Jason West has had an impressive career. As a co-founder of Infinity Ward and Respawn Entertainment, he’s helped shape and define popular series such as Call of Duty and Titanfall. 

After a string of legal battles after a fallout with Activision, West joined Vince Zampella in forming Respawn Entertainment back in 2010. The studio is best known for Titanfall and more recently Apex Legends. West stepped away from Respawn back in 2013, retiring due to family issues

It seems West has come out of retirement to join Epic Games. The news comes via Geoff Keighley, best known as the mastermind and presenter of The Game Awards. Keighley is very well connected in the industry, so it’s likely to be the case. Keighley dropped the news on Twitter, saying West was hired “quietly” by Epic Games. 

We don’t know specifically what West is working on or what his exact role at Epic Games is, but it would be interesting if he was working on Fortnite now that his former studio has been successful as a battle royale competitor with Apex Legends.

We will update this story should we hear any confirmation on the news and his role.

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Get ready to lose your mind in today’s NGT. Reiner recently got some new hands-on time with The Sinking City, a mystery game set in a world inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s demented imagination.

This one’s got it all: Investigations! Combat! Exploration! Fish-faced people and folks who look like they staggered out of a Planet of the Apes time capsule. All the while, protagonist Charles Reed has to maintain his dwindling sanity in a city that just so happens to be… sinking. Sorry.

The Sinking City is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on June 27.

With the recent release of Sekiro, developer From Software is enjoying a fresh flood of praise for a new twist on its familiar formula. The studio’s games are successful and critically acclaimed, but personally, I’ve never quite been able to understand the reverence. I played through (and enjoyed) Bloodborne, but I also have abandoned save files for almost every other modern title From Software has made. Even so, something clearly keeps drawing me to these games, or I wouldn’t repeatedly try to play through them. But for each element I find compelling in From’s games, I fight against a counterweight pulling it down for me.

If you’ve ever had a similar experience, let me make a recommendation: Play Dragon’s Dogma.

Capcom’s action/RPG originally released in 2012, but has since made the transition to modern consoles (bundled with its Dark Arisen expansion). I’ve been playing the game again on Switch in advance of that version’s official release on April 23. Maybe it’s because of the close proximity to all of the Sekiro discussions, but this time, I’m noticing many similarities between Dragon’s Dogma and From Software’s catalog. However, Dragon’s Dogma avoids all of the problems that hold me back from loving the Souls-like titles.

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Do you like From’s blend of versatile combat and build experimentation? Dragon’s Dogma has that! With nine different vocations that offer options like magic archer, sword-and-shield, and assassin, there’s something for every play style. Plus, because you can hire pawns (more on that shortly) who can compensate for your weaknesses, you never have to worry about your choices putting you at a disadvantage in any encounter. You can just focus on the fun and fast-paced combat, which blends towering beasts, cool special attacks, and spectacular spell effects. It’s less rigid that From’s games, which I appreciate. The battles are deliberate and require finesse and timing, but they’re not too exacting. I should also note that Dragon’s Dogma was directed by Hideaki Itsuno, whose most recent project was the stylish-action powerhouse Devil May Cry 5.

Dragon’s Dogma also provides an excellent sense of progression. One of the things that made me stop playing Dark Souls was how static my character felt. Your stats improve, but your options don’t evolve much, which makes the gameplay feel stagnant (outside of the boss fights, at least). That doesn’t happen with Dragon’s Dogma, since you have an array of active and passive skills you can equip. You can also change your class and learn new skills, some of which transfer over to other builds, so you feel the difference every step of the way.

If the difficulty level of Souls-like games scares you off, that’s not a problem here. While Dragon’s Dogma has challenging encounters that test your skills and reflexes, it isn’t built around the concept of failure. Monsters may defeat you, but you aren’t expected to get killed again and again. If you do fall, you just go back to a previous save, so you aren’t losing healing items or watching people get Dragon Rot as you develop a strategy. After a few tries (or some time leveling up by pursuing any of the many quests in your log), you will emerge victoriously. Granted, you don’t get the thrill of persevering in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge. But you do get to grab giant dragons and griffins and hack away at them as they flail around, which provides a different and less punitive kind of satisfaction.

Many of From’s games feature sad worlds on the brink of destruction (or past it), with dangers hiding everywhere. I like that, and the world of Gransys has a similar flavor, balancing the weight of consequences with the freedom of exploration. If you’re careless, NPCs can die. If you’re not diligent about quests, you can miss or fail them forever. At the same time, Capcom gives you enough direction to point you toward cool locations and moments without holding your hand, so you don’t feel like you miss anything important. By contrast, From Software’s games are a bit too obtuse for me. I don’t mind a subtle story, but making players compare notes and sift through disconnected item descriptions doesn’t really count as a conveying a narrative in my mind. I prefer understanding the stakes as I’m playing, rather than piecing them together after the fact.

Do you want a social element to your game, but without people invading your world and killing you? The pawn system in Dragon’s Dogma is basically a perfect solution to this problem. Every player (including you) creates a pawn – essentially an A.I.-controlled ally with access to the same classes/abilities as the player characters. That pawn is uploaded to a server (including its appearance and personalities), allowing players to share their pawns’ skills and knowledge. You get rewards and gifts if players use and like your pawn, so everyone wins. For a player like me, this is an ideal way to include a multiplayer element without interfering with the core action/RPG experience I’m after.

Look, maybe you love From Software’s games. If they are exactly what you want, great! Keep playing them! I’m not saying the studio needs to change its approach to suit my preference. This isn’t about those games being bad; it’s about Dragon’s Dogma being good in similar ways, but also being different in the right ways. Dragon’s Dogma gives me everything I like about From Software’s games – careful combat, a cool world, and a sense of discovery – but without any of the baggage that comes along with it.

Five years ago, Patrice Désilets started up Panache, his own studio in the heart of Montreal. As the original creative director of Assassin’s Creed, the gaming world has been excited about what he’d cook up next. Originally, Désilets hoped to work on 1666: Amsterdam, a game he had conceived at THQ and was later acquired by Ubisoft, but after a long legal battle to regain his legal rights to the project (which he finally did), the title is yet to reach the development phase.

Now, Panache is wrapping up the studio’s first release, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey which is releasing later this year. Taking place in a prehistoric age before man, Ancestors tasks you with trying to survive as an ape and witnessing evolution happen right before your eyes.

Désilets says the idea was designed around the team’s capacity. At first, it felt like a simpler approach than Assassin’s Creed II’s Italian Renaissance, but Ancestors has matured since that initial concept and morphed into something larger and more ambitious.

We recently traveled to Montreal to try the action/adventure survival game ourselves. Here are six things you should know about it.

Survival Is Up To You, But It Isn’t Easy

Because Ancestors is a survival game, you have to keep tabs on your health. You need to eat, drink, and sleep adequately otherwise you’ll die. You can die or get hurt in a multitude of ways. If you fall from high up, you risk breaking some bones. If you’re attacked by a predator, you could bleed out. Even trying a new type of food for the first time, like stealing an egg from a bird’s nest, can leave your character sick. Luckily, later in the game you can switch between characters, and the skills and knowledge your ape learns is available for your whole clan.

Climbing Is Reminiscent Of Assassin’s Creed

It’s unsurprising Désilets’ new game has some mechanics reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed. This is particularly apparent with climbing in Ancestors. Although the controls still need tweaking and were a little clumsy during my time with the demo, it was nonetheless liberating to grab onto branches and swing across the jungle or climb atop high cliffs to reach new areas.

Exploration Is Vast, Taking You All Over Africa

Ancestors begins in an African jungle, but as you progress, new environments open up to you. One of these places is the savannah, a gorgeous and sprawling area with new wildlife like elephants. Once you unlock an area, you can start a new game from that location by selecting it on the main menu before launching your campaign.

Exploration is a big part of Ancestors, but delving into unknown lands can be dangerous. You can find ways to build tools to protect yourself, like makeshift weapons to use on poisonous snakes, boars, crocodiles, and more. However, fear may keep you from exploring to your heart’s content. When a predator is after you or when you enter a dangerous area, you activate what’s called a “Fear Zone.” The visuals turn hazy and you become at risk for hysteria unless you can make your way to the “light,” which is a literal glowing ball of light, in time.

Watch Generations Evolve And Make New Settlements 

Ancestors begins 10 million years ago and progresses all the way to 2 million years ago. At that point, you play as an ape that looks more like us, but you never actually play as a human.

“The final species you play as has not much hair, walks on two feet, and starts to resemble more of a human,” Désilets says.

You watch the group of apes you form (your clans) through the years grow and expand. You do this by inviting outsider apes to join or by having couples already in your clan procreate. 

The skills you learn, which are discovered as you explore and unlocked on a skill tree menu while sleeping, transcend different generations. Désilets says this can be done by “locking the abilities forever” on the skill tree screen. 

 

Play Three Different Game Modes 

Depending on how you want to play, Ancestors provides three game modes: First Time Experience, Survivor, and Custom.

“When people play the actual game, Survival and Custom will be locked at first. The more you play, the more you will unlock,” Désilets says. “Survival Mode will drop you somewhere in the map and [task you with] surviving alone. And with Custom, you can go back to someplace you already visited and start the game from there with the number of clan members that you want.”

 

As for First Time Experience, that’s the standard mode that begins with tutorial objectives to get you started.

 

It’s Rough Around The Edges 

Ancestors is a fascinating and ambitious idea, but the gameplay so far isn’t holding up in the ways I hoped. The controls don’t feel intuitive, such as a clumsy way to slow down from a run without accidentally jumping midway. Climbing was fun but difficult, and I often missed the branches I was aiming for. The world itself feels a bit barren, but as Désilets says this is a game about “epiphanies,” and it’s possible I just didn’t come across the different combinations and tool-making methods during my demo.

But, having spent a couple hours with the game, it felt as though there were too few tutorials and not enough guidance offered to the player that would lead them towards compelling content. I often felt lost rather than intrigued.

Nevertheless, with its strong concept, I’m curious to see how Ancestors shapes up when it releases on digital stores, for $39.99, later this year.

Stay tuned for more coverage next week, where we’ll show off some gameplay from our hands-on session with the game.

Star Wars Celebration is currently underway in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. If there really is Star Wars fatigue, it isn’t here. This place is packed with fans decked out in Star Wars gear who are eager to find out what the future holds and want to celebrate the past.

When the doors opened at 1 p.m., people immediately formed lines for the exclusive items you can only get at the show. The official Star Wars shop has a line so long that I couldn’t find its end; it just kept snaking around corners. Hasbro also has a sizable line filled with people waiting to buy Darth Maul and Obi-Wan action figures.

Today’s focus is mostly on shopping, photo ops, and autographs. Although twice as many people are expected each day through the weekend, the fun stuff begins tomorrow. Episode IX‘s panel kicks off at 11 a.m., hopefully giving us our first look and a title. Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order is Saturday. The Mandalorian gets its own time in the spotlight on Sunday.

I braved the crowd today and snapped as many interesting pictures as I could. Oddly, the cosplayers were not out in full force, but a 501st Legion representative I talked to thought it would be a different story come tomorrow. Below is a captioned tour of the show that I will update each day:

The 501st Legion has a booth set up for photo shoots with some of its members. Today, I mostly saw Jedi, Sith, and X-Wing pilots. Stormtroopers were oddly hard to find, yet numbered in the hundreds at previous Celebrations in Anaheim and Orlando.

I couldn’t escape these Empire-loving Muppets at the show. They were everywhere, and each time I saw them, I liked them less. Nightmare fuel.

This isn’t a prop. A fan apparently made this and brought it to the show.

Some of the artwork that is for sale is absolutely stunning.

If you have any holes in your action figure collection, you’ll likely find what you are looking for here – both carded and loose.

Lego is celebrating 20 years of making Star Wars sets with a booth that walks through some of the toy makers more memorable releases.

Lego also constructed this stormtrooper mural…

…which upon further inspection is made up of 36,440 LEGO stormtrooper minifigures.

A young fan attacks a royale guard.

Once you reach the show floor, this is the first view you see.

Uhhh, guys. Don’t look behind you.

Yup. You can get Star Wars tattoos here.

An impressive assortment of dolls that will kill you in your sleep.

This Ewok didn’t try to attack the escalator when he left for the day.

Over a dozen Star Wars actors are on hand at any time to sign autographs.

Vintage toys are also for sale for big bucks.

Droids were also hard to come by on the first show day.

A speeder bike from Disney’s forthcoming Star Wars theme park, Galaxy’s Edge.

Anthony Daniels, the actor who plays C-3PO, apparently signs everything – even model airplanes. He must be stopped.

You can buy pretty much everything at Star Wars Celebration, even watches that you’ll wear once.

The hottest thing at Celebration is BB-8 cars.

Don’t believe me. Here’s another.

And another.

And one more.

Jump Force’s DLC is still coming fast and furious. We got the announcement of Seto Kaiba, Yugi Moto’s rival and overall jerk, just a few weeks ago. Now Bandai Namco has revealed the second DLC character, My Hero Academia’s All Might, the world’s number one superhero.

A few months ago, a Jump Force season pass leak was supposedly datamined and released onto the internet. The leak included announced characters like Seto Kaiba and All Might, but also had names like Grimmjow, Trafalagar Law, Madara Uchiha, and more. It seems more and more likely that the leaked list is turning out to be true.

Jump Force is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Disney+ Is Coming To Consoles

Disney has announced that Disney+, their paid subscription service, will be coming to pretty much every device under the sun. That obviously includes TV streaming services like Chromecasts and Apple TVs, but it also means that gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and surprisingly the Switch are also announced to get the service. PlayStation 4 is confirmed, with Disney hoping to get the other consoles solidified by launch.

Disney+ will be the destination for all Disney content in the future as the megacorporation pulls away from services like Netflix in order to keep all the potential profits for the content for themselves. The news was announced in a Disney Investor stream, which showed images of the many devices that would support it.

It’s another curious addition to the Switch, which still lacks Netflix, something Nintendo has ascribed to wanting to keep the hybrid console focused on video games. This is despite apps like Hulu and YouTube already being on there for quite a long time, suggesting Nintendo and Netflix are not agreeing on some aspect of the app’s presence on the system.

The service is expected to launch later this year.

Just the other day, Prince Harry of the United Kingdom made a loose call to ban Fortnite for what he described as being overly addictive and family-ruining. It was just an open speech to the YMCA and not an actual process to ban the game from the country. Well, Nepal wants you to hold their beer, as Reuters reports that the country has banned PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for roughly the same reason.

“We have ordered the ban on PUBG because it is addictive to children and teenagers,” Sandip Adhikari, deputy director at  the nation’s telecoms regulator Nepal Telecommunications Authority told Reuters according to their report.

The investigation came about due to a request from the Nepalese government to the NTA to look into whether people were getting addicted to the game. The agency decided that people are getting addicted to the game and that the best course of action was to keep it from being bought, sold, or played within the Himalayan nation. It is important to note that no actual incidents involving the game were reported, but parents were concerned their children were playing too much.

The ban is in effect already, so PUBG fans in Nepal are out of luck starting today.

[Source: Reuters]

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Welcome back to The Game Informer Show! This week we’re doing some spring cleaning with an episode packed full of quick discussions of the weeks releases, including Labo VR, Operencia, EDF: Iron Rain, Vacation Simulator, Hypnospace Outlaw, and Elder Scrolls Blades. Then, just in time for Star Wars Celebration, strap in for a huge roundtable discussion ranking the best games from Star Wars’ long history in the medium. After that, Oddworld Inhabitants’ Lorne Lanning and Bennie Terry join us in-studio to talk about the ups and downs in the development of Soulstorm.

You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloudstream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 by clicking here. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show.

Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below.

3:30 Labo VR
11:18 Operencia
17:26 Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain
20:03 Vacation Simulator
21:58 Hypnospace Outlaw
23:35 Elder Scrolls Blades
27:24 Ranking The Best Star Wars Games
1:00:05 Community Emails
1:44:15 Oddworld: Soulstorm Interview

Funny To A Point – How To Play Red Dead Redemption II Like A Professional

You may remember a few months ago that the Pinkertons, the foils of many a period piece and modern day detective agency, took umbrage with their inclusion in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II. The organization infamously sent a cease and desist to Rockstar and Take-Two to remove their presence in the game and stop selling Red Dead Redemption II, which is something they were never going to do.

In response, Rockstar and Take-Two kind of preemptively counter-sued the Pinkertons and insisted the historical nature of the game made the use of the Pinkertons fall into fair use. Both sides were fairly entrenched, but the counter-suit (which was actually the first lawsuit filed) has now officially been dropped.

2019-04-11 Notice of Volunt… by on Scribd

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Rockstar and Take-Two state that they voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit, but considering there is no mention of the Pinkertons’ cease & desist proceeding to any sort of suits on their end, it is likely the two parties reached a deal to quietly just pretend none of this ever happened.

In the meantime, you can still buy Red Dead Redemption II on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.