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?
One the PC side, PUBG leaped back up the charts, pushing past Fortnite and Dota 2 to rest in the #3 slot after its tumble earlier this year. SuperData says that’s a direct result of June’s big Steam sale: “PUBG sold 4.7 million units on PC in June, up significantly from May and only second to its peak month in October 2017. Growth was underpinned by a reduced price point of $19.99 on Steam.” All of the other games in the list are still there, just jostled a bit, though League of Legends remains on top and World of Warcraft has taken up seemingly permanent residence at #7.
On console, Fortnite is still king, though keep an eye out for The Crew 2, which debuted at #4 in its launch month, having sold “700,000 digital units across Console and PC at launch,” owing heavily to digital sales.
Berlin-based studio YAGER recently took the wraps off The Cycle, a “first-person shooter with a twist” that somehow looks a lot like a survival sandbox with Fortnite’s graphics and some of Monster Hunter World’s and The Division’s mechanics, but with some persistence between matches.
“The Cycle is match based FPS where players complete quests while making and breaking temporary alliances. Anyone can attack anyone, and anyone can ally with anyone. In The Cycle the explored galaxy is controlled by massive Factions, but the mysterious outer reaches are still up for grabs. In their race to control these frontier resources, the Factions need contractors to do their dirty work. You are one of these contractors, competing for objectives such as collecting minerals or hunting wildlife while being careful to avoid or take down the competition.”
Kotaku UK’s interview with YAGER sheds more light on some of The Cycle’s more unusual mechanics, such as the fact that evacuation from the planet is just as important as everything else and that it’s aiming for a PvEvP scenario. And while it’s not a battle royale and has plenty of PvE ways to “win,” the devs do say they’re hoping to use matchmaking to put the shoot-first-ask-questions-later types together away from more cooperatively minded hunters.
Ubisoft believes The Crew 2 is performing as well as The Crew – ‘its digital performance is outperforming’
“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.
Remember last spring when Ubisoft said it was getting serious about cracking down on toxicity in Rainbow Six Siege? The company said it was improving upon its existing chat monitoring system to “ban players that use racial and homophobic slurs, or hate speech, in game,” booting players for at minimum two days and at maximum eternity for “language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment.”
In response to one player complaining he’d been banned for using a variation of the N-word, the Rainbow Six Siege twitter account replied, “Good. […] Games have rules, and we’re just asking you to follow them.” Of course, trolls then began responding to the Twitter thread with the same sorts of slurs and variations on the slurs intended to get around chat filters and slip past Twitter blockers. There are also plenty of folks thanking Ubisoft for cleaning up the game.
Interview: ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman on prepping Crowfall’s Artisan Engine for the broader industry
Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!
Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?
J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.
With The Division 2 on the way for next year, fans of the series are trying to get a handle on just how much grouping they will be expected to do when it arrives. It turns out that the answer to that is, “As much or as little as you please, just give us your money.”
Ubisoft confirmed that it will be entirely possible to solo through the whole game: “You can play through the entire story campaign into endgame and [then the] endgame [content], alone… [But] you can also do the same content [in] two, three, or four player co-op. Or eight-player co-op, two full groups in the raid if you opt into the challenge that we’re adding. So it’s very important for us that you get to pick.”
We got an early look at The Division 2 last month at E3, including mentions of the franchise’s first-ever eight-player raids. Right now, players in the first Division can earn shields that will unlock rewards for the March 2019 sequel.
Well now things just got interesting over in the land of Kickstarted Crowfall. ArtCraft announced this morning that it’s spinning off a “new division” called ArtCraft Technologies and specifically positioned for “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games” – all based on Crowfall’s underlying tech.
“This technology stack, the Artisan Engine, will include a robust feature set for solving the full spectrum of challenges that emerge when supporting thousands-upon-thousands of concurrent players in a virtual world: networking, persistence, physics, procedural world generation, dynamic world editing and seamless worlds up to 5,120 meters by 5,120 meters in size. In addition, it includes an exhaustive, fully-featured RPG layer, including characters, inventory, equipment, monsters, AI, harvesting, races, classes, sub-classes, powers, banking, secure trading, skills, leveling and more.”
The new division will be headed up by Josef Hall, whom you might remember from his work on Shadowbane as well as the KingsIsle titles (similar to ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman’s pedigree). Anybody thinking “SpatialOS competitor”? Because we sure are.
Digital Extremes announced the next two major updates coming to the game at this year’s TennoCon 2108. First up this fall is Fortuna, a massive open-world environment on the surface of Venus. How big is it? Game Director Steve Sinclair said that the entirety of Eidolon would fit just on the first base in The Orb Vallis. That was the one folks had surmised parts of thanks to datamining. However, no one expected the second announcement: to play in space!
Todd Howard says ‘Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world’ as Ubisoft and Bethsoft weigh in on games as a service
Are you all in on games as a service? Are single player-games over, replaced by much more profitable eternally online (and lockbox-ridden) titles? Bethsoft’s Todd Howard doesn’t think so. Speaking to GIbiz, Howard says that in spite of Fallout 76’s controversial online nature, the always-on games-as-a-service motif “doesn’t mark the future.”
“Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes,” he says. “Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends. Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”
Ubisoft, on the other hand, has taken a different tack. The company’s EVP of Creative, Lionel Raynaud, spends some time in a corporate blog post to come at the problem from a narrative angle, saying his studio is trying to keep games going by doing its best not to “give finite experiences.”
With access to a full set of ARK servers, Massively OP’s MJ and the crew have their choice of adventures. And today, they choose to raid the ascension cave on the island. That final dungeon kicked their kiesters the last time they went. Will this time be different? They are going in with Tek gear, so odds are better… but considering how packed it is with dinos, victory is certainly not assured. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to watch this jaunt through sharp-toothed death makers.
What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 30th, 2018
The Crew 2 has reached its official launch day for console and PC, but maybe don’t be too anxious to press the buy button. As we noted on this week’s Massively OP Podcast, early reviews from the beta were abysmal, as players specifically criticized the sidegrade from the original game, the lackluster vehicle modes, and the cumbersome controls, but the beta Steam page had been completely wiped, sending those warning reviews into oblivion when the headstart began earlier this week. How convenient, right?
Alas for Ubisoft, those beta players followed it to the new Steam page, and it’s racked up hundreds of new reviews putting it in the “mostly negative” zone just since Tuesday. An irritating steam activation key pairing issue and preorder activation bugs didn’t help matters either.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin agree that two is the best number in the world, especially when it comes to video games! It’s a hodge-podge of topics, including Guild Wars 2’s latest episode, The Crew 2’s launch, Trion Worlds’ Gazillion acquisition, and more!
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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