With no public announcement or advanced warning to many creators, the entire Machinima Youtube channel was effectively wiped from the internet recently. All videos on the channel are now private, making them unable to view. The news quickly spread across social media, with fans and creators sharing their stories and information about the shutdown using the hashtag #RIPMachinima.
News of the videos began to spread yesterday, but it’s unclear when the switch to private happened. Many creators seemed not to have been aware that their videos would be set to private. “Otter Media really just went and deleted Machinima, Happy Hour, Respawn, Realm, Prime, Inside Gaming, ETC, everything.” Jeremy Azevedo, a former creator and employee of Machinima tweeted after learning about the news. Other former creators were shocked to find years of videos now gone.
Back in December 2018, AT&T moved Machinima under their Otter Media brand in a restructuring that also saw layoffs across Otter Media. Otter Media is made up of other companies, including streaming services like VRV and Crunchy Roll. In early January, shortly after the restructuring, long time Machinima creators like Maximilian Dood were let go. Other creators were let go or sent letters informing them they were being moved to Fullscreen, another media company founded in 2011 which is also owned and operated by Otter Media.
For many fans, the news feels like the end of an era. One of the old YouTube giants now gone. “I cannot begin to understand the motivation behind nuking every official Machinima channel… That’s like 7 years of core gaming content, gone forever,” one fan tweeted. “It’s so weird now that I’m going to be a part of that generation of people that will say, ‘remember Machinima?’” wrote another. Using the #RIPMachinima hashtag, others reminisced about their favorite creators and derided the decision to set the channel to private.
What will happen to the Machinima channel and all of its videos is unknown at this time. The channel currently has 12.3 million subscribers. Kotaku has reached out to Machinima for comment.
Update (3:41 PM): Otter Media sent Kotaku a statement about the future of Machinima:
We are focused on creating new content with the Machinima team, which will be distributed on new channels to be announced in the coming months.
In the meantime the Machinima network of creator channels continues to showcase the talents of the network. As part of this focus on new content, we have pivoted from distributing content on a handful of legacy operated channels.
Even the stuff that dribbled out of THQ’s shovelware faucet got the treatment. Tasked with hyping 2009’s Big Family Games (no Metacritic score, 45 percent on Game Rankings) someone cooked up the idea to electroplate a Wii and send it to Queen Elizabeth II (the person, not the ship). And of course, back in bloggier times we (the games press) took the bait. Tacky gold-plated consoles were a sure way to hit your Crecente-mandated 37 posts for the day and move on to something more important, like whatever Uwe Boll was doing.
Chris Bratt, formerly of Eurogamer, remembers the time well. Bratt also remembers the Royal Wii (snicker) and set off to discover its fate for his excellent (and Patreon-supported) series People Make Games. He immediately points out that the Queen’s official correspondence team will not accept gifts, for obvious reasons of security. So he can cross Buckingham Palace off the list of final resting places. In fact, the thing was simply sent back to THQ, unsigned-for and unopened.
But, as we all know, THQ’s bankruptcy in 2013 forced the company to sell all of its valuable assets, and Homefront. So the console isn’t in that office, either. The long story short, Bratt does find the golden Wii. But who has it, and what else he has, makes for some entertaining viewing and nostalgia on a Saturday afternoon.
And now, with that resolved, perhaps Bratt can get around to finding out what really happened to that missing shipment of king-size purple dildos.
Minecraft was released in 2009 and since then has been updated constantly. Updates have added new worlds, new creatures, modding tools and more. But finally, after 10 years of waiting, Minecraft finally has composting.
Sure, the last major update for Minecraft added cool underwater sea life, but can a dolphin turn useless plants into fertilizer? No. Instead you’ll need the new composter block. This new block, which was added in the latest PC snapshot update, allows players to turn old plants and veggies into useful bone meal, which in Minecraft can make plants & trees grow faster and bigger.
The new composter can be built using a few pieces of wood and fencing. Once built players simply throw in some unwanted seeds, plants or food into the wooden box. Once enough organic materials has been added players are able to harvest some bone meal. How plants and seeds become bone meal is just another strange Minecraft mystery. Best not to think about it.
Fans had already created mods adding their own custom composter blocks into the game, like this mod added last year. But now composting is part of the vanilla Minecraft experience.
While the new composting block is useful for turning excess crops into bone meal, players are also using the new block for decorations purposes. Some Minecraft fans think they look like bee hives and are using the compost blocks as fake bee hives.
Currently, if you want to do some composting yourself, you’ll need to play the Java version of Minecraft and activate snapshots in the Minecraft launcher. Though like most snapshot features, these compost blocks will be added to other versions of the game eventually.
We have listened to Kingdom Hearts 3’s theme song “Face My Fears,” and pronounced it “a total bop.” So it behooves us to inform likeminded fans that the singer, J-pop superstar Hikaru Utada, has brought a performance of that song, and another Kingdom Hearts 3 theme, to PlayStation VR.
The production is from Utada’s “Laughter in the Dark” 2018 Tour. As the video above shows, her team brought filmed her performance from three different camera angles. From there, fans just strap on the VR headset and it’s “as if Hikaru Utada were singing only for you,” says the promotional copy. It launched on the PlayStation Store yesterday, and it’s free. She performs “Hikari” (the Japanese title of the aforesaid bop) and “Chikai” (“Don’t Think Twice”)
The “in concert” part means that she’s performing on stage, not literally at one of her events, with fans all around you. Here is a Japanese-language behind-the-scenes video, but even if you don’t speak the language, you can contextually follow the setup and production for her VR-only performance.
The long- (and I mean long) awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 launches in North America on Jan. 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
If you haven’t checked out an Ace Combat game before, the amount of on-screen information might look overwhelming. But most of what you need to know is communicated to you via the game’s audio. And Ace Combat 7’s audio is so damn good.
Watch the video to see and, more importantly, hear it all in action.
In the middle of a fight, you’ll hear the plane’s warning system blaring when you’ve got an incoming missile locked on you, and your team’s helpful chatter on coms helps you navigate the chaos. My favorite touch is what the game does with the music when you’re slicing through a cloud. Clouds serve a pretty strategic purpose during fights.
If you can’t shake a missile, just jump into a cloud and confuse its tracking systems so you can get it off your back. The trade-off is you lose visibility for a brief moment. If you’re going too fast, that can mean a quick dip in the ocean.
Spend too much time inside of a cloud and you run the risk of also icing up your plane too much and stalling out. Any time you’re inside of a cloud, the game adds a nice moisture effect on the camera too. Hands down, the coolest touch is the way the music’s volume dynamically changes inside of a cloud. The moment you slip into a cloud, the music gets muffled, sort of like you’re underwater.
It leaves only the sound of your squad along with the system’s warnings and the sound of your plane as it rockets its way through the void. The muffled music adds a nice tension to the feeling of losing your bearings and makes breaking through to the other side feel heroic when the music swells up again.
It might not seem like a lot, but it’s a subtle decoration on an already-tense situation that might actually impact your gameplay. Either it makes you more stressed or helps you focus. We’ve seen countless examples of dynamic audio lately weaved into the experience of playing a game, but this one is one of my favorites.
For many fans, Resident Evil 2 is their favorite game in the long running horror franchise. Later this month Capcom will finally release the Resident Evil 2 remake for PS4, Xbox One and PC. But this isn’t the first time Capcom has remade or re-imagined Resident Evil 2.
The Sphere Hunter has made a great video showcasing all the times Capcom has remade or reused RE2 locations, characters or story moments in other Resident Evil games. I knew about some of these, but it really is surprising how often Capcom went back to RE2.
The Sphere Hunter, YouTube
From Resident Evil Zero to Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Capcom has been remaking bits of RE2 for years. Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles even included a campaign that reimagined the entire storyline of the classic horror game as an arcade shooter.
Mortal Kombat 11’s art director Steve Beran has seen a lot of fatalities, given that he’s worked on the series since the ‘90s. His favorite in the new game involves “bloodsicles,” where the character Skarlet stabs an opponent over and over with spikes made from their own frozen blood. Then she pops an eyeball out the back of their head.
“You think it’s over, but the final push with the eyeball at the end is just [chef kiss sound],” Beran told Kotaku.
In some ways, the Mortal Kombat series’ fatalities are a relic of a bygone era—a blood-spattered artifact of pure ‘90s edginess. The series, however improbably, remains a fixture of the fighting game scene decades later, and fatalities, like everything else, have changed with the times.
Yesterday, developer Netherrealm threw a big, bloody bash in Los Angeles to debut Mortal Kombat 11, which will be released for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC on April 23.
While Netherrealm wanted the event to showcase all of the changes it’s made to this latest version of the game, it was inevitable that MK11‘s higher-than-ever-fidelity take on viscera-mutilating ultraviolence grabbed everyone’s eyeballs. (Sometimes literally.) I laughed at the sheer ludicrousness of it; others, like Kotaku’s Mike Fahey, understandably had some trouble stomaching it all. Speaking during an interview after the reveal, Beran said that the team’s goal is to keep the fatalities funny—just not too funny.
“To some degree, there’s a filter we have,” he told Kotaku. “More often than not, we never do anything that’s terribly sad. I don’t think it’s ever intentional. I think we’ve just done it so long that they tend to be more funny than anything.”
But funny doesn’t mean slapstick. “Mortal Kombat has always had a sense of humor, but there’s a line where things become corny,” Beran said. One fatality move from 1995’s Mortal Kombat 3 that was too corny was the character Kabal inflating his opponent’s heads and popping them. “They were like balloons,” he said. “That’s way too silly for something we’d do now. It’s too Scooby Doo—not Scooby Doo necessarily, but Bugs Bunny.”
The key to a great fatality, Beran said, isn’t extreme grossness, but rhythm. “If there’s too much of a drag between beats, it’s like ‘Let’s tighten that up,’” he said. “It could look cool, but if there’s not this dah, dah, dah, we adjust it to make it feel right.”
If they like the rhythm, the proposed fatality gets sent off to creative director Ed Boon, one of the creators of the original 1992 Mortal Kombat and still involved with the series. “Ed’s involved in every single fatality,” Beran said. “He usually adds something to it.”
Making horrific death come to life in-game is another process entirely. Beran put special emphasis on effects, noting that the game’s chunky stew of spilled blood and torn flesh dredges up reactions from the pits of people’s stomachs thanks to hours of testing.
“We do a lot of testing of, like, how liquid will land on carpet, how it’ll react on dirt,” he said. “And we do tests and talk about them like ‘Does that look how you’d think it would look?’… If I get blood on my shirt, it’s gonna get dark, so it needs to react appropriately. Our tech artists dig into that and make it look very real.”
“The fatality process is awesome,” Beran said. “It’s some of the most fun work.”
Fatalities come at the end of a match of Mortal Kombat, because it’s hard to keep fighting after you’re dead. In the middle of a Mortal Kombat 11 match, you can also pull off similarly brutal moves called “crushing blows” and “fatal blows.” These also tend to produce bone-crunching, organ-smoothie-making results, which are sometimes amplified by X-ray zoom-in effects to drive the point home. Those force the team to examine ultra-violence in different lights. It’s one thing to put an elaborate, cringe-inducing sequence in which somebody’s skull becomes a cracked bowl for a sloppy helping of brain soup once a match is over. It’s another to risk interrupting a match’s rhythm with one in the middle. Crushing blows, as it turns out, are the development team’s response to that very issue with a similar feature called X-ray blows from 2015’s Mortal Kombat X.
“Some players thought X-rays were too long,” Beran said. Crushing blows, he said, are faster, “a good punctuation that makes you grimace and then gets you back into the fight very quickly.”
In a series as nonchalant about flying eyeballs, ripped-off faces, and torn-open mouths as Mortal Kombat, you’d figure there wouldn’t be anything that’s off-limits. And you’d be right—for the most part.
“It’s weird finding the barometer of what is too much,” said Beran. “Some of the most tangible seem to be [like] the Baraka one where the victim is getting spiked through their hand. That’s more cringeworthy to me than someone getting their head smashed. It just seems more realistic. I don’t think that crosses a line, but it gets more of a reaction than something that’s more cartoony.”
One thing that’s definitely off the table is a mode in which mid-match acts of limb-smashing, face-perforating violence create lasting damage that affects the character’s’ ability to fight. It “sounds like a neat idea,” Beran said, “but then when it feels like you’re just beating up a wounded thing, it doesn’t feel as competitive anymore.”
Given that Beran has worked on these sorts of scenes for decades, I wondered if there was anything that grosses him out anymore—if he views gnarly, nearly-photo-realistic violence differently than other people might. He doesn’t really think of it on those terms anymore. “I hate to keep saying this, but I think it’s more just the beats to me,” he said. “It’s not so much what’s happening. It’s more just the animations.”
But fatalities are far from the only thing that the Mortal Kombat team obsesses over. Beran stressed, too, that Mortal Kombat’s art team spends countless hours obsessing over materials, trying to get the details of everything from metal and leather to dirt and glass just right. “Metal looks like metal. Leather looks like leather,” he said. Back in the day, the team pursued realistic detail to set Mortal Kombat apart from more stylized competitors like Street Fighter. Even though the look and feel of Mortal Kombat 11 is very different than, say, Mortal Kombat II the underlying spirit is similar.
“It’s almost full circle,” said Beran. “Even when it was low-res, we’d hire real actors and videotape them and capture their moves. Now I think it’s just on a bigger scale… It’s very common now, but at the time, it was pretty groundbreaking—especially to have huge characters on the screen, that was unheard of. Back then, we tried to make it realistic, and I think we just stuck to that.”
Mortal Kombat is also known for its story, another important focus for this team. “People have grown up with Mortal Kombat,” Beran said. “They know the story and have a general idea of the conflict between characters. Not to sound cocky about it, but I don’t think any other fighting game does a story mode like we do. It’s a full-length movie in the game.” An ambitious undertaking for a series that used to prominently feature several palette swaps of the same ninja as central characters.
“Ever since MK vs DC, even though it was our first dabbling into it, I think we got better and better and better at it,” he said. “This story, I couldn’t be more proud of. Just visually and storytelling-wise, I think people are gonna be really pleased.”
And if that’s not your thing, well, there’ll still be brains getting forcibly scooped out of people’s heads. Something for everyone.
Game Freak announced Thursday that versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One will launch later this year. Rising Star Games is developing the port, which will add 20 more puzzle stages, a harder Ironman mode and a new companion character. Physical versions for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch will also be available.
Giga Wrecker is a Metroidvania where players solve puzzles to further the game’s sci-fi story, in which the world has been invaded by evil robots and left in ruins. The hero, a cyborg named Reike, can construct various weapons from the rubble to help her navigate the puzzles. Shinji Hosoe, the composer of soundtracks for Ridge Racer and Tekken, composed the music for Giga Wrecker.
The game was born of Game Freak’s internal “Gear Project” initiative, which encourages developers to form teams and submit proposals for games to make. The studio has developed and published three other games, including 2015’s Tembo the Badass Elephant, this way.
The Future Stars for FIFA 19’s Ultimate Team are here. EA announced the full lineup on Friday morning, revealing all 21 of the players that are on this year’s opening list.
Future Stars are players that EA has determined are likely to be superstars, and in anticipation of their rise to the top, has given their Ultimate Team cards a bit of a stat boost. The lineup includes players from all around the world, each 23 years old or younger. All 21 of the stars will be available in a Future Stars pack that will be released for a limited time sometime in the near future.
According to EA’s announcement of the lineup, six more will also be joining the ranks of these Future Stars sometime during the season. The final new addition will be voted on by fans, who can log in between 1 p.m. EST on Jan. 19 and 1 p.m. on Jan. 21 in order to vote for one of Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace), Allan Saint-Maximin (OGC Nice), Reiss Nelson (TSG Hoffenheim), Krzysztof Piatek (Genoa), or Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid) to join the roster of this year’s Future Stars.
For a full list of this year’s Future Stars, their positions, and the teams they currently play for, check bellow.
Vinicius Junior, left winger – Real Madrid
Matthijs de Ligt, center back – Ajax
Houssem Aouar, central midfielder – Olympique Lyonnais
Alban Lafont, goalkeeper – ACF Fiorentina
Jadon Sancho, right winger – Borussia Dortmund
Arthur Melo, central midfielder – FC Barcelona
Kai Havertz, central attacking midfielder – Bayer Leverkusen
Trent Alexander-Arnold, right back – Liverpool
Patrick Cutrone, striker – AC Milan
Rodrigo Bentancur, central midfielder – Juventus
Phil Folden, central attacking midfielder – Manchester City
It’s cold out here in the northern part of the country as we head into the dead of winter, with a major winter storm on the way reaching from California to Maine. A perfect time, in other words, to get snowed in and cozy up to the Frosty Faustings event taking place this weekend that’s bursting at the seams with random fighting game tournaments.
Frosty Faustings is a sprawling fighting game event based in Elmhurst, Illinois and now in its 11th year that features prize pools across dozens of tournaments. Top billing goes to Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, an excellent anime fighter that rarely gets its due at larger events dominated by the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken. BlazeBlue Cross Tag Battle and BlazBlue: Central Fiction will also be on display at Faustings, as well as more obscure games like Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[ST]. Yes, that’s the name of a game and not my cat walking across my keyboard.
A special shoutout needs to go to the event’s Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars tournament. Among the 30 other competitions going on this weekend, the Faustings organizers managed to fit in one of the most oddball but underrated fighting games of the 2000s, pitting Capcom icons against the more obscure characters starring in classic Tatsunoko anime series like Casshan, Teknoman, and G-Force: Guardians of Space, the plots of which are too wild and contain too much energy to be described in this particular post.
Ever wanted to see Mega Man’s sister, Roll, beat the crap out of Yatterman-1 from the series Yatterman! Gan Takada? TvC has you covered. Did I mention that the game only released on the Wii? Fortunately, it supports fight sticks and GameCube controllers in addition to the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Unfortunately, Capcom’s licensing deal with Tatsunoko lapsed sometime in 2012, so we never got a sequel. Where there’s anime, there’s hope, though.
Matches across all of Faustings’ tournaments started today, with top eight brackets for some of them taking place this evening while the rest are slated to finish up Saturday night. You can find a complete schedule of all the matches over on the event’s website. A lot of the bigger tournaments, as well as TvC, will be hosted on Will English’s Twitch channel.
Elsewhere in the world of esports this weekend, the group stage gets underway in Dota 2’s The Chongqing Major, that game’s first big tournament of 2019. Matches start at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, followed by the next round at the same time on Saturday night. You can watch that event on Dota Starladder’s Twitch channel.
Finally, Hearthstone may be stagnating a little but it’s far from dying, something that can’t be said of all card games. This weekend, the top players from the Americas will face off in the Winter playoffs. Matches start at 11:00 a.m. ET on the Saturday and end at 11:00 p.m. before resuming across the same hours on Sunday. The entire event will be streaming live on Blizzard’s Hearthstone Twitch channel. If you want to get a feel for the current meta and what decks will be big at the event, Hearthstone podcaster and analyst Steve Lubitz has an interesting breakdown of what all the big competitors are currently playing over on his blog. Hint: Hunter secret decks remain very popular at the moment.