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Polish Developer The Farm 51 Working On VR Chernobyl Documentary

Virtual reality has the capacity to transport us to distant planets and fantasy worlds born of imagination. The technology also holds the power of education and discovery when turned inward. Polish studio The Farm 51 is working on a project based on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that will meld documentary filmmaking and gaming.

In order to capture the images needed for the clearly named Chernobyl VR Project, The Farm 51 obtained special scientific access in order to enter the Exclusion Zone and travel to the rarely-visited city of Pripyat located close by. There, the team took high resolution photos over dozens of hours to help capture the finer details, including peeling paint and rust.

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The resulting images have been scanned and imported to create a 3D world that most of us would never be able to experience first-hand in real life. The Chernobyl VR Project will have a narrative arc that places players in the role of a documentarian. With the help of a survivor, you’ll explore the ruins.

The Chernobyl VR Project is planned for Rift, PlayStation VR, Vive, and Gear VR. No release window has been specified. 


Our Take
Chernobyl VR Project represents the potential of virtual tourism and intimate narratives of which the upcoming immersive technologies are capable. I’m eager to see how this comes together. – The Feed

Working Minecraft smartphone lets players send video calls in-game

Verizon has created a Minecraft phone that can connect to the real world, letting players browse the internet, send texts, and even make video calls from within the game. …

Gamasutra News

Sony Confirms It’s Working On PS2 Emulation On PS4

Update: Sony isn't ready to talk about its PS2 game emulation, but it is working on it.

Sony sent us this official comment: "We are working on utilizing PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games forward to the current generation. We have nothing further to comment at this point in time."

Original Story: The Star Wars Battlefront PS4 hardware bundle launched a few days ago, giving players a Darth Vader-emblazoned console, a specially colored controller, and a copy of the game. It also included a voucher to download several older Star Wars games, perhaps inadvertently opening a window to Sony’s future emulation plans.

Digital Foundry noticed that several of those retro games – Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter – are running via emulation. That’s of particular interest to fans of the PlayStation 2 era, since the PlayStation 4 hasn’t supported emulation from that generation or the original PlayStation.

Wired got an official statement from Sony, which confirmed the news but declined to elaborate further at this time. 

There’s no word yet on what exactly this means for PlayStation 4, however, it’s unlikely that the company is going the same route as Microsoft. Sony already has its own PlayStation Now subscription service in place, and it wouldn’t make sense to devalue it by allowing consumers to access older games by popping them into their consoles. Instead, it’s likely that players will be able to eventually stream select PS2 games on the service or purchase downloads for older games via the PlayStation Store. 

[Sources: Digital Foundry, Wired]


Our Take
I like the idea of backward compatibility more than I do the idea of actually sitting down and playing older games, especially since my backlog of current titles doesn’t seem to be shrinking. It’s always nice to have options though, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Sony applied cross-buy ownership or promotional pricing for people who have already purchased PS2 classics on their PS3s. – The Feed

Electronic Arts Working On Assassin’s Creed-Style Game With Jade Raymond

EA continues to grow its influence across genres, building a stable of studios and wholly owned properties. The acquisition of DICE in 2006 delivered one of the biggest shooters. BioWare in 2007 gave the company solid RPG offerings. PopCap, purchased in 2011, gave EA a foothold in mobile. Most recently though, the publisher has decided to build rather than buy.

The company announced the hire of Jade Raymond, former producer on the Assassin’s Creed series, in July of this year. She’s heading up the new Motive studio, and now we have an idea of what she’s working on (in addition to helping guide Amy Hennig’s Star Wars game).

Speaking at the UBS Technology Conference yesterday, EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen spoke briefly about Raymond’s project. "We’ve never really operated in the largest genre of gaming," he says. "That’s the action genre. That’s the Assassin’s Creed style of games, more open world, more single play versus multiplayer. It’s not been an area we’ve operated in. We recently hired Jade Raymond, who was behind the Assassin’s Creed series for Ubisoft. She’s going to be building an action genre for us."

While that doesn't mean that Raymond is working on an Assassin's Creed clone, it does indicate that EA has her focusing on open world and single player style of action. This deviates from EA's more traditional focus on connected experiences with deep multiplayer components, like Need for Speed, Battlefield, and the slate of sports games.

[Source: UBS via Eurogamer]


Our Take
EA has typically published non-shooter action games from third-party studios. Bringing Raymond in, giving her own studio, and letter her do what she knows is a smart decision. EA has done a solid job of building major IPs that have perennial value. While we might not see whatever this new series is every year (like Ubisoft does with Assassin's Creed), this is a long-term investment in the future. – The Feed

Night Dive Working On System Shock Remake After Acquiring Series Rights

Night Dive, the developer who brought an enhanced version of System Shock (shown) to classic game retailer GoG earlier this year, has acquired the rights to the System Shock franchise and has started work on a remake of the original title.

According to a Fast Company interview with Night Dive CEO Stephen Kick, the developer is working with System Shock concept artist Robert Waters on the revival of the classic – which Kick says the company hopes to bring to console at some point.

Apart from the System Shock remake, Night Dive is hopeful it can make a System Shock 3 in the future, although that would require the assistance of an outside company.

[Source: Fast Company]


Our Take
Kudos to the effort Kick and company put into tracking down the rights to the franchise; an excellent example of fans rescuing a franchise that might otherwise lay dormant in the archives of a larger company. – The Feed

Working time among video game developers: Trends over 2004-14

A decade of research into the amount of time developers really work, culled from surveys given to game developers and crunched by academics who know the subject intimately. …

Gamasutra News

Harmonix ‘Working Hard’ To Resolve Reported Issues With Rock Band 4

Following the launch of Rock Band 4, there have been several players reporting issues with getting their downloadable content over to the new systems, as well as some who have voiced concerns over issues with instrument compatibility. We reached out to Harmonix to ask the developer to comment on the issues reported by its player-base.

"The Rock Band experience is as important to Harmonix as it is to our players," a Harmonix spokesperson says in a statement provided to Game Informer. "We are passionate about Rock Band, and we'll support it with bug fixes and feature updates for years to come. We're working hard to identify and address the problems that players are reporting, and in most cases we are able to resolve them quickly. We care very much about the small number of players who have reported issues with both Rock Band 4 hardware and software, and we're fixing those problems. We encourage players to visit our FAQ at and to submit a ticket here so we can work directly with each individual to resolve their specific problem."

Even though there are issues in certain parts of the game, the Rock Band 4 launch hasn't been the launch-day disaster that other games have been in the past. Still, Harmonix does acknowledge that some problems exist and that it is working to resolve them as quickly as possible. "Almost everything works right now, and we're committed to making EVERYTHING work," the spokesperson says in the statement. "We're fixing everything right now in the cases where there are issues. We appreciate fans letting us know of any issues they see, we're working to take care of it."

Rock Band 4 launched on Tuesday, October 6. If you'd like to learn more about Rock Band 4, you can read Matt Miller's review here.


Our Take
I've played a decent amount of Rock Band 4 since its launch this week, and I haven't had any instrument compatibility issues using the Rock Band 4 legacy adapter on my Xbox One. However, I have experienced some problems getting my downloadable content entitlements to show up, meaning that some of the DLC I've paid for on Xbox 360 is not showing up as free to download on my Xbox One. Outside of that, the technical problems I've faced have been very few and far between. Still, for those who are encountering problems, it's good to know that Harmonix is on the case. – The Feed

Criterion Founders Working On Burnout Spiritual Successor

In March 2014, Criterion founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry announced the opening of their new studio, Three Fields Entertainment. Today, we’ve learned of two projects under development, with one certain to make racing fans happy.

In a series of tweets today, the studio opened up about what we can expect. Yes, we're going to get another chance to cause terrible traffic accidents again.

Since then, the studio has been fielding “votes” from fans about which of the Burnout games the studio should be using as a model. It’s been seven years since the last title in the series, the open world Burnout Paradise (which is being worked on for Xbox One backward compatibility).

Given the timing, we probably won’t see Three Fields’ driving game until 2017. What’s another couple of years when we’ve waited this long already?

As for Criterion, its next game was introduced in early form at E3 2014. The game will feature vehicles on air, land, and sea, but it was a no-show at events this year. Alex Ward tells us the project began development nine months prior to his and Sperry's departure.

Note: Alex Ward reached out to clarify the timing of Criterion's in-development project as it relates to his and Fiona Sperry's departure from the studio. The story has been updated to reflect as such.

[Source: Three Fields Entertainment on Twitter (1), (2)]


Our Take
I’m not a big fan of racing games, but Burnout has always been the exception. Bring it on. – The Feed

Lionsgate Is Working On A Borderlands Movie

Fans of Gearbox's manic, gun-obsessed world have a new
project to look forward to.

Variety reports that Lionsgate has acquired the rights to
Borderlands and is working on a film with father-son producing combo Avi and
Ari Arad. The duo has extensive experience working on comic-book movies including
Iron Man, Spider-Man, and X-Men.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says the
partnership is "…ideally positioned to create a bold, provocative,
no-holds-barred motion picture phenomenon that will delight Borderlands current
legions of fans and captivate moviegoers around the world."

No other information or timeline has been given.

[Source: Variety]


Our Take
Borderlands isn't the most outlandish video game IP to adapt into a film (we're looking at you, Minecraft), but it does have some hurdles. The movie will have to differentiate itself from Mad Max (an obvious inspiration for the series), come up with a more-interesting storyline, and figure out how to translate the bombastic action and comic-book aesthetic into (what I'm assuming is) live-action. None of those challenges are impossible to overcome, but given the inherent difficulty of adapting games to film, it won't be an easy task. – The Feed

[Update] Sony Working To Re-enable Until Dawn Twitch Stream Archives Coming From PlayStation 4

Update: Sony has offered a statement regarding the inability to archive twitch streams of Until Dawn broadcasted from PlayStation 4s.

Sony says Until Dawn's Twitch archiving was deactivated by mistake and should not be an issue soon. Here's the statement from Sony:

We are currently working on a fix that will enable archiving of Until Dawn Twitch streams as this feature was unintentionally disabled. We are humbled by the community reception of the game and are excited to see fans sharing experiences on Twitch and YouTube. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide an update as soon as the issue has been resolved.

Original story published August 26, 7:28 p.m.:

According to Twitch, Sony is blocking PlayStation 4 Twitch stream archiving of Until Dawn.

It's unclear exactly why Twitch stream archives of Until Dawn are being blocked, but we've reached out to Sony for more details. It appears to only be archives coming from streamers who are broadcasting directly from their PlayStation 4s using the built-in Twitch app. For example, the archive of our Until Dawn stream, where we played the game through to completion, is available to watch online here. Note that it is broken into a few chunks. Our stream was not broadcasted through the PlayStation 4's built-in Twitch app.

As previously mentioned, we've reached out to Sony for more details and will update this story when if and we receive them.

[Source: @TwitchSupport, via NeoGAF, Kotaku]


Our Take
My assumption is that if Sony is actively blocking archiving of this game, it's because it wants people to experience the game live, as opposed to watching a rebroadcast. It's a game that benefits from live play – lots of jump scares, lots of important decisions that affect the fates of the characters. Despite that though, it still seems odd to go out of the way to prevent people from seeing the game played in an archive. – The Feed