Bluehole, the publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is not pleased with Epic’s foray into the same arena. While Fortnite Battle Royale is going free-to-play, Bluehole is pondering their relationship with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. In an interview with GamesIndustry, Bluehole’s Chang Han Kim pointed out that while they pay Epic for their UE4 engine license, Epic has suddenly become a competitor, including the use of Battlegrounds in their marketing.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
Whatever the outcome, it’s likely that Fortnite won’t be the last copycat of Battlegrounds. To date, Bluehole’s multiplayer phenomenon has sold over 11 million units on PC alone.
There is a new Planet of the Apes game coming from Imaginati Studios, in partnership with Andy Serkis’ The Imaginarium. Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is a storytelling adventure game set between the last two movies. It’s reminiscent of Heavy Rain or Until Dawn, but there’s a multiplayer twist. Up to four people can play together and vote on the outcomes for the game’s choices. But it’s not just a straight majority vote all the time. There are crucial choices that will allow players to spend limited override tokens that will give their votes more weight, adding a bit of a competitive component to the proceedings. What better way to recreate the feel of the apes versus humans war, than with contentious committee voting?
On the PlayStation 4, the voting is done through Sony’s PlayLink system, allowing everyone to sit together and cast their votes via their mobile devices. Imaginati CEO Martin Alltimes hopes the feature marks a return to family couch co-op.
“We can have a social experience around the television that used to be part of console gaming and has now largely gone away with online.”
Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier will launch later this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Given that there are so many good boardgame ports available, it’s a pretty lousy time to sell a lousy boardgame port. It doesn’t help when the boardgame being ported is nothing to write home about. It certainly doesn’t help when it wants you to buy pointlessly expensive maps, not to mention actual gameplay mechanics. This sure is demanding for such an inconsequential game. It barely even qualifies as beer n’ pretzels. How about suds n’ crumbs?
There’s nothing like seeing pitchforks and torches held aloft while a mob clicks a thumbs down button. Review-bombing is an issue that has been plaguing Valve’s digital store since user reviews were enabled. A developer says something controversial, or a popular streamer goes all in on a game, and the result can be thousands of negative reviews that drop the average score. Valve acknowledged that users will sometimes score a game based on factors outside of the game content. In the case of review-bombing, this skewed average score can mislead potential buyers if the issues at hand aren’t pertinent to their buying decision. Valve now thinks it might have a solution. Starting today, Steam will display a histogram of the positive to negative ratio of reviews for each game. Consumers will be able to easily see if reviews suddenly took a drastic downturn for a temporary condition, and then click to see a sample review of the time period.
Xbox 360 controllers are being used to control the periscopes on Virginia-class nuclear submarines. Originally, the “photonic mast” periscopes were controlled with a $38,000 specially-designed joystick, but based on cost-cutting directives and complaints from testers that the controls were not intuitive and clunky, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy conscripted the ubiquitous console game controller to meet their needs. It’s a choice that’s proven popular with the personnel tasked with using the systems, and with the procurement officers on the project.
“I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement.”
The Xbox 360 controller will be bundled as part of the Virginia-class submarine packages starting in November, just in time for the holidays! Hopefully, the Lockheed Martin warranties on submarines will be just as good as Microsoft’s red ring support.
The macaroni rule is a lie. Richard Berg, the designer of the infamously detailed The Campaign For North Africa, admits that one of the much-beloved and odder rules of his World War II board game was not based on reality. In The Campaign for North Africa, the Italian forces have to account for extra water rations for their soldiers to boil pasta. If the pasta points aren’t properly managed, Italian troops may desert, reflecting the inability to feed hungry soldiers in the field. It’s a fiddly rule for a fiddly wargame. Unfortunately, in an epic board game brimming with technical detail, this one rule has nothing to do with history. In fact, it was a joke that Richard Berg included to lampoon the absurdity of his creation.
“The reality is that the Italians cooked their pasta with the tomato sauce that came with the cans,” he says. “But I didn’t want to do a rule on that.”
To add insult to injury, Berg has never completed a playthrough of his own game.
Finally an answer to the burning question “How will Aronofsky top Noah?” At the 1:30-mark, after an It and American Assassin report, we hunker down for a discussion of natural disasters in movies that aren’t about natural disasters.
You can tell right away from the title that Let Me Make You a Martyr is trying something, well…different. Think of the title as the movie warning you beforehand. Hey, it says, this might not be for you. It’s probably right. It’s probably not for you. It’s alternatively pretentious, awkward, and indulgent. I mean, come on, who names their movie Let Me Make You a Martyr? But I loved it. Continue reading →
The honorable Nick Diamon presides over a legal battle among animals in Tooth and Tail. Then Tom Chick and Jason McMaster get to lord over him the fact that they’re playing Destiny 2 while he’s faffing about in some Bethesda MMO.
The latest developer update from Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan is all about Overwatch’s toxic community. Despite adding a crucial feature to the console version of the game that gives players a way to report bad behavior, Blizzard is fighting a growing tide of cheaters, griefers, and generally terrible people in their game. The problem is bad enough that Kaplan admits that the team is spending a “tremendous” amount of resources chasing bad actors instead of working on adding content to the game. Blizzard is working on solutions, and warns that it will be an ongoing process that will require the community’s cooperation.
Online toxicity is a problem for any online game, especially if the game is competitive and popular. Overwatch easily qualifies as a magnet for unpleasantness and adds a few more wrinkles by leaning hard into its community’s fascination with the character lore. Take the normally aggressive and immature online multiplayer behavior and amp it up a few notches with a dose of social media politicizing, and the results can be breathtaking. But now you know why it takes Blizzard so long to release new heroes and maps.
The early treatment for Fallout: New Vegas included race selections for the player character that offered ghouls and super-mutants as viable choices. Speaking to Eurogamer, Obsidian’s CEO Feargus Urquhart spoke about some of the decisions they made during the 2010 open-world role-playing game’s development. Originally intended as a large expansion for Fallout 3, Bethesda Game Studios and Obsidian expanded the scope of the project so it became essentially a sequel in size and complexity. “Fallout: Sin City” would eventually become the Fallout: New Vegas we all know and love. That three playable races idea? It was nixed due to technical issues.
“It really had to do with how all the weapons and armour worked. Trying to have them all work with ghouls and super-mutants was just going to be – [Bethesda] felt like it was going to be a nightmare. It wasn’t like they said no but it was a very strongly worded, ‘We would really suggest that you not try to do that.'”
Feargus Urquhart and Obsidian co-owner Chris Parker also addressed the now-infamous Metacritic contract clause that made the studio miss a bonus payment by one point.
“You can’t get mad at somebody for a contract you signed. We signed a contract, it had very clear terms in it. ‘Oh we were really close…’ We didn’t hit it.”
Fallout: New Vegas may not have allowed you to play a ghoul or mutant, but it did give us iron sights on guns.
In Lovecraft Country, being called a nigger, refused service at a restaurant, harassed by the police, or treated with contempt by an elite coven of warlocks is just another day. This cast of black characters living in Chicago in 1954 is accustomed to America. They have learned to navigate it. Literally. One of the main characters publishes a travel guide called The Safe Negro Travel Guide. It steers black people around — or, if necessary, through — the more virulent racism in America, especially where Jim Crow laws are still in effect. Which restaurants will serve black customers? Which highways should you not be on after dark? Which garages can you call if your car breaks down?
So the characters in Lovecraft Country don’t seem terribly surprised by the idea that maybe the universe is a vast and ancient expanse of indifference at best, outright hostility at worst. Why would someone go insane from learning what minorities know every day? If you look into the abyss long enough, you still have to ride in the back of the bus on your way to work. Continue reading →
Speaking to the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference, Electronic Arts’ vice president of investor relations Chris Evenden, was bullish on the game-streaming concept. According to GamesIndustry‘s report, Evenden said cloud technology has been catching up to everyone’s ambition over the past few years with the infrastructure barrier shrinking rapidly. He cited a recent demonstration given to a major internet company for streaming Battlefield. The publisher has slowly been enticing customers to its services like Origin on PC and EA Access on consoles, and expects the transition to full-blown cloud gaming will happen someday.
“I think it’s inevitable that the gaming entertainment world will move in much the same way that the music and video entertainment worlds have already moved, in the sense that people have moved from an ownership model to an access model. And you’ll see that in gaming, just as you’ve seen it with Spotify and Netflix in other media businesses.”
Previous cloud gaming services like OnLive jumped the gun and got ahead of the technology curve, ending in failure. More recent services like NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and PlayStation’s Gaikai have found success with modest growth and investments in technology.