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.

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.

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.


The Quest Log: June 26, 2017

Can you believe we’re in the final week of June? While summer may typically be the most boring season of the year for gaming (outside of E3), this one actually feels better than most with Breath of the Wild’s DLC due out this week and Supergiant’s Pyre right around the corner? In the meantime, there’s a bunch of gaming news to get caught up on. Check out our highlights below:

Nintendo Announces SNES Classic

We all knew this was coming, but it’s hard not to get excited about it anyway. Nintendo of America announced via the above tweet that the SNES Classic–a self-contained, miniature retro-console in the same vein as the NES Classic that was discontinued earlier this year–would be launching this September. This time around, they’re including two controllers, reportedly with cords that are two feet longer than the 3-footers they included with the NES Classic, and 21 classic games. Included among those titles is the previously unreleased StarFox 2, which might actually be the most surprising bit of news to be found here.

For a list of the titles being included on the SNES Classic, hit up the official link below.

The 2017 Steam Summer Sale Has Begun

Last Thursday the summer sale kicked off on Steam, which means that just about any PC title that could want is discounted. Steam did away with daily and timed deals a while back, but they do still have a meta-game of sorts to be played during the sale in the form of a sticker book. Collect enough stickers by buying games and you can earn a badge for your profile, if you’re into that kind of thing.

OpenIV Is Back in Business

After an outpouring of community support for the popular modding tool and a wave of overwhelmingly negative Steam reviews left in response to the publisher’s decision to shut down OpenIV earlier this month, it would appear that modders have been given the company’s blessing to resume, well, modding. As PC Gamer reported last Friday, OpenIV received an official update, which seemingly indicated that talks between the tool’s developers and Rockstar had proved successful. 

Take that with a grain of salt, however, as the official OpenIV website still has not yet been updated even at the time of this update.

The Quest Log: May 5, 2017

19 Years Later, Germany Gets the Uncensored Version of Half-Life

The original Half-Life is an undisputed classic whose influence on the FPS genre and virtually all modern gaming truly can’t be understated, but it was deemed a bit too violent for German audiences when it launched in 1998. It’s commonly known that Germany takes a stricter stance on violence in gaming than we typically see in the U.S. with many (of what we’d call) M-rated games being outright banned in the country. To ensure that doesn’t happen, devs often tweak their content to ensure that they can slip under regulations and release at least some version of their game for German audiences. Such was the case for Half-Life, in which enemy marine soldiers were replaced by robots and civilian scientists were rendered invincible.

As of this week, however, a free DLC pack is available via Steam that removes the German version’s censorship and presents Half-Life in its original, fantastic, and violent format. (link only accessible when not signed into a non-German Steam account)

Valve Update Steam Gift Policy, Upset Fans

In other Steam-related news, Valve have updated their policies regarding gift copies of games purchased via their service.  Gifts can now be scheduled for future delivery (e.g., for an upcoming holiday), and non-accepted gifts are now refunded directly to the purchaser’s credit card rather than being stashed in their inventories. That all sounds pretty good, but some users are upset about the change because Steam will no longer allow users to stockpile gift copies of games during Steam’s oft-publicized sales to be handed out on a whim.

Bethesda Asked an Indie Dev to Chang the Name of their Game Because It Contained the Word “Prey”

Prey, the sci-fi horror game by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, launched this week, and word on the street is that it’s pretty great. The game’s title is a holdover from a unique 2006 FPS that 2K published, a sequel to which was announced but ultimately canceled in 2014. This week’s release has a great deal more in common with the System Shock series than it does to its own namesake, but that doesn’t mean that Bethesda aren’t very concerned about preserving the integrity of the title.

In a post on their official blog, No Matter Studios announced that their upcoming indie game, inspired heavily by Shadow of the Colossus, was officially changing its name from “Prey for the Gods” to “Præy for the Gods” in response to a request they received from Zenimax’s (the parent company to Bethesda) notoriously over-eager lawyers. They explain:

“We could’ve fought this and we did think about it for quite a while. Something like a trademark opposition can be long and depending on how far someone wants to fight it can be very expensive. We didn’t want to spend our precious Kickstarter funds, nor did we want to have to ask for additional funds to fight this in court. “

Eventually, they say, they came to an agreement with Zenimax in which No Matter Studios will continue to use their original logo for the upcoming release while still tweaking the way its title will be formally written out.

The Quest Log: March 10, 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Breaks a Metacritic Record

It’s no mystery that the latest, seminal entry in the series is getting rave reviews, but it’s difficult to quantify just how well it’s being received. To that end, the game’s already surpassed one major milestone as it now holds more 100 (i.e., perfect) review scores on review aggregator Metacritic than any other released title in history. Breath of the Wild takes the mantle from one of Nintendo’s own, Super Mario Galaxy 2, as well as GTA IV. The latest Zelda title currently holds an average critical score of 98.

Steam User Review Scores Will No Longer Include Non-paying Gamers

In their official community blog, Steam announced today that they will no longer include user reviews of gamers who did not directly purchase a given title in the game’s customer review score in the store, which means that players who received game codes by other means (e.g., developer giveaway, bundle, etc.) will no longer be able to affect the game’s average. This restriction is an expansion of one put in place just last September as a continued effort to “improve the relevance of the score by better reflecting the sentiment expressed by invested, paying customers.”

Project Scorpio Will See Improved Performance for All Xbox One Titles Right Out of the Box

While official details on Microsoft’s Project Scorpio are few and far between, Windows Central revealed new details about the upcoming console in an exclusive detail. They report that not only will Scorpio enable 4k gaming for supported titles, it will also improve the performance of existing 1080p (or less) Xbox One games right out of the box. This revelation comes hot on the heels of Sony’s recently released “boost mode” for the PS4 Pro.