Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at [email protected]Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!
The art book Kickstarter for Swordsfall, a tabletop roleplaying game set in an Afro-futurist African nation, raised over $64,000 in about 24 hours and cleared its $2,000goal with ease. Creator Brandon Dixon told Kotaku that he’s not all that surprised by the success of this campaign. He knew that he had something unique, that fills a hole in the tabletop RPG landscape for black players.
Swordfall takes place in the world of Tikor, which is inspired by pre-colonial Africa and also imagines an independent African nation with futuristic technology. This Kickstarter was just for the art book, which includes lore about Tikor, though it promises an upcoming tabletop RPG and has a publicly available world bible for the curious.
“I’m definitely one of the creators that were inspired by the Marvel Black Panther movie,” Dixon told Kotaku over email. “I really felt the impact of being able to watch a movie that was truly made from the bottom up by people who looked like me. People who have gone through similar struggles or had similar upbringings. It was moving, deeply moving. I sobbed at the end from just the feeling of it all.”
Dixon is a 34-year-old living in Portland, Oregon, and he said that it feels like he’s been playing tabletop games all his life since a friend of his introduced him to Vampire: The Masquerade in high school.
“I must have read the corebook half a dozen times and almost every expansion book they released. There was just something about that deep and sprawling plot that just called out to me,” he said. “It’s one of the spiritual inspirations behind Swordsfall in a way. I want to grab readers in the same way and never let them go.”
The world of Swordsfall is engrossing. Its vision of Africa is one dipped in chrome and decorated with precious stones. Even just looking at the illustrations from the upcoming art book, you get the sense that every inch of this world—its customs, garments, and social mores—was thoughtfully designed. Browsing through its world bible, it’s easy to get lost in not just the description of the continent, surrounded by unruly seas and and flush with forests, but also the professions of the playable characters that live there. Some bind their spells to physical objects; others use mystic forges to craft powerful weapons. Shadowtails are the secretive kingsguard that harness the darkness to serve their ruler, while Celestial Shields are scholar knight who use their defensive skills to protect their loved ones. It isn’t just warriors in Tikor, though. Its countries are home to The Grimm, salt-of-the-earth farmers who hold their traditions close, and The Karu, architects and artists who use their craft to commune with the things that give them life.
“Because I created a wholly original world, it frees me from any genre trappings that I might have. The planet of Tikor has become my backdrop for my ideas. I get to do research on all the fascinating things I never knew about Pre-Colonial Africa, and then bake that into my world. It’s liberating in a weird, cathartic way,” Dixon said.
“One of the first things I read about was how in many cultures King was just a term. It didn’t specifically mean a male ruler. It was just the name of whoever was in charge. And because you had cultures where women in power wasn’t an issue, you had Kings that were women,” Dixon said. “When you dig far enough back you start to see that some of our problems are truly modern problems.”
The success of Swordsfall’s art book Kickstarter, which still has five days left in its campaign, is evidence of how badly some players wanted a world like Tikor to play in. Dixon said that although the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons opened things up for players of all stripes, there are still things that can make nonwhite tabletop RPG players trepidatious about venturing into the scene.
“I feel like the biggest thing missing from the genre right now is real, and true representation. All too often what happens is that a game adds in one or two PoC to fulfill some ‘requirement.’ The characters end up feeling stale, or worse, stereotypical. It’s not a problem that can be fixed by just plugging in a character here or there, it’s a structural problem that has to be addressed at large,” he said.
Dixon cited characters of color that seemed to be black as an afterthought, only to die before they have any time for character development, but he also said that settings in tabletop games where white people aren’t the majority tend to miss the mark when it comes to representing the breadth of a culture. Dixon thinks nonwhite tabletop players are yearning for respect—for their culture, their lives, and their cultural history.
“It doesn’t take much for the developer to step back and wonder if the PoC character they made is really respectful or not. Will it survive the test of time, or did you just cash in for a quick joke?” Dixon said. “It’s a weird need and expectation that you only get from being a PoC or minority. How you feel about something is rarely something that seems to be taken into account. So every new experience seems like a trap. Will this creator get it? Or will a fun experience be spoiled by one blatant mistake that can’t be unseen?”
For Dixon, Swordsfall and the world of Tikor are expressions of the respect that nonwhite tabletop players have been desperate for. It’s also, he hopes, a genuinely engaging setting for any tabletop player to use and explore, and he hopes that it can encourage some empathy, to boot.
“My hope is that they find themselves lost in wonder. I want to open people’s eyes up to a different way of doing things. That you can have a world that’s inclusive and not feel weird or preachy,” he said. “When a world is built from the ground up with different ideals, it really does change everything.”
At the start of the stream — an opportunity for players to match up with developers — communications director David “DeeJ” Dague took a moment to address the recent concerns.
“I know there’s been a lot of community chatter about the Crucible,” he said. “There’s been a lot of speculations about our plans. We want to absolutely go on record and say that there are members of the development team who come into Bungie every day to work on Destiny. And they’re hard at work, upstairs, right now, on future evolutions for the Crucible.”
Dague acknowledged that this statement breeds more questions than answers, and said that more details would need to wait for another stream. However, Destiny community manager Dylan “dmg04” Gafner responded to a tweet with a more straightforward answer. “Can confirm: the Crucible isn’t going anywhere,” he said.
Bungie has confirmed that the next iteration of Destiny will feature the Crucible. But Dague’s statement was vague as to how the multiplayer offering will change. It’s unclear what “future evolutions for the Crucible” means. A recent collection of supposed Destiny 3 leaks suggests that patrol zones could feature PvPvE content.
The trilogy comprises Ace Attorney(originally launched 2001 on DS), Justice For All (2002)and Trials and Tribulations (2004). These three have been rounded up before, in anthologies for mobile platforms and Nintendo 3DS. This collection will include high resolution artwork and an updated user interface. (It’s also available for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.)
Overwatch is a game where visual language is paramount to keep the fast-moving action readable. Characters, for example, are designed so that their unique silhouettes are eye-popping even from far away. It also helps to be able to see anything literally at all—something you really come to appreciate when 90 percent of the screen is taken up by a diabolical, all-consuming darkness that’s surely stubbed countless toes. That’s the crux of a new custom mode devised by a particularly devious player.
Recently, Overwatch player Hintboyright helped test a “flashlight” overlay program a friend made by running it on top of Overwatch. The result? A cooperative game where one player actually plays, while others—connected not via Overwatch, but rather, a web app—frantically provide them with small windows of light through a wall of darkness. In practice, it looks like a bunch of people shining flashlights on a wall, with each light revealing a small circular sliver of a typical Overwatch game. Some choose to focus on rapidly moving enemies in front of the main player, while others focus on the environment and UI elements like ultimate charge.
Good job to the person shining a light on the player’s dwindling health at the end, though I fear their efforts were in vain.
I don’t know about you, but watching Tracer run around with her eyes obscured by a Swiss cheese blindfold, even secondhand, makes me anxious as hell. I think I just discovered a phobia I never knew I had.
For now, this is just an experiment, but I could see it making for a fun alternate way to play games—or at least novelty stream fodder. In Overwatch’s case, I’m not entirely sure it wouldn’t be against the terms of service, but if making yourself worse at an online game in the name of stupid, stumbling fun is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
According to the studio, most of the focus for this update has been on improving the new Firestorm battle royale mode. To that end, this update changes the loot behavior and adjusts the way safes work, along with patching up some visual issues and making the Flare Gun usable underwater. In the full patch notes (below), Firestorm clearly gets the lion’s share of the attention.
Other adjustments include bug fixes and quality-of-life tweaks, plus the addition of the the soldier stance icon from single-player in response to fan requests. It also adds an in-game shop that sells cosmetics and time-savers. The shop also offers “value bundles” that offer combinations of cosmetics, currency, and time-savers.
Check out the full patch notes below, and make sure to check out the details of the new Firestorm mode. If you’re looking to get into Battlefield 5 now is a pretty good time, as it’s on sale for cheap.
Battlefield 5 April Update Patch Notes
Firestorm – Gameplay fixes and changes
Fixed an issue which was causing a weapon to be misaligned when a player was in a man down state while being spectated.
V-1 and Artillery Strikes now count as “gadget kills”.
Pistols that have been picked up by the player now properly drop on the ground if the player dies.
Players are now able to use the Flare Gun while in water.
Increased the draw distance for grenades and melee weapons.
Grenades now collide with the cover of the pickup truck instead of going through it.
Fixed an issue where the active VOIP icon would not always show if the entire squad would be talking at the same time.
Players will no longer deploy a grenade automatically when dropping an item as a passenger.
When in a tank, the player will no longer switch to the selected tank gun while zooming on the map.
Added a red outline for the Artillery Strike on the map to make it more visible.
The health cooldown UI no longer freezes if a player drops their healing items when it is in progress.
Getting an invite from a player while looking for players enables you to join the squad.
If the user cancels and resumes the interaction with a safe, it will always reset.
When the player is watching another player being revived, the camera will remain in the same position.
The Napalm Helmet will no longer obstruct the player when aiming down sights.
Players can now jump as soon as they reach the start of the jump location.
When waiting for the other players, the squad list shows the correct Armor Plates number that the player had before death.
Players will no longer reload when opening doors.
The loot rarity icon is no longer visible through soldier bodies and vehicles.
When getting killed by another player, the text for the weapon used will show properly.
Switching weapon while dropping a weapon will no longer make the weapon being held invisible.
The Swap and Drop button callouts are updated if the player changes the keybind in-game.
Interaction detection has been improved to avoid issues with loot near Objectives and vehicles.
The interaction prompt for safes will no longer be offset when the player interacts with it repeatedly.
The interaction prompt for safes will no longer double when the player interacts with it repeatedly.
Interacting with a safe repeatedly will no longer make the progress bar disappear.
When the player is killed by an Artillery Strike, an icon is displayed in the kill feed.
The first wave of capture points now start earlier, before the zone starts to shrink for the first time.
Firestorm – Map improvements and fixes
Improved the rock wall textures near Pluto (Dig Site A).
Removed a piece of terrain that was clipping through the bridge towards the farm from the lake, causing vehicles to flip if they drive over it with speed.
Fixed a floating telegraph pole that was placed east from Nannahavn.
The crates located west of Hansen Farms are no longer floating in the air.
Fixed a floating tree west of the Halvoy Dam.
Players can no longer get stuck between the gap of the barrels inside Hansen Farms.
The shed door is no longer clipping through the barrels at Minerva Docks.
Players can no longer interact with the backside of the ladder near Guderos.
Players can no longer get stuck while prone under the wooden platform next to the fishing cabin near Halvoy Dam.
Players can no longer get stuck between the wall and the railway sleeper stacks East of Minerva Docks.
Players can no longer get stuck when jumping between the metal bars at Pluto (Dig site A).
Improved rock textures near the Odenberg area.
Player can no longer get stuck between the tree and the wall north of Minerva Docks.
Players can no longer hide behind the waterfall South of Minerva Docks.
The wooden crates are no longer floating above the floor inside the shed southeast of Hansen Farms.
The wooden crate no longer blocks the player from vaulting through the window in arctic house west of Hansen Farms.
Snow effect is no longer present inside the house southeast of Hotstad as well as the house north of Minerva Docks.
Fixed an issue that was causing mild flickering around the windshields inside vehicles.The PAK-40 AT towable located southeast of Halvdeler has been moved ten meters to make it more useful.
Fixed a bug that enabled players to use airplanes during the match start timer period. The animation when entering and exiting vehicles is now smoother and should have less unintended sudden camera movements.
Fixed an issue that could cause a temporary black screen when reloading a stationary turret while using its zoom functionality at the same time.
Made audio improvements to audibility of other players’ tanks.
Weapons, Gadgets, and Specializations
Fixed the Ribeyrolles aperture sights being misaligned and using the wrong magnification.
Tweaked the Gewehr 43 reflex sight to look better.
Tweaked the Bren max recoil which was too low.
Reduced the M1897 damage drop-off start distance by 1 m for all ammo types. Our data indicated that the 1897 had a bit too much range compared to other shotguns.
Changed the way camera recoil works. When firing, weapons are allowed to go a bit more off center now. The true point of aim will follow the weapon and is not fixed to the screen center.
Changed the way SMG and assault rifle dispersion increases while firing in ADS. The second, third, and sometimes fourth shots (for low rate-of-fire weapons) are now more predictable while later shots are less predictable. Also shortened the time it takes for dispersion to decrease when no longer firing. This means short bursts are a bit more effective, while long bursts or mag dumps are a bit less effective.
Fixed an issue that would prevent shotgun damage decals to appear on vehicles.
The knife animation no longer triggers after firing the last round of a Panzerfaust.
Bullet impact sounds have been further localized and the amount by which they can attenuate non-player weapons has been reduced.
Improved audibility of single-shot weapons.
Improved audibility of late reflections for automatic weapons based on distance from listener.
Adjusted headphone mix for low frequencies to smooth out positioning.
Fixed a bug with the Medic class that would result in the weapon floating in the air while the player was running briefly after reviving another player.
The first-person animation when picking up health packs and ammo packs have been moved to take less screen space for improved visibility.
Maps and Modes
Fixed an issue in the Practice Range where vehicles would not spawn when the user restarts the range.
Fixed a visual bug in the Practice Range which would cause the player’s body to be invisible while driving the Kubelwagen in third person.
Fixed an issue where the ticket counter was not visible when playing Breakthrough, Frontlines, and Airborne.
Disabled the saturation effect when regenerating health.
Fixed a hang that could occur if players looked at server info from within the social hub while being in the Your Company screen.
Fixed a bug which could prevent players from deploying, prompting the error message “The Class you have selected is violating the server rules” if they had equipped a newly unlocked sight.
Fixed a bug which prevented players from speeding up the bleed out timer when being in a down state.
Improved responsiveness and accuracy of the Commo Rose and the Squad Reinforcements Rose when using a controller.
Fixed an issue that would cause equipped vanity items to get unequipped when players purchased and equipped something else.
Fixed the placement of the buy button in the Replace Weapon screen to no longer clip into the divider line.
Fixed an issue where players would purchase something with Company Coin and get a “Not enough Company Coin” error message even if they had enough currency.
Fixed a bug that would cause the idle kick functionality to not always work.
Improved how class characters are loaded when scrolling through them while in the hangar between matches.
Added the soldier stance icon from single-player into multiplayer.
In the grenade selection menu, the smoke grenade selection will no longer show the Frag Grenade demonstration video.
Made multiple crash fixes and stability improvements.
Increased maximum ray count in DXR Ultra to improve reflection quality.
DLSS is now also supported in borderless mode.
Made improvements to DLSS sharpness.
Fixed an issue that caused the Customization screen to be darker than intended when having DX12 enabled.
Fixed a rendering issue that could cause graphical corruption when spamming various player actions.
Fixed a bug that would cause the game to hang if the player mashed all the keyboard and mouse buttons while in the key binding menu. The player that found this must have eaten too much pineapple pizza.
In Firestorm, opening the map and using the “scroll” button while inside a tank in the gunner position will no longer switch the selected tank gun as well.
[Note: This post and the video above contain spoilers for the boss fights in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.]
In a recent video uploaded on their channel, horheristo showed off speed running strategies for each of the main bosses in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. horheristo starts with the first Genichiro Ashina fight — which From intends players to lose — and plays through the rest of the game. Horheristo even defeats the bosses on all alternate story routes.
Even more impressive, the playthrough is on New Game Plus 2, making each boss harder (though it does allow players to start with upgraded weapons and skills). In the video notes, horheristo explains why New Game Plus 2 was their chosen difficulty.
“[New Game Plus 2] was chosen for two reasons: showing the full potential of character growth, and having beefier bosses that won’t fall down as fast as [New Game],” horheristo said.
Even with upgraded tools, horheristo’s run is impressive, clocking in at under 45 minutes.
One of Donkey Kong Country 2’s best speedrunners, who goes by V0oid, recently took first-place in the game’s 102 percent category, completing and collecting everything in the game in 1:26:28. He’d been working on it for months, but was able to shave a full nine seconds off the previous record thanks to a newly discovered shortcut made possible by an invisible beetle.
The shortcut takes place on Red-Hot Ride, the ninth level in the game and one that’s full of lava. It’s also home to a crate containing Rambi the Rhinoceros. As with all of the series animal buddies, Rambi makes it super easy to rush through the level, but only a portion of it. A “No Rhinoceros” sign appears before the end of the level, causing Rambi to turn into a balloon if he hits it. Using an invisible beetle, however, it’s possible to glitch the game and magically teleport the sign behind where Rambi’s standing.
“The gist of it is, you create an invisible object out of a beetle, and in this game invisible objects have very interesting properties, which include moving sprites around,” V0oid told Kotaku in an email. “So by manipulating ID values properly, I can use the invisible object to move the Rambi sign post, which enables me to use Rambi through the rest of the stage, which you can cruise through with Rambi’s charge ability.”
Making throwable objects like barrels and beetles invisible and using them to manipulate the game is one of Donkey Kong Country 2’s cornerstone glitches. It requires carrying one object in front while backing into another. Right before actually hitting it, the player needs to release the Y button to let go of the object,then immediately press it again. If they’re quick enough, the object will disappear but player characters Diddy or Dixie will still appear to be holding something. Clever speedrunners can then throw these invisible objects at different locations to corrupt the game’s memory and cause all sorts of weird stuff to happen.
Donkey Kong Country 2’s 102 percent category is interesting in that players are allowed to use glitches but still need to collect everything in the game, rather than just rushing to the final boss. As a result, there are lots of opportunities to save small amounts of times in precise locations by deploying the right glitches. Players have been running the game for years, so the best route and strategy are already extremely optimized. The most recent Rambi time save was fortunate surprise for V0oid and others.
“The biggest thing that made this [world record] possible was a new strategy in Red-Hot Ride found by Mr. Kyoro from Japan, which saves around 8 seconds,” he said. “This game is very optimized and new strategies usually save less than a second, so that discovery was a huge deal.” It’s been a year since V0oid’s last 102 percent record, and he’s spent the last three months playing nearly five hours a day to try and grind out his next one. When Kyoro’s discovery started making the rounds three weeks ago, it made V0oid’s job that much easier.
“Since I already have the Any% WR, it meant having both records at the same time again,” he said. “My goal was only to reclaim the WR, not necessarily to defend it since my main competitor is currently grinding that category as well, and it’s almost exclusively what he runs.” This speedrunner, ga_su_0416, who held the previous world record, has already started practicing to try and make that happen.
Enemies in Sekiro have two bars above their head. The reddish one at the top is represents Vitality. The yellow one at the bottom represents Posture. In this guide, we’ll show you what they mean and how to exploit them.
Vitality and Posture are interrelated status. The current status of one has an effect on the other.
Vitality is health. When that meter drains to empty, your enemy is dead.
The lower Vitality is, the slower Posture recovers.
Posture is a little more complicated. Its meter builds up, not down. It also means and does two things:
Governs the ability to block. That’s why it’s called Posture. You can hold your (blocking) posture as long as your meter doesn’t fill up.
When your enemy’s posture meter fills up, the next unblocked attack will automatically become a one-hit kill Deathblow.
Deflecting (blocking an enemy’s attack just before it lands) decimates enemy Posture.
I don’t have many strong feelings about video game controllers, except for this: The Xbox Elite Controller is the most comfortable thing on the planet. It’s a highly customizable and reliable option for any video game enthusiast. But last night, I encountered a problem. The shoulder button broke, turning limp and useless. My Elite controller was not quite as elite as I’d thought.
It happened while I was playing Devil May Cry 5 on the Xbox One. The latest update adds the Bloody Palace, an intense series of combat challenges that pushes players to the limit. There’s 101 floors of monsters and bosses, but I crashed and burned on floor 79 after some sloppy dodging. Eager to try again, I started over from the beginning. In order to target enemies in Devil May Cry, you need to push the right shoulder button to lock on. It’s integral to performing certain attack techniques. I fought through a few floors. Arriving in a challenge room full of scythe-wielding baddies, I pressed my shoulder button. Nothing happened. Instead of the satisfying click of pressing a button, everything felt numb. There was no response on screen or in my hand. The button was busted.
After griping about this on Twitter and looking online for solutions, it turns out that this is a surprisingly common issue. The Xbox Elite shoulder buttons work thanks to a special plastic fixture that snaps into the top of the controller. When you press a shoulder button, it’s depressing the plastic, which then hits the proper area inside the controller to register the input. But the plastic wears and warps over time, meaning that you can easily end up with a button that doesn’t really work. I was able to crane my index finger up and hit it in a specific spot to make it work, but this wasn’t very comfortable.
The Xbox Elite is a customizable controller where players can change features like the kind of D-pad it uses, the length of the analog sticks, and whether or not to use additional triggers. It’s pricey, at $150, but it’s cozy and I got a lot of good use out of mine. Xbox Elite controllers only carry a 90-day warranty. That’s a pretty short period of time for a tool that most players would expect to last a long time. There are some ways to deal with a broken button, the least difficult of which is to remap that button to one of the customizable triggers underneath the controller. But that’s a stopgap solution. Muscle memory is a bitch, and if you want a shoulder button that works, you either need to repair it yourself or get a new controller.
There are plenty of videos on how to do this, which outline the type of screwdriver you need and the part you have to purchase online. For the sake of my own curiosity, I attempted to adjust my button, but it had literally gone slack. Popping it off, I could see a portion of the plastic frame. I decided that I was a moron and that I didn’t really trust myself to fix my controller. I purchased another, which I have to imagine is a decision that a corporation like Microsoft is totally fine with.
I am using a standard Xbox One controller for the time being, although the lack of customizable triggers means I’m not keen to take on the Bloody Palace until my replacement arrives. More striking than anything else in this process was learning how common this issue apparently is. My Xbox Elite is as close to the Platonic ideal of a controller as I’d ever found. But there was a disaster lurking under the surface, a flimsy plastic that was the only protection against a busted button. I’ve reached out to Microsoft about the situation to ask if it was aware of the shoulder button flaw. In the meantime, I guess I need to be careful about gaming too hard.