Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters pits the Grey Knights against the forces of Chaos

Posted on June 3, 2021 by

Frontier Foundry, the games label of Frontier Developments, today announced Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters, a new game in partnership with Games Workshop.

Developed by Complex Games, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters will pit the Grey Knights against the forces of Chaos in a turn-based tactical RPG.

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In the game, players will experience the combat of the 41st millennium, following the journey of the Grey Knights in a narrative penned by New York Times bestselling author, Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters will release on PC in 2022 on Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Frontier have previously announced their Warhammer: Age of Sigmar RTS title, which is currently in development.




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Sister of the Thorn is a new career for Kerillian in Vermintide 2

Posted on June 3, 2021 by

Fatshark is bringing a new career to Warhammer: Vermintide 2.


The Sister of the Thorn is a new career for Kerillian in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 that brings new abilities, weapon types, talent tree, character skin, challenges as well as a new hat and new voice lines.

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Kerillian will use magic in a greater way than ever before, allowing the character to bring the “heaviest support of all careers in the game.”

The Sister of the Thorn is available for purchase on Steam today, and console players can fig into the new career on June 30.

“We are happy to launch the third new career to Warhammer: Vermintide 2. Kerillian is bringing the magic and it’s a perfect start to the summer,” says Martin Wahlund, CEO Fatshark. “The Sister of the Thorn is prickly enough to fend off any enemy encountered.”

Have a look at the new career in action via the video above.

Released in 2018, the game sold over one million copies within five weeks of release on PC.  The game is also available on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

If you’d like a quick primer ahead of the new career, our Vermintide 2 character classes guide will help get you started.

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Ubisoft Forward event to feature a look at the next Rainbow Six

Posted on June 3, 2021 by

Ubisoft E3

Today, Ubisoft announced more details about the latest edition of Ubisoft Forward which will be streamed live on June 12.

The show, available to view on the Ubisoft Forward website, is part of this year’s digital E3 event and kicks off at 12pm PT /3pm ET/ 8pm UK/ 9pm CEST.

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Viewers can also tune in via Twitch, or YouTube.

The pre-show will debut an hour beforehand, with news and updates from live games such as For Honor, Trackmania, The Crew 2, Brawlhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and more from the teams at Ubisoft.

The main show will feature the next mainline entry in the Rainbow Six franchise, formerly known as Rainbow Six Quarantine, with world premiere gameplay and trailers revealing this brand-new co-op title for the first time.

The show will also include more details on Far Cry 6, news on Riders Republic, updates from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Rainbow Six Siege teams on their upcoming content, as well as content from the Apple TV+ series Mythic Quest, and soon-to-release movie Werewolves Within, both from Ubisoft Film & Television.

Following the main show, the post-show will include a Rainbow Six Siege Community Briefing to update players on the latest news, plus an in-depth discussion with Siege developers on how they designed the latest addition to the Operator roster, Operation North Star’s Thunderbird.

The show will also provide a number of fresh reveals, such as the Y6S2 Streamer Charms, Community Artist Bundle, and Sixth Guardian Charity bundle partnerships.

Developers will provide deeper insight into the announcements from the main show, and players will have a chance to win an exclusive Fan Charm via Twitch Drops.

To keep up with anything and everything E3 related, be sure to bookmark our E3 2021 Schedule for full dates and start times.

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Half-Life: Alyx multiplayer mod lets you join a friend as a useless floating robot A pair of greebly hands

Posted on June 3, 2021 by


An open-source Half-Life: Alyx mod will let you join a friend's VR journey through City 17. Just don't expect do be able to do much more than hang around and watch the fireworks.

As spotted by PCGamesN, alyx-multiplayer is a fairly simple mod that lets you invite a friend into Half-Life: Alyx in a very limited fashion—as the floating faceplate of a Combine scanner, drifting and jittering around Alyx as a kind of robot buddy. 

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Since the mod only tracks head position and rotation, you can't exactly do much but float about as an extra pair of eyes. Physics interactions and game states aren't shared between players. It's rudimentary, but the modding community is nothing if not resourceful—after all, efforts to remove the VR from the VR-exclusive title have already come a long way since the game's release. 

Alyx-multiplayer is free to download over on its official site, with full instructions for getting you and a friend set up for kinda-sorta-cooperative adventures. For a more ambitious twist on Alyx, Return to Rapture turns the VR Half-Life entry into a shockingly good Bioshock mashup.

This multiplayer mod for Euro Truck Simulator 2 has one chaotic, congested road that can’t be fixed TruckersMP's Calais to Duisburg road, and the many trucks and crashes that occur.

Posted on June 3, 2021 by


For as long as Euro Truck Simulator 2 has had a multiplayer community, it's had a congestion problem. The popular multiplayer mod TruckersMP has around 400,000 unique players a month, with over 10,000 players online at peak times, so some gridlock is to be expected now and then. But this isn't just the occasional traffic jam—no, this is one road, all the time, a site of constant congestion and unrelenting chaos. And no offence to the road, but it's not even that good.

"There's nothing really special about this road in particular," says Luna Niermann, one of TruckersMP's Project Coordinators. "It's just a country road. There are no specific landmarks," she adds, "or any reason to drive here."

Luna and I are driving from Calais, France, to Duisburg, Germany, on the unremarkable country road that has been a honey pot for TruckersMP drivers over the last six years. Luna's been particularly involved in the team's efforts to address Calais to Duisburg over the last few years, most recently consulting with the community on a No-Collision Zone in Duisburg (more on that later). Joining us in our convoy is Matthew Gill, TruckersMP's Senior Community Manager. We've agreed that we're going to drive like professionals, responsible and safe, even if we can't guarantee that same courtesy from others on the road.

Above: Watch Adam's ridealong with the TruckersMP team on Calais to Duisburg.

TruckersMP was first released in May 2014, a passion project for developers Michał Wójtowicz and Eryk Dwornicki. "[ETS2] was a game [Michał] liked and he just wanted to play it with his friends," Matt explains. As the game didn't come with a multiplayer mode—ETS2 developers SCS Software have only recently announced their first official multiplayer offering, the eight-person Convoy mode—Wójtowicz and Dwornicki took things into their own hands.

Driven by the growing popularity of these unassuming simulators, as well as streamer attention and word of mouth, the TruckersMP community has grown significantly over the last seven years, recently reaching four million registered players. The mod has grown in concert: TruckersMP is now supported by a team of over 230 people from all over the world, with ten servers across Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator.

Even at this size, the road from Calais to Duisburg attracts a disproportionate number of players. On two of the mod's three most popular servers, Simulation 1 and Simulation 2, the road and its corresponding intersection are routinely the most congested thoroughfares in Europe. That's especially the case during peak driving times, typically from 6pm to 8pm UTC, which can see an average of 400 drivers fill the road on any given server. "It can be hectic," says Matt.

(Image credit: TruckersMP)

Matt estimates that the road from Calais to Duisburg started gaining in popularity around early 2016. "One of the most popular places in TruckersMP used to be the Europort, the Amsterdam port going into Felixstowe in the UK," he explains. "Then we saw a slow transition from the Europort, where there was a lot of backed-up traffic, to this place here, Calais-Duisburg."

It wasn’t long before the congestion and the chaos became self-perpetuating

It's not clear exactly why drivers stopped gathering at Europort and made the move to this nondescript stretch of country road, says Luna, but she has her suspicions. "We believe that the Europort was always so full," she explains. "It was really just a 200 metre road, and it wasn't as interesting because it was just a bunch of traffic. Here you can still drive," she says as we pass the road's first petrol station. "Here you can still see crashes." 

It wasn't long before the congestion and the chaos became self-perpetuating. "Word of mouth and streams and videos of this place have definitely made it ten times more popular, one hundred percent," Matt adds. "People just love traffic. It's the point of an MMO, to see loads of people in one place." It helps that the road is part of the base game, making it immediately accessible to new TruckersMP players who may not have invested in the growing bank of new maps.

(Image credit: TruckersMP)

This popularity has, however, created a tension between two major segments of the TruckersMP community: the people who love 'joyriding' and the pandemonium that can entail, and the people who play for the simulation. You can see this tension play out on the mod's very active forums, where threads are routinely started with names like 'How do you feel about the situation in Duisburg' and 'What if Calais-Duisburg road, Suddenly got removed?' One of the forum's longest and longest-lasting threads is a pinned guide titled 'Calais>Duisburg Road: Information and Alternative Routes', and the comments that follow are polarised at best:

"Why to avoid this road,this road is a legendary road,this road gives the feeling of a real trucking simulation because  of the crowd,other parts of the map is empty so that's doesnt feel good.You are not a real trucker if you dont drive on calais duisburg road"
—Angelforgamers, October 12, 2020

"Mainly because the area in and around Calais and Duisburg is contaminated with incompetent, rude and ignorant players whos main goal seems to be to become the next main actor in one of the "idiots on the road" videos."
—Blabberbeak, February 25, 2021

This tension is part of what's made the congestion so difficult to address. The TruckersMP team has implemented a number of measures in order to ease the pressure. They've banned trucks with triple trailers from using the road, they've added signs and barriers to prevent lawless overtaking, and they've stopped people from driving in convoys so that they don't clog up the road. Late in our drive, Luna points out one of these alterations, a traffic light they've added to a T intersection on the outskirts of Duisburg. "In the base game, you wouldn't see a traffic light here… [but] everyone was just driving wherever they want and whenever they want, so we added this traffic light which kind of works." Seconds later, a truck storms through the red light right in front of me, colliding with a car and careening off into the shoulder.

(Image credit: TruckersMP)

These kinds of crashes are also why, in July 2019, the mod team introduced a development road map, 'Road to Simulation'. "Before this plan," Luna says, "you basically had collisions everywhere… and you could drive 150 kilometres an hour [90mph] in any vehicle. Imagine on this road, where we now have a limit of 110 kilometres an hour—[150] would be quite dangerous!"

“We have those people that just want to speed, like the person on the left of me right now who’s overtaking me on the grass”

Luna Niermann

The Road to Simulation, then, was a way for the TruckersMP team to 'return to [the mod's] roots of true simulation'. New Simulation and Arcade servers were introduced to cater to different driving philosophies, and speed limits were enforced across the entire map, among other changes. However, the joyriders who approach ETS2 like a game of Burnout have resisted those changes. "We have those people that just want to speed," Luna says, "like the person on the left of me right now who's overtaking me on the grass… and now rams me. Great," she deadpans.

Active moderation of the road would seem like a potential answer; TruckersMP has a team of around 80 moderators working across multiple time zones, both in the game and on reports. However, while the team has experimented with live moderation of Calais to Duisburg, Luna explains that they've found it difficult to manage due to the demands of constant vigilance. The majority of the mod team are volunteers, and "we cannot force our volunteers to moderate this road at specific times," she says. On top of that, Luna points out that the TruckersMP is not in the business of forever-banning people for silly, marginally-antisocial driving—"that wouldn't be fair," Luna argues.

(Image credit: TruckersMP)

There are also some problems with the road that are out of their hands—like, for example, the city of Duisburg. In the base game, this German city is dangerously small, with one major intersection and only two blocks, where drivers can find a hotel, a service centre and a couple of companies where they can pick up and deliver cargo. It was a nightmare for TruckersMP drivers to navigate, causing plenty of collisions and extravagant amounts of money lost on repair costs. The TruckersMP team have done their best to redesign it, in particular expanding the service centre and the tiny petrol station on the outskirts of town. 

The team has more recently trialled a No-Collision Zone in Duisburg. The NCZ is a temporary solution to a persistent problem, and it means that all three of us are able to enter the service centre without crashing into any of the other 11 cars and trucks in the tiny forecourt. However, recent community consultation on the NCZ has shown that the TruckersMP community is not in favour of this new innovation. 

The team are still looking for better, more permanent solutions, but it's likely that they'll be waiting until SCS Software rolls out a long-promised Duisburg redesign—it was meant to be a part of the game's recent 1.40 update but, Luna tells me, the redesign basically ends before Duisburg's central intersection. "Duisburg is not included and the entire C-D road is not either."

(Image credit: TruckersMP)

Luna and Matt are also very aware that the congestion will not just go away with the redesign of this particular road. Similar congestion issues have been replicated in other servers: for example, on the server that uses the ProMods map modification to radically redesign the European map, the narrow, one-way road through the mountains between Kirkennes and Ivalo can attract hundreds of drivers at any given time. And when the road between Calais and Duisburg was closed for TruckersMP's 2020 April Fool's Day event, the team observed that, "only two hours later, we had C-D road 2.0, just 500 metres south." Luna laughs. "So, yeah, we didn't change anything."

As we leave Duisburg and head back to Calais, joining the huge queue at the T intersection outside the town, Matt tells me that the TruckersMP team will 'always understand' the popularity of this road: as a place to gather, as a place to create moments, and as a place to be a part of a community—albeit in its most hectic, anarchic form. "As much as we're gonna hate it," Matt adds, "we love it." So, for now, they tinker around the edges to try and make it a good experience for everyone, the joyriders and the serious simulators alike.

I'm suddenly distracted by two cars trying to run me off the road. I'm safe, I'm fine, I'm back on the road… then, thirty seconds later, a truck backs into me at speed, ramming me into the verge. Luna adds, as if in response, "We really want to encourage people to drive somewhere else."

Devolver Digital will hold its E3 presentation on June 12

Posted on June 3, 2021 by

It wouldn’t be E3 2021 without Devolver Digital hosting its over-the-top non-press event.

A fan-favorite show of E3, Devolver Digital will host its E3 2021 presentation on June 12. A start time has yet to be determined.

In case you are unfamiliar with the non-press event, check out last year’s show below.

Watch on YouTube

If you look over the image posted by Devolver on Twitter, there may be some hints as to what will be shown. Is that Hotline Miami we see on the whiteboard? What is the number or punctuation symbol at the end of it? We can’t zoom in clearly enough to tell, as it just becomes blurrier. There are also plenty of post-it notes on the cubicle wall which could contain hints. But again, zooming in just makes them even more unreadable. Maybe you will have better luck.

E3 2021 is shaping up more and more every day with more companies announcing plans, and if you want to keep up to date on all the shows, be sure to bookmark our E3 2021 Schedule page for dates and start times.

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The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti goes on sale today, here’s where to find one Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card on blue gradient background

Posted on June 3, 2021 by


The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti goes on sale today, June 3, 2021, and if want any hope of buying one at MSRP you'll need to pay close attention to stores over the next 12 hours or so. Sadly, it's not a buyer's market for graphics card today, and that means demand will be exceptionally high for Nvidia's new gaming flagship.

For those of you just catching up (and just in time), the RTX 3080 Ti is a powerful new card from the green team that rivals the RTX 3090 in games. As you might expect, it comes with a high price tag for the world of gaming GPUs: the RTX 3080 Ti costs $1,200 (£1,050/€1,200).

Still there? Okay. Nvidia has confirmed the RTX 3080 Ti to be available to purchase at retailers from 6 am PT / 2 pm BST / 3pm CET.

History tells us that these cards won't stick around for much longer after than on-sale time, so make sure you're up early or prepared to take a late lunch to ensure you're first in line to purchase.

The RTX 3080 Ti will be available today in two flavours: Founders Edition and third-party. The Founders Edition will undoubtedly be a popular choice as it sits close to MSRP, but early listings on Best Buy suggest at least Asus and Zotac will have third-party cards right on that MSRP. For how long though, we can't say.

US retailers and stock

Where to buy an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti in the US

Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti at Best Buy
Best Buy is once again Nvidia’s retailer of choice for Founders Edition sales in the US. You’ll need to physically go to a store for a chance at a card, however. For more details and a list of participating stores, head here.

Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti at Newegg
Newegg has confirmed it will be offering a chance to buy an RTX 3080 Ti on launch day via the Newegg Shuffle draw. More details here.

Founders Edition graphics cards will be sold only via select retailers worldwide. In the US, that's Best Buy, and the retailer is well aware of the high demand for these parts. For that reason, the RTX 3080 Ti Founders will be available in-store only.

You can find a list of Best Buy stores carrying RTX 3080 Ti stock here. You'll need to get to the stores for a 7:30 am start local time, if not earlier, to receive a single ticket that you can exchange for a single graphics card from 9am local time.

Newegg will also have RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards available as part of the Newegg Shuffle, a drawing system for in-demand products that will give random users the chance to purchase a graphics card on launch day.

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UK retailers and stock

 Where to buy an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti in the UK

Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti at Scan
Scan is the retailer of choice in the UK for Founders Edition RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards, so keep an eye out over there at 2pm UK time for a chance to purchase one.

For those of you residing in the UK, the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition will be available at Scan, much like previous FE launches. You'll want to be wary of bot protection and high server demand on the site when refreshing, but we've found the site to be better than some, at least, for stock on launch day.

Stock may be slim elsewhere, so you may want to hedge against disappointment and check across Albion's largest tech retailers for a chance to purchase a card at launch. 

We recommend setting up accounts ahead of time to make sure you don't lose out at checkout.

Good luck, PC gamers.

E3 Schedule 2021 – Full dates and start times list

Posted on June 3, 2021 by

It’s time to mark your calendar and draw up your itinerary, because there’s a jam-packed E3 Schedule full of new games from the world’s biggest developers and publishers to look forward to.

Because of the ongoing situation around the world, in lieu of a physical show, the video games industry is once again opting for a summer-long programme of reveals in a bid to hold your ever-stretched attention.

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Not every summer show is an official E3 event, of course. Sony has decided to stick to its own timetable for the last couple of years – basically swooping in whenever it feels like it can best undermine its rivals. In 2021, Sony has not even committed to doing a show at all, and has been dropping hints in interviews instead.

Nevertheless, you can expect E3-timed shows from the major console platforms like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, as well as the biggest publishers like EA and Ubisoft.

What’s more, this is the first full E3 schedule since the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, so there’s added impetus for the big dogs to try and influence your next console purchase.

There will also be intrigue aplenty thanks to Microsoft’s relatively recent purchase of Bethesda Softworks, who for the last few years has done their own E3 show, but will now share the Xbox stage. With some huge franchises in Bethesda’s roster, Sony is sure to retaliate with well-known names of their own.

Outside of direct video game makers, the Summer Games Show returns, hopefully with another slew of exclusive info to divulge from a more diverse set of creators than you’d see at the publisher specific events.

First we’ll give you a quick overview of the E3 schedule as it stands so you can make a quick note of when and where you need to be, then we’ll delve into a little of what you can expect from each show:

E3 Schedule 2021 – Full dates and start times list

E3 Schedule 2021 – Dates and Start Times
Scheduled Stream Name Date US Time UK Time European Time Australian Time How to watch link
Guerrilla Collective Showcase & Black Voices in Gaming June 5 8am PT & 10am PT, 11am ET & 1pm ET 4pm UK 5pm CEST 11pm AW, 1am AE (June 6) Link
Battlefield 6 Reveal Event June 9 7am PT, 10am ET 3pm UK 4pm CEST 10pm AW, 12am AE (June 10) Link
Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live! June 10 11am PT, 2pm ET 7pm UK 8pm CEST 2am AW, 4am AE (June 11) Link
Netflix Geeked Week June 11 9am PT, 12pm ET 5pm UK 6pm CEST 12am AW, 2am AE (June 12) Link
Koch Primetime June 11 12pm PT, 3pm ET 8pm UK 9pm CEST 3am AW, 5am AE (June 12) Link
IGN Expo June 11 1pm PT, 4pm ET 9pm UK 10pm CEST 4am AW, 6am AE (June 12) Link
Ubisoft Forward June 12 12pm PT, 3pm ET 8pm UK 9pm CEST 3am AW, 5am AE (June 13) Link
Guerrilla Collective Showcase & Wholesome Direct June 12 8am PT & 10am PT, 11am ET & 1pm ET 4pm UK 5pm CEST 11pm AW, 1am AE (June 13) Link
Xbox + Bethesda Games Showcase June 13 10am PT, 1pm ET 6pm UK 7pm CEST 1am AW, 3am AE (June 14) Link
PC Gaming Show June 13 TBA TBA TBA TBA Link
Nintendo Treehouse Live June 15 9am PT, 12pm ET 5pm UK 6pm CEST 12am AW, 2am AE (June 16) Link
Steam Next Fest June 16 10am PT, 1pm ET 6pm UK 7pm CEST 1am AW, 3am AE (June 17) Link
EA Play Live July 22 TBA TBA TBA TBA Link
Possible Sony E3 Presentation TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA
Square Enix E3 Conference TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA

We’ll update the table as more shows are announced.

What to expect from each E3 show

Now that we’ve got the specifics of the E3 schedule out of the way, it’s time for the rampant speculation.

Sony has yet to even reveal their plans for the coming weeks, but that doesn’t stop the rumour mill churning.

Summer Game Fest

The Summer Game Fest has mopped up pretty much every major developer and publisher that doesn’t have their own show, and even a few that do, as a partner, so there’s a huge amount that could be shown off during the event – but also a lot that couldn’t.

With 2K Games, Amazon, Activision, Bandai Namco, Blizzard, Capcom, Devolver Digital, EA, Epic Games, Gearbox, Hi-Rez, PlayStation, Riot, Sega, Square Enix, Steam, Ubisoft, Warner, and Xbox all on the roster, there’s a huge stable of studios to call on.

Blizzard has delayed its own online Blizzcon event until 2022, so we might see some teases for Diablo Immortal, Diablo 4, Diablo 2: Resurrection, and Overwatch 2 to stoke the flames of hype before Blizzard can speak to its own audience.

Diablo Immortal Closed Alpha

And while there are multiple DC Comics games under development at Warner Bros, it’s unknown how any plans they had could be affected by the AT&T/Discovery merger.

Obviously we’ll see MiHoYo talk about Genshin Impact and Amazon talk about the New World MMO, but the collaboration with DoubleFine on the Day of the Devs indie showcase would also suggest something new is coming from them.

Summer Game Fest mastermind, host, and producer Geoff Keighley has a well-documented and long-standing relationship with Metal Gear Solid and Death Stranding legend Hideo Kojima. So it’s very possible that we’ll see Kojima Productions’ new game at some point in the festivities.

Sony

There’s still no official word on whether Sony will even hold a livestream event, but it does remain a possibility.

We know that PlayStation has one huge blockbuster coming before the end of 2021 – Horizon Forbidden West – but could others be closer than you think?

Sony is yet to reveal the timing of a bigger summer show following the Horizon Forbidden West State of Play, but with 25 PS5 reportedly in development at PlayStation Studios, you can’t see them completely ceding the floor to the guys and gals in green.

Apparently nearly half of those 25 are new IPs not based on any existing brand, so there’s scope for at least one potential franchise-builder to be announced. PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst said in an interview with the PlayStation Blog that Sony Bend – the developer behind Days Gone – are working on a new open world IP which could fit the bill.

Watch on YouTube

God of War: Ragnarok has long been mooted to appear some time during 2021, but thanks to that same interview with the PS Blog, we now know that we won’t see Kratos again until 2022. The announcement via interview could have been placed to pre-empt disappointment before a new trailer drop, but there’s still a lot of question marks floating around.

One thing we do know has driven off into the sunset is Gran Turismo 7. Polyphony’s venerable driving sim lines up at the grid in 2022, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see some super-shiny gameplay at this year’s presentation.

Of course, there’s always the ridiculous, but evergreen rumour that Rockstar owes Sony an exclusive game. But while that definitely won’t happen, some timed-exclusive Rockstar content – a GTA Online Heist, or PS5 version of Red Dead Redemption 2, perhaps – might not be so far fetched.

Microsoft and Bethesda

After the disastrous birthing of Craig the Brute last year, I’d be very surprised if Microsoft didn’t come out swinging with a slick, bombastic showing to really make the case for their new hardware.

Many of Xbox’s biggest brands are due an update, so there’s plenty of choice picks to mull over. If it’s good and it was on an Xbox, there’s probably a new one coming.

It’s almost a dead certainty that we’ll get an adjusted release date for Halo Infinite, most likely with some new gameplay to show off a possibly reworked visual style in response to feedback.

Based on previously revealed trailers, it could also be time for some updates on the new Fable and Forza Motorsport games in the works. However, there might just be too much other stuff to cram in.

Now sporting the might of Bethesda at its back, we could see Microsoft reveal more info on the cheekily teased Elder Scrolls 6, despite it looking like it was in very early development when it was first shown.

And with Bethesda seemingly happy to drum up the hype with such incredibly thin teasers, you can’t rule pretty much anything out. Dishonored 3? Fallout New Vegas 2?

Hype. Hype never changes. And anything’s possible when you just show the camera panning across a CG landscape and call it a trailer.

In the realms of reality, more concrete details on the mysterious RPG Starfield and the Indiana Jones game announced at the start of the year seem a safer bet.

Some [email protected] indie games and probably some expansion or special deal to do with the excellent industry-leading Game Pass subscription service will also most likely feature.

Nintendo

Nintendo has said that it’s June Nintendo Direct will contain 40 minutes of information exclusively on Nintendo Switch software, “mostly releasing in 2021”.

This means you can probably look forward to more details on the remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, but a couple of big games have been dark for a while, and look ready to come out of the oven.

Both Metroid Prime 4 and Bayonetta 3 were teased all the way back in 2017 and could be due at least an update if not a release date.

Watch on YouTube

Then there’s also Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 to consider. That was revealed in 2019, but its positioning as a direct sequel could have sped up the development cycle.

Further afield there’s Splatoon 3 that’s supposed to drop in 2022, while there may also be announcements for new content in already released games, like long-awaited updates to reintroduce fan-favorite characters in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

Finally, on the hardware front, there are red-hot rumours of a new console skew on its way from Nintendo: the Switch Pro. It’s very likely coming, and very likely to be coming this year.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft has its usual slate of big-budget, massive world games on the horizon, but has also been pushing a lot of competitive action games recently to capitalise on the Battle Royale and MOBA crazes.

From Roller Champions to Hyperscape, Ubi’s slew of esports-styled games are likely to feature.

We’ve already seen some of Far Cry 6, but it would be a surprise for it not to appear at all during the Ubisoft Forward event.

Watch on YouTube

Ironically, at the start of the year the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake was delayed indefinitely, but we’ll probably see it again with a new date here.

Another game seemingly lost to the sands of time is whatever Rainbow Six: Quarantine will be rebranded as. Originally delayed in 2019, it’s apparently due before the end of the fiscal year next April.

On the Assassin’s Creed front, we’re much more likely to see more from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s second story DLC expansion, The Siege of Paris, than anything else.

Finally, there’s an outside chance we could see the re-emergence of Beyond Good and Evil 2 or the revamped city-builder, The Settlers.

Square Enix

Leaks have ravaged the surprise factor of Square Enix’s E3 showing for 2021, with reports detailing a Final Fantasy spin-off in the works at Nioh, Ninja Gaiden, and Dead or Alive developer, Team Ninja.

You can also expect to see some more details on the next main series entry in Square’s most famous franchise, Final Fantasy 16.

Outside of FF, a fuller reveal for the intriguing Project Athia/Forspoken could be on the cards, while after a turgid year of Avengers, there could be something new in store for the Marvel license.

EA Play

For better and definitely worse, EA always has its stable of genre-owning sports games to fall back on, so you can always count on new info for FIFA 22 and Madden NFL 22.

A separate reveal event is being held for Battlefield 6, so while some more gameplay will likely be shown, the could be more of a focus on something new from the Star Wars license, and hopefully updates from Bioware on the new Dragon Age.

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Speaking of Bioware, as it moves on from Anthem and in the wake of the Mass Effect Legendary Collection, could it be too soon to see a return to the Mass Effect series at large?

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EA hires former Call of Duty general manager to lead the Battlefield franchise

Posted on June 3, 2021 by

Battlefield

Byron Beede, an ex-Call of Duty general manager and veteran developer, has been appointed general manager and SVP of the Battlefield series at EA.

EA announced yesterday that Beede’s appointment in the senior role “signals a strategic, long-term commitment to the growth of the franchise” (thanks, IGN).

Beede has some strong experience working in similarly big games: Call of Duty and Destiny headline his CV, and it stands to reason that his experience launching the series’ live-service models will be called upon in this new role.

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Beede will report directly to Respawn founder Vince Zampella, who has himself expanded his role within EA, including heading up DICE LA.

We already know that EA is pulling out all the stops for its next Battlefield game (still referred to by fans as Battlefield 6), which is aiming to launch on PC and both generations of consoles later this year.

The publisher has called upon a whole host of its studios – including Criterion – to help out with Battlefield 6, and it’s quickly becoming a key title in the company’s portfolio.

Beede’s appointment makes sense in a world where Call of Duty Warzone has exploded in popularity; EA likely sees Activision’s live-service battle royal attracting over 100 million players and wants some of that lucrative market share for itself.

To that end, EA Los Angeles has been drafted to help with the upcoming shooter and is mainly taking care of its live service facets. Given that Beede also overlooked the launch of Call of Duty Mobile, it stands to reason that EA will want to lean on his expertise to help with the Battlefield mobile game that’s coming in 2022.

The future certainly seems bright for Battlefield fans. Let’s just hope EA can meet its own lofty expectations for the game. Fans will see what’s in store for them this year at next week’s Battlefield 6 reveal.

The post EA hires former Call of Duty general manager to lead the Battlefield franchise appeared first on VG247.

10 years later, the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy still haunts gaming culture

Posted on June 2, 2021 by


I first heard about player choice in the original BioShock. It was 2007, and I was sitting in front of the blocky family Dell and a thick CRT monitor watching 360p E3 coverage as Ken Levine seductively revealed the intricacies of the ecosystem in Rapture. We could rescue all of these little girls, he said, but we could also harvest them for their genetic resources. 

That binary is downright laughable in retrospect; here was this meditative videogame with Kubrick ambitions, and yet the only way it could introduce any ethical quandary to the narrative was through… the literal murder of children? Whatever. It didn't matter. I was ensorcelled by BioShock's attempt to embody the grim, philosophic future of the interactive arts. At last, a chance to leave a permanent mark on the worlds we inhabit, to negotiate freedom from the disc. The new game auteurs were going to break from the past. Ken Levine was going to make me a little bit uncomfortable, and I relished the opportunity.

Five years later, a riot broke out.

A tattered Commander Shepard stood at the crucible, and decided which way he would put an end to the Mass Effect universe. Would he destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy in the blink of an eye? Would he give his mortal shell over to the AI and emerge as a sweatless, Star Trek Q-style deity, that's about a million miles removed from the character's original all-too-corporeal appeal? Or would he simply get down to some Deus Ex Machina business, and "merge" the tendencies of synthetic and organic life together, leaving behind a minefield of plot holes?

We do not need to relitigate any of the Mass Effect 3 endings. In fact, I reckon that no story sequence has sparked more thinkpieces, chaffed podcast debates, and locked message board threads in recent videogame history. If you are entirely divorced from the discourse, it can be best summed up this way: Mass Effect 3 concluded in an overstuffed 15 minute climax that took some bold, perhaps reckless risks with its tone, cast, and story implications. Fans were apoplectic.

It just snowballed like crazy, and pretty soon the whole issue was on fire.

If that sounds familiar to you, it's because Mass Effect 3 has become the blueprint for all varieties of insurrection. When Shepard chose his path and ignited the internet, geekdom as a unilateral pop cultural force was rounding into form. Years later, Disney financialized the Marvel brand into a juggernaut, causing every production house on the planet to desperately carve out their own bespoke multiverses worshipped by a global community of enthusiasts. But in 2012, I'm not sure if anyone fully understood the degree to which fans could influence the properties they love—especially when faced with a plot choice they didn't agree with. 

"It's incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game's endings were not up to their expectations," BioWare co-founder and general manager Ray Muzyka said at the time, as the rancor was picking up. "Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics—but out of respect for our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility."

It is a revelatory quote, and initial proof that for as much as this new generation of game studios dreamt of auteur autonomy, the customer was always right. Convictions be damned.

BioWare would eventually fulfill that pivot. Three months after the backlash, Mass Effect 3 earned an airbrushing in the form of an "Extended Cut," which sanded away some of the chief complaints. The Mass Relays survived, as did many of Shepard's crew mates. If you played your cards right, there is a chance the Normandy blasts off from the planet it crash-landed on in the epilogue, offering palliative care to the many bereaved hearts in the pickled gamer symposium. Once upon a time, it wasn't possible to retcon on the fly. George Lucas waited decades before he had the chance to smooth over the loose ends in the first Star Wars trilogy, but this nascent generation of gamers correctly predicted that with the dawn of live games and constant DLC maintenance, they could put the screws to BioWare and demand the gratification they wanted. It worked, and the industry hasn't been the same since. 

Joshua Rivera published a good take on this at the end of 2019 for Kotaku. He noted that "player choice" is a bit of an oxymoron. It doesn't matter how much rope a studio concedes to the player over the course of a game story; the director at the far end of the table still holds all the cards. 

"Constraints that are easy to accept if you are Mario choosing one path over another become harder to grok in a narrative determined to woo you into believing your choices matter in a way that transfers authorship to you," wrote Rivera. "Mass Effect is videogames’ own sword of Damocles finally coming loose. A franchise that emphasized choice so much that when its final act made a decision players did not care for, they chose not only to reject it but to demand it be changed." 

In that sense, perhaps Mass Effect was doomed from the start. All of the rent accrued over the trilogy—the incisive conversations with suspicious crew members, the emotional devastation during its fork-in-the-road moments, the ownership that BioWare claimed to offer its players—finally came due. The company needed to end the trilogy and thread the needle. It failed, and there was hell to pay.

(Image credit: BioWare)

"I remember about a week or so after we had launched [the game], we'd seen all these excellent critical reviews," remembered BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn in an interview with Game Informer in 2016. "Then all of a sudden people were saying, 'I felt the ending was weak.' And someone would say, 'Yeah, I thought it was actually pretty bad.' And someone else would say, 'I hated that ending.' It just snowballed like crazy, and pretty soon the whole issue was on fire."

As the dust settled, it was clear that this game, and all games, would forever be a collaboration with its respective community.

Would Flynn be surprised now? Would anyone? We just watched the exact same cycle two years ago with the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones—another epic that briefly breached into the monoculture—after that series ended with a strange, plaintive whimper. A blunderbuss of petitions, editorials, and death threats punctured the internet right on cue, but unlike BioWare, HBO hasn't made any moves to spruce up the conclusion. We are only a month removed from the final unveiling of the Snyder Cut, after a nation of bereaved DC fans trusted that the ideal Justice League film remained locked away deep away in the Warner Bros coffers. (I suppose they were proven right, in that case.) The Last of Us Part II is perhaps the most profound mutation yet. Fans cancelled pre-orders before the game was even released due to the leaked confirmation of the death of a primary character. In many ways, the Mass Effect 3 controversy taught us how the careening mechanics of fandom were going to work from here on out.

"We've worked towards the goal of killing [the Reapers] for the past three games," reads the inscription posted on one of those "change the ending" signature drives in 2012. "We shouldn't have to sacrifice anything more to watch the Reapers die. Games are supposed to be uplifting and inspirational. They should touch our hearts and inspire us to be better people." It goes on, citing a handful of specific plot points that the author wants edited. Shepard needs to live, they write, and BioWare must include an option to eliminate the Reapers without also destroying the Geth. Here's another petition, this one with 13,000 cosigners: "We demand for EA and BioWare to deliver us an ending DLC that adds what we want, for our choices to affect the game's ending. So if we want to destroy the universe the cycle of destruction continues, and if we get everything perfect we can, just for example, see Liara and Shepard get their little blue children and get old."

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Almost ten years later, I’m much more comfortable with living with BioWare’s risks.

By the closing moments of the trilogy, the Mass Effect contingency had learned to exploit the company's commitment to fan service—howling through the internet until they received an epilogue that was free of that burdensome tension or melancholia. As the dust settled, it was clear that this game, and all games, would forever be a collaboration with its respective community. By war or by peace.

None of this means Mass Effect 3's ending wasn't disappointing. The vitriol tossed in BioWare's direction remains vile, juvenile, and one of the worst parts of gaming culture, but I think even the most generous of stans can admit that the narrative grew cold in its waning moment—betraying the amiable galactic comradeship of the series. That said, I find myself nostalgic for the salad days, before the internet grew truly shrill and inescapable. Remember when Hideo Kojima stuffed Solid Snake in a closet in favor of a mewling fop named Raiden? There was a certain finality studios wielded when not everything could be addressed in the next patch. Dissatisfied fans still complained and argued online, but could only turn to fanfiction, not successful petitions, for satisfaction. Themes and story beats couldn't be finetuned and focus-tested on the fly. Commander Shepard probably should've never been afforded the opportunity to become a god, but almost ten years later, I'm much more comfortable with living with BioWare's risks.