Archive for the ‘Game Articles’ Category

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From the PlayStation Europe Twitter account. Credit: Sony

by Dave Thier via Forbes

Because who doesn’t like a good teaser? PlayStation Europe has a perfectly cryptic message up on its Twitter account that appears to be teasing some sort of announcement ahead of Gamescom. It says only “we’re gearing up for the reveal of something new,” with a gif of red cloth sitting over some unnamed object. Sony didn’t announce a Gamescom press conference, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bringing some kind of surprise, possibly to offer something to take attention away from Microsoft’s Xbox One X. The company’s North American accounts didn’t echo the tease, so whatever it is may only apply to Europe.

Beyond this, we have absolutely nothing to go on, but that’s never stopped us from wild speculation before. The red cloth could seem to indicate a physical object, and for some reason, the commentariat of the broader gaming community have jumped on the idea of a portable. This is almost certainly not going to happen: Sony hopefully learned its lesson with the Vita, and woe be to the company that challenges either the 3DS or the Switch. A much more reasonable assumption would be some kind of Knack-only console that promises to enshrine the wonder that is Knackfor future generations— a Knackstation if you will. Support for Knack 2 is unannounced at this time.

If I had to take an actual guess, I’d say this this is some sort of special edition PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro, some of which have been region-specific before. Sony isn’t doing any sort of presentation at Gamescom, so it’d be a pretty unusual move to come out with some kind of large-scale reveal without any warning. Not impossible, mind you, just unusual. Sony is having a press conference at Paris Games Week in October, so if it has something bigger for the Holiday season that might be a more reasonable time to unveil it. But who knows? We’ll find out soon, it would seem.

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by Mark Austin via Digital Trends

In a post on its website, BioWare announced that there will be no Mass Effect: AndromedaDLC, and that support for the single-player campaign has come to an end: “There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content.”

The game was put on “temporary hiatus” back in May 2017, with many team members relocated to EA Motive for the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront II. Several game websites had speculated that there would be no more DLC for the game following a mixed reception, underwhelming sales, and middling reviews.

The announcement leaves the future of the franchise in doubt. Plagued by numerous delays, staff changes, and technological difficulties, the ambitious game didn’t seem to realiz its full potential from the beginning, and has relied on the multiplayer loot-box system for much of its revenue.

The other three Mass Effect games had major single-player DLC packs that complemented the main narrative, and this cancellation leaves much of the unfinished Andromeda story in limbo. Whatever happened to Ryder’s family, and who was the Benefactor behind the Andromeda initiative? What about the Quarians? We may never know.

However, BioWare promises that they “will continue to tell stories in the Andromeda Galaxy through our upcoming comics and novels, including the fate of the quarian ark.” More details about multiplayer enhancements and “N7 Day” (November 7th) will be revealed in the coming weeks.

EA and BioWare never seemed happy with the game. In an interview with Engadget, EA Executive Vice President Patrick Soderlund was quite candid about their disappointment with Andromeda. “A game that we launched in the market that doesn’t function and is full of bugs, that’s not who we are and that’s not who we should be,” he said. “With Mass Effect [Andromeda], the game wasn’t maybe as finished as people wanted it to be.”

BioWare is hoping to right the ship with a new franchise set to debut in 2018. Anthem is an open-world sci-fi RPG set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland featuring giant monsters and Iron Man-esque suits of armor.

Still, the announcement about Andromeda marks an inglorious and unfortunate end to an epic franchise that redefined the art of single-player narrative games.

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It’s not just big-name titles, but you’ll have to wait for some.

by Edgar Alavrez via Engadget

Microsoft has dribbled out details of Xbox One X visual upgrades over the past couple of months, but now it’s laying all its cards on the table. The company’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has posted a list of all the games currently slated to get some kind of Xbox One X enhancement. Some of them you’ll already know about or would expect, such as many recent Microsoft-published games (including Quantum Break), Assassin’s Creed Origins and Wolfenstein II. However, there are plenty of older and indie titles also in line, such as AstroneerFirewatchHitman and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

The list looks impressive at first blush, but it’s also important to remember that only some of the games will be Xbox One X-ready when the console launches on November 7th. Many of these titles, like Anthem, won’t ship until many months later. Microsoft also doesn’t explain just what the enhancements mean. You’ll have to dig deeper to find out whether or not a game runs natively in 4K or relies on upscaling tricks (such as checkerboard rendering), as well as whether or not there are any added visual effects. Think of this as a cheat sheet — it’ll give you a quick idea of which games will improve, but it’s up to you to decide whether or not those improvements justify a purchase.

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by Andrew Tarantola via Engadget

More than 40,000 disingenuous gamers lost access to their games, items — and in some cases, their entire accounts — last weekend after the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system flagged them for violations. No, that’s not a typo, 40,411 players have been nicked by the company’s robotic rule enforcer. That’s nearly triple the previous banning record from 2016, which stood at a meager 15,227 players.

Valve’s VAC system doles out around 3,500 suspensions on an average day. However, on Thursday July 6th, an unprecedented wave of bannings took place. The VAC had hammered nearly 30,000 accounts by noon Pacific. Valve launched this operation immediately after the end of its annual Summer Sale, presumably to prevent scofflaws from taking advantage of the event’s discounted prices on games.

What’s more, another 4,972 players got the hammer for their abusive in-game behavior. VAC bans prohibit accounts from connecting to Valve’s servers, which render their in-game purchased skins and items useless. All in all, the Vac-Ban website, which monitors and reports on these incidents, estimates that cheaters forfeited $9,580 worth of real world money due to their online shenanigans. Seriously guys,  it’s just Counter-Strike. Not like you can even gamble in it.

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Keith Robinson (R) at Arcade Expo in California in March of this year. Photo: Intellivision

by Chris Kohler via Kotaku

Keith Robinson, the godfather of the Intellivision, passed away Wednesday at 61. Robinson designed games for the pioneering Mattel console, but that was just the beginning: He bought the rights to Intellivision in the 1990s and kept the games in print via the Intellivision Lives! collections, while documenting the history of the console and the people who made it. Retronauts has an extensive look at his work today.

 

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by Edwardo Maggio via Business Insider

Xbox chief Phil Spencer does not think of the PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) as a direct competitor to the just-announced Xbox One X.

In an interview with Eurogamer (which we saw via The Verge), Spencer claimed that Microsoft’s new console is in “a different league” compared with Sony’s top-of-the-line gaming machine, because it is the only “true 4K console.”

If you compare the specifications of the two, the Xbox One X does have an edge over its rival. Spencer pointed out the 40% faster GPU as well as the Xbox One X’s bigger memory (12GB, as opposed to the PS4 Pro’s 8GB) as some of the main advantages Microsoft’s console has, but 4K gaming seems to be the biggest differentiator.

“When I think about techniques to somehow manufacture a 4K screen like what some other consoles try to do, this is different than that,” Spencer said. And, as a result, he sees the PS4 Pro as “more of a competitor to [Xbox One] S than I do to Xbox One X.”

When asked about how this difference will have an impact on multiplatform games and whether they will perform significantly better on Xbox One X, Spencer added: “The capability is in this box to make the difference extremely significant. I think about the consoles in the market today, whether it’s PS4, original Xbox One, S, Pro, it’s all kind of closer in spec. We’ve hit a performance spec with Xbox One X that should make those games the most definitive version of those games.”

Xbox One X will retail for $499 (£449 in the UK) this fall, which is $100 (£78) more expensive than the PS4 Pro. However — as my colleague Antonio Villas-Boas argued — hardcore fans may still find value in its hardware capabilities, and actually get a good deal that will hold up better in the longer term.

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by Reinier Macatangay via Nerd Reactor

May 11th marks the 22-year anniversary of the Sega Saturn launch. Time to celebrate? While the Saturn failed horribly after its release, all dead consoles become a little more appreciated over time. So it might be worth giving a short look again.

Sega meant to have the Saturn as their major console entry into the “32-bit era.” While Sega also released the 32X add-on for the Sega Genesis earlier, the Saturn was CD-based and more heavily anticipated.

What did 32-bit processing power mean? Most gamers had no idea. Back then, more bits simply meant a better, more powerful console. For developers though, the Saturn’s power came across as hard to tap into.

Sega Retro offers a nice technical summary of the console’s limitations.

One interesting line reads “Only a handful of developers were able to squeeze most of the power out of the second SH-2 CPU, and even fewer utilized the SCU DSP, as its assembly code was more complex than the SH-2.”

No one needs to be a jargon wizard to understand it had some poor internal design flaws.

Graphics are not everything when it comes to a console though. If quality games are made, gamers will come, right?

Unfortunately, third-party developers were caught flat-footed when the Saturn released in May. Most everyone expected the Saturn to launch in September. So the launch was not as strong as expected.

Keith Stuart of The Guardian wrote, “Sega had an autumn US release for the Saturn all planned out; its production line was in motion, retailers were ready. But Japan panicked. (Sega of Japan President) Nakayama believed that Sega had to get into the US market early and establish a presence before Sony.”

“But it was a shambles. The machines were expensive and in short supply; only a handful of major retailers got them, alienating the rest of the market.”

Still, the Sega Saturn came out with games such as Daytona USA, Panzer Dragoon and Virtua Fighter. Later on, critics applauded the unique Nights Into Dreams. The console just lacked a major-selling hit. Sonic X-treme, a planned 3D sequel to the classic Sonic games on the Sega Genesis, ended up canceled. Therefore, Sega’s major 32-bit console did not offer a proper Sonic title.

Eventually, the Sonic Team began work on a different Sonic game for the Saturn. It eventually got pushed back to the Dreamcast, and gamers know it today as Sonic Adventure.

According to Don Reisinger of CNET, sadly only two Saturn games sold over a million copies: Virtua Fighter 2 and Grandia.

He went on to write, “Aside from those, the Saturn quickly became the cesspool of gaming. After all, can anyone actually name 30 great games they played on the console?”

Oddly, the Saturn did see at least 600 games released worldwide. It is a number that surpasses the Nintendo 64. But as told on US Gamer, less than half of them ever made it to the United States.

The Sega Saturn died a dishonorable death in late 1998 (while fighting a little longer overseas). Sega’s Dreamcast turned in a better effort starting the following year but died prematurely too after a promising launch. Subsequently, Sega became a third-party developer and publisher, and these days, their games are literally on every platform.

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