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    This Week In Gaming 12-4-18


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    Gameumentary's documentary on the making of Divinity Original Sin 2, Nintendo ends its Creator Program, Laura Kate Dale reports on how disabled gamers feel about the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Esteban Martinez's Noclip documentary on Team Spooky and fighting game tournaments, MechWarrior 5 and Resident Evil 2 previews, James Holland covers how FIFA is ideal for teaching mental health patients about resilience, Steam reveals new revenue program that favors AAA publishers over indie developers while Epic announces store that it will give 88% of revenue to developers, Jeremy Parish on how Ultima 4 and Wasteland ushered in an era of maturity in RPGs, The Gaming Historian tells The Story of Punch-Out, Obsidian's next game to be announced at Game Awards, Gamestop posts another loss for last quarter, 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)

     

    Obsidian's next RPG will be announced at The Game Awards

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    Ten new games will be revealed to the world at the upcoming Game Awards, and one of them will be the next new game from Pillars of Eternity studio Obsidian Entertainment.

     

    Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - Diplomacy Gameplay Reveal (Part 2)

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    THREE KINGDOMS introduces the biggest update to Total War’s diplomacy system in the history of the series. Diplomacy is now a more subtle and powerful tool of statecraft than ever before, enabling players to build relations, manipulate opinion, form coalitions and mighty alliances, trade territory, and broker power across the campaign map in their rise to the throne.

    Total War: Three Kingdom’s latest general is axe-wielding bandit queen Jiang Zheng

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    Creative Assembly has just released a new cinematic trailer for Total War: Three Kingdoms, introducing bandit queen Zheng Jiang. While the rest of the major players CA’s upcoming strategy game are vying for supremacy, Zheng Jiang wants to see the Chinese dynasties burned to the ground.

     

    MechWarrior 5 will release in September 2019

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    After being delayed nearly a year, MechWarrior 5 gets a new release date—and it's looking great too.

    How MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries’ creators plan to rearm the series

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    For all the propulsive destruction and pinpoint gunplay of acclaimed shooters like Call of Duty or Counter-Strike, they don’t let you experience the physicality or limitations of a soldier’s body. You might as well be a floating gun, for the most part. When you step into the pilot’s seat in Piranha Games’ upcoming MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, however, you feel every tonne of the giant robot you control: smashing your way through buildings with comic ease, lurching around drunkenly as you take a full five seconds to change your heading while rockets detonate against your flank.

     

    Resident Evil 2's remake reveals its biggest star

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    New enemies, new details and more from an extended hands-on.

    Resident Evil 2’s horrible humans are more disgusting than its monsters

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    The Resident Evil 2 remake brings its most horrific characters to life by learning lessons from the success of Resident Evil 7

     

    Story comes first in the making of Cyberpunk 2077

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    We speak to CD Projekt Red about the granular details of 2018's biggest reveal.

     

    Rust studio go turn-based tactical with Clatter next month

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    Facepunch Studios may be best known for Garry’s Mod and Rust but for years they’ve experimented with other games, and another is about ready to launch. The turn-based tactical robotfights of Clatter will arrive in December, Facepunch have announced, sending bots to bash each other to bits in arena battles. Facepunch say the focus is multiplayer but it will have a singleplayer career mode too, and it all looks a little something like this…

     

    Hell Let Loose gameplay trailer showcases 'authentic' WWII combat

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    We haven't heard from the WWII multiplayer FPS Hell Let Loose since October 2017, when it launched a $100,000 Kickstarter to help get it across the finish line. It ended up drawing in more than double that amount, and today the developers announced that it will launch on Steam Early Access in January 2019.

     

    New games: Later Alligator is an animated adventure about New York City and reptiles

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    It’s always refreshing to see something that looks completely unlike anything else out there, and Later Alligator falls directly into that category. It’s an upcoming game by indie developers Pillowfight Games (Heaven Will Be Mine) and SmallBu Animation Studio, who have done work on Adventure Time and the “Baman Piderman” web series.

     

    Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden's new character is a stone cold fox

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    Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is the XCOM-style "tactical adventure" with the wisecracking duck and the angry pig. But they're not the only heavily-armed mutant animal weirdos in town. Funcom dropped a new trailer today that reveals the game's third fur-and-gun-bearing character, a stone cold fox who goes by the name Farrow.

     

    Tekken 7 - Negan Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer | TWT 2018

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    Negan gameplay has been revealed for Tekken 7 at the Tekken World Tour 2018. Take a look a The Walking Dead character in action as he recreates the tragic Glenn scene in this trailer.

    TEKKEN 7 - Season Pass 2 Reveal: Craig Marduk | PS4, X1, PC

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    "I WILL CRUSH YOU!" Feel the explosive energy of Craig Marduk's violent power with your own hands when he gets added to the Season Pass 2 roster.

    TEKKEN 7 - Season Pass 2 Reveal: Armor King | PS4, X1, PC

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    Masked in mystery, Armor King rises to the ring with fearless confidence.

     

    Big Changes Coming To Battlefield 5 | Weapon Balance Dec 4th Patch

    Delayed Battlefield 5 Update Releases Tomorrow

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    After a day's delay Battlefield 5's first major content update for the Tides of War will launch tomorrow and will include a new story mode and multiplayer map.

     

    The Nintendo Creators Program draws to a close this December

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    This move is big news for monetization of videos with Nintendo content

     

    Brenda Romero, Jade Raymond and Fumito Ueda to be honoured at Fun & Serious Festival 2018

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    Bilbao event will also host two days of talks from Rare, Ubisoft, Tencent, Women in Games, and more

     

    Ubisoft acquires server company i3D.net

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    Publisher hopes to strengthen online and multiplayer experiences with help of Dutch provider

     

    Games Done Quick 'Indefinitely' Splits With Speedrunners Over Sexist And Transphobic Comments

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    In other screenshots, the two—along with a handful of other people—discussed everything from Jordan Peterson to women’s role in society (care-giving, of course) to the “Jewish question,” referring to rhetoric used by the Nazis in the early 1900s.

     

    Bethesda bans Fallout 76 players for life after shocking in-game homophobic attack

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    Fallout 76 employs a proximity-based chat system which means, by default, you can speak to and hear other players when you're near them. This is by design - Fallout 76 is a multiplayer-only game that is meant to spark interesting player interaction.

    $200 Fallout 76 Edition Promised Fancy Bag, Delivers Nylon Trash Instead

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    The $200 Power Armor edition of Fallout 76 promised fans a load of stuff, including what looked like a very nice canvas bag. Which they didn’t end up getting, because between announcing the bundle and shipping it Bethesda pulled a lil’ switcheroo.

    UPDATE: BETHESDA TO REPLACE NYLON BAGS WITH PROMISED CANVAS BAGS FOR OWNERS OF FALLOUT 76'S $200 POWER ARMOR EDITION

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    Bethesda has confirmed that it is "finalizing manufacturing plans for replacement canvas bags for the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition."

     

    New Revenue Share Tiers and other updates to the Steam Distribution Agreement

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    Today, we updated the Steam Distribution Agreement with several important changes. Actual Authority members can review all the terms and details with their next login in to Steamworks but we wanted to highlight a few of the changes\additions in this note.

    Fortnite maker Epic takes on Steam with its own PC games store

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    And it'll give 88% of revenue to developers.

     

    IGDA calls for industry action on loot boxes

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    Developer group says publishers should clearly disclose odds, commit to not marketing loot boxes to children

     

    Starbreeze CEO departs as company files for administration

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    Starbreeze has filed for administration after the underwhelming launch of Overkill's The Walking Dead left the company in dire financial straits.

     

    GameStop posts $488 million loss for last quarter

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    Every year, publishers reveal figures on physical and digital game sales. While in 2013 physical sales were going strong, digital sales have slowly taken over and now account for a massive chunk of the market. In many cases, certain developers — like those behind Earthfall — are releasing cheaper digital copies on platforms like the the Microsoft Store. It's hard to deny that there is a massive shift.

     

    Tumblr to Ban All Adult Content in a Blow to NSFW Video Game Fandoms

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    The news of Tumblr's adult content ban will take a toll on these fandoms as many artists published fanart and fanfiction based around different video games. Artists, some of whom work in games and some who have art blogs on Tumblr, have decried Tumblr's latest decision as it's also taking action against otherwise legal, and some say progressive, erotica.

     

    No-deal Brexit would 'devastate' UK gaming industry, says report

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    Authors claim hard Brexit or no deal threatens videogaming’s status as British success story

     

    Account boosting in Korea could soon land you in jail

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    Account boosting could soon become illegal in South Korea. An amendment to the “Law on Game Business Development” bill was first proposed earlier this summer, and has now passed the National Assembly Legislation Review Committee, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.

     

    Chinese Gamers are More Competitive and Completionist, More Homogeneous in Gaming Motivations Than US Gamers

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    In one of these projects, we used the Gamer Motivation Model as part of a larger study to create a player segmentation of Chinese gamers. This serendipitously allowed us to compare US and Chinese gamers, and explore how gaming motivations vary across cultures.

     

    Esports News

     

    A high school CS:GO team has accidentally ended up in a pro Rainbow Six tournament

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    Since its launch in 2015, Rainbow Six Siege has developed a pretty successful esports scene. The game’s Pro League features several veteran organisations, while the finals – which took place in Brazil – saw teams from across the world fighting it out for a $275,000 prize pool. That’s why the latest entrants to the tournament taking place at Dreamhack Winter this weekend are so surprising.

     

    Fanatics Signs Major Multi-Year Overwatch League Merch Deal

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    The Overwatch League Monday unveiled a multi-year deal with licensed sports merchandiser Fanatics for the company to handle all fan gear sold across retail and wholesale channels worldwide. The deal also has Fanatics creating a dedicated website for Overwatch League gear and working with Activision Blizzard to create new gear and license out to other third-party companies.

     

    The best Tekken player in the world is a panda

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    A panda won the Tekken World Tour grand finals this weekend, rampaging through its opponents with all the anti-human rage you might expect of an endangered species. I say “panda”, I mean professional fighterman Hyeon-ho Jeong of South Korea, aka ‘Rangchu’, who mauled his way through the top 20 Tekken 7 players in the world using the black-eyed animal as a fighty pal. Eventually, ‘Rangchu’ faced off against Byung-moon Son, better known as ‘Qudans’, last year’s champion and fierce Devil Jin puppeteer. For the Tekken illiterate out there, Panda is generally seen as one of the weakest characters, since she is big and bulky enough to get hit in instances where normal-sized characters won’t. Whereas Devil Jin is seen as a top tier fighter worthy of many chef kisses. Tekken veteran ‘Qudans’ was also 3rd in the standings going into the contest, while ‘Rangchu’ was 13th, making him and his animal friend the definite underdogs.

     

    After Dota 2 Team Fails To Ban One Of Its Players, Valve Does It For Them

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    Yesterday, professional Dota 2 player Carlo “Kuku” Palad was banned from a major tournament due to making what were seen as racist comments in a match last month. Prior to this move, Dota developer Valve had condemned Palad’s behavior but refused to inject itself directly into the matter, calling instead on teams to dole out the proper punishments themselves. Valve’s eventual intervention shows how untenable that approach was.

     

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

     

    Two Months On, Here's How Disabled Gamers Feel About the Xbox Adaptive Controller

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    Back in September, Microsoft made history with the first mass-market video game controller designed with disabled gamers first and foremost in mind. The Xbox Adaptive Controller, which won this year's Golden Joystick award for best innovation, was developed in conjunction with the charity Special Effect (which has spent years designing bespoke controller solutions for gamers with unique needs), and the design's guiding principle was accessibility and flexibility. A device that could work for and adapt to as many gamers as possible.

     

    Developer Shows How To Write Good Game Dialogue Using Blade Runner

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    At last month’s AdventureX 2018 conference, game developer and Inkle Studios co-founder Jon Ingold offered a practical skills workshop about writing better dialogue for games. It involved a lot of Blade Runner.

     

    THE GAME STORE THAT OUTSHINES STEAM BY STAYING SMALL AND WEIRD

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    Leaf Corcoran would rather you didn’t compare Itch.io, his digital marketplace that currently houses around 120,000 games, to Steam, the leading video games distribution platform on PC. “We’re a tiny company, the kinds of games and service are definitely different,” Corcoran tells The Verge. “I like the idea of us providing an alternative thing.”

     

    Kotaku Reporting

     

    Inside Livestreamfail, The Controversial Forum That Fuels Twitch Drama

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    With nearly 400,000 subscribers, Livestreamfail has become one of the biggest external hubs for Twitch content. Maybe even the biggest. Users generally post short clips of funny, embarrassing, or otherwise notable moments from Twitch and other streaming services. If a Livestreamfail posts gets popular, that usually results in a bigger audience for the streamer in question, sometimes permanently. For big streamers and smaller streamers alike, Livestreamfail is a megaphone—even when they don’t want it to be.

     

    Yasuhiko Fujii – 2007 Developer Interview

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    originally featured in the book “game shokunin vol. 1”

     

    It turns out FIFA is ideal for teaching mental health patients about resilience

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    A mental health unit looks just like a run-down Travelodge. It's a quiet place for people to get respite from unfair, unstable, unsupported lives, somewhere to learn some sustainable coping strategies. I worked in this unique setting for quite a few years, and it was there that I learned how FIFA can build resilience.

     

    One Designer's 15-Year Journey to Ship The 'Doom' Mod He Started as a Teen

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    At 14 years old, 'Total Chaos' was an experiment. By 2018, Sam Prebble was haunted by an attempt to push, pull, and break John Carmack's engine in ways it was never intended.

     

    Red Dead Redemption 2's Redface Proves How Far Games Haven't Come

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    Blackface and redface have been an unfortunate constant, particularly in what is currently called America, for centuries. From its inseparability from 19th century American theater to later Hollywood films, (usually, but not exclusively) white actors have been pretending to be Black and Indigenous, typically as radically offensive stereotypes. Now, with digitally created characters, we’ve shifted from the makeup and costuming to their CG counterparts. Mocap actors inhabit and voice constructs of Blackness and Indigeneity. It’s a violence that continues to dehumanize and perpetuate racist ideas about people of color.

    On Voice Acting and Diversity

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    I have often heard voice acting being described as a sort of great equalizer for actors – whereas Hollywood acting notably lacks in diversity and has only recently seen an uptick in actors from different ethnic minorities, voice acting is supposed to be for everyone, since all you need is your voice. Generally, voice actors are seen as the normal people among actors, more down to earth than their on-camera counterparts and generally the folks who are “just happy to be here”. Actors like Nolan North, Troy Baker and James Arnold Taylor run YouTube channels, and everyone always speaks well of their profession on Talkin’ Toons, a podcast on the Nerdist network hosted by voice actor Rob Paulsen.

     

    A Stairway To The Unconscious — Thief: The Dark Project, 20 Years Later

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    Sometimes you have to wonder if people who are predisposed to violence don’t at least partially get it from how monotonous and uninspired the design of our buildings and public spaces are. A lot of life is filled with small compromises we don’t even know we’re making, and our architecture reflects that. The blandness of so much of day-to-day life feels like a testament to the failure to dream of something bigger. A nondescript place of your own must have once been a big dream to escape the horrors of the past. But in the modern era, those spaces have become their own places of horror.

    Thief: The Dark Project is 20 years old, and that makes me feel the following emotions

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    In 2007, I was in a bar in Soho. I was waiting to order a drink. Two guys in their early twenties were standing next to me. They were gamers. One was talking loudly about an old guy he had befriended. “He bought a Commodore 64 the day it came out” he said, with clear wonder and delight, “I have a friend… from back in time.”

     

    “My Life Didn’t Begin Until The World Ended” — Sunset Overdrive and the post-apocalyptic identity

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    Sunset Overdrive is the kind of game we don’t get anymore despite the fact that Fortnite, the biggest game in the world right now, bears more than a passing resemblance. It’s the kind of loud, brash game that you’d expect from a California studio filled with 30-something men, men who had just spent the last few years developing Fuse. Fuse was the result of their irreverent second-coming being ground into a dull grey paste by their publisher, EA. There’s even a side-quest where you face off against waves of corporate robots spouting focus-group jargon, as you violently refute arguments that seem extremely familiar to the writers. It’s welcome in a warm, fuzzy, “don’t think about it too hard” sort of way. I grew up playing Insomniac’s “irreverent” games; the ones where they named each sequel with a “B-Sharps”-level pun about butts. But any game, even one where dying gets you a joke and fast-travel just means getting drunk, can’t just be irreverent without a point of view.

     

    “Women Out of Date,” by Esther Wright

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    With Sadie newly widowed and now rescued, this scene provides Red Dead Redemption 2’s opening with a dramatic crescendo, but I felt as though I’d been completely mis-sold. Then again, I was hardly shocked. It might seem like such a basic thing to say that the representation of women in Rockstar’s games is usually bleak at best. It’s taken for granted that it’s never done with particular nuance, while masculinity is always their guiding star. But it seems to me that for all the talk of how “realistic” this game is, or how historically “authentic” the world feels, the way it features women’s histories has barely been given a passing glance; odd when I seem to have read so many comments about horse testicles. And there’s much at stake when a game desires to be as resolutely historical as this one, and when Rockstar now seems to have won the authority to tell “authentic” stories about America’s past.

    The Cynical Politics of Red Dead Redemption 2’s Symbolic Violence

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    Of course, there is no violence in games, only the representation of violence. There is no moral judgement to be made on a player’s acts, as there is no physical harm, no assault, no death. But that does not mean that videogame violence is without meaning, in fact it reveals the opposite: it is nothing but meaning. In Gamer Theory, Wark astutely points this out when writing about the human simulations of The Sims video game series: ‘They are images. They are images in a world that appears as a vast accumulation of images. Hence the pleasure in destroying images, to demonstrate again and again their worthlessness. They can mean anything and nothing.’ That widely shared footage of KKK members being killed in Red Dead Redemption 2 is exactly that, the symbolic destruction of an image. Videogame violence, like any other action in a game, has no inherent values, no ‘natural’ state, only the symbolic and arbitrary ones we assign. Because of this, however, its purely symbolic manifestations can carry incredible power.

    The meaning of death and Red Dead Redemption 2

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    Video games are nothing if not weird. They love to tell us our playable character has “died” when the character’s life-bar has depleted, whereas the characters are just temporarily unavailable until we reload a checkpoint or saved game. Most of the time, the stories do not bend or adjust to your character’s death, but fade into the background into some temporary purgatory, awaiting your Divine-like intervention to resurrect that status of the games’ universe moments or minutes before the playable character’s demise. The Souls’ games love to scream “YOU DIED!” when you are murdered by some monster, but it should rather say “YOU’RE INCONVENIENCED!”. Indeed, upon reload, we come back smarter, more prepared for that which ended our character.

    The irony of Red Dead Redemption 2’s themes

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    Red Dead Redemption 2 is a story about change. Sure, other themes are swirling around its narrative stew, but change and the refusal to adapt to change are at its core. It’s the central conflict of the characters. Dutch Van Der Linde, leader of the gang of outlaws, goes to extreme lengths to escape the rampant wave of “progress” that is exterminating his way of life; The growth of civilisation encroaching on what was once a “free” land in which people could do what they wanted without bureaucratic repercussions. For the most part, the story succeeds. RDR 2 is a fantastic tragedy of characters so stuck in their ways that they refuse to accept that things have and are changing, being so rigid in their ideals that they can’t see past the harm they’re doing to themselves and others.

    “The Daguerreotype, Real,” by Julie Muncy

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    Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game obsessed with how best to present itself. With a multitude of camera options in both first- and third-person, the optimal way to play Rockstar’s cowboy opus seems to be with a degree of anxiety, switching between perspectives to find the right fit for every activity: a close, first-person gaze for a nasty gunfight, a wide distanced perspective for a train robbery, a sweeping long view for a sleepy horse ride back to camp. It communicates a fear of missing out. Sure, you’re watching the scene play out, but is there a better way?

     

    The Emotionless Death Throes of 'Battlefield V'

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    In that sense, while Caprazo’s outstretched arm is something to be seen in the third person by the film viewer, the death animation in Battlefield V is meant to be experienced by the game player. The pleading screams and the reaching and the yearning are not for anyone else. They’re for you to sit with or to reject in your rush to get to another life. They are meant to be personal, but they’re also applied to everyone equally. We all die sometimes in Battlefield V.

     

    The Bizarre Animation of MR. GAME & WATCH - New Frame Plus

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    How does Mr. Game & Watch's animation even WORK? Learn how Smash Bros pulled inspiration from old tech to bring this bizarre character to life.

     

    The Making of Divinity: Original Sin 2 | Gameumentary

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    Our second documentary on Larian Studios takes a deep dive into the development of Divinity: Original Sin 2.

    Watch our Divinity: Original Sin Documentary to get the full story on Larian Studios and everything that lead to Original Sin.

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

     

    STAY FREE: The Team Spooky Story - FGC Documentary

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    Victor "Spooky" Fontañez used to spend his weekends running fighting game tournaments on the literal streets of New York City. In this documentary we explore his rise to prominence and the pivotal role of the Fighting Game Community in the rise of video game live streaming.

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

     

    The Story of Punch-Out!! | Gaming Historian

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    A documentary detailing the complete history of Nintendo's Punch-Out!! video game series. In 1983, Nintendo had a problem: They had too many arcade monitors. Rather than toss them, they made a new game that could use 2 monitors. That game was Punch-Out!!, one of Nintendo's most beloved franchises.

    Support the show on Patreonhttps://goo.gl/pQaU9N

     

    The Magic of Super Smash Bros and Pro Wrestling | Psych of Play

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    The goal of pro wrestling, if you happen to run a wrestling promotion, is to create something called “the pop”, a moment when the crowd loses their minds and gets excited all at once. And although wrestling is fake, it manages to do that on a consistent basis. But what factors go into creating those spectacular moments? How can you hold the audience in the palm of your hand like that? Pro wrestling is good at making those moments, but so is Super Smash Bros. The anticipation, the history, the buildup, the timing; these are just a few things that make smash reveals so special and how Smash bros makes a few pops of their own, just like pro wrestling. This, is the smash effect.

     

    God of War - Dealing With Disappointment (Spoilers!)

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    Writing an analysis on God of War turned out to be the hardest essay I’ve written all year, but it revealed to me why Kratos has so much difficulty talking to his son about his past, and why it’s so important that he does.

     

    The AI of Tom Clancy's The Division Part 1: Enemy AI Design | AI and Games

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    In part 1 of my analysis of Tom Clancy's The Division, I look at the AI systems built to create enemy combatants and the design philosophies that drove them.

    AI and Games is a crowdfunded show and wouldn't be possible wthout the wonderful people who support it on Patreon. Learn more about the making of this video, get notes from my research and video prep over on patreon now: https://www.patreon.com/posts/ai-of-tom-part-1-22940065

     

    Game Boy Advance: First Person Shooter Ports | Punching Weight [SSFF]

    Quote

    It is estimated that there over a 1000 games made for Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. No idea was too ridiculous for the GBA, except for maybe one — First Person Shooters. Despite hundreds and hundreds of games, there are only 13 FPS’s on the GBA and we’re gonna cover every last one! Welcome to PART ONE of our ode to GBA First Person Shooters, and in this episode it’s all about the ports!

    Support us on Patreon!http://bit.ly/SSFFpatreon

     

    The Horror of Universal Paperclips and Space Engine

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    This universe ain't big enough for the two of us, partner

     

    Playing with Pride: When Game Culture and LGBTQ Culture Collide

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    In this 2018 GDC talk, documentarian Matt Baume introduces game developers to a wide array of LGBTQ players to help them better understand the wants, needs, and challenges of people who play video games in the LGBTQ community.

     

    Classic Game Postmortem: The Bard's Tale I and II

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    In this 2018 GDC postmortem, Michael Cranford shares the vision that led him to the conception of The Bard's Tale series, walking through the design and development decisions inspired by his years as a dungeon master.

     

    Things I Missed From Previous Weeks

     

    How Ultima 4 and Wasteland Ushered in a New Era of Maturity for RPGs

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    HISTORY OF RPGS | Inside Ultima 4 and Wasteland, two critical attempts to bring meaning to the genre of RPGs.

     



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