A false alarm hostage situation reported in Ubisoft Montreal headquarters

Ubisoft Montreal

No you did not read that title wrong. Today an emergency broadcast went live as Ubisoft Montreal’s headquarters had become a potential target for a hostage situation. Although details are still emerging this breaking story originally suggested an awful outcome for those involved. Thankfully, the reality is a little more reassuring.

As mentioned by several sources, heavily armored police were stationed outside of the building awaiting further instructions. It’s understood that the Montreal Police division is still asking nearby citizens to stray clear at all costs just to be safe.

Ubisoft Montreal hostage developments

Ubisoft Montreal headquartersThe “ongoing police operation,” has been active as early as 13:30pm Eastern Time. They were originally dispatched over a reported robbery in a nearby commercial building. But the alleged robbers true intentions looked to be even more hostile.

It was unknown if the suspects had any individuals held hostage. But as more developments came out, some good news was delivered. The Montreal Police department found no evidence of a hostage situation. Instead, it’s thought that a nearby armed robbery took place just outside of the Ubisoft Montreal headquarters.

After all, even if no one got physically hurt it did cause a large group of Ubisoft employees to be stuck and barricaded on the headquarters’ roof. The stress caused by a situation of this nature is something to be taken seriously. Images of the building roof and the trapped workers were put out by a nearby helicopter passing by.

We’ll need to wait for further details before being able to confirm exactly where we are at. Hopefully, everything gets cleared up and the Ubisoft Montreal workers are able to return home safely. For further updates, check out the Montreal Police departments office web page. Also, consider checking out our other news stories here on Vgamerz for other breaking news stories.

Someone’s pet fish just beat Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire

Siamese Fighting Fish edit

No you did not read that headline wrong. You’ve seen Twitch plays Pokemon but now is the time of fish plays Pokemon. YouTuber Mutekimaru had his pet fish play through the entirety of Pokemon Ruby and it somehow managed to complete the whole game from start to end.

The stream saw his Siamese Fighting Fish swim around his tank with button commands highlighted in the background. Whenever the little guy swam over a shown command it would trigger the equivalent in game. Given this controls scheme it’s nothing short of a minor miracle that the fish managed to overcome even the region champion, Steven.

A fish conquers Hoenn

Mutekimaru fish fighting Rayquaza

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire are the third generation versions of Nintendo’s popular JRPG franchise. Originally released back in 2002, they are considered cult classics of the Game Boy Advanced era. An average playthrough of Ruby and Sapphire takes around 35 hours. The current glitch less speed run record is just under two hours. The fish’s time? Over 3000 hours.

It is worth noting that the fish didn’t complete the game entirely on its own. For parts that required significant travel across the world Mutekimaru provided a little assistance. However, for battles and the mass majority of moving around, it was all done by our fish friend.

For the sake of his fish’s health, there are actually two participants. Every 12 hours Mutekimaru switches the fish around so that they get a hard earned rest. This way they both get plenty of opportunity to rest but can still get to slaying region champions in their free time.

If you’re interested, their journey is still ongoing. Even after beating Steven, both fish are now tasked with overcoming Hoenn’s various legendaries. They’ve already beaten Rayquaza and Regirock but there’s still many to go. You can see the fish’s full Pokemon over on Mutekimaru’s official YouTube channel.

Black Ops Cold War will be integrated into Warzone come December

Black Ops Cold War

With the release of the next Call of Duty title right around the corner, some concerns are inevitable. Amongst these concerns is how Black Ops Cold War is going to work alongside Warzone. We hadn’t received too many details from Activision regarding this topic but earlier today we finally got some much needed information.

When Black Ops Cold War releases on November 13, it will not feature Warzone. The popular battle royale game mode will instead follow shortly after in December. In the meantime players will have access to Treyarch’s signature Zombies mode alongside multiplayer and story mode.

Black Ops Cold War Warzone update

Black Ops Cold War multiplayer promo image

Call of Duty: Warzone has gone down as a huge success for Activision’s hit FPS franchise. Despite debuting just seven months ago, it has already reached eighty million total players. These numbers put it in direct competition with other genre titans like Fortnite and PUBG. Not bad for something that started off life as a spin-off.

It’s inevitable integration with Black Ops Cold War was confirmed way back in September. But we now know that Activision isn’t changing the progression model. All level unlocks acquired from 1 to 55 in Cold War will be usable in Warzone too. It’s much the same for gun unlocks, camos, blueprints, and operators.

What we don’t know is how this game will interact with Modern Warfare. Both games feel and play very differently so having their respective Warzone modes overlap could be difficult. Supposedly, Treyarch’s plan is to let players pick either a Modern Warfare loadout or Black Ops Cold War loadout beforehand. But how that will work from a balance point of view is hard to gauge.

We’re also still left with the most obvious question of all unanswered. Will this game bring a new Warzone map with it? Or are we just going to be playing on either the same map or a reskinned version going forward? Only time will tell but we at least now know that there will be some kind of crossover.

Hidden clause reveals that deleting your Facebook account wipes your Oculus data

Facebook

Back in 2014 Facebook confirmed the acquisition of virtual reality developer Oculus. The deal is thought to have cost around $2 billion and was most likely an attempt for Facebook to enter the VR industry. But it’s a hidden clause found six years later that’s got people really talking.

As discovered by @CixLiv on Twitter, there’s an interesting sub-clause on Facebook’s delete profile page. It says that deleting your account will also wipe your oculus information. This includes achievements, existing store credits, and even previous app purchases. In other words, Facebook reserves the right to forcibly remove the ownership of any Oculus app you’ve purchased.

Another strike against Facebook

Oculus Rift facebook Beat Saber gameplayIt’s no secret that the social media giant has a taste for personal information. Back in 2018 company CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg had to face a US Senate to explain his company’s behaviour. According to several leaks, Facebook had been selling its customers personal data to other companies and even governments.

It got so bad in fact that the European Union had to rework its entire online privacy act to protect people. Now if a company wants to do business in an EU state it has to ask consent to collect data. And if the consumer doesn’t want to give said data away, you can not deny them access to your product or service.

Since the Oculus Rift is another source of valuable data, it makes sense that Facebook would want to protect that. By tying it to your Facebook account, it’s effectively monopolizing information about you. It’s a bizarre concept but sadly not a new one.

Perhaps the craziest thing of all is that if you create a burner Facebook account just for Oculus, you can get banned. It’s actually against the Oculus terms and conditions to not use your official profile. Hopefully, the backlash regarding this encourages Facebook to rethink its business strategy at least a little.

Atari is developing its first games console in over 25 years

Atari

Those familiar with gaming history will probably remember the Atari Jaguar. First released in 1993, the Jaguar is accredited to be the sole reason Atari left the console market for good. It sold less than 250,000 units and is thought to have cost the now historic games company everything.

But its been over 25 years since and now it seems Atari is finally ready to re-enter the market. The newly announced VCS is a remaster of the original 2600. Similar to that of Nintendo’s SNES Mini and the SEGA Genesis Mini, the VCS is aiming to bring some of the most iconic retro games back.

Atari VCS details

Atari 2600 Frogger gameplayAs expected of a 2020 console release, the VCS features a plethora of useful tech innovations compared to its original counterpart. Amongst these include USB 3.0, native HDMI outputs, and support for Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

Regarding hardware the Atari VCS comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen CPU, Radeon GPU, and a respectable 8 GB of RAM. This may seem a little overkill for running 2600 games but there’s a good reason for the specs. The VCS functions both as a retro games console and a PC. By activating its desktop mode, you can load into an operating system of choice like Windows 10 or Ubuntu Linux.

In an attempt to maintain the original’s aesthetic, the Atari VCS comes with an authentic wooden panel and ribbing pattern. You’ll even have the option to use a modernized gamepad with analog sticks or a faithful remake of the 2600’s original joystick.

Atari has promised over 100 classic 2600 titles will be playable via the Atari Vault. And thanks to the VCS’ PC mode, it will also have full access to many popular streaming apps like YouTube, Twitch, and Netflix. The only downside is that to get your hands on an Atari VCS it’ll cost $389.99. Compared to its direct competitors, that is very expensive.

NBA 2K21 now comes with unskippable adverts despite being a $60 AAA game

NBA 2K21

2K Games are no stranger to forcing unethical monetization down its consumers’ throats. Be it placing a free to play business model in a AAA game or the classic use of loot boxes, 2K has done it all. But today’s finding of what gamers have come across in NBA 2K21 might just top it all.

When loading into a game on NBA 2K21 there’s a chance that, instead of the usual 2K TV showing, you’ll be forced to watch an advert. I say forced because there’s no way to skip regardless of how fast your game loads. This was most notably highlighted by PC players who’s would reach 100% loading very quickly but not be given an option to proceed.

This isn’t the first time

NBA 2K21 microtransactionsNeedless to say, forcing your consumers to watch an advert on a product they paid for is bad enough. What’s worse though is that NBA 2K21 isn’t even 2K Games’ first offence.

Back on NBA 2K19 the publisher put the game on a 95% sale but then proceeded to run several unskippable adverts. Presumably, the intention was to increase the cost of the ad space by building a player base up quickly.

As many industry experts have noted, the main reason for this behaviour is likely a lack of competition. Ever since Electronic Arts’ NBA Live franchise fell apart NBA 2K has gotten worse every year. Arguably, NBA 2K21 is the most anti-consumer entry of the franchise yet.

It sparks an interesting discussion as to what we should expect for the upcoming next-gen version. Even though we only have NBA 2K21 on console right now, the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions are right around the corner. Given the new consoles’ advanced hard drives will effectively eliminate loading times, it’ll be interesting to see if 2K does this again.

Rockstar Games return to its Scottish roots with acquisition of Ruffian

Crackdown Ruffian Games feature

In a recent update, Rockstar Games confirmed it has acquired Scottish game development studio Ruffian Games. The Dundee based developer is best known for its work on the Crackdown franchise. Although it has also assisted Microsoft with other Xbox exclusives such as Halo and the Kinect games.

With the acquisition now complete, Ruffian Games have officially been rebranded as Rockstar Dundee. This change sees Rockstar Games make its return to Scotland for the first time since 2001. That’s when a little known studio called Rockstar North was purchased, arguably the publishers most successful acquisition to date.

Welcoming Ruffian to the family

Ruffian Games Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto V cinematicWith this acquisition Ruffian Games are the tenth company to join the Rockstar family. The other already integrated British studios are its London, Lincoln, and Leeds based teams. Outside of Rockstar India and Toronto, the remainder are scattered around the United States.

Legendary game developer and company founder Sam Houser had the following to say: “The Ruffian team are a talented addition to Rockstar’s global studios, and we look forward to working together on future projects.” Meanwhile, Ruffian Games head Billy Thomson made it clear that he is “incredibly excited,” to be joining such a reputable publisher.

Ruffian Games have already had ties to Rockstar in the past. Just last year, it was announced that the two had partnered up to create “multiple games.” The developer also followed that up with several listings for new positions. Considering this it seems likely that Ruffian Games has taken a sizable job on under Rockstar’s mentorship.

As for what that is, only time will tell. Although for most gamers there’s only one game related to Rockstar that we’re all waiting for. But if a report posted by Kotaku earlier this year is true, Grand Theft Auto VI isn’t even close. Let’s just hope that Ruffian Games can at least speed up its development a little.

Xbox controller stick drift is set to cost Microsoft heavily in legal dispute

stick drift

Video game controllers are built to last. That’s been one of the age old rules ever since Nintendo set the standards for the whole industry back in 1983. And for the most part, hardware developers have stayed true to that rule. But apparently nobody told Microsoft as the Xbox’s ongoing stick drift dilemma continues.

It’s clear that fans aren’t happy with the state of their Xbox controllers. Last April, Microsoft came under fire as it was sued for knowingly selling faulty controllers. According to the plaintiff, Microsoft made efforts to not disclose a defect that it was wholly aware of. And now another case has been opened that targets several more of its products.

The on-going stick drift battle

Xbox Series X backward compatible stick driftStick drift is a colloquial term used to describe a controller’s analog stick moving on its own. This was also a common defect with the Switch Joycon, but Nintendo made a great effort to amend it. The Japanese tech giant offered to fix everyone’s Joycons for free.

Even though the regular Xbox One controller is by no means flawless, it’s the Elite controller that has gamers particularly frustrated. Despite being branded as Microsoft’s premier controller and costing $140, it is seemingly not well made. The analog sticks are clunky, often slip out of place, and can suffer from severe stick drift.

As for how Microsoft intends to address these concerns, it’s unclear. History suggest it isn’t necessarily an anti-consumer company, but it has ignored this problem for several years now. If it wants to avoid paying out for free repairs, I’d suspect Microsoft will try to spin the case in its favor.

The worst thing of all is that the Xbox Series X will support current-gen controllers. This is great for consumers but makes it especially important that the stick drift issue is addressed. If early adopters of the Series X go into next-gen using a broken controller there’s going to be an uproar.

Marvel’s Avengers game is on the ropes but the devs aren’t giving up

Avengers

Just over a month ago developer Crystal Dynamics launched its newest project. The Avengers game is an adaptation of Marvel’s popular superhero franchise, but it has struggled to attract an audience. Despite being a full $60 AAA game, Avengers has so far performed poorly.

Newly found statistics for the PC version of Avengers have confirmed what many thought. People just aren’t playing the game. Current engagement stats show that just 2,000 total players are opening Crystal Dynamic’s game every day. To put that brutally low number into perspective, Fortnite regularly attracts over 5,000,000 concurrent players.

There’s still hope

Avengers marvel promo art

Speaking with Kotaku, studio head Scot Amos outlined his team’s plan to turn things around. Amos states: “We are confident that we’ll see PC return to the game as we add exciting new late-game content and demonstrate that we continue to be focused on improving the game.”

Avengers has multiple updates in the works and Amos’ plan to use these expansions to get players back. Although it won’t be easy, this does seem like a solid plan. It’s no secret that games tend to perform best when they first launch or after a major update. You can only release a game once, but you can support a game forever.

Amongst these new updates is a new War Zone mission called Tachyon Rifts. This update is a set-up for new story missions than are planned for the near future. Also, the AIM’s Cloning Lab is expected to arrive soon which will act as a high level raid of sorts.

If you’re interested in the future of Avengers, be sure to keep an eye on Crystal Dynamics’ official website. More information and details about upcoming content drops is expected in the near future. These will also be shared via the developer’s official social media accounts.

Call of Duty: Mobile earnt Activision over $480 million in its first year

Call of Duty: Mobile

Mobile gaming has always been a huge market that most major publishers are desperate to break into. For Activison, its breakthrough came in the form of Call of Duty: Mobile. Mobile is a on the go port of Call of Duty that features a plethora of content from past games.

Everyone knows that its popular but recent figures courtesy of Sensor Tower show that Mobile is performing even better than expected. In fact, these new numbers claim that it has been downloaded 270 million times and raked in an impressive $480 million. A sizable $215 million of total revenue came from US based players alone.

CoD Mobile is a huge success

Call of Duty Mobile gameplay sniper

To put those numbers into context, here’s how Call of Duty’s primary competitors performed. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds came in at $274 million whilst Fortnite raked in $239 million from US bade players. So CoD Mobile’s $215 million is certainly nothing to scoff at.

Interestingly, after the US Japan and Germany ranked second and third for revenue made. As for downloads, Brazil and India rounded off the top three. This makes sense as both of those markets tend to flock to free-to-play mobile games. A quick look at the figures for Indian gaming platforms will show that much.

One of the things that makes Call of Duty: Mobile so popular is its attempts to appeal to classic CoD players. The FPS features a ton of content lifted directly from games of old. Examples include Crossfire from Call of Duty 4 and Firing Range from Black Ops.

The nostalgia for many doesn’t just stop at maps either. Developer TiMi Studios knows exactly what it’s doing. A large selection of the CoD Mobile guns are also taken straight out of classic titles. You can see the full list here if you’re interested in finding out more.