The Quest Log: September 20, 2017

Hey Huddies! It’s finally time again for another Quest Log update! Starting next week, we should be returning to our regular schedule of (at least) two posts per week. In the meantime, take a look at what’s been happing over the last seven days:

Bethesda’s bringing DOOM and Wolfenstein 2 to Switch

In a surprising announcement during last week’s Nintendo Direct, we learned that Bethesda was bringing both 2016’s DOOM and the upcoming Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus to Nintendo’s Switch. Pete Hines later confirmed that DOOM was, in fact, the previously unannounced 2017 release he hinted at several weeks ago. Wolfenstein 2 will launch in 2018 sometime after the Xbox One, PS4, and PC version.

Xbox’s Phil Spencer promoted to executive vice president of gaming

Xbox boss Phil Spencer will now report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as one of the newest executives with the company, Business Insider reports. “The change follows,” they explain, “a reorganization Nadella ordered in July … to streamline the company’s operations to focus more on selling specific customer solutions,'” including video games.

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-xbox-phil-spencer-gets-promoted-to-executive-vice-president-2017-9

 

Divinity: Orignal Sin 2  sells nearly 500k copies in four days

GamerHUD readers might be sick of hearing about me gush about Larian Studios’ Divinity: Original Sin 2, but now that it’s actually out, I can safely say that it’s one my favorite games of the year. And yes, I realize that we’ve also played Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata, and Horizon: Zero Dawn this year. D:OS 2 is really that good.

Fortunately, I’m not the only one excited about the excellent cRPG. Divinity: Original Sin 2 sold nearly half a million copies in just four days, a feat PCGamesN says, “the first Divinity [Original Sin] game didn’t hit … until at least a couple months after release.” The game’s multiplayer servers have struggled a bit to keep up with the unexpected player, too, as it peaked on Steam with nearly 86k consecutive players.

Yeah, guys: it’s good. And if you have a PC, why aren’t you playing it yet.

https://www.pcgamesn.com/divinity-original-sin-2/divinity-original-sin-2-steam-launch-record-breaking

The Quest Log: September 13, 2017

Hello, Huddies! Destiny 2’s first raid launches today, which should be exciting news to practically everyone except those of us who are waiting for the PC version. In the meantime, Divinity: Original Sin 2, a game I wrote about around this time last year, leaves Early Access tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more hyped. It’s been a week since our last update, so let’s take a look at what’s happened in the industry since then.

South Park: The Fractured but Whole changes your character’s skin color based on the game’s difficulty slider

During a recent video demo of the game, it was revealed that South Park: The Fractured But Whole will alter your in-game avatar’s skin color based on its difficulty slider. As players increase the game’s difficulty, their skin will gradually get darker. The socio-political commentary of the move may be on the nose, but it certainly fits South Park’s sense of humor and has characteristically stirred up some controversy.

The video also shows that players will now be able to choose the gender of their character–the Stick of Truth forced you to play as a male–and that non-binary choices are available to the player. Selecting any gender other than male results in a clever ret-conning of the last game’s protagonist.

I’m not actually a South Park fan, myself, but I’ll have to admit that these recent revelations have at least garnered my interest in playing it.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-09-07-south-park-the-fractured-but-whole-difficulty-slider-changes-the-colour-of-your-skin

Rockstar announces L.A. Noire ports for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch

Rockstar announced via Twitter Last week that L.A. Noire, the crime-solving game that puts players in the shoes of a mid-twentieth century detective, will be coming to modern consoles this November. The game, which featured revolutionary facial animation technology, is a unique departure from genre norms and requires players to determine whether or not its various NPCs are lying by way of reading their facial expressions and non-verbal communication. You’ll be able to play the updated port on November 14th.

Nintendo increases stocks of SNES Classic and will bring back the NES Classic in 2018

In response to the overwhelming, though not unexpected, demand for the SNES classic, Nintendo announced that they would be shipping more units of the retro console than they did for last year’s NES Classic when it hits stores later this month. We’ve already talked a great deal about the SNES classic, which features 20 classic SNES titles including and the never-before-released StarFox 2, and the item’s already proving to be one hot commodity. Hopeful owners were dismayed late last month when pre-order stocks went up overnight across various retailers and promptly sold out. 

Nintendo has also detailed their plans to bring more NES Classic units to stores in 2018.

The SNES Classic hits stores September 29 and will retail for $79.99.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170912005798/en/

The Quest Log: September 6, 2017

Hello, Guardians! Destiny 2 is officially here, which means that I expect most of you will be far too busy fending off the Cabal to read this. It’s been a while since our last update, however, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least attempt to bring you the latest gaming news, so here are your highlights:

CD Projekt RED celebrates 10 years of the Witcher

The original The Witcher game released on October 26, 2007, which means that the series is nearly 10 years old. CD Projekt RED was literally an unknown studio at the time, and the entire game was built on BioWare’s already aging Aurora Engine, which had previously powered the likes of Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Obviously, they’ve come a long way since then, and series culminated in The Witcher 3, the greatest games of all time (at least in my own, humble opinion), and the Polish studio is celebrating its 10th birthday with a humorous and touching video. Just… just watch it. If you’re a fan of the series at all, it’s almost certain to drum up some emotion in you.

Game journalist’s Cuphead demonstrate reignites controversy

Last year, a game journalist at Polygon sparked controversy when he uploaded footage of himself playing Bethesda’s new Doom, shall we say, less-than-skillfully. Because of the impact that games reviews and other media attention can have on a title’s success, concerned fans argued that a critic should be able to play a game at a certain skill level before being trusted to review it. The whole ordeal was a great deal messier than that, but that was the gist, at least.

While the debate about whether or not game journalists should actually be good at the games they’re playing had quieted since then, a recent video uploaded by GamesBeat, a branch of tech website VentureBeat, seems to have reignited it. In the video, GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi struggles to play upcoming action platformer Cuphead during the course of a 26-minute demo. Now, Cuphead is being billed as an exceptionally difficult game in the same vein as the classic Megaman titles, but some viewers are questioning whether or not Takahashi–who struggles in the first few minutes of the video to complete the game’s tutorial section–had any prior experience with the genre.

It’s worth noting that Takahashi freely admits that he’s bad at the game, and the video is literally titled “Dean’s Shameful 26 Minutes of Gameplay.” It’s also not like he’s reviewing the game at this time either, and he definitely recognizes that most of its challenge is coming from his own inexperience rather than design. But it still begs the question: should game journalists actually be proficient at the titles they write about? Does being good or bad at a certain genre validate or invalidate their opinion on games within it?

What do you guys think?

http://www.gamerevolution.com/features/347103-cuphead-reignites-game-journalists-good-games-debate#/slide/1

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sells 10 million copies

Despite its technical status as an “Early Access” title on Steam, PUBG has sold over 10 million copies. The first-person/third-person shooter with a Hunger Games twist continues to gain in popularity and recently rose through the ranks to become the most played non-Valve game on Steam (in terms of concurrent players). It’ll be interesting to see if the game will enjoy the same level of success when it comes to consoles in the near future.

 

 

 

Fans release HD texture pack for The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth

While Warner Bros. currently holds the exclusive license to develop and publish games set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth setting, the IP was previously controlled by EA, who released a number of titles that tied into the original Lord of the Rings film trilogy during the early 2000s. Among these games–which included a couple of solid action titles and some others that were far more forgettable–were Battle for Middle-earth and its sequel. The RTS games featured large-scale battles that combined siege warfare with ultra-powerful hero units, and they were the best.

Sadly, there’s no way to play these classic titles anymore unless you still own a physical copy of them (for PC or Xbox 360). If you’re in that boat, however, and you’ve always dreamed of an HD re-release, you’re in luck because some fans just released an HD texture pack for the first game! Bear in mind, the title’s still 13 years old, but this mod gives the various combat units a much-needed facelift.

http://www.moddb.com/mods/bfme1-hd-edition/news/bfme-1-hd-edition-released