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    This Week In Gaming 2-11-20


    Peter Tieryas on the lessons games taught him about robots and revolutions, dreamboum's thread on the technical and narrative achievements of Vagrant Story, Kimchica looks at the top 10 indie games released in January, Paranoia Happiness is Mandatory removed from store for unknown reason, Jay Castello looks into gaming's use of internet grammar, Denuvo DRM removed from Devil May Cry 5, New Frame Plus explains why the limited animations of the Phoenix Wright series are so effective, Jennifer Scheurle on how to be heard by developers, Anthem is being redesigned and a new expansion hopes to revive The Division 2, Steven Messner covers the government regulations and sudden market shifts threaten China's growing indie scene, Jim Sterling covers how the industry withholds crediting (while not crediting anyone writing the articles he references), Spider-Man developers want people to know how games are written, 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)


    Commanding Armies And 7 More Changes In Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous (PC Gameplay)


    Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is the next game from Owlcat Games, following Pathfinder: Kingmaker. And it’s not a simple sequel, giving you an army to manage, mythic paths to shape your hero (including a necromancy-loving Lich) and an epic crusade against a demonic force. We talk through the biggest changes and show some new Pathfinder: Wrath of the righteous gameplay.


    With a key development staff exodus, System Shock 3 could be in trouble



    System Shock 3 could be in serious trouble, with claims surfacing that much of the game’s development team has left the project and its developer, OtherSide Entertainment.


    Nioh 2 Has More Of What Fans Want


    We recently got hands-on time with Nioh 2 and saw just how much has changed with the upcoming prequel. Check out some new yokai powers, exploration, advanced combat mechanics, and a boss fight against Shibata Katsuie who dual-wields axes and has a fiery companion. Nioh 2 will release March 13th exclusively on the Playstation 4.

    Nioh 2 interview – Team Ninja’s fight to return as one of the great Japanese action game studios


    Yosuke Hayashi is excited about the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. “I want to go see the Olympics in person but getting the tickets is just so hard,” he tells me while balling his fists in front of his face. His eagerness for the international sports event may be on par with everyone else in Japan given that the country is hosting it this year. But, as the president of Team Ninja, Hayashi has a vested interest.


    The Bulletstorm gang are showing more of Outriders, their new shooter


    Following a terse announcement last E3, People Can Fly and Square Enix have started gabbing more about their new cooperative “RPG shooter”, Outriders. Parts look gruff and grim and in a too-familiar way, a bit too mid-noughties, but then someone gets murdered so hard with blue beams that they’re left a big ol’ dancing skeleton and ah gwan I’ll not rush to judge. I’ll cut People Can Fly a lot of leeway after their sweary trickshot FPS Bulletstorm and its disinteskellies.


    Tears of Avia Will Take People on a New Tactical Adventure in 2020


    PQube will be publishing Coo Coo Squeaky’s upcoming strategy-RPG on the Xbox One and PC. Tears of Avia is on the way. This adventure will take people into a world called Estera. As expected from a tactical game, it is at war, and players’ actions and party composition will determine which endings you could possibly earn.


    Space Channel 5 VR Will Release in North America on February 25; Japan and Europe February 26, 2020


    Grounding Inc. announced that Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! will release for PlayStation 4 on February 25-26.


    Check Out The Gameplay Trailer For Undungeon, A Colorful Pixel-Art Action/RPG


    After making its way through Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter in early 2017, Laughing Machines' Undungeon is gearing up for a 2020 release. Laughing Machines and publisher tinyBuild today released a gameplay trailer that shows off combat and some of the RPG systems for this stunning hand-drawn pixel-art game.


    Picross mystery puzzler Murder By Numbers is coming in March


    Honor’s boss is dead and she’s the primary suspect for foul play, meaning it’s time to roll up her sleeves and catch the real murderer. Unfortunately, Honor’s no detective, she just plays one on TV. Therein’s the setup for Murder By Numbers but it’s nowhere near as grim as it sounds because it also has a healthy coat of neon 90s paint. Folks wear pumps and watch CRT televisions, and squad cars have actual cord phones as depicted in the new last century-style animated trailer for the mystery puzzle game.


    This tactical RPG mixes real-time combat and rewinding to make you a time traveling mage


    Iron Danger's time manipulation tools look like video editing software, but with more spells and daggers.


    Northgard developer's new co-op survival game, Darksburg, is launching on Early Access


    Northgard developer Shiro Games is swapping vikings for zombies in its latest game, Darksburg, which you'll be able to drag out of its grave and play with soon. It's getting an Early Access launch on February 12, and in the meantime you can watch the new trailer.


    Soldat is getting a sequel, and both are coming to Steam


    Classic multiplayer shooter Soldat is making an unexpected return, leaping out of the early 2000s and onto Steam, accompanied by and even bigger surprise: a proper sequel. Both are due out this year.


    New Trailer For Bloodroots Reveals A February 28 Release Date


    In Paper Cult's Bloodroots, you can knock all of the blood out of someone's body with one good whack of a carrot. Need I say more? This wildly violent action game is releasing on Switch, PlayStation 4, and the Epic Games Store on February 28.


    TT Isle of Man 2 releases next month, so here's a lengthy gameplay video


    TT Isle of Man is a 2018 bike racing sim based on the real life annual race of the same name. I'm no expert when it comes to bikes or racing, but Wikipedia calls it "one of the most dangerous racing events in the world", probably because the near 40 miles long Snaefell Mountain Course is very windy.


    In Other Waters invites you to map out alien seas this Spring


    Lurking in the deepest depths since its successful Kickstarter campaign wrapped up in 2018, extraterrestrial xeno-biologist In Other Waters will finally surface on Steam later this Spring. Captained by developer Gareth Damian Martin and a crew of collaborators, In Other Waters doesn’t let you go on a Subnautica-style ocean romp yourself. You’re an AI pilot on that diver’s back, guiding them through alien seas, plotting their trajectory, and making sure they don’t drown through a delightfully stylish interface.


    What's New in MLB The Show 20


    MLB The Show gameplay designer Ramone Russell walks us through some of the new changes to defense in the 2020 edition of PlayStation's long-running, popular simulation baseball series.

    MLB The Show 20 will be available for PS4 and PS4 Pro on March 17.


    Elephant mom game Shelter 3 gets a sweet new teaser video


    If you don’t know it, Shelter 3 is the in development sequel to Might And Delight’s series of animal mom games. Shelter 1 started out with a mother badger protecting her babies. Shelter 2 featured a mother lynx and her cubs. Shelter 3 will have you play as a mother elephant shepherding whatever their babies are called. Calves? I’ll go with calves. News on Shelter 3 was light while Might And Delight worked to crowdfund their other project Book Of Travels. They’ve returned with a new teaser trailer and revised release schedule for the mother-tusking sequel.


    China’s indie scene is flourishing, so here are 6 Chinese indie games to look out for in 2020



    In December 2019, China’s indie scene was out in full force at WePlay in Shanghai, arguably the most significant developer-focused event in the country. Paired with the China Indie Game Alliance (CiGA) conference, the annual convention is a highlight for the mainland’s relatively young game scene.


    Wounded, intoxicated, and covered in leeches: a normal day in Stoneshard


    Imagine you're a fantasy adventurer with all the physical attributes you actually have right now. Would you be able to slay a pack of rabid wolves and murder a camp of bandits? Or would you get smacked in the head once by a drunk guy in the forest, collapse into a heap of snot and blood, and cry until you blacked out? That's Stoneshard.


    Mutant Year Zero developer unveils tactical stealth-action game Corruption 2029


    Developer The Bearded Ladies' 2018 effort Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden was a bit of a tactical treat, combining X-COM-like strategy with a wonderfully engaging cast of post-apocalyptic misfits. And it looks like the studio is preparing to do it all again in its latest endeavour, Corruption 2029 - only this time without the anthropomorphic beasts.


    She Dreams Elsewhere is The First Game That Feels Made Specifically for Me



    She Dreams Elsewhere could be the perfect video game for me on a personal and emotional level, and I just want to play the full game already.


    Bleeding Edge – here’s a look at Daemon’s abilities and supers


    This video for the Bleeding Edge character Daemon provides a look at the character’s abilities, supers, specials and just general tips and tricks on using him.


    Flippin' good platformer Dandara expands with Trials of Fear


    Motion sickness warning ahead. Dandara‘s disorienting world is about to get dizzier. Developers Long Hat House this week announced a new Trials of Fear Edition. Arriving “soon”, the new edition bulks out Dandara’s upside-down metroidvania sprawl, adding new regions, new bosses, and a revitalised story to give more gravitas to your gravity-defying antics. Just remember to take deep breaths and make sure you’re drinking enough water.


    Ubisoft Reveals A Surprise Division 2 Expansion 'Warlords of New York' That Is Designed To Revive The Game


    The makers of The Division 2 have waited until nearly the last possible moment to give their frustrated player base a heap of potentially good news. After spending weeks failing to announce a release date for an expected small extension to the game, they’re revealing today that that mini-expansion—a free, two-mission excursion to Brooklyn’s Coney Island—is but a prelude to much more content, which is all coming out less than three weeks later.


    Children Of Morta Adds Hard Mode, New Enemies, And More In Free Update


    Developer Dead Mage and publisher 11 bit studios today released the first free update for Children of Morta for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Dubbed the "Shrine of Challenge," this update introduces a Hard mode with increased enemy damage and health. Players that take on these foes will gain larger experience point rewards.


    Anthem's Seasons Are Put on Hold as It Undergoes "Substantial Revision"



    It's been less than a year since Anthem's launch, but BioWare's flying looter shooter hasn't fared well. Following reports of a larger revision and a lackluster launch for its first major update, BioWare has confirmed that Anthem is going back to the drawing board.


    Capcom removes Denuvo DRM from Devil May Cry 5



    It appears as though Capcom has removed the controversial Denuvo DRM from Devil May Cry 5, just shy of a year after its initial PC launch.


    Epic Games Store exclusive disappears and no one is saying why



    The only way to play the game at this time is to purchase a key from Humble or some other online store, and redeem said key on the Epic launcher. The game’s official Twitter has no mention of this, neither do the official channels for co-developer Cyanide, or publisher Bigben Interactive.


    2K Silicon Valley Studio Becomes 31st Union



    2K has announced that internal developer 2K Silicon Valley will now be known as 31st Union, with progress already underway on an unannounced new IP.


    Pokémon Sword and Shield leaker outed, blacklisted by Nintendo



    Portuguese website FNintendo has issued an apology


    EA have price hiked a bunch of their games on Steam



    On Wednesday, EA raised the prices for a large portion of their game catalog on Steam. The increases seem to have affected most regional currencies outside the United States. Price changes are inconsistent, with some regions seeing small increases and others being slapped with 300% price hikes on certain games.


    Britain's Game Workers Are Largely White, Middle Class, and Depressed



    A survey of UK game developers reveals class stagnation and a stressed workforce.


    With no profit motive, new kids' mobile IP from BBC focuses on a "safe gaming experience"



    A luxury not afforded to most developers yields interesting results, as state-funded broadcaster puts its own spin on mobile gaming


    Between censorship and Steam, Chinese indie developers are hanging by a thread



    How government regulations and sudden market shifts threaten China's growing indie scene.




    Granblue Fantasy Versus Player Gleefully Wrecks The Competition



    There’s nothing better in fighting games than completely getting one over on a fellow player, especially if they have no idea how to counter whatever attack or strategy you throw their way. Granblue Fantasy Versus, which launched earlier this week, lends itself to these kinds of situations simply because of how new it is, and one competitor at a recent tournament took advantage of every opportunity he had to rub his opponent’s lack of knowledge in their face.


    Why The Paris Overwatch League Team Is Based Out Of New Jersey This Season



    After two seasons in Burbank, California, the Overwatch League has finally achieved its goal of scattering teams across the globe to their various home cities. Well, mostly. Paris Eternal, somewhat conspicuously, is operating out of New Jersey. New Jersey, in case you’re from a non-Earth planet, is not in France.


    Japanese Dragon Ball FighterZ Finals Competitor Wins Over French Crowd



    The Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour finals concluded with a Big Bang Attack this past weekend in Paris, France, capping off a months-long season of competition in the popular three-on-three fighting game. The bracket was mostly decided beforehand, but one Japanese competitor was given an eleventh-hour opportunity to slip in by way of a last chance qualifier held right before the finals, leading to his adoption in the hearts of the mostly French crowd.


    US Navy enters the esports scene with ESL North America and Dreamhack deal



    The Navy has as much right to promote itself as Official Festival Co-Partner Monster Energy, I suppose, and it's arguable that the deal isn't fundamentally different from the US Air Force flyovers at mainstream sports events that we all take for granted. But there's an overtness to this effort (the Navy will also be the first-ever "presenting partner" of Dreamhack's BYOC tournament at Anaheim and Dallas, with "officers engaging with BYOC-ers all weekend") that I find uncomfortable. Once military branding and personnel are directly involved, particularly with young gamers, you've moved beyond marching bands and flag-waving into active recruitment.


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


    The Brutal Lessons Gaming Taught Me About Revolutions, Robots, And War



    Metal Gear Solid 2 was the game that got me thinking about how governmental structures will use AI to control the masses and reality itself. Throughout the game, Raiden is constantly uncertain what is real and what isn’t. Even his memories appear to be fabricated. The AI system, GW, is implementing a “Selection for Society Sanity.” The game directly asks, if all information is digitized, then how do you filter it in a discernible way? Does truth even have significance when it can be manipulated so easily? In comparison, Big Brother from 1984 next to GW seems like an Atari next to a Playstation 4. The question of evolution in a digitized society also comes into play. What will future generations think of our own and how will they parse it when everything can be stored? To a person reading our history a thousand years later, would they even be able tell the difference between “fake news” and real events when both are preserved indiscriminately? I remember the moment I finished Metal Gear Solid 2, I couldn’t move, floored by the questions the game asked. I wondered for a while what humanity’s legacy would be.


    Games Are Discovering an Expressive New Tool: Internet Grammar



    Internet grammar is Good. “It’s hard to convey meaning over text!!!” people complain, which is true, but in the last decade or so we’ve been getting soooo much better at it. People who are chronically Online know what it means when I capitalize the first letter of that word, or when i don’t capitalize that pronoun referring to myself. They might not be able to express it; it’s more of a feeling. Over time we’ve developed ways to get across nuance, emulating what would otherwise be conveyed by our tone of voice and body language. Mostly we do it by breaking—and then rewriting—the rules.


    How to be heard by game developers



    The right way, and wrong way, to give feedback about your favorite games


    It's not easy being green: a brief history of orcs in video games



    As far as I knew at 10 years old, no-one had 'invented' orcs. They just were. Like giants, fairies, or dragons. I'd fought them in HeroQuest, all protruding lower canines and piercing red eyes, brandishing meat cleavers and falchions above their heads. I'd defended castles from them in the Dungeons & Dragons board game DragonStrike. I'd even controlled orcish warriors and catapults and giant snapping turtles in Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness. I didn't have the language for it at the time, but I'd placed orcs in the realm of folklore, a part of our collective storytelling public domain. That is, until my Year Five teacher jokingly called a story I'd written a 'Tolkien rip-off' and lent me her personal, faded hardcover of The Hobbit. It was, I thought at the time, even cooler than C.S Lewis. It had bigger battles. Dragons. Gollum. And a lot more orcs.


    'Spider-Man' Developers Want More People to Know How Games Are Written



    A 240-page script book is an attempt to demise one part of the messy,confusing creative process that results in a video game.





    In 2000, a man named Will Wright built a small, flat garden, and he built houses of all shapes to decorate it and large swaths of land begging to be filled, and he made it green and wonderful, and he gave it music and language. He was its Creator, but he made me its God. He said, “Go play in my garden.” And, using His divine tools, I sculpted two Sims out of pixels so I could later watch them do WooHoo.


    Does Cliff Bleszinski Understand Why 'LawBreakers' Bombed?



    The game designer published an Instagram post suggesting "hackey politics" contributed to the game's failure. But it's simpler than that.


    The creators of Kentucky Route Zero open up about the ending of their game



    After nearly a decade of development, the team at Cardboard Computer brings closure to one of the decade’s best games


    Meet the musicians who compose in Mario Paint



    If you go to YouTube and search “Mario Paint Composer,” you’ll be treated to a variety of quirky remixed music. Some of the best tracks sound as if the original song was put through a chiptune music filter and uploaded, staying incredibly faithful to their source material. Mario Paint remixes, however, are not simply chiptune remixes. Composers have to deal with an unusual set of tools, including weird limits on notes and tempos, barking 16-bit dogs, and more in order to create their music. It’s a challenge to create music with these strange rules in place, but the challenge is what brings these composers to the medium in the first place.


    Lost Odyssey Brilliantly Explores The Tragedy Of Being Immortal



    Last month, I wrote about the first leg of Lost Odyssey and how much I was enjoying it. The second disc and first half of the third have been even better. The worldbuilding is mysterious and intriguing, with each new section making me want to know more about the immortals I’m playing as. The narrative gets richer with each new set piece, the bond the characters have growing as they face off against enemies that come in a variety of forms.


    The technical achievement of Vagrant Story



    Why the Unexplained Unreality of Death Stranding’s America Is So Frustrating



    In the face of uncertainty “hot takes” provide us with a sense of stability and legibility, but what if we refused aggressive interpretations without grounding?


    IndieWatch: Top 10 "Don't Miss" Indie Games (January 2020)


    With so many indie games releasing, it can be hard to know what to focus on! Here are the 10 titles that really resonated with me during the month of January!


    Halo Reach: An Existential Dread


    I have an intimate connection with some of Halo Reach's thematic beats, so how about we break down what it all means?

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


    Why Does Celeste Make Us Feel Anxious?


    Support me on Patreon!:https://www.patreon.com/ArchitectofGames

    Nintendo are the kings of making fun, expressive platformers - but Mario's dominance has meant that his fun-first design has overshadowed different kinds of platformers, and that's a shame! Fear, stress, anxiety, frustration - all of these things can be used as the core emotion to build a game around, and doing this can lead to some great experiences - but how? and why? The Architect is going to double-jump their way into some tricky platformers to find out the answers to exactly those questions.


    The Animation of Phoenix Wright


    A professional animator explains what makes the extremely limited animation in the Ace Attorney series so effective.

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


    Games as Lit. 101 - Designing Awe in Titanfall 2


    Not enough people remember how great Titanfall 2 was. Among its many accomplishments, it used a very well crafted first level to inspire the type of awe the series had always had at its heart but never had a chance to effectively set up. Let's look at how!

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


    Dynamic Music in Video Games | How Game Designers Create Interactive Music with Play and Sound


    I have an intimate connection with some of Halo Reach's thematic beats, so how about we break down what it all means?


    7 Forgotten Ideas That Inspired Shovel Knight | Audio Logs


    From Zelda II to Dark Souls, David D'Angelo from Yacht Club Games walks us through seven obscure game mechanics that inspired Shovel Knight: Shovel Of Hope.


    Credit Where Credit's Due (The Jimquisition)



    Credit. When people work on something, it's only right to expect those people get credit. Unfortunately, the videogame industry is a wasteland of sleaze, and companies seem to think credit is optional. XSEED caused a fuss last year by claiming it was policy not to credit workers who have left the company, even if their work is part of the game. While the studio's tone deaf nonsense turned heads, it's far from the only company that doesn't give proper acknowledgement. Withholding credit is another example of how the game industry mistreats people simply because it can get away with it. It's unfair leverage to make an unrepresented workforce compliant. Crediting standards need to be enforced, because non-negotiable enforcement is all the game industry seems to respect.

    An important topic, though it was pointed out that Jim rarely credits anything and didn't credit any of the articles he referenced in this very video.


    The Auteur Myth | So You Wanna Be A Game Designer? (#11)


    A lot of times, game creation is attributed to just a single person. This point of view not only doesn't show how games are actually created, but it can also be unfair and harmful. In this video we will discuss why.

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


    From Lionheads & Sackboys to Knights & Bikes (Rex Crowle) - Noclip Podcast #24


    Become a PATRON to unlock more videos https://www.patreon.com/noclip

    We sit down with storied British developer Rex Crowle to talk about his early career at Lionheads and Media Molecule, and why he left it all to make more personal games with friends.

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