#egmr » A-G http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Sony Very Nearly Lost The Rights To Bloodborne http://egmr.net/2015/03/sony-nearly-lost-rights-bloodborne/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/sony-nearly-lost-rights-bloodborne/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 08:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169065 At present Sony is that weird goofball that keeps screwing up but occasionally redeems himself with things such as Bloodborne. That doesn’t stop its updates from causing issues every damn […]

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At present Sony is that weird goofball that keeps screwing up but occasionally redeems himself with things such as Bloodborne. That doesn’t stop its updates from causing issues every damn time or the company from being the butt of many jokes but hey, baby steps.

The latest little bit of hilarity is that in the week that everybody is raving about Bloodborne, Sony forgot to renew the trademark. We’re all human and we all forget things but this is utterly absurd.

To be specific, Sony seemingly forgot to present a statement of use or request a deadline extension for Bloodborne and four other trademarks. The result was that the company did in fact lose the rights to Bloodborne albeit temporarily.

As soon as Sony realised this colossal cock-up, the company presented a string of TEAS petitions to revive the marks, calling the failure to comply with the received notices of allowance “Accidental.”

The matter has now been resolved and the USPTO has effectively accepted Sony’s petitions, changing the status of all the trademarks back to “live.”

It’s both lucky that Sony managed to reclaim the trademarks but also unbelievably baffling that the company let this happen. Structurally there appears to be something wrong at Sony if things like this are slipping through the cracks along with QA testing on games.

Of course, it could just be that the people responsible were too busy playing Bloodborne.

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Russia Is Working On A Free-to-play Halo PC Game http://egmr.net/2015/03/russia-working-free-play-halo-pc-game/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/russia-working-free-play-halo-pc-game/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 08:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169015 Is there anything about that headline which isn’t crazy? Let’s break it down. Firstly, we’ve got a Halo game for PC, then the fact that it’s working on a free-to-play […]

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Is there anything about that headline which isn’t crazy? Let’s break it down.

Firstly, we’ve got a Halo game for PC, then the fact that it’s working on a free-to-play model and finally that it’s being made in Russia. What’s that about? Well, even more strangely the game is being developed exclusively for Russia.

Halo Online is currently in development by Saber Interactive due to launch in the next few months. IGN Russia got the details at the reveal event and it gets stranger.

The game runs on a modified Halo 3 engine optimised to run well on lower-end PCs.

The game is set on a secret UNSC space station called “Anvil” where Spartans train and test technology. There isn’t a campaign mode, but it takes place after the events of Halo 3 and supports 4-16 players matches.

Curiously, this is an exclusively Russian affair with the game being run and published by Innova Systems. There are no plans to bring it to other countries or Xbox One just yet, likely because it’s been specifically designed for Russia and PC.

It’s hard to believe a game such as this being made exclusively on such a narrow scale and for such a small market. Russia is likely a testbed for something bigger but an FAQ on Halo Waypoint states that should the focus shift to expand, it would “have to go through region-specific changes to address player expectations.”

There is almost certainly something bigger at play here and the release period suggests that E3 may be a bit early for Microsoft to reveal that so a Gamescom reveal of any plans seems far more likely. That said, this could be part of a new structure whereby Microsoft “loans” its IPs out to third-parties in the same way that Nintendo intends on doing.

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Triad Wars Goes Into Closed Beta, Get A Glimpse Of What You’re Missing http://egmr.net/2015/03/triad-wars-goes-closed-beta-get-glimpse-youre-missing/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/triad-wars-goes-closed-beta-get-glimpse-youre-missing/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 07:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168980 Sleeping Dogs was, by our own account, a good game but a great platform for a series. It provided something a little different with some excellent elements such as the […]

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Sleeping Dogs was, by our own account, a good game but a great platform for a series. It provided something a little different with some excellent elements such as the driving and fighting mechanics. It had its issues but did well, given its origins as True Crime: Hong Kong.

When Square Enix announced a Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, it seemed a done deal that the game would be getting that sequel which would build upon its strengths while working on its weaknesses. We were wrong.

Instead, Square Enix and United Front Games took the concept and blew it up into an MMO called Triad Wars.

In retrospect it makes plenty of sense with Sleeping Dogs having a lot of the gameplay systems in place such as Face and competitive events such as races. Given the roaring success of GTA Online, an gangster MMO makes even more sense.

Triad Wars has now gone into closed beta and early impressions seem mildly positive. It looks like an interesting game to play, that’s for sure. Comparisons can immediately be drawn between it and GTA Online but also The Godfather 2.

Up top is a full half-hour of Triad Wars, complete with Russian commentary for all you Dota 2 nuts out there.

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Singularity, The Best BioShock Clone, May Be Revisited Very Soon http://egmr.net/2015/03/singularity-best-bioshock-clone-may-revisited-soon/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/singularity-best-bioshock-clone-may-revisited-soon/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 08:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168922 BioShock was so fresh, unique and critically successful that it was bound to be preyed upon by copycats. One such copycat was Raven Software with Singularity but the upshot was […]

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BioShock was so fresh, unique and critically successful that it was bound to be preyed upon by copycats. One such copycat was Raven Software with Singularity but the upshot was that this game managed to be perhaps the best BioShock knock-off out there.

The influences were strong but the game had its own identity and elements. Ultimately, it suffered from drowning out that identity in trying to ape BioShock. A damn shame really. Now, Raven Software is looking to revisit the world of Singularity.

Yes folks, Singularity is getting a remaster.

No! Mercifully that was a lie. A bad joke that makes my skin crawl.

Yesterday raven Software tweeted something that very tellingly points to what they’ll be working on next.

That’s right, Singularity may actually get a sequel.

The game’s time manipulation hook and slightly different approach to the typical FPS formula served as a solid foundation. With more effort on the story and being its own game rather than a BioShock clone, Singularity could have been rather great. As it is, it was unfortunately overlooked by many.

This in itself makes the revisiting of the game’s universe a little odd but Activision and Raven certainly saw the potential in going back and doing things right.

A LinkedIn job ad for a gameplay engineer gives a little more away than that tweet.

RAVEN SOFTWARE, developer of numerous award-winning games, including contributions to the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise (Black Ops, Modern Warfare, Ghosts, Call of Duty: Online, Advanced Warfare) is seeking a passionate Gameplay Engineer to join our team to work on our next project.

Core Duties:
•    Develop, modify, and debug gameplay and related engine C/C++ code

•    Develop, modify, and debug gameplay code in proprietary scripting language
•    Deploy, evaluate performance, optimize and test software on PC client and server platforms
•    Collaborate with other internal departments (art, design, audio, animation, QA, etc)
•    Co-develop and collaborate with other Activision studios
•    Document software and features for internal and external engineering teams
•    Participate in the scheduling, design, performance and code review process
•    Report to Gameplay Lead Engineer

Qualifications:
•    Bachelor’s degree in a Computer Science, Engineering, or Math related field

•    Shipped at least one game title
•    3+ years of experience working in the game industry
•    Proven ability to collaborate, coordinate, communicate and support other team members
•    Experience in gameplay related fields like AI, physics, animation, weapons, scripting, networking
•    Background in working in multi-threaded code
•    Strong 3D math skills
•    Comprehensive understanding of object-oriented programming
•    Creative, motivated, focused, passionate, results-oriented
•    Demonstrated ability to write efficient, clean, readable, portable, and reliable code
•    Passion for games

The Ideal Candidate will also Have:
•    Aptitude for game and system design

•    Experience working with first-person shooter gameplay
•    Background in ActionScript programming
•    Experience with working with networking services like PSN, Xbox Live, or Steam
•    Master’s degree with some emphasis connected to game development (AI, animation, graphics, physics, networking, etc)
•    Background in Python, Perl or C# programming

It’s pretty clear the studio will be collaborating with other Activision studios on this one though hopefully not in the disjointed Ubisoft manner of doing things.

I may be in the minority but I am certainly keen to see what can be done if the world of Singularity were to be approached from the right perspective in order to be done right.You can likely expect the new Singularity to be running Unreal Engine 4 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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Kojima Is 100% Committed To MGS V But Konami Is Already Tarnishing His Legacy http://egmr.net/2015/03/kojima-100-committed-mgs-v-konami-already-tarnishing-legacy/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/kojima-100-committed-mgs-v-konami-already-tarnishing-legacy/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:00:34 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168890 The hole is still fresh for Hideo Kojima’s Konami grave and already the publisher is proving that it can and will keep the MGS franchise alive without the aid of […]

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The hole is still fresh for Hideo Kojima’s Konami grave and already the publisher is proving that it can and will keep the MGS franchise alive without the aid of the brain that has made the series into what it is today.

Is Hideo Kojima crazy? Clinically so but he’s a brilliant game designer and possibly on the level of an auteur, at the least he’s a high-functioning autistic. So what has Konami gone and done now?

In the wake of Hideo Kojima’s falling out with Konami and Kojima Productions’ excommunication from the Konami corporate structure, series fans had some doubts about the future of Metal Gear Solid and in particular Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Kojima addressed the former when he said earlier this month that even if Konami wanted to go ahead with more MGS games, The Phantom Pain was him closing the loop and would serve as his final game in the series. As for how development on The Phantom Pain is going, we’ve got some good news.

Kojima issued a joint statement with Konami to affirm his commitment to the game:

“I want to reassure fans that I am 100% involved and will continue working on Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain,” he said. “I’m determined to make it the greatest game I’ve directed to date. Don’t miss it.”

Konami’s also reassured fans the game would still be released on September 1 as planned and that Kojima would be involved throughout.

To hammer home it’s previous statement:

“Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. will continue to develop and distribute top-quality content in the METAL GEAR series following ‘MGSV: TPP’ We greatly anticipate and deeply appreciate your ongoing support for METAL GEAR.”

Konami has begun the process of finding a successor to the Kojima Productions team. They’ve somewhat done it before with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance but at best it was a decent game and at worst it was a decent game with a dumb name.

According to Game Centre Online, a source at Konami has also revealed that part of the dispute centered around Kojima feeling restricted at Konami.

“[Hideo Kojima is] extremely passionate about the Metal Gear series and understands the financial importance of each installment,” the source close to Konami revealed to GamerCenterOnline. “But, he has always wanted to be involved in something new.”

This is perhaps why Kojima has perhaps started diversifying with last year’s reveal of Silent Hills in collaboration with Guillermo del Toro. Worryingly, the IP will remain in Konami’s care and without further input from Kojima.

“Kojima, for awhile now, was believed to have been finished with Metal Gear series,” the source continued, “but we needed Metal Gear.”

That right there draws strong parallels with the reasons for Patrice Desilets’ exit from Ubisoft. He wanted to wrap up the franchise but Ubisoft had other plans. Let’s take a look at where Assassin’s Creed is now, that could very well be MGS in a few years with the right kind of IP abuse.

According to VG247, the publisher is already beginning work on a new MGS title and is set to begin auditions for a new team. It’s the end of an era and it’s very likely that Metal Gear Solid will undergo a reboot if Metal Gear Rising isn’t picked up as a sustainable franchise.

It’s safe to say that the franchise will never quite reach the heights it has with Kojima at the helm.

The fact that Konami is rushing to fill the gap that Kojima Productions will leave is slightly worrying as Metal Gear Solid is not a high output series, the last game was seven years ago after all. It’s understandable that Konami wants a smooth transition but to what end? The logical deduction is that the publisher plans to turn Metal Gear Solid into a more profitable franchise with more regular releases and that’s more than a little worrying.

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Comments Of The Week — “F*ck Valve, Worst Company Ever” http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-fuck-valve-worst-company-ever/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-fuck-valve-worst-company-ever/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168852 Slow news day? Try slow news week. On the plus side, Microsoft is rewarding piracy, Valve is doing illegal things and parents are idiots. Let’s not forget that we reviewed […]

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Slow news day? Try slow news week.

On the plus side, Microsoft is rewarding piracy, Valve is doing illegal things and parents are idiots. Let’s not forget that we reviewed Hotline Miami 2.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE.
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Hidden Quest Is Insanely Well Hidden http://egmr.net/2015/03/dragon-age-inquisitions-hidden-quest-insanely-well-hidden/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/dragon-age-inquisitions-hidden-quest-insanely-well-hidden/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 08:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168833 Dragon Age: Inquisition was our eventual game of the Year in 2014 and not without good reason. It is a simply breathtaking and fantastic game with enormous scale and yet […]

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Dragon Age: Inquisition was our eventual game of the Year in 2014 and not without good reason. It is a simply breathtaking and fantastic game with enormous scale and yet incredible depth. So much depth that I still haven’t finished it…

You’re judging me right now. I can feel it. In massive game likes this there are always bound to be little hidden gems or easter eggs or secrets that take some time to discover. It’s just in their nature but Inquisition has a hidden quest that’s gone completely unnoticed for many months now. This one is insane though because you’d have to be insane to do what needs to be done in order to unlock it.

The most insanely hidden thing in a game is surely the maps to Arkham City in batman: Arkham Asylum. This isn’t nearly as bad but the way in which players unlock the hidden quest is just as bizarre.

Legend has it that if you journey to an out of the way corner in the Emerald Graves and jump on a specific rock about 50 times, a secret quest is triggered and Thedas is saved. Not really, that giant green rift is still there but it’s okay because you’ve got a super awesome quest to do now.

According to Kotaku, a BioWare staffer leaked the details of the quest and claims that the reward is a chest full of “very rare” items. Like new boots because your old ones are scuffed from repeatedly jumping on a rock.

Check it out on top courtesy of Project Falcon Punch and by all means, try it out for yourself. Let us know what you find.

I’ve always wondered what the purpose is of such hidden elements in games when the path to unlocking them is so convoluted that no sane person would do it unless told to do so.

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Kojima To Leave Konami After MGS V: The Phantom Pain http://egmr.net/2015/03/kojima-leave-konami-mgs-v-phantom-pain/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/kojima-leave-konami-mgs-v-phantom-pain/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 07:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168830 In the wake of GamerGate it has surfaced that massive tensions between Hideo Kojima and Konami have resulted in an irreparable fissure which could shake the gaming industry to its […]

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In the wake of GamerGate it has surfaced that massive tensions between Hideo Kojima and Konami have resulted in an irreparable fissure which could shake the gaming industry to its very core.

And that is how you write propaganda but seriously, relations between Kojima and Konami are not rosy by any stretch and the developer is set to divorce himself from the company after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Recently we got word that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would release in September but now that date may also mark the end of Hideo Kojima’s long and prestigious link with Konami.

A fallout between Kojima Productions and Konami has resulted int he studio being hit with restricted access to corporate internet, emails, and phone. Key developers at the studio, including Kojima himself, will also have limited opportunities to appear at events promoting The Phantom Pain.

Power struggles between Kojima Productions and Konami have convinced the publisher to make drastic changes, including amending the employee status of its Metal Gear team. Some senior staff at the studio, including Kojima, now essentially work as contractors, not permanent employees.

This was all revealed to GameSpot by an anonymous source within Konami who also revealed that in all likelihood management at Kojima Productions will disperse into the wind as soon as The Phantom Pain hits shelves.

“After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December,” the source claimed.

The person added: “At a team meeting, Mr Kojima explained that team have to be one and make a good game for fans.”

Meanwhile, Konami has begun removing the Kojima Productions logo from all official Metal Gear art, and it has removed Kojima from its executive team. Furthermore, Kojima Productions’ branding has also been removed from Twitter, the official Metal Gear website, and even the LA office listing.

Konami has thus far offered up the following statement:

“As we have already announced, we are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business. Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima), will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”

Break-ups are rarely clean but this seems about as messy as they can get. Whether it will affect the final months of work on MGS V: The Phantom Pain remain to be seen but it’s clear that Kojima’s future is certainly going to be very different once he’s out from under Konami. Whether his Silent Hills project with Guillermo del Toro is still going is uncertain but also unlikely given the present turbulence and what’s still to come.

Earlier this month Kojima confirmed that The Phantom Pain would be his last MGS title and that he was “closing the loop.” In the development of MGS V, Kojima has been even more eccentric and crazy than usual, making someone who is already likely tough to work with even more of a challenge. Such is the nature of auteurs often enough.

Couple this with the fact that Konami likely forced MGS V: Ground Zeroes to be a paid experience rather than a demo and it suggests that Kojima was perhaps not all too happy with how Konami has been treating the final installment in his iconic (again, this is the correct use of the word) series.

Whatever the reasons, we’ll likely only find out the truth after September.

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Do You Fancy The Title “Hitman: World Of Assassination”? http://egmr.net/2015/03/fancy-title-hitman-world-assassination/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/fancy-title-hitman-world-assassination/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:00:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168806 As one trademark dies, so another takes its place. These are the games of our lives. Alternatively: strike down one trademark and two more shall rise to take its place. […]

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As one trademark dies, so another takes its place. These are the games of our lives.

Alternatively: strike down one trademark and two more shall rise to take its place. Heil Hydra!

Yeah, it’s a weird day. Just roll with it and everything will be alright. Okay?

2012’s Hitman: Absolution marked the long-awaited return of Agent 47 for series fans and people who just sort of knew about the character on account of how iconic he is. Yes, this is an appropriate use of the word iconic. Since that time, there have rumours and rumblings but nothing concrete. aside from the unveiling of yet another film that gets the tone and character completely wrong.

Despite its issues we quite liked Hitman: Absolution and felt that with a few changes it could have been the next great title in the series. Alas, that disguise system just wasn’t doing the game any favours.

Since 2012, IO Interactive has halved in size but also confirmed that a new Hitman is in the works for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. the major tidbit given away was that 47 will no longer have his rabbit-hole-like magic pockets. That should make things interesting and add some depth to the gameplay per mission.

The big (rumoured) news today is that Square Enix may have just filed a trademark relating to the new Hitman game. NeoGAF picked up the trademark, filed on March 17, for “World of Assassins.”

World of Assassination was filed under articles 9 and 41 which pertain to “Computer game software; downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; video game software,” with the addition of article 16 which pertains to printed materials.

If the mere mention of the word “assassination” doesn’t set off your Hitman alert then I don’t know what will.

If that is indeed the title then it looks like Hitman: World of Assassination might be more like previous Hitman titles with a more global scale but will also see 47 going toe to toe with other assassins. A Hitman-flavoured version of Kill Bill wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Furthermore, the game will have network features with the asynchronous Contracts mode set to return and may have a tie-in comic series.

More than a few of us at EGMR are eager for more of the Original Assassin with his glorious chromedome but what do you want to see from a new Hitman game?

*Waits for the inevitable announcement of a Hitman: Absolution Definitive Edition*

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Ride Comes From A Troubled Background But Has High Aspirations http://egmr.net/2015/03/ride-comes-troubled-background-high-aspirations/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/ride-comes-troubled-background-high-aspirations/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168616 You’re likely looking at this and groaning at yet another game that takes delight in the sordid filth of motorsport. Of course, if you’re reading this then that’s probably what […]

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You’re likely looking at this and groaning at yet another game that takes delight in the sordid filth of motorsport. Of course, if you’re reading this then that’s probably what gets you revved up. It’s generally the four-wheeled vehicles that get all the attention but on occasion motorbikes will get some love. This happens to be one of those times but is Ride going to be the good or bad kind of love?

Name: Ride
Genre: Easy Rider
Players: 1
Multiplayer: N/A
Platforms: PS4, PS3, XBox 360, Xbox One, PC
Developers: Milestone
Publishers: Milestone
Release Date: 27 March 2015
Price: R355/$30 (PC), R535/$60 (PS3, Xbox 360), R625/$60 (PS4, Xbox One)

One of the main rules established by the pigs in Animal Farm is that anything on two legs is an enemy. Four legs good, two legs bad. By the end of the book that’s been twisted to “four legs good, two legs better.” Hooray for the failings of communism.

Ride is hoping to skip the foreplay and go straight to that concept of four being good but two being better. Except in this case the appendage is wheels.

It’s easy to find a racing game all about cars but a little harder to find a good one. It’s even harder to just find a game centered around bikes. Generally the market is cornered by the SBK and MotoGP but Milestone is looking to muscle in on the territory with Ride. That said, the benchmarks haven’t set the bar all too high.

So what does this newcomer have to offer?

For starters, Milestone has plenty of experience in developing racing games and in fact created last year’s MotoGP 14, something that shows the studio has experience but not necessarily that it can produce a good game.

Oh dear.

Well, the best we can do at this point is to rattle off some facts.

Ride starts off by ticking the right boxes with over 100 licensed motorcycles from 14 different manufacturers. In the spirit of depth and breadth, the game will not only feature current bikes but models dating all the way back to 1987. Good news if you’re into classics.

The game also has 13 tracks to offer including fearsome legends such as Imola with more tracks and bikes planned for DLC. Obviously.

Adding to this is the ability to not only customise bikes but your rider as well. Dainese, Alpinestars, Arai, Rizoma, Akropovic and Arrow have all made their catalogues available so players are free to tweak everything from exhausts, wheel rims, air filters, mirrors and quickshifters to the type of oil used. If that’s a little too complex then players are free to toy around with more superfluous things such as gloves and helmets. Players can even choose whether they want their rider to be male or female (suck it, Ubisoft).

The modes are fairly typical, with online play, challenges, a career mode and the ever-endangered split-screen. There are four classes of bike on tap: Superbikes, Supersports, Naked, and Historical bikes. The game is notably lacking a TT class.

Furthermore, Ride is going to be hampered by the apparent lack of a dynamic weather system. This is going to be a bit of a sore point for any racing fans as visuals are usually a big selling point of any racing game. The trouble is that Ride isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece to begin with, judging by what’s been shown thus far.

Ride looks pretty good but not spectacular. There has been talk of the soft particle lighting effects but it seems a little too soft and the bikes still look very much like renders rather than racers.

The focus seems to have been in-depth mechanics with a system that goes all the way down to a set of indicators which players can use to customise their riding style such as lateral and frontal head angle, shoulder position, seat position, inside knee position and more nuances that may drive a sane person mad.

The biggest question looming over Ride is whether it will be able to take any lessons learnt from MotoGP 14 and apply them to create a solid foundation for a new IP. What’s the point of a fresh start otherwise?

The game seems to be doing things right with no shortage of customisation and elements which bikers will love but it’s going to take a lot to rise to an appreciable level from where MotoGP 14 is sitting. That said, it also won’t take much to at least hover above that game.

 

Suspected Selling Points

There aren’t many motorbike games
There’s a lot of depth to the level of customisation

 

Potential Pitfalls

Despite plenty of experience, Milestone does not have a good track record

Milestone has been at this long enough that it should know what it’s doing. With any luck, that will shine through in Ride but it’s more than likely that the studio will once again make the same mistakes.

The upside is that a great amount of effort seems to have gone in to Ride to make it a game that motorbike enthusiasts can get excited about. Whether that will translate into a good game remains to be seen.

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Toast On Jam: The Order Is A Cautionary Tale In Lazy Game Design http://egmr.net/2015/03/toast-jam-order-cautionary-tale-lazy-game-design/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/toast-jam-order-cautionary-tale-lazy-game-design/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168688 The Order: 1886 is a peculiar glimpse at a game design process so blatantly deficient in the areas that were sacrificed in order to make it the cinematic marvel of […]

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The Order: 1886 is a peculiar glimpse at a game design process so blatantly deficient in the areas that were sacrificed in order to make it the cinematic marvel of modern gaming that it so desperately wants to be. The trouble is that in doing so it only manages to remind us even more that we’re playing a game.

The simple reason for this is that when you go into a game wanting to make it look and feel a certain way, that needs to permeate through every aspect of the game, not just the obvious ones such as visuals (in the case of making a “cinematic” game).

In baking it’s obvious that the ingredients for a baked or refrigerated cheesecake are slightly different but it’s not merely enough to use the appropriate ingredients, to successfully make a refrigerated dessert requires far less attention than a baked one. In other words, it’s much easier to screw up or end up with something that’s acceptable but not what you had in mind.

At this point I’m going to request that you procure a slice of cheesecake in order to fully benefit from this column.

The Order is a lot like that cheesecake. If it was aiming to be a good third-person shooter then that’s a lot easier to pull off than aspiring to be the most cinematic experience gaming has to offer and it seems Ready at Dawn skipped a few steps in the post-preparation process.

The base is made from cookies and 8mm film to be as possible.

The base is made from cookies and 8mm film to be as cinematic as possible.

We didn’t have much love for The Order: 1886 in our review of the game and that’s a sentiment I very much share. It’s not that The Order is a bad game by any definition, in fact it’s perfectly adequate and competent as a shooter and a game. Nay, the problem lies in what the game claims to its primary character trait without realising that this “trait” is as deeply ingrained as hair dye, some makeup and nail polish.

The Order is as much a cinematic and narrative experience as Gears of War.

The notion of making a game more “cinematic” is one that’s becoming increasingly shortsighted and hilarious in its execution due to a fundamental lack of understanding from developers regarding what they are actually trying to achieve.

When an author proclaims that he wants his next novel to be like a masterpiece from Matisse or Dali, they are not implying that it will be a picture book because then the target audience is still in kindergarten. Similarly, biomimicry in engineering is not about reproducing what we see in nature verbatim but rather taking the core concept or function and replicating that.

High visual fidelity, quick-time events and black bars clipping the aspect ratio do not a cinematic experience make.

A cinematic game, as some have tried to realise it, is something of a paradox due to the conflicting nature of passive versus active media but it has produced interesting results with creations such as Heavy Rain. The term “cinematic” is a dangerous term because it is often used to simply describe a deeply engaging game with a strong narrative or characters, plenty of attention to detail, pretty visuals and a high level of polish. That’s all it really is when you strip away the buzz around this word.

Cinematic is merely a keyword to a far more meaningful and less empty description. One of the most “cinematic” games is Uncharted 2 but really it is simply all the things described above. Any “cinematic” quality is inferred by the player who has obviously seen too much Indiana Jones.

So how did The Order get it so horribly wrong?

Quite simply, Ready at Dawn convinced themselves that the path to making a game “cinematic” is to ape film. They took the term far too literally unfortunately.

For all its pretty visuals, clipped aspect ratio and intrigue, none of the characters are really interesting or engaging and neither is the narrative once the game is done teasing its world to you. That may have been forgivable if the game didn’t behave exactly like any other shooter. At no point does it make any attempts to be anything different as far as the general gameplay experience goes and that is where The Order fails. The devil is in the details and The Order is a devout Christian, I’m afraid.

Does that analogy even work?

"Watch out for the black bars on your way down."

“Watch out for the black bars on your way down.”

Transitions between cutscenes and gameplay segments are indeed spectacularly seamless, credit where it’s due in that regard. That said, characters move and jerk just like in any other game, they don’t behave with the calculated grace of a stage performer. Similarly, Galahad behaves like a video game character. Leave him alone and he’s dead but do the same in Uncharted or The Last of Us and the characters do human things, there’s an organic feel to these pre-programmed interactions that allow the player to convince themselves of what’s happening on-screen. Why? Because the pixel clusters are doing human things rather than acting like robots who only respond to user input.

The Order has button prompts and shooting galleries just like any other game.

The Order has regenerating health and magical item pickups just like any other game.

The Order behaves just like any other game while desperately begging people to see it as a cutting-edge cinematic experience. It’s a jarring experience because on the surface is this game that uses cheap tricks to look like a film without understanding the core concept of replicating an experience rather than imitating an aesthetic.

The game takes what it thinks is a short cut to being cinematic without stopping to realise that it’s rushing at full tilt towards a dead end.

With VR and that “cinematic” feel being all the rage, developers need to realise that imitation is a fallacy and, while it takes more time and effort, understanding the underpinning principles and fundamentals of anything is the only way to truly replicate anything. Especially an experience.

When taking something from a completely different world or sphere and attempting to apply it elsewhere, it must first be abstracted and broken down in order to be functionally translatable.

Slapping black bars across the top and bottom of a screen and calling the experience cinematic is as disingenuous as browning the top of a cheesecake and calling it baked.

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PlayStation Is Currently Helping Keep Sony Afloat http://egmr.net/2015/03/playstation-currently-helping-keep-sony-afloat/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/playstation-currently-helping-keep-sony-afloat/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 08:00:27 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168743 PlayStation is a good business to be in right now with the PS4 having just recently pushed itself above 20 million units sold. It’s only a part of a larger […]

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PlayStation is a good business to be in right now with the PS4 having just recently pushed itself above 20 million units sold. It’s only a part of a larger whole though and as a whole Sony has been struggling for some time.

Last year the dissonance between how Sony and the company’s Game & Network Services division were performing was starkly apparent.

Last year the PS4 was selling like crazy to the point where Sony couldn’t keep up with demand, let alone fathom why it was selling so well.

In contrast to this, the company posted larger than anticipated losses at the close of fiscal 2013 and a number of top executives took pay cuts as a show of solidarity. Hey, Eskom! Are you paying attention?

In February 2014, Sony projected losses of 110 billion yen (£637m / $1.1 billion) forecast, itself a reduction from an October 2013 projection of a 30 billion yen (174m / $294m) profit. In late April that figure got worse with new projected losses for the fiscal year ending March 31 2014 estimated at 130 Billion Yen (£753m / $1.3 billion).

With fiscal 2014 fast drawing to a close, Sony is once again talking numbers and it paints a peculiar picture.

While Sony’s phone and TV divisions are not at risk of dragging the company down, they have been perennially underperforming despite the fact that the Xperia Z3 sitting next to this keyboard is a marvelous device. The weight is presently very much on the Games and Network Services Division to carry Sony.

In the third quarter ending December 31 2014, Sony’s GNS division raked in 531.5bn yen or £2.9 billion in revenue. More than any other division. This translated to a 16.8% year on year sales increase, mostly attributed to the booming PS4 sales.

But the “favourable” impact of foreign exchange rates and a “significant” increase in network services revenue (that’ll be all those PlayStation Plus subscriptions) also helped.

Even within the division, while PlayStation Plus subscriptions and PS4 sales continue to print money, the ailing Vita and PS Vita units resulted in a combined write-down of £62 million while Sony Online Entertainment posted a £34 million write-down.

For Sony as a whole, it was a positive quarter. Sales were up 6.5 per cent and operating income was up 104 per cent. But it still expects to report a net loss – its sixth in seven years – for the current financial year.

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has been under sustained pressure to turn the company around and somewhat worryingly, the company’s plan for success relies heavily on PlayStation. What’s wrong with this?

Consoles are loss-leaders.

The more PS4s Sony sells, the more money it loses in a sense but the upshot is that it gains on software sales. We will likely see Sony turning out more and more first-party titles in the coming years to maximise profits and there’s a good chance that this is what drove Uncharted 4 into a far less competitive (and arguably more lucrative) Q2 2016 release window.

Sony’s new business strategy made its presence known last year with the sudden hike in the cost of a PlayStation Plus subscription.

Whether Sony’s strategies will translate into profit over the next few years remains to be seen but putting its eggs into the console basket seems counter-intuitive.

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Overkill’s The Walking Dead Will Be Like Payday But Bigger http://egmr.net/2015/03/overkills-walking-dead-will-like-payday-bigger/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/overkills-walking-dead-will-like-payday-bigger/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168696 Back in 2013 Payday 2 was one of the biggest hits of the year with excellent sales, positive reviews and a player base that continues to play ti now and […]

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Back in 2013 Payday 2 was one of the biggest hits of the year with excellent sales, positive reviews and a player base that continues to play ti now and then. It also made heists cool. Quite separately, The Walking Dead is one of the hottest properties around right now with success across merchandise, comics, TV and games (aside from perhaps that one horrid atrocity).

Now, Payday 2 developer Overkill announced back in August that it was working on a game that would be based in the comic book universe of The Walking Dead rather than the Telltale series which has forged its own path somewhat. This got a lot of people very excited and ahead of the game’s unveiling, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman some fresh info.

Overkill’s The Walking Dead promises a survival experience focused on interplayer dynamics rather than a singleplayer narrative as the Telltale series has done.

Giving a panel at SXSW this week, Kirkman made a few comments regarding the style of game we can expect from Overkill. Unsurprisingly, the word “Payday-esque” was used.

“It will be Payday-esque,” he said, according to Polygon.

“But I’m told it will be in a bigger world than Payday currently encompasses. They are going to be learning a lot of stuff from Payday that they will be incorporating into The Walking Dead game.”

He went on to confirm that the game will be an online co-op experience but also interactive. That last bit confirms that we are in fact dealing with a video game.

“PayDay is an online cooperative game correct? Yes. So it will be it will follow a similar approach. That’s good news,” Kirkman said.

Kirkman’s style of speaking is od to say the least but hey, at least we have a new nibble to go on ahead of the game’s actual unveiling.

The biggest takeaway here is that we’re dealing with a game that will borrow from the comics’ focus on teamwork and group dynamics. If people don’t work together as a unit then it’s likely that someone is going to get bit.

With its pedigree, it’s likely that Overkill will produce a great game but it needs to do a lot to either differentiate itself or at least stand above the plethora of online zombie titles such as H1Z1, State of Decay and Day Z. The upside is that Overkill has brand recognition with The Walking Dead IP.

The mention of Overkill’s game being bigger than Payday 2 suggests an open-world at the very elast, possibly even a persistent one for an MMO experience. Whichever way that swings could determine whether the game succeeds or fails but a limited open-world such as that of The Division could easily play to Overkill and The Walking Dead’s strengths.

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Phil Spencer’s Vision For Xbox Advocates A Stronger Link With PC Gaming http://egmr.net/2015/03/phil-spencers-vision-xbox-advocates-stronger-link-pc-gaming/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/phil-spencers-vision-xbox-advocates-stronger-link-pc-gaming/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 08:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168676 Phil Spencer has been the head of Xbox for just shy of a year and in that time has worked wonders to turn people towards the Xbox One but also […]

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Phil Spencer has been the head of Xbox for just shy of a year and in that time has worked wonders to turn people towards the Xbox One but also to turn around the general public opinion of the console in the wake of Don Mattrick. Thus far he’s done a great job in showing that the Xbox one is first and foremost a gaming platform at E3 and again at Gamescom.

In fact, the Xbox One has had far better press over the last year than the PS4 with Sony somewhat fumbling after such a strong start and despite still leading by quite a margin in sales.

Spencer outlined the revised vision for Xbox One in a recent interview with Eurogamer and not surprisingly, it will play to Microsoft’s grand vision of a platform that translates across all screens with greater cohesion between devices. It also just happens to be something that Sony can’t directly compete against.

The outlook of the Xbox One has changed dramatically since it was first announced, with many arguing that Microsoft has been flip-flopping. That’s not an unfair assessment to make however, I see it as an overshoot problem. In any dynamic system, if you overshoot your target, the system will go into a period of oscillation as it attempts to reach the target, progressively over or undershooting less and less until it reaches a setpoint. This is effectively what’s happened with Microsoft and Xbox One.

After a period of osclilation, the company is finally approaching stability with a very cohesive and unified vision. While it was under the surface with Windows 8, Windows 10 is bringing much stronger unification across Microsoft’s platforms and in the context of gaming, this is good news for Xbox One and PC. This evolution was something that Spencer and Microsoft have had to work on creating over the past year.

“Honestly, it’s new,” says Spencer. “The original vision around Xbox was to deliver a great gaming console that would also be useful for TV and other forms of entertainment, which could lift it to a huge install base and success. There are still great media functions inside the box, and we stay delivering on those features.

“It’s been, what, 11 months since I came on board as the head of Xbox and try and get refocussed on that game vision, showing both the company and ourselves what’s going on in PC and the huge communities that are there and the opportunities for us on what’s going on this screen and on this screen in a first-class, first party way, it’s a unique opportunity for us that we can step into. It’s something we’ve built out over the summer, and that’s why Minecraft made sense – it’s a viral thing across so many screens, and it’s a conduit for us to learn about what does it mean when people touch your service across all these different screens and what do they expect – it’s something that’s come together over the last year.”

While Microsoft has been putting these new goals in place, Sony saw an opportunity to pull even further ahead and did just that with current PS4 sales sitting at over 20 million worldwide. Despite that, Spencer is optimistic and confident about the future.

“That’s great,” says Spencer, before addressing how Microsoft is going about catching up. “We had a great November and December both in the UK and the US. Sony’s off to a tremendous run with the PS4, and it’s kudos to them and the vision they’ve had with that machine. And it’s not in a teasing way – I applaud them, it’s great to see. Here, it’s interesting as I see so many companies coming to console.

“Three years ago, it was why would anyone buy a dedicated device plugged into a TV, everyone’s playing on their iPad. Now you’ve got nVidia creating a console, Valve’s creating a console, Sony’s having huge success with PS4 and we’re selling more Xbox Ones than we sold 360s at this point. It feels like the space is active. In terms of the question of does this help us, I think it does. What it really does is bring in a larger community of game developers who want to bring their game to our platform, because you’re looking at hundreds of millions if not a billion people you can touch through this common core operating system, core application framework, DirectX, Xbox Live.

“We’re trying to create a common set of tools and technologies that game developers can use to get to all the screens. We’re seeing the benefit now on Xbox One of that bringing more games in – in our video, we said if you’re going to develop for Windows why wouldn’t you develop for Xbox One, it’s basically a checkbox in the compiler. I think it’s all about the games, and in the end you’ve got to have great content, and that’s how I look at it.”

Cross-platform gaming is something Sony has been trying on various levels with the Vita and cross-buy to lukewarm success in an attempt to boost the handheld console’s profile. Microsoft’s idea of cross-platform play and purchasing comes from a much stronger position and makes far more sense in addition to being a huge incentive over the PS4.

Fable Legends is one of the first major titles being launched across Xbox One and PC, it’s likely only a matter of time before more studios follow suit.

“I think the opportunity to reach your customer wherever they are, it’s gaming today, but it’s definitely the future,” says Spencer. “Game developers have become so good at engagement and retention and the monetising of that time – the opportunity to engage with the customer regardless of what screen they sit down on, you want to have a game that’s appropriate for the screen they sit down on. You want to have a game that’s appropriate for the screen they’re on. But I think the opportunity is tremendous.

“It’s not something we’re forcing, that a game has to support all the platforms, but more developers than not when we talk to them about the opportunity see it. Why wouldn’t they want someone playing their game whether they’re at home or at work, on their laptop on their television. I want that television experience to be unique and special, and you can do that with the Xbox One, but I also want them to be able to play it wherever they are.”

The local streaming capabilities on Windows 10 make it possible to play games such as Forza on PC but the translation lacks finesse. Native ports are something that Microsoft may consider on a case by case basis.

“There isn’t a tremendous request today for racing games like Forza on PC,” says Spencer. “Obviously through the streaming we showed in January you’ll be able to play on any of the PCs you have in your home. I don’t want to build things because you can build them, I want to build things that our customers are asking for.

“We obviously put Halo on PC before – you go back and look and there’s obviously strong… The first-person shooter space on PC is a little bit different than on console if you look at the business model and other things that work, so we’d want to land the right experience. If you play this out – so let’s not talk about the next 6 months but talk about the next three or four years – you’ll see more and more developers that are building these games that are appropriate for any screen that the gamer’s sitting down on. And that’s just more opportunity for gamers and developers.”

Spencer’s first year in the hotseat at Microsoft has been a largely positive one and certainly one that managed to build forward momentum in a gaming year mired by controversy and roadblocks.

The way forward for Xbox One is still a long one in order to catch up to Sony but Microsoft certainly has the momentum and vision to do so. It will be interesting to see what comes out of a tighter bond between Xbox One and PC.

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Comments Of The Week — “Am I A Dad Yet?” http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-dad-yet/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-dad-yet/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168608 Surprise, surprise, this week saw plenty of games getting delayed. It’s hardly a surprise anymore but aside from that, it’s been a slow week. Sony announced a cool new firmware […]

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Surprise, surprise, this week saw plenty of games getting delayed. It’s hardly a surprise anymore but aside from that, it’s been a slow week.

Sony announced a cool new firmware update, then did something terrible to a PSN subscriber. Meanwhile we pointed out what can happen when a game gets a lengthy delay, reviewed a game that manages to be good without guns, sex or cars and Caveshen wrote something truly excellent on GamerGate.

A special thanks to Terry Pratchett who passed away at the age of 66 this week. His works are embedded in the minds and imaginations of so many.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE.
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Valiant Hearts Developer Is Tired Of Ubisoft’s Impersonal Approach And Being “Fake Indie” http://egmr.net/2015/03/valiant-hearts-developer-tired-ubisofts-impersonal-approach-fake-indie/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/valiant-hearts-developer-tired-ubisofts-impersonal-approach-fake-indie/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168580 Valiant Hearts: The Great War is easily one of the best games of 2014 which is odd given that it came from Ubisoft, the same company that stirred up so […]

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War is easily one of the best games of 2014 which is odd given that it came from Ubisoft, the same company that stirred up so much controversy with watch Dogs, Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

In 2014 Ubisoft got labelled as the new EA and that label is becoming increasingly appropriate.

The company no longer approaches its games and IPs as creative works but rather platforms for more sequels with the focus during development being time rather than quality. This is why the company was able to turn out three huge games in the same year yet they were all mechanically quite similar and all had their own plethora of issues. Triple-A development at Ubisoft has become a matter of subdivision rather than cohesion. Quantity over quality and the developers involved are becoming increasingly just like cogs in a machine.

This is why Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry have rotating teams rather than a driving core team to guide the series. A distinct voice for either series doesn’t matter to Ubisoft.

Curiously, last year also saw Ubisoft release two games that were each great in their own right but unmistakably trying quite hard to appear indie. One was Valiant Hearts, which won the company plenty of awards.

Having worked on Assassin’s Creed, Beyond Good & Evil and Valiant Hearts, the 2014 game’s content director Yoan Fanise has finally had enough and decided to leave Ubisoft after 14 years.

It was a very hard decision. The last 14 years in Ubisoft are unforgettable; it is like a family. I am proud to have been part of some of the most creative teams in the industry.

I’ve been lucky to develop games in very diverse types and sizes; the diversity of Ubisoft games and people is one of its best strength. As you can see in the photo, Beyond Good & Evil was a 30+ team production with a unique, creative mood that Michel Ancel is able to bring.

The more we grew, the more this mood diminished. 100, 250, 500 people…it was necessary due to the technical evolution and AAA requirements, but on the creative and human side something was missing.

I mean the industrial scale and organization of a giant project like Assassin’s Creed removes some direct connection between people from different job categories, for example. Your interactions are limited, and it is really difficult to have a global vision of the finished game. But at that scale, it would be very hard to make it different.

On Valiant Hearts we wanted to bring back the Beyond Good & Evil spirit, the collegial creative process; we were all involved with the script, the level design, the game design. Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft’s CEO, fell in love with the project and made it possible even if the subject was not “sexy” marketing-wise.

I mean, business-wise, even if the game is a success, with over a million players and many awards, this is still small revenue compared to blockbusters. That’s the harsh reality.

While harsh, Fanise’s words are extremely true and paint the picture we’ve all gleaned of Ubisoft over the years.

In the same way that EA pushed out some of the driving forces in the studios it has swallowed up, Ubisoft seems to be alienating its best and brightest developers. Why? Because it operates very well as a business but forgets that there are highly creative people involved most of the time. Occasionally it will give them outlets such as Valiant Hearts or Child of Light.

This is just the latest in a pattern that has been emerging since Patrice Desilets’ departure from the studio in 2010 over strongly suspected disagreements between Desilets and executives regarding the way forward for Assassin’s Creed.

A couple of years later, more developers left the Montreal studio to start up Red Barrels, the studio that would go on to create Outlast.

In the past year Michel Ancel, Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil creator, has started up his own indie studio and even Jade Raymond has left.

With Ubisoft’s margins rising, its IPs expanding and its games generally becoming more homogenised, expect more developers such as Ancel and Fanise to jump ship.

Ubisoft has arguably grown too big for its own good and it is unlikely the company will ever be able to recreate the intimiate collegial creative process that allowed for masterpieces such as Beyond Good & Evil or Prince of Persia to emerge aside from on small projects such as Valiant Hearts. Anything bigger will be twisted and contorted to suit the mould Ubisoft needs for a hugely successful but ultimately empty triple-A experience.

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Titanfall 2 Announced, Get Ready For Multiplatform Hype http://egmr.net/2015/03/titanfall-2-announced-get-ready-multiplatform-hype/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/titanfall-2-announced-get-ready-multiplatform-hype/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 08:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168581 Titanfall, sometimes referred to as Evolve done right, was easily one of the most-hyped games of the new generation’s launch period titles and with good reason. It had an interesting […]

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Titanfall, sometimes referred to as Evolve done right, was easily one of the most-hyped games of the new generation’s launch period titles and with good reason. It had an interesting concept in being a multiplayer-only game from the minds that revitalised Call of Duty, with gameplay that promised a fresh experience in its verticality as well as the asymmetry of pilots fighting against mechs. The eventual game was good, decent fun and really nothing hugely special but by the end of Microsoft and EA’s hype-fest it’s safe to say that everyone had seen Titanfall.

It’s no surprise then that Titanfall is getting a sequel.

At the BAFTA Game Awards last night, Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella told IGN that the studio is in fact working on Titanfall 2 (shocking revelation).

“I guess EA announced a sequel, so I could play coy and pretend I don’t know anything about it, or… yeah. So we’re working on a sequel,” he said. “No official name yet, but we’re working on that. That’s the main focus but we’re starting up a second team and doing some smaller stuff too.

“Small, exploratory, taking it slow! It’ll be multiplatform.”

There was always going to be a Titanfall 2 but the big takeaway is that the sequel will be multiplatform. Granted, that’s something which Respawn all but painted on their office walls in the months leading up to Titanfall’s release with regular reminders that the exclusivity contract with Microsoft was only for the game and not for the entire IP.

So Titanfall 2 will be comign to Xbox, PC and PlayStation then but whether it will remain cross-generational is a different story. Of course, if any game should be, it should be Titanfall 2, with the original managing to exist on the Xbox 360 without losing anything.

Titanfall provided a solid base to build on but one of the criticisms we had of the game was that it lacked some basic elements and features for a multiplayer game. This ultimately hampered it and could be why the game enjoyed success but didn’t quite take off the way Microsoft or Respawn had hoped it would.

“I think that’s a fantastic way to do it,” said Zampella. “I think having the maps [released in paid] packs, splits the community and it makes it harder for matchmaking, it’s messy. I don’t know we won’t do it again, I can’t say that for sure, but the idea would be to do something different.”

“As content creators you want to get into as many peoples’s hands as possible,” he continued. “We put some single-player elements in there though, and tried to mix it up. Maybe we could have mixed things up a bit better.

“It’s tough, because if you hit people over the head with it it becomes intrusive, and there are people who don’t want or care about it. Where does the needle fall? I think it takes a while to figure that out.”

The big takeaway is that Respawn has certainly learnt from some of its mistakes but it remains to be seen whether that translates into a better sequel or whether they’ve learnt from the right mistakes.

With Evolve serving as a how-to guide on the wrong way to do a straight-up multiplayer game, it provides Respawn with further lessons to learn from. Furthermore, some might agree that the game would benefit from a singleplayer component.

What do you want to see in a Titanfall sequel?

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Uncharted 4 Delayed, Are We Set For A Repeat Of Last Year? http://egmr.net/2015/03/uncharted-4-delayed-set-repeat-last-year/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/uncharted-4-delayed-set-repeat-last-year/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 08:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168517 It’s become an increasing trend of this generation to have delayed gratification, an extended waiting period for features or games or indeed even consoles (looking at you, Xbox One). Hell, […]

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It’s become an increasing trend of this generation to have delayed gratification, an extended waiting period for features or games or indeed even consoles (looking at you, Xbox One). Hell, we’re often kept waiting for a game to be functional and in the state it was promised to be in.

Some would say that’s the nature of things and we need to be more patient. Most are fast growing tired of this rising trend.

Last year we had the likes of Battlefield: Hardline, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Project CARS, The Division, Evolve and more pushed back into a 2015 release window.

Not surprisingly this trend seems to already be continuing with games scheduled for release in 2015.

Project CARS has seen progressive delays with the game now pushed into May from an already late April release. That said, it is somewhat understandable with Slightly Mad Studios operating independently and creating something insanely ambitious. Ever the cynic, I’d suggest that Slightly Mad is struggling to overcome a few last minute hurdles in reaching the finish line and having trouble in fully realising the vision that seemed so strong and powerful last year.

According to the developer, Project Cars is “99.9% complete” but the team is fixing “small issues and bugs” which have been “tricky to anticipate.”

“We’re absolutely dedicated to delivering a ground-breaking experience and by targeting mid-May fans can be assured that’s what they’ll receive,” said studio head Ian Bell. “Again, we want to thank our fans for their support and patience on this matter.

“We firmly believe gamers deserve it to be in its most complete and polished state when they come to play it on day one.”

The big news though is that Uncharted 4, arguably Sony’s tentpole release on the PS4 for 2015, has been knocked back into a Q2 2016 release. Not unlike most of the games that were pushed out of a Q4 2014 release last year.

With The Order tanking and Bloodborne an already niche title (not to mention releasing very soon), what exactly does Sony have to punt and hype for the rest of the year?

We can consider Uncharted 4 the first in what is likely to be a long list of games which will get delayed out of 2015 and into 2016. the question then becomes a twofold one: why are all these games being delayed and why don’t developers/ publishers simply set more realistic and realisable release dates?

“We’ve made the difficult choice of pushing the game’s release date,” directors Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann wrote on the PS Blog.

“Giving us a few extra months will make certain that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End not only meets the team’s high standards but the high standards that gamers have come to expect from a Naughty Dog title.”

Publisher pressure is no imagined construct, we all know it exists and publishers are still convinced that a game must release in the holiday period in order to be a success. that said, some are slowly starting to see the value of alternative release periods such as the evidently lucrative lull period in June where The Last of Us and Watch Dogs managed to rake in megabucks. Publishers are still setting deadlines and targets based on the development cycles on the old consoles instead of factoring in the time it takes to realise greater levels of detail and intricacy on the newer consoles. This is why many games are releasing in a hashed and messy state. Time has to be sacrificed somewhere so why not QA testing?

This is also a more recent reason for delays. With increasing wariness of broken releases, publishers and developers are stretching out development time in order to lock down a stable and secure game before it goes gold. Of course, it doesn’t always help but that’s the thinking anyway.

A major contributor for some games is simply moving into safer territory. Last year there were initially over a dozen major releases in October alone, the month was saturated, but many moved out of it in order to benefit from a less condensed and less competitive sales environment. This goes back to seeking alternative release periods and is something Microsoft has cottoned onto.

With Quantum Break, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5 and Forza 6 slated for a late 2015 release, Microsoft’s own slate is cramped and bad for sales because while Halo and Forza will always sell, new IPs such as Quantum Break may suffer. As such, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer stated last year that the company may have to consider moving some of those games around to a less crowded release period.

The current rumours are that Quantum Break is moving into the greener pastures of Q2 2016.

The major takeaway is that there needs to be a shift either in the expectations that publishers set when initially slating a release date or in the way games are currently being developed. At present we are maligned with delayed releases and games releasing in disarray. If a game is not going to benefit from a delay (as arguably one could say of Watch Dogs or Dying Light) then the delay is of no value or benefit to the end-user or the studio.

A delay is an opportunity to ensure that the game releases as promised. I’m sure that Naughty Dog will deliver, as they always have, but let us not forget that The Last of Us was also delayed from its initial late 2012 release date.

Delays and post-release fixes are becoming an industry standard rather than a tolerable exception and that’s cause for concern in terms of the quality of games that we, as players, ultimately get but also for the manner in which games are being made. Things are still being done the way they were on the PS3 and Xbox 360 but those methods simply aren’t good enough anymore.

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MGS V: The Phantom Pain Premium Package Will Cost An Arm And A Leg http://egmr.net/2015/03/mgs-v-phantom-pain-premium-package-will-cost-arm-leg/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/mgs-v-phantom-pain-premium-package-will-cost-arm-leg/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 08:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168480 Outrageous and expensive collector’s editions are in vogue right now with Dying Light having something deep into bonkers territory as a collector’s edition while Batman: Arkham Knight has two collector’s […]

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Outrageous and expensive collector’s editions are in vogue right now with Dying Light having something deep into bonkers territory as a collector’s edition while Batman: Arkham Knight has two collector’s editions which are pricey but still at least reasonable.

With a collector’s edition the difficult question is always what to include. Of course there’ll be an artbook, possibly the soundtrack, a season pass and maybe even a steelbook cover. What’s the drawcard though? With most it’s a statue or some little trinket but with MGS V: The Phantom Pain Konami has gone big.

It’s called the Premium Package and will retail for a colossal, mind-shattering ¥29 800. Don’t fret, that’s only $250. To put that into perspective, it’s $50 more expensive than the Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition which is already pretty darn expensive. So what could possibly be so magical about this Premium Package?

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Well, it comes with a 1:1 replica of Snake’s bionic forearm!

I’m no MGS fan but that is pretty cool as collectibles go.

The bionic arm is 50cm in length, weighs a hefty 850g and is fully articulated. In addition to this, the Premium Package comes with the requisite other random paraphernalia and bonus in-game content.

This is the latest in a growing trend of final installments of a series going big; joining Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3.

The catch is that, the $250 Premium Package is limited to Japan while the global Collector’s Edition will retail for a more reasonable $100 and features a half-scale replica of the arm.

Collector’s editions have always been pricey but are they becoming a little too much to ask for? With a weakened Rand and the Dollar strengthening, you can expect the Premium Package to cost well over R3000 if you’re entertaining thoughts of importing it.

What’s your take on these very pricey but very desirable editions? Are they needless excess or glorious fan service?

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Why Is Marvel Skipping This Year’s San Diego Comic-Con? http://egmr.net/2015/03/marvel-skipping-years-san-diego-comic-con/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/marvel-skipping-years-san-diego-comic-con/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 08:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168375 Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, if you’re reading this then you most likely know more than most about Comic-Con. In recent years, Marvel Studios has arguably dominated the San […]

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Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, if you’re reading this then you most likely know more than most about Comic-Con. In recent years, Marvel Studios has arguably dominated the San Diego Comic-Con, the annual explosion of geekdom, so why is Marvel not attending this year’s event?

The answer seems surprisingly sober and logical. Of course, there’s nothing to suggest that Marvel won’t be at WonderCon in April or Disney’s D23 expo in August or even the New York Comic-Con in October.

For several years now, Marvel has dominated the geek film scene with its ambitious and sprawling cinematic universe as it brought in more and more characters with last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy proving that Marvel has the know-how and confidence to accomplish pretty much anything.

The enws of Marvel’s Comic-Con absence was actually outed by Guardians director James Gunn.

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With Marvel also revealing it’s insane scheduled release slate last year and then dropping the news that Spider-Man would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is safe to say that the hype is about as high as it can get. Marvel could ride this wave for some time still without much effort on their part in terms of hyping or marketing.

At this point Marvel’s hype machine is a perpetual motion device that da Vinci could only dream of.

So is Marvel simply not doing Comic-Con this year because it doesn’t need to or because it’s got nothing to really show? Possibly a bit of both and with Avengers: Age of Ultron releasing in May, Marvel doesn’t need to do too much just yet ahead of next year’s Captain America: Civil War.

That said, parent company Disney does have some work to do in order to get the hype-train in full motion for Star Wars Episode VII.

It’s easy to see then that perhaps Marvel was asked to hold off on stealing the show this year in order to give the full stage to Star Wars.

Do you think this was the right call, if that was in fact the case?

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Oculus Rift Extrasensory Add-On Is Equal Parts Creepy And Nifty http://egmr.net/2015/03/oculus-rift-extrasensory-add-equal-parts-creepy-nifty/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/oculus-rift-extrasensory-add-equal-parts-creepy-nifty/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 07:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168368 Let us all accept that virtual reality will become part of the conventional gaming experience. Whether this is practically realisable or believable is a different question entirely. Now, the logical […]

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Let us all accept that virtual reality will become part of the conventional gaming experience. Whether this is practically realisable or believable is a different question entirely.

Now, the logical next step in that quest for greater immersion and enhanced user experience is bringing in other senses. Perhaps through haptic feedback body packs or chairs which rotate in accordance with your movement in the game, the list goes on.

There’s no shortage fop ways in which to create a perceived enhanced user experience but while some, such as haptic feedback are practical and easily implemented, others stray a little closer to science fiction. Enter this bizarre little add-on for the Oculus Rift.

FeelReal is a battery-powered Bluetooth attachment for the Oculus Rift that sits over your mouth, brings you one step closer to looking like a droid and simulates different scents, temperatures and moisture feelings. It also has a freaky looking microphone.

According to The Verge, which went face-on with the battery-powered device, at present it is capable of producing seven different scents in addition to temperature-controlled air, mist and vibration.

It’s a noble enough effort but previews with the tech confirm it to be unwieldy, unrealistic and terrifying. We should imagine so with breathing becoming nigh impossible while various scents and blasts of hot air are wafted at you.

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If you’re looking at this and recoiling at the thought of that as the future of gaming then you’re probably right. Cumbersome, silly looking devices are not the way to go and while this might constitute the brute force approach to bluntly recreating experiences, it’s a dead end.

My thoughts on this are rudimentary but I have two diverging clusters of ideas regarding immersion and what it takes to further immerse humans into an experience.

Firstly, we have been hard-coded to treat gaming as an audio-visual experience and in recent years, one which also involves touch in the form of haptic feedback and rumble controllers. As soon as you attempt to phase other senses into the experience, you’ve ruined it because the established balance is being upset. Furthermore, it’s all good and well to blast hot air or water mist or scents at a person to simulate wading through a jungle or running on the beach but different people pick up different scents and perceive certain scents more strongly than others in specific situations. Add to this the fact that we all have different ideas of what the heat of a blast must feel like or what the ocean breeze smells like and suddenly the inclusion of smell is a woefully misguided one.

Secondly, perhaps the key to making something feel real is to allow it to mimic all the things that we use to retain and reconstruct memories. This is largely an audio-visual process and often enough simply visual with the audio falling away. Touch might or might not come into it but for the most part touch and smell are not part of the memories but triggers, SEO search terms, to find certain memories. Thus, by bringing touch and smell into the equation you are in fact taking the user out of the experience by triggering other memories.

The key then is to focus on enhancing the audio-visual experience between player and game.

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The Latest PS4 Firmware Update Takes A Page From Xbox One’s Playbook http://egmr.net/2015/03/latest-ps4-firmware-update-takes-page-xbox-ones-playbook/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/latest-ps4-firmware-update-takes-page-xbox-ones-playbook/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 08:00:50 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168330 The last time the PS4 got a firmware update things didn’t go down so well and the time before that, well, things were even worse. Eventually Sony got its act […]

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The last time the PS4 got a firmware update things didn’t go down so well and the time before that, well, things were even worse. Eventually Sony got its act together on both occasions and the updates brought some good features.

Firmware update 2.50 is set to roll out soon and will likely have its own charming little character quirks (read: list of issues) but that’s okay because it’s bringing some good features along too.

Console die-hards can trade blows all day long, playing top trumps with their preferred console. Meanwhile the Wii U owners sit in a corner fingering their Amiibos with dopey and contented smiles on their faces.

The PS4 and Xbox One are so identical that it really is only the small features that fans can bicker over. Share Play or power of the cloud? PS Now or the ability to watch movies off a flash drive? Suspend/resume game or… well that’s not really a point of difference anymore.

Sony has seen the light and decided to adopt the pretty great Xbox One feature of being able to suspend and then resume a game exactly where you left off.

It’s unconfirmed at present but according to a screenshot leaked via the PlayStation MVP Program, Sony is beta testing firmware update 2.50 which will include a suspend/resume feature.

  • The system can now enter rest mode without closing any applications. You can adjust this setting in [Power Save Settings] > [Set Functions Available in Rest Mode].
  • [Accessibility] has been added to [Settings]. You can adjust accessibility settings such as zooming and button assignments.
  • Delete trophies with zero percent.
  • Search trophy details on the internet, including screenshots of scenes with trophies.
  • SharePlay at 60 frames per second.
  • Share trophy details and screenshots.

That’s a nice set of new features but let’s not fool ourselves, the real prize is Share Play at 60fps.

Not really.

This update certainly seems to be aiming to enhance the user experience further with some handy little touches such as customisable button assignments and being able to search for trophy details.

It’s likely that the suspend/resume feature will work in much the same way as on the Xbox One but Sony has had issues with rest mode in past updates so it may be wise to err on the side of caution and wait for reports to stream in regarding the update’s stability.

There’s no word yet from Sony regarding when Update 2.50 will go out but it will likely be towards the end of March.

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Comments Of The Week — “I Can Be A Bad Girl” http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-can-bad-girl/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-can-bad-girl/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168273 You know what would be great? More comments. That would be nice. That’s okay though because GDC happened along with most phone manufacturers announcing new phones at this year’s MWC. […]

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You know what would be great? More comments. That would be nice.

That’s okay though because GDC happened along with most phone manufacturers announcing new phones at this year’s MWC. Meanwhile games are basically just porn so it’s a good thing Rock Band 4 is giving you something to beat. Also, we finally reviewed Dying Light and first Unreal Engine 4 was free then Unity 5 and finally Source 2.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Llama — Recently escaped from captivity.
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Valve Is Playing Around With Half-Life In Virtual Reality http://egmr.net/2015/03/valve-playing-around-half-life-virtual-reality/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/valve-playing-around-half-life-virtual-reality/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 08:00:08 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168224 Earlier this week Valve unveiled the Vive, its own contender in the VR Colosseum and partner HTC teased fans with a little Half-Life 3 reference. Bad move. Fans will jump […]

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Earlier this week Valve unveiled the Vive, its own contender in the VR Colosseum and partner HTC teased fans with a little Half-Life 3 reference. Bad move. Fans will jump at any hint or mention of the game in an official context.

Of course, Half-Life 3 is no closer to being made than before the announcement of Vive but what was Valve expecting when they set a conference for 3.33PM on 3/3. The trolls.

The thing is, there is still a chance (however slim) that Half-Life 3 will happen and with the help of Vive no less.

To put it in no uncertain terms, Valve isn’t saying no but they aren’t saying yes. The company is merely setting on a course to experiment with various assets from its established franchises in a VR space.

“We’re not saying, ‘no’ but we don’t know what the right thing is [yet],” Valve programmer Jeep Barnett told Kotaku when asked about the possibility.

“Our most precious resource is time, and we don’t have enough time for people to do everything. Would we like to make all of our franchises in VR? Absolutely. But we don’t have enough time or people. So we have to figure out what’s the best fit, what plays to the strengths of VR.”

“So yeah, we’ll grab some headcrabs, we’ll grab the machine guns from Half-Life, the rocket launcher – all those different fun things – and see how they play in VR,” Barnett said.

“But right now, it’s a tool for exploring the different kind of game designs we want to do.

“Is Half-Life a good fit? Is Left 4 Dead a good fit? Is a new franchise a good fit? I don’t know yet. We’re really trying to cover the broad spectrum of what we could do, and then we’ll start focusing on spearheading that.”

It’s tough to speak for how multiplayer games such as Left4Dead or Team Fortress 2 or even Counter Strike would work out in VR but a headcrab almost literally on your face? Hell yes.

I’ll get some ire for this but I’d really love to see Portal in VR above Half-Life. It could provide a far more visceral and fun experience.

There’s a big difference between building a game for VR and merely adapting it for VR in the same way that there is a distinct difference between movies made for 3D and those with 3D shoved in for extraneous and arbitrary reasons.

Once it’s done testing and a little experimentation Valve will likely begin work on some VR projects so don’t expect them out anytime soon. It’s likely that we will first see something a little more experimental and designed to test the waters with Vive before we see Portal 3 or Half-Life 3 on the Vive.

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The Avengers Are At Each Other’s Throats In The Latest Age Of Ultron Trailer http://egmr.net/2015/03/avengers-others-throats-latest-age-ultron-trailer/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/avengers-others-throats-latest-age-ultron-trailer/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 08:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168137 From the outset it was clear that Avengers: Age of Ultron would be a different movie to the first outing. Now that we’ve established the group dynamic it’s time to […]

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From the outset it was clear that Avengers: Age of Ultron would be a different movie to the first outing. Now that we’ve established the group dynamic it’s time to push the group to its breaking point and it could be gleaned from the first trailer that Ultron would likely be pitting the Avengers against each other.

The third trailer has dropped and paints a rather grim picture.

Have you watched the trailer yet? Good. Let’s talk about it.

There’s a very Winter Soldier vibe coming off the trailer with our heroes on the run and being hunted but also being driven into isolation. With SHIELD still rebuilding itself in the wake of Winter Soldier’s events it will be interesting to see how the agency fits into the picture given its much smaller scale and reach.

There’s also a little more of the humour which we can expect to perforate the movie and break up some of the oppressive tension. That said, it really does look as if this film will be even more action-packed. Especially with heroes going at each other’s throats.

We once again see the titilating footage of Hulk throwing down against Tony Stark in his Hulkbuster armour but also see Quicksilver laying into Captain America and Scarlet Witch performing some voodoo on Black Widow.

It would certainly be far more relevant and thematically viable for Ultron to drive wedges between the heroes but, as previously suspected, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will start out as enemies and slowly turn over to the good side.

Right at the end we get a glimpse of The Vision, a character that Joss Whedon has been eager to realise onscreen and we have to say, he looks good. Often realisations of the more abstract and fantastical comic book characters don’t come off too well but Vision looks right. He is being played by Paul Bettany, better known as the voice of JARVIS, Iron Man’s AI Alfred. That’s no coincidence and is an allusion to Vision’s origins.

Is it just me or does James Spader’s Ultron display tones of Optimus Prime in this trailer?

Avengers: Age of Ultron is out in May. Are you excited? You should be.

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Review: Dying Light Is Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts http://egmr.net/2015/03/review-dying-light-less-sum-parts/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/review-dying-light-less-sum-parts/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:00:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167957 Visit review on site for scoring. It’s tricky to classify Dying Light not because it spans multiple genres – it’s more peculiar when a game doesn’t do so – but […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.


It’s tricky to classify Dying Light not because it spans multiple genres – it’s more peculiar when a game doesn’t do so – but because unlike most games it never settles on what it wants to be for long enough to establish a rhythm. The only rhythm that clearly emerges is the dull thud of tedium setting in, building like a yawn.

It all starts with a setup so cliched that one might almost applaud Techland for how strictly they adhered to the stereotypes. The operative word being might because nobody applauds a teenager for dying their hair black and experimenting with drugs. The battlefield is Harran, a city situated somewhere in the Middle East or Eastern Europe or thereabouts. Harran has been overrun with a virus blah blah quarantine blah blah zombies blah blah survivors and really you get the point. It’s your textbook foundation for a healthy and predictable zombie apocalypse plot. The twist is that you’re not some slovenly survivor but a top secret agent for the GRE (your garden variety secret agency) named Kyle Crane who has been air-dropped into Harran in order to track down a rogue agent.

So we’ve got a city that’s been sent to hell and you’re out playing secret agent man, going undercover to blend in. It’s a slightly nonsensical premise if only because it’s hard to understand why any of it needs to be done in the first place. The city is tearing itself to pieces anyway and could very well find itself on the receiving end of a bombing. At times these questioning thoughts will probe your mind as you wade through the tedium, simply exacerbating it.

Despite this, the game initially feels interesting and full of promise but that feeling, unfortunately, wears off as you wade in. If Dying Light ever had a chance of doing something remotely fresh and interesting with the typical zombie-quarantine setup, it squanders it at almost every turn.

The earliest comparisons to be drawn were with Mirror’s Edge and Dead Rising 3. Zombies, first-person parkour, crafting and some crazy weapons. Throw in a world ripe for exploration, a comprehensive three-way skill tree, some item crafting and you’ve got a game with plenty to offer but at the price of proficiency.

The parkour and navigation certainly has the feeling of being like Mirror’s Edge but unlike that seven year old game, Dying Light struggles to match it for fluidity and precision. Most surfaces can be scaled but there are places where the game demands players jump or grab onto very specifically marked platforms and ledges. This already breaks flow but what’s more is that the rooftop terrain is hardly ideal for staying off the ground and away from the undead. Furthermore, the control takes the shape of a bizarre twinstick shooter whereby the player must use the left analogue stick to move in the right direction and the right stick to look at the ledge or platform you’re aiming for. Fail to look before you leap and things will not go well for Crane. It’s not something you really perfect and often leads to frustration as Crane seductively grinds up against an unsuspecting wall. The system lacks precision and breaks fluidity.

That said, there are times when the parkour works wonderfully and after upgrading Crane’s agility a little bit (especially the ability to leapfrog over enemies), there’s an occasional delight to be had in bouncing around. The trouble is that even with this extra agility and mobility, navigation becomes a chore because the game forces you to ground and thus forces you to confront hordes of zombies which are more a nuisance than a palpable threat. The kicker is that the game constantly has the player traversing great distances for the sake of a mission without quite realising what it’s putting the player through. Of course, what does the player matter if you can make them hop= skip and jump across half the map to pad out the game’s runtime?

Scattered across the map are safe houses which can be reclaimed as respawn points (and safe zones during night time) in addition to periodic supply drops, side missions, challenges and general survival scavenging. It’s all good and well, in fact the world sometimes asks to be explored and scoured but the missions are an almost endless stream of fetch-quests and errands that drag on and on, stretching the narrative out until it’s a translucent bag pulling tight over your head. Eventually it gets to a point where you begin to wonder why you’re even bothering or you simply want it to be over.

Generally a sacrificed story can at least be expected to have been offered up to the gods of gameplay. Alas, Dying Light is steadfast in its atheism. Much like navigating Harran, combat is a tedious chore with each zombie requiring quite a bit of effort to put down and with weapons degrading to breaking point fairly quickly, you’ll find yourself running away a lot. Don’t worry, that’s how they planned it. At least we think so.

The idea then is that you pick your fights but primarily rely on distractions, area effect throwables and smarts to get through the hordes. In theory, this should go great with that free-flowing parkour system. The trouble is that this relies on there being tension and apprehension on the part of a player whenever they near a group of walkers. We may as well slip into the lingo of the most popular zombocalypse.

Initially there is plenty of tension as you expect any crowd on zombies to be an instant death trap that you can’t hack your way out of. Not true. In fact, I spent most days just zig-zagging in between zombies because they’re about as frightening and intimidating as traffic cones. If you know what you’re doing, even barely, they pose almost no threat until you try to engage them and bash their skulls in.

As soon as that tension is gone, the game loses some of its momentum and the world feels far more lifeless. Further detracting from the tension are features such as Survivor Sense which functions a lot like Listen Mode in The Last of Us as well as the absurd abilities and weapons one can craft. A lightning machete is pretty awesome but has no place in this game.

It comes down to Techland not knowing what direction it wanted to take the game and ending up in the middle of a busy intersection, disoriented and confused. It’s almost like a Bollywood film in the amount of genres and breadth it tries to cram in.

It’s an action game, a survival game, a silly game, a gritty game, a stealth game and while I love variety, there is a point at which it becomes detrimental. Hell, there are even tones of Ubisoft in here with a very Far Cry feel to movement and a distinctly Far Cry approach to radio towers and ziplines.

During the day you’ve got your typical variety of enemy types but they all behave like GTA ragdolls when struck. For the most part, any encounter with a zombie is pretty run of the mill except once the sun goes down. This is where things get interesting… for a while anyway.

At night the Nightmares come out, deadly monstrous variants of the regular zombies who must be avoided at all costs. Initially this makes for some truly fantastic and pulse-pounding gameplay as you crouch through absolute darkness, trying to remain unseen as you make your way back to the nearest safe house. If the game could recreate moments like that with more consistency it would be a better experience but very quickly you’ll realise how easy it is to sneak by unnoticed and make it back to safety in one piece. The game undoes even this imposition for a stealthy approach by urging players to get noticed by the monsters. Why? For the glory of Cthulthu and massive amounts of XP. At night, bonus missions will open up and there will be greater XP rewards for anything the player does. Unfortunately this includes, to take an age-old NFS example, goading the cops into a chase in order to unlock something through completing a challenge.

Night time presents a great amount of potential but is single-handedly undone by being turned into a chance to reap XP points.

The game does feature co-op, which is nice when you can find a partner but fails to really enhance the base experience much. At least Dying Light looks good, not great, but certainly good enough.

Dying Light isn’t wanting for size with the game being clocked at around 40 hours, the trouble is that it’s mostly bland, buttery pastry and not delicious, textured filling. Perhaps it’s an unfair comment but this is par for the course with Techland. Dying Light has promise, even for a game in a subgenre as drawn and quartered as zombie survival, but for every good idea it has there’s a janky implementation and opposingly poor feature to weigh it down.

There is a good world here, one that could have made Harran a memorable place but instead it’s been put to poor use through the developers forcing players to do things in a certain way rather than affording them freedom. It doesn’t help that Techland’s “way” often swings back and forth between generic and tiresome.

Much of the game feels “almost but not quite there” and hastily implemented as if developers jumped from one feature to the next like an attention-deficit flying squirrel.

Did I have fun with Dying Light? Sometimes. It’s a game that tries to do things but tries too many things and in too generic a fashion to ever leave a lasting impression. When it works, it works really well but as the game wears on Dying Light’s glimmer wanes.

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Toast On Jam: Can Gaming Learn A Thing Or Two From Porn? http://egmr.net/2015/03/toast-jam-can-gaming-learn-thing-two-porn/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/toast-jam-can-gaming-learn-thing-two-porn/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 09:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168069 It’s very easy to take a quote out of context and twist it to suit your ends. Religious extremists do it all the time to justify beheading someone or to […]

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It’s very easy to take a quote out of context and twist it to suit your ends. Religious extremists do it all the time to justify beheading someone or to categorically prove that there are 72 beautiful virgins awaiting every martyr in heaven. This is why Muslim men are allowed more than one wife anyway, right? The Mormons didn’t get the memo about the virgins, guys. It’s an easy trick to pull and an effective one.

Everybody loves a snappy one-liner with plenty of punch to it. This is the basis of clickbaiting.

By now, you may have heard Jonathan Blow’s comparisons between gaming and porn. Is it a crude comparison to make? Sure but the man is entitled to his opinions and read in context, his words not only ring true but are extremely apt. Of course, Twitter’s 140 characters seems to be just too few to squeeze in a pinch of context. You can read Caveshen’s thoughts on Blow’s comments here but below is his original statement for reference:

“It’s kind of like if every movie were a porn movie, most people wouldn’t see movies,” he told me. “The majority of games are basically porn—the onus is on us to make more things that are worth a reasonable person’s time.”

“A lot of games today are only interested in making players feel smart, rather than have players actually be smart. A game that is just trying to make you feel smart all the time runs the danger of being like a Potemkin village: you may feel like you’ve had this sequence of cool experiences, but when you look at them more closely, you find that most of them are empty. I feel like ‘try to make players feel smart’ is a shallow motivation and I hold some kind of mild contempt for it. Rather than making some relatively surface experience where people feel smart—the implication being that they’re not actually that smart, we’re just helping them feel that way—game designers should believe that people are intrinsically smart and give them a chance to exercise those muscles and become better at it.”

“It’s about being in a world and looking around and wondering what that world is, and why we are there, and how the things that we perceive to happen can possibly be happening.”

Blow is currently working on The Witness, a language-free puzzle game that aims to challenge players. In the context of his work, those statements are perfectly valid and rational. There’s nothing wrong there, aside from the fact that a man named Blow is talking about porn. Yes, I am still a thirteen year old who giggles at the word “vagina.”

So while people debate whether Blow is actually justified in making such a statement, let’s take a few moments to consider how easy it was for him to make that connection.

Firstly, this is not the first time the comparison has been made so don’t act so shocked, internet.

Secondly of all, what exactly is pornography? At its base level, it is a fantasy. An idealisation of something in the real world with the focus being on instant gratification and indulging base instincts. That’s really not far off from gaming. In fact, we can take it one step further by saying that gaming often indulges specific fantasies which we might call fetishes.

Everybody has preferred genres of literature, film, music, gaming and porn. When you approach two media or forms of entertainment from the right trajectory, you can very easily get them to line up.

For the time being, the games as art debate has simmered down, it always flares up every now and again but regardless of what you think, games are open to interpretation. Surely, if I can enjoy a game that you hate does that not mean that we can look at the same game and draw different comparisons? Strawberry jam and orange marmalade take me back to my childhood, growing up in my grandparents’ house but the same objects may take you back to that time you spilt jam on a baby’s head.

Comparing gaming to porn is so easy and so effective because the industry has moved with other entertainment towards instant gratification and excess over substance. A porn film is known for having lots and lots of sex in the same way that Michael Bay film is known for lost and lots of explosions of a different kind. Instant gratification is not an evil thing and I’ll admit to switching my brain off and allowing a movie filled with explosions and dumb, improbable action to fill my consciousness, pushing out whatever is in my head at the time. As humans we need our distractions, our vices, our harmless addictions. Azhar religiously plays Dota 2 every night, is he not the same as the person sitting at their PC, masturbating? Arguably they might be the same person but that’s not the point. The point is that we need instant gratification and gaming has taken off because it can offer that.

Gaming is a vice and an escape, just like any other.

The problem is more that games try to satisfy both the instant gratification crowd and the more patient folk who don’t mind the painfully slow build of any story arc in Breaking Bad or Dragon Ball Z. It’s a tough balance to get right and one that not a lot of purveyors of entertainment get right when they dare to try it. LOST is a great example of a series that kept its plot moving forward, building towards something big but tossed viewers a treat every week. Conversely, series such as The Mentalist get the instant gratification down but fail to hold the interest of anyone who cares for the overarching plot.

To meander back into gaming, we have simply to look at the way many stealth games are designed these days. Players can either go in guns blazing or do things methodically with all the pieces falling together in the end for a glorious and spectacular finish to each mission. These games typically offer both without truly focusing on either. The experience is thus diluted. Would you watch a film that is equal parts porn and David Attenborough documentary? No, probably not.

While games, movies and music lean towards increasingly more diluted experiences by hybridising genres (sometimes to spectacular effect such as Bladerunner) there is merit to be drawn from the simplicity with which the porn industry goes about its business. To the best of my knowledge, people want to see sex so porn films give them sex. It’s as simple as that.

So while Ubisoft strives for the perfect formula to reproduce en masse and other publishers widen their nets with homogenised games, a more successful strategy would be to divide and conquer. Yes, some games are spectacular in the way they blend genres together but there is a desire for niche, experiences such as Dark Souls or The Witness and those games do well by their own measures. They don’t open their nets so wide as to get them tangled in somebody else’s net.

Is gaming comparable to porn? It depends on how you interpret it. Can gaming stand to learn from porn? Most certainly.

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Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free For All http://egmr.net/2015/03/unreal-engine-4-now-free/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/unreal-engine-4-now-free/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168050 Generally gamers approach anything free with a hint of trepidation because it’s hard to tell what sort of pay walls or pay-to-win schemes are hiding beneath the surface. That said, […]

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Generally gamers approach anything free with a hint of trepidation because it’s hard to tell what sort of pay walls or pay-to-win schemes are hiding beneath the surface. That said, as long as things such as Dota 2 exist, we can have faith that not everyone wants your money. Of course, the amount of money and bodily fluid that some of our writers have spent on Dota 2 says otherwise.

What’s my point? Free stuff can be good. In this case, it’s really, really good.

Unreal Engine 3 underpinned the previous generation of games, serving as the foundation for so many great games and way too many not so great games. Also, BioShock Infinite.

Unreal Engine 4 is a safe one to bet on then as one of the engines that will help drive the current generation of gaming and if that was ever in doubt, Epic just went ahead and made it free so now even small indie developers can get in on the action.

In the video up top, Epic’s Tim Sweeney explains why the company decided to make Unreal Engine 4 free for all to download and use. The video appeared in a blog post from Epic.

The new scheme is that Epic will only take 5% from the gross revenue past the first $3000 per product, per quarter as opposed to the previous $19 per month subscription fee. This should allow more devs access to perhaps the most versatile engine out there.

The download features the the full set of tools used by Epic, and includes 100% of the C++ source code. All future updates will also be added at no extra cost.

“The past year has been a whirlwind for everyone at Epic Games. Our community has grown tremendously. The quality and variety of creative work being done has been breathtaking. When we asked people to submit their projects to be shown this year at GDC, we had the challenge of picking just 8 from over 100 finalists that were all good enough to show,” said Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

“The state of Unreal is strong, and we’ve realized that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfil their creative visions and shape the future of the medium we love. That’s why we’re taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free.”

If you’ve ever paid a subscription fee for Unreal Engine then you’re entitled to a $30 Unreal Engine Marketplace credit with Epic issuing pro-rated refunds to current subscribers for their most recent monthly payment.

All in all it’s pretty… epic.

It’s a way for Epic to arguably make more money whilst cutting down development costs and allowing the smaller guys to use its engine. Even students, on their ever-tight budgets, can now play around with Unreal Engine and be well-versed in it by the time they graduate. That’s a pretty exciting prospect.

One thing that remains to be seen is the effect that this will have on Unity. No, not the headless chicken of an Assassin’s Creed game but the engine that powers many, many indie games. Will developers stick with Unity out of familiarity or migrate to the more powerful Unreal? Likely, it will come down to the type of game being made and what the developer’s vision is.

Aside: This just happens to be my 3333rd post on 3/3 which also happens to be my birthday. How did I get that right? Dumb luck mostly.

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Arkham Knight’s Collector’s Editions Will Break You But Are They Worth It? http://egmr.net/2015/03/arkham-knights-collectors-editions-will-break-worth/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/arkham-knights-collectors-editions-will-break-worth/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167980 Back in September we detailed the two very awesome collector’s editions for Batman: Arkham Knight so what gives? Has EGMR started reposting old news out of a complete and total […]

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Back in September we detailed the two very awesome collector’s editions for Batman: Arkham Knight so what gives? Has EGMR started reposting old news out of a complete and total lack of ideas? Yes, but that’s not what we’re here for today.

Back then I lamented that these very expensive, very cool editions would likely not be making their way to South African shores. I was wrong. This is great news right up until you hear the local retail price.

In case you’ve recently woken from a coma or have the memory of the average internet user, here’s a quick refresher.

Two epic collector’s editions, both with the following:

  • Custom Art Book: 80-page, full-color art book showcasing the concept art of Batman Arkham Knight
  • Limited Edition SteelBook: unique SteelBook case and game disc
  • Comic Book: Limited Edition DC Comics Batman: Arkham Knight #0 Comic Book
  • Exclusive Character Skin Pack: three unique skins from DC Comics – The New 52

The Batmobile Edition comes with a transforming Batmobile from Triforce while the Limited Edition comes with a 12″ Batman memorial statue.

Now comes the hard part.

The Batmobile Edition is only available for consoles and will retail locally for a staggering R2999.99 while the Limited Edition will be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One for a slightly less fear-inducing R1599.99.

Ouch! My heart yearns for that Batmobile but my brain is screaming no. I need that money for things and stuff and food.

Either edition is pretty meaty and could well be worth the money but that doesn’t stop it from being hugely expensive nonetheless.

Doing a straight conversion with the US retail prices of $100 and $200 respectively we arrive at prcies of R1171.61 and R2343.21. To answer your question as to whether import taxes are shafting us South Africans, the answer is yes. While still high, those prices are very soluble at least.

At least it’s not Dying Light’s Collector’s Edition, right?

We can’t afford to buy all the games that release in a year let alone all the delicious collector’s editions so what do you do?

I would much rather spend money on the Batmobile Edition and forego a few games than buy all the things. Of course, it then comes down to the question of which game do you splurge on? The obvious answer is a favourite IP or franchise such as Batman or The Witcher if you ask me.

What’s your strategy when it comes to collector’s editions and are they worth it? These two certainly seem worth the hefty price.

You’ve got until June 2 to come up with the cash.

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Say Hello To Vive, Valve’s Peculiar VR Headset Complete With Its Own Game http://egmr.net/2015/03/say-hello-vive-valves-peculiar-vr-headset-complete-game/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/say-hello-vive-valves-peculiar-vr-headset-complete-game/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:00:43 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167975 Valve has lifted the lid on its mysterious VR headset and there’s plenty to be surprised about, if only because Valve initially lied to us. No, not about Half-Life 3 […]

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Valve has lifted the lid on its mysterious VR headset and there’s plenty to be surprised about, if only because Valve initially lied to us. No, not about Half-Life 3 but about the nature of its VR headset.

Initially Valve stated that it was working on a VR headset purely for internal purposes and to better understand the technology. Flimsy as that was, we bought it. More or less. Then everybody and their uncle started peddling VR headsets. None will likely match the big three of Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR or Sony’s Morpheus (easily the coolest name of the bunch) but that hasn’t stopped plenty from trying on Kickstarter and even making it as far as GDC.

This weekend Valve stepped up and introduced itself as the fourth horseman of the VR apocalypse with Vive.


HTC-Vive_White-640x400

Valve has partnered with HTC to create Vive, its very own VR headset with a silly name to boot. Valve did hint that a big reveal would be coming at this year’s GDc and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

It’s interesting to note that mobile companies seem to be the key to VR with their phone screen technology. Sony is using its Xperia tech, Oculus and Samsung are making use of technology from galaxy smartphones and now Valve has paired up with HTC. LG may then be a game-changer in the VR field with its theoretically more immersive curved phone screens.

There’s not much to say about Vive just yet but it does have a proof of concept of sorts in the form of Job Simulator. Yes, Job Simulator.

Developed by Owlchemy labs, the game is meant to demonstrate Vive’s capability to interface with other controllers and devices to allow users to manipulate objects in the virtual space. The premise is that you’re in the year 2050, robots have replaced humans in most blue-collar jobs and our only connection to those bygone tasks is through virtual reality simulations.

Consider this a prequel to the Flight of the Conchords song.

“It’s thrilling to play a part in the upcoming explosion of consumer VR,” Owlchemy said in a post introducing Job Simulator, “and we’re proud to add another amazing opportunity to the list by being one of only a few select developers building content for some of the most incredible VR hardware in the world.”

There’ll be more of Vive and Job Simulator at GDC all throughout this week with a big game announcement set to come from Valve on Friday.

Maybe I made that last bit up. Maybe I didn’t?

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Comments Of The Week — “I’m At Least Half Chubbed” http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-im-least-half-chubbed/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/comments-week-im-least-half-chubbed/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167947 The Oscars! Optical trickery! Other things that start with an ‘o’ like onions and ovarian cancer… This week had plenty going for it in a mish-mash, arbitrary and very erratic […]

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The Oscars! Optical trickery! Other things that start with an ‘o’ like onions and ovarian cancer…

This week had plenty going for it in a mish-mash, arbitrary and very erratic sort of way. We went from talking about double standards to thanking Anita Sarkeesian, tapping into the powers of anime, discovering the silliness of the law and finding fault with Kickstarter. Then it all got rendered irrelevant by a pair of llamas.

Also, our podcast is starting to smell a little funky and it’s barely out of the box.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Llama — Recently escaped from captivity.
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Hide Your Wallets, Early Access And Crowdfunding Could Be Coming To PlayStation http://egmr.net/2015/02/hide-wallets-early-access-crowdfunding-coming-playstation/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/hide-wallets-early-access-crowdfunding-coming-playstation/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167921 The benefits of crowdfunding can be great, just ask the folks at Oculus VR or that potato salad guy. Similarly with Early Access, it is a great system and tool […]

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The benefits of crowdfunding can be great, just ask the folks at Oculus VR or that potato salad guy. Similarly with Early Access, it is a great system and tool for independent developers but easily abused.

There are plenty of Early Access horror stories and just as many crowdfunded crimes. There’s not a whole lot that can be done to prevent campaign runners from absconding with the money once their Kickstarter campaign is over but the likes of Early Access could certainly benefit from curation and stricter management.

With that healthy snapshot of where we’re at with Early Access and crowdfunding in gaming, here’s Sony with a job ad hinting at the company opening up its own crowdfunding and Early Access platforms.

The ad is looking for a new Director for the Worldwide Studios Quality Assurance Business operations and brings up some interesting points:

Description

The director of QA business Operations and Development is responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive internal and external operational programs, processes and services  to determine how competitive and current we are within the gaming industry. This position is expected to uphold the mission and values established by the organization.  

Strategic Duties

The Business Operations and Development Director works to improve an organization’s value and improve financial optimization. These duties include: assisting to define mid and long-term operational plans, helping to track and refine global organizational goals, builds key customer relationships, identifies business opportunities/ services, negotiates, opens and closes new business services, maintains extensive knowledge of current market conditions and oversees trends and analysis of global business operations regarding Test Efforts.

The Business Operations and Development Directors will also help manage existing clients and ensure they stay satisfied and positive. They will work with clients, often being required to make presentations on solutions and services that meet or predict the efforts of services and work with the clients’ future needs.

Responsibilities:

  1. Monitors external and internal environment for development of new services: TaaS, GaaS, Crowdsourcing, early access test efforts, etc.
  2. Implements the recommendations of the strategic mid-year plan with WWS.
  3. Performs market research and analysis to stay competitive regarding the leading game industry testing technology and methodologies.
  4. Furnishes global best business practices, advice, counsel, service improvement and general staff support to all departments within the organization.
  5. Evaluates operational issues to determine how competitive and current it is with the latest trends in the industry.
  6. Assists in or produces feasibility studies/business plans for said new services: Service Catalog
  7. Manages specific Quality Initiative Programs: audits, CSI etc.
  8. Assists in capturing and developing ongoing customer relation evaluations.
  9. Demonstrates knowledge of and supports mission, vision, value statements, standards, policies and procedures, operating instructions, confidentiality standards, and the code of ethical behavior.
  10. Assists in planning of any event that highlights Test services: GTC, Post Mortems, etc
  11. Assists in developing and maintaining our evaluation process to continue gaining feedback from clients.
  12. Performs public speaking to organizations, committees and groups regarding new services, operations and testing practices.
  13. Develops and maintains Global Business Operations budget.

Regardless of any rumours to be drawn from that ad, a bigger focus on quality assurance would be very, very welcome in the industry right now.

Whether Sony will actually end up implementing any sort of crowdfunding or Early Access system remains to be seen but just as curiously, the ad also mentions TaaS (Testing as a Service) and GaaS (Gaming as a Service) which involve outsourcing testing to an external entity or company.

Regardless of what Sony comes up with, improved and more rigorous QA testing is an absolute necessity.

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MGS V: The Phantom Pain Has A Problem Which Has Kojima Worried http://egmr.net/2015/02/mgs-v-phantom-pain-problem-kojima-worried/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/mgs-v-phantom-pain-problem-kojima-worried/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:00:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167830 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be the first open world entry in the series which of course puts the developers at Kojima Productions and the brain behind […]

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be the first open world entry in the series which of course puts the developers at Kojima Productions and the brain behind it all, Hideo Kojima, in uncharted territory (not to be confused with Uncharted territory).

Based on what we’ve seen thus far Kojima has taken a very open-ended approach to mission structure and design such that there is a lot of player agency and independence rather than absolute freedom outside of missions but restrictive point-to-point shepherding within missions.

In fact, it’s possible to go the entire game without encountering certain characters such as the controversial merc without a mouth, Quiet.

The problem for Kojima and his team has been balancing this freedom with coherence.

It’s a problem not uncommon in open world games where not accounting for certain freedoms early on leads to inconsistencies and incoherence later in the game. Most recently it popped up In AC: Unity where I’d done certain activities because they were available and on my map but their relevance was only explained much later in the game.

This doesn’t bode well for anyone who has been hoping for a concrete release date on MGS V: The Phantom Pain. Kojima’s mantra has been that the game will release when the time is right (but also hopefully when it is actually finished) so when that is exactly is anybody’s guess.

More interesting will be what solution, if any, Kojima and his team come up with in order to smooth over the freedom v. coherence issue. It’s a complex problem and one that developers ought to take more seriously if they’re going to make open world games which they want people to be able to properly lose themselves in.

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Heists Are Finally Coming To GTA Online, Better Late Than Never http://egmr.net/2015/02/heists-finally-coming-gta-online-better-late-never/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/heists-finally-coming-gta-online-better-late-never/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:00:45 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167742 Not long ago, Bracken wrote a piece on the state of GTA Online that was neither as messy nor as entertaining as South Africa’s State of the Nation Address. Now, […]

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Not long ago, Bracken wrote a piece on the state of GTA Online that was neither as messy nor as entertaining as South Africa’s State of the Nation Address. Now, one of the key things he touched on was Heists which were a big selling point of GTA Online in its initial hype but which anybody playing GTA Online is still waiting for.

Over a year after release we’ll finally see heists making their way into GTA Online to allow players to recreate the feeling they got when pulling off heists in GTA V. That or heists will end up being a cacophony of miscommunication and laughably bad teamwork. Much like the heists in AC: Unity… or the development of the game for that matter.

Heists will finally become available on March 10 across all platforms. except PC, of course. It’s probably been a while since you last heard about heists so allow us to refresh your memory:

We are excited to announce that the launch of Heists for GTA Online is scheduled for March 10th. We know it’s been a wait, and appreciate your patience. Heists will bring a brand new 4-player cooperative gameplay experience to GTA Online, giving players the chance to team up to pull off a string of intense, multi-part raids and robberies across Los Santos and Blaine County. Over the next couple of weeks, we will have more information about the launch of Heists and about other new features that we will release with it.

It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect but should provide plenty of fun. The real question is whether Heists are coming a little too late to matter or whether they will reinvigorate GTA Online.

Either way, PC players will have to wait until the arbitrary date of April 14 to get their hands on GTA V. As a gesture of thanks for your understanding, Rockstar is granting anyone who has pre-ordered the game an additional $200,000 in-game cash for use in GTA Online.

In the meantime, below are some pretty screenshots of what you can expect from Heists.

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#thankyouanita Is The Most Ridiculous Response You’ll Hear To GamerGate Today http://egmr.net/2015/02/thankyouanita-ridiculous-response-youll-hear-gamergate-today/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/thankyouanita-ridiculous-response-youll-hear-gamergate-today/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167696 At this point I thought I’d seen it all as far as GamerGate, anti-GamerGate, misogyny, scare tactics, fear-mongering, attention seeking and generally deplorable behaviour is concerned. That was until I […]

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At this point I thought I’d seen it all as far as GamerGate, anti-GamerGate, misogyny, scare tactics, fear-mongering, attention seeking and generally deplorable behaviour is concerned. That was until I came across a bonafide piece of musical anti-GG propaganda.

It comes courtesy of a group of nerdcore rappers who have banded together in defense of Anita Sarkeesian and against GamerGate. They call themselves Nerdcore United and you can give their track ‘#thankyouanita (We’re Gamers Too!)’ up top.

It is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a while because the music and lyrics combine to form a very confusing and arguably misguided ballad to feminism in gaming. Anita Sarkeesian sometimes has good points to raise but she is not a beacon to be held up and nor is the likes of Brianna Wu. They both have agendas and at this point are as dangerous and deplorable as the worst individuals on the pro-GG side.

I won’t claim to pick sides but rather find myself somewhere in the middle because both sides have merit, both have issues and at this point it’s become tiresome and tedious. Perhaps this song will serve to illustrate how out of hand and absurd things have gotten. I mean, people are writing odes to Anita Sarkeesian now.

What happens next is anyone’s guess but I’d love to see a pro-GG rebuttal that leads to an epic rap battle which will inevitably spiral out of control. GamerGate is officially the West Side Story of the information age.

 

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Boyhood Loses Out As Birdman Soars At The 87th Academy Awards http://egmr.net/2015/02/boyhood-loses-birdman-soars-87th-academy-awards/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/boyhood-loses-birdman-soars-87th-academy-awards/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 07:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167597 Boyhood, as an experiment in filmmaking, is intriguing and fascinating but as soon as you strip away that hook you’re left with a very average film that takes an awfully […]

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Boyhood, as an experiment in filmmaking, is intriguing and fascinating but as soon as you strip away that hook you’re left with a very average film that takes an awfully long time to reach a hardly profound conclusion.

It is a lesser film in every way when compared to the likes of The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel. I can’t speak for American Sniper or Selma having watched neither. So, did the Academy make the right calls when handing out awards in LA last night at the 87th Annual Academy Awards?

When the nominees for this year’s Oscars were first announced I took some issue with a few omissions but was really just nitpicking what was actually a well-chosen list of nominees. I still maintain that the Oscars shouldn’t hold as much weight as they do given the amount of politics and nepotism involved every year but I will say that this year’s list of winners is one that I at least agree with.

Best Motion Picture
  • “American Sniper” Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers
  • WINNER: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers
  • “Boyhood” Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers
  • “The Imitation Game” Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers
  • “Selma” Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
  • “The Theory of Everything” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers
  • “Whiplash” Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers
Achievement in Directing
  • WINNER: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • “Boyhood” Richard Linklater
  • “Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
  • “The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum
Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role
  • Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
  • Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
  • Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • WINNER: Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”
Performance By an Actress in a Leading Role
  • Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
  • Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
  • WINNER: Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
  • Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
  • Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”
Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
  • Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
  • Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
  • WINNER: J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”
Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role
  • WINNER: Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
  • Laura Dern in “Wild”
  • Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
  • Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
  • Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”
Best Animated Feature
  • WINNER: “Big Hero 6” Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
  • “The Boxtrolls” Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2” Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
  • “Song of the Sea” Tomm Moore and Paul Young
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Achievement in Cinematography
  • WINNER: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
  • “Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
  • “Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
  • “Unbroken” Roger Deakins
Achievement in Costume Design
  • WINNER: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
  • “Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
  • “Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
  • “Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
  • “Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran
Best Documentary Feature
  • WINNER: “CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
  • “Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
  • “Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
  • “The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
  • “Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
Best Documentary Short Feature
  • WINNER: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
  • “Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
  • “Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
  • “The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
  • “White Earth” J. Christian Jensen
Achievement in Film Editing
  • “American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
  • “Boyhood” Sandra Adair
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
  • “The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
  • WINNER: “Whiplash” Tom Cross
Best Foreign Language Film
  • WINNER: “Ida” Poland
  • “Leviathan” Russia
  • “Tangerines” Estonia
  • “Timbuktu” Mauritania
  • “Wild Tales” Argentina
Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
  • “Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
  • WINNER: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White
Achievement in Original Score
  • WINNER: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
  • “The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
  • “Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
  • “The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson
Achievement in Original Song
  • “Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
  • WINNER: “Glory” from “Selma”Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
  • “Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
  • “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
Achievement in Production Design
  • WINNER: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
  • “Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • “Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
Best Animated Short Film
  • “The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
  • “The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
  • WINNER: “Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
  • “Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
  • “A Single Life” Joris Oprins
Best Live-Action Short Film
  • “Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
  • “Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
  • “Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
  • “Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
  • WINNER: “The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
Achievement in Sound Editing
  • WINNER: “American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
  • “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
  • “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
  • “Interstellar” Richard King
  • “Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • “American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
  • “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
  • “Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
  • “Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
  • WINNER: “Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Achievement in Visual Effects
  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
  • “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
  • WINNER: “Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
  • “X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
Best Adapted Screenplay
  • “American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
  • WINNER: “The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
  • “Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • “The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
  • “Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle
Best Original Screenplay
  • WINNER: “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
  • “Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
  • “Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
  • “Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

Looking at the major awards only, The Imitation Game is an absolutely great film but an injustice to the memory of Alan Turing so it is perhaps better that it didn’t walk away with any awards. The stand out films were Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Theory of Everything. three masterclasses in filmmaking, acting, sound and every other aspect.

That the Theory of Everything didn’t pick up more awards is a shame but at least it’s greatest aspect, the stellar performance of Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. It truly is the performance of a lifetime. The film is worth watching for that alone.

The big winners were of course Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel; it’s easy to see why. Both boast a great cast and directors with very specific, very unique visions.

What is interesting about Birdman scooping up so many awards is that it is a dark satire of the current state of the film industry and the way in which modern critics operate. One might almost say that it panders to the Academy. I don’t know if I enjoyed Birdman but it is a firecely fascinating film to take apart and analyse. The care with which it has been crafted is certainly worth appreciating. So too with The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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Comments Of The Week — “This Is The Dumbest, Most Awesome Thing” http://egmr.net/2015/02/comments-week-dumbest-awesome-thing/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/comments-week-dumbest-awesome-thing/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167547 For a very brief period this week, The Order: 1886 was all anybody could talk about whether it was to hate on the game or bemoan length or just to […]

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For a very brief period this week, The Order: 1886 was all anybody could talk about whether it was to hate on the game or bemoan length or just to admire all the phallic physics (yeah, we’re not giving you pervs a link to that).

When we weren’t looking at #PS4Share dick pics we were off in a corner criticising Evolve, punting Hatred and not updating our PS4s. Also, complaining about that new Hitman film.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Developer Behaviour That’s Worse Than Peter Molyneux’s “Pathological Lying” http://egmr.net/2015/02/industry-practices-worse-peter-molyneuxs-pathological-lying/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/industry-practices-worse-peter-molyneuxs-pathological-lying/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 07:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167370 Gaming, just like any other medium, allows for distinctive styles and patterns to emerge within a specific individual or company’s body of work. It’s a creative medium with perhaps more […]

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Gaming, just like any other medium, allows for distinctive styles and patterns to emerge within a specific individual or company’s body of work. It’s a creative medium with perhaps more room for expression and open-ended interpretation than film, books or paintings. Understandably that’s attracted some highly creative types who have not only flourished but helped shape the industry.

The trouble is that creativity and logic don’t always mix so there’s no shortage of developers with buckets of talent and games to back that up yet they just seem to be at odds with the world. In some cases it’s due to an unwavering vision while in others it’s down to simply not having their feet on the ground.

They are not necessarily bad people but rather people who are necessary in the industry in order to keep moving it forward and continue innovating. As developers they may be rather good at what they do but as people in the real world there’s a lot to be desired.

In my column on Wednesday (shameless plug) I spoke at length about Peter Molyneux and his recent whipping courtesy of RPS. There is nothing to be gained from driving these people out of the industry and frankly efforts are being wasted in vilifying a passionate industry veteran when there are developers doing some truly heinous things within the industry. That is, assuming the expenditure of your efforts are directed towards a journalistic purpose rather than simply views and attention.

Let’s take a look at some of the worst things developers and companies have done in recent years within the gaming industry. The sort of things which should have warranted a scathing interview.

 

Shady Business Deals

mephisto egmr
These are nothing new and true enough, every industry is rife with it. Whether it’s nepotism in the film industry, collusion in the bread industry or bribery in government. Actually, let’s just use government as our template for seething cesspits of debauchery and disrepute.

A few years ago Gearbox Software allegedly pawned the development of Aliens: Colonial Marines off to TimeGate Studios while supposedly funneling money off into development of Borderlands 2 which was being worked on around the same time. This is the same developer that gave us Duke Nukem Forever. Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford meanwhile claimed that 80% of the game had been developed in-house. Either way something seriously shady went down with Aliens: Colonial Marines such that Gearbox and Sega continually played hot potato in shirking blame over the hot mess.

A little more recently, one of 2014’s serious Game of the Year contenders caused controversy due to its publisher being worried that people wouldn’t praise it. If ever there was a case of irony, this is it. TotalBiscuit revealed that Warner Bros was prepared to give YouTubers early review copies of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and would pay them to promote the game if and only if they agreed to not say bad things about the game. A reminder: this wasn’t done on some second-rate shovelware but rather a Game of the Year contender. More specifically, the oily deal was concocted by PR company Plaid Social.

These are just two prominent examples of some very shady dealings purported by companies within the industry that certainly drew the ire of gamers but strangely, there were no hard-hitting subsequent interviews. Plaid Social were mum on the subject and declined to comment but Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford did plenty of interviews in the wake of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

On a more personal, often juvenile, level we arrive at our next major point.

 

Mistreatment of the Community

community egmr
Even if you’re a bit of a difficult customer, your waiter at a restaurant will endure the complaints and lack of a tip. If you serve up a death threat all bets are off though. The same can’t be said for developers who are sometimes as entitled and juvenile as the gamers that lash out against them. Patient zero for this is perhaps Phil Fish; not because he was the first but because he looks a wee bit like a monkey and movies have taught us that monkeys are always the cause of a disease outbreak. In a furious temper tantrum and after much furor on Twitter he decided to quit the industry and cancel Fez 2. That was back in 2013. Last year he resurfaced for the happenings in Ferguson and stuck around long enough to remind us that we don’t deserve Fez 2. That’s his prerogative and his IP to do with as he pleases but this man decided that the actions of a few deemed the entire gaming populous unworthy of a Fez sequel.

That, however is comparatively light to the absolute anarchy that goes on within Steam. Steam itself is a truly great platform and service but it’s Greenlight and Early Access sections have some rotten apples.

Dom did an excellent feature a couple of weeks ago on Steam Early Access which is well worth a read. I’d like to focus on a small part of the issue with Early Access that he didn’t quite delve into. In fact, it’s a problem that has popped up in other places around Steam. Early Access and indeed any form of forum or feedback system is intended not just for compliments and inflating the developer’s ego but also discussion and criticism, preferably constructive. Unfortunately, the moment some developers start getting criticism for whatever they’ve put up, be it a game or cobbled together clumps of dirt, they turn defensive and snappy. In some cases they’ll prevent users from commenting on the game through Steam. In the extreme cases there will be a complete and utter meltdown.

This is something Jim Sterling has covered extensively with one of the most notable cases being The Slaughtering Grounds, a game which released on Steam after being greenlit. Sterling covered the game in a let’s play wherein he trashed it and the developer’s response was to put out a ridiculous “Review The Reviewer” video in which they responded to everything Sterling said in his video by means of rather candid and explicit text.

In essence these are textbook examples of how developers should not conduct themselves with regards to the public and the media. It’s with a little pride that we can point to a local developer as an example of how to take criticism well. However, there doesn’t seem to be a huge drive to push these deplorable developers out of the industry. Granted, Phil Fish left of his own volition so that’s a job well done, folks.

 

Ubisoft

ubisoft egmr
This.
Don’t pretend you didn’t see this one coming. With such a gloriously tumultuous 2014, of course Ubisoft deserves its own heading.
In 2014 alone Ubisoft hid visual features on the PC version of Watch Dogs in addition to saturating the market with so many different versions of the game that a spreadsheet was needed to figure out what you were getting with your version of Watch Dogs. Then they told us that women were too difficult to animate for AC: Unity before holding back reviews until after the game had released in a broken state. They also nearly brought me to tears with Valiant Hearts, the bastards.

Those are just the highlights from Ubisoft’s 2014 and yet while the company was burned at the stake online, none of the interviews conducted with Ubisoft executives called them out on these things in a frank and candid way.

 

In Conclusion

I’ve taken a very roundabout route to arrive at a simple question: why have none of these companies or developers been torn apart the way Peter Molyneux was? Perhaps Ubisoft is too big to take on and the Slaughtering Grounds devs are too small to bother with. Molyneux however, is just right. He’s got the right amount of name recognition, he’s made some games that people truly love and everybody flocks to watch an idol fall.

What are your thoughts regarding the manner in which Molyneux was interviewed? Should prominent games journalists be wasting effort on outing Peter Molyneux’s insecurities and shortcomings instead of focusing on exposing the truth on real issues within the industry? Aggressive investigative journalism is nothing new and has managed to uncover many scandals. With games journalism being a hardly professional pursuit let alone a relatively new one we’ve, in recent years, started seeing the emergence of such journalism in games. However, such a tool should not be used against the people who have helped shape the industry unless they do something truly heinous.

I won’t ever claim to be a journalist, I’m an engineering student who has a passion for writing but even I know that journalistic integrity should be held above framing things in a way to get maximum clicks and views. Let alone allowing personal feelings to cloud one’s judgment.

Whatever happened to ethics?

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Notch Feels “Kinda” Like A Sell-Out http://egmr.net/2015/02/notch-feels-kinda-like-sell/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/notch-feels-kinda-like-sell/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 08:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167405 Minecraft is more than just a game, it’s a gaming phenomenon that has managed to appeal to people of all ages and demographics. The same can’t always be said of […]

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Minecraft is more than just a game, it’s a gaming phenomenon that has managed to appeal to people of all ages and demographics. The same can’t always be said of Markus “Notch” Persson, the game’s creator who can often rub people the wrong way.

Last year, Notch effectively sold-out by agreeing to a deal worth $2.5 billion which saw Microsoft buy Minecraft studio Mojang along with the rights to the game. The team is still intact and working on Minecraft 2 but Notch left to live a quieter life attending Ludum Dares, web experiments and just enjoying the fruits of his labours.

It’s very easy to brandish the term sell-out at him then and oddly enough, he’d agree with you. Notch admitted on twitter to feeling guilty but believes he made a good decision.

With any huge indie success, from Bastion to BroForce and everything in between the question is always “what’s next?” For Notch the task of just living up to Minecraft and recreating that sort of success was a weight that bore down on him. Eventually he accepted himself as a one-hit wonder.

The success of Minecraft has also allowed him to do what he wants without worrying about money or scrutiny.

I would argue that this perhaps speaks to a lack of ambition or a drive to do more. However, sometimes you only have that one great idea and honestly, many people would love for the chance to cash-in and spend their days having fun without worrying about backlash, hype, ethics and all the rest.

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Toast On Jam: Peter Molyneux Is Not The Enemy But He Is A Problem http://egmr.net/2015/02/toast-jam-peter-molyneux-not-enemy-problem/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/toast-jam-peter-molyneux-not-enemy-problem/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 09:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167258 Peter Molyneux has been the topic of much discussion in the past week following some rather damning news regarding Godus, his latest bundle of as yet undelivered promises, followed by […]

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Peter Molyneux has been the topic of much discussion in the past week following some rather damning news regarding Godus, his latest bundle of as yet undelivered promises, followed by a brutal interview. As a developer his contribution to the industry has been great and we need people like Molyneux to continue injecting ideas into the industry but he seems unable to keep his feet on the ground. He overpromises, underdelivers and seems to sometimes have a very tenuous connection with reality.

In the wake of that interview, some defended Molyneux while others said that he needs to be called into question for his actions. There were those, however who championed the interviewer for his full-frontal assault on Molyneux. The truth is, there is no reason to open with a question such as “Are you a pathological liar?” or call into question the man’s dedication to his work and the industry. Not unless you’ve come to the interview with an agenda, with a bone to pick and a belligerent attitude to boot. Let’s put it this way: it was unethical.

That said, I do agree with those who feel that Molyneux must be held accountable for what is happening with Godus.

To provide a quick recap, Godus was Kickstarted in 2012 and is being developed by Molyneux’s studio 22Cans. The game went into Early Access in September 2013 and since then has been under constant development but is still nowhere near the product that was promised. There are key features still missing, an entire multiplayer component which needs to happen and let us not forget the Kickstarter stretch goal of a Linux version even though the game is built on Marmalade which does not support Linux. The real kicker is what happened with Curiosity, the game which promised a life-changing experience for its winner. The winner was to get cash as well as be made the God of Gods in Godus’ multiplayer. Two years on the winner, Bryan Henderson, has yet to see any of that life-changing magic.

In fact, Bryan was more or less ignored for two years despite being promised a life-changing experience and a cash prize.

Add to this the fact that Molyneux’s actions sometimes contradict his words and the fact that his own dev team is doubtful over whether Godus will ever become what it was originally billed as and you’ve got a sticky mess.

This is not some fly by night developer peddling barely functional detritus on Steam’s Early Access. Molyneux deserves earnest inquiry but not derision. Regardless of what he has or has not done in the industry over the past few decades. That said, he’s an industry veteran who many would argue should know better than to let Godus turn into the mess it has become while others would just dismiss this as “classic Molyneux.” Both assessments are true. Molyneux has a reputation for overpromising and then struggling to realise what he’s set out to accomplish.

He’s not the likes of John Romero who promises something, rubs it in your face and then fails to deliver. Molyneux is more akin to David Cage. They’re both dreamers who are hugely passionate about the games they make but deeply flawed in the steadfastness to which they cling to their visions and their words don’t always translate to tangible results.

Molyneux has always been like this though so why is Godus a bigger trainwreck than anything else he has done? Quite simply because it is being developed independently whereas his previous games were made under the watchful eye of a publisher to keep things in check. Furthermore, he didn’t simply make nebulous promises to an audience, he made promises to a specific person (Henderson) and has yet to deliver.

Now, I’m not going to advocate a big brother system overseen by Lords Ubisoft, EA and Activision but accountability and not having the final say go some way towards reigning developers in towards reality. If George Lucas hadn’t been left unchecked then the Star Wars prequels might well have turned out differently.

Above is a slightly off-topic but relevant aside about the curious case of David Cage.

Independent developers are great because they have a freedom that other developers simply aren’t always afforded unless they’re the likes of Naughty Dog or Rocksteady and even then there is pressure from the publisher to do certain things. It’s doubtful that something such as Gone Home, The Stanley Parable or No Man’s Sky would have come out of EA or Ubisoft and that unbridled creative freedom is great for innovation. That’s assuming things go well.

The flip side is that developers such as Phil Fish and Peter Molyneux are free to do whatever they want and often end up having the final say in creative decisions. Fish is a juvenile who canceled Fez 2 because he got a bit upset, regardless of what his dev team wanted. Perhaps that’s fine and what Fish decides to do with his IP is up to him. It’s a bit more of a problem when you’re burning crowdfunded money. Yes, when backing a Kickstarter project the backer must accept the risks associated with what is essentially an angel investment in a venture but there must be some form of oversight to provide those developers with the impetus for accountability. I’m not talking about entitlement but if a developer has made certain promises then they should be held to those promises.

That responsibility currently sort of falls to the community and games journalists (not real journalists for the most part) as a self-regulating mechanism of the industry. It works for the most part with serious backlash forcing the hand of companies but would we perhaps not benefit from a complaints commission of sorts to pair nicely with Caveshen’s suggestion of a gaming board. This would hold developers accountable for any undelivered promises they’ve made.

In reality though, such a commission would be inundated with complaints all across the spectrum from preposterous to urgently valid and would likely not function nearly as well as one might hope. So what’s the solution? Surely not to force these people out of the industry because aside from some of the truly awful shovelware on Steam, people get into game development out of a passion.

The likes of Phil Fish left the industry of his own accord so that solves that problem but what should be done to get Molyneux back on track and keep people like Cage from going a similar route?

204729-fable

Perhaps the sane thing to do would be to stage an intervention when a developer goes sideways. A group of peers from within the industry who could meet with said developer, sit them down and hopefully set them straight. It’s idealistic and frankly I’m not wholly sure who within the industry is best suited for such a task but it’s an idea. These are talented and passionate people but people nonetheless. People with flaws so in the same way that smaller communities such as the local game dev scene support each other, perhaps something like that should exist on a bigger scale.

After all, these are not bad people but people with a lot of passion, a lot of drive and certainly a vision of what they want to achieve. these are people that the industry needs but sometimes they need to take heed of a second opinion or simply take a step back and look at what they’re doing.

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Sniper Elite Developer Denounces Review Scores As “Irrelevant” http://egmr.net/2015/02/sniper-elite-developer-denounces-review-scores-irrelevant/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/sniper-elite-developer-denounces-review-scores-irrelevant/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 07:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167359 Review scores are a big deal in gaming, not only because many readers skip the text and judge a game solely on whether it is an 8/10 or a 9/10 […]

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Review scores are a big deal in gaming, not only because many readers skip the text and judge a game solely on whether it is an 8/10 or a 9/10 (as if that objectively means anything without justification and explanation) but also because a number of big sites have started dropping reviews scores.

Review scores are absurdly influential in gaming with a game’s Metacritic score governing whether some potential buyers will get the game or not. There’s also the infamous collective of gamers who won’t get anything rated lower than a 9/10. Companies are also obsessed with review scores with a game’s aggregated score being as relevant to a studio’s survival as its gross revenue.

As site friend Gaming Anarchist put it last year, review scores have an inflated weighting in gaming, especially when sites don’t use the full scale and a “bad” game is given a 6/10. We at least try to use the full scope of our review scale and won’t hesitate to give a game a pitifully low score.

To consumers perhaps reviews scores do matter but ultimately what matters to consumers and developers is tangible feedback and criticism or praise, rather than nebulous numbers.

While I don’t fully agree with Sniper Elite developer Rebellion’s stance on review scores, their attitude is one that makes sense. As far as the studio is concerned, review scores for their games are irrelevant because they sell well and provide people with entertainment.

In our review of Sniper Elite III last year, we gave it a rating of 65 which might be considered a low score but our verdict paints a clearer picture:

Sniper Elite III is perhaps the best entry in the series to date, but it still suffers from immense repetition, strange AI and a lack of variety. The effort Rebellion has put in is admirable, and fans of the series will be pleased. However it’s also often a case of quantity over quality here, and while fun the game does run out of steam before it should. It’s absolutely worth playing if you’re keen and it’s entertaining, but it can be missed or got for cheaper if you’re on the fence about it.

It’s not a good game but is worth getting if you’re into this sort of thing and clearly has some effort behind it from the developers.

In an interview with GamesIndustry, Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley said the developer favours pleasing its players over trying to get good review scores. Arguably those two are synonymous but it does present two different approaches to the game’s development.

“Nobody here ever bothers about Metacritic. We think of it as irrelevant, quite frankly,” he said.

“We only concentrate on what the users think, and every aggregate user score has been significantly higher than the aggregate professional score. We care about the people who are spending their money, and whether we’re happy that we’ve made a good game.

“The acid test isn’t somebody’s abstracted number.”

Kingsley acknowledged the difficulty if reviewing video games, given the subjective nature of any media, but affirmed the company’s position by stating that critics don’t necessarily feel the same about a game as general consumers.

“The greatest value for us as digital publishers, if you like, is in embracing YouTube and Twitch and the normal people being seen playing our games,” Kingsley said.

“It lets you see what the gameplay is like, and make a decision on whether you like that and want to play it. You might not actually care whether it didn’t seem totally original to one person, or that the story was a bit crap. That new approach has taken over.”

It’s a stance that makes a lot of sense for developers to take because when you’re more concerned with giving your audience what it wants and making a game they’ll enjoy then you should, inevitably, make a better game.

That said, developers should not to be too dismissive of low review scores because there tends to be some justification for those, not in the numbers but in the text which substantiates the numbers.

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The Latest PS4 Firmware Update Is Not Your Friend http://egmr.net/2015/02/latest-ps4-firmware-update-not-friend/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/latest-ps4-firmware-update-not-friend/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 12:00:01 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167319 In fairness, no piece of firmware has ever been your friend. It only pretends to be. With a few years and a lot more development of machine learning, maybe firmware […]

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In fairness, no piece of firmware has ever been your friend. It only pretends to be. With a few years and a lot more development of machine learning, maybe firmware could even grow to pretend to love you, just like your parents.

The last time the PS4 got a major update, it brought Share Play and a few other features but it also had a habit of causing some serious issues for users. Firmware update 2.04 has just gone live in some regions and already there are reports that it is causing issues for users.

Well, it’s not even the firmware itself. Users on Twitter and Reddit are reporting issues when trying to download the damn thing.

The problem seems to be a loss of PSN connection as soon as the Update 2.04 download starts. Some are receiving CE-32937-4 and SU-30709-9 error codes when attempting to update their PS4.

Sony has yet to post the official notes on the firmware update but is aware of the issue and working on it.

Until then, sit tight and do not update your PS4. We repeat, do not update your PS4… or go ahead and do it anyway.

This is just another instance of poor QA on Sony’s part before rolling out the update. With update 2.0 users experienced issues with waking their console up from Rest Mode if there was a disc in the tray. Something as simple and commonplace as that should not cause issues.

Let’s hope this gets resolved quickly and properly. Moreover, this can’t happen with every single firmware update. Something isn’t being done properly.

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Lara Looks A Lot Lonelier In These Rise Of The Tomb Raider Screenshots http://egmr.net/2015/02/lara-looks-lot-lonelier-rise-tomb-raider-screenshots/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/lara-looks-lot-lonelier-rise-tomb-raider-screenshots/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:00:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167290 Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to 2013’s rather good Tomb Raider reboot, is going to exclusively on Xbox One and PC and might come to PS4 at a […]

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Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to 2013’s rather good Tomb Raider reboot, is going to exclusively on Xbox One and PC and might come to PS4 at a later date. In fact it probably will but for the time being it’s locked to Microsoft.

Last year that caused a huge furore and yes, it’s understandable to get a bit upset, as a PS4 owner, over the fact that we won’t get to play the game. It’s not cause to throw our toys out of the cot but enough time has passed for us to leave that behind and look at the actual game.

At present we know very little about the game. Okay, we know next to nothing aside from the fact that this will be the game where Lara morphs into the character we know and love while also dealing with what happened on Yamatai.

What we do know is that it is looking mighty fine, as evidenced by the screenshots below. The game appears to have a variety of settings and environments for a truly globe-trotting adventure. It also looks a lot deadlier and more desolate than the first game. Do you see that bear?!

One thing that the last game lacked a little was puzzles. They were there but were simple. In a recent interview with Game Informer, creative director Noah Hughes talked about the renewed emphasis on tombs and physics-based puzzles with the design hearkening back to the earlier Tomb raider titles.

With regards to when you can expect Rise of the Tomb Raider to release, that’s anybody’s guess. The game was originally slated for late 2015 but last year Phil Spencer said that some of Microsoft’s exclusives might be pushed out of the holiday 2015 window to declutter it.

Are you looking forward to Rise of the Tomb Raider based on the first game and how do you see it stacking up to Uncharted 4?

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The Order: 1886 Might Be Too Short To Satisfy You http://egmr.net/2015/02/order-1886-might-short-satisfy/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/order-1886-might-short-satisfy/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167255 The Order: 1886 has been one of the PS4’s most anticipated games, partially because the console has been lacking exclusives since this time last year when we got inFamous: Second […]

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The Order: 1886 has been one of the PS4’s most anticipated games, partially because the console has been lacking exclusives since this time last year when we got inFamous: Second Son and partly because it’s made a lot of big promises so we’re obviously quite eager to see it fail to deliver. Perhaps not that eager. At the end of the day we’d rather take a good game over a flaming mess to point at and laugh.

For a very long time The Order looked to have a great setting, fantastic visuals but dull as driftwood gameplay. It seemed as generic as a third-person shooter could get. Then we started seeing more gameplay as things took a turn for the interesting.

Suffice to say that The Order looks more promising than it did last year but with the game releasing this week there are still concerns surrounding whether the game is worth it; not only from the “is it a good game” perspective but also whether it gives players significant playtime. After all, what’s the point of a five course meal if it’s over in a few minutes and dessert just leaves you wanting more. That metaphor doesn’t quite hold up but bear with me, my stomach sounds like a wounded Lycan.

As with any singleplayer experience it’s a question of length. How long is The Order? Unfortunately “1886” is no indication.

YouTube user PlayMeThrough posted a bare minimum run of the game which he completed in around five and a half hours. You can check it out here. He doesn’t stop for anything, barely dies and skips as much as possible. In short, any normal person would take much longer. Likely closer to nine or ten hours.

It’s also worth noting that cutscenes cannot be skipped. PlayMeThrough mentions that the game feels “much longer than it really is,” and that could mean one of two things. Either it’s a short game that feels padded or the pacing works well to elongate the experience. Chances are that it is the former rather than the latter.

This should dispel rumours of the game being a fleeting three hours but doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the game either. The Order still sounds like a game that sacrificed gameplay for beauty and ended up with a stunning game that might have serviceable gameplay but is over too soon and yet still padded. I can only hope to be proven wrong.

Will you be getting The Order this Friday?

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Just Cause 3 Trailer Sets The World On Fire, New Details Revealed http://egmr.net/2015/02/just-cause-3-trailer-sets-world-fire-new-details-revealed/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/just-cause-3-trailer-sets-world-fire-new-details-revealed/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 08:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167205 Just Cause has never been a profound series, it has never aspired to anything other than giving players an explosively good time. Just Cause 2 managed that rather well but […]

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Just Cause has never been a profound series, it has never aspired to anything other than giving players an explosively good time. Just Cause 2 managed that rather well but struggled to keep things fresh and exciting. In fact, I’ve got a special preference for Just Cause 2 as that game which is great for mindless fun, when it’s mechanics and lack of variety aren’t driving you away.

So what does series developer Avalanche Studios have planned for the third installment? The trailer above gives us the feeling that there’s going to be a lot of destruction in this game and that is by no means a bad thing. Hell, the tagline “Set the world on fire” tickles me in all the right ways.

It looks positively apocalyptic doesn’t it? At least for the Mediterranean island nation of Medici.

The first (or last) thing you’ll notice is the new wingsuit, pulled right from the pages of Far Cry. Just Cause and Far Cry are in direct competition right now in the over-the-top sandbox game niche so a little idea pilfering is not surprising.

Just Cause 3 director Roland Lesterlin recently explained to Eurogamer how the team wants Just Cause 3 to feel and unsurprisingly they approached it from the perspective of a 12 year old boy.

“A lot of people are using the open world as a big level and putting their single player experience through it,” said Lesterlin. That’s great – I love playing open world games. Just Cause is something a little bit different from that, though.

“I always imagined when I was 12 years old – I tell this story a lot – when you’re 12 you’re smart enough to understand adults, but you’re smaller than them. People are big, cars are big, the sky is big and everything is new. Just Cause has that joyfulness of being 12, and that’s something only games can give you. That’s where I think it sits, off on its own. It really is a sandbox about creativity. It’s a whole bunch of tools, all these weird ideas we’ve had that all interlink, and then it’s, ‘what do you make of it?'”

Early impressions of Just Cause 3 are starting to stream in and we’ve collected some of the major changes to be noted.

Traversal and navigation has been made more fluid and versatile so that you can now easily scale a building with the aid of the grappling hook. Speaking of which, players can now tether up to three objects together for extra anarchy… but also so much more silliness.

There’s also a bigger focus on the chaos you cause being physics driven to make each bit of mayhem a little different.

While Just Cause 2 displayed plenty of open-endedness in what players could do in the game’s sandbox, missions were comparatively claustrophobic. That is mercifully being changed in Just Cause 3.

“It’s hard to say that it has structure,” says Lesterlin. “There are missions that drive you through a storyline, and we try to give you a bit more depth so you can understand who Rico is. Really, it’s still about systems. We’re not scripting a mission that’s going to give you a different experience to outside that mission. If you can do something in a mission, you can do it in the open world. A mission is just a structured opportunity to try all the weird things in your game.”

We can only hope they haven’t taken a page out of the AC: Unity school of open mission structure.

“We’ve got missions,” said principal designer Francesco Antolini. “The point is, you have the basic system mechanics of Just Cause, which means liberating settlements. You’re free to liberate settlements as you wish, in the order that you want. At the same time, a bit different to Just Cause 2, Just Cause 3 is going to feature a proper mission structure. The philosophy behind the missions is exactly the same in that you’re seeing these systems – we give you goals, but there are endless ways you can undertake to satisfy these goals. How do we make that fit within the structure? It’s really hard, but that’s what makes it interesting from a design perspective to make a game like this. It’s really hard, because when you give that much freedom to a player, it’s really easy for them to break your mission. There are 10,000 things for you to consider while you’re doing that. I hope that we manage to.”

Just Cause 3 embraces chaos though – as has been widely noted since its announcement – it’s not embracing the kind of chaos seen in the well-received, widely played mod for Just Cause 2 that introduced multiplayer. It hasn’t been possible for the team in New York, because the focus is elsewhere. “When you start with multiplayer – there are so many great multiplayer games out there, and it’s a core focus of those companies to do multiplayer,” says Lesterlin. “For us it’s really important not to lose polish on a big triple-A game. It’s great in a mod, but you can’t ship that mod. You can’t have something that’s broken and crashes. It’s funny in a mod, and it’s sweet. We’d have to really spend another layer to make sure we do it right, and right now the focus is to make sure we’ve got that sandbox right.”

The changes are not huge and even the environment is nothing new for the series really but better balancing, a higher level of polish and tweaks to the game design could result in a very different game. A superior one to anything Just Cause 2 aimed to be. Ultimately, Just Cause 3 will likely be good fun but might suffer from similar issues to the last game; especially coming from a new team.

Just Cause 3 will be out later this year on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It won’t be any GTA V or even a Far Cry 4 but it could be a lot of fun. The added chaos that this game is going for could go either in its favour or against it over any length of playtime. What’s your take on Just Cause?

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Comments Of The Week — “Your Frozen References Are Bad” http://egmr.net/2015/02/comments-week-frozen-references-bad/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/comments-week-frozen-references-bad/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 13:00:19 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167194 It’s been a rough week for Peter Molyneux to say the least. Certainly rougher than anything you’ll see in Fifty Shades of Grey. Speaking of morally questionable things that are […]

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It’s been a rough week for Peter Molyneux to say the least. Certainly rougher than anything you’ll see in Fifty Shades of Grey. Speaking of morally questionable things that are filled with poor grammar, have you met our new podcast? It’s exactly the same as the old one except now Kevin Feige is producing.

Yes, Spider-Man has come home to the MCU and there are already fresh-faced youths being queued up for the role. Elsewhere, Half-Life 3 got unannounced or is it denounced (renounced?)? It’s probably pronounced. Also, we got our hands on Battlefield: Hardline, Bracken liked it so much he made a music video about it. Well, it’s a video and it has a little music in it.

  • Hulk Smash — You won’t like me when I’m angry! Always posts rage comments.
  • TRoLoLoL — Everything is a joke.
  • The Fanboy — BioWare is MINE!
  • Consolefag — PC Sucks, etc.
  • The NeoN — PC is legacy. PC is the best.
  • The Elitist — I’m better than all of you. Don’t type to me in that tone of voice.
  • The Spammer — Cannot. Help. Myself. Must. Comment.
  • Gandalf — Loves long walks on the beach and philosophy. Also, types long comments.
  • Most Valued Commenter (MVC) — Everyone takes interest in what you have to say.
  • The Michael — It’s everywhere!
  • The Hater — Nothing is good enough!
  • Mr/Mrs Likable — Most Likes on a Comment.

There’s a great chance that we’ll add more as we go. Perhaps you have some ideas of labels we should add. Let us know in the comments.

Every week we’ll leave one title out. It’ll be your job to suggest a winner in the comments.

On the next page, you’ll be able to find the winners.

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Ubisoft Promises To Have No Delays In 2015 (Just Don’t Take Their Word For It) http://egmr.net/2015/02/ubisoft-promises-no-delays-2015-just-dont-take-word/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/ubisoft-promises-no-delays-2015-just-dont-take-word/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167177 After the 2014 that Ubisoft had, do we dare take their word for anything? Not a chance. Seeing is believing, folks, especially with Ubisoft. That isn’t to say that the […]

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After the 2014 that Ubisoft had, do we dare take their word for anything? Not a chance. Seeing is believing, folks, especially with Ubisoft. That isn’t to say that the publisher has not (hopefully) learnt from its mistakes last year.

Will they continue to push pre-order bonuses long before we seen see any sign of gameplay? Of course. Will they say stupid things to create PR disasters? A small part of us hopes so because foot in mouth syndrome is so very fun to watch. Will they revise the way they handle reviews and embargoes? We certainly hope so.

So what exactly is Ubisoft promising to do differently this year? Well, a major recurring issue last year was that games kept getting delayed. Not just with Ubisoft but everywhere. Hell, this year is essentially 2014: Part II. Watch Dogs was pushed from late 2013 into May 2014, The Division was displaced from 2014 to late 2015 and even Unity was delayed by a couple of weeks. It’s become a common theme in triple-A gaming and Ubisoft is promising to avoid delays in 2015.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot acknowledged the issues the publisher has had and affirmed that the company is working to ensure that there is no risk of a delay. Easier said than done.

Thus far we have The Division and Rainbow Six: Siege confirmed to be coming in fiscal 2016 which runs from April 1 2015 to March 31 2016. Guillemot also confirmed that Assassin’s Creed: Victory will be coming later this year and shall be built upon the same platform as Unity.

With any luck it will be a far more stable platform this time around. At the very least they should learn from their mistakes and discover what “optimisation” means.

Now, this being Ubisoft there is no reason to take their word for it. It’s all PR guff until proven otherwise. Are you willing to give them the benefit of the doubt? We certainly aren’t.

On one hand we do not want another Battlefield 4 or Arkham Origins but we also don’t want games to be delayed ad infinitum. The simple solution is for publishers to give developers sufficient time to put their games together. The Division was initially slated for a 2014 release and the developers denounced this expectation as preposterous. Furthermore, proper QA should really be implemented more effectively as opposed to leaning on post-release patches as a crutch.

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Peter Molyneux Once Again Apologises For Overpromising, This Time On Godus http://egmr.net/2015/02/peter-molyneux-apologises-overpromising-time-godus/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/peter-molyneux-apologises-overpromising-time-godus/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167110 Peter Molyneux is best known for Fable and never quite delivering on his promises for a game. We like him because he has ambition but we dislike him because he’s […]

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Peter Molyneux is best known for Fable and never quite delivering on his promises for a game. We like him because he has ambition but we dislike him because he’s always trying to lick his elbow or set a pool of water on fire. Ultimately he makes us believe that perhaps he can but then everybody is simply disappointed in the end.

His sex life must be disastrous.

That said, Molyneux has become rather candid in recent years and sometimes doesn’t sugarcoat his own mistakes. The incredibly awkward effigy above is testament to that with Godus developer 22cans putting designer Konrad Naszynski and studio founder Peter Molyneux in the hotseat to talk about the Kickstarted game’s issues.

Godus is the latest project from Molyneux and once again he promised the world but delivered far less when folks finally got their hands on the game in Early Access.

Backers are enraged over the state of Godus with the game being a harsh disappointment at present.

In the video, Naszynski himself admits: “What I want to do is bring up the quality of the PC experience because it’s just not there, in my mind.”

It’s been two years since the game’s Kickstarter campaign and 18 months since the game went into Early Access.

The game has been lambasted for overpromising on stretch goals, being released too early on Early Access and trouble with bridging PC and mobile versions of the game. Design choices that work on PC haven’t worked on mobile and vice versa. Godus is a textbook example of so many things wrong with crowdfunded games development. Or more historically, it’s a modern incarnation of the story of Icarus.

Watch the video above, try not to cringe at how awkward it all is.

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Capcom Wants Dante To Grow Up For The Next Devil May Cry http://egmr.net/2015/02/capcom-wants-dante-grow-next-devil-may-cry/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/capcom-wants-dante-grow-next-devil-may-cry/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 07:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167105 Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry was a fun, visually delicious game but die-hard fans had an issue with the younger crack-addict version of Dante. At the heart of it […]

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Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry was a fun, visually delicious game but die-hard fans had an issue with the younger crack-addict version of Dante. At the heart of it though was a guy who was having fun with what he was doing, the same thing that often makes Spider-Man fun.

Even the slightly older Dante (post-rehab we assume) was liked by series fans but what if the clock was wound forward? What if the next Devil May Cry featured an older, wiser and whiter Dante? Not unlike Indiana Jones. Wait what?

There have been five Devil May Cry games up till now, the latest being a reboot courtesy of Ninja Theory. Capcom developer Rey Jimenez thinks that the next step is to then skip over Dante in his prime and go straight to old man Dante. Pictured above is a rendering of what an older Dante may look like.

In a recent interview with Hip Hop Gamer, Jimenez explained where he wants the next game to take the series.

“I’d push it forward a few years. Lets get Dante in his late 40’s or 50’s. Lets get the Indiana Jones kinda adventure where he’s a bit older, wiser and calmer. See how he acts then, you know?”

Is that still Devil May Cry though? The entire point is high-intensity, fast-paced and absolutely bonkers action. That energy has to be toned down for a believably older Dante but perhaps he could have greater strength, more tactical skill.

Turning Dante into a stringy kid garnered much ire from fans to the point where Ninja Theory received death threats so what would making him older do? Generally making a character older allows for a different approach to gameplay and imposes limitations which the player has to work around. Except in cases such as Assassin’s Creed: Revelations where Ezio was more agile, flirtatious and youthful than ever.

This is by no means confirmation that Dante will be middle-aged in the next Devil May Cry but a desire is there to make it happen. Whether Ninja Theory will hold onto the reigns remains to be seen.

Some great stories can come from making your character older such as Old Man Logan or The Dark Knight Returns but somehow it’s tough to see a DMC game holding up a narrative such as that.

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Who’s Going To Be The Next Spider-Man? http://egmr.net/2015/02/whos-going-next-spider-man/ http://egmr.net/2015/02/whos-going-next-spider-man/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 11:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=167087 A lot of people took issue with Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker and yes, he’s a little too effortlessly cool and forcefully awkward to be Peter Parker but as […]

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A lot of people took issue with Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker and yes, he’s a little too effortlessly cool and forcefully awkward to be Peter Parker but as Spider-Man? He was pure gold. Regardless of what you think of the Amazing Spider-Man films.

The thing is though that with Marvel bringing Spider-Man over to the MCU we’re getting a new actor. Thankfully we won’t have to watch Uncle Ben die again but we will see a new face putting slinging webs and cracking wise.

Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have it on good authority that Marvel and Sony are looking for someone much younger and more plausbily high school/ college aged than Garfield who is somehow 31.

“The plan is for the character to go back to high school in the next films,” says Variety, “and spend more time in the setting and explore his awkward relationship with other students while fighting crime out of the classroom.”

So Spidey is going back to high school. The early contenders for spandex wedgie victim are Logan Lerman who you can currently see in Fury and Dylan O’Brien who nobody really cared to see in The Maze Runner although he did get his big break on Teen Wolf.

This is a strange one because Lerman may suit Spider-Man better but O’Brien certainly has the look of a confused and scared teen.

Hey, maybe they could tag-team the role.

Meanwhile Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino aka Troy from Community is making his case for why he should be the next Spider-Man. It’s not totally out of the question considering that Miles Morales is Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe and extremely popular. However, Glover is a bit old for the role of Miles. That said, a Miles might bring some diversity to the MCU. As long as nobody lets Jaden Smith anywhere near the role. Pseudo-philosophical Spidey is one step above the clone saga.

What are your thoughts? Put forth some candidates for the next Spider-Man.

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