ESA Issues Statement On Trump Immigration Ban

Fallout over President Donald Trump’s executive order last week barring students, visitors, refugees, immigrants, and even green-card-holding legal permanent United States residents from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering or traveling to the United States continues to reverberate across the country. In the aftermath of several prominent technology companies speaking out against the broad-reaching and poorly implemented edict that has already been challenged in court, the interactive entertainment’s leading trade organization has issued a public statement as well.

The ESA, which is most prominently known for putting together the annual E3 convention, lobbies Congress in the interest of advancing game-friendly public policy. Several developers and publishers have already spoken out against the executive order, and today the organization added their voice to the chorus.

“The Entertainment Software Association urges the White House to exercise caution with regard to vital immigration and foreign worker programs,” the statement reads. “As a leading force in technology and exporter of entertainment, the U.S. video game industry thrives on the contributions of innovators and storytellers from around the world. While recognizing that enhancing national security and protecting our country’s citizens are critical goals, our companies rely on the skilled talent of U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, and immigrants alike. Our nation’s actions and words should support their participation in the American economy.


Our Take
Trump’s unilateral order clearly targets countries his administration believes are most likely to foster domestic terrorism, but the impulsive implementation had minimal vetting by governmental agencies, and that has created an unfortunate fallout that extends far beyond homeland security and into everyday business for many companies. 

Beta Test ESA Issues Statement On Trump Immigration Ban

Check Out The Four New Maps Coming To Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare's Sabotage DLC

The Zombies mode Rave in the Redwoods starring Kevin Smith may be getting most of the headlines, but the Sabotage DLC coming to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare tomorrow also includes four new multiplayer maps for the base game. 

A new video release today tours the four locations – Noir,  Renaissance, Neon, and Domintion, which is a re-imagination of the popular Afghan map in Modern Warfare 2. See them in action yourself:

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You can read more about these new maps here. Look for the DLC tomorrow on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 

Beta Test Check Out The Four New Maps Coming To Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s Sabotage DLC

Free Upcoming Fallout 4 Update Improves PS4 Pro, PC Visuals

Today Bethesda announced a new free update for Fallout 4 that promises improved visuals for both PlayStation 4 Pro and PC players.

The 1.19 patch for the PlayStation 4 Pro, available next week, tweaks both the lighting and textures to support 1440p native resolution, improved draw distances, and enhanced Godray effects. 

For PC players, the High Resolution Texture Pack requires an additional 58GB of storage space, but should make the territories around the Commonwealth look better than ever before.  

You can read more details about the updates here.

Beta Test Free Upcoming Fallout 4 Update Improves PS4 Pro, PC Visuals

Nilfgaardian Deck Coming To Standalone Gwent Game Next Week

Back when CD Projekt Red first showcased the standalone version of Gwent, we noticed many interesting deviations from the version found in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. One of the more notable ones was the removal of the Nilfgaardian deck, which was replaced with a Skelligan one. Now, the developer plans to bring this popular faction back into the fold via a major content update next week. 

According to the press release, the new faction is focused on controlling the battlefield. Its faction-specific cards give players the ability to reveal cards in an opponent’s hand, control the order of their cards, or even introduce disloyal units to their ranks. Starting on February 6, players can collect the 60 new cards, which expand beyond the new faction to include new options for the Northern Realms, Scoia’tael, Skellige, and Monsters decks as well. 

Gwent is still in closed beta for Xbox One and PC. You can try to join the test group by visiting the official website.

Beta Test Nilfgaardian Deck Coming To Standalone Gwent Game Next Week

Psychonauts PSVR Puzzler Gets A Release Date

Tim Schafer and Double Fine are bringing Psychonauts to the PSVR this February in Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin – a puzzle title that takes place after the events of the first game.

The title comes out on February 21, when players get to use Raz’s powers, from telekinesis to clairvoyance and pyrokinesis, to save his friends from the titular part of the ocean.

The studio is also working on Psychonauts 2, which is currently scheduled to come out in 2018.

For more on The Rhombus of Ruin, take a look at this video from last summer’s E3.


Our Take
Psychonauts fans: What do you think of this title’s switch from the first title’s action genre? Does it feel too different, or is it a nice temporary side step for the series?

Beta Test Psychonauts PSVR Puzzler Gets A Release Date

Cutscene King Hideo Kojima Sees Convergence As The Future Of Entertainment

Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima has never been afraid to explore convergence, as some of his past games have non-interactive cutscene sequences that last longer than some theatrical films. Don’t expect him to deviate too far from this approach with Death Stranding. In fact, he sees convergence as the future of all entertainment mediums.

“In life people are very busy doing lots of things,” Kojima told BBC. “The time you have to choose what media or entertainment you experience is dwindling. More and more people are looking at types of media that combine elements together. If we just make a game people are less likely to choose that as something to do. They would rather engage in something that combines different forms of entertainment together. That’s where we need to focus our efforts, on this convergence.”

BBC said Kojima is planning on a future where movies are playable and games give players the choice to access more extended movie like content within them.

Our Take 
Every entertainment medium has different strengths and weaknesses, and it takes a special concept and savvy execution to successfully penetrate each of them. Melding them further together in a seamless way is an even more arduous task, but we’re glad creators like Kojima set their bars high and test the boundaries of the mediums. 

Beta Test Cutscene King Hideo Kojima Sees Convergence As The Future Of Entertainment

Namco Founder, 'Father Of Pac-Man' Masaya Nakamura Has Died

Masaya Nakamura, Namco founder and so-called “Father of Pac-Man” has died at 91. Nakamura grew his company from a handful of mechanical rides in 1955 to an early dominant force in the early days of arcades, thanks in large part to the success of Pac-Man.

Under Nakamura’s guidance, Toru Iwatani’s creation became a worldwide phenomenon. And Ms. Pac-Man would have sported a full head of hair if not for Nakamura’s insistence that it be removed in the follow-up game.

After the merger of Namco and Bandai in 2005, Nakamura retained an honorary position within the company.

Nakamura died January 22, but the news was announced today on Bandai Namco’s site.


Our Take
Masaya Nakamura’s contributions to gaming continue to be felt today. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Beta Test Namco Founder, ‘Father Of Pac-Man’ Masaya Nakamura Has Died

Embers Of Mirrim Is A Dual-Stick Sci-Fi Platformer Coming This Spring

Embers of Mirrim is a dual-stick platformer where you play as an animal, Mirrim, who is tasked with fighting off alien forces with his unique magical abilities.

Inspired by ’80s fantasy movies The NeverEnding Story and The Dark Crystal, Embers of Mirrim takes place on a thawing mountain. Using Mirrim’s powers, you control light and dark entities known as Embers. These Embers are controlled independently with both the right and left analog sticks, so that you can solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Check out the trailer below.

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Embers of Mirrim launches on PlayStation 4 this spring. You can read more about the game by heading to the PlayStation Blog.

Beta Test Embers Of Mirrim Is A Dual-Stick Sci-Fi Platformer Coming This Spring

Hand-Drawn Puzzle Game Gorogoa Arrives This Spring

Jason Roberts’ Gorogoa, a unique puzzle game about manipulating a sequence of images to tell a story, was first revealed almost five years ago. Now, we’ve gotten another peek at the game with a new trailer.

Reminiscent of the mobile game Framed, you move square images to create a connecting story. It is currently available to demo at PAX South at Annapurna Interactive’s booth.

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Late last year, we found out that Annapurna, a production company known for films such as Sausage Party and Zero Dark Thirty, has expanded into the games industry. Gorogoa is one of the titles that is being published by the company. Annapurna is also behind the upcoming game What Remains of Edith Finch, which is one of our most anticipated 2017 adventure titles.

Gorogoa is expected to release this spring.

Beta Test Hand-Drawn Puzzle Game Gorogoa Arrives This Spring

Double Dragon IV Review – Nostalgia Is Not Enough

The Double Dragon franchise was instrumental in turning brawlers into a bustling genre during the arcade era. Jimmy and Billy Lee now return decades later (once again tasked with rescuing Marian), and their journey takes them down memory lane for franchise fans with tons of foes from previous entries and a juiced-up soundtrack that brings the old tunes out with a fresh twist. If you’re looking for a title drenched in nostalgia – right down to the retro graphics and mind-numbing platforming challenges – this is one you don’t want to miss. But recalling your memories of Double Dragons long past may be more enjoyable than this new experience.

You punch, kick, and spin your way through missions to get to the end of story mode, which only takes a few hours if you continually need to restart levels (the game itself is much shorter). Docks, casinos, warehouses with conveyor belts, and other locales conjure up notions of the classic titles. The sounds and settings transport you back into one of those old games, right down to the signature clink of a metal bat hitting the ground. Classic opponents like Abobo, Burnov, and Linda are immediately recognizable, and there are a few new faces as well. 

The walk down memory lane is marred by the fact that it’s simply not fun. Double Dragon IV is a boring slog that feels like busywork with no real weight behind it, as you can continue more or less where you left off even if you run out of credits. Because there’s no real progression or development beyond unlocking characters, it’s jarring that even games like 1989’s River City Ransom give the player far more ways to customize and develop in today’s world of interactive entertainment. The final battle with a new antagonist is dull, the ending is ridiculous, and the glimmer of combat fades by the third time you chuck a tire at an enemy. The A.I. often leaves enemies simply standing still waiting for you to act, or freaking out completely. I understand that these aspects can mostly be written off as part of the appeal to nostalgia, and if you are here for a ride through an interactive Double Dragon screensaver, the journey may work for you – but it certainly didn’t for me. 

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Once you complete the story, you unlock a mode called Tower. Tower is a one-life survival battle that pits you against all kinds of foes as you try to make the climb to the top, and is tied to character unlocks that give the game its only form of replayability and interest. Based on your performance in the Tower, you can unlock characters to play in all game modes, so you can take on story or tower mode playing as smoke-bomb popping, shuriken-tossing Ayumi, sumo wrestler Kodani, or even the larger-than-life Abobo. This is a cool addition that lets you play in different ways, but at the end of the day, you’re just going through the same motions with some different sprites.

Double Dragon IV has some nostalgia value for longstanding fans of the franchise or those that just want a glimpse of what brawlers looked like in times long gone, but it offers little in terms of compelling gameplay or interesting mechanics. I’m a big fan of seeing old series recapture glory, but in this case, Double Dragon is an experience better left in the past.

Beta Test Double Dragon IV Review – Nostalgia Is Not Enough