Shacknews - David Craddock

post on NeoGAF indicates that Valve plans to redesign Steam's storefront (via GameSpot).

Originally posted as a developer-only blog on Steam circulated among SteamWorks devs, the post details plans to refresh the digital outlet's home page and add a 'Popular Among Friends' curation option.

"When we launched the Steam Discovery Update, we introduced a new and smarter Steam store built around personalization and recommendations," the post reads. "In the time since the Discovery Update, we've iterated on the features and made improvements to support the goal of helping each customer find the titles they are most likely to enjoy playing. We think our progress in this direction has been really valuable in supporting a broader variety of gaming experiences big and small, while better serving individual customer tastes."

Assuming this report pans out, Valve will overhaul Steam's home page to weed out unnecessary visual elements and display larger game images where appropriate. A new array of links will dock to the left-hand column, and the Popular Among Friends section will affix to the homepage so you can see what users on your friends list have been playing.

The post ends with the most salient info. "We're actively working on this set of features, and planning to roll out the update in a few weeks. We're looking for your feedback on these changes and your suggestions for how we can best connect your game with the customers most likely to enjoy it."

Shacknews - David Craddock

In an effort to ward off a possible takeover by Vivendi, Ubisoft repurchased shares in its company from Bpifrance bank through its share buyback program (via Gamasutra).

Ubisoft paid $137.9 million to reclaim 3.625 million shares, representing 3.2 percent of the company's total capital. The buyback from Bpifrance will become official in November. " We want to express our warm gratitude to Bpifrance for its support during all these years," CEO Yves Guillemot said in a press release.

This marks the latest attempt by Ubisoft founders and brothers Michel and Yves Guillemot to protect their company from a hostile takeover by Vivendi. This past June, Vivendi successfully took over Ubisoft's mobile-focused studio Gameloft by slowly purchasing enough stock to attain a minority leadership role.

Michel Guillemot resigned from Gameloft following the takeover, and Yves Guillemot has been vocal in expressing Ubisoft's desire to remain independent. "Creativity, agility, and risk-taking is intrinsic to our industry," he said in an interview with GameSpot. "If you are independent, you know the level you can go to, but if you're part of a conglomerate that doesn't understand what your industry is, how fast it's moving, or the decisions you have to make at speed, they can limit your possibilities."

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Leveling in Destiny doesn’t stop after you reach level 40, instead you then have to worry about gaining new equipment like gear and weapons to increase your Light Level. Thanks to the newest expansion, Destiny: Rise of Iron, players now have a new Light Level goal to reach. In this guide we’ll be going through the various ways you can increase your light level, including some tips to help you stay ahead of the grind. You should be warned, though. Due to Destiny’s MMO nature, increasing your Light Level can be a somewhat grindy experience. That’s why you should mix things up as much as possible to keep from becoming bored or uninterested in the game.

Complete Archon’s Forge Events

The Archon’s Forge is a mix of the Prison of Elders from House of Wolves and the Court of Oryx from The Taken King. This time around things are a bit harrier, and while the loot isn’t the greatest, you still have some really good chances to grab some new items and weapons through the forge. In order to spawn enemies at the Archon’s Forge you will need to find SIVA Offerings, which can be dropped from various enemies around the new Patrol area, the Plaguelands. Sadly, there isn’t a guaranteed way to grind for these items, so you’ll just have to make due when they drop for you. Or, if you’re lucky, you can often find other players grinding out Archon Forge events while on Patrol.

Complete Strikes

The best way to guarantee new drops is to complete strikes using the strike playlists that Bungie introduced with the release of The Taken King. These playlists give you a bonus depending on the amount of strikes you complete back to back, and some playlists even guarantee a Legendary Engram for the first three times you complete a strike in that playlist. Once you’ve leveled your Light up enough to run the SIVA Crisis Heroic Strikes, well then you’re in for a treat. Each time you complete the Heroic strikes you will be rewarded with at least two Rare drops. These might not seem like someone rewarding, but these items are almost always greater than what you currently have equipped. This means, at lower Light Levels, you can theoretically go up 1-2 Light Levels per strike. Once you reach a higher level, though, things will slow down.

Decrypt Legendary and Exotic Engrams

Up until you hit Light Level 340, Rare Engrams will continue to be worth decrypting for items you can use. After 340, though, the Rare Engrams stop reaching higher levels (unless dropped from strike bosses), thus becoming fodder for your Weapon Part and Armor Material reserves. This is when Legendary and Exotic Engrams become extremely important, as they will not only be a great source for leveling, but Legendary Engrams can also be dismantled into Legendary Marks, which can then be used to purchase items from the vendors in The Tower. This is a great way to bring your Light Level up quickly at the start, as each new item will be 350 Defense or Attack, thus allowing you to raise your Light Level.

These are the fastest known ways to level your Light Level up quickly. They might take a little work on your end, but Destiny does borrow many of its systems from the likes of MMOs like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. Just keep your head lifted high, and maximize your grinding time by following the list we’ve provided above. This will allow you to increase your Light Level quickly, allowing you to get ready for anything and everything that the new content has available.

Shacknews - David Craddock

According to Hollywood Reporter, developer Campo Santo will team with Good Universe to develop a feature film based on its Firewatch adventure game.

"When we met Good Universe we were floored by how they recognize, cultivate and produce incredible stories," said Campo Santo founder Sean Vanaman. "It's rare you meet another group that shares so many of your values and makes the process of creating things even more exciting. We can't wait to see what we make together."

Campo Santo and Good Universe will work together on numerous Firewatch projects, the first of which is the feature film. No specifics related to subsequent projects were given.

Released this February, Firewatch is a first-person adventure set in in a wilderness pocket of Wyoming. Players control a firefighter named Henry and communicate with his supervisor via a walkie-talkie. The game has sold over 1 million copies and received high marks from critics.

"Even if the abrupt, unfulfilling ending doesn’t completely tie the experience together, I’ll still remember plenty of the funny and heart wrenching moments between Henry and Delilah that I had the pleasure of eavesdropping on," wrote Shacknews editor Josh Hawkins in his review. "The game’s world, and its brilliantly crafted ensemble of characters is more than enough to leave me with a warm feeling deep in my heart, even if it isn’t a fully-developed flame, for Firewatch."

Shacknews - David Craddock

Former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America Jack Tretton, who capped off a 19-year tenure when he departed the company in 2014, says the PlayStation Vita was a great machine that became irrelevant before it even hit stores.

"Now that I don't work there anymore, I think internally it was: 'This is a great machine, it's just too late.' The world has shifted to portable devices that aren't dedicated gaming machines," he said in an interview on IGN.

Although little reliable sales info for the Vita exists, comparing its numbers to those of the PlayStation Portable and 3DS provide some context. Sony's PlayStation Portable was in production until June 2014; in 2012, the last time Sony announced sales numbers, the Associated Press reported that Sony had sold more than 76 million PSP units. PS Vita emerged as its successor in 2011, and sold 11 million units during its lifespan according to Tech Radar.

Labeling the Vita a flop should be considered just shy of hyperbole. After all, it's sold more than Nintendo's Wii U (13 million units worldwide as of June 30, 2016) but still considerably less than its primary competitor, Nintendo's 3DS, at 59.79 million units as of this June.

Ultimately, mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone changed the landscape of portable gaming—so much so that Nintendo is likely building its NX console as a successor to both the Wii U and 3DS, a handheld/console hybrid.

Shacknews - David Craddock

EA sent out a tweet announcing that it will release a trailer detailing Battlefield 1's single-player campaign tomorrow (via GameSpot). The tweet included a GIF preview of the trailer's content.

Battlefield fans know more or less what to expect from the game's multiplayer thanks to the recent open beta as well as a general knowledge of BF's online modes. However, tomorrow's trailer will be our first look at BF1's campaign, a slice of the game that has many fans—including your humble author—curious.

Developers have been coy regarding the campaign's direction and content. Lead designer Daniel Berlin implied that players may control multiple characters in order to grant varying perspectives on World War I, the game's setting. According to Berlin, EA wants to hone in on less familiar bits of history.

"When we set out on this game, we wanted to depict not just the common view of what the war was like. We wanted to challenge some preconceptions. We want to delve into some of the unknowns of WW1. Maybe people don't know that this person fought or that person fought, that this army was involved. We're stretching out and bringing all those stories into the game."

That setting has players intrigued... and some a little nervous. The Great War was considered a turning point for warfare technology and etiquette. Tanks rumbled onto battlefields alongside and opposite horses; advanced weaponry such as flamethrowers and poison gas forced both sides to escalate their offensive and defensive ordnance, and resulted in some of the bloodiest battles in history.

It's inevitable that EA will take creative liberties with WWI's history; that's to be expected. Even so, the company might benefit from not straying too far into videogame fantasy land. With Activision going full-bore warfare-in-space with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, BF1's campaign could distinguish itself by showcasing a more grounded narrative that shines a light on the atrocities committed during WWI, while still being an entertaining gaming experience first and foremost.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Commander Video is making his triumphant return as Choice Provisions has announced Runner3 is currently in development.

Runner3 will serve as the third entry in Choice Provisions’ Bit.Trip Runner series, although it’s keeping details surrounding the game scarce at this point as it hopes to make the game its “biggest and most ambitious” title yet.

Fans of the Bit.Trip Runner series should expect classic characters to make their way in Runner3, as well as a host of new ones. Speaking of returning characters, the voice of Mario himself, Charles Martinet, will be returning to reprise his role of The Narrator.

Choice Provisions plans of be very open about the development of Runner3 and will also ask for feedback occasionally. The studio plans on asking its fans for suggestions, such as level names, possible unlockable outfits, and more.

As of now, Runner3’s platforms have yet to be revealed, although both Runner and Runner2 are currently 50% off on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, and Steam for the next week in celebration.

Runner3 is scheduled to release some time in 2017.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Team 17 and Playtonic Games have released a new gameplay trailer for Yooka-Laylee that showcases a number of characters that will be featured in the game, including a very special guest: Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight.

The new gameplay trailer focuses on a number of unique and colorful characters that inhabit the world, which includes Yooka and Laylee, of course, Capital B, Dr. Quack, Rextro, and our favorite, Trowzer the Snake. In addition to its original cast of characters, Team 17 has revealed Shovel Knight will be making a special guest appearance as an NPC (Non Playable Character) in Yooka-Laylee.

Here are some descriptions of a few of the characters featured in today’s trailer:

Capital B - Cunning bizzness executive Capital B is the CEO of diabolical corporation Hivory towers, which has recently joined forces with ingenious tech firm Quack Corp. Together, they’re about to launch their most devious scheme yet: To absorb all of the world’s books and take over the world!

Trowzer – The serpent salesman claims to be the most skilled and knowledgeable character in the game, though Laylee suspects he’s little more than a dodgy dealer. During their adventure, Yooka and Laylee can purchase advanced manoeuvres from Trowzer’s travelling moves shop.

Dr. Quack - The former partner of Dr. Puzz, Quack’s increasingly wild experiments lead him down the path of corruption. Now fully clad in a not-so- hi-tech ‘biosuit’, the ‘good’ doctor uses his scientific expertise to power up Hivory Towers’ Corplet employees

Dr. Puzz - A hapless scientist who’s experience more than her share of tentacle – erm ‘technical’ issues, Dr. Puzz will use her D.N.Ray to transform Yooka and Laylee into a plethora of crazy critters and help them on their adventure.

Yooka-Laylee will introduce us to even more notable characters when it releases in Q1 2017. To learn more about Yooka-Laylee, feel free to check out our interview with Team 17 at E3 2016 or check out its complete Toybox experience below.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Thunder Lotus Games, the studio best known for its game Jotun, has announced a new project which includes much of what worked from the game, such as its art style, big boss fights, and immersion, and fused it with an infinite replayable and nonlinear action game within the Metroidvania genre.

Sundered is described as a game where players will fight for survival, as well as their sanity, as they assume the role of Eshe. Eshe is a wanderer who discovers a ruined world and trapped by ever changing caverns filled with eldritch horrors. Players will need to harness the power of corrupted relics in order to fight gigantic bosses, but doing so will take a piece of your humanity away.

Sundered will feature multiple endings, although Thunder Lotus Games doesn’t go into detail as to what players will have to do in order to achieve these multiple outcomes. Players should also expect dynamic encounters against hordes of enemies all within a procedural world.

Sundered is currently expected to release on PC, Mac, Linux, and PlayStation 4 in 2017.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

The Philadelphia 76ers have announced it has purchased eSports teams Dignitas and Apex, making it the first professional sports team in North America to own an eSports team.

Dignitas has been in the eSports game for a long time, which is why Apex will now operate under its name given the team is relatively new to the eSports world. The teams were purchased from its previous owners, Michael O’Dell and David Slan, respectively.

The combined organizations will create a powerhouse competitor in the booming business of Esports; bringing under one roof Team Apex's wildly popular League of Legends team with other standout games including Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Smite," the 76ers shared in a statement sent to Shacknews. "This marks the first time an ownership group of a North American sports franchise has acquired an Esports team; the group will utilize their business expertise and vast resources to bring infrastructure and alignment to position these Esports teams for future growth."

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, although 76ers managing general partner Josh Harris admitted the competitive gaming scene was “primed for incredible growth.”

"We are thrilled to become an owner of such a storied franchise as Team Dignitas," Harris tells Shacknews. "There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the infrastructure, resources, and experience of the Sixers organization to support these exciting teams as they continue to compete at the highest levels across multiple games."

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