Shacknews - Tad Huempfner

It looks like competitive gamers are getting a raise. Fantasy eSports website Vulcun is increasing the 2015 Prize Pool from $4 million to $10 million. This makes the Vulcun prize pool the largest in Fantasy eSports and the second-largest in all of eSports, period, trailing only The International, the annual Dota 2 competition.

Of the $10 million in prize money, Vulcun reports on their blog that about $2 million of it has already been paid out to more than 142,000 players. The most successful Vulcun gamer, YJingtong, has grossed more than $61,000 this year and several others have won more than $25,000.

Here’s a compiled list of the Top 10 Prize Pools in eSports

  1. The International 2015 – $10.9 M [Dota2]
  2. Vulcun – $10.0 M [Fantasy eSports]
  3. League Championship Series – $5.5 M [League of Legends]
  4. DAC 2015 – $3.6 M [Dota2]
  5. Smite 2015 – $2.6 M [Smite]
  6. HOTS Championship (Heroes of the Storm) – $1.2M
  7. ESL ESEA Pro League (CS:GO) – $1.0M
  8. COD World Championship (Call of Duty) – $1.0M
  9. LPL Spring & Summer (League of Legends) – $756K
  10. i-League S3 (Dota2) – $420K
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Ultra Street Fighter IV released on PlayStation 4 earlier today, with Capcom looking for it to be the definitive version of the long-running Street Fighter IV generation. Unfortunately, it has more than a couple of problems.

Users across Twitter are reporting a number of issues with the game. Some of them veer more towards the hardcore crowd, with professional gamers noting that there's severe input lag and delays that are not present across other versions. Then there are the bugs, of which there appear to be some severe ones.

Shacknews has compiled some of the more egregious ones below, courtesy of poster kill9 and the rest of the Chatty community. These bugs include sound glitches, visual hiccups, and more.

Other glitches and general outrage is filling the r/Kappa subreddit. Some pros like Evil Geniuses' Justin Wong are pointing out that a patch will eventually come, but a launch like this is severely problematic for users of all stripes, pro or casual. This is without even mentioning that this is supposed to be the version of the game slated to be used during July's Evo World Championships.

Shacknews has reached out to Capcom for comment regarding this launch.

Shacknews - Tad Huempfner

League of Geeks announced a September release for a PS4 version of their debut title, Armello, that was funded on Kickstarter. Armello is a fantasy board game combining RPG elements with tabletop card play.

The PS4 edition will include a number of graphical improvements including enhanced weather effects, high detail character models, an overhaul of lighting and shaders, and a complete remodeling of the environment. The launch will also double the amount of characters (from four to eight) that are already available in Early Access. The latest trailer reveals one of the four new characters, ‘Brun, Oathbreaker’ of the bear clan.

Armello is set in a fantasy Game of Thrones inspired world where players pick one of four animal clans and set off to cure the Mad King of ‘the rot’ and restore peace to the realm in solo campaign or multiplayer action. Gamers will traverse a dynamic game board complete with more than 100 cards, with one goal in mind- to become the next king or queen of Armello.

“While we knew Armello would be something special, the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from players surprised even us,” said Trent Kusters, founder and director of League of Geeks whose debut title has received more than $300,000 on Kickstarter.  “Armello is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, and has just enough depth to keep hardcore gamers coming back for more.”  

The Early Access build of Armello is now available for PC, Mac and Linux on Steam and Humble Store for $24.99.

Shacknews - Tad Huempfner

League of Geeks announced a September release for a PS4 version of their debut title, Armello, that was funded on Kickstarter.

The PS4 edition will include a number of graphical improvements including enhanced weather effects, high detail character models, an overhaul of lighting and shaders, and a complete remodeling of the environment. The launch will also double the amount of characters (from four to eight) that are already available in Early Access. The latest trailer reveals one of the four new characters, ‘Brun, Oathbreaker’ of the bear clan.

Armello is set in a fantasy Game of Thrones-inspired world where players pick one of four animal clans and set off to cure the Mad King of ‘the rot’ and restore peace to the realm in solo campaign or multiplayer action. Gamers will traverse a dynamic game board complete with more than 100 cards, with one goal in mind -- to become the next king or queen of Armello.

“While we knew Armello would be something special, the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from players surprised even us,” said Trent Kusters, founder and director of League of Geeks whose debut title has received more than $300,000 on Kickstarter.  “Armello is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, and has just enough depth to keep hardcore gamers coming back for more.”  

The Early Access build of Armello is now available for PC, Mac and Linux on Steam and Humble Store for $24.99.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

Telltale's Game of Thrones adventure game series reaches its penultimate episode, titled Sons of Winter. Given how this episode's recap seems lengthier than most other series', including The Walking Dead, I prepared myself for a deja vu experience. My primary complaint from the last episode was that, with four main characters, each with individual stories and locations, the overall plot can become a little hard to follow. But I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to follow the Sons of Winter story, even as it jumps across four corners of the world. However, as the fourth installment of this six episode season, there's still quite a bit of setup and not a lot of payoff.

Apart from some brief exceptions, the most notable being when Asher and company temporarily joining the Second Sons mercenary group to help liberate the slave city of Meereen on behalf of Daenerys Targaryen (voiced by Emilia Clarke from the TV show), Sons of Winter puts most of its emphasis on talking and planning. I suppose this wouldn't be so bad if previous episodes weren't also so heavily focused on talking, planning, and getting beat up. The monotany seems strange, considering how there is going on.

House Forrester has been pushed to the breaking point after repeated humiliations, and the time has come to start striking back. But a traitor in Rodrick's midst threatens to undermine all his plans, including getting his little brother back from the Whitehills. Gared, disgraced from the Night's Watch and threatened by punishment of death, is forced to flee north of the wall, where he encounters Wildlings. In the meantime, Mira is still figuring out the game of intrigue at King's Landing, where she finds out that the Whitehills are gathering forces for a big assault, most likely on the Forrester home of Ironwrath.

The season still has a lot of moving parts that don't appear to be anywhere close to resolution. Mira still need to secure a trade agreement for Forrester's ironwood, Rodrick needs to prepare for an all out war to make sure there's ironwood to sell, Asher needs to return with an army of sellswords to fight that war, and who also need to be paid. Meanwhile, Gared is on a secret mission to find the mythical North Grove. In other words, the characters are still kind of spinning the same wheels they were in episode one, except with a greater sense of desperation.

Looking back on the previous episodes, it's kind of shocking how little progress has been made. It isn't as though solving previous problems leads to new problems. We're still dealing with the same problems House Forrester faced since the start of this tale. Instead of building up to a bigger story, the plot prefers to break down the players' choices and force them to start over.

That's not to say that Sons of Winter doesn't have its tense moments. The scene where Asher has to decide whether to stick to the Meereen liberation plan as promised, or help his longtime partner Beskha on a personal vendetta, is a gripping one. Then there's a parlay scene at the Whitehill stronghold that threatens to be a repeat of the Red Wedding massacre, but instead offers a chance for House Forrester to regain some dignity.

But the problem with this episode is that nothing you've accomplished so far seems to matter. No matter how well you prepare, everything gets reset to square one. Without spoiling too much, even if you do everything you can to ensure Ironwrath's security, your efforts don't amount to anything. It gets tossed out in one big gotcha moment. I felt a similar sort of disappointment at the end of episode one, when I figured out that no matter what I did, the end outcome was always the same. I understand that the Game of Thrones world is harsh, and both audiences and players can be thrown for a loop without notice, but having your choices repeatedly rendered meaningless becomes very tiresome. Especially in a game series that is dependent on choices.

Even some of the characters and their motivations are starting to look kind of pointless. What exactly is Gared supposed to do once he reaches the North Grove? Although Mira seems to be coming into her own, it's tough to see what her next move might be considering the near non-existent political capital she has. How many mercenaries can Asher reasonably bring back to repel the impending Whitehill attack?

There are two episodes left to this season, and after what happened in Sons of Winter, I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to them. It's likely that we'll find out the identity of the traitor, but it hardly seems to matter given the damage this episode does. We'll find out if things can really turn around or if the situation actually gets worse.


Impressions are based on a PC code provided by the publisher. Game of Thrones: Sons of Winter is available digitally for $4.99 or as part of a season pass. The game is rated M.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Nintendo has previously revealed that Yoshi's Woolly World would feature Yoshi variations beyond the standard solid colors. Checkered Yoshis! Zebra Yoshis! Polka dot Yoshis! So then it should make total sense that Nintendo will also introduce Yoshis based on other Nintendo mascots. To make that happen, Yoshi's Woolly World will feature greater Amiibo compatibility than first believed.

Beyond working with the new Yarn Amiibo, Yoshi's Woolly World will also work with many of the Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario Bros. line of Amiibo figures. According to Eurogamer, players will be able to use the following Amiibo to unlock new Yoshi variations:

  • Bowser Jr.
  • Olimar
  • Ganondorf
  • Palutena
  • Dark Pit
  • Zero Suit Samus
  • Ness
  • Pac-Man
  • Wario
  • Robin
  • Lucina
  • Meta Knight
  • King Dedede
  • Mega Man
  • Sonic
  • Captain Falcon
  • Shulk
  • Marth
  • Sheik
  • Toon Link
  • Bowser
  • Rosalina
  • Little Mac
  • Shulk
  • Pit
  • Luigi
  • Zelda

This addition appears to be purely on a cosmetic scale, meaning you can traverse each level as a cosplaying Yoshi. If the video below is any indication, the Yoshis will definitely look adorable and make this game even cuter than it already is. The wait is almost over for UK players, as Yoshi's Woolly World will make its overseas debut on June 26. North American users, unfortunately, will have to wait until this fall.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The Steam Early Access version of Killing Floor 2 has provided enjoyment to most of our Chatty community. Of course, this being an Early Access release, there's a rather limited number of maps. Fortunately, Tripwire Interactive is ready to start expanding that list today with the game's newest map called Volter Manor.

Volter Manor is set alongside a Swiff cliff side. A storm is rapidly approaching, but that's the least of your team's worries, as Zeds are looking to break in and make themselves at home in the chic chateau.

The new update will also grant Classic Briar and Classic Masterson to the playable roster for anyone that owns the original Killing Floor. Plus, be on the lookout for numerous bug fixes, which includes some HUD fixes, filters for full servers, and crash fixes.

The full change log can be found on the Killing Floor forums. Killing Floor 2 is currently on Steam Early Access with a full release date coming soon.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Oculus VR is announcing they have acquired Surreal Vision as part of its Oculus Research group.

Surreal Vision is best known as being one of the top computer vision teams in the world focused on real-time 3D scene reconstruction. The acquisition means Oculus VR will hopefully be able to enable a new level of presence and telepresence within its Oculus Rift, meaning you can be somewhere without actually being there.

This acquisition makes it appear as if Oculus may be heading into the world of mixed reality, which may allow the Rift to act more like a Microsoft’s HoloLens project. With the Rift being a completely enclosed headset, Oculus is going to need to emulate the world outside of the headset as best they can, which is where Surreal Vision comes into play. The team is going to need to capture the reconstruct the real world within a virtual environment to the extent where a user wouldn’t be able to distinguish between either experience.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

On Halloween of 2014, indie developers Golden Ruby Games and Ripstone Publishing got spooky with the announcement of a paranormal arena platformer called Extreme Exorcism. Today, the developers announced some additional platforms for the game, while also releasing a new trailer.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Extreme Exorcism is designed with an old-school 2D pixel aesthetic. The idea is to survive ghosts using a variety of weapons, like swords, guns, rocket launchers, and a slew of paranormal gadgets. The catch is that each new ghost will use your exact movements and weapons used on the previous ghost. So if you take one down with guns blazing, the next ghost will use those exact same guns in the same fashion. Up to four players will be able to take part of this madness, with the game featuring both co-op and deathmatch modes.

Extreme Exorcism was previously announced for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Today, the developers confirmed that Wii U and PlayStation 3 versions are also in the works for later this year. For more, check out the game's new trailer below.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

To this point, Humble Bundle has offered up a robust offering of games for PC, Mac, and Linux. At times, they even offered up Android games. But today marks a first for the site. The latest Humble Bundle is supporting indies currently on Nintendo platforms.

So pay what you want for Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition on Wii U, Woah Dave! for Nintendo 3DS, and Mighty Switch Force! for Nintendo 3DS. Paying more than the average will also get you The Fall for Wii U, OlliOlli for both Wii U and 3DS, Moon Chronicles for Nintendo 3DS, and more games to be named later. Paying more than $10 will offer up Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones for Wii U and SteamWorld Dig for both Wii U and 3DS.

As always, Humble Bundle customers can give their money to charity. In this case, it's Code.org, a nonprofit focusing on participation in computer science, particularly by women and minorities. The Humble Nindie Bundle will run for the next two weeks.

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