A few days ago, Ubisoft released the newest chapter in their episodic Assassin’s Creed Origins DLC, which was designed to not only tell the story of the first assassin, but provide significant story content for the game’s protagonists. Some players are unhappy with the decisions made for the protagonists in the game and Ubisoft has admitted they missed the mark.

There are story spoilers for this DLC episode below, so if you don’t want to know what happens and why Ubisoft is apologizing for it, stop here and circle back at a time when you’re fine with it.

At the end of the episode, the player character, whether they be Alexios or Kassandra, ends up in a relationship with an opposite-sex character featured heavily in the DLC. Whether you choose to embrace or rebuff them does not matter, Alexios/Kassandra end up with them and produce a son. The only choice you get in the matter is whether they produce the child out of love or simply desire for an offspring.

Assassin’s Creed has often had protagonists that eventually have children, due to the way that game’s DNA memory setup works. Odyssey was intended to be a little different, however, playing with the mutability of DNA and using that for justification for why there were split protagonists playing the same in the first place. Ubisoft themselves emphasized that Kassandra and Alexios’ personas were completely created by the player, from their do-gooder natures to their sexuality, thanks to the addition of dialogue options in the game. To the players who believed their characters to be homosexual through their own designs, the end of the DLC was a rather shocking punch to the gut.

“Reading through player responses of our new DLC for Legacy of the First Blade, Shadow Heritage, we want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in,” Odyssey’s creative director Jonathan Dumont wrote in a forum post today. “The intention of this story was to explain how your character’s bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins, but looking through your responses it is clear that we missed the mark.”

It is an interesting discussion, though perhaps one that should have occurred within Ubisoft rather than outside of it, about how the narrative of a game should be impacted by the player’s choice. It was of course the developer who said at E3 that the game will be built around player choices and those should be respected, meaning they set the tone for that at the outset. If they wanted to write the character one way, they should have done so when the game was shown and released, not six months after the fact.

“Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship” Dumont added. “We attempted to distinguish between the two but could have done this more carefully as we were walking a narrow line between role-play choices and story, and the clarity and motivation for this decision was poorly executed. As you continue the adventure in next episode Bloodline, please know that you will not have to engage in a lasting romantic relationship if you do not desire to.”

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

God of War is a really gigantic game. A really great, gigantic game that won our Game of the Year award, in fact. But even in the biggest games, some stuff has to get left on the cutting room floor and, in this case, boss fights were one of the the things that had to be pushed aside. While previous God of War games were known for their numerous and unique boss fights, the latest game leaned heavily on the same troll monsters to do the heavy lifting, leaving most of the spectacle to a few others scattered throughout the game.

In an interview for the NoClip documentary on the game, director Cory Barlog explained that it simply wasn’t feasible to add more.

Click here to watch embedded video

“We cut a lot of bosses – a lot,”  Barlog told NoClip’s Danny O’Dwyer. “Y’know, we had so many more, it was a much more ambitious, crazier game. As you go through development, you start realizing, no, it’s too big, we can’t do this. One boss takes like 30 developers a year and a half. It’s an absolutely massive scale when you really consider it.”

Barlog went on to describe that there was a “boss team” working on bosses for the game, but they had to work on other things as well, making it more difficult to simply add in bosses.

The director also described how the trolls, which were plentiful boss fights throughout the game, were never actually meant to be bosses. The team had trouble figuring out where to put the health bar on the massive creatures and eventually decided it made the most sense to give them a boss health bar that is always on screen. Barlog wanted to do more with the lore of their names, as well, but couldn’t fit it into the scope of the story. His explanation for how they fit into the game can be found in NoClip’s documentary above.

How do you feel? Was it the right call to release God of War with the number of bosses it had?

[Source: NoClip]

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Release: March 15, 2019
Rating: Not rated
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The countdown to Ubisoft’s next big game release in The Division 2. The freshly post-apocalyptic multiplayer shooter takes players from the wintry New York City to the contrasting greenery of Washington D.C. But why are you at the nation’s capitol and what are going to be doing there? Ubisoft has answered those questions in small bullet points, but we get a better look at the story with the latest trailer.

Check out the story trailer for The Division 2 below.

Click here to watch embedded video

The video also gives a good look at the kind of weaponry you will be using in The Division 2. You can do what every post-apocalyptic video game does and equip a crossbow. Presumably it will have bows that never deteriorate despite shooting them through people.

The Division 2 will be releasing on March 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The PC version will be skipping Steam in favor of the Epic Games Store, the first of what Ubisoft says will be several upcoming collaborative projects. The private beta begins on February 7 through February 10.

As we blast ahead in 2019, shooter fans face a murder’s row of promising games within the first few months. With games from the Metro, Far Cry, Division, and Rage franchises dropping before summer, those mousepads and analog sticks are about to get a serious workout. 

Looking beyond these early months, the heavy hitters become more few and far between, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the year is lacking in interesting projects. Let’s take a look at the most promising shooters scheduled to release in 2019. 

Anthem

Release: February 22
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

It’s almost put up or shut up time for BioWare’s Iron Man-inspired shared-world shooter. Soon, newly enlisted Freelancers will load into their chosen javelins and lay waste to the alien beasts and rival factions surrounding the central stronghold known as Fort Tarsis. We’ve taken flight in these suits a few times now, and are happy to report both the flight and combat seem promising. We’re excited to find out if BioWare can nail the loot loop while transitioning its signature character development and storytelling to a Destiny-style game.  

 

Atomic Heart

Release: 2019
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

We have no idea what to expect from this curveball of a game coming from the unknown Russian developers at Mundfish. But we know the team has some impressive technical chops. The character designs and artistic aesthetic of this wacky shooter are remarkable, and the studio is at the forefront of new rendering techniques, having displayed some of its work on ray tracing with Nvidia. The gameplay seems reminiscent of fan-favorites like Fallout and BioShock, and we like the idea of exploring an alternate universe Soviet Union.

 

Call of Duty [Infinity Ward]

Release: 2019
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

It’s way too early in the year for Activision to show its cards for the next Call of Duty, but we know it’s Infinity Ward’s turn at the helm. Speculation is all over the place after senior communications manager Ashton Williams started tweeting spooky gifs – are they making Ghosts 2? Modern Warfare 4? Regardless of which thematic direction Infinity Ward goes with the series, we’re curious to see if they follow Treyarch’s lead and abandon a single-player campaign. 

 

The Division 2

Release: March 15
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Division steadily built up a strong community following its 2016 launch, and we expect big things from the sequel. Set in Washington D.C. six months after the pandemic spread across the world, a new batch of agents (your character from the first won’t carry over) must stop the federal government from collapsing and repair the local infrastructure while fending off the various factions vying for power. Developers Massive and Red Storm are promising a more alluring endgame loop right out of the gate, as well as a much more diverse collection of biomes to explore in the D.C. area.

 

Doom Eternal 

Release: 2019
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Id Software got its bloody, punishing groove back with 2016’s Doom reboot, and we’re eager to see how it plans to build on that success with Eternal. The unrelenting “push forward” combat returns as Doom Slayer takes the fight to Earth. He’s raging and ready to ward off the invasion packing some dangerous new skills like omnidirectional dashes, a grappling “meat hook,” an over-the-shoulder attachment capable of launching missiles or flames, and the return of some classic Doom weapons like the Super Shotgun. 

 

Far Cry New Dawn

Release: February 15
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

This surprisingly fast follow-up came out of nowhere. Set in Hope Country, Montana 17 years after nukes wipe out civilization, the earth has started to rebound and build new biomes. Amid the rebirth, violent factions clash over resources and power. The most vicious of the bunch? Twin teenagers with a taste for blood. You need to mount a resistance and enlist new guns for hire to resist the takeover. Outside of the post-apocalyptic setting, the most interesting element of New Dawn may be the “expeditions,” discrete missions separate from the open world map that take place in different parts of the country. 

 

Gears 5

Release: 2019
Platform: Xbox One, PC

The Coalition’s bombastic sci-fi franchise is slated to return in 2019, but there are still more unknowns than knowns about Gears 5. Gears favorite Kait Diaz takes center stage in the next adventure, setting on a journey to discover the origins of the Locust while piecing together her family history amid the crumbling of civilization. Expect to spend time with familiar faces like JD Fenix, Delmont Walker, and Marcus Fenix as well. Coalition head Rod Fergusson promises a slew of innovations in Gears 5, so we’re curious to see how they evolve a series looking slightly long in the tooth. 

 

Generation Zero 

Release: 2019
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

We never knew we wanted to explore an open world set in 1980’s Sweden until Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios announced Generation Zero. This alternate history drops four players into the shoes of Swedish adolescents and challenges them to survive an angry robot invasion using their wits, tactics, and whatever weapons that can scavenge from their surroundings. The desolated environments look foreboding but beg exploration, and the combat requires teams to think strategically to overcome the fully armed tin cans roving the regions.

 

GTFO

Release: 2019
Platform: PC

Several Payday veterans broke away from Overkill Software to create this tense cooperative shooter. Players take the role of prisoners forced to delve into a mysterious underground complex to retrieve loot for their warden. Rather than flood you with endless waves of enemies, GTFO leans heavily into atmosphere and tension, encouraging teams to move stealthily as long as possible to preserve precious ammo. An interesting collection of gadgets, which includes a glue gun and motion tracker, gives players some tactical versatility. With other cooperative shooters like The Walking Dead faltering, GTFO has a window of opportunity if it strikes soon.

 

Left Alive

Release: March 5
Platform: PS4, PC

Square Enix’s curious survival shooter is the brainchild of Armored Core veteran Toshifumi Nabeshima, Metal Gear character designer Yoji Shinkawa, and Mobile Suit Gundam mechanical designer Takayuki Yanase. When a war tears apart the fictitious future city of Novo Slava, three protagonists try to eke out an existence in defiance of the oppressive regime, shuttling survivors to safety and making critical choices that could spell life or death for the people they come across. We haven’t gotten our hands on the game yet, which is curious for a game that comes out in March, but here’s hoping the team delivers. 

 

Metro Exodus

Release: February 15
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The time has come for Artyom and the Spartan Rangers to leave the desolate confines of the Metro and seek a new life. Metro Exodus takes players across the post-apocalyptic Russian landscape aboard the Aurora locomotive, which serves as Artyom’s hub for each region they visit. From thawing swamplands to dusty deserts and everything in between, Exodus provides a lot more environmental variety than 2033 and Last Light, but from what we’ve seen it still preserves the eerie mood and sense that a threat awaits around every corner. For more on this promising game, visit our Metro Exodus cover hub.

 

Rage 2

Release: May 14
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

A collaboration between id Software and Avalanche Studios, Rage 2 is high on our list of most anticipated games of 2019. The promise of combining id’s bombastic weaponry with the open world chops of Avalanche has us intrigued, and the force-like powers the hero can unlock were a lot of fun to wield in our hands-on sessions at E3 and during our most recent cover story trip

 

Void Bastards

Release: 2019
Platform: Xbox One, PC

New studio Blue Manchu has talent who helped make games like BioShock and System Shock 2, so we’re expecting good things from Void Bastards. This strategy shooter has you jumping from enemy ship-to-ship to scavenge parts for you own vessel, shooting any robot or being who gets in your way. Before you step on board and start unloading clips you should survey the ship via a top-down menu so you know what trouble awaits. Each vessel has you make the tough call of whether it’s better to grab what you need and go or risk losing anything to delve deep into the ship for greater rewards. 

 

Wolfenstein Youngblood

Release: 2019
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

While we wait for the BJ Blazkowicz trilogy to conclude, MachineGames is taking a detour into the cooperative realm with this interesting concept. Taking place in the 1980s of the Wolfenstein universe, Youngblood stars BJ’s twin daughters, who have to pick up their father’s legacy of beating Nazi ass. When their dad goes missing, Jess and Soph head to Paris, where the Nazis are still firmly entrenched. That’s about all we know thus far, but we’re excited to learn more as we move further into 2019. 

With Captain Marvel coming in a few months, Marvel is hoping to hype the movie up in the shadow of Avengers: Endgame. It definitely seems like the intergalactic superhero will stand on her own, though, and these posters will help build the hype.

For the first time since his “death,” we can see Agent Coulson again, de-aged with the use of CG for the 90’s period piece. While we’ve seen the younger Nick Fury in trailers, the still image really makes it obvious just how much he looks like actual young Samuel L. Jackson.

Check out the gallery below to see all the posters.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version

 

                                                                       

The vast majority of stories are about restoration. The desire to restore or replace what has been lost is a very human thing, after all. The desire for restoration is a theme that echoes throughout art maybe more than any other. You find the theme all over the place in games, from sophisticated titles aping popular cinema (like The Last Of Us with Joel’s attempts to replace his lost daughter with Ellie) to games that aren’t particularly focused on narrative, such as Tetris, where you’re constantly trying to restore the game screen to its blankness by removing the lines of blocks.

One particular type of game trope involves having a protagonist restore a fallen world. In Dark Souls, your goal is to literally light up a kingdom in the darkness of a fallen age. In Breath Of The Wild, Link goes on a quest to take on Ganon so that Hyrule can begin to heal after a century of strife and ruin. Gris falls into this category of games as well, focusing on a young woman’s journey to restore a broken world, but is remarkably unique and affecting in its presentation.

Most games have characters at least partially designed for you to project your emotions on. Dishonored’s Hiram Burrows is just as much that one backstabbing “friend” you had in high school as he is the traitor responsible for protagonist Corvo’s imprisonment and the Empress’ death. On the flip side, Mass Effect’s Garrus is so cleverly engineered (with his awkward attempts at expressing admiration and moments dedicated to bonding) to conjure up associations with players’ real-life friendships. The best characters often remind us of moments in our lives in addition to navigating us through the plot and trying to manipulate our emotions into feeling however the game wants us to feel.

Gris is different because while yes, there is a character (the eponymous Gris), she doesn’t really have dialog or relationships with other people. Instead, Gris the game is explicitly and wholly about Gris The Person, who’s navigating a once colorful world reduced to black and white ruins by some foul, dark beast. The same beast also robbed her of her magnificent singing voice. By solving puzzles and aligning constellations, Gris slowly but surely returns color to her world.

The beautiful setup for an allegorical tale about dealing with trauma and depression has an equally brilliant execution. With every trial of puzzles completed, a new color returns to Gris’ universe, painting in the blank canvas of a landscape you initially start with. Flowers bloom across the land and in cracked temples as red returns. Blue brings flowing streams. And with each part of nature restored, so emerges an important game mechanic. Flowers let Gris leap high in the air while newly formed pits of water let you traverse canals once inaccessible, leading to new avenues of exploration. Gris’ emotional transcendence in turn transforms the world around her. 

Everything flows into one another seamlessly. The pacing is particularly well done, with Gris slowly gaining abilities as she returns the world to its original state. Within the context of Gris’ journey, the traditional setup of gaining powers as you progress through a game becomes a novel experience that really makes you feel her recovery: you limp before you walk, before you run.

Playing Gris is like working together alongside her to paint a beautiful portrait of suffering and learning to live beyond that suffering by finding the power within yourself to trudge ahead. It’s not an easy journey. At one point, Gris is overwhelmed by the dark beast (quite obviously a stand-in for depression and grief) and falls into a pit of despair. However, it’s at this moment that she silently comes to understand the value of her journey, the sheer will it took to make it this far, and in that instance she rises, singing the beast into retreat with her restored voice of radiance.

This whole story happens wordlessly. There is no dialog, no tedious bits of lore to scrounge up, only a powerful story told through fluid animation and clever puzzle mechanics. The camera pans in and out at just the right times to reveal the majesty of the world Gris is making as well as more personal moments of triumph and introspection.

Despair and grief are hard things to give words to because of just how overwhelming they are. You can describe the particulars of what you’ve lost (a pet, a parent, a lover, a job, a house, whatever) to someone but you’ll never be able to convey the true and dizzying shock or longing of the loss because language fails at a certain point.

It just does.

However, the failure of language is why Gris works so well. Instead of Gris delivering long monologues about what has been done to her, we float through the air next to her like some concerned phantom as she lives through her grief and comes out on top in an epic feat of endurance and spirit.

Gris is a fantastic experience about the cost and rejuvenating necessity of hard-won hope in dark times, and I can think of few games I’ve played in the past decade that are as graceful and inspiring at the same time.

For more on Gris, check out our review here.

I keep telling myself that Overwatch’s loot boxes are not that bad. I’m a fool for believing this. From the viewpoint of maintaining the integrity of the game, I’m not wrong: Overwatch’s loot boxes aren’t pay to win. The items they contain are purely cosmetic, and don’t enhance player abilities or throw off the balance of competition in the slightest.

Is Overwatch a shining example of how loot boxes should be handled? Sure. Well, kind of. For fans who play Overwatch religiously like I do, and want to unlock the coolest items and skins for beloved heroes, the boxes seep a different kind of evil than pay to win. This form of evil is tied to a timer. When a new event like the holiday themed Winter Wonderland rolls around, you only have a certain number of days to unlock the exclusive items contained in the boxes. If you miss your chance, the items are no longer available. You end up feeling the pressure to either play more or pay more to get these desired boxes. Maybe I’m crazy in thinking this, but a game shouldn’t make you feel guilty for not investing more time or spending more money in it. I know the money earned from the loot boxes supposedly funds the development of the free DLC, but that doesn’t mean it has to make the player feel like they are missing out on something.

Overwatch’s Ana Bastet Challenge shows us a way that Blizzard could alleviate the pressure players feel. I didn’t think much of this challenge at first, but it is an efficient delivery method of goods that allows players to play the game the way they want to. The Bastet Challenge pushes the player to win nine games in any mode. When three victories are notched, a unique player icon is unlocked. At six victories, the player earns a new victory pose for Ana. If nine wins are tallied, the player can equip Ana with the epic Bastet skin. Yes, the pressure of having to do it within a set number of days is still there, but at least the player knows exactly what they are getting. There is not random chance of getting duplicates or things for heroes they never use.

Picture challenges like this being spread all across the game, rewarding players for performing well. New skins could be tied to the amount of healing done in a single match or lifetime, and even better yet, being a great teammate who gets accommodations from other players. Blizzard could have dozens of these things running at once, allowing players to earn items they want by playing the game. The loot boxes could still remain as an alternative that allows players to take a chance to get them. The items tied to challenges could rotate weekly or monthly to keep players coming back.

When the Bastet Challenge ends on January 21, I hope another one replaces it. It was a small event, but it showed me how Overwatch could make its loot boxes less of a pain in the ass. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe them. They aren’t pure evil, but they are a pain in the ass.

Set in the waning years of Sengoku-era Japan, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice features a brighter, more colorful world than we’ve seen out of From Software. This lets them create environments with a different air about them than either Bloodborne or Dark Souls, as the developer tries to both elicit and play with the beauty of Japan during the Warring States period. The change in locale has also prompted From Software to make some key changes to how it tells stories, but it’s not shying away from the key methods fans have come to love.

For starters, don’t let the brighter environments in Sekiro fool you into thinking this will be a cheerier tale. “Of course, this being a From title, there’s beauty and there’s death and decay to contrast that,” says From manager of marketing and communications Yasuhiro Kitao. When choosing a time period for Sekiro, From chose the earlier Sengoku era over the more modern Edo period as its setting specifically because it fit the studio’s style. “Edo is more like Japan coming back from the brink, and really kind of revitalizing itself, and everything’s a lot more early-modern [stuff],” Kitao says. “Sengoku is much like Dark Souls and such, more medieval Japan, and allows us to play with those medieval concepts and those more mystical concepts.”

The company has taken inspiration from history before (the company looked to Victorian London when making Bloodborne), and you can expect a similar approach to Japan in Sekiro. “We decided to take inspiration from the architecture and the vegetation, but there are no actual historical people or locations featured in the game,” Kitao says. “This is a From game we’re talking about. It’s a Miyazaki game we’re talking about. You can probably expect a lot of weirdness to occur and to begin to unravel as you progress through the game.”

With its move away from RPG builds and progression, From is also leaning into telling the story of a set character rather than letting players create their own. Previous From games told the story of their worlds moreso than any individual character, delving into the history of the locations you traversed and telling stories of characters whose footsteps you were following. While your character in those games set important events in motion, you were only one small part of a grander tale. “This time we have a fixed protagonist and we have a cast of characters who we’re trying to build that story around,” Kitao says. “We’re trying to tell more of a drama, if you will, of these characters.”

The story of Sekiro begins with the Young Lord, a child The Wolf is in charge of protecting. Early in the game, The Wolf and the Young Lord are assaulted by a group of enemies led by the Ashina Commander, who defeats The Wolf, chops off his arm, and kidnaps the Young Lord. After finding himself restored to health after the battle and wearing a prosthetic limb, The Wolf’s goal at the start of Shadows Die Twice is to find and retrieve the Young Lord – and exact revenge on his assailant.

“One nice thing about basing the story around these characters is we get to play with the relationship between these characters, between [The Wolf] and the Young Lord, and how their relationship kind of evolves throughout the game,” Kitao says. The Young Lord and The Wolf will meet up several times throughout the story, and the story will place a large emphasis on their relationship. “There is one point in the early game where he is by your side, but this is not a kind of escort mission in the typical sense, and it only happens the one time.”

The Wolf is also a more fleshed-out character than the player characters in other From games. Raised on the battlefield by a character named The Owl, The Wolf will speak to other characters as he encounters them, lending his own character to the story. “Having this key protagonist allows us to build a cast of characters around him, and his personality, and his history,” says director Hidetaka Miyazaki. “We feel like, you know, not the typical NPCs that you run into during the game, but these kind of central – these core characters that are central to his presence in the world, and his story ­– are going to be playing a lot of that role of the story in the gameplay. So, we feel like you’ll be able to experience both his past, in that sense, and the here-and-now of where the game takes place.”

The main area we played through, the Hirata Estates, was couched in the story as a flashback, in which The Wolf fights against Lady Butterfly, an acquaintance of The Owl. “He sort of plays a foster father role to the protagonist,” Miyazaki says. “This Owl character picked up Sekiro on the battlefield and raised him as a shinobi and one of his old acquaintances – or part of that shinobi system of allies – was this Lady Butterfly character. So, while Owl was training the protagonist and teaching him techniques, maybe he got to spar with this character or had some sort of menial relationship with her through the foster-father figure.” 

From isn’t going to lean too heavily on flashbacks to tell its story, however. “It’s mainly focused on the present,” Miyazaki says. “It’s not a game where you’re going back and forth from present to past to piece together the puzzle, but this is a one-off flash back, if you will, to a portion of his past and that allows you to piece a little more bits together of the story. So, you get some extra detail and you can flesh things out for yourself in that way.”

While this more character and narrative-centric approach is atypical for From, Kitao is confident with how the change in direction is taking shape. “It’s actually a very ‘From’ way of doing a protagonist, and the way he conducts himself and the way this character kind of evolves is very kind of From-esque,” he says. Although he’ll have a central role in the story, don’t expect Sekiro to be a chatterbox. “He’ll say a few things here and there, but yeah, he won’t bore you to tears with constant monologues,” Kitao says.

At first, this character-driven approach seems to clash with one of From’s signature storytelling techniques: foregoing a traditional narrative in favor of having players build their own narrative out of vague hints from characters and item descriptions. From is well aware of fans’ love of that technique, and wants to assure them what while the story they’re telling is angled differently, the methodology isn’t changing too much. “That is very much intact in Sekiro, we’re trying to maintain that,” Kitao says. “We don’t want to rob the experience of that kind of fragmented storytelling. We want it to be a user-driven story, a play-driven experience rather than [something] directed by us. We don’t want to feed the user every little bit of information. We don’t want to tell them straight-up the answers, or how something is. We’d like them to experience and explore that for themselves.”

We found plenty of items during our time with Sekiro, and of course the descriptions for these items were more than just functional. The description for the Fistful of Ash item, for example, states it can be thrown to distract enemies, but also mentions that doing exactly that was a hobby of boys growing up in Ashina, the locale in which The Wolf was raised. As we approached a particular area, we also saw a scene of the Young Lord chatting with Emma (one of the characters who helps you in Sekiro’s hub area) play out through ghostly figures in the environment itself, similar to how certain “flashbacks” in games like BioShock occur. However, Kitao says the number of cutscenes in Sekiro won’t be out of line with the company’s past work, and that they won’t have huge info dumps, either. “We want users to pick up on these subtle hints through the cutscenes, through the dialogue, as well.”

That said, From is making some changes to this storytelling approach – namely, who’s doing the telling. Although Miyazaki is handling the overall story, he won’t be doing the bulk of the writing for the dialogue and item descriptions, delegating the job to other members of the staff to “create a fresh experience and something that we hope users have never seen before,” Kitao says. Miyazaki himself doesn’t want to fall back into his old writing tricks, either, something he feels fans wouldn’t be as excited about as they have been in the past.

While Miyazaki finds the change refreshing in some ways, it’s meant getting used to a change in the overall narrative workflow. “Previously, I could have just written some stuff down as part of the text or dialog at home,” Miyazaki says. “Nowadays, for Sekiro I have to communicate this to staff and be really quite forthcoming about it. That’s quite tough in itself. But then to see them reinterpret this into their idea of what that means or that implies, this is enlightening for me, and it allows me to see this different interpretation and then to have this collaborative story building together.” This, in turn, gives Miyazaki the ability to see the story From is building from a new perspective, and for the first time, get a read on how coherent it might be to an outside reader.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice makes a number of tweaks to how From Software tells stories, but from the time we’ve spent with it, it looks to stay true to the company’s mantra of letting players engage with their stories in various engaging ways, even as it aims to tell a more personal tale.

For more on Shadows Die Twice: check out our deep dive into a boss fight, how progression works, and more, and make sure to click on the hub below to follow our coverage all throughout the month.

Click here to watch embedded video

Dragon Ball Super: Broly, the latest Dragon Ball movie, is in American theaters today and it’s arguably the highest profile film release the series has every enjoyed in America. Javy Gwaltney, Suriel Vazquez, and I watched it and decided it was worth sharing our thoughts. Check out the video above for a spoiler-filled chat about the film to hear what we thought about it.

To read our full review of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, head here.

With a game as widely played as Fortnite, the potential for security holes gets bigger with the sheer number of people playing. A rather nasty one found in Fortnite, and stamped out by Epic just recently, shows how bad some of these can get.

According to a report from Variety, an exploit was discovered in November that allowed hackers to completely take control of someone else’s account. The bug, found by security firm Check Point Technologies Software, made every part of the account vulnerable: the attacker could buy items using the victim’s credit card and even pose as the victim in the game’s chats.

This was accomplished without the need of login information at all. Authorization tokens would pass through Epic’s sub-domains that could be intercepted by hackers through a redirect. The token thief would then be able to just login in as the person whose token they intercepted. There was still some phishing involved, though the link required to be susceptible to it looked identical to Epic’s own.

“We were made aware of the vulnerabilities and they were soon addressed,” Epic told Variety. “We thank Check Point for bringing this to our attention. As always, we encourage players to protect their accounts by not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others.”

Epic fixed the exploit this month, so it’s unlikely that this particular avenue will be used again. Still, it’s important to never click account information links without double- and triple-checking that it’s legitimate.

[Source: Variety]