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Elite Dangerous: Horizons Expansion Brings Planetary Landings, Loot, More

Elite Dangerous developer Frontier Developments has announced that the Horizons expansion, which arrived on PC late last year, is coming to Xbox One. Horizons adds a variety of new features, including planetary landings, multicrew co-op, loot, and more.

Elite Dangerous: Horizons on Xbox One will include the 2.0: Planetary Landings content as well as the upcoming 2.1: The Engineers. It's set to hit the console sometime in the second quarter of the year.

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Borderlands Film Brings On Section 6 Writer Aaron Berg

Aaron Berg, the writer behind Section 6, has been hired to write the script for the announced Borderlands movie. The film adaptation, which was announced by Lionsgate last August, is said to be an "edgy, R-rated take on the material."

The film is being produced by father-son duo Avi and Ari Arad, who have worked on such comic book film adaptations as Iron Man, Spider-Man, and X-Men, experience that could help them with adapting a stylized property such as Borderlands.

Berg was most recently hired to write the script for G.I. Joe 3 after his work on Section 6. To learn about the most recent (and most story-driven) Borderlands release, head over to our review of the final episode of Tales from the Borderlands.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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Unofficial plug-in brings Oculus exclusives to the HTC Vive

With the powers that be engaged in a perpetual tug of war, LibreVR’s Revive plug-in has emerged as an unofficial alternative for Vive owners looking to access Oculus software. …


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Adventure Scents Brings Your Nose Along On A Tabletop Or Video Game Quest

There have long been jokes about developers introducing smells into their games. Sure we’d all want to sniff Gandalf’s pipe smoke, but maybe wafting in Gollum’s pungent stench isn’t the best idea.

A company called Adventure Scents has found a way to give us the aromatic wizard’s tower, city streets after a gunfight, musty libraries, and dank sewers. Each of the many scents the company sells ship in a screw-top container intended to sit nearby while playing table-top or video games. Closing the tin quickly cuts off the odor, working well to isolate the beads that give off the aromas.

Some, like Dank Dungeon and Pool of Acid are a bit sharper. None are so terrible or offensive that I felt sick, but they might make you wrinkle your nose a bit.

Others, like Pirate Ship and Flying Airship capture the atmosphere. The former, described as a combination of wood, gun smoke, and sea air fits well. It has an odor of the open sea (without the fishiness you might expect). Flying Airship has a breezier scent, but both give a good sense of being outdoors.

Ancient Library was probably the most off-putting (even more so than Dank Dungeon and Pool of Acid). It has an extremely musty odor that fits its name. Vampire’s Lair has a pungent, earthy smell with just a hint of sweetness. Some of the success in Adventure Scents concoctions is how foreign the mixtures are.

Field of Battle, which is described as smelling of leather, steel, and blood, is probably a bit mellower than I expected. I kind of imagined a field of dead bodies to be more decay and despair and less “blacksmith wearing cologne.”

Some of these scents really hit home, especially those that confuse the nose creating a sense of displacement. Barren Moon is one of those, described as smelling like “chalky dust and bitter loneliness.” I expected a nose full of grade school chalkboard, but instead the odor is wispy and light, like it’s not entirely there.

There is a gimmicky nature to Adventure Scents. They aren’t going to be for everyone, and you (and your friends if using them for tabletop gaming) will need to suspend your disbelief a bit. For those using these for video games, it’s simply engaging another sense.

I used some while playing Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and thought the effect was interesting. I'm more likely to use these for bigger board game parties with mood music and appropriate lighting to help sell the atmosphere, though.

Your mileage is likely going to vary, and you may find the odors a bit too strong. If you stick your nose close, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Instead, it’s best to keep an open tin nearby but not so near that it’s oppressive. 

For those that want to take a bit of their favorite scent with them, Adventure Scents sells lockets designed to hold some of the beads. Depending on the quantity of each you want and your intended use, scents range from $ 5 – $ 15.

You can see the entire range of canisters and packets on Adventure Scents’ website.

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This Mod Brings Fire Emblem Relationship Building To XCOM 2

Can you imagine XCOM 2 as a romance sim? Well, maybe this isn't quite that, but a mod called Squad Cohesion brings elements of Fire Emblem into the world of XCOM 2.

While the mod doesn't bring any Fire Emblem aesthetics to XCOM, what it does instead is introduce relationship building statistics for your squad members. Creator RealityMachinima explains that "this mod puts a dash of Fire Emblem into your XCOM" and it will give "small buffs for squads that trust in each other." Basically, you can play matchmaker or grow friendships between soldiers in your unit, which sounds downright amazing.

Certain actions will increase these relationship stats, such as healing a squad member or carrying them out of battle. While these relationships continue to grow, you'll receive notifications about increased stats. Relationship perks include stat gains towards skills such as aiming, critical hits, hacking, and will. But be careful, because these relationships can crumble, too. If a soldier falls in battle, and another squad member was close to them, the surviving friend might receive the "Shaken" status, which lowers the entire unit's willpower. The closer these two squad members were, the higher the chances are of this occurring.

You can check out the full details of RealityMachina's mod on Steam. For more on XCOM 2 read our review here, as well as read about other neat additions such as turning your soldiers into stormtroopers and downloading a squad unit full of iconic video game characters (and GI staff look-a-likes).

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Tales Of Link Brings The Cast Of The Tales Series To iOS & Android

Bandai Namco's new free-to-play RPG acts as a "who's who" of the Tales series, and is available now on iOS and Android. Players pull off flashy combos by linking together the members of their party with a swift swipe of the thumb.

Tales of Link tasks you with creating a party consisting of nine different characters, and using the game's "touch-link" battle system to connect them for optimal damage. It's set in a world guarded by the "Seal of the Holy Shrine," which, for a name like that, is surprisingly susceptible to demons. 

Something called the "Seed of Ruin" inevitably breaks the seal, and now heaven and Earth are in jeopardy. It's typical Tales fare, giving you the heavy burden of stopping a world-ending catastrophe. 

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You can download Tales of Link for iOS and Android now to start ridding the world of demons, but if the Shin Megami Tensei series is any indication, some demons are actually pretty nice and worth befriending. To hear our thoughts on the last Tales game for the PlayStation 4, click here

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Pantheon: Rise Of The Fallen Brings New Twists To The Classic MMORPG

Visionary Realms is bringing back some of the elements of classic MMORPG play in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, like social experiences and group-centric combat. Combined with a perception system that replaces the "in your face" exclamation points and pop-up boxes that are part of the more modern MMO and a heavy focus on exploration and discovery, Pantheon may have roots in the past, but it's looking toward what Visionary Realms thinks is the future of MMORPGs. At GDC 2016, I had a chance to get my first taste of what makes Pantheon tick (in a very, very pre-alpha build).

Combat includes classic concepts – pulling packs of monsters to your group, hoping they don't alert allies, and taking on big bosses with classic core classes like clerics and warriors. The group dynamic is important – players often have a variety of buffs and boons they can use on their companions.

But there's also a heavy focus on exploring the world around you, and not with any guidance from quests, but more of that "if you see it you can go there" style of discovery. Something looming in the distance like a tower or a castle may provide a point of interest for you to wander and investigate, and while questing is certainly in the game, it's handled in a fashion that's far from the "pick up quest from NPC. Go to this marked location on the minimap. Profit".

A perception system rewards the curious and the inquisitive, offering contextual clues and secrets when players move close enough or interact with certain locations. Jostling a vase may uncover a ring, or moving close to a mysterious chunk of ruins may uncover additional surprises. So while you'll still probably be getting clues about where to go and what to do from the local taverns that inhabit the world, don't expect to see any exclamation points, shimmering trails, or blinking minimap lights, as you're more meant to be guided by your own intuition toward new strands of story. You can also expect things to change as time passes in-game from day to night, as well as over time in the game world itself.

In the build we saw (pre-alpha) the combat was looking fairly rough around the edges, to be expected at this stage of development. The world outside, however, was looking far more interesting. Pantheon is all about open-world discovery, and contains environments players will have to either collect the right item to pass through, or come up with a solution to the predicament on their own. Dry deserts, cursed ruins, and many other backdrops can kill you if you lack the proper artifacts to enter, but they may also spur players to come up with interesting solutions to these potentially dangerous points of interest.

Pantheon is expected to launch as a subscription-based MMORPG.

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Ubisoft Brings Classic Party Game Werewolf To VR With Spectacular Results

I have long believed that virtual reality could revolutionize and bolster the tabletop market by bringing distant friends together. Tabletop gaming is the intersection of mechanics and social atmosphere, and few games blend those two concepts better than the classic Werewolf.

Red Storm, a studio known for Rainbow 6 and Ghost Recon, has made an enormous leap forward in social VR gaming before the first consumer headset hits the market. Werewolves Within is Ubisoft's take on that classic game of misdirection and deception, and it works astoundingly well.

When played around a table, players are randomly assigned roles and must deduce who among them is secretely a Werewolf. The premise is identical here.

What makes the VR application so impressive is how it integrates the technology. Each Rift headset is equipped with a microphone for voice over IP. 

Players can whisper to the person to their immediate left or right in hopes of strategizing or forming alliances, these conversations can't be heard by other players. This is enabled by the two people leaning toward one another. Many of the abilities assigned to each role are also triggered by head gaze and head tilting. 

The tracker can determine if a werewolf is somewhere to his right or left by leaning in one of those directions. Players can monologue for 10 seconds by standing, which mutes the others and forces them to listen.

Werewolves Within ultimately succeeds because it feels like you're sitting around a campfire deciding which of your comrades to execute. We played a number of rounds over 45 minutes, and with each we became more comfortable, succumbing to the illusion. By the end, the conversation was ribald and no different than if we were sitting in one of our houses playing the original Werewolf.

The interface is simple, but the effect is profound. The avatars are cartoonish and the manual gestures (pointing, crossing arms, etc.) minimal, but the additions of mapping real-world head movement and automatically applied hand gestures while talking helps sell the atmosphere.

Werewolves Within is only a first step for social gaming in virtual reality, but a profound one. I can't wait to gather my friends for more once it launches later this year on Rift and other major VR platforms.

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XCOM 2’s First DLC Pack Brings Mad Max-Style Customization Options

The first XCOM 2 DLC pack arrives next week, giving you new ways to differentiate your resistance soldiers from one another. The new options are a bit radical though, taking a page from wasteland settings seen in Mad Max and Fallout.

The Anarchy’s Children pack adds more than 100 customization choices. These span categories and include hair styles, helmets, props, face paint, and decals.

The pack drops on March 17 and is part of the $ 20 Reinforcement Pack along with two other upcoming add-ons. For those looking to buy it separately, it’s priced at $ 4.99.

Firaxis says it is also working on further bug fixes and optimizations. No timing for the patch has been announced.

For more on XCOM 2, check out our review.

[Source: Firaxis]

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Sniper Elite 4 Brings X-Ray Shooting To Italy This Year

Rebellion has announced that Sniper Elite 4 will be headed to current-gen consoles and PC this year. This time out, Karl Fairburne is headed to Italy in 1943.

The Sniper Elite series is known for its X-Ray camera. This feature shows the carnage a bullet inflicts on the human body. It’s not for the squeamish, but it is a compelling effect.

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Sniper Elite 4 will be out in 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more on Sniper Elite, check out our review of the last entry in the series.

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