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?

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.

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.”

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.

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.