Today Battlefield V offered a decidedly cinematic look at its single-player campaign. Like Battlefield 1, V’s campaign will be a series of short stories that will be taking place across the world with multiple protagonists.

Though there doesn’t appear to be any gameplay to speak of in the trailer, you can watch it in all its globe-bouncing glory above.

For more on Battlefield V, check out our last look at Battlefield V.

Momentum is a powerful force – just ask anyone who’s been on the receiving end of one of Superman’s flying kicks. On a more grounded level, the impulse to continue with what’s worked in the past can make a creative endeavor feel stale, whether we’re talking about superhero movies, comic books, or video games. Lego DC Super-Villains isn’t reimagining the core of the Lego games, but TT Games has clearly learned from recent missteps. The result is one of the best (and baddest) games that the studio has released.

The name should clue you in to its setup; forget about Batman and his super friends, this one’s all about the villains. In true Lego fashion, the roster includes big names like Joker and Lex Luthor, and a dizzying array of fun second-tier heels like Mirror Master and Granny Goodness. The original story is a hoot. The Justice League suddenly disappears, replaced with a group of shady individuals from Earth 3 calling themselves the Justice Syndicate. These also-rans seem like close-enough versions of their contemporaries, with Ultraman filling in Superman’s boots and Owlman donning Batman’s cowl. Ultimately, they’re up to no good, which is something that only Earth’s villains seem to notice. They can’t let these interlopers take advantage of Earth’s plunder; that’s their job! It’s a fun setup for the familiar sight gags, snappy (and well voiced) dialogue, and humorous tone we all know from TT Games.

You’re part of it all, too. In one of the boldest departures from past games, your created character is no longer relegated to free play. Instead, your creation is part of the narrative, right from the start. I enjoyed watching my minifig doppelganger gain new abilities throughout the tale, becoming one of the more powerful faces around (and an excellent utility player that helped minimize the need for swapping characters). I’ve never gotten into custom characters as much as my kids have, but this time around I was fine-tuning my hero as I unlocked new visual options.

DC Super-Villains backs up its charm with a host of gameplay improvements. First and foremost, it’s not prone to crashing or bugging out relentlessly. It also has little quality-of-life improvements sprinkled throughout. In the past, when you encounter a task that your current character can’t perform, such as blowing up silver bricks as Harley-Quinn, your character will look at the camera and shrug. Ordinarily, you’d then have to manually cycle through the roster to find the correct person for the job. Now, when you swap, it immediately jumps to an appropriate one – a particular time-saver in free-play mode, which offers more than a 100 different characters to pore over. Platforming is more precise than in past games, and level designs don’t lean on extended jumping sections as much as they have in the past. That aspect has always been weak, and it’s about time that TT Games gave it some attention. Puzzles can still occasionally be a little out there, but loads of built-in hints keep younger players and their impatient parents moving if needed.

 

When you’re done with the story, you explore a huge open world divided into well-known locations like Metropolis, Gotham City, and Smallville. You’ll probably spend most of your time exploring those spaces, solving one-off environmental puzzles and helping your fellow villains with silly side missions. You’re still a villain at heart, however, which means your actions can draw the attention of law enforcement if you’re not careful. It’s a low-key riff on Grand Theft Auto’s wanted levels, which answers the question: Why doesn’t anyone care that I’m breaking everything? Answer: They do, but it doesn’t get in the way too much.

I was disappointed with last year’s Lego Marvel Super-Heroes 2, but Lego DC Super-Villains addresses virtually everything I saw wrong with that release. If you hate Lego games, this isn’t going to change your mind. For everyone else, this is a delightful return to form which hopefully serves as a reference for TT Games’ future projects.

As part of Sega’s financial report, the company revealed that it has eliminated 80% of what it calls “long overtime hours,” or working more than 80 overtime hours a month. 

Sega pushed forward this anti-crunch initiative in 2013 with a set goal of eliminating 100% of long overtime hours by 2020. It is important to note that this initiative is right now only being used in four Sega-Sammy subsidiaries: Sega Games, Sega Entertainment (Arcades), TMS Animation, and Sega Toys. Still, it is primarily aimed at the long hours of video game development and the need to dispel the idea that crunch is necessary in the industry.

“The main focus of the Group’s work-style reforms is the achievement of a balance between work and private life,” the report reads, explaining that rested workers make better business sense. “We want employees to have quality time outside of the office so that they do not lose their creative drive. Well-established measures that the Group has introduced to reduce long overtime work have produced tangible results.”

Another prong of this initiative is encouraging and exploring working from home for employees that can perform their duties without having to come in.

It’s not an absolute win for those who dislike crunch, however, as the initiative still allows for a fairly large degree of overtime, just not the 100 hours per month in the criteria.

[Source: Gamasutra]

With Shenmue HD releasing earlier this year, packaging together both Dreamcast adventure games about martial artist Ryo Hazuki searching for his father’s killer, fans were happy to see signs of life from the series beyond the oft-delayed Shenmue III releasing next year. The HD remaster, however, faced a lot of criticisms for bugs, and did little to help some of the game’s more dated textures look better.

It turns out, there might be a reason for that, as the tech savants at Digital Foundry have discovered. The outlet has obtained footage of a hereto unknown full remaster of the released Shenemue series that rides the line between remaster and remake, and looks to be far more ambitious and impressive than the HD remaster that released. According to Digital Foundry, the game was in development for quite a while, but budget constraints forced the developer to abandon the product and work on a far simpler HD update for the game in the time between cancellation in late 2017 and the game’s release two months ago.

Check out the video below for more information and a good look at the cancelled title.

It would explain some of the remaster’s odder quirks, like new bugs that focused on random objects during cutscenes, or disappearing character models during dialogue. Sega might have felt the original project was getting far too expensive, an issue with the original game they certainly didn’t want to repeat. It is also possible they simply needed the game out before the Kickstarted and independent Shenmue III releases and a remake of that scale wasn’t going to come out in time.

It’s hard to say and, as of right now, Sega has not acknowledged the video or the existence of the cancelled game. It seems possible that we’ll never know for sure, but it is kind of frustrating that we’ll probably never get the game that is in that video.

Shenmue III, which is being developed by Yu Suzuki’s team independently of Sega beyond having their blessing, has a strangely specific release date of August 27, 2019.

Paul Allen, co-founder of tech giant Microsoft, has passed away at age 65 due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his investment company announced today.

Allen founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in the 1970s, helping to spearhead the deal that allowed Microsoft to purchase the Quick and Dirty Operating System, or QDOS, that subsequently paved Microsoft’s way to financial success and creating their own operating system. 

Allen eventually left the company but retained his founding shares, making him a billionaire when the company went public. Like many Seattle philanthropists, he became a fixture of the city’s sports scene and shepherded the Seattle Seahawks to three Superbowl appearances and a win as owner. 

Our thoughts and condolences are with Paul Allen’s loved ones.

In Sega’s 2018 integrated report released over the weekend, Sega gave lifetime numbers for a lot of its major series and recent games. Part of the report broke down the shifting momentum of their Yakuza series, which has hit parity between Japan and the west for the first time with this year’s release of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life.

The Yakuza series has long-struggled to establish a foothold in western markets, to the point of infeasibility for certain games in the series. The first title was pitched as Grand Theft Auto-in-Tokyo game, which fans will tell you worked out poorly for its overall perception. Later games did not have proper or enough marketing muscle behind them and eventually Sony helped step in to bring over the game at fans’ request.

Starting with Yakuza 0, Sega made a concerted effort to readjust its strategies for bringing Yakuza to America, and the series has been on an upward trend since. The series had always been fairly large in Japan, enough to justify its fairly frequent release schedule, but Yakuza 6 marks the first time it has been as big in America. At this point, the game has likely exceeding its Japanese counterpart, which would have been unheard of years ago.

After this year’s release of Yakuza Kiwami 2, the only announced Yakuza title is Yakuza Online, which is partly to tell the background story of the new series protagonist. There have been HD remasters of Yakuza 3, 4, and 5 announced or released in Japan, but there has been no confirmation of release outside of the country. In the meantime, the studio is working on the very Yakuza-like Project Judge, which has already been announced for a western release.

[Source: Videogamer]

 

Good for the series, as the localization has been knocking it out of the park in the last few years. Maybe now is a good time to start begging for Isshin and Kenzan again?

Back at E3, we got our hands on Ubisoft’s entry in the toys-to-life genre, a sci-fi themed game called Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Today, we’re taking another look at the title, with more of a focus on all the plastic bits. 

Matt Miller takes Kyle, Leo, and me on a journey through space on the Switch version of the game. As Miller points out, that’s probably the one to get, considering that it’s the only way you’ll have access to all the StarFox content. We also get a look at how the ships can be reconfigured on the fly, a couple of the pilots (including some kind of alien gasbag), and how the planetary exploration works.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on October 16.

After some teasing, OOTP Developments is set to release Out of the Park Baseball 19’s free fantasy card-collection mode – Perfect Team – in November. I recently got my hands on the team-building mode via a closed beta, and although not all the parts are in yet, it’s a promising addition built on the back of the game’s already extensive sim options.

Setting up your team through your initial six packs is pretty straightforward: You’ll get enough players to jump in and play no problem, and it’s up to you to determine your starting rotation and batting lineup, and tweak the strategic knobs as little or as much as you want to (more on this later).

This is a standard pack costing 1,000 perfect points. Points are earned in the game for your accomplishments, and can also be bought with real money for approximately 99 cents for 1,000 points

What makes Perfect Team different and interesting is that all the games in the current league format are simmed. Games start every 30 minutes, giving you time in between to scout your opponent, buy packs of players if you want, and make adjustments to your team and strategy. The countdown aspect of the mode adds real-time drama to what can be a hands-off experience, and since it runs whether you’re actively playing the game/mode or not (there are many aspects that can be set to be automated), you’re not sweating the loss of a particular game but rather concentrating on the factors that can turn you into a winner in the long run as you try to get promoted all the way up to the majors (and avoid relegation from season to season).

Of course, adding new players to your team through packs of random players (current and historic) is the main way to do this, but I wasn’t as fixated on this initially as I was trying to decipher how to setup my players for success. I admit I’m not a big baseball fan or expert, but I was intrigued by the avenues available.

After consulting with my colleague and baseball fan Brian Shea about some of the basics, I made sure I was setting up my lineup versus right- and left-handed pitchers correctly as well as the general batting order (there are no injuries in the mode, but fatigue has to be watched). Doing this and setting my overall team strategy to “traditional” produced some instant wins, and the game has other strategy presets like “small ball” and “sabermetric” that set sliders like how often you sacrifice bunt or use infield shifts which you can also tweak yourself. Going a layer deeper, individual players can be put on a pitch count, have an aggressive attitude towards base stealing, and much more. While my lack of expertise restricts specific conclusions, I venture to guess that there’s a big enough sandbox for more savvy players than myself to make meticulous use of their rosters and to build a side capable of getting wins regularly.

I guess for me the next step would be to find a team strategy that fits my current roster better or dip into the marketplace and see what players I could buy to suit whatever strategy I choose. Unfortunately the marketplace was disabled in the beta, so I can’t comment on it, but it will be very interesting to see if gamers can identify and utilize specific types of players to suit their needs, hopefully opening up the viability of Moneyball situations and enabling different paths to winning rather than just owning the “best” cards.

A quick tour through the mode’s menus – including ways to customize your team with historic logos

Unwanted cards can be auctioned off and points to buy new packs or cards are awarded based on your achievements – whether you win or lose or if you’re present for the sim or not. My team didn’t win a ton, but I managed to get points for packs for achievements like a hot hitter, home runs, and milestones large and small.

Going forward, I’m curious how the marketplace settles and if selling unwanted cards or flipping in-demand cards is a viable strategy to make points in case you aren’t winning lots of games. Similarly, the question remains whether buying packs (you can see pack odds) is a worthwhile way to spend your points versus being savvy in picking up key individual players. 

As many options as there are in the mode (including being able to watch replays or highlights of past games), since it sims games naturally you lose a measure of control such as being able to micromanage your bullpen during games. Out of the Park Developments is planning to add a live head-to-head component to the Perfect Team which will solve this, and looking further out, we’ll have to keep an eye on how the mode continues to grow and offer new experiences to players.


To close, here are some questions regarding the mode answered via email by OOTP creator Markus Heinsohn.

Will individual players or packs be given out as rewards, or just points?
You also sometimes get packs when you play OOTP in offline solo Challenge Mode and unlock achievements there… In the future we will add “Missions” related to collecting (e.g. have a rotation of ’90s Braves pitchers, collect all 2018 Yankees, etc.) whose completion will generate Perfect Points or exclusive cards or packs. We have not decided yet. Likely all of them.

Is there any farm system/minor leagues for players in your reserve roster?
No. This is not planned, and it would slow down simulations, and that’s crucial. We will have hundreds of leagues and they all will have to be simulated in 30 minutes.

Do you intend to release different versions of player cards already released? (i.e. Will there be bronze, silver, gold, etc. versions of the same player?)
Historical players sometimes do have various different cards, although those are most likely Silver or better. For example, we have four different Babe Ruth cards, all from our different historical card categories (One Hit Wonders, Rookie Sensations, Historical All-Stars, Record Breakers, Top WAR, Historical Legends and (still in development) Unsung Heroes). Live cards will only have one per player, plus special cards for special events, like All-Star Game, World Series, etc.”

How does the game handle players who enter a league mid-season?
Users who enter mid-season will enter the Entry Pool, where the record does not matter and they play random opponents from the Entry Pool each simulated day. Regular league play lasts seven days (we simulate 28 league days per day) and once a new cycle starts, users from the Entry Pool will be promoted to the Rookie Leagues.

Will you allow user-created leagues? Will you create more leagues than the ones at launch?
User-created leagues: No. We will however have a feature that lets you tag other users as friends, and when the new leagues are set up, the server tries to combine as many friends into leagues of the same level as possible.
More leagues? This is a dynamic system… Ex: Once we launch PT, we will wait 3-4 days while the Entry Pool fills up with new users/teams. Then we will start the regular League play, and all Entry Pool users get promoted to Rookie League. While the first season runs, new users enter the Entry Pool, and once the first season is over, the top four Teams from each Rookie League will get promoted to Single A and the Entry Pool team will go to the Rookie Leagues. After a few seasons ( = weeks) we’ll have a league structure that will resemble a pyramid with X Major Leagues at the top. The system will dynamically evolve over time.

For more on Out of the Park Baseball 19’s Perfect Team, check out this FAQ from the OOTP Developments official forum as well as some more screens and info.

Epic Games has announced that Fortnite will soon be getting in-game tournaments, another step toward the company’s attempts to provide an esports foundation for the battle royale shooter. Moreover, the in-game tournaments don’t segregate players based on control types, so players using a mouse, a controller, or even a touchscreen will all be competing with each other.

The idea, Epic explains in a blog post, is to get a bunch of players together online and score points based on kills or high placements within matches. Play well and don’t coward out at the same time to rocket to the top of the tournament scene. Players who get to the end win a shiny pin, which will theoretically award them entry into advanced tournaments down the line.

The tournaments will take place through the game client at scheduled times, putting players in multiple matches over the course of hours and matchmaking them based on score. So players who do well will start moving up to face tougher opponents, while those who are struggling will find an easier time over the course of matches.

As mentioned, the tournaments won’t separate people on different versions or control schemes. This means the guy who took you out might have been using a controller or their iPhone when you were using a keyboard and mouse. Epic says that they came to this decision after witnessing high-level play among various different versions of Fortnite and seeing that the best players can keep up and exceed their PC brethren.

The first tournament begins in alpha form tomorrow, letting players try their hand against the rest of the world’s Fortnite players soon. Here’s a full list of the tournament dates below, with full timing information available within the client itself as it varies by region.

  • Alpha Tournament (Solo)

    • Dates: October 16 – October 21
    • Description: Participate in the first in-game tournament, spanning across several days of daily competition! 
  • Beta Tournament (Duo)
    • Dates: October 23 – October 25
    • Description: Grab a friend and take on the world – until you are the last two left.
  • Friday Night Fortnite (Squad)
    • Dates: October 19 – November 30
    • Description: Join your friends every Friday and kick off your weekend with some exciting Squad action. 
  • Salty Springs Cup (Solo)
    • Dates: October 27 – October 31
    • Description: One week and three attempts to prove you’re the saltiest that Salty Springs has to offer. 
  • Tomato Temple Cup (Duo)
    • Dates: October 28 – November 1
    • Description: Become legends of the Tomato Temple Cup.

To play, you must opt-in for crossplay first, otherwise you won’t be getting the full pool of possible players. Fortnite is the vanguard of crossplay on consoles, being the first (and thus far only) game to allow it on PlayStation 4 and being an exception to Nintendo’s online play membership service.

What do you think? Is Epic making the right call having all the control types play together? Or is that the only way to actually be fair? Let us know in the comments below.

Jump Force, the upcoming Bandai Namco game that gathers an assortment of popular Shonen Jump characters into one fighting game, held a beta this weekend. We played a bunch of it, training against CPU fighters and dipping our toes into the online competition. While we were there, we also grabbed footage of every character’s Awakened Technique, which is basically their ultimate attack that can only be used after they have taken enough damage. You can check out the video above.

For more on Jump Force, head here for an interview with producer Koji Nakajima. Jump Force is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC in February.