Lords Of The Fallen Sequel Finds New Developer

Deck 13’s Souls-like adventure Lords Of The Fallen was surprisingly good (our review here CI Games), garnering strong reviews and desire for a sequel. Rumors swirled about a possible follow-up. However, the game soon vanished into development hell as Deck 13 moved onto The Surge.

CI Games, the publisher for Lords of the Fallen, has finally spoken up about the whereabouts of the rumored sequel: namely that it existed and a new developer was taking up the mantle. The new developer is called Defiant Studios and operates out of New York City. Chief Executive Officer, Marek Tymiński praised Defiant, saying  “We talked to a number of globally respected studios that had shown a strong interest in making the next LotF, and received several solid pitches. We finally decided to move forward with Defiant because we were impressed with their game concept, production expertise, and the pedigree of their developers.”

The sequel to Lords of the Fallen is Defiant Studios’ first announced project.

 

Our Take
I never got to try my hand at Lords of the Fallen but people seemed to be pretty into it. Hopefully this sequel will pan out under Defiant’s guidance.

Beta Test Lords Of The Fallen Sequel Finds New Developer

Hands-On With Dragon Quest XI's Enchanting World

After announcing last year that Dragon Quest XI would get a North American release, Square Enix has finally confirmed which platforms it’s coming to. While many stateside fans have been pining for a Switch version, DQ XI has only been announced for PS4 and PC. It appears the company has no plans for the 3DS iteration to come here either, and seeing as the Switch version has yet to debut in Japan, it’s unclear if or when we’ll eventually see that one. If you’re not keen on waiting for the biggest Dragon Quest adventure to date, however, then you’ll be happy to know the PS4 and PC versions are coming packed with extras and the release date is merely months away. We recently went hands-on with the game, which, like past entries, includes British voiceovers for the Western release. We got a good look at party member Sylvando and an intense boss battle.

The demo focuses on a desert area, featuring the kingdom of Gallopolis. Gallopolis is known for its horse races and fearless desert knights. The party visits in search of a mysterious branch that can aid them in stopping a dark force from taking over the world. As soon as I enter the vast landscape, I notice the new dash function. This is a nice addition and makes getting around much faster and easier than it was in the original Japanese version.

 My main quest is to visit a sultan whose son, Prince Faris, is having his coming-of-age ceremony where he must prove himself in a horse race. The prince says he’ll convince his father to give us the branch we need if we do him a favor. He takes us to the circus to discuss it in depth, where I find out he can’t ride horses at all, begging our hero to pretend to be him for the big race. At the circus, a cheeky character named Sylvando appears. Sylvando is a jester, and a show-off through and through, spitting fire, juggling knives, and cracking jokes. Later when I take the prince’s place in the horse race, Sylvando appears as one of my opponents.

Horse racing is a new minigame for the series. The controls are basic: Hold down a button to gallop, press another to slow for turns, and run through green swirls to gain speed and stamina. Win or lose this race, you prove your skills well enough to the sultan, but Sylvando catches on to the farce. Before much more can be done, a giant, yellow, scorpion-like enemy named The Slayer of the Sands is killing knights left and right. The sultan asks Prince Faris to take care of it, and once again he asks for your help so no one can discover his incompetence.

The turn-based Dragon Quest battle system hasn’t changed much since its inception. As this boss battle proves, though, it’s not about just choosing an attack. You are challenged to use your abilities, magics, buffs, and debuffs accordingly. To win the battle against this vicious beast, I use a balanced strategy, having two characters focus on healing, buffs, and magic, while the others tap into their special abilities. Special abilities can inflict status ailments such as poison or sleep, or have elemental strength. One of my characters has a spell that automatically deals damage when the enemy attacks, which I make good use of, wearing down the giant scorpion to ensure the prince’s success. Sylvando is also along for the battle, but the A.I. controls him. He won’t reveal his reasons for coming, which I’m sure is explored later in the game.

I won’t spoil what happens with the prince’s facade, but I will say there’s a cool moment that occurs after the battle. If you’re a fan of the series or just itching for a classic RPG, Dragon Quest XI should be on your radar.

Beta Test Hands-On With Dragon Quest XI’s Enchanting World

Bethesda Changes Developers For Elder Scrolls: Legends Card Game

Just over a year since it first launched, Bethesda is switching developers for their Elder Scrolls-based strategy card game, Legends.

The previous developers, Dire Wolf, has been on the game since its inception and over the last year. Bethesda has decided to transition the game to Sparkypants Studios, the developers behind Dropzone. In a statement given to IGN, Bethesda senior vice president of marketing Pete Hines confirmed the news in a statement to IGN.

Hines says that the change is being made primarily because Legends has a lot of untapped potential, not because Dire Wolf did anything wrong with it. That said, he also remarked that Sparkypants Studios’ singular focus on the game will benefit it. Bethesda will have more information on the game when the publisher holds its E3 show Sunday, June 10 – 6:30 p.m. PT.

 

Our Take
I guess Bethesda saw the opportunity for the game to be as big a revenue generator as Hearthstone and doesn’t want to be left behind once Artifact gets out there.


Beta Test Bethesda Changes Developers For Elder Scrolls: Legends Card Game

Square Enix Ends Premium Mobile Go Series

A lot of major console and PC publishers have had a hard time entering the mobile market with quality titles, but Square Enix seemed to have cracked the code with the well-received Lara Croft Go, Hitman Go, and Deus Ex Go. Unfortunately, it seems like quality doesn’t always translate to acceptable profit, and the Japanese publisher is ending further development on the series.

In an interview with PocketGamer, Square Enix Montreal studio head Patrick Naud confirmed that the series has ceased development.

“I have to say no [we’re not working on other Go games], I’m sorry,” Naud told PocketGamer. “The Go series was a great adventure for us as a studio. We’ve done the three games, we’ve seen the wind. The hardest element is making premium games on mobile.” Naud went on to say that the mobile market tends not to allow for games that have upfront costs. “Despite the critical success and the great revenue we’ve had, it’s sad to see that our games are only played by a small slither of the population because of the price point. That’s such a big barrier for mobile users. A lot of people consume mobile games only and they have all these options, all these games; why should they invest money in this one unless they’re very convinced?”

The Go series generally has a puzzle or board game-like setup, taking the well known IPs like Tomb Raider and Hitman and putting their games in extremely inventive turn-based gameplay. The games were sold with upfront costs and few microtransactions and no necessary purchases after the initial buy.

It doesn’t seem like Square Enix is giving up on mobile at all, however. In a separate interview with VentureBeat, Naud noted that Hitman Sniper, a sniping game obviously based on the Hitman license, just had its best year ever. Square Enix is planning to go deeper into mobile, not further away, just not with games or monetization like the Go series.

[Sources: PocketGamer and VentureBeat]

 

Our Take
I really liked both Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go, so I find this news pretty disappointing. It’s genuinely a shame that quality, premium mobile titles don’t have a place in the market.

Beta Test Square Enix Ends Premium Mobile Go Series

Dark Souls Firelink Shrine Has Been Rebuilt Using Virtual Lego Bricks

Lego Worlds gives players the opportunity to create whatever their imagination allows and right now Youtuber MythicMarty’s imagination is focused on Lordran.

MythicMarty has remade Firelink Shrine, complete with the graveyard full of skeletons mistake that every first time Dark Souls player makes, using the creation tools of Lego Worlds. The Firelink shrine has been recreated in Lego bricks, but MythicMarty even did his best to recreate Dark Souls’ combat with the animation-heavy spear weapon in the game. You can check the video out below.

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According to a Reddit post, it took MythicMarty about a month to recreate Firelink Shrine and about three days to add the other Dark Souls aesthetics – the user interface, the the music, the area names – in Adobe Premiere. All in all, it’s a hell of a job and speaks highly of Lego Worlds’ creation tools.

For those looking for a less brick-filled version of Dark Souls, Dark Souls Remastered is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, with a Switch version coming this summer. You can find our review of the remaster right here.

Beta Test Dark Souls Firelink Shrine Has Been Rebuilt Using Virtual Lego Bricks

Evolve's Dedicated Servers Shutting Down In September

The end of dedicated servers does not mean the end of Evolve, but the game will be affected by the change. The dedicated servers will go offline on September 3 and you can see the full list of changes here. Hunt (ranked) and Stage 2 on PC will no longer be available after that date, leaderboards will be gone, and the in-game store will also disappear.

Peer-to-peer multiplayer will still be available and every in-game purchase (skins, etc.) will continue to be available – you just have to make sure to spend all your currency before September 3. There are plenty more changes that will be resulting, so just make sure to check out 2K’s blog for more.

For our original review of Evolve, head here.

[Source: support.2k.com]

 

Our Take
Evolve’s trajectory has been a strange one. Pre-release, it was highly lauded by nearly everyone (including us). Once it released, though, it became apparent that organizing the best-game-scenario, like the ones experienced in demos, was difficult and the game suffered as a result. It never quite found the consistent massive audience it needed, which is too bad because there really isn’t much out there like it and when you do get into a great match, it really sings.

Beta Test Evolve’s Dedicated Servers Shutting Down In September

State Of Decay 2 Receives Much Needed Stability Patch

If you read Jeff Cork’s review of State of Decay 2, you know the game shipped with its share of technical problems. Despite this being the issue that needed most addressing in moving from the janky-but-promising first entry in the series to a sequel, Undead Labs still had problems tying it all together in time for the May 22 release date; adding four-player co-op to the mix certainly didn’t make this easier. This weekend the studio took the first step toward remedying the issue(s) with a giant, 20GB patch. 

According to Undead Labs, the main issues this patch addresses are increased stability, improved networking interactions for clients, improved network vehicle interactions, and elimination of “out of memory” crashes. As you would expect with a patch of this size, it also addresses a bunch of smaller issues as well that the studio outlined in the patch notes.  

Have you seen improved performance since the patch dropped? Share your impressions in the comments section. 

 

Our Take
Given how starved the Xbox One is for strong first-party games, I’m sure Microsoft hoped for a stronger launch for this title its trying to franchise. But as titles like Rainbow Six Siege have proven in recent years, games with fundamentally interesting ideas can overcome rough technical launches and eventually find their audience. We’ll see over time if State of Decay 2 can accomplish the same feat.

Beta Test State Of Decay 2 Receives Much Needed Stability Patch

Super Replay – Killer7 Bonus Episode With Suda51

At the end of our Replay Civil War, it all came down to you to choose the next Super Replay! Our Overblood Facebook group ended up choosing two games through a tie: Killer7 and Godhand.

You chose well. Killer7 is my favorite game of all time, for reasons I will fully elaborate on in the near future. The short version, however, it’s that it’s the closest video games have gotten to being a David Lynch film. It benefits from being played alone in near silence, so you can fully process its wild, surreal moments, cool characters, and ambiguous plot.

In fitting with its themes, we decided to take Killer7 very seriously, as Andrew Reiner, Joe Juba, Leo Vader, and I focus only an the artistry of Killer7 and never talk about anything else and make absolutely zero jokes. Enjoy!

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Beta Test Super Replay – Killer7 Bonus Episode With Suda51

Replay – Beat Down: Fists Of Vengeance

In 2005, Capcom teamed up with developer Cavia to create a foul-mouthed brawler that offered a surprising amount of depth. The Game Informer crew cautiously reenters this world and are surprised by how “awesome” it is. We gave this game a 5 out of 10 back in the day, criticizing its use of language and bare-bones combat. Today, we’re more amused by it, and are quite smitten with the recruiting system, which allows the player to add almost anyone as a teammate.

Join us for this brief look, and make sure you stick around for the second game, which is one of Ubisoft’s strangest licensed games. We’ll be back with another episode in just seven days!

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Beta Test Replay – Beat Down: Fists Of Vengeance

NetEase Buys Minority Stake In Bungie

NetEase has purchased a minority stake in Bungie, giving the Chinese tech company a seat on Bungie’s board of directors and a potential inroad for the developer to bring its games to China.

According to a report from GamesIndustry.biz, NetEase invested more than $100 million in the studio. Bungie posted about the deal on its own site, saying in part that the partnership will “…help us explore new directions. With their industry expertise, they’ll empower us to build new worlds and invite players, new and old, to join us there. They’ll help us support separate teams inside Bungie to bring our newest ambitions to life.”

The studio also addressed concerns that Destiny players might have. “We’ll continue to work with our partners at Activision to foster this global community and turn new players from all over the world into Guardians,” the statement continued. “Our commitment to that world is not diminished by this announcement.”

NetEase is a titan in its native China, operating a host of its own mobile and PC games, as well as managing the licenses of several Western games, including Blizzard’s Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft; and Mojang’s Minecraft. What about Destiny 2? NetEase Games GM for strategic investments and partnerships Simon Zhu told GamesIndustry.biz that bringing the MMO shooter to China wasn’t their call. “As far as Destiny 2 is concerned, while we are huge fans of the title and would love to bring it to China, that decision is ultimately Bungie and Activision-Blizzard’s.”

“Bungie is a phenomenal, independent developer and we have a strong relationship with them, rooted in our long-term partnership on the Destiny franchise,” Activision said in a statement. “This deal does not impact Activision’s partnership with Bungie or our plans for the future of the Destiny franchise.”

[Source: GamesIndustry.biz, Bungie]

 

Our Take
China is a massive market, and getting a game in front of players there is a potentially lucrative proposition. It will be interesting to see what Bungie gets out of the deal, beyond access to that country. NetEase’s own IP lean toward esoteric MMORPGs and free-to-play mobile games that haven’t exactly set the Western world’s imaginations on fire. Investing in other properties and diversifying its line-up is also likely a good decision for Bungie in the long term, so long as the studio follows through on its promise to maintain focus and development efforts on Destiny in the immediate term.

Beta Test NetEase Buys Minority Stake In Bungie