The Legend of Zelda’s massive following and consistently stunning soundtracks make it a frequent source of inspiration for gaming musicians. We covered a bluegrass cover of Skyward Sword’s iconic theme a while ago, but a new album is now getting in touch with Link’s more hardcore side.

The Temples is a new album from Ro Panuganti, and features eight tracks that manage to be atmospheric while still encouraging some serious head-banging. The songs, all tributes to Ocarina of Time, mix metal and prog-rock influences to form a surprisingly listenable compilation (even if, like me, you’re not typically a fan of the genre). 

The album is available on bandcamp, Spotify, and iTunes. Now is the time to start campaigning for its inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate soundtrack.

Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet takes the animated movie out of the realm of video games and into the world of internet jokes and Disney licenses. Check out the short but cute trailer below.

There’s more than a little Fast & Furious in the trailer and we also get to see Vanellope’s further interactions with the other Disney princesses. Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet will attempt to break the theaters on November 21.

A day after Doom Eternal’s extensive gameplay reveal at QuakeCon, I sat down with id Software’s Marty Stratton, who serves as the project’s game director, and Hugo Martin, creative director, to talk about how the sequel will shake things up for the campaign, combat, multiplayer, and mod scene. Stratton and Martin wouldn’t give away every secret, yet but did dive deep into what we can expect from certain aspects of this sequel.

Take me back to the conclusion of Doom. You finished it up and started thinking about the future. What was that aftermath like? What kind of discussions did you have?
Marty Stratton: It was quick. We started planning and pre-production right away. We had post-mortem discussions about what we did right and wrong and what we wanted to do better. There was a lot of research on reviews, YouTube, everything. We took it all in, and tried to figure out where to go from there.

Hugo started with the creative team right away; trying to figure out where we would go next.

Hugo Martin: We also hoped to get the chance to make another one, so the story arc started in 2016. We laid the groundwork for the sequel. There was a ton of work to be done across the board, but in that regard, it was about continuing what we started.

At that point you were showing the world what a new Doom could look like. Now you say you are creating an entire Doom universe. That screams of extensive plans. Can you discuss what we can expect from the Doom universe?
HM: We’re so excited. It’s what we always wanted. It just means [Doom Eternal] has depth and a lot of substance. That’s mostly it – that it’s something that is worth your time.

MS: There’s thought and depth behind every decision, visual, level, and weapon. We tried to build a lot of lore into the codex in Doom 2016. A portion of the audience dives into that. Some people don’t even know it’s there. We think people that do invest in it appreciate it. With Doom Eternal, we want to make sure it’s within arm’s reach if you want it. It’s all there. There are answers to your burning questions.

A lot of people are affected by the game on a visceral level. They love killing the demons. None of that is changing. What is exciting for me are the conversations that happen around this stuff as we build it. They are so amazing and fun. The ideas and lore are thought through by really creative people. We haven’t really put [the lore] out there where people can be a part of it. That’s what I love about story games, stuff like Elder Scrolls. They put it out there where people can get it at varying levels. We want to bring people into that conversation a little bit more. We think what we have is exciting.

Is that lore mostly going to be off to the side in the codex again?
HM: It’s not just lore or backstory. If you want to surf the main game, we have what we call the A story and B story. The A story is the main game, and what the average consumer is going to experience. The B story is context for everything, like who am I talking to, why did that guy interact with me in that way? The key thing when we say “universe” is we want to take the Doom player to places they’ve never been before. That serves the A story. It’s not just about making juicy codex entries, it’s about, as you saw with those locations, taking you to new places. As Marty said, Doom is about killing cool bad guys in amazing places with awesome guns. That’s it. The amazing places part, and the cool demons part, and the awesome guns part fit into that stuff.

“The ballista is kind of an ancient looking weapon. Where does that come from? Do I get to go to that place?” We just want to make sure that Doom has some fantastic set pieces in it. We’re swinging for the fences with this one. We’re going to go to some cool places. Doom universe is just about making the game more awesome and fun.

Let’s talk about the slayer himself. You guys gave him an upgrade…a few upgrades.
HM: It’s the evolution of who he was in Doom 2016. He’s still the same guy, but fictionally speaking, he is constantly modifying his armor. Many people call out: If he is this ancient warrior who has been in this eternal struggle between good and evil, why does his armor look modern? There’s a good answer for that. He’s changing his armor all of the time. He’s upgrading it. Superheroes do it. That’s a part of that genre. We think of him like a superhero. When he upgrades his stuff, he does it with efficiency in mind. From a gameplay perspective, we always think of that first.

The blade in particular is something we thought a lot about. It’s hard for us to glory kill enemies with [the slayer’s] bare hands. Some of the demons are the size of elephants. We would talk about the glory kills, and [the development team] would be like “I can’t do this.” They would put the slayer’s hands on the baron’s face, and they would look like baby hands. We had to give him a tool. He always had to pull parts off of enemies, which he still does, but now he has a utensil to take out large enemies more efficiently. The first glory kill he does in the demo is faster than any in Doom 2016. [The blade] is faster, it can take out big enemies, it looks cool, and adds variety.

MS: We really tried to maintain the dance, flow, and feel of combat. Everything we’ve added is centered around that same dance, just giving you new moves to use on the dance floor. That was always important that it was the same dance. We want it to be a tight game loop where the player is thinking of what to do next. The flamethrower, I don’t know how much it got noticed, but when you shoot a guy who is on fire, there’s a benefit – you get armor shards. It works a little like the chainsaw. It isn’t just cool looking, you get gains from it.

HM: Destructible demons are the same. Is [the destruction] all cosmetic only? No. Some of it can be strategic. For example, you can shoot off the gun turret on the Arachnotron. That’s his primary attack, and it can be pretty devastating. If you have good aim, and you want to nerf his abilities – he still has other attacks, though – you can take out that gun. As long as something feels like it is promoting the player to be aggressive, it’s Doom. All of these things, the doom blade, equipment launcher, it’s about being aggressive.

The thing that surprised me the most about the gameplay you showed was how open the spaces were. Are most areas that large?

HM: If the race car gets faster then the race track has to get bigger. That’s basically it. Our race car can do a lot of things now, so the track he’s on has to be bigger. Talking about our traversal combos, when you double jump to a dash into a monkey bar swing use the meat hook and then wall climb, it makes the ambient spaces more dynamic. Having the tools in place as game designers allows for some really interesting moments, and that includes combat.

MS: The stuff happening around you in these levels is crazy; whether you’re experiencing hell on earth on the edge of collapsed buildings or fighting under the BFG 10,000 on Phobos. We’re not just taking you to new places. The experiences you’re getting in places you’ve been, like the UAC, you’ve never seen before in a Doom game. We’ve really taken that next step. The worlds were great in 2016, but the level of s— going on around was never at 10. The sky box was never at 10. This time around, when you look around, you’re going to see you’re in the middle of something big going on.

Can the meat hook latch onto anything?

MS: Just demons.

It has to be made of meat then?

MS: Yup. Exactly.

The meat hook is attached to the super shotgun. Does that mean you need to have that weapon equipped to use the hook?

MS: Yup. The way works is when you have the super shotgun out, you hit the mod button and it shoots it out.

You didn’t go into multiplayer, SnapMap, or mods during your presentation. Can you talk to me about your plans for those things? Todd Howard took Escalation Studios, the team that made SnapMap.

MS: Todd takes everyone. (laughs)

I’ll start with SnapMap. We decided to move away from it. We loved it and thought it was great, but it didn’t scratch the itch we thought maybe it could for people. We touched on the Invasion stuff. That’s a whole part of game we think people are going to have fun with. That was a high-level goal for [Doom Eternal]. We’re also working on a PvP component. We’ll talk about it later. It’s also very Doom, as we like to say. It isn’t a sidecar experience. We are doing that internally. We’ve taken all of that in.

HM: (whispers) It’s awesome.

MS: [The multiplayer] is new and different. We’re also planning for probably the thing that was most requested, which is post-campaign content that we create, not through something like SnapMap.

HM: The campaign, Invasion, PvP, it all feels like Doom this time. There isn’t kind of a separation there where you’re like “I kind of like the MP, but it doesn’t feel like Doom.” We were aware of that. We’re making it internally now. We’re excited about what we have.

Octopath Traveler doesn’t shy away from its inspirations. The turn-based combat, character classes, and pixel-art designs are all firmly rooted in classic JRPGS like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. However, as evidenced by the many modern graphical filters layered on top of its pixels, the game plants one foot firmly in the present even while emulating the past. In our review, we said that it feels like “a game from an alternate timeline.”

YouTube channel Game Score Fanfare tackles this apparent contradiction in a new video focusing on Octopath’s orchestral soundtrack. Through a detailed analysis of how composers created themes for 16-bit JRPGs, the video demonstrates that simple melodies and specific instrumentation can evoke a powerful emotional response from the player.

Mathew Dyason, creator of Game Score Fanfare, was one of the creators we talked to in our feature on Patreon-funded YouTube channels. Check that piece out here.

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a man on top of the world as perhaps the biggest Twitch streamer out there, says there’s a reason you don’t see him streaming Fortnite with women.

Speaking with PolygonBlevins revealed the reason he doesn’t stream himself playing Fortnite with female streamers is because it invites far too much gossip and “clickbait” articles. “If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another,” Blevins told Polygon, “that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever.”

Twitch viewership can be slightly more intimate affair for the people who do it, at least compared to many of the people who cover games in various other ways. There’s a feeling that you’re slowly familiarizing yourself with the person you’re watching, and many streamers give off a welcoming attitude that gives viewers an itch to get to know them and ask questions about their personal lives. So when big-time streamers show themselves playing with each other viewers begin to ask: what is their relationship? And when it comes to men and women streaming together, the question becomes: Are they dating?

Blevins has decided to sidestep this issue by never streaming with women and part of the reason for this is his wife. Blevins is married to fellow streamer Jessica “Jghosty” Blevins, and two often appear on stream together. So in order to avoid rumors that he might be dating someone else, he won’t stream with another woman. “That was me being, ‘I love our relationship,’ and, ‘No — I’m not even gonna put you through that,'” Blevins told Polygon.

Speaking on whether this decision has caused any blowback from female streamers who could benefit from being from being on his streams (the way many of the men he streams with get followers and views just by being in his orbit), Blevins is quick to say he hasn’t seen any of it himself. “There hasn’t been a single female gamer or streamer on Twitch or anything like that who’s been upset about that,” he told Polygon. “I honestly think that… it’s just kinda like a respect thing.”

[Source: Polygon]

 

On one side, if Ninja wants to avoid the rumor mill entirely and not cause him or his wife any grief that might come with gossip videos and such, so be it. But it does reinforce the idea that men and women can’t be friends with each other without there being some sort of romantic undertone between them, which is an unfortunate side effect of his choice.

It’s no secret that game creators are fond of cross-platform play and integration. They want people to be able to play with their friends and continue their games on any system they see fit, even if it means an Xbox One player connects with a friend on PlayStation 4. Xbox and Nintendo are embracing cross-play functionality, but Sony continues to treat the PlayStation 4 as a gated community. Sony shut down Epic Games’ bid to bring cross-platform play to the PlayStation 4 version of Fortnite, but has  vaguely stated it is looking into the possibility of letting its hardware connect to other systems. Bethesda Softworks appears to be putting a pressure on Sony to change its stance.

At this year’s QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas, I sat down with Pete Hines, Bethesda’s senior vice president of global marketing and communications, to talk about the forthcoming console version of The Elder Scrolls Legends. My first question was for Hines to give a general overview of what console players should expect from The Elder Scrolls Legends when it eventually hits on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch.

“[The Elder Scrolls Legends] is a strategy card game that encompasses both single and multiplayer,” Hines said. “It is both cross-platform play and cross-platform progress.”

I cut him off at this point to clarify that the cross-play would only be on “certain systems,” since I figured this wouldn’t apply on PS4.

Hines replied, “It is our intention in order for the game to come out, it has to be those things on any system. We cannot have a game that works one way across everywhere else except for on this one thing. The way the game works right now on Apple, Google, Steam, and Bethesda.net, it doesn’t matter where you buy your stuff, if you play it on another platform that stuff is there. It doesn’t matter what platform you play on, you play against everyone else who is playing at that moment. There’s no ‘Oh, it’s easier to control, or it has a better framerate on this system.’ It’s a strategy card game. It doesn’t matter.”

I asked him if that meant there’s a chance it won’t come out on PlayStation 4 if Sony doesn’t change its stance. “We continue to talk to all of our platform partners,” Hines added. “But those [terms] are essentially non-negotiable.  We can’t be talking about one version of Legends, where you take your progress with you, and another version where you stay within that ecosystem or its walled off from everything else. That is counter to what the game has been about.”

I told Hines that Sony isn’t letting Fortnite offer cross-play, and that game is the biggest thing out there right now. “I am aware,” he said. “I’m just telling you that’s our stance. That is our intent. And that is our message. Not specific to anyone in particular, but to everyone we are talking about. This is 100 percent clear. This is what we are doing, what we need, and what we intend.”

Hines didn’t outright name Sony in any capacity, but unless Bethesda is doing something different with its cross-platform efforts that conflicts with the freedom Xbox One and Switch currently allow, it has to be PlayStation 4.

Hines’ statements comes in a year in which Sony has been under pressure to embrace cross-platform play between PS4 and other consoles. Earlier this year, Xbox’s Phil Spencer and the official Fortnite Twitter account tweeted in support of Fortnite crossplay between PS4 and Xbox One. A couple of months ago, former Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley stated the reason for the lack of crossplay on PS4 was simple: Sony didn’t want people to buy Xbox One games and end up using them with a PS4. Bethesda’s own Todd Howard also stated they would love to do crossplay with Fallout 76, but that Sony wasn’t “being as helpful as we want them to be.”

 

Our Take
All systems should allow cross-play and cross-platform progress. I love seeing Bethesda dangle the possibility of one of its games not coming to specific machines in front of console makers. Here’s hoping the pressure works.

Although the recently-detailed Fallout 76 has major online components, Bethesda is one of the publishers championing the creation of single-player games. But these games tend to be more prone to being resold, and according to a recent report, it may also be championing legal action against people trying to resell their games after buying them.

According to Polygon, Philadelphia resident Ryan Hupp purchased a copy of The Evil Within 2 with the intention of later getting a PlayStation 4 to play it on. He eventually decided to upgrade his PC instead, which made the sealed PS4 copy of the game he had useless. So like many people with a game they no longer want to keep, he decided to throw it up on the Amazon Marketplace. He posted it as “new” since he hadn’t broken the seal on it yet.

After posting the listing, Hupp received a letter from Bethesda’s legal firm, Vorys. The letter threatened him to take the listing down or face legal action. Vorys stated that because Hupp was not “an authorized reseller,” reselling the copy was unlawful. They also stated Hupp posting the listing as “new” instead of “used” was false-advertising, since the resold copy no longer had the manufacturer’s warranty and could therefore not be considered new. And because the game could not be considered new, reselling the game as it was listed was not protected by the First Sale Doctrine, which enables second-hand markets for physical products like video games, including resale and rentals.

As Polygon points out, this is standard operating procedure for Vorys, who has a page on its website telling companies that only a single material difference from the genuince product the creator of the item sells is necessary to nullify the First Sale Doctrine protection, and that a material difference doesn’t have to be physical (hence the letter leaning the lack of a manufacturer’s warranty to justify legal action).

Hupp quickly took his listing down, but isn’t too happy about it. “I understand the legal arguments Bethesda are relying on, and accept that they have some legitimate interest in determining how their products are sold at retail,” Hupp told Polygon. “But threatening individual customers with lawsuits for selling games they own is a massive overreach.”

 

While it’s possible Hupp could still repost the listing and just file it as used and maybe get away with it, why risk further threatening letters and legal action? Hupp likely doesn’t have the resources to fight a lawsuit, which makes backing down his best move, even if he might have legal ground to stand on. That said, if a consumer rights organization were take the issue up in court, it could lead to some interesting legal precedent down the road. Hopefully Hupp can find someone to find a buyer for his copy of The Evil Within 2.

As someone who recently got a new mechanical keyboard, I’m pretty into typing things right now. Keyboard are cool! But paying nearly $1,000 for one as part of a collector’s edition is… a bit much.

But if price or region is no limit, Capcom’s got a Japan-exclusive offer for you. As part of the slew of collector’s editions for the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake, Capcom has partnered with high-end keyboard maker Qwerkytoys to release a bluetooth-enabled mechanical keyboard that resembles a typewriter like the ones you use to save in Resident Evil games of old. The keyboard includes Umbrella Corp. and Lexington branding. And depending on which edition you get, you can also enhance the immersion with inkwells which store police tape, which you can use to seal off your house or apartment to no one will get near your new expensive keyboard.

How expensive is it? Well, the cheapest edition you can get which includes the keyboard (and nothing else) is 75,000 yen, which is roughly 700 dollars (not including shipping). But if you want everything, which includes everything in the previously-announced other collector’s edition, the keyboard, and four of those police tape rolls, it’ll run you 99,800 yen, which translates to $900. 

If that’s too rich for your blood, you can already snag a great deal on the keyboard itself. All you have to do is forego the game-related branding and buy it plain straight from Qwerkytoys, which has had a standard version of this same keyboard available for $250. Where does the extra $450 it costs to have it RE-branded go, exactly? No one knows! Think of it as a donation the Raccoon City police department, maybe?

Grasshopper Manufacture’s cult favorite Killer7 is coming to Steam this fall, and our own Suriel Vasquez was able to finagle some exclusive footage from the game running on PC. In honor of this special occasion, we’ve reassembled the complete original crew of our Super Replay playthrough in today’s NGT.

Suriel’s here, along with Joe Juba, Leo Vader, Andrew Reiner, and me. Yep! It’s a complete reunion! Check out the new Killer7 PC footage, and marvel at Suriel marveling at a bunch of weird little details. For example, remember how the weak spots looked one way before? Now they look another, 1080p way! You can’t get this anywhere else, folks!

Killer7 is coming to Steam this fall.

We already know Fallout 76 will be an online-oriented game, with a focus on inter-player interactions over branching dialogue trees with NPCs. But what does that mean when comes to player-one-player confrontations? During today’s Fallout 76 panel at Quakecon, project lead Jeff Gardiner, game director Todd Howard, and development director Chris Meyer gave us some elucidating details.

Since Fallout games have been mostly single-player affairs up until this point, multiplayer introduces some interesting problems. At the forefront of the team’s mind was the question of how the world would deal with griefers – people who might wander the wasteland looking to ruin other people’s games by relentlessly attacking them.

Todd Howard’s answer to this question was quick. “We turn ass***** into interesting content.”

“We want this element of danger [in Fallout 76] without griefing,” Howard said. After hitting level five, you’ll begin to encounter other players as you explore the wasteland. One of the ways you can interact with them is to shoot them. Taking into the account the fact that players are likely going to shoot each other on the fly quite often (by accident or otherwise), early potshots won’t deal much damage. But if one player is insistent on attacking another, that damage will begin to increase. You can, however, avoid accidental encounters completely by enabling a pacifist flag, which will prevent your bullets from harming other players.

If you do want to fight, the individual levels of each player will matter, but not as much as you might think. Players who’ve played for a while will obviously be stronger, but that doesn’t mean lower-level players are entirely powerless. The power curve is more normalized in PvP than in PvE, making PvP encounters a bit more fair. “The guy in Power Armor with a minigun is obviously going to be harder [to kill], but if you get the drop on him with a knife, it does kind of work,” Howard said during the panel. 

How the defending player chooses to respond is up to them. If they reciprocate the attack, each player offers a cap reward based on their level, making it tempting to land a kill and get their reward. VATS returns in Fallout 76, though it’s been altered to accommodate the new online nature of the game. Targeting takes place in real time, and you can’t target individual body parts at first. Instead you can target the whole body, with a hit chance based on your Perception attribute. You can also VATS to find sneakier players. Early on VATS may not be as effective as simply shooting your opponent, but invest in some perception that will likely change.

If you lose a scuffle and die, you’ll not only drop your cap reward, but also any junk you might have had on you at the time. Junk is accumulated by searching the world and isn’t worthless, either; you need it to build up your camps, craft armor, and other items.

The team didn’t want to make death too punitive, but they wanted it to mean something, leading to a system where you do lose something when you die, but it’s also not an all-or-nothing affair. So whenever a player encounters what they think might be a tough area or player, they may want to think twice about how much junk they’re holding and whether to engage. To circumvent losing junk, you can store it in various stashes hidden around the world, any base camp you might have built up, or in Vault 76.

If someone does end up murdering you, have a chance to get revenge. Once you return to life, you’ll be given the chance to seek out that specific player and retaliate. If you manage to win that round, the game will give you double the normal reward for killing them.

But perhaps the most interesting mechanic arises when one player doesn’t want to fight. A player who kills someone who didn’t want to fight becomes a wanted murderer. There’s no reward for murdering someone who doesn’t fight back other than the brief satsifaction it might give a jerk, and the cost is high; being a wanted murderer marks that player on the map of everyone around them as a red star. That player also carries a new bounty that comes out of their own caps, incentivizing every other player in that instance to kill them. Wanted players won’t be able to spot anyone around them on their map, making it difficult for them to see attacking players coming.

Players also have the camps they’ve built to worry about, but losing them won’t be as heartbreaking as you might expect. Nukes are a big part of the Fallout experience according to Bethesda, and while getting your carefully-build camp might sting, you can choose to “blueprint” individual structures, letting you recreate them entirely with a simple button press. Of course, you can also use this feature to quickly relocate your camps as well.

Communication is a major part of online games, and Fallout 76 is no different. Along with voice chat for players you join up with, you can also choose to toggle voice chat for nearby strangers on or off, letting you hear them coming or simply make it easier to create ad-hoc roving bands of survivors.

Hopefully, with these various methods of inter-player violence and communication, Fallout 76’s decision to foregone bespoke storytelling for more lively player-told stories will pay off.

For more on Fallout 76, check out our write-up on its character progression and creation, as well as how mutations will alter your character.