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The cancelled Prey 2's plot twist and link to the original, Brenda Romero on unity between developers, the early games of an independent Interplay, Divinity Original Sin 2 and Ys VIII get release dates, Xbox game subscription service launches, interviews and research into the games military veterans play and why, the history of the Halo franchise told by the creators, how Gone Home influenced Prey, how Dr. J and Larry Bird helped build EA, player choice and the illusion of choice, Noclip talks to DOOM designers Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin about what inspires them, games from Resist Jam and Japan’s Bit Summit, a look at a free-roaming VR installation, Far Cry 5 reveal, questioning the authenticity of video games and hip hop, the music of Kid Icarus, and more.

 

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

 

Xbox game subscription service launches June 1

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Xbox Game Pass will start with 100+ titles

Xbox One video store begins rolling out 4K HDR content

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Microsoft has begun to add content that supports 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) color to its digital video store on Xbox devices, the company confirmed to Polygon.

 

The best and brightest indie games from Japan’s Bit Summit

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Indie-focused fest had some strong highlights

 

Divinity: Original Sin 2 will leave Early Access in September

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Larian wants to get the game out so it can win a bet with a construction company.

Kickstarter Update #37 - Release the… … ...Kraken!

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We’re really excited to tell you that we finally have a release date for Divinity: Original Sin 2! The vision we shared with you nearly two years ago is close to realisation. We couldn’t have made it this far without our backers, and for that we thank you.

 

Remnants Of Naezith Shows Gaming Needs More Grappling Hooks

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Remnants of Naezith is a platformer that stars a grappling hook and wants to be the Super Meat Boy of twitch-based ledge swinging. There are dragon souls and remnants of them (as the title suggests), but in the end it’s all about being a futuristic Tarzan in a low-res world.

 

Tannenberg is a 'realistic' WW1 shooter from the makers of Verdun

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The multiplayer FPS takes the fight to the lesser-known Eastern Front.

 

Far Cry 5 first look: Taking on doomsday preppers in backwater Montana

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I sat front row while Dan Hay, the creative director for Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5, talked about visiting the place I grew up like it was another planet. And I guess it really is. Montana, the setting for the next Far Cry, is one of the biggest states in the USA with one of the lowest populations. I remember when we broke one million. My dad texted me, saying we’re big time now.

Hay and the team were inspired by the unrest and confusion felt after events like the Cold War and 9/11. Such moments represent the United States at its most vulnerable, a far cry from the utopic, efficient, proud country its leaders so often claim it to be. But in the wake of uncertainty, events like the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by an armed militia in Oregon early last year prodded at the idea of a governing body that didn’t have the interests of regular people in mind, and one that wasn’t prepared to respond during a catastrophic event on US soil. What if some people knew a collapse was coming, but didn’t want to wait for the fall? What if one of those movements were run by competent, truly prepared people? They’d probably find a nice and quiet place to get ready.

'Far Cry 5' Is About Living Under Fear in America

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Dan Hay, creative director and executive producer of Far Cry 5, is standing in front of a TV displaying the word pressure, written out in all caps. PRESSURE. He's telling a room of games journalists about the game he's wanted to make since the 2008 recession, one that engaged with the rise of rural, American militias during Obama's presidency. What if, Hay said, one of these groups so dedicated to preparing for the end days of America decided to actively push for it, instead.

But he couldn't find enough support for the game: the core premise seemed "unrealistic." After all, the world—the western world, it is implied—was "a global village."

Far Cry 5’s campaign is playable entirely in co-op

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Two Far Cry 5 players will be able to team up and take on the game’s campaign in cooperative play, publisher Ubisoft announced today.

Far Cry 5: Official The Resistance: Mary May Trailer | Ubisoft [US]

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Throughout the hills, valleys, and townships of Hope County, civilians of all walks have joined forces to resist against the cult, and rid their land of its chaos once and for all. Say hello to Mary May: the Barkeep.

Far Cry 5: Official The Resistance: Nick Rye Trailer | Ubisoft [US]

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Throughout the hills, valleys, and townships of Hope County, civilians of all walks have joined forces to resist against the cult, and rid their land of its chaos once and for all. Meet Nick Rye: the Pilot.

Far Cry 5: Official The Resistance: Pastor Jerome Jeffries Trailer | Ubisoft [US]

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Throughout the hills, valleys, and townships of Hope County, civilians of all walks have joined forces to resist against the cult, and rid their land of its chaos once and for all. Meet Jerome Jeffries: the Pastor.

Far Cry 5 : First Details : Surviving in Hope County, Montana | Interview |Ubisoft [US]

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Far Cry 5's Executive Producer and Creative Director Dan Hay tells us about the enemies and alliesawaiting you in cult-controlled Hope County, Montana.

 

Sonic Mania's release date may have been revealed by its European Steam page

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It could launch on August 15 if a trailer on its European Steam page is correct.

 

White Paper Games on Developing Ambitious Dynamic AI For The Occupation

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Artificial intelligence plays many different roles in video games. From animating enemies in shooters or RPGs, to engaging in full-blown conversations in experimental indie titles like Event[0] and Façade, games are a uniquely tangible and quotidian application of AI. But while most games are content to limit their artificial intelligence to path-finding and logistical decision-making, a few games push AI design further, trying to craft believable characters who don’t adhere to a fixed script. One of these games is White Paper Games’ upcoming The Occupation, which will explore the political aftermath of a terrorist attack in 1980s Britain.

 

Bungie explains the lack of Destiny 2 dedicated servers; addresses PC cheating

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"The life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short."

 

Monster Hunter XX On The Nintendo Switch Gets Its First Trailer

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This is what Monster Hunter XX, a 3DS game, will look like on the Switch according to a trailer and gameplay footage shown by Capcom at this weekend’s Monster Hunter event in Japan.

 

There's FIFA 18 - and there's EA Sports FIFA on the Nintendo Switch

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Now, in a press release designed to hype up EA's EA Play 2017 event at E3 next month, the mega publisher noted two separate FIFA games: FIFA 18 and EA SPORTS FIFA on the Nintendo Switch, to give the latter its full title.

 

Some Thoughts On Arms After Playing This Weekend's Open Beta

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Arms is hard to pin down, both literally and figuratively. While this weekend’s global testfires offered a good introduction to the house of whimsical party combat Nintendo is trying to build, a quick stroll around inside left me wondering, Peggy Lee-style, if that’s all there is.

Arms shows that Nintendo Switch motion controls hold promise

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The game might get us loving the waggle again

 

Golf Story Is Another Twee Indie Game Headed To The Switch

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A golf Game with delightfully precious-looking sprites and vibrant-pixelated greens? Yes, please.

 

There's More To Phantom Trigger Than Just Another Beautiful Pixel Brawler

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Phantom Trigger is, in the words of its development team, a “neon slasher,” and it’s slated to arrive on the Nintendo Switch later this year. But don’t let pink and teal pixel art fool you, it’s more than just Hyper Light Drifter-lite.

 

Raiden 5: Director's Cut is coming to PS4 and Steam this autumn

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Vertically-scrolling bullet-hell shmup Raiden 5: Director's Cut is coming to PS4 and Steam this autumn.

 

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls for PC launches June 12

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The PC version of Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls will launch via Steam on June 12, Idea Factory International announced.

 

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni for PC launches June 20

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The PC version of Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni will launch via Steam on June 20, Marvelous announced.

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson will show off his space strategy game at E3

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We learned last year that astrophysicist and noted Twitter pedant Neil deGrasse Tyson has lent his expertise and name to an upcoming space strategy game, called Neil deGrasse Tyson presents Space Odyssey. Dr. Tyson, who appears to be repelling a large, sopping wet golden retriever in the game's promotional photo, will show off Space Odyssey at E3 Coliseum next month, according to E3's official Twitter account.

 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War New 88 Minute Long Gameplay Video Showcases Fortress Captures, Nemesis System And More

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the second entry in the series developed by Monolith, promises to greatly expand on its predecessor’s features to offer an experience that goes beyond a simple open world experience. Some of the expanded features that will be included in the game have been recently showcased by members of the team.

 

Beyond Good & Evil 2 won't be at E3

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Beyond Good & Evil creator Michel Ancel has confirmed that the long-anticipated Beyond Good & Evil 2 won't be at this year's E3 in June.

The good news is that it's on track for an official reveal sometime this year.

 

Urban legend Polybius is no longer a myth, as it's being ported to PC

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Ever wanted to play a game that’s so good it resulted in men in black coming to research it just because of how well it managed to get people addicted? Well, such a game doesn’t exist, but Polybius is a game based upon that legend, and it’s coming to PC.

 

Finding Paradise, the sequel to To the Moon, has been delayed

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Finding Paradise, the sequel to the 2011 tear-jerker To the Moon, has been delayed. It was originally expected to be ready for release this summer, but developer Kan Gao announced this week that he's had to push it back to the end of the year.

 

Ashes of Creation: The Art of War Gameplay

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Thieving and sneaking get shown off in this gameplay clip from the newly funded MMORPG.

There's something strange about Kickstarter's most successful MMO

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A look into Ashes of Creation's history, contentious referral program, and more.

 

Making of Call of Duty WWII Livestream (Facebook Livestream by Sledgehammer on WWII) Episode 1

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Making of Call of Duty WWII Livestream (Facebook Livestream by Sledgehammer on WWII) Episode 1

Call of Duty: WWII will not have a single-player Axis campaign

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Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey confirmed that the game is played strictly from the perspective of the Allies.

 

Total War WARHAMMER 2 - Introducing... Saurus Oldblood

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The most savage warriors of their kind, the Saurus Oldblood are ancient and fearless, instinctively understanding military matters, commanding the Lizardmen battlelines with a ruthless efficiency.

 

Bloody brawler/RTS hybrid Aztez launches this summer

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First scheduled to release all the way back in 2014, the brutal brawler/RTS Aztez is set to march onto Steam this summer. Tasking players as an Aztec military commander before the Spanish invasion, it’s your goal to grow your empire and fend off the Conquistadors.

 

Fire Emblem Warriors: Pair of original characters revealed; Marth is also playable

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Surprisingly enough, our first proper look at Fire Emblem Warriors (after that brief trailer featuring Chrom a couple of months ago) comes not from E3, but instead from Famitsu. We only have preview images of the article in this week’s Famitsu magazine about Fire Emblem Warriors at the moment, but we can nonetheless learn a couple of things from them.

 

Last Day of June promises a 'poignant' tale of love and loss

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The side-scrolling puzzle-platformer Murasaki Baby was released in 2014 exclusively for the PlayStation Vita, and so naturally we didn't give it a whole lot of coverage. But the next project from developer Ovosonico, a "profound interactive adventure" called Last Day of June, is coming to the PC, and it looks like it could be a very memorable experience.

 

Square Enix just assumed full control of the FF7 Remake

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The twists and turns in the creation of the Final Fantasy 7 remake continue, as Square Enix move development entirely in-house. This runs contrary to what has been happening for the past couple of years, with Japanese studio CyberConnect2 having worked on the title up until this point.

 

Agents of Mayhem teases supercharged vehicles in Knight Rider-inspired trailer

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"Who doesn't love a talking car?" asks the Saints Row follow-up.

 

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana launches September 12 in North America, September 15 in Europe

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Latest numbered Ys game dated for the west.

 

Assassin's Creed: Origins gets leaked via a t-shirt

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An image of a t-shirt has leaked online, revealing the next game's name to be... you guessed it - Assassin's Creed: Origins. It also shows the game's protagonist and the logo.

 

I Am Setsuna studio reveals its next project, Lost Sphear

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Tokyo RPG Factory, the developer behind last year's retro-JRPG I Am Setsuna, has announced that it is well into work on a new, similarly-styled project called Lost Sphear. Set for release in early 2018, the studio says Lost Sphear will expand on the features of I Am Setsuna with seamless environments and "a revamped ATB battle system where players can strategize and freely adjust their placement mid-fight."

 

Super Mega Baseball 2 is coming this September, and its new art style looks rad

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The game looks like it has much more of that major league feel than its predecessor.

 

Neon Chrome devs announce Dredd ’em up Jydge

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The makers of Neon Chrome have announced a new roguelikelike top-down shooter set in the same world.

 

Immortal Planet trailer shows off Souls-inspired action

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I’m quite excited about Immortal Planet. It’s from the same Polish developer as Ronin, a turn-based stealth hack-and-slash, which I played a bit of and really enjoyed

 

The lizard-like Sorlag takes center stage in a new Quake Champions teaser

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Meet the Acid Queen.

 

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game - Cinematic Trailer

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From the creators of The Witcher series of games, developer CD PROJEKT RED, comes a different type of collectible card game. Based on skill rather than luck, GWENT encourages use of strategy and deception to defeat your opponents.

 

Soon you’ll be able to get into the Crossout beta without paying its upfront cost

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In a recent update, the developers behind Crossout confirmed what many people who’ve been following the game have been waiting for: it’s going to be entering open beta with its next update.

 

Exo One’s opening has you bouncing between storm clouds to sand dunes

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As it enters its final week on Kickstarter, developer Exbleative have released a five-minute developer walkthrough, showing the first planet players will explore in Exo One. Showing the basics of its movement system, this footage shows how players can quickly gain speed and rocket into the clouds.

 

Seaman creator hints that a new Seaman is in the works

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Game developer Yoot Saito may be returning to his most famous creation, Seaman, according to a tweet from Saito and a newly launched teaser website.

 

Shenmue 3 won't be at this year's E3

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Here's your regular reminder that you live in the parallel universe where Shenmue 3 is in development (sadly, you don't live in the one where it's already out). After being announced at that ridiculous 2015 PlayStation E3 conference, and after being Kickstarted for A Lot of Money, you might be hoping that Shenmue 3 would be at this year's E3. Well, here's the bad news: it won't be.

 

River City: Knights of Justice coming west this summer

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Released in Japan in 2014 as Nekketsu Mahou Monogatari.

 

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 shows off its supermen

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Kam! Zonk! Wappo! Seeing as Marvel’s own crossovers are usually over-serious affairs, both on paper and the silver screen, I’m glad that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is coming to smoosh supermen together in silly ways.

 

The past, present and future of Fire Emblem

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When Kenta Nakanishi lost his father at a young age, among the possessions left behind was a copy of Fire Emblem Gaiden, the 1992 sequel to Intelligent Systems' tactical role-playing game. The save file was still intact, although the manual was missing. Understandably, the game would go on to be of special importance for Nakanishi.

What's keeping Nintendo from making a new Advance Wars?

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It's been coming up to a decade since we last saw Advance Wars, the brilliantly characterful turn-based strategy game from Intelligent Systems, and it seems it might be a little while longer until there's a new one. We at least have some insight into why it's taking so long, though.

 

Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2, 'Under Pressure,' is coming in June

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It might even make you cry.

 

Disgaea 5 Complete Edition appears to be coming to PC

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Incredibly grindy, tactical JRPG would be perfect on PC.

 

Project IGI: We're Going In is in development

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Norwegian studio Artplant confirmed that a new IGI game is happening.

 

Mass Effect Andromeda fans excited by new hint at quarian DLC

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But there's no knowing yet whether this tease will materialise into something more - quarian ark single-player DLC, as fans hope, or playable quarians in the game's multiplayer mode, or just a loose thread left hanging.

 

CRIMSON COURT RELEASE INFORMATION

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Darkest Dungeon’s first expansion, The Crimson Court, is scheduled for release on PC/Mac/Linux (Steam, GoG, Humble, Twitch) on June 19th 2017, and will cost $9.99 USD. We do not have a hard date for PSN owners, but we are targeting the following month. Inevitable issues result from releasing to a wide audience, and we want to make sure our console build benefits from the hotfixes we’ll be pushing to Steam as issues are discovered. (It’s a longer process to release hotfixes on PSN.)

 

Titanfall 2's Monarch's Reign DLC releases next week, so here's a trailer

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Expansion adds a new titan and a classic map.

 

Mafia 3 Official Stones Unturned DLC Launch Trailer

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Available now, this second DLC sees Lincoln teaming up with John Donovan.

 

Injustice 2 - Introducing Red Hood Trailer

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Take a look at this trailer for Injustice 2 featuring Red Hood.

 

Killer Instinct's next character Eagle will join the roster post-E3

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Here's a teaser video to get you enthused.

 

Heroes of the Storm's second anniversary is giving out extra loot chests

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Blizzard’s MOBA is turning two years old very soon, and so they’re giving away some free things to those who play between May 30 and June 12. And that’s hot on the heels of the recent Nexus Challenge, too, which gave out free loot chests and then some.

 

Battlefield 1's May Update Nerfs Bayonets, Tweaks AA, And More

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During a livestream today, Battlefield developer DICE has previewed many of the changes being made in Battlefield 1's upcoming May update. This doesn't introduce much in the way of new content, but it does make balance changes and add some quality-of-life improvements.

 

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds to spend next month 'focused on server performance' to fix lag

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"We ask that you please bear with us while we tackle this issue and thank you for your patience so far."

Playerunknown's Battlegrounds will have 2D and 3D replay systems in the coming months

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"We've got a pretty definite plan for the next four of five months."

 

The Silver Case remaster adds 2 free chapters that 'link the story to its upcoming sequel'

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It took Suda51 17 years to bring one-time console-exclusive The Silver Case to PC when he launched a remastered edition late last year. Fraser Brown wasn't entirely convinced the adventure visual novel game has aged well, however Edwin's conversation with the man himself is no less interesting.

 

Counter-Strike: GO 'Operation Hydra' events have just been detailed

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Valve has just announced its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 'Operation Hydra' event, which will take place on a weekly basis until September. These events will feature "twists on the classic game rules", and will play out on new maps across both casual and competitive.

 

'I feel like we have barely scratched the surface.' Blizzard on hero design, balance, and the future of Overwatch

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Jeff Kaplan and Geoff Goodman reflect on the past, present, and future of Overwatch.

Once Again, Overwatch Isn't Very Good At Picking Kanji Characters

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Last year, a short Overwatch animation featured some iffy kanji choices. It seems the latest Hanzo skin does, too.

Watch every Overwatch dance emote in action — and learn what they’re referencing

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This may be our favorite thing the game’s ever done

Jeff Kaplan acknowledges Overwatch Anniversary Event loot box complaints

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The Overwatch Anniversary Event got underway earlier this week, and sadly, not everyone is happy. The complaints stem from the loot boxes that contain all that sweet anniversary swag—108 pieces in total, which according to Reddit's calculations (via USGamer) cost more than 56,000 credits to buy. That's a lot of credits, especially in comparison to previous events, such as Uprising, which featured 95 items worth a total of 37,000 credits.

NEW DETAILS EMERGE ABOUT POSSIBLE FATE OF HORIZON LUNAR COLONY

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For the first time in years after Horizon Lunar Colony went offline, new information has been revealed as to the fate of the program.

 

Planet destroyers and diplomacy: the expanding universe of Stellaris

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Since its launch a year ago, the xenophiles at Paradox have been busy expanding Stellaris with a slew of patches, meatier updates and two significantly different chunks of DLC. Problems, both endemic to 4X games and specific to Stellaris, have been grappled with, and it’s in better shape than ever, but the team still has big plans for its future.

 

The Signal From Tölva is getting a free expansion this year

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In a post on Steam just yesterday, the folks behind The Signal From Tölva told the community about a few things recently added to the game, and teased a major announcement: the game is getting a free expansion later this year.

 

A Vanquish bug punishes you for playing at 60 fps

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For some reason, games get really weird if the fps is through the roof. Vanquish is no exception: some folks over on NeoGAF have worked out that those of you who play on a higher fps take more damage from enemies.

Vanquish beta patch promises to correct damage-boosting framerate glitch

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The update hasn't been tested because it's a holiday in the UK, but hey it's probably fine.

 

Shadow Warrior 2, Bound and Superhot honoured at Digital Dragons

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Flying Wild Hog's Shadow Warrior 2 was named Best Polish Game of 2016 at the Digital Dragons this week, while Plastic's Bound and Superhot Team's Superhot both picked up two awards each.

 

Oculus Rift now has full room-scale tracking

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What is widely considered to be one of the best feature of HTC's Vive headset is now fully supported on Facebook's Oculus Rift—room-scale motion tracking. Now when you put on a Rift headset and walk around, your movements will be captured and duplicated in VR.

 

Microsoft rebrands Beam streaming service and adds co-streaming support

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Microsoft's Twitch competitor is now known as Mixer.

 

PlayStation 3 production ended in Japan

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That's a wrap.

 

Twitch embraces diversity today with TwitchUnity

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To try and support a more diverse roster of streamers, Twitch has designated May 26th as a holiday called TwitchUnity. The goal is to instill a core ethos focused around Twitch viewers and streamers trying to “welcome everyone” on the platform. Considering the reputation Twitch and its viewers has, it's a noble goal.

 

Humble Bundle has raised over $95 million for charity

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"Jeff [Rosen, co-founder] and I kept on looking at each other and thinking, 'What good are we as a charity fundraising platform if we can't take a stand with everybody, and galvanise the energy around this in a productive way.'

 

Sega announces publishing partnership with Lionhead and Bullfrog veterans

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Two Point Studios and Sega to unveil debut project "early next year".

 

The Art of Hyper Light Drifter

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Experience the art and uncover the origins of a beautiful, vast and ruined world with this official Hyper Light Drifter art book from Heart Machine.

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt soundtrack on vinyl is coming soon

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One of the highlights of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was its unique music composed by Marcin Przybylowicz, Mikolaj Stroinski and the band Percival Schuttenbach. You want it on vinyl? Soon you'll be able to have it.

 

Rime Dev Says It Will Drop Denuvo DRM Once The Game Is Cracked

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Rime, the indie game caught halfway between Ico and Journey was released last week. With Denuvo DRM. Like a lot of games. But that made some players angry, and prompted the developer, Tequila Works, to state that once the Denuvo DRM is broken, which it eventually always is, the company will release a DRM-free version of the game.

 

Jurgen Post: “The Sega brand will come back and start to flourish again”

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When Jurgen Post joined the Sega Europe head office, the publisher wasn't in good shape.

In fact, when he took the role of COO and president in 2012, the firm was in desperate need of a new direction.

 

Square Enix willing to give up Hitman rights to ensure series future

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Three weeks on from Square Enix's shock announcement it would sell Hitman developer IO Interactive, there's still little word on the future of the much-loved stealth series.

 

Sony’s E3 press conference returns to movie theaters in 2017

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Sony will once again livestream its E3 press briefing in movie theaters, the company announced yesterday.

 

Earnings report roundup: Game industry winners and losers in Q1 2017

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Given the scale of financial information and the range of complex numbers generated every three months by dozens of game companies, we’ve been considering a simpler way of presentation.

 

Uzbekistan bans WooHoo - The Sims 4 is outlawed alongside Manhunt and Hatred

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Games being banned for violence in certain countries isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s a semi-regular occurrence in some countries, with ultimatums given to game developers to censor certain sections to get their games released. Uzbekistan just went one further and banned 34 games in one go.

 

Fan game The Lecarde Chronicles 2 plays like a lost '90s Castlevania

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This utterly faithful love letter to the Castlevania series blends the classic platformers with SotN's RPG flourishes.

 

Popular Smash Bros Flash Game Gets Huge Update, New Characters

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Super Smash Flash 2, a fan-made browser-based Super Smash Brothers tribute by Mcleod Gaming that features anime characters like Naruto and Goku alongside Nintendo heroes like Mario and Samus, just pushed out a big new beta featuring tons of new heroes.

 

It's 2017 And Modders Are Still Making Diablo II Better

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An update to one of the game’s most popular mods has increased the max character level to 125 and removed the cap on monster health, making the grind more deadly than ever.

 

Mod turns Fallout 4 into a dread-soaked horror experience

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Overhauled with spooky weather, lighting, sounds, and dynamic music... hell, even Dogmeat is terrifying now.

 

Esports News

 

The Weekend In Esports: The Manila Masters, Combo Breaker, And More

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TheMid-Season Invitational is over and done. The best team in League of Legends is, it turns out, still the best. This weekend, all eyes are on the Manila Masters Combo Breaker, the giant fighting game event with something for everyone.

 

Brave Players Who Entered Combo Breaker Mystery Game Tournament Had To Play Some Weird Stuff

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When you enter a gaming tournament, you usually know what you’re in for. Unless you’re entering a mystery game tournament. Do that, as dozens of people did at the Combo Breaker event in St. Charles, Illinois last weekend, and you’re playing the notorious Dong Dong Never Die. That’s just for starters. Weird picks followed in bracket after bracket throughout in one of the weekend’s most entertaining events.

 

Is SKT T1's dominance good for League of Legends?

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Is it possible for one team to win too much?

 

Twitch Named League Organiser for Tekken World Tour

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The Iron Fist Tournament is returning in a big way this June, and Twitch will be the only place to catch the action. As part of a multi-year partnership with BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, the streaming site will not only broadcast the Tekken World Tour, but also run circuit events and build long-term infrastructure for the 13-year old franchise’s new competitive league.

 

Intel Extreme Masters Is Dropping League of Legends, Possibly Forever

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ESL’s flagship tournament series, the Intel Extreme Masters, is dropping League of Legends after six years of broadcasting the game from around the globe. In a message posted to Reddit (copied in full at the end of this article), ESL’s VP of Pro Gaming Michal “Carmac” Blicharz detailed his company’s reasons why.

 

Riot Adds Regional Showcase Event “Rift Rivals”

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We reported yesterday on the dropping of League of Legends by ESL‘s Intel Extreme Masters tournament series. Now, the upside—Riot Games is adding a regional showcase dubbed “Rift Rivals” to serve as exposure to the best teams in each region.

 

Sandbox Esports Opens Training Facility Doors to Pro and Amateur Players

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Southern Californians now have a dedicated esports training facility to call their own, with the opening of Sandbox Esports. Run by Catalyst Sports and Media, the training and coaching centre is housed within Sports Academy, a 96,000 square foot sports complex used by professional athletes in the NFL and NBA.

 

Golden Tee World Champion Claims $10,000 Prize, Good For 234th Place On PGA Tour

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In the cavalcade of esports that can and will continue until the inevitable heat death of the universe, some events can get overlooked. Amidst the hubbub of last weekend’s games, a Golden Tee world championship was held in Las Vegas, with winner Mark Stenmark of Houston, TX earning $10,000 and his likeness in next year’s iteration.

 

Report: Korean League Players Say Team Isn't Paying Them

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According to a report from Inven Global, players and staff members say that for several years, Longzhu Gaming has not been paying them on time.

 

Double KO Leads To Do-Over In Tekken 7 Match

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Tekken 7 won’t hit home consoles in the US for a few more days, but competition in the game is already heated. At Combo Breaker 2017, a multi-fighting-game tournament taking place this weekend in Illinois, the winner’s finals of one pool essentially went to overtime after a double knockout.

 

Last-Second Comeback Highlights USA Vs UK Killer Instinct Finals

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At Combo Breaker in St. Charles, Illinois, two countries clashed to prove who was the best in the tournament’s own namesake.

 

Punk Wins Street Fighter V Eleague Invitational In Climactic Runback

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After falling to Arman “Phenom” Hanjani in the winner’s finals, Victor “Punk” Woodley ran it back through the loser’s bracket to win the Eleague Street Fighter V Invitational 4-2.

 

SonicFox Wins Inaugural Injustice 2 Premier Event At Combo Breaker

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At the end of an intense top eight, Dominic “SonicFox” McLean secured a 3-1 win in the first Injustice 2 Pro Series event at Combo Breaker 2017 on the PlayStation 4.

 

Nevada Governor Signs Bill That Permits Betting on Esports Events

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Brian Sandoval, the Governor of Nevada, signed a bill into law on Saturday that extends state laws on sports wagering to esports events. Senate Bill 240 will modify the Nevada statutes regarding pari-mutuel betting systems to include competitive gaming, as well as award shows like The Oscars. The bill becomes effective on July 1.

 

Crowdfunding News

 

Blasphemous: Dark and brutal 2D non linear platformer

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Vanquish bloodthirsty creatures, the devotees of a twisted religion. Hand-crafted pixel art action game by the makers of The Last Door.

 

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

 

The Complete, Untold History of Halo

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The story behind the Halo franchise as it's never been told—by the key individuals that made it.

 

How Dr. J and Larry Bird Helped Build a Video Game Empire

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This year, Electronic Arts celebrates its 35th anniversary. They might not have gotten there without the groundbreaking game 'One-on-One: Dr. J. vs. Larry Bird.'

 

More Fantasy, Less War: the Games the Military Plays

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Researchers look at what servicemembers get from games, and how their experiences may reshape their play.

Her initial questions were about which games were most important to them, and why. Unprompted, about half of her respondents said at this point that they used games specifically to cope with service-related stress. It wasn't until her final survey question— Is this avatar important to how you think about yourself as a member or veteran of the US military? Why or why not?—that respondents began talking about how they saw themselves represented in their favorite games.

 

Resist Jam: The Role of Games Under Authoritarianism

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A quick survey of the jam’s page on itch.io reveals creators from Canada, Spain, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and beyond. While Maize Wallin, another of the organizers, acknowledges “the timing was very U.S. centric,” the organizers were able to bring in both game creators and activists from across the world, adding a global perspective to the authoritarian crisis that can too often feel isolated. “We all move forward together just because of the fact that we are global,” Wallin says.

 

Watch People Break Classic RPGs

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Last week in Utah, a group called RPG Limit Break got together to break a bunch of role-playing games, raising $111,000 in the process.

 

Videogames, hip-hop, and the value of saying yes

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With hindsight I recognize this as a pivotal moment for my cultural literacy. It put me on a track of seeking out works I didn’t understand and recognizing that the extent of my knowledge of a medium was not a dead end, but a barrier worth tearing down.

 

How the Queer Indie Game 'Gone Home' Influenced 'Prey'

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We spoke with Arkane lead Designer Ricardo Bare about writing the game's characters, D&D-loving space lesbians, and actions that speak louder than words.

“Prey Uses People as Items,” by Ed Smith

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At the beginning of Prey, oblivious to analysts and benefactors observing through a one way mirror, we stand in a facsimile of an apartment, surrounded by objects that we may pick up, manipulate, and throw. Everything shines—the makers of Prey anticipate we behave like crows, attracted by glimmering—and for each artefact we handle, in the form of either a gained resource or a gleaned story beat, we are given tacit reward. Ten years since BioShock and almost 20 since System Shock 2, that the makers of Prey frame object collection as part of an in-game experiment betrays a low opinion of their audience.

From modders to mimics: a people's history of the "prop hunt" genre

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This post contains minor gameplay spoilers for the first hour of Prey (2017).

Contemporary game design is built on the blood, sweat, and tears of countless modders. MOBAs, tower defense, realistic squad shooters, walking simulators, survival royales, all started as mods. (For those keeping score: Aeon of Strife for Starcraft 1, innumerable tower defense UMS maps for Starcraft 1, Counter-Strike for Half-Life 1, Dear Esther for Half-Life 2, Day-Z for ARMA.)

 

Horizon Zero Dawn and the Morality of Playing God

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In the seconds before the bomb drops, the person with a finger on the trigger is God. The one in charge of who lives and who dies.

It’s a moral decision few will ever have to deal with. But for the few that do, an immense weight rests on their shoulders.

This complicated issue is the crux of Horizon Zero Dawn. If a large number of lives are sacrificed in search of future prosperity or peace, the pursuit of knowledge or understanding, then do the ends justify the means? It’s a loaded question, and one that both the characters of Horizon Zero Dawn and our own world leaders have historically found themselves trying to answer.

Q&A: Creating Horizon: Zero Dawn's neo-prehistoric soundtrack

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The world of Horizon Zero Dawn is one that blends the far-flung future with the ancient past. Set one thousand years from now, the version of Earth our heroine Aloy inhabits is one where primitive tribal societies and advanced machines co-exist in (near-perfect) harmony.

 

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Part 1

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Despite my long-standing affinity for both franchises the game was built on, I struggled to find anything in Tokyo Mirage Sessions worth defending. Looked on its own terms, the game is downright cynical. Its hollow conservatism not only values catering to what the market wants over any meaningful personal expression; it also covers up this act with equally hollow spectacle. Looked at alongside other Persona games, the themes of self-betterment feel panglossian and myopic in light of the game’s unconditional embrace of the entertainment industry as an absolute good. And in the context of a decades old franchise, Tokyo Mirage Sessions manages to contradict the Shin Megami Tensei ethos by occupying both extremes at once.

 

Brenda Romero's plea for unity among game developers

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Brenda Romero's talk about "indie security" ultimately became an impassioned plea for unity within the games industry. Drawing from a career spanning 35 years, Romero took aim at the way developers create divisions within their number, telling the crowd at Digital Dragons, "I want to assure you that it wasn't always this way."

The Game Developers Conference, Romero pointed out, used to be known as the "Computer Game Developers Conference," and there was resistance to console developers when they started to speak and attend en masse. The same dynamic plays out today between console and mobile, between casual and core, between free-to-play and premium, and between publishers and indies. "Someone actually told me 'You're not indie,'" she said with mock fury. "Fuck off! I make games on my kitchen table with my bare fucking hands. How much more indie do you need to be?"

 

After Eight Years, One Developer's Dream Project Is Finally on Steam

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An Australian programmer, faced with depleted savings, found themselves all the way in Peru, trying to a finish a game.

 

An Independent Interplay Takes on Tolkien

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When Brian Fargo made the bold decision in 1988 to turn his company Interplay into a computer-game publisher as well as developer, he was simply steering onto the course that struck him as most likely to ensure Interplay’s survival. Interplay had created one of the more popular computer games of the 1980s in the form of the 400,000-plus-selling CRPG The Bard’s Tale, yet had remained a tiny company living hand-to-mouth while their publisher Electronic Arts sucked up the lion’s share of the profits. And rankling almost as much as that disparity was the fact that Electronic Arts sucked up the lion’s share of the credit as well; very few gamers even recognized the name of Interplay in 1988. If this was what it was like to be an indentured developer immediately after making the best-selling single CRPG of the 1980s, what would it be like when The Bard’s Tale faded into ancient history? The odds of making it as an independent publisher may not have looked great, but from some angles at least they looked better than Interplay’s prospects if the status quo was allowed to continue.

 

Are video games harming your kids?

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A new book seeks to set the record straight

I personally believe that video games are great fun and often beneficial — educationally, emotionally and socially. They are relaxing and diverting, a bit like watching TV or reading books. I wouldn't want my kids to overdo those things either.

But games are also slightly different from more passive entertainments in that their feedback loops are powerful, especially to children. You can really get lost in a video game, and that’s a wonderful feeling. We can all get hooked on a TV series or on a book but (in my experience) nothing gets its claws into you like a video game.

Many game designers, especially on mobile games, understand the psychology of children all too well, and are skilled in designing games that coax long hours of play.

 

The great American summer vacation now includes VR

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Inside the newest full-body, free-roaming VR installation in the Wisconsin Dells

It was mid-morning in America’s Dairyland when I killed my first zombie of the day.

Over the next 15 minutes I would take down a couple hundred more, working up a decent sweat in the process. When I was finished, the next group of six players filed in after me, each one paying $25 a head for the privilege.

This is The Arena, one of the very first commercial installations of Zero Latency Virtual Reality in the United States. It’s a full-body, untethered, free roaming VR system and one of the first of its kind to be deployed commercially.

 

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating tension in Card Thief

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Card Thief tries to create the experience of being a thief who sneaks into a castle, steals the objective, and escapes the building without being seen. While series like the original Thief or Metal Gear Solid have taken on the stealth genre mainly in the 3D space, I wanted to create a card-based version of the same concept.

In order to create what I think is most important in a stealth or heist game, I designed several game systems that all feed into the idea of creating a high tension experience.

 

Remedy on life after Xbox exclusivity

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There aren't many studios like Remedy, which relishes being a bit weird. How many studios slow jam their history to music? How many creative directors do a mini-striptease on stage and then dress as characters from their games? Remedy, the Finnish developer of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break does.

 

'Civilization VI' Shows How Small Things Can Sabotage a Big Game

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Like a bad TED Talk, 'Civ VI' repackages big ideas into empty, bite sized chunks.

 

'Endless Space 2' Makes Everyone Feel Like a Winner, Even Losers

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Letting players go from strength to strength, Amplitude's space 4X may conceal the game it really wants them to play.

 

Inside the Quest to Make 'The Elder Scrolls Online' Truly Great

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Designer Matt Firor discusses how his team pulled off one of the greatest turnarounds of the decade

 

Katsuhiro Harada's Fight To Keep Tekken Relevant

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Like Ed Boon and Mortal Kombat, Katsuhiro Harada is synonymous with Tekken. Loved by the community for his sense of humor and relentless trolling of fans, he's been involved with the storied franchise since 1994. Working his way up from a project producer on the first Tekken – while also voicing Yoshimitsu, Marshall Law, and Kunimitsu – he now sits at the helm of the Bandai Namco's flagship fighting series.

 

'Life Is Unfair': A Q&A With Nier: Automata's Director

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Alexandra: Is there something that you wish players would stop doing?

Yoko: I’d like for them to stop saying things like “shut up old hag!” to their moms and others.

 

The Plot Twist In Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time Is A Lot More Believable Today

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Most video games are content just to string the player along through dungeons, towns, or corridors full of machine gun cover while dishing out character arcs and weapon upgrades. Only a few try to reflect on the nature of reality and human existence. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time tried to do both.

 

Illusion of choice is better than choice: choices and illusions as narrative mechanics

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Clementine will remember that

This article is based on my own thoughts and work experiences, as well as ideas expressed by other, smarter people. It contains major spoilers for Mass Effect 3 and Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1.Also please excuse my poor English, I’ve learned it mostly from video games :)

In 2012 two prominent narrative driven games were released: Mass Effect 3 and Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Both games are built on one promise: your choices matter.

 

Wii U was the most profitable for Rain Games' Teslagrad

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The lack of competition on Wii U proved to be a boon for Rain Games, which made more profit from Nintendo's struggling console than any other platform.

 

Overwatch Training Apps Gave Me A Way To Obsess But Not Improve

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After a two-week regimen with a pro gamer training app, I’ve made a stunning transformation into… a slightly better Overwatch player.

 

Overwatch's First Year: Many Successes, but a Few Stumbles

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A year is a length of time that’s hard to parse for most games. When people talk about their experiences with a title, it usually clocks in at hours, spent over a period of months. I’ve been playing Overwatch for over a year. It astounds me, but doesn’t surprise. I’m a veteran of persistent content, having played World of Warcraft for well over a decade. If anything, it was exciting to be present for the beginning of a franchise—Blizzard’s first original creation in almost two decades and one that came out of the ashes of their failed MMO concept, Titan.

 

Why PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' Violence is Important - Writing on Games

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In this episode of Writing on Games I discuss PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds; one of the most meaningfully violent games I've played in a long time. Let's take a look at how the game's design forces you to examine multiplayer violence in a new light.

 

The Movies & Games That Inspire id Software (Hugo & Marty) - Noclip Sessions

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From Bloodborne to John Wick, Titanfall to Blade Runner - we talk to Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin, the lead designers on DOOM (2016), about the movies and games that inspire their creativity.

 

These Five Americans Moved To Japan For Street Fighter 3, Which Is 20 Years Old

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Street Fighter is one of the most prominent fighting game series in the world, but it can be hard to track down competitive arcade scenes for some of the older games, like Street Fighter 3. Earlier this week, YouTube user Phil H. uploaded a short doc where he interviewed five Americans who moved to Japan to, among other things, play Street Fighter 3.

 

The cancelled Prey 2 had an incredible plot twist

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Prey 2 could have been great. Having spoken to a whole bunch of developers that worked on the project before it was quietly put on ice in 2011, I'm convinced of this. We're going to get into some of what happened there in a piece we're publishing tomorrow, but in today's episode of Here's A Thing I want to tell you about the game we never got to play.

 

Sleeping Giants: the Lost RPG by Warren Spector | Unseen64 Ft. Ludodrome

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Warren Spector entered the video game business in 1989 when he joined ORIGIN, co-producing Ultima VI and Wing Commander, then producing System Shock and many other classic RPGs. After working a year at Looking Glass Studio on Thief: The Dark Project, in 1997 Spector received a call from John Romero: it was the start of the new Ion Storm Austin team and the conception of another classic title, Deus Ex. In March 2005 Warren Spector officially announced his new company: Junction Point Studios, a team named after a cancelled online RPG he was working on during his last months at Looking Glass. Spector founded Junction Point Studios with the help of another former employee of Looking Glass and Ion Storm: Art Min, who worked on System Shock and later joined Valve Software where he managed the acquisition of the Counter-Strike IP. During the early days of Junction Point, Spector and Min conceived a few original games to pitch to different publishers. One of these pitches was titled “Sleeping Giants”, an ambitious open world RPG in the vein of The Elder Scrolls: SKYRIM, set in a fantasy universe originally proposed for DC Comics by Spector and his wife.

 

A Rare Video Tour Of Peak Sega

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The Innoventions pavilion at Epcot is still around, but it’s a bit blergh in 2017. In 1994, though, it was the future, and a big part of that was getting to enjoy Sega in its prime.

 

Everything You Wanted To Know About Super Mario 64's Surfaces

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People have been playing Super Mario 64 for years but few have plumbed the depths of how it was constructed and the unique ways its world works the way speedrunners have.

 

Scoring the Action in Kid Icarus: Uprising [Patron Request]

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In this Patron Request video I take a look at how Yuzo Koshiro scores a level in Kid Icarus: Uprising, as suggested by patron Lars Flyger.

Breath of the Wild Soundtrack Analysis PART 4 of 4: Hyrule Castle Theme

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In the grand finale of my Breath of the Wild series, I take a look at how the Hyrule Castle theme breathes new life into old music.

 

Analysis: The Consequences of Reducing the Skill Gap

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My best attempt at explaining what's going on with Street Fighter V's direction.

 

Indie Advice - Fire Early - Extra Credits

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Firing somebody is hard, but if one team member isn't keeping up, it's better for everyone if the team leader fires them early before their part of the project falls behind. It's better for the team, better for the game, and often even better for the person being fired.

 

Banjo-Kazooie vs. Yooka-Laylee

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Help support the channel by going to http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/snoman... and get a one month membership of ANY razor for $1! FREE shipping, no commitments, cancel anytime. I love and appreciate you all, thanks!

Banjo Kazooie is one of my all time favorite games, and Yooka Laylee is bringing back 3D Platformers in a big way! But does it live up to its predecessor? Let's talk about it!Thanks to What's With Games for the Hat in Time footage :)

 

Matt Chat 377: Tim Lang on the Tragic Tale of Might and Magic 9

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It's one of the saddest stories in CRPG history...An epic and beloved series, Might & Magic, suddenly collapsed and died an excruciating death at the keyboards of incensed critics.

Yes, the game had its flaws. They were many. They were deep.

But did Might and Magic deserve to die?

Listen in as Tim Lang, lead designer, takes us through the ups and downs of the ill-fated game's development. As it turns out, there's more to the story than you may have realized.

 

Games as Lit. 101 - Player Choice in Cave Story

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Cave Story's branching narrative attempts to integrate itself into the gameplay more than most games. How does it turn out?

 

PDXCON 2017: Games are like Sausages...

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...It's probably better to not know how they're made.

Anna Norrevik, Project Lead for EU4 and CK2, takes you through an overview of the game development process and all the bits that go into it.

PDXCON 2017: Parks and Wreck - The Evolution of Cities: Skylines

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Mariina Hallikainen, CEO of Colossal Order, takes us on a retrospective journey though the evolution of Cities: Skylines.

PDXCON 2017: Stellaris - The Penultimate Frontier in Sci-fi Strategy

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Martin Anward, Game Director of Stellaris, talks about the development, release, and post-release of Stellaris.

 

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

 

The best plays from Overwatch's first year

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The first year of Overwatch has seen some pretty awesome highlights.

 

How an EVE Online con artist tricked a ruthless pirate into giving him his priceless ship

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You can’t put a price on friendship, unless your name is Samantha Myth, in which case a friendship is worth just shy of 300 billion ISK. For 16 months, Samantha pretended to be a member of the Amamake Police, a group of EVE Online’s most elite pirates. He fought and bled beside them, gained their trust and friendship, and, just when the moment was right, betrayed them. A 300 billion ISK reward isn’t great for 16 months of work, but Samantha didn’t do it for the money. He did it for the story.

 

Cliffy B Eagerly Explains LawBreakers To Man In Next Toilet Stall

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Local man Dennis Holloway remains stuck in his toilet stall today, paralysed by fear as game design luminary Clifford “Cliffy B” Bleszinski enters his 45th straight minute of explaining LawBreakers through the cubicle wall.

 

Proud Mother

 

Guy And His Dad Are The Ultimate Battlegrounds Team

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Turns out, the keys to success in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and family life are one in the same. It’s all about communication. With your dad.

 

Dota 2 Tournament Holds Rage-Quit Competition For Fans

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The Dota 2 community owns its memes. Players have long histories within the scenes, and few are as infamous as Clement “Puppey” Ivanov, whose rage was honored in a competition during last night’s Manila Masters matches.

 

Things I Missed From Previous Weeks

 

"Banging On Weird Shit In The Desert": Exploring Game Audio with Cory Davis

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I had the chance to speak with Davis about his work on Here They Lie last year in an hour long conversation that, in its scope, couldn’t be condensed to one article. I had expected a discussion on ethics in horror VR development. What I didn’t anticipate was the revelation of how seriously he takes the design process, and how far he will go to ensure his work is a reflection of a thoughtfully cultivated experience.

 

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