The Quest Log: July 28, 2017

Happy Friday, Huddies! The weekend is finally here, which means that I’ve got some much-needed gaming ahead of me, including some Civilization 6, Nier: Automata, and I might check out the new horde mode in Titanfall 2. What about all of you? What are your gaming plans for this weekend?

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the news:

Destiny 2 PC Beta Dates and System Requirements Revealed

Recommended Spec
CPU Intel – Core i5-2400 AMD – Ryzen R5 1600X
GPU Nvidia – GeForce GTX 970 AMD – Radeon R9 390
RAM 8GB

Minimum Spec
CPU Intel – Core i3-3250 AMD – FX-4350
GPU Nvidia – GeForce GTX 660 2GB AMD – Radeon HD 7850 2GB
RAM 6GB

While Destiny 2’s beta test wrapped up for console players early this week, PC gamers have had to wait patiently for their own chance to check out Bungie’s hotly anticipated online shooter. At the dev’s official blog today they finally announced the dates of the upcoming PC beta test. For those who have pre-ordered Destiny 2, “early” access opens up on August 28 while the open beta runs officially from August 29 – August 31. Additionally, they revealed the beta’s minimum and recommended system requirements, which look quite reasonable.

https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/46087/7_This-Week-At-Bungie–07272017

Walmart Cancels All SNES Classic Pre-orders

It’d be an understatement to claim that the SNES Classic is one of this year’s most hotly anticipated pieces of gaming hardware. Fueled by both the tremendous hype of nostalgic Nintendo fans and the absurd scarcity of last year’s NES Classic, would-be SNES Classic owners swarmed to Walmart.com last week when the throwback console appeared for pre-order. 

Since then, however, Walmart has explained that the item’s product page was prematurely uploaded to their site and that all of last week’s pre-orders have been canceled as a result. When questioned about it by The Verge, a Walmart rep told them: “We know this is incredibly disappointing to those customers and we apologize for the mistake. We will update our site as soon as product [sic] becomes available.”

Sorry guys, it’s back to the waiting game.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/26/16040506/walmart-nintendo-snes-classic-mini-console-preorder-cancellations

Halo 5 Users Re-create Duck Hunt in Forge

If you’ve not checked out Halo 5’s Forge mode, do yourself a favor and give it a go, even if you don’t have an Xbox One since it’s available for free on Windows 10 PCs. The Forge community, it would seem, is an inexhaustible source of creativity, and this week’s latest creation is definitely one of my all-time favorites. Two days ago, Forge user Spartan Blood 1 uploaded “Classic Duck Hunt,” a map that puts one Spartan in front of 90s-style TV monitor and launches the other seven into the air ala Nintendo’s classic light gun game. Best of all, there’s no sign of that pesky dog.

https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-gb/games/halo-5-guardians/xbox-one/map-variants?lastModifiedFilter=Everything&sortOrder=BookmarkCount&page=1&gamertag=spartan%20blood%201

The Quest Log: July 25, 2017

Hey Huddies! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Did anyone check out the Destiny 2 beta? We’ve got a couple of cool-looking games coming out this weekend, and I’m most excited about Pyre by Supergiant games, which looks like a cross between a sports game and a graphic novel with the kind of polish that we’ve come to expect from the studio. And as always, there’s plenty going on in the news. Let’s take a look:

Pokémon Go Fest Suffers from Glitches and Network Limitations

Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, held their first-ever Pokémon Go Fest in which 20,000 fans of the augmented reality mobile game congregated to Chicago for a chance to catch rare and legendary Pokémon and to celebrate the app’s first birthday. Unfortunately, the festival was plagued with glitches and network errors caused largely due to the overwhelming network demand on mobile service provider networks as well as the game’s own servers. The event was disappointing enough that Niantic offered $100 of in-game currency to all ticket holders as well a full refund on the $20 wristbands that granted access to the festival and had quickly sold out.

Despite the festival’s failures, it certainly demonstrated just how popular Pokémon Go remains, and it’s likely that Niantic will hold another event next year, if not before then. Here’s hoping they’ll have the kinks ironed out before that time comes.

https://www.polygon.com/2017/7/22/16014512/pokemon-go-fest-chicago-server-issues-niantic

Indie Game Noita Trailer Promises That “Every Pixel Is Simulated”

Indie developer Nolla Games, whose previous work includes The Swapper, revealed their next project, which looks like it’ll be rather ambitious. Noita is a “rogue-lite set in a world where every pixel is physically simulated.” While that sounds a bit ambiguous, the trailer does a pretty good job of demonstrating the claim. The materials of the game’s pixel-art world all contain intrinsic properties meant to mimic the real-world, which means that water conducts electricity, toxic gas can be ignited, and liquids generally behave as you’d expect. The whole system looks neat, and this definitely feels like a title to watch for when it hits Steam early access sometime in the near future.

http://noitagame.com/

PUBG Sells 5 Million Copies

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may technically still be a Steam Early Access title, but it’s already sold 5 million copies according to Steam Spy, a third party application that estimates Steam software sales based on its independent polling of Steam user accounts to determine what games they own and play. Battlegrounds, which has often been described to me as The Hunger Games with guns, has already become a gaming cultural phenomenon, thanks in no small part to its massive following on Twitch and other streaming services. Currently a PC-exclusive, it’s due for Xbox One later this year, and it continues to receive major updates from its developers including the recent addition of first-person only servers, which some players hope will make the game feel even more competitive than before.

The Quest Log: July 18, 2017

Greetings, Guardians! Oh, who am I kidding, if you’re a Destiny fan, you’re almost definitely playing the Beta right now instead of reading this. Well, unless you’re an Xbox player like me, that is… but, hey! At least the PS4 exclusive Beta window’s only a day this time around, right? But enough talk, let’s have at that news.

I think I speak for everyone who has worked with Aaryn – and our fans – when I say thank you for everything. BioWare continues to hold a special magic – full of profoundly talented people, and an inspiring creative energy.

— Casey Hudson, GM of BioWare

BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn Announces his Departure, Casey Hudson Returns to Replace him

It was an emotional roller coaster on Twitter today for long-time BioWare fans as we learned that the studio’s general manager, Aaryn Flynn, had announced his upcoming departure and that his role would be filled by Casey Hudson. Hudson, who left BioWare in 2014 and began working for Microsoft Studios in 2015, has a storied history with the studio, having served as the creative director on the original Mass Effect trilogy as well as the original Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. His choices on the ending to Mass Effect 3 not withstanding, I believe I’m not the only BioWare fan happy to hear he’s returning. You can read both Flynn’s and Hudson’s official statements regarding the announcement below.

http://blog.bioware.com/

Titanfall 2 Is Getting a Four-player Co-op Mode

Titanfall 2 was one of last year’s most pleasant surprises, and despite the game’s reportedly lackluster sales, Respawn Entertainment and EA just keep churning out new content for the game. In a trailer released today, we got our first look at “Operation Frontier Shield,” a free expansion to Titanfall 2 that will see teams of up to four players working cooperatively to fight off waves of AI-controlled enemies. The game mode will feature multiple difficulty levels as well as unique Titan skins and configurations.

Kingdom Hearts III Gets a Release Window

At Disney’s D23 expo, Square-Enix showed off an all-new trailer for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3, a game that fans have been waiting on for nearly the past twelve years. The trailer was packed with a few surprises including a look at the game’s new Toy Story world in which Sora will team up with Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Pixar’s animated classic. Most surprising, however, was that the trailer ended with an honest-to-goodness release window. “Coming 2018,” it says. Is this it? Will we actually get a chance to play this game? Only time will tell.

The Quest Log: July 12, 2017

Hello, Hudlems! It’s hump day already, which just is blowing my mind. How has your week been so far? With the release of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, I hope it’s better than typical for at least some of you. Just know that, as I don’t yet have a PS4, I’m green with envy for everyone who’s getting to replay one of my favorite entries in the series. But that’s not really why you’re here, is it? Let’s look at what’s in the news!

Steam bans more than 40,000 accounts following its summer sale

PC Gamer is reporting that Steam has banned over 40,000 accounts targeted by the Valve Anti-cheat software, the “biggest single-day ban wave in the history of Steam.” The ban comes just one day after the end of the Steam summer sale. As PC Gamer explains, the timing of the ban is almost certainly intentional in order to maximize the cost for those banned users to re-build their libraries under new accounts. To lend some perspective on just how financially damaging a permanent Steam ban can be to CS:GO players, PC Gamer offers that “the total value of the CS:GO weapon skins lost as a result of these bans was nearly $9,600.” That’s a heavy price to pay for cheating.

http://www.pcgamer.com/more-than-40000-steam-users-were-banned-the-day-after-the-summer-sale/

Summer Games Done Quick has wrapped up and raised over $1.7 million for charity

The semiannual speedrun marathon’s summer event just wrapped up this past week and raised a whopping $1,760,360 for Doctors Without Borders, a Nobel Prize-winning charitable organization that provides medical and humanitarian aid to over 70 nations afflicted by violence, war, and other nasty stuff. The figure is nearly half a million dollars greater than what was raised in the same event last year and serves as an awesome demonstration of not only the skill of the event’s players but the generosity of its community.

https://gamesdonequick.com/

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age ditches the Sky Pirate’s Den

Okay, this isn’t the typical type of highlight I’d include here on the Quest Log, but because of my own biases, I just have to report it.

Final Fantasy XII has been one of the most wonderful and underrated titles in the series, and I’m thrilled that new and old fans alike are going to finally be able to give the game its due. Unfortunately, it seems that newcomers to its HD remaster, The Zodiac Age, will never know one of the original’s most delightful inclusions: the Sky Pirate’s Den.

Pictured above, the Den was a relic of an era before system-wide achievements. An animated sticker book of sorts that filled up as you progress, the Den offered the player a number of challenges that, when completed, unlocked new, cutesy sprites of the game’s characters and monsters. Completing the Den was necessary to reach the highest ranks of the game’s Hunter’s Guild, and it was downright fun. Since the PS4 has its own achievement system, however, it would appear that Square Enix eschewed the Den in favor of trophies.

http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Sky_Pirate%27s_Den

 

The Quest Log: July 7, 2017

Hey Huddies, I’m back after a long (and gaming-filled) vacation and here to bring you the latest news highlights. July’s generally a pretty dry month in the industry, but that’s not stopping Blizzard from dropping some bombshells. Also, Horizon Zero Dawn gets a bunch of free content in its latest patch.

Doomfist Finally Comes to Overwatch

Overwatch fans have known about (or at least heard of) Doomfist since before the game came out, but Blizzard really only began teasing the new hero in the lead up to Orisa’s reveal earlier this year. This week, however, Doomfist appeared suddenly on the game’s public test realm server, which means that PC gamers can play as him right now. He’s a melee-focused hero that plays pretty dramatically different from the other heroes in the game with some likening him more to a character in a fighting game than your run-of-the-mill FPS. Check out his kit below:

https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/heroes/doomfist/

Horizon Zero Dawn Gets New Game+ Mode

Horizon Zero Dawn is literally at the top of my list of games to play once I finally pick up a PS4, and Guerrilla Games just added even more reasons I can’t wait to play it. Patch 1.30 adds a New Game+ option, which will allow you to re-start the game “without losing your character progression and your collected inventory,” although the official release does clarify that you won’t be able to surpass the level 50 cap. The game is also getting an “Ultra Hard” difficulty that’s only available during a NG+ run, and they’re adding some updated weapons and armor to help players tackle the new challenge. Finally, Aloy’s getting some face paint.

https://blog.us.playstation.com/2017/07/06/horizon-zero-dawn-patch-1-30-adds-new-game-face-paint-options-ultra-hard-difficulty-more/

Hearthstone’s Next Expansion Announced

In addition to dropping a new hero in Overwatch, Blizzard announced yesterday the next expansion to Hearthstone. Called “Knights of the Frozen,” the expansion will add a new hero card type that transforms one of the CCG’s nine playable heroes into a minion-like card and upgrades their hero power. Warcraft fans will immediately recognize the setting and atmosphere of the expansion, which revolves around the infamous Lich King and his frozen throne. I’ve not played Hearthstone in a little over a year, but if Arthas makes an appearance, I may not be able to resist its call.

https://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/20888401/join-the-knights-of-the-frozen-throne-7-6-2017