Bioware Sees Management Shift Post Andromeda

An announcement was made on July 18 that the General Manager of video game developer Bioware, Aaryn Flynn, will be stepping down to pursue other career options. According to the report, he will be replaced by former “Mass Effect” project manager Casey Hudson, who left Bioware two years ago to work on an unnamed project at Microsoft that has yet to see the light of day.

Many in the industry are speculating about what is going on behind the scenes with this management shift. The harsh judgment by fans and critics of “Mass Effect: Andromeda”, the company’s most recent release, may be one of the sparks that lit this fire. Hudson had a large role in the first three “Mass Effect” volumes, and while the first two received almost exclusively praise, the third edition was criticized for its “tacked on” ending. Hudson himself took some blame for that at the time, and many fans forgave him once some more explanatory DLC came out, as well as an extended end sequence.

The problems with “Andromeda” seem to run deeper. While some have praised its action sequences and game play, initial reviews were extremely bothered by the weirdness of some of the facial animations. For many others, the thin characters, weak plot, and contrived romances, once the pride of Bioware releases, were the greater problem with Andromeda.

Also, Bioware has been trying to make its games more “open world”, which often makes tight story lines much more difficult to maintain, taking away from the heart of most Bioware titles. Their attempt at “open world” seems to have failed as well, with many fans complaining of repetitive, pointless quests and vast, empty spaces.

We will find out soon if this has any effect on the cancellation of “Andromeda” DLC. Likely not, as all of Bioware’s focus right now seems to be on their next project, “Anthem”.

VR Gaming Lands Hot Marvel Property

Virtual reality gaming is the future of video games but people just don’t realize it quite yet. Virtual reality gaming aims to bring about THE final note in immersive gaming as it will allow people to literally enter the games in every way that matters. The Oculus Rift has been the leading console for virtual reality gamers but that hasn’t been quite enough to really bust them to the next level of social acceptance and popularity. One of the big problems with VR gaming is a lack of popular, big name properties. This problem is looking like it will be solved as Marvel recently announced an Oculus-exclusive title.

Marvel is, of course, one of the largest entertainment companies in the world right now. Marvel is dominating the box office thanks to their partnership with Disney and they’ve got millions of fans following their every move. Bringing that kind of following to a fledgling enterprise like the Oculus Rift can literally be a game changing decision. Virtual reality gaming consoles have long lacked a go-to game to show casual players that it is a serious platform. Having Marvel come on board could change the entire genre.

Marvel’s Oculus-only title will be called ‘Marvel Powers united VR’. The game was displayed at the Disney D23 event this past week. Marvel Powers United VR lets players step into the cape and costume of their favorite Marvel characters to fight off waves of bad guys in a 3D, virtual reality environment. Right now there are 12 primary characters announced including The Hulk, Captain Marvel, and Rocket Raccoon. The game is being developed by the team at Sanzaru Games (Ripcoil, VR Sports Challenge). The Oculus needs a true game changer in order to keep up the frenetic and fast moving world of gaming and this could be it.

Avoiding Identity Theft in eSports

Identity theft is becoming increasingly prevalent in online gaming. In League of Legends, a new wave of scams has hit users who unknowingly try to purchase free RP with a credit card. This method of payment has not been authorized by Riot Games, and it is not a valid purchase by any means. Even though the user is logged in to his or her account, the site is not safe from fraud. People will pose as Riot employees and try to extract important information. As players, it is crucial that you refuse to disclose your username and password. After the incident, make sure to report them via the report system. With enough attention, their accounts will be closed and the company can eradicate these imposters.

The support team of Riot Games is working around the clock to address this problem. Most of the frauds use pre level 30 accounts to send messages and trade champions. Therefore, Riot is targeting these low level accounts in the near future. A two step authentication process could help them determine which ones are fake and which ones are real. Because false positives are tragic for desktop games, they need to make sure that their system has no flaws. Champions, runes, and masteries all cost valuable RP that gamers purchase with credit and debit cards. While some MOBAs can get away with little security, LoL does not have this liberty. It is constantly under fire from the North American and East Asian communities. Tracking these hackers must be done on a region by region basis.

Disney Dives into Team Liquid

Disney has invested into Team Liquid, a gaming organization that has stakes in League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. In particular, LoL is one of their primary games that has taken off in recent years. Armed with a strong lineup of Lourlo, Reignover, Goldenglue, Piglet, and Matt, this team is looking to prove themselves in the NALCS. Disney has elaborate plans to help them. They will provide funding toward a gaming house equipped with bedrooms, practice areas, and rooms for analysis. With the right infrastructure, Team Liquid can get back on its feet and dominate the competitive scene. Disney is also providing mousepads and gaming chairs that will boost performance instantly. With the world championships approaching, Team Liquid is looking for any way to secure a berth for North America. Disney does not have a huge history in eSports, but they have the membership and money to back themselves up. This partnership has many implications for the future. Team Liquid is planning to use a 10 man roster once again, and this funding will go a long way to pay for players’ salaries. Disney has franchises across the nation, which means the team will have a home for whatever tournaments pop up. Riot Games frequently hosts championships in the Midwest and on the East Coast, so Disney resorts will be prime training grounds when the team travels abroad. In addition, eSports in not only limited to LoL. Disney is working closely with other games to provide the best experience for viewers and fans. The players will receive many benefits including an experienced coaching staff. Armed with the strongest weapons, Team Liquid has a promising few months ahead with Disney.

Total War: Warhammer II Promises Big Things

After the release of “Total War: Rome II”, many gamers and critics were of the mind that the entire Total War franchise was in serious trouble. After many great early entries, that one disappointed fans with its clunky interface and lack of story or even heart.

Many of those opinions changed with the advent of Total War: Warhammer. Initially, many feared that the company was veering from its roots in historical accuracy with this delve into a dark fantasy realm, but the game itself was received with wide approval from both the players and the critics. In fact, some have said it single-handedly saved both the Total War franchise and their parent company, Creative Assembly.

In fact, the game did so well that the sequel (and likely even a third game) have been the entire focus of the company. No other Total War game entries have been announced. Warhammer II is set to be out this fall, and the trailer is extremely impressive.

The Warhammer editions of Total War have done so well that Creative Assembly has made some promises in development that they have never done before. The developers have built in a special ability to link all the games together into one super map. If gamers have Warhammer and Warhammer II, they will be able to set up a game that allows your faction to spread its color across both maps, since Warhammer II will be taking place on an entirely different continent. The promise has also extended to the likely third edition of the game, which will tie in yet one more of the continents on the planet.

It is quite an ambitious undertaking, but Total War has always had a knack for pleasing fans, most of the time. If Warhammer II and III pay off as well as the first, you can be sure they will continue.

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.