Eurogamer

Helldivers 2 is giving away bonus XP this weekend to "alleviate the impact" of an on-going bug

3 months 1 week ago

Helldivers 2 is awarding all players a 50 per cent XP and requisition bonus to compensate players for "a problem" that's preventing players from receiving the correct rewards at the end of missions.

In a statement posted to X/Twitter, deputy game director Sagar explained that whilst the team was still "working on a fix for this", it wanted to "alleviate the impact" for players jumping into the action over the weekend.

That means that between now and the end of Sunday central European time (11pm UK time / 6pm EST / 3pm PST), players can expect an additional XP bonus on top of the base mission score.

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Vikki Blake

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ThatGameCompany's new Sky: The Children of the Light art book unlocks a special in-game cutscene

3 months 1 week ago

Journey developer ThatGameCompany has announced a "beautifully curated" book to celebrate the art of its 2019 "social adventure game", Sky: Children of the Light.

Set to launch on 22nd April, The Art of Sky will be an "extraordinary visual odyssey" and feature over 250 pages of ThatGameCompany's "trademark artistic excellence".

"The bewitching art book, now available for pre-order, compiles concept art illustrations spanning the game’s earliest days, heartfelt behind-the-scenes commentary, and never-before-seen imagery in a beautifully crafted, timeless first-edition hardcover volume perfect for devoted players and collectors alike," the description teases.

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Author
Vikki Blake

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"Palworld has lost X per cent of its player base discourse is lazy," says developer Pocketpair

3 months 1 week ago

Palworld developer Pocketpair insists it has no reason to be alarmed about the hit game's dwindling player count.

As Palworld's 24-hour concurrent Steam count peaks at around 535,000 players – a fair fall from the 2.1 million simultaneous players Pocketpair secured the weekend Palworld launched – community manager "Bucky" stated in a statement on Twitter that the "Palworld has lost X per cent of its player base discourse is lazy", insisting that it was "fine" for players to take a break and play other games in between content updates.

"This emerging 'Palworld has lost X per cent of its player base' discourse is lazy, but it's probably also a good time to step in and reassure those of you capable of reading past a headline that it is fine to take breaks from games," Bucky said.

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Author
Vikki Blake

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Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League's login and server issues are the team's "top priority"

3 months 1 week ago

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League developer Rocksteady has confirmed that addressing its login and server issues remain the team's "top priority", but warned that it may "not be able to fix all those issues right away".

In a statement posted to the official website, Rocksteady said it could "hear and feel your frustration" about the ongoing issues, and agreed it was "unacceptable for the players" affected by the persistent problems, but said that because the issues didn't stem from one particular issue, it was "several smaller issues affecting players in different ways".

"For our upcoming patches we are looking to address login issues and server issues," the statement, signed "Axel and the Rocksteady Team" said. "And while we might not be able to fix all of those issues right away, I want to assure everyone: This is the top priority for us. We hear and feel your frustration and we can only agree, it’s unacceptable for the players who are affected by this.

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Author
Vikki Blake

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RTX HDR: Nvidia's AI video enhancement tool works for games too - and it beats AutoHDR

3 months 1 week ago

Nvidia recently released a driver enabling RTX Video HDR - a driver side tool that automatically converts SDR video into HDR, with the help of real-time machine learning on an RTX GPU. Enable it and YouTube videos in SDR present convincingly as HDR, breathing new life into them. However, modder 'emoose' discovered something more within the driver - the ability to apply this to virtually any game. In effect, Nvidia has been working on its own, ML-based version of Microsoft's AutoHDR. We've tried it and it's simply stupendous.

To get it working, you need to download the NV TrueHDR mod from Nexusmods. Then, open up the provided .exe file. This brings up a command prompt. From here, you either type in the filename of the game executable you want to target, or better yet, simply drag and drop that .exe into the command prompt window and hit ENTER. From there, you choose your quality level and you're good to go. Your chosen game now presents in HDR.

So, why even use this in the first place when Windows 11 ships with AutoHDR, which basically does the same job? Put simply, RTX HDR is the superior option in virtually every way. AutoHDR only works on selected, whitelisted DX11 and DX12 games, while RTX HDR supports everything natively from DX9 onwards - and there are a lot of fantastic DX9 games that can benefit. But with control panel tweaks and help from other compatibility tools, you can go further - right back to adding HDR support of sorts to 3DFX Glide titles. I even get HDR working in the PS3 emulator RPCS3, allowing me to play an emulated version of Killzone 2 in HDR to convincing effect.

Author
Alex Battaglia

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Report: Activision Blizzard is expected to cut 136 jobs from its Cork office

3 months 1 week ago

Microsoft is reportedly set to slash more than a hundred jobs at Activision Blizzard's Cork office.

As first reported in the Irish Examiner, minister for foreign affairs, or Tánaiste, Michéal Martin – who raised the issue in the Dáil, the Irish government – revealed that 136 of the approximately 200 jobs in Blackpool, Cork, were expected to be cut, calling the redundancies "very serious".

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Author
Vikki Blake

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Star Trucker - who needs a mountain vista when you've got the whole of space?

3 months 1 week ago

Look, I certainly wouldn't call myself a trucking nerd - I'm not even sure I could tell the difference between a carburettor and a carbonara - but I do like to truck. American Truck Simulator has long been my equivalent of one of those mindfulness apps that whisper gently evocative nonsense at you in the dead of night; a world of seductively monotonous rhythms and repetitions set against a soothing soundtrack of engine drones and indicator clicks. And for the eyes, the majesty of nature: lakes, mountains, forests (or at least a decent enough facsimile thereof), sprawling from hard shoulder to sky. So imagine my delight when I stumbled across Star Trucker – all that calm and the most expansive natural vista of all: space!

Ordinarily, these X meets Y comparisons feel a little trite, but in Star Trucker's case – going on the evidence of its Steam Next Fest demo, at least - you're going to struggle to find a more apt description than 'American Truck Simulator in space'. This is big rig cargo hauling on an interstellar scale, a stately back-and-forth between pick-up and drop-off set against an ever-shifting canvas of shimmering nebulae and screen-filling worlds.

For all its fanciful sci-fi flavour, though, Star Trucker plays the whole thing surprisingly straight, grounding its slightly ridiculous high-concept premise in the minutia of the mundane. Which isn't to say it doesn't have bags of personality – this is the far-flung future by way of Route 66, with an ever-present country and western twang on your radio, an incessant southern drawl on your CB, and just enough quaint Americana to give the endless void a distantly familiar sense of place - but its eye is firmly on the road, not on the stars.

Author
Matt Wales

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700 Ubisoft workers strike in France over failed salary negotiations

3 months 1 week ago

Over 700 unionised Ubisoft employees working across the company's French studios have taken part in an organised day of strike action after annual salary negotiations collapsed.

The strike, organised by French game workers union STJV (Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo), took place on 14th February across Ubisoft's Paris, Montpellier, Annecy, Lyon, and Bordeaux studios. The STJV had called for action at the start of this month, saying annual salary negotiations had reached an unsatisfactory conclusion.

"In recent weeks," the STJV wrote in a statement shared at the time, "Mandatory Annual Negotiations on salaries have taken place in several Ubisoft entities in France, and the STJV was obviously present. Despite concerted efforts by union organisations to find an acceptable compromise, negotiations hit a wall."

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Author
Matt Wales

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Nintendo Switch 2 release date now Q1 2025 - reports

3 months 1 week ago

UPDATE 8.45pm UK: Eurogamer sources can now corroboate the earlier reports that the Switch 2, once destined for release later in 2024, is now set for Q1 2025.

The console's launch moving into early next year - but still within the coming financial year - is designed to ensure Switch 2's launch line-up features as many titles as possible, Eurogamer understands.

Separately, VGC has also now reported on the move to Q1 2025, with publishing sources saying Nintendo recently briefed third-party game companies on the move from late 2024 to early 2025.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Palworld studio admits it can't "keep up" with cheaters, says anti-cheat solution on the way

3 months 1 week ago

Palworld developer Pocketpair has acknowledged the significant impact "cheating and the influence of fraudulent activities" is having on rule-abiding players of its hugely popular survival game, and has outlined some of the steps it'll be taking - including the introduction of an "external anti-cheat solution" - to tackle the problem.

Writing in a post shared on Steam, Pocketpair admitted that, while the studio has been "dealing with each issue on a daily basis and taking measures", there are "many cases where we are not able to keep up" with cheating and fraudulent activities - leading, it acknowledged, to "some players [being] unable to play the game properly."

Pocketpair apologised for "any inconvenience this may cause" and - expanding on a recent tweet promising a cheating-related patch "soon" - revealed it's currently working on a number of specific measures to deal with cheating and fraudulent activity "strictly and as a priority".

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Author
Matt Wales

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What did we think of Microsoft's multiplatform Xbox soft launch?

3 months 1 week ago

This week on the Eurogamer Newscast, we discuss Microsoft's business update that brought us confirmation Xbox will launch four console exclusives - for now - on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.

But why did Microsoft choose not to name those four games (even though Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, Grounded and Sea of Thieves were immediately reported to be the titles in question)? What happened to the previously-reported plans to include larger games such as Starfield? And where will Microsoft draw the line for what to launch elsewhere? Right now, these four feel like something of a soft launch for Microsoft's multiplatform strategy,

As well as all that, we also discuss the news nuggets Microsoft dropped for the Xbox faithful - including mention of new Xbox console hardware this year and the proper next-gen Xbox that's still years away. With me this week are Eurogamer's Ed Nightingale, Victoria Kennedy and Liv Ngan.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Apex Legends studio making Star Wars Mandalorian game - report

3 months 1 week ago

One of the three upcoming Star Wars games in development at Apex Legends and Titanfall studio Respawn is reportedly a bounty hunter game where you play as a Mandalorian.

That's according to Insider Gaming, which said the project was still in the early stages of development, but was a first-person shooter starring a Mandalorian bounty hunter during the time of the Galactic Empire.

The report stops short of confirming the Mandalorian bounty hunter as Din Djarin, star of Disney+ hit TV series and upcoming Mandalorian movie. A time period set during the height of the Galactic Empire would also place the game prior to the TV series - making a Baby Yoda appearance unlikely.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Helldivers 2 delivers a solid, smooth experience on both PS5 and PC

3 months 1 week ago

Helldivers 2 is one of the most refreshing - and straightforward - multiplayer games I've played in a while. It's a third-person bug-shooting blitzkrieg, offering simple sets of objectives and a broad armament to help satisfy them. The actual action of defeating the game's foes is a lot of fun, with hordes of enemies to shoot into gibs with a four-person player squad. But does all that multiplayer chaos come with strings attached? Few games try to achieve destruction at this scale, especially factoring in the unpredictability of multiplayer gameplay, so what kind of visuals and performance should we expect in the game's console outing on PS5 and how does the quality of the PC port fare?

Visually, Helldivers 2 hardly advances the state of the art, but that's not to say that its visual make-up - and its environments - aren't compelling. There's a typical mix of modern graphical staples, but they are deployed effectively. Volumetric lighting is heavily used, for instance, with shafts of light shooting through rocks and trees. The quality level is high, presenting without obvious aliasing, even on the PS5 in its performance mode. The clouds are also volumetric in nature, at least at lower levels of the atmosphere, and resolve without distracting artifacting. Low-lying fog also appears to be part of the equation, with ground-level fog often giving planets a certain ethereal quality.

Author
Oliver Mackenzie

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Bandai Namco cancels development of "at least" five games

3 months 1 week ago

Bandai Namco has revealed it cancelled development of "at least" five projects following a review to implement "stricter standards" and an "emphasis on quality" in its upcoming games.

The information comes from the company's latest financial report for Q3 of FY2024, which contained changes to its projections of profits and sales for the full fiscal year.

The Tekken 8 and Elden Ring publisher lowered its projections for profits due to "valuation losses". These losses include "loss on disposal of titles following a review of the composition of the titles within the next mid-term plan in mind", the company stated in its report.

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Author
Liv Ngan

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Epic secures iOS developer account, Europe mobile store and Fortnite launch this year

3 months 1 week ago

Epic Games will begin developing a mobile version of the Epic Games Store for launch on iOS in Europe, the company has said, now it has officially received an Apple Developer Account.

The store's launch will also herald the return of Fortnite to iPhones, years after its previous version was locked down after Epic Games added the abililty to make direct in-game payments, circumventing Apple's standard 33 percent cut.

Epic said today it planned to launch the Epic Games Store on iOS in 2024, operated by Epic Games Sweden.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Baldur's Gate 3 smooches update now live

3 months 1 week ago

The latest, and very timely, update for Baldur's Gate 3 is now live across PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.

Patch 6 has been teased by Larian Studios since last week, when we learned it would include more kissing animations and easier party management, but we didn't know when it would be rolling out - or everything else it would contain.

Well, the update is now live, and with it comes the usual delight of patch notes a la Larian, which are too lengthy to be contained in Steam's character limit (of course).

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Author
Liv Ngan

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Tomb Raider super fan reveals they were behind trilogy remaster

3 months 1 week ago

A Tomb Raider fan and modder has revealed that they put their own personal projects on hold for a very good reason: they have actually been leading the development of Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered.

XProger is the brains behind OpenLara, an open-source cross-platform engine of the classic Tomb Raider series. However, this project and others are now on hold, as XProger was scooped up by Aspyr's parent company Saber Interactive to work on its official Tomb Raider project.

"For the past year I've been busy with a dream project that has become the culmination of the last eight years of my life - Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered," XProger shared on X, thanking Saber for "trusting me to lead the project and assemble a dream team of true fans".

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Payday 3 is finally getting an offline mode

3 months 1 week ago

Payday 3 will finally be getting an offline mode - although we don't know exactly when.

Payday 3 hasn't exactly had the best of launches. It was plagued with matchmaking issues and online-only requirements on release, and subsequent patches were delayed. All this lead to developer Starbreeze admitting that sales and player activity were lower than it had hoped, but it would endeavour to turn this around with a series of prioritised improvements.

Now, we know more about what these upcoming improvements will be, thanks to the reveal of Operation Medic Bag. Here, the developer announced that an offline mode is coming to Payday 3, as well an overhaul to matchmaking (Starbreeze admitted that right now, "matchmaking isn't doing a good job of bringing people together"), tweaks to the UI, a solo mode and a quickplay option. Additionally, "challenges will be removed", with the developer stating it will "switch infamy progression to be tied to heist completion".

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Helldivers 2 boss praying servers survive next few days

3 months 1 week ago

Helldivers 2 director Johan Pilestedt is hoping the game's second weekend will go much smoother than its first.

In a thread posted on X, Pilestedt reflected on the changes developer Arrowhead Game Studios has made since Helldivers 2 released to huge success on 8th February for PC and PlayStation 5.

"I am completely exhausted by the success," he stated, but "very, very pleased."

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Author
Liv Ngan

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Game of the Week: Helldivers 2 is a reminder to always bet on Double-A

3 months 1 week ago

When my daughter was learning to write her own stories at school - learning composition, I guess, in the language of education - she'd come home with poetry and essays about animals and little bits of this and that, all of which she was fine with, but never more than fine. When it all clicked is when they wrote stories - specifically silly, scary stories with ghosts and people falling on their butts and all that kind of jazz.

Silly, slightly scary stuff really clicked in fact - not just with my daughter, but with the whole class. For a few glorious weeks, alongside spelling and long division and the bus-stop method (something to do with division too I think?), the class was busy turning out pulps. She loved it. They all loved it. I loved it.

This came to mind this week when we realised that Helldivers 2 wasn't just a success, but a massive, horizon-filling smash. This sequel to a game that I have fond memories of, but not a lot of other people seem to remember playing, is suddenly everywhere. It's our game of the week, inevitably.

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Author
Christian Donlan

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Flock feels like the video game equivalent of throwing open the window for a breath of fresh air

3 months 1 week ago

I've wondered for a while how best to explain my time with Flock's demo. The whole experience was a testament to the joy of flight - much as developers Richard Hogg and co intended - and I relished being able to glide effortlessly over the world. It felt free and easy. Yes, the flying in Flock was certainly a joy.

But that is not why I found myself so enamoured by the whole thing. Rather, it was because in a time when the world feels so full of noise and chaos, Flock gave me a sense of calm, away from the pressures and anxieties that come with everyday life.

Allow me to explain further. In Flock, you are essentially a shepherd, but rather than just your traditional land-based sheep, you are collecting a mixed bunch of eclectic creatures for your Aunt Jane. She is a professor of zoology, you see, so by gathering up these creatures you are helping her with her research. That is not to say there aren't also sheep in the game. There are, and these little fellows can help you by eating their way through grassy meadow patches, unearthing peculiarities hidden beneath. Then, once they have eaten a certain amount, they will grow a nice woolly fleece which you can shave off to use for mittens and the like.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Phil Spencer unsure "who it helps" Helldivers 2 isn't on Xbox

3 months 1 week ago

As Microsoft opts to launch at least some of its Xbox exclusives on rival consoles, the company's gaming boss Phil Spencer has reflected on Sony's recent, hugely-successful launch of online, cross-platform shooter Helldivers 2 on PC and PlayStation 5.

"I will say, when I look at a game like Helldivers 2 - and it's a great game, kudos to the team shipping on PC and PlayStation - I'm not exactly sure who it helps in the industry by not being on Xbox," Spencer told Game File. "If you try to twist yourself to say, like, somehow that benefited somebody somewhere.

"But I get it. There's a legacy in console gaming that we're going to benefit by shipping games and not putting them on other places. We do the same thing."

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Author
Tom Phillips

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What we've been playing

3 months 1 week ago

Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've been playing over the past few days. This week: tombs, maps, and bats.

If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.

Nothing says Valentine's Day like launching someone you dearly love off of the side of a cliff, which is exactly what I did. Before you get all concerned, my husband is fine; I am of course talking about the one and only Lara Croft.

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Author
Robert Purchese

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Alan Wake 2 fastest-selling Remedy game, but yet to turn a profit

3 months 1 week ago

Alan Wake 2 is developer Remedy's fastest-selling game to date, but the studio is still to recuperate the project's development and marketing costs.

In its latest financial report, Remedy said Alan Wake 2 had now sold 1.3m units, with 1m of those occurring by the end of last year. This equates to 50 percent more copies and over three times more digital copies of Alan Wake 2 sold in the game's first two months than its previous release Control managed in its first four months (though it's worth noting Alan Wake 2 was a digital-only release).

Control has since gone on to sell over 4m units, and Remedy said it expected a similar trend with Alan Wake 2, as "a great game can generate excellent long tail sales". But, of course, games lose value over time - so copies sold after prices drop generate less revenue than at launch.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Narrative RPG Cabernet gives morality systems a vampiric bite

3 months 1 week ago

I've always found the concept of immortality to be horrific. How, as the years churn by, new memories and experiences drown the ones which lie at the foundations of your personality, eroding them until a new person inhabits your skin. You are not yourself anymore. Vampire mythology adds a physical stake to this curse - to be a vampire is to be a monster in body and appetite, but whether you become one in spirit is up to you. Do you try to preserve your humanity or indulge in the hedonism your new form makes so easy? Or become a creature trapped between the two? It’s these questions Cabernet, an upcoming narrative RPG, seeks to explore through its protagonist Liza - recently deceased.

While Cabernet may begin with Liza's funeral, she doesn’t truly comprehend her new vampiric nature until witnessing a fellow creature of the night transform into a bat. From here on, the outlook she takes on her undead existence is in your hands, with many of the dialogue choices and actions Liza can take raising either her humanity or nihilism metre. The differentiation between the two is clear: speaking honestly and treating people kindly increases her humanity as you try to preserve the person Liza once was, while revelling in her new powers and treating humans as mere playthings sees Liza embracing the darkest aspects of being a vampire and, in return, raises her nihilism.

Author
Lottie Lynn

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Phil Spencer says Game Pass now has 34m "fully paid" subscribers

3 months 2 weeks ago

Microsoft has shared updated Game Pass membership figures for the first time since January 2022, saying the on-demand gaming service now has 34m "fully paid" subscribers, with "significant growth" coming from PC and cloud.

That update comes via Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer, speaking to journalist Stephen Totilo for his Game File newsletter (thanks VGC) ahead of this week's hotly anticipated Xbox 'business update' podcast - in which the company finally discussed its much rumoured plans to bring a number of its formerly Xbox-exclusive first-party games to PS5 and Switch.

Discussing Microsoft's latest Game Pass figures, Spencer assured Totilo the 9m subscribers added to the service since January 2022 - when Microsoft announced Game Pass had amassed a total of 25m members - were "fully paid" and did not include promotional players. "Those are people," Spencer reiterated, "fully paid subs."

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Author
Matt Wales

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Microsoft says next Xbox will 'deliver largest technical leap seen in a hardware generation'

3 months 2 weeks ago

As part of a 'business update' confirming four first-party Xbox exclusives are coming to PlayStation 5 and Switch, Microsoft has moved to assuage fan fears it might be considering abandoning the console market, saying it's planning a new Xbox that will deliver "the largest technical leap...ever seen in a hardware generation."

That's according to Xbox president Sarah Bond, who was speaking on an "Updates on the Xbox Business" edition of the Official Xbox Podcast, alongside Microsoft Gaming boss Phill Spencer and head of Xbox game studios Matt Booty.

According to Bond, Microsoft has hardware plans for Xbox in both the short and longer term. Starting this "holiday", for instance, Microsoft will share "some exciting stuff coming out in hardware". An official Xbox tweet accompanying today's podcast expanded on Bond's comments, saying Microsoft currently has a "robust and innovative multi-year hardware roadmap" that'll include "more console and controller options...this holiday.

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Author
Matt Wales

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Diablo 4 will make a hellish addition to Xbox Game Pass this March

3 months 2 weeks ago

Diablo 4 is coming to Game Pass this March.

Xbox's Sarah Bond made the announcement this evening, as part of the company's business update podcast.

In a follow up post on social media, Xbox said Diablo 4's upcoming Game Pass debut is part of Microsoft's "promise to offer Activision Blizzard games" on the subscription service, following its acquisition of the Diablo and Call of Duty makers last year.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Four Xbox-exclusive games heading to PS5 and Switch, confirms Phil Spencer

3 months 2 weeks ago

Following mounting reports Xbox is preparing for some kind of multiplatform future, Microsoft has confirmed it'll be bringing four previously Xbox-exclusive first-party titles to PlayStation 5 and Switch later this year, with more likely to come in the future.

Reports that Microsoft was preparing to release a number of first-party games on competing consoles - namely Sea of Thieves and Hi-Fi Rush - first surfaced at the start of this year, but it wasn't until last week's claims high-profile exclusives such as Starfield and Indiana Jones and the Great Circle would also be going multiplatform that Microsoft broke its silence, promising to reveal more in a podcast this week.

And now, as reported by The Verge - which was pre-briefed by Microsoft ahead of tonight's reveal - Xbox gaming boss Phil Spencer has confirmed the company has "made the decision that we're going to take four games to the other consoles". Bafflingly, Spencer does not name the games directly, only saying two are community-driven titles and two are smaller games.

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Author
Matt Wales

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Xbox business update podcast: which Microsoft games will launch on PlayStation and Switch?

3 months 2 weeks ago

Welcome to our live coverage of the big Xbox business update, where Microsoft laid out its plan to launch four first-party Xbox games on Nintendo and PlayStation platforms.

Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer, Xbox president Sarah Bond and head of Xbox game studios Matt Booty - the company's Triforce of gaming top brass - stopped short of officially confirming the quartet of titles set to go multiplatform, but reports online suggest those titles will be Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, Sea of Thieves and Grounded.

The podcast also included a brief mention of new Xbox hardware launching later this year, and a tease for the proper next-gen Xbox - you can read all of that below.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Three Fallout games are free on the Epic Store next week

3 months 2 weeks ago

Post-apocalyptic RPG fans are in luck; the next batch of freebies coming to the Epic Games Store have been revealed, and two bonafide RPG classes - Fallout and Fallout 2 - have made the list alongside Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel.

Fallout 1 and 2, developed by Black Isle Studios and released in 1997 and 1998 respectively, have amassed a fiercely passionate following over the years, and with good reason. "From the unrelentingly bleak, darkly ironic tone to the novelty of the open-world, post-apocalyptic setting," Eurogamer wrote in 2011, "from the inspired, cerebral turn-based combat system to the immense degree of variety and personality in the character-customisation, the superbly-written quests and characters and the gallows humour that underpins the games without lessening their emotional impact, even the well-placed, gritty violence; there's very little about the games that doesn't command as much respect now as they did a decade ago."

As for Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, released in 2001, it's less widely revered, but still a decently enjoyable time, infusing the post-apocalyptic isometric wasteland setting of its illustrious RPG predecessors with squad-based combat action. And its inclusion means next week's Epic Games Store freebies list is as follows:

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Author
Matt Wales

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Disco Elysium standalone expansion reportedly cancelled and quarter of staff facing redundancy at ZA/UM

3 months 2 weeks ago

UPDATE 16/2/24: A follow-up report by GLHF has added further fuel to the fire engulfing troubled Disco Elysium developer ZA/UM.

Interviews with two named employees have been published discussing the circumstances behind the current wave of layoffs at the studio, with a third of staff reportedly set to be let go following the cancellation of a Disco Elysium standalone expansion.

In one startling quote, principal writer Dora Klindžić compared joining ZA/UM after its takeover by CEO Ilmar Kompus and his brother-in-law Tõnis Haavel to "being born into Yugoslavia in the '90s: you've just missed the party and now all you get is the bloodshed.

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Author
Matt Wales

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Sci-fi survival adventure Forever Skies will debut as PS5 console exclusive

3 months 2 weeks ago

When Forever Skies leaves PC early access later this year, it will also arrive on PlayStation 5 as a console exclusive.

Developer Far From Home has been "secretly" working alongside Sony for several years on its rather intriguing looking game of airships and survival. While the Forever Skies team is yet to set a date for this release, merely stating it will be some time in 2024, it has promised a same day launch for both PC and PS5.

Along with this news, the studio has shared a new trailer for Forever Skies, showing off the latest in-game footage. You can have a watch for yourself below.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Tales of Kenzera: Zau has the heart to heighten its spin on the metroidvania

3 months 2 weeks ago

"Baba…help me Baba…I need you Baba…." So says protagonist Zau at the start of Tales of Kenzera, his voice shaking. That's the voice of Abubakar Salim (Assassin's Creed: Origins), who founded Surgent Studios to create this game as he deals with the loss of his own father.

When he says those words, it doesn't feel like he's acting.

It's this raw, personal edge that lifts Tales of Kenzera above the usual influx of indie metroidvanias. The game's reveal at last year's The Game Awards was one of the more memorable moments of the show as Salim shared the poignant story of playing games with his father. It's this personal history with gaming that's inspired Tales of Kenzera and its paralleling father-son relationship. Playing the demo as part of Steam Next Fest is a striking experience.

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a striking, impressive cross-gen fantasy RPG

3 months 2 weeks ago

After a protracted production, a developer swap and several delays, Granblue Fantasy: Relink has finally been released, some eight years after its initial announcement. This is a bold, colourful action RPG that combines compelling storytelling with a bombastic and exciting combat system. It's one of the more original RPG efforts I've seen in a while, but its protacted development raises questions about its visual quality and performance on PS4 and PS5 systems.

Right out of the gate, it's clear that Granblue Fantasy: Relink looks excellent, with beautiful and well-animated cutscenes that are interspersed generously throughout the title. Some of these scenes are more sedate, but many depict grand battles with plenty of pyrotechnics and carefully-animated swordfights. These are some of the best cinematics I've viewed in a while, and the game looks absolutely lavish here. Because Relink is a relatively modest adventure by RPG standards - clocking in at ~15 hours to complete the story and another ~20 to complete optional content - the game takes a liberal approach to cinematic density that few other RPG efforts in recent memory can match.

We also see a good workout for some of the game's key rendering tech here as well. Of particular note is the post-processing, namely the motion blur and depth of field. Relink has extremely high-quality motion blur that makes the game look very smooth in its default performance mode. Even when you examine the motion blur closely, it holds up remarkably well, without the kinds of sampling artifacts that often characterise motion blur techniques. The bokeh depth of field is also used frequently, with an attractive appearance and blurring patterns that suggest a circular aperture.

Author
Oliver Mackenzie

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Xbox adds custom touch controls in remote play for over 100 games

3 months 2 weeks ago

Xbox has rolled out a new update for February, adding touch controls in remote play and more.

With this update in action, users will be able to play games without being tied to their console even if they don't have a wireless controller to hand. This is as Xbox remote play now supports custom touch control layouts on the Xbox app (via iOS, Android and Windows devices) for over 100 games.

"The same custom touch layouts available through Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) will now be available when remotely playing games from your personal console," Microsoft said. "This includes games like Minecraft Dungeons, Psychonauts 2, Sea of Thieves, and many more. Additionally, a basic touch control layout can now be used for most other games."

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Victoria Kennedy

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No Man's Sky is free to play this weekend as new Omega update lands

3 months 2 weeks ago

It's been fairly quiet on the No Man's Sky front since its previous big update, Echoes, introduced the world to a mysterious new robot race known as the Autophages last August, but all that changes today with the release of its new Omega update - which coincides with a first-ever free weekend for the exploratory space sim on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC.

No Man's Sky's Omega update introduces a handful of new core features, including on-planet missions. These procedurally generated quests can be initiated by speaking to alien lifeforms Travellers find roaming around on planet surfaces, and are assembled based on a number of factors, including locale, climate, and alien personality.

Elsewhere, the update makes it possible to captain an imposing Dreadnought capital ship - previously they existed mainly to be blown up - but this first requires a spot of successful space combat; players will need to defeat the pirate freighters surrounding a hostile Dreadnought during an encounter before they're able to board it and take control.

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Matt Wales

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Bulletstorm VR gets hefty patch following broken launch

3 months 2 weeks ago

Making good on their word, People Can Fly and Incuvo have released a rather chunky patch for Bulletstorm VR on PlayStation VR2 and Steam VR. This follows an earlier update on Meta Quest sets, which took aim at crashes and more.

Bulletstorm VR had a broken release earlier this year, with players complaining about the port's botched physics and censorship, among other issues. Back in January, the team subsequently said it was "committed to improving the quality" of its release, and would be prioritising fixes based on their severity.

This new patch will provide fixes for multiple crashes and bugs, as well as improving the AI on select enemies. Other quality of life improvements, such as holding down the trigger to automatically skip a cinematic, have also been added.

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Victoria Kennedy

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Payday 3 developer seeks long-term success after disappointing launch

3 months 2 weeks ago

Following a rocky launch, Payday 3 developer Starbreeze said its sales and player activity are "currently at significantly lower levels than [it] would like". However, the studio hopes to turn this around in the future, stating it will focus efforts "to ensure that the game lives up to expectations" for players.

The developer noted there have been other examples of games that have successfully turned a "problematic initial time on the market" into a "long-term success" story. While Starbreeze did not mention any names, Cyberpunk 2077 came to my mind.

"There is no simple recipe available, but a common thread from the positive examples is to take players' criticism to heart, dare to support your game and keeping an open and honest dialogue with your stakeholders," Starbreeze said in its year-end report. "That is exactly what we are now doing with Payday 3."

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Victoria Kennedy

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Helldivers 2 will "never" include PvP mode

3 months 2 weeks ago

Helldivers 2 will "never" include a PvP mode in order to reduce toxic play.

The game's creative director and Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt responded to a fan requesting the addition of a PvP mode to keep "hardcore gamers engaged".

"We'll 'never' add a PvP-mode. This is to reduce toxic elements from the community," said Pilestedt. "We want an environment that's supportive, fun and where we all are fighting on the same side!"

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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