Final Fantasy XV Announces Standalone Multiplayer Release and FFXIV Crossover

A recent Final Fantasy XV anniversary livestream had a whole lot to say to mark the game’s two-year anniversary, and while most of the announcements are understandably single-player focused, there are a couple of multiplayer-related tidbits in there. Namely, a standalone release for the multiplayer Comrades mode and a crossover event with Final Fantasy XIV.

final fantasy xv anniversary livestream

Multiplayer: Comrades, the small-scale online co-op multiplayer mode of the game that was released last year, is now going to be its own standalone title for Xbox One and PS4. This effectively shuts down the mode’s inclusion from the original title, though the PC version will continue to receive these updates.

This new release will introduce 10 new bosses for players to face off against. It will arrive on December 12th at 5pm PST and will cost $9.99 for new arrivals or will be granted for free to those who purchased the expansion previously.

As for the Final Fantasy XIV crossover event, that will also arrive on December 12th as a free update to all Final Fantasy XV players. The crossover quest will introduce Noctis and his companions to the Miqo’te Y’jhimei, ultimately culminating in a fight against the wind Primal Garuda from FFXIV. Special XIV-themed costumes await as a reward for completing this event.

Naturally, there are trailers for these updates. The XIV collab trailer can be viewed here and the latest Comrades trailer is here.

Our Thoughts

It’s interesting that they’ve decided to release Comrades as a standalone title on consoles, but considering that the original game’s DLC is winding down, perhaps they’re trying to trim as much as they can. In any case, we do hope that fans of this particular title enjoy both the online multiplayer and the collab event.

Source: press release

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Robocraft is Prototyping a Single-Player Campaign Mode

Games like Robocraft and Robocraft Royale are certainly more fun with others, but every now and again you need to unplug and just play a game by yourself. That’s where the in-development Robocraft Campaign mode comes into play.

robocraft campaign mode

The new feature is making its way in a “first draft” release this coming Thursday, October 11th. The intent with this early release is to collect constructive feedback on the mode’s direction as well as to shake down some bugs. With that in mind, the mode will be feature incomplete, offer only two or three campaigns, and will feature AI that isn’t as intelligent as it will be in its full release.

A dev blog from September offered some more insight into where Campaign mode will be going. The mode will essentially be wave survival, with four waves of enemies and a boss to fight in the fifth wave. Players will have up to five lives, though higher difficulty levels will pare that number down. Campaign modes can also feature build restrictions similar to Brawl mode.

As the mode develops, the team hopes to introduce different Campaign styles like Survival or Timed Elimination, as well as add multiple robot types in a single wave and more weapons fielded by the AI. If the Campaign mode is well received, there are also plans to create a feature that lets players build and share their own Campaigns.

Our Thoughts

First draft or not, this definitely sounds like an intriguing feature for Robocraft and a way to expand the game beyond simply being either an arena brawler or battle royale title. Here’s hoping this open testing pans out and the mode is liked enough to develop further!

Source: official site

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Pokemon GO Introduces an All New Pokemon

Those who have been regularly playing Pokemon GO have likely been chasing a very strange critter with a Ditto-like blob for a body and a hex nut for a head. Turns out that creature isn’t just some unfinished horror or a placeholder: it’s Meltan, an all new Pokemon introduced in the mobile game and coming to its big brother Let’s Go releases.

meltan

Meltan is easily the smallest Pokemon released, coming in at a height of 0’08” yet weighing a little over 17 lbs. It’s a Metal type Pokemon whose liquid metal arms can corrode metals to be absorbed into its own body. Meltan can also store up electrical energy and shoot it as a beam from its eye.

Those who have managed to snag themselves a Meltan in Pokemon GO have likely already seen it transform into a Ditto once caught. However, the landing page introducing Meltan notes that snagging this unique Ditto in Pokemon GO is important to finding Meltan in either version of Pokemon Let’s Go. The site also notes that sightings of Meltan have been decreasing over the past few days, but the creature is not gone completely.

More details on the connections that link Meltan, Pokemon GO and Pokemon Let’s Go are expected in the coming days as part of the lead-up to the launch of both Pokemon Let’s Go games on November 16th. A likely part of this information drip are a number of videos featuring Professor Willow and Professor Oak, the first of which can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Seriously, Meltan looks completely unfinished. Which, considering its generally blobby nature, shouldn’t be a surprise. We’ll stop fixating on Meltan’s looks and instead ponder the implication that the links between PoGO and Let’s Go could run pretty deep indeed, making both titles possibly richer in the process. Or more annoying, depending on who you ask.

Source: official site

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Warhammer: Chaosbane Tells its Story in a New Trailer

ARPG Warhammer: Chaosbane, as its title suggests, is not a tale of soft blankets and warm mugs of spiced milk tea. We can all confirm our suspicions of as much with the new Warhammer: Chaosbane story trailer released by the devs that helps to set its grim scene.

warhammer: chaosbane story trailer

Warhammer: Chaosbane takes place in a time just before the Old World’s Great War against the forces of Chaos, picking up just after the Empire of Man took down the Chaos leader The Everchosen. As one would expect, though, the forces of Chaos aren’t so completely destroyed.

In Warhammer: Chaosbane, up to four players can take up arms either in couch co-op or online play. According to the press release, party synergy will play a significant role in the game, while the Bloodlust mechanic will provide a boost of power to help turn the tide.

The game is due to arrive to PC and consoles at some point in 2019. For now, you can get the general gist of the ARPG’s tone in the video below. If you prefer a more nuts-and-bolts look at the game, be sure to check out their YouTube channel for a developer hands-on piece with the game as it stands now.

Our Thoughts

The setting of Warhammer certainly lends itself to the explosive horde-smashing gameplay of an ARPG, but we’d like to see if there’s more than a good backdrop to make this ARPG stand out. Then again, sometimes a good setting is all you need if the “classic” ARPG gameplay is nailed down extremely well. In either case, we’ll certainly keep this in our peripheral vision.

Source: press release

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New Game Approvals in China Halt During Government Shake-Up

No matter what part of gaming you follow, be it multiplayer, single-player or mobile, China is a huge part of the industry. With that in mind, word of a Chinese game approval freeze that’s currently in place as the country’s government agencies get restructured is certainly big news indeed.

chinese game approval freeze

The halt in approval of game licenses comes as the Chinese government looks to restructure power among departments. The freeze is a result of a consolidation of power by Chinese president Xi Jinping, which was first started in March of this year.

According to anonymous sources close to the matter, the National Radio and Television Administration has not issued licenses for four months and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has tightened registration procedures for games. There has also been some expressed concern with video game violence and gambling according to one source.

This also appears to tie in to a government crackdown of China’s internet sector, which was first alluded to in the case of Monster Hunter World’s removal from Tencent’s WeGame platform.

The freeze has affected game companies of all sizes in the country. Supergiant publisher Tencent has lost over $160 million in market value since its peak in January and seen profits fall for the first time in about a decade, while smaller companies are struggling to survive without new titles to release.

Despite all of this, one analyst believes that these roadblocks will only be temporary, though the freeze will very likely have an impact on the third quarter of most game companies in the region.

Our Thoughts

All politics aside, we do hope that game players in China will get to enjoy new and favorite titles sooner rather than later. They should be allowed to enjoy online games too.

Source: Bloomberg

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The Devs of Guns of Icarus are Making a Hamster Karate Brawler

We’re not often in the business of reporting on single-player games, but considering the devs behind the game I’m writing about are also behind the co-op Guns of Icarus, I figure it’s worth at least a mention. Also, it looks freaking adorable. Introducing Hamsterdam, a “hamster-fu” action beat-em-up by Muse Games that’s looking to get crowdfunded.

hamsterdam

In Hamsterdam, you play the part of Pimm, a hamster who is looking to take down the crime syndicate of Marlo the chinchilla and rescue his grandfather from captivity. The game will feature combat in the form of what it calls a combination of tap and swipe rhythmic precision and old-fashioned button mashing. Play unfolds in several stages across three maps along with unique boss battles and scooter-riding sections.

The game is seeking a total of $8,000 on Kickstarter for additional art and music costs, but is also hoping to build a pool of testers for the game. “We always aim to push the boundaries and create new experiences for players with different genres, art styles, and mechanics,” reads the page. “We still need help tuning pacing, progression, and making sure all the combat and onboarding elements are easy to understand and play.”

Backers can receive a number of unique benefits depending on their tier as per usual, but a unique reward for Guns of Icarus players is on offer for those who back at tier 4 or a la carte: a character skin that dresses your Guns of Icarus avatar up like Pimm the hamster.

Hamsterdam is due to arrive to the Nintendo Switch, mobile devices, PC/Mac and PS Vita. More details are on the Kickstarter page and a video of the game in action is below.

Our Thoughts

Nothing says “diverse portfolio” quite like moving from a steampunk airship co-op title to a cartoony hamster-fu brawler. And while we probably won’t report on this game too often on this site specifically, we have to admit that this game looks adorable as heck. Our best wishes to the folks at Muse Games during their crowdfunding efforts!

Source: Kickstarter via VG247

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Monster Hunter World Explains its Performance Issues on PC

Monster Hunter World‘s performance on PC continues to be a pretty hot topic ahead of the action RPG’s arrival to the platform, particularly since many people who have had their time with the most recent build of the game are experiencing some performance issues. So, why do some machines struggle? According to a Capcom employee, it’s because Monster Hunter World CPU demands are particularly taxing.

monster hunter world cpu

VP of digital marketing and platforms William Yagi-Bacon elaborated on why some are seeing a performance hit, particularly when trying to push the game to its maximum in terms of framerate and visuals. In short, the CPU is doing a lot of heavy lifting:

“To eliminate interstitial loading during active gameplay, MHW loads the entire level into memory. In addition to managing assets loaded into memory, it keeps track of monster interactions, health status, environment/object changes, manages LOD & object culling, calculates collision detection and physics simulation, and tons of other background telemetry stuff that you don’t see yet requires CPU cycle. This is in addition to supporting any GPU rendering tasks.”

While that is certainly a lot, Yagi-Bacon also explains that the MT Framework engine that distributes these duties does a good job of making sure all the cores and threads of a CPU bear the burden equally. To demonstrate, he quoted a series of screenshots of the game running in 3840×2160 at a variety of different settings which showed both the FPS and CPU load per core.

Our Thoughts

…so basically, you might want to either cross your fingers and hope for some day one drivers or patches to help alleviate the strain, or swallow your PC gaming pride and scale your settings down. Which, honestly, doesn’t look half bad even on low settings.

Source: ResetEra via VG247

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Dragon Ball FighterZ Announces Switch Details and Shows Off Base Vegeta & Goku

There are a couple of us fighting game fans here at the office and we think a few who stop by, too, so I’m going to take a moment to touch on some new Dragon Ball FighterZ details that have been announced. Namely, word on the Dragon Ball FighterZ Switch beta and modes, and new footage of the game’s latest roster additions, base Vegeta and base Goku.

dragon ball fighterz switch

The Bandai Namco Twitter account provided a few announcements regarding the upcoming Nintendo Switch edition of the anime fighter. Players can expect to get their mitts on the game’s open beta test at some point in August and will see the full game release to the system on September 28th. The Switch version will also arrive with some new local multiplayer features such as 2v2 and 1v1 matches and an offline 6-player Party Match mode.

As for the game’s next roster additions, they’re yet another version of Dragon Ball mainstays Goku and Vegeta, though this time they arrive in their “base” forms. For those unfamiliar with the series’ canon, that basically means the two characters in question before they learned how to change their hair into spikey, multi-colored styles.

A release date for these new arrivals was not announced, but they each got their own rather brief trailers showcasing their moves. You can watch Goku’s trailer here and Vegeta’s trailer here.

Our Thoughts

Well, now that we’ve gotten every hair color of Goku and Vegeta added to the roster, maybe now we can see some more variance in the roster of this particular fighter? Minor whines about that aside, both characters definitely look like a pair of interesting adds to the roster of Dragon Ball FighterZ, and the Party Match mode for the Switch version sounds like a perfect compliment to the system’s portability.

Sources: press release, Twitter

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Todd Howard: Bethesda Not Focusing on “Games as a Service”

So, you’ve got ESO. You’ve got TES: Legends. You’ve got the upcoming Fallout 76. And then you’ve got however many years it’ll take for The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield to apparate. So does this mean Bethesda single-player games are going the way of the dodo? Absolutely not, according to Todd Howard.

bethesda single-player games

While the success of games like ESO and Fallout Shelter are certainly on the mind of Bethesda, Howard has all but renounced that the studio is going to focus exclusively on multiplayer titles or “games as a service”-style offerings:

“Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes. Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”

Howard also addressed the mobile gaming inroads that Bethesda is making with TES: Legends, Fallout Shelter, and the soon-to-arrive The Elder Scrolls: Blades, stating that the company’s insistence on keeping a “lighter touch” on monetization has begun to pay off.

“I was forced to meet with a lot of ‘monetisation experts’ during Fallout Shelter that didn’t work for us,” recalls Howard. “I said ‘that’s nice’ and then it came out and the first week it was above Candy Crush with a very light touch. We did learn a lot though.”

Our Thoughts

Naturally, we’re more interested in the multiplayer and MMO offerings from Bethesda – a part of their business that we find to be pretty darn good. That said, variety is certainly the spice of life and so we expect that Bethesda is recognizing this too. After all, they’d be completely silly to ignore the draw of a proper, numbered addition to the Elder Scrolls franchise.

Source: GamesIndustry

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BattleTech to Offer Combat Speed and Squadmate Customization

The turn-based tactical ‘Mech-em-up BattleTech is live, but that doesn’t mean the work is finished. In an update to the game’s Kickstarter page, plans for the first BattleTech post-launch update were laid out, which will include a number of features that fans are looking for.

battletech post-launch update

First and foremost, the devs at Harebrained Schemes have put out a new patch which should fix some compatibility and performance issues, while continued work on bug fixing will press on into late May. The devs are also hard at work on localization for French, German and Russian languages, as well as Linux Support.

After that, new customization options will arrive to BattleTech in the first larger post-launch update. These customization options will let players speed up the pace of battle; customize the callsigns, appearances, and voices of their stable of MechWarriors; and introduce a suite of “discrete options” that will let players tweak the difficulty of the game in different areas. The update will also brings some UI quality-of-life to the Mech Lab, store and salvage, and will tweak some of the game’s gnarlier difficulty spikes.

While a number of these features may shift and a timeframe is still nebulous, the devs expect this update to arrive at some point in June or July. Once work is complete and timelines are more concrete, there will be an update. In the meantime, if you’re the sort who wants to step on the gas right here and now, the fine folks at Rock, Paper, Shotgun have pulled together some do-it-yourself tips to ramp up the game’s speed.

Our Thoughts

Speaking for myself, I don’t particularly find the combat pace a terrible thing, but I can also appreciate that some people would rather that things just push forward already. To that point, it’s good that the devs are providing some options for those who want them. We’re looking forward to this next update.

Source: Kickstarter

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