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Found 17 results

  1. We've written a fair amount about No Man's Sky over the past year. From impressions, to podcasts, to in-depth stories on its fascinating community (and how it helped save someone's life), people have had reactions ranging from disgust to enthusiasm. It's fair to say that the title from Hello Games proved to be one of the most divisive games released in recent memory. Despite the controversy surrounding its launch and the perceived gulf between its advertised features and the apparent features in-game, Hello Games has quietly continued working on their universe-sized sandbox. That work resulted in the 1.1 Foundation update, which added base-building, multiple game modes (Normal, Creative, and Survival), mobile saving, expanded inventory space, the ability to leave messages for other players, and gave players the option of hiring aliens to pilot freighters to give a massive boost to material collection capacity. It even gave PS4 players a photo mode that allowed them to take pictures of their adventures. Perhaps it strikes people as somewhat surprising that Hello Games haven't cut their losses and moved on to another game. After all, these updates aren't exactly providing the team with extra income since they release at the low cost of zero dollars. However, the team remains committed to the universe they created and has been steadily tweaking and adding new things to the worlds that have been found and those that remain unexplored. No Man's Sky 1.2, titled The Path Finder Update, expands on Foundation while adding a bevy of features in its own right. Ground vehicles have been added to provide players with ways to quickly and efficiently cover more ground on the planets they discover. They provide greater speed, protection from the elements, and more cargo space. There are currently three types: the agile Nomad hovercraft, the hardy, wheeled Roamer, and the gigantic mining vehicle Colossus. These vehicles can equip mining lasers and weapons to defend themselves from attackers and harvest resources from the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles also boost scanning capabilities. Expanded base-building features have more than doubled the available customization options for No Man's Sky architects. This will help players to set their bases apart from those created by other players since this update also allows players to share their bases online, allowing other No Man's Sky explorers to stumble onto bases created by others from around the world. New weapon types give players additional options on foot and in the sky. In addition to the standard bolt caster, the multi-tool can now be specialized into the short-range scatter blaster, the mid-range pulse spitter, and the long-range blaze javelin. Ships now can be equipped with the cyclotron projector, the cone-like positron projector, and the rapid fire infra-knife accelerator. A permadeath mode has been added with unique achievements for those who can manage to make their way through the cosmos unscathed. The survival mode has also been amended to start players on the nearest planet with a crashed space ship when they die in the cold vacuum of space. The ambient music selection has increased by over 50% with new soundscapes from 65daysofstatic. Players can rename everything they own and they can now own a lot more. Multiple ships can now be kept in storage for use as needed. The camera mode has received adjustments and will now be accessible on PC as well as PS4. The camera now has various filters that can be applied. Time can also be stopped and shifted around to get optimal lighting and sky positioning for the perfect picture. To demonstrate the capabilities of the photo mode Hello Games worked with game photographer DeadEndThrills. New traders have been added that deal with a new currency called nanite clusters. Traders on space stations will accept nanite clusters for rare blueprints. As the player's standing increases with various factions, the rarer the blue prints offered will become. Even the graphics have received an overhaul. The lighting has been made more accurate and revealing. No Man's Sky can now support high and ultra resolution textures. Post-processing has been improved and the game now supports HDR for compatible TVs and monitors. The results are definitely noticeable. A sweeping number of bug fixes for combat, UI, spawning, etc. You can find the full list of changes on the No Man's Sky site. There are more additions, too. For a visual overview of what's in store, check out the Path Finder trailer below. View full article
  2. We've written a fair amount about No Man's Sky over the past year. From impressions, to podcasts, to in-depth stories on its fascinating community (and how it helped save someone's life), people have had reactions ranging from disgust to enthusiasm. It's fair to say that the title from Hello Games proved to be one of the most divisive games released in recent memory. Despite the controversy surrounding its launch and the perceived gulf between its advertised features and the apparent features in-game, Hello Games has quietly continued working on their universe-sized sandbox. That work resulted in the 1.1 Foundation update, which added base-building, multiple game modes (Normal, Creative, and Survival), mobile saving, expanded inventory space, the ability to leave messages for other players, and gave players the option of hiring aliens to pilot freighters to give a massive boost to material collection capacity. It even gave PS4 players a photo mode that allowed them to take pictures of their adventures. Perhaps it strikes people as somewhat surprising that Hello Games haven't cut their losses and moved on to another game. After all, these updates aren't exactly providing the team with extra income since they release at the low cost of zero dollars. However, the team remains committed to the universe they created and has been steadily tweaking and adding new things to the worlds that have been found and those that remain unexplored. No Man's Sky 1.2, titled The Path Finder Update, expands on Foundation while adding a bevy of features in its own right. Ground vehicles have been added to provide players with ways to quickly and efficiently cover more ground on the planets they discover. They provide greater speed, protection from the elements, and more cargo space. There are currently three types: the agile Nomad hovercraft, the hardy, wheeled Roamer, and the gigantic mining vehicle Colossus. These vehicles can equip mining lasers and weapons to defend themselves from attackers and harvest resources from the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles also boost scanning capabilities. Expanded base-building features have more than doubled the available customization options for No Man's Sky architects. This will help players to set their bases apart from those created by other players since this update also allows players to share their bases online, allowing other No Man's Sky explorers to stumble onto bases created by others from around the world. New weapon types give players additional options on foot and in the sky. In addition to the standard bolt caster, the multi-tool can now be specialized into the short-range scatter blaster, the mid-range pulse spitter, and the long-range blaze javelin. Ships now can be equipped with the cyclotron projector, the cone-like positron projector, and the rapid fire infra-knife accelerator. A permadeath mode has been added with unique achievements for those who can manage to make their way through the cosmos unscathed. The survival mode has also been amended to start players on the nearest planet with a crashed space ship when they die in the cold vacuum of space. The ambient music selection has increased by over 50% with new soundscapes from 65daysofstatic. Players can rename everything they own and they can now own a lot more. Multiple ships can now be kept in storage for use as needed. The camera mode has received adjustments and will now be accessible on PC as well as PS4. The camera now has various filters that can be applied. Time can also be stopped and shifted around to get optimal lighting and sky positioning for the perfect picture. To demonstrate the capabilities of the photo mode Hello Games worked with game photographer DeadEndThrills. New traders have been added that deal with a new currency called nanite clusters. Traders on space stations will accept nanite clusters for rare blueprints. As the player's standing increases with various factions, the rarer the blue prints offered will become. Even the graphics have received an overhaul. The lighting has been made more accurate and revealing. No Man's Sky can now support high and ultra resolution textures. Post-processing has been improved and the game now supports HDR for compatible TVs and monitors. The results are definitely noticeable. A sweeping number of bug fixes for combat, UI, spawning, etc. You can find the full list of changes on the No Man's Sky site. There are more additions, too. For a visual overview of what's in store, check out the Path Finder trailer below.
  3. E3 2014 - Sony's Press Conference

    Following Microsoft’s press conference earlier today, Sony had to be on its game. Microsoft showed a fair number of titles with first access DLC for Xbox owners and a couple highly polished an interesting exclusives (here’s lookin’ at you, Sunset Overdrive and Scalebound). Sony seems to have given a suitably escalated response. Sony began by showing a story-teasing, action packed trailer (narrated by Peter Dinklage!) and announcing that PS4 owners would have access to a special first-look alpha of the game beginning this Thursday and continuing through Sunday. It was also revealed that PlayStation owners would receive an exclusive strike mission (the Destiny equivalent of dungeon raids) for Destiny. July 17 marks when Destiny enters open beta. Furthermore, when Destiny releases on September 9, there will also be a bundle with a white PlayStation 4. The Order: 1886 also made an obligatory appearance with a brief segment showing off some atmospheric gameplay. It is worth noting that the trailer below was edited together and, while made up of the gameplay that I saw live, doesn’t quite capture the same intensity or urgency that the gameplay segment demonstrated. After The Order, Sony decided to introduce Entwined. Players control a bird and a fish that fall in love and over try to guide them through several lifetimes to be together. Yes, the concept is weird. On the other hand, the game is a joy to look at and the music relaxing and beautiful. Each creature is assigned a different joystick, meaning that you control both of them simultaneously. The best part about this announcement (I mean, besides that it exists) is that it is available today on PSN for a reasonable $9.99. If you thought that Sucker Punch and Sony had abandoned Second Son, think again! Entwined lead into the reveal of Second Son DLC titled First Light. Players take on the role of fan favorite character Fetch Walker as she deals with the demons of her past. First Light is slated for release sometime in August 2014. LittleBigPlanet 3 debuted with a live gameplay demonstration and trailer. The game introduces new characters as well as co-op gameplay. Sackboy is joined by the dog-like Oddsock who has the ability to wall jump; Toggle a blobby character who can grow and shrink at will; and Swoop who can fly around at will. LittleBigPlanet 3 is coming to PS4 this November. Additionally, you’ll be able to go online and play any level made in LittleBigPlanet 3. Sony had pulled out the big guns with the reveal of LittleBigPlanet 3, and like a comical scene in a sweeping action film they continued to pull out more big guns. It turns out those images and five second video clips that have been popping up and been attributed to a From Software game under the working title of Project Beast were genuine. Bloodborne appears to be a grim action game that makes use of Dark Souls imagery while making use of a slightly different premise. Count me in as excited for this PlayStation exclusive coming 2015. This might get a bit lengthy if I go too in-depth with what happened during the conference, so I am going to shotgun a number of highlights at you: Far Cry 4 was demonstrated live (and has co-op). Dead Island 2 is coming out and one of the characters is voiced by Jack Black. There will be a Last of Us Remastered/Diablo 3 crossover mission that involves taking out infected zombies in Diablo 3. Battlefield Hardline had a trailer (plus the beta, which is available right now for PS4 players). Paradox Interactive has all of its development studios working on exclusive PlayStation titles; the first of which is Magicka 2. With a great live-action trailer and a tagline like “Learn to spell… again” how can you not smile and feel a twinge of anticipation? Double Fine is partnering with Sony to remaster the beloved adventure game Grim Fandango. *JOY SPASMS* Devolver Digital, the publisher behind Hotline Miami, is bringing a load of games to PlayStation consoles first, before they make their way elsewhere. This includes Broforce, Titan Souls, Not A Hero, Hotline Miami Wrong Number, and The Talos Principle. Sound like a lot or never heard of the before? Check out this neat little trailer thing that does your research for you! Then we arrived at the point during the conference where Sony uttered the words Suda 51. The ever unpredictable designer is in the process of crafting a game titled Let It Die, which received a trailer that is probably too graphic to embed directly into this post. Check it out here if you are interested. Suffice it to say that Suda 51 is either a genius or insane. I’m leaning more towards insane, but possibly in a good way? Regardless, Let It Die comes out in 2015. Remember how great Journey was? If you don’t it was fan-flippin’-tastic. One of the artists on that thatgamecompany’s last title spun off his own studio, dubbed it Giant Squid and began working on a mysterious new title called Abzû. Much like Journey, Abzû’s soundtrack has been composed by Austin Wintory. Unlike Journey, Abzû appears to take place completely under water with a diver exploring the unknown depths and interacting with the various denizens of the watery deep. Immediately following Abzû was a trailer that showcased the progress of the highly anticipated No Man’s Sky. I can’t really put into words how excited I am to one day get my hands on No Man’s Sky, but… ugh. It really seems to be doing something different and doing that different thing WELL. Also, I think I just salivated at the thought of playing this game with a VR headset. Sony decided that we needed a bit of a break from new announcements and spent a few minutes reassuring everyone that their virtual reality peripheral Project Morpheus is still a thing and it will have demos n’ stuff. An integrated YouTube app will be making its way to PS4 later this year. This will facilitate the watching of cat videos as well as uploading shared gameplay videos online with friends, family, and strangers. The game streaming service PlayStation Now will enter open beta on July 31 for PlayStation 4 and shortly after available for PS3 and PSVita. As an almost casual aside, it was mentioned that PlayStation Now will also be available on select Sony televisions. All you need is a DualShock 4 controller to play on qualifying television sets. PlayStation TV will be coming to North America. The PlayStation TV is essentially a streaming box that allows the PlayStation 4 to be played on other televisions in the house, can stream PlayStation Vita games to be played on your TV, and allows anyone to access PlayStation Now without the hefty investment costs of a fully-fledged console. PlayStation TV will retail at $100 for the base box and at $139 for a bundle that includes the box, a controller, 8GB of memory, and a digital voucher for a copy of The Lego Movie Game. Oh, and it can stream other services like Netflix, too. In a new push to create more PlayStation exclusives, Sony announced that there will be an PlayStation original series, the first of which is a two run series based on the graphic novel, Powers. The first episode will be available for free. All PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to view the entire Powers series free of charge. Not being super familiar with the graphic novel, for how it was described made it sound like a police procedural, if those police lived in a world where super-powers existed and there was a specialized police department for super-powered murder cases. That sounds pretty dang cool to me. Then Sony revealed that there is a Ratchet and Clank movie in the works for next year. Sony followed the Ratchet and Clank movie announcement with a drastic tonal shift to The Last of Us Remastered. Now, I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the trailer they showed for the enhanced PS4 version over PS3 version, but maybe that’s because my eyes aren’t discerning enough. However, as base and classless as my eyes may be, they couldn’t help getting excited for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. A new trailer was shown that was edited together by Kojima himself. In it we watch Big Boss mourn with urns, grow a ponytail, and be a bit more hardcore than the Solid Snake we’re all accustomed to seeing. I’m relishing the prospect of jumping into whatever craziness Kojima has concocted for The Phantom Pain, because good or bad, it is going to be a ride. Grand Theft Auto V was announced to be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox one, and PC this fall (though at the press conference they conveniently left out the part about releasing on Xbox One and PC). Players looking to upgrade to a different version will be granted data transfers from whatever system they chose previously to the newer one of their choosing. Sony then revealed a new gameplay segment from Batman: Arkham Knight and, this is coming from someone who hasn’t played previous Arkham games and who is a professional critic, it looks amaze-tastical. I gotta hand it to Sony, they ended this conference incredibly strong. After so many great games debuted or showed impeccable polish, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End tipped the scales in Sony’s favor. Overall I was really impressed by what Sony brought to the table this E3. Maybe that’s partly because I was going in not expecting much besides a victory lap for The Last of Us, a few indies, and a possible Uncharted announcement. What Sony gave was so much more. They announced indie title after indie title, big game that people care about after big game that people care about, and while they kept non-gaming talk low, they hit all the bullet points they needed to and then got back on track with more game reveals and teases. What did you think of the conference? Good? Adequate? Meh?
  4. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. The first time Ron Carpenter received the generous donation to his PayPal account, he figured it was just a courteous one-time gift from a viewer of his YouTube channel, Cobra TV. Then week after week, the same donation continued to pop up in his account. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter – like most YouTube personalities – started his channel on a whim, without much of a plan or very high expectations. Wearing a mask to retain anonymity, he ranted about games in stream of consciousness videos on a crude, but functional, webcam set-up. “I was depressed, and I was making videos,” he tells me over Skype. Those early videos featured Carpenter farting and making crude, offensive jokes about games. He doesn’t harbor much pride for those early days. As he recalls, “I guess you could say I was a troll back then.” Soon after, he discovered No Man’s Sky, a game that at that point remained a mysteriously intriguing space exploration title from an inconspicuous independent developer. Hello Games had made a splash at the 2013 VGX awards when it released a trailer for its procedurally generated space exploration game. Like many people in the games industry, Carpenter took notice right away. The budding influencer’s curiosity piqued further when Hello Games director Sean Murray came onto Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 to show more of No Man’s Sky in a demo that has since become infamous. Carpenter watched as Sean Murray explored a planet full of dinosaurs and other creatures, hopped into his spaceship, launched through the atmosphere, and immediately started dogfighting in outer space. “It blew my mind away,” says Carpenter of the stage demo, which would prove to be a slight exaggeration of what the final product turned out to be. Misrepresentation or not, the demo was enough to hook Carpenter. “After that,” he says, “I searched for anything I could find on the internet about this game. I didn’t even know what Reddit was at the time. I started taking down notes just because I wanted to learn more.” His excitement for the game fueled his content from that point on; a commitment that proved infectious. Carpenter doesn’t look back fondly on his early videos covering the game. “My first No Man’s Sky video, I’m sitting there in a mask and burping and farting through the thing,” he recalls, “when I realized I had such a passion for this game, those videos just seemed really disrespectful.” It might be strange for current followers to hear that Carpenter’s early videos contained such vulgarity, when he’s built a reputation for objectivity and candor. But regardless of quality, he eventually realized he wasn’t alone in his passion for the game. His viewership and subscription numbers began to reflect that fact. “People were taking me seriously finally. So I thought, ‘they deserve respect and I need to be better.’” As his audience grew, he began to accept donations through PayPal, to help improve the overall quality. He earned just enough to buy a new computer, webcam, and microphone. As his channel found an audience, Carpenter’s Cobra TV became a prominent outlet in the burgeoning No Man’s Sky community. He began to see his videos pop up on Reddit and in Facebook fan groups for the game. In hopes of cultivating and providing a voice for that community, he soon began inviting fellow fans onto his shows to pontificate about the seemingly infinite possibilities of Hello Games’ universe. As such, he became the sort of de-facto leader of the word-of-mouth hype surrounding the game prior to launch. Carpenter had become the pope to god, Sean Murray – preaching to the flock for an increasingly capricious deity. Hyping No Man’s Sky had itself become a popular pastime on the internet, and a burgeoning cottage industry for content creators like Carpenter. While the information that Hello Games released to the public was vague at best, Carpenter found himself filling a need. As he explains, his motivation had less to do with exploiting the game as it did with satiating his own desire to learn more about this mysterious universe. He tells me that what captivated him most about No Man’s Sky was the sheer creativity of it all. “It was the overreaching of the entire game as a package. I say overreaching now, not because of what happened, but because that’s what I wanted to find,” says Carpenter, alluding to the underwhelming state of the final product, “I wanted to find a game where the developers did overreach. They went out of the box and pulled out what was normal. They pulled out something special, put it into the limelight and tried to do something that nobody else has done. That’s what drew me in. The fact that somebody for the first time in a long time, was overreaching.” As a kid, growing up in the marshlands of Florida, some of Carpenter’s most vivid memories are of long walks in the woods near his childhood home. As a child, he would join his father on exploratory walks through the swamps, with little intention other than to observe nature. “I would just look and see, and I was so amazed,” recalls Carpenter. These trips consisted of no hunting, no taking pictures, but just being in the moment and seeing what there was to see; an activity that would sound more than a little familiar to any diehard No Man’s Sky devotee. Later in life, he would take his dog Jasper, a mix of pit bull and German shepherd for long walks through those same marshes. Once in awhile, when Jasper began to snarl and sneer at the water, Carpenter says, “a gator would come out and my dog would sit there, run away a little bit and just bark and bark.” He recalls with a nostalgic chuckle, “I would stand on the top of the hill and yell at [the gator] to get back in the water.” For those anticipating the game, the potential in No Man’s Sky wrested on the promise of finding metaphorical gators in that digital universe’s water; the potential of encountering epic space battles, long-necked dinosaurs, and giant sandworms. Even now, months after launch, and with the release of the Foundation update – a long-awaited content dump of new modes and gameplay tweaks – a common refrain can still be heard around the community: But where’s the giant sandworm? For fans and detractors, so much of what makes No Man’s Sky’s story intriguing, even months after a failed launch, is best exemplified by that one question: But where’s the giant sandworm? Promotional materials and early footage showed a giant sandworm. Common sentiment among the community is that it must be in there somewhere. This is a near-infinite universe full of eighteen quintillion planet-sized planets, after all. Due to the sheer size of this world, it’s quite possible that simply nobody has found it yet. Not for lack of trying; Reddit and dedicated Facebook groups are full of fans posting videos and screenshots of worm-like creatures that could be long-removed cousins to something that might vaguely resemble a giant sandworm. However, not one player has recorded an instance of encountering such an animal. It’s much more likely that the beast just doesn’t exist. But it’s also possible (if infinitesimally so) that it does. And that’s all that matters for some fans. No Man’s Sky fandom is a strange place. Prior to release, fans of the game scoured the internet for any information they could find on Sean Murray’s creation, including Cobra TV videos. They created fan art, bought t-shirts, took to reading old science fiction novels (the Asimovs and Clarks that Murray likes to name-check in interviews), and even made fan videos thanking Hello Games for its time and effort in creating this procedural universe that none of them had yet experienced. On August 9th, 2016, the game released and that fandom grew even stranger. When No Man’s Sky failed to live up to expectations, the community split into two camps: those shouting “Sean Murray is a liar,” and those defending the developer even as they acknowledged the product’s imperfections. The angry voices rang the loudest though, and hating on No Man’s Sky soon became just as sporting as anticipating No Man’s Sky had been just weeks earlier. Here’s where this story gets weirder for me, as the author. I’m going to break a cardinal rule and insert myself into it a bit. I was one of those people who hyped No Man’s Sky far more than it may have deserved. I was one of the people playing gameplay trailers for family and friends, evangelizing the gospel of Sean Murray. I was one of the people that considered themselves a fan of a game that I hadn’t even played yet. Heck, I even found myself re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune in the weeks before the game’s launch, because, well… giant sandworms! Prior to release, many people would say that anticipating No Man’s Sky was already fun enough, that the game itself didn’t even need to be any good. They had already gotten their money’s worth. Oh… if only that were the case. As I began to research this story, I started to suspect that it was far beyond my scope of practice. I reached out to a few prominent individuals in the community, which soon became a depressing exercise in futility. One source, for example, would only speak to me off the record for fear of being ostracized for his criticisms of the game. Some other people who openly disliked the game declined to comment, and just quietly retreated from the imploding community. When the subreddit was abruptly deleted overnight on October 5th, I reached out to the moderator responsible only to find that he had deleted his own account, my only means of contacting him, due to the overwhelming backlash. That same subreddit, with over 150,000 members at the time, would soon be replaced with another dedicated page for the game, before finally being turned into a Mr. Robot subreddit as a sort of joke at the expense of Hello Games. Did I say this story was strange? I began to get the sense that I was working on uncovering some deep government conspiracy, when in reality, I was simply trying to talk to people about a video game. Even the game’s developers seemed to be susceptible to the drama. After having been silent on Twitter for months, the Hello Games official Twitter account tweeted out that “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” It would turn out to be the work of a hacker, but it only further demonstrated just how divisive this game had become. Having started my research in October, I began to wonder if I should ever write this article at all, for fear that this story – like the game’s universe – was never ending. And it most certainly isn’t over yet. Hello Games recently released the Foundation Update, which adds base building, freighters, survival mode, creative mode, an online message system, and more. The game finally resembles what it probably should have been from the start, save for a few major features including full online support, factions, and, as far as anyone can tell, giant sandworms. Despite selling millions of copies at launch, No Man’s Sky’s player numbers had since dwindled to the hundreds. Those numbers have seen a minor surge with the update, and the game’s most ardent fans have seen their faith rekindled and rewarded, but it’s still not the smash hit that so many people expected it to be. Those same fans never stopped watching Cobra TV and talking about the game, even if they stopped actually playing the game. Carpenter remains a spokesman for that community, despite never really aspiring to that label. With his smooth baritone and casual dialect, he has a voice for radio, something he’s aspired to since his youth. Although he never wanted to just be known as the guy that talks about No Man’s Sky, he appreciates the experience the game has afforded him. He just wanted to talk about fascinating games, but for Carpenter and his followers, the most fascinating game remains the one that earned him all this recognition in the first place. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. During Hello Games’ self-imposed sabbatical, many people wondered how Carpenter could continue making videos about a game while the developers themselves remained silent. But those same people were still watching. Just as 130,000 people re-subscribed to the new No Man’s Sky Reddit during that time, Carpenter’s viewers kept coming back. “Lots of people on my YouTube channel comment saying, ‘I feel sorry for this mother f___er for wasting his life talking about this game. He’ll never get these years back,’” reflects Carpenter. “I get comments like that all the time.” Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter had no intentions of accepting this money week after week. So he decided to email the donor to inquire, thinking that maybe it was a mistake, or maybe a glitch with PayPal’s system. It wasn’t. The donor wrote him back to explain. “I received back, this email. [The email] said that one night he was sitting on his couch and he had a gun in his mouth, and he said that one of my No Man’s Sky playlists was playing on his computer,” Carpenter’s voice cracks ever so slightly over Skype. “He never told me what I said, but something that I said in one of my sub-casts, made him yank the gun out of his mouth and reevaluate his situation. He said fifty dollars is nothing compared to what I made him feel like his life was worth. He tried paying me that fifty dollars every week. Finally, I told him that if you continue to keep paying me fifty dollars I’m going to refund it to you every single time.” “That,” he says, “That’s made it worth it.” View full article
  5. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. The first time Ron Carpenter received the generous donation to his PayPal account, he figured it was just a courteous one-time gift from a viewer of his YouTube channel, Cobra TV. Then week after week, the same donation continued to pop up in his account. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter – like most YouTube personalities – started his channel on a whim, without much of a plan or very high expectations. Wearing a mask to retain anonymity, he ranted about games in stream of consciousness videos on a crude, but functional, webcam set-up. “I was depressed, and I was making videos,” he tells me over Skype. Those early videos featured Carpenter farting and making crude, offensive jokes about games. He doesn’t harbor much pride for those early days. As he recalls, “I guess you could say I was a troll back then.” Soon after, he discovered No Man’s Sky, a game that at that point remained a mysteriously intriguing space exploration title from an inconspicuous independent developer. Hello Games had made a splash at the 2013 VGX awards when it released a trailer for its procedurally generated space exploration game. Like many people in the games industry, Carpenter took notice right away. The budding influencer’s curiosity piqued further when Hello Games director Sean Murray came onto Sony’s E3 stage in 2014 to show more of No Man’s Sky in a demo that has since become infamous. Carpenter watched as Sean Murray explored a planet full of dinosaurs and other creatures, hopped into his spaceship, launched through the atmosphere, and immediately started dogfighting in outer space. “It blew my mind away,” says Carpenter of the stage demo, which would prove to be a slight exaggeration of what the final product turned out to be. Misrepresentation or not, the demo was enough to hook Carpenter. “After that,” he says, “I searched for anything I could find on the internet about this game. I didn’t even know what Reddit was at the time. I started taking down notes just because I wanted to learn more.” His excitement for the game fueled his content from that point on; a commitment that proved infectious. Carpenter doesn’t look back fondly on his early videos covering the game. “My first No Man’s Sky video, I’m sitting there in a mask and burping and farting through the thing,” he recalls, “when I realized I had such a passion for this game, those videos just seemed really disrespectful.” It might be strange for current followers to hear that Carpenter’s early videos contained such vulgarity, when he’s built a reputation for objectivity and candor. But regardless of quality, he eventually realized he wasn’t alone in his passion for the game. His viewership and subscription numbers began to reflect that fact. “People were taking me seriously finally. So I thought, ‘they deserve respect and I need to be better.’” As his audience grew, he began to accept donations through PayPal, to help improve the overall quality. He earned just enough to buy a new computer, webcam, and microphone. As his channel found an audience, Carpenter’s Cobra TV became a prominent outlet in the burgeoning No Man’s Sky community. He began to see his videos pop up on Reddit and in Facebook fan groups for the game. In hopes of cultivating and providing a voice for that community, he soon began inviting fellow fans onto his shows to pontificate about the seemingly infinite possibilities of Hello Games’ universe. As such, he became the sort of de-facto leader of the word-of-mouth hype surrounding the game prior to launch. Carpenter had become the pope to god, Sean Murray – preaching to the flock for an increasingly capricious deity. Hyping No Man’s Sky had itself become a popular pastime on the internet, and a burgeoning cottage industry for content creators like Carpenter. While the information that Hello Games released to the public was vague at best, Carpenter found himself filling a need. As he explains, his motivation had less to do with exploiting the game as it did with satiating his own desire to learn more about this mysterious universe. He tells me that what captivated him most about No Man’s Sky was the sheer creativity of it all. “It was the overreaching of the entire game as a package. I say overreaching now, not because of what happened, but because that’s what I wanted to find,” says Carpenter, alluding to the underwhelming state of the final product, “I wanted to find a game where the developers did overreach. They went out of the box and pulled out what was normal. They pulled out something special, put it into the limelight and tried to do something that nobody else has done. That’s what drew me in. The fact that somebody for the first time in a long time, was overreaching.” As a kid, growing up in the marshlands of Florida, some of Carpenter’s most vivid memories are of long walks in the woods near his childhood home. As a child, he would join his father on exploratory walks through the swamps, with little intention other than to observe nature. “I would just look and see, and I was so amazed,” recalls Carpenter. These trips consisted of no hunting, no taking pictures, but just being in the moment and seeing what there was to see; an activity that would sound more than a little familiar to any diehard No Man’s Sky devotee. Later in life, he would take his dog Jasper, a mix of pit bull and German shepherd for long walks through those same marshes. Once in awhile, when Jasper began to snarl and sneer at the water, Carpenter says, “a gator would come out and my dog would sit there, run away a little bit and just bark and bark.” He recalls with a nostalgic chuckle, “I would stand on the top of the hill and yell at [the gator] to get back in the water.” For those anticipating the game, the potential in No Man’s Sky wrested on the promise of finding metaphorical gators in that digital universe’s water; the potential of encountering epic space battles, long-necked dinosaurs, and giant sandworms. Even now, months after launch, and with the release of the Foundation update – a long-awaited content dump of new modes and gameplay tweaks – a common refrain can still be heard around the community: But where’s the giant sandworm? For fans and detractors, so much of what makes No Man’s Sky’s story intriguing, even months after a failed launch, is best exemplified by that one question: But where’s the giant sandworm? Promotional materials and early footage showed a giant sandworm. Common sentiment among the community is that it must be in there somewhere. This is a near-infinite universe full of eighteen quintillion planet-sized planets, after all. Due to the sheer size of this world, it’s quite possible that simply nobody has found it yet. Not for lack of trying; Reddit and dedicated Facebook groups are full of fans posting videos and screenshots of worm-like creatures that could be long-removed cousins to something that might vaguely resemble a giant sandworm. However, not one player has recorded an instance of encountering such an animal. It’s much more likely that the beast just doesn’t exist. But it’s also possible (if infinitesimally so) that it does. And that’s all that matters for some fans. No Man’s Sky fandom is a strange place. Prior to release, fans of the game scoured the internet for any information they could find on Sean Murray’s creation, including Cobra TV videos. They created fan art, bought t-shirts, took to reading old science fiction novels (the Asimovs and Clarks that Murray likes to name-check in interviews), and even made fan videos thanking Hello Games for its time and effort in creating this procedural universe that none of them had yet experienced. On August 9th, 2016, the game released and that fandom grew even stranger. When No Man’s Sky failed to live up to expectations, the community split into two camps: those shouting “Sean Murray is a liar,” and those defending the developer even as they acknowledged the product’s imperfections. The angry voices rang the loudest though, and hating on No Man’s Sky soon became just as sporting as anticipating No Man’s Sky had been just weeks earlier. Here’s where this story gets weirder for me, as the author. I’m going to break a cardinal rule and insert myself into it a bit. I was one of those people who hyped No Man’s Sky far more than it may have deserved. I was one of the people playing gameplay trailers for family and friends, evangelizing the gospel of Sean Murray. I was one of the people that considered themselves a fan of a game that I hadn’t even played yet. Heck, I even found myself re-reading Frank Herbert’s Dune in the weeks before the game’s launch, because, well… giant sandworms! Prior to release, many people would say that anticipating No Man’s Sky was already fun enough, that the game itself didn’t even need to be any good. They had already gotten their money’s worth. Oh… if only that were the case. As I began to research this story, I started to suspect that it was far beyond my scope of practice. I reached out to a few prominent individuals in the community, which soon became a depressing exercise in futility. One source, for example, would only speak to me off the record for fear of being ostracized for his criticisms of the game. Some other people who openly disliked the game declined to comment, and just quietly retreated from the imploding community. When the subreddit was abruptly deleted overnight on October 5th, I reached out to the moderator responsible only to find that he had deleted his own account, my only means of contacting him, due to the overwhelming backlash. That same subreddit, with over 150,000 members at the time, would soon be replaced with another dedicated page for the game, before finally being turned into a Mr. Robot subreddit as a sort of joke at the expense of Hello Games. Did I say this story was strange? I began to get the sense that I was working on uncovering some deep government conspiracy, when in reality, I was simply trying to talk to people about a video game. Even the game’s developers seemed to be susceptible to the drama. After having been silent on Twitter for months, the Hello Games official Twitter account tweeted out that “No Man’s Sky was a mistake.” It would turn out to be the work of a hacker, but it only further demonstrated just how divisive this game had become. Having started my research in October, I began to wonder if I should ever write this article at all, for fear that this story – like the game’s universe – was never ending. And it most certainly isn’t over yet. Hello Games recently released the Foundation Update, which adds base building, freighters, survival mode, creative mode, an online message system, and more. The game finally resembles what it probably should have been from the start, save for a few major features including full online support, factions, and, as far as anyone can tell, giant sandworms. Despite selling millions of copies at launch, No Man’s Sky’s player numbers had since dwindled to the hundreds. Those numbers have seen a minor surge with the update, and the game’s most ardent fans have seen their faith rekindled and rewarded, but it’s still not the smash hit that so many people expected it to be. Those same fans never stopped watching Cobra TV and talking about the game, even if they stopped actually playing the game. Carpenter remains a spokesman for that community, despite never really aspiring to that label. With his smooth baritone and casual dialect, he has a voice for radio, something he’s aspired to since his youth. Although he never wanted to just be known as the guy that talks about No Man’s Sky, he appreciates the experience the game has afforded him. He just wanted to talk about fascinating games, but for Carpenter and his followers, the most fascinating game remains the one that earned him all this recognition in the first place. Another Friday, another fifty dollars. During Hello Games’ self-imposed sabbatical, many people wondered how Carpenter could continue making videos about a game while the developers themselves remained silent. But those same people were still watching. Just as 130,000 people re-subscribed to the new No Man’s Sky Reddit during that time, Carpenter’s viewers kept coming back. “Lots of people on my YouTube channel comment saying, ‘I feel sorry for this mother f___er for wasting his life talking about this game. He’ll never get these years back,’” reflects Carpenter. “I get comments like that all the time.” Another Friday, another fifty dollars. Carpenter had no intentions of accepting this money week after week. So he decided to email the donor to inquire, thinking that maybe it was a mistake, or maybe a glitch with PayPal’s system. It wasn’t. The donor wrote him back to explain. “I received back, this email. [The email] said that one night he was sitting on his couch and he had a gun in his mouth, and he said that one of my No Man’s Sky playlists was playing on his computer,” Carpenter’s voice cracks ever so slightly over Skype. “He never told me what I said, but something that I said in one of my sub-casts, made him yank the gun out of his mouth and reevaluate his situation. He said fifty dollars is nothing compared to what I made him feel like his life was worth. He tried paying me that fifty dollars every week. Finally, I told him that if you continue to keep paying me fifty dollars I’m going to refund it to you every single time.” “That,” he says, “That’s made it worth it.”
  6. Last week, Star Citizen held their fourth annual CitizenCon. Included in that event was an unedited, 30-minute demonstration of on foot exploration, various land-based vehicles, FPS combat, and the powerful tools they've created to allow for advanced random planet generation. Oh, and there was a colossal sand worm. Note: If you want to skip straight to the sand worm, scroll down to the embedded video to see 30 minutes of live Star Citizen gameplay Chris Roberts, one of the founders of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG), took to the main stage to kick off the two-hour presentation. Roberts started out with a retrospective dedicated to the growing, vibrant fanbase, showcasing the diverse community that has grown up around a game that hasn't even officially released. Over the course of the presentation a revolving assortment of Star Citizen developers cycled through to show the newest developments in the space-faring MMO. One of these was the Spectrum module. Spectrum will be an application that allows for in-game and out-of-game chat. Players will be able to use the Spectrum application to talk with their friends who play Star Citizen or the other people in their life who don't play the game. Additionally, Spectrum will feature modern forums using a flexible, easily updatable system that hosts classic threads, dedicated Q & A threads, and live threads. Players will also be able to create their own forums for their in-game organizations and hold private conversations with single friends or groups of people. Perhaps most importantly, Spectrum also supports voice lobbies, voice transmission, out-of-game voice chat, and in-game spatialization of voice chat. Spectrum will be launched in alpha before the end of the year as a web application and future updates will integrate it with the game world, embed it within the Star Citizen launcher, and finally release as an app for mobile later next year. Part of the presentation was dedicated to the sale of new in-game ships, most notably the Polaris class ship, which retails for $750. That's a steep, steep price to ask for an in-game item, especially for a game that remains in development. Probably for that very reason, Chris Roberts took to the stage to clarify CIG's stance on ship purchases: You probably already know because it's been on Reddit, we sorta pre-released the RSI Polaris corvette and I think yesterday was the best day we've ever had in Star Citizen. And- the one thing I do want to say though is- because I know that sometimes there is a bit of debate and controversy- the, uh, it is your- no one needs to get a big, fancy spaceship or anything else. You spend $40 or $45 and that's all you need, but the way I look at it is, you know, this- getting a corvette or, whatever, a constellation is really just supporting development. That's what it looks like, so, for me, it should only be if someone's saying, 'You know, I really like what these guys are doing. I want to support it, I love the process and I'm there and they're giving me a cool ship in the process.' That's the way it should be nothing more, nothing less. Because you will absolutely be able to earn everything through in-game playing. The sale of in-game ships has long been one of the big driving forces behind CIG's incredibly successful fundraising efforts. To date, the company has raised almost $130,000,000 and boasts a community of nearly 1.6 million people. Of course, with that much money paid by people who have been waiting years for Star Citizen to be finished, some in the community have cried foul and accused CIG of scamming the community by selling in-game models of ships for a game that will never be finished. Despite the small number of vocally disgruntled backers, CIG genuinely seems to be creating something interesting, both when it comes to fundraising and when it comes to the game that they have steadily been unveiling over the years. The presentation gave an important update on the state of Squadron 42, the big budget single-player campaign of Star Citizen. Though initially announced in 2012, Squadron 42 has become a huge affair. It boasts a cast that includes the likes of Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, Andy Serkis, John Rhys Davies, and a number of other recognizable actors and actresses that fill out a cast that has over 340 speaking roles, most of which make use of advanced facial scanning and motion capture technology. The action takes place throughout 28 chapters filled with over 60 missions. The campaign features 40 unique ship designs that range in size from single-pilot fighters to hulking dreadnoughts. The campaign now encompasses both ship-to-ship space combat and FPS gameplay that will range from stealth missions to head-on assaults. To avoid even more feature creep, Squadron 42 has now been feature locked and faces a small stable of AI and animation hurdles to overcome before release. However, the team plans on bringing one mission to shipping quality in the near future to give the world a taste of what the campaign will be like. Star Marine, the FPS module, will be coming in the next major update along with a number of additions for the other Star Citizen modules. Two locations will be available: Station Damien, a 4v4 map, and Echo Eleven, a 12v12 map. Each map can be played in either traditional deathmatch or control modes. New armor, weapons, and grenades will be added to Star Citizen as well as a new tactical visor, looting system, and achievements. Chris Roberts then began walking through CIG's road map for future updates to Star Citizen. Keep in mind that CIG tends to have a rather rosy view of when things might be done, so some of these features might be further out in the future than we might like to believe, but it is difficult not to be excited at the possibilities hinted at by the features. CIG plans for the 3.0 update to be the launch of Star Citizen's foundational gameplay systems. It will include support for the basic professions like trading, transport, piracy, smuggling, mercenary, and bounty hunter. Most excitingly, 3.0 will implement the Planetary V2 system that Roberts revealed later in the presentation. 3.1 will include systems for mining, refining, and material processing in-game. Additionally, the update is planned to include support for escort missions, new solar system locations, the ability to pull people out of quantum travel in deep space ambushes, and refueling systems. Roberts walked back promises from earlier in the year that CIG would be putting these updates out every month following the release of 3.0 saying that a timeline of every 2-3 months was more realistic. The 3.2 update will include the ability to salvage and dive into covert mercenary operations. New ships and solar system locations will be available in 3.2, too. Farming and rescue operations will become available in the 3.3 update, a reveal met with thunderous applause. Eventually, the 4.0 update will open up the galaxy with jump points, allowing players to travel to multiple star systems to discover and explore new worlds. CIG has decided to stay silent on the number of star systems that will be available when 4.0 launches as the firm number will depend on how quickly they can finish the work coming down the pipeline for other parts of their massive game. Players will also gain the ability to research and develop new items and technology. Roberts hopes for the game to reach 4.0 before the end of 2017, though he would not commit to any solid date. Roberts then moved on to show off their new tech for procedural planet generation. CIG's tech seamlessly supports spherical planetary terrain on a planetary scale that generates at run time. There is an unrestricted view distance - the horizon is the actual horizon of the planet. The procedural generation does a lot of the work, but artists will be putting unique, interesting touches to each planet, guiding their generation and their noteworthy features. This same approach applies to the content of each planet. While some creatures and AI controlled raiders might be spawned by the procedural generation of the planet, developers will also step in to handcraft missions and adventures for players that have engaging narratives and distinct elements. Roberts then stepped aside to unveil the tech in a live demonstration, which you can view below, complete with an FPS counter in the upper right corner of the screen. Following the demonstration, CIG began explaining how they achieved the results of their new procedural generation system for planets. Star Citizen operates using a heavily edited and altered version of the CryEngine. CIG stepped into their game editor to literally fly around a planet to demonstrate the scale and power of what they've achieved. Each planet is created out of thousands of "ecosystem chunks" that blend together, creating unique combinations of planets that the devs can then make more unique with personal touches. To prove that the live demo wasn't using sky boxes, the devs simply created a new part of the planet in-editor on stage, then proceeded to take off to one of the planets in the sky, seamlessly transitioning between worlds. Star Citizen might still be a very long way from being finished, but it seems to be shaping up to be an impressive title for people who haven't yet backed it to keep on their radars. There's a lot of amazing technology behind it and it seems to be on track to pick up they shattered hopes and dreams of those who rallied behind No Man's Sky. Here we have another game utilizing procedural planet generation and promising space-faring MMO action and exploration, but it might actually be able to deliver on the high expectations it has fostered over the past four years of development. You can watch the full presentation on Star Citizen's YouTube channel. There are no hard release dates for any part of Star Citizen, but many speculate that Squadron 42 might release sometime during the first half of 2017 and Roberts himself gave an optimistic, though flexible, estimate that Star Citizen 4.0 will be live by the end of 2017.
  7. Last week, Star Citizen held their fourth annual CitizenCon. Included in that event was an unedited, 30-minute demonstration of on foot exploration, various land-based vehicles, FPS combat, and the powerful tools they've created to allow for advanced random planet generation. Oh, and there was a colossal sand worm. Note: If you want to skip straight to the sand worm, scroll down to the embedded video to see 30 minutes of live Star Citizen gameplay Chris Roberts, one of the founders of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG), took to the main stage to kick off the two-hour presentation. Roberts started out with a retrospective dedicated to the growing, vibrant fanbase, showcasing the diverse community that has grown up around a game that hasn't even officially released. Over the course of the presentation a revolving assortment of Star Citizen developers cycled through to show the newest developments in the space-faring MMO. One of these was the Spectrum module. Spectrum will be an application that allows for in-game and out-of-game chat. Players will be able to use the Spectrum application to talk with their friends who play Star Citizen or the other people in their life who don't play the game. Additionally, Spectrum will feature modern forums using a flexible, easily updatable system that hosts classic threads, dedicated Q & A threads, and live threads. Players will also be able to create their own forums for their in-game organizations and hold private conversations with single friends or groups of people. Perhaps most importantly, Spectrum also supports voice lobbies, voice transmission, out-of-game voice chat, and in-game spatialization of voice chat. Spectrum will be launched in alpha before the end of the year as a web application and future updates will integrate it with the game world, embed it within the Star Citizen launcher, and finally release as an app for mobile later next year. Part of the presentation was dedicated to the sale of new in-game ships, most notably the Polaris class ship, which retails for $750. That's a steep, steep price to ask for an in-game item, especially for a game that remains in development. Probably for that very reason, Chris Roberts took to the stage to clarify CIG's stance on ship purchases: You probably already know because it's been on Reddit, we sorta pre-released the RSI Polaris corvette and I think yesterday was the best day we've ever had in Star Citizen. And- the one thing I do want to say though is- because I know that sometimes there is a bit of debate and controversy- the, uh, it is your- no one needs to get a big, fancy spaceship or anything else. You spend $40 or $45 and that's all you need, but the way I look at it is, you know, this- getting a corvette or, whatever, a constellation is really just supporting development. That's what it looks like, so, for me, it should only be if someone's saying, 'You know, I really like what these guys are doing. I want to support it, I love the process and I'm there and they're giving me a cool ship in the process.' That's the way it should be nothing more, nothing less. Because you will absolutely be able to earn everything through in-game playing. The sale of in-game ships has long been one of the big driving forces behind CIG's incredibly successful fundraising efforts. To date, the company has raised almost $130,000,000 and boasts a community of nearly 1.6 million people. Of course, with that much money paid by people who have been waiting years for Star Citizen to be finished, some in the community have cried foul and accused CIG of scamming the community by selling in-game models of ships for a game that will never be finished. Despite the small number of vocally disgruntled backers, CIG genuinely seems to be creating something interesting, both when it comes to fundraising and when it comes to the game that they have steadily been unveiling over the years. The presentation gave an important update on the state of Squadron 42, the big budget single-player campaign of Star Citizen. Though initially announced in 2012, Squadron 42 has become a huge affair. It boasts a cast that includes the likes of Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, Andy Serkis, John Rhys Davies, and a number of other recognizable actors and actresses that fill out a cast that has over 340 speaking roles, most of which make use of advanced facial scanning and motion capture technology. The action takes place throughout 28 chapters filled with over 60 missions. The campaign features 40 unique ship designs that range in size from single-pilot fighters to hulking dreadnoughts. The campaign now encompasses both ship-to-ship space combat and FPS gameplay that will range from stealth missions to head-on assaults. To avoid even more feature creep, Squadron 42 has now been feature locked and faces a small stable of AI and animation hurdles to overcome before release. However, the team plans on bringing one mission to shipping quality in the near future to give the world a taste of what the campaign will be like. Star Marine, the FPS module, will be coming in the next major update along with a number of additions for the other Star Citizen modules. Two locations will be available: Station Damien, a 4v4 map, and Echo Eleven, a 12v12 map. Each map can be played in either traditional deathmatch or control modes. New armor, weapons, and grenades will be added to Star Citizen as well as a new tactical visor, looting system, and achievements. Chris Roberts then began walking through CIG's road map for future updates to Star Citizen. Keep in mind that CIG tends to have a rather rosy view of when things might be done, so some of these features might be further out in the future than we might like to believe, but it is difficult not to be excited at the possibilities hinted at by the features. CIG plans for the 3.0 update to be the launch of Star Citizen's foundational gameplay systems. It will include support for the basic professions like trading, transport, piracy, smuggling, mercenary, and bounty hunter. Most excitingly, 3.0 will implement the Planetary V2 system that Roberts revealed later in the presentation. 3.1 will include systems for mining, refining, and material processing in-game. Additionally, the update is planned to include support for escort missions, new solar system locations, the ability to pull people out of quantum travel in deep space ambushes, and refueling systems. Roberts walked back promises from earlier in the year that CIG would be putting these updates out every month following the release of 3.0 saying that a timeline of every 2-3 months was more realistic. The 3.2 update will include the ability to salvage and dive into covert mercenary operations. New ships and solar system locations will be available in 3.2, too. Farming and rescue operations will become available in the 3.3 update, a reveal met with thunderous applause. Eventually, the 4.0 update will open up the galaxy with jump points, allowing players to travel to multiple star systems to discover and explore new worlds. CIG has decided to stay silent on the number of star systems that will be available when 4.0 launches as the firm number will depend on how quickly they can finish the work coming down the pipeline for other parts of their massive game. Players will also gain the ability to research and develop new items and technology. Roberts hopes for the game to reach 4.0 before the end of 2017, though he would not commit to any solid date. Roberts then moved on to show off their new tech for procedural planet generation. CIG's tech seamlessly supports spherical planetary terrain on a planetary scale that generates at run time. There is an unrestricted view distance - the horizon is the actual horizon of the planet. The procedural generation does a lot of the work, but artists will be putting unique, interesting touches to each planet, guiding their generation and their noteworthy features. This same approach applies to the content of each planet. While some creatures and AI controlled raiders might be spawned by the procedural generation of the planet, developers will also step in to handcraft missions and adventures for players that have engaging narratives and distinct elements. Roberts then stepped aside to unveil the tech in a live demonstration, which you can view below, complete with an FPS counter in the upper right corner of the screen. Following the demonstration, CIG began explaining how they achieved the results of their new procedural generation system for planets. Star Citizen operates using a heavily edited and altered version of the CryEngine. CIG stepped into their game editor to literally fly around a planet to demonstrate the scale and power of what they've achieved. Each planet is created out of thousands of "ecosystem chunks" that blend together, creating unique combinations of planets that the devs can then make more unique with personal touches. To prove that the live demo wasn't using sky boxes, the devs simply created a new part of the planet in-editor on stage, then proceeded to take off to one of the planets in the sky, seamlessly transitioning between worlds. Star Citizen might still be a very long way from being finished, but it seems to be shaping up to be an impressive title for people who haven't yet backed it to keep on their radars. There's a lot of amazing technology behind it and it seems to be on track to pick up they shattered hopes and dreams of those who rallied behind No Man's Sky. Here we have another game utilizing procedural planet generation and promising space-faring MMO action and exploration, but it might actually be able to deliver on the high expectations it has fostered over the past four years of development. You can watch the full presentation on Star Citizen's YouTube channel. There are no hard release dates for any part of Star Citizen, but many speculate that Squadron 42 might release sometime during the first half of 2017 and Roberts himself gave an optimistic, though flexible, estimate that Star Citizen 4.0 will be live by the end of 2017. View full article
  8. A Conversation Regarding No Man's Sky

    During the episode of The Best Games Period on Bastion a few weeks ago, Daniel and Jack got off on a particularly long and detailed tangent on the subject of No Man's Sky. This wasn't a planned part of the episode, just an interesting back and forth on their experiences with the most controversial game of 2016. This isn't fully an episode of The Best Games Period or even an Honorable Mention episode - just an extended conversation in which Daniel and Jack try to suss out how they feel about life, the universe, and everything else encompassed by Hello Games' indie gamble, No Man's Sky. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Gradius Gaiden 'The Heavens Are Calling' by Ivan Hakštok and Sixto Sounds (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03371) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  9. During the episode of The Best Games Period on Bastion a few weeks ago, Daniel and Jack got off on a particularly long and detailed tangent on the subject of No Man's Sky. This wasn't a planned part of the episode, just an interesting back and forth on their experiences with the most controversial game of 2016. This isn't fully an episode of The Best Games Period or even an Honorable Mention episode - just an extended conversation in which Daniel and Jack try to suss out how they feel about life, the universe, and everything else encompassed by Hello Games' indie gamble, No Man's Sky. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Gradius Gaiden 'The Heavens Are Calling' by Ivan Hakštok and Sixto Sounds (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03371) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  10. Our Finest Hour #EDHARRISHYPE

    What's up Guild!? I've been all over the place lately and I apologize that I haven't had the chance to be active and posting, but here we are. First, some business stuff, don't forget our meeting is Tuesday, August 23rd at Oogie Eastern Hills and we want to really get down to business and start talking fundraising and plans for the next couple months. Also, for those that purchased t-shirts, THANK YOU!!!! If you missed out, or consciously abstained, that's cool too, but we should have another opportunity in the future to buy that Extra Life swag before the 24 hour marathon. Moving away from business, I wanted to post this and ask the guild what they would like to see over the next couple months before we hit our marathon? That's a very open ended question, but as far as the guild goes, what do you want to happen between now and November 5th? Game nights? Training? Meet-ups? Tournaments? Other stuff? You tell us, because if we can all work together then in the words of Ed Harris, "I believe this is going to be our finest hour!"
  11. An Impression of No Man's Sky

    At this point, I have sunk a few hours into Hello Games' No Man's Sky, a universe-spanning indie title in which players struggle to survive and uncover the secrets of the cosmos. The scale of the game can become equal parts overwhelming and breathtaking. That same scale also renders it difficult to write about in any kind of timely manner. Instead of a comprehensive review, which will be coming later, here have been my experiences with the game to date. No Man's Sky begins by throwing players exosuit-first into its universe. I awoke with a damaged ship, a nearby distress beacon, and scattered supplies on the splotched surface of a world known as Janik. My ship had depleted engines and broken landing equipment, both of which required more materials than were scattered around the crash site to repair. This tutorial section covered how players need to approach mining new materials for repairs, upgrades, and charging equipment, the building blocks of living a successful life as a star traveler. The distress beacon, a strange, geometric orb, rose from the ground when I interacted with it. A barrage of thoughts and understanding blanketed my mind and I understood it was known as Atlas. This Atlas presented me with a choice: Follow where it might lead me or continue on my way. Lacking any sense of purpose in this universe, I made the decision to follow and see where Atlas might take me. Perhaps I was too hasty, though the effect it had on the rest of my initial experience was minimal. While salvaging as much of the surrounding equipment and mineral deposits as possible, I had the chance to observe Janik. The surface of the world I had found myself on was a strange mixture of beautiful, desolate, and unpleasant. Browns, oranges, and splotches of blues made it half eye-sore, half delightful novelty. My initial scans indicated that it was a planet full of various plants, but only sparsely populated with animal life. As far as I could see in any direction, the scan results held true. Towering orange foliage covered a great deal of the terrain with yellowing iron plants representing some kind of metallic undergrowth. Small animals scurried around with bodies like powerful leopards and tiny heads that reminded me of miniature boars. I encountered pockets of animal life during my further explorations of Janik; creatures that defied normal description - swift, hippo-like animals with glowing blue spots, a towering horse-mammoth, and more. None of these creatures attacked me and most, if not all, were herbivorous. As I made my way toward a nearby point of interest, some kind of abandoned shelter, I realized that simply living in my exosuit had almost depleted my energy reserves for life support. After a slight panic, I realized that I could charge life support with isotope elements like carbon, which existed in abundance among the local plant life. This simple approach to No Man's Sky's tutorial really worked for me. With minimal button prompts and no railroaded segments, I was given a series of problems and the tools with which to solve them. I began noticing small scanning probes moving about, concentrating their activity on places where I had mined or destroyed some vegetation for resources. These scanners then turned on me and seemed to follow me for a while, giving me the distinct impression that I might have done something wrong against local law or custom. Eventually, my travels brought me to a small outpost inhabited by a single sentient lifeform. Pat of a species known as the Gek, these stocky, reptilian creatures seemed to be an advanced, dominant species that enjoyed trading and exuding various smells to influence potential customers. I didn't learn details about the Gek until later in my travels, however. Language in No Man's Sky must be learned and my initial encounter with a Gek was an unintelligible mess. Scattered over the surface of Janik were knowledge stones, ruins, and old monoliths that contained data on the Gek and taught me more of their language. However, even after learning an unsteady vocabulary, I could still only guess as to what they were saying most of the time. After over an hour of exploration and accumulating material to repair my vessel, I returned to the crash site triumphant. Booting up the ship's engines, I took off into the sky. I couldn't help but be curious about the rest of Janik as the horizon grew bigger and bigger. I took off, not towards the stars, but to the farthest point of interest that I had uncovered in my travels. Skimming through the atmosphere at high speeds made the journey, previously estimated to take 30 minutes on foot, last only a handful of seconds. I need to take a moment to say that flying within an atmosphere was probably the first time I found something I disliked about No Man's Sky. The ship seems prevented from flying too low and crashing. It's also difficult to land in a spot for which you might be aiming. I experimented with flying a number of times and I found myself landing in ravines or minutes by foot away from my destination. Let us crash into planets, Hello Games. If we fly carelessly, let us pay the price. Additionally, the map for planets is terrible. The only time you can see it is in your ship and it doesn't convey useful information. Over the course of my time on Janik, I discovered many different locations, but I had no idea how to return to my favorites because I don't know where they are on the planet with no practical map to set me on the right path. The far flung location at which I arrived seemed to be an isolated manufacturing facility with a locked door of thick steel. Using my mining laser's alternate pulse gun mode, I attempted to blast through it. This brought the ire of those scanning probes I had noticed earlier. Several of them swarmed to my location, shooting bolts of light at me, pecking through my shields. I turned my attention from the door to my attackers, focusing them down one by one. Seemingly having cleared them all, I broke through the door to discover some valuable upgrade technology among the fungus encrusted machinery within. However, I then noticed that there was one probe left and it existed beneath the ground. I think what must have happened was that the probe spawned under the terrain and could see me without being able to harm or be harmed. While this might not seem like a big deal, the longer those small probes detect a threat, the stronger the enemies sent to deal with you become. Soon a colossal bipedal robot with a powerful laser was on top of me as I huddled in the relative protection of the factory. Killing this seemed to stop the oncoming robots for a while and I made a break for my ship, hoping in vain to lose my underground foe. Even taking off into space didn't help my situation as not one, not two, but three enemy spacecraft warped in to respond to that invincible probe's distress calls. My enjoyment of the increased maneuverability of my ship in space was short lived as I took one bogey out, only to fall to the remaining two. As I awoke aboard a mysterious space station, my initial time with No Man's Sky came to an end. My initial reaction to Hello Games' much hyped indie darling could be classified as hopeful. I saw a lot of ideas that I truly enjoyed and some technical hiccups that sentenced me to disorientation and death. However, the incredible sense of discovery truly feels unmatched in modern gaming. I became an explorer discovering an entirely new world, and I could probably spend many more hours scouring the surface of Janik. But remember that Janik is only one of an untold number of places to discover with secrets to unravel. This has only been the first step of a journey with no end in sight. No Man's Sky is available on PlayStation 4 and releases for PC on August 12.
  12. At this point, I have sunk a few hours into Hello Games' No Man's Sky, a universe-spanning indie title in which players struggle to survive and uncover the secrets of the cosmos. The scale of the game can become equal parts overwhelming and breathtaking. That same scale also renders it difficult to write about in any kind of timely manner. Instead of a comprehensive review, which will be coming later, here have been my experiences with the game to date. No Man's Sky begins by throwing players exosuit-first into its universe. I awoke with a damaged ship, a nearby distress beacon, and scattered supplies on the splotched surface of a world known as Janik. My ship had depleted engines and broken landing equipment, both of which required more materials than were scattered around the crash site to repair. This tutorial section covered how players need to approach mining new materials for repairs, upgrades, and charging equipment, the building blocks of living a successful life as a star traveler. The distress beacon, a strange, geometric orb, rose from the ground when I interacted with it. A barrage of thoughts and understanding blanketed my mind and I understood it was known as Atlas. This Atlas presented me with a choice: Follow where it might lead me or continue on my way. Lacking any sense of purpose in this universe, I made the decision to follow and see where Atlas might take me. Perhaps I was too hasty, though the effect it had on the rest of my initial experience was minimal. While salvaging as much of the surrounding equipment and mineral deposits as possible, I had the chance to observe Janik. The surface of the world I had found myself on was a strange mixture of beautiful, desolate, and unpleasant. Browns, oranges, and splotches of blues made it half eye-sore, half delightful novelty. My initial scans indicated that it was a planet full of various plants, but only sparsely populated with animal life. As far as I could see in any direction, the scan results held true. Towering orange foliage covered a great deal of the terrain with yellowing iron plants representing some kind of metallic undergrowth. Small animals scurried around with bodies like powerful leopards and tiny heads that reminded me of miniature boars. I encountered pockets of animal life during my further explorations of Janik; creatures that defied normal description - swift, hippo-like animals with glowing blue spots, a towering horse-mammoth, and more. None of these creatures attacked me and most, if not all, were herbivorous. As I made my way toward a nearby point of interest, some kind of abandoned shelter, I realized that simply living in my exosuit had almost depleted my energy reserves for life support. After a slight panic, I realized that I could charge life support with isotope elements like carbon, which existed in abundance among the local plant life. This simple approach to No Man's Sky's tutorial really worked for me. With minimal button prompts and no railroaded segments, I was given a series of problems and the tools with which to solve them. I began noticing small scanning probes moving about, concentrating their activity on places where I had mined or destroyed some vegetation for resources. These scanners then turned on me and seemed to follow me for a while, giving me the distinct impression that I might have done something wrong against local law or custom. Eventually, my travels brought me to a small outpost inhabited by a single sentient lifeform. Pat of a species known as the Gek, these stocky, reptilian creatures seemed to be an advanced, dominant species that enjoyed trading and exuding various smells to influence potential customers. I didn't learn details about the Gek until later in my travels, however. Language in No Man's Sky must be learned and my initial encounter with a Gek was an unintelligible mess. Scattered over the surface of Janik were knowledge stones, ruins, and old monoliths that contained data on the Gek and taught me more of their language. However, even after learning an unsteady vocabulary, I could still only guess as to what they were saying most of the time. After over an hour of exploration and accumulating material to repair my vessel, I returned to the crash site triumphant. Booting up the ship's engines, I took off into the sky. I couldn't help but be curious about the rest of Janik as the horizon grew bigger and bigger. I took off, not towards the stars, but to the farthest point of interest that I had uncovered in my travels. Skimming through the atmosphere at high speeds made the journey, previously estimated to take 30 minutes on foot, last only a handful of seconds. I need to take a moment to say that flying within an atmosphere was probably the first time I found something I disliked about No Man's Sky. The ship seems prevented from flying too low and crashing. It's also difficult to land in a spot for which you might be aiming. I experimented with flying a number of times and I found myself landing in ravines or minutes by foot away from my destination. Let us crash into planets, Hello Games. If we fly carelessly, let us pay the price. Additionally, the map for planets is terrible. The only time you can see it is in your ship and it doesn't convey useful information. Over the course of my time on Janik, I discovered many different locations, but I had no idea how to return to my favorites because I don't know where they are on the planet with no practical map to set me on the right path. The far flung location at which I arrived seemed to be an isolated manufacturing facility with a locked door of thick steel. Using my mining laser's alternate pulse gun mode, I attempted to blast through it. This brought the ire of those scanning probes I had noticed earlier. Several of them swarmed to my location, shooting bolts of light at me, pecking through my shields. I turned my attention from the door to my attackers, focusing them down one by one. Seemingly having cleared them all, I broke through the door to discover some valuable upgrade technology among the fungus encrusted machinery within. However, I then noticed that there was one probe left and it existed beneath the ground. I think what must have happened was that the probe spawned under the terrain and could see me without being able to harm or be harmed. While this might not seem like a big deal, the longer those small probes detect a threat, the stronger the enemies sent to deal with you become. Soon a colossal bipedal robot with a powerful laser was on top of me as I huddled in the relative protection of the factory. Killing this seemed to stop the oncoming robots for a while and I made a break for my ship, hoping in vain to lose my underground foe. Even taking off into space didn't help my situation as not one, not two, but three enemy spacecraft warped in to respond to that invincible probe's distress calls. My enjoyment of the increased maneuverability of my ship in space was short lived as I took one bogey out, only to fall to the remaining two. As I awoke aboard a mysterious space station, my initial time with No Man's Sky came to an end. My initial reaction to Hello Games' much hyped indie darling could be classified as hopeful. I saw a lot of ideas that I truly enjoyed and some technical hiccups that sentenced me to disorientation and death. However, the incredible sense of discovery truly feels unmatched in modern gaming. I became an explorer discovering an entirely new world, and I could probably spend many more hours scouring the surface of Janik. But remember that Janik is only one of an untold number of places to discover with secrets to unravel. This has only been the first step of a journey with no end in sight. No Man's Sky is available on PlayStation 4 and releases for PC on August 12. View full article
  13. No Man's Sky releases in a handful of days, so Hello Games wants people to know that they will have to fight to survive on the innumerable planets of their simulated galaxy. Planets have extreme environmental conditions that make life difficult, from bone-freezing cold to sizzling radiation. Without the proper equipment or upgrades, players shouldn't expect to survive out in the elements for long. That doesn't even take into account the creatures who have successfully adapted to those harsh lands or oceans. Those who are only worried about the environment may miss some of the truly insidious dangers posed by enemy life. If players happen to die while exploring, that death has consequences. Technology might be damaged or resources lost to the ether. Always be on your guard because you never know what might be lurking in the unknown. No Man's Sky releases on August 9 for PlayStation 4 and August 12 for PC.
  14. No Man's Sky releases in a handful of days, so Hello Games wants people to know that they will have to fight to survive on the innumerable planets of their simulated galaxy. Planets have extreme environmental conditions that make life difficult, from bone-freezing cold to sizzling radiation. Without the proper equipment or upgrades, players shouldn't expect to survive out in the elements for long. That doesn't even take into account the creatures who have successfully adapted to those harsh lands or oceans. Those who are only worried about the environment may miss some of the truly insidious dangers posed by enemy life. If players happen to die while exploring, that death has consequences. Technology might be damaged or resources lost to the ether. Always be on your guard because you never know what might be lurking in the unknown. No Man's Sky releases on August 9 for PlayStation 4 and August 12 for PC. View full article
  15. A Summary of Paris Games Week Briefing 2015

    If you didn't have time to sit down and watch the announcements from Sony's press event in Paris yesterday, we've got you covered with a condensed version of the conference. You can view the recorded version of the entire Paris Games Week kickoff event. Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, took the stage to start the announcements. Ryan made it clear what Sony was going to be emphasizing with its bombshells. “Tonight is all about games,” he stated to applause. Things began relatively light, discussing European PlayStation 4 price drops and bundles before easing into the first game-related announcement. Sony is expanding its partnership with Activision. The first sign of this improved cooperation between the two corporations will be PlayStation gamers having access to all foreseeable Call of Duty map packs thirty days before any other platform. Following this announcement, a new trailer for Call of Duty Black Ops 3’s zombie mode on a bonus map called The Giant. A new trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront manipulates some serious nostalgia. The new trailer focuses on a variety of new heroes including Princess Leia, Han Solo, Boba Fett, and the Emperor. It also prominently features the different alien races that players will be able to customize their various avatars to look like. Additionally, a new Darth Vader PlayStation 4 bundle releases when Battlefront launches next month. A new Street Fighter V trailer displays almost the complete roster in action, debuting a bearded Dhalsim beating a poor Zangief into submission. Yoshinori Ono, executive producer of Street Fighter V made an appearance to give a few more details about the fighting title. On top of the revamped look, new moves and abilities complement Dhalsim’s new look. Six characters will be added over the year following release. All can be unlocked through normal play by using an in-game currency called Fight Money. An image accompanying this information hints at the identity of those characters. Street Fighter V will be coming to PlayStation 4 on February 16, 2016. Transitioning smoothly from one fighting game into another, Sony pulled Tekken 7 out of the arcades and onto their console. The seventh installment of Tekken progresses the series’ storyline in a decidedly over-the-top and dramatic fashion. The secrets of the Mishima clan are teased in the latest trailer, which also features armies, fights in volcanoes, and people being thrown off cliffs. Later on in the show an off-hand comment revealed that Tekken 7 will be compatible with PlayStation VR Gearbox Software showcased a new Battleborn trailer that gives a small tease of the tongue-in-cheek story while primarily focusing on the gameplay. Specifically singled out are the different gameplay modes and some of the mechanics of the first-person MOBA. PlayStation 4 owners will be the first to gain access to the console beta of Battleborn next year. Sony made it clear that the next few games to be announced would be console exclusives for the PlayStation 4. Developer Wonderstruck presented a trailer of Boundless that revels in voxel visuals and dimension spanning works of wonder. The project looks like it has some definite Minecraft ambitions and seems like the grappling hooks, moving terrain, and large scale worlds might be enough to back those aspirations. Vector, a new indie music-rhythm game shows some promise. Taking a lot of inspiration from titles like Audiosurf, Hello There’s upcoming game allows players to design their own levels and compete against other one another. Trailer stars the artist Avicii talking about his collaboration on the project. Finally, No Man’s Sky has resurfaced! The new trailer features an amazing voice over that many have related to an iconic speech from the movie Blade Runner. The trailer attempts to mash a lot of different gameplay demonstrations into its short duration while also flaunting the title’s scope. Most importantly, we now know that No Man’s Sky will release sometime June 2016. Michael Denny senior VP of Sony’s World Wide Studios Europe took the stage to introduce Housemarque’s Matterfall, a voxel-based shooter with a main character that looks like a cross between the protagonist from Vanquish and Megaman. A new trailer debuted for Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank that shows off a wide range of activities. Players can expect the usual running, gunning, and rail grinding, but will also be flying jets, spaceships, and even scuba diving throughout the adventure. The title will release this coming spring. Horizon Zero Dawn has been one of the most hotly anticipated games since it was first presented at this year’s E3. They demoed the gameplay on stage, showing how hunting colossal and dangerous machines would work in practice. Guerilla Games set traps, using specialized ammo to manipulate enemies. Described as an action-RPG, players will use materials picked up from fallen robots. The developer took pains to point out that damage to larger creatures is area-specific, leading to situations where you can systematically dismantle powerful foes. A variety of different tactics are available with the tools at the player’s disposal, whether that is a straightforward assault (generally not a good idea) or tethering enemies to the ground and leaving them defenseless AT-AT style. Guerilla plans for a 2016 release. Bloodborne: The Old Hunters expansion teased in a new trailer that shows some of the new weapons and one of the grotesque fallen hunters that players will have to contend with should they brave the horrors. The expansion drops November 24. Driveclub Bikes introduces the best super-bikes in the world to Drive Club. Players can purchase it either standalone or as an expansion for Driveclub. It released immediately following the conference and should be available to download now. Japan Studio’s creative director Keiichiro Toyama took the stage to confirm that Gravity Rush 2 would be coming to Europe and North America (there had been some doubt on that point since its initial announcement during this year’s TGS). Toyama made it clear that a lot of new features differentiate the game from its predecessor. A new combat system was shown with gameplay demonstrating the three different gravity fighting styles: Normal style – as seen in the first game, Luna style – lighter and quicker, and Jupiter style – heavier and more powerful. Environments take damage and shift based on how players use their gravity powers and those changes persist as fights progress. The title promises challenging battles that you can tackle alone or with the assistance of an AI ally. Christophe Balestra, co-president at Naughty Dog, hopped up on stage following Gravity Rush 2 to talk about Uncharted 4, specifically its multiplayer. Using lessons learned from Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, Naughty Dog has implemented some intriguing features to A Thief’s End. Balestra stated that players will be able to summon sidekicks, use supernatural relics, and more. Uncharted 4 releases March 18, 2016. If that sounds like too long a wait, Balestra also stated that the multiplayer beta will be active from December 4 through December 18 of this year. Media Molecule followed up Naughty Dog’s Uncharted announcements with new information on their creation tool/game Dreams. The title’s technical director, Alex Evans, talked about what the game will actually be like when players get their hands on it. To do this effectively, Evans demonstrated the game live on stage, the first time it has ever been seen outside of their studio. Every player creates a customizable imp that goes everywhere in Dreams and is used to explore and communicate. Imps follow the movements of the PlayStation controller and players can give them different expressions with the controller’s touch pad. “You use the imp to grab, pull, and poke at the world. It’s very direct, tactile, and intuitive,” said Evans. The imp can also possess characters, vehicles, or inanimate objects, which allows players to move them around inside the game worlds. Creation and gameplay are intertwined. “Each dream can go from traditional platforming, to racing, to sandboxes, puzzles, and of course making things.” Doors are special in Dreams. Each door can take you to a completely different place, and almost anything can be a gateway to another world. No premade assets were shown in the gameplay demo; everything was made on the PlayStation 4. The beta begins sometime during 2016. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s World Wide Studios, arrived on stage to show Sony’s commitment to bringing virtual reality to mainstream gaming with PlayStation VR. “We believe that virtual reality doesn’t have to be a solo experience. There’s unlimited potential for social and competitive interaction in VR,” said Yoshida. He then went on to introduce RIGS Mechanized Combat League, a competitive shooter in which players battle in giant mech suits in sporting arenas. RIGS makes a compelling case for competitive VR experiences and invites the comparison to modern sports through bright visuals and sports commentators in the trailer. The existence of a VR game based on the surprise hit Until Dawn was revealed. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood could best be described as a roller coaster in which everything is out to kill you. Players must try to survive the hazards of the track and escape unscathed. Beware, dangers can come from any direction. Cevat Yerli, the co-founder, CEO, and president of Crytek, ascended to the stage to discuss Crytek’s VR effort with PlayStation. Robinson: The Journey looks like an amazing adventure with dinosaurs that will make everyone who ever dreamed about Jurassic Park being real a little bit giddy inside. Walking around with the robot from Destiny and seeing colossal dinosaurs seems like a good time to me! Rebellion debuted their geometric VR title following Crytek’s announcement, showing a flashing tank combat game called Battle Zone. Without a whole lot of details, it looks fairly straightforward, flashy, and fun. Yoshida then shifted from talk of VR games to VR movies, giving a small demonstration of the VR experience from The Walk, a film about a man who walked on a tightrope suspended between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. And, just in case there was any lingering doubt over PlayStation’s commitment to making VR work, Yoshida casually mentioned that over 100 developers are currently working on VR projects for PlayStation. This segment of the show was largely to show that PlayStation VR is strong and in it for the long haul. The gaming landscape could look very different in a few years if this technology catches on. A few final surprise announcements landed after the VR showcase. First, Polyphony Digital showed the debut trailer for Gran Turismo Sport, which will appear on PS4 for the first time. Kazunori Tamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital, talked about the improvements in graphical fidelity they were able to make with the hardware of the PS4. Additionally, Polyphony will be partnering with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for Gran Turismo Sport. Two flagship FIA championships will run simultaneously throughout the year within Sport. One will be the Nations Cup where players represent their country. The other will be the Manufacturer Fan Cup where players represent their favorite car manufacturer. The champions of these competitive racing circuits will be awarded their prizes alongside the winners of real-world FIA races around the holiday season. This partnership between the Federation International Autosport and Polyphony Digital represents efforts from both sides to move racing ahead into the future. A beta test should be going public in early 2016. Gran Turismo Sport will be compatible with PlayStation VR. Wild Sheep Studio’s creative director, Michel Ancel, stepped up to talk about their upcoming project Wild, another PlayStation console exclusive. Gameplay depicts animal summoning, possession, and combat as players try to solve problems and allow their primitive tribe to survive. The segment shows one route a player might take to attempt to heal a poisoned clan member. The final announcement of Paris Game Week featured David Cage taking the stage to reveal Quantic Dream’s new project. It’s an extension of the Kara tech demo that the studio released several years ago to show what was possible with the PlayStation 3’s technology. The new title, called Detroit: Become Human, stars a robotic woman who has gained sentience in a world where robots are resented and treated as tools. However, the trailer makes it abundantly clear that there is something different about Kara and that other robots might not be as robotic as they seem. There were a lot of really phenomenal announcements at the show and a fair number of downright surprising reveals. PlayStation’s dedication to making VR a viable thing shows a lot of confidence in their technology and the draw of its novelty. The sheer number of exclusives for PlayStation 4 was a bit staggering, though it was surprising that Sony made next to no mention of the PlayStation Vita, PSTV, or the PS Vue service that they pushed so strongly earlier this year. Most importantly, a lot of actual gameplay was shown. Only a few trailers were composed of entirely cutscenes or pre-rendered animations. Notably, we saw more of No Man’s Sky, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Wild, Uncharted 4 multiplayer, and Street Fighter V. While the wait could be quite long for some of these titles, there seems to be a lot of good things coming down the pipeline for PlayStation owners.
  16. If you didn't have time to sit down and watch the announcements from Sony's press event in Paris yesterday, we've got you covered with a condensed version of the conference. You can view the recorded version of the entire Paris Games Week kickoff event. Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, took the stage to start the announcements. Ryan made it clear what Sony was going to be emphasizing with its bombshells. “Tonight is all about games,” he stated to applause. Things began relatively light, discussing European PlayStation 4 price drops and bundles before easing into the first game-related announcement. Sony is expanding its partnership with Activision. The first sign of this improved cooperation between the two corporations will be PlayStation gamers having access to all foreseeable Call of Duty map packs thirty days before any other platform. Following this announcement, a new trailer for Call of Duty Black Ops 3’s zombie mode on a bonus map called The Giant. A new trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront manipulates some serious nostalgia. The new trailer focuses on a variety of new heroes including Princess Leia, Han Solo, Boba Fett, and the Emperor. It also prominently features the different alien races that players will be able to customize their various avatars to look like. Additionally, a new Darth Vader PlayStation 4 bundle releases when Battlefront launches next month. A new Street Fighter V trailer displays almost the complete roster in action, debuting a bearded Dhalsim beating a poor Zangief into submission. Yoshinori Ono, executive producer of Street Fighter V made an appearance to give a few more details about the fighting title. On top of the revamped look, new moves and abilities complement Dhalsim’s new look. Six characters will be added over the year following release. All can be unlocked through normal play by using an in-game currency called Fight Money. An image accompanying this information hints at the identity of those characters. Street Fighter V will be coming to PlayStation 4 on February 16, 2016. Transitioning smoothly from one fighting game into another, Sony pulled Tekken 7 out of the arcades and onto their console. The seventh installment of Tekken progresses the series’ storyline in a decidedly over-the-top and dramatic fashion. The secrets of the Mishima clan are teased in the latest trailer, which also features armies, fights in volcanoes, and people being thrown off cliffs. Later on in the show an off-hand comment revealed that Tekken 7 will be compatible with PlayStation VR Gearbox Software showcased a new Battleborn trailer that gives a small tease of the tongue-in-cheek story while primarily focusing on the gameplay. Specifically singled out are the different gameplay modes and some of the mechanics of the first-person MOBA. PlayStation 4 owners will be the first to gain access to the console beta of Battleborn next year. Sony made it clear that the next few games to be announced would be console exclusives for the PlayStation 4. Developer Wonderstruck presented a trailer of Boundless that revels in voxel visuals and dimension spanning works of wonder. The project looks like it has some definite Minecraft ambitions and seems like the grappling hooks, moving terrain, and large scale worlds might be enough to back those aspirations. Vector, a new indie music-rhythm game shows some promise. Taking a lot of inspiration from titles like Audiosurf, Hello There’s upcoming game allows players to design their own levels and compete against other one another. Trailer stars the artist Avicii talking about his collaboration on the project. Finally, No Man’s Sky has resurfaced! The new trailer features an amazing voice over that many have related to an iconic speech from the movie Blade Runner. The trailer attempts to mash a lot of different gameplay demonstrations into its short duration while also flaunting the title’s scope. Most importantly, we now know that No Man’s Sky will release sometime June 2016. Michael Denny senior VP of Sony’s World Wide Studios Europe took the stage to introduce Housemarque’s Matterfall, a voxel-based shooter with a main character that looks like a cross between the protagonist from Vanquish and Megaman. A new trailer debuted for Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank that shows off a wide range of activities. Players can expect the usual running, gunning, and rail grinding, but will also be flying jets, spaceships, and even scuba diving throughout the adventure. The title will release this coming spring. Horizon Zero Dawn has been one of the most hotly anticipated games since it was first presented at this year’s E3. They demoed the gameplay on stage, showing how hunting colossal and dangerous machines would work in practice. Guerilla Games set traps, using specialized ammo to manipulate enemies. Described as an action-RPG, players will use materials picked up from fallen robots. The developer took pains to point out that damage to larger creatures is area-specific, leading to situations where you can systematically dismantle powerful foes. A variety of different tactics are available with the tools at the player’s disposal, whether that is a straightforward assault (generally not a good idea) or tethering enemies to the ground and leaving them defenseless AT-AT style. Guerilla plans for a 2016 release. Bloodborne: The Old Hunters expansion teased in a new trailer that shows some of the new weapons and one of the grotesque fallen hunters that players will have to contend with should they brave the horrors. The expansion drops November 24. Driveclub Bikes introduces the best super-bikes in the world to Drive Club. Players can purchase it either standalone or as an expansion for Driveclub. It released immediately following the conference and should be available to download now. Japan Studio’s creative director Keiichiro Toyama took the stage to confirm that Gravity Rush 2 would be coming to Europe and North America (there had been some doubt on that point since its initial announcement during this year’s TGS). Toyama made it clear that a lot of new features differentiate the game from its predecessor. A new combat system was shown with gameplay demonstrating the three different gravity fighting styles: Normal style – as seen in the first game, Luna style – lighter and quicker, and Jupiter style – heavier and more powerful. Environments take damage and shift based on how players use their gravity powers and those changes persist as fights progress. The title promises challenging battles that you can tackle alone or with the assistance of an AI ally. Christophe Balestra, co-president at Naughty Dog, hopped up on stage following Gravity Rush 2 to talk about Uncharted 4, specifically its multiplayer. Using lessons learned from Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us, Naughty Dog has implemented some intriguing features to A Thief’s End. Balestra stated that players will be able to summon sidekicks, use supernatural relics, and more. Uncharted 4 releases March 18, 2016. If that sounds like too long a wait, Balestra also stated that the multiplayer beta will be active from December 4 through December 18 of this year. Media Molecule followed up Naughty Dog’s Uncharted announcements with new information on their creation tool/game Dreams. The title’s technical director, Alex Evans, talked about what the game will actually be like when players get their hands on it. To do this effectively, Evans demonstrated the game live on stage, the first time it has ever been seen outside of their studio. Every player creates a customizable imp that goes everywhere in Dreams and is used to explore and communicate. Imps follow the movements of the PlayStation controller and players can give them different expressions with the controller’s touch pad. “You use the imp to grab, pull, and poke at the world. It’s very direct, tactile, and intuitive,” said Evans. The imp can also possess characters, vehicles, or inanimate objects, which allows players to move them around inside the game worlds. Creation and gameplay are intertwined. “Each dream can go from traditional platforming, to racing, to sandboxes, puzzles, and of course making things.” Doors are special in Dreams. Each door can take you to a completely different place, and almost anything can be a gateway to another world. No premade assets were shown in the gameplay demo; everything was made on the PlayStation 4. The beta begins sometime during 2016. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s World Wide Studios, arrived on stage to show Sony’s commitment to bringing virtual reality to mainstream gaming with PlayStation VR. “We believe that virtual reality doesn’t have to be a solo experience. There’s unlimited potential for social and competitive interaction in VR,” said Yoshida. He then went on to introduce RIGS Mechanized Combat League, a competitive shooter in which players battle in giant mech suits in sporting arenas. RIGS makes a compelling case for competitive VR experiences and invites the comparison to modern sports through bright visuals and sports commentators in the trailer. The existence of a VR game based on the surprise hit Until Dawn was revealed. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood could best be described as a roller coaster in which everything is out to kill you. Players must try to survive the hazards of the track and escape unscathed. Beware, dangers can come from any direction. Cevat Yerli, the co-founder, CEO, and president of Crytek, ascended to the stage to discuss Crytek’s VR effort with PlayStation. Robinson: The Journey looks like an amazing adventure with dinosaurs that will make everyone who ever dreamed about Jurassic Park being real a little bit giddy inside. Walking around with the robot from Destiny and seeing colossal dinosaurs seems like a good time to me! Rebellion debuted their geometric VR title following Crytek’s announcement, showing a flashing tank combat game called Battle Zone. Without a whole lot of details, it looks fairly straightforward, flashy, and fun. Yoshida then shifted from talk of VR games to VR movies, giving a small demonstration of the VR experience from The Walk, a film about a man who walked on a tightrope suspended between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. And, just in case there was any lingering doubt over PlayStation’s commitment to making VR work, Yoshida casually mentioned that over 100 developers are currently working on VR projects for PlayStation. This segment of the show was largely to show that PlayStation VR is strong and in it for the long haul. The gaming landscape could look very different in a few years if this technology catches on. A few final surprise announcements landed after the VR showcase. First, Polyphony Digital showed the debut trailer for Gran Turismo Sport, which will appear on PS4 for the first time. Kazunori Tamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital, talked about the improvements in graphical fidelity they were able to make with the hardware of the PS4. Additionally, Polyphony will be partnering with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for Gran Turismo Sport. Two flagship FIA championships will run simultaneously throughout the year within Sport. One will be the Nations Cup where players represent their country. The other will be the Manufacturer Fan Cup where players represent their favorite car manufacturer. The champions of these competitive racing circuits will be awarded their prizes alongside the winners of real-world FIA races around the holiday season. This partnership between the Federation International Autosport and Polyphony Digital represents efforts from both sides to move racing ahead into the future. A beta test should be going public in early 2016. Gran Turismo Sport will be compatible with PlayStation VR. Wild Sheep Studio’s creative director, Michel Ancel, stepped up to talk about their upcoming project Wild, another PlayStation console exclusive. Gameplay depicts animal summoning, possession, and combat as players try to solve problems and allow their primitive tribe to survive. The segment shows one route a player might take to attempt to heal a poisoned clan member. The final announcement of Paris Game Week featured David Cage taking the stage to reveal Quantic Dream’s new project. It’s an extension of the Kara tech demo that the studio released several years ago to show what was possible with the PlayStation 3’s technology. The new title, called Detroit: Become Human, stars a robotic woman who has gained sentience in a world where robots are resented and treated as tools. However, the trailer makes it abundantly clear that there is something different about Kara and that other robots might not be as robotic as they seem. There were a lot of really phenomenal announcements at the show and a fair number of downright surprising reveals. PlayStation’s dedication to making VR a viable thing shows a lot of confidence in their technology and the draw of its novelty. The sheer number of exclusives for PlayStation 4 was a bit staggering, though it was surprising that Sony made next to no mention of the PlayStation Vita, PSTV, or the PS Vue service that they pushed so strongly earlier this year. Most importantly, a lot of actual gameplay was shown. Only a few trailers were composed of entirely cutscenes or pre-rendered animations. Notably, we saw more of No Man’s Sky, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Wild, Uncharted 4 multiplayer, and Street Fighter V. While the wait could be quite long for some of these titles, there seems to be a lot of good things coming down the pipeline for PlayStation owners. View full article
  17. Following Microsoft’s press conference earlier today, Sony had to be on its game. Microsoft showed a fair number of titles with first access DLC for Xbox owners and a couple highly polished an interesting exclusives (here’s lookin’ at you, Sunset Overdrive and Scalebound). Sony seems to have given a suitably escalated response. Sony began by showing a story-teasing, action packed trailer (narrated by Peter Dinklage!) and announcing that PS4 owners would have access to a special first-look alpha of the game beginning this Thursday and continuing through Sunday. It was also revealed that PlayStation owners would receive an exclusive strike mission (the Destiny equivalent of dungeon raids) for Destiny. July 17 marks when Destiny enters open beta. Furthermore, when Destiny releases on September 9, there will also be a bundle with a white PlayStation 4. The Order: 1886 also made an obligatory appearance with a brief segment showing off some atmospheric gameplay. It is worth noting that the trailer below was edited together and, while made up of the gameplay that I saw live, doesn’t quite capture the same intensity or urgency that the gameplay segment demonstrated. After The Order, Sony decided to introduce Entwined. Players control a bird and a fish that fall in love and over try to guide them through several lifetimes to be together. Yes, the concept is weird. On the other hand, the game is a joy to look at and the music relaxing and beautiful. Each creature is assigned a different joystick, meaning that you control both of them simultaneously. The best part about this announcement (I mean, besides that it exists) is that it is available today on PSN for a reasonable $9.99. If you thought that Sucker Punch and Sony had abandoned Second Son, think again! Entwined lead into the reveal of Second Son DLC titled First Light. Players take on the role of fan favorite character Fetch Walker as she deals with the demons of her past. First Light is slated for release sometime in August 2014. LittleBigPlanet 3 debuted with a live gameplay demonstration and trailer. The game introduces new characters as well as co-op gameplay. Sackboy is joined by the dog-like Oddsock who has the ability to wall jump; Toggle a blobby character who can grow and shrink at will; and Swoop who can fly around at will. LittleBigPlanet 3 is coming to PS4 this November. Additionally, you’ll be able to go online and play any level made in LittleBigPlanet 3. Sony had pulled out the big guns with the reveal of LittleBigPlanet 3, and like a comical scene in a sweeping action film they continued to pull out more big guns. It turns out those images and five second video clips that have been popping up and been attributed to a From Software game under the working title of Project Beast were genuine. Bloodborne appears to be a grim action game that makes use of Dark Souls imagery while making use of a slightly different premise. Count me in as excited for this PlayStation exclusive coming 2015. This might get a bit lengthy if I go too in-depth with what happened during the conference, so I am going to shotgun a number of highlights at you: Far Cry 4 was demonstrated live (and has co-op). Dead Island 2 is coming out and one of the characters is voiced by Jack Black. There will be a Last of Us Remastered/Diablo 3 crossover mission that involves taking out infected zombies in Diablo 3. Battlefield Hardline had a trailer (plus the beta, which is available right now for PS4 players). Paradox Interactive has all of its development studios working on exclusive PlayStation titles; the first of which is Magicka 2. With a great live-action trailer and a tagline like “Learn to spell… again” how can you not smile and feel a twinge of anticipation? Double Fine is partnering with Sony to remaster the beloved adventure game Grim Fandango. *JOY SPASMS* Devolver Digital, the publisher behind Hotline Miami, is bringing a load of games to PlayStation consoles first, before they make their way elsewhere. This includes Broforce, Titan Souls, Not A Hero, Hotline Miami Wrong Number, and The Talos Principle. Sound like a lot or never heard of the before? Check out this neat little trailer thing that does your research for you! Then we arrived at the point during the conference where Sony uttered the words Suda 51. The ever unpredictable designer is in the process of crafting a game titled Let It Die, which received a trailer that is probably too graphic to embed directly into this post. Check it out here if you are interested. Suffice it to say that Suda 51 is either a genius or insane. I’m leaning more towards insane, but possibly in a good way? Regardless, Let It Die comes out in 2015. Remember how great Journey was? If you don’t it was fan-flippin’-tastic. One of the artists on that thatgamecompany’s last title spun off his own studio, dubbed it Giant Squid and began working on a mysterious new title called Abzû. Much like Journey, Abzû’s soundtrack has been composed by Austin Wintory. Unlike Journey, Abzû appears to take place completely under water with a diver exploring the unknown depths and interacting with the various denizens of the watery deep. Immediately following Abzû was a trailer that showcased the progress of the highly anticipated No Man’s Sky. I can’t really put into words how excited I am to one day get my hands on No Man’s Sky, but… ugh. It really seems to be doing something different and doing that different thing WELL. Also, I think I just salivated at the thought of playing this game with a VR headset. Sony decided that we needed a bit of a break from new announcements and spent a few minutes reassuring everyone that their virtual reality peripheral Project Morpheus is still a thing and it will have demos n’ stuff. An integrated YouTube app will be making its way to PS4 later this year. This will facilitate the watching of cat videos as well as uploading shared gameplay videos online with friends, family, and strangers. The game streaming service PlayStation Now will enter open beta on July 31 for PlayStation 4 and shortly after available for PS3 and PSVita. As an almost casual aside, it was mentioned that PlayStation Now will also be available on select Sony televisions. All you need is a DualShock 4 controller to play on qualifying television sets. PlayStation TV will be coming to North America. The PlayStation TV is essentially a streaming box that allows the PlayStation 4 to be played on other televisions in the house, can stream PlayStation Vita games to be played on your TV, and allows anyone to access PlayStation Now without the hefty investment costs of a fully-fledged console. PlayStation TV will retail at $100 for the base box and at $139 for a bundle that includes the box, a controller, 8GB of memory, and a digital voucher for a copy of The Lego Movie Game. Oh, and it can stream other services like Netflix, too. In a new push to create more PlayStation exclusives, Sony announced that there will be an PlayStation original series, the first of which is a two run series based on the graphic novel, Powers. The first episode will be available for free. All PlayStation Plus subscribers will be able to view the entire Powers series free of charge. Not being super familiar with the graphic novel, for how it was described made it sound like a police procedural, if those police lived in a world where super-powers existed and there was a specialized police department for super-powered murder cases. That sounds pretty dang cool to me. Then Sony revealed that there is a Ratchet and Clank movie in the works for next year. Sony followed the Ratchet and Clank movie announcement with a drastic tonal shift to The Last of Us Remastered. Now, I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the trailer they showed for the enhanced PS4 version over PS3 version, but maybe that’s because my eyes aren’t discerning enough. However, as base and classless as my eyes may be, they couldn’t help getting excited for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. A new trailer was shown that was edited together by Kojima himself. In it we watch Big Boss mourn with urns, grow a ponytail, and be a bit more hardcore than the Solid Snake we’re all accustomed to seeing. I’m relishing the prospect of jumping into whatever craziness Kojima has concocted for The Phantom Pain, because good or bad, it is going to be a ride. Grand Theft Auto V was announced to be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox one, and PC this fall (though at the press conference they conveniently left out the part about releasing on Xbox One and PC). Players looking to upgrade to a different version will be granted data transfers from whatever system they chose previously to the newer one of their choosing. Sony then revealed a new gameplay segment from Batman: Arkham Knight and, this is coming from someone who hasn’t played previous Arkham games and who is a professional critic, it looks amaze-tastical. I gotta hand it to Sony, they ended this conference incredibly strong. After so many great games debuted or showed impeccable polish, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End tipped the scales in Sony’s favor. Overall I was really impressed by what Sony brought to the table this E3. Maybe that’s partly because I was going in not expecting much besides a victory lap for The Last of Us, a few indies, and a possible Uncharted announcement. What Sony gave was so much more. They announced indie title after indie title, big game that people care about after big game that people care about, and while they kept non-gaming talk low, they hit all the bullet points they needed to and then got back on track with more game reveals and teases. What did you think of the conference? Good? Adequate? Meh? View full article