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Updated: 29 min 33 sec ago

Super Nintendo World finally opens to public this month

1 hour 39 min ago

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka will at last open to the public on 18th March 2021.

The general opening of the area has been repeatedly delayed due to the effects of the pandemic, and comes almost a year behind schedule.

Nintendo announced the 18th March date this morning via its official Twitter , accompanied by an image showing guests leaping over its landmarks while wearing a selection of face masks.

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Categories: Video Games

Music Week: The many ways of making music in games (and what they mean)

2 hours 40 min ago

Hello! This week we're going to be celebrating the intersection of music and games in many of its forms. Kicking things off is Malindy and a piece about the pleasure of making stuff.

A while back now, Google Arts and Culture released Blob Opera, a virtual choir designed by Google's artist in residence, David Li. This virtual choir isn't just something you listen to, it's a toy with the tactile charm of a Google doodle. On screen, you have four blobs that with their round eyes and big mouths remind me of Rayman's best friend Globox. Each of them represents a voice in a choir - bass, tenor, mezzo-soprano and soprano. While I felt the slight of this choir not including a contralto voice, I was soothed by how fun it was to play with. Making music is easy - drag a blob upwards and it stretches like taffy, changing pitch. Drag it forward and it sings a different vowel sound. You can only control one blob at a time, the rest will automatically follow suit. It's a deceptively simple setup, but it allows you to make music with little more than your finger or your mouse. You can even record it and share it with others.

The story behind Blob Opera makes everything about it even better, because it's a genuine feat of technology, rather than a cute toy. Blob Opera is showcase of machine learning - four performers taught a computer music by singing to it, and what you hear when you use the opera yourself is a machine's interpretation of music, and more importantly, how several people are supposed to sound together, rather than just pre-recorded samples by artists that you can play around with.

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Categories: Video Games

Phasmophobia's latest update means ghosts can open doors and follow your voice when hunting you down

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 19:03

Kinetic Games, developer of indie smash horror Phasmophobia, has unveiled a raft of changes coming to the ghost detective game, including a new accessibility feature and quality of life improvements.

"Over the past few months there has been a beta branch running with regular experimental updates," the developer said in an update shared over the weekend. "With these updates the game has been fixed, optimised and changed in various ways to improve the gameplay for everyone.

"Some of these changes are quite significant however these changes are made to improve the overall gameplay experience. This update now puts the game into a much more stable state which will allow for new content to start being worked on."

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Categories: Video Games

Square Enix bans almost 6000 players for real-money trading in Final Fantasy 14

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 18:07

Square Enix has banned over 5000 players for what it deems as "illegal activities" in Final Fantasy 14.

In an update to the official website, the publisher reminded players that "real money trading (RMT) and other illicit activities upset the balance of the game and, as such, are prohibited under the Terms of Service".

Having reportedly "confirmed the existence of players who are engaging in these illicit activities", Square Enix has now terminated 5037 accounts for participation in real money trading and prohibited activities, and another 814 for advertising real money trading.

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Categories: Video Games

Gogeta SS4 is coming to Dragon Ball FighterZ later this week

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 17:16

Gogeta SS4 is coming to Dragon Ball FighterZ later this week.

Though we knew the fighter - a fusion of both Goku and Vegeta - was on the way to the third DLC pass, his release date was only confirmed during last night's Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour stream.

Gogeta SS4 will drop for FighterZ Pass 3 holders on 10th March, and be available for everyone else on 12th March. Here he is in action:

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Categories: Video Games

Take-Two's CEO reckons we're "ready" for $70 video games

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 16:17

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has revealed he thinks gamers are "ready" for $70/£65 video games.

Talking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week and transcribed by our friends at VGC, Zelnick was asked to expand on why the publisher had decided to add $10 to the price of NBA 2K21.

The first publisher to confirm a price hike for next-gen video games, Zelnick said the decision came because the game offered "an array of extraordinary experiences" and the last frontline price increase in the US was fifteen years ago.

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Categories: Video Games

Inside Dinosaur Planet - examining Rare's recently recovered 'lost' N64 game

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 16:00

Rewind to the turn of the century - the next generation of console gaming was in its infancy with the arrival of Sega Dreamcast and the promise of PlayStation 2, but Rare was busy finishing up its latest Nintendo 64 projects. Perfect Dark was set to arrive that summer after multiple delays, Conker's Bad Fur Day would arrive the following year, but it was Dinosaur Planet that would perhaps be the most exciting title of the lot.

Magazine articles teased a multi-character, Zelda-style action adventure set in a beautiful dino-inhabited world. It was shaping up to become one of the largest games Rare had ever produced but before it reached the finish line, the game was cancelled and development shifted to the Nintendo GameCube, where it became Star Fox Adventures. Dinosaur Planet became a 'lost' game then, never properly seen outside of Nintendo until recently, when a surprisingly complete build salvaged from development hardware appeared.

In the new episode of DF Retro embedded below, I take a look at the recovered code in depth, see how many of its ideas, levels and art transitioned across to Star Fox Adventures and we also talk to one of the people who actually made it. In the process, we'll also re-assess Star Fox Adventures itself - a game that didn't receive the many accolades traditionally bestowed upon Nintendo first party output, but a title that's clearly one of the most technologically advanced games on the platform. Thanks to the arrival of the lost N64 code, we can now more readily appreciate its achievements, along with the level of work required to take the original game concept and move it on to the new hardware.

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Categories: Video Games

Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife resurrects the tedium of early VR games

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 16:00

Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife is shaping up to be quite an underwhelming trudge through a beige world that's full of beige horrors and beige gameplay mechanics.

Billed as a 'horror exploration game', Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife is light on jump scares and heavy on those most boring of VR moments - the ones where you just have to stand around and twiddle your thumbs while you listen to other people explain the story to you.

I recently played a preview demo that covered the first 20 percent of the game and during that time I encountered the bare minimum in terms of frights or interesting puzzles. I did however do a lot of walking through sparsely decorated and barely interactive locations with my arm outstretched like a half-arsed zombie looking for brains.

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Categories: Video Games

Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy has popped up on the Microsoft store

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 15:03

An unannounced Tomb Raider bundle has popped up on Microsoft's Xbox store.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy bundles all three games of the rebooted series - Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - and looks set to release on 18th March 2021.

Although there's no mention of a next-gen upgrade, features listed on the store include HDR and 4K, as well as all the DLC and the online multiplayer and co-op modes, too.

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Categories: Video Games

Animal Crossing has a neat hidden joke about a Leonardo mystery that is still being debated

Sun, 07/03/2021 - 12:00

I have a Mona Lisa on my fridge. Not the Mona Lisa, just a Mona Lisa. This one is free from the smokey yellow varnish of the one in the Louvre, and so its colours shine. The sky behind the sitter is very blue, her face is very pale, and her sleeves are a sort of bright terracotta.

Those sleeves are a bit of a shock. The whole thing is a shock - even if you know it's coming. I first encountered this Mona Lisa downstairs at the Prado in Madrid a few years back, which is where I also picked up my fridge magnet. (I also have Las Meninas and a really brilliant El Greco - all told it's quite a fridge coming together.) I knew she was there - that is, I knew the Prado had its own Mona Lisa - but when I turned the corner and there she was, I froze all the same. Everybody passing by seemed to freeze. You, here? A reminder, if any were necessary, that there is more than one Mona Lisa. This one is widely understood to be a copy from Leonardo's workshop. No mystery here. But there are other Mona Lisas beyond the Prado's, too. And from there it gets complicated.

How complicated? I am not going to try and untangle it all here. This mystery - it is known as the Two-Mona Lisa Theory, and it's been knocking around for centuries - is one of the great unsolvable questions of art. It's muddled all the more, a riot of superpositions, because so many people think they have solved it in their own ways, and so many more think there is no mystery in the first place and we're all just picking away at nothing. Today I'm just going to tell you about yet another Mona Lisa, and yet another another Mona Lisa. This last one was offered to me for sale a week back, in Animal Crossing.

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Categories: Video Games

Thousands of World of Warcraft Classic players descended upon a single server to get a fresh levelling experience - and it was absolute chaos

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 22:23

Thousands of World of Warcraft Classic players last night descended upon a single server to get a fresh levelling experience - and it was absolute chaos.

Last week, I reported on how over one thousand World of Warcraft players had banded together to create a "fresh" experience in the Classic version of the famous MMO.

In the absence of incoming fresh servers with the launch of Burning Crusade Classic, those who only now fancy playing the famous MMO as it was in 2004 face starting on realms filled with maximum level players and botting.

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Categories: Video Games

Minecraft Dungeons is getting an arcade cabinet

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 21:02

Here's something we didn't expect: Minecraft Dungeons is getting an arcade cabinet.

The colourful, fun co-op Minecraft action role-playing game has an arcade cabinet from Play Mechanix that will be released in North America, Mojang announced in a blog post. It's called Minecraft Dungeons Arcade.

It's a perfect fit, really - Minecraft Dungeons is a four-player co-op game, and the arcade cabinet has room for a full party. Here's how it looks:

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Categories: Video Games

Chinese Steam hit Tale of Immortal sells 1.8m, English localisation work begins

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 20:37

Work on English localisation for Steam hit Tale of Immortal begins in April, its developer has announced.

The news comes as sales of the game hit 1.8m after just a month in early access.

Tale of Immortal is an open-world role-playing game developed by Chinese indie team GuiGu Studio. It's part of a new breed of cultivation sims, where you grow to become immortal, defeating monsters from the Classic of Mountains and Seas (a Chinese classic text and compilation of mythic geography and beasts).

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Categories: Video Games

Genshin Impact is getting a new type of story quest that looks a bit like a dating sim

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 19:54

Genshin Impact is getting a new type of story quest that looks a bit like a dating sim as part of the upcoming 1.4 update.

The update, due out 17th March, is dubbed Invitation of Windblume and launches on PC, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4 and, via backward compatibility, PlayStation 5.

All players who have reached Adventure Rank 20 or above and completed the Song of the Dragon and Freedom questline get an invite to join the in-game spring festival. The trailer is below:

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Categories: Video Games

Tales of Arise re-emerges with a fresh trailer and promise of news in the spring

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 18:53

Tales of Arise has re-emerged with a fresh trailer and the promise of news in the spring.

Bandai Namco published the familiar trailer, below. It ends with a note to say news is coming spring 2021.

"Spring is just around the corner, and we've been working hard to make it unforgettable!" Bandai Namco said. "Catch the first new glimpse from Tales of Arise."

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Categories: Video Games

Watch Dogs: Legion's online mode delayed on PC

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 18:13

Watch Dogs: Legion's online mode is delayed on PC, Ubisoft said. It was due out 9th March.

In a tweet the developer said it had identified an issue in the PC version that can cause the game to crash for players with certain GPUs, and had taken the decision to delay online indefinitely.

"The team is working on fixing the issue as quickly as possible," Ubisoft said.

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Categories: Video Games

Horizon Zero Dawn PC revisited: is it fully fixed?

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 16:00

With the announcement of more PlayStation exclusives coming to PC, starting with Days Gone this Spring, the time felt right to return to Horizon Zero Dawn, Sony's first full-blooded attempt at porting one of its most celebrated triple-A masterpieces. On release, performance and the overall quality of the user experience was poor, but six months on there's no doubt about it: the game has dramatically improved. It's not perfect, it's still far from ideal, but Guerrilla Games has taken onboard feedback and corrected many of the issues, while dramatically improving performance in some scenarios.

Even just loading up the game, there are some immediately apparent differences. When the game first released, booting the title at 4K resolution saw Horizon actually internally render at the correct resolution, before downscaling to 1080p, then upscaling back up to 2160p - this is now fixed. The initial shader compilation that took so long back in the day is now carried out in the background, allowing you to visit the settings screen while it's in progress or even start the game (I would recommend letting the shader caching process complete, however). The menus themselves remain much the same, but the various v-sync options now work properly too, without the massive performance drop the borderless windowed mode had when the game launched. Anisotropic filtering? That was broken on release too, requiring a GPU control panel tweak to improve detail, but this now works as it should.

This is basic stuff but it's good to see it fully fixed. The same goes for dynamic resolution scaling: at launch, running at 4K ultra on an RTX 2080 Ti could see a targeted scene operate at 54fps, so DRS should only need to slightly tweak resolution downwards to get us to 60fps - but instead, resolution dropped to 1080p instead (!). You guessed it, it's fixed now, and I would now recommend DRS to be enabled if you're running at a fixed frame-rate like 60fps. AMD's FidelityFX contrast-adaptive sharpening (CAS) is also added to the menu system: it is just a sharpening filter, but I think it is a nice enhancement for those who want to increase contrast when at lower resolutions and using TAA anti-aliasing.

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Categories: Video Games

Call of Duty: Warzone squad sets new world record with an astonishing 162 kills in a single game

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 14:47

A Call of Duty: Warzone squad has set a new world record with an astonishing 162 kills in a single game.

The squad, led by 21-year-old American Warzone streamer Aydan "Aydan" Conrad, achieved the astonishing feat in a 2v2 $500 kill race wager match. Here, a squad of four divides itself into two to see which duo can score the most kills in a single game.

Smashing the previous quads world record of 143, Aydan and co tear up Verdansk at a frightening pace, starting off with a kill using a helicopter's blades. After snagging his loadout, Aydan uses his fearsome AUG and FFAR 1 combo to hunt down pretty much every player on the map with brutal efficiency.

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Categories: Video Games

Bungie on Destiny 2's 12-player raid hype: "we're glad you're enjoying yourselves"

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 13:28

Bungie has responded to Destiny 2's wonderful 12-player raid glitch, telling players to have their fun while it lasts.

Writing on Bungie.net, community chief Chris 'Cozmo' Shannon said the developer was in no rush to fix the bug, which Destiny 2 players have been enjoying in recent weeks.

Destiny raids are normally capped at six players - and indeed are designed for six players, although you can play them with fewer guardians.

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Categories: Video Games

The Division 2 to get a game mode entirely new to the franchise late 2021

Sat, 06/03/2021 - 12:44

The Division 2 will get a game mode entirely new to the franchise in its next major update, currently slated for late 2021.

Ubisoft Massive said it's also looking at new ways for players to progress their agent "with an emphasis on increasing build variety and viability".

This new update is still in the early stages of development, Ubisoft Massive cautioned, and will take several months to complete. So, it's due out late 2021 at the earliest. "We will be taking this time to make sure we bring a meaningful change to the game," Ubisoft Massive said in a blog post.

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Categories: Video Games