event coverage

CCP’s VR sports game Sparc has arrived on PSVR today

Remember CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc? We first heard about it back in February, and now as planned, the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online has formally launched the game on PSVR for $29.99 as of today. It’s not really an MMO or even trying to be; the idea is that players will be sparring in a 1v1 arena playing a VR-based match of what is essentially fancy neon ping-pong/dodgeball versus friends or frenemies plucked from the matchmaker, then when that’s over, you even get to play dress-up.

MOP’s Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest. “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc,” he wrote in April. “Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition. I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

We’ve tucked the brand-new trailer down below, but we warn you: You won’t burn any calories watching it.

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CCP’s VR sports game Sparc launches August 29

First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc was all set for a summer launch as of E3, and now the date is firming up: The Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online has picked August 29th for the game’s debut on PSVR. Expect it to run $29.99.

Sparc is a virtual sport, or ‘vSport’ – a unique full-body experience only possible in virtual reality, where the player’s VR equipment is their sports gear. In Sparc, players connect online to compete in fast-paced and physical one-on-one gameplay. Players use their two PlayStation®Move motion controllers to throw projectiles across the court at their opponent, while dodging, blocking or deflecting any incoming shots.”

MOP’s Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest. “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc,” he wrote in April. “Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition. I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

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E3 2017: How Wargaming is bringing accessibility to Total War: Arena (without dumbing it down)

Following up on its original Steam release by Creative Assembly, Wargaming semi-recently decided to help publish Total War: Arena and present it at E3 2017. It makes a lot of sense, as both companies primarily focus on historical war games and pride themselves on trying to keep things accurate. It’s personally not my favorite genre of games, but I did enjoy history class and always liked when students told me they played these kinds of games because it at least got them interested in their past (though Asian dramas were also a popular “edutainment” option among my students). That being said, I was actually surprised by the process Creative Assembly used in its research — and with Wargaming’s help, tried to gamify it.

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E3 2017: Preta Vendetta Rising is multiplayer VR in the right direction

I have a love-hate relationship with VR. I’ve bought an Oculus Rift and the Touch, but don’t play it much these days. Part of it’s because my college stuff and Japanese stuff are crammed into a small space with my PC, so I can’t take advantage of certain features, but it’s also because the games aren’t very complete. VR can give you some really cool moments, but most of the time, the games are what you’d get on your PC or console, just in your face, and maybe with a few sides of motion sickness and virtual molestation.

Preta: Vendetta Rising is not revolutionary. It’s not even exclusively a VR title, being cross-platform from mobile to PC. The early animations and voice acting don’t emotionally resonate yet; most of what I saw would have been bland if it wasn’t for the fact that this was specifically a VR demo. That being said, developer Illion and game developer JJ Baek are incredibly sensitive to VR’s largest issues, from women in VR spaces to developing content based on consumer realities rather than developer dreams.

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E3 2017: Fortnite is Crowfall for PvE fans

The other day when I made a rare venture out of my E3 coverage den, my slightly younger brother asked, “Hey, did you hear about a game called Fortnite?” 

Now, my brother doesn’t explore gaming like he used to. His MMO days are behind him. He wasn’t even aware of Super Mario Odyssey, so his asking about Fortnite was far from expected, especially since I’d learned something I think a lot of MassivelyOP readers will want to hear: The game is sounding a lot like Crowfall for PvE zombie fans.

So yeah, li’l bro, I heard about Fortnite. I even sat down with Fortnite’s Executive Producer Zak Phelps from Epic Games and talked to him during E3 2017 about “monsters,” survival games, and getting PvE fans in there.

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E3 2017: Why MMO players should be paying attention to Elite Dangerous

I sat down with Elite Dangerous Senior Designer Sandy Sammarco again at E3 2017, and while the information I’ve got in terms of game info may be a bit old hat for hardcore Elite players, I want to be clear on something: MMO players should take note of how Frontier is doing community eventsEven if you aren’t interested in the game itself, the design strategies and execution are things that are reminding this jaded MMO-enthusiast about what got me into the MMO genre in the first place. I don’t really do space sims, and haven’t touched my VR for months (though I could probably hop on normal PC or PS4 versions), but my time with Sammarco has gotten me closer to hitting the “buy” button on the game.

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E3 2017: ARK Survival Evolved on scope creep, Xbox One X, and leaving early access

So ARK: Survival Evolved is going to be the first big survival sandbox not named Minecraft or Don’t Starve to not only make it to launch but to get there from Early Access development. Leaving EA is something we rarely see, which is why readers may notice I’m quite critical of games that ask for your money, sell you an incomplete game, and then spend years defending their EA status while continually making money on an unfinished project. To hear that a company once known for making paid DLC for an unreleased game is willing to shake the security blanket that is Early Access fills me with joy and a little trepidation.

Normally, this is where I’d tell you I’ve written up the interview, which is still true. However, as this was in a small group setting, not only do we have a writeup, there’s also a YouTube video for the few of you who have thirty minutes to wade through the (mostly) raw interview. You’ll see ARK’s Community Manager Cedric Burkes in person, hear daring press try to ask hard-hitting questions, and cringe as my terrible hat hair makes a quick appearance at about the 27-minute mark.

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E3 2017: Hands-on with mobile MMOs Lineage 2 Revolution and Durango

With Pokemon Go trying to avoid explicitly calling itself an MMO, Massively OP once again has room for a top contender in the realm of mobile MMOs. There’s just one problem: We’ve got mostly Western readers for a genre that seems to appeal much more to the East. I was given the opportunity to see top global mobile MMO Lineage 2 Revolution and up and coming dino-sandbox Durango at E3 2017. I can see the appeal of both games, but also some limitations. Let’s dig into both.

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E3 2017: Path of Exile’s Jonathan Rogers on the Fall of Oriath and markets beyond

Despite the recent release of Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath’s recent beta release, Grinding Gear Games sent Technical Director Jonathan Rogers out to E3 2017 to chat with press about the game’s incoming expansion. If you’re looking for some sweet, sweet data-crunching from the test server, you’ll be disappointed, as Rogers mentions the team shipped him off before he could see how the freshly launched test was going, but he still brought some interesting information.

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E3 2017: Hands-on with Dauntless shows it’s more than a Monster Hunter clone

Phoenix Labs’ not-Monster Hunter monster-hunting game Dauntless is obviously standing in a big shadow after E3 2017. I wasn’t yet fully aware of what Monster Hunter World was doing, but I’ve seen solid games lose to their larger rivals who are slower to innovate in the past. Capcom, while constantly disappointing Mega Man fans, is generally quite good with its co-op hunting series. RaiderZ, a Perfect World published not-MH game that also tackled the monster hunter genre, made minor changes to the formula and came as an actual MMO but still shut down. Though the Phoenix Labs guys weren’t aware of RaiderZ‘s failure, they seemed barely fazed by Capcom’s announcement, and maybe they’re right. Surprisingly, they’ve innovated a few things Capcom itself is doing while also adding a few things Capcom isn’t.

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E3 2017: Monster Hunter World demo, difficulty, global appeal, and leaks

Monster Hunter World‘s reveal caught me completely off guard during its E3 2017 reveal. We’d already had a title announced for the Nintendo Switch, and I’d figured that was our usual non-spinoff MH entry for the year. I’ve admittedly not finished or heavily invested in the series since leaving Japan, but part of that is because the American mobile gaming culture doesn’t really have the fanbase Japan does. In fact, I got into Monster Hunter Tri in a bad way because it was a console title. While the portability of the series really helped me to explore Japan’s gaming scene and meet fellow gamers face-to-face, my gut feeling upon seeing MHW’s console and PC plans was that Capcom might really be able to catch the western audience this time. And that was before seeing Monster Hunter lead designer Yuya Tokuda play the game in real time.

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E3 2017: Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida on Stormblood, design, and themeparks

Since there were so many early access issues with Stormblood, I figured I’d try to give you Final Fantasy XIV players a little something to chew on while Square-Enix smooths out the rough edges and handles today’s launch. Building on Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre’s recent interview with Naoki Yoshida/”Yoshi-P” at May’s Final Fantasy XIV event, we sat down again with him for a chat at this year’s E3. And while I haven’t personally spent nearly as much time in the game as a vet like Eliot, I’d heard that Yoshida was very much a gamer’s developer, so I was looking forward to talking with him about not just the game, but game design.

He did not disappoint.

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E3 2017: Hands-on with Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones

I like naval combat in my MMOs. That’s my weakness. Vehicle combat is great, but for some reason, I especially like boats. When I heard there was another pirate multiplayer game being revealed at E3 2017, I knew I’d have to check it out. Fortunately, I’d already been scheduled to check out Ubisoft’s press section of their booth, giving me a rare opportunity to see Skull and Bones behind closed doors.

The pirate’s code(s)

Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Skull and Bones is not nearly the same as Sea of Thieves. At all. Sea of Thieves is a good pirate simulator. You get drunk, you swing a sword, you dig for treasure.

In Skull and Bones, you’re a pirate ship, not a captain. Your ship is your class, like a tank or a sniper. It’s much more about boat play than character play. Don’t think of the triad though, as I didn’t see any “healer” type boat. And don’t think you’re just in a death match, as the pirate aspect was still there, even in my battleground-esque demo.

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