Blog Archive

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Sims 4 update 1.32 out now for consoles and PC

EA has released the latest update for The Sims 4 on PC and consoles with a number of fixes. The update is 1.32 on consoles and update 1.67.45.1020 on PC. There are some base game additions to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month including new food dishes, and new clothing designs. The studio is still working on improving skin tone textures too. There are also a number of fixes across The Sims 4 and its expansions. You can read the full patch notes below.

The Sims 4 1.32 update notes

Sims 4

  • Fixed an issue in which external garbage cans were constantly being filled up when not having Eco Lifestyle installed. It is a good thing to be conscious of our overall everyday waste footprint but there is something to be said about too much trash that is… seemingly uninvited.
  • Sims will now use the dining table to eat again. Sometimes if I'm in a hurry, I grab a meal on the go and don't sit down to eat, but sometimes you need to sit down and enjoy a nice meal, you know?
  • You pay your new bills, all the new bills, keep track of all the bills. We think you can do it. So, hope you like this update too as we have adjusted Lot Taxes to be more appropriate per Lot.
  • Fixed an issue in which the message "Not Expanded to Ops" would appear while in Build Mode and would hinder gameplay. If this is the behavior with "Not Expanded to Ops" I don't want to see what "Expanded to Ops" looks like, unless it is a good thing, but let's not get carried away.
  • Had a good talk with Sims that had neglected their duties with their Toddlers. They can go back to Potty Training and Read to Sleep to their little angels.
  • Fixed an issue in which Favorited Items in inventory were being reset when editing Lots through Manage Worlds.
  • Sims that were transferred to other Households will no longer reset any Household settings like Bed Assignments. Reading about this issue and trying to imagine it, brought me to this:

 

<insert dramatic music>
"What do you want?"

"It's not that simple!"
"But… <sigh> What.Do.You.Want?!"
"Just because you moved out, and you are suddenly back in our lives doesn't mean you can disrupt everything ok? I had my bed, with MY NAME ON IT!"
"OK"
<end dramatic music>

 

  • A new foe has appeared! A challenger approaches! Error 124:2951a73 enters the fray… and is properly squashed. Good luck next time Error 124:2951a73… Well, don't come back so… farewell!
  • The Lin-Z Smart Speaker has been updated to now play the Focus and Metal stations.

Island Living

  • Fixed an issue in which all non-decorative rocks disappeared after traveling from different Lots. Was it the work of impostor rocks? Igneous looks especially shifty. Sus.

Discover University

  • Fixed an issue with the ICYA Chest in which it appeared locked after Sims moved from one Household to another. My precious! Mine!

Eco Lifestyle

  • Fixed an issue that reset Bits and Pieces when Sims moved to other Households. No uh, if you move, move but leave my Bits and Pieces within my Household thank you very much.
  • The Community Voting Board is no longer listed as a DEBUG item, no longer has a defective thumbnail, and can be placed within the Lot.
  • Civil Designer Sims can now complete Work from Home Assignments.
  • We have rebuilt the Store No More Home Fabricator so that it doesn't break at least once a day. All returns are subject to warranty inspection, no Simoleons were harmed in this endeavor.
  • We spent some time tasting… I mean… monitoring yes, Sims' behavior in regards to Cooking and Baking Cakes pretty much non stop. We managed to correct said behavior, but hopefully, we won't lose access to the delicious goods.

Outdoor Retreat

  • Fixed a routing issue that prevented Sims from extinguishing engulfed Sims that are sitting by the Campfire. Gives a whole new meaning to "Warming up by the fire."

Dine Out

  • Fixed an issue with Restaurant Menus that made them appear blank or corrupted. Blind tasting menus in real life are a thing, but I don't think that is what this issue wanted to convey.

Fitness Stuff

  • We have added the Focus and Metal station as an option for Earbuds. Have you claimed your free Earbuds yet?

Tiny Living

  • The Media Marathoner All-on-the-Wall, and the Media Marathoner now have the option so Sims can perform Air Guitar. Yearrrrgggg.

Moschino

  • Fixed an issue with keys [Q] and [E] when used with the Tripod, now those keys should move the camera up and down freely. Strike a pose!

Source: EA


Overwatch Switch trial will be available from next week for Switch Online members

Nintendo has announced that from October 13th until October 20th Nintendo Switch Online members will have full access to Overwatch: Legendary Edition. That means the full game will be playable allowing members to get a taste of what is on offer, be it for the first time or for players that may have stopped playing the game on other systems. The trial will be available worldwide and can already be preloaded from the Nintendo eShop.

It is a nice bonus to try the game, and may be Blizzard's way of getting people interested in the game again ahead of Overwatch 2's released. That was announced a year ago at BlizzCon 2019. Players of the original Overwatch won't be left behind, with all new maps being folded back to the original game, all of your cosmetics and progression carrying forward, and so on. In fact, Overwatch and Overwatch 2 will be able to play together. They share the same online servers, balance and gameplay, and will be updated in lockstep with maps and characters.

So what's new in Overwatch 2? Well, quite a lot. Blizzard are greatly expanding the story PvE side of the game, which was previously reserved for limited time events in the original game. There's a full story mode, the first episode of which takes players to Rio de Janiero, and something called Hero Missions, which are described as "highly replayable co-op", featuring meaningful character progression and customisable abilities. It was compared too Adventure Mode in Diablo.

All of the existing characters have had a visual overhauls, and there's a new one called Sojourn as well.

When Dom reviewed Overwatch for Switch, he wrote:

Overwatch on Switch offers the same, fantastically competitive experience that players have been enjoying on other formats for the past few years. While the necessary drop in frame rate is disappointing, it's clearly helped to maintain the quality elsewhere, and does nothing to diminish Overwatch's position as one of the best games of all time.
You can read the full review here.
Source: Twitter

Resident Evil reboot movie cast announced, will be based on first two games

Constantin Films has announced the cast for its reboot of the Resident Evil movie franchise with Kaya Scodelario taking the role of Claire Redfield while Hannah JohnKamen has been cast as Jill Valentine. Robbie Amell will be Chris Redfield, Tom Hopper is Albert Wesker, Avan Jogia  is Leon S. Kennedy, and Neal McDonough will be William Birkin. This movie will go back to 1998 and the origins of the Resident Evil series as the horror of Raccoon City is unleashed.

Kaya Scodelario has starred in the Maze Runner movies and Skins fans will recognise her as the character Effy Stonem. More recently, she was in Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, and The Pale Horse. Hannah John-Kamen was Ghost in Ant-Man and The Wasp, and has also starred in Brave New World, Ready Player One, and The Stranger. Robbie Amell has been in the Flash TV show, Code 8, the recent X Files series, and Upload. Tom Hopper is in The Umbrella Academy, and also starred in Black Sails. Avan Jogia was in Zombieland: Double Tap, and also starred in The Stranger. Neal McDonough may be the big name having been in the likes of Legends of Tomorrow, Altered Carbon, Arrow, Band of Brothers, and Minority Report.

Johanne Roberts, director behind this Resident Evil movie, said:

"With this movie, I really wanted to go back to the original first two games and re-create the terrifying visceral experience I had when I first played them whilst at the same time telling a grounded human story about a small dying American town that feels both relatable and relevant to today's audiences."

A release window for the new Resident Evil movie is yet to be confirmed, but do not expect it to be released for a couple of years.

Source: Deadline


PS5's Tempest 3D AudioTech will only support headphones at launch

One of the cornerstone features of the PlayStation 5 is Sony's custom designed Tempest 3D AudioTech engine, allowing for hundreds or thousands of audio elements to be placed and processed in 3D space within the game. However, while Sony have bold plans to enable this to work and be simulated through everything from surround sound systems to the speakers built into your TV, the company have now stated that 3D audio will only work with a pair of headphones at the launch of the console.

3D audio will work with a very broad range of headphones and headsets, but there are some limitations: your headset will need to plug into the PS5 via USB or into your DualSense controller with a 3.5mm audio jack.

This does unfortunately seem to exclude some high-end wireless headphones that rely on optical audio. The PlayStation 5 does not have an optical audio output, but many TVs have an optical audio output built in which could be used with these headsets. However, this set up would seemingly not be supported by the Tempest engine at launch – there's no guarantees on how the TV will passthrough the audio, with different manufacturers and models having different audio throughput options.

It was back in March at the Road to PS5 tech reveal where Mark Cerny first discussed the Tempest 3D AudioTech engine and the company's ambitious goals for implementing 3D audio for all PS5 users, regardless of their audio set up. A key focus was on having virtual surround sound processed through speakers that are built into TVs, but it was made clear that this technology would evolve over time.

Sony writes, "Although TV speaker virtual surround sound won't be available on launch day for PS5, it's still a feature we are extremely excited about, and our engineers are hard at work on bringing it to PS5 in the future."

TV and soundbars were described as the second audio set up that Sony would focus on supporting, coming ahead of traditional 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems.

Tempest 3D AudioTech will also support head-related transfer function (HRTF) to process the audio in such a way that it matches how sound enters your ear canal, increasing the realism of the sounds and the way they are positioned in 3D around you.

Back in March, Sony stated that the PS5 would have five generic HRTF profiles that users can choose between, but that this could later evolve so that users submit photos of their ears to Sony for a bespoke HRTF profile to be created for them.

This led to Mark Cerny 'liking' photos of peoples ears that they sent to him on Twitter:

It's official: Mark Cerny likes ears.

This checks off another of the 15 big questions we had about the PS5 still remaining in the run up to its release on 12th and 19th November. Earlier this week, it leaked from Russian sources that the 825GB SSD will present 664GB of usable space for game installs, and while somewhat dubious, this figure is believable. However, we're still waiting on a UI reveal, details of major system features like PlayStation Activities, if there are any SSDs available that can be used to expand the internal storage, if games can be backed up to external drives, and so much more.

Source: PS Blog


Assassin's Creed: Valhalla tie in novel Geirmund's Saga announced, releases November

Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin's Creed: Valhalla will have a tie in novel called Geirmund's Saga, and that it will be released on November 26th for £7.99. The book does not directly follow the story of Eivor but instead the tale of Geirmund Hel-hide. It is an adventure that will explore the raids on Britain with some mythical elements thrown in that tie up Geirmund's fate as he looks for glory and comes face to face with betrayal.

The full synopsis of Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga is as follows:

Mid-9th century. The Viking attacks and invasions are shattering England's kingdoms. Born into a royal lineage of Norwegian kings, Geirmund Hel-hide sets out for adventure to prove his worth as a Viking and a warrior. A perilous journey across the sea brings him into contact with a being out of myth and grants him a mysterious ring that promises both great power and bitter betrayal. As Geirmund rises in the ranks of King Guthrum's legendary army, he will have to use all his cunning to face the many dangers of a land ravaged by war . . .

Fighting alongside his band of loyal warriors, his path will soon lead him into a conflict as old as the gods themselves.

The book is being written by author Matthew J. Kirby whose own published works include the novels The Clockwork Three, Icefall, The Dark Gravity Sequence series, and the Assassin's Creed tie in books of The Last Descendants series.

Source: Penguin 


Watch Dogs: Legion post launch content revealed, online multiplayer coming December

Ubisoft has announced the post launch content that Watch Dogs: Legion players will be getting in both free updates, and as part of the game's season pass. One of the main free additions will be online multiplayer, and that will be added to Watch Dogs: Legion on December 3rd. The online portion of the game will allow players to explore London in co-op of up to four players where activities and missions can be completed. This includes four player Tactical Missions. On the player vs player side, players will be able to compete in the Spiderbot Arena through free for all deathmatches.

In 2021, there will be free content for the single player part of Watch Dogs: Legion, and that will include new characters with new abilities, new missions, and a new game plus mode. Season Pass holders will get extra content. It has already been confirmed that Aiden from the original Watch Dogs and Wrench from Watch Dogs 2 will be playable characters for Season Pass holders. In addition, these players will get Darcy from the Assassin's Order, giving a crossover to the Assassin's Creed games, and Mina who can use the mind control ability. The Season Pass also adds the Bloodline story missions and a copy of the original Watch Dogs.

If you are going to play Watch Dogs: Legion on PC then you may want to check out the specs here. Watch Dogs Legion will be out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on 29th October. The game will also be coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X at launch of the next gen consoles. The PS5 physical version will release on November 24th.

Ubisoft itself has been the centre of controversy in recent times with lots of allegations and instances of sexual assault as well as tone deaf marketing. It's true that the company has taken steps in the last few months, removing Tommy FrançoisMaxime Béland, Serge HascoëtAshraf Ismail and other Ubisoft executives for after allegations of varying severity were levied against them. However, further allegations were made in August which have not yet been publicly addressed, as Ubisoft deal with these matters internally with the help of third parties.

Ubisoft released Tom Clancy's Elite Squad on mobile and then removed imagery of a raised black fist, at a time where such imagery in combination with the actions within the game played too closely to the Black Lives Matter movement that rose to protest the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement. The studio behind it? The one run by Yves Guillemot's son Charlie Guillemot who was awarded a high ranking role right out of uni.

Source: Press Release


October's PlayStation Now update adds Days Gone, MediEvil, and Friday The 13th

Sony has taken to the spirit of October with this month's PlayStation Now roster update adding some suitably horror and Halloween based games. Leading the charge is Bend Studio's Days Gone where players can outrun hordes of Freakers while taking in the natural sights on a bike. Days Gone will be available on the service until January 5th 2021. Joining Days Gone are MediEvil, Friday The 13th, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince, and Rad.

In our review for Days Gone, Jim wrote:

There are glimmers of true excellence here; small stretches of Days Gone can be especially fun and polished. However, the assembly of these various parts suffers from the lack of an engaging story, compelling characters, or an open world that feels organic and worth exploring.
Jim weighed in again with his thoughts when reviewed MediEvil, and wrote:
MediEvil resurrects one of our all-time favourite PlayStation mascots for a new generation. This remake does exactly what it promises, revamping dated visuals while staying faithful to the 1998 original, even if that means digging up certain design choices that have remained buried with Sir Dan all these years.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a lovely return for the series' 2.5D puzzle platforming. It tinkers with and broadens the gameplay options to be more welcoming, and levels can feel a little stretched out at times, but grab a couple of friends and stick it on Classic mode, and this will delight fans of those first two games.
And in our Rad review, Reuben wrote:
An enjoyable retro-style rogue-lite; in RAD you should expect brutal gameplay in a gaudy and synthesised world. The random nature of the world sometimes proves to be a problem, but not enough to diminish what is a fantastically loud take on the genre. If only for letting players smack about mutants with their engorged limbs and a baseball bat, RAD lives up to its name. Just try to stop playing it, you'll struggle.

We do not have a review for Friday The 13th but if you are looking for a multiplayer horror title, then that should scratch your itch. #

Source: PS Blog


Dreams' big The Music Update is out today

A big update for Dreams is out today, stuffing Media Molecule's creation-based game with tons of new musical-themed content for creators to play around with. This will bring the game's version number up to 2.18.

One of the most immediate improvements this brings is with hundreds of new orchestral instruments, new synths, drum kits, pianos, guitars and even church organs, so you can compose pretty much anything you can dream up. To handle all of this, the musical instrument collections have also been redesigned, nesting collections within one another to hopefully help you find what you want more easily. Oh, and all the recorded previews are better balanced, to sooth your tender ear holes instead of blasting them.

Actually putting these instruments into use is enhanced with a few new effects. Tempo sync allows you to sync up audio to the beat more easily, Bipolar LFO means effect fields will oscillate between two values – turning this off means the wobble only goes to a value and not to the polar opposite – and you can change the priority and influence of effects with Height, so they can target specific sounds.

If you're more into working with samples, then Clips are a library of pre-composed loops and phrases, all in the same key and tempo that you can mix, match, modulate and twist into whatever form you want. To help get your creative juices flowing, there's also some 'Starting Points' which are an experimental new idea to give you a basis from which you can develop your own creation, and there's also just a bunch of full new compositions that you can add to your projects.

It all sounds like a pretty great update for those who have enjoyed fiddling with the game's audio creation tools.

We'll add the full patch notes once they're released later today.

Source: PS Blog


Monster Hunter Rise won't add a new weapon type to the series

This week a string of interviews with Capcom and Monster Hunter series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto have gone live, detailing a number of features and design influences that have made their way into the upcoming Monster Hunter Rise.

Announced in September alongside Monster Hunter Stories 2 during a Nintendo Direct Mini, Rise will be launching exclusively on the Nintendo Switch in March 2021 with Capcom having made some deliberate choices in setting it apart from the hugely successful Monster Hunter: World.

Before we round out some of the key information siphoned from these numerous interviews, it has been confirmed that Monster Hunter Rise will not be adding a new weapon type to the game. That said, it will include all fourteen weapon classes found in Monster Hunter: World, including the recently introduced Charge Blade. Here's what Tsujimito had to say about this in his interview with Eurogamer:

Adding an extra weapon type would really have to add something new, it would have to add something to the roster that isn't currently present in any of the quite large number of weapons already there. And we also have so many ways that we can increase the depth and breadth of the gameplay that aren't fixated on that idea of an extra weapon, for example, the wirebug mechanic—that adds something to each and every existing weapon, they all have ways you can combine the wirebug with. And that way of taking something which adds on to all 14 weapons adds a depth and breadth, that wouldn't be the same as just saying try different weapons. You know, we just don't think in those kind of terms. We always think, how do we add to the breadth and depth of the experience, and in this case we've chosen to add something to the hunter's toolset in general.

Development on Rise began shortly after Capcom wrapped Monster Hunter Generations. Much like this 3DS instalment, Monster Hunter Rise is aimed at being a handheld title and will reportedly be designed for short yet action-filled bursts of gameplay.

Monster Hunter Rise – 7 things you need to know

As for post-launch support, Capcom have already confirmed that it will continue to grow via title updates much like Monster Hunter: World. However, when asked by 4Gamer whether Rise will have a G Edition or an expansion, Tsujimoto said that the team have not yet considered this (via Siliconera).

There are some other tidbits too, which Gematsu have compiled in a handy list for fans. We found out that your Palamute companion in Monster Hunter Rise will attack in tandem with the hunter, becoming more aggressive as you dole out damage. As for the upcoming range of amiibo figures, they will unlock daily lottery prizes as well as layered armour sets. Finally, the Japanese theme or Rise is said to help separate it from Generations and World in visual design.

Source: Gematsu


Interview: How Synthesis became a go-to studio for voice acting and localisation in games

As we enter the next generation of gaming, production values continue to expand, and with them player expectation. However, we shouldn't forget the huge leaps and bounds gaming has taken through the PS4 and Xbox One era. As technology has improved, one of the factors that we've come to expect from modern games is high quality voice performances, bringing the medium ever closer to Hollywood blockbusters and big-budget TV.

One of the leading voice-recording and localisation studios in the world is Synthesis, and we were able to catch up with the company's co-founders, Director of Operations Finn Seliger and Head of Translation Jan Werkmeister to talk about what goes into getting a perfect performance before it finds its way into your games.


TSA: Can you talk us through how Synthesis came to be?

Finn & Jan: We three founders of Synthesis [Adrian Koch, Finn Seliger and Jan Werkmeister] met in university, studying media technology. We were interested in audio and shared the same dream – having a high-end recording studio of our own. We finished our studies and fulfilled this dream by planning and building a recording studio in the basement of a former U-boat engine factory. The conceptual side was our thesis and once the studio was constructed, we started our own company called Periscope Studio, in 2007. We had another colleague in university who founded a development studio (Daedalic Entertainment) at more or less the same time. He inspired us to venture into the games industry.

As a service provider, we concentrated on music production and sound design only to learn that there was a high demand for voice recordings, while the market for music and sound design was already crowded. We continued producing music and sound design initially but, quite naturally, the amount of voice recordings grew. Our first voice recordings were the German original recordings for Daedalic Entertainment's first games. There were extensive scripts and a lot of files to handle, as we did almost everything manually back then. So, we learned a lot in those early days. In 2009, we were contacted by Synthesis, an international company which had been around since the mid-1990s and already had many AAA localization clients/projects under their belt.

At that time, we produced our first real localisations with an English source and German target. The collaboration went smoothly and we became their go-to studio for German localization. In late 2010, we felt ready to handle our largest production to date, which ran by the code name "big fella". We had to deal with something new this time – translation would also have to be handled by us. Although it was a major challenge, we agreed and successfully localised a sheer monster of a game – long-awaited RPG, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Reviews for Skyrim were very positive and we were asked whether we would like to start a joint venture with Synthesis as their local German office, 'Synthesis Germany'. We agreed and the company was founded in early 2012. With its founding came the need to build up a proper internal translation department, which was fully established in 2013. You could say that our transformation from a small audio provider to a full-service loc provider was completed by then.

TSA: How can the use of technology improve an actor's performance in games?

Finn & Jan: Technology is a key factor in audio production. Today's professional audio recording solutions are advanced and give us more creative freedom while taking care of the technical necessities. ADR functionality is, for example, integrated in many digital audio workstations which helps us a lot when it comes to matching lip movements. But recording technology is just one side of the coin.

Most work goes into preparing for the actual recording – organising assets and structuring the material is a great challenge. Due to the interactivity and enormous size of some game worlds, we have plenty of information that needs to be prepared properly. Building your own solutions is essential to achieve a productive workflow, because the less time we spend on the technical side of things, the more we can concentrate on actor performance.

Quality performances are only possible with specific direction. In other words, overwhelming the voice actor is counter productive. We need to filter out anything superfluous and only provide relevant information for the recording session at hand. Over the years, this has led to every part of the audio production being optimised. We have relevant character information, pictures, dialogues and audio pronunciation guides directly at our fingertips to support the actor in doing a great job.

TSA: One of your specialities is localisation – as games become ever more expansive, and are accessible across the world, how has that affected the way the studio works?

Finn & Jan: The biggest impact on our work has been the increased size and complexity of modern video game localisation projects. The work itself, in theory, doesn't change, whether you do a few lines with one actor or several thousand lines with 100 actors.

What changes is the organisational side of production. Processes and workflows must be tailored to dealing with the huge amounts of data – both text and audio. We sometimes see professional loc platforms and database-driven systems struggle to cope with larger RPG/MMORPG content. That's why we always recommend a robust localisation CMS such as XLOC. Also, typical production time frames aren't being extended proportionately as the content gets bigger.

Usually developers are under pressure to finish their game within a certain timeframe and there's a need for the publisher to ship on time to fully capitalise on their investment. Since localisation comes last, our time frame often gets 'squished', because production took longer, but the release date is still fixed.

TSA: You've worked on some of the biggest series of the last decade, what level of pressure does that bring to your work?

Finn & Jan: I believe the two main challenges in localisation are working on a tight deadline and the typical 'chaos' that arises towards the end of production. Video game release dates are usually fixed and localization takes place in the very last stages of development, something you need to be prepared for. To handle a huge loc production under deadline pressure, you need to be razor-sharp once the first loc batch drops in.

You also need to manage the 'chaos' that arises when devs work on various last-minute updates to the game – be it gameplay improvements, adjustments to storytelling or bugs. As a loc provider, it's our job to support the client by handling all of these updates in a timely manner and don't overlook any consequences the single changes might have on consistency.

It's easier to handle text translation updates than audio ones, therefore our clients do their best to lock in the audio at a certain point before release. However, it's still possible that important scenes might need to be re-edited and could require last-minute pickup recordings. Again this is one of the moments where a seasoned loc provider can shine. Getting a VIP actor into the studio to record three lines and deliver the final cutscene audio stem right before gold master is almost like an art form. It's one of the best things we can do to support our client's successful release.

TSA: What are the challenges to getting a good performance out of a voice actor?

Finn & Jan: The biggest challenge is to inspire and capture high quality voice acting that makes the game a great experience for players! Especially as there are so many factors that can influence an actor's performance. From my experience, creative freedom is the basis of any good performance. Even though we are 'just' localising, we need to maintain a healthy proximity to the original version in order to let the localised version shine.

This principle is found in all aspects of the production. Every actor interprets situations differently and reacts differently. Only if we allow for this freedom, will we achieve magical storytelling moments full of life. This being said, good actor performances start with good casting! We match the game characters with the talents of our actors. The more an actor reacts in a natural way, in tune with their character, the more convincing their performance will be in the game.

TSA: When you're working with hugely famous actors like Christopher Lee or Alec Baldwin, do you find they have a different approach?

Finn & Jan: The process is always the same. Working with great actors is very fulfilling – for the audience as well as the voice director! When working with an especially experienced or talented actor, you want to get the most out of their recording session with proper preparation.

TSA: For the Elder Scrolls you matched up these names with local dubbing talent – how did that work?

Finn & Jan: It is true that popular actors have a set German counterpart who will be their voice in the local market. Whether in movies or TV series, these combinations seldom change. As Germans, we associate that 'German' voice with the original actor as if it was her or his own.

However, in video games you never see the actor's real face so the above rule is not so strict. We can mix famous voices with game characters as we like, and make use of the effect it has on players.

However, if casting the voice of a game character which has been designed with a specific actor as reference, we might approach that actor's German counterpart. Sir Cadwell, for example, has such a great portrayal by John Cleese in The Elder Scrolls Online that we absolutely wanted the 'German John Cleese' to do the job.

TSA: Where do you think the next step is going to be in voice performance technology?

Finn & Jan: Audio technology has progressed massively in recent times and there are a few technologies on the verge of becoming relevant to video games localisation. These have the potential to disrupt the current business, therefore it makes sense for us to adapt and integrate them into the work we do as early as possible.

The most intriguing ones are text-to-speech and 'voice skins' (or voice modulation). Text-to-speech is being used already for content which doesn't need any emotional quality, such as e-learning, tutorials or similar. The current text-to-speech systems aren't suited for anything beyond that, especially not for narrative-heavy video games content, but that might change once they provide a way to dynamically tune the voice to create something that resembles the changes of the human voice when emotions are being expressed.

On the other hand, 'voice skins' is a technology that alters a voice to make it sound like somebody else's. It's already on the market, at least at a level of quality suitable for in-game player chats. If the quality of voice skins continues to advance, it could provide a whole new approach to recording characters for a game. The process is as follows: You use a small group of talented actors ("dummy actors") to record all the lines of a game and get raw voice data. This data includes all the acting flourishes and emotional nuances for each character. Then by applying voice skins, you can replace each voice until the 'dummy' cast of actors is extended to the full range of characters that will appear in-game.

Since the amount of voice actors employed on a project has a significant impact on budget, voice skins technology could be a cost-saver for the English original recordings as well as any localized recordings of the game. Also, imagine the flexibility. Last-minute changes to character dialogue could be quickly completed by recording a small pool of dummy actors and applying the corresponding voice skin. Instead of having to arrange a sudden recording with some super famous Hollywood actor!

There are pros and cons to using voice skins, but disruptive technology like this is something we professionals have to watch. It's better to embrace change and innovation early than be left behind.

TSA: What does the arrival of the new console generation mean for the studio?

Finn & Jan: Theoretically, new recording setups could be introduced based on the enhanced surround sound capabilities (including voices) of the new consoles. For example, you might add a room sound mic to the regular direct one that is currently being used. However, I suspect the most prominent effect on the localization industry will be a surge of demand due to the new games being produced for next gen, as it has been for every new console generation. We will likely see even more sophisticated render scenes in need of high class voice acting and we will see an increase of size due to more complex games – more to translate and more to record.


Thanks to Finn & Jan for chatting with us. Keep an eye (or maybe an ear) out for Synthesis' work in games like Doom Eternal, Monster Hunter: World, Dishonored and beyond.


Will Dead By Daylight get bots on PC & consoles?

Since Dead By Daylight originally launched in 2016 on PC (soon followed by Xbox One and PlayStation 4) one of the most requested features from the game's ever-growing community has been bots.

Developed by Behaviour Interactive, Dead By Daylight is an asymmetrical horror game in which one team of four survivors must outsmart a lone killer, all five participants controlled by human players.

However, there has always been an appetite for AI bots to be thrown into the mix, as well as some kind of singleplayer component to Dead By Daylight. Despite being less popular and available on fewer formats, rival horror hit Friday the 13th: The Game managed it.

The main reason for adding bots would be as a learning tool for both new and experienced players. When starting out, Dead By Daylight can be fairly intimidating as you gradually get a feel of the ropes and the layer of hidden tricks built into the game's mechanics.

There's an argument to be made that AI controlled characters would struggle to emulate the adaptable behaviour of human players though it would be a worthwhile feature nonetheless. Right now, queues to join online matches as a killer can take several minutes, even with cross-play enabled. Playing as a survivor is fun, sure, though not quite as satisfying as hunting them down and offering them up as sacrifice for The Entity.

As such, if you've unlocked a new killer and want to learn their unique powers and experiment with loadouts you'll need to do so in public matches. So, when can we expect bots (if at all)?

Interestingly, Behaviour Interactive have already included them in the mobile version of Dead By Daylight. Whenever a player disconnects from a match, they are replaced by an AI controlled counterpart. When asked by ComicBook if this feature would make its way into the PC and console versions of the game, this is what game director Matheiu Cote had to say earlier this year:

Well, the idea for us is the try to maximize what we get out of the work that we create for ourselves. So if we create something specifically for mobile and it ends up being something really, really cool that people get excited about, we'll of course try to find a way to put that on every platform if it makes sense for the platform.

In fact, if we look closer at DBD Mobile, there are a number of desirable features unique to this version, such as being able to share items across characters as well as trying locked characters for a limited time without paying.

Having just kicked off their latest season as well as the recent addition of cross-play (not to mention confirmation of a free next-gen upgrade), Behaviour Interactive continue to go from strength to strength. While AI bots for PC and consoles have yet to be officially confirmed, we'd be surprised if they didn't eventually make their way into these versions. If not bot matches, then we'd expect enhanced tutorials as well as a testing ground for killers to perform some player-free bloodletting.


Baldur's Gate 3 is a budding D&D classic with a mean DM

If you've ever had the pleasure of sitting down with some friends and playing some Dungeons & Dragons, you know the chaotic fun that comes with it. You pick your class, race, back story and then slip into character, trying to solve the mystery provided by the Dungeon Master without getting everyone killed in the process. Or yourself, for that matter.

It's an experience that has been translated to computers and consoles countless times, but fans of the genre will often point back to the Baldur's Gate games as some of the very best CRPGs out there. Now, after 20 long years away, Baldur's Gate returns with its third instalment, this time with Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios at the helm. The game is out with a huge Early Access release on PC and Stadia today.

Set almost 100 years after the events of Baldur's Gate II, your created character is captured by Mind Flayers and has a lovely Illithid Tadpole climb it's way into you. Through your eye socket. Nice. The problem here is that if it's not removed, you'll end up being turned into a Mind Flayer and you obviously don't want that. Thankfully, you don't have to go through this journey alone.

Like any good DM, the game gives you some companions to help you along the way who all conveniently suffer the same affliction. It beats the heck out of the traditional 'You all start in a bar…' opener, but while it's a little corny and convenient, it's still a brilliant way for a regular game of D&D to start, putting all party members in the same place and forcing them to get to know each other.

Speaking of which, your party members consist of Shadowheart – a half-elf cleric, Gale – a human wizard, Lae'zel – a githyanki fighter, Wyll – a human warlock and Astarion – a high elf vampire. Astarion is already my favourite character. I love his mannerisms, demeanor and his combat ability, being able to hide and then strike with a deadly back attack for massive damage.

Of course, it's all about the journey of your own custom character and there is so much to choose from when building your adventurer. Firstly, you have sixteen races to choose from which is huge, each with different stat-lines and perks. Then, you have six classes to choose from – Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock and Wizard.

For my character, Thaddeus Grey, I choose to be an Asmodeus Tiefling, hailing from Nessus, the deepest layer of Hell. Asmodeus is quite badass, so coming from this bloodline means you can wield fire, which is pretty neat. Picking the Warlock class was a given, and with that, I already started building my character's history: a hardened dude who has seen some serious happenings, and came out the otherside changed forever, vowing to live a better life. Not all Devils have to be bad…

The D&D groundwork is apparent from the off with the Fifth Edition system smartly woven into the gameplay. In a regular game of D&D, as you explore your surroundings, DM's will roll secret checks based on your Perception skill or even ask you to make a check when you pass something of interest. Succeed, and you might discover a little secret; fail, and you'll be left wondering what you missed. As you explore the landscape of BG3, every now and then, small dice roll symbols appear over a character's head while a check is being made. If it turns blue, the character will have a line of dialogue and draw your attention to something like a hidden button or a trap, but a red die symbol leaves you clueless. You know something is there but you cannot probe the virtual DM for more details.

One of the excellent ways this was implemented was when I was wandering through an abandoned village. Dice symbols started popping up over my entire party's heads. All the perception checks failed apart from one, the character shouting, "There's an ambush up ahead. Be careful!" I moved the camera around a bit until I could see a small band of goblins waiting to get the jump on us. Instead of giving them the satisfaction, I snuck around behind them and performed my own sneak attack. It was so satisfying and could have easily gone a very different way for me had I have not been warned.

The RNG is a little harsh sometimes, but if you really don't like a result, you can always reload a save. Personally, I wouldn't, because failing checks is fine and leads to some interesting interactions and encounters. To maximise your effectiveness, you really should play to your party's strengths. Have a character that's good at persuasion? Let them do the talking.

This is the first RPG in a while where I've wanted to talk to everyone and not skip lines of dialogue. Each interaction has the potential to be different, especially if you are doing multiple run-throughs with different races. NPCs will react differently depending on a number of factors, and race is one of them.

Combat has changed somewhat since BG2, with the game shifting to turn based as soon as an encounter starts. Much like how combat works in Fifth Edition, each round lets you move a set distance, perform an action and a bonus action if you have it available. This feels immediately comfortable to anyone familiar with the system and newcomers alike, with simple tutorial and tooltips to help if you get lost.

Once again, I found that RNG often wasn't on my side. Many attacks were missing as I threw my party into battle. Brute force doesn't always work and you have to think about your strategy. Correct placement and tactics lead to better results as I discovered in my second run, having a much easier time with an early encounter simply because I took some time to set up as opposed to rushing in.

Another situation saw me take on a larger party of higher level enemies and defeat them just because I planned properly. I had Gale cast Fog around a doorway and as the enemy rushed me, being funnelled through fog where a greased floor and firebombs awaited them. I weakened the bad guys just enough that my low level heroes were able to finish them off with strikes and spells. It felt really good.

The game itself also looks very pretty, getting a serious glow up after 20 years and even over Larian's recent work. In particular, the character models look fantastic, as each custom character head has been 3D scanned into the game.

The slight downer is that, while there is a lot of content, you can tell that this is an Early Access game. I often found textures that didn't load in, characters would T-pose out of nowhere, mouths wouldn't move when characters spoke and there were bugs aplenty that caused me to reload because I couldn't continue. Even reloading in certain situations caused the game to crash completely which was pretty frustrating until I realised what the trigger was.

While it's rough and ready, I have to say I'm really enthralled by the experience so far. Baldur's Gate 3 has tons of depth and enjoyable enough gameplay that I'm willing to look past the bugs of early access. It was quite frustrating at times but still forgivable. The good experiences were more than enough to make up for the bugs and these will only improve over time, making BG3 one of the best in-depth RPGs in a long while. Things can only improve from here on out and I can't wait to see what comes in chapter 2.


NBA 2K21 next-gen gameplay revealed running on PlayStation 5

The first gameplay trailer of the next-gen version of NBA 2K21 has been revealed, showcasing the game running on PlayStation 5 and some graphics that step further into the uncanny valley.

The trailer shows off the game which has been built from the ground up for the next-gen platforms, taking advantage of the raw processing power to make a significant step forward in visual fidelity, with new lighting, textures, physics and more that step forward over the current gen.

There's also a rebuilt player movement and impact system, so that on-court animations look smoother and more realistic, while the arena has been given new life with over 150 AI characters in the courtside audience to react more realistically to what's going on in the game.

Not necessarily to do with the next-gen hardware, but the soundtrack has also been expanded to a ridiculous 202 songs, with more promised after launch.

This gameplay video will soon be followed by new next-gen specific features, including the trio of Courtside Reports, a dive into the movement and impact system, how AI has been enhanced and the new MyPLAYER builder. From there, expect to learn about what's new in MyCAREER, the WNBA, MyGM, and MyLEAGUE, as well as the replacement for the online community features formerly known as the Neighborhood.

NBA 2K21 will be out for Xbox Series X|S on 10th November and PlayStation 5 on 12th or 19th November, depending on your region. The current gen version is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia and PC.

Source: press release


Yakuza: Like A Dragon quest begins in latest trailer, and it is bonkers

SEGA has released a brand new trailer for Yakuza: Like A Dragon titled The Quest Begins, and it is does not hold back on the weird and wonderful. You'll see everything from serious talks, shrimp falling from the sky, camera filters, test taking, bike riding, and dragon slaying within the approximate two minutes the trailer runs for. Some of the footage has been captured from the Xbox Series X, and you can watch some of that below.

 

Set in 2019 following the events of Yakuza 6, Yakuza: Like a Dragon follows the story of Kasuga Ichiban, a member of the formidable Tojo Clan who, much like Kiryu Kazuma, takes the fall for a crime he did not commit in order to protect the honor of his clan. When Ichiban emerges from prison almost two decades later in 2019, though, he's found that the world has changed immensely and moved on without him. Stuck as an outsider in an unfamiliar town, he gathers a crew of unlikely allies in order to find out the truth behind what happened while he was behind bars.

The game is a pretty major departure beyond just having a new lead, with new turn-based RPG encounters. Part of the reason for this switch to an RPG battle system is that Ichiban is obsessed with Dragon Quest, and the regular thugs you run into on the street will often transform into otherwordly warriors (in Ichiban's head, at least) once battle begins.

It has been confirmed that Yakuza: Like A Dragon will be released on November 10th for PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. However, the PS5 version of the game will not be released until March 2nd, 2021.

Source: YouTube


Dishonored & Prey: The Arkane Collection & Wolfenstein Collection rated by ESRB for Xbox Series X|S

The US ratings board ESRB has listed a title called the Dishonored & Prey The Arkane Collection for Xbox Series X|S. This collection will contain four games which will likely be Dishonored, Dishonored 2, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, and Prey 2017, all of which were developed by Arkane. The Xbox Series X|S exclusivity can be explained by Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax and all of its studios, one of which is Arkane. The description for the listing is as follows.

"This is a compilation of four first-person shooters/role-playing games in which players engage in stealth, assassinations, melee, and ranged combat to complete various missions. Characters use knives, swords, crossbows, pistols, and explosives to kill mostly human enemies in frenetic combat. Fighting is highlighted by screams of pain, gunfire, blood-splatter effects, and explosions. Stealth kills/assassinations (e.g., cutting a target's throat) are often depicted with slow-motion effects and large splatters of blood. Certain weapons/attacks result in decapitations or dismemberment, and a handful of scenes depict limbs or torsos after attacks. Some games contain brief sequences in which players can interrogate restrained characters by using electric shocks. Some games contain sexual references, mostly in the dialogue (e.g., "[Y]ou want to play with me? You're a lot cuter than my regulars"; "This one only thinks of whores"; "Sexual 'favors' is what he demanded…"; "Sell your wife into prostitution, I'm sure I can get you a good price."). One game contains a brothel sequence in which women in lingerie are seen flirting with customers. During the course of one game, players' character can consume alcohol, resulting in screen distortion, stumbling, and a "drunk" status effect. The words "f**k" and "sh*t" appear in dialogue.

Unsurprisingly, the collection has been rated as M for Mature. This is not the first time a bundle of the four games has been confirmed, with the Arkane 20th Anniversary Edition also getting revealed earlier this year for Xbox One and PS4. It could be that the collection is being renamed, and the 20th Anniversary Edition is available to buy through Microsoft for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It also available on the PlayStation Store for the PS4 only.

The Wolfenstein Alt History Collection has also been rated for Xbox Series X|S and will also be a compilation of four game which are Wolfenstein: The New Order, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and the co-op Wolfenstein: Youngblood. That collection has already been made available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The Microsoft Store listing does also confirm the game will be released on Xbox Series X|S. It is unclear whether either of these collections will be remastered for the new consoles.

Source: ESRB

 


Monster Hunter Rise shows off new combat gameplay

Last month, Capcom hit us with the surprise announcement that Monster Hunter Rise will be launching exclusively on Nintendo Switch in 2021.

What's immediately clear about this latest entry in the series is that Capcom are going in a different direction to the hugely successful Monster Hunter: World.

Instead of porting a streamlined version of World to the Nintendo Switch, Monster Hunter Rise is a completely new adventure and one that sports a number of revised features and mechanics helping it to stand out as its own fully fledged MonHun title.

Monster Hunter Rise – 7 things you need to know

If you're keen to learn more about this new game in the action RPG franchise, then give the official Monster Hunter Rise JP Twitter account a follow – they've been showing off footage from the upcoming Switch exclusive, giving us a closer look at combat mechanics and the monsters themselves.

We've pulled a few videos, including footage from battles with the fire-breathing Aknosom and the amphibious Tetranadon, both of which are making their Monster Hunter debut in Rise. These clips also give us a glimpse at the series' returning weapon classes.

One unique feature being added to the game is the all new Wirebug. This little critter is used to help navigate the wider spaces in Monster Hunter Rise, allowing you to perform a Spider-Man like swing while in mid-air. Verticality has been a huge focus for the developers on Rise – you can also scale certain walls too with the Wirebug having a secondary combat function letting you evade attacks.

Monster Hunter Rise was revealed alongside Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Both games have only been announced for the Nintendo Switch and it seems likely that they will remain exclusive to the hybrid system. Capcom have confirmed that a new range of Nintendo amiibo figures will also be launched in 2021.

For the Monster Hunter die-hards among you, there's a Monster Hunter movie due out in December as well as a board game which will be hitting Kickstarter next year.

Source: Twitter (Monster Hunter Rise)


Planet Coaster: Console Edition will have free next-gen upgrades to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, and mouse & keyboard support

Frontier Developments have announced that those picking up Planet Coaster: Console Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will have free upgrades to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S versions of the game, respectively. The game will be out on all four platforms sometime Holiday 2020.

The news came in a new dev diary for the game, which also revealed the game's new tutorials for the console release, the new TV-friendly UI, but also that the game will support mouse & keyboard on console.

For their next-gen upgrades, Frontier will be adopting Xbox's Smart Delivery system, meaning there will be just one cross-generational release both at retail and digitally, with an optimised version of the game being installed for each console and cloud saves.

It's somewhat trickier on PlayStation, it seems, and we're waiting for a reply as to whether saves and progression can be transferred from PS4 to PS5. Considering Dirt 5, Yakuza: Like A Dragon and other examples, this may not be possible, but Frontier do have a partial workaround detailed in the dev diary: Frontier Workshop. This is the company's home-grown online sharing platform, where you can save a park, share it with the Workshop and then download it on another console.

Update: Frontier have explained the save sitaution as follows:

We're also happy to share more information on how save games will work for both platforms! For those playing on Xbox, all progress can be carried over from current to next-gen. While save data is not transferable between PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, PlayStation players will be able to bring their creations with them by uploading them to the Frontier Workshop and then downloading them again in their next-gen park. We'll be discussing more about the Frontier Workshop in the next few weeks.

It should probably go without saying at this point that if you buy the game no disc, you'll need a disc-based next-gen console and to have the disc in the drive to be able to play.

We went hands on with Frontier Developments' console-bound rollercoaster management sim a little while ago, finding a chilled and fairly intuitive translation of one of the company's biggest hits. In our Planet Coaster: Console Edition preview I wrote:

"It's been far too long coming, but Planet Coaster: Console Edition does a great job of bringing the charms of theme park management from PC to console. There's still some work to be done in refining the controls, but this is more than a quick port that reconsiders how to present the challenges of park management to players and gives more and new options for how you can build the theme park of your dreams."

All that's really left now is to wait patiently for Frontier to confirm the release date…

Source: press release, Frontier


Super Mario Bros. 35 Review – where battle royale meets Bowser

Three years on from PUBG's emergence, the battle royale genre is still the golden goose that game company after game company is chasing after. Where most jump in with some kind of first or third person shooter, Nintendo went a very different direction with Tetris 99 and now Super Mario Bros. 35 – a free time-limited game for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Can lightning strike twice for these retro battle royales?

Similar to Tetris 99, Nintendo have taken one of their most iconic games and spun it out into a form of battle royale, but where Tetris 99 already had some form of multiplayer to draw and expand, Super Mario Bros. does not. So Nintendo have taken liberal inspiration from Tetris 99 in order to make this work. It's to the extent that if Tetris 99 is best described as "Tetris but a battle royale," then Super Mario Bros. 35 is "Super Mario Bros. but like Tetris 99."

You have a nigh on identical set up, with your game in the centre of the screen, flanked by mini-screens showing what all the other players in the game are doing, which are blanked out as player after player is eliminated. The simple aim of the game is to survive the longest, but when Super Mario Bros. has been so completely mastered by millions, there needs to be a little spice to keep things interesting.

That's where the Tetris multiplayer element comes in. As you stomp on the heads of Goombas, fireball Koopas and Super Star through everything else, the ghosts of your victims are sent to other players, littering their world with more and more enemies to deal with.

The thing is, the game really tells you absolutely none of this. Sure, it's not the deepest of deep ends to dive into – No diving, please – but some of the fundamentals simply aren't explained and it's only through community efforts that I truly started to understand what's going on.

For example, you unlock more and more of the levels from Super Mario Bros. as you visit them in game, and this then gives you a choice to make when joining the matchmaking queue. You'd think that's the level you're going to start from wouldn't you? But no. You will 99.9% of the time start from 1-1. All players' choices are thrown into a randomised queue of 35 levels, and with a lobby full of newcomers, this means you'll see 1-1 and 1-2 on loop – the warp pipes at the end of 1-2? They give you the choice of the next three queued levels. It's only now, after a weekend of playing, that the lobbies are starting to fill out with more experienced players, so that levels from the second and third world are becoming more common.

It also takes a little while to really understand if and how you can directly battle other players. As you run through levels, you have a countdown in the top right corner that's constantly topped up by offing enemies – two seconds for a regular enemy, but just one for ghost enemies – picking up unnecessary power ups and completing levels. While you might think that sending enemies to other players would help you defeat them, all you might be doing is providing them with fodder to top up their timer.

That helps to neuter much of the pressure that the timer can give in the final stages of a match. Battle royale shooters are distinctive for how they force players into smaller and smaller areas of play, and that was mapped to the increasing speed of Tetris for its adaptation. Super Mario Bros. 35 tries to do something similar, with the music speeding up and the timer counting a bit faster once you reach five players remaining, but if you've got 300+ seconds on the clock, there's no pressure to be felt. Instead you end up in seemingly endless marathons of endurance as you and one or two others just send ghosts back and forth. Chances are, you'll still have regular appearances of 1-1 and 1-2 through this as well, and anyone with Fire Mario can survive for days.

That said, there's still something to SMB35. Where you might go in expecting speed runners who can rely on muscle memory to win, you can actually succeed by taking your time, grabbing a Fire Flower and keeping your countdown topped up. It makes the game feel more relaxed and not as high pressure as other battle royale games, which potentially makes it more welcoming to newcomers, but also means it lacks some of the heart-pounding tension of the best examples of the genre.

Hopefully the game and the playerbase will grow and evolve over the coming weeks and months, because it's really this that will determine whether SMB35 will be sorely missed once Nintendo switch off the servers in March, or if it will be a footnote in the franchise's history. As players gain more experience, as more levels are unlocked, those early levels will fall by the wayside, you'll start to encounter more Hammer Bros, Spinys, Cheep Cheeps and more that are awkward to deal with when encountered in unusual levels.


Payday 3 reconfirmed and it is currently in the design phase

Payday 3 has been reconfirmed by Starbreeze and Overkill to still be in development, though we are no closer to knowing a release date. All that has been confirmed so far is that the game is in the design phase, and that it will be using Unreal Engine and that will likely be Unreal Engine 4, as Unreal Engine 5 will not be available until it is fully released in 2021. The confirmation of Payday 3 came via a tweet from the game's official Twitter account.

The continuned existence and development of Payday 3 may indicate that Starbreeze is in a slightly healthier position financially than it has been over the last couple of years. In 2019, Starbreeze sold the publication rights for System Shock 3 to Otherside Entertainment, and also offloaded 10 Crowns to Mohawk games in April. The company also sold off their stake in Dhruva Interactive, an Indian video game developer based in Bangalore, to Rockstar. The Grand Theft Auto developer paid $7.9 million to gain get 91.8 percent of shares in the studio, a bit of a bargain considering Starbreeze paid $8.5 million for a 90% share in the studio back in December 2016.

In 2018, Starbreeze filed for reconstruction following the dismal performance of Overkill's The Walking Dead.  Reconstruction is roughly the same as going into administration in the UK, the business gets time to reorganise andsave itself whilst taking a break from paying any suppliers or investors.

Source: Twitter


Fall Guys Season 2's new Knight Fever level revealed

Fall Guys Season 2 will soon be upon us with the new content set to arrive on October 8th. The second season was announced in August and it was confirmed that this new season would be Medieval themed. That means things like dragons, knights, and castles will all be around in some form. Now, one of the levels has been revealed over at IGN, and that level is called Knight Fever. You can check it out below.

Knight Fever will pit 60 players against each other, making it a first round match, and out of that 75% will be able to qualify for the next round. IGN has also listed the obstacles that players will face in Knight Fever, and they are:

  • Two uphill sections outfitted with spinning blades and holes in the floor
  • Two sets of spinning logs covered in patterns of spikes
  • A downhill slime slide, also covered in spinning blades
  • A stretch of ground with holes on the floor and swinging, spike-covered logs
  • Three sets of drawbridges that open and close erratically

Fall Guys became the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game EVER, following its launch on the PS4 back in August. In our review for Fall Guys, Stefan wrote:

Full of cute and cuddly jelly beans bumbling into each other in a race for the crown, Fall Guys is just about the most wholesome battle royale imaginable, and a whole lot of fun.
You can read the full Fall Guys review here.
Source: IGN

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War trailer arrives ahead of this week's PS4 exclusive beta

A new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta has landed ahead of this week's PS4 exclusive weekend, showing what players will be able to take part in. The trailer confirms that the beta will include the modes Team Deathmatch, Domination, VIP Escort, Kill Confirmed, and Combined Arms. Those who took part in the Alpha will recognise some the maps already, though the beta may have more. You can view the trailer below.

The beta will first open to those who have pre-ordered Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on PS4 from October 8th, and it will be exclusive to that group for two days. Then on October 10th until October 12th the beta will be opened to the PS4 playerbase. Then next weekend the crossplay beta will be launched. On October 15th this crossplay beta will be exclusive to those who have pre-ordered the game for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Again this will last two days, and then the crossplay beta will be open to PS4, Xbox One, and PC players from October 17th to October 19th.

Earlier this week, the Zombies mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was revealed. There's two competing sets of protagonists, with Requiem the CIA-backed team headed up by Grigori Weaver, and Omega Group the Soviet counterparts. The mode will feature cross-play with cross-gen alongside, and there's now a new Battle Pass progression system. Pack-a-Punch machines return to transform your weapons, all of which now have an associated rarity to them that affects their damage output. New Field Upgrades can buff your squad in a tight situation, while you can now craft and find equipment that ranges from Grenade Launchers to Sentry Turrets, Explosive Bows and even Chopper Gunners.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be out for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on 13th November. Be careful which version of the game you buy though, because it can get a bit convoluted… Here's all the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War paid next-gen upgrades & cross-gen bundles explained.

Source: YouTube


Going Under Review

Being an employee for a startup company can be stressful. Long hours for relatively little pay, eyes straining at monitors whilst wrists ache from using a keyboard all day, and bosses who want to circle back so you can interface about how we're going to actualise our deliverables. Sometimes these companies pop-up out of nowhere and get bought by even bigger companies, then fall apart as they crack under the pressure of increased finances and poor management. These failed companies are cursed to sink beneath the surface of the city whilst their employees wander the hallways for eternity as monsters. Well, they do in Going Under.

This satirical roguelite is set in the office of Fizzle, a fizzy drinks company where you control Jacqueline, the new intern. Fizzle is expanding pretty quickly after being bought out by Cubicle, a drone delivery service, and supposedly hired Jacqueline to work as an unpaid marketing intern. However, much to her surprise, it seems Fizzle really just needed someone to fight the fantasy monsters that keep finding their way into the office, and her first day on the job consists of heading over to Joblins LLC and battling all the former employees that have quite unfortunately turned into goblins.

Fighting your way through the three differently-themed defunct companies that make up the dungeons is most comparable to the Binding of Isaac. You enter a room and defeat the enemies, hoover up any cash they dropped, then pick up anything worth picking up in the room and move onto the next. Rinse and repeat until you can access the slide down to the next floor.

Enemies all behave differently, with some Joblins keeping their distance for a few seconds after you enter before coming in to attack, while others drive tiny cars and try to run you over, and another looks just like Jimi Hendrix and plays the guitar at you. Most rooms have a mix of enemies and require not just skill, but thought to take advantage of monster behaviour to get through them. Enemies are also distinct between companies as well, and not just aesthetically. Joblins are all goblins, whilst Styxcoin is staffed with undead and often wield pickaxes because they mine coins.

Thankfully, you aren't unarmed, as pretty much anything found in the offices can be used as a weapon and/or thrown. Monitors, keyboards, chairs, potted cacti, waste paper bins and more can be used to bash the face off any fantasy monster office workers you find. There are also plenty of actual weapons lying around from your enemies, whether it's basic swords and crossbows or things like the Skelecaster, which is a skull shaped guitar that damages everything around you when you play it. You'll also find weapons in boxes, or get them delivered by a Cubicle drone for completing certain challenges.

It's a good job there's so many options as you can only carry three and they all break pretty quickly, so you'll be switching it up regularly. They're also ranked based on how much damage they deal, so it's easy to decide which ones you want in hand. Do you go with a mace for its long range, or a slow and heavy monitor that electrocutes enemies when it breaks on them? Many weapons have elemental properties that can help with various status effects.

On top of all these weapons you also have skills and apps. Apps are found in the dungeon and give you a consumable ability, whether healing a heart, summoning a joblin to help you, or letting you take a picture with flash to briefly stun enemies. Skills are rarer, but also last until the end of your run and have a wide variety of effects. My favourite makes any weapon you pick up quite a lot bigger than it already was, which makes small weapons more useful and big weapons comically effective, but there's a wide range you could encounter from one run to the next. The more you use a skill in a dungeon, the more proficient you'll become with it until you can pin it and start dungeons with it equipped, which is a welcome concession in a hard game.

Blend all of these elements together and you get Going Under's combat. Nothing is safe from your unpaid fury, which often results in a few swings smashing nearby monitors in showers of sparks, volatile explosives burst into flames, tables break into pieces, and weapons sometimes just break. It's often chaotic, sometimes hilarious, but almost always fair. It's very rare that I've found myself too poorly equipped to finish a room thanks to some combination of weapons, skills, and apps, even if I made a poor choice earlier on, like grabbing the wrong weapon or accepting a curse from a vampire in exchange for some items.

The chaos on screen does mean that you can lose things in the melee, whether that's smaller enemies or nearby explosives, and you'll need quick reactions to avoid taking damage. It can also be a surprise when a weapon breaks and you default to fists instead of your other weapons. This occasionally resulted in me suddenly punching, trying to change weapons, but this being blocked by the animation, meaning I punched again and took damage.

The story of Fizzle and its mysterious new owners unfolds between dungeons, revealing their ulterior motives to sending interns into danger. It's a surprisingly entertaining story for a roguelite and keeps things moving as it casts its satirical eye at anything to do with tech startups and millennial culture. Talking to other Fizzle employees is likely to see a withering comment about company culture, but can also hand you a task to set things on fire in a dungeon or walk a dog, which can change how you tackle the next dungeon. Those characters can then become a mentor and provide you buffs in future expeditions.

It's all presented in a bright and colourful aesthetic with a relatively unique art style. All the people are basically cartoons, but the player character looks a bit like she's made out of pipe cleaners. It fits with the general oddness of game very well, not to mention that it's genuinely very pretty, especially in Fizzle's office.


October's PlayStation Plus games are live, download Vampyr and Need for Speed Payback

The October PlayStation Plus games are now available to download for subscribers, with Need for Speed Payback and Vampyr the two offerings for the month. The games were revealed last week for PS Plus subscribers. Vampyr is especially suitable for this month as it brings a bit of horror to in time for Halloween. Need for Speed Payback may bring players back to the Need for Speed franchise, ahead of next month's launch of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered. The store links for the PS Plus games are below.

In our review for Vampyr, I wrote:

Much like its early 20th century setting, Vampyr feels like a bit of a throwback to a past age of action RPGs. In a time where the genre is evolving Vampyr holds on to past ideas for much of its tenure, and it doesn't have a story strong enough to overcome that fact. The world itself is ripe for lots of stories to be told within, with Dontnod having done a good job with world building, but while Vampyr isn't a bad game, nor is it as great as it could be.

Meanwhile, in our Need for Speed Payback review, Dom wrote:

Despite it's flaws, I still found Need for Speed: Payback quite a likeable arcade racer. Just having a narrative sets it apart from the other, more serious offerings this year, even if it's not delivered with much panache. Sadly its attractive visuals, and alternate take on the genre, can't disguise a gamut of poor design decisions, some of which serve to make the enjoyable racing less than enjoyable.

If you have got PlayStation Plus then remember that the next batch of PlayStation Plus games will also include the PlayStation Plus Collection for PlayStation 5, a library of PlayStation 4 games that you can play on day one on your new console.

Here are the first games that will appear on the service.

  • God of War
  • The Last of Us: Remastered
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
  • Battlefield 1
  • Monster Hunter World
  • Fallout 4
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • The Last Guardian
  • Ratchet and Clank
  • Infamous: Second Son
  • Days Gone
  • Bloodborne
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Batman Arkham Night
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Persona 5
  • Until Dawn
  • Resident Evil: Biohazard

Source: PS Store


Monster Hunter movie trailer shows an actual monster

Monster Hunter fans have been treated to their first proper look at the upcoming film adaptation which is due to hit cinema screens later this year.

Over the weekend Sony Pictures Entertainment released the brief teaser shown above, giving us a sixteen second glimpse of the bizarre blockbuster.

Although short, we finally get to see an actual monster instead of gawping at stills of soldiers wandering though a desert. The clip shows off one of Monster Hunter's recurring boss creatures, the Black Diablos. It seems as though this might be the first encounter between the series' monsters and Milla Jovovich's group of gun-toting squaddies.

Sadly we don't get to see more of the film's secondary characters, including the hunters themselves. One thing that stands out, however, is the confirmation that Monster Hunter will be releasing in cinemas this December. Earlier in the year, it was reported that the movie would be pushed back to April 2021.

The December release date is also clearly visible on the flick's official website. That said, Monster Hunter could follow a number of big budget movies being delayed into next year with the film industry still shrouded in covid-19 uncertainty.

Monster Hunter Rise – 7 things you need to know

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, Monster Hunter is loosely based on the power-selling video game franchise instead of being a direct adaptation. Anderson is best known for his work on the Resident Evil film franchise (another Capcom partnership) with Milla Jovovich joining him once again as the lead actor. Here's an official synopsis of the film:

Behind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain with deadly ferocity. When an unexpected sandstorm transports Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (TI Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.

It's fair to say that the Monster Hunter series is still going strong in 2020. Capcom continue to bolster Monster Hunter World: Iceborne with new features and content with title update 5 having recently launched. Whether they have another expansion (or a full on sequel) planned for World is unclear, though the series is continuing to splinter off, Capcom have recently announced Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Stories 2 for the Nintendo Switch, both of which will be arriving in 2021.


Fall Guys Season 2 – when is it coming?

In case you haven't heard, Fall Guys is gearing up for Season 2 and will be introducing a slew of new game rounds, cosmetic items, and features. This follows the game's launch back in August and its subsequent skyrocketing popularity, becoming the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game EVER.

Announced back in August, Fall Guys developer Mediatonic announced that the game's second season would rock a medieval theme so expect plenty of knights, castles, and dragons. The studio have since confirmed that it will be launching later this week on October 8th.

For those confused by a previous in-game message stating that Fall Guys Season 1 would end on October 5th, Mediatonic have since clarified in the following tweet:

We've yet to get a full list of everything that will be introduced when Fall Guys Season 2 touches down on October 8th though here's an official sneak peak:

Fall Guys Season 2 will bring the dragon fire with feudal fortresses, knockout knights and pugilistic paladins among new additions coming this October. A full season of new costumes, emotes and more will reward players as they lay siege to the Middle Ages.

7 Fall Guys tips & tricks to help you win more Crowns

Some bonus features we've learned of in the build up to Season 2 are the inclusions of customisable nametags, randomised costumes/skins, and more Crowns being added as season rewards. Crowns are used to purchase some of the rarer items in Fall Guys – you'll get one for each episode (match) you win. This makes them pretty hard to come by, so Mediatonic will be slipping some into the game's battle pass.

Some Fall Guys fans may be worrying that any locked rewards from Season 1 will be lost forever. Here's the dev's official response:

It seems very likely that these rewards will return at some point, perhaps being added to the in-game shop. This is a common occurrence in online games which have a similar battle pass system of unlocks.


Skullcandy Crusher Evo Headphone Review

Rightly or wrongly, Skullcandy have always felt like a fashion brand rather than a serious headset maker. The swathes of brightly coloured, entry-level headphones hanging from the racks in HMV probably doesn't help with that, but it's entirely at odds with the fact that they also make decent-sounding pieces of kit that have found many fans over the years. Still, nobody would have expected what we're getting with the Skullcandy Crusher Evo; a premium-build, premium-appearance pair of headphones with audio that puts them right into the conversation dominated by the likes of Sony and Bose.

The first thing that tells you this isn't your regular Skullcandy set is the absence of giant white skull logos across each earpiece. Instead, the largely black build is subtle and subdued, and looks every inch the top-end set. All of the highlights are grey, from a pair of small grey skull logos on the head band to the padding beneath it. The one moment of colour is the fluorescent orange power button, which might sound a bit odd, but fits in perfectly in the scheme of things.

Skullcandy have really gone to town on the Crusher Evo, and the matte black plastics are complemented by an unusual felt covering at the top of the headband and sumptuous leatherette ear cushions. The one element that I keep catching as I put them on is that the cushioning beneath the headband is covered by a waterproof rubberised layer. It's soft and pliable enough that once it's on your head you won't think anything of it, but it adds an odd tactile element to the headset when it's in your hand. Personally, that's not the worst thing as it's another element to help set the Crusher Evo apart from the competition.

There's a smattering of controls across the rear of each earpiece. The right-hand side features three buttons, covering your main media controls of volume, play/pause and track skipping. The left houses that brightly coloured power button, and the control for the Crusher Evo's secret weapon – a slider that dictates how powerful the haptic rumble effect is.

If you've never come across this before, haptics in a headset produce a physical rumble to help add depth and enhance realism where you wouldn't normally experience it. It falls into the same bracket as the little rumble many smartphones give when typing, or the rumble of a game controller in your hand. In the case of headphones like the Crusher Evo, it adds a thump and a physical element to the bass elements of whatever you're listening to. Want to feel like you're at the club while listening to Deadmaus? Or that the explosions in The Fate of the Furious are happening around you? You want haptics in your headphones.

The Skullcandy Crusher Evo boasts the best example of the technology that I've come across so far. Sony's Pulse headsets, and Razer's Nari Ultimate, made convincing use of the head-thumping tech, but the Crusher Evo gives the most variable and the most usable rendition yet. You can access settings at the top end that I genuinely don't think a human being can withstand for any length of time, but through the opening increments I found that music, movies, sports and video games gained a meaningful level of depth that you simply couldn't get without haptics.

The Crusher Evo gives you a pair of connection, with both Bluetooth and 3.5mm available, with the wired connection still letting you use the haptic technology so long as there's life in the onboard battery. The only downside to using it in this manner is that it introduces a low-level hum to the headphone's output; it's not audible when there's sound coming through it, but it is there. If you're out of juice the Crusher Evo will happily function as a straight pair of headphones too, meaning the music never has to stop, though the thumping will have to.

Just like Sony and Bose, Skullcandy have an app for your Android or iOS device to help customise your experience. The Equalizer settings are fairly limited, with a minimal three different options available for Music, Movies and Podcasts. You can of course utilise your device's own equalizer options as well, so it's not as limiting as it potentially could be. You can however personalise the Crusher Evo's sound output further, with the app taking you through a series of hearing tests to customise the audio exactly to your own hearing.

It's something we've seen from Samsung's recent mobile phones amongst others, and it really helps to lift the audio output to match your own ear's deficiencies. The Crusher Evo sounded great before I ran through the customisation; it was even better afterwards.

It would be easy to overlook the audio given how much focus people are likely to place on the haptics, but the Crusher Evo delivers an excellent listening experience no matter what content you're funnelling into your ears. The new Royal Blood track was a wonderful test-bed for picking out the details of the top end above a thumping bass line, while a Sunday evening of NFL action was brought to life by the added depth of every tackle.

Mobile gaming was similarly assisted by the Crusher Evo's excellent performance, and whether it was the crack of nearby gunfire in PUBG Mobile or the clash of swords in Genshin Impact, the Crusher Evo brings a realism to proceedings that's hard to leave behind. This really is a headset that's very easy to live with, and during testing became a welcome companion at home and on the move, no matter what I was doing.

While there's no active noise cancellation, the well-weighted seal over your ears and the powerful audio means you'll be unlikely to hear anything from the outside world other than the most intrusive noises. There is however built-in Tile tracking technology so you never have to lose your headphones again, which is perfect if you're like me and all of your worldly possessions simply walk away from you when you put them down. There's also an in-built microphone that's perfect for making calls, though you may want to grab the haptic slider if any of your friends sound like Barry White. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.


Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered confirmed, out this November

EA have finally confirmed that Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is getting a remaster and it will be available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on November 6th.

The game has enhanced visuals,  the SCPD Rebel Racer Pack, Super Sports Pack, Armed & Dangerous Pack, Lamborghini Untamed Pack, and Porsche Unleashed Pack, all of which add an extra six hours of gameplay and thirty challenges, and will also include cross-play so you can play with your chums no matter what platform they are on.

Here's more on those remastered graphics:

The Nintendo Switch version runs at 1080p/30 FPS in docked mode (720p/30 FPS undocked) and includes higher-resolution models, more objects and props, longer draw distance, higher resolution shadows, and improved videos.

Depending on your specifications, 4K/60 FPS is supported on PC, and players can choose between 4K/30 FPS or 1080p/60 FPS on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. Base versions of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will run the game at 1080p/30 FPS. In addition to the listed improvements for the Nintendo Switch version, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC versions are also updated with upressed UI, higher resolution reflections, boosted textures, more particles, and improved AA/SSAO.

"We've added brand new achievements, car colors, wraps, reduced hard stops, an updated photo mode and gallery, and multiple quality of life updates, too, to create an even more well-rounded gameplay experience this time around," adds EA.

Here's the list of cars you will be able to drive:

  • Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider
  • Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
  • Aston Martin DBS Volante
  • Aston Martin DBS
  • Aston Martin V12 Vantage
  • Aston Martin One-77
  • Audi TT RS
  • Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro
  • Audi R8 Coupe 5.2 FSI quattro
  • Bentley Continental Supersports Coupe
  • Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible
  • BMW Z4 sDrive35is
  • BMW M3 E92
  • BMW M6 Convertible
  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4
  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport
  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS
  • Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
  • Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
  • Chevrolet Corvette Z06
  • Dodge Charger SRT8
  • Dodge Challenger SRT8
  • Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR
  • Dodge Viper SRT10
  • Dodge Viper SRT10 Final Edition
  • Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor
  • Ford GT
  • Ford GT500 Super Snake
  • Ford GT500 Shelby
  • Ford Police Interceptor Concept
  • Gumpert Apollo S
  • Jaguar XKR
  • Koenigsegg CCX
  • Koenigsegg CCXR Edition
  • Koenigsegg Agera
  • Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV
  • Lamborghini Diablo SV
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni
  • Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder LP 560-4
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera
  • Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
  • Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640
  • Lamborghini Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster
  • Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce
  • Lamborghini Reventón Roadster
  • Lamborghini Reventón
  • Maserati GranCabrio
  • Maserati GranTurismo S
  • Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S
  • Mazda RX-8
  • McLaren MP4-12C
  • McLaren F1
  • Mercedes SL 65 AMG Black Series
  • Mercedes SLS AMG
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
  • Nissan 370Z Roadster
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Nissan GT-R SpecV
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque (NFS Edition)
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster (NFS Edition)
  • Pagani Zonda Cinque
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS
  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS
  • Porsche 911 Speedster
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
  • Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Turbo 1982
  • Porsche 918 Spyder
  • Porsche Boxster Spyder
  • Porsche Carrera GT
  • Porsche Cayman S
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo
  • Porsche 959
  • Subaru Impreza WRX STI

The game has leaked numerous times, most recently the Korean Games Rating and Administration Committee listed the title and  back in August Amazon listed and just as quickly deleted a listing for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered for Xbox One.

The game was also been listed by  Australian retailer Mighty Ape. Back in June Venturebeat reported that, following the success of Burnout Paradise Remastered, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit was coming to Switch and other consoles.

Hot Pursuit launched way back in 2010 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii and scored 8/10 in our review. 

Hot Pursuit is a refreshing reboot for a series that's become tired and disjointed, with Criterion's grip tightly controlling the direction of the game as much as the publisher.  As a result, this latest Need for Speed is the best it's been for years, and although it's naturally not going to be a game for everyone, anyone looking for a solid racing game this Christmas with a significant emphasis on online competition should find this is well worth investigating, especially if you liked the demo.

The Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remaster isn't the only EA game that has been leaked multiple times but remains unconfirmed by the publisher. The Mass Effect Trilogy Remaster has also popped up on various retailers, perhaps the Korean Games Rating and Administration Committee could confirm that one as well?

Source:


Ghost of Tsushima: Legends co-op and New Game+ update comes out later this month

A major update for Ghost of Tsushima will be released later this month on 16th October, bringing a full-fledged co-op mode as well as a New Game+ mode for those looking to run through the main story for the second time. Check out the trailer for the version 1.1 update:

Legends is a separate mode from the main game that features four new warriors rather than focusing on Jin and characters you have already met. It also adds a supernatural element with locations and enemies inspired by Japanese folk tales and mythology. The four warriors each have a class, Samurai, Hunter, Ronin, or Assassin, each with their own abilities.

You can team up with up to four friends via party or grab some randoms via matchmaking and play Survival, a wave based mission with groups of enemies which have supernatural abilities. Also included is a series of two player co-op story missions that will require you to work closely with your partner, using techniques you mastered in the single player game but with new magical twists.

Also announced are Raids, which will be coming in the weeks after the release of Ghost of Tsushima: Legends. This three-part adventure will need you to have skill, top-tier gear and a great four-player team that communicates well in order to survive.

To access the mode, you'll need to find Gyozen the Storyteller, who will appear in towns and locations around Tsushima. He's the keeper of the stories that you'll be playing in Legends and will give you access to the multiplayer lobby. Alternatively, you can be super boring and jump to Legends via the title menu, pause menu, or by accepting an invitation. Much less immersive.

Speaking of immersion, the photo mode is being enhanced to work in multiplayer, and will allow you and your friends to pose together to show off your new cosmetics (all of which are earnt through gameplay).

Ghost of Tsushima: Legends will also have its own trophies, which will appear in a separate section of your Trophy list and do not count toward Ghost of Tsushima's Platinum.

For solo riders, there's always New Game+, letting you take all of your existing Techniques, Gear, and Vanity and pit yourself against a higher difficulty. You'll be dropped into the world after Jin's first confrontation with the Khan, just as the open world, well, opens up.

You will then be able to earn a new type of flower: the Ghost Flower, which you can trade with a new merchant that you'll find in Ariake.

Source: PS Blog


Nuts, buttons, and lights: Further PlayStation 5 details revealed

Over the weekend a couple of Japanese sites got their hands on the PlayStation 5 and a few new details have emerged. The first applies to consoles in Japan only where historically the X button has been used for cancel and the O button has been used for accept, or "OK".

Sony have aligned the Japanese console with the Western version, where the buttons have always been the other way round. This means our Japanese friends are going to have to learn to use the opposite buttons to what they would naturally use, but confusing this only applies to PlayStation 5 games, PS4 games running in backwards compatibility will continue to use the old button functions.

Famitsu editor Kenji Iguchi has this to say on Twitter. 

Wow, this is big news for UI/UX. PlayStation 5 will use the X button to confirm by default for ALL REGIONS including Japan, who previously used O to confirm for the past 26 years. Muscle memory frustration for the nearly 10M PS users in Japan coming up.

In Japan, the "Circle = Good, OK, Correct" symbolism has been common knowledge for many decades. When designing the original PlayStation controller, it was likely that the placement of the O/X were hence made to match the Super Famicom's A/B, and were utilized similarly.

I expect this will go down VERY badly with Japanese players. Unlearning muscle memory acquired through years of repetition is extremely tough. For the short term, I think JP developers are actually going to face MORE dev burden instead of less due to this…

We have also discovered that the DualSense controller has subtle lighting options. Up until now we had only seen the controller with a blue glow but 4Gamer.net have photos showing it with red, purple, and green glows. It is thought these will be used to identify controllers when you are playing local multiplayer games.

Finally, a mysterious nut or latch has been spotted on the PlayStation 5 case. Once again 4Gamer.net are the source but The Verge spotted the metal nugget and many are suggesting this could mean that Sony will be selling alternate shells to the console, great news for those who do not like the white casing. Others are suggesting this is how you access the insides of the PlayStation 5 as Sony have said you can upgrade the SSD drive with a compatible model.

Over the weekend a Russian leak has seemingly revealed that the PlayStation 5 has 664GB of usable storage space for installing games and media from its marketed 825GB SSD.

This would logically make sense, with the marketed size of hard drives and SSDs calculated differently to how computers then view the same storage. 825GB actually equates to 768GB of space when formatted, and it then seems that around 100GB is taken up by the OS and reserved for system features.

Source: Famitsu / Twitter / 4Gamer.net / The Verge


Marvel's Avengers – 1.6% of players have reached max hero Power Level

It's been just over a month since the launch of Marvel's Avengers, and as players wait for new content to be added to the game we thought we'd dive into some game statistics.

These numbers are plucked straight from the PlayStation 4 trophy data for Marvel's Avengers. Of course, it's not 100% representative of the game's total player base (which is spread across Xbox One, PC, and Stadia too) though it gives a good indication of their behaviour.

At the time of writing, less than half of Avengers players have completed the game's solo campaign with 40.9% having unlocked the "New Girl Makes Good" gold trophy. It may not sound like much though there's a chance that many players have dipped straight into the online co-op instead of pursuing the story, wanting to unlock all six playable Avengers as quickly as possible.

In terms of player progression, here are some relevant stats:

  • 1.6% have reached the current 150 maximum Power Level with one hero. This score is determined by your gear and not earned experience points.
  • By extension, 3.5% of players have earned a total of 250 Power Level ranks across their full hero roster.
  • 11.8% have earned enough experience points to reach Hero Level 50 with one character, unlocking all their skills (Time to Shine – Bronze)
  • 14.4% have equipped a hero with Legendary or better gear in each slot (Become Legend)
  • 36.1% have reached Hero Level 5 with 5 different playable characters

Marvel's Avengers – 7 tips & tricks to become Earth's mightiest hero

Marvel's Avengers current sits on "Fair" OpenCritic rating of 68 which no doubt falls short of what Square Enix had been expecting from its bid budget superhero title. Common criticisms include repetitive combat gameplay, not enough enemy variety, and a lack of stand-out Marvel characters to fight against. Of course, this is on top of complaints surrounding the live service structure of Marvel's Avengers and its reliance on co-op multiplayer content. Here are some of our early thoughts about the game:

Marvel's Avengers offers a new approach for a superhero video game, yet one that still feels all too familiar for anyone who's played Destiny, The Division, or Anthem. It's eye-popping in its technical prowess as well as how much it leans on live service hooks, anticipating players will come back day after day. And a lot of players definitely will, especially if they can squad up with friends. Past its flaws and behind the grind, Marvel's Avengers is still a fun superhero brawler that has plenty of room to grow in the coming months.

Several weeks after its launch, our thoughts still reflect how we felt on day one. There's an interesting, if short, string of singleplayer missions to blitz through, giving us fresh yet predictable perspective on Earth's Mightiest Heroes. While we've enjoyed levelling up characters it's hard to ignore the built-in grind, Marvel's Avengers encouraging you to run the same missions over and over just to earn experience points and grab gear with potentially better stats.

Before Marvel's Avengers, there was Marvel Ultimate Alliance

It's easy to see how this could grate on some players, especially those expecting a meaty campaign mode to sink their comic fan fangs into. However, one of the boons of being a live service game is the steady roll out of new features and improvements. Developer Crystal Dynamics have already confirmed that Hawkeye (and Kate Bishop) will be joining the game with Spider-Man swinging into action early next year. Well, on PlayStation 4 at least.


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