Option To Turn off Xbox One/PC Cross Play Coming to Sea of Thieves

In a weekly Developer Update video released on the game’s official YouTube account, Executive Producer of Sea of Thieves Joe Neate announced that an option to turn off cross play between Xbox One and PC players was coming to the game.


While touching on a number of topics surrounding the game and its community, Neate stated that listening to the feedback from players, especially concerning the new Arena on the horizon, and that their focus as a developer was to make sure everyone was given a level playing field. “We’ve been discussing this in length internally and we’ve arrived at a solution that we are starting working on implementation.” Neate reiterates that this option will not be coming right away, but players should be made aware that measures are being taken into effect in the near future.

Sea of Thieves is one of many Xbox One first party titles that is receiving mouse and keyboard support on the console version of the game, which has since caused a bit of worry in certain sects of the game’s player base. Given the game’s first person perspective, many players believe that given the mouse and keyboard option will provide a competitive advantage heading into the new PvP mode that is due out within the next few months. Providing more detailed matchmaking and cross play options to the upcoming mode would help balance the competitive nature of it.

The Arena, which was announced at Microsoft’s XO18 event in Mexico City last November, is a free content update that is slated to release in the first half of 2019.

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The Accidental Attraction of Kingdom Hearts

When you tell most stories surrounding an attraction, usually they contain many of the similar tropes; one of which is the unexpectedness of the feeling. When I look back on many of my fondest gaming memories, I can see why I fell in love with those specific games. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first time I experienced a deep narrative experience in gaming, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the first time I truly felt that the gaming medium had matched the presentation level of big budget cinema coupled with great gameplay, and the Halo series was the first time I was truly able to attach fierce competitiveness in gaming. Yet, there’s one series that somehow sticks out, that even after all these years, I can’t truly put my finger on why it has stayed so endearing to me: Kingdom Hearts.

Maybe it’s because my early years of gaming rooted me into Nintendo’s ecosystem of games. When I first received my Nintendo 64 at the age of 5 in 1998, Final Fantasy had started to become a relic of years past on Nintendo’s hardware. With the success of Final Fantasy VII (and VIII to follow in the upcoming year), the Sony PlayStation had all but cemented itself as the new home of the series, and while I did go onto own multiple PlayStation systems, the series always appeared to me as a grittier and grown up version of what The Legend of Zelda had to offer (see, the marketing campaigns for the PlayStation did work on feeble minds like mine). Seeing that cover of Final Fantasy VII, with Cloud Strife standing heroically showing off his large Buster Sword to fans, made me think “Woah, this guy is cool. I want to play as him”. Yet, I never had the chance to play Final Fantasy VII until years later, due largely because of the Teen rating (yes, my parents were those kind of parents up until I was about 10), so when the next generation of gaming rolled around, I HAD to make sure I got a PlayStation 2. “I can’t miss out on Final Fantasy” I remember thinking constantly (clearly oblivious to the fact that the series was multi-platform due to me being an unknowing 8 or 9 year old kid). Final Fantasy was always the series that was the untouchable for me. Everything I saw about it attracted me to it, but it was always on the system I didn’t have growing up or it was rated too mature for my age. That was, until I saw the trailer for Kingdom Hearts.

Remember how popular Disney Stores used to be? In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it seemed as though they were in a staple in every mall across America. Clear as day, I remember going into our local mall with my mother and sister, who was around the age of three at the time, so the Disney Store was always a given stop when we’d venture to the mall. Remembering they had sections of Disney-based games, I hurried to the back where the wall of TVs were found to scope out the selection (if it had something to do with gaming, I’d always be up for it). While digging through the piles of Donald Duck: Goin’ Quackers and Extremely Goofy Skateboarding, something caught my eye; it was Cloud Strife on one of the TVs on the store display. ‘What’s he doing in the Disney Store? This must be a mixup’ I thought. Then, I saw Goofy and Donald in the background, in what looked to be a level surrounding Hercules. Eyes glued to the glass screen, I began to get lost in this complex idea of meshing the vibe and characters of Final Fantasy with so many beloved characters of my childhood from Disney. To be honest, I’m still not sure if I truly understood what I was watching. So many thoughts went through my head. Confusion? Sure. Unique? Definitely. Interested? Absolutely. Kingdom Hearts flashed across the screen. Instantly, the name was ingrained in my brain, and I began plotting on how to get the game. Christmas was too far off, so I did every chore under the sun that a 9 year old kid could think off. Doing the dishes, cleaning the house, taking the dog for a walk around the block, helping my dad cut some fire wood; anything to help stuff my piggy bank with my weekly $5 allowance. After weeks of saving (and a lucky price drop), I strolled into EB Games (yes, they were still a things in the US in 2002), and picked up the game. I’ll never forget that holographic cover. The way the shades of deep blue made the florescent heart shaped moon pop on the cover was unfathomable at the time. It still holds a special place in my heart in terms of video game covers. Popping that disc in my PS2’s disc tray for the first time was quite magical. From the first time I stepped onto Destiny Islands, I was hooked. Back when memory cards were still a thing, I remember needing to leave my PS2 running because I didn’t have one yet to save my game. This resulted in one long weekend of getting little outdoor exercise, and playing through the adventure without turning my system off over the span of three days. Surprisingly, my PS2 is still working to this day.

Maybe it was the idea of including such a known property in Disney to Final Fantasy‘s fantastical world that attracted me. Disney has never been one to shy away from the gaming industry, releasing video games with various characters of theirs dating back to 1981; yet, the company has always remained quite guarded when allowing outside entities handle their own intellectual property. With the success of the Kingdom Hearts series being so well known, it seems hard to imagine that the now storied chance meeting between series creator and Square Enix employee Tetsuya Nomura and a Disney executive in their shared office complex elevator was a major key (get it?) to making this series a reality, but it was quite different during the sixth console generation. While other developers had handled Disney IP in the past, Kingdom Hearts was the first time I truly remembered seeing Disney characters sharing the stage with other entities in gaming.

Maybe it was the way the series grew with me, as it moved into its sequels. Square Enix and Disney Interactive’s first entry in the collaborative series was very much designed to be warm and welcome, using its art direction and simplistic (comparative to later entries, that is) storyline to target a younger demographic. While I loved my time with the original entry, I saw myself leaning towards a new experiences in gaming. Halo and Xbox Live became a pillar in time spent gaming, and my Xbox began to take more precedence over my PlayStation 2. Yet, when Kingdom Hearts II was first revealed at E3 2004 I found myself intrinsically drawn back into the zany yet loving mashup. Retrospectively looking at the footage shown in 2004, much more of the game’s JRPG innards were on display, showing a much more engaging, deep, and even mature narrative this time around. Death was real. The idea of actuality was real. Themes that took a deep approach to the once simplistic storyline were largely present in the sequel; much of which I found myself attracted to as I began to grow. As the series began to transpire and grow, so did I. Sure, as the series has continued to produce side entry after side entry the more convoluted the narrative became, but it balanced the perfect balance of tropes its original entry was known for and the integrated JRPG elements.

Maybe I’ll never know exactly what draws me to Kingdom Hearts. Hell, I still find it hard to believe that Kingdom Hearts III is actually releasing today. Since the credits rolled on the second mainline entry in 2006, many fans have been waiting patiently to see the conclusion of this storyline in the overarching Kingdom Hearts universe, including myself. Since we’re delving into the past, it’s fascinating to see how often this series has been attached to larger moments in my life, to an extent. Getting through those awkward preteen years, to junior high heartbreaks, to playing through the original entries leading into my college graduation, to my fiancée preordering the game as a gift for me when I graduated from grad school in 2016; somehow this unique, and quite frankly odd, offshoot of a gaming series has somehow remained close to me. Life is a funny thing.

Cheers to everyone who, like this author, have waited almost 13 years to see the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Hopefully, the wait is worth it to you.

It’s weird how some of the best memories and moments happen accidentally.

Capcom Announces Release Date For Resident Evil 2 Free Update ‘The Ghost Stories’, February 15th

Capcom has finally confirmed a release date for The Ghost Survivors, a free content update for Resident Evil 2, coming on February 15th, 2019.

Announced last week, the free content update delves deeper into the fateful events that took place in Raccoon City during Resident Evil 2, centering around three characters that don’t receive a brighter spotlight within the game’s narrative: the gunshop owner, the mayor’s daughter, and the solider. The titles of the specific scenarios have been released as well: No Time to Mourn, Runaway, and Forgotten Soldier.

The remake to the original survival horror classic released last Friday, January 25th, to massive critical acclaim, and it appears to also be finding commercial success as well. Eurogamer is reporting the re-imagining of the classic title has topped the UK sales charts for the last week, and is the best selling Resident Evil entry since Resident Evil 7 in 2017 (though RE2‘s sales are currently 18% less than that of RE7 during the same time frame). US sales numbers have yet to be released, but we will provide an update when they are.

Resident Evil 2 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

UPDATE 1/28/19 12:25 PM EST: Capcom has also announced that two character skins resembling the 1998 aesthetic of the original for Leon and Claire will be coming to Resident Evil 2 for free on February 15th, 2019.

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Breaking: Nintendo Confirms Restart on Metroid Prime 4 Development, Bringing On Retro Studios

In a shocking turn of events, Nintendo has confirmed that development on the highly anticipated Metroid Prime 4 will be restarted, with the series’s original creator Retro Studios being brought in to help with the process.

In a video released on Nintendo’s YouTube page, Shinya Takahashi, Senior Managing Executive Officer, released the statement regarding the status of the newest entry in the beloved Sci-Fi series. “We deeply understand the high anticipation that Metroid Prime series fans have for this title” Takahashi began. “Ever since the announcement, we have not been able to give you an update but as a result of the continuing development since that time – although this is very regrettable – we must let you know that the current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series. We have determined that the current development status of the game is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team. We have decided to re-examine the development structure itself and change it. Specifically, we decided to have the Producer, Kensuke Tanabe, to work in trust and collaboration with the studio that developed the original Metroid Prime series, Retro Studios in the United States, and restart development from the beginning.”

For decades, the Japanese gaming giant has been known for its development philosophy that iconic company figure Shigeru Miyamoto made famous, that “a delayed game is eventually good, and a bad game is bad forever”; which Takahashi touches on in the statement. “Nintendo always strives for the highest quality in our games; and in the development phase, we challenge ourselves and confront whether the game is living up to that quality on a daily basis. If we’re not satisfied with the quality, we aren’t able to deliver it to our customers with confidence, and the game will not live up to our fans’ expectations. From this perspective, we have determined that the current development status of the game is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team.”

Takahashi emphasizes that it will be quite some time before fans see the product in full, with development restarting, but expresses confidence that the wait will be worth it, as the company hopes to bring fans of the long running series an entry that fans will hold in high regard.

Metroid Prime 4 was originally announced at Nintendo’s E3 2017 Spotlight Direct, with no additional information provided at the time or since then regarding the development of the game, including a release date or even an attached development team. Rumors began circulating after E3 2018 that the company had planned to reveal the game later that year at the Game Awards 2018 for a release the following year, along with a Metroid Prime Trilogy collection for the Switch, but neither were heard of or seen at the event in December.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Creative Director Joins Blizzard Entertainment

CD PROJEKT RED, home of the critically acclaimed Witcher series and highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, will soon be looking for a new Creative Director, as Sebastian Stepien has recently left the company to join Blizzard Entertainment.

As first discovered by ResetEra user Gerwant, the longtime employee of the Polish gaming company had recently updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect the change in employers. Most recently credited as Narrative and Setting Director, Stepien also served as Creative Director on CD PROJEKT RED’s projects since early 2013. His time at the company spanned over 12 and a half years.

While employment changes like this aren’t necessarily uncommon in the gaming industry, it does raise some eyebrows on a few aspects. Normally, in a situation like this, when an employee on the development side of the project leave, it likely because their obligation to the project has wrapped. In this case though, Stepien was credited as Creative Director on Cyberpunk 2077. Many industry members, analysts and commentators believe the upcoming open world, futuristic RPG is still a few years off, but given the change in leadership, it may signal the game is a bit further along than some may this. With the game being in a playable state, and a lengthy demo shown to public, this may signal the game is already in or close to a beta build. At the same time, this speculation could be off but it does raise a flag of interest towards the Polish gaming entity.

With all of the negative press surrounding Blizzard over the past few months, this seems to be a great get for the PC-centered gaming giant. While nothing has been announced on what the project could be that Stepien was hired on to oversee with Blizzard, it will be interesting to see the fallout on both sides of the spectrum for each entity.

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Psyonix Releases Rocket League Spring 2019 Road Map and Season 9 Rewards

Rocket League continues to be one of the most popular options for players in terms of games as a service offered today. With the beginning of Competitive Season 10 right around the corner, Psyonix has released an updated road map covering Spring 2019 for the zany car-soccer hybrid that includes updates, DLC drops and new rewards.

February
  • End of Competitive Season 9, plus rewards for the current season!
  • Beginning of Competitive Season 10
  • All new In-Game Event
  • Friends List (previously referred to as RocketID)
    • Cross-Platform Party system
  • New Crate launch
  • New in-game Music
March
  • New Licensed Premium DLC
  • Rocket Pass 2 Ends
  • Rocket Pass 3 will be launching soon after the conclusion of Rocket Pass 2, but no official date or details pertaining to what fans could expect were released.
Competitive Season 9 Rewards

With Rocket League’s Competitive Season 9 winding down, Rewards for the season will begin to be distributed following its conclusion. This season brings a unique set of wheels, representative to each rank earned within the competitive playlist.

Below is the distribution breakdown provided by Psyonix:

COMPETITIVE AND EXTRA MODE REWARDS

  • Bronze I or higher – Season 9 – Bronze Wheels
  • Silver I or higher – Season 9 – Silver Wheels + lower Wheels
  • Gold I or higher – Season 9 – Gold Wheels + lower Wheels
  • Platinum I or higher – Season 9 – Platinum Wheels + lower Wheels
  • Diamond I or higher – Season 9 – Diamond Wheels + lower Wheels
  • Champion I or higher – Season 9 – Champion Wheels + Lower Wheels

GRAND CHAMPION REWARDS

  • Competitive Grand Champion – ‘Season 9 – Grand Champion’ In-Game Title + all Season 9 Wheels
  • Rumble Grand Champion – ‘Season 9 – RNG Champ’ In-Game Title + all Season 9 Wheels
  • Dropshot Grand Champion – ‘Season 9 – Floor Destroyer’ In-Game Title + all Season 9 Wheels
  • Hoops Grand Champion – ‘Season 9 – Dunk Master’ In-Game Title + all Season Wheels
  • Snow Day Grand Champion – ‘Season 9 – Blizzard Wizard’ In-Game Title + all Season 9 Wheels

Players are reminded that you must receive placement in a competitive playlist before receiving the rewards. Psyonix also says a soft reset of placement that was found in the previous season will also occur when transitioning to Season 10.

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EA Cancels Open-World Star Wars Game From Vancouver Studio

According to reports from those close to the studio, publishing giant Electronic Arts has canceled its open-world Star Wars project. Originally developed by Visceral Games, the game has since continued its development under the arm of EA Vancouver.

First reported by Jason Schreier of Kotaku, the Vancouver based studio had been developing the project since October 2017, when EA shut down Visceral, While the project was under development at Visceral at the time of closure, reports suggest that the development of the game had changed quite drastically since the Vancouver studio took control. Code-named Ragtag, the game centered around a linear action-adventure play-style, with Uncharted director Amy Hennig leading the project. Since taken it over, EA’s in-house studio replaced much of the game, outside of a handful of art assets, to fit their open-world gameplay.

EA Vancouver handles support for multiple franchises within EA, including FIFA and Battlefront, with the Ragtag being a main focus with a portion of those within the studio. While it is not clear what EA Vancouver’s next project will be, but Scheier suggests that it may fall within the Star Wars IP.

In 2013, Disney and EA signed an exclusive, 10 year licensing agreement for EA to publish Star Wars games developed by then Visceral Games, DICE, BioWare, and now Respawn Entertainment. While the deal is approaching its sixth year, it has only beared witness to two console experiences (Battlefront 1 & 2), along with the mobile experience Galaxy of Heroes (iOS and Android). With the poor reception to both Battlefield entries from DICE, along with multiple game cancelations for the series, one must ask, at what point does Disney explore its options with the IP, including terminating its agreement with EA?

Respawn Entertainment, an EA owned studio, announced at EA Play event at E3 2018 that they were currently developing a new single-player, narrative driven Star Wars game, titled Jedi: Fallen Order. The game is currently scheduled for a 2019 release, with many expecting to see the game hit store shelves this fall.

We will continue to provide more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE (1/16/19): More details have began to surface since our previous post. Schreier notes those close to the project, codenamed Orca, have detailed that it would’ve set players in the role of a scoundrel or bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe. He also notes that the game was quite early in development, and that when EA’s top decision maker’s examined their internal road map for the next handful of years, they decided they wanted to get a project out sooner rather than later. Enter a new, smaller-scale project that EA and their Motive studio will be heading, that is planned to launch as early as 2020 (also noting this would line up well with the rumored 2020 launch of next generation hardware, although none of this has been confirmed). Also important to note that EA did not lay off anyone as part of this transition, and possibly rebooting the Ragtag project (technically again) isn’t off the table in the future.

For updates on EA and their canceled Star Wars experience, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and keep it locked in at Bonus Accessory.

Anthem Will Have Matchmaking For Every Activity In The Game

BioWare’s newest IP Anthem is shaping up to be one of the biggest releases of 2019, with fans itching to jump into the world the EA owned developer has created. While excitement is high for the upcoming multiplayer Sci-Fi experience, a common concern amongst fans is the issue of gaining the full experience intended within the game when other players aren’t available to play. Now, a lead producer on the project is confirming details that will help players ease themselves, knowing that there will always be players to group up with.

Responding to a question on Twitter yesterday, lead producer on Anthem Ben Irving confirmed that “there is matchmaking for every activity in the game.” While the statement does comes off a bit vague, Strongholds, free roaming, missions and much of the core gameplay seems to be a given at this point. Players will likely find this feature to be most useful when attempting to tackle Strongholds, which require four players to enter. Traditionally, matchmaking in experiences like Anthem and Destiny (open, shared world shooters) has proved to be a bit problematic. The latter of the two listed in destiny saw multiple revisions to its matchmaking system over its two entries. While the confirmation of matchmaking within the game does ease many players’ minds, Irving went on to clarify that matchmaking is an optional feature that you can opt out of.

Anthem, which was officially shown and announced at Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference, sets players in the role of a Freelancer who sets out to leave their civilization to explore the surrounding landscapes. Controlling exosuits called Javelins, players will fight and explore their way through a vast world in hopes of finding a better tomorrow. In traditional BioWare fashion, the game will also feature a heavy emphasis on single player content, through their trademarked storytelling excellence.

Anthem is set to release on February 22, 2019 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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The Walking Dead Final Season Episode 4 Set to Release on March 26th


The end to the final season of the former Telltale Game’s the Walking Dead series is right around the corner, with a now confirmed release date of its fourth and final episode on March 26th, 2019.

As first reported by DualShockers, the episode titled “Take Us Back” now lists a specific release date of March 26th, 2019 on the game’s episode selection page. While Skybound Games, who officially took over production of the final episodes in the series following Telltale’s closure, has yet to officially announce the game themselves. Yet, it doesn’t look like fans will have to wait long to experience not only the end of the season, but the conclusion to Clementine’s overall story as well.

The original season of Telltale’s the Walking Dead first released in April 2012 to critical acclaim and commercial success, claiming multiple Game of the Year nominations and awards in the process. Many could argue that the success of Telltale’s the Walking Dead helped catapult the graphic adventure genre into mainstream popularity, with many studios following the formula after. Due to the unfortunate financial events last September, Telltale Studios was forced to suffer a major studio closure after their last investor pulled out of funding the studio. Over 250 employees were let go from the studio, with only 25 remaining to finish previous obligations including a port of Minecraft: Story Mode to Netflix.

The first three chapters of the Walking Dead’s Final Season are available now on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Bungie Announces Split With Activision, Retain Rights to Destiny IP

With an announcement of astronomical proportions, developer Bungie has announced their departure from their publishing partnership with Activision. In doing so, Bungie has also announced that they will retain publishing rights to the Destiny IP.

In a release by Bungie, the developer detailed the process moving forward, which has already entered the processes of completing the transition. “When we first launched our partnership with Activision in 2010, the gaming industry was in a pretty different place” the developer stated. “As an independent studio setting out to build a brand new experience, we wanted a partner willing to take a big leap of faith with us. We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.”

For a few months now, rumors have began to appear leaning towards tensions between the Destiny developer and publisher Activision, with Jason Schreier mentioning the rift dating back before the first title even shipped. Earlier today, Schreier reported that he had gained knowledge that Bungie was scheduled to have a team meeting, saying “the buzz around the studio is that it’s “good news” for them.” He declined to share more details at the time, but broke the story as soon as the word was official. Schreier also stated that at the meeting today, the staff cheered loudly for the announcement, expressing their excitement to fully own the Destiny IP and to no longer feel weighed down by Activision’s restrictive annualized schedule.

“With Forsaken, we’ve learned, and listened, and leaned in to what we believe our players want from a great Destiny experience” the team continued in the release. “Rest assured there is more of that on the way. We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond.”

Following their split from Microsoft in 2007 to become an independently owned studio, Bungie continued to develop exclusively for Microsoft’s then-current console, Xbox 360. In 2010, they then signed a 10 year publishing agreement with Activision. Schreier also points out that the developer showed the same excitement when leaving Microsoft at the time.

We will continue to provide updates on the situation as more information becomes known.

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