#34: Google Stadia is not Netflix

TODAY: Assassin’s Creed used to star a magical girl from Jerusalem — id Software is finally running out of old early employees — Google Stadia is not the Netflix of games

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Fresh details and a brief gameplay trailer for Pokémon Masters

The new free-to-play mobile game Pokémon Masters from studio DeNA was announced just at the end of May. Now there’s finally a trailer offering a quick peek at some gameplay footage to keep us excited until it is released later this summer.

The trailer concentrates on hyping the new battle system. While the series has traditionally featured exploration and pokémon hunting, Pokémon Masters concentrates on 3-on-3 Pokémon battles.

Fight it out with your friends on Android and iOS

You will compose a team out of pokémon/trainers duos from a roster of series favorites – long-time fans of will recognise veterans like Brock and Misty – and try to unleash their ‘Unity’ attacks, which combines your team’s abilities.

You can change what pokémon to summon into battle using special trainer outfits named Sygna Suits. There is also support for co-op online play so you and two friends can team-up against the AI as you battle your way through the Pokémon Masters League across the all-new region Pasio.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these popular characters are NOT in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 at launch?

  • The Fantastic Four
  • The X-Men
  • The Defenders
  • The Inhumans

The answer will be revealed at the end of this issue!

News Bits

DC Universe Online swoops onto Switch this August

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a free-to-play MMO from early 2011 that’s now coming to Nintendo Switch! According to news coming out of San Diego Comic-Con, DC Universe Online will grace the Switch with over 300 DC characters across 30 ‘content episodes’ on August 6th. You create your own hero or villain and shake things up in the DC universe – perhaps literally as the Shakester?

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order review round-up

Team Ninja’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is hitting the Nintendo Switch today! What are the critics saying?

  • LevelUp (Score 83/100) – “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is an unexpected but welcomed sequel to a beloved franchised that hasn’t aged particularly well. So, is it worth playing? Thankfully yes. By taking the best of what made the series great in the first place, Team Ninja and Marvel Games made a solid action RPG that fans of the genre will have a lot of fun with. “
  • Atomix (Score 80/100) – “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order presents us with great combat in a dungeon crawler. The representations of the characters are unique in this post MCU world. It’s repetitive, but it’s really worth it.”
  • TheSixthAxis (Score 80/100) – “A couple of stripped back features aside, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a great series revival that should keep new and old fans busy for quite a while. With DLC coming later this year, it will only get better.”
  • Nintendo Life (Score 80/100) – “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order isn’t a groundbreaking, narrative-heavy reinterpretation of the comic characters you know and love, but then again neither were the first two games. In that regard, it’s a very faithful sequel that mines the vast roster of characters from the comics while including plenty of nods to the current state of the more modern Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
  • IGN (Score 78/100) – “In yet another take on the Infinity Stone saga, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a fun and irreverent comic book story that pulls from an exceptionally wide pool of Marvel material. Its combat systems are fairly simple, but they were still surprisingly engaging as I excitedly experimented with different hero combinations while my roster of A, B, and C-list characters grew.”
  • Game Informer (Score 70/100) – “My time with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 was filled with peaks and valleys. It has great moments where everything is clicking, followed by lulls where it all falls apart. The story never really gets going, however, but is a fun exploration of all things Marvel. For that, it delivers a little bit of fun, but this experience is all about the character reveals and getting to test them out, even if the worlds they explore and challenges within them often lack excitement.”
  • Destructoid (Score 70/100) – “With the Marvel IP less muddled and the simplicity of this deal between Marvel and Nintendo, I’d love to see another with enhancements in tow.”

Daily Fact

Assassin’s Creed was once Prince of Persia, only without the prince

The goliath that is the Assassin’s Creed franchise today began internally as a spin-off to the Prince of Persia series. It was called Prince of Persia: Assassins and would have had us play as a female assassin with magical powers sent to protect a prince in Jerusalem. Ubisoft dropped the idea eventually because it didn’t really focus on the prince enough.

The project shifted instead to the darker themed Assassin’s Creed series, where a world-wide conspiracy of Templar was trying to control the world through powerful artefacts. Thus began the Desmond Miles saga as we took up the hidden blade and hooded cloak of assassins Altair and Ezio. Nothing is true; everything is permitted.

Those Prince of Persia roots also explain why there’s a lot of free-running and wall-climbing in the series, which affords ridiculous amounts of freedom in-game today in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Under The Radar - Nightmare Reaper

From The Shadows

Do you like heavy metal and blasting things to smithereens? Well, Episode One of Nightmare Reaper just rolled into Early Access on Steam and promises to deliver exactly that. Created by Blazing Bit Games, Nightmare Reaper is a new horror FPS inspired by 90s shooters like DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem 3D. Contrasting its dark story and relentless violence against brightly colored enemies and environments, the game blows you away with its crazy explosions and over-the-top gore – a sort of ultraviolent Minecraft.

The first episode features thirty-two weapons – and Blazing Bit Games have the lofty goal of shipping over eighty in the final version of the game. The second and third episodes are expected to release over the next year, and will be free for customers who purchased the first episode.

The gameplay we’ve seen so far looks pretty chaotic with sharp focus on combat, but there are also hints of a mysterious story. The developer describes the game as featuring open-ended levels filled with secrets and surprises, so there should be some scope for a replayability. Power-ups and enchanted weapons will litter the environment as you progress, while character upgrades and abilities can be purchased with gold you collect in a minigame.

If you like developers who involve the community in their development, you’ll probably get along with Blazing Bit Games since they appear to respond quickly to feedback. Some players were bothered by random crashes during level transitions, and within two days the developers released a patch that dealt with the issue – as well as featuring more bug fixes and gameplay improvements.

If first impressions are anything to go by, Nightmare Reaper should see frequent updates and improvements during the Early Access period.

Nightmare Reaper is 15% off on Steam until July 23rd. so if you like what you’ve read about it so far, snap it up before the offer expires. If you can’t afford to pick it up right now, you’ll be happy to hear that the price should stay at £15 even after the upcoming episodes have been released – and you’re already enjoying the game, be sure to leave comments on the Steam Discussion boards and let the devs know what you think!

Daily News

Tim Willits leaving id after QuakeCon

Tim Willits has worked at Doom and Wolfenstein creator id Software since 1995 – but now it’s time to move on. The studio director will be announcing his future plans at QuakeCon; “where I am going, and what new exciting things I am doing. Stay tuned,” he tweeted.

He began his tenure at id as a level designer and has been a key figure in the studio’s QuakeCon events. He was lead designer on Doom 3, and creative director on Quake Live and Rage and stayed on after Zenimax acquired the studio in 2009. Willits says all the games in the pipeline are “in very good hands, my departure will not affect any planned releases.”

Doom Eternal delivers fresh hell this November

The last high-profile departure from id Software was co-founder John Carmack, who left in November 2013 to become CTO at virtual reality company Oculus VR (now owned by Facebook). Carmack’s departure was significant because he was the last of the co-founders to leave id Software.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to work with the best people in the industry on truly amazing games. QuakeCon has been an unbelievable part of my journey and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Gaylord Texan,” Willits tweeted. “id Software is packed full of amazing talent that will continue to develop (long into the future) some of the best shooters in the world.”

The four-day QuakeCon 2019 event starts on July 25 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas.

Stadia Pro is not ‘Netflix for games’, more like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus

Google are none too keen on their upcoming Stadia videogame streaming service being compared to Netflix. They would prefer you to think of it more like Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold or Sony’s PlayStation Plus services, according to a Reddit AMA with Director of Product, Andrey Doronichev.

The common misconception is that signing up for Stadio Pro at $10 per month gives you access to a whole library of on-demand games. Turns out, you need to pay for games to add them to your library. The Pro subscription gives access to “4K/HDR streaming, 5.1 sound, exclusive discounts” and some free games, explained Doronichev.

Stadia launches November 2019 with the $130 Founder’s Edition

Once a free game is added to your account, you can still play it even without a Pro subscription. He also said that the Stadia will have its own achievement system, and that Stadia’s user interface will be revealed in November at launch.

“We’ll get all the basic functionality at launch – play games across screens, no waiting for downloads or patches, social, store, etc. Of course it’s not going to be every feature we announced at our vision announcement at day 1.” Stadia Pro subscribers will get “roughly one free game per month give or take,” with the first one being Destiny 2.

Weekly Deals

What are ya buyin’?

It’s nearly weekend and we’re rounding things off with a selection of cracking deals to celebrate! The Space Exploration Sale is happening on Steam, and there are a couple of free demos (this weekend only) on the Microsoft Store, with one of them being the Gears 5 Tech Test. Whether you’re a fighting game fanatic or a sci-fi nut, we’ve got you covered!

Borderlands GOTY Edition (Xbox One) Free* this weekend for Xbox Live subs @ Microsoft Store

Gears of War 5 Tech Test (Xbox One) Free* Friday-Monday for Game Pass subs and those with a Gears 5 preorder @ Microsoft Store

Tekken 7 (PS4/Xbox One) £13.95 @ The Game Collection

DISTRAINT 2, Unexplored & Rusty Lake Paradise (PC) £0.81 @ Humble Bundle

Firewatch (Xbox One) £5.27 or £3.99 with Gold @ Microsoft Store

Prey (PC) £3.99 @ Steam

SPORE (PC) £3.74 @ Steam

Just before we clock out for the week, it’s worth mentioning that The Humble ‘Very Positive’ Bundle 3 also has two extra tiers, additionally offering: Bendy and the Ink Machine, Prison Architect and Nex Machina for £4.25, and all of the above plus Shantae: Half-Genie Hero for £8.06. If you’re into some of the soundtracks you can also bundle them in for around 80p each too. Have a great weekend and keep spending those pennies wisely!

News Bits

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw officially hits August 13, 2019

The follow-up to Double Damage Games’ 2015 Rebel Galaxy is almost here! Rebel Galaxy Outlaw will be launching into space August 13th, 2019 for PC – albeit exclusively on Epic Games Store. Other digital stores are expected to join the lawless frontier in 2020. It’s considered a spiritual successor to Wing Commander Privateer.

Sumo Digital is working with 2K Games on something

There are things happening we’re not privy to yet, but Sumo Digital teased that they have new projects in the works with 2K Games. Sumo is “delighted to be working with 2K” and will spill the beans “in due course.” Whatever it is the projects will take place at their Sheffield Studio and the newly acquired Red Kite Games. Sumo Digital recently worked on Team Sonic Racing, Mortal Kombat 11 and Crackdown 3.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these popular characters are NOT in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 at launch?

Answer: The Fantastic Four!

Not all the characters in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 for the Switch have been revealed, although now that the game is out a full character list can’t be far away! While the game boasts such obscure names as Elsa Bloodstone, Crystal, Surtur, Ultimo, and Hawkeye (KIDDING), four major Marvel characters are missing – specifically, the Fantastic Four.

The Defenders, The Inhumans, even the X-Men are all present in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, despite none of those teams being involved in the MCU – and Fox holding the movie rights to X-Men and Fantastic Four usually keeps both teams out of videogames. However, the good news is that Mr Fantastic, Human Torch, Invisible Woman and The Thing will be coming to the game – in a DLC expansion, which has already been announced! That’s something, at least…

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