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Found 790 results

  1. Today, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing Xbox Live to Android and iOS devices, officially lending its support to the wider world of mobile game development. This move isn't entirely unprecedented. Xbox Live support has been available on mobile before, however it was only included in apps and games developed by Microsoft itself, like Minecraft. This new move will put Xbox Live within reach of any developer who wants to integrate their app or game into the wider Xbox Live ecosystem. Microsoft initially teased back in February that they might be making an announcement related to mobile soon. The move, revealed today, will allow apps and games across the mobile world to access the suite of services associated with Xbox Live. Developers will be able to use the tools released by Microsoft to connect as many or as few Xbox Life services with their project as needed. Now we know, thanks to The Verge, the full extent of the program and tools. Microsoft's new mobile development kit (SDK) will enable devs to add Gamerscore, open up clubs, friend lists, and include account family settings. On top of that, developers will be able to implement a single sign-in for Xbox Live and grant devs online protection for their apps and games. The new SDK will come together with Microsoft Game Stack, a collection of tool sets designed to get developers up and running with Microsoft's cloud technology, something the tech giant has been pushing across a wide variety of its services outside of gaming. A rumor has been going around the industry that Xbox Live integration will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch, though a rep from Microsoft didn't deny that it's in the works. However, even if Xbox Live comes to Nintendo Switch, it's unlikely to make its way onto Sony's flagship platform, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft, for its part, appears to be very willing to partner with companies many might consider to be rivals, but Sony's reticence makes the possible team up all but impossible. While it might seem like a similar roll out on a rival platform would be impossible, Minecraft on Switch does implement an Xbox Live sign-in. That puts the Switch in a similar position as the mobile market was prior to this announcement. The ability to put Xbox Live on Switch is already out in the wild with Minecraft; all it would take is the okay from Nintendo and some additional fine-tuning of the software for it to work well on Switch. We could very easily see the next battle for gaming supremacy take place not in hardware, but in the realm of software support and service features. If that's the case, Xbox Live just created a huge lead for itself. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  2. Today, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing Xbox Live to Android and iOS devices, officially lending its support to the wider world of mobile game development. This move isn't entirely unprecedented. Xbox Live support has been available on mobile before, however it was only included in apps and games developed by Microsoft itself, like Minecraft. This new move will put Xbox Live within reach of any developer who wants to integrate their app or game into the wider Xbox Live ecosystem. Microsoft initially teased back in February that they might be making an announcement related to mobile soon. The move, revealed today, will allow apps and games across the mobile world to access the suite of services associated with Xbox Live. Developers will be able to use the tools released by Microsoft to connect as many or as few Xbox Life services with their project as needed. Now we know, thanks to The Verge, the full extent of the program and tools. Microsoft's new mobile development kit (SDK) will enable devs to add Gamerscore, open up clubs, friend lists, and include account family settings. On top of that, developers will be able to implement a single sign-in for Xbox Live and grant devs online protection for their apps and games. The new SDK will come together with Microsoft Game Stack, a collection of tool sets designed to get developers up and running with Microsoft's cloud technology, something the tech giant has been pushing across a wide variety of its services outside of gaming. A rumor has been going around the industry that Xbox Live integration will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch, though a rep from Microsoft didn't deny that it's in the works. However, even if Xbox Live comes to Nintendo Switch, it's unlikely to make its way onto Sony's flagship platform, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft, for its part, appears to be very willing to partner with companies many might consider to be rivals, but Sony's reticence makes the possible team up all but impossible. While it might seem like a similar roll out on a rival platform would be impossible, Minecraft on Switch does implement an Xbox Live sign-in. That puts the Switch in a similar position as the mobile market was prior to this announcement. The ability to put Xbox Live on Switch is already out in the wild with Minecraft; all it would take is the okay from Nintendo and some additional fine-tuning of the software for it to work well on Switch. We could very easily see the next battle for gaming supremacy take place not in hardware, but in the realm of software support and service features. If that's the case, Xbox Live just created a huge lead for itself. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  3. Who is Sam? That's the question at the heart of A Normal Lost Phone a game for PC and mobile devices. Developed by Accidental Queens, A Normal Lost Phone puts players in possession of a phone that they have found on the ground. The game tasks players with using their cyber sleuthing skills to discover who the owner of the phone is and how to get them back their property. The entire thing becomes a literal character study, for better and worse. Could this mobile indie adventure game about snooping be one of the best games of all-time? 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:Final Fantasy VIII 'Wanderlust' by ZiSotto (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03864) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. Who is Sam? That's the question at the heart of A Normal Lost Phone a game for PC and mobile devices. Developed by Accidental Queens, A Normal Lost Phone puts players in possession of a phone that they have found on the ground. The game tasks players with using their cyber sleuthing skills to discover who the owner of the phone is and how to get them back their property. The entire thing becomes a literal character study, for better and worse. Could this mobile indie adventure game about snooping be one of the best games of all-time? 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:Final Fantasy VIII 'Wanderlust' by ZiSotto (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03864) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. The upcoming indie platformer Hoa looks incredible. The hand-painted aesthetic and adorable character design bring a vast amount of charm to the adventure of the titular Hoa, a small spritely creature trying to make her way home. Hoa is being made by a group of university graduates based in Singapore. The team currently includes four members working in their spare time to bring their vision to life. The devs wish to follow in the footsteps of classic, visually interesting platformers like Limbo and Rayman. To that end, the team experimented with a variety of different designs and discovered that their work meshed nicely with the distinctive look of Japanese animation. Much like Limbo, the entire game has been designed to only encompass a few hours, bringing players on a memorable and moving journey as they struggle with being a little being in a big world. Deciding to emulate the style of a masterful animation outfit like Studio Ghibli proved to be difficult to follow through on. In a recent interview with 80 Level, the game's director Ryo Cao Son Tung said: At that moment I was not really sure if we can do it. Ghibli’s artist like Kazuo Oga have decades of painting experience, and we have to match that quality. If we cannot pull it off, then the project is over right at the beginning. We spent a lot of time watching all Ghibli movies, researching their background art, breaking down the techniques, then finding a way to recreate that in Photoshop. It was a really tough task, but as we paint more we start to get the hang of it. After a few months of continuous researching and practicing and playing with different brush settings in Photoshop, our works reach an acceptable level. [...] In production, take the forest scene we posted for example, it took us about two weeks to finish painting all the background elements for the scene. Though Hoa remains a long way off from being completed, a playable demo should be finished within the next several months. Based on community feedback the team plans to refine the demo into a proof of concept to entice their investors to stick around. If they succeed in wrangling the financial backing, they expect Hoa to ship sometime next year for PC and Nintendo Switch. If it proves to be popular, they're even open to considering a mobile port. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  6. The upcoming indie platformer Hoa looks incredible. The hand-painted aesthetic and adorable character design bring a vast amount of charm to the adventure of the titular Hoa, a small spritely creature trying to make her way home. Hoa is being made by a group of university graduates based in Singapore. The team currently includes four members working in their spare time to bring their vision to life. The devs wish to follow in the footsteps of classic, visually interesting platformers like Limbo and Rayman. To that end, the team experimented with a variety of different designs and discovered that their work meshed nicely with the distinctive look of Japanese animation. Much like Limbo, the entire game has been designed to only encompass a few hours, bringing players on a memorable and moving journey as they struggle with being a little being in a big world. Deciding to emulate the style of a masterful animation outfit like Studio Ghibli proved to be difficult to follow through on. In a recent interview with 80 Level, the game's director Ryo Cao Son Tung said: At that moment I was not really sure if we can do it. Ghibli’s artist like Kazuo Oga have decades of painting experience, and we have to match that quality. If we cannot pull it off, then the project is over right at the beginning. We spent a lot of time watching all Ghibli movies, researching their background art, breaking down the techniques, then finding a way to recreate that in Photoshop. It was a really tough task, but as we paint more we start to get the hang of it. After a few months of continuous researching and practicing and playing with different brush settings in Photoshop, our works reach an acceptable level. [...] In production, take the forest scene we posted for example, it took us about two weeks to finish painting all the background elements for the scene. Though Hoa remains a long way off from being completed, a playable demo should be finished within the next several months. Based on community feedback the team plans to refine the demo into a proof of concept to entice their investors to stick around. If they succeed in wrangling the financial backing, they expect Hoa to ship sometime next year for PC and Nintendo Switch. If it proves to be popular, they're even open to considering a mobile port. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  7. You may have noticed a few images floating around the internet that appear to be advertising a game that looks suspiciously like Metal Gear Solid. That game is most likely Left Alive, a new game from Square Enix set in the Front Mission universe. For those unfamiliar with Front Mission, the series deals with a future where the Earth has descended into constant warfare between supranational states, collectives of countries working together to fend off aggression. All of them rely on "wanzers," large, humanoid tanks capable of sustaining massive amounts of damage while dishing it right back out. Though wanzers inevitably play a large role in each of the games, many of the series' main entries are more interested in the human drama unfolding that makes the use of these weapons necessary. Front Mission began in 1995 and many believed it ended with Front Mission Evolved in 2010. Until Left Alive came out, that is. Left Alive tells the story of people trapped in the contested city of Novo Slava and features both on-foot missions that mix stealth and action and explosive mech piloting segments. All of this exists in the grounded reality of a city under siege with defense forces struggling to survive and civilians just doing their best to stay alive. If you're wondering why Left Alive looks like Metal Gear Solid, that would be due to the character design and artistic contributions of Yoji Shinkawa, a prominent artist on the Metal Gear Solid series. On top of that, Armored Core V director Toshifumi Nabeshima has directed the reboot of Front Mission (which might also be a possible spiritual successor of Metal Gear Solid). Metal Gear Solid certainly inspired the game, but in interviews, director Toshifumi Nabeshima has stated that he considers it neither a stealth or an action game, that both are merely ways of reaching the end. However, don't go in expecting Deus Ex levels of solutions. Front Mission initially began as a turn-based strategy RPG. Players would move units around a hex grid in an attempt to outmaneuver the enemy in a war game. Left Alive is not that. Instead, Left Alive focuses on emphasizing how devastating wanzers can be by placing players in a position of weakness, where wanzers can annihilate them without a second thought. It's a tale of survival rather than the large-scale picture of commanding a war or a skirmish. As such, players have limited ammo and a broad range of freedom when it comes to achieving objectives that might require them to think on the fly and improvise. Overall, Left Alive looks really cool. With Hideo Kojima's departure from Konami effectively ending the Metal Gear Solid series, this might just be the thing Metal Gear fans need to fill the void left behind by the series' passing. Left Alive is available now for PlayStation 4 and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  8. You may have noticed a few images floating around the internet that appear to be advertising a game that looks suspiciously like Metal Gear Solid. That game is most likely Left Alive, a new game from Square Enix set in the Front Mission universe. For those unfamiliar with Front Mission, the series deals with a future where the Earth has descended into constant warfare between supranational states, collectives of countries working together to fend off aggression. All of them rely on "wanzers," large, humanoid tanks capable of sustaining massive amounts of damage while dishing it right back out. Though wanzers inevitably play a large role in each of the games, many of the series' main entries are more interested in the human drama unfolding that makes the use of these weapons necessary. Front Mission began in 1995 and many believed it ended with Front Mission Evolved in 2010. Until Left Alive came out, that is. Left Alive tells the story of people trapped in the contested city of Novo Slava and features both on-foot missions that mix stealth and action and explosive mech piloting segments. All of this exists in the grounded reality of a city under siege with defense forces struggling to survive and civilians just doing their best to stay alive. If you're wondering why Left Alive looks like Metal Gear Solid, that would be due to the character design and artistic contributions of Yoji Shinkawa, a prominent artist on the Metal Gear Solid series. On top of that, Armored Core V director Toshifumi Nabeshima has directed the reboot of Front Mission (which might also be a possible spiritual successor of Metal Gear Solid). Metal Gear Solid certainly inspired the game, but in interviews, director Toshifumi Nabeshima has stated that he considers it neither a stealth or an action game, that both are merely ways of reaching the end. However, don't go in expecting Deus Ex levels of solutions. Front Mission initially began as a turn-based strategy RPG. Players would move units around a hex grid in an attempt to outmaneuver the enemy in a war game. Left Alive is not that. Instead, Left Alive focuses on emphasizing how devastating wanzers can be by placing players in a position of weakness, where wanzers can annihilate them without a second thought. It's a tale of survival rather than the large-scale picture of commanding a war or a skirmish. As such, players have limited ammo and a broad range of freedom when it comes to achieving objectives that might require them to think on the fly and improvise. Overall, Left Alive looks really cool. With Hideo Kojima's departure from Konami effectively ending the Metal Gear Solid series, this might just be the thing Metal Gear fans need to fill the void left behind by the series' passing. Left Alive is available now for PlayStation 4 and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  9. It has been 25 years since Chip's Challenge debuted on Atari Lynx and Windows 3.1 to resounding success. Players can finally pick it up on Steam as well as the never released sequel, Chip's Challenge 2, this May. "Wait, Chip's Challenge 2?" I hear some of you cry. That's right. Chuck Sommerville, the creator of Chip's Challenge 1, spent two years developing a sequel, that was subsequently shelved due to funding issues with publishing. “When I couldn’t release Chip’s Challenge 2, it hit me really hard. Not only had I spent two years perfecting it, I also felt I’d let down the fans too,” Sommerville said. “I generally thought the only way Chip’s Challenge 2 was ever going to see the light of day was by having my wife leak it on the internet on my death.” However, after five years of negotiations, Chuck Sommerville will be releasing both Chip's Challenges on Steam with all the unseen levels, Steam trading cards, and the original game code. They will be modernized a bit to allow players to save their progress instead of using the older code system. Chip's Challenge 1 and 2 will release on Steam May 29. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  10. A new 2.5D side-scrolling stealth action platformer from Ubisoft lands tomorrow. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China stars Shao Jun, which fans might already be familiar with from the 2011 animated short "Assassin's Creed: Embers." Shao Jun stands as the last remaining member of the Chinese Brootherhood. Now she returns to her homeland to restore the Assassins and exact her revenge against the people who stole her life. Two more titles are planned for the Chronicles series, India and Russia. More details coming on those in the near future. This has been a bit of a stealthy lead up to release, following the low-key announcement two weeks ago. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China will be available tomorrow, April 21, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  11. The spooky and talented folks at Red Hook Studios have teased a sequel to their dark and macabre roguelike RPG Darkest Dungeon. Here's everything we know so far about Darkest Dungeon 2. The reveal included a roughly 30-second trailer with an intriguing key visual and a haunting voice-over. It depicts a mountain, frozen with ice and snow half covering twisted rock formations set in what appear to be screaming faces. As the camera zooms out, one can pick out the six core classes that released in the original game (though none of the additional classes that released as DLC) standing astride a nearby mountain staring at the even more foreboding peak in the distance. The voice-over comes courtesy of Wayne June, who lent his vocal performance to the original Darkest Dungeon. PC Gamer conducted an interview with the developers that's very much worth reading in full. Beyond the trailer, we know that Darkest Dungeon 2 will be a departure from the manor-delving that made up the majority of the original's metagame. Instead, players will be on a journey that exposes more of what's going on in the outside world. The scope of the game seems to have expanded dramatically, too, with Red Hook almost tripling in size from its original team. Much like the first game, Darkest Dungeon 2 will enjoy a period in Steam's Early Access category while the developers add content, fix bugs, and listen to community feedback. Darkest Dungeon was one of the best indie roguelikes of 2016, and earned quite a bit of acclaim even during its Early Access period. It put players in the position of an inheritor of an estate that had belonged to a deranged family member. Of course, arriving on the estate grounds, all of its various sections are overrun by madmen and monsters. Using various adventurers willing to risk both mind and matter, each section must be cleared to fully claim the inheritance hidden beneath the manor. It's very much worth the current $6.24 asking price on Steam. No word yet on when fans should expect to see Darkest Dungeon 2 hitting Early Access, so we'll have to be patient and not succumb to madness... for now. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  12. The spooky and talented folks at Red Hook Studios have teased a sequel to their dark and macabre roguelike RPG Darkest Dungeon. Here's everything we know so far about Darkest Dungeon 2. The reveal included a roughly 30-second trailer with an intriguing key visual and a haunting voice-over. It depicts a mountain, frozen with ice and snow half covering twisted rock formations set in what appear to be screaming faces. As the camera zooms out, one can pick out the six core classes that released in the original game (though none of the additional classes that released as DLC) standing astride a nearby mountain staring at the even more foreboding peak in the distance. The voice-over comes courtesy of Wayne June, who lent his vocal performance to the original Darkest Dungeon. PC Gamer conducted an interview with the developers that's very much worth reading in full. Beyond the trailer, we know that Darkest Dungeon 2 will be a departure from the manor-delving that made up the majority of the original's metagame. Instead, players will be on a journey that exposes more of what's going on in the outside world. The scope of the game seems to have expanded dramatically, too, with Red Hook almost tripling in size from its original team. Much like the first game, Darkest Dungeon 2 will enjoy a period in Steam's Early Access category while the developers add content, fix bugs, and listen to community feedback. Darkest Dungeon was one of the best indie roguelikes of 2016, and earned quite a bit of acclaim even during its Early Access period. It put players in the position of an inheritor of an estate that had belonged to a deranged family member. Of course, arriving on the estate grounds, all of its various sections are overrun by madmen and monsters. Using various adventurers willing to risk both mind and matter, each section must be cleared to fully claim the inheritance hidden beneath the manor. It's very much worth the current $6.24 asking price on Steam. No word yet on when fans should expect to see Darkest Dungeon 2 hitting Early Access, so we'll have to be patient and not succumb to madness... for now. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  13. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  14. The latest arcade flight sim with narrative aspirations from Project Aces, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown exists as a bit of an odd duck. The last couple attempts to bring the series into the modern day after its PlayStation 2 heyday fell flat and failed to gain much traction. This left Ace Combat in something of a limbo, only receiving support for the PSN exclusive and microtransaction-heavy Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown seeks to bring the series back to its roots by setting itself up as a canonical sequel to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the most successful Ace Combat games to date. Despite that positioning, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown doesn’t require players to be familiar with its predecessor or the history of the fictional world of Strangereal. There are certainly nods to events and characters that veteran fans will recognize, but for the most part, these moments aren’t necessary to enjoy the larger story. That story details a war between the countries of Osea and Erusea stemming from economic and political contention regarding a space elevator constructed using Osean funds on Erusean soil after Osea devastated Erusea in a previous war. Into this situation are thrown all manner of crazy twists and plot threads including: Prisoners forced to pilot aircraft in the war, the assassination of a former head of state, the future of unmanned drone warfare in the skies, and a survival behind enemy lines narrative. If all of that sounds interesting, it should! Unfortunately, it never comes together into one cohesive entity and then just ends. One of the biggest problems is the complete lack of a protagonist. This was somewhat solved in Ace Combat 5 by allowing the player to participate in radio conversations with pilots in their squadron. Allowing for a little bit of character development that wasn’t just, “Golly gee, [player] is really the best pilot!” And that’s a huge problem in Ace Combat 7 because the player is framed for the assassination of the former president of Osea and sent to an island to fly junk planes as a distraction for the enemy. He just happens to be such a good pilot that eventually everyone seems to forget that they all think he assassinated a former president for no apparent reason. Ace Combat 7 squanders the unique opportunity it has with the concept of prisoner pilots by very quickly hand waving away that aspect. A bunch of criminals flying airplanes sounds like it should be a great mix for the series, but it never has a tangible effect on the gameplay outside of one mission where players are denied the ability to repair and reload weapons mid-mission. Limiting the choice of planes, putting players against hopeless odds, heck, maybe having the planes the prisoners are flying literally start falling apart mid-mission – there are so many interesting ways that Ace Combat 7 could have handled the disposable prisoner-soldier aspect. Eventually, the war progresses and leaves Osea overly dependent on the squadron of prisoners – until a late-game twist cuts the squadron off from those higher up in the chain of command. This could have been a great opportunity to put the game into the player’s hands: Will the prisoner-pilots stay loyal to Osea of maybe they join the losing Erusean forces. Ace Combat 5 had several missions that diverged based on player choice and gameplay decisions. Instead, it becomes a story about survival behind enemy lines; admittedly still cool, but it doesn’t do much to revitalize the story. Many of these interesting narrative beats ultimately fail because of the disconnect between them and the main focus of the story: Unmanned drones. Ace Combat 7 really wants to be a story about the dangers of drone warfare. All of its cutscenes and several of its missions deal directly with that theme and threat. It’s the only one that actually feels tangible in the gameplay itself. The threat of coming up against an AI-controlled aircraft that can outmaneuver a human pilot feels more real than anything else the flight sim presents players. It’s unfortunate that the game that the game doesn’t then focus itself entirely on that danger, flooding the player’s airspace with mass produced drones or recurring encounters against a squadron of AI aircraft that learn from the player’s maneuvers. If prisoner-pilots and being lost behind enemy lines weren’t going to help build the story around the threat of drone warfare, they should have been cut or reworked to include them. Instead, we have a bunch of half-baked ideas that lack full function or resonance. Something odd must have been going on behind the scenes of Ace Combat 7’s development to have led to the narrative being a hot mess. The game just ends with everyone realizing that the disagreement over the space elevator was based on a misunderstanding. The campaign stands at 20 missions long, shorter than Ace Combat 5 by 7-12 missions depending on how one counts them. It’s possible that many of these lingering questions or half-formed ideas will be expanded upon in future DLC that will be supporting the title, but not enough is known about the eventual DLC to say for sure. We do know that it will touch on story content, but we can only judge based on what’s there now and it’s not a terribly satisfying narrative package. On top of that, there’s no arcade mode like previous entries in the series possessed, which featured a series of flight scenarios designed to challenge players. The only thing that makes sense is that due to budget or time constraints much of the single-player content had to be axed out of the core game. Or, to be a bit cynical, it’s possible that it was cut out to serve as DLC later down the road. Ace Combat 7’s story might be a mess, but the visual design for the aircraft, skies, and even the detailed models of structures and vehicles on the ground absolutely nail what the series has always been about. For all of the craziness of its Metal Gear-like flying drone carriers, the realism and attention to detail instantly convey that this is Ace Combat. It’s so beautiful, I often wanted to simply fly and look to at the swirling clouds, missile trails, explosions, and gorgeous chaos going on in missions. Each mission has a recap camera that follows the entire mission from a variety of angles centered on the player’s airplane and I’d often watch that for several minutes after concluding a sortie. The replay feature could be improved by the ability to fast forward through the mission at more than just 2X speed. The soundtrack created by longtime game composer Keiki Kobayashi does its best to replicate the music of Ace Combat, succeeding in some respects while falling short in others. Kobayashi has been composing since 2001 and worked in the music departments of all the Ace Combat games since Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies. It makes sense that he would be able to nail the ambient background soundscapes of the Ace Combat series for Ace Combat 7. However, Skies Unknown desperately lacks a central theme to rally around. Even at its best, it manages to convey frantic or dramatic energy, but possesses little memorable thrust of its own. It’s good experiential music to fly to but not so much to remember after the fact. The gameplay remains largely true to the Ace Combat formula of loading up a plane with an impossible number of missiles and sending it out to do battle against a variety of air and ground targets. The mission design feels tight with every mission offering a number of exciting and unique challenges. Whether it’s altitude restrictions, flying through canyons, a time limit to do as much damage as possible, getting close enough to identify a wide field of unknown potential targets, or finding smuggling trucks in a dust storm, players should expect the unexpected when gearing up for the next mission. Dealing with a number of flying quirks on missions adds another unique wrinkle to the gameplay. High winds can make flying close to the ground or staying on target difficult. Flying through clouds can help block missiles while also threatening to ice over the engines. Rain can obscure vision in the cockpit view. The most dangerous weather condition of all stands out as lightning which can fry electronics and send a plane into a deadly tailspin. Instead of a lengthy campaign or an arcade mode, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown boasts an online multiplayer mode with a couple different rule sets, pitting players against one another for intense aerial combat. The mode is… fine. It’s fine. It’s not fantastic due to the lack of gameplay modes and rule sets for players to choose from. This might be some player’s jam and it’s certainly necessary to include in a modern Ace Combat game. However, most people aren’t playing Ace Combat for the multiplayer and there’s not much beyond replaying the campaign for people who value that single-player experience. Conclusion: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown feels like a game that’s not sure about what it wants to be. It wants to be a gritty war story, but lacks the punch necessary to follow-through on that desire. The gameplay frequently feels disconnected from the story itself. It’s incredibly short, clocking in at only 2/3 the size of its PS2 predecessor. However, despite these narrative shortcomings, its ultimately nails the feel of classic Ace Combat. It’s a blast to play and part of the disappointment in the shortness of the game stems from the desire to play more of it. As a starting point for relaunching consistent Ace Combat releases, Skies Unknown feels like solid bedrock on which to build. For those who love multiplayer or want a unique VR experience (yes, the VR is cool, but you probably shouldn’t buy PSVR just to experience Ace Combat 7), Skies Unknown caters directly to those cravings. It certainly isn’t the perfect Ace Combat game that sets a new standard for the franchise, but Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown stands as an enjoyable entry that fans will appreciate. Maybe just wait for it to go on sale and see how the DLC roll out goes before you buy. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  15. Nightdive Studios has been quietly working on a remake of System Shock since their successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2016. Their mission is to bring the forward-thinking 1994 PC title into a recognizable, but modernized, form. And, to be honest, it looks fantastic. System Shock originally released on PC back in 1994. It offered players the chance to play a first-person science fiction role-playing game with a rich and detailed world that could be tackled in a wide variety of unique ways. It rewarded creativity and established many of the conventions that games still make use of to this day and directly influenced the creation of games like BioShock, Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, and Metal Gear Solid. Looking Glass Interactive received critical acclaim for the game, but the games it created were ahead of their time, leading to lower sales compared with the straight-forward and immediately rewarding Doom. That brings us to the present day as Nightdive Studios works to bring a completely rebuilt version of System Shock to modern systems. Nightdive cut their teeth on revamping retro titles to play on new hardware. They are responsible for reviving I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, System Shock 1, and System Shock 2, and also played a part in creating modern titles like Skyrim and BioShock Infinite. The studio has been transparent with their development process, posting videos and screenshots throughout the creation of the new System Shock. The latest update showcases a number of the finished and finalized art assets in action. The System Shock remake is scheduled to release in 2020, so this video is still pre-alpha. However, seeing a small section of what will be included in the finished game is really exciting. You can check out the video below. The next development update will apparently show off the combat mechanics of the System Shock remake, which will be really interesting. One of the drawbacks of the original was the complicated control scheme that doesn't feel great if you go back to experience it. Modernized controls and mechanics would go a long way toward making the remake a success. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  16. Nightdive Studios has been quietly working on a remake of System Shock since their successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2016. Their mission is to bring the forward-thinking 1994 PC title into a recognizable, but modernized, form. And, to be honest, it looks fantastic. System Shock originally released on PC back in 1994. It offered players the chance to play a first-person science fiction role-playing game with a rich and detailed world that could be tackled in a wide variety of unique ways. It rewarded creativity and established many of the conventions that games still make use of to this day and directly influenced the creation of games like BioShock, Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, and Metal Gear Solid. Looking Glass Interactive received critical acclaim for the game, but the games it created were ahead of their time, leading to lower sales compared with the straight-forward and immediately rewarding Doom. That brings us to the present day as Nightdive Studios works to bring a completely rebuilt version of System Shock to modern systems. Nightdive cut their teeth on revamping retro titles to play on new hardware. They are responsible for reviving I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, System Shock 1, and System Shock 2, and also played a part in creating modern titles like Skyrim and BioShock Infinite. The studio has been transparent with their development process, posting videos and screenshots throughout the creation of the new System Shock. The latest update showcases a number of the finished and finalized art assets in action. The System Shock remake is scheduled to release in 2020, so this video is still pre-alpha. However, seeing a small section of what will be included in the finished game is really exciting. You can check out the video below. The next development update will apparently show off the combat mechanics of the System Shock remake, which will be really interesting. One of the drawbacks of the original was the complicated control scheme that doesn't feel great if you go back to experience it. Modernized controls and mechanics would go a long way toward making the remake a success. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  17. Jon Shafer has been quietly working on a new game for the past seven years, and At the Gates is finally set to release next week. Shafer served as the lead designer on the critically acclaimed and BAFTA winning Civilization 5. Now, he and his small indie studio have prepared a roguelike strategy game completely focused on the single-player experience. One could say At the Gates is at the gates. Development on At the Gates began in 2012 shortly after Jon Shafer left Firaxis to found Conifer Games. Shafer worked on the project largely himself with the help of a number of contractors and freelancers pitching in to make it a reality. He was able to pull it all together thanks to a Kickstarter launched in early 2013 that raised over $100,000 to fund future development on the At the Gates prototype. At the Gates will release on January 23 for PC. It will retail at $29.99 and be made available through Steam, the Humble store, and the At the Gates website. During launch week, the strategy title will be available for 10% off normal price. In At the Gates, players take on the role of a leader who will forge a mighty kingdom out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. Using tactics, wit, and some luck, players will build up their clans, subjugate or negotiate with their neighbors, and eventually strike the killing blow against the Roman Empire itself. All of the action takes place from a point of view that should be immediately familiar to fans of the Civilization franchise. However, the design decisions behind the game are very different. Perhaps most notably, At the Gates has been designed to be a completely single-player experience. The reason behind this according to Shafer is to allow for an element of asymmetry. In other words, the design will sometimes be unfair, either for the AI or for the player. The randomized roguelike elements make each playthrough unique. That randomness can be increased when taking the design decisions multiplayer necessitates. Random factors include the appearance of various characters, their unique traits, the seasonal weather that can open or close opportunities. Winter in particular can lead to devastating situations if a kingdom hasn't properly prepared. Overall, At the Gates looks to be a real labor of love made by one of the best strategy designers in the business. If you have any interest in strategy games, check it out when it releases next week on January 23 for PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  18. Jon Shafer has been quietly working on a new game for the past seven years, and At the Gates is finally set to release next week. Shafer served as the lead designer on the critically acclaimed and BAFTA winning Civilization 5. Now, he and his small indie studio have prepared a roguelike strategy game completely focused on the single-player experience. One could say At the Gates is at the gates. Development on At the Gates began in 2012 shortly after Jon Shafer left Firaxis to found Conifer Games. Shafer worked on the project largely himself with the help of a number of contractors and freelancers pitching in to make it a reality. He was able to pull it all together thanks to a Kickstarter launched in early 2013 that raised over $100,000 to fund future development on the At the Gates prototype. At the Gates will release on January 23 for PC. It will retail at $29.99 and be made available through Steam, the Humble store, and the At the Gates website. During launch week, the strategy title will be available for 10% off normal price. In At the Gates, players take on the role of a leader who will forge a mighty kingdom out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. Using tactics, wit, and some luck, players will build up their clans, subjugate or negotiate with their neighbors, and eventually strike the killing blow against the Roman Empire itself. All of the action takes place from a point of view that should be immediately familiar to fans of the Civilization franchise. However, the design decisions behind the game are very different. Perhaps most notably, At the Gates has been designed to be a completely single-player experience. The reason behind this according to Shafer is to allow for an element of asymmetry. In other words, the design will sometimes be unfair, either for the AI or for the player. The randomized roguelike elements make each playthrough unique. That randomness can be increased when taking the design decisions multiplayer necessitates. Random factors include the appearance of various characters, their unique traits, the seasonal weather that can open or close opportunities. Winter in particular can lead to devastating situations if a kingdom hasn't properly prepared. Overall, At the Gates looks to be a real labor of love made by one of the best strategy designers in the business. If you have any interest in strategy games, check it out when it releases next week on January 23 for PC. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  19. MINImax Tinyverse releases on Steam Early Access today offering players a unique competitive experience that manages to find its own creative niche. The game itself plays like a cross between a guided NPC puzzle game a la Lemmings, a dash of the tower defense mechanics seen in games like Kingdom Rush, and the competitive sensibilities of League of Legends. This strange and intriguing hybrid of game genres comes courtesy of O'ol Blue Inc. Up until this point O'ol Blue has only released games for iOS and Android (RPG Mighty Quest) and casual Facebook games (RPG Hunters League). The small South Korean studio's MINImax Tinyverse will be their first PC release. MINImax Tinyverse pits two players against one another with the goal of conquering their opponent's towers. Players can capture enemy towers by using soldiers spawned by their base, mighty champions that can be picked up and dropped to various locations on the map, and fantastical miracles that can change the course of battle. Before battles, players can customize the build order of their troops, choose which miracles to bring into battle, and which champion will take up arms in their name. Once the fray begins the environment of the map becomes very important as players can direct the flow of their troops (or the enemy's) by placing barricades and ramps in an attempt to subvert their rival's strategy. “We wanted to make a competitive PvP gameplay version of Lemmings when we began creating MINImax Tinyverse,” says Kim Nam Seok, O’ol Blue's CEO & executive producer. “Warcraft 3 also helped us to crystallize some game mechanics, and we were inspired by the gameplay simplicity in Clash of Clans, too.” It's gratifying to see that not everyone out there has forgotten Lemmings. Those old PC games were the best! The premise of MINImax Tinyverse holds enough appeal to me as a novel concept that also happens to scratch some nostalgia itches that I went and downloaded it. It is, in fact, downloading as I write these words. Impressions will be coming in the next few days. In the meantime, if it sounds at all interesting, you can download the game on Steam for free to check it out for yourself. This is the kind of game that lives and dies based on the strength of its gameplay and the extent to which the microtransaction economy feels intrusive. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  20. MINImax Tinyverse releases on Steam Early Access today offering players a unique competitive experience that manages to find its own creative niche. The game itself plays like a cross between a guided NPC puzzle game a la Lemmings, a dash of the tower defense mechanics seen in games like Kingdom Rush, and the competitive sensibilities of League of Legends. This strange and intriguing hybrid of game genres comes courtesy of O'ol Blue Inc. Up until this point O'ol Blue has only released games for iOS and Android (RPG Mighty Quest) and casual Facebook games (RPG Hunters League). The small South Korean studio's MINImax Tinyverse will be their first PC release. MINImax Tinyverse pits two players against one another with the goal of conquering their opponent's towers. Players can capture enemy towers by using soldiers spawned by their base, mighty champions that can be picked up and dropped to various locations on the map, and fantastical miracles that can change the course of battle. Before battles, players can customize the build order of their troops, choose which miracles to bring into battle, and which champion will take up arms in their name. Once the fray begins the environment of the map becomes very important as players can direct the flow of their troops (or the enemy's) by placing barricades and ramps in an attempt to subvert their rival's strategy. “We wanted to make a competitive PvP gameplay version of Lemmings when we began creating MINImax Tinyverse,” says Kim Nam Seok, O’ol Blue's CEO & executive producer. “Warcraft 3 also helped us to crystallize some game mechanics, and we were inspired by the gameplay simplicity in Clash of Clans, too.” It's gratifying to see that not everyone out there has forgotten Lemmings. Those old PC games were the best! The premise of MINImax Tinyverse holds enough appeal to me as a novel concept that also happens to scratch some nostalgia itches that I went and downloaded it. It is, in fact, downloading as I write these words. Impressions will be coming in the next few days. In the meantime, if it sounds at all interesting, you can download the game on Steam for free to check it out for yourself. This is the kind of game that lives and dies based on the strength of its gameplay and the extent to which the microtransaction economy feels intrusive. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  21. The deep sea survival game Subnautica is free for a limited time through the Epic Games Launcher. This follows closely on the heels of Epic's announcement of an Epic digital distribution service that begins with their launcher. And even better? Epic says they will be releasing a free game every two weeks until the end of 2019! Subnautica debuted to the world four years ago as an Early Access title through Steam. After years of additional development, the seafaring title released fully in January of this year. The game places players in a dire survival scenario: Their spaceship has crashed, seemingly with all hands either lost or dead. Players end up having to fend for themselves on an uncharted ocean world. Securing resources, salvaging gear, upgrading equipment, researching upgrades, and constructing a base of operations all become engrossing activities. It only recently launched on consoles, and unfortunately the free version seems to be exclusive to PC for now. Announced via Epic Games, the company has launched its year-long free game service with Subnautica, an offer which will disappear on December 27 to be replaced by a new free title. The service itself is free - all that you need to do to download the free biweekly game is to download the Epic Games Launcher and download the free title from there. From that point on, it's yours to keep with no strings attached. While a schedule of the games coming to the platform have yet to be announced, we do know that the next game heading to Epic users for free will be Team Meat's classic platformer Super Meat Boy. This move to distribute free games doesn't come out of the goodness of Epic Games' heart, however. The company is making an effort to capitalize on the 200 million people who play Fortnite through their service, a number that absolutely dwarfs juggernauts of the industry like Steam, which boasted a record 18.5 million users in January of this year. If even 10% of Epic's user base begins to use Epic Games as their go-to digital platform of choice, things could really begin to shake up in the slowly crowding digital distribution market. Undoubtedly, the allure of free games for an entire year will keep people opening up the Epic Games platform and building a collection of titles that could potentially include a few games they picked up on the storefront beyond the free games. It's a perfect way to rope in people who are already playing Fortnite and bring in new blood who want free games. Overall, this will likely accelerate some degree of competition between the biggest digital storefronts like Steam, Good Old Games, and Origin. With free games bringing in users and a better cost sharing arrangement than other platforms, Epic really does have a shot at securing a spot as not one of the most used but the most used digital games platforms in the world. This could be the beginning of an entirely different digital ecosystem. Be sure to grab Subnautica on PC before December 27! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  22. The deep sea survival game Subnautica is free for a limited time through the Epic Games Launcher. This follows closely on the heels of Epic's announcement of an Epic digital distribution service that begins with their launcher. And even better? Epic says they will be releasing a free game every two weeks until the end of 2019! Subnautica debuted to the world four years ago as an Early Access title through Steam. After years of additional development, the seafaring title released fully in January of this year. The game places players in a dire survival scenario: Their spaceship has crashed, seemingly with all hands either lost or dead. Players end up having to fend for themselves on an uncharted ocean world. Securing resources, salvaging gear, upgrading equipment, researching upgrades, and constructing a base of operations all become engrossing activities. It only recently launched on consoles, and unfortunately the free version seems to be exclusive to PC for now. Announced via Epic Games, the company has launched its year-long free game service with Subnautica, an offer which will disappear on December 27 to be replaced by a new free title. The service itself is free - all that you need to do to download the free biweekly game is to download the Epic Games Launcher and download the free title from there. From that point on, it's yours to keep with no strings attached. While a schedule of the games coming to the platform have yet to be announced, we do know that the next game heading to Epic users for free will be Team Meat's classic platformer Super Meat Boy. This move to distribute free games doesn't come out of the goodness of Epic Games' heart, however. The company is making an effort to capitalize on the 200 million people who play Fortnite through their service, a number that absolutely dwarfs juggernauts of the industry like Steam, which boasted a record 18.5 million users in January of this year. If even 10% of Epic's user base begins to use Epic Games as their go-to digital platform of choice, things could really begin to shake up in the slowly crowding digital distribution market. Undoubtedly, the allure of free games for an entire year will keep people opening up the Epic Games platform and building a collection of titles that could potentially include a few games they picked up on the storefront beyond the free games. It's a perfect way to rope in people who are already playing Fortnite and bring in new blood who want free games. Overall, this will likely accelerate some degree of competition between the biggest digital storefronts like Steam, Good Old Games, and Origin. With free games bringing in users and a better cost sharing arrangement than other platforms, Epic really does have a shot at securing a spot as not one of the most used but the most used digital games platforms in the world. This could be the beginning of an entirely different digital ecosystem. Be sure to grab Subnautica on PC before December 27! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  23. Today marks the official release of Capybara Games' Below, which first appeared at E3 2013 and then went dark for years. Between the official announcement and Below's release, the studio released Super Time Force and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes, but now their highest profile game is out in the world. Capybara Games made a mark for itself when it released Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for mobile and PC back in 2011. The title wove a magnificent soundtrack by Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie into a mysterious RPG adventure that just felt great to play. Below seems to follow in those footsteps while relying on a set of roguelike dungeon-delving mechanics that include punishing combat and perma-death. The tag line, according to the developers, is, "Explore. Survive. Discover." Players take on the role of an enigmatic explorer of The Isle, a small island in the middle of the ocean that holds the entrance to an underground ruin and cavern system that spans an unfathomable distance into the earth. The long abandoned ruins are home to all manner of perilous traps, deadly monsters, and rich rewards. As players proceed, they'll pick up many scavenged materials that can be used to craft tools and elixirs that could prove the difference between life and death. No one knows what awaits at the bottom of The Isle's ruins, but perhaps your journey will be the one to make it there in one piece. Below has launched on Xbox One and PC. While there are no announced release dates for PlayStation 4 or Switch, it's safe to assume that those will be coming sometime in the future as Capybara has only signed a timed exclusive deal with Microsoft for the game to release on their platform first. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  24. Today marks the official release of Capybara Games' Below, which first appeared at E3 2013 and then went dark for years. Between the official announcement and Below's release, the studio released Super Time Force and OK K.O.! Let's Play Heroes, but now their highest profile game is out in the world. Capybara Games made a mark for itself when it released Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP for mobile and PC back in 2011. The title wove a magnificent soundtrack by Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie into a mysterious RPG adventure that just felt great to play. Below seems to follow in those footsteps while relying on a set of roguelike dungeon-delving mechanics that include punishing combat and perma-death. The tag line, according to the developers, is, "Explore. Survive. Discover." Players take on the role of an enigmatic explorer of The Isle, a small island in the middle of the ocean that holds the entrance to an underground ruin and cavern system that spans an unfathomable distance into the earth. The long abandoned ruins are home to all manner of perilous traps, deadly monsters, and rich rewards. As players proceed, they'll pick up many scavenged materials that can be used to craft tools and elixirs that could prove the difference between life and death. No one knows what awaits at the bottom of The Isle's ruins, but perhaps your journey will be the one to make it there in one piece. Below has launched on Xbox One and PC. While there are no announced release dates for PlayStation 4 or Switch, it's safe to assume that those will be coming sometime in the future as Capybara has only signed a timed exclusive deal with Microsoft for the game to release on their platform first. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  25. The musician and producer deadmau5 and his team won a charity gaming tournament this past weekend giving all $20,000 to Extra Life. This isn't the first time deadmau5 has supported Extra Life. Last year, he placed the winning bid on a coveted McDonald's Szechuan sauce being sold to benefit a number of charities, one of which was Extra Life! The tournament was put together by a partnership between eSports broadcasting network OGN and Player Unknown's Battlegrounds. OGN designed the event to bring fans and influencers together for charity while also commemorating the opening of OGN's Super Arena, one of the largest eSports arenas in the United States. The stage holds the unique distinction of being the only eSports arena in the country that can accommodate battle royale style competitions. Over the weekend, deadmau5 led his team of fans into battle at the OGN Supermatch: Alpha against fan teams captained by the professional gaming team Cloud9, streaming personality Jericho, YouTube stars The Try Guys, and more. Team deadmau5 came out on top in three of the four PUBG matches to secure the tournament win. The teams performed in front of a sold out crowd of about 400 people as they duked it out on the digital battlefields. You can watch the full broadcast below. OGN also took the opportunity to launch an ongoing partnership with PUBG called the National PUBG League. The league will keep tournaments going year-round while OGN moves part of its operations from South Korea to the US. The Super Arena will play a major part in their plans for the future, allowing them to have an exclusive, professional stage from which to stream large competitive titles like Player Unknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite. “With this event, our U.S. launch is now official and we are very excited to be able to unveil our new arena and studio for fans here and around the world,” said CJ E&M America (the parent company of OGN) CEO DJ Lee. “We can’t wait to show everyone the next phase in this journey.” It's so rad to see prominent people out there using their powerful platforms to rep for Extra Life. It's even more awesome when they are able to go out there and fight for the kids in such a public-facing way that gets people wondering about how they can play games and heal kids, too. You're amazing deadmau5, thank you! Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
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