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Guardians of Middle-Earth: the perils of MOBA

Monday, 3 December 2012 15:39 GMT By Dave Cook

Guardians of Middle-Earth is the incoming MOBA title from Monolith Productions. VG247′s Dave Cook speaks with the team to learn how hard it is to craft a perfectly-balanced MOBA.

“You could clearly see the steely concentration and unwavering expressions on their faces. These guys were firmly plugged into the pinnacle of twitch gaming, where the slightest break in focus would most certainly spell disaster. There was no mucking about here, this was pro-gaming at its purest.”

There was a massive crowd of people sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring in awe at an impossibly large HD screen. Every so often a flurry of movement would prompt polite, reactionary shouts from the audience. The throngs of people sitting there were diverse in age, but they were all hypnotised by the common spectacle unfolding in front of their eyes.

Underneath the screen were two clear-walled rooms and within them were some of the greatest MOBA players to walk the Earth, but I honestly couldn’t have told you their names. This was Valve’s ‘International’ competition at gamescom last year, and the players in the glass booths were sat there playing DotA 2. It was a new scene to me, entirely foreign at the time.

You could clearly see the steely concentration and unwavering expressions on their faces. These guys were firmly plugged into the pinnacle of twitch gaming, where the slightest break in focus would most certainly spell disaster. There was no mucking about here, this was pro-gaming at its purest.

I stood there next to the glass rooms, looking up at things I couldn’t even begin to fathom on the screen, a myriad of complex and intricate game mechanics that I couldn’t even pretend to understand, let alone follow with any degree of coherency. But I glanced over at the crowd again to see their eyes darting around, following the action as it unfolded on screen.

The door behind me opened after a good 20 minutes of waiting, and trying to understand what was happening on screen ahead of my interview inside. I had a one-to-one chat with Gabe Newell booked, and it was to specifically talk about DotA 2. Even though I had researched the game to the best of my abilities, I was still trying to come to terms with the phenomenon that is ‘MOBA.’

I slunk inside to a lush back room, decked out like a fancy lounge and the interview began without hesitation. But while we spoke about DotA 2′s legacy, conception and the involvement of IceFrog, Newell’s concentration kept on breaking, and he continually looked away whenever something big kicked off on the screen next to him.

He’d look away, and behind me, outside, I’d hear roars from the crowd as the match entered its eleventh hour. Someone was losing. I couldn’t tell who, but it had grabbed Newell’s attention. So I sat there, politely waiting for my turn to speak again as he became utterly absorbed in what he was seeing, eyes darting around as if they had a mind of their own.

Then he’d turn to me again and ask where we had left off, like a hypnotist’s guinea pig being snapped out of some kind of waking dream. What is it about MOBA games that has – quite rapidly – hooked a large cross-section of the PC gaming public? Right now DotA 2 is the most-played game on Steam, and more MOBA titles are popping up with each passing month.

Newell’s fixation is a fitting testament of how the gaming populace is becoming absorbed in this gruelling, highly competitive genre. The next MOBA game to launch is Guardians of Middle-Earth, a Lord of the Rings title by Monolith Productions that will attempt to bring the top-down MOBA experience to PS3 and Xbox 360 this week.

As it is predominantly a PC genre, I simply had to ask Monolith’s producer Bob Roberts and senior producer Ruth Tomandl why the team chose to launch Guardians of Middle-Earth exclusively on consoles, and forego the keyboard and mouse set-up that has become almost symbiotic with the genre.

Presumptions

As competitive as they are, any MOBA title worth playing need to have a balanced playing field. Without it, exploits and top-tier characters can run amok, coercing ‘win-all’ strategies and giving players an unfair advantage during matches. Monolith knew about these dangers all-too well, and decided to hire a group of local MOBA pros to help them balance their Guardians and item-set.

Roberts explained to me that when Monolith first let its hired pros loose on the game code mid-development, they very quickly tore it down and began finding balancing problems. They then offered solutions of how the studio could improve the project, underlining just how vital a fair balance is when developing a MOBA game.

“We targeted a bunch of guys who were really competitive MOBA players in the area to come by and just be full-time balance testers for us on this game. We’ve never actually done that before, and it was absolutely critical to feeling as solid as we are about the game being balanced right out of the gate.

“No matter what the testers figured out to be the best possible strategy that they could think of, and was over-powered for a couple of days, someone else on the team would figure out a counter to it. That strategy would then become dominant for a couple of days, and it cycled around like that whether or not we changed any balance.”

He added, “They definitely had things right out of the gate that they were immediately creating hilarious, mocking imagery for, and messing around”, in reference to archer Legolas, who was in the top-tier when development began, easily trumping the rest of the game’s character roster. As such the testers created internal memes at the studio, essentially mocking him to the point of re-balancing.

Regardless of the good-natured barbs being slung around the office at Monolith’s presumptuous balancing, the studio took the pro players’ feedback fully on board, as these were guys who had lived and breathed MOBA games for a good few years, and if anyone knew how to fix a balancing issue, it was them.

One of the biggest complaints from was Monolith’s decision to forego an in-game store – a common feature in other MOBA titles. Roberts explained the studio’s choice, “I think that they came into it with one idea, and at this point we’ve all developed a better idea of what exactly the bones are that really make this the deepest genre that most of us have played.

“For example, at the start everyone was nervous about not having an in-game store like the other MOBAs do. But by the time we got to this point of balance, they realised how much better they could counter and strategise with the elements that were there, and the items being purchased between matches.

“They ended up not really missing that, as it feels like it has every bit of depth as the games they were playing in their free time.”

It makes sense of course, as creating too many purchasable items is the same as adding in a wide range of game-changing variables, and if anything that would only serve to tip the games balance too far in either direction. Monolith’s strategy was to keep things pared bad but not necessarily dumbed-down.

I likened it to Dishonored developer Arkane Studios, who often spoke with the press about why Corvo’s skill set was so limited. The rationale given was that the studio could get more diverse use out of a focused range of abilities rather than a sprawling move list full of tacked on features that felt weak by comparison.

The same thought process applies here, and both Roberts and his team were committed to working alongside the pro players to create a game where every character and item had a counter, and where no one element or mechanic trumped the rest without reprisal.

Balance

The team then entered a long, iterative process of simply playing Guardians of Middle-Earth for many weeks and fixing new cases of unbalance as they emerged. Roberts talked me through the process, “The basic idea is that, if they can sink time in and really practice a particular combo – say five guardians that really compliment each other really well , and the perfect item build – that there is always a counter for that.

“So no matter what the testers figured out to be the best possible strategy that they could think of, and was over-powered for a couple of days, someone else on the team would figure out a counter to it. That strategy would then become dominant for a couple of days, and it cycled around like that whether or not we changed any balance.

“That’s the point we got to where it feels like a good equilibrium for this type of competitive game, because with any competitive multiplayer, you want it to not be about individual champions or items. It’s got to be something that where the community will find emergent counters to strategies, and keep things cycling around on their own.”

“We did also build a system for having a lot of our balance database saved in cloud storage, that you’re going to download every time you launch the game. It’s a very small, quick update that doesn’t have to go through certification, so we can update it every day, every week – however often we need to if we see critical balance issues.”

It went on for many weeks, but with each passing session Monolith was getting closer to attaining the balance it needed to get the game on par with other MOBA titles. Roberts explained, “Every week those guys would rank all the guardians in buckets like, ‘These guys are all the top-tier, these guys are middle-tier, and those guys are in the bottom-tier that no one ever wants to play.’ By the time we’re shipping, everybody has evened out. There’s no one in the bottom tier any more.

“But just in case, we did also build a system for having a lot of our balance database saved in cloud storage, that you’re going to download every time you launch the game. It’s a very small, quick update that doesn’t have to go through certification, so we can update it every day, every week – however often we need to if we see critical balance issues.”

This method of pushing updates to PSN and XBLA foregoes the need for certification. Because if a new, unchecked instance of unbalance is discovered, gamers simply won’t stand for it, and will want it fixed as soon as humanly possible.

The cloud method allows for quick updates when needed, and is becoming increasingly popular among developers on both formats, as Tomandl told me, “There are other developers that have done it, and I know that other XBLA games have done it. But I know there are also other game where, players have run into issues or glitches that could not be fixed by patching in data, so we were careful so that anything involving numbers or any sort of guardian strength could be tweaked using that patch.”

Roberts added, “It’s really the same system as ‘Message of the day’ feeds. It’s really just using that same technology that people have been using for a long time. I think a lot of developers realised they could but more interesting data in there”.”

It’s a smart system and it helps to convince me that Monolith is up to the task of delivering a rock-solid MOBA experience. But given the nature of the Lord of the Rings license and the character therein, it seems as if each Guardian is forced into a particular class by association of what we know from the films.

Roberts agreed, but these presumptions from the Peter Jackson’s movies actually helped keep character design strict in the name of balance, “It was just so iterative. There’s the license to consider as well, so really the starting point was two-fold right off the bat. The first question was, ‘What classes and general roles do we want people to play on the battlefield?’ and then making sure we never designed two guys within that class to be alike. This genre is about the individual feeling different.

“The second consideration was the IP and making sure that ‘that guy’ feels like the specific character that he is, and that everyone’s familiar with. For example, making sure that Gandalf doesn’t feel like a giant melee attacking character”

Tomandl added that character creation was a company-wide process at Monolith, as a large consensus was needed to ensure that the team got each Guardian’s skill-set and behaviour nailed down.

“One of the first things that happened on the project back when it was three people working on it, was that the creative director sent an email to the whole company and said, ‘Hey, if you were playing a Middle-Earth MOBA what kind of character would you like to play, and what would their abilities be?’ That led to a lot of brainstorming and I think that was one way to start – to just get opinions – and people had a lot of ideas.”

Roberts also said, “We started by making characters actually feel like the character they are, and then once we had that settled in it was all about the balance team and iteration, the daily grinding and just playing for many, many hours.”

But even as Monolith got closer to striking a solid balance, the pros were still unrelenting and honest in their feedback, as Tomandl suggested, “They were an outspoken team too, and I think that helped as they said something whenever they felt an area could be improved, who their favourite character was, and what they thought of them.”

Battle

We had been talking for a good 20 minutes and while I was starting to understand MOBAs a little better, I still wanted to know more about how a typical battle plays out, and how that cycle compares to other MOBA games out there.

Roberts offered me a basic scenario, “The battle evolves over the course of the match. Matches are between 15-20 minutes in length and they have distinct phases that you’ll get familiar with. If you’re familiar with other MOBAs, there are similar levels that are on ‘fast-forward’ in our game, so matches won’t last an hour.

“The early game is going to more about one-on-one or two-on-two battles, so you’re going to find the character on your team that best compliments your abilities.

“It’s got all the hallmarks of a classic five-on-five MOBA structure, such as figuring out what the major team roles are, the need to spread out your damage between close and ranged – so that whatever the enemy strategy is, you’ve got a counter for it.”

“So if you play like a guy like Gollum – who skulks in the bushes, jumps out for a quick strike, then runs back – then he’s going to pair really well with someone who can stun enemies or root them in place. That’d be someone like Galdriel or Éowyn who has good healing or co-op team buff abilities. That’d work really well.

“Legolas is a pretty good character to solo with, as he has range and a lot of abilities that speed him up as we as slow down his enemies. He can use those aggressively if he’s in a good position, or use them defensively if he’s trying to escape.

“That’s the early game – one-on-one, two-on-two – but once you get mid-to-late game, you start rallying a bit more and teaming up to engage in larger battles. That’s when it gets crazy, and you have to make sure you’ve got a more balanced team composition across the board, and that everyone knows what their roles are.

“So if you have someone who’s going to absorb a lot of damage, the big warrior type, then that person should basically go in first and try to absorb as much damage as they can, while Legolas stays at the backlines to pick off people from a distance.

“It’s got all the hallmarks of a classic five-on-five MOBA structure, such as figuring out what the major team roles are, the need to spread out your damage between close and ranged – so that whatever the enemy strategy is, you’ve got a counter for it.”

“I think a lot of MOBAs are still finding their feet, and still figuring out how the while pro tournament works. It’s certainly a huge scene, and we’ll see what happens, but we certainly held some small tournaments at E3, PAX and gamescom.”

It’s clear that there is so much to consider when playing a MOBA game, so much ad hoc thinking and twitch control that demands your full attention. It’s an intimidating scene make no mistake, just as something as fiercely competitive as Call of Duty is to someone who never plays shooters.

Regardless the genre is booming, and I ask Tomandl why Guardians for Middle-Earth is launching right now, at this time, and why Monolith feels the genre is receiving increased notoriety as of late.

“It definitely appeals to people who really like feeling competent,” Tomandl suggested, “and really like being competitive. I think it gives them a perfect balance to do both, because it’s really skilful. It’s like in shooters, which are about your skill at aiming, your skill in knowing the map, at your skill at understanding classes.

“There’s also that connection to your character, as I think there’s a lot of genres where you don’t really get that. You do somewhat in RPGs, but in RPGs you have about three to seven classes to choose from. But there’s a lot in picking a unique character.

“I think that with some of the more recent console shooters that have a lot of depth, there haven’t been a lot of console games with that level of depth and competition, and so I think MOBAs will give console gamers another option to play that type of game.

“I think a lot of MOBAs are still finding their feet, and still figuring out how the while pro tournament works. It’s certainly a huge scene, and we’ll see what happens, but we certainly held some small tournaments at E3, PAX and gamescom.

“It was really fun to see people learning the teamwork of the game, forming strategies and really competing. They were hardcore, and they got very good at the game in a very short space of time, so I’m really excited to see what they do once it’s out.”

Monolith won’t have long to wait as Guardians of Middle-Earth launches on PSN and Xbox Live Arcade from December 4th, and getting it into the hands of the MOBA elite at large will prove to be a real stress-test of its competency among the genre. Again, if the game’s balance is off by a significant degree, it’s likely that seasoned players will come down hard on it.

But the team feels confident that it has thoroughly researched the genre, and with the help of its hired pros, has become ingratiated into the circuit, in what has truly been a process of practical doing, instead of theoretical thinking. An artist doesn’t make a masterpiece by just reading about art after all, they have to get their hands dirty and do it.

Monolith’s hands are plenty dirty with MOBA knowledge, but can it deliver? We’ll know as soon as the reviews land. Stay tuned for our score round-up this week.

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2 Comments

  1. Man_s

    Interesting article. Good to know that they can balance the game quickly and more easily. The other MOBA take on consoles, Awesomenauts, suffered dearly from a lack of updates which are crucial in such a genre, which is a shame since it’s a great game. Hopefully this one will competently carry the MOBA torch on console.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. redwood

    does this game have an offline multiplayer?

    #2 2 years ago

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    Goat Simulator players can download DayZ-inspired DLC this week called GoatZ. According to Coffee Stain Studios, GoatZ is “the only survival game on Steam that isn’t in Early Access.” Jokingly of course. The DLC features: Mandatory crafting system because everyone else is doing it. Zombies that bug out. There’s a pun here about actual living […]

  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection confirmed to be a clothing line

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]

  • The Megalodon returns to Battlefield 4 with the latest CTE patch

    The Megalodon Easter Egg in Battlefield 4 may have been removed earlier this year from Naval Strike, but it has since resurfaced on the CTE with the latest patch. I’d make a Jaws reference, but it’s been done to death. The shark is shown in the video on the Paracel Storm map which was where […]

  • Survival horror game Kodoku has a new work-in-progress trailer

    Kodoku, the survival horror title from Carnivore Studio, has a new work-in-progress video available, showing you how the game is coming along. Announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita back in 2013, the game is slated for release sometime this year, and tasks the player with avoiding mythical Japanese ghosts using only magic and stealth. Thanks, […]

  • Current HoloLens prototype has noticeably “tighter” FoV compared to January build

    Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens is still very much in the prototype stage, according to various reports out of the Build Conference. Microsoft hasn’t discussed technical specs with the press yet as nothing is set in stone, but during a hands-on at Build, Ars Technica noticed the prototypes had a “x86 processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11ac […]

  • Silent Hills petition asking Konami to continue development has over 50,000 signatures

    A petition to save the Silent Hills game has been formed by fans in the hopes Konami will change its mind and bring the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro back from the dead. Konami confirmed on Monday the Silent Hill remake from film director Del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima had been cancelled, but […]

  • Attack on Titan has a US release date, title changed in EU over copyright claim

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released under a different title in Europe, according to the publisher, and while a release date has been set for North America, the same cannot be said for fans across the pond. According to Atlus, a copyright claim in Europe has forced the company to publish the […]

  • Yooka-Laylee meets final Kickstarter Stretch Goal in less than 24 hours

    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]

  • Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, but not by much

    Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, according to an announcement from Roll7. Not to worry though, it’s only by a week. According to the developer, the delay is due to “having undergone super-secret upgrades to crank shit up to 60fps.” The extra week will provide the additional time needed for tweaking […]