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: 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.

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.

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.