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    This Week In Gaming 6-2-20


    Razbuten learns what casual games can be like for people new to gaming, Nathan Grayson reports on what Twitch does to prevent streamers from spreading dangerous conspiracy theories, Natalie Flores shares some of the streamers and gaming organizations speaking about US or worldwide systemic racism while others share past and current stories showing some of those company's actions doing the opposite, Total War Troy to be free Epic exclusive, MidnightCowboi's first video discusses the people and world of Kentucky Route Zero, developers interviewed about what they think Unreal Engine 5 will mean, Gita Jackson looks at a virtual life in The Sims and how digital spaces and photos can act as a portal to a life you might not see again, Skeleton considers the privilege and function of escapism, RagnarRox covers some indie alt-horror games from itch.io, Mx Medea remembers how an impressive Windows 95 demo disk helped to make them who they are, 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)


    Developers say Unreal Engine 5 will 'empower them to be creative and take risks'



    We asked some of today's top developers what Unreal Engine 5 means to them and the future of videogame development.


    Xbox Series X: The Most Powerful and Compatible Next-Gen Console with Thousands of Games at Launch



    As gamers, we also know how important it is to preserve and respect our gaming legacies. Your favorite games and franchises, your progression and achievements, and the friendships and communities you create through gaming should all move with you across generations. Not only that, your favorite gaming accessories and peripherals should also move forward with you as well.


    Eternal Hope is a Limbo-like journey to save the soul of your beloved


    The shadowy puzzle-platformer is coming to Steam in August.


    Check out the excellent trailer for Industria, a surreal Cold War shooter


    Industria is a forthcoming shooter set in East Berlin as the wall falls, though it quickly heads into a parallel dimension in what is giving me some extremely good flashbacks to trailers for games like Half-Life and BioShock. As the Cold War ends, Industria starts, and what a start that is. A synth-heavy soundscape, deeply atmospheric visuals, and what sounds like a tight story at about four hours.


    Desperados 3: Demo Gameplay


    Welcome to the ruthless Wild West with this Desperados 3 demo gameplay.


    Crusader Kings 3 - April & May Update


    Here is the awaited (and massive) monthly update discussing the developer diaries published throughout the months of April & May! Unfurl the description to get the links of the written developer diaries!


    23 Minutes of The Last of Us Part 2 Gameplay (Full 4K Presentation)


    Watch the entire in-depth look at Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part 2, including an extended dive into gameplay of the sequel, in Sony's latest State of Play.



    The Last of Us Part II is arguably the most ambitious title to come out of Naughty Dog. It takes place in a massive post-apocalyptic world, including a staggeringly detailed rendition of Seattle, with much more involved stealth-based combat and elaborate cutscenes. It’s the kind of huge and detailed game you’d expect from the studio’s swan song on the PlayStation 4. But one of the most impressive things about the game is how large and varied its accessibility options are. You can now navigate the world largely by sound, or zoom in on the screen as if you were using a smartphone. There’s an astonishing array of things to choose from.


    System Shock Alpha Demo First 15 Minutes of Gameplay


    Nightdive Studios dropped a new System Shock Demo today and it delivers. Experience a re-imagining of the original System Shock.


    Wasteland 3 - Choice and Consequence (Behind the Scenes)


    inXile Studio Head Brian Fargo and the Wasteland 3 development team explain how the post-apocalyptic game world of Colorado reacts to the player's choices and actions with bona fide consequences. Wasteland 3 will be released on August 28 for Xbox One, PC, and PS4.


    The Next Total War Game Is Having A Very Weird, Epic-Exclusive Launch


    Having previously been a series that we first associated with DVD drives and then Steam, the next release in the Total War series—the spinoff A Total War Saga: TROY—is going to be a 12-month Epic Games Store exclusive. And it’ll be...free?


    Disjunction is a cyberpunk RPG, with artwork from Deus Ex: Mankind Divided art director



    Disjunction is an upcoming cyberpunk role-player that plunges you into a retro-futurist New York City’s underworld to solve a far-reaching mystery. With “hardcore stealth-action mechanics,” a “reactive story where your choices have real consequences”, and “challenging stealth-action gameplay that lets you play the way that suits your style”, it’s kind of like Cyberpunk 2077 mixed with a dash of Hotline Miami and Deus Ex. Speaking of which, dev Ape Tribe Games has got some exciting news to share – new artwork created by Mankind Divided’s executive art director.


    Ubisoft says Trackmania is not subscription-based, you just pay for it multiple times



    Some Trackmania fans are unhappy with the pricing scheme on the upcoming reboot.


    Space Haven is a promising management sim about interstellar vagrants


    Something like FTL crossed with RimWorld.


    Accessibility On Marvel’s Avengers – The Journey So Far



    Meagan Marie and Mariah Robinson from Crystal Dynamics talk about accessibility and inclusion in the upcoming game.


    Outriders gets extended gameplay video, and won't have microtransactions


    Bulletstorm studio People Can Fly hosted an extended gameplay stream for Outriders earlier today, providing our first extended look at the third-person loot shooter in action. That's the video embedded above, and as you'll surely notice, it's unmistakably a third-person loot shooter.


    One Shell Straight to Hell: First-Look Preview


    One Shell Straight to Hell looks to be a slick top-down twin-stick shooter that oozes style. Previewed by IGN Japan's Shin Imai and narrated by IGN Japan's Daniel Robson.


    Goosebumps: Dead of Night - Official Reveal Trailer


    Popular children's book series Goosebumps is getting a new first-person survival-horror video game. Goosebumps: Dead of Night will be released this Summer for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.


    Discover tentacled horror at the bottom of the sea in the strategy-RPG Stirring Abyss


    The upcoming indie game tells a pulpy tale of a lost submarine inspired by an HP Lovecraft short story.


    Metro Exodus Drops Denuvo From All PC Versions With Its GOG Release



    Also, a belated happy 10th anniversary to the series.


    Street Fighter 5 Is Getting One More Season of New Content



    Five fighters, three new arenas, one last hurrah.

    Street Fighter V Costume Design Contest Is Asking For Free Labor


    Capcom recently opened a special contest for Street Fighter V, asking fans to submit costume designs for possible inclusion in the fighting game’s final season. On the surface this may seem like a cool way to interact with fans, but the lack of any monetary compensation makes it all too easy to view this contest as another instance of a developer disregarding the very real work that goes into crafting these designs.


    Epic Store's Free Games End Up Selling Better After The Giveaways, Says Tim Sweeney



    "You're not going to go out and buy if you're not into games like Satisfactory, you're not going to go out and spend money to buy Satisfactory but if you get it for free you realize it's an awesome game," Sweeney explains in the interview, which you can watch above.


    Paradox opens a new grand strategy studio



    Paradox Tinto will be led by Europa Universalis designer Johan Andersson.


    Arnold Hendrick, creator of influential '90s RPG Darklands, has died


    In 2009, Todd Howard credited Darklands as an inspiration for The Elder Scrolls games, and more recently Obsidian's Josh Sawyer wrapped up a long-running Darklands livestream on Twitch. You can read a retrospective interview he did with Hendrick on RPG Codex in 2012


    After George Floyd, Many in the Gaming Community Say #BlackLivesMatter



    Various figures in the gaming community — from individual people to esports organizations — have stepped up to support #BlackLivesMatter, recognize the riots as the language of the unheard, and stand against systemic racism.



    The Video Game Industry Has No Clue How to Respond to Protests


    As protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism have arced across the United States, the video game industry has been slow to show its solidarity with Black people in the community. When they do, some of these statements are shy of showing an actual commitment to the cause.


    Smash Melee charity tournaments raise $28k in honor of George Floyd



    Super Smash Bros. Melee fans raised about $28,000 in honor of George Floyd during two charity tournaments on June 1. Nico “Ryobeat” Rodriguez organized the events and streamed them along with Scott “SaveAsUntitled” Schroeder.

    Street Fighter Event Benefiting Black Lives Matter Demolishes Fundraising Expectations


    Last night, the Street Fighter subreddit organized an online Street Fighter V tournament to raise money for Black Lives Matter charities in response to the recent police murder of George Floyd, a black Minnesotan, and ongoing attempts by activists across the country to hold law enforcement accountable. They ended up collecting just under $15,000 from hundreds of fighting game players.


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


    Knights of the Chalice 2: Revolutionise Old-School CRPGs!


    Party-based CRPG using the OGL 3.5 ruleset. Features turn-based combat, emergent AI, 2D graphics and a powerful innovative toolset.


    Today, we present the main strengths, weaknesses and synergies of each of the 22 character classes in KotC 2. There will be separate Kickstarter updates for the three additional classes of Spell Weaver, Summoner and Necromancer.


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


    Arkane Studios at 20: searching for the balance between accessibility and complexity


    For Arkane Studios, creator of Dishonored and Prey, there’s a simple rule: consistency. Wooden doors should be breakable. All doors should be openable unless locked. Doors with nothing on the other side shouldn’t exist, and so players are free to peek through keyholes, through the smokescreen, to plan how to confront what lies beyond.


    Spelunker (NES)


    In the annals of kusogē history, perhaps no other console has played host to quite so many notorious games as Nintendo’s Family Computer. And within that catalogue of infamous cartridges, there is a trio which stands out — three titles tied together by shared theming and similarly punishing gameplay. These releases would include Sunsoft’s Atlantis no Nazo, Pony Canyon’s Super Pitfall, and the subject of today’s article; IREM’s Spelunker. Now, seeing as each game puts players in the boots of fortune-seeking adventurer types – exploring the likes of ancient ruins and lost caverns – I reckon there should really be some sort of nickname assigned to this wholy unofficial trilogy, right? A friend and peer in our field – Natalie of ‘Kusoge Theater’ – has referred to the set as the “Cave Dwellers” collection. A plenty memorable moniker, to be sure. But today, I’d like to pitch my own suggestion here for your approval: “The Treasure Hunters Trinity.” A little alliteration goes a long way, I say.


    As Streamers Spread Dangerous Conspiracy Theories, Twitch Does Little To Stop Them


    At this point, Twitch isn’t even doing that—not consistently, anyway. Back in March, it suspended satirical streamer Kaceytron for making what was clearly a joke (albeit an insensitive one) about spreading the virus to “old and poor people,” but again, it did not suspend Dr Disrespect after he spread actually harmful conspiracy theories with a straight face. And it goes deeper. Until sometime in the past couple weeks, it was possible to find VODs of “Plandemic,” a viral video banned on Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo that claimed wearing masks causes coronavirus (among many other easily debunked claims), simply by typing “Plandemic” into Twitch’s search bar.


    How The Makers Of Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection Dug Up A Long-Lost, Unreleased Game



    Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection, which will release on Epic Games Store (for free, at first) on June 11, Steam on June 18, and PS4 and Switch on July 28 bundles together seven classic fighting games, including one that only briefly saw the light of day before being hidden away by SNK: Samurai Shodown V Perfect.


    Gaming's lost boys embrace their inner censor | Opinion



    What might have come as a little more of a surprise -- wearily obvious though it is in hindsight -- is the extent to which the game has also suddenly become a major focus for reactionary conservatives more broadly. It should go without saying that if losing sales in a couple of large Middle Eastern markets was considered an acceptable sacrifice for creative freedom, the disapproval of a small but noisy minority of extremely online culture warriors isn't likely to summon even the tiniest of shrugs from Sony. Yet it's still worth stopping for a moment to admire the sheer brass-necked hypocrisy of a group who normally scream about censorship at the first sign of a developer changing a female character's costume suddenly applauding the actual, outright banning of an entire game by a government censor.


    Studio Ghibli’s influence on game designers is extensive and expanding



    For the past 10 years, artists have taken inspiration from Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and many more


    Visually Impaired? Use This Sign and Note in Animal Crossing: New Horizons


    Right now, it’s easier for people who are visually impaired to follow, but they don’t want to stop there. They want to make it accessible for people who are colorblind or have motor impairments, too. Until Animal Crossing: New Horizons gets proper accessibility options — which Ross Minor notes are still “zero” — members of the blind community, and the disabled community overall, are finding creative ways to help themselves and each other enjoy what is still the biggest game of the year.





    Maybe this is the only time Deep Hell Dot Com will ask anything of anyone. Now more than ever, if your sole response to the situation is to run into the soft arms of escapism. The yearning for digital violence as a type of release. Confront why that is. We started here to ask ourselves why there were no true utopias being imagined in this digital landscape. It’s not just for reading anymore.


    Final Fantasy 7 Remake interview: developers talk fan reaction, hard mode and balance



    What’s the feeling like at Square Enix after shipping the publisher’s most highly anticipated game of all time? We decided to check in.


    How Erica Lindbeck Gave Jessie Rasberry a New Voice in Final Fantasy 7 Remake



    We catch up with the voice actress who not only gave Jessie a voice, but helped make her a new fan favorite in the Final Fantasy 7 community.


    Meet the 19-year-old CEO who started a professional Minecraft building company



    The creativity that Minecraft inspires has led to an industry of professional builders.


    A Guided Tour Of The Manhattan Space Station



    If, like me, you grew up in the 90s with nary a console to your name, you were intimately familiar with shareware, endlessly copied to floppies (against contemporary advice regarding copying that floppy) and passed around the playground (or, in my case, church pew). But what always caught my attention was not the veritable jenga tower of small black squares that cluttered my desk and infested my youth, but the new shiniest circle on the market: The CD-ROM. This was the age of the demo disk, and Windows was in ascension, it makes sense then that Microsoft too cornered the market on sneak peeks into the murky future of PC gaming.


    Streets of Rage 4 and What it Means to Fight



    There is a moment in Gareth Evan’s hyper violent martial arts odyssey, The Raid 2, where Iko Uwais’s Rama is flanked on all sides. The only means to get to safety involves his fists, so he bloodies his knuckles through wave after wave of bad guys. It is a tight moment of cinematic combat that is as well choreographed as it is constraphobic.

    Streets of Rage 4 is the closest I’ve ever felt to the feeling invoked through that scene, and it is the video game that I did not know I needed right now. It is also my first foray into the beat-’em-up genre and, well, I should not have been sleeping on these “move left-to-right” fighters for most of my life.


    The Sims Is My 'Last Normal Photo'



    Peeking into a save file of my real life coworkers in the Sims is a magic portal to a kind of life I may not see again.


    Reliving my days of alcoholism through Disco Elysium



    Waking up in Disco Elysium is a painful experience. In the opening moments of the game, looking over the detective’s prone, near-naked form is like walking down a familiar road to a familiar end. The tag-team dialogue of his Ancient Reptilian Brain and Limbic System paints a verbal picture of stale whiskey-mouth, bloated confusion, and pain – so much pain. Positioned in a pantsless, vulnerable pile, he’s a dead ringer for my previous life as a shambling alcoholic.


    A Chocobo Built For One: Why and How I Got a Divorce in FFXIV



    Eternal Bonding isn't always that eternal, but sometimes that's a good thing in FFXIV.


    What a video game about a futuristic Tauranga can tell us about our present



    A new first-person photography game set in a dystopian Tauranga under lockdown is the best work of Māori science-fiction this decade, writes Dan Taipua.


    Degendering the Dress



    Queerness isn’t a feature of Wall Market, but it is presented as entertainment for the presumed player. Others have written of the commodification of queerness that Remake borrows, and on some of the gender at play in this Midgar. But what I can’t get over is that in what is supposed to be such a progressive place, none of the women wear pants. No two men dance together in the gay club. Andrea, the effeminate gay caricature, is often surrounded by honey girls. And I’m not convinced he would be satisfied with the boring suits that cover up the honey boys either.


    Dancing May Cry



    Hey, tank controls! I know those! And having to choose between moving and shooting? That’s just like most of my favourite Resident Evils (and the other one)! Just one question: How the heck do you make a good action game starring a slinky mercenary when you’re using a control scheme that, fundamentally, isn’t all that different from the one found in the dark and distant past of slow-paced horror-adventure gaming? The one intended to bring tension and awkward uncertainty to small rooms with weird camera angles and elaborate carpeted stairs that could only be navigated with a button press and a first-person cutscene?


    Palaeozoic Park



    There’s a tier of games below even the guilty pleasure of mine that is FMV adventure games, and that is the dread beast “edutainment” – wastes of time and plastic that ruin everything they touch by trying to make sensible subjects “Hip with the kidz” yet also fail to offer the thrills and spills of a game as intense as… ooh, Sim Brick? Yeah. The good news is this 1996 Saturn/Playstation release Lifescape is different, using footage from the NHK ’94-’95 documentary series “生命 40億年はるかな旅” to create an informative and lightly interactive journey across nothing less than the very beginnings of life on Earth all the way through to early human-likes. Thanks to this extensive TV influence the information given’s pitched around that general “family viewing” level with a perfectly normal narrator rather than those rash-inducing “for kids” releases that try to dress up basic maths exercises as “Exciting fun for preschoolers!”. As such while it’s fair to say the material here isn’t going to help anyone pass an exam (unlike a certain cartoon song) there’s still a real opportunity to learn a thing or two about prehistoric earth and the creatures that inhabited it.


    The Essential Workers of Kentucky Route Zero


    What Casual Games Are Like For Someone Who Doesn't Play Games


    In this episode of Gaming For A Non-Gamer, I finally had my wife try out some of the games that I probably should have had her play in the first place, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Stardew Valley, The Sims 4 and Slime Rancher. So, this is what casual games are like for someone who doesn't play games.

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


    Blood, Guts, And Videogames (The Jimquisition)


    What happens when a medium that communicates largely through violent content becomes obsessed with realism? Traumatic experiences for developers is what happens.


    Chibi-Robo's Wild and Wacky Soundtrack


    Chibi-Robo is a gem of a game. I played it a lot growing up and always had fond memories of it, but it wasn't until fairly recently that I remembered just how weird and great the soundtrack is. There's a bunch of tunes that are worth talking about, more than I could get into in this one video, but I wanted to highlight some of the tracks that I thought exemplified the 'style' of the game's soundtrack. The long-winded, rambly, goofy, and at times intensely dissonant score is really hard to pin down to one style, and yet it all feels cohesive as the vision of sole composer Hirofumi Taniguchi. I don't know if I managed to shed any light on why the game's score sounds the way it does, but I had a ton of fun making this one and I hope you have fun watching it!

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


    Why Do We Love Skateboarding Games So Much?


    The internet recently lost their collective mind upon the announcement of the new Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Remaster. People continue to lay siege to EA's Instagram demanding Skate 4. Indie devs are stepping up with games like Session and Skater XL to fill the gap. Pro Skater, Underground, even Proving Ground and Project 8 all hold up way better than you'd expect. Skating feels like it's experiencing a renaissance in gaming at the moment and it rules—but why skateboarding? Why are we so drawn to this particular extreme sport over any other within the medium? Let's discuss why, on a mechanical and more philosophical level, we cannot get enough of skateboarding in games.

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


    Games from Underground #3 | Alternative Horror



    Things I missed from previous weeks


    The Epic Games Primer: Parts I-VI Directory



    This six-part series is designed to be an “Explain Like I’m (Twenty) Five” edition of Epic Games. Or if you want a throwback to the 1990s, when then-Potomac Computer Systems was founded, “Epic Games For Dummies”. Technical terms and other details have been eschewed and simplified accordingly.


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