The Quest Log: August 29, 2017

A lot’s happened since last Friday’s post, Huddies. I finished Nier: Automata’s Ending E for one, and it blew my mind. If you’re a Heads Up Display listener, then you already know our love for that game around here. And if you’re not, then make sure you hit up. Oh, and while I haven’t been able to stop talking about Nier, there’s been lots of news happening, too. Check out our highlights below:

Absolutely, yeah. We’re talking to Sony [about crossplay], we do partner with them on Minecraft and of course we would like to enable them to be part of that; one community, to unite gamers. So we’re talking to them and we’re hopeful that they’ll be supportive of it.

— Aaron Greenburg

Microsoft in talks with Sony regarding cross-platform play

As we’ve reported before Sony’s been generally reluctant to open up PSN to cross-platform play with Xbox gamers. While there are at least a handful of titles on PlayStation 4 with some cross-platform support like Rocket League, support is typically limited to PC and PS4 players. That said, Gamereactor UK asked Microsoft’s Aaron Greenburg if they were still pursuing cross-platform support with Sony, he responded: “Absolutely, yeah… and we’re hopeful they’ll be supportive of it.”

https://www.gamereactor.eu/news/585493/Microsoft+confirm+theyre+in+talks+with+Sony+about+crossplay/

Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition will support Steam Workshop… and nude mods

Based on PCGamer’s recent interview with Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, it sounds like Square Enix is taking the upcoming PC port of the JRPG very seriously and embracing many of the aspects that the platform’s fans love. Naturally, that includes modding, which is a tradition in PC gaming almost as old as the medium. Final Fantasy XV’s Steam version–although PCGamer also confirmed the game would launch on Origin–will support Steam Workshop for nearly effortless modding.

When asked about the potential for nude mods (which are also nearly as old as PC gaming), Tabata’s response was refreshingly pro-consumer. “What’s stronger in my mind,” he told PCGamesN, “is the fact that I don’t want to limit people too much… These people–it’s a thing they’ve bought, it’s their game now.” It’s worth noting that nude mods were developed for the PC ports of the Final Fantasy XIII games and that at least some of the textures already existed in-game.

Nudity aside, it’s awesome to see Final Fantasy embracing the modding community like this.

http://www.pcgamer.com/final-fantasy-15-will-have-steam-workshop-support-and-will-run-on-older-pcs/

https://www.pcgamesn.com/final-fantasy-xv/final-fantasy-15-nude-mods

Miiverse shutting down on November 8

Nintendo’s Japanese Twitter account revealed today that its Miiverse service would be shutting down on November 8. Miiverse tied not only into the WiiU, which has been rendered obsolete with the launch of the Switch, but also the 3DS and was the only means with which to socially interact with certain games including Mario Maker. While I wasn’t able to find confirmation that the service’s termination in Japan would necessarily mean its end in the west, most of the chatter on social media seems to indicate as much.

The Quest Log: August 22, 2017

Hey, Huddies! Sorry I missed our last Quest Log Update, but I was getting in one last summer trip before the season ended. The good news is that the trip gave me ample opportunity to play Sonic Mania, and it’s just so good. A lot’s happened in the industry since our last update, so let’s take a look at some of the big highlights.

Age of Empires IV announced, developed by Relic

Age of Empires III released for PC almost twelve years ago, and while we saw a remaster of AoE 2 hit Steam not too long ago and learned that the original AoE would be getting a similar treatment this past E3, plenty of the venerable RTS series’ fans had long since given up hope on seeing a new original entry. During Microsoft’s Gamescon conference in Germany this week, however, we learned that not only was Age of Empires IV a real thing, it’s being developed by Relic, one of the biggest names in modern real-time strategy. There’s not a lot of info on AoE 4 just yet outside of the fact that it’s planned as a Windows 10 exclusive (which means no Xbox One port), but this is one that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on during the coming months.

Also, it’s worth noting that while Relic’s logo appears on the game’s official site and the announcement trailer, there’s no sign of Sega anywhere in the materials that I can see. Sega, who acquired Relic during THQ’s closure, typically publishes the studio’s games, but AoE 4 seems to be published by Microsoft, as you’d expect.

https://www.ageofempires.com/games/age-of-empires-iv/

Shenmue III gets a trailer, and it might be the best-looking game ever to hit the Dreamcast

If it were releasing for Dreamcast, that is.

Yet another sequel the series’ fans thought we might never see, the very existence of Shenmue III was one of the biggest surprise reveals at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference. Almost equally surprising was that the announcement at the time wasn’t for the game, really, but instead for the game’s Kickstarter campaign. Games eager to see a conclusion to the story of one of the Dreamcast’s flagship games flocked to the crowdfunding site in record numbers, and it raised its goal of $2 million in under 8 hours and later went on to raise over $6 million by the campaign’s end.

Yesterday we got our first official teaser trailer for Shenmue III, and it…. well, it would surely have made jaws drop if this were the year 2000 again. As it stands now, awkward character models set against realistic environments rendered Unreal Engine 4 is jarring at best. It’s easy to see why the game’s release date has been pushed back, and one can only hope we’re still seeing some very early Alpha footage of the game.

Full disclosure: I was a day-one backer of the campaign, and I’m a diehard Shenmue fan. If I get a satisfying resolution to Ryu Hazuki’s odyssey, I’ll be perfectly content even if the game launches in its current, hideous state. But I can’t help but admit that I expected more from a series whose visuals were nothing short of groundbreaking 17 years ago.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ysnet/shenmue-3

Final Fantasy XV is coming to PC and mobile devices

Final Fantasy XV is coming to PC in beautiful 4k resolutions and 60 FPS early 2018. Dubbed the “Windows Edition,” the game’s already got a page on Steam, will include all current and future DLC, and will eat up a whopping 170 GB of precious space on our hard drives. In addition to featuring an improved frame rate and support for ultra-high-def resolutions, it will also implement a number of Nvidia Gameworks features, which means that Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition will almost certainly be the best-looking version of the game on the market.

On the other end of the spectrum, Square Enix also announced Final Fantasy XV Pocket, a mobile port of sorts of last year’s epic JPRG that will follow the plot of the original while trading out the game’s aesthetic design for chibi-style graphics. I’m not personally a fan of the new art direction, but the idea of playing FF15 on my phone is pretty wild nonetheless. And you have to wonder: could this mean a Switch port might be forthcoming?

UPDATE: Square Enix has since clarified that the game will not (necessarily) require 170 GB of HDD space, so stand by for official specs closer to release

http://www.finalfantasyxv.com/

 

Metal Gear Solid 2 HD announced for… Nvidia Shield

Okay, this is too bizarre not to include in this week’s update. Metal Gear Solid 2, one of the best examples of postmodern storytelling in gaming (and an all-around great game), is being re-re-released for the Nvidia Shield TV, the Android-powered gaming console that streams all its game content from Nvidia’s Netflix-style service. The Shield TV hasn’t exactly been a popular piece of hardware, so not only is it surprising to see it getting a new game, it’s especially surprising that its latest release is a classic PS2 remaster.

https://shield.nvidia.co.uk/games/android/metalgearsolid2-uk

 

The Quest Log: March 27, 2017

Happy Monday, gamers! And welcome back to The Quest Log, where you’ll find the hottest gaming news highlights. When I started collecting news items to highlight here, I didn’t intend for Activision Blizzard to dominate the post, but here we are…

Bungie Officially Announces Destiny 2

After a very official-looking poster began making the rounds on the internet last week teasing a September release date and an upcoming beta test, Bungie have finally made Destiny 2 official. All we have from them at this point is a very simple and uninformative teaser image, but expect to see some more substantial news right around the corner, especially with the Age of Triumph event kicking off tomorrow.

https://twitter.com/DestinyTheGame/

Blizzard Reveals StarCraft Remaster

Well, they’ve finally gone and done it. Over the weekend, Blizzard surprisingly pulled the curtain back on StarCraft Remastered. Here’s what fans of the classic RTS can expect:

We’ve remastered our units, buildings, and environments, improved game audio, and broadened our supported resolutions. Illustrated interludes bring the struggles and victories of heroes like Artanis, Fenix, Tassadar, Raynor and Kerrigan to life like never before. Most importantly, the strategy gameplay that StarCraft perfected years ago remains unchanged.

A trailer’s live that demonstrates the upgrade in resolution. On top of audio and visual enhancements, the remaster will also integrate fully into Blizzard’s modern social and multiplayer platform.

https://starcraft.com/en-us/

“Battle.net” Is No More

It’s the end of the era (but not really). Blizzard’s online gaming service and game client will henceforth be known only as the “Blizzard App.” Battle.net first launched along with the original Diablo and helped to usher in an age of online gaming that was more accessible and more compelling to gamers than it had ever been before. The studio laid out their plans some time ago to phase out the name “Battle.net” in favor of a more cohesive developer identity, so while this isn’t a surprise, it might take some getting used to.

Image courtesy of Reddit user /u/Sawovsky

Final Fantasy XV March Update Brings New Content to Final Chapter

The long-awaited March update to Final Fantasy XV has gone live, bringing with it a number of improvements aimed at the epic RPG’s endgame, including buffs to some upper-level spells and an “alternate” route to progress through the game’s ultimate chapter, allowing players to take control of Gladio and Ignis as they search for Noctis. The update is free to all owners of the game and launches on the eve of “Episode Gladiolus,” the DLC mission that launches tomorrow and stars, you guessed it, Gladio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLrB7N-XfPs