Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Rocket League Sales At 10.5 Million, No Sequel On The Way

Rocket League continues to sell like hotcakes, and its frequent updates have allowed it to maintain a steady life with many of its players. Those updates, as well as the high concurrent playerbase are also why we may not see a sequel for a long time.

Speaking with Youtube channel Kinda Funny Games, developer Psyonix Vice President Jeremy Dunham said that the game has sold 10.5 million copies, with almost 29 million registered players (this includes PlayStation Plus sales and split-screen players who may not have bought the game). Seven million of those players played last month, according to Dunham.

Speaking on the topic of a sequel, Dunham said they're hesitant due to the way a sequel could split the playerbase. ""Why would we want to take this huge community that we've already built, that's still growing, and say, 'What you're playing now is going to be irrelevant in 12 months," Dunham said. "Our goal was to keep making Rocket League better and better so that we don't lose any of the people that want to play." Dunham said the developer is still looking at new features and ways to improve Rocket League well into the future.

 

Our Take
I have to imagine a few people around the office here are bummed they won't be playing a new Rocket League soon, but the current one should be good enough to console them. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Rumor: Retailer Leaks Shadow Of Mordor Sequel ‘Shadow Of War’

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor was one of the early bright spots of the current round of consoles, showcasing impressive new tech alongside an intricate Nemesis system. WB Games has been quiet about a sequel to the game for some time, but Target may have leaked the first bits of info on the sequel.

The retailer currently shows a listing for "Middle Earth: Shadow Of War" alongside a two different box art images: one for the standard edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and one for the "Gold" edition of the game for both aforementioned platforms. No PC listings are shown, but that could be because the retailer is choosing not to stock that version of the game, and not because there is no PC version in the works.

Taking a look at Target's item description for the game, we get a few details about the game itself (assuming, again, this is legitimate). The Gold edition of the game seems to include several expansions, including the addition of two tribes to the Nemesis system, as well as two story expansions. All of these expansions include new weapons, missions, followers (likely a reference to the first game's ability to control enemy minions), enemies, abilities, and other bonuses.

As for plot, the standard edition's listing is as follows:

"Go behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer Fortresses and dominate Mordor from within. Experience how the award winning Nemesis System creates unique personal stories with every enemy and follower, and confront the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his Ringwraiths in this epic new story of Middle-earth."

Finally, the listings for both versions have the game's release date as August 22 of this year.

[Source: Target via NickChevalier on Twitter]

 

Our Take
Normally a retailer listing isn't too big a deal when it comes to confirmations, but this one seems more substantial. The box art looks fairly authentic, and we weren't sure of a name until now. The release date is also more specific than the "Dec 31" retailers tend to use as a placeholder. Unless there's a rogue agent at Target trying to mess with the collective internet, odds seem pretty high on this being real.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Splatoon 2 Doesn’t Feel Like A Sequel Yet, But It’s Fun

Last night’s announcement of Splatoon 2 was a surprise. I, and the
collective Internet, thought Splatoon’s Switch presence would be a port
of the original game with some added bonuses, but Nintendo is going
full-on sequel for the follow-up. At Nintendo’s Switch event, I was able to play two rounds of the new game.

We didn't get a lot of detail about the game’s campaign. Even questions as simple as, “Will
there be a campaign?” went unanswered by Nintendo’s representatives,
but I was able to play two multiplayer matches using the Switch in in
its portable mode. Local multiplayer will be an option this way, so
wi-fi will not be required to play with friends nearby.

For the first match I use the new weapon, the Splat Dualies, which lets you dual-wield a pair of paint-pistols. After painting enough ground, I activate my special ability, which shot me up into the air with a Super Mario Sunshine-style paint-fueled jetpack. As I floated over the battlefield, I shot down giant globs of paint until the ability ran out.

For the second round, I went for a personal favorite, the roller. It felt basically the same with a special ability that let me slam down a giant circle of paint.

You still have the option to fly directly to your teammates after dying, but now you don't necessarily have to touch the screen as your teammates are assigned d-pad buttons, which you can use to zip to them without having to remove your fingers from the buttons.

Splatoon 2 feels very similar to its predecessor, and doesn't look dramatically different, but it is still a lot of fun, and the prospect of having a full Splatoon experience playable as a mobile game title is exciting. Splatoon 2 will be available on Nintendo Switch in the first half of 2017.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

How do you make the sequel to Frog Fractions? Like this

“Start with a dumb idea, then grow it based on feedback, relying on what my personal fun/funny considers the obvious next move,” Frog Fractions creator Jim Crawford tells Kill Screen. …


Gamasutra News

The Last of Us co-director Bruce Straley stepping back for sequel

The Last of Us co-director Neil Druckmann will be the sole lead on the recently announced follow-up, The Last of Us Part II.  …


Gamasutra News

Swapnote Sequel Swapdoodle Available Now On The 3DS eShop

Nikki is coming back to help you draw silly doodles to send to your friends. This adorable messaging app is free-to-start, with lessons to draw Nintendo characters starting at $ 2.99.

Swapdoodle will let you send hand drawn doodles to people on your friends list through Spotpass. Writing more notes unlocked additional backgrounds in Swapnote, though it's uncertain if that will return here.

Nintendo used Swapnote for a variety of promotions in the past, with Miis of Reggie Fils-Aimé, Eiji Aonuma, and Shigeru Miyamoto visiting to deliver messages like they do in Streetpass Plaza. The service was shut down in 2013 as some users circulated explicit content with the software.

You can check out a trailer for Swapdoodle below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

 

Our Take
It's awesome to see the return of Nintendo's adorable messaging app. The drawing lessons should be great for anyone who wants to learn, though hopefully this service won't be shut down for the same reasons as last time.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Reader Discussion – Would You Play A Jade Empire Sequel?

Mass Effect Andromeda is the big news today. However, let's talk about another Bioware game, yeah? Fellow editor Matt Bertz recently compiled an oral history of the company (which you can read the full version of in our latest issue) and one of the biggest stories to emerge from that was Bioware's attempts to make a sequel to Jade Empire. The developer canned the project to focus on what would eventually become Dragon Age and Mass Effect. 

However, BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw said that "Jade as a sequel is never dead," which means that the studio isn't opposed to creating a sequel. One day. Maybe.

The question then is would you play it? I know I would. Jade Empire is without a doubt the funkiest, and strangest of Bioware's entire catalog. However, it's also one of the most creative titles in a line of rich games. I'd love to see a sequel in the Frostbite engine. 

What about you?

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Where’s My Sequel? – Dead Space

Dead Space led EA’s 2008 charge to create new and innovative games to combat the perception that the company was solely focused on annualized, exploitable franchises. Dead Space was a critical darling, and it was successful enough to spawn two sequels and multiple spin-offs. The series has been MIA since Dead Space 3’s release in 2013, but now would be the perfect time for Dead Space to make a comeback.

What It Is
The first Dead Space is a fusion of many iconic horror and science-fiction films and games blended into one package. It’s a poster child for the phrase “better than the sum of its parts,” because it knows how to balance and blend its inspirations and original ideas. Sending an inept band of characters to a derelict ship with an unknown threat is undeniably pulled from Alien and Event Horizon, but it’s also surrounded with a ton of original lore that give it its own flavor. Shooting is reminiscent of Resident Evil 4, but affords you the extra mobility needed for agile enemies. Necromorphs were faster foes in addition to being an interesting twist on the classic zombie formula. Killing Necromorphs took more than just a well-placed headshot too and opened the door for “strategic dismemberment,” which forces players to carefully aim at limbs and not spray wildly.

Dead Space 2 took the baton from its predecessor and improved almost every aspect. Enemies were more varied, controls were snappier, Isaac evolved into a deeper character, and the game’s visuals were noticeably upgraded. Dead Space 2 had more of an action tilt but it worked in the game’s favor since the explosive moments were paced out well enough to make the horror more effective. All of this made Dead Space the fresh new series that we needed in the early years of the last hardware generation.

When It Stopped
Dead Space’s abrupt end coincided with Dead Space 3’s weak commercial and critical reception in 2013, despite Game Informer’s praiseworthy review. Just before release, EA added pressure to the series by setting high sales expectations for Dead Space 3. Former EA Labels President Frank Gibeau told CVG (in an interview that has since been taken offline) that the game needed to sell five million copies for EA to “continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space.”

Trouble brewed post-release when an unnamed source told VideoGamer.com that EA allegedly shut down Dead Space 4 prototypes at the now-closed Visceral Montreal after Dead Space 3 failed to meet its sales expectations (which has been disputed by some EA employees). After initially declining to comment on this report, EA came out after the story was published to say, “While we have not announced sales for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and the franchise remains an important IP to EA.”

It’s difficult to tell if the IP was important to EA given the company’s refusal to use it. Lower review scores, lofty sales expectations, Dead Space 4’s supposed cancellation, and Visceral moving on to develop Battlefield Hardline paints enough of a picture to show plausible reasons why Dead Space has gone on a hiatus.

What Comes Next
Like a corpse turning into a Necromorph, Dead Space may be resurrected one day. While the sincerity of EA’s commitment to Dead Space may be questionable, it gave Mirror’s Edge – another underperforming franchise that released the same year as Dead Space – one more chance, albeit eight years later. While Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’s quality shouldn’t set a precedent for Dead Space, its position as a prequel and reboot should. This makes the most sense since the ending to Dead Space 3’s DLC, Awakened, doesn’t leave much room for a true sequel.

Dead Space needs to recapture the mystery, horror, and sense of isolation that held up the first two entries, something only a reboot could accomplish. This means a new Dead Space has to be a purely solo experience that shifts the focus back to creeping tension and creative jump scares. Cramped, dimly lit environments that are foreign to the character would be essential for evoking the necessary amount of dread. Being stranded in a broken down, alien territory is where all horror thrives and a new setting would have to tap into that. A deserted facility or spaceship is the easy, sensible answer, but there are plenty of different locations that could elicit the necessary fear of isolation, darkness, and narrow hallways.

Going back to horror shouldn’t mean abandoning the shooting. In fact, the series needs to revisit and enhance its strategic dismemberment mechanic. Carefully popping off limbs should be expanded on to better reward players with hitting specific weak spots along with clever ways to punish inaccurate shots. New Necromorphs should have unique limb structures to take advantage of these improvements, which would also go hand in hand with creating a new sense of mystery. Shuffling through dark, desolate halls with unfamiliar threats lurking in the vents would retain the tension that made the first two games so fantastic.

A new protagonist would be an essential part of establishing a sense of horror in the future. Isaac had a good arc in the first two games. He went from scared engineer to traumatized monster expert to overcoming his fear, but he began to stagnate by the third entry. A new character should mirror some of Isaac’s traits but break out in ways to keep the character from being a clone. Like the best horror protagonists, their profession should add something to the character and reflect inexperience in combat. Being an engineer made Isaac an amateur soldier but gave him insight into how to fix things and mechanically approach situations. The new protagonist could be a scientist, doctor, firefighter, or mechanic; all backgrounds with little to no weapon experience but all containing skills that could influence the mechanics and the character’s personality.

Their motivation should also take influence from Isaac and change up the details. Isaac’s reason for visiting the USG Ishimura – the mining ship from the first game – was twofold: to see his girlfriend who was stationed aboard the ship and fix any mechanical issues. His personal and non-personal stakes in the mission should be reflected in a new protagonist and work in parallel to their profession. A doctor could be visiting a soon-to-be-infected ship to tend to the patients and their sick parents while a mechanic could be fixing escape pods for the stranded citizens while ensuring their family safely escapes as well. Horror stories thrive off personal investment because you have to care about the character in order to care about the character’s survival. A Dead Space reboot would be wise to use Isaac’s dual motivations as an inspiration.

Dead Space had a good initial run but Dead Space 3 is not how the series should be remembered. It should be remembered for how it started: a refreshing take on the action-horror genre. It came out in 2008 when that genre needed a new shake up, and 2016 is in a similar situation.

For more hopeful sequel wishes, check out the Where's My Sequel? for Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Psychonauts, and Grim Fandango.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Reader Discussion – Would You Play A Jade Empire Sequel?

Mass Effect Andromeda is the big news today. However, let's talk about another Bioware game, yeah? Fellow editor Matt Bertz recently compiled an oral history of the company (which you can read the full version of in our latest issue) and one of the biggest stories to emerge from that was Bioware's attempts to make a sequel to Jade Empire. The developer canned the project to focus on what would eventually become Dragon Age and Mass Effect. 

However, BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw said that "Jade as a sequel is never dead," which means that the studio isn't opposed to creating a sequel. One day. Maybe.

The question then is would you play it? I know I would. Jade Empire is without a doubt the funkiest, and strangest of Bioware's entire catalog. However, it's also one of the most creative titles in a line of rich games. I'd love to see a sequel in the Frostbite engine. 

What about you?

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

BioWare: Jade Empire Sequel Is “Never Dead”

Back in 2005 BioWare released Jade Empire, its first video game not tied to a pre-existing license since its debut game, Shattered Steel. The martial arts action/RPG was unlike any other RPG at the time, and garnered strong critical praise. Game Informer's Matthew Kato scored it a 9.5, saying "this game proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the company is more than capable of standing on its own two feet." But instead of receiving a direct sequel, the franchise stayed frozen as if it were hit with a vicious blow from a master of the Paralyzing Palm style. 

That's not to say BioWare didn't try to make a sequel. A small team tried several different approaches to improve the combat and take the franchise in a new direction. But by the time they landed on a workable idea, studio heads Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk made the tough call to shut down the project to focus resources on its upcoming fantasy and sci-fi offerings, which became the successful Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. More than 15 years later, the desire return to Jade Empire still burns brightly in some of those who worked on the original.  

"Jade as a sequel is never dead," said BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw, who worked as a lead writer on the original.

"There are a lot of people still at the studio who worked on that game and want to get back to it," said BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn. "I think one of the advantages to getting back to it after a long time is not only nostalgia is a very powerful feeling in people, but skipping a generation of hardware is actually really exciting because it feels like it's not an evolution. It's a revolution of what you can do, and I think that's the kind of thing that brings people. What if we were to revolutionize Jade Empire and brought it back in that regard? That's the kind of talk that still happens around the studio."

To read more about Jade Empire and the rest of BioWare's rich past, check out the 16-page "Dungeons & Doctors" oral history in the latest issue of Game InformerPrint subscribers should see their issues arriving in the next week or two, but it will be available later today if you subscribe digitally (available on PC/MaciPadAndroid, and Google Play). You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on NookKindle, and Zinio starting tomorrow. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here. To create a new subscription to the digital edition, click here.

Our Take 
Jade Empire may not have met the financial goals BioWare set for the project, but the vibrant world begged for a sequel. Here's to hoping one day the studio returns to the martial arts setting.  

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed