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    This Week In Gaming 5-7-19


    Super Bunnyhop looks into the efforts towards unionization in the games industry and how the way the industry is run effects future generations, over 150 Riot employees stage walk out to end forced arbitration of sexual harassment and assault lawsuits and labor groups investigate sexual harassment claims at Quantic Dream, former Gearbox VO accuses Randy of assault, Matt Kim and Brendan Sinclair speaks to NetherRealm Studio's contractors and former employees about studio culture, Epic acquires Rocket League developer Psyonix, Errant Signal discusses small games both to highlight some and to talk about exposure, QueenofRabites covers the making of Chrono Trigger with the help of RPG Maker, Heather Alexandra on the importance of idle animations, Noah Caldwell-Gervais explores the real life locations that inspired or appear in the Fallout series, New Frame Plus looks at the evolving animations of Pokemon, 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)


    Borderlands 3: The Best Guns at the Preview Event


    Maliwan, Tediore, and Torgue oh my. We go over these and several of the best weapons in Borderlands 3 that we had some hands on time with at the preview event.

    Borderlands 3 Worldwide Gameplay Reveal - IGN Live


    2K and Gearbox are showcasing Borderlands 3 in action, so countdown, watch and react with us!

    Borderlands 3 Won't Have Loot Boxes


    To clarify, Pitchford is talking specifically about how you won't be able to buy weapons, gear, or anything that affects gameplay. Cosmetic items, however, are still purchasable with real money.

    Borderlands 3 Zane skill tree: all abilities and perks detailed


    What will Borderlands 3 Zane’s skill trees and perks be? Thanks to a Twitch overlay leak, we’re certainly closer to knowing the answer to that question. We recently learnt that the next instalment in the Borderlands series is going to have a Twitch extension called ECHOcast, which lets you inspect a streamer’s loadout as you watch. Thanks to that titbit, Redditor Nickoladze was able to datamine the Twitch extension to find out what Vault Hunter Zane’s skill tree will be. Not without being ‘memed’ first, though.

    Let's Talk About Randy Pitchford's Tantrum Over Borderlands 3's Microtransactions


    Randy Pitchford probably didn't lie when he said no microtransactions weren't coming to Borderlands 3. He probably totally misunderstood what microtransactions are following years of abusive ones, though.

    Borderlands 3 will be getting cosmetic microtransactions, and when Randy was called on it, he threw a complete fit. This only made the story blow up more, because the Gearbox CEO's victim complex never works out for him. He needs to remember what microtransactions are though.

    He's a CEO of a game company.

    Here's why Claptrap's voice actor has changed in Borderlands 3


    "I insisted on getting paid for my performance and all of a sudden they couldn't afford me."


    Cyberpunk 2077 and 2020 tabletop confirmed as being in the same timeline


    Cyberpunk 2077, the next game from the creators of The Witcher 3, is still potentially a long way off – and so, consequently, there are a lot of rumours and some just plain incorrect information floating around about the game. Now the creator of Cyberpunk 2020, the tabletop game on which CD Projekt RED’s upcoming game is based, has popped up to debunk one of the newest rumours.


    Total War: THREE KINGDOMS - Mid Game Spotlight


    Wheels and Pete take a look at how the events of the Three Kingdoms period will unfold in your game when the would be emperors of the realm make their claim to the throne.

    He Yi Start Position Spotlight - Total War: THREE KINGDOMS


    He Yi is a Yellow Turban commander. He is a Healer, and empathises with the suffering of the common people. He is able to rally vast masses to the cause of the rebellion.


    Exclusive: The Saga Of 'Star Citizen,' A Video Game That Raised $300 Million—But May Never Be Ready To Play



    It’s October 2018 and 2,000 video game fanatics are jammed into Austin’s Long Center for the Performing Arts to get a glimpse of Star Citizen, the sprawling online multiplayer game being made by legendary designer Chris Roberts. Most of the people here helped to pay for the game’s development—on average, $200 each, although some backers have given thousands. An epic sci-fi fantasy, Star Citizen was supposed to be finished in 2014. But after seven years of work, no one—least of all Roberts—has a clue as to when it will be done. But despite the disappointments and delays, this crowd is cheering for Roberts. They roar as the 50-year-old Englishman jumps onto the stage and a big screen lights up with the latest test version of Star Citizen.


    Clan Introduction - Brujah - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2


    The Pacific Northwest has a long history of attracting outcasts and drifters, those looking to keep some level of anonymity and independence. The Brujah have never been a large part of the Seattle Kindred community, but when they do show up to a party, they make their presence known immediately.


    The Oxenfree creators discuss Afterparty, a game about outdrinking Satan



    Explore the mean streets of Hell as two dead best friends in Afterparty.


    Persona 5 Royal Gets a New Director and Producer


    Last month in April, Persona 5 Royal was revealed for the first time. Despite what some fans expected, Persona 5 Royal is a re-release in the style of Persona 4 Golden, which adds in some new characters, scenes, and story beats, and today, we learned some new details about what to expect with the new version.


    The Dark Pictures: Man Of Medan



    For our latest, just-launched issue, we got exclusive access to a new demo for Man of Medan, the first game in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures anthology. This is the studio’s first big project since its cult hit Until Dawn, and it’s going all-in by telling standalone stories in five games, each exploring different subgenres of horror. Man of Medan is up first, and it tackles the home invasion and the ghost ship tropes. A group dive to explore a historic World War II site is supposed to be a vacation to remember, but it ends up being that for all the wrong reasons. Here are some brief takeaways from our discussions with the team and hands-on time. You can learn even more new details by reading our 6-page feature in our June issue, which is now live digitally.


    A Plague Tale: Innocence ‘Monsters’ trailer


    Publisher Focus Home Interactive and developer Asobo Studio have released a new trailer for “poetic and harrowing dark adventure” game A Plague Tale: Innocence dubbed “Monsters.”


    Run a robo-kitchen in Automachef


    Automachef approaches the art of cooking like an engineer. It's a cooking puzzle game, though quite a bit different from its fellow Team17-published culinary experiment, Overcooked. To make all these salads and burgers, you'll need to build a manufacturing behemoth evocative of Factorio and Big Pharma, programming machines to do all the dirty work.


    How the Devs Behind 'Sable' Found Inspiration in the Enigmatic


    Beyond every mysterious horizon is research, writing, and careful planning.


    Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is out in June, and it doesn’t look like “poop” anymore


    Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been in development for a very long time, but the end is finally in sight. The Bloodstained release date is now set for June 18, and on PC it’ll be available through both Steam and GOG. There’s a new trailer alongside that announcement, and it promises that the game no longer looks like “poop.”

    Making it in Unreal: how Bloodstained continues the Castlevania legacy


    It’s no coincidence Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night conjures memories of classic Metroidvanias. Its producer, Koji Igarashi, has been instrumental in developing more than a dozen Castlevania games over his career so far, which spans nearly 30 years.


    Last Epoch puts a brilliant new twist on the Diablo and Path of Exile skill systems


    The action-RPG, now in Early Access, still needs lots of work, but its skill system is already great.


    A Subtler Magick Filled the Air: Exploring The Sinking City



    The sky was a steely blue blanket of fog the morning I left to play the hands-on demo of Frogwares’ newest detective adventure game The Sinking City. Frogwares is best known for their Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, another set of detective adventures that I had heard good things about but tended to avoid due to reaching a Sherlockian critical mass in my other pop culture consumptions. My ears perked up, however – or, more appropriately, the finer hairs on the back of my neck stood on end – when I got an email from their PR rep describing The Sinking City as a game based on their previous games’ infrastructure but pulling narratively from the world-building of HP Lovecraft’s oeuvre. Who can resist a glimpse into the virtual abyss?


    Send lonely messages to other players in upcoming The Things We Lost In The Flood


    “On August 10th 1993 a tap started running somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and it never really stopped,” says the elevator pitch* for The Things We Lost In The Flood. “The bottles came not long after.” From this premise you create a boat, the only way to navigate this watery world, and set off among roofs and pylon tips, finding messages from other players (but not the players themselves, it seems) as you go.


    New Gameplay Today – Observation


    Javy joins Cork and Leo to show off the opening segment of a promising piece of sci-fi horror from No Code and Devolver Digital. Observation releases May 22 on PC and PS4.


    The Red Solstice 2: Survivors continues WarCraft 3's modding legacy


    Alien-mashing strategy sequel The Red Solstice 2: Survivors is due out later this year, and is far along enough in production now to show off. The first Red Solstice was based directly on the Night Of The Dead mods for WarCraft 3, a tactical squad monster mash that could be described as a one-sided MOBA these days. Ironward’s upcoming sequel is broadening its scope, offering similar real-time co-op (or solo with slow-mo) tactics, but attaching it to a dynamic campaign map inspired by XCOM, with your forces trying to push back a tide of mutant biomass devouring Mars. See the trailer below.


    Respawn shares that it has banned over 770k Apex Legends cheaters in latest dev update



    Respawn’s update on Apex Legends’ anti-cheat measures discloses that over 770k cheaters have been banned.


    World War Z lays out a roadmap full of speedy zombies


    World War Z doesn’t have an original bone in its body, but I think that’s okay, because it’s a shameless Left 4 Dead tribute in a world that’s been waiting for a sequel for a decade now. As with its primary inspiration, Saber Interactive have some big free updates planned for the game, including new missions, difficulty levels, game modes and features. I admit that I’m a little surprised at how successful the game has been, considering how little interest people seemed to have in the lead-up to launch, but it’s good to see the studio committing to a protracted zombie siege.


    Epic Acquires Rocket League Developer Psyonix



    In a blog post, Psyonix said that it expects things for Rocket League to continue chugging along pretty much as normal, with “frequent updates that have new features, new content, and new ways to play the game” still planned. Epic, Psyonix believes, will give the game and its esports ecosystem a hard-charging boost.

    Epic Clarifies: No Announced Plans to Stop Selling Rocket League on Steam


    Earlier today, Epic Games announced that it acquired Rocket League developer Psyonix. At the time of the announcement, Epic sent out a press release that read: "The PC version of Rocket League will come to the Epic Games store in late 2019. In the meantime, it will continue to be available for purchase on Steam; thereafter it will continue to be supported on Steam for all existing purchasers."

    Rocket League is getting review bombed because Epic bought Psyonix


    More than 2,700 negative reviews have poured onto Steam, but the new anti-bombing system is working.


    Path of Exile director on crunch: “I will not run this company that way”



    Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games is a little swamped right now, with several different projects in the works and a community eager for updates. But – with multiple damning reports of excessive overtime (‘crunch’) in game development still fresh in the memory – studio managing director Chris Wilson has insisted that he will not compromise his employee’s work/life balance.


    Over 150 Riot Employees Walk Out To Protest Forced Arbitration And Sexist Culture



    Over 150 discontented Riot Games employees walked out of the League of Legends publisher’s offices in Los Angeles today to protest the company’s stance on forced arbitration. Standing in a parking lot on Riot’s campus, employees held picket signs and gave impassioned speeches.

    Riot Games Employees Walkout in Protest of Treatment By Company


    The organizer said that talk of a walkout has been “brewing” at Riot for about half a year. The forced arbitration is what pushed it over the edge, she said.

    Over 100 Riot Games Employees Walked Out to End Forced Arbitration


    VICE first reported on the planned walkout on April 29. On May 3, Riot released a public statement that said the existing lawsuits would still go through arbitration, but that in the future employees could opt-out of forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault claims.


    Labor Groups Investigating Sexual Harassment Claims at 'Detroit: Become Human' Developer



    Paris-based developer Quantic Dream has had allegations of a deeply toxic work culture leveled against it in the past.


    Starbreeze seeks funding to avoid imminent "liquidity shortfall"



    Payday was the biggest contributor of revenue overall, bringing in SEK 26.7 million ($2.8 million) -- essentially the same as in Q1 of the year before. Indeed, the company's hopes for survival rely heavily on Payday, which Nermark described as "a very strong asset" and, "the foundation upon which we will build Starbreeze's future."


    Echo developers Ultra Ultra shut down, movie still planned


    Ultra Ultra, the small Copenhagen-based studio behind sci-fi stealth-puzzler Echo, have officially closed their doors today. Announced quietly through Twitter, they state that “Ultra Ultra has ceased to exist”. I’d always been aware that Echo had never sold as well as it should have, but it’s still tragic to hear that such a talented team are going their separate ways just a year and a half from the release of their first game. There is one small bit of good news – the recently-optioned film (as reported by Deadline) is still in production, also confirmed by the studio via Twitter.


    Ubisoft and Genba to "kill the grey market" with silent key activation



    Genba's Matt Murphy reveals how the two companies are clamping down on key reselling


    UK games industry gender pay gap report shows progress, but companies must do more



    While this is clearly a tough issue to fix, it seems some are at least trying. Microsoft has apparently "invested in personal and professional development programs" to help coach women with their careers, EA is using "targeted executive recruitment", and Ubisoft is including "diversity training in [its] leadership programme and unconscious bias training for all hiring managers". Sumo Digital, meanwhile, is participating in a nine month "cross company female employees mentoring programme" due to see its first cohort in October 2019.


    It turns out the FCC ‘drastically overstated’ US broadband deployment after all



    Remember in February when the Federal Communications Commission essentially said that broadband deployment in the US is going great despite 20 million homes lacking access to high-speed connections? And then a month later, Microsoft basically called bullshit? Well, the FCC has finally admitted the report "drastically overstated" actual broadband deployment, but still insists everything is just fine.


    There will soon be more PC gamers in China than the total population of the United States



    Despite a year-long licensing freeze on new game approvals, PC gaming in China is a behemoth $16 billion industry.


    Dundee launches Summer of Games



    City gears up for a programme of public, academic, and industry events


    Esports News


    San Francisco Shock Complete Overwatch League's First-Ever Perfect Stage



    Whether you’re a professional basketball player or whoever left that Starbucks cup on the Game of Thrones set, everybody has off nights. Well, everybody except the rejuvenated San Francisco Shock. After a messy first season, they’ve spent season two looking like an entirely different team. Yesterday, they achieved something no other team ever has: a perfect stage.


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


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


    "This Is How They Get Away With It:" Former NetherRealm Studios Contract Devs Reveal a Troubling Studio Culture



    "Some of those Fatality sequences you love are from temp workers," revealed one source. "NetherRealm will send out an email early in production to get people to submit ideas for fatalities. Of course, they invite the temp workers because they can just give away an awesome idea without having to pay them extra for it. One person in QA made storyboards for their suggested fatality sequence. Their idea made it in, but they never got that full-time position they were chasing."

    NetherRealm's self-sustaining culture of crunch


    "It took me years to get over the mentality that crunch is just a thing you do because that's how games are made," one of the former employees said. "It wasn't until the higher ups at my current job sat me down and told me that my life is important that I ever changed the way I looked at things. There are zero pressures or expectations to work beyond 40 hours a week."

    Ronda Rousey Has No Business Being in 'Mortal Kombat 11'


    Like so many women who train and compete in combat sports, I sure have had a journey with Rousey, and I’m not the first to espouse complicated opinions about her. She was a pioneer for women in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the first American olympic medalist in Judo, and the superstar that made competing in MMA at the highest levels not only viable, but possible and attractive for women. Back when I was boxing and only just becoming interested in grappling, I used to watch her takedown game with awe. Years later, grappling is the side of the sport that I have embraced fully, and it’s now my complete focus in training and competition.

    Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm responds to accusations of workplace toxicity and crunch culture


    Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios has said that it's "actively looking into" the recent wave of reports online alleging toxic working conditions and unhealthy, sustained crunch culture within the studio.


    The pressure to constantly update games is pushing the industry to a breaking point



    Live service games have trained players to expect a constant stream of new content, and only constant work can deliver it.


    How video games are reimagining Britain for the Brexit era



    From battles between 9th-century kingdoms to the British Empire colonising the solar system, virtual Britains are remaking history


    In 1998, 'Jagged Alliance' Developers Threatened a Walkout—And It Worked



    How developers on a classic tactics game ended crunch and reformed their workplace with just the threat of a walkout.


    What responsibility do leaders have to their developers?



    DLC: Tim Schafer, Amy Hennig, and Bryan Intihar talk about the obligations they have to the people who report to them


    What it’s like to map a galaxy in Elite: Dangerous



    Real explorers making their mark on virtual worlds


    How YouTube let's plays are preserving video game history



    While let’s plays are unquestionably not preserving the game itself, they can function as secondary documentation, and preserve the cultural impact of a game as well as the community that built up around it. They are perhaps best described as a game’s cultural footprint, rather than the beast itself. In some cases, that footprint is the most readily available form of a game, as in the case of P.T.. It was famously removed from the Playstation store following the cancellation of Silent Hills, and despite several fan attempts to remake it on PC, YouTube remains the best place to experience it now it’s gone.


    The Quiet Importance Of Idle Animations



    When you stop moving in Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sonic taps his toe. When you leave Arthur Morgan on his horse, he will pet them affectionately. These are video game idle animations, and they’re beautiful, because for a brief moment the characters we control get to show off a little something about themselves.


    Can Grand Theft Auto V help your mental health? Yes, say role-players



    In a virtual world best known for its crime and violence, gamers are using San Andreas as a safe space to cope with grief, gambling and addiction


    Unionization, Steady Careers, and Generations of Games Culture


    Special thanks to interview participants:
    03:15 Game Workers Unite: Who, what, why?
    14:11 Anonymous on the disposability of QA staffers
    18:11 Testimonies on crunch
    24:01 History of unionization in Hollywood
    33:39 The potential downsides of unionization
    37:39 Ageism vs. future generations


    The Real Life Landscapes of Fallout 1, Fallout 2, and Fallout: New Vegas


    This is an experimental travel project where I tried to follow in real life the maps and landscapes I'd digitally journeyed down in the original Fallout games and New Vegas. The video follows the games more than it follows my linear journey across the landscape. Where no geographic equivalent to a location could be found, I tried to find a spiritual equivalent. When I couldn't do either I typically left it out.

    If you enjoyed this video and want to contribute to the production of others like it, please consider donating through the crowdfunding website Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/noahcaldwellgervais


    Talkin' 'Bout tiny Games


    This episode was made possible by generous support through Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/errantsignal

    If you've followed this channel for any amount of time you know that I like small, weird, quirky games. And there are so many out there! And you would think that would mean we'd have coverage of small games for days, but... we don't. And so I wanted to take some time to talk about why!


    How to Animate a 2D Fighting Game [redux]


    This is a reworking of my original video which I wasn't entirely happy with, so please enjoy this improved, concise version.

    Let's look at some ways to animate a 2D fighting game!



    Leveling Up Progression Systems


    Progression systems are in just about every game nowadays- to the point that we're all getting a bit sick of them, but is there more to it?


    How Has Pokémon's Battle Animation Evolved? - New Frame Plus


    How has Pokémon's animation changed over the years? And what can we expect from Sword & Shield? Let's do a retrospective of Gen 1 - Gen 7's battle animation to find out.


    Good Game Design - Baba Is You


    While Baba Is You looks like a typical puzzle game on the outside, it's actually a game ABOUT game design...let's talk about why its one of the best at what it does.



    The Design of FTL & Into The Breach


    We sit down with Justin Ma and Matthew Davis of Subset Games to talk about the design of their breakthrough hit FTL: Faster Than Light and their sophomore effort Into The Breach.

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


    The Making of Chrono Trigger (Animated)


    I poured my heart and soul into this video so I really, really hope you enjoy it. With that being said, I do realize the audio and editing is not the best you've seen on this platform. Despite this, I do hope you will look upon this labor of love with indulgence. Credits are included at the end of the video, please email me if you were not included. Love you rabites, thanks for giving a small content creator like me a chance.

    If you want to support my channel, I encourage you to donate to my favorite charity instead: https://pcrf-kids.org/. If you are still adamant to donate, than all I can say is thank you very much and I certainly don't deserve it. http://www.patreon.com/queenofrabites


    How Dead Cells Secretly Stops You From Dying


    In Dead Cells, you die. A lot. But you'd actually die a lot more if it weren't for some hidden design tricks that developers Motion Twin snuck into the game.


    Fixing Far Cry - A Critique of New Dawn // HeavyEyed


    patreon// https://www.patreon.com/heavyeyed

    im sick of the industry standard

    far cry has reached critical mass of mediocrity, and when it came to the latest should-have-been-DLC entry, i thought what better time to examine how the series should move forward.


    Examining SUPERHOT's Innovative Action, Three Years On


    Support the show on Patreon - http://patreon.com/writingongames

    In which I revisit 2016's SUPERHOT to talk about how its originality goes far beyond its its delightfully simple gimmick; with the game using it as a jumping off point to pull apart almost every element of its genre.


    A Review of Forager



    Noclip Podcast #10 - Playing Sekiro With One Arm


    On this episode, we dive into the conversation around Sekiro and accessibility as we chat with Clint Stewart about his experience playing Soulsbourne games with an arm and a foot.

    Become a Noclip Patron: https://www.patreon.com/noclip


    Inside FINAL FANTASY X|X-2 HD Remaster (Closed Captions)


    Watch an exclusive and in-depth look at FINAL FANTASY X|X-2 HD Remaster Inside FINAL FANTASY X|X-2 HD Remaster takes a look at some of the secrets and anecdotes from the development of the game, featuring interviews with Yoshinori Kitase (Producer), Takashi Katano (Event Main Programmer), Momotu Toriyama (X Event Director | X-2 Director) and Yusuke Naora (X Art Director)


    How Slay the Spire’s Original Interface Almost Killed the Game | War Stories | Ars Technica


    Mega Crit Games co-founders Casey Yano and Anthony Giovannetti set out to combine the roguelike and deck building genres into one game, but found themselves faced with an obstacle: how to reveal the enemies’ intent. With the help of an active playtesting base on Steam, they realized that to make the game succeed they would need to scrap the ‘next move’ system for something more Twitch Streaming friendly. And thus, the ‘intent’ system was born.


    3 Hours of Relaxing Super Nintendo Music - SNESdrunk

    Three hours of relaxing SNES music, going to the video page and looking at the description will give you time stamps and the name of each track.


    God of War documentary is making its debut this week


    The full-length feature documentary, God of War: Raising Kratos, will be available to watch on PlayStation’s YouTube channel on May 10.


    Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


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


    David Cage

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