Monday, 14 September 2020

Halo 3: ODST Arrives on September 22nd for PC

Halo 3 ODST

Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC gets even bigger when Halo 3: ODST arrives next week. 343 Industries has confirmed that the title will release on September 22nd. A new trailer has also been released, teasing the ordeals that the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers or ODST will have to go through.

As a sort-of spin-off from Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST focuses on a squad of ODST troops that land in New Mombasa. It's not the smoothest of entrances, however, as the squad is split up. As the Rookie, the player must reconnect with their squad-mates while battling the Covenant. Of course, it's not just the campaign that Halo: The Master Chief Collection owners have to look forward to on PC.

Firefight is also coming and serves as the original wave-based survival mode. With numerous maps, modifiers and tough enemies to fight, Firefight still ranks as one of the best Horde modes in a first person shooter. Stay tuned for more details when Halo 3: ODST arrives next week on PC


Bungie CEO Says Recent Reports of Microsoft Acquisition Talks Are False

bungie logo

There have been reports of late that have suggested that Microsoft have been in talks to acquire Bungie and bring the studio into the Xbox Game Studios fold. Recently, during the GamesBeat Decides podcast, journalist Jeff Grubb said that he heard the same, but that talks between the two had fallen through multiple times due to Bungie's high price.

Recently, Eurogamer reported the same story, mentioning that their own sources had corroborated this information as well. However, it seems that there might not be as much truth to those reports as you'd think. Pete Parsons, long-time Bungie executive and currently the studio's CEO, recently took to Twitter and said very succinctly and explicitly that these reports are false.

Pete Parsons' denial should probably be the final word in this saga. It is possible that he's just refuting this report in public while acquisition talks continue in the background. However, that feels exceptionally unlikely, especially given Bungie's history with corporate overlords, and just how clear of a denial this comment is.

Bungie and Microsoft is, of course, one of the most famous and successful partnerships in the history of this industry. Microsoft acquired Bungie in 2000, following which the two of them together released Halo: Combat Evolved. Bungie was part of Microsoft's first party portfolio until 2007, at which point Bungie bought back its independence. The studio worked on Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach following that to fulfill contract obligations, following which it turned its attention to Destiny.

Microsoft have been on a bit of a spending spree over the past couple of years and have acquired multiple major studios to bolster their first party lineup, including the likes of Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Double Fine Entertainment, and inXile Entertainment.

The company is reportedly still on the lookout for more acquisitions, with some reports suggesting that they could be shopping for studios in Poland, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer having expressed interest in adding an Asian studio to the Xbox first party pipeline.

During the aforementioned podcast, Grubb also mentioned that Microsoft are reportedly spending a lot of money on something that isn't related to an acquisition. Read more on that through here.


Madden NFL 21, EA Sports UFC 4 Top US Sales Charts for August

madden nfl 21

The NPD Group has released its August 2020 report, detailing the best-selling software and hardware for the month. To no one's surprise and for its many faults, EA's Madden NFL 21 topped the software charts. As NPD analyst told VentureBeat, "Madden NFL 21 was the best-selling title of August, with double-digit percentage dollar sales growth when compared to the release month of Madden NFL 20."

Not only is this is the 21st (!) consecutive year that Madden NFL title has had the best-selling title in its release month but Madden NFL 21 is also the sixth best-selling title year to date. Currently, the franchise is the best-selling sports series in the US and third-best selling overall. So it's perhaps interesting to hear that EA Sports UFC 4 was the second best-selling title for the month. As Piscatella notes it set "a new franchise launch month sales record for an Electronic Arts-published UFC title. UFC 4 ranked as the third best-selling game of August on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One."

However, the most surprising news is about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was the sixth best-selling Switch title in August and managed to rank among the top 10 best sellers on the console every month since it's launch. That's 42 straight months of being in the top ten and it never ranked lower than seventh place. "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the 10th best-selling game released on Nintendo platforms in U.S. tracked history," said Piscatella. It should be interesting to see how Hyrule Warriors; Age of Calamity performs since it's a prequel to Breath of the Wild.

Check out the top 20 best-selling US games for August below. These are ranked on dollar sales.

  1. Madden NFL 21
  2. EA Sports UFC 4
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  4. Ghost of Tsushima
  5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons*
  6. Ring Fit Adventure
  7. Mario Kart 8: Deluxe*
  8. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  9. Paper Mario: The Origami King*
  10. Mortal Kombat 11
  11. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  12. The Last of Us: Part II
  13. Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
  14. PGA Tour 2K21*
  15. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
  16. Super Mario Party*
  17. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege
  18. Super Mario Odyssey*
  19. Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  20. Luigi's Mansion 3*

*Digital sales not included


PS5 TV Spot Hypes Going Beyond the Edge

ps5

Sony still hasn't announced a price or release date for the PS5 but will most likely do so at the upcoming PS5 showcase on September 16th. In the meantime, it released a new TV spot that hypes up the "Play Has No Limits" slogan but in a different way. Check it out below.

As global head of marketing Eric Lempel stated to Variety, it's all about going beyond the edge of gaming. "It's really just talking about who we are as a brand and exciting and thrilling our fans. We want to excite and thrill you. We want to show them a path to the mysterious unknown…what you're seeing is them coming to the edge and then going beyond. And really, that's what we're trying to signal here. It's not about the features. It's a brand spot."

Interestingly, Lempel also notes that "you're going to see a lot of the games start to play into these campaigns very quickly." Whether that means we'll see some of the PS5's launch titles featured in upcoming TV spots remains to be seen. Thus far, Sony has been content to mix in live-action with visual effects to hype up its console.

The PS5 is currently slated to release this holiday season. The upcoming showcase will last 40 minutes and reveal the console's launch line-up along with other titles releasing in the coming days. Stay tuned for more details until then.


Xbox Cloud Gaming Supports Over 150 Games, Launches Tomorrow

xcloud

Cloud gaming is coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers tomorrow and Microsoft is hyping it up. Along with releasing a new trailer showcasing the service, it also confirmed that more than 150 titles would be playable via cloud gaming. Cloud gaming will be available in 22 countries more games to be added in the coming days.

Essentially, cloud gaming on Xbox (known as Project xCloud over the past few years) allows for playing Xbox titles on an Android tablet or phone. Along with supporting controllers, it also contains all the Xbox features that one would experience on console like Achievements, voice chat, multiplayer and much more.

The list of games is also impressive, including titles like Wasteland 3, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Gears 5, A Plague Tale: Innocence and much more. Titles like Night in the Woods, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and Forsaken will also be added in the coming weeks. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate retails for $14.99 per month but the first month is $1 for new subscribers.


Tell Me Why Review – Life is Strange

Dontnod Entertainment have firmly established themselves as one of the best developers in the industry of narrative-drive adventure titles, and garnered a solid reputation of telling heart-warming stories through honestly written characters and character relationships. Tell Me Why doesn't stray too far from that formula- it's more of the same and plays on the developer's biggest strengths, and though much of it often feels low-stakes, it is still another solid game by the French studio.

In Tell Me Why, you play as twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan, who reunite in their quaint hometown of Delos Crossing, Alaska after ten years. The last time they saw each other was when their mother died, supposedly killed by Tyler in self-defense, and much of the game revolves around the twins trying to face their past and figure out what exactly happened, and why things went down the way they did.

Tell Me Why

"Tell Me Why doesn't stray too far from Dontnod's formula- it's more of the same and plays on the developer's biggest strengths, and though much of it often feels low-stakes, it is still another solid game by the French studio."

Tell Me Why does an excellent job of slowly making you question your notions about its characters, and it does that with the twins' mother, Mary-Ann, better than all the others. You start out believing that the Ronan twins' mentally unhinged mother snapped after years of tension and tried to kill one of her children over nothing, but bit by bit, you see through the twins' memories and the conversations they have with each other and with other people of Delos Crossing that she was actually a loving, devoted mother, and perhaps things weren't exactly what Tyler and Alyson believed for a decade they were.

Unraveling the mysteries of their past and learning more about Mary-Ann is the meat and potatoes of Tell Me Why, but it often veers off-course and tries some other things as well. This being a Dontnod game, there are elements of the supernatural in here, with Tyler and Alyson being able to converse with each other telepathically and being able to physically see flashes of memories in the world through their shared power, which they call the "Voice." Tell Me Why also flirts with the idea of throwing a supernatural big-bad into the mix, but that doesn't amount to much, and it all ends up tying back into the much more personal and grounded story of the Ronan twins.

On one hand, I appreciate that the focus in Tell Me Why is squarely on these two characters and the relationship they build with each other. On the other, I wonder why these supernatural elements even had to be in the game. Given the fact that the game never really goes all-in on them and give them too much attention, they end up feeling unneeded and at times half-baked, sometimes even raising questions that are never answered. I'm not sure the game would have lost much if those parts of the story had simply been cut out- in fact, it probably would have been much tighter and more concise.

Tell Me Why

"I'm not sure the game would have lost much if the supernatural parts of the story had simply been cut out- in fact, it probably would have been much tighter and more concise."

As far as the larger story is concerned, the supernatural elements aren't the only issues. The town of Delos Crossing has a very Arcadia Bay "small town" atmosphere, even though Tell Me Why has nothing to do with Life is Strange, which didn't surprise me, given Dontnod Entertainment's faultless ability to make its settings comes to life. Which is why I'm a little disappointed that Delos Crossing doesn't get as much room to breathe and truly come into its own. With three episodes that are collectively less than 10 hours long, Tell Me Why is shorter than previous Dontnod titles, but I feel that with an additional episode, perhaps the game would have been able to do proper justice to both its setting and the supernatural parts of its story, both of which clearly needed more time to shine.

Thankfully, the one area of the game that matters the most – just as it does in every Dontnod game – does not disappoint. The characters are the heart and soul of every Dontnod story, and the main players in Tell Me Why are some of the best characters the studio has ever written. Tyler and Alyson steal the show, of course, thanks to excellent voice acting and their believable, heart-warming relationship, and their ever-changing dynamic serves as a solid backbone for the entire story. The supporting cast here is excellent as well, with some characters in particular – such as Michael, Alyson's best friend, or Eddy, the police chief of Delos Crossing and Alyson's father figure – standing out. Dialog can sometimes be a little clunky, in true Dontnod fashion, but never enough that it took me out of the experience.

Tyler deserves special props, because he's perhaps the best example of queer representation I've seen in a game of this scale yet. The fact that he's trans is something that Tell Me Why always handles with the utmost care and respect, and it sheds just enough light on it without ever making it seem like that's the only part of Tyler you should care about. It's not flawless in how it handles this, and can sometimes feel like an almost sanitized version of the reality that trans people face on a daily basis. But the motive for that – which is a desire to be as respectful as possible – is something I appreciate, and even admire, and this ultimately more than compensates for the slight dissonance this can otherwise create.

Tell Me Why

"Tyler and Alyson steal the show, thanks to excellent voice acting and their believable, heart-warming relationship, and their ever-changing dynamic serves as a solid backbone for the entire story."

Of course, another key aspect of narrative-driven adventure titles like this one, especially those made by Dontnod, is the choices you make throughout the story, and how the consequences of those choices manifest. Tell Me Why is by its very nature much more low stakes than something like the Life is Strange games, which means that the choices you make don't ever feel as impactful or weighty, but the crucial moments where your actions can determine whether the Ronan twins are growing closer or drifting apart make up for that, and thankfully, there's enough of those moments in the game.

Other than the dialog choices, the bulk of the gameplay in Tell Me Why will be familiar to you if you've played the Life is Strange games. You explore environments, interacting with objects and learning more about the central characters and places, with the occasional puzzle thrown in here and there. Exploring these spaces is always a joy, thanks to Dontnod's knack for consistently creating environments that feel truly lived-in, and the puzzles, though nothing special, are almost always designed well enough to be engaging (barring a couple of exceptions, such as one particularly annoying one that has you trying to restore power to the Ronan house by plugging sockets into a fuse box).

Tell Me Why is also a great looking game- in fact, it's easily the best-looking game Dontnod have ever made. It's not going to win any awards for technical accomplishments, but it's a major step up over Life is Strange 2. The icy landscapes of Alaska are brought to life beautifully, environments are brimming with detail, and even things such as characters' faces and the clothes they're wearing look great up close. There are some technical issues, such as characters' animations not matching with voice acting very well, or some audio bugs here and there, but by and large, they're rather easy to overlook.

tell me why

"Tell Me Why is a great looking game- in fact, it's easily the best-looking game Dontnod have ever made. It's not going to win any awards for technical accomplishments, but it's a major step up over Life is Strange 2."

When all is said and done, though Tell Me Why doesn't necessarily disturb the established Dontnod template too much, it executes it well enough that that doesn't ever seem like an issue. Excellent characters, strong writing, and a deeply personal plot help the player connect with the story. In the end, that most criticisms of the game can be boiled down to "I wish I had had more time to spend in its world and with its characters" should, ultimately, be all that really needs to be said about Tell Me Why.

This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.


Star Wars: Squadrons – 15 Things You Need To Know

EA and Star Wars hasn't exactly been the most consistent combination in the past, but things have turned around for them in recent years, with Battlefront 2 having recovered from its disastrous launch in impressive fashion and Jedi: Fallen Order proving to be exactly the kind of single player story-driven Star Wars game we'd been hoping it would be. Now, with Motive Studios in charge, EA are delivering another new Star Wars game, and it, too, is trying something different. The upcoming Star Wars: Squadrons will offer a focus on space dogfighting action that has been missing in Star Wars games for too long, and it's no surprise in light of that that many people are looking forward to its launch. In this feature, as we count down the days to its imminent release, we'll be taking a look at some key details you should know about the game.

PREMISE

We know that Star Wars: Squadrons is a game focused wholly on space flight and combat, but what's the narrative that serves as the backbone for all that action? The game is set after Return of the Jedi, right after the Battle of Endor, with the New Rpublic and the remnants of the Galactic Empire locked in a furious conflict as they struggle to gain control of the galaxy.

CAMPAIGN

star wars squadrons

The interesting thing about Star Wars: Squadrons' campaign is that it's not going to have you play as a soldier of the Republic or the Empire- it'll have you play as both. There are essentially two sides to the campaign, with the story being told from both sides of the conflict. The Empire's Titan Squadron and the New Republic's Vanguard Squadron will serve as the centerpieces of their respective sides, with players playing as pilots in both those squadrons.

SHIP CLASSES

star wars squadrons

Of course, the real stars of the show in this game aren't going to be the people you play as, but the ships that you'll fly. So what exactly can we expect from Squadrons in that area? There will be four classes of starfighters available in the game- fighters, which will be a jack-of-all-trades kind of choice, with solid firepower and defense; bombers, which, as their name suggests, will be useful for dealing heavy damage; support, thanks to their heavy armour and ability to take a lot of damage, will be able to prove support to other ships; and interceptors, which will be the fastest of the bunch, and will be useful for taking on attack-minded enemy ships.

SHIPS

star wars squadrons

Across the four classes of ships that will be available in Star Wars: Squadrons at launch, there will be eight starfighters in total, two for each class, and four each for the Republic and the Empire. Republic pilots will be able to fly the fighter class X-Wing, the bomber class Y-Wing, the interceptor class A-Wing, and the support class U-Wing. Meanwhile, Imperial pilots will get to choose between the TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor, TIE Bomber, and TIE Reaper.

MAPS

star wars squadrons

What about the locations where you'll be engaging in all of these fierce space battles? Well, you can expect plenty of familiar locations from past Star Wars media. There's the gas giant, Yavin 4; there's the Nadiri Dockyards, where the New Republic is building a massive new starship and will, as such, defend the location with everything it has; there's Esseles, where there's an Imperial listening post; there's Galitan, a remote moon in the middle of an asteroid field; there's the Zavian Abyss, an area full of asteroids, shipwrecks, electrical energy, and maelstroms; and there's Sissubo, a planet surrounded by a debris field full of salvage from old Imperial ships.

MULTIPLAYER

star wars squadrons

Though the campaign is, of course, an exciting prospect in Star Wars: Squadrons, for many, the multiplayer is going to be the star attraction. And while it doesn't look like the multiplayer offerings will be the most extensive – it is a relatively small-scale project, after all – what is on offer sounds interesting. Two multiplayer modes have been confirmed for the game. The first of these is Dogfights, which is a regular 5v5 deathmatch-type affair with respawns and weapon loadouts, with kill counts determining the winning team. And then there's the Fleet Battles…

FLEET BATTLES

star wars squadrons

Fleet Battles are the centerpiece in Star Wars: Squadrons' multiplayer component. They're a lot like the Grand Operations in Battlefield 5 in terms of structure. Fleet Battles are large-scale conflicts taking place across multiple stages and phases. Each Fleet Battle begins in a hub area where teams device strategies, and once the battle begins, both teams are tasked with pushing the lines further into enemy territory to expand their own territory, with objectives changing based on which team is in the winning position. The final stage of Fleet Battles tasks one side with destroying a flagship, and the other side with defending it.

PROGRESSION

star wars squadrons

There will, of course, be a progression system in place in the game as well. Across both the campaign and the multiplayer component, as you play more, you earn more experience and level up. As you do so, you earn in-game currency to purchase items, and also unlock new skins, loadouts, and customization options with which to deck out your starfighter.

NO MICROTRANSACTIONS

star wars squadrons

Given Squadrons' multiplayer nature, its inclusion of things such as skins and in-game currencies, and the fact that it's made by EA, you'd think that there'd be plenty of microtransactions in the game. Blessedly, that's not going to be the case. EA have confirmed that Star Wars: Squadrons is completely free of microtransactions, and all the skins and unlockables in the game are unlocked only through gameplay.

FIRST PERSON

star wars squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons is going all in on its promise of putting you in the cockpits of these famous Star Wars ships and making your childhood dreams come true- to the extent that you can only be inside their cockpits. The game is playable only in first person, which means that cosmetic customization options that you unlock will largely be tailored for the insides of your starfighter.

VR

star wars squadrons

Given Squadrons' absolute focus on first person gameplay and its attempts at making you completely immersed by putting you in those outputs, you'd think that it's perfectly suited to be a VR experience. Thankfully, developers Motive Studios agree with you. On both PS4 and PC, Star Wars: Squadrons will be entirely playable in VR, which means you'll get to live out your Star Wars fantasies even more giddily.

NOT A LIVE SERVICE

star wars squadrons

Again, thanks to its multiplayer structure, Star Wars: Squadrons seems like a game that EA might want to slap the "live service" tag onto, but they're not doing that. Squadrons' developers have said that this is very much not a live service game, saying that even though they might add more content to the game following its release, at launch, it's still going to be "a game that is complete and great in its own right".

CROSS-PLAY

star wars squadrons

Cross-play has become increasingly common in games over the last couple of years, and though it's still not completely standardized, many major AAA releases do have the feature. Star Wars: Squadrons will be another such game, with EA confirming that players across PS4, Xbox One, and PC will be able to play the game with and against each other.

PC REQUIREMENTS

star wars squadrons

For those who're planning to play it on PC, Squadrons isn't going to be a particularly demanding game. On minimum non-VR settings, you'll need either an Intel i5-6600 or Ryzen 3 1300X, along with either GeForce GTX 660 or a Radeon HD 7850. On recommended non-VR settings (or minimum VR settings), you will need at least Intel i7-7700 or Ryzen 7 2700X and either a GeForce GTX 1060 or a Radeon RX 480. Finally, if you want to play the game in VR on recommended settings, you'll need a better GPU, with either a GeForce GTX 1070 or a Radeon RX 570.

PRICE

star wars squadrons

EA have been pretty honest about the fact that Star Wars: Squadrons isn't as large and expansive as their other major AAA Star Wars releases, and that's going to be reflected in its price as well, with the game launching for $40. Speaking about this lower price, EA's CFO Blake Jorgensen said, "It doesn't have the breadth of some of our games, but it is still an incredible game. That's why we choose to price it at a slightly lower level. To also allow access to as many people as possible who have that Star Wars fantasy."


Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time – 14 Things You Need To Know

Crash Bandicoot has enjoyed a glorious return to the limelight these past few years, starting with Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and then with Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. But now, after a round of remakes, it's time – at long last – for something new again. With the upcoming Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, that's exactly what we're getting, and it's no surprise that quite a few people are very excited about what the game might have in store for us. In this feature, as we look ahead to its imminent launch, we'll be talking about some key details that you should know about the game. Without further ado then, let's get started.

PREMISE

Crash Bandicoot 4 is by no means the fourth mainline game in the trilogy, but its name makes it abundantly clear what its placement in the series' timeline is. Retconning everything that happened after Naughty Dog's original trilogy, It's About Time is set directly after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Warped. As you might remember, the end of that game saw Neo Cortex, Uka Uka, and N. Tropy being caught in a space-time prison, and as It's About Time begins, after many, many attempts to do so, the three of them finally manage to break out. In doing so, however, they expose a multiverse. In order to restore order to the multiverse and put a stop to the impending doom brought about by their actions, Crash and Coco must travel through the multiverse and find, unite, and work with four Quantum Masks to set things right.

Oh, and speaking of masks…

MASKS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Masks have always been an important part of the Crash Bandicoot franchise in several ways, and that's going to be true for It's About Time as well. Crash and Coco will be traveling the multiverse to gather four Quantum Masks with which to set things right, and each of them is going to have unique and interesting gameplay applications, which players will use not only to defeat enemies, but also to solve puzzles and platforming challenges. What exactly are each of these masks going to do though? Let's talk about that for a little bit.

MORE MASK DETAILS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Of the four masks in the game, developers Toys for Bob have so far talked in detail about three. Kapuna-Wa is the Mask of Time, and with her equipped, Crash and Coco can slow time down and make platforming challenges a little easier. Then there's Ika-Ika, the Mask of Gravity, which (as its name suggests) can be used to flip the direction of gravity, literally turning levels on their head. Finally, there's Lani-Loli, the Mask of Phase, which can be equipped to phase various objects (such as crates and obstacles) out of existence. We do know that the fourth mask is called Akano, but what it does isn't something that the developers have talked about yet.

CHARACTERS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time will feature multiple playable characters, and all of them are going to have unique movement options and abilities. Crash and Coco will be the stars of the show, of course, but there are other notable playable characters as well. The ones that have been revealed so far are Neo Cortex and Dingodile. Whether or not there are more in the game that the developers haven't yet revealed remains to be seen.

CRASH AND COCO

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Crash and Coco will make up the bulk of the game, as you'd imagine, and you can expect them to move the way they always have- with lots of jumping, sliding, spinning, zip-lining, wall-running, and what have you. Interestingly enough, players will be able to swap between Crash and Coco at any time, even during levels, which means you can play the entire game (or at least the levels where they're playable) as whichever of the two you want.

NEO CORTEX

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Neo Cortex is going to be different to play as than Crash and Coco, obviously, with a greater focus on strategizing rather than skill-based platforming, entailing the usage of gadgets to overcome obstacles and challenges. He can use a ray gun to transform enemies and obstacles in the environment into platforms, which he can then jump on and use to his advantage. Unlike Crash and Coco, he cannot double jump- but he does have a a sideways dash ability, which one would imagine will be used for dodging attacks and what have you.

LEVELS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Those familiar with the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy will find level design in Crash Bandicoot 4 to their liking- rather than putting players in large open sandboxes, levels in Crash Bandicoot 4 will be linear, tightly designed platforming challenges. And it seems like the game is leveraging its multiverse premise as much as it can to provide some solid variety in terms of environments and how they're designed. So far, we've seen pirate ships, futuristic cities, mountains flowing with lava, icy landscapes, old forests, and much more.

OVER 100 LEVELS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Crash Bandicoot 4 seems to have things nailed down in the level variety department, and it seems things will be no different in terms of quantity either. There will be over 100 levels in the game, which is quite a lot. Just to put things in perspective, that's more levels than there were in all of N.Sane Trilogy put together- which means there's going to be more than enough content to keep players busy. In fact, there's going to be even more stuff beyond that to try out…

N.VERTED MODE

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time also features a mode called N.Verted Mode, which is a mirror mode of sorts. Developed by Beenox, the developers of Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, in the N.Verted Mode – which is unlocked when you finish the game – all levels are completely transformed in various ways, from the aesthetics and art style completely changing to new objectives and mechanics being put in p;ace. For instance, one level is transformed into black and white, and Crash or Coco bleed colour into the surroundings every time they spin. Players then have to use the coloured sections of the level to find the right path forward.

FLASHBACK LEVELS

Crash Bandicoot 4 - It's About Time_Flashback

There will be even more optional content to dive into beyond the N.Verted Mode. Crash Bandicoot 4 will also feature flashback levels, which will see Neo Cortex experimenting on Crash in his test chambers. These levels will see players going through these test chambers by solving puzzles and overcoming technical obstacles. Interestingly enough, completing flashback levels will also reveal bits and pieces of the series' lore and backstory to you, which could be interesting… but could also be a complete disaster. Let's hope it's the former.

BOSS FIGHTS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Of course, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is going to be all about platforming- there will be some set-piece boss encounters as well. These will include fights against a mix of returning and new characters, with N.Gin having been confirmed as a boss that players will take on in the game. Developers Toys for Bob have also said that the boss fights, which will often have multiple phases, will be more challenging than what fans of the original trilogy will remember. What that entails remains to be seen, but we're always down for well-designed challenging boss encounters.

SKINS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Cosmetic customization might not be something everyone cares about, but a lot of people do- and if you're one of the latter, Crash Bandicoot 4 is promising to have you covered. There will be multiple different skins that each character will be able to equip in the game, and from what we've seen of them so far, their designs seem to be on-point.

NO MICROTRANSACTIONS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

Of course, when a game has skins, that usually goes hand-in-hand with microtransactions. That, apparently, won't be the case in Crash Bandicoot 4, with the developers confirming that all the skins in the game – other than the ones locked behind pre-orders – will be unlocked through gameplay itself. It should be said that Activision often release games without microtransactions, only to add them in following release- whether or not that happens here as well remains to be seen.

POSSIBLE PC, NEXT-GEN, AND SWITCH VERSIONS

crash bandicoot 4 it's about time

When Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time launches on October 2, it will be available on PS4 and Xbox One, but will it be coming to other platforms as well? Well, the answer to that question remains unclear for now- but it seems likely nonetheless. Mention of a Switch version has been found in the code of the game's official website, while Activision have also said that they're evaluating more platforms for the game. Given the fact that N.Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy both eventually came to Switch and PC (and the fact that CTR launched on the Switch day and date), it's entirely possible that It's About Time will make its way over to those two as well. Additionally, given how close we are to next-gen console launches, it's hard to imagine that a major AAA release like Crash 4 won't be coming to the PS5 and Xbox Series X as well.


Ghost Of Tsushima Producer Reveals Studio Was Initially Nervous About Japanese Setting

ghost of tsushima

Earlier this year, we got the release of Ghost of Tsushima. The game looks to have been quite the big hit for Sony, and will no doubt become a new franchise for the company. The game had a lot of notable things about it, but one was the setting. While the feudal Japan setting is far from unique, it's rare to see one from a Western dev, especially one almost totally devoid of fantasy elements. It seems Sucker Punch was a tad nervous themselves, too.

Talking at PAX Online, Producer Brian Fleming revealed that there was a lot of doubt about using the setting when it came to pitch the title. They were not fully confident in whether they as westerners could represent the setting and history properly, and there was doubt that their Japanese owner would be keen to let them try. But it was former SIE President, Shuhei Yoshida, who encouraged them to do their own thing and to go on with the project (thanks to Twinfinite for transcribing the talk).

"We didn't know: could we do it? and even more importantly, could we convince Sony Japan that we could do it? An important litmus test for us was, Ok, if we aren't able to convince Shu (Shuhei Yoshida) — who was actually the person we went to — that this was a good idea and that we could do this, obviously with plenty of help, then we couldn't do it.

So the pitch wasn't widely shared inside Sucker Punch. It was maybe six or seven people who knew about it, and we took a meeting with Shu and Scott Rhode first just to vet this issue because we were so nervous about a western team tackling this material.

It was on the strength of Shu's encouragement that we would embark on this journey. We sort of pre-vetted our concerns and I think Shu encouraged us and I think his advice was very sage. As you know Shu can be really really helpful. He's a very wise guy.

His take was "You're never really gonna fool anyone about this game having been made by a western team, but you can surround yourself with resources — some of which are inside Sony and outside resources — to do this well."

He's like "Your goal isn't to pretend you're something you're not. Be a great version of yourself. Go on this journey and you can do well."

It was on the strength of his support, which then turned into support from Sony Japan, and of course, the consultants that we used here in the studio, in L.A., and around the world… All of that contributed to us tackling it."

Ghost of Tsushima sold well in Japan and was largely well received by critics there, though some have been critical of its somewhat stereotypical portrayal of feudal Japanese, especially with the romanticized role of the samurai. But regardless, it is what it is, and the game is a success all the same. It is also available now on PS4, with a multiplayer based expansion, Legends, set to come out this fall.


Serious Sam 4 Official PC Requirements Revealed

Serious Sam 4 Planet Badass

It's time once again to dive into the multiple monster action with the first person shooter, Serious Sam 4. The game has seen a few delays, but is now slated to hit later this month. The franchise has always been known for its very crowded nature as Sam must shoot through legions of aliens. The fourth installment is no different, and it looks like you'll need a pretty hefty piece of equipment to get the full benefits.

The game's Steam page has now been updated with requirements. The minimum is 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 780/970/1050 or an AMD Radeon 7950/280/470. While those are pretty low, it's worth noting those are for playing the game in 720p at 30 FPS. The recommended is a pretty big jump with 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 1080/2060 or AMD Radeon Vega64/5700.

Serious Sam 4 is set to launch on PC and Google Stadia September 24th. The game is also set to hit consoles, but has been pushed back to an undetermined time in 2021.

MINIMUM:

Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Processor: 4-core CPU @ 2.5 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GeForce 780/970/1050 or AMD Radeon 7950/280/470 (3 GB VRAM)
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 40 GB available space
Additional Notes: Requirements are based on 720p rendering resolution at 30 FPS

RECOMMENDED:

Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 10 64-bit (1909)
Processor: 8-core CPU @ 3.3 GHz
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GeForce 1080/2060 or AMD Radeon Vega64/5700 (8 GB VRAM)
DirectX: Version 12
Storage: 40 GB available space
Additional Notes: Recommended APIs include DX12 and Vulkan.


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