As live sports continue to struggle to find their place in a COVID world where a vaccine has not yet been developed and readily available, virtual sports are, well, stronger than ever. Madden NFL 21 released earlier this year on previous gen consoles, and while we found it a tad on the stagnant side, the game seems to have done just as well as you'd expect sales-wise. Now it's time for it to bring the game for the next generation systems that have just launched.
EA saw fit to release a next generation-based trailer to highlight the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of the game. The obvious differences are the improved graphics as well as animations, but the big thing they are trying to highlight is 'next gen stats'. Apparently, AI will move alongside actual data gathered from actual players and will be updated as time goes on. You'll also have a chance to have detailed replays with stat breakdowns.
Madden NFL 21 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The PS5 and Xbox Series X/S version will launch on December 4th, and those on PS4/Xbox One will get a free upgrade for a limited time. You can read the full details on that and the versions themselves through here.
It's been quite some time since we got a Lord of the Rings game, but that should change next year with The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. The game has a much more unique look than what we've had in past game adaptations, and has a focus on stealth and parkour-like movements. Originally revealed for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, it was later announced that the game would be seeing a release on previous gen hardware. But still, it will take advantage of these new machines, and we've got some details specifically on the PS5.
In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine (December 2020), Daedalic Entertainment's Jonas Husges gave us a few of the details. First and foremost, he says the game will have ray tracing on the PS5, and talks up the speed of the SSD, saying "restarting a section after a miscalculated jump or a deadly encounter with an orc guard will be instantaneous. We very much want to encourage players to experiment and the SSD takes a big obstacle away." That, of course, will also most likely apply to the Xbox Series X/S version as well, or could anyway, especially in regards to the new incredible loading speeds with the SSD.
As far as PS5-only features, it will have support for haptic feedback and adaptive triggers and says it will help to emulate Gollum's struggle through the game. He doesn't get specific, but says, "Gollum's actions become more tangible and his physical struggle when he runs out of stamina translates directly to the way the game is played."
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is set to release on the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and PC sometime in 2021.
Persona 5 helped to kick the doors down for Atlus' RPG series, with it and its enhanced re-release, Persona 5 Royal, having critical acclaim as well as huge financial success. Already, it's had a few high profile spin-offs, with the biggest one being Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers, a mousu take on the franchise that actually sees a direct continuation of the Persona 5 story. Despite the game apparently doing well in its homeland, and the new fond success of the series, the game has been MIA outside Japan almost a year later. Well, that could be changing soon.
As spotted by Persona Central, three different Asain retailers are now listing Persona 5 Scramble with a new date: Pakistani-based Toy or Game, Singapore's Qishan and Indonesian retailer PS Enterprise. These are Region 3 English releases, which would be aimed at Southeast Asian territories. What makes these important is that they explicitly list an English voiced language option, not just text, and this kind of release was a precursor to the worldwide release of Persona 5 Royal. All three also list the same date of February 23rd, 2021.
Persona 5 Scramble released in February 20th of this year in Japan for both PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, meaning if this ends up accurate it will release in the west over a full year after that initial launch. If it is the date, we probably don't have to wait too long until the official announcement, so stay tuned.
Godfall was with us pretty much from the beginning of this new generation as it was one of the first games that was revealed to be coming to the PS5. Since that time, it was marketed pretty aggressively with tons of information coming out at a consistent basis. In the end, it was an okay experience, but we felt it ended up a tad short. Despite being so tied to the PS5, though, it did also launch on PC at the same time, and today that version got a new addition. Or well, some PCs did, it's more accurate to say.
With the latest update to the PC version, the game has enabled ray tracing, something that it lacked at launch. There is a bit of a catch, though, as it's only available with applicable AMD GPUs. It's probably due to a marketing deal of some kind. For those using a Nvidia GPU, it was confirmed that it will come to those in the future, though no time frame was given.
Godfall is available now for PlayStation 5 and PC. It has been confirmed to be a timed console exclusive to PS5 for six months.
Update 2.0.95 has just been deployed to the PC version of Godfall and is now available for users to download. This update enables ray tracing while using applicable AMD GPUs.
— Godfall (@PlayGodfall) November 18, 2020
Marvel's Avengers has been far from the smashing success Square Enix had been hoping it would be. The game's player base has been floundering since launch, and it's driven major losses for the publisher. Developers Crystal Dynamics has said that new upcoming content will bring players back into the fold, and that new content is coming soon.
Initially scheduled to release in October, the Kate Bishop DLC got delayed not long ago. Now, the developers have announced a new War Table video airing tomorrow, November 19, at 8 AM Pacific (so just a few hours from now), which will focus on Kate Bishop and her moveset. It's likely that a new release date for the DLC will be announced as well.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye was next in line as the second DLC character are Kate Bishop, due out in November, but that schedule got pushed back following the aforementioned delay. It remains to be seen whether we'll learn more about the Hawkeye DLC's new release timing as well.
Currently, Marvel's Avengers is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia, and is also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S via backward compatibility. Dedicated versions for the new consoles are coming some time next year.
Motive Studios has some free content coming up for Star Wars: Squadrons, starting on November 25th which provides balance changes and a new multiplayer map – Fostar Haven. It will be available in Fleet Battles and Dogfight Mode. Four new components will also be added – the Boost Extension Kit for Fighters and Bombers; Ion Rockets for Interceptors and Fighters; and much more.
Sometime in December, the developer will be adding two new Starfighters – the B-Wing for the New Republic and the TIE Defender for the Empire. While the former is classified as a Bomber, the latter is a Fighter but each has their own unique properties. The B-Wing offers a gyro-cockpit while the TIE Defender has shields.
Custom Matches are also coming which will allow up to five players on two teams to battle across seven maps in Dogfight and Fleet Battles (with more likely coming later). Players can modify damage, capital ship health, ban certain Starfighters and much more. There will even be a server browser to search for custom matches. Stay tuned for more details on this update in the coming weeks.
Hugues Ricour,managing director of Ubisoft Singapore which is currently developing Skull and Bones, has been removed from his position. Kotaku reported his removal after obtaining an email from chief studios operating officer Virginie Haas to staff. Haas stated that, "The results of the leadership audit that was conducted in the last few weeks by our external partners makes it impossible for him to continue in this position."
Though Haas didn't explicitly state the reason, Ricour's name came up amidst fresh allegations of abuse at Ubisoft by Gamasutra. Ubisoft Singapore was outed for racist and sexist behavior, along with lack of action by upper management to reported abuse. Ricour in particular had been accused of "multiple sources of sexual harassment" and was known for "bullying, demeaning comments, and retaliatory action against those perceived to have stood up to him."
Haas stated Matthew Thorpe, Ubisoft Singapore's director of operations, and Debbie Lee, human resources director, would "ensure a smooth transition in the interim." There will also apparently be a town hall at the studio to address employees and field questions concerning Ricour.
Interestingly, an update was just provided to Kotaku about Ricour's current status. A Ubisoft spokersperson stated that, "We can confirm that Hugues Ricour is both stepping down from his role as MD and also leaving the Singapore studio, but will remain at Ubisoft." No reason was given for his departure.
Ricour is one of many Ubisoft senior employees to be removed following allegations of misconduct and abuse, joining the likes of Serge Hascoët and Ashraf Ismail. As for Skull and Bones, it's apparently still a long way off from launch and has seen "multiple revisions" as per three sources with knowledge of development. Stay tuned for more details and updates on the studio in the meantime.
The Creative Assembly continues to support a number of different Total War games, including the recently released A Total War Saga: Troy. However, its next title is already seemingly in development. The developer released a new, unnamed teaser trailer that potentially hints at what it could be. Check it out below.
The most obvious guess is that this is Total War: Warhammer 3. The developer confirmed the title's existence back in September 2019 and noted that it was "deep in development." An announcement could be coming up, perhaps at The Game Awards 2020 in December (though it could likely happen before, as well).
Total War: Warhammer 2 launched in 2017 and has seen strong support from the developer ever since with expansion packs, free updates and much more. The question now is whether Mortal Empires – which collects all of the different factions into one big battle for supremacy – featuring all three games in the series would be possible. As always, stay tuned for more details and updates in the meantime.
Immortals Fenyx Rising has looked like an interesting experiment on Ubisoft's part since they first revealed it as Gods and Monsters, and even though the game has clearly gone through major changes during development, it's still looking like an exciting new open world IP. There isn't long left until we actually get to play the game ourselves, so as we count down the days to its launch, in this feature, we'll be talking about some important things that you should know about it.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is going to take players to the world of Greek mythology, which, frankly, is a setting and backdrop that video games have been using extensively for years- but the way Immortals is approaching it is still interesting. You play as Fenyx, a Greek soldier who's stranded on the Golden Isle, and you've been tasked with rescuing the Greek pantheon from the titan Typhon, who's hellbent on revenge against the gods after Zeus and company banished him and sealed him away in Tartaros. Zeus and Prometheus are both co-narrators of the game's story, and Immortals is said to be approaching things with a rather light-hearted tone- which is a rather interesting combination.
As you'd expect from a modern-day Ubisoft game, Immortals Fenyx Rising is going to let players loose in a vast open world setting. The Golden Isle is divided into seven distinct regions, each one themed around a specific god from the Greek pantheon- like the Forgelands, of the blacksmith god Hephaistos, which is teeming with mechanical structures, forges, and automaton enemies. With volcanoes, snowy mountains, lush green fields, and more, Immortals' world is promising to be quite diverse.
Though Immortals has a set protagonist in Fenyx, the game is still going to give players plenty of control over them in terms of customization. There is a character creator, for starters, and players will be able to choose and customize Fenyx's gender, appearance, and voice. This, in fact, is something that you can change at any time during the game, which means you're not going to be locked into whatever choices you make for your character in the beginning.
Immortals Fenyx Rising started development as an offshoot of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and that shows in several ways. For instance, similar to Bayek's Senu and Kassandra or Alexios' Ikaros, Fenyx will have a companion bird named Phosphor, which you will be able to take control of and fly across the map to spot points of interest in the map. How similar this system will be to Assassin's Creed remains to be seen.
Traversal is going to be a major focus in the game, and it's looking like a cross between Assassin's Creed and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For starters, you can climb virtually anything you can see in the game's world, but while climbing, you'll also have to keep an eye on Fenyx's stamina, similar to Breath of the Wild. Also like Breath of the Wild, or more specifically its paragliding, Fenyx will also be able to fly using the wings of Daedalus- this combination of climbing and flying promises to make traversal in the game quite interesting.
As you'd expect from any good open world game, Immortals Fenyx Rising is promising a vast amount of things to do in its map- and exploration, it seems, is going to be crucial for all of them. From rifts to puzzles to vaults to side objectives to what have you, everything will have to spotted by you in the world itself, rather than following a marker or an icon on the map or a compass. Players will have to climb to vantage points in the open world and use Fenyx's Far Sight ability to identiy and pinpoint points of interest- which, again, sounds like a cross between Assassin's Creed and Breath of the Wild.
VAULTS OF TARTAROS
Those rifts that we just mentioned are going to be the gateways to a very particular type of activity in the world. Tartaros Rifts are scattered throughout the world, and using them will lead you to Vaults of Tartaros. What exactly are these? They're dungeons, in simple terms. Each of them is filled with puzzles to solve, obstacles to overcome, or enemies to fight.
Speaking of enemies…
It seems like enemy variety is going to be another area that Immortals Fenyx Rising is devoting a lot of attention to. From lions and harpies to minotaurs and cyclopes, players will be coming up against all manner of enemies in the game, varying in sizes and appearances, but also in strengths and weaknesses. Making use of various abilities and weapons to juggle multiple enemies during encounters promises to make for fast-paced combat- let's hope it plays as good as it sounds.
Corrupted heroes is one of Immortals' most intriguing mechanics. As you play more and more of the game and progress further and defeat more enemies, you will regularly invoke the rage of the titan Typhon. This will result in the skies growing red, and one of several fallen Greek heroes being corrupted and sent out by the titan to hunt you down. It seems like this is something that will often with various different corrupted heroes throughout the course of the game.
We've spoken about different enemy types, and how combat is going to be fast-paced and frantic, but there's still plenty more details to cover. For instance, it seems aerial combat is going to be a pretty big focus, which makes sense, given Fenyx's ability to fly using Daedalus' wings. On top of that, the game also has a couple of mechanics that are pretty much taken straight out of Assassin's Creed Odyssey. The perfect dodge will slow down time and allow you to hit enemies with a flurry of attacks, while the perfect parry will knock your enemies of balance and allow you to do the same.
Something else that's going to define combat in Immortals Fenyx Rising is the weapons you'll be using. The game will have three unique weapons for players to use. Your light attacks will come from a sword, your heavy attacks will come from a massive axe, while Fenyx will also be able to use a bow and arrow. Oh, and stamina management is something that you're going to have to juggle during combat as well, which is likely going to be used to prevent things from getting too button mash-y.
On top of Fenyx's multiple weapons, combat abilities, flight, and the enemy variety, abilities are also going to play a crucial role in defining combat. Players will be graining new abilities throughout the course of the game, each of which will present unique combat advantages. There's Hephaistos' Hammer, which deals heavy damage to enemies; Herakles' Strength, which grabs on to foes and slingshots you straight at them; Ares' spears, which can thrust enemies into air or attack aerial foes; and many more.
Fenyx will be coming across plenty of gear and armour throughout the course of the game, and as you might expect, all of this will be upgradable. Upgrades will rely on collecting crafting resources in the game's world. How extensive and deep the upgrade mechanics are remains to be seen, but at a glance, it seems (once again) like it has plenty in common with the gear and upgrade systems in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is launching on just about every current platform that matters (and also Stadia). That includes next-gen consoles as well, of course- so what exactly can you expect from the game on the newer systems? On PS5 and Xbox Series X, the game will support HDR and feature faster load times, on top of running in 4K at 60 FPS. Meanwhile, on Xbox, the game will also feature Dolby Atmos support, while on PS5, Ubisoft have promised full implementation of the console's 3D audio as well as the DualSense's haptic feedback.
Why, of course this open world Ubisoft game is going to have a season pass. Ubisoft have confirmed that more new content will be added to the game following its launch, including a bonus quest, in-game rewards, and "new gameplay experiences" in the form of three post-launch single player expansions.
With all of the details revealed thus far for Cyberpunk 2077, there have also been plenty of reasons to worry. Following its delay to December, let's take a look at 10 of our biggest concerns, ranging from the story and gameplay to overall polish and performance on certain platforms.
With CRPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 3, I'm always impressed at the amount of cohesion needed to maintain a game's story. These are games with main quests and side quests that provide multiple options, branching paths and branches on top of those branches (not to mention all the variations that can happen due to one's character build). It's easy for the overall cohesion and strength of the story to suffer, especially when so many decisions have to be kept track of.
Given the amount of branching that CD Projekt RED is promising in Cyberpunk 2077, there's some concern as to whether the writing and overall plot can hold up, especially when the developer is trying to account for every single silly action that a player can take. Of course, this also ties into…
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we had Geralt, an established character with a strong background and history. Even if you didn't play the previous two games or read the books, the narrative did a good job of conveying Geralt's character while also advancing and developing it alongside the main story.
In Cyberpunk 2077, V has his share of backgrounds – as seen in the three Life Paths – but the sheer amount of customization and decision-making possible means that the game's story has to be more flexible about how it reinforces his convictions and develops his character. After all, it all comes down to what the player decides and whether or not the narrative can anticipate that and find a way to leverage that to such a large degree.
There's also Johnny Silverhand, who will be stuck in V's head at some point and presumably remain with him throughout the story. Given that this is an established character – that too backed by a charismatic Keanu Reeves – there's some worry that Johnny could overshadow V's presence. A lot of them comes down to the strength of writing, how frequently Johnny is inserted into story scenes and whatnot but it's a worry nonetheless.
Life Path Differences
This is something that piqued my interest when Life Paths were first revealed. I can appreciate having playable prologues for different kinds of V, showcasing his journey as a Nomad, struggles as a Corpo rat or life as a Street Kid. It's pretty cool and having a Life Path influence how the world reacts to you makes for good replay value. CD Projekt RED has promised more than that though, like exclusive content for each Life Path.
While I doubt that Life Paths will make for three entirely different games in one package, there's still a concern for how different playthroughs will be outside of differing prologues and endings and how much exclusive content one can really expect. For now, it's best to just treat Life Paths as backgrounds that will influence how different groups interact with you in (and out) of Night City while also affecting the ending.
This has been a major concern ever since CD Projekt RED announced it. Don't get us wrong – a first-person perspective has worked incredibly well for RPGs, from Deus Ex: Human Revolution to The Elder Scrolls. However, for some fans coming from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, having to adjust to first-person will be tough (especially since V only appears in third-person for certain cutscenes, while driving or when reflected in mirrors and glass).
Some may like to see their custom character at all times, especially during dialogue exchanges; others may prefer third person combat. It all comes down to preference at the end of the day. A third-person perspective option would have been nice but that's sadly not included.
Driving – and transportation mechanics in general – is always a concern in open world games. It's very easy to mess up the responsiveness of controls or make certain vehicles feel unwieldy. While CD Projekt RED had its fair share of issues with Roach in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, initial impressions of the driving in Cyberpunk 2077 have been that it's fine but needs more polish. Whether it will see improvements or regressions remains to be seen, along with any potential issues that could crop up from summoning one's vehicle.
The Witcher 3 didn't have the best melee combat. This isn't to say it was terrible but it wasn't the best. This has seemingly come to haunt Cyberpunk 2077, whose melee combat has looked less than stellar, to the point that the development team outright admitted to not being 100 percent happy with it. More recent footage showed some improvements but the blocking and response from hitting enemies looked like they required more polish. The gunplay has been looking pretty good so we're at least hopeful that melee combat will be improved.
As an investigative mechanic, Braindance looks pretty cool – it not only allows you to experience events first-hand but pause, rewind and fast forward, and analyze different aspects afterwards. Don't get us wrong – this is already a step up from just activating Witcher senses and following trails. But it currently looks to boil down scanning different parts of the environment.
Will it become more complex than that, even with the ability to switch layers and filter out different sounds? Time will tell – a balance between being a narrative vehicle and intriguing puzzle mechanic would be ideal. We'll just have to wait and see if different situations leverage it.
Xbox One and PS4 Performance
It was an open secret throughout the marketing and hype for Cyberpunk 2077 that it wouldn't run well on current-gen consoles without some heavy compromises. No footage from the PS4 and Xbox One versions has ever been shown till date, even after the game went gold and was close to releasing in November. It was only after the recent delay that CD Projekt RED Adam Kicinski admitted to more work being required on the current-gen versions.
"Since Cyberpunk 2077 evolved towards almost being a next-gen title somewhere along the way, we need to make sure everything works well and every version runs smoothly." Of course, considering the company is optimizing for so many different platforms, we'd say not to get your hopes up if you're playing on Xbox One and PS4.
Glitches and Bugs
Despite all the delays and hard work from the developer, bugs will inevitably seep through. The problem is that with larger scale games like this, especially ones with so many branching decisions and paths, dialogues and characters, gameplay systems and mechanics, there will be a fair number of bugs and glitches. This same issue affected The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at launch as well, though CD Projekt RED released updates at a steady pace and fixed a lot of them. Nevertheless, expect the initial romp through Night City to have its share of rough patches and issues.
Too Big in Scope and Scale
Of course, another worry is that the immense scale of the game will lead to certain areas, story beats, characters or gameplay mechanics being underdeveloped. It could be that certain Street Stories just aren't that good compared to others. Romancing companions may not be all that well-developed.
Certain weapon classes and types may end up feeling underwhelming compared to others. It could also mean that entire levels and environments aren't properly polished or enjoyable. Again, this is always a concern for games of this magnitude – we'd honestly be more shocked if every aspect, no matter how small, was at a consistent level of quality.