Square Enix announces new Tomb Raider game

Tomb Raider has been one of the most long-standing game franchises in the industry’s history, debuting in 1996 and having countless sequels since across many platforms, with its latest being Rise of the Tomb Raider in 2015. It follows Lara Croft, a British archaeologist, on her journey to discover treasures from time immemorial while solving puzzles and battling enemies.

Good news: fans’ thirst for a sequel will finally be quenched in 2018 as Square Enix has stated: “our journey together will begin with a major event in 2018”.

Via an official message to the fans on Twitter, Square Enix said:

“A new Tomb Raider game is coming. It won’t be very long between the official reveal and when you can play”.

This is good news, though it was made clear that the game would not feature at the Game Awards or at PlayStation Experience. Additionally, since they pointed toward a reveal coming soon, E3 2018 which would take place in June, seems to be a bit too far but it’s the most likely possibility. The game would also coincide with another major event in the Tomb Raider universe, as a reboot film called, you guessed it, Tomb Raider is expected to release in 2018.

Interestingly,  Shadow of the Tomb Raider was accidentally leaked when a person on a train was seen doing a marketing report for the game, which shows that the game could be released soon if progress continues at a steady rate. The game will be developed by Eidos Montreal instead of Crystal Dynamics, who regularly develops the game.

Fans of the series should expect more details in early 2018 and hope for a full release in Summer or Autumn.

Square Enix partners with GlobalGiving to host charity auction for hurricane relief

Square Enix, known for their Final Fantasy series, of course, and GlobalGiving have come together to host the 30th annual Final Fantasy: A Legacy of Art charity auction for hurricane relief.

The charity auction allows fans to bid on select artwork from the exhibition from now until December 9th and all proceeds from the auction, as you can see above, will be given to GlobalGiving, who will aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria.

Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary: A Legacy of Art runs until January 7th, 2018. Check out the link below to get involved.

Fans can bid to own a piece of Final Fantasy history here.

Far Cry 5 director pitches game about a space teddy bear

In a recent developer lecture at the British Academy of Film and TV, Far Cry 5 director Dan Hay pitched a mission involving a misplaced space teddy bear.

Based on his childhood teddy bear, space and the story of Prometheus, he then went on to state that he wants to combine all these elements into one wherein he retells the story of Prometheus using a teddy bear while in space ‘because it’s f***ing awesome’.

Hay’s idea is as follows:

“It starts with a bear, and a little girl who loves her bear – in space, because it’s cool,” Hay began. “She lives out in space, she has normal parents, a normal life; she loves this bear, she has tea parties with this bear, she has birthdays with this bear […] She goes to bed every night knowing that this bear is there to protect her […] until one night she’s not protected.

“Danger strikes, a klaxon goes off. Her parents come running into the room […] they pick her up and they rush outside, and the bear is left in the bed. And she turns and she screams “No!” and she runs back, she grabs the bear, and they head to the spaceship. But at the last possible minute, she stumbles and she drops the bear. The doors close – fwoosh – and she sits there pressed up against it, screaming “No!” as the bear is left behind. And the rocket takes off and goes into space and gets smaller and smaller and smaller.

“And the bear sits alone on the edge of a great precipice until a gust of wind pushes it down. And down into the hole, it goes, further and further, past caves and monsters […] all kinds of things, until it finds its way all the way down into the centre of the planet and it rests in inky darkness alone until it sees a little light suspended from a little string.

“The light gets bigger until it presents itself as a little creature staring at this teddy bear. And this creature has a name – it’s called a Razagaboo. Now the Razagaboos are very inquisitive creatures […] but they’ve never left the cave, they never had any information about the world outside – they don’t know what this thing is.

“So this Razagaboo looks at it and offers a soft little purr to the other Razagaboos that are up in their webs, and they all come down. And they move forward, gingerly, carefully, looking at this bear – no clue what it is – forward and forward until they touch it.

“That’s when they have their Prometheus moment […] this is where, up until that moment, they’ve only ever thought of building their webs in 2D, but they saw that this thing was built out of yarn and they understood that it could be built in 3D, they could re-engineer what they build […] This changed everything about the Razagaboos – their understanding, their education, the idea of their culture, and the idea of their engineering.”

The game would feature various challenges and puzzles and it would be ‘quite the experience’ for any player.

The most important question relating to this is whether it would ever come to light though. Ubisoft is known for their bigger titles such as Assassin’s Creed, but they have published smaller titles such as Valiant Hearts too. Hay hopes that one day his game, which he named ‘Yarn’, will one day be published. Time will tell.

Belgian and Hawaiian politicians investigate loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2

The controversy surrounding loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2 has continued as Belgian and Hawaiian politicians have begun to investigate its similarity to gambling and whether it should be considered as such.

Last week, the Belgian Gambling Commission began to investigate loot boxes and whether they constitute gambling, which would greatly affect the industry as gambling requires a person to be over the age of eighteen to indulge. In their decision, the Belgian Gambling Commission have found that Battlefront’s loot boxes are to be looked upon as gambling and would like them to be banned.

This could spark a massive change to gaming worldwide if other countries decide to use Belgian’s decision as a legal precedent. Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens states that:

“Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.”

He would also like the European Union to achieve a total ban on loot boxes.

Similarly, Hawaiian legislators have indicated a desire to investigate loot boxes and have them banned. Hawaiian legislators Chris Lee and Sean Quinlan believe that loot boxes are predatory in nature and can negatively affect children who are unaware that the process is essentially gambling. They also spoke on the fact that loot boxes are rampant in mobile games, but the focus has now shifted to preying on gamers of AAA games.

In the latest news, the Entertainment Software Association have deemed that loot boxes are not gambling as some are free, some are paid and not all affect player progression. They say it should not be banned, and gamers should make the final decision.

The loot box controversy is one of the hottest topics in gaming now – there’s no escaping it.

Many gamers have boycotted Star Wars Battlefront 2 on the grounds of its oppressive progression and loot box system, but many find that there is a middle ground, in that loot boxes may exist if they are merely cosmetic.

In dealing with legislative bans, gamers remain hopeful that this system’s predatory nature is quelled, at least to an extent, as the consumers would most certainly benefit from it. More as it happens.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 announced for Switch, PS4 and Xbox One

Sega has announced that they are developing yet another sequel to Valkyria Chronicles and that it will be published on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and even Nintendo Switch – the first in the series to do so.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Is Real

This sequel to the well-respected tactical role-playing games comes six years after the release of Valkyria Chronicles 3.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is set in the same timeframe as Valkyria Chronicles, but has a new set of characters and is set in the Second World War between the Atlantic Federation and the Autocratic Eastern Imperial Alliance.

As usual, players must lead their soldiers to war in the continent of Europa using the turn-based strategy and third-person shooter mechanics that fans have come to love.

Players will lead a crew including young Commander Claude Wallace, engineer/heavy weapons specialist Riley Miller, hothead Darcsen Raz, sniper Kai Schulen and more, including a new class of soldier known as the grenadier.

The game will be released sometime in 2018 across the three platforms worldwide.

Super Bomberman R receives free update

In contrast to the (sickening) trend of AAA video games forcing microtransactions and DLC down the throats of gamers industry-wide, Nintendo and Konami have released an exclusive Super Bomberman R update that is free of charge and full of new stuff for gamers to try.

The update includes a variety of new features including a Grand Prix mode, nine new characters, a new world – World 7 – and other new stages and accessories.

The Grand Prix mode should cause some excitement among fans of the game. It is a team versus team mode that pits two teams of three, or fewer, players against each other in an arena using new characters with special abilities.

This new mode includes two types of matches: the Crystal Match that allows teams to earn points by collecting, yep, crystals, and the second mode which is the Basic Bomber Match that follows standard Bomberman rules. Furthermore, according to Konami, this mode is designed for future eSports ventures.

The nine new characters in the game are as follows:

  • Geomon Bomber
  • Dracula Bomber
  • Princess Tomato Bomber
  • Bubble Head Bomber
  • Option Bomber
  • Shiori Fujisaki Bomber
  • Jehuty Bomber
  • Anubis Bomber
  • Reiko Bomber

Konami and Nintendo have shown that video game publishers and developers are very much able to provide free content for their fans and the company has even promised that there’s more content to come. This is how you do it.

EA temporarily shuts down Star Wars Battlefront 2’s microtransactions

Star Wars Battlefront 2 (SWBF2) received severe backlash over the course of the past week for its ridiculous progression system involving loot boxes that provide an advantage to players.

Spending money on loot boxes has been likened to gambling in that the possibility of a reward is dependent on a random system. Many reviews point towards the fact that SWBF2 is a solid game with engaging multiplayer combat and a fun story, yet the microtransactions in the game have led to an industry-wide boycott, as the limit has finally been pushed too far.

In response to the constant criticisms and tearing down of the game, Electronics Arts (EA) initially reduced the cost of the in-game crystals but this was clearly not enough. Because of this, EA has officially announced that microtransactions will be dropped temporarily.

General Manager at DICE, Oskar Gabrielson, is quoted as saying:

“We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. We’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry, we didn’t get this right.”

He goes on to state that EA is turning off all in-game purchases temporarily and all progression will be earned through gameplay instead. Furthermore, in-game purchases will be available later when changes are made to the game.

Though this news is positive, the question being asked within the gaming community is whether the fans truly won? Many fans believe that this is just a ‘trap’ in order to boost sales for a period, and once the player base is strong enough, EA will restart microtransactions as normal and profit once again. The most obvious change that EA could make to the loot box system is to change the rewards to cosmetics only so that there will no longer be an effect on the game and all players would be on a level playing field.

Microtransactions are rampant across the industry, especially in AAA games, but EA has clearly gone overboard in their anti-consumerism and the fans have had enough. This is a first step in the right direction and hopefully, other companies take notice. You can’t get away with this stuff.

EA attempts damage control following loot box controversy

The internet is a place that shows no mercy for anti-consumerism and if Electronics Arts (EA) didn’t know this before, after the debacle surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II’s (SWBF2) loot boxes and progression system, they know now.

The entire issue began during SWBF2’s beta when players realized that the progression system involved ‘loot boxes’ which is now a common facet of many multiplayer games including Overwatch and Destiny 2. The difference between SWBF2 and other titles involving loot boxes is that in SWBF2, the loot boxes were not merely cosmetic changes that affect weapons or gear, but had actual effects on gameplay as well as characters being locked behind points.

Fans discovered recently that characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker cost a ludicrous 60,000 points to unlock with other popular characters such as Chewbacca costing 40,000. Redditor ‘TheHotterPotato’ calculated that it would take an average of 40 hours of gameplay to unlock these characters. Casual gamers were outraged at this as there was no way that they could spend that much time on a game just to unlock a fan-favourite character.

In response to this PR disaster, a member of EA’s community team stated that ‘the intent was to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes’. Though this sounds reasonable, the fact of the matter was that all this hard work and effort could be circumvented by paying for coins and unlocking characters which points towards the fact that this entire system was based upon the monetization of the progression in the game.

To quell the anger of the fans, EA has announced that the cost of the characters will now be quartered, so characters such as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker will now cost 15,000 points or around 10 hours game-time.

In conclusion, EA has once again put corporate greed ahead of their customer’s enjoyment and has most likely paid the price. Though they have tried to solve the problem, the damage has already been done and many fans are boycotting the game. The rest of the gaming industry should take note of how NOT to implement loot boxes into their game.