The maker of the Hand of Fate deck-building/action series is “ceasing development of new titles,” saying that its approach to making games, which sustained a nine-year run, hasn’t been adaptable to a fast and ever-changing industry.
Defiant Development began in 2010 as an effort to make “a studio model in Australia that would thrive without being dependent on international ownership,” studio founder Morgan Jaffitt wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “We set out without knowing where the journey will take us, and we do so knowing that the unknown is not always safe. That is a risky way to make games, and we knew that.”
Defiant came along at a time when Australia’s most conspicuous console-developing studios were either owned or had projects funded by publishers elsewhere. THQ Studio Australia was shut down in 2011 before the rest of the company went bankrupt; Team Bondi delivered the highly visible L.A. Noirethat year and immediately closed. Halfbrick, a studio that had worked on licensed video games for consoles, shifted to mobile devices around that time following the success of Fruit Ninjaand Jetpack Joyride.
Hand of Fate came along in 2015 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, and was one of the first Australian-made games successfully launched after a Kickstarter campaign. That was followed by Hand of Fate 2 on the same platforms in 2017, adding Nintendo Switch in 2018.
“The games market has changed in ways both big and small in the nine years we’ve been in business,” Jaffitt wrote. “We have not been able to change quickly enough to continue with them.”
Jaffitt closed his remarks by linking to a video of A World in My Attic, the incomplete game the studio had been working on at the time of yesterday’s announcement.
The next Pokémon to be featured in Pokémon Go’s Community Day will be Ralts, the versatile psychic-type.
The Community Day will take place on August 3 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. in your local time. Note that this one is on a Saturday. Ralts will be spawning in abundance, with a high chance to nab a Shiny.
The exclusive move for Ralts’ evolutions is yet to be announced, but since Ralts can evolve into two separate Pokémon, Gardevoir and Gallade (depending on its gender) we may be getting two special moves.
Gardevoir is one of the best fairy-type attackers in the game, thanks to the newly-added Charm fast move. Gallade is pretty mediocre, as it doesn’t really learn any moves to flaunt its psychic and fighting typing. This Community Day could change that, however, and both Pokémon are worth collecting to complete your Pokédex.
Note that Gallade does need a Sinnoh Stone to evolve, in addition to the 125 total Ralts candy, so make sure you have one or two on deck before the Community Day. The Community Day for Swinub, which also needs a Sinnoh Stone to evolve to its final form, handed out five guaranteed Sinnoh Stones from doing PvP battles, so there could be a similar perk coming on this Community Day.
As with most other Community Days, there will be Lures that last for three hours and a special bonus where eggs will hatch four times as fast as usual (assuming you start incubating after the event starts). We’ll have more details about the Ralts Community Day, including the exclusive attacks, as we get closer to the Aug. 3 start date.
After months of preparations and online qualifiers, Fortnite’s World Cup Finals are here. The tournament brings together nearly 200 of the world’s top Fortnite players to compete for their share of the $30 million prize pool, along with a whole host of celebrities for another FortnitePro-Am.
The two main competitions of the World Cup will be Solos and Duos. The players competing in these modes took part in online qualifiers over the course of 10 weeks, with only a few players from each region qualifying each week. The duos competition will take place on Saturday, June 27, while solos will be held on Sunday, July 28.
The tournament will also host several events on Friday, July 26, including two more competitions. The first will be the Creative World Cup, which brings together eight different teams of four to compete in several different Fortnite Creative game modes. Following the Creative World Cup, there will be a Celebrity Pro-Am duos tournament where 50 celebrities will team up with 50 pro players to compete for a $3 million charity prize pool.
The Fortnite World Cup will be hosted in New York City at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Every match from the tournament will broadcast live on Fortnite’s Twitch and YouTube channels, or can be seen in-game using the new picture-in-picture feature.
In an attempt to curb gaming addiction in China, Tencent and Riot Games have added an anti-addiction system to League of Legends.
The new system punts minors off the game if they’ve spent more than two hours per day playing, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. Chinese games use national ID numbers to make accounts, meaning that these games can tell how old its players are.
The LA Times report also notes that other American-made games like World of Warcraft and Fortnitealso have limits or penalties to get younger users off the games after playing for too long.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization classified video game addiction as a mental health disorder, titled “gaming disorder.” Before that, China has tightened its laws surrounding video games, with the desire to limit minors’ time spent playing them.
A bulk of the restrictions come from a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Education, according to the LA Times report. The statement says that the ministry would want to limit how many online games are available to minors, as well as restrict the amount of time kids could spend playing. All of these changes are coming to games in China as a precaution before the government takes action.
Super Smash Con, the world’s largest Smash Bros. tournament, has adopted rules against “ledge-camping” because one fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate— namely, Jigglypuff — is so effective with the tactic that top notch fighters are breaking the game.
First, for those not versed, ledge camping is a defensive move where a player grabs the ledge of the main stage and waits there, hoping to bait an impatient opponent into making an error.
Jigglypuff forces the issue because the fighter’s floaty movement lends itself to defensive play. That’s brought the fairness of ledge-camping to light, especially as this will be the first Super Smash Con since Smash Bros. Ultimate’s launch in December. Jigglypuff has been in all five Smash Bros. games to date (and Ultimate comprises every fighter who ever made a series appearance) but only now has its proficiency at ledge-camping become a serious issue.
On Monday, Super Smash Con’s tournament director said the event would limit the number of ledge grabs a player — using any fighter — may perform in a match.
Keep in mind that there’s no tournament official or player tasked with keeping a running count — one is only taken if a match runs to full time and then if one team or player asks to view the results screen, where the official tally of ledge grabs is kept. That’s how both players (or one player from each team) can wind up with greater than 60 ledge grabs without one forfeiting first.
Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, a multiple Brawl and Melee champion who took second in Melee singles at last year’s Smash Con, disagreed with the sweeping nature of the ledge grab limit.
“[Jigglyp]uff builds ledge grabs much slower than other chars, and also more safely (and with more mixups, and she has other ways to stall),” he tweeted. The rule “hurts other characters such as yoshi marth sheik much more than it does puff,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman added that players who are trailing, but believe an opponent may have gone over 60 ledge grabs, could themselves stall out the match to a timeout and see if they could win by forfeit.
Another player, MojoMonkey, argued that the rule “hurts Yoshi more than it hurts Puff.” In a disagreement that followed, he said Jigglypuff’s “planking” is more egregious, because it still has counterattacks available, whereas a Yoshi that is ledge-grabbing and chucking eggs at an opponent can be eliminated when being hit.
“It’s also worth noting that it’s very rare to see timeouts that don’t involve a Puff,” MojoMonkey added.
Super Smash Con 2019 is in a little more than two weeks — Thursday, Aug. 8 to Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. Standard registration for the event closes today.
From July 30 to Aug. 27, when Solstice of Heroes runs, Bungie will feature a different element each day, rotating through Solar, Arc, and Void. Getting kills with an elemental attack will award Elemental Orbs, which help you upgrade your armor pieces.
After picking up 30 Elemental Orbs, players will earn a new buff based on the element rotation that day:
Solar: Guardians burn nearby enemies
Void: Crouching turns Guardians invisible, grants them Truesight, and increases ability regeneration
Arc: Increases Guardian movement speed and melee damage (including swords)
These buffs expire when a player dies or after a short period of time. They’ll be active in all activities except for Competitive Crucible and Gambit Prime.
Solstice of Heroes 2019 also offers a new activity for players. The European Aerial Zone is a matchmade activity where three players can battle Hive, Cabal, or Fallen foes. Players will hunt minibosses throughout the new space, killing as many as they can in the time allotted. When the time expires, players will take on a final boss.
When all the bosses are dead, players can explore the European Aerial Zone in search of treasure. The more minibosses defeated, the more chests lying in wait. The chests contain Solstice Packages, which offer Rare and Legendary armor, Enhancement Cores, and Planetary Materials. But to open the chests, players will need Solstice Key Fragments from completing other activities in Destiny 2.
While players can enhance their abilities and perform admirably in the European Aerial Zone, Solstice of Heroes is all about upgrading their Solstice armor sets. Like last year, players need to upgrade their sets from Drained to Renewed to Majestic. Players willing to spend the time can Masterwork their armor as well.
With the Armor 2.0 refresh coming with Shadowkeepin a few months, Bungie thought ahead. In order to make the grind worthwhile, the 2019 Majestic armor sets will be the first Armor 2.0 sets in Destiny 2. If players earn the Majestic sets during Solstice of Heroes, they can go to the Gunsmith and pick up a new, improved set when Bungie launches Shadowkeep on Sept. 17.
Players who fully upgrade a set of Solstice armor on all three classes can pick up a new Sparrow called the EV-37 Voidstreak.
Being a holiday event, Bungie is refreshing the cosmetic Eververse store with Solstice of Heroes themed loot. But this time, players won’t earn an additional engram each time they level up. Instead, all of the Solstice of Heroes items can be purchases with Silver or Bright Dust. Bungie promises that each item will show up in Tess’ rotating Bright Dust inventory before the event’s end.
Players can purchase summer-themed cosmetics, like a Sparrow that looks like a personal watercraft (aka Jet Ski) or a Ghost in a life preserver.
With Solstice of Heroes, players can also earn the final two Moments of Triumph from 2019. The studio will also open Gambit for all players during the event.
The fourth season of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is here, and while the main attraction is the new version of Erangel, it isn’t the only thing that came with this season’s patch. PUBG Corp. also added another Survivor Pass, PUBG’s version of the battle pass, to the game for season 4. It’s called Aftermath.
Just like previous PUBG Survivor Passes, the Aftermath pass is filled with cosmetic items. The pass has around 75 cosmetic items that players can earn by leveling up their passes. To earn levels players will need XP, which can be earned either through playing matches or through completing specific missions like using a certain weapon, or healing yourself a certain number of times.
There’s also a new mission system this season called the Co-op Mission. Progress for this mission will be earned by every single PUBG player who will all be collectively working toward rewards that every player with the Aftermath pass will have access to once unlocked.
The Aftermath pass is also bringing a new type of cosmetic to the game with the new “Red-Zoned” UAZ skin. There are also plenty of new weapon skins, clothing, and jackets that Aftermath adds to the game’s already massive cosmetic collection.
The Aftermath pass is available now on PC. Players can purchase it from the PUBG store for $9.99.
In the last year, Valve has started approaching sex games on Steam with a more lax attitude. Where before, games with suggestive themes could sometimes be rejected from the storefront, Valve now allows nearly anything onto its store — even sex games. The caveat is that while anything can be sold, anything particularly adult has to be labeled as such. These games are also not viewable unless you’re logged in and have the appropriate settings. This, in turn, has led some people to feel that Steam is starting to become overrun with sex games — they’re just mostly out of sight.
But just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Actually, these games seem to be doing pretty well, if Koikatsu Party is any indication. While exact numbers weren’t provided in the blog post, Koikatsu Party is among the top-selling games of June 2019 in the platform, according to Valve.
Why are people flocking to the game? Well, Koikatsu Party brands itself as the “ultimate anime character maker.” Players are given over 300 options to adjust for the women or men they create, as well as a number of shaders to further customize their experience. You can even adjust anything from pubic hair to beauty marks. From the store description:
Shape, size, position, contours, dimensions—customize them all! Want pointy elf ears? Easy! Want to change the color of just one eye? Piece of cake! You have the ability to make a character for any type of setting you can imagine!
Choose from a wide variety of different hairstyles. And even better, you can select different hair sections and adjust them individually for ultimate customizability!
Sculpt every curve with settings both general and specific. Breasts, hips, arms, busts, legs: seriously, we’ve got options to adjust pretty much anything you can dream of.
But wait, there’s more! Why not give your character purple skin, or add in cool shadows, or even change the color of her outline? We support all sorts of coloring schemes and light options. I mean, this is anime we’re talking about. The sky’s the limit!
Once fans have made a character, they have up to 30 different personality choices to assign. All of this fuss is made for one purpose: to have sex with whatever you create. There’s not much else to the game beyond character creation and sex. Characters can have their own sexual preferences and sensitivity options, so they’ll react differently to whatever you do to them. The game will then let you “touch, pull, lick, finger, and pump to your heart’s content.”
Curiously, the game leans heavily on the stereotype of the otaku nerd who prefers 2D girls over actual women. The promotional text boasts that the game will “leave you wondering why you ever bothered with real people. Seriously, who needs reality when you have anime?”
While the game is only available in Japanese, this limitation does not seem to be stopping Western players. If you look at the reviews for Koikatsu Party, it is full of English-speaking fans who have apparently fallen in love with the game.
“My friends do not talk to me anymore,” one Steam user jokes. “A lifetime of playing horrendous unpolished h-flash games on newgrounds, years of playing overpriced h-shovelware on steam, hours wasted trying to install honey select — it all led up to this,” another says. “P0RN games are finally good,” they continued. Many folks leaving top reviews for Koikatsu Party have spent several hours with the game.
Notably, all of this isn’t available out of the gate: Players must download a patch to uncensor the action, though at this point, that’s become tradition with any risque game on the platform. Steam might sell sex games, but sometimes you still have to go an extra step to actually get to that action.
Grand Theft Auto Online’s big Casino update dropped on Tuesday, and while most people are excited to bet money and gamble, others are rejoicing over a peaceful change to the overarching world.
Los Santos has never been a safe place — the heart of GTA is chaos — but one thing that made everyone’s experience worse was the widespread usage of “passive popping.” In a nutshell, this describes a common behavior where jerks would enter passive mode, meaning that they could not kill or be killed. Passive mode is crucial for allowing people to do their own thing, but the problem was that some people would abuse the ability. Sometimes, fans would harass other players by staying in passive mode until it was convenient, popping out of it, killing their distracted opponent, and then immediately heading back into passive mode. Targets wouldn’t be able to fight back.
Passive popping was a particular scourge with vehicles such as jets, which allow players to quickly cover wide swaths of land, and Oppressors, which gave trolls the usage of homing rockets. Players who abused this method were sometimes known to hold entire servers hostage, making for an extremely disruptive experience. The problem has existed since as far back as 2015.
Well, as of yesterday — literally after years of player complaints — passive popping is no more. Rockstar’s patch notes state that there is now a cooldown after using passive mode, so you can’t just keep terrorizing your lobby:
Passive Mode can now no longer be active when using a weaponized vehicle
A Passive Mode cooldown of 2 minutes is now in place for players who have just killed another player
Players now must wait 5 minutes before they can activate Passive Mode again after disabling it
Players now must wait 30 seconds before they can disable Passive Mode after activating it
Additionally, GTA Online has also tweaked its “Go Ghosted” option, which allows players to make themselves unavailable to others who have repeatedly killed them without provocation. Now, players can ghost each other after two deaths instead of three, and they can stay in that state for five minutes instead of only two. Here’s Rockstar:
The window of time for consecutive kills to count has been increased from 5 minutes to 10 minutes
The ‘Go Ghosted’ option is now available if the killing player is part of an Organization or Motorcycle Club so players can:
‘Go Ghosted to GAMERTAG’ (if not in a Gang)
‘Go Ghosted to ORG NAME’ (if in an Organization)
‘Go Ghosted to MC NAME’ (if in a Motorcycle Club)
Players will remain Ghosted to the members of the Gang even if they disband
All of these tweaks have players celebrating, as GTA Online may finally become a slightly more enjoyable experience after curbing some of the worst behavior present in the game. “This is like a dream,” one fan said on Reddit. “Pinch me,” another added.
A big change will be hitting the Overwatch League once Stage 4 starts, and that’s the new role queue system. This fundamental change is happening during a pivotal time, when teams are competing for a seed for the seasonal playoffs. It will require players to adapt and reorient themselves, because it’s a major shakeup to just about everything about pro Overwatch.
Working in professional Overwatch means that each team, from coaches to players, has been watching the potential meta change for some time now. Part of the job is being ready to adapt at a moment’s notice, and teams are preparing for the role queue meta known as 2-2-2. The reason for that is simple; each team must play two tanks, two supports, and two damage heroes. This change interrupts the era of GOATS, a three tank, three support set-up that dominated the Overwatch pro meta for a year.
Here’s what we can expect pro play to look like after the change, from team compositions to observer cameras and commentary.
Meet the new meta
Joshua “Elbion” Tuffs, assistant coach to London Spitfire’s academy team in Contenders British Hurricane, is one of the pros preparing for a different competitive metagame. He can already predict some of the changes fans might see on the stage.
“If 2-2-2 goes live without a massive hero rebalancing patch, the game is going to be incredibly unbalanced, and a smaller number of heroes will see play in their current state,” Tuffs said.
Roadhog is a prime example of a hero who will fall out of favor. “He’s a tank and DPS [damage per second] hybrid, which historically had a well-defined job when you had multiple tanks and need damage,” Tuffs explained. “Same for Zenyatta, a support and DPS hybrid. If you want to use Reinhardt now, Zenyatta simply won’t have the healing if paired with the Lucio that the Reinhardt craves.”
So who will take their place? “Heroes that more clearly fit their roles, such as Ana and D.Va, will do their jobs more completely than the DPS hybrids,” said Tuffs, explaining why we’ll see new tanks and supports in professional Overwatch play.
“For competitive integrity, I feel like it’s not good for a lot of teams,” Cruz said. “Shock, NYXL, Vancouver, but for us, it’s like ‘Ayyy! New meta! Maybe we can make like, actual playoffs and be really good because all of these teams with insane GOATS rosters have to start fresh.’”
Connor “Avast” Prince, former professional player and current Overwatch Contenders caster, expects less of a change. “In my eyes the 3-3 meta was probably the most upheaval we have seen in how Overwatch was played, and that meta shift has impacted teams far more than anything else we could possibly see in the future,” Prince said.
While the heroes may change, Prince doesn’t expect that the strongest teams in the League will drop down the standings.
“When the meta was changed last season in Stage 4, the teams that were good remained good for the most part and only those who could not adapt lost out,” he said. “If you are a top team, with top tier staff, the game-changing is a challenge, but one you should be able to beat if you are truly the best. In my eyes, 3-3 and its variants are a far harder composition to play teamwise than 2-2-2, so top teams should still be good. In addition, it does add some weight to the idea of maintaining a roster with added flexibility like Shock or NYXL or Titans.”
Watching the shift
Of course, only a few players will actually be on stage. Overwatch also need to worry about spectators, commentators, and analysts. Will the action be just as readable with Genjis and Tracers in play? How does the job change around a much more mobile metagame, where players focus less on coordinating powerful ultimates and abilities, and more on smaller moments of damage being dealt?
“I mean, I’m still pressing the same buttons I usually press if that’s what you mean,” joked experienced Overwatch observer Peggy “Moirai” Forde. Forde has been observing for nearly two years and has directed our attention during events like Overwatch Contenders China, South America, and numerous Open Divisions.
“In all seriousness, the very, very basic formula of solid observing is this: Focus on the attacking team getting into the fight, transfer to whoever is winning the fight, then move on to the next fight, rinse and repeat,” they said.
Even with that in mind, Forde says that when players shift metagames, so do observers. Forde gave the example of a tank-heavy GOATS competition. Reinhardt and Winston would be go-to safety point of views, while Zarya made for a good secondary camera.
“Going to anyone else was good, and helped vary the shots, as well as give context to your viewers about what exactly was going on,” Forde said. “A lot of [that] depended on the observer’s game sense or who was popping off that day, but you could go your entire match switching from one main tank or Zarya to its opposite on the other side, with a little bit of free cam in the middle, and people will know what’s happened. It’s boring, yes, but it was at least workable.
“Observers have dealt with extreme changes to meta before and we’ll be able to adjust to them again. As with any change, there’s bound to be a few mistakes here and there, 3-3 observing didn’t happen overnight, neither will whatever comes next, but you can expect the observers of the scene to start to readily adjust and make the productions at every level as high quality as they can be with a little bit of time.”
While the proposed 2-2-2 change is drastic, the general theme of professional apathy is present in most comments. They have their opinions on whether the timing was correct or if this solution works in the long term, but at the end of the day, they are all professionals. They know they have a job and no matter how the landscape changes they are ready, willing, and able to adapt to the changing landscape.
Reactions and risks
We won’t know how 2-2-2 will play out once it hits the stage, but reactions so far are mixed.
“In this case, I think it will make long term balance much easier and will define roles more clearly, which is good for the fans,” Tuffs said. “That being said, it removes a level of complexity from the game, limits the creativity of the players and teams who are truly flexible, and kills the strategically deepest compositions the game has ever seen. All bad things.”
While Tuffs said he will “truly miss GOATS and all its variants”, there’s one thing that he particularly dislikes: the timing.
“If it was implemented mid-November, after BlizzCon, and with a few months before Overwatch League Season 3, it would be a much more appropriate timing,” Tuffs said.
“I think GOATS is like really unhealthy for the game,” Cruz said on stream. “For stage two it was like the only comp. for all of stage two. GOATS is just too dominant in my opinion on every point. And if they even just nerfed Brigitte it would be a lot worse; Brigitte is just so strong.”
The Los Angeles Valiant’s flex tank, Indy “SPACE” Halpern, was also on the stream and agreed. “I feel like it, personally for me, it’s a bandaid on the game of just forcing 2-2-2,” Halpern said. “When I look at it, I feel like Overwatch is meant to be swapped, like you’re supposed to swap heroes and not be locked into one role.”
Cruz had one note about 2-2-2 that was purely optimistic. “I think it’s good for viewership too, like, everyone hates GOATS. No one really likes GOATS except for the teams that are winning.”