisher from 9 percent to 12.5 percent after acquiring a further four million shares.

 

New lawsuit targets Steam, alleges patent infringement

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One of the world's oldest telecommunications companies is suing Valve over Steam.

 

The battle to fix Britain's internet heats up

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Some of the biggest internet providers in the UK have ganged up to try and force through better internet in Britain - and it's calling on gamers to have their say.

Ofcom, the industry regulator, has launched a public consultation on whether Openreach should no longer be owned by BT and it wants to know what the public think.

 

Esports News

 

Death Threats, Doubt & Victory: This Player has Seen It All

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I was receiving death threats and tons of people telling me how much they hated me for playing Bayonetta. I felt alone and hated at events. It was a weird feeling to me, since a lot of people saw me as a hero for playing Lucas, then suddenly saw me as a villain for playing Bayonetta. I was not used to the animosity. It was a rough time as a competitor mentally and emotionally.

 

Riot Games bans European Challenger Series team HUMA for not paying its players

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In a competitive ruling made public today, Riot Games disclosed that HUMA, one of its European Challenger Series teams, failed to pay its players at the minimum player compensation rate during the spring and summer split, and therefore didn’t meet its contractual obligation. As a result team HUMA is “disallowed from participating in the Challenger Series or any other Riot sanctioned League.” HUMA has until October 1 to sell its spot in the Challenger Series.

 

Funding Your Fiancé's Esports Team Is Romantic And Expensive

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It also helps when your fiancé was one of the greatest StarCraft players ever. Oh, and if you are a famous celebrity in your own right, too. Both pluses!

Actress Kim Ga-yeon, who’s married to Lim Yo-hwan (aka BoxeR), was recently on South Korean TV Videostar. According to My Daily (via tipster Sang), she surprised the show’s hosts when she talked about how much she spent funding her husband’s esports team SlayerS, which she owned.

 

Football commentator Chris Kamara tries out Call of Duty shoutcasting

 

CD Projekt RED is making Gwent, once just a minigame, into a serious esports contender

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Fans of The Witcher, rejoice! The newest iteration’s minigame-cum-spinoff card game Gwent may be heading to esports soon.

 

Crowdfunding News

 

Eisenwald: Blood of November

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New sandbox adventure in the world of Eisenwald

Eisenwald: Blood of November hits Kickstarter

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I liked Legends of Eisenwald, the medieval tactical-RPG that came out last year, and so I'm happy to see that the wheels have begun turning on a sequel. Called Eisenwald: Blood of November, it's a completely separate, standalone game that charges players with supporting one of two sides warring for the throne of the Duchy of Eisenwald.

 

Other content I found interesting this week

 

YouTubers Are Freaking Out About Money and 'Censorship'

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Yesterday, popular YouTuber Philip DeFranco uploaded a video where he claimed that YouTube was ‘shutting down’ his channel due to guideline violations that included ‘excessive strong language.’ Since then, panic and confusion have struck the YouTube world, with some wondering if this is the start of an excessive clamp down that would put channels with millions of subscribers out of business. YouTube, for their part, says the controversial standards have been in place for a while.

YOUTUBE DEAD!? AD-FRIENDLY CENSORSHIP $$$$ IN CS:GO! (The Jimquisition)

 

Shovel Knight and Nailing Nostalgia | Game Maker's Toolkit

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Some games are all about nostalgia - a reminder of how games used to be. No game nails this sensation quite like Shovel Knight, which expertly picks and chooses the right bits to emulate from old games. Here's how Yacht Club Games pulled it off.

 

MY EXPERIENCE AS A VIRTUAL WAR PHOTOGRAPHER IN BATTLEFIELD 1

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It started as an investigation. I would trawl the lone map of Battlefield 1‘s open beta to try to catalog the space custom made for its warfare. Stripping the game of its HUD and dropping into match after match, I would risk the wrath of my team to wander around, looking at the layout.

What I found was a surprisingly simple series of volumes, settled in a wandering landscape. The clustered houses and ruins seemed transparent—obvious high grounds and vantage points, peppered with windows for snipers to peek out of—while the sands of Sinai Desert provided little bubbles of action, separated by the peaks of dunes. Muddied with detail and complexity, these spaces took on differing atmospheres that shifted like the light over the precisely observed rocks of this arid terrain. The images I produced seem to reflect this simplicity, a quiet, composed set of shots, where landscape, sun, and shade dictate the parceling out of space.

 

Former film animator discusses making the gorgeous Ghost of a Tale

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Ghost of a Tale’s creator, Lionel Gallat, knows a lot about crafting visually appealing characters. A former 2D film animator, he began his career at Dreamworks in the 1990s working on films like The Prince of Egypt, The Road to Eldorado, and Shark Tale. Later, he joined Illumination Entertainment, a production company owned by Universal Studios, where he served as animation director on films like Despicable Me and The Lorax.

 

WHY I MAKE GAMES: COURTNEY WOODS - Meet Courtney Woods, Writer at BioWare

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“Play lots of games, read lots of books, and write every day,” says Woods. “Study how different games tell stories and present information to the player, then ask yourself how you would do it.”

Other interviews are linked to on the bottom with people working on Battlefield 1, FIFA, and NHL.

 

PAX Developers

That seems to be in line with what developers were saying in the Vice article I linked two weeks ago.

 

What It’s Like to Work On a Video Game Flop

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It's difficult to understand how people can stay passionate about game development. The job is impossible. You pull ridiculous hours, meet stringent deadlines, cross your fingers, and hope like hell your product meets a very particular combination of acclaim and marketability to green-light a sequel, or at the very least keep the company intact. Sure, there's a chance you work at Blizzard or Infinity Ward and are playing with house money, but this is still an industry that lays off twice as many people as the US national rate. If you make video games for a living, you are going to be disappointed again, and again, and again, and again.

 

Lost Castle and the increasing viability of Chinese indie games

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The People's Republic of China has a higher population than any other nation on the planet.

That's a big audience with a proven appetite for video games, but political and economic factors have played into creating a market there which is rife with piracy and dominated by free to play. However, thanks to Steam gaining support for some Chinese forms of electronic payment last year, change is in the wind.

 

Madden's announcers avoided mentioning Kaepernick's protest. Here's why.

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I reached out to an EA Sports spokesperson yesterday for an explanation and was obliquely informed that none would be coming. I know what happened though: EA Tiburon, the game's developer, brought in Gaudin and Davis for their recording session and had every intention of the two discussing Kaepernick's protest, which the quarterback says is to raise awareness of police brutality and other examples of institutional racism in America. But someone at the approval level killed this idea. Whether that was EA or the NFL, I don't know for sure.

Sure, an EA representative made a claim on the record that was proven false, and that hasn't been walked back or explained officially. Not a good look. But as I wrote in my column a week ago, the real point is that this controversy reveals how Madden's publisher and the league view the game, and how the new ability to update Madden's commentary complicates the authenticity the developers aspire to deliver.

 

How I Learned to Love the ‘Bad’ Ending in Video Games

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Happy endings are boring. They're predictable. They're clichéd. They thrive on an incredibly dull idea of normality: save the world, get the girl, settle down and have billions of beautiful and perfect babies. Sure, they're nice, and it's always more pleasant to end an experience with the warm fuzzies than it is to end it with an emotional gut-punch, but they're not the endings you remember.

The Witcher 3 saved its best trick for last

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I hate good endings. That is: I hate when video games have a single "best" ending that requires more work to achieve. In the narrative sense, this is faintly ridiculous. Sure, collecting 50 urns will let my character get a happy ending, totally. But the real issue is what it does to me as a player. Instead of exploring the game, I find myself poring over guides; it makes me want to play games at an expert level even when I’m a novice, hurting my engagement with the game.

 

'Real world issues' in games like Deus Ex are there for marketing reasons, not for art

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There is a cycle we are used to by now. An AAA game is announced with a potentially fascinating concept. Its themes seem ripped from the headlines, tapping into the zeitgeist and promising to explore hot-button issues. During marketing its developers play up to this impression, talking enthusiastically if vaguely about its Serious Themes. Some people are cynical, some people are hopeful; all the usual hoopla plays out. Then it gets released, and it's stunningly inane -- or, at the very least, banal.

 

“The Failure of Masculinity in Red Dead Redemption,” by Jess Joho

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Released in April 2010, Red Dead Redemption emerged at a time when “can videogames be art?” still seemed like a reasonably valid or controversial question to most people. Two months later, an answer seemed to arrive in the form of Limbo,  the indie game that launched a thousand Kickstarters. That same year, Tom Bissell also released Extra Lives: Why Videogames Matter, setting a new bar for games writing that was equal parts validation and criticism. A simultaneous sense of hope and restlessness permeated the industry’s elite circles as they reached for something beyond the predictable pleasantries of the blockbuster shooter. Hot on the heels of Grand Theft Auto IV and its many acclaimed boundary-pushing expansions, Rockstar seemed hotter and hungrier than ever to push the genre into excellence. This is the stage of expectation Red Dead Redemption walked onto—a demand for both thoughtful commentary and action.

 

Rainbow Six Siege Has Turned Into One Of The Best Shooters Around

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Siege’s rise in popularity is actually not a shock to me at all. I’ve been playing the game since its December release last year and I can tell you, all signs were pointed in this direction right from the very start.

 

Duelyst: The Best Game Ever

 

Perverted Sentimentality: An Analysis of UNDERTALE

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A short film about Undertale's themes and message.

 

A Thorough Look at Baldur's Gate

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This a video critique and retrospective of the whole Baldur's Gate franchise, including Baldur's Gate 1, Tales of the Sword Coast, Siege of Dragonspear, Baldur's Gate 2, and Throne of Bhaal. It looks at what makes them so iconic, as well as what makes them so hard to get into for modern audiences.

 

Baldur's Gate: Durlag's Tower - #1 - Design Club

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Learn how game designers make dungeons by looking at one of the greatest teaching examples in gaming history: Durlag's Tower from Baldur's Gate.

 

Is There Room for Couch Co-Op in a World Obsessed with Online Multiplayer?

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My first memory of games, like so many other people's, is playing with my family. I remember hiding behind pillows as I watched my mother play Super Punch Out!!. Or when I introduced my father to Wii Sports, the only game he ever learned to play, let alone asked to play with me. Whether in bars, malls, arcades, or living rooms, games have always been meant to be shared with others.

 

Why Making Multiplayer Games is Hard: Lag Compensating Weapons in MechWarrior Online

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Network latency, or lag, is a reality that multiplayer games need to deal with. Messages transmitted over the internet take time to reach their destination. Depending on the route and the distance they travel, these messages can spend a relatively long time in transit. This can have a negative impact on gameplay experience, especially for quick paced client-server games like first person shooters. What seems to be a very simple experience, like shooting and hitting a target, is suddenly very difficult to make consistent and satisfying for players. Needless to say, making multiplayer games is hard and there are many problems developers need to solve. In this article, I will discuss what MechWarrior Online’s weapons system does to deal with lag.

 

STALKER is the Last-Gen's Greatest Hero

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On a technical level, STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl is, quite possibly, one of the worst games ever made. I’ve never actually been afraid to attempt saving my game before for fear it would crash. One day, I left it paused for what must have been a dozen hours because I wasn’t sure it would actually start up again. My relationship with GSC Game World’s singular immersive survival game was off to a rocky start. In addition, the high from games like Portal, Call of Duty 4, and Bioshock still hadn’t worn off, so STALKER’s low production values compared poorly

.…yet, despite its shortcomings, and perhaps because of them, it saved my life.

 

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I really really hate actively playing No Man's Sky. I loathe its interface and I hate how aimless its design is. I also find it somewhat transcendent when I just give myself over to the game, and it has been a soothing presence after a lot of hectic days lately. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about that.

 

Modern Warfare 2 Deserves More Credit

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If there’s one thing you need to understand about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it’s this: this is a game condemning America’s political behavior for the past several decades, and it’s doing it by putting its audience in the shoes of everyone involved in the conflict.

For a game supposedly all about jingoism, Modern Warfare 2 often condemns it. As with previous Call of Duty games, a quote pops up on screen every time you die. Modern Warfare 2’s quotes are thematically coherent, railing against the insanity of nationalism disguised as patriotism, and sometimes even condemning patriotism itself.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it,” says Mark Twain. A quote from Goethe proclaims “Patriotism ruins history.” George Bernard Shaw’s quote reads “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.”

 

3 Lessons FPS can Learn from Hardcore Henry

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Recently, I caught Hardcore Henry, or what could be described as a live-action video game. The movie shown entirely in first-person featured epic shootouts, a burly brawl and things I can't mention without spoilers. One thing's for sure, despite mirroring first-person shooters, there are some lessons for developers to take note of.

 

Your Shooter Deserves Better Enemies

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So, you’re in charge of a brand new giant AAA video game, and the execs up top are expecting you to drop one of the most slammin’ game designs of 2018 on their desks. What do you do?

 

Why Horror Is Scarier With Weapons

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Our favorite games are often the ones that made us feel these really cool, powerful things. How’d you feel when you met your first Colossus or saw Rapture for the first time? I think the best games stick with us because everything about them, from mechanics to presentation, is all about crafting that perfect, powerful moment.

 

Distilling A Franchise: The Lara Croft GO Postmortem

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This multidisciplinary GDC 2016 talk from Square Enix Montreal's Antoine Routon is a postmortem of Lara Croft GO, discussing how the developer bridged the gap between two very different franchises, distilled the action-packed adventures of Lara into a puzzle format, and all the lessons that were learned along the way.

 

Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games

 

Heavy Rain Chase Fail (Hilarious Laughter)

Not new but something I go back and watch every now and then, and something everyone should see. Heavy Rain is always an amazing display of incompetent design choices.

 

THE NO MAN'S SKY RANT

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IT'S TIME TO GET SERIOUS

 

Deus Ex Mankind Divided Review Roundup: All The Scores In One Place

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Don’t have time to read all the reviews of the new Deus Ex? Don’t worry! We’ve read them all for you and wrapped them all up in one handy place. Read on!

Parody with short reviews written in the "style" of other sites.

 

Battlefield 1 reveal trailer remade with Team Fortress characters is awesome

 

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