Here’s the stuff we’d never heard of before we covered it for the first time here. You wanted bleeding edge… here it is! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
It’s the thing to do lately: rerelease a classic video game with just enough enhancements to charge for it all over again. In this case, however, I suspect it’s a good thing. I’m talking, of course, about BioWare’s 15-year-old multiplayer Neverwinter Nights, which Canadian studio Beamdog will be re-delivering in an “enhanced edition,” though we don’t have a release date just yet. That’s the same studio that’s already retooled other old BioWare games, like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment, and is in fact made up of former BioWare devs.
“We’ve added an improved display that looks great on modern 4K monitors, UI elements now adjust in size based on chosen resolution, and post-processing effects make for crisper, cleaner visuals,” Beamdog writes. “Save games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights work in the Enhanced Edition.”
Oh man, that means my guild’s old custom roleplaying modules from back in the day will still work. I wonder if anyone’s up for a campaign…
So here’s a happy surprise: THQ Nordic just launched an expansion for Titan Quest, the multiplayer-optional ARPG that’s been rattling around on hard drives for over 10 years now. Not even terrible timing since there are about to be a lot of homeless ARPG fans, and hey, this game even has a subtle Thor tie-in!
Dubbed Ragnarok, the expansion is $14.99 (a discount from its regular $19.99 price), and it boasts a Norse-mythology-themed fifth act with concomitant storylines and quests, new physics and graphics enhancements, a new mastery (Runemaster) to combine with the existing ones for a total of 45 new character templates, a new level cap of 85, new gear, and critically, PANTS.
You’ll need to to own the anniversary edition of the game to run this expansion, but that shouldn’t be a problem for fans, as THQ granted existing owners on Steam access to the anniversary edition for free last year. Maybe we should’ve seen this coming!
I think we’ve officially passed the zombie craze in online games, or at least it feels that way to me as new zombie games are starting to feel like retro throwbacks. So it is with new isometric “zombie MMO” Dead Maze, which just landed in CBT on Steam.
“Set in the Western United States, where humanity has been devastated by a plague of the undead, player cooperation takes center stage in Dead Maze, with thousands of players having to explore, scavenge, and work together to survive and rebuild society. With the start of the closed beta, players can discover the destroyed world of Dead Maze, build their new home and craft their own supplies, team up with their friends and battle the dozens of different types of zombies, using over 200 different items and weapons. More content will be added to the closed beta and all progress made will be carried over into the full game, when it is released in 2018.”
Intriguingly, this isn’t Just Another PvP Gankbox Where The Player Is The Content. “Player versus player combat is not featured,” says French studio Atelier 801. “Instead, the danger comes from the wide array of aggressive zombies that roam the world.”
You know that moment when you just can’t take it anymore? I am there, right on the cusp. I know many folks have gotten to their “I can no longer support <insert name here>” phases for various games and studios for a variety of reasons, but I had never yet reached such a point in my own gaming. (That one studio doesn’t count because I never supported them in the first place.) And now here I am. I don’t think I can continue to support Studio WildCard.
That is definitely a shift for me. I have been an ardent fan of ARK: Survival Evolved. I championed the game pretty heavily: I have streamed it for over two years, I personally host two servers, and this very column was born largely on the back of ARK. I have almost 1500 hours of playtime, and I own the expansions. I had praised the game and Studio WildCard for a long while, holding it up as an example of things done right.
Then things changed. The accumulation of many remarks and actions that ate away at my trust was topped off by the way the studio shows disregard for its current customers, treating them as disposable cash cows. And then came the sequel talk this very week.
In case you ever wanted to sniff the distinct scent of internet dumpster fire, you probably should’ve gone to the Star Wars Battlefront II DICE developer AMA on Reddit yesterday and watched that EA world burn. Almost 30,000 comments later, EA’s handpicked community masseuses didn’t walk back any of the specific business model shenanigans or the “sense of pride and accomplishment” blither, and players are actually madder now than they were when they downvoted EA’s comments 677,000 times on Monday.
- Wall Street is freaking out over the potential stock hit to EA should the game launch poorly thanks to angry gamers.
- Belgian authorities are reportedly investigating SWBF2 (via GIbiz) to determine whether its design amounts to a money-fueled game of chance, in which case it would be subject to gambling laws and potentially be fined or censored.
- Players have assessed that it’d take over 4500 hours of play or $2100 to unlock everything in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 as the game’s monetization is currently set.
- Finally, that “EA dev” who claimed he’d received death threats? It’s no longer clear he’s an EA dev, let alone that he received death threats, and he disappeared from social media after Kotaku went digging. Astroturfer? Hmm.
. With thanks to Sorenthaz and Miol.
Scroll back in your brain a decade to 2007, when Sparkplay announced it was building an MMORPG called Earth Eternal, a free-to-play, microtransaction-based MMO (yes, that early) notable for its purely anthropomorphic races, PvP, and clan-centric gameplay, which actually had a solid if small following and earned plenty of praise. Following an open beta in 2009, Sparkplay went bankrupt and sold the game to Japanese company Sankando, which operated a beta version with spotty uptime in 2011 and apparently closed down at the end of that year.
Since then, fans have put together several other emulators and communities that I can find, the most recent of which is Earth Eternal: The Anubian War. In fact, the srver apparently came online last year and has been steadily updating since. Most recently – this past weekend – the player team updated with the Valkal’s Shadow patch and infrastructure tweaks to boot. The update boasts a new region, new quests, new dungeons, a new town, a new storyline, a new book system, near gear, and on and on. Not too shabby!
As the Google Play app on my phone frantically notified me this morning, Lineage 2 Revolution has officially launched itself right on out of open beta and into the wilds of western app stores in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. In fact, 1.5M players apparently signed up for those same frantic notifications. We’re frantic notification twinsies!
“Lineage 2: Revolution is a free-to-play mobile MMORPG based on the popular PC online game IP Lineage 2, which has entertained more than 30 million players since it first debuted. Lineage 2: Revolution stays true to its PC roots, displaying a stunning open field, raids, 200-player castle sieges, character re-designs and classes, all in a mobile environment. A fully-featured MMORPG provides seamless open-world environments, real-time 3vs3, 5vs5, 20vs20 and 50vs50 PvP battles, as well as lifelike fantasy world with dazzling graphics backed by the Unreal 4 engine.”
Netmarble is rather hoping the game does as well globally as it already did in Asia, where the title became “the top grossing game on Google Play and App Store in 11 additional Asian territories”; in Japan, it apparently “became the top grossing game on the App Store in just 18 hours.” It’s a high bar, peeps. Get to downloading!
It’s interesting how Monster Hunter World, a game that is supposedly being made to specifically target western players, is adopting functionality that I’d imagine all gamers everywhere would appreciate. While portability, one of the series’ main draws, is being sidelined again, social structure is actually being enhanced with the release of squads or “circles,” MHW’s answer to guilds and clans.
Both of the above articles I’ve just linked to you focus on general social play, like the 16-person social areas, ability to arm wrestle for fun, and the chance to pick up various kinds of quests, but in-game support for long-term social groups is quite new to the series and is probably of more interest to MMO fans. Past MH games have had friends lists, but communities have largely been left to themselves to create clans, similar to how old-school online gamers (and some modern ones) built websites and created clan tags before developers gave them in-game tools to manage and label themselves.
Netmarble is going all-out on Lineage 2 Revolution promotion with the mobile MMORPG’s launch slated for Wednesday, November 15th. “Lineage 2: Revolution will deliver the largest-scale multiplayer gameplay ever created for mobile when it launches on Wednesday, featuring seamless open-world environments, real-time 3vs3, 5vs5, 20vs20 and 50vs50 PvP battles, as well as lifelike fantasy world with dazzling graphics backed by the Unreal 4 engine,” says the studio, and if you don’t believe it, you could instead believe Conan O’Brien, who was conscripted for a brief commercial advertising the pre-registration.
We’ve got that, plus the launch trailer, tucked down below! Anybody stalking this one on your platform of choice?
When we first heard rumors about a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, I said I could barely imagine what the game might be like before listing several other IPs that would translate better as AR games. It’s not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series (I do) or Niantic (someone’s got to push the envelope). My issue is that I can’t see how their respective styles could combine to create something great.
So I’ve gone back to some of my pre-POGO notes about Ingress and what would need to change before it went live and, well, Niantic clearly thinks differently than I do because this game is very much happening. I thought it might be useful to consider Niantic’s past and how it may affect its upcoming game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Let’s dig in.
If Lineage Revolution didn’t get you fired up for mobile MMORPGs, maybe Blade & Soul Revolution has a better chance. Netmarble, again licensing one of NCsoft’s popular MMORPG IPs, announced ahead of G-Star that it will publish the new game for mobile devices. There’s a “coming later” link for a “world app” on the official site, so we feel safe suggesting it’s launching globally.
Remember Warspear Online? It’s a 2-D fantasy MMO out of Russia from 2008, when it debuted on mobile devices. (This should make you feel super old.) The devs say that in bringing the game to Steam this week, they hope to “expand [their] audience by attracting desktop gamers who are lacking nostalgic MMORPGs.”
Valnir Rok is also new to Steam this fall. This week it dropped a good-sized patch, updating the “Viking-inspired online roleplaying adventure” game with a new PvP arena, an ability system, an NPC employment system, new experience mechanics, character idles, and a bunch of bug fixes.
Finally, there’s Broke Protocol, the cops-and-robbers voxelbox that’s a mash-up of GTAO and Minecraft, and it trickled out to Steam quietly a few months back, to mostly positive reviews (though no updates since). We’ve tucked trailers down below if there’s anything that strikes your fancy!
Like the idea of a mobile augmented reality game (ARG) but aren’t really keen on Pokémon? Niantic, the operator of Ingress and Pokémon Go, is branching out to include an additional franchise that should rope non-muggles into its community.
The company announced that it working with WB Games to make Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite uses state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to reveal the magic all around us,” the teaser site says. “Explore real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!”
Niantic CEO John Hanke said that this game will give fans of the series a real-world outlet for their passion: “The beloved Harry Potter stories have captured imaginations worldwide for more than 20 years, and soon we’ll turn the fantasy into augmented reality, allowing fans and their friends to become wizards and witches.”
Wizards Unite is one of several titles being developed by WB’s Portkey Games for mobile and console. More details about the game will be forthcoming in the new year.