Star Wars: Battlefront 2 Releases New Footage

With everything that happened at Disney’s D23 Expo recently, especially surrounding both Marvel and Star Wars movie announcements, it was easy to miss some of their video game news. One of the most impressive things they showed was new footage from the single player version of the upcoming “Star Wars: Battlefront II”, due out in November of 2017, just a month before the much awaited “Last Jedi” hits the theaters. The video is not only impressive in its graphical beauty and immersion, but it also gives us a much bigger picture of where the story takes us.

In this new story, you are a soldier in the Empire, a member of the Imperial special forces to be exact. Your first mission is to help the Imperial legion stationed on Endor, and in one of the cut scenes, you see the second Death Star explode far overhead. With the Emperor dead and the Empire crumbling, the story then follows your hero as she copes with the ensuing chaos and the failure of her superiors.

One thing that may bode well for the story quality of this single player is the fact that your character’s father is an admiral, and in the video Disney shows that there is a strong relationship with your immediate superior officer. The producers claim the entire point of their story line was to show humanity within the mostly faceless and fearsome Galactic Empire. Each of the characters have backstories, histories, and reasons for their loyalty that should succeed in the single player story line.

They also made it clear that this story plugs completely into the Star Wars universe as part of the new Disney canon. A momentary shot of a post “Return of the Jedi” Luke Skywalker confronting your character seems to promise that in a very enticing way.

“Zombie” Game Mode Footage Revealed for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds at E3

In an interesting clip shown in an interview at E3, we see the developers of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds are already planning a new custom game mode, zombie survival, for the game.

 

While there are many other zombie survival games out there, most notably H1Z1 and DayZ, Battlegrounds producer Chang-han Kim stated that the PUBG zombie mode was a fan inspired addition, suggested by a popular South Korean Twitch streamer on their channel. In addition, Kim said this new mode was created to “inspire players to create their own content” for the game. Many people, such as the Youtubers Node, have already created custom Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds games that featured users playing as zombies.

 

The new E3 video features zombies twitching out, biting the necks of uninfected players in various positions and parkouring over walls. There was no indication in the video as to whether or not the zombies were player controlled, but a tweet by Bluehole Lead Community Manager poopieQueen confirmed that the zombies will, in fact, be controlled by players. It will be exciting to see how this is implemented, and if players are able to convert the normal players into zombies or become reanimated once they die.

 

Not many details were given about this new game mode, however, and Kim made it clear that optimization of the core game would continue to be the major focus of the developers. According to another tweet by poopieQueen, the game mode will not be apart of the base game mode, and it will likely be added only once the core game is fully completed.

 

That said, Chang-han Kim announced that content additions are planned for each new update, even after the game is fully released. Many players on the Battlegrounds forums and Reddit have expressed their happiness with the rate at which Bluehole is releasing content and listening to players’ concerns. Only time will tell if this developer responsiveness will continue as the game heads out of early access.

 

 

Mario Hackers Continue to Thrive Despite Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker

Mario has been a platforming mascot for nearly four decades thanks to its constant innovation and ability to bring players joy. However, as Mario has changed to accommodate a wider range of markets, some have sought to revive the game’s status as being “Nintendo hard” by creating their own level plans through tools that allow users to take a game’s ROM and treat it like a box of Lego, building whatever they want out of the parts and tools provided. Despite Nintendo’s release of “Super Mario Maker,” an innovative title that allows players to build their own levels with a drag-and-drop interface, the “Mario hack” community continues to thrive.

 

2006 saw the establishment of SMW Central, an online community dedicated to ROM hacks of “Super Mario World.” “S.N.N.,” head administrator for SMW Central, remarked that activity in the community surged in 2010. Much of this boom can be attributed to a YouTube video uploaded in 2010 that claimed to have discovered a new power up in Super Mario World through exploits performed within the game. While one user believed the item was made with “Lunar Magic,” a level-editing program; the truth was that this power up, a “laser suit,” was created in a hack by user “KPhoenix.”

 

The aforementioned Lunar Magic program, designed by “fusoya” and released to the public a decade before Super Mario Maker, uses a drag-and-drop interface similar enough to Super Mario Maker’s that some people believe Nintendo took inspiration from the former in making the latter. One of the recurring events that have kept SMW Central alive in a post-Super Mario Maker world is its “Vanilla Level Design Contest.” The premise of this annual contest, which routinely sees over 100 submissions, is to make the best level possible using only Super Mario World’s base resources. Camaraderie is also fostered through the many collaborative submissions, where two or more level designers will combine their tastes and skills to create something truly special.

 

Most Anticipated PC Games Featured at E3

Gamers worldwide are experiencing elation now that the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, has concluded. E3 is a premier event for gaming fans where many video game developers and accessory manufacturers reveal trailers, demos, and product prototypes to usher in the next generation of gaming entertainment. In this list, I will briefly introduce you to the games which received the most enthusiasm at E3.

 

Call of Duty: WWII

 

Call of Duty is the king of first-person shooters and is being developed by Sledgehammer Games. It is promising to revolutionize multiplayer gaming by introducing a “War” mode. It is rumored to be set during the time of the Vietnam War, giving this game a futuristic return to a historic period of time.

 

Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite

 

In a clash for the ages, this game brings together two universes in epic battles to protect their universe from an enemy known as Ultron Sigma. Taking iconic characters from the Marvel Universe such as Thor, the Hulk, Hawkeye, and Iron Man, this game puts them against legendary characters developed by Capcom such as Chris Redfield from Resident Evil, Megan Man X, and Chun-Li. Battle another player, the computer, or use a specific Infinity Stone to alter the outcome of your battle. The possibilities are infinite!

 

State of Decay 2

 

State of Decay was a dark horse in the zombie survival genre. We’d seen zombie survival done many times before, but this brought a different element to a common theme where instead of just making sure one character survived, you were in charge of multiple characters, very similar to the Sims games. The biggest thing missing from the first game was co-op play. Now, in State of Decay 2, fans will finally get the chance to team up to survive together or die alone. Coming out exclusively for the Xbox and Windows 10, it will be part of Xbox Play Anywhere meaning you can buy it once and play it on both machines.

 

Total War: Warhammer II Gets Its Release Date

At the highly regarded video and gaming expo in Los Angeles known as E3 2017, Creative Assembly released a great deal of new information, including game play footage, of the next chapter in their franchise rejuvenating saga, Total War: Warhammer. They also set the final release date as September 28, 2017, something fans of the game have been waiting to hear since the first information on the sequel was released several months ago.

 

The game takes place in the same world as the first Warhammer, but on another continent. It introduces races from the classic RPG game that we have yet to see in the Total War offering, including the lizardmen, high elves, and dark elves, as well as an unannounced fourth race. The challenge will also be more story driven than some other Total War offerings, with a central mission to the game as much as a goal of just conquering territory from your enemies.

 

Another great promise for this franchise is a post release add-on which Creative Assembly is putting together that will tie the original Warhammer game into this new map, creating a super campaign that involves both parts of the world. The Total War franchise did something similar with the theaters in Empire, but this is the first time two different generations of a game will be directly tied together.

 

And the in-game footage looks great. Not only does it show the pristine armies of the high elves, but also the awesome monsters at your command with the lizardmen. One of the heroes rides to battle on a tyrannosaur. There are several copies of the footage released from E3. One of the coolest is right here.

 

More updates are to come, especially on this mysterious fourth race promised as an add-on for those who pre-order. The developers have also promised an eventual third installation, which will again tie all three games together.

 

Catching Up to Korea

It is well known that Korea is the most dominant region in League of Legends. With multiple world championships and international titles to their name, other regions such as Europe and North America are far behind. However, it is important to make a distinction. Three of their world championships belong to SK Telecom T1. Within Korea, SKT is easily the most dominant team. Therefore, it is difficult to compare Western teams to Korea in general. We must acknowledge that SKT is on a completely different level than their counterparts. In this sense, top Western teams such as Team Solo Mid and G2 Esports might not be as far behind as previously imagined. They have superstar players that can carry games alone, and if left unattended, other players have the potential to pick up the slack. When we talk about gaps between regions, it is important to make these distinctions that bias each argument. Players, coaches, and meta all contribute to the holistic strength of a team.

 

Different analysts have different views on this issue. Some analysts such as MonteCristo argue that the majority of Korea is still vastly ahead of everybody else. Their macro and micro play have noticeable advantages that other teams simply cannot replicate. However, EULCS caster Martin “Deficio” Lynge believes otherwise. Because we don’t see too much international play to begin with, it is irresponsible to make blind judgments about relative strengths. Each region has their own playstyle, and until we see competition to make comparisons, we must abstain from these rankings. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, there is no question that SKT is a powerhouse that is feared by even top Korean teams themselves. Armed with a lineup of Faker, Peanut, and Bang, they are ready to take the world by storm and secure another championship.

 

Destiny 2 Will Reportedly Be Able To Use Unlimited CPU Cores

Upcoming game Destiny 2, developed by Bungie and published by Activision, will reportedly be able to utilize all of the cores of your PC’s CPU, no matter how many you’ve got.

 

One of the problems with PC gaming is the lack of the ability to fully utilize all of the cores of your CPU, so those with quad-core or higher CPUs haven’t been getting the full benefit of your powerful PC brain when gaming. Until recent DirectX updates, this was just a fact of life. But now games seem to be taking advantage of the new features and becoming more multi-core capable.

 

It’s an interesting claim, as the first incarnation of the game was only available on console, and it’s somewhat difficult to imagine they would’ve put all this extra work into developing the PC version to take full advantage of PC hardware, but maybe they did. And maybe such an act will serve to spur PC gamer confidence in the game and increase sales.

 

From what’s been seen of the PC version so far, it seems to be a solid port. The framerates are unlocked, it runs at ultrawide resolutions and 4K resolution. It seems that they really are putting the effort into it, so hopefully gamer trust won’t be misplaced.

 

With the new 18-core Core i9 CPU and the new AMD Ryzen line of CPUs boasting insane amounts of cores, a feature like this is ideal for using all those precious cores effectively. It’s also good news for streamers, who often have issues with performance due to their streaming setup and game both hogging precious resources. For the true heavy-hitting PC gamer or streamer, this is exactly the kind of feature they’ve been waiting for.

 

Ark: Survival Evolved Set to Leave Early Access

Ark: Survival Evolved has been out on Steam Early Access for quite some time now on PC, but it hasn’t received an official release date. Well, at least not until E3, where developer Studio Wildcard announced the game will officially release across all platforms on August 8.

 

The game has been out in early access since 2015 with various DLC and updates being released since then, so for many PC gamers this won’t seem like news, but for console players this news is big because Ark is finally coming to you.

 

The studio has announced that the official release will come with some surprise updates and new features that will continue rolling out even after the launch. There will be a great amount of now gameplay, creatures, and story elements, according to Studio Wildcard.

 

The studio remarked, “For those players who were excited with every update during Early Access, Ark’s going to become even more fun with surprise new content at launch & beyond, as we will continue to have a staggering amount of additional gameplay, creatures, and story elements in the works.”

 

Coming along with the release will be the modder-made map Ragnarok, released through the game’s sponsored mod program as the game’s first official expansion. Ragnarok is a 144 sq km map with tons of exploration and a dangerous active volcano, its own ocean ecosystem, and some of the most challenging dungeons to date. There will also be new content coming to Ragnarok that holds the keys to unlocking the map’s history and secrets.

 

The game will also launch with Oculus Rift and Playstation VR support. Those wanting to get in on the fun early should jump on it while its pricing is still low for early access. You can run over to Steam now and grab it for $30.

 

Battletech Game Specifics Revealed At E3

Tabletop gamers are probably already well aware of the name Battletech, as it’s a popular board game involving weaponized giant fighting suits of armor set in a sci-fi world first conceived back in the 1980s. Video gamers however may have become familiar with a 2015 Kickstarter launched by Harebrained Schemes based on that classic board game.

 

The Kickstarter was a massive success, raising nearly $3 million and fully funding all of its stretch goals, including multiplayer and a fully voiced single-player campaign. Now, we get our first look at what over two years of development has brought at this year’s E3.

 

The game is a turn-based strategy game loyal to its turn-based tabletop counterpart. Everything a Battletech fan would expect is there: big, fighing mechs, awesome sci-fi setting, and lots of strategy.

 

They’ve included a full range of combat options with the battling mechs, including melee, ranged, and rocket-based attacks along with defensive options. Everything is managed by the player, including movements, sensors, and overheating.

 

Two trailers were launched at E3. The first one showed off the massive amounts of customization options and the game’s excellent soundtrack. The second trailer showed off the game’s combat. The game plays similar to other strategy games yet maintains its own slot as something truly unique with all of the different units and options. They also did an interview with popular gamer Day9, talking about the different modes of play and combat in detail in their own words.

 

The visuals are quite impressive in close range combat, but even the scenery in a full shot is beautifully drawn and looks like something out of a painting. A lot of the options available from the ship screen were not demonstrated yet, simply instead just showing off their existence. Hopefully the developer will be able to come through on their promises because we’ve all seen too many failed Kickstarters, and a lot of us are going to be pretty skeptical until we see it operating in its entirety.

 

 

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen First Look

Folks at the PC Gaming Show got their first look at upcoming Firaxis expansion XCOM 2: War of the Chosen.

 

Originally released February 5, 2016, XCOM 2 is a turn-based tactics game developed by Firaxis Games that has received near-universal critical acclaim. War of the Chosen, due out August 29 of this year, is slated to be a major expansion pack for this game and will bring with it a wealth of new content and features, more so than any previous expansion.

 

XCOM 2 fans will find much to love here. War of the Chosen brings an additional campaign with three resistance factions to unite and fight the aliens. Reapers attack from the shadows and sabotage. Skirmishers are defectors from the aliens that are human hybrids and can perform multiple actions per turn. Templars are psionic fighters who become more powerful as a mission progresses. These CHosen will change throughout the game, adapting and becoming more powerful.

 

There’s also more to explore with lost cities, creating some chaotic three-way fights between the aliens, XCOM, and some alien tech-mutated humans.

 

Fans who are hoping to get an early look can check out the trailer on YouTube. They have also just made the PC Gaming Show interview fully available, so check that out to hear the developers talk about the new game and what it brings to the table in their own words.

 

As an expansion pack, War of the Chosen will require the base XCOM 2 game in order to play. So be on the lookout for summer sales coming up to get your hands on the base game if you haven’t already and be able to experience all this exciting new content in a couple months’ time.