Video: The evolution of Soft Body

In this 2016 GDC Europe session, Bodysoft’s Zeke Virant presents a post-mortem of the meditative action game Soft Body. …

from Gamasutra News

Layoffs Hit Dying Light 2 Studio But The Game Is Not Affected

Techland, the Polish developer behind Dying Light and Call of Juarez franchises, recently announced a round of layoffs, but the studio’s ongoing game projects are unaffected.

The job losses came as part of Techland’s decision to close its Polish distribution and publishing department. Techland was in the business of publishing some third-party boxed games in Poland specifically, but that is coming to an end by the end of 2019.

Everyone affected by the layoffs is receiving a severance package that Techland says is “above the industry and the Polish employment legislation standards.” Affected employees will receive help finding new jobs, Techland said, adding that employees affected by the restructuring were made aware of the move for a period of time before it became official.

Techland added that its Polish publishing and distribution business has not been a core pillar of Techland’s strategy for “a few years,” so the wind-down was expected. Those who were laid off worked in “logistics and trade” departments. No game developers were affected.

The restructuring at Techland has no influence on Dying Light 2‘s development or its publishing of God’s Trigger, the studio said, adding that the company’s overall global structure is unchanged.

“Techland is in good condition, which is proven by the fact Dying Light sales continue to grow year-on-year,” the studio said. “We are growing in terms of AAA open world action games development.”

13 employees are affected by the restructuring, Techland said. The company employs more than 400 people, while it has more than 50 people currently being actively recruited for roles.

Here is Techland CEO Pawel Marchewka’s full statement:

“After months worth of market analysis we have started the process of shutting down the Polish publishing and distribution department. The process will last until the end of 2019. This only applies to 3rd party boxed goods on the Polish market. For several years physical distribution has not been the core of our strategy, which is to develop the best AAA action open-world games.”

“These changes have no impact on our global publishing plans and the development of two AAA games we are currently working on, one of them being Dying Light 2. Our company is constantly growing and developing great games. The sales of the original Dying Light are not only not decreasing, but actually continuing to grow year-on-year. Dying Light constantly reaches new audiences and and this makes us happy and shows us we have chosen the right direction. It also motivates us to work hard on making Dying Light 2 our best game yet.”

“I have personally made sure to take care of the affairs and future careers of the members of our Polish distribution department who will be leaving Techland. Severance packages they will receive are both above the industry and the Polish employment legislation standards. I would like to thank the whole team for the many years of great work together.”

from GameSpot – All Content

Xbox Live’s Games With Gold For March 2019 Are Out Now (Xbox One, Xbox 360)

Every month, Xbox Live Gold members can look forward to a few free game downloads, and the first offering of Games With Gold for March are now live: Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion for Xbox One and Star Wars Republic Commando for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Halfway through the month, you’ll gain access to the second two free games this month: Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 for Xbox One and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which is also playable on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Pirates of the Enchiridion is the most recent game based on beloved cartoon Adventure Time, and it gives players control of characters like Finn, Jake, and Marceline to investigate why the Land of Ooo has been flooded. Thanks to backward compatibility, 2005’s Star Wars Republic Commando can be played on Xbox One and offers an exciting single-player campaign with squad-based, military-style combat.

Plants vs. Zombies fans will appreciate the free download of Garden Warfare 2. The light-hearted shooter expands the series with new characters, modes, and solo content while retaining the humor and ridiculous costumes that make it so entertaining. Finally, there’s Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which takes place four years after Metal Gear Solid 4 and puts players in control of a cybernetically enhanced Raiden. In our review, we praised the game for its adrenaline-pumping combat and Raiden’s compelling story.

See the full list of games and dates for March’s Games With Gold below.

Xbox Live Games With Gold for March

  • Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion — March 1 to 31 (Xbox One)
  • Star Wars Republic Commando — March 1 to 15 (Xbox One, Xbox 360)
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance — March 16 to 31 (Xbox One, Xbox 360)
  • Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 — March 16 to April 15 (Xbox One)

from GameSpot – All Content

New Anthem Update Addresses Tethering Issues

BioWare has released a new update for Anthem, its multiplayer-focused action RPG. The update addresses tethering issues that occurred when playing with others by increasing the time available to catch up to teammates.

The tethering system keeps you from wandering too far away from your team and focused on completing the selected mission at hand. If you don’t keep up with your teammates, a message will pop up that informs you that you will be teleported to your allies unless you return to the mission area. After Anthem launched, players complained the system wasn’t forgiving enough and didn’t provide an adequate amount of time for anyone to catch up to their teammates before being subjected to a loading screen–which also occasionally caused them to lose out on crucial in-game dialogue or cutscenes.

The new update also implements changes to Strongholds. In the Swarm Tyrant encounter in the Tyrant Mine Stronghold, you and your squad will no longer be able to reset the battle by exiting to the main menu and rejoining the session. Also, you will no longer be able to reopen chests that have already been looted in Strongholds. For the full patch notes on the update, you can check out BioWare’s post on Reddit.

BioWare has another update planned for Anthem that is scheduled to launch either sometime tonight or tomorrow, March 1. This next update will affect loot in Anthem. Specifically, uncommon and common weapons and abilities no longer appear from level 30 drop tables, and crafting requirements for masterwork items and embers has decreased. Inscriptions on all masterwork items will also now exclusively apply to the weapon or ability it amplifies. So, for example, a masterwork pistol will only be inscribed with a special ability that amplifies pistols, and not shotguns or assault rifles. This update will only apply to new items that you find or craft however, so all weapons and abilities you’ve previously collected will not be affected.

If you’re still on the fence about picking up Anthem, be sure to check out our review of the game. If you’re already playing, we have guides to help you out, which are outlined below.

Anthem Guides

Anthem is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

from GameSpot – All Content

UK devs launch POC in Play initiative in partnership with ustwo Games

POC in Play is a new initiative launched earlier today in partnership with UsTwo Games addressing the issue of a lack of people of color in the UK games scene.  …

from Gamasutra News

Pokemon Go Adds New Legendary, Dialga, Tomorrow

Palkia may no longer be available in Pokemon Go, but a new Legendary Pokemon is set to take its place soon. Starting March 1, the Pokemon Diamond mascot Dialga will begin appearing in Raid Battles around the world–but as usual, it’ll only be around for a limited time.

As with most other Legendaries, to catch Dialga you’ll first need to team up with other players at a Gym where a Dialga Raid is taking place and battle the Pokemon. If you manage to defeat Dialga, each player who participated in the Raid will receive a handful of Premier Balls and an opportunity to catch it.

Dialga is the only Steel/Dragon Pokemon in the series, which gives it numerous resistances to other types. Your best bet for battling it is to bring along Fighting and Ground Pokemon such as Machamp, Hariyama, and Groudon. Dialga will only appear in Raid Battles until March 28, giving you until the end of the month to catch one.

In other Pokemon Go news, Niantic recently introduced the Team Medallion to the app’s in-game store. This item allows players to change their team allegiance once every 365 days. The developer has also rolled out a new AR photo mode, which is the only way to encounter the elusive Pokemon Smeargle.

Pokemon Go’s next Community Day event is scheduled for March 23. This time, the featured Pokemon will be Treecko, one of the three starters from Ruby and Sapphire. Players will also be able to hatch Pokemon Eggs at a quarter of the distance they typically require during the event.

from GameSpot – All Content

MLB The Show 19 Full Cover Revealed After Bryce Harper Signs $330 Million Contract

In one of the biggest contracts in sports history, slugger Bryce Harper today signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies. Harper was previously announced as the cover star of Sony’s MLB The Show 19, but because he was a free agent then, the cover was only a placeholder that showed Harper in a nondescript hoodie. Now that he’s signed his record-breaking deal, Sony has released the official cover art showing Harper in his Phillies garb.

Harper’s deal, which has yet to be officially confirmed by the Phillies and is pending a physical, also includes a no-trade clause and no opt-out clause, so we could continue to see Harper playing for the Phillies until 2031. In the deal, Harper makes an average of $24.4 million per season. While massive, it doesn’t even crack the top ten of the MLB’s highest annual salary list.

Under his new contract, Harper will make more than $150,000 per game and almost $45,000 every time he steps to the plate, according to numbers crunched by Darren Rovell.

Harper spent his entire professional career as the right fielder for the Washington Nationals before signing with the Phillies today. The new cover for MLB The Show 19 with Harper in a Phillies uniform is just fine, but his beard looks weird.

MLB The Show 19, which launches on March 26, will be available in a Standard Edition ($60 USD) and a Gone Yard Edition ($100) that is exclusive to GameStop and EB Games. It comes with a New Era baseball snap back cap, a copy of the game, in-game extras, and more. A $100 Digital Deluxe edition will also be available; some of its extras include an allotment of Stubs, custom avatars, and more. An MVP Edition ($70), meanwhile, includes a series of digital extras and a steelbook case if you’re picking up the physical edition. Everyone who pre-orders any edition of MLB The Show 19 gets extra in-game digital content.

from GameSpot – All Content

Devotion Review

The most effective horror can seep its way into the mundanity of our everyday lives, ruminating beneath the surface before wrapping its malevolent tendrils around our sense of comfort and familiarity. Years after it was removed from sale, the bite-sized slice of P.T. we were privy to still manages to evoke those trembling feelings of unease more potently than almost any other horror game since–making each trip around that unremarkable L-shaped corridor an intimidating test of nerves. Devotion, a new psychological horror game from Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games, evokes P.T.’s terrifying spirit to paint an inventive, thought-provoking, and insidious portrait of family life within the claustrophobic confines of a small Taiwanese apartment.

Set throughout the 1980s, Devotion focuses on a strained family of three: struggling screenwriter Du Feng Yu, retired singer and movie star Li Fang, and their sickly young daughter Mei Shin, who aspires to be like her mother. The game predominantly takes place within the five rooms of their modest apartment, with a narrative that takes you on a distressing tour through the years and various configurations of this intimate space. The attention to detail in each facet of the apartment is striking, as every nook and cranny is thoughtfully assembled to replicate an authentic, lived-in home. There are old newspapers being used as makeshift tablecloths, pencils and discarded scripts messily strewn across desks, a corridor that’s extravagantly decorated with the haphazard art of Meh Shin and her litany of crayons, and a calendar hung above the CRT TV that notates significant dates in the family’s lives. Each detail, no matter how meaningful or insignificant, establishes and effectively reinforces Devotion’s disconcerting sense of familiarity. This nuanced sense of place ensures that whenever your eyes are averted elsewhere and the apartment begins to shift and transcend its limitations–sometimes dramatically, other times subtly–it’s all the more unnerving when you turn around and come face-to-face with a surreal distortion.

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All of these details, from the apartment’s transforming arrangement of rooms, its varying lighting, the tempestuous weather rattling away at the windows outside, and the way the building mutates around you, are all in service of Red Candle’s profound storytelling. The central tale is intimately focused on the family of three, but Devotion manages to weave a tangled web that deftly examines the impact that mental illness, societal pressure and expectations, and religious fanaticism can have on a beleaguered family. For as much as Devotion is about its characters and the fantastic way their development coalesces with that of the ever-changing apartment–with the increasingly dishevelled rooms acting as a poignant metaphor for the family–it’s also about a specific time and place; delving into the role of women in 1980’s Taiwan, feminine beauty standards, the infancy of mental health research and the stigmas attached to it, and the sometimes dangerous faith desperate people will place in religion. Explorations of Taoism and Buddhism might not completely resonate with a Western audience, but the story is told in such a way that it’s relatively easy to read through the lines and understand the awful, heartbreaking extremes people are willing to go to for those they love.

Taiwanese developer Red Candle Games, evokes P.T.’s terrifying spirit to paint an inventive, thought-provoking, and insidious portrait of family life

Impassioned voice acting brings Devotion’s limited number of cutscenes to life, but most of the story is told through the myriad items you gather, read, and manipulate as you traverse through different variations of the family home during 1980, 1985, and 1986. Puzzle solving is relatively straightforward, with any items you find inevitably being used to solve a particular conundrum. All of your interactions are geared towards unravelling the mystery of exactly what happened within the unassuming walls of this family home. A note you found earlier might inform a scene later on, while coming to understand the family’s relationship with one another will gradually evolve the context and meaning of certain trinkets aside from the revelations discovered in its most gut-punching moments. Devotion might be mechanically simple–knowing to put a camera on a tripod isn’t going to wrack your brain, for example–but its strengths come from simply immersing you in a place with an engaging story you’ll want to see through to its conclusion. There are a couple of jump scares, but they feel earned within the oppressive atmosphere achieved through ominous music, sounds, and unsettling imagery, with striking motifs tracing everything back to the family’s shattered lives.

Unlike a lot of contemporary horror games, Devotion also resists the temptation to dabble in frustrating trial-and-error stealth sections or monotonous conflicts with monsters in an attempt to heighten any perceived sense of excitement. There is one regrettable chase scene late in the game, which is undeniably Devotion’s lowest point, but it’s also brief and easy enough that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. At three hours in length it’s feasible to reach the end credits in one sitting, and that might be the ideal way to experience it. The pacing is almost immaculate aside from a plodding stroll towards the game’s final act, but even this is easy to push to the back of your mind once you’ve reached its stunning conclusion.

Devotion doesn’t quite match the anxiety-inducing frights that permeate each cautious step forward in games like P.T. and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but its domestic terror burrows deep inside your psyche long after the final credits have rolled. The sorrowful story it tells meshes malice with tenderness, metaphor with stark truths, and achieves it all with the nuanced kind of environmental storytelling other games can only strive for. There are moments when it jumps out of the genre completely, surprising you with a sudden tonal shift, and others where the oftentimes clichéd presence of a children’s doll is used to signal a character’s poignant detachment. Everything Devotion does is in service of this story and its character development; you learn about these people’s lives, empathize with their plight, and come to understand their actions, even if you don’t agree with them. Home is where the heart is, and Devotion is a shining example of what the horror genre is capable of.

from GameSpot – All Content

The 22 Absolute Worst Funko Pops You Should Definitely Never Buy

Everything has a Funko Pop toy! Okay, not everything. There’s actually some seriously glaring film omissions we’re not okay with. That said, far too many things have a Pop Funko toy and, while a lot of them are really cool collectibles, some of them are just plain bad.

Whether it’s a poor design choice, super creepy eyes, or simply a Pop that makes you wonder who decides which franchise get immortalized in vinyl, not everything Funko does is a home run. Still, there’s some fun to be had with the worst Funko has to offer. At least, I hope there is. Otherwise, why did I spend my time tracking down what I consider to be the 22 worst Funko Pops toys ever released?

Take a look at the bad, the worse, and the ugly to see just what kinds of choices Funko makes sometimes. After all, for every Chris Jericho holding the List of Jericho, there’s a dead-eyed Goofy from the Disney collection. Sound off in the comments with your favorite bad Pops, and let’s all enjoy the ridiculousness.

1. Bicycle Girl (The Walking Dead)

They say this is Bicycle Girl, but I disagree. Sure, they both have long hair and are zombies, but that’s about where the similarities stop. Honestly, this Pop is just difficult to look at and doesn’t really have any connection to The Walking Dead other than “hey look, zombies.”

2. Carol Danvers on motorcycle (Captain Marvel)

Brie Larson as Carol Danvers is inspired casting, as far as I’m concerned. However, I’m not convinced this isn’t an unused Charlie Hunnam Sons of Anarchy Pop in a reprinted box.

3. Butters (South Park)

Poor Butters can never catch a break on South Park. Is it any wonder that he has the most depressing Pop imaginable? Seriously, why would you want to own something that looks this sad?

4. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

If the pitch for this Pop was “We should set Jennifer Lawrence on fire,” mission accomplished.

5. Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku is a virtual pop star from the Vocaloid voice synthesizer program in Japan. That’s all well and good, but this particular Pop looks like it’s made out of Aquafresh toothpaste.

6. Mrs. Potts & Chip (Beauty and the Beast)

The live-action Beauty and the Beast is a fun movie, for sure. However, so many of the items in Beast’s mansion that came to life looked so much creepier than their animated counterparts. Mrs. Potts was at the top of the list and she’s been immortalized in an equally odd Pop figurine.

7. Dumbo with clown makeup (Dumbo)

If you thought the Butters Pop was depressing, avert your eyes now. GameSpot came across this particular Pop at San Diego Comic-Con, which is Dumbo the elephant in his clown makeup. I can already hear the sad trombone playing.

8. “False God” Superman (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice)

Finally, the most cinematic moment in DC Comics history has been immortalized. Who would we be, as a society, without a silver Superman Pop that has “False God” scribbled on his chest? Take that, Henry Cavill.

9. Doghan Daguis (Valerian)

Another example of a movie Funko thought was going to be huge, only for it to die quickly. What’s so crazy about this particular line of toys is that there were actually three different Doghan Daguis Pops, each holding something different in its hand. And they are all ugly.

10. Donkey (Shrek)

Donkey looks downright unhinged. Between his very tooth smile and those Funko eyes, he looks prepared to eat you. Stay away from me, Donkey.

11. The cast of The Mummy

Never forget the Dark Universe in all of its glory. Clearly, someone at Funko–and Universal–thought this movie was going to be a massive hit. So much so that it needed its own line of Pops. It was not. Instead, it was actually terrible enough to sink a proposed franchise. Now all we’re left with of the Dark Universe is these three things and the best tweet of all time.

12. Roger Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?)

The eyes of Pop figures always look a little strange. However, the Roger Rabbit figure might take the cake in that regard. The huge black dots look so out of place on Roger and, quite honestly, scare me.

13. Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)

Where is his face? Look, I get it. Some Pops don’t have mouths, and that’s okay. However, with a head that big, Buzz needs something before the eyes. Instead, it looks like Neo in The Matrix, after Agent Smith has his mouth taken away.

Dory (Finding Nemo)

Why is Dory a weird blue rectangle? Maybe fish should be turned into Pops if this is going to be the end result.

15. Uncle Si (Duck Dynasty)

Honestly, I just can’t believe Duck Dynasty Pops exist. Was there really ever a market for that?

16. Gene (The Emoji Movie)

Gene is the “meh” emoji, which is incredibly fitting. This is the most “meh” Pop ever.

17. Mrs. Featherstone (Pride & Prejudice & Zombies)

Remember the massive global phenomenon known as the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies movie? No? Of course you don’t. The movie got a whole line of Pops, none of which are stranger than the zombified version of a very minor character. Weirdly, this particular Pop was given to me when I covered the film’s junket. I immediately got rid of it.

18. Psy

What makes this one so bad is simply the fact that it exists. Does every meme need a Pop? Probably.

Editor’s note: Psy has had more hits than “Gangam Style.” I highly recommend checking out the videos for “Daddy” or “New Face.” Also, stop being a K-Pop hater, Chris.

19. Goofy (Disney)

This Goofy Pop is just deeply unsettling. The way his eyes are designed makes it look like he’s in some sort of a murderous trance that leaves me fearing for my own safety. Keep those dead eyes to yourself, dog.

20. Thestral (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald)

The Crimes of Grindelwald isn’t exactly remembered as the best entry in the Wizarding World franchise, but this ugly Pop is an insult even to it. Instead of looking like a cool dragon, Thestral looks like some kind of skeletal bird/cat hybrid.

Ursula (The Little Mermaid)

It’s not that the design of Ursula is bad in Pop form. There are some standard models that look great. This “Diamond Collection” version, though, is covered in glitter and just looks… bad.

Bad Ape (War for the Planet of the Apes)

The apes in the Plant of the Apes films weren’t pretty, by any means. Bad Ape, though, is just horrific to look at. Why would someone want this on a bookshelf?

from GameSpot – All Content

Sign up now for GDC 2019’s all-new mentoring program!

Launching at GDC 2019 is a brand-new mentoring program to help encourage game development professionals to continue and grow in their personal careers — and now you can sign up to take part! …

from Gamasutra News