#53: Minecraft Super Duper Plug Pulled

TODAY: Sam Fisher might finally emerge from the shadows — Mojang has news about the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack — Epic Game Store finally supports preloading, but not for Borderlands 3

Top Story

Xbox First-Party titles may not be exclusive going forward

Head of Xbox Matt Booty recently gave an interview to Game Informer where he talked about Microsoft’s newly acquired game studios and whether their games will be available on other platforms.

“Yeah, I think we would. I think that the question is less binary about, ‘should it be on Switch, should it be on PlayStation?’ and more, ‘does it make sense for the franchise?’.”

Booty then went on to say:

“In other words, is it a kind of game where it would benefit from the network effect of being on a bunch of different platforms, or is it a game where we can best support it by putting resources and making sure that our platforms, things like xCloud and Game Pass and Xbox Live, are really leaning in to support the game?.”

Microsoft recently acquired Double Fine, who have already confirmed that Psychonauts 2 will be released on PlayStation 4 and PC as well as Xbox One. Cuphead was also released on other platforms, and The Outer Worlds will be released on PlayStation 4 and PC alongside Xbox One. Booty pointed to Minecraft – which is available on pretty much every platform you can think of – as a good example of a franchise being best served by multiplatform releases.

Microsoft likes the idea of multiplatform release, as long as it makes sense for individual franchises

“With something like Minecraft, I think it was a no-brainer that we were never going to try and take anything from players that existed on those platforms, and certainly we’ve added platforms since that acquisition.”

While Microsoft is encouraging its newly acquired studios to keep other platforms in mind, there will still be a selection of Xbox One and Windows exclusive series: Big, strategically significant franchises like Halo and Forza will most likely remain exclusive. In any case, we’re happy to see that Microsoft support consumer choice – and winding down the console war – by releasing more of their catalogue on rival platforms.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Before this week’s Ion Fury, what was the most recent game to be made in Duke Nukem 3D’s Build engine?

  • Shadow Warrior
  • Blood
  • NAM
  • World War II GI

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

News Bits

Alien: Isolation creeping onto Switch

The ESRB has rated Alien: Isolation for Switch, a pretty strong indicator that the game will be on store shelves very soon. The launch window is simply 2019, so expect a release date announcement soon.

VR fencing slashes into Early Access

VR sword-fighter Until You Fall will enter Early Access on August 27th. Developer Schell Games’ announcement trailer introduces the colorful game’s fast-paced combat, perfectly-timed guard breaks and intimidating enemies. Until You Fall encourages you to fight like a warrior, but also embrace your inevitable fall – then rise to fight again. The game can be wishlisted on Steam, and features both Vive and Oculus support.

Daily Fact

Only 15 games based on Build Engine, with 20 years between the last two

Ion Fury is out this week, and it’s big news for any fans of retro first-person shooters: It’s developed using the Build Engine, which powered classics like Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior and Blood.

But despite its important place in FPS history, the engine never really took off and only 15 games were developed using Build! While these include a collection of classics, the technology was made obsolete almost immediately: id Software’s Quake engine appeared just a few months later and its sophisticated 3D graphics immediately became the future of the FPS – well, until Ion Fury anyway!

Daily News

Splinter Cell comeback will offer a new type of experience

The Splinter Cell series has been on hiatus since 2013’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and fans have been begging Ubisoft for a sequel ever since. Well, be careful what you wish for: Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot recently hinted that the new Splinter Cell may not be what the fans are expecting.

Guillemot said Splinter Cell might not return as a AAA title, but will instead offer “some new type of experiences, but more on different devices.”

Sam Fisher’s return may not be what fans were hoping for

Sam Fisher was last seen at E3 2019, where he appeared in the mobile game, Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. This free-to-play military RPG is definitely not the stealth game Splinter Cell fans were hoping for, but perhaps this is the type of game we should expect from the Splinter Cell series in the future. It’s certainly a ‘new type of experience on different devices’.

The Ubisoft CEO finished the interview with a statement on the Splinter Cell series that might get players excited again:

“We are working a little bit on the brand today to come back at one point. We can’t say when, because, as you know, it takes time. But each time we have to find the right experience to come back big.”

It looks like Ubisoft wants to bring back Sam Fisher, but that doesn’t really give fans any clues when he might return. Metal Gear Solid was the last of the big stealth series, and saw a somewhat ignominious end when Hideo Kojima was fired from Konami. This would seem like a great time for a Splinter Cell game to emerge from the shadows and snap some necks since there is virtually no competition left – but stealth fans will probably have to stay crouched in the shadows for a while longer.

Mojang has finally pulled the plug on the Super Duper Graphics Pack

Originally revealed at E3 2017, the Super Duper Graphics Pack was supposed to elevate Minecraft’s graphics to new heights, but never materialised. The developers at Mojang have finally broken the silence surrounding the seemingly forgotten graphics pack, stating: “the pack proved too technically demanding to implement as planned.

It looked like Mojang was planning the update specifically for the Xbox One X and PC. However, the final update on the graphics pack mentions multiple platforms:

“We realise this is disappointing to some of you – there was a lot of enthusiasm for Super Duper from inside and outside the studio – but unfortunately, we aren’t happy with how the pack performed across devices..”

Players will need to play on PC to get a taste of what could have been

Considering what Mojang wanted to achieve with the Super Duper Graphics Pack, it’s not all that surprising to hear that systems like the Nintendo Switch and mobile devices might struggle. Minecraft fans had accepted that the update might never see the light of day, judging by YouTube comments poking fun at the E3 2017 trailer over a year ago.

Gamers that want to experience the promised Minecraft will have to play on PC where shader packs can transform the game. Some of these shaders can be demanding, so you will need a powerful GPU for the more advanced packs. We recommend checking out Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders to get a taste of what could’ve been in the Super Duper Graphics Pack.

News Bits

No Preloading for Borderlands 3

Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, announced on Twitter that Epic Games Store will not offer preloading for Borderlands 3. Though the feature has officially launched, players were annoyed that it isn’t being available for Borderlands 3.

When pressed on the issue, Sweeney had this to say: “We’ve released support for file preloading which is sufficient for some games, but we aren’t certain it’s up to the demands of a blockbuster like Borderlands.

id Software’s Tim Willits joins Saber Interactive

Tim Willits, previously Studio Director at id Software, has announced that as of August 1st, he is now the Chief Creative Officer of Saber Interactive. Having played a huge role in the development of classic series like Quake, Doom and Wolfenstein, Willits’ name was synonymous with id Software.

Taking the reins as CCO at Saber Interactive, a studio best known for their work on NBA Playgrounds, Quake Champions and World War Z, Willits is excited to be working on new IP with a smaller team. In an interview with Fortune, he mentioned that Saber Interactive is “actively looking for new teams and studios in which to invest.”

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Before this week’s Ion Fury, what was the most recent game to be made in Duke Nukem 3D’s Build engine?

Answer: World War II GI

Despite powering some of the most enduring fan-favorite first-person shooters in history – such as Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior and Blood – the Build engine kind of went out with a whimper in the late 90s, being featured in limp titles like NAM, Extreme Paintbrawl, and 1999’s World War II GI. Anyone remember them?

The versatile engine’s sad demise was, unsurprisingly, at the hands of id Software’s revolutionary Quake. Duke Nukem 3D and the sprite-based Build engine launched just a few months ahead of Quake, which featured fully polygonal 3D graphics and much more sophisticated level design tools. Fortunately Ion Fury is out this week to remind us how cool a game with sprite-based enemies can be!

DailyBits Feedback

Help us Improve DailyBits!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this issue of our e-zine, DailyBits! Feedback is extremely important, and we are grateful for any time you can spare to provide feedback on this issue and help us improve future ones. It would be very helpful if you could add us to your email contact list, or otherwise drag our emails from the “Promotions” folder to “Primary” (on Gmail only) just to ensure that future editions don’t come in as spam.

Please feel free to send any feedback over to team@dailybits.news. Thank You!