Daemon X Machina and the Witcher - all coming together on the Switch

by: Rob -

Daemon X Machina is a shooter for the Nintendo Switch that I hadn't actually heard of until this announcement. The Witcher is a bad mofo inhabiting a lore, world, video games, novels, short stories, and narrative I adore. The last Witcher game, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt recently released for the Switch, so Daemon X Machina is. bringing the heroes from that title, Geralt and Ciri, to Daemon X Machina's character creator via outfits, body types, hairstyles, and more. Basically Geralt (if you must) or Ciri (if you want to cleverly try and actually tie in the plot of the Witcher III to a new world, this is your choice) can become you mech pilot. 

This new content is free and available now to anyone playing Daemon X Machina. You can find the game itself on the Nintendo eShop.

An analysis of the "screenplay" of The Last of Us

by: Nicholas -

The Last of Us was as much of a film as it was a game, and while that certainly irked some players, it did nothing to detract from the game being a masterpiece

Part of the game's design was drafting the story and gameplay, and then once the game was on its way to being complete, combining that into a single script. The dialogue read like that in a film, and the gameplay was described in prose. This is covered in an interview with the game's director, Neil Druckmann, by the YouTuber Lessons from the Screenplay.

Set up from the very beginning to get the player invested in empathizing with Joel's story, Druckmann references the back and forth the team went on about how to make the beginning work. This started with having the player play as Sarah, Joel's daughter, and the developers succeeded in grounding the players in the game's setting of ferocious fungus zombies, making things a lot more intense. 

What makes the game work most as a film is its use of story beats. Beats are moments in which something happens that connects points of a story, whether they be emotional or plot-based. In the case of The Last of Us, a great example of a story beat, involving Sarah, is towards the end of the intro mission. Joel has escaped the town, but runs into a soldier that fires on him, killing his daughter in the process. The beat is Sarah's death, which propels the story forward to the point where, years later, he meets Ellie. 

Check out the video below.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, examined a decade later

by: Nicholas -

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was pretty great. A masterclass in multiplayer while unfortunately tepid in exploration of the war on terror in its single-player campaign, the newest entry in the series blockbuster franchise is groundbreaking, to say the least. 

But what's more interesting is the journey that it took to get there. Infinity Ward, the developer behind the original Medal of Honor and later the first Call of Duty, wanted to do a modern take on first person shooters ever since the success of the first Call of Duty

But because of the proven success of the WWII subgenre, the developer was stuck with developing the sequel, and yet still managed to eke out a major success. All this and more is covered by Raycevick's latest game documentary about the title, covering the history before and behind its development, and everything therein and after. 

Starting all the way back with Allied Assault, Raycevick covers how the developer was worried about working with EA, as even back in the 90s, the publisher had a track record of absorbing studios. Soon after Allied Assault released, the developer was meeting with Activision, pitching what would eventually become Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but it took a long time to get there. 

Four SNES and two NES games hitting the Nintendo Switch Online service next week

by: Russell -

It's been a while since we've seen any major updates to the Nintendo Switch's online collection of NES and Super NES games, but Nintendo announced on Twitter that next week on December 12th we'll see six more games added and they're all pretty solid games. On the NES we have Journey to Silius by Sunsoft and Crystalis by SNK. While I haven't played Journey to Silius yet, Crystalis is one of my favorite games on the NES. Over on the Super NES we get Kirby Super Star, Super Punch-Out, Breath of Fire II, and Starfox 2, with Breath of Fire II being the only one of the Super NES games to not be featured on the Super NES Classic.

What We're Playing

by: Randy -

League of Legends creator, Riot Games, owes 1,000 current and former female employees $10 million in "bro culture" discrimination case. A U.S. congressman illegally used campaign funds to, among other things, buy $1,300 worth of Steam games. And this chart shows how Sony turned PlayStation into the world's best-selling series of video game consoles.

So, what are you playing?

Randy Kalista
Hm. Purdy quiet 'round these here parts. Holidays got everyone tucked into other activities, I suppose. As for me?

The fun of Planet Zoo's tutorialized career mode continues to elude me. I've had to move straight into sandbox mode to finally get what I was looking for in this Prison Architect for Animals game. While I've wowed myself with a particularly keen public restroom placement, or my clever hiding of employee-only facilities, the "Zoopedia" hides the games most stunning moments. I've learned that momma grizzly bears give birth to cubs during hibernation without waking up, while the cubs root around for mother's milk, just waiting for mom to open her eyes again in spring or whatever. Also, that, y'know, Giant Burrowing Cockroaches from Australia are a popular pet because "they're easy to handle." I mean, what? So, even though it's nearly impossible for this noob to duplicate the gorgeous LEGO brick possibilities shown off in the tutorial zoos, I'm getting there. Planet Zoo is just asking for more patience than I've got pooled together right now.

Also, if I may hijack this space to talk a little about D&D, too (*looks around the room for vague approval*), the Gaming Nexus D&D Slack channel has made progress in the Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus adventure and source book. A meeting with a mercenary captain led to a meeting with an information broker, which led to some physical therapy in an unnamed bathhouse and a bloody handshaking session with a devil-worshiping cult in a sewer-leaked dungeon below. John "Bruce Lee Fanboi" Yan has acquired a frightening number of attacks with his nunchuk-swinging thri-kreen, while Eric "Angry Kaybee Store Manager" Hauter keeps a fresh decapitation in his bucket and a jaunty tune on his lips. Good times.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire gets a release date for consoles

by: Rob -

An open world with a massive cast of characters making meaningful choices to play the style you want to play. That's what Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire promises its players. Lofty, sure; and it largely delivers landing as one of the best PC games from 2018. Well 2020 is around the corner and the time has come for console players to finally get to capture the magic. 

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire is releasing on PS4 and Xbox One January 28th. There will be a Standard for $60 and an Ultimate Collector's Edition for $130. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will get you the game (of course), all three DLCs (Beast of Winter; The Forgotten Sanctum; Seeker, Slayer, Survivor), a 10-inch Od Nua Statue, Spacepig Keychain, Metal-optic 3D Sticker, and Premium Box (because all that stuff ain't going to fin in a dvd case). Check it out in the image below.

The press release highlighted the major features in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire so I thought I'd share that below to illustrate that yes, this is probably the RPG you've been waiting for. 

  • Play in either Turn-Based Mode or Classic Real-Time with Pause: Immerse yourself in a deeper single player RPG game experience - now with both classic real-time with pause and new turn-based combat, Deadfire builds on the foundation of classic tabletop gameplay more than ever before.
  • A massive adventure: Over 100 hours of gameplay per playthrough.
  • Play however you want: Detailed character creator character and over 1000 class permutations gives you the freedom to be whoever you want.
  • Gather your party: Build your party and customize your companions to join you on your quest. Assign multiple classes and deeper abilities for each. Witness their personal relationships, reactions to player choice, and interactions with each other unfold.
  • Beast of Winter DLC - Heed the call of Vatnir, a priest of the god of death, to halt the tide of destruction encroaching upon the living.
  • The Forgotten Sanctum DLC - Battle your way through the bowels of a vengeful, sleeping god.
  • Seeker, Slayer, Survivor DLC - Triumph or die in the Crucible of Kazuwari, where only the mighty reign.

Sorry, console Gwent fans, your days are numbered

by: Eric -

I knew I should have kept up with the PlayStation version of Gwent. Now, because of our collective failure to play enough on console, CD Projekt Red has announced that all further updates for Gwent on console are ceasing immediately (well, December 12, but that's immediately enough).

With the coming mobile releases, CD Projekt Red did not want to continue supporting all available platforms. The servers themselves will be shutting down next September, so you have a very brief window of nine months to request that your progress be moved to GOG, which is used for both PC and mobile versions of Gwent.

I’m being slightly snarky, but I must admit that I rather enjoyed having a card game on PlayStation, even though I haven’t engaged with it for a while. Ah, well, all good things, I suppose.

Here are the details from PlayGwent.com. There seem to by some typos in those dates, which I should note are directly from the webpage:

Starting from December 9th, 2019, console players will be able to access a webpage where they can request to copy their progress from their console account to a new or existing GOG account. Since we do not support the “merging” of accounts, we will only be able to copy progress to existing GOG accounts that do not have any GWENT progression on them at the time the request is made.
This account-copying process will be available for a period of 6 months — from 09/12/2019 to 09/06/2020. On 09/12/2019 we will release an update which will essentially freeze GWENT in its current state. From this point onwards, both console versions will be operational up until 09/06/2020. Until that time, their functionality will be limited. For example:
- There will be no regular updates for console versions starting with the December 9th update
- Future expansions and additional content won’t be released on consoles
- We’re disabling all real-money purchases on consoles, starting today - After the December 9th, 2019 update, matchmaking on consoles with other platforms will no longer be supported
What progress will be copied: 
  • All collected ornaments
  • Meteorite Powder — Only applies to Xbox One players*
  • All other currencies  
  • Cards 
  • Deck lists
  • Account level
  • Current Rank
  • Thronebreaker rewards
  • Contracts   
*Unfortunately, transferring Meteorite Powder from PlayStation 4 to GOG.COM is not possible. PlayStation 4 Players will have to spend their Meteorite Powder before requesting the account-copying process to ensure that its equivalent value can carry over.

Zen Studios announces Williams Pinball: Volume 5

by: Eric -

Never a company to rest on its laurels, Zen Studio has announced a new set of tables to be added to its Williams Pinball offerings with the release of Williams Pinball: Volume 5 on December 10, 2019.

These three legendary classic Williams and Bally pinball tables include Tales of the Arabian Nights, Cirqus Voltaire, and…No Good Gofers. Kind of had a theme going there until suddenly it didn’t.

As per usual, these table will be playable via the Pinball FX platform, which is now available on every electronic device on the planet (Android, Mac OSX, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One, iOS). I’ve been playing and reviewing quite a few Zen table adaptations, and I’m sure that these new tables will continue Zen’s unparalleled run of quality releases.

For more on No Good Gofers (and any other pinball machine you want to research), check out the uber-cool website Pinside. Beware, this is a rabbit hole you might not want to go down, as it is probably the most detailed and well-researched websites I have ever encountered. You can even find a list of every known No Good Gofers table available for public play. Or, you know, you could just buy Williams Pinball: Volume 5.


No word on pricing yet, but if this release follows the trend set by previous packs, we can probably expect Williams Pinball: Volume 5 to retail for $9.99. 

Persona 5 Royal launches in the West in March

by: Nathan -

We finally know when we will be stealing hearts as the Phantom Thieves once again. Atlus has confirmed that Persona 5 Royal will be launching in the West on March 31st 2020. The best part of this announcement is that Playstation Blog confirmed that all previous Persona 5 DLC will be free. There will be paid DLC which was the DLC made for Persona 5 Royal which will be available in different bundles. 

  • Kasumi Costume Bundle – $14.99 USD
  • Battle Bundle – $9.99 USD
  • Persona Bundle – $9.99 USD
  • DLC Bundle – $59.99 USD

There will also be special editions of the game as well. The Phantom Thieves edition will retail for $89.99 and come with the following 

  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Official Joker Mask (comes with a stand)
  • Collector’s Box
  • Art book
  • Soundtrack
  • Limited edition Steelbook case
  • Dynamic PS4 Theme code

Finally there is a Ultimate Edition Digital bundle for $99.99 and will include the game, all DLC bundles and six additional costume packs. 


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Rugby20 lifts the lid on licensed teams

by: Rob -

On the heels of an Epic World Cup last summer that saw my All Blacks soundly beaten by a better England side who themselves lost in the final by a resolute Springboks team from South Africa, Rugby20 is nearing release. The final version of the game is promising 69 official teams, 4 leagues, and over 2,000 players. Details on the third and final beta period are also out (the first two have already passed). That beta is open to those with pre-orders between 19 December and 3 January. While the beta only includes national teams, get excited for the complete roster in the full release. However, keen eyed observers will check out the graphic below and see a few key National Unions are missing from the lineup. Sigh, licensing...

Head over to the official site for all the details about Rugby20, including pre-order information or further details about the 3rd Beta. Rugby 20 will be available worldwide on January 23rd, 2020 for Xbox One and PC. The PS4 release is a week later, January 28th in North America. Full press release is after the Read More link below.