Tag Archives: e3 2019

E3 Expo Leaks The Personal Information Of Over 2,000 Journalists

Photo: E3 2019

A spreadsheet containing the contact information and personal addresses of over 2,000 games journalists, editors, and other content creators was recently found to have been published and publicly accessible on the website of the E3 Expo.

The Entertainment Software Association, the organization that runs E3, has since removed the link to the file, as well as the file itself, but the information has continued to be disseminated online in various gaming forums. While many of the individuals listed in the documents provided their work addresses and phone numbers when they registered for E3, many others, especially freelance content creators, seem to have used their home addresses and personal cell phones, which have now been publicized. This leak makes it possible for bad actors to misuse this information to harass journalists. Two people who say their private information appeared in the leak have informed Kotaku that they have already received crank phone calls since the list was publicized.

The existence of this document was first publicized in a YouTube video that journalist Sophia Narwitz posted to her personal channel on Friday night. (Narwitz has not yet responded to Kotaku’s request for more details about the discovery of this document.) In her video, Narwitz described how the file could be accessed: “On the public E3 website was a web page that carried a link simply titled ‘Registered Media List.’ Upon clicking the link, a spreadsheet was downloaded that included the names, addresses, phone numbers, and publications of over 2,000 members of the press who attended E3 this past year.”

Again, the E3 website has since been updated to remove this link, but cached versions of the site do indeed show that a link titled “Registered Media List” used to appear on a “Helpful Links” page. For some time yesterday, even after this page was removed, clicking on the link in the easily-accessible Google cached version of the page would download the spreadsheet from the E3 website’s servers.

“Before even considering making this story public, I contacted the ESA via phone within 30 minutes of having this information,” Narwitz continued in her video. “Worried that might not be enough, I also shot off an email not too long after. On top of that, I reached out to a number of journalists to make them aware of this.”

One reporter who asked to remain anonymous told Kotaku that he had been one of the people Narwitz contacted before publishing her YouTube video. That reporter says that Narwitz told him she had first learned of the document’s existence because someone had emailed her anonymously to say that they had discovered it and downloaded the information. After receiving this email, Narwitz purportedly then confirmed the file’s existence herself. The reporter who says Narwitz contacted him told Kotaku that he had cautioned Narwitz against publicizing any information about this spreadsheet until after it had been removed by the ESA. That reporter then contacted an ESA representative himself. After that, the direct link to the file was removed from the website. Unfortunately, the file itself was still accessible to anyone who knew the link or could find the Google cached version of the page.

After the page containing the link to the file was removed, Narwitz published her YouTube video about the leaks, seemingly believing that the file was no longer accessible. Soon after that, users noted on social media that although the link to the file had been removed, the spreadsheet file itself was still accessible. The anonymous reporter told Kotaku that he then contacted the ESA a second time and, at that point, the ESA deleted the file from its website. However, Narwitz’s video had already unwittingly publicized the existence and continued availability of the file, the contents of which continue to be shared online.

The ESA provided Kotaku with a statement about the leak. “ESA was made aware of a website vulnerability that led to the contact list of registered journalists attending E3 being made public,” it wrote. “Once notified, we immediately took steps to protect that data and shut down the site, which is no longer available. We regret this occurrence and have put measures in place to ensure it will not occur again.”

The ESA representative declined to respond to Kotaku’s other questions about why the file was not properly password-protected, how long the file had been available to the public, and whether this was the way that journalists’ personal data had been treated by the organization in past years.

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

We Went Hunting In Monster Hunter: Iceborne

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.  

Just in time for the beta this weekend, here’s a brand new video from E3 in which Tim and I play the upcoming Monster Hunter World: Iceborne expansion. We take a photo with one of the monsters that you’ll get a chance to slay in the game, lob off a couple tails, and then try and figure out who the real monsters are. Watch the video to find out!

Source: Kotaku.com

Breath Of The Wild Is Getting A Sequel Because The Team Had Too Many DLC Ideas (And Other Info From Zelda’s Producer)

Breath of the Wild is getting a sequel because the team had too many ideas for downloadable content, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma told me last week in Los Angeles. We also talked about how the Link’s Awakening remake came about, why Zelda games haven’t offered button remapping, and work conditions at Nintendo.

Aonuma spoke through an English-Japanese translator in a private area above Nintendo’s E3 booth. He wouldn’t answer most of my questions about Breath of the Wild’s sequel—I suppose they’ve gotta save some material for next E3—but he did share some other interesting nuggets about the series. (One tidbit that didn’t make the cut: Aonuma’s team is working on BOTW2 while Grezzo, the developer behind the Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask remakes, is heading up Link’s Awakening.)

Below is a large chunk of our interview, edited for brevity and clarity.

Why Nintendo decided to remake Link’s Awakening

Eiji Aonuma: The original game was released 26 years ago on the Game Boy. Getting that Game Boy version is a little hard to do these days. So I’ve wanted to remake this game for a while.

When I create a remake or reimagination, I don’t want to just make it completely the same; I always want to incorporate new elements. For even people who have played the original, I want it to be a fresh experience. So I was looking for that opportunity.

There was also a discussion separately of an idea of incorporating something where users can arrange something on their own in the game. In Zelda, I was thinking what that could be. We landed on the idea of dungeons. When we were thinking about arranging dungeons, creating a puzzle on your own is always a little bit hard, so we thought, “What’s an easy way to have players be able to arrange things?” We thought maybe room arrangement or a map arrangement would be an easy way, and it’d feel like solving a puzzle. That’s how we landed on the [dungeon editor] Chamber Dungeons.

Once we landed on the idea of arranging dungeons, we were thinking, in Link’s Awakening, pretty much every room is about the same size, so we thought this would be a perfect fit for incorporating the Chamber Dungeons, and that’s how this reimagination came about.

Jason Schreier: When you guys are planning out Zelda games, what makes you decide to go with a remake as opposed to a sequel like Link Between Worlds?

Aonuma: Everything’s case by case; each title’s a little bit different. There could be times where we start with the idea of “let’s make a remake,” and then add new elements. Or if we’re creating a sequel, sometimes it could be that there’s something that would be fitting for a sequel versus a remake or something else. Again, it’s case by case.

Schreier: Developers tend to be creative people who want to be doing new things—is it challenging to do a 1:1 recreation without having the urge to tweak and change things?

Aonuma: I guess in some ways yeah, we are a little bit restricted on going wild and free with new ideas. But at the same time we have the creative opportunity to think about how to maintain the original essence. We would have to think about things we would change or improve on or polish to make a remake. In that way, I think it’s a very creative process.

For this game specifically, we thought about the original game and people who have already played it, but we also wanted to make it accessible for new players. So we incorporated both perspectives, and that’s how we tweaked the game this time around, with both ideas and the feedback.

Schreier: What made you guys decide not to add any new dungeons?

Aonuma: Obviously we have improved the original version, and we wanted to do that. But also we wanted to keep that memory of originally playing the game—the essence of what made that game what it is, and by recalling your memory for the past when you have beaten it, if you have beaten it, I think that makes it even more impressionable if you play it again.

Schreier: If this Chamber Dungeon mode is successful, will you make Zelda Maker?

Aonuma: I can’t predict the future, but if people do love this idea of arranging dungeons, I’ll keep that in mind going forward.

On the lack of button remapping in Breath of the Wild

Aonuma: When we have a button arrangement, we very much put thought into how we do it, because there’s a specific way we want players to feel. In some ways, if we freely let players do customizations on key assignments and such, I feel like we’re letting go of our responsibility as a developer by just kind of handing everything over to the users. We have something in mind for everybody when we play the game, so that’s what we hope players experience and enjoy as well. But we understand also that players have a desire for free customization.

Schreier: Also, physically disabled players might not be able to play the way developers intended.

Aonuma Definitely, that’s a very good point, and that’s something we’ll keep in mind going forward, thinking about that.

On innovations in Zelda

Schreier: When we talked in 2014, you told me you wanted to reconstruct the idea of puzzles entirely. What do you want your next big innovation to be?

Aonuma: [Laughs.] I can’t tell you.

Schreier: I mean from a big-picture perspective, similar to the idea of reconstructing puzzles in a Zelda game—that’s a good challenge. What’s the next big challenge for you?

Aonuma: One thing we learned from Breath of the Wild is that when we focused on creating a dungeon that has multiple solutions, it turned into this great title. That’s one thing I want to polish up and use for inspiration going forward.

Schreier: I thought Breath of the Wild was a masterpiece—a lot of people did. But is there anything you wish you could’ve done better?

Aonuma: I can’t really speak to that too specifically—I might use the ideas I have for a next Zelda, or whatever series I might be working on in the future.

On work conditions at Nintendo

Schreier: There’s been a lot of conversation here in America about overtime hours, the hours it takes to get games like this out the door. What’s your team’s stance on overtime?

Aonuma: When creating a game, game development is all about the people. So if one of them or any of them aren’t well, that definitely affects the game and overall quality, and that’s just not good. We always try to think flexibly about delivery dates, and in the past I’ve apologized for delays. That’s because staff comes first, and I always want to think about it when creating a game.

Schreier: Did you work long periods of overtime for games like Breath of the Wild?

Aonuma: Overall as a Nintendo work culture, we focus on flexibility. And so even the staff have that flexibility of when to focus, and use their energy on something, or they have a little bit of leeway in their work schedule, don’t have to exert themselves so much. They can maintain that balance themselves. Especially for Breath of the Wild, it was the same, and we focused on the staff. We didn’t have anybody be exerted or anything like that, and I think we were able to achieve our goal.

Schreier: I’m curious to hear about your day-to-day life, since it seems like you’re supervising a lot of projects—how do you spend your days? Are you playing a lot of builds?

Aonuma: Every day’s a little bit different. Just to explain maybe an average day: In the morning I’ll check my mail, take care of that. In the afternoon, it depends on what’s needed—sometimes one of the teammates will ask for advice or I’ll play through something just to make sure it’s fun. And then before I go home I’ll check my email. Lately I’ve been able to go home pretty early, so it’s been good.

On the Breath of the Wild sequel

Schreier: What made you and the team decide to make a sequel to Breath of the Wild as opposed to a new Zelda game?

Aonuma: When we released the DLC for Breath of the Wild, we realized that this is a great way to add more elements to the same world. But when it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data—you’re adding data to a preexisting title. And so when we wanted to add bigger changes, DLC is not enough, and that’s why we thought maybe a sequel would be a good fit.

Schreier: Was this sequel originally planned as DLC?

Aonuma: Initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas, but then we had a lot of ideas and we said, “This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.”

Source: Kotaku.com

The Outer Worlds Is An RPG About Controlling The Narrative

If you fall into the category of people who believe that 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas was the best game in the series, then The Outer Worlds might be for you. Last week at E3, I spoke to the game’s co-director, Leonard Boyarsky, for a bonus episode of Kotaku Splitscreen digging deep into this cyberpunky role-playing game.

In a behind-closed-doors session at a booth belonging to Private Division, the Take Two-owned publishing label behind The Outer Worlds, a few developers from Obsidian Entertainment gathered to show off the game. Playing through a 20-minute demo, they shot and bartered their way through a mission on a failed colony planet called Monarch. It looked great, combining sci-fi gunplay and abilities (plasma rifles! slow time!) with the massive dialogue trees and branching paths that Obsidian fans expect. The demo showed off a variety of different ways to approach each chunk of the mission, and it looked weird, quirky, and fun.

Then I spoke to Boyarsky about developing The Outer Worlds, player choice, gunplay, the scope of the game, and much more. Listen above, or read an excerpt here:

Jason Schreier: Obviously this is a game about player choice, but it’s also a game that explores some very relevant political topics: corporations, dystopia, capitalism. Is there something you’re trying to say with this game? Is there a message you’re trying to send?

Boyarsky: Ironically, when we first started this, it didn’t seem quite as prescient as it does now, cause we started it in April of 2016. It’s become a little bit more pointed than we had hoped… Even more than this being about capitalism or corporations, it’s really about people controlling narrative and stories. And if people control the story you tell yourself, then they kind of control you.

We always love making a game where the player comes from outside, and we’ve done that again here—you’re coming into this world where all these people have been indoctrinated into this way of thinking, and even the people who are rebelling against it have been brought up in that system, so the ways they think about rebelling against the system are also created by the system. So the player comes in and looks around and says, “This is insanity.” That’s really where we were at, and it seems a lot more prescient and pointed than we may have originally wanted it to be. It obviously talks a lot about corporations and how they are, so that’s not an accident, but we’re all about exploring philosophical themes while having a fun, great game experience.

We don’t ever want it to get too heavy. We don’t ever want it to feel like we’re lecturing people or that we are trying to make a very specific point. We tried really hard to make sure that no matter what character it is in the game, they feel like they’re very realistic and they have realistic motivations. When you talk to the people on the board, they have a very realistic, or at least understandable, outlook. You might not agree with it at all, but it makes sense why they think that way.


For much more, listen to the entire episode. As always, you can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts and Google Play to get every episode as it happens. Leave us a review if you like what you hear, and reach us at splitscreen@kotaku.com with any and all questions, requests, and suggestions.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sayonara Wild Hearts Is A Dream Pop Collection Of Games

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.  

Sayonara Wild Hearts may have stolen my heart during E3. The levels in the demo I played were a collection of different modes all zooming through different on-rails levels that ranged from endless runners to fighting rhythm games. I can’t stop thinking about it.

The game is a trip through vibrant, neon-lit worlds where the laws of physics don’t apply, set to a catchy pop soundtrack. It takes place in an alternate universe that was once ruled by three divine beings but is now thrown off balance. A young woman finds a butterfly that leads her to her other self, The Fool, who can traverse this alternate dimension on skateboards, magic carpets and motorcycles. Along the way she must defeat enemies and restore balance, one pop song at a time.

The first level started off fairly simple, acclimating me to the fast tempo by playing like an endless runner where I skateboarded down a Rainbow Road-style level and had to switch between several lanes collecting hearts.

The next level took that idea and accelerated it by putting me on a motorcycle chasing another character through a city. I dipped through alleys and down huge hills that reminded me of Crazy Taxi if the drivers could jump out of their cars, run through an entire building and leap out of a window back into their vehicle without missing a beat.

The camera changes perspectives at an instant, switching up the game and adding a frenetic energy. One second I’m playing an endless runner and the next I’m fighting a trio of letterman jacket-wearing bikers in a simple one-button rhythm sequence.

I was intrigued by the reveal trailer, but the demo I played at E3 really put Sayonara Wild Hearts at the top of my list of games I’m excited about this year. I seriously can’t wait to get my hands, eyes, ears and brain on this game.

Sayonara Wild Hearts comes to Switch later this year.

Source: Kotaku.com

Nintendo Teases Breath of the Wild Sequel

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.  

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is getting a sequel, Nintendo said today, slipping in a last-minute surprise teaser trailer at the end of its E3 Nintendo Direct.

The trailer features Link and Zelda venturing into what appears to be an ancient tomb, possibly under Hyrule Castle, where a long-dormant being awakens. It ends with a shot of the entire castle’s foundation shaking and beginning to rise.

It’s not much, but “Breath of the Wild sequel” is pretty much all you need to know.

Breath of the Wild, which came out alongside the Switch in March of 2017, is widely considered to be one of the greatest games ever made.

Source: Kotaku.com

Surprise: Banjo-Kazooie Is Coming To Smash Ultimate

Nintendo is giving Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fans something they’ve wanted for a long time: Banjo and Kazooie from 1998’s Banjo-Kazooie for the N64. Today, Nintendo announced that the bear and Breegull partners will land in Smash fall, 2019.

In a 2018 poll of 20,000 fans, Banjo and Kazooie ranked number one among most-desired fighters in Smash Ultimate. Nintendo’s been on a roll adding in fan favorites, as the Banjo and Kazooie announcement rides on the heels of long-requested fighters like Ridley and King K. Rool’s inclusion in the 2018 game.

In 2018, a fan tweeted at Xbox head Phil Spencer—Microsoft has the rights to the characters—asking whether he’d lend Banjo and Kazooie to Nintendo for Smash. His response was short: “Yep.” (Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts and Banjo-Tooie are receiving Xbox One X Enhanced updates, Microsoft announced yesterday.) Looks like Spencer followed through.

We didn’t get a thorough look at how Banjo and Kazooie will fight in-game, unfortunately, but what we did see looks really interesting. We did see Kazooie mow down opponents from inside Banjo’s backpack and shoot out little balls. We also saw Banjo slam Kazooie down for what looked like some major damage. Kazooie can help Banjo fly, too.

For a lot of fans, Banjo and Kazooie’s Smash debut isn’t a surprise. Last week, well-known leaker Shinobi602 posted on the gaming forum ResetEra, “Been a while since we saw Banjo in anything. Hope we’re in for a smashing good time.” Lots of Smash players took Shinobi602’s statement very seriously. Bolstering it was another leak: A new design Banjo-Kazooie merch.

Hopefully, the animal duo will live up to fans’ expectations. If Ridley and K. Rool’s super fun gameplay is any indication, though, Banjo and Kazooie will.

Source: Kotaku.com

Animal Crossing Switch Delayed To March 2020

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.  

The next big Animal Crossing game is called New Horizons, and it won’t be out until March 20, 2020, Nintendo said today during its E3 Nintendo Direct.

Nintendo had previously announced the new Animal Crossing for 2019. There haven’t been a lot of major Switch delays in the past, but this year is already pretty stacked with games like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Link’s Awakening, so what’s a few more months for a new Animal Crossing?

At least there’s a cute new trailer, one in which Tom Nook again revels in his predatory ways. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is set on a “deserted island” full of animal friends, and it looks as adorable as ever.

Source: Kotaku.com

They Don’t Make E3 Press Conferences Like They Used To

The “E3 press conference” as an industry institution has been fading ever since Nintendo brilliantly broadcast their first E3 Nintendo Direct in 2012. What were they good for? Just how weird were they? Why did I keep going to them? I ponder these questions in this video.

E3 2019 will be the eighteenth E3 I attend, and I can’t help feeling sentimental whenever I hear the words “E3 press conference.” Back when it took hours to download a two-minute game trailer, building a website, posting some blogs, and then draining my bank account to fly to Los Angeles felt like an efficient way to cut out the middlemen who stood between me and my selfish urge for fresh video game news.

Some of my best adult memories are of the shrill laughter my friends and I produced, right there, in person, when so-and-so awkwardly recited such-and-such corporate jargon from a teleprompter.

If we measure goodness in laughter, maybe the best day of my life was that day I got a free backpack at Nokia’s bizarre, disastrous N-Gage press event.

I can’t believe I made it through this whole video without talking about the N-Gage.

In closing: today is my 40th birthday. I have spent eighteen of my adult birthdays either being at E3, flying to E3, or getting ready to fly to E3. This year, I’m posting a video about E3.

Maybe I should take Reggie Fils-Aimé’s retirement from Nintendo as a sign that this fifth decade of my life is the one where I should stop going to E3.

After just this one more. Or maybe I should try to make it an even twenty.

If you enjoy this video, you could perhaps psych yourself up for the sort of weird stuff I’m planning for Kotaku Dot Com at E3 2019 by checking out this playlist of my videos from E3 2018. Sure, it’s literally last year’s news, though I like to think I at least possess an evergreen vocabulary.

Big thanks to Fred Wood (@thatsmytrunks on Twitter) for photoshopping a wad of $100 bills in Reggie’s hand.

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!

Source: Kotaku.com