A panel is promised for this year’s PAX West that will go into more details on the division between formats, so if you’re still curious about how the split will work you can look forward to that. There’s also a promise of new features on the horizon for Star Wars: The Old Republic that should make for an exciting year, so that’s some reason for fans to be hopeful on that front, yes?
Do you trust EA with your money? Want to do so on a regular basis? Then you are set up and primed for the company’s new premium Origin Access subscription service.
This service, which is now live, adds a $15/month “premier” subscription tier on top of its previous $5/month basic service. The service promises a five-day head start access for titles, extra currency for games, and all of the access to current and upcoming games that are covered under the basic tier.
You’ll get some new titles with the service too, including The Sims 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront II. Origin Access is also going to be handling BioWare’s Anthem, giving players a head start date of February 15th, 2019.
What wasn’t sent out in EA’s press release, however, was the fact that the company has quietly discontinued its free “on the house” game giveaways that it used to hold on a regular basis.
Former BioWare lead James Ohlen regrets not pushing SWTOR towards ‘Knights of the Old Republic Online’
“[I]t was the early days of Star Wars: The Old Republic that I was really involved hardcore in the story design, game design, and all that,” he says. “I just wanted to get back to designing stories and designing games and doing things that I’m passionate about. When I look back at my career, the most fun I had from a professional standpoint was when I was designing stories, levels, worlds, and the game itself.” The bigger teams of BioWare weren’t leaving him the kind of space he wanted. “Working on the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, I was the game director, which meant I had the most power, but I often felt like I was the captain of the Titanic and I could just steer it a teeny tiny bit if I put all my efforts into it.”
Former SWTOR creative lead James Ohlen departs BioWare, former Hearthstone boss Ben Brode announces new company
Some industry news this morning: James Ohlen announced that he’s retiring from BioWare after more than two decades at the company. MMORPG fans will recall he was at one time the creative director and lead designer for Star Wars The Old Republic, but of course he played a lead role in many other acclaimed BioWare franchises and was also attached to Anthem. He’s told fans he’s taking a break from the industry to work on RPG sourcebooks. SWTOR players are expressing their gratitude for his contributions over on Reddit.
After 22 years I have retired from BioWare. I've loved my time with Anthem, Star Wars, Dragon Age and Dungeons and Dragons. But I need to take a break from the industry and work on something a little smaller and more personal.
— James Ohlen (@JamesOhlen) July 12, 2018
There’s a lot we still don’t know about the upcoming multiplayer-but-not-completely shooter from BioWare, Anthem. There’s also a lot we do know, some of which has rather cooled enthusiasm. But if you weren’t at this year’s E3, you didn’t see much of it in person, so it’s a good thing that you can see the game’s full demo in video format just below.
The 20-minute demo shows off the game’s gunplay, dynamic events, dynamic group scaling, and all of the environmental exploration you could want. In short, it’s a quick slice of what the final game will look like, enough to give you an idea of what you’re in for. Jump on below if you’re curious to see how it’ll play (or what it was playing like on the show floor, we suppose).
Game Informer is enjoying a heapload of exclusives on BioWare’s upcoming Anthem, including an interview with the game’s leads. The studio said that the world players encounter is “unfinished,” with artifacts and mysteries left behind by mysterious entities that used to reside on the planet.
“People are living in a world where things are turning on and causing not only destruction but actual creation,” said Executive Producer Mark Darrah. “This is a world that was in the middle of being created.”
BioWare talked about the creation of this brand-new IP, a lengthy process that has taken six years already. “Anthem is unlike anything that BioWare has ever done,” said Producer Mike Gamble. “What we really wanted to do with Anthem was to explore different kinds of gameplay.”
We’ve finished rolling out all of our E3 2018 content this year, save a few last stragglers coming this weekend, so now we’ve chosen our favorites out of what we got to see in person and from afar. Read on, then vote for your own best-in-show!
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?
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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.
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.