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    This Week In Gaming 3-19-19


    Steven Messner tells the story of the making of and legacy of Everquest, Xalavier Nelson Jr. on what comes with releasing an indie game in 2019, Jacob Geller discusses how Wolfenstein's focus on the depiction of the empathy and Jewish identity of its main character and US history helps to contextualizes Blazkowicz's fight against Nazis within America’s history of white supremacy, strafefox details the making of Revenge of Shinobi and Streets of Rage, Cade Onder ‏interviews five of Red Dead Redemption 2's voice actors about their experience working on the game and their thoughts on the mindset of their characters, Google announces game streaming service, Laura Moore recounts the year long plan to destroy EVE Online's deadliest fortress, cocaine arrest halts Yakuza Judgement sales, Ian Walker on the history of the Def Jam Fight for NY community, 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)


    After Cocaine Arrest, Sega Halts Sales of New PS4 Game



    Actor and musician Pierre Taki, who voices yakuza Kyohei Hamura in Judgment, has been arrested for alleged illegal drug use.


    Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam ... with graphics


    Developers will upgrade its ASCII aesthetic and offer Steam Workshop support


    Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice explains the tools of the ninja trade in new trailer


    Some days, I lament that FromSoftware — once known for Otogi and Armored Core — are now (near) exclusively the Soulsborne studio. Then I watch today’s near-launch ‘overview’ trailer for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and suddenly don’t feel so sad, because it looks fab. It’s a more agile and aggressive game than even Bloodborne or the similarly Sengoku-era styled Nioh, blending the familiar high tension combat of Dark Souls with everything we associate with ninjas. Check out the hacking and slashing below, with a dash of stealth and a very snazzy grappling hook.


    Windjammers 2 - Gameplay Reveal Trailer (alpha footage)


    Discover the beautiful hand-drawn animated graphics and some new moves and characters of Windjammers 2 in this gameplay reveal trailer!


    It’s definitely still happening because here’s a System Shock 3 trailer


    As if to reassure us that it’s definitely still happening, Otherside Entertainment has released a short teaser trailer for System Shock 3 just over a month after it repurchased the publishing rights from Starbreeze, which has been having money problems.


    Phoenix Point developer addresses Epic Games Store criticism



    One of the points of contention among backers was that they'd been expecting a key for Steam or GOG, the latter being especially important for those looking to avoid DRM. Gollop confirmed that Steam and GOG keys would still be given to backers after the exclusive year is up, and that the Epic Games Store version would be free of DRM. You can run it without the launcher, or you can stick it in your Steam library if you just want all your games in one place. This is the case with other Epic Store Games, too, like Subnautica: Below Zero and Metro Exodus.


    Overcome a personal nightmare world in She Dreams Elsewhere


    Strange monsters and more adult fears blend together in She Dreams Elsewhere, an upcoming “surreal adventure JRPG.” A young woman named Thalia must navigate her nightmares in an attempt to wake up from the subconscious maze she’s stuck in, facing all kinds of foes both supernatural and everyday. Here’s a trailer to get lost in.


    Designing Recompile: Twisting and turning the Metroidvania genre


    We recently announced the game in collaboration with our publisher Dear Villagers. In this post I will explore how we are experimenting with Metroidvania gameplay by adding multiple critical paths and dynamic narrative systems, elements not typically seen in this genre.


    Save humanity in this side-scrolling action-platformer about a touchscreen ninja


    Kunai is an open-world Metroidvania starring Tabby, who is a tablet.


    Pathway puts a tactical, FTL-like spin on Indiana Jones adventures


    Globe-trotting pulp adventures, Nazis to shoot, cursed artifacts to claim and/or explode and elements of both XCom and FTL? Pathway is ticking a lot of exciting-sounding boxes already, and doesn’t look half bad either. Developers Robotality cut their teeth with the purely tactical Halfway back in 2014, but their second game looks like it’s no half measure, building on both the combat and RPG sides of the formula. Below, ten minutes of abridged adventuring, exploring and turn-based tactics, showing off one of the game’s five semi-procedurally-generated campaigns.


    Control Only Has One Gun. Here's Why It's Awesome


    In this exclusive video feature for Remedy's Control, lead designer Paul Ehreth and narrative director Brooke Maggs join us to explain the Service Weapon's forms, hint at its mysterious origins, and show off exclusive gameplay of the weapon in action.


    Ooh and ahh at VirtuaVerse's cyberpunk city


    If that wasn’t enough, the Steam page also includes other teases laser targeted at me, specifically. Look at these good video game plants, for example.


    Generation Zero rises above the doubts about its concept



    The plan was idiot proof. One of us would lob the flares we’d snagged from the church tower to distract the bipedal machine almost as imposingly tall as the church itself, while the other sprinted toward a nearby car and dumped out a backpack full of gas canisters. The firearms we’d collected were so many makeshift plastic straw pea shooters against the hulking automaton’s thick armour plating. We were counting on the hope that a well placed round dumped into one of the canisters would result in enough boom to put the machine down for good.

    Generation Zero - Launch Trailer


    The beautiful world of Generation Zero is fully explored in this release trailer, showing off environments, the mysterious machines and much more. Whether you play alone of team up with three friends, will you be able to unravel the mystery and survive this alternative 1980s Sweden?


    Oddworld: Soulstorm - a Glimpse of a Cinematic


    A glimpse of a cinematic showing off the rendering techniques we are using in Oddworld: Soulstorm.


    Sniper Elite 5, Sniper Elite VR and Sniper Elite V2 Remastered announced


    Rebellion dropped a lot of Sniper Elite news in its 2019 development update today. Not only did it confirm that Sniper Elite 5 is in development, it announced a remastered version of Sniper Elite V2 and a standalone Sniper Elite for VR devices. Check out the remaster in action above.


    Hyper Light Drifter studio reveals its new game, Solar Ash Kingdom


    The debut trailer teases a beautiful, strange world.


    New Shooter Wants To Be A 1980s Battlefield Game


    Rising Storm creators Antimatter Games are working on a new title called ‘83, which is set during the Cold War and is hoping to have battles featuring over 80 players duking it out as infantry, drivers and pilots.


    No Man's Sky Beyond promises dramatic changes to multiplayer this summer


    Few games can boast such a big turnaround as No Man's Sky. Falling short of expectations at launch, in part thanks to marketing, but also because it was kinda dull, developer Hello Games has since transformed it into an engaging, busy space sim that finally lives up to its grand ambitions. But it's not done. No Man's Sky Beyond is the next chapter in the cosmic adventure, and it should be the largest one yet.


    Battlefield 5 - Official Firestorm Trailer (Battle Royale)


    Check out Firestorm, a new Battle Royale mode available to all Battlefield V players on March 25.


    Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock expands with campaign DLC and battle chatter


    While it didn’t make much impact at launch, I tip my metaphorical hat to Black Lab Games for supporting Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock until it became the strategy game I always wanted. Today, they launched Sin & Sacrifice, the last expansion of ‘Season One’, adding a new story-heavy campaign, two new ship types, TV-authentic dynamic radio chatter and a free update adding a veterancy system. As well as bundling all the DLC to date into a discounted Season One pack, they’ve announced a second run in the works. Below, a trailer showing off the delightfully crackly radio effects.


    Gwent’s first expansion introduces characters from The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine


    Gwent, the card game based on The Witcher 3 mini-game of the same name, is getting its first expansion later this month. Crimson Curse, which is loosely based around The Witcher 3’s second expansion, Blood and Wine, will bring the game its first set of new cards since its release in October 2018.


    The Culling is shutting down



    RIP, The Culling. At its height almost exactly three years ago, it peaked at 12,622 concurrent players – but its developer, Xaviant, has just announced that it is taking the game offline. The sun will set on its hellish island on May 15, 2019.


    Google Stadia is the new streaming gaming platform from Google


    Stadia is not a console, it’s streaming access to games from billions of devices

    Google announces new first-party game studio, led by Jade Raymond


    Google is building its own in-house studio to make original games for its new streaming platform, Stadia. Named Stadia Games and Entertainment, the new studio will be led by Jade Raymond, the former Ubisoft and Electronic Arts executive.

    Google Stadia Boss Answers (And Dodges) Our Questions


    This afternoon at GDC 2019, Google Stadia boss Phil Harrison announced the tech company’s plans to launch a game streaming service that will stream high-end games in a Chrome browser. But how good, exactly, does your internet have to be in order for Stadia to work? And do you need one of Google’s new Stadia controllers? Jason and I sat down with Phil for an interview on Kotaku Splitscreen where he answered some of our questions and dodged a few others.


    Epic Store development roadmap includes achievements, cloud saves and more



    Epic Games has outlined the next six months worth of features for the new launcher.

    Epic says it doesn't use Steam data without permission after Reddit accusations


    A thread on Reddit accused the Epic launcher of illicitly mining and sharing Steam data, but Epic says it's not the case.

    DOOM 2016 - Google Stadia Gameplay


    We got the chance to rip and tear all over again playing DOOM 2016 on Stadia, Google's new video game streaming platform, at GDC 2019.


    Valve to remove "off topic" review bombs from Steam user scores


    I will admit that this is a small step in the right direction, however belated. Valve’s previous attempt to address the problem was just to highlight review bombs on a timeline of customer reviews, a move which I feel ironically just gave more attention to whatever the angry mob was yelling about that day. For users who enjoy seeing review scores plummet for awful reasons (excellent horror adventure Devotion was devastated after some mild political critique was found in it), Valve will be offering the option to ignore this new filtering and count every review equally.

    Valve Removes Over 100 Steam Tributes To Suspected New Zealand Shooter


    For years, hate groups fostering Nazis and white supremacists have thrived on Steam, VICE Motherboard reported in 2017. Just one year later, The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that Steam acted as home for 173 groups “that blatantly venerate past school shooters,” including some described as “A group for all my fellow shooters” and “School Shooters are Heroes.”

    Valve doesn't sound too happy about the Epic Store copying Steam data


    The file "is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service."


    BioWare Community Manager Says Hostile Replies Make Developers Less Likely To Engage



    “Why would a dev team member take time away from working on the next update to post when they know it’s likely to be met with hostile replies, or they get flamed because [they] can’t answer other questions that players are asking? I don’t mind posting here when things aren’t so nice, but that’s because it’s my job. For the devs it isn’t their job, and I’d like to ask that people remember that when replying to them. When some people say ‘be nice or the devs will stop posting’ it’s 100% true.”


    Axiom Verge Developer And Distributor Say Its Publisher Owes Them Over $250,000



    Axiom Verge, the celebrated Metroidvania from developer Tom Happ, is getting a physical release on Wii U this year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the game’s distributor Limited Run Games and its business manager Dan Adelman have said that its publisher BadLand Games still owes them around a quarter million dollars.


    PUBG Mobile banned in several Indian cities



    Speaking to The Indian Express, police commissioner Manoj Agrawal said a total of 12 cases have been registered so far, but the misdemeanour was a "bailable offence," with guilty players "shown as immediately bailed out by police". Cases will go to court where "there will be a trial for not following the notification issued".


    Esports News


    Old School Halo Crashes SXSW This Weekend In $100,000 Tournament



    SXSW used to be a cool festival for musicians and artists to hang out. Now in its 30th year, it’s become other things: Woodstock for tech geeks, Davos for hipsters, spring break for nerds. So where do esports fit in?


    Overwatch League Teams Share Plans And Concerns About Moving To Their Home Cities In 2020



    After two seasons of living and playing in and around Burbank, California, Overwatch League teams will finally be moving to their respective cities next year. Players and coaches have told Kotaku that they’ve been grappling with planning for these moves for a while, particularly with respect to players’ already grueling practice schedules.


    Smash Bros. Player Leaves Pivotal Tournament Match After Getting Frustrated With Audience Member



    During Smash regional Collision 2019 in New Jersey last weekend, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate match came to a halt when one of the competitors got annoyed with the gathered audience and walked offstage. This left tournament organizers reeling for over an hour as they tried to come to a solution for both players.


    The Problem of Toxicity in Esports (and Two Solutions)



    Toxicity in esports is a legacy problem, but a trio of researchers are aiming to change that.


    EA creates high-end competitive gaming broadcast studio



    Electronic Arts is unveiling a state-of-the-art competitive gaming studio that will serve as its flagship location for esports broadcasts.


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


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


    Breaking the internet: The story of EverQuest, the MMO that changed everything



    How a group of nobodies came together to create the game that defined a genre.

    Looking back at the researchers who tried to understand EverQuest


    Spoiler alert: they’re just a bunch of fellow nerds writing about games under the guise of academia.


    How it feels to release an indie game in 2019


    The biggest fear facing independent developers in 2019 isn’t that there are too many games, or that the games in question are bad, or that visibility is broken, or that platform holders who inherently profit from their success may do little to promote their games to interested audiences.

    It’s that those issues all work together to create the most stressful aspect of game development, one that’s unfortunately been a part of our industry since its inception: a terrifying lack of stability. The number of variables involved in releasing a new game has increased dramatically in the past few years, and following established best practices no longer guarantees success, or even recognition.


    The co-creator of Dwarf Fortress is getting older, but his work remains unfinished



    An interview with Tarn Adams, also known as Toady One


    How one teen on DeviantArt sparked lifelong dating sim obsessions



    The story of Pacthesis, her dating sims for girls, and the fans who still thank her


    Nintendo at 130: 'It’s on us to create that wow moment for players'


    As the video game giant turns 130, veteran developers Shinya Takahashi and Hisashi Nogami reflect on Nintendo’s creative process and legacy


    Snoop Dogg is Banned—The Community That Reinvented 'Def Jam: Fight for NY'



    An under-appreciated piece of fighting game history gets some overdue respect thanks to the fans that never let it die.


    Giving Workers Equal Power Isn't Radical. This Studio's Done It For Years



    Canadian developer KO_OP has been experimenting with the co-op model long before America's socialism flirtation—and it's working.


    Interview: Reflecting on five years with five members of Red Dead Redemption 2’s cast



    We got the chance to speak with five of the core cast members of the game and speak to them about their experience on Red Dead Redemption 2 and their mindsets surrounding the characters. If you haven’t played through the entirety of Red Dead Redemption 2, we highly recommend that you click off this page as there will be spoilers.


    How language shapes the way we play



    I was a five-year-old Italian girl, and I had no video games in my native language. So I played what I could: platformers and dress-up games, vertical shooters and puzzles. And I replayed the same levels all the time, because the idea of opening a menu to save my progress was an alien concept to me.

    Only decades later I realized what I had missed: parser games, strategy games, roguelikes, RPGs. Entire genres unaccessible to me due to the language barrier.


    Community management post-Christchurch massacre | Opinion



    Veteran product manager James Kozanecki says the industry can no longer dismiss toxic behavior as harmless trolling


    Meet the sound designer going to great lengths to capture sounds for games



    Watson Wu discusses the craft of great audio design.


    The Division 2 and the Severing of Politics from Video Games



    Games have long reflected the political realities in which they are made. Usually, the reflections are straightforward: in the 1980 arcade game Missile Command, which arrived in the midst of the Cold War, you must save six American cities from nuclear attack by shooting down missiles before they strike. Sometimes, though, a game serves as bald propaganda. Suffragetto was an early-twentieth-century board game that framed the emancipation of women as a street fight between police constables and suffragettes on the steps of London’s Albert Hall. In the 1936 anti-Semitic board game Juden Raus!, or Jews Out!, players take turns moving pointed-hat-wearing tokens toward collection points. The first player to deport six of these tokens is declared the winner.

    In recent years, video-game developers have continued to borrow politically charged settings while arguing that, unlike Suffragetto or Juden Raus!, their games remain, as Ubisoft’s C.E.O. put it, politically impartial.


    The story behind Rebirth, The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind mod nine years in the making



    Cliff racers are an unequalled irritation in The Elder Scrolls games. These infuriating, pterodactyl-like creatures produce piercing screeches as they appear from any direction to attack you, and are difficult to shake off. Spend more than a few hours in Morrowind and you’re likely to experience the terror of being swarmed by gaggles of these airborne nasties.


    Ace Combat 7 Began Development In Late 2017 After A False Start, And Here’s The Explanation


    Ace Combat series producer Kazutoki Kono recently expressed thanks to the fans for supporting Ace Combat 7, alongside a heartfelt story across several Tweets that detail just how hard it was to get the game made.


    Apex Legends is a game-changing multiplayer experience for women



    With just the click of the mouse or controller button, you can mark weapons and ammo, suggest where to go, and even alert teammates to the presence of enemies in the distance. "I love Apex's ping system!" Haley MacLean, a freelance journalist tells me over Twitter. "It's a great combo of feeling like I'm contributing to the team to the point where I don't even feel guilty not being on mic, like I do with Overwatch."


    What Red Dead Redemption 2 gets right about having a terminal disease



    When empathy comes from the last place you expect


    “There But For the Grace of Games, Go I,” by Ed Smith



    For me, the title of Anthem is a misnomer. When I think of an “anthem”, I think of a stadium filled with Liverpool fans bellowing “Never Walk Alone,” or everybody, drunk, convivial, towards the end of a party, crooning “Wonderwall” in unison. “Anthem” connotes togetherness; national spirit; a choir of voices. It may not always be pleasing to the ear (despite, and in fact possibly because of, it always being played at the climax of every club night I ever went to as a student, I still cannot stand “Mr. Brightside)”) but an anthem is usually graceful—it commands a mass of disparate individuals and influences, forming together into a voluminous whole.


    The train is the best character in Metro Exodus



    I appreciate what the train represents. Metro Exodus never has you saving the world, it’s just about moving forward, trying to find a place to exist. A train is not the most subtle symbol, it is a ramshackle temporary home literally moving forward, but its presence as both necessary lifeline and sentimental prize feels more real and impactful than lengthy monologues.


    The impossible year-long plan to destroy EVE Online’s deadliest fortress



    Hard Knocks made history by building the first Keepstar citadel, and The Initiative made history by blowing it up.


    Judaism and Whiteness in Wolfenstein


    The World Design of Metroid Prime | Boss Keys


    Metroid was lost in space for eight long years... but suddenly, Samus was back. Metroid Prime turned the side-scrolling adventure series into a first-person shooter. But how does it stack up as a Metroidvania? Let's find out.

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


    The making of Revenge of Shinobi & Streets of Rage


    In this episode we follow a group of developers from Sega's Consumer Division, in particular game designer Noriyoshi Ohba and freelance composer Yuzo Koshiro. Both men were involved in Revenge of Shinobi and Streets of Rage.



    Mount Wario's Dynamically Developing Music


    Mario Kart 8's Mount Wario is one of the more ambitious and impressive racetracks in the series, eschewing the typical 3 lap structure in favor of one long track. The music is equally ambitious, designed to develop musically in time with how the player progresses through the track. The tune's a definite highlight for me on one of my favourite game soundtracks ever, so you can imagine I had a ton of fun making this video!

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


    A Review of Devil May Cry 5


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

    In which I discuss one of the most hotly anticipated action titles of the last decade. Does it feature the best combat in the series? Almost certainly. Is it the best Devil May Cry game? That's perhaps a little more complicated.


    Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


    Black jackets, sunglasses, and radical accountability as a worker co-op



    Scott Benson and Bethany Hockenberry explain why and how The Glory Society follows a "no bosses needed" model


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