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Wasteland 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 will feature multiplayer, Atlus removing Persona 5 videos, ASA investigates No Man's Sky marketing and what that will likely mean, Twitch will let you upload pre-recorded videos and introduces Twitch Prime, Super Mario Bros speedrun record broken by a single frame, Digital Homicide can't afford the cost of litigation, "serious" Sonic lore analysis, continued Star Citizen investigation, what do you actually do in games, fanboys upset over Titanfall 2 PS4 disk, Amazon developed games, a look at the development of Gears of War 4, interview with GaymerX founder, the popularity of World of Tanks, documentary on the history of PC platformers, a look at Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2's campaigns, and more.

 

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AJSA Youtube's This Week In Gaming

No news from Jason this week as he was not at home.

 

Gaming News

 

Twitch will now let you upload pre-recorded videos

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Twitch is primarily known as the premier place to watch livestreamed gameplay, but the company is ready to diversify. Users can now opt into an open beta that will let them upload videos to the platform, the company announced, giving them a new set of options for sharing their content with viewers.

Twitch Prime is Amazon’s latest Prime offering

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Twitch Prime is the newest enhancement for Amazon’s popular Prime subscription, bringing an array of “free” features and services to users of the popular video streaming platform.

 

Steam's secret Early Access rules reveal Valve's hands-off approach

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Previously only accessible by developers, PC Gamer has obtained a copy of Steam's Early Access rules and guidelines.

Valve must take greater ownership of Steam's Early Access program

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Early Access is a blessing, but it has many blemishes. Godus didn't come close to fulfilling its promises. Development on Spacebase DF-9 halted after it didn't make enough money through Early Access. Nosgoth, from Rocket League creators Psyonix, closed abruptly in May. Others, like pioneering survival game DayZ, continue to linger under the label after almost three years.

 

Windows 10 update fixes download issues with Forza 3, Gears 4, and others

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We noted last week that Forza Horizon 3 had become available for preloading, but that preloading wasn't working for everyone. Preloading is now over—the game came out a couple of days ago, and by the way it's good—and so the update released yesterday may not seem like the timeliest fix ever.

 

Steam now selling skins and hardware accessories for your Steam Controller

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Listen closely, do you hear that? It's the sound of Valve ever-so-quietly introducing a range of custom skins and accessories for its Steam Controller and Steam Link hardware in the Steam store.

 

Who Are the Star Citizen Superbackers?

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Since launching its Kickstarter back in the mists of late 2012, Star Citizen has made bank. Its backers have forked over around $110 million, through pledges, subscriptions and the purchase of virtual spaceships. What started as a cap-in-hand underdog has grown and mutated into a sodding great money-hound - and all before the game has even arrived.

But it isn’t just the total size of the pot that’s so staggering from the outside: it’s where Star Citizen’s cash comes from, with backers forking over bushels of cash (some of them thousands, some of them tens of thousands) in funding and in-game purchases as Star Citizen inches towards a nebulous future release.

Who are these people? And what drives them to lavish four or five-figure sums on a game that, lest we forget, isn’t really a game yet?

What Happened to Star Marine, Star Citizen's Missing Module

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Throughout 2015 Star Marine, Star Citizen’s first-person shooter module, was always just weeks away. In March, on a stage at PAX East, CEO of Cloud Imperium Games Chris Roberts said it would be released in three weeks. Five months later in August, he told GamersNexus that it was “a matter of three, four, maybe five weeks.” Today, more than a year on, Star Marine still isn’t in players’ hands.

Previous articles can be found in last weeks post.

 

CIVILIZATION VI - First Look: Arabia

How Civilization 6's fantastic music evolves through the eras

How Civilization VI Avoids the Boring Mid-Game

Dropping the Bomb in Civilization 6

Civilization 6: The most in-depth Civ yet

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This year marks the 25th anniversary of Sid Meier’s Civilization. It’s an important milestone for a series that has shaped the strategy genre in countless ways over the last quarter-century. The release of Civilization VI is the next big step, and after 2014’s good-but-not-outstanding Civilization: Beyond Earth, which felt more like a spinoff than a sequel, expectations are high.

The good news is that in the 15 hours and several hundred turns I've poured into a pre-release version of the game—which features all of the structural and mechanical features from the retail release, half of the game’s 20 distinct civilisations, a comprehensive list of different map types, three map sizes, and two game speeds—Civ VI is already very good indeed. It might even be the most in-depth Civilization game to date.

Every Civilization 6 leader, their unique stuff, and strategies for playing

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The unique units and structures for all of Civ's civs. Plus: strategies and historical trivia about each leader.

 

STORM OF STEEL! - Battlefield 1 - 12 Minutes of Single Player Gameplay

BATTLEFIELD 1 Single Player Campaign Intro Cutscene

 

Wasteland 3 will have multiplayer, XCOM-style cinematic camera

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After several wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns, InExile Entertainment is ready to launch its next project. The pitch for Wasteland 3, the sequel to Wasteland 2, is ambitious. While the game itself promises to be a bit shorter at 50 hours, the graphics and the feature set will be significantly beefed up. We spoke with studio head Brian Fargo last week to get more details.

 

New Video & Exploration in Bard's Tale IV

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Recently, lead designer David Rogers and I have been working on what we've been calling the "Adventuring Tools and Content Keys" systems for the game, and for this update we thought we'd share some details about how it all works.

 

"I keep discovering new things about it" - Torment: Tides of Numenera's Colin McComb on the new Crisis system

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What is Planescape: Torment’s legacy? It’s not an intentionally difficult question, but Torment: Tides of Numenera’s creative lead Colin McComb takes a few seconds as he considers his answer.

“An engaging, philosophically thoughtful and deep story that has the potential to shape people's lives for the better,” he replies. “To show them that there are better ways, or alternate ways, of getting around difficulties in their life that they had not previously considered.”

 

Why There Are Barely Any 'Persona 5' Videos on YouTube

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Let's Plays are recordings of video game playthroughs that generate billions of views on YouTube. If you search for a Let's Play of Persona 5, however, you won't find many. That's because Atlus, the game's developer and publisher, has been targeting YouTube channels with takedown notices.

The Persona 5 Controversy In South Korea

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But South Korea isn’t Japan, and just as some imagery in Baymax upset people in the country, these sneakers appear to be doing the same. Don’t be surprised if the shoes are slightly changed for the South Korean release.

 

Dishonored 2 –Clockwork Mansion Gameplay Trailer (High Chaos) PEGI

Dishonored 2: Non-Lethal Gameplay!

Playing the Stealthy ‘Dishonored 2’ Like ‘Bulletstorm’ Is Bloody Brilliant Fun

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And you can get a flavour for how Bulletstorm's energy leash-assisted kills work through a very unlikely source, arriving before the remaster: Arkane Studios' sequel to its excellent stealth game of 2012, Dishonored. I played a very small slice of Dishonored 2 at E3, but much like its predecessor this isn't the kind of game that can impress inside 20 minutes – and nor should it be made to. I came away from that experience unmoved, and was neither shaken nor stirred on seeing the clockwork soldiers of genius inventor Kirin Jindosh at Gamescom, in a hands-off preview situation.

 

A Horror Game Where The AI Learns From Your Every Move

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Ever been curious about a neighbor—so curious that you’ve considered snooping? Announced today, stealth horror PC game Hello Neighbor will take that spying, meddling impulse to the extreme. Also extreme is your enemy, just a friendly neighborhood AI who learns from your every move.

 

Five Fun Diversions In Horizon Zero Dawn's Open World

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While we visited Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam, we saw some of the things you can do in the world. Here are five ways you can spend some of your time, and Guerrilla says there's plenty more side events it hasn't revealed yet.

 

Destiny 2 rumored to be coming to PC

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Bungie's online FPS Destiny never made it to the PC, which I've always thought was an unfortunate omission. But the sequel, which has not actually even been announced yet, might. A post on NeoGAF, from a guy who knows a guy who works at Activision, says his buddy told him that the existence of a PC version of Destiny 2 “is being internally communicated to employees.”

 

Danganronpa 1&2 Reload Revealed for PS4

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I was talking about that with my coworker a little while back — about how sad it was that PS4 owners were missing out on some of the quirkiest characters and greatest storytelling of our time — and then he had an idea. What if we talked with developer Spike Chunsoft and they brought Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair to PS4?

 

Yooka-Laylee is Getting a Boxed Release

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Playtonic Games has announced Yooka-Laylee, its spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, will be available as a boxed product alongside the previously announced digital version.

 

Cyberpunk 2077 may feature seamless multiplayer and a huge living city

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CD Projekt RED wants Cyberpunk 2077 to be even better than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. That is why they applied for a grant for creating seamless multiplayer and a huge living city.

 

Funcom’s Hide And Shriek Is A 1v1 Jumpscare ‘Em Up

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The Secret World developers Funcom have announced a new spin-off from their supernatural MMORPG, a 1v1 competitive jumpscare ’em up named Hide and Shriek [official site]. It sees two teens sneaking around school on Halloween, trying to find the other one and give them a dang good jumpscaring. Oh, and they’re both invisible. The Innsmouth Academy does have some odd traditions, and we’ll all get to join in this Halloween when the game arrives.

 

How 'Mafia III' Intends To Make Players Confront Racism

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To dig deeper into Mafia III's ambitions, history, and politics—and to get the perspective of a black developer working on the project—I called the game's Senior Writer, Charles Webb.

Born and raised in Florida, Webb spent the last decade moving between roles as a game maker and a pop culture journalist and critic. As a developer, he worked as a writer and editor for companies like Microsoft, Twistory, and Longtail Studios; as a critic, he wrote for publications like MTV.com, Paste, and Nerdist, where he reviewed games, comics, and movies (and tackled issues like representation). I spoke with Webb about how he brings that experience forward into Mafia III, a game that also finds itself torn between two identities: pulpy revenge story and racially-aware period piece.

Reviving Mafia Part 1: The Rebirth of a Franchise

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In the first episode of Reviving Mafia, GameSpot explores the creation of Hangar 13, the rebirth of the Mafia franchise, and the issues the developers encountered along the way. First of three in a series. 2K Games provided travel to New Orleans for broll.

Reviving Mafia Part 2: Crafting a Digital New Orleans

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In the second episode of our three-part Reviving Mafia series, we explore the creation of New Bordeaux, Hangar 13's fictional counterpart to New Orleans, and the setting for the Mafia franchise's first true open-world.

 

Final Fantasy 15’s death magic is extremely, unsurprisingly disturbing

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Final Fantasy 15 made an appearance at this weekend’s TwitchCon 2016 event, and Square Enix debuted footage of one of the deadliest types of magic in the game.

 

Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel Coming To PC

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I’m glad to see more Japanese fighting games come over from consoles because 1) they’re a genre and origin traditionally under-represented here; 2) sometimes they are super weird and I adore that. So coo ‘eck, crossover fighting game Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel [official site] is coming to Windows this winter.

 

Suda51's The Silver Case out this week

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Grasshopper Manufacture's The Silver Case, a Japanese-only visual novel that originally came out in 1998, is being remastered for modern times, and for a Western audience. It'll be out on Playism, Humble and Steam on October 7

 

Space Hulk: Deathwing - Arsenal Trailer

 

Some Of Amazon's New Games Actually Sound Pretty Cool

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Amazon finally showed their hand last night during TwitchCon, announcing a trio of new games that their studios have been developing over the past few years. A couple of them sound pretty damn cool.

 

See a sneaky nighttime infiltration in Ghost Recon Wildlands

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Ubisoft are showing off more from open-world co-op shooter Ghost Recon Wildlands, with the latest video highlighting some of the choices players will be faced with in each mission. In this case, the team of developers are sneaking in under the cover of darkness, using a helicopter to base jump to the starting point.

 

Failbetter co-founder's Cultist Simulator out next Halloween

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Hey you, have a read of Joe's interview with Failbetter co-founder and writer Alexis Kennedy, who you'll surely know from Fallen London, Sunless Sea, and from the recent news that he'll be BioWare's first guest writer, scribing probably for something that rhymes with 'Bragon Rage'. Now you're suitably excited for Kennedy's Cultist Simulator, a "single-player digital board game of mystery, experimentation and self-destruction".

 

How combat works in Vampyr, Dontnod’s Life Is Strange follow-up

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Hi everyone! I’m Philippe Moreau, Vampyr‘s game director. Today, I’ll be running through the combat system we have in our new game.

 

Yomawari: Night Alone - Countdown to Nightmares Teaser Trailer

 

Resident Evil 7, Batman Arkham VR set to be PlayStation VR timed exclusives

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Both the VR-compatible Resident Evil 7 biohazard and Batman Arkham VR will be exclusively available on PlayStation VR — at least, for a limited time. An ad on the Facebook page for PlayStation Europe suggests that both games will have timed platform exclusivity for up to a year.

 

NIDHOGG 2 IS GOING TO EAT YOU ALIVE

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It was a cult hit, but a cult hit you could play on nearly anything, as long as you had two people. The opposing fencers were rendered in bright colors of orange and yellow, blood spurting neon in their signature shades as the battle raged on. Now, Nidhogg 2 is coming, and it’s ditched its garishly simple visuals for something busier: a retro-ish 16-bit art style, with characters that look like nude monsters torn from a Troma movie.

 

Pokémon Sun and Moon's starter evolutions may sway you on which partner to pick

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When Pokémon Sun and Moon were announced five months ago, we were faced with some tough decisions about which version to get — and with which starter Pokémon we'd embark upon our journey. Now, just a month ahead of the games' Nov. 18 launch, we're reconsidering those choices as we become acquainted with the first evolutionary form of each of these partner Pokémon.

Pokémon Sun and Moon's online features take a cue from Pokémon Stadium

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The Pokémon Stadium games were once the crown jewels of Pokémon spinoffs, translating the 2D fighting of the Game Boy RPGs to the three-dimensional space on console. We haven't had another entry in that series since 2000's Pokémon Stadium 2, but the return of the online Global Link system to this November's Pokémon Sun and Moon includes a feature that should please nostalgic players.

 

Rhythm action game Thumper out next week

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Phil couldn't have made rhythm action game Thumper sound less appealing to me when he described it (positively) as a "simulated panic attack", but I am curious to see what that means.

 

Here's some new footage of Titanfall 2's singleplayer campaign

Titanfall 2's single-player campaign is a fun romp through a series of 'action blocks'

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When Respawn Entertainment started work on the single-player story campaign for Titanfall 2, the developer tasked its designers with creating a series of what it called "action blocks." These hundreds of gameplay prototypes explored, bit by bit, how players would move through the alien world of Titanfall 2 as a Pilot, a 30-foot Titan and the combination of the two.

 

The Escapists 2 announced, adds multiplayer and more detailed sprites

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The Escapists 2 is coming to PC (via Steam) and consoles in 2017, and brings multiplayer to Mouldy Toof's sandbox prison escape game.

 

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition rated for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in Brazil

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The Brazil Advisory Rating Board has rated Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

 

The first 20 minutes of Gears of War 4 revisits key battles in Gears history

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Gears 4 opens with a prologue that's a tutorial and a history lesson, all in one.

 

Source: Battleborn Is Going Free-To-Play Soon [UPDATE] (updated to show Randy Pitchford saying the game will not be free but that it will have some type of free trial with purchasable content)

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The underperforming hero shooter Battleborn will go free-to-play within the couple of months, a person familiar with plans for the game told Kotaku. Word is the announcement will come by mid-November, but that could change. (We hear the move has already been delayed a couple of times.)

 

New Mortal Kombat X Update Brings a Huge List of Balance Changes

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The PC version of Mortal Kombat XL releases tomorrow, alongside a huge patch that makes a bunch of changes. The update intends to take both the higher- and lower-tier characters and bring them in line with those in the middle. Creator Ed Boon says the changes focus on making a "more balanced, more fun" experience.

 

Stardew Valley update adds magical buildings and divorce, playable in beta now

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Tom took a look at the upcoming Stardew Valley 1.1 update a few weeks ago at PAX, and he was pretty impressed with what he saw. That update is now available to play through the game's Steam beta branch. Creator Eric Barone posted a message on the official forums today saying it's “basically finished,” along with a full list of the many changes it will make.

 

The Tau Empire comes to Battlefleet Gothic: Armada, and they're not alone

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The Battlefleet Gothic: Armada Tau Empire DLC is now live, and that means it's time to watch a new trailer featuring massive, over-designed warships blowing each other to pieces in the cold depths of space.  

 

Darkest Dungeon is getting a new playable class in The Crimson Court DLC

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The announcement contains very little information, but what's there—including the creepy-as-hell image below and "The Blood! I must have the Blood!"—would seem to point at the coming of vampires.

 

Black Ops 3's last DLC pack comes to PC, Xbox One this week

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The final DLC pack for 2015's Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will launch for Windows PC and Xbox One on Thursday, following a month of exclusivity on PlayStation 4.

 

Anno 2205: Frontiers DLC out now, adds cyborgs

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Blue Byte's futuristic citybuilder Anno 2205 gets a new expansion today in the form of Frontiers. What does Frontiers add, exactly? I mean, that's quite a name to live up to. Turns out Frontiers adds cyborgs, something I think we can all agree was missing from the gleaming skycraper game at launch.

 

Rocket League update adds AquaDome, AquaCars

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Andy mentioned 12 days ago that Rocket League's AquaDome update (it adds an 'AquaDome' and 'AquaCars', natch) would be arriving in October, and now that we're in October, that update has suddenly appeared. You want to battle other cars in a big game of football under the sea, right? Of course you do, so get a load of update 1.24's patch notes, which break down all the stuff that's just been elbowed in.

 

Bungie Removes Destiny's Most Popular Exploit

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Farewell, Omnigul farming. Thanks to a new hotfix, Destiny players will no longer be able to repeatedly kill Omnigul for blue loot. Moon wizards, rejoice.

 

Advertising Standards launches investigation into No Man's Sky

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The Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed to Eurogamer that it has launched an investigation into No Man's Sky.

As mentioned here

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The ASA is more about ensuring compliance with codes than issuing punishments. For repeat offenders there are other organisation to which the ASA can refer the matter if fining or legal action is to be brought. But the ASA’s own clout hinges around bad publicity – companies being listed as non-compliant on the ASA’s website, the ASA asking search websites to remove paid-for ads that lead consumers to misleading marketing, or launching an AdWords campaign against a business to warn consumers about your services.

But that only happens in extreme circumstances. The verdict I seem to read most often on upheld claims is that the ad mustn’t appear any more in its current form and the organisation mustn’t do this sort of thing again. That’s what’s happened here too:

So basically they’ve told Steam not to use the ad again (although the sale has been over for months) and to adhere to advertising standards guidelines in future.

We talk to lawyers about the No Man's Sky false advertising investigation

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After restating his belief that Hello Games has neither broken the law nor purposely deceived any of its players, Morrison closes with a piece of advice it's always worth reiterating: "People need to stop pre-ordering games."

 

Deep Silver partners with Warhorse to publish crowdfunded RPG

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Czech startup Warhorse Studios has found a co-publisher for its crowd funded medieval RPG, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, in Persona 5's European distributor, Deep Silver.

 

Tribes Is Dead Again

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Tribes Ascend, a 2012 game which in 2015 made a surprising comeback from the dead, is now dead once more, with developers Hi-Rez today issuing the game’s final patch to a community that’s understandably upset, if also accepting of the game’s fate.

 

Microsoft's Original Xbox One Goal Was to Sell 200 Million Consoles

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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has revealed that Microsoft's original goal, at the time when Don Mattrick was running the Xbox division, was for the Xbox One brand to sell 200 million consoles.

 

Vivendi bides its time as Ubisoft re-elects Yves Guillemot as chairman

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Vivendi’s continuing shadow war to take control of French developer and publisher Ubisoft seems to be temporarily put on pause.

 

Dev who sued Steam users drops lawsuit

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Arizona-based game dev Digital Homicide appears to be (at least temporarily) out of business, as studio cofounder James Romine last week filed a motion to delay or dismiss without prejudice the ~$18 million lawsuit he recently filed against a group of Steam users because he can't afford the cost of litigation.

 

Kerbal Space Program studio Squad suffers mass departures

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Eight Kerbal Space Program developers just simultaneously announced their exit from developers Squad, sparking speculation that KSP has seen its last update in 1.2.

 

Insomniac would ‘love for Sunset Overdrive to come to PC’ if given the go ahead

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Insomniac Games’ larger-than-life open-world third-person shooter Sunset Overdrive launched in 2014 as an Xbox One exclusive. It remains narrowly tied to Microsoft’s latest console hardware, however it seems the Californian developer would “love for it to come to PC”, should the powers that be allow it.

 

FIFA 17 breaks series' launch week sales record

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A small game named FIFA 17 released in the UK last week and earned the highest UK launch sales of any FIFA title, ever.

 

US gov't re-ups interest in game education funding with $583K for MassDiGI

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For those interested in the state of academic game programs in the United States, here’s some good news.

 

Girl Scouts hold another event where girls earn video game patches

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Women in Games International and the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles are holding an event on October 1 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Sony PlayStation Santa Monica Studio in Santa Monica, Calif. The move comes three years after the Boy Scouts created a merit badge series in 2013.

 

Esports News

 

Here's How To Get Started Watching The League of Legends World Championships

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When it comes to competitive gaming, League of Legends is soccer and the month long championship tournament that kicked off earlier this week is its world cup. The event, referred to as “Worlds” for short, sees 14 teams from five different regions, as well as two wildcards, compete for a grand prize of over $1,000,000 in front of one of esports’ largest audiences.

 

The Weekend In Esports: League of Legends And More League of Legends

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A look at the Esports scenes of different games throughout the week.

 

An Intense 1v4 And Other Amazing Plays From Last Night's Counter-Strike Tournament

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The final rounds of the ESL One New York Counterstrike: Global Offensive tournament were held last night. You’ve already seen someone toss their gun at another player in the semi finals. Here are some other amazing plays from the final match between Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro.

Counter-Strike Pro Clutches Round By Throwing His Gun

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Perhaps the match’s best moment came early in the third and final game when recent addition to the team, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostylev, did something a bit unorthodox.

 

Overwatch's first big tournament pays out $100,000

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Misfits, the European eSports team, took a $100,000 payday at the inaugural Overwatch Open Grand Final last night, the largest prize offered so far in the shooter's young competitive history.

 

American SC2 player becomes first non-Korean to win major Korean tournament in 16 years

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For the first time in 16 years, a non-Korean player has won a major Korean StarCraft tournament. American Protoss player Alex “Neeb” Sunderhaft took out Korean Protoss player Cho Sung “Trap” Ho 4-o in the 2016 StarCraft II KeSPA Cup—an international tournament typically dominated by Korean players.

 

Esports are now officially legal in France

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Wednesday, the French Senate unanimously adopted the last version of the Numeric Law (Loi pour une République Numérique), giving a frame to pro-gamers contracts and differentiating esports from gambling—therefore making it legal and making visa processes easier. The Senate vote was the last necessary step before the proposal became law.

 

Call of Duty pro Phillip 'PHiZZURP' Klemenov passes away after car accident

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Phillip "PHiZZURP" Klemenov, who competed in professional Call of Duty for more than five years, has passed away. The 23-year-old was involved in a car accident in Colorado early Sunday morning.

 

Crowdfunding News

 

Every Fig backer can finally pony up for Psychonauts 2

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The Fig equity crowdfunding platform has finally finished its review process with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Voyage of Fortune's Star — a 7th Sea cRPG

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The highest-funded roleplaying game of all time sails off the tabletop in our carefully-crafted, story-driven, single player cRPG.

 

Backdrop - Behind the curtain. A unique RPG experience

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A radically different RPG experience in which the world really IS a stage. Words hurt, masks have power and combat is truly dramatic!

 

Make Sail

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Make Sail is a physics construction adventure. Sail your creations through advanced water and wind simulations. Survive an ocean of storms and beasts. Find better parts for better boats and share them online.

 

GX Australia 2017 — Australia's most inclusive convention!

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GX Australia is the most inclusive convention for gamers and geeks of all types! Whatever your hobby, you're amongst friends here.

After our first hugely successful event in February, 2016, we're super excited to be able to bring the convention to Sydney again for a second year. At the debut convention, nearly eight hundred attendees trekked out to the Australian Technology Park for two days of geekery and fun. For our second year, we're making awesome changes and taking on board requests, considerations, and feedback from the first event.

 

Other content I found interesting this week

 

Forerunners is a neat mini-documentary about the history of PC platformers

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As far as sidescrolling platformers of the '90s go, consoles have a monopoly on the era's canonical titles. But if you were anything like me, reared on Apogee and Epic Megagames shareware, names like Monster Bash, Commander Keen and Jill of the Jungle probably evoke more fond memories than Mario.

 

What do you actually do in games?

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Here's a question: What do you do in Mario?

Good question. I love Mario! In Mario you run and jump and defeat enemies. You explore. You get from left to right. You sometimes climb flagpoles. If it's Mario 2 you pick and throw vegetables. If it's Super Mario World, you get to knock about on a dinosaur. If it's Mario Galaxy you dropkick meteors into the heart of a distant sun. Mario is pretty good when it comes to doing things. It excels at getting things done. It has purity, and it also has range.

But still, I don't think the answer is even that simple.

 

We made a Doom level and got id designers to critique it

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I’ve played, and reviewed, a lot of first-person shooters. So when id Software announced SnapMap—an accessible map editor bundled with their superb Doom reboot—I decided to try to apply that experience to creating my own level. Without having to worry about coding and all the other stuff actual game developers have to deal with, I’ll be free to focus purely on the design. And when it’s finished I’ll get some of the team who worked on the game, and on SnapMap itself, to give it an honest review. Because it’s about time we critics faced some criticism ourselves.

 

To understand Overwatch, you need to look at its architecture

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There are two banners hung on the wall next to each other inside Shimada Castle—the major landmark of the Hanamura map in Overwatch. Between them, these banners spell out an ancient Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” It speaks of a persistence that Overwatch players would do well to take on at all times, but this goes especially so in the case of Shimada Castle, whose entrance gate is among the hardest chokepoints to penetrate in the game.

 

PLAY KENTUCKY ROUTE ZERO NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

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Kentucky Route Zero is defined by its voids. From its haunting, shadowy landscapes to its characters’ featureless faces, the meditative, five-part digital stage play offers players plenty of empty spaces to fill in or leave blank at their discretion. The increasingly large gaps between the releases of each new chapter of the still-in-development story are another kind of void. We only just got Act IV after an 18-month wait, which means that at the current exponential rate, the final act won’t show up until late 2020. Intentionally or not, these tremendous expanses between releases have come to define Kentucky Route Zero as much as any individual aesthetic choice. And though many players are eager to jump from one act right into the next, these waiting periods have forced restraint and opened up an experience with Kentucky Route Zero’s world that can’t be replicated by bingeing through it.

 

GaymerX founder Matt Conn says video games belong to everyone

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Conn: It’s tough. There’s a level of—at least within the industry, I’ve met a lot of people 35 and up who are—I meet them and they’re openly gay with me, but they’re not out at work. They’re at Sony or other Japanese companies and they’re terrified, because they remember what it was like 10 years ago or more when that was like a death sentence. I’ve heard all these stories about what it’s like at Namco Bandai or other places, where if you’re gay, that’s it, you’re out.For a lot of companies, they can’t—these last five years have changed things quite a bit. It’s interesting that it hasn’t really reached the top yet, though. Video games are still a very conservative industry, especially the Japanese base.

GamesBeat: Would you say that LGBTQ issues are maybe a little behind other diversity initiatives?

Conn: Part of it is. I can’t understate—because the core of the video game industry comes from Japan, and you have companies like—we see a lot of games from PlayStation. We have a lot of friends at PlayStation. Every year I ask them if they want to be part of GaymerX, and every year they say, “Well, you know how it is. It would have to go up the chain, it would get to Japan, and they’re not going to like it.” We talk to Nintendo about including queer characters in Tomodachi Life, and they say, “We didn’t want to make a political statement.”It comes from a very—the Japanese just don’t really understand the social changes going on right now in America. And because they have so much influence on the industry, that’s one of the blockers.

 

Tokyo Game Showing - How much does it really cost?

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It's my opinion that Tokyo Game Show should be on the annual to do list of any game lover. Over the last few years it has lost some of its reputation as a show full of new reveals and announcements (bar some games that never make it out of Japan), but the craziness of Japan shines through the whole festival giving show goers experiences not seen in western shows such as PAX, E3 and Gamescom. This is a show where booth babes seem mandatory, cuteness levels are taken to the extreme, cosplay is an art form and you will see some of the most bizarre and downright ‘only in Japan’ games that would never see the light of day outside the country.

This post is intended for first-time visitors to the Tokyo Game Show, both gamers and exhibitors, where I will break down our costs for Blue Volcano to attend, and look at who else will get a solid cost-benefit ratio from checking out the Japans premier game show. I will write later about my personal experience as a traveller and a gamer, including great games that I saw and people that I met.

 

Why World of Tanks Is Wildly Popular and No One Seems to Know Why

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The World of Tanks had always been a foreign one to me. It was a game that mystified me on two levels. The first stemmed from its success as a free-to-play tanks game. Gameplay places a player in control of an armored vehicle from a first- or third-person view. Multiple game modes are available, with players able to group up with others for a variety of team fight modes. Driving and shooting a tank is fairly straightforward, but the bulk of the gameplay strategy comes from positioning, map and terrain awareness, and knowing the best spots to target on an enemy tank. At first glance, it was standard artillery warfare gameplay.

Outside of the game, I frequently came across large-scale, well-produced World of Tanks events for the public and media. I repeatedly heard about the game's popularity, read about how it topped various worldwide free-to-play lists, driven by the large size of its active player base. How the revenue it generated was among the top five free-to-play PC games in the world.

As if the game's placement on these charts wasn’t proof enough of its success, Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi is one of the three gaming executives to be inducted into the industry's billionaire club, sharing company with Gabe Newell and Markus "Notch" Persson. Think about that for a moment. Kislyi is part of a club whose only other company is the co-founder of Valve (and one of the key people responsible for digital-distribution platform Steam) and the creator of Minecraft, the best-selling PC game of all time.

 

Hit Dating Game Mystic Messenger Makes A Game Out Of Emotional Labor

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The Korean dating simulator Mystic Messenger has become somewhat of a sensation among over a million women worldwide. It’s an “otome” game (literally, “maiden game”) that offers female players a harem of anime boys to court. These suitors are all charming in their own ways and all have their particular emotional needs. And, goddamn, are they needy.

 

AGAINST CRAFTING

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Some videogames exist solely to allow us to make things: Minecraft (2009), LittleBigPlanet (2008), Super Mario Maker (2015). Many more games—too many more games—ask us to make things for no good reason. Crafting systems were once grafted-on additions to games already engorged with an excess of “features.” They have evolved; they have expanded; they have become sentient. They need to be stopped. This is a manifesto against them.

 

World Record For Super Mario Bros. Broken By A Single Frame

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The previous record was held by Darbian, whose time for completing the game stood at 4:57.244. Kosmic’s time was 4:57.227, a difference of .017, seconds, or one sixtieth of a second. In other words: a single frame.

 

Speedrunners Finally Pull Off The 'Holy Grail' Of Mario 64 Glitches

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Since it came out 20 years ago, Super Mario 64 has been cracked open, turned inside-out, and put back together in all sorts of weird configurations, but people keep figuring out new ways to warp its candy colored reality. The latest is being billed as the biggest speedrun breakthrough since 2007.

 

FIFA 17's player ratings system blends advanced stats and subjective scouting

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"There's always a player from the second division in Switzerland who gets bought on transfer deadline day," he tells ESPN FC, "and all you know about this player is his name, date of birth and his position -- and his position may be as precise as, 'Oh, he's a midfielder.'

"And this player has to go into the game."

 

The Student Has Become the Master: Why Yakuza Is Better Than Shenmue

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In many ways, the Shenmue series is the Fountain of its video game niche: whenever it's presented or mentioned, it throws everything else into shadow. This becomes an injustice when something as exceptionally well conceived and executed as the Yakuza series is left to go comparatively neglected.

 

History Respawned: BioShock

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John talks to Bob and Robert Greene II about Bioshock. Topics include the historical context of objectivism, business leaders in American politics, and how objectivism relates to other strains of American intellectual thought and political culture.

1:45 Ayn Rand and Objectivism

2:58 The history behind Andrew Ryan

5:39 Business leaders in American history

8:06 Bioshock and today's conversations about objectivism

14:01 A vote for Andrew Ryan?

 

Joseph Anderson Vs No Man's Sky

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Part One - 99 Problems - 0:00

Part One and a Half - 99 More - 12:44 (no title card)

Part Two - Journey to the Center - 25:52

The script for this video has been posted if you'd like to read along, or want to review what I say afterwards

 

How Mega Man Survived Its Creator Leaving Capcom

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After the success of Mega Man 2 in 1988, Akira Kitamura, creator of the character and director of the first two games in the series, left Capcom. This is the story of the struggles the team he left behind had in carrying on without him.

 

History of Gears of War

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With Gears of War 4 on the horizon, Mary offers an in-depth history of the storied franchise from its earliest stages in the unreal engine to the newest episode under Microsoft's leadership. Get caught up and get ready for more Gears!

 

Designing Asymmetric Gameplay For Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

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In this GDC 2016 talk, Steel Crate Games' Ben Kane explains how Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes was built for asymmetric gameplay that helped turn the normally antisocial VR experience into a cooperative experience.

 

Making a Big Budget Video Game Is Riskier and Harder Than Ever. So Why Do It?

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This is part of Motherboard's series on the making of Gears of War 4.

Rod Fergusson is playing an unfinished video game in front of 3,000 people at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Another 4.5 million are watching him live at home. It’s Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference, and this is Fergusson's opportunity to show everyone why they should spend $60 on Gears of War 4 when it comes out on October 11.

 

Why is selling good games so hard? Book of Demons Early Access launch postmortem.

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It seems like it was yesterday, but it’s actually been two months since we launched Book of Demons on Steam Early Access. Although most of our team at Thing Trunk has vast experience in game dev, this was the first Early Access launch for all of us. So how did it go and did we learn anything? Read on to learn all the pretty and all the ugly details.

 

Paper Mario's Evolution from RPG to Adventure Game Draws a Line to a Forgotten Corner of Nintendo's Past

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While some players understandably feel put out by the change, it feels awfully true to Nintendo's habits. Not so much in the sense of the chimerical transformation that stirs up controversy among fans (though that's certainly a Nintendo trademark, no question about it) but rather in the way the evolution of Paper Mario is not so much a bold step forward as it is a case of the company reaching around and drawing on an abandoned piece of its own history.

 

Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games

 

SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS

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I finally got around to playing 'Sonic The Hedgehog', an old platformer from 1991. Here are my thoughts about its story, themes and meaning, presented in a highly appropriate manner.

 

Titanfall 2 Disk

I've seen a lot of miserable outraged fanboys who attach their identity to a corporate product before (frequent occurrence in video games), but this might be one of the most embarrassing and funniest ones I've seen recently. There are Youtubers talking about the biased anti-Xbox marketing over this, sad to not be able to create anything interesting and to have to resort to that kind of content. They could have just posted a picture of the Origin page, clearly they hate PC gamers (though that would at least make slightly more sense as the beta skipped the PC).

 

Development

FIFA Games Always Have The Best Glitches

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It’s only been a week since FIFA 17 dropped, and we’re already seeing some of the most hilarious glitches of the year.

 

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