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This Week In Gaming 9-12-17

1 post in this topic



Polish documentary on the making of the first Witcher game, making games in Tehran, how the song "Undertale" hits home, FTC makes ruling for Youtubers running CS gambling sites, Gaming Historian looks at Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's time at Atari, what Twitch can learn from cam sites, Ahoy talks about the game that doesn't exist, designing games for speedrunning, how Suikoden changed Warren Spector's life, interview with Suda51, fixing overwork in the game industry, PewDiePie's latest racism leads developers to issue DMCA or to request take downs of his videos, making of Fallout 1 and 2, behind the scenes of game design, a look into Obsidian's cancelled Xbox One title that would eventually lead to Tyranny, Malaysian government temporarily bans Steam, engineers try to save Miiverse, and more.


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


Star Wars Battlefront 2's Starfighter Assault mode is the best kind of fan service


What’s the best thing about Star Wars? If your answer isn’t the audio then we’re at a bit of an impasse. No franchise has as many memorable noises as Star Wars, especially not ones that even people who haven’t seen the film can mimic - from Chewbacca growls and TIE Fighter screeches, to the hymnal quality of John Williams’ score and the devastating sound of a Void-7 seismic charge. Save for Chewie, you’ll find each of these wonderful sounds in Battlefront II's Starfighter Assault mode, which oozes with all the familiarity and throwback charm that fans have come to expect from every new venture into this beloved IP. Criterion Software have nailed far more than the sound design, though. This is a space combat sim that could be boxed and sold on its own - nobody tell EA.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 leak reveals new details about the upcoming beta


The beta will apparently offer access to the Skirmish mode and a Strike map on Takodana.


George Orwell's Animal Farm is being made into a videogame



The game promises a faithful interactive recreation of the author's vision.

Animal Farm developer: "I wish more games made a statement"


Publisher after publisher was afraid to touch it before it finally found a home, almost two years after it was conceived. Orwell wrote in reaction that "intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face".

The rebellion against such cowardice is what has inspired a small team of highly experienced developers to turn Animal Farm into a video game.


Xenoblade Chronicles 2 feels ready to become Switch's first hardcore RPG



Back at Gamescom, I got the chance to play around an hour of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Nintendo's big role-playing game exclusive pencilled in for launch on Switch this Christmas. I'm told I was the first person at the show - and apparently the first outside of Nintendo - to go hands-on. Surprisingly little has been seen so far, bearing in mind the game's impending launch, so I'm a little lost when I find myself dropped a dozen or so hours into the game's campaign. I'll be learning its many battle systems on the fly - and I do definitely spend my entire time with the game learning, as layer upon layer of gameplay unfurls itself and things slowly, mostly start to make sense.


South Park: The Fractured but Whole's difficulty slider changes the colour of your skin


During the process, South Park stalwart Eric Cartman will comment: "Don't worry, this doesn't affect combat. Just every other aspect of your whole life."

We asked the developers and they confirmed it doesn't affect combat, it affects some dialogue options and how much money you can get from encounters.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole is fun but flawed


South Park: The Fractured but Whole has faced delays, but it will finally be releasing this October 17th. At a Ubisoft event yesterday, I got to play through roughly the first three hours of South Park’s latest RPG.


Bear With Me, a noir teddy bear adventure, concludes in October


The three-part adventure debuted last summer.


How the Biggest Moment in EVO History Influenced This Brawler



'Way of the Passive Fist' wants to teach players the path to victory doesn't always involve your fists.


Immortal Unchained is a 'hardcore shooter for the action RPG genre'


We spoke to one of the developers about what that means.


Total War: WARHAMMER 2 - High Elves Campaign Let's Play


Join us for the latest Total War: Warhammer 2 Let's Play as we play as Teclis for the High Elves, using the Intrigue at Court mechanic to manipulate other factions to further our own campaign in taking control of the Vortex.

Total War: WARHAMMER 2 - Eagle Gates First Look


Ulthuan is protected by a line of great bastions known as the Fortress Gates. They have stood for millennia, guarding the northern watches of the High Elf continent from incursion.

Total War: WARHAMMER 2 - Introducing... Moon Dragon


Those dragons that surpass the Sun Dragons in might and enlightenment are known as Moon Dragons. Watch it come to life in our latest Introducing video.


Okami HD rated for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in Korea



HD remaster coming to current gen platforms.


Heat Signature, The New Game By Tom Francis, Is Coming Out On September 21


Tom Francis and Suspicious Developments, perhaps best known for creating 2013's seminal stealth-puzzle game Gunpoint, have announced that his new title Heat Signature will come out on Steam on September 21.


The Lost Child coming west in 2018


NIS America is bringing The Lost Child to North America and Europe for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in 2018, the company announced. The PS Vita version will only be released digitally.


Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Combat Spotlight


So just how creative can you get with Combat in Divinity: Original Sin 2? Watch and learn, apprentice. Watch and learn.


Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online overview trailer


Western PlayStation 4 release just over a month away.


Moonlighter has an interesting capitalist twist on classic dungeon crawling



Dungeon crawling is inherently selfish. They're a bit of video game risk versus reward in the sense that they exist to test the player and (theoretically) leave them better equipped for future challenges. They play to a loop of constantly improving the hero so that they can take on tougher foes.


Frictional's excellent sci-fi horror game Soma is coming to Xbox One



Philosophical sci-fi horror game Soma, Frictional Games' 2015 successor to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, is coming to Xbox One.


Exclusive Gameplay Of A Nazgul Boss Fight In Middle-earth: Shadow Of War


In this Game Informer video to coincide with our October cover story on the new game from Monolith Productions, VP of creative Michael de Plater walks us through one of the game's new boss fights with a Nazgul and then reveals the backstory of how a man named Helm Hammerhand turned into an immortal ring-wraith.

Extended Hands-On Impressions With Middle-earth: Shadow Of War


As you have likely already seen, Middle-earth: Shadow of War is on the cover of this month's issue of Game Informer. To get as full of a picture of the game as possible, a team of GI editors flew out to the offices of Monolith to not only meet with multiple key members of the development team, but also play several hours of the game.


Star Citizen 3.0 update "akin to Early Access" launch



There are two schools of thought on the long, long-in-development Star Citizen. For fans, it is an in-development wonder, a work-in-progress promise of a bright, stellar future. It's a game in which people have already invested significant amounts of money.


A Game About Curing A Zombie Plague



Have you ever seen a zombie and thought, “Look at those squishy rotting cheeks. I just want to pinch them!” Well you’re in luck, because in Raise the Dead, you can keep adorable (but vicious) zombies and perform experiments with them.


Final Fantasy 15's Hajime Tabata on gaining the 'trust and acceptance' of PC players



How will Final Fantasy 15 on PC shape up on top end and low spec hardware?


Ys Eight: Lacrimosa of Dana delayed on PC one day before it was set to launch



NIS America says a new date will be announced as soon as it has one.


Sky - Reveal Teaser


Take a look at the reveal teaser for Sky.


New details and screens from Stardew Valley publisher's magic school RPG



Potion making, Ghibli influences and why Chucklefish hasn't called its new game Spellbound (yet).


Kentucky Route Zero devs 'totally focussed on finishing Act 5' despite console edition announcement



The TV Edition's enhancements will be fed back into the PC version.


Ancestors Legacy gameplay trailer showcases 'historically accurate' medieval RTS


The game is Destructive Creations' biggest project yet.


Sailing a space locomotive through the stars in Sunless Skies



I’ve become the captain of my very own spacefaring locomotive. My ship chugs along, wheezing steam as I drift across a vast starscape. I press the F key and a bat flies off into the distance, returning with news of a nearby port.


FIFA 18 demo kicks off today



With 12 teams, four stadiums, and a preview of Alex Hunter's The Journey part two.


Atomega is the next game from Grow Home’s studio


It’s a multiplayer arena shooter.


Magic: The Gathering Arena revealed, closed beta signups are live


The free-to-play online card game aims to be everything you love about Magic.

It's a good sign that our biggest Magic: The Gathering Arena concerns are cosmetic


Is this the Magic game we've been waiting for?


Fire Emblem Warriors ‘Heroes Introduction #1’ trailer


Koei Tecmo has released the first in a series of “Heroes Introduction” trailers for Fire Emblem Warriors.

Fire Emblem Warriors ‘Heroes Introduction #2 and #3’ trailers


10 more heroes introduced.


2D adventure platformer Sir Eatsalot for PS Vita launches this winter



Save the Gluttington Kingdom from the evil witch's sour lemonade.


Tiny Barbarian DX for Switch launches October 10 in North America


A platform-jumping, sword-swinging, 2D adventure.


Injustice 2, the alt-DC fighting game, may be coming to the PC



The console versions came out in May, and now a PC listing has appeared on two European retail sites.


The latest trailer for The Evil Within 2 sees you shoot an awful lot of monsters


Bethesda have released a new gameplay trailer for The Evil Within 2. The video features a lot of monsters, and gives insight into some of the game’s story.


Bethesda Is Releasing An Unannounced New Game Before The End Of The Year


Bethesda Softworks, the publisher behind franchises like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, has another new release coming up this year that we haven't heard about, apparently. In an interview with Tek Syndicate recently, Bethesda marketing boss Pete Hines dropped the big tease.


Rockstar Announces L.A. Noire For Switch, PS4, Xbox One, VR



The detective game L.A. Noire is coming to Switch, Rockstar said today, blowing the minds of Nintendo fans everywhere. Also, it’s coming to PS4, Xbox One, and HTC Vive. This new version of the game will be out on November 14.


Suda51 hints at No More Heroes multiplayer on Switch



Travis Touchdown may be sharing the spotlight in his next outing

Suda51 Answers Our Big Questions, Such As: "Is Pineapple on Pizza OK?"


We also talk about making another 'No More Heroes' game. And his favorite wrestling move.

Suda 51 Thinks Nintendo Switch Is Punk AF


“The Switch is a punk console,” says game director Goichi Suda, aka Suda 51. “I was shocked by it. I thought, whoever made this must have something wrong with them. In a positive way. This guy must be messed up in the head to think of something like this.”


A new Hunt: Showdown dev diary showcases 'reactive' sandbox levels


Crytek's supernatural shooter forgoes scripted events in favor of 'dynamic' design.


Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn expansion brings playable robot overlords in September


Paradox has released a new trailer showcasing the four new playable factions.


Bungie outlines Destiny 2’s first month of content



When the Leviathan raid, Xur and Nightfall strikes are coming to Destiny 2

Destiny 2’s shaders are consumables, leaving many fans enraged


Will the feedback push Bungie to change?

Destiny 2 racks up 1.2 million players online


And it’s not out on PC for another month

Bungie Removes Destiny 2 Glove With 'Hate Symbol' On It


Although Bungie did not specify the gauntlet—and the company has not returned a request for comment—Redditors quickly discerned that the “Road Complex AA1,” pictured above, fits the bill. The design on these gloves bears a striking resemblance to the Kekistan flag, an alt-right symbol that itself is based on Nazi symbology:


Steel Division: Normandy 44 due boatload of free content



The team behind World War II RTS Steel Division: Normandy 44 [official site] recently detailed everything that’s coming to the game before the end of the year, including its first DLC – which will arrive this month – and a boatload of free stuff.


Nioh's final DLC, Bloodshed's End, is due this month



Nioh's third and final expansion, Bloodshed's End, will arrive on 26th September, developer Team Ninja has announced.


Endless Space 2 adds fighters, bombers, and bigger explosions in free Target Locked update


Endless Space 2 is adding a whole set of new combat options and additional content in its Target Locked update, adding some much-appreciated scale to space battles and letting you brush shoulders or cross blasters with intergalactic privateers.


Overwatch - Official Junkertown Map Preview


Get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Overwatch's newest map, Junkertown!

Junkertown release date: September 19th for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.


Fortnite Battle Royale is a 100-player last-man-standing mode, coming this month


Epic adds a PUBG-style twist to its base-building FPS.


Rainbow Six Siege aims for 100 operators, but there's 'no reason' to stop there



Having excelled since launch, Siege is here to stay.

One week after release, Rainbow Six Siege's Blood Orchid update is plagued with bugs


It would seem that, despite Ubisoft’s best efforts to fix Rainbow Six Siege, the launch of Operation Blood Orchid has not been exactly smooth. Reports of bugs, including games freezing or crashing, and other issues like rubberbanding and players not being able to purchase items, are apparently rife, according to the update’s bug megathread on Reddit.


Absolver developer asks for patience as it fixes server issues


Persistent online issues since launch have left some unable to play for days


Microsoft To Share Rare’s Sea of Thieves Water Tech with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds



PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds continues to make the news almost on a daily basis. The game developed by Bluehole recently surpassed the astounding number of 10 million copies sold in about five months since the debut on Steam Early Access.

PUBG: "When you ask about growth on PC, I just look at League of Legends"


Brendan Green on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' growth, raising price-points, and the fringe benefits of working with Microsoft

PUBG's next update adds the Mini-14, foggy weather, FPP leaderboards


And a string of bug fixes.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds targets November launch for vaulting mechanics


"We are planning to test it for a longer period of time in early November."

PUBG’s desert map layout has been datamined, and it features a town called ‘Murderland’


Datamining has revealed the likely layout of PUBG’s upcoming desert map.


Ubisoft creating 1,000 new jobs with two new Quebec studios



Publishing will invest $780m in growing its presence within the region by 2027, Saguenay studio opens early 2018


EA Says It Will Try To Help Its Dreamer Employees



On Tuesday, President Trump and his administration announced that they would end the DACA program which allows undocumented youth brought to the United States as children to work and receive protection from deportation. Some major tech and gaming corporations have spoken out about DACA, including Madden and Sims studio Electronic Arts.

EA Sports takes cover from Hurricane Irma, hopes to keep online services running


Hurricane Irma is west of Miami and now projected to rake the Gulf Coast of Florida, but Electronic Arts, whose EA Tiburon studio outside of Orlando makes Madden NFL and NBA Live, is taking no chances.

Gaming's move away from ownership model is inevitable - EA


Publisher's VP of investor relations says the technology is already in place for a shift to an access model like Spotify or Netflix


CD Projekt Red now worth over $2 billion


Today Polish game company CD Projekt Red published its earnings for the first half of its 2017 fiscal year, and while revenues and profits were good they're a bit less than what the company posted a year prior.


Bossa Studios secures $10m in Series A investment



Atomico is the leader with support from London Venture Partners


Pillars of Eternity II Writer on Manchester Bombings: “You Get What You Prepare For”


A series of highly controversial comments reportedly made by a writer for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire have surfaced online, in which an RPG forum account seemingly associated with the writer said of the Manchester bombings "you get what you prepare for," added that unmarried Muslim men should not be allowed entry into the US, and that he would continue to have sex with black women "until one of their boyfriends jacks me with a pipe."

Playing through Battle Brothers there was the occasional event where I thought, "The guy who wrote this is probably a piece of shit."


The Future Of Final Fantasy Is All About Player Feedback



When Yoshinori Kitase talks about the future of Final Fantasy, you probably want to listen. The veteran producer, widely considered the successor to former Square Enix honcho Hironobu Sakaguchi, is one of the shepherds of the iconic role-playing game series. And he’s looking to take some lessons from the world of mobile gaming—namely, player feedback.


'I can't believe they're not going to do another one, but they're not,' says Kevin Conroy on Batman Arkham games



"They made billions of dollars on those games. But, no, there's no plan to do another one."


The number of games released on Steam could top 5,000 in 2017—the most ever in a single year


More games released so far this year than in the whole of 2015


Malaysian Gov't Temp Bans Steam Over Religious Fighting Game Starring Jesus



The game’s publisher claims it wasn’t consulted before the move was taken.


PewDiePie Doesn't Deserve a Pass For Using the N-Word Because He Was Angry


The Internet may have desensitized us to such language, but that's hardly an excuse, and we should demand better.

YouTubers Worry About Blowback From New Pewdiepie Controversy


Between the “adpocalypse” that drained advertising money from YouTube, and highly-publicized fiascos involving popular content creators, YouTube’s had a rocky 2017. Now, many who make a living off the website are dreading the fallout from the latest Pewdiepie debacle. The question many are grappling with at the moment: has the face of YouTube itself become a liability for the platform?

Opinion: We Need To Talk About PewDiePie


We wrote an article about Kjellberg not to smear him, not for clicks, not to jump on some controversy. We wrote the piece because it is a fundamental chapter in a huge story that's been playing out over decades, a story that's about who gets to play games without fear of being attacked for their identity. The reason Kjellberg saying that slur is news when your average Call of Duty player saying it isn't, is because Kjellberg wields an influence that most people do not have. You may find yourself balking at the idea that a YouTuber gets to shape culture, but that's how reinforcement of ideas happen, especially when you cater to an audience that large, undoubtedly comprised of young people. Kjellberg's slur is news because it reinforces gaming's toxicity problem in a big way. Despite Kjellberg's insistence that "he never set out to be a role model," he is. You can't play to that large of an audience without sending a message about who you are, what you value, and having that audience grapple with that message.

Let's Play Copyright Threat Raises Questions About The Law And How To Use It


There are dozens of factors at play here, including the length of videos, the amount of commentary, and the type of game played. “I just have to point to substantiality of use,” said Mona Ibrahim, a video game attorney with the Interactive Entertainment Law Group. “The amount of content used [in a Let’s Play]—the fact it goes to the heart of the game itself—is way in excess of what any court up until now has said is fair use. You use too much of the content for it to quality for fair use.”

Lawyers explain why Campo Santo's takedown of PewDiePie's video is legal


Morrison has backup on that. "Publishers can revoke the license for any reason in their sole and absolute discretion, and there is nothing in the DMCA that requires consistent enforcement on the part of the IP holder," attorney Bryce Blum of ESG Law tells me in an email. "Arguing against a takedown request by saying other, similar content isn't targeted is like telling a cop that you shouldn't be busted for speeding because lots of people speed without getting a ticket."

Firewatch is getting review-bombed on Steam


The negative reviews will probably have little practical impact on Campo Santo's fortunes. Firewatch has been out for well over a year and has already enjoyed a great deal of success, breaking one million copies sold late last year.


FTC Gives YouTubers Who Peddled ‘Counter-Strike’ Gambling Site a Slap on the Wrist



FTC’s crackdown on influencers is toothless.

The Good Boys Of YouTube (The Jimquisition)


Tmartn and ProSyndicate were believed to have done naughty things, but they've been scientifically proven innocent thanks to FTC findings.

That IS how it works.

Oh, and just before we were ready to wrap, PewDiePie went ahead and did something shit. Again.


Grand Theft Auto Space mod launched with impressive trailer


Check out some in-game footage within.


Battlefield 1942 is getting an HD remake, 15 years after its first release


The First World War might be in vogue currently, thanks to Battlefield 1, but Activision’s Call of Duty: World War 2 is obviously hoping to change that. If you can’t wait for that to come out though, why not return to Battlefield 1942, which has just received an HD remake thanks to the efforts of modder ScureHD.


24 People Can Now Play Super Mario 64 Online Together


Super Mario 64 was released in 1996 as a singleplayer video game. Recent mods have let two people play together, but a new romhack allows up to 24 to jump online and play through the game, kicking and punching each other all the way through.


Binding Of Isaac Mod Team Is Moving On Due To Lack Of Support



Team Alpha are the makers of Alphabirth, one of many mod packs for The Binding Of Isaac. Despite releasing their third pack just this week, the team’s head coordinator took to their blog to say that, for now, work on more Isaac content has been put on indefinite hiatus.


Esports News


The Weekend In Esports: A West Side Story



CS:GO is back in full swing, with the Eleague Premier kicking off its group stage and two other tournaments on deck as well. Smash is showing California some love, Rocket League is hitting the pedal on its fourth competitive season, and several League teams are playing to see who will get to punch their ticket to Worlds 2017.


PUBG is becoming an esport, whether it's ready or not



More players, more problems.


Two Weekends In Boston Showed Two Very Different Scenes In Competitive Gaming



Last Sunday, as two top League of Legends teams battled in Boston’s TD Banknorth Garden in front of thousands of cheering fans, a stadium usher grumbled a complaint that a lot of first-time esports spectators mention. The pro players, whose facial expressions appeared in close-up on big screens all over the stadium, seemed way too chill.


Blizzard opening its own esports arena in LA



Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will be home to Overwatch, Hearthstone competitions


EU LCS Will Break Off Into Four Regional Competitions, According to Reports



An ESPN report has suggested that League of Legends developer Riot Games will split the European LCS into a four region, Champions League-style format for the upcoming 2018 season.

INTERVIEW: Richard Lippe, H2K Gaming – “Riot’s Policies Will Have a Seriously Disruptive and Negative Impact on EU Players”


On September 1st, the professional League of Legends organization H2K Gaming addressed a public letter to the EU LCS community. Co-authored by the team’s CEO Susan Tully and Co-Chairman Richard Lippe, the letter outlines the financial challenges with the current LoL eco-system from a team’s perspective, and included a threat to leave the LCS unless changes are made.


SimBin Launches Women and Wheels, Promotes Women in Esports



SimBin is launching the competition with the specific interest in mind of further promoting the involvement of women in competitive gaming and esports. An unannounced percentage of proceeds from the event will go towards “female-focused charities.”


Oomba Acquires Entertainment Chain GameWorks to Establish Esports Arenas



Oomba has announced the acquisition of GameWorks, a chain of gaming and arcade centers that will soon be transformed into local esports arenas.


DreamHack Unbans CS:GO Players Who Cheated And Fixed Matches



Last July, esports organization ESL lifted the lifetime ban on tournament participation from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players who had been caught cheating or participating in match-fixing schemes. The new sanctions now call for a two-year ban on cheaters and a five-year ban on match fixers, with the potential for longer bans in extreme cases. This week, esports tournament organization DreamHack joined ESL in implementing the same rule changes and lifting prior lifetime bans.


Counter-Strike Team Blows $70,000 Championship Match After Being Penalized For Showing Up Late



Prominent esports organization Immortals suffered a major misfire over the weekend when three members of its Counter-Strike team showed up late to a $70,000 Dreamhack Montreal finals match, forcing them to forfeit the first map in a best of three set, per the tournament’s rules.


Melee Champ Resigns From Competition Committee Because It's All-Male


The day after the panel lineup was announced, Armada responded to the controversy by tweeting, “I would give up my spot if it means a girl gets a chance.” Nothing happened. On September 9, Armada reiterated his decision to step down from the panel in a video stream:


StarCraft Player Banned After Drunken Behavior On Livestream



As reported on Team Liquid, Yum “Sea” Bo Sung can no longer participate in South Korea’s Afreeca Starleague Season 4 after allegedly sexually harassing and assaulting a woman. The incident was streamed, but Bo Sung has denied doing either.


Smash 4 Pro Survives Tournament Elimination With Clutch Off-Screen Play



Last weekend’s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U competition at DreamHack Montreal came down to a nail-biting grand finals match between Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland and Eric “ESAM” Lew. With his tournament hopes on the line, Holland scored a clutch counter against Lew to reset the bracket, which was made only more impressive by the fact his character wasn’t visible at the moment his fortunes were reversed.


Pro Overwatch Players Sing Smash Mouth While Obliterating Opponents



Somebody once told me Envision is gonna roll me.


Interactive Streaming Platform Genvid Raises $2.5 Million in Financing



Genvid Technologies, an interactive esports and video gaming streaming solutions company, has announced an additional $2.5 million funding round.


Maestro Announces $3 Million Funding To Increase Data-Driven Streaming Engagement



Maestro, a live streaming engagement and analytics platform, has announced the close of a $3 million Series A funding round. The capital will be used to expand the company’s presence in esports and gaming, while taking its data-driven engagement tools into new verticals.


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


The Cyanide & Happiness Adventure Game


The Cyanide & Happiness Adventure Game will complete the gaping hole in your soul, heal the feels in your heart, and wash your dishes.


Shortest Trip to Earth


One of the developers behind the rock solid top-down shooter Teleglitch: Die More Edition is working on an FTL-inspired spaceship roguelike that, judging by the bits of the demo I’ve played, looks promising. Shortest Trip to Earth [official site] has just hit Indiegogo, looking for $35,000 (£27k), and the demo contains a tutorial and two sectors of space to blast through.


Lona: Realm of Colors


A highly stylized adventure art-game about an artist trapped in her art, with fear and chaos coming alive in two-sided paintings!


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


Making Games in Tehran: A massive market, disconnected



The first Tehran Game Convention gave Brie Code insight into an emerging industry hobbled by sanctions and restrictions


Stormlands and the million-man raid: Obsidian's cancelled Xbox One exclusive



Clearly a lot of work had been done. What, then, went wrong? There was a disconnect, a juxtaposition between a dreaming Microsoft on one hand and an Obsidian who had to realise the ideas on the other. One moment Obsidian was talking to a Microsoft executive producer about doing co-op, the next minute a new executive producer was pitching million-man raids. "We look at something like that and it's like, 'Holy Jesus!'" says Urquhart.

Rummaging through Obsidian's drawer of game ideas


Star Wars! Snow White! Prey 2! Warhammer 40K! "There's tons of them."

Games aren’t always fair, the magic lies in making you think they areChExIPU.png


I asked fellow game designers to tell me the hidden tricks and mechanics they use to give players their desired experience. That situation got a bit out of control, in a good way.


Fixing overwork isn’t easy, but it’s the best investment we can make



I’ve watched coworkers go through the same things, and I’ve witnessed tragic results. I’ve seen broken relationships, dissolved marriages, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems, declining health and lingering illness. It’s a long list.


The making of Alpha Protocol, Obsidian's secret best RPG



Imagine a glitzy cinematic sequence where you, as a secret agent, fight your way through an aeroplane soaring through the sky. You're pressing button prompts appearing on the screen while your hero whacks, chops, spins and kicks at the baddie in your way. "You fight all the way down until eventually you beat the guy and rip off his parachute and, I don't know, break his neck, and he floats off and you use his parachute to land." Sounds great, like a James Bond or Jack Bauer or Jason Bourne scene, or something from Uncharted 3, which hadn't been made yet.


Engineers Are Trying To Save The Miiverse


With the impending demise of Nintendo’s Miiverse, some users are resorting to manually saving their images. Others, though, are looking for a solution that’s a little more comprehensive.


Zoë Quinn tells her story



It's illuminating that she spends about half the book talking about GamerGate and about her previous life, struggling to make her way in the world as a game developer. The rest is about how we, as a society, allow online abuse to happen and what we can do, individually and collectively, to change a system that protects abusers more than it protects the abused.

Lawmakers, law enforcement, tech companies and, yes, we in the media, are all culpable. Quinn pulls no punches about the press’ shortcomings, slamming the practice of serving opaque algorithms that distort and sensationalize.


Why It's a Damn Miracle Any Video Game Gets Made



Jason Schreier's Blood, Sweat, and Pixels chronicles the dramatic, impossible stories behind some of your favorite games.

With ‘Before the Storm,’ Life Is Strange Finally Leans into the Gay



A spoiler-y discussion of the relationships in the new Life Is Strange


Opinion: In praise of Tacoma's character Sareh Hasmadi



But it therefore seems as good a time as any to analyze a videogame character who, with the effortlessness of zero-G drift, rises above all this to show us how it’s done. Tacoma’s Sareh Hasmadi, the resident doctor aboard the eponymous space station, cut me quite deeply. As I played through the game a second time to hoover up the remaining achievements, the emotional aftershocks from my inaugural run came.

Even in the Fancy Utopia of 'Tacoma,' Labor Politics are Still Hell


Techno-utopianism secretly dreams of serfdom.

On "Tacoma" by The Fullbright Company


Tacoma is a sensible design progression from Gone Home. How do you expand upon the audio diary design and walking mechanics? The Fullbright Company decided to pair a dynamic holographic drama with some zero gravity movement. Unfortunately, the zero-G movement ended up making environmental storytelling more difficult so they had to scale it back (no tables or chairs; no objects at rest) and I also suspect it risked alienating a fan base that cares less about gamer-y traversal puzzles. So, that leaves all the focus on the holographic drama sequences.


Creative Assembly: Early stage specialism is what studios look for



Ahead of her talk at the GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair, Duygu Cakmak describes her path to becoming an AI programmer for Total War


Brendan "Playerunknown" Greene's whirlwind year



Get inside the head of the man behind 2017’s most successful game.


Matt Lees on creating a welcoming community


Final Fantasy XV's Wild Secret Dungeon Was Designed By One Man



If, like me, your favorite part of Final Fantasy XV was the mind-boggling Pitioss Ruins, here is a fun fact: It was designed by one person, according to director Hajime Tabata.


Destiny 2 and the Asteroid Blues, Part One: Press L2 for Lore



Field Notes is a series of diaries by Caty McCarthy, exploring the personal stories that emit from the games we play over extended periods of time, and beyond. Currently, Caty’s diving into Destiny 2, a shared world first-person-shooter about aliens destroying all your stuff. Also a note: My apologies that my previous Field Notes series on The Long Dark never panned out. I hit a lot of work, and ended up neglecting the game and this column indefinitely. Worry not though—this special Destiny 2 edition will update daily through the entire week. Yay!

Destiny 2 and the Asteroid Blues, Part Two: Postcard Paradise


Dear diary, why the heck doesn't Destiny 2 have a photo mode? It feels almost like a crime, honestly. Thanks Bungie for the gorgeous environments, but no thanks to my big-ass gun and HUD obscuring any possible postcards I could send home to the kids. 2

Destiny 2 and the Asteroid Blues, Part Three: See You Space Cowboy(s)...


FIELD NOTES | Caty wraps up this series of Field Notes with ruminations on why playing with friends makes Destiny 2 so much better.


Horror Game Takes You Through A Murder Mystery In Tokyo



Tokyo Dark is a game about a cursed mask and ritualistic murder, but under the surface, it’s also a game about hurt people hurting people. Its complex writing and unique take on a sanity meter make it easy to care about the characters trapped in its tragic, bloody world.


He’s Getting a Fireball: Josh Sawyer Reflects on Nearly 20 Years Spent Making RPG Classics for Obsidian and Black Isle Studios



Obsidian’s veteran RPG designer talks about getting into the industry, working on some of the best RPGs ever, and what he does to monologuing villains.


Suikoden changed my life - Warren Spector



Why I Love: The System Shock 3 creative director generally doesn't go for JRPGs, but this PSone classic set itself apart in four special ways


Nintendo Dev On Working With Kojima,'Splatoon 2,' Rise of Japanese Games



A 'Splatoon 2' designer talks about what it's like to be a foreigner at the world's greatest video game studio


EVE Online alliance leader permanently banned after threatening to cut off another player's hands



In the wake of a betrayal that cost him everything, this player just lost the ability to even play.


How Stick Figures and Absurdism Power One of the Year's Best Games



In a sense, the joke is on us, as players.


The Cam Girls Who Also Stream on Twitch



Despite the constant cries of ‘camwhore’ and ‘fake gamer girls’ that follow women streamers, performers like Monroe and Morbid stream on Twitch for the same range of reasons that everyone else does. I spoke with them about how streaming and camming are similar, how they diverge, and what platforms like Twitch can learn from the history of cam sites.


The most important seven days in MercurySteam's history



The studio bosses discuss its split personality between working with Nintendo and self-publishing its own AAA IP


Success comes at a price - Butterscotch Shenanigans



How the PC and premium mobile hit Crashlands kept its creators from actually making games for a year


The Legacy Behind The Internet's Most Important Abandonware Site



Today, gamers are blessed with a wealth of choices when it comes to buying games. There's storefronts for new games, old games, indie games, imported games. Choice is everywhere.


The Tragedy Of A Former Navy Base's Arcade Games



You might remember last year we told you about a “raid” on an old ship that managed to save a bunch of classic arcade games. Now let’s see what happens when a raid doesn’t have such a happy ending.


From The Elder Scrolls to the US Secret Service: where videogame trees come from



The forestry in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, PUBG, The Witcher 3, and more share the same roots.


The DeanBeat: Our Cuphead runneth over


I’ve been vain enough to wish for a big audience for my stories or social posts. Now I have one, thanks to my penchant for oversharing. The only stories that I’ve written which have generated more traffic are a tips guide I wrote for Until Dawn, and a 7,000-word investigative story about the defects in the Xbox 360 game console. I only wish my two books on the Xbox business generated as much attention as the Cuphead story. It is a humbling experience.

Danny O'Dwyer‏ on finding writers you like


Exclusive: Behind Austin Wintory's musical mastery in Tooth and Tail


If you’re going to announce a videogame soundtrack that is destined for great things, the best choice you can make is invoking the name Austin Wintory.

Crafting Tooth & Tail, a gamepad RTS that aims 'to Hearthstone StarCraft'


It’s been roughly four years since Pocketwatch Games made waves with the release of the award-winning Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine.

Now the studio is shipping its next game, the anthropomorphic animal RTS Tooth & Tail, but Pocketwatch chief Andy Schatz traces the genesis of the project back over twenty years.


How the song "Undertale" Hits Home | Game Score Fanfare


A single instrument makes for the most memorable moment in Undertale. I take a look at the title track from Undertale and how it uses an acoustic guitar to achieve the game's goal.


Cyberpunk Investigator Game - Observer (Blade Runner meets Inception)


In this episode of Cyberpunk Curated, I will pick apart and try to identify what makes Observer a memorable dark-future experience, and try to identify its strengths and weaknesses. In this Rutger Hauer-starring adventure, you can venture through a Blade Runner-esque apartment complex and hack into the minds of some of its inhabitants like the Christopher Nolan movie, Inception.

Is this just another "walking simulator" with cyberpunk paint or is it something more memorable? Let's take a look.

1:09 - Aesthetic & Atmosphere
4:58 - Gameplay & Mechanics
8:06 - Summary


Polish Witcher Documentary Shows Journey From Books To Game


Geralt’s trip from the pages of Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels to the games we know today was not an easy one.

Polish gaming site Arhn.eu published a documentary today titled “The Witcher’s video game history,” telling the story of the first Witcher game’s development. Although it’s in Polish, English subtitles are available.


The making of Fallout 1 & 2: Tales from the early days of Black Isle Studios


Disclaimer: Travel and accommodation for this trip was provided by Paradox Interactive.

Chris Bratt sits down with Feargus Urquhart, Leonard Boyarsky and Tim Cain to talk about their work on the original Fallout 1 & 2.


Splatoon 2 and the Modern Shooter's Image Problem


In this episode of Writing on Games, I examine the modern shooter's fixation on framing competition as inherently destructive and how, by tweaking a few minor details, Splatoon 2 subverts all of this; delivering one of the most refreshingly accessible shooter experiences I've seen in a long time.


Metal Max: Wild Eyes, Dreamcast's Lost Strategy Open World | Unseen64 Ft. Dreamklub


Metal Max is a long living series of strategy RPGs that started in 1991 on the Famicom, initially created by a rather obscure company known as Crea-Tech and published by Data East. Metal Max was quite a revolutionary and ambitious game for its time, being one of the first open world games on the Famicom, with a big world to freely explore, different missions to complete in any order and multiple endings depending on your choices.

As you could guess from its title, the Metal Max series was heavily inspired by Mad Max movies: all the games in the series are set in a post-apocalyptic world mostly covered by deserts and destroyed cities, where players can accept bounty missions to hunt down monsters and criminals while upgrading their combat vehicles and weapons.

After the 2D chapters on the Famicom and Super Famicom, in september 1999 during Tokyo Game Show ASCII Entertainment announced a new 3D Metal Max to be published for the Sega Dreamcast under the title “Metal Max Overdrive” and later renamed “Metal Max: Wild Eyes”. Unfortunately Metal Max for Dreamcast was soon cancelled and only a few screenshots and a short video still exist to preserve the existence of this interesting strategy title:


Checking out some of the best recent Spectrum homebrew


The great thing about Spectrum homebrew is that the games that are coming out for the computer right now are just as good, if not better in many regards, than those that came out during the system's prime.


Before Apple: Steve Jobs at Atari | Gaming Historian


Gaming Historian provides a history of Steve Jobs time at Atari. Before Steve Jobs changed the world of technology at Apple, he was just a college dropout looking for a job. He ended up at a new startup video game company, Atari, where he worked on one of their most popular titles.


Good Game Design - Speedrunning


How do you design a good speedgame? Why is it important to focus on speedruns as a designer? Whether you're a dev, a speedrunner, or just a fan, let's break it down! This was a ton of fun to put together, so I hope you enjoy :)


Hellblade’s Design Captures The Trauma Of Loss


Through level design and metaphor, Hellblade manages to create a sense of anxiety and fear within the player. Heather Alexandra takes a closer look in this video. [Caution: There will be spoilers.]


Last Day of June - Emotion and Togetherness | PostMesmeric


Last Day of June addresses the emotion of grief like no other game before it, but its design lets the feelings transcend the game world, teaching the player to grieve with it. Time to see what Ovosonico's new indie title does in letting the player and protagonist experience emotions together.


Designer Discusses Last Day of June’s Origin in New Developer Diary


505 Games launched a new video hosted by Ovosonico about their latest game Last Day of June, available now for PlayStation 4 and PC.


POLYBIUS - The Video Game That Doesn't Exist


NB: This video contains flashing images, particularly at 11:34, 15:22, and 59:02


Agents of Mayhem and the Art of Bad Storytelling [SSFF]


A flashy aesthetic, great graphics, and solid action can only carry a game so far. Agents of Mayhem is a masterclass on how to botch a game's story and characters. This ain't no Saints Row 5 that's for damn sure


Forget Protagonists: Writing NPCs with Agency for 80 Days and Beyond


In this 2016 GDC session, 80 Days writer Meg Jayanth explores best practices around writing three-dimensional, engaging NPCs to enliven game narratives.


Grassroots Growth: How Game Communities Built an eSport Scene from the Ground up


In this 2017 GDC talk, MIT professor TL Taylor explains why developers hoping to break into the esports scene can benefit from understanding and integrating expert and enthusiast communities into their initiatives.


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


RZA handles Absolver community management


Things I Missed From Previous Week


The making of System Shock 2's best level



It's one of gaming's most terrifying introductions. You awake in a cryotube on the medical deck of the spaceship Von Braun. Illegal cybernetics have been implanted into your brain, and your memory has been wiped like a hard-drive. You're contacted by Dr. Janice Polito, who summarises the situation. Nearly everyone on the ship is either dead, or infected with a strange organism that mutates them and turns them hostile. There's an explosion, and Polito tells you to get out of cryobay, because soon there'll be another explosion, and then everything in the area will be sucked into space.

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