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    This Week In Gaming 11-12-19


    Daniel Tack interviews the founder of Larian about their rise to greatness, Jeremy Signor covers how Disco Elysium handles finding beauty and redemption in a cynical world while showing what makes role playing powerful, Martin Robinson covers the story of the development of Horace one of the year's "overlooked masterpieces," Super Bunnyhop on gaming while colorblind, The ESRB opens their doors for the first time to be interviewed by Noclip, smaller developer posts misleading screenshot to make things up about indie game coverage while writers discuss how things actually work, Youtube's ToS update says it can ban users that are "no longer commercially viable," Grace and Cole Henry discuss Gears of War's narrative struggle with the series own business model alongside the character's struggle for survival, Holly Green interviews Death Stranding's sound designer, New Frame Plus looks at the effects animations in Hollow Knight, 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)


    Bad king simulator Yes, Your Grace has a beta next week you can sign up for


    The beta begins on November 15th and you can throw your crown in the ring to try it.


    New Gameplay Today – Diablo IV's Druid


    Ben Reeves joins Jeff Cork and Leo Vader for a look at the third and final announced class for Diablo IV.

    How Blizzard Approached Diablo IV's Story


    Diablo’s narrative isn’t the biggest reason that people continually return to the series, but after more than 23 years, the franchise has built an impressive lore bible. Believe it or not, the Blizzard team spends a lot of time designing the story quests that give players context for cracking thousands of demon skulls. To gain some insight into the process, we sat down with lead game designer Jesse McCree and game director Luis Barriga.


    Inside The Bizarre Development Of Shenmue III



    Shenmue isn’t like other open-world games. In addition to the traditional fast-paced fistfights, the series gamifies some of the most prosaic moments from everyday life. While most games offer players a sense of freedom, Shenmue’s freedoms extend to opening silverware drawers, feeding stray cats, and collecting toys from capsule vending machines.


    Minute Of Islands Is A Stunning Playable Cartoon | Minute Of Islands Gameplay


    Minute of Islands is an absolutely beautiful looking playable cartoon where you’ll explore and strange but lovely archipelago in a cartoon style adventure. In this Minute Of Islands gameplay you’ll see us play as Mo, who is a young tinkerer, exploring a very unstable land.


    Cloudpunk Is A Cyberpunk Courier Sim | Cloudpunk Gameplay


    Cyberpunk 2077 is so close to release now we can almost taste it, but if you can’t wait that long, or perhaps you prefer your cyberpunk experience to be more courier sim, then take a look at our Cloudpunk gameplay.


    Ministry Of Broadcast Gameplay | Prince Of Persia Meets The Hunger Games


    In this Ministry of Broadcast gameplay you’ll see just why it’s Prince of Persia meets The Hunger Games. It’s a narrative driven platformer that gets a lot of its inspiration from George Orwell’s 1984.


    Eldest Souls Is A Gorgeous Pixel Art Souls-Like | Eldest Souls Gameplay


    Eldest Souls is a gorgeous pixel art souls-like which tells the story of a lone knight who goes on a quest to slay the Old Gods and restore balance to the dying world of the Citadel


    The SaGa Series Dares To Be Different, And That’s Why It’s Special



    Square Enix’s SaGa series has always marched to the beat of its own drum. The developers aren’t afraid to take risks and be unconventional. With a reputation for non-linear gameplay, player choice, and freedom in exploration, SaGa was ahead of its time, but despite over ten entries and two decades of history, it never really had a heyday in North America. However, Square Enix isn’t giving up and surprised many this past E3 by announcing two previously unreleased games in the series, Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions, would finally reach our shores. Today marks Romancing SaGa 3’s first time available in North America – 24 years after its initial release in Japan. To celebrate and see what’s ahead, I chatted with general director Akitoshi Kawazu and producer Masanori Ichikawa about the series and what we can expect from these games. Both were candid about the state of RPGs and why it took some time to get the franchise back off the ground.


    I wouldn't expect a Pillars Of Eternity 3 soon



    Sales of Pillars Of Eternity 2: Deadfire were disappointing enough that Obsidian Entertainment would need to “re-examine the entire format of the game” before making a hypothetical third, game director Josh Sawyer has suggested. Writing in response to a fan asking after a third game, Sawyer explained that the sequel sold worse than the original, and he’d need to understand why before they were to do another in the same style. He makes clear that whether Pillars 3 happens is not a decision he himself has control over, but this does sound like the series is at least taking a break.


    We Happy Few DLC ‘We All Fall Down’ launches November 19


    We Happy Few downloadable content “We All Fall Down” will launch across all platforms on November 9 for $7.99 individually and as part of the $19.99 Season Pass, Gearbox Publishing and developer Compulsion Games announced.


    Rainbow Six Siege Shifting Tides release date: all the latest details


    The Rainbow Six Siege Shifting Tides release date is rapidly approaching and as usual, Ubisoft has been dropping teasers thick and fast. We already know plenty about the upcoming Indian and Kenyan operators, Kali and Wamai, including the juiciest detail of all: their gadgets.


    Wolfenstein: Youngblood update includes the new Treasure Hunt mission, new maps, abilities, enemies, more


    Update 1.0.7 for Wolfenstein: Youngblood is now available, and comes with a new mission, abilities and more.


    Congressman Shames Blizzard for Letting Nazis Run Wild in 'World of Warcraft'


    The player, who runs a racist, anti-semitic guild called "Enclave" had his avatar dressed up in white robes and a white hood—an obvious allusion to the garb of the Klu Klux Klan—with two avatars appearing as slaves beside him (one named "Jesse Jackson," referring to the civil rights leader.) The player commented “next stop Charlottesville” in a screenshot taken by a staffer and posted by Correa, referring to the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville where a white nationalist terrorist killed an anti-racist protester with his car during the protest.


    Jeff Kaplan wants Blitzchung's punishment 'reduced more or eliminated'



    The Overwatch director said was 'shocked' by Blizzard's reaction to Blitzchung's call to liberate Hong Kong.


    YouTuber's Lifetime Fortnite Ban Opens Conversation About Fair Punishments For Cheating


    After being called out by his Fortnite teammates for the obvious favoritism this shows to players who happen to be popular, Blevins reiterated his belief that content creators and average gamers are part of separate, distinct classes that need to be treated differently when it comes to punishments. He also noted the disparity between Khattri’s lifetime ban from Epic and the arguable slap on the wrist Logan Paul received from YouTube for filming a dead body in Japan, a comparison that’s mind-numbingly irrelevant—these are two different companies handing out two different punishments for two very different actions, after all.


    Epic is suing another tester for leaking Fortnite Chapter 2 content



    Epic Games has filed a statement of claim in the Quebec Superior court against former Keywords employee Lucas Johnston that accuses him of leaking Fortnite’s recently launched new map ahead of its official reveal.

    Epic Games acquires photogrammetry asset library and toolset maker Quixel


    Epic Games has acquired photogrammetry asset library and toolset maker Quixel for an undisclosed fee.


    Some Markiplier fans had their Google Accounts banned due to YouTube emote spam


    These days our Google Accounts are tied to more and more aspects of our lives — our smart homes, our email inbox, and even our livelihoods as YouTubers or Android developers are all tied to one universal Google Account. Some fans of Markiplier this week have been banned from their entire Google Account due to spamming emotes on a YouTube stream that encouraged emotes.

    YouTube can now delete accounts that aren't "commercially viable"


    WTF?! Considering starting a YouTube channel? Maybe you already have one and are trying to add to your subscriber base. If so, here’s some potentially worrying news: The video platform says it can now ban users it deems “no longer commercially viable.”


    Manveer Heir Aims to Accelerate Diversity in Video Games with Brass Lion Entertainment


    Their first project, Corner Wolves, is a collaboration with writer Evan Narcisse and hip-hop producer Just Blaze.


    Death Stranding: Game with poop grenades “difficult to understand” for Americans, says Kojima



    Death Stranding, a game where characters are named after their personalities and every bit of exposition is repeated about twenty times, was too complex for some critics, according to director, casting director, writer, video editor, and Monster Energy affiliate Hideo Kojima.


    China institutes new game curfews limiting kids to 90 minutes a day



    Beside’s China’s game curfew, there are also new spending limits. Kids under eight won’t be able to spend at all, while those between eight and 16 can spend ¥200 per month (roughly $29 / £22), while those between 16 and 18 can spend ¥400 ($47 / £44).


    'Mario Maker 2' Creators Are Using Cryptography to Make Impossible Levels


    A strange competition has popped up to create levels with audacious passcodes that you could spend a lifetime trying to guess.


    Esports News


    Massive Scandal Hits FIFA Community As Cowardly Pros Avoid Playing Each Other



    A huge scandal has hit the online FIFA community recently, as several of the world’s top players were caught in a secret Discord colluding to avoid playing each other, thus making their games easier, and their winnings more secure.


    China’s FPX wins 2019 League of Legends World Championship finals


    China’s FunPlus PhoeniX (or FPX) has come out on top in this year’s League of Legends World Championship finals against European team G2 Esports (G2).


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


    Book of Travels | A serene online RPG


    Join Book of Travels and become part of a unique social roleplaying experience that doesn’t hold your hand. Inspired by genre classics, this is an online adventure that sets you adrift in an intricate fairytale world... but it’s also an invitation to roleplay without the restraints of linear quests and plotlines. Feel at liberty to travel the free wilds and vivid cities of the Braided Shore peninsula. Wander deep into the layers of this hand-drawn world, stumble upon its hidden places or unravel one of its many mysteries. There is no overarching goal, no real beginning or end, and ultimately you are in charge of shaping your own journey. It’s a land of elusive creatures, lush natural beauty and pastoral calm... but one that has known troubles and where shadows play their part.


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


    A Knight In Shining Armor – Swen Vincke Talks The Long Road Of Larian Studios



    Swen Vincke wasn’t always on top. From basic beginnings and a scrappy, dark path through the often tumultuous games industry, the founder of Larian Studios has gone from sneaking into trade shows to helming one of the most anticipated RPGs of all time with Baldur’s Gate 3. We spoke with Vincke about Larian’s tough climb to greatness.


    The Sound of Death Stranding: Behind the Score of Hideo Kojima's New Game



    As the musical sound designer on Hideo Kojima’s upcoming action game, Corelitz would know. He’s spent the past several months working on Death Stranding, designing the synthesizer sounds that help shape the game’s soundtrack. Along with Ludvig Forssell, lead composer of Death Stranding and audio director at Kojima Productions, he has not only helped define what the game will sound like, he’s also taken an inspiring amount of initiative to make it unique. Few audio designers, I imagine, make a trip to Home Depot a part of their creative process. To develop the audio library that would serve as the basis for the game’s score, he and Forsell used an array of “found items,” leading sampling sessions where they recorded themselves “making every sound possible with two cartfuls worth of hardware from Home Depot” and “playing an extensively modified piano with sledgehammers, mallets and even a rake”. It’s a story that inspires a secondhand sense of guilt in any musician, but with a twinge of fascination: what did they do to that poor piano? And how was it used to achieve their intended effect?


    Horace's incredible journey


    How Die Hard Trilogy, a cancelled World Trade Center game and a small town in Kent led to this year's most overlooked masterpiece.


    Devs Lying About Site Coverage

    Tweets formerly had Stardock's CEO making things up about how freelancers are paid by page views before being deleted, leading to missing parts above.


    How To Cover Video Game News When Everything's A Mess



    Imagine you’re on a plane and when you land, you learn that some of the most talented people, people whose work has inspired you and who have pushed you to do better, are now gone. Now imagine you need to be in the same city as Disneyland, in the middle of convention that’s essentially a theme park unto itself.


    We are living in Hideo Kojima’s dystopian nightmare. Can he save us?


    It’s a reality where studies show Americans even struggle to find common understanding around what caused the Civil War. Social media, a parallel digital society, has a reputation for being self-absorbed and mean. Some of those who built that space, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, fear the “erosion of truth,” but won’t take action against lies and manipulated facts spread on their platform. Governments and media constantly call into question the actuality of our lived experiences.


    Meet the Man Who Breaks Apart Your Favorite Games to Learn Their Secrets



    Lance McDonald has found success on YouTube digging deep into P.T., Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and more.


    Disco Elysium and Finding the Beauty in a Cynical World



    I can honestly say that I haven’t played a game as miserable as Disco Elysium in some time, at least at first. You wake up in a disheveled hotel room with little memory of how to human properly. You soon learn that you’re a police detective who spend the past night partying, binging on alcohol, and eventually landing in a dark, suicidal place, all thanks to how fucked up your life is. You go outside the hotel and find children who hurl homophobic slurs at you. The world of Disco Elysium’s Revachol is a deeply cynical, shitty place, and you are given the option to respond in kind, continuing your trash fire of an existence in spades. But there’s beauty and redemption to be found at the game’s core, too, an underlying message that there’s value in both accepting and letting go of the past as you try to reflect what you want to see in the world. That message is not a given, though. You have to want it and put in the effort to find it, much like real life.

    “The World is a Tough Place, but We All Live in It,” by Reid McCarter


    There’s a line in Charles Bukowski’s Post Office where the book’s author surrogate protagonist wakes up, feeling like shit, to look at himself in the mirror. He brushes his hair and stares at his face, wishing he make it more presentable, too. “I went to the bathroom and threw some water on my face, combed my hair,” he writes. “If I could only comb that face, I thought, but I can’t.” The opening of ZA/UM’s Disco Elysium, which sees a police detective regain consciousness on the stained tiles of a hotel room floor, sprawled in a pile of dirty limbs with an empty bottle next to him and an apocalyptic hangover, recalls this scene. The Detective looks at himself in the bathroom mirror and sees an impressionist blur of furious line work and watercolours forming his leering, unshaved face. A bulbous red nose sticks out from sallow skin, surrounded by untamed hair. His features are twisted into a wild, unhinged grin. The Detective refers to the face he makes as “the Expression” and his inner monologue’s battling personalities detail his struggle with what it’s meant to communicate—perhaps a friendly smile; perhaps a self-assured exterior—versus the wretched, off-putting reality of what it communicates to the outside world. He can lose himself in trying to understand the Expression.


    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Is a Brutal and Disconcerting Portrayal of Combat



    Beneath the game’s overwhelming cynicism, valuable in its way as a condemnation of war as a concept, there’s still a distinction between American, Britain, and their allies as bad and Russia and its allies as even worse. The only hope in this scenario, it suggests, is that individuals of conscience—lone soldiers within rotten armies, Russia included—will break ranks and do what needs to be done in order to bypass the evils officially authorized by their governments’ foreign policy. That this rugged individualism is essentially American libertarianism manifested in pessimistic military ideology doesn’t seem like an accident. In the end, Modern Warfare says, the kind of crimes committed by every country, spurred on by Russia’s plays for international influence, can only be countered by those willing to see through the miasma of politics and risk their lives to kill those responsible.


    New York Tango: How Finnish Music and Culture Define Control



    Remedy’s latest may be set in the U.S., but its heart is half a world away.


    There Will Be No Revolution in ‘The Outer Worlds’



    I personally knew who I was going to be fighting for in this game before I even started playing it. The Outer Worlds has always been sold as a game about capitalism run amok. With that in mind, there was no way I was going to be siding with any given corporation on a planet. Even that mindset didn’t quite prepare me for the kinds of horrors that the game immediately throws at you: suicide described as ‘irreparable damage to company property,’ a man who is forced to steal the golden dental fillings of a dead man simply to pay the rent on his future grave site, the half dozen memos describing the state of the town’s plague-ridden people begging for medicine and being denied. These are all things that are happening because these corporations were allowed this much power, because they were allowed to grow unchecked until workers rights were completely eradicated.

    With all of this in mind, I was really surprised at how much the game insisted I try and make peace between these two groups.


    What Have We Got Left? Gears of War and Cyclical History



    At the end of it all, our hero, Marcus Fenix, despairs. He shreds his uniform and asks “what have we got left now?” He has lost his best friend Dom, lost his father, the world he fought for is in shatters, and he has sacrificed his body for an organization that has only exploited him. It is not a question without weight. “Tomorrow, Marcus. We’ve finally got a tomorrow.” responds Anya, his future wife. But when tomorrow comes, she has died in childbirth and the world she helped protect is on the brink of relapse. The COG has barely changed, exercising violence to keep their burgeoning populace in check, hiding their explicitly fascist past to secure a policed, neo-liberal future. They are unprepared for what is to come. The Locust have risen from their graves. Gears 4 and 5’s endings have a more direct dimension of personal tragedy, but they are still center in loss that perpetuates further violence. Our protagonist now, Kait, joins the Cog despite her hatred of it. She sees it as the only way to combat the existential threat of the new Locust. Much of the plot of Gears 5 revolves around restoring a network of WMD satellites. We don’t get fooled again.

    Revival in Co-op Shooters and the Myth of the Lone Soldier


    Most shooters operate at two stages: First, you are a fully functioning, autonomous body, able to act and move even when suffering from multiple shotgun blasts to the face. Two, you have taken one shotgun blast too many and are now dead. Game over. Doom, the eternal go-to shooter, operates by this basic binary. Though Doom Guy’s visage gets ever more battered, you run at a clip and your trigger finger will never slip. Your body is always easily commanded, until you cannot do it anymore. On the surface, reviving only adds an in-between stage where you are incapacitated, before either death or rejuvenation comes. Revival does not create a more nuanced depiction of the body. It is impossible, for example, for any of these heroes to become disabled or even injured in a way that requires time and attention. However, revival creates vulnerability and a need for help that in part undoes the power fantasy these games are predicated on.


    Fire Emblem Three Houses non-Byleth relationships feel more significant



    Byleth is compelling in their own way of course, but it’s the non-Byleth relationships that managed to capture my heart throughout my time playing the game. Despite only getting the majority of interactions through ‘supports’ – conversations where characters can get to know each other more – their relationships are shaped in such a compelling way that it’s hard not to route for their relationship, regardless of whether it’s with romantic intent or not.


    Tread Carefully: Death Stranding and walking in games



    Across social media this past weekend, I’ve seen this micromanagement of movement compared several times to QWOP, a game by Bennett Foddy about an athlete trying (and mostly failing) to run. You have 4 buttons on the keyboard that each control individual muscles in the runner’s legs, and the aim is to run 100 metres. It’s almost impossible to make even a metre of progress, but it’s quite comical to try. Even successful runs look utterly absurd, an awkward flailing of limbs in an attempt to approximate the act of movement. But while QWOP serves as a design experiment demonstrating why games typically don’t give you micromanagement over your character’s movements, Death Stranding serves as a compelling argument for why we should sometimes.

    American Nomad – Death Stranding and Public Infrastructure


    This article is a slight deviation from the norm for us here at Rebind, the few times we’ve written about ‘AAA’ games we’ve generally done so through a retrospective lens, there’s a reason for this: a lot of mainstream cutting edge releases get enough attention as is. With that said, I’ve observed a trend in contemporary discourse to converge on a handful of common narrative focal points- we have more to say about these titles through a critical lens, but still get stuck on the same key points in our collective analysis.


    Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG



    I have played this game, so, so, many times of the years under its PAL title, Panzer Dragoon Saga. It’s great. I love it. Fab. If it was a dessert, it’d be something involving fudge, warm chocolate sauce, and a very large spoon. What could have easily been a dead-end RPG offshoot, kept apart for fear of alienating everyone who fell in love with the series for its arcade-like shooting action, is instead filled to overflowing with meaningful links to the previous games and even lays the groundwork for a huge emotional hit in the Xbox-exclusive sequel Panzer Dragoon Orta. This isn’t a game that’s had a few recognisable bosses or locations thrown in for the sake of some superficial authenticity or as a lazy attempt to woo existing fans over, Azel is absolutely a Panzer Dragoon RPG through and through: It was never meant to be anything else, and it never could be anything else either – the game oozes pride in its origins and feels equally confident in the quality of its new direction too.


    Revisiting MediEvil, My Father’s Favorite Game, 20 Years Later



    I was too scared to play MediEvil as a kid, but my dad wasn't


    I learned a valuable lesson about my uncle’s suicide in GTA 5 roleplay



    I’m standing on the corner of Innocence Boulevard and Crusade Road, east of Strawberry. Before me stands the Central Los Santos Medical Center and, atop one of the hospital’s front-facing helipads, is a man threatening to jump. In the three or so years I’ve spent mucking around in Grand Theft Auto 5’s unofficial player-made roleplay servers, this is the first time I’ve encountered a scenario of this nature.


    How Super Mario Maker is helping families bond by creating together



    Super Mario Maker has always been a great tool for creators. While there are any number of level creators out there, only Mario Maker has the physics of the classic platformer and an easy to use interface. Super Mario Maker 2 even has an extensive set of tutorials to help wannabe developers to learn the basics of level design.


    CD Projekt Red has a The Witcher 3 regret, and it’s to do with Ciri’s tattoo



    Despite the critical and commercial success The Witcher 3 enjoyed, the game’s principal writer Jakub Szamalek says the studio regretted not including more about Ciri’s rose tattoo. In the books, the tattoo is a reference to Ciri’s lover, Mistle. The whole story is quite complex, and CD Projekt Red says it just didn’t have time to tell the entire tale in The Witcher 3.


    Metal Slug: The Ultimate History Is A Very Impressive Book



    When the folks at Bitmap Books offered to send me a copy of Metal Slug: The Ultimate History, I was picturing something much slimmer than the massive, 452-page tome I received. Who knew SNK’s cartoonish run-and-gun shooter series had such a rich and colorful history?


    How Does the ESRB Rate Video Games?


    For the first time ever, the ESRB opens its doors and unveils the process of rating video games.

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


    The Effects Animation of Hollow Knight


    A professional animator explains how Hollow Knight's effects animation makes the game play better!

    To request an episode topic, support New Frame Plus on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/newframeplus


    Home, Home on the Console: From Red Dead Revolver to Red Dead Redemption 2


    This is a video critique and analysis of all three of Rockstar's Red Dead games, along with GUN by Neversoft. It looks at the evolution of the video game western and tries to place these games in context with other Western media that inspired and surrounded them. It looks at them thematically, mechanically, and with a particular eye for what makes them special as a Western. SPOILERS THROUGHOUT.

    If you enjoyed this video and want to contribute to the production of others like it, please consider donating through the crowdfunding website Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/noahcaldwellgervais


    Gaming While Colorblind


    Special thanks to Sam Callahan

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


    Should I Know 'X'? | So You Wanna Be A Game Designer? (#2)


    A lot of times I get asked if one needs to know one particular field or another to become a Game Designer. Mostly the question is about programming, but heard in regards to other professions too. In general, the question 'what should a (Video) Game Designer know besides Game Design?' doesn't have a simple and straightforward answer, but we'll try to discuss it here.

    Support Farlands on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/farlands


    Things I missed from previous weeks


    Evolution of arcade games in Japan, the penny arcade nation / GAME CHRONICLE / IS JAPAN COOL?


    Revealing Japan’s game culture and innovative history

    “Game Chronicle” focuses on the complex world of Japanese games — which draws fans into a whirlwind of excitement and innovation. Video games are the combined product of creators' imagination and developers’ passion. Wherever game professionals gather, we find team spirit and tireless dedication to product refinement. In this feature, we cover four eras of Japanese games (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s) and 100 topics — including hardware and software evolution, arcade games, latest e-sports, and Japan’s longtime favorite traditional games. We’re also exhibiting a “special collection” of events and anecdotes to enrich the history of Japanese games, so site visitors can better enjoy game culture. Moreover, our “Interview” section features 11 Japanese game industry experts — who reveal the essential appeal of games beloved worldwide.


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