Category: Articles

May 4th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Feminists everywhere love the realism of this art.

We all know that the body positivity movement is constantly under attack. Sexist and hateful bigots everywhere say it’s bad. We know this simply isn’t true. Women are healthy at every size. It takes a strong and bold woman to prove to the haters that their hate is all lies.

You’ve seen many fat acceptance renditions of all your favorite comic book heroes, video game characters, and Disney princesses. Re-drawings like those are reshaping the very paradigm of sex. A new culture is emerging and proving to everyone that women are beautiful. However, there have been certain issues with some more recent characters. We just don’t have enough of the perfect feminist role models in media. When we do, the characters are still very problematic. A whole army of people trolled the tolerant studio Bioware because their beautiful female protagonist wasn’t sexy enough for them.

We just don’t have enough of the perfect feminist role models in media.

Now we have the default star of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Kassandra. Although she is both very strong and smart, her appearance in the game needs to be unpacked. She has really big muscles for woman, and that’s a completely unrealistic standard. In order to get that big and muscular, she would have to go the the gym twice per day to look that good. But because it’s in Ancient Rome, they didn’t have gyms back then. So there’s nothing that can be done about that. She would also need to drink bulking powder and that didn’t exist back then either.

Fret not. We went to tumblr and found the perfect recreation of this iconic new character. Jessica Goldberg from @goldenbergerarts on the site had all the skill needed to show people what Assassins Creed needed. In true response for tolerance and peace of the women’s mind, this version was created. Now THIS is what feminine beauty is supposed to look like! Share this post everywhere. The manbabies on the far right hate it when people draw accurate representations of the better sex. You can already taste the toxic male tears.

Thankfully, this post was SATIRE in case you weren’t tipped off by “Ancient Rome”.



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xbox game pass
April 29th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Keep em coming, Microsoft!

Xbox continues to power on with their greatest asset. The Xbox Game Pass already has a load of great games to play. With this update, there are even more great choices. What’s best about these is their value and length. A lot of the games on offer are solid, well rounded experiences. They aren’t just dropping a few niche and trashy disposable games. They are getting you THE best games from yesteryear. The titles in this pass of theirs are all of the games that if you missed, you need to play. What are they?

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The original Deus Ex game was an absolute paradigm changer for the PC gaming industry. N’stuff. I’ve never played the original. I started with Invisible War, a game everyone hated but that’s only because nothing could be as good as that first game (and it’s janky AF). But after that failure, the Deus Ex series found life in the prequel series starring Adam Jensen. A man who is basically the Major from Ghost in the Shell but is a gruff dude working big tech security, and later, Interpol. Mankind Divided is a direct sequel to Human Revolution, which came out last console generation. It wouldn’t hurt to play that title, but it’s not absolutely essential to MD, since a lot of the characters from the first game are mere afterthoughts. That and a handy-dandy 11 minute video comes with the game to recap it for you.

What happens next, is you find yourself in a world the producers called the “Mechanical Apartheid“. This is due to a mass hack that resulted in one of the world’s most bloody acts of terrorism, an event where all cybernetically enhanced individuals received some sort of hacking signal that reduced them to turning into a vicious mob, killing everyone (until Adam Jensen stopped). Understandably shook, the world of the enhanced, now known as the slur “klanks”, live under constant supervision by a humanity who doesn’t trust them. But Adam Jensen is special, and because of his skills, he lands a job at Interpol working a counter-terror task force. Over the course of the game, you will explore the streets of Prague while trying to stop an ‘illuminati’-tier conspiracy that if fulfilled, may destroy the freedom of all individuals as we know it. Yikes.

This game is play it your way, and is mainly a tactical stealth action game. You can stealth your way past everything, hack your way past everything, shoot your way pas everything, blow up your way past everything, or mix it up a little bit. Sadly, the project was suddenly forced out the door before it was completely finished. It now serves as what was supposed to be a new trilogy… only the other two aren’t currently getting made. If you go into this game aware that a few threads will be left dangling, you’ll still have a blast.

Check out our review right here.

Prey (2017)

Prey is another game with a littered history. The original Prey came out in 2005 after being worked on for 15 YEARS. No joke, but it finally came out and it wasn’t half bad. Some people may accuse the game of being racist for having an Indigenous American protagonist who uses ancient Indian magic to protect himself, and to that i say get the fuck over yourself. It’s a game. And the sequel is even better.

See, Prey was originally supposed to come out as Prey 2, a pseudo-sequel at best where you play as a bounty hunter who rounded up criminals using gadgets and some parkour. The game disappeared. Then, at an E3, it re-emerged as Prey, which means I now have to distinguish them by release date. This time Arkane Studios made it, the brains behind Dishonored. Just like their other game, Prey became a game in same style as the “System Shock / Bioshock” games.

This one also features a wide variety of powers and play styles. You can shoot your way through, hack your.. YOU GET THE POINT. This one features a far more bizarre plot. You are on a space station (sorry for spoiling the first 20 minutes of the game), where some experiments on a shapeshifting aliens species has gone awry. They have done a LOT to ruin the station, and if you don’t solve all those problems and a single one of them makes it back to Earth, it will be DOOMED. Peep our review here.

Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter is a much beloved franchise known for its challenge and scope. You don’t simply fight monsters. You track them down, you beat them to a pulp, and then you wear their bones on your favorite armor. So does your cat. The cats are pretty rad in these games. However, for a very long time, MH was a very niche title for a specific audience, yet Capcom broadened that scope with Monster Hunter World.

This version of the game provided updated controls, a new story, and a huge focus on online multiplayer to get a lot of players. And it worked. During a very quiet January, this title popped up and became the surprise first-hit of the year. Actually, not only that, it set a new all-time record in sales for Capcom. It keeps people coming back with a steady slew of both free and paid updates. You’ll never run out of stuff to do.

This series is a tough and very involved game. Hunting monsters takes preparation. And preparation requires a full understanding of the ins and outs of the game. Preparation is key. Everything from crafting gadgets, potions, poisons, and other key items can make all the difference during your hunt. Of course, this game has a very, VERY extensive tutorial that makes sure you’re always on top of what you need to know. Sometimes it feels like the tutorial never ended. But 25 hours was enough for me. Also I cheated profusely and usually just “fired a flare” during the fights. That means 3 people will show up and kill the monster for you. You could possibly play the whole entire game this way if you wanted. And should. JK, but check out our review.

Vampyr

Developer DONTNOD is a game producer that makes the best 7/10 games you will ever play. They are notorious for their storylines, which aren’t simply engaging. No, these devs would prefer to bludgeon you over the head with hard-to-discuss topics like memory erasure, suicide, assisted suicide, drug abuse, unfiltered teenage angst, and high school drama classes. Then, in comes Vampyr, a narrative heavy action melee game with a slower and focused pace. If you wanted to play the “easy version” of Dark Souls this is the one. Not only that but they recently patched in a story mode and a hard mode so you can either play it as super easy Dark Souls or actual Dark Souls.

Maximizing the potential for irony, the story stars a recently vampire’d Doctor, Jonathan Reed. He’s world renowned for his research in… wait for it… blood. Yep, the blood doctor turns into a blood sucker. Vampyr gets about as bleak as it can possibly get. You are in an old london riddled with Spanish Flu. The citizens of London aren’t a particularly happy or nice bunch either. Between researching links between the flu and a vampire epidemic, you also deal with the citizens.

Many of them need your help in more ways than one. Not only do you do random quests for them, as per most games, there’s an additional angle. You also have to diagnose them and craft the cures for their ailments. Also, you get teased by the level up system. Level up from fighting enemies, but you get a huge XP bonus if you kill an innocent. Yeah, that’s this game. Those aren’t even the truly tough decisions either. You’ll encounter those at the end of each act and marvel at how all options seem wrong. We reviewed it here.

The Golf Club 2

This game exists.

The Walkind Dead: A New Frontier

It’s the Walking Dead my guy.

What are you still doing here? Go play one of these.



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April 8th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Are you ready for Next-Gen?

With every new generation comes the same question. What titles will be available at launch. Since the console itself has yet to be announced launch titles are still pretty far out. So I think this is the best time to introduce my top 5 request. Regardless of how likely or unlikely.

DriveClub 2

In my opinion drive club failed for two reasons. The first reason was timing. Driveclub was supposed to be a PS4 launch title, but it missed the mark. It was announced during the PS4 reveal in February 2013. Playstation 4 arrived in September of that same year. But Driveclub didn’t make it to store shelves until October 2014. A barrage of delays pushed this game back an entire year. By that point almost all interest was lost and the game still managed to have issues on day 1. To be completely honest, Driveclub did not meet full expectations till January 2015. Almost two years after the initial announcement. So despite going on to accumulate over two million copies sold, Sony’s recent announcement that servers would be shut down as of august 2019 proves it didn’t meet the goal. 

It’s hard to compete against diehard fans.

And in an ultra rare turn of events I put some of the blame on the lack of title recognition. That’s right my second reason is, this game had no fan base to start with. Trying to go up against the behemoth Forza, arguably the greatest racing game of all time, is already a challenge. Then pair that with the challenge of battling Gran Turismo, the second racing mammoth, and you’re asking to die. Don’t get me wrong, I love rooting for the underdog but he has to at least have legs to stand on. Delays and incomplete arrival would not have hurt Forza or Gran Turismo as much as it wrecked Driveclub. Hell, even Need for Speed can get it wrong a few times and fans will still be there. 

DriveClub |
Evolution Studios

That’s the key, fans were still there. Gran Turismo had fans. Forza had fans. Need for Speed had fans, Driveclub has ambition. And a lot of the time that just isn’t enough. The good news though is now Driveclub has fans. This is the perfect time to give it a sequel and build on the little successes. The Driveclub community will love it. And if al goes well, Driveclub might actually be able to compete with the other franchises. Especially with the whole super cool VR advantage. Am I right?

Infamous: (Insert Subtitle) 

First and foremost I must admit, I was not a fan of infamous until I played (and finished) Infamous: Second Son. And now I need more. Similar to my relationship with Uncharted (jumped in at Uncharted 3), I went back and played all the other infamous games to fulfill my need. But now there’s nothing left. The Infamous series is one of those rare situations where i fall in love with an open world game. Maybe it has to do with the super hero aspect. Or maybe it’s the super polished storyline. Whatever it is I absolutely love it. 

Infamous: Second Son |
SuckerPunch Studios

Infamous: Second Son was a great example of where the franchise could go without it’s original protagonist, Cole MacGrath. It also showed how well the team at SuckerPunch could handle replicating real locations. So where in the world could the next Infamous story be set. First idea is the gritty streets of Chicago. We already saw what a near futuristic tech controlled windy city would look like, so why not fill it with a superpower crisis. I really can’t imagine a bad cameo from Kanye West. At all.

The second idea is vacation land gone bad. I can’t think of many games set in Florida. In fact the last game that, that I know, was absolutely Florida based was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And that also happens to be the only GTA game i’ve ever finished and whole heartedly enjoyed. So imagine an Infamous game set in Miami. Beaches, drug warfare, and superpowers. Maybe cut back on the drug stuff, so Infamous can be a T rated game, just a thought. 

SOCOM 5

What happened to Socom? One of Playstation 2’s greatest titles. The first real attempt at online multiplayer by Sony. 2011’s Socom 4 was an embarrassment to the legacy of Socom and the final nail in the coffin. Prior to this, the series had already been struggling to remain relevant in a world dominated by first person shooters. But I think now is the best time to bring it back.

SOCOM 4 |
Zipper Interactive

Thank god for The Division 2, but can I get SOCOM 5 too?

The popularity of Fortnite could serve as a launch pad for Socom. Both game being third person shooters means Sony could push Socom 5 to Fortnite fans who want more military realism. The examples are everywhere. The realism is the reason I prefer PUBG to Fortnite. However, I rather play the latter because I prefer third person shooters. Thank god for The Division 2, but that’s a different story.

With the launch pf the PS5, Sony could bring back this awesome tactical shooter. I wouldn’t even judge if they looked to the more recent Tom Clancy games like Ghost Recon Wildlands for guidance. I’d prefer if Socom stayed linear and mission based, but I would be completely off put by an open world. In fact I think Socom 5 should take a page out of the Hitman book as well. Individual missions taking place in huge maps with various ways to complete the mission. Make it happen.

Rise & Fall of SOCOM |
GVMERS

Genji

I think we can all agree; games with samurai, ninja, or any blade based weapons are awesome. No questions asked. Yet, who could ever forget the ultra historical accuracy of the Giant Enemy Crab? That’s right no one. So do I really need to explain why a third entry in the Genji series is necessary? This one isn’t even an ask or want. It is a demand. Sure it was nothing like the historically accurate game they promised, but by god was this game a blast too play. 

Genji: Days of the Blade |
Game Republic

Of course, Genji: Days of the Blade, the second installment to date, still has some of the most amazing gameplay mechanics. And with multiple character to use based on techniques, skills, and timing every encounter feels fresh. Every character feels meaningful. Supported by the sudden resurgence of ninja and samurai popularity, Sekiro & Ghost of Tsushima being prime examples, it’s the perfect time. 

Considering the events at the end of the second entry it wouldn’t be hard to either pickup where was left off or reboot. Personally, I would love to see World Wide Studios take the reboot approach, unless original developers Game Republic still cares. Get in there and bring back all the special magic of the first two entries with a new age polish. I’m incredibly ready to embark on another journey with my samurai pals. 

Sly Cooper

Solid Snake, of Metal Gear Solid fame, is the mascot of adult stealth action. Sly Cooper is that and more for the all ages crowd. Originally developed by the masterminds at Sucker Punch, Sly Cooper is the best robin hood game ever. Why? Because the band of misfits made up of a smooth talking sneaky raccoon, an overly intelligent turtle, and a super strong hippo. Still not interested? Ok, they work together to steal technology from a criminal organization run by a lizard. 

Back in 2013 Sanzaru Games took a shot at bringing the Sly Cooper franchise back and it received mixed reception. Personally, I loved it and would love for Sanzaru to take another shot at it. And what better time than alongside the launch of a new console. Sly and the gang always found themselves on wacky adventures in an effort to line their pockets and save the world. 

I have little reason to believe Sony has given up on this franchise. Especially when you take into account there are various comics and a few spinoff projects based in the Cooper universe. Something tells me this is the most likely game of my wishlist to come to life. If that is the case, I guess I can’t complain. 

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time |
Sanzaru Games

Honorable Mention

KillZone: (Insert Subtitle) 

As a super fan of third person games, it was really hard for me to get into first person shooters. I really enjoy seeing the wild action animations of incredible cool character designs that i control. Also, most first person games make me really dizzy. Especially during the early days with Halo being the superstar. But I hated Halo. Not just as a Playstation fan boy, although that was undeniably a strong reason. The real reason was I didn’t feel connected to the story in any way and the gameplay was off putting for me. 

KillZone |
Guerilla Games

Enter KillZone. Sony’s first big attempt at a multiplayer shooter to challenge Halo. I remember reading a story in Game Informer and thinking “this ones for me.” The big draw for me with KillZone was the story it was aiming to tell. One of over coming a war with people who felt nothing other than complete abandonment. The Helghast, KillZone’s antagonist, weren’t necessarily evil. Instead, they were misguided and therefore relatable. This narrative made it possible for me to connect with the game in a way Halo never tried too.

KillZone new dawn may have ended at Horizon.

It’s possible Guerrilla Games must have been feeling franchise fatigue because things just got sloppy. Yet, I still hold out hope for a new entry even if the team is now completely tied up with a whole new franchise. I think it’s time for either a KillZone Reboot. Do it comic book movie style. Take the same story, fix the parts that didn’t quite make sense from entry to entry, and reintroduce it to a whole new audience. 

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April 1st, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Standing Amongst Olympians

Sega has been a player in the video games business for quite a few decades. And yet, they still never really manage to get a strong grip. They almost had a huge run with Sonic, but he was quickly bested by the plumber in the red overalls. Enough with the past, Sega is back and ready to rise to the occasion. 

The 2020 Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo next year. Besides already holding the licenses, Sega is taking this opportunity to try to make waves. First headlines were made with eh announcement of “Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game”. Coming to Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch worldwide. Sega has gone on the record calling this new title “A fun-filled sports action game where you create your avatar and compete in olympic events. That’s right, you too can go for the gold from the comfort of your living room!

https://youtu.be/YbC_L7dnWIU
Our original linked video was taken down so here’s some NHK program. -Chet

Next, they announced the release of a brand new Mario & Sonic at the Olympics. It’s been a long 4 years since the last time we’ve seen these athletes on the field. Mario & Sonic at the Olympics 2020 looks much like past iterations but this time will have mini-games for your Joy-Cons. The only real question here is; will this game feature the movie versions of our two cover stars?

For those of us who have become avid mobile gamers Sega’s got something for you too, because mobile gamers count. Mario & Sonic will be attending the Tokyo Olympics on iOS and Android as well. Assuming the game will borrow some Joy-Con features and optimize for touchscreens, this will most likely be super casual. I’m predicting for sure at least one Temple Run style track and field game. Actually, bets are open.

Not excited about the Olympics!? Fine.

Fear not friends who could careless about professional sports or sports simulations. Or emotionless monsters who can’t find the humor in the “world’s fastest hedgehog” racing against the “most hard-headed plumber of all time”. There is some retro based good news. Sega is bringing a new challenger to the mini console revolution. 

The Sega Genesis Mini will be available on September 19th, 2019. Retailing at the great price of $79.99 the mini console will feature 40 classic games including Sonic (of course), Castelvania, and Ecco the Dolphin. For the record, Ecco the Dolphin is the second most exciting part of this for me. What’s the first? Well I’m glad you asked. So far, 10 of the 40 games have been announced and one of those game is, Comix Zone. Need I say more?

The console itself is reportedly about 55% smaller than the original and comes with two usb powered replica three button controllers. Also packed into the box is a USB to Micro-B cable for power and an HDMI cable for graphic fidelity. Because as we all know, it’s not a retro remake unless it’s in HD. 

What are some of the found memories you hope to relive with the Sega Genesis Mini? And for those excited for the olympics, what’s your favorite thing to have Mario beat Sonic at? And for everyone else, sorry you stuck around for that Vanquish sequel reveal. Believe me, you are not alone.

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April 1st, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Claptrap and The Vault Hunters!

After years of speculation and rumors Borderlands 3 will be coming to a console near you. Gearbox and 2K confirmed the long awaited sequel at a keynote during PAX East. Although little information was provided at the initial announcement, Gearbox promised more in the near future.

Check out the trailer!

The next reveals will happen on April 3rd. And, Hopefully we get our bags filled with exciting Borderlands 3 news. In the meantime, true Borderlands fans can rejoice in the second major announcement. Borderlands: Game of the Year edition is will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. When? April 3rd. Why? Well because, why not and it’s getting some big quality updates.

For any newcomers to the series, Borderlands is a First Person RPG Shooter. Some fan favorite elements of Borderlands include a ridiculous range of customization and weapons crafting options and 4 player co-op. I mean who am I kidding, everything about Borderlands is a fan favorite. From the unique comic book aesthetic to the different play styles of each character to the amazing narrative. Borderlands is a series that is experienced not just played.

So it looks like it’s going to be a good year for Borderlands fans and the Gearbox crew. Are you excited for Borderlands 3?

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assassin's creed robots
March 28th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Robots forgo hostile human takeover and settle for subjugating us by making addictive video games instead.

Ubisoft, has found a winning formula for their video games. We all know this. And they are sticking to it like a bear on honey. For one thing, almost any game from them will have an absolutely gargantuan map. That and an absolute ton of copy-pasted assets. These same games also follow a pretty simple formula. From Ghost Recon Wildlands, to FarCry, to Assassins Creed, your goal in the game is very simple. You open your map screen, there’s a bunch of things to do. You click on one of the things, and then you go there to do the thing. Then the game rewards you for doing the thing. Then it gives you some things and then unlocking more things to click on and go to.

This “carrot on a stick” form of game design is utter genius. Many gamers, present company included, are perfectly content with these time-devouring opulent offerings. Ubisoft has never been more confident that they have a winning formula until now. Just look at their recent offerings. The Crew 2 is a game with a map that is vaguely the size of the entire USA. They loaded it up with a bunch of pinpoints full of races for different types of vehicles everywhere.

So it begins…

That’s why Ubisoft was proud to announce this in a recent PAX East interview. They want to take the design of their games to the next level. Starting production in May, Ubisoft New Jersey will start on their next Assassin’s Creed title. But this is no ordinary dev team, as Ubisoft New Jersey runs completely run by automation. That’s right, the dev is actually a smart AI called U.B.I.S.O.F.T. (Which is short for Universal Binary Interface Siumulator of Future Technology). Several UBISOFTs will be operating day and night to crank out the next edition of your favorite title.

Ubisoft producer Marc-Alexis Côté mused on this exciting event. “We already know how to make a game that everyone will want to play. We have it down to such a science, that we soon won’t need developers anymore. The UBISOFT AI is perfectly capable of replicating our formula. It has already designed the entire map of the next game. It’s 8 times the size of Odyssey”. When asked if this would decrease morale among the human developers of Ubisoft he was resolute. “Well, the elimination of jobs by robots is just part and parcel of living in a society.”

What’s next?

Right now, nobody, not even Ubisoft themselves, know what the plot of the next game will be. Not even the location. The robo-team at Ubisoft NJ will be performing its own internal company showcase. “Everything is so easy to make. Our AI team will be doing all tasks for this project. The script and the main character will be made by our robot friends. We’ve also asked them what they are going to do for voice talent. They said they’ll either hire somebody on their own, or they might even do the acting themselves! Isn’t that neat? They are so smart they literally don’t need any humans to help them make this game work.”

By the way, this interview? It was also performed by the UBISOFT AI. They used their network database of every Ubisoft E3 show ever. After, they constructed a hologram of Aicha Tyler to ask all these questions. The likeness was completely uncanny, including her saying really awkward things that made the entire audience uncomfortable. Digi-Tyler asked Marc if they even knew the title of the game, he admitted something interesting. “We aren’t sure what they are calling this new project yet. But they’ve already presented several working titles based on the titles of other games on the market. It will still be called Assassin’s Creed, but the subtitle is either going to be: Redemption, Revolution, Sisterhood, and Revelations IV.”

Right now the UBISOFT is downloading all the assets used from every Assassins Creed game ever made and will be making slight modifications to them so they look newer. Another arm of the AI has already started distributing random pins on their map where they will eventually add quests to. Expect to hear more about this at E3 this year. The current one.

In case the slow dip into insanity wasn’t enough to tell you, this article is SATIRE. Seriously, Ubisoft New Jersey? C’mon, you know better than that. A simulation of Aicha Tyler? Really? Actually no that would be pretty cool.



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March 26th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Back in the 90’s there were two prominent developers of fighting games coming out of Japan. In one corner we had the almighty Capcom, home of Ken, Ryu, and the rest of the Street Fight gang. And in the other corner was SNK. Although there library is extensive, with titles like Metal Slug and Fatal Fury, King of Fighters is likely the most recognized title. That is if you ignore them also being the masterminds behind the Neo Geo. 

In recent years their focus has been on repackaging their glory days in numerous SNK Collections and keeping the King of Fighters series alive. But it seems they are ready for more. And they are coming in blades drawn. After more than a decade, Samurai Shodown is back. 

Samurai Shodown (2019)
SNK

Samuria Shodown is a weapons based 2D fighting game. It’s like the Soul Caliber of 2D fighters. Anyway, the franchise is being rebooted for the modern era. SNK is even choosing to develop the game using Unreal Engine 4. The unexpected reboot is set to take place between the events of the original game and Samurai Shodown V. 

Promising 13 of the original playable characters joined by 3 new challengers, SNK is ready to reenter the world of competitive fighting. Samurai Shodown will release sometime in June 2019 on PS4 and Xbox One. And PC and Switch versions will be coming later this year. Does this release window sound a bit scary? Fear not as skeptics are welcome to try out the new entry sooner. 

Ready? Fight!

Anyone attending PAX East this upcoming weekend in Boston will be able to get their hands on the game. SNK will also be hosting a panel, “Samurai Shodown: Resurrecting a Legend,” on March 30 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. ET featuring producer Yasuyuki Oda, director Nobuyuki Kuroki, and original Samurai Shodown director Yasushi Adachi. 

Are you excited for a brand new Samurai Shodown? I know I am. 

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March 26th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Yesterday, gamers across the internet gathered in excitement for a fiesta of Playstation announcements. Sony’s first official “State of Play”, a short form trailer filled livestream, debut was smooth as butter. A few surprise announcements here. A couple exclusives there. And a ton of confirmed release dates made the most of the roughly 20 minute event. Ignoring the awful voice of the digital announcer, it’s safe to say “State of Play” was a success.

But, was it the right move?

State of Play
PlayStation

Long time Playstation fans are accustomed to narrative driven experiences. A rule that holds true for announcement trailers as well. Looking back on past Playstation events, you’ll quickly find that most trailers ran 2-3 minutes with tons of narrative detail. Whether eluded to or directly presented, the trailers draw you in by presenting a full living world. Cinematic or in game footage, the announcements tend to deliver the beginning of your next gaming adventure. 

State of Play, Sony’s equivalent of a Nintendo Direct, took what felt like a very different approach. It crammed as many announcements as possible into 20 minutes with tons of gameplay footage. Gameplay footage that shows what you will be doing without intriguing us with the why we’re doing it. Sure with a game like the PSVR exclusive IronMan VR, coming fall 2019, you don’t need to necessarily know why he’s fighting the bad guys. He’s a superhero, that’s just what they do. 

IronMan VR
Camouflaj, PlayStation Worldwide Studios

However, with a game like Ready Set Heroes, as fun as the multiplayer action game looks, it’d be great to learn more about the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m personally excited for the idea of 4 player party game. Especially one that looks like the Looney Tunes dungeon crawler i never knew i wanted. It just didn’t feel like Sony. It felt like Nintendo. 

It’s not about the violence or adulthood

And before you type “Eh look another guy to grown for fun games.” realize my complaint is not about the games. It’s about the presentation. Years of watching E3, Paris Games Week, Tokyo Games Show announcements have set a certain expectation. An expectation that I’ve quietly watch continue to become less and less important. I’d be lying if I said I knew this was coming. Looking back on the most recent E3 conferences though, I feel kind of foolish for not.

Since the release of the PS4, every Sony E3 conference has featured a short form sizzle reel announcing 10-15 games in a matter of minutes. It started off as just the Indie game reveal. Which was offensive for it’s own reasons we don’t have time to talk about now. And slowly it evolved to what we can now expect to be a regular occurrence called “State of Play”. That’s not the end though. Even during this short form experience Sony managed to pack in a video montage cramming release dates for 8 games into what felt like seconds. 

8 Games in 60 Seconds? Whoa.

Games like Falcon Age, Everybody’s Golf VR, Trover Saves the Universe were included in this short montage. Forget release dates, the spotlight on these games wasn’t long enough for me to write down all 8 names. And I write super fast because I have awful hand writing, so to me that says a lot. I want to go back to the good old days when gamers complained not enough games were shown. Ok maybe not that far back. Maybe go back to the short-lived time where the balance was almost perfect.

Regardless, I’m a diehard Playstation fan so I’m going to rock with the team no matter what. But, I’m no yes man. If I see something I’m not particularly excited about I’m going to say something. As of right now, I am not entirely excited for the next State of Play. And considering PlayStation will be absent from E3 2019, I’m concerned. Your move Sony. 

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March 26th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Another spring, another spring Apple Keynote. Good old Tim Apple (if you don’t get that reference you are not adulting properly) took the stage today to do the usual announcing of new Apple products. Only this time Tim didn’t focus on products in the traditional sense. No, Apple delivered a two hour keynote on the brand new world of Apple Services. An updated news app, with an optional premium subscription. An updated Apple TV app, with an optional premium subscription. An Apple credit card, literally called Apple Card. And most importantly Apple Arcade, Apple’s first official step into the multibillion dollar games industry. 

Meet Apple Arcade

You read that right. After years of rumors and speculations, Apple has officially jumped into the wonderful world of video games. Apple Arcade is an all new subscription based games service that will work across all of your apple devices. One subscription gives full access to the entire library of games, which will include exclusive, on your iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, and Mac. 

And that library of games is looking absolutely amazing. During the keynote Apple had a great video featuring some of the games and developers coming to their platform. Among those developers were Charles Cecil, Sam Rosenthal, Cedric Adams, and the legendary Hironobu Sakaguchi. That’s right the man behind Final Fantasy had a prominent guest spot in Apple Arcade’s world premiere.

Beyond a Steel Sky
Revolution Software

Alongside the incredible stream of games, Apple also took a direct shout at the competition. Apple Arcade will not be a streaming service, instead allowing you to download and play any games any time without the need to be tethered to an internet connection. But wait theres more. Apple also took a moment to proudly exclaim that no games on Apple Arcade will have Ads or in-app purchases. Couple that with the commitment to privacy and a subscription that can be accessed by up to 6 family members, via family sharing, theres plenty of reason for Apple to feel confident with their service. 

Although the Keynote was packed full of cool and exciting announcements, Apple continued the current tech trend of omitting details. As of right now we know Apple Arcade will be available Fall 2019. However, we don’t have answers to some of the more important questions. What is the price of an Apple Arcade subscription going to be? What titles can we expect to be available when it launches? Will there be any exclusives? 

The Pathless
Annapurna Interactive | Giant Squid

Questions? Well, of course!

Apple’s positioning as one of the top mobile device manufactures and the only true alternative to Windows computers gives it a ton of leverage. No Apple user will need to go out and make any additional purchases to enjoy the features of Apple Arcade. Cost of entry being low, Apple can expect huge subscriber counts very quickly much like they saw with the launch of Apple Music. 

Where storytelling and design are pushed further than ever before.

Apple

With Google and Apple entering the world of gaming while Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are preparing to announce the next generation of consoles, this is going to be an interesting year. The one thing I can say for certain is, this gone be good for us gamers but real bad for our wallets. 




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March 24th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

The annual Game Developers Conference has long been prime real estate for developer focused major announcements. In past years we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing major announcements like Metal Gear Solid 5 but, it’s typically full of panels on super technical stuff. Cough Nerds Cough. This year However, Google took it upon themselves to overshadow all the other cool stuff happening by announcing their long rumored gaming console. Or rather the not gaming console. 

Google Stadia, the official name I can’t quite pronounce, is a cloud based streaming console promising up to 4K HDR resolutions, instant access with no update or download delays, and the ability to play on any device connected to the internet. Have we heard this before? Yea a few times but this is Google. You know the unofficial ruler of the world? Yea, exactly. So I’m pretty inclined to believe they have managed to get the technical stuff to work. And I’m sure everyone in the world is talking about the concerns behind internet speed inconsistencies but I think there are three bigger things to worry about. 

With that said, I have 1 question and 2 concerns, shaped in the form of questions. 

Will I be able to carry my control and play anywhere with WiFi?

Google announced Stadia with a super dope looking awesome remote. I’m not quite sure why the remote looks so familiar but, whatever right? The controller itself is not necessary to play as you can use any standard USB or Bluetooth remote but it does have it’s own perks. Those perks include a share button for streaming all your games you’re streaming (streamception?), and a button that calls for Developer directed help. That’s right friends strategy guides are what Google is aiming to kill with Stadia. 

There is no box associated with Google’s new console, rather platform, and the Stadia Control connects to the cloud via Wifi. So of course my big question at this point is; does this mean i can carry the control and game anywhere? I can just pop a squat anywhere with decent Wifi, cause the wizards at Google said they are optimizing for all internet speeds, and play Metal Gear Solid? Tekken? Devil May Cry? Oh my heart, it can’t handle the excitement. 

Unfortunately, outside of showing off the control design and talking about their cool exclusive buttons, there wasn’t much information around the control. I’m sure that Google has an incredible drip marketing plan for all things Stadia, but I don’t know if I have the patience for it. I just want to pull my Stadia Control out my pocket and scream Let’s Duel!

And now the concerns…

How do developers get paid?

The video game industry is a multibillion dollar business. The cost of producing video games is astronomically high at the Hollywood/mainstream level of gaming. Esports have created an entirely new field within the industry for gamers to work and build their lives around. Games have literally become a part of mainstream culture with movies, books, and even real news outlets frequently referencing their success. Intentionally and unintentionally. 

All of these incredible breakthroughs come together to create a thriving industry that breeds fair distribution of money in all directions. Enter Stadia. Well actually it’s more like enter Google. Arguably the most powerful company in the world. Undeniably the most powerful company on the internet. What will it mean for how developers and publisher negotiate their pay from games streaming on Stadia?

If the music industry is any example, developers will see significantly less money from streaming games than they do on game sales. Sure the games will be more accessible but if it’s anything like say Spotify, which pays about $0.006 per stream, it’s gonna take a lot of streaming to match sales. So how will streams be counted? If I launch Resident Evil 2 40 times, will it count as 40 different streams? How about the hours put into streaming? Will streaming The Witcher 3 one time for 80 hours only earn the handsome polish developers pay for one stream? 

And those are only the concerns around the meaning and value behind the term “stream”. The bigger concerns is how smaller developers will manage to negotiate streaming payouts with the Walmart of the internet. For those who are unaware, Walmart is such a large retailer that it had been documented telling suppliers how much it will pay for products it will sell in its stores. No negotiations, take it or leave it. Google is just as powerful in the internet land. And in order for this to be profitable for Google one of two things will happen.

How much will it Cost?

Which brings us here. How much will Google Stadia cost? Remember I said in order for this to be profitable for Google one of two things will happen? You should, I just said it. Anyway, there are two clear ways for Google to make Stadia profitable and sustainable. The first option is bad for developers but good for consumers. The price of Stadia stays relatively low for gamers, think subscription of $10-$25/ per month, and developers get a smaller pay per stream.

This could make it super easy for google to acquire subscribers but how would it impact games being streamed? At that price Stadia could end up being like a gym membership. Tons of people sign up but a small fraction of the people signed up actually stream games. That means Google makes boatloads of cash while having very little payout. 

Contrary, the cost of the service could put Stadia at a premium level, $50-$99/per month, and pay higher per stream to developers. A premium price point more people are likely to make use of their membership because it’s a significant monthly cost. With more people streaming Google has much more payouts to make impact the overall profit margin. Blah blah business blah blah number blah blah math, I know it’s boring but it’s important. 

Are you ready for Google Stadia?

In my opinion, Google Stadia marks the first time in over a decade where the video game industry is about to see a major shift. Much like the risky launch of the Nintendo Wii and it’s motion controls, Stadia represents an entirely new way to play. The question now is, are we ready for this? If Stadia succeeds, the industry may completely shift away from owning video games to streaming only (like the music industry). If Stadia fails, the industry may turn against the internet based ideas circulating since the botched Xbox One announcement. 

At the end of the day, we are gamers. We just want to play the best games all the time. Who ever makes that easiest gets to take all my monies. Any takers?




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