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  • This Week In Gaming 5-19-20


    Epic shows off Unreal Engine 5 and developers using Unreal for commercial purposes no longer owe Epic money until a product breaks $1,000,000 in gross revenue, Doc Burford on modern media consumption and how the more toxic conversations around games get in the way of differentiating politics from viewpoint in art, Ghost of Tsushima gameplay, Super Bunnyhop explores the shifts in the handling of climate change by looking at 30 years of strategy games, strafefox on the making of Castelvania IV and Bloodlines, eurothug4000's essay on the landscapes of post-apocalyptic settings, Wrestling With Gaming tells the story of the Neo Geo, Ana Diaz covers how public arts funding helps lead to more unique games, Stacey Henley examines facial hair as a framing device, Doom Eternal update adds Denuvo Anti-Cheat, Summoning Salt shares the history of Ninja Gaiden speedruns, 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)


    Epic Unveils A Graphics Demo 'Running On PS5'


    Epic Games gave us our first look at what games running on PS5 could look like during today’s Summer Game Fest livestream with an Unreal Engine demo running on Sony’s next-gen console.

    FULL Unreal Engine 5 - Official PS5 Tech Demo Reveal Presentation


    Watch the entire Unreal Engine 5 PlayStation 5 tech demo presented by Geoff Keighly during Summer Game Fest 2020.

    Unreal Engine is now royalty-free until a game makes a whopping $1 million


    Since the rise of Fortnite as a popular game and Unreal Engine 4 as a popular game-making toolkit, Epic Games, the studio behind both, has been keen to capitalize on this momentum. That has included an aggressive push to lock down game makers in its ecosystem, and Tuesday saw Epic announce its most generous developer-specific offer yet: a massive increase to its "royalty-free" grace period.


    Watch 18 minutes of new Ghost of Tsushima gameplay footage


    Sucker Punch Productions has released a new 18-minute gameplay trailer for its upcoming open-world samurai game Ghost of Tsushima, showcasing exploration, combat, and customization elements of the game.


    Top 10 BEST Indie Games Out This Week


    It's another brilliant week for new indie games coming out and this video, Stuart James from Get Indie Gaming covers the top 10 best upcoming new indie games out this week, Week 20,  May11th through to May 17th 2020 across PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One


    Crusader Kings 3 gets September release date on PC


    Also on Xbox Game Pass for PC at launch.

    Hands-on preview: Crusader Kings 3 is the RPG that will suck you into grand strategy


    Crusader Kings 3 is coming on September 1st, and after having access to an early build for a few days, I’m seriously impatient to get back to scheming, disinheriting, and declaring myself the new pope. It’s got that terrible magic that leads to all-day-and-half-the-night sessions, and that’s largely because, secretly, it’s two games at once. It’s a strategy game, obviously. But it’s also a roleplaying game, and a really good one at that. So was 2012’s Crusader Kings 2, of course. But developers Paradox have been shrewd in identifying what made that weird hybrid work as it evolved through fifteen expansions, and have put it front and centre in CK3 from day one.

    How Crusader Kings 3 Plans to Attract Fans of RPGs, Sandbox Games, and The Sims


    Paradox's grand strategy series wants to reach beyond its hardcore community.

    Five BIG improvements in Crusader Kings 3


    Crusader Kings 3 is coming on September 1st, we've been able to take the reins of several medieval dynasties, leading them to both riches and ruin. Like its predecessor, it's a dense game, so we've picked out five best changes Paradox has made to the formula.


    Paper Mario: The Origami King is coming to the Switch in July


    The Switch’s 2020 lineup has looked a little thin, but it just got a nice boost with the announcement of Paper Mario: The Origami King. It marks the series’s debut on the Switch, and it’ll launch on July 17th.


    The Last of Us Part 2: Inside the Story - Official Behind the Scenes


    Join members of the development team at Naughty Dog as they discuss how they approached developing the narrative and share new insights about the events and themes of Ellie's story.


    Destroy All Humans! - Official Gameplay Trailer


    Turnipseed Farm! This is where it all begins, where you will take your first of many steps on mankind!


    Umurangi Generation Is a Photography Game About Snapping Pics in a Stylish, Chaotic Future


    The pitch for Umurangi Generation is that it's a photography game. Much like Pokemon Snap, you're venturing around, trying to capture the best snapshot possible of your surroundings for cash.


    Tony Hawk remakes use new face scans, so all the skaters will be old now



    Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater launched on the original PlayStation in 1999. That was 21 years ago. Tony Hawk himself was 31 at the time – he is now 52. While the upcoming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 remake package will let you relive the glory days of the old games, they will not fully turn back the clock. The remakes use new face scans of the original skaters, so they will all be showing two decades of age.

    Tony Hawk Interviews The Original THPS Cast


    Our recent 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater' reunion is a rare, once-in-20-years occasion so we tasked Buttery Ass Donovan Strain to come up with some interview questions for posterity. Hawk shares the burning queries with Riley Hawk, Lizzie Armanto, Rodney Mullen, Eric Koston, Chad Muska, Elissa Steamer, Steve Caballero, Kareem Campbell, and Jack Black, to find out what the people REALLY want to know.

    Five Classic Tracks Won't Be In The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Remasters


    The first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were defined as much by their soundtracks as their skating mechanics. So when Activision announced the remasters earlier this week, fans were immediately curious about the status of the iconic tracklist. In speaking with Activision, Kotaku has nailed down the songs you’ll hear in the halfpipe and which will be missing when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 launches on September 4.

    No microtransactions at launch for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, cross-play teased


    The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remasters will be complete packages at launch, but future content could introduce microtransactions.


    Historians React to Assassin's Creed Valhalla


    Bob and John discuss the reveal of Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Topics include the Viking raids, historical revisionism, refugees, Brexit, RPG mechanics, and the long history of the Assassin's Creed series.

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

    Assassin's Creed Valhalla map size is "a bit larger" than Odyssey's, confirms Ubisoft


    "We have not only created the whole country [...] but a good part of Norway too"

    The Many Things We’ve Learned About Assassin’s Creed Valhalla


    From the moment it was announced, I had a lot of questions about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. So when I recently spoke to the game’s creative director, Ashraf Ismail, I packed a lot in. I wanted to know about quests, controls, and colonization. I wanted to know about learning lessons from Assassin’s Creed Origins’ artificial intelligence experiments and from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s $10 XP booster fiasco. I asked a lot, learned a lot, and a public relations rep only cut in once.


    Hands-on Amazon's Crucible, a pick and mix of team-based shooter genres


    Crucible feels familiar. It's a team-based shooter that attempts to improve on the formulas of a few different genres. It adopts MOBA elements in the sense that each character has unique abilities that upgrade over the course of the match. You hold points and eliminate opponents and AI creatures to acquire Essence, which fuels level ups that you choose before each game. It's a team-based third person shooter when it pits you against an enemy squad as you battle to capture and hold points across a map. Then it shapeshifts into a battle royale for one of its modes. Crucible crams so many features into one package to offer three competent—albeit very different—experiences.


    The Mafia Series Is Getting Re-Released As Mafia: Trilogy


    Family. Power. Respect. Today we learned why the official Mafia Twitter account tweeted out those three words over the past couple of days, as 2K released a teaser trailer for Mafia: Trilogy. Update: A listing on the Xbox Marketplace for Mafia: Definitive Edition has appeared, complete with screenshots and an August 28 release date.

    Mafia Remake Is A 'Complete Overhaul' Of The Original Game


    Following a long series of teases and leaks, 2K Games finally explained what’s going on with its recently announced Mafia: Trilogy. Mafia II is getting remastered, while the first game in the series is getting fully remade.

    Mafia 2 and 3 Definitive Editions are out now, free for owners of the originals


    Mafia: Definitive Edition, meanwhile, is a full remake coming in August.


    Solasta: Crown Of The Magister shows off beards, battles, and more in a new trailer


    Yer local RPG-watcher’s here to report some more RPG goings-on. This time it’s a new look at the character creator and combat in upcoming Solasta: Crown Of The Magister. I don’t know how the rest of the hairstyles hold up, but those beards are seriously luscious. Outside the character sheet, Solasta also shows off another look at its very vertical combat encounters in this new trailer.


    Nioh 2 spills the beans on upcoming paid DLC, while adding free missions and a photo mode right now



    While the base was pretty fully-featured already, the studio has continued to alter the game over time, and today we're getting our most substantial update yet. Not only are they starting to dole out info on the upcoming meaty paid DLC, Nioh 2 is also being updated today to add in a photo mode (which has "in-depth" settings like image exposure, gradation, lightning adjustments and filters), as well as nine free sub-missions/twilight missions.


    BioWare says Anthem’s overhaul will be a long process



    Developer says it’s in the ‘incubation’ period for Anthem 2.0


    Rainbow Six: Siege: Operation Steel Wave Reveal


    Music provided by Epidemic Sound


    Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath - Official Friendships Trailer


    Grab your best friend and favorite teddy bear and watch the latest trailer featuring the new Friendships coming to the entire roster of Mortal Kombat 11.


    The Sims 4 trailer shows off Eco Lifestyle expansion pack features


    A new overview trailer for The Sims 4 shows off features coming with the Eco Lifestyle expansion pack.


    Prison Architect's Island Bound expansion sets sail next month


    What better barrier than the sea? Arriving next month, Prison Architect‘s next expansion is Island Bound, letting you trade out those impractical land-loving fortresses for the sheer simplicity of a big scary rock in the sea. Forget barbed wires and concrete walls, the roaring abyss will prevent even the most rebellious inmate from attempting escape – at least, not until they discover boats.


    Doom Eternal's first update includes Denuvo Anti-Cheat


    When you start Doom Eternal for the first time, Denuvo Anti-Cheat will install a kernel-mode driver that starts when the game launches and stops whenever the game does. Apparently it avoids collecting "any personally identifiable information", and doesn't scan your files, take screenshots or stream shellcode. It does collect information on how your OS interacts with Doom, however, which it sends to Amazon servers.


    Ubisoft sues Apple and Google over Rainbow Six “rip-off”



    Ubisoft has filed a lawsuit against Apple and Google based on their support of a supposed Rainbow Six “rip-off.”


    Epic rolls easier refunds, keyless third-party sales into its Epic Games Store



    Epic Games has made a few additions to its Epic Games Store platform that developers should be aware of, particularly involving how games can be sold through third-party retailers, and rules around how players can refund some game purchases.


    You Must Play the Trippy 1998 PlayStation Game 'LSD: Dream Emulator'


    The cult game, which has the player wander through an increasingly bizarre dreamscape, has finally been translated into English after more than 20 years.




    World-Class DOTA2 Team Newbee Banned Over Alleged Match Fixing



    Newbee, a Chinese DOTA2 organization who won the 2014 DOTA2 International and is a founding member of the Chinese Dota Association (CDA), has been banned indefinitely from participating in any CDA events due to alleged match fixing.


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


    should art say things?



    Sometimes, something like this occurs: The Division 2 gets announced, it’s set in Washington, D.C., and a games critic hears that the developers have said “our game isn’t political,” and goes for a dunk about it.

    But I want to try to dig into that a bit further, as someone who is an artist, was a critic, and graduated with three degrees that were all about art, cinema, communication, and creative expression. I feel like I’m pretty gosh darn qualified on the subject, and I’ll do my best to say stuff that, hopefully, you’ve never heard before.

    I’m here to tell you that everything you know about how art works is wrong.

    Big claim, but I’ll do my best. That said, I want to acknowledge that a lot of people are very defensive about this because they’re trying to talk about the political significance of a work in the face of big fucking idiots online, and when you have to deal with the chuds saying “robocop and metal gear solid aren’t political,” and stalking and harassing you (I mean actual stalking and harassing here, like going to people’s houses or trying to break into their private communications, not “I can’t handle someone disagreeing with me online” complaints), I can completely understand why that would cause someone to entrench in their position. I’m definitely not here to say get ur politics out of my games because I’m not that kind of fucking dumbass.

    Like I said, I got a few degrees in this shit. I got some knowledge for ya, and I hope it’s useful.





    After launching Untitled Goose Game on my Nintendo Switch, the game loads into its opening credits, transitioning from logo to logo. First, it credits the studio that made it, House House, then the publisher, Panic. After that, the screen reads “with support from Film Victoria.” Although the moment is brief, the credit on-screen gestures toward a larger trend in video game development: the growing importance of public arts funding.





    My television, those white letters on a black screen, that was a palimpsest, too. Eric Joost, a dead child, in my house every time I turned on Zelda. I could erase his name, but that wouldn’t erase the fact that this was a game a child who had been murdered had once played. What came before leached into the present. Two parts to the palimpsest: erasure of the old thing, addition of the new thing.


    Video Game Beards as Visual Storytelling: A Transgender Perspective



    Mustaches as metaphors, soul patches as symbolism and facial hair as a framing device


    How Cyberpunk Games Are Thriving Beyond 2077



    With its rainswept cities and bleeding neon signs, the cyberpunk genre is often a feast for the eyes. And Cyberpunk 2077 is no exception. However, beyond CD Projekt Red’s ambitious adaptation of the popular tabletop role-playing game, there are a ton of smaller teams plugging away on their own cyberpunk adventures. These games bring to life dystopian worlds crafted from exaggerated versions of our own reality, tackling topics such as inequality, climate change, and workers’ rights, to name just a few. From Anshar Studios’ isometric RPG Gamedec to Origame Digital’s post-disaster photography game Umurangi Generation, cyberpunk fans are spoilt for choice right now.


    29 years on, has Final Fantasy broken the spell of Active Time Battle?



    A deep dive into how Square Enix's flagship series models time.


    Gaps and Pauses: The Role of Negative Space in Games



    We don’t often associate video games with the concept of negative space, at least not in an intentional way. Our experience of the world within the game takes place in a void, a digital vacuum. We know that beyond what we can see there is nothing, a space of potentiality. But typically, it’s something we only experience when the game breaks.


    Call of Duty: Warzone Directors On Its Runaway Success, And What's Next: "I Won't Pretend It's Easy"


    The directors of Call of Duty: Warzone on the arguments over the Gulag, dealing with cheaters, and what comes next.


    The Witcher 3 development secrets – an anniversary interview with CD Projekt Red



    It’s The Witcher 3’s fifth anniversary today, so we reached out to CD Projekt Red to talk about development, its legacy, and secrets.


    Game Localization Is A Love Letter



    The greatest irony of falling in love with video games as a form of expression and art, is that sometimes the actual act of playing games gets in the way of anyone who wishes to pursue more in the video game industry.


    Japan Style Architecture



    Take some time to explore the game world in Sekiro and you’ll get blown away by its buildings. When it comes to traditional architecture in Japan, the game has basically everything that you could possibly want. Palaces in the shinden style. Castles in the sukiya style. Buddhist temples. Shinto shrines. You’ll come across all of this and quite a bit more in the game.


    When SimCity got serious: the story of Maxis Business Simulations and SimRefinery



    Maxis didn’t want to make professional simulation games. But for two brief, strange years, they did.

    From 1992 to 1994, a division called Maxis Business Simulations was responsible for making serious professional simulations that looked and played like Maxis games. After Maxis cut the division loose, the company continued to operate independently, taking the simulation game genre in their own direction.

    Their games found their way into in corporate training rooms and even went as far as the White House. Almost nothing they developed was ever released to the public. But their software raises questions about the role we want games to play in society.


    A walk in the sky



    As historically significant as the PlayStation officially cracking mainstream culture was, finally making games cool in that weirdly aggressive nineties marketing way, the console was also a fertile breeding ground for weird and wonderful games – games that would escape their expected Japan-only shackles and sit on store shelves worldwide, acting like they actually belonged there. Remember No One Can Stop Mr Domino, Fluid, Bishi Bashi Special, and Kula World? They’re all about as far from any easily-advertised demographic as a game can be, and yet they’re all as unquestionably “PlayStation” as Tekken, Tomb Raider, or Metal Gear Solid.

    Give peace a chance (even in action games)


    Squaresoft’s 1996 Super Famicom game Front Mission: Gun Hazard is no different, moving far away from the SRPG stylings of series-starter Front Mission and stomping over to the mech-action territory so expertly wielded by Masaya’s team almost four years earlier in Assault Suits Valken. A quick comparison of the staff credits reveals why the two games look and feel so eerily similar: The majority of Valken’s staff took up equally key positions in Gun Hazard’s development team, so if a large turret in the later game looks suspiciously close to a large turret in the earlier one then there’s a very strong chance there’s nothing more underhanded going on than them being pixelled by the exact same person. In spite of this clear line through from one to the other it’s important not to try and look at Gun Hazard as being a direct sequel to either Front Mission or Valken, but to view it more as a complimentary alternative take on what 16-bit mech (or “wanzers”, as this series likes to call them) themed gaming can be from a fresh point of view.


    A Marxist plays Animal Crossing: Why we must eat the turnips



    A fun, relaxing game about labor exploitation and the stock market


    A Story in Clay



    Prince of Persia is a videogame that is deeply concerned (whether it knows it or not) with the power of oral traditions, and the malleability of oral storytelling. The nameless adventurer whom the player inhabits could be anyone, is anyone. And princess Elika, who accompanies him throughout the story, is the orator—she is of this world and this land, and welcomes the unnamed adventurer into it. He holds no ownership or past with the corrupted lands, but she sees in him the ability to listen, to change the land itself. Beyond his selfish and horribly forced quippiness, there is a desire in him to listen to the princess about her story, her connection to the land, and how, with his help, they can rid the land of the rot that has consumed it.


    Nostalgia Animated



    One of the brief flashes of brilliance to show up on my timeline in the last month is a fan animated homage to Secret of Mana, the beloved Japanese RPG released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993. The short’s creator, Benoit Tranchet, proclaims himself a “huge fan of everything about it” and employs a painstaking hand-drawn animated style to flesh out and expand a world that—while special to him and many others—has largely remained hidden behind the technological limitations of its time. The short’s gorgeous reenactment is how Tranchet today envisions the game he enjoyed three decades ago; a sharply unique vision, a novel creation in and of itself.


    How Final Fantasy 7 Remake Changed The Game


    Well, Nomura, Nojima, and the rest of the crew at Square Enix have finally graced us with the long awaited Remake of Final Fantasy 7, but they went out of their way to include a little something extra. Has Square Enix finally ruined FF7 once and for all? Or have they managed to breathe new life into an aged classic? And will I be able to avoid stealing jokes from FF7 Machinabridged in order to make my point? Only one way to find out! 

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


    Something Rotten: A Max Payne 3 Miniseries | Episode 5


    Episode 5 of a Max Payne 3 Retrospective in 5 parts. This episode covers chapters 13 and 14 of the game.

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


    How do Stealth Games Deal with Detection? | School of Stealth Part 3


    Welcome back to the School of Stealth, a GMTK miniseries on how stealth games work. In episode three, it's time to tackle the biggest challenge of stealth game design: detection. In a genre that's all about staying hidden, what should designers do when the player is found?

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


    Understanding the Music of Sonic the Hedgehog


    A retrospective on the music of Sonic, discussing the main series' evolution in sound, its impact, and its legacy.

    Like my videos a ton? Consider becoming a Patron: https://www.patreon.com/liamtriforce


    Key Changes in Touhou Music


    Key changes are often used in popular music and video game music when moving into new sections to contrast the material that came before, and to give a sense that the listener is being taken somewhere 'new'. Touhou music takes this to the extreme, with plenty of tunes in the Touhou library changing to a brand new key for every section of a piece, sometimes 4 or 5 times in one single piece of music. In this video, I take a look at a couple of Touhou tunes where a series of key changes are used to strengthen the musical flow and structure of the piece. Enjoy!

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


    The Making of Super Castlevania IV & Bloodlines


    After the success of the original Castlevania it would not take long before Konami started plans for the first 16-bit entry in this series. In this episode we dive into the development of Super Castlevania IV for the Super NES and Castlevania Bloodlines for the Mega-Drive/Genesis.

    All your views, likes comments and shares are really appreciated! My making of videos are part of bigger project. I set up a patreon for those who would like to financially support it: https://www.patreon.com/strafefox


    The Post-Apocalyptic Aesthetic


    So why are we so obsessed with post-apocalyptia and how do the aesthetics play a part in it? Join me in this video essay as I journey through the worlds of post-apocalyptic video games…


    FF7 Remake & The Complicated Nature of Remakes


    Remaking games is complicated.

    Fox's Patreon: Patreon.com/Foxcade


    The Story Of NEO GEO | Featuring Modern Vintage Gamer, RetroRGB, Jenovi, & Neo-Alec


    To many gamers in the 90s, The Neo Geo AES was the ultimate home console. While many other consoles claimed to bring an arcade experience home, they did so by downgrading graphics, sound, and other compromises. The Neo Geo on the other hand, brought truly perfect Neo Geo MVS arcade games to the home with ZERO compromises. If you owned a Neo Geo AES console you got to play actual 1:1 arcade games at home. But this level of quality came at a steep cost with the console's Gold Bundle coming in at over $600 for just the console, controllers, and one game. Individual games were also extremely expensive, averaging $200 or more each. This is the story of how SNK brought its highly successful arcade games to the home with one of the most expensive consoles of all time and after becoming one of the biggest names in gaming in the 90s, lost everything and yet somehow rose from its ashes.


    The History of Ninja Gaiden World Records



    Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Devs React to 16 Minute Speedrun


    Join Playtonic Games as they watch and react to TheShadedMaster's incredible 16 minute playthrough of their latest game.


    How Alan Wake Was Rebuilt 3 Years Into Development | War Stories | Ars Technica


    In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of its release, today Ars Technica is joined by Sam Lake, Creative Director of Remedy Games, to share insights on the development of 2010's influential action thriller Alan Wake. When it came time to follow up on the success of Max Payne and its sequel, Remedy had an abundance of ideas and a stable of creators eager to implement them. Years into its development cycle however, Sam and his colleagues felt the project had yet to successfully blend its influences and game mechanics into a cohesive experience. Knowing the bones of a remarkable game was present within the work of the previous three years, Remedy set out to rebuild Alan Wake. Here's how they pulled it off, how Alan's story continues in Remedy's critically-acclaimed Control, and where it's set to go with its upcoming DLC.


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