Category: Video Games

Epic Games acquires cloud technology firm led by Grand Theft Auto creator + Video

Posted on January 23, 2018  in Video Games

CARY – Epic Games is acquiring Cloudgine, a Scotland-based game and cloud technology studio, as part of its effort to improve gaming technology within cloud computing. Dave Jones, the creator of Grand Theft Auto, is president of Cloudgine

Cloudgine is best known as developer of the game “They Came From Space.”

VentureBeat notes that the title is a “proof of concept” game for the PC, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive virtual reality headsets.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Gamesindustrybiz points out that Coudine “has been focused on cloud tech since its founding in 2012. It lent its expertise to Microsoft for Crackdown 3, and created the free Toy Box demo experience for Oculus Rift.”

Adds VentureBeat: “Cloudgine’s tech uses cloud servers to enable console, PC, and virtual reality games to render content and interactive objects without worrying about the platform.”

Epic said it plans to operate Cloudgine as a wholly own subsidiary. The firm has been a licensed use of Epic’s widely used cutting edge game development engine Unreal 4.

“Since its inception, Cloudgine’s research and development has been based on Epic’s Unreal Engine 4,” Epic’s Dana Cowley said in announcing the deal. “Cloudgine’s cloud computing and online technologies will enhance the UE4 feature set to help developers push the creative and technical limits of games, film, animation and visualization through advances in physics simulation and networking.”

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Category: Video Games

In a first for video games, a major sports league is making its own game

Posted on January 23, 2018  in Video Games

Professional sports are a big business in video games, but it’s mostly thanks to licensing deals. Major League Baseball is set to change that in 2018.

Since 2014, the corporate side of the league has been relying on for-hire studios to drive its R.B.I. Baseball series. But this March, R.B.I. Baseball 18 will arrive as the product of a completely internal development team inside the MLB Advanced Media division of the company.

In a sprawling feature penned by Polygon‘s Samit Sarkar — one of the most authoritative voices out there when it comes to sports video games — we learn the new R.B.I. is built on many of the same ideas that went into past game. 

Where Sony’s PlayStation-exclusive MLB The Show attempts to approximate the experience of both playing on a professional baseball team and managing the business of said team, R.B.I. goes in the other direction. The Show is sim-heavy and platform-exclusive, RBI is accessible and platform-agnostic. The latest game works on the major gaming hardware of the moment — PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Android/iOS devices — and the play is meant to be accessible for anyone.

It’s priced accordingly, too. Past R.B.I. games landed at a budget price of $19.99. The new one costs a bit more — $29.99 — but that’s largely because the team at MLB added a bunch of new elements to the game.

Image: MLBAM

There’s a new Home Run Derby mode, complete with online leaderboards. There’s also a new 10-year franchise mode. It’s not built to track statistics from year-to-year, but it does allow players to update rosters on the fly based on the changing IRL game. 

That’s unusual for a sports sim, which usually locks the rosters in franchise mode to create your own sort of alternate reality pro league. Instead, R.B.I. gives players the choice of downloading MLB-issued roster updates and either overwriting existing franchise rosters or simply adding in any new players.

The game’s franchise mode also fills the free agent pool with legends of the sport. There are more than 100 of them in all, split into two groups: Those that retired after 1990 and those that retired before.

The dev team also put a lot of time in on things like player animations, sound effects, and other aspects of the presentation, though you’ll have to wait for closer looks at the game to see the results. In the past, MLB’s outsourced R.B.I. games have drawn frequent criticism for their budget look and feel; as much as that’s reflected in the pricing of those past games, it’s an area MLB set out to improve, by its own admission.

The history of the R.B.I. series and baseball video games is quite a convoluted tale. You should definitely give Polygon‘s feature a thorough read if you want a better sense of the context that makes this big development for pro sports-inspired video games so important.

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Category: Video Games

No link between violent video games and behaviour found, says study

Posted on January 21, 2018  in Video Games

Researchers demonstrated that video game concepts do not ‘prime’ players to behave in certain ways.

London: Scientists have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

In a series of experiments, with more than 3,000 participants, the researchers demonstrated that video game concepts do not ‘prime’ players to behave in certain ways and that increasing the realism of violent video games does not necessarily increase aggression in game players.

The dominant model of learning in games is built on the idea that exposing players to concepts, such as violence in a game, makes those concepts easier to use in ‘real life’.

This is known as ‘priming’, and is thought to lead to changes in behaviour.

The researchers from the University of York in the UK expanded the number of participants in experiments, compared to studies that had gone before it.

They also compared different types of gaming realism to explore whether more conclusive evidence could be found, according to the study published in the journal Entertainment Computing.

In one study, the participants played a game where they had to either be a car avoiding collisions with trucks or a mouse avoiding being caught by a cat.

Following the game, the players were shown various images, such as a bus or a dog, and asked to label them as either a vehicle or an animal.

“If players are ‘primed’ through immersing themselves in the concepts of the game, they should be able to categorise the objects associated with this game more quickly in the real world once the game had concluded,” said David Zendle, from the University of York.

“Across the two games we didn’t find this to be the case. Participants who played a car-themed game were no quicker at categorising vehicle images, and indeed in some cases their reaction time was significantly slower,” Zendle said.

In a separate, but connected study, the researchers investigated whether realism influenced the aggression of game players.

Research in the past has suggested that the greater the realism of the game the more primed players are by violent concepts, leading to antisocial effects in the real world.

“Our experiment looked at the use of ‘ragdoll physics’ in game design, which creates characters that move and react in the same way that they would in real life,” Zendle said.

“Human characters are modelled on the movement of the human skeleton and how that skeleton would fall if it was injured,” he said.

The experiment compared player reactions to two combat games, one that used ‘ragdoll physics’ to create realistic character behaviour and one that did not, in an animated world that nevertheless looked real.

Following the game the players were asked to complete word puzzles called ‘word fragment completion tasks’, where researchers expected more violent word associations would be chosen for those who played the game that employed more realistic behaviours.

They compared the results of this experiment with another test of game realism, where a single bespoke war game was modified to form two different games.

In one of these games, enemy characters used realistic soldier behaviours, whilst in the other game they did not employ realistic soldier behaviour.

“The findings suggest that there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players,” Zendle said.

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Category: Video Games

Nintendo Switch is so good it put me off video games – Reader’s Feature

Posted on January 20, 2018  in Video Games

Nintendo Switch is so good it put me off video games - Reader’s Feature
Nintendo Switch – the console is great, but is that enough?

A reader worries that the Switch has sapped his enthusiasm for the PS4 and Xbox One, but left him without enough games to play.

After getting a Switch for Christmas I’m finding that my gaming habits are definitely changing, but not in the way that I expected. Yes, the Switch is the perfect single-player format and it fits in with my lifestyle almost perfectly, having young children and a partner I tend to always be at the back of the queue when it comes to use of the TV so the ability to play games in handheld mode is great; while the kids watch cartoons or the other half watches TV I can sit and play some Super Mario Odyssey and everyone is happy!

That is until you consider that Nintendo have elected for quality over quantity in terms of the line-up for the Switch. I’ve enjoyed my time with Super Mario Odyssey immensely, but I am now in the end game hoovering up the last power moons to attain full completion. Which is great, but it’s something I prefer to go back to for a break in-between playing other games.

I have been playing Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which caught me by surprise being that in the past I’ve always hated turn-based strategy. But I am finding it really fun, up until the occasional difficulty spike where I will usually take a break from the game to refocus. Usually this will see me going back to Odyssey to pick up a few more power moons.

I also played The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, which I did really enjoy. But in the end the weapons constantly breaking and lack of guidance, which initially I felt was quite refreshing, actually became quite frustrating as I advanced through the game. So I have given up part way through the first divine beast and sold it to buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I will possibly return to Breath Of The Wild one day and give it another go, but Mario Kart seems much more accessible and should fit in better with my lifestyle.

What I have noticed though, is that my PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren’t getting played as much as they used to, which I kind of half expected having a new shiny console to play with. But what I didn’t expect was that I would find that my enthusiasm for playing them would wain as much as it has. After Black Friday I still have plenty of games still sitting in their wrappers waiting to be played, titles that include the likes of Forza Motorsport 7 and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.

There are other games that I am part way through playing, like Ghost Recon: Wildlands, GT Sport, The BioShock Collection, and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare but I just find that lately I don’t really want to play any of them. I seem to have lost my gaming mojo and it all seems to be down to that shiny new console with its handheld mode that fits in to my lifestyle better than the others. I wish I could play all of the games from my gaming backlog on that while the Mrs watches Dancing on Ice or one of her box sets!

I need more on the Switch, but the current line-up of games, aside from those I’ve already played, doesn’t really excite me too much. I look forward to upcoming releases like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and the untitled Yoshi game, even Mario Tennis Aces looks like it will be fun. But it all seems too little to keep me properly engaged with the Switch in the same way that I have been with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (up until now anyway).

It’s a strange limbo of being extremely impressed with the games that are released for the console, but extremely unhappy that there just aren’t more of them! I need to get back into the other consoles, and releases like Far Cry 5 and Red Dead Redemption II are hopefully the perfect remedies to help me re-engage with them. I expected to be impressed by the Switch, I expected to enjoy playing it. But I really did expect the existential crisis that came with it. I don’t even feel like I know who I am anymore!

By reader Rickie Ratpack (gamertag)/Rickandrolla (PSN ID)/SW-1702-5371-4626

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.

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Category: Video Games

Visions of a QA degree in Video Games

Posted on January 20, 2018  in Video Games


The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I’ve worked in QA for almost 10 years and would say that QA is starting to be viewed as a discipline in its own right rather than a necessary evil where “kids get to play games”. Within the industry, inside scrum teams, the QA’er is as valuable as anyone else in the team. In Academia, however, there hasn’t been the same push to create the next generation of talented QA’ers in the same way as we see dedicated Design, Art, Programming, Audio and Production courses. There is an element of teaching quality within those courses, however, there doesn’t seem to be many official courses aimed for QA in Games at university level.

“We’re currently learning the Art of QA in islands across the industry with little cross pollination”

I’ve seen small shoots of hope appear with some outsource QA companies providing full intensive training courses to turn passionate applicants into QA testers. There are some QA courses out there however they relate more to Software Testing and lean towards becoming a developer. At conferences, it seems like the holy grail of testing is trying to attract SDETs (Software Developers Embedded in Test). In this article I’d like to explore and invite comment about what you feel a university level degree in Quality Assurance would look like, the broad principles and subjects that would be taught and what gaps in the current landscape we need to fill.

Starting at the basics, students would learn Functionality testing and be shown the fundamentals in Bug Reporting, Bug Classification, Regression Testing, Test Sessions, Project management etc. Students would also be taught the principles of testing, learn how to balance coverage vs risk, creating effective test-plans and time management skills. Areas such as Destructive testing, performing End to End Testing and Gameplay Analysis would feature to form a basis of the course.

For QA to be effective, I feel that a low level grasp of all core video game disciplines would be essential. This would range from being able to grasp programming basics right through to being able to Animate at a basic level. I can see some students taking one of the disciplines as a specialty and could graduate as a QA’er with Level Design for example.

There would be an emphasis on the prevention of issues Vs the detection of them

The focus of these modules is to help understand the underlying construction of game assets so they can critique and tear them apart later on. Students would also be able to make better judgement calls when trying to narrow reproduction steps and better communicate with developers on the bugs they find.

Agile and Scrum could be philosophies that are taught in this course. Industry input would lead the way here and prepare students to be able to adapt to working life in a games company. It is also an opportunity to expose the history and norms of the industry and lay the ground work in challenging areas such as unpaid overtime, 60hour+ weeks, burnout etc. There would be an emphasis on the prevention of issues vs the detection of them and an exploration into the importance of quality enhancers such as Continuous Integration, TDD etc.

This is an umbrella which subdivides the standard applications of testing. There would be modules in Functionality Testing, Compatibility Testing, Certification, Performance Testing, Design Testing, Automation Testing, QA Planning and Strategy etc. Layered within these areas we could explore some of the unique areas of PC Testing, Console Testing, Mobile Testing, VR Testing etc.

There would also be an emphasis on Leadership and project management as students would be expected to lead teams of testers as they execute their QA strategy for the game in test.

Such a degree would incorporate QA students into the Game Jam sessions. This would bring the standard and quality of games up and would give all team members a strong analogue as to what it’s like in Industry by allowing for professional testing. If done correctly, the game would be suitably stable to the point that they could be released and experience the full development cycle rather than just building a demo local to the building hosting the event.

I believe that the mere forming of a course would be a huge step in making QA within Games a respected profession and not something people do to get their foot in the industry door. By skilling up and preparing the next generation of QA’ers we can move away from mere detection and reporting of issues to making a difference in preventing them. We’re currently learning the Art of QA in islands across the industry with little cross pollination so let’s get together and QA the QA process!

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Category: Video Games

Shinzo Abe’s party wants Japan ready for video games in Olympics

Posted on January 20, 2018  in Video Games

E-sports won’t be part of Tokyo’s 2020 summer games, but lawmaker Kawamura says Japan’s Olympic Committee and the Tokyo city government have signed-off on holding huge tournaments in the run-up to the games. Photo: AFP

E-sports won’t be part of Tokyo’s 2020 summer games, but lawmaker Kawamura says Japan’s Olympic Committee and the Tokyo city government have signed-off on holding huge tournaments in the run-up to the games. Photo: AFP

Tokyo: Japan’s ruling party wants to legalize professional gaming tournaments, joining a groundswell that started last summer amid speculation that video games will become an Olympic medal sport by 2024.

Arcane laws meant to stop illegal gambling have prevented paid video game tournaments in Japan, stunting the domestic market even as e-sports has become a multibillion-dollar global industry. Over the past few months, negotiations between four e-sports groups and Japan’s consumer protection agency have yielded a workaround to exempt professional gamers from the rules.

Takeo Kawamura, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said the ruling party might be willing to go further, by amending laws to ensure people’s rights to earn a living playing games. The goal, he said, is to remove impediments and make it possible to win Olympic medals someday.

“If we need more legal wiggle room to hold tournaments, we can use a special law or other provisions as needed,” Kawamura said in an interview this week. “Once we have a gold medallist like, say, Daichi Suzuki, then people will begin to see” that video games are a sport, he said, referring to the celebrated Japanese swimmer.

Competitive gaming is still finding its footing in Japan, but globally it’s already a huge business. By 2020, total revenue from e-sports will reach $5 billion annually, almost as much as the world’s biggest soccer league today, according to market researcher Activate. Tournaments in China and South Korea routinely draw tens of thousands of spectators.

Japan is quickly laying the groundwork to catch up. At the Olympic committee’s urging, the four e-sports industry groups announced in September that they’re merging to lobby more effectively for paid gaming. In November, lawmakers from both the LDP and the opposition formed a coalition supporting e-sports, with Kawamura as its chairman. Then the following month, the industry announced plans to start issuing licenses to exempt professionals from gambling laws, similar to Japan’s approach to professional golf, baseball and tennis players.

Japan’s first video game tournament to make use of the new licenses will be held from 9 to 11 February at the Makuhari Messe convention centre near Tokyo. Konami Holdings Corp., Mixi Inc. and three other local companies will supply the game titles. Prizes have yet to be announced.

Competitive gaming is gaining more legitimacy by being included in international sporting events. This summer’s Asian Games in Jakarta will hold exhibition e-sports tournaments alongside swimming, soccer, and track and field. At the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, video games will be a medal sport. Organizers of the 2024 Paris Olympics say they’re also open to the idea.

E-sports won’t be part of Tokyo’s 2020 summer games, but Kawamura said Japan’s Olympic Committee and the Tokyo city government have signed-off on holding huge tournaments in the run-up to the games.

“We want to hold an international tournament as soon as possible,” he said. “If e-sports becomes an Olympic medal sport, we must field a strong Japanese team.” Bloomberg

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Category: Video Games

SuperStart Uses Legos, Video Games to Reach Young Students

Posted on January 19, 2018  in Video Games

Saying that nearly every preteen in the U.S. loves Legos and video games, Christ In Youth’s SuperStart program is utilizing both of those elements during its “Power Up” tour across the U.S. this spring. The weekend conference that’s designed specifically for students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades will be coming to Windermere, Florida Jan. 26-27 at Lifebridge Church.

“Power Up is a metaphor that has really connected to students,” said Drew Crisp, SuperStart director. “Just like in video games, you have power-ups – God’s word has so many power-ups for us. I think that’s something they’ve been able to grab a hold of and understand. And being able to see them with the Legos in their hands – you can see it really dial them in to the message. As they connect those Legos together we’re able to teach that through Jesus we are connected back to our father in Heaven, and it’s super cool to see it all connect in their minds.”


This year’s SuperStart tour includes the musical talents of musician Emeri Kornosky as well as a touring contemporary Christian band. Crisp, who is in his fourth tour with SuperStart, is also one of the main speakers on stage. But unlike many other conferences out there, SuperStart is intentionally designed to captivate the mind of an 11-to-13-year-old through interactive theatrics. Toward that end there are characters and a play that takes place over the course of the weekend, with members of the audience getting to participate along the way.

Seating is still available for this Florida event. For more information, please visit ciy.com/superstart.

SuperStart was developed 13 years ago by Christ In Youth. It consists of high-energy music, interactive drama and engaging teaching written specifically for preteens (fourth through sixth grades). SuperStart has annual events in 11 cities across the U.S. during the spring and fall. For 50 years, Christ In Youth has been providing events, missions experiences and resources that amplify Christ’s call on students’ lives in partnership with the local church. More than 85,000 students and leaders attend at least one of CIY’s 115 programs held throughout 20 countries each year.

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Category: Video Games

Aliens game in the pipeline from Fox’s video games division

Posted on January 19, 2018  in Video Games

There’s a new Aliens game in the pipeline, and reports are that it will be a shooter, destined for modern consoles and the PC. The last AAA Aliens title, Alien: Isolation, was more of a stealthy scare-em-up than a shooter. Before that we had the poorly received Aliens Colonial Marines, so some gamers will surely be looking forward to a modern Aliens shooter.

Sega has been the long-standing publisher of official ‘Alien’ titles thanks to its agreement with 20th Century Fox. However, last year Fox set up FoxNext games as its games division, and this division will be taking the development reins from now on. FoxNext has acquired San Francisco Bay area developer Cold Iron Studios for the task. Cold Iron Studios was formed back in 2015 by former members of Cryptic Studios (Neverwinter, City of Heroes) and includes developers experienced from working on the likes of Doom, Borderlands, Metroid Prime 3, BioShock Infinite, and others.

One tantalising aspect of the upcoming game that we know at the present time is that it will “explore areas of the universe that fans haven’t gotten to experience.” FoxNext with the help of Cold Iron Studios, will help “deeply explore the worlds of our franchises, starting with the Alien universe,” said FoxNext Games president Aaron Loeb to GamesIndustry.biz. Mr Loeb claims to be a fan of Cold Iron Studios previous work on titles such as City of Heroes and Star Trek Online.

Ahead of the Aliens themed gaming release FoxNext will be launching its debut title, Marvel Strike Force, a free-to-play role-playing game on mobile devices, shortly. Disney recently acquired 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion but it is uncertain what, if any, impact that will have on FoxNext.

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Category: Video Games

Violent video games DO NOT make players more aggressive in real life, study finds

Posted on January 19, 2018  in Video Games

It’s a topic that has been widely debated amongst the scientific community – do violent video games make players more aggressive in real life?

Now, scientists from the University of York claim that they have found no evidence to support this link.

In a series of experiments with more than 3,000 participants, the researchers showed that video games don’t ‘prime’ players to behave in certain ways.

In one study, participants played a game where they had to either be a car avoiding collisions, or a mouse avoiding being caught by a cat.

GTA 3
Violent video games don’t make people more aggressive

After the game, the players were shown images, such as a bus or a dog, and asked to label them as either a vehicle or an animal.

Dr David Pendle, who worked on the study, said: “If players are ‘primed’ through immersing themselves in the concepts of the game, they should be able to categorise the objects associated with this game more quickly in the real world once the game had concluded.

“Across the two games we didn’t find this to be the case. Participants who played a car-themed game were no quicker at categorising vehicle images, and indeed in some cases their reaction time was significantly slower.”

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

In another study, participants were asked to play two combat games – one that had realistic characters, and one that did not.

Following the game, players were asked to complete a word-association puzzle.

While the researchers expected participants who had played the realistic game to choose more violent word associations, this wasn’t the case.

Dr Pendle said: “We found that the priming of violent concepts, as measured by how many violent concepts appeared in the word fragment completion task, was not detectable.

“The findings suggest that there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.”

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Category: Video Games

Games Inbox: Have you ever bought a video game Collector’s Edition?

Posted on January 18, 2018  in Video Games

Games Inbox: Have you ever bought a video game Collector’s Edition?
Would you pay $150 for this?

The morning Inbox is upset that there are plenty of betas but no game demos, as a lone reader sticks up for the idea of a Dark Souls easy mode.

To join in with the discussions yourself email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Statute of disappointment

I know a lot of people have been worried about the lack of release date for God Of War, but I’ve just seen they’ve announced one of those super expensive collector’s editions. I can’t imagine they’d do that if it wasn’t coming out quite soon, which seems to match up with the March release date that everyone expects.

It’s one of these jobs with a giant statute in it that costs £100+. I mean, you shouldn’t tell other people what to do with their money, but what I never get is why do you buy these things for games you don’t even know you’ll like? I mean, I assume only hardcore God Of War fans are going to be buying it, but are they that certain they’re not going to be disappointed? Despite the fact that it’s a completely different type of game to before.

I know I’ve been stung before by hating things I thought I was going to love, and I’m not even talking about The Last Jedi. But at least I didn’t get the added indignity of having spent £100 on a statute to something I don’t even like. Is anyone here willing to own up to making a mistake with collector’s editions in the past?
Lurch

Demonstrably bad

Surely I’m not the only one to be frustrated about all these ‘betas’ that are around at the moment, and yet apparently normal game demos are no longer really a thing. I really don’t see the difference between them anymore, except that betas only last a week or so. I don’t believe that betas are seriously being used to change anything about the game, seeing as most of them seem to happen just a couple of weeks before the game come out. They’re clearly just time-limited demos, just like we always used to have.

So why not have it for everything? It used to be Microsoft policy to have a demo for everything, but since they stopped that they’ve all but died out. I know it’s because apparently people are less likely to buy a game if they’ve played the demo. But then how come betas aren’t a problem. If it’s the time limit that makes it work for publishers just do that. Have it delete itself after two days or something, like a movie.

Watching something on YouTube is all very good but I want to know how a game plays. And do often I’m still having to take a risk I don’t think I should have to.
Achi

The Mattrick Revolutions

So it looks like these Fable rumours are really on the money. Eurogamer just repeated the same basic story as we had a few days ago with their own sources, saying that Playground Games are going to make it and Microsoft are treating it as a really big budget game. Which as a fan of the series does make me very happy.

But I still don’t understand why they shut down Lionhead Studios. I could see if it was by the guy that was in charge for the Xbox One launch (what was his name again?). But this was all done under Phil Spencer. It is very hard to reconcile the things Phil Spencer says and what he actually does, which does make me wonder how much power he (or rather the Xbox division in general) really has.

Why shut down Lionhead and cancel Scalebound if the main problem is you haven’t got enough exclusives? Surely that’s the time to make the best of what you’ve got and worry about tightening things up later? I mean it’s not my money, so obviously I don’t care in that sense, but a lot of people lost their jobs, over both things I would imagine, and it doesn’t seem to make sense why.
Carlton

GC: His name was Don Mattrick.

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Friends are easy

Dark Souls has an easy mode in summons. It makes bosses or navigating the path to a boss much easier with a friend or non-player character in tow, personally I think it breaks the game in making it too easy and diminishing what is an integral part of what SoulsBorne games are about.

There’s no easy mode, as it goes against one of the things the developers were trying to achieve with their game. Which is to show there’s reward in struggle, perseverance, and overcoming difficulty in general. That central artistic notion at the core of SoulsBorne games, and is an immutable ingredient to their identity and appeal in my eyes.

Like the recent Hot Topic, I tune into Twitch fairly often. One of my favourite things to watch is someone playing Dark Souls for the first time who struggles at first but sticks with it and it all clicks. I think for anybody who’s been getting destroyed by a boss in a SoulsBorne game, the feeling of when you finally beat it solo is one of the best gaming has to offer.
Simundo Jones

Computer-controlled

RE: Jendu. Some diehard fans may balk at the suggestion of any easy mode for Dark Souls, but there is nothing wrong in wanting easier access to one of the best games ever made (in my opinion). I don’t know how many people are currently playing Dark Souls, but when the remastered version is released I am sure there will be players you can call upon for assistance via the summons signs.

There are also non-player characters that can assist with certain boss battles, and some are good enough to beat the boss on their own if left to it. I certainly used them when I last played the game. Perseverance is definitely key with the Souls games, but I can understand the desire for an easy mode if your gaming time is limited.

Just out of Interest, what do you think an easy mode should look like? Perhaps an extended tutorial level would assist those struggling with the mechanics of the game.
Ron Obvious

Key ingredient

I really don’t think that playing Dark Souls in easy mode, if it had one, would be worth it. You’d be missing out on a big part of what makes it so special, and it would make it a lesser game. If it was easy you wouldn’t get the sense of achievement and all that comes with it. The sweaty hands, the adrenaline rush, and the relief/elation when you finally beat a boss or get past the part you’re stuck on.

I didn’t start the Chalice Dungeons in Bloodborne until I was at the end of New Game+ and the first few were so easy that it was boring. It was only when I got to the harder ones that I started to enjoy it again, and I think people would feel the same if the main game was like that. It’s like playing a Telltale game without the story, Elder Scrolls or Fallout without the open world. Or turning PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds into just another Call Of Duty clone.

Everybody can finish it if they want to, and help is there if they need it through co-op and wikis. I’m not sure how true this is, but if all else fails you can try playing as a mage which I’ve heard is like Darks Souls easy mode.
Anon

Spanish inquisition

Nintendo has turned its hands to origami, where did that come from? Just when I think they are unpredictable they go and do this and confirm how bonkers they really are. They seem to have more money then sense.

Well, it was expected after the success of last year.
Alek Kazam

GC: You think Nintendo Labo is a mistake?

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Your head around it

Yeah, I’ve played the open beta of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT twice now and I feel your description of ‘complicated’ has to the quaintest understatement of the decade.

I read all the tutorials in the basic menu and then threw me into a mock battle. Let me tell you, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is complicated. this game is an M. C. Escher nightmare of infinite twists and loops. The battle was dragging on forever and you have to deliver a certain kind of hit to win a bout. Huh? What? What’s happening? What’s going on? Am I doing badly? Am I doing well? Why hasn’t anyone died yet? Why does that woman from the intro wear wheel heels on her shoes?

These are all valid questions I’m sure you’ll agree. But I will try to wrap my head around it all before the beta ends. It’s just that the game is doing a very good job of making me feel exceedingly thick in the process.
DMR

GC: Just punch people until they stop moving, the rest will come later.

Inbox also-rans

I cannot wait for Nintendo’s announcement to a) be completely weird and silly and b) really annoy hardcore gamers. Nintendo always provide entertainment, video games or not.
Tension

10pm (in the evening) is a strange time of day to make a ‘specifically crafted for kids and those who are young at heart’ announcement. Although some kids do stay up late…
Mr Spacefoxy

GC: It was a simultaneous, worldwide announcement – so it was the afternoon in America.

This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox asks what you would do if you were suddenly put in charge of your favourite games company.

It can be any company you like: a console manufacturer like Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo; a third party publisher like EA or Activision; or a developer like Naughty Dog or Bungie. Especially bearing in mind that it’s the start of the year, and the plans for many companies are currently unclear, what would you do in terms of commissioning new games, working on hardware, and dealing with issues like loot boxes and games as a service?

How would you market your company’s games and make sure they’re a hit? And if you’ve had a problem with what the company has been doing lately what would do to make amends? Is there anything you’d stop them from doing, and why?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

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