Shacknews - Asif Khan

Sad news from Turtle Rock Studios as they have announced on their official forum that they are dropping support for Evolve. This game was highly anticipated and hyped, but never delivered the numbers that Take Two Interactive had projected. The studio attempted to pump life into its struggling game earlier this year with the decision to go free-to-play, but it is no longer up to them. 2K will be handling all legacy support for Evolve and Turtle Rock Studios has to get back to the drawing board while continuing to support their new Gear VR titles. I am reminded of this quote from Steve Jobs that is on the wall outside of the auditorium at Apple Inc. Headquarters Building 4 on Infinite Loop in Cupertino.

Shacknews wishes the best to Turtle Rock Studios in figuring out what to do next. Here is their final message to the Evolve community:

Seems like the greater things you aspire to, the more time it takes. We had huge aspirations for Evolve, and while we got to spend five and a half awesome years on planet Shear with a ragtag group of Planet Tamers and fearsome Monsters, it still doesn’t feel like enough - we were hungry for more but unfortunately today is the last day that Turtle Rock Studios can work on Evolve.

It’s always hard to leave one of our games behind. Left4Dead was no different and now it’s Evolve’s turn. There will always be a special place in our hearts for our past projects. No matter what happens with Evolve in the future, we’ll know it was born in this studio and developed by this team alongside this beautiful community.

This is the life of AAA game developers who aren’t self-funded and don’t own their own IP. We don’t get to make the call. We all know that going in but we still sign the dotted line because we love what we do. We are happy to have gotten the opportunity to do something risky, something new and innovative. We created a brand new Sci-Fi world. We got to go to planet Shear and interact with alien flora and fauna. We got to hunt down, trap and kill giant monsters together. We got to BE the monster. What an awesome experience.

The last five and a half years represents so much. We are so proud of Evolve, the Turtle Rock team and the Evolve community. Getting on the forums, Reddit, Facebook and Twitch and talking directly to you has been a highlight of many of our careers. On no other project have we ever been able to interact so directly. The Evolve community is the best we could have hoped for and we hope you come with us and become a part of the Turtle Rock community.

We want to thank all the people at THQ who initially believed in us when we were that tiny studio in a little converted warehouse with a dream of making something truly different. Thanks to 2K for picking up the mantle out of THQ’s bankruptcy and making Evolve one of the most anticipated games of 2015. Additional big thanks to 2K for reaching outside their comfort zone and funding Evolve: Stage 2 by taking a AAA game free to play, which was a first for all of us.

Most of all, we want to thank you, our players, for supporting Evolve and Evolve: Stage 2, many of you from the very beginning. You embraced our vision and fell in love with it just as we did. We have learned so much from you. Thank you all for your feedback, your support and your dedication.

We love this community and don’t want to say goodbye via a letter on a website, so we’ll be hosting one final Evolve-themed Livestream on Thursday, October 27 at starting at 12 PM Pacific Time. We’ll be there talking about our experience on the project and answering as many of your questions as we can.

There’s a lot that we really wish we could have done, especially taking Stage 2 to consoles, but it looks like that’s just not meant to be.

Those of you who’ve followed Turtle Rock Studios, this is not goodbye. We have lots of stuff in the works that we hope you’ll enjoy but we are departing on the Laurie-Anne for the last time and must bid a farewell to the planet Shear.We’ll see you all again, another time on another world….

So long, Shear. It’s been an adventure.

Phil & Chris

Here is a message from Shane K Meyer, their community manager, regarding the future of the Turtle Rock Studios forum:

Dear TRS Forums Community and TRS Devs,

It's been a crazy day!

We got a beautiful icy beast with awesome power and damn good looks! -- we also got the news of Evolve being transitioned into 2K's hands for further decision making.

I want to start by thanking each and every one of you for your support from the moment these forums were created -- to the Alpha of Evolve -- to now.

I came from the community and I couldn't be more proud of not only the relationships we've built, but the game we built together.

It's not everything we had dreamed of as our production was cut short -- but it definitely wouldn't have come as far as it has without you.

That being said. This is our forums. Turtle Rock Studios.

This is our community. This is our people.

I promise you no matter what choice you make: whether it is to leave or stay, you were always a part of something special -- and you are always welcome back.

I will not only continue running the forums as we have in the past, but new content will be showing up consistently as we are currently working on new projects!

Although we will no longer be able to offer patch information, process hack/bug information, or take Evolve suggestions, we will be here offering you a community, new projects, and full transparency.

We've built much more than a community, we've built a family. All Evolve discussion, shared stories, and created content are always welcome here. This also includes L4D and all the new projects we have in store for you.

Thank you again for making this part of my life the absolute best.

I love you all and I look forward to continuing the legacy of TRS with you.

Kindest regards,

Shane K Meyer

Evolve players must now go to 2K Support for any future issues with the game. 

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

The latest installment of the Civilization series has been out for quite a few days now, and fans everywhere have been enjoying the game as they try to conquer their enemies and rule the world through the various ages of man. Now, however, something terrible has happened, and the latest patch for the game has introduced a nasty bug that has left many players struggling to even load into their saved games. We’re going to teach you how to fix this problem, that way you can go back to enjoying your daily dose of Civilization 6.

How to Stop Civilization 6 from Crashing

For some reason, complete unbeknownst to anyone, the latest patch for Civilization 6 introduced a nasty bug that causes it to not place nice with Windows built in Antivirus software, Windows Defender. There are a few ways to fix this issue.

Disable Windows Defender

This is the nuclear option as far as things go, because it leaves your computer without any kind of malware or anti-virus protection, unless of course you have a third-party application installed alongside Windows Defender. That’s a bit overkill, though, even for our grandparents, so let’s just assume that this isn’t the best way to go, but it is still an option. To disable Windows Defender follow the steps below.

Hit the Start Menu > Settings > Update and Security > Windows Defender > Real-Time Protection (tick it off)

Following the steps above will completely disable Windows Defender, so make sure that’s what you want to do before you do it.

Add an Exclusion in Windows Defender

If you want to fix the issue, and not have to go nuclear, then this is the best way to get things running smoothly again. The steps are pretty similar to what we outlined above, so just follow along and you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Open the Start Menu > Settings > Update and Security > Windows Defender > Add an Exclusion (underneath Exclusions when you scroll down) > Exclude a Folder > Find the Civ 6 folder location and choose it

That’s the most basic way to add an exclusion to the system. Now, if you’re having problems with Windows Defender completely blocking out your entire Steam application (we have heard reports of this happening), then you’ll want to choose your Steam folder as the one to exclude from Windows Defender’s watchful gaze.

Allow Civilization 6 Through the Windows Firewall

You might also want to make sure that Civilization 6 has been allowed through the Windows Firewall. The Firewall is a secondary point of defense for your computer, and many times it will block online access for applications to ensure the safety of your system and information. Allowing the game through your Firewall is easy, however. Just follow the steps below to finish up.

Type Windows Firewall in your Search Bar > Click ‘Allow an app through Windows Firewall’ > Scroll down and select Civilization 6

Those are the most basic ways to fix the issues presented with the latest patch, and we’ve heard multiple reports of these solutions working for many players, in fact, two of our editors had the issue themselves, and were able to easily fix it and play Civilization 6 for several more hours without any interruptions by following the steps above. Civilization 6 is out now on Mac and PC, so be sure to pick it up and get drawn into the deep and complex ‘one more turn’ lifestyle that is overtaking the world.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Xbox fans hoping for a glimpse of any and all things related to Scorpio at tomorrow's event are in for disappointment.

"We won't be talking about Scorpio at that event," tweeted Xbox boss Phil Spencer in response to a question from a fan (via GameSpot). Microsoft's October event, scheduled for tomorrow, October 26, at 10:00am Eastern / 7:00am Pacific, will focus on the future of Windows 10.

That doesn't mean the event will be entirely devoid of gaming-related news. Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb is in New York for the conference, though he hasn't divulged what business brought him there. Given that the November 2015 update for Xbox One integrated Windows 10 into the console, Hryb could be on hand to announce information related to gaming on Microsoft's current OS.

Microsoft revealed Scorpio, its updated Xbox One hardware due out sometime next year, at E3 back in June

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

Sometimes it can be hard to nail down the things that make a game special. For me, the Battlefield series has always been my go-to FPS, and while the franchise hasn’t quite felt like the Battlefield that I know and love over the past few releases, that hasn’t stopped me from hoping that one day I’d find myself enjoying it all again. For the past few years the Battlefield series has struggled with its own identity, unsure of what it truly was supposed to be. With Battlefield 1 it almost feels like DICE took a hard look at the past couple of releases, and the lightbulb above their heads finally dinged on, bringing them to the realization of the one thing that every Battlefield fan doesn’t want out of the series – just another Call of Duty game. 

That isn’t to say that Battlefield 1 is perfectThere are still a lot of issues that need to be ironed out. I’ve spawned into games multiple times to find myself unable to drive tanks, planes, or even turn a turret. I’ve been revived from death to find my gas mask bugged, and my character constantly reloading his weapon. 

But, deep down, in the core of the game itself, Battlefield 1 does what it is supposed to do. It feels like a Battlefield game, it works like a Battlefield game, and that alone is one of the most beautiful things that any fan could have asked for out of the series. 

Short, Sweet, and to the Emotional Point

 The Battlefield series has never been known for its compelling characters and storylines. For many the series was at its best in Bad Company 2, when the characters and story didn’t feel too serious. The campaigns for Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4, and even Battlefield Hardline all struggled to make their points, driving players through the same typical FPS campaign of one man taking on a legion. It’s an overplayed trope that we still see plaguing games and other media, and it's sad when a developer loses the chance to tell a truly meaningful story. 

Battlefield 1 isn’t like that. I wouldn’t exactly call it a campaign, as the stories are broken up across six different campaigns. Each story follows a different character, giving players a glimpse into the various parts that made up the war machine in World War I. It’s a great way of putting you on the front lines of the Great War, as it allows players long enough to get emotionally attached to the characters, but no characters stick around long enough to overstay their welcome 

Bring on the Big Guns

 Single-player campaigns aren’t what drive most the player base to Battlefield games. Wide-open combat pushes multiplayer modes to the top of the food chain. Battlefield 1’s multiplayer is a solid experience, with the new game modes and maps tweaked to be both interesting and engaging. 

The new Operations mode, which combines Rush and Conquest, feels good, and while the odds are usually weighted toward defense, the diversity of maps means that conflicts can go either way, depending on your squad play. The biggest complaint that I have for Operations is that many times players don’t realize just how much access the enemy has to their spawn area. The safe spawns of Battlefield 3 and 4 aren’t a thing anymore, and flanking often plays an important role in taking down your enemy’s forces. I can’t tell you how many times my squad and I have sneaked behind enemy lines and come up from behind, allowing us to surprise them and take them down without much of a fight. It’s a wonderfully made mode that needs just a few tweaks to make it amazing. 

The other game modes are straightforward Battlefield game modes, aside from War Pigeon, which is a mix of Team Deathmatch and Battlefield 4’s Obliteration. Players must capture a Messenger Pigeon, which they must then hold until they complete a written message. Once the message is written the pigeon is released into the air. If it isn’t shot down, an artillery strike will be called in, taking out any enemy forces it hits. It’s an interesting mode that gives players a nice frantic way to experiment with new options, but it doesn’t feel like something that will continue to be a staple item for Battlefield 1 players. 

Great War

 Battlefield 1 might not be the best Battlefield game, or the best FPS game I've ever played, but it succeeds at doing what it needs to do. It feels like Battlefield, it works like Battlefield, and it has plenty of opportunities for amazing things to happen that have only ever happened in Battlefield game. It’s nice to see DICE returning to the roots of what makes this series so amazing, and I’m happy that, for the first time in years, a new Battlefield game doesn’t feel like it is in the middle of an identity crisis.  

This review is based on a review code provided by the publisher. Battlefield 1 will be available October 21 for $59.99 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. The game is rated M.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Overwatch designer Scott Mercer published a lengthy forum post detailing changes coming to the game's third season of competitive play.

Most changes have to do with off-season duration and skills. Season 2 will end on November 24 and make way for Season 3 one week later on December 1. Developers will implement a timer into Overwatch so you'll be able to count down minutes and seconds until the off-season ends.

Mercer proceed to outline changes to skill ratings and tiers, but not before setting the stage by explaining Overwatch's broader goals as they relate to matchmaking for competitive play. While Blizzard wants to even the playing field to make every match-up fair, they also want to wipe the slate clean every season.

"These two goals end up being somewhat contradictory. If we completely reset everyone’s Skill Rating (SR) at the start of a new season, then players of all skill levels would end up playing against each other and having poor quality matches until the system could reevaluate each player’s skill."

The development team ended up deciding to carry over your SR from the previous season in order to more evenly match up players.

Blizzard also reevaluated how Overwatch sorted players into skill tiers for Season 2, in the hopes of a more even divide for Season 3. At the beginning of the season, more players wound up ranked Gold and Platinum, and fewer got sorted into Bronze and Silver—all the result of the algorithm responsible for calculating SRs. The problem was that below-average players got sorted into higher tiers, resulting in precipitous drops to their SR when they went up against players who belonged in the upper echelon.

"We’re leaning more towards trying to keep things fair rather than giving everyone a fresh start. We’re also going to initially tune your SR to be slightly lower to start. In turn, fewer players should start the season having their Skill Rating drastically drop despite having close to even wins and losses."

As a result, some players will start in a different tier when Season 3 kicks off than where they started for Season 2. Additionally, SR gains from winning will be higher than usual for a short time. "After you play enough matches, however, your SR gains and losses will go back to normal."

Shacknews - David Craddock

GameStop sent out a Tweet proclaiming that you can trade in a number of "retro" systems, games, and peripherals at any store location (via IGN).

The company released a graphic along with the announcement to state which consoles—and their respective libraries—can be traded for credit or cash. Most of the heavy hitters are there, but second-stringers like Intellivision, as well as relics like Atari VCS/2600, didn't make the cut.

GameStop's decision to take in-store trade-ins represents a widening of its focus on retro merchandise. In 2015, the company announced that it would stock old games and hardware on its website—a decision likely made to cater to the growing number of collectors interested in completing console libraries.

Going back to its roots by stocking oldies-but-goodies in its stores gives GameStop another direct line to collectors, though it remains to be seen how their prices compare to local dealers.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Bethesda is the latest publisher to change to its media policy. Today the company announced that going forward, it will provide review copies to outlets such as Shacknews only one day before release. As members of the media, we wanted to take this opportunity to explain how we plan to address this shifting media landscape.

To address the decision itself, it's difficult to fault Bethesda for what is essentially a sensible business decision. More than most publishers, its name carries a certain cache with gamers, and its success launching Doom under similar circumstances has effectively decoupled late-breaking reviews from poor buzz. In hindsight we can look at that game as a proof of concept. Its well-deserved glowing praise must have proven to Bethesda that sales don't necessarily suffer without early reviews, and that escaping the stigma of withholding reviews is possible.

Bethesda is also correct in its advice to wary buyers: if someone feels uneasy about buying a game without seeing a critical response, they should absolutely wait to purchase it. This has been the position of many game critics for some time, which may have seemed self-serving, so we appreciate having a publisher's support for the idea. While there is some dissonance to seeing a publisher dole out that advice while simultaneously pushing pre-order bonuses, it's still a solid nugget of wisdom.

It would be inauthentic to claim this move by Bethesda, and similar ones by other major publishers, has not and will not impact Shacknews. It's certainly true that pre-launch coverage of any kind, including reviews, gameplay videos, and interviews, are more successful than similar types of content after a game has already been released. 

However, the difference is probably more negligible than readers may expect, and post-launch coverage tends to be more considerate, thoughtful, and responsive. At Shacknews we pride ourselves in our ability to separate our mindsets from the "launch hype," and our lower-than-average scores reflect that. We take a long view regarding how a game will stand in six months or a year. Ideally, this move will encourage and reinforce such a mindset both among our writers and industry-wide.

That isn't to say that we don't have valid concerns. As members of the media we take our jobs as consumer advocates seriously, and we are less effective in that task if we cannot act on it until after some unwitting customers have already bought and opened their copy. No matter how much we and even Bethesda say so, there will eventually be consumers left disappointed by their purchases because we could not warn them in advance.

This shift also sets games apart from other forms of popular media like novels and films, which means it runs the risk of sacrificing some of games' artistic legitimacy. We can hope that moves like this one lead to more thoughtful critique on the whole, but it's just as likely to result in rushed results. For all the grief embargoes receive as a sign of the cozy relationship between publishers and press, they serve an important function by putting writers on an even playing field. Rather than racing to the finish line, a writer can determine his or her own pace of play, with knowledge of how much time to allow to digest the game and then put a review through the editorial process. Bethesda's decision most likely incentivizes speed over thoughtfulness.

It is also likely to contribute to a general sense that video games do not have a community of critics differentiated from the wider Internet reaction, even as the space for analytical and sober analysis in video games is still finding its footing. If video games are to elevate their own Roger Ebert or Peter Travers, it raises the question of whether such notable names could have ever gained prominence in an environment without having been given access.

Shacknews will continue to cover games from Bethesda, and any other publisher, in a timely manner. We will publish Reviews-in-Progress for late-breaking games like Bethesda's, to give the reader insights of our first impressions, when a full review is unavailable. We will encourage readers to await our full review before reaching a final buying decision. For transparency, we will also update our disclosure notices to give notice of our estimated playtime throughout the review-in-progress process, as well as the final review.

We look forward to talking with our readers about what they expect from video game reviews moving forward, and how we can meet the needs of our readers. Please leave us feedback in the Chatty.

Shacknews - -Shack Staff

Titanfall 2 is out this week, and this release marks the first time the franchise has appearaed on the PlayStation 4. To help you get a leg up on everyone online, here’s a quick guide for TItanfall 2’s multiplayer.

For more info and opinions, check out our official Titanfall 2 review-in-progress

Invest in a Good Anti-Titan Secondary

Titanfall 2 does a decent job of making you feel like you’re capable of bringing down a Titan, even if you’re still running around in your standard pilot gear. We see this first in the use of the Grappling Hook, which can allow players to climb atop Mechs and siphon their overall health by stealing batteries out of their hull.

The other way to bring a Titan down is through the use of anti-Titan weapons, specialized massive weapons capable of expending immense power rivaling that of a Titan. These weapons can be selected through loadout options as a secondary, and it’s highly recommended that you have one on you at all times so you are properly outfitted for a mech war.

Stick to the Backstreets

Once players start getting their Titan drops and begin wrecking shop on the map, it’s advised that all remaining pilots start moving toward more concealed parts of the map. Each map is carefully constructed to have large, sweeping areas where the massive frames of Titans can fit while also balancing dilapidated buildings and structures meant as cover for smaller, more agile characters.

The downside, of course, is that you won’t be the only pilot doing so. So, be ready to engage in an all-out brawl for cover and vantage points once the first Titan drops in.

Always Keep Moving

Titanfall 2 is a game based on movement. It wants you to run, jump, dash, and slide your way through everything, never pausing or stopping in the heat of battle. This carries over to the multiplayer as well. Camping is not suggested during multiplayer matches in Titanfall 2, since it will seriously hinder your progress toward obtaining a Titan drop of your own. Instead, it’s wise to make use of the terrain and the traversal options available to you, because the more you move, the faster you will obtain a sweet, sweet Titan drop.

Experiment with Loadouts

Every Titan has its own unique loadout complete with weapons, specials, secondaries, and boosts. There’s a lot of difference between them; some weapons are fully automatic, while others are more akin to single-shot rocket launchers. Some are heavily melee focused, and others rely on the use of shields to protect the Titan and deflect projectiles back at enemies. Experiment with each of them and find out what loadout works best for you.

Use Your Titan as a Backup

Exiting your Titan doesn’t leave it a slumped-over husk. Instead, once you exit your Titan, it will go into autopilot and fight beside you. This is useful, especially in modes like Bounty Hunt and Capture the Flag, where you might be required to stay in a specific location for a prolonged length of time and need some backup. Jump out of the cockpit, and you instantly have backup in the form of a giant metal friend.

Shacknews - David Craddock

CD Projekt Red announced that The Witcher 3's standalone CCG, Gwent, has entered closed beta on Xbox One and PC (via GameSpot). CDP Red will be staggering Gwent's beta. "Invites are going out in waves, so don't worry if you didn't receive one yet! We'll be adding more folks over time," per the company's Twitter account. The first batch should go out this afternoon to those who registered on Gwent's official website. The PS4 beta isn't schedule to begin until "later," according to CDPR. Gwent originated as an mini-game in Witcher 3, but player feedback prompted CD Projekt Red to spin it off into a standalone product. "Gwent is an example of how the community can have actual impact on game developers," said CD Projekt Red's Marcin Momot. "What we created as a part of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is now, because of your involvement, a standalone game and a totally different experience that firmly stands on its own. The closed beta is another step in the process--you can now help us shape the game into something you can call your own." You can sign up for Gwent by visiting its website.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

The Coalition and Microsoft have teased Gears of War 4’s upcoming Halloween special event which could possibly see the resurgence of its iconic Pumpkin Head.

The official Gears of War Twitter account tweeted the following message just a moment ago:

As you can see from the image attached to the message, it appears Gears of War 4 will continue the tradition started by Gears of War 3 of replacing the heads of all players in various multiplayer modes with giant pumpkins.

Of course, these weren’t normal pumpkin heads as each they all had an evil look to them and were much wider than a character’s normal head. Judging by the teaser image released today, it appears The Coalition might have a new look for the Pumpkin Head as its eyes are more hollowed out, although it still appears to have its two-slit nose and intimidating smirk.

Gears of War 4 received its first bonus XP event on the weekend of October 15th, which The Coalition extended by an additional day due to it having issues keeping its servers online while it ran. While we don’t know yet if the upcoming Halloween event will also offer bonus experience points, we at least know players should expect to see way more pumpkins in the game than they’re probably comfortable with.


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