One million players? That was September. Now it’s (early) October, and Fortnite Battle Royale has already shot across the seven million player line without looking back.
The multiplayer shooter continues to enjoy meteoric success with its free PvP mode, success that Epic Games wants to keep going. To assist in that effort, the studio released an update this week that added player duos and supply drops to Battle Royale in the hopes of keeping it interesting and engaging. You’ll have to supply your own friend, however; there’s only so much magic that developers can work.
The team also continues to work on fine-tuning weapon accuracy and balancing the different approaches to combat: “Our goal is to provide a competitive experience without losing our unique playstyle and crazy over-the-top moments that Fortnite Battle Royale brings to the table.”
Don’t have enough paranoia and doubt in your life? Here comes along Throne of Lies to help you with that.
Somewhat based on the popular party game Werewolf/Mafia, Throne of Lies throws a group of players into a medieval castle to stab each other in the back. Over a series of days, these players will navigate politics, search out clues, write journals, make accusations, and attempt to figure out who the real killer is before it’s too late. There are plenty of classes, abilities, and even magic to keep things lively from game to came.
One interesting twist with this game is that even if you are killed, you can still participate in matches as a ghost or by being resurrected.
Throne of Lies launched this week on Steam, and you can pick it up right now for a brief discount at $9. Check out the launch trailer after the break to see if this is right for you.
It’s no secret that I love to explore. And exploring the dangerous new worlds of survival games has been something I have really been enjoying this past couple of years. But there is dark cloud looming over each of these experiences: They end too quickly. These games, most of which are still in early access, have a very finite map. Once I’ve poked my head into every nook and cranny, once I’ve built what I wanted, and once I have completed the game tasks, there’s nothing left for me to do. I am not one who likes the whole wipe-and-start-over idea, precisely because there is nothing left to explore for me. And the PvP scene is no long-term draw either. Sure, maybe the studio was happy to have folks for just those few months, but wouldn’t retaining players be better? So how do you keep things fresh and keep players playing?
Different games are exploring different approaches. Currently, Conan Exiles is releasing new areas and expanding its map, offering plenty of new spaces to survey. ARK: Survival Evolved releases expansions that are completely new worlds. But to explore those new areas, you have to buy them. It’s actually a different strategy that ARK employs that I think solves the problem best, especially for games with a smaller map-type. Three words: procedurally generated maps.
Anyone remember BioWare’s Neverwinter Nights from back in the day? Those who have fond memories of that game and its bustling online mod community might want to take a look at this month’s Divinity: Original Sin 2.
Kickstarted for a little over $2 million back in 2015, the sequel to the hit Divinity: Original Sin launched last week and has been getting rave reviews. In addition to the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to its RPG world, the turn-based game invites friends to the fun with several multiplayer features such as two- to four-player co-op and PvP.
Even more interesting is the opportunity to run your own campaigns: “The Game Master mode bridges the gap between the improvisation of a tabletop role-playing campaign and the immersion of a computer RPG. It’s easy to use, it’s powerful, and, most of all, it’s flexible. We’ve created a system with a single goal: to empower the Game Master so they can tell great stories and lead up to four players through a world of their own creation.”
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is available for $45 on Steam and GOG.com.
This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.
While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.
Update: Amazon has apparently removed the trailer following intense criticism.
Breakaway has a fresh new trailer out for Gamescom today, along with a run-down of all its toons. You’ll recall the game from its slow-cook reveal last fall as one of the new titles Amazon Game Studios is currently building out — this one’s the stream-centric 4v4 online brawler.
“Breakaway is a team battle sport that blends the speed, strategy, and teamwork of sports in a competitive multiplayer action game, and is being developed with constant feedback and input from the community. Amazon Game Studios has partnered closely with Twitch to design the game to be as fun to watch as it is to play, and has added special features to help broadcaster engage their audiences.”
Check out all the new assets from the con, and make sure you’re signed up for the alpha!
It’s the end of the line for Mass Effect: Andromeda, as BioWare announced this past weekend that it had no further plans to develop single-player content for its sci-fi RPG. Fortunately, several projects to expand the game’s multiplayer aspect are still in the works.
“Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content,” BioWare posted on the game’s site. “In the coming weeks, our multiplayer team will provide details of their ongoing support and upcoming content, including new multiplayer missions, character kits, and what’s in store for N7 Day.”
Andromeda failed to live up to the high studio and fan expectations, netting mixed reviews and a 72% Metacritic score following its March 2017 release. With work being done on other projects, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and the upcoming multiplayer Anthem, BioWare may be looking to reallocate team members to needed departments.
Remember all the fuss a year ago when No Man’s Sky finally launched and the multiplayer features Hello Games’ Sean Murray had teased (and the “online play” feature apparently hidden under a sticker on the gamebox) didn’t actually materialize, disappointing millions of players and contributing to a regulation investigation? We sure do, as it was really the only reason we covered the game at all.
Good news, though: It looks as if we’re getting what we paid for after all, just, you know, a year later. When the NMS update Atlas Rises launches, it brings with it “joint exploration,” a feature that sure sounds lot like co-op multiplayer, though Hello isn’t using that exact term.
“Glitches in the simulation have begun to appear. Visualised by strange floating orbs, up to 16 players can see and communicate with one another, and explore the universe together. While interaction with others is currently very limited, this is an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky. While interaction is very limited, VOIP (Voice over IP) allows proximity based voice chat with other nearby explorers. Use portals to quickly travel to more populated planets, or to meet up with friends.”
There’s plenty more in the update, of course, but this is the bit that got our eyebrows waggling. If you owned it before, are you plugging back in for this?
It’s been a long time coming, but Stardew Valley is finally seeing some movement on the multiplayer front: The official blog has a post from Chucklefish Games, which was brought on by creator Eric Barone to work on localization, multiplayer, and ports.
“I’m here with an update for those of you who have been waiting so patiently for news on multiplayer!” writes the Chucklefish dev. “Now that we’ve pinned down the main technical issues, we know enough to feel confident describing the gameplay you can expect from it.”
Multiplayer will apparently consist of bringing a few friends in as “farmhands” in the main player’s game. Player-to-player marriage, multiplayer-relevant UI, and events and festivals are coming too, though local multiplayer and PvP are off the table.
“You won’t need to set up a server to run multiplayer. Friends can be invited onto the farm through Steam. The invite mechanism for non-Steam versions is TBD, but likely to be similar in most cases.”
It’s a big week for the zombie survival title Fortnite, what with it coming out on Steam early access and all, and the developers are taking advantage of the increased attention to talk up their game to interested parties.
On Reddit yesterday, the devs hosted an ask-me-anything session that covered the making of the game, how the team acted on feedback, heroes, crafting, outposts, and future plans. The team stressed that everything is in “early iteration” right now, so expect things to change over the course of the year.
So what was the hardest part of making the game? “The biggest challenge we had was how do we make a robust building system that was usable in high fidelity third person combat. So controls and complexity become a real challenge. If you wonder why we don’t have crouch… this is why.”
The team said that it plans to release Fortnite later this year after testing, polish, and content additions. Past that, there are plans in the works for different modes, like iron man and an open world, so you might see this small title getting a lot bigger over the coming years.
A couple of weeks ago, when Osiris: New Dawn introduced new classes, I’d delved back into the sci-fi survival sandbox after a bit of a break to check out the state of development in. I was pleased as I perused the new skill tree, doubly so when I saw all the new items that could be crafted. Once I got to the task of actually surviving, I found that that beginning experience had also changed a fair share, from crash landing farther away to new missions to direct you. True, I missed my little robot companion and my inflatable dome, but overall I was pretty impressed with the progress and started a penning this Survivalist to say so.
So imagine my surprise when just before completing my thoughts I read the dev blog about negativity toward the game and its changes. Here I was happy to see how far it had come and others were ripping it absolutely to shreds. Fenix Fire CEO Brian McRae was so affected by the negative reviews and complaints that he penned a response addressing the issues. I admit, when I started reading I was taken aback and even a tad annoyed at the negative Nancys bashing the game. Didn’t folks appreciate the fact that this early access with forging ahead at a decent pace? Sure there would be bumps, but that was a part of actual development.
How tolerant and forgiving are you of your friends’ missteps? Let’s hope a lot, because Barbaric is going to test your patience when it comes out on Steam in the fourth quarter of this year.
The newly announced co-op dungeon crawler will throw a team of four players (who each select one of eight classes) together into a procedurally generated dungeon. While you may think you know what comes next — kill, loot, repeat — the twist of this game comes in the form of friendly fire. So one “oopsie” from a teammate could end up killing you just as dead as that giant ogre over there.
The question is, will your team be able to coordinate efforts and get past “accidental” missteps to make it to the end? And when you get to the end, will your team devolve into a free-for-all to grab the single boss token and get that extra sweet loot?
Barbaric is being developed by Ignited Artists, a studio made up of former Activision and Sega developers. The team said that this game is “the most visually beautiful roguelike ever created.” You can get a first look at its alpha gameplay after the break.
When BioWare’s newest IP finally arrives on your computer screen next year, don’t expect a hard sci-fi approach in the vein of Mass Effect but rather something with more general, blockbuster appeal.
“[Anthem] is in a genre we call science-fantasy,” said BioWare General Manager Aaryn Flynn in an interview with CBC, “very much like Star Wars, very much like the Marvel Universe, where you see a lot of amazing things happening, but we don’t worry too much about why they’re happening, or how they’re happening, the science of it.”
Flynn said that he hopes families will enjoy playing Anthem together as a cooperative experience. “This game is much more about having fun in a game world that is lush and exotic and sucks you right in,” he said. Anthem is the first new IP for BioWare since 2009.