After yesterday’s dreadful fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, officials have been trying to get a sense of the damage behind them and the scale of the work ahead of them in rebuilding parts of the historic building. While this will not only take time and resources, it has been pointed out that there might be a leg up in the form accurate 3D models of the cathedral’s interior from an unlikely source.

Assassin’s Creed Unity, the 2014 release in the history-centered series and first exclusive Assassin’s Creed game on modern consoles, took place in Paris during the French Revolution. As a result, the game features an intricate 3D map of the inside of Notre Dame cathedral in a way that’s unrivaled outside of historians. In 2014, the game’s senior artist Caroline Miousse told The Verge that she spent two years recreating that building, down to making sure each brick is where it should be.

In an interview Ubisoft published about the game around its release, Miousse said “We added things like cables and incense across the second level of Notre Dame so players would be able to move around easier when they’re above the ground. I also think it adds a personal touch to the monument. I’ve left my little mark on a few parts of Notre Dame and there’s something remarkable about that.”

It would be fascinating if a game that recreated one of the world’s most historically significant buildings ended up somehow influencing its rebuilt form in the coming years and decades.

[Source: SFGate]

The countdown to E3 has already begun and last week Microsoft publicly showed off its starting pistol by suggesting that their next Inside Xbox would detail their road to E3. Ahead of today’s show, the Washington-based tech giant has gone ahead and taken the first step on that road by announcing the details of their E3 press conference.

Microsoft will be holding their annual show on Sunday, June 9 at 1:00 p.m. PT.

This is the usual spot for the Xbox showcase, so that’s not terribly surprising. Microsoft moved their E3 conference to Sunday in 2017, as it was burdensome for many to cover the Xbox conference, then basically run a gauntlet of other conferences and appointments until Sony’s later that night. Now with no Sony conference this year and Nintendo to likely retain their Tuesday morning spot for their showcase, Microsoft has plenty of breathing room on Sunday.

Last year, Phil Spencer made the barest of mentions of new consoles and is expected to expound on that idea during E3. Rumors have been flying about a cloud-based system not unlike Google Stadia, but only as an option rather than the only way to play. It is also likely we will get more updates on games like Gears 5 and the tactical Gears of War title announced last year, some mention of Halo Infinite, and maybe find out what Microsoft plans to do with the future of Game Pass.

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Earlier in our month of exclusive online features on Mortal Kombat 11 to accompany our latest cover story, we had NetherRealm’s senior QA analyst Steve Brownback show off new character Cetrion’s moves. Now we’re unearthing old wounds by having Brownback unleash his full potential and fight against his old rival Ken Morris (certification analyst for NetherRealm Studios) in Mortal Kombat 11. Learn about the rivalry and watch a full match between NetherRealm’s two best players Brownback (Jade) and Morris (Kano) above. Also, yes, they prefer to play with controllers.

Click on the banner below to check out all of Game Informer’s exclusive content for Mortal Kombat 11.

Capcom has revealed a new piece of hardware called the Home Arcade, which is a standalone emulation unit that packs in 16 old-school games with arcade-quality inputs.

Details on the North American release are pending, but Capcom’s European store has it price at about $288 USD.

Take a look at the trailer below to see the hardware and gameplay snippets from each of the titles. The sticks are Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT sticks, with OBSF buttons if you’re into that kind of stuff.

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Here’s the lineup of games. Keep in mind that this is from the European trailer, and there’s a possibility that the roster could change for North America. In that event, we’ll update the story.

  • 1944: The Loop Master
  • Alien vs. Predator
  • Armored Warriors
  • Capcom Sports Club
  • Captain Commando
  • Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness
  • Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
  • Eco Fighters
  • Final Fight
  • Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
  • Giga Wing
  • Mega Man: The Power Battle
  • Progear
  • Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting
  • Strider
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

Wired put up a massive story today that revealed details about the next generation about PlayStation hardware. While there was essentially no news about software or what sort of titles we can see in the future of the device, an interesting tidbit about Mark Cerny and Death Stranding does rear its head near the bottom of the piece:

As in many other generational transitions, this will be a gentle one, with numerous new games being released for both PS4 and the next-gen console. (Where exactly Hideo Kojima’s forthcoming title Death Stranding fits in that process is still unconfirmed. When asked, a spokesperson in the room repeated that the game would be released for PS4, but Cerny’s smile and pregnant pause invites speculation that it will in fact be a two-platform release.)

It’s not an actual confirmation but it does support what people have long thought about the possibility of Death Stranding being a cross-generational title.

For more on the next generation of PlayStation, head here.

[Source: Wired]

Nintendo and developer Team Ninja have announced that the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series returns with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on July 14 (exclusively to the Switch), bringing with it the co-op action that made the series a hit 10 years ago.

The Black Order features four-player co-op play online and off (and solo play), as players pick characters ranging from Iron Man to Spider-Gwen to find the Infinity Stones before Thanos does.

For more on the game, check out the announcement trailer.

[Source: Nintendo]

 

For the last couple of years, gamers everywhere have wondered what the next generation of console gaming would be like. Answers have kind-of, sort of eeked out, with Miccrosoft’s focus on subscription models offering an idea of where its philosophy for the future lay, while Google and Apple have announced plans to enter the gaming space as well. Today, Wired published a piece that revealed a few details about what to expect from Sony’s next PlayStation.

Wired‘s interview is hardware-focused, with lead systems architect and producer Mark Cerny not discussing any software-related features or even what to expect from the game’s launch library. However, Cerny revealed a number of key details that should please gamers frustrated with current console generation woes. The next PlayStation features a solid-state drive and supports ray-tracing graphics, which have never been on a console before. This console also supports 8K graphics for the few people who have a setup that can handle that.

The solid-state drive is likely the most notable feature, capable of massively cutting down on load times for current-generation games. During the interview with Wired, Cerny loaded up Insomniac’s Spider-Man onto a devkit for the next console. On the PlayStation 4 Pro, it took 15 seconds to load into the game’s open-world. On the devkit: 0.8 seconds.

The next PlayStation will feature a CPU “based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture,” as well as a GPU based on Radeon’s Navi family of chips. Cerny also says that existing PSVR headsets will continue to work with this console but did not speak at length about the company’s future for VR outside of saying “VR is very important to [Sony].” Cerny says that the next iteration of PlayStation won’t be available in 2019 but that “a number of studios have been working with [the devkit].”

For more information on the next PlayStation, be sure to read Wired’s story here.

Judgment

One interesting thing about video games is how much of a product is made up of different moving parts and gears that could, theoretically, be swapped out without everything else falling apart. In practice, a lot of things are a lot more interdependent than you’d like, but in the case of Sega’s Yakuza semi-spinoff Judgment and the drug scandal with one of its actors, replacing the character was both doable and a seeming priority for the team. Just weeks after Judgment actor Pierre Taki has been arrested for cocaine use, Sega has already replaced the actor and we have the first look at the new Hamura.

You can check out a short video of the character below with Judgment’s English dub.

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Here’s also a few new screenshots of the actor replacing Taki as Hamura.

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In English, this effectively makes zero difference, as the west has never had Pierre Taki as Hamura and the voice acting has not been changed. In Japan, however, Sega is likely eager to get the game back on sale as quickly as possible, so it seems that placing the new actor in is happening at a lightning pace.

The western release of Judgment has reportedly not been affected at all by this change. The game still releases on June 21 on PlayStation 4 for digital pre-orders and June 25 for the physical release.

Publisher: Team17
Developer: Pathea Games
Release: April 16, 2019
Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: Switch
Also on:
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

My Time at Portia strives to emulate the charm of a simple life, similar to games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing. At first, the experience seems to line up closely with expectations set by those other simulations; as a newcomer in the community, you do chores, socialize with townsfolk, and customize your living space to make it feel more like home. But as the days go by, My Time at Portia fails to coalesce into a world you want to inhabit. Instead, it gradually grows duller under the burden of repetitive busywork and underwhelming incentives to keep the grind going.

Your created character arrives in the quaint city-state of Portia and inherits a workshop, then completes various construction contracts for the town and its residents. As you meet your neighbors and learn the ropes, your jobs are small and simple, requiring materials you can easily gather or refine to make tools, tables, and water buckets. The complexity ramps up quickly, requiring you to build different stations to transmute ingredients into other objects. For example, if bronze sheets are an ingredient in a blueprint, first you must go mining in the ruins to get copper and tin ore. Then you use a furnace to smelt them into a bronze brick, and put those bricks into a cutter to shape them into bronze sheets. And those sheets are probably just one of several necessary components that have multi-step production chains.

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This escalating process may be familiar, but where other games in the genre give you cool rewards and satisfying progress, the loop feels joyless here. Even when you build multiple furnaces (or cutters, grinders, etc.), producing your materials takes too long and feels like a slog. And when you finally complete a blueprint, you rarely enjoy any interesting benefits as a result. You just pick up the next quest, which has a more complicated blueprint waiting for you – and “more complicated” usually just means it requires even more items and upgrades to finish. Each step forward feels like the exact same kind of busywork, all stretched over dozens of hours.

Sometimes you need to venture into dungeons for missions and material-gathering, which is where the simplistic combat mechanics become necessary. The basic attacking and dodging is functional as you mow down generic creatures and bosses, but it isn’t varied enough to be compelling or entertaining. Your success is more determined by your stats than your skill, and I was bummed those stats are so largely influenced by what you’re wearing. I occasionally had to choose between surviving and not looking like a clown, and that can make the cosmetic customization frustrating.

Filling in the spaces between the building and the fighting is an array of optional quests and half-baked activities. For instance, farming is present, but it feels like an obligatory afterthought since your attention is better spent on construction. You can also increase your standing with villagers and eventually get married. However, the characters don’t have much for personalities or interesting traits, which makes it hard to care about getting to know them.

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Any time you spend in Portia is also marred by technical problems, including long loading screens, animation hiccups, and cumbersome menus. These issues are especially amplified on the Switch version, making it unquestionably the worst way to play. While the technical shortcomings don’t render the game broken or unplayable, they create a pervasive sense of unpolished sloppiness that eventually forced me to ask, “Why am I playing this? What does this game provide to make this worth the hassle?” The answer? Nothing.

Something hard to define is missing from My Time at Portia. It mechanically ticks many boxes that simple-life fantasies are supposed to, but it lacks the charm and satisfaction that springs from its peers in the genre. It demands your time without enticing you, and places you in a world that feels hollow. Games like this are supposed to make chores fun and rewarding, but playing My Time at Portia feels more like actual work.

Score: 5.75

Summary: Games like this are supposed to make chores fun and rewarding, but playing My Time at Portia feels more like actual work.

Concept: Build a life for yourself in a quaint (but boring) fantasy world

Graphics: The visuals are colorful but mediocre, though an occasional character or environment stands out

Sound: Like the graphics, the soundtrack is appropriate and unexceptional

Playability: Technical issues and a lack of direction make the early hours rough. Even once everything clicks, the interface remains awkward

Entertainment: Long periods of waiting and repetitive tasks make this simulation hard to recommend, especially since your efforts only rarely pay off

Replay: Moderately low

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Nintendo has released a new Nintendo Switch update today, numbering 8.0.0, which adds a couple of new features to the hybrid console. Previous updates added things that run the gamut from digital game sharing to mining Twitter and Facebook friends lists and the 8.0.0 update is a little closer to the latter than the former.

The new firmware update adds game sorting, which lets you organize your home screen by a few categories. You can order games by last played, total play time, alphabetical by title, and publisher, so all Nintendo games would be together, and all Capcom games, etc. 

You can also now move individual game save files over to different Switches. This doesn’t copy the data, as it completely erases it from the source system once the transfer is complete, but it does let you move the files over. This is useful in case, say, Nintendo announces a more portable Switch and you want to move individual games over without moving every single title that you might prefer on a TV screen.

Some other smaller things have also been added, like new icons from Splatoon and Yoshi’s Crafted World, a universal zoom option for accessibility, a VR mode for Labo VR, and a feature that lets you turn off the Switch waking up from sleep mode when the AC has been disconnected which can prove annoying for people with finicky Switch cables or power sources.

The firmware update is available to download now.