Pinch and a punch for the first of the month - and no returns! This is a special first day too, May Day, which means we'll all be off on Monday thanks to the bank holiday here in the UK. We'll see you again on Tuesday but until then, please do tell me: what are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on.
The long-running Official PlayStation Magazine has become Play Magazine - marking the end of official video game magazines.
OPM, which has been going for 25 years, was the last officially-licensed console magazine in the UK after Official Nintendo Magazine closed in October 2014, and Official Xbox Magazine closed in March 2020.
In a FAQ, Future Publishing said:
Housemarque has suggested better saving is in the works for its PlayStation 5-exclusive Returnal.
Quote Tweeting a thread on Reddit titled "No need to be toxic about people who need save-options!", Housemarque said: "We hear the community and we love you all. Nothing to announce now, but keep playing and enjoying the challenge as you can!"
This is in response to roguelite Returnal's lack of a save and quit option. You cannot save a run and come back to it. If you quit during a run, the run is lost. You can use the PS5's rest mode to suspend the game and return to where you left off later, but that's far from ideal.
Konami has pulled out of this year's E3.
In a tweet, Konami said: "due to timing we will not be ready to present at E3 this year."
However, the company insisted it's in "deep development on a number of key projects".
I'm afraid I don't have much of an intro for you this week, folks. I hope you've all had a fine week and that your incoming weekend is a great one. Be good to yourselves and others, and whether you're super-busy or free as a bird, be sure to make some time for yourself doing something you enjoy. If you can rope in others to share the joy with you (socially distanced of course) then get them involved. Spread the love and all that jazz.
Paradox has temporarily shelved Imperator: Rome to focus on other projects.
In a post on its forum titled "update of the organisation at PDS", the company outlined various internal changes made to its main development studio earlier this year.
The 150-person strong strategy studio is now split into three distinct studios: PDS Green, PDS Red, and PDS Gold. Each team is in charge of maintaining existing games and developing new games set to be announced at PDXCON, the company's upcoming showcase event.
Holding a camera in your hands has a subtle effect on the nature of reality around you, I reckon. And that's true even when the reality around you isn't that real. In the Earth Temple, somewhere across the Great Sea, I once asked Medli to move to the left a little, just so I could get a picture of her in front of a huge golden sun of some kind.
I could not ask Medli, of course. I had to nudge her, and to move around in a way that meant she might follow and stop where I wanted her to stop. Then I raised the camera - wood and brass, I can almost remember the weight of it, the warmth of varnish and the chill of metal - and I took the picture.
Medli's name has been long forgotten. I had to look it up just now, ditto the Earth Temple. But twenty years after the fact I can remember the moment. I remember, really, two things about The Wind Waker, the glorious Zelda game in which Medli lives. The first thing is looking through a telescope on Dragon Roost Island and seeing a distant toothpick of stone jutting from the water with a long-neck bird perched in a nest on top. A sense of observing from a way off, almost illicit. The second is getting Medli to move for the picture. The Picto Box! And both memories, I now think, are probably about the same stuff - the way a world surprised me by feeling real.
As a child, I couldn’t bear to see Pikmin die
Top picks for summer holiday deals!
The post Steam Golden Week 2021 Sale Cuts Prices on Japanese Hits appeared first on Siliconera.
Three games about online communication give only the illusion of choice
Castlevania; Love, Death & Robots; and more
Every Pokemon is interesting and worth talking about. I don’t play a ton of Pokemon, but I do enjoy the universe and I love learning more about the creatures in it. So, Here’s Another Pokemon! It’s Floette!
Raven Software has given all Call of Duty: Warzone players the Tortured & Rescued Adler skin for free after botching the Hunt for Adler event.
The Hunt for Adler event, which went live alongside season three and the release of the Verdansk '84 map, rewarded players with the Tortured & Rescued Adler skin upon completion of a series of challenges.
But the event ran into a series of issues, with the associated challenges not tracking as intended, and the intel required to obtain sometimes spawning outside the playable map.
Dragon Age fans will know the Grey Wardens well. The warrior group are the stars of Dragon Age: Origins, fighting the horrible darkspawn throughout the fantasy world of Thedas. It's the Grey Wardens who lead the charge against each Blight, ensuring the survival of the world. In Origins, the player is initiated into the Grey Wardens via a ritual called the Joining, which involves imbibing darkspawn blood. My wife took a fondness to Alistair, a reluctantly heroic Grey Warden and... well... you know. It's a BioWare game, after all.
Onto Dragon Age 4! Or whatever the game ends up being called. BioWare has released a new image for the game, and in it teased the appearance of Grey Wardens. Grey Wardens confirmed! And capes!
The image was tweeted by executive producer Christian Dailey.
The Scavengers early access is being made available to all today.
Midwinters' free-to-play third-person battle royale hybrid launched in early access form this week, but was only playable via a Twitch Drops event.
But the event ran into issues. Keys could only be claimed by watching the game on Twitch for 30 minutes, and some who tuned in did not receive their keys. Eventually, Scavengers ran out of Steam keys to give out to people, forcing Midwinter to send out Epic Games Store keys instead. Coupled with this, server issues caused some crash problems.
Call of Duty: Warzone players are using the 6x6 cargo truck vehicle to great effect in what's dubbed the "Big Bertha meta".
This vehicle is pretty much a rolling fortress, and is big enough to give you significant cover across the battle royale's map. It can also tank damage for most of the match.
The Big Bertha meta is particularly popular in solos, when you're playing Warzone on your own against 149 other solo players. You can see players heading straight for a Big Bertha upon parachuting out of a chopper at the beginning of the round. Everyone's in on it, especially early game.
The Fallout 76 Locked and Loaded update is already...locked and loaded, but now the team is planning something new already. The hustle never ends! Again, Bethesda has done a decent job reviving this game and pulling it out of the dumpster state it launched in (albeit with tons of monetization in the process).
Next up? Another PTS (public test server) round. Bethesda says that it's actually looking to move things along fairly quickly, with a "May" target for more testing. This time the big name is the Steel Reign update, which will continue the Brotherhood of Steel storyline that was introduced in a post-launch patch.
Paladin Rahmani, Knight Shin, and Scribe Valdez will return as you continue the narrative from the original Steel Dawn content, which picks up "immediately" after you left off. New locations, enemies, and rewards are teased. Legendary crafting is also coming, facilitated through the reagent legendary cores. You can alter items and change them into legendary gear through this process.
Legendary power armor is coming as a result, as well as an expansion of the entire legendary attribute system. Steel Reign will herald in a new season of the game too (which means a new track and more microtransactions), in addition to a scoreboard. It's a lot! Especially with the story bit alone.
Just in case you're still overwhelmed by Locked and Loaded, or are curious enough to think about jumping back in, you can check out the quick overview trailer for that below.
Inside the Vault [Bethesda.net]
Konami has announced that it will not be attending E3 2021 in any capacity. The long-time developer/publisher has noted that it is working on "key projects" and that players should expect updates pertaining to these titles over the coming months.
The full statement, posted yesterday to Twitter, reads as follows:
"Due to timing, we will not be ready to present at E3 this year. We want to reassure our fans that we are in deep development on a number of key projects, so please stay tuned for some updates in the coming months. While we are not participating this year, we have great respect for the ESA and know that 2021 will be a great success. We will continue to support the ESA and wish the best to all participants at this year’s show."
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has acknowledged Konami's absence:
"We support our partner Konami's decision to not participate in E3 this year and are excited to see what they'll be announcing in the future when they're ready to do so," writes The ESA. "We can't wait for their return to E3 2022, but in the meantime, we look forward to sharing all of the highly-anticipated reveals, programming and so much more at this year's E3."
Currently, Konami's only publicly known, in-development title is soccer sequel PES 2022.
E3 2021 is scheduled to take place (in an online capacity) between June 12-15.
Locate that noggin!
The post NieR Replicant Find Emil Contest Seeks Emil’s Giant Head appeared first on Siliconera.
Velan Studios’ code looks at instant replay and makes a call before players even notice
Double Fine's documentary series on the making of Broken Age is still, to my mind, the best videogame-related documentary. It was revealing in a way few game documentaries are, helping to demystify the development process, while also allowing you to revel in the dream of friendly, creative people doing friendly, creative work.
Consider me excited therefore at the release of The Amnesia Fortnight Movie, a new two-hour documentary which focuses on four games being made in ten days for Double Fine's internal game jam in 2019. It's free and on YouTube and embedded below.
I’ve still never played Roblox and now I’m not sure I’ll ever play it after learning about a random, creepy clown video that is, for some reason, lurking in the game’s files.
Riot has announced its plan to record Valorant voice chat in order to combat toxic behaviour.
In a post on its website, Riot said it's updating its privacy notice to allow it to record and evaluate voice comms when a report for disruptive behaviour is submitted in its competitive multiplayer shooter.
If a violation is detected, Riot vowed to take action and remove the data "when it is no longer needed for reviews".
So out of nowhere, Super Mario Party got a new update on Switch that allowed online play. The catch? It was through private parties and friend list connections only.
You see, Nintendo is a little new to this whole online thing. No worries though, the community came up with a solution that works out a lot like the faux lobbies for Pokemon Let's Go. Discovered via Caolan114 on Reddit, the simple solution is to go to the private online play option in-game, then enter "11111." After that, mash A, and you'll eventually come across "matchmaking" parties.
It's basically a community-farmed solution to allow a jury-rigged matchmaking lobby that everyone agreed upon ahead of time. The more the method is shared and proliferated, the longer that Super Mario Party can live online.
It's kind of a weird thing that requires people to get on board early to spark a wildfire, otherwise it'll die out when people get frustrated that there's no one to play with. So for this possibly brief moment in the game's lifecycle, join in on the fun and play Mario Party online!
Despite the community's efforts, it's crazy to think Nintendo is so far behind with stuff like this, even in the era of paid online services.
Mario Party boards with randoms [Reddit]
My interest in romantic fiction really only blossomed after I was married. That may sound a bit backwards, but I always found romance while you’re alone and single to be a bit like eating a big bag of pizza rolls. Your brain may tell you it’s exactly what you want, but it will leave you with a horrible feeling in your stomach and the emptiness will doubtlessly return before long. Now that I have a husband, that emptiness is gone and I can cram as many pizza rolls into my face as I want without feeling the awful side-effects. I can delve into the drama of fictional romance and then escape to my stable real-life one.
I find a lot of romantic fiction to be trite, structurally similar, and mired in common themes and tropes. I still enjoy a good love triangle, fish out of water, or the old “will they, won’t they?” tale, but I understand that’s just brain candy. A truly great romance is taking two characters and telling you why these two imperfect people need each other. Or three or more characters, as the case may be. I’m not judging. But in Perfect Gold’s case, it’s two characters.
Make way for Cruella De Vil!
Half-Life: Alyx is a fabulous VR game, in which gravity gloves allow you to use items in the environment to fight headcrabs and Combine in myriad ways. Now if only you could caress these creatures, then perhaps you could try and make friends with them... Now that would be interesting.
Hand Physics Lab is a game recently released on Oculus Quest which has no monsters to caress, but it does have a cat to pet and several mini-games and other toys to tinker with. It looks to have hand physics and finger manipulation that are already more impressive than Half-Life's, but a recent video of a future update suggests it's going to be even better soon. And utterly obscene.
PlayStation console owners can save for the holidays.
The post Golden Week PSN Sale Leads With Persona 5 Royal and Kingdom Hearts appeared first on Siliconera.
Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy.
EA is selling FIFA 21 cosmetics outside loot boxes for the first time.
The FIFA 21 Ultimate Team store was updated today, 1st May, to include a new Stadium tab. You can buy a tifo, a stadium theme, and a new home and away kit individually, or all available items in a bundle.
These cosmetics are available direct purchase, which is the first time EA has done this. Previously, cosmetics could only be earned through objectives or via Ultimate Team's controversial loot boxes.
If the recent release of R-Type Final 2 isn't enough to quench your shmup thirst, then you might want to take a look at the latest offering from Hamster's Arcade Archives range, Konami classic Thunder Cross II, now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
Originally released to the coin-op scene in 1991, Thunder Cross II is the sequel to the suspiciously Gradius-like Thunder Cross, and once again sees the titular defense division go to war with the forces of the invading Black Impulse Empire. As is the case with so many shmup sequels, Konami simply went bigger and better for this follow-up, retaining the horizontally scrolling action of its predecessor, but featuring improved audio/visuals, more varied enemies, and a wider variety of weapons and power-ups.
Thunder Force II is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8. Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Martinoz.
Stardew Valley is such an unstoppable force that you probably know at least one person who has played it. And a good deal of those people are incredibly into the game: so much so, that they put their passion into action.
Like many gifted Stardew artists and crafters before them, Reddit user robotmon shared one of their latest works: Junimo key(board) caps. Stardew fans will recognize these little creatures as the mysterious nature spirits that help the player character along in their journey, and assist them in the very late game via Junimo Huts.
They come in various colors, and nest nicely right above keys, stating that they're more decorative than functional: and would work best on lesser-used keys rather than the center letters on keyboards. It's amazing how much the game's creator Eric Barone supports the crafting community, which allows stuff like this to flourish on the regular.
If you're interested beyond a few quick "ooos and aaahs," there's a video of them in action from the creator here; and they plan on making them available in some fashion, with a link to a future Etsy store on their Instagram.
Despite the limitations of the GBC, the Shantae Switch visuals capture the playful, charming look that would become hallmarks of the series.
The post Shantae Switch Port Shows Off Its Playful, Upbeat Style appeared first on Siliconera.
Paradox Development Studio, the internal developer at Paradox Interactive responsible for many of the company's grand strategy hits, has "split into three distinct studios." The change happened earlier this year and was announced yesterday in a post on the Paradox forum.
Each of the three studios is committed to a particular Paradox series, but notably Imperator: Rome isn't among them. Also notable: one of them is making a new game which will be announced next month.
Epic have bought ArtStation, the 2D and 3D artist portfolio website. The site is popular with artists in the games industry, and ArtStation say they will remain accessible to all, "including those that don’t use Unreal Engine."
They've also dropped the cut they take on the site's asset marketplace from 30% to 12%, bringing it in line with the cut Epic take from developers on the Epic Games Store, and made the site's learning resources entirely free until the end of the year.