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    This Week In Gaming 10-29-19


    Ubisoft designer Stanislav Costiuc starts video series on what game designers do and what to think about if you want to become one, EA games and Access comes to Steam, Blake Hester interviews game writers and academics about the legacy of Modern Warfare 2's No Russian level, Astrid Rose on the use of violence and psychosexual meanings behind the design choices of Silent Hill 2, Death Stranding coming to PC, Chris Tapsell travels to Shanghai to get an understanding of the gaming market of China and what it means for everyone else, theScore interviews Ryan Hart about how he used fighting games to escape homelessness and tells the story of SonicFox, Modern Warfare turns real US war crime into fictional Russian one, Dia Lacina explores the trauma and forgiveness of Bloodborne The Old Hunters, Ben Lindbergh looks at the history of mainstream media's attempts to cover games and what the The Washington Post dedicating resources to their coverage means, 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)


    The bestest games of EGX 2019


    Alice Bee: Good afternoon, esteemed colleagues. We were all locked, at one time or another, in the RPS EGX dungeon this weekend. Given that it’s a veritable bonanza of video games, both large and small, we should discuss the bestest games we saw over the weekend. I’m sure it will be entertaining and useful for our readers!



    Another year, another EGX. Myself and Cultured Vultures grandmaster Jimmy Donnellan spent a couple of days down at the event and, honestly, it didn’t feel enough. That hall was jam-packed with a huge amount of current and future titles, as well as an abundance of amazing indie games to check out.

    The 10 best indie games showcased at EGX 2019, London’s massive gaming expo


    From Hollow Knight: Silksong to Skatebird


    Watch Dogs Legion: Interview with Narrative Designer Kaitlin Tremblay



    For a little more insight, we spoke to Kaitlin Tremblay, lead narrative designer for Watch Dogs: Legion at Ubisoft Toronto, this past weekend at the EGLX gaming convention. Here’s part of our conversation.

    Ubisoft delays multiple titles, including Watch Dogs Legion


    Today, Ubisoft announced that it’s delaying Gods and Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Watch Dogs Legion into its fiscal 2020–2021 year. That means that these games could all be released sometime between April 2020 and March 2021, so we’ll be waiting a bit longer for them.


    Crawl creators announce noir thriller The Drifter


    Small but mighty Melbourne-based devs Powerhoof have announced The Drifter, a point and click adventure game with a pulp noir tone. It’s about a drifter trying to clear his name and track down the people who framed and (almost) murdered him. I’m kinda intrigued.


    The Last of Us Part II Comes to PS4 in May


    I know. It was just about a month ago when we had our big blowout for the game, letting media play over two hours of it along with debuting our new story trailer and revealing the release date. The positive response we saw from our community was overwhelming. You can feel the energy among the team members. After working on something for so many years, it’s invigorating to get a glimpse of validation for all the hard work.


    Size is ruled by perspective in the bizarre dreamworld of Superliminal


    I pick up a little chess piece and hold it up in front of my face so it appears to touch the ceiling and floor at the same time. When I drop it, what was a palm-sized pawn hits the floor with a heavy thud and fills the entire room. I'm stuck in some kind of lucid dream. Like the optical illusion of pinching the Tower of Pisa between your fingers while standing a block away, in first-person puzzle game Superliminal what you see is what you get, and in the most literal way.


    Game Freak explains the 1,000 staff, missing creatures, and leek size of Pokémon Sword and Shield



    Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori discuss Switch’s holiday juggernaut


    Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is based on the Netflix series and it’s out in November


    The game based on Netflix crime drama Narcos has a release date. You’ll be able to pick up Narcos: Rise of the Cartels in November.


    Making it in Unreal: reinventing the ’90s shooter in Hellbound


    Once upon a time, ‘first-person shooter’ didn’t mean shiny realistic graphics, stealth sections, or heartfelt stories behind dreadful deaths. It meant a burly protagonist with a gun surrounded by enemies you had to tear apart. Saibot Studios wants to take you back to that time with its new game Hellbound, a ‘90s FPS 20 years after the ‘90s.


    Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York trailer shows the basic points of the narrative game


    This new look at Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York gives you a glimpse at the basic points of the narrative game. Watching the trailer, you’ll also get a better idea of the Visual Novel art style.


    New GTFO gameplay shows group stealth, teases punishing difficulty


    10 Chambers Collective has shared another new look at GTFO gameplay. The co-op horror shooter continues to look unique with emphasis on tactical gameplay and a sandbox approach to overcoming in-game challenges.


    Panzer Dragoon: Remake is coming to PC


    The classic Saturn rail shooter Panzer Dragoon is getting a remake, and that remake will be launching on PC alongside the Nintendo Switch. The official Twitter account for the game announced the plans to bring the game to PC Friday.


    Death Stranding is coming to PC in 2020


    Help Norman Reedus connect the world and save the president.




    The woods is a popular location for folklore and fairytales of old, and it’s also the key location for upcoming adventure game, Röki. Myself and Jimmy managed to get hands on with the long awaited titled at EGX this year, and we’re happy to say it’s shaping up nicely.


    Sources: Overwatch 2 to feature PvE, new map, at least one new hero



    Blizzard Entertainment will unveil the next iteration of its popular Overwatch franchise featuring a new logo, new game modes, maps, heroes and PvE features at BlizzCon this week, according to a BlizzCon source and a BlizzCon training document, which included information about Overwatch 2 and was obtained by ESPN.


    Microsoft Flight Simulator will use live, real-world data for in-game weather


    We Brits like nothing more than to talk about the weather. It is the great equaliser in queues, taxis, and the Brexit-related tea riots currently swarming the nation. So I am thrilled—thrilled—to show present this latest look at Flight Simulator, a game that’s going to have so much weather that they need to build the planet to contain it all. If they didn’t, you’d need to take an umbrella into Destiny 2. Fold your seats upright and stow your babies, we’re coming in.


    Battlefield V Is Going Back To The Pacific


    Next week, Battlefield V is heading to the Pacific with two new maps, two new factions and loads of new vehicles and weapons. It also, somehow, is going to be the first time you can play as the USA in this game.

    New Battlefield 5 War in the Pacific maps are “as close to fan service as it gets” – an interview


    In Battlefield 5, War in The Pacific is a map pack of contrasts. Oil-guzzling tanks rampage through unspoiled undergrowth. Blood-curdling screams echo across tranquil skies. Splashes of red stain white sand beaches. Compared to October 3’s Operation Underground stage, which plunged players into the subway tunnels of a war-torn German city, this is a markedly different prospect. For Battlefield 5 producer Lars Gustavsson, however, whom I spoke to alongside design director Alan Kertz, it feels like going home.

    Battlefield V Pacific Gameplay - Battlefield is back


    Battlefield V Pacific gameplay. Iwo Jima and Pacific Storm are brilliant sandbox maps. New guns, vehicles, flamethrower, katana and more!


    Elite Dangerous' long-overdue Fleet Carriers get another six month delay


    Elite Dangerous' already long-overdue 16-person Fleet Carriers will no longer arrive this December as previously announced, and are now expected to launch some time next year.


    Embattled Starbreeze resurrecting Payday 2, despite officially ending development last year



    "Having reconsidered [the company's] future".


    Sony issues refunds to unhappy WWE 2K20 PlayStation 4 players


    As Wes reported yesterday, the wrestling video game launched on 22nd October and has since gone viral on social media for its nightmarish - and hilarious - glitches. #FixWWE2K20 ended up trending on Twitter in the US and WWE 2K20's Steam page has been hit with hundreds of negative reviews, dropping the game's rating to "mostly negative", prompting 2K to finally respond to the backlash.


    Ghost Recon Breakpoint critical reception and sales “very disappointing”



    “While the game’s quality appeared on track based on E3, Gamescom, previews and our latest internal playtests , critical reception and sales during the game’s first weeks were very disappointing,” said Guillemot. “As we have done with past titles, we will continue to support the game and listen to the community in order to deliver the necessary improvements.”

    Ubisoft explains how it's going to fix Ghost Recon Breakpoint


    The developers say 'a more radical and immersive' version of the game is in the works.


    Bethesda Is Now Selling $100 Annual Subscriptions For Exclusive Fallout 76 Features



    There’s never a dull moment in the world of Fallout 76, the online multiplayer game of post-apocalyptic survival and adventuring. Last week, publisher Bethesda announced that the game’s much-requested addition of computer-controlled characters was delayed until next year. Today, the publisher said that it will be selling premium subscriptions that will provide players with access to private servers at a cost of $13 a month or $100 a year.

    Fallout 1st Is Creating A Class Divide Among Fallout 76 Players


    Last week, Bethesda revealed a premium subscription service for Fallout 76. Things started rough with glitches erasing player supplies and private servers that weren’t all that private after all. Now there’s another problem: growing tensions between regular and premium players splitting the community on economic lines, and creating a burgeoning class war in digital Appalachia.


    'Nearly All' Counter-Strike Microtransactions Are Being Used for Money Laundering



    "Worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced," Valve says.


    Modern Warfare Highway of Death blames US war crime on Russi


    The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Highway of Death mission has come under scrutiny for retrofitting a real-life US war crime into a Russian-perpetrated one.

    'Modern Warfare,' The Highway of Death, and Call of Duty's Exploitation of the Past


    Like the United States itself, 'Modern Warfare' can't tell its wars apart and doesn't bother trying.


    EA Access and EA Games on Steam



    Electronic Arts and Valve have partnered to put EA games into the hands of the players on Steam. Starting next spring, EA Access—our ever-growing subscription service powered by great games and member benefits—will be making its way to Steam. EA Access is the first and only gaming subscription service available on Steam, and the fourth platform featuring an EA subscription.


    Epic sues Fortnite tester for “spoiling the suspense” with Chapter 2 leaks



    Epic is taking one of its testers to court, alleging that he leaked information about Fortnite Chapter 2 which “spoiled” the rollout for other players. The lawsuit accuses Ronald Sykes of breaking a non-disclosure agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets, and Epic says it has “sustained and will continue to sustain damages in an amount to be determined” as a result of the leaks.


    Blizzard Loses Sponsor Over Hong Kong Actions



    When Blizzard decided to take action against a pro Hearthstone player for speaking out over the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, they ate a lot of shit from fans. They also, it turns out, lost a commercial sponsor in the form of Mitsubishi Motors.


    G/O Media Is Fighting Its Staff Over 'Objectively Bad' Autoplay Ads



    Within a few hours, management at G/O Media, which is owned by the private equity firm Great Hill Partners, unilaterally deleted these blog posts soliciting feedback, which could be a violation of Gizmodo Media Group’s union contract that protects editorial independence: "Once a story has been posted it can only be removed by a majority vote of the Executive Editor, the CEO, and the General Counsel, unless required by law." Deadspin deputy editor Barry Petchesky tweeted that the move was "a clear violation of our CBA."


    Facing Burnout, Stress, And Health Issues, Top Twitch Streamers Are Taking Extended Breaks



    Last year during E3, streaming megastar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins took two days off from his regular schedule. A blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things. It cost him 40,000 paying subscribers. This seemed to issue a grim warning to other streamers: Take time off at your own peril.


    Ubisoft suing Rainbow 6 cheatmaker who talked about his works on the BBC


    Ubisoft’s lawyers have loaded their lawguns and stacked up to breach and clear the coffers of a team who make and sell cheats for Rainbow 6 Siege. They believe a Dutch teenager is a key figure in MizuSoft, whose cheat includes the usual wallhack and recoil-cancelling and such, and his mother is helping process its subscription payments. Ubisoft say they spend a whole lot of time and money trying to stamp out cheats, so they’ve filed suit to make them knock it off and pay a big stack of cash in damages. Curiously, the main cheatmaker seems to be someone who talked about his creation on the BBC.


    Teenage Fortnite Pro Swatted Live On Stream



    Fortnite pro Cody “Clix” Conrad—who is only 14 years old—was in the middle of a Fortnite Championship Series game on the weekend when his home was swatted.


    Japanese Government Honors Shigeru Miyamoto As Person of Cultural Merit



    Each year, the Japanese government honors people for their important cultural contributions. Included in this year’s Person of Cultural Merit honorees is Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto. Congrats!


    Esports News


    Women-only e-sports events are building toward a future where they’re unnecessary



    When you tune into any e-sports event, you’re likely to see only men. Of the 100 competitors in the final of the Fortnite World Cup, none were women, and just one of the more than 200 players in the Overwatch League is a woman. The apparent egalitarianism of digital competition has clearly not translated into a truly even playing field. In response, a number of organizers have turned to creating women-only events. They’re clearly serving a need, but that need remains complicated.


    The Man Who Used Fighting Games to Escape Homelessness


    These days, Ryan Hart is known as one of the greatest fighting game players to ever come out of Europe.

    But his path to the top was not easy. It was paved with loneliness and adversity — as a teenager, Ryan Hart was homeless, hungry, and alone on the streets of London.

    Starved for both food and human connection, Hart found that fighting games were weren’t just games, they were his deliverance from a desperate time.

    The Furry Who Beat Everyone: The Story of SonicFox


    SonicFox means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. They’re the greatest Mortal Kombat player of all time. They’re a hero to an often-maligned community. They are America’s greatest hope in a genre dominated by the rest of the world.

    They are an inspiration.

    And this is their story.


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


    Video games in China: beyond the great firewall



    In fact, not a single foreign developer or publisher that I spoke to - in the room where snazzy, Chinese-audience-appropriate versions of their games had just been flaunted as a key selling point of the platform - said their game had even made it through the approval process yet. It's not clear that any of the Chinese-developed ones had either. None of them, foreign or domestic, openly committed to being there on launch.

    Such an air of obfuscation there was at the event, Valve wouldn't even tell me whose idea Steam China was, or when the company decided it needed to do it, or even really why it's happening: "I don't know the genesis ... It's just gonna be a much better experience for Chinese customers ... We want Chinese customers to have really high-quality access to steam games", DJ Powers told me. It's not a slight on him - I honestly think he was being as candid as he could, all things considered - but in terms of the actual purpose, or progress, of Steam China there was effectively nothing to be learned from the event.





    We talk about the ‘gaming world,’” Hume says. “Well, it’s not a separate world. It’s our world.”


    The Very Real Person Behind Twitter’s Surreal ‘Shitty Gamer Takes’ Account



    How a place collecting a neverending pile of awful, offensive, and infuriating takes by "gamers" became a place of surprising catharsis.


    Joystick Fantasia: Inside the Spectacle of Video Games Live



    For 15 years, Tommy Tallarico has offered gaming fans a new way to appreciate the music of the medium.


    'Disco Elysium' Is a Landmark RPG About the Politics of Our Broken World



    A 'Planescape: Torment' successor that is distinguished by its monumental ambition and thoroughness.

    How Disco Elysium's opening sets the stage for existential revolt


    Existentialism. A word with baggage, and about it. Philosophers have deployed it to cover many different things, but they’re all concerned with the baggage of being alive. The urgent dilemma of existence, as beings without apparent purpose. The concept fascinates me. It’s what I get up for in the morning.


    How 'Outer Worlds' Turned Me Away From Revolution into Maddening Pragmatism



    Fight the power, crush the corp, and divert the energy from the local geothermal plant to the local dissenters trying to reshape society for the better? The decision, the first major one I was asked to make in Obsidian’s new sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds, seemed so simple that offering an alternative seemed downright insulting. Outside of a “What if?” second playthrough, the kind of guilt-free roleplay where you’re explicitly pushing at a game’s boundaries, what monster sides with the greedy shits who’ve run this place into the ground?


    "Remember, No Russian:" Critics and Developers Remember Call of Duty's Most Infamous Mission



    But what was the point of No Russian to begin with? Where did this level come from, and what were the developers trying to say, allowing players to orchestrate an act of mass violence? And how has the game industry's thoughts on the level changed over the past ten years? We reached out to critics, academics, game writers, and members of Modern Warfare 2's development team to ask about the legacy of No Russian a decade removed from launch.

    If there's one takeaway, it's that no one is quite sure how to feel about No Russian anymore.


    “Nurse With Wound,” by Astrid Rose



    Silent Hill 2 follows James Sunderland through a masochistic gauntlet of self-inflicted punishment occurring some time after he euthanizes his wife Mary, who was terminally ill with an unspecified fantasy disease. In the town of Silent Hill he finds a few other people stranded in the muck of their own subconscious; Angela, Eddie, and Maria, who looks and acts strangely similar to Mary. Only Laura, a kid who knew Mary, seems to be unaffected by any of the town’s oddness.


    “Devotion, Delusion, and Design Honesty,” by Daniel Fries



    Devotion, by Red Candle Games, departs from this trend by telling the player at the very beginning that the protagonist Feng Yu is deluding not the player, but himself. It is clear from the shifts between alternate versions of his home—one a bright but eerily empty fantasy apartment and the other a dark damp husk of it—that he is struggling with a disconnect between his faith and his reality. Feng Yu, seeking treatment for his mysteriously ill daughter Mei Shin, looks for help not from a psychiatrist but from a cult leader. Against the wishes of his wife Gong Li Fang he spends more and more money on ineffective and dangerous remedies. In her disagreement he sees disloyalty, and responds with aggression and abuse


    Exploring the Bottomless Trauma and Questionable Forgiveness at the Heart of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters



    Bloodborne , like many games bearing Hidetaka Miyazaki’s fingerprints, is a vivid evocation of trauma. It blooms like crypt moss stretching up from mycelial tendrils woven deep through every layer of the game. Both in the virtual world of Yharnam and our own, trauma exists outside of time, encoded on a cellular level, imprinted on our psyches, and buried in the spaces it occurred. Events, even far back in the past, reach out across vast distances to grab us, amygdala-like. They take hold and pull us deeply into nightmares already experienced.


    Persona 5 Needs to Stop Using Ryuji as a Punching Bag



    Despite fighting a known sexual harasser and abuser in the RPG’s first dungeon, that abuser’s victim is objectified throughout by the same men who helped save her. While claiming to be about fighting to escape the shackles of societal expectations, Persona 5 uses gay panic for humor’s sake and then doubles down on it again later in the game.

    But one thing Persona 5 also uses for comic relief is physical comedy, and that is almost exclusively directed at Ryuji Sakamoto, an established victim of physical abuse.





    Blizzard sold Overwatch on its characters. Designed like action figures or superheroes and promising to kind of riff on the same fictional tropes, Overwatch is pitched as a character-based first person shooter with a background of international heroics. The title itself is meant to be the name of an in-universe organization that stopped a robo-pocalypse. I am reminded of this every time I start the game and a sad Ape-Man tells me.


    The mystery of Atlantis



    Stories usually describe the legendary city of Atlantis as a wondrous place – imagine a fantasy version of ancient Greece but with more ornate fountains, fish, and the casual use of technology so advanced it easily blurs into the magical and you’re halfway to writing your own tale already. Whatever take you read on the place it’s invariably a peaceful civilisation based around Poseidon-worship, philosophical discussions, flowing white robes, and a mystical treasure or ten. It may always end up lost forever beneath the waves by the end but even then you can rely on the city’s fate to be written as a warning for others, a solemn tale of mankind’s hubris or the dangers of displeasing the gods: Unless you’re playing Tomb Raider, the game that launched a thousand fake nude cheats. As we all know Lara Croft’s debut adventure is for the most part an engaging athletic-exploration game with a gently atmospheric soundtrack (and sometimes dinosaurs) – it’s just also happens to think Atlantis should be less mermaids and temples and more pulsating exposed muscle-walls and bone and nightmares.


    The Secrets of Puzzle Design | How Game Designers Explore Ideas and Themes with Puzzles and Problems


    This Video Explores the Secrets of Puzzle Design, and how game designers go about creating them. Puzzle design is often viewed as an arcane art only a few are privy to, but in this essay, we explore the many design philosophies creators have employed to manufacture them. What we find is there are as many ways to make a puzzle as there are puzzles themselves, and this pluralism feeds into what the purpose of puzzles have been and are in our society today.

    We explore games as varied as The Witness, braid, Baba is You, Infinifactory, Stephens sausage roll and fez to support the idea that puzzle are ultimately the aesthetic form of thought itself.


    The Key to Metroid Prime's Atmosphere


    Continuing my ongoing side series about how Metroid games go about creating their rich atmospheres, here's the latest instalment with Metroid Prime.

    I really think Prime struck a chord with its atmosphere, and in this video I detail as to how it did this.

    Please consider supporting the channel through Patreon to help improve the quality of research, editing, footage capture, animation and overall production of each episode: www.patreon.com/DanRoot


    Idea People? | So You Wanna Be A Game Designer? (#1)


    During my time in the industry, I had to interview and review tests of many aspiring designers. What I've noticed is that there are a lot of misconceptions potential juniors have, so I decided to create a series dedicated to these misconceptions. The first one is about what a game designer actually does in a team.


    The Rise and Fall of Max Payne


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

    Few features are as ingrained in the fabric of modern shooters as bullet time. Whether included as a mechanic that one can use at the press of a button, or an occurrence that only happens in scripted moments, bullet time is the punctuation mark of every game it graces; an awesome, yet functional tool that gamers and developers alike can’t get enough of. And it wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is today were it not for Max Payne.


    The Eternal Struggle of Video Game Genres


    Let's scream into the void about genre theory in video games.

    Fox's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Foxcade


    Ridiculous & AMAZING Dreamcast Peripherals | Punching Weight [SSFF]


    Soulcalibur with a Dreamcast fishing rod? Mr Driller with a microphone? Motion controlled tennis six years before Wii Tennis? Sega Dreamcast is a great system but thanks to its amazing accessories, it is your one-stop-shop for the dumbest ways to play video games!


    Noclip Podcast #12 - Support Local Video Game Museums


    Fresh from a day's filming, Danny & Jeremy chat about the upcoming ESRB documentary, our new landlords, video game museums, our scariest video game memories, plans for Extra Life and the guest you can look forward to when the podcast begins proper.

    Become a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip


    An Interview with Paradox's Johan Anderson | On Being an Entertainer and Mana Systems


    Rob went to Paradox Con and was able to snag an interview with Johan Anderson, Creative Director at Paradox Development Studio. They talk about the company's IPO, failed game systems, his creative goals, and his long career making grand strategy games.


    Things I missed from previous weeks


    Suikoden II | Retrospective Review


    Today I'm taking a look at Suikoden 2, Konami's classic RPG released on the PlayStation in 1999. For many years it has been commonly believed that the story for Suikoden 2 was actually written before the first game, but after finding conflicting accounts regarding this rumor, I decided to reach out to Yoshitaka Murayama (the series creator) to get some clarification on this point. Not only did he set the record straight, but provided some other great insight into how Suikoden 2 was made.

    HUGE thank you to ZenmenZ for translating my emails with Mr. Murayama, and to Hian for helping me find his contact info as well as providing feedback on translations. This video would not have been possible without them.

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