#153: What's next for Star Wars & Assassin's Creed?

TODAY: 2019 was Pokémon GO's best year since launch — More playable characters in Resident Evil 3 Remake — Nvidia finally launches drivers supporting Variable Rate Supersamling for VR

Top Story

Assassin's Creed Ragnarok to feature more RPG mechanics

It's not exactly a huge surprise that Ubisoft's next entry in the Assassin's Creed series will keep building on the RPG mechanics established in the very successful Assassin's Creed Origins.

The leaks stem from 4Chan so a pinch of salt is advised, but several points have been independentely confirmed so it doesn't seem to be invented from whole cloth.

The biggest news is four-player drop-in/out co-op, and a massive map covering Northern Europe. Ubisoft is expected to announce Assassin's Creed Ragnarok at a PlayStation event next month, and the release date is supposed to be September this year.

Highlights:

  • New weapon durability system
  • Smaller inventory that can be expanded by upgrades
  • Adrenaline will be replaced by Berserker Mode powered by elemental runes
  • Sailing will return, with more emphasis on exploration and less on combat
  • Improved parkour mechanics, particularly when interacting with trees
  • Hidden blade is back along with one hit kills and customization options
  • Stealth will be governed by particular skills, hiding in crowds requires disguise
  • Expanded reputation system gates missions and involve factors like particular cities and officials, as well as clothing and crimes
  • Conquest battles are back and allow players to wrest control of settlements from the Templar
  • Dynamic wars and territorial disputes between kingdoms, players can capture settlements for fun and profit
  • Players can organize and join raids on settlements, cities and forts
  • Assassins seem to have some kind of connection to the Norse god Odin
  • Difficulty now determines parry windows, health and reaction times and not just enemy health
  • Improved progression system similar to Skyrim, no more level-locked regions
  • Skills unlock through story progression or skill point expenditure

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which of these consoles was Doom not ported to?

  • 3DO
  • Atari Jaguar
  • SEGA CD
  • Super Nintendo

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.

News Bits

2019 is Pokémon GO's best year so far

Niantic and The Pokémon Company are basically printing money with Pokémon GO, which had its best year since launch. Players spent an eye-watering $894 million, with $335 million of that made in the United States, $286 million in Japan and $54 million in Germany. Android is the biggest platform, with 54 percent of players.

Brand new Hearthstone solo adventure launching on January 21st

Galakrond's Awakening is nigh, and will be the “culmination of the year-long narrative” that began in 2019, the Year of the Dragon.

Players must face a series of unique boss encounters using pre-built decks, and the first of the four instalments will launch on January 21st.

Daily Fact

Mario Party caused enough hand injuries to force Nintendo to respond

Mario Party for Nintendo 64 was supposed to be a fun and casual party game for up to four players, where players moved across a game board and competed in frantic minigames.

The minigames often required you to rotate the controller's analogue stick, and the most efficient way to swivel the little nub was to use your palm. Unsurprisingly, this led to some nasty blisters and some rather unhappy parents. It got so bad that Nintendo was forced to settle a complaint from the New York State's Attorney General by providing free ‘protective gloves’ to the over-eager youngsters.

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

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Daily News

Carlos is playable in Resident Evil 3 Remake

Capcom has spilled the beans about what changes they've made to Resident Evil 3 Remake, and the biggest news is that Carlos Oliveira will be playable this time.

The game takes place across a variety of locations in Raccoon City, but it's hardly an open world. Nemesis will be hot on your tail wherever you go, and won't be restricted to certain areas like in Resident Evil 2 Remake. Nemesis will also have a more aggressive pursuer AI, and sounds will play an important role in figuring out where Nemesis is and what he is up to.

Shinji Mikami considers Nemesis a side-story rather than a full chapter

There won't be multiple endings this time, as the events and timeline have been narrowed down to a linear story. The Mercenaries Mode won't be back either, since Capcom has been focusing on asymmetric online mode Resident Evil: Resistance instead.

Resident Evil 3 Remake launches for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on April 3rd.

Campaign to promote parental controls

A study conducted by the Interactive Software Federation of Europe found that only one in five UK parents bother to set up parental controls for their children aged 6-15.

A 2019 study by the NSPCC found that only 20 percent of parents of kids aged 50-15 use parent controls on internet connected devices. These numbers have prompted The UK Interactive Entertainment Association Ukie to launch a campaign to raise awareness of parental controls and how they can be used.

Put adults in charge without stopping the fun

Ukie will provide video tutorials and explanations showing parents how they can activate parental controls and what tools they provide, such as managed screen time, in-game spending and online interactions. All the information will be available on the askaboutgames.com website.

“It doesn’t take long to set up the controls and it means families can enjoy games together safely,” said Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist. “If a child was given a bike at Christmas, we would expect them to also be given stabilisers – family controls are really no different,” she added.

The campaign is backed by former Manchester United and English national team player Rio Ferdinand, who also features in the campaign's video material.

VR Bits

Latest Nvidia drivers feature Variable Rate Supersampling for VR

The new Nvidia drivers launched this week includes variable rate supersampling for VR, which improves performance and visuals at the same time. VRSS essentially allows games to draw at variable resolution, concentrating on the details you are looking at and lowering the resolution for the parts of the image perceived by your peripheral vision.

Sounds weird? Have a look at this video and all will become clear. Well, at least whatever you're looking directly at. For now, only 20 games support VRSS and only on RTX GPUs, but the technique will undoubtedly become more widespread in the near future.

The Vive has been discontinued

Valve has discontinued the HTC Vive, according to their official Facebook page. Reddit user nbduckman asked the company whether the Vive would come back in stock, and the answer was ... no!

Vive was released in April 2016, and was the Oculus Rift's first major competitor, boasting sophisticated tracking systems and controllers. This presumably means Valve is concentrating all their efforts on the Index platform in the future.

Vive launch title Job Simulator has sold over one million units

Job Simulator, one of the first big VR exclusives, has sold over one million units, an immersive comedy that challenges you to perform more or less absurd approximations of work.

The game was offered as a pack-in for the HTC Vive at launch, and has since been updated to support a broad range of VR platforms. Developer Owlchemy Labs went on to create Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.

News Bits

Updated Doom and Doom 2 versions for Bethesda Launcher

Bethesda is updating Doom and Doom 2 with fancy new features like quicksave and quickload, different aspect ratios, 60FPS support and curated add-ons. The updates are free and available now.

Next Star Wars will be a prequel and story will start with a game

According to the Making Star Wars blog the next Star Wars saga will take place 400 years before the Skywalker saga, during the High Republic era. The story, which is called Project Luminous internally at Disney, will span TV, games, films and comics – and will start off with a game! The game should be out in 2021, although it's unclear if it's a AAA game or something else.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which of these consoles was Doom not ported to?

Answer: SEGA CD!

Doom is probably the most widely ported game of all time. There are dozens of versions for various computers and consoles, and most of them have some unique feature whether it's modified levels, music or even entirely new monsters and campaigns. Doom is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch and will probably remain a staple for decades and console generations to come.

Weekly Giveaway

Blackmoor 2 on Nintendo Switch

We're kicking off this year's weekly giveaway with some Switch codes for Blackmoor 2, which is releasing on the Nintendo Switch eShop today.

Blackmoor 2 is a beat-em-up platformer that supports 4 player co-op action. Please follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be entered into this giveaway. We will be sending out one code each day this week, and good luck to everyone that enters.

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