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    This Week In Gaming 4-16-19


    Information on the next generation Playstation, John Walker gives the history of Rock Paper Shotgun, Jacob Geller on the art and sound design of APE OUT and how they lead to one of his favorite gaming moments, Jedi Fallen Order reveal trailer and early information, Eyepatch Wolf on the horror of Red Candle Games, Avelene Perry on the cost of revolution in Ogre Battle 64, Tetsuya Mizuguchi discusses burnout after using all his passion and energy in the creation of Child of Eden, Dia Lacina in pursuit of the perfect photograph in Sekiro, Edwin Evans-Thirlwell interviews Amy Hennig on what is next for her and the industry and her thoughts on Jedi Fallen Order, Chris Avellone explains why he would never work with Obsidian's senior management again and what KOTOR 3 could have been about, 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)





    “The key question,” Cerny says, “is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be.”

    The answer, in this case, is the latter. It’s why we’re sitting here, secreted away in a conference room at Sony’s headquarters in Foster City, California, where Cerny is finally detailing the inner workings of the as-yet-unnamed console that will replace the PS4.

    PlayStation 5: Why to be skeptical about next-gen console reveals


    What’s promised vs. what’s possible


    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — Official Reveal Trailer


    Cal Kestis—one of the last surviving members of the Jedi Order after the purge of Order 66—is now a Padawan on the run. Experience this all-new single-player Star Wars™ story from Respawn Entertainment and EA Star Wars on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC this holiday season, 15 November 2019.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is an action-adventure game set after Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith™. Develop your Force abilities, hone your lightsaber techniques, and explore the ancient mysteries of a long-lost civilization—all while staying one step ahead of the Empire and its deadly Inquisitors.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has a big focus on story, and six narrative designers


    At Reboot Develop, a games industry event in Dubrovnik, we got chance to chat to omnipresent RPG writer Chris Avellone, during which we did our best to force trick him into revealing all of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s secrets.

    Amy Hennig reacts to Jedi: Fallen Order announce, reveals more of her cancelled single-player Star Wars game


    "And you've got to understand there's been huge changes in management there since all of this happened as well. Both Patrick Soderlund and Jade Raymond have left in the meantime, and Laura Miele, who was the franchise general manager for Star Wars when I joined, is now in Patrick's role. So I don't have any insider knowledge, but there's a lot of reasons they could have adopted a new attitude for this. And I'm glad for Respawn's sake, because I'm excited about their game, and I've heard great things about it."

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order store page touts “cinematically-charged” Lightsaber combat with “striking, parrying, dodging”


    More specifically, the page touches on the combat of the third-person action adventure. It call its Lightsaber combat “cinematically-charged”, which it explains will deliver “the kind of intense Star Wars Lightsaber battles as seen in the films.”


    Trine 4 is meant to be a nightmare but it’s a co-op puzzling dream



    It’s felt like an age since we last visited the fantastical world of Trine. The first game was released back in 2009, followed by Trine 2 in 2011, and then Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power in 2015. Now, four years later, Frozenbyte is once again opening the pages of its fairytale book so that Zoya the thief, Amadeus the wizard, and Pontius the knight can reunite for Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince.


    Deep Silver to publish Iron Harvest



    Deep Silver has signed an agreement with King Art Games to publish the upcoming real-time strategy game Iron Harvest for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, King Art Games announced.


    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey Captures the Invigorating Helplessness of Being a Primal Human


    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey wants you to forget about "cavemen clichés" like clubs, animal skins, and half-tamed dogs. Instead, it aims to cast your thoughts to the very dawn of humankind: Over ten million years ago, long before good old homo sapiens spread across the planet—and even before its forebears, homo erectus, started playing with fire around two million years ago.

    New Gameplay Today – Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey


    Elise joins Cork and Leo to discuss her time playing the upcoming survival game from the designer behind the first three Assassin's Creeds, which is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC later this year.


    BioShock-styled horror game Close to the Sun is out in May


    Nikola Tesla stands in for Andrew Ryan, but he's still a jerk with a love for the sea and some pretty crappy ideas.


    Rage 2: Breaking Down the Deadly Factions - IGN First


    We dig into Rage 2's new "Everything vs. Me" trailer and take a deep look at the game's murderous enemy factions.


    Conan Unconquered video showcases rotting corpses and an angry god


    Petroglyph's 'survival RTS' is set to come out at the end of May.


    Raji: An Ancient Epic mixes Prince of Persia with demonic ass-kicking in ancient India


    Raji's 2017 Kickstarter didn't work out, but work continued anyway and the game really appears to be shaping up.


    New Gameplay Today – The Sinking City


    Reiner joins Cork and Leo to give his gameplay impressions from two hours with the upcoming Lovecraftian action/investigation game from Bigben Interactive.

    The Sinking City is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 27.

    'The Sinking City' Isn't Shying Away From the Racism in Lovecraft's Work


    Frogwares' upcoming Lovecraftian detective game is ambitious in scope—and doesn't seem to let HP off the hook.


    Mortal Kombat 11 - Official Kitana & D'Vorah Reveal Trailer


    Check out the character reveal trailer for Kitana and D'Vorah in Mortal Kombat 11 featuring Kitana's fatality.

    How NetherRealm Creates Mortal Kombat Story Modes That Matter


    In this exclusive Game Informer interview, NetherRealm Studios' story and voiceover director Dominic Cianciolo explains how Ed Boon and the team create ambitious story modes for games like Mortal Kombat 11.

    Mortal Kombat 11 has microtransactions, but they’re just ‘time savers’


    You’ll be able to spend real money in Mortal Kombat 11, but only to buy cosmetic items and consumables that you can earn by playing the game. Developer NetherRealm says its in-game currency is only meant to save time, they won’t be gating any content behind microtransactions.


    Utawarerumono Zan Collector’s Editions Gives You A Fan Like Haku’s When It Arrives In Fall 2019


    Earlier today, Koch Media France revealed that Utawarerumono: Zan would be released outside of Japan. Now, NIS America has come forward with details about this action-RPG that retells Haku’s story with animated cutscenes and plenty of battles. In addition to confirming that the game is being released on the PlayStation 4 outside of Japan in Fall 2019, it showed off a collector’s edition.


    Octopath Traveler Is Headed To PC Via Steam On June 7, 2019



    Octopath Traveler is coming to PC via Steam on June 7, publisher Square Enix announced in a now-deleted blog post.


    Alan Wake and Wolfenstein 2 composers worked on Control


    Remedy enlisted Alan Wake composer Petri Alanko and Wolfenstein 2’s Martin Stig Andersen to create the score for its upcoming action-adventure title, Control.


    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Release Date Revealed, New Characters Confirmed


    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is coming out exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on July 19, 2019. That's almost 10 years after the release of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.


    Yakuza Kiwami 2’s PC port finally arrives next month


    After an ESRB posting and teasers from Sega itself made it pretty clear that Yakuza Kiwami 2 would soon be coming to PC, the release has now been officially confirmed. In a press release issued earlier today, Sega revealed that the remake will arrive on Steam on May 9.


    Trident’s Wake is a spiritual successor to Helldivers that needs more interesting missions


    The four player co-op hallway crawler has a fun foundation in Early Access, but no reason to keep playing.


    Announcing ‘Onslaught’, the Newest Expansion Coming to Star Wars™: The Old Republic



    Explore two new planets, a new Flashpoint on the war-torn world of Corellia, a new Operation set in the lush jungles of Dxun and more! Reap the spoils of war with reworked itemization, an increased level cap, and new abilities. Star Wars: The Old Republic: Onslaught is coming September 2019, free to all subscribers!


    Total War: Warhammer 2 Free-LC Will Add Lizardmen Lord Tiktaq’to



    The Prophet and The Warlock is the next upcoming DLC for Total War: Warhammer 2; a Lord pack which expands both the Lizardmen and Skaven factions. However, Creative Assembly is also releasing a new Free-LC expansion alongside the DLC, as they have done many times in the past. The studio revealed the identity of the new Free-LC Legendary Lord today via a livestream; Tiktaq’to, the Lizardmen “Master of Skies.”

    See Total War: Warhammer 2's new doom flayers in action


    Biker mice.

    Total War: Warhammer 2 will still get DLC, but no new races


    The latest DLC pack for Total War: Warhammer II, The Prophet and the Warlock, is out tomorrow, and it adds the skink prophet Tehenhauin and the warlock-engineer Ikit Claw to the Skaven and the Lizardmen races respectively. However, as nice as this new DLC is, players were still hoping to see more substantial expansions for the game in the future – such as new playable races.


    Free Celeste DLC Chapter Won’t Be Released In April 2019


    The last major details on this free Celeste DLC were released by Matt Thorson back in January 2019. He confirmed it would be a hard chapter that will have no strawberries to collect or B-Side to explore. It will also tweak gameplay a bit, adding new mechanic and items for Celeste to use.


    Overwatch goes co-op again tomorrow in the Storm Rising event


    Overwatch archive decryption complete. Strike team deployed. Fight in the streets of Havana as Tracer, Winston, Genji, or Mercy to extract a high-ranking member of the Talon organization and unlock pieces of the past with over 100 items from last year and many new ones—including highlight intros, emotes, sprays, and more. These archives are yours to explore starting April 16.


    Assassin's Creed Odyssey: The Fate Of Atlantis takes us beyond Greece next week


    The Fate of Atlantis looks like it’s following closely in the steps of Origins’s excellent Curse Of The Pharaohs expansion, taking players into the Grecian afterlife. There’s gods to meet, monsters to slay, and I’ve a gut feeling that it may all be some kind of massive holodeck simulation thing deep in the bowels of Atlantis. There’ll be some big new environments to explore, starting with Elysium itself, and a new set of skills to learn in this strange new realm, named after the gods of the land. Ares Bull Charge, Might Of Artemis and Kronos Time Warp sound like fun new toys to play with.


    Two Point Hospital is getting a free co-op feature later this month


    Hectic hospital sim, Two Point Hospital, is getting the Superbug Initiative, a new co-op feature, as a free update arriving April 30 on Steam.


    Sea Of Thieves' Big One-Year Anniversary Changes


    Sea of Thieves is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a huge update that adds story content, an arena mode, fishing, and lots more all for free on April 30.


    Respawn co-founder Jason West is the next Epic exclusive


    Jason West, the co-founder of both Infinity Ward and Respawn, is back in the industry. He’s now at Epic Games, working on the company’s game development efforts. West officially left Respawn back in 2013 due to family issues, and he hasn’t had a visible presence in the game industry since.


    Summer Games Done Quick 2019 announces June schedule



    Time to pencil in another week of sick days and sleepless nights, as the competitors and games for this year’s Summer Games Done Quick have been announced, broadcasting from Bloomington, Minneapolis. The charity speedrunning marathon kicks off on 5pm BST on June 23rd, demolishing games at record pace around the clock until June 30th. As with their other summer events, they’ll be raising fat sacks of money for Médecins Sans Frontières. While there’s still time for last-minute changes, the show schedule is here, automatically adjusted to your local timezone.


    Sony clamps down on sexual content in PS4 games



    Many have suspected that Sony was implementing strict rules on sexual content in PS4 games, and those hunches have just been validated. The company confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it created its own guidelines for sexual material in games, overriding rating systems like the ESRB's and PEGI's. The move will help developers "offer well-balanced content" that doesn't "inhibit the sound growth and development" of young people, according to a spokeswoman. She didn't outline the rules or say when they took effect.


    PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Banned In Nepal Because Of Addiction Concerns



    While the World Health Organization does include “gaming disorder” in its International Classification of Diseases, some recent research suggests that only a very small percent of game players are at risk of getting addicted. That, however, hasn’t stopped Nepal from banning the game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds under the auspices of protecting kids from addiction.


    Rocket League nixes loot boxes in Belgium, the Netherlands



    Government regulations force Psyonix to follow in footsteps of companies such as Blizzard, EA, Square Enix, Valve, and others


    This SNES emulator mod makes Mode 7 graphics 'HD' with amazing results


    It's insane how much detail is in there, just waiting to be found.


    Esports News


    $155,000 Mortal Kombat 11 Pro Kompetition series kicks off in May


    The multi-event tourney offers winners a shot at the Final Kombat finale in 2020.


    From Fernando Alonso to Alfa Romeo, the esports team looking to change the face of motorsport



    Racing esports is serious business, I'm sure you've heard. I think I've probably bored you in the recent past about it - whether it's how Gran Turismo Sport and F1 2018's esports series have produced races that have sometimes been the measure of the real thing, for a spectator at least, how the likes of F1 star Lando Norris have used games to sharpen their skills, or how McLaren is turning to esports to find the next generation of racing driver - but it's only when visiting the offices of esports team Veloce Racing that it really hits me. This really is serious business.


    Rocket League gets an esports shop that shares revenue with teams and players



    Rocket League is the latest competitive title to bring esports into the game itself, as Psyonix has detailed the first iteration of its Esports Shop. The developers are partnering with eleven Rocket League Championship Series teams for the pilot programme, and those teams will receive a share of the revenue for sales made through the shop.


    One Of North America’s Best League Of Legends Teams Is Itching For A Comeback



    Team SoloMid once again finds itself in the North America League of Legends finals, but its path to victory pits the team against the seemingly unstoppable Team Liquid, helmed by former Team SoloMid star Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng.


    9-Year-Old Dragon Ball FighterZ Player Faces His Own Dad In Tournament



    Most fighting game tournaments do very little to curate tournament matchups. Sure, the biggest events will do some seeding to ensure that big names and regional rivals don’t play against each other right out of the gate, but for the most part, competitors need to be ready for whoever is thrown at them. Tsuyoshi, a 9-year-old Dragon Ball FighterZ player, crashed head first into this unique challenge when he had to face his own father in a recent tournament.


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


    Backers have pledged over $1b total to games on Kickstarter



    In 2018, Kickstarter saw a total of 352 video game projects, 2,336 tabletop projects, and 404 playing cards projects according to Ico Partners analyst Thomas Bidaux. Video games accounted for $15 million in funding that year, while the Games category as a whole brought in almost $200 million.


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


    The Secret History Of Rock Paper Shotgun - Part One: Matters Of Import


    As one of the last two members of the original RPS team to leave the Treehouse (Alec this week, me at the end of next week), I’ve found myself getting all nostalgic. Trying to remember how it all began, twelve long years ago.


    You cheated the game


    I then started writing about games and, since having a tiny bit of success from a few articles, I’ve become a central target of forums, reddit threads, and other dark tunnels running through the internet. Even my favourite readers do not care for me as much as online stalkers who, despite being blocked, still keep tabs, run to their creepy friends, to rat on what I said about a video game.


    The big Amy Hennig interview



    Hennig has spent the year and a half since leaving Visceral resting, reflecting and meeting with potential partners. She has done some consultancy work at VR company The Void, and directed a volumetric video capture shoot for Intel. But she has also spent her absence from the limelight trying to make sense of what she calls "a time of massive change". In a keynote discussion at last week's Reboot Develop conference in Dubrovnik, Hennig spoke about looking beyond challenge, mastery and failstates as key criteria for game design. She is particularly enthused by real-time streaming platforms, suggesting that their promise of greater accessibility is an opportunity to fashion new genres for a broader audience. In the wake of her presentation, I sat down with Hennig to discuss all this, her time working on Star Wars, and whether the advent of real-time streaming is also an opportunity to change the way games are made.


    Telltale Co-Founder Opens Up About Studio's Troubling Closure


    We recently published an in-depth investigative piece about the factors leading to Telltale's end. Former Telltale CEO and co-founder Kevin Bruner plays a big part in that story. Because Bruner left the company in 2017, he wasn't there during its closure, but he was present during some of Telltale's most trying times that ultimately led it to shut down.

    We chatted with Bruner earlier this year. He gives a candid and detailed look at what was going on behind the scenes at Telltale. You can read the whole interview below.


    Obsidian’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 3 was about battling ancient, monstrous Sith lords



    Once work wrapped on KoTOR 2, Obsidian was ready to make a third game in the acclaimed RPG series. Unfortunately, it never came to pass, but here’s what was planned, according to one of the writers.

    The long, hard road of creating Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


    When LucasArts first announced Knights of the Old Republic in a July 2000 press release, the publisher described the project as “the first Star Wars role-playing game (RPG) for PC and next-generation video game systems.” This was just four months after Microsoft had unveiled its plans to enter the console arena with the first Xbox. The game’s release window was slated for 2002.


    Weed is worse than murder, if you're selling a video game



    Weedcraft Inc. came out on Tuesday, and by Wednesday a handful of prominent and small-time YouTubers had been hit with ad-review requests, age-gate requirements and outright demonetization on their videos of the game. On Facebook, Devolver couldn't get a single ad for the game approved and, on launch day, its page was restricted.


    “I wouldn’t work with senior management” at Obsidian ever again, says Chris Avellone



    Chris Avellone, previously co-founder and creative director at Obsidian, split from the company in 2015 and has been vocally critical of the executives ever since.


    “I spent my everything. I broke.” – Tetsuya Mizuguchi on burnout and creating the “new-wow”



    The Japanese developer’s first video game creation was 29 years ago, working at Sega in his first ever games job. It was a Sega Game Gear – a handheld system from the console manufacturer – that he had rigged to strap to his face. A DIY VR kit. Nobody asked him to make it, but he took it into a board meeting anyway, where it was promptly ignored. This was in 1991.


    How Journals Are Bringing Humanity to Video Games



    In a world dominated by the digital, video game characters have increasingly turned to an analog outlet to record their thoughts. While audiologs and emails are popular ways to communicate the thoughts of others, developers are frequently turning to ink and paper to let us inside the minds of the characters we inhabit.


    Forget easy mode. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice needs an equal mode


    When the controversy around Sekiro broke, the idea of it needing an “easy mode” seemed silly to me. I had just won the title of Global Gaming Citizen at The Game Awards in December, a recognition for the positive work I’ve done in our industry including my life’s work at AbleGamers. In its 15 years of existence, our charity has never been busier, having contracts with almost every major publisher in the industry and working on all kinds of cool, secret things that I can’t talk about without an army of robots jumping out of my closet and beating me down. Surely with all the progress we’ve been making, no one would be against adding accessibility to a video game?


    In Pursuit of the Shot in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice



    Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice continues the From Software trend of not including a photo mode, not really. And in a way, I’m glad. The relationship of player to avatar and avatar to space is too indelible, too crucial for these games. But for me, the joy in photographing these spaces is in the pursuit of the photograph, seeing a place experientially. Learning it, and discovering more about it the way loresters internalize and piece together the fragmentary narratives that build out these world. To photograph a From Software game is to contend with its realities, both cruel and marvelous.

    Sekiro's Smartest Boss Fight Is Against A Giant, Poop-Throwing Ape


    There are plenty of tough bosses in Sekiro, from rival swordsmen to dangerous undead monsters. One of the best bosses sounds at first like it would be the silliest: a shit-throwing giant ape. But closer examination of this battle reveals a crash course on how to make a reactive and thematically interesting boss fight. It’s FromSoftware’s speciality on full display.


    Journey — to the Mother Tongue



    My original approach to engaging with Journey focused on its formal characteristics. The character design is minimal, yet very expressive. The only way players can interact with other players or with the world is to move in it and release a sort of ping that activates features of the environment. When interacting with other players, this auditory beacon can signal discovery of the path forward or other interesting features. Journey has been lauded as a transcendent experience, embodying the inherent togetherness of all human beings.


    Ogre Battle 64 and the Cost of Revolution



    Ogre Battle 64 begins with the player character breaking up with his boyfriend before graduating from military school, where the pope gives him a tarot reading. From there, Quest’s Nintendo 64 strategy RPG gets progressively more obscure, angry, and gay. I love this game for so many reasons: its expansive character customization, its tragic Iliadic love story, and its focus on a people’s revolution against a rigid class system and the imperial religious hegemony that supports it. But the most compelling — and frustrating — aspect of Ogre Battle 64 is the thoughtful way it forces you to navigate the revolution at the heart of its story, and to explore the moral cost of waging war.


    Ace Combat 7 Wants the Context of War Without its Baggage



    Ace Combat 7 wants you to feel the visceral thrill of dogfighting without getting too deep into the consequences of armed conflict. While its story builds plot points around actual issues (such as artificial intelligence and the personal and political weight of civilian casualties), it strikes a balance between a deep war story and an absurdist fantasy in a way that avoids taking itself too seriously. This is an arcade-style take on aerial combat rather than a hardcore flight simulator, and its narrative reflects that; think “videogame equivalent of Top Gun” versus a serious war documentary.


    How Culture & History Inspired the Design of Falcon Age


    We talk to development veteran Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake about utilizing underrepresented cultures to create new types of games and then giving the birds in those games fist-bumps and cool hats.

    Support us: https://www.patreon.com/noclip


    How Games Get Balanced | Game Maker's Toolkit


    Balancing a game is one of the most complex pursuits in game development - especially when you’re dealing with a cast of completely distinct and diverse characters. So how do devs do it?

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




    Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?


    DEVOTION: The Disturbing Horror of Red Candle Games


    Devotion is a very spooky game in a very complicated situation.

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


    Games as Lit. 101 - Literary Analysis: The World Ends With You (Part 4 - Side Stories)


    There's a lot to this game, including a number of supporting characters and narrative rabbit trails. Let's take a look at them and see where they lead.


    How Amnesia: The Dark Descent Tricked Players Into Scaring Themselves | Ars Technica


    Frictional Games' Thomas Grip, designer of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, discusses the development of one of the most frightening games ever made. Thomas talks in-depth about the game's unique sanity system, as well as how the team continually tricked players into scaring themselves.


    Let's Mosey: A Slow Translation Of Final Fantasy VII: Part Eleven-One


    Tim Rogers spent 800 hours over the course of two years replaying Final Fantasy VII sixteen times in both English and Japanese. This eleven-part series excavates, examines, and explains dozens of tiny nuanced differences between the game's first English translation and its original Japanese script.


    Classic Game Postmortem: Command & Conquer


    In this GDC 2019 talk, Westwood Studios co-founderLouis Castle, Erik Yeo, lead designer for C&C, Frank Klepacki, Composer for C&C, and, Wetherill, C&C's VP of product development, deliver a Classic Game Postmortem on the landmark real-time strategy game Command & Conquer.


    It's Still Emulation: Saving Video Game History Before It's Too Late


    In this 2019 GDC talk, Digital Eclipse producer Frank Cifaldi gives practical advice to those keeping old games in print, goes over the current state of video game preservation, and tells you how you can help to make sure video game history never disappears, no matter what your profession is.


    Building a Living World from Ancient Ruins in Assassin's Creed Odyssey


    In this GDC 2019 session, Ubisoft Quebec's Benjamin Hall and Thierry Dansereau share their personal thoughts, perspectives and challenges they faced throughout the creation of a place that no longer exists, ancient Greece, while making Assassin's Creed Odyssey.


    Things I found entertaining throughout the week relating to the game industry


    You told us your best MMO raiding war stories



    The PC Gamer community tells stories from their raiding days in WoW, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, and more.


    Time Crisis II

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