Nick Diamon

The apology for Cyberpunk 2077 is the most un-cyberpunk thing you’ll see this week

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Apologies from publicly held companies are weird things. The person making the mea culpa has to straddle the line between transparency to the aggrieved party (in this case, the customers) and not disclosing anything that puts liability on the company. They have to navigate the treacherous waters of addressing their mistakes while not admitting fault for specific issues.

Here, CD Projekt Red’s co-founder Marcin Iwinski explains why the game shipped in the sorry state it did. According to him, issues that many players have experienced just weren’t seen in testing due to the size of the project. An odd excuse that doesn’t hold much water if you’ve spent a few minutes in Night City and watched cars sink into the ground or enemies lock into T-poses during battles.

As for the review situation, Iwinski maintains that reviewers not being given access to older-gen console versions of the game was not intentional. It’s another bit that may be true, but does seem odd to anyone that noticed the lack of PS4 and Xbox One reviews while they turned out to be the most troubled versions of the game.

The good news is that the company pledges to fix the game and have released a roadmap for updates. Chip in choomba!

Ahoy! It’s the VR version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage was a ride at the Walt Disney World theme park from 1971 through 1994. It was replaced with a Little Mermaid themed ride until 2004. The spot hosted a Winnie the Pooh area later, and now houses the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If you want a ride based on the old Disney movie from Jules Verne’s book, you’ll have to look elsewhere. During its operation it was criticized by ride aficionados for having a queue that took far too long due to its 20-minute ride time, and it was loved for the same long ride that offered guests a 20-minute reprieve from the baking Florida sun. It replicated an undersea adventure with mermaids, a giant squid attack, and plenty of faux life aquatic.

Now, thanks to Kevin Perjurer and Defunctland, a site dedicated to the history of long-dead amusement park rides and the history behind them, we have a VR recreation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. There’s even a 360 degree YouTube version available here if you can’t go the full VR route. The VR experience comes complete with the audio track from the ride so you can marvel at the scratchy, tinny, mono speaker saga from the safety and comfort of your home. Take a ride on your Oculus or Steam VR before the mouse hunts this down.

This Dota 2 champion club will no longer be allowed to play

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Valve and Perfect World have permanently banned former champion Dota 2 players Lipeng Wen, Han Xu, Rui Yin, Chao Yan and Hongda Zeng. All five banned players make up the membership of gaming clan Newbee which won Valve’s The International in 2014. Additionally, Hongda Zeng was a member of the Invictus team that won The International in 2012. The decision to ban these players from all official Dota 2 events came from their participation in a match-fixing scheme in May 2020. The match can be viewed in its entirety here.

When the allegations of Newbee throwing the match first surfaced, the club denied all wrongdoing and vowed to appeal. Valve and Perfect World’s decision would indicate that whatever defense Newbee submitted wasn’t convincing enough to sway the judges.

The newest GTA Online heist is kind of like the single player DLC you’ve been waiting for

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We’ve already covered the fact that you’re never getting a full-blown single player story expansion for Grand Theft Auto V. The continued popularity and revenue stream in GTA Online is just too lucrative for Rockstar to shift resources away from. The Cayo Perico Heist that launched on December 15th is the closest you’re going to get to a dedicated single player expansion. Unlike most of the content in GTA Online, (including all the other story-heavy heists) the Cayo Perico job can be done by a solo player from start to finish.

Having completed the heist by myself, I can say that it’s an entirely enjoyable escapade that feels like a throwback to the best missions in the base game. There’s a daring infiltration of a private island fortress, a defunct Soviet submarine dive, lots of shooting, and escaping with your loot is an open affair that leaves you to navigate the island’s defenses however you see fit. The only downer might be the stealth bit which is really unforgiving, but every heist in the regular game had a part that wasn’t aces. It’s a neat mission overall. It just needs Trevor messing up your plans to nail the original game’s standard.

Take a beach holiday in Stardew Valley

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It’s near Christmas, but you’d never know it in Stardew Valley’s newest additions. Eric Barone has updated the charming farming, relationship, and time management sim with what he says is the biggest content drop in the game’s history. The 1.5 update includes a new Ginger Island territory, a cornucopia of new people to meet and things to unlock, and local split-screen co-op multiplayer.

Outside of the multiplayer feature most of this stuff is for advanced players. For example, the new Beach Farm starting option is mostly sand so it’s going to be a rough beginning for anyone not already used to coaxing crops. Hey, maybe you can get your co-op partner to do all the hard work while you get the accolades in the village?

If you can put down Cyberpunk 2077 for a bit, check out the other games coming

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We know you’re probably busy in Night City, choosing between penis options and cataloging all the glitches, but every game company that isn’t CD Projekt RED went to The Game Awards 2020 show to watch The Last of Us II win a bunch of categories . Okay, Hades and Among Us nabbed a few awards, but Naughty Dog will probably need to get a new trophy case in their lobby.

Along with the pomp and advertising for Doritos, a lot of upcoming games were previewed. There was a CG teaser to let everyone know that someone is still working on the next Mass Effect game. Perfect Dark is coming back to Xbox in some form or another. Vin Diesel’s digital likeness will star in Ark II. There are robots and monsters in The Callisto Protocol. Crimson Desert, first announced last year, is still in the works. Streaming hit Among Us is getting a new airship map. You will need to shut the Gates of Oblivion in The Elder Scrolls Online. Finally, it wouldn’t be a new year without another Warhammer game, so Warhammer 40K Darktide is coming from Fatshark.

Batman gets new duds in Arkham Knight

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Rocksteady Games has released two in-game costume skins for Batman: Arkham Knight. Yes, the 2015 game has just been updated for free. The update adds Zur-En-Arrh Batman and Anime Batman for all players. The latter is self-explanatory, but the garish Zur-En-Arrh skin is a deep cut from a 1958 issue of DC Comics’ Batman #113 in which Bruce Wayne is transported to an alien planet and given actual superpowers because that’s the kind of thing that happened in the Silver Age of funny books.

Both Batman skins were previously available only to players that linked their WB Games forum accounts to the game, but the latest version of these costumes come with no such restrictions. They’re just in Batman’s Bat-wardrobe for the Bat-wearing. The free update also removes Denuvo from the Steam version of the game. The Batmobile remains unchanged for better or worse.

Science may figure out why weirdos play with inverted controls

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Scientists are studying gamers that play with inverted controls. Back in February, The Guardian published an article about the phenomenon and the debate was hot enough to attract the attention of Dr. Jennifer Corbett and Dr. Jaap Munneke of Brunel University’s Visual Perception and Attention Lab. In the follow-up article, the researchers say that their study will measure the speed and accuracy of gamers with inverted and normal controls to better understand how the two kinds of people work differently and how best to cater to the wrong and right folks with their controller needs.

“In a broader context, understanding these sorts of individual differences can help us better predict where to place important information and where to double-check for easily missed information in everything from VR gaming to safety-critical tasks like detecting weapons in baggage scans or tumours in X-rays.”

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, (sorry old-timers) and play videogames, the researchers could use you to help with their study. Nothing will help you dirty claw-grippers though.

Join the Fortnite Crew to give Epic recurring revenue

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Epic Games has announced a subscription service for Fortnite. For $12 a month, the Fortnite Crew offer will give players access to each new battle pass for as long as they keep their subscription going. Along with that pass, members will net 1,000 units of in-game funny money and an exclusive outfit so everyone knows you’re one of the cool (rich) kids.

Epic had previously surveyed players a few weeks ago about whether or not they wanted such an offer, and it seems the responses were positive. At the very least, the survey results must not have put Epic off their track. Although the battle pass model is sometimes seen as a “soft” version of a subscription, an actual recurring credit charge is more coveted by most businesses.

The Fortnite Crew begins on December 2nd.

The Pro Bowl will be a Madden NFL 21 event

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The NFL announced that the annual Pro Bowl will not take place in an empty stadium like every other official football game this season. Instead, the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will take place in the gaming world. Taking a page from NASCAR’s recent foray into the gaming space to maintain an audience during Covid-19 crowd bans, the gridiron showdown will be hosted in a video game. In this case, Madden NFL 21. Thanks to a partnership with EA Sports and Verizon, a gaggle of real life football players, celebrities, popular streamers, and anyone else the NFL believes will hook the kids will play in matchups during a week-long series on ABC and ESPN.

“Even amidst unparalleled change across the sports industry, we are excited to transition many of the signature components of the Pro Bowl.”

Fans can go now to the official site to vote for their favorite players.

Here’s why you won’t get any achievements in the PC version of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

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Ubisoft may be dropping achievements from its PC games. Astute cheevo-hunters noticed that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is missing achievements in the PC version. According to Ubisoft, this is an intended feature of the game. Instead of achievements, Ubisoft is shifting their focus to the challenges integrated into their recently launched Ubisoft Connect platform (the rebranded version of Uplay) that gives players XP and other rewards exclusive to Ubisoft’s system. Console players still get achievements and trophies.

“We know that this is a big change for a lot of you, and we appreciate your understanding in the matter.”

As you may imagine, there has thus far been a boisterous lack of understanding regarding the change. Achievement unlocked!

There’s a lot more to hear in Half-Life: Alyx now

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Valve has updated Half-Life: Alyx with three hours of in-game developer commentary. This is a free update for all owners of the game. Players can have all the disembodied hand VR gameplay they had before, but they can now take little time-outs to enjoy the developers’ insights on the creation of the game.

Enabling commentary mode will allow 147 points of interest to appear in the game. Just grab the floating radio headset and place it on your in-game head to listen to the track. Valve warns that it was all recorded during quarantine, so participants had to make do with their home setups. Some of it is not consistently crisp sounding due to these circumstances, but if you listened to the commentary in previous Valve games like Portal 2, you’ll know that the quality of the content is what matters.

You can visit Four Seasons Total Landscaping too thanks to VRChat

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One of the craziest bits of news that came out of the U.S. presidential election last week was the debacle that happened at Four Seasons in Philadelphia. Not the luxury hotel. Four Seasons Total Landscaping got to host an official press event about the outcome of the vote. Of course, everyone involved now claims that the venue was purposefully chosen, but did they really decide to hold this meeting in the parking lot of a landscaping company, right next door to a porn shop? Really? They didn’t just accidentally mistake this place for the considerably more upscale Four Seasons Hotel? Whatever the reason, VRChat, that meme-generating gaming hangout, has the Four Seasons lot now available for your virtual shenanigans. May we suggest holding your own event there and giving it all the pomp and circumstance the venue deserves?

One of the people in Watch Dogs: Legion is going away ironically thanks to social media

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One of the rare bits of humorous content in Watch Dogs: Legion that actually sticks the landing are the in-game podcasts and radio shows featuring dry British hosts commenting on the state of dystopian London. Unfortunately for Helen Lewis, a real-life writer for The Atlantic who lends her voice talent to a couple of those in-game audio files, her statements on gender are prompting Ubisoft to remove her from the game. In 2017, Lewis wrote an opinion piece for The Times that was criticized for being transphobic, and her subsequent posts on The New Statesman and Twitter continued in that vein, all of which created a dust-up on social media at the time and when it was learned that she would be in the latest Watch Dogs. Ubisoft claims that they were unaware of the writer’s controversial history.

“The development team worked with an external producer to select speaker profiles for these podcasts and were not aware of the controversy at the time of booking or recording. While the in-game podcasters are following a pre-approved script and are not speaking in their own name or with their own opinions, we understand this collaboration itself may be seen as offensive and we deeply regret any hurt this has caused.”

Helen Lewis performs in two installments of Watch Dogs: Legion’s BuccanEar podcast, which will be removed from the game shortly.