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Harry Potter and the 3,000-player battle royale, how the original X-COM was cancelled and development continued in secret, the invention of the D-Pad, Nintendo's Genyo Takeda retiring, the future of dialogue in games, a Wii Ulogy, XSEED localizer wants name removed from product after localization team and developer won't allow KKK joke, Darkest Dungeon mods, the making of StarCraft, list of good Youtubers to follow for games and gaming history, Prey is getting DLC and likely not getting early or release day reviews, Superhot design competition winners announced, Amr Al-Aaser on how we frame and describe games in a way that leads us to ignore what the game says and does on its own terms, Darksiders 3 reveal, how Origin went from Wingleader to Wing Commander, Ashes of Creation launches Kickstarter, a look at interactive audio narratives, and more.

 

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

 

Prey is 'absolutely' getting DLC, 'impossible' to see all alien powers in one playthrough

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Creative director Raphael Colantonio on Prey's longevity ahead of the game's May 5 launch.

Pre-review: Prey

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There is every indication that there will not be pre-release reviews for Arkane’s Prey.

Continuing a policy instituted last fall with Dishonored 2, publisher Bethesda will probably not distribute review copies of the upcoming sci-fi horror title prior to its release worldwide on Friday, May 5.

Prey devs 'double thoroughness' in testing following Dishonored 2's PC problems

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"We're pretty confident. You never know. But we're pretty confident."

 

Call of Duty: WWII release date set for November, watch the first trailer

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After being announced last week—and leaked before that—Call of Duty: WWII has been officially revealed, shooting the prolific series back to WWII for the first time since World At War in 2008. Watch the trailer above.

Call of Duty: WWII will highlight the vulnerability of its heroes

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The surf is pink, or maybe magenta. A few dead boys float on the waves, in and out, like a melody. I wonder at the cost of all their gear, their training and their getting here, from Kansas and California and Connecticut, all so they could jump out of a transport, take a slug and float with the stillness of starfish.

'Call of Duty: WWII' Explained

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How Sledgehammer is changing the tone of 'Call of Duty' and trying to make a shooter that's more intimate, vulnerable and emotional

Don't try to sell Call of Duty to us as anti-war

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CoD:WWII’s educational claims come off as insecure at best, disingenuous at worst. And I might have brushed off one comment as the hyperbolic yammering of an earnest but overzealous developer, but this pompousness occurred so frequently during the reveal that I could practically reverse engineer the memo it came from.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 - Zombies Chronicles confirmed by ESRB website

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The listing is gone now, but it's clear that something is shuffling our way.

 

Abandon Ship's weather system is as deadly as its seafaring foes

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New combat trailer outlines the dangers of lightning storms, deck fires, icebergs and more.

 

Dirt 4 trailer shows muddy cars, weather conditions, and exuberant soundtrack

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Codies dishes a bit more Dirt on, well, yes.

 

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam system requirements released, deluxe edition detailed

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While it doesn't have a specific release date nailed down yet, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is scheduled to release some time in the first half of this year. And as proof that this is probably still the case, Tripwire Interactive has opened pre-orders for the war shooter on Steam.

 

Savage: The Shard of Gosen is a sidescrolling RPG inspired by the worst Zelda game

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There are a lot of modern reimaginings of classic games happening nowadays, but Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link for NES is a game I never thought I'd see get that treatment. Widely considered one of the worst Zelda games in the series, most would be happy to forget it altogether, but solo indie developer Matt Fitzgerald thinks there's something in it worth revisiting. You can watch the interview above to hear him talk about his upcoming RPG Savage: The Shard of Gosen, and the video below to see it in action.

 

Quake Champions trailer showcases the verdant Ruins of Sarnath

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A peaceful place to kill things.

Quake Champions is looking good, but mods are still in doubt

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Our verdict on the look and feel of Quake Champions beta, and the game's future.

 

The Edgelands is a quirky narrative adventure that echoes Infocom era gamebooks

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Billed as a "narrative adventure in which players explore a rustic twilight world where modern life mingles with real and imagined folklore", The Edgelands is the debut game from independent outfit Marshlight Software that was part-financed by Failbetter's fundbetter initiative. It's a strange game, but an intriguing one and while its creators suggest it references Infocom era interactive fiction, there's some strong hints of Kentucky Route Zero's eccentricity in there too.

 

Combat Commentary & Brian DiDomenico Joins the Team

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David Rogers here with another Bard's Tale IV update. Recently, we gave you our first look at exploration and combat, and your response and feedback were both incredible and very useful in helping us prioritize our efforts. We wanted to respond to much of the feedback we got in more detail while also talking a bit more about some of our gameplay ideas.

 

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows first details, screenshots

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Help two little girls survive and reunite in an ominous night town.

 

Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy character trailer

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NIS America has released a new trailer introducing the characters of Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy.

 

Bethesda might be teasing a couple E3 reveals

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The Fallout company sent out an invite that could be pointing at two game reveals at E3.

 

Sea of Thieves trailers show ship battles, scouting and skeletons

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Well, that's gone and done it. I was pretty happy in my relative ignorance of Rare's open world, online co-op pirate adventure Sea of Thieves, but now—after watching the following videos—it is a game I must play, one way or the other. Joe 'Bluebeard' Donnelly took a look at the first 'developer gameplay' video back in February, in which a bunch of Sea of Thieves devs and Insider Programme members played the game together, getting into all sorts of buccaneering mischief. Since then, a second dev video has appeared, and now a third, both of which I'll link below.

 

Shenmue III - Story Building Developer Diary

 

Gundam Versus will finally bring the Japanese fighting series to western consoles

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Bandai Namco's Gundam series of 3D fighting games have largely remained exclusive to Japan, but now the publisher is shaking things up by offering an official western release of its upcoming entry, Gundam Versus, on PS4.

 

Lethis: Daring Discoverers looks like a charming sci-fi adventure

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From the developer of Lethis: Path of Progress.

 

Source: The Rumored Mario x Rabbids RPG Is Real, Coming To Switch

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One of this fall’s big Nintendo Switch games will be Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a game that has been rumored for quite some time and does indeed exist, as confirmed by art assets provided to Kotaku. The game will mix Nintendo’s iconic plumber (and friends) with characters from Ubisoft’s popular Rabbids series.

 

Haunted house-a-thon Perception release date set

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Deep End Games has its sights set on launch next month.

 

A Game About Syrian Refugees and WhatsApp

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'Bury Me, My Love' is a game that seeks to humanize the experience of migrants fleeing Syria for a broad audience.

Eight years ago, French game maker Florent Maurin became disillusioned with the world of news reporting. That's when he decided to quit his job as a journalist. He was initially attracted to the profession for its "noble goal of turning the world into something understandable by everyone." But over time he found that journalism had struggled to adapt to the requirements of the digital age.

 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War showcases new Nemesis system

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Topple towers and storm strongholds.

Shadow of War: Weapons and Gear Detailed - IGN First

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Learn how the equipment system works, where to find epic and legendary gear, and how augment all of it to fit your play style.

 

The Town of Light on researching its sensitive themes and Volterra asylum setting

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LKA's narrative-leaning exploration games The Town of Light arrived on PC in 2016, however will launch an enhanced edition at some point later this year. To this end, we published the first of a three-part series last week which explores how the game's iconic asylum setting was designed and how it handles issues of mental health with sensitivity.

 

Unexplored: a real-time roguelike with advanced dungeon design

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Procedurally generated puzzles feature.

 

Darksiders 3 trailer reveals Fury, the whip-wielding Sister of the Apocalypse

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And just like that, it's official. THQ Nordic has now unleashed the Darksiders 3 reveal trailer, confirming that the game will be played as Fury, the sister of the Four Horsemen, who's being sent off to deal with the escaped Seven Deadly Sins. As for War, he seems to be wrapped up with his own problems right now.

 

God Wars: Future Past sixth trailer

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Kadokawa Games has released the sixth official trailer for God Wars: Future Past, its upcoming strategy RPG for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita that explores the untold history of Japan through folklore.

 

Code Vein's debut trailer is post-apocalyptic anime Dark Souls

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Bandai Namco's upcoming action-RPG Code Vein hasn't been confirmed for the PC, but on the other hand it hasn't actually been confirmed for any platforms yet. That, to my mind, means we have as much right to feast our eyes on the debut trailer as anyone else. So let's do that.

 

The Occupation is a politically-charged thriller that pits you against the clock

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An early look at White Paper Games' thought-provoking new narrative game set in the universe of Ether One.

 

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni coming to PC via Steam this summer

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Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is coming to PC via Steam worldwide this summer, Marvelous announced.

 

Martian survive ’em up Rokh hitting early access in May

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Martian crafty survival sandbox Rokh [official site] is coming to early access (of course) on May 16th. Sure, you’ve crafted and built in survival sandboxes before. Okay, you’ve done it in space too. And sure, you have even done it on Mars. But have you crafted and built in a Martian survival sandbox whose look is overseen by Viktor Antonov, the artist behind the wonderful looks of Half-Life 2 and Dishonored? Ah! Well, you’ll want Rokh for that. Watching a new trailer I don’t get a feel for the intricacies that can make two similar-seeming games be quite different, but I do like its Mars.

 

Halo 6 will be all about Master Chief, no new playable characters

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Another lesson learned from Halo 5, says franchise director

The Lack Of Master Chief Was The Least Of Halo 5’s Campaign Problems

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Video game sequels often fix the problems of their predecessors thanks to, among other things, the iterative advancements of technology. That’s on top of the fact that making creative work in the gaming medium is still an exercise in being an artistic pioneer. So you at least hope that the people making sequels know what their last game did wrong. This was a week to wonder if the folks making Halo did.

 

Battlefield 1 spring update brings Platoons to the fight, makes life better for Medics

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The Battlefield 1 spring update that DICE revealed earlier this month is now live, bringing the "first wave" of Platoon (aka clan) functionality to the game along with new weapon variants, some handy server admin features including the ability to password-protect servers, new ribbons and dogtags, and a new "Medic revive intent" feature that promises to make life a little easier for the fallen, and those who'd like to help them.

I have started an Angry Army Platoon on the PC, RuneX has started one for the Xbox One, and WITHASTICK has started one for the PS4, we will all be hosting an event for the game on the 13th.

 

Hearts of Iron IV’s Death or Dishonor DLC will release alongside free overhaul of air gameplay

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Hearts of Iron IV’s Death or Dishonor expansion focuses on the countries of Europe caught between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. As the title of the DLC suggests, you’ll have to make the tough choices.

 

For Honor Season Two, Shadow and Might, adds the Centurion and Shinobi on May 16

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Ubisoft are launching Season Two of For Honor next month, adding two new heroes, two new maps, and a new tier of gear: Epic. It’ll be launching for Season Pass holders on May 16, while everyone else gets it a week later on May 23.

 

Nioh DLC “Dragon of the North” Out May 2

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We’re excited to showcase our upcoming DLC for Nioh, Dragon of the North, coming to PlayStation 4 next week. I’m sure many of you samurai have been hungry for more adventures and challenges.

 

Zelda: Breath Of The Wild's First DLC Adds Some Very Cool Stuff

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First announced back in February, Nintendo has just detailed what exactly we’ll be getting with the first batch of DLC that’s being offered for Breath of the Wild in the Summer. From new armour to a fancy “smart map”, it all sounds pretty great.

 

Watch Motörhead 'unleash the Ironfist' in the none more metal Victor Vran trailer

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The long-awaited Motörhead: Through the Ages expansion will be out at the end of May.

 

Forza Horizon 3 is getting loop-de-loops and a giant T-rex in new Hot Wheels DLC

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The expansion is only two weeks away, and I guess it has some cars too.

 

Street Fighter V Temporarily Pulling New DLC Offline To Remove Unintentional Religious References

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You can find the full statement from Capcom below, but the short version is that the Thailand Temple Hideout DLC stage's music contains unintentional religious references, so the stage is being pulled, edited, and then put back online.

 

Overwatch’s Heroes of the Storm skins will come to loot boxes, eventually

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You don’t have to play Blizzard’s MOBA to get Officer D.Va

Overwatch surpasses 30 million players

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That’s a lot of play(er)s of the game

Overwatch audio files suggest a space map could be coming

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Blizzard recently said they were working on three new ‘standard’ Overwatch maps, all of which will hopefully be released this year. They’re in the final stages of development, essentially, and fans may have just discovered some hints as to where they’ll be set.

Overwatch’s cutest voice line was a recording booth accident

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One of the most beloved voice lines in Overwatch wasn’t scripted. During the first Tribeca Games Festival this weekend, senior game designer Michael Chu took credit for putting Mei’s rapid-fire string of apologies into the game, after a recording booth mistake was caught on tape.

Overwatch ‘Uprising’ event extended after accidental early end

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Get out there and get those loot boxes while you still can

 

Hearthstone celebrates 70 million player milestone with free pack giveaway

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Log in any time during May to get your free packs

 

Localizer Asks To Be Removed From Game's Credits After Developers Erase KKK Reference

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XSEED (sans Lipschultz) e-mailed Acquire asking what originally inspired the sign. Ken Berry, XSEED’s executive vice president, helped explain what the letters meant in the U.S. “Acquire immediately responded that they had no idea the sign could be taken that way in English,” Berry told me in an e-mail. Two weeks later, Acquire removed the phrase from Akiba’s Beat, with no further conversation or discussion, replacing it with “ACQ witches.”

Localization Isn't Censorship, And The Difference Is Important

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I believe that's what they call a "stretch," and it's possible to argue Lipshultz was doing the exact opposite of a translator's goal: inserting themselves into the text and becoming the creator, engaging in the very practice he claims to defend. After all, if the original developers didn't know about the KKK, chances are that their intention wasn't to include the term for, as Lipshultz said, "its shock value."

Then again, Lipshultz is the same person who was banned from the message board NeoGAF after arguing there's "no such thing as 'underage' when it comes to art" in a thread about whether there's too much fanservice in games.

 

Nintendo veteran Genyo Takeda retiring

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Genyo Takeda, whose contributions to Nintendo include creating the Punch-Out!! series and leading development of the Wii console, is retiring from his role at the company, Nintendo announced today (PDF).

Fire Emblem Heroes bests Super Mario Run profits, despite 10 times fewer downloads

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Although Super Mario Run boasts a player base that’s 10 times larger, Fire Emblem Heroes continues to outperform Mario’s mobile title. Nintendo told press during a financial earnings briefing that Super Mario Run sales continue to be slow, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki.

Nintendo predicts next year’s profits to reach its highest in six years

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Bolstered by strong Switch sales, Nintendo’s on the up-and-up

Nintendo not holding E3 press conference in 2017

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“We will not be hosting a large-scale press conference for institutional investors, analysts and the media,” Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo, said today during a briefing to discuss the company’s financial results for its 2016-17 fiscal year. Kimishima added that Nintendo of America will provide details “at a later date” on how Nintendo will handle E3.

Nintendo Finally Says Goodbye To 3D

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Few video game systems have had as strange a journey as Nintendo’s 3DS. The spunky portable console flopped, got a massive price cut, gradually built up a spectacular library of games, and received several bizarre (and confusing) hardware models throughout its six years on store shelves. And now, it’s ditching its biggest selling point. Farewell, 3D.

 

Students can now learn how to code directly in Minecraft

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Code Builder extension hits Minecraft: Education Edition

 

New Chinese law forces Riot to publish League of Legends loot box drop rates

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Chinese law now requires that all game makers reveal the odds of item drops.

 

Chet Faliszek leaves Valve

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Chet Faliszek, writer, VR ambassador and for many developers the public face of Valve, has confirmed exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz that he has left the company after 12 years.

 

Atlus Is Letting People Stream More, But Not All, 'Persona 5'

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You can now share your experiences until the game's final act.

 

PS4 shipments reach 60 million units worldwide

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Sony expects to sell 18 million more by April 2018

 

Battlegrounds doubles its playerbase in less than a month, now with 2 million sales

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Donations for its charity event to benefit Gamers Outreach will be matched up to $100,000.

 

AbleGamers opens new facility to help those with disabilities get back in the game

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AbleGamers, a charity dedicated to supporting people with disabilities in using games to break down economic and social isolation, has opened a new facility in Charles Town, West Virginia. The AbleGamers Center for Inclusive Play is a result of a grant from the Level Access brand of the SSB BART Group, an organization dedicated to digital accessibility.

Little Girl Finally Gets To Play Mario Kart 8 Thanks To Smart Steering

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If you’ve been playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch this weekend, you might have noticed that the game has something called Smart Steering turned on by default. While most players have started the game by turning it off, the feature was a welcome addition for Molly, a four-year-old who suffered a stroke just after being born, before she was even a month old.

 

Superhot design competition winners announced

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#MAKEITSUPERHOT reveals its 1st-3rd place winners.

 

Brutal Doom is getting new guns, dual wielding, and the option to remove vertical axis aiming

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Brutal Doom is the mod that keeps on giving, cranking up the classic FPS to ridiculous levels, adding new guns, features and, obviously, lashings of extra gore. Some people like to pick and choose how their favourite FPS evolves, though, and many don’t like how you have to aim up and down, because it changes the feel of the original too much. Well now there’s an option to turn on auto-aim so you only have to aim left and right.

 

Mod for The Witcher 3 lets Geralt use shields

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Block incoming attacks, including arrows, with 40 shields from different factions.

 

The best Darkest Dungeon mods

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Darkest Dungeon has a great community of modders, and these are some of their best creations.

 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha Developer’s Cut released

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Lost Alpha [ModDB page], the fantastic free standalone mod inspired by bits of Shadow of Chernobyl that appeared in alpha versions but were cut for the final release, is now properly out. Craig adored the version released in 2014, so a big update is fantastic news. You might remember Dezowave reluctantly released 2014’s unfinished (but still great) version after scamps leaked a rough development build.

 

Star Wars: X-Wing 'XWVM' mod video shows off updated visual effects

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Check out HDR lighting, new planets and suns, improved explosions, and more.

 

Zelda Fan Game Changes Course After Nintendo Issues Takedown

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It was only a matter of time before Breath of the NES caught the eye of Nintendo and got pegged with a takedown notice. According to its creator, however, the game will live on.

 

Esports News

 

The Weekend In Esports: Dota 2, DreamHack Austin, And Splatoon

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Below you’ll find where and when you can catch all the weekend’s biggest events in competitive gaming. Let us know what you’ll be watching in the comments or if you think there’s something we might have missed.

 

As Esports Explodes, Will Valve's 'Dota 2' Be Left for Dead?

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Valve's 'flat' corporate culture has done wonders for its bottom line, but it might not be the most nurturing environment for esports success

'Dota 2' Owes Its Success to Fans, Not Investors and Owners, and That's Okay

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One of the striking things about Dota 2 is that, although its rise coincided with the explosion of interest and audience for esports, it's remained almost entirely immune—or perhaps aloof—from the trends that have largely shaped professional gaming since 2011. Where other competitive communities and organizations have at least attempted (with varying levels of success) to impose some kind of governance structure on esports, Dota 2 remains almost gleefully chaotic. While outside investors have come pouring into other esports, and made established esports brands increasingly ubiquitous and well-financed, pro Dota 2 is largely dominated by rosters and individual captains and players that change teams almost at-will. Dota 2 has rejected just about everything that esports supposedly need: Continuity, stability, structure, organization, and (especially) media training.

 

What Makes Gamer-Tags and Team Names Such Valuable Trademarks?

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This guest-article comes from Justin M. Jacobson, Esq., Vice-President at The Jacobson, P.C., a NYC-based entertainment & esports law firm. He advises a variety of professional athletes and entertainers on their trademark, copyright, contractual and business matters.

 

Tencent Conference Reveals Chinese Franchising Plans, Esports Television Channel

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Chinese e-commerce behement Tencent—the company that owns Riot Games, SuperCell, and numerous other developers—has taken another step forward into the esports industry. At the Tencent Conference over the weekend, a number of announcements, including the franchising of the Chinese League of Legends Master Series and an esports television channel for China, promise to shake things up.

 

Blizzard announces Hearthstone Wild tournament

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Top 64 ranked players at end of May will qualify.

 

CS:GO player banned for cheating returns to sport, new teammates promptly quit in protest

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Any serious CS:GO player out there will tell you that cheating is the absolute bane of this particular game. In fact, cheating in CS:GO is so prevalent and so very despised that you can barely go a few games without at least the accusation of hacking being levelled against one player or another. So when Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian, a one-time regular at the highest end of professional Counter-Strike, was caught cheating, the backlash from both Valve and the community was swift and harsh.

 

Fans Keep Trying To Revive Smash Bros. Brawl's Competitive Scene

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Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the problem child of the Smash franchise—at least when it comes to its esports scene. Not as quaint as Smash 64, as technically rich as Melee or as polished as Smash 4, Brawl is considered a fun but flawed game exclusively for casual players. So, while other competitive Smash scenes have blossomed over the years, Brawl’s has mostly festered.

 

HONOR OF KINGS DOMINATES MOBILE ESPORTS IN CHINA

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Tencent has launched its biggest esports competition for Honor of Kings in 2017, the King Pro League. The 2017 season follows in the footsteps of the 2016 season which was watched by more than 70 million people. Tencent is aiming to build a better esports ecosystem allowing for more teams, more players, increased marketing, celebrity hosts and more. Tencent is also using this season to create a better structure for the King Pro League to fully legitimize the game as an esport and to grow the overall games industry.

 

Smash 'God' Drops Out Of Tournament Because His Controller Isn't Properly Malfunctioning

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Adam “Armada” Lindgren, considered one of the “five gods” of competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee, has dropped out of this weekend’s DreamHack Austin due to a controller that isn’t malfunctioning properly. Yes, you read that correctly.

Hungrybox Wins Melee Finals By Running Out The Clock

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The final day of DreamHack Austin was filled to the brim with explosive Melee plays, from Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman’s incredible run through the loser’s side of the bracket to Daniel “ChuDat” Rodriguez taking down some of the game’s finest on his road to the top. Comparatively, the grand finals of Melee were a little disappointing.

 

The Late Team Fight That Spun The Dota 2 Kiev Finals On Their Head

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OG might have been favorites heading into Valve’s Dota 2 Major hosted in Kiev, but they certainly didn’t look it by game five of the grand finals. Arguably the more talented team, and certainly the more experienced, it wasn’t until a fateful team fight in the 39th minute of the final match that the European squad re-discovered their inner champions.

 

Overwatch Pro Sets Up Surprise Attack By Balancing Winston On A Roof

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There are plenty of “correct” ways to play Winston. Dive into the back line, tear up a healer, throw down a shield, etc. LuxuryWatch Blue player Song “Janus” Jun-hwa’s strategy was not “correct.” That did not, however, stop it from being effective.

 

Not Even Excellent Outfits Can Save Overwatch Pros From Other Team's Genji

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In a single, high-flying run, he knocked off KongDoo Panthera’s Zenyatta, Tracer, Winston, and Soldier 76. In another fantastic moment, he sliced clean through KongDoo Panthera’s Pharmercy combo, a beautiful bond of love and comradery considered by most to be ninja-proof:

 

Crowdfunding News

 

Ashes of Creation ~ New MMORPG by Intrepid Studios

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Ashes of Creation is an open-world, non-faction based, no P2W, high-fantasy MMORPG. Join us as we change the face of the genre.

 

EXO ONE

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A surreal exoplanetary exploration game. Pilot an alien craft that can manipulate gravity on mankind's ill-fated First Contact mission.

 

Eagle Island

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With your loyal owl and falconry skills, explore a procedural island. A pixel art adventure platformer. DEMO AVAILABLE!

Eagle Island is a falconry-based, procedural platformer

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There are lots of nice touches in the trailer for falconry-based platformer Eagle Island, not least the fact that your ranged attack involves flinging your pet owl at enemies. I appreciate a game that goes all-in on a theme, and in that respect this might be the most avian platformer ever, featuring as it does a plot that sees you rescuing a kidnapped owl from an enormous eagle god. There's some lovely pixel art, and procedural generation for some reason; there's also a demo of the alpha version that you can download here.

 

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

 

Good Game/Tech/History Youtubers

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This list came about because of a discussion on the Video Game History Foundation Discord chat. I thought I’d throw together a list of Youtube content creators who focus on games and tech. Whether that be analysis, instructional, historical, or whatever. I intend for this to be a living document, so feel free to suggest any that you think are excellent that happen to be missing from the list and I’ll do my best to keep it up to date.

 

From Wingleader to Wing Commander

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At the beginning of July, executive producer Dallas Snell called the troops together to tell them that crunch time was beginning in earnest; everyone would need to work at least 55 hours per week from now on. Most of the people on the project only smiled bemusedly at the alleged news flash. They were already working those kinds of hours, and knew all too well that a 55-hour work week would probably seem like a part-timer’s schedule before all was said and done.

At the beginning of August, Snell unceremoniously booted Chris Roberts, the project’s founder, from his role as co-producer, leaving him with only the title of director. Manifesting a tendency anyone familiar with his more recent projects will immediately recognize, Roberts had been causing chaos on the team by approving seemingly every suggested addition or enhancement that crossed his desk. Snell, the brutal pragmatist in this company full of dreamers, appointed himself as Warren Spector’s new co-producer. His first action was to place a freeze on new features in favor of getting the game that currently existed finished and out the door.

 

Picture in a Frame

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idle thoughts about “x meets y”, cultural canon and how we talk about games

This became complicated in 2016 with the release of Another Metroid 2 Remake [AM2R], a fan remake by Milton Guasti that recreated Metroid II within the style of Metroid Fusion and Super Metroid. Guasti’s work on its own is admirable and impressive, and by itself doesn’t pose a problem. What makes it troubling is the reaction to it, which often positioned it as a fix to the problems of Metroid II, or even as a carrier of its spirit in a world that’s troubled by poor game preservation efforts. All of this fails to understand Metroid II on its own terms and contributes to the erasure of the original work, while positioning AM2R, which hems closer to the genre blueprint of Super Metroid, as a replacement for it.

 

Why the hell do they have mouths: a Final Fantasy 7 PC retrospective

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We look back at the 1998 PC port of Final Fantasy 7 and become obsessed with one very particular quirk.

 

Famitsu Special Report – The Mystery of TOSE

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(The following is a translation from the 04/13/2017 issue of Famitsu magazine)

This is the real story behind TOSE: The game development company that’s been making games for nearly 38 years (since 1979), but hardly any gamers know.

 

The future of dialogue in games

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The challenges of writing dialogue that's both fun and functional, and how dev tools can lead to better writing.

 

The Last Guardian contains a beautiful lesson about animals’ ability to forgive

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How a video game helped me let go

 

We Need More Games Where Animals Don't Just Die or Carry Us Around

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Video game animals don’t need to be reduced to murder machines or beasts of burden.

 

“The Erotic Death Drive of Nier: Automata,” by Julie Muncy

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During what could be described roughly as Nier: Automata’s mid-point, the android 9S has his mind invaded by a machine. The assailant, a human-like life form named Adam, interrogates 9S, prodding at the android’s digital mind, torturing him and probing for weaknesses. During this sequence, which is text-based, Adam asks 9S a question that echoes broadly across the game world at large:

“You’re thinking about how much you want to **** 2B, aren’t you?”

 

‘What Remains of Edith Finch’ Perfectly Illustrates Gaming’s Storytelling Power

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Giant Sparrow’s new release is quite unlike anything I’ve played before, an innovative and inspiring work of interwoven fiction.

 

Making StarCraft, 'we just threw a bunch of crap at the wall and saw what stuck'

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Blizzard has plans to release a gussied-up version of its classic 1998 real-time strategy game StarCraft this summer, and to promote the game it today published a brief retrospective look at how the game was made.

 

The Next Wave of Games Don't Need Screens

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Now, a third wave of audio drama is set to be produced at the hands of game developers, who are taking the techniques of old and infusing them into a fundamentally altered, yet familiar structure, with listeners playing a vocal role in the action. Instead of simply absorbing the thrilling tales of daring heroes and villains, it is your own voice (speaking into a phone or Amazon Echo device) that determines the next step of action with built-in voice commands.

 

Officer Benny and Characterisation in Stealth

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There’s a very special NPC in Thief II: The Metal Age. In the dimly-lit games room of the Truart Estate, surrounded by the discarded playing cards and abandoned dartboards of the recent party held by the Sheriff and his debaucherous toff friends, a lone drunken City Watch officer disconnectedly rambles to the barmaid on duty. His name is Officer Benny, and I love him.

 

EVE Online's latest war is being fought over anime

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How a controversial ban on anime is fueling what could be a major conflict.

 

The Success of 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' Underscores How Badly Wii U Flopped

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To many people, it's like 'Mario Kart 8' never existed before last week. Nintendo would be smart to take advantage of this.

 

Elite: Dangerous' 3,000-player battle royale

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On April 29, close to 3,000 players gathered in Elite: Dangerous for the single largest player-versus-player engagement in that game’s short history.

I was there, embedded within an armada of more than 1,000 ships known as the Premonition Allied Coalition, or the PAC. They were there to defend a fictional character named Salomé, the invention of a science fiction author. Arrayed against them were the most deadly player-controlled fleets in the entire Milky Way galaxy.

And a wizard named Harry Potter.

 

Flashback: Returning to 'Morrowind'

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We revisit the strange shores of Bethesda's 2002 masterpiece on its 15th birthday

 

Kojima Tries To Explain Naked Norman Reedus At Tribeca

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The man behind Metal Gear continues to hone his persona as a really weird creative dude. At the Tribeca Film Festival’s games event, Hideo Kojima revealed why the teaser for Death Stranding opened on a naked Norman Reedus as well as some other random Kojima Facts™.

 

When Fans Take Their Love For Twitch Streamers Too Far

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It was one in the morning when the Twitch streamer Ellohime heard a knock at his front door.

 

This revelation about 50 Cent's 7-year old making executive decisions for 2009's Blood on the Sand is too good

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Those of you who actually played 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, my heart goes out to you and the world thanks you for your sacrifice. Those of you who didn't, well, you may have heard stories about its ludicrousness, but I promise nothing will top being a game developer at the mercy of the titular rapper's 7-year old son.

 

Guest Column: Let's Hear It for the Game Givers

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Guest columnist Mike Drucker says goodbye to the grandmother that brought him one of his best gaming memories, and pays tribute to the many other people that have helped make gaming a major part of his life.

 

Outlast 2 And The Realism Of Survival Horror Motivation

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Outlast 2 made me think about the way we are rewarded in video games, and how we are motivated to seek that reward. What I found about the way we learn made me respect survival horror a lot more.

Why horror games need to quit killing us

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Or find new ways to deal with death.

 

How the CS:GO community's compassion changed the life of a disabled CS:GO streamer

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A misunderstanding over a speech impediment has turned this small-time streamer into a CS:GO celebrity.

 

Night in the Woods is Important // HeavyEyed

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Night in the Woods is an important game for many reasons, it touches on a lot of important issues many people face but don't talk about so I wanted to bring head to that conversation. There's a lot to unpack in the mystery of Possum Springs but I wanted to make a video talking about what I took away from the experience and the impact it had me.

 

The original X-COM was cancelled, but development continued in secret - Here's A Thing

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It turns out the original X-COM was actually, properly cancelled, but a handful of people chose to keep its development going in secret. So secret, in fact, that the game's creator only found out it had happened 20 years after the fact.

Long-lost X-COM reboot would have played a lot like Valkyria Chronicles

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Julian Gollop reminisces about The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge

 

Localize Everything - Finding Hardcore Fans Worldwide - Extra Credits

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Nothing feels worse than seeing a game you really like but can't play because it's only being released in another part of the world. But does it have to be that way? Here's why we think every console game should be published worldwide.

 

Kingdom and Player Attention

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In this video essay (script: https://t.co/YQDnArkSdS), I talk about player attention as a resource in strategy games and how Kingdom complicates this relationship in interesting ways. Please like, follow, subscribe, spread the word, etc.

 

Who Invented the D-Pad? | Gaming Historian

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Gaming Historian examines the D-Pad, an industry standard in controller design. Who invented it? How does it work? Why is it in just about every video game controller? Is every D-Pad the same? Find out!

 

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and the Curse of Bad Video Game Movies - Renegade Cut

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Why is Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV so bad? Why are all video game movies so bad?

 

The Design of Dead Space - Part 2 | Game Maker's Toolkit

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In part two, we look at Dead Space's major sequel and how Redwood Shores (now named Visceral Games) started to shift the focus of the franchise away from horror - and towards action.

 

Bravely Default's Empowering Music | Game Score Fanfare

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Bravely Default's soundtrack has a special trick up its sleeve. I take a look at how the music in Bravely Default uses the character themes to empower the player in the final boss battle of the game.

 

Conversations: Patrice Désilets (Creator of Assassin's Creed)

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Gameology Conversation with "Patrice Désilets", creative director of "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time", "Assassin's Creed", "Assassin's Creed II" and "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood". He is working at his own studio called "Panache Digital Games", making "Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey"

Conversation with Patrice Désilets (Creator of Assassin's Creed)

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In this episode we speak with the guy who made you jump from rooftop to rooftop. Run on walls to avoid traps and rewind time for your love. He is one the kindest game developers I’ve ever seen. He is the genius, the smart and the passionate creative director of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and right now he works at his own studio called Panache Digital Games and their next game I think is going to change the way we play video games. It’s the biggest adventure of all time, it’s brave, it’s going to talk about humanity from the very beginning. It’s called Ancestors: Humankind Odyssey and the man we have as our guest is no one but the amazing Patrice Desilets.

 

How Does Mass Effect: Andromeda Compare to Previous Mass Effects? [Spoilers]

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This is a total-spoiler video critique of Mass Effect: Andromeda meant to take a look at how it fits in the original trilogy in terms of theme and structure. It aims to figure out if this spin-off is more of a Frasier or a Joey and how it might've come to be one way or the other.

 

Matt Chat 374: Tim Lang Part One

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In the first part of my epic interview with Tim Lang of New World Computing, Brrapp, and EA, we chat about his new stuff and then dive into his early days.

 

A Wii Ulogy

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Great artists aren't always appreciated in their own time.

 

Dark Souls 3 Critique: Bosses and Glorified Hallways (Part 2)

 

Scanner Sombre

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Scanner Sombre is the latest game by Introversion Software, the team that brought you Uplink, Darwinia, DEFCON, and Prison Architect. It's definitely pretty, but what if anything is going on beneath the surface?

 

Farlands - Relationship Between the Player and the Game through Controls

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Let's take a look at how controls are used to elicit feelings and create emotional bonds between the player and the game.

 

Bayonetta's Enemy Design - Dancing with Danger

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Looking in-depth at Platinum's magnum opus, Bayonetta, and how its enemy design played a huge part in making its combat so exciting.

 

Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to video games, game communities, or game companies

 

Someone Bought The Most Depressing Top Gun Game Collection

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Everyone makes purchases they regret. You might buy an expensive toy, binge on cartons of ice cream, get a fancy dress, or you might buy too many copies of a Top Gun video game.

 

Pretending To Be Yoko Taro Is Hard Work

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Is Yoko Taro really going to take off that mask and reveal his face? Nope! That isn’t the mysterious Yoko under the Nier mask, but Platinum Games’ Hideki Kamiya.

 

When you (and 50,000 other people) try to own Polygon but you don't understand what words or sales are

First article was correct in that it sold significantly worse than all but the Gamecube version which it only slightly beat, Deluxe is also a new updated version for a system not announced at the time making the articles not even connected. You are supposed to do article side by side comparisons like this when they are written by the same person not two different people, and "life comes at you fast" is for things that happen around three days later not three years later (also, again, it's supposed to happen to the same person, life isn't coming at you fast if it is happening to someone else). Pewdiepie also shared a stolen version of the tweet giving this a total of about 50,000 people whose brains have been so rotted by memes that they don't even know how the memes work anymore.

 

Fyrefestival

 

Zombies Are Real


Nerf Email

 

 

Things I Missed From Previous Weeks

 

Interview with Jessica Curry — Video Game Composer

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One thing is for certain: Jessica Curry is the definition of a pioneer. She has tested and redefined the limits of what it means to play a video game and the role of video game music. She is a BAFTA-winning, internationally-acclaimed composer of contemporary classical music, and is also the co-founder of celebrated games company The Chinese Room. Curry’s work has been performed in extraordinary venues, such as The Old Vic Tunnels, The Barbican, Sydney Opera House and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The composer boasts an impressive career as a video game composer. She wrote the music for the genre-defying, BAFTA-nominated Dear Esther, which won awards for Best Audio at the TIGA’s and a GANG award. Her hair-raising and terrifying music for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs was also multi-award winning, and her BAFTA winning music for acclaimed PS4 title Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture was named soundtrack of the year by MOJO magazine, sitting in the top 10 of the Official Charts for several weeks.

We had the pleasure and privilege of chatting with the vibrant Jessica Curry on her stratospheric career.

 

On Endings: What Games Are, and What They Could Be

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Last week, Austin Walker wrote about endings over at Waypoint, focusing not only on literal game endings, but also on letting go. Preparing to return to the world can be a challenge, certainly; I’ve never come back from Trumbull Valley, for instance. But sometimes it’s all too easy to leave a world behind, even with some things unfinished, which I think is part of what Walker is getting at here (I’ll explain more below):

 

How Trans Consultants Saved Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Interestingly, a large part of the reason Krem ended up being such a praised trans character is down to Bioware seeking advice from transgender and non-binary consultants outside of the development team. While the version of the character in the retail game received wide-reaching praise, early drafts nearly made some fatal missteps which would likely have made Krem yet another example of “good try, but a bit problematic”.

The following insights into the development of Krem as a character come from emails between a consultant on Dragon Age: Inquisition and writer Patrick Weekes. These emails were provided by the consultant, and verified separately as containing legitimate in-development materials. We also cite an unused interview with Weekes in which he confirms many of the early draft issues discussed in the emails we received.

 

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