#45: No Man’s Sky Goes Beyond With VR

TODAY: Get your slime on with a new Dragon Quest Heroes 3 fan translation – Get G.R.E.E.N. fingers with The Life Algorithm – Infiltrate a do-gooder cult invented by video gaming’s greatest cult writers

Top Story

No Man’s Sky: Beyond launches August 14 – ‘multiplayer and VR’

Hello Games have crammed three major features into one big update: No Man’s Sky: Beyond. It offers a “mix of features we’ve been dreaming of for a while,” and that finally includes more online features. It only took ’em three years to really get there.

An “expanded Online experience will bring a radical new social and multiplayer experience” to No Man’s Sky, according to the blurb, and that means we get to meet and play together wherever in the universe. For those who followed the game before release, this was one of those initial and now infamous promises that never materialised in game at launch.

Multiplayer – but for realsies this time

Virtual reality will let you grab a joystick and blast off, as well as wave and high five your VR buddies. You can play with non-VR explorers too but they aren’t in the cool kids club. “Reach into your backpack to grab your multitool, touch it to switch to terrain manipulation, and carve out intricate shapes with unprecedented control.”

Hello Games will be releasing more information in the coming weeks Beyond draws closer, calling it the studio’s most “ambitious chapter so far, and something we’ve been working ridiculously hard on.” A release date trailer has been posted but it doesn’t exactly answer all our questions. No Man’s Sky was released back in August 2016 for PC and PlayStation 4, and eventually for Xbox One in July 2018.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

How many live-action Resident Evil movies have there been?

  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7

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

News Bits

Fans complete translation of Dragon Quest’s Rocket Slime 3DS

The great work has been completed. Fans have translated Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3: Daikaizoku to Shippo Dan for Nintendo 3DS into English from its native Japanese. It was released back in November 2011 and involves a bunch of “Rainbow Orbs” getting pinched from the Slime Kingdom and scattered around the world. All text, images and menus have been converted. The translation is available from Fan Translators International.

Capcom are recruiting “Biohazard Ambassadors” for game testing

Biohazard is the Japanese name for Resident Evil and developer Capcom is looking for “ambassadors” to help them test a new RE title currently in the works. Whatever the new project might be, the test is scheduled to commence September 8th and 9th. Capcom held a Resident Evil Ambassador shindig in Tokyo this past June. What fresh horrors do they have in mind for us? More remakes or remasters?

Daily Fact

Marketing gimmicks can be real stinkers

In this digital age of download codes and streaming services you sometimes miss out on the physical feel of a disc. Back in 2001 you could even smell them. As part of a silly gimmick for EA Sports’ FIFA 2001 for PlayStation, you could actually “smell the pitch” if you “scratch and sniff” the game disc in Europe. Yes, this was actually a thing. It didn’t really catch on which was probably for the best.

It didnít stop Polyphony Digitalís Gran Turismo 2 a year later from getting in on the smelly action as they also offered a scratch and sniff disc for PlayStation in Europe. Wouldnít you love to get a whiff of pit-stop before hitting the virtual tracks? That was the last of the aroma-based gimmicks for PlayStation in the early 2000s. Marketing however continues to stink to this day.

Under The Radar - G.R.E.E.N. The Life Algorithm

What if plants ruled the world?

(Estacion Pi – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)

Release: September 2019

2D action/adventure game G.R.E.E.N. The Life Algorithm presents a vision of a world overrun by genetically modified vegetation. This Metroidvania-inspired adventure explores the beautiful and slightly terrifying outcomes of messing too much with Mother Nature.

G.R.E.E.N.’s story follows a group of scientists who dream of ending world hunger, and create “The Life Algorithm” — a process that vastly accelerates vegetation growth. However, rather than simply create fast-growing plants, the genetically modified vegetation evolves into sentient monsters who quickly cause the collapse of human civilisation.

Only a few people escape the catastrophe, but a small group known as A.W.S. (Advanced Withering System) manage to create an artificial desert providing a safe haven against the marauding greenery. The player’s journey begins seventeen years later, when the A.W.S. starts showing signs of failure, putting the remaining survivors in grave danger.

Despite all the undeniably hostile plant life, G.R.E.E.N. is not about killing weeds. Instead, the player is meant to focus on using the environment to their advantage to overcome its challenges, giving you useful abilities to accomplish this.

Your character will be able to petrify enemies and jump on them to reach higher, as well as fire projectiles that transform them into temporary platforms, and these interactions make out the puzzles you’ll need to solve to advance and explore the game’s diverse ecosystems.

Experience the dark side of nature

G.R.E.E.N. is the first project from fresh indie studio Estacion Pi, and has been in development since 2017. They launched a Kickstarter at the end of May 2019, but only managed to receive 112 backers who contributed £1,600, well shy of the £12,900 goal – yet still expect to release in September this year. According to G.R.E.E.N.’s Steam page, it’s “the first videogame in Latin America to implement Tensorflow and ML-Agents of Unity tools for enemy intelligence.”

Simply put, this suggests that enemy encounters should be made unpredictable by the combination of machine learning and behaviour trees implemented in the game. In theory, this should keep the game feeling fresh and interesting – and keep players getting complacent when faced with familiar challenges.

If you’re a fan of 2D Metroidvania titles and also happen to enjoy punchy synthwave, you’re gonna want to keep an eye on G.R.E.E.N. for the next couple of months.

Estacion Pi are determined to launch on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch this Autumn, so stay tuned for further announcements via their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels. We’re intrigued by what the developer has shown of G.R.E.E.N. so far and are interested to see how comprehensive the game’s reactive intelligence really is.

Daily News

ChinaJoy 2019 begins in Shanghai, offers up new PS4 gameplay

There’s a major Chinese game expo called ChinaJoy 2019 right now in Shanghai. Announcements and fresh gameplay footage is emerging from Sony’s PlayStation China Hero Project, which is designed to help Chinese start-up developers get their games to market. Here’s a round-up:

  • ANNO: Mutationem – an action RPG set in a futuristic metropolis and themed around the “SCP Foundation” project. “From the abandoned ruins of a former giant city to the bustling streets of the metropolis, the developers of ANNO: Mutationem hope to provide a refreshing combat experience and rich exploration in the game world.”
  • In Nightmare – a horror game where a young boy wanders a mysterious dream world which is described as “a dark fairytale of exploring the growing pain and self-salvation.” It will blend imagination and realism.
  • Evotinction – a third-person stealth hacking game offering a “complex and dynamic stealth experience” with an array of hacking skills, as well as environmental gadgetry. The game will tackle the subject of evolution and extinction in a world of rapidly accelerating technology.
  • F.I.S.T. – a dieselpunk Metroidvania game where as a rabbit equipped with a giant mechanical arm on his back we take on a robotic army. “There will be a vast world map for the player to explore to meet with friend NPCs and encounter enemies, discover items and weapons and seek for the answers for the secrets hidden behind.”
  • WENT: Refactor – a cyberpunk dystopic visual novel where “in an isolated city relying on high technology to survive, as one of the inquisitors in this deeply hierarchical society, you are a girl who can read minds by hacking brain implants. In investigating a case, you bump into something that has been carefully hidden…” WENT: Refactor is already listed on Steam for PC but will also come to PlayStation 4.

The Church in the Darkness cult nabs Chris Avellone and Marc Laidlaw

Paranoid Productions and writers Chris Avellone, Brenda Romero, and Marc Laidlaw wants you to chug down the Kool-Aid in their “action-infiltration” game The Church in the Darkness, which is all about a 70s religious cult called the “Collective Justice Mission”.

The cult – which preaches socialism and sustainable agriculture in a Christian society – has holed up in Freedom Town, and you gotta go in there and find your lost nephew Alex. Parts of the game are procedurally generated, and people’s allegiances and beliefs change on each start, including the camp layout.

“The Leader is good. The Leader is great. We surrender our will as of this date!”

Ellen McClain and John Patrick Lowrie – most famous for their roles as Portal’s GlaDOS and Team Fortress 2’s Sniper – are lending their voices to the cult’s charismatic leaders.

“Over the years I had met many of the people who inspired me, so I thought it would be great to get some of them to fill out the characters in The Church in the Darkness,” says director Richard Rouse III.

He first pinched Steve Meretzky of Infocom fame, and then snared Half-Life writer Mac Laidlaw. Brenda Romero was the next target and then another Infocom veteran, Brian Moriarty.

Finally writer Chris Avellone took his turn, and Paranoid Productons had assembled its very own cult writing staff. Praise be! Each of them wrote supporting characters which we can discover through letters, journals and documents in Freedom Town.

“One of the great perks of being in the game industry is how accessible most designers and writers are,” continues Rouse.

The Church in the Darkness launches for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch today, August 2.

Weekly Deals

What are ya buyin’?

Are you ready for some sweet deals? With EVO 2019 happening this weekend, several stores are running EVO 2019 sales and offer big discounts on games like Street Fighter V, DRAGON BALL FighterZ and Soul Calibur VI.

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (PC) $19.99 @ Steam Store

DRAGON BALL FighterZ (Xbox One) $14.99 @ Microsoft Store

Euro Truck Simulator 2 (PC) $4.99 @ Steam Store

Redemption Bundle – Ash of Gods: Redemption, The Town of Light, Chaos Reborn, Lust for Darkness, Brawlout, Fantasy Versus & River City Ransom: Underground (PC) $3.99 @ Fanatical

Crusader Kings II Bundle – Crusader Kings II, CKII: The Old Gods, CKII: The Republic, CKII: Sunset Invasion, CKII: Legacy of Rome & CKII: Sword of Islam (PC) $1 @ Humble Bundle

Outlast: Bundle of Terror – Outlast (Base Game) & Whistleblower DLC (PS4) $7.24 @ PlayStation Store

HITMAN 2 (PC) $16.79 @ All You Play

We couldn’t resist adding a few bundles in this week’s list!

The Crusader Kings II bundle on Humble Bundle has three tiers, and while getting the base game and some DLC for just $1 is an absolute steal, we also recommend the $15 bundle as it provides a notable saving.

With the recent announcement of HITMAN 3 in development, now is a great time to get reacquainted with Agent 47 in HITMAN 2.

News Bits

Fortnite troubles on Xbox? Dis-Kinect!

Epic Games is advising Fortnite gamers on Xbox One to unplug their Kinect camera from the console due to “stability issues” being reported when starting up the battle royale game. The studio are “investigating a fix for this issue,” which began just as Fortnite’s season X began. In other news: Yes, Kinect is apparently still a thing.

Shadowy menaces in Pokémon GO

Team Rocket is up to their tricks again and the official Pokémon GO Twitter account confirms a list of Pokémon that have been affected by their schemes. Shadow variants are listed for: Poliwag, Grimer, Muk, Drowzee, Hypno, Cubone, Scyther, Magikarp, Houndour, Houndoom and Ralts. These Shadow Pokemon guard captured PokéStops in Pokémon GO. Prepare for trouble!

Weekly Giveaway

Lost Orbit: Terminal Velocity

We’ve got a fresh giveaway for you this week! Lost Orbit: Terminal Velocity is a game about trying to return home through the vastness of space – armed only with your wits and whatever equipment you can scavenge or improvise – and we’ve got a Steam code to give away every day this week to one lucky winner on our active reader list!

“LOST ORBIT centers around the exploration of space. Players take control of a lone astronaut who sets off on a dangerous journey to rejoin his civilization, armed with only an improvised set of equipment and a relentless spirit.

Without the help of his ship, Harrison will need to use the gravitational forces of planets to navigate and propel himself through space.

Set in a world rich with comedy and tragedy, LOST ORBIT is a game filled with risk, loneliness, wonder, and death.”

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

How many live-action Resident Evil movies have there been?

Answer: 6!

Yes, there has almost been as many Resident Evil movies as there has been numbered entries in the videogame series – and the seventh movie (a long overdue reboot) is in production right now.

Most of the movies were directed or overseen by Paul WS Anderson – who directed the first Mortal Kombat movie as well as Aliens Vs Predator – and starred Milla Jovovich, who later married Anderson.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a fan of the videogames who will actually admit to liking the movies, but the Resident Evil movie series has grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide – and is easily the most successful live-action videogame adaptation. Can Mortal Kombat or Doom boast six movies and over a billion dollars at the box office? Not even close!

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