Far Cry 5’s testicle roasting is just part of the grand Far Cry fabric, says developer

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Remember the days when side missions were all about killing rats and collecting items? How times have changed. In 2018, Far Cry 5 players can stumble onto an optional mission that will have them hunting down fresh testicles for the local culinary celebration, Testy Festy. It involves guns, bulls, tractors, and the most surprising use of Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing since that awkward ninth grade biology lesson.

It sure came as a surprise in the game. Ten minutes before, I’d been reading a pretty emotional letter from a father to his daughter while I was checking out a prepper stash, and the local cult was still raging – but here I was attacking sexually aroused cattle with a flamethrower. Far Cry 5 feels more open than ever before, so the emotional and the crazy is all mixed into one massive cocktail. We spoke to the game’s executive producer Dan Hay about how the Testy Festy mission came about, and how the team at Ubisoft makes the shifts in tone work.

“It’s exactly what you imagine. The game is so big, and we want to make it so that you have a whole bunch of different experiences,” he says. “So that one minute you have something that’s poignant, and the next minute you have something that’s crazy, and that it’s always surprising.”

Hay says the key to creating a mission like Testy Festy is the one ingredient that can make or break a Tinder date. “That’s the thing that’s really tricky: injecting charm into it with something like the right song. Each character and story has a little idiosyncrasy to it.That’s the process, finding what it is that makes it weird and wonderful.”

And what about those shifts in tone? We got a few hours to play the game, and I spent a lot of that time drawn to the madder moments – but someone else might’ve spent that time just following the main mission. How does the team plan for players following their own whims rather than a storyline?

“The way I choose to think about it is like a piece of music,” says Hay. “In previous Far Crys, we were building a very specific piece of music; we knew where you were going to be at certain beats, so we knew what emotional state you would be in. With this game, we said ‘No – just provide unique notes and rests, and let the player choose what it is they’re going to do.’ It’s not prescriptive, it’s just about opportunities.

“There are going to be times when you go through and you find something that’s poignant, something that’s powerful, something that’s earnest. Then there are going to be times when you’re running around saying ‘That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.’ Our world is not painted with one brush, so why would we try to do that if we’re trying to build worlds? Why not make it interesting, unique, and allow the players to explore?”

This wild experimentation is part of what keeps the Far Cry series so fresh. It’s an action game that has gone back to the Stone Age, had an ’80s-style spin-off, and let you ride elephants around Nepal. “One of the cool things about our brand is that we get to play,” says Hay. “It’s the same spirit that created Blood Dragon, or Far Cry 4; we said ‘OK, what about going back 12,000 years and doing something in prehistory’? Somebody says ‘What?!’ – and then we know it’s the right idea. As soon as somebody says ‘what’ we know we have to chase it.”

 

Nintendo Switch SHOCK: Bad news, those amazing games might be on hold – or cost a fortune

Nintendo Switch SHOCK: Bad news, those amazing games might be on hold - or cost a fortune

Nintendo Switch gamers looking for blockbuster hits on their handheld may have to wait until 2019.

Developers have been told plans to roll out massive 64GB game cards for the console-cum-portable machine have been delayed a year.

It means big budget, cross-platform titles that take up huge file space will have to be delayed too.

The Switch has a very conservative cartridge memory of 32GB. But on the rival Xbox One and PS4 many of the biggest and best games often come in a 40-50GBs each.

So titles like Call of Duty: WW2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins won’t be appearing in their full glory on the Switch any time soon.

Cut down versions of them, maybe, like the Switch-only FIFA 18 that cut out a lot of modes and additional graphics to keep the file size low enough to fit the handheld comfortably.

Currently, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Blu-ray discs allow up to 50GB of data.

Compare that to Switch’s current maximum of 32GB and you can see the limitations Nintendo has to play with.

While first-party exclusives like Zelda and Mario tend to be quite small in file size, there will be worries about third-party support going into 2018 as developers often don’t have the time or inclination to make a bespoke version of their games separately for the Switch.

And the console itself could suffer as games planned for the machine this year are now shelved until 2019 after the game card news.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Nintendo told third-party developers recently that 64GB game cards for retail games would not be made available until sometime next year.

Brendan Sinclair, of the Games Industry website, said: “At the moment, Switch game cards max out at 32GB of data, significantly less than the 50GB allowed by Blu-ray discs used on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

“While that’s plenty of space for many titles (the Wall Street Journal noted Nintendo’s critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey both come in at under 16GB), some third-party publishers have already run into space constraints.

“Titles like NBA 2K18 and WWE 2K18 still require retail purchasers to download additional information to a microSD card, while Bethesda shipped Doom with the single-player campaign on the game card, and online multiplayer requiring a separate download.”

Trailer: Dark Souls Remastered, coming to Nintendo Switch

The only solution, it seems, is paying more and buying additional MicroSD cards to make up the space on the console.

We ourselves found a major problem with LA Noire in our review last year in that the digital download of the game needs Switch players to dump everything else from the console’s internal memory, as well as a separately bought microSD just to get it running on the system.

It meant getting rid of key games like Mario Oddessy from the machine altogether just to play an ageing title that easily ran on the Xbox360 and PS3.

People familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal the delay in thr bigger cartridges was due to “technical issues”.

And Nintendo want to avoid a social media backlash similar to the one following the Switch launch, where there were reports of units warping in the dock and JoyCon controllers unpairing from the system at random.

Industry analyst Dr Serkan Toto saw limited significance in the delay of 64GB game cards, telling the journal they “would be nice to have, but surely not essential for the Switch’s success.”

Xbox Games with Gold for January 2018 send you raiding with Lara Croft and Van Helsing

 

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The holiday season is just a warm memory now, but the gifts keep on coming for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. January’s selection of Games with Gold titles encompasses solo platforming and survival adventures as well as co-op friendly action experiences. Not to mention some good old fashioned time travel. Here’s what you can look forward to downloading for free this month.

Remember: any games you choose to download during their availability period will remain accessible so long as you have an active Xbox Live Gold membership. And don’t forget too that any Xbox 360 games made available through Games With Gold are also backwards compatible with Xbox One.

January 2018 free Games With Gold games

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 3 (Xbox One) – Available: January 1 – 31
The concluding chapter of the Van Helsing action RPG trilogy is a fine way to while away the hours killing freaky monsters across gothic Europe. Choose from six playable character classes and level up your slaying talents, and even play through the entire campaign in co-op with up to four players (or try out the PvP mode, which also supports up to four).

Tomb Raider: Underworld (Xbox One / Xbox 360) – Available: January 1 – 15
Before Lara Croft went into full reboot mode in 2013, Tomb Raider: Underworld presented some of the most refined movement and exploration the series had ever seen. If you ever missed Ms. Croft’s more exaggerated adventures but didn’t want to go all the way back to the clunky days of the ’90s originals, this game is just what you’re looking for.

Back to the Future: The Game – 30th Anniversary Edition (Xbox One) – Available: December 16 – January 15
Telltale is currently known for its adaptations of The Walking Dead, Batman, and the Fables comics, but once upon a time it also made one of the most beloved ’80s films into a playable experience. Enter Back to the Future: The Game, which picks up after the trilogy and presents an all-new adventure for Marty McFly.

Today’s best Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription deals

Zombi (Xbox One) – Available January 16 – February 15
Try to play this first-person zombie survival game like a shooter and you’ll quickly become another shambling corpse. Even worse, that corpse will still have all of your stuff on it – and your new character will have to track them down and take them out to get it back. Move quietly, keep your cricket bat close at hand, and maybe you’ll make it out of London.

Army of Two (Xbox One /  Xbox 360) – Available: January 16 – 31
Army of Two is an FPS built from the ground-up with two-player co-op in mind. It’s playable alone, but it’s at its best when you and a buddy are working together and coordinating your attacks. Unfortunately, EA shut down the online servers for this game back in 2011, so you’ll need to play in local splitscreen to get the best experience.

The Last Guardian devs have put up a new teaser – meet a different kind of Beauty and Beast

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The studio behind The Last Guardian may be teasing its next project. Just over a year after The Last Guardian arrived on PS4, Gen Design updated its website with well-wishes for the New Year and a verrrrry long image. You can see part of it embedded above, here’s more.

Most of the image is darkness with a few birds circling around a pillar of light. The source is found at the base of the image: a young woman lifting herself up from a stone dais. Her nigh-luminescence and white gown evoke Yorda from Ico, which was also directed by Gen Design founder Fumito Ueda, though the stark shadows indicate that she’s reflecting light rather than emitting it. A series of steps leads down and to the right, where something big rests on the landing. Something a bit furry? Not Trico furry, no, but it has a good coat going on. And instead of weird dog-bird paws, this thing has a hand. There also might be a leg and even a chin, but it’s too dark to be sure.

ResetEra user Rösti poked a bit deeper into the image’s source script, which revealed a layer named “Beauty and the Beast 2018.” Don’t get your hopes up about a title reveal, that’s probably just a codename or overt reference to the image’s contents (though I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney’s lawyers are already drafting up the C&D letter just in case).

The Last Guardian took seven years to arrive after it was first announced in 2009. Hopefully the turnaround time on this new project – whatever it turns out to be – is much shorter!

Overwatch teases 2018 plans including Hero 27, competitive changes, and more

As Overwatch enters its third calendar year, its developers at Blizzard want players to know that the team-based shooter isn’t going stagnant any time soon. The studio released a New Year’s developer update with game director Jeff Kaplan where he teased some of the new bounty we can expect in 2018. You can watch the whole thing above, and read on to see the six things I’m most looking forward to this year.

Blizzard World opens its doors soon

This Hybrid map was first teased at Blizzcon back in November, and we’re getting super close to its debut beyond the test servers. Look forward to hunting down all the little Easter eggs of course (it is set in a fictional Blizzard theme park after all), but also be prepared for some new approaches to level design. More new maps will follow after Blizzard World throughout 2018.

Hero 27 is well on the way

Jeff Kaplan says Blizzard is “well along the path” to Overwatch’s next playable character, who he thinks is “very needed”. We haven’t gotten any new Defense heroes since launch, so that category’s as good a guess as any. Hero 27 is in internal testing right now, and though we don’t have any hint of a release date yet, I doubt we’ll have to wait too long into 2018 to find out more. Kaplan also confirmed that Blizzard has plans for more heroes even after No. 27 arrives.

Competitive Mode may get some big changes

Blizzard typically makes small tweaks to Competitive Mode between each season, like different rules for overtime, but grander changes may be afoot in 2018. “As the year goes on, we want to evolve our plan for what competitive play looks like over the long term of Overwatch, and [whether it takes] a different shape or form,” Kaplan said. I’m a pretty casual competitive player (I am aware of how much that sounds like an oxymoron) so I’m open to pretty much anything, but Blizzard will have a difficult task in pleasing the mode’s many different kinds of players.

Events get bigger, starting with Year of the Dog

The next seasonal event will be the Lunar New Year, and players can expect some “pretty significant content” when Year of the Dog begins (so hopefully not just dog icons pasted over all the old rooster icons). Kaplan confirmed that the Uprising event will reappear later in 2018 – I wasn’t sure, since it’s built around an in-universe event rather than a season or holiday – as well as celebrations for Overwatch’s second anniversary; get ready to unlock all those dance emotes while you can. Those were the only events called out by name, but it’s safe to assume that another round of Summer Games, Halloween Terror, and Winter Wonderland are on the way in 2018 too.

 The standard loot selection will grow

“Hopefully sometime this month”, the pool of non-event-exclusive loot will get a sorely needed infusion of new items. Kaplan says it will be “a ton of new content” and you’ll have all the time you need to unlock it… assuming you don’t buy all of it straight off with that pile of credits you’ve been saving up.

 The Overwatch League begins

You’re probably already pretty hyped up for the first season of Overwatch League to begin on January 10 if you’re into esports. Blizzard’s ambitious new approach to competitive play has athletes from around the world competing for city-based teams and the pre-season has already produced memorable moments aplenty. If you’re not into esports, hey, at least some of those new team skins look pretty cool.

This year’s best Destiny cosplay so far just turned up (in-ring) at a Japanese pro wrestling show

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Professional cosplayers aren’t exactly a rarity, these days. Professional wrestlers who also cosplay? There aren’t many of those. In fact there’s probably only Kenny Omega. Personifying better than anyone else the ‘curious but actually makes total sense when you think about it’ crossover between geek culture and pro grappling fandom, Omega is not only one of the best in the business, having enjoyed a hell of an international career trajectory since his debut in 2000, but he is also proudly, defiantly, a great big fanboy.

His YouTube channel is dominated by recordings of his Street Fighter matches. He’s used Mega Man themes as his entrance music. He’s used a Final Fantasy-nodding finisher called the One-Winged Angel. He’s appeared dressed as Liquid Snake. And now, for his latest appearance at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 event, he’s given us possibly the best thing to come out of Destiny 2’s disappointing Curse of Osiris expansion by turning up in a costume inspired by the titular Warlock (in truth mashing up the character’s look with the first game’s Anubis-inspired armour), packing a home-made recreation of the Vigilance Wing Exotic pulse rifle.

I’ll dodge mentioning the result of Omega’s no-disqualification match against Chris Jericho, because it only ended a few hours ago. But while you wait to catch up, would you just look at the quality of his get-up in these pics (found on Reddit, via Hova092, HAYABUSA_DCLXVI, and MakeEmSayWoo)? While the gun and the costume are tweaked just enough to not entirely infringe copyright, they’re one hell of a good recreation, and would probably get just as much photographic attention were Kenny simply a nameless nerd wandering around Comic Con. Rather than, you know, one of the best wrestlers working in one of the best promotions around.

Aug Lang Syne – PlayStation Plus’ free games for January include Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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It’s a new year, it’s cold outside (assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere), and it’s the perfect time to settle in with some difficult choices. The free PlayStation Plus games of 2018 take a strong first step with the inclusion of both Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Batman: The Telltale Series for PS4. The rest of January’s lineup is pretty nice too – take a look.

January 2018 free PS Plus games

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4): The first direct sequel in Deus Ex history finds Adam Jensen surviving in a cyberpunk world that has turned against its augmented denizens. Solve problems with a silent step and a deft hacking hand or simply blow everything up all over again, the choice – as always – is yours.

Batman: The Telltale Series (PS4): The first season of Telltale’s new Bat-venture takes some interesting approaches to well-known characters like Two-Face, The Penguin, and Bruce Wayne himself. You may have a different appreciation for the World’s Greatest Detective by the end of its five episodes.

Uncanny Valley (PS4 and PS Vita): Low-res art and survival horror are like peanut butter and chocolate: they just work together – and that holds true in Uncanny Valley. Play as a night security guard who gets a little too curious for his own good and try to get something, anything other than a very bad ending.

Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness (PS Vita and, in North America, PS4): If you’ve seen the Psycho-Pass anime, you know the basic premise of this visual novel: police officer duos work together in a dystopian future to stop crime with the assistance of invasive psychometrics. It inevitably goes downhill from there.

Sacred 3 (PS3): Wish your Gauntlet-style hack-and-slash games had just a touch more RPG complexity? Sacred 3 is here for you. Get a party of four players together and you’ll all have a rollicking time slaying your way through hordes of monsters.

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (PS3): Yes, that title is an oxymoron, and this game knows it. This loving parody of the point-and-click adventure genre rarely takes itself seriously, and it won’t trip you up with too many super-difficult puzzles either.

Bonus PSVR game (free from January 2 through March 6): StarBlood Arena

Bonus EU PS4 game: That’s You!

December 2017 free PS Plus games

  • Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition (PS4)
  • Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends (PS4)
  • Forma.8 (PS4, PS Vita)
  • Syberia Collection (PS3)
  • XBlaze Lost: Memories (PS3)
  • Wanted Corp (PS Vita)

The Last Train Is a Made in India PC Game with PS Vita Dreams

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We’ve seen Indian game studios embrace the PC over the years, and Mumbai-based Smash Game Studios is the latest to do so with The Last Train. It’s an alternate history survival game taking place during World War 2, hypothesising what would happen if Japan did have the means to retaliate after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You’re a train pilot charged with making stops to take in those seeking refuge across America.

The studio’s past efforts have been on Android and iOS, and The Last Train is its debut PC title. Currently on Indiegogo with a fund goal of $5,000 (roughly Rs. 3.2 lacs) it has reached $3,820 at time of writing this story. Gadgets 360 spoke to Hari Prasadh, Lead Creative Designer, Smash Game Studios to find out more.

“World War 2 games usually focus on the frontline soldiers like Call of Duty and Battlefield, we wanted to show a different perspective on things like how civilian lives are affected by the war,” explains Prasadh. “We obviously promoted our game on Reddit and where the game dev community is to get feedback back and forth. It was very helpful. Twitter is a good tool as well. Every now and then when we have new art, we post it there to show what we have.”

Slated for release in the first half of 2018, Prasadh tells us The Last Train is currently in alpha – closed testing that’s carried out before a proper beta test. Story and game mechanics are in place and at the end of its crowdfunding campaign the studio will begin the task of finalising the game’s art style.

“We’re inspired by games like Papers Please, and Westport Independent,” he says. “Initially we were considering an art style that conflicts with the game’s tone. We wanted something super bright and shiny like Neo Tokyo-inspired. But it didn’t fit so we went for a darker, grimmer look.”

The game description and videos augur a title that appears to be more of a roguelike akin to FTL: Faster Than Light, and Darkest Dungeon. However, Prasadh was quick to say that this is far from the case.

“It’s more survival than rogue like. Some sections let you explore cities,” he explains. “You can use tools you crafted to break windows or pick a lock and use new items to craft new things. That was the idea behind the survival aspect was Rust on Steam.” Prasadh says it was necessary to add depth to gameplay, making it an equally important element.

“When we started working on it, we didn’t have the survival element, we just had the train going around town,” he says. “It was interesting but we wanted to add more depth to the game so adding another layer to it, there was more to do. We were able to effectively increase the gameplay time in a way that had people having more to do instead of just picking up and dropping people.”

This all comes together to form a title that is fairly unusual for India. Some Indian game developers prefer to make games that focus on Indian mythology and legends. Others opt to develop titles that have a stronger focus on systems and gameplay, but narrative-focussed titles haven’t really been a strong point for many local developers. Prasadh admits that this has been a challenge.

“The hardest part was to write the story and research everything so that it was true to what it was back then,” he says. “The amount of research over the last few months is staggering. We have over 150 passenger backstories written. We didn’t want to create generic characters first and tag a description to them.”

“We wanted to write a fully-fledged story first and allow for the artist to create a story based on what comes mind after reading the story that they have,” he adds. The result is the studio’s biggest game ever. Story aside, art production for The Last Train is equally large in scope thanks to the inclusion of 20 different cities.

“Each city has to be unique and we had to choose monuments and iconic colours,” explains Prasadh. “We wanted the city view to reflect what it was like so [for example] the background with the Statue of Liberty. We wanted to capture what is unique about each city. That took time. The hardest thing was referencing and the right sources. It’s not easy as it is to type ‘1945 buildings in New York’ into Google, screens don’t show up. So we had to watch a lot of documentaries.”

All of this leads to a game that’s possibly more ambitious than its funding goal appears to be. We had to ask if Prasadh thinks the $5,000 target is enough to pull this off.

“I think it’s enough. We’re doing our best to ensure we get the most out of it,” he tells Gadgets 360. “We have a programmer based in the Philippines and we’re trying to trim the budget as much as possible as far as resources go. At the same time we’re trying to not compromise the quality of the product as well. If you look at the art work that we’re done, with the budget we have, we’re on course to do something good.”

Furthermore, a demo is in the works too. It features core game mechanics and parts of the story, and is due at the end of January. Before working on The Last Train, the studio ported one of its mobile games – Ultimate Heist to PC for approval via Steam’s then Greenlight program. This was done to ensure there are minimal development hiccups with Ultimate Heist, and that every Steam feature the team wanted gets implemented. This doesn’t extend to Steam Family Sharing – which lets you share your game with those on your friend list.

“It was a learning to implement Steam exclusive features. We want everything in place. Right from the get go we want Steam Workshops, Trading Cards, we want the complete experience in place so people can do what they want to,” he says. That’s why a DRM-free version is only a stretch goal. According to Prasadh, the extra $2,000 (approximately Rs. 1.28 lacs) needed to make a Steam-free version of The Last Train, comes at the cost of removing platform functions intrinsic to the game.

“The common misconception is that it’s easy to remove Steam leaderboards and Steam Workshops, but removing it requires a lot of changes to the code,” he explains. “It’s a big hassle to do that, which is why we had to do it in this way. We thought about it a lot and decided to focus on a Steam version first and then focus on other stuff later on.” That said, Parasadh hasn’t turned his back on the game appearing on services like GOG altogether. “Even if the goal isn’t reached if we achieve reasonable sales on Steam we would still absolutely love to get the game out on as many platforms as we possibly can,” he says.

Speaking of other platforms, The Last Train’s Indiegogo page talks about a possible Vita version. “I love the Vita. The Vita is my favourite thing,” says Prasadh. “I think it’s the most played console for me of late. I don’t get time to sit and play console games. So it’s the best thing. If I ever get an opportunity to port the game to Vita, that’s not even a second thought. The game would just be a natural fit for it. It’s simple and easy to play. You can play it in short bursts. It just makes perfect sense to port it there. I can just imagine myself doing that.”

When probed further about the plausibility of the game hitting Sony’s beleaguered handheld, he left us with this.

“It’s on how we sell on PC. If it makes sense we would 100 percent definitely consider Vita.That’s never a question. Historically the Vita has the best attach rates for any console ever for almost all the games. It’s underrated. Everyone needs to have a Vita.”