DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN First Impression: Sets New Standard For Interactive Story Games

Games are constantly being judged by three main categories: graphics, gameplay, and story. While many games tend to have two of the three main categories that make them worth it, there are very few that make the story the front runnerof the game's focus.

Taking on the challenge, Quantic Dream has been developing Detroit: Become Human. This game is a choice-based title that lets players control the decisions that their character makes giving them control of the story. Recently launching a demo, we have finally been given a chance to dive into this Heavy Rain-like experience.

Story

While the overall story remains a mystery, we have gotten to know a little bit about our character; or one of them at least, given that the trailers have shown multiple character options. Playing as Connor, or detective android RK800, you arrive on the scene of a hostage situation to handle what the human police have failed to do so far; diffuse the situation and secure the hostage.

The story takes place in the futuristic year of 2038 where there are a variety of humanoid androids designed for all walks of life. Whether they are designed to do police work, house work, office work, or simply be a nanny companion for the family, they are all supposed to be designed without flaw. As both the demo and name of the game imply, it seems that some of the androids begin to feel a more human side in their existence.

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Gameplay

When you start a new mission, you will find countless objects to interact with throughout the level. While some may seem to be unimportant, there is a chance that even the smallest of changes will affect the outcome of the mission.

The variety of Interactive objects featured in the demo ranged from ineffective, to investigative, to directly impactingthe mission. While some actions were just fun or interesting, you knew which actions were helpful thanks to a percentage that would appear and change afterwards. An example of this would be that after talking to the officer in command, your chance of success is lowered while examining the empty gun case raised your chance of success.

Once you have played through the mission for the first time, there is something unique offered. Completed missions can be looked over in the levels Flowchart. This feature allows players to see what options and interactive objects  they missed, as well as what path they took. This feature allows players to truly experience each mission to its fullest without too much curiosity eating at them as they wonder if they missed anything.

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Expectations

While I was hoping to play through a mission that I had yet to see and experience a new area that Detroit: Become Humanoffers, the demo did give me an idea of what lies ahead.

While the missions are going to seem random as players jump between scenarios and characters, I think there will be a much larger story being told underneath what we will be directly experiencing. With how detailed they are with one mission, I think that this demo barely scratches the surface of what the game will hold.

Conclusion

Detroit: Become Humanis an intriguing game that is going to set a new standard for the interactive story genre. The game shows a lot of promise and is one of the most detailed games I've played in the genre, and I've only gotten to play a demo. I'm hoping for a massive game with an impressive amount of missions, but most of all I'm hopeful that the story will be deeper than what appears on the surface. Easily a game to look forward to owning and worth keeping a close eye on until release.

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HARRY POTTER: HOGWARTS MYSTERY Launches Today on Mobile

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, which is already available today for both Android and iOS users, will allow players to create their character and experience the magic and excitement of being a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Players will choose their preferred House, attend classes with legendary teachers such as Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape, and develop deep and lasting friendships. 

The mobile game will not only allow players to discover the mysteries of Hogwarts but also investigate the reason why the player’s older brother got expelled from the school. The game takes place in the 1980s, which is seven years before the arrival ofHarry Potterand friends at Hogwarts. However, even though players won’t come across Harry, Hermione, or Ron, they will still be able to meet familiar faces such as Ron Weasley’s older siblings, Professor Dumbledore, Hagrid and many others.

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“Being involved in the making of the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile game will give great pleasure to my grandchildren,” said Dame Maggie Smithin a press release. 

The gameplay of Hogwarts Mysteryis pretty straightforward, which is expected from a casual free-to-play mobile game. It mainly serves to satisfy fans of the franchise and give them an authentic Hogwarts experience. Furthermore, players will be able to mold the game’s narrative as choices in-game would have an impact to parts of the story. 

Lastly, players will also encounter a few original characters exclusive in the game such as Penny, a Hufflepuff potions expert, Tulip, the fun Ravenclaw prankster, Merula, the mysterious Slytherin with a dark past. Besides exploring Hogwarts itself, players will be able to explore familiar locations such as Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mysteryis available today in the App Store and Google Play. 

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A University In Ohio Will Offer Scholarships To Top FORTNITE Players

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Ashland University, which is located in Ohio, is looking to recruit the best Fortniteplayers as the institution is adding the popular battle royale game to their highly competitive esports program, TechCrunchreports. As an incentive, the university is offering a scholarship depending on the player’s skills and abilities in the game. 

Fortnite, which is still relatively new, will be joining Ashland University’s esports program that has games like League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, DoTa 2, and many others. In a  released on the school’s official website, the head eSports coach, Josh Buchanan said that:

Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience. We’re excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of skills.”

The scholarship that the school is offering will lighten the admission fees by $4,000. Currently, tuition at Ashland University for an undergraduate program goes around for about $32,000. Of course, this won’t probably attract students who are targeting to enter a different university. However, for those who are interested in applying in Ashland, and at the same time has exceptional skills in Fortnite, then this scholarship might be for you. Interested gamers can apply for the program here

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PUBG’s First Official World Tournament Revealed

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PUBG Corp. revealed yesterday that the first official world tournament for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds would commence later this year. The competition, called PUBG Global Invitational 2018 (PGI 2018) will pit 20 professional teams against one another for prestige and a whopping prize of $2 million. PGI 2018 will commence on July 25-29, and participating teams will be chosen from regional tournaments that will occur in Asia, North America and Europe.

The event will feature separate tournaments for both the game’s first and third-person perspectives. On July 25 and 26, four-player squad battles in third-person mode will take place, and will be followed by the first-person battles on July 28 and 29. The tournament will end with two teams, one from each perspective, crowned as winners. 

You can check out the number of teams from each region who will be able to participate in PGI 2018 below:

  • Europe - 3 Teams
  • North America - 3 Teams
  • Asia - 3 Teams
  • CIS - 2 Teams
  • South Korea - 2 Teams
  • China - 2 Teams
  • South America - 1 Team
  • Oceania - 1 Team
  • Middle East/North Africa - 1 Team
“The PUBG Global Invitational 2018, is a landmark moment for PUBG Corp. as a showcase of the potential of PUBG esports,” explained Changhan Kim, CEO of PUBG Corp. “The team at PUBG Corp. is working tirelessly to ensure that the PGI 2018 exemplifies the pinnacle of PUBG competition and brings to life all of the excitement, tension, and exhilaration of the highest level of PUBG play, not only to the fans attending the PGI 2018, but also those watching at home.”

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Release Date For AGONY Revealed but Developer Madmind Struggles with ESRB’s Rating

About a month ago, developer Madmind Studios disappointed some fans as they revealedthat Agony, initially set for a release on March 30, will be delayed. Now, Madmind in partnership with Maximum Games announced that the game will be launched on May 29, 2018, and is set to release on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 

Initially announced a couple of years ago, Agonytakes players into the depths of hell and players assume the role of a tormented soul with no recollection of the past and how it got thrown into hell. As reality sets in, the player will face the struggle to escape the horrifying environment surrounded by other cursed souls damned for eternity. The player’s mission is to locate the Red Goddess, who is the only one that can help the player escape hell. 

Currently, Madmind Studios is working with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) on the game’s rating. It appears that the ESRB is threatening the developers with an AO (adults only) rating due to the excessive depiction of violence, gore, and nudity in the game. Of course, an AO rating would mean that Agonywill not be allowed to release on both the PlayStation and Xbox platforms. However, Madmind Studios is committed to keeping its promise in the Kickstarter campaign to launch Agonyon the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, which is why the developer agreed to modify parts of the game to get an M (mature) rating instead of an AO. 

“For many months we have been conducting interviews with age-rating companies in order not to cut out entire scenes from the game but at the same time modify it enough (e.g., just slightly changing the camera’s frame) to get an M (Mature) rating instead of AO (Adult-Only) rating. AO rating means that the game could not be released on PS4 and Xbox One, and we would not keep the promise made on the Kickstarter.”

Madmind Studios do not agree with the ESRB's initial rating, which they made clear in their update notes. Given that, the studio will include an optional patch in the PC that will remove the censored content for those players who are interested in experiencing Agonythe way the developers wanted. Unfortunately, the same cannot be done to consoles, which is why Madmind will allow Kickstarter backers who initially chose the console version to switch to the PC version once the game launches. 

Agonyis set to release on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on May 29. 

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Rumor: The Switch Might Be Getting a CALL OF DUTY Battle Royale-Only Mode

Ever since the announcementof the game a few weeks ago, rumors and speculations kept on circling the development of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. The most controversial rumorthus far is that the game will drop the traditional single-player campaign that has been a staple in the franchise ever since. Now, Gaming Intel is reporting that a “trusted source” revealed that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 would also arrive on the Nintendo Switch. 

However, the Switch version of the game will be a battle royale mode only. It will not include the traditional multiplayer format of previous games, nor will it add unique twists like zombies. This information is not that surprising given that earlier reports claimed that the reason for the absence of a single-player campaign in Black Ops 4 is because the dev team is apparently focused on the battle royale mode, which will be introduced in Call of Dutyfor the first time if it turns out to be true. Furthermore, given the trend that battle royale games such as Fortniteand PUBGestablished recently, it is not unlikely that Call of Duty would want to keep up and capitalize on the popularity of the genre. 

If these rumors turn out to be true, then we should expect three things from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. First, the game will not include a single-player campaign, second, a battle royale mode will replace it instead, and third, a Switch version of the game is also on the way, but will only feature the battle royale mode and nothing else. 

In the end, even if the information circulating right now came from “trusted sources,” we should still keep in mind that Activision and Treyarch did not confirm nor denied any of the rumors and speculations. The only thing to do right now is to wait for the official reveal event that will happen on May 17. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is set to release on October 12 this year for the PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One.

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How Big is too Big for a Video Game Storage Wise?

In today's world, gamers & game purchasers are making the switch from physical purchase to digital in droves. The Entertainment Software Associationoutlined in their2017 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry that in 2016 74% of game purchases were digital. As we all know, when a game is purchased digitally, it must be downloaded in order to be played, this means that the game will take up more storage space. How big then, would be too large for a video game?

This is ultimately a personal opinion, but lets go through the factors that can affect that opinion; Internet speed and data limits, hard drive size, and quality of game versus size.

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Starting with internet speed, for the majority of readers in the United States, this is not a problem but data caps can be. According to fastmetrics.com, the average internet speed in the United States is 14.2 Mbps. Note that the 'b' is lowercase, a lowercase 'b' is representative of bits, the units by which Internet speed is usually measured. This means that a 50GB game could be downloaded in around 8 hours, or overnight. Since I couldn't find an average for data caps, I've taken AT&T's middle range subscription, which has a 1TB data cap, and used it for my calculations. Using this means you can download around 20 50GB games per month. I don't think I've everbeaten 20 games in a single month.

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For hard drive size, the majority of gaming PC's use 1TB hard drives, as do modern consoles. A PC with Windows 10 has about 20GB's taken up my system OS. which still leaves us with about 20 games at any one time.

And as for the quality of game against size, there's no reasonable way to quantify this since it's extremely personal and constantly changing with new releases, and with the player's library.

I'd draw the line at 50GB because as we've seen, the majority of gamers would find higher sizes detrimental. This is due to internet speeds and data caps, which leave a lot to be desired. However, the largest game I can seem to find -ignoring simulators- is Fallout 4 with its HD texture pack and all DLC installed clocking in at 93GB. The way the video game industry is progressing, games are quite likely to keep getting larger, since assets and textures keep demanding more space. Of course, it is inevitable -digitally speaking- that video games will surpass data caps in the near future, which could lead to clashes between digital sales of games and ISPs. This could make sales flip back towards physical since developers could always just add more discs to a game if necessary. Unless file compression sees a major breakthrough in the coming years, digital sales might end up losing the title of a preferred method of distribution. However, one way around this might be episodic games, segmenting the titles so gamers can download the game a section at a time.

What do you think? Are video games getting too big? How might this affect the game industry in the long term? Let me know in the comments below.

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GOD OF WAR’S Latest Patch Fixes The Game’s Text Size

God of War, the latest entry in the ever-popular franchise received almost perfect reviews from several gaming outlets online. God of War is indeed a fantastic title that balances an immersive story to a heart-pumping gameplay. However, several players complained about the fact that the in-game text is too small that would force people to stand next to the screen in order to read. Sony’s Santa Monica Studio was quick to respond and recently released an update to fix the minor hiccup. 

Patch 1.12, which was made available last night, added a slider to increase the text in the game, which can be found via the Accessibility menu from the game’s settings. I’d say, Santa Monica’s prompt action to release a patch to fix the text problem is commendable, trouble is, the patch barely made a difference as the slider just magnifies the font size instead of actually increasing it. Check out the screenshot via Kotaku, which shows the not so different text size. 

Here’s the screenshot of the game with the slider at the minimum:

 Image via Kotaku

Image via Kotaku

Here’s the maximum:

 Image via Kotaku

Image via Kotaku

Of course, increasing the font size of the in-game text is no walk in the park as this could lead to a host of new problems such as text bleeding and warping. Due to the short time the developer had to create the patch, maybe this is a temporary fix for the meantime. However, if Santa Monica wants its players to enjoy the game’s rich lore as they do with the story and combat, then something has to be done with the in-game text size. 

How did you find God of War? Was it worth the perfect review scores? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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The Infamous Horror Game NIGHT TRAP Is Coming to the Switch

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Back in the early ‘90s, full-motion video was a unique trend in the gaming industry, and several developers embraced the slightly unusual way to develop games. Probably among the most popular titles in this format is the cult-classic horror game, Night Trap, which after 25 years, will head to the Nintendo Switch. 

Publisher Limited Run Games revealed via a tweet that the anniversary edition of Night Trap would be released on the Switch this year despite Nintendo’s promise decades ago that the title would never appear on a Nintendo console. Besides the original Sega CD System version of Night Trap, the horror title was also made available on the PC and most recently, the PlayStation 4. 

Initially released in 1992, Night Trap was marketed as an interactive movie. The player takes the role of a member of the Sega Control Attack Team (S.C.A.T.), and your mission is to monitor a house and protect its inhabitants from being terrorized by vampires. 

Almost three decades later, the game is considered pretty tame by today’s standards. However, back in the day, Night Trap, along with other games such as Mortal Kombat, prompted the US Senate to conduct hearings on how these games affect children, which eventually led to the creation of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). As the debate on these games that feature violent and sexual content, Nintendo took a stance as Howard Lincoln, the chairman of Nintendo of America revealed in front of senators that Night Trap and other games like it would never appear on a Nintendo console.

Of course, that was a long time ago and Nintendo, including the gaming community in general, have shifted their perspective and relaxed their opinion on what elements will make any game inappropriate. 

Night Trap will be available sometime this summer in both digital and physical forms for the Nintendo Switch. What are your thoughts on this? Are you ready to play Night Trap again? 

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FIREWATCH Developer Campo Santo Acquired By Valve

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Campo Santo, the developer behind the highly acclaimed game Firewatch, was bought recently by Valve, as announced in a blog post on Campo Santo’s official website. The developer reassured fans that production for their current project, In the Valley of Gods, will continue as usual, and will even benefit from having talented and like-minded people at Valve. 

“In Valve we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn’t happen every day). In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match.”

Talking about how negotiations between the two companies took place, Campo Santo shared that both their team and Valve had long meetings discussing their vision and long-term goals. It is in these talks that both Campo Santo and Valve saw the potential with working alongside each other. 

“Both sides spoke about our values and how, when you get right down to it, we, as human beings, are hard-limited by the time we have left when it comes to making the things we care about and believe in. The asked us if we’d all be interested in coming up to Bellevue and doing that there and we said yes.”

It seems that Valve is serious when they said a month ago that they would be back in the business of making games again. Currently, the company has been focused on running the digital game store Steam and maintaining a few titles such as DoTA 2. However, it seems that Valve is keeping to their word of going back to making games again with the acquisition of Campo Santo and the on-going development of In the Valley of Gods, and Valve’s own game, Artifact, a Dota 2-themed card game. 

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