Pac-Man celebrates his 40th birthday as one of gaming’s greatest icons

Pac-Man

If you know video games, you know Pac-Man. Debuting in 1980, Bandai Namco’s signature series is one of the longest running video game franchises in history. Today is a great day to celebrate everything the maze dodger has achieved since it’s his 40th birthday since he first appeared in Japanese arcades.

Perhaps Pac-Man’s biggest strength as a game is just how timeless the concept is. Despite the industry going through almost half a century of developments, Namco’s classic maze dodging formula still holds up today. Newer renditions like Championship Edition are some of the most refined 2D action games ever made.

Happy birthday, Pac-Man!

To celebrate Amazon Games, Bandai Namco, and Twitch have all teamed up to give fans a new experience. Titled Pac-Man Live Studio, it is a co-op multiplayer focused game that will only be playable through Twitch. An exact release date hasn’t been dropped but we do already know a few of its promised features.

For one, Live Studio will feature a level creator allowing players to design their own custom mazes. Furthermore, there will be both a Classic Mode and Endless Mode to keep gameplay varied. No downloads will be required as it will be naturally integrated into the Pac-Man Live Studios’ Twitch page.

Happy birthday, Pac-Man

The yellow mascots appearances and importance go far beyond just his own series. In 2014 he was announced as the latest addition to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. franchise. An invitation reserved for either Nintendo characters or third-party gaming icons. It’s clear which category Pac-Man falls into.

Although Pac-Man will likely never be a true giant of gaming again, his legacy is hard to overstate. Many modern games have him to thank for their existence and the industry would worst off without him. As for what the future hold for Pac-Man, only time will tell.

Tony Hawk remasters won’t be plagued by microtransactions at launch

Tony Hawk

When it comes to remasters Activision hasn’t been the most trustworthy. Just once glance at the mess that was Modern Warfare Remastered proves that. However, it looks as though their business approach is improving a little. The upcoming Tony Hawk Pro Skater remakes will not feature any microtransactions at launch.

Speaking to Gamespot, developer Vicarious Visions boss Jen Oneal confirmed Pro Skater won’t have any microtransaction right away. In the interview, he made sure to specify that he’s speaking strictly of the launch alone. This means that it’s possible they could still be added down the line.

Activision’s second attempt at a Tony Hawk remaster

As for gameplay features, Oneal did seem to hint at the addition of cross-play. Given its success with Modern Warfare, it does seem somewhat likely. This isn’t by any means confirmed though as Oneal simply states he will say more “when the time comes.”

Fans have a right to be skeptical over the announcement of the Pro Skater remaster. In 2015 Activision published Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and it was considered one of the worst skateboarding games of all time. It completely failed to capture anything that made the now legendary originals so good.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater

Activision’s lack of care for the title was both notable on and after release. It was panned by critics for being buggy, looking bad, and playing even worse. The flaws were the result of a rushed development cycle causing the game to be forced out before the license expired.

When it releases, Pro Skater 1 + 2 will be the first addition to the Tony Hawk franchise since Pro Skater 5. Activision will have to earn the trust of its fans back once again. If it manages to do that is to be seen.

Have anything to add, use the comments box below.

Titanfall 3 is not in works, confirms Respawn Entertainment’s head

Titanfall 3

Apex Legends has officially gone down as one of gaming’s biggest success stories. In its release month alone, Respawn confirmed over 50 million players had already played it. Given its popularity, it’s natural to assume Respawn would be developing another title. But according to Respawn’s head, if that is the case, it won’t be Titanfall 3.

In an interview with IGN, studio director Vince Zampella shut down any suggestion of Titanfall 3 being in development. Simply, Zampella stated “There’s nothing currently in development,” but did acknowledge that Titanfall is “always there,” to think about.

The future of Titanfall 3

Zampella continued on to confirm that even though it’s not in the works, he is still interested. He envisions some kind of “resurrection,” of the franchise which hasn’t had a new entry since 2016. Despite once being Respawn’s signature series, it has long since played second fiddle to Apex.

Interestingly, Zampella claims that Electronic Arts don’t have a negative impact on the Titanfall devs. Instead, the publisher plays a “hands-off,” role and leaves Respawn to the creative stuff. Of course, this should be taken with a grain of salt. In 2017 EA purchased Respawn Entertainment outright. Given that he’s employed by them, Zampella isn’t going to be overly critical.

Titanfall

Finally, both Zampella and an unnamed EA spokesperson confirmed that fans should expect plenty from Respawn at the upcoming EA Play. Even if that’s not Titanfall 3, something is still clearly planned. Originally scheduled for the cancelled E3, EA Play has since been moved to June 11. Viewers will be able to tune into EA.com at 4 PM ET for the full event.

As for what you can expect at EA Play, a few games are all but confirmed. Battlefield 6, FIFA 21, Madden NFL 21, and Apex Legends are all very likely. Equally, The Sims 5 and NBA Live 21 could show up. Regardless, the wait continues for Titanfall fans.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director explains lack of gameplay reveal

Valhalla

With E3 cancelled this year Microsoft turned to run its own event instead. Amongst the announcements was the confirmation of a new Assassin’s Creed game, Valhalla. However, many fans were very disappointed at how little they ended up seeing of the game, Instead of any meaningful gameplay footage, we were left with generic cinematic footage.

The so-called “in-engine teaser,” did not go down well with fans that feel Ubisoft might have something to hide. After all, the French publisher has been known for publishing questionable titles in its time. Let’s not forget the disgrace that was 2011’s Self-Defense Training Camp. A game that currently sits at 21% on Metacritic.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

In response to the criticism, Valhalla’s creative director Ashraf Ismail took to Twitter to defend the decision. According to Ismail, Ubisoft has a “long marketing campaign,” planned out for Valhalla. This means that an in-depth gameplay reveal is planned, just not anytime soon.

He did reassure fans that they “rightfully expected,” to see more but firmly believes this is not the time for that. He might have a point too. Most video games are not optimized until very late into development. This is because there is no point optimizing content when later additions could screw things up again.

Even if Ubisoft did showcase Valhalla now, it would be a buggy, incomplete version of the game. This could put off potential buyers. No one is going to buy a game if it looks bad in its initial presentation. Rather than taking that unnecessary risk, Ubisoft opted for a run-of-the-mill cinematic instead.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch later this year. A precise release date has not been confirmed but we do know it will come sometime in the holiday season. As for platforms, gamers can expect it on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Stadia, and PC. It will later release as a launch title for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 too. There is no news of a Nintendo Switch port being in the works.

Nintendo’s bizarre Friend Code system explained thanks to new leak

Friend Code system

When dealing with Nintendo consoles there’s a particular part of online play which can be annoying. Friend codes. Every user is given a unique friend code and to add other players you need to manually all 12 digits one-by-one. But why doesn’t Nintendo just use a traditional friends list instead?

Thanks to a new leak we now know exactly why. A post on ResetEra details leaked information related to both the Wii’s design files and source code. As the first console to feature friend codes, Nintendo has a section specifically discussing those ever annoying 12-digit codes.

The reasoning behind Friend Codes

It turns out Nintendo’s largest motive was to avoid duplicate screen names. The design of all Nintendo consoles is streamlined to the point of impressive simplicity. Nintendo didn’t want its users getting lost as to how to do something. This includes error messages regarding duplicate names which would be unnecessarily confusing for less experienced players.

Equally, Nintendo didn’t want people to add other people by guessing their username. A degree of privacy and choice is important to Nintendo so it implemented a system where the player could always choose who to play with. After all, the likelihood of ever guessing someone’s friend code is very low.

nintendo wii friend code leak

Whilst some of these decisions feel a little unnecessary, it is worth noting they were made a long time ago. The Nintendo Wii didn’t debut until 2006 so it’s fair to say these design plan notes appeared at least a year or two before that.

Even so, the 2017 Nintendo Switch as well as their 2011 3DS both continue to use the age old friend code system. It’s difficult to know if the reason why is still the same or if it just became the standard for Nintendo. Either way, it looks like friend codes are here to stay.

Most Wanted contracts removed from Call of Duty: Warzone after just two days

Most Wanted

In the early hours last Tuesday, Infinity Ward dropped its latest update for Call of Duty: Warzone. As well as introducing the new Bruen Mk9 LMG and Gunsmith customs, it added a new contract to Warzone. Dubbed the Most Wanted contract, it has now been removed after being live for just two days.

The rapid change comes in response to community outcry slamming the decision to replace Bounty contracts. Whilst they were still available in solos, every other mode featured Most Wanted contracts in their place instead.

The problem with Most Wanted contracts

Many players were not happy with the new contract for a few reasons. For one, by removing Bounty contracts you also remove one of the largest motives for fast-paced, aggressive gameplay. Equally, the rewards for completing a Most Wanted contract were quickly drawn into question.

The idea was that when your team completes one, you are gifted with a team revive. The downside is that whilst active everyone on the map would know exactly where you were. Effectively a high risk, high reward option for skilled players to gain a huge advantage. However, when it released this was not the case. Instead, you would only revive already dead teammates meaning it is way too situational.

call of duty warzone most wanted contract acquired

In five minutes, you are better off just looking around for the money to revive your team. At $4500 per person, it is not that difficult to revive multiple teammates on your own. Just focus on completing Recon and Scavenger contracts and you will get the money in no time.

This is not Infinity Ward’s first community outcry and it will not be its last. The developer has been known to ignore community issues, so it is at least nice to see them addressing this so quickly. I would expect Most Wanted contracts to return at some point in the future and when they do, who knows what the player base will think.

Do not hold your breath for WWE 2K21, it’s been cancelled

WWE

The WWE franchise has been a staple of 2K Games’ sports catalogue since they acquired the rights in 2012. Going back further, THQ first began publishing the wrestling franchise way back at the turn of the century. However, a recent development has confirmed that, for the first time in 20 years, we won’t be getting a new WWE game.

In a call with Polygon, WWE interim chief financial officer Frank Riddick revealed that WWE 2K21 is not on the cards. Whilst Riddick didn’t detail exactly why, a 2K spokesperson has since told Polygon more information will follow this Monday.

WWE 2K21 cancelation is not surprising

WWE 2K21 gameplayAll things considered; it doesn’t take a genius to link the dots together. Simply put, WWE 2K20 was a completer failure of a video game. It currently sits at a shocking 43 on Metacritic with some critics such as Shacknews’ Chris Jarrard giving it just a 3/10.

Unsurprisingly, this had a direct impact on the wrestling games underwhelming sales. Although 2K aren’t overly keen to provide exact figures, it’s clear the publisher isn’t happy. Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick acknowledged that WWEK 2K20 failed to meet expectations, both in terms of sales and quality.

To rub salt in the wound, there has even been suggestions that 2K Games hasn’t future proofed their titles. According to content creator Justin Leeper, it’s very possible that WWE 2K22 likely won’t make its way to PS5 or Xbox Series X. Instead, fans may have to settle on what will by then be a last-gen version of the game.

When all things are considered, 2K Games skipping a year might not be a bad thing. WWE 2K20 wasn’t good enough and it’s doubtful a year of development would be enough to change that. By taking a step back and reevaluating the state of the series, maybe things can improve long-term.

CRDQ has raised over $400,000 to help tackle COVID-19

CRDQ

The Cororavirus epidemic continues to worsen everyday with governments and companies alike failing to take the necessary measures. Whilst work on a cure and general relief is going on as I type this, a long-term solution still looks distant. But thanks to CRDQ, it might just come that little bit earlier.

The Corona Relief Done Quick speed running charity event has managed to raise just over $400,000 in just one weekend of gaming. This money will be used to distribute masks, gloves, and other sanitary goods to help tackle COViD-19.

CRDQ to the rescue!

CRDQ is the latest speed running focused charity drive ran by the good folks over at Games Done Quick. Since its early origins back in 2011, Games Done Quick has managed to raise over 26 million dollars spanning across 27 different events.

This latest event comes in response to the difficulties many governments are having in providing the necessary health tools. The issue is nowhere more apparent than in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, where several medical professionals have died due to not having the proper equipment.

CRDQ 2020 Nier Automata

With such limited time to prepare it’s understandable that CRDQ 2020 wasn’t the grandest of occasions. Regardless, it still had its share of standout speed runs that you won’t want to miss out on. My personal recommendations are Argick’s Sonic Mania, Etchy’s Pokemon Sword, and Danflesh’s Nier Automata. I found these to be particularly well explained and easy to follow thanks to the runners all doing a great job.

All of CRDQ’s streams are archived on the official GDQ Twitch and will continue to be so for 60 days from their initial broadcast. Beyond that, your best will be their YouTube page where various speed runs are being uploaded gradually. Be sure to keep an eye out for Summer Games Done Quick which will run August 16 through August 23.

Burnout Paradise Remastered coming to Switch this June, according to eShop leak

Burnout Paradise Remastered coming to Switch

Criterion Games’ Burnout Paradise is widely regarded as one of the greatest arcade racing games ever made. It first debuted in 2008 but got the green light for a remaster to mark its 10th anniversary in 2018. At the time it only released on PC, PS4, and Xbox, but a recent leak has confirmed a Switch port is on the way.

A listing for Burnout Paradise Remastered briefly appeared on the Nintendo eShop. On the details page, its estimated release date was listed as June 19th and the release price at $49.99. Nintendo has since left the listing up on its website, but the release date has been changed to just 2020.

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Switch owners have plenty to be excited for as Burnout Paradise is set to fill a void in the hybrid console’s library. Outside of Mario Kart, the Switch is starved for great racing games. Decent enough titles like GRID Autosport, Gear Club Unlimited 2, and VRally 4 are all available but there’s nothing truly iconic.

Unfortunately, it appears that those interested will once again be hit with the age-old Switch tax. Many games released on Nintendo’s primary platform are prone to costing far more than the alternatives.

Burnout Paradise Remastered
Burnout Paradise Remastered

If Burnout Paradise Remastered does launch at $49.99, it will cost seven times that of the Origin PC release. Even the Xbox One and PS4 versions have long had their price dropped to just $19.99. If the extra money is worth the advantage of playing on the go is up to you to decide.

Given the recent bizarre Cooking Mama incident, it’s not a great sign to see another oversight on Nintendo’s behalf. Their store is good and offers some of the best quality control on the market. But if they keep letting these mishaps happen, it will catch up with them.

Trios return to Warzone’ Season 3 after community outcry

Trios

A couple of days ago Infinity Ward launched Warzone Season 3. This marked the beginning of a new battle pass as well as plenty of new content to go with it. However, when fans jumped online they couldn’t help but notice a glaring omission. The trios game mode was gone.

Previously, Warzone only allowed players to search for either solo or trios. To satisfy popular demand, Infinity Ward added Quads into Warzone so that teams of four could play together. Strangely though, the Call of Duty developer completely removed trios instead of making it another option. This has now been reverted after a community outcry on Reddit.

Trios are back, what about duos?

warzone season 3With the return of trios, fans are now asking a new question, Should we be expecting duos and, if yes, when? If the leak on Warzone’s official website is anything to go by, duos will be coming soon. We don’t know exactly when but somewhere within Season 3 seems very likely.

It will be interesting to see if duos becomes a permanent game mode or not. After all, Warzone’s biggest competitor Apex Legends is well known for only running duos as a timed event, not a core game mode. On the other hand, the likes of PUBG has always had the option available.

I have to give Infinity Ward credit for resolving this issue so quickly. In the past they’ve definitely been guilty of leaving game breaking oversights lying around for way too long. Case in point, it took them until January to even begin addressing the various Port of Verdansk under map exploits.

Looking forward, alongside the two new weapons (SKS and Renetti), players can also expect a new LMG later on in the season. Judging by its shape on the reveal poster, it’s most likely Call of Duty 4’s M249 SAW. Otherwise, other Warzone playlists will be following Trios’ addition with a shotgun and snipers only mode already confirmed.