Titan Quest, yes the 2006 action roleplaying game, has a new expansion. Today! Titan Quest: Ragnarok introduces Norse mythological creatures and environments. The expansion offers players a new Runemaster class that combines martial prowess with magical crafting, an increased level cap to 85, graphical and physics improvements, and new loot items including pants. Finally, pants.
Assassin’s Creed Origins update 1.0.5 will be live soon. Performance and stability improvements? Sure. Glitched quest fixes? Yup. The update even returns the Deluxe Edition’s Ambush at Sea quest which was disabled soon after launch due to a game-breaking bug. All that stuff is nice and you can peruse the patch notes here if you’re interested. This is all good, but standard stuff. The most worthwhile addition is something that will finally allow thousands of players to return to the game. There will be a beard and hair toggle, and your selected preference will remain saved. No more baby-faced Bayek when you return to the game from the last time you played it! Thank Ra!
Update 1.0.5 will launch today for the PlayStation 4 and November 20th for the Xbox One. The PC version doesn’t have a date just yet, but that’s likely because of the platform’s superior beard technology.
Electronic Arts has partially backpedaled on Hero prices in Star Wars: Battlefront II. Reacting to strong negative criticism from gamers with early access to the game, EA has announced drastic changes to the in-game pricing of multiplayer hero characters. According to the post from DICE’s John Wasilczyk, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 in-game credits (down from 60,000 credits) while Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia will now cost 10,000 credits (originally 40,000 credits) and finally Iden Versio, the main character from the game’s single player campaign, will only cost 5,000 credits instead of 20,000. It’s a welcome change for gamers that did not relish the idea of playing for 40 hours to unlock one new Hero.
But there’s a wrinkle. Game Informer’s Andrew Reiner reports that his post-campaign reward was reduced following the changes. Before the latest update, he earned 20,000 credits for completing the campaign, but after the update, his credit prize was reduced to 5,000. EA says the credit payout was reduced because the intent of the prize was that players should use it to purchase their first hero – Iden Versio. Since her price was reduced from 20,000 to 5,000, the reward was diminished to match. It makes sense on that level, but the fact that players get a credit reward and are prompted to purchase a hero instead of just being given one as an unlock illustrates the way a business model can take over a game experience. The goal here isn’t to reward a player’s accomplishment. It’s to get them to try the in-game store system and participate in the loot box economy. The first hit is always free!
Bethesda and MachineGames have announced the full contents of the season pass for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. There’s nine more hours of righteous Nazi killing coming in The Freedom Chronicles. If you pre-ordered the game or are a season pass owner, you may have already gotten a taste of the future content thanks to Episode Zero which launched on November 8th and introduced Joseph Stallion, Jessica Valiant, and Gerald Wilkins. On December 14th, we’ll get The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe, featuring the best sports hero since Augustus “Cole Train” Cole. On January 30th, we’ll see the stealthy secrets of The Diaries of Agent Silent Death. Finally, sometime in March of next year, the square-jawed action heroics of The Amazing Deeds of Captain Wilkins will be released. That’s three new murdering menaces on their way! Lieutenant Aldo Raine just might get his Nazi scalps after all.
Rockstar has changed the player’s interrogation options in the remaster for L.A. Noire. In the video for the upcoming Nintendo Switch version of Rockstar’s hard-boiled detective game, the old Truth, Doubt, and Lie choices have been replaced with Good Cop, Bad Cop, and Accuse. Rockstar has confirmed that these changes will also be present in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One remasters. Maybe Detective Cole Phelps won’t be such an accidental ass to witnesses now.
If you’ve had enough of orcs and elves, The Creative Assembly would like to remind you that they don’t just make cracking good games set in the Warhammer universe. They also make games based on history. I know that’s not as fun as lizard-men riding on lizard cavalry, but bashing legions of sweaty Roman warriors against one another can have its charms, too. 2013’s Total War: Rome II still has a dedicated fanbase that relishes the relatively simpler battles of Julia versus Junia with nary a vortex of chaos energy in sight.
Thankfully, parts of The Creative Assembly want to get back to man on man action. Empire Divided is an upcoming campaign pack for Total War: Rome II featuring the third century crisis and the dangers of cults, plagues, and banditry during a time of infighting and disunion. The DLC campaign will have ten playable factions, new victory conditions, and special story events. Empire Divided will launch on November 30th.
Even if you don’t feel like paying for more Rome II, there will be something new for you. A free Power and Politics update is also launching on the 30th that will revamp many of the game’s systems. It aims to make political intrigue more, well, intriguing. Poltical parties will have loyalty status properties that will influence their effectiveness on the campaign map. Parties will control provinces within the empire, and low loyalty can cause all sorts of problems, right down to a party seceding from your rule. The free update will also bring a user interface overhaul, graphical improvements, and balance changes.
That’s the Totokia War Club. Originally created and used in Fiji, it can be yours in Battlefield 1 for free when you log into the game anytime after November 8th. The giveaway is part of Electronic Arts’ celebration for the release of Star Wars: Battlefront II. There’s all sorts of cross-game promotional stuff in there. FIFA 18 and NHL 18 players can get free Star Wars jerseys for their Ultimate Teams. NBA LIVE 18 fans can participate in Inferno Squad themed multiplayer events to unlock Star Wars uniforms.
But back to that war club. How, exactly, does the traditional “pineapple club” link to Battlefront II? Sharp-eyed nerds should notice the resemblance to the Tusken Raiders’ gaffi stick. There’s your connection. Add a few sci-fi doodads to the totokia and you get a Gaffi stick any desert bandits would be proud to lift over their heads.
The normally accepted theory on how ancient Egyptians hauled the immense stones to the tops of the pyramids as they were being built is via humongous external ramps, some over a mile long, that allowed them to scoot up to the heights needed. The main problem with that theory is that no one has ever found any evidence of those ramps. An alternate, and controversial, theory put forth by French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin in 2007 is that the Egyptians built the pyramids from the inside-out using a spiral system of ramps and chambers that were repurposed into burial rooms as the builders worked up. Unfortunately, we haven’t actually mapped the interior of the pyramids enough to confirm or deny Houdin’s theory.
Last week, Nature published details of a newly discovered large inaccessible chamber in the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Although no one has been able to confirm what the chamber might contain or what its purpose was, its existence was predicted by Houdin’s construction theory.
Here’s where Assassin’s Creed: Origins comes into the story. The newly discovered chamber in Khufu’s pyramid is already in the game! Ubisoft’s developers consulted with Houdin and used his pyramid schematics as a spingboard for their in-game models. His inside-out theory lined up nicely with the team’s gameplay goals. According to what they told Kotaku, the developers bet on Houdin as “the most credible” of sources.
Say what you will of the game’s flaws, but that’s some impressive synchronicity. If the developers got that right, maybe we should watch out for mummies and giant serpent attacks in the future?
Earlier in the year, Activision and Sledgehammer Games had announced that opening loot boxes in Call of Duty: WWII would have incentives for spectators, but we didn’t know how it would work. Thanks to some early footage posted on Reddit, we can now see that the process for opening loot crates in the game may be one of the slickest sequences of its kind made to appeal to gamer vanity.
Loot crates literally fall from the sky in the game’s multiplayer social space as a Supply Drop. Anyone standing near the event can watch as the crate bursts open and prizes fly up to be revealed. Loot contents are visible to everyone in the area, presumably to maximize excitement and envy.
Activision claims all loot offered will be cosmetic only, but if true, that would be a change from the past few Call of Duty games that did eventually offer loot crate exclusive weapons. Call of Duty: WWII launches tomorrow.
You can pet cats in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. There is no button to “pet cat.” Just crouch next to one and your Bayek will automatically reach out and give the feline a good rubbing. Good kitty! You cannot, however, pet dogs in the game. Crouch all you want next to a canine and Bayek will just sit there hunched over, ready for assassinating, while Fido runs off. Bad doggy!
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is facing an uphill fight in China thanks to a negative recommendation from a leading censorship advisory group. The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, working in conjunction with the official Chinese government’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a statement on Battlegrounds that accuses the game of being too violent and “deviates from the values of socialism” according to a translation from Bloomberg. It is an early sign that the game will not likely get an official license for sale in China.
“This basically spells the death sentence for PUBG in China,” said Benjamin Wu, an analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy Pacific Epoch.
The SAPPRFT previously recommended that lone survivor multiplayer games not be allowed in China and discourages local development of such games. Honour of Kings, a Korean multiplayer survival game published by Tencent, is the most popular game in the genre in China. It slipped into the country before the SAPPRFT ruling and remains on sale with little to no competition in the country.
Visceral Games was shut down by its owner and publisher Electronic Arts on October 17th. The Star Wars action adventure game they were working on, code-named Project Ragtag, was canceled and workers either went to other EA positions or looking for employment. Visceral’s Star Wars game was going to be modeled after Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, but until now the public has never known much about it other than a quick snippet of video during EA’s E3 2016 presentation. Kotaku spoke to former and current EA employees, including Visceral sources, and uncovered some details. The ambitious single-player game put the player into the shoes of Dodger, a Han Solo styled rascal, and his ragtag (get it?) crew of ne’er-do-wells. Set between the movies A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Ragtag would focus on the seedier criminal elements of Star Wars. Heists, Hutts, and hand blasters.
What killed Ragtag? A little bit of this and a little bit of that. According to Kotaku’s sources, game director Amy Hennig’s project design was maybe too ambitious for the understaffed studio, while simultaneously being too conservative for EA’s strategic plans. The game was just too expensive, too complicated, and EA wasn’t going to see the kind of monetary return they needed to keep their shareholders happy.
“EA executives are like, ‘FIFA Ultimate Team makes a billion dollars a year.’ Where’s your version of that?”
After Star Wars: Battlefront shipped and EA shifted to the more profitable games-as-service model, the writing was on the wall for Ragtag. Dodger and company were done. EA’s announcement of both the game’s and the studio’s demise included a note that EA Vancouver had taken over the project and shifted the design to a “broader experience” for players.
LawBreakers, Boss Key Productions’ multiplayer hero shooter, hasn’t exactly set the gaming world on fire. Despite already releasing two new maps, adding a competitive mode, and jiggering with mechanics in some pretty drastic ways since its August launch, Boss Key just hasn’t been able to attract the players that some other new multiplayer games have garnered. According to studio head Cliff Bleszinski, it’s all part of the plan. He wants steady growth like Rocket League or Warframe – games that built their healthy communities over extended periods. As he explains to GamesIndustry, his studio knows the hierarchy of gaming and isn’t looking to fight that particular battle just yet.
“I want to carve out my space and be Pepsi or RC Cola of that market – I’m not going to be Coke because Overwatch has too much of a stranglehold.”
While acknowledging some early mistakes in marketing, Bleszinski feels the best way to grow his game’s audience is to keep plugging away at updates, continue to produce content, and concentrate on promoting the game correctly. You can find a copy of the LawBreakers content roadmap here.
Twitch is now offering loot boxes with temporary emotes as prizes. Every time you spend 250 Bits on a Cheer, you will unlock a Halloween crate with one of six zombie emotes that can be used through the rest of the year. Collect all six, and you’ll unlock a permanent Zombie Lord Kappa emote, but you’ll probably need to wade through more than six crates since repeats aren’t worth anything. It’s time-limited crate availability coupled to the variant chase mechanic. Imagine it. You could spend Bits on Cheers to get Twitch loot boxes while watching your favorite streamer spectate in Call of Duty: World War 2 viewing other people opening their in-game loot boxes. If infinite regress is real, the cosmic voyager might say “It’s loot boxes all the way down!”
Twitch’s Halloween Crates will be available until November 3rd.
There’s a Game of the Year edition of Hitman coming. IO Interactive’s announcement brings good news for late adopters and current players. The new edition comes with all of Season One’s content, plus new suits and weapons, a new Patient Zero campaign based around stopping a viral infection, and some new escalation contracts that ramp up the difficulty. The Game of the Year edition is launching on November 7th. If you already own the first season, there will be a $20 upgrade DLC available so you don’t miss out on the clown suit.
The big reveal for people that missed some of the time-limited content is that they’re repeating Season One’s Elusive Contracts. It’s part of the free update to the game for all owners that includes a redesigned user interface, lighting upgrades, and new social features for missions. The encore of the Elusive Contracts will also be time-limited and if you already failed one, you will not be permitted another try. Sorry. No do-overs allowed.