The Quest Log: May 30, 2017

Hey Gamers! Can you believe that we’re only two weeks away from E3? We at the HUD have a podcast recording all about that planned for this afternoon, so you’ll be getting plenty of new content from us this week. In the meantime, check out that the news highlights below.

PlayStation 3 Production Ends in Japan

Now that current gen consoles are on their second (and almost third) iterations, it might not come as a surprise that the last generation is finally being laid to rest. The official Japanese PlayStation site confirmed that production of the PS3 has ended.

You had a good run, buddy, even if you’re legacy might not be remembered as well as your younger and older siblings.

http://gematsu.com/2017/05/playstation-3-production-ended-japan

The Original Crazy Taxi is Free-to-play on Smartphones Right Now

Crazy Taxi is one of those off-the-wall crazy games that are so perfectly emblematic of the Dreamcast as a whole. The unique driving simulator that put players behind the driver’s seat of a cab and rewarded reckless and speedy transportation of the game world’s travelers has been made available for iOS and Android phones, free of charge (so long as you’ll put up with ads). Even more amazing is that it apparently features the game’s original soundtrack, with the Offspring being a particular highlight. The more recent home console ports had to do away with some of the licensed music, which always meant they paled in comparison to the glorious Dreamcast original.

If you’ve never played it before, there’s almost nothing stopping you from doing so now.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/27/crazy-taxi-free-to-play-on-mobile/

Nier: Automata Sells 1.5 Million Physical and Digital Copies

Nier: Automata is one of our favorite games of the year so far, and it seems to be continuing to exceed Square Enix’s expectations. On their official Japanese Twitter account, Square Enix announced that the action RPG developed by Platinum Games has sold over 1.5 million digital and physical copies.

While it may be a sequel to another very unique game, Nier: Automata feels novel and fresh and generally unafraid to take risks, and I’m glad to see it’s finding some mainstream success, which I hope bodes well for the future of JRPGs and video games in general.

Tangentially, Kotaku’s Heather Alexandra conducted an interesting and endearing interview with the series creator, Yoko Taro, and it’s totally worth the quick read here:

http://kotaku.com/life-is-unfair-a-q-a-with-nier-automatas-director-1795653562

The Quest Log: May 26, 2017

There’s a three-day weekend ahead of us, Gamers (well, for many of us in the U.S., anyway). I know I’ll be spending most of my time in Overwatch and Nier: Automata. What about you? In the meantime, make sure you check out the highlights below to make certain you’re on top of the latest in gaming.

Far Cry 5 Announced, Due February, 2018

The next Far Cry game was officially announced this week via the trailer posted above. The talk of the town seems to be the game’s setting, which is a pretty dramatic departure from the past games in the series and more-than-likely a commentary on the current political landscape in the U.S. Ubisoft is promising the “largest customizable weapon and vehicle roster ever in a Far Cry game,” with which players can fight against the antagonistic religious cult featured in the trailer.

Monster Hunter XX Confirmed for Nintendo Switch

While not technically an original entry in the series, Monster Hunter XX will mark the series first appearance on Nintendo’s latest console. An “expanded version” of Monster Hunter Generations, which hit Western shelves just last year, Monster Hunter XX has already been in the hands of Japanese 3DS gamers since March. The Switch port will, however, almost undoubtedly help to push Switch units off the shelves in Japan. There’s a Monster Hunter event happening in Japan this weekend, so expect to hear more news about the port then.

The Switch is already outperforming Nintendo’s expectations, and as a result, Nintendo stocks are at a 7-year high. Here’s hoping Monster Hunter’s popularity help the system to continue to succeed.

http://nintendoeverything.com/monster-hunter-xx-coming-to-switch/

Nintendo Bans Thousands of Hacked 3DS Devices

Earlier today, a forum post at GBATemp.net revealed that 3DS systems were being barred from certain online services “en masse” with the common denominator being that affected systems have all been hacked. Console modding is a practice almost as old as gaming consoles themselves, but it’s particularly problematic now that consoles are connected to the internet.

According to the post, the Nintendo eShop is still available to afflicted users, so this restriction seems limited to online multiplayer and other services.

https://gbatemp.net/threads/regarding-the-recent-3ds-banwave.471781/

The Quest Log: May 23, 2017

Hello, Gamers! Hope you all had wonderful weekends and that the new week is off to a good start. Can you believe it’s been a full year since Overwatch first launched? I know the past year has just flown for me, and it’s downright amazing to think of all the groundbreaking and amazing games that have launched in so small a window of time. Blizz is celebrating with an event, so let’s kick off our news highlights with that:

Overwatch Anniversary Event Goes Live

Blizzard’s world-conquering team-based shooter is a year old this week, and to celebrate, Blizzard are rolling a new in-game event, which is bringing along some cool new skins, portraits, voice lines, and dancing emotes! The game’s also getting an update that includes three new arena maps for the game’s popular 3v3 mode.

The anniversary event runs from today through June 12, and you get a free loot box just for logging in.

https://playoverwatch.com/en-gb/events/anniversary/

Red Dead Redemption 2 Delayed to 2018

Rockstar’s sequel to one of the greatest games of all time has been delayed from Fall, 2017 to Spring, 2018. While disappointing to fans, the move is hardly unexpected given Rockstar’s history of delaying games, and, as always, they’re doing it for a good reason: “We are very sorry for any disappointment this delay causes, but we are firm believers in delivering a game only when it is ready.”

To soothe the sting of the delay, Rockstar have released some new screenshots of the game, which you can view at the link below.

http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/article/60210/Red-Dead-Redemption-2-Is-Now-Coming-Spring-2018

Battfield One Expansion to Introduce Playable Female Fighters, a Series First

The Battlefield series kicked off 15 years ago, and despite its storied history, not a single one of the games has ever featured playable female soldiers. That’s about to change with the upcoming DLC for Battlefield One, “In the Name of the Tsar,” which will introduce the 1st Russian Women’s Batallion of Death. As the link below explains, women soldiers were a real part of the Russian war effort in WWI despite social backlash, and it’s neat to see that not only is Battlefield One getting some diversity, it’s doing so with continued historical consistency.

https://pvplive.net/c/battlefield-1-confirms-female-soldiers-for-russian-in-the-name-of-the-tsar

The Quest Log: Destiny 2 Edition

Happy Friday, fellow Guardians. Yesterday, Bungie gave the world its first look at Destiny 2 in action. To celebrate, we’ve lined up a special edition of the Quest Log dedicated to some of the Destiny news highlights from yesterday’s event.

Bungie Shows Off New Classes and Mechanics for Destiny 2

In the gameplay trailer featured above, we got our first look at Destiny 2 in action. All in all, it looks like more of what we’ve come to expect from Bungie’s always-online shooter, and I know I’m not the first to say that it looks more like a significant expansion to me right now than a full-fledged sequel. That said, we saw a few significant changes to the Destiny formula, including three all-new sublcasses. It’s worth noting up front that these new subclasses are actually three of the originals from Destiny 1, so from the looks of it, each class will continue to have just three subs.

Warlocks are getting the Dawnblade, which will replace the Solar-based Sunsinger subclass. Titans will have access to the Sentinel, a void-based warrior who wields a magic shield not unlike Captain America. And last but not least, the Bladedancer subclass for Hunters has been replaced with the similarly Arc-based Poledancer… er, Arcstrider.

Each of the three main classes will now have a baked-in special power in addition to grenades and melee abilities, and the weapon system is being re-tooled. Gone are Primary, Secondary, and Heavy weapon slots. Instead, two “primary” weapons can be equipped in Kinetic and Energy slots with a third slot reserved for so-called Power weapons. In other words, players will have to decide whether or not they want to wield a sniper rifle or a rocket launcher but not both.

Destiny 2 for PC Will Be Sold Exclusively through “Battle.net,” Will Launch after Console Version

Before yesterday, we knew very little about the PC version of Destiny 2, and Bungie answered a lot of questions that were at the top of my list during their event. The most surprising revelation, however, was when Blizzard Entertainment co-found Mike Morhaime appeared on screen to announce that Destiny 2 for PC would be sold exclusively through Battle.net and support all of the game client’s social features, including voice and cross-game chat.

This was surprising for a number of reasons. First, I and the rest of the internet were under the impression (because Blizzard outright said as much) that “Battle.net” was no longer a thing. “The Blizzard game client/launcher/app” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, so maybe old habits die hard, but the service’s name is all over the official press release (linked below).

Second, this will mark the first time a non-Blizzard game has appeared in the launcher. The move makes some financial sense since Activision-Blizzard, the parent company to Blizzard Entertainment, is publishing Destiny 2, but it’s still a break from tradition, considering that all other Activision-published shooters have been sold through Steam.

Still, the move seems like a welcome one, and PC fans are hopeful that it’ll help to quell rampant cheating in the game. I’m also a bigger fan of Blizzard’s app’s social features and tools, so I’m looking forward to that, too. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see a cross-game promotion into Overwatch, StarCraft, or HOTS? It’s not super-likely, but also not impossible.

Finally, we got some disappointing news: the PC version of Destiny 2 will launch “some time” after the console version. There has been no confirmed release date.

http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/news/?d=2017-5#181745

Destiny 2 Capped at 30 FPS on Consoles, Un-capped on PC

We learned a few more details about the differences between the console and PC versions of the game. Destiny 2 will run at a capped 30 frames per second on consoles, including on the 4k-supporting PS4 Pro, although Bungie declined to comment on potential differences for a possible upcoming Scorpio version of the game. On PC, it’ll support up to 4k resolutions along with an uncapped frame rate, re-mappable keyboard controls, in-game text chat, 21:9 monitor support, and custom FOV settings.

http://kotaku.com/destiny-2-will-be-60fps-or-more-on-pc-run-only-on-ba-1795344987

No Dedicated Servers for Destiny 2, Says Luke Smith

So here’s some bad news: Luke Smith explained in an interview with IGN that Destiny 2 would follow in suit with its predecessor by not supporting dedicated servers. In other words, most if not all (outside of some key hub areas, if Destiny 1 serves as a good example) multiplayer networking will be peer-to-peer, in which one player actually hosts the multiplayer data in addition to running local processes. If you’re not really sure what that means, check out this guide that I wrote about the differences between the two.

This is a real shame and likely a move that will ultimately prevent Crucible, Destiny’s PVP competitive game mode, from fully living up to its potential. In Destiny 1, at least, lag wasn’t typically a huge deal for PVE multiplayer, but Crucible often suffered from high latency and low tick-rates due in part to the game’s P2P networking. Dedicated servers would have meant a more consistent competitive experience and possibly more players on-map in PVE, but the cost must have outweighed the benefit for Bungie and Activision.

If I’m not playing Destiny 2 this fall (or whenever it lands on PC), it’ll be because my conscience got the better of me and I simply couldn’t support this kind of practice any longer

— A salty Guardian, namely me

Console Exclusives Are Still Bullcrap

Okay, not really news so much as a rant, but PS4 Guardians will once again receive exclusive content for Destiny 2, this time until “at least Fall 2018,” which means that both PC and Xbox One players will have to wait at least a year to get the same content for the same money as Sony players. The exclusive content for Destiny 1–which included Crucible maps, weapons, and PVE strikes–has yet to make an appearance on the Xbox One version of that game even years after the original exclusivity window, which is really disheartening.

At the end of the day, platform exclusives benefit only the publishers and console manufacturers at the expense of the gamers. They’re also a way of life in the modern gaming space, but it’s hard to think of any other examples quite this egregious.

If I’m not playing Destiny 2 this fall (or whenever it lands on PC), it’ll be because my conscience got the better of me and I simply couldn’t support this kind of practice any longer.

The Quest Log: May 16, 2017

Hey Gamers! Long time, no see. It’s good to be back in the newsroom after a short vacation last week. There’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get right to it.

Voice Actor John Cygan has Passed Away

John Cygan has passed away at the age of 63. During his career in voice acting, Cygan delivered some very memorable performances, particularly as Solidus Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and as Canderous Ordo and Mandalore in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games. We at the Gamer HUD are big fans of the Metal Gear Solid series, and I know we’re not alone in saying just how much we’ll miss Cygan’s contributions to gaming.

http://www.metalgearinformer.com/?p=29879

Phantom Dust for Xbox One Releases Today

Aaron Greenberg, the head of Xbox Games marketing, took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to announce some surprising news: Phantom Dust, the bizarre online anime-super-hero shooter from the original Xbox, is getting re-released for Xbox One and Windows 10 today.  Even more surprisingly, the game will be free to download and play.

A sequel or reboot for the series was previously planned for Microsoft’s current-gen platform but has since been scrapped. Given that Phantom Dust was never particularly popular but has since gained a cult following, it’s really mind-blowing that we’re seeing it again at all. I never played the game back in the Xbox days, so I know I’m excited to finally see what the fuss is about.

https://twitter.com/aarongreenberg/status/864239501383684096

Sega Reveals Custom Heroes for Upcoming Sonic Forces

Here’s a fun game to play: type “[your name] the hedgehog” into Google and see what comes up. There’s a good chance that there already exists a character in the Sonic the Hedgehog fan universe named after you, and it’s also pretty likely that character is absurdly powerful, edgy, and obviously written by a teenager.

Well, Sega have decided to capitalize on that particular curio of some of their most diehard fanbase in their upcoming Sonic Generations follow-up, Sonic Forces. The upcoming title, which blends sidescrolling platforming with modern high-speed shenanigans like its predecessor, will allow players to assume the roles of Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, and, now, a custom hero of their own making, who they promise will play a pivotal role in the game’s plot.

The garbage dump of new characters Sonic Team have introduced into the series over the last twelve or so years has only contributed to the series fall from grace, and the choice to restrict players to Sonic exclusively was one of the high points of Generations for me, so my own reactions to the news are mixed at best. Still, at this point, it just makes sense for Sega to give (some of) the fans what they’ve been clamoring for.

Alan Wake Disappears from Digital Stores

Remedy Entertainment broke the news last Friday that Alan Wake would soon be disappearing from digital stores (probably) forever due to an expiring music license agreement. There have been a number of discussions in recent years about the difficulty of preserving classic games for posterity, and limited licensing arrangements for music and other assets is definitely one factor in the ongoing problem. They sent off the 2010 game of the year winner with a 90% discount on Steam, but the game should be disappearing from all digital retailers, including the official Xbox stores, today.

To be clear: those who already own Alan Wake digitally will continue to be able to download and play the game at will, but it will no longer be purchase-able for those who do not.

https://www.facebook.com/RemedyGames/photos/a.10150672953741166.413310.174252906165/10155138079081166/?type=3&theater

 

 

 

 

The Quest Log: May 9, 2017

Welcome to the start (well, day two) of a new week, Gamers! Some very unexpected news arrived today about the sequel to one of the most successful indie games ever released on Steam, but that’s certainly not all. Check out the highlights below. 

Risk of Rain 2 Announced

Hopoo games dropped a bomb on the indie gaming community today with their official reveal of Risk of Rain 2. The original indie darling was a partially roguelike 2D action platformer that originally launched back in 2013 to critical acclaim and commercial success, so I’m sure there are plenty of people who will be excited by today’s news. Pixel art purists, however, might be disappointed to learn that Hopoo’s going 3D with the upcoming sequel. Regardless, the game looks like good, chaotic fun to me.

http://hopooo.tumblr.com/post/160452455554/devblog-1-our-next-project-weve-been-working

More Details About the Next Assassin’s Creed Leak

While it was previously rumored that the next Assassin’s Creed game would be subtitled Empire, a new leak suggests that the game will be named Assassin’s Creed: Origins and that it’ll be revealed officially next Month at E3, 2017. The game–the first core AC game to be released after a one-year hiatus–looks like it’ll still be set in Ancient Egypt, and it also looks like it’ll feature naval combat and multiple playable protagonists once again. According to the source of the leak, it’s being developed by the AC4: Black Flag team, which should be encouraging to fans who might have been disappointed with the most recent showings in the storied franchise.

Shortly after the leak broke, a Redditor submitted the above image to the Assassin’s Creed Subreddit. They’ve since deleted their account, but the image appears to feature a similar player character as another image that Ubisoft “debunked” earlier this year.

http://wwg.com/2017/05/06/next-assassins-creed-is-named-origins/

Larian Studios Unveil “Game Master” Mode for Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an upcoming cRPG currently in Early Access on Steam that you should definitely be paying attention to. Larian Studios, the Belgian developers behind the game, have gone to great lengths to re-create the experiences of classic, 90s-era PC RPGs for a modern audience, but today’s announcement might just be their best one yet. 

Game Master mode allows players to step into the role of a DnD-style dungeon master and craft tabletop-like RPG campaigns to play through with their friends. From the looks of things, they’ll allow users to import custom assets as well as to utilize those already found in the game. It’s reminiscent of the modding tools BioWare made available with Neverwinter nights that contributed to that game’s long life and success. They’ll be showing off the mode on Twitch today in a live stream hosted by Matthew Mercer of Critical Role (oh, and the voice of Overwatch’s McCree among so many others).

http://www.divinity.game/newsposts/2017/5/9/kickstarter-update-36-how-do-you-wanna-do-this

The Quest Log: May 5, 2017

19 Years Later, Germany Gets the Uncensored Version of Half-Life

The original Half-Life is an undisputed classic whose influence on the FPS genre and virtually all modern gaming truly can’t be understated, but it was deemed a bit too violent for German audiences when it launched in 1998. It’s commonly known that Germany takes a stricter stance on violence in gaming than we typically see in the U.S. with many (of what we’d call) M-rated games being outright banned in the country. To ensure that doesn’t happen, devs often tweak their content to ensure that they can slip under regulations and release at least some version of their game for German audiences. Such was the case for Half-Life, in which enemy marine soldiers were replaced by robots and civilian scientists were rendered invincible.

As of this week, however, a free DLC pack is available via Steam that removes the German version’s censorship and presents Half-Life in its original, fantastic, and violent format.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/632440/HalfLife_Uncensored/?cc=de (link only accessible when not signed into a non-German Steam account)

Valve Update Steam Gift Policy, Upset Fans

In other Steam-related news, Valve have updated their policies regarding gift copies of games purchased via their service.  Gifts can now be scheduled for future delivery (e.g., for an upcoming holiday), and non-accepted gifts are now refunded directly to the purchaser’s credit card rather than being stashed in their inventories. That all sounds pretty good, but some users are upset about the change because Steam will no longer allow users to stockpile gift copies of games during Steam’s oft-publicized sales to be handed out on a whim.

http://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/1301948399254001159

Bethesda Asked an Indie Dev to Chang the Name of their Game Because It Contained the Word “Prey”

Prey, the sci-fi horror game by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, launched this week, and word on the street is that it’s pretty great. The game’s title is a holdover from a unique 2006 FPS that 2K published, a sequel to which was announced but ultimately canceled in 2014. This week’s release has a great deal more in common with the System Shock series than it does to its own namesake, but that doesn’t mean that Bethesda aren’t very concerned about preserving the integrity of the title.

In a post on their official blog, No Matter Studios announced that their upcoming indie game, inspired heavily by Shadow of the Colossus, was officially changing its name from “Prey for the Gods” to “Præy for the Gods” in response to a request they received from Zenimax’s (the parent company to Bethesda) notoriously over-eager lawyers. They explain:

“We could’ve fought this and we did think about it for quite a while. Something like a trademark opposition can be long and depending on how far someone wants to fight it can be very expensive. We didn’t want to spend our precious Kickstarter funds, nor did we want to have to ask for additional funds to fight this in court. “

Eventually, they say, they came to an agreement with Zenimax in which No Matter Studios will continue to use their original logo for the upcoming release while still tweaking the way its title will be formally written out.

https://www.praeyforthegods.com/praey-for-the-gods-newsletter-8/

The Quest Log: May 2, 2017

Hey Gamers! Welcome back to the Quest Log. A lot’s happened since we last checked in, so take a look at the news highlights below.

Switch Consoles Shipped by Plane to Meet Demand

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Nintendo paid for premium shipping this past March in order to meet the higher-than-expected demand for their Switch console. While most imported electronics (i.e., virtually ALL electronics) are carried via literal ships, Nintendo cut into their profits in order to put an undisclosed number of units on planes and get the units stateside as quickly as possible. In the article, Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda explains that airfreight could easily cost “an additional ¥5,000 per unit,” or roughly $45 USD. Considering the cost of the Switch, that’s a lot of money for Nintendo to pony up, but Yasuda goes on to explain just how vital it was to Nintendo that they moved as many units in its first month as possible.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nintendo-shipped-switch-consoles-by-plane-to-quickly-meet-high-demand-1493619178

Details Revealed for Breath of the Wild’s First DLC Pack

Nintendo have finally revealed the details of their first planned expansion pack for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Earlier this year, they broke with tradition when they announced a season pass for the then upcoming open-world adventure game and ambiguously teased only a handful of details about their two planned expansions packs. The first of these is set to launch this summer and will add a Hard Mode, in which enemies are generally higher-leveled and gradually regenerate health, a special Travel Medallion, a combat challenge mode, and a number of new, nostalgic armor sets. Did anyone feel that BOTW was sorely lacking a certain flamboyant man-elf? This one’s for you.

Check out the link below for the specifics.

http://zelda.com/breath-of-the-wild/news/expansion-pass-dlc-pack-1-detailed/

Darksiders 3 Announced

The first Darksiders game following the late THQ’s closure introduces players to Fury, the third Horseman of the apocalypse (at least in the game’s pseudo-Biblical canon) and sister two the last two series protagonists. While we know relatively little about the game at this point, it’s nice to see that THQ Nordic haven’t allowed the Zelda-inspired action-adventure series to fall by the wayside. According to the trailer, we’ll see Darksiders 3 sometime next year. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-QgJ-EFq7A&feature=share