Ubisoft has put out a video announcing three new glasses for Ghost Recon Wildlands’ PVP mode, Ghost War.

The first class, Trapper, wields a semi-automatic sniper rifle and can locate downed enemies on his HUD. The second class, the Guerilla, can create smoke screens using a drone to launch smoke grenades, allowing the Guerilla to easily mark all the enemies in the covered zone. The third class is Stalker, who attacks and observes from long range and can mark enemies without notifying them. She can also fire shots without being made visible unless the enemy is within close range.

The new update is set to go live tomorrow, March 14. Check out the update video below.

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon, has announced a new program called “Free Games with Prime,” giving away a collection of free games with an associated Amazon Prime account.

Amazon and Twitch have been no stranger to giving away games through Twitch, recently giving away Devil May Cry HD on the PC. The new program, however, significantly ups the volume of the free games and some may argue the quality, as well.

Starting March 15 through March 31, Twitch Prime subscribers will receive the following PC titles:

  • Oxenfree
  • Mr. Shifty
  • Superhot
  • Shadow Tactics
  • Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation

Twitch has also announced the April lineup:

  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • Steamworld Dig 2
  • Kingsway
  • Tokyo 42
  • Dubwars

People eager to build a PC game collection will likely find a lot to love about this program. For more info, hit the source link below.

[Source: Twitch]

 

Our Take
This is a cool feature for people who already have a Prime account or were on the fence about any of these games. I hope they can keep the level of quality up.

Earlier today, website SegaNerds posted a trailer from what they claimed was an announcement of a Sega Genesis Collection for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The trailer indicated a collection that is fairly similar to the Sega Genesis hub already on Steam, which would indicate a port of the apartment-style menu that already exists on that service. The video has since been removed without explanation, being unclear whether it was SegaNerds who removed it or Sega filing a claim against it.

When we reached out to Sega, they confirmed that there was an admin error that resulted in assets being made available ahead of the intended announcement date. “The gun was jumped a little bit there on the SEGA Genesis Classics announcement,” a Sega spokesperson told us. “When we are in a position to properly announce it, with an official release date and official SEGA communication, we will. Stay tuned!”

 

Our Take
I know it’s gauche to say it, but the lack of a Switch version here does kind of baffle me. The only thing I can guess is that the PC-adjacent architecture of PS4 and Xbox One makes the work required to bring it to Switch just out of the realm of profitable.

Capital Wasteland, a fan project intended to use Fallout 4 as a basis for porting Fallout 3’s story, characters, and environments into the newer game, has ended after the team couldn’t find a legal way to do it.

The project head “NafNaf 95”, who announced the termination on Twitter, said that recent communications with Bethesda have made it clear that there was not going to be a legal path forward for the fan project.

“Projects like this have always existed in a Gray area of the law but we as a team value our connections with many members of the amazing dev team that is Bethesda Game studios,” the post reads.

The major stumbling block appeared to be the voice acting. Capital Wasteland was originally planning to simply import the voice files from Fallout 3 for Fallout 4, but it quickly became clear this would raise a host of legal issues regarding Bethesda-owned voice acting. Some members of the team thought it best to re-record the dialogue, instead, but that was also a non-starter.

“At first we were very reluctant to halt work and decided to start looking into Re recording all the Voice acting,” the project head wrote. “We quickly realised we would have to replace iconic voices like Liam Neeson, Malcom McDowell,Ron Perlman and of course the phenomenal Eric Todd Dellums. Without some of these voices fallout 3 looses its charm and personally I cant bring my self to replace Them.”

NafNaf suggests in the letter they might resume the project if they get the blessing of Zenimax and Bethesda.

 

Our Take
I am a little surprised it took until now to realize the voice acting would be a problem, but it’s better that they realized it and ended the project before putting themselves in legal jeopardy.

Metalhead Software has announced a closed beta for Super Mega Baseball 2 on Xbox One within the next two weeks, featuring the game’s exhibition and pennant race modes.

You can sign up for the closed beta here.

The developer has also released a new trailer for the title detailing the game’s multiplayer options, including drop-in/out co-op.

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The full game is scheduled to come out sometime this spring, and you can read more about the title in this entry of The Sports Desk.

Despite being a new studio, Midwinter Entertainment knows a thing or two about making multiplayer games. Staffed with former 343 Industries talent and veterans who have worked on the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo, the studio leadership has been experimenting with how players interact and compete with each other for years. Most notably, as one of the architects behind Halo 5’s Warzone mode, Josh Holmes is no stranger to mixing up player-on-player action with objectives that can let anyone contribute to their team. With its first game, Scavengers, Midwinter and Holmes hope to further blur the line between cooperation and competition.

Speaking with me at Midwinter’s office located in Kirkland, Washington, Holmes bills Scavengers as a third-person “survival shooter co-opetition,” set in a near-future apocalypse in which a massive asteroid collides with the moon, shattering it and causing a new ice age. Years after the collision, you take control one of eight teenagers (across four classes, each with a male and female character to match), left to forage for weapons and resources.

This is where the “co-opetition” aspect comes in: As a match-based, multiplayer experience, Scavengers is about how you interact with fellow players, but Holmes says those interactions won’t always be hostile. When a team of players (Midwinter is currently toying with both two and four-person team setups) begins a match, they get dropped onto the same map as several other teams, but not every team receives the same objective. “Each team has their own beginning and end,” as part of a “super-session” within the game’s world, Holmes says. While many objectives involve completing bounties or eliminating certain targets only one team can claim, Holmes says depending on your objectives in a given match, you may be able to cooperate with other teams, leading to matches with multiple winning teams.

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Matches aren’t as simple as starting at point A and heading for B, however. During a presentation, Holmes breaks down matches into three phases. First comes a building phase where players search for food and build up weapons in nearby areas in order to level up their characters (and allot points into skill trees). Next is a hunting phase where players encounter enemies, wildlife, and players as they complete their objectives. Finally, during the launch phase, those teams search for a place to extract all of the bounties and supplies they’ve gathered, defend that zone, then successfully exit the match. Holmes says the team wants to keep matches at around 30-45 minutes, which would each match to feel meaningful without being an intimidating time commitment.

This mix of teamwork and competition is key to Scavengers, and Holmes stresses the team wants to accommodate players across the multiplayer spectrum, from hardcore deathmatch aficionados to more group-minded players. While player interaction (and confrontation) is a core part of Scavengers, Holmes doesn’t want PvP to be the dominant rule of engagement. “The goal is to find the intersection of those experiences,” Holmes says.

Holmes also wants to keep each match fresh by creating a more lively ecosystem within its maps. As part of the crew that brought Halo 5’s Warzone mode to life, Midwinter is heavily invested in creating a huge area for players to explore and interact with in diverse ways. “Other shooters out there today, most of those are focused around PvP, inhabiting an expansive and empty and static world,” Holmes says. Midwinter wanted to ask themselves how they think about A.I., and how those could feel like they’re part of an ecosystem.

Besides human-controlled opponents and huntable wildlife, players must contend with three enemy factions as they explore the frigid wasteland for resources. The Scourge is a mysterious, parasitic disease ravaging the planet, ripping apart docile wildlife and turning it into horrifying, undead monsters. Outlanders are human survivors who scrape by through hunting animals and wearing their furs, but aren’t exactly friendly. Finally, the Salient is a race of sophisticated A.I. utilizing high-tech gear. A game director A.I. then randomizes areas, enemies, encounters, objectives, and loot to make every match play out differently.

Propping up this ecosystem are Unreal 4 and SpatialOS, a cloud-based development platform from publisher Improbable. According to MidWinter and Improbable, while most multiplayer game sessions run off a single dedicated server, SpatialOS allows developers to run their sessions through multiple servers, giving each session an extra bump in processing power. Using SpatialOS, Midwinter hopes to up the total player count of each match, run more sophisticated algorithms for its ecosystem in the background, and create smarter A.I. enemies, which could interact with each other and be more cognizant of their environment. That would normally use up more processing power than a single server could muster. As one of the early major projects using SpatialOS on a large scale, Midwinter is providing Improbable with feedback and improving the platform along the way.

Scavengers is still in its early stages – early enough that the team wasn’t ready to show us gameplay or even a float a release date (they definitely ruled out 2018). Midwinter is leading development on PC, with console versions to follow. Scavengers is built with player interactions in mind, so don’t expect a single-player campaign. And while the team doesn’t have firm plans on a release date, they do plan to factor in player feedback as early as possible. Whether this will be through early access, betas, or some other means remains to be seen.

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Midwinter is still experimenting with several ideas about how to best instill the survivalist vibe they want to get across. While they said loot would factor in heavily, they’re experimenting with how player progression works between matches, how much players stand to lose should they die without extracting their supplies, how to implement hunger and thirst systems, and more.

Still, Holmes wants to stay true to the team’s vision of creating a harrowing world to survive in, and that means finding a balance between making Scavengers approachable and throwing adversity at players. “Historically there’s been this perception that if you create hardcore mechanics, it’s going to be somehow a turnoff for a larger audience. I don’t necessarily think that’s true,” Holmes says. While Midwinter isn’t trying to create something on the level of the hyper-realistic Arma series, “We’re not trying to shy away from the idea of having a learning curve.”

Scavengers isn’t the only game experimenting with the interplay between cooperation and competition. Holmes himself points to The Hunt: Showdown, Deep Rock Galactic, and Rainbow Six Siege as games doing interesting things in the multiplayer field. He’s confident Scavengers will stand out, even as developers continue to experiment with what socializing and confronting other people online means in games. “I think the way we’re approaching our combat, and the way we’re approaching the intersection of PvP and PvE elements of the game provides something new and different for players.”

Hopefully, Holmes and Midwinter can make good on that promise.

Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity set a high bar for classic-style RPGs when it released in 2015.Considering its warm reception, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that fans have been clamoring for another game in that universe. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire looks to be just as massive as its predecessor, but that level of ambition carries a price. Today, Obsidian announced that the sequel’s release is slipping from April to May, as the team works on polishing the game.

The delay puts its release at a little more than a month beyond what was previously announced. Deadfire was originally slated for an April 3 launch, but now it will be coming to PC, Mac, and Linux on May 8. Console versions will be coming later this year.

For more on Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, be sure to read our interview with game director Josh Sawyer.

When Josef Fares and Starbreeze released Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in 2013, fans and critics alike praised the game, but expressed bafflement at the strange story of a rising star in the film industry suddenly pivoting to design video games. The Lebanese-born director has a compelling biography both behind and ahead of him, having fled the Lebanese Civil War as a child and winning film awards alongside his brother, Fares Fares. After winning the Nordic Council Film Prize for his 2005 film Zozo, Josef Fares directed his attention to a narrative game about controlling two brothers with separate analog sticks with Starbreeze, which we described as “akin in spirit to arthouse games.

Now, Fares and his studio Hazelight are working with Electronic Arts on A Way Out, a story of two men meeting up in and subsequently escaping from prison. It is, in many ways, a ridiculous experiment in narrative gaming, forcing players to only play it co-op in either local or online permutations, to the point where the game comes with extra copies to gift to a friend. You can read our brand new impressions of the game here.

Those who watched The Game Awards in 2017 might remember Fares holding the microphone next to host Geoff Keighley, ostensibly to announce the extra copy feature of the game, launching into a swear-filled rant about the Oscars, which Fares reflects back on as “s— happens.”

Fares is charmingly eccentric in a way that defies description. Thoroughly an auteur, he talks about his vision for his games in such glowing terms that you feel less like he’s trying to sell you on it and more that he wants to convince you of how cool it all is. Through the admittedly thick veneer of wild hand gestures and profanity, an unbridled enthusiasm and optimism for A Way Out shines through.

GI: Brothers had two characters controlled by one controller, and A Way Out is the exact opposite. It’s two characters controlled by two people and only two people no matter what. What inspired that idea?

Fares: It actually started with me and a friend trying to find a co-op game that wasn’t a drop-in drop-out. I’m not against those games, but it’s just that I feel that I want to play something with my friend that means something. I want to have a character that is not just about leveling up or something like that; I want to play a real character. I think people underestimate the power of telling stories when you’re together. If you look at a movie you can experience a great story together. Why can’t you do that in a game, as well? So that’s the idea with this. Can you make a story-heavy co-op game that you experience together with your own character and your own personality that you feel connected to? That was the starting point, and then we started making it and realized that all the s— and f—ing problems that could come up. It’s a lot of work and so much fun, and since day one ’till now I feel absolutely sure of the vision and the passion has been there all the time. We’ve [the development team] grown. We started as 10 people and we’re ending up with actual developers almost up to 40, but that’s a small studio for this type of game. I’m not going to go into details about the budget, but if I told the developers this is the money we did this for they would laugh at me. We have no outsourcing, no nothing, so we’ve done everything in-house. I mean, I put the mo-cap suit on me. I have a video on my phone where go and fight and everything. But that was the original idea, how to make a co-op game that wasn’t just the drop-in drop-out. We wanted something else, you know?

Were there any games you were inspired by?

Not really, no. I love making games, and I’m very passionate about this. I feel like games can be so much more than they are today. I like the evolution, I like the creative aspect. There are so [many] things that are unexplored now, and I think it’s going to be such an interesting period onward now because there’s going to be so much stuff, I think.

Do you think it’s harder to make a narrative in a game than it is a movie?

I don’t think so. It always depends on how you do it. With A Way Out, we even try to give you control during cutscenes, but I think with a strong story, of course, you have moments where you can’t really talk to your loved ones. The question here should be why is gameplay looked at as always shooting or jumping or solving puzzles? Gameplay could be actually making love with someone depending on how you do it. I’m not talking about X and just following a button set of quick-time events. That is possible to make it, I’m really interested in that.

What are the technical differences? You’ve mentioned a couple of times how painstaking it is to do all this animation. Do you think that part is harder?

It’s a lot of stuff, because we didn’t have a similar game that we could compare it to. First of all, a game like this hasn’t really been done. Normally, you have a mechanic you go with, and most of the time people are not doing split-screen games today. They do it as an arcade mode where you go around and shoot or something. The hardest thing has been how do you pace the story and how you tell the story for two players. In a single-player game you could easily put out triggers and cutscenes wherever you want because you know where you are, but right now we need to figure out where both players are. We need to make them focus when the cutscene happens, but that’s what I’m so happy about when we make tests. People are really engaged. They’re like oh s— they’re a part of the story, they’re living these characters, and that was the biggest accomplishment I would say, but that was also the hardest thing. How do you balance that? How do you make a fishing scene interesting? I didn’t want to make a game again where you just do the same thing over and over. I think you lose the relation to your character, you know what I mean? This is a game where you don’t level up or do something like that. It’s nothing like oh, I’m going to have this gun, now you take this one. We have guns in the game, but it’s only allowed when the story allows you to. But that’s definitely the hardest thing, how to make a co-op game story heavy like this.

You’re partnering with EA on A Way Out. How did they react when you told them it had to be a co-op game only?

Super good. Look, here’s the thing with EA. I’ve been having all the support I had all the time. I know there’s been a lot of s— about that. This is thing about publishers; all publisher f— up sometimes, that’s how it is, but they have been super supportive only, like only. Not a single time they have gone to this game and said – they can’t even go in and change the color of a skirt. That’s what I’m saying, this is super supportive. Don’t forget with these [EA] Originals deal is that 100 percent is for the developer. They’re not even making a single dollar on this game, and they’re still out helping me with everything, with the PR, with everything, with the support, with everything, so I’m super happy.

Was it your idea to have the thing where you buy one copy and it goes to a buddy?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. That wasn’t a problem. It was supposed to be announced at The Game Awards, but I’m a passionate guy so s— happens. The whole idea is that you this for, what does it cost, like $29 or something like that? It’s because you have to play with somebody and for me it makes sense that why buy two copies when you’re forced to play together with someone? Trust me, if it were up to me I’d give it for free. I don’t care, I’m telling you, but we need to pay our bills, you know what I mean? But I think it’s fair to have it like this, yeah?

Are there any movies that you were particularly inspired by, because the vibe I got from before was Shawshank Redemption or O’ Brother Where Art Thou.

Oh, of course, there are different movies, but there’s not a particular one.

So just the prison-break genre?

Prison is a part of the game, it’s a portion of the game, but you would continue outside, obviously. The game almost starts – because the characters don’t know each other – like a single-player experience for both players. Then they get to know each other and build up their relationship. That was also hard. How do you do that as a co-op split-screen? I would say in the first 20 minutes you’re not in contact with each other. How do you pace that s—? There’s a lot of challenges we have to solve along the way, but I’m so happy because it happens so naturally. I’m really happy about how we accomplished that. I’m super proud of this.

You said during the demo earlier that the game has accidental replayability. Do you think that’s what people should aim for?

No, no, no, no. You know what they should aim for? What they feel in their heart. Don’t care about what is this, what sells, what doesn’t. I follow my heart and that’s it. This is how I am, and everybody who works with me knows this. If someone told me take $100 million and this I would tell them go f— yourself. It’s not going to happen. This is the vision, this is going to stick with it, this is it. I think with replayability, sure. If people want to replay the game, be my guests, but I also think gamers are changing. You have gamers that are very young that have a lot of time, but we have gamers that have families and appreciate maybe a shorter experience that could really touch us. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put in 100 hours. I rarely have time to play a big, open-world game today, you know? Sometimes most of the open-world ones I would say are open-repetition instead of open-world because you are doing the same thing over and over again, but at the same time it’s exciting what’s happening in the industry. This evolution for stuff like, for instance, the shooter genre. I love that this battle royale thing is getting big and huge, I love these changes that happen all the time. That’s what’s good about this industry. From a creative perspective, there are forces that push us to be creative. People are very hard. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing would be come on, don’t you know the actual work behind everything? The good thing is we all push the boundaries of creativity, what we can do, and I think we just scratch the surface.

By that same token, have you ever thought about making a game that’s not narrative based, like something like Battlegrounds?

It depends on what I feel for next. The one that I wake up and feel passionate about, that’s the one it’s going to be. That’s how I roll, you know?

Is gaming now your main thing, then? Are you ever tempted to go back to movies?

I mean, I now have Hazelight as a company, and I’m not saying I’ll never make movies again because I keep getting these offers still, but right now it’s focused on games. I love it so much and it’s so much fun. It’s a pain in the a– because for me if I make a movie it’s going to be like taking a vacation. It’s a passive experience. I’m not saying it’s that easy to make a movie, but it’s definitely way easier to make than a game. Making a game, because of the interactivity of it, makes it way more complex. You don’t really know what the gamers will do. It’s almost like releasing your audience on the set to let them play with the actors and cameras. It’s kind of a scary thing. Even sitting down with you playing the game done now, I’ve seen it in such s— ways. I’m just so happy it actually works and I’m so proud of the team, that we pulled it off because the amount of s— that we put into this one is crazy. I didn’t show it to you, but we have, like, a lot of small minigames here that are for the players. We have an arcade, you throw darts, you play baseball, you play basketball. It’s crammed with stuff.

Based on the two games so far, Brothers and A Way Out, it seems like interpersonal relationships are the main thrust of your games, like how your character deals with other people or deals with the other characters. Do you think that’s your main theme or just the way it happens to work out when telling a story?

I want to tell strong stories in games, but make them as playable as possible. That’s my hope. I know that there have been games more toward storytelling, but they tend to be more of a passive experience. I love the interactivity of gaming, and that’s what I want to keep pushing. If you play through Brothers, for instance, you know the ending when you have physically push something to grow as a brother. That’s the thing I’m very proud of also. How do you mechanically use this stuff to make it playable? That’s what interests me.

 

A Way Out releases on PlayStation 4,  Xbox One, and PC on March 23.

Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has weighed in the Fortnite crossplay issue, which lets every platform play with each other except between Xbox and PlayStation 4, stating that he also wishes crossplay between the consoles happened. The Fortnite account also chimed in to support the sentiment.

A Fortnite fan tweeted to Spencer last night, asking “I wanted to ask that can XB1 and PS4 players play together in Fortnite? We really want cross-play system between XB1 and PS4 “

Spencer, now part of Microsoft’s executive team, replied “Me 2.”

Then the official Fortnite account latched on to that post and said “We 3!”

While Microsoft’s desire to enact crossplay with the PlayStation 4 has been well know, Epic have always been fairly muted about it. They expressed disappointment over the accidental crossplay of Fortnite being turned off before Battle Royale ever came out, much less before it became popular, but the situation has changed fairly greatly since then.

Sony has traditionally been reluctant to do crossplay with either of its console competitors, with the public reasoning being a desire to protect younger players from the different standards on Xbox One and Switch, though a logical business decision would be that allowing crossplay gives up a competitive advantage of having the highest install base. Similarly, it is advantageous for Microsoft and Nintendo to allow crossplay and make the decision of where to buy software less about where other people own it. When Microsoft was leading the generation with the Xbox 360, the company scoffed at crossplay.

In a statement to Kotaku, a Microsoft representative said We’ve worked closely with Nintendo to allow cross-network play between Xbox One and Switch and our offer to do the same with PlayStation players still holds. For any other questions regarding ‘Fortnite’ cross-network play between Xbox and PlayStation, please reach out to Epic or Sony directly.” 

With Fortnite becoming so popular, boasting concurrent player numbers over PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the developer argument for crossplay is getting louder. Epic has been having to deal with the confusion over their dual announcements of crossplay and would rather just have every version play with every other version.

Then again, if PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds came to the PlayStation 4 as PUBG Corp. has suggested they want to do, would Microsoft be keen to crossplay there having published the game on the Xbox One? That’s one of many questions that might arise around the company’s desire to have both teams on the same playing field.

As it stands, the Xbox One, PC, Mac, and mobile versions of Fortnite can play with each other. The PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and mobile versions can also play with each other.

 

Our Take
It’s definitely in Microsoft’s best interest to have crossplay with PS4, but it’s also in Epic’s best interest to have crossplay with everyone. That starts to present a problem for Sony, because a growing chorus of developers feeling like they’re leaving money on the table because of this policy will eventually become deafening. It’s one thing if Microsoft is asking, or an indie developer is asking, but Epic is a major partner. On the other hand, Sony can be pretty assured no developer will abandon them over it, so they might not have to worry at all.

Just after a SXSW screening of The Last Jedi documentary, The Director and The Jedi, the titular roles of the movie came out to answer questions about the movie and Hamill’s on-again off-again feelings about Luke’s portrayal in it.

Hamill has been known to say in social media and interviews that he disagreed with Johnson over the way Luke Skywalker was written in the eighth movie, but has also walked the sentiment back and remarked that his disagreement does not mean he thinks director Rian Johnson was wrong. Depending on how much you liked The Last Jedi, the latter could be interpreted as Hamill being told to clam up by Disney, but the actor clarified his complicated thoughts at the panel.

“I’m like a lot of you,” Hamill said to the audience. “I feel an investment in it, a certain sense of ownership, which is a joke, because I don’t own it, now Disney does. But you care! That’s what happens with these films. I’m sorry I lowered my guard and expressed my misgivings about it. That belongs in the [filmmaking] process. That doesn’t belong to the public. I feel bad because I made that statement before I saw the finished film.”

Fans asked Hamill how he would have made the movie, to which Hamill admitted his ideas were all terrible, but also let loose the hereto unknown bombshell that he also disagreed with George Lucas while reading the script to Return of the Jedi“I read Jedi and thought, ‘Wait a sec! I thought I was heading toward the struggle of heading to the Dark Side. I’m in black. I have a glove. I see a trend here.'”

You can read a write-up of the panel at the source link below, which gives a lot of insight into the butting of heads, and why that was a positive thing, of Johnson and Hamill.

[Source: ArsTechnica]