From day one, Microsoft has stated that its new adaptive controller was being designed with feedback and input from disabled gamers. In a new preview today, the company showed that every element – even the packaging – is created with accessibility in mind. 

In a detailed post on its blog, Microsoft detailed how it rethought packaging to make sure players of all levels of ability would be able to retrieve the controller. This stipulation meant that many of the typical packing methods, including twist ties, plastic wrap, and anything that required scissors, were out of the question.

Instead, the box is made with a series of loops connected to sealing tape that, when pulled, cause the packaging to neatly fall open. It can even be opened exclusively using your mouth; Microsoft says that feedback from the disabled gaming community made them realize steps that required complexities like tearing with teeth could be prohibitively difficult to some. 

We’ve previously heard what the community thought about the controller itself. It’s great that something as silly as packaging won’t stop anyone from being able to experience it. 

The Xbox Adaptive Controller releases in September for $99.99

Ghost Recon Wildlands’ new update features a crossover mission  with Rainbow Six Siege showing a little inter-agency cooperation between the ghosts and rainbows. During a casual conversation, two of the characters start talking about that mission that “went south” for the rainbows. The mission? The canceled Rainbow 6 Patriots game.

Patriots was a game we put on our cover in 2011, but which was scrapped in 2014 (paving the way for Siege) after a leadership reorganization and a move to a different hardware generation. There was also speculation that Patriots’ story of terrorist militia members calling themselves The True Patriots was too strong of a subject matter.

But don’t expect Rainbow Six operative Caveira to spill the beans on what went down – that’s classified.

Gaming Prime on YouTube has the clip during the mission that makes mention of the game, and you can still read all about what could have been for Patriots in our cover story hub.

No Man’s Sky is getting a lot of attention this week for its NEXT update, which finally includes the option for players to join each others’ games to compete or cooperate with each other. Well, unless you’ve bought the Good Old Games version of the game.

Yesterday, GOG and Hello Games released a statement saying that while the store’s version of the game would enjoy the rest of the NEXT update’s benefits (base building, new missions, mechanics tweaks), this version wouldn’t have multiplayer until later in 2018.

From launch, the DRM-free edition of No Man’s Sky will include all single-player content introduced by NEXT: third-person mode, upgraded visuals, better base building, player customization, and more.

However the multiplayer component will not be ready at launch; we expect it to be released later this year as full multiplayer parity remains in the pipeline.

For a small, independent studio, developing the feature across multiple platforms is a hugely ambitious and technical challenge which resulted in this delayed release. Hello Games is however joining forces with GOG.com to introduce full multiplayer via the GOG Galaxy platform.

We appreciate your immense support and patience.

For more on No Man’s Sky, be sure to check out our constantly updated thoughts on the Next update as we explore the galaxy for the next week.

This announcement wasn’t made until the update launched, meaning that people could have bought the game on GOG.com with the expectation of playing the multiplayer before the announcement. While I understand that game development is complicated, being transparent with your potential customers is not. GOG and Hello Games should have sent out this notice in advance.

Way back in May, God of War director Cory Barlog mentioned that there’s a final secret in the game that no one has been able to find yet, at least publicly. In a game brimming with foreshadowing, fans were eager to find out what this last thing could be, as it could even hint at the next God of War game. A subreddit specifically made to search out secrets for the game was created and has been furiously exploring this game for the final secret. During San Diego Comic Con this past week, Barlog decided to aid in the search by narrowing it down to one building: Kratos’ house.

Warning: the rest of this story contains spoilers for God of War, including its ending.

Armed with this new hints, the various God of War subreddits combed every single inch of Kratos’ abode. In the wooden shack, players eventually discovered some things they hadn’t noticed before…and a few of them are convinced that can’t be the real answer.

Players found four runes in Kratos’ house. When combined, the runes translate to the name “Loki,” which is revealed at the end of the game. A player who sees that at the beginning and pieces it together would get a pretty big but not necessarily game-ruining spoiler for the game. When fans discovered this, most were convinced it was just a neat easter egg, but not worthy of the months’ work and a label of a “final secret.”

It cant be the final secret. It just cant,” reads the title of the top thread on r/GodofWarSecrets. “I’m pretty sure that the runes can not be the last secret,” reads another.

The main problem people are having is that the secret is that it is simply too blase for a game that is anything but. For being a final secret that Barlog teased for months, fans expected something more, perhaps something way bigger than the developers ever intended to include as a hint in this game. 

“I think the secret will tell us where the next game is taking place,” one commenter said shortly after Barlog’s Comic Con hint. “I don’t see how it can be anything else.”

While the expectations may be out of whack, it’s not surprising that fans have come to expect that the game would hint at sequels. The last few hours of the game really ask the player to accept that the story is laying groundwork for further parts of the story with future motivation establishing and characters being teased. It makes some sense that the people most obsessively combing through God of War would be the people who think any hidden secrets contain massive story value.

There’s also the possibility that they could in fact be right. While Sony Santa Monica concept artist Joe Kennedy cryptically tweeted “Faye Knew” in response to the tease, indicating that Atreus’ mother put those runes there specifically, he later clarified that he was only speaking of from his position as a concept artist. Barlog, who fired the starting pistol for this race in the first place, has yet to confirm that the runes in the house are the final secret he was referring to.

Until or unless Balrog speaks out about it, fans are going to keep searching that house, hoping to wring something major out of its walls.

No Man’s Sky debuted nearly two years ago to controversy and mixed reviews (you can read our take on the original version here). Since its release, amidst all the backlash, developer Hello Games has built a strong niche following with consistent free updates that have added content and new things to do, including storylines to chase down and base-building elements. The latest update, simply titled Next, brings multiplayer and third-person views have come to No Man’s Sky as well as several building mechanic tweaks. Given the new update, we felt it was no better time than to dive into this beautiful galaxy and see if the years and updates have been kind to Hello Games’ ambitious opus.

What follows is a journal kept by yours truly that will be updated every day until its completion where we roam the galaxy, in search of new sights, dangers, and missions to undertake.

Well, friends, there’s a whole galaxy out there. So let’s get to it.

Day 1

I initially decided to do a new game, as it had been so long since I played No Man’s Sky that going through the tutorial might be helpful. Turns out this was not the case at all. The game still opens the same way, with you waking up marooned on a planet, having to scavenge items to repair your ship. However, about halfway through the process, one of the tutorial messages informed me that the resource I needed to repair my ship’s engine…was located off-planet. It didn’t help matter that fellow editor and rapscallion at large Kyle Hilliard popped into my game to shoot me dead before flying off to another planet without even offering to help me out of my dire circumstances once I respawned. You can watch the video below of him destroying me if you’re a sick monster or something.

Frustrated, I downloaded my old save from the game and popped into a 15-hour save I had from when the game first launched. Things improved a smidge there, but I still felt frustrated as I was constantly surrounded by mechanics requiring me to replenish a bar. I’d jump halfway across a system to another planet only to find out I couldn’t leave it because my thruster engines were depleted, which meant I had to spend five minutes searching a randomized, deserted planet for resources to turn into fuel.

Eventually I (re)made my peace with this scavenging setup, in spite of the frequent doldrums, and began to zip around space. For me, the best bits of No Man’s Sky aren’t the dogfights or spelunking in alien colonies. Instead, it’s the moments of zen when you’re flying across the stars and through asteroid fields, sometimes carrying cargo, sometimes just looking for a new direction. Even if what you find at the end of those small journeys is disappointing, the wanderlust rarely fades. I kept venturing on and on to see what the game’s procedural universe had to offer me, often finding ways to relax as my ship carried me to and fro places unknown.

At one point I turned the audio way down and threw on some Nina Simone to listen to over the hum of my ship’s engine.

From here, I found my groove with No Man’s Sky again. I dropped into planets, researched new critters for small bounties, and flew to space stations, which have been expanded since the original and include more stores and NPCs, to learn new languages from both locals and pilgrims on the starways. I fooled around with the character creator to make my character more strongly resemble the wandering doof I imagine him to be. 

Wearing my new face, I crafted new upgrades, including an advanced mining laser to help me cut through harder rocks and strange organic material to gather elements so I could (eventually) build my base.

I was about to set up shop on a small planet of mostly grey rock when that nefarious bandit Kyle showed up again. I tried to make peace with him, awkwardly gesturing to show him I meant no harm, when he fired on me with his mining laser. Well, he didn’t really give me a choice then, did he? I responded by blowing him away with the plasma grenade attachment on my multi-tool after an awkward, violent dance (you can watch it here) and then his body slumped and disappeared.

Eat it, Hilliard.

From there, I took to the stars again and flew into an asteroid field, chopping rocks into bits to turn into precious fuel before finally growing frustrated with the lack of progress and hanging up my space boots for the day.

So far, No Man’s Sky Next, and all of its previous upgrades, still feels like the base game I played back in 2016. The core loop of scavenging, collecting bits of language, and upgrading equipment is still virtually the same. However, we haven’t gotten to the base-building elements nor the freeform sandbox mode, which we will definitely try out before the end of this week. I’m looking forward to the sandbox mode in particular, hoping it removes all the gauges and annoying upkeep chores from what could be a fantastic and beautiful exploration game.

We’ll get to building tomorrow. Until then, cadets, happy spacetrails. Here’s a clip of Kyle burying himself alive for some reason to see you off.

For more on wandering in No Man’s Sky, be sure to check out Reiner’s Sci-fi Weekly discovery log on the original version of the game.

Loot crates are still a touchy discussion, but one small change that people have been unanimously asking publishers to implement in the west is information about loot box percentages. Does it make sense to buy a loot box if the purple item I want only has a 1 percent chance of appearing? How many commons am I expected to get? This information is useful and helps to curb the addictive nature of loot boxes and is already mandatory for some countries.

Psyonix has decided to just go ahead and release the information on Rocket League’s loot boxes, citing major changes coming to the progression system of the game. From Psyonix’s blog:

  • Rare Item: 55%

  • Very Rare Item: 28%

  • Import Item: 12%

  • Exotic Item: 4%

  • Black Market Item: 1%

  • Chance of receiving Painted attribute: 25%

  • Chance of receiving Certified attribute: 25%

The developer explains that these have been the rates since the loot boxes first arrived to the game in September 2016 and, should they ever change, Psyonix will publicly announce it. The timing is likely to coincide with the announcement of the Rocket League Championship Series season 6 and to focus on the more exciting news of that versus loot box rates.

Regardless, it’s an important thing that hopefully more developers and publishers make public and ideally include in their games right next to the “Buy” button.

Arcade1Up is hoping to resurrect the classic arcade game market for homes, making them more affordable and easy to maintain. The company is launching a line of pint-sized cabinets that are about three-fourths the size of your typical machine for the price of your typical current generation console.

We spoke to CEO Scott Bachrach and he said the idea came from looking at your typical arcade emulators and realizing they didn’t replicate the feeling of being in an arcade. The team took Atari compilation machines out of places like Urban Outfitters and brought them home, quickly realizing that while the games were still good, the machines didn’t nail the best part: The feeling of being in the arcade. The team at Arcade1Up wanted to emulate the arcade as best they could, without the cost and hassle of dealing with a huge cabinet. Bachrach stated “We realized there had never been an offering at retail for a home arcade that gave you the same experience, or damn close to, the feeling of being in an arcade. We wanted to give a simulated experience to what it felt like when you played that game 20 years ago.”

In terms of the design of the cabinets, the hardest thing to procure was the original art. The team at Arcade1Up had to go through extensive work to find the art for the old cabinets, as much of it didn’t exist in any sort of archive. “The stuff was done 30-35 years ago, it wasn’t catalogued on computers…so you’re literally going and hunting down artwork from 30 years ago in some cases. ” Scott elaborated on some of the difficulties involved. “Brand owners don’t have it, so you have-to find it and you have-to go back and get original sheets that were done… We really want to be as true as we possibly can be to the original artwork.”

 

The cabinets will be offered alongside risers to make them feel more authentic for those who prefer to stand at their machine. The different options all weigh about 65lbs and are easy to assemble. Alongside the more portable size, the emulation of the games remains authentic as well. Bachrach informed us that they “use a control panel that is almost identical to the original control panels, we use a screen size that is within two inches of the original screen. “

The cabinets available at launch will be:

  • Asteroids, with Major Havoc, Lunar Lander and Tempest
  • Street Fighter II Champion Edition, with Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
  • Rampage, with Gauntlet, Joust, and Defender
  • Centipede, with Missile Command, Crystal Castles, Atari Millipede
  • Final Fight, with Ghosts N’ Goblins, 1944: The Loop Master, and Strider

Each cabinet will ship with four classic games and there will be five cabinets available at launch. The cabinets are themed, so you won’t see street fighter on the same machine as centipede due to the control scheme. Some options are Asteroids, Major Havoc, Lunar Lander and Tempest, while another will have three versions of Street Fighter II. The Arcade1Up cabinets will be available for pre-order on July 25 and will release this September for $399. A few Game Informer editors got their hands on the cabinets at E3, and they walked away impressed with Arcade1Up’s authenticity to the original products.

No Man’s Sky originally released in 2016 and it did not live up to the stratospheric expectations players placed upon it, but developer Hello Games has not let that deter them. The game has received frequent updates over the past two years, but today’s update, titled Next, is far and away the biggest.

It adds third-person options, legitimate multiplayer, improved visuals, better base-building, and lots more. Join Ben Hanson and me, as well as interns Camden Jones and Derek Swinhart, as we explore what’s new, try to kill Javy, and see what happens when you try to sit on a ship that is taking off.

We reported on the new GTA Online expansion, After Hours, when it was revealed the other day. Now that it’s out and playable, you can join Tony Price in building a new night club, which is never as simple as it sounds in Grand Theft Auto.

What separates After Hours from other GTA Online content is that Rockstar chose to shower After Hours with fresh dialogue and story that isn’t seen in most of the other GTA Online night club entrepreneurship. You can check out the announcement trailer below for a taste. 

Another interesting note is that GTA Online is eschewing the PlayStation Plus requirement for online multiplayer until August 6, so you can jump in and try it without being a subscriber. Grand That Auto V: After Hours is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC for free.

If I could snap my fingers to instantly change something in the world, I would eliminate people’s ability to write about Star Wars: The Last Jedi on social media. No matter what is said – whether it’s good, bad, or something completely mundane – toxicity and chaos erupt. That film has hit the polarization point of politics. Someone always jumps in to let someone know their opinion is wrong.

Go ahead and shake your head at me for suggesting we silence speech, but this is my dumb Thanos fantasy, and I’d love to see The Last Jedi have a day of social silence. Just one damn day.

I had similar finger-snapping desires about No Man’s Sky roughly two years ago. People couldn’t share a thought about that game without someone jumping down their throat for so much as saying its name. Weirdy enough, I sympathized with people who were unleashing angry messages on social media. Why? Hello Games’ vision for No Man’s Sky changed between its announcement and release. Some of the ideas the team hoped to include in the game didn’t make the cut, and the visual fidelity shown in the early trailers didn’t line up with the final product. People felt like they had been given a spaceship full of lies. That frustration is justified.

On the other end of the spectrum, people went into the game blind or with tempered expectations. Some of the ended up enjoying it immensely, and were like “I just named an alien lizard after my dog. This game is cool.”

No Man’s Sky feels like it released forever ago, but it’s going to be the big talker again this week, and maybe for a while. Hello Games continues to support the project with big updates, and this week’s new content is its most exciting yet.

We were told no one would likely ever meet in No Man’s Sky, but that happened almost immediately after the game launched. That encounter ended in disaster, further angering an already irate base of players. Flash forward two years, and the messaging has now shifted from “You’re alone in space” to “Exploring is better with friends.” No Man’s Sky Next allows a small group of friends to team up and discover life together. This is a complete change from what the game was originally intended to be, but may be the difference maker to bring people who deleted the game from their hard drives back for a second look.

The multiplayer, as exciting as it is, isn’t the driving force for my return. I’m more excited to see how the core game has evolved. Hello Games has reworked the resource gathering, story, missions, base building, scanning, U.I, and practically everything in the game. I burned out on the resource management early on, and didn’t find the journey to the center of the universe engaging. I’m going back to see if these facets of the game are better, and I’m going to do it with a crew of friends.

I’m also coming back because Hello Games is finally communicating with players, and is promising weekly content drops. Sean Murray today wrote a letter to the community saying that they made mistakes in the past, and are now ready to talk and be active with players. I don’t believe for a second that Hello Games couldn’t communicate before. In that post, Murray said “Certainly one regret is that the intensity and drama of launch left no room for communication with the community. We decided instead to focus on development rather than words.”

The radio silence was a bad move. This comment makes it seem like Hello Games was engaged in a “we’ll prove them all wrong” mission. They admit they made mistakes…two years later. Everyone plugged into gaming news knew mistakes were made. Hello Games chose to disappear rather than confront them. What if the community has similar issues with Next? Are we now at a point where we’ll hear from the dev team, or will they disappear again?

No matter what happens, we’re looking at two years of a make-good effort to a game many people had written off as “dead at launch.” Several of us at Game Informer are revisiting the game and will be sharing our thoughts over the next few days. My take will be right here in next week’s Science-Fiction Weekly. You can join Javy Gwaltney on his expedition today through a live journal that details his discoveries and impressions.

Are you heading back into No Man’s Sky, or do you still carry the torch that it’ll forever be No Man’s Lie? Let me know your thoughts on the game in the comments section below.