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Raphael Colantonio, the founder of Arkane Studios and creative director on Dishonored and Prey, has announced that he is leaving the studio "to to spend some time with my son and reflect on what is important to me and my future."
"The last 18 years have been an amazing adventure—from starting Arkane in 1999, to making our first game, Arx Fatalis, to joining ZeniMax Media in 2010 and releasing the Dishonored series and Prey to critical acclaim," Colantonio wrote in his farewell message. "I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest people in the industry, and I feel extremely lucky to have been part of this journey with everyone at Arkane."
Colantonio said he will stick around "for as long as necessary to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team in Lyon," while is "long-time friend and colleague" Harvey Smith will head up Arkane's Austin operation. He also praised ZeniMax, which acquired Arkane in 2010, for giving it the opportunity "to emerge as a world-class studio."
"ZeniMax enabled us to make the best games that we’ve ever made," he said. "And I know there is even more to come."
Colantonio's departure is significant, because he's headed up nearly every game Arkane has made: Before Dishonored put the studio into the big leagues, he was the lead designer on Arx Fatalis (which you really should play if you haven't) and writer and creative director on the criminally-underrated Orc-booting sim Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. He's certainly earned the right to take a break and do something new, but it's a real loss for Arkane and gamers alike.
Snuck into today's PUBG patch notes was a short update on Bluehole's progress against the cheaters that've made residence in the popular battle royale-style shooter.
"We have also been working hard to tackle down cheating players. This is an ongoing battle, but one we are committed to fighting," wrote PlayerUnknown. "We have banned 25,000+ users in the last 3 months, and work daily with BattlEye to add new protections and detections for cheats appearing on the market."
25,000 is a little more than 0.6% of the 4 million copies of PUBG sold. Of those sales, SteamSpy seems to think that PUBG has about 2.8 million active players right now. Anecdotally, PUBG doesn't have a massive problem with hackers, but in a game with such a large number of players per match, one hacker can negatively impact a lot of people.
Above: an apparent instance of cheating, recorded in April.
The number of players banned also seems to dwarf other major competitive games. In February of this month, Blizzard banned almost 23,000 Overwatch players for cheating in Korea alone. In another spike, Valve banned 11,000 Dota 2 and CS:GO cheaters in a single day last September. Monitoring website vac-ban.com indicates that a few hundred Steam accounts receive VAC bans on an average day, with spikes and dips in between.
Battlegrounds uses BattlEye, the same anti-cheat technology as H1Z1: King of the Kill, DayZ, Arma 3, Rainbow Six Siege, and ARK: Survival Evolved. BattlEye began as an anti-cheat solution for Battlefield Vietnam in 2004.
In 2015, Bohemia Interactive's Eugen Harton gave a GDC talk about the studio's approach to keeping pace with cheaters as its survival game surged in popularity.
For more on this subject, read our investigations into cheating as a business, and why cheating is so difficult to eliminate completely in multiplayer games.
Details of PUBG's third major patch were revealed today, and include a range of changes to the way looting works, the introduction of two new weapons, rebalancing of weapon drops overall, as well as a handful of bug fixes and improvements to server and client optimization. The patch will arrive Thursday "if everything is stable" after a run through PUBG's test servers on Wednesday this week.
Here are the biggest changes that stick out to me:
You can now pick up items while moving. The interaction animation will not force you to stop anymore, but make you walk slowly.A huge quality-of-life change that could also accelerate the pace of the game overall.
Adjusted vehicles to face random directions at spawn.Currently all untouched vehicles face east by default, making it easy to distinguish between a vehicle someone's left by the roadside and a pristine car. Randomizing the orientation of vehicles will add more uncertainty when you see a parked bike or buggy.
You can now pull out pistols faster; Red Dot Sight is now attachable to pistols, except for the revolver.Pistols get a little more utility here with the addition of optics and increased draw speed. I think we'll see some sick, Solid Snake-grade silenced pistol kills in the coming months.
Added destructible cabins.Here's Johnny! I don't think this hints at a larger trend toward destructibility in PUBG, but Bluehole selectively making a few structures breakable. My guess is that cars or grenades will break these shacks, but it's unclear what impact small arms fire will have.
See the full patch notes below:
Items and vehicles
While this year’s International Battle Pass comes with the usual goodies, Dota 2 players are being treated to a PvE minigame called Siltbreaker. The multiplayer experience will come in two parts: The Sands of Fate is out now and, later in the summer, A Vault in the Deep will finish the tale.
As much as fans are excited about the mode and the new cosmetic items that come with it, more players are left waiting for Valve’s next contribution to an underrepresented facet of Dota 2: its lore and universe. Players have been wondering for years about the connections between fishy characters such as Slardar, Slark, and Naga Siren, and even the distantly-related Sven. Meanwhile, other theorists speculate about the fourth elemental spirit.
The history of the game contributes to Dota 2’s approach to story, events, and updates. A major issue going into the game’s release was that Valve, despite working with Icefrog, didn’t have the rights to all of the intellectual property that came with DotA—a mod for a Blizzard game. After all, the two publishers had come out of a fight over the rights to 'Dota', with Valve winning in the end. The developer couldn’t take it for granted, however, and this dynamic has been influential in the history of Dota 2's storytelling. While the relations of many heroes remain intact, the story has been rebuilt from the ground up.
The community did try to carry over a number of the references from Warcraft 3 in the remake. Players still commonly use “Furion” for Nature’s Prophet, which was adapted from the WC3 name “Malfurion,” and the hero selection screen allows players to type this in to search for the hero. However, for the most part, the remake’s developers were left needing to tiptoe around the old iteration’s ghosts, which paved the way for Dota 2 events and lore as we know them today.
Valve took what they could and worked with it. In early December 2013, Dota 2 had just come out of the controversy surrounding the Diretide in-game event, yet players were already itching for more. Valve put up a teaser site for Frostivus, a beloved holiday event known for its various item drops. However, on the 12th, the hero Skeleton King was “removed for pressing ceremonial reasons.” The day’s update, instead of more details on Frostivus, was a poster that simply read: "By decree of the only king that matters / Frostivus is cancelled.”
The next day, Valve announced an event called 'Wraith Night' to introduce Wraith King, a full revamp of the old Skeleton King. Players harvested energy from defeated enemies in order to revive the king's skeletal body, bringing him back for good as a lich-like entity. The event itself has been engraved in the game’s memes, as “removed for pressing ceremonial reasons” is often dropped when fans joke about a hero disappearing from the game for any reason. Wraith-Night became a precursor to how Valve handled lore-related items and events, such as the Phantom Assassin “Nemesis Assassin” event about a year later.
Stories and lore, then, also became ways for Valve to distinguish its product from other iterations and copycats. Most recently, even the story of Monkey King, a traditional story and video game character, feels like a world of its own, establishing his presence as a near-omniscient figure. He speaks vaguely of other heroes’ relations, and the comic hints at the presence of a fourth spirit, much like the other elemental heroes in the game (Storm, Earth, and Ember).
Meanwhile, given the relatively small size of the Dota 2 development team, there’s also the question of how much manpower is actually going into lore-related updates. It’s assumed that developers are keeping at least one eye on it in order to keep at least some mild consistency among official releases. But Valve is a team that works at minimum power for maximum output, and so while they may love to release lore, it often takes a backseat to game-focused updates. For that reason, the issues for community lie not in what Valve releases, but what they don’t, which is quite a bit.
Valve seems aware of this and makes the best of what they can release. Story trickles out slowly and subtly, leaving bits and pieces for players to put together. For instance, the game will trigger certain voice lines when certain heroes lane together, providing a breath of fresh air in a tense laning stage and a look into their histories. Characters such as Lina and Crystal Maiden affirm their relationships or familial ties, and Monkey King teases his deep knowledge of the dark secrets of many heroes. (Keeper of the Light affirms his thirst for most women.) Also, in-game items by fan creators that make it past the Workshop stage often have their descriptions updated to hint at hidden lore.
Players have done extraordinary work throughout the game’s lifespan attempting to pull together the light trails of storylines. A sparsely-updated lore megathread on the developer feedback site has accumulated 1530 posts, and posts on Reddit will occasionally spring up. SirActionSlacks recently began a series called Loregasm in which he attempts to piece together the lore, mixing in his own elaborate theories to try to make sense of what fans have been given.
The reliance on open-ended community work is a break from games such as League of Legends and Overwatch, each with sprawling and elaborate stories that prompt creative fandoms. Dota 2’s gameplay is infamously complex, though, and while there are absolutely enthusiasts of the story, the game itself remains the central focus to most fans.
Events like Siltbreaker have the potential to combine all aspects of Valve’s approach to in-game storytelling. With the introduction of Siltbreaker himself, who may appear in Part II, plus a gorgeous introductory comic and the integration of heroes’ hidden background, fans already have some trails to follow. Now it’s matter of how Part II, and further lore, will keep expanding on this groundwork.
Following last week's headshots-only mode last week, Killing Floor's next Weekly Outbreak is Tiny Terror, which makes its various zed enemies—even bosses—shrink when you shoot 'em.
The mutator should test your ability to pull your crosshairs downward as zeds get lower to the ground. And as seen in the trailer above, it seems players will be subject to shrinking, too. Try not to fall down any sewer grates.
Beat Tiny Terror, and you'll earn the Tiny Terror ballcap, a cosmetic item for all characters. If you're matchmaking, select the "Weekly" mode rather than the usual "Survival" to be queued into Tiny Terror.
This is one of eight Weekly Outbreak challenges that will run until August, as Tripwire creative director Bill Munk announced at the PC Gaming Show last week at E3. Here's the rest of the schedule:
June 27 - Tiny Terror - A small threat is still a threat.
Shooting Zeds in this outbreak will cause them to shrink, making them harder to hit.
July 4 - Bobble Zed - ...that must hurt their necks.
Something went horribly wrong with this batch of Zeds and their heads are wwwaaaayyyyyyy larger than normal! Huge even!
July 11 – Poundemonium - All Fleshpounds, all the time. Almost.
The Fleshpound Convention is in town!
July 18 - Up, Up and Decay - Try to make ninety-nine Zed balloons.
Shooting Zeds in this outbreak will cause them to inflate like balloons, even to the point of floating away and popping!
July 25 - Zed Time - All the Zed Time in the world.
Ever think that life is passing you by? Not in this outbreak! You'll be in Zed Time any time you're near a Zed.
August 1 – Beefcake - Bigger they are, harder you fall.
In this outbreak, Zeds increase their health, size, and reach when they hit players or are affected by certain Zed abilities.
August 8 – Boom - Zeds under pressure; may explode.
Maybe it was something they ate? Bad gas? Whatever it was, Zeds explode when killed in this outbreak.
Steamworld Dig is a Metroidvania-inspired 2D side-scrolling platformer that was originally released for the 3DS handheld in August of 2013, and for the PC in December of the same year. Developer Image and Form Games announced in February of this year that the direct sequel, Steamworld Dig 2, would be released for the Nintendo Switch in the summer, and that a PC version was on the way too.
A release date hasn't been announced (in fact, it's been pushed back slightly) but today the game appeared on Steam, and the studio said that the delay between the Nintendo and PC releases won't be nearly as long this time around.
The first Steamworld Dig tells the tale of Rusty, a steam-powered robot who inherits a Wild West-style mine from his uncle. He's not actually a miner himself (so he claims at the start of the game, anyway) but he nonetheless feels compelled to "explore an underground world full of secrets, treasure and terrors," including "the remnants of human civilization."
The concept is fairly simplistic but the game itself is engaging and entertaining, and Steamworld Dig 2 promises more of the same. "In search of her lost friend, a lone steambot and her unlikely companion must dig deep, gain riches and explore an underworld riddled with danger," the Steam listing says. "But time is running short…"
The "summer 2017" target that was set when Steamworld Dig 2 was announced has since been pushed back to "late summer/early fall." The good news is that this time around, Image and Form expects to have the PC version out "within a few days of the Nintendo Switch debut," rather than a few months.
"When we plan the release for any SteamWorld game, we always want to finish as soon as possible so everyone can play and and have fun with it. But at the same time we want to create something new," the studio said. "It’s hard to estimate how long that’s going to take and at what point whatever we consider to be new is done. More often than not problems take a lot longer to tackle than anticipated. These extra months will take pressure off our team and give us enough time to give you the game you deserve."
More information about Steamworld Dig 2 is up at imageform.se.
In a post on Steam today, PlayerUnknown outlined some incoming changes to weapon drop rates in care packages that will arrive in a larger set of patch notes coming tomorrow. The drop rate changes are pretty modest. Hopefully you like getting shot from unseen and unheard assailants: with the VSS becoming a gun that drops across the map rather than simply in loot crates, the main change to PUBG's meta seems like it will be an overall increase in the number of silencers and silenced weapons.
Taking the VSS' spot will be the new bullpup, the Groza, which will only appear in care packages.
PlayerUnknown also hints vaguely at further changes to the system. "We also hope to improve the item looting experience for items that we’ve received a lot of user feedback on," he writes on Steam. "Such improvements and adjustments will be made on a regular basis based on various data analysis and feedback."
Dead Cells is still in Steam's Early Access right now, but people apparently already love it. It's cheaper than normal to get in on the action today, as you can get the game for 31 percent off at Bundle Stars.
Dead Cells is a Metroidvania-style 2D game with Rogue-like elements and some light Souls-y combat. While it's not bringing anything particularly new to the table, from what Shaun played, what it does, it does well. If you don't want to risk buying an Early Access game just yet, Dead Cells seems as though it'll be worth keeping an eye on.
The sale on Bundle Stars takes 27 percent off the price, and you can enter the code RED5 at checkout for an extra little bit of money off. It's also discounted in the Steam Summer Sale, however you only get 15 percent off on the main store.
Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.
Much of the headlines coming from Grand Theft Auto 5 of late have centred around OpenIV's closure and Rockstar and Take-Two's subsequent single-player U-turn. According to MCV, the recent turmoil didn't stop the open world crime sim from becoming the UK's highest selling game for the 13th time last week—and it certainly hasn't stopped the game's UFO hunters from uncovering new 'Chiliad Mystery' data.
First, some background information for those uninitiated: since Grand Theft Auto 5's 2013 console launch, and its PC introduction two years later, a facet of the game's playerbase has dedicated itself to uncovering a so-called "conspiracy" tied to UFOs and a supposed in-game government cover-up. This wall marking kicked things off:
In line with the PC launch, we dived deep into the scheme, while Andy has since gathered a number of theories and explored a community in turmoil. The map above clearly identifies aliens and some sort of egg as integral to the mystery—the former of which can be spotted hovering above Fort Zancudo upon if certain in-game criteria are met—however the latter has remained elusive till now.
As reported by our sister site GamesRadar, dataminers have now discovered new code tied to the latest Gun Running update that not only include the egg but also coordinates that point to the Fort Zancudo military base.
As yet, the Chiliad Mystery community—who are most active via this Reddit thread—aren't sure how to spawn the new items, but the existence of this unearthed code would certainly suggest there's life in this conundrum yet. Perhaps the truth is finally out there.
Despite its somewhat slow Early Access start, Compulsion Games' Aldous Huxley-esque We Happy Few has spent the past several months working towards full release by introducing new areas and playstyle options. A new devblog has outlined where the survival horror game is headed next.
"Originally we were planning to release two updates before the final release of the game: the Joy related update, and an update that would have contained the Parade District (a brand new biome)," explains Compulsion via this Steam Community post. "We have decided to push out only one major update between now and final release. This will be the Joy update, a bit later in the schedule (it will now come out around mid August), to make it bigger and better, and keep the Parade District for the final release."
In practice, Compulsion suggests this will see the game's Early Access and coinciding story builds (both of which share a code base) merge sooner than planned. The dev also notes that while it'd originally planned to introduce a 'Parade District' into the game this side of EA, saving this update till after launch makes more sense given it is "intertwined so heavily with the story… unlike other biomes."
The post continues: "By moving to only one final major update, we can merge the Early Access and the story builds earlier, so that we can concentrate all of our efforts on making the story the best it can be."
Compulsion's post can be read in full here. Here's another look at We Happy Few's latest trailer: