Tag Archives: game news

Battlefield 5 Fails To Meet Sales Targets, And EA Explains Why

Electronic Arts announced earnings results for the all-important holiday season, and it wasn’t the kind of performance the company wanted to see. Amid a “tumultuous” year, EA said the company overall did not perform up to expectations. One title that failed to hit targets was the World War II shooter Battlefield 5.

The game sold a massive 7.3 million units in the time between launch in November and the end of the year, but this was 1 million short of what EA had projected. As for why the game struggled, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the marketing campaign failed to capture the attention of players. The campaign lacked a “creative center,” the company said, though it shared no other details.

Wilson added that the game’s delay from October to November hurt Battlefield 5 because it meant that the game was going up against titles already discounted for the holiday season. Not only that, but Battlefield 5 struggled because of “unprecedented competition,” Wilson said. He mentioned Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Red Dead Redemption 2 as titles that ate away at Battlefield 5’s sales to some degree.

Not only that, but Wilson suggested that EA’s decision to prioritise Battlefield 5’s single-player over the new battle royale mode, Firestorm, hurt Battlefield 5’s sales. Firestorm is launching in March, and it won’t be the first battle royale game from EA, as it just recently launched Apex Legends from Titanfall studio Respawn Entertainment.

Overall, Battlefield 5’s launch failed to catch on with players and it never caught up, Wilson said. Despite Battlefield 5’s commercial underperformance, the game was generally well-liked by critics, and the franchise remains strong, Wilson said. As such, the focus for EA and developer DICE now is on bringing new players into the title going ahead.

EA has many months of new content planned for Battlefield 5 over time, including new maps, customisation items, the battle royale mode, and more. Despite all the new content coming, EA said it only has “modest expectations” for Battlefield 5’s live service revenue. The same can be said for Anthem, EA said, and this is because both titles have yet to prove themselves.

You can read Wilson’s full comments on Battlefield 5’s performance below.

Overall, EA generated $1.29 billion during the quarter ended December 31 and profit of $262 million. Keep checking back with GameSpot soon for more from EA’s earnings report.

Wilson’s statement on Battlefield 5 performance:

“We made some decisions on launch timing and key features of this game that we felt would improve the quality of the experience. For context, Battlefield V was designed from the beginning to offer a long-term live service. In August, we determined that we needed some more time for final adjustments to the core gameplay to fully deliver on the potential of the live service, so we moved the ship date to November to accommodate those goals. Unfortunately, the later release date meant the game launched deeper into a competitive holiday window where heavy price discounting was a big factor. In addition, we also made the decision to prioritize other features, including a single-player experience, at launch over a battle royale mode. This year, battle royale modes became incredibly popular in shooter games. As a result of these decisions, we struggled to gain momentum and we did not met our sales expectations for the quarter.”

Source: GameSpot.com

New Plants vs.

New Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed games are coming later this year, EA said today ahead of its quarterly earnings call. No other details just yet, but boy, it sure was a rough year for the publisher. “Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations,” said CEO Andrew Wilson.

Source: Kotaku.com

Mortal Kombat 11 adds Kabal, D’Vorah to roster

Mortal Kombat 11 will bring back Kabal, the fighter who first appeared in 1995’s Mortal Kombat 3 but skipped the previous game in the franchise, Mortal Kombat X.

Kabal’s return isn’t a surprise for anyone who watched Mortal Kombat 11’s reveal event. Developer NetherRealm Studios briefly teased the fighter last month, and officially confirmed him Tuesday during a Kombat Kast livestream.

Kabal will wield his signature dual hooked blades in Mortal Kombat 11, and moves like the Nomad Dash stun (aka Raging Flash) and Buzzsaw projectiles will return. He’ll also have some reworked moves, including poisonous gas attacks. According to NetherRealm, using Mortal Kombat 11’s custom character loadouts, players will be able to build a version of Kabal that suits their play style. But NetherRealm’s Steve Brownback said that he’ll be easier to pick up and play than in previous games. Brownback described the new Kabal as a mid-range to long-range fighter who uses overhead attacks as key mixup tools.

You can see Kabal in action in Mortal Kombat 11 — and see his Fatal Blow and Fatality — in the character reveal trailer above.

After today’s Kombat Kast, NetherRealm revealed another returning character: D’Vorah, the insectoid fighter from Mortal Kombat X.

NetherRealm Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Joining Kabal and D’Vorah in Mortal Kombat 11 will be another classic character, Kano. NetherRealm confirmed Kano’s appearance during a reveal event in Brazil last week. In sadder news, NetherRealm also officially denied that Shaggy from Scooby-Doo will appear in Mortal Kombat 11, despite an outcry of meme-fueled interest.

Mortal Kombat 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on April 23.

Source: Polygon.com

Apex Legends: How to respawn teammates

One of Apex Legends’ most interesting features is the ability to respawn allies who’ve died in battle.

In battle royale games, you want to stay alive as long as possible — to be the last player standing. But if you or your teammate gets knocked down, and can’t be revived in time, there’s still hope.

While not particularly complicated, this process can be tough to pull off in the heat of the moment. In this guide we’ll run you through the basics of squad revival.

Step 1: Grab the tag

Once a teammate goes down, you have a short period of time to revive them from their downed position. If they get executed or bleed out, you’ll then have about two minutes to grab their tag before it expires.

Find your friend’s dead body, which is looks like a loot box. It should be pretty easy to spot on your HUD. Run up to their box and interact with it. Instead of immediately looting their stuff, you’ll grab their tag and your character will hold it up to the camera.

Feel free to rummage through their belongings now. They’re going to owe you in a second.

Apex Legends map
Apex Legends’ map. Respawn locations are marked with green dots.
Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts via Polygon

Step 2: Find a respawn beacon

Scattered around the map — usually in particularly open places — you’ll find respawn beacons. They look like red tripods with a green light shooting out of them. On the map they’re displayed as green dots. If you have a tag with you, you can also peer into the sky to find a pillar of light showing you the way.

Run up to one of these beacons, tags in hand, and interact with the beacon for a few seconds. Once the process is complete, your ally will fly back in with a dropship. But you aren’t done yet.

Step 3: Bring them back to speed

This is the toughest part. Big ships flying through the sky are easy to spit, and the beacons are in the open. It takes a few seconds for your ally to reach the ground, and they’ll have no gear when they touch down. If you don’t want them to go down again, you’ll need to defend yourself and them as soon as they land.

At this point it’s a wise idea to give the newly respawned member of your team some gear. If you’re still carrying the gear they had before, even better. If not, you may need to give them some of your own stuff so that they have a fighting chance. Otherwise they’ll have to do some looting, which, late in the game, can be a death sentence.

Source: Polygon.com

EA’s not done with Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies — new games on the way

Electronic Arts may have suffered a disappointing financial quarter, but at least the company has games in two fan-favorite series coming within the next fiscal year. EA chief operating and financial officer Blake Jorgenson announced to investors that new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed games are in the works, due out by April 2020.

“We’re making adjustments to improve execution and we’re refocusing R&D,” Jorgenson said in a news release attached to EA’s third-quarter fiscal 2019 earnings. “Looking forward, we’re delighted to launch Anthem, our new IP, to grow Apex Legends and related Titanfall experiences, to deliver new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed titles, and to add Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to our sports titles in the fall.”

This is the first mention of new entries in the puzzle and racing franchises, respectively, and they’ve been a long time coming: Plants vs. Zombies’ most recent console release was Garden Warfare 2 in February 2016, while Need for Speed Payback launched in November 2017. (Plants vs. Zombies Heroes came to iOS and Android in October 2016.)

Perhaps these smaller franchises won’t buff up the 2019-20 fiscal year as much as a new FIFA or the surprise release of Apex Legends will, but both are cult favorites that will likely get some EA fans very excited.

Source: Polygon.com

Apex Legends guide: Who should you play as?

Apex Legends is a hero-based battle royale game. Players select from a pool of characters before every match. Legends are unique, and each has its own passive, tactical, and ultimate ability.

Only one specific Legend can exist on each team at once, and squads cap out at three, meaning you’ll need to have at least three Legends you’re comfortable with if you want to succeed.

The Legends in Apex Legends all bring something to the table, and will continue to do so as new weapons and Legends are added over the next year. But for now, that should be everything you need to know before hoping into a game with your chosen Legend.

In this guide, we’ll detail each of the Legends to give you some insight into how each plays and which will fit your playstyle best.

Bangalore

Bangalore is the de facto soldier Legend in Apex Legends. Everything she has affords her a better chance to kill or quickly escape. If you’re into running, gunning, and playing aggressively, Bangalore is a good pick for you.

  • Passive: Double Time

When being shot or shot at, Bangalore’s movement speed increases.

  • Tactical: Smoke Launcher

Bangalore’s active ability launches a cloud of smoke that covers an area and conceals enemies and allies inside.

  • Ultimate: Rolling Thunder

Bangalore calls in an artillery strike that blankets a large area in missiles over a long period of time.

Bloodhound

Bloodhound is the scout class, able to see through walls and track enemies for their allies while giving enhanced information about the environment. Bloodhound is perfect for the cautious player, someone who wants to have all the information about a fight before going into it.

  • Passive: Tracker

Bloodhound sees footprints on the ground where enemies recently walked.

  • Tactical: Eye of the Allfather

Bloodhound scans in a small area, revealing the shapes of enemies through walls.

  • Ultimate: Beast of the Hunt

Beast of the Hunt lets Bloodhound go into a frenzy, allowing them to see through objects in real time and move faster. Enemies are highlighted.

Caustic

Caustic is the poison expert of the Apex Legends crew. He can set smoke traps down to catch enemies in an area or slowly poison them to death. Caustic is for the patient player, someone who wants to sit back and set a trap, rather than seek out a firefight.

  • Passive: Nox Vision

Caustic sees enemies through his Nox gas.

  • Tactical: Nox Gas Trap

Caustic drops a canister of gas on the ground, which you can shoot to create a poison cloud.

  • Ultimate: Nox Gas Grenade

Caustic throws out a Nox grenade that covers a large area in poison.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a wall against his enemies and a shield for his allies. He’s a defense-focused character capable of fighting for a long time without going down. Gibraltar is perfect for someone who wants to be the frontline and take attention away from his more fragile friends.

  • Passive: Gun Shield

When aiming, Gibraltar creates a shield in front of him that absorbs gunfire.

  • Tactical: Dome of Protection

Gibraltar throws down a bubble shield that blocks all incoming enemy attacks for 15 seconds and protects anyone inside.

  • Ultimate: Defensive Bombardment

Gibraltar activates a short range, focused mortar strike that blows up nearby foes.

Lifeline

Lifeline is Apex Legends’ medic character. She can provide battlefield healing to her allies, as well as spawn in powerful items for survival. Lifeline is ideal for someone more interested in supporting allies than racking up kills. She can be a competent fighter and great aim will always help, but she’s the perfect choice for players just looking to help out the team.

  • Passive: Combat Medic

Lifeline revives her allies faster than other characters while a shield protects her.

  • Tactical: D.O.C. Heal Drone

Lifeline drops a healing drone that sits stationary and pumps health into a single nearby ally.

  • Ultimate: Care Package

Lifeline calls a drop pod down from the sky filled with medkits, armor, and other defense-oriented items.

Mirage

Mirage is Apex Legends’ trickster character. Full of personality and himself, Mirage can make decoys that travel the world and fool allies. Mirage is for the player who likes to get in the heads of their enemies. If you want to try to out-think the competition, Mirage is your man.

  • Passive: Encore!

When Mirage is knocked down and bleeding out, he spawns a decoy of himself nearby and also cloaks for five seconds — making him invisible.

  • Tactical: Psyche Out

Mirage creates a duplicate of himself who’ll run forward and hopefully confuse nearby enemies.

  • Ultimate: Vanishing Act

Mirage turns himself invisible while sending out many copies of himself to confuse enemies.

Pathfinder

Pathfinder is a kindly robot scout who moves around the map quickly. He uses grappling hooks and can scan parts of the map to reveal the circle. His verticality also makes him tougher for enemies to spot. He’s a great hybrid for someone who wants to move fast and be hyper aggressive.

  • Passive: Insider Knowledge

Pathfinder locates survey beacons in the world, scan them, and learn where the circle’s location will move to next.

  • Tactical: Grappling Hook

Pathfinder shoots out a grappling hook that latches onto nearby structures and reels him in.

  • Ultimate: Zipline Gun

Pathfinder creates his own zip line that any of his teammates can use.

Wraith

Wraith is all about escaping, moving quickly, and repositioning safely in fights. She can move around the battlefield easily to surprise enemies. Wraith is great for players who want to weave in and out of fights, who know when they’re bested and when to push the advantage.

  • Passive: Voices from the Void

When an enemy is aiming at her, Wraith receives a warning.

  • Tactical: Into the Void

Wraith warps out of existence — becoming invisible and invincible — for a few seconds.

  • Ultimate: Dimensional Rift

Wraith opens up a portal connecting two locations. She and her allies can use them to jump between areas for a short time.

Source: Polygon.com

Player Hacks Overwatch To Play In-Game Piano With A Real Piano

Image: Zbnone

You’ve probably heard by now that Overwatch’s new Paris map has a fully playable piano. You might have even heard somebody play “All Star” by Smash Mouth on it, because that song—a shimmering monument to the idea of unearned confidence—will outlive us all. Now, one player has taken things a step further.

Overwatch fan Zbnone rigged up a MIDI keyboard so that it can play the Paris map’s in-game piano key-for-key. It’s pretty impressive:

Given that Overwatch is a first-person shooter in which players can only directly interact with objects in the environment using their weapons, you might be wondering how Zbnone did this. It involves what they’ve taken to calling a “PianoAimBot.”

“I wrote the ‘PianoAimBot’ in Python,” they said on Reddit. “You can actually play anything you want live on it (no macros). You can also load and play midi files.”

They added that you have to be standing almost perfectly in the middle of the in-game piano for it to work, but it has a calibration feature to make that less of a headache.

It’s an inventive setup, but there’s just one problem: it might technically count as cheating. Blizzard explicitly forbids “using third-party programs to automate any facet of the game,” and this is an aimbot, meaning that it automates aim. Unless the game’s next hero is a sentient piano (fingers crossed), I don’t see this program conferring an unfair advantage, so hopefully Blizzard lets it slide.

Source: Kotaku.com

Breaking Down The Meta As Hell Opening To Kingdom Hearts III’s Toy Story World

Kingdom Hearts III is an overwhelming melting pot of Disney cheer and anime excess. The franchise has previously included Square-Enix characters, and while they don’t make an appearance here, the game does include an extended gag trailer that pokes fun at the series’ direction and potentially teases what’s to come.

Kingdom Hearts III shows a lot more self-awareness than previous entries and even pokes fun at some of its own conventions. Early on, the game showed a title card referring to the opening segments of the game as Kingdom Hearts 2.9, which was a fun bait and switch for players who thought they were finally playing Kingdom Hearts III (the title card for that shows up later). The title card also riffed on the numerical stylings of other series titles, like Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. The game’s biggest moment of meta-awareness comes in the introduction of the Toy Story-themed world, which features a faux-advertisement for a game that brings to mind the troubled Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The reveal of this fictional game within the world of KHIII also sets up a surprising (and confusing) reveal in the secret ending.

When the player first arrives at the Toy Box world, they’re treated to a fake television commercial for a video game called Verum Rex. The hyper-stylized trailer is made up of highly detailed full-motion video and shows a silver-haired hero fighting in a modern city, battling giant robots alongside some familiar looking bros. One of these bros is a red-haired pretty boy who seems a bit like Final Fantasy XV’s Prompto, while another bespectacled pal looks a lot like Ignis “I’ve Come Up With A New Recipe!” Scientia. There’s even a buff dude who looks a lot like Gladio. In the trailer, the heroes are shown to be attempting to rescue a magical maiden. The scenario looks like a jumbled mix of elements from the ill-fated Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a project which Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura directed and which eventually became Final Fantasy XV. The girl in the trailer even looks like Stella Nox Fleuret, a female character featured prominently in trailers for Versus XIII who was later replaced with the slightly more demure Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. They even make the Verum Rex protagonist Yazora slouch on the box art in the same position that Noctis does Final Fantasy XV key art.

At first, it’s not even clear that this trailer for Verum Rex is taking place within the world of Kingdom Hearts III. When the commercial ends, the cutscene continues, revealing that Rex from Toy Story was watching it on TV. But the Verum Rex trailer’s extreme detail left me, my coworkers, and many Kingdom Hearts fans wondering what was up.

“When I saw the Square-Enix logo on Verum Rex, I was like ‘uh oh,’” my colleague Tim Rogers told me. “This is probably not a fake game.”

It would make sense for Nomura to sneak an over-the-top reference to his time working on Versus XIII and Final Fantasy XV into Kingdom Hearts III. The project was in development for over a decade, releasing under the direction of Hajime Tabata once Nomura left to work on Kingdom Hearts III. But Verum Rex also comes crashing back in the game’s hidden ending, which players can unlock by finding enough lucky emblems.

The secret ending features Sora and Riku walking around a modern city which appears to be Tokyo, since it also features the iconic 109 department store found in Shibuya. By itself, this could trigger a lot of speculation. Are they in the modern world? Have they crossed over into The World Ends With You? Both that game and this ending have a 104 building and not the 109. Kingdom Hearts fans have been speculating about secret endings ever since the first game’s “Another Side, Another Story” video. What makes this new video stand out is a peculiar character: the hero from the Verum Rex trailer, Yozora. What the hell is he doing here?

If you’ve played through the Toy Story level, you will recall that when the Toy Story crew meets Sora, they assume he is an action figure from Verum Rex. When Sora, Donald, and Goofy see the Verum Rex box art, they acknowledge that Sora does look a bit like Yazora, the game’s hero. But Yazora also looks a lot like Riku.

Later in the Toy Story world, Sora gets chucked into a television and into the world of Verum Rex for a few minutes. He has to endure an extended robot battle against waves of enemies before he can escape the world of Verum Rex and return to his new Toy Story friends. After defeating that initial Verum Rex level, players can head back in and play it again if they want to get a high score. None of the characters from the trailer pop up, though. This whole setup invites a lot of questions. Where do Sora and Riku exist, exactly? The real world, inside the Verum Rex video game, in an actual world with Yazora and his buds?

I have no idea, but Kingdom Hearts special endings do tend to set up characters and motifs that will then appear in future Kingdom Hearts games. Maybe Yazora will play a part in whatever comes next, whether that’s a future Kingdom Hearts, or a real-life Verum Rex game. Maybe Nomura’s produced the most expensive joke in the history of forever. It’s hard to say, but I do know that if Verum Rex was real, I’d definitely play it.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Voice Chat Software In Fortnite Switch Is Now Available For All Developers

Screenshot: Nintendo (YouTube)

All Switch developers can now license the voice-chat software that powers the Switch version of Fortnite, the company behind the tech said today. That means an easy solution for developers who want to let you chat in Switch games using a headset plugged into the console, and not Nintendo’s bizarro-world phone app.

Vivox, a tech company that focuses on voice and text chat in online games, said today that any authorized Switch developers can now integrate its Vivox SDK software kit into their game, helping pave the way for Switch owners to play video games more like everyone on literally every other major gaming platform.

In games that use Vivox SDK, players will be able to communicate out loud with one another simply by plugging in a headset with a mic into the Switch’s existing audio jack. Epic Games’ Fortnite already does this, and Vivox said today that Hi-Rez Studio will be bringing the same feature to Smite and Paladins in future updates. The chat tools will also extend to Switch games that incorporate cross-play with PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4. Gone will be the days of trying to coordinate high-level strategies in team-based competitive games through in-game gestures and pings alone.

It turns out this was not the future of voice-chat on Switch after all.
Photo: Kotaku

When Splatoon 2 launched on the Switch in July 2017, Nintendo debuted the Nintendo Switch online app for smartphones as its official solution for players that wished to communicate with one another during online play. Instead of having in-game voice chat, like in every other online shooter, Splatoon 2 required players to link up through the app and communicate using the mics on their smartphones. It was not good.

In June 2018, Fortnite launched on the Switch with normal, in-game voice chat, raising the question of why other games couldn’t do something similar. Increasingly, they have been. When Warframe launched last fall, it also included in-game voice chat. Arena of Valor, a free-to-play MOBA, released last fall without voice chat, though its developers said they were working on adding it—an understandable priority given that one of the game’s genres listed on its Nintendo page is “communication.”

In addition to Splatoon 2, a few other games now utilize the Nintendo Switch Online app for the purposes of voice chat as well, including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a solution Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime told Kotaku in a 2017 interview would “deliver a better, more robust execution.”

Fortunately, it seems like going forward, more games will have better options for letting people talk with each other. Like just plugging a headset into the Switch, for example.

Source: Kotaku.com

Axiom Soccer wants to bring the energy of a stadium to esports spectating

As esports continues to grow, most of the focus is on the players on stage or at their computer. From League of Legends and its ambitious augmented reality opening ceremony at Worlds, to the city-based communities of the Overwatch League, to exclusively streamed events like the World of Warcraft World First race through new raids, esports is quickly becoming as much about the spectator as the player. Viewers are the lifeblood of any healthy esport, with their valuable eyeballs watching ads and their money going toward merchandise and in-game skins.

Axiom Soccer looks to take that a step further. The title, which is set to launch on PC in 2019, offers a spectating experience that links directly into the game. Inspired by traditional sports, viewers can interact in-game with the action via visuals, banners, and overlays. The goal is to combine the passion and community around real-world sports with the accessibility and energy of Twitch chat.

Axiom Soccer is much like Rocket League, in that the player controls electrically powered drones that are attempting to propel a ball around a field to score on the opponent, while defending their own net in turn. The gameplay is meant to take the foundation of Rocket League-style physics and add shooter elements as the main way to maneuver and propel the ball, an addition that is meant to add an extra expression of skill.

Axiom Soccer- streamers compete in the game, along with an in-game Twitch crowd. Earthbound Games

Developed by Earthbound Games, Axiom Soccer’s spectating system is ambitious to the point of being the main selling point of the game. The Scottish game studio creating it is looking to bring in the same energy as real-world football matches. This will manifest through banners in the crowd or advertisements on the big screen. Overlays can appear on stream, or plumes of smoke can arc over the field. Camera shots like reaction cams of the players will be added, giving the players a platform to showcase their personality, and hopefully build a brand that can be eventually monetized.

The spectators will essentially work as an in-game crowd in the stadium, and Twitch integration is meant to allow them to leave a visual mark on the field and provide similar encouragement — or hearty boos, or cheeky jabs — as their real-world equivalent.

The team at Earthbound have their pedigree in titles from Rockstar Games, Microsoft, Sony, and more, suggesting that they might be up to the task. The idea is to create an ecosystem where personalities can reign large over the field. It’s a game that is meant to draw in streamers, competitive players, and glory hounds, and the spectator system gives those players instant feedback after a stylish play or big win.

Earthbound Games says it’s also aware of the potential drawbacks of such a situation. Twitch chat is often known for its quick moving spam, vulgar images, and even hateful slurs. Axiom Soccer will have a moderation system designed to quash that before it hits the stands; viewers won’t be able to display, say, a giant phallus to the enemy team in a show of defiance.

Twitch has evolved over the years to introduce new ways for audiences to participate in and reap rewards from streams. Some games offer “drops”, which grant in-game cosmetics. In 2014, Twitch Plays Pokémon kickstarted a genre of audience-run adventures. Axiom Soccer intends to make a similar ambitious swing for the fences; it’ll be fascinating to see if Earthbound Games connects with a crowd.

Source: Polygon.com