Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine! This is not a joke: ActiBlizz just sent ’round a press release announcing a partnership with Rockstar energy drinks and poptarts, which I’ve just learned is actually properly formatted as Pop-Tarts. This was important enough that it needed to invade my inbox, and by god, I’m going to make sure you’re informed of this critical partnership development too.
“Destiny 2’s international collaboration with Rockstar Energy Drink includes limited edition ‘Destiny 2 themed’ cans in different flavors available in the U.S. and Canada, U.K. and Germany. The U.S. flavors are Original, Punched, and Zero Carb. Canada flavors include: Original, Punched and Burner. The U.K. flavors include: Original, Punched Guava, and XDurance. The Germany program features flavors: Original and Sugar Free.”
For some reason we all need different flavors? Guava? What? “Score loot with cans!” No!
“The U.S. partnership with Pop-Tarts® will fuel players’ Destiny 2 gaming experience by offering XP Boost, free with purchase of specially-marked packages of Pop-Tarts®.** In addition to this limited time offer, Pop-Tarts® will feature custom-designed, collectable packs highlighting each Guardian Subclass.”
It’s still not a sure thing that Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to PC.
During its recent earnings call, Rockstar parent company Take Two heaped praise on the PC platform, calling it a vibrant and big digital market with plenty of potential for “engagement with a consumer” – “the PC market as a company is very important and very exciting and something we focus on.” But when pressed for a statement from an investor on the status of a possible PC version of RDR2, CEO Strauss Zelnick deferred comment to the studios, meaning Rockstar itself.
“Any updates about any of our titles will come from our labels,” he said.
Read Dead Redemption 2 was announced last October with a fall 2017 date and promises about the “online multiplayer experience.” But just ahead of its last investor call — and on the heels of the announcement of potential rival Wild West Online — Rockstar announced a delay of RDR2 to spring 2018 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to give it more time to cook (and causing a dip in Take-Two’s stock).
The good news for both companies this time is that Grand Theft Auto Online is in the middle of a surprise record year and best quarter ever.
I know I complain a lot about Pokemon Go in my articles here, but there’s a reason for this. I’m a huge fan not just of the Pokemon series but of what Niantic is trying to do with its game on a basic level. The idea of getting games outside with the rest of the world instead of hidden in our rooms and offices is hugely appealing. I’ve even applied to work at Niantic before (though obviously I wasn’t selected), so for me especially it’s frustrating to see a company I want to succeed repeatedly making the same kinds of mistakes. These are mistakes that plagued the game’s launch, several events, feature reworkings, and now not one, but two birthday celebrations within the same year.
I actually got sucked into the hype recently and even said that the events surrounding the festival might give people a reason to come back. I’ve finally removed my foot from my mouth after previously downing some crow, but I’ve realized that, now more than ever, Niantic needs some tougher love, and here it is.
The Rockstar modding fiasco still isn’t over.
Back in June, Rockstar and TakeTwo began sending takedowns to the operators of modding tools of varying skeeviness, including OpenIV, a decade-old foundational toolset used by countless modders for the Grand Theft Auto series. The legal threats to a community staple, demands that cheater-centric mods donate their profits to charity, and dubious claim that the move was intended to protect Grand Theft Auto Online — which doesn’t allow mods to begin with — caused players to riot across the forums, Reddit, and Steam, where reviewbombing caused GTAV’s rating to plummet, in spite of Rockstar’s relatively noncommittal statement that the companies “generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties.”
The good news is that this means OpenIV is back in development. The bad news is that one of its biggest projects is toast.
Nothing says Independence Day like gang warfare in the streets of Los Santos using guns painted like flags, am I right? Yep, Rockstar is following up GTA Online’s Gunrunning update with some July 4th content, new and old, including a new supercar, bonus earnings in the Dawn Raid adversary mode, and free digital t-shirts just for logging in.
“Raise the flag, put your hand on heart, and wipe that red, white and blue tear from your eye – a wave of Independence Day mayhem is erupting across San Andreas. Firework launchers, classic outfits, the Western Sovereign and the Liberator Monster Truck are all back through July 10, and 25% off their original price. Plus this year also brings patriotic new liveries for your Mobile Operation Center and Mk II weaponry to help you flaunt your love of country.”
But me, I’ll be on the yacht.
Early this month, the Grand Theft Auto V/Online community suffered the shutdown of OpenIV, a modding tool that’s served the series’ community for almost 10 years, following a cease-and-desist letter Rockstar and Take-Two sent its operators. Rockstar said it wasn’t targeting single-player mods but dealing with OpenIV’s enabling of “malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody.” Three more mods, cheat-centric, were served takedowns last week and tasked with donating their profits to charity, all of which led gamers to petition the companies to stop — some even began a (successful) campaign to tank the game’s Steam ratings. Even the BBC reported on the scuffle.
Over the weekend, Rockstar tried to calm players.
“Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties,” the company writes, though excepting the online game server, hacks and cheats, and IP violations from that rule and reserving the right to change the policy whenever it chooses, none of which is soothing Reddit.
Last week, the Grand Theft Auto V/Online community was rocked by the shutdown of OpenIV, a modding tool that’s served the series’ community for almost 10 years, following a cease-and-desist letter Rockstar and Take-Two sent its operators. Rockstar said it wasn’t targeting single-player mods but dealing with what it says was OpenIV’s enabling of “malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody,” in spite of player arguments that single-player mods are theoretically not available to play in GTAO.
Turns out Rockstar and Take Two weren’t done. As the purveyors of the Force Hax mod menu announced, they’ve been driven offline too and were actually tasked with donating their profits to charity, since confirmed by Rockstar.
“After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development and distribution of the Force Hax cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to charity and we apologize for any and all problems Force Hax services have caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community.”
This week, the Grand Theft Auto V/Online community has been in absolute uproar over a cease-and-desist letter Rockstar and Take-Two sent to the operators of OpenIV, a modding tool that’s served the series’ community for almost 10 years.
“Take-Two’s actions were not specifically targeting single player mods,” Rockstar told PC Gamer. “Unfortunately OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody. We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players.”
Players have questioned this rationale since single-player mods are theoretically not available to play in GTAO. Rockstar has said it will not pursue players who used these tools, because duh.
You might have used plenty of guns in Grand Theft Auto Online, but that’s only scratching the surface of your virtual second amendment rights. In GTA Online’s upcoming Gunrunning DLC, players will take part in the manufacture and distribution of high-powered and definitely illegal firearms across the city.
In the latest update for this online multiplayer game, a whole host of new options and activities will present themselves, including decking out an underground bunker, rolling across the countryside in a mobile ops center, test driving some souped-up vehicles, and participating in the arms trade. Also jumping out of airplanes on glider-bikes. Your mom is so proud.
The update is slated for PC and console and will roll out on Tuesday, June 13th. You can watch the trailer after the jump and attempt to count all of the flagrant safety violations that ensue.
Rockstar Games announced last night that it’s delayed Red Dead Redemption 2 to spring 2018 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, a result of the fact that it’ll be Rockstar’s first rodeo on this generation of consoles and “some extra time is necessary.”
“We are very sorry for any disappointment this delay causes, but we are firm believers in delivering a game only when it is ready,” writes the studio.
It’s an interesting time for the game to be making headlines again. Rockstar began teasing the title last autumn, originally setting a fall 2017 date, releasing a trailer, talking up the “online multiplayer experience,” and leaving PC fans to fret they’d been forgotten. In just the past few weeks, it’s seen the rise of a challenger in the previously barren American West MMO subgenre in the form of Wild West Online, which is embracing both its MMO nature and the PC platform.
Take-Two’s stock closed 9% down yesterday; its quarterly earnings report from this morning, however, shows the parent company has little to worry about, thanks to net revenue increasing by 26% over the period.
The world of Grand Theft Auto Online has never been one of peace and safety, but as of late, it appears that the game is more dangerous than ever to its inhabitants. Players have been increasingly complaining about the erratic and damaging driving that computer-controlled cars are doing in the game, going so far as to suggest that there’s a deliberate conspiracy to target users of the game.
A piece on Kotaku walks through the problem, pointing out how many players are recording footage of NPC cars suddenly swerving to collide and crash with player cars even when the player is driving normally. The discussion in the community points to the Bikers update as when the problem started really becoming noticeable, although opinions differ as to why computer cars are now operating as if they have angry three-year-olds at the wheel.
Some theories include bugs in the code, paranoia on the part of players, or even a nasty scheme on the part of Rockstar to drain money from the economy (via car damage) and thereby encouraging the community to buy in-game cash for real money.
Take-Two’s fiscal third quarter 2017 report is good news for folks watching both Grand Theft Auto Online and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 from Rockstar. The company told investors this week that its quarterly net revenue grew 15%, while digital net revenue increased by 64%, thanks in large part to GTA5 and GTAO. GTAO in particular saw a “record number of players in December”; Rockstar is promising plenty of free updates in 2017.
Red Dead Redemption 2, revealed last October, is expected to launch this coming fall with a “brand-new online multiplayer experience.”
You might be able to steal, swindle, and carjack to your heart’s content in Grand Theft Auto Online, but you best not be crossing the line with Rockstar Games when it comes to your thievery. The studio has taken measures to drain illegitimate funds out of the game, including those found in unsuspecting players’ accounts. The studio is also cracking down harder on infractions, such as players who use mods to artificially inflate their bank accounts.
On a happier note, GTA Online has revved up its Halloween offerings with a Lost vs. Damned game mode and a new motorcycle, the Sanctus.
And finally, in the rumor mill department is the scuttlebutt concerning several possible changes and additions coming to Grand Theft Auto V over the next few years, including the growth of online map expansions to create more of a persistent online world.