It’s no secret that Aliens: Colonial Marines was a mess. The story was lackluster, the gunplay unsatisfying. Worst of all, encounters with the game’s xenomorphs could be downright comical. Instead of the stalking menaces we saw in the films, players were left fighting aliens that acted surprised to be there. But what if there was an easy way to mitigate at least some of the damage? A modder’s discovery from a year ago is suddenly getting a lot of attention for doing just that.
James Dickinson, who has been working on an overhaul mod for the game, made the bizarre discovery while poking around with the game’s configuration files. By correcting a typo in a .ini file from “teather” to “tether,” the aliens seem to gain a whole new interest in actively participating in the game. You can see the full instructions in his post.
I decided to give it a shot, so I reinstalled the game and tested it out myself. First, I launched it as-is, and was instantly reminded of why I thought it stunk when I reviewed it five years ago. The aliens didn’t behave like they did in the films; instead of behaving like cunning predators, they sprinted at characters like they just wanted to get it all over with as quickly as possible.
Then I fixed the typo. The difference was significant. The xenos seemed as though they were more aware of their surroundings, incorporating cover into their attacks and generally behaving like active participants in their game. Dickinson speculates that the typo prevented the A.I. from reacting to its environment or switching routines from, say, patrolling to flanking. Regardless of what’s happening under the hood, it’s worth trying. You’re not likely to make it any worse, after all. (Case in point: On a fresh install, the game dropped me into the world without my pulse rifle. Or at least, it wasn’t visible or functional. At least my shotgun decided to come along.)
This week sees the return of the Overwatch League, but that’s not all that’s going on this weekend. Lots of shooters are coming out for their day in the sun, and who are we to deny it to them?
Oh hey, the Overwatch League returns! With all of the seasonal stages out of the way, we can finally get into the real deal: elimination matches. Will the Shanghai Dragons make it past the first round? They theoretically could, damnit! (Stream / Schedule)
League of Legends’ North American circuit heads into its fourth week, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some exciting matches today! (Stream / Schedule)
The Heroes of the Storm HGC continues unabated in its third week, so in case you need more of Blizzard’s heroes, make sure to check it out. (Stream / Schedule)
Meanwhile the Hearthstone pro circuit is in Oakland, California this weekend for its next major! (Stream / Schedule)
Rounding out the Blizzard-related festivities is the StarCraft II WCS in Valencia, Spain for Dreamhack which should be a fun change of pace from all the MOBA and shooter action we’ve been seeing recently. (Stream and Schedule)
Not one to be left out, Rainbow Six Siege is also part of Dreamhack this year, and offers something very different from the average shooter in terms of watchability and tactics. (Stream / Schedule)
Brawlhalla is also joining the action at Dreamhack, so if you’d like to see one of the biggest non-Nintendo platform fighters in action, check it out! (Stream / Schedule)
We also have a join Gears of War 4/Halo 5: Guardians event going on this weekend in New Orleans, and you if you weren’t able to make the trip out to see both events, you can always sit back and watch it on the Big Easy, which is what I assume you call your couch. (Halo 5 Stream / Gears 4 Stream / Schedule)
That’s it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed an event, or if there’s a scene you’d like us to cover, in the comments below.
Rainbow Six Siege is a game about teamwork as much as it is about competition and Ubisoft is keen to enforce that. Since yesterday, players have been getting instantly banned when they use slurs of the racial or sexual varieties.
In April, Ubisoft penned a post on their Rainbow Six Siege blog about making attempts to curb toxicity within the game, echoing similar statements from developers like Blizzard concerning Overwatch. The R6 Twitter account has spent the better part of the day replying to complaining players and explaining the reasoning. “Fighting against toxicity and cleaning up the Siege environment is a very real and important issue,” reads one reply from the official account.
The response to that tweet from a player was “And fair matchmaking.”
Reddit user EMU4 showed how the ban works. Within seconds of typing a homophobic slur, EMU4 is removed from the match. Content warning for said slur. Previously, someone would have to be reported and the report investigated. In the aforementioned toxicity post, Ubisoft indicated that the game would censor banned words, but it seems they’re going for a more aggressive deterrent.
While most are applauding Ubisoft for the policy, some definitely aren’t. Some players are angrily demanding returns. One tweet complains that the person will have to keep from using text chat just so they don’t get banned.
Rainbow Six Siege is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Few locations are as iconic as Shenmue’s Dobuita street, if only for as long as you spend as Ryo wandering the streets looking for answers about his father’s killer. Ahead of the HD re-releases of Shenmue I and II, Sega is taking you back to Dobuita Street with a short documentary that features new footage of the HD remaster.
Adam Koralik and Imran Yusuf walk you through why Shenmue was so notable for its time and how Dobuita feels like a home away from home.
Shenmue I and II released together on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 21.
We’re kicking off season 5 of Replay by adding some small, but noticeable changes. For one, Leo Vader now has a camera in his booth so you can look at his face when he decides it’s pertinent! Also, if the two games we played today are any indication, it looks like we will now be playing bad games on Replay. Admittedly, that’s not too different from what we usually do, but today’s selections are exceptionally bad.
Join Andrew Reiner, Jeff Cork, Leo Vader (now with camera!), and me as we muscle our way through a few rounds of Celebrity Deathmatch before ending with another game that involves celebrities being surprisingly violent to one another.
As always, thanks for watching! We’re excited to be starting this new season!
It’s the weekend again, and the G.I. staff is taking that time to do what anyone in our situation would do: play Pokémon Go, “research” arcade games, stare into the void, and apologize profusely for unfulfilled promises.
Be sure to comment below to let us know about your weekend plans!
Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – To the dedicated fans who read Weekend Warrior, I have to apologize. A few weeks ago I mentioned on this very website I would be playing Detroit: Become Human on that particular weekend. I did not do that, and I absolutely regret this dishonest lapse in character. This weekend, I am fully dedicating myself to playing Detroit: Become Human, and I even played some of it last night to get ahead. I promise I will play this video game as declared here. I will not let you down. I will also be playing some Dota 2 because I want to get the style unlock for the Skywrath mage set and Cavern Crawl is fun when you use it to play Turbo mode. Thank you.
Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – I finally started playing Witcher 3 in earnest during the July 4 break. That game seems alright. I’ll probably play more of that. Otherwise, I will be attending a child’s birthday party (as a chaperone, not a guest), mowing the lawn, and you know… I’ll probably take a real hard look at myself, take some time to think, get introspective, and finally arrive at an answer to the question: do I really want to buy Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker so I can play it again on a new platform?
Leo Vader (@leovader) – Hoping and praying I can finally get my fifth Elusive Target Silent Assassin in Hitman so I can get that sweet winter coat once and for all! Then I’ll be playing that one Tom Clancy game about sieging. HAGS!
Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) – I’m at Pokémon Go Fest with my family and extra wheel Brian Shea. Last year’s festival turned the game into an unplayable mess. What will happen this year? Read my coverage to find out! After you do that, go see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – I’ll be in Chicago for Pokémon Go Fest this weekend, so that means I’ll be playing Pokémon Go. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.
Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – This weekend I hope to play more State of Decay 2. It took me a while to get around to it, but I’m happy to be sinking in now. Other than that, I’ll probably play some arcade games to study for next week’s episode of The GI Show. Have a good weekend!
Jacob Geller (@yacobg42) – I will be staring into the void for large portions of the weekend, hoping the void stares back and/or has snacks.
Camden Jones (@CCJ1997) – I might take a (brief) break from Destiny 2 to play Rime. I picked it up for free with PS Plus a while ago and finally tried it out last week. Ever since then, I’ve had a hankerin’ to go back to it. Otherwise, I’ll just listen to K-pop and dance in my room. Whatever keeps me busy between shifts at my other job.
The current Octopath Traveler box art features all eight of the game’s heroes together, representing the actual structure of the game fairly well. However, you may dislike a character or like one of the eight the best, so the cover doesn’t serve all your needs. Fret not! Nintendo is offering different box arts for download on their website.
You can get them from the MyNintendo store here and the entire set cost you 50 platinum points. The Platinum points don’t come from purchases, so you don’t need to worry there, you will get enough points from logging in and clicking around the site for a bit.
Today is Friday the 13th, which is the perfect excuse to share some spooky-scary features about video games that inspire fright. This feature, covering the history of the game would go on to inspire Resident Evil, originally appeared in issue 282.
Tokuro Fujiwara didn’t play video games; he didn’t even know that Konami was a game developer when he walked into the studio to apply for a product planner job he’d heard about through a college recruiter. However, Fujiwara excelled at game development. After breaking into the industry at Konami, Fujiwara moved over to Capcom, where he created Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Bionic Commando before working on other 8-bit classics such as Strider, DuckTales, and Mega Man 2.
Fujiwara’s most significant contribution to the gaming industry, however, might be an often-overlooked RPG for Nintendo’s first console that never officially released outside Japan. Entitled Sweet Home, Fujiwara’s project sounds like a game bound for obscurity; it was an adaptation of a low-budget Japanese horror film that served as an early experiment in video game horror. In spite of all this, Sweet Home became a cult hit and went on to inspire the Resident Evil franchise as well as the entire survival horror genre.
At some point in the late ‘80s, Capcom began talking with Japanese film company Itami Productions about making a game based on the then-upcoming film Sweet Home. The gory horror flick centered on a small crew of documentarians who break into the abandoned country home of a famous artist named Ichirō Mamiya. According to legend, 30 years previously Ichirō hid several precious frescos somewhere inside his home, and the fictional film crew hope to uncover these lost treasures for a documentary. Unfortunately, a mysterious ghost traps the crew inside the late artist’s house, kicking off a series of paranormal events ultimately leading to their demise.
Before the film’s theatrical debut, Capcom sent Fujiwara to walk through the set and talk with the film’s director. Fujiwara and his team used reference materials from this visit to create many of the objects and environments in the game. When it came to the script, however, Fujiwara took several liberties, often elaborating on story elements that were only hinted at in the film.
For example, at one point in the movie, the fictional documentarians stumble upon a small grave. The crew then discovers that the grave belonged to Ichirō’s infant son, who had died tragically after accidentally falling into a furnace. Devastated by this event, Ichirō’s wife kills herself and begins haunting their home.
This plot point isn’t developed further in the film, but in the game, Fujiwara added a series of collectable diary entries that expand on the narrative. These diaries explain how Ichirō’s wife was driven crazy after the death of her child, and how she proceeded to lure other young children to their deaths so her son would have playmates in the afterlife. Thronging with premature souls, Ichirō’s house eventually becomes a hotspot of paranormal activity.
It was unprecedented in the late ‘80s for a video game to expand on a film’s narrative in this way. Most games of the era were lucky if they could accurately communicate the main beats of the film they were adapting, let alone embellish the narrative. Fujiwara, on the other hand, knew games were capable of doing more than was expected of them, and this push to explore the limits of the gaming medium can be seen in every element of Sweet Home’s design.
Since Fujiwara’s game was based on a movie, developing its story was relatively easy. However, Fujiwara had few reference points when it came to designing Sweet Home’s gameplay. A few early PC titles had played around with horror themes, such as Nostromo and 3D Monster Maze, but games rarely delivered the kind of oppressive atmosphere Fujiwara wanted. In 2003, Fujiwara told the Japanese gaming magazine Continue he wanted Sweet Home’s gameplay to be an interesting mix of unconventional concepts and an attempt to do something the industry hadn’t seen before.
Many of Sweet Home’s gameplay concepts still sound fresh even by today’s standards. Players control five different heroes as they explore Ichirō’s mansion and participate in random turn-based RPG encounters. Unlike most RPGs, however, monsters didn’t drop money or items. Instead, Fujiwara thought it would be more interesting if players collected important story items in the world and then used those items to open up new areas – a gameplay system that would later become a staple of the survival horror genre.
Players could also group their heroes into teams of up to three, but that meant one team was always short by at least one member. Characters also had special items that gave them unique abilities. For example, one character had a lighter that could burn away ropes blocking corridors and doorways, while another character had a first-aid pack that could neutralize status ailments. The difficulty ramped up significantly if party members started to die thanks to a permadeath system. However, Sweet Home remembered those who sacrificed themselves for the greater good and delivered one of five different endings based on players’ actions throughout the game.
One of Sweet Home’s most impressive features was successfully selling the horror experience on Nintendo’s 8-bit console. As players explored the mansion, furniture would suddenly move to attack them, ghosts could be seen fluttering down the hall out of the corner of the screen, and distorted animal’s sounds would be heard echoing though the mansion’s blood-scrawled walls. Sweet Home’s graphics seem crude by today’s standards, but when players first got their hands on the game two-and-a-half decades ago, many of them were too scared to play in the dark. Fujiwara had accomplished his goal: No one had ever seen anything like Sweet Home before.
A Reign Of Terror
Sweet Home released in Japan in 1989 for Nintendo’s Famicom, and received generally favorable reviews. The film’s official trailer actually helped promote the game, and many reviewers thought the game was the better product.
Unfortunately, RPGs had an unproven track record in the U.S. at the time, and Nintendo of America’s stringent release guidelines showed preference for kid-friendly content, so Capcom decided against localizing the game for the NES in Western markets. Despite that decision, Sweet Home’s legacy would be felt worldwide.
Years later, after the release of Sony’s first PlayStation console, Fujiwara was still fond of his work on Sweet Home. Now a producer at Capcom, Fujiwara felt like it was time for the company to remake Sweet Home as a new franchise using updated console technology. He handed the project to a creative young director named Shinji Mikami.
Resident Evil – as it would come to be called – was groundbreaking for a lot of reasons and deserves its spot in gaming’s hall of fame. However, many of Resident Evil’s most iconic elements, including the mansion setting, multiple protagonists with specialized items, environmental puzzles, telling a story though scattered notes, item management with a limited inventory, and even the door loading screen are all on display in Sweet Home. Resident Evil – and the entire horror genre – owe a blood debt to this long-forgotten 8-bit game that had no right to be as good as it was.
Rain clouds and a sense of dread hang over Pokémon Go Fest on the eve of its gates opening to the public. Heavy rain is likely the least of the worries for people who traveled from around the world to attend this gathering of Pokémon Go fans in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. These trainers, as they like to be called, are more concerned with the stability of the game, and wondering if they’ll even get the chance to play it.
At last year’s inaugural Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago’s Grant Park, the game was unplayable for most of the 20,000 people in attendance. As people baked in the sun, and the hours ticked by without hardly anyone being able to catch a single Pokémon, angry chants of “fix the game” and “refund” grew in volume. Niantic didn’t have any answers for the game blackout. Most cellular networks were overloaded by people trying to connect to them, and even if they did, the game itself wasn’t letting people in.
In the late hours of the festival, Niantic expanded the size of the digital play space that only people with tickets could access. Stretching a couple of miles into the heart of Chicago, showgoers dispersed from Grant Park and were able to finally start playing the game in the less occupied areas of the city. This switch saved the festival, and trainers walked away somewhat relieved, as their Pokédexes were filled with rare Unowns, Heracrosses, and the first Legendaries in the game. Despite getting the Pokémon they wanted in the end, people who attended still felt the Fest was a bust, and filed a class-action lawsuit against Niantic. The company settled it earlier this year for $1.5 million.
Niantic clearly believes that large gatherings of players are possible in Pokémon Go. The company has successfully united players at other events around the globe, but the United States, and Chicago in particular, have proven tricky.
To see Niantic return to the scene of the crime in Chicago is puzzling, but perhaps is a sign that the company has confidence in the game’s performance. The first notable change is moving the festival from Grant Park, which was a circle that grouped everyone in a large cluster, to the more spacious Lincoln Park. The hope is that trainers will be spread out and the networks and game won’t be overloaded. Niantic has set up a 1.8-mile course for players in the park with activities littered along the way.
Cell coverage should also be better. Chicago Sun Times contacted four of the largest cellular networks, and learned there will be more COWs (cell on wheels) and COLTs (cell on light trucks) in the area. Verizon is bringing in two COLTs, AT&T has two COWs, Sprint one COW, and T-Mobile says it will have four additional cell sites on hand. AT&T’s COWs are expected to boost performance capacity by 452 percent.
Niantic is also beginning the festival with an expanded digital play space. If trainers run into issues in the park, they can immediately vacate it and head into the city to hopefully have better luck.
Why are trainers taking a chance on this festival again? For the exclusive Pokémon that will likely only be at the event. We already know that the region-based Torkoal will migrate from India to Chicago for two days.
Rain or shine, Pokémon Go fans will be out in full force this weekend. Here’s hoping they have better luck filling out their Pokédexes with new critters than last year. I will be one of the many walking through the park with my eyes glued to my phone. You can read about my experience tomorrow, and I’ll also share all of the breaking news as it hits.
Enter the Gungeon released in 2016 to positive reviews and has since made its way to Xbox One and Switch, steadily growing its fanbase in the process. Today, developer Dodge Roll announced the game’s free Gungeons & Draguns expansion is coming to all platforms on July 19.
The massive free expansion Advanced Gungeons & Draguns hits Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on July 19! [pending console approvals] pic.twitter.com/qZoColzp6b
According to Dodge Roll, the expansion will add, “Hundreds of new rooms with dozens of new weapons, items, enemies, and ammo types. Hundreds of new, wild synergies. More generous drops rates. Slide over tables and coffins,” and more.