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    This Week In Gaming 1-8-19


    Imran Khan talks to Yoko Taro, Takahisa Taura, and Keiichi Okabe about life, death, and opportunity. Jacob Geller's Love Letter to Beat Saber, Noclip starts podcast series to discuss games and industry culture with developers, previews for Sekiro and Anthem, Charlie Hall covers Elite's upcoming eight month expedition, part three of Ludocriticism's look at Arkane Studio's games, Game Maker's Toolkit on why 98' was the year of stealth games, designing Mutant Year Zero, Lee Yancy on the year long plot to blow up a notorious EVE Online space station, Paradox buys Prison Architect, and more.


    The best writing and the best videos of the year lists were recently posted.


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


    We Translate The Yakuza Creators' New Game As We Play It


    Judge Eyes, the newest game set in Sega’s Yakuza universe, releases in English later this year under the title Judgment, and it’s going to include an optional English dub. If you are dying of impatience and would love to watch me live-translate a three-hour chunk of the game right the heck now, I have you covered.


    In Afterparty you can get drunk with Satan and vomit up your conscience



    Hell has suffered some bad PR in games – from the fiery pits of Diablo, to the screams of torment in Dante’s Inferno and the gore-covered landscapes of Doom, it’s not exactly the stuff of tourist brochures. It’s time for an image rehabilitation, and in Afterparty, Hell has had a makeover you’re going to die for.


    Anthem: 15 Minutes of Lost Arcanist Gameplay (Interceptor, Storm, Colossus) - IGN First


    The entire Lost Arcanist mission from start to finish with a three man team of the Interceptor, Storm, and Colossus javelins.

    Anthem CES 2019 trailer


    Electronic Arts debuted a new trailer for Anthem at Consumer Electronics Show 2019.

    Discussing My First Time Playing ANTHEM


    Decided to livestream me discussing my first time playing Anthem. This is all footage I got while visiting EA Dice in Sweden. I have a full on Q&A with viewers during this livestream. I still have a lot more footage to show off in the coming weeks.


    Persona Q2 Dungeons And Bosses Are Packed With Personality



    In the original Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, the dungeons were unique, but not exactly tied to the original Persona games. Rather, each labyrinth is connected to a certain sort of school festival theme or concept. Like the second one styled after a romantic cafe and the third after a haunted house. In Persona Q2, things get a little more connected to the characters and themes we know and love from the actual Persona games, all while still taking us to different places and time periods. It maintains a sense of connection while drawing from famous movie tropes.


    Open world paint 'em up Eastshade arrives February 13th


    Eastshade seems a much calmer take on open world fantasy adventures than most. It may have crafting and construction, but there’s no swords or bows or guns, just painting.


    Bright Memory is a stylish Chinese shooter/melee hybrid coming to Steam next week


    Bright Memory is a new shooter primarily developed by Chinese solo designer Zeng Xiancheng.


    Demon's Tilt battles hell with the power of pinball this month


    Pinball wizardry has a dark side – score too many consecutive sixes and you might just unleash Satan all over your table. Demon’s Tilt is an offbeat pinball game launching into early access this month, on January 22nd. Developed by Wiznwar and seemingly inspired by Naxat’s old 16-bit Crush Pinball series, players bat their balls up through a multi-screen table, battling swarms of small monsters and pummelling larger boss enemies as they rack up the points. I still have a soft-spot for the Crush games, so it’s great to see a modern tribute. Down the drain to the trailer below.


    Shenmue 3 double the length of prior games, side quests no longer separate from main story


    During the G-Fusion Tour 2018 in Xiamen, Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki dropped new details on the game.


    Tropico 6 delayed again because it's "not outstanding - yet"



    Bad news if, like me, your response to dry January was going to be supping pre-mixed Aldi pina coladas at your desk while your monitor beamed sun-kissed beaches into your daylight-starved eyeballs. Caribbean management’n’despotism sim Tropico 6 has just suffered its second delay, missing the January release date it was eyeing, after failing to appear in 2018. Expect it in March now.


    How Progression Works In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


    Game Informer's Dan Tack and Suriel Vazquez share new, exclusive details on From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice based on the magazine's new cover story filled with information on Miyazaki's latest game. You can learn even more about how progression works in the game by visiting our hub for a month full of exclusive content at gameinformer.com/sekiro


    Metro Exodus - Story Trailer


    Get a look at the hostile world of the upcoming first person shooter in this trailer, narrated from the perspective of Anna, the Spartan Order's top sniper and Artyom's wife. Metro Exodus will be released on February 15 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.


    The next episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season has got a new trailer


    The sudden closure of Telltale Games came alongside the company’s firing of most of its staff, and it left questions in its wake – among them, what was to become of the final season of The Walking Dead, the studio’s tentpole series? Series creator Robert Kirkman announced at New York Comic Con in October that he was hiring members of Telltale’s Walking Dead team on to finish the adventure series, and now we’ve got a new sneak peek at the third episode’s narrative.


    Olympic-style volleyball hits consoles, PC with Spike Volleyball


    The next sports simulation-style game coming to consoles is Spike Volleyball, for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. It launches Feb. 5.


    Hitman HD Enhanced Collection announced for PS4, Xbox One



    Blood Money and Absolution in 4K. Due out digitally on January 11.


    A Bunch Of Former Top Hearthstone Designers Are Making A Marvel Game



    Former Hearthstone director Ben Brode and a group of his colleagues left Blizzard last year, and although they yet haven’t announced what they’re making next, today they dropped some big news: It’s a Marvel game.


    Cultist Simulator expands beyond immortality January 22nd



    In a major free update coming to Cultist Simulator on January 22nd, victory through immortality will be just the beginning. Developers Weather Factory call this second story ‘advanced mode’, and it lets players resume a completed game in a very clever way. Taking control of an apostle of your now-immortal past self, your new goal is to help your old character ascend to godhood, possibly ending the world in the process. An easy job, then, except for a cadre of rival immortals seeking to throw some eldritch spanners into your machinations.


    DMCA Injunction DENIED in Stardock's Star Control Lawsuit


    Stardock's Brad Wardell filed a lawsuit last December (2017) over the convoluted intellectual property situation surrounding "Star Control", a game franchise created by Fred Ford and Paul Reiche.

    A year later, the judge has denied Wardell's request for a Preliminary Injunction stopped Reich and Ford from issuing DMCA takedowns against Wardell's Star Control Origins.

    It appears that the judge doesn't think Stardock owns all the IP Wardell says.

    Star Control makers defend DMCA takedown against Star Control: Origins


    Starting from the top, the designers confirmed they agreed to refrain from serving new DMCA notices while a judge looked at an injunction filed by Stardock, but that after the studio's motion was denied, they had every right to push forward with their DMCA takedown against Origins.


    Paradox buy Prison Architect, might make their own Architect games



    Paradox Interactive have bought Prison Architect off creators Introversion Software, nabbing the rights and assets while muttering about potentially making new ‘Architect’ games of their own. Introversion say that after over eight years of development, “we’ve taken Prison Architect just about as far as we can” and they’re doing something new. If Paradox, the publishers behind strategy games and build ’em ups from Crusader Kings II to Cities: Skylines, want to give ’em moolah in exchange for something they’re about done with, hey, bonus.


    Lego: The Hobbit and Lego: The Lord of the Rings pulled from digital stores



    Warner has yet to comment on why Lego: The Hobbit or Lego: The Lord of the Rings are no longer for sale. When things like this occur, it usually boils down to a licencing issue.


    Independent Games Festival 2019 Finalists Announced, Return Of The Obra Dinn Leads The Pack



    The Independent Games Festival, known as the IGF, has announced its finalists for 2019's awards show, which will be held at the Game Developers’ Conference on March 20.


    Undertale Creator and Game Theory’s MatPat Clash on Twitter Over Misleading Heartbound Stream


    It isn’t a very hot start to 2019 for The Game Theorists and their star creator Matthew Patrick (better known as MatPat). Following a livestream of newly-released title Heartbound, the 10M subscriber YouTube channel landed in hot water with Undertale and Deltarune‘s creator Toby Fox. According to Fox, MatPat and Game Theory went “too far this time” with misleading videos and refusing to promote the indie games they are profiting from.

    Past history and a lot of threads and posts going around of MatPat not crediting games or people involved with the videos he makes.


    More Shakeup At Activision Blizzard, As Blizzard CFO Leaves For A New Job


    Activision Blizzard, the gaming giant behind franchises like Call of Duty, Destiny, Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, is starting 2019 down two top executives.


    GRIS Advertisement Rejected By Facebook For "Sexually Suggestive" Content


    A Devolver representative tells Kotaku “this is stupid”.


    Twitch Re-Suspends Alleged Domestic Abuser After Fan Outcry



    Last month, Twitch streamer Luke “MrDeadMoth” Munday was arrested by Australian authorities after a Fortnite stream during which he seemed to be hitting his partner. Twitch suspended his account shortly after. At the start of this week, however, Twitch viewers were surprised to find that Munday’s channel was already back. His suspension, which some presumed would be permanent, had lasted just 14 days.

    Top Smash Player Gets Temporary Twitch Ban For Drinking Too Much On Stream


    While Marquez didn’t dispute drinking a lot that night, he did clarify on Twitter that his passing out was just a joke. “For the record..I didn’t pass out on stream.. I jokingly fell over to be funny because I wanted to take a break,” he tweeted. “Went downstairs to talk to my gf and came back and ended my stream.”


    Games After January 1, 2019 Must Have Accessible Communications Under CVAA Legislation


    New CVAA legislation requires games in the US to ensure they are accessible for people with disabilities or the FCC could issue potential fines for titles that fail to comply.


    LGBTQ Video Game Exhibition Opens In Berlin



    The exhibition was co-curated by curator and PR for the museum, Jan Schnorrenberg; German game journalist Sarah Rudolph; and Dr Adrienne Shaw. Dr Shaw is a professor and author with a specialism in queer studies, sexuality and gender in gamer culture, and LGBTQ game history. She is also the founder of the LGBTQ Game Archive.


    Blizzard names and shames 18,000 South Korean Overwatch accounts banned for toxicity



    Disrupting online games in South Korea can come with much harsher punishments than in-game bans. Account boosting, for example, now comes with the threat of prison sentences and hefty fines. That’s in addition to Blizzard’s own anti-toxicity efforts, which have tended to be a bit gentler in nature.


    Japan makes it illegal to resell game keys or distribute save editors



    In December, a new Japanese legal amendment put a ban on certain types of mods. That includes tools and programs for modifying save games and console modding services. The amendment also makes it illegal to sell game keys without explicit permission from software makers.


    Esports News


    Overwatch Team Says Player Questioned About Identity Was Impostor After All



    “Due to our desperation to fill a roster, we unfortunately overlooked crucial information that should have been paid more attention to,” said Second Wind. “We did not properly allocate enough time to communicate with the public as a means to support our players, and as a result caused more questioning that could have been avoided.”

    Overwatch Contenders controversy has once again made things more difficult for women in esports


    If “Ellie” truly was a social experiment, it was a poor one. If designed to show what women experience, actually listening to women has the same effect without setting us back. And if designed to show that women get easily picked up by teams, perhaps look at the reaction to see what systemic barriers actually exist.

    ‘Overwatch’ Contenders Ellie controversy angers gaming community


    The reaction to this long, ludicrous con has been full of anger, frustration, and disappointment, particularly about the very real harassment that female esports players face. Those female players, many contend, will now face even greater threats of doxing because of the suspicion this “social experiment” will stir up.


    PUBG suspends cheating pro players, but most of the teams will stay in PEL



    PUBG’s esports branch has issued a ruling on the pro players caught in a recent cheating ban wave. The organisation confirms that many of the big names associated with the ban wave are going to be suspended, but many of the organisations those teams played for will be able to hold onto the spots earned during qualifiers.


    Pro tennis embraces videogames as the Australian Open hosts a $500K Fortnite event



    The Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slam or ‘major’ tournaments in professional tennis, will host two Fortnite events this year. Over the weekend of January 26 there will be a solo tournament contested by 100 Fortnite pros with $400,000 up for grabs, as well as a charity duos event featuring content creators, athletes, and celebrities, with a further $100,000 available for donations.


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


    One Step From Eden - Deckbuilding Action Roguelike


    A deckbuilding action roguelike inspired by MegaMan Battle Network for PC/Mac/Linux and Nintendo Switch as a stretch goal!


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


    Talking To Yoko Taro, PlatinumGames' Takahisa Taura, And Composer Keiichi Okabe About Life, Death, And Opportunity


    This interview with Nier: Automata director Yoko Taro and PlatinumGames' designer Takahisa Taura was first conducted in March of this year. Square Enix then offered us another chance to talk with Taro again, this time with Keiichi Okabe to speak more about the game's creation, music, and design philosophies and we are taking this opportunity to combine both until-now unpublished interviews together.


    The Roots of Compile – 1998 Developer Interview



    —How did you create your own game company?

    Niitani: When I started Compile, it wasn’t with the intention of making games. Compile was originally started to make business software. It was perilous in the beginning—we barely made enough to feed ourselves.


    Everyday bisexuality in video games



    When reviews for indie title Fragments of Him emerged, there was a problem. The reception was warm enough and some critics praised the inclusion of a gay man as a lead character -- but that character, like the developer behind it, is actually bisexual.


    Ducking up the game design of Mutant: Year Zero



    There were a few key insights from the trio about Mutant Year Zero's design and game balance, so we took the time to collect a (lightly edited) transcription of their most salient points. Read on for a look at how a bunch of Hitman veterans managed to make their own strategy game.


    Good For What Ails You



    Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game, ostensibly, about realism, and about bringing the American frontier to life in video game form. Of course, we can sit here all day and criticise the actual truthfulness of Red Dead 2‘s depiction of this era forever but there’s not much point; the world of the game isn’t meant to be truthful, but reflective of a certain ideal of the frontier that has propagated through media from the pulp novel to the spaghetti western to prestige television. It needs to be noted that this devotion to realism, which tries to cover the machine parts of the game itself to create an “immersive experience”, also exists to divorce the labor inherent in the game with the actual content of it; the seven year development time and hundreds of employees working away on it are disguised under layers and layers of paint designed to make that labor look more like a magic trick than actual labor.

    Cowboys, Cowardice, and Contradictions


    Rockstar paints the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 as one of messy underdogs and flawed heroes. It’s a story of the outcasts of society, who rise up against the system and forces that be to live life freely and righteously, or so they say. Though some characters in the Van der Linde gang may be portrayed as villainous at times, they pale in comparison to the iron grips of the government enforcers, or money grubbing capitalists like Leviticus Cornwall. Considering all the stories that have been going around, those are some really choice topics for Rockstar to go after, huh?


    Far Cry 5 ignores both Montana's real history of fascism and its victims



    We’ve seen a few games released during the Trump administration attempt a critique of fascism in America. The ones that succeed aren’t afraid to tell players that white supremacy isn’t some weird aberration in an otherwise egalitarian republic, but a founding principle of American democracy.


    I think I like Below the most when I'm not actually playing it



    Before I went home for Christmas last year, I had two firm ideas about Below based on, admittedly, only about ten hours of playing it. The first idea was that the game was a bit of a well-intentioned botch. The second was that, combat and exploration aside, what Below was really concerned with was fostering the slow realisation in its players that game design itself is probably one big roguelike.


    Worry less about children's screen use, parents told


    Paediatricians said parents should worry less - as long as they've gone through a checklist on the effect of screen time on their child.


    Diversity is important because a video game is much more than its gameplay



    Video games are crafted from so many parts, it’s difficult to pin down exactly where the ‘game’ exists.

    Interactive entertainment is getting increasingly complex and the goals of their creators are more varied than ever. Simply being ‘fun’ often isn’t enough. Multicultural teams work together to create virtual places that elicit various emotions as we explore their strange universes and inhabit personalities different from our own.


    The Year-Long, Undercover Plot To Blow Up EVE Online's Most Notorious Space Station



    In theory, anything can happen in EVE Online, but some things are considered impossible. Well, last month, one of the “impossible” things happened: The destruction of the game’s first-ever Keepstar battlestation, which was kept in a wormhole. Of course, it took 11 months of meticulous planning.


    I Unexpectedly Made A Lot Of Money Telling Fortunes In Final Fantasy XIV



    Lately I’ve spent a lot of time in Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix’s most recent massive multiplayer entry into the legendary game series. Often that means running dungeons for loot or fighting difficult bosses. Yesterday, it meant accidentally becoming a paid fortune teller in one of the game’s bustling metropolises.


    Elite’s Distant Worlds 2 expedition: Packing for a trip to the edge of the Milky Way



    The largest player-led event in the spacefaring MMO’s history marks a new beginning for its community


    “Richly Deserved,” by Reid McCarter



    The idea is that the very wealthy see those who aren’t as powerful as them as tools—human instruments not worth considering as more than a means to achieve whatever goal is on hand at the time. A servant’s face isn’t worth remembering. He’s only for keeping the house in order and the food prepared. An artist or technician is valuable for what they can do for their client, not for thinking of as more than someone who exists beyond their skills at tattooing or maintaining race cars.


    A Love Letter to Beat Saber


    Shall I compare thee to a plastic guitar Thou art more lovely, and more kinetic


    Smashing It: Dishonored & Arkane | Arkane Ludography 3/5 | CRITIQUE/REVIEW


    The exposé on Arkane Studios' complete ludography continues with 2012's Dishonored! From the reactions to the previous video, it's contentious among those who enjoyed Dark Messiah—why? Because a lot of people don't know what's good for them! Ludonarrative, polysemous verbs, ludological refinement beyond your wildest dreams. Dishonored's got it all! It is a slam dunk, and here's why it was so acclaimed for those who just didn't get it AND those who might want to relive the days of yesteryear.

    (Don't worry: I didn't like it that much when it was released either, so I'm only judging retroactively.)


    Resident Evil: Code Veronica Design | Road to the Rocket Launcher



    The Year Stealth Games Got Serious | Game Maker's Toolkit


    Stealth games were few and far between for much of gaming’s history - until the year 1998 when three huge stealth games came out in the same year. In this video, I’ll explore the conventions that these games established, and ask why ’98 was the year stealth games got serious.

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


    The History of Star Wars: Republic Commando


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

    In the pantheon of fictional universes, few are as rife with memorable characters as Star Wars. From Admiral Ackbar to Yoda, the galaxy far, far away has served as a host to all manner of unique and iconic personas throughout its history – some so much so, that they’ve managed to carry entire video games by themselves.


    Top 5 character designs in gaming of 2018 || [error corrected]


    Patreon: http://patreon.com/castercomix

    2018 has been a solid year for interesting character designs, both in the indie space where you expect it, and in the triple-A space where it's a bloody rarity.

    Today, let's take a look at some of the best character design in 2018's games - at least those games I got to play. And please do leave your own top picks in the comments! I'm curious what you've been enjoying.


    Behaviour Trees: The Cornerstone of Modern Game AI (AI 101) | AI and Games


    As the new series of AI 101 continues I take a look at behaviour trees - arguably the dominant AI technique in AAA games - and tell you how they work.



    Noclip Podcast #01 (Story) - The Steam Spy


    In this Noclip Podcast Story we talk to Sergey Galyonkin about the story behind Steam Spy, and how recent developments threatened to shut it down for good.

    Noclip Podcast #02 (Story) - The Return of Theme Hospital


    We talk to Bullfrog and Lionhead legends Gary Carr and Mark Webley about the design of PC cult classic Theme Hospital, and how their careers twisted and turned to see them return to create a spiritual successor.

    Noclip Podcast #03 (Story) - The Dunes of Arabistan


    In this Noclip Podcast Story we talk to indie developer Rami Ismail about the representation of Arabs and Islamic culture in video games and discuss the steps developers can take to buck the stereotypes.

    Become a Noclip Patron: https://www.patreon.com/noclip


    The Fans Reviving the Halo PC Experience - Installation 01 | Gameumentary


    The story of how a team of dedicated volunteers has spent the last five years working on their fan-made Halo project, Installation 01.

    Support future docs and Gameumentary content on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gameumentary


    Why Did Geoff Keighley Create The Game Awards?


    Geoff Keighley has been covering the video games industry for over two decades, but these days he spends most of his time organizing The Game Awards. We wanted to know what it was about the show that motivates him year after year.

    Noclip's work is 100% crowdfunded. Consider supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/noclip


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