Newest God of War Could Take Another Chance At Multiplayer

The new God of War installment could bring back one unexpected feature from God of War: Ascension.

The Sony Santa Monica Studio website has a job listing for a senior multiplayer programmer, calling for somebody who wants “all players to have the best possible shared experience”. The listing reveals as much detail about this theoretical multiplayer feature as you would expect; none. Game director Cory Barlog reportedly said that God of War would not include a multiplayer mode in the weeks after its big reveal at E3 2016.

That leaves us with three scenarios: either the initial reports were inaccurate, the studio has changed its mind, or the listing is related to another game that isn’t related to God of War.

Another thing to think about is many signs point to God of War being released this year. The senior multiplayer programmer listing was posted near the end of February, which would not leave the studio with much time to implement such a typically complex feature. Though it may just be filling a gap from a previous employee leaving, rather than staffing up an entirely new position.

God of War: Ascension’s multiplayer portion let players create their own mythological Greek heroes to slay monsters in competitive and cooperative modes. It did well enough bringing multiplayer to a series that had always been about narrative-driven, single-player monster slaying, but it didn’t make that big of a splash. The new God of War has a very different design from previous games, with an over-the-shoulder camera instead of a fixed, floating perspective, for example. So if it does indeed have a multiplayer, don’t expect it to share much in common with Ascension’s.

 

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VR Might Be “Too Good” Pokemon Go Boss Says

John Hanke, the CEO of Pokemon Go developer Niantic Labs, offered his thoughts on how Virtual Reality is a step back for society. According to GI.biz, Hanke said VR has the potential to be “too good” and might lead to people wanting to spend extended periods of time in digital worlds.

“My thing about VR is I’m afraid it can be too good, in the sense of being an experience that people want to spend a huge amount of time in,” he said. “I mean I already have concerns about my kids playing too much Minecraft, and that’s a wonderful game. We’re human beings and there’s a lot of research out there that shows we’re actually a lot happier when we get exercise, when we go outside–and outside in nature in particular,” he added. “I think it’s a problem for us as a society if we forgo that and spend all of time in a Ready Player One-style VR universe.”

Hanke has been critical of VR in the past. Speaking to Recode last year, Hanke said VR can be an isolationist activity. “In a VR situation, you’re isolating yourself from everyone around you and entering this completely virtual space,” he said at the time.

Going back to his talk at the Mixed Reality Summit, Hanke said augmented reality–which is at the core of Pokemon Go–has a “huge amount of potential” to do things that have a positive impact on humanity. Niantic has said one of its goals for Pokemon Go is to help make the world a better place.

“There is research about the health impact of Pokemon Go in particular but you can expand that to apply to all AR games,” he said. “These games can encourage people to be more active than they would normally be. As a parent, part of my motivation for building this kind of game was to try and get my kids out of the house. I think there’s a ton of good that can be done.”

Also during the talk, Hanke said he foresees a day when AR and VR “converge into a single set of experiences.”

Project Scorpio Specs Announced

Microsoft has revealed fresh new tech specs about its upcoming upgraded Xbox One console, Project Scorpio.

According to a new report from Digital Foundry, the console’s specs are beyond what we’ve seen in the current console generation. Scorpio was able to run a Forza Motorsport demo at 60 FPS in seemingly native 4K, with graphical settings at an “Xbox One-equivalent” level. In terms of specs, the console boastsa 1 TB hard drive, as well as 12 GB of GGDR5 memory–the same type of RAM contained in the PlayStation 4, though Sony‘s device only contains 8 GB.

That 12 GB is split into two portions: 8 GB is accessible to developers, while 4 GB is reserved for system use. That’s an increase over Xbox One’s 8 GB overall memory, which was split the same way into portions of 5 GB and 3 GB, while GGDR5 represents a speed increase over Xbox One’s DDR3 RAM. Digital Foundry–which was shared this information by Microsoft itself–says Scorpio will run all Xbox One games “better,” whether they’re patched for the new console or not. This is because the console uses no emulation–Xbox One games will run natively using the system’s internal power.

Combined with a faster CPU, the result is a more stable or higher frame rate, no screen tearing, and faster load times. All of that is also reportedly true for backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games, even though changes in hardware between Xbox One and Project Scorpio mean Microsoft has had to go through each backwards-compatible Xbox 360 game individually to make them run on Scorpio.

The site says Scorpio’s internal design brief was to scale existing titles up to 4K–and this latest batch of information suggests Microsoft has succeeded. it should be noted, however, that the demo only contained one test version of an unconfirmed Forza game–though the build apparently was built using the same tech used to make Forza Motorsport 6. Additionally, titles that were originally 30 FPS will not go over that unless patched to do so, while the level of optimization seen in all titles could vary.

Users who own 1080p televisions will still be catered for, too: “ultra HD-rendering should super-sample down for those 1080p displays,” says the site, meaning games should look sharper, even if you don’t own a 4K set. Although no price has officially been confirmed, Digital Foundry and Eurogamer estimate from the specs they’ve seen that the console will cost US $499–the same price as the Xbox One at launch.

We already knew that Scorpio will boast six teraflops of performance–including 320 GB/s memory bandwidth and eight CPU cores–though the console will differ from Xbox One by reportedly not containing ESRAM. Microsoft says Scorpio is the most powerful console ever made and that it will be more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro, which came out last year. It will still support Xbox One games, controllers, and accessories.

The new console is due to launch this holiday, but it remains to be seen when Microsoft will start to officially show it off in more detail. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said he is unsure if Microsoft will show off Project Scorpio before E3 in June, while also stating recently that he thinks it’s “critical” for first-party games to be ready for the system’s launch.

 

Crackdown 3 Details “On The Horizon” Developer Says

HOLY CRAP. XBOX EXCLUSIVE NEWS.

It’s been a while since anyone has gotten new information about Crackdown 3, but it seems like that’s going to change soon. More information about the Xbox One and PC is “on the horizon,” reads a tweet from the game’s official Twitter account.

“2017 is shaping up to be great!” the developer said. “Crackdown 3 info is on the horizon, and we’re ready to bring the boom!”

Asked on Twitter if the Crackdown 3 news might come on Thursday as part of the Project Scorpio reveal, the developer said, “We have no insight in to what other teams are working on, but Crackdown news will start rolling out BIG TIME in the coming months.”

The “coming months” could be a reference to E3, which takes place in early June. Microsoft’s briefing is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, June 11, which is earlier than its normal Monday morning timeslot.

Crackdown 3, or at least a part of it, was previously expected to launch in 2016. Microsoft later confirmed a delay to 2017, for a couple of reasons. First, Xbox marketing manager Aaron Greenberg said the open-world game won’t launch in 2016 because the company’s holiday lineup was already so stuffed with great games that it didn’t need more. Later, Microsoft Studios boss Shannon Loftis said the delay is partially the result of needing more time work on the campaign.

We also know that the game will run at 4K on Project Scorpio and should launch this holiday or sooner. Crackdown 3 is in development at Reagent Games, under the guidance of Crackdown series veteran David Jones.

Hints From The Destiny 2 Trailer You May Have Overlooked

The City has fallen, the Guardians have scattered, and all of our stuff exploded. That’s the gist of what we saw in the Destiny 2 trailer last week.

I’ve watched it a few times over now and have noticed things I didn’t really catch on my first look through of the trailer. Here are some of the things you may have missed and some painfully obvious things we know about the trailer so far.

The City And Traveler Do Not look Too Hot

The City is in bad shape, but heck, humanity (and blue humans and robots) have bounced back from cataclysms in the past. The really concerning part here is the current state of The Traveler. That mysterious orb is filled with a nightmarish glow that suggests it’s burning from the inside. But look at the way the whole thing is pulsing rhythmically, on and off. Almost like the Traveler has finally awoken from its long sleep. Boy, what a way to wake up that would be.

The Tower Is In Pieces, But It Isn’t Gone

Zavala refers to the Tower as being destroyed, and for the Guardians’ purposes, that’s likely true. It’s been severely damaged. But you can see the structure is still standing behind his right shoulder when he’s making his speech. Just enough left to turn it into a Strike or Raid location, don’t you think? It would be a chilling thrill to go guns-up in the formerly peaceful environment where so many of us danced away the hours in the original Destiny.

The Cabal Have Upgraded

The Cabal is sporting some new gear and troops. First up is this Phalanx with an upgraded, expanding shield. It’s flashy, but it doesn’t look like it actually provides more protection than the current solid version. The two Cabal to the left seem to have the same shield in an unexpanded state. The implication here is that Phalanxes will still be able to “turtle up” by deploying their shields, but they may not be able to move while doing so. Their gigantic shields and plodding advance make Phalanxes one of the least-fun enemy types to fight in the current game so that change would be very welcome. But who is that with the two glowing swords in the background? It’s this giant lunk, or one of its pals.

That’s the Cabal’s new melee enforcer. Weighing in at roughly 500 tons and wielding two glowing-hot swords, this thing is going to get in your face and try to chop it off. And there’s still another unit type for close encounters of the canine kind. They’re a lot more spiky and red than Earth dogs, but you get the idea. Looks like these will fill the rushdown harasser role that Cabal Psions only sorta-covered before. Between them and the sword-wielding brutes, the Cabal will be a major hazard from short-to-medium range.

Ghaul Is Probably Going To Be The New Raid Boss

The leader of the attack on the City is named Ghaul (not Gary) and you are so going to kill him. But it won’t be an easy fight. Just look at this guy. The Cabal tend toward more utilitarian armor designs than pretty much everybody else in Destiny (especially Guardians), but Ghaul looks like five offensive linemen stuffed full-to-bursting into a suit of knight’s armor (I’m pretty sure I fought his slightly-less-beefy cousin in Quake). He must have done something really nasty to earn all that ornamentation. The only question is whether Destiny 2 will save Ghaul for a Raid boss or if we’ll get to fight him throughout the campaign, like we did with Oryx in The Taken King.

The Vault May Not Be Forever Lost

All that loot gone, like tears in the rain… Don’t fret about never seeing your favorite Exotics again, though. There’s something magic in those guns and gear, so I’m sure they’ll find their way back to us somehow. My bet? Destiny 2 will start off with almost no recurring gear from the first game, then will steadily drip-feed in old favorites as the updates roll on.

Familiar Faces Missing

The trailer has speaking roles for all three Vanguards – Zavala, Cayde-6, and Ikora Rey. You can also see Crucible showrunner Lord Shaxx in the background during Zavala’s speech. There’s some speculation that the hooded figure standing next to Shaxx is Xur, the enigmatic space merchant, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a Hunter with their hood up – Xur doesn’t really wear armor like that.

That leaves a lot of major characters unaccounted for. It’s never good when Eris Morn, the Darkness-tainted Guardian, leaves your sight for long. And were normal humans like shipwright Amanda Holliday and emblem dispenser/official Guardian grandma Eva Levante able to escape the Tower before it was destroyed? The answers don’t seem to be in this trailer, unfortunately.

Civilians Exist Now

The Guardian support staff are unaccounted for but other civilians may take their place. This trailer is the first time we’ve actually seen the normal people we fight to protect, and now they’re returning the favor. Previous reports have indicated that Destiny 2 will have a more open-world structure with players moving between multiple hubs to receive quests and restock, and this may be a hint at the expanded role of non-Guardians in the game.

Red Dead Redemption 2, Battlefront II Could Help Scorpio Upon Launch

Rumors suggest that Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars Battlefront II are two of the first third-party titles to be unveiled in 4K on Project Scorpio.

The first games to run modified versions on Project Scorpio are expected to be demonstrated soon, based on marketing materials acquired by Windows Central. Several first-party titles are proposed to be part of the hardware’s demonstration line-up including Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, and State of Decay 2, but third-party titles Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars Battlefront II are also mentioned to be shown off in true 4K, along with titles from other popular series like Call of Duty and Madden.

The report further claims that the Project Scorpio’s 4K–compatible library will be larger than just the games that launch with the support. The system’s “change resilience” will reportedly allow games that run at 900p or 1080p on Xbox One to scale up to 4K on Scorpio. Of course, fans wanted to hear what Xbox’s Phil Spencer had to say about the Project Scorpio 4K rumors. Spencer played it coy as usual, although he did verify that he was happy with what both first and third-party developers had in store for us.

Spencer has teased that we may learn more about Project Scorpio prior to this year’s E3, and this 4K support reveal could be what he was referring to. Neither Red Dead Redemption 2 nor Star Wars Battlefront II have official release dates, but recent leaks may have revealed when Red Dead Redemption 2 will launch. Star Wars Battlefront II is also dropping this fall, with its first official reveal coming later this month.

Spider-Man Still Happening in 2017

According to Ryan Penagos, VP and executive editor of Marvel Digital MediaInsomniac GamesPlayStation 4-exclusive Spider-Man title is still going to be released in 2017

Penagos was talking about Marvel’s recent video game output during a livestream and said “there’s even more on the horizon for 2017 like Spider-Man coming to PlayStation 4 and Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite coming to Xbox One, PS4, and PC.” Insomniac’s Spider-Man title was announced during E3 2016 but as of yet Insomniac, Sony, and Marvel have not officially announced a release date for the game.

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have partnered for Spider-Man: Homecoming, a new movie which is set to hit cinemas in July. Insomniac’s game isn’t tied into this movie, but would no doubt benefit from being released this year. However, as previously stated, an official release date has not yet been specified for the game. Spider-Man the game casts players as the iconic web-slinger in a completely original story. It takes place at a time when Peter Parker is “experienced” and “more masterful at fighting crime” in New York.

“From traversing with parkour and utilizing the environment, to new combat and blockbuster set pieces, it’s Spider-Man unlike any you’ve played before,” reads a line from the game’s description. Spider-Man, which is a working title for the PlayStation 4 game, is the first licensed game Insomniac has ever made. It is known most for the Ratchet and Clank series.

Are you still looking forward to the Spider-Man game?