Over the weekend, modder Lance McDonald showed Bloodborne running at 60 frames per second on a PlayStation 4 Pro – the culmination of lots and lots of tinkering. It's as beautiful as we all imagined.
Before you get any funny ideas, McDonald says that "out of respect," he won't publicly release his unofficial high-frame-rate patch until after the PlayStation 5 is out in November and Sony has "made it clear whether or not Bloodborne will be enhanced on that system in any way." If that day never comes, "you'll need a way to run unsigned code on a PlayStation console to use the utility once it's released."
As for how any of this is possible, well, his 15-minute video is a great showcase.
This modification was far from a simple flip of a switch with debug tools to uncap the 30FPS limit. "A vast array of features such as cloth physics, particle and special effects, environmental wind, enemy patrol pathing, motion blur, sampling rate, and elevator movement speed" needed "manual patching."
McDonald was able to fine-tune everything by studying From Software's PS4 Pro patch for Dark Souls III and applying his own "performance-focused optimizations" that weren't in that game or Sekiro.
As a trade-off, the rendering resolution was dropped from a native 1080p to 720p. "The engine still scales this to 1080p for the final video output" but it has an impact on "the in-game visuals and UI."
For a full technical rundown, check out Digital Foundry's analysis from May. "A lot of you might have already seen me discussing this with Digital Foundry some time ago," he said this weekend on Reddit, "but I finally spent time to test the entire game a few times through and filmed a ton of footage."
The 60FPS footage was captured in a bunch of areas. According to McDonald, the frame rate holds up consistently "across the majority of the game's campaign, including The Old Hunters expansion."
Pressed for time, I'd suggest skipping to the 5:30 mark to see a boss montage (with major spoilers) that really highlights the patch's dramatic improvement. These scenes – combined with the best-in-class soundtrack – make me want to drop what I'm doing and start a Bloodborne replay right this second.
I truly hope we can get an official PS5 patch. This game-of-a-generation deserves it.
Lance McDonald [Twitter]
Everything, at all times, is dangerous in a battle royale. Everyone has the explicit goal of killing you, and that doesn't make for a lot of downtime and easy breathing. Rarely, though, is the environment trying to kill you too.
PUBG's Season 9 introduces a very unstable battleground. A new map called Páramo is being added. Páramo takes place in the Andes mountains on an active volcano. Battle Royale meets Dante's Inferno.
Páramo is the first dynamic map in PUBG. The developer hasn't really indicated exactly what "dynamic" means in this context. It's presumed that the volcano may or may not blow, and the lava it spews will create unique environmental hazards. However it works, it's touted that every game will be different.
Sonic, despite being a destroyer of chili dogs, keeps a pretty trim figure. He gets the cardio in, putting in enough Miles to warrant as many cheat days as he needs.
That's why it's moderately disturbing to see Sonic within the framework of a rotund Bean. Gaze upon this weirdness:
Fighting game rosters are always fascinating to me. For an industry where fans are always demanding "new, new, new," it's the one genre where old is good. Old characters, old stages, people just want to see everything they're already familiar with plus a couple of new additions to separate the new entry from the old one.
Not every character can be in every entry, and as we've seen in the past with multiple fighting games, those missing favorites can cause an uproar amongst the fanbase. And with social media, that uproar is louder and more annoying than ever. But I get it. Milenna is a great kharacter with a great backstory and mouth so big it makes Steven Tyler's lips look like Betty Boop's.
That's just one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Dan, Charlotte, and Chris come together to talk John Rambo, FIFA 21, Watch Dogs 2, the Monster Hunter movie, Resident Evil reboot, beaches full of drugs, and home baking. All that, plus Michelle Rodriguez's pleather pants, on Podtoid Episode 462.
I really enjoy the Star Wars universe. Not to the point where I know anything about the extended universe, but I like all the movies in their own way. Yes, even the prequels and The Last Jedi. So I'm not the expert that is going to either gush or nitpick when Squadrons throws some new lore my way, but I will admit that I got rather excited when Admiral Ackbar was giving me directions. "I know that guy!" I yelled to no one in particular.
What I also really enjoy is tight, small experiences that do one thing and do it well. This basically summarizes most of the indie scene, but Squadrons also fits the bill. At $40, and with this much polish, it's easy to find an enjoyable experience here.
The first time was the charm and the second time was also the charm, so there's no need to go back to the well a third time. At least not yet.
Moon Studios, who's best-known for Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, isn't doing the 2D metroidvania thing again for its third game. Late last year, we learned through a job listing that Moon's next game will be a next-gen 3D action RPG that's inspired by the likes of Zelda and Diablo. Now, the developer is starting to talk about it just a little bit.
In an interview with The Gamer, Ori lead artist Daniel van Leeuwen says "The new project we're working on is a very different project to what Ori is. So for sure we'll be able to use a lot of things that we weren't able to use in Ori, just because it's a 3D environment. And we're aiming for a few years out so yes, we are looking at a lot of these next-gen techniques."
He continued "I think at Moon we just want to make something that stands out from the crowd, to really drive a strong artistic feeling, and for that we'll have to utilize a lot of techniques that we haven't before."
That probably signals the end of the road for Ori, at least for now. Moon's next game is also breaking free from Xbox exclusivity, as Private Division is publishing it. Microsoft owns the rights to Ori, so there's no chance this action RPG is the evolution of the little woodland creature -- unless Moon has enough cash to buy the property.
The metroidvania platformer market was crowded but Ori came along and towered over most everyone else. The action RPG market is in a similar place. There's no reason to think Moon can't do it again.
Izanagi Games has finally secured a new release date for the PS4 edition of Death Come True. The FMV murder-mystery title will now launch on the PlayStation Store November 12.
Death Come True, the tale of a young man who awakens in a plush hotel suite to find himself both wanted for multiple murders and caught in a time loop, launched on PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile platforms this past summer. A PS4 port was supposed to arrive this week, but was ultimately delayed due to the title requiring re-submission to Sony's classification process.
Gears fans should play Gears Tactics. It's not an essential part of the lore and it's not the classic Gears formula, but there's a lot of familiarity in Gears that translates well to turn-based strategy. I know I'm going to be lobbying for its inclusion in some Game of the Year discussions.
As if being a totally quality game weren't reason enough, here's another carrot on a stick: Gears Tactics protagonist Gabe Diaz will be a playable character in Gears 5 multiplayer. All you have to do is play Gears Tactics on PC or Xbox to unlock him. Gabe joins the roster on November 17, one week after Gears Tactics emerges on Xbox.
Playing a separate game isn't as arduous in this case because of Xbox Game Pass. Both Gears 5 and Gears Tactics are included with Xbox Game Pass, so there's no need to own both of them in order to unlock Gabe. One subscription will have you covered.
Gabe brings another branch of the Diaz family tree to Gears 5. He's Kait's father, and nothing says Daddy Daughter Day like curbstomping some Locust. Don't let him die in multiplayer, though. Canonically, the Rustlung has to do him in.
Gabe Diaz Coming to Gears 5 [Gears Tactics]
Shy Guy, the cute Super Mario villain beloved by our own Wes Tacos, is now available in solid gold form in Nintendo's mobile racer Mario Kart Tour. But anyone wishing to grab the sparkly fella will have to move fast, as he will only be available until October 15.
Gold Shy Guy has been added to the pipe as part of Mario Kart Tour's ongoing anniversary celebrations. Joining him in a special "Gold Pipe" gacha pull are returning rares Gold Koopa, Gold Dry Bones, and Gold Dry Bowser, along with a variety of matching gold karts and gliders. In all, 50 items are available from the Gold Pipe between now and October 15.
Also currently live in the MKT Anniversary Tour are new circuit New York Minute 3, as well as returning favourites Paris Promenade 1, Vancouver Velocity 1, Tokyo Blur 1, and London Loop 1. There is also a fresh opportunity to bag returning drivers Hakama Mario, Vacation Peach, Bus Driver Waluigi, Aurora Rosalina, and Pauline.
Mario Kart Tour is available now on iOS and Android devices.
For the past several years, it's not uncommon to see a Magic: The Gathering meta where a single card archetype is defining the vast majority of competitive decks. We saw it with Oko, then we saw it with Uro. Now we're seeing it again with Omnath: and friends!
These past few weeks, the meta has been absolutely dominated by Omnath, Locus of Creation. While they banned Uro (which further enabled Omnath) and was "monitoring the situation" after that, the community knew it wasn't going to be enough to stop Omnath's dominance. Sure enough, Omnath decks absolutely blew out the most recent competitive runs, leading to today's standard ban. Omnath is even suspended in historic and brawl play as well.
But it's not just Omnath that's getting the ban hammer: Escape to the Wilds and Lucky Clover are hit too. Both products of the extremely wonky Eldraine cycle, they contributed to the power level of adventure and ramp decks, where players would be able to work their way up to late-game board states in the blink of an eye. As it turns out, that doesn't make for a fun game of Magic!
Wizards says that "Four-Color Adventures has become the deck with the highest overall win rate and has a favorable matchup against 9 out of 10 of the other top decks that don't play Omnath." While Escape to the Wilds is commonly used with Omnath, both cards got the boot because Wizards saw a world in which they also dominated the meta. Lotus Cobra and Genesis Ultimatum (two other targets that players thought might be hit) were spared: for now.
It's utterly wild that so many brand new cards have been banned in recent years, but that's the current climate of Magic. It's a brave new world out there! Enjoy your mono-red and Dimir Rogues decks until the meta sorts itself out (hilariously, my first post-ban game was my mono-red deck versus Dimir Rogues; after I had written that out already).
Banned and Restricted Announcement [Wizards of the Coast]
[Update: The original upload was made private, but here's the link to a mirror.]
Depending on where your allegiances lie, it's exactly one month until next-gen arrives or just a little less than that. The PlayStation 5 launches on November 12 and the Xbox Series X launches on November 10. It's close enough to feel in your bones.
These things never go completely without incident and the Xbox Series X already has its first official unboxing. This fella got ahold of an Xbox Series X now that they've made their way to distribution centers, and did us the favor of showing us what's in the box.
This video is a great candidate for a takedown from Microsoft, so we'll give you the play-by-play. The contents are actually pretty minimal. As expected, the console is front-and-center and takes up almost all the space inside the box. There are some marketing materials like an insert that says "Power Your Dreams" lying right on top. The Xbox is wrapped in a black paper that electronics are often swaddled in. A separate compartment houses the controller, HDMI cable, and power cord.
Is it exciting? Now, four paragraphs later, I'm prepared to admit that no, it's not really exciting. He drops the controller at one point, and that injects a sudden rush of adrenaline to the whole video. But, apart from some butterfingers, it's mostly exactly what you'd expect. The Xbox Series X package is extremely functional and light on surprises.
This guy's probably excited, though. He has a dang Xbox Series X a month early. That is until Microsoft sends its reconnaissance agents to take it back.
For a while, Overwatch kept churning out events at such a rapid pace, it was fun to see what the team could come up with. Halloween Terror co-op content? Sure, I'll take it.
But Blizzard could only keep the "brand new" feel train running for so long, and now we've settled into a comfortable cadence of returning events. Halloween Terror returns annually, usually with small twists and new skins on top of the same wave-based foundation. The same thing is happening this year.
Over the weekend, Blizzard confirmed that Halloween Terror is coming on October 13. It'll run through November 3, and as usual, skins are at the forefront of the event. Previous limited-run skins will be available to pick up again (with old ones accompanied with a discount), as well as some new ones teased in the video below (the Echo skin is perfection).
Halloween Terror, without fail, gets me to play even a little bit more Overwatch each year. Recently, the Switch version has been calling to me!
Despite the proven staying presence of Crash Bandicoot in the UK Charts, this week sees Activision's Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time knocked from the number one spot after just one week by Electronic Arts' annual football release, FIFA 21.
But despite this seemingly mighty power play, GamesIndustry.biz notes that the FIFA series continues to see physical sales plummet year-on-year, with the 2021 edition down 43% on physical launch sales on last year's FIFA 20. It's also possible that some fans will be holding off for the next-gen version of FIFA 21, which is set to launch later this year.
Elsewhere in the Top Ten, EA's Star Wars: Squadrons holds fort at number two, while Square Enix' Marvels' Avengers drops four places to number nine. As usual, Nintendo rounds out the rest of the premier league, with steady sales for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Ring Fit Adventure, and two Minecraft titles.
Spellbreak, the spell-slinging fantasy-themed battle royale, is finally out of early access. Naturally, the next step is seasonal updates, which developer Proletariat is ready to talk about.
Teased via a new trailer, the 1.0 edition of the game will be updated on October 22, at which point the "Prologue: The Gathering Storm" edition will hit. Billed as a "major" update, clash mode (team deathmatch) will be the big highlight, as well as new talents, cosmetics and items. It'll be free, naturally.
Digging in, clash will be framed as a 9v9 team deathmatch gametype with squads of three. The cosmetic side is also themed around Halloween, with extras as in-depth as afterglows and emotes in addition to outfits (skins). Variety is something Spellbreak sorely needs, so a new mode should hopefully keep people playing without cannibalizing queue times.
You can also find the basic rundown below, straight from the developer.
Level-5 has been a beloved institution in my household since the year 2000.
Dark Cloud absolutely mesmerized me in a way that many games before it never could. Ever since then the company has been on my radar, and I've truly kept up with them. Professor Layton was a marvel back in the unstoppable era of the DS, and even their oddball spinoffs and niche titles thrilled me on occasion.
Once Ni No Kuni came into the spotlight though Level-5 expanded their dominion even further outside of Japan. But recent years haven't been so kind. Level-5 really pushed hard for Yo-Kai Watch to take off in the west and become the next Pokémon, but it never really happened: and its success in Japan dwindled in recent years. Inheriting Comcept, the troubled developer of Mighty No. 9, also hasn't done them any favors.
Fans of the Gallifreyan time-lord Doctor Who will be pleased to hear that another digital escapade is headed to PC and console platforms early next year. Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is a joint production of BBC Studios, Just Add Water, and Maze Theory.
Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is described as a re-imagined version of 2019 VR release Doctor Who: The Edge of Time. The new game will see the 13th doctor (Jodie Whittaker) team up with the tenth doctor (David Tennant) in a continuation of The Edge of Time's generation-hopping adventure.
Like many other old school collectors, I frequently lament the lack of full-color, detailed manuals in the current climate. The rush of cracking open a new game and reading the entire manual first is something a lot of people will likely never experience in their lifetime.
That said, naturally, there's a lot of waste involved with manuals. A lot of folks aren't quite as giddy about a piece of paper slipped into their game case; and not having to print or design them saves game studios some cash. It's very easy to see why they were phased out, but that doesn't mean they still can't be a niche product.
In addition to all of the collector's editions and companies like Limited Run that keep print media alive, artist Rowan Fox-Noble crafted their own "Super Mario 3D All-Stars Manual." What does it entail? Well, it's a lot like the manuals of old. It's 44-ages, with sections for the main game, Mario 64, Sunshine and Galaxy. It also provides a soundtrack list, as well as controls for each individual game and what each power-up does.
Most importantly, it provides star checklists! This thing is incredible. You can find the listing over on Etsy, where Fox-Noble is offering a week-one discount. For reference, they create several other "companion booklets" for other Switch games.
Rez is absolutely timeless.
I can't believe it came out in 2001, but the even crazier realization is that so many powers that be have kept this classic alive for so long. It easily could have died on the Dreamcast and PS2, becoming an urban legend: the sort of $150 disc that's passed around in whispers at tradeshows. Instead it got a new lease on life in 2016 on the PS4 with the Infinite edition. The rest is history.
This one is here to stay.
Tomorrow sees the official launch of epic adventure sequel Torchlight III, which is finally ready to open its dungeon doors after spending the past few months in Early Access.
Publisher Perfect World Entertainment has released a lengthy overview video to showcase the sequel's classes, customisable forts, skillsets and - most importantly - pets. Whether you enter the dungeon armed with crossbow, blunderbuss, or axe, accompanied by dog, wolf, owl, or... erm... alpaca, many monster-filled floors of high-adventure and glorious looting action awaits.
Torchlight III launches tomorrow, October 13, on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. It will arrive on Nintendo Switch later in 2020.
Genshin Impact is already pretty packed for a free game, but a recent blog post from developer and publisher miHoYo sheds some light on what's in the pipeline.
According to the post, miHoYo is aiming for updates "every six weeks," with patches arriving on Wednesdays. The studio says that patches won't just be technical fixes and the like either, as each will come "with its own themed activities."
We'll get the first one on November 11, which will add the Unreconciled Stars event. On December 23 the next update will follow suit, adding a brand new area (Dragonspine) and extra content. In February of 2021, a Lantern Rite event is a go. Presumably, the "six weeks" format will continue after that.
Smaller quality of life changes are also coming to Genshin Impact, like the ability to track the stuff you find in the game with a compendium-like tool and quick-use items. Truth be told I'm fairly content with how the actual game works foundationally; it would just be great to have more activities to do between leveling.
Genshin Impact [miHoyo]
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the best and worst game to try and preview.
On the one hand, there are questions – about the new protagonist, the shift to JRPG combat, and the English VO – that people want answered. On the other, Yakuza is a go-at-your-own-pace sorta series, the kind that lets you obsess over dramatic big-picture moments while also immersing yourself, for hours on end, in surprisingly in-depth management sim mini-games and silly one-off side stories.
Trying to convey everything I want to convey within the confines of a particularly-worded NDA – using a save file that starts with Chapter 5, "five to seven hours into an average playthrough" – will be tricky.
As anyone who has replaced their drifting Switch Joy-Con knows: those little controllers can get pretty expensive to replace.
The asking price, in US dollars, for a pair of Joy-Con is $80, which is a huge amount of money to spend, even if you're just looking to replace one busted remote at $40. It's been this way for many years as Nintendo hardware rarely drops in price this close to release, but there might be some hope out of Japan.
Spotted by Japanese Nintendo, the price of Joy-Con remotes in the region have dropped from 4,480 yen per remote to 3,740 yen per remote (before tax) on the official store. That's roughly $5 per remote, which would put a new $80 bundle at $70, US. That bundle, mind, is still 7,480 yen (about $80): it's just the single Joy-Con that are being discounted.
Still, I'll take it! Going into the new generation, it's already going to be a pain to buy (and potentially replace) brand new PS5 controllers.
Yesterday saw the eighth anniversary of celebrated adventure series Bravely Default. In lieu of any actual news, publisher Square Enix simply tweeted out the announcement that new info pertaining to anticipated sequel Bravely Default II would be coming "soon."
In addition, Square also released a cute sketch of series heroes Ringabel and Edea Lee, as realised by artist Naoki Ikushima. You can check out the artwork and Square's succinct message in the tweet below.
Bravely Default launched on Nintendo 3DS in Japan on October 11, 2012, before heading west in expanded form in 2013. The series has since seen the release of tie-in in manga and drama CDs, alongside browser game Praying Barge and spin-off release Bravely Second: End Layer.
Bravely Default II is currently in development for Nintendo Switch.
Bravely Default II news coming soon [Gematsu]
Super Mario Bros. for the NES wasn't my first game, but it was the first cartridge I ever owned. I treated it like a sacred talisman.
In between Duck Hunt bouts, I made it my mission to memorize the ins and outs of each and every level. Eventually, I got to the end. That simplicity couldn't have come at a more perfect time in my life.
Games have changed a lot in the last 35 years or so, which makes it tough to really dig into Super Mario Bros. 35's streamlined veneer. But it sure is fun in short bursts.
Arc System Works has revealed another all-new character headed to its gorgeous-looking anime fighter Guilty Gear Strive. And this one's a doozy. Presenting super-cool federal agent, Giovanna.
On previous lists looking on the Pokémon meta, we've seen both brand new Pokémon set the tier list aflame as well as witness old favorites continue holding down the fort. Now it's time to see what has changed since the base game launched with how the Isles of Armor brought back classic Pokémon, gave current dex Pokémon new tools, and determine how some returning legendaries may fare when the Crown Tundra releases.
Some that were on previous versions of the list, like Gyarados, are still dangerous owing to the strength and longevity of their sets. Others, like Durant, will experience a dip in usage as old rivals like Scizor return, better than ever with new moves like Dual Wingbeat for Scizor specifically.
Cblogs Recap: Week 41
There's no two ways about it, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is one of the major successes of 2020. While the lead-up to Mediatonic's madcap multiplayer title was somewhat subdued, Fall Guys absolutely exploded onto the scene come launch day, even going as far as to crash its own servers under the incredible weight of players eager to get their bean on.
Fall Guys became a household name practically overnight, many of my friends and relatives - including those who generally don't play video games - asked me about it. Hell, even the staff at my local coffee shop were chatting to me about their crown-grasping escapades over the counter (and through plexiglass dividers - mask up, folks). There is that magical zeitgeist that comes around once so often, the zeitgeist where your mum suddenly starts asking you about video games. And Fall Guys had it.
Hamster has released the newest entry to its incredible range of Arcade Archive releases, which now boasts hundreds of old-school coin-op classics. And they don't get much more old-school than this, Sun Electronics' Arabian.
Originally launched in 1983, Arabian is single-screen platformer as was typical of the day. Players control a brave prince on a quest to rescue his fair princess, held prisoner within her own palace. Our young hero sails the seven seas, ventures through dense jungle, and scales the outside of the palace, before finally saving the girl and taking flight on the obligatory magic carpet. The player must gather a selection of vases, spelling out "ARABIAN," while dodging various enemies and hazards strewn throughout the environment.
You can check out the action below, in this video from YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming.
October is here and that can only mean one thing: terrible novelty songs on the radio. There are several Halloween songs out there, but obviously, the most well-known is "Monster Mash" by Bobby Pickett. But is the song "Monster Mash" about a song called "Monster Mash" or a dance called "Monster Mash?" Or is it both? Or does it not matter because this is the type of argument you should only have if you're high?
That's one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Chris, Dan, and Occams come together to talk Genshin Impact, Super Mario 35, Inframan, granny getaway drivers, and Mafia: Definitive Edition. All that, plus we answer your listener questions, on Podtoid Episode 461.
Spike Chunsoft has released the fourth episode of its excellently in-depth "Dangan TV" show, looking at the inspiration and creation of the adorable and maniacal Danganronpa franchise. The video series was produced as part of the ongoing anniversary celebrations for the visual novel franchise, which has presented fans with a decade of destruction.
Following previous episodes - which focused on specific franchise entries - Episode 4: Hope Keeps on Going is more of a series overview, spotlighting one of Danganronpa's most important features: its stylish soundtrack. Host Megumi Ogata returns to hold court with series planner Shun Sasaki, sound designer Jun Fukuda, and composer Masafumi Takada, whose memorable tunes have scored many a brutal murder and intense confession.
Hello again everybody, and welcome to another weekend. As we already push toward the middle of October in what has been simultaneously the shortest AND longest year in the history of time, I hope that this post finds you very well indeed. The challenge that is 2020 continues, but I hope that you're keeping safe and healthy, and finding plenty of opportunity to rest, recharge, and sink yourself into things that you love, be it video games, movies, music, books, or the warm arms of partners, friends, or doges. You're doing just fine.
As we approach the lucrative holiday season, its time for AAA publishers to start unleashing their heavy-hitters - heavier than ever given the approaching new generation. As such, I've spent the last couple of days checking out Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta. For some reason, whenever people need to be blown up, stabbed, or shot, the lords of Destructoid always call on lil' old me, the Bernadetta of the team, to get the job done.
But that's enough about me, let's hear about you. I love the fact that you continue to fill out the comment section each and every week with hundreds of posts discussing your current gaming obsessions with your fellow community members. So whatever it is you're playing, whether an old favourite, a recent release, or just grinding through the backlog, be sure to take a moment to fill us all in on the action. You might even find your next obsession in the discourse while you're at it.
Have a safe and pleasant weekend, from all of us at Destructoid.
Back in 2016, Amazon Game Studios made a big deal about breaking into the industry when it announced three huge projects that would release over the coming years. Breakaway, Crucible, and New World were all ambitious titles, each drawing on some of the biggest trends in the industry at the time. Unfortunately for Amazon, things have not gone its way. Breakaway was a bust, shutting down in 2018. New World is still on the way, though it's launching later than originally planned.
Then there is Crucible and its odd journey to release and then un-release. The game launched in May of this year, only to go back into beta less than two months later. The plan was to fix what was wrong with the game, but that didn't happen. Instead, it was announced Friday night that Crucible is no more.
In an update posted to the PlayCrucible website, the developers confirmed they are discontinuing development on the title. Servers for the game will remain online until November 9, 2020, and they are offering a full refund for any purchases made. The developers are transitioning over to work on New World.
It's tough to know what to say about this whole situation. We've seen games-as-a-service titles fail quickly before, but the fact is, we're four years out from Amazon Games Studios' big reveal of its grand entrance into the industry, and it really has nothing to show for itself. All that money spent, all those studios acquired, and all those big names hired, for two absolute clunkers. Maybe the third time will be the charm, and New World does sound interesting, but will there even be a market for it when it launches next year? Or, will all the hubris and errors in judgment that have plagued Amazon so far continue to spoil its ability to compete in this industry?
The Indivisible roadmap has come to an abrupt end. This crowdfunded game will cease development without fulfilling all content obligations to backers. That's because developer Lab Zero is being dissolved.
A month ago, it was revealed that Lab Zero underwent massive layoffs as the studio was unable to pay its employees. Now, there's one more Indivisible update on Switch before development and the developer shuts down for good. On October 13, Indivisible's Switch port will get a patch that adds Razmi's Challenges, New Game+, and local co-op. That'll bring the Switch version up to speed with the other platforms.
Here's the statement that publisher 505 Games released:
As information continues to trickle out about next-gen consoles, we keep getting new pieces of the puzzle that inform our purchasing decisions. Here's a relatively niche one from Digital Foundry that's going to become increasingly relevant over time: Any old SSD is a good option for storing and running backward compatibility games on Xbox Series X.
Digital Foundry's extensive breakdown is embedded above, but the gist of it is that the Xbox Series X's expensive proprietary nVME SSD doesn't offer much of an advantage over a SATA SSD when it comes to the backward compatibility library. We're talking load speed differential of around one second.
The reason for this is that backward compatibility titles don't make use of the Velocity Architecture that Microsoft has developed for video games on Xbox Series X. Without that optimization, the proprietary SSDs are just acting like SSDs. Considering the price point of an average SATA SSD versus the $220 Seagate Xbox Series X SSD, it'd be foolish to waste precious internal storage space on backward compatible games.
However, and this is important to note, any Xbox Series X optimized title has to run off of the internal storage or the proprietary external SSD (which functions the exact same as the internal SSD). The SATA SSD option is only applicable to backward compatibility for that reason. But, seeing as how every generation of Xbox coming together is one of Microsoft's selling points, most people will probably have some old stuff that they want to keep installed.
The other takeaway is that everyone should probably stop running their games off of HDDs if they can afford to. Spinning disk drives lag way behind everything else in these tests. If the next generation is largely about getting you into your games quickly, why pay for the new machines just to undo those advantages with inferior tech?
Bandai Namco has revealed the first DLC character of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4's third character pack - as if its roster wasn't already bursting at the seams. As revealed in Weekly Famitsu, the next seafaring legend to join the party is the mighty samurai Kin'emon.
Hailing from Wano Country, Kin'emon was once a retainer for the country's powerful rulers, the Kozuki Family. However, once his Wano fell to the Kurozumi Orochi, Kin'emon took to the ocean, searching for brave warriors to aid him in his efforts to take back his homeland. To this end, Kin'emon formed his own party, the Nine Red Scabbards, and has allied with the Straw Hat Pirates on numerous occasions.
One of the omnipresent conversations hanging over the next generation of consoles is what exact tech improvements can we expect. Everyone has come to terms with the fact that this isn't going to be mindblowing stuff like moving from SNES to N64 back in 1996. We may never see that kind of jump ever again.
As we inch closer to the launch of PS5 and Xbox Series X -- and we're almost exactly a month away at this point -- we're starting to see some hard data about what new consoles are able to achieve. This morning, The Falconeer's developer, Tomas Sala, shared exact performance comparisons for how his game runs on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X:
Look, we've been through this before, so I'm setting the expectation that there is no new confirmation of another Skies of Arcadia game in the slightest. Even though we all want it to be so.
But no one is quite as much of a champion for this classic RPG than Kenji Hiruta, one of the lead designers of the game. For many, many years now he's been tweeting about it on occasion, like earlier this year when he noted that he "really, really" wanted to develop the sequel. The fervor over this particular push was so great that Hiruta said that he was even sending all of the outpouring of cries for a sequel to Sega directly: which hopefully will pay off one day.
For now, Hiruta is turning his gaze to something much more attainable: an HD remaster. Tweeting on the 20th anniversary of Skies of Arcadia, he once again notes that all of this "depends on Sega," and that he is "working on something related to Sega of America." He says that whatever this development is it "may be a small change, but not zero. WE are changing something."
Vague! But of course Hiruta is bound by NDAs and can't share what it is just yet. My guess? Merch. That would be a "small" change, but something that brings Skies of Arcadia back in the public eye again in some capacity. Perhaps Hiruta can use monetary gains to prove to Sega that people still care about this series.
It's a longshot! But I'll take it. You know what? I probably should make a Skies of Arcadia news tag at some point. Why not now?
Kenji Hiruta [Twitter]
I'm not about to argue that any of us should prioritize getting Sackboy: A Big Adventure over other PlayStation 5 launch games like Demon's Souls or Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but you know what? It looks better every time I see it. This latest trailer – a story spotlight – fills me with feel-good vibes.
Squaring everything away for local multiplayer on PS5 will be a pricey proposition – you would need a ($70) DualSense for everyone since DualShock 4 controllers won't support PS5 games – but there is a silver lining. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is also playable on PS4 as a $60 cross-gen release.
Unlike Horizon Forbidden West or even Miles Morales, I'm not too worried about any potential performance concessions with the PS4 version of Sackboy. (I hope I don't regret that optimism.) For those of us with way too many DualShock 4s, it just makes sense to go that route for couch co-op.
Save data for Sackboy will transfer from PS4 to PS5 once an update rolls out "shortly after the release of the game," according to Sony. This process "will vary title by title for cross-generational games."
The free PS5 pack-in Astro's Playroom will be a nice warmup for whenever I get around to playing Sackboy, but I get the distinct feeling that most of us will skip this at launch and circle back later.
Let's use the buddy system: I'll remind you if you remind me – preferably once there's a deal.
Super Mario Bros. 35 is out now for all Switch Online subscribers, and I highly recommend you give it a try.
It's a perfect random weekend game, given that the stakes are generally low round-to-round and if you don't like it, you can move on to something else. There's definitely room for improvement, but for now, Nintendo is working on fixing some bugs with its first patch (1.0.1).
The patch notes are extremely simple: three issues have been fixed, one of which essentially equates to the good old "stability" patches Nintendo is known for. The other two specifically address problems like enemies flooding the screen without Mario having to move forward, as well as bugs with player icons not showing up.
However, there is no mention of fixing players who have potentially hacked the game, who have been sporting 99,999 coins in matches (allowing them to stand still and spam the item roulette to tackle any situation). Hopefully Nintendo is able to address that issue soon enough.
Version 1.0.1 [Nintendo]
Xbox has channeled its inner Epic and is bringing that Fuck You energy to its battle with Apple. Everyone has a problem with the draconian way Apple runs its App Store. Currently, Microsoft is jammed up because it can't bring Xbox Game Pass game streaming to iOS devices without passing a review for each and every individual game on the service. Amazon's Luna and Google's Stadia are in the exact same situation.
"Nah, that's not how this is going down," Xbox says (probably). According to a report from Bloomberg, Xbox head Phil Spencer called a meeting with all employees to declare that Xbox game streaming will be on iOS devices in 2021. So, what changed? Microsoft found a workaround.
Next year, Xbox Game Pass will be offered on iPhones and iPads via a "direct browser-based solution." Because Xbox Game Pass won't be an app, it won't be subject to the usual App Store policies. Now Microsoft's challenge is building out a browser version that's functional in ways that offer a smooth app-like experience. Nevertheless, Spencer is quoted as saying "We absolutely will end up on iOS with Game Pass."
In the same meeting, Spencer also confirmed that getting game streaming onto Windows 10 PC is still in the works but has been pushed back to next year. This is a feature that Microsoft confirmed in 2019. It's presumed that this will operate through the Game Pass app on PC, but there's a chance there will be an option for a browser-based experience too.
Microsoft told employees it plans to release a browser-based app for the Xbox Game Pass streaming service next year that will get around Apple App Store rules: 'We absolutely will end up on iOS' [Bloomberg]
After hearing the good news today about the PlayStation 5's backward compatibility plan for PS4 games – in short: almost everything will work on the new console – we're now left to think about which of our PS4 games will be particularly well-suited for PS5. Ghost of Tsushima is in that conversation.
According to Sucker Punch Productions, PS5 players will be able to benefit from "frame rates up to 60FPS" in Ghost of Tsushima using the Game Boost feature. They'll also get even faster load times.
PS5 owners playing with Game Boost will see an extra option to allow frame rates up to 60FPS, and while loading speeds on the PS4 are already great, just wait until you see them on the PS5!— Ghost of Tsushima ð® OUT NOW (@SuckerPunchProd) October 9, 2020
"Select PS4 titles will see increased loading speeds on the PS5 console, and will also leverage Game Boost, offering improved or more stable frame rates," Sony explained today in a blog post. "Some titles with unlocked frame rates or dynamic resolution up to 4K may see higher fidelity."
It makes sense that a late-PS4 gem like Ghost of Tsushima would use this PS5 feature, but it's always nice to hear these things confirmed ahead of time so we aren't left wondering. It's also interesting that the frame rate increase is coming as an "extra option." Performance over resolution, always.
If you've got Ghost of Tsushima already, or you're planning to start soon, note that your PS4 save file will transfer and the game will be playable on PS5 "on day one" through backward compatibility. Talk about a convincing reason to pick this back up again with the soon-to-be-released New Game+ mode.
If most other major PS4 exclusives can see improvements like this, the PS5 will be off to a strong start.
Amid the new Festival of the Lost celebration in Destiny 2, Bungie recently shared a new development in Destiny 2's New Light experience: a completely overhauled new player onboarding process.
Bungie shared some concerns recently that brand new players, some of which who have never played a looter shooter before, are becoming overwhelmed by the pacing of the game. I can easily see that, because by their own admission, you basically get one level to really get your bearings, then it's off to the races. That's changing later this year.
On November 10, alongside of the new update, Destiny 2 will be getting a special NPC that will assist players in learning the ropes. "Shaw Han" will be wandering around the Cosmodrome wasteland and will accompany you for the "first few missions." These new quests will allow you to learn more about the loot system, as well as multiple weapon types, the UI and even things like quest collection and completion.
Bungie says that the goal is to fully educate players on the various facets of Destiny 2 before they are on their own in The Tower: the game's hub zone. They also are banking hard on the nostalgia factor of the Cosmodrome itself, which will feature areas from the original Destiny. Ah, it feels like just yesterday I was playing the alpha, then discovering the loot cave, then grinding out the Vault of Glass for raid gear.
Time flies! Now new players can forge their own memories by jumping into Destiny 2: this game needed something like this for a while.
This Week at Bungie [Bungie.net]
Bloober Team has narrowed the holiday release window for The Medium down to its final release date: December 10, 2020. The dual-reality psychological horror game will be playable on PC – through Steam, the Epic Games Store, and the Microsoft Store – and also Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
Having been burned by launch-window console games before, for me – and I hope this doesn't sound too reductive – The Medium has fallen into that weird gray area where I can't tell if it stands out because it's an early next-gen game or because it's just inherently that compelling on its own. A little of both, maybe? The spirit-world premise is promising, and they've got Akira Yamaoka, so I'm feeling hopeful.
One thing I am sure about: the price. It's nice to see this game launch at "only" $50 when higher-profile games are coming out of the gate at $70. I'm sure it'll find an audience beyond Bloober Team's base.
We're knee-deep in October, and already people are starting to feel those creepy Halloween vibes. Such is the case with Splatoon 2 hosts Pearl and Marina, who are set to do battle once again in the Nintendo Switch shooter.
Nintendo has announced the coming of another classic splatfest, which will see the community duke it out over the Halloween tradition of "Trick or Treat." Of course, the mischievous Pearl will be standing firmly in the corner of Team Trick, while her more happy-go-lucky pal Marina will captain Team Treat.
Players will pick their preference before engaging in multicoloured warfare over the course of the weekend, with the winning team being decided by three points earned via Normal Play, Pro Play, and a public vote. Back in 2018, Marina's Team Treat took the win by capturing both play points, despite losing the public vote. Will this year tell a different tale?
The Halloween splatfest goes live the weekend of October 30. Stay Off the Hook.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is set to bust the whole lore framework of Breath of the Wild wide open.
While a lot of folks expected it to be another hack and slash first and foremost, it seems like Omega Force and Nintendo are really going all-out in terms of providing extra depth to the Hyrule that was introduced to us in 2017. The first major tidbit that's come out of a recent Treehouse stream? Link is from Hateno Village.
Okay, so astute Breath of the Wild fans (the ones that read the compendium books) probably already assumed this. In fact, in the Creating a Champion tome, it was specifically mentioned that Link is "not of nobility," and "may have been" from Hateno Village. The idea of Link coming from a small town and becoming Zelda's most trusted knight would certainly fit with Link's noble origins in most of the series. You can hear the Treehouse bit on Hateno village here, roughly 12:20 in.
The other implication, of course, that people are now wrestling with: Link probably had to buy-back his own house in Hateno! Folks may remember a similar thing happening to Bilbo Baggins at the end of The Hobbit. But in the realm of Hyrule, waiting 100 years to start demolishing someone's house seems like it's the right amount of time.
All of this is making me more excited for Age of Calamity: hearing it confirmed on-stream as a plot point is something else entirely when compared to reading a small passage in passing in a book. It seems like Age of Calamity will directly deal with the origins of Link, and potentially most of the other cast, who only play supporting roles in Breath of the Wild.
Fallout 76 is still playing the catch-up game in terms of making up for all of its bugs at launch, but the team is slowly getting there (minus new glitches that pop up along the way).
The next update finally has a confirmed release date (October 13), at which point "a number of bugs and community-reported issues" will be fixed. Naturally, since this is Fallout 76, new items are being added to the Atomic Shop and more "behind the scenes groundwork" is happening for the upcoming Steel Dawn update, still slated for later this year.
Treasure hunting Mole Miners are also coming back via an event, which will kick off on October 15. Bethesda is touting "improvements" for their return, allowing them to spawn all over the map and dynamically scale up to level 50. In short, they should be dropping more relevant loot now and actually feel like they're part of an event; and not just a random useless mob. The reward pool has also been scaled in a way that provides players with unique items. Yep: this is all Destiny-esque stuff that should have never been stingy!
Speaking of an earlier beat, "laying the groundwork" for Steel Dawn is a good sign that the next expansion/update probably won't get delayed. Real talk: that's going to be a huge boon for Fallout 76, which is already in a decent spot following the major free Wastelanders update. The seasonal track and enhanced focus on Fallout 1st/microtransactions aren't great, but the game has been bolstered by a great deal of free stuff.
If you ever happen to pick the game up at a deep discount and don't spend any money, you can get a decent amount of time out of it.
Inside the Vault [Bethesda.net]
For years, a common Final Fantasy XIV (and by extension, PS4) "hack" has to been to install an SSD drive in your PS4 just to lessen the load times for hardcore XIV players. Given that the whole process won't be necessary on PS5, it stands to reason that the in-house SSD will provide some sort of benefit. Square Enix confirmed today that this is indeed the case.
Revealed on the Letter from the Producer LIVE stream, Square Enix says that by the time patch 5.4 comes out (which is titled Futures Rewritten), it will allow the game to not only work on the PS5, but also take advantage of faster load times. Otherwise, the game will mirror a PS4 Pro's performance on a PS5.
As someone who has played FFXIV on an SSD-ready PC, a PS3 and a base PS4/PS4 Pro, this improvement is a godsend. Even on a Pro, load times between areas (which is very common for high level players, teleporting around at will) can be prohibitively long. That said, producer Yoshi-P did note that a proper PS5 edition has not been fully confirmed yet.
As far as other big 5.4 fixins go, there's going to be a new trial, an unreal trial, more story ("MSQ"), another raid wing (Eden's Promise) and the Matoya's Relict dungeon. Once again Square Enix is ambitiously trying to sate both the hardcore and casual playerbases with these two different approaches.
Final Fantasy XVI seems like it's in good hands.
We already sort of knew this because Yoshi-P was on the case, but Square Enix seemingly hasn't jumped the gun years in advance like they have in the past. In fact, a good deal of Final Fantasy XVI's foundation seems like it's already done.
Laid out plainly on Square Enix's own recruitment site (as translated by Gematsu), developers have "already completed basic development and scenario production," with "most of [their] staff carrying out work remotely." Right now the team is working on "large-scale resources and boss battles," as well as "large-scale cutscenes and stages/fields."
In other words, most of the story seems mapped out, they just need to fill in the details. This is basically a done deal when it comes to the framework of the game, so there probably won't be a "Versus XIII" style complete reworks at this point. It's a subtle comment, but it's an impactful one.
No one wants a repeat of Final Fantasy XV's troubled development cycle: which had issues up until the bitter end when multiple DLCs were canceled. Yoshi-P is handling this fantastically so far, both tempering expectations while giving the fans what they want: a debut trailer with actual gameplay and not vague cutscene-based promises.
Ever since Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 5 would be backward compatible with PS4 games, there has been a cloud of confusion hanging over its functionality. It doesn't extend to any generations before PS4, and PlayStation architect Mark Cerny says "nearly all" last-gen games will run on PS5. We've been left wondering how vast that list of omissions will be.
As it turns out, it's not bad at all. Sony released a list of the 10 games that won't be available via backward compatibility and are only playable on PS4. Here they are: