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    This Week In Gaming 11-5-19


    Blizzcon announcements, previews, and protests. Matt Leone finds out what it was like working at Kojima Productions Los Angeles, Heather Alexandra covers how Death Stranding communicates themes of togetherness and worker solidarity through its systems and how it creates a desire to build something while Tim Rogers' hour long review looks at the game from five different perspectives, Dia Lacina asks if a game ever changed the way you act in the real world, Steven T. Wright profiles Cyrille Imbert the CEO of a company dedicated to resurrecting old games and franchises, Disco Elysium's creator talks about why they made a video game and their plans for the future, Game Maker's Toolkit looks at the world design of Hollow Knight, HeavyEyed on what makes Session the perfect game to represent skateboarding, strafefox tells the story of the making of Ecco the Dolphin, 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)


    Hong Kong Protests Are Growing Outside Of BlizzCon


    Protesters were not entirely uniform in their motivations, though. While everyone was united by their support of Hong Kong, some were also there to air a laundry list of only partially-related grievances against Blizzard.


    The biggest changes coming to Diablo 4


    If you missed some of Diablo 2’s best features there’s a good chance they’re back

    Diablo 4 will not have an offline mode, and the game is 'not coming anytime soon'


    The 'shared open world' will require an internet connection, and it sounds like Diablo 4 is still a good ways off.

    Hands-On With Diablo IV: Dungeon Delving With An Open-World Twist


    Diablo IV’s announcement at Blizzcon yesterday was packed with gruesome death The long-awaited sequel’s tone is dark, and that carries over into the gameplay. My hands-on time with a demo build was exciting. Diablo IV eagerly ramps up the gore and dark magic for an experience that feels old-school but adds a few modern twists.

    Overwatch 2: New Modes, New Hero, And Everything Else We Know So Far


    Overwatch 2 introduces several PvE modes, a “talent” system, and Sojourn, its first Canadian hero.

    Overwatch 2 focuses on the story, but doesn't seem to correct any of its issues


    When Overwatch released three and a half years ago, it was that story that captured the imagination of many fans. A slowly drip fed tale of a ragtag bunch of (at least somewhat) diverse heroes battling over evil left a thousand gaps that dedicated artists and fanfic writers poured themselves into, growing a fandom few other pieces of media could match. But this same fandom was also its most vocal critic, discussing Blizzard’s repeated missteps, particularly over their promised inclusivity. I should know – it’s how I got into games writing.

    14 Minutes of Overwatch 2 Story Mission (Rio de Janeiro)


    Here's 14 minutes of Overwatch 2's co-op Story Mission mode! In this video, Reinhardt, Mei, Tracer, and Lucio join together to battle through Rio de Janeiro to board the enemy ship and destroy its reactor core.

    Overwatch 2 - 5 Minutes Of The New PVP Mode "Push" Gameplay


    Revealed alongside Overwatch 2, check out this gameplay of the new PvP mode "Push" on the Toronto map. Overwatch 2 will be released on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

    WoW Shadowlands Info: Blizzard Talks Player Choice, Customization, and More


    Earlier today, Blizzard Entertainment announced the next step in the long-running saga of World of Warcraft. The new expansion is called Shadowlands, taking players the realm of the dead.

    Blizzard says ‘we failed in our purpose’ after Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy


    Blizzard Entertainment kicked off its annual BlizzCon fan expo today with a direct apology from president J. Allen Brack regarding the explosive Hong Kong controversy that’s engulfed the company for the past month.

    Blizzard president clarifies decision to ban Hearthstone player and two casters over Hong Kong controversy


    Despite yesterday's apology at BlizzCon, Blizzard won't be repealing the punishments further.


    Death Stranding - Official Story Gameplay Launch Trailer


    The final trailer for Death Stranding is here, edited by Hideo Kojima himself. Coming to PS4 November 8, and PC in 2020.

    Hideo Kojima says Death Stranding is a reaction to 'Trump and Brexit'


    Kojima goes even further into the global state of affairs, referencing political issues in both the US and the UK: "President Trump right now is building a wall. Then you have Brexit, where the UK is trying to leave, there are lots of walls and people thinking only about themselves in the world." In Death Stranding, Norman Reedus' Sam Porter Bridges seeks to save the world by delivering packages to remote locations, traversing rocky terrain and fending off those attempting to steal his wares. "The era of today is about individualism," Kojima suggests in the interview - it's clear that Death Stranding is an attempt to reject that.

    Norman Reedus is so happy he did Death Stranding instead of Silent Hills


    “Silent Hills had the backstory and people knew that game, knew what it was about and what it would look like,” Reedus tells the Hollywood Reporter. “When that went away, I was bummed, but when Hideo described what we were doing next, I completely forgot about it. I was like, thank God that didn’t work, because this is way better.”


    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 narrative director talks high expectations, demos and delays



    'We knew expectations were going to be super high, so we have to hit that bar.'

    You can play Bloodlines 2 like it’s Untitled Vampire Game


    What’s eternal life if you can’t use it to annoy people?


    Keanu Reeves Loved Cyberpunk 2077 So Much He Had His Character’s ‘Screen Time’ Doubled



    Keanu Reeves is a busy actor these days. The success of the John Wick trilogy propelled him back at the forefront of stardom again and now he's got hot projects on his plate, such as The Matrix 4 (where he'll reprise the role of Neo) and the greatly anticipated game Cyberpunk 2077.


    Black Future '88 gives you 18 minutes until your heart explodes, out next month


    Black Future '88 is a cyberpunk roguelike in a sea of cyberpunk roguelikes, but it caught our eye back in 2017 thanks to its pretty explosions and bite-sized playthroughs that give you a mere 18 minutes before your heart explodes. You'll be able to race your body to the top of a robot-infested tower when it launches next month.


    Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot - Official Majin Buu Arc Trailer


    Relive the Majin Buu Arc of Dragon Ball Z when Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot comes to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on Jan. 17, 2020.


    Nebuchadnezzar channels classic city builders like Pharaoh and Zeus


    Nebuchadnezzar is a historical city builder with a name I hate to type. It was announced recently and will be with us next year, but it wouldn't have looked out of place next to Impressions Games' Pharaoh or Zeus back in the '90s and early '00s. It's a bit of a throwback, and the trailer is giving me the warm and fuzzies.


    Terminator: Resistance - Official Gameplay Trailer


    Watch gameplay from the upcoming game which introduces Jacob Rivers, a soldier in the Resistance Pacific Division. Despite the fact that Jacob is just a private, he'll soon discover that he's been targeted by the latest threat from SKYNET and marked for termination. Terminator: Resistance will be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on December 10, 2019.


    Phoenix Point - The Disciples of Anu Faction Trailer


    The Disciples of Anu, led by the mysterious "Exalted" seek unity with the alien invaders and embrace mutation as a core tenet of their religious philosophy. Players can ally with Anu and harness their powerful mutations and versatile units to advance the Phoenix Project. Or, they can reject the Anu. But beware: they hold powerful secrets.


    Marvel’s Avengers trailer delves into hero customization, more


    The new Marvel’s Avengers trailer shows you how to customize your hero’s gear, skills, outfits and how to launch your missions.


    The retro horror game Faith is coming to Steam with a brand-new chapter


    Faith: The Unholy Trinity will tell a new tale of cults, demons, and horrific death.


    Acclaimed detective RPG Disco Elysium coming to Xbox One and PS4 next year


    Developer ZA/UM has revealed that it's currently in the throes of porting its acclaimed detective RPG, Disco Elysium, to Xbox One and PS4, and that it's due to launch next year.


    Nioh 2 will release March 13, open beta detailed


    Team Ninja has given Nioh 2 a release date of March 13, 2020. The developer has also provided more details on the beta which kicks off on November 1.


    Soulcalibur 6 - Official Hilde Character Reveal Trailer


    Get ready to add the Defender of the Kingdom, Hilde, to your roster of warriors in SoulCalibur VI.


    Payday 2's first DLC in almost a year takes you along the Silk Road


    A couple of weeks ago we reported that Payday 2 was restarting development. The co-op heist simulator stopped development in 2018, but publisher Starbreeze’s financial issues have forced them to return to the game, which is still hugely popular, and start creating premium DLC. It’s that or job losses. Here’s a first, very small look at what they’re betting the bank on, called Payday 2: Silk Road.


    With no new title on the near horizon, Battlefield is returning to its roots


    When Battlefield is good, it's really, really good. There's a magic to be found when zipping to a distant capture point in an armoured vehicle, your friends in tow as you man the rear guns and take potshots at the fighter plane above that then comes screaming down in a streak of fire and crashes into a building, sending it tumbling to the ground and taking out the squad that was camping there. It's breathless stuff - and when Battlefield's sandbox delivers, there's nothing quite like it.


    Is Kotaku Dead? - Inside Gaming Daily

    Deadspin’s Last Staff Member Quits. But Deadspin Is Not Dead, the Boss Says.


    The site’s editorial team, more than 20 journalists, resigned after an instance of what they saw as meddling by G/O Media.

    What Happened to Deadspin, According to the People Who Were There


    Deadspin was founded 14 years ago by Will Leitch, who cranked out 300-word blog posts in the first person plural, and it ended for all intents and purposes on Friday with a video of NCAA stooges lying about paying college athletes. In his first post, Leitch wrote, “there’s a whole side of sports that because of either corporate obligations or just plain laziness, never makes it into the public consciousness.” He was right about that. As much as any publication, Deadspin defined what sports journalism for smart people in the digital age should look like. For many readers, including me, it replaced legacy sports media as the first place to go for what happened, what mattered, what to think about, and what to talk about.


    Microsoft Japan’s experiment with 3-day weekend boosts worker productivity by 40 percent



    Japan has a reputation for not being so great when it comes to work-life balance. And it’s a reputation that makes sense, considering the country routinely scores toward the bottom when it comes to employee satisfaction around the developed world.


    Reggie Fils-Aimé to Be Awarded New York Game Awards' Legend Prize



    Kicking ass, making games, receiving acclaim.

    His Name Is Reggie, and He Is Still Happy - Talking to Ex-Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé


    Looking back over 'a career of making people smile'.


    The Ambitious Future of 'Dead Cells' Is Ditching Co-Ops For Capitalism



    'Dead Cells' was made in an environment where workers shared equal power, equal pay, and equal profits. That's not how things will work at the new studio, Evil Empire.


    Esports News


    Incredibly Stable Company WeWork Appears To Be Investing In Incredibly Stable Industry: Esports



    With its dying breath, it looks like startup-turned-laughing-stock WeWork is investing in esports.


    Who Is Jarvis and Why Is He Crying About Fortnite?



    Jarvis is banned for life and he is very very sorry.


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




    CHORUS is an adventure musical -- one part narrative-driven adventure and one part interactive musical, written by former BioWare lead writer David Gaider, scored by award-winning composer Austin Wintory, voice directed by acclaimed actor and director, Troy Baker, and starring the extremely talented Laura Bailey.


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


    What it was like working at Kojima Productions Los Angeles



    Ahead of Death Stranding’s release, former staff look back at Hideo Kojima’s short-lived LA studio


    Cyrille Imbert, the Man Who Brings Gaming’s Past Back to Life



    The Dotemu CEO on the challenges and rewards of resurrecting old games and franchises.


    Indivisible Creative Director On Making A Party-Based RPG That Feels Like A Fighting Game



    After four years in development, Indivisible arrived last month, bringing the combo-heavy combat of certain old-school RPGs into the modern age. It garnered praise across the gaming world, but it soon became clear that there were a few issues holding it back from true greatness, some of which are still waiting to be addressed. Kotaku recently caught up with the Indivisible team to discuss the game’s launch and what’s on the horizon, including changes to leveling, new characters, and more.


    Why the Creator of Disco Elysium Hasn’t Read the Reviews, and What’s Next for the IP



    Next year, the team also plans to release a manifesto sharing their cultural ethos. Kurvitz said ZA/UM is less a studio and more a cultural movement in the vein of Dadaism or Fluxus, and they’re just using video games as their medium rather than theater or painting. The group shares a passion for ambitious humanitarian culture and a hatred of elitism. They’re also self-identified nerds who draw as much inspiration from 19th century realist novels as they do from Baldur’s Gate II.

    Disco Elysium’s writer wants to “lead the youth astray,” so he made a videogame


    Kurvits says the risk with games is “more than with a novel, which nobody really cares about at all any more! Novels are almost inconsequential – it’s hard to piss anyone off with them, because they spread very slowly from one language to another. You can’t lead the youth astray with a novel nowadays.”

    Disco Elysium writer doesn’t “want to be like JK Rowling” – “our Dumbledore is already out”


    It already seemed pretty clear that indie studio ZA/UM’s new RPG game adventure Disco Elysium wouldn’t shy away from politics. Now the game’s lead designer has said the game’s devs have worked to ensure that any politics in the game are already there in a “self-sufficient” format – and that he doesn’t want to add politics to it retrospectively “like JK Rowling.”

    No Truce With The Disco


    A great deal of what happens in the detective’s mind is subject to interpretation, but by and large Disco Elysium has a lot of respect for its cast. I wouldn’t say DE is overtly sympathetic to everyone, but you meet all kinds of people and can at least understand their stances, even if the game doesn’t defend those positions. Some have outlandish ideas about everything from the supernatural to the inherent goodness of their community, and the detective can support them eagerly or dismiss them off-hand. At all times you’re made aware of the material context of the city, its troubled history, that these conditions didn’t spring from vacuum and that questionable or objectionable as they might be, everything has an underlying reason. Even if, in the detective’s case, that reason might be “I was given the option to do something and wanted to see what would happen” or an apologetic “I think I did it because I was drunk”.


    The story behind Parvati, the internet’s favorite Outer Worlds companion



    Edgewater’s naive engineer has struck a chord with players


    How the Janitors in White Day: A Labyrinth Named School Made Me Change How I Act in the Real World



    Has a game ever changed your behavior? I don’t mean in the way that Dark Souls teaches you how to play it, learning patterns, correct combinations of button presses in Tekken, or the precise moment when to tap A in Ninja Gaiden to account for NES-era platforming clumsiness, internalizing a game into the motor neurons of your fingers perfectly. Has a game ever shifted how you act outside of it?


    The New Weird and racist structures



    Recently, I published a piece on IGN about Control and the weird and “New Weird” subgenre of horror. To me, what makes this such an essential genre is how it taps into the two conflicting realisations: our need for answers and our recognition of the vastness and weirdness of the universe in which we live, enduring an existence that will never result in such answers.

    The Poster and the Wall: The Society and/of Control


    Within the fiction of Control, the FBC acts mainly as a literal interpretation of the modes of control that Capitalism employs, but applied to a much more fundamental and metaphysical layer of reality. It’s no coincidence that the FBC’s fantastical Oldest House headquarters are right on 33 Thomas Street, the real-life location of another infamous, windowless Brutalist New York skyscraper heavily rumored to be an NSA site. Rather than the actual act of surveillance, however, Control is far more interested in the ways that surveillance and bureaucracy have been normalized, again using the blurring of fiction and reality to explore how society has evolved to accommodate them more and more.


    Death Stranding: The Kotaku Review



    During my time reviewing Death Stranding, I had a relationship fall into disrepair. That my most valued personal connection frayed while playing a game that is ultimately about the bonds we make was not lost to me. Time and time again in Death Stranding, I wandered through harsh red deserts and snow-capped peaks with the mission of bringing people together. I crossed bridges left by strangers, trusting that the paths they had laid would bring me where I needed to go. Outside of the game, I was lost. What does it mean for a connection to unravel, like an old rope bridge across a ravine? What does it take to rebuild one?

    I don’t have answers to this. Death Stranding didn’t provide them. Instead, it insisted on a simple idea: that we are made strong by the grace and, more beautifully, the chance of others.



    The media drip for this videogame has been agonizing. Picture after picture of Hideo Kojima captioned with things like “togetherness” or Mads Mikkelson giving a blowie. There’s enough content in just the marketing of Death Stranding that we have all been playing the game since it was announced.


    How The Missing combines survival horror and puzzle platforming to capture queer hope



    Survival horror, as a subgenre, is meant to make you feel powerless. Resident Evil adds extra stress to already terrifying situations by forcing you to manage your inventory and make judgement calls about what will be most valuable to your continued existence. Outlast takes this even further by stripping away your ability to fight back. The illusion of safety provided by a handgun or knife is taken from you and it becomes a breathless struggle to stay alive when the only verbs available to you are run and hide. The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories from developer White Owls takes this notion and manages to make it more frightening yet more hopeful through its use of puzzle platforming mechanics.


    “My Cool Friend, Blood,” by Zack Kotzer



    People love Blood’s third level, “Phantom Express.” Seeing train tracks whip by like that in a ‘90s shooter was a tasty trick, but what stands out more is probably the dining car. You are handed a 60 second dual wield power up. The game so far has boxed you into rooms with three or so foes and few shotgun shells between them. Behind twin doors is a full social: Two bars facing each other. A dozen armed men in cloaks drowning their eldritch troubles in non-enchanted glasses of rye. You plop in. Blazing. Bouncing around the room like a pogo Neo. Mowing down as many cultists in one chamber as you’ve killed in the entire game. Bits of glass pop like confetti. Blood pisses out of their wounds like a cardiovascular sprinkler system. Their bodies fall into red pools with the sound of wet towels. (The first time I played this I cleared the room only to walk through the back door, slip off the end of the train and die. It happened the second time too. And the third. God, what a badass.)


    The Slow Burn Arthouse Horror of The Space Between


    Who's ready for a methodical, introspective drama that has horror elements!? WOOO!


    John Wick Hex and the Problems of Adaptation


    John Wick Hex is a game that admirably captures the essence of one of my favourite franchises through incredibly unique, sometimes fascinating mechanics. It represents a huge risk taken by a small team that I respect immensely. I also have zero fun actually playing it—let's talk about why that is.

    Support the show on Patreon - http://patreon.com/writingongames


    Session Is More Than Just Skate 4 // HeavyEyed


    Skateboarding games have been kind of an empty genre as of late, with all the anticipation for EA's Skate 4, Session has come along to challenge the throne for the best skating game.

    Skate 2 and THPS footage from World of Longplays

    patreon// https://www.patreon.com/heavyeyed


    How Does the Blair Witch Game Compare to the Movies? [SPOILERS]


    This is a video critique of the 2019 Blair Witch game. It looks at how it interacts with and draws from the trilogy of movies that came before it, and what the Blair Witch aesthetic might be all about. Full spoilers for all movies and the game itself.

    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


    The Making of Ecco the Dolphin


    This episode is centered around one of SEGA's more unique series: Ecco the Dolphin.

    Support the channel: All your views, likes comments and shares are really appreciated! My making of videos are part of bigger project. I set up a patreon for those who would like to financially support it: https://www.patreon.com/strafefox


    The World Design of Hollow Knight | Boss Keys


    Hollow Knight takes place in the sprawling kingdom of Hallownest: an underground ant's nest of forests, mines, basins, and waterways. In this episode of Boss Keys, I look at the shape, structure, and sequence of exploring this masterpiece game.

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


    Noclip Podcast #13 - Horror Game Spooktacular


    Come with us on a horrifying video game adventure and Danny & Jeremy discuss the Noclip community's spookiest experiences. Featuring chat about PT, Dead Space, Fatal Frame, Alone in the Dark, Condemned, Ecco the Dolphin for some reason, and much more.


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