Hello once again NAGujins and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around we have a modern classic getting brought back from the dead, a favourite of mine from rAge 2015 gets new expanded gameplay, The Division takes a hard line with cheaters and Microsoft tells us to expect a special E3. Then it’s Overwatch‘s leaver system explained, Doom‘s broken multiplayer and reliable rumours on Bethesda’s E3 plans. All that, some videos and highlights from the week, after the jump.
Dark Souls 1 gets a new lease on life
The original Dark Souls was released just under five years ago, and despite a handful of sequels a group of die-hard fans have decided to resurrect the original classic for another go-round.
Instigated by the members of the Dark Souls subreddit, yesterday (Friday the 10th) was the event known as Global Restart Day, a celebration which is “all in hopes of making the game as lively as when it was in its prime!”
Dark Souls is a lot more fun with other people to play with, so the idea is to flood the servers with new characters and emulate the game’s former glory. It’s a cool idea and a nice sentiment, and it actually worked – Reddit users are reporting a great turnout for day one.
If you own the original Dark Souls you can still get in on the action – it’s not a one-day thing, the goal is to start another playthrough. Hell, I’m kind of tempted to get a copy of the game myself for cheap and get in on this.
Cuphead evolves into a platformer
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this game mentioned, and I must say I cracked a smile when I saw it show up in the news this week.
Matt Fick and I got absolutely rekt playing this at rAge last year, but we had a blast doing it. At the time it was essentially a series of pretty damn difficult bossfights, with a quirky aesthetic and some truly gorgeous animations.
Microsoft has seemingly heard concerns that the game’s collection of punishing bosses may not be the most fun experience, and has now included some honest-to-goodness platforming action as well. We’ll probably see more at E3, but here’s a video showing some of the new content.
The Division implements permabans for first-time cheaters
I haven’t played The Division myself, but since release I’ve heard people moaning about cheaters in the game. This is particularly problematic since certain areas allow players to kill and loot other players – not so fun when you’re murdered and plundered by a cheater.
Ubisoft announced this week that they’ve “taken action” against 30,000 accounts found cheating, 3,800 of which were permanently banned. This apparently led to a “significantly improved experience”, but that’s not good enough. In the same blog post, Ubisoft detail their harsher plans for the future:
“Following this campaign of suspensions and bans, it also became clear that while huge progress has been made in terms of cheat detection, our 14 day suspension on first offense policy has not been dissuasive enough. Judging from your feedback, and based on what we witnessed when cheaters came back to the game, we have now decided to push our policy one step further: we will now start applying permanent bans on first offense when players are caught using cheat engines and we will communicate clearly when new ban waves are taking place.”
In my mind, this should always be the case. Overwatch did the same thing from day one, and in my opinion it should be the new gold standard for all online multiplayer games. Cheating isn’t something that happens by accident, it takes a concerted effort to install third-party software to exploit the game – ban these idiots and force them to shell out more cash if they want to keep playing (not to mention starting from scratch).
Microsoft promises a “special E3”
Sony have let the cat out of the bag on the PS4K, but also said they won’t be showing it at E3. Heads are now turned to Microsoft to see if they WILL have something new and shiny to show off at their exhibition on Monday.
They haven’t let on much, but did issue this fairly generic statement: “We are just days away from E3 2016 and we’re excited to share more details on what Xbox fans can expect this year and beyond. We expect this to be a special E3.”
Rumours abound of a slimmed down Xbox One and streaming devices, as well as a possible new controller. So NAG collective, what are you expecting?
Overwatch details their leaver system
While we’re on the topic of crappy players doing crappy things this week, Blizzard has provided some clarity on how they plan on handling leavers in Overwatch. This is less of a big deal right now, but with ranked play matches it’s pretty important that leaving is a punishable offense.
Players will be considered a “leaver” if they exit the game after the “Assemble Your Team” phase and before match end. This means it’s safe to bail in the assemble part, and safe to bail as soon as you see Victory or, in my case, Defeat flash across the screen.
The system works on the ratio of abandoned games in your last 20, and when you find yourself on the wrong side of it you’ll incur a 75 percent XP penalty. Blizzard’s communication on the system for now seems to point to it being fairly lenient, with the aim being to target “habitual” leavers.
So, you know, don’t be a dick.
Id takes the reins on Doom’s broken multiplayer
While most had plenty of great things to say about Doom’s campaign, the multiplayer component was greeted with a resounding “meh”.
It’s not just the samey gameplay and lack of variety that’s got gamers down, it’s missing some pretty common key features such as private matches, voting on maps and custom settings. To make things worse, cheating is apparently rampant on the PC platform, with various helper apps being easily available online.
Many have pointed to the multiplayer being outsourced to studio Certain Affinity as evidence enough that it was a tacked on afterthought, and even more worryingly won’t be getting a lot of support in the future.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Doom’s game director Marty Stratton said that “there’s no lack of commitment to Doom as a multiplayer game”.
“We are already working on private matches with custom game settings and expect to include that in a free update this summer.”
They always plan on adding bots: “Our bot system was actually written by one of our long-time senior programmers, John Dean, known online as ‘Maleficus’, who also wrote the Return to Castle Wolfenstein Fritz bot and the bots in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, so he does great work with bots. But John also just happens to be our internal lead programmer on SnapMap, so he’s very busy.”
As for privately hosted dedicated servers – not likely. Seems the golden age of PC server browsers is over as we’re all forced into console-style matchmaking systems. Yawn.
It’s good that the necessary changes are being made, but once again I find myself sounding like a stuck record – why can’t games just have everything they’re supposed to have at launch? This trend of patching games into what they’re supposed to be post-launch is pretty exhausting.
Bethesda looks set to have an exciting E3
Rumours abound that a Skyrim remaster is coming to next-gen consoles and will be announced at E3, but that’s not the only Bethesda IP that’ll be getting some love.
Word on the digital street is that we’ll also be seeing Wolfenstein 2, Evil Within 2 and even Prey 2 will be resurrected from the dead. Wolf 2 was seemingly spoiled by a voice actress from the first game, and The Evil Within 2 is said to be the game least likely to be on display as it may still be early in development.
Prey 2 is the most interesting of the bunch, as it spent years in development hell before ultimately being canned. Reports later came out that at the time it was scrapped it was a “finished game”. It’ll be quite the story for a game that was shown at E3 2011 and binned to make a re-appearance at E3 2016.
Personally, I’m most excited for another Wolfenstein game – I absolutely loved The New Order.
Injustice 2 has been announced – here’s the reveal trailer.
Here’s something really cool – an isometric stealth platformer called Tokyo 42.
Horizon Zero Dawn will be landing March next year – here’s a handy video compiling everything we know so far.
Kickstarted Castlevania successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is shaping up really nicely. Check out this latest gameplay video.
Best of NAG
Wesley Fick tackles E3 predictions this week – particularly on Microsoft’s presentation.
Then our gracious overlord Dane Remendes reviews like, an entire PC.
Meanwhile, yours truly rambles on about nothing in particular.
We finish serious with Matt Fick’s interview with SMAC Games.