For the last several years in addition to selling games, Steam also sold movies in a video section. Though the section included hits like John Wick and The Conjuring, it was never packed to the gills with big releases and trailed behind other platforms that sold videos online like Amazon. Today Steam revealed that it was removing the section after conducting a review that unsurprisingly showed its customers were much more interested in gaming content
Here’s the statement in full:
For the past few years, we have worked on expanding Steam beyond games and software by building a video platform that supports paid and free video content. In reviewing what Steam users actually watch, it became clear we should focus our effort on offering content that is either directly related to gaming or, is accessory content for games or software sold on Steam.
As part of this refocus, we have retired the Video section of the Steam Store menu with an expectation that video content is discovered via the associated game or software store page, or through search, user tags, recommendations, etc.
Over the coming weeks a number of non-gaming videos will be retired and will no longer be available for purchase. Previously purchased content will remain available to owners.
For more on Steam, check out some of the changes coming to the platform this year.
The Untitled Goose Game from developer House House just slipped from its early 2019 release window. The window wasn’t given a more concrete time frame to replace it. House House just says the game is coming “later 2019.”
A bit of news: due to circumstances beyond our control — see video — our goose game will not be arriving until later in 2019. This means we'll be able to make the best goose game possible! Thanks for your patience — we'll get this goose to you as soon as we can. pic.twitter.com/8BqbYw0wQb
Untitled Goose Game looks to be a fun indie game that has you playing as said goose and causing trouble for people by stealing their things or generally being an obnoxious goose. Little details were given as to why the game is missing its target other than “circumstances beyond our control.” The developers promise in the tweet announcing this that it will only serve as cause to make an even better game in the end, so we’ll just have to wait and see when the game comes out later in 2019 for Switch, PC, and Mac.
Double Dragon was a phenomenon when it hit arcades in the late ’80s. Light on story and big on martial-arts combat, it tasked a pair of brothers with saving a damsel in distress, eventually forcing them to turn on each other. The game inhaled quarters and received numerous ports to home consoles, and at some point, its film rights were purchased. Even with a group of promising writers, the film didn’t turn out well due to an inexperienced director and a collection of producers who didn’t know what they wanted.
Scott Wolf (left) and Mark Dacascos (right) played brothers Billy and Jimmy Lee respectively. “It was pretty weird to explain why we had an asian guy who was brothers with a guy who didn’t look Asian at all,” director James Yukich says
Double Dragon the movie released in 1994 and takes place in the far-flung future of 2007. It imagines an apocalyptic Los Angeles ravaged by earthquakes where the cops control the day and gangs based on assorted themes like “clowns” or “the postal service” rule the night. Robert Patrick, only a few years removed from his memorable turn as the T-1000 in Terminator 2, plays Koga Shuko – a villain obsessed with recovering the second half of a powerful ancient Chinese talisman which grants incredible magical powers. Martial artist brothers Billy (Scott Wolf) and Jimmy Lee (Mark Dacascos) must protect the talisman, teaming up with progressive gang leader Marian (Alyssa Milano) in order to keep it out of Shuko’s hands. Despite the popularity of the source material, the film was a huge flop. Its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at an abysmal eight percent, and box office estimates point to a gross of $2.3 million… on a $7.8 million budget.
James Yukich was not a first-time director when he agreed to make Double Dragon, but it was his first time directing a feature film. Before that he had mostly directed TV, music videos, and assorted concert films. “I very rarely ever think about the film at this point – for any number of reasons,” Yukich says with a laugh.
Despite the poor critical and commercial reception of the film, the talent associated with it is impressive. The original script was written by Paul Dini, who later worked on Batman: The Animated Series and is the co-creator of Harley Quinn. Yukich took Dini’s script and brought in Michal Davis and Peter Gould to expand on it. Davis wrote and directed 2007’s Shoot ’em Up and Gould would later become a producer on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Mark Brazil, who would co-create That ’70s Show a few years later, took a final pass on the script to punch up and improve the dialogue. “All three writing teams were excellent,” Yukich says, “It’s hard to believe how it came out.” Even on the production side of things you can find impressive names like Tom Karnowski, who was recently an executive producer on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the special-effects team worked on movies like Die Hard and future Marvel titles.
Alyssa Milano’s character Marian (center) is arguably the strongest and most interesting character in the movie
Yukich liked working with the producers on the film, the Shah brothers and old friend Alan Schechter, who pushed him to direct, but he just couldn’t get everyone on the same page. “You have to have one unified direction or it’s not going to make sense, and we didn’t really have one unified direction,” Yukich says. “I love those guys and I think they were all fantastic, but they each had their own visions, and couldn’t agree on it. I blame myself a lot for not going and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do it like this.’” In retrospect, Yukich regrets not taking a stronger stance for what he believed the film should have been. “I wish I had the experience and knowledge I do now back then.”
Along with the myriad producers butting heads, there was also the complete absence of anyone related to the original property. “Never talked to them at all,” Yukich says. They offered no direction or feedback on the completed film.
Yukich’s biggest regret is related to the film’s rating. In Yukich’s mind, he was making a fun, kung-fu movie for kids. When it came back with a PG-13 rating, he was surprised, but the producers made no effort to change it. “There was really nothing in it that should have made it more than PG,” Yukich says. “That caused an incredible amount of problems in terms of kids not being able to go see the film. It’s a kid’s film!”
The movie has no blood, no true injuries, and features some very light sexual innuendo, which Yukich says he would have been happy to cut in order to acquire a PG rating, but he was never given the opportunity. Some of the producers had always intended that the movie be a cool, violent kung-fu movie. “As soon as I read the script and saw what was going on, I thought, ‘This is a kid’s movie. This could be a great kid’s movie,’” Yukich says, and that’s the movie he attempted to make. “As an adult watching the movie, I would have thought, ‘This is the worst action movie I have ever seen!’”
Robert Patrick is best known for playing the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He, strangely, also has a shape-shifting powers Double Dragon
Even before the film was complete, production had its own challenges. A union issue shut down shooting for a month, and perhaps worst of all, was the director of photography. “The problem with Tony [Mitchell] was that he injured his back literally the second day of shooting,” Yukich says. Mitchell had shot Duran Duran music videos and Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” making him a promising addition, but he lost his balance holding a Steadicam and crashed down a hill. They tried to keep him on, even resorting to placing him on a gurney and pushing him alongside a wheeled cart holding a monitor, so he could track action shots. It just wasn’t working, so they brought in a new DP, Gary B. Kibbe. Yukich says Kibbe was great, but he was the wrong fit for an action movie.
The film crew also ran into an issue while shooting the big river explosion scene. Yukich says the public was not informed of what was going to be happening. “We had permits and everything was legal, but they probably should have done an announcement in the newspapers,” he says. “I think they thought too many people would gather around.” The scene was shot in Cleveland on the Cuyahoga River, which had caught fire a few years earlier related to pollution. “When we blew up the river there was a huge explosion and everyone in the nearby office buildings thought it was real. They thought the river blew up,” Yukich says.
Overall, Yukich has fond memories of making the movie. Outside of the arguing producers, the cast and crew members had a good time, but the reception was still rough. “Oh yeah, I thought it was pretty disappointing,” Yukich says. After all, he didn’t get to make the film he wanted to make. “I think part of it’s my fault, though, because I didn’t stand up enough. It was my first film. I didn’t know the politics.”
Before we reached out to him, Yukich had not thought about the film in some time. He says the last time he remembers watching it was five years ago, catching it on cable. “I look at it now, and I am way happier with it now than I was then,” Yukich says. “It’s not as bad as I remember it being.”
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The film also strangely found an audience outside of the United States. “It’s very big in Guam,” Yukich says. During college, Yukich’s son met someone from the country and when they found out their father directed Double Dragon, they got very excited and requested signed memorabilia, which Yukich was happy to share.
“I would love to be able to go back and do it again. I think it could have been really good,” Yukich says. “There were all kinds of problems along the way, but I look back on it now and think, ‘What an interesting, funny kids’ movie,’ and it’s a shame they didn’t see it when it came out.”
To read a feature that looks at the shortcomings and legacy of the Super Mario Bros. movie, head here.
The Star Wars rumor mill has been working extra hard to make fans believe bad things are happening in their favorite science-fiction universe. The scuttlebutt began last week with news that Rian Johnson’s upcoming Star Wars trilogy had been canceled. This report originated at SuperBroMovies, but quickly spread across social media and various news sites. Johnson wasted no time in squashing the rumor with a tweet that read “No it isn’t true, I’m still working on the trilogy. With all due respect to the movie bros, who I’m sure are lovely kind bros with good fraternal intentions.”
A few days later, a new rumor stated that Johnson’s trilogy was in fact in the works, but was going to be G-rated. Johnson, who was clearly fed up by the stories, simply responded with this tweet:
The newest rumor you should take with a grain of salt doesn’t involve Johnson, at least that we know of. Star Wars News Net reports an Obi-Wan Kenobi television series is in the works for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service, and could consist of six episodes. Again, I’m not going to put too much stock in this rumor until Lucasfilm and Disney come forward and say it’s real or fake, but I have liked the idea of Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan. Whether it’s a film or a show, McGregor makes a fantastic Obi-Wan, and I think we’d all like to see what happened after he went into hiding following Order 66. Sure, he may just be a cranky hermit that does next to nothing, but, yes, I would watch that for two to six hours. This is one rumor I hope is true, but know probably isn’t. On the plus side, we should get an accurate lay of the Star Wars land in a few months when Star Wars Celebration descends upon Chicago in April. Odds are we’ll get our first look at Star Wars: Episode IX there.
If you are looking for a new science-fiction game to sink time into, you have two decent (and wildly different) options readily available. First up is Crackdown 3. Game Informer‘s Jeff Cork wasn’t hot on it, giving it a 6 out of 10 rating, and writing “Sumo and Elbow Rocket’s insistence on treating a game from 2007 like a sacred text is strange. The original Crackdown was fresh and exhilarating, and bounding across the city as a superhuman agent was a thrilling sensation. Since then, a lot has happened in the genre. Developers have found ways to incorporate destruction into the action as they weave interesting choices and competent world-building into their narratives. Crackdown 3 aims far lower, and manages to hit that disappointing target.”
A small group within Game Informer that consists of Leo Vader, Kyle Hilliard, and yours truly is having a blast with Crackdown 3. We agree with the points Jeff makes – the game certainly is retro in design and sometimes to a fault – but there’s still a lot to love about it. Exploring the oddly designed city is exhilarating, and the pursuit of power (which consists of hunting down and grabbing hundreds of orbs) is good fun. Most of my play sessions start with me heading to an activity, but quickly get derailed as I bounce from rooftop to rooftop to gather more orbs. Playing with a friend is also rewarding, as experience for certain feats is shared. If you’re firing a rocket at enemies, yet your co-op buddy is driving, you’ll gain driving experience, and your friend will gain explosive experience. Don’t sleep on this one, especially if you already have Xbox Game Pass. Give it a try, you may like it as much as we do. Just don’t expect anything from the story. Crackdown 3 is mostly a sandbox experience.
I also have a differing opinion to Game Informer‘s review for Metro Exodus. Matt Bertz gave it an 8.75 out of 10 rating, and said ” The freeform sandboxes give players more agency to play how they want to play, and the smart level design and well-tuned pacing keep the experience feeling fresh throughout the campaign.”
I find Metro’s world interesting, and want to see where the fight for survival goes next, but the gameplay just isn’t clicking for me. Perhaps this is a case of me needing to spend more time with it. I’m roughly an hour in, and the sections of gunplay and stealth haven’t produced much excitement. I’ve always enjoyed the Metro series, and appreciate the attention to detail it brings to creating a believable post-apocalyptic setting, but the gameplay has always felt a little off. That feeling continues in Metro Exodus. I plan on sticking with it, and hope it turns around.
That brings us to the game of the week. Anthem. Oh my sweet Anthem. After vesting 25 hours in this wild sci-fi world, I could talk your ear off with my thoughts on the gameplay, story, missions, and co-op experience, but I’m going to hold off until the patch hits on Friday. BioWare released a document that details exactly what is changing for Anthem’s official street date, and the tweaks are significant. I will never play another game that releases early through EA Access. I got snakebit when I played Star Wars Battlefront II early, and it happened again with Anthem. To deliver a true opinion of what the game is, I feel like I need to start over, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Come Friday, I’ll begin anew to see how progression is handled in the patched-up version of the game.
One of my biggest gripes with what I played was a mission that pushed me to complete a number of feats to open up four different tombs. Most of the feats were reasonable in what they asked to be accomplished; they just took time a bit of time. And then there’s the feat that asks the player to open 15 chests. It may not sound like much, but specific design decisions make this task a pain in the butt. For instance, if you are in a party with other players, only the person who clicks the button to open the chest gets credit for it. When I reached the tomb door, it said I only opened three chests, but I know the party I played with opened well over a dozen of them. I then ventured into the open world to find hidden chests to complete the mission. I ran into another strange design decision: If another player in your session already opened the chest of note, you can’t do it yourself. I had to exit quick play and re-enter another session to see if the chest I wanted was claimed or not. I probably don’t need to say this, but the chests drove me mad.
The upcoming patch promises to give everyone in the party credit when a chest is opened. That’s a huge change, and might squash the need to spend hours hunting for unopened chests. The tomb doors that a lot of players are complaining about may be a non-issue come Friday.
Patches are expected these days, and BioWare said one was on the way, but I foolishly jumped in anyway. Never again unless I have an idea of what is changing. The people who wait just one week to play Anthem will likely experience a much better version of the game. Welcome to modern gaming, folks. It’s insane.
At the most recent Nintendo Direct, Square Enix announced Oninaki, a new RPG from developers Tokyo RPG Factory. Unlike their previous games I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear, Oninaki is varying things up a little with a different kind of battle system and tone. It’s also getting a pretty big dose of veteran talent with Takashi Tokita, best known as director of Chrono Trigger and Parasite Eve.
According to Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, which had a spread on the new title this week, Tokita is on the project as a creative producer. Tokita will be sharing the role with Hirotaka Inaba, writer for Level-5’s Fantasy Life and Tokyo RPG Factory’s previous two games. Oninaki is being directed by Atsushi Hashimoto, a programmer for popular visual novel 999 and designer for Kid Icarus: Uprising.
1047 Games’ first project, Splitgate: Arena Warfare, is a first-person shooter that infuses the much-adored combat of Halo 2 and 3 with the puzzle-solving mechanics of Portal 2. It offers an adequate repertoire of firearms, including the beloved assault rifle and high-powered railguns, four medium-scale maps tuned for verticality and clever flanks, avatar customization, and myriads of battle modes (including fan favorites like deathmatch, free-for-all, and Team SWAT). The game retains the meatier health pools of its Halo predecessors and the gunplay – especially because of the inclusion of Halo-modeled weapons like the burst-fire battle rifle and deceptively strong pistol – feels nostalgically familiar.
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Combat objectives remain simplistic: find the target and eliminate it. The implementation of portals, however, provides advantageous sight-lines and skillful maneuverability. At times, they can be a lethal weakness as enemies access them indiscriminately. I constantly found myself at the mercy of cunning players who used their portals to engage from multiple angles. With one button press, you can materialize a set of portals, at any given moment, on blue-webbed surfaces (see image below). As you might expect, portals are linked doorways between locations. There is no cooldown or reload time for the ability, although the split-second nature of firefights makes accurate portal-placement difficult. This is especially evident during daring escapes. Additionally, all players are equipped with a portal-negation grenade. While the projectile does no bodily harm, it can prevent opponents from using portals for quick getaways.
I found portals to be a forgettable mechanic in my first few matches. It hardly felt significant in vanquishing unsuspecting foes. With decent accuracy, most one-on-ones were winnable. But when groups of enemies entered the fray, survival became increasingly difficult. Once I started placing portals in the environment, my death-rate instantly plummeted. I was able to maintain killstreaks from safe distances and instead of haphazardly entering portals, I used them as windows to shoot enemies through. In a more communicative squad, portal gameplay transforms the battlefield.
“What we’ve seen from teams is that they’ve created different roles,” says 1047 Games’ CEO, Ian Proulx. “Certain players are constantly moving – ‘portaling’ all over the place so that you can’t keep track of them – and sticking together to outflank enemies. Typically, one other player posts up in a safe place to call out enemy movements.”
Strategic strafing and sensitivity modifications have the potential to lead to victory but, because portals replace the perks and kit-specific powers prevalent to other contemporary shooters, Splitgate players are forced to hone their weapon precision and memorize map geography. This will please shooter purists, but has the potential to alienate casual gamers. Proulx revealed a simple blueprint for expansive playlists that aim to separate player cliques.
“For ranked, we’re bringing back the Halo 2 1-50 ranking system; based purely on wins and losses rather than kill-death ratios,” he says. “We’ll also have a casual mode and a custom games mode including modifiers like low gravity, unlimited jetpack fuel, headshots only, etc.”
Additionally, for those looking to learn the ropes in a less demanding environment, private matches are available with options to play alongside and against bots. The A.I. is no pushover; enemy bots activate their own portals to hastily circumnavigate arenas. Moreover, with programmed auto-aim, players have a limited window to defeat their robotic combatants. As of right now, bots feel too powerful for newcomers, but 1047 Games has promised the implementation of difficulty settings.
Headshots, of course, are the fastest way to vanquish opponents, and each map offers a plethora of vantage points to make those bullets or plasma rounds easier to land. “Olympus,” a sporty arena touting neon-blue advertisements and floating platforms, provides many opportunities for sneaky portal routes. If players are truly clever, they can create optimal sight-lines on both ends of the map. “Silo,” with its iridescent lights and chillwave music, is club-themed. Its middle sector is a popular battleground, but long corridors make the trip to the center susceptible to ambushes. On “Helix,” close-combat weapons like shotguns and, surprisingly, rocket launchers, reign supreme. Here, tight hallways prevent quick portal escapes, so gun accuracy is key. Finally, the galactic “Outpost” houses an overarching sniper tower, only accessible by portals, well-timed jumps, and player-momentum.
Of note is Splitgate’s pro-gamer-majority community. Play-test suggestions have been incorporated into routine updates, meaning that 1047 Games has established itself as a small developer that listens. When considering a wider competitive scene for Splitgate, however, the developers opted to focus on optimizing the game itself rather than rushing to rally an esport.
Finally, we talked to Proulx about the game’s longevity. Incoming features include basic portal tutorials, large-scale battles and larger team rosters, more maps, and in-game “MVP” announcements (that could provide benefits for up-and-coming streamers), among other content plans.
“We want something that’s easy to learn and difficult to master,” says Proulx. “Anyone can pick up the game: it has forgiving shooting mechanics and one incredibly complicated mechanic [portals] that takes hundreds of hours to master. But you can still, just from the shooting alone, find a moderate amount of success and have fun with the game. If you really want to reach that high tier, you’re going to have to grind.”
All you FPS enthusiasts who yearn for a team-based competitive experience devoid of the ability-clutter in modern shooters, Splitgate: Arena Warfare is for you! A specific date has not been confirmed, but the game is likely to release this Summer in the $20-$30 price range. It will be available on PC but may find a home on consoles soon.
Black Future ’88, an upcoming indie shooter action game, is officially coming to Nintendo Switch as its first console port. The Switch version, in addition to being portable, also has co-op using the game’s two joycons, so you can break out with some future-punk synth with a friend whenever you want.
The indie shooter is coming to PC and Switch so far, but other consoles will come later down the line this year. As a roguelite, it boasts five unique characters and a different map setup each time. Check out the game when it releases later this year in 2019.
Paradox Interactive, the publisher behind sims like Surviving Mars, launched a new modding platform for its titles today that brings community mods to both PC and Xbox One.
The platform allows players to upload and download mods through GoG or the Paradox game launcher. The publisher is focusing its support on Surviving Mars to start, but a look at its site shows more than 200 user-created mods currently available between Surviving Mars, Stellaris, and Cities Skylines. Some of these come from recognized mod developers like ChoGGI and Silva. According to a press release, the publisher plans to roll out mod support for its other titles at a later date.
“Modding has been and remains an important part of the Paradox community,” says Anders Törlind, product owner for Paradox Mods. “As we have diversified the way we distribute our games, we want to make sure all of our players can take part in the creation process.”
A new update is coming to Red Dead Redemption Online next week featuring an event based on the armor quest in the game, competitive fishing, new weapons, cosmetics, and of course some good old fashioned Bonus XP.
The first new addition, Fool’s Gold, takes the armor story quest from Red Dead Online and makes it into a multiplayer free roam event. Players fight to control a set of golden armor, then don the armor themselves to see how long they can hold onto it. It’s basically a king of the hill mode but you’re Solaire.
There’s also now fishing challenges. Once you opt in, the game supplies you with everything you need to go get some fish except for the necessary human skills to go do it. Prove your mettle by catching the biggest fish the old west has ever seen.
As part of the PS4’s content timed exclusivity, if you’re playing Red Dead Online on the Sony system, this update will bring you open target races, where you compete to take out a target on horseback, and a new melee weapon called the Jawbone knife. Usually exclusivity windows are only about 30 days.
The update launches on February 26, but you don’t need to wait for it to launch to be productive. Until the update lands, all players get 20 percent bonus XP before it launches, so you can be nice and prepared to be the armor king the world needs right now. You can find a full list of what the update contains right here.
The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency has an educational flash game on its site called Recycle City Challenge. That in itself is not special. However, what is interesting is that when you clicked the Let’s Get Started button, a familiar tune for Mario fans played.
Keen-eared listeners have noted that the song in the background is taken from Yoshi’s Island DS. The song no longer plays in the flash game (having probably been removed) but we’ve heard it with our own ears, and there was no mistaking it was this tune: