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Nintendo Switch information and game reveals, 100+ short developer interviews, both plenty and pretty good banging to be in Mass Effect Andromeda, Swery65 creates indie studio White Owls, Microsoft confirms Game Mode for Windows 10, how Resident Evil 4 turned System Shock 3 into Dead Space, the introductory levels that developers should learn from, writing Lara Croft, Games Journalism Awards, how the Prison Architect developers broke the Geneva Conventions, Games Done Quick raises over 2.2 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, closing Vancouver’s Indie House, an interview with the original Princess Maker 2 localizer, the best quest in Dragon Age Origins, how small changes in Bloodborne make a big difference in gameplay and themes, and more.

 

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Gaming News (Announcements, release dates, previews, interviews, expansions, DLC, updates, company news, new tech, mods)

 

Games Journalism Awards

All excellent choices for writing and at least one video, by Errant Signal, two of the written ones I also had in my Best Game's Writing of 2016 list.

 

Everything We Know About Nintendo Switch

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Nintendo’s new video game console, the Nintendo Switch, will be out on March 3, 2017 across all territories. It’ll cost $299.99 in the US.

Nintendo Switch Translator Struggled to Translate Suda51, and for Good Reason

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During last week's Nintendo Switch Presentation, one of the translators on the English stream seemed to have a hard time translating notoriously eccentric game designer Suda51.

Nintendo Exec on NES Classic Shortages, Nintendo Switch Supply

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Nintendo of American president Reggie Fils-Aime has responded to the NES Classic shortages and discussed the company's plans for the Switch launch in March as it relates to supply.

Nintendo Offers Metroid, Mother 3 Fans a Glimmer of Hope

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"[T]alk to me in a year and let's look back and see what's happened."

Why Switch Doesn't Include Any Bundled Games

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After landing on the $300 price, Nintendo decided to leave it to consumers to choose what games to buy.

Will the Switch outsell the Wii U? Gamasutra staff weighs in

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Last night, Nintendo revealed more details about the Switch, including price, release date, upcoming games (including two launch titles), and how exactly the controllers work. They also announced that "in general," the games would be region-free, and that they would be launching a paid online game service later this year.

Many fans were ecstatic about what they saw, but today the company's stock slumped.

Handicapping the Switch's chances: Industry analysts weigh in

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We reached out to several games industry analysts to get their take as well.

Hands On With The Nintendo Switch

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The first thing you notice about the Switch, Nintendo’s sleek new portable console, is how small the controllers are. Each JoyCon (lol) is roughly four inches, or about the size of a Kotaku news editor’s palm. Compared to, say, the Wiimote, they’re downright tiny.

Nintendo Switch: The Size Comparison

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The Nintendo Switch is slightly smaller but significantly heavier than the Wii U gamepad. The Switch’s JoyCons are tinier than a Game Boy Micro. And the whole system can fit in your back pocket... sort of.

The Nintendo Switch Feels High Quality, But the Games Aren’t Ready Yet

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Three hours with the console leaves me with the impression that it’s got buckets of potential, but the launch titles are a little lackluster.

Nintendo Switch online service's 'free' monthly games come with a huge catch

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I think that’s just called a ‘free’ rental then?

NINTENDO TALKS VOICE CHAT, ONLINE APPROACH FOR SWITCH

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When asked why voice chat for Nintendo Switch will be tied to a mobile app, Reggie said, "we want to reinforce the capability to take your experience with you on the go.... The ability to do matchmaking, voice chat through your phone, it's a hell of a lot more convenient than having a gamer headset stuck into your backpack trying to do that. That's why we're doing it the way we are. We see the convenience, we see the ease of delivery. We think it's going to lead to a better experience."

Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto Didn't Lead Switch Development

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Not working on Switch is what allowed the 'Mario' creator to focus on mobile games and theme parks

What Nintendo Fucked Up With The Switch So Far (The Jimquisition)

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The Nintendo Switch Presentation revealed more details about March's Wii U successor and... it was okay. The presentation was okay.

However, it wouldn't be Nintendo without some frustrating, infuriating caveats, so let's see how they ballsed this one up, shall we?

 

Microsoft Confirms Game Mode for Windows 10 That Improves Performance

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As previously rumored, Windows 10 will soon incorporate a new Game Mode feature that improves system performance while playing PC games. This was confirmed by Microsoft today, though the exact nature of how it works remains to be seen.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild comes to Nintendo Switch on 3/3!

Let's Talk About Princess Zelda's New Look

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While she’s worn more than one outfit over the years, Princess Zelda’s pink dress is her most well-known sartorial choice. In the new trailer for Breath of the Wild from last night’s Nintendo Switch presentation, we got a closer look at Zelda’s outfit in the game, as well as the Amiibo accompanying the game. She’s in a blue top and pants, and while it’s pretty huge departure from previous games, it looks awesome.

 

Splatoon 2 - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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Splatoon 2 comes to Nintendo Switch this summer. Grab your splat roller… It's on!

 

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord creators give update on development progress

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Work is progressing, but there's still no sign of a release date.

 

Shovel Knight Is Coming To Switch, Getting A New Structure And Price

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Shovel Knight will be released on the Nintendo Switch. The popular platformer is also getting a slew of additional modes as well as new name and price.

 

Nioh Goes Gold, Release Date Confirmed

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"Succeeded in master up" is so much better than "gone gold," don't you think?

Nioh to add free PvP mode after launch

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Free update due out shortly after launch.

‘Nioh’ Is a Richly Detailed, Devilishly Challenging RPG That’s Just Too Tough for Me

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The prospect of playing a game that began life as an unfinished Akira Kurosawa script, and has been through several stylistic and story changes—originally a more traditional RPG, it then went in a more Dynasty Warriors direction before ending up as its Souls-like final form—is hugely appealing to me. I love a game with kinks and cracks in its creation; where development has evolved rather than remain crystallised from day one. That's how all games should come together. Nioh's real-world historical foundations, folded around local folklore in the form of the yokai enemies and allies, also represents an intriguing mix of the relatable and fantastical.    

 

Diluvion gameplay demo - The PC Gamer Show

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The PC Gamer Show is our weekly livestreamed podcast, airing every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on Twitch. This is the full episode from Wednesday, January 11th, 2017.

 

GEARBOX CEO DOESN'T SEE BORDERLANDS 3 COMING TO NINTENDO SWITCH

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Borderlands 3 won't likely come to Nintendo Switch, if a recent statement made by Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford is any indication.

 

'Prey for the Gods' Stands out from 'Shadow of the Colossus'

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It wears its influence proudly, but this indie project might well prove worthy of standing on the shoulders of a giant. We talk to one of its makers.

 

Malicious Fallen debut English trailer

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Sony again publishing the western release.

 

Horizon Zero Dawn trailer reveals formidable foes, friendly Lance Reddick

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A new trailer for Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn drops some more details about the game’s story, offering a glimpse at both friends and enemies of our hero, Aloy.

 

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is coming to Nintendo Switch!

 

New Shin Megami Tensei Switch and 3DS titles announced

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Atlus has announced two new Shin Megami Tensei titles to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary.

 

Night in the Woods launching in late February

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Get ready to travel to Possum Springs

 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe races onto Nintendo Switch on April 28!

 

Torment: Tides of Numenera interactive trailer demonstrates a quest in action

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Make choices, and then see the consequences.

 

Rain World GIFs show gorgeous world and a giant bird of prey
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Given we spent the best part of a decade waiting for Owlboy, the fact that Videocult's gorgeous-looking Rain World is running a few years behind schedule to me seems easier to stomach. Particularly when it looks quite as good as it does—the latest snippet of which comes in GIF-form.

 

Watch an assassination spin out of control in the new Hitman 101 trailer

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

 

Super Robot Wars V second trailer

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Super Robot Wars V is due out in Japan, as well as in Asia with English subtitles, on February 23.

Hopefully they won't just run it through Google translate like they seemed to have done for Moon Dwellers.

 

Resident Evil 7 trailer blatantly lies about a creepy old mansion being nice

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It's not nice. You will probably die in there.

Resident Evil 7 free ‘Not A Hero’ scenario DLC launches this spring

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A different taste from the main story.

 

New Friday the 13th trailer shows off Jason's morph ability

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The new Friday the 13th game is coming out in Spring (or Autumn in Australia), so Gun Media is starting to dole out trailers at a steadier clip. This latest one features Jason, ie the bad guy who wears the mask, as he attempts to murder innocent people in cold blood. You see, in this asymmetrical multiplayer game, Jason will search and destroy up to seven other human players.

 

ARMS - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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Introducing ARMS, a mix of boxing and shooting where you use extendable arms to battle your friends both locally and online! Take a Joy-Con in each hand and punch forward, twisting your fists to bend your attacks.

 

Troll and I story trailer has forest fires, harpoon guns and invisibility magic

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Plus both lead characters have the same hairdo.

 

Explore Mass Effect: Andromeda’s new space home and space car

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The Mako is dead, long live the Nomad

"The banging" in Mass Effect: Andromeda will be plentiful and good, producer says

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Boy, I'm glad we got that cleared up! But before the banging begins, you might have to do a little running around, as Gamble said in a separate tweet that members of the Tempest crew will move around the ship, rather than be rooted to a particular location. This is apparently a big deal, as he made a point of crediting level designer Jess Hara Campbell for the "ton of work" she put into it.

Mass Effect Andromeda crafting is 'quite a bit different' to Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Lead designer Ian Frazier ponders craftable "krogan-style" hammers and "dedicated melee weapon slots".

 

Will Dad Quest explain the mystery of where all these dads keep coming from?

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Dads: what are they? Where do they come from? Why are they here? And how have these pod people managed to replace a full half of Rock, Paper, Shotgun? Some say games can offer powerful insight into others’ lives but, beyond Shower With Your Dad Simulator, almost all dad games star raging goons who stomp out the teeth of anyone who goes near their daughter figures. Is this all the dad is? I’ll have to study platform-o-action-a-APG ’em up Dad Quest [official site] when it hits early access next month. We must unlock the secret of the dads before they replace us all.

 

Trine dev Frozenbyte announces Has-Been Heroes

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"A game of strategy and action with a roguelike twist."

 

Guilty Gear’s newest fighter is a ninja businessman

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Arc System Works unveils Answer and Baiken for Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2

 

A Game Where You Play As The Boss In Classic Boss Fights

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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, boss fights are a time-honored video game tradition. Nefarious is a game that turns The Old Ways on their head. You’re the boss taking on a band of annoyingly plucky heroes. You might even recognize some of the boss fights.

 

After Halo Megabloks leak, 343 Studios teases a game "along these lines" could happen

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The leaked Halo Megabloks gameplay received a ton of positive feedback, studio head Bonnie Ross said.

 

Super Mario Odyssey Is on the "Core Side," Like Super Mario 64, Miyamoto Says

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Odyssey will be "something that people who like action games can really get into."

 

Conan Exiles to get full mod support on PC

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Funcom's incoming survival open-world sandbox adventure game Conan Exiles is due January 31. When it lands, it'll come with full mod support.

 

SUNLESS SEA WILL WASH UP TERROR AND CANNIBALISM ON YOUR IPAD THIS SPRING

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It was Failbetter Games’s seventh birthday yesterday, and so, to mark the occasion, the London-based studio decided to make an announcement. You remember that terrific nautical adventure game Sunless Sea (2015)? The one in which you sailed across a vast, dangerous ocean, collecting a range of stories, scars, and probably losing your sanity? Well, it’s only been available on PC before, but it’ll also be coming to iPad this spring.

 

Fire Emblem Warriors - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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Fire Emblem meets the Warriors series in Fire Emblem Warriors, coming to Nintendo Switch Holiday 2017!

 

For Honor season pass listing leaks onto the Ubisoft store

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 A listing for the For Honor season pass that appeared on the Ubisoft store yesterday was quickly removed, but not before its contents had been splayed over Reddit. It looks like the pass will follow the model established by Rainbow 6 Siege, providing access to six new warriors one week in advance of non-pass holders, early access to new content, three scavenger crates, a Sunbeam emote, and 30-day champion status.

For Honor trailer shows powerful naginata-wielding Nobushi

For Honor: Lawbringer Hero Profile - Exclusive Trailer

For Honor: Valkyrie Hero Profile - Exclusive Trailer

 

Little Nightmares release date slated for April, the cruelest month

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Surreal children's horror tale Little Nightmares is due for release on 28th April for PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam and GOG, publisher Bandai Namco has announced.

 

Tangiers developer posts hopeful update, teases new in-game footage

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It's been a long and complicated road, but Tangiers still looks impressive.

 

 

Super Bomberman R - Official Nintendo Switch Trailer

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Since its release in 1985, Bomberman has been a familiar party-battle game for many years. Now, Bomberman is coming back as “SUPER BOMBERMAN R” to Nintendo Switch.

 

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is coming to PS4

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Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls now has an official release date of 23rd June in Europe and 27th June in North America. Despair no more!

 

Puyo Puyo Tetris - Official Nintendo Switch Trailer

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Two puzzle game juggernauts collide as Tetris®, one of the largest-selling and recognized brands in gaming history, and Puyo Puyo™ from SEGA have combined to create a fun-to-play, fast-paced, competitive party game like no other!

 

Sonic Mania - Official Nintendo Switch Trailer

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2D Sonic is back in an all-new adventure! Play as Sonic, Tails, & Knuckles as you race through all-new Zones and fully re-imagined classics, each filled with exciting surprises and powerful bosses. Harness Sonic’s new Drop Dash, Tails’ flight, and Knuckles’ climbing abilities to overcome the evil Dr. Eggman’s robots. Discover a myriad of never-before-seen hidden paths and secrets!

 

1-2 Switch - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

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Check out 1-2 Switch and get ready to challenge your friends in this new face-to-face party game for Nintendo Switch on 3/3.

 

Darkseid is an Injustice 2 pre-order incentive

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DC supervillain Darkseid is a playable character in fighting game Injustice 2 - but you have to pre-order to get him.

 

WWE 2K17 rumbling onto PC February 7th

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In what has become an annual wrasslin’ tradition, WWE 2K17 [official site] is coming to PC on February 7th, months after its console launch. The console version is the best WWE release in the last few years, with marginal improvements in the career mode and creation suites, and better in-ring action. Most notable is the fact that triple threat matches and the like are actually enjoyable now, thanks to longer rest spots outside the ring for battered wrestlers, allowing for better match flow. I still wouldn’t go so far as to recommend it, but it’s on the right track.

 

Star Citizen has a "xenolinguistics specialist", and here's an interview with him

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Star Citizen is a game set in space, so naturally there will be aliens, and naturally there will be encounters with them. But rather than slap them with vaguely Eastern European or cockney English accents, Roberts Space Industries is creating whole new languages for them, and they've employed someone to work exclusively on that.

 

Verdun adds ruthless kilt-wearing Scotsmen in free update

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World War One FPS Verdun may have ceased firing over the holidays while reenacting the Christmas Truce, but it's now back to business in the bunkers. To mark the new year, M2H and Blackmill Games are adding The Highlander Squad to the battlefield—kilts and all.

 

Rainbow Six Siege update ushers in a bunch of requested fixes

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Following Rainbow Six Siege's massive December update – which added two new operators and PvP maps, among other things – the inevitable housekeeping patch is imminent. Posted to the Ubisoft forums earlier today, the notes for update 5.3 don't warn of any huge changes or additions, but rather a bunch of bugs apparently ushered in with the December update.

 

Darkest Dungeon's Radiant mode detailed, should arrive early Feb

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Alas, the Crimson Court DLC has been pushed back a bit.

 

New Titanfall 2 Multiplayer Mode Gives Teams Only a Minute to Complete Their Goal

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A new update for Titanfall 2 coming out soon will, among other things, add a new multiplayer mode called Live Fire. In a blog post, Respawn described this 6v6, Pilot-only mode as being "lightning fast" and having a special emphasis on close-quarter combat.

 

Atlas Reactor goes free-to-play, adds new character

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This switch comes alongside the launch of a new season with a new character.

 

Dishonored 2's next update finally lets you replay missions

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New ways to change up the challenge

 

Battlefield 1 Players Are Getting Banned For Playing Too Well

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Skilled Battlefield 1 players appear to be clashing with the game’s anti-cheating measure. What exactly are they getting banned for? Being too good at the game.

 

'Elite: Dangerous' Is Headed for a Galactic Arms Race

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The patch notes for the game's most recent update don't mention aliens, but they still suggest the galaxy is getting ready for war.

 

Blizzard Banning Players Who 'Nuke' Overwatch Matches

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Overwatch cheaters on PC have a new trick up their sleeves. It’s called “nuking,” and it’s essentially a targeted form of a DDOS attack that slows matches to a crawl, sometimes to the point that players can’t even report the infraction.

Blizzard Responds To Ongoing Fan Anger Surrounding The Overwatch Test Server

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Overwatch’s PTR, or public test realm, is a blessing and a curse for players. On one hand, they get to try out new changes before they go live. On the other, if players don’t love a change, there’s no guarantee Blizzard will do a 180. Right now, D.Va’s staring down the barrel of a big nerf, and they seem pretty set on going through with it.

Overwatch adds health bars to spectator mode

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Looking healthy.

 

D4 director Swery goes indie with his new studio White Owls

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That sabbatical seemed to stretch on until last October, when Swery -- after becoming a licensed Buddhist master monk -- confirmed he was leaving Access for good. Fellow devs who have been following his work should know that he isn't done making games. Swery is back, and he has a new indie studio: White Owls Inc.

 

'I'll work extra hard to never let you down like this again,' says Scalebound director after cancelled game

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Platinum Games has also officially acknowledged the cancellation.

 

Epic and Microsoft sued over Gears of War by man who claims to be the "real" Cole Train

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A former football player and pro wrestler claims the Gears of War character's looks and voice are his.

I thought this already happened, maybe something was mentioned by the guy back in January of 2015.

 

Frostbite engine to blame for Dragon Age 2 Exalted March expansion cancellation

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Despite the reaction to Dragon Age 2 being somewhat polarised across the interwebs and beyond, Rich McCormick scored it an impressive 94 in his 2011 review. "The best RPG combat," he said. "Not gaming's best story, but maybe its best storytelling. Darker, sexier, better." Elsewhere, critics were a little harder on the game which, for some, couldn't escape Mass Effect 2's looming shadow.

 

Sony shuts down 20-year-old studio in European restructuring

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Guerrilla Cambridge, a subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment best known for its work on Killzone: Mercenary, is set to close down. Sony confirmed that the veteran studio will close down as part of a restructuring within its European branch.

 

Wizards of the Coast makes a show of opening new digital game studio

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Here's a small but notable bit of news you might have missed last week: game publisher Wizards of the Coast has launched a new Digital Games Studio division that aims to reimagine digital versions of the company's games.

 

Titanfall Twitter Spams Random People Who Tweet They Want New Games

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Titanfall’s official Twitter account is taking a rather active approach to their marketing. The account is messaging users who make the smallest mention of wanting to play a new game.

 

Valve still working on single-player games — and those Half-Life and Portal movies

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Gabe Newell says some things in Reddit AMA

 

Steam Removes Game After Developer Posts Fake Reviews

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Valve announced this afternoon that the poorly-reviewed stealth game Art of Stealth was removed from Steam after it was discovered that its developer forged positive reviews.

 

How the Prison Architect developers broke the Geneva Conventions

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When Mark Morris and Chris Delay of Introversion Software began working on Prison Architect, they knew it was a game that would stir controversy. They never expected, however, that a simulator about the incarceration of cute, blobby humans had the potential to make them criminals themselves. Their crime? Displaying a tiny, five-pixel wide red cross on the hood of the ambulances and backpacks of paramedics. It might sound laughable, but it just so happens that those five pixels arranged just so are an internationally protected symbol.

 

Oculus-Zenimax trial kicks off with final salvo of accusations

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ZeniMax Media, the parent company of id Software, did not have the “vision, expertise or patience” to build the Oculus Rift VR headset or the technology behind it, an Oculus spokesperson told Polygon.

 

Awesome Games Done Quick raises $2.2 million, smashing a record

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It’s $1 million more than was raised last year

 

Contest offers $10K prize for a game about migration

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Games for Change wants to focus on refugees and migrants

Game-makers who care about immigration are being invited to enter a contest to design a game that addresses migrant and refugee movement, integration and xenophobic hostility.

 

Superhot design competition offers publishing contract worth $50,000 as top prize

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In conjunction with ModDB, the creators of last year's wonderfully stylish time-manipulating FPS Superhot—the aptly named Superhot Team—are hosting a competition which asks entrants to "display [their] talents to the world". Against Superhot-related criteria, prizes include PC peripherals, game systems, cash, and the chance to win a publishing contract with IMGN.PRO worth $50,000.

 

 

Esports News

 

Unlikely Street Fighter III Character Wins First Major Tournament

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Cooperation Cup, a long-running Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike tournament, returned to Japan this past weekend. Now in its 15th year, the event again provided the world with some of the best 3rd Strike competition around. This time, Alex player Genki’s winning performance was more than just a personal victory: it was a landmark for the Street Fighter community as a whole.

 

Three legends, a pubstar, and their boss: what's up with China's new Dota 2 squad?

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With the announcement of the 2017 edition of the Dota 2 Asia Championships in Spring, it’s a make-or-break period for Chinese teams. After invites were handed out, a curious squad was announced by a famous team. Newbee.Boss, a revamp of a pre-existing B-team, includes a mix of three established players, ChuaN, Ferrari_430, Xiao8, and 'newcomers' axx and Zei9.

Here's Why A Newly Formed Pro Dota 2 Team In China Has People Excited

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Newbee is a powerhouse when it comes to Chinese esports, especially Dota 2. The organization already has a youth feeder team to pull from and was looking exceptional after taking second at Malaysia’s ESL One Genting 2017 just over a week ago. But it’s the most recent team to form under the Newbee banner, Newbee Boss, that has everyone talking.

 

The Winner Of Last Weekend's Smash Wii U Tournament Won A Giant Cup Of Noodles

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At Saturday’s 2GGC: Genesis Saga tournament for Smash Wii U, accomplished Diddy Kong player Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios appeared to stroll through the winner’s bracket with ease, eventually taking the grand finals three games to one against challenger Komorikiri’s Cloud Strife. So naturally he was awarded a crap-ton of noodles in addition to his nearly $3,500 prize winnings.

 

LCS Player Survey Reveals High Salaries, Shocking Views About Women

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27 percent of players said they “would have reservations about adding a female player” to their team, shows an anonymous ESPN survey of 33 League of Legends NA and EU LCS pro players.

 

Alibaba Investing in World Electronics Sports Games Tournament as Part of Three Year Commitment to Esports

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Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has signed a deal that will commit itself to Chinese esports for the next three years.

 

Halo World Championship 2017 Qualifiers To Be Hosted By Millennial Esports, LAN Event in Las Vegas

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Last November, the Halo Championship Series Open Circuit Final was hosted by Millennial Esports in Las Vegas. Now, Millennial Esports has announced a partnership with 343 Industries and Microsoft to host a series of open online qualifiers and a LAN event in March.

 

French Esports Streaming Company Eclypsia Launches Dedicated FIFA Channel Sponsored by Betclic

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Eclypsia, a French gaming company specialized in livestreaming shows, launched a new channel last week dedicated to the soccer simulation game FIFA 2017. The new channel is sponsored by Betclic, a leading company in online betting in France.

 

Crowdfunding News

 

UnDungeon - pixelart Action/RPG with Roguelike elements

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UnDungeon is a beautiful and complex Action/RPG pixelart game with a rich background, immersive story and seven unique characters

 

Sundered - A horrifying fight for survival and sanity

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Sundered is a replayable metroidvania from the creators of Jotun. Resist or embrace.

 

Content I found interesting this week (interviews, reviews, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, criticism, etc)

 

2017 NEW YEAR’S CARDS FROM AROUND THE JAPANESE GAMING INDUSTRY

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Happy New Year! 2016 is finally over (thank goodness), which means it’s time for another installment of our yearly tribute to the best “nengajōs” (New Year’s cards) from around the Japanese gaming industry!

 

CRITICAL PATH /// CONVERSATIONS

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Conversations about the art of video games with the medium's greatest minds.

Critical Path has added around 100 videos to their Youtube channel this week of short interviews with different developers. Developers talk about a subject for under a minute to around five minutes depending on the video.

 

Closing Vancouver’s Indie House

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For the last four years, a group of independent game developers in Vancouver, Canada established and refined a model of how to make games together. In the process, the members created a lifestyle for themselves that’s uniquely catered to what they want to accomplish, and they built a community of like-minded creative people around them.

The basic concept was simple: It’s a bunch of friends who happen to all be game developers, living and working together in a big house in the suburbs. They get to collaborate and help each other out with any hurdles they come across as they develop their games, and they save a bunch of money by not needing office space or renting separate places to live.

 

74-Year-Old Grandpa Says Goodbye To MMO He's Played Since 1999

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This man has been playing massively multiplayer online role-playing game Asheron’s Call since it launched in 1999, sharing adventures with friends from around the world. But Asheron’s Call is closing at the end of the month, and it’s time to say goodbye.

 

Writing Lara Croft

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How Rhianna Pratchett helped reboot Tomb Raider.

Pratchett's big challenge was arguing the toss for narrative in a game made up of so many different parts by hundreds of people. This is a problem common inside of big-budget video game development, where writers are trying to portray a character against the backdrop of action-heavy gameplay. How do you draw a nuanced character when gameplay needs its own pacing, when gameplay needs to be fun?

This problem manifested itself during the "Lara's first kill" scene. Crystal Dynamics had talked much about how this crucial moment in the young Lara's development would go down, but for Pratchett it was a battle between gameplay and narrative - a battle narrative eventually lost.

 

Suda 51 wants to make a game as distinctive as No More Heroes for Nintendo’s Switch

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Over the last decade or so the video game industry has truly begun to embrace a broader acceptance of treating its most daring creators as auteurs. Goichi Suda, aka Suda 51, is no doubt one of Japan’s most prolific.

One from last Monday that I missed for last week's article.

 

THE SECRETS OF DISHONORED 2’S MONGREL CITY

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I first noticed it in the windows: their subtle, curving mullions that rise and fall like waves. Those curves lend a romantic lightness to the architecture they are set into. You might not notice them when you first set foot in Dishonored 2’s Karnaca, but you’ll surely feel them.

 

A 1973 ORIGINAL: TANYA DEPASS EXPLAINS WHY YOU AND I NEED DIVERSE GAMES

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Upkins: What are some of the things the community has accomplished thus far?

DePass: We’re part of the GDC Scholarship program, which gives 25 all access passes to the annual Game Developers Conference each year. We’re part of the PAX Diversity Lounge and we’re working with Xbox’s Gaming for Everyone on ways to collaborate, to help better the community.

 

Yooka-Laylee devs: 7 biggest game design changes since the N64 era

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Needless to say, a lot has changed in video games since the days of the Nintendo 64. We asked some of the Playtonic staff to tell us about how technological improvements have impacted different areas of game development, and what that means for the designers, artists, composers, and directors involved throughout the process.

 

The Best Quest In Dragon Age: Origins Was All About Dwarves and Politics

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The Dragon Age games have captured my imagination like few other series have ever managed. Every quest is a roller coaster full of tough choices. For Origins, the best quest involved dwarven politics and a magical anvil. We take a closer look in this video.

 

The Beauty of Permanent Death - BoukenJima

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Three games, one design choice. In this video I want to take a look at how the mechanics of games can change once the possibility of playable characters permanently dying becomes part of them.

 

Why doesn’t Sid Meier still make Sid Meier’s Civilization? - Here's A Thing

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In this second episode of Here's a Thing, Chris Bratt takes a look at the Civilization series and the design rules that ensure it keeps on changing.

 

Cancelled Version Of Resident Evil 4 Gets Playable Demo

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Resident Evil 4 went through a lot of changes between the time it was first shown off in 2001 to the time it was released in 2004. The finished product is a classic, but we’re now getting a chance to play through an earlier, cancelled edition of the game, which has been rebuilt by a fan.

 

How Resident Evil 4 turned System Shock 3 into Dead Space

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Resident Evil 4’s influence has become immeasurable since its release in 2005. Games like Gears of War and Uncharted owe much to the game that revolutionized third-person action controls. However, one popular sci-fi horror game would look a lot like an entirely different sci-fi horror game if not for Capcom’s reinvention of its seminal series. I got the opportunity to sit down with Dead Space designers Ben Wanat and Wright Bagwell to talk about the early days of development and how Resident Evil 4 helped them shape their own horror series out of another.

 

How Bloodborne's Small Changes Make a BIG Difference - Writing on Games

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We kicked off last year talking about Dark Souls as a celebration of life, so let's start this year discussing how Bloodborne is the complete opposite! In the first episode of Writing on Games in 2017, I discuss how the versatility of the Souls mechanics is such that, even by altering them just slightly, you can completely change the experience for the player. In Bloodborne's case, it becomes one of the most oppressive gaming experiences I've had in a long time.

Also, as many commenters have been quick to point out, I made a goof! The Wet Nurse 'glitch' I talk about is intentional, which actually helps further validate the point I'm making, but it was still a mistake on my part so I thought I'd fess up to it.

 

How games helped me deal with Tourette's

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A widely misunderstood condition, Tourette Syndrome responds surprisingly well to therapies that involve videogames. Here's one person's experience.

 

Daughter sims and Clinton jokes: a conversation with the original localizer behind Princess Maker 2

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In the 1990s, Tim Trzepacz tried to bring Princess Maker 2 to the world. It failed, but decades later, he's finally seeing the game enjoy an official English release.

 

7 introductory levels that all game developers should study

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It's little wonder, then, that many games struggle to nail the execution of the introductory sequence. Some go overboard with explicit tutorials for absolutely everything. Others swing to the opposite extreme and assume that players will intuitively grok the controls and systems, or just splash a button layout on the loading screen. Man simply start too slowly — they do a fine job of teaching the systems, but forget to establish a reason for the player to bother learning them.

 

Watch Doom brought to its knees in this speedrun

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AGDQ charity speedrun festival shows you how it’s done

 

We Asked a Transit Planner How to Up Our 'Mini Metro' Game

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'Mini Metro' may look simple, but it has plenty of lessons for real-life transit puzzlers.

 

Classic Game Postmortem: Ms. Pac-Man

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In this 2016 GDC postmortem, former General Computer designer Steve Golson explains the technical process that led Midway to create Ms. Pac-Man, which went on to become one of the most successful arcade games in computing history.

 

Classic Game Postmortem - Populous

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In this 2011 GDC postmortem, renowned game designer Peter Molyneux tells the story of how Populous came to life, starting with a job selling baked beans to the Middle East...

 

Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games

 

Real Surgeons Are Just As Bad At Surgeon Simulator As You Are

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In case you wondering if years of formal surgical training would help up your Surgeon Simulator 2013 game, three actual surgeons’ flailing attempts at performing a virtual heart transplant should put that notion to eternal rest.

 

Making Battleborn Competitive

Watch Enchanting 'Undertale' Concept Trailer

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Fan film tribute to the indie game cost under $1000

 

Watch Super Mario Odyssey's trailer remade in GTA IV

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Nintendo shocked us all when it revealed its plan to bring Mario to the real world - or a close approximation of it anyway - with its upcoming Switch adventure Super Mario Odyssey. Given that it's set in a slightly Nintendo-ised version of New York, Grand Theft Auto 4 fan CrowbCat has re-imagined this family affair as a gritty tale of Mario's brushes with the law, gravity, booze, and automobile theft.

 

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