Sega Gives Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Valkyria Revolution Soundtrack

In a new behind-the-scenes interview, Yasunori Mitsuda and Sarah Àllain detail the meaning instilled in the song, “Eternal Rest.” Thematically, the a cappella song revolves around the ideas of death and fear, and the layered lyrics instill the presence of these deeper values despite a major tonal structure that evokes a sense of comfort.

Àllain, an Australian-Japanese multilinguist, wrote the lyrics in a mixture of Latin and English and adapted a religious Gregorian chant-style to further this motif of duality. Her ethereal voice stands unaccompanied, yet delivers all the warmth and texture necessary to produce an interesting and germane performance. In addition to Àllain being featured on the game’s main theme, “Azure Revolution,” Mitsudo stated his desire to incorporate Àllain’s angelic voice into several other tracks before the composition process comes to a close.

You can check out the whole interview and a taste of “Eternal Rest” below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Mitsudo also solicited the help of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra in building the Valkryia Revolution soundtrack. For more on the game’s music, click here.

Valkyria Revolution releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Vita on June 27.

Beta Test Sega Gives Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Valkyria Revolution Soundtrack

Battleborn Gets A New Competitive Multiplayer Mode

Supercharge is a fast-paced 3v3 mode for Battleborn, played on all-new maps, and it will be available later today.

The new mode plays like a mix between Meltdown and Capture. The smaller team size requires players to closely coordinate as they try to escort their minions through gates for points, while simultaneously trying to maintain control of a capture point that “supercharges” their minions. Supercharge will have its own challenges for players to complete that will net them more titles, experience, and credits. 

If you want to give it a try, you don’t have much longer to wait. Supercharge goes live at 12 p.m. PT.

 

Our Take:
We weren’t huge fans of Battleborn when it first launched, but Gearbox has continued to work on improving the game and adding more content in the time since. Now that most of the game is accessible for free it may be worth giving this new mode a look.

Beta Test Battleborn Gets A New Competitive Multiplayer Mode

New Jurassic World Movie Gets A Name And Poster

The sequel to the 2015 summer blockbuster Jurassic World now has an official subtitle and movie poster.

Here’s the fresh new poster for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The tagline of course references the classic Jeff Goldblum line in the original Jurassic Park, “Life… uh… finds a way.”

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The first Jurassic World represents what many studios consider to be the ideal modern movie: a soft reboot of an existing property people already trust that rakes in over $1.6 billion. I personally thought the movie was dumb, harmless fun but I know plenty of others who came away with strong, negative impressions.

Admittedly it’s impossible to tell how this movie is shaping up from just a poster. But one can speculate.

Fallen Kingdom releases June 22, 2018.

[Source: Universal]

Beta Test New Jurassic World Movie Gets A Name And Poster

Ron Howard Now Directing Han Solo Film

A few days ago, we learned that the upcoming Han Solo film had lost directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Today, Lucasfilm has revealed who’s taking over, and it’s someone that you’ve probably heard of before. Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Backdraft, Willow) is now in the director’s seat for the upcoming project, which still has a May 25, 2018, release date.

“At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago,” Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement. “With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Beta Test Ron Howard Now Directing Han Solo Film

Ever Oasis Review – A Unique Starter Home

In Ever Oasis, you are a seedling. Not quite human, not quite animal, but capable of establishing and growing an oasis in the middle of a desert. The world surrounding your oasis home is under attack by an ambiguous evil called chaos that infects the nearby land and the creatures that inhabit it. Your job is to create a sanctuary that the scared people of the world can call home. You do this by alternating between growing and managing your oasis and the people who live in it, and venturing outside to combat the creatures infected by chaos. The game finds a smart balance of simulation and action RPG mechanics, but struggles somewhat in its attempts to craft a believable world that feels alive.

In some ways, you are the hands-on king of your oasis. You lend assistance where it is needed, help the stores stay in business, and collect a small tax for your hard work. To make your town grow and keep your residents happy, you venture out with two A.I. partners to find inventory for the shops, fight the monsters, and track down those without a home.

Many aspects of your character and town can be expanded and leveled up. You grow stronger and become a better fighter, the individual residents level up, the shops level up, and even the oasis itself levels up. Everything grows in Ever Oasis at a steady pace, and the rewards for hitting each level are worthwhile. I liked seeing my oasis and individual stores grow and change as I built up a small army of powerful residents to take with me into the wild.

In town, I mostly check in on stores and residents to see what is needed, but beyond the oasis is a fun action game with periodic puzzle solving. Merely pressing the attack button repeatedly leads to an early death; using your few combos well is important, and roll-dodging is crucial. I died often early on in my playthrough, and it made me appreciate the calculated combat. This is not a mindless action/RPG, and I enjoyed carefully identifying attack and dodge windows.

Puzzle solving in the assorted caves and dungeons of Ever Oasis mostly involves making sure you have the right partners with you. This has the potential to be frustrating, making a long trip only to learn you needed a different A.I. partner, but Ever Oasis is generous with fast travel, making it easy to swap out for a different partner without a lot of backtracking or loading. Only a few puzzles demand more than a simple partner change, but it made these locations feel like more than just enemy rooms and I appreciate the variety, even if it is ultimately simple.

A lot of small quality-of-life mechanics help the game avoid frustration throughout. Once you have more stores than would be reasonably fun to individually manage, an upgrade lets you restock all your stores with a few button presses. Even collecting your taxes is an active experience, as you perform a special attack on the stores ready to pay up. The game also dabbles in farming, letting you plant seeds to grow plants in your town, but you can task a resident to take care of it for you if you want. Touches like this keep the game moving at a steady pace, allowing you to focus on the rewards instead of the work.

The one thing that holds Ever Oasis back is its lack of identity both in terms of its characters and mechanics. Despite the steady flow of visually distinct seedlings coming to live in your town, I didn’t get a sense of any of their personalities. With the exception of a few, everyone feels the same. The bland visual direction doesn’t help; character designs sometimes look like bundles of clothing just mashed together.

I like the variety of activities, as I was never doing the same thing for too long, but it made the game feel more like a checklist (an enjoyable one, admittedly) than a real place I was eager to visit and explore. It constantly hops around giving you different short-terms goals, but not giving you a chance to admire your progress.

Ever Oasis marks the first fully original title from developer Grezzo in some time, and it is exciting to see what the studio is capable of when given the opportunity to create something totally new. The final product is a unique RPG experience that doesn’t have a lot of character, but is able to deliver a consistently compelling adventure. I never got the sense that the world was alive, but I enjoyed exploring, fighting monsters, watching my town grow, and making sure my residents were happy.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Beta Test Ever Oasis Review – A Unique Starter Home

ZeniMax Back In Court With Oculus VR

Earlier this year ZeniMax was awarded $500 million from Oculus for failure to comply with a non-disclosure agreement, but the two companies’ legal battle over VR trade secrets is not over.

The pair are back in court, with ZeniMax not only looking for another $500 million, but also to halt Oculus from selling its Rift headset or for 20 percent of revenue from Rift sales for 10 years. Oculus, meanwhile, wants the first award thrown out entirely or reduced, as well as damages from ZeniMax.

ZeniMax claims that Oculus stole trade secrets in the creation of its Rift headset.

[Source: Gamasutra]

 

Our Take
Given how the first award was only related to a non-disclosure agreement, I assumed that ZeniMax’s fight would continue on other legal fronts.

Beta Test ZeniMax Back In Court With Oculus VR

Beyond Good & Evil 2 Prototype Video To Be Available Tomorrow

Beyond Good & Evil 2 mastermind Michel Ancel wrote on instagram today that a prototype video for the game will be available tomorrow.

Presumably, the video will be the same presentation that many at E3 received behind closed doors. Ubisoft describes development for the game as being at day zero, but they have an impressive engine they have been developing for the game.

For more on Beyond Good & Evil 2, head here to read four things Ubisoft envisions for the game, which covers much of what will likely be available widely tomorrow.

 

Our Take
I was at E3, but unfortunately was not able to see Beyond Good & Evil 2’s prototype. I look forward to checking out the video tomorrow.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Beta Test Beyond Good & Evil 2 Prototype Video To Be Available Tomorrow

60 Things We Know About NHL 18

Over the last two years, EA Sports has continued to improve its NHL franchise, but it still has work to do to recapture the glory years of the last console generation when it was a perennial contender for sports game of the year. The gameplay is close to being where it needs to be and the 6v6 EASHL is dramatically improved over its predecessor, but the Be A Pro, Franchise, and Ultimate Team modes still lag considerably behind contemporary sports games. With NHL 18, developer EA Canada addresses some of these shortcomings, and the studio also plans to expand the game’s allure with a new, more arcade-centric mode called Threes.

I recently spent some time with the game and chatted with the development team extensively about changes coming to its various modes. Here is everything we know about NHL 18 thus far.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

GAMEPLAY

  • After years of complaining from people like me (and just about anyone else who writes about or streams NHL), EA is finally stretching player ratings in the NHL so every player isn’t rated 80 and above. This year the dev team stretched the ratings so they range between 94 and 75 for most NHL teams. When a player comes out of a draft with a 76 rating now, they are truly NHL ready.
  • The major focus for EA Canada this year was capturing the speed, skill, and creative spirit of the NHL’s great young talents like cover athlete Connor McDavid. “A lot of the stuff we’re seeing on a nightly basis right now, if we would have tried to put that stuff in our game 2-3 years ago our core fans would have said, ‘This is so arcadey,'” says producer Sean Ramjagsingh. “Now we’re seeing that stuff every single night.” This means injecting more highlight-reel dekes like one-handed moves, between the legs passes, lofted shots a la Pavel Datsyuk, and back-handed toe drags into the game.
  • The dev team also went back to tighten up one-to-one control of the dekes carrying over from previous years. Part of this refinement includes making it easier for animations to branch in and out of dekes to make the skill stick feel more responsive. 
  • Defenders have full stick control even when they are skating forward and backward. You can now be skating on the backcheck, holding your stick out behind you to take away passing options for the puck carrier.
  • To help defenders counter the new moves at the puck handler’s disposal, NHL reintroduces a defensive skill stick that lets players hold their stick out and sweep it to take away passing lanes. This becomes another tool in the defender’s arsenal along with poke checks, stick lifts, and body checks.
  • A rewritten passing engine makes it easier for both users and the A.I. to pass pucks off the boards and pass into space. In the past, the A.I. would only consider direct passes. Now it understands how to lead teammates.
  • The A.I. is also savvier at using the rest of the skills at its disposal, including the new dekes and defensive skill stick.
  • NHL adopts the 3v3 overtime rules implemented by the league last year.
  • Doing so required the dev team to rewrite much of the puck support in the game to make sure players understand space and positioning. Ramjagsignh says this has paid dividends in 5v5 situations as well, as players move around more to make themselves available for a pass, better position themselves in the neutral zone, and have a better sense of when to rush to the puck. I noticed defenders in particular were more active rushing the sideboards to keep a puck in play in the offensive zone. 
  • With the array of new dekes, the developers are tweaking the goaltenders to make sure they don’t overcommit to the first moves. 
  • Devs are addressing legacy issues to player-controlled goaltenders to get quicker drops to the butterfly position, as well as quicker transitions from butterfly position to hugging the post.
  • EA continues to tweak the puck pickup logic, which despite improving last year still had problems with players locating pucks at their feet and turning the correct way to receive the puck. They are adding more range and animations for pickups, as well as players being better at gaining possession of rolling/bouncing pucks on easier difficulties.
  • The same board play system is returning from the past several years, but EA is tweaking to better allow players behind the scrum to dig the puck out. They are also tweaking the physics to change how close to the boards your player can get during puck retrieval.
  • Net battles should largely be the same, but EA is trying to change the interaction window so you can get in and out of contact more quickly.
  • Don’t worry about having to deal with the offsides reviews that plagued the real NHL last year – EA Canada isn’t touching them.
  • The team is also changing the frequency of goal review sequences to make them less annoying. 
  • The injury system is largely the same as last year, but the devs are adjusting how long players are out for particular ailments. 
  • A Hockey Training Mode helps onboard those new to the sport (or the game).

PRESENTATION

  • Expect to see new camera angles throughout the game to better reflect modern NHL television broadcasts.
  • Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk return to the broadcast booth, as does Ray “Chicken Parm” Ferraro for ice-level commentary. Expect to hear more from Ferraro this year that taps into his insight.
  • EA is adding “create a mascot” to the creation suite when designing or tweaking your team.

THREES

  • This new arcade mode is built off the new 3v3 overtime foundation, but amps up the dekes and hits. 
  • This pick-up-and-play mode is built to be easily approachable, while still giving hardcore players the fidelity of control they expect. 
  • The rink for Threes is 75 percent the size of a regulation NHL rink and features colorful new ice textures.
  • The only faceoff you take is at the start of each game or period. From there out when a goalie freezes the puck his team is given possession for a new rush up ice. 
  • Before you start the game you can adjust the rules to play with the traditional three periods or change it to a “first to score X amount of goals wins” setting.
  • You can also adjust the number of money pucks that will rotate into play during the game. These power-ups come in variances of +1, +2, +3 and -1, -2, or -3. So if the game is 3-3 and you score a -3 goal, you earn one more goal for your team and take away three from your opponent, making the new score 4-0. 
  • A new commentator, who is essentially a guy in the stands, takes the place of the NHL broadcast team. 
  • You can play Threes in Play Now, Online Versus, or take on the single-player Circuit campaign. This mode features five circuits to beat.
  • When playing the circuit, you take control of a team called the Fridgerators featuring six randomly selected players. As you play through the circuits and beat teams, you can earn new players for your roster, including mascots that can take to the ice in competition. 
  • A star system judges your performance in each game in circuit mode, and the more you get, the more new players, uniforms, and mascots you unlock.
  • You earn specific rewards based on the teams you play, as well, For instance, if you play the junior team the Prince George Cougars, Cougar alumni Dan Hamhuis may join them on the ice. Beat the team, and Hamhuis becomes available to use on your own roster.

FRANCHISE MODE

  • The centerpiece of franchise mode is the new team expansion functionality, which lets you take control of the Vegas Golden Knights or a 32nd NHL franchise and walk them through the expansion draft. Players that the real NHL teams choose to protect will be untouchable in the expansion draft as well.
  • If you decide to add a 32nd team to the league, you can customize their arena, team name, logo, jerseys, and mascots. 
  • For those who hoped to play through a few years before expanding your league, you are out of luck. You can only add the 32nd team at the beginning of a new franchise mode. 
  • The addition of the expansion draft can also be played out from the other side as one of the other 30 teams. You can set your protected player list and see who the Golden Knights pluck off your roster. 
  • In welcome news for hardcore sim fans, EA Canada finally got around to adding mid-season contract extensions. These negotiating windows follow the real CBA rules. 
  • To reflect the youth movement in the modern NHL, expect to see a lot more NHL-ready players in the top 10 of drafts. You may also be able to find more gems in later rounds than in previous years. 
  • EA did a lot of work fine-tuning player picking, potential, and player progression. They hope the draft classes will mature more organically as a result. 
  • CPU-controlled teams now have a better understanding of their future cap, which will govern its decision to re-sign restricted free agents or potential unrestricted free agents. If they know they probably can’t resign an RFA, don’t be surprised to see him on the trade block.
  • EA did a lot of work to create more blockbuster trades, especially in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. CPU teams are now more open to trading highly regarded prospects like Jonathan Drouin. 
  • Player morale has been tweaked to better account for player and team performance over team chemistry. Struggling players will have morale problems, or players who are driven by winning missing the playoffs. This may affect their willingness to re-sign. 
  • EA Canada completely reworked the franchise mode hub to surface a lot more frequently used menus. Going to the propose trade screen required clicking through two menu systems last year. Now you simply need to click over to the Upgrade Team blade. 

EASHL

  • Given the heavy focus on EASHL the last two years, EA didn’t put as much work into the mode this year. 
  • The biggest change is adding the option to play 3v3 games with your EASHL team. EA says the majority of EASHL games were played with 2.1 players last year, so this should be a popular option for those who want to minimize A.I controlled players’ involvement or prefer a more wide-open play style. 
  • The 3v3 games take place within the same ecosystem as the 6v6 games, so you can swap between them.
  • Though EA would like to add the feature in the future, you cannot carry over your stadium, jerseys, or banners from NHL 17.
  • The new Threes arenas will be available to unlock in the EASHL progression system.
  • Don’t expect any new player classes out of the gate. However, EA is going to analyze how player selection changes in 3v3 modes and if they see a play style unrepresented they could revisit this in an update. 
  • One new equipment option users have is mouth guards. You can choose your color and how your player interacts with them.

BE A PRO

  • No, Be A Pro isn’t turning into a story-focused mode like Madden’s The Longshot and FIFA’s The Journey. 
  • The biggest change coming to Be A Pro is the return of trade requests. If you don’t like how a team is using you, feel free to tell them you want out. 
  • EA added a few new coaching proficiencies around new features like the revamped dekes and defensive skill stick. 
  • The devs also played around with the call-up/send-down logic to hopefully make these decisions more believable.
  • Given the attention EA paid to puck support and player positioning, expect your teammates to be more effective this year. 

HOCKEY ULTIMATE TEAM

  • Like Madden and FIFA before it, NHL 18 brings solo challenges into the mix that let you complete objectives for currency and unique rewards.
  • Synergies are returning, but EA plans to take a brand new approach in NHL 18. Stay tuned for details in the coming months.
  • Sets are still a major focus for the card collection, and EA plans to introduce more master items as well as easy to turn in sets.
  • No changes are coming to the auction house.
  • If you played a lot of HUT in NHL 17, expect to get some extra incentives based on your activity and engagement.

NHL 18 comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 15. If you want to check out the game before it comes out, EA once again plans to offer a public beta starting July 25. You can register for the beta here.

Beta Test 60 Things We Know About NHL 18

Oilers Star Connor McDavid Named NHL 18 Cover Athlete

EA Sports has no shortage of spectacular young stars to choose from when it comes to cover athletes. Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jack Eichel, Matt Murray, and many other skaters under 25 years old would be ideal cover candidates. But for this year’s high-flying edition of the game, EA went for the best. 

The NHL 18 cover athlete honors go to Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, arguably the most talented player in the game. Last year, at just 19 years old, he became the youngest captain in NHL history. He took on the responsibility in legendary fashion, ending the Oilers’ 10-year playoff drought and winning the Art Ross Trophy (led the NHL in scoring) and the Ted Lindsay Award (voted the most outstanding player in the regular season) in just his second season. Only two players in NHL history were younger than McDavid when they won the prestigious Art Ross Trophy. Their names? Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.

“Representing NHL 18 as the cover athlete is an incredible honor,” McDavid said in a press statement. “I’ve played EA Sports NHL every year since I was a kid. To appear on the cover, something that has been done previously by so many players that I respect and admire is very exciting.”

NHL 18 comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 15. If you want to check out the game before it comes out, EA once again plans to offer a public beta starting July 25. You can register for the beta here

You can also read all about the new features coming to the game this year in my all-encompassing preview.

Beta Test Oilers Star Connor McDavid Named NHL 18 Cover Athlete

Attack On Titan Season 3 Coming In 2018

Japanese animation team, Wit Studio, is rolling out season three of Attack on Titan in 2018, and Funimation has released a teaser for the upcoming episodes.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Few details are given away by the teaser, although it seems we’ll be getting a a fresh crop of antagonists as well as a potential look into Eren and Misaka’s past. While the illustrated stills don’t give us anything concrete, the quote, “Behold, the sea…” poses a mysterious theme for fans to mull over during the wait. Fortunately, the 2018 release window means we won’t have to endure another four year gap like the one between seasons one and two.

Prior to the season two premier, Funimation arranged for select U.S. theaters to show the Attack on Titan recap movies, Guren no Yumiya and Jiyuu no Tsubasa, so fans can hope for another set of refreshers in the near future.

Beta Test Attack On Titan Season 3 Coming In 2018