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    This Week In Gaming 4-28-20


    Siddhartha Bajracharya's reflections on being a doctor and gamer during COVID19 and the way that video games portray pandemics, Noclip releases the final part of their documentary on The Outer Worlds, Stacey Henley reports on the game industry's poor handling of maternity, People Make Games tells the story of John Kirby the lawyer that defended Nintendo's use of Donkey Kong against Universal Studios, Natalie Flores on the way her favorite Final Fantasy XIII character Vanille impacted her life, Deadly Premonition 2 gets a release date, Cloth Map covers Croatia's game development pioneers, Andrew Cogswell on becoming your parents and God of War (2018), Gameumentary presents their documentary on Darkest Dungeons, 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)


    Deadly Premonition 2 has a July release date


    This sequel sees the return of FBI agent York as he works through a new murder case with links to the original game. Oh, and you can indulge in mini-games like bowling and skateboarding.


    Be an 'investigation freak' and solve the murder of reality in this first-person exploration game


    Paradise Killer is an '80s-inspired murder-mystery with some unique twists.


    Minimal Affect is a Mass Effect parody that doesn't look promising


    Honestly, you could just watch any of the Zapp Brannigan episodes of Futurama instead.


    Offworld Trading Company devs launching Old World into early access in May


    Mohawk Games, the studio led by Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson, today announced an early access release date for Old World. Next Tuesday, May 5th is when we’ll get to try the historical 4X strategy game they’ve been working on since Offworld Trading Company. If you too first thought “Wait, is this not Amazon’s MMORPG?” then you too have confused Old World with New World. No, this is the game formerly known as 10 Crowns. And as our Nate found when he recently had a play, Old World is “not a Civilization game at all, despite its looks.”


    Destroy All Humans! Remake - Official Release Date Trailer


    Prepare your defenses as the Invasion begins on July 28, 2020 when Destroy All Humans! launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Check out the latest trailer for the remake here!


    Cyberpunk 2077 Dev Reacts to Leaked 18+ Rating: "You Surprised?"



    It seems to take more to earn an 18+ rating in Brazil, but 2077 looks to have landed it.


    Maid of Sker launches in June for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, October for Switch


    First-person survival horror game Maid of Sker will launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam in June, followed by Switch in October, publisher and developer Wales Interactive announced.


    Rock of Ages III: Make & Break ‘The Untold Tale of Humpty Dumpty’ trailer


    Publisher Modus Games and developers ACE Team and Giant Monkey Robot have released a new trailer for Rock of Ages III: Make & Break introducing Humpty Dumpty.


    The Last of Us Part 2 Delayed Until June and The Ghost of Tsushima Delayed Until July



    The COVID-19 coronavirus has resulted in various game delays, and now Sony has some updates on when people can expect to see certain major PlayStation 4 games. First, there’s a new The Last of Us Part II release date. It will appear on June 19, 2020 worldwide. Then, The Ghost of Tsushima release date will follow almost exactly one month later. It will show up everywhere on July 17, 2020.


    The Last of Us Part 2 leaked online


    Neither publisher Sony or developer Naughty Dog have commented on the leaks so far, but it is rumoured to be the result of a disgruntled Naughty Dog employee.

    Naughty Dog found itself in the crosshairs recently after an investigation by Kotaku revealed that crunch remained a substantial problem at the studio.

    It's not the first time Naughty Dog has faced controversy over its working conditions, and former Uncharted director Amy Hennig has talked about the issue previously.


    A year after being delisted, Lego: Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are back on Steam



    It's been just over a year since Lego: Lord of the Rings and Lego: The Hobbit disappeared from Steam. While no reasons were given at the time, it was likely a licensing issue, with the official Warner Bros response being fairly unspecific. But as spotted by Kotaku, it's time to put your hanky away: they're back.


    MechWarrior 5’s DLC is delayed, but will be expanded



    The Heroes of the Inner Sphere DLC will include a reworked campaign map and career mode.


    Battlefield 5 is wrapping up, but there's one more update to come



    These plans may have changed, of course. Back in 2019, Wilson implied that Battlefield 5 still had plenty to offer, teasing its Pacific theatre and adding that the team was thinking about how it could go forward. And now six months later it's winding down. This was also before developers ended up having to work from home, so who knows where that's left the next Battlefield?

    Star Wars Battlefront 2’s April content update will be its last


    The upcoming update for Star Wars Battlefront 2, Battle on Scarif, will be the last one released, according to DICE.


    Remnant: From the Ashes - Official Swamps of Corsus Launch Trailer


    Face the hive mind Cult of Iskal and confront their Queen in The Swamps of Corsus DLC.


    Riot Says It Will Curb Valorant Toxicity After Own Employee Posts Video Of Sexist Harassment


    It is a regrettable sign of our times that women sharing videos of vocal, sustained harassment they’ve received in specific competitive multiplayer games has become a genre unto itself. The latest game: Riot’s still-in-testing tactical shooter Valorant. The latest person to share a video: A Riot employee.


    Nintendo confirms up to 160,000 accounts accessed in huge privacy breach


    Nintendo has now published an English language statement on today's announcement its account system has suffered a privacy breach affecting up to 160,000 people.


    More than 12 million people attended Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert


    Travis Scott’s first virtual performance wasn’t just spectacular — it also broke a record. This evening developer Epic Games revealed that the concert, which took place inside of Fortnite, saw 12.3 million concurrent players participate. The developer says this is “an all-time record” for the battle royale game. The previous record holder was last year’s Marshmello concert, which topped 10.7 million virtual attendees.


    2K Games Wants To Spend More Time Developing Next Game After The Disaster That Was WWE 2K20



    2K Games announced today that it’s going to take more time and make use of a new executive producer to try and avoid another botched release like WWE 2K20.


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


    Game Query Zine


    The third issue of the Game Query Zine is officially here! We've assembled another dream team of writers, artists, and creators from around the world to tackle the ever changing, always weird game industry. Topics include: the New England terror of Luigi's Mansion, Drowning Pool, the meaning of life and death, fist fights and Tony Hawk's Underground 2, social isolation, and Resident Evil 3.


    How Blizzard, Ubisoft, and other studios went remote in the time of COVID-19



    It's April 2020 and COVID-19 has begun to reshape the video game industry. While game studios are not suffering the damage afflicting the travel, live sports, or concert businesses, convention cancellations and retail limitations have begun to rewrite how the industry does business.


    Burnt out by abuse over a game he didn't make, the creator of Jalopy is trying to move on



    When Road to Guangdong released into Steam Early Access, the reaction online was negative to mixed. In user reviews and on Twitter, one of the major complaints was the game had failed to live up to the standard Jalopy previously set for the genre. For Pryjmachuk, however, more concerning was that some players had mistakenly associated him with the new project, despite his total lack of involvement. Minskworks was not involved with Road to Guangdong at all. Instead, a small development team called Just Add Oil Games had handled the development of Road to Guangdong in partnership with Excalibur.


    The Doctor, The Disease, And The Division



    Outside the hospital, cut off from friends and family like everyone else in New York, I’ve spent much of my social isolation on my PC. I can’t seem to escape disease, even in leisure. I binge-watched the Korean medieval zombie outbreak drama Kingdom and the whimsical hematology-themed anime Cells at Work!. I finally read Albert Camus’ classic novel The Plague. But mostly I keep logging into Ubisoft’s accidentally, unfortunately prescient 2019 online action game The Division 2, set in a United States thrown into violent chaos after a devastating influenza pandemic. As of today, I’ve put 79 hours into the game.


    ‘Being pregnant changes everything’: The game industry awkwardly grapples with maternity



    “In the U.S., the policies are terrible,” said Allison Salmon, a former Activision and Raven Software developer who now makes educational indie games. “I’ve known women whose [employer-provided health care] plans denied coverage of their 20 week ultrasound as unnecessary, and even tried to not cover an emergency C-section because [the patient] should have gotten preapproval.”


    The Galaxy Is At Peace



    Today is my last day at Kotaku.

    It feels weird to write that, maybe because I didn’t think I’d ever work at Kotaku in the first place, let alone get promoted from staff writer to editor, and then managing editor, and then deputy editor. I definitely didn’t think I’d do all of that in three years, and then leave.

    But I didn’t just work at Kotaku. For the first year and a half of my time here, I also worked at Deadspin. At the beginning of 2017, Kotaku and Deadspin launched an esports site called Compete. Like all good things, Compete had to come to an end, not because people didn’t read it, but because its advertising budget dried up. Maybe the Deadspin voice on esports was just too hard to sell, in the end.


    Major Video Game Companies Could Be Doing More For Covid-19 Relief



    I understand why people get excited when video game companies and their executives donate millions to charity, as has been happening recently. Big numbers make for catchy headlines. “They’re doing their part!” we tell ourselves, happy to see private citizens chip in where governments have so often failed. After all, none of us will ever accrue that kind of money in our lifetimes. But is that truly the best they can do?


    How Bohemia's "almost accidental" mod support became a staple of the studio



    Karel Mořický talks about the benefits and challenges of the Arma and DayZ studio's community development efforts


    There’s Still No Right Way to Advertise Your Queer Game



    Trying to cover games that include queer characters, themes or even something that acknowledges not everyone in the world is heterosexual, especially for a specialized outlet like Gayming Magazine can be tough. Not because there aren’t games to see and people to talk to that are relevant to your coverage, but if you’re covering an event, you’ll spend most of your time wading through emails looking for games that include queer characters and themes. It can be difficult because that’s not something a lot of games go out of their way to advertise. And if they do, it can come off like tokenism or a bullet point that might even be barely represented in the finished product.


    Neo-Midgar and Neoliberalism: The Myth of an Apolitical Game in Final Fantasy VII Remake



    Early on in Final Fantasy VII Remake, a man who lives in the shantytown slums under the hyper-developed city of Midgar rips an Avalanche poster off a communal bulletin board. “Goddamn eco-warriors with their dumbass posters,” he says. He looks up to the sky (or lack thereof, as the massive plate that houses the upper class looms overhead, blocking the sun) and muses, “Look at all that steelwork. You’re trying to tell me that’s not progress?”

    This man lives in one of the poorest communities on the planet. Why does he feel the need to defend the honor of Shinra, a company that’s consigned him and hundreds of others to hovels and lives of petty crime? It probably has to do with the empty promise Shinra makes to all of Midgar’s citizens.

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake Has Big Yakuza Energy And It's Wonderful


    Kazuma Kiryu ran so Cloud Strife could run alongside him.

    Final Fantasy VII Remake Is Haunted By What Came Before


    Final Fantasy VII Remake bears a heavy weight on its shoulders, needing to recreate a beloved classic in a way that can ignite the imaginations of old-school fans and newcomers alike. There is an expectation surrounding the game: Be like the thing that existed in 1997. Be the game we loved. Be the game we want now. These expectations can’t be ignored, the hazy cries of countless fans haunting each passing moment like the howling of ghosts.



    There’s a lot of writing about the dress scene – which I refuse to refer to as crossdressing because Andrea tells Cloud that True Beauty is An Expression of the Soul. Nothing in Remake tells me Cloud would see himself any differently in a dress – that it’s the outside world which needs to ascribe femininity to him temporarily becoming a type of beautiful that’s Allowed. For that reason – Cloud’s expression of inner self in a dress is no different than mine. Wearing a piece of clothing does not make me a woman, because that is not who I am.


    We Shall Know No Fear



    Game lore, which encompasses story, world building, and contextual details, can be a tricky thing to handle. Make it too much of the focus and you threaten to subsume the rest of the work. But that’s not to say lore is a useless endeavor. Indeed, a rich backstory can complement a game’s story when used judiciously, creating a vivid world that serves to enrich the main plot. It’s at this troublesome nexus that we find DOOM Eternal, so in love with its own lore that it weighs down an experience meant to be fast and brutal. Not only does Eternal’s overwhelming approach to lore go against its predecessor’s breathlessly cavalier attitude towards the concept, but it also draws some obvious inspiration from the ever-popular tabletop miniatures game from Games Workshop, Warhammer 40K (40K), one of the most lore-heavy properties in gaming, and learns the wrong lessons in the process.


    An Ex-Ranza extravaganza



    I’ve always thought of the Mega Drive’s lifespan as something that could be split into two neat halves: The first period from 1988 to 1991 felt like a system trying to find its feet, hardware that in an odd sort of way seemed to be a little too powerful for the era – a console housing blistering nineties tech being forced to run games that were still being designed with a very eighties mindset. It wasn’t always like that in those early years, but beyond Sonic and a few other bright spots it felt like a system struggling to show the world how good it could be – too far ahead of the competition for anyone to know how to use it well, but not quite powerful enough to brush aside concerns about Nintendo’s upcoming Super Famicom (the Dreamcast vs PlayStation 2 issue a decade early, I suppose). This all changed at some point around 1992, and from then until its demise the Mega Drive had a wonderful second wind that really harnessed the potential it had all along: Gunstar Heroes‘ “The Mega Drive can’t do sprite rotation” sprite rotation, Virtua Racing convincingly bringing the arcade classic home (albeit at a greatly inflated price), Castlevania: Bloodlines‘ swaying towers and reflective water (also used – and admittedly to better effect – in Rocket Knight Adventures), Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) giving the world a bespoke physical standalone-DLC-hybrid-patch cart, Phantasy Star IV showing up with a PC Engine (Super) CD game’s worth of cutscene art and detailed battle animations that changed depending on the weapon held and the action being performed (at the time this felt absolutely mind-boggling), and Gau Entertainment’s wonderful mech ’em up, Ex-Ranza (AKA: Ranger-X).


    One of the best 3D shooting games available, presented for your pleasure



    I owe my adoration for Panzer Dragoon Zwei to the demo disc that came bundled with what was then our brand-new Saturn: Amongst other delights was a single playable level of Zwei – episode 3 (the forest stage) – a level that just so happens to be one of the greatest rail shooter experiences of all time. To say I was hooked was an understatement – I was enthralled. And thanks to the Saturn being viewed at the time as a “dead” system with “no good games” on it getting my paws on a copy of Team Andromeda’s wonderful work was no trouble at all, literally pocket change quantities of money.


    God of War (2018): Sins of the Father



    Booting up God of War for the first time in 2018, I was immediately drawn to Atretus because of the way Kratos treated him. It quickly became clear that Kratos wanted little to do with his son before his wife Faye’s death, at which point Atretus became a burden to Kratos. It was impossible not to draw parallels to my own life upon seeing this. My dad would often tell my sister and I “I had kids so that I wouldn’t have to do chores.” This isn’t to say my dad was lazy, because he wasn’t. He worked construction and was incredible at it. He was precise, incredibly detailed oriented, and often worked long hours. But he could also always find a way to make my sister and I feel unloved or unwanted.


    An Ode to Final Fantasy XIII’s Oerba Dia Vanille



    Final Fantasy is likely the most important series in my life; it’s impossible for me to identify, let alone convey, how much it means to me. How it has shaped the person I am — my politics; my values, my belief systems. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to try my best, though. If I could summarize myself as simply yet accurately as possible, it would be that I’m an ambitious person who always tries. Ambition and drive are two of the biggest things I’ve learned from my personal role models, from my mother — a U.S. immigrant who has never had the choice of being ambitious because she’s had to survive — to my favorite fictional characters, like Final Fantasy XIII‘s Oerba Dia Vanille.


    How video games consistently fail Gandhi



    This is probably the crux of the issue. If a game is to represent Gandhi, it cannot be as a potential player character. It has to be as a force to resist the players instead. He was never a ruler, he never ran the country. If, like Louis XIV, the player is to be the state, then Gandhi can only ever be positioned against them. If a game is to include him, it would have to be leading populist movements against the player. You would see him protest your war-mongering or call for the boycott of your industrial goods. You would see him fast for the independence of the nation you conquered 30 turns ago.


    The real-life Kirby who defended Donkey Kong in court


    In the 1980s, an attorney named John Kirby was hired by Nintendo. This is his story.

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


    Croteam: Croatia's Game Dev Pioneers


    In the aftermath of war, one video game studio beat the odds to become a successful fan favorite.

    Support Cloth Map on Patreon! https://patreon.com/clothmap


    History Respawned: Attentat 1942


    Bob talks with Dr. Zach Doleshal about Attentat 1942. Topics include the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, and collaboration during the Second World War.


    Phantasy Star III 30th Anniversary Retrospective


    GTV 94 "Phantasy Star 3 Thirtieth Anniversary" In 1990 Sega's "Black Sheep" was called the greatest RPG of all time! Let's celebrate 30 years onboard the Alisa III!


    LNP: Octopath Traveler and the Parallel Narrative


    Red Angel discusses the Parallel Narrative in Octopath Traveler and how it stands apart from most games.

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


    The making of Total War: Warhammer’s Necrofex Colossus


    Perhaps it’s the slime glinting off its hull in the sunlight, but one star shines particularly brightly in Total War: Warhammer 2’s brilliant Curse of the Vampire Coast DLC – the Necrofex Colossus. A towering construct built from pirate shipwrecks and corpses, it may be made of wood, but it’s the most metal unit in the game so far. That’s why, when we got the chance to discuss the Vampire Coast with Total War developer Creative Assembly, the origins of the Necrofex Colossus were upmost in our minds.


    How Obsidian Designed Player Choice in The Outer Worlds


    In our final video exploring the design of The Outer Worlds, we look at the design of player choice, and the complexity of allowing players to feel like they are playing the game their way.

    Noclip's work is 100% crowdfunded. Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/noclip


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