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    This Week In Gaming 12-18-18


    Epic store to make use of free to use cross platform tools for cross platform logins and cloud saves, Steve Gaynor starts thread leading to many game development stories filled with unusual workarounds, Discord store to offer developers a 90/10 revenue split, top Riot executive suspended over multiple misconduct violations, Kotaku's series of articles on the state of the industry, RagnarRox's Journey Through Rule of Rose, Will Partin's Artifact review describing it as Steam in a game instead of a game on Steam, Game Score Fanfare on the hype of Octopath Traveler's boss battles, Seva Kritskiy and Nadia M on the importance of The Missing, Arthur Gies and Clayton Ashley on the painted world of Red Dead Redemption 2, Micah Edmonds on Tomb Raider and Self Hate, HeavyEyed on The Cultural Impact of Tony Hawks Pro Skater, 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)


    Don't Expect The Outer Worlds To Be As Gigantic As Fallout: New Vegas



    The Outer Worlds, the next game from the developers at Obsidian, might be the game I’m most excited for in 2019. Helmed by the original creators of Fallout, it appears poised to be the New Vegas successor that everyone has wanted for years. Just don’t expect it to be quite as vast.

    You can’t have sex with your companions in The Outer Worlds


    Obsidian’s upcoming sci-fi RPG, The Outer Worlds, was revealed at The Game Awards last week. If you’ve not set eyes on the game just yet, it’s something of an homage to the Fallout series, developed by some of the series’ original creators and by the team who made Fallout: New Vegas. It does, however, differ from the rest of the series in one key regard – you won’t be able to get down and dirty with your companions.


    Druidstone: The Secret Of The Menhir Forest is making me take RPG battles seriously


    The last thing I was expecting Druidstone: The Secret Of The Menhir Forest to remind me of was a deck-builder. Not least because it doesn’t feature any decks. And yet, there’s something about this deeply tactical isometric RPG, from Legend Of Grimrock’s creators, that contains the same spirit of gradually gaining a deeper and more refined understanding of a limited set of tools, through repeated failure, and incremental improvement.


    Unheard's "Acoustic Detectives" are great listeners


    They say that justice is blind, but it’s just the detectives in Unheard, a recently announced “audio driven detective game” from NEXT Studios. Looking a bit like a 2D take on Return of The Obra Dinn with a dash of nineties psychic detective TV, players are out to solve a series of seemingly unrelated but linked crimes by listening in on the past. Unlike Obra Dinn, you’ve only got one sense this time, plus a blueprint map of the crime scene and a list of potential names to attach to the voices you hear. The game launches next month – take a look (and listen) at the debut trailer within.


    Planetside Arena, featuring battle royale and a 250v250 mode, arrives in January


    More modes like capture the flag and team deathmatch planned for later seasons, says Daybreak Game Company.

    The full PlanetSide Arena interview: can the quintessential MMO shooter go battle royale?


    The next PlanetSide will be a battle royale. It’s not a surprise, exactly – developer Daybreak Games has had a foot in the genre since PlayerUnknown himself designed a proto-PUBG mode for H1Z1. It makes sense that the studio would want to leverage its successful FPS series for the same purpose.


    Arc System Works is making a Granblue Fantasy fighting game


    Big news in the world of Granblue Fantasy: Arc System Works is making a Granblue Fantasy fighting game, and Platinum's PlayStation 4 Granblue Fantasy action RPG has resurfaced with new gameplay footage.


    Pagan Online's MOBA-inspired action RPG combat in action


    We’ve got our fist look at Pagan Online in action, Wargaming and Mad Head Games’s MOBA-inspired action RPG. Far from the over-the-top heavy metal fantasy excess of its debut trailer, I feel that Pagan Online looks rather restrained compared to Diablo 3, and definitely less wild than Path Of Exile’s massive monster-swarms. Mad Head Games also talk of players building up a stable of unique characters (another MOBA-like element), instead of spending ages tweaking character builds on a single hero. Take a peek at a bit of hacking, slashing and avoiding AoE markers below.


    Pillars of Eternity 2 will still come to consoles, including Switch, in 2019



    Then Microsoft bought developer Obsidian in November, throwing the whole thing into question. Would Pillars 2 still come out on console? Would it still come out on non-Microsoft consoles? We haven't had a definitive answer until now.


    The Latest Devil May Cry 5 Trailer Focuses On V’s Summoning Abilities


    A new Devil May Cry 5 trailer has been released, and V gets to be the star. As a reminder, this is the character being introduced to the game who has been a bit of a mystery so far. In the new footage, we get to see him making good use of his three summons in battle and learn a little more about who he is.


    Degrees of Separation ‘Features’ trailer


    Publisher Modus Games and developer Moondrop have released a new trailer for Degrees of Separation introducing the 2D puzzle platformer’s features.


    Metro Exodus - Title Sequence (Official 4K)


    Created by Elastic.tv, the award winning makers of some of the most iconic title sequences of recent years including Game of Thrones and Westworld, this beautiful introduction to the game is set to an original score by Metro series composer Alexey Omelchuk.


    Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal launches January 22, 2019 in North America


    Following its European release date announcement this morning, XSEED Games has announced that Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal will launch for both PlayStation 4 and PC on January 22, 2019.


    Escape From Tarkov team barrages YouTuber with DMCA takedowns over `misinformation`



    The confrontation between Battlestate and Eroktic stems from what the developer says was a pair of inaccurate video claiming that user information, including passwords and personal information, had been leaked from the company databases. Battlestate claims the misinformation was damaging to the company, and had to be dealt with quickly.

    Battlestate said that while misinformation was only part of several of those videos, “negative hype” was present in all of them. For that reason alone, they say they are justified in executing the takedown claims.


    Marvel’s Spider-Man’s Silver Linings DLC releases next week


    After an acclaimed debut in September and two fairly well-received DLCs, Marvel’s Spider-Man’s tenure is coming to a close next week. The third and final story DLC known as Silver Linings will release on December 21st, 2018 and conclude the ongoing saga between the web-head and Hammerhead’s dispute for control over The City That Never Sleeps.


    Dishonored 2 update adds new modes and removes Denuvo



    Dishonored 2 and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider both got updates this week, and it’s good news. First off, the patch removes Denuvo anti-tamper tech from both games, which anti-DRM advocates will be happy to hear. Second, both games have new modes to play in – although there’s a teensy catch.


    Civilization 6 expansion adds Canada and all things Canadian


    Canada is bringing good government, courteous and neighbourly behaviour, and ice hockey to Civilization 6 with Wilfrid Laurier, the nation’s seventh prime minister and one of its greatest statesmen, as a playable leader.

    The Inca return in Civ 6: Gathering Storm to build a mountain empire


    The Inca will make their return to Civilization with February’s Gathering Storm expansion. Led once again by Pachacuti, the Inca can make use of mountains like no-one else.


    Battlefield 5 TTK will revert to normal tomorrow – “Clearly we didn’t get it right”



    Battlefield V’s TTK changes haven’t been taken well by the community, and DICE will revert all those adjustments back in tomorrow’s update. “After rolling out those changes last week, we’ve listened to your feedback, reviewed our statistical data, and have made the decision to return to the original TTK values seen at launch.”


    Street Fighter V adds adverts


    Capcom have added in-game adverts to Street Fighter V, slapping logos onto characters’ costumes, loading screens, and arenas. These ads are optional, are currently only for in-game content and Capcom’s own Pro Tour digital sports circuit, and do offer players a little in-game cash for having them enabled. They also look daft as all heck, covering characters in ugly and incongruous logos, and are an unwelcome intrusion in a game which still costs money to buy.


    Beat the 'crunch': new union for video games workers launches



    Game Workers Unite UK will take aim at unpaid overtime, racism and sexism in sector


    Epic to roll out free cross-platform online services for all through 2019



    Epic Games – they of Fortnite, Unreal Engine, and the recently-launched Epic Games Store – have announced that they’ll be rolling out a suite of services and tools (as used in Fortnite) to help studios bridge the gap between platforms. Epic recently made waves by getting Sony to reverse their policy on cross-platform play, and have since resumed uniting Fortnite players and accounts across all systems. Epic say the services will be “free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores”, which sounds brill, and should help more players get together across age-old boundaries, assuming developers choose to use them.

    Why even avid Steam gamers should celebrate Epic's new store


    The announcement from Epic has quickly focused my mind on just how different things could be in the future. If we released Battalion 1944 on the Epic Store and, let's say for argument's sake, sold the same amount of copies we've shifted on Steam, we would have amassed an additional $350,000 we could put back into the game's development.


    Discord’s store offers devs 90% revenue because “it doesn’t cost 30% to distribute games”



    The digital gaming storefront arms race is hotting up. Earlier today, the developers of VOIP app Discord announced that they are changing their storefront to offer a 90% revenue share to the developer, taking only 10% for themselves, as well as allowing developers of any size the opportunity to self-publish via the storefront.


    Hajime Tabata Talks About His Departure From Square Enix, More On His New Company JP Games



    After his departure from Square Enix, Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata started his own company called JP Games, which he talked about during an end-of-year NicoNico live stream with guest developers.


    Get free Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on PC for testing Google’s Project Stream



    If you sign up for and participate in Project Stream — Google’s foray into a streaming video game service, which launched a test back in October — you can get a free copy of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to keep, on PC.


    Top Riot Executive Suspended Without Pay Following Investigation Over Workplace Misconduct



    Earlier this week, Riot’s CEO sent an e-mail to employees describing the punishment its COO, Scott Gelb, will face after multiple employees alleged that, as a comedy bit, he has repeatedly touched subordinates’ balls or butt or farted in their faces. Several employees tell Kotaku that his punishment—two months of unpaid leave and training—is far from satisfactory.


    Twitch Sale Of Curse Media Will Combine Two Popular Gaming Wikis



    Gamepedia also has autoplaying video units, but in the form of Twitch livestreams embedded at the bottom of its wiki pages. In October, Kotaku reported that Gamepedia may have been inflating some channels’ Twitch views by embedding livestreams on their much-trafficked wiki pages. A couple of livestreams saw their viewer count inflated by 700-800% because of these Gamepedia embeds. One streamer, SirSlaw, said his views were one inflated by 2,156% because of Gamepedia. These views appeared superficial—while they aren’t botted, and are initiated by humans, these humans may not have been actually viewing the livestreams as they browsed the Gamepedia pages they were embedded in.


    343 Industries head Bonnie Ross to be inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame



    The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences has announced that Bonnie Ross, Microsoft corporate vice president and founder of current Halo dev 343 Industries, will be the 23rd inductee into the AIAS Hall of Fame this coming February


    Fresh Prince's Alfonso Ribeiro Is Suing Fortnite Over The Carlton Dance




    Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is suing Epic over Fortnite’s replication of his trademark dance move. He’s also suing 2K for doing the same thing in their basketball series.



    Activision halts auction of Leisure Suit Larry’s source code despite not owning the IP



    “He received a letter from an outside law firm hired by Activision that ordered him to take it down. He said in the letter Activision understood they don’t own the IP to LSL but that the source code probably contained shared code to King’s Quest and Space Quest. For that reason they sent him the letter.

    “Al and I agreed that he was right,” Matthews says, “but by the time you hire an attorney to prove you’re right, it would have cost more than what he would have got from the auctions.”


    Infinity Ward evacuated its office this morning because of a bomb threat



    The threat could be connected to multiple others placed today, each demanding $20,000 ransom in Bitcoin.


    Esports News


    Blizzard scales back Heroes of the Storm development, cancels 2019 esports events



    “[A]fter looking at all of our priorities and options in light of the change with the game, the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm will not return in 2019,” Blizzard said. “This was another very difficult decision for us to make. The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.”


    Electronic Arts Hires New Head of Esports Commercialization



    In an effort to stimulate its Competitive Gaming Division, Electronic Arts Database-Link-e1521645463907 this week announced the hiring of Paul Johnson as its new head of commercialization for esports.


    Street Fighter V Competitors Carry An Otherwise Messy Capcom Cup



    Capcom Cup wrapped up a year of Street Fighter V over the weekend with an explosive grand finals match between Japanese powerhouses Kanamori “Gachikun” Tsunehori and Hiromiki “Itabashi Zangief” Kumada. The players were incredible, but the tournament itself was a bewildering mishmash of poor scheduling and tiresome padding that unfortunately encapsulates the issues with Street Fighter V and its official competition thus far. It fell to the competitors themselves to make up for Capcom’s shortcomings.


    Japan’s Esports Market Sees Substantial Growth in 2018



    Japan has seen impressive growth in its esports market in 2018, according to a local industry survey, with the domestic scene growing to ¥4.8 billion ($42.3M), a figure 13 times that of the previous year. The research comes from a report that was published by Famitsu magazine publisher Gzbrain.


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


    Shareware Heroes



    How the golden age of shareware subverted, shook up, and reshaped the video game industry, and kept independent game development alive.


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


    The State Of PC Gaming In 2018



    While this has allowed for plenty of innovation and experimentation over the years, in 2018 Steam—with its clutter and toxicity issues—has become less of a conduit and more of an impediment for smaller developers. Bigger companies like Bethesda and Activision, meanwhile, have realized they can create mini-platforms of their own, and many games—whether we’re talking behemoths like League of Legends and Fortnite or behemoths-in-the-making like Warframe and Path of Exile—have become platforms unto themselves.

    The State Of The PS4 In 2018


    The PlayStation 4 remains a top-flight gaming platform as it wraps up its fifth year and enters a 2019 sure to be full of PS5 rumors, interesting exclusive games, and the possible launch of the most-requested feature in PlayStation Network history.

    The State Of Xbox One In 2018


    In sports they call it a rebuilding year. Xbox One has had a few of those recently, but it’s an especially appropriate description of the console’s 2018. This wasn’t a year for new hardware nor a major blockbuster exclusive game. The most exciting announcement to come out of Microsoft was the news that it is acquiring game studios and setting itself up for many more exclusive games in the years to come.

    The State Of The Nintendo Switch In 2018


    When the Switch burst onto the scene in 2017, it could seemingly do no wrong. It was the new kid on the block: young and cool, with an air of mystery and excitement. So it goes with most new game consoles. In 2018, Switch hit the ol’ sophomore slump, with lesser games and ports filling its lineup as we continue to wait for the next batch of all-new megahits. This, too, is typical of consoles. While the Switch didn’t have many home runs in 2018, it did have some doubles and triples.

    The State Of Nintendo 3DS In 2018


    At this time last year, I predicted that the aging Nintendo 3DS would probably be sent to its grave after Christmas 2018. Recent events have caused me to reconsider. I am now here to argue that you should prepare for the Nintendo 3DS to stay alive for a couple more years at least—if you can truly call its fate “living.”

    The State Of Twitch In 2018


    By pretty much every measure that matters, 2018 has been Twitch’s biggest year ever. Already a force in the gaming world, Fortnite helped catapult the streaming platform into the mainstream. There were big moments, bigger numbers, and of course, lots of growing pains.

    The State Of Fandom In 2018


    In 2018, the meaning of fandom is in flux. The relationship between fans and creators is in some ways more tense than ever before, even while fandom itself has reached a point where a simple piece of fanart can become an international sensation overnight.


    *Press A* 2018 ~ The Year’s Best Videogame Soundtracks



    This year the proliferation of unique styles and new approaches to old genres brought videogame soundtracks to what is perhaps a new high in quality and thought. From niche to popular composers, classical traditions to synthwave, everything we celebrate from 2018 bears the mark of being distinct – whether a modern spin on old, or just modern.


    People of the Year: Rami Ismail



    To begin to understand, you can look to this year's Game Developers Conference, where Ismail received the Ambassador award. However, while that honour arrived in 2018, it was in recognition of years of diligent and selfless effort. This effort manifests in a variety of ways, but they are all unified by Ismail's desire for the games industry to be a more open and accessible environment to all people, regardless of the size of their bank balance, the breadth of their experience, or, crucially, the countries and cultures with which they identify.

    People of the Year: Phil Spencer


    "It has been a transformational year for Xbox on many fronts," says Spencer. "We advanced our position with Xbox Game Pass by making our first-party content available in the service at launch, and added seven studios to Microsoft Studios, bringing new talent and new perspective. I'm incredibly proud of the team for delivering the Xbox Adaptive Controller to make gaming accessible to people with limited mobility and also our vision to make gaming accessible in new ways to more people with Project xCloud. With that said, we have much we want to accomplish and our entire team is excited about the year ahead."

    GamesIndustry.biz presents... The Year In Numbers 2018


    The global games market value, most watched YouTube videos, biggest mobile games and more


    In 2018, Video Game Developers Took Unionization Seriously



    In a year filled with debate about work-life balance, crunch culture, and "passion," the first steps towards developer organization are finally being taken.


    Making a game in the world’s busiest crosswalk: The story behind 428



    The recent U.S. release of the acclaimed Japanese visual novel 428: Shibuya Scramble represents the culmination of years of work


    Invisible washing machines and squirrel timers: developers reveal their weirdest game dev tricks


    As of writing, his tweet has more than 750 replies, including from the developers of Baldur’s Gate, Ultima Online, Telltale's The Walking Dead, Arma and Firewatch. The responses will make you realise just how creative developers have to get to solve major issues, as well as how far they're willing to go to hide the inner workings of their games from the player.


    Character Models


    Amid Talk of Violent Influence, Video Games as Therapy Often Goes Unnoticed



    For decades, the industry has been pointed to as a scapegoat for real-world crimes, but its potential to heal rarely gets the same attention.


    The painted world of Red Dead Redemption 2



    Rockstar’s newest game goes beyond other games and movies to find a new variety of visual inspiration


    Cancer, OCD, Spider-Man & Me



    Maybe it’s because I’m a member of the game press, or maybe it’s because I’m pretentious, but I don’t look to videogames for escapism. Like books, movies or music, I play games to engage with them mentally (which, admittedly, can be hard because most games are stupid). Spider-Man, though, was different. Maybe it’s because it came out during the darkest part of my life thus far, but it was escapism for me. I don’t necessarily think the game breaks any new ground in terms of storytelling for games, nor do I think it has anything profound to say, and I think that’s fine. Because sometimes you just need a fucking break. Sometimes you don’t need to be challenged, sometimes you just need to drown out all the noise.


    On The Missing and what we choose to ignore



    Because if we play AAA games to enjoy polished mechanics while ignoring some of their terrible politics, we should play and celebrate games like The Missing for their beauty, for their humanity, for their politics – while ignoring the at times frustrating mechanics.

    The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Ownership of Identity


    Just the act of writing this piece has made my appreciation for The Missing grow even larger. It’s such a tremendous game, and it does things with heart and a confidence that most video games can barely come close to.


    'Artifact' Isn't a Game on Steam, It's Steam in a Game



    If you’re interested in understanding Valve, and, how, in turn, this led them to make Artifact the way they did, you need to look at the history and, in particular, its knack for finding novel ways to make money. Valve—which is not publicly traded, maintains one of the smallest workforces of any firm of its prestige, and is thought to have the highest profit per employee of any American company—is not like other game companies, and operates according to a different, but specific, set of principles. That fact makes Valve both fascinating and predictable.


    Gris mirrors the stages of grief through art, sound and design



    In grief, our words fail us. We’re alone, at a loss for language to communicate our suffering. Devolver Digital’s latest title Gris turns that wordless pain into a vivid journey, presenting a world devoid of color and voice as a metaphor for loss. With a harmonious blend of thoughtful game mechanics, dazzling art and carefully crafted sound design, Gris’ protagonist maintains a sense of tenacity in the face of darkness. Even as I saw black tendrils literally swallowing her whole, the game encourages finding a voice in the face of despair.

    Wot I Think: Gris


    Matthew played a preview of Gris and loved it, and John played a longer preview build of Gris and found it beautiful but empty. And after playing the full review build, wot I think is that it is empty, but I don’t mind that. It’s so beautiful that it functions as a thing just to be looked at, and that works even in the empty bits.

    My problem is that at times Gris‘s beauty is terribly, painfully obvious.


    A Journey Through Rule of Rose | Monsters of the Week


    Follow me on a deep journey through the 2006 PS2 survival horror title Rule of Rose. 

    Support me on Patreon: http://ragnarrox.com/patreon/


    How Octopath Traveler Hypes its Boss Battles | Game Score Fanfare


    Octopath Traveler is a game full of good ideas. One you may not have noticed though is how it uses music to build excitement going into the boss battles. Let's explore Octopath's clever trick that made its boss battles so hype. 

    Support Game Score Fanfare on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/gamescorefanfare


    How Octopath Traveler Changes Key


    The full-on key change isn't all that common in modern music, and game music is no exception. So I was surprised and intrigued when I listened through Octopath Traveler's soundtrack and heard key change after key change popping up throughout the entire thing. The soundtrack ended up being a perfect example to use to talk about different ways that composers change keys, and that's what I explore in this video. Enjoy!

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


    How Return of the Obra Dinn Works | Game Maker's Toolkit


    The most fascinating game of 2018 looks like a relic from the early days of Mac gaming, comes from the dude who made Papers, Please, and is the best detective game I’ve played so far.

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


    Games as Lit. 101 - Literary Analysis: The World Ends With You (Part 3 - Week 2)


    Neku's second game is a bit more complicated than the last one. Mostly because of Joshua. Ugh. Joshua.

    Enjoy the series? Support it on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/gamesaslit101


    How Red Dead Redemption 2's landscapes are connected to 19th century art


    Rockstar says Red Dead Redemption 2 wasn't specifically inspired by the art of the Hudson River School of Art (or anything else for that matter), and yet... they look a lot a like. Why is that?


    Kevin VanOrd - From Games Journalism to Game Development | Gameumentary Extended


    We talk to former Gamespot reviews editor, Kevin VanOrd, about making the move from games journalism to actual game development.


    The Cultural Impact of Tony Hawks Pro Skater // HeavyEyed


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

    Tony Hawks Pro Skater impacted a lot of peoples lives for many reasons, not least of which, was it's soundtrack. Let's talk about how it all happened.


    Staying With Power: 35 Years of NES History - Museum Tour


    Helping plan and curate the museum at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo was one of my favorite things I’ve done this year. This video is the guided tour that we never quite got to give — with lots of history and extra information. I also included a bit about our planning process and challenges we faced at the end if that sort of thing interests you. Thank you so much for watching!


    Celeste: The Story of Matt Thorson (Matt Makes Games)


    Celeste is a true example of what can happen when you take a hard trial, and turn it into a force for good.


    50 Best Out of Bounds Discoveries from 30 Nintendo Games


    Celebrate 100 episodes of Boundary Break with the most essential variety episode the channel has ever produced! All 8 generations of Nintendo video games!


    Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


    Random Randomizers Randomizing Random Things Randomly - Design Documentary


    Well this is... random? That's exactly right! Today we're taking a look at the world of Randomizers! Though what exactly is a Randomizer and what does it have anything to do with game design? And is SoberDwarf trapped in a world where he loses his own identity? Find out in this episode of Design Documentaries!

    Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/TheSoberDwarf


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


    The voices of Liquid and Solid Snake reunite to perform The Night Before Metal Gear


    Hideo Kojima may have replaced David Hayter in Metal Gear Solid 5, but he'll never replace him in our hearts. We haven't heard much of Snake's true voice in the past few years, and if I had to guess how I'd next hear it, "reading a Metal Gear-inspired version of The Night Before Christmas" would not have been my first guess. But here we are.

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