Mei is coming to Heroes of the Storm, but some fans aren’t happy

Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard’s declining MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, hasn’t had a new character for seven months. Well it seems the prayers of fans has finally been answered but not everyone is overly pleased. As revealed in this tweet posted yesterday on the official HOTS page, a certain Overwatch DPS character is on her way.

The tweet shows off a blizzardy background with two glowing eyes taking center stage. For any none Overwatch players these eyes belong to Snowball, Mei’s little personal robot assistant. Some fans were thrilled to hear this news as Mei, for all her flaws, does have a dedicated fanbase. However, many active HOTS players were less than impressed.

Why Mei isn’t what some Heroes of the Storm players wanted

Why Mei isn’t what some Heroes of the Storm players wanted

It has to be said that Overwatch characters haven’t had a great time when it comes to being added into HOTS. This is primarily because HOTS has a serious mobility power creep issue with mobile heroes often reigning king. A lot of existing Overwatch heroes that made their way to HOTS, like Genji and Tracer, exemplify this problem.

As a result of this, Overwatch characters have a bad rap amongst many Heroes of the Storm players. Still, Mei shouldn’t be too troublesome in regard to her mobility. In Overwatch Mei is a slow, brawly character who relies on her crowd control to takedown enemies.

If other Overwatch heroes are anything to go by, we can probably guess a large majority of what Mei’s kit will look like. Her having a primary freeze that slows people down with a secondary long-range projectile seems likely. No doubt her iconic Ice Wall ability will make an appearance too, allowing you to cut off the escape of any troublesome opponents.

Finally, one of her ultimates will probably be her Blizzard, an area of effect slowdown that freezes any enemies who don’t move out of its way in time. As for Mei’s secondary ultimate, that’s difficult to figure out. She doesn’t have a second ultimate in Overwatch, but it could be something that makes her more tank-like. After all, Heroes of the Storm is in desperate need of a new tank.

Amazon’s Crucible to drop two of its modes to streamline experience

Amazon’s first real attempt at entering the games industry has not gone well. Its recently released third-person shooter, Crucible, has been criticized by many for its countless flaws. Despite this, critics and fans alike have recognized its potential if developer Relentless Studios handles it correctly.

Looking to live up to these expectations, Relentless has announced it will be cutting two of Crucible’s three core game modes. This remaining game mode, Heart of the Hives, will become the single focus of all development going forward.

Crucible isn’t the first game to do this

crucible gameplay

To both Amazon and Relentless Games’ credit, Crucible is by no means the first game to take this approach. In fact, many very popular eSports focused titles like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive both do much the same. By concentrating on one mode it makes the developer’s job of streamlining the gameplay experience far easier.

Also, there are clear benefits from a gameplay balance point of view. Tweaking the so-called hunters to be balanced across multiple game modes is very difficult. Each mode favors different play styles and cooldowns so some hunters would naturally be left behind in some modes. Having just one playable mode should help Crucible’s current balance issues going forward.

As for the MOBA inspired third-person shooter’s missing features, Relentless Studios are working on it. At the top of its list is the implementation of an enhanced social system and full support for custom games. Furthermore, it plans to rework the creatures used to farm XP to enhance Crucible’s PvE experience.

If these changes are enough is to be seen but it seems as though Relentless has good intentions. It’ll require a lot of work and passion for Crucible to get back on track but it’s not out of the question. Come a years’ time we might see Amazon’s latest adventure as one of the great hero shooters.

Old School RuneScape’s Darkmeyer expansion caused a world of problems

Darkmeyer

Yesterday Jagex Studios launched its latest expansion to Old School RuneScape. The long-awaited addition of Canifis’ capital city, Darkmeyer, went live after first being teased over two years ago. Despite fans being happy on the whole, it’s fair to say it caused a world of problems

After the update dropped Jagex had to make ten separate smaller game updates to amend various issues. These started as early as 10:30 in the morning and continued until 5 o’clock in the evening. Thankfully, after seven hours of hard work, Jagex finally cleaned everything up and left players to enjoy the expansion.

What went wrong with Darkmeyer?

In Jagex’s defence, Darkmeyer is a huge update and some hiccups should be expected on the way. However, I doubt anyone could have foreseen how many problems would arise. Most notably, the developer had to rollback Old School RuneScape’s servers three hours due to an issue with players’ saved games. As of writing this, Jagex hasn’t specified exactly what went so wrong initially.

Despite its best effort to reopen the servers around 2 o’clock, most players still couldn’t access the game. Three hours later Jagex finally managed to amend the core issues and send players on their way. Still, the constant delays preventing players from checking out Darkmeyer were frustrating.

Unsurprisingly, Old School RuneScape’s rendition of Darkmeyer is heavily inspired by the existing RuneScape 3 equivalent. It even goes so far as to introduce the Blood Shard, an existing item in RuneScape 3 used to change the effects of various amulets.

Despite being officially teased in 2018, the first reference to Darkmeyer in RuneScape lore dates way back to 2006. Was it worth the fourteen-year wait? That’s debatable but for most players, they’ll just be happy to get stuck into some new content.

Are you a Darkmeyer fan? Leave you opinion in the comments box below.

Minecraft Dungeons cross-platform multiplayer support coming soon

Minecraft Dungeons

Released just last week, Minecraft Dungeons has gone down as a critical success amongst critics and fans alike. However, some gamers have been frustrated at their inability to play with their friends on other platforms. Given Dungeon’s co-op focused design, many felt this was a fatal oversight. There’s no need to worry though as developer Mojang has confirmed it’s in the works.

In a post published on the official Minecraft website, Mojang detailed its future plans for Dungeons. Amongst the various announcements, the final paragraph gives the official thumbs up for cross-platform play functionality. An exact release date wasn’t detailed, but more information can be expected in the “coming weeks.”

What’s in store for Minecraft Dungeons?

minecraft dungeons cinematicOtherwise, the post also confirmed two separate planned DLCs are on the way. The first of which is Jungle Awakens. A jungle inspired expansion that will feature new missions, weapons, armor, and artifacts for players to enjoy. As for when it’s coming, you’ll have to wait a little longer as Jungle Awakens is set for a July release.

Following at some point in the future is the second DLC, Creeping Winter. Details of this DLC are currently sparse but we do at least know that Mojang expects it to launch in 2020.

Microsoft should be very pleased with how Minecraft Dungeons has turned out. It’s the American publisher’s second attempt to create a Minecraft spin-off with its first being Earth.

Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality sandbox game currently in early access. The idea is that, once finished, players will be able to build structures in real life through the power of AR. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see how that turns out. If you are looking to kill some time, Minecraft Dungeons is by no means a bad option to do so.

A second Sonic the Hedgehog movie is in the works

sonic film

That’s right, the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie is getting a sequel. According to Variety, Paramount Pictures have given the greenlight for a second film. This follows the movies surprising success in cinemas last February. It’s all-time Box Office figures currently sit at over $300 million.

That’s by no means anything to scoff by in the film industry. For comparison, the only other film to make more money in 2020 is Sony’s Bad Boys for Life. Every other popular film including Dolittle, Birds of Prey, and The Invisible Man fell short of the blue hedgehog.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

second SonicVariety expects that the core team behind the first film will be making a return. This includes Jeff Fowler, Pat Casey, and Josh Miller. As for the cast, we have no details on what to expect. However, we can take a guess at what the plotline will be thanks to the first movie’s ending scene.

The first Sonic movie gave a cameo to Miles ‘Tails’ Prowler as he entered the human world in pursuit of Sonic. Fans were pleased to see that the flying fox both looked good and seems to have kept his original voice actor, Lainie Frasier.

You have to give Paramount credit for turning things around. When it was first announced in 2019, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was slammed by fans and critics alike. Instead of looking like his usual self, Sonic had mutated into a freakish humanoid form. An insulting sight to fans of the retro games.

To turn things around Paramount decided to go back to the drawing board and start again. The downside is this caused the Sonic movie to be delayed several months, a risky business decision all things considered. That’s several months more that you have to pay staff and rent. Regardless, few will disagree now that it was the right choice.

SNK Games giveaway bundle will be available through Twitch Prime soon

SNK Games

If you’re familiar with SNK Games then you’ll know how important they are to the games industry. The popular Japanese publisher is responsible for many hit franchises. Amongst these include Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown, and The King of Fighters.

Anyone interested in trying out SNK’s vast collection has been given a huge opportunity to do so. Starting from tomorrow onward, Twitch will be giving out fre4e codes for more than 20 of SNK Games classic titles. The giveaway is a celebration of the SNK NEOGEO’s 30th anniversary, which first debuted in 1990.

SNK Games Twitch giveaway

SNK Games Twitch giveaway

We don’t know the full list yet, but the first seven titles were confirmed through SNK Games’ official Twitter account. Amongst the seven are Fatal Fury Special, KOF 2002, and Samurai Shodown 2. These will become available from May 26 with other titles following throughout the summer.

To be eligible for these free titles you must have an active subscription to either Amazon Prime or Twitch Prime. This can be a trial, student subscription or the standard package. All of the twenty games offered will be their western ports, not the native Japanese versions.

SNK Games’ legacy has deteriorated somewhat over the last two decades. Once a giant of the industry, it now operates at a far more manageable, almost indie level of development. Despite this it has still had some relative success in recent years.

Most notably, Fatal Fury protagonist and The King of Fighters character Terry Bogard became a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Nintendo isn’t overly generous with its third-party invitations, so it means a lot that Bogard was considered. Simply, even Nintendo recognizes SNK Games’ contributions to the industry. And if it’s good enough for Nintendo, it’s good enough for me.

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.