Gaming News

27th June 2017
New Splinter Cell Project Teased By Ubisoft CEO

New Splinter Cell Project Teased By Ubisoft CEO

It's been four years since the release of the last game in the Splinter Cell series with no solid indications of what's next. E3 2017 came and went without any Splinter Cell-related announcements, but amidst all the noise, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot did provide some hope for fans.

First, during an AMA on Reddit, Guillemot responded to a question about Splinter Cell by saying, "Splinter Cell is a brand we talk about a lot. It's also personally one of my favorite series. We don't have anything specific to share at the moment but teams are working on different things, so stay tuned for more."

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Subsequently, he was asked about those remarks in an interview with the Ubisoft blog. "We are receiving lots of sketches and proposals around the brand, and we're going to pick one up," he said. "I think you will be able to see something, but you will have to wait for that."

Guillemot said all of that with a smile, as if he couldn't wait to share more. If Ubisoft hasn't yet given a project the green light, as his remarks suggest, a new Splinter Cell could still be years away. That is, unless his words were actually intended to throw fans off so that they're surprised by an announcement. That's precisely what happened with Beyond Good and Evil 2, which creator Michel Ancel said would not be at E3 before it was prominently featured in Ubisoft's E3 press conference and was actually (sort of) playable.

The most recent Splinter Cell game was 2013's Blacklist, which replaced Michael Ironside, the longtime voice actor of series protagonist Sam Fisher. That game was released for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3, meaning the series has still yet to appear on current-gen consoles. Meanwhile, Blacklist developer Ubisoft Toronto has unveiled its new game, and a Splinter Cell movie remains in the works.

27th June 2017
New Death Note Movie Poster Features Demonic Ryuk

New Death Note Movie Poster Features Demonic Ryuk

Death Note is the upcoming live-action movie adaptation of the classic manga series that is set to premiere on Netflix in August. A first trailer was released in March, and now a new character poster has been tweeted by director Adam Wingard. It shows the demonic Ryuk and takes its inspiration from the film's comic book origins. Check it out below:

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Death Note tells the story of a high school student named Light, who comes into possession of a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes into it. Light sets out to rid the world of evil but finds himself relentlessly pursued by a legendary police detective.

It stars Nat Wolff, best known for the hit teen drama The Fault in our Stars, plus Keith Stanfield, Paul Nakauchi, and Shea Whigham. Willem Dafoe will perform the voice of Ryuk. The film hits Netflix on August 25, 2017.

In an interview last year, Wingard assured fans that Death Note would be every bit as graphic as the horror movies he has directed, such as You're Next and The Guest. "We can do whatever we want," he told Collider. "It's an anime film. So, technically, it's a cartoon that you're bringing to life. It was important that you have those adult themes. So, it's got nudity, it's got swearing, it's got a ton of violence."

Death Note ran for 108 issues between 2003 and 2006. These were subsequently collected into 12 graphic novels, which to date have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. There have also been three live-action Japanese films, an anime series, and a number of video games for the Nintendo DS, published by Konami.

27th June 2017
To Fend Off Vivendi, Ubisoft CEO's Family Increases Its Stake In The Publisher

To Fend Off Vivendi, Ubisoft CEO’s Family Increases Its Stake In The Publisher

While French media conglomerate Vivendi has yet to initiate a hostile takeover of video game publisher Ubisoft, the threat of such a move continues to loom. That potential has seemingly resulted in a preemptive move on the part of the Guillemot family, of which Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot is a part.

The Guillemots have increased their stake and now collectively own 13.6% of Ubisoft's shares and control 20.02% of its voting rights, according to a filing by France's AMF (via Reuters). However, it will reportedly not seek any additional seats on the board of directors. Five of the 10 directors are members of the Guillemot family, including Yves, the board's chairman. Last year, Ubisoft expanded its board with two new independent directors, bringing independent representation to the 50% mark. This is the point Ubisoft hoped to achieve as a means for helping to stave off Vivendi.

The progression of Ubisoft logos over the years, leading to 2017's new one
The progression of Ubisoft logos over the years, leading to 2017's new one

Vivendi has steadily increased its control of shares in Ubisoft since 2015; its ownership is now up to 27% of its shares (and 24.5% of voting rights). At 30 percent, French law would mandate that it pursue a controlling stake in the company.

Ubisoft and the Guillemots have repeatedly spoken out against Vivendi's moves, saying it would hamper the publisher's ability to innovate and be agile, among other things. Vivendi said in early 2016 that it had "no plans" for a Ubisoft takeover, but its actions have suggested otherwise. In April, Reuters reported that Vivendi would pursue a takeover attempt this year. Last year, Vivendi took over French developer Gameloft, which was also founded and led by the Guillemots.

Amidst all of this, Ubisoft has continued to focus on live-service games, VR, and support for Nintendo's Switch (most notably with the upcoming Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle). The company's stock price reached an all-time high on Monday, though it has since fallen slightly.

27th June 2017
DC Considering Second, Soviet-Themed Superman Movie

DC Considering Second, Soviet-Themed Superman Movie

DC's superhero universe kicked off in 2014 with Man of Steel, but despite that film's success, there has been no sign of a second standalone Superman movie. However, it has now been reported that the studio could be looking at making a big screen adaptation of the Red Son graphic novel.

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Superman: Red Son was a 2003 limited-run comic book that told an alternate story in which Superman was raised in the Soviet Union rather than the US. The news of a potential movie comes via a Twitter exchange between Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Red Son creator Mark Millar.

Vogt-Roberts mentioned he had pitched an adaptation to Red Son to DC, but that it "will sadly never get made." However, Miller then responded with a more positive update:

This was news to a suprised Vogt-Roberts, who then gave further details about the vision he had for the movie. "When I was pitching Red Son I wasn't even convinced you needed [Ben] Affleck and [Henry] Cavill. Public understanding of the medium has evolved," he said. "I think we can sustain a 'main shared universe' AND offshoots with alternate takes on characters and different actors existing simultaneously."

Miller has subsequently spoken to Den of Geek on the subject. He explained that the studio was using Red Son as one of several potential storylines to attract quality filmmakers to the DC universe, and weren't specifically focused on that one title.

"Is this something they're genuinely planning? I have no idea," he said. "I've got pals at Warner Bros. but never discussed it with them. I think they're just going through their back catalogue of big books and hoping to lure in good directors as opposed to any particular interest in developing Red Son."

After Man of Steel's huge success, the plan was to follow it up with a direct sequel. However, DC's desire to accelerate its cinematic universe led to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice instead, which introduced both Batman and Wonder Woman. Cavill will reprise his role as Superman in Justice League, which arrives in November.

27th June 2017
DC Developing Second, Soviet-Themed Superman Movie

DC Developing Second, Soviet-Themed Superman Movie

DC's superhero universe kicked off in 2014 with Man of Steel, but despite that film's success, there has been no sign of a second standalone Superman movie. However, it has now been reported that the studio could be looking at making a big screen adaptation of the Red Son graphic novel.

No Caption Provided

Superman: Red Son was a 2003 limited-run comic book that told an alternate story in which Superman was raised in the Soviet Union rather than the US. The news of a potential movie comes via a Twitter exchange between Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Red Son creator Mark Millar.

Vogt-Roberts mentioned he had pitched an adaptation to Red Son to DC, but that it "will sadly never get made." However, Miller then responded with a more positive update:

This was news to a suprised Vogt-Roberts, who then gave further details about the vision he had for the movie. "When I was pitching Red Son I wasn't even convinced you needed [Ben] Affleck and [Henry] Cavill. Public understanding of the medium has evolved," he said. "I think we can sustain a 'main shared universe' AND offshoots with alternate takes on characters and different actors existing simultaneously."

Miller has subsequently spoken to Den of Geek on the subject. He explained that the studio was using Red Son as one of several potential storylines to attract quality filmmakers to the DC universe, and weren't specifically focused on that one title.

"Is this something they're genuinely planning? I have no idea," he said. "I've got pals at Warner Bros. but never discussed it with them. I think they're just going through their back catalogue of big books and hoping to lure in good directors as opposed to any particular interest in developing Red Son."

After Man of Steel's huge success, the plan was to follow it up with a direct sequel. However, DC's desire to accelerate its cinematic universe led to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice instead, which introduced both Batman and Wonder Woman. Cavill will reprise his role as Superman in Justice League, which arrives in November.

27th June 2017
The Ravages Of War

The Ravages Of War

Valkyria Revolution is not the game Valkyria Chronicles fans have been waiting for. It may share some similar themes and terminology with previous titles in the series, but this spin-off veers into distinctly different territory – usually with bad results. Though I love Valkyria Chronicles, I’m not disappointed with Valkyria Revolution because it strays from its predecessors; I’m disappointed because it’s a bland action/RPG that makes serious mistakes with its storytelling and gameplay.

Set in a fantasy facsimile of Europe during the industrial revolution, the plot follows an elite military squad through a war that pits the small-but-noble Jutland against the sinister Ruzi empire. But behind the scenes, five friends in positions of power are fueling the conflict and putting lives at risk solely to get revenge. Are they traitors, even if the war ultimately makes life better for the people of Jutland? Valkyria Revolution wants you to ponder that question, but the narrative is so clumsy and predictable that it can’t bear any thematic weight.

The characters are the biggest problem. The quiet-but-competent hero, the idealistic princess, the hard-drinking veteran – this store-brand squad is composed of generic personalities that fail to pull players into the tale. A story about revenge and the cost of war won’t resonate with players if they don’t connect to the people involved, and the bland cast of Valkyria Revolution fails to forge that connection. They have obvious epiphanies, undergo predictable changes, and are usually far more surprised than you are when the plot twists.

Another way the characters overstay their welcome is though the extended amount of time you spend watching them instead of controlling them. I love narrative-focused games, but having a lot of story to tell isn’t the same as doing it well, and that distinction is where Valkyria Revolution stumbles. It strings long cutscenes together (with a wealth of loading screens between them), but the animations and interactions are so mechanical and dull that it feels like you’re watching animatronic characters from bad angles. You can skip cutscenes, but at that point you’re opting out of the story completely – which leaves only the combat system to entice you to keep playing, and it’s not much of an incentive.

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On the battlefield, Valkyria Revolution is a passable soldier, but isn’t winning any medals. You and your squad fight through various maps in real time, completing objectives like capturing bases and eliminating enemy captains. Combat is melee-focused, so you’re swinging magically charged swords and axes while dramatically outnumbered by the Ruzi forces. Battles have more in common with the Dynasty Warriors games than any Valkyria title, but that isn’t necessarily bad – it offers the basic kind of fun that comes from mowing down legions of bad guys.

On the other hand, the missions feel shallow and don’t leave much room for strategy. You have some tactical abilities (like magic and ranged weapons), but the core combat is too simple, and doesn’t change enough as you progress. I had less fun the further I got, because enemies soak up more damage (especially bosses), but don’t give you rewarding opportunities to flex your abilities. You’re throttled by a recharging action bar that limits your actions, and while that isn't enough to make battles truly challenging, it consistently puts the brakes on any momentum you may have built up.

Though its main gameplay and narrative pillars are crumbling, some parts of Valkyria Revolution are worthy of appreciation. I like how your squad members split off into groups and hang out; it’s a clever way to establish their lives and interests off the battlefield, even if I didn’t find the conversations that interesting. I also love the overall atmosphere – the grand alternate vision for 19th century Europe is conveyed well through the art direction and an excellent soundtrack from composer Yasunori Mitsuda. Unfortunately, the unique setting and mood are shackled to the rest of Valkyria Revolution, which makes them feel wasted.

If you dig deep, you can find charming parts of Valkyria Revolution – the thrill of taking down a group of foes with a well-placed grenade, or the rousing music and majestic scenery combining for a memorable moment. But these bright spots are far too rare in an experience that deals primarily in drudgery, from repetitive missions to overlong expository scenes. Even if you find and appreciate the good parts, the prize is too small for the price you pay on the battlefield.

27th June 2017
BioWare's New IP Is A "Science Fantasy" Game Like Star Wars And Unlike Mass Effect

BioWare’s New IP Is A “Science Fantasy” Game Like Star Wars And Unlike Mass Effect

BioWare's new IP, Anthem, is in the "science-fantasy" genre like Star Wars instead of the science fiction genre like Mass Effect. This is according to BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn, who spoke to CBC about what genre the game falls into and how it compares to the studio's past work.

"It's in a genre we call science fantasy," he said (via NeoGAF). "Very much like Star Wars, very much like the Marvel Universe where you see a lot of amazing things happening but we don't worry too much about why they are happening or how they're happening; the science of it.

"Mass Effect is a more a real hardcore science-fiction IP [but Anthem] is much more about just having fun in a game world that lush and exotic and really sucks you in."

Anthem was announced at E3 2017. Developed by BioWare Edmonton, the studio behind Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Anthem is an action game set in a "vast open world." The game pits players in the role of a Freelancer tasked with exploring unknown planets and protecting humanity. You'll be able to outfit your Freelancer with customisable exo-suits called Javelins, which can be equipped with a range of new gear you either craft or acquire.

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The game is being "built around a live service" and features a heavy emphasis on cooperative play. EA has confirmed that up to four players can team up to complete missions together. You can listen to the full CBC interview to learn more about BioWare's thoughts on the project.

Like a number of other of titles, the game will run in 4K and feature other enhancements when played on Xbox One X. You can watch the full gameplay demonstration from Microsoft's E3 press conference here.

Anthem is scheduled to launch in Fall 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. You can see all of GameSpot's previous coverage including videos and written content here.

27th June 2017
"Too Early To Say" How Many OG Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Games There Will Be

“Too Early To Say” How Many OG Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Games There Will Be

One of the biggest announcements Microsoft made at E3 2017 was backwards compatibility support for original Xbox games on Xbox One. The console already plays Xbox 360 games through backwards compatibility, and the library of supported titles is pretty massive, recently having surpassed 385 games. But will the lineup of OG Xbox games be as big? It's "too early to say," according to Microsoft's Dave McCarthy, but it sounds like it will not be.

Speaking to GameSpot, McCarthy said Microsoft only talked about Crimson Skies and Fuzion Frenzy at E3, but there are more games up and running.

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"We have multiple games up and running--we just decided to tease the first one[s]," McCarthy explained. "There will be a library of games available, for sure."

This follows what Xbox boss Phil Spencer said earlier this month. He outright confirmed that the lineup of OG Xbox games played on Xbox One through backwards compatibility will not be as extensive as the library of Xbox 360 games that work on the newer console.

In our interview with McCarthy, he said Spencer played a huge role in convincing the engineering team to add backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. The team wasn't sure it was possible at the start, apparently, but Spencer kept pressing the matter and the engineering team found a way. It's the same engineering team doing the work for OG Xbox backwards compatibility.

"Phil is really good for this, in terms of audacious challenges we give the team," McCarthy said. "It fit nicely into our compatibility story--games will play great across all our lineup. They'll play best on Xbox One X. It kind of fit the whole vibe that we were trying to get in terms of choice for our customers. It is going to be a big program for us."

The OG Xbox backwards compatibility program for Xbox One launches later this year. What titles would you like to see added the library? Let us know in the comments below!

27th June 2017
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Patch Will Change Loot Balance, Here's How

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Patch Will Change Loot Balance, Here’s How

A new patch is coming to Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, the popular Hunger Games-like PC game that recently passed 4 million copies sold in its unfinished state.

The full patch notes are coming tomorrow, but for now, the developer outlined in a blog post what changes are coming to the loot system. Described as the "first real pass" at tweaking the loot balance, this is expected to be just the first of many throughout the game's Early Access period, so bear in mind that things will likely change further still in the future.

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As for the changes, the developer explained that a bug is affecting the game that makes "some items" spawn more or less frequently than they should. "Not all items had issues, but we decided it was necessary to adjust some of the items that were spawned too much or too little for their tiers," the studio said.

The statement goes on: "Even though it's not bug-related, we also hope to improve the item looting experience for items that we've received a lot of user feedback on. Such improvements and adjustments will be made on a regular basis based on various data analysis and feedback."

The update will add new weapons, including the Groza and the P18C 9mm pistol, while VSS will no longer show up in care packages but will only be available as spawns on the map. A full rundown of the notes for the first stab at loot balance changes follows below:

Care Package

  • New weapon, the Groza, was added. This weapon may only be acquired in Care Packages.
  • VSS will no longer be found in Care Packages. It will remain to be spawned in the map.
  • At a low probability, you will be able to acquire AR Silencers and SR Silencers in Care Packages.
  • At a low probability, you will be able to acquire 4x Scopes in Care Packages.

World Spawn

  • New weapon, a 9mm pistol with full auto mode, the P18C, was added.
  • Spawn rate of SCAR-L was decreased to better fit the weapon’s tier.
  • Spawn rate of UMP was slightly decreased.
  • Spawn rate of UZI was slightly increased.
  • Level 1 Helmet was being spawned at a much higher rate than the Level 1 Vest, and the spawn rate was adjusted so that both items will be spawned at a similar rate.

Battlegrounds continues to be ridiculously popular. Today, it is the third most popular game on all of Steam, only behind Counter Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 on Steam's player charts.

At E3 2017, we learned a lot about developer Bluehole's future plans for the game. The studio is working on a Zombies mode for Battlegrounds, although it's a long ways out. More short-term improvements include replay functionality, vaulting, and more. In addition, it's coming to Xbox One this year.