AusGamers was invited out to the annual Call of Duty reveal for 2018, this time with the franchise in Treyarch's court, who've upped the Black Ops ante to, well, four. While soaking in the hype, we also had a chance to sit down with some Treyarch brass to talk about the studio -- and series' -- take on the now-very-popular chicken dinner Battel Roayle genre...
Here's a snippet from our interview:
AusGamers: So what made the company decide to take a different approach in this regards to Blackout?
Yale: I think it's just the game we wanted to make. We were always wanting to create something with a non-traditional narrative, because we didn't want something where you just get the experience and go “ok, now I know the story and now I'm done”. We wanted something that would live on, that was more organic, where the story will grow with what the player does and the interactions they have. Like I said, we were going down that non-traditional path [with Black Ops III], but that didn't necessarily hit the level of quality that we wanted.
We made the tough decision to scrap that and we'd already been thinking about battle royale and the things that we wanted to do there, but couldn't. Since then we've made a lot of technical advances that came from all the [Black Ops III] work we'd done that we were able to leverage in order to make a battle royale that's truly Black Ops.
Matt here loves to talk about the fluidity, the gun feel, the visual fidelity and all those things – being able to bring all of those things to make Blackout, an offering that will fit nicely between those other things that are out there [like Fortnite and PUBG].
Mario Tennis titles have always been very good, and come June 22 the latest iteration of the family-friendly sports franchise, starring Mario, Peach, Luigi and co: Mario Tennis Aces will land on Switch. However, ahead of that official date, Nintendo is giving eager beavers Advantage, with an online tournament. (Sorry.) (Not sorry.)
With Mario, Peach, Yoshi and Bowser all available to play as, the "Mario Tennis Aces – pre-launch online tournament" promises to setup Nintendo's recently revealed online service and to highlight the competitive lean of the game. Here's what Ninty had to tell us:
Tennis hopefuls will be able to pick from four playable characters – Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser – and take part in online multiplayer matches in a tournament format. As they advance through the tournament stages, they’ll earn points based on their performance, with five additional characters available to unlock in the demo by gaining enough points.
On top of the online tournaments, players can also get in some practice by playing one-off single-player tennis battles against a computer-controlled opponent*. Whether battling it out online against other players or polishing their skills against the CPU, all participants will be able to unlock a free additional costume of Mario in his traditional dungarees for use in the full game.
By downloading the free software from Nintendo eShop before the tournament starts, players can look forward to a weekend of fast and fun tennis action, as the tournament is open from 12:00am AEST on Saturday 2nd June until 9:00am AEST on Monday 4th June.
Watch a trailer highlighting all of the above, embedded below.
We're a bit delayed in our verdict on Namco Bandai and Level 5's Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, but we have a good reason: it's bloody long. That being said, it's also bloody good.
The game borrows heavily from JRPG blueprints of the past, but also breaks tradition the deeper into the experience you get to forge its own unique path, which helps set it up as one of the better JRPGs out in gaming world at the moment (or even for the past little while). Here's a snippet from our review:
Naturally presentation here is king. This is collaborative design with Studio Ghibli, after all. But the high level of graphical polish in Ni No Kuni II is only a quarter of the picture. The game’s combat, as mentioned in my intro, is one of the game’s most engaging pillars and is something I’ll get to in a moment. The other quarter is its charm. And it’s not an expected charm because of the game’s outlandish Japanese storytelling or characterisation, it’s because the English translation of the game has gone above and beyond to add to the oddity of it all. Different regional groups and characters have unique accents that include various levels of English in the cockney space, Aussie, Scot, Welsh and more. And they don’t hold back on this at all.
The final piece of this whole is in the length of time it takes to get the full gameplay picture on offer. Our review is incredibly delayed for two reasons: One, the game kept us in effective tutorial mode beyond the 20-hour mark. Because JRPG. This meant in order to review the game properly, I had to put in the serious hard yards. And the second reason is because a few other, less time-intensive distractions also required precious review and play time. Oh woe is me.
Last year Riot Games kicked off what originally began as a venture with Red Bull Australia, to bring the tried and tested "State of Origin" team sporting concept that is quintessentially Australian, to esports through League of Legends. And now they've expanded the concept in a "world first partnership" with the AFL.
L to R: Jayke "Jayke" Paulsen, Darren Birch, Daniel Ringland, Tim "Carbon" Wendel
In fact, the AFL is proving to be one of the most proactive professional sporting outfits where esports is confirmed, with both Essendon and the Adelaide Crows building teams, while the rest of the competition looks on in vested interest at this seemingly burgeoning Wild West of a sporting explosion.
The AFL and Riot Games, creator of worldwide phenomenon League of Legends and industry leader within esports, are joining forces to bring a premier stadium tournament to Melbourne, Australia this coming November, 2018.
Building off the deep sporting rivalries that exist between Australian states and territories and New Zealand, League of Legends: League of Origin marks the beginning of an exciting partnership between the two major sports and entertainment leaders.
The short, intense competition will bring together the very best professional players from Oceanic League of Legends esports in an all-star style event where they will step outside their regular season teams to play for their home side.
“Esports is one of the most exciting emerging industries to come in and disrupt the traditional sports landscape. Riot are a respected and credible leader in this space, and this event will be a great opportunity to continue on that path. We will bring our expertise and insight to the competition, giving all-star players an opportunity to play with different teams, play in a different tournament structure and in a radically different venue environment.”
“Our vision is to progress the game of AFL and continue to help fans share in the experience of footy. Working with Riot is one step towards us learning new ways to connect with fans and enhance the complete digital experience.”
“We’re excited to continue to learn and lead in this space with our new partner, Riot, and to work with our two AFL clubs already in this space, Adelaide Crows and Essendon Bombers, to build out player pathways and opportunities.”
Daniel Ringland, Head of Oceanic Esports for Riot Games said “The AFL is a world class league, and leads Australian sport in many key areas. From fan engagement through to player welfare and development, they’re the gold standard. We aspire to the same levels of excellence for our pro players and fans of League of Legends esports, so a strategic partnership makes absolute sense.”
“The AFL and Riot are culturally aligned, both being firm believers in putting the fan and player experience first. We’re excited to be paving the way for esports fans in Oceania.”
Hopefully my (once) Mighty Blues jump on the bandwagon soon enough, but either way it's fantastic to see esports facing a world of professional infrastructure and support, and all through a platform that is the largest sporting code in the country.
Details on the November venue (*cough* Etihad *cough*) will be announced in the "coming weeks", according to Riot. So stay tuned.
To get the most out of the PC version of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX-10 series of cards, the company has partnered up with developers Eidos Montreal and series custodians, Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix announced today.
Good news for the PC community, especially with no exclusivity lockdowns on the game for the foreseeable future.
Delivering the climactic conclusion to Lara Croft’s origin story in remarkable new detail, developers Crystal Dynamics and Eidos-Montréal are also partnering with the talented studio Nixxes Software for the PC version of Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Long-standing veterans of the Tomb Raider franchise, Nixxes Software will lead development of Lara Croft’s defining moment for PC gamers everywhere. The studio boasts outstanding experience working on past hit Square Enix titles such as Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and many others.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara must master a deadly jungle, overcome terrifying tombs, and persevere through her darkest hour. As she races to save the world from a Maya apocalypse, Lara will become the Tomb Raider she is destined to be.
Given the timing of these Tomb Raider announcements, expect the game to feature heavily at next month's E3 and stay tuned for more coverage from us, because we'll be there again this year.
Haven't played For Honor yet? No worries, Ubisoft has you covered and also has Aussie servers to make your experience all the better. Starting today, a full free weekend for the game kicks off, ahead of Season Six which launches later this month. And, if you jump into the free weekend and want to purchase the game, you can keep all progress and will be offered a massive purchase discount.
A 67-percent reduction in price, to be exact. Season Six, which drops for free on May 17 will also feature:
New Map: One new map, the Beachhead, will expand the battlefield. The Beachhead will be available to all players for free and playable in all multiplayer modes except Tribute. Once a grand fortress of solitude and respite, it remains a picturesque view from afar and is a desirable stronghold for any army hoping to sway the odds of battle in their favor.
Major Hero Reworks: In the wake of Season Five’s Hero updates and positive feedback from players, For Honor will continue to improve and harmonize the current roster as two Heroes – the Orochi and Peacekeeper – will receive major gameplay updates with Season Six. More Heroes will receive similar updates in the future as the development team continues to prioritize game balancing.
The Visual Collection: This new feature will allow players to track all visuals they have obtained and then apply them on any gear they have in a separate in-game menu. This will help reduce the need to hoard gear for the reason of simply keeping visuals in one’s inventory, and also directly address player feedback about the lack of inventory space.
“We’re happy to see players react positively to our recent For Honor updates, which included the launch of dedicated servers and extensive Hero balancing changes, as well as new onboarding features,” said Roman Campos-Oriola, creative director of For Honor. “In addition to improving the core experience, we are also working on new content, including all-new Heroes; tune in during E3 2018 to learn more!” Following the introduction of the all-new training mode, the implementation of dedicated servers, and other updates, which have brought significant improvements to the player experience, the For Honor team has been dedicated to making the game more stable, accessible, and engaging for all players. To learn more about the development team’s vision for Season Six and beyond, please visit: "http://forhonorgame.com/season6" target="_blank">http://forhonorgame.com/season6.
Okay, so MechWarrior is technically in the BattleTech universe. Considering that it began life as a tabletop and all. But I grew up playing MechWarrior 2 on PC so for me it's the reverse, kind of. Anyway, ever since details began emerging about this turn-based tactical strategy game it's been on my most wanted list for quite sometime.
Now that it's finally here, the end result is somewhat of a mixed bag. Good, but not quite great.
One of the big plusses, despite its modest budget, is the often-wonderful writing, presentation, and original score found throughout BattleTech. The graphic-novel approach to cinematic sequences more than sell the grand nature of the story being told, as does the sparse and well-executed voice acting. Built on the rich history of the BattleTech tabletop game, there’s detail and a coherent history found with every introduction of a new planet, faction, or even type of mech. For those interested in the sort of sci-fi world presented in BattleTech, the ability to live the life of an interstellar mercenary taking on jobs with a full crew and cargo hold filled with mechs – is hard to resist.
And that's been confirmed via the developer themselves through an ego-bolstered video featuring their charismatic and often times odd creative director, Sam Lake.
And in keep with the tone of that last sentence, the video they released is titled "The Greatest Trailer of All Time". Good work, Remedy.
At any rate, PCGamesN reports that the new title will be coming to all platforms in PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now that the studio has dropped its exclusivity deal with Microsoft that gave us the awesome and ambitious Quantum Break. They also report that their new publisher is 505 Games and that the content to be shown at E3 will be strictly hands-off. Moreover, it's currently slated for a 2019 release and will allegedly feature an online component that has been suggested as "Destiny-like".
I guess we'll know more in just over a month's time.