Stuff From The E3 2018 Kickoff Weekend!

2018 E3’s Pre-shows started this weekend, and for the most part they were pretty good, with the exception of EA who pretty much just said they were sorry for being greedy jerks, Battlefield would also have Battle Royal, and Respawn was making a Star Wars game with Jedi in it.  This left the weekend to Microsoft and Bethesda.  They did not disappoint.

Microsoft kicked off the show with Halo: Infinity:

Then ended with Cyberpunk 2077!

What was between those two massive trailers was non-stop game announcements.  Most of them were not exclusive, but the message was clearly, “We have plenty of games to play!”  Other big things were that yes they are indeed working on a new Xbox despite rumors, as well as a streaming service, and that they bought four studios (Ninja Theory!!) and are creating a new one.  Also Forza Horizons 4 looks amazing!

After all of that hotness it was up to Bethesda, and while they had less games to show, they were all pretty amazing.

New standalone expansions for Prey and Wolfenstein, Doom 2 Eternal (AKA Hell on Earth), more Rage 2 with excellent digs at Walmart Canada, more info about the biggest Fallout ever 76 (AKA Fallout: The Division), and they ended it with a one two punch of STARFEILD!


Of course they said Starfield is a next generation experience, and that The Elder Scrolls 6 doesn’t come out until after that, so who knows when they are coming out, but with Microsoft hinting about the Xbox Two being around the corner, we could see Starfield late next year and TES:6 in 2020.  However, it may be a safe bet to add an extra year to each of those games, so 2020 and then 2021 respectively.

I will be watching what goes down today, but Sunday was a good day for games, and I am expecting the usual fireworks from Sony, so today should be just as good if not better.

Steam Tears Down The Wall And Replaces It With A Papier-Mâché Fence!

Valve for years has pushed back on content that it deemed too offensive for its digital storefront Steam.  However, as time has passed the line for what gets let in and what gets banned has turned in to more of a sine curve that developers have had to try and calculate in order to sell their wares on gaming’s biggest digital store.  Then after doing all that “math” some developers got notices that their games were going to be dropped from the store anyway.  Which is a problem if Steam accounts for 80% of your sales.  After a few weeks of silence Valve brushed it all off as a misunderstanding.  The devs, as you can imagine, were not pleased, so to make everyone “happy” Steam’s forthcoming policy is that everything is permitted, and it is up to the users to build their own walls for what they see with tools that are forthcoming.

Here is the thing, those tools have got to be really effective and easy to use otherwise people are going to start seeing a lot of crap they don’t want to.  It is like going to a video store in the 90’s and just pretending there was nothing behind the beaded curtain.  Of course in that case at least the store put the curtain up.  It wasn’t up to the perspective renters to hang the rod and decide the bead density.  Valve should have just said they were creating an “opt-in” policy, and then let people check the boxes for what they want to see.  That way everything stays beyond the wall until you say to open the gates.  If someone searches for something beyond that wall, it could let them know that it exists, but that they would need to update their settings.  Now however, it is going to be a free-for-all until you get your barrier setup correctly.

Then on top of that Steam has the audacity to say that even though they are letting every kind of game in that doesn’t mean they agree with the game in question’s content.  Oh, well I am glad you don’t agree with what you are going to try and make a bundle of money off of.  It is a like a nun working the front desk at a brothel, “It is a sin to step inside my child, but I will need $50 up front to enter the bar.”  What?!  Even more insane is that Valve will still ban games that are illegal and that are “outright trolling”.  Illegal I get, but trolling?  According to who?  Why get rid of an arbitrary line to just add a worse arbitrary line?

I am glad that developers will now be able to make the kinds of games they want to make and host them on Steam, but Valve should still have a major hand in trying protect its users from the terrible stuff those devs are going to make.  The wall should still exist, just make a gate and post some guards warning of what lies beyond, “There be adult content, gruesome violence and nudity past this point fair traveler!”  Let it be a user decision, not a platform decision, and “trolling”?  That should be more detailed, like no games replicating racist acts or school shootings, you know, an actual policy.  Steam will soon be the Wild West, and I am not sure its users will apricate the change.

Why PUBG, Why?

Yesterday PUBG Corp did something very dumb, they sued Epic Games for copyright infringement.  While I get why they are angry, PUBG pays Epic to license their engine, and then Epic turns around uses that money to create a Battle Royal variant for their game Fortnite.  Which at first played very similar to PUBG.  It must be hard watching a bunch of players leave to a similar game made by the people you pay to help you with your game, but this is just a bad look.

PUBG should have responded to Fortnite: Battle Royal by doubling down on making their game better.  To be fair it has gotten better on both Xbox and PC, but it is still poorly optimized, and it doesn’t have the best aesthetic.  Not to mention its loot system is pretty lame.  Though despite all that I like PUBG more.  The moment to moment tension in PUBG is better than the arcade-y thrill of Fortnite.

Which is another problem for PUBG’s lawsuit, while Fortnite started out very similar to PUBG, they are vastly different games now.  I am not sure how copyright works in Korea, but they would have a hard time making people think they are the same game here in the states.  Especially since the game industry is full of clones of one another, and a lot of them are far more egregious than Fortnite.

Look, it was bad form for Epic to literally say, “we like PUBG so much we are going to make our own Battle Royal game”, but suing people for bad form is not good business practice, and it makes all the gamers out there dislike PUBG for its epic case of sour grapes.  If PUBG wants to get its gamers back it needs to buckle down and make its game better, not sue Epic for bogus copyright infringement.  That will do the opposite.

There Are No Good Choices In Episode 5 Of Batman: The Enemy Within!

I have been kind of distracted, so it took me a while to finish off Batman: The Enemy Within, but the series really ends well.  All those choices you made finally pay off with a Joker of your making.  He either ends up trying to be a vigilantly or a villain, and you will have to deal with him either way.

Batman and the Joker have always had a very codependent relationship.  Without Batman there would be no Joker, so to see your choices bring a different Joker to life is kind of an amazing experience.  Sadly for Bruce, things still cannot end up the way he wants them.  He has to make a lot of tough choices in this episode, and almost all of them end poorly.  Which is the most Batman thing of all time.

Telltale has hit a bit of a rough patch, so I am not sure about the future of their Batman franchise, but I hope they find a way to keep making this story because it is excellent.  If only the Warner Brothers movie studio had this much writing talent, maybe we would finally get a good new Batman movie.  Regardless, now that the story is complete, there is no reason not to jump in to Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within, or go back and start at the beginning with Batman: The Telltales Series.  You will be glad you did.

PUBG Mobile Launches In The USA!

You know how I had to give all my info to China to play PUBG on my phone?  Well now if you live in North America you can just grab it from the Play or App Stores!  You will need Facebook to log in and keep all your data, but other than that just download it and go nuts!

If you are somewhat decent at using your phone for games or understand the PUBG concept it is a great time to start playing because most people are still just trying to figure it out right now.  It is kind of like PUBG on easy mode out there.  I have a few dozen  kills and a second place finish after just three matches.  Meanwhile The Paladin has already feasted on that sweet chicken dinner.

It looks like they have also upped the graphical fidelity a bit from the Chinese release.  The windows and house interiors are still gone, but there is more grass around, and the shadow draw is just a little further out.  Still not great compared to the Xbox One or PC releases, but pretty good for a phone game.  A matter of fact it runs so well, Bluehole may want to ask Tencent to give their other versions of the game a once over just to get some extra FPS out of them.

All in all this is a great mobile game.  I am amazed with what Tencent has accomplished.  Hopefully we will see the other maps and more content show up soon.