Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

New 3DS XL Gets Pikachu Yellow Model In February

With Pokémon coming off of its biggest year since the first wave of Pokémania hit in the late '90s, Nintendo is looking to capitalize with a New 3DS XL model that features the series' iconic mascot. The Pikachu Yellow New 3DS XL features a full-body image of the mouse Pokémon on the front of the system.

Since the special edition handheld is a New 3DS XL model, it includes improved head-tracking for 3D, an added C-stick nub, and better battery life. However, in keeping with previous New 3DS models, it does not include a charging cable – a somewhat ironic fact given the electric nature of the monster featured on the system.

The Pikachu Yellow New 3DS XL hits stores on February 24, just one week before Nintendo's new system, Switch, launches worldwide.

 

Our Take
The Pokémon brand is still surging in popularity thanks to the Pokémon Go phenomenon last summer and the record-breaking sales of Pokémon Sun and Moon. New 3DS systems have been hard to come by since the holiday season, so hopefully this signals the next wave of units to be released into the wild. Here's hoping Nintendo actually makes enough for those who want to buy it can do so without hassle. 

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Atlas Reactor Season 2 Welcomes New Character, Free-To-Play Model

Over the next 10 weeks, Trion Worlds' Atlas Reactor is getting a slew of content, including a new freelancer (read: character), modes, and a free-to-play model.

The game's Season 2 update lets anyone try the game out and purchase characters individually with a new in-game currency, called Flux.

The update also adds Brynn the Skywarden, who can create cover at her location, with a second character planned for later in the season. You'll be able to try Brynn out in a five new modes introduced over the course of season as well, with the first being All-Random. The game's beginning hours, existing characters, and ranked system have each received some tweaks as well, easing players and making losses in competitive play a bit less devastating.

You can read more about the update here, and watch the game's initial trailer here.

 

Our Take
Atlas Reactor always looked kind of interesting, and with the game now being free-to-play, that may encourage more people to jump in. Which is good, because as the multiplayer space gets more crowded, free-to-play seems like the only option for any game that needs a consistent player base to make it fun.

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Super Mario Run: The best model of a mobile platformer, the worst model of selling

Super Mario Run is an innovative platformer in mobile games and the worst example of selling. …


Gamasutra News

New Model of PlayStation 4 Officially Announced, Along With Release Date And Price

At this year's PlayStation Meeting, Sony finally announced what we had already known for a while: a newer, slimmer model of the PlayStation 4 is coming.

The new model will work much the same as the current one, though it represents a "new standard moving forward" for Sony. The new model will launch on September 15 and will cost $ 299.

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Hacks suggest The Division’s networking model may be fundamentally flawed

Game networking consultant Glenn Fiedler notes how a number of The Division hacks suggest developer Ubisoft Massive may have implemented a fundamentally insecure “trusted client” networking model. …


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Cliff Bleszinski’s LawBreakers ditches distracting free-to-play model

“I think it took away from development. We ended up being focused on how to get money, as opposed to how to make a good game.” …


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Water interaction model for boats in video games: Part 2

Avalanche Studios senior software engineer Jacques Kerner is back with more of the deep physics work behind Just Cause 3′s advanced boat simulations. …


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Marvel Puzzle Quest Arrives Without Free To Play Model Today

Marvel Puzzle Quest has been a mobile hit, where it’s been free-to-play since launch. As we reported earlier this month, the console release is going to shift to a premium model. It arrives today.

The $ 14.99 base game will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 today. The Xbox 360 version appears to be available now, the PlayStation versions are not posted as of writing. An Xbox One version is also planned and may simply not be available on the marketplace yet.

Additionally, there are two DLC story lines. One features the Hulk, as the Dark Avengers attempt to recruit him. Purchasing the Science Friction DLC gets you Punisher. Completing it on Hard lets you add Hulk to your team.

The other stars Deadpool, in The Case of the Cold Chimichangas. Purchasing it gets you Doctor Octopus. Completing on Hard gives you Deadpool.

Each of the DLC packs will cost you $ 3.99. We'll update as we learn about the Xbox One version release.

Update: Publisher D3 has confirmed that the Xbox One version will be arriving later this year. No release date has been announced.

 

Our Take
I'm a big fan of the Puzzle Quest series, and the free-to-play mechanics here have put me off this installment. I'm looking forward to playing this without the microtransactions. 

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30 day PlayStation Now subscription model arrives in the UK

Sony has introduced a new 30 day subscription model to its PlayStation Now streaming service in the UK. …


Gamasutra News

Opinion – The Witcher 3′s Side Content Should Be A Model For All Open World Games

If all games were like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I’d be in a lot of trouble. For the last several months I’ve been staying up late, sacrificing time with my friends and loved ones, and even shirking my household responsibilities in order to play this massive game. I would hate the game for consuming my time if I didn’t love it so much. Part of the problem is that The Witcher 3 can take upwards of 160 hours to complete. Another part of the problem is that most of those 160 hours are composed of compelling content that I actually want to experience. Whereas most massive open-world games pack in a lot of side content that's about as interesting as styrofoam, The Witcher 3’s “filler” content has just as much meat on its bones as the main campaign. I'm worried that upcoming games like Fallout 4 have a lot to live up to now.

The argument over game length is an old one. There are many opinions about the perfect length for a game, but every gamer has different needs. Some gamers – usually those who are younger and have a lot of free time – are eager to sink their teeth into a game with a nearly limitless amount of content. Meanwhile, gamers with less free time and more disposable income are more keen to pay for games that deliver a powerful experience with a shorter time commitment. 

For the last several years, I’ve sided with the latter group. Video games have always been a hobby of mine, and I spend the majority of my free time playing games, but there are a lot of games I want to play, and it's hard to get to them all while balancing my other responsibilities and relationships.

I don’t think I’m the only one with this dilemma; a recent study from CNN showed that less than 10 percent of people who played Red Dead Redemption actually finished it. There are probably a lot of reasons why people petered out on Rockstar's acclaimed western game, but I suspect that its massive play time was one of the primary factors. This is unfortunate, because Red Dead Redemption is one of the most beloved games of last generation – praised for its gameplay, characters, and atmosphere. It’s sad that most of the people who paid for it never even reach one of the most rewarding endings in video games.


Just one of The Witcher 3's massive landscapes

And sometimes it seems like games are only getting bigger. News recently circulated that Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout 4 could have as much as 400 hours worth of content. Even if that number is complete marketing fluff, 400 hours is an incredible amount of time to spend with any piece of content. Few other forms of media require as much devotion as massive open world games. Four hundred hours is an incredibly valuable amount of time; in that same period you could watch around 200 films, or read literary classics like War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, Lord of the Rings, and the entire Harry Potter series – and still have time left to watch their film adaptations (based on average reading times). Of course, how you spend your time is entirely up to you, but I sometimes it doesn't feel fair for developers to ask their fans to spend that much time with one piece of media.

The real problem is that a game's length isn't always equal to its worth. Many lengthy games use cheap collect-a-thon side quest or repetitive game design to artificially lengthen the experience. I remember growing particularly frustrated with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword while collecting fairy tears and other worthless doodads – which were part of the main quest – just so I could get to the next dungeon. These frustrating game design sequences irritate me not only because games are supposed to be fun, but because games are designed to be compelling. They meet our emotional needs, which encourages us to play more of them, so it feels like a bit of a betrayal when that content isn’t meaningful. If you've ever had trouble tearing yourself away from a game, it’s probably because that game was designed to make you want to keep playing it. Sometimes long games pray on our internal desires to collect, conquer, and feel competent. 

This is why I love what CD Projekt Red has done with The Witcher 3. Most of its side quests are connected to bits of story or action sequences that would normally be at home in a game’s main storyline. There are side characters and stories in the Witcher 3 that pull at my heartstrings and inspire my imagination. Many side quests are intimately connected to character from the main storyline – to the point where ignoring some of these quests will actually effect the main quest. Simple monster-hunting quests usually bore me, but in the Witcher 3,  these quests are usually connected to an interesting dramatic sequence
or other piece of monster lore that’s actually worth reading. I feel like the developers at CD Projekt Red actually value my time, want me to enjoy every minute I spent with their game, and aren't just trying to artificially inflate their game clock to appease gamers who have a lot of time to kill. I don't want to go back to collecting random cave troll hides, I want all future open-world games to follow this model.

The Witcher 3’s side content reminds me why I enjoy spending my free time playing games in the first place. Video games are an impressive form of modern craftsmanship. They can inspire us. They can take us to new worlds. Sometimes they even push us out of our comfort zones, teach us something about our world, or force us to look at society from a new perspective. So if games are going to remain one of the longest forms of entertainment, then I hope they continue to rise to meat those expectations. And any game that can do all of these things will easily justify 400 hours worth of my attention.

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