With all the uncertainty and stresses we face at the moment there's still room for distractions that are well worth it. Case in point, one of the key founders and developers from id Software's rise in the 1990s, and one of the creative leads on the original Doom - John Romero - playing DOOM Eternal. Developed and released by id Software in 2020.
This is John firing up the campaign for the first time, playing on Ultra Violence. It's wholesome ripping and tearing.
Romero worked at id Software from its inception in 1991 until 1996. He was involved in the creation of several milestone games, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom II: Hell on Earth and Quake. He served as executive producer (and game designer) on Heretic and Hexen. He designed most of the first episode of Doom, a fourth of the levels in Quake, and half the levels in the Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny. He wrote many of the tools used at id Software to create their games, including DoomEd (level editor), QuakeEd (level editor), DM (for deathmatch launching), DWANGO client (to connect the game to DWANGO's servers), TED5 (level editor for the Commander Keen series, Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny), IGRAB (for grabbing assets and putting them in WAD files), the installers for all the games up to and including Quake, the SETUP program used to configure the games, and several others. In his keynote speech at WeAreDevelopers Conference 2017, Romero named this period Turbo Mode, in which he emphasizes having created 28 games, in 5.5 years with a team consisting of fewer than 10 developers.
For the full Twitch VOD - head here. It's awesome being able to watch one of the creators of Doom learn the re-imagined mechanics and have fun with Eternal -- even if that first Arachnotron encounter takes a while. It's the sort of entertainment we need right now -- after completing a Glory Kill he notes "that's a lot of health for killing stuff".
Can't afford the real thing, or even a joy ride when it comes to yachting? Never fear Yacht Mechanic Simulator is coming to shore up your desires, giving you the chance to not only fix up wrecked yachts, but test drive them, sell them and slowly build out a million dollar yacht empire.
I actually wanted to use a "not the Onion" headline opener because it would be easy to see how this could be seen as the sim world taking the piss, but given the expanse of differing simulation games and vocations, we dug in and now we're afloat with desire to get our yacht mechanic dreams into full gear. Here's a bit more on the official side of things:
Become a millionaire and build your own yacht empire!
Yacht Mechanic Simulator lets you have a taste of luxury as you renovate, redecorate, test, and sell state-of-the-art yachts of various sizes.
Scout for abandoned motorboats and give them a new life. Repair fractured hulls at your workshop and get to work on any damaged equipment. Remove the bolts that hold your engines in place and use a crane to take them out of your yacht. You can fix them, upgrade them, or even replace them entirely with better ones!
Cater to your clientele by creating gorgeous interiors! Edit, move, and replace hundreds of different decorative elements and turn your yacht into a temple of beauty.
Admire your work thanks to incredible, photorealistic graphics. Test your yachts in a breathtaking environment and see how they handle on the water. Earn money and start working on even bigger and even more luxurious vessels. Turn your workshop into a proper shipyard and become a corporate giant with your very own fleet of yachts.
Several different yachts to work on.
Beautiful, photorealistic graphics.
Various repair mechanics to patch the hull, fix the engines or upgrade navigation.
Plenty of parts to use, which you can either repair, or purchase from a store.
Open water where you can test your yachts.
Career mode with story missions.
Randomly generated missions.
Ability to upgrade your workshop and grow your yacht fleet.
Decorative elements that let you create both cozy and luxurious interiors.
Paint tools and various different materials to use.
Watch an enticing reveal trailer for the game embedded below. You can also add it to your Steam Wishlist via the game's Steam page.
And as if having the number one game-engine on the planet, or the number one (for the last little while) multiplayer game on the planet alongside a clear glove slap to the industry with Epic Games Store, its exclusives and more, Epic is now going deep on the publisher side of things, throwing down the other glove by landing deals with three of the most unique and influential studios, and their creators, in the modern era to nurse "new projects".
Control'sRemedy (our GOTY for 2019), the unique Inside'sPlaydead and the now independent gen DESIGN (Shadow of the Colossus), and each of their respective creatives and studios have signed a deal to be published by Epic Games Publishing for their next projects. See more below:
Today, Epic Games is announcing a new multiplatform publishing effort with a developer-first approach. gen DESIGN (The Last Guardian), Playdead (Inside, Limbo), and Remedy Entertainment (Control) are the first partners to announce relationships with Epic Games Publishing.
The Epic Games approach to publishing fundamentally changes the developer/publisher model, and aims to have the most developer-friendly terms in the industry, so that creators can focus on making great games.
Full creative freedom and ownership. Developers retain 100% of all intellectual property and full creative control of their work.
Fully-funded projects. Epic Games Publishing will cover up to 100% of development costs, from developer salaries to go-to-market expenses such as QA, localization, marketing, and all publishing costs.
50/50 profit sharing. Developers earn a fair share for their work -- once costs are recouped, developers earn at least 50% of all profits.
“We’re building the publishing model we always wanted for ourselves when we worked with publishers,” said Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic Games.
"gen DESIGN, Remedy, and Playdead are among the most innovative and talented studios in the industry, with strong visions for their next games,” said Hector Sanchez, Head of Epic Games Publishing. “They will have full creative control, while Epic will provide a solid foundation of project funding and services.
More is set to come, but for now, watch a short video highlighting the above embedded below.
SkyBox Labs' inaugural release, Stela, is one of those games you have almost no expectation about, or for, but when you get into it you realise just how far we've come as an industry of creators in a different sphere to the rest of the media creation world. Moving, epic, simple and elegant, yet highly sophisticated in its production, Stela is more proof of "games as art".
Here's a snippet:
What elevates Stela among so many incredible games of the modern design age is that it follows a “less is more” attitude around gameplay, but this is amplified by one of the best scores I’ve heard in a videogame before, and a cinematic approach to key moments, reveals, set-pieces and deeper environmental storytelling, that fills in the many blanks you’ll have as you press right on your controller, or D on your keyboard. The difficulty spikes are subtle, but exist, and each time our Episode IV Princess Leia look alike, presumably “Stela”, dies from a Shadow, a Beast, bugs, bats or falls to her death or is crushed by a piece of the environment.
The times, as MC Bobby "Dollaz" Dylan once sang, are currently a changing and becoming a little too much to bear. So shake dat fine booty to a phat beat like dis. Wise rhymes from the famous folk rapper. Anyway, in these uncertain times as a lot of us isolate and hunker down in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, escapism in the purest sense is becoming more precious than ever.
And on that front videogames are a great escape or even distraction from the current going's on -- even if it's only for an hour here and there. Which is why Stephen and yours truly went through our standouts to list our videogame happy places.
It should come as no surprise that Diablo III made my list.
How Blizzard turned around Diablo III with the release of the Reaper of Souls expansion in 2014 and the introduction of Loot 2.0 is well documented. The fine tuning of that redesign has only gotten better over time, with each new Season and update bringing more reasons to jump back in and build a new superhero monster-slaying Nephalem. And it’s that last bit where Diablo III lets you enter a Zen state of flashing numbers, item stats, and pyrotechnic displays of mobs falling apart. All working together to bring order to Rifts and various locations overrun with monsters seemingly waiting to end your reign. For me, Diablo III is pure comfort gaming, the intricacies are vast but also easy to keep track of - creating new builds is a breeze and the repetitive nature of the mechanics add a level of simplicity. Letting you become one with Sanctuary.
Having instant access to a library of entertainment to stream, well, that's kind of more important than ever right now. To keep that quarantined sanity in check. And with NVIDIA launching the new SHIELD TV ($289.95) and SHIELD TV Pro ($399.95) in Australia -- we go through how one of the best sreaming devices available just got better.
What makes the Shield TV immediately stand-out in 2020, as a product line, is the same thing that made it do just that a couple of years ago – a clean, fast, and reliable UI experience with excellent app support and performance. This time powered by NVIDIA’s updated Tegra X1+ processor and two models available; one with a cylindrical look that sits somewhere between an external device and a streaming stick (that can sit behind a display or cabinet), and the other the same mini device look of the original.
The differences in how each SHIELD TV looks points to the functionality or potential usage. The TV Pro has additional RAM (3GB versus 2GB), increased storage (16GB versus 8GB), and two full-sized USB 3.0 ports for external storage and peripherals. The hardware upgrade of the TV Pro’s additional RAM allows for NVIDIA Lightspeed Studios ports of games like Tomb Raider, Portal, Half-Life 2, and Resident Evil 5 to run natively without fuss. Plus, PLEX Media Server support that offers up 1080p transcoding and streaming to other devices connected to the same network. From that, the USB ports and beefed up internal storage makes sense.
As Hearthstone heads into the Year of the Phoenix, and the arrival of the Ashes of Outlands expansion, it’s also introducing the first new class since the game launched in 2014. The aggressive and game-changing Demon Hunter.
After going hands-on with iconic Warcraft character Illidan Stormrage we sat down with Heathstone Game Director Ben Lee and Lead Designer Dean Ayala to discuss adding a new class into the game.
“There are unanswered questions when thinking about a new class,” Hearthstone Lead Designer Dean Ayala tells me. “Wondering if we even have enough room to do 10 classes because there’s so much hard-coded into the current classes -- just engineering-wise. But above all, you need to answer the question-- why do you do need a new class?”
“It's something the team has looked at before or thought about but never felt like it was the right time or the right moment or the right combination of factors,” Game Director Ben Lee adds. “With the Demon Hunter it was really the perfect storm, the Ashes of Outland expansion, Illidan Stormrage, all these factors working together with the Demon Hunter ideal to make it feel awesome and complete. Also just timing wise, the game is six years old. We wanted something big, something new, something different for players to engage with.”
Obviously that's only applicable if you don't already own the epic odyssey that is Assassin's Creed Odyssey, but if you haven't played it, maybe we can give you a nudge with a review reminder. And hey, a weekend isn't enough to smash the whole game, but if your home time at the moment is up in the air, maybe you might enjoy taking on ancient monsters, the Mediterranean sea and the Greek Isles all the while living it up with Spartan blood in your veins.
While free across all three platforms from March 19 through to March 24 AEDT, some of the kick off and closing times differ, as listed below courtesy of our local Ubi branch:
PlayStation 4: March 19, 6PM AEDT – March 24, 4AM AEDT
Xbox One: March 19, 6PM AEDT – March 24, 4AM AEDT
PC: March 19, 10 PM AEDT – March 24, 3AM AEDT
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is set in Ancient Greece during the Golden Age of Athens amidst one of the deadliest conflicts in history, the Peloponnesian War. Playing as either Alexios or Kassandra, an outcast Spartan mercenary, players will embark on an epic journey into a living, systemic open world, where they will uncover the truth about their mysterious past and become legendary Greek heroes.
During the Free Weekend players will have access to the full main game content*. Additionally, when playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey during the Free Weekend, all players will unlock the Ezio’s Roman Set through Ubisoft Club. For more information about Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and the Free Weekend, please visit: assassinscreed.com.
*Any progression made during the Free Weekend will carry over when the player upgrades to the full game on the same platform. An online connection might be required to start the game as a free player along with a subscription: players will require a Xbox Live Gold subscription on the Xbox One Family of devices to access the free weekend trial.
You can start preloading the game now for PS4 or through Uplay as it'll be a rather big download.
DOOM Eternal is not only a breath of first-person shooter fresh air when it comes to the single-player side of things, it's unlike anything else in the genre. How it strives to take the core of what made the 2016 DOOM reboot feel great and what made the 1994 original define the genre back in the day -- and run with it -- is commendable.
How it manages to succeed is nothing short of a miracle. A chainsaw wielding, flamethrower spraying, BFG carrying spectacle.
If DOOM 2016 was the proof of concept, DOOM Eternal is the masterwork. A single chord or musical phrase expanded into an all-encompassing symphony of cartoon hyperviolence. An experience that feels quite unlike anything else in the first-person space. It’s this sentiment that makes the whole 1993 connection more profound than a simple point of reference. To put it another way, DOOM Eternal is the vision of a genre that went in a different direction after we traded in 2D sprites for vast 3D polygonal worlds.
Instead of linear battlefields, scripted action sequences, cinematics worthy of a Hollywood feature, and the drive towards the realistic – the single-player side of the genre became something else. DOOM Eternal is that something else, a release that feels as relevant and iconic today as the original did back in the day.
Free! It's such a fun word, and I wish it was at the beginning of the words "toilet" and "paper" in this current climate, but maybe free The Witcher stuff from good old (heh) GOG.com can placate our current TP woes. And boy, is there some cool stuff here for free...
As part of their recent Spring Sale GOG.com is serving up Goodies for your game library that include behind the scenes and collectible digital-type dealies to help flesh out your digital bookshelf. Here's what's on offer:
Video Game Show — The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt concert (720p)
Video Game Show — The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt concert (dvd)
Video Game Show — The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt concert (1080p)
Video Game Show — The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt concert (4K)
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition - goodie pack
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition - goodie pack
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - goodie pack
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - goodie pack
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - bonus pack (Polish)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - bonus pack (French)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - bonus pack (Spanish)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - bonus pack (Italian)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - bonus pack (Russian)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Game of the Year Edition - bonus pack (German)
Our winner of the AusGamers Top 10 Best Games of 2019 list, Control, will have its first expansion dropping next week, March 26, and if you know Remedy and their penchant for proper expansive content, you know you're super-ready to re-enter The Oldest House once more only to fall down that enticing rabbit hole.
But PC and Xbox One owners of the game will have to wait, with no firm release date for the new content yet revealed in another annoying timed-exclusive 'first-on' release. But, for the PS4 players of the game out there, here's what you can expect:
In The Foundation, the Astral Plane is colliding with our reality. Jesse Faden, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Control, must travel through the caverns of the Foundation to prevent the Astral Plane from consuming the Oldest House. The missing Head of Operations, Helen Marshall, may hold some answers to the mysteries surrounding this threat. As she travels deeper, Jesse will learn more about Marshall’s disappearance, and about the enigmatic Board.
The Foundation is an all-new level, which can be accessed through the Hotline Chamber in Central Executive. Important note, in order to access The Foundation DLC, players will need to have completed the main game.
Within The Foundation, there’s not only main missions to work through, but multiple side missions to get stuck into as well. On average (because this question tends to come up a lot) players can expect to get around 4-5 hours of all-new gameplay out of The Foundation.
Abilities and Skills
Our community love Jesse’s abilities, as do we! As part of The Foundation, we’re adding skills to her supernatural arsenal. Take Control of an all-new ability (exclusive to The Foundation) called Shape and an upgrade to the Service Weapon called Fracture, allowing Jesse to transform and shatter the Foundation’s environments.
Jesse will also have access to Shield Rush, an upgrade to the Shield ability that allows Jesse to charge at her enemies, knocking them back during combat. This upgrade will come as part of the free March update, but more on that later!
The Hiss Sharpened
The Foundation introduces the Hiss Sharpened, a new enemy type which can be found in the caves under the Oldest House. This new Hiss-type is particularly challenging, so get ready to put your skills to the test as they approach you with their melee swings, pickaxe in hand. What’s more, Hiss Sharpened will come at you from different directions, so think about how you can use your abilities to take them down. (Top tip: Look at how you can use Shield Rush and Levitate to your advantage!)
Free March Update
One more thing. We’re launching a free update alongside The Foundation. In response to player feedback, we’ve improved the functionality of the map, added the option to reallocate Ability points using Essence at Control points, and other quality of life improvements. There’s also the Shield Rush ability upgrade and many more improvements under the hood.
Thanks to 505 Games' Antonela Pounder for the PlayStation Blog update. Now, just tell us when the rest of us get to play it!
And those specs also come with the comforting line in the Xbox Wire blog post that "when it is released this holiday season, Xbox Series X will set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility". The comforting part isn't performance, speed and compatibility, rather that Microsoft still plans on delivering their new behemoth this year, and given the current shut down climate across myriad industries, that's just heartening news.
There's a bit more to unpack with the information dropped today, but to kick things off, here's the official specs surrounding Xbox Series X's innards:
CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
One of the bigger takeaways is that Series X supports DirectX Raytracing, something we've delved into a lot here, which will soon become the norm for high-end gaming and design (though Nintendo could be classically late to that party). The gurus over at Digital Foundryhave a lot more to say on all of the above.