Playing a game of linking awful online activities to white supremacist movements is like the worst possible variant of the old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, but it’s important to note. You know that guy in your Overwatch match who’s spouting out a whole bunch of offensive slurs? He may very well be there to actively recruit for white supremacist movements according to former white supremacist leader Christian Piccolini.
In a recent AMA Piccolini explained that operators are there using various techniques to draw in vulnerable people, with various “recruiters” in basically any popular online game. Piccolini specifies Fortnite, Minecraft, and Call of Duty while also noting that it’s really any popular online title with enough people playing. This probably doesn’t come as any major surprise to people who have long followed the path of watching “trolling” racism and misogyny used as a front for actual racism and misogyny, but it’s certainly another smoking gun.
After the launch of Worlds Adrift but prior to E3, we sent off an interview to Bossa Studios and recently received our answers, complete with current news about how the studio is trying to address griefing, adding countermeasures, and yes, “gitting good.” Maybe the phrasing there could be better, especially given the brutality of the Steam launch, but Bossa Studios Co-Founder Henrique Olifiers and Game Designer Luke Williams were kind enough to talk to us about why they pursue the seemingly less profitable PvP crowd, building PvPvE experiences, and the road to release.
Let me be upfront with my biases for those unfamiliar with my coverage: I love open world PvP as a concept, not as a ganker but as the guy trying not to get ganked. I love the concept of virtual worlds, but as Bill Roper and I discussed, players aren’t developers and don’t always understand the tech that gives them the games they love.
Automaton Games CEO James Thompson came along with Improbable, Bill Roper, and Mavericks to this year’s E3, where I got a second chance to see how everything in the battle royale/MMO hybrid is doing since GDC. I know battle royale is a hot topic around here, and the reaction we saw at GDC did have me worried about Mavericks’ potential audience.
Thompson was quite eager to talk about Mavericks, especially its battle royale side, but as someone who’s much more of an MMORPG player, I felt the one key thing we found common ground on was that Mavericks is aiming to be less of a simple genre game and more of a “platform” to build on, not because of any strength of the BR or even MMO genre but because of its ability to run a simulation. For virtual world fans, this is something I feel we should be paying more attention to.
Congratulations are in order for Luna Orion, which just saw its Wild Mage successfully fund earlier this week! The open-world fantasy game, which the creators described as a weird mix of Final Fantasy XI, Minecraft, and Fruit Ninja, raised $85,374 from 1,752 backers over the course of the campaign.
This is particularly good news for online gaming fans, as the $60,000 stretch goal for multiplayer support was crossed. “As I mentioned many times, one of the important motivations for making this game personally is to be able to stay connected with my family and friends living in other states/countries while playing a game I enjoy and made myself!” the team posted. “Again, this will be Diablo-style online multiplayer/co-op, 4~6 players per world, PvE. The single-player base game release on Steam will still be Q4 2019. Multiplayer will be implemented later in the form of an update after MP specific alpha/beta testing.”
Other stretch goals achieved included bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
It all started with a new mode for DayZ. No, it all started with Minecraft. Wait, maybe it started with deathmatch games. There’s a lot of things you can trace as the origin point for the current battle royale trend in games, but a new video from Gamespot attempts to cut past speculation and hazy half-memories to provide a history of the genre in gaming from its first origin points to the modern war over players. And if you thought this was a video that would omit mentioning the obvious pop culture inspirations like the eponymous novel and movie Battle Royale… well, prepare to be disappointed.
The video traces the line through Minecraft game modes through DayZ, the initial launch of H1Z1, and through the various mods and alterations that brought us to games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Check out the full video below if you’re interested at a relatively brief overview of the genre’s history, although be aware that this is “brief” in the sense that it’s only 20 minutes long. There’s a lot of history to cover.
Ready to delve into the weird world of Occupy White Walls, which one outlet labeled as “hipster MineCraft?” The public alpha of the art-centric multiplayer game continues, with Patch 1.777 arriving on the servers this week.
The patch shores up some of the foundations of the game, such as a brand new launcher, an editing window for UI elements, the ability to place visitors at a certain spot when they spawn into your gallery, and “new awesome lasers assets, pew pew.”
The dev team attempted to describe the game in an interview by saying, “OWW is a new type of MMO for creative people in which the actual gameplay is creativity and self-expression. Different players will aim for different things; some will be all about in-game creativity — through building, designing and decorating their spaces — others will focus on discovering new art and curating their collections, while artists will aim to spread their own work around and directly interact with fans. All of this is happening within an abstract (and gorgeous) social experiment.”
Want to explore everything, destroy everything, and cut everything in half? Want to do all of that while riding around on a boss airship? Then you’re going to need to pick up Wild Mage at some point.
Wild Mage: Phantom Twilight is an open-world ARPG set in a gorgeous-looking world that has thousands of those impractical floating islands and was somewhat inspired by Final Fantasy IX. Combat and environment interaction sound like the key hook: “The environment in this game is completely destructible. Monsters can be sliced into pieces (think Fruit Ninja). Fire propagates dynamically. Terrains and structures can be altered and destroyed (think Minecraft).”
Right now, Wild Mage is running a small but strong Kickstarter campaign. It’s already blown through its $10,000 target goal and has been hitting a few stretch goals in the first few days (such as bringing it to Nintendo Switch). If it reaches $60,000, the title will offer a multiplayer co-op mode with between four and six players exploring a world together.
Contrary to what you may have believed, Dual Universe isn’t going to limit its sandbox features to the creation and flight of personal spacecraft. This week, developer Novaquark is promoting the game’s robust creation toolset which should allow players to colonize an entire galaxy.
The voxel-manipulating tools will allow players to build outposts and structures. This isn’t your chunky Minecraft style of voxels, however, but a much more flexible and good-looking system. Terraforming, city construction, cave excavations, and spaceship design are all being handled on both the macro and micro level with these tools.
“Whether they’re building a single structure on a small scale or working together to forge an entirely new civilization on a massive scale, Dual Universe’s tools empower players to build however they want,” the game’s press release said. “Novaquark simply sets the rules and establishes the universe, but everything that grows, falls, is rebuilt, and shared within this universe is and will always be a community-constructed endeavor.”
Check out what these outposts look like after the break.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!
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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This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.
So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?
You know what I like? Hearing about a new game for the first time that I can actually buy right now. Of course, this one’s in Steam early access, so maybe you’ll want to hold your wallet. I’m talking about Staxel, which dropped on my radar this week thanks to a couple of my favorite readers. To me, it looks like a cross between Stardew Valley and Trove, with that voxel Minecraft look but sandboxy content that’s more focused on farming, fishing, and growing out the village with your own customizations than on mass-murdering mobs.
“Put down your roots and settle into life as a newcomer to the village. Starting out with a run-down, old home and farmland reclaimed by the wilderness, it’s up to you to turn the place around. Plant seeds, carefully tend to your crops, take care of your animals, and expand your farm. Don’t forget: take care of your farm, and your farm will take care of you!”
It’s not a formal MMORPG, but the Steam page says it was “designed with multiplayer in mind from day one,” hence custom online servers and online multiplayer capability. Anybody tried this one out?
Minecraft developer Mojang revealed this week that it will be shutting down its online card game Scrolls on February 13th. This shouldn’t come as a huge shock to the community, as the studio announced back in 2015 that it was ceasing development for the game but keeping the servers on for a while.
“The game has reached a point where it can no longer sustain continuous development,” the studio said then. Before next week’s sunset occurs, there will be a final community tournament on Saturday the 11th.
This doesn’t mean that Scrolls will go away for good, however. The team also said that it has plans to allow the players to host their own game servers within the next few weeks or months, but not as open source.
Diablo, Hellgate: London, and Marvel Heroes creator David Brevik has just announced his newest game — and it’s both similar and unlike anything he’s done before.
It Lurks Below is a 2-D lovechild of horror, Diablo, and Terraria, sending a lone player into a gloomy, pixelated world filled with terrors and spelunking. The game will make heavy use of procedural generation and randomization to create the maps on which players will explore, scavenge, loot, fight, and build. Brevik made the entire game by himself, including the art and music, and he promised fans that it will be coming out later this year with a limited closed beta starting this weekend (which is full, sorry to say, but you can watch Brevik stream it).