All posts by Jon Ireson

Pre-E3 2018: Fallout 76 Revealed by Bethesda Game Studios

After teasing players with a 24 hour troll stream that contained a bobble-head posed in various positions, Bethesda Game Studios finally revealed a short but sweet clip exposing to the world a brand new game they’ve been working on in-house. Fallout 76 is the name of this game which takes place in Vault 76 from the lore of the Fallout universe. Not much is known about this game yet, with further details being promised by Bethesda to be shown during E3 2018 in their own showcase at 6:30 PM Pacific Time on June 10th. But the mystery has intrigued press and fans who are gleaning every bit of information and speculation possible, already painting a picture of what Fallout 76 could be.

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World War 3 is the next big online game promising no loot boxes, no pay to win elements

The Farm 51, makers of 2017’s Get Even on PS4 / XO, have come up with a modern military shooter for the online multiplayer hardcore gamers who are unsatisfied with mainstream offerings as well as titles that try to be different just for the sake of doing so. Instead, this team of developers who have been playing FPS games since the golden days of titles like Battlefield 1942, Soldier of Fortune, Operation Flashpoint, and the original Rainbow Six have brought the genre back to its roots.

With focus on bullet collision accuracy, claiming the the most authentic gun versus armor system to date, there’s also enhancements being made to the classic skill-based FPS formula. While Get Even sought to bring a cinematic flair to a unique experience with thrilling action elements, World War 3 will instead go head first diving into what makes online shooters great.

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Sony outlines PlayStation’s future and trends in the video game industry

Recent events in which Sony revealed more information including investor relations meetings in Japan have had a few inappropriate but understandable reactions and this article aims to address some of these industry talking points from a market research angle. While many have taken the most honest statement from Sony out of context and ran with it, the fears of its PlayStation brand being put to rest ahead of schedule are largely unfounded and the product of a general misunderstanding of the strategies that were discussed in these meetings.

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Shin Megami Tensei Liberation DX2 still accepting registrations for upcoming closed beta testing

While waiting for Shin Megami Tensei HD (the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch title thought to be a remake of the original SMT) revealed recently at Sakura Con to be in development, fans have a chance at participating in Shin Megami Tensei Liberation DX2 for the western audience on Android and iOS platforms this summer.

The Japanese version has already been available for some time, and those who have been using VPN services to play the game have reported it’s an excellent offering for fans of Persona and SMT series, harking back to the Devil Summoner themes of the franchise.

As an added bonus, anyone who signs up and engages in the beta testing period will be able to have their progress carried over into the full game when it releases. Also, upon launch of the worldwide version of Liberation DX2 augmented reality mechanics will be added to the game. Although not limited to this, part of the AR features planned includes summoning demons in the real world.

For those who are new to the franchise, SMT is related to Persona and vice-versa in some tricky ways that are hard to explain. Western crowds haven’t been able to get their hands on the full library of SMT titles, but that may be about to change soon. They are all various RPG games rooted in a unique and fascinating universe in which demons are summoned and utilized in a battle against an impending judgement day dooming mankind. Some of the major plot lines can also be found in the 2013 anime Devil Survivor 2 based on the Nintendo DS title of the same name from the SMT series.

In recent years, SEGA and Atlus have been working together tirelessly on the both SMT and Persona franchises with a 300 person staff for years, and look to bring the DX2 project full-scale this year with English language option, a full-length story mode, and more. For more information check out the Official SMT: Liberation DX2 Facebook Page and if you have a compatible device be sure to to sign up for the Closed Beta which begins in June 2018.

Dragalia Lost, a new Japanese RPG by Nintendo, releases in Asia this summer

In a genuine effort to expand their video games library beyond proprietary hardware and enlarge their software business, Nintendo will launch a New IP to the Asian mobile market this summer. With real-time combat and a continually updated set of dragons with detailed backstory, Dragalia Lost looks to create something different than other mobile games.

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A Moment Of Silence Is Requested ~ We Mourn TotalBiscuit

Last Thursday a tragedy occurred as the world lost the #1 PC Gaming Critic John (TotalBiscuit) Bain who is survived by his brilliant wife and CEO of CynicalBrit, Genna Bain as well as their child and pets. His bravery to continue forward as the provider for his family and a powerful voice for pro-consumer industry standards in the all too often hostile and cruel video games business in the face of terminal illness has been an inspiration to many journalists, critics, and gamers for a long time.

John was open with his audience about suffering from colon cancer for many years which became resistant to all forms of chemotherapy last month during which time the disease had spread to his liver and disqualified him from other treatment options. Sadly, we all knew this day would come – although many of us thought there’d be so much more time left until it happened.

Firstly, we’d like to share some of TotalBiscuit’s messages to the world of video games over the coming years, and hope that *if* Genna Bain decides to continue the Co-Optional Podcast, TB’s views will continue to be represented by the likes of Jesse Cox and Dodger who were essentially his band-mates in a show that has held comradery with pro-consumer topics in video games for some time now.

TotalBiscuit himself has been known for standing up against censorship, false flagging attacks, online harassment, pre-order culture, pay to win micro-transactions, unfinished games, the inability to get digital game refunds (until recently) and a hell of a lot more. Anyone who has missed out on his content, his voice lives on. Over 2 million subscribers and a 2014 Trending Gamer of the Year Award can’t be wrong, check him out HERE. Some seriously deep messages that challenge and add to gamer philosophy and the culture of our business are contained in his videos in addition to tons of fun, light-hearted laughs, and highly expertise PC Gaming critique. I will seriously miss him as a critic and fan.

Secondly, we’d like to ask that those who had something against the gaming critic allow the fans, families, and friends of TotalBiscuit who have been affected by his loss to have a moment of silence and grieve. There have been a number of indiscretions made in light of this tragic event in which the name of a loved critic who has passed on has been invoked with negativity. One ex-Bioware developer, one current Bioware developer, and several developers at Blizzard, Treyarch, and Hello Games will have to live with their actions of speaking ill of the deceased simply because they cannot handle criticism of their work.

Fans, please leave those people alone and don’t harass these game devs who have abused their voice. Instead let’s all share our favorite TB moments over the coming years and let his lessons on the industry rise above the petty squabbles of critics versus executive old guard. Also, let’s all just keep the politics out of this and focus on the video games!

Devs, please don’t become one of those regrettable individuals and instead choose to say nothing at all. If you’re proud of the games you’ve made, let the games speak for themselves and let the critics have their own space. At least, if you’re going to criticize a critic, do it while they’re still alive and not spitting on the grave of someone, since you wouldn’t want them to do that to you.

Sincerely,

Jon Ireson, RealGamerNewZ

Rest In Peace John (TotalBiscuit) Bain
Born: July 8, 1984
Diagnosed: March 23, 2014
Deceased: May 24, 2018
World of Warcraft Radio Host, StarCraft eSports Broadcaster, eSports Team Founder, Philanthropist, PC Gaming Critic, Gamer, Father, Husband, Son, and more.

Please take a moment to check out one or more of this small handful of highlights which only begins to represent the many contributions TotalBiscuit has made to the games industry:

Continue reading A Moment Of Silence Is Requested ~ We Mourn TotalBiscuit

New Arcade Game Halo: Fireteam Raven Launches Summer 2018

With fans beginning to crave a Halo title during the drought of a lifetime on the Xbox ONE S and X platforms, something unexpected was revealed by Microsoft and Play Mechanix who will publish Halo: Fireteam Raven exclusively in the Arcade this summer. Exactly when the game will launch is currently not specified, but a good amount of detail surrounding the gameplay itself has been shown.

With the promise that 343 Industries helped guide the concepts of Halo: Fireteam Raven, we are told that the game is being developed by a studio called Raw Thrills. Raw Thrills is an established developer of modern arcade games including Injustice Arcade. They’ve been around since 2006 and have brought in over 30 industry awards including revenue milestones, player choice awards, and even individual rewards such as the IGDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Eugene Jarvis who is the face of the company and has been making games since the days of Pinball, Atari, and Williams Electronics. Doesn’t thinking of that logo bring back good memories? He’s also the mind behind a lot of the Midway Games titles that flourished such as Cruis’n USA. Most recently Raw Thrills was awarded Play Meter’s Players Choice Award for Big Buck HD in 2015, so it would seem that Halo: Fireteam Raven is indeed in good hands.

So what’s it like?

Well, even though the title was just announced ten days ago, it does appear to be basically ready to ship. So thankfully, Microsoft has been rolling out plenty of proof-of-concept still images and even some slices of the gameplay experience itself.

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The Wolf Among Us Season Two Delayed, New Telltale Games Engine Inbound?

With a recent announcement centered around promises that their choose-your-own-adventure storytelling gameplay mechanics will be different next time around, it seems Telltale Games may soon introduce a new game engine for their titles. While the major criticism of the company behind titles like Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, and The Wolf Among Us has been the amount of titles they crank out and the lack of innovation from release to release, they’ve always found a large audience of folks who enjoy them.

The formula in which a casual, even relaxing gameplay session in one of their titles can provide has become a unique and new form of art that many gamers enjoy. The only problem is that the more Telltale Games you play the more the formula begins to break down and the fun is replaced with predictable boredom.

While most of the Telltale Games titles revolve around showcasing a licensed IP from another company in their gameplay formula, The Wolf Among Us instead presented an original world inspired the Fables comic books by Bill Willingham. Telltale Games has said that the game will be released in 2019 instead of the original 2018 planned release window. They’ve also said the delay enables “something truly special” to be crafted with promises to “experiment and iterate” as well as focus on quality.

While these could be exaggerations to appease an audience who is constantly being asked to deal with delays from the development studio that is known for biting off more than it can chew, this could also mean that they’ve finally listened to fan feedback and will debut a new game engine with either minor or major changes to the formula of Telltale Games going forward. Does that mean The Walking Dead: The Final Season will launch with the same old Telltale Games engine this year? We will have to wait and see.

Pre-E3 2018 Roundup: Sony’s ‘Deep Dive’ Strategy

With Xbox falling behind PlayStation in terms of exclusive games lineup and market presence, Sony has taken a different route than usual with this year’s E3 2018 showcase. The PlayStation 4 will be front and center with no new hardware being shown, and the focus being completely on four upcoming PS4 games that are exclusive and mainly being produced in a traditionally “first-party fashion”.

In this article we will discuss what to expect from Sony at this year’s E3 event and how you can watch it from home. The potential for surprises is always there, and game companies have often used misdirection in the past to catch us off guard. However, it does seem that Sony is serious about giving focus to quality over quantity with this year’s event.

It’s also important to remind readers that “in-game” or “gameplay” are heavily abused words in this industry. Just because something is said to be running “in-engine” or any other combination of such terms, it doesn’t mean that’s how the final game will actually look and perform on the console you own. It’s okay to get excited for games, but to avoid a huge letdown upon release, be sure to remember that promotional materials are often doctored up and while they do well to express the spirit of a game they aren’t able to show exactly what it’s like. False hype aside, enjoy the show!

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Entertainment Software Association president Mike Gallagher out of touch, defends loot box scandal

Perhaps one of the last holdouts on the notion that lootboxes aren’t gambling and are ‘A-Okay’, ESA Prez Mike Gallagher took it a step further at Nordic Game Conference at Malmö Central Station in Malmo, Sweden this previous week by championing the well-hated lootbox mechanic as a source of massive revenue increases. In a long-winded, inaccurate, dry speech given to attendees Gallagher argued that lootboxes never left players upset and never “took their money without giving them something”. Belittling government authorities that have banned lootboxes in video games such as Belgium and the Netherlands, Gallagher simply called these “the lowest common denominator” and sought out to discredit those bodies which have done the research and concluded their findings that lootboxes are dangerous items that will lead to long-term addiction and gambling problems for players of games which contain them.

Many journalists, gamers, and developers have often been on the side of self-regulation for the game industry, which Ghallager goes on to promote. However, the opening up of the conversation beginning with such an avid defense of lootboxes perhaps proves that the authorities currently in place to do such self-regulation can no longer be trusted to keep the best interest of gamers in mind. Gaming has always grown massively year over year, and without the help of predatory lootbox micro-transactions that cause addiction and gambling neural pathways to develop in the human brain. This attempt to combine fear of government regulation with defense of lootboxes proves that the ESA cannot be trusted as an ally to gamers anymore.

While a good amount of this mainly empty power-point presentation from Mike Ghallager argued against lootbox regulation, there were a few other strange anti-consumer points attempting to be made as well. Simply allowing predatory or poorly designed monetization systems to roll out in mainstream games then later be patched via feedback was trotted out as a worthy solution to the current problems of the industry. A label of “in-game purchases” that doesn’t specify lootboxes from micro-transactions or expansive downloadable content was also given as a reason why self-regulation is supposedly working. Video game addiction becoming a World Health Organization classification was brought up as well as USA’s research on the potential link between mass shootings and violent video games (which ultimately ended up undecided).

Ghallager attempted to paint the picture of an innocent game industry that did nothing wrong and was under attack by the big, bad wolf. In reality, Star Wars: Battlefront II destroyed the last remaining bit of belief gamers had in the industry to self-regulate and the ESA is now unable to defend itself against government regulation due to their refusal to hold EA Games and companies like it accountable for their misdeeds. In short, it has become impossible for the ESA to speak out against defamation of the games industry by the World Health Organization and be taken seriously since they have proven they are simply shills for large gaming corporations and don’t care about their own consumers’ well-being.

If Mike Gallagher truly believes the things he said on stage this week, then he’s part of the executive abuse of game developers and video game customers going on which is a plague on this industry. If he doesn’t believe the things he said, and is “just doing his job” as many claim, then he should resign to give some one with more spine a chance to stand up to the forces controlling the ESA through special interest funding deals designed to neuter their ability to represent real gamers.

Atelier Lydie & Suelle ~ The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings 1.01 Update Released in North America

The latest alchemy role playing game from development studio Gust recently received its first patch in North America. This 1.01 patch adds significant gameplay upgrades to the existing base game which we found to be very fun and addictive in our Launch Week Impressions of the PlayStation 4 Pro edition.

Update 1.01, which released in Japan some time back, adds in 3 new skills for each playable character, increases boss fight levels from 100 to 200, and most importantly allows players to level up to 100 instead of just 50 as most previous titles restricted the game to.

While some of the other features in future patches of the Japanese version of this game were already included in the title at launch, such as background music from past Atelier games, there is still expected to be more forthcoming content both for free and paid in regards to the game’s DLC path.

This is including, but not limited to; even more nostalgic music from the franchise, additional boss fights such as Sophie, Nights of Azure 2 crossover content, high end recipes, more exploration equipment, adding rare items to the game, a special merchant, more playable characters such as Lucia, more outfits including swimsuits, a secret recipe book containing various elements from past Atelier games, quests that can be used to grind/farm large amounts of XP or Coll, and more.

There’s even special events for characters, new areas, and powerful trinkets. Publishing house Koei Tecmo and development studio Gust have done a fantastic job of bringing over this localized version of the game to North America. And, even though there is no English dubbed version of the game, fans can rest assured that the Japanese voice acting has been paired with decent English subtitles.

Our full review is still on the way, as the game itself contains dozens upon dozens of hours of storyline content, side-quest content, and a generally open challenge for creating the best and most efficient alchemy recipes. Mysterious Paintings is a game that keeps on giving and is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, and Windows PC (via Steam).

John Marston Joins Arthur Morgan for New Red Dead Redemption 2 Story Trailer

Rockstar Games has released their third trailer for the upcoming open world game set in the wild, wild west. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to the PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 hit title Red Dead Redemption which released in May of 2010 after stealing the show at the E3 event of that respective year. It had one of the largest wrap-around lines I’ve ever seen for a behind-closed-doors showing of a game for which not much was known at the time.

In RDR 2 players will find themselves learning a lot more about the time period before the events of Red Dead Redemption. As the trailer opens we see that the gang of outlaws which RDR’s main protagonist used to run with is on the run in a time when outlaws were becoming a thing of the past. The clip tells viewers that the game is at least partially set in 1899 when ‘the west had nearly been tamed’ and ‘the age of gunslingers and outlaws had almost passed into myth’.

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Rumor: PlayStation 5 Dev Kits, Dedicated Graphics Card, and… Holograms !?!?

Recently every gaming website and YouTuber has had something to say about the rumor that Sony could launch the next-generation at the end of this year. PlayStation 5 coming in 2018? Not likely. But what truth sparked this curiosity which slowly grew out of control? Why do people think this, and what can we learn from the situation?

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South Korea punishes game companies for lootboxes with ₩1 Billion Won ($945,200 US Dollars) in fines

With governments around the world finally picking up the slack on their tech knowledge and holding corporate giants accountable for data breaches as well as predatory, anti-consumer practices, South Korea joins the United Kingdom, United States of America, Belgium, and Australia in educating their politicians and going after those tech companies which abuse their power.

An investigation has began to expand in the video games sector of corporate crime as reported by outlets in the sovereign nation just south of the famous conflict zone and they aren’t taking lightly to lootboxes in which players wager money against a desired outcome.

Continue reading South Korea punishes game companies for lootboxes with ₩1 Billion Won ($945,200 US Dollars) in fines

Rainbow Moon Revisited

Recently PlayStation Network had a massive sale on various titles including Rainbow Moon and I took this as an opportunity to check out a unique looking turn-based SRPG (strategy role playing game) which I normally might not have given a chance to. I selected hard mode and an adventurous start, which in this game means you literally embark on a new world with no items other than the most basic sword to begin with. The resulting hours of gameplay were fascinating and left me wondering why I haven’t heard more about this game before.

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