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Did You Know Gaming Explores The Development Of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

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.

Posted on 24 March 2019 | 9:03 pm

Netflix's Dad Of Light Is Becoming A Movie In Japan

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

Posted on 24 March 2019 | 8:18 pm

This High School Play Of Alien Will Blow You Away

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. 

Posted on 24 March 2019 | 6:37 pm

Watch This Streamer Play All 'Soulsborne' Games Without Getting Hit

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 playthrough 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 run over again. 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.

Posted on 24 March 2019 | 5:45 pm

Dead Cells Has Sold Over 1 Million Copies

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]

Posted on 24 March 2019 | 4:23 pm

Reader Discussion – What Games Have Made Great Use Of The "Ready To Start" Feature?

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.

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 10:30 pm

Power Rangers Fighting Game Battle For The Grid Starts Rolling Out Next Week

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

 

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 9:23 pm

Destiny 2's Iron Banner Adds Power-Fluctuating Consumables

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]

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 8:15 pm

Atlus Drops Teaser Trailer For Persona 5: The Royal

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

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 6:07 pm

Report: Apple Considering Monthly Gaming Subscription Service

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.

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 4:41 pm

What To Watch This Weekend: Dota 2, Halo 3, And Overwatch

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 VThe 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 XrdFighting EX LayerBlazBlue: 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.

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 4:00 pm

Weekend Warrior – The Way Of The Ninja

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!

Posted on 23 March 2019 | 12:00 am

One Year Later, Game Developer Union Discussion Feels Listless

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 understands, 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.

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 10:30 pm

Apex Legends Earns Over $92 Million In Its First Month

It should be no surprise that Apex Legends is one of the most successful games of 2019 by far but some recent numbers put the game's success in an interesting context.

Research firm SuperData reports the game has raked in over $92 in its first month, with most of the spending coming from its console users. This makes it the most successful launch month of any free-to-play game in history, according to the firm. Considering the game hit 50 million players in a quarter of the time it took Fortnite to reach that number, the number is large, but not necessarily too surprising.

SuperData's report also puts those numbers into context, pitting it against the modern giants in terms of gross revenue earned. Its exemplary month places at the sixth highest-grossing on PC, and the fourth-highest on console. On PC Dungeon Fighter Online, League of Legends, and Fortnite are still ahead of it, but it has managed to outpace World of Tanks and Dota 2.

On the console front, it's beaten out by king of the mountaintop FIFA 19, as well as Fortnite and Anthem, which made a total of $100 million in that same month. Of course, Anthem is a fully-priced title while Apex Legends is free-to-play.

For the full chart of top-grossing titles and more stats, check out SuperData's full report.

 

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 7:45 pm

Hellboy Is Coming To Brawlhalla, Just In Time For The Movie Premiere

Things are about to heat up in Brawlhalla, the free-to-play platform fighting game. Developer Blue Mammoth Games revealed on Twitter today that Hellboy will come to the game in April.

It's unclear from the Tweet if Hellboy's inclusion will take the form of a completely new character, like the recent addition of Thor, of if he'll be a re-skin for an existing character – like when Shovel Knight came to the game.

Big Red will make his debut right around the time the new Hellboy movie hits theaters on April 12.

[Source: Twitter]

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 6:30 pm

DICE Outlines Battlefield V's Roadmap For The Rest Of 2019

DICE recently detailed what the rest of the year looks like for Battlefield V. You can see the full list of planned expansions and events here, but here are the highlights, some of which have more specific dates that others.

Chapter 3: Trial By Fire
Chapter 4: Defying the Odds (starts in June)
Chapter 5 (begins in Fall)

DICE says that its chapter four content will appeal to players who like close-up combat and says that chapter five will cover a new "completely new theater of war".

For more on Battlefield V, you can head here to read our review and here to see the game's upcoming Firestorm mode in action.

[Source: EA.com]

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 5:52 pm

Here Are The 10 Best-Selling Indie Games On Switch

This story originally stated Stardew Valley was the best-selling indie game on Switch, which is not the case. Game Informer regrets the error.

Nintendo confirmed at GDC this week that Stardew Valley is now among the best-selling indie games on the Switch. The beloved farming sim now joins heavyweight contenders like Dead Cells and Undertale. The game's multiplayer update that launched at the end of last year likely contributed to its upsurge in popularity.

Here are all ten titles on the Switch's best-selling indie games list, as Nintendo revealed at this year's GDC:

While a few standout titles appeared on the list that Nintendo released last year, many games have not returned this time around (e.g. NBA Playground, SteamWorld Dig 2, Kamiko, Fast RMX, and Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove). 

Nevertheless, if the rising success of indie games excites you, check out our coverage on The Best Indie Games Of GDC

[Source: Kotaku via GamesIndustry.biz]

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 5:45 pm

Microsoft To Showcase Indie Titles Coming To Game Pass In Upcoming Stream

Next week on March 26 at 9 AM PDT, Microsoft is hosting a livestream titled ID@Xbox Game Pass where it will announce several new indie titles that will then be making their way to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's subscription based game service. Microsoft regularly highlights the large new releases coming to the service, but the stable of smaller indie titles is constantly growing, so this gives the company a chance to put the focus on the other half of the catalog.

We already know that previously announced games, Afterparty, Void Bastards, and Supermarket Shriek will make appearances in addition to all new game announcements.

This news comes hot on the heels of Sony announcing plans to have its new State of Play stream the day before on March 25. That will seemingly focus on more wide-ranging announcements for games across the PS4 and PSVR while Microsoft's stream will more narrowly focus on its Game Pass program. In either case, we should have plenty of game announcements to tide us over in the months leading up to E3.

[Source: Xbox Wire]

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 5:02 pm

Devil May Cry 5 Ships Over Two Million Copies In Two Weeks

Devil May Cry 5 is the return to form fans have been waiting over a decade for, and it looks to be scoring S-ranks when it comes to sales, too.

The title has shipped over two million copies across all platforms globally, Capcom announced today. A little while ago, we reported the title was the company's second-biggest PC launch ever (behind Monster Hunter: World), so the milestone should be no surprise. Still, it's good to know that Capcom's attempt to revive the series has worked, which will hopefully prompt them to support the game long-term or get cracking on that sequel before long.

Of course, we already know the game will have its free Bloody Palace update next month, so there's at least some DMC5 to look forward to in the coming weeks.

For more on Devil May Cry 5, check out our episode of New Gameplay Today, as well as the game's absurd live-action cutscenes and taunts.

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 4:22 pm

Judgment's Western Release Date Unchanged After Actor's Cocaine Scandal

Update: Sega has announced that Judgment's release date in the west is unaltered and that the game is still coming out on June 25. However, the company has noted that the mo-cap and voice performance of the character Kyohei Hamura will be "adjusted." While it isn't clear what that means, it definitely suggests Pierre Taki, who was arrested on suspicion of cocaine use, is being replaced. You can read the statement in full here:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the character model and Japanese voice for the character of Kyohei Hamura will be adjusted for the Western release of Judgment, launching on June 25, 2019. Screenshots and trailers featuring Hamura have been temporarily removed from all of SEGA’s official channels. Updated versions of these materials will be made available at a later date.

Original Story: Last year, Sega revealed Judgment, a new title adjacent to the Yakuza series that features a lot of the same gameplay and takes place in Kamurocho. It was released in December to decent critical acclaim and is scheduled to be released in the west this Summer, but a recent issue with an actor in the game may have totally derailed Sega's future plans.

Like Yakuza, Judgment uses real film and often well-known actors to play the parts of the characters in the game for both marketing and performance quality reasons. One of the actors used this time around is Pierre Taki, a member of the Japanese synthpop group Denki Groove Band and actor in movies like Attack on Titan and Shin Godzilla, as well as the Japanese dub voice of Olaf in Frozen. Late last night, Japanese police arrested Taki on possession and use of cocaine, setting off a firestorm that has resulted in the entire game being pulled from shelves and digital stores.

On Tuesday night, Taki took a mandated drug test that showed cocaine in his system, prompting an official narcotics investigation by police. While no cocaine was found in his car, police believe the drugs in his system and a South Korean won bill that they allege he used as a straw for the drugs painted enough of a picture to arrest the actor for possession and use of cocaine.

Sega responded swiftly by removing the game for sale. We contacted Sega of America last night to ask if this delays any plans for the western release of the game, they declined to comment on the situation. Meanwhile Sega will not be shipping any more copies of the game, at least until they do whatever it is they are going to do about it. 

This is not the first time this specific thing has happened with Sega and the Yakuza studio in particular. The recent release of the Yakuza 4 remaster completely recast one of its four protagonists after accusations of cocaine use. It is unclear if Sega plans to do the same thing for Judgment, especially as that would be a lot of work for the same release of the game.

Disney has also released a statement saying that they are looking into recasting Taki in the upcoming Frozen 2.

For the moment, Judgment is still intended to release in the west on June 21.

 

This seems like a massive overreaction on basically every level. I don't think anyone will argue that Taki is virtuous for his drug use, but pulling the game from sale and basically burning his career to the ground over this seems insane. I get that different cultures are going to view drug use differently on societal levels, but considering how possession of cocaine is considered a bigger taboo and career-ender than possession of child pornography, some priorities are absolutely out of whack here.

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 2:30 pm

Sony Announces State Of Play, A Live Broadcast Dedicated To New PS4 And PSVR Announcements

When Sony Computer Entertainment dropped out of this year's E3 and revealed it would not have a press conference around the same time, we were left wondering how the console maker would make announcements. The E3 press conference has traditionally been the place where most of Sony's big new games and technology are announced and teased. Today's announcement gives us a hint of Sony's plans moving forward.

On March 25, Sony will debut the first episode of State of Play, a live stream that focuses on new PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR announcements. The show kicks off at 2 p.m. PST, and will feature trailers, announcements, and new gameplay footage. You can tune on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. After the episode wraps up, a VOD version will be released.

This format appears to echo Nintendo's Direct format, but is slightly different in that it will be live rather than a carefully edited video. This approach will likely give Sony the chance to interact with its fan base as the show unfolds. No running time was revealed.

Posted on 22 March 2019 | 2:15 pm

DontNod Explains Reasoning For Life Is Strange 2's Schedule

Today DontNod announced the schedule for the remaining episodes of Life is Strange 2. One thing that caught fans' attention is the big gap between the fourth and final episode, which is close to fourth months. Today, I sat down with co-director Raoul Barbet and lead producer Luc Bagadhoust at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and asked them about the schedule. Both were upfront about the challenges of developing episodic games along with the benefits they've had from fan feedback. 

"It's more complex to work on this game," Barbet said. "It may look very similar with all the interaction and what you can do. We've [made sure] everything has more impact, we've changed locations between each episode, the amount of work is more important. The idea is to do this right and not rush anything."

"It's really long already, so the idea is to do our best to be as short as possible, but we prefer to take our time when it's possible," Bagadhoust adds. "If we rush, we can't change the episode after, so the idea is really to do our best as possible."

As for how fan feedback has influenced the upcoming episodes, Barbet spoke to a few improvements, especially the way Daniel interacts with you, giving better animation cues. Barbet also said they're adding a lot more characters to Sean and Daniel's Journey, but wanted to avoid any potential spoilers so didn't go into detail. 

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 10:57 pm

Report: Walmart Might Be Working On Its Stadia Competitor

Google dominated games industry conversation this week with its reveal of Stadia, a game-streaming platform that may lay the foundation for a console-free future (although we have some concerns). Another major corporation may soon throw its hat in the ring, though – and it's Walmart.

According to a report on USGamer, the retail giant has been chatting with game developers and publishers since earlier this year and through this week's Game Developers Conference, and that the company is exploring its own game-streaming service.

This isn't too shocking, though; Walmart has spent the past few years positioning itself as a true player in the e-commerce game. In 2016, the company acquired Jet.com, which at the time was one of the fastest-growing e-commerce sites in the U.S. Just last year, Walmart revealed a 5-year partnership with Microsoft that grants the company access to Microsoft's cloud-computing tools, in efforts to reduce operating costs and give its associates support tools in stores. It's likely this partnership has little to do with whispers of Walmart's alleged game-streaming service, but it illustrates the company's investment into cloud solutions.

USGamer's report mentions Walmart Labs – a segment of the company spearheading the retailer's technology initiatives. Several reports reveal the arm is hiring aggressively, so it's possible the company is gathering talent to build its Stadia competitor. Or maybe Walmart's interest is just that for now – interest.

[Source: USGamer]

 

With all this talk of game streaming, its likely Walmart won't be the only tech company looking for a stake in the budding market. The more the merrier though; streaming still has several hurdles technologists will need to overcome for platforms like Stadia to take off, so the more companies taking an interest in the tech, the better. Here's what we thought of the Stadia announcement.

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 8:36 pm

Valve Plans Steam Facelift With Library Redesign, New Events Page

Steam has long been in need of a facelift, and Valve is gearing up to do just that in the coming months. 

When talking to developers about their wish list of changes for the crowded digital marketplace, the most resonant chorus formed around discoverability. This led to several upcoming user interface designs meant to surface and resurface games to players.

The biggest change comes via a redesigned library page featuring advanced filters, which you can see for yourself here. 

The new design surfaces games players have recently played at the top, and a second highlighted area focuses on games in your library with recent title updates. The rest of the library is displayed below with a gallery of Netflix-style box art. Players have the ability to search through their libraries now with custom filters. 

The second major change to the Steam storefront is the new Events tab, which is a one-stop shop where players can see all the games that have received recent title updates or are running special events like a double XP weekend. Think of this space like a mini-blog within the store where developers can write updates about what's going on with their titles. Clicking into an event page gives you even more information, including a more detailed breakdown, screenshots, and even embedded streams. Developers have full control over these update posts, and users can set up notifications and even reminders for when a particular event starts. Valve has included many ways players can opt into notifications, whether it be via personal calendar apps, the Steam client, email, mobile app, or even text message.  

Look for these changes to hit open beta in the next couple of months. 

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 7:45 pm

Microsoft Disputes FCC's Broadband Availability Data

Microsoft is publicly challenging the Federal Communications Committee's (FCC) recent broadband-availability reports. This outcry correlates with the fact that the American government's broadband-mapping philosophy has been under scrutiny for some time. According to Microsoft, the FCC's data "appears to overstate the extent to which broadband is actually available throughout the nation." The FCC currently defines broadband as 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. In some areas, however, Microsoft has asserted that only a modicum of American citizens have access to this standard. 

This issue primarily stems from Form 477 data – a compilation of Internet Service Provider (or ISP) reports that are more likely to present favorable statistics to quell competitor companies. But why is Microsoft so adamant about keeping the FCC and ISPs in check? For years, the multinational corporation has been working on an ambitious initiative centered around transmitting white space broadband – a premium broadcasting channel that provides increased coverage, low power consumption, and reduced consumer costs – to underprivileged areas. "It took 50 years to electrify the nation," affirms Microsoft. "The millions of Americans waiting for broadband don't have the luxury of time." 

[Source: MediaPost via Motherboard]

 

This news could throw a wrench in Google's Stadia plans – the new game-streaming service announced at GDC earlier this week. Despite promising efficient cloud-based gameplay, we confirmed that input lag occurred during our hands-on time with Doom. With broadband issues remaining a prevalent yet skewed topic, Stadia may have a bumpy road beyond its eventual release. 

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 7:15 pm

Tetris Effect's Cut Modes Included A Rock Band-Style Puzzler

During the Game Developer's Conference panel for Tetris Effect, the psychedelic and absorbing version of Tetris released for PlayStation 4 last year, Enhance Games producer Mark MacDonald went into a little detail about the game's cutting room floor. While the game boasts a number of modes for different takes on the Tetris formula without compromising the Tetris formula, there were a few modes that didn't quite make the cut either because they couldn't make it work or it would just take too much work.

Unfortunately, Enhance Games was very specific that we could not take pictures of or record any part of the presentation, so description will have to do.

The biggest mode that didn't make it is a Rock Band-style mode that would have let players switch between different instruments and create music using the effects from the game. So moving blocks, dropping them, etc. would create different sounds with the instrument you had selected, similarly to the way the gameplay works in concert with the music in the main game. MacDonald showed off guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano, and voice, though he explained getting voice to sound right beyond just incoherent yelling was not working right when they decided to the cut the mode. Unfortunately, this Rock Band mode would have needed as much work as a full game unto itself, so it had to be cut mainly for that reason.

Another kind of similar mode was built around the idea of creating lyrics to the music through clearing lines. Like the Virus mode in the game, small non-Tetromino pieces were strewn throughout the board, in this case hearts. When the hearts are cleared, different lyrics would pop up on screen and in the audio, allowing users to construct their own song through their puzzle mode. This also didn't really come together, so it was removed before the game released.

Finally, during Tetris Effect's weekly community events, Enhance planned to have players build statues and structures together. The example MacDonald showed was players working together to build an astronaut who, when completed, would start dancing the hustle, thus leading to the name "Disco Astronaut." Disco Astronaut did not make it to release, as Enhance quickly realized that making one of these every week for a year was absolutely unfeasible.

Multiplayer was also considered for Tetris Effect, but the team was not very into the idea, so they ultimately scrapped it. MacDonald confessed they "did not have any brilliant Tetris 99-like ideas" for it, so it went into the bin.

We at least got a number of really cool modes out of what is undoubtedly one of the best Tetris games ever made, so it's easy not to worry too much about the road not taken. Tetris Effect is currently available for PlayStation 4.

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 6:15 pm

Help Choose What Games Get Inducted Into The Video Game Hall Of Fame For 2019

Every year, The Strong – one of the most prominent game museums in the world – inducts several games into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Today, the museum revealed the 12 finalists for 2019, and you can help choose which titles make the cut.

A committee for the World Video Game Hall of Fame whittled down thousands of nominations to 12 entries, including:

These titles were selected based on four criteria: each has icon status – they're widely recognized; they need to experience longevity and are popular in the long-term; the games have geographical reach and meet each criteria internationally; and they've had influence on games culture and development. Games inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame are put on permanent display at the museum's interactive eGamesRevolution exhibit.

"These 12 World Video Game Hall of Fame finalists span decades, gaming platforms, and countries of origin," says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong's International Center for the History of Electronic Games. "But what they all have in common is their undeniable impact on the world of gaming and popular culture."

Of these finalists, the inductees will be selected by a committee made up of journalists and scholars – and you. From March 21-28, fans can vote for their favorite games on the list as part of a Player's Choice ballot. (You can read about each of the candidates here.) Fans' top three games will form a ballot that will join the 27 other ballots submitted by the committee. The final inductees will be announced during a special ceremony at The Strong on May 2 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

Last year, the committee welcomed four games into the Hall of Fame, including Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy VII, Spacewar!, and John Madden Football.

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 6:00 pm

Control Is Coming Out This August

We've been releasing new features and videos about Remedy's latest game, Control, for the past few weeks, but one nagging detail has remained elusive: When the heck is this thing coming out, anyway? We knew it was coming sometime this summer, but we didn't know the exact date.

Today, an entry on Microsoft's online store accidentally revealed the release date, which we have confirmed with Remedy. What are you doing this August? More specifically, what are you doing August 27? That's when the game will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

For a whole lot more about the game, click on the image below and visit our coverage hub. It's loaded with exclusive interviews with the dev team and behind-the-scenes information. 

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 5:40 pm

Epic Games Announces $100 Million MegaGrants Program at GDC

Starting their keynote at this year's GDC with a bang, Epic Games announced the MegaGrants initiative – a program that rewards monetary support of up to $100 million to ambitious game developers, media-content creators, students, and teachers. Epic Games founded a similar project back in 2015, called Unreal Dev Grants, which provided $5 million to similar innovators. The ceremony for that program concluded earlier this week. 

MegaGrants awards range from $5,000 to $500,000. Recipients will continue to have sole ownership over their projects and have the freedom to publish their work through any and all avenues. Looking to break into the industry using your particular skill set? Head here to apply for a grant.

[Source: Epic Games]

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 5:05 pm

Life Is Strange 2 Gets A Release Schedule For Final Three Episodes

Life is Strange 2: Episode 2 – Rules, which we didn't like quite as much as Episode 1, has been out since January, and while we still have some time before Episode 3 hits, we have a release date: May 9. Along with that news comes word of release dates for rest of the season; The Life Is Strange Twitter page posted a road map for the final three episodes, and it looks like we might be waiting until the end of the year to find out the end to Daniel's story.

https://twitter.com/LifeIsStrange/status/1108760182358564865

While you wait for Episode 3 in May, check out our review of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, the standalone story that preceded Life is Strange 2.

[Source: Life is Strange Twitter]

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 4:41 pm

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy Of The Duelist: Link Evolution Comes Exclusively To Switch This Summer

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam but is making its way to Switch as Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Dueslist: Link Evolution. This version of the game comes with a handful of new features, like 20 new characters and an extended story mode. This version will also include everything that was put out for those original versions as DLC.

Coming out this summer, here is what Konami says you can look forward to in this updated card battler:

No price was given for the game, but the standard version of Legacy of the Duelist runs for $19.99 on current systems. You can check out which new Yu-Gi-Oh! characters are coming to Jump Force or watch us pull rad new Yu-Gi-Oh! cards from booster packs.

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 4:03 pm

Cuphead's Creator Desperately Wants Him In Super Smash Bros.

Yesterday's surprise announcement that Cuphead is coming to the Nintendo Switch on April 18 further blew open the door to the growing relationship between Microsoft and Nintendo. While at GDC, we got a chance to speak with a group of "Nindies" alongside Nintendo's manager of publisher and developer relations Kirk Scott. During the discussion, Cuphead's co-creator Jared Moldenhauer jokingly ribbed Scott by letting the world know how badly he wants to see Cuphead and Mugman in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

"I’ve dreamed of Smash Bros," said Moldenhauer. "[Cuphead and Mugman] belong in there. So basically if fans want it, I couldn’t see how Nintendo wouldn’t want the fans to get what they wanted. I think they would because they support their fans a lot . . . So if Nintendo was keeping their fans happy, then I’d be more than pleased to make that the easiest transition. Just a piece of paper, we don’t need anything. You can have those characters make an appearance."

I asked which characters Moldenhauer would most like to see go up against Cuphead in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. "Maybe just Ice Climbers? Like a two versus two. I’ve been [playing] a lot of the NES mini, and it’s not my favorite game. That's why Ice Climbers came up because it’s like 'Well, that one isn’t fun,' so I kind of want to take those characters and then demolish them."

To learn more about Cuphead on Nintendo Switch and Microsoft's relationship with Nintendo, check out our other article right here. 

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 4:00 pm

Take A Three-Minute Tour Of Battlefield V's Battle Royale Mode

Battlefield V's long-delayed Firestorm mode arrives on March 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Firestorm is a 64-player battle royale mode that places heavy emphasis on vehicles that give players advantages on land, sea, and in air. The series' trademark destruction is also present, allowing players to knock down houses and drive through walls. Like most battle royale games, Firestorm offers just one map, which is 10 times larger than Battlefield V's Hamada.

As the mode's name implies, the world is on fire, and that blaze creates a constricting circle that brings opponents closer together. When you set foot in this world, you'll need to scour the terrain for weapons and gear, and hopefully coordinate with your teammates, who you can revive should they be knocked down. The trailer below does a nice job of selling the Battlefield experience we've come to expect, and teases a few twists for the battle royale genre that could give it a slightly different flavor than we've seen before. Here's hoping the delay ends up being worth the wait.

Click here to watch embedded media


Posted on 21 March 2019 | 1:50 pm

Oculus Quest Is A Dream For Beat Saber Fans

This week, Oculus detailed the release date and price for its updated VR headset tech, the Rift S. You can Read our impressions here. However, Oculus’s other headset – the Oculus Quest – solves one problem the Rift doesn’t: you no longer have to worry about tangling yourself up in cords.

The Quest was announced last year, but this week we had another chance to go hands-on with the Quest at a GDC event, and I walked away impressed by the Quest’s comfort and the level of performance. The Rift S might be capable of displaying more demanding games (since it’s tied to your PC gaming rig), but the all-in-one Quest isn’t a total pushover.

The Oculus Quest features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and provides a resolution of 1600x1440 per eye with a 72Hz refresh rate. The experiences I had on the Quest looked on par with most of the games on the VR market today. Oculus hasn’t announced all of the headset's 50 launch titles, but some of them include: Superhot VR, Dead and Buried II, Moss, Robo Recall, and, of course, Beat Saber.

Click here to watch embedded media

In fact, if you already have a VR setup, you might already have some Quest games, because Oculus has enabled both cross-buy and cross-play between the Quest and Rift platforms. This functionality is dependent on the whims of developers, but hopefully you’ll be able to stop playing many of your games on the Rift and then pick up a Quest and carry on from your last save.

A few high-end experiences – such as Asgard’s Wrath and Stormland – won’t be available on Quest, but the Quest is still a tempting offer because it is a complete VR package. You don’t need to set up extra sensors, and more importantly you don’t have to connect to an external PC. This might not seem like a big deal, but it actually does make a difference. While playing Beat Saber, I was struck with an added sense of freedom I’ve never had playing the game before. Even though I’m used to being attached to a cord when I play most VR games, it still inhibits your actions and occasionally gets in the way. I loved going cordless and I don’t really want to go back.

The Oculus Quest will release later this spring for $399 (64GB), and comes packed with two Touch controllers.

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 3:13 am

Oculus Rift S Hands-On Impressions

This week, Oculus announced it would be phasing out the current Rift hardware for a new Rift S headset that features a significant number of benefits, including built-in audio, better room tracking, and the ability to see the room in front of you without removing the headset.

The Rift S looks a lot like the original Rift, but Oculus actually partnered with Lenovo to redesign how the system fits your head. The new headset feels snug, but comfortable. In total, the unit weights about a pound, and I quickly forgot it was even on my face. Games look a little better too, thanks to the new lens. Each eye now gets 1280 x 1440 pixels (up from 1200 x 1080) with an 80-Hertz refresh rate. There is still a tiny bit of grain, and I still want a wider field of view, but the upgrade is noticeable.

Users can still plug in a headset for the optimal audio output, but the Rift S also features the same integrated audio system features in the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go. This audio sounded a little thin to me, but it’s similar to the audio output of a standard TV, and it gets the job done.

Click here to watch embedded media

Room scale tracking no longer requires external sensors thanks to the built-in Oculus Insight technology, which is composed of five sensors that read your room and help you block off the outer boundaries of your ideal play space. Another great benefit is the Passthrough+ feature, which gives you a good look at the room around you without taking off your headset. Similar to the HTC Vive feature, this is great if you want to make a quick adjustment, send a text, or grab a drink without taking off your headset.

Those who already own a Rift will be happy to know that all current Rift games will work with the S, and all future Rift games will continue to work with the original headset, which may or may not be a good reason to upgrade. The new Rift S releases this spring for $399. If you haven’t jumped into VR yet, the Rift S is a solid option but not a total game changer.

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 3:07 am

IGF And GDC Awards Are Overwhelmed By Indie Winners In 2019

This year at the IGF and GDC awards, held in San Francisco at the Game Developer's Conference, showed a number of games that have achieved prominence in the mainstream over the last year, but also some surprises that the industry recognized regardless of mainstream attention. You can find the nominees below, as well as the winners in bold.

Independent Games Festival Awards

Best Student Game   

Its Paper Guy!
The Haunted Island, A Frog Detective Game
After Hours
En Garde!
Levedad
Sole

Nuovo Award 

Circle0
eCheese Zone
Noita
Mirror Drop
Black Room
Paratopic
Do Not Feed the Monkeys
Nth Dimension[al] Hiking

Excellence in Audio 

Ethereal
Hypnospace Outlaw
Moss
Return of the Obra Dinn
Alto's Odyssey
Paratopic

Excellence in Narrative 

Wandersong
Genital Jousting
Unavowed
Seers Isle
Watch Me Jump
Return of the Obra Dinn

Excellence in Design 

What the Golf?
Do Not Feed the Monkeys
Noita
Return of the Obra Dinn
Dicey Dungeons
Opus Magnum

Excellence in Visual Art 

Forgotten Anne
Alto's Odyssey
Hypnospace Outlaw
Just Shapes & Beats
Mirror Drop
Return of the Obra Dinn

Seamus McNally Grand Prize 

Minit
Opus Magnum
Noita
Return of the Obra Dinn
Hypnospace Outlaw
Do Not Feed the Monkeys

Now the Game Developer's Choice Awards' nominees and winners.

Best Debut 

Polyarc 
Mountains
Nomada Studio
Villa Gorila
Sabotage

Best VR/Ar Game 

Budget Cuts
Beat Saber
Tetris Effect
Moss
Astro Bot Rescue Mission

Best Mobile Game 

Alto's Odyssey
Florence
Reigns: Game of Thrones
Holedown
Donut County

Best Narrative 

Florence
God of War
Marvel's Spider-Man
Return of the Obra Dinn
Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Audio 

Celeste
Red Dead Redemption 2
God of War
Marvel's Spider-Man
Tetris Effect

Best Technology 

Marvel's Spider-Man
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Forza Horizon 4
God of War
Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Visual Art 

Gris
Marvel's Spider-Man
God of War
Return of the Obra Dinn
Red Dead Redemption 2

Best Design 

Marvel's Spider-Man
Celeste
Into the Breach 
Red Dead Redemption 2
God of War

Innovation Award 

Red Dead Redemption 2
Florence
Nintendo Labo
Tetris Effect
Return of the Obra Dinn

Game of the Year 

Red Dead Redemption 2
Return of the Obra Dinn
Marvel's Spider-Man
Celeste
God of War

It was a big night for indie developers, who won a number of major awards. God of War ended up getting the major award from the game developers at the end of the night. What do you think of the winners and nominees as a whole this year?

Posted on 21 March 2019 | 1:39 am

The Threat Of The PlayStation Influenced Panzer Dragoon’s Development


Back in 1994, Sega and Sony both released new video game consoles in Japan. However, it was no secret that Sony’s PlayStation out-powered Sega’s Saturn in many ways. Even among Sega’s internal development teams, the PlayStation was a hot topic, and many development teams were worried Sony was going to eat Sega’s lunch.

During a classic postmortem on the Panzer Dragoon series at GDC, ex-Sega producer Yukio Futatsugi shared a story about how he snuck into a PlayStation developer showcase before the release of Sony’s console. Futatsugi was blown away by the 3D rendering capabilities of the PlayStation and in particular Namco’s racing game Ridge Racer.

“We rode the train home thinking, ‘What the hell are we going to do about this?’” says Futatsugi. “That’s how much we were thinking about the PlayStation at Sega.”


What Sega hoped to do was compete with the PlayStation by squeezing every ounce of power out of its Saturn console. One of the few things that the Saturn was really good at was scrolling through 3D environments, and Futatsugi believed that his team could create a 3D shooter that moved through environments much faster than even the PlayStation’s fastest racing games, and he pushed for speed while developing Panzer Dragoon.

The original Panzer Dragoon was an on-rails post-apocalyptic fantasy shooter that released in the middle of 1995. For the time, Panzer Dragoon was a visual wonder and produced a sense of speed that was unheard of at the time. In fact, the action in Panzer Dragoon was so frantic that many Saturn owners felt that it was too hard. However, Futatsugi and his team believed they had produced a visual style that couldn’t be replicated on the PlayStation.

“The Saturn didn’t pack much of a punch, but looking back, I think we were able to create these unique visuals that mesh very well with the dry world of Panzer Dragoon,” says Futatsugi. “It wasn’t something that was very shiny or glamorous, but we created visuals that were impossible on the PlayStation.”

Posted on 20 March 2019 | 11:15 pm

Doom On Stadia's Input Lag Is Noticeable But Not Ruinous

When Google announced their new Stadia platform, an entirely cloud-based video game system that can be accessed from any device, there were a few immediate concerns. Chief among these is the problem of latency, an issue that has plagued cloud-based gaming in all its iterations from the days of Gaikai and OnLive to rumors of Microsoft's next consoles engaging in similar initiatives. While some genres and even some games lend themselves well to the inevitable delay between pressing a button and seeing an action performed, genres like fighting games and anything fast-paced make the problem way more noticeable.

This is why it was curious that Google decided to show off the Stadia with Doom, one of the most timing-sensitive modern shooters on the market. It was like a declaration from the tech company that they fully believe input lag is a non-factor on Stadia. The bad news is that they're wrong. The good news is that it probably won't matter after a while.

Doom and Assassin's Creed Odyssey were the two games with non-Stadia versions Google was demoing alongside a handful of tech demos. Assassin's Creed Odyssey on Stadia felt like Assassin's Creed Odyssey feels like on consoles. The game is far from instantly reactive in any of its forms, making it a perfect showcase for Google's promises of unnoticeable latency. This is not the case with Doom. Doom is noticeable.

The Doom demo is essentially the PC version of the game set into arcade mode, with options of a Razer Keyboard and Mouse or a Razer controller. Upon researching, I could not find any real evidence or reports that these items are particularly infamous for built-in input lag and all three input devices were seemingly wired. It's not an exact measurement, but swinging your aiming reticle around the screen is not instantaneous, and anyone that has played Doom before can instantly feel the difference. 

More to the point, I was missing shots, and it was initially difficult to time melee hits against enemies. It's not that the input lag makes Doom unplayable, but it makes it harder, and it makes you worse at the game. It's the kind of thing that would make you reboot your console and check your TV settings.

The thing is, after a few minutes of playing, I was still conscious of the difference, but it felt like it mattered less. It was like controlling that big gun in some shooters with the swimmy reticle that dragged behind the input. I knew what was happening and eventually my brain and my hands compensated for that difference. Was it ideal? Definitely not. Was it a way to play Doom in a stream without a console or expensive GPU? Approximately. And that will probably be enough for a lot of people.

In the battle between the perfect vs. the good, Stadia's input lag is definitely not perfect, but it seems like it can be good.

Posted on 20 March 2019 | 9:50 pm

Impressive Demos Show Off The Latest Capabilities Of The Unreal Engine

During the annual GDC "State of Unreal" presentation, Epic Games and its partners showed off several impressive tech demos showing the latest capabilities of the Unreal Engine 4. The real-time ray tracing technology was on prominent display during the cinematic tech demo "Troll" by Goodbye Kanas and Deep Forest Films:

Click here to watch embedded media

The "Rebirth" demo from Quixel showed off the latest advancements in photorealism. The cinematic short, which takes places on an alien planet and showcases a gorgeous landscape,  was created by only three artists. 

Click here to watch embedded media

The "Chaos" demo demonstrated advancements in physics and destructibility coming in the Unreal Engine 4.23 update later this year. Set within the universe of Epic's VR hit Robo Recall, the video shows off large-scale destruction in an explosive fashion:

Click here to watch embedded media

Technologies like these will be leveraged in the coming years by developers using the Unreal Engine 4. What do you think?

Posted on 20 March 2019 | 9:16 pm

Google's Stadia Will Support The Xbox Adaptive Controller

Yesterday, Google revealed its foray into the world of video games with the streaming service Stadia. Shortly after the presentation, Microsoft announced that the service would support Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), a peripheral initially designed for Xbox One to accommodate those with various disabilities.

Bryce Johnson, Inclusive Lead at Microsoft, confirmed the announcement on Twitter:

It is great to see @googleaccess supporting devices like the #XboxAdaptiveController in #stadia. Please consider enabling the copiloting of these devices. It will really help gamers with limited mobility a lot. #googleStadia https://t.co/NiB06a5QBb

— Bryce at GDC (@brycej) March 19, 2019

The specifics of how the XAC will function with Stadia's service is not clear yet but we expect more details to be revealed in the coming month. For more on the XAC, here's a feature about what the disabled community thinks of the device.

Posted on 20 March 2019 | 7:03 pm

Cuphead Comes To Switch This April With Xbox Live Support

Update 2: Over on gaming forum Resetera, Studio MDHR has been answering questions about the game. For Cuphead on Switch, it has been confirmed that:

Update: Xbox's Larry Hryb tweeted that the Switch version will also have Xbox Live Support:

And it will have Xbox Live support https://t.co/CaK9yoplOPhttps://t.co/NPTmql0D27

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) March 20, 2019

Original Story:

Released in 2017, Cuphead is a charming, yet brutally difficult side-scrolling run-and-gunner with a strong emphasis on boss battles and a beautiful hand-drawn art style. Originally exclusive to Xbox One and PC, Cuphead came to Mac last year, but few expected the title to make the leap to other consoles. Now, the Studio MDHR-developed gem is making the leap to Switch.

Cuphead costs $20 on Switch and launches on April 18. In addition, every version will receive a "major," free content update on that same day. For our review of Cuphead, head here.

Posted on 20 March 2019 | 6:15 pm

Yager's The Cycle Will Release Exclusively On Epic Games Store

Early last year, Yager Development, the company behind Spec Ops: The Line, revealed its new multiplayer-focused game, The Cycle. After periodic updates throughout the year on the game's development, Yager has another announcement, this one about exclusivity. You'll only be able to play The Cycle on Epic Games Store.

You can watch The Cycle in action here:

Click here to watch embedded media

The game will enter closed beta this spring. There's also an upcoming alpha test taking place from March 28-30 that you can sign up for here.

Posted on 20 March 2019 | 5:58 pm

Watch An Hour-Long Concert Dedicated To The Music of Red Dead Redemption 2

Click to watch embedded media

Red Bull Music and Rockstar Games presented "The Music of Red Dead Redemption 2" to a live audience in Los Angeles last month, and now you can watch the full performance online.

Woody Jackson, the composer for Red Dead Redemption 2, led the audio visual experience alongside Senyawa, an experimental band, singer Petra Hayden, saxophonist Colin Stetson, and drummer Jon Theodore.

    Two versions of Red Dead Redemption 2's soundtrack will launch this Spring: the Original Score composed by Woody Jackson featuring contributions by Stetson, Senyawa, Mario Batkovic and other guest artists; and the Original Soundtrack produced by Daniel Lanois featuring D'Angelo, Willie Nelson, Rhiannon Giddens, and more.

    In Red Dead-related news, developer Rockstar just revealed major changes coming to Red Dead Redemption 2 Online. Also check out one editor's retrospective on his time with the game.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 5:30 pm

    Kill La Kill – IF Gets Western Release Dates

    We knew that Kill la Kill – IF would eventually find its way to Europe, but now we know when. Arc System Work's newest anime fighting game will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch in the west on July 26 and worldwide on PC a day sooner, July 25.

    Along with this announcement comes the news of two new characters for the game, Mako Mankanshoku and Ultimate Double Naked DTR. Europe will also be receiving a limited edition version of the game that includes an artbook, soundtrack, and a Mak-Roquette squeezie toy.

    Check out our review of their recent fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ and check out the new character for that game.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 5:22 pm

    The Outer Worlds, Control Lead New Slate Of Games Coming To Epic Games Store

    Backed by its generous revenue split and Epic's strong relationships within the games industry, the fledgling Epic Games Store continues to add high-profile titles among its offerings. The latest batch includes two games recently featured on the cover of Game Informer.

    Remedy's latest action-adventure game Control and Obsidian's sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds are both launching on the store when the games release later this year. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Fresh off the success of The Division 2, Ubisoft announced several of its other PC titles will come to the Epic Games Store, which the company plans to announce in the near future. Quantic Dream plans to port Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human, and Heavy Rain to PC for the first time on the digital marketplace as well.

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    Other games coming to the Epic Games Store later this year:

    Humble Bundle also announced plans to allow its partner developers to sell their games on the Epic Games Store as well. 

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 5:20 pm

    Here's Everything You Missed From Today's Nintendo Indies Showcase

    Nintendo held their Nindies showcase today, revealing and detailing a number of smaller and major indie games coming to the Nintendo Switch in the coming weeks and months. Since its release two years ago, the Switch has ended up as a considerable tour de force for indie games and showcases like this, showing off everything from unforeseen ports to major collaborations with indie developers today.

    Here's a quick rundown of what you might have missed.

    What did you think of the indie showcase? Did anything particularly wow you? Let us know below in the comments.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 5:05 pm

    Kid Goku (GT) Is Coming To Dragon Ball FighterZ

    Kid Goku – as he appears in the Dragon Ball GT series – is joining the roster of Arc System Works' Dragon Ball FighterZ. While there are already a plethora of Goku variations in the game, Kid Goku brings his iconic Power Pole weapon to the fight. Details about his move list are limited but from pictures we can see that the Power Pole allows Kid Goku to quickly swing into action and may even be a crucial component to his combos. 

    Kid Goku is expected to be included with other characters during the steady release of the Season 2 DLC. Videl and Jiren dropped earlier this year, but some rumors speculate that Ultra Instinct Goku and Super Saiyan 4 Goku will be coming to the game at some point in the near future as well. 

    For more on Dragon Ball FighterZ, check out our review here.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 4:40 pm

    Tune In Tonight To Watch The 2019 Game Developer Choice Awards

    Tonight marks the 2019 Game Developer Choice Awards where titles like Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II, God Of War, and Celeste are all competing for top prizes.

    The Independent Games Festival awards will also be happening during the same show. You can tune into the awards steam tonight at 6:30 PM Pacific on Twitch.

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    To see what won last year's awards, head here.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 4:35 pm

    Cadence Of Hyrule, A Rhythm-Based Legend Of Zelda Title, Announced

    Today at the Nindies showcase, Nintendo revealed a semi-sequel/spinoff to the indie hit Crypt of the Necrodancer set in The Legend of Zelda universe. Titled the incredibly wordy Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda, the game takes Necrodancer's gameplay and puts a Legend of Zelda skin over it in terms of music, monsters, and graphics in general.

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    Not a whole lot was shown of the game, but it does appear to star Cadence from the original game with Link and Zelda as separate playable characters. Cadence has been transported to the unfamiliar land of Hyrule, but there are still some familiar people and mechanics for her even in the new kingdom. Both the new title and the original Necodancer are developed by Brace Yourself Games.

    Necrodancer's gameplay puts the player in a procedurally-generated dungeon that they have to explore by moving and attacking at the beat of the music. The game has been fairly popular on PC and even got a Switch version fairly recently, which Switch owners can check out if they're curious how this new Zelda-themed spinoff is going to play.

    Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda releases on Switch this Spring.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 4:35 pm

    Oculus Rift's New Headset Receives Price And Release Window

    During GDC, Oculus revealed that its long-rumored headset is a reality and will be arriving rather soon. Oculus considers its new upcoming headset, The Rift S to new the new standard model going forward for the company. Priced at $399 and due out this Spring, the S brings a bevy of enhancements over the older models.

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    Among the enhancements over the original Rift, Oculus says that S was developed in partnership with Lenovo in order to make the headset more comfortable. The resolution for the headset has also been raised to 1280×1440 for each eye, and external sensors have been removed in favor of new tracking technology. You can watch the trailer for the device right here:

    For more on the Oculus Rift, check out our original review here.

    Posted on 20 March 2019 | 4:00 pm