After announcing its absurdly popular battle royal game with another mode, Fortnite, was heading to mobile platforms, Epic has announced that players on Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, will able to play with each other, with Android users joining the fun “in the next few months.”

The mobile version of the battle royal mode will be exactly the same as it is on console, and will receive in updates in tandem with other versions. The company did not announce exactly when cross-platform matches would kick off, but instead pointed players to sign up for the Invite Event on iOS.

Absent from the announcement is the PS4 version, which, as you may remember, was briefly able to play nice with the Xbox One version late last year due to an error on Epic’s part. Considering every other platform the game is on is part of this crossplay, signs once again point to Sony being responsible about the lack of crossplay at this point.

[Source: Epic Games]

 

Our Take
It’s no longer surprising when a game has cross-platform play on every available platform except Sony’s, but always disappointing. At least PC and Xbox players will be able to join up with each other soon.

Not even the time-warping power of Daylight Savings can stop these gaming events! But, you should probably keep that whole “Spring Forward” thing in mind as you pour over the schedules for this week.

Call of Duty: WWII begins its run on the CWL this weekend, so if you’ve been keeping up with the game over the Winter and what to see the game played at its best, this is your best shot. (Stream / Schedule)

You’ll be able to catch a lot of Overwatch this weekend. Along with the usual Overwatch League (Stream / Schedule) today, you can also catch the Contenders league tomorrow, where upstarts looking to prove their worth face off against each other. (Stream / Schedule)

Hearthstone is in Toronto this weekend for its HCT event this weekend, so you can watch pros test their mettle in the cold of the north. (Stream / Schedule)

Meanwhile, Halo 5: Guardians is in Sydney, Australia, for the its Championship Series, but the tournament schedule isn’t too far off from other time zones, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble watching. (Stream / Schedule)

If you’re willing to stay up super-late (or don’t mind catching the replay in the morning), you can watch the grand finals of the Dota 2 Bucharest Major. Dark Willow didn’t make the showing we expected – maybe she’s not as broken as people thought? (Stream / Schedule)

The Rocket League Championship series returns this week with the Rival Play-In Series as 128 teams across North America and Europe fight for 4 spots on the Championship bracket. The North American broadcast starts at 12pm PST, while the European broadcast starts at 9am PDT. (Stream)

It’s the final week of the regular season for the League of Legends Championship series, so you’ll be able to see where your favorite team stacks up this weekend before a one-week break and then, the playoffs. (StreamSchedule)

If you’re looking to catch some Super Smash Bros. For Wii U action as you wait to see if it’s being ported over to Switch or if the announcement is a new entry, check out the Chicago Gaming Coalition event this weekend. (Streams and 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.

After our momentous celebration of 300 issues last weekend, this one is a time for us to unwind with a swath of activities, ranging from heading on over to the movies to testing our merit in the battle royale genre. Some of us are even drawn to Smash and Nintendo titles in general after the company’s solid Direct on Thursday. But what are you up to this weekend? Let us know your plans in the comments below.

Jon Bowman (@MrGameAndWrite) – I started binging the second season of Jessica Jones last night. I had lower expectations after an incredible first season, but I’m hooked once again! I’ll finish that off this weekend. Other than that, I’m planning on showing Robbie why Fortnite is better than PUBG, watching some wrasslin’ on Sunday, and somewhere in between starting Life is Strange: Before the Storm. I wanted to wait until the bonus episode came out to make sure I fully recovered from the emotional toll of Life is Strange. I’m ready to feel all the feels again!

Jeff Cork (@gijeff) –  One of my kids is having a sleepover this weekend, and unfortunately he’s made it clear that video games are on his agenda. I could slum it on the secondary gaming setup, but maybe this is my cue to read a book or go outside or something? Once they’ve gone to sleep, I’ll probably head downstairs and play Overwatch. Old habits die hard …

Ben Hanson (@yozetty) –  Oh man, what should I play this weekend? It might be a good time to jump back into Subnautica, but I’ve also been thinking about finally checking out Planet Coaster. Although I’ve been craving Smash Bros. again after the exciting announcement, so maybe a tournament of sorts is in order. Tell me what to play, comments! Have a good weekend!

Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – I have a lot of movies to see this weekend. Going to try and see both Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time. I also really want to see Early Man, as I fear my window to go see it in a theater is closing, but I won’t be able to see them all! I am going to have to pick. I’m also seriously considering a haircut, but I don’t want to make any promises. Sunday, I’ll be heading out of town for work stuff, so it will be a short one, but I am hoping to get some other fun stuff in there, too, like laundry folding.

Robbie Key (@RobbieKeyV) – I shall be working on a feature this weekend with my fellow G.I. intern, Jon Bowman, where we will play PUBG and Fortnite with each other on a quest to convince the other which one is better and why. Outside G.I. work, I am continuing my hee-hawing adventures in Red Dead Redemption, and editing a video that’s part of my Shenanikins YouTube series.

Imran Khan (@imranzomg) – This past week, I’ve gotten really into Hitman again and am likely going to try and finish it and the DLC I never played. Even after all this time, it’s still a really great game, if not even better than before. I’m also a few million halos away from purchasing the Rodin ticket in Bayonetta 2.

Brian
Shea
 (@BrianPShea) – I recently put Shadow of the Colossus, Celeste, and Final Fantasy X behind me, so at the moment, I’m kind of between games. I’ve been slowly working my way through Yoshi’s Island and Pokémon Omega Ruby, but until Far Cry 5 hits, I don’t think I really have a big game in front of me. Maybe Yakuza Kiwami? Oh, and definitely more Overwatch, and probably some Pokémon Go. 

Jeff M (@GIJeffM) – I thought I was finally getting over my infatuation with Into The Breach this week. Then I played it until 3:00AM last night/this morning. Suffice it to say I’m hooked again, but if I can manage to set aside my kaiju-stomping adventures, I might start up the Shadow of Colossus remake (which are kind of kaiju in their own right). On the television front, my wife and I might continue watching Altered Carbon and The Last Man On Earth, or we might start up The Colony, based on Reiner and Cork’s suggestions. That’s a lot of “might”s, but hey, it’s the weekend! 

Joey Thurmond (@DrJoeystein) – I have a superb weekend lined up! After seeing one of my favorite bands (The Oh Hellos … you should look them up) on Friday night, I’m going to see if I can delve into Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide with a group of friends over the weekend to find out if the sequel is worth checking out at some point. I’ll also be watching one of my favorite artists stream this weekend while I work on finishing God of War: Chains of Olympus. The remastered version on PS3 is stunning, which almost looks even better than the first God of War. The restrictions on gameplay with the PSP are evident in the port but it’s solid nonetheless.

In the year since the Switch launched, fans of the system have been wondering to different degrees why Netflix, an app ubiquitous on any device that has or interfaces with a screen, is not on Nintendo’s latest system.

While Netflix said they were exploring options with Nintendo just a few months ago, nothing has been said since. Netflix executive Scott Mirer, who is in charge of partnering with device manufacturers for Netflix apps, answered questions about it at a Silicon Valley Q&A.

“In the case of the Switch, they [Nintendo] were very focused at launch not on video-use cases, but on gaming cases, video was not a priority for them,” Mirer said. “Whether that changes over time, we have a great relationship with them and look at the possibility of the Switch. We each have opportunity cost around that, but at some point, it might happen.” 

The reasoning is strange, as Hulu appeared on the Switch last November. Still, it seems Netflix wants to do it, Nintendo just appears to be uninterested in allowing it at the moment.

[Source: mobilesyrup]

 

Our Take
I don’t particularly need Netflix on Switch, but I can see it being useful for a lot of people. I can’t see a good reason for Nintendo not wanting it on the system.

Replay 300 – Super Metroid

In celebration of Game Informer’s 300th issue – which contains a huge 300 Greatest Games of All Time list – Replay is taking a look back at some of the top games that made that prestigious list. The first game is selected by Game Informer’s editor-in-chief, Andy McNamara. Andy has been at Game Informer since issue 1, dating back 27 years ago. He wanted to play Super Metroid, a game we’ve already played to death in a Super Replay. For the sake of 300, we had no qualms in revisiting this game for a more focused conversation about this important (and awesome) game.

In the second segment, we focus on a game that didn’t make the list, but should have, according to Andy. In true Replay fashion, this look back at yesteryear is not what Andy expected. Enjoy the show. Enjoy the 300th issue. We’ll be back in seven days with another 300 themed episode, this time with a pick from yours truly.

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In most modern generations, the first year or so of a console is full of cross-gen titles and games ported from the previous console to the modern one. It’s an easy way to fill in a library without completely committing to the console or to give some time to let the first wave of ground-up software get enough time in development.

In the past two Nintendo Directs, Nintendo has gone fairly heavy on bringing forward Wii U games to the Switch. Reaction to this differs depending on who you ask, but some people have strong feelings about filling in a library with previously released games.

What is your general feeling on porting old games to a new console? Do you think they’re an absolute good, an absolute bad, or does it depend? What would make ports okay for you and what pushes them too far? Let us know in the comments below.

The more I play board games, the more I gain an appreciation for a concept you might call unity. These are the nebulous elements that tie a game together, weaving its theme with its mechanics, art with game design, and component pieces with gameplay flow. When done right, a highly unified game experience feels elegant and evocative, transporting players into their roles and objectives, and helping every element contribute to a sum that is greater than the constituent parts. 

Rising Sun is a game of clan warfare in ancient feudal Japan for three to five players, with its honor-driven gameplay amplified by magic, monsters, and constant shifting alliances and internecine strife. I like a lot of things about Rising Sun, the new game from CMON, designer Eric M. Lang, and artist Adrian Smith. But among all the things I like, the thing I love is its unity of purpose; everything in the game contributes to a singular vision, a magical escape into a world of Japanese legend, in which honor and clan alliances hold equal power to demonic Oni and godlike Kami spirits, all while feeling steeped in the tea ceremonies and epic battles that define our collective imagination of ancient Nippon.

A big part of that pitch-perfect vision arises from presentation. Quite simply, Rising Sun is one of the most visually breathtaking board games I’ve encountered. The board is as much a piece of art as it is a play space, depicting a map of Japan’s islands alongside watercolor-like depictions of diving sea serpents and a shimmering sunset. Cards, tiles, and board spaces depict kanji characters, and currency looks like yen coins. And in keeping with CMON’s reputation for excellence in this arena, the included unpainted miniatures are amazingly detailed, from the Shinto priests of the Dragonfly clan that look like they’re about to take flight, to the stunning intricacy of the massive river dragon figure. The combined effect makes for an impressive (if potentially overwhelming) table display, and immediately entrenches players in the mythic Japanese theme. 

CMON has cited the classic board game called Diplomacy as a distant conceptual ancestor to Rising Sun. While this newer game has nowhere near the epic session lengths of Diplomacy, the lineage is nonetheless apparent. Players each control competing powers, in this case legendary Japanese clans competing for supremacy. And like in Diplomacy, turns flow along a schedule of the passing seasons, as spring turns to summer, autumn, and eventually winter, when the clans settle their debts and a winner is declared. Most significantly, negotiation, alliances, and betrayal play a central role. As each season begins, time is set aside for a tea ceremony, during which alliances with another clan can be solidified, ensuring potent in-game benefits for both of you, but with the risk of either side turning on the other. As an aside, in one amusing house rule I played with, players share a drink of saké to solidify their alliance – a practice that could work equally well with some shared green tea, if alcohol isn’t appropriate for your gaming group. 

Even independent of any formal treaties, players are encouraged to use coins and other lures to bribe, cajole, or convince other players to act a certain way. No deals are binding, but someone will remember if you reneged on a previous agreement and may take it out on you in later battles or negotiations. In my playtime with a couple of different groups, I encountered mixed experiences with the negotiation gameplay. In one group, alliances formed early on and didn’t change much until late in the game, and very little small-scale negotiation occurred. In another group, the players were constantly changing sides, and delighting in tiny traitorous moves. Thankfully, I think the game holds up well to either playstyle, and flows well regardless of how much time you spend carving out new diplomatic ties, though it can be devastating if you never convince anyone to join their house to your own for at least a season or two.  

After a tea ceremony, the bulk of play unfolds as individual players declare new political mandates (represented by tiles that are played onto the board) which allow all the players to take a single action, but with a bonus for the declaring player (and their ally). You might be able to move your troops with one mandate, recruit new soldiers onto the map with another, or train your army and its leaders by picking up a new ability from a selection of cards available during the current season, among other actions. As mandates roll out across the season, you also occasionally resolve the influence of the godlike kami; send a priest to pray rather than fight on the map, and you might snag a helpful benefit, like extra money or the ability to move some of your units an extra space. There’s a designated number of mandates and kami turns in every season, letting you plan at least some of your actions, but with the knowledge that other players may not put the mandate you need into play. I got a kick out of the concept of the seasons passing that is communicated through these turns, which gives each player a chance to manipulate the queue of actions available to everyone else. 

No matter the flow of political machinations early in each season, spring, summer, and autumn each end with a battle phase, where combat erupts across Japan between the competing clans. One of the coolest elements of these fights is how they’re telegraphed ahead of this phase; players can reference the board on each turn to see where and in what order battles will unfold, so you can position your forces accordingly to claim the greatest rewards. 

As battle begins, players use their accumulated coins to secretly bid on actions they might take, representing their combined wealth, influence, and ability to shape the battle to their advantage. One army might commit seppuku, leading to honor in defeat. Another clan could sway masterless rōnin to fight in their name. Or take an opponent hostage. And win or lose, you might bid your money and power to control the epic poetry that emerges after the fight, shaping public memory of what happened. This combat mechanic has the exciting advantage of being truly unpredictable. You might be greatly outnumbered as the combat begins, but smart predictive bidding can sway the outcome of a fight, or transform a loss into a startling twist in which you come out ahead in several valuable ways. 

Hanging over the political one-upmanship, competing offers to the kami, and unpredictable battles is one all-important feature: honor. Clan honor serves a conspicuous role in every aspect of Rising Sun’s gameplay, and is made manifest by a constantly shifting track that depicts which clan is currently held in the highest esteem. When your honor rises, another clan must fall, and numerous actions across the game can dictate a shift. Ties between competing forces are extremely common across the game’s many systems, and ties are always broken with victory by the clan holding the highest status. A constant pressure lingers in the background of every action – sure, you might be able to outwit and betray your buddy across the table, but how will it affect your honor? And how many other conflicts might you lose because of that lowered stature? 

Rising Sun arrives later this month with high expectations already attached from the dedicated hobby community. This same team brought us the celebrated Blood Rage just a few years ago, and many are thrilled to see a new game from the same creators. I’m happy to say that Rising Sun exceeds my expectations, with a sophisticated exchange of interlocking systems backed up by world-class presentation. Is it a game for everyone? While its rulebook is clearly written, and its gameplay flows smoothly, Rising Sun simply has too many moving parts for beginners to the board gaming hobby, not to mention a runtime that can feel overwhelming if you play with especially deliberate players. And the potential for betraying alliances and breaking deals might rub some players the wrong way. But these are simply features of the game, not problems. Rising Sun boasts compelling tactical choices at every turn, a rich and rewarding implementation of its legendary Japanese theme, and some of the best-looking game components I’ve seen. It also features surprisingly deep replay value, whether through learning each clan’s unique capabilities, or trying out new combinations of card sets to include, which can dramatically change the tone of a given session. 

If that significant replay potential isn’t enough, you might be a candidate for one of the expansions, which are going to be available as soon as the core game launches in the next few weeks. CMON gave me the chance to check out how these additional boxed sets change the game, and I’m impressed by the potential. A monster pack expansion adds several awesome new monsters (and their miniatures) into the game. The Dynasty Invasion expansion is an ideal choice if you play with a big group, as two new clans (and their figures) can be added into the mix, and the max player count expands from five to six players. But my favorite of the expansions is certainly the Kami Unbound pack, which dramatically changes the game by bringing the gods down into the fight; favored clans receive the aid of the actual kami that they’re worshipping, and that figure descends onto the board to join the fight. I love game expansions that change the strategies and structure of the core game for an optional twist, which is just what the Kami Unbound pack does.

If you’re not quite ready for the intricacies of Rising Sun, I’d encourage you to dive into the backlog of Top of the Table recommendations, many of which offer great gameplay at a lower threshold of complexity. If you have additional questions about Rising Sun, or you simply want some personalized gaming recommendations, feel free to drop me a line via email or Twitter. I’d love to help guide you to a great evening of gaming with friends and family. 

Days Gone Delayed Into 2019

Days Gone is among our most anticipated action and PlayStation titles of 2018. While the focus on the undead may seem stale to some people, the gorgeous visuals, unique behavioral patterns of the zombies, and open world might just scratch an itch that Dying Light couldn’t satisfy – as good as it was. However, an update to the game’s official page on the PlayStation website has unexpectedly moved its release date to next year. US Gamer received confirmation from a Sony spokesperson that the game was being delayed until 2019, but Sony declined to provide any additional information.

We have reached out to Sony and Bend Studio as well and will update this story should we hear anything back. In the meantime, you can watch Ben Hanson’s interview with Days Gone’s director Jeff Ross and world designer Eric Jensen, where they discuss the progress of development and the challenges of making an open-world game.

[Source: US Gamer via IGN]

 

Our Take
Considering the ambitious scope of Days Gone, I’m not surprised that it would be delayed. I’m curious about how this is being seemingly downplayed without explanation, but I’m sure an explanation will be provided soon since Sony is investing much into the new IP.

Systems designer Eric Williamson took to Twitter to deliver a developer update on Fortnite, including information about jetpacks, smoke grenades, and llamas.

Here are some of the highlights from Williamson’s update:

  • The recently announced jetpack was delayed after some issues arose during internal play tests that Epic Games aims to resolve before releasing the item
  • More details on the Teams of 20 limited-time mode, including storm behavior, pinging team positions, and increased loot rates from chests and supply drops
  • Next week’s V3.3 update is adding interactive llamas that will “help you out in a pinch” as well as removing smoke grenades to be reworked and reintroduced at a later time.

This update is coming right on the heels of Epic’s announcement that Fortnite is coming to mobile devices and will be able to crossplay with PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac.

GameMaker Studio 2, a popular 2D game engine that powers games like Hyper Light Drifter and VA-11 HALL-A, has signed a deal with Nintendo to bring the engine to Switch in a big way.

After yesterday’s announcement of Undertale on Switch, likely the best known game made in the engine, GameMaker creator YoYo Games revealed the partnership with Nintendo. GameMaker has long been a blindspot for Nintendo systems in terms of engine support, its absence being especially notable for the cancellation of Hyper Light Drifter on the Wii U.

As part of Nintendo’s indie outreach, the console manufacturer has been working with YoYo on getting the engine running on the Switch, to the point where work can be exported directly to the Switch. In theory, this should open up the system for a lot of indie developers who find it unlikely or impossible to port their games to a new engine just for the Switch.

In the press release from YoYo Games, Toby Fox, creator of Undertale remarked, “I’m excited to use GameMaker Studio 2 to put Undertale on Nintendo Switch. I’m a big fan of Nintendo. I hope Mario plays my game.”

 

Our Take
This should be big for indie developers who have wanted to get in on the Switch’s high sales but haven’t found it feasible to port to an entirely different engine. These are the kind of moves Nintendo needs to make with indie developers.