Category Archives: Gaming

EA Announces Visceral Studio will Close



In a blog post titled “An Update on the Visceral Star Wars Project”, EA announced that their Visceral studio will close. This change, obviously, has an impact on the Star Wars game that the studio was working on.

Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe. In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to feedback about what and how they wanted to play, and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.

EA clarifies that they will maintain the visuals and authenticity of the Star Wars universe, and will focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. The game, whatever it was, will be shifted to “a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency.”

As a result, EA states that their Visceral studio will be “ramping down and closing”. EA is already in the process of shifting as many of the Visceral studio team as possible to other projects and teams at EA. A team from EA Vancouver has already been working on the project, and they will lead a development team from EA Worldwide Studios (who will take over development of the Star Wars game).


World of Warcraft’s Hallow’s End Event has Started



The Hallow’s End event happens every year in World of Warcraft. It is clearly a Halloween-inspired event, and one that I personally find to be a lot of fun. Hallow’s End started today, October 18, 2017, and will end on November 1, 2017.

There are some new things added to the Hallow’s End event this year. One is called “Exquisite Costume Set: Xavius:, which looks like a demon. The other is a two-piece Horse costume. One player wears the head of the horse, and another player follows them around dressed as the tail of the horse.

There is a brand new pet called Naxxy. It is a small replica of Naxxramas, a giant necropolis that floats over two zones in World of Warcraft. Naxxramas is a raid dungeon. The way to obtain these special items is to collect in-game currency by trick-or-treating at the inns.

Perhaps the most interesting change has to do with the Headless Horseman battle. This year, players who have characters that are level 23 or higher will be able to queue up for the Headless Horseman encounter in the Dungeon Finder.

This change might give players a better chance at obtaining The Horseman’s Reins (a special, and highly sought after, mount).  Brand new players can get to level 23 in a reasonably short amount of time.  Players who have several low-level alts, that are at least level 23, can queue them up for the Headless Horseman encounter.  The Horseman’s Reins have to drop eventually…. right?


Niantic has a Pokémon GO AR Photo Contest



Niantic announced that it is holding a Pokémon GO AR Photo Contest. The contest is extremely easy to enter and involves taking an AR photo of any Pokémon that is in a “real-world” environment. There are prizes associated with this contest. The AR photo contest started on October 11, 2017, and will end on October 25, 2017.

Starting today, we’re challenging you to snap epic Pokémon GO AR photos and post them on Instagram using the hashtag #PokemonGOcontest. If your AR photo is selected as one of the top 10 submissions, you’ll win a Pokémon GO Prize Pack containing a Pokémon GO Plus, a poster autographed by the Pokémon GO team, and wireless Bluetooth earbuds. You have until October 25 to submit your best AR photo, so go on an adventure, take a photo, and share it with us on Instagram!

As always, it is a good idea to take the time to read the official rules (which are located on the same page as the contest announcement). Here are a few key things to know:

To be eligible for the contest, the entrant must be at least the age of majority in their country, state, province, or jurisdiction of residence (and at least 20 years old in Taiwan) at the time of entry.

Entrants must not be a resident of a country where Pokémon GO has not been officially released as of October 11, 2017.

Entrants must use the augmented reality (AR) camera feature of the Pokémon GO app on their mobile device that displays their capture of a Pokémon as they use the Pokémon GO app.

Photos where an individual appears in or is identifiable in the photo will not be considered and will be deemed void.

Niantic strongly encourages entrants to use caution when taking photos in connection with the contest. They do not condone taking photos in areas or dangerous situations that may involve certain health related risks, including risk of physical injury. Niantic does not want entrants to trespass on private property.

There are 10 Grand Prizes available.


Overwatch Halloween Terror Event has Started



The Overwatch Halloween Terror 2017 event started on October 10, 2017, and will end on November 1, 2017. Some pieces of the event had been leaked prior to its start day. Blizzard Entertainment now has a page full of official information about it.

For the next three weeks, we’re celebrating the spookiest time of the year with a seasonal event. Expand your collection of seasonal-themed items and relieve a chilling tale in our PVE brawl: Junkenstein’s Revenge.

This year, we’ve added a new endless mode for Junkenstein’s Revenge, with leaderboards to commemorate those who last the longest in their fight against the evil doctor. Plus, unlock over 50 seasonal items – including the new legendary skins like Dracula Reaper, Van Helsing McCree, Totally 80s Zarya, and Dragon Symmetra – alongside last year’s Halloween Terror gear.

In Junkenstein’s Revenge, you can team up with three other players and fight Junkenstein and his Monster, along with other enemies such as the Summoner, the Reaper, and Witch of the Wilds.

The Endless Night event is new this year. Play as one of four additional heroes: Genji, Torbjorn, Widowmaker, or Zenyatta. The goal is to survive as long as possible against wave after wave of enemies and bosses that assault the castle doors. Those who survive the longest will earn a spot on the all-new leaderboard.

Overwatch players can now purchase a Halloween Terror Loot Box. They are filed with new skins, emotes, highlights, avatars, sprays, voice lines, and more. It is also possible to buy items that you missed from last year’s event with credits for a discounted price. Blizzard states that there are over 140 cosmetic items available. As you might expect, the Halloween Terror Loot Box will only be around for a limited time.


Call of Duty Halloween Scream Event has Started



Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has added a bunch of fun, Halloween related, things to the game. The event is called “Willard Wyler’s Halloween Scream” and it will last until November 1, 2017.

A press release states that this community event will allow players to acquire all-new Halloween-themed loot, to participate in XP-boosting events, to play through a new zombies mode and to receive exclusive free items that are only available during the event.

The Halloween Scream event includes:

  • Free Halloween-themed cosmetic item every Friday, along with one final gift on October 30, 2017.
  • Halloween-themed gear and loot, including brand-new zombie-themed Rig skins, available to earn
  • “Boss Battle” mode, which starts on October 13, 2017. It allows players to take on their favorite final bosses from each of the Infinite Warfare zombies modes. It begins with the first chapter, Zombies in Spaceland, and continues with the following chapters becoming available, two per week, ending with the ultimate battle in The Beast from Beyond. (Players must own DLC packs to access DLC chapters.)
  • Return of Gesture Warfare multiplayer mode to celebrate Halloween, which runs now through October 12, 2017, and allows fans to use gestures to humiliate and annihilate their opponents.
  • Carnage, a fan-favorite multiplayer map from the Retribution DLC pack, free to play and with double XP for all players from October 12, 2017, through November 1, 2017.


SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative End to Video Game Strike



SAG-AFTRA has reached an agreement to end the strike against 11 video game companies that has been waged since October 21, 2016. The tentative agreement was reached on September 25, 2017.

The terms of the tentative agreement include a new bonus structure that provides an additional payment to performers (voice actors). The bonus payment, which is due no later than the release date of the game, is based on the number of sessions worked on each game, beginning with a $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris pointed out that a secondary payment structure was one of the members’ key concerns. Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Negotiating Committee noted that the bonus payments they have now are significantly larger than what they had 11 months ago.

Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez was lead manager on the new contract. He said: “The new transparency provisions will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of the project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role.”

He continued, “Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity, or racial slurs, and whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether stunts will be required.”

The contract will be reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board at its October meeting.The new terms take effect upon ratification.

Kotaku reported that the SAG-AFTRA strike was against game companies like Electronic Arts, Disney, Insomniac Games and Take Two. Kotaku also reported that the voice actors’ request for two-hour limits on sessions that require voice strain (such as screaming) is not part of the tentative contract.


RuneScape is Coming to Mobile Devices



Jagex is home to the iconic massively multiplayer online roleplaying game RuneScape. They are a tribe of over 300 passionate game developers and specialist teams, and are headquartered in Cambridge, UK.

Jagex has announced that RuneScape is coming soon to mobile devices. Those who want to know more can register interest on the RuneScape website. The registration is in the form of a survey titled “RuneScape Mobile BETA Sign Up.”

RuneScape will soon be available on mobile devices. That’s right – RuneScape. The game you know and love, on your phone or tablet, with a mobile-optimized interface and cross-platform play between mobile and desktop versions. Your game, your character, anywhere!

Jagex says that RuneScape Old School Mobile is coming this winter, with RuneScape Mobile “hot on its heels” in 2018.


Battleborn’s Fall Update is its Last Update



Battleborn is from Gearbox Software. The game is now available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Battleborn was launched in May of 2016, and the Fall Update will be the last update of the game.

Battleborn is an ambitious fusion of genres. The game combines highly-stylized visuals and frenetic first-person shooting, with Gearbox’s industry-leading co-operative combat, and an expansive collection of diverse heroes.

A post on the Gearbox Forums included a special message from Battleborn Creative Director Randy Varnell. Part of that message said:

As of this week, there will be no more Battleplans and there is currently no planned content after the Fall Update. Details on any future changes or new will be made on our forums or through social media, so keep your radars on.

Never fear! Battleborn is here to stay. Nothing is changing with Battleborn, and the servers will be up and active for the foreseeable future. We announced the Fall Update for the game at PAX including some new skins, themed around some of your favorite Borderlands characters! That update will also include some updated title art (more full bar titles!) for the more significant challenges in the game, as well as some additional Finisher Boosts and Taunts. Also, there are minor balance changes in that patch.

The forum post alludes to a “highly anticipated project” that some people at Gearbox have been working on. Battleborn Creative Director Randy Varnell says that he will “play a significant role in that highly anticipated but unannounced game.”


Bungie Removed Graphical Element from Destiny 2 Armor



Bungie made a decision to remove the graphical element (or, artwork) from a piece of armor in Destiny 2. To be more specific, the decision focuses on the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets. The artwork was removed after Bungie became aware what the imagery resembled.

On September 12, 2017, the verified Bungie Twitter account tweeted the following:

I’ve gone down an internet “rabbit hole” (so you don’t have to) in regards to the imagery on the gauntlets. I’m going to summarize the details here, and leave you to dig deeper if you want to know more background.  It helps if you know what the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets looked like:

It has been said that imagery looks like “kek”. World of Warcraft players might identify “kek” as “lol”.World of Warcraft has two factions: Horde and Alliance. If I play my Orc (Horde) and put “lol” into the chat – Alliance players will see “kek”. Blizzard intentionally prevents Horde and Alliance players from being able to verbally communicate with each other in-game.

The Know Your Meme website has details about how “kek” was taken up by people who use 4Chan. It appears they created a satirical religion around it. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a detailed article about “kek”. The key thing to note is that the artwork on the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets resembles the lettering on a flag that has been seen at some alt-right rallies.

Bungie made a blog post titled “Too Close for Comfort”. They provide more information than one can fit into a Tweet about their decision regarding the Road Complex AA1 gauntlets.

Earlier this week, we were made aware that a graphical element on one of Destiny 2’s armor pieces bore close resemblance to an internet meme that has been subsequently repurposed to represent hate and intolerance. This was completely unintentional. As an immediate response, we extended our planned maintenance window to remove the element from the armor piece itself, and will be following up next week with another patch to remove the same element from the UI icon and preview screens, scrubbing it from the game altogether.

The Bungie blog post has information about how that image got into the game, and what steps they are taking to prevent something like this from happening again.


BlizzCon Virtual Ticket Now Available



The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket is available now in the Blizzard Shop in the Americans, Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Pricing and availability varies by region. It is a good option for people who are unable to attend BlizzCon in person.

For starters, the Virtual Ticket unlocks live access to all the stages at BlizzCon 2017 – and in addition to the game updates, developer discussions, and community contests you’ve come to enjoy, you’ll also get access to events featuring community creators, voice actors, and more. Our new BlizzCon All Access channel will act as your guided tour through the event and around the show floor.

The BlizzCon 2017 Virtual Ticket includes:

  • Developer and Community Events
  • Costume and Talent Contests
  • Closing Ceremony
  • Exclusive Interviews
  • Behind the Scenes & From the Floor
  • Pre-show Video Series (weekly videos)
  • Enhanced Esports Viewing
  • Goody Bag Discount – Get $10 USD off this year’s BlizzCon Goody Bag (Supplies are limited.)
  • In-Game Goodies – Unlock this year’s BlizzCon in-game items for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm.

Two in-game goodies are special mounts for World of Warcraft players. The Stormwind Skychaser is the mount for the Alliance, and the Orgrimmar Interceptor is the mount for the Horde. Those items are already available in-game for players who purchase the BlizzCon 2017 Virtual Ticket.