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This Week In Gaming 11-27-18

1 post in this topic

Codex Entry discusses The Emotional Journey of Tetris Effect, TheParryGod created a beautiful Dark Souls short film, Maddy Myers on the inexplicable sexiness of Soul Calibur's Ivy Valentine, Jacob Geller on The Architecture of Fumito Ueda, Gaijillionaire looks at the Dreamcast's marketing version of Segata Sanshiro, Matt Leone covers the legacy of PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, Jason Schreier speaks with Blizzard employees about Diablo and the company's present and future, Giant Bomb moderator Gamer_152 discusses spoilers and the treatment of death in What Remains of Edith Finch, Divinity Original Sin 2 gets a Dark Eye GM campaign, Patrick Klepek's How Players Used Shotguns to Tear Open the Fabric of Reality in Spelunky, Super Bunnyhop looks at the "historical" setting of Soulcalibur, and more.


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


Warborn is bringing the hex appeal back to anime mech-war


I feel compelled to root for Warborn, if only because it’s helping reclaim hex-based strategy from the po-faced grognard brigade. Announced earlier this week by tiny studio Raredrop Games, it’s about giant humanoid robots with laser swords and pilots that probably shout their own attack names. Not quite Super Robot Wars (now there’s a series I’d love to see on PC), but I’ll take it. Raredrop aren’t willing to guess at a release date outside of a vague “2019” yet, but there’s a nice announcement trailer with a suitably over-the-top vocal theme below. No karaoke subtitles though.


Artifact’s Monetisation Is A Mess



Earlier this year I wrote an article expressing concern for the way Artifact was potentially monetising itself, using the limited information known about the game at the time and extrapolating some assumed policies from that. The idea of a game that lived and died on the Steam marketplace sounded like a disaster waiting to happen (and still does), eschewing the free-to-play slow drip of resources common to digital card games in favour of an entirely monetised space much more reminiscent of physical card games or Magic the Gathering: Online. With Artifact releasing very soon and all the information about it now in the open, the game has revealed itself to be not only fairly barebones but also straight up greedy, looking more like a fleecing simulator than an actual card game.


Tropico has been “rebuilt from scratch” for its big glow up



The sun-kissed islands in Tropico 6 look gorgeous. You could just dive into the refreshing blue waters, where dolphins leap from the water and seagulls coast above the sea’s surface. The luscious green foliage and sandy white shores are filtered through a sunny, orange haze. Ruling as a dictator in this venerable city builder can be quite stressful, but the lens flare heavy makeover of Tropico 6 is a soothing balm.


The Last Remnant Remastered Discovers A New Trailer Featuring Story Cinematics


Square Enix has released a new trailer for The Last Remnant Remastered that shows off some of the in-game cinematic story sequences, as well as improved graphics in gameplay as well.


Platform brawler Bladed Fury is looking sharp in its latest trailer


I will always be a sucker for a stylish, combo-heavy platform brawler, and Bladed Fury is reminding me pleasantly of Vanillaware’s Muramasa on the Wii and Vita. Set in ancient mythological China, a princess attempts to clear her name against accusations of murder by stabbing a lot of people, apparently. In amongst its lushly drawn human villains there’s demons and skellingtons to be battered, or apparently shot with an ancient Chinese anti-tank cannon. NEXT Studio’s hack n’ slasher is due out next month on December 18th – take a peek at the very swish trailer below.


Just Cause 4 ‘One Man Did All This?’ trailer


Live-action mixed with new gameplay.


The Council's fifth and final episode arrives next month



Louis de Richet's story comes to an end.


Divinity: Original Sin 2 added an official The Dark Eye GM campaign today


Divinity: Original Sin 2 is undoubtedly one of the best RPGs of the past two years running, but developers Larian still have some plans for it. Today they rolled out The Prison Of Shadows, a new campaign, based on Ulisses Spiele’s popular German pen-and-paper setting The Dark Eye to be played with friends in D:OS2’s tabletop-inspired Game Master mode. This also gave the studio an excuse to get into costume and ham it up in the oddly adorable live-action trailer below. They streamed the campaign debut live on Twitch, and we’ve embedded that below too.


Pathfinder: Kingmaker’s first DLC will add tieflings and a new companion



Pathfinder: Kingmaker players can expect the second piece of DLC, Varnhold’s Lot, to arrive in February. It will add a bonus campaign that introduces players to Captain Maegar Varn, who is setting out to establish the nation of Varnhold in Dunsward. This expansion will be priced at $11.99.


A big Bard's Tale 4 update adds grid movement, save anywhere, and respeccing



The 'Second Sight' update makes dramatic changes to inXile's old-school dungeon crawler.


Assassin’s Creed Odyssey DLC ‘Story Arc 1 – Legacy of the First Blade’ launches December 4


The first major story add-on for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, dubbed “Story Arc 1 – Legacy of the First Blade,” will launch on December 4, publisher Ubisoft announced.


Enter The Gungeon DLC canned in favour of new projects and one final update



Enter The Gungeon developers Dodge Roll have announced via Reddit that their plans to release a paid expansion to their popular bullet hell roguelike have been cut short. Instead, they’re going to re-focus on producing one final update to polish up the game as much as they can before they go all-in on their next game. The devs say that just looking at their latest internal work “shows just how shaky our foundations for Gungeon truly are” – it’s just become impractical to add more to the game, short of completely redesigning it from scratch, as The Binding Of Isaac did.


Rainbow Six Siege Devs Talk Wind Bastion Balance and Pro League | Rainbow Six Siege Reinforcements


We speak to Alex Karpazis and François-Xavier Deniele about the upcoming Wind Bastion update and the future of Rainbow Six Pro League. SO, if you're windering how on earth Kaid's shotgun will be balanced, what the new meta will be like, and what territories Pro League will expand into next, you've come to right place.


Total War: Arena shutting down after failing to meet expectations



Total War: Arena will shut down in February 2019 after the results of its open beta test failed to meet expectations.


Disappointing Overkill's The Walking Dead Sales Prompts Starbreeze to Cut Costs



Starbreeze announced that sales for The Walking Dead were lower than expected and as a result is looking into cost-cutting measures that lets Starbreeze focus on its "core business."


Amplitude Studios co-founder opens new studio for tactical RPG



The co-founder of Endless Space developer Amplitude Studios, Mathieu Girard, has announced today the creation of a new, Paris-based studio: Tactical Adventures.


Obituary: Carolyn Enlow, one of Sierra Online's first female coders


Enlow picked up programming at the age of 40 by enrolling in a class at a nearby college, according to an extensive Twitter thread on her legacy compiled by researcher Laine Nooney. In a profile published shortly before her death, Enlow recalled that an instructor initially barred her and her then-husband Bob Box from taking the class due to their age, but the pair was eventually allowed to enroll after a show of persistence and a stand-out score on a practice test.


Number of child gamblers quadruples in just two years



The commission also raised concerns that close to a million young people had been exposed to gambling through "loot boxes" in video games or on smartphone apps.

UK Gambling Commission: No link between loot boxes and exposure to gambling


The UK Gambling Commission has refuted assertions from the media that it links the exposure of children to loot boxes as a gateway to gambling.


US Federal Trade Commission agrees to investigate loot boxes



US senator Maggie Hassan has pushed for increased scrutiny on loot boxes in the past, and has today asked the Federal Trade Commission to commit to an investigation and education project. This undertaking would see the FTC work to see what effects loot boxes have on kids, and to inform parents about potential dangers including addiction.


TwitchCon is heading to Europe for the first time



TwitchCon, the annual gathering held for Twitch streamers and the community, is heading to Europe for the first time next year as TwitchCon Europe.


Esports News


A sloppy setup marred the Smite and Paladins World Championships



The Smite and Paladins World Championships didn’t get off to an impressive start. Several thousand fans gathered around several adjacent screens occupying the back wall of Dreamhack Atlanta, each blasting out hype reels with near identical scripts. It was cookie-cutter drama played in disconcerting semi-stereo, leaving me uncomfortable in half a dozen different ways.


Cracking the curious case of Toronto Esports



If you’ve been on Overwatch-related Twitter for the last couple of weeks, there are a couple of things you’ve likely seen: excitement over the new Overwatch League brands, fan art of Ashe... or the Toronto Esports meltdown. Toronto Esports served as the Boston Uprising Academy team, and have been participating in competitive Overwatch since 2016. Their Twitter feed has been the subject of much speculation, starting with a showmatch challenge and ending with the organization leaving Overwatch altogether.


H1Z1’s esports league collapses as teams go unpaid



After the first season was canceled midway, the second season won’t happen


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


Koruldia Heritage, a pixel-painted adventure RPG


Explore an alien world riddled with ominous wonders and puzzles. Dive into people's memories. Be ruthless or merciful.


Shenmue 3 dev ends crowdfunding efforts with over $7.1M raised



Shenmue 3 developer Ys Net has ended its crowdfunding efforts after raising over $7.17 million from 81,078 backers.


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


The legacy of PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, in 24 stories



Look back at the early days of PlayStation and its ambitious, innovative and complicated father


The Past, Present, And Future Of Diablo


To try to answer these questions, I’ve spoken to 11 current and former Blizzard employees, all of whom spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to press. They’ve told me about a canceled second expansion for Diablo III, and about Diablo IV, which is indeed in development but was rebooted in 2016. They’ve talked about the series’ popularity in China, which is one of the main reasons for Diablo Immortal’s existence, and about how the specter of the canceled game Titan hangs over many of Blizzard’s decisions.


How Players Used Shotguns to Tear Open the Fabric of Reality in 'Spelunky'



Thousands of hours of experimentation and happy accidents have all lead to this moment, and it's changing the 'Spelunky' community.


Strong National Museum of Play recognizes herstory



The Strong Museum opened its Women in Games exhibit today as part of its National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. And to celebrate the untold stories of women in video games, the Strong held a unique gathering of the women who made “herstory” in video games.

Some of the pioneering women in games came to the 200-person opening event and talked about their inspirations in making games. The honored speakers included Megan Gaiser, Bonnie Ross, Jen MacClean, Dona Bailey, Brenda Laurel, Susan Jaekel, Sheri Graner Ray, Victoria Van Voorhis, and Amy Hennig.


On Media Oversaturation, How The Past Is Competing With The Present



I’m an easy mark, I’ll be honest with you. If you’re a games publisher, and want me to throw my money at you hand over fist, the most reliable ways is to a) be Japanese, and B) port your older titles to PC, because I will slap you upside the face with a wad of cash before you can blink. I have had a tremendously good time in recent years with certain Japanese titles coming to Steam, with the absolute highlight of E3 this year being the announcement of Yakuza 0 and Kiwami for PC. I immediately purchased Yakuza 0. The other day, I got a notification on Steam that Onimusha: Warlords was available for pre-purchase, and I don’t need to tell you what happened then, do I?


Fallout 76



Gamers Love Fallout is a schism implied by the original article on Polygon, but it’s also the thing most wrong with that quote and why it drove me so wild to read it in a professional review. It doesn’t read as something written as earnestly invested in critique, It reads like the writer needs Fallout 76 to be good because they’re invested in it. What if there’s no redeeming value? What does that mean for our investment in the brand of Fallout? Can a world exist where Gamers do not love Fallout?


At the Games Accessibility Conference, 2018



A shift is occurring in the games industry. It's called the Accessibility Revolution. The awareness and application of accessibility in games has grown exponentially. Developers around the world are making long overdue ventures into this hidden field to create an inclusive sanctuary in which everybody is able to play the games they want to play.


What a giant catfish taught me about happiness at Final Fantasy XIV fan festival



It’s true. This huge fish person has been waddling through crowds of people who grin even as they duck under the beast’s massive barbels. Several people are taking photographs. I peer into the gaping mouth of the fish. Two human hands suddenly lurch out, gripping onto the creature’s lips from the inside.


Off the streets and onto the dancefloor: the lasting impact of Streets of Rage's soundtrack



An audience with one of video game's greatest composers.






The fifth issue of Heterotopias focuses on going beyond realism. How do game spaces stretch beyond the real, towards the baroque, the romantic, the surreal and the symbolic?


Attentat 1942: The Long Road Towards German Release



We were in the middle of an ordinary team meeting, just about to order our lunch. Then, with a small bleep, an email notification popped up.


Ikari Warriors, Guerilla War, and The SNK Golden Age originally featured in the 3/01 issue of CONTINUE magazine


The company was actually on the verge of bankruptcy at that time, and our thinking was, “hey, if we’re going to go bankrupt, let’s do something crazy and go out with a bang!” There was this Taito game out called Frontline, and one of our programmers saw it and said and he thought he could take that format and do something a little more interesting with it. So we made the loop lever joysticks, the cabinet, and poured all our remaining budget into this one last extravagant game. We cribbed aspects of Frontline, and also gathered up and researched all the doujinshi-related materials we could find, and used all that as the base for TANK’s development.


We talk to Alexios and Kassandra voice actors about the beauty of mocap, and using Pink Floyd to get psyched up



Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a proper action-RPG, complete with romance opportunities, conversation trees, branching storylines, and bales of soft material to leap into from improbable heights. While well-written and expansive, much of the story’s appeal can be laid at the feet of its charismatic leads. Greek actors Michael Antonakos and Melissanthi Mahut provide the voices and performance capture for Alexios and Kassandra, bringing the characters to life with unexpected nuance (as previously chronicled by some handsome, overworked soul). As a game developer myself, my only question after sinking dozens of hours into it is: how. How do the protagonists remain distinct, internally cohesive, and roughly equivalent, across thousands of lines of the same script?


For Lucas Pope, Return of the Obra Dinn was a bunch of appealing design problems



Recently, Pope was kind enough to join us on the GDC Twitch channel for a conversation about making Return of the Obra Dinn, where he talked about the harrowing engineering and design problems he had to overcome -- and how working to solve those problems is intensely appealing to him.


InXile acquired by Microsoft: the interview



"We've had one hand tied behind our back; now, no longer."


The Inexplicable Sexiness Of Ivy Valentine



From the first day I played Soulcalibur in the early 2000s up to playing Soulcalibur VI in the present day, I have felt every possible feeling about character Ivy Valentine’s tits and ass. Alienated. Angry. Sad. Jealous. Embarrassed. Bored. Horny. Amused. Jaded. Ivy hasn’t changed much throughout the life of the series, but I’ve changed my mind about her many times over the years.


Tetris Effect Thread


“Up, In Smoke,” by Ed Smith



Red Dead Redemption 2 implicates heavily America’s recent past. Set in 1899, its presentation of violence, unrest, and industrial expansion proffers an angered explanation for contemporary crises. If poverty and discrimination are still rife today, the game seems to suggest, then they started, or at least went unchallenged, and through that being unchallenged took deeper route, here—society’s achievements in the 19th century are doomed to become its lamentations in the 21st.


Hitman's humour evolved because of 47's penchant for disguises



In the best possible way, the Hitman series is ridiculous. Its protagonist, Agent 47, is the single most conspicuous person in any crowd. He’s big and bald and white with a bar code prominently tattooed to the back of his head, and not once does this fact deter him from his preferred method of infiltration: wearing a disguise.


A Battlefield for Everyone, But Rarely at the Same Time



At its best, DICE's latest achieves moments of greatness, but it struggles to sustain them.


On Warframe and Late Capitalism



It has been a big couple of weeks for Warframe with its recent Switch release – quite a milestone for Digital Extremes, the developers that were on the verge of closing down when Warframe released in 2013

But, something even more important happened two weeks prior: the release of Fortuna, a curious new update that introduced a faction of indentured workers oppressed by a corporate mogul. Naturally, you get to help the resistance, fight the oppression and live out your anti-capitalist fantasies. How can I say no?


The Emotional Journey of Tetris Effect // Codex Entry


Didn't expect Tetris to be one of the best albums of the year yet here we are.

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/codexentry


Subjectivity is Implied



The "Historical" Setting of Soul Calibur


An attempt at explaining how the reality of the 1590's led to the fantasy of Soul Calibur.

Support the channel on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/superbunnyhop


Spider-Man and the Effective Use of Musical Clichés


Listening to Spider-Man's soundtrack for the first time, I got the same cozy feeling that you get when listening to a track that you know very well. I often find a lot of superhero music to sound generic, or predictable, but this wasn't the case with Spider-Man. The soundtrack has a familiar-but-fresh feeling that is mirrored almost exactly by the game itself: old characters, old storylines, old web-slinging-poses, but presented in a new and exciting way. I tried to briefly explore how the game's music struck this balance in this video. Hope you enjoy!

PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/8bitmusictheory


Building Better Skill Trees | Game Maker's Toolkit


Skill trees, upgrade systems, ability trees - call them what you want, they have become an integral part of modern day game design. So let’s look at how these things work, where they fall down, and what we can do to build better skill trees.

Support Game Maker's Toolkit on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/GameMakersToolkit


Which SNES Action RPGs Are Worth Playing Today? - SNESdrunk


Buckle up, this is a long one. Six months of writing/playing and several weeks of audio/video editing. Thanks for watching!

SNESdrunk's Patreon page, if you're into that sort of thing: https://www.patreon.com/snesdrunk


World Record Progression: Super Mario Bros. 3 Warpless - Episode 20



History Respawned: Crime and the Pinkertons in Red Dead Redemption 2


Bob celebrates 5 years of History Respawned by exploring the depiction of crime and the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Red Dead Redemption 2. Topics include "testing," train robbery, and informants.

Please consider supporting us on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/historyrespawned


Pokémon: The Story of Junichi Masuda (Red & Green, Ruby & Sapphire, Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee)


It can be argued that no one person has had more of an influence over the Pokémon franchise than Junichi Masuda.


The Rise and Fall of Dead Space


Please consider supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/GVMERS


Indie Dev Releases Game After Documenting Its Development Every Week For Three Years


“I’m actually hoping to finish it in the next few months, so probably around April, May... and then I will hopefully be able to release it in the summer, around June or July,” said Karl Wimble in a video about his game, Equilinox, on February 19, 2016. The game came out on November 23, 2018, and if that’s not game development in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.


The Dreamcast Has A Segata Sanshiro? Meet Mr. Sega Hidekazu Yukawa! Gaijillionaire's Club - GTV


GTV 69 "Hidekazu Yukawa" In 1998 Sega turned a real life executive into a media superstar! Is he better than Segata Sanshiro?


Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to the game industry


Beautiful Dark Souls Fan Film Tells The Story Of The Chosen Undead


A YouTuber named TheParryGod has created a short film called “Fate” that cinematically tells the story of Dark Souls. It is disturbingly beautiful.


Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


Epitaph: What Remains of Edith Finch and Death



One reason I would encourage people to sometimes spill the beans on where their narratives are going is that only stories with plot points we know in advance can speak to the experience of encountering the inevitable in our own lives. The most unavoidable and perhaps most meaningful of these fatalistic events in our lives is death, and a story which lets any character cheat death or which cuts off before we see them have to face down their mortality can never speak to our experiences with the end of life. This is why, to be a game that stares death unflinchingly in the face, What Remains of Edith Finch must let its protagonist, and by extension, us, know that there's only one place they and the other characters can ultimately end up, and its the grave. What Remains is, for a perfectly good reason, a game which spoils itself.

Bonus Observations on What Remains of Edith Finch


Last weekend I posted a long-form analysis of the moving narrative game What Remains of Edith Finch. Here are a few thoughts about the game that for various reasons didn’t make it into the full article. Major spoilers follow.


The Architecture of Fumito Ueda


The Man. The Legend. The Architecture.



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