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Whatever happens in Splatoon 2’s story, it’ll be a product of the game’s community.
Nintendo recently added a new section to the upcoming sequel’s website, called “Squid Sisters Stories.” That’s a reference to Marie and Callie, the pop idol duo at the center of Splatoon’s in-game “Splatfest” events.
Before we get to the site update and how the original game will influence the sequel, it’s important to understand what Splatfests are.
Splatoon is a competitive multiplayer game, and Splatfests were limited time events in which players chose between two sides. It was always something simple: Cats vs. Dogs, Art vs. Science, Messy vs. Tidy.
The labels ultimately didn’t matter inside the game, beyond giving the community competing banners to unite under. At the end of each Splatfest, each team earned a score based on a combination of overall popularity (i.e. how many players flocked to each banner) and win percentage, with the higher score nabbing a win.
In every Splatfest, Marie and Callie split up to represent each team. But for the final Splatfest, the Squid Sisters were the banners players flocked to: it was Marie vs. Callie. The event ended on July 22, 2016 and Marie was crowned the winner.
That was the end. Or so it seemed.
Now, the newly updated Splatoon 2 website features an all-text “Prologue” that directly references the result of that final Marie vs. Callie Splatfest. Here’s the relevant bit:
The showdown of Callie versus Marie ended in victory for Marie, but there was no ill will between the two. The girls left the studio arm in arm, smiling and laughing as they always had. The bond between them would continue, unbroken, for years to come.
There’s one more line after that: “Or so it seemed at the time….”
This prologue is obviously setting up the story in Splatoon 2. What’s surprising is the way the final Splatfest, a real-life event, is woven into the fictional story. I can’t think of any other case where a game featuring live elements used the results of an in-game event to influence the continuing story.
To see this coming from Nintendo, a company that has traditionally been slower to embrace industry trends — in this case, live games — is even more surprising. There’s plenty more to be revealed about Splatoon 2, but this very cool twist should go a long way toward keeping fans of the first game invested in the sequel.
Much-loved indie game Risk of Rain is getting a sequel, developer Hopoo announced today, and the follow-up will make the leap from 2D to 3D.
“Risk of Rain 2 is our first fully 3D project,” the company revealed in a blog post. “We think that 3D allows for much deeper design spaces and more possibilities for cool gameplay. Feelings of scale and atmosphere are also much stronger. We are really happy with the core of Risk of Rain–and we’re finding it plays even better in 3D. It just won’t crash anymore.”
You can take a look at a short clip of the game in action above, though Hopoo did warn that the build shown off is “very, very early in development,” and that “none of the systems, art styles, assets, or game design choices will necessarily translate to the final game.” The company says it’s been working on the sequel “for about 6 months,” and it did not announce pricing, a release window, or what platforms the game might come to.
The original Risk of Rain launched on PC in 2013 following a successful Kickstarter campaign, before later coming to both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.
“Risk of Rain is highly enjoyable,” said critic Cameron Woolsey in our review. “And with constant rewards of new items and character classes, it’s hard to put down once you start. Even as I watched the last of the end credits roll by, I wiped the sweat from my brow and jumped back into the fray: I have an item log that still needs to be filled.
It’s been a gnarly handful of days for the professional Overwatch scene. Since last Tuesday, four organizations have dropped their Overwatch teams, citing a lack of certainty about Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League and potentially prohibitive costs they’ll have to pay in order to join it.
Today, esports organization compLexity bid farewell to their Overwatch team with a statement (via PVP Live):
“Anticipation of Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League and an uptick in mainstream esports attention means that now more than ever, we have to be confident we’re making the best investments in each game,” they wrote. “The decision to part ways with long-term members of our organization is never one that we take lightly, but ongoing roster instability has resulted in inconsistent performances in an already narrow field of events.”
They added that their former team will be able to continue using team house facilities for two months, so as to “provide what sense of stability that we can.”
They’re not the first to release an Overwatch team in the past seven days. Team SoloMid, another esports heavy hitter, backed out on May 5. Former player Taylor “b1am” Forrest said they just put the finishing touches on their player roster, but claimed that the cost of entry into Overwatch League is too steep for TSM to go all-in right now.
Red Reserve also bid a resigned farewell to their team on May 5, saying that not all is well on the European front. “Due to Overwatch remaining a relatively small esports title in Europe compared to the North American and Asian esports scene, the decision came to put our focus in different titles such as CS: GO, Call of Duty, and Fifa,” they wrote. “Whether or not we will continue in the Overwatch scene is yet to be decided as the esports scene is ever growing, but for now, this ends our run for Overwatch.”
Denial Esports kicked off the trend last Tuesday, dropping their team with little in the way of an explanation.
This all comes in close proximity to a report alleging that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross have both purchased Overwatch League spots for, potentially, millions of dollars. If true, that would put a lot of esports organizations in a tight spot, if not an outright untenable one.
For the moment, Blizzard isn’t making any concrete announcements, but they did tell PVP Live that they “are in active discussions with teams and owners from endemic esports as well as traditional sports.” We’ll see where that all goes… eventually. Overwatch League is set to launch sometime later this year, but there’s no exact date yet.
A reader admits to the classic franchises he’s never played a single game from, including The Legend Of Zelda and Mass Effect.
As a gamer, quite often I miss out on the latest hot TV series. As I juggle gaming with other social obligations I make the choice to sacrifice watching TV. So, for example, I haven’t seen a single episode of Breaking Bad, not one. I’ve not finished the first season of Game of Thrones (I hope Sean Bean’s Eddard Stark makes it the whole way through, he’s my favourite character) but apparently a load has happened in that too. When I tell friends this I get a look like I just farted loudly in a lift, but even more egregiously I have not played some games that other people would regard as all-time classics.
This annoys me more, because when you miss a game series you really miss the bus and the commitment to catch up can be even more onerous. Once fandom has been established for a game it can be hard to understand the fuss from the outside. Here are some of the series I’ve missed.
I’ve not played one game of this classic series, so I wasn’t furious when apparently Mass Effect 3 messed the whole trilogy up. Seeing the build up to Mass Effect: Andromeda I couldn’t join in on the fevered speculation about whether Commander Shepherd will have a dog or if his moustache will be curlier (see my total lack of any appreciable knowledge!). But if it’s any consolation I‘ve played every mainline Assassin’s Creed game, gaming philistine that I am.
The Legend Of Zelda
Nope not a one. Why? Because to my eternal regret I was a massive Sega fanboy back in the day and looked down with barely concealed derision at anything Nintendo and those plumber-loving big kids. By the time I was old enough to appreciate Nintendo (about the N64 era) without my stupid blinkers on I could see what everyone else did but still couldn’t play their games.
Why? Because at this stage I had been turfed out of the nest and had to buy my own consoles at that point in my life. And I couldn’t look past the PlayStation’s early ice cool style and diverse game catalogue, and that’s the pattern that has followed me on. Appreciating Nintendo much the same way Cameron appreciated that Georges Seurat painting in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
So I missed out and the people loving Breath Of The Wild who can see the deeper meanings and history of the series have my envy. I don’t have a Switch and will probably end up with a PlayStation 4, so this trend will continue. #sadface #firstworldproblem
Castlevaina and Metroid
Both games seem so important that they get scrunched together to make the weird compound word of Metroidvania. I haven’t played either iconic series, but of all of the many games in both series the one I regret the most not having played would be Metroid Prime. It’s constantly held up as a masterwork. I’d have to nod, mumble and bluff my way through any conversation around Metroid. Being careful to drop in that it was great to see a woman in a leading role in a video game… See! I know things. Also, isn’t it great when you find a new power that allows you to access another part of the world… Facts! What bit did I like best? … explodes smoke bomb and runs.
I played all the Resident Evils – even the rubbish ones – why do I need to play Resi in space? Like, how cool could it actually be? Turns out it sounds like it was very, very cool. For this one it’s a real case of it just passing me by. I know that the later iterations seemed to be received badly, but the reason I wasn’t grabbed was the terror factor. I had played two parts of the very first game at a friend’s house, and the swarming antagonists freaked me out to the point I didn’t play it for my mental health. The second part involved blowing up a bunch of asteroids to prevent the station from exploding, I just couldn’t do it. I’d get a good bit through but couldn’t bring it home, the two negative snippets probably ruined the game for me.
Finally, the last entry I’ll admit to with a shame face would be Pokémon. Pokémon are a mystery to me. They seem to have been going since the times when consoles were made from string and magic, and yet once again I’ve missed an entire gaming media juggernaut. They look like good light role-players, certainly more accessible than Final Fantasy – a series I’ve definitely enjoyed.
Don’t get me wrong, it looked lots of fun and playful in ways that only Nintendo can master but I never evolved a single charmander or squirtle. I’ve seen a few of the early cartoons but not enough to get engaged with the world, and 10 years in I accepted I probably won’t be a Pokémon guy.
I often toy with the idea of picking these games up cheap. I wonder which series the denizens of the Underbox would recommend if I could choose just one? And I also wonder at the series that they would admit to missing out on? Perhaps someone has never played a Call Of Duty? Or maybe some lone wanderer has somehow avoided all of the GTAs. This is the opportunity to confess and get the shame off your chest.
Yesterday’s long-awaited Destiny 2 reveal was undeniably awesome, but for the game’s enthusiastic hardcore community it was also bittersweet. Yes, there’s a new Destiny adventure on the horizon, but that also makes the old one history. And moving forward means leaving things behind.
Bungie keeps saying that Destiny 2 will be a “fresh start” for old and new players alike. All the precious trophies we’ve earned over the last three years — the flamboyant armor, the outrageous guns, the rocket launchers and giant lasers we pined for and sought after endlessly — will be gone. And so will Destiny’s two most unique abilities, the Defender Titan’s bubble shield and the Sunsinger Warlock’s self-resurrection.
But there might be good reasons for that.
At its massive unveiling event in LA, Bungie showed off three new subclasses that will appear in Destiny 2: The Dawnblade Warlock, with a flaming sword; the Arcstrider Hunter, wielding an electric staff; and the Sentinel Titan, flinging a glowing purple Captain America shield. The Defender Titan and Sunsinger Warlock were conspicuously absent from those announcements, aside from the bubble shield popped by one non-playable character in a cutscene. And that’s because they’re not in the game, Destiny 2 World Lead Steve Cotton confirmed in an interview.
“Super” abilities in Destiny 2 are meant to be more offensive than tactical or defensive. The three new classes, as well as the Destiny 1 classes that are confirmed to be returning (Striker, Gunslinger, and Voidwalker), are focused on causing large amounts of damage as quickly as possible. “The super is for when you want to go to town,” Cotton said.Those types of tactical abilities aren’t gone — they’re just not your super anymore.
Don’t panic, though. Yes, the Defender’s bubble shield is one of Destiny’s most iconic abilities. And the Sunsinger’s self-res has caused more clutch saves than all the others combined. But those types of tactical abilities aren’t gone — they’re just not your super anymore.
Now, Warlocks, Titans, and Hunters have their own distinctive “class abilities” that augment their loadouts with more tactical powers, several of them fulfilling similar roles to the bubble shield in the first Destiny. Titans, for example, can periodically deploy front-facing shields of various sizes, while Warlocks can deploy a “rift” that powers up or heals players within a small area. These abilities have their own cooldowns, much like grenades and melee attacks. By themselves they aren’t as impactful as a Titan bubble is now, but they can be used more frequently, and Destiny 2 players will no doubt find creative ways to combine them. Titan mains will no doubt miss their bubbles, but Cotton said the changes are for the best.
It’s to create a fantasy that you really understand about your character — what Warlocks are all about, what Hunters are all about, and what Titans are all about,” he said. “Instead of just being a flat list of ‘here’s all the things that you can choose,’ [the subclass menu now has] paths for you to choose. And the goal there was to make it so you can’t make a bad choice. It’s like, you go this path, you’re going to become this fantasy; you go this path, you’re going to become that fantasy. And you always have those abilities sitting there for you to use.”
So what’s the point of supers in Destiny 2, besides “going to town”? If they’re all about causing damage, what differentiates them? Cotton laid out some of the distinctions among Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters in general, like the fact that Titans are now more focused on defense, while Hunters are all about acrobatics and dodging. But for now there doesn’t seem to be a satisfying answer to the question of what separates a flaming sword from an electric staff or a glowing Captain America shield. They’re all great for bashing aliens in the face, but whether there’s more to these abilities than that remains to be seen.Titans are now more focused on defense, while Hunters are all about acrobatics and dodging.
There are a lot more big changes in store in Destiny 2. Weapon slots have been re-jiggered so you now get two primaries and one “power” weapon, which includes shotguns, snipers, fusion rifles, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and swords. (Cotton said heavy ammo will drop more often to compensate.)
There are new social features, including integrated clan support and a form of matchmaking Bungie is calling “guided games,” which matches solo players up with compatible clans. And Destiny 2 has the biggest and most detailed open world areas yet — Cotton said the new European Dead Zone is larger and far more dense than the current game’s Cosmodrome, even including the Plaguelands area added on in the “Rise of Iron” expansion last year. And that’s just one of four confirmed new areas.
Destiny’s journey from Bungie’s imagination to players’ screens over the last few years has been tumultuous. Change is hard — no one knows that better than those who make and play Destiny. But sometimes it can be for the best, too. We’ll find out if that’s the case this time when Destiny 2 launches on PS4 and Xbox One Sept. 8, and PC some time later.
Mike Rougeau is a freelance journalist who lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and two dogs.
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Pokémon Go Adventure Week will run from Thursday 18 May (1 p.m. PDT) until Thursday 25 May (1 p.m. PDT). Continuing in the type-based theme of recent grass and water events, this one will be all about rock Pokémon.
So what exactly will the event involve?
There are four main points from Niantic’s press release about the Adventure Week event:
1. More rock-type Pokémon.
All rock-type Pokémon — such as Omantye, Kabuto, Aerodactyl, Onix, and Sudowoodo — will spawn more frequently during the event.
Niantic list the specific Pokémon mentioned above as their examples, but the implication is that every Pokémon that’s rock-type will be more common (including, we can only hope, Larvitar).
2. More items from PokéStops.
Throughout Adventure Week “more items will be available at each PokéStop to help Trainers stock up for their adventure”.
3. Faster buddy candy.
This is a nice one. The distance you have to walk with your buddy Pokémon to find a candy will be quartered during the Adventure Week event (it’ll be the perfect time to start walking your newly-captured Larvitar, in other words).
4. A brand new hat.
Last but by no means least, there will be a brand new Adventurer’s Hat item in the avatar wardrobe (because what good is going on an adventure if you can’t do it in style, eh?).