What Is Bugsnax?

July 1, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

The PlayStation 5 showcase included the reveal of a brand-new game from Young Horses, the developer of 2014’s bizarre game Octodad: Dadliest Catch, a game that tasked you with completing normal household chores and activities while hiding the fact that you are an octopus.

With that title to their name, a new title from Young Horses will probably be a strange one, and the newly-announced Bugsnax was revealed with a quirky, documentary-style trailer that left viewers with one big question: what is it?

The trailer, while cute and amusing (and featuring a catchy song by the British pop band Kero Kero Bonito), did little to explain the gameplay of Bugsnax. Fortunately, the developers have since revealed some more information about their upcoming game.

Bugsnax is a first-person adventure game in which you travel to Snaktooth Island at the invitation of the explorer Elizabert Megafig, only to find that she’s disappeared and her helpers are scattered across the island. According to the official website, you will need to explore the island to find and reunite these characters, hunt down and capture 100 species of Bugsnax, and use caught Bugsnax to customize characters with different looks.

When listing inspirations for the game, programmer/producer Kevin Geisler named Viva Piñata, Pokémon Snap, Ape Escape, and Dark Cloud. Creative director Kevin Zuhn listed Pikmin 3, The Muppet Show, Adventure Time, and BioShock.

Putting together the inspiration and the provided gameplay details, we can start to imagine how Bugsnax will play. The Ape Escape inspiration, for example, is most likely in reference to how you track down and capture Bugsnax, while the Dark Cloud inspiration refers to the city-building aspect of reuniting the island’s inhabitants. The BioShock inspiration is the trickiest to pin down, although Zuhn later explained in an interview with GameRevolution that it’s how Bugsnax involves setting traps and interacting with the world.

Some fans think Bugsnax is secretly a horror game, using its cheerful, upbeat presentation as a disguise for a darker story. Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Bugsnax, but it’s much less of a mystery now than when it was first revealed. It’s due out in the fourth quarter of 2020, so we should see plenty more Bugsnax gameplay between now and then. What do you think of Bugsnax so far?

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Crash Bandicoot 4: Game Details and New Footage

June 30, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

After the revival of the dormant Crash Bandicoot series with 2017’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and then 2019’s Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, remakes of the original trilogy and racing spin-off respectively, fans wondered if a brand new entry in the popular 3D platformer series might be on the way at last.

Several teases suggested a new Crash Bandicoot game was in development, and fortunately it turned out to be more than just the auto-runner spin-off Crash Bandicoot Mobile. This June, a full entry in the series was finally announced for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, titled Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.

While many fans thought the theoretical new Crash Bandicoot game would be developed by Vicarious Visions after their work on the N. Sane Trilogy, this new entry in the series is being developed by Toys for Bob, who worked on the Switch release of the trilogy and more notably developed the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

What About the Other Games?

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is set directly after the events of Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the third game in the original trilogy. The game features Crash and Coco trying to restore order to the multiverse after Dr. Neo Cortex and Uka Uka tear through the boundaries of time and space. According to an interview with Press Start, the other sequels have not been retconned. They still exist “on alternate timelines that may or may not have some reflection in this adventure.”

How these multiple timelines will play into the story is still unknown, but it opens up the door for fan-favorite characters from the later games, such as Crunch Bandicoot and Nina Cortex, to return in Crash Bandicoot 4.

Playable Characters

Speaking of characters, Crash Bandicoot 4 will feature multiple playable characters. In addition to Crash and his sister Coco, Cortex himself will also have playable levels. His gameplay style will be quite different from theirs, as he makes use of a ray gun and scientific gadgets rather than the traditional platforming gameplay of Crash and Coco.

Gameplay

Alongside the traditional Crash Bandicoot gameplay, the newest entry will also feature special powers gained from obtaining the four Quantum Masks, wall running, rail grinding, rope swinging, and more. Some of these new elements can be seen in the latest video of Crash Bandicoot 4 footage from IGN, which highlights a pirate-themed level. The gameplay footage also suggests that time trial challengers, another series staple, will be returning as well.

As is typical for the series, you will access individual levels from a hub area. The game will also feature a special retro mode. According to that same interview with Play Start, the Crash Bandicoot 4 retro mode will give you a limited number of lives like in the original games. The “modern mode,” meanwhile, will instead reward the player with a new type of clear gem for beating a level with fewer deaths.

Price and… Microtransactions?

In less exciting news, the Microsoft Store page for the game lists it as costing $59.99 with in-app purchases. The apparent inclusion of microtransactions has been met with consternation from fans, but with any luck it will be limited to cosmetic items and other non-intrusive uses.

Update: Toys for Bob has clarified that there are no microtransactions in Crash Bandicoot 4.

Conclusion

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time will be out on October 2 for the PS4 and Xbox One. Digital pre-orders include the “Totally Tubular” skins for Crash and Coco. We expect to see much more from this game leading up to its release. What do you think of the new Crash Bandicoot game from what you’ve seen so far?

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Everything We Know About Resident Evil 8

June 28, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

One of the exciting surprises at Sony’s PlayStation 5 showcase event was the official announcement of Resident Evil 8, or rather, Resident Evil Village, as the first few letters of “village” have been stylized to look like the Roman numeral VIII.

Few details have been revealed about the next Resident Evil game, but the announcement trailer and official descriptions still give us some tantalizing details.

Here’s everything we know so far about Resident Evil Village.

Release

Resident Evil Village has been announced for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. A Steam page is already live for it. Although there is no specific Resident Evil Village release date yet, it is planned for 2021.

Characters and Setting

Resident Evil Village is a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7: biohazard and once again stars Ethan Winters, the protagonist of that game. It is set in a mysterious village that includes many varied environments shown in the trailer.

Other confirmed returning characters include Mia, as well as longtime series protagonist Chris Redfield, who most recently appeared in Resident Evil 7’s DLC episode Not a Hero. There has been much speculation that Chris is the villain of Resident Evil Village, but his role and motivations are still unknown.

The IMDB page for Resident Evil Village lists numerous other returning characters, including Alex Wesker and Barry Burton, but since IMDB can be edited, none of this should be taken as official just yet.

The Umbrella Corporation logo appears in the trailer and screenshots, confirming Umbrella is in Resident Evil Village in some form.

Gameplay

Resident Evil Village is using Capcom’s RE Engine, which was also used not only for Resident Evil 7, but also Resident Evil 2 (remake), Devil May Cry 5, and Resident Evil 3 (remake). It will be played from a first-person perspective just like Resident Evil 7, rather than the third-person over-the-shoulder view used for the recent remakes.

The specific gameplay will most likely involve a mix of fighting the wolf-like monsters and other enemies, and solving puzzles. It’s worth noting that the Special Developer Message says they are “upping the ante on action a bit,” among other details.

That might set off alarm bells for some longtime series fans, but they might simply mean it will have more action than Resident Evil 7 did, rather than a return to the all-out action horror seen in Resident Evil 4 and especially Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.

Conclusion

Right now, we have only a handful of concrete details about the next Resident Evil game, but there’s plenty of room for theories, especially since Capcom highlighted one piece of key art as being very important.

So, when will we learn more about Resident Evil Village? According to the official website, new information about Resident Evil Village (or Resident Evil VIII or Resident Evil 8, whatever you want to call it) will be revealed in August. Stay tuned!

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June 4 PlayStation 5 Showcase Hopes and Predictions

May 30, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

PlayStation 5 game announcements are almost here! Sony has announced a special PlayStation 5 showcase for June 4 at 1 PM PDT / 4 PM EDT. While previously PS5 events have focused on the console’s technical specifications, this one is all about games.

According to the announcement, the showcase will run for approximately an hour and show players the first games they’ll be able to play after the PS5’s holiday launch.

So, what games will be shown? Although no one knows, here are a few of our hopes and predictions for the PS5 showcase…

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

It wasn’t that long ago we were watching the reveal of the Viking-era Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which was later confirmed for the PS5 and Xbox Series X in addition to current-gen consoles. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if a greater look at this game is one of the highlights of the PS5 showcase.

Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has been out for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC since 2015, but it’s also intended to be a PS5 and Xbox Series X launch title. While we hope the showcase focuses on new games the most, we probably should expect several cross-gen games to be shown running on the new system.

Elden Ring

We barely know anything about Elden Ring, the upcoming collaboration between fantasy author George R. R. Martin and FromSoftware. The last piece of actual news we had about it was confirmation of its composer. We don’t even know if it will be a PS5 title… but with the next generation of consoles on the horizon, it makes sense that Elden Ring might very well be a cross-gen game. Fans have been expecting Elden Ring news for quite a while now, so this event might be the perfect place for it.

Demon’s Souls Remaster

Speaking of FromSoftware, rumors of a Demon’s Souls remaster have been floating around for a long time, with many fans believing it’s the unannounced project Bluepoint Games has been working on. If it exists, a Demon’s Souls remaster would be a huge game to reveal for PS5, and we hope to see it there.

Horizon Zero Dawn 2

Back in April, we discussed the rumors and hints of a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel. The developer had tweeted a job opportunity using the #ps5 hashtag, only to take it down and replace it. That lined up with rumors that Horizon Zero Dawn 2 was in development for the PlayStation 5. Horizon Zero Dawn was a major game for the PS4, and if the sequel really is in development, revealing it now would create a lot of excitement for the franchise’s future.

God of War Sequel

Finally, we know there’s going to be another God of War game, and after the overwhelming success of God of War on the PS4, its sequel is one of our most-anticipated games to probably be released for the PS5. (What they’ll do about the numbering is a question for another time.) Ragnarok is on the horizon and the previous game’s ending left everyone with theories about the direction the sequel will take, so we’d love to get a glimpse of the next God of War game during next week’s showcase!

Conclusion

The chance that all of these games are included in the PS5 showcase is pretty slim, but here’s hoping we see at least some of them. Stay tuned for our first look at some PlayStation 5 games on June 4 at 1 PM PDT / 4 PM EDT.

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Mafia Trilogy: Definitive Edition Release & Upgrades

May 23, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Last week, Hangar 13 announced that the Mafia: Trilogy would be coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Although Mafia III was previously released for modern consoles, this will be the first appearance of Mafia and Mafia II on newer platforms.

The three games are also being handled differently. While Mafia II and Mafia III are simply being remastered, Mafia is being fully remade from the ground up, with an expanded story, modern gameplay features, and more. This means the releases are being handled a little differently, so here’s what you need to know.

All three games are being sold together as part of the Mafia: Trilogy release for $59.99, which is available now digitally and will be out physically on August 28, but they will also be sold separately as well. Mafia: Definitive Edition will be out on August 28 for $39.99, while Mafia II: Definitive Edition and Mafia III: Definitive Edition are available now (digitally) for $29.99 each.

If you own the original Mafia II on Steam and/or the original Mafia III on any platform, you will automatically be upgraded to the Definitive Edition.

Since the digital version of the Mafia: Trilogy bundle is available now as well, purchasers will have immediate access to Mafia II: Definitive Edition and Mafia III: Definitive Edition, with the remade Mafia: Definitive Edition to be unlocked on August 28. Of course, if you order the physical version, you will need to wait until August 28 to play all three.

Although Hangar 13 did not develop the first two Mafia games, they developed Mafia III and later merged with the original developer, 2K Czech. It will be interesting to see how they handle the new content in Mafia: Definitive Edition.

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18 Minutes of Ghost of Tsushima Gameplay

May 15, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Yesterday, Sony held a special State of Play video presentation focused entirely on Ghost of Tsushima, the upcoming PS4 action-adventure game from Sucker Punch Productions.

This 18-minute gameplay video provides an extensive look at Ghost of Tsushima and its protagonist Jin, including exploration, combat, customization, the Photo Mode, and more. While other gameplay details and footage had been released in the past, this was the first time we really got a solid idea of what Ghost of Tsushima will be like.

Ghost of Tsushima features a mechanic called the “Guiding Wind” as you explore, allowing you to be guided to your intended destination in a way intended to be less obtrusive and more thematically fitting than traditional waypoints. Similarly, the game uses other visual cues to guide you, such as smokestacks that indicate people in need of help and friendly foxes that will guide you to shrines.

(Jin is shown petting the fox in thanks after it leads him to a shrine, but whether or not you can pet the fox at will is unknown. Either way, it’s a cute detail.)

When it comes to combat, you have two primary options. Jin can fight as a samurai, facing his opponents head-on. He can also fight as the “Ghost,” employing stealth, deception, and dirty tricks to give himself the upper hand in combat. You will be able to choose how to approach situations and which combat style to favor.

Customization involves using Charms for special combat effects, developing combat Techniques, and changing the appearance of Jin’s armor. There also is an elaborate Photo Mode that lets you adjust the wind, particle effects, and much more to create your perfect photo or video.

That’s good, because one thing that really stands out from this gameplay footage is that Ghost of Tsushima is a gorgeous game with beautiful landscapes to explore. You’ll also have the option to choose between English and Japanese dialogue, and a special “Samurai Cinema” mode transforms the game with a black-and-white film grain filter to emulate old samurai movies.

Ghost of Tsushima was delayed from its original June release date, but it’s still not far off. You’ll be able to play it on July 17, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

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Yakuza: Like a Dragon Coming to PS4, Xbox Consoles, and PC

May 9, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Yakuza: Like a Dragon, or Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness as it’s titled in Japan, is set to be released in the west sometime in 2020. In Japan, it released exclusively for the PlayStation 4, but this week’s Inside Xbox event revealed that it will be coming to additional platforms as well.

When it launches, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be on not only the PS4, but also the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC (via Steam and the Microsoft Store), with cross-gen and cross-save features for the Xbox versions.

This is not a huge surprise, as Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 have likewise been brought to the PC and Xbox One following their initial PS4 releases.

What is puzzling, however, is that this news suggest Yakuza: Like a Dragon might be released on the PC and Xbox ahead of the Yakuza Remastered Collection (which contains remastered versions of Yakuza 3, 4, and 5) and Yakuza 6.

Although the western release dropped the number from Yakuza 7 in favor of calling it Yakuza: Like a Dragon, it is still the most recent entry in a long-running series and features returning characters from the previous games despite starring a new protagonist and adopting a new combat system.

The release date for Yakuza: Like a Dragon is still unknown. It remains to be seen if the remaining Yakuza games will be brought to PC and Xbox before Like a Dragon launches later this year.

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Viking-Era Assassin’s Creed Game Announced for 2020

April 29, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Fans have been waiting for news about the next Assassin’s Creed game, especially since the long-running series took a year off from its annual release schedule in 2019.

The last entry in the series was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which took the player back to the era of ancient Greece and Sparta and featured a story with more mythological themes than is typical for the series, while also introducing more RPG elements than ever.

Leading up to the announcement of the next game, Ubisoft is holding a live stream with artist Kode Abdo, or BossLogic, to reveal the next Assassin’s Creed setting through his art. This art, which shows ships on one side and fighting warriors on the other, with presumably the protagonist in between, appears to tease a Viking-era setting.

Ubisoft also registered a website domain called “assassinscreedvalhalla.com” around the same time, making it likely that the title of the game will be Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Since Valhalla is the hall of the dead in Norse mythology, this choice for the title suggests it might follow Odyssey in dealing with mythology once again alongside the historical setting.

Update: It has now been officially announced as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and the trailer was revealed on April 30 at 8 AM PT.

This Viking-themed Assassin’s Creed game is planned for holiday 2020, but no other details are known at this time.

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Horizon Zero Dawn Sequel Hints, Trilogy Rumors

April 24, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Horizon Zero Dawn was a big hit when it launched in early 2017 for the PlayStation 4. Near the end of that same year, it received an expansion called The Frozen Wilds, and the two were bundled together for the eventual Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition, which is now coming to the PC as well.

But in addition to the upcoming PC version of Horizon, it looks increasingly likely that fans can expect to see even more from this series as we get closer to the launch of the PlayStation 5.

Earlier this week, developer Guerilla Games tweeted a job post for a Senior AI Programmer. It specifically used the #ps5 hashtag, suggesting they’re developing a game for the PlayStation 5. The tweet has since been deleted and retweeted using the #playstation hashtag instead, but fans saved a screenshot of the original.

Now, Guerrilla Games is also the developer of the Killzone series, and since Killzone Shadow Fall was a launch title for the PlayStation 4, it’s entirely possible that the next Killzone game is in development now. Past job postings from Guerrilla Games have led fans of both series to hope that announcements are coming soon.

However, since this specific job post used Horizon imagery and is focused on NPC behavior, it is most likely for a Horizon Zero Dawn game. It’s been assumed for a while now that Horizon would eventually get a sequel, so that’s no huge surprise on its own. Whether or not it’s a PS5 exclusive remains to be seen.

Of course, rumors spread like wildfire whenever something like this happens, and VGC claims its sources say Horizon Zero Dawn not only has a “gigantic” sequel in development for the PlayStation 5, but that it will also introduce co-op and be followed by a third game, making it a trilogy.

No official announcements have been made about Horizon Zero Dawn 2.

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Ghost of Tsushima Gameplay Details: Exploration, Choices, and More

April 14, 2020 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

The May 2020 issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine includes many exciting new gameplay details about the upcoming PlayStation 4 game Ghost of Tsushima.

Of particular interest is what the feature has to say about exploration. While Ghost of Tsushima is an open world game, there are no waypoints or quest markers to guide you. Instead, you’ll need to use your knowledge of the environments and landmarks in order to navigate.

This has raised some questions for fans about how quests will be handled in the game, given its open world design. Right now, the most likely scenario is that you’ll be told the location you need to reach and then use your own skills in order to find the correct place.

Another point of interest is that your choices will play an important role. Allies will change their opinion of you depending on your actions, and they could end up turning against you if they dislike how you handle situations.

One more noteworthy point is that time will pass as you explore. In what appears to be more than a standard day/night system, the game will tell you how many days have passed since the invasion began. It’s unclear if deadlines will come into play or if the passage of time will otherwise affect the story.

Many details are still unknown, but we only have a couple more months to wait. While there have been concerns about a potential Ghost of Tsushima delay, as other games have been delayed, the magazine still gives its release date as June 26.

The full preview can be found in the May 2020 issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine.

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