Saturday, October 31, 2020
@Final_Dino enlisted the help of Despicable Me's Gru to reenact FromSoftware giving its fans a non-update update. @NAtliszilla combined the Pope holding up something meme and a character from Elden Ring's trailer to show exactly what these fans want. @MoAtef09 has politely used an image of Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye to help show the world how hopeless they feel. @__pLANK wants to believe in Elden Ring, and some hope has been brought into their life. @Sonichimself used a video of Ryan Gosling to let the world know their pain. They also think we may not get any more news until 2021, and unless Elden Ring shows up at The Game Awards, they may be right.
Me when Elden Ring gets it's yearly mention pic.twitter.com/7fpWe2bvzn— ! C U R S E D ! (@KillLaGrill) October 31, 2020
Elden Ring was revealed during Microsoft's Xbox E3 2019 press conference, and we have yet to see more gameplay from the much anticipated game. However, that hasn't stopped the Elden Ring subreddit from becoming one of the wildest places on the internet. Starved for any more official details, these brave souls have taken to creating their own Elden Ring. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/06/09/elden-ring-official-reveal-trailer-e3-2019"] While fans may have to wait a while to actually play Elden Ring, they will soon be able to play a remaster of FromSoftware's Demon's Souls, as it is a launch title for the PlayStation 5. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to email@example.com. Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.
so no news until 2021 I presumeAgony. pic.twitter.com/aVw7atoeTF — Calamari Juice (@Sonichimself) October 31, 2020
What if I told you that I'd been hearing a single sound, everywhere, for 22 years? I’ve heard it in countless movies, tons of television shows, video games and even pop music. I can almost guarantee that you have too.
It's a short, 3 second sound effect of something that’s really quite inoffensive, but still manages to register with me every time I hear it. It's very simple, and there are a lot of sounds like it, but it cuts through the noise of anything I'm watching or listening to whenever it plays and I've become obsessed with it.Dale Driver · Resident Evil 2 - Lab Door Sound Effect
It's most often used as the effect of a futuristic lab door opening. I don't know why, but for decades it's been burrowed into my brain. This innocuous noise has been in and around practically everything I enjoy and, every time it plays, it forces two simple questions into my brain: How was it made, and who made it?
It’s been 22 years now, it’s time to get those answers.
It’s hard to pinpoint when I first started noticing this sound effect, but as an educated guess I want to say it was its prominent use in the Jean Claude Van Damme masterpiece, Universal Soldier. As a teenager, I spent a good chunk of my youth watching and re-watching every cheesy 90s sci-fi action movie you can imagine, and Universal Soldier was certainly in rotation. But since then (and especially since starting this journey) I’ve found and documented it all over the place. From the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies to Scooby Doo. From Tomorrowland to The Venture Bros. From ‘90s children’s TV shows, to a trailer for 2021’s latest looter-shooter, Outriders. The application of this simple sound effect is everywhere, and its endless uses are way beyond what any one person could track (but if you have heard it somewhere please let me know!).
But my journey with this sound actually started quite a bit earlier.
1998. There I was, a fresh faced 15 year old excited about being able to purchase my first ever 15-rated video game myself. It's not that my parents were ever particularly strict about age ratings, but the idea of being able to walk into a store and buy a game about zombies and blood myself was liberating.
During my playthroughs of what I still consider to be an all-time classic, I was constantly aware of how descriptive the use of sound was. Whether it was the shambling groans of the zombies, or the clickety clack of the typewriters, the use of sound in the series as a whole is something that’s stayed with me ever since. Little did I know though that one of the more passive sounds, a simple opening of a laboratory door, would be the one I’m still obsessing about over 20 years later.
So what is it about this sound? Why has it become stuck in my head so firmly? This is an answer I’ve really struggled with because I’ve found it hard to quantify why I find it so satisfying. Perhaps it’s the almighty clunk, or the winding motors that pan left to right, but the more I dissect it, the more I believe it’s this simple sound’s ability to be completely diegetic yet almost otherworldly. I’ve certainly never heard a door like it, but it always feels like it belongs, despite the situation.
Unfortunately, tracking a sound effect’s origin is not that easy. My first hurdle was simple; how do you google a sound? Typing in ‘Lab door’ or ‘sci-fi door’ understandably brings back thousands of results that could take forever to wade through. And it’s not as if there’s a Shazam-type app for sound effects - although I really wish there was. I was off to a bad start, so I decided to pull back and start simpler: asking a friend.
My first port of call was my immediate connections in the IGN UK office, specifically my colleague Jesse, who, like me, is a huge Resident Evil fan. Although also extremely familiar with the sound, knowing how to find it was also a mystery to him. Thankfully, Jesse has a friend called John. John is not only also a huge Resident Evil fan, but has also been involved in the Resident Evil modding scene, specifically working on sound effects and voiceover. As such, he knows more than a little about the original source files. This was my guy to set me on my way, and he kindly agreed to chat to me.
Dale Driver: So we've got a mutual friend in Jesse, and he's mentioned that you've done work with Resident Evil modding in the past, is that right?
John: That's correct. I would do a few little mods here and there, and a few little fan projects, and I'd usually tout myself as the “sound designer”. I say that with air quotes because I'm not a professional by any means. It's just a hobby of mine.
Dale Driver: I've been chasing this sound from Resident Evil 2, of the lab door, now for a long time, and it turns out you can't really Google what the sound effect is. So I was hoping that you might be able to help me out with this?
Being familiar with the original Resident Evil sound files, John knew that a bunch of them could be sourced legally, specifically from a sound repository called Sound Dogs. What the average person might not know is that recycling sound files is and was quite common practice. It turned out Capcom had done a significant amount of this with Resident Evil, thus spending a fraction of the cost of original sound creation on a license instead. It’s something they’re less likely to do these days - preferring to create original sounds in house - but back in 1998, it made all the sense in the world.
With this knowledge (and now a hint of my obsession) John and Jesse began combing through every potentially relevant search term they could imagine, until...
John: ....about 30 or 40 sound effects in I hear the sound. It doesn't take too long. You hear the door open, hear it close and I'm like, ‘That's it. That's the one, it has to be.’
So thanks to John, Jesse and some internet sleuthing I now had a file and a link to a sound library. Logic would suggest the reason I’d heard it in so many places was due to how accessible this library was to sound designers. But in my quest to find its origins, the next question was: how did it get onto this library in the first place? In an attempt to understand this procedure more I got in touch with one of the few sound connections I have in the professional world, someone I knew from my younger days while playing in a band. Chris Mock is a sound designer, who, since the humble beginnings of mixing my audio in local UK music venues, had gone on to do much greater things in the world of live events and television. I was hopeful that not only could Chris give me more insight, but that he might also have some theories on how the sound itself had been made.
After giving Chris a quick rundown of my obsession and all my progress so far, and despite being slightly perplexed by the situation, he kindly agreed to help and we dove straight into discussing sound libraries.
Dale Driver: Are there people out there that specialize in just creating [sound effects] for stock libraries? Or would they create them for a project, and because they're very malleable sound effects, they become part of a stock library?
Chris Mock: Yeah, there are both. I mean, there are people that just record sound effects and put them onto a stock library, whether that's their own website, or they put them on places like Sound Ideas, or Sound Dogs. What [people] might do is start with a sound effect from a stock library and then add things to it in order to make it sound bigger or, you know, more haunting, or more descriptive in a way. You can also manipulate them and - like they do in films - they sometimes [use] stock sound effects, [which is why] there are so many over the years that are familiar. Sound designers even try to slip them into a film on purpose. I'm sure you know which sound effect I'm talking about.
For the uninitiated out there, Chris is referring to perhaps the most popular stock sound effect ever used in film, The Wilhelm Scream, a sound effect popularised by its use in Star Wars, Indiana Jones and pretty much every big budget action film ever since! But that’s a different (and well-documented) story - I'm here to find out about my lab door. So I decided to quiz Chris on what he thought the sound was.
Chris Mock: First thoughts? It's a door from a sci-fi film... or a game. Just one more listen.
A door like that wouldn't exist, they would have had to have created [the noise]. It might be starting with a stock library and ending with one but there's definitely something in the middle that's been added. I'm gonna have a listen again.
After repeated listens it almost felt like Chris had become as enamoured with the sound as I had. Or perhaps he was just really keen to pinpoint the noise for me and make a solid prediction. I like to imagine it’s the former...
Chris Mock: Okay, so I think it's a door, obviously. It’s a door opening and closing. Then it sounds like there's some kind of motor in there. And it could be a drill, could be a belt drive for a car, then slowed down. There's something metallic in there as well, but then that might be the door. Maybe they've added some kind of hit to it as well. I'm gonna listen again.
God it's so intriguing, I really want to know what it is now!
I had a link and a sound library (The Original General Series 6000 - which sounds more like a top-of-the-range toaster than a library of soundscapes) and, suddenly, finding the effect’s origins felt within grasp.
After spending far longer than I’d like scrolling through the track list - despite the titular 6000, the library actually had 7500 sound effects - I eventually found my true love, unimaginatively called ‘SciFiDoor 6039_24_1’. But, despite the minuscule description and a note of duration, I was none the wiser to its source. So, in another moment of need, I reached out directly to Sound Dogs themselves, hoping they’d guide me on journey:I took a moment to enjoy this small victory: after all, I started with just a sound in my head that I was unable to Google, and now I’d managed to find the creator’s name. The moment passed though, and I was quickly onto the next step of trying to track down Mike McDonough. Fortunately, this time, Google was on my side.
After a quick tap and smash into the search engine, I was spoiled for information about Mike, finding out he was in fact an American who had been consistently working in the industry for over 40 years. But perhaps most notable was his very reputable work in the sound field for the last four decades - including big budget productions like Star Trek: Insurrection and Disney’s The Black Cauldron. I also found a modern video of Mike, introducing The Mike McDonough SFX Collection to potential sound library customers. I now had a name and a face for the man behind the door, but I was still none the wiser on how to get in touch with him.
With no apparent website or social media presence, getting in touch with Mike was proving to be tricky. At this point it honestly felt like I’d hit a dead end and, after two weeks of fruitless searching, I genuinely considered stopping here with just the satisfaction of finding his name.
But it was still there: an itch in my brain I had to scratch. I decided to pick up my trail and stumbled upon an article from a Swiss website called Digitec, where in March of this year, the author Philipp Rüegg had spoken to Mike about one of his signature door sounds being used in a classic video game. No, it wasn’t my Resident Evil lab doors, Philipp had reached out about a signature sound far more documented: The Doom Doors.
Yep, that’s right. Not only had Mike constructed my iconic door sound, but he also created perhaps the most iconic door sound in video game history; a sound so widely recognised on the internet it had even earned its own moniker as The Doom Doors. You can find YouTube video montages of its uses, and it even has a page dedicated to it on TVTropes, a website dedicated to cataloguing TV conventions, and anything used regularly enough to be recognisable.
This article gave me enough information to help me contact Mike, and prepare for our meeting. But while studying the piece, I discovered Philipp’s journey had been eerily similar to mine: Both highlighting stock library sounds that’d been used in a video game, that we’d both heard everywhere we went, both of us motivated by childhood nostalgia and, despite being completely different sounds, both ending up talking to the same man, Mike McDonough.
"Well, my name is Mike McDonough. I'm a sound designer, and I guess we're here to talk about some sounds I made."
At this point, I imagine you’re as keen as I was to find out the history of this infectious sound, but the question I immediately needed an answer to was how he actually made it.
Mike McDonough: Now, I've got to go back in my internal time machine, - which isn't very good anymore - to remember how I made it.
So the initial sort of “click-clack” sound is actually one of the very first CD players. We were excited to get this new technology in the studio. It was a big heavy thing, and the little tray that came out... it was very beefy. It was solid, it was metal, it wasn't plastic and flimsy, and it had this mechanism, a motor sound that went clickety-clack. So I took it in the studio, opened the grand piano and set it on the strings so it would resonate. Then I just got a microphone - Neumann’s 1987, which was my favourite mic back then - and I got it as close as I could to the mechanism and just opened and closed.An old CD player inside a grand piano was not what I was expecting, but something I did foresee was the sound being multi-layered. It turned out, the CD player was only the first of multiple elements.
Mike McDonough: The studio had an old, old copy machine that was new back then; it was a big giant thing, I think it was made by Xerox and had multiple paper trays. It had this stack on the side with paper in it and when you pushed the button, it made this sound [Mike imitates a whirling electronic noise]. I was like "Wow, that's a great sound!"
And he wasn’t done there.
Mike McDonough: A friend of mine had one of the first hatchbacks, it was a Ford Capri. The hatchback had little hydraulic lifters on it. When you open it, it made this sound [Mike imitates air pressure rising]. So we drove the car onto the stage so it's nice and quiet, and I recorded that sound.
When it came to putting it altogether though, Mike had one final trick.
Mike McDonough: The machine I fed it through had a wonderful little device on it that I used all through the ‘70s and ‘80s to do sound design, pre-digital, it was called a VSO [variable speed oscillator]. The motor on those machines had a certain frequency that they ran at and it had a dial. When you turn the dial down, the motor of the tape machine would run slower. Turn the dial up and it would run faster. And if you put a sound on there and went from slow too fast, the pitch went up or the pitch went down. So I pitched them so the door would sound like it was moving.
I finally had an answer which was both substantially more complex than I imagined and also... slightly disappointing? Not that the ear, imagination and assembly weren’t impressive, but I guess, deep-down, part of me was unrealistically hoping for something beyond traditional means. I still had two other important questions though, when did he create this sound, and most importantly, why?
Mike McDonough: Growing up in Los Angeles I was exposed to a lot of creatives down there and through a chance meeting I got to meet a science fiction author, a fantasy writer named Ray Bradbury. We became sort of friends; he was kind of a mentor of mine. I wanted to take his stories and adapt them into... I guess you could call them radio dramas, just for fun. When I got into university we actually got a grant from National Public Radio to create 13 half hour shows based on Ray Bradbury stories and, suddenly, I had come up with 13 half-hour original radio dramas in stereo with original music and sound design, but I didn't have any sounds really that were professionally recorded at that time. This was in the ‘80s, like ‘83, ‘84.
Dale Driver: Oh that's when I was born!
Mike McDonough: Anybody reading this wasn't born! *laughs*
I had a moment of weakness in the late ‘80s. I’d just got married and I was a college employee and pretty broke, right? Like things are when you first start. So after I did the Ray Bradbury radio series I did a film for Walt Disney called the Black Cauldron, [which was] my very first film as a sound designer. Then, in a moment of weakness and poverty, I sold a bunch of my sounds to a company called Sound Ideas. They dangled a check in front of me and I thought, “Wow, someone actually wants my sounds? They'll give me money for these crazy sounds?” So I sold a batch of them and they became this disc called 6039. And now here we are talking about a sound that I made in the mid ‘80s.[caption id="attachment_2426543" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Mike McDonough and Ray Bradbury - Image via Mike McDonough[/caption]
After selling all his sounds in the late ‘80s, Mike’s library had spread far and wide. Despite not knowing about their usage in Resident Evil and Doom, he was fully aware of their proliferation in all forms of media.
Mike McDonough: For years they've been available to the general public and yeah, I hear them on TV and I hear little snatches of them in all kinds of big-budget films. And now it's kind of like I can't use them. Everybody has access to them and they're no longer my special little sounds that I created. I don't want to use the same old sounds everybody else is using, so I don't use my sounds anymore. *laughs*
There’s something quite melancholic about Mike feeling like he couldn’t use his own creations anymore, but there was also a clear sense of pride about his work still being discussed all these years later. And perhaps more importantly, he clearly appreciated their substantial contribution to the soundscapes of modern media. He’d built his legacy, but he was unfortunately the silent partner.
Despite my fascination behind the sound, Mike was very quick to normalise his work, likening it to the disappointing reality of finding out the secrets behind a magic trick.
Mike McDonough: It's kind of anticlimactic to go into how these things were made, because they’re common sounds; a CD tray and a copy machine. It's like looking behind the curtain, The Wizard of Oz, you know? Look behind the curtain and you see this guy pulling levers and it takes the mystique out of it, you know?
He was right, they were common household sounds that he once assembled into something useful for a very specific moment in time, but the real magic was the journey the sound went on; something he could have never imagined 40 years ago and that was satisfying despite finally knowing the secrets. His sounds have left a legacy in modern media, and that’s due to not only its production quality, but also its accessibility. It’s something Mike could never have foreseen - or perhaps even engineered.
I started this self-given quest specifically looking to get answers about how this lab door sound effect was made, and finding out was ultimately satisfying - but for me, the fascinating and crazy story of the sound’s journey is the one that’ll likely leave the lasting memory.[poilib element="accentDivider"] Dale Driver is an IGN Senior Video Producer, and he'd like to thank John from 'The Kendo Gun Shop', Chris Mock, Philipp Rüegg, Sound Dogs, Sound Ideas, Eric Sapp for the incredible artwork, and most importantly of all, Mike McDonough. Follow Dale on Twitter.
Have you ever wanted to go on a turn-based RPG adventure with the League of Legends roster? Well, that dream will soon be a reality. Airship Syndicate's Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is coming in early 2021 to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC.
Click image thumbnails to view larger version
You will be able to upgrade to PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X/S for free. If you're a fan of League of Legends or even just a dabbler, you might recognize some of the characters involved in this trek across Bilgewater and The Shadow Isles. Players can expect to see Miss Fortune, Braum, Yasuo, Ahri, and more as they engage with a story-centric RPG experience.
Check out the trailer below!Click here to watch embedded media
Friday, October 30, 2020
Video game films are largely regulated to pure adaptations of existing games. Once in a while, though, you get films like 1UP, which uses gaming as a backdrop to tell a more personable story. The underdog comedy begins production this winter and centers on women in eSports, and the sexism that often surround it.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming film stars Paris Berelc (Hubie Halloween, Alexa & Katie) as Vivian Lee, an eSports player who quits her college team after enduring sexist behavior from her male teammates. At the risk of losing her scholarship, though, she’s forced to assemble her own team led by an “enigmatic coach” played by Ellen Page (The Umbrella Academy, Juno).
The film is the first production by BuzzFeed Studios and is directed by Kyle Newman (Fanboys, Barely Lethal). The fledgling studio aims to produce “socially relevant and high-concept films” aimed squarely at millennial and Gen Z audiences. 1UP’s script has been described as “being in the vein of Pitch Perfect but set in the world of eSports with a Gamergate backdrop”.
Yes, 1UP is an easy concept to groan at, but there’s definitely a good idea in there somewhere. It’d be genuinely cool to see a well-made film tackling the social minefield women players navigate in eSports while being humorous at the same time. Now, making a comedy that handles the decidedly-not-funny Gamergate movement in a not-clumsy way...that I’m less sure about. Time will tell (no release window is given for the film), but perhaps if BuzzFeed Studios follows the examples set by a great video game movie – like, say, Mortal Kombat – 1UP could have a shot.
What do you think of 1UP? Share your thoughts in the comments but try to keep it respectable, okay?
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]
October is coming to an end, which means a new month ahead filled with even more games to enjoy. With the launch of next-gen gaming with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S, November is an exciting month for diving into fresh adventures. Though some titles have been delayed, here are the biggest games releasing in November 2020.
Whether you fancy yourself a Viking conqueror in Assassin's Creed Valhalla or want to try your hand as a crime boss in the latest Yakuza game, November has a plethora of gaming experiences to choose from. When looking to allocate your time (and your wallet), here is everything you need to know about the month ahead.Faeria (PlayStation 4) – Jurassic World Evolution (Switch) – – Read review Breathedge (PC) – YesterMorrow (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – Dirt 5 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – Tropico 6 (Switch) – – Read review Assassin's Creed Valhalla (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – Borderlands 3 (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Bright Memory (Xbox Series X/S) – Dead by Daylight (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Destiny 2 (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Destiny 2: Beyond Light (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition (Xbox Series X/S) – Dirt 5 (Xbox Series X/S) – Enlisted (Xbox Series X/S) – Evergate (Xbox Series X/S) – Fortnite (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Fuser (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – Gears 5 (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Gears Tactics (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One) – – Read review Grounded (Xbox Series X/S) – King Oddball (Xbox Series X/S) – Liftoff: Drone Racing (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – Maneater (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Manifold Garden (Xbox Series X/S) – NBA 2K21 (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Observer: System Redux (Xbox Series X/S, PC) – Ori And The Will Of The Wisps (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Planet Coaster Console Edition (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – Sea of Thieves (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – The Falconeer (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – Warhammer Chaosbane (Xbox Series X/S) – Watch Dogs: Legion (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review WRC 9 (Xbox Series X/S) – Xbox Series S – Xbox Series X – XIII (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – Yakuza: Like A Dragon (Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Yes, Your Grace (Xbox Series X/S) – – Read review Assassin's Creed Valhalla (PlayStation 5) – Astro's Playroom (PlayStation 5) – Borderlands 3 (PlayStation 5) – – Read review Bugsnax (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – Demon's Souls (PS5) (PlayStation 5) – Destiny 2 (PlayStation 5) – – Read review Destiny 2: Beyond Light (PlayStation 5) – Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition (PlayStation 5) – Dirt 5 (PlayStation 5) – Esports Life Tycoon (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – Fortnite (PlayStation 5) – – Read review Godfall (PlayStation 5, PC) – Just Dance 2021 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia) – Maneater (PlayStation 5) – – Read review Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – NBA 2K21 (PlayStation 5) – – Read review Observer: System Redux (PlayStation 5) – Planet Coaster Console Edition (PlayStation 5) – PlayStation 5 – PlayStation 5 Digital Edition – Sackboy: A Big Adventure (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – The Pathless (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, iOS) – Watch Dogs: Legion (PlayStation 5) – – Read review Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – Monster Truck Championship (Switch) – Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch) – Katamari Damacy REROLL (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (PC) – Football Manager 2021 (PC) – Just Dance 2021 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – Vigor (PlayStation 4) –
Gears Tactics is officially launching just as the news hit that Gears POP!, another spinoff from the Gears of War franchise, announced its servers are shutting down for good. Hopefully, Tactics will fare better. Godfall is also another huge pick, mostly because it seems that players are still confused as to what this particular title even has to offer, even still.
It also wouldn't be November if we didn't have a Call of Duty launch in there with Black Ops Cold War. Shoot a few rounds in the latest Black Ops title in-between brutal deaths with Demon's Souls unforgiving gameplay with the remake, or just chill out with one of the new Nintendo Switch launches. Might we suggest Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin?
What do you think about the biggest games coming out in November? Which title has your attention the most? Sound off with what you're most excited for in the comment section below!
When the Blair Witch game was first announced, fans of the iconic horror movie franchise were eager to see what the story would be like. When Layers of Fear studio Bloober Team was confirmed to be at the helm, that excitement grew. While Blair Witch as a game was met with mixed reception due to its length and its mechanics meant to confuse the player, this horror adventure carved a unique niche for itself within the genre. Now that it's in VR, those scares are amplified and the in-game choices matter more than ever.
We sat down with Daniel Engelhardt, Lionsgate Senior VP of Interactive Venture & Games, to talk about how this partnership with Bloober came to be and why the jump to VR despite the mixed reviews. Usually, when two companies come together over an IP, the process is long, complicated, and full of negotiations. Engelhardt tells us that this wasn't the case with Blair Witch. In fact, it was coffee and mutual fandom that made this a match made in heaven (or Hell, if we're talking horror).
"The idea of a Blair Witch game was really natural, funny enough," he tells us. "The head of Bloober is a huge fan of the Blair Witch movies and I'm a huge fan of their games like Layers of Fear. So it became this 'I'm a fan, you're fan, let's do this' type of situation. We actually started talking about this concept just over a coffee."
From there, the concept became a reality and the partnership between Lionsgate and Bloober was quick-acting and smooth. "We spent a lot of time with the Bloober team, working together to make this real." He adds, "It's really about just aligning with really healthy teams and making great content. In some cases, like Blair Witch, it's about integrating those teams that have common goals and passion."
"In terms of making the game for us, it was really about a game where they can tell great stories, and really craft interesting narratives," Engelhardt tells us. "For us the storyline takes precedence, and so we gave [Bloober] as much creative freedom as we could, which was a lot, to really honor what makes the Blair Witch franchise so special. There were so many amazing elements in the game that were so clever like the camera mechanics or being stuck in a house while having this mind-bending experience within the world around you. For us, we wanted the studio to bring something new to Blair Witch and we wanted to do everything we could to facilitate that."
With Blair Witch diving into the world of VR, many elements of the game become more elevated. The mechanics meant to make you feel lost when confronted with the Blair Witch become even more disorienting and terrifying, and the feeling of being hunted becomes even more realistic. Bloober tempered this by tweaking interactions with Bullet, the in-game dog, by giving him all the pets and treats he can eat, but it's still a horror game at the end of the day; a horror experience that is ramped up by the immersive nature of VR.
Click image thumbnails to view larger version
"Blair Witch is more than just jump scares," Engelhardt explains when talking about the jump to virtual reality. "Jumpscares are obvious, right? While Blair Witch has them, that's not the whole picture. A big part of how we thought about the game, from a VR perspective, was the notion of being able to be unified with someone who is being tormented by the witch and could lose to those outside forces. Going through that experience is really compelling and VR takes it to a whole new level and makes it even more visceral and immersive. When looking at that potential, we knew we had to tell this story again with this medium."
Interacting with a doorknob clumsily, seeing the subtle shifts in scenery when deep into the woods sparking hallucinations and paranoia; this all plays a part in how the VR edition of Blair Witch ups the ante. To make this even more realistic, the development team had to go in and rework many aspects of the game to make them work seamlessly in virtual reality. These adjustments led to improvements of in-game mechanics and features designed to terrify the player and make them feel truly doomed.
So what does this game mean for the future of Blair Witch? Will we be getting a sequel to the game? A new movie? The answer: anything is possible! While he couldn't tell me a hard no for a new movie, which is something in itself, Engelhardt does mention that the future is pretty open for where Blair Witch goes next. Seeing how the game continues to be received will play a huge role in that and Lionsgate also just partnered with the tabletop adventure "Hunt a Killer" for a special Halloween Blair Witch collaboration.
While the sequel movies that followed after the original didn't pull in the same numbers, the 1999 film changed the game when it came to horror. Social media wasn't like how it is today and when that film first launched, many thought it was an actual documentary and not a fictional documentary-style movie. The film's success spawned a new wave of documentary-framed fictional tales and changed how directors and creators approached this genre as a whole.
The Blair Witch game itself is a completely standalone story, not an adaptation of the film's narrative. It puts the player in the role of someone who is forced to confront, and survive, against the dreaded Blair Witch. While the title is fairly short, usually clocking in at around five to six hours, it is unique in how it really makes the player feel disoriented, vulnerable, and like they are in actual danger. The VR version takes that experience to a whole new level of realism and you can check it out for yourself because Blair Witch VR is available now on Oculus Quest.
Ubisoft has announced a slew of details regarding which of its games will receive cross-progression, next-gen upgrades, and backwards compatibility on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and S.
Like most of these types of announcements, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds on what game gets what feature (especially since messaging regarding cross-gen compatibility has been a confusing mess thus far), but we lay it all out for you below.[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/28/8-big-changes-in-assassins-creed-valhalla"]
Most notably, Ubisoft is not making some Assassin’s Creed games backwards compatible on PS5. These include Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy Pack, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles China, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Russia, as well as other properties like Risk, Star Trek Bridge Crew, Werewolves Within, Space Junkies.
As for next-gen upgrades of PS4/Xbox One to PS5/Xbox Series X/S, a number of Ubisoft games will receive them at no additional cost to players. But there are some restrictions for players who transition from disc drive to digital-only consoles.
You can only upgrade your game if you’re sticking with either a physical or digital version, meaning you can’t upgrade from a physical version of Watch Dogs to a digital version on a next-gen console or vice versa. You can also only upgrade within the same console family, so Xbox One to Series X or PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5.[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/28/watch-dogs-legion-review"]
Games receiving free next-gen upgrades include: Watch Dogs: Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Riders Republic, and Rainbow Six Siege (with a next-gen version of Siege to be announced at a later date, and Japanese Siege players will need to pay 100 yen). All these games also have cross-progression.Games receiving cross-progression across console generations and console families (meaning you can go from Xbox to PlayStation or vice versa) include: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Riders Republic, and Hyperscape. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/23/a-look-back-at-sonys-long-complicated-history-with-backward-compatibility"]
Games receiving cross-progression across console generations, but requiring you to stay within the same console family include: Watch Dogs Legion and Rainbow Six Siege.
Ubisoft says “most” of its games will receive backward compatibility (excluding the ones we mention in the second paragraph of this article), and some backward compatible games will additionally receive cross-progression between generations within the same console family, including For Honor (with free graphical upgrades), The Division 2, The Crew 2, as well as Just Dance 2021 and the upcoming Prince of Persia: Sands of Time remake.
Cross-generation cross-play will be available for Rainbow Six Siege and For Honor, allowing users to play with friends as long as they’re within the same console family.[widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=ubisoft-connect-screenshots&captions=true"]
Ubisoft closed their post by stating that more “cross-platforms benefits” are coming in the future and that cross-progression is part of their commitment to players.
"Designed for a new gaming era, one where you expect to be able to play, progress and stay in touch with friends anywhere, Ubisoft Connect lays the foundation that will enable Ubisoft’s games and services to live across platforms and make cross-platform features a standard moving forward," Ubisoft's post reads.Clarity on cross-gen compatibility messaging has eluded the likes of PlayStation and Xbox for some time now. Here’s what you need to know about PS4 to PS5 compatibility and here’s our massive chart laying out every difference between the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN, and he's backwards compatible with your heart. Cross-progress with him on Twitter.
CD Projekt Red recently delayed Cyberpunk 2077 for a third time, pushing the highly anticipated RPG from mid-November to December 10. Multiple delays for a game on this scale aren’t entirely unusual, especially in the case of Cyberpunk, which is being developed simultaneously for nine different platforms. What is unusual about this latest delay, however, is the fact that Cyberpunk had already gone gold.
“Going gold” is the industry term for when a release build of a game passes certification and can be printed onto physical discs. It’s often taken as a sign of confidence that a game will no longer be delayed, as it initiates the process of printing, packaging, and shipping copies to retailers. But going gold does not often mean development is complete; developers spend the next month or so making last-minute tweaks and improvements that are added as day one patches. Though historically rare, developers can run into trouble during that window and are forced to make one last delay, or in some cases, pull the plug altogether.
In light of the Cyberpunk news, we’ve compiled a list of five other games that got delayed (or canceled) after going gold. Click through the gallery below or continue scrolling for the full list.
[widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=games-delayed-after-going-gold&captions=true"]
NBA Elite 11
Long known as NBA Live, EA’s basketball franchise underwent a name change in 2010, in an effort to “leave the past behind” and “usher in the future of basketball video games.” The first (and only) NBA Elite was scheduled to be released on October 5, 2010.
Just a week before launch, with copies already in the hands of press and retailers, it was delayed. A little over a month later, EA announced NBA Elite 11 was canceled. Speaking to IGN, EA’s Andrew Wilson offered a candid explanation for the cancellation: "Ultimately, it was just going to be a bad game."
A limited number of copies made it out into the wild and have become highly sought-after collector’s items — a PS3 copy is currently listed on eBay for $10,000 USD.
A decade later, EA has yet to regain its footing with the series. A revival attempt in 2012 ultimately failed. Its return in 2013 was a critical disaster, earning a 43 on Metacritic. Four more NBA Live games were released between 2014 and 2018, though none measured up, critically or commercially, to 2K’s rival NBA series.
The franchise’s latest planned entry, NBA Live 20, was also canceled. EA said it’s reworking the series for next-gen consoles, but the company has yet to announce concrete plans for its return on Xbox Series X and PS5.
Army of Two
22 days before November 13, 2007, Army of Two's initial release date, EA delayed the co-op shooter to March 6 of the following year.
The company said it needed a bit more time for polish, according to the delay announcement (via Reuters), with then head of EA Games Frank Gibeau adding, “Army of Two has potential to become a lasting EA franchise — so getting the first title right is essential.”
It’s all pretty standard as far as delay announcements go, except for one thing: review copies of Army of Two had already been distributed, indicating the game had gone gold before the delay, as recounted by IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey, who reviewed one of those original copies in 2007.
Army of Two went on to hit that March 6, 2008, release date. It received a 7.9 in IGN’s review.
The cancellation of Propeller Arena wasn’t due to quality issues or developmental woes, but rather a case of extraordinary and tragic circumstance.
Propeller Arena was an aerial combat game developed by Sega for the Dreamcast. The game had gone gold ahead of its scheduled September 19, 2001, release date, as evidenced by this tweet from Sega producer Makoto Osaki, which shows a printed copy of Propeller Arena’s final build.
However, a week before it was to be released, the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, and Sega delayed Propeller Arena indefinitely.
“Although the game content does not deal with terrorism in any way, it is possible for a determined individual to deliberately play the game in a manner that generates images similar to those we have seen on the news,” read Sega’s statement at the time. “We want to avoid causing any additional grief to those involved in this week's tragedy and feel this is an appropriate action.”
Propeller Arena would never be released, and years later, details about the gameplay shed more light on Sega’s decision. Propeller Arena featured a Manhattan-inspired level called Tower City lined with skyscrapers that players could crash into, causing their planes to explode.
Half-Life for Dreamcast
In early 2000, Valve announced it was bringing the original Half-Life to Sega’s Dreamcast, following the success of its PC debut in 1998. The console version was to be released that summer and feature visual upgrades, as well as an all-new mission “custom created for Dreamcast,” according to the announcement.
Half-Life would miss that initial release window, though it was still expected to be released by the end of 2000, according to publisher Sierra Entertainment (via GameSpot). Multiple delays later, Sierra landed on a new release window of June 2001.
As June approached, rumors of a potential cancellation began circulating. Those fears were temporarily assuaged in May, when IGN received a copy of Half-Life for Dreamcast. This presumably meant the game had gone gold, and it was only a matter of time before it’d be released.
But on June 15, with only a couple weeks remaining in that June window, Half-Life for Dreamcast was officially canceled. A detailed explanation was never given; Sierra only offered this one-sentence statement: “Sierra regrets the cancellation of Half-Life for the Dreamcast due to changing market conditions.”
[widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=every-ign-valve-game-review&captions=true"]
Thrill Kill, the controversial, adult-only fighting game for PS1, was scheduled to be released in October 1998. Developer Paradox (later known as Midway Los Angeles) had the full support of initial publisher Virgin Interactive, and the four-player fighter was on track to hit its target date — that is until August 1998, when EA acquired a number of Virgin’s studios and assets, including Thrill Kill.
At the time, Thrill Kill was “99% finished,” according to programmer David Ollman (via VG247), but EA couldn’t get past its violence. “Our whole executive team was involved in the decision to cancel the game, and we certainly evaluated it to see if there was something that we could do to make ourselves more comfortable with the content," said EA’s then director of corporate communications Patricia Becker (via ZDNet). "The tone and the tenor of the game are just too violent."
There was still hope for Thrill Kill after the cancellation, as those at Paradox thought EA may sell the rights to another publisher. Several companies, including Eidos Interactive, according to Variety, were interested in acquiring the property, but EA refused to sell.
"We don't feel that the game's content is appropriate regardless of who publishes it,” Becker told IGN. “Game companies have to accept responsibility for any game they publish... It was the tone and tenor of Thrill Kill. When you look at Mortal Kombat, you look at a fighting game, as opposed to a sadistic killing game. Thrill Kill is a killing game. The product did not meet our standards for appropriate content."
Paradox would use the foundation of Thrill Kill to build another fighter, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, which is “roughly 70% identical [to Thrill Kill] on a technical level,” according to Ollman.
Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed once more and with its new December launch, other studios with planned releases during that time are scrambling to make changes as to not compete with competition of that size. Because of that new release date, Everspace 2 is no longer releasing in December, instead opting for a January 2021 launch instead.
Rockfish Games took to its Kickstarter to "get the cyber elephant out of the room right away" with the delay news. "The Cyberpunk 2077 release has just been pushed back to December 10, which is a major blow to our planned EVERSPACE 2 Early Access release in mid-December. Not only will every media outlet and content creator cover the arguably most-anticipated AAA game in history throughout the entire holiday season (and not much else), we also know that there’s quite a bit of audience overlap within our community (and our team), so..."
After a quick meeting with the studio's PR team, it was decided that a small delay would be better than competing against arguably the biggest launch of 2020. Because of that, the Early Access period for Everspace 2 will be taking place in January instead.
The studio knows that some fans will be upset with the small delay but in the bigger picture, going toe-to-toe with a title like Cyberpunk 2077 is daunting. Giving a month cushion between the two releases gives players a chance to dive into Night City fully, leaving enough time for the hype to drop back down and gamers to be open to other experiences.
For those that have backed Everspace 2 prior to Early Access, there will be a closed beta version available on November 2 for the $30+ tier. At this time, we don't have an exact January date yet, but more will be revealed during a Twitch stream at 2 PM ET right here.
Twas the Replay before Halloween, and all through the house, the Necromorphs were waiting, just ready to pounce. As we found out last week, the Dead Space series still holds up for its chilling jump scares and its ridiculously precise gunplay. But do those same sentiments still hold true for the third entry in Visceral Games' horror series?
Join Andrew Reiner, Ben Reeves, Blake Hester, and me as we answer those questions and save the universe from the grotesque nightmares that are the Necromorphs in Dead Space 3!
We'll be going live at 2 p.m. CT, so be sure to end your week the right way and join us in the chat! If you can't get enough of our live shows, remember to subscribe on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook to get notified when we go live each week!
Hey there, true believers! We only have a couple weeks to go before swinging into Insomniac’s latest Spider-Man game, and we heard that a few baddies are already making trouble in Miles’ neighborhood. It's up to you to stop them. But in order to defeat your enemy, you first need to know your enemy. My uncle Ben once told me that. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Tinkerer and the energy company Roxxon, so we can see what makes those goons tick. Here is everything you need to know about the villains in Miles’ upcoming game.
In the comics: First introduced in the ‘70s, Roxxon Energy Corporation is primarily an oil and gas company with offices around the world. One of the largest conglomerates on Earth, the company generates billions of dollars in profits each year. However, over the decades, Roxxon has been involved in all manner of morally-questionable business practices and outright criminal activity – usually centered on the exploitation of various energy-rich resources.
In the game: Roxxon has moved into Harlem and is currently testing a new form of “clean” energy called Nuform. The big face of the company in Insomniac’s game is Simon Krieger, the director of the Nuform project, who puts on a nice smile for the cameras but clearly harbors sinister intentions.
Roxxon’s special tech: Miles will fight several Roxxon security personnel throughout the game, and some of them have specialized tech designed to counter Miles’ spider abilities. For example, Roxxon has invented energy shields that can reflect and deflect Miles’ bioelectric venom attacks. The company also has specialized units equipped with goggles that allow them to see Miles’ heat signature when he’s camouflaged – effectively negating his invisibility power.
Insomninc’s thoughts: “They’re serving as a primary antagonist and they’re a threat to Harlem,” says creative director Brian Horton. “At first, they present themselves as this clean energy company coming in with a modern clean energy. They say they’re going to revitalize Harlem, and it all sounds great through Simon Krieger’s PR lens. But, there’s an insidious truth behind all of that.”
Meet The Tinkerer:
In the comics: Phineas Mason was a brilliant engineer and inventor with the simple dream of owning a repair shop. However, Phineas slowly became obsessed with superhumans and eventually grew to hate them. Using his shop as a front, Phineas set up a criminal empire and bugged the offices of state officials. Using information he gained through this espionage, Phineas blackmailed several politicians. Over the years, the Tinkerer has grown ever more Machiavellian, and his ability to invent ever more outlandish technology knows no bounds.
In the game: Insomniac took several liberties when adapting the Tinkerer into the game space. The biggest change is that the Tinkerer is now a young woman. However, Insomniac’s version of the character is still a brilliant inventor. In the game, she has invented a new technology called Programmable Matter, which is a tricky substance that can transform into any shape. This Tinkerer uses this Programmable Matter to create several weapons that will undoubtedly force Miles to think creatively in combat.
The Tinkerer’s motives: While Roxxon is clearly a malevolent force, the Tinkerer seems more nuanced. Spider-Man goes head-to-head with her at several points in the game, but the Tinker really has it out for Roxxon. Early in Miles' journey, the Tinkerer leads a gang of criminals called The Underground on an assault on Roxxon. During the attack, The Underground manages to steal a canister of Roxxon’s Nuform energy. Throughout the game, The Underground will actively seek to hurt Roxxon, creating a two-sided war that Spider-Man gets caught up in.
Insomniac’s thoughts: “Tinker is one of the oldest Spider-Man villains,” Horton says. “He goes back really far into the earliest comics. At his core, he's always been an inventor of weapons for other people. He's never gotten into the middle of the fight. He’s a supplier. We wanted to update the Tinkerer for today, and make the Tinkerer more of a presence that we can put in the front lines. Making the Tinkerer a leader of this criminal organization, The Underground, seemed like a way that we could really evolve the character.”
There you have it, web-heads. That's everything you need to know about Miles’ new villains, so get ready for the fight of your life. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales launches on November 12 for the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. For more on the game be sure to stay tuned to our month-long cover story hub, which includes exclusive developer interviews and new gameplay footage.