In Laser League, teams of players activate neon-colored laser barriers and use them to trap or wipe out opponents on a futuristic playing field. It has no single-player component. This is the kind of video game that depends on large numbers of players, as opposed to buyers, on the very first day if it’s going to be worth anyone’s attention. That kind of problem isn’t solved simply by throwing more marketing money at it. Not that Tim Woodley, the senior executive for global branding at publisher 505 Games, had a lot of money to throw around in the first place. That’s where Xbox Game Pass came in, and that’s why launching on that all-you-can-eat subscription service made sense, even when the game was going on sale the same day at $15. “When we were talking about how to generate those kinds of [concurrent users], we were looking at ‘What will we have to do if we were doing it alone?’” Woodley said. “And the brutally honest answer … [Read more...] about What Laser League’s launch tells us about Xbox Game Pass’ future
Why pores get bigger
Given how Destiny 2 has hemorrhaged players since its release last September, it seems almost perverse to name its next expansion, which will also be the game's biggest so far, 'Forsaken'. But perhaps it's also a sign of confidence. According to Bungie, this DLC represents the fruits of months of community feedback (read: fury) over the perceived wrongs of vanilla Destiny 2, and specifically its puddle-deep endgame. We broke down the key features coming with Forsaken earlier today, and the changes on the way as part of the game's second year of content look to be substantial. But will they be enough to turn the game's fortune's around on PC? That's the question put to our writers who are either lapsed players, or in at least one case, still hopeless addicts. Speaking of which…First impressionsTim Clark: Okay, okay. We pretty much all know I'm somewhat of an unreliable narrator on this one, because I never stopped playing Destiny 2, despite being all too aware of the stuff … [Read more...] about Can the Forsaken expansion turn around Destiny 2’s fortunes on PC?
Vine, a six-second video-hosting service that became an instant haven for DIY comedy, went offline in January 2017. Obituaries were written for the community of weird and funny kids, and diligent archivists were quick to build compilations in honor of Vine’s triumphant impact. Twitter may have killed Vine, but the platform’s spirit survived in the millions of people who pored over their favorite videos. There was a moment of hope between November 2017 and early May 2018. Dom Hofman, one of Vine’s co-founders, announced “V2,” a followup to Vine that could potentially launch by the end of 2018. People desperately seeking out new Vine content, having grown bored or accustomed to the same popular six-second video added to every compilation (looking at you, potato that flew around the room), would finally get new material. No one questioned whether the internet needed a modern Vine, if a successor could match the cherished cultural moment that existed for a … [Read more...] about V2 is dead, but Vine’s devoted forum-dwellers aren’t giving up
If you’ve pored over the list of Bafta 2018 winners, you may be left with the nagging feeling that something’s missing. Namely, most of Marvel and DC’s recent output, alongside Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Denis Villeneuve’s critically acclaimed sci-fi sequel, Blade Runner 2049. They all appear to have been overlooked or given covert nominations in less-than-glamorous categories. The further you look back, the more the data confirms it: superhero movies have repeatedly failed to secure major nominations and sci-fi has fared only slightly better. Yet in 2018, The Shape of Water is a genuine contender to become the first sci-fi film to win Best Picture in the Academy Awards' 90-year history. We've dug into the data to show how attitudes to sci-fi and fantasy movies are (slowly) changing – and how the Oscars' more progressive approach might leave the BAFTAs playing catch up. Past sci-fi and superhero winners In the past, the Oscars have recognised more … [Read more...] about Why sci-fi and superheroes are (mostly) ignored during awards season
Back in the ‘90s, Chris Metzen had an idea for a new game. For the still-blooming Blizzard Entertainment, these were formative years. There was Warcraft as of 1994, but there was no World of Warcraft. There was talk about doing more real-time strategy, as the company was arguably getting good at it, and a keen interest in heading into space. Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development Metzen, along with present-day VP of Art and Cinematic Development, Nick Carpenter, was working on concepts for something new. It was a sci-fi, fantasy-driven epic — a story told in a far-out universe with a huge world and different factions. It was "badass," says Metzen. It was ... space vampires. "The rest of the team was like, ‘I dunno man, space vampires are pretty wack,’" Metzen says. "‘We want to do something a little broader’." A statue of Jim Raynor in the Blizzard offices Bloodlines, which Metzen wouldn’t talk about publicly until the 2013 release … [Read more...] about StarCraft: The past, present and future