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    This Week In Gaming 2-25-20


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    Mitchell F Wolfe's in-depth look at the first level of Donkey Kong Country and interview with one of the game's designers, DavidOZ celebrates the games that made him love games, Jessica Price's thread on why it's important for designers to have interests outside games, Benjamin Burns shares the story of the Atari Jaguar savior that never came, Stephen K. Hirst remembers the original Dragon Quest, Lilly on the fiction of No More Heroes and how the commonly viewed theme of futility misses an important aspect of the game's narrative, Colin Campbell interviews Gamestop employees about increasing pressure they are under from desperate bosses, Ashley considers the depiction and cultural view of an often used type of female character by looking at Estelle from Tales of Vesperia, Stephen Mansfield contrasts the righteous anger of the violent and musical Ape Out with Hotline Miami, Cameron Kunzelman on the legacy of Heavy Rain's approach to design, 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)

     

    Xbox Series X will have many of PC gaming’s best features

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    Microsoft makes pro-consumer announcements, and all eyes are now on Sony

     

    Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord will be available in Early Access on March 31

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    More information about what to expect from Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord in Early Access will be shared shortly before the release, but at least you will finally be able to get your hands on it.

     

    Private Division moves Kerbal Space Program 2 development to new, internal studio

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    Jeremy Ables, other KSP2 leads join Private Division, but former developer Star Theory's status is unknown

     

    Chivalry 2 - Official Trailer

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    Get a look at the trailer for the multiplayer first-person slasher inspired by epic medieval movie battles. Chivalry 2 is a continuation of the narrative of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.

    Chivalry 2 gameplay and hands-on impressions

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    The sequel to the medieval warfare trendsetter comes out swinging.

     

    World of Horror is a gruesome adventure game inspired by the work of Junji Ito

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    Crawling out from the text adventure depths is World of Horror, an game inspired by the body horror of Junji Ito and the cosmic unknown of HP Lovecraft. This 1-bit horror game takes place in a small Japanese seaside town where doom and terror are seeping into the homes of the unsuspecting residents.

    World of Horror is a creepy, retro, and completely hypnotic horror game

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    Little is more terrifying than the unknown and the inevitable. The combination permeates the work of horror authors H.P. Lovecraft and Junji Ito, whose characters are driven to invariably horrible ends by mystifying forces, whether they’re an alien meteor or a rock full of human-shaped holes.

     

    Warhammer 40k: Dakka Sqaudron lets you become the “Ork flyboy” you’ve always dreamed of

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    If you’re a Warhammer 40k fan, you’re in luck – there’s a new PC title inspired by Games Workshop’s miniature wargame on the way – and it’s all about Orks. And planes. And fighting. Oh my!

     

    Animal Crossing: New Horizons Marks Nintendo’s Next Step Toward Inclusivity

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    One has to wonder why, since the series’ inception in 2001, this is the first mainline entry in which you can customize your skin tone. Animal Crossing’s history with race has been troubled, to say the least. The only way you could have darker skin is if you stayed out in the sun for hours during the summer. Since Animal Crossing’s clock operates in real-time, this means that they were hours in the real world, too. Eventually, your character’s skin tone would turn brown — but only for a short while before reverting back to its… natural state. There was no other way to be brown or black in a mainline Animal Crossing game. It took until Happy Home Designer in 2015 for the feature to be in an installment in the series at all. That it took over a decade for an extremely large and diverse portion of the world to be able to create characters that even closely resemble us is still astounding to think about.

     

    Othercide - Official Reveal Trailer | PAX East 2020

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    Command an army of Daughters, haunting echoes of the greatest warrior to ever live, in deadly battles against horrific dread creatures and bosses birthed from the worst of humanity's crimes. The gothic tactical RPG releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in summer 2020.

     

    10 Best And Worst Resident Evil 3 Remake Features | Resident Evil 3 Demo Impressions

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    Resident Evil 3 Remake screenshots got everyone talking, but we’ve now played a few hours of the game to bring you our full Resident Evil 3 demo impressions. We also squeezed in a bit of Resident Evil Resistance - the new multiplayer mode - to take a look at the complete package. Is Nemesis still scary stuff? Here are the 10 best and worst features.

    Resident Evil 3 Remake Vs. Original Gameplay Comparison

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    Raccoon City has never looked more terrifying! Check out our side-by-side comparison of the original 1999 title vs the 2020 remake.

     

     

    Samurai Jack Video Game Announced for PC, PS4, Xbox, and Switch

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    Adult Swim Games and Japanese developer Soleil Games have announced a brand new video game based on the hit animated series, Samurai Jack. IGN has the exclusive first trailer for Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time which is coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch this summer.

     

    The next chapter of Indigenous representation in video games

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    In practice, this means he’s using the grant to launch Northern Plains Games — a video game studio located on the Cheyenne River Reservation — with the intent to develop games made by, about, and for Indigenous people. Tipi Kaga is the studio’s first game, and is designed to teach conversational Lakota by having players build a traditional Lakota tipi in real time, with instructions spoken in Lakota.

     

    Streets of Rage 4 - Official Floyd Iraia Trailer

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    The latest Streets of Rage 4 trailer features Floyd Iraia and announces an offline co-op mode.

     

    Cyberpunk 2077 supports Xbox One and Series X cross-buy

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    This is the first third-party studio to confirm support for the Xbox One/Series X cross-buy program. For its part, Microsoft confirmed that any game exclusive it publishes will automatically use this feature.

     

    Population Zero - Official Steam Announcement Trailer

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    The exploration-survival MMO, set in the remote world of the alien planet Kepler, heads to Steam Early Access on May 5, 2020.

     

    World of Tanks devs’ new shooter, Caliber, comes West – closed beta sign-ups open now

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    The next big title from the people who brought you World of Tanks is Caliber. Wargaming has announced that the tactical shooter is coming to Europe after a lengthy stay of “rigorous testing” elsewhere; you can sign up to the game’s European closed beta here. For those in the United States, Wargaming tells PCGamesN that the region is the “next target for Caliber”.

     

    Adventure game Norco is a pixel art lover's dream

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    The upcoming game explores the "industrial swamplands and decaying suburbs of South Louisiana."

     

    Microsoft Flight Simulator has “37,000 manually edited airports”

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    Flight Simulator X featured an incredible 24,000 airports from around the world, but those locations merely served as the start for the upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator revival. The new sim will feature every single airport on Earth, the developers say, including 37,000 that have been hand-tweaked for playability and accuracy.

     

    The Gothic remake is going into full production following positive feedback

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    The recently-demoed Gothic remake will be moving forward.

     

    Temtem has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide, roadmap coming soon

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    Temtem, the massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure inspired by Pokemon, has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.

     

    PlayStation and Facebook cancel GDC appearances citing coronavirus concerns

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    PlayStation and Facebook Gaming/Oculus will not be attending this year's Game Developers Conference due to concerns around the novel coronavirus COVID19.

     

    Crytek's lawsuit against Star Citizen devs ends in settlement

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    Crytek and Star Citizen developers Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries have agreed to settle their years-long legal dispute, though terms of that arrangement remain unknown.

     

    Body Painting Streamer Banned For Nudity Despite Efforts To Stay Within Twitch's Rules

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    Twitch’s policies around content it deems “sexual” are inconsistently applied, but body painting—creating art using one’s face and torso as the canvas—doesn’t run afoul of them. Body painting even has its own official tag on the streaming platform. That, however, has not stopped Twitch from indefinitely suspending a streamer who says she was doing everything in her power to paint within its lines.

     

    Devotion, the Taiwanese game removed from Steam, is being preserved by Harvard

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    As well as Red Candle's previous game, Detention.

     

    Like Blizzard, Bethesda has pulled all but one of its games from GeForce Now

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    Bethesda has joined Activision Blizzard in removing (most) of its game library from Nvidia’s game streaming service, GeForce Now. Only Wolfenstein: Youngblood will remain on the platform for all members, with optional ray tracing for Founders members.

     

    Embracer Groups acquires Saber Interactive

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    Embracer Group, the parent company of THQ Nordic, has acquired Saber Interactive, the company announced. The acquisition includes all of the assets of Saber Interactive and related assets, including studios in Russia, Sweden, Belarus, Spain, and Portugal.

     

    The PS2 successor to Fire Emblem gets a long-awaited fan translation

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    Fan translations of beloved Japanese games have been landing left and right recently. In early February there was Goemon 3, a classic SNES game. Last week I wrote about Animal Forest e+, a Japanese-only enhanced Animal Crossing, getting close to a finished English patch. And now there's another big one: Berwick Saga, the little-known-in-the-west successor to Fire Emblem.

     

    Esports

     

    Rainbow Six Siege esports director wants to “eliminate toxicity”

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    We speak to the Rainbow Six Siege esports director Wei Yue about toxicity and creating a open and accessible ecosystem

     

    FIFA streamer banned from all EA games after “personal attacks” against the developers

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    In one example of Fenech’s comments, he called an opponent a “son of a bitch” who “can’t beat me, even on this piece of trash game” during a livestream, as IGN reports. Fenech added “Fuck you, EA,” and spat on a scarf which featured the publisher’s logo. After that incident, Fenech was banned from all FIFA esports competition.

     

    The Esports Empire You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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    Supercell’s mobile games may not garner the mainstream attention of other esports, but the competition is real and the stakes are high.

     

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

     

    Kickstarter workers vote to form first union in tech industry

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    The historic vote comes amid growing discontent among employees at technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft, who have started to organize.

     

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

     

    The story of the Atari Jaguar saviour that never came out

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    The year is 1994 and it's a typically bright morning in Sunnyvale, California. Chris Hudak is riding the Caltrain to work, powerbook in his lap, dozing in and out of consciousness. Arriving into the office sometime around noon, he rocks up at his cubicle and is approached by team leader and head designer BJ West. BJ has decided, in his capacity as captain, that his motley crew really need a staff meeting. Furthermore, he determines it would greatly improve morale if that meeting were to be held at the Brass Rail, a nearby strip joint. In the words of Hudak, they "all nod and gravely agree".

     

    Interests outside games

     

    A Timely and Momentous Defence of Girls

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    As much as these characters might land with a lot of this target demographic of young adult nerd boys wanting fantasy girlfriends, I saw and still see just as many who absolutely despise these characters (more than a little crossover between the two, of course). What I’m saying here is that it’s my belief that these characters appear to this audience as an expression of everything they hate about women – they see them as time-wasting, frivolous crybabies, people whose empathy and feeling makes them inconvenient and selfish. By extension, they also represent things that are hated about young people, and for this reactionary audience, traits they are desperate to separate from themselves: hesitant, lost, concerned with doing the right thing, needing help and so on.

     

    It's Way Too Easy For One Person To Review Bomb A Game On Metacritic

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    Earlier this week, members of the three-person game studio TurtleBlaze discovered their newest game, Kunai, had been inundated with what they claim were bogus negative scores. The game’s user score on Metacritic had sunk from a strong 8.1 to an atrocious 1.7, emblazoned in a bright red box for all to see.

     

    GameStop employees report extreme pressure from ‘desperate’ bosses

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    In multiple interviews with Polygon, store managers and staff speak of plummeting morale

     

    Corporate satire in games isn't funny anymore

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    The late-capitalist hellscapes that The Outer Worlds and Journey to the Savage Planet try to ridicule are not hypothetical situations lurking in the future. They exist today. As a result this satire just bounces harmlessly off its targets; it no longer has bite, and therefore, it isn't funny.

     

    The Outsize, Oft-Ignored Legacy of the Original Dragon Quest

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    Though overshadowed in the West by subsequent JRPGs, Yuji Horii’s NES classic remains an important trailblazer.

     

    LIFE AND CONCRETE

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    SKATEBOARDING is a videogame thing to me – a person who knows the woeful mix that bones, concrete and high impact speeds make. Never in a million years would I have ever tried to do this, if not for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Never the original though, I have more fond memories of Underground. As an instrument of pure fiction for me, that means somewhere right next to me it is the instigator of broken bones and even more broken dreams.

     

    Off to the Garden of Madness!: No More Heroes and F*cking Up At Dramatic Convention Like An Idiot

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    It’s important that Travis should earn all his baseless confidence from wrestlers and movies, because media as a whole is practically designed to train us to think in particular ways. Artistole’s foundational work in the Poetics laid out a form of drama which, as Augusto Boal puts it in Theatre of the Oppressed, “formulated a very powerful purgative system, the objective of which is to eliminate all that is not commonly accepted, including the revolution, before it takes place.” In more relevant terms; dramatic media uses its position to dictate what we see as “good” and “bad” in the real world itself by shaping its heroes and villains in a certain way, ecouraging us to idolise and aspire to these fictional apexes of good virtue.

     

    What Made People Think 'Heavy Rain' Was a Great Game

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    Vote with your wallet. Change the world. It’s hard to play the game now and read all of these Cage quotes and not feel ambivalent. Was all of this just a grift? How much of the dream of “interactive cinema” was just selling us the same shallow video game stuff in a new package with better art language around it? Does it matter if more people can play a game if you’re just exposing a bigger population to the same sexist and racist stereotypes that fuel so much of our fictions?

     

    Easing the Long Trek

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    Death Stranding’s snowy area was successful because it captured the emotional toll of cold, winter nights. It made the challenges of everyday life and the importance of loved ones’ assistance into game features. If Sam can walk up a mountain with a baby on his front, ten boxes on his back, and ghosts to his side, then I can at least try to work out my own problems.

     

    The Evolution of Animal Conservation in Games, from Zoo Tycoon to Planet Zoo

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    The shift in how zoo sims treat conservation reflects real-world changes.

     

    THE RIGHTEOUS, MUSICAL VIOLENCE OF APE OUT

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    Ape Out has to be one of the most violent games I’ve ever played. It might not have the gory dissections of something like Mortal Kombat, but what it lacks in detail it makes up for in abruptness, consistency, and straight-up volume. Videogame violence has never been this loud. And this is a different kind of loud than what we’re used to seeing from videogames. This isn’t a cry for attention or some faux-edginess that’s trying to make your parents mad. Ape Out is a primal release of righteous anger. It doesn’t present violence as a fun waste of time or a taboo to be broken, but instead as an oppressed creature’s tool for justice.

     

    I Was Wrong About Bayonetta

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    I didn’t always feel this way. Bayonetta was released to near universal critical acclaim, but I remember having pretty mixed feelings about it all. Some of it was based around the combat, which felt less deliberate and precise as other games like it. Some of it was Bayo herself, who seemed more of a cheesecake factory than avant garde organ grinder. Now the 10 year anniversary of Bayonetta comes and goes. With it, a remaster of this seminal classic hits PS4 and Xbox One, and I finally have the proper chance to sit with it and confirm really what I already knew. I was very wrong.

     

    On Killing Hitler

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    Killing Hitler is an easy choice. Who is more universally recognized as deserving of a violent death? But Hitler’s evilness is largely left abstract in video games, presupposing a knowledge and understanding of why Hitler’s death should feel so righteous. This abstraction divorces the act of killing Hitler from the fact that he ordered the murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million Slavic, Romani, black, gay, and mentally and physically disabled men and women.

    When I kill Hitler (and Nazis in general) in video games now, I don’t feel that sense of righteousness that I think the developers want me to feel.

     

    25 Years Later, 'Star Wars: Dark Forces' Is a Forgotten Gem

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    But he didn’t get the point of the story Kapalka told. In that opening, you either identified with Kapalka, or with his friend. Your reaction to the anecdote would inflect how you read the rest of the review, almost turning it into two different reviews for two different audiences. Dad saw a review for a derivative, slickly-themed shooter of incremental advancement over id’s masterpiece. I saw a review for a game that would grant me passage to the Star Wars universe.

     

    The Games That Made Me Love Games

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    I wanted to celebrate some of the games that showed me why we fell in love with video games in the first place. Each essay is centered around one word. This is something different for me, so if you enjoyed it or did not, let me know.

     

    Metal Gear Rising Retrospective | Lightning Bolt Action Redefined

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    Time to dig into one of Platinum’s strangest video games, their collaboration with Kojima Productions on Metal Gear Rising.

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

     

    How Gris Made You Cry With Its Colors | Psych of Play

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    Gris is an experience unlike most games you’ll find in that it gives you an intimate glimpse into the psyche of someone dealing with grief. And it’s through this game’s dynamic use of color that it does so. In this episode of Psych of Play, we will be taking a truly deep dive into the world of Gris and how it uses its colors and in game mechanics to illustrate the complexities of loss and bereavement.

    Support Daryl Talks Games on Patreon! – https://www.patreon.com/daryltalksgames

     

    Extended Interview With Myst Co-Creator Rand Miller | War Stories

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    Ars Technica is proud to present our extended interview with Cyan Worlds co-founder Rand Miller. Miller takes us on a deep dive, recounting the development of one of the best selling PC games of all time, Myst.

     

    Things I missed from previous weeks

     

    Designing Donkey Kong Country

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    An in-depth study on the first level, “Jungle Hijinxs”, including an interview with its original designer

     



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