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The latest update from Sean Murray and Hello Games for No Man’s Sky includes living ships that players can grow from eggs. It’s later game stuff, so don’t expect to fly off your starter planet in a Vong cruiser, but slimy xenomorph vehicles fit the procedurally generated aesthetic of No Man’s Sky so much better than hard right-angles of steel and glass. The update also adds more alien NPC encounters, weird objects to investigate in space, multiplayer grouping enhancements, and some general quality of life improvements.
In related news, the developers are pivoting to more frequent, but smaller, updates. The need for gigantic releases like Next and Beyond have passed, and the team can work on incremental additions.
Grand Theft Auto IV is dead on PC, but Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition is taking over its turf. If you weren’t aware, GTA4 on PC used Games for Windows Live to authenticate and login for multiplayer. With GFWL essentially being abandoned by Microsoft, it made installing and starting GTA4 kind of a hassle for honest customers. Once that minuscule level of support ended in January, Rockstar removed the game from sale entirely from digital PC storefronts.
Not to worry. Niko and Roman will be back. Rockstar announced that a new version of the PC game is coming in March. It’s a build with the multiplayer modes entirely stripped out and some of the in-game radio stations nixed. The good news is that it will include the expandalone Episodes from Liberty City. Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will be a free update for anyone that owns and has played GTA4 at least once.
Multiplayer shooters with story elements that don’t really match the fact that people are getting shot or blown up isn’t a new thing. Unreal Tournament kicked it off by giving us character biographies and a weird mining company bloodsport to justify all those goofy oddballs lobbing rockets at each other, but it’s always been an excuse to have players in a deathmatch. Over the years, as graphical fidelity brought us closer to realism, it’s been harder to reconcile the lighthearted lore with deadly combat.
This trailer for Rainbow Six Siege’s Six Invitational tournament raises all sorts of questions. Did those spectators pay to watch the outside of a building? Are the contestants actually shooting each other in their faces with powder bullets? They use normal bullets in the other matches, right? Are they really punching and rifle-butting each other? Are all the other maps part of this story, or are these operators like the wolf and sheep dog from the cartoons; just doing a job with no hard feelings between them? Oh, and one of the combatants can dress like Lara Croft? The kickoff trailer from January is just as confusing.
Benjamin Byron Davis, the actor that gave voice and life to Dutch van der Linde in Red Dead Redemption 2, has a mother who has taken the odd journey of playing through the story of her son being the leader of an outlaw gang of cowboys. In Jessica Hoffman Davis‘ essay, posted on Reddit by her son, she reflects on the experience.
“But beyond the imaginary part of it all; it was so real. As if I was living in another time when folks travelled over roads that were narrow paths that led over wooden bridges and through rushing streams.“
Jessica Hoffman Davis is 75, the author of six books, holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology, and loves her son.
The IRS has removed all references to video game currency taxes in its guidelines. In October, the IRS published a new set of rules covering the reporting and paying of taxes on virtual currencies, which included the in-game funny money you use to buy frying pan hats or gold skins for your guns. Two popular examples in particular can be seen in the old web page captured by Archive.org.
“Bitcoin, Ether, Roblox, and V-bucks are a few examples of a convertible virtual currency.”
According to CNN, this section was quietly reworded yesterday to the relief of parents everywhere. Don’t sigh too loudly though. Experts believe that due to the massive amounts of revenue these games generate, it’s only a matter of time before real legislation tries to capture some of that virtual green.
The student is now the master, or something. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will offer 8v8 team deathmatch in a new mode. Seven small chunks of its gargantuan maps will host a very Call of Duty-ish experience, for those players that want it. The mode even mandates first-person view, so the only things you’ll miss are the guitar riffs and napalm strikes. Team deathmatch is “coming soon” to PUGB, presumably when its next season launches.
Anthem is going back in the garage. When Anthem launched a year ago, there was a lot to dislike about it. Loot was terrible, quests were bad, the tech was clunky, and the whole thing was just a chore. In the time since, BioWare and Electronic Arts have fixed some things, but the go-to strategy was seemingly one of radio silence. There have been a few community events and updates, but nothing to bring back folks that left long ago.
“We have also heard your feedback that Anthem needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression and a more fulfilling end game.”
Casey Hudson of BioWare is hoping the developer’s plans for a revamp will do the trick. Writing of a “substantial reinvention” for the game, Hudson warns players that the team will be hunkering down for a few months to work on the changes. Anthem will essentially go into maintenance mode for the foreseeable future. No new seasonal content will be coming during this time, but all the players left can continue to use the in-game store to trick out their suits.
The Sims is twenty years old. You can celebrate in The Sims 4 with a free hot tub in-game item in the birthday update. There have been ups and downs. Parties and tragedies. That’s twenty years of simlish, twenty years of crying over gravestones, twenty years of walling little people up in closets, twenty years of kitchen fires, twenty years of pixellated sex, twenty years of missed work rides. Throughout two decades of The Sims one universal truth has emerged. Pooping and showering takes too darned long.
It’s gone. Face it. Blizzard launched WarCraft 3: Reforged and replaced everyone’s classic version of the game with a 30GB abomination, and it isn’t coming back. At least, it doesn’t seem that way from the latest official post. There’s talk of updating all versions of the game (even those that didn’t buy Reforged) to include leaderboards and clans, and a quick bit about custom games, but it’s a done deal.
“We want to say we’re sorry to those of you who didn’t have the experience you wanted.”
Don’t even ask about the EULA changes that give Blizzard the rights to your creations.
What happened to you, Atari? You used to be awesome. Now, you’re a joke. And not even a good one. You don’t make games anymore. You just careen from one weird branding project to another, desperate to cash in on your 1980’s notoriety. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re trying to fleece a bunch of venture capitalists and real estate investors in a foolish hotel development scheme.
Atari Hotels level up hotel entertainment with fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability, including the latest in Virtual and Augmented Reality. Select hotels will also feature state-of-the-art venues and studios to accommodate esports events.
The Atari Hotel? Yeesh. Hopefully, the rooms are better kept than the average arcade.
Did you know that some people collect videogames? It’s true! There are even people that speculate and take part in a market of buying and selling old games. They may not even – get this – play the games they buy! This stunning revelation brought to you by The Gray Lady in an expose of the phenomenon.
Some longtime collectors are pleased, saying video games are an art form that deserves to be recognized. However, other members of this tight-knit community say the higher prices are exaggerated, even if their own collections are now worth far more, and some have raised ethical concerns.
The journalists at The New York Times point to a Wata Games’ Black Box Guide published last year, as well as the recent stories of high-value sales of rare titles as the fuel for the latest trading fervor. Unfortunately, your Steam collection is probably not worth much to these investors.
Paradox feels your pain. The din of gamers wanting to get into their grand strategy games, but unable to get over the hump of hundreds of dollars worth of DLC, (I’m looking at you, Crusader Kings 2) has been heard. It can be daunting to try a Paradox game that’s been around for a few years. Which packs are “essential” and which are mere cosmetic foofery? Rejoice, you cash-strapped folks! Paradox is testing a subscription model.
“A subscription model has been suggested to us on many occasions, so we thought we’d run a test to see how popular such a service would be.”
The latest update for Europe Universalis IV includes hooks for the subscription test. According to the team, the cost hasn’t been nailed down, and only a limited group of people will be included in the test. Not surprisingly, the developers tried to keep details of the update a secret, but the persistent gamers figured it out.
Ubisoft is changing things up. The big joke among gamers that have played a lot of Ubisoft games lately is that they all tend to bleed together. They share mechanics, assets, and seem to come from similar open world molds. Assassin’s Creed Origins’ eagle vision works a lot like the spotter drone in Ghost Recon Wildlands, which acts like the eagle in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which in turn seems a lot like the drone in Ghost Recon Breakpoint. You get the idea. Up until lately, no one seemed to care that Ubisoft’s design strategy embraced a certain amount of homogeneity.
With lower than anticipated sales in 2019, it’s become apparent that people may have grown tired of the formula. According to Video Game Chronicles, Ubisoft is restructuring its editorial team to allow more diverse design ideas to come through. In October, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot told investors that they would be making changes based on the negative reception to Breakpoint and The Division 2, and this leadership restructuring seems to be part of that follow-through. It’s hoped that by spreading out responsibilities and giving vice presidents more say, the franchise teams can grow unique identities with differentiating gameplay. My money says we’ll still see a bird spotter in the next Assassin’s Creed.
Zenimax Online Studios and Bethesda have announced The Dark Heart of Skyrim, a year-long live update for The Elder Scrolls Online. Over four chapters, players will battle in the icy western lands of the Nords and the underground kingdom of Blackreach. There’s a vampire lord running wild, and bad Viking accents abound.
The Dark Heart of Skyrim will also add a new Antiquities system to give players more baubles to collect. You’ll finally be able to say “This belongs in a museum!” in an Elder Scrolls game.
Windows and Mac players will be able to start their Greymoor adventure on May 18th. Console players can join in the fun on June 2nd. Google Stadia players won’t have to miss out. Greymoor is coming to Stadia later, so all six of you can play too.