Early Access, for as long as its existed, has been derided for many reasons. The notion of paying a developer for an unfinished game has often rubbed consumers the wrong way, especially in the early days, when there were precious few games that serve as a testament to how useful the release format could be, allowing developers to let players play a key role in the formation of the game.

Fast forward a few years, and we have a few great titles that have emerged from Early Access, like PUBG and Subnautica. PUBG in particular has become one of the most famous (and perhaps influential) games of its time. So, reader: how do you feel about the state of Early Access in a post-PUBG world?

For my own part, I’m pretty comfortable giving money to a game that’s being developed in the public eye that way, if I have faith in the vision and the talent behind the game. A rarity, for sure, but I’ve never scoffed at the idea of buying an Early Access title.

What about you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is attached to Sony’s film adaptation of Hideo Kojima’s popular stealth series and, if nothing else, fans can be assured that the director knows his Metal Gear. Vogt-Roberts recently tweeted out a take about some of the MGS entries that are not quite as critically adored as others:

Little news has eeked out about the Metal Gear movie since Vogt-Roberts was put on the project but it’s good to have signs he’s thinking about Snake and company.

For more on Metal Gear Solid, check out our special edition podcast on the cast of Metal Gear Solid recalling the experience of recording for the game.

South By Southwest (SXSW), the popular media festival that takes place in Austin, Texas every year announced winners for the gaming category late last night. The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild took home the big win but Nier: Automata, Cuphead, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Night In The Woods also earned nods.

You can find the full list right here:

Excellence in SFX
Super Mario Odyssey

Excellence in Musical Score
NieR: Automata

Excellence in Technical Achievement
NieR: Automata

Excellence in Visual Achievement
Horizon Zero Dawn

Excellence in Animation
Cuphead

Excellence in Art
Cuphead

Excellence in Convergence
Star Wars Battlefront II

Excellence in Multiplayer
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Most Promising New Intellectual Property
Horizon Zero Dawn

Most Fulfilling Community-Funded Game
Night in the Woods

Excellence in Gameplay
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Excellence in Design
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Excellence in Narrative
What Remains of Edith Finch

Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award
Doki Doki Literature Club

Gamer’s Voice Award Video Game
Battlesloths 2025: The Great Pizza Wars

Gamer’s Voice Award Mobile Game
Tiny Bubbles

Gamer’s Voice Award Tabletop Game
Sol: Last Days of a Star

Gamer’s Voice Award Virtual Reality Game
SUPERHOTVR

Trending Game of the Year
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Esports Game of the Year
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Tabletop Game of the Year
Gloomhaven

Virtual Reality Game of the Year
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Mobile Game of the Year
Fire Emblem Heroes

Video Game of the Year
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

For our own Game Of The Year awards, head over here.

Super Mario Bros 3 is one of the gaming greats (as evident by how high it scored on our recent 300 greatest games of all time list). Those triviamasters over at Did You Know Gaming are back with another video that throws out tons of interesting tidbits, like how Super Mario Bros 3 was originally be envisioned as a top-down game.

You can watch the whole thing right here:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

For more trivia from Did You Know Gaming, check out their work on Donkey Kong Country. If you’re in the mood for more Mario, take a look at out our rankings of every game in the plumber’s series here.

Monsters all over the shop. Only one thing to do: get your trick weapon sharpened and take it to the beasts roaming Yharnam. Gamers have either been getting back into From Software’s goulish classic or getting their feet red and wet for the first time since Bloodborne became a PlayStation Plus title earlier this month.

Artist Michael Ildmirkin has decided to do a series of pieces around Bloodborne. The first is a PS4 stand starring the creepy messengers from the game (seen above)

You can take a look at the work-in-progress from more angles and at different stages in the creation process, on IIdmirkin’s Instagram page

IIdmirkin says he plans to sell the stand once it’s done, though the legality around that is questionable given this appears to be a fan project. Still: the stand sure is something to behold in all its horrific glory.

[Source: Instagram]

Sega hosted an art exhibit at a Los Angeles gallery today, celebrating the art, including the designs created by tattoo artist Horitomo, for Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, That game is still a month away from release, but Sega isn’t about to let the franchise lose any momentum. As part of the event, the publisher revealed it is bringing the Yakuza 2 remake Yakuza Kiwami 2 to the West. The update includes visual updates, additional minigames, and an all-new three-chapter campaign starring Goro Majima.

The game follows in the footsteps of last year’s Yakuza Kiwami, which was a remake of the first game in the series. Kiwami 2 includes new minigames, including golf bingo; arcade games Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Fighter 2.1, and Virtua On; and the cabaret minigame from Yakuza 0. Majima can build his own clan, too, similar to the new mode introduced in Yakuza 6. Audio has been rerecorded for the update, and the localization team has revisited the original script to ensure that it’s as faithful to the Japanese original as possible.

“There’s a lot of different stuff that originally was in Kiwami that they rebuilt in the Dragon Engine now as well,” says localization producer Scott Strichart. “All the stuff that got left out at the back end of Kamurocho is back in, the champion district and all that stuff. So Kamurocho is a little bigger than it was in 6, actually. And then in addition there’s a whole other city, Sotenbori, like 0. It’s not quite as big as it was in 0, because it’s based off the original version of Yakuza 2.”

That all sounds great, but how does it play? I was fortunate enough to sneak in a gameplay session before the announcement, and I felt right at home. I was dropped into the story right when Kiryu meets up again with his friend/rival Majima, who is now running a construction site from his base of operations in the underground base, Purgatory. Majima is delighted to see Kiryu-chan and decides – for whatever reason – that Kiryu should enter a quick combat tournament to see if the Dragon of Dojima still has what it takes. 

I started off against a chump in black briefs, a furry vest, and an axe. I wasn’t able to customize my moves, but my bread-and-butter combos were available, and ol’ vesty was down for the count in short order. After that, I faced off against Purgatory’s old champ, Gary Buster Holmes. Holmes seemed to be cheating a little, wielding a pair of steel spiked maces on his fists. No worries. I used my heat-action moves to counter his attacks, and ended up victorious.

The final battle was a little more interesting. Majima entered the cage writhing and gyrating, accompanied by his own pyro show. He was significantly quicker than the other two opponents, and I nearly lost. Fortunately, I was able to built up my heat gauge enough to unleash my Feel the Heat move – which originally popped up later in the series – mashing the square button to load up a massive attack, which I unleashed by smashing the triangle. Down, but far from broken, Majima recovers saying he and Kiryu should hash it out over a beer.

My demo ended with a quick look at the Majima Construction minigame, which is similar to the Clan Kiryu mode from Yakuza 6. The big difference here is that it’s more defense oriented. Rather than focus on sending out waves of disposable foot soldiers reinforced by higher-quality recruits, in Kiwami 2 the focus is on protecting the construction site and its assets with those recruits. You can level them up with in-game cash, and it seems much more open and has a more strategic bent than what we saw in Yakuza 6. 

It was a short demo, but it did what it was supposed to do: leave me wanting more. Fortunately, I won’t have to wait long. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 on August 28, and it’s priced at $49.99. You can get a quick look at the game in action below.

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Pokémon Go-related mishaps and real-life incidents were all the rage when the game was on top of the world back in 2016, as the game’s millions of players began meeting each other, for better or worse. Well, some idiot decided to bring that “magic” into 2018 in the worst way possible.

Washington TV Station KATU reports that while Go players Andrew Otton and Grayson Hagstrom were hanging with a friend at Vancouver’s Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, someone parked their car near them, got out, and started charging them with a tire iron.

He comes out of nowhere, yelling, ‘WHICH ONE OF YOU IS ANDY?’ with a tire iron in his hand,” Otton told KATU. Otton’s name in Go is AndySamberg. The man with the tire iron, who court records reveal is named Stephen Jolly, was looking for Otton because as Olly was attempting to take a nearby gym, Otton was disputing it. “I was just reviving my Pokemon when he was trying to take it out.,” Otton said. “I took it from him, and I didn’t know he just took it, and he was like, ‘Hey did you just take this gym from me? That’s pretty messed up man.’ He was very angrily saying it.”

What happened next is a bit of a toss-up. Jolly admits he hit a table with the tire iron, but disputes Otton and Hagstrom’s report that he punched Hagstrom several times. Hagstrom then defended himself after realizing the best defense is a good offense. “I got behind him and started choking him,” Hagstro told KATU. “I figured if he didn’t have consciousness, he wouldn’t be that tough.”

Otton and Hagstrom caught Olly’s license plate and reported the incident to the police. Olly has no previous criminal history, but is now facing assault and malicious mischief charges.

[Source: KATU]

 

Our Take
With the recent resurgence of the discussion about whether video games cause real-world violence and/or gun crimes, there’s a lot to unpack here. But can well agree that Go of all games isn’t worth getting this upset over?

Although it strives for realism over gameplay, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is made of code and bits just like any other game, and one of the biggest issues we had with it on release was how buggy it was. Hopefully, a the new 1.3.1 patch, which is available now on consoles and PC, will make it a lot less buggy.

The patch makes a number of substantial changes, the most notable of which is the promised change of the save system. Now players can choose to “Save and Exit” at any time, letting them mark their progress wherever they are instead of having to find a bed or drink an expensive magic potion to save. Saves won’t get corrupted if the game crashes while saving, either. Finally on the save front, the PC version now supports Steam Cloud, letting players take their save across multiple PCs.

There are also a number of performance, visual, and gameplay changes, all of which aim to relieve the stress of living in medevial Bohemia. To see exactly what’s changed, check out the full patch notes.

Final Fantasy VI is widely regarded as one of the greatest JRPGs of all time. But like most games, it’s a bit of a magic show, swapping things in and out to show players the right thing on-screen at the right time.

Boundary Break Youtuber Shesez is back with another video, this time showcasing various elements of how Final Fantasy VI is put together. While the ways it manipulates code aren’t as flashy as they would be in a 3D, there’s still a lot to dig into in the 16-bit, and if you’re fan of the game and how games are put together, there’s tons of little lessons here to learn.

The video shows off how various aspects of how the game is made, including how the title logo gets those little flames behind it, how some sprites are assembled before they’re shown to the player, and how the behind-the-back overworld areas work.

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Lots of events are coming to a head as we see cross-national storylines converge at WESG, Final Round, Heroes of the Storm, and more. If you’ve got an urge to espouse your national pride, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in one of the events below.

Final Round is one of the biggest fighting game events of the year and this year will not only feature Dragon Ball FighterZ, but an exhibition between SonicFox and GO1, the best players from the United States and Japan, respectively already brought the house down. Make sure to check out the full list of games and streams to see your fighting game of choice. (Streams and Schedule)

Another cross-game event is the World Electronic Sports Games, which will bring major championships across four different games to China this week, so make sure to find your game of choice and watch through the links below.

Finally, this yera’s SXSW event will feature thre big tournaments for wildly different games: Clash RoyaleArena of Valor, and Injustice 2. It’s a strange mix, but so is SXSW sometimes, so hopefully it works out. (Stream / Schedule)

If you’re a Smash guy, catch some Super Smash Bros. Melee action this week at The Mango, an event based on the player. (Stream and Schedule)

The West recently had their Heroes of the Storm clash, so it’s only fair that this week would host the HGC Eastern Clash in Taipei, Taiwan. (Stream / Schedule)

About 1600 miles away, Hearthstone is having its own event in Bangkok, Thailand, named, oddly enough, the HCT Bangkok. Go figure! (Stream / Schedule)

Finally in the world of Blizzard games, the good ol’ US of A continues to host the Overwatch League but remember: The teams hail from all over the world. (Stream / Schedule)

Halo 5: Guardians is in Mexico City this weekend, marking the final pit stop before the finals in Seattle next month. (Stream / Schedule)

You can also catch more League of Legends action this week, as we’re a couple weeks away from the playoffs. (StreamSchedule)

Also underway is the Rocket League Championship Series, which features a slew of old and new pro teams duking it out for several weeks. (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.