anthem

E3 2018: Nintendo thinks lockboxes are unfairly maligned, help ‘drive engagement’

You know how sometimes, when nosy press asks you a question with no good answer, you’re better off shutting up? And when they don’t ask you about a tricky subject, you probably shouldn’t go out of your way to run into it head-on?

Nintendo didn’t get that memo at E3, apparently, as during an interview with Bloomberg, it broke ranks with more diplomatic game studios to basically defend lockboxes and lootboxes.

“Loot boxes, broadly speaking, have gotten a bit of a bad rap,” Nintendo exec Reggie Fils-Aime told the publication (via GIbiz), in answer to a broad softball question about digital revenue.

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E3 2018: hands-on with The Division 2 – a major upgrade over the original game

At this year’s E3, Ubisoft creative director Julian Gerighty said team behind The Division 2 tried to learn “everything” from The Division to help make the sequel better. As he reminded me, the original game’s final DLC was especially meaty in terms of PvE content and PvP balance, but it’s the first impressions of the game that mattered most: The initial Dark Zone iteration is still what gamers remember best, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. I myself was not impressed with the original demo back in 2015.

But based on my preview of The Division 2 at this year’s E3, I can say that Gerighty’s team obviously learned quite a bit – and absolutely improved on the original.

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E3 2018: Skull and Bones fleshes out its gameplay with the Hunting Grounds

Player choice and random map elements are the key to the meat of Skull and Bones’ replayability said Ubisoft at this week’s E3 2018. The studio made a concerted effort to show how its upcoming multiplayer pirate title wasn’t just PvP and nothing but.

In fact, the big reveal this week was the Hunting Grounds, which sounds more PvE than PvP. These special areas will be modified by “fortunes” set before players head toward them. When there, player crews will take on various quests while also having the freedom to simply explore and hunt boats. One such quest was to hunt down an NPC bounty hunter with another player.

“You log in and decide where in the world you want to go, which factions you want to take on, whether you want to do it by yourself or call your friends, or meet new friends within the world. All of those things are based on your own objectives,” said Creative Director Justin Farren.

The studio confirmed that it will be pushing out Skull and Bones some time next year. In any case, we have several videos from Ubisoft’s E3 showing after the break, so dig in!

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E3 2018: Mavericks is battle royale on a massively multiplayer scale

Battle royale is all the rage these days, but as we’ve been covering over the last few months, the SpatialOS-based Mavericks is aiming to bring a new approach to the wildly popular new genre: by making it truly massive, which by studio Automaton’s count means 1000 players in the same persistent world.

We got hands-on with the game at GDC, however, and had a hard time seeing how 1000 people made a significant difference in the gameplay in practice. “It’s much more for the battle royale crowd than the MMO crowd,” MOP’s Andrew wrote at the time. Hopefully, the E3 demo will change our minds.

Closed beta is expected to launch in August; you can already sign up on the official site. The company will also launch its founder system later this week. The splash page for that says lootboxes aren’t on the table, but there will be what looks like an optional subscription in the form of “citizenship” that unlocks “a variety of content within the game.” Check out the new E3 trailer below.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 174: Fallout vs. Elder Scrolls

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin take tentative steps into the early reveals of E3 — including Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online, Anthem, and Final Fantasy XIV, all while dealing with a ton of updates and even an expansion launch. June is here, and we’re all gaming hard!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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E3 2018: Fortnite launches on the Switch today

It seems weird to me now that the game we were preciously calling “Crowfall for PvE fans” at last year’s E3 has changed so drastically in that time that right now it’s leading the battle royale pack as one of the biggest games in the entire world.

But here we are at another E3, and Fortnite is all grown up, blazing ahead along Epic Games’ vector to get it on what seems like every platform known to man in an attempt to bedazzle the competition.

And that now includes the Nintendo Switch, as announced at the Nintendo presser at E3 today. As this post goes live at 1 p.m. EDT, the game will arrive for Switch players through the eShop, free-to-play as always. Yes, today. Right now.

Catch ’em if you can.

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E3 2018: Defiance 2050 reboot launches on PC and console July 10th

We’ve got an official launch date for the new Defiance, folks: Trion announced this morning that Defiance 2050 will hit all three major platforms on July 10th, pursuant to an open beta that’ll run from June 22nd through 25th and preorders that open up on the 19th. Yes, that preorder founder package comes with a three-day headstart.

“The original Defiance revolutionized the sci-fi open-world shooter, seamlessly blending third-person gunplay, fast-paced action, dynamic world events, and cooperative gameplay. In the Defiance universe players take on the role of Ark Hunters, mercenaries battling their way across the post-apocalyptic landscapes of a ruined earth, using alien tech and advanced weaponry to carve out their fortune. Defiance 2050 is the definitive Defiance experience, focused on bringing the game into the next generation. In addition to taking advantage of modern hardware to improve the original game’s visuals, Defiance 2050 also makes major updates to Defiance’s systems, streamlining and modernizing them for today’s shooter audience.”

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E3 2018: Star Citizen’s ‘alpha 3.2 teaser’ trailer is gorgeous, and it’s not alpha 3.2

During last night’s PC Gaming Show at E3, Cloud Imperium showed a nifty video of Star Citizen that has the community abuzz. Considered out of context, it’s an in-engine video of what the game could someday be like, and it’s beautiful.

Buuuut, as Reddit is currently arguing over, the video is labeled as an “alpha 3.2 teaser” but isn’t. It is not exactly clear right now whose decision that title was. The final slide of the video also tells people to prepare for alpha 3.2. As folks following the massive sci-fi MMO known, 3.2 is currently in evocati testing, and no, not everything shown in the video will be in it, leading to fans throwing around words like “misleading” – even if it wasn’t intentional deception, there are bound to be some folks confused when alpha 3.2 doesn’t work the way the video implies.

Either way, the vid’s below for your eyeballs and judgment.

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Final Fantasy XIV and Monster Hunter World team up for a bizarre collaboration

Fancy some Monster Hunter in your Final Fantasy XIV? How about a bona fide Monster Hunter World collab? That’s what you’re getting, according to Square Enix’s E3 presser today. It sounds as if FFXIV players will be pitting themselves against the iconic “Rathalos” from MHW “this summer.” According to the landing page, you’ll need to be level 70 and own Stormblood to participate.

“The partnership unites two beloved and wildly successful titles, with FINAL FANTASY XIV Online currently boasting over 10 million registered players worldwide and Monster Hunter: World having shipped over 8 million copies since its release in January 2018. This special collaboration event will bring new challenges to players of FINAL FANTASY XIV Online featuring characters from Monster Hunter: World to the world of Hydaelyn.”

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The Daily Grind: Will you sub to EA’s new ‘Origin Access Premier’ service?

During EA Play this weekend, EA announced Origin Access Premier, its attempt at a subscription service on PC. For $100 a year, you’ll basically get a service pretty similar to what already exists on Xbox: You’ll be able to play all the big new games, like Anthem, plus other titles within the Origin Vault, for that flat fee.

Subscriptions rise again, right? Is this a good thing for games outside the service?

“As always, I want to Bree to win the lottery, buy up some MMOs and take them to the Island of Misfit MMOs where $200 per annum gets you sub/pref access to all of RIFT, LOTRO, STO, SWTOR, et al.,” MOP tipster Sally wrote to us, urging us to write about the sub. “But picture that you are a hard-working indie dev. You already have the issues with dealing with Steam. Now a customer has to decide whether to buy your game or just play something like Anthem for no additional cost.”

Will you be subbing to EA’s new Origin Access Premier service? Do you think it’ll have a catastrophic impact on indie games or MMOs with subs?

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E3 2018: ‘Fallout 76 is entirely online’

You’ve seen the teaser. You’ve heard the rumors. You’ve watched the E3 trailer. And now it’s time to find out, exactly, what Fallout 76 is.

On Sunday night, Bethesda took the stage at E3 to finally talk about what Vault Boy and his comrades are up to with this prequel game. Let’s start with the bombshell (so to speak): “Fallout 76 is entirely online.”

That’s right: Bethesda is bringing the Fallout series online with this game, with the option to play solo. It’s what the studio is calling “softcore survival” — death doesn’t mean the loss of progression or your character. Players will be able to hop over to wherever their friends are and play on servers populated by dozens, but not hundreds, of people. Choices are key here as players will decide on the heroes and villains.

There is PvP here and co-op adventures as well. Scavenge, gather, and crafting is a major component. Players, solo and grouped, can build bases anywhere they want and move those buildings to desired locations with mobile platforms. Oh, and there will be nuclear sites that players can use to nuke the world if so desired.

B.E.T.A. (Break-it Early Test Application) testing begins soon, and Fallout 76 will launch later this year on November 14th.

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E3 2018: Elder Scrolls Online announces Wolfhunter and Murkmire DLC (oh yeah, and Elder Scrolls VI is coming!)

At Bethesda’s E3 presentation this evening, ZeniMax’s Matt Firor announced that The Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC is called Wolfhunter, complete with werewolf theme. And even later this year, we can expect yet another DLC called Murkmire – yep, we’re diving into Argonian culture in Blackmarsh. Finally, right?! The company promises both this year – in the “second half of 2018.”

Firor says the game is up to 11 million players, with 1 million new in the last year. There’s a brand-new trailer for E3, focused mostly on Summerset, as well as a Murkmire teaser.

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E3 2018: BioWare’s Anthem has soloable co-op open world, no lockboxes, a sweet trailer, and a February 22 launch

At this afternoon’s EA Play, EA and BioWare have revealed Anthem’s brand-new trailer. The game is now slated to launch on February 22nd, 2019.

During the developer discussion, BioWare said it recognized the problems inherent in storytelling in a multiplayer shared world (reiterating Casey Hudson’s dev blog from not that long ago), but it thinks it’s found a way to reconcile driving the story without sacrificing multiplayer gameplay.

Characters will play as “freelancers” piloting Javelin exosuits, trying to survive in a hostile environment, and fighting the bad guys trying to exploit the power. There are four Javelins, each with a different way to play the game: Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, Storm. “You are not your suit,” BioWare cautions; you can flip between them depending on the gameplay you want to take part in from moment to moment.

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