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    This Week In Gaming 6-4-19


    Jim Sterling collects some of the horror stories of abuse and exploitation from former Rockstar Games employees, Jeremy Hosking speaks to the developer of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa about the real life events that influenced its creation, Death Stranding gameplay and release date, Austin Walker on Modern Warfare's identity crisis, Chris Bratt looks at the game that would become Fable, Ana Valens discusses how abusive men re-brand or use their connections to remain industry figures even after large numbers of sexual harassment and employee abuse allegations, Liam Triforce's Understanding the Music series examines the soundtrack composed for Max Payne 3, Failbetter Games' quest to eradicate crunch, Patrick Klepek shares the story of what happened when a tiny speedrunning community suspected a cheater in their midst, 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)


    BitSummit 7 Spirits and its treasure trove of trailers


    Post-human martial arts, Paper Mario with bugs, hacking and slashing through Celtic myth and dogfights against gigantic anime sky-fortresses, oh my! We’re a week and change from E3, but that’s where all the big-budget safe-bet games are going. If you’re after something a little more out there, BitSummit 2019: 7 Spirits is where you should be looking. Opening tomorrow in Kyoto, Japan, it’s an eastern-focused but international showcase of independent, weird and experimental games, running through the weekend. Below, a few I’m keeping a close eye on, with trailers. As for the rest, check out the official event page.

    We're at Japan's indie games festival Bitsummit!


    We're here at Bitsummit playing games and talking to developers about PC gaming in Japan.


    Death Stranding Will Be Out In November


    Death Stranding, the bizarre next game from Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima, will hit PlayStation 4 on November 8, 2019, publisher Sony said today.


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


    Malkavians have been traditionally ostracized by the Seattle Kindred. While a few managed to claim territory in less desirable districts, very few have ever managed to rise to the levels of the other clans. Because of this, there is a persistent bias against the Malkavian clan that still exists into modern nights.


    'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' Can't Decide Whether War Is Bad or Badass


    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has a crisis of identity.

    This was the clearest takeaway I could find while sitting in a dark theater after a long presentation about Infinity Ward’s reboot of the FPS franchise, which is due this October 25 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and which I got to see during a press event earlier this month.

    Over the preceding hour, members of the development team beamed with pride and spoke with enthusiasm as they described the game they’d spent the last few years making. The only problem is that it sounded like the group was talking about two different games.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare “is eliminating the traditional season pass”


    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will not feature a season pass. In a statement, developer Infinity Ward confirmed that the series’ traditional means of bringing post-launch content to players will not be available in this year’s entry.

    Infinity Ward is planning “cross-play support” for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare


    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare could allow fans of the series to play together across PC and console. Infinity Ward says that it’s looking into cross-play support for the next title in the series, which is set to release later this year.


    Psychological Horror Visual Novel Raging Loop Coming West For PS4 And Switch In 2019


    The psychological horror visual novel Raging Loop, known in Japan as Rei-Jin-G-Lu-P, is coming to PS4 and Switch in North America and Europe via PQube Games in partnership with Kemco.


    Team17's New Project is a Gruesome Action Game Called Blasphemous


    Those hungry for a new pixelated Castlevania-esque experience will get a new one soon enough. Today, Team17 announced Blasphemous, a dark and creepy mixture of exploration and action coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.


    A separate Vampire: The Masquerade single-player narrative experience announced


    All eyes might be on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 but it's not due for release until next year. There is, however, something very closely related you can snack on before then - a new game called Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York.


    After Raising $120,000 On Kickstarter, Cult Classic Charles Barkley RPG Sequel Has Fallen Apart



    Over the weekend, the Kickstarter for Barkley 2, the sequel to the 2008 cult classic RPG spoof Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, got its first backer update in nearly two years. It’s not good news. According to the update, Barkley 2 has lost nearly its entire development team, and forum posts from former devs suggest the game has completely imploded.





    Meet the occult librarian simulation you never expected to want so badly.


    Starborne blends the grand scale and deception of EVE Online with a 4X strategy game


    Made by former EVE Online developers, this new massively multiplayer RTS wants to imagine a new way to wage space war.


    Watch Dogs Legion Leaks, Will Let You Play As Any NPC



    It wouldn’t be E3 without every Ubisoft game leaking, wouldn’t it? Following Roller Champions last month, the third Watch Dogs has now leaked out thanks to Amazon UK, and it’s called Watch Dogs Legion. Kotaku can confirm that this one’s real, as we’ve heard the name from several sources plugged into the company.


    Shenmue III Delayed Again, This Time Until November



    Shenmue III was originally supposed to be out at the end of 2017. Then the first half of 2018. Then August 2019. Now it’s being pushed back further, to November 19.


    Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX will not be a Switch exclusive


    So we got a little tease for a PS4 version of Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX (it was previously just confirmed for Switch in mid-2018) thanks to a ratings board listing, but live at BitSummit today, a year after the announcement, Inti Creates has fully spilled the beans.


    Ghostbusters: The Video Game Gets a High-Res Remaster This Year


    Featuring cutscenes remastered in 4K from the original source material, as well as enhanced textures and lighting.


    Hardcore Mecha Sorties Onto Steam And PS4 On June 27, 2019


    Arc System Works has announced that Hardcore Mecha, Rocket Punch Games’ 2D mecha action game, will be released for PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam on June 27, 2019.


    Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night | Second Playable Character Reveal | PS4



    Zangetsu's vengeance against the demons of hell is a raging inferno that knows no peace. Play as the demon hunter samurai in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, FREE after launch!

    Zangetsu is brought to life by the awesome voice talents of David Hayter, (Snake - Metal Gear series) and brings new ways to play, explore and experience the story of Bloodstained.


    Celeste's free ultra-hard DLC will contain more than 100 levels


    Chapter 9 continues to grow in scope.


    Warhammer: Chaosbane will get a post-launch DLC campaign featuring the Tomb Kings


    Warhammer: Chaosbane releases next week, which naturally means it’s time to talk about what’s coming after launch. There will be plenty of free updates doling out new features over time, along with paid DLC that will make more substantial additions, including a new act featuring a new set of villains that aren’t even part of the titular Chaos.





    Joining the fight together with the other Specialists, The Gunner is equipped with the powerful Minigun, which will be a force to be reckoned with on the streets of Washington, D.C. With an emphasis on sustained damage output and damage resilience, the Gunner will serve as the vanguard of SHD Agents in the ongoing fight to reclaim the city.




    Shang Tsung is coming to Mortal Kombat 11 along with Spawn, Sindel, Nightwolf, and 2 more guests in the Kombat Pack! Early access to the Sorcerer begins June 18th.


    Hitman 2's June roadmap includes the bank level, and more



    The return of Mr. Giggles.


    Battletech: Urban Warfare brings mechs to the big city today


    Stompybot squad management sim Batteltech was great, but it was clearly missing something. Not so today, with the release of the Urban Warfare expansion, second of three planned for the squad tactics game’s season pass. No longer limited to rolling hills, mountains and military bases, this expansion adds the future cityscapes of other ‘Mech games. While developed by Harebrained Schemes, this is also a Paradox joint, which means even if you don’t buy in, you’ve got a massive feature-heavy free update to dig into. Below, a launch trailer and some gritty details.


    Here’s what Winds of Magic brings to Vermintide 2, and why you shouldn’t expect a new hero soon



    In Warhammer lore, the raw essence of Chaos refracts into eight ‘colours’ when it enters the material world. These colours are the Winds of Magic – this is why the symbol of Chaos is an eight-pointed star, and why magic, like Chaos, can be wild and corruptive.


    Microsoft is bringing more games to Steam, says 'We believe you should have choice in where you buy your PC games'



    The Microsoft Store will also begin accepting Win32 games, not just the more restrictive Universal Windows Apps.


    Starbreeze lays off a quarter of its staff in further efforts to cut costs



    Struggling Swedish publisher makes organisational changes that will save £310,000 per month


    John Romero Made A New Doom Mod And It's Great


    1993's Doom isn’t the first shooter, but it is the one that truly kicked off a genre. Heavy weapons and bloody demons ignited controversy, while stellar level design kept players engaged. A 2016 reboot updated the series for modern times, but those left craving classic Doom can now hop into Sigil, a new collection of levels from one of the game’s original creators, John Romero.


    Esports News


    This Weekend's Rocket League Tournament Will Set The Stage For The World Championship



    With a $100,000 prize pool at stake, this weekend’s big Rocket League tournament in Dallas will give some of the game’s biggest teams one last chance to test one another before next month’s World Championship.


    Nintendo Explains Why Its Official Smash Bros. Tournaments Are So Weird



    “We used to have the perception he didn’t care,” said Super Smash Bros. pro Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios at Nintendo’s first tournament for Smash Ultimate last year. “He,” of course, was game director Masahiro Sakarai, the Smashdaddy himself, who was watching from the sidelines. Barrios had just won a glistening crystalline trophy, and holding it in one hand, he continued: “Obviously that’s not true.”


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


    R-Type Final 2, Aiming for a Brand-New, the Best Shmup Ever


    A new introductory trailer for R-Type Final 2 has been released by Granzella, as part of the game’s marketing push for its Kickstarter, which is set to last one week.


    Small Saga makes a big impression with its demo


    If you have half an hour free, I implore you to try the Small Saga demo. Essentially, it’s The Deptford Mice: The JRPG, complete with the snappy writing, grim violence and wondrous sense of scale I remember from Robin Jarvis’ child-traumatising novels. It’s developed by Jeremy Noghani, previous of brillo French Revolutionary lawyer-em-up Aviary Attorney, and he’s aiming to fund the remainder of development via Kickstarter, asking for £33,000. Below, a trailer and thoughts. To avoid spoilers, try the demo here on Itch now.


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


    The Incredible Real-Life Story Behind The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa



    Yeo’s character reveals itself in the very makeup of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa, the entirety of his passion poured directly into its creation. His approach combines a depth of vision and philosophical perspectives with a love of the arts and an affinity with pop culture. Given his unwavering commitment to his craft, whatever challenges he chooses to take on next will undoubtedly be watched by audiences both East and West.



    Ringo Ishikawa presents itself plainly, and in the opening moments. It gives you a world to inhabit – purely because the developer knew that to keep someone playing forever, you make a world worth just hanging out in. I pass the time by reading books, or walking around the neighborhood. The map for Ringo Ishikawa could be detailed in a single sheet of college-ruled notebook paper. For that reason, it is exactly like the games it emulates.


    Nick Robinson and Matt Conn faced sexual harassment allegations. Why are they still in games?



    “People risk their safety and their careers when they go public against men like this, but these men always have connections,” games journalist Jennifer Unkle tweeted after Robinson appeared. “They have people in their corner. And they’ll just slither their way back in, first chance they get, thanks to these connections. It’s so disheartening.”


    Failbetter Games' quest to eradicate crunch



    "The one time we had to delay a release was because a crucial bug was found late in the QA sprint due to its discovery being impossible until other bugs had been fixed. Delaying it was what we chose rather than asking people to do overtime, because it was a tricky one to diagnose and fix."


    Responsible Petting



    When I first pitched this, I had something entirely different in mind. I set out to ask a few lighthearted and maybe pithy questions of the owner of a Twitter account about petting dogs. Instead, I learned about the responsibility and power that one can hold without ever meaning to.


    Tricky Translations #4: “I” & “Me” in Japanese



    In this latest Tricky Translations article, we’ll see how one of the simplest ideas of all – the concept of “I” and “me” – isn’t so simple when translating between Japanese and English.


    Can stories be apolitical? We asked some video game writers and narrative designers



    “The other conversations deal with the meanings behind games, artistic intent, the content games ‘can’ tackle, and how do games tackle that content, and when a triple-A game tackles complex themes poorly – such as racism, domestic abuse, religious cults, cultural theft, etc. – like a great deal of them do, the devs get defensive and start turtling, or keep going on and on with PR gaffs about how people don’t ‘get it’ or how ‘it’s like art, man, get over it’ or whatever,” Allen explains. “To avoid getting to that level of non apology, devs just seem to decline any knowledge of the politics they are dealing with, which only makes them seem more ignorant than anything. But for corporations, ignorance is bliss.


    The Speedrunner Who Wasn’t: How a Community Dealt with an Elaborate Cheater



    It would take weeks of defensive public statements, private battles, Reddit threads, and hostile exchanges with a reporter before the truth came out.


    Twitch Still Hasn't Fixed Its Racist Emote Problem



    Twitch users have been spamming emotes of black people in thinly-veiled efforts to make racist jokes for years. In particularly high-profile cases, this has even happened during esports events while competitors’ families were watching, or during TwitchCon panels. Black streamers deal with the problem on a near-daily basis. Over time, Twitch has given streamers more tools to help moderate chat and control spam, but the central issue remains: It’s far too common on Twitch to find users looking for ways to turn innocent emotes into racist commentary, and it’s too easy for them to do it. This stems, in part, from the fact that Twitch doesn’t offer many emotes of people of color.


    From Bubsy to System Shock, how indie devs bring old videogames back to life



    The trials and tribulations of tracking down the rights to dead games and giving them another shot.


    Opinion: How Draugen lets down its characters



    At its best, this is a story that mints beautiful phrases in a heroically gorgeous setting. It is even moving at points, evoking themes of futility, isolation, and loss with stunning flashes of clarity. But in the end Draugen shyly reaches for something well beyond its grasp and its portrayal of mental illness leaves so much to be desired, especially when it is ultimately the fulcrum upon which the whole story is so precariously balanced.


    Two Years Later, Night in the Woods is Still Relatable



    Nostalgia becomes a major theme, ultimately driving the game’s major conflict. At NitW’s climax, Mae and her friends discover that members of the Possum Springs community have been sacrificing other residents in an attempt to revive the dying economy and coal mining industry. Mae begins the game nostalgic for her less complicated high school days, but soon finds out the people of Possum Springs will do just about anything—including murder—to bring back its prosperous economy.


    ‘Outer Wilds’ Is a Captivating Sci-Fi Mystery About the End of the World


    Explore a handcrafted solar system and contemplate mortality in this wondrous, ecological adventure.


    Pathologic 2 Is Getting Difficulty Sliders, and That's a Good Thing



    Pathologic 2 is an incredible game. It’s also a game that I have strong reservations about because, as Holly Green wrote for Paste earlier this week, it can be soul-crushingly difficult—by design. In fact, I posted a brief addendum to my review on Twitter, telling people they should absolutely try playing the game as intended. And then…well, “cheat.” To break open the guts of the game and make themselves as close to god as they felt necessary—in direct opposition to the intent of the game’s designers.

    But before we can get into Pathologic 2, the latest news post from developer, Ice-Pick Lodge, and why this matters, first we have to define what “difficulty” even is.


    Fear & Fury: How The Rockstar Sausage Is Made (The Jimquisition)



    In a special investigative Jimquisition, we collect horror stories from former Rockstar Games employees who worked under a brutal boot heel.

    Allegations of abuse, exploitation, and ritual indignity showcase how a company uses terror and anger to create some of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

    In particular, former VP of Product Development, Jeronimo Barrera, lies at the center of some of the most vile (and bizarre) accusations. By all accounts, he's a horrible man who perpetuated Rockstar's culture of fear.

    This industry cannot keep going like this. This cannot continue.


    Understanding the Music of Max Payne 3


    HEALTH composed the music for Max Payne 3, and not only does it ease you into their unique discography - it also attempts to help you identify with Max through sound. In this video, I'll be explaining how they accomplished this.

    "Understanding the Music of..." is a series analyzing particularly exceptional video game music. Let me know if there's a game soundtrack that you think is worth exploring!

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


    Superhero League of Hoboken (1994) | Forgotten Gems


    Forgotten Gems In this series, we're delving into video game oblivion. Titles that have, at some point, fallen into obscurity.

    Today, we're talking about Superhero League of Hoboken, a goofy and completely ridiculous adventure-RPG hybrid by Legend Entertainment, written and designed by Steve Meretzky in 1995. You know, the guy who made The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure for Infocom together with Douglas Adams in 1994.

    Join the Superhero League of RagnarRox (aka my Patreon): http://ragnarrox.com/patreon/


    Maniac Mansion: The Most Influential Game with Disembodied Tentacles


    Today we're examining one of the most influential adventure games in the genre: Maniac Mansion, developed by LucasArts. Must protect Green Tentacle.

    Consider Supporting me on Patreon: http://patreon.com/pushinguproses


    Blips: Here’s Four Neat Games!


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

    It's here! The first attempt to look at some maybe less-than-well-known indie games! Let's see if it is bad or not!


    Wishworld, the game that would become Fable


    Before Fable, there was Wishworld. Let's take a look at what that game was originally going to be.

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


    Storytelling through Music in Hollow Knight


    I love the way the tiny clues littering Hollow Knight's world add up to a full story when you piece them all together, and leaving things open ended allows fans of the game to explore and discuss what these clues mean long after the game is over. These clues show up in characters' dialogue, details in the environments, and yes, even the game's soundtrack. I wanted to take a look at one small example of the soundtrack contributing to the game's lore as well as discuss generally how composer Christopher Larkin develops themes throughout this soundtrack. So that's what I did. Enjoy!

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


    Finding Comfort in Chaos: Dangerous Driving and Snakeybus


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

    In periods of intense stress or anxiety, I find myself gravitating towards the pure, escapist joy of driving games. Lately, though, I've been playing a couple of smaller, weirder games that, rather than letting me switch off from my anxieties, hold a mirror up to them. Let's talk about that.


    The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening | Gaming Historian


    Learn the complete history of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. What began as an after-hours passion project turned into one of the greatest Zelda games of all time. Learn how the development team at Nintendo went outside the box and created The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening!

    Support the show on Patreonhttps://goo.gl/pQaU9N


    EcoGaming #2: Pastoral and Georgic Games


    Does my new microphone sound weird? I think it makes me sound like Barry White, and not in an awesome way. The second video in my series EcoGaming, a survey of the ways in which video games explore our relationship with the natural world and its resources. This video series was originally made for a graduate level course covering Technical Communication. Minor edits have been made for quality and content.


    Nintendo Should Make N64 and Gamecube Games in VR


    Support the channel on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/superbunnyhop


    A Tribute To Classic Indie Games


    In the late 2000's, gaming seemed to be headed toward more realistic visuals and an abundance of first-person shooters - but then a few indies changed everything. Let's pay tribute to the few titles that started it all...



    Finite State Machines and the AI of Half-Life | AI 101 | AI and Games


    In this episode of AI 101 I explore Finite State Machines: one of the most important AI techniques to ever be adopted in games. I explain the theory of how it works and their application in the game that defined game AI for a generation: Half-Life.



    toco toco - Keiichi Okabe, Composer


    Keiichi Okabe is a music composer who started his career at Namco. He is renowned for his work on the NieR series and Drakengard 3 game soundtracks.

    This is the final episode of the toco toco series. Thank you for supporting toco toco over the years, we hope you'll enjoy what's coming next.


    Q & A with the M2 Shot Triggers Development Team / MY LIFE IN GAMING


    Meet some of the masterminds behind M2's Shot Triggers development team! This companion piece to the M2 Complete Works documentary delves into the intricacies of creating Battle Garegga Rev.2016 and bringing other arcade shooters like Dangun Feveron, Ketsui, and Sorcer Striker to modern platforms.



    How Bluepoint Games Remade Shadow Of The Colossus | Audio Logs


    How do you remake a beloved classic like Shadow of the Colossus? Peter Dalton from Bluepoint Games shows us how the company approached the PS4 remake of Fumito Ueda and Team Ico's classic title.


    How This War of Mine Plays on Your Emotions | War Stories | Ars Technica


    Aleksander Kauch, lead game programmer for This War of Mine, goes behind the scenes of the game's development and explains how they turned a management sim into a visceral experience about civilians at war.


    Dream Daddies and Fearful Fathers: How Indies Can Cope with Being Terminally Online


    In this 2019 GDC session, Fullbright's Leighton Gray talks about how to weather success (and failure) by cultivating a healthier relationship with the internet based on her experience after the release of Dream Daddies.


    Danny O'Dwyer on Irish Sports, Game Dev, and More! - Voice Chat


    Noclip's founder and front-man is here to talk Irish sports, game development stories, and how games can help heal the deepest wounds.

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


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