Last month, chat app Discord announced their intentions to create a game store through their program. Alongside the store announcement, Discord mentioned that they would be instituting a programmed First on Discord, which provides development support to indie games in exchange for a PC exclusivity period typically around 90 days to the Discord store.

Today, Discord revealed the launch lineup of the First on Discord program.

•    Last Year: The Nightmare (Elastic Games)
•    Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption (Another Indie)
•    Minion Masters (BetaDwarf)
•    Bad North (Raw Fury)
•    At Sundown (Versus Evil/Mild Beast)
•    Mad Machines (Hero Blocks)
•    King of the Hat (Hyroglyphik Games)

These games will launch first on Discord’s store on the PC. Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption was one of the indie games we most liked at GDC this past March. King of the Hat was also featured in the latest Nintendo Indie Direct. Discord says that they plan to launch the First on Discord program with these seven games in the Fall.

With all that is going on in any given battle of Devil May Cry, the developers might be forgiven for wanting to lower the resolution or settle on a lower framerate. Not so, it turns out, as the game will actually hit 4K and 60 frames per second on the PS4 Pro. The news comes from producer Matt Walker who was asked about it on Twitter.

While Walker almost assuredly means 4K checkerboard and not native 4K, that’s still an absolutely impressive target to hit. Walker was also asked about the Xbox One X version, but did not appear to answer, though it will presumably be similar.

Devil May Cry 5 is releasing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8.

With Sony’s bombshell announcement today that they’re putting a small crack in the wall preventing crossplay from occurring between the PlayStation 4 and other consoles, people are justifiably excited over what that could mean longterm. While Fortnite is the first game to cross the streams, there theoretically be other games on the way. Unfortunately, it does not seem like Fallout 76 is one of those games.

Earlier this year, Bethesda’s Todd Howard insinuated Sony was standing in the way of crossplay for the survival spinoff, but Sony allowing Fortnite doesn’t mean Fallout 76 is happening. After applauding the news on Twitter today, Bethesda vice president Pete Hines tried to temper expectations.

Hines clarified that he’s not saying it’s impossible, just that it’s not a focus with the game so close to launch. He also isn’t saying Sony is blocking Bethesda from doing it at all, just that Fallout 76 won’t have it right now.

There have been a number of developers who have complained about Sony’s policy on this issue, including Rocket League developers Psyonix and, well, Minecraft publishers Microsoft. It is unclear from SIE president John Kodera’s wording if Fortnite is an exception to the rule or if any developer that wants to can simply enable crossplay, but it’s not going to be for every game from today onward.

There can never be enough Overwatch merch and Blizzard still hasn’t done all the original cast in figure form yet. At least now we get one step closer with the announcement that Zenyatta is getting his own posable figure courtesy of Figma.

The figure comes with a variety of accessories, such as an Orb of Destruction, Orb of Harmony, Orb of Discord and a Transcendence effect sheet. He also has an optional peace sign hand.

Enlightenment doesn’t come cheap or quickly, as the Zenyatta figure will run you $79.99 and should release before Q3 2019. You can check it out at Blizzard’s store page here.

Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a meaty dungeon-crawling soiree, with players forging superior gear and characters over many hours of synthesis and combination.

The final battle, accessible only after completing a lengthy secret dungeon and completing the main game with the six black pages obtained from other huge (and sometimes difficult to find) bosses, can be an extremely difficult encounter. The boss has abilities that can easily one shot even the hardiest characters, with a host of debuffs and other powerful attacks.

Watch us take on the battle above!

Forza Horizon 4 almost overwhelms with the amount of great content it offers. Complete a race, and another three appear. Travel down a new road, and you’re alerted that you still have 500 more to discover. Hop behind the wheel of a new car, and the game dangles another dozen in front of you. As you pick away at each of the game’s 26 distinct campaign threads (yes, you read that correctly), you may find yourself distracted by hidden billboards, landmarks, seek-and-find missions, and instanced events that pop up at the top of every hour. Forza Horizon 4 offers an absurd amount of things to do, most of which are fantastic, and all of it is backed up by exceptional driving mechanics. This is one of those experiences that you just can’t help but lose yourself in, and Playground Games rewards you well for almost every second you spend behind the wheel.

After tearing up the Australian outback, the Horizon Festival moves to Great Britain in this installment. From the sprawling farmlands and quaint villages along dirt roads, this area of the world may seem too peaceful for racing, but Playground quickly reveals that you won’t just be looking at these sights from afar; you’ll be racing directly through them by any means necessarily. Ripping through wheat fields, smashing through fences, and launching high into the air to land on the rooftop of a century-old church are just some of the chaotic things you’ll be pushed to do. Forza Horizon 4 turns Britain’s beauty and history into the ultimate playground for cars, complete with some of the biggest jumps you’ll see in a racing game.

Britain doesn’t just bring a different cosmetic charm to the Horizon Festival. Players also experience all four seasons that affect this region. Rather than just having certain sections of the open world be set in summer or winter, the entire play space transforms when a season rolls in. This means the open world features four distinct variations, each with varying driving conditions. During summer, a track may offer breakneck speeds on dry pavement, whereas the winter variation requires careful drifting across thick snow and treacherous ice. The weather greatly impacts the way you race, and sometimes forces you to retreat to your garage to bring out rides that are more suitable for the conditions. All four versions of the world are beautifully realized and add even more excitement to the already great racing mix.

The game begins with a lengthy three- to five-hour showcase that moves from one season to the next, but then settles into a weekly rotation for each. This brings about the problem of locking the player into the less-than-desirable conditions for a week, but players have the freedom to change seasons for specific races should they not enjoy specific weather. The dreaded Game of Thrones saying “Winter is coming” carries some weight here too, as racing is the most challenging in this season.

Players can tweak just about anything in the game, and most events allow for any vehicle to be used. Should you struggle in a specific event, it doesn’t matter where you place – the game basically says you did your best and gives you the credit needed to move on to the next race. You are constantly making progress and earning experience, which in turn unlocks more races, activities, and vehicles. Nothing you do feels like a mistake. Even finishing in last place gives you gains.

Those gains are divided up between activities. This is where the lofty number of 26 campaign threads comes into play. Individual threads are set up for each of the distinct racing types, such as road, dirt, cross country, street, drift, and drag. Subtle story elements also come into play in four of the threads. One turns you into a stunt driver recording scenes for a racing movie. Another story is structured as a top 10 list for the greatest racing games of all time, where the player experiences races that simulate classic titles like Out Run, Smuggler’s Run, Project Gotham, and more. As great as these additions are to the Horizon experience, some of other the campaign threads focus on customization and push players to spend significant amounts of time tuning cars, creating blueprints, taking photos, and even using Microsoft’s streaming service Mixer, which gives the player in-game currency bonuses. If you are a completionist, having to invest time into every aspect of the game is can be annoying and something you don’t want to spend time with.

Even if you complete every challenge in a favorite thread, you can still reenter these events to gain experience points and currency, which you need to unlock cars and homes (which are used for fast travel). Not being able to fast travel everywhere leads to some frustration in first 20 to 30 hours of play, as you’re forced to drive great distances to hit specific events. It does get better after that. The amount of distractions you find along the way also offers plenty to keep you occupied during those long trips.

Forza Horizon 4 also excels at multiplayer, allowing players to experience most of the game in cooperative or competitive ways. This means you can cruise around the open world together (and with up to 71 other players) to make progress in your own campaigns. You can also join up on the same team for racing, although it is more challenging, as it disables the rewind functionality. The hourly Forzathon events bring everyone together on the map for short but enjoyable challenges where every racer contributes points to reach a specific total for speed, jumping, and drifting. Succeed and you receive a unique type of Forzathon currency for use in a specific shop that contains even more goodies like new cars, horn sounds (of which some are based on other Microsoft games), and dance moves. Yes, Forza is jumping on the Fortnite hype train by removing the character from the car to perform a dance after achieving victory. You’ll even see characters doing the floss. All of the multiplayer options (included a game of tag with zombies as a theme) are good fun and reasons to veer off the single-player trail.

Given just how much content is in Forza Horizon 4, a good portion of it is blocked off until specific progress is made. If you’re hoping to play the game with friends, some frustration comes from this gating, as you must reach the second year of the competition to be able to take part in specific things like Team Adventures. This means you need to play roughly five hours of the game before you can take part in everything. Given how much fun this racer is, this isn’t a punishment, but it is strange that some aspects are blocked off from the outset of play with co-op being such a big hook.

Once Forza Horizon 4 opens up and the map is cluttered with points of interest, you really can’t ask for much more from a racer. It hits all of the right notes in terms of racing, exploration, rewards, and customization. Depending on your focus of play, you can turn it into a difficult game of precision that requires proper vehicle tuning, or a light arcade experience of tearing across Great Britain with no cares in the world. Forza Horizon has long been my favorite racing series, and this installment shows that there’s plenty of gas left in the tank.

Yesterday on Reddit, The Room stars Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero held an Ask Me Anything. The duo were of course asked about their favorite video games, as Reddit tends to ask in every AMA.

“Yes! Red Dead Redemption, The Last Of Us, Grand Theft Auto V,” answered Sestero, famous for his role as Mark who has great stories.

“What is the one where you eat it?” asked Wiseau.

“Pac Man,” Sestero answered. 

“PAC MAN !!!” replied Wiseau.

The 1998 film The Room is popularly known as one of the worst films ever made to the point of hilarity. The 2017 film The Disaster Artist starring James Franco portraying Tommy Wiseau tells the story of the creation of the movie.

Oculus has announced a new interactive VR series for their new standalone headset, the Oculus Quest. Taking place in the Star Wars universe, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Story puts the viewer/player in the role of a Darth Vader subordinate as you witness the tale unfolding around him.

Catch the trailer for Vader Immortal below.

The episodic series is created by ILMxLab, which creates interactive story experiences made with real-time graphics rather than CG or other kinds of pre-recorded video. ILMxLab is also working on an untitled Marvel project in 2019. The VR experience is also being developed in collaboration with Ninja Theory, developers of DmC: Devil May Cry and Hellblade, which is now a Microsoft first-party studio.

Of course, the trailer ends with the tease of a VR lightsaber battle, so hopefully they do what everyone wants. Vader Immortal is scheduled for release in 2019.

Friday the 13th: The Game and Laser League are the highlights for next month’s PlayStation Plus free games.  Get yourself into the Halloween spirit with Friday the 13th: The Game, which Jeff Marchiafava gave a 6 for technical problems as scary as its killer showdowns. Hunt victims as the legendary Jason Voorhees or stop the slaughter as a brave camp counselor in this spooky competitive multiplayer game.

If horror is not your thing, you can also download Laser League, the competitive laser arena game of the future.  Scramble, dodge, and jump out of the path of “dangerous, chaotic, and unpredictable” lasers to emerge victorious.

Not limited to Friday the 13th and Laser League, PlayStation Plus subscribers will also get these titles for free in October:

  • Master Reboot, PS3
  • The Bridge, PS3 (Cross Buy with PS4 and PS Vita)
  • Rocketbirds 2: Evolution, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4)
  • 2064 Read Only Memories, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4)

Also, subscribers can still download PlayLink and PlayStation VR bonus games. Here They Lie, a PlayStation VR title, is available until Oct 2, and the PlayLink game, Knowledge is Power, through September 6.

These games will be coming soon, so if you haven’t picked up this month’s free games – like God of War III Remastered and Destiny 2 – time is running short. 

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

I came to Bloodlines when I was 14. The big draw for the game back then was that it was the first non-Valve title to use the Source engine, the same tech that was powering Half-Life 2. As I, and maybe the couple of thousand other people who played the game soon found out, the engine selling point was a bit overplayed. Bloodlines was ugly for its time and even worse, it launched with a bundle of game-breaking bugs and performance issues. It was a ragged thing, bordering on unplayable. I’d show the game off to friends after school and they’d raise their eyebrows, confused why I was wasting time with something so unspectacular when Halo 2 and Fable were right there.

The answer is that there is a small piece of Bloodlines that is pure magic. I used to think my love for Troika Games’ last title was nostalgia centered on finding something strange and off the beaten path of major releases, but as the years have gone by, I’ve come to realize that Bloodlines does something that few games manage to do: create an alluring world right out of the gate.

For those who haven’t played, here’s the setup: you’re some nobody in modern day L.A. whose date has just bitten them and turned them into a vampire. Surprise! To make matters worse, the vampires at the top of the food chain, the aristocratical Camarilla, execute your sire and would-be instructor for turning you into a vampire without permission. So, alone, stranded, and abducted against your will into a new world, you now have to educate yourself about vampire society so you can survive it. And that’s essentially the entire game. Yeah, there’s a lengthy storyline about a cursed tomb and blah blah blah, but the real draw here is navigating the chaos of vampire infighting and defining yourself in that world. Just who are you? Do you abide by the rules or break them whenever you want?

All games, to one degree are another, are about rules. Here’s how you win the game, here are the boundaries you cannot go past in this open world, here are stat bonuses that don’t stack on one another. The reason that Bloodlines’ opening works in making you part of its world is because of its direct approach to explaining the rules of that world. As Bloodlines teaches you its gameplay rules – like how not feeding on blood for a certain amount of time will cause your character to descend into a frenzy where they’ll charge NPCs on the street to feed on them – it’s also teaching the rules of the world.

Most modern games, especially those of the open-world variety, take a long time to teach you the rules of their universe. Think Skyrim. It takes quite a while and adventuring before you learn all about the feuding factions and royal spats. Hours upon hours. Same for The Witcher III, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and so on. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially in the case of those games. However, it’s shocking to me just how quickly I became invested in the world of Bloodlines during my last playthrough, the first time I had played the game in over a decade.

Think of Bloodlines as a mixture of Harry Potter’s world of wizardry but with all the seedy underbellyness of the mysterious assassin society in John Wick. The so-called Masquerade of this world is the wall between humans and vampires. Vampires must act as humans in order to blend in. If any vampire does something that reveals their vampiric nature, like using their powers in front of a human or feeding on someone, that’s a Masquerade violation. Three Masquerade violations results in the Camarilla hunting the violator in question down and executing them for the good of vampires everywhere.

However, there are vampires in the world of Bloodlines that despise The Masquerade and think that they should rule the world and use their powers whenever they want. Forcing the player to abide by The Masquerade helps draw you into the fiction of Bloodlines because if you’re keen on using your powers, you’re going to feel that collar around your neck, the aggravation that you have to bow to an authority. On the flip side, you might come to understand the need for those rules as you head off the beaten path from the story and discover just how dark and demented the denizens, vampire and otherwise, who inhabit Bloodlines’ universe are. A personal favorite? The demented Stanley Gimble, a prosthetist who keeps his patients locked up in a homemade prison to harvest their limbs…until you come along to put him out of business.

You do have characters in the main storyline, like the outsider Beckett or the leader of the local anarchist group Nines, who take a liking to you and teach you about the families and different kinds of vampires, like how Malkavian vampires are literally insane and hear voices in their head. However, for the most part, your education is informed by how you explore the city and what (and who) to get tangled up in. Masquerade excels at leaving bread crumbs that lead you to interesting places. For example, a visit to nearby blood clinic might end with you finding someone bleeding to death in one of the patient rooms. Letting them feed on you will result in that person miraculously recovering from their fatal wounds and becoming a blood-bound servant to you, capable of fetching you blood and being a live-in servant. It also curses them to a life as a slave. Oops.

It doesn’t hurt that Bloodlines’ take on L.A. is always engaging to explore. Yes, the game is ugly, especially when it comes to texture quality and character models. However, the layout of each section of the city – presented as a series of hubs – is filled with a ridiculous amount hidden places to find. The setting of the modern city infused with the gothic nature of these dungeons, some of them filled with genuinely terrifying and grotesque sights, helps make this world a strange, fascinating place, a collision of stylish crime drama and fantastical. Beneath this version of glitzy, star-struck Los Angeles, the monsters run amok, and it’s an unsettling amount of fun being one of them.

The final, biggest piece of why Bloodlines works in setting its tone and engrossing you into its world is how it handles classes. At the beginning you select your your vampire clan, which gives you certain stat boosts and powers depending on the clan. However, the clan system in Vampires goes beyond typical RPG fare by creating and breaking certain rules depending on the kind of vampire you’ve selected; your choice feel like it carries weight. Take the aforementioned Malkavian vampires. If you choose to play as one of them, you’ll hear voices throughout the game whispering to you and even have some unique dialogue encounters, like this one with a stop sign:

Choosing to be a Nosferatu means that you exceed in strength and battle but that you’re so hideously deformed you can’t be around humans, meaning that you’ll spend the majority of the game in tunnels or sewers, finding ways to circumnavigate the streets of LA. On the flip side, choose the Toreador clan and you’ll feel at home with humans, capable of bending them to your will through persuasion and charisma. The kind of care taken with these classes is more than just a replay value thing: it also thematically enforces the idea that you’re a scared newcomer in this world to the point that you don’t even understand how your body works or the social constructs tied to your race.

I think ultimately that’s what makes Bloodlines so fascinating to me is that it’s a game about getting lost in a culture. It’s a grimy, deathy culture that feels a little too much like you’ve walked inside a Hot Topic circa 2005 at times, sure, but the way the game instructs you in the social niceties of that world and gives you the power to push against them (if you so choose) is fascinating.

Years after its release, Vampire Bloodline continues to prove its specialness through its devoted fan community, which has grown considerably since 2004. They have continued to support the game, fixing nearly every single bug that was in the original release, as well as improving the game visually and restoring lost content. And it’s not because Bloodlines is a quirky, charming game. It’s because there are few worlds, past or present, in games that are as worth visiting.