Gamers Make Their Move Following USA’s Immigration Ban

Insomniac Games

Immigration Ban

Last January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order stating the ban of immigrants entering the United States from seven countries. As stated in the executive order, these countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. And now, there is a recent news that the order will be ‘streamlined’. This news shocked the world and urged the gaming community to take action. Players, developers, publishers – the whole gaming community joined hands and made their own statements regarding the immigration ban. Read on and hear the various opinions and views made by the developers and publishers we all support and love.

Unity

Immigration Ban: Unity

 

For those of you who’s been living in a rock for the past decade; Unity is a renowned gaming engine that powers various video games that you might have played. Here are some of those games: War Commander: Rogue Assault, Werewolves Within, I Expect You To Die, Superhot, Ori and the Blind Forestand – the game that reminds us all of the beauty of Shadow of the Colossus – Prey of the Gods.

Now that we got that out of the way; Unity’s CEO, John Riccitiello, sent an internal message to Unity’s employees expressing the effect of the immigration ban to the company’s core values. He also stated that Unity is willing to match the donations (up to $1000) that the employees donate. The donations will be given to reasonable charities/countries like ACLU. Unity is also willing to fly 50 developers from the list of countries impacted by the immigration ban to the upcoming Unite Amsterdam. Now that is awesome.

 

ESA

ESA

Alright, I’ll say it real quick: ESA is the one behind E3. Multiple AAA developers and publishers refer to ESA’s statement. Here, have a look at their statement:

“The Entertainment Software Association urges the White House to exercise caution with regard to vital immigration and foreign worker programs. As a leading force in technology and exporter of entertainment, the U.S. video game industry thrives on the contributions of innovators and storytellers from around the world. While recognizing that enhancing national security and protecting our country’s citizens are critical goals, our companies rely on the skilled talent of U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, and immigrants alike. Our nation’s actions and words should support their participation in the American economy.”

Insomniac Games

Insomniac Games

The developers of Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive made their stand publicly with a video. Insomniac’s founder and CEO Ted Price said, “We at Insomniac Games stand united in strongly opposing President Trump’s immigration ban. There’s no question that these orders will harm us as a company, and many of our team members”.

He also begged the question, “We ask, is this the American way? Is discriminating based on religion, faith, or national origin American? Absolutely not.”

Price also asks those who support Insomniac games to make a stand and let their voices be heard. If you want to watch the whole video, you may click here.

Microsoft

Microsoft

Of course, Microsoft! Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, posted a while back about an email that was sent to the company’s employees. In the email, Microsoft states that the company is willing to provide legal advice and assistance for their employees and for their families who are affected by the order.

Aside from a lot of employee support from the developers and publishers. Some companies showed their support in a different way. For example, Humble Bundle offered bundles of games for only $30. Some of the bundles include: The Witness, Stardew Valley, Super Meat Boy, The Stanley Parable, and a lot more.

These are just some of the statements that developers and publishers made in response to the recent immigration ban. How about you? What do you think of the executive order and how do you think does it affect the gaming industry? We like to hear your thoughts in the comments down below. Let’s talk.

 

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Is Almost Here!

Resident Evil 7 game

The highly-anticipated release of Capcom’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is almost upon us. After being teased at 2014’s E3, gamers have long been marking their calendars for the day they will finally be able to slide this baby into their consoles. Well—the time is almost here. On January 24th, we all can pretend to line up politely then make that relentless mad dash to the checkout counter. Excitement is understandable, but let try to be a “little” civilized folks. I love throwing some elbows as much as the next guy, but remember to BREATHE. We’re all gamers waiting for our copy, no fight club please.

We’re looking at an incredibly stacked year for gaming in 2017. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will be the first of the big games to drop. The horror-survival game looks incredible! Presented in the finest format available; the 4K resolution is truly awe-inspiring. The long gameplay demo release at this past years E3 conference showed an improved stunning environment. From the eerie rooms and hallways, the life-like look of the weapons, even down to the unbelievable effects of the wounds on the body and the blood.

For the first time, you will play in the first-person. Making it even more horrifying to the user experience. If that’s not enough for you, RE7 for the first time ever will also be available on VR (virtual reality) for PlayStation VR. Imagine submersing yourself into a first-person horror-survival game where all your senses are essentially being attacked while being forced to keep yourself alive. It sounds…so much fun! I honestly can’t wait for the hundreds of YouTube videos of people’s reaction to playing this on VR. Someone’s definitely thinking outside the box over there at Capcom.

In terms of gameplay, the creators have stressed “not to expect a shoot off”. Making it sound like you will need to manage your ammunition wisely if you aim to make it to the end. Calling for the much useful real life skill of improvising. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect some of lethal weapons at your disposal. You’ll be able to wield: the always handy chainsaws, powerful explosives (grenades, etc.), flamethrowers (because who doesn’t love a flamethrower?), and the original classics like handguns and shotguns.

Some of the new features include puzzle solving and healing ingredients, like herbs. The healing herbs are a huge benefit to the constant chaos and damage you’re sure to encounter throughout the game. The interesting new thing I believe is the puzzle solving. I mean think about it, imagine trying to deal with a puzzle of some kind and being attacked in waves by monsters and infected people. That battle of focus will undoubtedly by challenged to epic proportions while trying to solve a puzzle. It sounds so stressful…I can’t wait!

I’ve been trying to patient for the release of this game. Truth is, it hast happened. One of my best friends asked for this game for her birthday and I jumped for joy by preordering it as her birthday gift. She went crazy, as one sane person would. Getting the gift of joy. Of course, that joy comes in a box of horror with ominous noises. But besides that, pure joy.

We’re coming down to the end now; Under 2 weeks until the release date. This early contender for GOTY (Game of The Year) should delight fans as the past 10 have. The new improvements with gameplay, design, and format, set this game up to be played day after day. For all the gamers of the world, prepare yourself for this game. It’s one not to be missed or delayed in playing. Don’t let your friends tell you how good it is, go experience it first. Check it out on January 24, January 26th in Japan.

Halo Wars 2 Revealed, Open Beta Available Now

It wouldn’t be a Microsoft E3 press conference without some mention of Halo and this year brought the reveal of Halo Wars 2.  The Halo series was originally conceived as an RTS and it will be going back to the genre that inspired it with a sequel to 2009’s Halo Wars.  Set after the events of Halo 5, players will lead their armies across the Ark in a campaign with 13 missions.  Multiplayer will support up to six players with 3v3 match-ups.

The game is being developed by Total War developer Creative Assembly exclusively for Xbox One and Windows 10.  The game is being developed with the console version in mind first, which is a bit of a strange move given that RTS games have always seen the most success on PC.  The game will be a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, so purchasing it for one system will also allow you to play it on the other at no extra cost.  If you buy it for Xbox One and want to switch to PC or vice versa, you’ll be free to do so with ease.

Halo Wars 2 is scheduled to release on February 21st, 2017.  The open beta is available now and will be running until June 20th.  You can check out the official reveal trailer here.  What are your thoughts on Halo Wars 2?  What changes do you hope to see from the original?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Telltale Reveals The Walking Dead: Season 3

Telltale Games set itself as a critical darling with its episodic adventure game based on the comic and TV series The Walking Dead in 2012.  They’ve taken on various franchises with their style of design, including Game of Thrones, Borderlands, and are currently developing a Batman adventure game.  However, it was becoming unclear if they would ever return to the series that put them on the map.  Telltale announced a third season for their take on the Walking Dead series at Comic Con 2014 and stated that it would release in 2015, only to go silent on the project afterward.

At E3 2016, Telltale finally laid all concerns to rest and officially revealed The Walking Dead: Season 3.  Like previous games in the series, it is set in the same world as the original comic, but follows its own unique storyline and characters.  Season 3 will once again focus on the young Clementine as she continues her unending fight to stay alive in the zombie apocalypse.  Going against what some suspected, it looks like Season 3 will be picking up a few years after the events of Season 2.  Players will also be taking control of a new character named Javier who will be traveling alongside Clementine.

The Walking Dead: Season 3 is set to release its first episode this fall.  You can check out the first official teaser trailer for it here.  What are your hopes for the third season?  Where can you see the story going in this new installment?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  Just be sure to be mindful of spoilers.

Nintendo Showing More Games at E3, New Details on Pokémon Sun and Moon

Nintendo

It looks like the claims that the new Legend of Zelda releasing for Wii U and NX would be the only game Nintendo would be showing at this year’s E3 were inaccurate.  While Zelda will be the only Nintendo game with playable demos on the show floor, the Treehouse livestream will be showing off other upcoming titles over the course of the event.  Pokémon SunPokémon Moon, Monster Hunter Generations, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgetten Past, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE will all be shown off with live gameplay throughout the day on June 14th and 15th.  There will also be a Q&A session dedicated to Pokémon GO to kick off the livestream on the 15th.

On the topic of Pokémon, new details were revealed for Sun and Moon.  First, we have more information on the legendary Pokemon that are featured on the covers of the games, Solgaleo and Lunala.  Solgaleo is a Psychic/Steel type with the new Full Metal Body ability that prevents its stats from being lowered by any of an opponent’s effects and has the unique Sunsteel Strike attack that ignores an opponent’s ability when it hits.  Lunala is a Psychic/Ghost type with the Shadow Shield ability that reduces damage it takes while at full health and the Moongeist Beam attack that also ignores abilities.

We also have more details on the characters that will be in Sun and Moon.  Your mentor will be the young scientist Professor Kukui along with his assistant will be the peaceful bookworm Lillie.  Your rival will be the friendly boy Hau who appeared in the debut trailer.  The most interesting addition to the cast is the poltergeist-like Pokémon Rotom who will possess your specially-design Pokédex and accompany you all throughout the game.

A number of new features for Sun and Moon have also been announced.  Tracking down Pokémon will be easier with the ability to scan QR codes to add information to your Pokédex on specific Pokémon, including where they can be found on the world map.  We also have confimation that the Alola region will be spread across four large island rather than be restricted to a single one.  Finally, we can see a Slowpoke and a Luvdisc appearing in a pair of videos released on the official Japanese Pokémon Youtube channel, dispelling the rumor that Sun and Moon would only feature new Pokémon in the wild like in Black and White.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 plans or the new info on Pokémon Sun and Moon?  Given that the Treehouse livestream will be handled by Nintendo staff rather than journalists, be prepared to take any demonstrations that come from it with a grain of salt.  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Nintendo Releasing NX In 2017, Has Light Plans For E3

E3

Nintendo held their annual shareholders meeting today and made several announcements regarding their upcoming system currently codenamed NX, their mobile games, the next game in The Legend of Zelda series, and what they’ll be doing for E3.  Firstly, we have a release window for the NX for March, 2017.  The next Zelda title has also had its release pushed back to 2017 and is planned to release simultaneously for both the Wii U and NX.  They also released a new piece of concept art featuring Link (pictured above), although it doesn’t reveal anything new about the game.  An official title for the new Zelda game has yet to be announced.

Two more mobile games were announced, but there are currently no specific details publically known for either title.  All we do know is that one will be based on the Animal Crossing series while the other is based on Fire Emblem.  Animal Crossing certainly seems like a good fit for mobile with its focus on casual play and social interactions, but the Fire Emblem mobile game could easily rub its core fanbase the wrong way depending on how it’s handled.

Finally, Nintendo had some shocking announcements for their E3 plans.  They stated that the NX would not be unveiled at this year’s E3 and would not have any presence at the event whatsoever.  Not only that, the new Zelda game will be the only Nintendo game to have a playable demo for the entire trade show.  That’s not to say that it will be the only game Nintendo will discuss at E3, but any other games will be restricted to trailers and interviews.  While there hasn’t been an announcement regarding it, it seems unlikely that the Treehouse Livestream will be broadcasting throughout the week given that they’d only have one title to work with for four entire days.  The rest of the year is looking uneventful for the Wii U now that Zelda has been pushed back as the only other titles known to be in development for the system currently are Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Paper Mario: Color Splash, and Bandai Namco’s free-to-play game Lost Reavers.

What are your thoughts on the news to come out of Nintendo’s shareholders meeting?  What are your hopes for the mysterious NX?  How do you feel about their E3 plans?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

8 Worst Moments of E3 2015

All things considered, this year had a pretty phenomenal E3.  Between The Last Guardian, Shenmue III, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Earthbound Beginnings, Fallout 4, and so much more, almost everyone had a dream come true.

That said, it was still a long way away from perfect and there were plenty of embarrassing and frustrating moments to spoil the fun.  These are the worst moments of E3 2015, in our opinion.

HitmanTrademarked

8) Name-Recycling

Name-recycling is what I like to call the trend of giving a sequel, reboot, etc. the exact same title as the original.  The gaming industry has had numerous examples in recent years: Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, Twisted Metal, Crackdown, Prince of Persia (twice).  I don’t know why so many companies keep pulling this stunt, but it is one of my major pet peeves.  I’m not saying that any of those games are bad, but their naming convention frustrates me to no end.  I’ll let it slide if it actually is a remake of the original game that it’s named after (i.e. Ratchet and Clank for PS4) or if they’re trying to reboot a franchise that’s been dormant for a decade (i.e. Splatterhouse).  When it’s an entirely new entry in a well-known series, it gives the impression that the creators of the game just don’t care.  Naturally, I was less than thrilled to see this pop up no less than three times at E3.  We already knew that the newest Doom game would just be called Doom going in, but then we had EA announce the newest Need for Speed game as Need for Speed and Square-Enix reveal the next Hitman game called Hitman.  I’ve officially had all I can stand with this trend, so I’ve decided to come up with my own names for these games.  Doom 4 is an obvious title for the new Doom, while I’ve dubbed the new Hitman game Hitman: Trademarked.  Hey, its already got that trademark logo in the title and that actually is a surprisingly good subtitle for a Hitman game.  Finally, the new Need for Speed can be called Need for Speed: Subtitle.  Yeah, I completely copped out on that one, but it’s still more effort than EA put into naming it.

project_setsuna

7) Project Setsuna is a New Low in Non-Reveal

When discussing all of the things that I didn’t want to see at E3 this year, the one thing I wanted to avoid most and knew was the most unavoidable was for an entirely new game to be announced, but have no actual details on how it plays or who should even be interested given.  I actually came incredibly close to getting my wish this year as almost every new game had actual gameplay attached to it.  Games like For Honor and Horizon: Zero Dawn immediately arrested my attention with their demonstrations.  Even titles that I don’t have much personal interest in like Sea of Thieves and Trackmania Turbo were still able to catch my eye thanks to their focus on mechanics over cheap theatrics.

Sadly, we couldn’t escape non-reveals entirely and there were still a few particularly egregious examples.  It looks like Hearthstone copycats are the next big bandwagon with Bethesda and EA revealing their own digital card games based on the Elder Scrolls and Star Wars universes respectively.  What they both failed to mention was how these new games would actually differ from Hearthstone and manage to stand out on their own in what’s about to be a very crowded genre.  While I’m a big fan of Hearthstone, I’ll be the first to admit that it has plenty of problems and either of these new games may be able to convert me.  However, I need actual details before I even consider switching.  I’m also tempted to bring up Media Molecule’s Dreams on the topic of non-reveals, but I think that has more to do with even Media Molecule themselves having no clue what they’ve created with that thing.

The worst of the bunch, without a doubt, was Project Setsuna.  Being developed by Square-Enix’s newest studio, Tokyo RPG Factory (ha ha), Project Setsuna is an entirely new JRPG… And that is literally all we know about it at this point.  It hasn’t even gotten past the concept art phase of development and Square-Enix decided that it was the best way to close out their press conference.  That image pictured above is literally one third of all there is to know about the game.  The idea was to send the message that Square-Enix is still committed to RPGs as the genre that put the company where it is today.  Given that  they had already shown off Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, NieR 2, and Star Ocean 5, I highly doubt anyone was going to walk away thinking that RPGs were dead.  Plus, Project Setsuna could end up just being a mobile game for all we really know about it.  There’s simply no point in taking an interest in any of these games until more actual details emerge , and we’ll likely be left dwelling on nothing in the meantime.

MetroidPrimeFederationForce

6) All the Right Nintendo Games in All the Wrong Ways

I don’t think Nintendo’s showcase was nearly as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be, but I certainly share in the frustration.  There has been a great deal of anticipation for a new Metroid game and an Animal Crossing game on Wii U and we technically got both of those, but not in the ways any of us were hoping for.  Metroid Prime: Federation Force drops the isolation, exploration, and darker tone for a co-op shooter with a cartoony art style and an FPS soccer minigame.  Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival brings Animal Crossing to the Wii U in the style of a board game reliant on amiibo figures in order to be played.  Neither of these look like bad games by any means, but fans of these franchises have been left waiting for years and these announcements came across as a slap in the face.

The backlash against Federation Force in particular has been massive, to the point where the only thing that seems to come up in interviews is how much Nintendo is trying to run damage control.  I’d like to call it an overreaction, but Metroid fans have not exactly received the best treatment in recent years.  After enduring the infamous Metroid: Other M, there was five years of silence with nothing but crossovers with Nintendo Land and Super Smash Bros, and now the silence is finally broken with something that just seems to move further and further away from everything that made the series great in the first place.  On the bright side, it seems that this could be building up for a Metroid Prime 4 announcement from Retro Studios, possibly as a launch title for the NX, but that hypothetical is little comfort after how badly fans have been burned.

As for Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival, the general opinion on amiibos has started to turn around as customers are continuously exhausted to try and find their favorite figures, so a game completely reliant on having specific figures isn’t exactly joyous news.  While the game itself is a free download, those compatible figures are bound to be in short supply and every player needs to have at least one of their own in order to play.  Not only that, the game that people were actually hoping to see was an actual, mainline Animal Crossing game for the Wii U.  It’s been three years since Animal Crossing: New Leaf released for 3DS, so the timing seemed right.  Instead, fans will have to make due with meager spin-offs for the time being.  I understand Nintendo’s decision to focus on the immediate future as they can make major announcements whenever they want with their Nintendo Directs, but they definitely came up short compared to Microsoft and Sony this year.

PitchAMeme

5) Aisha Tyler Drops Some Dank Memes, Yo

Aisha Tyler (pictured left-center), the main spokesperson for Ubisoft for the last few years, has a fairly divisive presence at E3.  Personally, she’s grown on me and I really feel that the Ubisoft press conferences are general made better by her.  She has a great deal of charisma and always keeps a high amount of energy going at the show.  However, there are definitely times where she tries too hard to be funny and this year had her biggest dud yet.  After approaching an Assassin’s Creed cosplayer in the audience, Tyler asked for him to “pitch a meme”.  Anyone who actually knows thing one about how internet memes work knows that they have to happen naturally as a public response to things and can’t just be manufactured on the spot.  It seems like the cosplayer was at least aware of that as he timidly tried to get this whole awkward affair to pass as quickly and painlessly as possible.  Once Tyler started going on about “who left the Christmas lights on during the apocalypse”, I think he may have been scared that she was about to turn into a giant mantis and eat his face off because reality was clearly ripping itself apart before his very eyes.  On the bright side, Ubisoft did get their meme out of the whole ordeal.  Unfortunately, it was all centered around how laughably out of touch the company is.

KH3Disney

4) Kingdom Hearts III Gets Dangled Like a Carrot

Kingdom Hearts III was easily one of the most anticipated titles for the Square-Enix conference and, boy, did we ever have to work for it.  Square-Enix easily had the worst conference this year and the unending build-up for the new KH3 trailer was the worst part of it all.  First, we had the executive producer for the Kingdom Hearts series, presented as such, take the stage and expectations were immediately raised.  Producer Shinji Hashimoto began speaking, but it seems that his translator fell asleep on the job as this segment was only presented in Japanese.  It probably wasn’t anything too important, though, because all he had to follow that up with was the exact same Final Fantasy VII trailer that had already been shown at Sony’s conference.  After that, Hashimoto, now with translation, said it was time to present a Kingdom Hearts game… For mobile phones.  Yeeeeeah.  But then, it finally came time to talk about Kingdom Hearts III, starting with… Two random guys from Disney telling us that we’d be seeing a Tangled world in the following gameplay trailer.  Yeah, because why just show when you can tell?!  Finally, we get to see the latest gameplay footage of the long-awaited Kingdom Hear-Wait, one of the guys we just had onscreen is actually right here in the audience, so why don’t we all wave hello to GET ON WITH IT!!!  At that point, it seemed like Square-Enix was just being intentionally malicious with how much it was holding out on their audience.  It’s a good thing that the trailer was actually really good because that crowd was gearing up for a full-scale riot at that point.

Hololens

3) The Microsoft Hololens Demonstration Was a Blatant Lie

Microsoft’s public demonstration of the Hololens impressed many with its ability to recreate a Minecraft world on a simple table and allowing users to directly manipulate virtual landscapes with their own hands.  It was certainly an inspiring look into what virtual reality is capable of, but there was one minor problem with Microsoft’s little showcase: it was completely fake.  It’s actually abundantly obvious that none of the footage we saw during the demonstration was actually taken from the Hololens display as the man we’re supposed to be seeing through the eyes of is constantly on-camera alongside the prerendered graphics imitating virtual reality.  While virtual reality has a great deal to offer the gaming industry and technological progress in general, Microsoft’s dishonest demonstration of how their headset works is bound to leave a lot of customers disappointed with how it actually looks.  If the first games that come to mind while playing with the Hololens end up being Watch_Dogs and Aliens: Colonial Marines, now you know why.

DeruloRejected

2) Jason Derulo Exists

In my article on things I didn’t want to see at E3, I briefly mentioned the trend of pop stars showing up at E3 press conferences for a short performance that only ever serves to eat up extra time.  In 2012, both Usher and Flo Rida performed at the Microsoft and Ubisoft conferences respectively.  Yes, these appearances are meant to hype up rhythm games and that makes sense, but having these artists perform one of their songs like their giving a concert when these events are meant to promote the actual gameplay just ends up being frivolous and pandering.  I also mentioned that the trend seemed to have finally died in that article, and I should really learn to keep my big mouth shut (cue obvious ribbing from the hecklers) because guess how Ubisoft decided to promote their latest Just Dance games.

To make things worse, they chose the single most boring musical act in the industry today (unless you actually count Florida Georgia Line as a musical act).  Jason Derulo, the man whose entire claim to fame centers around sampling a song that was best known for its involvement in a Saturday Night Live sketch and using it for what may be the insincere apology song that isn’t a joke.  Honestly, I’m surprised that he has yet to brag about how desirable he is over the tantalizing melody of Nyan Cat.  Although, it may have all been worth just for that brief moment where Derulo tried to get Aisha Tyler to dance with him on stage and she just pulled her hand out of his and stayed firmly seated like anyone with a sense of dignity would in that situation.  Still, it wasn’t the worst case of a celebrity wasting everyone’s time.  That honor goes to…

Pele

1) Pelé

EA has one of the worst press conferences at E3 every year without fail.  Admittedly, this year had one of their better showings with Mass Effect: Andromeda, Unravel, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and Star Wars Battlefront 3 (that’s what I’m calling it and you can’t stop me).  Sadly, they couldn’t resist bringing up some of their classic bad habits.  It’s pretty sad when the most detailed demonstration at your conference goes not to Mass Effect, Star Wars, or even Garden Warfare, but to a generic cow-clicker starring the minions from Despicable Me that grandparents and toddlers will throw too much money at for about a week and then completely forget about.

However, the award for worst of the worst naturally goes to their EA Sports segment.  I understand that sports games are the single greatest pillar of EA as a company and expecting them not to feature them during every press conference is like expecting Nintendo to not have a game featuring Mario.  The difference is that Nintendo never dedicates a good chunk of their presentations to assure us that they’ve tirelessly worked to improve Mario’s jumping animations, whereas EA does just that every single year.  They did have some interesting announcements, like the face-scanning app for NBA Live 16.  Just quickly showing off substantial innovations like that for their latest sports games would keep the energy of their presentations active rather than delving into redundancy.  Instead, they went with Pelé.  Now, I can’t exactly blame Pelé himself for not having much to say about actual video games while onstage at E3.  Expecting a 74-year-old soccer legend to be a well of knowledge on game design isn’t exactly realistic.  The problem is that EA wasted everyone’s time so that they could publicly shoot the breeze with a famous athlete.  At least when Ubisoft brought out Derulo, it was a (failed) attempt to just entertain all of the investors, journalists, and loyal fans in attendance.  EA invited Pelé to their conference purely for their own amusement while we got the privilege of watching them.

I certainly could have kept this list going with more missteps from the expo, such as the Nintendo World Championships focusing more on advertising Nintendo’s games than the spirit of competition or how the PC Gaming Show was essentially Day9’s three-hour public podcast, but I think that’s enough complaining from me for one year.  What was your worst moment from E3 2015?  Are there any moments from this year’s E3 that made you cringe missing from this list?  Can you come up with a better name for a Need for Speed game than EA?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

No Man’s Sky: What Is It? – Part 1

No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky

One of the most talked about games that smacked fans upside the head at last year’s E3 was No Man’s Sky. Developed by a four-man development team, Hello Games pitched their game in the most nonchalant manner possible. They promised a universe but showed just a sliver of it. Now, a year later, fans are still scratching their heads after watching Hello Games E3 presentation. Just what is it?

Well, good news, folks. I’m here to explain everything we know so far about No Man’s Sky.

Where Can I Play It?

Let’s talk platforms first. Which platforms the game would be released on was debating in contention. Although Hello Games mentioned we would see a PC release (since it’s the developing platform), many fans weren’t totally sure when we would see a PC release. Rest assured, though. We’ll be seeing the game release simultaneously on PS4 and PC with XBox One still pending.

Will There Be Multiplayer?

Another hotly debated feature was multiplayer. Will the No Man’s Sky have it? And if so, in what capacity? Will players be able to form parties with their friends? Will they have to find each other? What’s the skinny?

The short of it is that multiplayer does exist. You will share this galaxy with hundreds of thousands (millions?) of players, but you won’t have the capacity to see all of them at the same time. Plus, the size of the galaxy is set to scale. This means that it’s absolutely massive. Simply zooming out of the map is ego destroying because it emphasizes how minuscule every planet and star is in the galaxy.

So, while it’s possible to eventually find your friends and roam around in groups, you won’t necessarily be forming parties. It’s just not the point of the game. The game isn’t an MMO, there won’t be PVP, base building, or anything like that. The idea of the game is exploration, isolation, and self reflection. Okay, maybe not so much self reflection, but you’ll be terribly alone. Hello Games created the galaxy so players would be able to mark their paths by naming planets and their inhabitants.

That said, there are definitely some social features built into the game on a limited level. For instance, you’ll be able to see where your friends are in the galaxy, and you can leave messages for other players in certain places. Truth be told, a lot of the multiplayer details are still wrapped in a shroud of darkness.

Creating a Galaxy

No Man's Sky

Everything in the game is procedurally generated, but an important distinction to make is that the game isn’t random. All of the assets have obviously been worked on heavily and the team actually sends out probes into the galaxy to act like their eyes and ears. These probes exist to observe how their algorithms shaped the galaxy, and the developers have gone in to make sure that there are never too many of the same things nearby.

Procedural generation doesn’t end with planets, though. The developers’ algorithms extend all the way to the weapons, items, ships, and animals. The idea is that Hello Games really never wants you to see the same things twice. And if you do, they want to make sure they’re spaced out so far apart that you’ll forget you ever saw it to begin with.

The galaxy will be shared with all players but everyone is going to start off in their own solar system. The good news is that the developers favor fun over scientific accuracy, so you won’t be exploring wholly empty solar systems on your journey to the center of the galaxy. Each solar system has something significant in it that is shared among all players.

Planets themselves will be a bit empty. According to The Verge, each planet will only have a 10% chance of having life on them and most of the life will be very primitive. The idea is that when you find a planet that is lush with life then it will be remarkable and memorable to the player.

Game Structure

The gameplay is where things begin to get a bit convoluted, and that’s mainly because we haven’t really seen what all it has to offer in a concrete sense. Just isolated details here and there that we can put together to draw conclusions. Any facts stated here are rooted in truth, but inferences are just that.

The most interesting thing about the game is that there are no quests or missions outside of getting to the center of the universe. Instead, the player is tasked with creating their own adventures along the way. Not having quests isn’t to say that there aren’t things like jobs you can have in order to net units (the in-game currency).

As you play through the game you’ll obtain resources by killing animals and mining/gathering items on planets. The game uses this weird alternate periodic table that the developers have created and you’ll gather relevant resources to help upgrade your ship and your gear. Recipes for things like this will feel very much like Minecraft because you won’t know any of the recipes going into the game.

An interesting discovery in this year’s E3 demo is the introduction of a GTA styled wanted level. There are essentially space cops posted on every planet and if you go around causing havoc and being reckless then you’ll start to accrue wanted stars and have these space cops come gun you down.

A lot of people coming back from the demo have described the game somewhat like a mixture of EVE Online and Minecraft in the way that the economy and crafting work, respectively.

Gameplay of No Man’s Sky

no mans sky gameplay

If there is one thing we have seen, it’s gameplay. We’ve seen demos where players are able to seamlessly transition from space into a planet’s atmosphere and then simply land on the ground.

Combat does play a role in the game and can define who you are as a player. You can, unknowingly, be affiliated with factions that exist in the galaxy, but there won’t be any way for the player to accurately judge who favors or dislikes you. This is all determined by how you treat members of these factions. If you go out on a rampage against a certain faction then it’s very likely they’ll begin to attack you on-site. On the flip side, aiding various factions will allow you to call wingmen from these factions when you need aid.

As stated above, there are jobs in the game, though they mostly revolve around trade. And since your ultimate goal is to end up in the center of the universe then it’ll be unlikely that you stick around working a stable job outside of funding necessary upgrades.

As you make your way to the center of the galaxy you’ll notice better quality gear to acquire. An interesting thing noted in the Giant Bombcast was that the rules of the galaxy mirrored what we were familiar with on the edge of the galaxy, but as players begin to move closer to the center, the behavior of the galaxy changes. Unfortunately, details about this were left vague.

That’s going to wrap it up for the larger details, but part 2 will be up soon and will go in depth with smaller details regarding ships, combat, and more.

For Honour – Top Pick from E3!

For Honour

For Honour

There is no doubt that this year’s E3 was full of truly incredible games but there is one in particular that not only can I not wait to play but should stand as a shining example for future AAA titles.

For Honour is a third-person competitive melee based game with an innovative new style of fighting. The game pits three of the world’s greatest warriors against each other; Vikings, Samurai and Knights. Whilst centuries separated these three groups from ever facing each other on a real battlefield I am really glad this did not discourage the Ubisoft team.

The gameplay trailer below shows a run through of a multiplayer match, you can see that not only is it four vs four the map is littered with NPC sword fodder! Any fan of the Dynsaty Warriors series will feel right at home dominating the computer controlled soldiers but it is when two rival players face off that it gets really exciting.

When two players meet in the battlefield the camera comes in closer and the NPCs form around the warriors drawing inspiration from big budget movies. It is here we see the “art of battle”. The new system ties all attacks and defences to the right stick, this provides ultimate control over your weapon and provides tense cinematic combat. It looks to be a great system for this type of play, allowing fast and quick combat against weak NPCs but still requiring skill and strategy when opposing another player.

With games like Evolve and Titanfall it would be very easy for Ubisoft to release For Honour as a solely online competitive game, however as mentioned above this game should be a shining example for others! For Honour will also feature a campaign mode that can be played co-op, and yes also confirmed is split-screen play bringing us back to a golden age of gaming where you could actually play your friends in the same room!

What did you think of For Honour? Do you have a different top pick from E3? Let me know in the comments below.

E3 2015, or Why I Can’t Stay Mad at Nintendo

Nintendo

Nintendo has received a huge backlash for their showing at this year’s E3. Fans were aware that the coolest stuff Nintendo had to offer was being held back for next year and Metroid fans in particular felt that Metroid Prime: Federation Force, the announced spin off was a far cry from the sequel that they had been waiting for.

I admit that I was underwhelmed myself and I really wasn’t expecting anything from Nintendo this year. However even though I am unimpressed by what Nintendo offered this year at E3 compared to other companies I retain a sense of fondness for the thought that went into those revelations.

Reggie Fils-Aime has stated that they only wanted to show games at E3 that people would be able to buy in the next six to nine months. All of the games were showcased through the Nintendo Direct format that has proven successful in the past, and none of them were overhyped cgi movies passing as trailers. While individual games may not have seemed as exciting as the long overdue introduction of backwards compatibility to the Xbox one, or the Final Fantasy VII remake (aka why you should always be careful not to create too many expectations with a tech demo) the mindset that lead to their reveals is one that should be applauded. E3 has come to represent an environment that creates unrealistic expectations of games to fuel hype for products that won’t be out for over a year. Nintendo continued the approach they have been taking in the last few years and instead decided to give Nintendo fans an E3 2015 they would truly show them what the company would be making between now and E3 2016. Personally speaking I would rather see that attitude continue, and have an off year from Nintendo than risk a returning to a time in which we Nintendo had more titles announced, only to accompany them with a lack of information and the dreaded phrase “thank you for your patience”.

Even if you were to take Nintendo’s E3 showing at face value I am not at all worried. This is a far cry from E3 2008 (in which Nintendo didn’t have much more to say for itself than Wii music) Nintendo have stated since the event that they are aware of certain fan concerns and that they have yet more games to announce. The Nintendo of today is a company that isn’t going to view an event like E3 as something that will determine their fate for the whole year but as one piece in a much larger strategy. We are going to get more information spread over time rather than crammed into one week, and as a gamer I think we will always be the better for it.