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    Celeste Classic Gets A Surprise Sequel That You Can Play Right Now

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    celeste_classic_2_screenshot.jpg

    Acclaimed platformer Celeste turned three-years old this week, and to celebrate, creator Maddy Thorson surprised fans by announcing a sequel of sorts to the game. No, it’s not a direct follow-up to the game available on consoles and PC, but rather a sequel to classic Celeste, the original Pico-8 version of the game dubbed Celeste Classic 2: Lani’s Track. The best part? It’s available now for free and can be played right on your browser. 

    For context, the Celeste most of us are familiar with was born from an earlier version developed on the Pico-8, a virtual platform designed to mimic a traditional game console. While the technology is limited (games top at 128x128 pixel, 16-color display), Pico-8 is a useful tool for designing games without the use of actual hardware. Maddy Thorson and fellow designer Noel Berry used the platform to create Celeste in just four days during a game jam, then expanded upon it to create the polished version we know and love. The original Pico-8 levels went on live within Celeste proper as players can find and play them at designated terminals. 

    We said we probably wouldn't make a sequel to Celeste, but we never said anything about Celeste Classic

    — Maddy Thorson (@MaddyThorson) January 26, 2021

    Celeste Classic 2: Lani’s Track was made in three days, again by Thorson and Berry as well as composer Lena Raine. You can play it in your browser via itch.io as well as download versions for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Raspberry Pi. The sequel can be played using a keyboard as well as a controller and, having tried it myself, retains the tight controls and challenge of the original. The soundtrack is also up for grabs on Bandcamp.

    Given the excellence of the first game (we scored it 9 out of 10), I’m interested in any kind of encore. Celeste blends tight platforming and a harrowing challenge with a well-written narrative about a young woman struggling to conquer her inner demons (quite literally) by climbing Celeste Mountain. The fun gameplay and affecting story made it one of our go-to quarantine games as well as a game that personally inspires me to be a better person. 

    Will you be checking out Celeste Classic 2 and if you have, what did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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    Animal Crossing: New Horizons January Update Revealed, Super Mario Crossover This March

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    animal_crossing_new_horizons_free_update

    January is coming to a close, but that doesn't mean that it's over quite yet for Animal Crossing fans. In a new video, Nintendo revealed what players can expect from the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons January update alongside a small tease of what's ahead for the next big drop coming in March with a special Mario crossover

    The upcoming update that goes live on January 28 provides a ton of new updates but also heralds in the arrival of Festivale. Festivale is a carnival-style event that will go down on February 15 and brings with it the arrival of Dancer Pavé.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    According to Nintendo: 

    Dancer Pavé will arrive to your island’s plaza to usher in some confetti and carnival spirit. On the day of the event you can capture colorful feathers floating on your island with your net and trade them to Pavé to receive a passionate dance number in return. Rainbow feathers seem to be an especially rare sight, so be sure to catch them and trade them with Pavé.

    New Horizons players can also look forward to even more clothes to style themselves to perfection, as well as new reactions to better convey those inner thoughts and feelings while living that island life to the fullest

    The above trailer also teases a few new events on the way, including new themed items for holidays like Valentine's Day and Groundhog's Day before the next big event that is slated for March. 

    While a small teaser, Nintendo also confirmed its upcoming March update, which will include a special Super Mario crossover. 

    From carnival to Super Mario, the next few months are going to be exciting for Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans. While the game has been out for just shy of one year, Nintendo has done a phenomenal job at ensuring the experience never grows stale with a constant rotation of events and new items to explore

    What do you think about the January and March updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Shout those thoughts out loud and proud in the comment section below! 

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    Patch 9.0.2 Hotfixes - January 25, 2021

    Curse
    By Curse,
    Patch 9.0.2 Hotfixes - January 25, 2021
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    Achievements

    • To 'Ghast, Two Curios and 'Ghast Five are now account-wide achievements.

    Covenants

    • Kyrian
      • The point of interest indicator for “Gorm Ruin Everything” should now be easier to see on the map.
    • Necrolord
      • Fixed an issue where players were unable to enter the Inquisitor’s Crypt after opening the door during the quest “The Last Word.”
    • Venthyr
      • Fixed an issue where Theotar’s Fury buff would sometimes not persist through death during the quest “Lowering Their Defenses.”

    Creatures and NPCs

    • Darvel the Frugal should now correctly give the correct faction discount.

    Dungeons and Raids

    • Castle Nathria
      • Council of Blood
        • [With regional restarts] Dreadbolt Volley damage reduced by up to 20% in smaller raid sizes in Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic difficulties. The damage will remain the same in 30-player raids.
        • [With regional restarts] Drain Essence damage reduced by up to 20% in smaller raid sizes in Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic difficulties. The damage will remain the same in 30-player raids.
        • [With regional restarts] Dark Recital duration reduced to 6 seconds on Normal and Heroic difficulties (was 7 seconds).
      • Sludgefist
        • [With regional restarts] Colossal Roar damage reduced by 10% on Mythic difficulty.
        • [With regional restarts] Chain Slam and Chain Bleed damage reduced by 35% on Mythic difficulty.
      • Stone Legion Generals
        • [With regional restarts] Stone Legion Goliath health reduced by 10% on Mythic difficulty.
        • [With regional restarts] Stone Legion Goliath’s Ravenous Feast cooldown increased by 6 seconds on Mythic difficulty.
        • [With regional restarts] Stone Legion Skirmisher health reduced by 6% on Mythic difficulty.
        • [With regional restarts] Serrated Tear and Stone Fist damage reduced by 20% on Mythic difficulty.
        • [With regional restarts] Serrated Swipe, Serrated Tear, and Stone Fist’s range increased to 100 yards (was 10 and 20 yards).
          • Developers’ note: In addition to slightly reducing overall difficulty, we've made a number of changes to this encounter with the goal of making it feel more consistent between attempts. This means that while certain abilities are no longer avoidable, their impact together with other abilities should be more realistic to manage and the order in which they occur should be more reliable.
        • [With regional restarts] Heart Rend’s range increased to 300 yards (was 10 yards).
        • [With regional restarts] Heart Rend no longer applies Heart Hemorrhage to the player who dispelled the Magic effect on Mythic difficulty.
        • [With regional restarts] General Kaal and General Grashaal’s spell cooldowns now reset with phase changes.
        • [With regional restarts] Volatile Stone Shell absorb shield reduced by 20% on Mythic difficulty.
    • Mythic Keystone Dungeons
      • [With regional restarts] Manifestation of Pride (Prideful Affix) now sees through Stealth and Invisibility effects.
    • Plaguefall
      • Margrave Stradama
        • [With regional restarts] Plaguebound Devoted health and damage reduced by 40%.
        • [With regional restarts] Reduced the cast frequency of Infectious Rain during her final phase.
        • [With regional restarts] Slightly adjusted the timing of Plague Crash so there is a little more time between tentacle slaps.
    • Sanguine Depths
      • [With regional restarts] Fixed an issue where flying Chamber Sentinels would fail to contribute Enemy Forces requirements on Mythic Keystone difficulty.
      • Kryxis the Voracious
        • [With regional restarts] Severing Smash damage reduced by 20% on all difficulties.
        • [With regional restarts] Essence Absorption damage reduced by 20% on Mythic difficulty.
      • Executor Tarvold
        • [With regional restarts] Fleeting Manifestation health reduced by 20%.
    • Spires of Ascension
      • [With regional restarts] Lakesis, Klotos and Astronos are no longer affected by Mythic Keystone affixes that trigger on death (e.g. Sanguine).
      • [With regional restarts] Lakesis, Klotos and Astronos Oppression now increases damage taken by 1% per application (was 2%).
    • The Necrotic Wake
      • If Bloody Javelin and Discharged Anima hits more than eight enemies, the total damage is distributed evenly across all targets.
      • Kyrian armaments (Bloody Javelin, Discarded Shield, Discharged Anima and Forgotten Forgehammer) now persist through death.
      • [With regional restarts] Brittlebone Crossbowman and Brittlebone Warrior damage reduced by 20%.
      • [With regional restarts] Fixed an issue where Brittlebone Crossbowman's Shoot was ignoring armor.
      • [With regional restarts] Brittlebone Mage's Frostbolt Volley damage reduced by 20% and cast time increased to 3.5 seconds (was 2.5 seconds).
      • [With regional restarts] Brittlebone Mage's Frostbolt damage reduced by 36% and cast time increased to 2.5 seconds (was 2 seconds).
      • [With regional restarts] Corpse Harvester and Corpse Collector health reduced by 29%.
      • [With regional restarts] Stitched Vanguard health reduced by 14%.
      • [With regional restarts] Nar'zudah's health reduced by 20%.
      • [With regional restarts] Skeletal Monstrosity's health reduced by 20% and melee damage reduced by 25%.
      • [With regional restarts] Loyal Creation health reduced by 24%.
      • [With regional restarts] Kyrian Stitchwerk health reduced by 25% and melee damage reduced by 17%.
      • Blightbone
        • [With regional restarts] Carrion Worm’s Blood Gorge applications required to trigger Carrion Eruption increased to 5 (was 3).
      • Amarth
        • [With regional restarts] Reduced the range skeletons are summoned during Land of the Dead.
        • [With regional restarts] Unholy Frenzy attack speed bonus reduced by 20%.
        • [With regional restarts] Reanimated Crossbowman and Reanimated Warrior damage reduced by 20%.
        • [With regional restarts] Reanimated Mage's Frostbolt Volley damage reduced by 20%
        • [With regional restarts] Reanimated Mage's Frostbolt Volley damage reduced by 36% and cast time increased to 2.5 seconds (was 2 seconds).
      • Surgeon Stitchflesh
        • [With regional restarts] Embalming Ichor duration reduced to 1 minute (was 6 minutes).

    Items and Rewards

    • The Inscrutable Quantum Device trinket now considers all friendly players within range to be valid targets for assisting, regardless of group state.
    • The Inscrutable Quantum Device trinket now also considers its user to be a valid target for granting Mana as long as they are a Healing specialization.
    • The Inscrutable Quantum Device trinket will no longer attempt to execute enemy targets who are already dead.
    • Fixed an issue that prevented Shadehound Armor Plating from being acquired in the Maw. The quest item can now be found by completing the Hunt: Shadehounds event.

    Player versus Player

    • [With regional restarts] In 2v2 Arenas, Dampening will begin at 20% when both teams have either a tank or healer.
    • [With regional restarts] Players now deal 20% less damage to Death Knight, Hunter, and Warlock pets.
    • [With regional restarts] Fleshcraft (Necrolord Ability) can now be used while in the starting area for battlegrounds and arenas.
    • The Mine Carts in the Silvershard Mines battleground no longer take damage from any spells or abilities.
    • Druid
      • Balance
        • [With regional restarts] Convoke the Spirits (Night Fae Ability) no longer casts Full Moon when engaged in combat with enemy players.
      • Feral
        • [With regional restarts] Convoke the Spirits (Night Fae Ability) no longer casts Feral Frenzy when engaged in combat with enemy players.
    • Paladin
      • Holy
        • [With regional restarts] Divine Favor (PvP Talent) cooldown increased to 30 seconds (was 25 seconds) and now increases cast speed by 30% (was 60%).
      • Protection, Retribution
        • [With regional restarts] Word of Glory’s healing has been reduced by 20% when engaged in combat with enemy players.
    • Mage
      • [With regional restarts] Infernal Cascade (Conduit) has its effectiveness reduced by 33% when engaged in combat with enemy players.
      • [With regional restarts] Triune Ward (Legendary Effect) now provides 50% barrier effectiveness when engaged in combat with enemy players (was 65%).

    The Maw

    • [With regional restarts] Players using Fel Rush and other similar movement abilities are now reliably able to return souls to Collector Marissa for the quest “Battered and Bruised.”

    Torghast, Tower of the Damned

    • The following spells now go on cooldown when stopped by any means: Terror, Nature's Bounty, Deafening Howl, and Phasing Roar. Previously, this cooldown would only occur with direct interrupts (such as Counterspell, Kick, Pummel, etc).
    • Anima Powers
      • Death Knight
        • Rune Hunter will no longer continue spawning Runes from Ashen Phylacteries after acquiring all 8 Rune buffs.

    View the full article


    Dungeon and Raid Tuning and Updates This Week

    Curse
    By Curse,
    Dungeon and Raid Tuning and Updates This Week
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    With scheduled weekly maintenance in each region this week, we’re deploying a slate of adjustments and fixes to Dungeons and the Castle Nathria raid. Our goals are oriented around eliminating some pain points while reducing difficulty in encounters that have shown themselves to be frustrating.

    Dungeons and Raids

    • Manifestation of Pride (Prideful Affix) now sees through Stealth and Invisibility effects.
    • Plaguefall
      • Margrave Stradama
        • Plaguebound Devoted health and damage reduced by 40%.
        • Reduced the cast frequency of Infectious Rain during her final phase.
        • Slightly adjusted the timing of Plague Crash so there is a little more time between tentacle slaps.
    • Sanguine Depths
      • Fixed an issue where flying Chamber Sentinels would fail to contribute Enemy Forces requirements on Mythic Keystone difficulty.
      • Kryxis the Voracious
        • Severing Smash damage reduced by 20% on all difficulties.
        • Essence Absorption damage reduced by 20% on Mythic difficulty.
      • Executor Tarvold
        • Fleeting Manifestation health reduced by 20%.
    • Spires of Ascension
      • Lakesis, Klotos, and Astronos are no longer affected by Mythic Keystone affixes that trigger on death (example: Sanguine).
      • Lakesis, Klotos, and Astronos Oppression now increases damage taken by 1% per application (was 2%).
    • The Necrotic Wake
      • When Bloody Javelin and Discharged Anima hits more than eight enemies, the total damage is distributed evenly across all targets.
      • Kyrian armaments (Bloody Javelin, Discarded Shield, Discharged Anima, and Forgotten Forgehammer) now persist through death.
      • Brittlebone Crossbowman damage reduced by 20%.
      • Fixed an issue where Brittlebone Crossbowman’s Shoot was ignoring armor.
      • Brittlebone Warrior damage reduced by 20%.
      • Brittlebone Mage’s Frostbolt Volley damage reduced by 20% and cast time increased to 3.5 seconds (was 2.5 seconds).
      • Brittlebone Mage’s Frostbolt damage reduced by 36% and cast time increased to 2.5 seconds (was 2 seconds).
      • Corpse Harvester health reduced by 29%.
      • Corpse Collector health reduced by 29%.
      • Stitched Vanguard health reduced by 14%.
      • Nar’zudah’s health reduced by 20%.
      • Skeletal Monstrosity’s health reduced by 20% and melee damage reduced by 25%.
      • Loyal Creation health reduced by 24%.
      • Kyrian Stitchwerk health reduced by 25% and melee damage reduced by 17%.
      • Blightbone
        • Carrion Worm’s Blood Gorge applications required to trigger Carrion Eruption increased to 5 (was 3).
      • Amarth
        • Reduced the range skeletons are summoned during Land of the Dead.
        • Unholy Frenzy attack speed bonus reduced by 20%.
        • Reanimated Warrior damage reduced by 20%.
        • Reanimated Crossbowman damage reduced by 20%.
        • Reanimated Mage’s Frostbolt Volley damage reduced by 20%
        • Reanimated Mage’s Frostbolt Volley damage reduced by 36% and cast time increased to 2.5 seconds (was 2 seconds).
      • Surgeon Stitchflesh
        • Embalming Ichor duration reduced to 1 minute (was 6 minutes).
    • Castle Nathria
      • Council of Blood
        • Dreadbolt Volley damage reduced by up to 20% in smaller raid sizes in Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic difficulties. Damage will remain the same in 30-player raids.
        • Drain Essence damage reduced by up to 20% in smaller raid sizes in Raid Finder, Normal, and Heroic difficulties. Damage will remain the same in 30-player raids.
        • Dark Recital duration reduced to 6 seconds on Normal and Heroic difficulties (was 7 seconds).
      • Sludgefist
        • Colossal Roar damage reduced by 10% on Mythic difficulty.
        • Chain Slam damage reduced by 35% on Mythic difficulty.
        • Chain Bleed damage reduced by 35% on Mythic difficulty.
      • Stone Legion Generals
        • Stone Legion Goliath health reduced by 10% on Mythic difficulty.
        • Stone Legion Goliath’s Ravenous Feast cooldown increased by 6 seconds on Mythic difficulty.
        • Stone Legion Skirmisher health reduced by 6% on Mythic difficulty.
        • Serrated Swipe, Serrated Tear, and Stone Fist’s range increased to 100 yards (was 10 and 20 yards).
        • Serrated Tear and Stone Fist damage reduced by 20% on Mythic difficulty.
        • Heart Rend’s range increased to 300 yards (was 10 yards).
        • Heart Rend no longer applies Heart Hemorrhage to the player who dispelled the Magic effect on Mythic difficulty.
        • General Kaal and General Grashaal’s spell cooldowns now reset with phase changes.
        • Volatile Stone Shell absorb shield decreased by 20% on Mythic difficulty.

    With the Stone Legion Generals fight, in addition to slightly reducing overall difficulty, we’re making changes to make it feel more consistent between attempts. This means that while certain abilities are no longer avoidable, their impact together with other abilities should be more realistic to manage, and the order in which they occur should be more reliable.

    View the full article


    Five Re-releases I Can’t Wait To Play (Again)

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    meleheader.jpg

    When you look at the upcoming games of 2021, you can see that this year is poised to deliver plenty of brand-new experiences. Though many exact release dates remain vague, the months ahead will bring impressive-looking games with the potential to show off what the new generation of hardware can achieve – but that isn’t the only exciting thing I see on the release schedule.

    I am looking forward to new games, but I am equally enthusiastic about the opportunity to revisit some of my old favorites in new forms.  After all, as fun as it can be to anticipate the unknown, I also enjoy familiar comforts. This year is looking especially good on that front, with various remasters and updates for games that have already achieved great success and claimed many hours of my time. That isn’t going to stop me from playing them all over again, though. Of all the big re-releases of 2021, these are the five I’m most eager to dive back into.

    braidae.jpg

    Braid: Anniversary Edition
    PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

    Puzzle games can be tough to replay, because once you figure out the solution to a problem, you can’t just wipe your mind clean and approach it fresh again. You’ll never experience the same thrill of playing for the first time, but even so, Braid: Anniversary Edition is making some aspects of this indie hit new again. As creator Jonathan Blow explains in this PlayStation Blog post, the 2008 original is being modified with a variety of changes and additions, including new hand-painted visuals from original artist David Hellman, richer sound, and in-depth developer commentary. As someone who got a bit obsessed with Braid back in the day (see me play through the whole game in this episode of Replay), I can’t wait to see what’s different.

    melegarrus.jpg

    Mass Effect Legendary Edition
    PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    Back when the installments of the original Mass Effect trilogy were releasing, it didn’t take much to make me replay them. I gladly went through each game multiple times to see the different choices and consequences – but I haven’t gone back to BioWare’s sci-fi RPG recently. That’s going to change soon, since this remastered version is coming sometime this spring. EA hasn’t revealed the full extent of the changes in this collection, but in this post from the game’s announcement last year, then-studio-head Casey Hudson said: “For many months now, our team at BioWare has been hard at work updating the textures, shaders, models, effects and technical features of three enormous games.” But even if there aren’t drastic alterations being made beyond some visual upgrades, I will gladly still do a full run of all three again.

    discofc.jpg

    Disco Elysium: Final Cut
    PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

    This narrative-focused RPG from ZA/UM is challenging to describe, partially because it is so unique. Though it reminded me of other games during my playthrough, it is so inventive and unconventional that it defies easy comparison. Disco Elysium has a rich and imaginative world, complicated characters, and various systems that all convey the game’s bizarre-yet-compelling murder mystery. While Disco Elysium was originally released on PC, the upcoming Final Cut brings the game to consoles as well, along with some new content. Returning players like me will notice new political vision quests, full voice acting, and other improvements. Even though owners of the PC version receive these upgrades for free, I’m still planning to try it out on PS5 when the game hits in March (though it comes to Xbox systems and Switch this summer).

    nierr.jpg

    Nier Replicant
    PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    To be honest, I had mixed feelings about Nier at first. I reviewed it back in 2010, and I didn't love it; my enjoyment of the bleak world and intriguing story were dampened by repetitive combat and exploration. However, we recently played through the opening hour of Nier on Replay, and I got sucked into the strangeness of it. The atmosphere of the Nier series is unlike anything else, hitting a sweet spot between hopeful and bittersweet, and I want to give the first game another chance. I’ll be able to do that with the release of Nier Replicant, which is a remaster of a version of the original Nier that only released in Japan (and which featured a different hero). This new edition features extra polish and some gameplay tweaks, as well as new characters and voice performances. I’m especially curious to see what – if anything – has been changed to accommodate players who only were introduced to the series with Nier Automata. We’ll find out when it releases on April 23.

    stardew15.jpg

    Stardew Valley
    PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch

    Okay, I admit, this is technically an update, not a re-release. But the updates to Stardew Valley are traditionally substantial and wonderful, adding new mechanics and options with the potential to drastically change how players interact with this laid-back simulation. The latest 1.5 update has already gone live on PC, but it is slated to hit consoles sometime early this year. That’s good news for me, because I mainly play on Switch these days, and all of the additions have me seriously considering starting a new farm from scratch. I won’t spoil everything here, but an assortment of new options, content, and end-game goals all ensure that I’ll be picking up my watering can for many weeks and months to come.

    Of course, these are just the upcoming games that I’m personally excited to revisit. But the year will give gamers of all sorts plenty of chances to replay other new editions of old favorites. For example,  the remastered versions of both&gt">https://www.gameinformer.com/product/nioh-remastered-the-complete-editi…; Nioh&gt">https://www.gameinformer.com/product/nioh-2-remastered-the-complete-edi…; games are almost here, along with Super">https://www.gameinformer.com/2021/01/12/super-mario-3d-world-bowsers-fu… Mario 3D World that includes the new Bowser’s Fury addition. Plus, the 2003 Prince of Persia has a remake&gt">https://www.gameinformer.com/2020/09/10/ubisoft-remakes-prince-of-persi…; coming later this year. All in all, 2021 is looking promising, whether you’re in the mood for something fresh or familiar.

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    Lawbreakers Deserved Better

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    fe0aunrqdnzykcdcm4g8.jpg

    Games like Doom and Quake shaped my childhood in such a profound way. The run-and-gun shooter type is a go-to for me, almost a comfort genre, and it's a genre that Boss Key Productions' Lawbreakers slid into perfectly. Unfortunately, the launch was anything but successful and the studio behind the first-person shooter faded away into memory. But as we go into a new year and I look forward to seeing what other fresh adventures we can dive into, I can't help but reflect back on how much joy Lawbreakers gave me and how sad I am that it didn't last

    What I loved

    Lawbreakers was released back in August 2017 and its goal was to challenge the more traditional FPS experience by implementing a gravity-defying mechanic that was ridiculously fun. While including some of the more expected features like an objective-based competitive experience, I truly believe that Lawbreakers had something truly special; something that spoke volumes of the passion the team had and the passion of Cliff Bleszinski, Boss Key's co-founder and CEO. 

    The overall setup of Lawbreakers surrounded the idea of two teams of five going toe-to-toe to complete the game's objective. One team played the "Law" aspect of Lawbreakers while the other team — you guessed it — played the "Breakers" role. There were a few modes to enjoy but my favorite was Turf War. Capturing three objective points is a pretty standard formula for this genre but the anti-gravity thrown into the mix made Turf War downright thrilling. With an objective being set to clear as many points as possible until the end of the match, this entire mode was a recipe for one giant mass of delightful chaos. 

    The anti-gravity also made modes like Team Deathmatch uniquely fun. The entire pacing of the game was chaotic and freeform. It offered a lot of freedom to the player in a market where gameplay is more often than not restrictive. It's why I like Destiny 2's PvP so much, being able to manipulate the very air around you for an edge in combat is exhilarating and Lawbreakers nailed this formula down to perfection. 

    The different roles for each faction offered a variety that genuinely kept the experience fresh. Rolling up as a Juggernaut was beyond satisfying, ripping through enemy players like rage incarnate. Being able to just casually throw off players like they were gnats was manically fun. Though obviously slower-moving, I think the Juggernaut was my favorite role to play because the damage was delicious and the destruction was bar none. The Gunslinger was fun, too, and I think a subtle reason why I went back to being a Hunter main in Destiny, and they operated similarly to rogues (like the Assassin role), which is usually my go-to when getting down on some RPG action. 

    Another way that Lawbreakers exceeded my expectations is how dying felt. As an avid Battlefield, Medal of Honor, etc. lover, dying in a match freaking sucks. I feel like a noob, I resentfully watch the kill cam with my teeth grinding dangerously, and I just want to murder out of a place of frustration (in-game — easy there, killer). With Lawbreakers, the very environment was teeming with life and vibrance, and that luster made the act dying more bearable than many other shooters on the market. The roles were allocated evenly and fairly, making death feel less like a failure of skill and more of a strategy misfire. Was that the case? Probably not, I have the precision of a walnut, but the game did make you feel better about those regretful moments of gravity-defying death. 

    Click here to watch embedded media

    What went wrong 

    The game itself was met with positive critical reception, but sales did not reflect that eye in the slightest. What led to the poor sales that eventually caused the game's servers to shut down just one year later? There are a few contributing factors to bear in mind. 

    Firstly, Lawbreakers had a hard time finding its place among other huge releases like Overwatch and the then-dominating battle royale experience PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Despite positive reception, people were just playing other games. Lawbreakers, much like similar games around that time like Battleborn, just couldn't carve out the player niche needed to make it a competitor in a saturated shooter market. 

    Some have contributed the aesthetics of the game to be a reason for its demise, but games like Apex Legends prove that this isn't necessarily the case, because Respawn's battle royale shooter has a very similar style and even similar anti-gravity mechanics on a much lower scale. 

    Another crux was expectations and, let's be honest, pre-launch boasting. Bleszinski has even noted this in the past, having been incredibly upfront about what led to the studio's closure, and even how his own politics became a hindrance when being open about his own beliefs.

    In an effort to experience similar levels of success games like Warframe and Rocket League had, Bleszinski has stated in the past prior to launch that shipping Lawbreakers was "a marathon and not a sprint," which is true but not within the market that it was released into. When going up against already dominating games in the same genre, a clear strategy to show players what Lawbreakers does differently was key. While the pre-launch trailers did hype up the gravity aspect and gave sneak peeks at a few of the different roles, it's clear in hindsight that a more aggressive push was needed. 

    lawbreakers-1280-1502389260852.jpg

    The previous goal leading up to launch included maintaining just the right amount of concurrent players to ensure a decent matchmaking experience, hoping that the ease of access would make the game more playable — and enjoyable — for those hopping in a match. With that being a cornerstone of the strategy going into launch, the lower player count and failure to hook newcomers in thrusted everything else off the rails. 

    In a last-ditch effort to bring in new players and to save the studio behind Lawbreakers, Boss Key released its own take on battle royale when Fortnite was just being introduced (at the time, no one predicted Fortnite would become the massive hit it is today) from the team at Epic Games, which was Bleszinski's previous employer. Radical Heights failed to compete against the heavy hitters dominating that particular market, making two titles in a row with low concurrent players and not enough revenue to keep the doors open. 

    Since then, Bleszinski has left games entirely (even though I'd love to see him return, but I understand the desire not to) while Boss Key co-founder Arjan Brussee returned to his former employer at Epic Games. While there were many stories spun from the rise and fall of the studio on social media, Bleszinski launched two games under his own studio and followed his passion. That's something to be proud of. Unfortunately, that passion led him and his team into an already oversaturated market that only became more so in the following years. 

    While Lawbreakers couldn't make it until the end, it's a shooter that I genuinely love and I miss far more than is probably smart. I wish more people would have given it a chance and I wish that it could somehow get a second lease on life. That team did something beautiful and I will always treasure the small amount of time I had with it. 

    What were your thoughts on Lawbreakers and the Boss Key lifespan? Would you be interested in seeing a revival? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below and tell me what you thought of the shooter that dared to defy gravity. 

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