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]
Digital Extremes has officially launched Survived By into closed beta today, accompanied by a hefty patch including a new 10-man raid, hardmode dungeons, UI buffs, and a graphics upgrade. The game was originally announced last August just ahead of PAX West; it’s basically a mash-up of an MMO and a retro bullet-hell style game. In fact, at the time DE was calling it a true MMORPG with up to 100 players per fight, plus permadeath and crafting and dungeons. The permadeath, by the way, is the type whereby your next toon is the character whom you’re “survived by” and who gets some of the benefits of your dead one’s experience. Oh, and the whole thing is free-to-play.
“To kick off the development milestone, Survived By will begin letting in more players who sign up for accounts on the game’s website, and will launch its first major event, dubbed Prophecies of Sin, for a limited time starting today July 18 and ending on July 25. Atop a giant ziggurat, players must summon a devastating new boss and coordinate their efforts to save the world. Only the most brazen will emerge victorious and earn never-before-seen exclusive event skins, gear and unique titles. Gather your friends now for a night of retro-style bullet hell bonding and madness as you protect the world from the Prophecies of Sin!”
Earlier this week, we covered the shaky launch of Xaviant Games’ The Culling 2, a battle royale title that was billed as a new-and-improved sequel to The Culling. The game wasn’t received well on Steam; there appeared to be almost no players actually playing, reviews were nearing rock bottom, and players of the original game were rioting over their belief that Xaviant abandoned the first game, which was much more respectably received with over 13,000 “mixed” reviews.
Xaviant has accepted the reaction, and in fact, has responded with a video that will probably make you feel terrible for the devs involved. “It’s been a lot to take in, but we’ve been having a lot of discussions and one thing that has emerged very clearly for us is that The Culling 2 was not a game that you asked for, and it’s not a game that you expect as a worthy successor to The Culling,” Xaviant Director of Operations Josh Van Veld admits.
Consequently, the sequel has been canceled and will be pulled from digital shelves with full refunds to those who bought it. The company will be returning to The Culling and doubling down on the parts of it that made it unique and got all those good reviews in the first place, specifically by bringing back the original game’s day-one version and putting The Culling back into development, then ultimately turning it free-to-play.
The Crew 2 might be struggling to garner praise on Steam, where its beta ratings were poor and its post-launch reviews are merely mixed, but Ubisoft is projecting contentedness with it all the same.
“Its activity is trending in line with The Crew 1, which had benefited from a Christmas launch. Its digital performance is outperforming,” the company CFO said during Ubisoft’s investor conference call yesterday, as quoted by GIbiz. “What we can say is the game is performing in line with the activity of the prior one. It’s really on par from where we stood with the prior one. We know also the prior one had a kind of slow start and started to pick up as we built up more content and activity in the game. So if we do that, I think there would still be significant part of the sales of that game in the next three quarters” – that’s because the first Crew game had a second year almost as strong as its first.
Overall, Ubisoft reported earnings far outperforming expectations, at $444.8 million net bookings, leading to a record first quarter, with the rest of 2018 projected to look sweet indeed thanks to the new Assassin’s Creed title and The Division 2.
Every once in a while here at Massively OP we like to highlight a game that might have flown under pretty much everyone’s radar despite being out for some time. Today that title is Haven and Hearth, a survival crafting MMO that’s been around for at least five years.
Inspired by Slavic and Germanic mythis, Haven and Hearth places a huge focus on an explorable, exploitable, and mutable game world. While it may look simple (the MMO was written in Java and developed by two “Swedish university dropouts”), there’s a charm with the graphics and a very deep crafting system at play.
“As players progress, they will be able to acquire new skills and abilities, allowing them to perform a variety of tasks — such as the claiming of land, the construction of buildings and the cultivation of crops — each step forward making the basic task of survival somewhat easier,” the team explained. “Having progressed far enough, players will, in time, be able to organize themselves into societies, from simple tribes and villages, progressing through republics, nation states and, ultimately, empires.”
With last week’s launch of the revamped and rebooted Defiance 2050, Trion Worlds was betting on players flocking back to the sci-fi MMO shooter now that it’s seen improvements and adopted a free-to-play model. However, it doesn’t seem as though the community is giving its approval for the latest version of this game, at least according to Steam, where Defiance 2050 is weathering “mostly negative” reviews.
One common complaint is that the relaunched MMO isn’t really that much different or better than the old game — yet players have to start over from scratch (in an eerily similar situation to last year’s Secret World Legends reboot). Other frequent criticisms include the proliferation of lockboxes, server instability, old bugs that haven’t been fixed, and not enough recognition or extras for players coming from the original game.
Site Kitguru ran Defiance 2050 through a series of benchmarks and compared it to the original game, stating that it “improves upon its predecessor with a more detailed experience.” It was also noted that there was a choppier frame rate on larger resoutions, better AI, and no apparent reason for the reboot on PC.
The latest dev blog for Russian indie dev Atlant Games’s upcoming Reign of Guilds has a veritable smorgasbord of detailed information about various facets of the game, ranging from the technical tools being used to create the open world to the game’s magic system and more. A great deal of the blog post is devoted to discussing the design and creation of the game’s open world, detailing the tools the devs are using in order to generate the world’s mountains, forests, streams, and other natural splendors. It also takes a look at the first of the game’s counties, called Daerkunn, which the blog post says is about 50% complete.
The dev blog also delves into the construction of the castles that will play key roles in the game’s guild-vs-guild warfare. From simple wooden outposts to grand stone citadels, the team is aiming to provide a diverse array of locations for players to kill each other over. In addition, the post highlights some of the elemental magic players will be able to wield as well as detailing the game’s inventory and trading systems. If you’re interested in checking out this behind-the-scenes look at Reign of Guilds’s development, you can check out the full post over on the game’s official site.
The super pretty survivalbox Outpost Zero has planted roots in Steam’s early access program. It’s currently $15.99; tinyBuild and Symmetric Games say it’s a fully featured version of the game, though the devs are still working on more mechanics and balancing, particularly in regard to PvP and base raiding. The full launch is expected early next year.
“This Early Access version is a fully featured version of the game. Animals, Pirate Raids, PvP combat, Base Building, Corporations, and Bot AI are all implemented to create a full cohesive survival experience. We will continue to polish and improve these systems over the course of Early Access release. […] In the final version of the game we will be introducing many more powerful and fun Bot AI classes to craft, many additional Pirate Raid mechanics, Flying Vehicles, Massive Battle Mechs, several additional game modes (like horde mode and team vs team base defense), and of course a ton more content, from Equipment and Weapons, Structure types, Animal classes, and more.”
Massively OP’s MJ has been touring the game this summer as part of her deep-dive into multiple survival games for her ongoing column; you can check those streams out below, along with the official quickstart tutorial and trailer.
Arrrr! If Sea of Thieves isn’t doing it for you, maybe you should board a more classic ship, like Puzzle Pirates – specifically, Puzzle Pirates Dark Seas. Puzzle Pirates, of course, has been around for 15 years as an adorable puzzle-oriented MMORPG. Developer Grey Havens has been hard at work on a more PvP-centered version of the game with a new ocean map and a clean economy, and that version, dubbed Dark Seas, has just formally launched on Steam after a stint in early access. Notably, this version is Steam only, whereas the “classic” game also works in-browser; the devs have plenty of fun lined up to get the game’s initial economy rolling.
“In celebration of our Full Release Launch we’re going to have a series of blue grey tournaments and competitions. These festivities will culminate in the opening of the first large island, Melanaster, for blockade on July 14th. We suggest you start recruiting mates and making plans in Parley.”
Did we mention it’s free-to-play? You can dive in right now!
In the market for a full-loot, retro-themed MMO sandbox? Your specific tastes may be satiated by Blossom and Decay, an up-and-coming MMOARPG that will offer crossplay between PC and mobile platforms.
The team is designing the game so that players, not developers, provide the core content: “Instead of scripted quest-lines in the game, players fashion their own narratives through a wide set of social mechanics and external PvE pressure. The world’s story is constantly molded by its citizens. […] Everything is created and arranged by the players wherever they choose, from buildings and roads to respawn-points, quests, goods, trade and the laws of the land. Players will toil to imprint their history in this virgin world.”
In one interesting twist, the game allows for automated offline play in which a person’s character will continue to execute activities by itself.
Currently, Blossom and Decay is enjoying some additional promotion from Square-Enix Collective. The team is lobbying fans to vote for the title to gain support going forward.
Perfect World has a new game up its sleeve: It’s called Remnant: From the Ashes, and it’s being built by Gunfire Games. It’s not exactly an MMO, but it’s at least multiplayer; PWE characterizes it as a “survival-action shooter featuring dynamic worlds, intense combat and strategic co-op” that “transports players to a bleak future where Earth has been overrun by extradimensional beings.”
“Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival-action game set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by mythical creatures. Players build characters to suit their individual playstyle and survive the perils of diverse and deadly environments, alone or alongside a team of up to three other players. The game offers unique, customizable gameplay experience filled with intense shooting, melee combat, gear and weapon crafting, character progression, deadly enemies, epic bosses and dynamically-generated levels that offer an infinite number of ways to explore.”
Launch is planned for 2019 and PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
It’s a big day for co-op shooters: Not only did PWE announce a new one, but Holospark is releasing one officially today. I’m talking about Earthfall, which rolled out to Steam, Xbox One, and PS4 last night. It’s not an MMORPG; rather, it’s a smaller-scale multiplayer game with an emphasis on working together rather than brutally murdering each other a la the usual flavors of the month.
“Earthfall is a four-player cooperative shooter that challenges players to survive hordes of ruthless alien drones and their inscrutable masters. Traverse a ravaged and depopulated Pacific Northwest with friends or AI teammates in a relentless guerilla war against a dominating extraterrestrial force. Save yourself from the ever-changing horde and save what’s left of humanity. Utilize futuristic weaponry, augment deployable barricades with fire or electricity, control mounted turrets, and throw absolutely everything you got at 10 levels of story-driven co-operative play.”
The game is currently live on Steam at a $29.99 price point and a “mostly positive” overall reviewset, though more recent reviews are more mixed.
Does the industry need more battle royale games? Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a second and say that it does. After all, if you want a genre to become its best self, it needs scrappy underdogs redrawing the lines and pressuring the leaders toward innovation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean people actually want to play those scrappy underdogs, and we may be in just such a situation with the newly released The Culling 2.
Xaviant Games’ The Culling 2 billed itself as a new-and-improved sequel to The Culling, described as “the world’s first built-from-scratch Battle Royale experience” with a “lush island arena, brutal melee combat, and a long list of perks to help you define your playstyle.” Here’s the official description of the new title:
“The Culling 2 expands on every aspect of its predecessor: The arena is now a massive space, with 20 square kilometers in which to explore, loot, and fight. In addition to the established melee combat system, a wide range of firearms are now on offer, from 9mm pistols to high-caliber sniper rifles. All ballistics have been carefully tuned to match real-world equivalents, making for tense and tactical firefights. With 50 players, the matches are set to be fast and brutal, while still accommodating players who prefer a more cautious approach.”
Trion has a big launch on its hands today as it pushes Defiance 2050 out of beta into a live state on PC and both core consoles. As we’ve been covering, Defiance 2050 is set to be a “completely from-the-ground-up recreation” of Trion’s original Defiance that “overhauls the exciting story and groundbreaking gameplay of the original, reimagining the San Francisco-based sci-fi shooter experience for current gaming hardware.” Classic Defiance, which sparked widespread use of the term “transmedia synergy” buzzword across the MMO genre when it launched alongside a SyFy TV series of the same name, will continue on for those who prefer it as well.
If you’ve previously picked up a founder pack, you’ve already been in the beta, but as of today, the game is free-to-play and everyone can hop on in. Launch time is technically 1 p.m. EDT this afternoon, so if you’re reading this in the morning, you’ve got just a few more hours to wait. Why not check out some of our coverage while you do? We recommend our hands-on experiences from E3 and GDC!