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    This Week In Gaming 3-31-20


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    Epic Games Publishing partners with Remedy, DESIGN, and Playdead. Alexis Ong profiles South Korean developer Somi who works in law enforcement and makes games that shine light on abuses of power, Ewan Wilson on why Half Life's City 17 was important to gaming's post-Soviet obsession, Steven T. Wright interviews gif makers creating art out of pulse-pounding gameplay, Official Xbox Magazine shuts down and GameStop to close 300 more stores, GDC Relief and COVID19 charity bundles, NieR is being remade, Florence Smith Nicholls asks who writes game history, Nintendo Direct reveals new games and new remakes, Gabe Newell tried gold farming, Patrick Klepek covers how Hard Drive became The Onion of video games, Jess Morrissette on the link between toxic gaming culture and brand loyalty with the way they used to be marketed, Gears Tactics gameplay, 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)

     

    GDC Relief Fund Bundle lets you name your price for 167 games

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    A fundraising livestream is live on Twitch, and all the bundle proceeds go towards helping indie developers

    Conquer COVID19 Bundle

     

    Inside Xbox Series X - How Microsoft Redefined The Console Form Factor

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    During our recent trip of Microsoft at Redmond WA, Digital Foundry had the chance to talk to the hardware design team who engineered the Xbox Series X console and saw how the console is constructed... Looking for an Xbox Series X teardown? Well, think of this as the opposite! So, how is the console constructed and why did the form factor need to be totally revamped?

     

    Nintendo Direct Mini 3.26.20

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    A new Nintendo Direct Mini is here! Watch now to see more than 25 minutes of news on a selection of Nintendo Switch games coming this year.

    Burnout Paradise and BioShock trilogy headed to Nintendo Switch

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    Plus XCOM 2, Borderlands, Panzer Dragoon: Remake.

    Nintendo Direct Mini reveals Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition date, more

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    Nintendo surprised fans today by releasing a Nintendo Direct Mini packed full of announcements.

    The Bravely Default 2 Demo Wants to Drink Your Blood and Eat Your Bones

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    Careless movements in Bravely Default's first proper sequel will earn you a swift death.

     

    NieR: Replicant vers.1.22474487139... is bringing the cult 2010 RPG to PC

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    No, I didn’t spill coffee on the keyboard. Yes, the ellipses are part of the title. 10 years after its console debut, NieR is heading to PC with the elegantly-titled Nier: Replicant vers.1.22474487139… – not a remake or a remaster, Square Enix insist, but a spruced-up re-release that’s polishing up the audio, sprinkling in some new content, and finally bringing the cult-classic RPG to Steam.

     

    Wastelands 3 Preview: Surviving the Frozen Apocalypse

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    inXile Entertainment's return to the isometric post-apocalypse is as dark, violent, and deadly as ever, but this time it's so very cold.

    Wasteland 3 delayed to August 28

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    "Logistical challenges" in transitioning to work-from-home environment impacted release.

     

    Resident Evil 3 - Official Jill Valentine Story Trailer

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    Jill Valentine’s escape from Raccoon City is fraught with danger, but she still has some dependable allies to rely on… as well as some enemies to watch out for. Jill won’t just be the star of Resident Evil 3, though – she’ll also be added as a playable Survivor in Resident Evil Resistance in a future update.

    Resident Evil 3 Demo - First Person Mod Gameplay

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    You have once again entered the world of survival horror, but this time in first-person! Check out the 'Mod-Framework' mod by praydog, to give the Resident Evil 3 Demo that FPS flair.

     

    Gears Tactics is a shockingly good strategy game

    Gears Tactics Eschews XCOM Comparisons By Embracing the Brutality of Gears

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    Tactics with the carnage and momentum of Gears.

    Why Gears Tactics Might Have What It Takes To Compete With XCOM

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    During an extended demo, we got a taste for Gear Tactics’ faster pace and watched a handful of soldiers face off against a squad of Locust grunts. Unlike many strategy games, the heroes in Gears Tactics don’t move along a grid. Instead, players are free to move around the battlefield however they like. This opens up new strategies as players now have a greater level of flexibility to create flanking routes around their enemies. At the same time, it’s still very important to grab cover and find lines of sight that give your heroes a higher percent chance to hit their targets.

     

    Sakura Wars combat trailer, screenshots

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    Sega has released a new trailer and screenshots for Sakura Wars introducing combat.

     

    8 Minutes of Predator: Hunting Grounds Fireteam Gameplay

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    We kill militia, take on the Predator and get to the chopper in this Predator: Hunting Grounds fireteam gameplay.

    9 Minutes of Predator: Hunting Grounds Predator Gameplay

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    Check out this gameplay from the Predator: Hunting Grounds trial as we try to claim some human skulls as the Predator.

     

    Nintendo has big plans for Super Mario Bros.’ 35th anniversary

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    CELEBRATIONS WILL SEE MARIO’S 35-YEAR BACK CATALOGUE REMASTERED FOR SWITCH

     

    Shantae and the Seven Sirens for consoles and PC launches May 28; ‘Part 2’ update now available for Apple Arcade

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    Limited Run Games to distribute physical edition.

     

    PAX East 2020: Indie Games to Look Out For

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    The video games at PAX East 2020 represented a wide range of genres and story themes, some embodying new visions of old standard tropes, and others being oddly prescient for our current way of life in a time defined by isolation.

     

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered coming tomorrow

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    The cat is out of the bag, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered launches tomorrow.

     

    Why a 26-Year-Old Strategy Classic Just Received Its First DLC

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    How a modder's obsessive work to improve a flawed game was finally canonized.

     

    Sega to Charge for Yakuza: Like a Dragon New Game+ Mode

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    In what feels like the most Sega move ever, the publisher plans on charging money for Yakuza: Like a Dragon‘s New Game+ mode. The hotly anticipated turn-based RPG iteration of the beloved Yakuza franchise released in January of this year in Japan and Sega laid out the game’s extensive DLC plans for 2020 on the Like a Dragon website. Anyone familiar with other Japanese developer’s DLC practices already knows that the publisher isn’t shy about charging an arm, leg, and more for its DLC. So, the news that the Like a Dragon “Premium Master” New Game+ mode will cost players money comes as no shock.

     

    Epic Games Publishing Announces Partnerships with gen DESIGN, Playdead, and Remedy Entertainment

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    Today, Epic Games is announcing a new multiplatform publishing effort with a developer-first approach. gen DESIGN (The Last Guardian), Playdead (Inside, Limbo), and Remedy Entertainment (Control) are the first partners to announce relationships with Epic Games Publishing.

     

    Gearbox Software co-founder Landon Montgomery has died

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    Montgomery worked on the Half-Life, Halo and Borderlands series during his career.

     

    Final Fantasy 14 suspends in-game house demolition of players who can’t pay subscription during coronavirus lockdown

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    MMO Final Fantasy 14 is suspending its automatic system of demolishing in-game houses of players who have not recently logged-in due to a lapse in their subscription payments.

     

    Google Stadia is helping Bungie keep Destiny 2's lights on during Covid-19

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    Google Stadia might still be struggling to find its place in people’s living rooms. But for one studio’s home offices, it’s becoming an invaluable piece of tech. After Covid-19 hit their home state of Washington pretty hard, Destiny 2 developers Bungie have explained the beefy laptops and cloud streaming workarounds that aim to keep Guardians fighting while working from home.

     

    Long-running Official Xbox Magazine shuts down

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    Future bosses say they've taken pay cuts to reduce lay-offs.

     

    GameStop is closing another 300+ stores this year

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    "These closures are part of our de-densification plan."

     

    Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord player count is already bloody ridiculous

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    After a long – long – wait, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is finally here, and players are already flocking to the medieval simulation in droves. By player count, the sequel is now the biggest new Steam launch of 2020, mere hours after release, and the numbers are still on the rise.

     

    QuakeCon 25 called off over COVID-19 concerns

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    Bethesda Softworks and id Software have canceled their annual QuakeCon fan event, announcing over Twitter that uncertainties involving the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic make planning this year’s event too difficult to proceed with the show.

     

    Summer Games Done Quick is postponing to August because of the coronavirus

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    Summer Games Done Quick, the warmer branch of the biannual speedrunning and charity marathon, will be delaying until August 2020 because of the Covid-19 coronavirus. SGDQ’s organisers explain that the event planned to take place in June is being pushed back by two months. Game submissions and volunteer applications are being wiped clean so that those who are still able to attend can submit information.

     

    Fox will broadcast NASCAR’s substitute sim racing ‘season’ on television

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    Sim racing is taking the place of real-world racing for the foreseeable future

     

    I Interviewed The Guy Trying To Fix Dark Souls 2

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    I found the man getting everyone excited about Dark Souls 2 again, and managed to interview him! Stayd's goal is to create the ‘Flames of Old’, a mod for Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin overhauling lighting, shaders, maps, and gameplay. This mod will dramatically increase the fidelity of the game's environments and lighting, hopefully bringing them on-par with what was shown pre-release, while also ironing out the game's rougher edges.

     

    Rip and tear in third-person with this Doom Eternal mod

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    It feels criminal to do this to Doom Eternal. Doom is the ur-FPS. Not the first, by any means, but the most – the first-person shooter we’ve been chasing for decades. In their own act of heresy, though, modders have plucked the eyes from our Doom Slayer and hung them a few feet behind his rear, turning Doom Eternal’s meaty in-your-face gorefest into a ludicrously nippy third-person adventure.

     

    Esports

     

    Notice of Cancellation of ARC WORLD TOUR 2020

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    Rolling Hills Estates, California – March 30, 2020 -- Rolling Hills Estates, California – March 30, 2020 -- Due to the global pandemic of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Arc System Works America, Inc. (Minoru Kidooka, CEO), has decided to cancel ARC WORLD TOUR 2020 in its entirety.

     

    Combo Breaker Cancels Fighting Game Tournament For 2020

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    This year’s highly anticipated Combo Breaker fighting game tournament, originally scheduled for May 22-24, has been canceled according to an announcement released this morning by organizers. The annual competition is the latest such event to skip 2020 due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic caused by a novel strain of coronavirus.

     

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

     

    Gamedec - Isometric, cyberpunk RPG set in XXII century

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    Gamedec is an adaptive, cyberpunk, isometric RPG. You are a gamedec – a private detective who solves crimes inside virtual worlds

     

    Chinatown Detective Agency: Globetrotting Mystery Adventure

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    A cybernoir adventure inspired by the classic Carmen Sandiego games.

     

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

     

    WHY HALF-LIFE’S CITY 17 WAS PIVOTAL TO GAMING’S POST-SOVIET OBSESSION

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    “They’re the same houses that me and most of my friends live in,” he says. “When I was fairly young, I only really knew the big blockbuster games where the world was either in outer space or in America. With City 17 I suddenly saw all this familiar architecture, Cyrillic text and advertisements in the streets — it was a magical feeling, and made it feel like those events could all be playing out somewhere here in Russia,” says Ignatov. “I wish more games explored similar settings, but without simply exploiting the themes of the Cold War and the Chernobly disaster.”

     

    How Games Marketing Invented Toxic Gamer Culture

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    It's around this time that Sega emerged as an industry thought leader with provocative advertisements for Heat.net, its online PC gaming platform. A 1998 ad for the service includes a disturbing testimonial from a presumably fictional Heat.net player: "I used to take out my bullets, and on each one I would write the name of each person on my bus. Then a friend showed me I could purge my violent urges in Net Fighter on Heat.net against other people. Thanks to Heat, the people on my bus will never know how close they came."

     

    Who gets to write video game history?

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    In Spring 2016, I took part in a rather unusual archaeological dig. There was no dirt, no trowelling - in fact the excavation didn't even take place outside. It was just me, in my childhood bedroom, digging through old copies of Official Nintendo Magazine and realising that I could map my childhood obsession with video games from the stacks hidden in my bookshelf. Opening up an issue from February 2006 I found a feature lauding the mysterious new 'Nintendo Revolution' console and a caption jibing "Good looks and great to play with. Revolution sounds like our ideal girl." It's a window into a different time. 14 years later and some things have changed- we didn't get a Revolution, we got a Wii. I've grown up. Games journalism (for the most part) has too.

     

    Meet the GIF Makers Who Craft Art out of Pinpoint Gameplay

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    In an era of hours-long gaming streams, these artisans edit together a perfect 15 seconds of pulse-pounding combat.

     

    Empathy for the Devil

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    By day, South Korea’s Somi works a job related to law enforcement. By night, he makes games that challenge and humanize police abuses of power.

     

    The 'Hard Drive' Became The Onion of Video Games by Being 'Unapologetically Left-Wing'

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    How 'Hard Drive' manages to celebrate and skewer gaming culture, while supporting unionization and LGBTQ rights at the same time.

     

    Gabe Newell tried gold farming in World of Warcraft to test a theory about games

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    It’s hard to overstate the amount of impact Steam has had on what we think of today as PC gaming, and a big element of the shift it’s brought about has been tied to its community market – using Steam’s market, users can buy and sell virtual items that they’ve generated inside their games. In a recent interview, Newell explains that he tested his ideas about what games could be by spending time as a gold farmer in World of Warcraft.

     

    Theatrical Spaces

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    Early in Kentucky Route Zero’s first act, the ambling old truck driver, Conway, finds himself in the main house at the Marquez farm where he sets up a television set for its resident, Weaver Marquez. When the unit is turned on, instead of playing an image on its small screen, the walls of the house dissolve around the pair and the lights drop, shrouding everything in a mysterious hazy dimness. We push in a little closer to Conway and Marquez as an old wooden barn becomes visible behind them in the previously darkened downstage. A scene which might ordinarily have been presented in the form of a cinematic, through some non-diegetic window into a pre-baked, separate world, instead shifts the profile of the existing space, adjusting the scenery and transforming the staging, making the artifice of it more visible, even as it invites you in closer, to see things differently and through a more intimate lens.

     

    Holding on to Nothing in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

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    I'm not okay, but a branded Nintendo mobile game is somehow helping me get through things

    In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Kindness is Essential

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    Animal Crossing: New Horizons came at the right time. It’s something that’s been said a million times before I’m sure, but I truly believe that now, more than ever, a game where we can connect through small, but important acts is what we need.

     

    Unsafe Rooms

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    Horror thrives on subverting expectations, and there’s nowhere more ripe for subversion than the humble safe room.

     

    At Home with the Ghosts: Kentucky Route Zero’s Reworking of Capitalist Space

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    Equus Oils is a gas station like any other. There’s a superintendent, a general store, a few tanks, that strange sloped roof and a giant metallic horse. A sculpture of craftsmanship, of individuality, not given a name. When we move Conway into the basement of the station, the writhing mess of wires and pipes unveils a secret world. It is still haunted by its prior inhabitants, still echoing with their voices. The horse’s head has a body, a soul, but it is still shaped by the business it embodies.

     

    Teacher gives geometry lesson in Half-Life: Alyx – check it out

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    A teacher in San Diego gave his students an online geometry lesson inside Half-Life: Alyx.

    During a global pandemic, Civilization 6 is helping me feel good about humanity

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    With our own planet currently trying to eject us from the premises, it’s easy to feel pretty down about being alive in general. And, to be fair to Earth, we do kind of deserve it. But, if mankind had a publicist, and if that publicist hadn’t already walked themselves off a cliff, they’d probably be urging us to play Sid Meier’s Civilization 6, or any Civilization for that matter. It gives the human race some much-needed good press.

    Friends threw this nine-year-old a birthday party in Animal Crossing: New Horizons because of the coronavirus lockdown

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    Lovely nine-year-old Sophia didn’t count on getting a surprise birthday party in Animal Crossing.

     

    How Stealth Game Guards See and Hear | School of Stealth

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    Welcome to the School of Stealth, a GMTK miniseries on how stealth games work. In episode one, I’m going to tackle guard perception and awareness. How do guards see and hear, and how do different solutions lead to different game experiences? Subscribe to ensure you catch future episodes.

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

     

    Devs Explain Out of Bounds Secrets | Cuphead - Boundary Break

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    Lets take the camera absolutely anywhere we want to learn more about Cuphead!

     

    Fighting Games Worth Taking a Look At - Design Documentary

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    Not all #FightingGames are the highly competitive, insanely complex games that they've become known for today. Once upon a time, the gaming landscape was flooded with various fighters, ranging from the stupidly simple cheap cash grabs to the obscure, eccentric, fighting games. Today, we're taking a look at some of the ones with unique mechanics, #gamedesigns, stories, and their histories to see what might have been missed!

    https://www.patreon.com/TheSoberDwarf

     

    History Respawned: Through the Darkest of Times

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    Bob talks with Dr. Ned Richardson-Little (Twitter: @HistoryNed) about the historical resistance strategy game Through the Darkest of Times. Topics include resistance to the Nazi regime, political ideology in the Third Reich, persecuted groups, and paper hoarding.

    Please consider supporting us on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/historyrespawned

     

    How Video Games Create Meaning | Procedural Rhetoric, Meaningful Mechanics and the Dynamics of Play

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    This video examines how video games communicate meaning, and the different theories designers and theorists have devised to answer that question. From Procedural rhetoric, to the aesthetics of play, and theories of dynamic emergent meaning, we are still debating how games fundamentally convey ideas, themes and emotions, and in this video, we survey the history of different theories of meaning for games, and how play expresses itself differently based on the game, the context and the culture it exists in.

     

    This Game is Helping Me Cope Right Now. It Might Help You.

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    A game of Kind Words and strangers...

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

     

    The Silent Hill 2 Analysis

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    Developing Warframe from Home with Rebb Ford - Noclip Podcast #27

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    With most of the industry housebound we decided to turn to internet interviews for the foreseeable future. In this episode, the first of our new series catching up with past documentary interviewees, we chat to Rebb Ford about the evolution of Warframe and how the studio is coping working remotely.



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