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Outrage & Action Spread To Another EA Title With #FixFIFA

Electronic Arts' Star Wars Battlefront II (click for Reiner's review) recently sparked outrage and a rush of activism due to the game's loot crates and overall structure. Loot crates, which can be purchased with real money (via in-game crystals), are the only way to get game-changing Star Cards, thus creating a pay-to-win situation. Although at the time of this writing EA has turned off the game's microtransaction component, the company has promised that they will be back after unspecified changes are made to the game.

The Battlefront community (centering on Reddit) is buoyed by its initial success, but fixing the game's microtransactions and the way they shape the game's structure as a whole remains the ultimate end goal. Their efforts have emboldened another community – for FIFA – which is rallying around the #FixFIFA hashtag to agitate for the benefit of the soccer franchise.

Reddit user SSROCK has posted on the FIFA subreddit calling for FIFA fans to boycott the game's Ultimate Team microtransactions on Black Friday, tweet at the company with the hashtag #FixFIFA, and sign an online petition. The grievances it wants EA to pay attention to range from the long length of the competitive Weekend League (which demands gamers play 40 matches in three days), Top 100 competitive players exploiting the matchmaking system, the changed nature of the gameplay since launch, the stagnation of the non-monetized/non-Ultimate Team modes, the belief that the game is scripted, and more. Currently, the FIFA subreddit mods have created a megathread for the movement, and it's a prime talker on the page.

Although the FIFA community's complaints are naturally different than those of the Battlefront community, not the least of which is due to the fact that microtransactions are an accepted, fundamental part of the Ultimate Team mode, the progress Battlefront fans have made so far gives hope to FIFA fans that they can start their own revolution. Plus, the yearly FIFA releases have led to more of a build-up of problems that need addressing and the subsequent, rolling frustration.

Need for Speed Payback has also received criticism for its microtransactions structure, but its fans have yet to coalesce like Star Wars Battlefront and FIFA fans have. However, we could see other communities, whether that's around NFS, Madden, another EA title, or those from another publisher entirely, spurred into action.

[Source: r/FIFA] 

 

Our Take 
Fans of annual sports games are used to discussing the shortcomings of titles and imploring the devs to make changes, but galvanization in this fashion and this early in the development cycle is unusual. The latter is important in that it may be early enough to make a difference while next year's title is still in the incubator, unlike DICE's situation of trying to fix Star Wars after years of development are already in place.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 7:01 am

PSA: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Gets A Free Trial Today

The first level of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is available free today on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

If you choose to upgrade to the full version your save data will carry over.

Check out our review of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus here!

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:35 am

Need For Speed Payback Undergoing Further Changes

Need for Speed Payback developer Ghost Games has already been tweaking the game to respond to user-criticism regarding the game's grind, bugs, and other complaints (check out Miller's review for more info), and now it says further changes are in store.

In a blog post, the dev says an upcoming patch is the latest improvement to the game aimed at basically giving players higher-quality speed cards at a faster rate to aid progression.

Here are the patch contents with text straight from EA:

No date has been given for the patch, but the post says it should be "soon."

[Source: Ghost Games Blog] 

 

Our Take 
These post-release changes are nice, but like Star Wars Battlefront II, it's too bad the dev didn't see them during development, which would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Apart from the continued existence of microtransactions, the game also has many technical issues that hopefully Ghost Games continues to address. 

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 4:03 am

Spider-Man: Homecoming Poster Recreated In Super Mario Odyssey

Photo modes in video games are great at showing off the beauty of open worlds and catching awesome action shots, but they can also be used to recreate images from other places, as one Reddit user has done in Super Mario Odyssey.

User MarianneThornberry used photo mode to recreate a poster from Spider-Man: Homecoming. The original poster has Spider-Man laying down in front of the New York City skyline, while the recreation puts Mario in similarly colored clothing, laying down with the New Donk City skyline in the background. The Mario photo even imitates the text from the original poster. The largest omission from the  recreation is Avengers Tower, which obviously, but unfortunately, doesn’t exist in the Mario universe.

With photo modes becoming increasingly popular in video games, we’re bound to see even more creative uses of the feature going forward. If you’ve been using photo modes in games recently, what creative ideas have you come up with? Let me know in the comments below.

[Source: Reddit.com]

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 4:00 am

New Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer "Tempt" Appears

A quick Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer appears just before everyone prepares to go home for Thanksgiving, giving us all something to be thankful for.

The trailer, titled Tempt, centers around the Jedi in the movie and their temptation to the dark side.

Check out the trailer below. We're down to just a few weeks until the movie releases on December 15.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:14 pm

Bloodborne Enemy Found After Only Being Seen In Pre-Release Footage

At PlayStation Experience 2014, footage of Bloodborne showed off an enemy known as the flaming Undead Giant who was not seen in the final game. For years, fans thought the enemy was simply cut content, until some players traversing through the game's chalice dungeons noticed it.

The enemy, which was a variation of the Undead Giant but, well, flaming, was first seen during a stage demo controlled by Bloodborne director and FROM president Hidetaka Miyazaki. Like the Undead Giant most players pursuing the Platinum trophy will see along the way, the flaming giant was meant to be a chalice dungeon enemy.

After three years, no one had reported ever seeing the enemy, and the community for these games generally communicates new information reliably. It was eventually discovered by KolbrotKommander, part of the Reddit Tomb Prospectors who run through Chalice Dungeons repeatedly. Fellow prospector MorosNyx then told the reddit and internet at large that the enemy could be found in a Depth 4 Cursed and Defiled Root Chalice dungeon.

You can use the glyph "pa6ssc6u" to access it yourself.

You can see the discovery, and original footage from PSX, below. It makes people wonder what more these games have hidden in them.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:04 pm

The State Of Hawaii Investigating EA For "Predatory Practices"

Yesterday, Democratic State Representative from Hawaii Chris Lee held a press conference to explain that the state of Hawaii is going to be investigating legislation banning games like EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II from being played by young children, both in Hawaii and possibly pursuing it on a national scale.

Similar to Belgium also declaring today that the government has ruled that games with lootboxes will henceforth be categorized as gambling, Hawaii is pursuing investigations is whether the same idea applies in the U.S.

"This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino," Lee said from the podium. "It's a trap."

You can find the video here of Lee, speaking with other legislator Sean Quinlan, a concerned parent, and a gamer who just seems to be mad about lootboxes ruining games.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
It is one thing to have this problem in Belgium or Hawaii, but both at once implies that there is momentum to the concerns. It is starting small, but if it becomes politically beneficial to take a stand against this idea, then the industry is going to be forced to move in ways they explicitly do not want to.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 2:20 pm

Axiom Verge Publisher Donating Majority Of Their Share To Developer's Son's Healthcare

In a blog post today, Axiom Verge's developer Tom Happ revealed today that BadLand Games, the publisher of the game's retail release on the Switch, is donating 75% of their earnings from the game to a special fund for Happ's son.

"As you may have seen elsewhere on my blog and Twitter, I’ve tried to be pretty open about my son Alastair’s health situation," Happ wrote. "In short, he was born healthy, but the doctors failed to treat a routine case of jaundice during a critical period when he was just days old. The result was a life-long condition called Kernicterus that is characterized by severe neurological damage which robbed Alastair of much of his motor control and hearing."

Happ explained that BadLand offered to donate 75% of their take to Happ's son to help cover his healthcare costs and to keep it secret so it did not look like marketing. Happ decided to praise the publisher for their help, however, and wrote about their gesture for his son.

"They didn’t want to publicize it, since none of us wanted to be seen as trying to use my son’s suffering as a marketing tool for the game," Happ explained. "I hope this doesn’t come off that way. I just wanted to thank them for their generosity in offering that up, since it was definitely something they didn’t have to do."

Axiom Verge launched at retail today for the Switch. You can read our review for the PlayStation 4 version here.

[Source: Axiom Verge Blog]

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:39 pm

Belgium's Gaming Commission Has Declared That Lootboxes Are Gambling

Last week, the country of Belgium used their gaming commission to look into whether games like Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront II should be classified as gambling. This week, the commission has declared that, within the borders of Belgium, lootboxes count as games of chance, and they hope to have them declared as such throughout Europe.

VTM News, the source for the original story, reported the news today. The Google translation isn't perfect, but the spirit comes through.

"The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," Belgium's gaming commission stated.

Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens also took part in the announcement. "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child." 

Belgium has said they wish to take this to Europe as a whole, which could be a big problem for game publishers who have been making lootboxes and microtransactions a core part of games. Redefining the games as gambling throughout all of Europe could, in theory, cost publishers millions of euros in fines, cause the games to be pulled from normal retail shelves, and generally strain their ability to sell in the region.

It remains to be seen how the industry will react to this.

 

Our Take
The speed in which this happened is surprising, but momentum has been building for some time. The problems for publishers are innumerable if this keeps going and it might be best for them to volunteer for a solution before regulation really squeezes them.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:12 pm

Square-Enix Wants Switch To Be A Home For All Kinds Of The Publisher's Titles

As part of their financial quarter Q&A, which has only just been translated, Square-Enix president Yosuke Matsuda was asked about the Nintendo Switch and how Square-Enix plans to support the system in the future. Matsuda believes that Nintendo's new console is a prime candidate for multiplatform titles, new IP, old IP, and mid-sized titles.

When referring to mid-sized titles, Matsuda is talking about games like Octopath Traveler or their handheld output in the DS and PSP era. 

While Matsuda does refer to multiplatform titles, this doesn't necessarily mean something like Final Fantasy XV or further games in the series. It does mean that, where multiplatform games do apply, they want to add the Switch to the consoles they want to prioritize. So something like an HD remaster might include the Switch now, where it previously didn't.

They also see the Switch as a useful avenue for both new IPs and leveraging old ones and they are planning to be proactive in both these fields.

What games do you want to see Square-Enix put on the Switch?

[Source: Square-Enix Q&A]

 

Our Take
Square-Enix seems like a good fit for the Switch and they're probably expecting big things from Octopath and Dragon Quest XI. Considering how many of their games focus on high production values, it will be interesting to see what games they consider porting to Switch, as well.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 9:04 am

Resident Evil Revelations Collection For Switch Not Coming In Physical Form In Europe

Despite a November 28 release date, Capcom has announced that Resident Evil Revelations Collection on the Switch will not be receiving a physical version as originally planned.

The announcement comes a week ahead of the game's release, with Capcom stating that a physical release is "not viable." The game will only be available on the eShop, with the two games in the collection being separate purchases.

The Switch is region-free, so people who want a physical version can import from the U.S., but at a hefty cost. Even with the U.S. cart, Resident Evil Revelations 2 must be downloaded, since it's not on the cart at all.

Resident Evil Revelations Collection is releasing on November 28 and coming with both Revelations games.

[Source: NintendoLife]

 

Our Take
The cart prices on the Switch are becoming an issue, especially now that publishers are judging the viability of production. Capcom is more risk-averse than most, but this could be the the start of a trend.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:45 am

Battlefield 1 Turning Tides December DLC Dated

Battlefield 1 developer DICE is releasing its Turning Tides DLC in two waves, in December and January, with this year's batch now dated for December 11 for owners of the game's premium pass (which is a two-week head start on those who don't).

The December drop features the Cape Helles and Achi Baba maps, a new Gallipoli operation, Infiltrator Elite class, the L-Class Destroyer, and more. The second part of the DLC in January also features two maps, the conquest assault mode, and its own goodies.

Apart from the December release date news today, the game is also offering:

For more info on Turning Tides and more of what's going on with Battlefield 1, click here.

[Source: DICE] 

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:35 am

Venom, Black Widow, Winter Soldier Show Their Stuff In New Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite Trailer

Capcom has released a new trailer that shows how a trio of upcoming characters handle themselves in Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite. We knew that Venom, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier were coming to the game, but this is the best look we've had of them in action.

As the image above proclaims, they're coming to the game as DLC on December 5, either as part of the game's season pass or as individual purchases for $7.99 a pop.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

They join heroes including Black Panther, Monster Hunter, and Sigma, who were added to the game last month.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 5:21 am

Update: The Bronze Tier In Pokémon Go's Global Catch Challenge Has Been Reached

Update: The first milestone in the Global Catch Challenge has been reached, meaning that everyone gets double XP and six hour lures, as well as more Pokémon appearing globally. Keep up the good work!

That was fast, Trainers! You’ve caught over 500 million Pokémon & unlocked new rewards during the Global Catch Challenge. #PokemonGOtravel pic.twitter.com/GuOTPxh6ts

— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) November 21, 2017

[Source: Pokémon Go official Twitter] 

 

Original Story:

Niantic revealed a new event that's happening during Thanksgiving holiday, called the Global Catch Challenge. This event tasks players with a goal that sounds nearly impossible: collectively catching three billion Pokémon in the span of a week.

There are different prizes for when the community reaches new milestones. 500 million catches grants everyone double XP and six hour lures, 1.5 billion gives double XP, six hour lures and 2x stardust, and finally, three billion catches gives all the same rewards the other tiers do along with Farfetch'd available globally for 48 hours and Kangaskhan available in east Asia for 48 hours. You can view the infographic below to get a better idea.

Niantic released a trailer alongside the announcement, which features some popular YouTubers as they explain what the event is about. You can watch it below. 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The Global Catch Challenge will take place globally from November 20 to 26.

 

Our Take
This goal sounds a bit ludicrous. While Pokémon Go has had enormous success, the game has much fewer active players than it did around its launch. Catching three billion Pokémon sounds like a stretch, but I guess we'll see.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 5:03 am

Gears Of War 4 Joining Xbox Game Pass In December

Microsoft has announced what's coming to its Game Pass subscription service in December. Gears of War 4 and the Darksiders remaster are joining the ranks of games that members can access.

Here's what's coming in addition to Gears of War 4 and Darksiders: Warmastered Edition:

Game Pass gives players access to more than 100 games for a $9.99 monthly subscription fee. If you sign up between now and November 27, you can get your first month's membership for $1, too.

[Source: Microsoft]

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:47 am

Update: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Out Early

Update: Good news – Nintendo has released Animal Crossing Pocket Camp a day early for iOS and Android (thanks to @Wario64 for the heads up). Click the links to head over to download.

Original Story:

Last month, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp was the focus of one of Nintendo's in-depth Direct presentations. There, viewers learned a ton about the upcoming mobile game, though one detail was conspicuously absent: a release date. Last night, Nintendo revealed when we'll all be able to head to camp.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is releasing worldwide on iOS and Android on November 22. That's just a few days from now, in case you're keeping track. If nothing else, it might be a valuable distraction if things get too political around the Thanksgiving table. That is, unless you're dining with some weirdo who is completely on board with Tom Nook and his shameless extortion racket.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:42 am

Splatoon 2 Updates Bringing New Stages, Mode & More

Splatoon 2 is getting an infusion of content – including a new game mode, Salmon Run stage, 140 pieces of gear, and much more via two updates before the end of the year.

The first update hits on November 23, and includes the new Salmon Run stage (Salmonid Smokeyard – above), gear (clothes, stuff returning from the first game, shoes, etc.), Amiibo functionality, higher level caps (up to 99), and gear swapping between battles without exiting to the lobby. This update also starts the ball rolling on four new battle stages, but technically the first of these doesn't hit until the day after the update launches on November 24 (MakoMart). the others (Shellendorf Institute, Walleye Warehouse, and Arowana Mall) release in the following weeks.

The second update is in mid-December, featuring the Clam Blitz mode. Here you collect clams around the stage, who then follow you until you deposit them in a basket near the opponent's base. However, players must first destroy the barrier around the basket by collecting 10 clams in order to get the Power Clam that breaks the barrier down. The first one to 100 wins.

For the updates' full details, click here.

[Source: Nintendo] 

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:34 am

Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Daniel Gilbert Invests In Esports Team 100Thieves

Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and founder of Quicken Loans, has invested in the new franchise team 100Thieves as a partner.

The reveal of 100Thieves came from a Riot Games announcement for the ten franchised teams participating in the 2018 League of Legends season. Team leader Nadeshot announced the partnership via both video and tweet earlier today, confirming the huge esports investment.

You can check out the announcement video below and follow the team as new developments proceed.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 4:13 pm

Legendary Nintendo Composer Hip Tanaka Releases Solo Album

Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka, composer for a number of Nintendo games such as Donkey Kong, Metroid, and Earthbound, has released a new solo album titled Django.

Under the stage name of Chip Tanaka, Django is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of original chiptune music that invokes a lot of Tanaka's earlier works throughout the 8- and 16-bit eras.

You can check out a preview of the album below, which is available on ITunes.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 3:49 pm

Beamdog Announces Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition For PC

Beamdog, a Canadian developer founded by ex-Bioware staff, has announced that they will be releasing an enhanced edition of PC RPG classic, Neverwinter Nights for release 

The studio has been known for working on Infinity Engine games such as Baldur's Gate through Icewind Dale, and recently released Planescape Torment, as enhanced editions meant for modern systems. Neverwinter Nights is their first foray into Aurora Engine titles. Here is a listing of what the enhanced edition offers:

You can find the launch trailer below. Beamdog has not clarified the release date, but says preorders are starting tomorrow, so a release date should not be too far in the future.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
The Baldur's Gate remasters were good, so hopefully Beamdog maintains their quality for this one. They aren't complete remakes, but for the price, they do a good job of bringing the old games to new generations.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 1:51 pm

Clicker Heroes 2 Developer Abandons Microtransaction Model Citing Ethical Concerns

In a letter to their players, Clicker Heroes 2 developer Playsaurus explains why they went with an upfront pricing model instead of free-to-play with microtransactions like the first game, citing both ethics and gameplay design as their main reasons.

"Games are inherently addictive," explains the developer. "That alone is not a bad thing, until it gets abused ... We made a lot of money from these players who spent thousands. They are known to the industry as 'Whales'. Great. If you're rich, please be my guest. But we don't want this kind of money if it came from anyone who regrets their decision, if it made their lives significantly worse as a result. Unfortunately, those who have a problem are usually in denial about it, and would be too ashamed to ask us for a refund. We would give the refund in a heartbeat. It's not like we have artists drawing each ruby by hand. It costs us nothing but payment processing fees."

Playsaurus also explains that letting players feel like the experience might be better if they spend more money feels terrible, and that they do not want the game to feel like that's necessary. 

You can read the full post at the source link below. Clicker Heroes 2 is scheduled for PC and Mac in 2018.

[Source: Playsaurus Blog]

 

Our Take
It's interesting to see a dev be so transparent about this decision. It makes me wonder if there will be a trend to be openly consumer-friendly by explaining their reasoning.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 1:00 pm

EA Says Battlefront II's Microtransaction Change Will Not Affect Earnings

After Electronic Arts made a last-minute adjustment to Star Wars: Battlefront II's microtransactions by turning off the ability to buy its virtual currency, the publisher has issued a statement to investors that they do not expect this to change earnings much at all.

The statement comes as EA attempts to assuage investors' fears that microtransactions are a big part of the revenue EA was expecting from Battlefront II this financial year. EA does not believe it will impact things too much.

"On November 16, 2017, Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA”) announced in a blog on its website at www.ea.com/news that it will turn off all in-game purchases for the Star Wars Battlefront II title until further notice," said the statement. "This change is not expected to have a material impact on EA’s fiscal year 2018 financial guidance."

EA plans to bring the microtransactions back at a later date, but has not specified in what form beyond stating that it will still be tied to progression.

Star Wars: Battlefront II is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can find our review of the game here.

[Source: EA Investor Statement]

 

Our Take
While EA is right to be concerned about investor feelings after the story got mainstream attention, it does come off as surprisingly tone deaf to the consumer furor around the title, especially the week after release and the week of Black Friday when sales are important. It undercuts the change they made by hoping people only care about the results and not the intention.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 11:52 am

Rare Announces Three New Vinyl Soundtracks

The acclaimed developer has unveiled three new vinyl soundtracks for some of their most popular games, complete with custom album covers.

In a post to Twitter, Rare revealed that vinyl albums for Battle Toads, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Viva Piñata would be available through a collaboration with iam8bit. The records will be released in 2xLP with the full soundtracks composed by Robin Beanland (Conker), David Wise (Battle Toads), and Grant Kirkhope (Viva Viva Piñata), and boast custom made album art. The albums are priced at $35, with preorders opening on November 24.

Interested in soundtracks from more recent games? Check out our discussion on some of the best tracks of the year during the most recent GI Show

 

Our Take
These look like some well made albums, from the custom art and colors to the reasonable price. Fans of any of the three games should definitely consider putting in a preorder later this week.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 11:34 am

Nintendo Switch Chosen As Time Magazine's Gadget Of The Year

In Time's top ten list of gadgets released in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has taken the number one spot, beating out the iPhone X and the Microsoft Surface laptop.

The list has been a fixture of Time's end-of-the-year roundups, looking back and compiling the top people and things from the year. This year, the Switch topped the list, with iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S8, and the Xbox One X all below it on the list.

"For about as long as game consoles have existed, players have had to choose between gaming in front of a TV or holding a tiny screen in their hands while out and about," list author Lisa Eadicicco wrote. "Not so with the Nintendo Switch, the first console that’s truly designed for both at-home and on-the-go entertainment."

The article praises the Switch's emphasis on playing anything, anywhere and games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey bolstering its library.

This is the second year in a row that Nintendo has captured the top spot, with last year's NES Classic winning. This year, the SNES Classic also ranked, but at number six.

[Source: Time Top 10 Gadgets 2017]

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 10:53 am

Supergirl Star Melissa Benoist Performs A Minecraft Musical In This Video

Actress Melissa Benoist, best known for Supergirl but also Glee and The Longest Ride, sings all about Microsoft's world-constructing game in this new video.

The Super Duper Minecraft Musical has Benoist performing in front of a green screen with the various sights and sounds of Minecraft's world. The whole tune is surprisingly catchy, whether you have an affinity for the subject matter or not, and Benoist definitely has a voice that makes the whole thing gel really well.

Check out the video below and then pretend not have it stuck in your head all day.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 9:53 am