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Elder Scrolls Online creative chief steps down to join Gearbox

Longtime designer Paul Sage recently stepped down as creative director of Zenimax Online Studios’ Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG and returned home to Texas to take on a similar role at Gearbox. …

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The Game Critics E3 Award Nominees Have Been Announced

A panel of game critics from across the industry have weighed in on their favorite games of E3 2015. The nominations have been tallied and the field has been narrowed.

The group voting for these awards represent 40 global media outlets (including Game Informer). Here is the complete list of nominations:

Best of Show

  • Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/SCE)
  • Oculus Touch (Oculus VR)
  • Star Wars Battlefront (DICE/EA)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (Naughty Dog/SCE)

Best Original Game

  • Abzu (Giant Squid/505 Games)
  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/SCE)
  • The Last Guardian (GenDesign/SCE Japan/SCE)
  • Unravel (Coldwood Interactive/EA)

Best Console Game

  • Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/SCE)
  • Star Wars Battlefront (DICE/EA)
  • Super Mario Maker (Nintendo)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (Naughty Dog/SCE)

Best Handheld Game

  • Fallout Shelter (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (AlphaDream/Nintendo)
  • Persona 4 Dancing All Night (Atlus)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes (Nintendo)

Best PC Game

  • DOOM (id Software/Bethesda)
  • Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
  • Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios/Square-Enix)
  • Star Wars Battlefront (DICE/EA)
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Hardware

  • Microsoft HoloLens (Microsoft)
  • Oculus Rift (Oculus VR)
  • Oculus Touch (Oculus VR)
  • Project Morpheus (Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller (Microsoft)

Best Action Game

  • DOOM (id Software/Bethesda)
  • Halo 5: Guardians (343/Microsoft Studios)
  • Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios/Square-Enix)
  • Star Wars Battlefront (DICE/EA)
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Best Action/Adventure Game

  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/SCE)
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions/Konami)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics/Microsoft Studios)
  • The Last Guardian (GenDesign/SCE Japan/SCE)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (Naughty Dog/SCE)

Best RPG

  • Dark Souls 3 (From Software/Bandai-Namco Games)
  • Fallout 4 (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda)
  • Fire Emblem Fates (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)
  • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (AlphaDream/Nintendo)
  • Sword Coast Legends (n-Space/Digital Extremes/Wizards of the Coast)

Best Racing Game

  • Forza Motorsport 6 (Turn 10/Microsoft Studios)
  • Need for Speed (Ghost Games/EA)
  • Trackmania Turbo (Nadeo/Ubisoft)

Best Sports Game

  • FIFA 16 (EA Canada/EA)
  • NHL 16 (EA Canada/EA)
  • Madden NFL 16 (EA Tiburon/EA)
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 (Konami)
  • Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (EA Tiburon/EA)

Best Family/Social Game

  • Disney Infinity 3.0 (Avalanche Software/Disney Interactive)
  • Guitar Hero Live (FreeStyleGames/Activision)
  • LEGO Dimensions (TT Games/WBIE)
  • Rock Band 4 (Harmonix)
  • Super Mario Maker (Nintendo)

Best Online Multiplayer

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (TreyArch/Activision)
  • Halo 5: Guardians (343/Microsoft Studios)
  • Star Wars Battlefront (DICE/EA)
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • Tom Clancy's The Division (Massive/Ubisoft)

Best Independent Game

  • Abzu (Giant Squid/505)
  • Below (Capy Games)
  • Cuphead (Studio MDHR)
  • No Man's Sky (Hello Games/SCE)
  • Wattam (Funomena)

Star Wars Battlefront leads nominations with five, though two other Best of Show contenders were right behind at four each: Fallout 4 and Horizon Zero Dawn. EA and Sony led the publisher race with 11 nominations each.

Award winners will be announced on July 7. For more information, visit the Game Critics website. If you're interested in what we had to say, you can read Game Informer's Best of E3 awards for more. – The Feed

Opinion: Why Naughty Dog Shouldn’t Make A Sequel To The Last Of Us

I beat The Last of Us a couple weeks ago, but that adventure is still ringing through my head like a brass bell. The game easily sits on my list of the five greatest games from this generation, and yet, I don't think I want to see a sequel.

This opinion originally published on July 15, 2013.

(The following is spoiler free. But if you want The Last of Us spoiled for you, go here.)

The Last of Us tells a grim story about a world 20 years after a terrible plague ravages the world's population, turning many into zombie-like monsters. Born among the ashes of civilization is Ellie, a young woman who might hold the key to curing this terrible disease. Her journey across the country alongside her new found guardian, Joel, is a riveting, white-knuckle rush. The game's action was so well balanced that I constantly felt like it was tethering between feeling capable and getting lost in the chaos. I loved every minute of it, and I didn't want that journey to end. Even so, now that I've finished the game, I don't think I want Naughty Dog to revisit the world with a sequel. The reason is simple: the story is too good.

I'm not averse to sequels. I walk away from plenty of experiences eager for more. I dreamt about The Avengers sequel for months following last year's summer blockbuster. I can't wait for EA's recently announced Mirror's Edge continuation, and I'm looking forward to new entries in series like Tomb Raider, XCOM, and Telltale's The Walking Dead. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really into what I like to call the Tony Hawking of games; I'm tired of seeing a new Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed game every year. However, I think some games are built to become series, while others make a better standalone experience. The Last of Us is the latter.

I know that Naughty Dog is thinking about potential sequels. Honestly, I won't mind if it tried to make a spiritual sequel to the game – take the scavenging mechanics and the intense action from The Last of Us and wrap them around another story set in a completely different world. However, I think Naughty Dog would be doing The Last of Us a disservice if it turned its newest property into a franchise, because The Last of Us told such a powerful and complete story that adding anything more to it would dilute the original.

I want to respect those who haven't played the game yet, and I want them to be able to play through the game and enjoy it for all it's worth, so I won't include any spoilers here, but I will say that The Last of Us' tale left such an impact on me that I'm sure I'll still be thinking about it years from now. The biggest reason the game's story hit me so hard is because Naughty Dog crafted some amazingly interesting characters.

I think it's kind of funny that Irrational Games spent so much time talking about the effort it put into crafting Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite, while Naughty Dog's characters are easily the most believable in video games. Don't get me wrong, I thought Irrational did a great job with Elizabeth. She was cute, funny, and a joy to be around. However, if I had a crush on Elizabeth while playing BioShock Infinite, I completely fell in love with Joel and Ellie while playing The Last of Us. I felt like I had journeyed through hell with them as they crossed the country, and by the end I wanted to see them succeed. I never felt bonded to Elizabeth in the same way.

By the time The Last of Us' credits rolled I felt the same way I have felt after reading a well-crafted novel or emotional film: I felt satisfied. The Last of Us needs nothing more, and I feel like adding to the game would only lessen the impact of Naughty Dog's well-constructed adventure.

I know that this isn't how the game industry works. Naughty Dog has built a brand with The Last of Us. New intellectual properties are hard to sell, and the developer went out on a limb by creating something fresh and original. And it succeeded. It seems only fair that it should be able to utilize some of the capital it's built up by making a sequel. After all, a second game is bound to sell even better than the first (I'd hypocritically buy a copy).

Then again, Gone with the Wind is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and it didn't get a sequel. Do books like The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby need sequels because people liked them? Do films like Schindler's List and Casablanca need sequels because they were critically acclaimed? No they don't, because they are works of art, and great art can stand on its own. The Last of Us is good enough to do just that. – The Feed

Miyamoto Gets Behind-The-Scenes Tour Of Jim Henson Studios

The Henson puppets of Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, and Reggie Fils-Aimé stole the show at Nintendo's E3 presentation this year. A new video from Nintendo follows Miyamoto as he tours Jim Henson Studios, the Burbank backlot where the puppets were made. Take a look:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Brian Henson, son of Jim, sits down to chat with Miyamoto as well. They talk about filming the opening to the E3 show as well as Miyamoto's childhood aspirations of becoming a puppet maker.

For more on Nintendo, you can find Miyamoto's latest thoughts on the Wii U's failings here. You can also read Ben Reeves' op-ed about Nintendo's over-reliance on gimmicks here. – The Feed

New Xbox On Windows 10 Features Coming To Preview Members Soon

If you are participating in the Windows 10 preview program, you’ll have even more Xbox features arriving soon. The update will bring more of what Xbox One users see on their consoles to the PC desktop.

In order to access these features, you’ll need Windows 10 Build 10158 installed on your PC. Once that’s complete, the Xbox on Windows 10 app will update to the new version (after that happens, your app should be version 6.6.27004.00000 or higher).

Included in the update are My Games, which automatically updates from Windows Store purchases. It can also be bolstered manually.

Game Hubs functions similarly to Xbox One. The added bonus is that you can now launch Xbox One game streaming right from a game hub.

You’ll also be able to share content with your friends. This includes achievements, game clips, and screenshots.

This update also comes with support for Xbox Avatars. You can also access your Xbox account from the app, or make a new one.

There are no additional updates for Xbox One yet. Though with the addition of Game Preview and Backward Compatibility at E3, it’s been a busy month for the console.

[Source: Major Nelson]


Our Take
Here’s hoping that the next Xbox One update increases the selection of backward compatible titles. That feature works extremely well, and while it would have been great earlier in the life cycle, it’s certainly not too late to the party. – The Feed

Celebrate Thomas Was Alone’s Birthday With These Limited Run Action Figures

It’s been three years since puzzle platformer Thomas Was Alone launched for PC and Mac. To celebrate that anniversary, developer Mike Bithell has teamed up with Kerry Dyer to create set of limited edition Thomas Was Alone action figures.

The set features the characters Thomas, Claire, Chris, and John. Just like in the game, the Claire figurine floats in water but each cube would probably be perfectly content just sitting on your desk and keeping you company.The figures are available in a very limited quality and will be gone for good once sold out, so Thomas Was Alone fans may want to act quickly. The set can be found here and retails for £20.00, which is roughly $ 31.47 USD.

If you’re confused as to why anyone would create figurines of brightly colored squares and rectangles, consider taking a look at our review for the Vita release of Thomas Was Alone here or check out the game itself on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC, Vita, iOS, or Android. – The Feed

Now Two Months Late, Star Citizen FPS Module Delayed Indefinitely

If you happen to have been following the progress of Star Citizen’s now $ 84.6 million campaign, you may be wondering why you haven’t yet received the promised first-person shooter module. Called Star Marine, the content was supposed to be delivered shortly after PAX East in April. Two months later, it’s still missing.

Roberts Space Industries chairman Chris Roberts posted a letter to fans explaining the delay and updating on other pieces of the puzzle. The good news for fans is that the single-player ship combat campaign, Squadron 42, is progressing. 

However, the road to Star Citizen’s projected retail release in 2016 has hit a roadblock in the form of Star Marine. Roberts opened up after two months of silence on that piece, explaining that Star marine has run into technical issues.

“I don’t want to say that there is no impact: integrating the FPS properly will help move every part of Star Citizen forward, as the tech will help form the blood and sinews of the whole game,” Roberts writes. “But I can’t stress enough that two additional months spent on Star Marine are not the same thing as two months of a delay for Star Citizen.” 

He explains that other teams have been working on the environments, ships, and more related to the multiplayer and single-player modes. However, those pieces are tied to Star Marine and are being held up by its absence.

“The biggest issue we have faced is that all the recent Arena Commander work, including new flyable ships has been done on the Star Marine branch of the game’s build,” Roberts explains. “We expected to have 1.2 launched and wanted to take advantage of the great new tech Star Marine’s integration provides.”

Unfortunately, Roberts and his team aren’t able to put a fine point (or even a broader window) on when the over 900,000 backers will be able to play Star Marine. The project is delayed indefinitely.

“When will we see Star Marine? Tonight, I don’t have an absolute answer for you,” Roberts admits. “What I will tell you is that we know exactly what we have to do, and we’re already well on our way to doing it. With allocation of additional resources and increased cross-studio focus on the FPS portion of the game we are on our way… we’re just not there quite yet. I’m confident that with the significant updates and changes to the backend architecture discussed above that we will have an experience worthy of the Star Citizen name; it’s just going to take some additional integration and testing.”

Roberts closes with an admission that the company hasn’t been as open with its backers as it promised in 2012. A two month delay in explaining the Star Marine delay is counter to what the company calls “The Pledge.”

“On the public side, I know that it’s time to open up our communications on the Star Marine rollout process: starting with this message and continuing each week, we will provide a high level update on the challenges just as we did for Arena Commander,” Roberts says. “We ended the 2012 pledge campaign with ‘The Pledge,’ in which I outlined our new company’s goals to be open about our process. Today, I want to rededicate ourselves to this: I can’t promise you we’ll meet every internal deadline or that every decision we make is something you’ll agree with. There will be challenges that we struggle to overcome, and we will never be able to predict all of these with certainty… but I can promise you we will keep you informed and that we will not stop working until the game is done right.”

[Source: Roberts Space Industries via Polygon]


Our Take
When you’re sitting on over $ 80 million of money contributed on faith, communication and transparency must not be forgotten or shoved to the side. Star Citizen is ambitious, and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have serious reservations about the enormous scope. 

Games suffer setbacks. That’s reality. But when your reality also includes over 900,000 backers? You simply cannot hide from them. Roberts can’t break “The Pledge” again. – The Feed

Zen Studios Announces Release Date For Ant-Man Pinball

Marvel's newest movie stars
Ant-Man and releases late next month. If waiting that long for the tiny
superhero makes you anxious, don't worry: on July 14, Ant-Man launches on
consoles, mobile, and PC as a DLC pinball table.

Zen Studios plans to
release the table in Zen Pinball 2, Pinball FX2, and Marvel Pinball. Between these
three titles, this downloadable content will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Gamers interested in Ant-Man owe it to themselves to check out the movie's most recent trailer. As to those people who like keeping their superheroes in pinball, why not take a closer look at Age of Ultron Pinball? – The Feed

Video: The physics of proper pole control in Super Pole Riders

At GDC 2015, Bennett Foddy talks about the problems he faced in designing the physics of the pole-vaulting and ball-kicking mechanics in his fiendish multiplayer game Super Pole Riders. …

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Fallout Shelter’s success is shaking things up at Bethesda

“First and foremost, we’re continuing to look more and more at doing things in the space that make sense on their own. Because we don’t really control who in the mobile space is going to decide to play your game.” …

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