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    This Week In Gaming 3-26-19


    GDC and IGF awards, talks, and announcements. Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines gets a sequel and Persona 5 The Royal announced, upcoming games and former Playstation exclusives get exclusivity to the Epic store, Sony and Microsoft both launching programs to highlight upcoming games, Steven T. Wright interviews creator of Daughters of Ash Dark Souls mod, Rami Ismail on the positives of more competition for Steam and helps showcase devs from around the world with his 1ReasonToBe panel, Epic launches $100,000,000 grant program for devs and researchers and Sweeney discusses paying devs to bring in customers instead of paying for ads and commitment to human moderation, Jim Sterling on the current problems with the Epic store, Dan Root on the evolving animations of Samus, Jimmy Maher on the creation and bold ideas of Darklands, Janet Hsu gives a look into the localization of Ace Attorney, 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)


    Return Of The Obra Dinn Takes Grand Prize At The 21st IGF Awards!


    Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game at the 21st annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards tonight.

    Unions Stole The Show At Last Night's GDC Awards


    Reactions to these pro-union sentiments were largely positive, though some questioned the validity of Schafer’s skit in particular, given that he’s the head of a non-unionized studio. Many also pointed out the irony of Rockstar taking home the “best technology” award that night, sans any mention of the sometimes-grueling work culture that made the company a poster child for problematic crunch last year.

    GDC 2019: “How Do We Make People Feel Welcome?”


    “As we all gather here, I want to remind everyone how important the messages we send tonight are. These messages are spoken through the nominations, the winners, the games we make, the games we play, and the cultures that we celebrate. If we’re brave enough to share our hopes and fears in what we create, it will open the floodgates for others. None of us do this alone.”*

    Darkest Dungeon's creators tell us what it's really like to go to GDC


    Every year in spring, thousands of developers, industry insiders, and gaming enthusiasts flock to San Francisco to clog the already busy downtown streets for the Game Developers Conference. Unlike the more fan-facing shows, like PAX or E3, GDC focuses on the business of gaming. That means you’ll find more people in business suits running around than you’ve ever seen in one place, but don’t let the lack of pageantry fool you. GDC lures in some of the biggest names in the industry and holds its share of exciting stories.

    Road to GDC: Curating Video Games


    On February 24 the past four years of my life closed its doors as the exhibition Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt ended its run at the V&A museum in London. The show was a headline exhibition on contemporary videogame design and culture that I was incredibly privileged to work on as lead curator.

    IndieWatch: Top 10 Indie Games of The MIX SF (GDC 2019)


    Today we’ve got a special Indiewatch covering my personal top 10 titles of The MIX SF! As a long-time fan of this event, I had the extra privilege of being asked to host the evening’s stream, so shoutout and thank you to Justin and the MIX team for a wonderful time.

    The 10 Best Games of GDC 2019


    This year’s GDC was once again not only a place for the industry’s best and brightest to gather together and support its innovation and creativity, but also a spot to scout some of the upcoming games that will awe and inspire for the next few years to come. From Day of the Devs to the Indie Megabooth, Train Jam, Alt.Ctrl.GDC, Mild Rumpus, IGF and more, we visited every pocket of spare expo space, played everything we could get our hands on, and came away excited about what’s in store for the near future. Here’s the best of what we found.


    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has the original’s lead writer and vibe


    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines never had a chance. Released in 2004 in the same window as Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, it sold fewer than 100,000 copies at launch. Most of its development team was laid off shortly afterward. But over the past 15 years, the PC role-playing game based on the popular White Wolf tabletop franchise has become something of a cult classic. Fans and critics hold up its ambitious story and emphasis on player freedom as evidence that Bloodlines arrived ahead of its time

    Bloodlines 2 - Announcement Keynote


    Sired in an act of vampire insurrection, your existence ignites the war for Seattle's blood trade. Enter uneasy alliances with the creatures who control the city and uncover the sprawling conspiracy which plunged Seattle into a bloody civil war between powerful vampire factions.

    Vampire: the Masquerade– Bloodlines Is Getting A Sequel, And It Looks Pretty Good


    Cult classic Vampire: the Masquerade– Bloodlines is getting a sequel. The 2004 roleplaying game left a lasting impression on roleplaying fans despite some clumsy gameplay. I spent time with the folks at Paradox Interactive and developer Hardsuit Labs to ask questions and see the game in action. It captures much of the original’s mysterious mood, with some modern flourishes.

    Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2: “It’s definitely taking political stances on what we think are right and wrong”


    “The world is a very different place,” says Clooney. “One of the reasons we went to Seattle for Bloodlines 2 is there’s a lot of conflict in Seattle that is a microcosm of a lot of conflict that’s going on all over the place. It just felt like a good place to start to ground it; the conflict between tradition and progress, conflict between money and artistic endeavours. A lot of those conflicts are happening right now and they’re very real. It seems like the perfect place to dig into something that feels very modern in terms of the conflict and also very timeless; grounding it in 2020 but also very much a descendent of what the original game was.”

    Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines 2 has bitten Chris Avellone


    He can add another RPG to the list, but now he can only write at night.

    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Is A Revival Of The Cult Series For The Modern Age


    After several teases on online, Paradox Interactive and Hardsuit Labs have finally revealed Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, the sequel to the original 2004 RPG. With Bloodlines 2, releasing in 2020 for PC and consoles, several key members from the former studio Troika Games, along with some new blood at Hardsuit Labs, are looking to pick up where the bleak yet off-the-wall original left off. Just before its reveal, we had the chance to get an early look at GDC 2019, while also speaking with Bloodlines 2 lead narrative designer Brian Mitsoda and senior writer Cara Ellison about the making of the sequel.


    The Outer Worlds will not launch on Steam


    Other exclusive titles include Remedy’s Control, which we got our first look at last summer, during E3 2018, and Afterparty, the new booze-soaked narrative adventure from Night School Studios, best known for 2016’s Oxenfree. Elsewhere, Epic revealed more information about the exclusive release of Phoenix Point – which developer Snapshot Games announced for themselves last week – as well as the Dauntless developer’s decision to move its game from its own launcher on to Epic’s.


    Detroit: Become Human, Beyond: Two Souls, and Heavy Rain are coming to PC



    They'll be available exclusively on the Epic Store, as you may have guessed.


    The Cycle GDC 2019 trailer, PC version exclusive to Epic Games Store


    The PC version of The Cycle, the next title from Spec Ops: The Line and Dreadnought developer Yager, will be released exclusively via the Epic Games Store when it launches later in 2019, the studio announced.


    How Remedy Is Approaching Side Missions In Control



    Remedy Entertainment has garnered a reputation for engaging storytelling through guided, linear experiences thanks to standout titles like Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. However, Control looks to smash preconceived notions about the projects the studio works on by delivering a more open-ended experience. One way Remedy is hammering home this idea of encouraged exploration is through optional side missions that players can choose to engage with or ignore altogether. These missions not only give you new, unique gameplay to explore, but you’re also able to glean more information about Jesse, The Oldest House, the Federal Bureau of Control, and the Hiss.

    Alan Wake studio's Control now has confirmed release date


    You may have seen the release date floating around the internet yesterday thanks to it being accidentally published on Microsoft's Xbox store. This morning, Remedy confirmed to Eurogamer the date was indeed legit.

    Control is a delightfully strange shooter with outstanding telekinesis noises


    The sphere is loose. A spiky black void, jittering between realities as it loafs towards me like a murderous billiard ball from a higher dimension. It’s one of many paranormal horrors to break out of the Bureau’s containment, and I do not like it one bit.

    Relinquishing Control: Remedy's paradigm shift


    Game director Mikael Kasurinen on leaving behind the tightly controlled experiences of Alan Wake and Quantum Break for, "a world that can support many stories, not just one story"


    Game Dialogue From Hell: Afterparty's Approach To Player Freedom


    While at GDC 2019, Game Informer interviewed studio director Sean Krankel and game director Adam Hines from Night School Studio to talk about their new game Afterparty and how the dialogue system compares to their previous game Oxenfree and their vision of the afterlife compares to films like Beelejuice.

    Afterparty is a booze-soaked fever dream that gets choices right


    Choices in videogames are terrifically tough to pull off. I’ve never made a game before, but you should trust me anyway. Think about it: imagine coming up with a narrative that is enticing enough for you to continue playing and works with the game’s design philosophy and features. Now, once that’s done, you need to do it all over again for each branching path.


    Cocaine use just got an actor erased from Judgment



    After much drama surrounding its Japanese release, Sega has revealed Yakuza spin-off Judgment will still launch in the west – albeit with some changes. After his arrest for suspected cocaine use, voice actor Pierre Taki will be completely removed from the game and the visuals of his character, Kyohei Hamura, adjusted.


    Boyfriend Dungeon dev examines why game fashion sucks, and what to do about it



    Today at GDC Victoria Tran of Kitfox Games (Boyfriend Dungeon) gave a great talk about why fashion in games often sucks, and why devs should put more time and effort into making it not suck.


    If Dwarf Fortress sells millions on Steam, its creators will give the money away 'as fast as possible'



    The Adams brothers just want what they need to survive, and making millions is a concept they can't comprehend.


    Observation no longer observable on Steam


    The good news is that Observation – the intense-looking sci-fi thriller from Stories Untold developers No Code – has a release date. Announced during Sony’s PS4-centric “State Of Play” stream, it’ll be out on May 21st. The concerning news is that the game’s Steam store page has vanished, as has any mention of Steam (or any PC storefront, for that matter) on its official page. Publisher Devolver make no mention of a PC version in their Twitter release date announcement, either. Below, the new trailer for the PS4 version of the game, which admittedly looks very nice.


    Moons Of Madness will haunt this Halloween


    The sci-fi first-person spooker Moons Of Madness has reemerged from its dark development cave after a year scratching runes into the wall with splintered fingernails, now aiming to launch around Halloween 2019. And it’s also now quietly tied into the spooky-ooky stories of The Secret World, thanks to finding a publisher in the form of Funcom. Observe, a new trailer hinting at spookies including someone with more tentacles than a biped could reasonably require.


    A Surprise Zelda Game Is Coming From An Acclaimed Indie Studio


    Well, this is very different and pretty damn cool. Nintendo just announced that the people behind the excellent musical dungeon-crawling game Crypt of the NecroDancer are making a Zelda game called Cadence of Hyrule. It’s out this spring.


    The System Shock remaster is spooky, but far from finished


    “It’s not Citadel Station as it was, but as you remember it”. So goes the pitch for Nightdive’s System Shock remake, but to me the early demo I played at GDC was neither. I’ve tiptoed my way through the mutant-infested corridors of its sequel, but the original System Shock always lay beyond an impenetrable wall of 90s design sensibilities. I need mouselook, me.


    Inside ‘Beyond a Steel Sky,’ the ‘Beneath a Steel Sky’ Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)



    “Beneath a Steel Sky,” the cult 1994 adventure game, is getting a sequel, UK-based game developer Revolution Software announced at Monday’s Apple keynote in Cupertino, California.


    My Friend Pedro is coming in June, here's a ridiculous trailer to watch while you wait


    Tom described My Friend Pedro in 2016 as "a 2D Max Payne that looks bananas." Two years later, he declared to the world that he was sick of waiting for it—but, temporal reality being what it is, he would continue waiting anyway, because the preview build he played was "stupidly good fun." He'll be happy to know that his wait is almost over, as Devolver announced today that it will finally be out in June.


    Bethesda return to Steam with Rage 2, Doom Eternal and Fallout 76


    Bethesda are backing down from plans to make Rage 2 and other upcoming games exclusive to their own launcher, announcing today via Twitter that they’ll all be sold on Steam. Confirmed headed back to Valve’s storefront is Rage 2, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, VR spinoff Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot and (most importantly) Doom Eternal. The move will be partially retroactive as well, with Fallout 76 confirmed for a Steam release “later this year”, although no date has been nailed down for that yet.


    Atlus Officially Reveals Persona 5 The Royal, Trailer Features A New Character


    Atlus has officially revealed Persona 5 The Royal, a new RPG coming to the PS4. The trailer features a new woman who seems to be the playable character. The game was originally teased as Persona 5 R.


    Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - Battle Spotlight


    Join Wheels and Guy as they explore the new Extreme Unit Size and UI improvements in this Battle Spotlight for Total War: THREE KINGDOMS.


    Zero Escape director Uchikoshi gets weird with AI: The Somnium Files in July


    Why, yes, that is a polar bear about to saw an anime girl in half, because that’s what happens when Zero Escape director Kotaro Uchikoshi is no longer restrained to the waking world. AI: The Somnium Files is his next game, developed by Spike Chunsoft, and now has a July 26th release date on PC. It’s a sci-fi mystery that seems vaguely inspired by oddball Jennifer Lopez psycho-thriller The Cell, putting players in the shoes of a cyber-psychic detective investigating people’s dreams as well as crime scenes. Below, a bizarre new trailer that I wouldn’t try to make sense of yet.


    Drawings Come To Life In Concrete Genie’s Latest Trailer


    Concrete Genie, the game about a bullied teenager who finds a staff that lets him bring drawings to life, got a new trailer during PlayStation’s State of Play livestream.


    Streets of Rage 4’s new trailer teases two new characters


    Streets of Rage 4’s trailer shows off its new art style and classic combat


    Lord Of The Rings - Gollum is an upcoming adventure game from Daedalic that's still in the shadows



    Light the beacons of Gondor, there’s a new licensed Tolkien game on the horizon. Lord Of The Rings – Gollum will be an action-adventure game featuring everyone’s favourite Ring-obsessed creature, and is being made by Daedalic Entertainment, the makers of the Deponia series and The Pillars Of The Earth. It’s still in the extremely early stages of development, and is aiming for a 2021 release date. “Ask us anything,” joked Carsten Fichtelmann, Daedalic CEO and founder, “but we’re not sure if we can answer any questions.” Still, that didn’t stop him from later telling me that they want to create a game as “timeless” as the books and the films.


    Shantae returns in an all new adventure later this year


    WayForward has just announced that everyone's favourite half-genie hero and my only friend, Shantae, is set to return in a brand new adventure later in 2019. Shantae 5, which is probably a working title, will launch on PS4, PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and the recently announced Apple Arcade platform.


    Stunning strategy game Overland out this fall


    Overland first appeared on our radar three years ago, when Tim spent some time with it and described the survival strategy game as "X-Com meets The Road". After a few years in itch.io's Early Access equivalent, called the Refinery program, it's nearly ready to go, and will be out this fall/autumn, developer Finji has announced.


    Tales Of The Neon Sea washes into stores in April


    Colourful cyberpunk (as if those two are ever separable) puzzle game Tales Of The Neon Sea has scheduled its release for April 30th, and in celebration released a new trailer. The key addition seems to be the “gangster felines.” This is not a combination of words I was expecting to read today but, hey, the internet does love cats. You can take a look below, and don’t worry, there is also a dog, for balance.


    Five Nights at Freddy’s announced for PlayStation VR


    Sony held a State of Play livestream news event today, and for the debut presentation, the gaming company unveiled a slew of virtual reality games coming to PlayStation VR. One of the spookier options, Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted, is slated to release April 2019 for PlayStation VR, as well as Oculus, Steam, and HTC Vive.


    Mortal Kombat 11 trailer introduces Kotal Kahn, then viciously kicks his ass


    A new Mortal Kombat trailer introducing Kotal Kahn, an Osh-Tekk warrior and the Emperor of Outworld, is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, Kotal is the last playable character from MK11 to be revealed in these nutso-violent videos we've been enjoying for the past several weeks. And second, because instead of bearing witness to whatever laughably blood-soaked fatality he brings to the fight, we get to watch him take a brutal ass-kicking at the hands of Jacqui Briggs.

    Mortal Kombat 11 - Official Noob Saibot Reveal Trailer


    Two is always better than one. The shadow of the NetherRealm, Noob Saibot, makes his anticipated return to kombat


    Ys IX first gameplay, new details


    Falcom debuted the first gameplay of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox during Dengeki Game Festival 2019, as well as shared a plethora of new details.


    Stranger Things 3: The Game launches July 4


    Stranger Things 3: The Game will launch on July 4, developer BonusXP announced.


    A New Yakuza Game Featuring Ichiban Kasuga Is In Development For PlayStation 4



    We’ve known that Ryu ga Gotoku Studio has been working on a new Yakuza project, and today Sega revealed that it’s a Yakuza game featuring new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga who debuted in Yakuza Online.


    Katana ZERO launches for Switch, PC on April 18


    Katana ZERO will launch for Switch and PC on April 18, publisher Devolver Digital and developer Askiisoft announced.


    Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash Celebrates Its PC Release On April 10



    Xseed are also bringing over three other Corpse Party games – Book of Shadows, Blood Drive, and Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient.


    Double Fine's making a roguelike brawler that's all about gross, funny mutations



    Rad has a cheeky '80s post-post-apocalypse 'tude and you can grow a second brain out of your butt.


    Konami's New Anniversary Collections Bundle Castlevania, Contra And More



    To celebrate the company’s 50th birthday, Konami is releasing a set of bundles called the Anniversary Collections, which will round up a ton of games from Castlevania, Contra and the company’s arcade past.


    Samurai Shodown - PAX East 2019


    When you embrace death no one can stop you. Come see us at PAX East 2019 in booth #15031 and be some of the first to play the newest Samurai Shodown!

    Max Played A LOT Of Samurai Shodown - Hands On Gameplay/Impressions


    Check out our Livestream! http://twitch.tv/maximilian_dood


    World End Syndrome launches May 2 in North America



    World End Syndrome will launch digitally for PlayStation 4 and Switch on May 2 in North America for $39.99, publisher Arc System Works announced.


    Alternate Jake Hunter: Daedalus The Awakening of Golden Jazz coming west on May 16



    Arc System Works will release Alternate Jake Hunter: Daedalus The Awakening of Golden Jazz digitally for PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC via Steam in the west on May 16 for $39.99, the publisher announced.


    AeternoBlade II ‘Third-Person Perspective Combat’ gameplay


    Corecell Technology has released a new gameplay video of AeternoBlade II showcasing third-person perspective combat.


    Can Battlefield V's Firestorm Become The New Hotness?


    After a day playing Firestorm, Battlefield and Battle Royale veteran Dave Jewitt talks Will Potter through how BFV Firestorm holds up against PUBG, Fortnite and Apex Legends.

    Battlefield 5 roadmap teases a Mediterranean summer and trip to the Pacific


    Firestorm is the big blip on the Battlefield 5 radar screen, but Electronic Arts has plans for the game beyond battle royale. It laid out the basics of what's coming this year in a 2019 roadmap covering the next two chapters of the ongoing "Tides of War," and teasing the third.


    Final fantasy 14's Shadowbringers expansion lets you be a Dancer


    Square Enix has lifted the lid on Final Fantasy 14's new expansion Shadowbringers.


    Metro Exodus adds New Game+ and dev commentary



    Experienced riders of the post-apocalyptic Russian rails in Metro Exodus can now upgrade to first class with a New Game+ mode, starting their journey afresh with all their weapons and gear from the end of the game carried over to a new save. That arrived in today’s update, along with a running commentary from the conductors (developer commentary tapes) explaining more about the train’s journey (the game’s development). Plus performance improvements, bug fixes… patch stuff.


    Mutant Year Zero DLC arrives later this year



    The developers of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden have announced that their animal-themed stealth/strategy hybrid will be getting its first piece of DLC later this year. Speaking at Epic Games’ keynote speech at GDC, developer The Bearded Ladies Consulting announced the new expansion.


    Suda 51 returns to pen Super Fire Pro Wrestling World story DLC



    Spike Chunsoft have announced Killer7 director Goichi Suda (aka Suda 51) will be returning to an old haunt to pen new story DLC for wrestleman sim Fire Pro Wrestling World. I’m not normally much for wrestling games, but even I can appreciate this series, formerly by Human Entertainment. Snappy action, powerful character creation and a history of surprisingly heavy story modes. I’m expecting great, possibly unsettling things from new DLC ‘The Vanishing’, after the utterly bleak ending of Fire Pro Wrestling Special for the SNES, which I WILL SPOIL BELOW.


    Hitman 2 goes sniping at Hantu Port in its first paid DLC level


    Ian Hitman is at it again, this time doing a scenic bit of sunset sniping in Singapore. While not a full map, today’s Hitman 2 Hantu Port Sniper Assassin mission (part of the Expansion Pass) feels like a nice warmup for the new maps to come, presenting a fresh challenge. Unlike the previous Himmelstein sniper mission, your targets won’t immediately scurry for safety when threatened, but instead are liable to try to execute the hostages you’re meant to be liberating. Perhaps an easy way to lure your targets out, but an interesting new failure state. Below, the mission briefing.


    Life is Strange 2 will continue in May, August, and December



    Life is Strange 2, the multi-part adventure about life and the strangeness thereof, will continue its elongated tale with the release of episode 3, Wastelands, on May 9. Publisher Square Enix announced the date today, as well as the dates—but not the subtitles—for the next two chapters.


    Oculus Announces New VR Headset for PC


    Facebook has announced the next wave of VR technology with the Oculus Rift S headset for the PC, to be released this spring.


    Epic is launching a $100,000,000 grant program for games and other software



    Throughout the five-year program, called Epic MegaGrants, Epic will look for game, film, enterprise, and open source projects that it thinks are interesting, and write checks for $5,000 to $500,000. The projects don't have to release on the Epic Store, and there are no other stipulations.

    Devs can now sell Epic Game Store keys on the Humble Store


    Today at GDC the team at Epic Games announced they've partnered with the folks at Humble to allow for Epic Games Store game keys to be sold on Humble's storefront, even if said games are Epic Store exclusives.

    Epic Says Its Store Won't Sell 'Porn Games Or Bloatware'


    It’s been a big day for the Epic Games Store. During its GDC keynote, Epic announced a boatload of new exclusives (including Detroit: Become An Epic Games Store Exclusive) and a deal with Humble. Momentum appears to be on the store’s side, with Epic now touting strong early sales and a more curated approach than that of its main competitor, Steam.

    Epic on pulling Metro Exodus from Steam: 'We don't want to do that ever again'


    "We had been talking to those guys for a number of months," he said, "and they made some decisions on their end—this is not a throw under the bus thing, it's just the timing of where that came together and what was important to their business—we decided to do it together, we both knew there was the potential for the thing that happened in terms of communication. I think it felt way worse and was bigger than we thought, and in real-time, we spent time talking ... 'we will never do this again in this way.'

    Sweeney commits to human moderators & quality filters for Epic's Games Store


    While the Epic Games Store's debut late last year drew devs' attention (and games), in large part due to a lean rev-share rate that sees game makers taking home 88 percent of their revenues, Sweeney is keen to frame it as just a "funny early version of a thing that's going to ultimately be a lot bigger and a lot different."


    Steam Libraries Are Getting An Overhaul



    This week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Valve announced a series of changes coming soon to Steam. Foremost among them are an overhauled game library and an event system that can be used by developers to keep players clued in about what’s happening in games they own.


    Announcing ID@Xbox Game Pass, a Showcase of Indie Games Coming to Xbox Game Pass



    We are excited to announce ID@Xbox Game Pass, a stream highlighting great indie games coming soon to Xbox Game Pass, premiering March 26 at 9:00 AM PDT. In this show, you can expect to learn more about some of the hottest ID@Xbox titles coming to Xbox Game Pass with new reveals, gameplay highlights, and conversations with the developers. Fans will be able to check out our first ever episode here.

    "Our goal is to reach everyone on the planet"


    As streaming takes centre stage, we talk to Microsoft about its own offering.


    State of Play: PlayStation’s new video showcase debuts Monday



    The first episode has new game announcements, and highlights upcoming PS4 and PS VR software


    Nintendo to Launch Two New Switch Models



    The new models are likely to be unveiled at the E3 videogame Expo in Los Angeles in June and possibly released a few months later, one person familiar with Nintendo’s plans said. Kyoto-based Nintendo declined to comment.


    Meet our Twitch Ambassadors!



    At TwitchCon 2018 in San Jose, we debuted a program that represents the diversity of content, creators, and communities on Twitch. Our first 15 TwitchCon Ambassadors shared their stories across social media, Twitch Weekly, the TwitchCon blog, and on the front page, leading up to, and at, TwitchCon.


    Lucasfilm Games has been unexpectedly resurrected by Disney



    It's recruiting developers, producers, artists and more.


    EA Lays Off 350 People In Marketing, Publishing, And More



    The video game publisher Electronic Arts is laying off 350 people in marketing, publishing, and other areas, the latest move in what’s been a brutal year for the gaming industry.


    Esports News


    How Brazil fell in love with Counter-Strike



    On the road with MIBR, Brazil's favorite Counter-Strike sons.


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




    Prodeus is the first person shooter of old, re-imagined using modern rendering techniques. Oh, and tons of blood, gore, and secrets.




    From Cyan, the studio that brought you Myst, comes a next-generation narrative adventure.


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


    Critical Compilation MASS EFFECT TRILOGY


    Our latest Critical Compilation sets sights on BioWare’s landmark Mass Effect trilogy, brought together by Emma Kostopolus. Emma is a Ph.D student of Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Kansas, where her work focuses on the intersections of rhetoric and videogames as well as gaming in the classroom. You can find her at Nerd Salad.


    Rami Ismail’s last #1ReasonToBe panel showcases the world’s inspired game devs



    Game developer advocate and Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail has run #1ReasonToBe, one of the consistently most inspiring panels at the Game Developers Conference, for years. This year’s global diversity panel was his last one, and it was an emotional session about how game developers struggle to make games around the world — and why they still do it in spite of hardships.





    Our subject for today — Darklands, the first CRPG ever released by MicroProse Software — might be described as the rebuttal to the case made by the Worlds of Ultima games, in that its failings point to some of the intrinsic limits of the simulation-oriented approach. Then again, maybe not; today, perhaps even more so than when it was new, this is a game with a hardcore fan base who love it with a passion, even as other players, like the one who happens to be writing this article, see it as rather collapsing under the weight of its ambition and complexity. Whatever your final verdict on it, it’s undeniable that Darklands is overflowing with original ideas for a genre which, even by the game’s release year of 1992, had long since settled into a set of established expectations. By upending so many of them, it became one of the most intriguing CRPGs ever made.


    How the creators of Hitman use social science to design perfect murder playgrounds



    The real world shapes the flow of Hitman's sprawling sandboxes, says its level designer.


    Overwatch’s endorsements have reduced toxicity by 40%


    Overwatch has seen a 40% reduction in “disruptive behaviour” since the introduction of a new positive reward system. Blizzard research scientist Natasha Miller told an audience at GDC yesterday (via PC Games Insider) of how the developer has begun to deter “disruptive behaviour” through a promotion of positive interaction.

    Overwatch says its bad behaviour is down by 40%, but that doesn't tell the full story


    It frustrates me when people say that bad behaviour in games can’t be helped. When Overwatch’s endorsement system was first implemented, I wrote a piece directly targeted at people who griped every time it was brought up that it was impossible to change people being mean so why bother trying. (I see you in the comments section right now!) I do believe that endorsements have likely had an impact on player behaviour for the better, and that’s a great thing.

    But Blizzard’s unchallenged numbers don’t tell the full story.


    Meet the mind behind the first Dark Souls mega-mod



    It might seem strange to frame it this way, but the act of modifying your favourite game is tantamount to admitting it could've been just a bit better: that maybe the developers should have taken a turkey baster to the gloopy Blood Soldiers of Un-Garth, that the instant-kill spike trap right before the save point was perhaps just a bit too punitive. It's ironic it takes an ardent superfan to recognise the true flaws in a work, no matter how great - it's only by fully internalising where the brilliant design shines through that you can recognise the dusty corners that could use a bit more illumination. Of course, mods can never truly complete even the most flawed games, at least if we hold the creator's original vision as the blueprint - the modder's own voice adds to the experience, editing and compensating and harmonising in a way that might be more pleasant than the original, but irrevocably changing the nature of the performance in the process.


    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic by Alex Kane


    Featuring extensive new interviews with a host of KotOR's producers, writers, designers, and actors, journalist Alex Kane weaves together an epic oral history of this classic game, from its roots in tabletop role-playing and comic books, to its continued influence on big-screen Star Wars films. Whether you align with the light or the dark side, you're invited to dive into this in-depth journey through one of the most beloved Star Wars titles of all time.


    Writing Divinity: Original Sin 2’s story required coordination on a global scale


    Creating a bigger, better story that showed off their game’s reactive world was one of the main goals for the developers of Divinity: Original Sin 2. Larian hired a team of nine writers to create it, thinking that would be plenty to tackle the task. But between writing and scripting, Original Sin 2’s main story wasn’t complete until just ten months before the game shipped.


    Stories From Making Command and Conquer: Blues Brothers Impersonators, Hilariously Low-Tech Sets, and More


    Command and Conquer's cinema scenes were never destined to be Oscar material, but putting them together was a ton of fun.


    Valve's Rocky Road To Better Communication About Steam



    “The company still thinks like it’s this tiny little group of folks,” director of marketing Doug Lombardi told Kotaku. “We’ve never outgrown the mentality that we’re only, like, 50 people. And the principle has always been ‘Just ship stuff, people will find it.’ Then we’ll listen to developers and customers and make updates and stuff like that... Now we’re hearing from folks that there’s so much going on, that they’re being fed from the firehose and all that. ‘Maybe if you guys took some time to curate your messages a little better, we’d understand where you’re going, where your head was at, how to leverage it, etc.’”

    Valve’s (almost) ‘anything goes’ content policy devalues Steam and harms developers


    Almost anything can exist on Steam and wreak havoc on other developers


    Rami Ismail: “We’re seeing Steam bleed… that’s a very good thing for the industry”



    Thank fuck. No, seriously. The one thing that will always stifle innovation is monopolies. Even though Steam has been relatively benevolent about how they deal with games and how to deal with their teams, it’s never healthy to just have one player. Even though there’s been a lot of Steam competitors over the years, they’ve always been hampered by the fact that Steam has effectively infinite resources. They have infinite money. You can’t compete with that – unless you’re Fortnite.

    John Riccitiello interview — Is Epic buying Unity’s developers?


    John Riccitiello, the CEO of Unity Technologies, has always liked Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, and the healthy competition between the game engines that both companies make. Unity rose from the low end, capturing mobile game developers and then pushing its way upward.

    The Problems With The Epic Store (The Jimquisition)


    So, let's talk about the Epic Store. Controversial, hated, and rich enough to power through its ongoing controversies. For now, at least.

    Epic's dive into PC game distribution has earned it the ire of many, and while it offers a better deal for developers than Steam, it's got to seriously address its end-user problems if it wants lasting success.


    Game source code is a teaching tool, not a trade secret, argues VGHF founder



    Today at GDC Digital Eclipse's Frank Cifaldi, founder of the Video Game History Foundation, hopped onstage to talk a bit about the challenges facing game historians -- and how devs can continue helping to preserve game history.


    Why can't video games get shoulders right?



    "If you're looking at it in isolation, then the shoulder is the ball-and-socket joint, what we call your glenohumeral (GH) joint," orthopaedic registrar Charlotte Somerville explains to me over the phone. "But if you're thinking about shoulder movement, there's so much more to it than that. You have your clavicle that joins up to your sternum in the middle, and unless you're doing quite restricted movements, your scapula is moving alongside the movements of your arm as it's coming off your body, or forward, or back."


    Ace Attorney: Grave Wordplay Localizations and Their Gravy Consequences



    Whether you play the game in English or in Japanese, I’m sure the question of “I wonder what this pun is like in the other language?” comes up from time to time. After all, as a humor-based series, there are many elements that just wouldn’t make sense if it were literally translated, and that’s where localization comes in.


    Friday Nights in the Hostile Environment



    Satire is a well-worn tool for the critique of unjust, discriminatory systems and, if done right, can promote awareness of the systemic flaws and disparities in a bad policy, or reveal the covert cruelty in an oppressive regime. However, getting satire right in videogames can be challenging, as it’s not sufficient simply for the narrative and setting to work towards the satire: the interactive elements of the game and the way the player involves themselves have their own subtext, and it’s all too easy for the message proferred by a game’s systems to undermine its narrative satire.


    Resident Evil 2 Brings the Original Game Design Back From The Dead



    The game rebuilds the notion of why being stuck in police station during a virus outbreak is a terrifying prospect by increasing the number of verbs available.


    Kingdom Hearts' True Magic Isn't Disney, It's Men Showing Vulnerability



    The Square Enix mashup franchise hasn't lasted more than 15 years because you can visit the world of 'Frozen,' it's the surprising meditation on toxic masculinity.


    The Burnout team’s mold-breaking FPS deserves a better legacy



    Game designers face a great challenge: How can they demonstrate that a player’s basic actions are meaningful?


    Star Wars and the Pitfalls of Telling Adult Stories in a World Built for Children



    The Sith Lords — which follows a nameless Jedi Exile severed from the Force on a journey to find the resurgent Sith — is a weird game. Maimed by its rushed production, anticlimactic and frustrating by design, it’s probably the most morally murky and uncomfortable story ever told in Lucas’s iconic setting. It dwells deeply on war crimes and post-traumatic stress, examines abusive relationships with compassion, and creates a Star Wars universe where the clear moral conflicts of the movies are both hopelessly sullied and made meaningful by moving, complex relationships. Where Johnson’s movie sneers at the things that make Star Wars iconic, The Sith Lords pulls them apart and finds meaning in the ways they fail and fall short.


    The Stillness of the Wind Is My Cat's Favorite Game


    In the almost 10 years he’s been on this Earth, my cat Nuka has seen a lot of videogames. It’s only natural, of course; I’ve been writing about games for as long as he’s been alive, and I work from home. The day I brought him home at eight weeks old, he climbed up my back and sat on my head while I tried to play Fallout 3. You could say they’ve always been a part of his life.


    The Hidden Purpose of Hub Worlds


    Do you think hubworlds are boring? That they're some sort of throwback level design artifact? Well have you considered that they've actually got a very important job to do?

    Join The Architect as they uncover what being a hub is all about, using Dark Souls' Firelink Shrine to do it.


    How To Become a Game Animator - New Frame Plus


    Do you want a job making animation for video games? Here's a step-by-step guide to pursuing a game animation career!

    Support New Frame Plus on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/newframeplus


    The Animation of Samus | Video Game Animation Study


    Let's take a look at the history of Samus's animation, and what sort of things we can expect for Metroid Prime 4 and future Metroid titles.

    How has Nintendo maintained the freshness, uniqueness, interest and consistency in animating Samus in Metroid games? Let's find out!

    If you like the content you watch, you can help support the creators through www.Patreon.com/DanRoot


    Can I stop Fortnite from stealing my dance move?


    Here's one dance you're not having, Fortnite.

    Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/PeopleMakeGames


    Phantasy Star II Sega Genesis Mega Drive 30th Anniversary Retrospective - Gaijillionaire's Club GTV


    GTV 75 "Phantasy Star 2 Thirtieth Anniversary" 30 years ago, Sega released the first 16-bit RPG for the Mega Drive, aka Genesis. Let's celebrate!



    Good Game Design - APE OUT: Style Through Chaos


    Ape Out, Devolver Digital's latest action escapade, is a fantastic case study on how adding tons of juice and style to a simple core gameplay mechanic makes it insanely more enjoyable. Let's talk about it.


    Creating Devil May Cry 5's 'Devil Trigger'


    Composer Casey Edwards and vocalist Ali Edwards break down how Devil May Cry 5's hugely popular soundtrack cut was made.


    The Division 2: Massive went to Chernobyl to record the Dark Zone’s eerie sounds


    The Division 2 developer Massive has given us a behind-the-scenes look at creating the sound, and music of the game.


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