Rex Dickson, creative director for the Madden NFL series at internal studio EA Tiburon, has left the company after six years in that position and over a decade with the company.

In a tweet, Dickson says:

This decision was made after many discussions with other leaders on the team. We collectively agreed this was the best path forward for everyone involved. This is as much for me and my family as it is about giving the team, the community, and the Madden franchise a chance for a new direction.

Dickson later follows up saying, “There is no drama or deeper story here … I am filled with hope when I think about the passion of those who will pick up the flag and fight on for the future of the Madden franchise.”

Dickson joined EA in 2003 working on the Medal of Honor franchise, including the reboot in 2010, and became the Madden creative director in 2012 for Madden NFL 25. During his tenure the series solidified its gameplay, started the Connected Franchise structure, continued the lucrative Ultimate Team mode, and introduced the Longshot story mode last year.

We’ve reached out to EA for further comment, and we will update this story if we hear anything significant.

[Source: Rex Dickson] 

 

Our Take 
Given that Dickson says his departure is, in part, about giving the series “a chance for a new direction” and references fighting for the future of the franchise, it sounds like he didn’t agree with some aspect of where it is heading. The feature set for Madden 19 is already locked and the game is expected to be playable at E3 in June, so Dickson’s departure won’t change anything for this year’s title. There will no doubt be, however, a guessing game with Madden 19 and future titles to try and figure out what Dickson may or may not have agreed with, but that’s all speculation.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking and meeting with Dickson several times, including a profile interview we did on him in issue #283, and his love and commitment for the franchise and video games was always evident. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors, and hope that if he chooses to stay in video game development, we hear from him soon.

God of War has proven to be one of the most beloved titles this year as far as reviews and player response go. It looks like Kratos’ latest adventure isn’t hurting on the sales side, either.

Sony just revealed in a blog post that the game sold over 3.1 million copies in three days, becoming the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive:

One of PlayStation’s most iconic series is reaching new heights this
week. Thanks to all of you, our fans, God of War has become the
fastest-selling PS4 exclusive, with more than 3.1 million units sold
globally in the first three days (April 20–22).


When we first revealed God of War less than two years ago, we knew we
had something truly special. Fans reacted with tremendous excitement to
this bold reimagining of the franchise, and we were thrilled to explore
the unique father-son dynamic between Kratos and Atreus. Fast-forward
to present day with the game’s release, and we are humbled to see such
positive reviews.

For more on God Of War, which scored a 9.75 from us, you can check out our review here.

 

Our Take
God of War is a special adventure. I am glad to see that the game’s been rewarded with financial success as well as critical praise.

The Desolation of Mordor, Shadow of War’s second DLC expansion, arrives this month. The Desolation of Mordor will not feature long-suffering Talion but instead will focus on Baranor, Captain of Minas Ithil, as he makes his way east to build an army of mercenaries to take down a certain fortress. But first, he’s got to enlist the aid of a former acquaintance.

You can watch as goofs and a bit of emotional warmth flood the scene in this trailer. There are no orc decapitation, though. You can watch it here:

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The Desolation of Mordor drops on May 8. Those who have purchased an expansion pass will get access to the DLC as soon as it goes live. You can check out our impressions of the last expansion here.

A week before release, NISA has delayed Disgaea 5 Complete’s PC release.

NISA sent out an email today delaying the game to an indefinite date in Summer of this year, mostly notable as the title was scheduled for release on May 7. The same title was released last year on Switch and in 2015 on PlayStation 4. The PC version was part of NISA’s initiative to try and get their games on to PC after finding success with ports like the original Disgaea.

The delay comes a day after a strange set of circumstances with the game’s demo. As part of an Alienware promotion, codes were given out for a demo of the game purported to be its first chapter. After getting to the second chapter, players started reporting on social media that the demo had a situation similar to Yakuza 6 where it was actually the full game, but then the demo closed after the third chapter. It was an odd situation but not completely strange.

It took a stranger turn today where, hours before the delay was announced, NISA quietly revoked the licenses of all the demos with no explanation. It is not clear if the revocation is part of the delay or it mistakenly offering more content than advertised.

Disgaea 5 Complete is now scheduled for summer 2018, a date which the website does not reflect yet.

 

Our Take
It’s a disappointing delay, but abrupt delays seem to be kind of commonplace for NISA these days. Maybe they want to avoid another Ys VIII situation where the PC port isn’t up to snuff, but a week before release seems to be cutting it kind of close. It is also possible the demo raised some alarms on something that had to be fixed immediately.

On a livestream yesterday, Harmonix announced that they would be bringing back the Rock Band Network to Rock Band 4 on modern consoles.

The Rock Band Network was conceived as a way to increase the number of songs available to download for Rock Band without massively scaling up development resources. It allowed content creators to author, peer review, and upload their own tracks to the network and get things up faster than if Harmonix were doing it themselves. Creators split the revenue between themselves, Harmonix, and either XBL or PSN.

Rock Band Network is returning to the series with Rock Band 4, but unlike with Rock Band DLC, players are not able to carry over previous purchases to the newer game. Harmonix says that it came down to either having not being able to bring back any songs or starting fresh on purchases.

The service will prioritize Rock Band Network’s most notable and best-selling songs first and work backwards from there and is coming in addition to Harmonix’s own weekly DLC. Players who are hoping for specific RBN songs to come back can request them through the Rock Band Request page here.

 

Our Take
I distinctly remember buying Still Alive on this, so I hope that makes the leap over.

Hidetaka Suehiro, better known among fans as Swery65, has been having a rough few months. When his cat-based murder mystery game, The Good Life, failed to meet its crowdfunding goal late last year, Swery vowed to get it funded somehow, and brought the game to Kickstarter with some changes last month.

Now, a few days from the time limit, The Good Life has finally passed its funding goal. The last few weeks of Swery’s social media presence has been a whirlwind of the game designer retweeting everyone who backed the game and also reminding fans every waking hour that the campaign was closing soon. It seemed like a longshot, the game was about $200,000 from funding on the eve of the final week, so the team had to pull a number of ripcords to make the final push.

A few days ago, Swery teased the possibility of a Switch version, which now exists as a stretch goal to the campaign. The team put out a demo for the game and sent it to Youtubers in hopes of drumming up interest. Swery even started showing off the physical rewards, including hoodies in both dog and cat varieties.

The success of the campaign is probably a relief for Swery, who has had a recent spat of problems getting his games produced. His Xbox One/PC narrative adventure series, D4, was cut short after Microsoft pulled out and he cut ties with the publisher. In The Good Life demo, a gravestone even has the letters “D4 S2,” likely referring to a second season of the game, etched on the front. Swery mentioned a number of months back that he also wished to make a game about a teenage girl detective who activates psychic powers through masturbation, though he confessed to me in March that he has not been able to find a publisher to get on board with that idea.

Regardless, The Good Life has now met its goal and the team at White Owls can actually move forward with the PlayStation 4 and Steam versions of the murder mystery. Fans of cats, dogs, and Swery himself can be happy that threshold has been crossed.

 

Our Take
Hopefully the game hits its stretch goal for Switch owners. I’ve been intrigued by the game since its announcement and the team seems really receptive to feedback.

Hi-Rez Studios has announced that Paladins, their hyphen-heavy free-to-play team-based first-person-shooter, will come out of early access on PC and land on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next week.

Paladins came out shortly after Blizzard’s Overwatch and immediately drew comparisons to the mega-popular shooter. Even still, Paladins has managed to accumulate a fairly large audience and often finds itself among the top five games played on Steam on any given day. Being free-to-play has allowed the game to find an audience that wasn’t being competed for.

In January, Hi-Rez announced a battle royale mode for Paladins kind of surprisingly titled Paladins: Battlegrounds. The mode went into beta in February, but Hi-Rez has not spoken much about it since. Once the full game releases, it’s likely Battlegrounds will see the bulk of Hi-Rez’s development attention.

Players who played Paladins before today will receive a gift of 200 crystals, equivalent to about $5, for logging in between release and May 30.

 

Our Take
I have tooled around a bit with Paladins. I like the artstyle, but I never got a good sense for what makes the game fun. A lot of people have, though, and enjoy the game quite a bit.

Ubisoft has announced that the Beyond Good & Evil 2 team will be livestreaming an update on the game’s progress.

The developer has been fairly quiet about the game since its surprise E3 reveal last year, except another developer stream last December. It seems like we’ll get another update tomorrow, with a livestream from the developers at 12:00 PM EDT.

 

 

The last livestream about the game showed a little about the game and player models flying around the base ship. When the title was announced, Michel Ancel said they wanted to involve fans in the development process and make a game that they can view along the way. It will be interesting to see how that factors in tomorrow.

The 2D platformer is one of the oldest genres in video games. Even after more than 30 years, we still love running and jumping across uneven platforms and avoiding deadly obstacles. Bishop Games adds a new dimension to this established formula with Light Fall, allowing you to create platforms while jumping. Unfortunately, this cool concept is more promising in theory than in practice, and this unorthodox premise plays like an average platformer.

As a tiny, mute silhouette, you clamber over the imaginary world of Numbra – a series of craggy fields and bottomless pits. Using the power of a brick called the Shadow Core, you produce floating platforms. This power is constrained by the fact that you can only produce four blocks before having to set foot on normal ground again. Creating new platforms while you jump is a fun idea. Sadly, Light Fall doesn’t capitalize on its concept, and most levels feel like well-trod platforming challenges with bigger gaps to compensate for your Shadow Core ability. During the adventure, you wall jump up vertical shafts, launch off collapsing platforms, and avoid spinning deathtraps. I enjoyed navigating some of these obstacles, but the entire game feels too familiar.

The Shadow Core has a few additional abilities. One application lets you create blocks that float in front of you like a shield. Another skill allows you to freely move and rotate a block across the screen, which comes in handy for solving Light Fall’s few puzzles. I got a kick out of using a block like a water wheel to propel myself across a lake, but I only used that Shadow Core skill a handful of times throughout the entire game, and most Shadow Core abilities feel sorely underutilized, especially considering you have these skills from the beginning of the game.

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Light Fall’s lack of gameplay variety means you spend most of your time running and jumping. Fortunately, your little sprite has a decent run speed, and controlling him in mid-air feels good even with the Switch’s tiny buttons. Most platforms have a nice stickiness, so I never fell off any of my created blocks, even when I was in a full sprint. Unfortunately, this stickiness is a double-edged sword, and trying to slide down walls is a buzzkill when you’re in a hurry. During some of the more challenging platforming sequences, I died several times because I got caught up on a wall. At other times, Bishop Games had trouble designing challenges around its own mechanics; I avoided a couple platforming sequences altogether by using my platforms to jump over half a level.

A few scattered collectibles encourage players to double back to learn more of the world’s lore, but the world of Numbra isn’t interesting enough, and those rewards aren’t tantalizing enough to encourage this kind of Easter egg hunt.

Light Fall draws you in with its stylistic visuals and the promise of a new twist on a classic formula. Creating your own platforms is fun, but Bishop Games didn’t develop this gimmick into a meaningful series of mechanics. As it stands, Light Fall is a handful of interesting ideas that are missing the elements they need to really shine.

Valve’s Steam Controller team has announced that the Switch’s Pro Controller, a dual-analog controller with similar shape and arrangement to the Xbox One controller, is now officially supported on Steam.

Users who are a part of the Steam client beta can now set the controller up via Steam Input and start using it in games now. You can customize the controller on a per game basis and even set a toggle to make the games recognize the Nintendo layout which swaps A/B and X/Y.

You can create and edit setups as you see fit and share those profiles with other users, or borrow theirs if they have a better setup. Steam even supports the Pro Controller’s motion control for games that take advantage of that.

[Source: Steam]

 

Our Take
It’s cool that this was clearly something they decided to work on and make work as well as possible. I wonder if Nintendo was made aware of it, but I’m happy I now have the option of an extra controller to use on PC.