EA Struggles With Perception That “We’re Just A Bunch Of Bad Guys”

One of publisher Electronic Arts’ bosses has spoken up to talk about how, after 25 years with the company, he continues to struggle with how EA is often perceived as “a bunch of bad guys.”

A publicly traded company with thousands of employees around the world, EA is among the world’s largest, oldest, and most established gaming publishers. EA’s EVP of strategic growth, Matt Bilbey, explained to GI.biz that when EA makes mistakes, these issues are blown out due in part to the company’s size and scale.

“25 years at EA and I still struggle with the external perception that we’re just a bunch of bad guys,” Bilbey said. “We love making and playing games. Unfortunately, when we make mistakes on games, the world knows about it because it’s of a size and scale.”

Indeed. When EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II ignited a controversy in 2017 over its implementation loot boxes and microtransactions–which were removed before the game’s public release–the discussion kicked off a global examination of loot boxes in video games that continues today. The title might have been embroiled in controversy, but it shipped a gargantuan 9 million-plus copies in its first months alone, making it one of the most successful Star Wars games in history.

It’s a similar story to EA’s Battlefield 4, which had a rough launch but was also hugely successful from a commercial perspective.

Also in the interview, Bilbey spoke about how EA, as the company grows larger and larger, faces the perception that it becomes “disconnected” from new, original ideas. That’s where the EA Originals program comes in. The label is behind titles like A Way Out, Fe, and Sea of Solitude, along with more games coming up in the future.

“EA Originals is our opportunity to connect with that talent and those smaller ideas. When you are part of a big company, it’s too easy to fall into the trap where when you see a game concept… it has to be big,” he said. “The notion of actually coming up with small, unique game ideas… We know from the work that we’ve been doing on our subscription business that gamers will play a FIFA or a Fortnite–they have one main franchise–but then they want breaks from those games to play something that’s maybe five or ten hours long.”

At E3 this y ear, EA announced the latest partners for the EA Original label, including Hazelight, Glowmade, and Zoink.

Source: GameSpot.com

Cosplayer’s Giant Rifle Prompts Sheriff’s Warning

A cosplayer taking some photos earlier today at Seacliff State Beach in Monterey Bay got a little more attention than she was expecting, when concerns from other beachgoers and a local news crew prompted a warning from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office.

Speaking to KRON 4 news, the representative took the opportunity to remind cosplayers that walking around public places carrying enormous fake firearms maybe isn’t the best idea, since anyone who isn’t aware a huge rifle is just a cosplay prop might get concerned, and that might lead to a call to the police, who likewise might not know it’s a prop and then things have the potential to get very serious.

Nobody is saying you can’t cosplay with guns (aside from KRON’s dumb “Leave your guns at home” headline), that’s probably taking things a little too far, the Sheriff’s Office is just saying…maybe be cool and respectful and smart about it, instead of just waving the thing around on a beach.

PS – If you know the cosplayer or photographer (or are them!), get in touch!

Source: Kotaku.com

DDoS Attacker Will Spend Two Years In Prison

Photo: Ian Waldie (Getty)

One of the men behind a series of 2013 attacks on games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 has been sentenced to 27 months in jail, and must pay $95,000 in restitution to another of his victims.

Via Polygon, in a statement released by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California the culprit is named as 23 year-old Austin Thompson, who earlier this year plead guilty to charges of “Damage to a Protected Computer”.

Thompson ran the Twitter account “DerpTrolling”, and his case actually revolved around Daybreak Games, formerly Sony Online Entertainment, who he must pay the $95,000 to after it was determined that’s how much revenue the company lost between December 2013 and January 2014 during his attacks.

He got off relatively lightly; the maximum sentence he could have faced is a $250,000 fine and ten years in prison.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Best Dreamcast Games

Here’s a terrifying fact: Sega has been out of the console business longer than they were in it. And while it was the Dreamcast that finally did the struggling giant in, for a platform that was only around for a couple of years it certainly left one hell of a legacy behind.

You’d think a console that “failed” in 2001 would have been long forgotten by 2019, but many of the Dreamcast’s biggest and best games are still making their mark on video games today, from Soulcalibur to Shenmue.

Also worth remembering: it had the single greatest console start-up routine of all time. Like molten gold dripping under pale moonlight into a fine marble basin.

In honour of Sega’s fallen hero, we’ve put together this list of the best games for the Dreamcast, for those who might be interested in circling around and picking one up, or those who once did and would like a tragic trip down memory lane.

This unranked list has been made based on a couple of core considerations. Firstly, and most obviously, most of these are the games we simply think are the best Dreamcast games, those that are our personal favourites. But there are also games here, after two decades of space and time to consider, that we think defined the Dreamcast experience.


JET SET RADIO

I know I said this list was unranked, but I lied. Jet Set Radio was the best Dreamcast game. I know it had its flaws regarding difficulty and the time limits (some of which were addressed in the later Xbox port), but the colours, the music, the style…this is the millennium distilled, the perfect standard bearer for everything beautiful and good about the Sega Dreamcast. If you could only ever own one game for this system, it should/would be this.


NFL 2K1

Nobody knew it at the time, but NFL2K was one of the most important sports video games ever made. Back when the Dreamcast launched, EA Sports decided they didn’t want to release games for the system, which meant no Madden. No problem, Sega figured, so they went out and bought developer Visual Concepts, who not only went on to seriously challenge Madden in the football space through the early-00s, but are now killing EA in basketball with their NBA2K series. 2K1 was their second football effort on the console, and wasn’t just a better sports game than the first, but it also had online multiplayer, something that wouldn’t catch on with rival platforms for years.


IKARUGA

Originally an arcade game, Ikaruga’s first ever home port was on the Dreamcast, where it was released only in Japan. That didn’t stop Westerners from importing it in droves, and what they’d find was one of the smartest and prettiest shmups ever made. The colour-flipping mechanic at the heart of the game is such a simple idea, but even two decades later it’s just still so perfect.


SHENMUE

An expensive and beloved project, way ahead of its time, that bombed commercially leaving a flaming wreck (and a beautiful legacy) in its wake? We could be talking about the Dreamcast itself, or we could be talking just about Shenmue.

Its heavy emphasis on story, and revolutionary (if also frustratingly basic) way of implementing it in a video game earned it a ton of praise at release, but also a ton of indifference from a market that just wasn’t ready (or, let’s be honest, just didn’t care) for its quirks.


POWER STONE 2

There had never been, and has never been, another fighting game series quite like Power Stone. Where most other fighters are comfortable existing in abstract spaces, the Power Stone games tried to replicate a proper 3D space for their arenas, including differing heights and destructible objects. Both were a blast, but Power Stone 2 was the better game. Also, that old Capcom character design is just to die for.


REZ

Like Jet Set, and Space Channel, and many other Dreamcast games, Rez is a game that you’ve probably played somewhere else, but what’s important is that it was originally developed with Sega’s console in mind. It was and remains a near-perfect synaesthetic experience, especially if played with its nutso vibrator peripheral.


SPACE CHANNEL 5

If Jet Set Radio was most millennial video game, Space Channel 5 might run a very close second. Its mere existence is testament to how weird and daring the Dreamcast’s library could be, where a company could actually take a Janet/Michael Jackson music video and turn it into a rhythm game, then expect more than three people to buy it.


SEAMAN

Seaman, a piece of software that involved talking into a microphone at a fish with a human face (that of Yoot Saito, the game’s creator), has not aged particularly well. But just picture the process involved in getting this from “high as fuck” to “boardroom pitch” to “actual game development” to “sure ok get Leonard Nimoy to do the voice”, and treasure every step of it.


SONIC ADVENTURE

There’s a common and persistent belief that the 3D Sonic games suck, but to buy into that theory requires ignoring Sonic Adventure, the best-selling Dreamcast game of all time. It looked amazing, and while actually controlling Sonic wasn’t as elegant as in 2D—something later 3D Sonic games would continue to struggle with—for 2001 this thing was one hell of an achievement. It might even have been the killer app the Dreamcast had so sorely needed, if…the console hadn’t been killed only months after Sonic Adventure’s release.


SKIES OF ARCADIA

There’s nothing more Sega than Blue Skies, and there’s no game with bluer skies than one literally set amongst blue Sega skies. A massive JRPG with an incredible (for the time) 3D overworld, it’s not hard imagining this appearing on any other console and selling millions.


SOULCALIBUR

This series, still running in 2019, needs no introduction, so I don’t have to give one here. Instead I’m just going to say that the original Dreamcast version of Soulcalibur is still very very good, and that I’ve been writing about video games professionally for 13 years now and still type it out, every single time, as Soul Calibur.


SAMBA DE AMIGO

Samba de Amigo married married rhythm action with a bonkers set of plastic maracas. How they worked, and how they were set up, was as 2000 as it gets:

In the Dreamcast version, each maraca has a cord which is plugged into a bar that lies in front of the player’s feet. The bar is slightly more than two feet in length and has a sensor at each end, and each maraca has an ultrasonic transmitter mounted on its cord; this allows the system to triangulate the position of each maraca. The rattle part can be unscrewed from the top of each maraca for quieter play.[3] Included in the box is a plastic mat with two brown footprints, which helps players properly position themselves in relation to the sensor bar.marvel vs capcom 2


MARVEL VS CAPCOM 2

I don’t even know if this is the Dreamcast version, it might be the arcade cabinet, but whatever, you can’t talk about MvC2 without also saying Fuck The Knicks.

The Dreamcast was home to a lot of great fighting games, so many that three of them have made this list. Unlike the other two, which looked into the future and saw three dimensions, this one’s for the 2D purists, as MvC2 had a roster for the ages, as well as some of the best pixel art to ever grace a fighting game.


CRAZY TAXI

Yet another example of Sega leveraging its coin-op success, Crazy Taxi appeared on the Dreamcast in 2000, a year after its arcade debut. Its fundamental design—racing around a city while a giant arrow told you where to go—was so good that Sega had it patented, and would later take EA and Fox to court over Simpsons Road Rage because of it.


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Source: Kotaku.com

Pokemon Go Adding New Shiny Pokemon Tomorrow

The second Pokemon Go Fest event of the summer kicks off soon in Dortmund, Germany, but even if you can’t attend in-person, you’ll have a chance to catch a special Pokemon. To celebrate the event, Niantic is increasing spawns of male Nidoran around the world beginning tomorrow, July 4, at 1 AM PT / 4 AM ET / 9 AM BST, and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to find its Shiny version for the first time.

That isn’t all that’s happening during the event. As was the case during last month’s Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, Niantic will offer a variety of Global Challenges throughout Germany’s Go Fest. Players around the world can chip in toward their completion, and if enough challenges are completed, Niantic will make a variety of bonuses available in the game, including another chance to capture the Legendary Pokemon Entei.

No Caption Provided

This week marks the third anniversary of Pokemon Go’s release, and Niantic is celebrating the occasion with a variety of events and bonuses. Shiny Alolan forms of Rattata, Sandshrew, Vulpix, Diglett, Meowth, Geodude, Grimer, and Exeggutor can be found in the wild, and Pikachu wearing a party hat is available once again. There are also new Special Research quests and new avatar items inspired by the game’s three team leaders in the Style Shop.

Beyond the third anniversary festivities, the Gen 3 Legendary Groudon has returned to Raid Battles for a limited time. The Pokemon will appear at Gyms until July 10, and you’ll have a chance of encountering its Shiny version. Groudon and Kyogre are also two of the possible Legendaries you can encounter through July’s new Field Research tasks. Another Gen 3 Legendary, Speed Forme Deoxys, has also begun appearing in EX Raids.

Pokemon Go’s next Community Day is scheduled for July 21. The featured Pokemon this time will be Mudkip, the Gen 3 Water-type starter. Throughout the event, Mudkip will appear in the wild more frequently than normal, and if you can evolve it into its final form, Swampert, by the end of the event, it’ll learn a special move. You’ll also earn triple the usual amount of XP for capturing Pokemon during this month’s Community Day.

Source: GameSpot.com

Apex Legends players get a new Wattson skin and a new L-STAR skin with Twitch Prime

In honor of the launch of Apex Legends season 2, Twitch and developer Respawn Entertainment are partnering to give players new skins for the game’s two newest additions: Wattson and the new L-STAR light machine gun.

These two new skins are both being released as part of a themed pack that’s mostly focused on sparkly things and unicorns. Wattson’s skin is called Sweet Dreams and is a purple and yellow jumpsuit with two different kinds of unicorns on it. The L-STAR skin is called Stellar Stallion and it too features a lot of purple with what is either a horse or a unicorn.

The L-STAR’s Stellar Stallion skin
The L-STAR’s Stellar Stallion skin
Respawn Entertainment

The two new skins are available to any players that have linked their Origin account with their Twitch account and have Twitch Prime. To claim the reward you can click on the crown icon at the top right of the screen when you’re on Twitch, or you can follow this link.

Source: Polygon.com

Before Stranger Things 3 Premiere, Fortnite Has Been Invaded By Stranger Things Portals

Just ahead of the Stranger Things 3 premiere, it appears another crossover event is coming to Fortnite. Following the game’s second 9.30 content update, the portals from Netflix’s popular Stranger Things series have begun appearing in the game, conveniently in time for the launch of the series’ third season (you can read our Stranger Things Season 3 review here).

There are several portals in the game right now, and they can be found, fittingly, inside the Mega Mall, one of the new areas introduced to the game at the start of Season 9. It’s unclear what the purpose of the portals is–at present, they’ll simply teleport you to other areas of the mall if you walk inside one–but it could signal some more Stranger Things content coming to the game. Netflix had previously hinted at a Fortnite/Stranger Things collaboration around the launch of Season 3 (and the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor from Stranger Things 3 was even added to Mega Mall recently), so this could just be the beginning.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2

This certainly isn’t the first crossover to happen in Fortnite. Epic has previously collaborated with a number of blockbuster films. Earlier this year, Fortnite hosted an Avengers: Endgame crossover event that allowed players to wield some of the Avengers’ iconic weapons. After that, the game held a John Wick crossover event to coincide with the release of John Wick 3. Epic Games boss Donald Mustard even appeared in the Avengers: Endgame re-release.

Fortnite is still in the midst of its 14 Days of Summer event. Until July 16, you’ll be able to complete new challenges and unlock some special summer-themed rewards. There will be 14 challenges in total, and if you manage to clear all of them by the end of the event, you’ll unlock the Smoothie back bling. Epic is also unvaulting a weapon and hosting a different limited-time mode each day of the event.

The aforementioned 9.30 content update went live on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices on July 2, and it was a fairly minor one as far as Fortnite updates go, only adding a single new weapon to Battle Royale mode: the Drum Shotgun. Fortnite’s premium Save the World mode, on the other hand, has brought back a handful of festive heroes to celebrate the Fourth of July, while Fortnite Creative has received a handful of new prefabs and galleries.

Source: GameSpot.com

Fortnite Has Been Invaded By Stranger Things Portals

It appears another crossover event is coming to Fortnite. Following the game’s second 9.30 content update, the portals from Netflix’s popular Stranger Things series have begun appearing in the game, conveniently in time for the launch of the series’ third season (you can read our Stranger Things Season 3 review here).

There are several portals in the game right now, and they can be found, fittingly, inside the Mega Mall, one of the new areas introduced to the game at the start of Season 9. It’s unclear what the purpose of the portals is–at present, they’ll simply teleport you to other areas of the mall if you walk inside one–but it could signal some more Stranger Things content coming to the game. Netflix had previously hinted at a Fortnite/Stranger Things collaboration around the launch of Season 3 (and the Scoops Ahoy ice cream parlor from Stranger Things 3 was even added to Mega Mall recently), so this could just be the beginning.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2

This certainly isn’t the first crossover to happen in Fortnite. Epic has previously collaborated with a number of blockbuster films. Earlier this year, Fortnite hosted an Avengers: Endgame crossover event that allowed players to wield some of the Avengers’ iconic weapons. After that, the game held a John Wick crossover event to coincide with the release of John Wick 3. Epic Games boss Donald Mustard even appeared in the Avengers: Endgame re-release.

Fortnite is still in the midst of its 14 Days of Summer event. Until July 16, you’ll be able to complete new challenges and unlock some special summer-themed rewards. There will be 14 challenges in total, and if you manage to clear all of them by the end of the event, you’ll unlock the Smoothie back bling. Epic is also unvaulting a weapon and hosting a different limited-time mode each day of the event.

The aforementioned 9.30 content update went live on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices on July 2, and it was a fairly minor one as far as Fortnite updates go, only adding a single new weapon to Battle Royale mode: the Drum Shotgun. Fortnite’s premium Save the World mode, on the other hand, has brought back a handful of festive heroes to celebrate the Fourth of July, while Fortnite Creative has received a handful of new prefabs and galleries.

Source: GameSpot.com

Dota Underlords, As Told By Steam Reviews

SteamedSteamed is dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s PC gaming service.  

Are you someone who still battles in video games by using your fingers to directly input commands, like some kind of barbarian? That’s old hat. Today, auto-battlers are all the rage. Simply buy some guys, arrange said guys, and they (the guys) will do the battling for you. With Dota Underlords, Valve rushed to capitalize on the trend that began with a user-created mod of its own game Dota 2. So far, Underlords’ speedy turnaround seems to have paid off.

Underlords, currently in early access, is heavily based on Dota Auto Chess, a mod in which eight players purchase automated units and try to outdo each other in a mini-tournament of 1v1 duels. It may not sound like much, but it’s easy to learn, and once you’ve let your brain marinate in the intricacies for a bit, it’s addictive as heck. Steam users are pleased with Valve’s faithfulness to the original mod, as well as the subtle quality-of-life improvements and item changes that streamline some of the mod’s sloppier elements. Some people, however, are wary of hero and synergy changes Valve has made, while others just don’t dig how RNG-based the game (and genre) is. For most, though, Underlords is hitting the spot.

Source: Kotaku.com

Let’s See How Much Fun We Can Squeeze Out Of The Last Half Hour Of E3

E3 2019It’s time for the biggest gaming show of the year. We’ve got articles, videos, podcasts and maybe even a GIF or two.  

Yes, E3 2019 ended three weeks ago. However, in my nightmares, I’m still there, slamming energy drinks and binge-sitting in every gamer chair my eyes can see. As long as my neck still hurts from the flight back, I cannot refrain from scraping the bottom of the E3 barrel. Watch me try and fail to die as E3 2019’s lights go out one by one in this short horror film: “E3: GAME OVER (or, ‘A Big Boy Encounters A Barrel Bottom’).”

This video serves as a sequel of sorts to last year’s “The Weirdest Things We Saw At E3 2018.” Paul Tamayo edited that video in my stead, because both producer Matthew Reyes and I were out of our respective offices. Even a year later, he often regales me with anecdotes about how joyful he found the editing process of that video.

This year, encouraged by Paul’s tales of joy, I attempted to experience the joy myself—both while editing and in the shooting of the footage. Literary critics will later say that “joy” is, in fact, what this video is all about: it’s about trying to rekindle the childish joy I felt when attending my first E3 nineteen years ago. In metaphor with so many other elements of life, my “character” in this “film” endeavors to rekindle this childish joy perhaps when it’s already too late: with just 30 minutes remaining on the last day of E3 2019.

Does my fictionalized self manage to rekindle the childish joy? I’d probably be lying if I said yes, though please watch the video, and chug that thumbs-up icon on our YouTube channel like it was a Sugar Free Red Bull.

By the way! You could subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you like videos like this.

There’s even a playlist of all my other videos. Wow!

And what! I made a playlist of all my E3 2019 videos, as well. You should watch them. Thanks.

Source: Kotaku.com

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