Immersion Is Key, Party Royale Schedule for Fortnite

TODAY: Sometimes games literally veer from heaven to hell and back — Square Enix shows off loads of new gameplay from Marvel’s Avengers — Valve has finally started shipping Index to Europe after long delays

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Next-gen about immersion, not visuals

The next-generation consoles will focus more on immersion rather than prettier visuals, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

Since we already have “almost lifelike graphics today,” the big difference will be the ability to eliminate loading times and stream content like models, textures and animations to create bigger, more varied and seamless environments.

Leap forward: “I think we’re at a point now … that the deltas will be smaller from a visual impact, or that feature X was never possible before and now it is.” He admits that this might not be the great leap forward many gamers expect, but “when you take that and you mix it with a very high frame rate, solid frame rate, very little latency in input,” then the improvements add up to enable new and different experiences.

Xbox All Access: Another big change is Microsoft’s new Xbox All Access service which “matches a model customers use for many other devices they buy.” All Access is similar to the way purchases stay with users when they upgrade their phones, and Xbox Series X will introduce such a model, as well as an annual subscription model.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which studio was formed by the team who developed Minerva’s Den?

  • Fullbright
  • The Chinese Room
  • Galactic Cafe
  • Superflat Games

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today’s issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Daily Fact

Hellraiser fell short of God’s grace

Super 3D Noah’s Ark for Super Nintendo wasn’t always about loading up an Ark before God can get his wrath on. The project was originally quite the opposite of biblical: A Hellraiser videogame.

Wisdom Tree had licensed the Hellraiser IP for $50,000, but they ran into problems with the cost of the cartridges: They needed a special co-processor to run the Wolfenstein 3D-alike they had planned, which would bump the price to around $100 per unit.

Even including the extra horsepower, they couldn’t work around the palette limitations of the SNES. In short: Their suffering was legendary, and so they turned to the Lord almighty for help.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

Ken Levine On BioShock

Ken Levine is done with Bioshock

BioShock creator Ken Levine confirmed that he is not involved in any new game in the Bioshock series during a Gamelab Live panel.

“…I’m working on my own thing,” said Levine. He wrote and directed BioShock and BioShock: Infinite, while BioShock 2 was handled by a different team. In other words, the series was never completely bound by his personal vision.

Moving on: “I think I sort of said what I wanted to say about it, so I wanted to do something a little different,” he continued. He could not reveal what Levine’s new studio Ghost Story Games are working on. “I can’t really talk about the new game but there’s some weird shit in it,” he said. “I think if you don’t have people saying, ‘that sounds a little insane’, you haven’t gone close enough to the edge.”

Crazy design: “…the great stuff exists on the edge of ‘over the top’”, he mused, and added that “sometimes you’ve got to push past the point and make something outrageous and ridiculous, then pull it back.” If you don’t go a little crazy then you’ll “never know where that boundary is…” Ghost Story Games first project is apparently a first-person sci-fi game.

Marvel's Avengers Gameplay

Lots of fresh gameplay and story details from Marvel’s Avengers

Square Enix just broadcast an hour-long live stream of Marvel’s Avengers for PC and consoles.

The event included a brand-new story trailer which explained more about the story and revealed the villain: Dr. George Tarleton, or M.O.D.O.K. – short for Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing – who can control machines with his mind.

Solo and co-op: The stream showed both the story-driven single-player mission, as well as the co-op multiplayer mode War Zones. The single player missions showed Thor returning to defend humanity once more after voluntarily giving up his powers.

Players or AI: Each hero has their own abilities and special Heroic Moves, and can be customized with perks, costumes and gear with different modifiers. War Zones will support up to four players, or can be played alone with AI companions. Marvel’s Avengers is out for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 4th.

VR Bits

Hand tracking for Virtual Desktop

The 1.14 Virtual Desktop update adds hand tracking support for the Oculus Quest, making it considerably easier and more intuitive to interact with your desktop.

The developer video demonstrates commands like right-clicking, scrolling and zooming using pinch commands. There are news even if you don’t have an Oculus Quest: The new Universal Menu makes it easier to tweak app settings. It’s not quite as exciting as a whole new control scheme, but it’s something!

Iron Man VR lasts between 8-10 hours

Camouflaj has talked to UploadVR about Iron Man VR and what you can expect from the full game. Camouflaj founder Ryan Payton wanted the game to be “like campaign driven games” to make it more accessible to players who are not necessarily VR enthusiasts. “Based on playtest data that we’re seeing, on average the first-time campaign length ranges between about 8-10 hours. But we’ve seen much longer play times than that too.” Iron Man VR is out for PSVR on July 3rd.

Valve finally shipping Index to Europe

Valve will finally start fulfilling European Valve Index orders after a month-long delay. Reddit users have been updating their order status since pre-orders reopened on March 9th in a Google Sheet. US orders made before April 15th have been fulfilled, so keep an eye on your inbox if you have an outstanding pre-order – your waiting time could finally be over.

What Else Happened Today?

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Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which studio was formed by the team who developed Minerva’s Den?

Answer: Fullbright!

Maybe you haven’t heard about Fullbright, but you definitely know Gone Home.

The journey from Minerva’s Den to an empty family home in Orgen might sound like a radical change in direction, but it’s not that far off in design terms. Minerva’s Den was made by a team of ten developers, including lead designer Steve Gaynor. Their goal was to make a three-to-five hour game, and the constraints were inspiring.

The small team allowed a lot of collaboration and communication, and Steve Gaynor discovered that he preferred this over the hustle and bustle of large AAA teams. He founded the Fullbright Company with other members of the Minerva’s Den team, and together they made games like Gone Home and Tacoma.

Today’s issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Christian Vaz, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey.