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  1. Today
  2. Lost Words: Beyond the Page - an "emotionally moving, fully-voiced" platformer written by Tomb Raider reboot writer Rhianna Pratchett - is out now, and it's exclusive to Google Stadia for one year. Whilst we haven't seen a lot of the game in the lead up to release, we did find out last month that the game would be exclusive to the streaming platform Stadia. This means you won't see it on Steam until at least March 2021. "'Stadia First' - what does this means for other platforms? Steam shows plain 2020," a commenter asked Modus Games on Twitter a few weeks back (thanks, PC Gamer), to which the publisher replied: "It will be exclusive to Stadia for the first year." Read more View the full article
  3. US specialist retailer, GameStop, has confirmed it's closing at least 320 stores over the next 12 months. The company has already closed 321 stores as part of restructuring efforts in the financial year ending February 2020, and now a similar number of its 5,500 stores are expected to shut by the end of this financial year, too. The closures come in spite of the company reporting a net income of $21 million (£16.8 million) at the end of the last financial year. Read more View the full article
  4. Two new glitches have popped up in Fortnite - one is making players invisible, and the other permits the players to break the sky boundary, escaping not only enemy fire but damage from the circle, too. As demonstrated by livestreamer LazarBeam (thanks, Slashgear), players that hide in a cardboard box and crouch whilst aiming the harpoon gun will remain invisible to opposing players. Interestingly you can't use any other firearm - they'll be visible even if you're not - and canny players have already learned to be cautious of open cardboard boxes. Read more View the full article
  5. Netflix's animated Castlevania series is returning for a fourth season. Making the announcement on the NXOnNetflix Twitter account - "Netflix's home of all things geek" - fans were encouraged to reply with clap emojis to summon Sir Mirror with news of the show. Naturally, they obliged, and just nine minutes later, this update appeared: I know: it doesn't tell us much, does it? We'll have to wait for more concrete details but for now, all we can confirm for sure is that "season four is coming". Read more View the full article
  6. Titan Comics has confirmed it's launching a new comic series based upon Horizon Zero Dawn. As spotted by our friends at VGC, the comic book series has been co-created by Anne Toole - who is one of the game's original writers - with artwork from Ann Maulina. The story will take us beyond the events of the game. "Talanah, a strong and determined hunter, struggles to find purpose after her trusted friend Aloy disappears," Titan explains. "When a mysterious threat emerges in the wilds, she sets out to hunt and to defeat it, only to learn that a whole new breed of killer machines stalk the land!" Read more View the full article
  7. Square Enix has confirmed it is bringing an "upgraded" version of Nier Replicant to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The remake of the decade-old action RPG was announced earlier today on a livestream celebrating the game's tenth anniversary. Whilst Platinum Games isn't involved in the upgrade - that's being led by Toylogic - Takahisa Taura, who worked as the senior game designer on Nier: Automata, is reportedly involved (thanks, Siliconera). "NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139..., an upgraded version of the original, is now in development for PS4, Xbox One and Steam!" the developer said via the official Nier Twitter account. "Enter an apocalyptic world as you play as a brother on a quest to cure his sister of a deadly disease in this unique action RPG." Read more View the full article
  8. In Spring 2016, I took part in a rather unusual archaeological dig. There was no dirt, no trowelling - in fact the excavation didn't even take place outside. It was just me, in my childhood bedroom, digging through old copies of Official Nintendo Magazine and realising that I could map my childhood obsession with video games from the stacks hidden in my bookshelf. Opening up an issue from February 2006 I found a feature lauding the mysterious new 'Nintendo Revolution' console and a caption jibing "Good looks and great to play with. Revolution sounds like our ideal girl." It's a window into a different time. 14 years later and some things have changed- we didn't get a Revolution, we got a Wii. I've grown up. Games journalism (for the most part) has too. Back in 2016 someone else was also rifling through some old stuff in their house, but their discovery would draw more attention. Dan Tiebold found the last known existing Nintendo PlayStation prototype in his dad Terry's attic. The console represents a turning point for the games industry; Nintendo and Sony were to collaborate on an add-on to the SNES. Nintendo infamously snubbed Sony in 1991 when it announced it had instead made a deal with Phillips. Sony would go on to release its own console, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward to 2020 and the Nintendo PlayStation was once again in the limelight as Terry Diebold put his up for auction. On March 6th, Greg McLemore paid $380,000 in total to get his hands on a piece of hardware that had been touted as priceless. As an archaeologist, I'm familiar with the buzz that can surround individual artefacts, and the cognitive dissonance on display in auction houses putting the hammer down on 'priceless' objects to the highest bidder. While I've been intrigued by the billing of the Nintendo PlayStation as a fable turned to fortune, I wondered what video game historians and preservationists made of the furore surrounding it. Read more View the full article
  9. Yesterday
  10. Modders are having fun with the Resident Evil 3 remake demo - especially with Nemesis. The game's teethy terror usually wears clothes - but in a new mod, he wears nothing but beach trunks. Umbrella-themed beach trunks. The Resident Evil 3 Remake Beachboy Nemesis Outfit PC Mod, created by a Patreon-funded modder called Marcos RC, does exactly what it says on the tin. I'll let the footage speak for itself: Read more View the full article
  11. Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of The Game Awards back in December 2019 was Microsoft's decision to reveal Xbox Series X: the name, the branding - and most crucially, the form factor. It was a console quite unlike anything we'd seen before, possibly the most original home console design since Nintendo's GameCube way back in 2001. During our recent visit to the Microsoft campus in Redmond WA, we had a chance to meet key members of the hardware team that created this remarkable-looking device - and in the process, we gained a much better understanding of why Xbox Series X required a top to bottom revamp of the traditional console form factor. "When we started thinking about how we would design this, everything was theoretical," says Chris Kujawski, principal designer at Microsoft. "We didn't have stuff we could test, we didn't have measurements we could take, we knew it was going to be powerful and we knew it was going to require a totally different way of thinking about how to design a console." The key issue facing the designers came down to power and target performance. The Xbox system architects decided from the get-go that the next generation console had to deliver an absolute minimum of twice the overall graphics performance of the Xbox One X, meaning 12 teraflops of GPU compute, sitting alongside the Zen 2 cores that would deliver a 4x improvement in CPU power. At the same time, the mandate was set that the machine also had to equal the acoustic performance of the Xbox One X - a tall order when system power would be increasing significantly. Read more View the full article
  12. Video game preservationists have obtained a 33-year-old, extremely rare Sega Master System educational game about traffic safety - and even released an English language version. The game is called Game de Check! Koutsuu Anzen, which was developed by Sega for release in 1987 on a commission from The Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance company. It is thought only 300 copies were made, and it wasn't sold - instead it was available for rent only, making it one of the rarest Master System cartridges in existence. You can see gameplay in the video below: SMS Power, the Sega 8-bit preservation group, clubbed together to buy a cartridge for around £3800 from a Japanese auction in December 2019. Here's what the team received, courtesy of a Japan to France delivery with help from the NPO Game Preservation Society: Read more View the full article
  13. Square Enix has issued a warning about the release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, saying it cannot control the date the game comes out because of the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake street date has been broken, with copies finding their way into the hands of fans two weeks ahead of the official 10th April 2020 release. In a blog post, Square Enix said the global lockdown will likely affect the distribution and retail landscape in the west at the launch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Read more View the full article
  14. Capcom has pulled the Resident Evil Resistance open beta on Steam and PlayStation 4 over technical issues that prevented players from finding games, "We're working to resolve the issue as soon as we can and will keep you updated," Capcom said in a tweet. "Apologies for the inconvenience." The Xbox One version of the open beta remains online. Read more View the full article
  15. A magical door in a magical forest? Who can resist that? Not me, at least - particularly when the art has the style of those Atomic Age children's books from the US: flat, four-colour printing, a hero with a sort of Charlie Brown squiggle for a quiff, everything thick and dash and aching of mimeo-ink. Jeepers! So yes, The Other Side is a puzzle game for smartphones with a killer sense of art. And it's wonderful to play with, too: a game about getting characters - sometimes one, sometimes more - to the door in a level and then on to the next one. You do this by pulling them along on conveyor belts that move them and everything else that's on the belt with them - trees, bushes, water towers, bits of fence and chimneys. The twist is that various belts overlay each other, so you move a guy left, then get him onto a down belt, them move him down and along and...and...and... man it gets tricky fast. Read more View the full article
  16. Netflix has picked up the rights to a live-action movie based on Dragon's Lair, according to a new report. The Hollywood Reporter said Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds is in talks to star in and produce the film. Dragon's Lair began life as a popular '80s arcade game that caught the eye for its animation-style graphics, by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth, and laserdisc tech. In the game, protagonist Dirk the Daring is a knight who attempts to rescue Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe, who has locked the princess in the evil wizard Mordroc's castle. Gameplay wise, it's a rock hard interactive cartoon quicktime event fest, and looks like this: Read more View the full article
  17. Everything you need to know about MaoMao Castle is that it stars a flying cat dragon. You are the flying cat dragon, in fact, and you need to chase rainbows and survive without losing your nine lives. That's it. Pretty simple. Oh but I forgot to mention it speeds up the further you get. What feels at the beginning like a leisurely fly forward in some giant, saccharine pixel world - you wheeling the dragon around carefree with your mouse - soon becomes something else, something like panic. At the beginning, it's no sweat to fly through the rainbow windows around the course, or cut the grass by swiping side to side on the floor, or collect puzzles, or go over and under walls, or gobble up the pebbles but skirt the lighthouses, or dodge the trees. But as the pace-handle cranks, the objects you're watching become blurrier and blurrier until they're whizzing at you so fast you can't tell what's going on. Read more View the full article
  18. A massive Call of Duty datamine has leaked a raft of details about Activision's upcoming plans for Modern Warfare and Warzone, as well as the unannounced Modern Warfare 2 remaster. Notorious Call of Duty leaker Senescallo, who revealed accurate Warzone details ahead of time, took to Reddit to dump information revealed by yesterday's update for Modern Warfare. The highlight here is art for Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered, as well as information on how it will be sold. It sounds like you can buy it standalone, or buy it from within Modern Warfare 2019. Read more View the full article
  19. We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days. More and more it feels like games are oscillating between two different extremes, with twee comforts on one end and challenging, gritty-or-else pretense at the other. Or maybe I've just been playing too much Animal Crossing and Doom. Still, at the very least it feels refreshing to play a game like The Almost Gone, a cutesy, pastel-pink diorama with a venom-green sting in the tail. Your mind will jump straight to Gone Home, when you first play it, which would be understandable but not entirely a justice. The Almost Gone is more subtle than that, more refined and more restrained. Read more View the full article
  20. We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days. An XCOM-style strategy game in a high fantasy setting is an idea that makes so much sense you've got to wonder why no one's come up with it before. Nothing says this kind of game has to be set in space, and Dungeons and Dragons, the tabletop game that started the collective obsession with strategic high fantasy RPGs, is a turn-based game that shares a lot of the same principles. XCOM and DnD are inextricably linked, but it took me Dungeons of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos to actually realise that. I know - the name doesn't do it any favours. But it speaks to the game's slightly goofy charm, however unintentional - eager, sometimes a bit too much. This isn't a dark, epic kind of fantasy, it's the one where the demo starts with your party instantly cracking terrible jokes. All your DnD races and classes are there, and the sprites are very, very cute. The green troll looks a little bedraggled and has a snaggle-tooth poking out from under his lip. The dwarf has eyebrows so bushy they seem to cover his eyes. Read more View the full article
  21. I spent some of yesterday morning trying to draw a decent - or at least not entirely terrible - picture of a door handle. I've had this door handle for ages, completely unattached to any kind of door. 20 years ago I found it somewhere and put it in my pocket, and since then - warning: I am boring - it's become sort of a quietly magical object to me. I've kept it on bookshelves or in a funny box under the sofa in all of the houses I've lived in over the last two decades. I think if I ever moved and found that I'd lost it, I would be slightly winded, in a strange, silly way. I've never tried to draw this thing before. And it turns out it's quite hard. I'm trying to do a drawing of it where I capture the entire outline of the shape without moving my pencil off the page. It's got to be an unbroken line. That's hard enough. Then the job will be to move into the outline, as it were, and do all the detailing. Tricky! This, I have been told, is not really a task about drawing anyway. It's a task about seeing. This door handle thing is because of Quarantine Art Club, or maybe #quarantineartclub, which is the creation of Carson Ellis. Ellis is the writer and illustrator behind some truly glorious children's books. Here's a piece on Home, which is an absolute classic. Since we've all been locked down these last few weeks, she's been using her Instagram account to set people little drawing challenges. I appreciate this isn't strictly a game, but it seems game-adjacent at least. It's about creativity and play. Read more View the full article
  22. Last week
  23. Developer Ustwo's delightful perspective-based puzzle adventure Monument Valley 2 and turn-based Tomb Raider spin-off Lara Croft Go are currently free on iOS and Android, should you be searching for some additional indoor entertainment this weekends. Monument Valley 2, described as an "illusory adventure of impossible architecture and forgiveness" by its creator, released back in 2017, offering up an enhanced slice of its predecessor's wonderfully chilled, perspective-shifting challenges. As before, the goal is to rotate each perfectly formed stage, sometimes manipulating specific contraptions, in order to create impossible, Escher-like pathways and guide your tiny charge, Ro, to the exit. The sequel's big twist, however, is that Ro is now joined by her daughter, with some stages requiring players to shift both characters in tandem, each performing one half of an action needed to proceed. Eurogamer's Christian Donlan shared his thoughts on the cleverness at the heart of the Monumental Valley series earlier this year, if you're keen to know more. Read more View the full article
  24. This year's Summer Games Done Quick charity speed-running event has, inevitably given current global events, been postponed, but its organisers have unveiled a new online-only money-raising event, Corona Relief Done Quick, due to take place in April. Summer Games Done Quick was originally set to run from 21st June to 28th June in Bloomington, Minnesota, but organisers have rescheduled the charity event in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. It's now expected to take place from 16th-23rd August this year, and all game submissions and volunteer applications will need to be submitted afresh. Although the main event is now some way off as a result, GDQ has announced it'll be holding a special online-only streamed marathon, Corona Relief Done Quick, from 17th-19th April. All donations received will go directly to Direct Relief, a "humanitarian aid organisation with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies." Read more View the full article
  25. It's been less than a week since Valve's seminal Half-Life series made its long overdue return in the form of the VR-exclusive Half-Life: Alyx, and, already, the race is on to get it running on a standard screen using mouse and keyboard. A fully playable version might still be a long way off, but footage has emerged offering a first taste of Alyx running outside of VR. Valve New Network creator Tyler McVicker initially demoed the rudimentary VR-free version of Alyx, restricted to the most basic of interactions, during a data-mining livestream earlier this week. As McVicker explains in a new video, he was making use of a pre-release build of the game, mistakenly made accessible through Steam, that still included tools enabling developers to test Alyx without strapping on a headset. However, even with these tools, says McVicker, Alyx without VR is still an incredibly limited affair. The traditional "use" key simply doesn't work as you might expect, and with no way to gain direct control of Alyx's hands, even some of the most basic interactions aren't possible. Read more View the full article
  26. Shantae and the Seven Sirens, the newest entry in developer WayForward's much-loved sometimes-Metroidvania-esque platform series, will be making its way to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC on 28th May. Shantae started life on the Game Boy Colour all the way back in 2002, and Seven Sirens marks the fifth outing for the series, following on from Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. Seven Sirens, which initially debuted as an Apple Arcade exclusive last September, follows Shantae's adventures across a tropical island after her friends go missing, and sees the series' return to the Metroidvania formula of the first three games/ Read more View the full article
  27. Seeing as nobody's going outside at the moment, it would be pretty great to have an entire version of Earth to explore in a video game, right? Enter PippenFTS, a YouTuber who claims to have made a full-scale version of the Earth in Minecraft for the very first time. It's been made possible through the use of two mods, Terra 1-to-1 and Cubic Chunks. As explained by PippenFTS, Minecraft normally has a height limit of 255m, which would have made full-scale Earth terrain impossible. Using Cubic Chunks "changes the shape of Minecraft chunks to 16x16x16 cube, giving you infinite build depth in both vertical directions". "With the Cubic Chunks mod breaking Minecraft's vertical limitations, we can now experience the Earth in Minecraft, just as it is, with no downscaling of any kind." Read more View the full article
  28. What a wild week it's been. I'm not talking about the obvious - I'm fairly certain you didn't come here to read about that - but more about the sweet phenomenon that's gripped players around the world. All day and all night my WhatsApp has been buzzing with friends and family members asking so many questions. What fruit do you have? Can you throw a few iron nuggets my way? Can I pop over to your island to grab a few things? And who the hell is that creepy sheep dressed up as a clown wandering around your town square? To call Animal Crossing: New Horizons a success would be something of an understatement. In Japan it's established itself as the biggest Switch release yet, a mantle I'm sure it'll soon take elsewhere too. Screw the sales, though - in terms of buzz, I can't remember anything quite like it since Breath of the Wild. Current circumstances certainly play into that - this is escapism, pure and true - though Animal Crossing has been on an upwards ascent ever since its inception. That its moment has come now, when that escapism feels so vital, just makes it all the sweeter. It's a far cry from the early days when Animal Crossing was a strange secret here in the west. It took just under a year for the GameCube original - itself an expanded port of an N64 game - to come to America, but more painful was the two years it took after that for it to make its way to Europe. I remember first reading about it in Edge around the time of the US launch and the concept - a game that moves in step with every minute and month of the real world - lodged in my brain until it became an obsession. It wasn't too much longer before a Freeloader turned up in the post along with a freshly-imported version of Animal Crossing and a brand new memory card that could play host to my village. Read more View the full article
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