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This Week In Gaming 2-21-17

2 posts in this topic

Rami Ismail asks devs and players to share stories of how games effected or helped people, Youtuber gives reasons why they keep imploding, Centipede programmer Dona Bailey holds AMA, Steven Messner looks into an Ark roleplaying server, how the Yakuza helped sell Nintendo's first game, Colin Campbell writes about what Gabe Newell is like during a press event and how he answers questions, Payday 3 in production, visual essay jam, variety of Japanese titles get western release dates, how "games as a service" delayed Owlboy, what developers think of Steam Spy, Folding Ideas and Linkara discuss Youtuber Life Tycoon game and state of Youtube, Bethesda working on three new games, interview with the devs of Nier Automata, Zelda community talks about giving Link a voice, and more.




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


Watch the trailer for the 2017 Independent Games Festival Awards!


The finalists have been revealed for the Independent Games Festival's esteemed 19th annual awards, which honor the most influential, innovate and acclaimed projects in independent game development -- and now you can catch a glimpse of some of the finalists, along with their award-nominated games!


Raw Fury offer to pay indies' Steam Direct fees for any game they deem good enough


Last week’s news that  Steam Greenlight would essentially be replaced by Steam Direct has drawn a mixed response. While plenty acknowledge the problems of Greenlight, the indie community has raised concerns that the fee Valve will charge for Direct might represent a barrier to entry for some smaller devs. Fortunately, Swedish publishers Raw Fury have a solution: they’ll pay.


Valve won't automatically detect cheaters for fear of "an arms race" with cheat makers



A recent post by Valve’s anti-cheat team on the CS:GO subreddit makes interesting reading for anyone interested in the constant war against hackers in multiplayer games. Valve were responding to a post suggesting they try to detect cases of hacking automatically, rather than relying on player reports.


Are You Making Nintendo Switch Games? Japanese Developers Answer That And More



In the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu, twenty four Japanese game companies were polled about the Nintendo Switch. Their answers may or may not surprise you.

Hands-On Nintendo Switch Impressions From A Dream I Had Last Night


The Nintendo Switch is about to come out, and people are equal parts excited and wary. Can it live up to expectations? Is it worth the price? Fear not, for I’m here to answer all of your questions. Last night I dreamed I had a Nintendo Switch. It was alright.

Nintendo eShop purchases will finally be tied to Nintendo Accounts


Blink and you’ll miss it in this Switch unboxing video

Leaked Switch Was Stolen, Nintendo Says


On Thursday, a NeoGAF user posted videos from a Nintendo Switch that he said he obtained two weeks early from an “unnamed store.” Today, he says he sent it back—and Nintendo says it was stolen “by employees of a U.S. distributor.”

Nintendo Switch launch lineup includes Zelda, 1-2-Switch


What’s coming on Switch launch day and beyond

Nintendo Switch download sizes revealed, making extra memory a must


Dragon Quest Heroes won’t fit in the console’s base storage

Claim Your Nintendo Switch Account ID


You can now claim your unique Nintendo Account User ID for the Switch. Users who already have Nintendo Accounts may not yet have Nintendo Account User IDs, which explains to rush to claim one.


Banana Peels, Nasty Aliens, and Brain Hacking in 'Prey'



Last week, Senior Editor Mike Diver and I got to try our hands at Prey, Arkane's upcoming immersive sim set in a freaky wtf-is-actually-happening sci-fi world, complete with "neuromods," space-warping creatures, and massive levels full of optional paths through. The demo we played gave us about an hour of Prey action.

An hour with Prey


How do you write about a game you think people should experience without knowing too much? Very carefully.

‘Prey’ Is More Freaky Sci-fi, Less Horror


‘Prey’ Creative Director Raphael Colantonio on making Arkane’s latest immersive sim


Dropzone is a competitive RTS for the modern era


This update of the RTS just launched on Steam Early Access.


My Memory of Us teaser tells a tale of children trapped in a war-time ghetto


Despite the ugly subject matter, the game looks gorgeous.


The Black Death Spreads to Videogames With A Plague Tale: Innocence



The Black Death eliminated tens of millions of humans throughout Europe and the Middle East, unsettling the very foundations of society that had been built up throughout the Middle Ages. It left an impression on every aspect of culture, including art, where death became a constant theme. It’s surprising, then, that the plague doesn’t have a greater presence in videogames, a medium almost exclusively fixated on death. It’s a perfect fit.


A special message from YOKO TARO


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MASS EFFECT™: ANDROMEDA – Gameplay Series #1: Combat


Welcome to the Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay series. In this video, learn all about combat. Battle with weaponry from an alien galaxy, outmaneuver enemies with your jump-jet, and unlock the power of Biotics. In Mass Effect: Andromeda, you are on a mission to find a new home for humanity. How far will you go?


Hardcore Girls and Bullet Hell: A Conversation with the Makers of 'Nier: Automata'



The multi-faceted RPG has moved from cult interest to mainstream radars, and its' designers are anticipating a hit.


Kona, the snowy supernatural mystery set in Canada's north, is coming in March


A simple job takes a strange turn.


Sea of Thieves Technical Alpha 0.1.1. gameplay video released – Taming New Seas


If you’ve ever had the urge to plunder the seas and murder several wives, Black Beard style, but don’t want to spend the rest of your life in jail, the MMORPG Sea of Thieves might be just the boat to board. Unfortunately it’s still in closed Alpha, but a newly released video of the Alpha version 0.1.1 shows how this pirate-simulator is looking to become ship-shape rather quickly.


NIS America is localizing Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, and it's coming to Steam



During NIS America's annual press event in San Francisco, the publisher announced that they will be handling the localization duties for Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. In addition to the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions, NISA will also port the game to PC via Steam. The game will feature both English and Japanese vocies. It's set to release later this year.


Talking Dreams and Nausea-Free VR with Tim Schafer



'Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin' seeks to break new VR ground: looking into the mind.


Bard's Tale remastered trilogy will be finished, Olde Skuul boss says



InXile expressed serious doubts about the updated trilogy yesterday, but Rebecca Heineman says it's going to happen.


Watch 15 minutes of sci-fi zombie beatdowns in a new trailer for The Surge


The video also demonstrates the game's narrative elements, but we're here for the fights.


Bethesda's Todd Howard Hints at 3 New Games



"I can't talk a lot about them, but I can say that they're bigger than anything we've ever done."


Oops! Game developers forget to hit the submit button and miss scheduled release date


Lots of things can go wrong during the development of a game. Between writing code, designing levels, balancing audio and performing some good old fashioned testing, the sheer number of factors involved are nearly uncountable. But Dutch developers Wispfire have certainly added their own unique entry to the list by simply forgetting to hit the submit button on Steam.


Dawn of War 3 trailer battles over mythical pointy stick


Bless your murderous hearts, Orks. This cinematic-o-gameclip video introduces the broad story in Relic’s RTS and yes, it does basically boil down to finding a pointy stick.


Choice, Consequence and Vampires Power the Next Game From 'Life Is Strange' Studio



'Vampyr' is the ambitious third title from the team that got its start with 2013's 'Remember Me'


Square Enix Announces New RPG Called Project Prelude Rune



It’s the debut project of Square Enix’s newly established Studio Istolia, which is headed up by former Tales producer Hideo Baba.


Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s best trailer yet has fans crying ‘spoilers’


If you’re afraid of “spoilers,” you’re missing out on something great


Danganronpa V3 And A Bunch Of Other Japanese Games Get Western Release Dates


NIS America, the games North America publisher, revealed the date at a press event last night. The company also announced it will be bringing Ys VIII to the states later this year in the fall and confirmed Disgaea 5 Complete will be on the Nintendo Switch starting May 23.


Payday 3 is in production, but could be a long way off



“It will be done when it’s done”


Songbringer is a Zelda-like with galactic war and hallucinogenic cacti


Meet Roq, a "shirtless carefree dude".


Redeemer is an action slasher that's like God of War meets Hotline Miami


Join protagonist Vasily in this brutal top-down hack-and-blaster.


A Game About Houses Of Cards, Without Any Politics


his is Where Cards Fall, “a coming of age story where you build houses of cards to move through imaginative puzzles and bring vivid memories of adolescence to life”.


Stranger of Sword City Revisited first English trailer, eight-hour free trial announced


PS Vita dungeon RPG due out digitally on February 28 in North America.


New Persona 5 Trailer Features This Returning Character


The Velvet Room also shown off in new video.


Rogue Legacy devs announce Full Metal Furies, a four-player co-op brawler


The new game will support local and online class-based combat, and single-player too.


Touhou Kobuto V coming west this summer


NIS America picks up another Touhou Project title.


Tokyo Tattoo Girls for PS Vita, PC coming west this summer


Defeat all 23 Kumi to escape a devastated Tokyo.


RPG Maker Fes coming west this summer


NIS America bringing the 3DS RPG Maker overseas.


Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy for PC launches March 27



Experience the Experience-developed dungeon RPG on PC.


Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Backer Update 14 - Neketaka


In Update #14, we present the first glimpse at two districts of Neketaka, the largest city in the Deadfire. Also featured in the video is a new mode of travel between city districts, using a beautiful hand-painted map. While you travel on the city map, you may encounter special events - seen here as a scripted storybook moment. Take note at our new scripted interaction UI, as well as the many new Deadfire features during the flyby shots of the disctricts, including multi-parallax layers, weather, and a complete ocean simulation.

Pillars of Eternity 2's overhauled weather system will affect player status and NPC routines


New trailers also tease new areas, hand-drawn maps and deeper Companion Relationships.


Redeemer is an action slasher that's like God of War meets Hotline Miami


Join protagonist Vasily in this brutal top-down hack-and-blaster.


Ghost Recon Wildlands open beta starts Feb 23, tontos



Graham and I have already shot drugmen in the head in perfect sync when we played the closed beta of Ghost Recon Wildlands [official site] together. But there was only two of us. What we really needed were some friends – and now it looks like we’ll get thousands! The open beta is soon going to be available to anyone who wants to crack skulls and advance the US agenda in cartel-torn Bolivia. It’s running from February 23 to 27.


Final Fantasy VII Remake's Director Shows Screenshots Of The Game's First Boss Fight



This is what fighting the giant scorpion tank guarding the Sector 1 Mako Reactor at the beginning Final Fantasy VII will look like in the game’s remake. If it ever comes out that is.


The Gardens Between Looks Just Lovely


The Gardens Between is “an adventure puzzle game about friendship, what it means to grow up, what must be let go what should never be left behind”. It’ll be out on PC and Mac later this year.


Isabella von Carstein heads to Total War: Warhammer as another Legendary Lord


Total War: Warhammer is getting another Legendary Lord. Isabella von Carstein, Vlad’s bloodmate (that’s like a soulmate, but bloody, okay?), is heading to the grand strategy game.

Total War: Warhammer's free Bretonnia faction lands on February 28 - here's a trailer


A new trailer has dropped for Total War: Warhammer's Bretonnia faction, releasing February 28.

Warhammer News: Bretonnia Update 19th Feb


Faction and Campaign News

Total War: Warhammer - Full Bretonnia Army Roster (Battle Gameplay)


Video discussion of the livestream gameplay: New Bretonnia units including Battle Pilgrims, Foot Squires, and Grail Guardians will be included in the Breonnia FLC. You can catch the stream of the battle gameplay here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/122959499


Nioh to add high-difficulty missions in late March, PvP in late April; first DLC details



Koei Tecmo shared details on the next couple free Nioh updates and the first downloadable content during a live stream today.


Homefront: The Revolution’s final expansion coming in March



It’s been months since Homefront: The Revolution developer Dambuster Studios provided an update on post-release plans for the game, so you could’ve been forgiven for wondering if the company had abandoned it. Today, though, Dambuster resurfaced to announce future plans, including downloadable content.


Valve Fixes Accuracy Bug That's Been In Team Fortress 2 For Ten Years



Video game bugs are like a foul odor. The cause might be some tiny thing, but if you can’t isolate it, it’ll stink up the whole dang place. Such was apparently the case with a Team Fortress 2 bug that took Valve ten years to finally eliminate.


Blizzard Retires Classic Cards In Anticipation Of New Hearthstone Season



Blizzard announced changes today to the Hearthstone standard and wild sets in anticipation of 2017, which it dubs the “Year of the Mammoth.” Several core Hearthstone cards are being retired from the competitive scene, in order to open up new options for deck construction.

Is this really the worst Hearthstone meta we’ve ever had?


With Standard set to rotate with the next set, Sottle ponders the community’s unhappiness with the Shamanstone era.


Blood Bowl 2 introduces Chaos Dwarfs and Khemri teams to its bloody roster



Fans of Cyanide Studio’s violent take on American football mashed up with the Warhammer universe will be pleased to hear that two new teams are now spilling blood on the grass. Both the Chaos Dwarfs and the Khemri are now available as separate DLC packs, or you can get both in the Team Pack on Steam.


Watch Dogs 2 “Human Conditions” DLC due to release on PC on March 23


Get your super-smartphone ready for some more hacking action come March 23, when Watch Dogs 2 gets its latest Human Conditions DLC for the PC. It’s the second add-on for the game, and delivers a rather healthy extra five hours of new content.


Kolin is Street Fighter 5’s next character. Here’s why you should play her.


Making her playable debut on Feb. 28


War Thunder gets new Japanese tanks in impending update


They’ve been in beta for a while, but a range of Japanese tanks are ready to roll out onto the battlefield for real in the impending update. The existing army of Japanese armour includes 30 different ground vehicles, to be used in the ground forces mode of the hit F2P title War Thunder, and there are several new vehicles ready to hit the enemy hard in the following weeks.


Final Fantasy 15’s PS4 Pro patch does more harm than good


Stick with an Xbox One or a regular PS4, for now


Conan Exiles' new region lock has prevented some regions from playing on official servers



Asia, Russia, and South America will hopefully get their own servers "sometime next week."


Final Fantasy XIV’s New Expansion “Stormblood” Gets Plenty Info on New Areas, Features and Much More


During the Final Fantasy XIV FanFest keynote in Frankfurt, that DualShockers attended, Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida offered a large batch of new information on the new expansion, dubbed Stormblood.


Civilization 6 Free Update And New Australia Civ DLC Announced


Firaxis today announced some of the new content that's on the way to Civilization VI, including a free update and a premium DLC pack.


First For Honor patch will buff Valkyrie, nerf Conquerer and Berserker, fix guard breaks



For Honor’s mighty multiplayer will receive its first balance patch soon, and Ubisoft headed over to the well-stacked official subreddit to let players know exactly what they plan to change. They’re tweaking guard breaks for the whole cast, giving the Peacekeeper a bug-fixing buff, a small tweak to Conquerers and Berserkers that makes them a little less cheesy and a series of buff to the shield-’n’-spear Valkyrie.


Watch the world end in Defcon VR’s virtual war room


The Defcon VR prototype is free to download from Steam for Rift and Vive goggles.


Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan trolls fans who are begging for Valentine’s content



Blizzard have been pretty clear about not doing anything for Valentine’s Day in Overwatch. While we’ve had Chinese New Year, Christmas, the Olympics, and even Halloween celebrated, Blizzard have no love for, well, love.

The Overwatch Playboy parody 'Playwatch Magazine' has been shut down by a copyright claim


Last year, Deviantart artist Manusogi created a series of covers for "Playwatch," a fictional men's magazine that was equal parts Playboy and Overwatch. The covers teased articles like "Classified File: Doomfist," "Playwatch Interviews Bastion," "Talking to Support Heroes," and "75 Ways to Die." And of course, there was plenty of cartoon skin, too: Nothing outright pornographic, but probably not safe for most workplaces, either. (Which is why all the images are down below.)

Crafty Overwatch Players Are Staying Up Late To Get Better Ranks


Overwatch players in low-density regions are allegedly gaming the competitive matchmaking system for unreal rankings and win rates.

Overwatch's next hero may not be Doomfist, suggests Jeff Kaplan


Despite numerous suggestions Doomfist will be Overwatch's next hero—not least a side-splitting "mock audition" from Hollywood star Terry Crews—it seems nothing is yet set in stone.

Is this Overwatch’s next hero?


Blizzard Entertainment appears to be ramping up to a reveal of a new hero for Overwatch, posting an “interview” with a previously unseen character: 11-year-old robotics and artificial intelligence prodigy Efi Oladele, a native of Numbani.

See Overwatch devs answer your questions in last weekend's PC Gamer Weekender Q&A


See Michael Chu, Geoff Goodman and Aaron Keller answers your questions here.


What do developers and publishers really think of Steam Spy?



It’s constantly referenced by players, journalists, publishers and developers for a variety of reasons - but how accurate is it versus Steam’s unpublished numbers? What do developers think of it, and the ways it’s used? Importantly, do they wish they could be removed from it?


Portal writer Erik Wolpaw leaves Valve



One of Valve’s funnier voices moves on


Humble Bundle raises more than $6.5M for charity



All proceeds of the weeklong sale will benefit the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee. Humble will also match $300,000 of customers’ dollars, adding onto the size of the donation.


EA's Origin Access subscription service is running a limited time free trial



After undergoing a fairly significant overhaul last year, EA's oft-maligned Origin subscription service became easier, and thus more enjoyable, to use. For a limited time, it's now offering a free seven-day trial which grants users access to its full catalogue of games.


PewDiePie versus the media: Why he’s so mad to be losing the fight



How the most popular YouTuber in the world lost the ability to play the victim

Kjellberg is not being treated unfairly by the media, and in fact his popularity has likely shielded him from these consequences far longer than anyone would have expected. He’s not being targeted by the press; he’s finally being held to the same standards as other entertainers. These aren’t lapses that happen during live tapings, these are edited videos. You see is what he intends you to see. When these images and jokes fail, or simply rely on cheap shock for effect, his reaction is to make another video blaming the press for his mistakes. The idea he might be held responsible for his own actions seems very unfair to him.

I remember last time he was complaining about Polygon and another site talking about him that he lied about their articles and said they used him as clickbait, when he wasn't mentioned in the header, as the picture, and was the focus for maybe part of a sentence in the middle of the articles.

PewDiePie Is Only Part of the ProblemPew


This is not the first time he's come under fire. Last August he featured a racist comparison between the dead gorilla folk hero Harambe and actress Leslie Jones, and earlier this year went through a list of other YouTubers and decided whether he'd "smash" them, "pass" them, or "sell them into slavery." All of which is well beyond alarming, but PewDiePie was always quick to brush off any criticism as media hysteria. His "clueless nice guy" defense was polished to a mirror shine.


The three reasons YouTubers keep imploding, from a YouTuber



I go by “slowbeef,” and I’ve been doing Let’s Plays and related content since about 2007. I’m certainly not rich off of, or successful from my videos, but I run in those circles because I’ve been doing it for so long in addition to my day job. Some people even consider me a progenitor of it. I talk to a lot of the A-Listers — the people whose names you know — rather often and I have some insight into that world. I have one foot in the door, and see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.

PewDiePie isn’t remotely the only e-celebrity to have this sort of scandal, though most controversies tend to be a bit smaller in scope.

Did you ever hear about the streamer who got drunk and told her fans that kids getting cancer was just natural selection? Or the two YouTubers who conveniently forgot to tell their fans they were getting paid for their Ryse gameplay? Or that guy who got caught masturbating on camera during his pre-show? This stuff happens with regularity.


Twitch Streamer Dies During 24-Hour Marathon Stream



World of Tanks streamer Brian “Poshybrid” Vigneault died from unknown causes on February 19 after streaming for 22 hours. He was 35 and a father of three.


Court Throws Out Digital Homicide's Case Against Critic Jim Sterling



Yesterday, a court dismissed game developer Digital Homicide’s $10 million case against YouTube critic Jim Sterling. Fortunately for those of us who write about video games, Sterling’s scathing critique of Digital Homicide’s game Slaughtering Grounds won’t create precedent for developers slamming critics with million-dollar lawsuits.


The ‘Stardew Valley’ Modder Who Added Jerk Off Schedules For Every Guy



Modders are known for adding all sorts of features, but we're usually talking design tweaks, new characters, additional clothing, etc. I nearly spit coffee at my computer monitor when I discovered a Stardew Valley mod called Horny Bachelors, which promised to add "jerk off schedules to ALL of the bachelors."


Esports News


Riot's New Replay Tool Could Seriously Affect League Matches



After a bug halted a match in last week’s League of Legends Championship Series matches, Riot Games casually unveiled a new resume-from-replay feature. In a blog post, the company goes into detail on how this will affect officiating the league’s weekly matches moving forward.


Counter-Strike Pro Promises To "Crush" Opponent, Backs It Up In Dominating Fashion


When Astralis bested Virtus.Pro in the grand finals of the ELEAGUE Major in January, Markus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye tweeted that his team “underperformed” in its 2-1 victory. A member of Virtus.Pro took offense, and promised to crush Astralis when they next met.


FIFA Pro Puts Away Two Goals In Under A Minute At Miami Regionals


In this weekend’s FIFA ‘17 Ultimate Team Regionals, one player put up a quick double that reminded me of my casual matches against friends.


League of Legends Pro Dances Before Pushing For The Win


In game two of today’s series between Splyce and Roccat, top lane player Martin “Wunder” Hansen chose to counter Roccat’s Shen pick with the mad alchemist Singed. The results? Fairly impressive.


In Guilty Gear It's Never Over Until The Vampire Sings



Guilty Gear Xrd - Revelator - is just one of the many fighting games being showcased at this weekend’s Anime Ascension 2017, but damn it’s one of the most intense.


North Seizes Double Overtime Win At DreamHack Masters Las Vegas



A fevered back-and-forth series between Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squads Gambit Gaming and North took game two of the DreamHack Masters Las Vegas quarterfinals match to double-overtime.


Pro Overwatch Player Wrecks Entire Team's Defense With Sneaky Lucio Boop



In the $100k Tespa Collegiate Champion Finals, Overwatch player Funanah used Lucio’s “Boop” to steal an early lead in a match. It was a play so good that it seemed to demoralize his opponents into losing the whole thing.


This Is Why You Don't Challenge The Street Fighter V Champ



The most hype moment of a big San Francisco Street Fighter V event this week came during a spur of the moment challenge from the crowd. And it’s a lesson about the danger of being a little too brave.


Nazara will invest $20 million in eSports for India



Five year plan will be the "first project of its genre and scale" in the country


Danish CS:GO Players Barred from Competing at Copenhagen Games LAN



This opens up a can of worms. Although controlling cheating and ensuring consequences are severe are essential to the integrity of esports, in this case it may be too hardline an approach. The problem is that crowd-sourcing bans in the way Overwatch does (still not the Blizzard game) is open to all sorts of abuse and many players have been banned from matchmaking with no actual evidence of cheating, just too many votes from the observers of the clip.


The Rise in College Esports Scholarships



As the Esports industry matures, colleges are taking note, and treating Esports athletes like traditional athletes, offering programs and even Esports scholarships to entice the best to join their school, but further buy-in is still needed from college officials.


Crowdfunding News


Fig kicks off $500k funding initiative aimed at late-stage game dev woes



Developers are guaranteed at least $20,000 in additional, Fig-provided funding if their crowdfunding campaign is both successful and manages to attract 1,000 or more total backers.





A Tactical Collectible Card Game that gives streamers and their viewers exciting new ways to interact and play together on Twitch!


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


Rami Ismail asks devs and players to share stories of how games effected or helped people

Some of the responses


Gabe Newell isn't really here



One of his Valve co-workers — part of a panel assembled for the day — is talking about virtual reality. Maybe a dozen members of the press sit around, taking notes. Newell doesn't interrupt, but at any given moment, he's almost always the next person to speak. It's not merely a matter of deference. Everyone in the room wants to hear what he has to say.

Gabe Newell discusses the downsides of working at Valve


"There are plenty of great developers for whom this is a terrible place to work"


Video Game Tries To Tackle Gang Violence In Chicago, Fails



We Are Chicago is a game about how gang violence in Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods affects people’s lives. In particular, the game follows Aaron, a young man trying to make it to his high school graduation. But where the game tries to be inspiring and heartwarming, it is treacly and patronizing.


Grandia – 1998 Developer Interviews, originally featured in Sega Saturn Magazine (jp)



Miyaji: When we started planning to make an RPG, the first thought that came to us was that, in most RPGs, the character is nothing but a cursor for the player. The cursor may cry, and the cursor may laugh, but it’s ultimately just a cursor. We wanted to make an RPG that had a more “live” feel, with more theatrical and dramatic characters.


Centipede Programmer, Dona Bailey, holds AMA


I am Dona Bailey, former Atari programmer of arcade Centipede, Unix programmer, Linux teacher, Adobe CS teacher, Rhetoric and Writing university professor, lifelong learner, big reader. I'm here to answer any questions. AMA!





The first Visual Essay Jam was held on itch.io over the weekend of February 10th-12th. In this short time, and only two weeks after I had come up with the idea in the first place, 25 visual essays were submitted, covering a wide variety of subjects and approaches to the form. I am so grateful to the people who took my idea and ran with it, and each of your essays made me think about games from a new angle. Here’s my roundup:


How Sega Brought Yakuza 0 To The West



We recently chatted with Scott Strichart and Sam Mullen, producers at Sega, about bringing Yakuza 0 West, the series' cult status, and the upcoming remake of the first game, Yakuza Kiwami.


I was drugged, forced to sing, and accused of murder in one night on an Ark roleplaying server



When I woke up naked on a beach on one of Ark: Survival Evolved's largest roleplaying servers, I had no idea what to expect. Being drugged and forced to sing karaoke, however, was at the bottom of my list. But that's just life on TwitchRP, an island of oddball characters where one minute you are doing cannonballs into a pool and the next you're charging forward on a sheep in a jousting tournament. Roleplaying in Ark is bizarre, hilarious, and unexpectedly liberating. It's also the most fun I've had in a multiplayer game in ages.


Raising Questions of Power in Reigns



Reigns is a playful look at ruling, at dynasty, but underneath there’s a very serious question about power and its function, and too about the struggle of balancing ethics and pragmatism.


Portal 2’s Co-Op Was Perfect



Portal 2’s GLaDOS, the game’s coolly sadistic robot narrator, wanted me to hate my co-op partner. In corporate lingo pulled from a dystopian HR manual, she warned that Portal 2’s levels are lethal unless my teammate and I trust, respect and communicate with each other. “Naturally this will pose an interesting challenge for one of you,” she said, “given the other’s performance so far.”


How 'Memoranda' Successfully Brings Haruki Murakami's Surrealism into a Video Game



Translating literature into a game is difficult. 'Memoranda' developer Bit Byterz succeeds by focusing on the big picture.


For Honor Gets Female Armor Right



In For Honor, it’s hard to tell you’re fighting a lady until one of you is dead. Helmets and armor are so thick and so full that pausing mid-battle long enough to discern gender clues will probably get you stabbed. Padded leather, full plate, head gear, masks and mud-soaked boots, in the style of medieval warriors, make gender an accessory to combat prowess.


Meet the superfans who spent a decade bringing Daikatana back to life



Not many loved Ion Storm's shooter, but those who did loved it enough to resurrect it.


The dark art of creating gorgeous death animations



We spoke to the makers of Doom, Killing Floor 2, and more about what makes a truly great in-game death.


'Freelancer' Was the Original Open-World Space Opera



'Freelancer' is a key link between space sims and the broader open-world genre.


Devs discuss the history and the future of so-called 'walking sims'



It’s an intriguing design decision: What if walking around the environment was the primary--or even thethe only--action to perform? What else needs to happen to the player? Where should you permit them to go? And why would they want to go there?


Road to the IGF: The Molasses Flood's The Flame in the Flood



These thoughtful decisions involving audio and video earn TFITF nominations in both categories from the Independent Games Festival, and Gamasutra spoke with Forrest Dowling, lead designer on the project, to talk about how the team deepened the mood of fear and hope through sound while also making a difficult adventure easier to take with visuals.

Road to the IGF: Ocelot Society's Event[0]


Event[0] sets the player free to talk to Kaizen however they like, with the computer replying realistically to whatever the player should want to say to it. This creates a bond between the player and the machine they need to get home, as well as a possible friendship that transcends the barrier between human and machine.


Games As Service - How it delayed Owlboy for nearly a year



Three years ago, we released our first game, Savant - Ascent. It has sold nearly 500.000 copies, and was a huge help in supporting the continued development of our main title, Owlboy. But ultimately, it ended up costing us more than we could have possibly foreseen.


‘Horizon: Zero Dawn' is ‘The Witcher 3’ for the ‘Avatar’ Generation



It's an occupational hazard these days. The open world RPG – the prog rock double album of gaming – can easily become bogged down with busywork if you let it. That’s a risk, too, in Horizon: Zero Dawn, Sony's attempt at an equally big-budget open world adventure – this time set in the far future. Just as the mechanical beasts that roam its post-post-apocalyptic landscape ingeniously mimic their real-life counterparts, Horizon efficiently assimilates the reigning open-world champ The Witcher 3, scooping up its systems and structures – if not its substance – and stylishly re-engineering them.

'Horizon Zero Dawn' made me fall in love with open-world RPGs


As is often the case, love hit me out of nowhere, when I least expected it. See, Horizon is not my typical kind of game. I'm generally drawn to experiences I can play in bursts, like League of Legends, TowerFall, Neko Atsume or Overwatch, and I've never been tempted to play all the way through massive, open-world role-playing games like Dragon Age, Skyrim or The Witcher. I see the appeal of these series -- I'm a nut for the fantasy and sci-fi genres in general -- but they never hold my attention for long.

Gender, Race, and Robot Dinos in Horizon Zero Dawn


Horizon Zero Dawn is great for a lot of reasons, and maybe the most subtly feminist AAA first-party game I've played.

The Waypoint crew is (tall)neck deep in Guerrilla Games' open world action game, Horizon Zero Dawn, and writing to each other about it. Check out Patrick's thoughts here, Mike's here, and stay tuned for Austin's letter on Wednesday.


Let's Talk About How 'Resident Evil 7' Falls Apart at the End



In the closing hours, 'Resident Evil 7' isn't content to go its own way, falling into the same traps as its predecessors.


How The Zelda Community Finally Gave Link a Voice



Our initial topic of conversation was not about the fan dubs, but about Nintendo's very own attempt to put voice acting into a Zelda. Obviously, both Trevino and Rosenberg had seen the most recent BOTW trailer, and were equally optimistic about the game's potential, but there are a significant amount of Zelda fans that don't thanks to unfortunate efforts from the early 90s."When we've had voice acting prior to BOTW, it's been in things that we don't like talking about, like the 80's cartoon or the CDI games," Rosenberg said.


How to Make the Best of Working on Licensed Video Games



Designer Steve Bowler has been in the trenches on games based on 'Heroes,' 'Man of Steel,' and more. Here's what he learned.


Youtubers Life and the State of YouTube (w/ Linkara)


Highlight from the stream Youtubers Life with guest Linkara

Youtubers [sic] Life is a Tycoon-style sim game where you play a cursed soul looking for a mortal host to inhabit and consume. Every few years the current shell withers to a husk and you must move on, always hungry, always feeding. In your spare time you make videos for the internet and become a superstar.


How the Yakuza helped sell Nintendo's first game - Here's A Thing


Before Mario and Zelda, Nintendo was a very different kind of company. Here's the story behind how a young Japanese businessman started out selling playing cards and in doing so, laid the groundwork for one of the most important names in video games.


Guide to Games: Valkyria Chronicles


In this episode of Guide to Games, we explore the legacy of a Valkyria Chronicles--from its influence on the gaming world to its influence on the people that played it.


The Magic of the First Legend of Zelda | Game Maker's Toolkit


The next Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, is said to be inspired by the very first game in the series. Let's revisit that seminal game, to see how Nintendo made such an intoxicating adventure.


Sierra's Lost Gem - The Dagger of Amon Ra


Today we're taking a look at the Dagger of Amon Ra, a whacky murder mystery adventure title from Sierra.


#GLG29: Diversity in Watch Dogs 2


Shareef rides with Marcus and the Deadsec crew. Lots of good about this game regarding Black representation, but it needs some work with Latino and Asian issues. Overall, a good one.


Noclip Project 4 Teaser


A multi-game, multi-documentary adventure. Coming Soon.


Advanced Game Literacy - Finding Meaning in Games - Extra Credits


Advanced game literacy lets us analyze our games beyond the surface level, finding meaning in the mechanics and much more. To get there, we need developers, consumers, and academics to help create a community of analysis.


Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games


Game Industry Valentines


FFXV Ignis Dishes


DeMarcus Cousins' Trade Was So Shitty NBA 2K17 Won't Let You Do It


NBA superstar DeMarcus Cousins has been traded from the Kings to the Pelicans, and everybody outside Sacramento’s front office knows it’s a bad deal. It’s so bad that, if you try and do it in NBA 2K17, the game won’t let you, because it actually knows things about basketball and business.


Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


'Metacritic' Still Matters, But For How Long?



But if the power of scored reviews is waning, why the outcry that still greets outlier reviews, like the Washington Post's 40 out of 100 for Uncharted 4? Doyle is mystified by it. "Music fans don't tend to care as much about reviews. Someone gave 'Purple Rain' a bad score? Who cares?," says Doyle. "Gamers are much more concerned, more invested. It's literally like they own stock in it or something."





Let’s try a little experiment. Think about a place where video games are made. Got one in mind?

Terrific. We’ll bet good money that you either picked Los Angeles, a city in Japan, or somewhere in Silicon Valley. Are we right? If so, it’s completely understandable -- the West Coast and Japan have been titans in the field since the medium’s birth. But they’re not the only players.


Not Forgotten - Hellgate: London (Innovative Diablo Successor / Looter Shooter)


What if I told you that a "looter shooter" with 6 unique classes, procedurally generated maps, multiplayer hubs, competitive PvP arena came out two full years before Borderlands, and was headed by the creators of the Diablo series?

I'm now going to do my best at dissecting what Hellgate did right and arguably better than other first-person action RPGs like Borderlands, Shadow Warrior 2 and Destiny, while I also do a bit of sleuthing to see why it failed to grasp the attention, reception and audience it deserved.

1:25 - Hell-o World
4:21 - Innovation & Deviation
8:21 - Why the Game Failed
11:42 - The End of Hellgate: London?


Other Places: Hitman


Other Places is a series of short films celebrating beautiful videogame worlds.


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Good for that guy recognizing embracing the 'japanese style' in nier's main character. I don't mean kimonos and wooden sandal kind of style but... you know what I mean. I think games can benefit a lot from ignoring the online talking heads asking for sociologically acceptable  depictions of things and just do with what they bloomin' want.


Stranger in sword city is IMO a better dungeon crawler than operation abyss and had more refined battle balance than demon gaze. I don't know what the revised version does, but honestly I find improving the battle mechanics to be interesting because I find they are already pretty good.

Operation abyss  has some potential but it has a huge problem where the rules are complicated and unintuitive. I mean I like complicated games myself but making it hard to understand the rules just for the sake of being hard to understand is another thing. I'm not saying they do this but alot of the difficulty doesn't have a perk side.


For example if you get a dungeon crawler game with mage, cleric, warrior, rogue, etc... you can generally make certain assumptions like how intelligence will be something you will want on your casters, and less on your warriors. That the big 2 handed axe is going to be something your warrior can use and not your mage (unless it's diablo 3 or something), that you probably even WANT a mage after making 4 other characters who are physical oriented.


but operation abyss has  weird names that fit the more modern theme, and make them think 'huh?'... like 'scholar, academic, librarian, professor, athlete, gymnist, instructor'... like you can guess that athelete and gymnist might be more like 'warrior'.. but then scholar, academic, librarian, professor... wut? To make matters worse, they also have something I guess replaces 'race', and make THOSE have weird names too like 'cold, warm, humble, stoic, alert, etc'. And to make matters worse, armor and weapons isn't limited to your 'class', but a combination of your race AND class.. it's a clusterfuck truly. It has a crafting system too, and some elements of that make me scratch my head like the crafting system in legend of mana (props if you know that thing).

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