Between a number of major esports events coming to a head, the fighting game scene having events across the world, and some good ol’ Rocket League, there should be more than enough to keep you busy this weekend.

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene has its sights set squarely on Dallas, Texas this weekend, as the ESL Pro League’s seventh season promises strong, high-stakes matches throughout the weekend. (Stream and Schedule)

The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational wraps up tomorrow which the finals bringing Royal Never Give Up and [TEAM] up against each other for one last match to determine winner. (Stream / Schedule)

If China hours work for you, you can watch the concluding rounds of the Dota 2‘s MDL event live from Changsha. It’ll (probably) be worth staying up late! (Stream)

Rainbow Six Siege continues to gain momentum, and the third season of its Pro League should show you why. Watch the best in the world take the game for a spin and see why it’s still alive and more competitive than ever! (Stream / Schedule)

A new stage in the Overwatch League means a new chance for the Shanghai Dragons to finally earn their first win. Will this be the day? We can only hope! (Stream / Schedule)

We have a few cool fighting game events this weekend. First, we have Battle Arena, Australia’s big fighting game event. Included Titles include Tekken 7, Street Fighter V, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and more. (Streams and Schedule)

Next up is Stunfest, which takes place in Rennes, Bretagne, and will feature many of the staples featured above and tournaments for more obscure titles like Breakers Revenge, Capcom Vs. SNK 2, and Windjammers. (Streams / Schedule)

We then have Toryuken, which will feature a large cross-section of the same games, but will also have tournaments for Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], Ultra Street Fighter, and Garou: Mark of the Wolves. (Streams and Schedule)

Hearthstone‘s big event for the week is the Asia-Pacific Playoffs, which will see players in the region fighting elimination matches for their tournament lives. (Stream)

Rocket League‘s Northern Arena Invitational brings together upcoming and major teams in the game for some high-level action. (Stream)

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.

Bandai Namco has hit the go button on Dragon Ball FighterZ’s first time-limited event, The Emperor Strikes Back.

The event is part of the Party Battle, which aggregates every person’s wins against the event boss to see if players can win the event. Players fight a harder version of Frieza and the wins are counted from all players in all regions. As producer Tomoko Hiroki explained, “The number of enemies defeated during this event is linked across the world, so the number of players participating and the cooperation between those players will become an important point for this event.”

You can participate in this event now and it runs through 11:00 PM PT on May 21. If you participate, you’ll get a reward Zeni and Premium Z Coins.

State of Decay 2 does a great job of letting you explore the
post-apocalypse at your own pace and tell your own unique stories. However,
it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and get lost when you first drop into the vast,
open world and try to establish your community. While so much of the fun of
State of Decay 2 is in doing things your way and establishing a canon for your
community, we wanted to give you some beginner tips to help you hit the ground
running.

Always Bring A Vehicle
State of Decay 2 is all about scavenging every last inch of
the wasteland. While that sometimes means embarking on foot to make sure you
don’t miss tucked away camps and buildings, having a car is immeasurably
helpful. More often than not, I headed home thanks to reaching my carrying
capacity. When you’re over encumbered, you can’t pick up any more items and you
use more stamina. Plus, you can only ever carry one rucksack of resources on your person at any time.

Having a vehicle not only allows you to get to your
destination much quicker, but you can also use the trunk space to load up more
items and resources to bring back to your community. Since you need to monitor
the fuel levels, I often scavenged areas rich in fuel and stored a gas can or
two in the trunk; there are few things more frustrating than being far from
your community with a ton of resources in the vehicle and you run out of gas
with no reserves.

On that same note, be careful about off-roading. It’s super
easy to get your vehicle wedged between rocks. If you need to find a new car (I
recommend stockpiling them), climb to a survey point (indicated by binoculars
on the map) and search for one there. When you bring it back to base, park it
in the designated parking spots in your base and you’ll be able to upgrade it
with armor.

Pay Attention To Your
Community

Since your main objective in State of Decay 2 is to create a
prosperous community, this should be a no-brainer. However, there are so many
places to keep an eye on that it can be difficult to stay on top. The first,
and most pressing, issue when you drop in is to gather nearby resources so all
your community’s basic needs are met. Community needs include fuel, food,
medicine, and materials, which can be found by scavenging for rucksacks across
the wasteland. To deposit the resources, you must bring them to the built-in
storage facility at your base.

As morale drops, characters are more likely to get into
fights, dropping morale even further. If things get too dire, you may even lose
community members who think they’re better off on their own. You can keep
your finger on the pulse of your community using the “Base” screen in the
menus. Under the “Morale” section, you can view the major contributing factors
to your community’s happiness or unhappiness. Is someone upset and you can’t
figure out why? This screen will give you a great overview. You see who
wants certain facilities built, which characters are fighting, those who are
worried about nearby infestations, and other elements contributing to your team’s state.

The best way to quickly improve morale is to target the
biggest pain point affecting the most amount of your community members and
address it as soon as possible. For me, that meant building a watchtower, but
based on who has joined your community, the desires could easily change. If one
character is particularly upset, you can drill even deeper into their morale by
highlighting them on the “Community” page in the menus.

Upgrading and modding your community can also greatly help
with stabilizing your group. An upgraded watchtower prevents horde invasions,
while an upgraded infirmary lets characters recover faster. I found a lot of
value in upgrading my storage facility, since any surplus of resources that
exceeds your capacity is likely to ruin; and the command center, which
allows for the founding of additional outposts.

Outposts are also a great way to help your community
prosper, but you should be careful about which ones you claim. A ton of
buildings can be set up as outposts for your community, which allow you to swap
characters and store items there, but you want to find ones that give
additional bonuses, like a farm that produces extra food each day, or a house
that adds beds for your teammates to sleep on. Few things drop morale like a
community with not enough beds to sleep on, and having enough beds ensures your characters recover their stamina in a timely fashion.

Swap Characters Often
Monitoring and managing stamina is of the utmost importance. Once you’ve
founded your community, you have a few different characters to choose
from within the “Community” page in the menus when you’re within your base’s or outpost’s walls. Embarking with a low-stamina character is a bad idea, as they get tired after just a couple swings of their melee weapon and can’t run if things get hairy. Swapping to another character for a while allows the exhausted community member to recover after several minutes. It’s also important to choose your character based on their strengths; if you’re going to clear a Plague Heart, it’s probably a good idea to bring a strong shooter or close-combat character with you, while someone with a high “Wits” stat will serve you best on a scavenging mission.

If you’re playing co-op in someone else’s world, you can also swap out characters by entering the “Community” screen when you’re within the host’s base.

Use Your Influence
Wisely

Nearly every action you do in State of Decay 2 gains you
influence. Whether it’s killing a zombie to gain +5 influence or completing a
mission with your neighbors to earn +250, influence acts as the main currency
in the game. You can use influence in trades, or use it to found
outposts/homes; the better the outpost or home is, the more influence it costs.

You can also use small chunks of influence to call in favors
over your radio. If you’re short on a particular resource, you can use 35
resource to locate scavenging locations. You can also use influence over the
radio to ask for medical advice or locate Plague Hearts to destroy.

Using influence in trading can be extremely useful. I once
located a wandering trader and used nothing but my influence to obtain a
high-end explosives launcher. You can also use trades to earn influence by handing
over items without taking anything else in return.

Stock Up Before
Embarking

This may seem obvious, but sometimes the
excitement of a new mission causes hasty recklessness. In addition to always
depositing excess materials your character doesn’t need to carry around, you
should always check in with your storage locker before leaving base. While not
the most exciting activity, ensuring you have a backup melee weapon (they break
a lot if you get in a bunch of close-combat encounters) or enough ammo will
help you keep your characters alive. Of course, it’s a major balancing act, as
you don’t want to fill up too many of your inventory slots before heading out,
because that can severely limit the amount of items and resources you can pick up
while you’re out. I always make sure to bring sufficient ammo, a couple
melee weapons, and some healing items.

Don’t Get Caught Up On Other Characters… Literally
State of Decay 2 encourages you to cooperate
with friends and NPCs, but with so many missions taking place in tight
rooms and corridors, you’re always getting in each others’ way. If you
get stuck on another character, a simple press of the dodge button (“B” on
Xbox One) will get you around that character.

Help Your Neighbors
Your ultimate goal is to stabilize your community and put it
in a position to thrive. I’ve found that isolationism isn’t the best route for
that. Forging alliances with your neighbors can be extremely beneficial, even
leading to recruiting new community members at times. Helping neighbors is a
great way to accumulate influence, and having friends in your area can
establish new trading partners and characters who will have your back if things
go awry. If you get them to be friendly enough, they’ll even help you out with
labor around your base.

It can also come back to bite you if you don’t help certain
characters. On one instance, I was neglectful of my neighbors’ requests and they took it personally. I got a tip from someone to check out a nearby house,
but when I arrived, it was an ambush from another group of survivors – the
group I didn’t get around to helping days before. They killed one of my most
cherished community members in the attack and ensured I take all future requests
seriously.

Don’t Be Afraid to Run
Permadeath is a very real thing in State of Decay 2. Not only can you easily lose your favorite character, but when your community loses a member, morale drops significantly for a while as the rest of the team grieves. If you’re overwhelmed in a situation, it’s often best to live to fight another day.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was revealed the other day for the expected slate of consoles, though Switch owners may have been expecting some form of the game to also hit that system.

In recent months, a number of Twitter users had been claiming inside knowledge of Black Ops 4, suggesting or outright saying that the game would also be coming to Switch. Not so, says Treyarch senior producer Yale Miller. In an interview with Twinfinite, the site directly asked Miller if there are plans to bring any form of Black Ops 4 to the Switch.

“No, there is not,” responds Miller immediately.

Unless Nintendo has plans to announce it themselves at a later date, that answer seems fairly definitive. You can find our write up on Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s various modes from the event right here.

[Source: Twinfinite]

 

Our Take
This isn’t surprising, but I did kind of wonder if the de-emphasized single player might better lend itself to porting to Switch. Doesn’t seem like it’s worth doing for Activision, though, which is still bringing Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy next month.

Congratulations: You’ve successfully made it to another
weekend! If you’re anything like the G.I. staff, that means rewarding yourself
with 48 hours of decadent, game-playing laziness! Or yardwork. One of the two.

As always, share your weekend plans in the comments below – ours
are clearly as boring as all get out, so you’ve got nothing to be embarrassed
about!

Ben Hanson (@BlindBoy) – This weekend I’m going to continue my voyage through the gaming no man’s
land. I might mess around with some post-game God of War, continue playing The
Forest, or just go outside and stare at the sun. Have a good weekend! [Editor’s note: Don’t stare at the sun.]

Suriel Vazquez (@LootAddict) – My Destiny 2 grinding habit is back in full swing this weekend as I try to
wrap up the Sleeper Simulant questline while also backtracking and trying to
complete the Lost Prophecy verses from Curse of Osiris. If I can get three
Escalation Protocol levels done, I should be golden!

Andrew Reiner (@PapaReinman) – I’m playing both Yuku’s Island Express and Forgotten Anne, which I’m almost
done with. The weekend is mostly dominated by family time, but I hope to get in
some Overwatch and Fortnite matches when the household goes to bed. I’m also
going to see Deadpool 2.

Brian Shea (@SerialLiar) – I’m going to spend this weekend playing State of Decay 2 and Overwatch, and
maybe I’ll finally start Yakuza 6. Yes, I know I’ve been saying that for weeks
now.

Leo Vader (@JunkHeapJones) – I’m having computer problems again so I’ll play whatever happens to work on
that hunk o’ junk! Seems like Destiny 2 is one of around five games that work,
so maybe it’s time to get caught up on all that DLC. HAGS!

Jeff M (@GodofWoe) – I’ve yet to finish God of War, so I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of things. I italicized “swing”
there because Kratos swings his magic ax a lot. That would’ve been clearer if I
came up with some kind of punny incorporation of the word ax too, but life is
full of regrets.  

Kyle Hilliard (@LetMeTellYouMyWholeLifeStory) – I am still making my way through Ni no Kuni II, and having a good time with
it! Maybe I will finish it this weekend. I am getting pretty close, I can feel
it! I also think I will get the Switch version of Little Nightmares so I can
have Little Nightmares on my Switch, and then I can also play the DLC, which I
never did after playing it on Xbox One. I also want to watch The Castle of Cagliostro with my
daughter, which came to Netflix recently. I watched it years ago when it was on
the streaming service, but then it disappeared. I am glad it’s back. Hopefully
my daughter doesn’t feel like I am forcing her to watch it. She can walk away
if she wants.

Jeff Cork (@BackyardBraggadocio) – I have no idea what I’m going to be playing this weekend. I’m sure that I’ll
get a few Overwatch matches in, and I might resume my second playthrough of Red
Dead Redemption. It just started to get nice out, so I might do the unthinkable
and actually try and get out of the house. Yikes!

While it was announced a little while ago that ESRB was going to end short form ratings for digital games – that is, a free rating for games that aren’t going to ship physical retail copies that is usually used by indie games. The ESRB will be officially ending this program in June, presumably forcing developers to a paid ESRB submission.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board is responsible for assigning games content ratings based on a list of content given to them by the publisher or developer. Most retail stores will not accept games that aren’t rated by the ESRB and neither Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft accept games without ratings. Previously, indie developers releasing digitally and couldn’t afford the long form rating could use the short form rating free of charge. The phasing out of short form ratings is catching indie developers off guard, evidenced by this tweet by Indivisible developer Brandon Sheffield. 

The ESRB twitter account replied, saying “Developers of digital games and apps will still be able to obtain ESRB ratings at no cost through the IARC rating process. The Microsoft Store deployed IARC years ago and has committed to making IARC ratings accessible to all Xbox developers. So, developers should not be concerned.”

The IARC process referred to is the International Age Ratings Coalition, a process that allows developers to get multiple ratings for games across different regions. While the ESRB tweet pointed out the Microsoft Store, using IARC to get an ESRB rating is accepted by Google Play Store, the Nintendo eShop, and the Oculus Store, as well. There are plans for the PlayStation store, as well, but it is not yet in place.

The answer isn’t satisfying developers yet, as the IARC does have blind spots, and is not a full replacement for the short form submission process. An ESRB representative told GamesIndustry.biz that “We expect that an ESRB ratings solution will be available to all developers of console downloadable games at no cost to them without interruption.”

They go on to say that there is no hard date for the phasing out of the short form submission, so it is possible it may be delayed past the June ballpark.

[Source: GamesIndustry.biz]

 

Our Take
Hopefully indie developers can get a process that replaces the short form as well as possible, if not completely. Whether that’s through IARC or another free of charge submission process through the ESRB is up in the air, but the ESRB should probably sound less confused about the future plans.

Replay – Rage

In 2011, id Software, the studio that built Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake, gave gamers a new world to explore in Rage. This post-apocalyptic shooter wasn’t as well received as the aforementioned series, but still had a loyal following of fans. Me included. I gave the game review rating of 9 out of 10, and praised its fluid controls, vibe, and combat encounters. “Rage’s story and overworld design feel dated, but its heart-pounding
gunplay is a nice change of pace in a market filled with “follow me” and
pop-and-fire shooters,” I said in that review. “While light RPG elements are present, this is
mainly a game for players who love challenging combat experiences.”

How well did this ambitious shooter hold up? Better than you would think. Jeff Cork, Leo Vader, and Kyle Hilliard joined me for a look at Rage’s introductory moments, and both declared it to be the best shooter they’ve ever seen. I was shocked by their praise, but rolled with it, and we ended up having an amazing time. Watch the video for yourself, and I’m guessing you’ll be counting down the days until Rage 2 releases in 2019.

Our second game is even better, a true showpiece of technology. We hope you enjoy the episode, and check back in seven days for another look back at the games of yesteryear.

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We have a fairly solid group of pinball fans in our offices, and we don’t see many brand-new games in this niche space. Until now! Reiner popped into the studio to share his enthusiasm over a weird little game called Yoku’s Island Express. 

It’s a curious blend of puzzle-platformer with pinball mechanics, and it inspired a rare session of pass-the-controller action during our recording. Look – it’s not every day that you get a chance to control a dung beetle, so we weren’t about to squander this opportunity.

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Yoku’s Island Express is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on May 29.

Soulcalibur VI is set for later this year and the time travel/semi-reboot is slowly introducing a lot of fan favorites. This time, longtime Soulcalibur alumnus Yoshimitsu is back with a new armor design. Check him out in action below.

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The often off-kilter samurai is still as strange as ever and incorporates a lot of his favorite moves from previous games. He also appears to have a super where he removes the opponent’s soul, slashes it with a sword, and then puts it back in the body. It feels like that should be a round ender, at the least.

Soulcalibur VI is scheduled for release this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

On the latest episode of The Game Informer Show podcast (which you can subscribe to right here) we spoke with God of War’s writers Matt Sophos and Richard Gaubert about their journey through the game industry, the scary process of writing the new God of War, and what the game’s ending might mean for the future of the series. It’s an interesting and lengthy discussion, but the big spoilers begin at the 35:00 minute mark so be careful.

Watch the full interview below to learn about the duo’s work on Lost Planet 3, their work mapping out “the next project”, and why they don’t want to read any more compelling fan theories about the future.

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

35:00 – Spoiler-filled discussion begins
43:05 – Constructing God of War’s biggest surprise
52:10 – Their reactions toward the biggest fan theory about Kratos