Bungie Finally Announces Destiny 2 After Poster Leak

 

Destiny 2 has officially been announced. Here's hoping Bungie learns from its mistakes.

Destiny 2 has officially been announced. Here’s hoping Bungie learns from its mistakes.

After the postal leak revealed last week, Destiny 2 is finally announced via the official Destiny Twitter page.  Destiny 2  is expected to release sometime this September.

As of now there is no additional details of the sequel, but we hope at least that Bungie will improve on the failures of their first game, which was met with mixed reviews after many have cited the lack of a cohesive story, combined with disappointing multiplayer options made the first Destiny a problematic experience. From the news we can already gather, Destiny 2 will not carry over any of the progress made from the original title, so we hope that this reset is a sign of good things to come. Maybe Bungie will consider toning down on the microtransactions as well…

Final Fantasy XV’s Newest Update to add Gladio Story and “Alternative” Chapter 13

First DLC dropping tonight, adds alternative chapter 13 episode as well as Episode Gladiolus.

First DLC dropping tonight, adds alternative chapter 13 episode as well as Episode Gladiolus.

Fans of the series will no longer have to wait for the first major DLC, which drops tonight. The DLC will come with a rework of the notorious Chapter 13 segment of the game, the rework including enhancements to Noctis’ Ring of the Lucii so that it does more damage against the enemies you face during the chapter. Other small optimizations to the chapter have also been made for Noctis’ segment, but the major change to this chapter update is the fact that you now are able to go through the chapter as Gladio and Ignis as they attempt to reach Noctis and Prompto. There’s not much in terms of major story additions aside from roughly 20 minutes of extra gameplay, but it does add a alternative path in the dubious chapter. You can access the alternative chapter 13 once you reach it and have the option of going through it as Noctis or Gladio and have the option of switch to the other story path until the team meets again. If you’ve already beaten the game, you are able to access this alternative story path in the main menu.

Episode Gladiolus will also be featured in this update, which will add a new story arc that follows Gladio after he briefly left the team. It’s expected to explore more on Gladio’s character as well as Cor, the gang’s mentor who made a brief appearance in the early chapters of the game. The iconic Gilgamesh will also make an appearance as the main antagonist in this expansion, so we’re excited to see how Gladio will take him on.

Amidst Harassment of Former BioWare Employee, Gender Issues in Gaming Industry are Put in the Spotlight

EA Employee barraged with Sexist comments over Andromeda's buggy animations  highlights the ongoing issue of representation of women in video game development.

EA Employee barraged with Sexist comments over Andromeda’s buggy animations highlights the ongoing issue of representation of women in video game development.

Gender issues within the video gaming industry is not a new topic, with controversies involving GamerGate being one of the several issues that highlight how women are treated and perceived within the gaming industry, particularly by the gaming community itself. Following the release of BioWare’s problematic new installation to the Mass Effect Series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, internet trolls went to Twitter to publicly harass Allie Rose-Marie Leost, who worked fro EA’s motion capture labs in Vancouver for her supposed involvement in Andromeda’s animations. For those unaware of this, Mass Effect: Andromeda was heavily scrutinized for its shoddy animations, particularly the ridiculous looking facial animations that plagued the game. Following the criticisms for this, trolls decided to publicly harass Leost on Twitter, making very explicitly sexist and misogynistic comments. According to Kotaku, Leost was not in fact a part of the team that dealt with Andromeda’s animation and that this information originated from a blog post at Ralph Retort, a very conservative, GamerGate associated website, which also accused Leost of using sex to get her job at EA. BioWare immediately condemned the abuse with the statement:

Recently, a former EA employee was misidentified as a lead member of the Mass Effect: Andromeda development team. These reports are false. 

We respect the opinions of our players and community, and welcome the feedback on our games. But attacking individuals, regardless of their involvement in the project, is never acceptable. 

-Aaryn Flynn, BioWare GM

This is where we encounter the long standing problem with women in the video game industry, which is having to deal with criticisms and harassments based on their gender while also having to provide quality content for the community that is harassing these individuals. Failure of any form is a window for excessive harassment, evident with Leost as well as with what happened to Jennifer Hepler, a writer for BioWare, who was viciously harassed for her comments made in 2006 about the importance of story over gameplay. This only further highlights the problem with gender in both the community and industry, which supposedly is intended to be an inclusive community, yet problems not only for women in the industry and community, but with members of the LGBT community as well. Representation in video games at times fetishize the female body or only explicitly focus on “conventional” heterosexual relationships, so it is very hard for a supposedly inclusive community to actually be inclusive. Yet when presenting good story writing that involves female leads or LGBT characters, it becomes “another SJW” story and is perceived as bad in the eyes of the more toxic parts of the video gaming community. Worst of all, female dev team members who provide an otherwise excellent product are often scrutinized if there’s any semblance of progressive themes for pushing “SJW” or “Feminazi” agendas.

These particular harassers also fail to recognize that for any video game titles, especially AAA titles, an entire development team is utilized, not just one individual. This only further highlights the issue with how members of the more toxic side of the gaming community ostracize women purely by virtue of their gender rather than their artistic or technical skills in game development. There is some good that comes out of this extremely problematic trend in the gaming community however, as developers have begun to take an active approach to the bullying. Following another attack, this time on Naughty Dog artist Alex Neonakis for speaking out in defense of Leost, Neonakis responded by donating money to the Girls Make Games organization, which promotes a more active participation of young women in video game development. They provide workshops and summer camp programs to help engage women into taking important roles in developing games; you can check out their organization here. Other developers have followed suit in support of Girl Make Games, offering their own contributions. There is always need for open discussion when it comes to game development and constructive criticisms can always help improve future games, but targeting specific people over things they had no control over is not the right course of action. The issues faced with the Leost and Neonakis only further highlight not only the issues of harassment that game developers face, but how horribly misrepresented female developers are within the community. It is good to see that organizations such as Girls Make Games can help change this by encouraging an inclusive community of people who want to follow through with their passions and hobbies.

 

Tiny Tower Creators Release Bit City, A Satisfying Pseudo Town Building Experience

Nimblebit's new game is a satisfying and addictive experience.

Nimblebit’s new game is a satisfying and addictive experience.

Nimblebit released its newest game Bit City this past week, immediately becoming a hit on iTunes and Google Play stores.  Bit City might seem like a Sims City style of game, but it actually plays more like a clicker game than a city building game. As with Nimblebit’s other titles, Bit City is a pretty simple game where your objective is to “complete” each town and move towards and ever larger town through the use of building and city hall upgrades that increase your cash generation. Although a free to play game, Nimblebit has been very generous about the pesky premium purchases, giving players a steady means to make premium currency without the need to actually spend money. Although a simple game, Bit City is immensely satisfying to play, with simple upgrading mechanics and enjoyable art.

The objective of Bit City is to amass a large income from your town to purchase upgrades in the form of city plans, buildings,  vehicles, etc. These objects in turn increase the amount of money you earn per second, which will in turn let you upgrade more expensive things. Once your reaches a certain population size you “complete” the stage, taking you to another town map with more areas to purchase property. The game mechanics are very simple and straightforward: make a bunch of money and upgrade. The game essentially plays like any other clicker game, but this time with the Nimblebit feel to it. The really nice thing about the game is how accessible the premium items can be. The available quests reward you with Bux, Bit City’s premium currency, which allows you to buy structures that provide more rewards than the regular buildings. There’s also a very cheap piggy bank option where you continually save bux into a piggy bank, which you can then cash out for $3 USD. According to the game, your piggy bank, known in game as the Pension Pig, grows “with every city/game upgrade & bux collected”. You can ultimately save up enough to get tens of thousands of bucks for the cheapest price available, which is pretty nice in a market where games thrive on tons of premium purchases.

The game is an overall fun time killer that provides hours of playability, with the game’s prestige option allowing for a decent replayability value. Although premium purchases exist, they are not invasive to the main game at all. In fact, the premium currency is very abundantly rewarded to you by simply playing the game and completing quests. Bit City is out now for Android and iOS.

Mobile Game Kingdom Hearts: Unchained X to Rerelease as Kingdom Hearts: Union X

New Kingdom Hearts mobile game update promises to add more active multiplayer in game.

New Kingdom Hearts mobile game update promises to add a more active multiplayer in game.

Square Enix has some big plans for the popular Kingdom Hearts mobile game, rereleasing it as Kingdom Hearts: Union X , revamping the gameplay significantly and adding more story content pertaining to the main KH storyline.

The new multiplayer mode, called the Union Cross, will allow players to further customize their characters and form 6 player teams to help combat the heartless in quests. Much more will be added to the game’s story and a theatre mode will be implemented to allow players to re-watch cutscenes from previous quests. Communication will also be enhanced, adding text options and emotes to more effectively plan your party’s approach on missions. This is a refreshing addition to the game, as the Union mechanic was a great start to multiplayer gameplay, but was significantly limited- even with raids having a more active role in subsequent updates.

There is currently a pre-registration program where you can sign up to get access to the new update. The more people who pre-register, the more rewards players will receive at release of the update. You can currently pre-register to access the new update here and also receive exclusive wallpapers on top of the rewards. The Kingdom Hearts: Union X update will be released sometime next month on iOS and Android devices.

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