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The story of developer Jane Whittaker and why a fake name had to be used to avoid threats and to keep a job while working on popular and influential titles during a 35 year career, Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice's importance to gaming, Super Bunnyhop and Dutch journalist Jesse Frederick on how large game companies avoid paying income tax and how they lobbied for the loopholes, Overwatch getting a deathmatch mode, Capcom accidentally reveals Marvel vs Capcom esports plans, Battletech delayed, Discord adding video chat and screen sharing, interview with Cliff Bleszinski after the slow start of Lawbreakers, Swery65 announces new game, Noah Caldwell-Gervais' franchise retrospective of Crysis and look at Mafia 3 DLC, what Bungie learned from Destiny beta, FFVII translation differences, AI vs DOTA pro, Twitch harassment streams, Writing On Games on the little details of Tacoma, Valve announces a card game, and more.

 

Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC, game updates, company and developer news, country news, mods)

 

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider trailer shows off a slew of new powers

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Michael Madsen, Rosario Dawson return

 

Wolfenstein 2's faux sitcom proves Nazi occupation isn't exactly Happy Days

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The latest trailer for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has landed, and with it a very important lesson: if your brother is a Nazi, don’t try and keep secrets from him. Or else.

Why 'Wolfenstein II' Should Embrace Reality, Not Escapism

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Despite the Nazis and androids, 'Wolfenstein' was still a game about grief, love, human loss

 

Sonic Mania's Opening Movie Gets The Party Started Right

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What better way to get fans ready for some newfangled old-school 2D Sonic the Hedgehog action than some newfangled old-school 2D animation?

Sonic Mania Metallic Madness Zone Act 1 - Gameplay

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While the Sonic Mania remixes old zones from previous games, it also sports a fair number of new zones, such as Metallic Madness. Here is the first act!

No Joke, 'Sonic Mania' Is Really Great

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'Sonic Mania' has fantastic level design and an understanding of what makes Sonic fun.

Sonic Mania’s secret mode is Sega embracing fans’ favorite joke

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No lock-on cartridges required for this one

 

Styled with Simplicity: A Talk with Unto The End Developer 2Ton Studios

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Under the right conditions, a picture can look more like a painting: enormous green fields, fresh water as blue as blueberries, rocky mountains spanning the horizon line, quagmires and quicksands. It is an indescribable experience to look out at a scene so enthralling, so effortlessly magical, that it manages to confuse the mind.

 

 

Seven new things we've learned about Far Cry 5's sandbox

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We spent more time meeting Montana's cultists. It did not go well for them.

 

Craft a polygonal martial arts expert in Absolver's character customisation trailer

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Devolver Digital have released a new trailer for their upcoming multiplayer melee-fest Absolver, this time showing off the game’s character customisation. There’s also a surprising amount of lore in it, too.

Devolver Public Access: Absolver-Sneak Peek

 

Danganronpa V3 trailer reveals more characters: four students and one sentient evil bear

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Last week we reported about the first batch of wacky characters introduced to Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. The second trailer shows are just as unhinged.

 

Moons of Madness is Lovecraftian horror on Mars

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Moons of Madness wants to be a lot of things: a Lovecraftian horror game set on Mars, a mature exploration of mental health issues and a hard sci-fi space simulator.

 

Battletech pushed back to early 2018

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A release date hadn't been announced but it was expected to come out this year.

 

Rock of Ages 2 rolling out later this month

 

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“I wanna rock!” sang Twisted Sister. Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder will deliver the rocks that Dee Snider so desires.

 

Bringing The Horror Of Call of Duty: WWII Nazi Zombies To Life

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Call of Duty: WWII’s version of zombies isn’t anything like other recent entries. While I’m a fan of the gritty, hard-boiled film-noir zombies and an even bigger fan of the over-the-top carnival antics of the '80s zombies, this upcoming offering promises a focus on pure horror.

Call of Duty: WW2 - Private Multiplayer Beta Trailer

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Be among the first in the world to get hands-on with Call of Duty: WWII Multiplayer in the Private Beta, including brand new maps and all-new War Mode experience.

Each Division in WWII MP has progression system, reaching highest level of each Division unlocks unique weapon

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Back at E3, Sledgehammer Games revealed that Call of Duty: WWII has 5 different Divisions, which replaces the create-a-class system.

 

Assassin's Creed Origins: Combat and Arena Deep Dive - IGN First

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Assassin's Creed Origins game director Ash Ismail walks us through every aspect of the brand new combat system.

 

Superhuman Boss Battle in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

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We use all three new Resistance units to fight the Chosen Assassin in XCOM 2's major expansion.

Hunting the hunters in XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

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New heroes, new villains, better missions. It's a strong start.

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen wants to reinvent the classic franchise once again

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Impressions from our first few hours

XCOM 2 WAR OF THE CHOSEN Gameplay - Part 1 - NEW Gatecrasher - Let's Play - [Legend Ironman]

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XCOM 2 War of the Chosen Gameplay is here! This is episode 1 of our Let's Play XCOM 2 War of the Chosen. Work with The Reapers, The Skirmishers, and the Templars to take down the Assassin, the Warlock and the Hunter who represent the Chosen. Thanks to 2k for early access! There are two ways to join the character pool:

In addition to showing off the game, the above also shows some new options for how you would like to play the game when you start (longer mission time, longer Avatar project, more health for everyone, turning on and off the War of the Chosen or DLC content, etc).

Make propaganda for your XCOM 2: War of the Chosen campaign with this official app

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On Steam now, Propaganda Center is an easy way to spread lies using your XCOM 2 squad.

 

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana ‘Fearless Adventurer, Adol Christin’ trailer, free costume DLC announced

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NIS America has released a new trailer for Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana introducing the series’ protagonist, the “fearless adventurer” Adol Christin.

 

Skull and Bones has loot boxes that reflect 'real economy of the Indian Ocean', won't be pay-to-win

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"If somebody sees your ship, they should know you're a badass, or that you're really invested in cosmetics."

 

Papers, Please creator Lucas Pope details his next game

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Our first hard look at Return of the Obra Dinn in months.

 

Shape of the World wandering into early 2018

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As a certified wanderer (50m silver certificate), I’ve been keeping an eye on Shape of the World.

 

Bandai Namco new title ‘Projekt #1514’ teaser trailer

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New title developed by Dimps.

 

Psychological Horror Game Tokyo Dark Announces Release Date With New Trailer

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A new trailer for psychological horror/adventure game Tokyo Dark brings the players into the unsettled mind of Detective Ayami Itō, showing some of the frightening things she will see and experience as her mind unravels on her journey to find her missing partner.

 

NBA Live 18 reveals launch date and cover star James Harden

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Harden and his beard highlight EA Sports’ basketball return

NBA Live 18 DEMO: Cavs vs. Warriors Gameplay (1st Quarter)

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The first quarter of gameplay from our Cavs vs. Warriors match-up in NBA Live 18.

 

Creepy stealth game Hello Neighbor is delayed to December

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An engine upgrade led to unforeseen complications.

 

Shadow of War's endgame sounds a lot beefier than Shadow of Mordor's

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War has an endgame mission type called Shadow Wars.

Meet Middle-earth: Shadow of War's Terror tribe

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Mordor is lousy with Orcs. Not just roving warbands, either, but whole tribes of them, each with their own special traits.

Why Shelob is a woman in Shadow of War

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Two months ago, a new story trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of War was released and I think it's fair to say it raised a few eyebrows. In the midst of a lot of sword swinging and story exposition was the reveal that the game's narrator, first glimpsed in the game's announcement trailer, was none other than Shelob. This came as a surprise, given Shelob is, in fact, an enormous spider.

How, we wondered, did a gargantuan, malevolent arachnid wind up in Shadow of War in a cocktail dress and a human body? Or, rather, why?

 

Here’s an in-depth look at Star Citizen’s intergalactic smartwatch, the mobiGlas

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Cloud Imperium are really concerned with Star Citizen’s small details, whether it’s simulating the gravity on different planets, rendering entire star systems, introducing a living economy, or making sure each character is kitted out with a smartwatch from the future.

 

Super Mega Baseball 2 delayed into 2018

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Developers need more time, and don’t want to launch when MLB is out of season

 

Deadly Premonition’s Hidetaka Suehiro will announce his first new game in three years at PAX Seattle

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Did you hear that, Zach? Hidetaka ‘Swery65’ Suehiro is back.

‘Deadly Premonition’ Designer's Next Game About a Town Full of Secret Cats

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You know what, that's just weird enough to work.

 

3030 Deathwar Redux is a comedic Elite-like space explorer, due next month

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After ten years of development, 3030 Deathwar Redux targets a September launch.

 

Ys Seven for PC launches August 30

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Ys Seven will launch for PC via Steam, GOG, and The Humble Store on August 30 with a launch week discount of 10 percent off the regular price of $24.99 / €24.99 / £19.99, publisher XSEED Games announced.

 

Here's our first look at mobile prisons in The Escapists 2

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The Escapists 2 is hoping to earn its sequel status by implementing, among other things, mobile prisons. That is, places to escape from which aren't just the usual buildings with high walls and barbed wire fences.

 

InXile boss Brian Fargo hints at a Starflight reboot

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He dropped a tease about the classic space exploration game on Twitter.

 

Raid: World War II brings four-player co-op from the PayDay team to PC next month

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Starbreeze, Lion Game Lion, and 505 Games just announced the launch date of Raid: World War II today. The co-op game will have you and three pals face off against the Nazi war machine on September 26.

 

Here’s what Bungie learned from the Destiny 2 beta

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Issues fixed for the PC beta

 

Ram skyscrapers and blow up aliens in new Megaton Rainfall trailer

 

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Megaton Rainfall will let you “become a supersonic indestructible interdimensional superbeing”. Which sounds alright, if you ask me. It’s a first-person superhero game in which you have to repel an alien invasion by firing energy missiles at them from your hands.

 

Survive ’em up Dead in Vinland drops you on a desert island

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Dead in Vinland is a survival game about managing a band of exiles on a faraway island, and it looks pretty neat if you ask me.

 

Valve is making a Dota card game to release in 2018

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Valve has just announced a brand new game during its Dota 2 International livestream.

Valve Is Making a Card Game Because It Wants You to Trade Some Cards

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With 'Dota 2' card game 'Artifact,' Valve isn’t making a new card game. It’s making a new market.

 

Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition announced, release date set

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Visit the "ultimate" version of Boston's irradiated wasteland next month.

 

Arma III DLC Will Let You Play As A Humanitarian Worker

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Games have been letting us play as soldiers and combatants for decades, but there’s far more to war than fighting.

 

Conan Exiles details 'phase two' of early access plan, new systems, map features

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News on customisation options, its new exploration system, journey system and more.

 

See For Honor's Highlander and Gladiator in action in their new Season 3 trailers

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More details have been released about For Honor’s upcoming third season, including trailers for the two new heroes, the Highlander and the Gladiator.

For Honor: 6 Minutes of Gladiator Gameplay in 1080p 60fps

For Honor: 5 Minutes of Highlander Gameplay in 1080p 60fps

 

Valve reveals two new Dota 2 heroes

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One pink fairy (could it be Sylph?) and an armadillo-inspired swordsman.

 

PUBG’s vaulting system could be a game changer

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Work-in-progress video shows off a dynamic new movement system

 

No Man's Sky Atlas Rises update adds '30 hours of new story content' and 'limited' online co-op

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"Our story brings a new context, quest system and branching narrative to No Man’s Sky."

 

EVE: Valkyrie's Warzone update will remove the need for VR headsets

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If you’ve had your eye on EVE: Valkyrie, but you’ve been put off by prohibitively expensive VR headsets, then we’ve got some good news for you: come September 26, EVE: Valkyrie will become EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone, and you’ll be able to play it on PC and PS4 without a VR device.

 

A new Rainbow Six Siege leak reveals the abilities of all three new operators

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Another leak has surfaced for Rainbow Six Siege, this time showing off all three new operators, their gadgets and their roles.

 

Overwatch is finally getting a Deathmatch mode

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FFA and Team Deathmatch, and a new map, are now live on the PTR.

Overwatch: 5 Minutes of Deathmatch Gameplay

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Deathmatch is coming to Overwatch very soon, here's 5 minutes of gameplay from the PTR.

Overwatch’s New Deathmatch Modes Still Need Some Work

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Down in the cavernous cellars of Château Guillard, it’s just me—playing as Mei—and an enemy Soldier 76. I freeze him, but at the last second he throws down an HP-restoring biotic field, negating much of my hard work. I freeze myself to heal, as well. Then, with our safety nets gone, we dart, dodge, and fire, narrowly missing each others’ heads.

 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation v2.4 comes with Vulkan support and a free map pack

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Stardock have announced a big update for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation today.

 

Fortnite Creative Director Talks Five-Year Plan, Possibility Of Switch Version

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Epic Games' Darren Sugg answers our burning questions about Fortnite as we play through a mission together.

 

Popular Twitch Streamer Banned From Battlegrounds After Exploiting Glitch

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“I’m getting banned, dude,” Twitch streamer Destiny laughed to his viewers last night while running over Battlegrounds players with a jeep. Vehicular manslaughter is something the game actually encourages. But although it didn’t look like it, a lot of those players were actually inside invisible houses. Destiny was apparently taking advantage of a glitch, and in the process, stole a half dozen kills.

Paid crates continue to be a contentious issue for the PUBG community

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Many Battlegrounds players consider microtransactions in Early Access to be a broken promise.

PUBG developer says no, Tencent did not buy a piece of our company

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Chinese megacorp already owns Riot

 

Don't expect another Tales from the Borderlands game: sales "weren't great"

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Despite critical acclaim, Tales from the Borderlands was not a commercial success for Telltale Games. Another season seems pretty unlikely, then.

 

Riot loses lawsuit over League of Legends 'Striker Lucian' skin

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Former soccer pro Edgar Davids said the skin was based on him, and a Dutch court agreed.

 

The big Cliff Bleszinski interview

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So I'm grateful that Cliff Bleszinski was gracious enough to take the time out to talk to me, just over 24 hours after the launch of his first game in some six years. LawBreakers is, by all accounts, an incredible shooter that successfully harks back to classics such as Unreal Tournament - which Bleszinski worked on as designer, of course - though it's yet to find traction, the number of Steam players around at launch lower than that of Battleborn.

 

Internal Blizzard Memo Details Efforts To Hire, Retain More Women

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The email also outlines other concrete steps that Blizzard plans to take to “enhance inclusiveness for those who identify as women,” including “networking sessions and mentoring groups for women across the company,” an annual “Women @ Blizzard” summit starting next year, and improved bias training for managers.

Korean PC bangs accuse Blizzard of anti-trust breach over StarCraft: Remastered

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South Korea’s famous Internet cafes - better-known as PC bangs - have accused Blizzard of breaching antitrust (competition) law after the publishers announced plans to charge them an hourly fee for offering StarCraft: Remastered to their customers.

Blizzard renames Battle.net, again

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The classic name’s back, with a twist

 

PlatinumGames is on the upswing, thanks to Nier: Automata

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A special shout-out to Yoko Taro

 

Planet Coaster sells a million in less than a year

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The happy-go-luckiest management sim of the moment, Planet Coaster, has sold a million units since its launch in November last year.

 

Tekken 7 sold more than 1.6 million copies during Bandai Namco's Q1

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The latest earning report from Bandai Namco has reported that Tekken 7 has sold more than 1.6 million units so far this year, following its release in March.

 

Discord takes aim at Skype with new video chat and screen sharing features

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Testing of the new features began today for a lucky five percent of Discord users.

Discord cracks down on hate groups, shuts down alt-right server

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Discord is taking action in the wake of a hateful protest led by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

 

Someone Live Streamed Themselves Sexually Harassing Me

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His channel has now been reinstated, with my bullying broadcast sitting proudly on his profile page. I have contacted Twitch Support for advice, but this message has been left unanswered for a week now.

Harassment Livestreams on Twitch are Multiplying and Easy to Find

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We spent 90 minutes looking for harassment and were able to identify and document 25 accounts on Twitch that regularly engage in harassment of other users, either via in-stream chat or by re-streaming people's livestreams and commenting on them. Every one of these accounts is still active at the time of publishing, though we've passed our findings on to Twitch support.

Twitch declares war on Discord with the full launch of the Twitch Desktop App

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The Desktop App supports video chat and full-time online 'communities.'

 

Action games could put you at risk of Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and PTSD

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The study suggests that this depletion of grey matter might be severe enough to cause significant mental health issues and neurological illnesses. PTSD, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and depression are all more likely with reduced hippocampal grey matter, and so action game players may be at greater risk of such conditions.

 

Esports News

 

Brilliant Steal At The Dota 2 International Brings Key Arena To A Roar

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The best play so far in this week’s Dota 2 International tournament was a steal that was both skillful and reckless. As Malaysian player Tue “Ahfu” Soon Chuan snuck into a pack of opposing Russian players and grabbed the loot they were going for, the crowd watching at Seattle’s Key Arena lost their minds.

 

Team Liquid Wins Over $10 Million At International Dota 2 Tournament

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Team Liquid are the victors of The International 7, a Dota 2 tournament with over $24 million in prize pool. The European squad will take home the lion’s share at $$10,806,301 after an historic 3-0 sweep of team Newbee.

The Tradition Of Terrible Esports Champagne Celebrations Continues

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The players on Team Liquid just won the most money for a single match in the history of esports, but at the staged champagne celebration they stumbled around like sleep deprived zombies.

What It's Like To Attend The Biggest Dota 2 Tournament In The World

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The first thing I felt after the conclusion of The International 7, the seventh annual Dota 2 event that caps off every season of play, was whiplash. The day had gone by so fast, I had barely noticed it. As I walked in through the press entrance in the morning, I saw Team Liquid in the loading bay, laughing as a few players had a smoke and talked strategy. Eight hours later, they would hoist the Aegis over their heads, solidifying themselves as the best of the best.

 

The 2017 Call Of Duty Championship Ends In A Blowout

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After a stellar performance throughout this year’s $1.5 million prize pool tournament, OpTic Gaming can finally call themselves Call of Duty World League champions.

 

For Honor player exploits his way to tournament victory

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For Honor is a great fighting game marred by technical issues. That's a sentiment that has dogged the game since it came out - now thrust once again into the public eye by a recent Ubisoft-backed tournament that ended in farce.

 

Australian Qualifies For Quake World Championships With 272 Ping

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Remember the Aussie who forced his way through an online Quake Champions qualifier on crappy ping? Well there was a second round of qualifiers for the Quake World Championships over the weekend, and despite having an atrocious ping yet again, Daniel “dandaking” De Sousa somehow made it through.

 

The best plays from the Overwatch World Cup Katowice qualifiers

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South Korea dominated, even with off-meta strategies.

 

The NCAA Has Begun Discussing Its Potential Role in Collegiate Esports

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association may finally be changing its mind about entering the esports landscape, according to a report on the NCAA website.

 

Capcom accidentally reveals its entire Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite esports business plan on YouTube

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Capcom accidentally revealed its entire esports business plan for upcoming fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite on YouTube.

What Capcom’s Video Leak Tells Us About the Business of Fighting Games

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A video mistakenly uploaded by game developer Capcom has provided great insight into the economics of esports and fighting games.

 

Newbee player Vasilii vows abstinence after saying “indulging in sensual pleasures” hurt his League of Legends performance

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In one of the most puzzling excuses for poor play you’ll ever see, Newbee’s Li “Vasilii” Weijun spoke out on weibo to explain his current “situation” to fans.

 

In Dota 2, bot beats pros

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Dota 2's world championship, The International 2017, is going on right now, and as a sideshow, Valve put a top pro up against a formidable AI bot. Spoiler alert: The bot mopped the floor with him.

 

Crowdfunding News (not sharing everything I find, just ones that look interesting, have known talent behind them, and a chance to succeed)

 

The Iron Oath: Dark Turn-based Tactical RPG

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A gritty turn-based RPG with a focus on tactics and the management of your guild within a dynamic world.

 

NECROCOSMOS - There is no god up here

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Videogame inspired by old Metroid games. Openworld game, Sci-Fi Action Metroidvania,Hardcore Retro Style Adventure Pc/Mac/Linux/PS4/XBX

 

'My creative calling is to freak people the f*** out,' says Alexis Kennedy on Cultist Simulator

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After founding Failbetter Games in 2010, writer and designer Alexis Kennedy left the Sunless Sea and Fallen London developer after six years of service last year. He's since freelanced on various projects for Paradox, Telltale Games and BioWare—and has now set up another indie outfit named Weather Factory. Its debut venture is digital card game Cultist Simulator.

 

Fig's first funded game released sees 100% return on investment

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Investors in Kingdoms and Castles have doubled their money in just a couple weeks after launch

 

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

 

Threats, fake names and philanthropy: The untold story of Jane Whittaker

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From Alien vs Predator to Goldeneye, the developer discusses his journey to Keystone Games, a publisher donating profits to charity

You've probably never heard of Jane Whittaker. You've definitely played his games.

 

'Savior': Politics, Game Development, Performance Art in an Evolving Cuba

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Empty Head Games' story illustrates the realities of being a Cuban artist in 2017

This past weekend, Savior, one of Cuba's first independently developed video games, gets its first public showing, with the duo behind the unusual title debuting a nearly completed version of the game at the Video Game Art Gallery in Chicago.

 

Growing Up, I Bonded With My Older Brothers Through Games

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My brothers Bob, Mike, and Joe are 11, 10, and 7 years older than me, respectively. At first, I didn’t understand why adults thought the gender and age differences between us were such a big deal. As I grew older, their pity annoyed me. Their apologetic tone seemed to imply that, because I had no sisters, there was some sort of abysmal black hole in my life that could never be filled. But my brothers made my childhood awesome.

 

Finally, an Apocalyptic Wasteland Where People Aren't Assholes to Each Other

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From Mad Max to The Walking Dead, we live in a world teeming with apocalyptic fiction. Typically, they’re stories which posit that humans will turn to their darkest impulses and screw over anyone and everyone for their own survival, or even out of pure selfishness. A new video game called Pyre is about the exact opposite of that.

Pyre Developer Explains Why There's No 'Best' Ending

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There’s no such thing as a happy ending—at least, not for everybody.

A Substantial And Interesting Discussion Of Pyre, Feelings, Dogs, Mustaches, And God

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Every character in Pyre has a story. Some are about the nature of freedom. Others focus on religion. Others invite you to scrutinize systems that purport to offer justice while privileging a select few. But the story that helped the game find its voice and its heart was the unlikely story of a dog’s mustache

 

Five Key Areas of Discoverability for Indie Devs

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Whenever I ask indie devs what they’d like to know about marketing, a lot of them respond saying they have no idea where to begin. With this in mind, I went to Develop this year to give advice about how to get your game on people's radar. I considered five key areas of discoverability:

 

Hinterland: "There's something a little bit broken about our internet culture"

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Raphael van Lierop talks about a low point in dealing with The Long Dark's Early Access community, and why he won't go to Reddit any more

 

100GB Game Downloads Aren't the Problem, Predatory Data Caps Are

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The leap to 4K is happening as internet service providers are quietly restricting what customers can download.

 

How Hellblade's permadeath works isn't the point

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Why the foreboding permadeath warning is great game design and a modern expression of unreliable narration.

RELIGION AND PSYCHOSIS IN HELLBLADE: SENUA’S SACRIFICE

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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is the most honest video game representation of mental illness I’ve encountered: it never separates its protagonist’s dark religious beliefs (about ancient gods and sacrifice) from what the heroine is processing internally. The game’s opening wastes no time introducing psychosis. Senua has a chorus of voices commentating on her every move. This would be disorienting enough, but Senua’s quest takes her through harsh Norse and Celtic beliefs about murderous gods. These beliefs include literal sacrifices of the flesh—all in an effort to save the soul of someone she lost. She needs to navigate rituals, challenge gods, and fight evil spirits. All while struggling with her own (mental) darkness.

The sensitive challenge of portraying psychosis in Hellblade

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Avoiding the stigmas of mental health isn't easy, as Ninja Theory's founder knows all too well.

 

“Gears of War Flexes for the World to See,” by Reid McCarter

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Marcus Fenix and his fellow soldiers do not run like humans. Less of a crack military squad than a thundering stampede, each footstep is the kick of a bass drum. Holding down a button, they huddle into a halfway crouch and sprint forward as if on tracks. They resemble a herd of baby elephants, startled and powerful.

 

Comparing the cityscapes of The Witcher 3, Dark Souls and Bloodborne to medieval paintings

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Mention the city in the middle ages, and you likely either conjure images of streets awash in faeces and offal, or of a cosy collection of quaint houses reminding people of gallant knights and ladies. Even though cities harking back to medieval times have been a staple of fantasy games ever since the inception of the genre, they usually do little to challenge the clichés presented by Renaissance fairs or grimdark pseudo-realism. To make things worse, those sterile spaces function primarily as pit stops for the player, a place to get new quests, to rest, or to trade. It's difficult to imagine everyday life in those places once the hero is out of town. They're little more than cardboard cut-outs (I'm looking at you, Skyrim).

 

Dissecting The Dream Daddy Discourse

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There’s a trend I’ve noticed with more mainstream coverage of visual novels, and I’m going to be honest—I don’t like it. I’m happy games like Dream Daddy and Tusks are getting coverage. Visual novels are a vastly underrated and misunderstood genre, usually only coming to the larger games press’ attention when something weird (dating pigeons) or something controversial (Ladykiller in a Bind’s pulled scene) happens. And when they are covered, as with the recent popularity of Dream Daddy, there’s a distinct trend to paint them as a surprising success.

 

Designing the deceptively simple stick figure RPG West of Loathing

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West of Loathing is a silly Wild West RPG for PCs from the developers of the browser-based fantasy MMO Kingdom of Loathing, which was equally silly.

 

Punishing difficulty conveys a personal story in The End is Nigh

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"There were a lot of subtle elements in my past platformers that I never fully explored because I was worried about alienating the audience. I wanted to make a game that was honestly a bit uncomfortable to play for people who have issues with stress. I wanted to make a game about stress, pressure and expectation. I feel like I was able to do exactly that in simple and elegant ways I'm quite proud of."

 

The uncertain future of games like Deus Ex and Dishonored

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Immersive sims have been held up as the pinnacle of PC game design, but recent sales may mean the genre is endangered.

 

GTA Online Updates Push Crime Into The Suburbs, Frustrating Residents

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In real life, people leave the bustle of city life for the country all the time. Turns out, that phenomenon happens even in digital places like GTA Online, too. GTA players sometimes choose sleepy neighborhoods to avoid crime at their doorstep, but recent updates have turned the real estate market upside down.

 

Yahoo! Games' Demise Shows What the Death of Flash Could Feel Like

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The parlor games hosted by Yahoo! once represented some of the internet’s best efforts at interactivity—at a time when that interactivity was new. But you can't find those games online anymore.

 

The best PC concept art

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The job of a concept artist is an important one. Before a single model or texture has been created, they’re responsible for establishing a game’s atmosphere and tone. The things they create might not even make it into the final game, but their work underpins the aesthetic of everything from incidental props to entire worlds. And so, to celebrate the work of these talented individuals, here are some of my favourite concept images from the last few years.

 

How American Game Companies Avoid Paying Income Tax

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A detailed description of how wealthy game corporations get away with what would be a crime if the rest of us tried it. This is really all thanks to a Dutch journalist named Jesse Frederick, whose story you can find here: https://thecorrespondent.com/6942/bermuda-guess-again-turns-out-holland-is-the-tax-haven-of-choice-for-us-companies/417639737658-b85252de

 

Tacoma: Why The Little Details Matter

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In this episode of Writing on Games I examine Fullbright's latest release Tacoma; discussing how it tells its fragmented story through small details, giving you the ability to define what it all means.

 

Why Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Is More Important To Gaming Than You Think

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Hellblade developer Ninja Theory discusses life after DmC: Devil May Cry and how it's trying to bring back AA games.

The Most Important Game of 2017

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00:00: Intro
11:54: Spoilers
13:08: Conclusion

Written, Voiced, and Edited by Lucas Raycevick

Hellblade: A Groundbreaking Take On Mental Illness - Reboot Episode 12

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Mike explores the various way's Ninja Theory's newest release portrays mental illness in an empathetic light.

 

Prey - A Critique of the Mind Game

 

CRYSIS Identity: A Franchise Retrospective

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This is a full-spoiler retrospective critique of the Crysis trilogy of first-person shooters. The first Crysis is a legendary piece of software, but the two in-house sequels failed to garner as much attention or respect. This video looks at what gave the originals such impact and speculates as to why that impact might've evaporated in later titles.

___TABLE OF CONTENTS___

Crysis-- 0:11
Crysis: Warhead-- 16:32
Crysis 2-- 25:15
Crysis 3-- 43:36

 

What's Been Going On With Mafia 3's DLC? [Spoilers]

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This is a spoiler-heavy look at the three DLCs for Mafia 3: Faster Baby, Stones Unturned, and Signs of the Times. It considers how each fits in with the main campaign they're layered into, as well as thoughts on going through the game a second time.

 

Final Fantasy VII's Barret Is Solid Snake In Japanese, Mister T In English

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You’ll see some discrepancies. Barret talks differently in the Japanese version, where he’s more Solid Snake than Mr. T. Cloud has a catchphrase that doesn’t consistently translate over. And in at least one relevant moment, a line of Japanese text just doesn’t make it into the English version.

 

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds' dungeon design | Boss Keys

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Boss Keys is an on-going research project to analyse the level design of the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda. This time, we're looking at the 3DS game, A Link Between Worlds.

 

Marginal Mechanics and Red Herrings - Why So Weak? - Extra Credits

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This video is sponsored by VRV. To get an ad-free trial of the VRV combo pack for 7 days, use this link! http://bit.ly/ec_VRV Every game has some skills or abilities that are just weaker than other abilities. Players wind up ignoring them or resenting them, so why include these "red herring" mechanics? While it can be just lazy design, there are also some very good uses for these marginal mechanics!

 

History Respawned: Urban Empire

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Bob and Dr. Kyle Shelton discuss Urban Empire. Topics include city building games, the history of urban development, and the politics of big cities.

1:25 General History of Urban Development from the Industrial Revolution Onward
3:56 Frustration of dealing with city council
5:54 Cities and data
8:40 The politics of data
11:13 History of Urban Planning
16:42 Planned cities in Europe versus the United States
21: 08 History of Fences, Boundaries, and Property Rights
24:10 Do we want historical accuracy?

 

Sony's Cancelled PlayStation 4 (PS4) Exclusive: Gnomageddon - Unseen64

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Gnomageddon was an online action game developed exclusively for the PlayStation 4 (PS4). The project originated as a small demo made during a game jam at a division of Sony San Diego, and was gradually expanded upon. The game was planned to be free to play with optional microtransactions, and would have featured three game modes as well as six classes of gnome. The game's main mode would have been a standard death match mode that pitted teams of good and evil gnomes against each other. The game was ultimately cancelled due to the studio as a whole not bringing in enough revenue, which was partly due to Sony San Diego's MOBA game Kill Strain under performing.

Liam Robertson is a video game researcher and archiver. In his spare time, Liam creates videos and articles for Unseen64, but will also be contributing to the DidYouKnowGaming channel.

 

Realistic Performances in Games

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In this 2017 GDC session, Naughty Dog's Ryan M. James shares some of the methods used to create realistic performances for animated characters in the studio's games.

 

Continuous World Generation in No Man's Sky

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In this 2017 GDC talk, Hello Games' Innes McKendrick presents a study of the technical architecture of No Man's Sky, focusing in particular on the techniques used to generate planets and the supporting structures allowing this to happen continuously in real-time.

 

The Flash Games Postmortem

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In this 2017 GDC talk, Kongregate's John Cooney attempts to encapsulate the immense history of Flash games and how it has shaped the current game industry by giving game developers their first chance to build and publish their games quickly to the web.

 

Rewarding Exploration in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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In this 2017 GDC talk, Eidos-Montreal's Clemence Maurer explains how the city of Prague was recreated in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to reward players for exploring its furtherst nooks and crannies.

 

Cuphead's Animation Process and Philosophy

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In this 2017 GDC bootcamp, Studio MDHR's Jake Clark explains his design and animation processes for the game Cuphead, and shares practical ideas and tips for 2D animation.

 

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

 

Dannyodwyer's Surprise Twitch Appearance

 

We made Elven Cider from Divine Divinity

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This week, Johnny returns to the kitchen to make a batch of Elven Cider from Divine Divinity. It's knockout stuff.

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