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  1. Past hour
  2. Our month of Control coverage is coming to a close, and before we wrap it up we'd like to source questions from the community to ask Remedy in our last video interview of the month. Leave any questions you still have about the game in the comments below, and come back to see the full interview this Friday! You can also click the image below to get caught up on all the exclusive gameplay and details we've been sharing on the game. View the full article
  3. Today
  4. Vicarious Visions wasn't a big name in gaming, but over the course of 25 years, the studio worked on ports for franchises like Skylanders, Guitar Hero, and Destiny. The studio also developed the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for Activision. Back in 2016, Vicarious Visions' founders – brothers Guha and Karthik Bala – spun off a new company called Velan Studios, and the duo just signed a publishing deal with EA. Velan Studios isn't ready to offer details on its current project, but its press release says that the game is a "new and entertaining way to experience team-based action," and EA will be bring this new IP to consoles, PC, and mobile platforms. “In EA Partners, we found a team devoted to bringing breakthrough ideas to players everywhere," says Velan Studios president and co-founder Guha Bala. "They believe in our creative vision and will use their best-in-class resources to support the success of our game. We started Velan Studios to make community-centered play experiences that are daring and distinctive from what’s being played today. We can’t wait to share the details of our first original game in the future.” For more on the history of Guha and Karthik Bala, listen to our interview with the brothers back in 2017. Over the years, EA has gotten a lot of criticism for moving away from indie games and smaller projects, so this could be a change of pace for the company and a move in the right direction. Time will tell. View the full article
  5. This month marks 25 years since the birth of Bethesda's massively popular Elder Scrolls series, which began with The Elder Scrolls: Arena in 1994. To celebrate, the studio is giving away free copies of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind to PC players, but only today. Bethesda recognizes this milestone with several other freebies: The Elder Scrolls Online will be free to play across all platforms from March 28 through April 4, and to tease its Elsweyr expansion, Bethesda is letting players try the DLC's prologue quest for free, beginning March 25. Bethesda recently announced its plans for E3, where we suspect we might learn new information about its mysterious project Starfield. We predict we'll hear more about The Elder Scrolls: Blades, the company's stab at bringing its tentpole series to mobile, which was delayed to sometime this year. View the full article
  6. Since Peter Jackson's blockbuster film adaptations of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy series debuted at the turn of the century, fans have rarely had to wait for more than a few years between interactive experiences set in Middle-earth. That steady clip continues with a new partnership between Daedalic Entertainment and Middle-earth Enterprises. The Lord of the Rings – Gollum follows the story of Sméagol's corruption through the One Ring To Rule Them All. The narrative-driven action-adventure title promises to remain true to the original lore, but also will explore "new events and details related to Gollum's journey." "We tell Gollum's story from a perspective never seen before, in any storytelling medium, all the while staying true to the legendary books of J.R.R. Tolkien," says Daedalic CEO Carsten Fichtelmann. "At a time when the games industry is undergoing structural changes and seeing new business models evolve, we are excited to realize a huge new production based on a story that has stayed fresh and relevant for more than 60 years." The title is being built by Daedalic's in-house studio using the Unreal Engine and will release in 2021 on PC and "all relevant console platforms at that time." This likely refers to both current-gen and next-gen consoles. The press release intimates that Gollum is the first – but not only – title that will come from the partnership between Daedalic and Middle-earth Enterprises. View the full article
  7. For a while now, people have suspected that Nintendo would follow the model of the 3DS and release new versions of the Switch. According to The Wall Street Journal, it sounds like they won't have to wait long. The outlet is reporting that two new models are on the way. One is supposedly a cheaper version of what's already out there with some features (like vibration) removed. The second model is supposedly an enhanced version of the Switch that's targeting "avid videogamers." Whatever those enhancements are it's not exactly clear. The Wall Street Journal says that sources are expecting the device to be announced at E3 and then be released before Christmas. For more on The Switch, check out the best games you can play on the console here. [Source: The Wall Street Journal via Kotaku] View the full article
  8. Click here to watch embedded media Samurai Shodown is back this year! Whether you played SamSho (that's what cool people call the series to save time) when it released over 20 years ago, or have seen some of its characters pop up in other games, the return of the classic sword-fighting franchise should be a welcome sight. That sight happens to pretty nice, too, what with the watercolor look and all. Jeff Cork and Leo Vader join me on the latest episode of New Gameplay Today to show off a few matches of the latest entry, talk about SNK's recent history, and more. View the full article
  9. What to Expect in Patch 8.2 - Rise of Azshara It has been several months since Blizzcon 2018's reveal of what is coming in Patch 8.2 - Rise of Azshara and so we decided to give you a little run down of what to expect for WoW's next patch! New Landmass - Nazjatar The naga are starting to make major attacks along the shores of Kul Tiras and Zandalar. The Alliance and Horde set sail for the great blue beyond to discover a chasm in the ocean surrounded by waterfalls, leading to the capital of the naga empire. New Story Quests Take the fight directly to Azshara herself New Friends Horde meet a group of former naga slaves (consisting of Makrura, Gilbin, and Sea Giants) held up in a cave trying to survive Alliance meet the Ankoan, a deep sea tribe mostly wiped out by the naga who have dedicated their lives to slaying them. Replayable Content Team is taking inspiration from the best parts of past content zones There will be a tower control point system that is both PvE or PvP in which areas of the map can be controlled by the naga, Horde, or Alliance. The goal is that over the course of playing through the patch there are new things to see everyday. New Foes Old God minions New Naga spellcasters New Rewards, Mounts, and Pets Naga themed weapons and armor sets Crab mount that walk sideways Seahorse mount that is literally a horse mixed with a seahorse. Baby Naga pet New Raid - Azshara's Eternal Palace 8 boss raid Fights include: Naga Hatchery Underwater Boss Queen Azshara Fight New Landmass - Mechagon A previously closed vault in Kul Tiras has opened and within it a radio transmitter sends a signal for help and points to a new land to explore. Ancient lost city of the gnomes The beginning of the adventure is within the Junker Wastes where heroes will be beset by death robots. Mechagnomes will be heavily involved in this story. They introduce you to a whole new society and take you to where higher cast gnomes live who have dedicated themselves to their king and have embraced robotics. They are hunted by robots. King Mechangon has a vision to return anyone of flesh into more pure robotic parts and it's up to you to put a stop to him. New Mega Dungeon - Mechagon 8 bosses Similar to Legion's Karazhan in size. It is mythic difficulty only New mounts and pets to collect inside King Mechagon is the final boss. War Campaign Continues See what is next story wise for Sylvanas, Saurfang, Anduin and Jaina. Magni's quest to save Azeroth will also continue. New Heritage Armor Tauren and Gnomes are next to receive Heritage Armor. New Island Expedition Maps Crestfall (from Warcraft II) Snowblossom (Pandaren Village) Heroic Warfronts Higher Difficulty with higher rewards. These are for teams of 10+ players and there is a possibility to lose. Flying! Pathfinder Part 2 achievement to unlock flying Bee, Gryphon, and Mechanical Parrot mounts. BfA Mythic + Season 3 Nazjatar themed seasonal affix Item level increase PvP New Arena Map- Mechagon Arena Season 3 Vicious Mount is the basilisk. Miscellaneous Every item slot except pants will be able to be hidden via transmog. A portal to Caverns of Time is being added to the portal rooms. A UI update will add pathfinding directions to quests that take place on other continents. View the full article
  10. Yesterday
  11. Nightdive Studios has provided some new gameplay footage of its upcoming remake of System Shock, which shows off the first level of the game. The video lasts around 21 minutes, demonstrating the Citadel station as well as puzzles, enemy encounters, and listening to audio logs. However, Nightdive mentions in the video description that the footage is far from finalized. The System Shock remake had a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 and raised $1.3 million. The game is set to release some point next year. Click here to watch embedded media For more on System Shock, read our feature about how the series came back from the dead and a brand-new teaser for System Shock 3 from GDC. View the full article
  12. From Software's newest IP, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, blends both new and old concepts from the famed developer. YouTube show Did You Know Gaming's newest video provides a deep dive on its development. In the video below, you learn about what it was like for From Software to work with Activision, how the team created balanced tutorials, concepts that were cut (i.e. reading other players messages like in Dark Souls), and how the grappling hook inspired vertically complex levels and more dynamic boss battles. Click here to watch embedded media Read our review by heading here. View the full article
  13. Netflix's Dad Of Light is a heartfelt story inspired by real-life events about a son and his father rekindling their friendship by playing the MMO Final Fantasy XIV together. Now, it's getting it's own film. The announcement was revealed at the Final Fantasy Fan Festival in Tokyo. The movie adaptation is coming to Japanese theaters without any word of distributing it internationally. Other than that, details remain slim. We're pleased to announce a movie version of "Dad of Light" will be coming to theatres in Japan! #FFXIV pic.twitter.com/8GqBhS5YuT — FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) March 24, 2019 The original show is available to stream on American Netflix. You can read our impressions of it by heading here. View the full article
  14. A New Jersey high school went above and beyond for its spring play put on by the drama club, by putting on an impressive adaptation of Ridley Scott's classic sci-fi film Alien. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, North Bergen High School's drama teacher Perfecto Cuervo says he is a "huge fan of the movie," and that it took about two months to script the play. The school's art instructor, Steven Defendini, also provided help with costumes and set design. The play was performed on the March 19 and 22. It follows the plot of the film, and the students even managed to reimagine iconic scenes despite technical restraints, like the famous facehugger scene and when Ridley tricks the xenomorph to get out of the airlock. You can view videos of those scenes below, which were filmed by members of the audience. A parent filmed the facehugger scene. pic.twitter.com/oamxaxikM2 — Paul Owens (@oh_pollo) March 23, 2019 I love that north bergen high school did alien last night as their school play, so I’m gonna keep tweeting about how great it is..everything was made from recycled materials .. so nuts amazing I’m so proud of my hometown pic.twitter.com/EEMEbankDz — Andrew Fernandez (@bhsdrew) March 23, 2019 pic.twitter.com/EKOTAkkT6R — Danijela Belovarac (@Fueledbyjelaa) March 23, 2019 According to one student on Reddit, who goes by emo_kid23, most of the props were made from recycled parts. "School didn’t fund any part of it," he wrote. "Everything is raised by students with most of the sets being made from recyclables." It's admirable just how much effort, skill, and dedication went into building this production. Even the creators of Alien took notice on Twitter. We are impressed! 40 years and still going strong... https://t.co/NJGJIZj2oq — Alien (@AlienAnthology) March 23, 2019 For more on the Alien franchise, read this news piece about how the upcoming Alien: Blackout is in the works. View the full article
  15. With the recent release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, some of us have prepared for it by replaying Dark Souls or Bloodborne. A Twitch streamer that goes by the name The Happy Hob took this to the extreme by playing all five 'Soulsborne' games (Bloodborne, Dark Souls 1,2,3 and Demon's Souls) back-to-back, and impressively never took a single hit. The Happy Hob has attempted a complete no-hit run of the games for months, but this is the first time he managed to actually pull it off. You can watch the entire 18-hour stream in two parts (part one, and part two). Hob created rules for himself, which included that if he was hit by either an enemy or a trap, he would have to start the whole thing over. Back in February, he nearly completed this feat, but was thwarted by Demon's Souls tutorial boss Vanguard. His reaction to finally achieving his no-hit run was expectedly emotional, where he screams, bursts into tears, and hugs his dog. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice released just a couple days ago. For our review on the challenging game, click here. You can also read our spoiler-filled tips. View the full article
  16. Dead Cells, the beloved fast-paced roguelike that came out last year, has sold over one million copies to date. The news comes out of a GDC talk, which was reported on by US Gamer. Motion Twin game designer Sébastien Bénard told the audience that 60 percent of those sales are accounting PC, with Switch being the bestselling platform for consoles. Click here to watch embedded media Dead Cells is available on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For more, read our review of Dead Cells, as well as our in-depth interview with Bénard about scrapped ideas, the potential for a sequel, and more. [Source: US Gamer] View the full article
  17. Last week
  18. One of the many features we were promised around the start of this console generations was one where we'd be able to play games before they were finished installing. We would play early levels while the rest of the game finished installing, or have limited access to certain modes and could play them while we waited. But we want to know: has any game pulled this feature off in a satisfying way? Dead or Alive 6, for all its faults, had a decent version of this feature. You could play versus with a limited roster from the game's full selection. It wasn't great, but it at least let you play the game while you waited, which is more than you can say for lots of games with the feature. Usually, the feature set available in games with a "ready to start" feature are so slim you may as well find something else to do while it downloads. The feature seems so marginal that in a lot of cases, I can't imagine it's worth it to design a good one. But am I wrong? Is there a game that had a great experience available before the game was finished downloading? Is there an open-world game that actually pulled off a way to explore its world before the full install? A multiplayer game you could play early? Let us know in the comments. View the full article
  19. If you've got nostalgia for Power Rangers, and love fighting games in the vein of Marvel Vs. Capcom, next week has a nice little surprise for you. Developer and publisher nWay has announced Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid will launch March 26 for Xbox One and Switch. PC and PS4 players will have to wait a little longer, as the PS4 version hits hits Europe March 28, and America on April 2. The PC is currently slated for "Summer 2019." For those not in the know, Battle For The Grid pits Rangers from across the franchise's many series against each other, and includes a few villains in for good measure. It looks to play similarly to the Marvel Vs. Capcom series, with assist and Tag-in combos similar to Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite. You can grab the game for $19.99, or nab the $39.99 digital collector's edition, which includes a handful of extra skins and comes bundles with the season pass. [Source: Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid on Twitter] Click here to watch embedded media View the full article
  20. Bungie is letting players widen the power gap between players in Destiny 2's Iron Banner mode in some fun ways, and is also looking to rework some bounties that grant enhancement cores. This season, Iron Banner includes the addition of two new consumables: The Iron Burden and the Wolf's Favor. The Iron Burden lops 100 power from your character when you play the mode, making it easier for your opponents to kill you and harder for you to do the same. However, if you can defeat 500 opponents while under its effects, you'll score a masterworked Wizened Rebuke with a curated roll. You can grab an Iron Burden from Saladin if you're up for the challenge. Conversely, the Wolf's Favor increases your power by 100, which makes it a great option for players who just want to hop into the mode but aren't as hardcore about it. Wolf's Favors drop when you complete PvE challenges throughout the game, including daily heroic missions, strikes, flashpoints, gamit, and Ikora/Hawthorne's weekly milestones. Bungie will also be making changes to how enhancement cores drop next season. Currently, the most common way to get them come from scrapper bounties that drop randomly as you dismantle gear. When the Season of Opulence starts, those will be replaced by new bounties players can directly purchase from the Gunsmith, making acquiring them more reliable. The Season of the Drifter kicked off a few weeks ago, bringing with it a new Gambit mode, Gambit Prime, as well as a PvE mode called The Reckoning. [Source: Bungie] View the full article
  21. Marvel Strike Force, the mobile character-collection title from FoxNext, is coming up on its one-year anniversary. While the community has criticized various aspects of the game's live-service approach, such as the implementation of the random nature of its supercharging Red Stars system, reception has been overall positive on the experience and the player base has spent more than $150 million on the game in its first 12 months. I sat down with FoxNext vice president and general manager Amir Rahimi to talk about the first year of Marvel Strike Force, what the Disney acquisition means for the game, and what players can expect in Year Two and beyond. To learn more about the massive Alliance War update coming near the game's first anniversary, head here. GI: You're celebrating a year of Marvel Strike Force with the new Alliance War mode. This has been in the menu as a placeholder since launch last year. Rahimi: This is a feature that we actually came up with at the same time that we concepted the entire game. For games that are live services, you need them to evolve and grow, and you need an almost endless supply of cool, new features to entertain your fan base with. The first generation of games-as-service, you’d launch a game, see how it did, and then you would just start adding stuff. Often times, a lot of big systems you’d see added onto games would feel bolted on and not quite natural. As live-service games mature – and certainly this is what we’re trying to do in this case – you kind of think about it the way you might concept a pilot for a TV show; you don’t just think about what will happen in the pilot, you think about what will happen over the entire course of the show, hopefully running many, many seasons. That was the approach here. We wanted to not launch with Alliance War because the game was going to be a big enough challenge to get out there, but really design the game for Alliance War and design them hand-in-hand. We started working on this feature literally the day we started working on the project, and we’ve, kind of in the background, been slowly working with it and noodling with it and thinking about it this entire time. What took so long to implement Alliance War? By the time we launched the game, the foundation for the feature had already been implemented. We prototyped it and we actually felt it, but the closer we got to launch, the more resources we needed to finish up the game. It was more about having every available person on the team to make sure the core game is great for launch. Then, post-launch, for the first couple of months, ‘Let’s make sure the game is stable, let’s make sure the systems are working well, and let’s plug any holes we see in terms of fun, new features.’ It was more a matter of focus right around a launch, then we turned our attention in a big way towards this. Now, for the past several months, a huge number of people on the team have been working on this feature, and it’s been the focus. The reason it’s taken so long – distractions aside – is this really is a game within a game. The complexity here is enormous. The amount of agency that players have compared to other systems in these types of games is enormous. There are so many edge cases and so many ways to play this mode, it takes an incredibly long time not just to build, but then playtest. You’ve got to live with the mode. We need to play it as much as we can to get a sense of what’s working and what’s not working an iterate on that. With the game doing well and being healthy, and our fans sticking around and supporting us, we felt less pressure to just rush something out there. We wanted to make sure it was great. So we took a couple of months and we invited some of the Alliances in the game to come try it out and got their feedback. You say you had this massive mode concepted before Marvel Strike Force was even close to launch. Does that mean you have the next big Alliance War-size mode thought up already? We do, but it’s a little too early to talk about it because it might change. We also have just a ton of systems that we really, really like and are trying to prioritize at the moment. There are so many different ways we can extend this game that it’s almost an embarrassment of riches because there are so many things that we want to do, and only a limited number of people to do them. What we try to do is balance giant systems like [Alliance War] with smaller systems players will appreciate. Another trap that teams that run live games like this one fall into is that it’s really easy to always do small systems that clutter up your pipe and your roadmap, so sometimes it’s hard to dedicate the time and resources to do big things. We have a commitment to prioritize big systems, which the downside of that is you slow down your general cadence. It’s a really tricky balance. With so much new emphasis being put on Alliances with this mode, are there any plans to improve the invite system? Finding new members or even inviting specific players to your Alliance can be a nightmare. What you’re talking about is one of the most underdeveloped parts of the game, and we’re acutely aware of that and we’re working on better tools for exactly that. What has the team learned from the first year of Marvel Strike Force? We’ve run live games before, but the running of a live game constantly evolves, and the touchpoint with players generally increases, as does the level of sophistication of our player base. When we launched Marvel Strike Force, our cadence of communication with our player base was poor; we weren’t doing a great job of communicating enough, and we heard that feedback and we responded. I think we’ve become better at that. That’s an area we want to continue to improve on. More and more, we realized we’re all sort of in this together. We love having a good relationship with our player base. We love the feedback. We want the feedback. We want to build games in concert and hand in hand with our players. I think it’s a really difficult thing to do, because with a player base as big as the one in Strike Force, you have a lot of different opinions, and pretty extreme different ones. We’ve learned a lot about figuring out the true signal from our player base versus a lot of the noise that we hear. That’s an area we want to get better at. With so much noise and yelling online, how do you take the feedback that you find online and turn it into something constructive and actionable? We have a lot of very passionate employees in the company that are really listening. We have dedicated community managers and customer service who's job 100 percent is to read all these things and filter out what we consider to be noise. It's clear, right? You go on some of these channels and you see people ranting and raving, a lot of times it's hard to take something meaningful away when there's so much passion there. With every game and every service, you have a lot of haters who just want to come and make snarky comments. We try to pay less attention to those people, but there are a lot of people on these channels who are just enormous fans of our game and deeply passionate about it. And very articulate! They give us incredible feedback! When people say something that rings true, even if it's not something we want to hear, it's great because it's a new perspective that we take very seriously. It's not just the customer service people and it's not just the community managers; we have people on our dev team – really talented people who are actually building things – on these channels all the time, reading and listening. Give me an overall assessment of Year One of Marvel Strike Force. This team and studio has been together since 2002. In many ways, this is the most successful game we've ever launched. I think the assessment is that the game is doing incredibly well. We announced that the game has done about $150 million in its first year, but what's more impressive than that is the retention numbers. We're seeing players who installed the game the day that it came... we're seeing the size of that cohort actually increasing in the past few months, which means people installed it the day the game came out, played it a bunch, and now a lot of the ones who stopped playing it are now coming back to the game. It's a lot stickier than I anticipated it to be, and we thought it would be a very sticky game. We're seeing engagement increase, and we're seeing a game that has the potential to be around for a decade. And that's, far more than the revenue numbers, the thing that makes us the most proud about what we built. That's ultimately what we're in it for: to keep a really great community of players happy and entertained for a very, very long time. I think the indications that we're seeing is that Strike Force is one of those games that is going to last hopefully forever. One of the biggest deterrents for a lot of people with free-to-play games is that they often either feel exploitative or unfairly tilted toward premium players or designed to push players into spending money. Obviously, there are systems in Marvel Strike Force meant to encourage players to spend money, but how do you balance microtransactions so that a free-to-play player doesn't feel cheated when compared to premium players? That’s a really difficult thing to do. The way that we look at it is we 100 percent, genuinely want to allow players to play this game for free forever and have a really great time. It’s not our mission to make every single player in the game spend money. We look at our Arenas, and there are a lot of players in the top 50, top 20, even the top 10, who have not spent any money at all. That’s something we’re incredibly proud of. Like any hobby, if a player wants to spend money in our game, we obviously want to empower that and have that be an incredible experience as well. Last year, shortly after Marvel Strike Force launched, I wrote a piece calling the game "one of the most addictive game I've played all year." However, one of my sole criticisms in that piece is that the game had some of the least appetizing microtransactions I've ever seen. How has the team tweaked those to make them more enticing for players? What we try to optimize for is to not gouge players for as much money as possible. We’ve learned that, in a lot of cases, that’s a very negative thing. A lot of times if someone spends too much money up front, there’s things like buyer’s remorse, or the equivalent of eating too much or having too much candy at once and feeling sick. We don’t try to create systems that encourage that. We want players to play for a very, very long time. Obviously we want them to spend money – we’re a business and we need to make money – but we want that to be a very measured spend. If you think about it, say Starbucks; a lot of people spend $15 or $20 a week on Starbucks on coffee and snacks and stuff and that’s a great value for them and they’ll do that forever. What I try to do is build a games business like that, where you can play it for free and you don’t have to spend any money, but if you do and decide to spend $15 or $20 a week or so, you’ll have a really satisfying experience with that spend. One way you've made players feel good about playing Marvel Strike Force is by compensating them for mistakes or outages. We don't often see that with other mobile games. What is the line of thinking in being so generous with these make-goods? One of our core tenants is we do things that players thank us for. We want to provide the best possible experience, so if we mess up, we want to make good on that mess up. If you couldn’t get into a mode for a certain number of days, you just lost out on a certain amount of progress, and we take that very seriously. We take it on our shoulders for the players who experienced those, and for everyone else in the game, to benefit from that builds a lot more goodwill than the cost of what we’re giving out. We’re not trying to hide the fact that we mess up. We make mistakes all the time. We launch bugs and we make bad decisions on our live operations sometimes. We want our players to know that we’re figuring this out as well, and we’re trying our best and we’re trying to provide the best experience possible. We’re going to mess up sometimes and hopefully we’re going to learn from it and get better. An example of listening to players and fixing mistakes seems to be with the Dark Dimension tweaks you've announced. Can you talk about that a little? We wanted that mode to be incredibly difficult. We like having big challenges that are sort of aspirations for players to overcome one day, like a long-term goal to have. What we found was players feel like the entry to that mode is beyond challenging. The first few missions are so incredibly difficult that the mode turns players off. We’re either adding missions or tweaking the existing missions, but we’re going to create a more gentle ramp into the experience, so you can get in and immediately make some progress and feel good about the mode. With such a challenging mode giving players a hard time, do you know when the level-cap increase might come to give characters a small boost? Soon! I don’t know exactly when, but it’s something that we’ve already been working on and we’re queuing it up to go out very soon. I know if we do it too quickly, players get upset, but if we take too long, players get upset. It’s hard to know what the sweet spot is. We got a lot of feedback that we went a little too fast up to 70, so we want to be respectful of the player base. Like I said before, you have so many varying opinions, so sometimes it’s hard to know what the right call is. But I do think there are a lot of players who have been at 70 for a while now who are probably looking forward to that cap increase. Despite Dark Dimension being incredibly hard, some players have already beaten the hardest "Fear the Darkness" mode, which FoxNext set as a challenge to the community. What was your reaction when Widowmaker seemed to breeze right through that mode? That surprised the hell out of us! We did not expect someone to get through it that quickly! We expected it to be at least a year, but we thought what he did was super cool and super classy. When he beat it, he had his entire roster at seven stars except for The Hulk, so we were sure that’s the character he was going to pick as the character we gave out 100 free shards for, but for him to do what he did and hook up the entire player base [with Captain Marvel] was really, really cool. Was there any part of you that was disappointed he chose to give everyone Captain Marvel for free when you had just implemented all those milestones to unlock her? We knew that players would still want to power her up, and stories like this one with Widowmaker do so much good for the community. Giving that many free shards of [Captain Marvel] to everyone. And we have so many characters in the game; we have a packed roadmap. We love doing things like this that just make players happy and do things that players will thank us for. Also, with this login calendar that’s going on now with those milestones to power her up, we’re seeing some of the best engagement in the game that we’ve ever seen. We just look at it as an opportunity to do things that players will thank us for. We know we’ve done things that weren’t great for the community in the past, and we’re learning from those things, but the intent is to create the most entertaining game possible. Speaking of Captain Marvel, she was an obvious choice to add to the roster of collectable heroes since her movie just came out. Some choices are obvious, like when Venom came out and he was added or Infinity War brought Thanos to the game, but what is the overall process for determining which characters are added? It’s largely driven by what you just said. We know that when Captain Marvel comes out, players are going to be so excited for that character that they’ll want to pull up the game and interact with that character; that’s the primary driver. I would say that the secondary driver is our design team taking a step back and thinking about what the game and what the meta needs. For example, when we were designing Nick Fury, we knew he was going to be one of the most powerful [characters] in the game. We want the game to always be balanced, so when he comes out and he’s as dominant as he is, we start thinking about, “What’s a team that can challenge that SHIELD team, but not in a way that obsoletes them, but in a way that creates some fun and healthy competition within the player base?” When we approach it from that way, plus doing right by the Marvel Universe, it puts the right types of constraints on us to figure out which characters to focus on. How many new characters will we see in 2019? I think the cadence at which we’ve been going is something we’ll probably continue. I don’t think we’ll dramatically increase or decrease our cadence of new heroes. We've seen Doctor Doom appear as a non-playable character for special event raids. Are the Fantastic Four on the horizon? You told me last year that while you could get the X-Men, Marvel wasn't giving the Fantastic Four to anyone. That has changed. We managed to secure the Fantastic Four. We’re incredibly excited about that, so expect some really cool stuff to come out. Did that have to do with the recent Disney acquisition of Fox? Not at all, actually. It was completely separate from that. How does the acquisition affect Marvel Strike Force and FoxNext? It’s 100-percent business as usual. We just became a part of Disney, so before the deal is closed, there are some very strict legal reasons why the buyer can’t really interact much with the company they’re buying, so it’s been 100-percent business as usual since. Now that we’re a part of Disney, we’ve been assured that nothing is going to change with the way that we develop and operate Marvel Strike Force. Marvel Strike Force is incredibly important to Disney and it’s a very successful game. We don’t expect to change at all now that we’re a part of Disney. I know it's very recent, but has anyone at Disney assured you that things will continue as they've been to this point or indicated that they're happy with the game's performance? Oh they totally have. We’ve talked to them and they’re very, very pleased with how it’s going. They’ve already assured us that there’s no plans to mess with a machine that is doing really well, and a game that is healthy and entertaining millions of people. They have no intentions in messing with that at all. Can you give any teases for the roadmap ahead? We love the Alliance War feature and we’re really excited about it. What I will tease and hint is that it in a way sort of scratches the surface with that feature, with how you can interact with the helicarrier, with how you can use that helicarrier to interact with other Alliances, how you can collaborate in building up a helicarrier. We’re just getting started with this release and I think you’ll see some really great improvements and even big, giant, new systems that will take Alliance War to another level. Do you have any plans for an event celebrating Avengers: Endgame? We try to do as many cool events related to what’s going on in the MCU as possible, so I would not be surprised if we did. Has the team explored bringing Marvel Strike Force to other platforms like consoles or PC? We haven’t because we’ve been so focused on creating the best possible experience on mobile. That said, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work really well on other platforms. It’s not really something we’ve contemplated, but now that you mention it, I could see it working on PC and console. What I will say is that if you think about the future of the industry, I think lines between PC, console, and mobile are just going to continue to get blurrier and blurrier and the screen that you play on is not really going to matter. You’re just going to be bringing your experience across every single different type of screen. I don’t know if we’ll ever get there for Strike Force, but I do know that’s where the industry is all headed. For more on Marvel Strike Force, check out our in-depth preview of the upcoming new mode, Alliance War. View the full article
  22. Atlus has been teasing something called "Persona 5 R" for some time, but their latest teaser trailer gives us a bit more info the title. Now titled Persona 5: The Royal, it's not clear whether this is a sequel, expansion, or updated version of Persona 5, but I'd lean toward the latter. The Royal takes place in the same locale as Persona 5 and introduces a new red-headed character, who doesn't seem to be into the methods of the Phantom Thieves (according to a translation from Gematsu) and would rather solve her problems on her own. Whether they'll be an ally, foe, or (in a longshot guess here) a new playable character remains to be seen. It isn't a ton of info to go on, but don't worry; Atlus also announced we'd be getting more info on April 24, the date of the "Persona Super Live" concert in Japan. Click here to watch embedded media View the full article
  23. I turned 30 this year and am experiencing a sort of quiet realization that will be familiar to a lot of folks pondering their age: time is a super valuable resource. The scarcity of the time I have to myself is after all the reason I didn’t play Kingdom Hearts 3 when it released earlier this year, mostly because everyone kept saying you had to play through 100-plus hours of content before you even started the game to get the most out of it. I was happy that long-time series fans received the quality game they had been waiting so many years for, but the cost of investing myself in the series to get to that point just wasn’t worth it. That’s not a knock against Kingdom Hearts, but more of a reflection of where I’m at in my life and what I look for in gaming experiences. Cue Devil May Cry 5. Before I loaded up DMC5, I’d only played Ninja Theory’s reboot before, and had not touched any of the mainline series games. I was intrigued by the look of the fast-paced action gameplay in the trailers for 5 and what my colleagues had been saying about the game in their various write-ups. I asked our reviews editor, Joe Juba, who reviewed the game if it was the sort of game you could just dive into without playing any of the others. I promptly picked it up and started playing it when I got home. After a brief video that explains the character relationships and the storyline for Devil May Cry up to this point, 5 loads you immediately into the action and it’s frantic as hell. There are gothy dudes who look like they just walked out of Hot Topic circa 2005 wielding big guns and bigger swords and fighting demons. One guy reads Shakespeare from a little notebook right before commanding his panther to rip the mandibles off of a giant demon mantis thing. Entire buildings are covered in slime and oozing blood and, well, it’s just a lot, my friends. A lot. But not in a bad way. Devil May Cry 5 is so dedicated to its over-the-top antics and thrills that while it does pay respect to the narrative threads running throughout the series, focusing on Nero and Dante’s relationship of begrudging respect, it’s also essentially a standalone game in the ways that matter. I devoured the game in three sittings. As I launched foes into the air with sharp uppercuts and then blew them apart with a literal bazooka, a huge grin broke out across my face. Whatever concerns I had about being overwhelmed by DMC's hefty amount of lore evaporated. I think the best point of comparison here might be The Fast and The Furious film franchise – an epic saga about family and speeding that can also be divided into enjoyable standalone films. Do you need to watch the first four Fast and the Furious movies to get the most out of Fast Five and understand the characters’ relationships to one another? Technically, yeah, but Fast Five also functions by itself as a ridiculously enjoyable movie. You can load it up, watch it without context, and have a hell of a time. And it’s that sort of setup that I appreciate in video game sequels. I love when it feels like a game has gone out of its way to ease me into its world and Devil May Cry 5 does just that with its intro video and focus on action over building a story that really mines the depths of who these characters are. I mean, let’s be real here: this is a game about bonking demons over the head with swords and then blasting their faces off in cool slow-mo. The barrier for entry should not be high and I’m glad that Capcom has made it so. Another sequel I’ve enjoyed recently is The Division 2 (our review here). I did technically play a little bit of the first game before getting annoying by its lackluster shooting, but that amounted to an hour at the most. Alongside moving locales, The Division 2 wisely makes its story standalone. “A devastating biological terror has reduced Washington DC to a city of warring factions you need to bring to order” is a super simple premise to understand and a fantasy that the game does a great job of turning into a playground for you to inhabit. Other recent sequels that take their designation as a chance to bring in new players as well as enthralling fans of the previous games: Resident Evil 7, Red Dead Redemption 2, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Valkyria Chronicles 4. Of course, not every sequel needs to be accessible. Sometimes the very nature of where the series is at and what the entry is going for means that a game has to be pretty inaccessible. I think Kingdom Hearts III fits that bill pretty nicely. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, one of my favorite video games of all time, is also pretty inaccessible to someone who hasn’t played The New Order and I think a large part of the reason those games work well is because it’s a straight up continuation of the fascinating characters the first game introduced. To interfere with that by engaging people who didn’t play the previous entry would probably be to The New Colossus’ detriment. So please don’t think I’m saying that every sequel should be accessible. However, I am pleased that the vast majority of sequels I’ve played over the past year or so, including sequels to games I’ve never touched, have been very newcomer friendly. It’s a wise move for developers and publishers too. After all, I’m already carving out precious time next month to go back and play through Devil May Cry 4 because of how much I enjoyed 5. Making games accessible on all fronts is a great, smart trend that helps build an audience for franchises and one that I hope the industry doesn’t stop embracing anytime soon. View the full article
  24. While Google is making waves in the gaming market with its Stadia streaming service, another tech giant is also looking how it can expand within the space: Apple. Bloomberg reports the company, who is looking for new ways to capitalize on its enormous install base as its hardware sales begin to slow down, may reveal new subscription services to keep users spending after they've invested in their Apple hardware, and this could include a gaming subscription service. The service would be less Stadia and more Xbox Games Pass. It would take several paid games (so no free-to-play games like Fortnite) on its iPhone and iPad app stores and bundle them together every month for a flat fee, letting users slowly build a library of games they don't own. The service would pay out to developers based on the amount of time players spend with their games. According to Bloomberg, Apple could announce the service as early as this Monday, March 25. We'll see if that's the case. The company is also expected to roll out new video and news subscription services at that time, which makes a gaming subscription seem likely. [Source: Bloomberg via Eurogamer] For it users, The App Store has become synonymous with a philosophy of "pay as little for as possible, if anything at all." The appeal of many mobile games, even paid-for ones, is that they're low-investment; if you hate a game, you'll usually be out around five dollars at most. And with the deluge of microtransaction-laden games on the store, people try and then they buy. A subscription service is the opposite of that; you invest a monthly fee before you're given anything, and it's expected that you'll be into most of what you get. But while I'm not confident about the service's appeal, Apple likely has enough users to make the concept appealing even if just a sliver of them get into this. I'm also wary of paying developers based soley on time spent, since it could harm short-but-sweet games like Florence in the long run. View the full article
  25. This weekend we have some majors wrapping up, but also a charity event themed around a classic competitive game. The Dota 2 Dreamleague major concludes this weekend. Will Team Secret and Virtus Pro make it to the grand finals match, or will China reign supreme no matter what? Find out! (Stream / Schedule) The Super Smash Bros. community gathers in Bloomington, Indiana for Full Bloom 5, which features tournaments for both Ultimate and Melee. (Streams and Schedule) Meanwhile, the rest of the fighting game community has two international events going on. First, the Southeast Asia major will host events for Street Fighter V, The King of Fighters XIV, Soulcalibur VI, and more. (Stream) Second, the Japanese tournament Toushinsai will host events for all kinds of anime games, like Guilty Gear Xrd, Fighting EX Layer, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and more. (Stream) You can also catch some PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds action this weekend, as the Relegation of the NPL's first phase concludes this weekend. (Stream / Schedule) Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's competitive scene is having a quick pit stop in São Paulo, Brazil for the BLAST Pro Series tournament. (Stream / Schedule) The Halo 3 scene is giving back this weekend with its Gamers for Giving 2019 tournament, which is partnering with the Gamers Outreach charity for the event. (Stream) The Overwatch League stage one finals come to a head tomorrow, so watch the matches leading up to it today! No Shanghai Dragons though. (Stream / Schedule) If you thought the League of Legends LCS circuit was stopping this weekend, well... you were wrong. Why did you think that? There are ten more matches this weekend. (Stream / Schedule) That's it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed an event, or if there's a scene you'd like us to cover, in the comments. View the full article
  26. Click here to watch embedded media All week long we've been rolling out interviews, previews, and features from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The conference is filled with dozens and dozens of panels from the game industry's leading developers and features loads of interesting little tidbits about game development. After the final panel wrapped up, Ben Hanson, Imran Khan and Ben Reeves gathered together to unload a week's worth of facts and little moments that stood out to them. Watch the video above and let us know what moments from the last week of GDC stood out to you! View the full article
  27. GameInformer

    Replay – Sleeping Dogs

    Click here to watch embedded media United Front Games' Sleeping Dogs had a long and troubled development cycle before release. When Sleeping Dogs was first pitched to publisher Activision it was called Black Lotus. Activision thought it should be an extension of an existing franchise and decided to call it True Crime: Hong Kong. The game then ran into a number of delays and was eventually canceled in 2011. United Front laid off 120 employees and appeared to be heading toward closure. At this point, most games and studios don't get a second chance at life, but for whatever reason, Activision decided to release the publishing rights of True Crime: Hong Kong, and Square Enix swooped in to save the project. The game was renamed Sleeping Dogs and development continued with another 60-plus employees being added to the team. In this episode of Replay, we show off the opening moments of play in Sleeping Dogs' Definitive Edition for PlayStation 4. This brief look gives a good snapshot of why this game is special and why you should play it if you haven't already. We dedicate the entire episode to this one game, and are joined by two guests that fit the theme perfectly. View the full article
  28. Last weekend was all about shootin' and lootin' in The Division 2. And while that game will still be gracing our television screens, we now have From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to sink our teeth into. For those of you who will also be roaming the frustratingly difficult landscapes of Sengoku Japan, we wish you the best of luck. Trust us: you're gonna need it. Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – I’m going to attempt to play Sekiro this weekend, but chances are I won’t last long and will want to go do something relaxing. Overwatch and Marvel Strike Force are always my go-tos, but I may fire up something like Anthem. Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – Sekiro has made a strong first impression, so I plan on still going strong on that. I am also still dabbling with Crackdown 3 and Kingdom Hearts 3. Otherwise I need to watch the new episodes of Arrested Development and I have been making my way through One Piece. I might grill something, too. It’s still cold in Minnesota, but waaaaay less cold than it has been. It might be time. Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – Banking motes and dying twice on the streets of D.C. while I think about Her. Nathan Anstadt (@NathanAnstadt) – I finally finished Final Fantasy Tactics (which was amazing!), so now I’m onto the brave new world of Persona 5. Otherwise I’m going to try and find some good retro video game stores around Minneapolis, which is always fun. Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) – I am now into The Division 2’s endgame and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I also want to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse again on UHD with my family. Now that the weather is warming up, I may even go outside to exercise with a nice little run. As I think about the pain that will likely put me in, I’ll probably just play more Division 2 instead. Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – This weekend I’ll still be in San Francisco after GDC 2019, so I’ll be seeing some old friends and hopefully playing some fun board games! Other than that, on the flight home I’m sure I’ll continue to stare at and be stumped by Baba is You on my Nintendo Switch. I like it a looooot. Have a good weekend! Hunter Wolfe (@Hunter_Wolfe) – Jay and I will be starting The Division 2 together. It’s my first loot shooter, so I’m really excited to try something new. Play games outside your comfort genre – I promise you’ll find love you weren’t looking for! Jay Guisao (@GuisaoJason) – The Division 2 for sure. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, if I have the patience for it, of course. Daniel Tack (@dantack) – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice! View the full article
  29. At last year's Game Developers Conference, the industry seemed ready to pounce on the idea of forming unions. International Game Developers Association head Jan MacLean found herself cast in the role of the villain of the unionization story due to some seemingly anti-union quotes and a defensive posture during a roundtable. A year later, MacLean exited the discussion as a whole, bowing out of the roundtables and sticking to a script that avoided taking a stance on the issue. This left the developers now focusing on unionization under the Game Workers Unite banner, for better or worse, with little impeding their discussions on the subject. While the discussion in 2018 was centered on anger at employers, at MacLean, at an industry that seemingly did not care much for its workers, that white hot indignation has seemingly given way to a number of fears. In two completely full rooms, developers talked about their various thoughts and feelings about organizing under Game Workers Unite or just organizing at all. Developers sat and spoke openly about retaliation from their employers, from the gaming community, and worries about specific situations like international emigration. While the point of these roundtables was to address those concerns, the vibe in the room felt almost lost. Absent at this conversation were what the union could do to prevent what happened to Telltale or the administrative but massive layoffs from Activision. Half the group seemed to want to focus on the nitty-gritty details of what a localized union might be while the other half wanted to discuss broad strokes and it felt like these halves would exchange stances as the temperature of the room changed. One developer mentioned that they had concerns with moving from country to country for the job and having to pay multiple union dues, to which someone answered by floating the idea of an international union, which was met with gentle disapproval. The second day felt slightly more organized, but it does seem clear that the will is there, but the logistics are still being figured out. Unionization seems to be an inevitability, but the anger that fueled it last year has transformed into a number of burgeoning questions and thoughts about the how of it all. Developers I spoke with today did not feel impatient about it, however, but there was concern that, a year later, there are some basic things still not figured out. As a hypothetical, a developer who declined to identify themselves wondered aloud how company-wide unionization within corporations like Ubisoft could even work. The legality of recognizing unions with different labor laws becomes exponentially more complicated in a multi-national corporation with tentacles in different studios around the world. The general consensus appears to be that unionization might need to start with the foundations of a studio-by-studio effort, though it effectively trades away the ability to bargain collectively. It does by all accounts appear to be void of easy answers, which is something it seems Game Workers Unite seems to understand, but isn't positive how to communicate that. Within five years, it is likely most of these questions will be answered, but progress feels incremental in the room. Right now Game Workers Unite appears to be toeing toward making a leap, though whether that should be in a different order is still being debated. View the full article
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