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Legolas_Katarn

AJSA Commander
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Posts posted by Legolas_Katarn


  1. Completed: Afterparty
    Platform: PC

    Grind of jobs in hell mirroring the lives of many of the living, drinking culture, and becoming an adult. Really is way too limited to cover those topic well or in any interesting way apart from a few good lines of dialogue.  

    Choices lead to different events but won't cause any major narrative or ending changes and make replay less meaningful. With the short length of the game it would have just been nice to do it all at once so you don't have to replay the game again, of it just let you keep a save file apart from its autosaves. Dull areas that you will be backtracking through. Silence as a legitimate option in Oxenfree is mostly gone as the other character you aren't currently controlling will say something, because of the length and switching between two characters it feels less like you are making a personality for a particular character and your conversation choices aren't always that different. I didn't usually even like my choices, there are parts of the game where you can drink and different drinks will create a third choices, these never have any meaningful effect on anything. It's glitchy, voices play over each other, conversations repeated, they would randomly end, and when people are talking as you are walking places the length of your time to get places and speed isn't properly considered which will lead to you cutting conversations short and starting new ones unless you just stand around waiting. Almost always trying to be funny and fails basically ever time, it's better as a commentary on things like drinking culture and social media but it so rarely takes time to focus on those areas, instead being about the pathetic lives and worry of the main protagonists. These worries include one of them moving to attempt to start a life after college, while the other apparently went to......build up student loan dept?

     


  2. Completed: The Outer Worlds
    Platform: PC

    The Outer World's plot, setting, and themes are all focused around corporate power, rampant capitalism, and labor issues but it avoids any subjects related to race, gender, or media control, and most of the game's people are so far gone into the mentality it's just not that interesting. Many of the people you run into are essentially at the levels of Elon Musk fanboy, praising an idiot man-child who made his fortune off of apartheid because he's rich and runs a corporation so he's awesome and them wishing they were that awesome. When they've reached that point there's really little to do other than humanely putting them down, you won't be leading any workers revolts as most people wouldn't even understand the concept, so satisfied at being bootlickers or cartoonish weirdos. The people that go about life differently tend to be murderers or people following some ridiculous life philosophy/cult/religion. Basically it's no Arcanum Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura or Disco Elysium when it comes to covering labor issues and their effects on both the game's world and the real world, and it's kind of hard to be invested in the locations you visit or the multitude of fetch quests you will do when you mostly just want to kill almost everyone you meet. The game's primary focus is on sudden humorous dialogue and ridiculous characters you can meet. There are certainly moments that can bring about a faint smile or chuckle but most tends to follow obvious controlling corporate attitudes, self deprecating humor, or lines similar to things you have heard in past games including the companion interjection of, "That's what she said," rarely being completely unentertaining but never quite capable of taking any situation to a laugh out loud funny or memorable moment. You special because the game says you are special, you will change the life of every important person you meet with a few lines of dialogue, change the direction of every place you interact with, and radically change the fate of the entire sector all in the most narratively and thematically uninteresting ways imaginable.

    Part of my interest in getting the game came from seeing the reactions of one of the earliest choices where, in attempting to power your new ship, you have to decide to take power from a brainwashed corporate town in the middle of dying from a plague, from the towns deserters trying to build something new away from the influence of The Board, or from the deserters town after convincing them to rejoin the settlement. I was expecting it to have something interesting to say or to run into some interesting characters in the town, a situation I didn't expect, or the game to have some competent argument against making the obvious choice, but it doesn't. The choice is about as simple as it can be and now that the game is over, the only thing I found interesting was learning how quickly one can lose their sense of class consciousness when a virtual companion is mildly sad about something. After that situation we run into little else in the way of meaningful choices outside of picking between groups of weirdos or siding with or against our destructive overlords. It can be more morally compelling at times than Fallout 3's famous moral question of, "Hey, do you want to nuke a city for fun, or would you like to not nuke things?" Of course, that's really not saying much is it, and it remains quite the embarrassment that people thought it was at the time.

    Locations you will travel to our often pretty to look at, with some nice environment effects and often a large moon or planet as a beautiful backdrop in a colorful sky. For a game of this style it is more linear than what we usually get, this can be good because you are always actively doing something, it isn't that long of a playthrough, and your time isn't wasted by trudging through often dull repetitive locations. However, you also end up with a much more linear world in the sense that everything feels like it was created just for you to complete your string of quests, giving a world with no real surprises to discover from exploration and locations without much in the way of size or a feeling of history behind them other than what is currently effecting them and what you are here to do about it. The locations certainly do a better job than Bethesda's Fallout titles that still like to prop up skeletons and dead bodies in places that live people have been staying in for decades, even though all the containers everywhere full of things that make no sense never do the world design any favors. There are moments where you can tell work went into minor areas. At one point, I was fired from an employer and the guy manning the reception desk who had been friendly now only told me that he wasn't supposed to talk to me. I decided to try out the silencer on my hunting rifle and went back into the room, closed the door behind me, and shot the four inside before anyone could shoot back so the receptionist wouldn't become alerted, after leaving he now would only comment on how quiet things have been inside the office.

    Many sidequests amount to little more than fetch quests or set ups that have become ridiculously cliche. You will run into the generic family of cannibals, they will ask you to stay for dinner and say they don't know anything about the man you are looking for, then, because it is still basically a Bethesda esque Fallout game (even if one by a much more competent team), you will just walk upstairs and open a door to find that dinner is made out of people before likely shooting the family for some XP and moving on. You can convince the family not to attack you but why waste the XP, better to convince them for the skill XP bonus and then shoot them all when they are unarmed for the kill XP. A companion wonders how people could do such a thing, while I wonder why developers are still doing the same thing, in the exact same ways.

    Combat is, quite dull for the most part. It is too much of an FPS to give you much in the way of interesting skills or equipment for yourself or your party and it is too much of an RPG to offer more exciting gun/melee battles. You can do little else when it comes to tactics other than slowing time and hitting certain body parts to blind, knockdown, do bonus damage, etc and the excitement of a good FPS tends to die down when you need to shoot something in the head 10 times to kill it while is awkwardly staggers and continues to shoot you at the same time. Your ability to slow down time is ok but even that is on the weaker sides of games that have a bullet time ability, and they have made so many abilities tied to getting hits while in that mode that it basically means you are going to be putting a lot of your level up perks into passive abilities that make that mode last longer or recharge faster as everything else is useless by comparison.

    You are not rewarded for avoiding combat like Obsidian's past Pillars of Eternity title where all experience was quest based and killing would just get you loot or information on enemies. This puts you in positions where just killing as much as you can instead of making use of alternate paths or conversation options or faction loyalty changes makes more sense than anything else, you can even try to kill as much as you want in some locations and then go talk to someone else to side with them. A location might make stealth an option but other than crouch walking there is nothing interesting about the stealth system to make you want to use it, you would have to make a large skill investment to make it useful, and if you do that you are either going to be making use of the level design and losing experience and loot for it or you are just going to be attaching a silent barrel to your gun and shooting everyone in a way where the level design doesn't really matter anyway. There are some interesting weapons in the form of the science guns, one can shrink enemies, one can mind control them, and the last can shock and levitate them. They can be fun to use just to do something different but having only three with interesting effects like that in a science fiction setting is a little disappointing, outside of that it's the generic bullet, laser, plasma, and shock, fire, and acid effects we've always seen in Fallout and Borderlands.

    Outer Worlds has a great healing system. You will automatically regenerate health based on one of your temperament attribute (or not if you decreased it all the way), saving you the time of not having to bother with healing items or sleeping all the time. What makes the healing interesting is that you will find items that will regenerate about 25% of your lost health over a few seconds, but as your medicine skill increases you can equip additional consumable items to be used with that healing items. You can be taking a mixture of food, alcohol, drugs, etc that will give new healing effects, buff your stats, or buff your attributes. It's a good way to actually make use of items that don't see much use in most games like this. In most games you will never actually take the time to equip or eat that item that gives you an armor or damage boos for a couple seconds, but here you can take both those items together while also healing yourself. It's a really nice system, the only bad thing about this is that the game is so easy on the normal difficulty setting that I never once had to heal myself in or outside of combat, and you will probably want to play on a harder difficulty to have a real use for a better thought out than normal system. The issue with playing on a harder difficulty being that you are making combat, one of the weakest parts of the game more prevalent and longer to complete as you are giving the game's frequent high health enemies even more health.

    The way that increasing your skills is done is also a nice change of pace for most RPGs. Skills are separated into similar trees with 2-3 skills in each, you level the entire tree until you get to 50 and then branch off to level abilities by themselves. This is a nice system as it builds up your base skills early for low level characters, allows you time to consider what skills you really want to focus in, and makes sense since the trees contain similar skills that likely would at least somewhat work together. Your ability to converse with people will raise your persuade, intimidate, and lie skill. Unfortunately, much like the games healing system, skills just aren't very interesting or useful. At times I saved up over seven levels worth of skill points because they just didn't matter. I'd keep them saved in order to later level a skill when I needed it to pass a conversation check or to hack or lockpick something, their effects are so minimal that I just had no reason to actively spend them and the game was so easily that small combat bonuses from weapon, science, medicine, and stealth skills just didn't matter for anything directly combat related. Every two levels will allow you to acquire a perk, a series of mostly uninteresting passive bonuses of no to high use depending on your class build. Flaws can also be accepted under certain circumstances, giving you a small or very significant penalty in order to get a free perk in return, many of these are so terrible they aren't worth it and some do next to nothing and are obviously worth accepting. You won't see anything interesting or amusing in the flaws or perks like with Fallout's bad luck or mysterious stranger perks, just a series of mostly number and percentage buffs with five of them existing just to allow you to carry around more garbage to sell.

    Speaking of garbage to sell, that can be a large part of the game if you fall into its trap. Loot everything, steal everything, sell everything, break things down to fix your pathetic constantly falling apart weapons, pickpocket if you have the skill and sell all that shit, horde money for no actual reason. What can you do in heavily capitalist and corporate setting where you have a ship that most people can only dream of having, if they are even capable of having dreams anymore as corporate doesn't like to encourage the imagination, and more money than most will ever see in their life? The answer in Outer Worlds is, not much, you can buy a $3000 casserole so your companion can serve it for her date and that's about it. Almost every guide for this game says to take a perk that allows you to fast travel when you are over encumbered, not only is this useless as I have had no reason to do that even with an average strength attribute, but there are so many station (even in hostile areas) and vendors everywhere to sell stuff that you will never need this, and if you are that worried about it then you are unlikely to be having a good time with the game anyway. I suppose hoarding wealth for no other reason to hoard wealth can fit with the themes of the game, but then again, it's such a generic RPG fault, exacerbated by bad systems, never really commented on or done anything with, then further mixed with you not knowing how much money might become necessary for quests after having to spend thousands at different times that I can't really give the game that one. Now it just feels like another missed opportunity on both theme and gameplay accounts.

    Your companions are enjoyable to have around, they speak up often in conversations, might run into people that they used to know starting new conversations, and you can occasionally make use of their job fields in quest events. I love that the entirety of Parvati's multiple world spanning quest is basically built around the joke of lesbians wondering if that girl that sends them romantic poetry might be into them. It was also nice to see an asexual character as well, I've never had any particular personal interest in having my sexuality represented (from a story perspective I'd still like to see a polyamorous relationship portrayed well but Skies of Arcadia still seems to still be the closest we've gotten to that) but I've seen a lot of people happy to see the representation. On the other hand most of your companions have extremely poor quests, one has you going to see someone, going somewhere else to see someone, picking up a piece of paper next to the first guy, then likely shooting a few people. It is completely uninteresting in every way, the environment created for the fight and as growth for your companion character. One companion has you talk to a few people before finding an old hermit and taking some drugs where you share a vision together with the goal of trying to get him to better understand himself, it's more unique than other quests but like the other activities in this game it stops short of being interesting or memorable and is over after only a few dialouge options, quite likely working more as a situation to get a minor chuckle out of you rather than any kind of deep writing or character development.

    Companions just aren't very interesting when they aren't talking. Each one can boost three of your stats but you can very rarely order them to do something for you, they each have one special attack that you will likely get sick of seeing, and each only has three unique perks to select mostly giving the same dull (and often almost useless) kind of bonus as all the perks. You can set if you want them to use a melee or ranged weapon, the distance you want them to keep in combat, and how aggressive to be but fights are often taking place in such cramped areas, with so few combatants, or with so many combatants that these setting don't always end up meaning much. When it comes to equipment you are just going to be giving them the armor with the best armor stats and the best weapon that fits with the range you want them to attempt to maintain. It would be nice to see a bit more control or interesting parks but most enemy types and the AI just doesn't allow for it.

    A game with good companions, some mildly funny moments, pretty planets, but mediocre to average in everything else. The strongest quests in Outer Worlds come nowhere close to the best of Obsidian's New Vegas, any quests that could have been interesting or unique tend to be over before they even really start or waste their potential on basic fetch quest style design that gives you no room to do anything interesting or to figure anything out by yourself. If you are looking at this after playing or with most of your RPG experience in recent Bethesda titles or AAA RPGs then you will probably enjoy this a lot more than someone fresh off of Disco Elysium and who still has thoughts of Arcanum every now and then. The forces representing the factions and ideologies of Disco Elysium might have you complete a series of quests, finding information, tracking people down, and using your skills to say what you feel are the correct conversation options to do what you you need to do in games, complete the quests with the result you want. Only to then be told, "Thank's idiot, I knew what you were doing the whole time and it was exactly what I wanted," you've inadvertently made them more powerful. And maybe that's what you wanted because you think you still made the best of a bad situation, maybe you no longer really care because you're just a nobody trying to get by. In Outer Worlds you might alter a person you have never met before's entire worldview and focus with one dull high persuade dialogue option because you're special, and then you get told what a good ally you have found in the ending slideshow.

    Outer Wilds might be a slap or punch in the face to Bethesda, but that doesn't mean much if they're already dead when it happens.

     


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    Blizzcon announcements, previews, and protests. Matt Leone finds out what it was like working at Kojima Productions Los Angeles, Heather Alexandra covers how Death Stranding communicates themes of togetherness and worker solidarity through its systems and how it creates a desire to build something while Tim Rogers' hour long review looks at the game from five different perspectives, Dia Lacina asks if a game ever changed the way you act in the real world, Steven T. Wright profiles Cyrille Imbert the CEO of a company dedicated to resurrecting old games and franchises, Disco Elysium's creator talks about why they made a video game and their plans for the future, Game Maker's Toolkit looks at the world design of Hollow Knight, HeavyEyed on what makes Session the perfect game to represent skateboarding, strafefox tells the story of the making of Ecco the Dolphin, 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)

     

    Hong Kong Protests Are Growing Outside Of BlizzCon

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    Protesters were not entirely uniform in their motivations, though. While everyone was united by their support of Hong Kong, some were also there to air a laundry list of only partially-related grievances against Blizzard.

     

    The biggest changes coming to Diablo 4

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    If you missed some of Diablo 2’s best features there’s a good chance they’re back

    Diablo 4 will not have an offline mode, and the game is 'not coming anytime soon'

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    The 'shared open world' will require an internet connection, and it sounds like Diablo 4 is still a good ways off.

    Hands-On With Diablo IV: Dungeon Delving With An Open-World Twist

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    Diablo IV’s announcement at Blizzcon yesterday was packed with gruesome death The long-awaited sequel’s tone is dark, and that carries over into the gameplay. My hands-on time with a demo build was exciting. Diablo IV eagerly ramps up the gore and dark magic for an experience that feels old-school but adds a few modern twists.

    Overwatch 2: New Modes, New Hero, And Everything Else We Know So Far

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    Overwatch 2 introduces several PvE modes, a “talent” system, and Sojourn, its first Canadian hero.

    Overwatch 2 focuses on the story, but doesn't seem to correct any of its issues

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    When Overwatch released three and a half years ago, it was that story that captured the imagination of many fans. A slowly drip fed tale of a ragtag bunch of (at least somewhat) diverse heroes battling over evil left a thousand gaps that dedicated artists and fanfic writers poured themselves into, growing a fandom few other pieces of media could match. But this same fandom was also its most vocal critic, discussing Blizzard’s repeated missteps, particularly over their promised inclusivity. I should know – it’s how I got into games writing.

    14 Minutes of Overwatch 2 Story Mission (Rio de Janeiro)

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    Here's 14 minutes of Overwatch 2's co-op Story Mission mode! In this video, Reinhardt, Mei, Tracer, and Lucio join together to battle through Rio de Janeiro to board the enemy ship and destroy its reactor core.

    Overwatch 2 - 5 Minutes Of The New PVP Mode "Push" Gameplay

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    Revealed alongside Overwatch 2, check out this gameplay of the new PvP mode "Push" on the Toronto map. Overwatch 2 will be released on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

    WoW Shadowlands Info: Blizzard Talks Player Choice, Customization, and More

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    Earlier today, Blizzard Entertainment announced the next step in the long-running saga of World of Warcraft. The new expansion is called Shadowlands, taking players the realm of the dead.

    Blizzard says ‘we failed in our purpose’ after Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy

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    Blizzard Entertainment kicked off its annual BlizzCon fan expo today with a direct apology from president J. Allen Brack regarding the explosive Hong Kong controversy that’s engulfed the company for the past month.

    Blizzard president clarifies decision to ban Hearthstone player and two casters over Hong Kong controversy

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    Despite yesterday's apology at BlizzCon, Blizzard won't be repealing the punishments further.

     

    Death Stranding - Official Story Gameplay Launch Trailer

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    The final trailer for Death Stranding is here, edited by Hideo Kojima himself. Coming to PS4 November 8, and PC in 2020.

    Hideo Kojima says Death Stranding is a reaction to 'Trump and Brexit'

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    Kojima goes even further into the global state of affairs, referencing political issues in both the US and the UK: "President Trump right now is building a wall. Then you have Brexit, where the UK is trying to leave, there are lots of walls and people thinking only about themselves in the world." In Death Stranding, Norman Reedus' Sam Porter Bridges seeks to save the world by delivering packages to remote locations, traversing rocky terrain and fending off those attempting to steal his wares. "The era of today is about individualism," Kojima suggests in the interview - it's clear that Death Stranding is an attempt to reject that.

    Norman Reedus is so happy he did Death Stranding instead of Silent Hills

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    “Silent Hills had the backstory and people knew that game, knew what it was about and what it would look like,” Reedus tells the Hollywood Reporter. “When that went away, I was bummed, but when Hideo described what we were doing next, I completely forgot about it. I was like, thank God that didn’t work, because this is way better.”

     

    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 narrative director talks high expectations, demos and delays

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    'We knew expectations were going to be super high, so we have to hit that bar.'

    You can play Bloodlines 2 like it’s Untitled Vampire Game

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    What’s eternal life if you can’t use it to annoy people?

     

    Keanu Reeves Loved Cyberpunk 2077 So Much He Had His Character’s ‘Screen Time’ Doubled

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    Keanu Reeves is a busy actor these days. The success of the John Wick trilogy propelled him back at the forefront of stardom again and now he's got hot projects on his plate, such as The Matrix 4 (where he'll reprise the role of Neo) and the greatly anticipated game Cyberpunk 2077.

     

    Black Future '88 gives you 18 minutes until your heart explodes, out next month

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    Black Future '88 is a cyberpunk roguelike in a sea of cyberpunk roguelikes, but it caught our eye back in 2017 thanks to its pretty explosions and bite-sized playthroughs that give you a mere 18 minutes before your heart explodes. You'll be able to race your body to the top of a robot-infested tower when it launches next month.

     

    Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot - Official Majin Buu Arc Trailer

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    Relive the Majin Buu Arc of Dragon Ball Z when Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot comes to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on Jan. 17, 2020.

     

    Nebuchadnezzar channels classic city builders like Pharaoh and Zeus

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    Nebuchadnezzar is a historical city builder with a name I hate to type. It was announced recently and will be with us next year, but it wouldn't have looked out of place next to Impressions Games' Pharaoh or Zeus back in the '90s and early '00s. It's a bit of a throwback, and the trailer is giving me the warm and fuzzies.

     

    Terminator: Resistance - Official Gameplay Trailer

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    Watch gameplay from the upcoming game which introduces Jacob Rivers, a soldier in the Resistance Pacific Division. Despite the fact that Jacob is just a private, he'll soon discover that he's been targeted by the latest threat from SKYNET and marked for termination. Terminator: Resistance will be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on December 10, 2019.

     

    Phoenix Point - The Disciples of Anu Faction Trailer

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    The Disciples of Anu, led by the mysterious "Exalted" seek unity with the alien invaders and embrace mutation as a core tenet of their religious philosophy. Players can ally with Anu and harness their powerful mutations and versatile units to advance the Phoenix Project. Or, they can reject the Anu. But beware: they hold powerful secrets.

     

    Marvel’s Avengers trailer delves into hero customization, more

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    The new Marvel’s Avengers trailer shows you how to customize your hero’s gear, skills, outfits and how to launch your missions.

     

    The retro horror game Faith is coming to Steam with a brand-new chapter

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    Faith: The Unholy Trinity will tell a new tale of cults, demons, and horrific death.

     

    Acclaimed detective RPG Disco Elysium coming to Xbox One and PS4 next year

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    Developer ZA/UM has revealed that it's currently in the throes of porting its acclaimed detective RPG, Disco Elysium, to Xbox One and PS4, and that it's due to launch next year.

     

    Nioh 2 will release March 13, open beta detailed

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    Team Ninja has given Nioh 2 a release date of March 13, 2020. The developer has also provided more details on the beta which kicks off on November 1.

     

    Soulcalibur 6 - Official Hilde Character Reveal Trailer

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    Get ready to add the Defender of the Kingdom, Hilde, to your roster of warriors in SoulCalibur VI.

     

    Payday 2's first DLC in almost a year takes you along the Silk Road

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    A couple of weeks ago we reported that Payday 2 was restarting development. The co-op heist simulator stopped development in 2018, but publisher Starbreeze’s financial issues have forced them to return to the game, which is still hugely popular, and start creating premium DLC. It’s that or job losses. Here’s a first, very small look at what they’re betting the bank on, called Payday 2: Silk Road.

     

    With no new title on the near horizon, Battlefield is returning to its roots

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    When Battlefield is good, it's really, really good. There's a magic to be found when zipping to a distant capture point in an armoured vehicle, your friends in tow as you man the rear guns and take potshots at the fighter plane above that then comes screaming down in a streak of fire and crashes into a building, sending it tumbling to the ground and taking out the squad that was camping there. It's breathless stuff - and when Battlefield's sandbox delivers, there's nothing quite like it.

     

    Is Kotaku Dead? - Inside Gaming Daily

    Deadspin’s Last Staff Member Quits. But Deadspin Is Not Dead, the Boss Says.

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    The site’s editorial team, more than 20 journalists, resigned after an instance of what they saw as meddling by G/O Media.

    What Happened to Deadspin, According to the People Who Were There

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    Deadspin was founded 14 years ago by Will Leitch, who cranked out 300-word blog posts in the first person plural, and it ended for all intents and purposes on Friday with a video of NCAA stooges lying about paying college athletes. In his first post, Leitch wrote, “there’s a whole side of sports that because of either corporate obligations or just plain laziness, never makes it into the public consciousness.” He was right about that. As much as any publication, Deadspin defined what sports journalism for smart people in the digital age should look like. For many readers, including me, it replaced legacy sports media as the first place to go for what happened, what mattered, what to think about, and what to talk about.

     

    Microsoft Japan’s experiment with 3-day weekend boosts worker productivity by 40 percent

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    Japan has a reputation for not being so great when it comes to work-life balance. And it’s a reputation that makes sense, considering the country routinely scores toward the bottom when it comes to employee satisfaction around the developed world.

     

    Reggie Fils-Aimé to Be Awarded New York Game Awards' Legend Prize

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    Kicking ass, making games, receiving acclaim.

    His Name Is Reggie, and He Is Still Happy - Talking to Ex-Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé

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    Looking back over 'a career of making people smile'.


     

    The Ambitious Future of 'Dead Cells' Is Ditching Co-Ops For Capitalism

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    'Dead Cells' was made in an environment where workers shared equal power, equal pay, and equal profits. That's not how things will work at the new studio, Evil Empire.

     

    Esports News

     

    Incredibly Stable Company WeWork Appears To Be Investing In Incredibly Stable Industry: Esports

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    With its dying breath, it looks like startup-turned-laughing-stock WeWork is investing in esports.

     

    Who Is Jarvis and Why Is He Crying About Fortnite?

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    Jarvis is banned for life and he is very very sorry.

     

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

     

    CHORUS: AN ADVENTURE MUSICAL

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    CHORUS is an adventure musical -- one part narrative-driven adventure and one part interactive musical, written by former BioWare lead writer David Gaider, scored by award-winning composer Austin Wintory, voice directed by acclaimed actor and director, Troy Baker, and starring the extremely talented Laura Bailey.

     

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

     

    What it was like working at Kojima Productions Los Angeles

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    Ahead of Death Stranding’s release, former staff look back at Hideo Kojima’s short-lived LA studio

     

    Cyrille Imbert, the Man Who Brings Gaming’s Past Back to Life

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    The Dotemu CEO on the challenges and rewards of resurrecting old games and franchises.

     

    Indivisible Creative Director On Making A Party-Based RPG That Feels Like A Fighting Game

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    After four years in development, Indivisible arrived last month, bringing the combo-heavy combat of certain old-school RPGs into the modern age. It garnered praise across the gaming world, but it soon became clear that there were a few issues holding it back from true greatness, some of which are still waiting to be addressed. Kotaku recently caught up with the Indivisible team to discuss the game’s launch and what’s on the horizon, including changes to leveling, new characters, and more.

     

    Why the Creator of Disco Elysium Hasn’t Read the Reviews, and What’s Next for the IP

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    Next year, the team also plans to release a manifesto sharing their cultural ethos. Kurvitz said ZA/UM is less a studio and more a cultural movement in the vein of Dadaism or Fluxus, and they’re just using video games as their medium rather than theater or painting. The group shares a passion for ambitious humanitarian culture and a hatred of elitism. They’re also self-identified nerds who draw as much inspiration from 19th century realist novels as they do from Baldur’s Gate II.

    Disco Elysium’s writer wants to “lead the youth astray,” so he made a videogame

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    Kurvits says the risk with games is “more than with a novel, which nobody really cares about at all any more! Novels are almost inconsequential – it’s hard to piss anyone off with them, because they spread very slowly from one language to another. You can’t lead the youth astray with a novel nowadays.”

    Disco Elysium writer doesn’t “want to be like JK Rowling” – “our Dumbledore is already out”

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    It already seemed pretty clear that indie studio ZA/UM’s new RPG game adventure Disco Elysium wouldn’t shy away from politics. Now the game’s lead designer has said the game’s devs have worked to ensure that any politics in the game are already there in a “self-sufficient” format – and that he doesn’t want to add politics to it retrospectively “like JK Rowling.”

    No Truce With The Disco

    Quote

    A great deal of what happens in the detective’s mind is subject to interpretation, but by and large Disco Elysium has a lot of respect for its cast. I wouldn’t say DE is overtly sympathetic to everyone, but you meet all kinds of people and can at least understand their stances, even if the game doesn’t defend those positions. Some have outlandish ideas about everything from the supernatural to the inherent goodness of their community, and the detective can support them eagerly or dismiss them off-hand. At all times you’re made aware of the material context of the city, its troubled history, that these conditions didn’t spring from vacuum and that questionable or objectionable as they might be, everything has an underlying reason. Even if, in the detective’s case, that reason might be “I was given the option to do something and wanted to see what would happen” or an apologetic “I think I did it because I was drunk”.

     

    The story behind Parvati, the internet’s favorite Outer Worlds companion

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    Edgewater’s naive engineer has struck a chord with players

     

    How the Janitors in White Day: A Labyrinth Named School Made Me Change How I Act in the Real World

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    Has a game ever changed your behavior? I don’t mean in the way that Dark Souls teaches you how to play it, learning patterns, correct combinations of button presses in Tekken, or the precise moment when to tap A in Ninja Gaiden to account for NES-era platforming clumsiness, internalizing a game into the motor neurons of your fingers perfectly. Has a game ever shifted how you act outside of it?

     

    The New Weird and racist structures

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    Recently, I published a piece on IGN about Control and the weird and “New Weird” subgenre of horror. To me, what makes this such an essential genre is how it taps into the two conflicting realisations: our need for answers and our recognition of the vastness and weirdness of the universe in which we live, enduring an existence that will never result in such answers.

    The Poster and the Wall: The Society and/of Control

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    Within the fiction of Control, the FBC acts mainly as a literal interpretation of the modes of control that Capitalism employs, but applied to a much more fundamental and metaphysical layer of reality. It’s no coincidence that the FBC’s fantastical Oldest House headquarters are right on 33 Thomas Street, the real-life location of another infamous, windowless Brutalist New York skyscraper heavily rumored to be an NSA site. Rather than the actual act of surveillance, however, Control is far more interested in the ways that surveillance and bureaucracy have been normalized, again using the blurring of fiction and reality to explore how society has evolved to accommodate them more and more.

     

    Death Stranding: The Kotaku Review

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    During my time reviewing Death Stranding, I had a relationship fall into disrepair. That my most valued personal connection frayed while playing a game that is ultimately about the bonds we make was not lost to me. Time and time again in Death Stranding, I wandered through harsh red deserts and snow-capped peaks with the mission of bringing people together. I crossed bridges left by strangers, trusting that the paths they had laid would bring me where I needed to go. Outside of the game, I was lost. What does it mean for a connection to unravel, like an old rope bridge across a ravine? What does it take to rebuild one?

    I don’t have answers to this. Death Stranding didn’t provide them. Instead, it insisted on a simple idea: that we are made strong by the grace and, more beautifully, the chance of others.

    CRITICAL CONSENUS

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    The media drip for this videogame has been agonizing. Picture after picture of Hideo Kojima captioned with things like “togetherness” or Mads Mikkelson giving a blowie. There’s enough content in just the marketing of Death Stranding that we have all been playing the game since it was announced.

     

    How The Missing combines survival horror and puzzle platforming to capture queer hope

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    Survival horror, as a subgenre, is meant to make you feel powerless. Resident Evil adds extra stress to already terrifying situations by forcing you to manage your inventory and make judgement calls about what will be most valuable to your continued existence. Outlast takes this even further by stripping away your ability to fight back. The illusion of safety provided by a handgun or knife is taken from you and it becomes a breathless struggle to stay alive when the only verbs available to you are run and hide. The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories from developer White Owls takes this notion and manages to make it more frightening yet more hopeful through its use of puzzle platforming mechanics.

     

    “My Cool Friend, Blood,” by Zack Kotzer

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    People love Blood’s third level, “Phantom Express.” Seeing train tracks whip by like that in a ‘90s shooter was a tasty trick, but what stands out more is probably the dining car. You are handed a 60 second dual wield power up. The game so far has boxed you into rooms with three or so foes and few shotgun shells between them. Behind twin doors is a full social: Two bars facing each other. A dozen armed men in cloaks drowning their eldritch troubles in non-enchanted glasses of rye. You plop in. Blazing. Bouncing around the room like a pogo Neo. Mowing down as many cultists in one chamber as you’ve killed in the entire game. Bits of glass pop like confetti. Blood pisses out of their wounds like a cardiovascular sprinkler system. Their bodies fall into red pools with the sound of wet towels. (The first time I played this I cleared the room only to walk through the back door, slip off the end of the train and die. It happened the second time too. And the third. God, what a badass.)

     

    The Slow Burn Arthouse Horror of The Space Between

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    Who's ready for a methodical, introspective drama that has horror elements!? WOOO!

     

    John Wick Hex and the Problems of Adaptation

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    John Wick Hex is a game that admirably captures the essence of one of my favourite franchises through incredibly unique, sometimes fascinating mechanics. It represents a huge risk taken by a small team that I respect immensely. I also have zero fun actually playing it—let's talk about why that is.

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

     

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    Skateboarding games have been kind of an empty genre as of late, with all the anticipation for EA's Skate 4, Session has come along to challenge the throne for the best skating game.

    Skate 2 and THPS footage from World of Longplays

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

     

    How Does the Blair Witch Game Compare to the Movies? [SPOILERS]

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    This is a video critique of the 2019 Blair Witch game. It looks at how it interacts with and draws from the trilogy of movies that came before it, and what the Blair Witch aesthetic might be all about. Full spoilers for all movies and the game itself.

    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

     

    The Making of Ecco the Dolphin

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    This episode is centered around one of SEGA's more unique series: Ecco the Dolphin.

    Support the channel: 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 World Design of Hollow Knight | Boss Keys

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    Hollow Knight takes place in the sprawling kingdom of Hallownest: an underground ant's nest of forests, mines, basins, and waterways. In this episode of Boss Keys, I look at the shape, structure, and sequence of exploring this masterpiece game.

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

     

    Noclip Podcast #13 - Horror Game Spooktacular

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    Come with us on a horrifying video game adventure and Danny & Jeremy discuss the Noclip community's spookiest experiences. Featuring chat about PT, Dead Space, Fatal Frame, Alone in the Dark, Condemned, Ecco the Dolphin for some reason, and much more.

     

     


  4. Completed: Disco Elysium
    Platform: PC

    I awake in a near dreamlike state with a voice warning me of the condition I have left my body in, ignoring the warnings and sudden intense pain I awake to a terrible hangover with no memory of the past night or of any aspect of my life. Once I slowly drag myself to the bathroom mirror and attempting to wipe the grime away I am warned by my Inland Empire skill that I won't like what looks back at me. "It can't be that bad," I think as I wipe the mirror, only to come face to face with the swollen and ballooned face of a late stage alcoholic that I have no memory of, staring back at me with a ridiculous grin. I fail my Encyclopedia check to try to remember what events in my life would cause me to want to have my face frozen in such a ridiculous way, then fail to try to stop it from happening. After collecting my scattered clothes and leaving my room, with the help of my Perception informing me of the sound of the key jingling in my pocket, a woman tells me that I'm a police officer that was supposed to be investigating a recent murder and describes the events she heard from my room last night that lead to my sorry state.

    Downstairs I meet my new partner, telling him that it isn't time for name's yet when I realize I can't even remember mine but that trying to remember causes me to consider the colors gold and orange. We go on to question the manager, the conversation leads me to declare my feminist agenda, the one that I suddenly remembered, after becoming upset at his attempt to ask out one of employees and seeing it as a misuse of his power. This gives me a new idea that I choose to consider for the next few hours, my desire to undermine the tyrannical gender roles of society gives me a better understanding of the existing power structures of the society that I am still trying to fully remember. The manager is unimpressed and demands payment for my room stay, as well as payment for the window I smashed when I threw one of my shoes through it. A voice speaks up, a voice coming from the ugly tie around my neck, a voice that is both making a lot of sense at the moment and one I am willing to listen to, it tells me to sneak away to avoid paying my bill. Unfortunately, my gaudy shoes and pants have caused me to stand out a bit to much and I fail to make a clean escape. Realizing I have no chance of sneaking away I begin a mad dash, followed by a dive through the air while flipping the manager off with both hands. The voices in my head tell me to just savor the moment before the crash and enjoy that I showed the manger who was boss. Just look at the shock on his face, no idea how to react to my rejection of his authority. These thoughts come to me right before I crash into a woman in wheelchair. The resulting injury leads to a sudden pain in my left arm, followed by my chest, followed by all enveloping blackness as death takes me. Maybe I shouldn't have listened to my tie, maybe I should have taken better care of my body in my past life. The paper reports on a cop that suffered a fatal heart attack, I'm described as having been a heavy drinker that suffered from a broken heart long before a heart attack.

    Existential, depressing, hilarious, political, cynical, hopeful, bleak, ugly, and beautiful. Disco Elysium does things that have been missing from the majority of RPGs. Set in a realistic setting that combines elements of different time periods and places to create a fairly grounded cast of characters and a story focused on the human condition and politics of the setting that mirrors real world elements, without a focus on being a chosen hero, forces of darkness, evil monster races, and what little combat there is governed through your skill checks. You are staying in a now destroyed room in the city of Revachol, a broken down city that experienced both a plague and a communist revolution before it was put down and colonized by the rest of the world, you have drank so much and taken so many drugs that you have effectively destroyed your personality and have no recollection of your past, you are told you are a cop and that there has been a body hanging outside for the last week likely connected to the current labor strike.

    You are given four stats intellect, psyche, physique, and motorics which each governing six sub skills ranging from your ability to identify with the people you meet and their feelings, your reaction speed for physical reactions as well as witty comebacks, your attunement with the city around you, your ability to picture a crime scene, your ability to have informed hunches and gut feelings, etc. Every skill you have talks to you when you are dealing with people or noticing things in the environment, they can help you make informed decisions, clue you into hidden details, or cause you to make poor and ridiculous decisions. Your Physical Instrument skill might give you impressive muscles and the ability to use them but it also demands that you showcase your masculinity and to let nothing threaten it, Inland Empire might help you correctly see what isn't visable to the naked eye but as shown above it can be less than helpful when your clothing starts offering strange advice to you. Saying certain things or finding out information about people can lead you to having new thoughts, choosing to focus on a thought will give you temporary bonuses and/or penalties and when you have mulled it over long enough the thought will be locked into place with a new description and bonuses and/or penalties fitting your new understanding of the idea and what concepts you want to be important to your character as you rebuild his forgotten personality.

    In most games you are rewarded for playing a certain way or for playing in completely different ways as the situation calls for it, giving your character no real personality as you game the system. Disco Elyrium's frequently lore expanding or amusing skill anecdotes, the different options playing your character in a different way, and probably most importantly, your skills giving you an actual reason to want or understand the desire to do something you normally wouldn't do because your own character is telling you what they are thinking or feeling makes you want to play the game again as a character with an entirely different stat and skill focus. It is one of the rare games that can make your failure as interesting as your success. Some of the most amusing moments come from failure, some failure just leads to new logical paths to your goal, some failures might change a goal, seemingly minor choices or clothing items might lead to unexpected tasks or responses. Failing to find the cause of death during an autopsy can lead to a side activity to find a freezer big enough to store the body, succeeding in a Suggestion role might give you a task but play into the hands of the person that was hoping you would come up with such a suggestion, failing a Conceptualization role might lead someone to lend you her art supplies out of pity while succeeding causes her to think that you don't have the talent to create your masterpiece and that if you did you would be competition for her, failing to make a cool catch with your Hand Eye Coordination skill might lead to a loss of health buy an apology in the form of pity money. Unlike almost any other RPG, be it just because of how much combat there is or because some skills just have little or no real use, in Disco Elysium there is no right or wrong way to build your character because there is no push to succeed at everything, to do everything, to fix everything, or to help and save everyone.

    Disco Elyrium is a game that made finding my lost shoe a meaningful character moment. Multiple events make up some of the most memorable moments I've seen in a game. Your success or failure at singing karaoke leading to two entirely different styles of performance, a success gives you some applause and the satisfaction of the telling the manager that you knew you had it in you, a failure leads to a depressed wailing cover of the song drawing nothing but laughter and boos from the crowd, except for your partner who could genuinely understand the pain in your voice. One of the only instances of combat in the game having no positive outcome with a large amount of the text focusing on the fear you and your partner fear towards being in a gunfight and the possibility of losing your new and possibly only friend. Helping to start a dance club and becoming completely lost in the moment while dancing brought on a vision where I spoke with the city itself. A dream of a lost love discusses the challenge of living with a man who sees the world in the way you know that your character does, arguing with himself and seeing a list of A, B, C, D questions that he wants to ask people at all times, a dream where a success at a skill check won't give you what you want but only inform you more clearly about what you no longer have.

    It can often end up being one the darker games I've played, as well as one of the funniest, partly because it seems to understands that finding humor in the terrible situations that we find ourselves in or about the state of the world in general is how many people are able to survive. You are forced into choosing political stances as they are a major part of what people talk about, how you naturally react to them or things you see, and the game can't very well mock you for your mewling centrism if you weren't constantly choosing to refuse to endorse solutions or to take a stand on anything. No matter what you choose your positions will be questioned or outright mocked as absurdity or cowardice. How do you defend liberal capitalism and your foreign occupiers who put the city in the poor position it is in while getting rich off of its people hoping magical tech investors and the rich will generously create jobs for the people, how many lives would have been worth the victory of the communities and if they had won would you have just ended up with more corrupt unions like the one that seems to be protecting your main suspect, will you promote nationalistic ideas and fascism/patriotism/nationalism where your brethren are old miserable men rarely trusted by their peers or each other all longing for the good old days before radio signals corrupted the youths mind and destabilized traditional gender roles, or do you take the path of the centrist/moralist never standing up for anything and hoping things will slowly work themselves out?

    The ruined city of Revachol is stitched together with tech, cultures, ideologies, and aesthetic choices taken from a variety of different times but often feels more real than areas in games directly created from real world places. A setting that can feel and become more magical than a typical fantasy setting as you attempt to explain how a glitch of an old recording playing long after its time seemed to be talking directly to you or as you consider the history of the city's landmarks and of the pronounced bullet holes and shelling damage still covering many of the buildings and walls, dried blood and bullet holes remain but no trace of who lined who up against the wall, residents that watch you out of closed windows in buildings covered by weather worn peeling signs with slogans promising a better tomorrow. Characters often feel real, most of all your assigned partner, Kim Kitsuragi, who has almost as much to add to the situations you find yourselves in as you will. In place of the party of NPCs following you around you have your own skills talking to you and giving you visions into the lives of others, instead of learning about the past of your party members you learn about your own through your conversations with yourself. The voice acting is typically well done and the music and unique oil painting style of art helps bring the city to life, successfully capturing the world and characters in either vibrant detail or by having a more grimy look fitting of your mental state, the city's history, present, and seeming lack of a future. A police game where finding a body won't lead to any autopsy or fight with the responsible criminals but instead just ends with you and your partner trying to find the right words to inform the deceased's wife and the question of what happens to her and her kids now.

    One of the few complains I can make that has a larger effect on the game is that your skills talking to you is based on events or the successful hidden roles relevant ones make causing them to chime in, but there is no difference in which is more meaningful to you based on how high or low each skill is. None are louder or pushing away the other thoughts, though they might naturally argue or point things out about one another, but having a high ranking in something doesn't mean that it will take control of you. It is also extremely difficult to actually run out of health or morale and almost any health loss tends to come from kicking random objects or failing to kick them well enough. I don't know if its because I didn't raise some of them high enough to get additional options or many passives but Endurance, Pain Threshold, Electrochemistry, Hand Eye Coordination, and Savoir Faire seemed to have much less use than the other skills. Even with those not doing much (or at least not seeming to in my playthrough) you still end up with a game that makes better use of a large number of skills than almost any other.

    This is not only my game of the decade but is easily one of my favorite games ever.

     


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    Ubisoft designer Stanislav Costiuc starts video series on what game designers do and what to think about if you want to become one, EA games and Access comes to Steam, Blake Hester interviews game writers and academics about the legacy of Modern Warfare 2's No Russian level, Astrid Rose on the use of violence and psychosexual meanings behind the design choices of Silent Hill 2, Death Stranding coming to PC, Chris Tapsell travels to Shanghai to get an understanding of the gaming market of China and what it means for everyone else, theScore interviews Ryan Hart about how he used fighting games to escape homelessness and tells the story of SonicFox, Modern Warfare turns real US war crime into fictional Russian one, Dia Lacina explores the trauma and forgiveness of Bloodborne The Old Hunters, Ben Lindbergh looks at the history of mainstream media's attempts to cover games and what the The Washington Post dedicating resources to their coverage means, 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)

     

    The bestest games of EGX 2019

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    Alice Bee: Good afternoon, esteemed colleagues. We were all locked, at one time or another, in the RPS EGX dungeon this weekend. Given that it’s a veritable bonanza of video games, both large and small, we should discuss the bestest games we saw over the weekend. I’m sure it will be entertaining and useful for our readers!

    EGX 2019: 5 OF THE BEST GAMES WE PLAYED

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    Ubisoft delays multiple titles, including Watch Dogs Legion

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    Game Freak explains the 1,000 staff, missing creatures, and leek size of Pokémon Sword and Shield

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    Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York trailer shows the basic points of the narrative game

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    New GTFO gameplay shows group stealth, teases punishing difficulty

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    Panzer Dragoon: Remake is coming to PC

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    Death Stranding is coming to PC in 2020

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    Help Norman Reedus connect the world and save the president.

     

    RÖKI IS A TRULY CHARMING GAME FROM POLYGON TREEHOUSE

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    Sources: Overwatch 2 to feature PvE, new map, at least one new hero

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    Microsoft Flight Simulator will use live, real-world data for in-game weather

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    Battlefield V Is Going Back To The Pacific

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    Elite Dangerous' long-overdue Fleet Carriers get another six month delay

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    Embattled Starbreeze resurrecting Payday 2, despite officially ending development last year

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    Sony issues refunds to unhappy WWE 2K20 PlayStation 4 players

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    Ghost Recon Breakpoint critical reception and sales “very disappointing”

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    Bethesda Is Now Selling $100 Annual Subscriptions For Exclusive Fallout 76 Features

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    Fallout 1st Is Creating A Class Divide Among Fallout 76 Players

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    'Nearly All' Counter-Strike Microtransactions Are Being Used for Money Laundering

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    "Worldwide fraud networks have recently shifted to using CS:GO keys to liquidate their gains. At this point, nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced," Valve says.

     

    Modern Warfare Highway of Death blames US war crime on Russi

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    The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Highway of Death mission has come under scrutiny for retrofitting a real-life US war crime into a Russian-perpetrated one.

    'Modern Warfare,' The Highway of Death, and Call of Duty's Exploitation of the Past

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    Like the United States itself, 'Modern Warfare' can't tell its wars apart and doesn't bother trying.

     

    EA Access and EA Games on Steam

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    Electronic Arts and Valve have partnered to put EA games into the hands of the players on Steam. Starting next spring, EA Access—our ever-growing subscription service powered by great games and member benefits—will be making its way to Steam. EA Access is the first and only gaming subscription service available on Steam, and the fourth platform featuring an EA subscription.

     

    Epic sues Fortnite tester for “spoiling the suspense” with Chapter 2 leaks

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    Epic is taking one of its testers to court, alleging that he leaked information about Fortnite Chapter 2 which “spoiled” the rollout for other players. The lawsuit accuses Ronald Sykes of breaking a non-disclosure agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets, and Epic says it has “sustained and will continue to sustain damages in an amount to be determined” as a result of the leaks.

     

    Blizzard Loses Sponsor Over Hong Kong Actions

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    When Blizzard decided to take action against a pro Hearthstone player for speaking out over the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, they ate a lot of shit from fans. They also, it turns out, lost a commercial sponsor in the form of Mitsubishi Motors.

     

    G/O Media Is Fighting Its Staff Over 'Objectively Bad' Autoplay Ads

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    Within a few hours, management at G/O Media, which is owned by the private equity firm Great Hill Partners, unilaterally deleted these blog posts soliciting feedback, which could be a violation of Gizmodo Media Group’s union contract that protects editorial independence: "Once a story has been posted it can only be removed by a majority vote of the Executive Editor, the CEO, and the General Counsel, unless required by law." Deadspin deputy editor Barry Petchesky tweeted that the move was "a clear violation of our CBA."

     

    Facing Burnout, Stress, And Health Issues, Top Twitch Streamers Are Taking Extended Breaks

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    Last year during E3, streaming megastar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins took two days off from his regular schedule. A blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things. It cost him 40,000 paying subscribers. This seemed to issue a grim warning to other streamers: Take time off at your own peril.

     

    Ubisoft suing Rainbow 6 cheatmaker who talked about his works on the BBC

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    Ubisoft’s lawyers have loaded their lawguns and stacked up to breach and clear the coffers of a team who make and sell cheats for Rainbow 6 Siege. They believe a Dutch teenager is a key figure in MizuSoft, whose cheat includes the usual wallhack and recoil-cancelling and such, and his mother is helping process its subscription payments. Ubisoft say they spend a whole lot of time and money trying to stamp out cheats, so they’ve filed suit to make them knock it off and pay a big stack of cash in damages. Curiously, the main cheatmaker seems to be someone who talked about his creation on the BBC.

     

    Teenage Fortnite Pro Swatted Live On Stream

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    Fortnite pro Cody “Clix” Conrad—who is only 14 years old—was in the middle of a Fortnite Championship Series game on the weekend when his home was swatted.

     

    Japanese Government Honors Shigeru Miyamoto As Person of Cultural Merit

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    Each year, the Japanese government honors people for their important cultural contributions. Included in this year’s Person of Cultural Merit honorees is Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto. Congrats!

     

    Esports News

     

    Women-only e-sports events are building toward a future where they’re unnecessary

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    When you tune into any e-sports event, you’re likely to see only men. Of the 100 competitors in the final of the Fortnite World Cup, none were women, and just one of the more than 200 players in the Overwatch League is a woman. The apparent egalitarianism of digital competition has clearly not translated into a truly even playing field. In response, a number of organizers have turned to creating women-only events. They’re clearly serving a need, but that need remains complicated.

     

    The Man Who Used Fighting Games to Escape Homelessness

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    These days, Ryan Hart is known as one of the greatest fighting game players to ever come out of Europe.

    But his path to the top was not easy. It was paved with loneliness and adversity — as a teenager, Ryan Hart was homeless, hungry, and alone on the streets of London.

    Starved for both food and human connection, Hart found that fighting games were weren’t just games, they were his deliverance from a desperate time.

    The Furry Who Beat Everyone: The Story of SonicFox

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    SonicFox means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. They’re the greatest Mortal Kombat player of all time. They’re a hero to an often-maligned community. They are America’s greatest hope in a genre dominated by the rest of the world.

    They are an inspiration.

    And this is their story.

     

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

     

    Video games in China: beyond the great firewall

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    In fact, not a single foreign developer or publisher that I spoke to - in the room where snazzy, Chinese-audience-appropriate versions of their games had just been flaunted as a key selling point of the platform - said their game had even made it through the approval process yet. It's not clear that any of the Chinese-developed ones had either. None of them, foreign or domestic, openly committed to being there on launch.

    Such an air of obfuscation there was at the event, Valve wouldn't even tell me whose idea Steam China was, or when the company decided it needed to do it, or even really why it's happening: "I don't know the genesis ... It's just gonna be a much better experience for Chinese customers ... We want Chinese customers to have really high-quality access to steam games", DJ Powers told me. It's not a slight on him - I honestly think he was being as candid as he could, all things considered - but in terms of the actual purpose, or progress, of Steam China there was effectively nothing to be learned from the event.

     

    WHY DOES THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA STRUGGLE TO COVER VIDEO GAMES?

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    We talk about the ‘gaming world,’” Hume says. “Well, it’s not a separate world. It’s our world.”

     

    The Very Real Person Behind Twitter’s Surreal ‘Shitty Gamer Takes’ Account

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    How a place collecting a neverending pile of awful, offensive, and infuriating takes by "gamers" became a place of surprising catharsis.

     

    Joystick Fantasia: Inside the Spectacle of Video Games Live

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    For 15 years, Tommy Tallarico has offered gaming fans a new way to appreciate the music of the medium.

     

    'Disco Elysium' Is a Landmark RPG About the Politics of Our Broken World

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    A 'Planescape: Torment' successor that is distinguished by its monumental ambition and thoroughness.

    How Disco Elysium's opening sets the stage for existential revolt

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    Existentialism. A word with baggage, and about it. Philosophers have deployed it to cover many different things, but they’re all concerned with the baggage of being alive. The urgent dilemma of existence, as beings without apparent purpose. The concept fascinates me. It’s what I get up for in the morning.

     

    How 'Outer Worlds' Turned Me Away From Revolution into Maddening Pragmatism

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    Fight the power, crush the corp, and divert the energy from the local geothermal plant to the local dissenters trying to reshape society for the better? The decision, the first major one I was asked to make in Obsidian’s new sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds, seemed so simple that offering an alternative seemed downright insulting. Outside of a “What if?” second playthrough, the kind of guilt-free roleplay where you’re explicitly pushing at a game’s boundaries, what monster sides with the greedy shits who’ve run this place into the ground?

     

    "Remember, No Russian:" Critics and Developers Remember Call of Duty's Most Infamous Mission

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    But what was the point of No Russian to begin with? Where did this level come from, and what were the developers trying to say, allowing players to orchestrate an act of mass violence? And how has the game industry's thoughts on the level changed over the past ten years? We reached out to critics, academics, game writers, and members of Modern Warfare 2's development team to ask about the legacy of No Russian a decade removed from launch.

    If there's one takeaway, it's that no one is quite sure how to feel about No Russian anymore.

     

    “Nurse With Wound,” by Astrid Rose

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    Silent Hill 2 follows James Sunderland through a masochistic gauntlet of self-inflicted punishment occurring some time after he euthanizes his wife Mary, who was terminally ill with an unspecified fantasy disease. In the town of Silent Hill he finds a few other people stranded in the muck of their own subconscious; Angela, Eddie, and Maria, who looks and acts strangely similar to Mary. Only Laura, a kid who knew Mary, seems to be unaffected by any of the town’s oddness.

     

    “Devotion, Delusion, and Design Honesty,” by Daniel Fries

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    Devotion, by Red Candle Games, departs from this trend by telling the player at the very beginning that the protagonist Feng Yu is deluding not the player, but himself. It is clear from the shifts between alternate versions of his home—one a bright but eerily empty fantasy apartment and the other a dark damp husk of it—that he is struggling with a disconnect between his faith and his reality. Feng Yu, seeking treatment for his mysteriously ill daughter Mei Shin, looks for help not from a psychiatrist but from a cult leader. Against the wishes of his wife Gong Li Fang he spends more and more money on ineffective and dangerous remedies. In her disagreement he sees disloyalty, and responds with aggression and abuse

     

    Exploring the Bottomless Trauma and Questionable Forgiveness at the Heart of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

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    Bloodborne , like many games bearing Hidetaka Miyazaki’s fingerprints, is a vivid evocation of trauma. It blooms like crypt moss stretching up from mycelial tendrils woven deep through every layer of the game. Both in the virtual world of Yharnam and our own, trauma exists outside of time, encoded on a cellular level, imprinted on our psyches, and buried in the spaces it occurred. Events, even far back in the past, reach out across vast distances to grab us, amygdala-like. They take hold and pull us deeply into nightmares already experienced.

     

    Persona 5 Needs to Stop Using Ryuji as a Punching Bag

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    Despite fighting a known sexual harasser and abuser in the RPG’s first dungeon, that abuser’s victim is objectified throughout by the same men who helped save her. While claiming to be about fighting to escape the shackles of societal expectations, Persona 5 uses gay panic for humor’s sake and then doubles down on it again later in the game.

    But one thing Persona 5 also uses for comic relief is physical comedy, and that is almost exclusively directed at Ryuji Sakamoto, an established victim of physical abuse.

     

    INTERNATIONAL TASK FORCE

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    Blizzard sold Overwatch on its characters. Designed like action figures or superheroes and promising to kind of riff on the same fictional tropes, Overwatch is pitched as a character-based first person shooter with a background of international heroics. The title itself is meant to be the name of an in-universe organization that stopped a robo-pocalypse. I am reminded of this every time I start the game and a sad Ape-Man tells me.

     

    The mystery of Atlantis

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    Stories usually describe the legendary city of Atlantis as a wondrous place – imagine a fantasy version of ancient Greece but with more ornate fountains, fish, and the casual use of technology so advanced it easily blurs into the magical and you’re halfway to writing your own tale already. Whatever take you read on the place it’s invariably a peaceful civilisation based around Poseidon-worship, philosophical discussions, flowing white robes, and a mystical treasure or ten. It may always end up lost forever beneath the waves by the end but even then you can rely on the city’s fate to be written as a warning for others, a solemn tale of mankind’s hubris or the dangers of displeasing the gods: Unless you’re playing Tomb Raider, the game that launched a thousand fake nude cheats. As we all know Lara Croft’s debut adventure is for the most part an engaging athletic-exploration game with a gently atmospheric soundtrack (and sometimes dinosaurs) – it’s just also happens to think Atlantis should be less mermaids and temples and more pulsating exposed muscle-walls and bone and nightmares.

     

    The Secrets of Puzzle Design | How Game Designers Explore Ideas and Themes with Puzzles and Problems

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    This Video Explores the Secrets of Puzzle Design, and how game designers go about creating them. Puzzle design is often viewed as an arcane art only a few are privy to, but in this essay, we explore the many design philosophies creators have employed to manufacture them. What we find is there are as many ways to make a puzzle as there are puzzles themselves, and this pluralism feeds into what the purpose of puzzles have been and are in our society today.

    We explore games as varied as The Witness, braid, Baba is You, Infinifactory, Stephens sausage roll and fez to support the idea that puzzle are ultimately the aesthetic form of thought itself.

     

    The Key to Metroid Prime's Atmosphere

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    Continuing my ongoing side series about how Metroid games go about creating their rich atmospheres, here's the latest instalment with Metroid Prime.

    I really think Prime struck a chord with its atmosphere, and in this video I detail as to how it did this.

    Please consider supporting the channel through Patreon to help improve the quality of research, editing, footage capture, animation and overall production of each episode: www.patreon.com/DanRoot

     

    Idea People? | So You Wanna Be A Game Designer? (#1)

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    During my time in the industry, I had to interview and review tests of many aspiring designers. What I've noticed is that there are a lot of misconceptions potential juniors have, so I decided to create a series dedicated to these misconceptions. The first one is about what a game designer actually does in a team.

     

    The Rise and Fall of Max Payne

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    Please consider supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/GVMERS

    Few features are as ingrained in the fabric of modern shooters as bullet time. Whether included as a mechanic that one can use at the press of a button, or an occurrence that only happens in scripted moments, bullet time is the punctuation mark of every game it graces; an awesome, yet functional tool that gamers and developers alike can’t get enough of. And it wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is today were it not for Max Payne.

     

    The Eternal Struggle of Video Game Genres

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    Let's scream into the void about genre theory in video games.

    Fox's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Foxcade

     

    Ridiculous & AMAZING Dreamcast Peripherals | Punching Weight [SSFF]

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    Soulcalibur with a Dreamcast fishing rod? Mr Driller with a microphone? Motion controlled tennis six years before Wii Tennis? Sega Dreamcast is a great system but thanks to its amazing accessories, it is your one-stop-shop for the dumbest ways to play video games!

     

    Noclip Podcast #12 - Support Local Video Game Museums

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    Fresh from a day's filming, Danny & Jeremy chat about the upcoming ESRB documentary, our new landlords, video game museums, our scariest video game memories, plans for Extra Life and the guest you can look forward to when the podcast begins proper.

    Become a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip

     

    An Interview with Paradox's Johan Anderson | On Being an Entertainer and Mana Systems

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    Rob went to Paradox Con and was able to snag an interview with Johan Anderson, Creative Director at Paradox Development Studio. They talk about the company's IPO, failed game systems, his creative goals, and his long career making grand strategy games.

     

    Things I missed from previous weeks

     

    Suikoden II | Retrospective Review

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    Today I'm taking a look at Suikoden 2, Konami's classic RPG released on the PlayStation in 1999. For many years it has been commonly believed that the story for Suikoden 2 was actually written before the first game, but after finding conflicting accounts regarding this rumor, I decided to reach out to Yoshitaka Murayama (the series creator) to get some clarification on this point. Not only did he set the record straight, but provided some other great insight into how Suikoden 2 was made.

    HUGE thank you to ZenmenZ for translating my emails with Mr. Murayama, and to Hian for helping me find his contact info as well as providing feedback on translations. This video would not have been possible without them.

     


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    EGX previews and developer sessions, Nick Ransbottom looks into the aftermath of E3's data breach, Alex Donaldson on how a fansite owner ended up as President of Falcom, previews of Star Wars Fallen Order and early reviews of The Outer Worlds, Razbuten looks at the only Zelda game without a hero, Super Bunnyhop compares Assassin's Creed Odyssey to real-life locations in Greece, Dan Root on the importance of animations principles and Mega Man X7, Manifold Garden suddenly released after seven years in development, Crusader Kings 3 announcement, announcements for World of Darkness fans, Game Informer's podcast goes over the process and answers questions about writing a game review, Riot announces new games in development, Patrick Klepek interviews the developers of Untitled Goose Game, Game Maker's Toolkit covers the creation of and legacy of Pac-Man, 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)

     

    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 delayed to avoid repeating the mistakes of the first game

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    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been delayed. The game was due out during the first quarter of 2020, but will now launch later in 2020.

     

    Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is about eco-terrorism and lycanthropy

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    Look beyond the videogamey over-punctuation in the title, and Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood looks mighty interesting. Based on the Werewolf: The Apocalypse pen-and-paper roleplaying system, this is a game where you’re playing the werewolf, and your job is to save the planet from the ravenous, forest-pillaging vampires.

     

    Swansong is the name of the Vampire: The Masquerade game due out 2021

     

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order shows the fallout of Order 66

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    When creating a new video game, there are plenty of things for producers, directors, writers, artists, and designers to consider. Who are the characters? Where are they going? What are the rules of their universe? That’s a daunting enough challenge for any team, and it gets even harder when trying to carve out a memorable original story with over four decades of lore behind it.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - The Final Preview

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    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a much bigger, deeper game than we expected.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is much more than a lightsaber action game

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    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is not the game I thought it was – thankfully, it’s better.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order plays like a safe, conventional adventure with great lightsabers

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    Fallen Order nails the feeling of dangerous lightsaber combat, but its adventure didn't fully grab me in a hands-on preview.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Isn't Groundbreaking, But Could Still Be Satisfying

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    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order isn't really the type of game we often see set in a galaxy far, far away. It puts some distance between itself and the spectacle of large-scale online battles in the Battlefront series. The newest game in the landmark sci-fi series takes the route of a narrative-driven metroidvania centered around a masterless Jedi Padawan, and his growth within a galaxy in turmoil. This third-person single-player experience is also a significant pivot for developer Respawn Entertainment, which has a legacy rooted in first-person shooters.

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order interview – how Respawn integrated exploration into a combat-first lightsaber game

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    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order isn’t a straight-up melee action game, instead featuring open-ended planets packed with secrets and Metroid-style exploration. Here’s some of the folks from Respawn explaining how that came to be.

    We Played 3 Hours Of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

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    Alessandro and Jean-Luc discuss Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order's combat, exploration, story, and how it's inspired by other games. Jedi: Fallen Order will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 15.

     

    Crusader Kings 3 is confirmed and coming in 2020

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    It’s official: Paradox is working on Crusader Kings III. The announcement was just made at Paradox Con 2019, and is sure to be the biggest news of this year’s show.

    Crusader Kings 3 is happening: here's ten things we know so far

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    But what’s in store for budding Dukes, Caliphs, and Holy Roman Emperors in CK3? Luckily, I spent the start of the month with Paradox in Stockholm, where even a thematically appropriate run-in with blood poisoning couldn’t stop me soaking up all there was to know about the grand strategy behemoth under construction. I’ll be posting some longer pieces getting into the meat of the game in the weeks to come, but for now, here’s a summary of what we know so far:

     

    Cyberpunk 2077 Dev Talks Multiplayer, Censorship, And More

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    CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 is one of 2020's most-anticipated games, and it came to PAX Australia this week in a big way for its first public showing in the country. On PAX Aus Day 1, CD Projekt Red filled the Melbourne Convention Centre's biggest theatre with excited fans who got the special treat of seeing nearly an hour's worth of gameplay footage that showed off more of Night City and a number of new abilities.

     

    Dying Light 2 – official gameplay reveal deep dive

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    Dive deeper into the world of the Modern Dark Ages as Tymon Smektała, Techland’s Lead Game Designer, breaks down the recently released, award winning, gameplay demo. Find out more about the setting, unprecedented freedom of movement, brutal combat and the huge impact your choices will have on the world around you, in the eagerly anticipated Dying Light 2.

     

    Manifold Garden - Release Date Trailer

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    After 7 years, Manifold Garden is finally launching on October 18th, 2019. It will be available on the Epic Games Store and Apple Arcade.

     

    Encased is a promising, Fallout 2-inspired RPG entirely set inside a mysterious dome

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    Even in Early Access, Encased is shaping up to be the kind of freeform RPG we can get lost in.

     

    Root Film Localization Confirmed For North America And Europe

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    As mentioned in our earlier report, Root Film follows people in the movie industry trying to reboot the Shimane Mystery Drama Project TV show that was mysteriously canceled. Except when filming is about to kick off, a murder halts everything. While scouting, director Rintaro Yagumo and his crew realize there has been a murder. People will have to use Intuition to find keywords for investigations and confront people in Max Mode to make breakthroughs. You’ll also be able to use Zapping to see what two characters were going through at once.

     

    Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot game introduction trailer

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    Publisher Bandai Namco and developer CyberConnect2 have released a game introduction trailer for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.

     

    Shenmue 3 PS4 Gameplay - We Can't Believe We're Playing It!

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    At long last, the highly anticipated third installment to the Shenmue series is nearly here! And we were incredibly fortunate to be able to play it. Join Elle and Rosie as they speak to Opal from Koch Media, who guides us through our first experience with the game.

     

    MediEvil on PS4! Exclusive New Gameplay - Scarecrow Fields

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    Want to see more jaw dropping exclusive footage of MediEvil? Join us as Rosie shows Rob how beautifully spooky the Scarecrow Fields looks, whilst trying to not lose her head obtaining the Chalice...

     

    Luigi’s Mansion 3 ‘ScreamPark’ multiplayer modes gameplay

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    Nintendo has released a new, 13-minute gameplay video of Luigi’s Mansion 3 showcasing the game’s “ScreamPark” multiplayer modes.

     

    Terra Invicta, the strategy game from XCOM's Long War modders, gets first trailer

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    Politic on Earth while you explore the solar system.

     

    Every game announced at Riot's jam-packed 10th anniversary livestream

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    A Fighting game, card games, and a tactical FPS? Damn Riot, slow down.

    Why Riot doesn’t want you to pay for card packs in Legends of Runeterra

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    The developer is steering clear of loot box controversy by handling booster packs in a different way to other card games

    The art and inspirations behind Riot’s Legends of Runeterra

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    The studio has really done its research when its comes to the newest CCG on the block

    First look at Riot Games’ fighting game Project L

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    Riot Games has showcased the first footage of “Project L,” the new fighting game currently in development by Radiant Entertainment that it first teased back at EVO 2019.

     

    Fairy Tail game EGX 2019 gameplay

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    Publisher Koei Tecmo and developer Gust debuted 19 minutes of gameplay from its upcoming Fairy Tail turn-based RPG during the PlayStation Access live stream at EGX 2019.

     

    Darksiders Genesis - Official Strife Cinematic Trailer

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    This new cinematic Darksiders Genesis trailer shows a very confident Strife going toe to toe with Hell itself. Darksiders Genesis just announced its Xbox and PS4 release date, which is February 14, 2020.

     

    MLB The Show 20 - Official Announcement Trailer

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    Write your own baseball legacy in an expansive RPG experience, or build and manage your own team when MLB The Show releases on March 17, 2020 on PlayStation 4.

     

    PlanetSide Arena the "stepping stone" to PlanetSide 3

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    It's been a rocky time for Daybreak, which has suffered multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years. The San Diego-based maker of the PlanetSide games as well as zombie battle royale game H1Z1, laid off multiple employees as recently as this month. Before then, Daybreak suffered a round of layoffs in December, and, before that, a round of layoffs in April 2019.

     

    Marvel’s Avengers: Development insights with Crystal Dynamics

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    Get an insider’s perspective into Marvel’s Avengers straight from the game developers themselves! Join Virgin Media and development staff from Crystal Dynamics, including Head of Studio Scot Amos, as they give attendees all the latest news on the game, including panel exclusive content and insights. This is one panel you won’t want to miss!

    Marvel’s Avengers -- Studio Head Talks Character Appearances, Crunch, And Squirrel Girl

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    To better get our head around the conception and direction of the game, we had another chat to Amos, who was all too willing to tell us about a bunch of things: What it’s like working with Marvel, how Crystal Dynamics is imparting its signature on these beloved characters, how the development is split among the five different studios working on the game, what the working culture is like in the studio, and most importantly: whether or not Squirrel Girl is going to make an appearance.

     

    Redefining the rules of adventure writing: How Beyond a Steel Sky is breaking new ground

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    Revolution Software founder and industry legend Charles Cecil will take to the stage to cast light on the 40 years of experience he has amassed writing adventure games, all culminating in the forthcoming launch of Beyond a Steel Sky. Charles will detail the many creative and technical challenges that are part and parcel of writing an adventure set in a unique world, populated by wilful characters driven by advanced AI that's designed to respond to – and be subverted by – the player’s actions.

     

    Yakuza: Like a Dragon details ‘Bonds’ system

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    Sega has shared new information and screenshots of Yakuza: Like a Dragon detailing the game’s Bonds system.

     

    The Outer Worlds - Official Launch Trailer

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    Will you be Halcyon's shining beacon of hope? The character you choose to become will determine how this player-driven story unfolds. Check out the launch trailer for the upcoming sci-fi RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Private Division ahead of the game's release on October 25, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

    'The Outer Worlds' Isn't Revolutionary, It's a Warm Blanket

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    If you're looking for a familiar feeling follow up to 'Fallout: New Vegas,' this is it. If you want something radical and new, though, keep looking.

    The Outer Worlds Will Rattle Your Idea Of A Perfect Planet

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    The very first quest in The Outer Worlds, Obsidian’s highly anticipated first-person RPG out October 25, asked me to make what felt like an impossible choice. On one side was a community of outsiders frustrated by corporate control. Their outpost was something like a worker’s paradise—they were well fed and mostly happy, surviving by relying on each other. I admired their leader, Adelaide, for the passion that she had for her people. On the other side was the corporate-owned town they left, led by Reed Tobson, an idiot that didn’t seem to realize that asking his workers to only eat canned fish (for protein!) led to the population being ravaged by plagues. Despite how much I hated Tobson, he was right that the people working for him suffered because of the workers that had abandoned the town to form their own community.

    The Outer Worlds highlights the RPG genre’s inventory problem

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    “You’ve become very efficient at transporting goods,” The Outer Worlds tells me. “Maybe you should have been born as a cargo hauler.”

     

    Pokemon Sword and Shield is the most detailed Pokemon adventure yet

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    Ever since the announcement that it wouldn’t actually allow you to catch ’em all, Pokemon Sword and Shield has been having a bit of a rough time of it online. But, listen: I’ve finally played a substantial chunk of it, and it’s brilliant.

     

    Doom 64 Port Gets New Trailer, Will Release as Pre-Order Bonus Alongside Doom Eternal

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    A delay for Doom Eternal on Switch also has ramifications for Doom 64 on Nintendo's platform.

     

    Battletech is getting mod support and a mech that’s new to the entire IP

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    Battletech’s third expansion, Heavy Metal, will release alongside its free version 1.8 update on November 21. The update adds official mod support, while the paid expansion adds eight new mechs, including one that’s entirely new to the BattleTech IP and designed from scratch for the videogame.

    What’s next for Battletech after Heavy Metal? “No f***ing clue!”

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    With its third expansion, Heavy Metal, the brilliant turn-based tactics game Battletech will conclude its season pass. Which naturally, given that it’s published by Paradox, raises the question: ‘what’s next?’ I posed this question to game director Mitch Gitelman at PDX Con 2019.

     

    Stellaris: Federations - Expansion Announcement Teaser

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    The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. With the Stellaris: Federations expansion, players can extend their diplomatic dominion over the galaxy like never before. Use every trick in the book to gain an edge on friend and foe alike, with a host of new options to influence, manipulate, and dominate without firing a shot.

     

    Join the resistance in the new Hearts of Iron 4 DLC

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    Surprising probably no one, grand strategy specialist Paradox has announced another expansion for Hearts of Iron IV at its annual jamboree, PDX Con. It’s called La Resistance, it doesn’t yet have a release date, and it’s all about espionage and local resistance movements.

     

    Age of Wonders: Planetfall REVELATIONS - Announcement trailer ESRB

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    Revelations sets in motion the return of the entombed Es’Teq dynasty, whose Heritor descendents aim to use ancient technology and reincarnate billions of followers across the galaxy, establishing divine rule. The Heritor wield strong Entropy weapons that are effective against machines and can awaken ancient Es'Teq minds. Claim ancient secrets or succumb to their power. Prevent their ascent to power or join the uprising in a new campaign with tactical combat and in-depth empire building.

    Why Age of Wonders: Planetfall is moving further toward sandbox campaigns

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    As we established in an earlier story, Age of Wonders is a 4X series now. It’s official. But it wasn’t always so – the Paradox-published strategy series “started off as a war game with empire building,” according to game director Lennart Sas.

     

    Prison Architect New Expansion 2020 Teaser ESRB

     

    My Friend Pedro sells almost 500,000 copies, now has more modes

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    It's even more bananas.

     

    Sunless Skies is getting an upgraded Sovereign Edition

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    Next year, steampunk explore-em-up Sunless Skies will be coming to consoles in an expanded edition that will also be made available on PC as a free upgrade to those who already own it. The Sovereign Edition will include more options for how to deal with a starving crew, among other changes. "As their desperation grows, you’ll be able to try and eat a variety of unwise, unpleasant or tragic things", according to narrative director Chris Gardiner. "By that point, your mascot probably looks quite tasty,” he says.

     

    Blizzard finally suspends US Hearthstone team that staged Hong Kong livestream protest

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    Blizzard has finally suspended the US Hearthstone collegiate team that held up a "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz" sign during a tournament stream, following accusations from the community (and the team itself) that its failure to punish the players was hypocritical.

    Blizzard postpones event in Taiwan amid Hong Kong protests

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    A post to the Taiwanese World of Warcraft Facebook page is flooded with messages of support for Hong Kong

    Blizzard faces an impossible choice, but choose it must

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    The uproar over the banning of a Hong Kong Hearthstone pro threatens the company's values and identity to the core.

    US Congress members 'concerned' over Blizzard's Blitzchung ban

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    United States lawmakers decrying international governmental pressure also feels disingenuous considering their country’s own foreign policy. They have a history of using trade sanctions, election rigging, and coup attempts to influence other countries, and not for the better. According to political science academic Lindsay A. O’Rourke, “after a nation’s government was toppled [by the United States], it was less democratic and more likely to suffer civil war, domestic instability, and mass killing.”

     

    Esports News

     

    Teenage Tetris World Champion Wins The Throne Two Years Running

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    The 2019 Classic Tetris World Championship took place yesterday at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo at the Oregon Convention Center. Viewers got to see a dazzling display of turbo-tapping and t-spins as Joseph Saelee cemented his place among the Tetris greats with a second first-place victory.

     

    A Smash Tournament Brought in Therapy Dogs to Help Players Destress

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    Fighting game tournaments are stressful places. There’s an immense amount of pressure before a set even starts, and a surge of emotion by time it ends. Win or lose, the tension can be overwhelming. What better way to take some of the edge off than giving a warm belly rub to a furry friend like Monroe, a hundred-pound bernedoodle? That’s what Super Smash Bros. tournament The Big House aimed to do earlier this month when — in a first for a major fighting game competition — they partnered with a non-profit to bring in therapy dogs for the event.

     

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

     

    Honks vs. Quacks: A Long Chat With the Developers of 'Untitled Goose Game'

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    The shocking origin behind the game's iconic HONK, and other stories from a studio still trying to understand why Blink-182 likes their game.

     

    What We Talk About When We Talk About Fighting Games

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    Fighting games are usually seen as violent and competitive experiences, often littered with old racial and geographical stereotypes. But look more closely, and you’ll see that this foundational genre of games is about much more than just one on one combat. With their large rosters of characters, fighting games are opportunities to express ourselves and experiment with different styles. They can also be seen as a kind of conversation with another person, mediated through the language of the game. And lastly, fighting games can actually be sensual, even erotic experiences.

     

    Fear, Anxiety and Hope: What It Means to Be a Minority in Gaming

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    The outline of Davionne Gooden’s new computer game may feel familiar: The main character must defeat villains to reach an ultimate goal.

    But woven in are elements that set the game apart. The main character is stuck in a coma, and the villains are nightmares. Players confront issues of anxiety and depression. And, through an all-black cast, Mr. Gooden deliberately features the experiences of people typically absent from mainstream games.

    Minorities In Game Development Still Don't Have The Support They Need

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    The New York Times profiled six minority game developers today on their experiences in the industry. Their anecdotes are both illuminating and depressing.

     

    Even the Mediocre

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    When the topic of game preservation is discussed, our thought too often float towards the cream of the crop – the classics and hidden gems alike. But that’s not all there is to game history. It’s full of half-formed ideas, bold experiments and just plain bad games that nonetheless remain interesting in their failures. Just look at Ninja Warriors, now making a comeback with the modern remake The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, as an example of this phenomenon. Taken as a whole, Saviors proves to be nothing special, and indeed, many of its ideas absolutely don’t work. But the process it took to get there is interesting and noteworthy, and that alone is worth enshrining in the annals of game history, even if it only proves to be a footnote.

     

    How a fansite owner ended up as President of Falcom, one of Japan’s most prestigious RPG houses

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    The adage goes that you should never meet your heroes. That often goes for working for them, too – dream jobs often turn out to be a nightmare. That rule is not firm, however, and in the world of video games there is seldom a better example than Nihon Falcom’s Toshihiro Kondo, a fan site owner who decades later became the company president.

     

    Paring down the elegant control scheme of Sayonara Wild Hearts

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    This time the studio brought a pop album to life, the songs segmented in levels starring a young woman who receives the powers of ancient tarot arcana. She’s tasked to restoring the balance of a magical world, fighting against gangs like the Stereo Lovers in on-rails sections with plenty of quick time events.

     

    Case study: Steam's 'Deal Of The Day' & DLC attach

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    As you may (or may not?) know, Valve/Steam does permit developers to screenshot and release sales numbers and wishlist data using the Steam back end. So this excellent recent Twitter thread by David showcases the power of Steam featuring, and includes real numbers.

     

    For the ESA, the E3 Data Breach Came at the Worst Possible Time

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    Months on, the accidental doxxing of E3 media attendees has lingering repercussions.

     

    Academic research finds no evidence of gaming as a clinical disorder

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    Previous studies failed to examine wider context of young peoples' lives, says professor Andrew Przybylski

     

    All the discussions about the artistic nature of videogames overlook these three crucial aspects

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    All games are seen as valid material for painstaking analysis. No distinction is ever made between big titles that are created solely for the purpose of mass entertainment and independent “art games” that are made primarily for artistic expression, not even to amass modest revenue. Unlike big-budget A-titles, they are usually very simple and small in scope, made by a single creator in a relatively short time. There are great many of them.

     

    Disco Elysium Proves Why It's Sometimes Good to Play to Fail

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    There’s a push and pull that persists in games, the competing ideas of whether games are a toy or a narrative device. Games have objectives and goals and are meant to be won, and stories are meant to be listened to and experienced. These contrasting expectations are a constant source of conflict in games writing: how to write a narrative around a mechanic, control the flow of information, and tell a story that, despite the unpredictable choices of the player, still has some semblance of linearity. It’s because of this dynamic that often as players, we only play to win.

    Disco Elysium puts a full party of NPC companions in your head

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    Every skill is a character, and they all have things to say.

     

    Vietnamese Gamers Are Keeping a 20 Year Old Strategy Game Alive

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    Age of Empires is a franchise dominated by its second installment. The first game is generally considered too dated, III too odd, and Mythology too far removed from the series’ historical context. And the troubled release of 2018’s Age of Empires: Definitive Edition seemed to confirm this hierarchy, with mediocre reviews deeming it mechanically antiquated. While the Definitive Edition struggled to succeed, Age of Empires II continues to receive modern expansion packs, fuel popular streamers and YouTubers, and see regular high-level competitive play, all in preparation for its own hotly-anticipated Definitive Edition. But in Vietnam it’s the original Age of Empires, a game that’s been untouched for 21 years, that remains beloved.

     

    Let’s Compare Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Real-Life Greece

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    Support the channel on Patreon: patreon.com/superbunnyhop

     

    Pac-Man | Design Icons

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    While a nascent games industry was laser focused on emulating the success of Taito’s Space Invaders, one designer tried to make something completely different - and ended up creating our second design icon: Pac-Man.

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

     

    X7 and The Importance of Principles

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    Games Within Games - Emulated Classics, Enhanced Ports, and Bonus Discs / MY LIFE IN GAMING

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    Coury and Try take a look at a bunch of different classic titles such as Quake 2, Ninja Turtles Arcade, Donkey Kong, and more that were included as bonuses within other game releases over the years.

    Support our endeavors on Patreon:http://www.patreon.com/mylifeingaming

     

    Outer Wilds: A Seven-Year Struggle

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    With the release of Outer Wilds on PS4, we talk to the creators about the challenges and hurdles of making a game inspired by Majora's Mask, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more.

     

    The Only Zelda Game Without A Hero

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    Link's Awakening is interesting for a lot of reasons, but one thing that has always fascinated me the most is how Link is not really a hero in it. While he is far from being a villain, his actions end up being more in self-interest than anything else, and it leads to one of the toughest choices in any Zelda game. So, join me as I talk about the only Zelda game without a hero.

     

    Noclip Podcast #11 - Welcome (Back) to Earthquake Country

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    Upon returning to Oakland, Danny checks in with Jeremy on the new studio, upcoming docs on Creative Assembly, ESRB & Ablegamers, and tries not to talk about Death Stranding.

    Become a Patron and get early access to new episodes: https://www.patreon.com/noclip

     

    How to make an RPG like Disco Elysium ~ Rezzed sessions 2019

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    Lead designer/writer Robert Kurvitz and writer Argo Tuulik discuss the best and worst bits of creating an original IP and turning it into a video game with a 5 year development cycle. TL;DR - it's not very easy.

     

    RPS Presents: The making of Observation ~ Rezzed sessions 2019

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    No Code's creative director Jon McKellan joins Rock Paper Shotgun for a dive into the making of this year's critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Observation, showing a behind the scenes look at its origin and development. From initial prototypes and production, through to turbulent story evolution and cinematic title sequences, explore never-before-seen footage and learn how a small team made a big game.

     

    The Rat Brigade: Dissecting a distinctly Failbettery story ~ Rezzed sessions 2019

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    Award-winning narrative games studio Failbetter Games discuss the development of a favourite story from Sunless Skies, in conversation with Alice Bell. Narrative director Chris Gardiner and writer James Chew will talk about the Failbetter pitching and writing process, and how they developed the companion questline for the Rat Brigade from concept to in-game caper.

     

    Storytelling through music in games

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    This deep dive session on composing music for games focuses on the creative process and collaborative experience of composers and game directors bringing their unique stories to life through music. Ivor Novello & BAFTA nominated composer David Housden and Mark Backler, Founder of Sketchbook Games, will discuss creating the music for upcoming adventure game LOST WORDS: BEYOND THE PAGE, along with Rare duo Robin Beanland (Music Director) and Mike Chapman (Design Director) describing their collaboration on the story campaigns in SEA OF THIEVES. Chaired by Janesta Boudreau, music supervisor at Frontier Developments.

     

    Head Cook and Pot Washer - Being an Artist in an Indie Games Company ~ Rezzed sessions 2019

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    Coatsink senior artist Hannah Watts gives insights into working at indie studios and highlights why being a "jack of all trades" isn't necessarily a bad thing. The talk will involve general life advice for being an all-round creative in the games industry, as well as tips on how to broaden your skillset and continue learning.

     

    The Resurgence Of Management Sims | EGX Theatre | EGX 2019

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    Join Ash Tregay & Rich Edwards from Rebellion's Evil Genius 2 team, Ben Huskins & Craig Laycock from Two Point Studios and Denki's Gary Penn as they chart the recent rise in popularity of management games, what's behind that resurgence and the changes in design necessary to appeal to a modern audience.

     

    How To Write A Game Review (Via Game Informer's Reviews Editor)

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    In this excerpt from The Game Informer Show podcast, Ben Hanson talks to Game Informer's reviews editor Joe Juba about how to write a video game review and then answer questions from the community about the reviewing process.


  7. Completed: Outer Wilds
    Platform: PC

    Outer Wilds takes some inspiration from Majora's Mask, the world changes as time goes on and eventually leads to an event that will reset everything. Your goal is to take the 20 minutes you have in each run to explore space and planets to discover the history behind an old race, find the other travelers from your planet, and discover why the universe keeps ending. Inventive worlds and sights hiding a good mystery. Planets hold hidden facilities of past civilizations, ruins are covered or become discover-able as two nearby satellites drop huge amounts of sand through the space between them filling or emptying their terrain, a black hole sits at the center of a moon slowly being destroyed by asteroids and falling in it will take you to the other side of the solar system where absorbed rubble and a small space station await you. Outer Wilds is one of the best adventure games available. One that is not at all for me as I really didn't enjoy it most of the time.

     


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    Game Workers Unite co-founder Emma Kinema's presentation on the state of the industry and reasons behind the effort to unionize it, Reid McCarter researched the Warsaw Uprising to tell how the recently released game Warsaw captured the events brutality and complexity, Keith Stuart speaks with CD Projekt designers about the challenges behind the writing and location designs of The Witcher 3, Like Stories of Old considers the unfulfilled potential of Minecraft by discussing how different your interactions with the environment could be if it was created with different assumptions in mind, Kimberly Koenig covers how a gaming library helped a small neglected neighborhood in Portugal find a new identity, Martin Robinson interviews Hiroshi Kawaguchi to learn tales from inside Sega AM2's top-secret studio, Skeleton on the state of emulation and the importance of having the games be accessible to everyone, 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)

     

    Promising indie games we saw at PAX Australia 2019

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    PAX Australia just hit Melbourne over the weekend, bringing with it a flock of Untitled Goose Cosplayers and long lines for the VR freeplay area, as well as a PAX Rising section devoted to indie games that's bigger than it's ever been before. Indie games have begun spreading out of their dedicated section as well, with the NEXT Exhibit (returning for its second year) highlighting underrepresented creators, and indies popping up in the tabletop and console areas as well. There were too many for us to tell you about all of them, but here are 10 of our favorites.

    The highlight of PAX Aus was Unpacking, which is a game about unpacking

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    Everything in its right place.

     

    Dragon Age Writer Reveals A New Game, And It Is Completely Different

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    BioWare veteran David Gaider, who left the esteemed role-playing game studio in 2016 after almost two decades with the company, has announced his next big project. Gaider has started a new team, Summerfall Studios, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and their first game is probably not what you would expect. The new game is called Chorus. It is part musical, part illustrated adventure game, and part character-driven narrative. Summerfall is looking to fund the game on the crowdfunding/equity platform Fig, with a projected release in Q1 2021.

     

    How dare Disco Elysium tell me I am boring??

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    Disco Elysium is a very dense RPG, where you play an amnesiac alcoholic detective trying to solve a) a murder and B) his identity. As part of the latter quest, the game takes note of your words and actions, and uses them to build an outline of your personality traits. Then it suggests a “copotype” that you roughly adhere to. Until quite recently it suggested I was a “Boring Cop”. I was, as you can imagine, livid at this.

     

    Official fan-made 7th Guest sequel The 13th Doll finally ready for release this Halloween

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    The 13th Doll, developer Attic Door Productions officially licensed follow-up to cult classic spooky CD-ROM adventure The 7th Guest, is, after a rather long delay, finally ready for release, and will be making its way to PC this Halloween.

     

    RAN: Lost Islands Brings Its Multiplayer Warfare Onto Steam In Late 2019

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    Back in March this year, RAN: Lost Islands was announced as an online multiplayer combat game set in the 16th century, and is part of the China Hero Project that has PlayStation providing some funding and technical support for the creation of games in China. However, the game is set to release on PC via Steam first.

     

    Granblue Fantasy Versus Reveals Zeta And Vaseraga As Playable Fighters, Here’s A New Trailer

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    Following the earlier trailer, Arc System Works released another trailer for Granblue Fantasy Versus and this time it revealed two playable characters with Zeta and Vaseraga.

     

    Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia Introduces The Themes Of Four Of Its Six Factions

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    Over the course of the past week, Happinet has been releasing videos introducing four of the six factions you can join and help conquer the world with in Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia.

     

    The Wanderer: Frankeinstein’s Creature shuffles into stores on Halloween

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    Yes, Frankenstein is the doctor, but it’s nice that The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature is a little more neutral than calling his creation a monster. If you’re retelling Mary Shelley’s classic story, it’s probably best to get off on the right foot, instead of insulting your protagonist right out of the gate. And besides, anything that fits into these gorgeous landscapes so well surely can’t be a monster.

     

    Murder By Numbers is Phoenix Wright in leg-warmers from the designer of Hatoful Boyfriend

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    Your boss has been murdered. But he did just fire you, so maybe he had it coming? Unfortunately, that kinda mess puts you in the prime suspect spotlight, and it’s time to clear your name. All sounds rather dark, doesn’t it? But Murder By Numbers has no time for all that doom and gloom. Mediatonic’s next game is a puzzling pop-styled detective novel with some fabulous 90s flair and seriously impressive genre credentials.

     

    The Ninja Saviors: Return Of The Warriors Will Cut Its Way Into North America On October 15, 2019

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    The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is finally on its way to the Americas. On October 15, 2019, the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 remake of The Ninja Warriors will make its debut. It will cost $19.99 for a digital copy. However, a physical release will also be available.

     

    Unity of Command 2 will be out in November, beta signups are open

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    The closed beta is expected to start in a couple of weeks, and will require some serious commitment from testers.

     

    How MediEvil Remake Captures Original's Intended Vision

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    It’s been twenty-one years since the original MediEvil spooked players. Developer Other Ocean Emeryville is hoping to once again ensnare players’ imaginations. But, has the game stood the test of time? We recently talked with Mike Mika, chief creative officer, and Jeff Nachbaur, producer, about their upcoming game. If their passion is any indication, gamers have a treat in store this Halloween. The MediEvil Remake is not content with igniting mere nostalgia. Instead, Developer Other Ocean Emeryville has set out to create the fiendish vision the original was always intended to be, but couldn’t because of hardware limitation. Here are the reasons they might just succeed:

     

    Visiting Game Freak For Pokémon Sword And Shield

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    Game Informer's Ben Hanson and Brian Shea show off their trip to Tokyo to visit Game Freak and learn all about Pokémon Sword And Shield on the Nintendo Switch. They show off new, unaired clips from the rapid-fire interview, a full town in the game, and the creation of a league card.

     

    Divinity: Fallen Heroes development put on hold indefinitely

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    The post explains that after reviewing the development schedule, Larian realised Fallen Heroes would require “far greater development time and resources than are available now”. With Larian busy with Baldur’s Gate 3, and Logic Artists with the next Expeditions game (and a new IP), a decision was made to pause development.

     

    Cotton Reboot Flies Through Classic Cute ‘Em Up Stages With A Spring 2020 Release Window

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    Earlier this week, Beep released a new trailer for Cotton Reboot, which shows off the X68000 classic mode, new Arrange mode, and more. The trailer confirms a Spring 2020 release date.

     

    Yakuza: Like a Dragon Has Kasuga Taking Tests To Improve “Human Power”

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    Sega released more information today on Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s stat system, known as “Human Power”. By leveling up these stats, Kasuga Ichiban will be able to meet different requirements needed to switch job classes

     

    Upcoming Museum Sim Lets Players Combine Artifacts To Tell Cool Stories

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    McBride-Charpentier used the example of a collection of space-related objects that he plans to put in Mondo Museum. Players could combine models of the solar system with artifacts from ancient Egypt to show how Egyptians understood astronomy. There will even be a combo system to reward players that combine different objects across history.

     

    You can fly to your house in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, alpha starting this month

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    Players can soon strap-in and take flight as alpha testing for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 will be open twice between now and the end of November. Sign-ups for the first-round will end next week, with confirmation arriving October 17 before gameplay starts October 24. The dates for the November session are still to be determined.

     

    Lovecraftian horror and Mars exploration game Moons of Madness hits PC October 22

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    Moons of Madness, the Lovecraftian horror and Mars exploration game, has a release date.

     

    Crimsonland devs going zapping again with Tesla Force

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    Shmup shpecialists 10tons have announced a new top-down shoot ’em up, Tesla Force: United Scientists Army. It’s a follow-up to 2018’s Tesla Vs Lovecraft, pitting Tesla, Lovecraft, Curie, and Shelley against yet more spooky hordes in a “rogue-lite” way with procedurally-generated levels. I know, I know, it’s not 2012 anymore, but 10tons know their shmup shtuff. They’re also behind Crimsonland, Jydge, and other zappers that are quite zim-zam. Here, have a peek at Tesla Force in the announcement trailer.

     

    More Dramatic Readings Of Video Game Patch Notes, Please

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    We’ve all been there: Your favorite game drops a big update, and you’re desperate to find out what’s changed. Then you slam face-first into the wall of text that is the patch notes, and your enthusiasm deflates like a punctured whoopee cushion. Reading is a lot of work. What if someone could just read the patch notes for you?

     

    Only Fortnite could pull off a total blackout

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    Usually, when you hear that a game is down, it’s never for a good reason. Maybe the game’s servers are overloaded, or these’s some critical bug that isn’t allowing players to get back into the action. But today, Fortnite went offline on purpose. As of this writing, millions of people are queued up on YouTube and Twitch to watch absolutely nothing happen.

    370,000 people are watching Fortnite do nothing on Twitch

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    Fortnite is offline right now, as Epic build anticipation for whatever’s coming to that battle royale next. Leaks have provided good reason to believe it’ll be called Fortnite Chapter 2, but regardless of what form the game takes as it comes back, the event has been tremendously successful. It’s set massive records on Twitch, and a substantial chunk of those viewers are sticking around even as the game remains unplayable.

     

    The Division 2 brings The Last Castle crashing down in today's story update

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    The Division 2‘s street-fashion soldiers have packed their bags, loaded their rifles, and titled their baseball caps backwards for their most dangerous mission yet. While that elusive second raid might still be a while off, Title Update 6 arrives today, dropping seasoned street cleaners into the heart of The Pentagon for some high tech murder in The Division 2: Episode 2.

     

    Wargroove gets a new story campaign with co-op as free DLC

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    The devs behind the Advance Wars-inspired strategy game Wargroove have been teasing a major free update for the past few weeks, and now we know exactly what shape it’ll take. The Double Trouble DLC is coming soon as a free addition for all existing owners of the game, adding a load of new features including a full new story campaign.

     

    New Paradox Game Steals Halo Artwork, Gets Pulled

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    It’s here we note that while Paradox—as the creators of the Stellaris IP—are publishing Stellaris: Galaxy Command, they’re not developing it inhouse. Instead, that job went to Hong Kong studio Gamebear, whose previous title Nova Empire...looks a lot like Stellaris: Galaxy Command, even down to the main menu icons.

     

    Saints Row 2 for PC is finally being fixed

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    You've needed mods to run it, but Volition is close to sorting that out.

     

    Steam's 'Remote Play Together' will introduce online support for all local multiplayer games

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    It'll work automatically with all relevant games in a forthcoming beta.

     

    Twitch Explains How Another Shooting Got Livestreamed On Its Site

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    Today, an armed gunman in Halle, Germany attacked people outside of a synagogue on Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, killing two and injuring at least two others in the process. He livestreamed his attack on Twitch, during which he referred to himself as “Anon” (likely referencing 4chan or 8chan) and espoused far-right talking points. Now, the livestream platform has released a statement explaining how such an egregious violation slipped through its net.

     

    Twitch Streamer Says She Was Banned For 'Suggestive' Attire After Brigade From Racist Trolls

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    As a busty woman who is quite aware that clothing looks different on my body than it does on women with smaller breasts, situations like these are frustrating. Barring a breast reduction, there’s nothing I can do to make my body look “appropriate” according to these types of standards. It’s not a new issue, either. When I was a teenager, school dress codes and even my parents would prevent me from wearing clothing that I saw my peers wearing all the time, because when I wore it, it was suddenly perceived as obscene. I’m not talking about tube tops or halter tops; I’m talking about button-up shirts, fitted T-shirts, and even some sleeveless shirts that were off-limits to me because they read as more sexual on my body. Even as an adult, I wear almost exclusively men’s T-shirts to deemphasize my bust.

     

    Report: 50 workers laid off at Bendy and the Ink Machine developer Kindly Beast

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    Lending more credence to the reports are some recent Glassdoor reviews (posted on October 12) that lambast studio management and CEO Mike Mood for a lack of direction, "nebulous" company policies, and in the case of Mood specifically, openly abusive behavior.

     

    Another round of layoffs hit Planetside 2 developer Daybreak Studios

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    After several employees of Daybreak Studios took to Twitter to announce the layoffs, Daybreak has confirmed the news.

     

    Blizzard's Hong Kong Missteps Prove Video Games Aren't Neutral

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    Blizzard’s esports leagues have, in the past, tried to appear neutral by laying out policies for players that require them not to say anything that could be construed as controversial. The Hearthstone pro player rulebook stipulates that no player is permitted to do anything that “brings him or her into public disrepute, scandal or ridicule, or shocks or offends the community”. This week’s incident has been a reminder that people who play games do, in fact, have real lives that are impacted by real-world political events. But Blizzard is not alone in quieting down this type of political expression. The company’s decision to suspend Chung and rescind his prize money is the latest in a long line of capitulations made by American corporations that care more about profit than anything else.

    Popular Hearthstone Caster Quits In Protest Of Blizzard’s Hong Kong Punishment

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    Kibler, 39, is a widely-respected Magic: The Gathering player who, in 2010, was inducted into Magic’s Hall of Fame. Over the last couple years, Kibler amassed a 500,000-person following on Twitch streaming Blizzard’s Hearthstone, which he casts in an official capacity for Blizzard.

    A coach in Blizzard's Overwatch League was told to delete a tweet condemning the company for censoring an esports competitor from Hong Kong

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    A coach for a Dallas-based esports team in Activision Blizzard's Overwatch League was reportedly ordered to delete a tweet that criticized Blizzard's punishment of a gamer supporting protesters in Hong Kong, the latest jolt to the league as it tries to navigate a contentious political issue.

    REGARDING LAST WEEKEND’S HEARTHSTONE GRANDMASTERS TOURNAMENT

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    I want to take a few minutes to talk to all of you about the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament this past weekend. On Monday, we made the decision to take action against a player named blitzchung and two shoutcasters after the player shared his views on what’s happening in Hong Kong on our official broadcast channel.

    Blizzard's statement on Blitzchung's ban digs them deeper

    Quote

    Here are some relevant facts on that. Games officially require approval to be published in China, and without that market Blizzard would make less money. Activision Blizzard are profit-focused enough that they laid off 800 people after posting a record year in 2018.

    Hearthstone Streamers Respond In Aftermath Of Controversial Blitzchung Ruling

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    In the days since Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai received a one-year suspension from the Hearthstone esports scene following his support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong in the middle of a stream, the community has become a hotbed for politically charged discussion. The scene’s subreddit—where a large portion of community news is shared and broken—is filled to bursting with pro-blitzchung and anti-Blizzard sentiments. One of the moderators, citing dissatisfaction with Blizzard’s response to the blitzchung incident, has stepped down from his role. Since then, the blitzchung ruling has become the Hearthstone community’s elephant in the room, with silence on the matter becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Now, after a period of soul-searching, responses have begun to flood in from some of the most visible members in the scene.

    Protests Are Coming To BlizzCon In The Wake Of Blizzard's Hong Kong Fiasco

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    Multiple groups are in the process of organizing protests set to take place outside BlizzCon, the annual convention held by game developer Blizzard, in response to its suspension of a Hearthstone player for expressing support for Hong Kong during a live event. Today, digital rights non-profit organization Fight For The Future launched a website and Discord to kick off its organizing efforts, and a “ProtestBlizzCon” subreddit is gaining serious steam as well.

    Suspended Hearthstone Grandmaster Blitzchung responds to Blizzard's statement

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    "First of all," he wrote, "I'm grateful for Blizzard reconsidering their position about my ban. Earlier this week, I told media that I knew I might have penalty or consequence for my act, because I understand that my act could take the conversation away from the purpose of the event. In the future, I will be more careful on that and express my opinions or show my support to Hong Kong on my personal platforms"

    Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Launch Event At The Nintendo World Store In New York City

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    On Wednesday, Blizzard was supposed to be holding a big launch event for the Switch version of Overwatch at the Nintendo World Store in New York City. That event has now been cancelled by Blizzard.

     

    Riot doesn’t want League of Legends broadcasters discussing ‘sensitive topics’ on the air

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    On Friday, Riot Games said that League of Legends broadcasters should “refrain” from discussing “sensitive topics” on the air, following a controversial move from Blizzard to ban a Hearthstone player who voiced support for the Hong Kong protesters over the weekend.

     

    Legendary Japanese Arcade Anata no Warehouse Is Closing

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    Located in Kawasaki, the arcade Anata no Warehouse (“Your Warehouse”) was designed to look like Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. The multistory arcade is one of the most unusual in Japan. Make that, was.

     

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

     

    The Gaming Library That Helped a Neglected Neighborhood Find a New Identity

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    It’s uncertain whether people would venture to a gaming museum in the heart of Marvila, halfway between social housing and hipster hotspots. No one knows if this will address the district’s greater needs or be a stepping stone on the path to gentrification. And if it does pan out, there’s still lots of red tape between Silva and success. To someone else it might be a moonshot, but the librarian’s boundless energy and unshakable faith are what brought them here.

     

    INDIE GAME MAKERS OPEN UP ABOUT THE MONEY THEY ACTUALLY MAKE

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    Paratopic is a game literally about the horror of being poor,” Doc Burford, writer and designer of the IGF-winning title, tells me over the phone. “I was trying to juggle freelance writing while making the game, and I ended up going to the hospital and being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White [syndrome, a heart condition].” Chronic health, piecemeal social welfare, and financial precariousness produced cascading struggles for Burford whose story, if not exactly typical, shows the circumstances people can wind up in when determinedly pursuing what they love: making video games.

     

    Tales from inside Sega AM2's top-secret studio

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    "We've recently introduced a policy of archiving everything," says Kawaguchi as we talk in one of the meeting rooms high up in the new office block - this particular room named and themed after Sega's Saturn. "With the old stuff, though, there were no proper rules."

    And so amidst the chaos of the move, Kawaguchi kept unearthing new surprises. Cassette tapes that captured live recordings of the S.S.T band, Sega's own in-house supergroup; ultra-rare Naomi cartridges; floppy disks that contain back-ups for the SG-1000 games such as Girl's Garden and Champion Soccer where Kawaguchi first cut his teeth. He even rediscovered the handwritten score to the original Space Harrier - a small piece of indispensable video game history.

     

    The writing of The Witcher 3

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    "I actually checked how many times I edited the dialogue in that scene," he recalls during our interview at Spanish sci-fi festival Celsius232. "I think it was over 120. Sometimes these were minor edits, changing one sentence, but sometimes it was rewriting the whole thing. We did a lot of that: writing something, playing it, tweaking it, scrapping everything then re-doing it. It is just inherent to the process. There are so many moving parts when you're working on a video game, it's unavoidable." It turns out, constructing the narrative behind Witcher 3 - one of the most ambitious and enormous open-world games ever made - was not easy.

     

    Indie Developer And Her Boyfriend Talk About Making A Game About Their Relationship

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    Nina Freeman’s calling card as a developer is allowing a player to enter into her life. Some of her games, like Cibele, which is about a relationship that takes place over an MMO, have been semi-autobiographical. Now, Freeman and her real-life partner, Jake Jefferies, have turned their relationship into an intimate video game called We Met In May. Kotaku spoke with both of them about what that process was like.

     

    'BARF!': Designing River City Girls' approachable, challenging brawling

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    To get a better sense of how a project like this comes together, Gamasutra recently corresponded with WayForward's Adam Tierney about the game's design and development.

     

    DON’T GO REMAKING MY HEART

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    Emulation serves to make a point of what the history of videogames looks like. Giant companies that make millions be damned, Emulation allows more than a share of the working poor access to classic videogames. This is a point more important than anything true about archival history. Knowing that these games are safe somewhere is one thing. Everyone having access is much more important.

     

    “Pour Your Heart Into It”: How Indies Bring New Perspectives to Visual Novels

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    Visual novels have seen a meteoric rise in recent years thanks to the efforts of independent studios.

     

    How Hypnospace Outlaw's 1990s internet was made

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    Hypnospace Outlaw is a game about surfing a fictional 1999 internet, a web of GeoCities-like pages made by a community of weirdo artists, rock stars, scammers, edgy teens, pastors, hackers and spiritualists. It’s funny, bizarre, poignant, and sometimes dumb, just like the early internet that it spoofs.

     

    The Tension Of Playing Overwatch During A Blizzard Controversy

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    Yesterday, like I do every day, I wrapped up my workday, closed my Chrome tabs and, without pausing, hit the Windows button on my keyboard. In the search bar, I typed “Over-” and hit enter. My eyes found the big, blue “Play” button on the game launcher. Overwatch’s familiar orchestral music swelled and, in an oblivious four clicks, I was queued up for a game. I won that game, and the next, and it felt good, like it always does, to win.

     

    Games Don’t Cause Violence—But They Might Help Breed the Online Hate That Does

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    Internet toxicity doesn’t begin or end with gaming, but it’s foolish to ignore the connection.

     

    Anomalous Architecture

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    While most of them are the same as what you’ll find in Europe and America, some of the laws and bylaws in Japan are a bit strange. Taxes for example used to be assessed based on frontage, so properties tended to be long and narrow. They became small and square when taxes started being assessed based on surface area. This was about the time when people began to build upwards rather than outwards, too. The system of taxation has created a couple of quirks, but the construction codes have also produced plenty of peculiarities. There’s a code about the maximum amount of sunlight that a building can block. There’s another one about the minimum distance that a structure can stand separated from overhead power lines. There’s even a code that basically bans party walls. These laws and bylaws have all made their mark on Japanese architecture.

     

    The real buildings that inspired Control's Oldest House

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    What follows is a close analysis of several areas of the game, alongside ten real buildings and architects that have in some way been used as reference or influenced Control’s environments.

     

    How Warsaw Captures the Brutality—and Complexity—of the Historical Uprising that Inspired It

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    The game’s basic message—like the chilling effect of Wajda’s Kanał—is, in the end, universal, even as it focuses on the specifics of Warsaw, Poland, in the last months of 1944. It shows the Uprising not as a glorious, bloodless undertaking but as a horrifying event that the world should mark as one of the darkest chapters of our history. Warsaw is the latest contribution to a nation’s ongoing efforts to process its history, delayed for decades and erupting in recent years as an ongoing battle between competing visions for the country’s future. But it’s also a monument to the many struggles Poland has faced, in the 20th century and before, to continue existing at all.

     

    “Making the Right Choices in The Man of Medan,” by Reid McCarter

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    The Man of Medan, first entry in a staggered-release horror game anthology called The Dark Pictures, is, nominally, a game about making tough choices. Created by Supermassive Games, the studio behind 2015’s gleefully camp Until Dawn, it follows in the stilted footsteps of modern adventure games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us by prioritizing contextual decision-making and branching conversations over the genre’s traditional reliance on wandering back and forth across maps solving maddeningly obtuse puzzles. In this style of design, the player may make a decision to have their character be rude or polite to someone and the game, like a grudge-holding friend, will note that choice and remember it later as an influence on future interactions; a dramatic scene may force a split-second choice over which cast member to save from imminent death and continue rolling with one character gone, shifting its dynamics to accommodate and guilting the player for their decision.

     

    Ask Not For Whom The Goose Honks

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    Were I pressed to describe what UGG sets out to do, I would say that it presents an experience with all the catharsis of screaming at an underpaid cashier at Starbucks for half an hour with none of the social consequences. Now, I’m not one to judge either the game or those that enjoy it considering how normalized violence of all forms is in interactive media, however I do believe it’s important to approach it from a critical perspective so that we can engage with it in a way that doesn’t internalize the more problematic elements at play (as is important with any game where socially and morally unacceptable acts are framed as core mechanics).

    I Did Not Expect Untitled Goose Game To Trouble My Conscience

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    It was his last rose. I was waddling around the nice man’s garden in Untitled Goose Game and passed by this meager rose garden, with just one rose pushing above the soil. Maybe he was growing it for his wife. It wasn’t even on my to-do list; I impulsively waddled over, plucked it, shuttled it over to a dirt hill in the far corner and dropped it there. The man panicked. He ran over to grab it and stuffed it back in the dirt.

    Untitled Goose Game and the Inconvenient Natural World

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    Untitled Goose Game, in which you play a mischievous goose causing trouble in an otherwise quiet English village, depicts an entirely different relationship. The village is a small world and much of the fun of the game is poking at its different elements to see how they move together. Place a villager’s object in a store so they have to buy it back. Hide in a box in front of the pub, so a worker mistakenly takes you back to the storage area. The game’s final area is a lovingly recreated miniature version of the village. All this serves to connect each part of the village to each other part. Judging by the game’s ending, the goose is a constant nuisance, almost as integral a part of the village as any of its official members. Though it causes harm, that harm is never permanent. It just a part of the ebb and flow of life in the town. The end credits show each villager blissfully going about their business, temporarily without interruption. Between the villagers and the goose, there is a strange kind of harmony.

     

    ‘The Witcher 3’ and the Unknowable Fear of Woodlands

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    Yet, the woods scared me and still do scare me. There was always a slight uneasiness underneath the bucolic charm of the tree canopy and flowing creek. What has happened here that no one will ever know? Am I really alone out here? Why do I feel like I’m being watched? My mind was always filled with questions such as these, and ever since my days spent in those woods I’ve sought out media that captures the beautiful-yet-uneasy nature of forests and woodlands. The piece of media that emulated this feeling the best, as it turns out, is The Witcher 3.

     

    The Transitory Space of Smoking Shelters in Judgment

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    In Japan, where Judgment is set, smoke shelters, public ashtrays on sidewalks and in train stations, and even vending machines are a common sight. Here in rainy England, smoking shelters are mostly seen in places like hospitals or outside of a few shopping malls. In England, as well as the rest of Europe, Australia and North America, there are mandatory smoking bans in public areas, and even in restaurants and bars. In Japan, this isn’t the case. Of course, consumption of tobacco has dwindled in these past few years, but it’s clear to see how RGG has implemented this, and really? Seeing them in internet cafes, outside batting centers and other various places in Judgment was a nice, if somewhat sad reminder of a time where that smoking shelter was a place of comfort — even if it ultimately ended up being a false one.

     

    The Unfulfilled Potential of Minecraft – Assuming a Different Perspective

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    Support this channel: https://www.patreon.com/LikeStoriesofOld

    Video essay that uses frame analysis to examine the player's relation to Minecraft’s virtual environment, and to explore how the game design would be different if that relation were changed.

     

    Why You Keep Playing Brutally Tough Games | Psych of Play

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    Everyone loves a good challenge, but some folks are willing to go above and beyond their normal level of patience to beat games with extreme levels of difficulty. Celeste, Sekiro, Cuphead among others are games designed to push players to their limits. And when those limits are hit, a choice is presented. Persevere? Or Quit? For those that persevere, something special happens cognitively, and that’s what we’re here to discuss on this episode of Psych of Play.

     

    Harry Brewis, Hbomberguy - XOXO Festival (2019)

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    Since 2014, Harry Brewis aka “Hbomberguy” built a base of over 450k YouTube subscribers with his wry video essays skewering the alt-right, Gamergate, and conspiracy theorists. In January, his Donkey Kong 64 charity stream went viral with cameos by AOC, Chelsea Manning and others, raising over $350,000 for Mermaids, a UK charity supporting gender-diverse and transgender children and young people.

     

    Emma Kinema, Game Workers Unite - XOXO Festival (2019)

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    Inspired by her own experiences in the game industry, game developer turned labor organizer Emma Kinema is co-founder of Game Workers Unite, an international grassroots organization dedicated to unifying game workers in an industry known for endless crunch and mass layoffs.

     

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

     

    Fallout 76 Players Stage Their Own Murder Mystery Night

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    Clue has seen its fair share of reinterpretations over the years. There have been countless licensed versions of the board game and even a film adaptation starring Tim Curry and Madeline Kahn. Something I never expected to see, however, was a version of the game staged inside of Fallout 76. But that’s exactly what I discovered when I stumbled across a fun community stream on Mixer, organized by FalloutFrosty and BeardedIAm.


  9. Completed: Pathologic 2
    Platform: PC

    One of the few survival style games that really forces you into bad positions, that prevents you from doing everything you want, aligning with a game's story where your doctor isn't a savior or representative of a power fantasy but just another player in a town's story. Excellent atmosphere and aesthetic choices with conversation screens, the opening of the game and moments throughout presents the story as a play with the dialogue screen seeming to put the stage light and focus solely on the character you are speaking to. Well written dialogue and translation with an interesting story for the Haruspex character coming home after six years and his struggle between his roots with the native people and recent past pushing him away from those beliefs and discovering his murdered father's role in the town and if and how to succeed him. Makes failure, struggle, and choice meaningful. You won't be able to do everything each day and certain events can be important to the game's completion, only there to give you more details on the town and characters, they might get you useful supplies and items, they might be little more than an interesting distraction, and some side actives might even be harmful to the town or certain characters if completed.

    Combat and stealth is poor, but easily exploitable, which makes it more bearable but also a bit ridiculous that some doctor can fight off multiple people often easily. Also a bit unusual that everyone knows it was you if you kill, autopsy, or loot people but that they like you more if you kill surrendering people as long as they attacked first. It can be hard to get into, but the addition of difficulty sliders that cover a lot of different areas can be used while you learn the game, to make aspects you don't enjoy or that the game doesn't handle well more enjoyable, or you could use it to make certain aspects even more difficult than in the base game. The limited amount of time, resources, and stamina you have can make certain aspects much more annoying than they would otherwise be, things like having to take long detours to reach areas in town because you can't just walk on or jump over small fences, rocks, or knee high boxes. With only one of the three playable characters available at this point (or possibly ever) you don't get the full story of the town and some of the supporting cast barely has a role at all in the Haruspex's story.

    Completed: John Wick Hex
    Platform: PC

    Enjoyable and fitting base mechanics. Dull story but good dialogue and well acted by some of the actors from the films.

    Needs more combat options, early cutscene shows you doing things it would be really nice to do like grabbing a guy with a gun and using his gun to shoot someone else and throwing a guy into another. A mode that makes you act in five seconds is pointless, as there is no reason to take that long and the delay would likely come from menu navigation, finding the write place to click to move, or adjusting the camera. Pistols, the carbine, and the bullpup shotgun are the only good weapons. For some reason you awkwardly continue to fire any machine gun long after a target has died (you stop shooting with other guns) which make the guns more of a hazard to use than anything else, revolvers and regular shotguns take too long to aim. Odd level design choice where enemies keep coming out of spawn point doors or behind you from areas that you have cleared, turning what should be a faster more exciting game where you quickly get through areas engaging multiple enemies into a dull slow paced affair where you keep clearing the enemies behind you or the solo opponents stumbling out of doors. Replays are nice but the camera and hex movement grid make replays look awkward. Too few animations and too many that look unfluid and glitchy. The walk speed and hex movement everyone is in always looks weird. The game is buggy, at one point just showing an end mission cutscene as a black screen and the menu and moving options froze up multiple times forcing me to restart levels that I had almost finished. Too much of a puzzle game where you are just exploiting enemy movement patterns rather than a John Wick game.

     


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    PS5 information, Folding Ideas examines World of Warcraft classic and how RPGs/MMOs have changed over the years, Aron Garst interviews the Smash Community to learn how it became what it is today, Noah Caldwell-Gervais' analysis of the entire God of War series, Game Brain interviews former CoD devs about the making of CoD 4, Blizzard fires casters and rescinds Hong Kong Hearthstone player's prize money for a liberate Hong Kong comment, Jess Morrissette covers a character rarely thought of when it comes to influential milestones for female characters, Cian Maher explores Zelda's ties with Celtic mythology, Stephen Totilo interviews developers to learn why game launches are often such a mess, Leslee Sullivant on harassment faced at Riot and why she decided to stop working in games after trying to work at an indie studio, Ahoy looks into the history of the game's that were at different times considered the first video games, Red Dead 2 coming to PC, Mario and Luigi RPG developer files for bankruptcy, 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)

     

    Exclusive: A Deeper Look at the PlayStation 5

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    Now that the name is official, we've got more details about Sony's next-gen console—from the haptics-packed controller to UI improvements.

    Crossplay is now fully supported on PS4, and that's good for PC

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    In an interview with Wired, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan implied that crossplay and the PS Now streaming service, which just got a big push, would be part of Sony's strategy for the next generation.

     

    101 Rapid-Fire Questions About Pokémon Sword And Shield

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    In this exclusive Game Informer interview Pokémon Sword and Shield's director Shigeru Ohmori and producer Junichi Masuda answer questions about the mainline RPG series' debut on the Nintendo Switch.

     

    My Hero One's Justice 2 - 15 Minutes Of Offscreen Gameplay

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    We get to try out new hero Mirio in My Hero's One Justice 2 as well as some of our favorites including Bakugo, All Might and more.

     

    Disco Elysium's developers are in "a bloody battle" for the human mind

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    When visiting ZA/UM’s studio, I had to take my boots off. This is because their studio, where they are putting the final touches on open world RPG Disco Elysium, is also a flat in a townhouse in Hove, where several of them live. It has nice wooden floors, unbelievably high ceilings, and a big bay window cradling some workstations. There’s also a bookshelf full of many different tabletop RPG rules and expansions, and other tabletop games.

    Disco Elysium devs already have big ideas for a sequel

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    While the fascinating surreal detective RPG, Disco Elysium should come to a tidy conclusion when it launches this month, developer ZA/UM say that should they get the possibility to make a sequel… well, they have some ideas. Chief among these is the option for a pregnant woman as a second protagonist, which sounds potentially wild in a wordy RPG where your inner thoughts and physical body claim a presence far greater than numbers on a character sheet. Our Alice Bee chatted with with ZA/UM about that and more when she recently visited them, and has oh so much to tell us about that soon. For now, have a snippet of sequel chat.

    Disco Elysium lets you be Sherlock in flares

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    Behind this very 70s facial hair hides a keen mind.

     

    Broken Roads is a philosophical CRPG set in a post-disaster Australian outback

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    It's developed by a team of vets from CCP, Riot and Ubisoft, among others.

     

    Ms. Marvel Gets The Team Back Together In The Avengers Video Game

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    Revealed during the Marvel Games panel at New York Comic-Con, Kamala Khan is indeed the voice narrating the original trailer, and she’s much more than that as well. In the latest trailer for the game we see her confronting Bruce Banner and Tony Stark with evidence that could prove the tragic events from the game’s opening were a setup.

     

    Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to PC

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    Rockstar's cowboy adventure out November 5, but the Steam version won't arrive until December.

     

    Austin Wintory Is The Composer Behind John Wick Hex

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    Gamers know composer Austin Wintory for his acclaimed scores to titles like Journey (which was nominated for a Grammy) and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Next week, with the release of John Wick Hex, we'll hear even more of his work.

     

    Rumoured House of the Dead 1 & 2 remakes officially confirmed

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    Sega's classic light gun arcade shooters House of the Dead 1 & 2 are officially getting the remake treatment, although it doesn't look like they'll be releasing for a while.

     

    Resident Evil Project Resistance Closed Beta | GameSpot Live

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    The new Resident Evil co-op game, Project Resistance, has just entered closed beta. Jean-Luc and Ben hop in to see how the game is shaping up.

     

    Paradox’s post-apocalyptic Surviving Mars sequel will launch on the Epic Games store this year

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    Paradox Interactive has just announced the follow-up game to its 2018 Mars-based city builder sim Surviving Mars – Surviving the Aftermath. Details on exactly what this game will bring aren’t due to emerge until PDXCON later this month, but like its predecessor, it’ll be a “post-apocalyptic survival colony builder” – and it’s headed to Early Access later this year.

     

    Doom Eternal delayed to March 2020

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    It comes out the same day as Animal Crossing: New Horizons

     

    Charting the darker periods of history in Humankind

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    Amplitude's Jeff Spock on creating a historical strategy game that doesn't shy away from religion, slavery and colonisation

    "That's really the problem," Spock admits. "The whole idea of diversity and realism, how do you stop a player from being an ogre? And in most strategy games, that's how you build -- by actually exterminating everybody else. Morally, how do you justify that?

    "The nuance is in the hand of the player, I suppose, is maybe a way to look at it. And we want to do a nuanced game. We don't control the way it comes out the other end. Yeah, there's risk that is taken when you do that. You have to put it out there and see how the players react, how the press reacts, how Sega reacts. It's a lot easier if it's science fiction, or if it's fantasy, but now we have to face these questions, and you know, we have to face them like grown-ups. It's sometimes not fun."

    Introducing Humankind, the Sega-backed Civ killer from the Endless Legend devs

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    “The reason we created Amplitude was to make Humankind,” says studio head Romain de Waubert de Genlis. “It was a dream we had, to create a historical 4X game. We knew it was a big task. It’s the Everest of 4X, and you need to learn to climb other mountains first.”

     

    Ultima Online's lead designer is making a sandbox MMO at a new studio

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    Raph Koster teams up with veterans from Disney, Marvel and Sony Online Entertainment.

     

    Afterparty: The First 11 Minutes of This Outdrink-Satan-in-Hell Comedy

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    Check out the opening 11 minutes of Afterparty, the new comedy adventure from Oxenfree developer Night School Studio in which you have to try and outdrink Satan himself in order to try and escape the literal Hell you find yourself in. Afterparty will be released on October 29 for Xbox One (including through Xbox Game Pass), PC, and PlayStation 4. A Nintendo Switch version is also in development.

     

    There's a glimmer of hope in the gray and gloomy adventure game Mosaic

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    Stuck in a crowded yet lifeless metropolis, a lonely character seeks change and color.

     

    Mortal Kombat 11 - Official Terminator T-800 Gameplay Trailer

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    Get a look at Terminator T-800 in action in this gameplay trailer. Available for Early Access on Oct 8th, the iconic killing machine will have the likeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger along with its classic armory.

     

    Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Welcomes Resident Evil's Leon And Claire To The Hunt

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    Monster Hunter World is the gift that just keeps on giving. Yesterday, some details trickled out on what's ahead in the October 10 update, which includes a new volcanic area and the option to invite friends to your room. Today, Capcom upped the ante with a cool trailer to reveal that Leon and Claire, in their Resident Evil 2 form, are joining the hunt.

     

    Battlefield V's Operation Underground brings back Metro massacres

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    Oh god, Operation Metro is back. Battlefield V‘s newest map, Operation Underground hits the WW2 shooter today, bringing back Battlefield 3’s most infamous below-ground bloodbath. Grim-faced veterans will shudder at memories of Paris stalemates. A Sisyphean death march for on the offence, a point-and-click machine gun adventure for defenders. Fortunately, Dice have invested in public infrastructure this time around, and promise a more seamless trip on your commute to carnage.

     

    Frogwares Saves Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments for PC, But Loses Console Listings and Others in Publisher Dispute

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    Following a dispute with its publishing partner Focus Home Interactive, prolific Sherlock Holmes game developer Frogwares has announced that most of its back catalog has been removed from digital storefronts. On PC, the Steam listing for 2014's Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments was transferred from Focus to Frogwares, but the game has been removed from current and previous gen Xbox and PlayStation storefronts.

     

    Mario & Luigi RPG series developer AlphaDream files for bankruptcy

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    The company was first established in May 1991 as the interior and exterior finishing work company Mente Tomo and Ai, before changing its name to AlphaStar Soft in January 2001 (then AlphaDream in July that year) when it began work on video game planning and development.

    A Funeral for AlphaDream (Super Mario RPG, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga)

     

    Court dismisses lawsuit accusing the CEO behind the blockbuster 'Borderlands' video games of lewd behavior and mismanagement of funds

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    A lawsuit accusing Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford of taking an improper $12 million bonus and participating in lewd personal behavior was dismissed by a Dallas County court on October 2. Gearbox is responsible for one of this year's biggest video game releases, "Borderlands 3."

     

    Epic Games faces class action lawsuit in Canada over "Fortnite addiction"

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    Quote

    "Human psychology and manipulation of the human brain has been the epicenter of Fortnite development process that has been specially designed to be highly addictive," reads the filing.

     

    NHS targets gaming addiction with new specialist clinic

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    "Compulsive gaming and social media and internet addiction is a problem that is not going to go away when they play such a key part in modern life," says mental health director

     

    'Unlawful and vicious': union organiser sacked by games company

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    A leading organiser of a new trade union branch set up to represent games sector workers has been sacked by an award-winning UK games company in what his union claims is an attempt to clamp down on the nascent movement.

    Union Busting at Ustwo games

    Quote

    Ustwo's HR department had previously attacked Austin's attempts to hold management to account and generate positive change at the company. In a meeting and subsequent email from October 2018, the HR department criticised the fact Austin spent time on “company feedback, diversity schemes and working practices” and the fact he “puts leadership... on the spot”.

     

    EA data breach could impact 1,600 FIFA 20 players

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    More than 1,600 FIFA 20 players may have been affected by a data breach during sign-ups for the EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series.

     

    Source: Departing ArenaNet President Was Working On Potential Guild Wars Sequel

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    In a heartfelt message on ArenaNet’s webpage this afternoon, its president Mike O’Brien announced that after 19 years, he was leaving the company he co-founded. He noted that he’d been working on a new project at ArenaNet, but was now going to start a new studio with some friends.

     

    John Kirby, Former Nintendo Lawyer And Kirby's Namesake, Dies At 79

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    This week, the man after whom Nintendo’s iconic pink blob Kirby was named passed away. John Kirby, who died on October 2 from a form of blood cancer, represented Nintendo in the company’s 1984 case about whether Donkey Kong violated Universal Studios’ copyright for King Kong. John Kirby helped Nintendo win that case, which is why Donkey Kong has kept its name and plot throughout its lifetime as a beloved Nintendo franchise. It’s also why Kirby was the name of a hero with a beloved franchise of his own.

     

    Esports News

     

    The Smash Bros. community: An oral history

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    An inside look at the formation of a persevering grassroots fighting game community

     

    Teen Dominates Smash Tournament Using 6 Different Fighters

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    Seventeen-year-old Smash Ultimate prodigy Sota “Zackray” Okada clutched out his first No. 1 placement at a U.S. Smash tournament using—count ’em—six separate Smash fighters.

     

    Hong Kong player Blitzchung calls for liberation of his country in post-game interview

    Quote

    An unexpected turn of events during the last weekend of Hearthstone Grandmasters' regular season. After finishing his match, Hong Kong player Ng "blitzchung" Wai Chung appeared on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream for his post-game interview wearing a gas mask. After lifting the mouthpiece, Blitzchung shouted, in Chinese: "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!"

    Blitzchung removed from Hearthstone Grandmasters for 'liberate Hong Kong' comments

    Quote

    Blizzard has ruled that Hearthstone pro Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai will been removed from Hearthstone Grandmasters, following the player's call for Hong Kong's freedom during a post-match interview. Additionally, Blizzard has stated that it will no longer work with the two casters who appeared in the now deleted broadcast.

    Quote

    The company's communities are in chaos and US senators are taking notice, following the suspension of a pro 'Hearthstone' player who declared support for Hong Kong's protest movement.

     

    Blizzard is in an Even Bigger Mess Than the NBA on China, and It Has No One to Blame But Itself

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    Blizzard's handling of the Hearthstone controversy is an international mess of its own making.

     

    Looking back on the Shock’s legendary run through the Overwatch League

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    Quote

    The San Francisco Shock got to the grand finals in Philadelphia through a mixture of resilient fighting spirit and consistent success. But it’s impossible to sum up their 4-0 victory against the Vancouver Titans with just highlights and a match score. That victory against their long-time rivals was just a bookend to cap off a much longer story. The process of rebuilding their roster was anything but simple and clean.

     

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

     

    EVERSPACE 2

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    An open-world space shooter with deep exploration, sophisticated RPG elements and an engaging sci-fi story; the sequel to EVERSPACE.

     

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

     

    “You seem suspiciously clever for a blonde.” Why I left my jobs in gaming

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    Let me preface everything by providing a few critical facts: In August of 2018, Kotaku, an online publication that focuses on the games industry, published a story about the culture of harassment at Riot Games. Colleagues braver than I put their names out there for the world to see, and the article bore their personal experiences. In the aftermath of the piece, more former Rioters publicly discussed sexism at the company, some sued, and current Rioters walked out in protest of the company’s forced-arbitration policy. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is also suing the company for refusing to hand over salary data about alleged pay disparities between men and women.

    All of which explains why, when I tell people I worked at Riot Games, they go, “Oh, wow.” When I tell them I worked there for six years, they tend to use words like “yikes” and “Jesus.”

     

    Jam Sesh: How a Popular Online Contest Sparks Design Innovation

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    The GMTK Game Jam has grown so big it actually took down itch.io.

     

    Playing Your Song: The Evolution of Dynamic Music in Games

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    For more than 25 years, developers and composers have been pushing tech forward to unify gameplay and soundtrack.

     

    Why Online Game Launches Are Often A Mess

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    Just after 4 pm ET on Tuesday, Destiny 2 players began to see a warning message. A red line stretched across the bottom of their screens, and the text below it stated: “Attention: contacting Destiny 2 servers.” Minutes later, huge numbers of players got booted from the massively-multiplayer online sci-fi shooter.

     

    Dontnod: "If we didn't talk about politics, that would be a political message"

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    Quote

    "I don't want to spend three years of my life working on a project without trying to talk about subjects that are important to me," he tells me in an interview at PAX West. "I'm really happy our publisher allows us to talk about tough subjects. We could be afraid of representation or talking about those heavy subjects and important themes because the choices we make when talking about these subjects can be divisive. It shouldn't be, but it is."

     

    Crafting In Games Feels Less Like A Chore Now

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    Quote

    For many players, video games are a chance to escape from work. You hop into a game, sliding into a fantasy role as a dragon slayer or superhero, setting aside the mundanities of day-to-day labor.But as I hop from monster hunting to military sneaking missions, I’ve found that my personal play time is filling up with different kinds of work. I love difficult boss fights and intense combat, but I relish the chance to roll up my sleeves and create something. Crafting systems, something I’ve largely ignored, have piqued my curiosity in massive multiplayer games like Final Fantasy XIV, and I’m spending hours gathering materials and making potions and gear.

     

    The story behind Liberty Island, Deus Ex's most iconic level

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    Since its release in the summer of 1999, Deus Ex has become one of the most beloved games on PC. Set in a bleak cyberpunk future, Ion Storm’s ambitious first-person RPG, which was directed by Warren Spector, features deep systems, sprawling levels, emergent play, and a thrilling, conspiracy-laden plot. But one afternoon in Austin, Texas, where the game was developed, designer Harvey Smith and other members of the team were convinced that the game they’d been working on for years was destined for failure.

     

    Report: Steam's 30% Cut Is Actually the Industry Standard

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    Quote

    We reached out to nearly half a dozen sources within the games industry (as well as the game retailers directly) in order to get the actual numbers on what cuts most major retailers take. While many of these sources prefer to remain anonymous, they paint a picture that could be surprising to some players, one where Valve’s now infamous 30% cut isn’t actually out of the norm. In fact, it's pretty much the industry standard.

     

    The Legend of Zelda is teeming with Celtic mythology

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    And Epona's the key to all of it.

     

    THE POLITICS OF PASSIONATE PATTI

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    Quote

    Passionate Patti disappeared from the Leisure Suit Larry series following her co-starring role in LSL5. Later installments saw Larry Laffer and, eventually, his nephew Larry Lovage resume their quests to “score babes” without a playable female counterpart. Nevertheless, when she debuted in 1989, there was literally no other character like Patti in mainstream video games, and I’m hard-pressed to think of many others like her in 2019.

     

    Betrayal at Krondor

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    Quote

    During the 1960s and 1970s, a new type of game began to appear in increasing numbers on American tabletops: the experiential game. These differed from the purely abstract board and card games of yore in that they purported to simulate a virtual world of sorts which lived behind their surface systems. The paradigm shift this entailed was such that for many players these games ceased to be games at all in the zero-sum sense. When a group came together to play Squad Leader or Dungeons & Dragons, there hung over the plebeian kitchen or basement in which they played a shared vision of the beaches of Normandy or the dungeons of Greyhawk. The games became vehicles for exploring the vagaries of history or the limits of the imagination — vehicles, in other words, for living out shared stories.

     

    Realms of the Haunting

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    Let’s start with something home-grown for spooky month, a game from the same UK studio that brought us Amiga classics like Switchblade, Lotus Turbo Challenge 2, the basically perfect K240 (fight me), as well as the nineties mascot bandwagonner [shudder] Zool. The point of time we’re looking at today is either very late in 1996 or very early in 1997 depending on where you get your dates from: Resident Evil is not even a year old, an entirely new concept for most people, and really, really, good.

     

    A Thorough Look At God of War [Spoilers]

    Quote

    This is a video retrospective and critique of the seven major God of War games for Playstations 2-4. It looks at what made them so remarkable at the time, how much of that feeling still comes through, and how the 2018 reboot fits in with their legacy. TOTAL SPOILERS THROUGHOUT.

    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/noahcaldwellg...

     

    Clockwork Games and Time Loops | Game Maker's Toolkit

    Quote

    There’s a handful of games where time is taken very seriously. In this video, I look at the design, challenges, and opportunities of what we might call “clockwork games”.

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

     

    World of Warcraft Classic And What We Left Behind

    Quote

    I'm really excited to see where Classic goes down the road. The predictable outcome is that Classic rolls into Burning Crusade and Wrath with essentially the chaos of legacy servers that we see in EverQuest and many of the other surviving MMOs, but there's the tantalizing, though slim, possibility of an alternate development path, where Classic becomes a second attempt at history, basically WoW 2, but starting from where things were 13 years ago. I wouldn't even entirely mind if some of the hazier, less balanced sensibilities of Classic cropped back up in the future, if the pace of the game slowed a bit without necessarily just making things bad and inconvenient to get there.

    Written and performed by Dan Olson
    Crowdfunding: https://www.patreon.com/foldablehuman

     

    Making Mortal Monday | Retrohistories

    Quote

    Retrohistories is funded by generous supporters on Patreon. Rewards include names/avatars in the credits and behind-the-scenes updates. If you enjoyed this video and are interested in helping me tell more stories, go to https://www.patreon.com/retrohistories to learn more!

     

    Orion Burger (1996) | Forgotten Gems

    Quote

    To support my channel, consider joining my Patreon! http://ragnarrox.com/patreon/

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

    Today, we're talking about Orion Burger (1996) - one of two adventure games released by the Canadian developer Sanctuary Woods, before they closed doors due to disappointing sales figures. Orion Burger is a love letter to classic cartoon shows and witty and cynical science fiction alla Douglas Adams, realized as a point and click adventure that doesn't need to hide from its contemporary Broken Swords and Day of the Tentacles.

     

    SQUASH & STRETCH - The 12 Principles of Animation in Games

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    Let's talk about the 12 Principles of Animation and how they apply to games! What is Squash & Stretch, and how are different games using it to make their animation look and feel better?

    Support New Frame Plus on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/newframeplus

     

    The First Video Game

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    Video game explosions are actually a lie

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    Pat dives deep into the world of particle effects, examining how they're used to create elaborate illusions and help tell stories.

     

    Chernobyl Sniper: The Making of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s ‘All Ghillied Up’

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    I spent time with ex-Infinity Ward developers to discuss their work on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s signature level; All Ghillied Up.

    We spoke at length about the level’s stressful and unconventional development, key inspirations and immediate influence on the video game industry.

    The developers also wanted to acknowledge that designer Preston Glenn handled the geo for the level, and also had a significant role in All Ghillied Up's creation.

     

    Resident Evil 4 and the Real American Hero - Games, Etc.

    Quote

    Resident Evil 4's story has a little more going beyond the surface, so I'mma talk about that.

    My Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ZacFrazier

     

    How Celeste Takes a Little and Gets a Lot

    Quote

    Listening to the tune 'Resurrections' from Celeste, I was struck by the economy of ideas at play. Each part added to the music over the 9 minute runtime was somehow related to a previous idea connected to a following idea as well, like the music was a giant puzzle made of perfectly interlocking pieces. After analyzing the piece I boiled it down to 3 broad compositional ideas that informed each individual part throughout the tune, and that's what I'm gonna discuss in this video. Hope you like it!

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


  11. I don't know why you made such a weird reactionary style title that isn't at all related to this, so I edited that to be related to your thread.

    I don't where this guy is getting that calling people or having his email is illegal, and would have no idea how he personally or his family shares or doesn't share that information so this is a really strange thing to be bringing up like that. If he's modding an emulated title to be used on a platform it isn't intended for and likely after being downloaded illegally (and the project itself likely leading to more downloads) they probably are more than justified in taking it down. Other companies have taken down translation projects before.

     

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    Yeah, I'm sure they know what they talking about. Nintendo might not stop the emulators but they have shut down multiple sites and are attempting to sue Rom and modification site owners for millions.


  12. S9BDiel.png

     

    Supergiant's 10th Anniversary Orchestral Show, previews of The Last of Us 2, Cameron Kunzelman responds to the criticism of Control's gun detailing what they find interesting about what the game says about violence, Razbuten's informal experiment to see how people learn the language of games by having someone who never plays them try nine different titles, Jacob Geller discusses potential effects of being in a real or virtual space designed with violence in mind, Seva Kritskiy on why most games will continue to disappear despite preservation efforts and rejecting profit and immortality as motivation for preservation, HeavyEyed's Ethics of Buying games series covers the impact buying games has on different aspects of life, Jennifer Scheurle looks at Death Stranding to discuss how designers and players talk about the subject of difficulty in different ways, The Game Overanalyser examines how games can explore morality and guilt through their mechanics and systems, 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)

     

    The Last of Us Part II - Inside the Demo | PS4

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    Go behind-the-scenes of the three-hours of gameplay from The Last of Us Part II revealed to media, featuring new story details and game footage from the team at Naughty Dog.

    Three Hours With The Last Of Us Part II

    Quote

    I emerged from my three-hour The Last of Us Part II demo session tense and anxious, a coiled fire hose of pent-up adrenaline. I’d just piloted a now-19-year-old Ellie through peril after peril, amassing a grisly body count along the way. Few of those kills were clean. Many were desperate knife flurries, death by a thousand sinew-snapping stabs and cuts. Human enemies mourned their fallen comrades, bellowing their names at me with bestial fury while charging to the same pointy end. And yet, after I finished the demo, I walked into a nearby bathroom, stared into a mirror, and asked myself “Did it work? Do I care?”

    The Last of Us: Part 2 hands-on – virtual murder never felt so bad

    Quote

    Video games don’t often attempt to evoke unpleasant emotions outside of fear, and even then it’s mostly surface fear – jump scares over psychological ones. Most video game characters are free to lose their temper, to inflict violence on another person, without any consequences or emotion attached or alluded to. Clear the level. Move on to the next wave of nameless NPCs.

    The Last Of Us Part II Will Not Include A Multiplayer Mode

    Quote

    Developers Naughty Dog announced the news with a short statement yesterday, while suggesting that whatever had been cooking for the game’s multiplayer will be released at a later date, just “not as part of The Last Of Us Part II”.

    The Last of Us 2 is "a story about the cycle of violence", says co-writer Halley Gross

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    Naughty Dog writer Halley Gross talks trauma, love, and dog murder

     

    Help Will Come Tomorrow is a story-driven survival game set in pre-revolution Russia

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    The survivors of a Trans-Siberian railway crash must overcome their prejudices in order to stay alive.

     

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — “Cal’s Mission” Trailer

    Quote

    In the Galactic Empire, the Inquisitorius has only one mission: seek out and destroy all remnants of the Jedi Order. Learn more about what Cal Kestis is searching the galaxy for and why the Empire will stop at nothing to bring him down.

     

    Shenmue 3's Demo Is 1999 In A Bottle

    Quote

    Those who backed Shenmue III on Kickstarter, including me, finally got a taste of the upcoming adventure game this week with a “trial version.” While it’s limited, it definitely feels like old-school Shenmue: Stiff and stilted, but charming and detailed.

    Shenmue 3 does not disappoint

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    Stately, strange and dripping with old-school Sega style - Yu Suzuki is back.

     

    Heavy metal platformer Valfaris gets October release date

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    Valfaris, the heavy metal action-platformer in space that was shown off at this year's PC Gaming Show, has been stamped with a October 10 release date.

     

    Check out a full 10-minute match of Project Resistance

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    Project Resistance was revealed by Capcom earlier this month, and the gaming world remains a little divided over it – or ambivalent, at worst. On one hand, it’s a brand new Resident Evil game using the RE2 remake’s game engine, and an interesting concept to boot. On the other hand, it’s a Resident Evil multiplayer game, and those don’t tend to go that well.

     

    Thrones of Britannia was “a valuable lesson” for A Total War Saga: Troy

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    After a cheeky leak or two, A Total War Saga: Troy was officially revealed last week. It was first shown to press at Gamescom, and boy was it tough not to yell about how pretty it looks during the intervening month. When the time came I did basically that in an article, where you can read more about the demo I watched and the headline features of a Total War Saga: Troy.

     

    Willing to Risk Anything: How Streets of Rage 4 Aims to Revive a Beloved Franchise

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    Dotemu is modernizing what some have called a dead genre.

     

    Indivisible - Combat & Character Trailer

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    Use your abilities to explore the world of Loka and recruit over 20 characters to your team, each with their own unique attacks and abilities!

     

    System Shock 3 Has A Clear Vision: Playstyle Matters

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    Warren Spector knows where System Shock has been and where it needs to go.

     

    Rebel Inc: Escalation expands into Early Access in October

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    Simulating all the messy stuff that happens once the war is 'over'.

     

    Build your own Hogwarts-style magic school in this charming management sim

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    Spellcaster University, now in Early Access, lets you expose your students to magical learning and incredible danger.

     

    Ghost Recon Breakpoint: 10 Survival Tips from Beta Players

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    Ghost Recon Breakpoint's Beta gave players their first taste of Auroa's hostile wilderness - here are their best survival tips. Sponsored by Ubisoft.

    Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s open beta has players frustrated but hopeful

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    Players who have tried out the Ghost Recon Breakpoint open beta that’s running until tomorrow morning have shared their reactions on various social media outlets and forums, and they seem fairly split over this new entry in the Ghost Recon series. Some are frustrated by bugs and new design choices, while others have enjoyed their time on the fictional archipelago of Auroa.

    Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Open Beta Highlights a Battle Pass and Other Microtransactions

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    You knew Breakpoint was getting microtransactions, and this is how they're implemented.

    Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Microtransactions Explained

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    Ghost Recon Breakpoint is in early access before its full launch on Friday. It offers a somewhat generic but capable military shooter to hardcore fans. Looming over everything has been the specter of microtransactions. The game offers lots of them. So far, we’ve seen that you can easily ignore them.

     

    Pokémon Sword And Shield Have Mechanics To Let You Use Your Favorite Pokémon Competitively

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    The latest entries in the Pokémon series are making several tweaks to the franchise's long-running conventions. From introducing autosave to getting rid of the Exp. Share item in favor of an automatic solution, Sword and Shield change several things about the standard play of a Pokémon game. While Game Freak was open about a lot of the behind-the-scenes information surrounding the development of Pokémon Sword and Shield, the team was a bit cagier about a new battle mechanic it could only tease.

    Exp. Share Is Baked Into Pokémon Sword And Shield

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    During our trip to Game Freak for this month's cover story, we learned a ton of tidbits about Pokémon Sword and Shield and what went into making it. One of the smaller, yet interesting pieces of info we learned involves Exp. Share, an item that splits the experience earned in battle to all Pokémon in the player's party.

    Sword And Shield's Max Raid Battles Could Be Among Pokémon's Most Challenging Encounters

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    Pokémon Sword and Shield are introducing myriad new mechanics to the series. One of the biggest new additions is the ability for Pokémon to grow to massive proportions. While this is most prominently on display in battles through the Dynamax and Gigantamax mechanics, players can also challenge powerful giant Pokémon in cooperative Max Raid Battles. We spoke with the developers to learn more about these encounters.

     

    Intriguing indie RPG Death Trash hits Steam Early Access next year

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    I've been following the progress of Death Thrash ever since I came across its post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world early last year: it promises gore, profanity, disgusting monsters, the ability to puke on demand and multiple-choice dialogue, all within a detailed pixel art world. This week, after more than four years of development, it finally has a release window, albeit for Steam Early Access, where it will arrive early next year.

     

    TGS Encounters - Yoshiro Kimura Interview, moon phases

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    Taking a turn in the indies hall of Tokyo Game Show, we found Yoshiro Kimura, who told us the tale of moon - a poetic antithesis of the RPG genre, soon to be launched on Switch, more than 20 years after its original release and for the first time in English.

     

    Encased: A Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic RPG could be the modern Fallout we need

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    The shadow of Fallout and Fallouter still looms over RPGs despite a decade of Bethesda’s mega-blockbuster 3D sequels. Similarly, Stalker continues to inspire a remake or mod or attempted successor every other month, and it’s at the conference of these two phenomena that you’ll find Encased: A Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic RPG, which entered early access last week.

     

    Respawn Is Reviving Medal Of Honor… As An Oculus VR Exclusive

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    The team at Respawn Entertainment (Apex Legends, Titanfall, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order) introduces you to Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, their new World War II-set VR first-person shooter.

     

    Villains, lawmen, businesses, photography, and heists – the future of Red Dead Online, a Rockstar interview

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    For myself and many others, much of the enjoyment comes from simply existing in this vibrant, expansive world. To find any excuse to live there. With the Frontier Update adding three new roles – Trader, Bounty Hunter, and Collector – Rockstar provided all the excuse we needed to meander across the dusty plains, verdant fields, and the snow-capped mountains of the Old West once more.

     

    Guilty Gear’s new trailer shows off May, and confirms Axl Low as a playable fighter

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    The recently announced Guilty Gear for 2020 has established a trailer pattern. The first trailer showed Sol Badguy going up against Ky Kiske, and then the trailer for Ky told us that May was coming, and that we’d get a trailer for her shortly. Now, today, we have the May trailer, as well as a reveal of the next character and when we’ll get to see them in action.

     

    Apex Legends Season 3 map World’s Edge takes you to a new planet

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    World’s Edge is a new map coming with Apex Legends Season 3.

     

    Half-Life 2's downtrodden NPCs have been unable to blink for five years, until now

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    Oof, imagine not blinking for half a decade. My eyes shiver at the thought. But this is what the NPCs of Half-Life 2 have been suffering. The dry eye epidemic was first reported to Valve’s GitHub repo back in 2014 and since then it turns out only a select few have felt the joy of smashing their eyelids shut. But after almost five long years, City 17’s tortured citizens can finally blink again, thanks to a small official update.

     

    Frogwares claims Focus Home Interactive is delisting its games without approval

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    Frogwares, creators of The Sinking City and myriad Sherlock Holmes adventure games, is having some trouble with one of its former publishers, Focus Home Interactive. A license agreement between the pair has ended, and it looks like that means several of the studio's games will be removed from Steam and other stores, against Frogwares wishes.

     

    Twitch Is Making Ads Less Annoying

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    Twitch, like so many other platforms on the “free” internet, runs on ads. These ads are annoying as hell. They also represent a raw deal for the majority of streamers. Soon, however, both those things are going to change.

     

    The Epic Games store has some new features and slimmer patch sizes

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    Epic may have pulled the dates off its Trello development board for its digital storefront, but that doesn’t mean the company has stopped pushing forward. The Epic Games Store has a few new features, which are highlighted in a recent update.

     

    Judge: Streamer who didn’t read contract can sue Twitch for over $50K

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    James “Phantoml0rd” Varga, the controversial streamer involved in an elaborate Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling scandal, has prevailed in his initial court case against Twitch. After being banned from the platform since 2016, a judge in San Francisco now says he’s free to sue for damages in excess of the $50,000 allowed by his contract. His lawyer says this could pave the way for similar suits from other banned streamers.

     

    Joy-Con drift lawsuit adds Switch Lite to class-action complaint

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    Players alleging defects after 20 hours of use

     

    Breaking: PlayStation Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden is ‘departing’

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    “It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE. His visionary leadership will be greatly missed. We wish him success in future endeavors and are deeply grateful for his years of service. Thanks for everything, Shawn!”

     

    Duke Nukem 3D composer sues Randy Pitchford, Gearbox and Valve

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    Bobby Prince claims his music was used in Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour without permission.

     

    Nvidia's RTX Broadcast Engine boasts AI accelerated streaming and improved quality

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    This weekend at TwitchCon, Nvidia is showing off its next generation streaming enhancements, dubbed the RTX Broadcast Engine. It turns out those GeForce RTX graphics cards aren't just about ray tracing in games. Leveraging the Tensor cores on the RTX series Turing GPUs, Nvidia is able to provide real-time effects like virtual greenscreen, AR avatars, and style transfer filters. And thanks to the improvements in NVENC (Nvidia's hardware accelerated video encoding engine), you can also get improved stream quality without tanking framerates—all running from a single PC without a bunch of extra dedicated hardware.

     

    The GoldenEye N64 fan remake is coming along nicely

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    GoldenEye 25, so named because it's due out in time for the 25th anniversary of Rare's seminal first-person shooter in August 2022, is the work of 3D artist Ben Colclough, and he released the video, below, on his YouTube channel.

     

    Esports News

     

    How France Became Competitive Soulcalibur's Global Superpower

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    The right game, at the right time, in the hands of the right people.

     

    The Shock and esports triumphed at the Overwatch League 2019 final

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    The San Francisco Shock are the Overwatch League 2019 champions. Dominating all four rounds, the predictions from fans and professionals alike came true, with an astonishingly strong display from the Californian team.

     

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

     

    Kickstarter’s Year of Turmoil

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    How a Nazi-punching satire led to the first union drive at a well-known tech company—and, workers say, the firing of two organizers in eight days.

     

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

     

    KENTUCKY ROUTE ZERO

    Quote

    When Kentucky Route Zero, the episodic magical realist point-and-click adventure from Cardboard Computer (Jake Elliott, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt), first reached players in 2013, critics were struck by its intricate narrative, distinct visuals, labyrinthine cultural references, and haunting sound design. Its follow-up chapters have wandered even further afield with their explorations of design and form.

    Though its fifth and final episode has yet to see release, the volume of writing it’s inspired to date is considerable. This compilation attempts to structure notable highlights of that ample literature into four thematic threads.

     

    Game preservation and the quest for immortality

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    I still feel it in my bones when I read that 99% of 1980s Japanese PC games are lost, there is no question about that. But at the same time, I feel like we should accept that it is OK. As players, we should reconcile with our nostalgia, cherish our memories but understand that trying to re-live them is futile. Preservation efforts, in my view, should be informed by this counter-intuitive philosophy, accepting that games, art, things, people – disappear, are forgotten, every day.

    This re-alignment does not mean that efforts to continue finding and preserving video games of the past should cease. Rather, the focus of these efforts should expand to include celebration, interpretation and political action, all driven by an anti-capitalist ethos, an ethos that rejects both profit and immortality as motivators.

     

    Difficulty is about trust and communication, not ‘hard’ vs. ‘easy’

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    Game designers don’t actually talk that much about difficulty; we talk about things like progression systems and mental load. None of these things are strictly questions of “difficult” versus “easy” — they’re more about how we guide players to greater competency, and what that journey should be like, ideally.

     

    I want to play your game but I can't: Overland and its journey with dyslexia

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    "The way our brains process letters shouldn't be what we are failing at."

     

    How a joke about the milkman inspired Psychonauts' best level

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    Tim Schafer and developers at Double Fine walk us through the mind-bending Milkman Conspiracy.

     

    Supergiant's Greg Kasavin on Hades' Development and Why Epic Games Store Was the "Obvious Choice"

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    Supergiant's new approach to Hades' development has paid off.

     

    Video Game Preservationist Finds Rare Prototype N64 Controller and the Joystick That Should Have Been

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    Before the public even gets a glimpse at a new console, it’s made available to developers in prototype form so they can have new games ready for its launch. Thanks to strict NDAs and contracts those prototypes are rarely revealed, but Shane Battye, a retro gaming preservationist, managed to get his hands on an early N64 controller prototype, revealing what could have been.

     

    Designing the varied control schemes of multi-animal wonder Lost Ember

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    What's it like to run through a field of tall grass as a wolf? To burrow through soft dirt as a wombat or float through the air like a jittery hummingbird? Animals are often a small element in video games, set up as sidekicks, low-level enemies, and ambient NPCs. Rarely do we get to take steps as one of Earth's other species for the majority of a virtual adventure.

     

    Having a Guinness with Troy Baker and Nolan North

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    I’ve just returned from playing the excellent The Last of Us: Part 2 in Los Angeles and I’m now in Central London meeting two of the first game’s stars. If only I can spirit them away from their adoring fans.

    “They wouldn’t go union” – Troy Baker on why Gearbox didn’t use him for Rhys in Borderlands 3

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    Back in April, Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford claimed that actor Troy Baker had chosen not to reprise the role of Rhys in Borderlands 3. The actor previously played the character in Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands.

     

    Creative leadership: The pitch (Part 1 of 3)

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    I’ve been Captain of Kitfox for almost 6 years now, and with each project I direct (Shattered Planet to Moon Hunters to Boyfriend Dungeon), I’ve learned more about both creative direction and leadership.

     

    HOW GAMES LIKE MINECRAFT AND NO MAN’S SKY HELP PLAYERS CONNECT TO THEIR WORLDS

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    “There’s a quote from another YouTuber, CobraTV, that has always stuck with me, and sums up the community aspect perfectly: ‘we are a constellation,’” he explains. “The feeling of connection fills a void for many of us.”

     

    Gone for Good: The Phantom Pain of Peace in Metal Gear Solid V

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    “You’re your own man. I’m Big Boss, and you are too. No… he’s the two of us. Together. Where we are today? We built it. This story—this ‘legend’—it’s ours,” the real Big Boss says on the tape, in a moment that clearly doubles as a message from Hideo Kojima to the player. He is both praising the player’s commitment to his 30-year narrative while also asking them to take a harder look at the things it has asked them to do.

     

    “The Banality of Control,” by Cameron Kunzelman

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    There is a running criticism of Control that I’ve seen consistently articulated since the game’s release a few weeks ago. People are lauding its narrative and conceptual content as forward-thinking and interesting while openly mourning that it is, at its core, a third-person shooter. You have a gun, you aim it, and you shoot at things. This is another node in a daisy chain in the critique of violence in games, which is a debate that I have had, and continue to have, my own interest in. This piece isn’t a defense of Control as a shooter, but instead a kind of unraveling rationale, a statement of a coherent logic that this game has that is mostly lacking in the vast majority of games that have you aiming for heads down sights.

     

    How Greedfall’s RPG framework exacerbates its colonialist impulses

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    On the surface, it seems that Greedfall doesn’t want to be yet another colonist simulator. It’s clearly aware that it’s stepping on well-trodden ground with its colonialist themes, and is thus wary about embracing them too overtly. Take for instance how it refrains from trite, lazy characterisations about the islanders as bloodthirsty savages or cannibals, who only want to adorn their necks and homes with the polished skulls of their enemies. Neither are these folks depicted as untainted by the corrupting influence of civilisation; there are definitely less-than-savoury company within their ranks.

     

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

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    About a year ago, my wife asked if she could play a game. Instead of simply saying yes, I decided to run an informal experiment where I had her play a sampling of games to see how, after a lifetime of not playing games, she would do. These are the results.

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

     

    Games, Schools, and Worlds Designed for Violence

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    They walk out under the branches of hopelessness
    They think of this world welcoming
    the bodies of their sons.

    Support me: https://www.patreon.com/JacobGeller

     

    The Environmental Impact of Physical Games - The Ethics of Buying Games

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    Morality and Guilt in Video Games | How Game Designers Reveal our Heart of Darkness using Mechanics

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    This Video Essay examines how Video Games can explore morality and guilt using mechanics, systems and narrative. As an interactive art form, Video games seem best situated to explore the nature of morality. This video examines the potential of games as a vehicle for moral education by drawing from game studies, psychology and philosophy.

     

    Final Fantasy IV | Warriors of Leitmotif

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    Final Fantasy IV was a massive jump in scope and ambition for the series, especially in regards to its soundtrack and its use of leitmotif.

    Support the channel on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/gamescorefanfare

     

    The History of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

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    Please consider supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/GVMERS

     

    Astral Chain Analysis | Platinum Game's Evolving Design

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    I struggled a lot articulating everything I wanted to say with this one, but it's finally done. A video analyzing Astral Chain and how it reflects Platinum's development as a game studio.

    Fox's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Foxcade

     

    Untitled Goose Game and Player-Driven Comedy

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

    There have been plenty of games with comedic writing over the years, but is it possible for games to let players set up and execute on their own punchlines through play? Let's examine why the design of Untitled Goose Game—with its systems-driven gameplay, simple mechanics and carefully crafted aesthetic—allows for just that.

     

    Catherine Full Body - Analyzing Rin's Story | PostMesmeric

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    With Catherine, Atlus took a seductive, but serious look at maturity, romance, and relationships, turning a bizarre puzzler into one of the generation's strangest games. But with Catherine Full Body, they're adding a new character, one who could very well tip the scales and make a less-than-ideal revision to an already brilliant story. But did they? Time to examine Catherine: Full Body, and see what exactly makes Rin such a poignant part of the game's appeal.

    Support PostMesmeric on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/PostMesmeric

     

    How Pathologic 2 Sets a New Standard for Psychological Horror Games

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    Pathologic 2 is a brutally challenging horror game that gets into your head and stays there. It's a game I'll remember for a long time. I also talk briefly about Blair Witch in this video. That game...isn't quite so special.

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

     

    IndieWatch: Top 15 "Don't Miss!" Indie Games (September 2019)

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    This September was a doozy, particularly for fans of indie games! It seemed like there were multiple releases each week really worth diving into, so until a time-turner is invented, here are my picks for indies you really don’t want to miss from the month of September in order of their release date.

     

    Blips 3: Cyberpunk Stealth, Digital Therapy, and Road Trips!

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    It's an extra chunky Blips episode, featuring... 7-ish games, instead of the usual four! Hooray!

    As always, if you liked this (or want to get access to the next one a few days early!), please consider supporting the show on Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/errantsignal

     

    Supergiant in Concert - LIVE 10th Anniversary Orchestral Show

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    You've heard our songs, but never heard them like this! At PAX West 2019, we had our 10th Anniversary Concert, featuring composer Darren Korb, vocalist Ashley Barrett, and the Supergiant Orchestra conducted by Austin Wintory. This video contains the full performance, complete with behind-the-scenes footage. We hope you enjoy it!

     

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

     

    A Large Group Of Red Dead Online Players Tried To Carry Bowls Of Soup Across The Entire Map

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    That was the odd objective of a recent meet-and-walk attended by a large group of Red Dead Online players. Also known as walk meets, these are events where large groups of players get together and walk around to various locations, encountering animals, criminals and other obstacles along the journey. This soup walk was filmed by Reddit user Slonitram and set up by Red Dead Online player Zoobz_

     

     


  13. Completed: Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
    Platform: PC

    Bloodstaind easily delivers as a successor to the metroidvania style Castlevania. The game takes many ideas from a variety of Castlevania titles giving a well made game for fans of that series; wide variety of weapons that can make use of special attacks, learning passive or offensive abilities from each enemy in the game, an ability to invert the environment, secret areas and items needed to get the true ending, characters with story nods that can resemble previous Castlevania characters, etc. The weapon, equipment, and magic variety gives you a lot of ways to play the game with gun focused builds that can be backed up by summoned monsters, shield magics to deflect attacks, weapons with techniques that can even offer you early ways to reach secret areas, craftable weapons with special properties often based off other franchises (like an obvious lightsaber style weapon that has a stun effect), and a wide variety of offensive magic abilities. Some items are even included that effect more than just your stats, such as giving you accessories that will cause the camera to remain zoomed in or out. The castle and outdoor environments are well designed with each section having their own feel to them and accompanying music track and giving you multiple paths to let you decide how to explore. There are some fun enemy designs, including things like mimic chairs that you can sit down on that will proceed to throw you into a pit of spikes or ones that are nods to other games like the Shovel Knights you find in the underground sections. The art and backgrounds received a large improvement in the final phase of the game's design, and while the 3D doesn't always look good it does allow for a couple of the more cinematic attacks some of the bosses can make use of.

    Too much time is going to be spent farming enemies if you plan to make use of crafting, preparing food recipes (which is also needed for many side quests), or sometimes even just to see what ability you can eventually absorb from your enemies. As is the problem in all the Castlevania games in this style, you are almost always overpowered and typically massively overpowered if you know what you are doing, and it's more difficult to appreciate all the enemy and boss designs when you can kill some of them before they can typically even do anything or without even bothering to move in the case of some of the bosses. Most of the bosses just aren't that interesting to begin with, either having very limited move-sets or fighting in a very slow and predictable style.

     

    Completed: Paratopic
    Platform: PC

    Follows a smuggler, assassin, and photographer using jump cutting techniques similar to the game Viriginia. An unsettling visual style that looks graphically similar to what you might see on the original Playstation with the atmosphere further improved by the music and sound design. The narrative can be difficult to piece together, more so without finding some hidden or choice based interaction and things are left vague enough where you can only make assumptions about a plot involving aliens, hidden facilities,and effected VHS tapes turning people into monsters.

    The style certainly isn't going to be for a lot of people but its a short interesting game and I hope the developers are able to return to the setting sometime.

     

    Completed: Neo Cab
    Platform: PC

    You play as one of the last few Uber style taxis operated by a real person in a near future somewhat cyberpunk setting. Very well written stories that play out with the game's passengers focusing on the gig economy, the main corporations increasing control of the city/police/traffic laws, and the dependence on and disillusionment with living in the current state of the city and the role a person has in it. A bracelet shows your emotional state changed by your dialogue options can effect conversations but rarely in a major way, though the bracelet itself and technology like it do play a more important role in the plot.

    Money/ratings are almost mechanically pointless outside of showing how meager your earners are and how quickly your job can be damaged by impossible to please customers, which really doesn't narratively come up much with the story being so focused on the corporation and their AI operated vehicles risking putting you out of work.

    This game does share some similarities with the other recently released Noir mystery taxi driver game Night Call. Different artistically, noir vs a cyberpunk aesthetic, both focused on the lives of the people you pick up. I wouldn't really recommend one over the other as they both have some great short stories from the passengers. The main difference being that this has a more linear style compared to all the random events of Night Call (still had never even seen some in multiple playthroughs of that game), less overall events, this has more impact with side character coming into play in the main story, and this lacks the very poor and repeated mystery segments of Night Call. This will give you a better main narrative, while Night Call will give you more events often with just as high of quality but you will also have to deal with a lot more randomness possibly preventing you from finishing stories you want to finish in a given playthrough or even from seeing them at all.

     


  14. Completed: Children of Morta
    Platform: PC

    Children of Morta is hack and slash game with that takes places throughout eight main stages and three smaller story focused areas with the central family of character attempting to fight back the corruption of the land stemming from an angry god. Beautiful artwork that can quickly go from horrific and eerie to warm and inviting. Six characters that are unique to play with runes to be found in dungeons that effect how their attacks perform, further separating them. Outside of story events the house/hub areas has a lot of character building moments from seeing what each member of the family is thinking, seeing them live their lives, and seeing the houses filled with the souvenirs of their adventures. They might gather to eat a meal or play a board game, train together, the largest son carries around the youngest on his shoulders, oldest daughter has her hair brushed by her mom, character will comment on the side events that you can run into in the dungeons, etc. The base gameplay is enjoyable and fast paced with the different characters likely stopping you from replaying similar areas to gather more money and experience. Side events can be found in the randomly generated dungeons that have you meeting new characters, fighting with another family member, collecting scrolls to learn more of the games world, or possibly an events that will gain you future members of the households. While it is primarily going to be a single player game (two player local co-op is available, with no one to try that with I have no idea how that would be balanced) each character eventually unlocks an ability where they can briefly spawn in to help the controlled family member during certain situations (block fatal damage, knock back enemies when surrounded, etc) which was a nice way to feel like they are fighting together.

    There is a fairly limited number of enemy types. Each of the eight main areas of the game has four floors to them, three larger sections followed by a boss room. The eight stages are broken up into three different areas of the world with some unique enemies and hazards but some are still reused, some are never present in the earlier stages, and even with all of them their just isn't much variety. Even the powered up enemies you occasionally run into just have the same bonuses of having more health, spawning enemies, or dropping AoE attacks from the sky to stun you. Each character has what will end up being an extremely linear skill tree, by the time I beat the fairly short game I hadn't even gotten any of the six characters to reach their final two abilities by hitting level 20. The game makes for a terrible roguelike even though it in many ways seems to be set up to be one, it prevents you from going any further than three floors and a boss, there is no penalty for death, you will find randomized buffs, runes, and abilities but some of these are so uninteresting or so poor for certain characters that you are able to do little more than hope you get what fits your character and playstyle, and the layout of the floors is randomized but will be populated by the same enemy and hazard types.

    While the story and character moments in the game is often on the stronger side, the finale of the game gives you terrible reasoning for your antagonist's actions followed by a poor and very easy boss fight. The endgame is made worse by your character likely just being too powerful for any of the dungeons to really pose any challenge, and seeing as I had only hit level 17 with my strongest characters it could only get easier.

    A fun and beautiful looking game while it lasts that ends on a fairly dull note and doesn't have much to get you to come back to it when a lot of similar styled games would give you reason to keep playing. Maybe this will be improved with future updates or if new content is added as the game seems to be selling quite well.

     


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    Patrick Gill on the history behind the blood sprays of Sekiro, eurothug4000 delves into the weird and eerie of Control while Nick Capozzoli considers if the architecture of Control serves as anything more than the foundation of a shooting gallery and Carol Grant covers the frustration and fascination that comes from the implications of Control's ending, Austin Walker reviews Untitled Goose Game a game where you can feel like Agent 47 but as a goose, French court rules that Steam needs to allow users to sell their games as indie developer worry about the effect that and the increasing popularity of subscription services have on their survivability, Arkham Origins developer teases new Batman, Cecilia D'Anastasio reports on 21 developers pledging to combat climate change at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, Austin Wintory shows the detail of scoring a single scene in the game ERICA, 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)

     

    Everything PlayStation Announced In Today's State Of Play

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    Sony’s Nintendo Direct-style State Of Play livestream series returned today, with a deep look at The Last of Us II as well as short updates about other games coming to PlayStation, including Civilization 6. Here’s a rundown of the news.

     

    Disco Elysium is a 'colossal' game that can take 90 hours to finish

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    Disco Elysium is a hardboiled detective RPG that's made some very positive impressions around here over the past couple of years. At the start of 2018 we included it (as No Truce With the Furies, its original title) in our list of the indie games we were most excited about, and for 2019 we put it in our list of RPGs we were most looking forward to. It's "unconventional," as Fraser described it when the release date was announced last week, and leans heavily into its tabletop roots.

     

    Total War Saga: Troy is resplendent in the Warhammer 2 engine

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    I remember when Total War Sagas were announced. I liked the idea of these more focused Total Wars, and when we heard the first would be set against the Viking invasion of Britain, I was thrilled. Then I saw it, and how closely it resembled Attila – and a lot of my hype fizzled out. Though I stand by our review, which hailed its gameplay innovations, I do find it difficult to return to.

    Total War Saga: Troy may get Ajax and others as post-launch DLC

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    If you know the story of the Trojan War – perhaps from The Iliad – then you know there are a lot of characters. It’s called an ‘epic’ for a reason, after all. Only eight will appear in A Total War Saga: Troy at launch, but developer Creative Assembly has teased the possibility of more arriving as downloadable content in the future.

     

    There's An XCOMish Narcos Game, Which Just Might Work

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    There’s already one game based on Netflix’s excellent Narcos, and it sucks. The second game, though, is looking a lot more promising, as it’s a turn-based tactical combat experience similar to XCOM.

     

    Kunai Is The Best Feeling Platformer I've Played Since Dead Cells

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    Flow is a hard thing to describe in games. There's a strong mechanical component to it, but there's also an art, a moment where everything comes together and you go, "Yeah, this feels right." Dead Cells had that from the first moment I played it. I took the controller in my hand and every jump and slash felt right. You can gain a lot of goodwill from me if your play is tight.

     

    New Batman game from Arkham Origins developer teased

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    Everyone may be busy playing the six free Batman games just released on the Epic Games Store, or possibly exploring Gotham City in Fortnite, but there's yet more Batman gaming news for you this week. Over the past few days, Warner Bros. Montreal - the studio behind Batman: Arkham Oranges - has been hinting at a brand new Batman game which looks like it's based on a mysterious organisation called the Court of Owls. Sounds like a hoot.

     

    John Wick Hex release date set for October

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    John Wick Hex is a tactical strategy game that lets you pretend you’re as smart and cool as Keanu Reeves, and it’s coming from storied indie developer Mike Bithell. It’s looked fantastic every time we’ve seen it, and now we finally know when it’s coming out. Publisher Good Shepherd Entertainment has provided a new trailer for Hex along with the release date.

     

    Phantom Brigade Is a Fantastic New Spin on the Front Mission Formula

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    Brace Yourself Games is bringing the mech strategy genre back in a big way.

     

    Oxenfree dev's pub-crawl-in-hell adventure Afterparty gets October release date

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    Oxenfree developer Night School Studio has announced that its intriguing pub-crawl-in-hell narrative adventure, Afterparty, will be making its way - presumably on all fours and in a trailing puddle of sick - to Xbox One, PS4, and PC on 29th October.

     

    Resident Evil: Project Resistance Q&A With Producer Masachika Kawata

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    Offline mode, balancing character skills, and more detailed during Tokyo Game Show talk.

     

    The Outer Worlds Gameplay - Solving Crimes In Stellar Bay

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    We venture around the gritty neon town of Stellar Bay to get to the bottom of a murder. The Outer Worlds will arrive on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25th.

     

    Infinity Ward shares feedback from the Modern Warfare crossplay beta

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    The studio ran down some of the issues that came up during the big weekend shootout.

     

    Indivisible opening animation

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    Publisher 505 Games and developer Lab Zero Games have released the Studio Trigger and Titmouse-produced opening animation for Indivisible. It also features music by Hiroki Kikuta.

     

    Ghost Recon Breakpoint - FULL Jon Bernthal Inside Xbox Presentation

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    Check out the latest about Ghost Recon Breakpoint from main villain lead actor Jon Bernthal from the Inside Xbox presentation.

    Ghost Recon Breakpoint raids explained

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    Ghost Recon Breakpoint raids are part of the confirmed post-update launch plans for the next Tom Clancy game. Post-launch plans for Ghost Recon Breakpoint, include additional classes for your character, fresh story content, events, and 4-player raids. Post-launch support for Ghost Recon Wildlands is still ongoing two years after its release, so it’s not surprising to learn that Breakpoint will have a robust content pipeline, but the announcement that raids are coming to the third-person shooter is a neat new development.

    It looks like Ghost Recon Breakpoint is getting a battlepass

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    Ubisoft’s upcoming tactical shooter Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is getting a new system for earning goodies – a Battle Rewards system. Announced in a post on the Breakpoint website, the new feature appears to be like a battlepass – it will get you gaining Battle Points through two game types, which you can then spend on exclusive rewards, with plenty on offer to collect.

     

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Story Trailer

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    Story trailer for the campaign of 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

    Modern Warfare's Special Operations 'Survival mode' is PS4-exclusive for a year (Updated)

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    Update: A rep clarified with Gamespot that "just the Survival mode within the Spec Ops mode" is PS4 exclusive. "Everyone gets campaign, multiplayer and Spec Ops," the rep said. More information about the Special Ops mode is scheduled to be unveiled on October 7.

     

    Close Combat: The Bloody First – A First Look – Beta

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    *Check out the time links in the table of contents below to fast forward to the action*

    In today’s video we take a first look at the upcoming revamp of the Close Combat series by Matrix Games and Slitherine Games, Close Combat: The Bloody First. This revamp of the CC series introduces 3D graphics to the Close Combat series and polishes and modernizes this timeless classic. The footage you’re about to see is from the Close Combat: The Bloody First Beta and thus is not a final version of the game. The game was provided to me by Matrix/Slitherine for free.

     

    The Last of Us 2 - Official Story & Release Date Trailer (4K)

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    Release date trailer for The Last of Us Part 2, from Sony's State of Play in September 2019.

     

    Wattam - Official Gameplay Trailer (Katamari Damacy Creator)

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    Check out the new gameplay trailer for Wattam, from the creator of Katamari Damaci.

     

    Medieval - Official Gameplay Trailer

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    The trailer announcing the playable demo for MediEvil, from Sony's September 2019 State of Play.

     

    Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition ‘Battle’ trailer

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    Bandai Namco has released a new trailer for Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition highlighting the battle systems of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory.

     

    Terminator: Resistance is a single-player FPS set 31 years after Judgment Day

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    There's a new Terminator movie out soon - and there's a new Terminator video game to go alongside it.

     

    The Long Dark Episode 3 arrives soon, but its director doesn’t “expect all of you to like it”

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    Five years since launch and two years since its first two episodes released, The Long Dark’s third episode is at last nearly here. Titled Crossroads Elegy, the new installment to pick up and continue the game’s story – this time from Astrid’s perspective. Developer Hinterland has provided only the most teasing details on what to expect, but you won’t have long to wait regardless.

     

    Star Wars Battlefront 2 teases Episode 9 content ahead of the Felucia update

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    Against all odds, Star Wars Battlefront II has become a game people simply play and enjoy – and not just the poster child for the industry’s monetisation problems. That’s thanks in large part to a lengthy run of free content updates, and this week’s batch promises plenty of substantial new stuff. Plus, the developers are teasing new content for the impending release of the Rise of Skywalker.

     

    BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle DLC characters Celica A. Mercury, Elizabeth, Tohru Adachi, Hilda, and Susanoo announced

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    Celica A. Mercury from BlazBlue: Central Fiction, Elizabeth from Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Tohru Adachi from Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Hilda from Under Night In-Birth, and Susanoo from BlazBlue: Central Fiction are the five remaining new playable characters part of the “Version 2.0 Content Pack” add-on for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, developer Arc System Works announced.

     

    Steam should let users resell games, French court rules

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    French Steam users have the right to resell games, a Paris court has ruled in a case brought by a consumer group. The years-long case isn’t fully settled because Valve can yet appeal, and why would they not? This is still a big decision. The official line so far has been that games bought in a downloadable form, without a physical form like a disc backing them, cannot be resold. The court also ruled against several other clauses of Steam’s terms, like keeping your Steam Wallet funds if you shut down your account.

    French court rules country's Steam users can resell their games

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    Ruling contradicts EU law and would be "disastrous" for consumers and industry, says ISFE CEO

     

    Valve makes more changes to Steam's Discovery update to address visibility complaints

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    The update was intended to give users a better range of recommendations, but some indie devs were left out.

     

    Developers Raise Alarm Over Their Cut of Google Play Pass' Subscription Money

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    Google announced the Google Play Pass today, a new subscription service for Android users. But an FAQ explainer on how royalties for developers work has some industry professionals worried about game sales moving towards a “Spotify-model.” A model that has been heavily criticized in the past.

     

    Epic Games paid €9.49 million for PC-exclusivity rights to Control

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    The sum of €9.49 million was paid out to Digital Bros, the parent company of publisher 505 Games, for Control according to a recent financial report. That’s quite a sum of money for distribution rights.

     

    Borderlands 3 is the fastest selling game in 2K's history

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    All in all, Borderlands 3 has exceeded the publisher's expectations, with the company noting that "in particular, PC sales of the title through the Epic Games Store have been incredibly strong."

     

    Twitch has acquired the Internet Gaming Database

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    Streaming service Twitch has acquired the Internet Games Database. The IGDB is basically the IMDB of videogames, a directory of information about games ranging from their ratings, genres, and themes to crowdsourced data about how long they take to beat, and lists of reviews (which annoyingly include include pre-release previews and impressions as well). Digital storefronts can pay to use IGDB's API, which is how the database makes money.

     

    Untitled Goose Game’s Developers Stopped Work On Launch Day To Attend The Climate Strike

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    “If striking for you means that you can’t play our video game on launch day, that’s okay,” he said. “People can play our game, or another game, some other time. The climate emergency is urgent, and needs us to drop what we are doing and demand that governments act immediately."

     

    Warframe Faces Criticisms, Review Bomb Over Chinese Translator Controversy

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    Around that time, the volunteer translator, “Ji,” posted a “farewell” explanation as well as the full termination letter. It seems he was let go from the project due to a number of mixed workplace violations. The more “contract”-related reason would likely be his breaking of nondisclosure agreement (NDA) protocols — leaking information about Warframe development before release. However, DE also claims he posted insults about staff.

     

    Playing For the Planet

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    HOW VIDEO GAMES CAN DELIVER FOR PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

    PlayStation has committed to lowering its carbon footprint with its next gen system

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    The PS5 will have substantially lower power consumption when a game is suspended than the PS4 does.

     

    Reboot Develop secures more game talent for first Canadian conference

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    Reboot Develop Red has secured more top tier video game talent for its first Canadian conference, due to take place in Banff, Canada, next month.

     

    French President calls Twitch streamers “inspiring” for breaking charity record

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    Yesterday, Twitch streamers from France held the platform’s biggest ever charity event – and in the process earned a nod from Emmanuel Macron himself. The French President called the combined efforts of 54 streamers uniting for Z Event “inspiring” on Twitter. Their end total? Approximately €3,509,197, which converts to £3,093,813.

     

    Esports News

     

    To Build its Future, Call of Duty Esports Is Killing its Biggest Rivalry

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    One of the most infamous feuds in all of competitive gaming comes to a close.

     

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

     

    The making of Devotion, China's least favourite horror game

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    Red Candle's Devotion is one of the finest horror games of the past decade, and if you haven't played it already, it's possible you never will. Following its release this spring, the game was found to contain an unflattering reference to China's president, Xi Jinping. The discovery sparked an outcry among Chinese players, leading to the withdrawal of Chinese distributors, the closure of Red Candle's account on Weibo, one of China's largest social media platforms, and the removal of the game from Steam in China. Red Candle, which is based in Taiwan, has apologised at length for what it says was a placeholder asset, accidentally transferred to the final release. These comments were not enough to stem the backlash, however, and a week after sale, the developer pulled the game from Steam in all territories to perform unspecified fixes. Seven months on, it's unclear whether Devotion will ever see daylight again.

     

    About Alexis Kennedy

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    I work at Failbetter Games. These days, I’m CEO. But I worked here for five years before that, and from when I joined in January 2014 until mid-2016, Alexis Kennedy was Failbetter’s CEO. He was my boss for almost two and a half years.

    If you’re reading this, you probably know that a few weeks ago a number of women came forward on Twitter to talk about how Alexis had treated them or others who’d confided in them. At the time, Failbetter said we believed them.

    Alexis has now responded in a post he called ‘What Actually Happened’. It is not an accurate title.

     

    Video Game Companies Vow Action On Climate Change, But Critics Say They Need To Do More

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    Within a couple generations, after climate change has more visibly ravaged the Earth, the easiest way for humanity to interact with lush forests and icy glaciers might be video games. It’s a bleak, maybe science-fiction potential future, but not an improbable one; according to some analyses, we have just 12 years to suppress catastrophic climate change.

    Yet at the same time as games present themselves as tempting vehicles for environmental escapism, the hard reality is that the games industry is a significant contributor to the demolition of our planet.

     

    Let’s Pop: Behind the Bubblegum Dream of Sayonara Wild Hearts

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    According to Simogo, this is all Garfield's doing.

     

    At 20, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Reflects the Series’ Past, Present, and Potential Future

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    Looking back on the eventful development and complicated legacy of a survival horror classic.

     

    Star Trek Online players held a torchlit vigil for Aron Eisenberg in Quark's Bar

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    "Guiding Nog to the Divine Treasury".

     

    Developers Cash In By Selling Their Switch Games For Pennies

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    One of the few categories by which you can browse Switch games on the eShop is Great Deals. Leading that section may be a popular game that’s now a few dollars cheaper, but occasionally, a ridiculous discount will catch my eye—such as a recent one that put the $30 rhythm game Superbeat: Xonic on sale for a staggering 89 cents. My Switch is full of games that I hadn’t heard of until I had the chance to pick them up for pocket change. It makes me wonder: What’s the rationale behind these massive discounts, and afterwards, do the game’s developers feel that they benefited? Every developer I spoke with for this story said that deeply discounting their games for a short period has been a success.

     

    Video Games are Reshaping My Relationship with My Chronic Illness

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    After the first year of my degree ended, I turned to video games for self-care. I’ve always looked to games for healing and grounding, with titles like Everything and Journey offering soothing escapism into fantastic settings and cyclical gameplay. During bad depressive episodes, I can fire up Everything and receive a pep talk from a tree or a rock, and I’ll feel less alien in the world. During one of the loneliest periods of my life, I turned to the Normandy crew in Mass Effect for comfort and company.

     

    When Every Game is Hard Mode

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    Back in April, I kept bumping up against the internet flap about the difficulty in From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Dies Twice. The whole topic infuriated me, but it took months of introspection to clarify and congeal my thoughts into what I hope will be a framework for discussing the basic problem from my vantage point. There seems to be another round of this sloshing around the internet, so I am kind of glad I waited and got my thoughts in order before I stepped in. The online conversation around Sekiro focused on whether it should include difficulty settings less than "hard."

    But every game I play is already on "hard" mode. An entertaining challenge for some is physically impossible for me.

     

    I just found out my favorite Grand Theft Auto 5 role-play character is a serial killer

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    Tessa Lamb is a driving instructor with serial killer tendencies

     

    OBJECT OF POWER

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    The other Objects of Power that Jesse finds are all disguised as real objects that seem to be tethered to other realities. A merry-go-round that allows you to shift in sudden directions. A floppy disc that allows you to project objects careening through the air. The plot chooses to focus on the simplest of all: a firearm. The Service Weapon, as we and Jesse learn to call it. The gun chooses Jesse, just as the developers choose to give it to her. In a game rife with mysterious redacted documents, bizarre plots lingering in the background, it almost feels out of place.

    “Falsework,” by Nick Capozzoli

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    Control, you may have heard, has got itself some Architecture. That’s certainly what jumped out in the first glimpses I got of it. And when the game begins to sunset in the discourse, architecture will likely be what endures: in year-end awards, in postmortem concept art drops, in those unnarrated Youtube spots (gun-wielding henchmen tastefully excised, camera tilting slowly up the naves of Central Research or Dead Letters). In the inevitable photo mode so we can see how all that Brutalist concrete looks filtered through Clarendon or Ludwig (assuredly: fabulous). It’s often the fate of architecture to outlive its original purpose. But so soon? I wonder if we’re a little too eager to usher Control on to its second life of stately Archillect jpegs. Something did happen in The Oldest House, after all. I seem to recall shooting a lot of people.

    Everyone Wants The Big Chair, Meg

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    She will enjoy it. She will feel at home. But she will also have to work that enjoyment within a corrupt system that works to control inexplicable things that resist control. Just because she hires “better people” doesn’t mean they won’t be prone to the same kinds of hysterics and egos that led to Darling and Trench’s respective downfalls. She will ultimately realize that without the Bureau, without The Oldest House, she may as well be dead. She must keep this position, or there will be nothing left worth living. She will fall under the same lust for control that plagued Director Trench. Like Trench, the job will be as much a prison as it is privilege. Things she once enjoyed will be corrupted by bureaucracy, just as the Altered Items are corrupted by the collective subconscious. A self-fulfilling prophecy. A cycle that repeats and renews ad infinitum. Capitalism, bureaucracy, politics, America.

    The Creepypasta Community That Influenced Control

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    Control’s setting, a secretive government facility that studies supernatural happenings, is engrossing. If you can’t get enough of the game’s surreal atmosphere, perhaps you should check out the SCP Foundation, a community-run fiction archive that many speculated was an inspiration for Control. It turns out that speculation was correct. Kotaku spoke with the SCP Foundation and Control’s director about the overlap between their expansive science fiction worlds.

    “Taking Control,” by Emma Kidwell

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    At first glance, it’s hard not to compare Remedy’s Control and Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. Both games feature paranormal protagonists, government secrets, and people in positions of power failing to do their jobs. While they belong to different genres (Beyond shares similarities with an interactive film; Control’s a third-person action adventure), they both explore the same theme: The unknown. Look much further, though, and these similarities stop. Control’s Jesse Faden has agency over her place in a mystery whereas Beyond’s Jodie Holmes does not. Unsurprisingly, it’s this level of personal control that plays a big part in why one character succeeds in playing an active part in the overall struggle presented in each narrative and the other doesn’t.

     

    Fire Emblem: Three Houses Surprisingly Calls Out Its Own Problematic Romances

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    I didn’t expect Fire Emblem: Three Houses to thrust me deep into my own feelings about the role of professors in their students’ lives. But far away from home, teetering on the brink of war, at a private liberal arts school cum religious military academy, I find myself adopting the mantle of my own college professors.

     

    Pleasure to Burn: Why Campfires Are so Ubiquitous in Games

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    Who knew some flaming sticks could be imbued with this much meaning?

     

    Blasphemous Turns Catholicism Into A Haunted House

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    Even the execution animations and brutal combat the game’s marketing has relied on to grab players’ attention don’t feel particularly gratuitous when compared to famous religious paintings such as Caravaggio’s The Beheading of St John The Baptist, half the things that Virgil and Dante see in hell, or even much of the Bible. To call Blasphemous a moving, incredibly important piece of religious art might be overselling its accomplishments. However, unlike most games I’ve played that seek to do something innovative with religious themes, it is a thematically sound work about spiritual anxiety that’s worth playing if you’re willing to plumb some uncomfortable depths.

     

    'Untitled Goose Game' Is Like Playing Hitman... as a Goose

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    “In [Goose Game], success comes from playing along with the simulation just long enough before finally pulling the rug out from everything … [You’re] not the one, special gear in an intricately designed clockwork world. You’re the wrench.”

    I wrote those words in December 2016 about IO Interactive’s Hitman, a game that (despite all the killing) feels so much like a predecessor to Goose Game that I’ve decided that they exist in the same world. Like the world’s greatest assassin, a goose sees the world differently than regular folks. You or I see a busy marketplace as an obstacle to walk through or a place to shop in. But Hitmen? Geese? They see everything they need to silently build a chaotic Rube Goldberg machine.

     

    How Telltale reinvented The Joker

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    Giving Telltale room to breathe allowed the writing team to mess with player expectations while staying true to the characters. Sure, we know Harley Quinn and Joker have a toxic, off-balance relationship, but what if the scales were tipped in Harley’s favour?

     

    CONTROL: The Weird and the Eerie

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    WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR CONTROL

    Video based on the book by Mark Fisher: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Weird-Eerie-Mark-Fisher/dp/1910924385

     

    Sekiro and a brief history of spraying blood all over the darn place

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    It's spray day and we're making a big deposit at the blood bank. Here's why Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice borrows its iconic blood spray from Kurosawa and other samurai movies.

     

    The Rise and Fall of Dungeon Siege

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    Please consider supporting us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/GVMERS

    In the realm of action-oriented video games, few are as zen as dungeon crawlers. Even at their most complex, demolishing and looting enemies in the likes of Diablo or Torchlight is as hypnotic as it is satisfying; their gameplay loops providing a perfect mixture of habitual repetition, and utter excitement. And to a small, yet passionate subset of PC gamers during the early 2000s, few games offered a better blend of these elements than Dungeon Siege.

     

    Rediscovering the Joy of Exploration

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    The biggest gaming trend of the 2010's was undoubtedly the idea of an open, explorable world- but for all the games who jumped on the bandwagon- not all of them pulled it off well.

     

    Why the Guns In Modern Warfare Sound So Incredible

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    15% OFF SALE on the 3 sensational sample packs used to make the sounds in this video! (Sound Effects Monkey via ASoundEffect.com):

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

     

    ERICA - Anatomy of a Scene

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    ERICA was probably the most challenging game score I've undertaken, so to show why, here is a walk through just a single scene. This scene can be potentially just 2-3 minutes, or over 10, and the music must always be ready to account for the player's choices. Hopefully the graphical manner in which it's all displayed makes sense! Make sure to leave comments with thoughts or feedback.

    Thank you Jack, Flavourworks, and all my friends at Sony for inviting me to be part of this unique and thrilling adventure.

     

    How Sid Meier Almost Made Civilization a Real-Time Strategy Game | War Stories | Ars Technica

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    Sid Meier, the creator of the popular Civilization video game series, goes behind the scenes of the development of the franchise's first entry. Sid explains some of the challenges they came across while transitioning the game from real-time to turn-based strategy.

     

    Exclusive: Infinity Ward Developers On Leaving Respawn And Creating Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

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    In this excerpt from The Game Informer Show podcast, we air audio from our cover story trip for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare where we spoke with studio art director Joel Emslie, lead animator Mark Grigsby, and multiplayer designer Geoffrey Smith about developing the original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and also what it was like to leave Respawn and return to Infinity Ward after Titanfall 2 was released.

     

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

     

    'Mortal Kombat' Stars Play 'Mortal Kombat': Robin Shou vs Linden Ashby! | Heat Vision

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    Robin Shou and Linden Ashby, stars of the 1995 hit 'Mortal Kombat', stop by Heat Vision Breakdown to challenge host Patrick Shanley (and each other) to a friendly match!