PS2J 318 News – OOPS! All Events

Free games

  • Twitch Prime

    • Q.U.B.E. 2

      • 2018
      • Sequel to the original Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion, and a physics-based puzzle game, interacting with specific blocks in the world to solve puzzles and make it to the end of each level
    • Bridge Constructor

      • 2011
      • Physics-based simulation puzzle game that has you working with different gaps, materials, and cost limitations to make bridges that can support different combinations of traffic
  • Epic Games

    • Football Manager 2020

      • 2019
      • European football-management simulation game offering playable teams in 53 different countries across 5 continents
    • Stick It To The Man!

      • 2013
      • Indie adventure platformer that puts you in the role of Ray, a hard hat tester that suffered a bizarre accident and woke up with a giant pink spaghetti arm sticking out of his brain. With his awesome new powers he can read minds and change the world with stickers but he’s on the run for a crime he didn’t commit.
    • Watch Dogs 2

      • 2016
      • Action adventure open world game where you play a hacker trying to take down the city’s advanced surveillance system, completing missions in a variety of ways in increase the follower count of your group DedSec

Apple- Time Flies event

  • No iPhone announcement after all, so we can likely look forward to that in October

  • Apple Watch

    • New initiative from Mount Sinai health system, where researchers are using Watch data to research COVID
    • WatchOS 7 will track VO2 Max, the volume of oxygen you consume when exercising at max capacity, a good indicator of fitness and overall health
      • Notification if it drops to low levels
    • Series 6
      • Blue aluminum, gold stainless steel, graphite stainless steel, and PRODUCT(RED)
      • Blood oxygen
        • 15 seconds to measure, takes periodic readings including while you sleep
        • Helpful indicator of respiratory and cardiac health
      • Fancy dual-core processor
      • Improved always-on display
      • New always-on altimeter
      • New watchfaces
        • GMT shows multiple timezones
        • Count-up lets you track elapsed time
        • Chronograph pro has multiple time scales
        • Typograph give you custom styles focusing on large numbers
      • New stretchable one-piece loop band, in both solid and an attractive braided silicon
    • Family Setup
      • One iphone can set up multiple watches, for kids or other people without their own phone
      • Includes location notifications and movement tracking
    • Apple Watch SE
      • Uses slightly older chips (still twice as fast as the series 3) along with the fancy new display
      • Same accelerometer, gyro, compass, and altimeter as the 6, but no ECG or blood oxygen
    • New lineup starts at:
      • Series 3 $199
      • SE $279
      • Series 6 $399
  • Officially removing the USB wall adapter from the Apple Watch, marketing it as an environmental initiative

  • Apple Fitness +

    • Fitness service with trainers and music (integrated with Apple Music if you want to save a playlist)
    • Workout videos shown on your TV along with biometrics from your watch
    • Launching with yoga, cycling, dance, treadmill, strength, core, hiit, rowing, and meditation
    • New workouts every week, with different levels and recommended workouts
    • Three month free trial, and will be available before the end of the year
    • $9.99/month, $79.99/year
  • Apple One

    • iCloud storage
    • Music
    • TV+
    • Arcade
    • News+
    • Fitness+
    • Individual plan- $14.95
      • Includes Music, TV+, Arcade, 50GB storage
      • $19.95 for family access
    • Premier- $29.95
      • Adds News+ and Fitness+, along with 2TB storage
  • iPadOS 14

    • Better Pencil integration with automatic writing-to-text
    • Scribble lets you handwrite in any text field
  • iPad

    • New 8th gen base model is getting the A12 chip from the XS and the iPad Air
      • Also works with Apple Pencil
      • Smart connector for the fancy Apple smart and magic keyboards
      • Starts at $329 ($299 for education)
    • Air
      • Redesigned, more similar to the iPad Pro
      • USB-C, rounded corners, smaller bezels, and the smart connector
      • New colours including rose gold, green, and sky blue
      • TouchID integrated into the power button
      • No FaceID or TrueDepth camera
      • Brand new 6 core processor, 40% faster than the previous model
      • This all brings the Air ($599) close to parity with the Pro ($799), especially if you don’t want FaceID
  • New software for iPads, iPhones, Watches, and AppleTV’s all hit this week, with no mention of macOS

    • All kinds of fanciness that we’ve talked about previously including home screen widgets and better sleep tracking, along with picture-in-picture video
      • They’ve added an App Library, so iPhone users don’t need to have every app installed available on one of their homescreen pages
      • Not to mention additional options with Shortcuts and Automations that Reddit immediately took to to make their iPhones moan when power cords are plugged in
    • They’ve also released a new firmware for AirPods Pro that adds spatial audio and dynamic head tracking, so when paired with iOS14 supported audio will always sound like it’s anchored to your device

Sony’s announced more details on the PS5, and we’ve got some highlights

  • Pricing of the disk-version of the PS5 matches the Xbox Series X at $499USD, and the diskless model is $399
    • That’s a good chunk more than the Series S’s $299, but considering you get the same specs rather than a pared down version it makes sense- the PS5 blows the Series S out of the water, spec-wise
    • You could even look at it like they’re coming in at $100 less than the Series X, with an optional upgrade to include a disk drive
  • Demon’s Souls Remake looks amazing, with everything rebuilt from the original art, sound, music, and feel along with fancy new haptic feedback
    • You can still see the trailer mirrored on other sites like IGN, but Sony had to pull the original because it mistakenly said it was coming to other consoles and PC
    • This alone might sell me a PS5
  • Spider-Man Miles Morales looks pretty solid
  • Hogwarts Legacy could be the open world Harry Potter game we’ve been waiting for
  • Deathloop looks like a lot of fun, especially for fans of the Groundhog Day genre
  • God of War Ragnarok was revealed, and after the last title in the series is yet another reason to buy a PS5
  • Playstation Plus Collection
    • It feels like conceptually they’re trying to compete with GamePass, and they might get there eventually, but right now it’s mainly a selection of excellent PS4 games that all PS+ subscribers can play on the PS5 at launch for no additional cost
      • God of War
      • Bloodborne
      • Monster Hunter World
      • Final Fantasy XV
      • Mortal Kombat X
      • Fallout 4
      • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
      • Ratchet & Clank
      • Days Gone
      • Until Dawn
      • Detroit: Become Human
      • Battlefield 1
      • Infamous: Second Son
      • Batman: Arkham Knight
      • The Last Guardian
      • The Last of Us: Remastered
      • Persona 5
      • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • Pre-orders are available now, with launch on November 12th in North America, Japan, Australia, NZ, and SK, and the 19th everywhere else

Facebook has announced the Oculus Quest 2- the new king of VR, if you don’t mind Zuckerberg’s ever-tightening fist

  • It’s kind of ridiculous how good the headset is, especially for its price and the fact that it’s wireless
  • $299USD gets you a thinner, lighter Quest with higher resolution with 50% more pixels per eye
    • And for $100 more you can get 256GB of storage, which you might end up needing if games start really using the increased pixel-count. The base model only getting 64GB of storage is nearly criminal nowadays
    • It actually just edges out the Valve Index when it comes to resolution, and that one goes for $1000
    • It’s using LCD instead of OLED though, so expect blacks to look less black, and the field of view is a fair bit narrower than the Index so you’re locked to only 90 degrees
    • They’ve also increased the framerate from 72hz to 90hz, but currently that’s only supported on the main menus
  • Another change is the IPD adjustment, to set the distance between your eyes
    • The Quest had a slider for a range of measurements, but the Quest 2 only has three set positions that Facebook says accommodates between 68mm and 58mm
  • The base head strap is even more basic than the Quest’s, more matching the Oculus Go, but they’re handling it a lot better with first party peripherals
    • You can get alternate face linings, protective lenses, a higher-quality Elite Strap, and even better an amped up Elite Strap with an additional battery to help counterbalance
  • Facebook definitely hasn’t skimped on the processor though, going from one that was midrange even at launch to a top of the line Snapdragon XR2 that is more than twice as fast
  • They’ve also improved the battery life on the slightly redesigned controllers, while at the same time making them a little bigger to be almost a hybrid between the original Oculus controllers and the first gen Quest
  • But now where it gets ugly
    • The Quest 2 will be the first piece of Oculus hardware that requires a Facebook account to run
      • This combined with the low price reminds me of the adage “If you get something for free, you might be the product being sold”
    • And on top of that, Facebook has said that if you link your Oculus account to a Facebook account that violates their rules, like not using your real name or birthdate, your account could be completely disabled and you might lose access to any games or content you’ve already paid for
      • In many cases Facebook has asked for an unredacted picture of a user’s driver’s license to be sent in to verify that information, but it seems ridiculous that they have any business getting all that information just so I can play VR games. Beyond billing info they have no use for my personal info, besides to sell it to someone else
  • All that said, if you’re okay with what Facebook does and want what is unfortunately one of the best VR headsets available, you can pick yours up on October 13

The App Store slapfight continues

  • Court documents in the Epic vs Apple lawsuit show Apple saying that Epic Games can’t re-apply to their developer program for at least one year
    • Epic is trying to overturn that ban, but assuming no changes it’s unlikely we’ll see Fortnite back on iOS before summer 2021
  • Apple also seems to be accusing Epic of using this whole situation as a publicity stunt
    • Apparently compared to October 2019, July 2020 had seen interest in Fortnite decrease by nearly 70%, and this mess that Epic Games has invented for themselves is an attempt to boost their own reputation
    • They also deny that Epic is losing huge amounts of money, saying that though Epic says iOS is their biggest platform based on number of users only 10% of consumers play regularly on iPhone, and that according to Epic’s own disclosures Apple is the smallest piece of the pie when it comes to revenue
    • An excellent quote from Apple’s filing:
      • Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this Court for emergency assistance in putting it out, even though Epic can do so itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years. This Court was right when it previously ruled that “‘self-inflicted wounds are not irreparable injury.’”
  • In addition to that, a new filing today from Mark Grimm, a Game Developer Manager at Apple, highlighted the lengths to which Apple went to accommodate Epic in recent years
    • Apparently engineers on both sides remained in near-constant contact for the last two years to make sure Fortnite could run smoothly at all times and across a variety of devices, including substantial engineering support to help it to run on older iPhones
    • Grimm also wrote about the amount of hardware and software resources shared, saying that they’ve even coached Epic about unreleased iOS tech and even sent engineers to their HQ to help get them up to speed, on top of Apple optimizing their iOS and Mac systems to improve the performance of Unreal Engine
  • A separate filing from Mike Schmid, Apple’s Head of Games Business Development, added even more background
    • Apparently Epic threatened on multiple occasions to essentially hold Fortnite hostage, threatening to release updates on competing platforms first and even in some cases said they would terminate their relationship with Apple and remove their games from the App Store, if Apple didn’t comply with demands
    • This reportedly got to the point where Apple staff in Australia were brought in to the Epic relationship team, to provide 24 hour coverage
    • On top of all that, Schmid says they even worked closely with Epic to allow in-game features that were not previously allowed, such as gifting within apps, by amending App Store Guidelines
    • “This example,” Schmid writes, “demonstrates Apple’s attentiveness to the developer community, including the needs of developers like Epic, which in this instance made a request that Apple could accommodate on terms that would apply equally to all developers, large and small, and that would at the same time adequately ensure user safety and security.”
  • It almost seems like Epic got so used to Apple giving them whatever they demanded that they threw a tantrum when told they couldn’t have their own App Store on iPhone, but we’ll have to see how the Epic Games team responds to the latest filings
  • I agree that the App Store has some room to evolve, but Epic really shot themselves in the foot repeatedly here

In a new interview with IGN, Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald gave some more detail on the differences between the Series S and X

  • Apparently the core capabilities between the two consoles are basically the same, so the primary difference will be resolution- 1440p on the S and 4k on the X
    • Even though theoretically the Series S could have performance somewhat comparable to the One X, it will not apply any of the One X specific enhancements for better framerates or 4k resolutions
    • Backwards-compatible titles could benefit from improved texture filtering and other bits and bobs though, so the Series S isn’t completely left out in the cold
  • They’re leaving a lot up to developers though, like whether to allow ray tracing, increase the framerate, or even try for 4k on the S
  • The goal is apparently not to have exclusive titles on the X, but rather to get lower-res options for the S
  • And as an added bonus, game file sizes could be around 30% smaller for the S if developers stick to 1440p textures
  • It will likely still lead to some fragmentation but hopefully not as much as previously thought

Apple’s made some changes that are kind of good news for game streaming services, but with a BIIG asterisk

  • They’ve announced updates to their App Store review guidelines introducing new rules for things like Microsoft xCloud
    • They’re allowed, which is great, but apparently all of the games included in the subscription need to be downloaded directly from the App Store…?
    • From the looks of it, all 150+ xCloud games would need to hit the App Store separately, with updates going through the full review process and all in-app purchases going through Apple
    • They’re allowed to have a catalog app to help users sign up and find games, but all games must have their own App Store product page
  • All said and done, this feels like a PR move so Apple can say they’re not blocking streaming game services while at the same time making the way forward as torturous as possible, when really it should work as smoothly as Netflix or YouTube

Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia: Sands of Time remake leaked, and it looked rough, so they released the reveal trailer, which also looks rough

  • With a high nostalgia factor you’d think this would be a priority, but it was seemingly shunted off to Ubisoft India
    • While I can understand that studio being excited to sink their teeth into potentially one of the biggest AAA games developed in the country, doing it for the first time with a remake of something this high-profile could have been a misstep
  • Honestly, I think they would have been better off just upscaling the original assets. It definitely doesn’t look like a game from 2020
    • Reddit user Bolt_995 put it well: “This is a PS2 game remade to look like a PS3 game on a PS4 and the release date is set during the launch window of the PS5”

The saga of TikTok continues, with Beijing opposing the sale that the US is dead set on forcing

  • According to Reuters the Chinese government would rather see the video app shut down in the US instead
  • Oracle is trying to get around that by becoming their “trusted tech partner”, not their owner, but the exact details have yet to be hashed out
    • From the sounds of it Oracle would house data from US TikTok users on its own servers, to hopefully alleviate security concerns
  • The US Treasury Secretary also floated the idea of them opening a TikTok Global HQ in the US and creating 20,000 jobs, but who knows what kind of basis that has in reality if any
  • Yet to be seen is:
    • If this deal will satisfy Trump’s government
    • If it will satisfy the Chinese government
    • What will happen to TikTok’s fancy algorithm, likely the driving force behind any offer, with China saying it’s off the table

This Week In Gaming History

September 12 – 2002 – Battlefield 1942 – Windows

  • Battlefield 1942 is a massive online multiplayer shooter roughly based on World War II, but with emphasis on balance and fun.
    • Join armed forces of United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany or Russia, and battle up to 63 of your friends online.
    • Have access to up to twenty different authentic weapons. Control any of the 30+ vehicles over land, on water, or in air.
    • Combat takes place in four theaters; South Pacific, North Africa, and Eastern and Western Europe.
    • Have epic battles with up to 64 players on the same map, or hone your skills in single-player mode against AI bots.

September 13 – 2003 – Star Trek: The Neutral Zone – Windows

  • Star Trek: The Neutral Zone is a free, simple deathmatch game where players (and bots, named after characters from the Star Trek series, but unlicensed) choose a ship to destroy others in order to reach the frag limit.
    • There is a variety of ships available with their graphics taken from Star Trek: Bridge Commander and possibly a few of its mods.
    • But apart from the visuals, they do not differ in any way. All of them are armed with phasers and photon torpedoes, with the colour of phasers chosen by the player in the options menu.
    • Occasionally, certain power-ups appear on the map.
  • Up to two players can play on the same computer, and a TCP/IP multiplayer mode is available.
  • On Moby Games, the site I reference, this was the only game released this day on 2003.

September 14 – 1994 – Math Blaster: In Search of Spot – Genesis

  • The Genesis release was the one release that was confirmed to a firm date
  • A follow-up to the original Math Blaster! games, Math Blaster: In Search of Spot is an educational title with arcade elements designed to help students learn maths while having fun.
  • The game allows students to practice basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills in addition to fractions, decimals, percents, estimation, and number patterns.
    • The subjects can be practiced separately or together in review. Six levels of difficulty are provided.
    • Like the previous titles, the game also includes an editor to create new problem sets (present in the PC version only).
  • Math Blaster’s friend and assistant, Spot, is kidnapped by the evil Trash Alien at the beginning of the game.
    • The Galactic Commander gives Math Blaster the mission to follow the Trash Alien to his home planet and rescue Spot.
  • The game starts with a complete mission (story mode).
    • The mission consists of a series of four (three in the console versions) math activities (mini-games) strung together with cut-scenes. The activities can also be played separately, for practice or for score.
  • The activities you can do are:
    • Trash Zapper – Solve equations to gain tractor beam power, then use the tractor beam to collect space trash.
    • Number Recycler (PC version only) – Create equations by pushing around columns of numbers and operators. Correct equations allow you to turn the trash you collected into fuel.
    • Cave Runner – Use Math Blaster’s jet pack to fly through a cave. He has a number on his chest, and it must be arithmetically between the numbers on each side of an opening in order for him to pass through. Droplets of water falling from above can change this number by performing an operation on it. There are also gems which can be collected for bonus points, and in higher levels, monsters appear that can knock Math Blaster down.
    • Math Blaster – The Trash Alien’s spaceship displays an equation, and the four portholes serve as multiple-choice answers. Use the jet pack to fly into the correct portholes while avoiding floating trash and energy blasts from the ship. Bonus gems also appear at random, and after five problems a bonus round occurs where players get a chance to collect as many gems as they can within a time limit.
  • Upon finishing the complete mission, the player is presented with a certificate that can be printed out (PC version only). Their final score is also added to a high score board for their account.

September 15 – 1990 – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – DOS

  • A good example of the difference a little multimedia can do, the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes plays like a textmode proof-of-concept of the better-known Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective.
    • The basic investigative elements remain the same: managing time dashing to various locations around Olde London Towne in search of clues, but here instead of successfully receiving them as video clips you often get cryptic encoded messages in “fill-in-the-blank” form, intended in total to spell out, some directly and some through phonetic wordplay, the name of the killer, the method they used, and their motive for committing the crime.
    • Characters from the original tales including Dr. Watson, Mrs. Baker and Inspector Lestrade help to establish the flavour of literary canon as you investigate all-new crimes (some user-contributed!)

September 16 – 1998 – Fuck Quest – DOS

  • This is a parody of the Sierra-style games like Space Quest, King’s Quest, etc. Similar interface, sounds, and graphics.
  • This is a small game that’ll make people who have played the Sierra games laugh, although I don’t think anybody else will understand the point.
    • Probably R-Rated because of not-so-subtle sexual content. Can be finished quickly.
  • The art appears to be done in a single pass on MS Paint
    • Includes level design, like The House Of Porn, which is a pair of breasts.
  • Has an average score of 1.4 out of 5

September 17 – 2002 – Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer – GameCube, PS2, XBox

  • You know Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman but now it’s Kelly Slater’s Pro sport game
  • Do you like to surf? Have you ever imagined surfing at different remote locations around the world? Well, Kelly Slater takes you around the world on his boat to surf some of the more famous beaches. With a control scheme similar to all the other Activision O2 brand games, it’s easy to jump into the game and surf.
  • Game Play Modes:
    • Infinite Time – With no clock, no objectives, and nobody around, this gives you the best opportunity to just enjoy the surf.
    • High Score – With 3 minutes, how high of a score can you get?
    • Icon Challenge – See how many icons you can collect and how high of a score you can get before time runs out.
    • Career Mode – Select a surfer and journey around the world to surf the best waves on the best beaches. As you progress you will unlock new beaches, new surf boards, and new tricks which will be usable in all the other modes of play.
    • Multiplayer Modes:
    • Push – Two players surf simultaneously in an attempt to “push” the split screen towards their opponent’s half of the screen. As you score points the screen gets pushed more. The winner is decided once one player is pushed from the screen.
    • Head to Head – Similar to Push but the screen is stationary and the winner is the person with the highest points when the time runs out.
    • Time Attack – Players take turns to achieve the most points possible. The more points you get the less time is alloted to your opponent.
  • The Pros in the game: Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Tom Carroll, Tom Curren, Nathan Fletcher, Donavon Frankenreiter, Bruce Irons, Rob Machado, Kalani Robb, and some other secret characters.
    • Secret characters which I looked up!
      • Tony Hawk
      • Travis Pastrana – A extreme Motorsport athlete
      • “Tiki God”
      • “Surfreak”
  • The beaches in the game: Sebastian, Trestles, Mavericks, Antarctica, Jaws, Pipeline, Teahupoo, Bells, Curren’s Point, Kirra, G-Land, J-Bay, Mundaka, Cortez Bank, and perhaps some other tucked-away hide-aways.
  • The PS2 version of the game also includes a playable demo of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.

September 18 – 2018 – Nintendo Switch Online service – Switch

  • The Nintendo Switch was formally announced in January 2017, with its release on March 3, 2017.
    • Nintendo stated in its pre-release announcements that the system would eventually require purchase of a paid “online service”, but that they would be available to all users at no charge until the service launched.
    • Features announced included a companion smartphone app, as well as access to a free Nintendo Entertainment System game per-month. The service was initially planned for late 2017.
    • By June 2017, Nintendo pushed back the service’s release until 2018, but did establish the pricing plans for the service, with an average annual price of US$20, depending on region.
    • Then-Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé explained that the delays were to ensure that the service was “world-class”, and had enough of its announced functionality available on-launch to justify its cost.
    • Nintendo aimed for a lower price point in comparison to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, as the service does not include the same range of features as these subscription services provide.
    • Then-Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima stated that the price point was a subject of importance in designing the Switch’s online services, and that regardless of what competitors were doing, “it’s a matter of getting our content to the consumer at a price point that would make them happy, and then we’re willing to look at what else we can do going forward.”
  • A Nintendo Direct two days before the release detailed the full set of features that would be part of the Online service, including a larger and persistent library of NES games for subscribers, as well as cloud save support.
  • The 20 games at launch were:
    • Balloon Fight
    • Baseball
    • Donkey Kong
    • Double Dragon
    • Dr. Mario
    • Excitebike
    • Ghosts’n Goblins
    • Gradius
    • Ice Climber
    • Ice Hockey
    • The Legend of Zelda
    • Mario Bros.
    • Pro Wrestling
    • River City Ransom
    • Soccer
    • Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3
    • Tecmo Bowl
    • Tennis
    • Yoshi, A puzzle game

Tidbits

  • Borderlands 3 has joined the growing number of games that are releasing free updates to next-gen consoles for anyone playing it on the current generation
    • They’re also adding 3 and 4 player split screen, as well as 4k 60fps single player
  • Super Mario 3D All Stars has leaked onto the internet, showing that all the games are just emulated and upsampled versions with no real tweaks
    • On the plus side, the fact that there are now internal Nintendo emulators for Wii, GameCube, and N64 games on the Switch could mean there are more classics coming
  • Fall Guys has released a mid-season update increasing the chaos and the fun
    • They’ve amped up the anti-cheat, added extra random obstacles to familiar levels, and thrown in Big Yeetus- a large hammer that can launch you to victory or hilarious defeat

 

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Free Games

  • Epic Games

    • Killing Floor 2

      • 2016
      • First person wave-based shooter than can be played solo or with up to 6 players cooperatively, it has you descending into continental Europe after it’s been overrun by murderous clones called Zeds
      • They also added an asymmetrical PVP mode that has one or more players taking on the role of the Zeds to kill the mercenaries
    • Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition

      • 2014
      • Adventure puzzle platformer that has you exploring an alien planet where you stumble upon a derelict Soviet Union science outpost and try to piece together how they got there and where they’ve gone now
      • The Premier Edition brings new content, improved graphics, new original music, and additional voice-acting
    • The Escapists 2

      • 2017
      • Top-down strategy RPG that has you playing an inmate in a prison, following daily routines, completing quests for fellow inmates, and seeking opportunities to escape
      • It also includes local and online multiplayer, either cooperative where two players help eachother break out or competitive where two teams see who can break out the fastest
  • Ubisoft is hosting their first all-digital conference streaming live on July 12, and if you log on to ubisoft.com/forward during the event you can get a free copy of Watch Dogs 2

Surprising completely no one, Google-backed groups are criticizing Apple’s warnings about user tracking

  • The next batch of updates coming to Apple software this fall have a lot to do with user tracking- specifically, giving you prompts when websites or apps are trying to track you across multiple services
  • Well a group of 16 marketing associations, many backed by Facebook and Google, are getting mad at Apple for not sticking to the existing ad-industry standard for getting user consent under European privacy rules, complaining that between the current adding a second layer of permissions increases the risk that users will refuse
  • Apple defended the move, and I believe rightfully so, by saying that the new feature is aimed at giving users greater transparency over how their info is being used and monetized
  • And really, if the best argument against giving users more opportunities to say no is that they might take them, you might have some predatory practices that need to be looked at

After allegations have been made about wildly inappropriate, unethical, and immoral behaviour in competitive Smash Bros communities, Nintendo has made a statement saying that they “condemn all acts of violence, harassment, and exploitation against anyone and that we stand with the victims.”

  • Apparently dozens of high-profile figures in the community have been accused of sexual misconduct, like harassment, assault, and grooming minors

In the latest of what I’m sure will be a long line of ass-coverings, LinkedIn says that their app reading iPhone clipboards after every keystroke is a bug and will be fixed soon

  • They’re blaming it on code that compares your clipboard contents with what has been typed in a textbox, which seems weird even on its own
  • iOS 14, now in beta, alerts users every time data they’ve copied is read by an app, and we’ve seen this catch out apps like TikTok, Twitter, Starbucks, and many more reading this information for no good reason
  • The Weather Network, also caught out by this, says that they only used the info if a user wished to share diagnostic information for troubleshooting and that they’ve reached out to Apple for guidance

Infinity Ward has quietly removed the OK gesture from Modern Warfare and Warzone

  • There hasn’t been any official statement about why, but this was likely in continuing support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • A while back 4Chan decided to help white supremacists appropriate the symbol (some claimed as a joke), saying that the three upraised fingers made a W and the circle made a P when you take the forearm into account
  • Regardless of their possible intentions, they have actually succeeded to the point that racists and terrorists have been sincerely using the symbol in dog-whistling photos and acts of terror against minorities and people of colour
  • The Anti-Defamation League even had to add it to their list of hate symbols in September of last year

SUPERHOT – MIND, CONTROL, DELETE is leaving Early access on July 16th after four years of development, and being given away free to anyone that purchased the original beforehand (free giveaways don’t count, though Kickstarter does)

  • The third game in the franchise, it’s bringing more immersion, more story, more characters, and more gameplay to the original SUPERHOT ‘first person shooter where time only moves when you do’ formula
  • The original is currently 60% off at get.superhotgame.com, so it’s a great time to get into it

Randonautica

  • Choose Your Own Adventure

  • Creepy findings

  • Randonaut Responsibly!

    • #1 Never, ever trespass onto private property.
      • We. Are. SERIOUS. Get as close to the point as you are comfortable without trespassing onto private property. Never enter someone’s backyard without permission. Never enter privately marked wooded or commercial areas. Trespassing onto private property is a direct violation of the user agreement for Randonautica. Owners and law enforcement will see the user as liable for trespassing or damages, not Randonautica. DO NOT TRESPASS.
    • #2 Stay totally clear of dangerous areas.
      • Never go near train tracks, railways or restricted electrical/power zones. Additionally, old structures, houses and buildings should be avoided entirely. The structural integrity could be jeopardized due to deterioration.
    • #3 Only adventure during the day.
      • The human mind is not trained for uncertainty and traveling to a totally randomized set of coordinates requires you to over-observe your surroundings and practice situational awareness. This is much easier to do while it is light outside. Randonauting at night is highly discouraged.
    • #4 Leave the environment better off than when you arrived.
      • Since the very beginning of the Randonaut community we’ve always said, Bring A Trashbag! Not only will you help mother nature by picking up litter, sometimes the trash can have unique and meaningful information to you!
    • #5 Always Randonaut with a charged phone.
      • Be smart and charge your phone or bring a car charger. GPS can drain your battery and you are very likely to be in an unfamiliar area.
    • #6 Keep a positive mindset!
      • What you think, you observe! Negative intentions are HIGHLY discouraged. The Randonautica app was created to bring joy, peace and love to curious explorers all over the world.
    • #7 Go on the journey with a friend or small group.
      • While Randonauting alone is entirely acceptable, beginners should start in a small group or with a friend. Uncertainty of where you are going (the randomness!) can cause a fear factor response and having a buddy helps!
    • #8 Do not venture into areas outside your comfort zone.
      • Only make the trip to areas and places you are comfortable exploring. If you feel unsafe, do not leave your vehicle or retreat from the point. Randonautica does not know anything about the area you live in. Use common sense.
    • #9 Always use common sense when it comes to your personal physical limitations.
      • Sometimes a point might be in an area that is inaccessible without climbing, hiking, etc. Know your limits. Always hydrate and do not overextend yourself.
    • #10 Enjoy the whole journey, not just the point!
      • Get as close to the point as you are comfortable with but know the journey is sometimes the more meaningful experience!

99% Invisible

Freedom House Ambulance Service

Tidbits

  • Twitch has managed to put their collective foot in their mouth twice, first with a video that included the line “The G in LGBTQIA+ also stands for gamer”, and then with a Black Lives Matter video that barely featured any non-white creators
    • Both videos have since been pulled down and Twitch has stated that though their goal was to demonstrate the importance of allyship, they didn’t make it clear.
  • Ireland has launched their contact tracing app this week, taking advantage of the Apple/Google exposure notification API
    • The app downloads a list of anonymous IDs every two hours from those who have tested positive for COVID, letting users get alerts a lot faster than with a manual phone interview system
    • It also have features for those that have tested positive to track their symptoms and how they’re feeling, and for those that aren’t it shows facts and figures for the virus inside Ireland
  • iPhone users have taken to support forums and reddit to report battery drain issues related to the Music app, citing large amounts of background activity even on new devices that haven’t launched the Music app before
    • People have reported things like the app using 95% of their device’s battery across 18 hours of background activity when they weren’t even listening to music
    • The only consistent fix has been to remove the Music app, but for many that’s not really an option
  • Epic Games has launched their new Live Link Face app that lets game developers using the Unreal Engine use their iPhones’ TrueDepth camera for facial motion capture
    • I’ve tried it out and it’s pretty slick from a recording and facial mesh perspective, but to actually see it in action and applying the movements to a 3D model you need to connect it to a computer or full motion capture rig
    • It will definitely open up motion capture prospects to many who wouldn’t otherwise have the tech for it
  • Halo 3 is finally coming to the Master Chief Collection for PC on July 14th, and with it many redditors are excited for all the custom game types they know and love from the Xbox

Homework

 

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PS2J 301 News – The Boy Who Cired YouTube

Free Games

  • Twitch

    • Anna’s Quest

      • 2015
      • Point-and-click adventure game following Anna as she attempts to escape an evil witch and save her dying grandfather by solving puzzles, collecting items, and talking to characters throughout the game
  • Epic Games

    • Grand Theft Auto 5

      • 2013
      • Action-adventure sandbox game by Rockstar following three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency and powerful crime figures
      • It quickly became the highest selling entertainment product in history, earning $1B in its first three days, and still consistently sits on Steam’s list of most popular games
      • So popular that it’s singlehandedly taken down the Epic Games Store website, even causing issues with the Epic Games launcher and Fortnite
        • As of recording the site is still down

Utah’s joined the contact tracing game with their new Healthy Together app, aimed at letting people know if they’ve come into contact with someone later diagnosed with COVID-19

  • Unfortunately they decided not to use Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification API, and instead opted for a less private GPS and Bluetooth option
  • According to the Utah state website, they opted to use their own framework because they say Bluetooth alone “gives a less accurate picture” than the combination of Bluetooth and GPS
    • I can get how the extra location information could assist in identifying transmission areas, but at the end of the day this is a government app that logs not only who you’re in contact with but also everywhere you go
    • It’s also another case of needing to have the app open and active at all times on a iPhone in order to fully function, which can not only affect battery performance but also the overall longevity of your device
  • At the moment about 45,000 people have signed up for Healthy Together, amounting to about 2% of the state’s population, and some estimates have shown that in order to be effective the apps will need to be used by 60%.
    • Hopefully once the more secure and efficient apps come onto the market we’ll start to see the numbers rise

We’re seeing another dark side to the wild west that is exposure notification- spam and phishing attacks

  • Police in Maine are warning cell phone users of a text message scam in which people are sending things like
    • “Someone who came into contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested. More at <link>”
    • These are not official messages and are doing nothing but spread panic and, depending on where the link is pointed, could give hackers a way in to get your personal information
  • The Better Business Bureau has also said that scammers are targeting seniors with messages posing as the US Department of Health and telling them they need to take a mandatory online COVID-19 test to receive their recently approved government stimulus payment
  • It’s tough to say exactly how to tell the scam messages from real ones, but one giveaway is if you aren’t running a contact tracing app then the government has no way to identify that you’ve been exposed, never mind text you about it
  • Once tracing apps start using the Apple/Google exposure notification features I think we’ll be in much better shape, as you’ll see proper system notifications from trusted government apps rather than a hodgepodge of whatever your area has put together themselves

Epic Games has unveiled the new Unreal Engine 5, and it’s very pretty

  • Unreal Engine is a game engine used by the developers of a lot of high-profile games from Yoshi’s Crafted World to the Batman: Arkham titles and Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • The new engine focuses on photorealism on par with movie CG and live-action video, and there’s a very pretty demo video online of it running on developer PS5 hardware
  • The coolest thing is that it’s not just for next-gen- the engine will support current consoles, computers, and even iOS and Android
  • As part of the same announcement Epic has also changed how its royalties work regarding use of the engine, retroactively taking 5% of sales only after a game has earned its first $1M in sales. And that 5% is waived for games published on the Epic Games Store
    • On top of that, any Oculus-exclusive games made with Unreal don’t start paying until they hit $5M in sales
    • So you can get access to triple-A game development tools for free and only start paying royalties if your game is a big success. Pretty solid deal!

Wink, a company that makes a smart home hub that links different smart home devices together, has decided to switch from a purchase model to subscriptions and completely screw over their current users

  • Previously Wink would work like most other smart home devices, you buy it once, set it up, and it works with no additional costs
  • Now, 5 years in, they’ve decided that hardware sales don’t cover their costs and you need to pay $5/month to continue using hardware you own
    • Even if you don’t use their cloud services, your access to the app, voice control, API, and automations all get deactivated if you don’t pay their ransom
    • Part of their justification is that they don’t make any extra money by selling your information, like other platforms might, but that’s less of a bonus and more of an essential feature
  • In response to backlash they went from a one-week notice period to two weeks, allowing an extra 7 days before users start being charged the monthly fee
  • I could see it if they introduced new devices reliant on a subscription, or maybe if they had a buy-back program for people that don’t want to subscribe and therefore no longer have any use for the product, but nothing like that has been announced
  • This seems like a fairly customer-hostile move, and I’ll be surprised if Wink manages to move forward without introducing something to justify the added cost

Apple has started reopening its retail stores and some of the safety measures it’s taking may violate EU privacy rules

  • One of the measures Apple’s taking to protect everyone includes temperature checks before customers are allowed to enter, using a non-contact forehead thermometer
  • However a data protection agency in Germany is concerned those checks violate EU privacy and data protection rules and has launched a probe, according to Bloomberg Law
  • Assuming they’re not storing the data or linking it to people in any way, I’m guessing this won’t amount to anything. It sounds comparable to nightclubs checking ID before allowing people to enter

New Paper Mario on Switch!

  • Paper Mario: The Origami King
    • Coming out July 17th!
  • Nintendo’s page is letting you know you can pre-order it now
    • If you pre-order it will install the data now
    • And at midnight for on the 17th you can play the game
  • A beautiful paper world to unfold
    • The devious King Olly has transformed Princess Peach into origami, uprooted her castle and sealed it shut with magical paper streamers.
    • Join Mario and his new companion Olivia on a comedic adventure that will take you to the far corners of a papercraft world
      • With the help of Olivia’s paper-folding powers, use the far-reaching 1,000 Fold Arms and other paper transformations to save those imprisoned by the Origami King’s henchmen, and help restore peace to the world.
    • Face off against the Origami King and his army of paper invaders, team up with some extraordinary companions and master magical powers on your quest to save the world.
    • Journey across the land – from scorching deserts to sailing the high seas – and recruit a revolving cast of wacky travel buddies, as you seek to sever these sinister streamers and save your paper pals from being turned into one of the Folded Soldiers!
    • Repair the damage done by the Folded Soldiers and rescue Toads trapped in all manner of wacky scrapes!
    • Put a stop to King Olly’s plans by engaging in battles which will put both your tactical thinking and puzzle solving skills to the test – against his origami army, as well as humongous bosses under his command!
  • From what I could tell from the video and screen shots
    • Paper Mario is teamed up with the origami Olivia for special powers
      • One featured has him with extended origami arms
      • It looks like the arms will be using joycon motions to work
      • Like pulling a cardboard tab along a perforated edge
    • It also looks like all the paper denizens are teamed up with Mario
      • Enemies pictured behind him facing the origami threat
      • Bowser looks like he got folded down to just his face to diminish his power
    • Game play looks very familiar
      • Traversing crafted 3D enviroments
      • RPG combat with bonuses for timing
      • Might have an over-world where travel is done not to scale
    • And it looks like some things are 3D papermache
      • Perhaps its different from the 2D paper but weaker than Origami?
        • The ending has a silly clip of Paper Mario with a giant papermache Samus helmet
          • He is running back and forth making a fist pretending his arm is a blaster
        • The scene also has a papermache DK head, adding more questions to how Paper Mario ties into the Nintendo franchises

Tidbits

  • The latest rumours for the expected over-ear AirPods Studio look very interesting with technology expected for head/neck detection (similar to ear detection in AirPods that pauses your media when you take one out), and automatic left-right side assignment
    • Analysts say that instead of having a specific left or right speaker, the headphones will detect which way they’re being worn and adjust accordingly
    • They’re expected to retail for about $349 USD
  • A remastered version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 was announced this week in text messages from the man himself
    • Apparently Tony has a text message service you can sign up for to receive messages from him throughout the year, and he took to it to announce that every skating level from the two PlayStation 1 games would return, along with every pro skater in the original games, and the custom skate park feature from Pro Skater 5
    • Activision says it will be coming to the Xbox One, PS4, and PC (via Epic Games) this September for $40 USD, $60 CAD
  • To promote learning from home, Ubisoft is making their Discovery Tour series completely free for anyone with a Uplay account
    • Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece and DT: Ancient Egypt are versions of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and AC: Origins that strip out the combat in favour of education
    • You can explore multiple regions, learn about daily life in the period, and hear about myths, legends, and philosophies of the cultures
  • In an effort to get around Trump’s ban on American companies from doing business with them, Huawei is re-releasing old phones that still support Google apps
    • Apparently the ban has worked is that any devices launched before the ban, and even some slightly afterward, can still be sold with Google apps installed
    • Since then though it’s been expected that Huawei will have a 20% drop is sales this year, and that may only be the initial impact as the Google-enabled Huawei phones become de-supported and fall off the market
    • So Huawei’s solution is to release “New Edition” versions of last year’s phones- new software and more memory, but otherwise the exact same phone
    • These can’t really take the place of their flagship line of devices, but it’s something they can put out there and see if people will buy, at least

 

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PS2J 299 News – Virtual Cataracts

Free Games

  • Cross-platform

    • Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is available for free until May 10 on PS4, PC, and Xbox One
  • Twitch

    • Old School Musical

      • 2015
      • A rhythm game that takes you through 50 different chiptune tracks on a tour of old favourite retro games to teach you where all the bugs in those classic games come from
  • Epic Games

    • Amnesia: The Dark Descent

      • 2010
      • Survival horror adventure game that has you exploring a dark, foreboding castle while trying to avoid monsters and maintain your sanity
    • Crashlands

      • 2016
      • Action-adventure RPG originally built for iOS and Android described as a story-driven crafting game comparable to Don’t Starve, wherein you need to collect items in order to make weapon and armour
  • PS4

    • Cities: Skylines

      • 2017 port of the 2015 PC game
      • Open-ended city building simulation in the spirit of SimCity after the critical failure of EA’s 2013 franchise reboot
    • Farming Simulator 19

      • Pretty much what it says on the tin- it’s a full farming simulator with huge American and European environments, over 300 vehicles and machines, online co-op play, and a surprisingly large mod community
      • This entry brought in horse farming as well as oat and cotton crops
  • Xbox

    • V-Rally 4

      • 2018
      • Rally racing game with 51 different cars that takes you from through Monument Valley, Niger, Romania, Malaysia, and more
    • Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

      • 2017
      • Action RPG with a top-down view and a focus on melee and ranged combat set in the Warhammer 40K universe, frequently compared to Diablo
    • Overlord 2

      • 2009
      • Action RPG that has you destroying or conquering the land by commanding your hordes of minions and taking down the Roman-styled “Glorious Empire”
    • Sensible World of Soccer

      • 2007 HD enhanced version of the 1996 Amiga classic
      • 2D European football game with a comprehensive manager mode, with data on 1,500 teams and 27,000 players. This game is notable as the only sports game included on the list of “the ten most important video games of all time”, as compiled by the curator for the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford along with notable game designers and researchers

Apple and Google’s new exposure notification framework, previously referred to as contact tracing, is continuing to evolve and and develop

  • They’ve settled on the different name because of what it is- a framework for notifying people if they’ve been exposed. It’s a tool that can be used in conjunction with contact tracing, but because they’re focused on privacy as a top priority that’s not a part of the developing specifications
    • More details have been coming out with the framework’s introduction into the iOS 13.5 beta, and it sounds like notifications will be handled by phones  downloading a new list of identifiers for positive tests regularly and then notifying you if any of them match ones you’ve come into contact with
    • Users will be able to opt out of exposure notifications under Settings, Privacy, Health
  • Germany, originally set on developing a home-grown contact tracing app with centralized data available to health authorities, has changed course and now is working with the Apple-Google approach
    • Also running with the decentralized plan is Switzerland, Estonia, and Austria
  • The UK, unfortunately, is dead set on having their National Health Service manage all the data and not working within those parameters
    • The NHS says it has a way to make the software work “sufficiently well” without users needing to keep it active and on-screen, without “excessively affecting battery life”, but that “excessively” has me concerned
      • Apparently it will work by having the app wake up in the background every time another device running the same software is detected. Then it runs some code to log the contact before going to sleep again
      • Australia said they also had a workaround, but they’ve since acknowledged power consumption problems as well as interference if users have other Bluetooth and location-tracking apps open
    • Not to mention the fact that they’re so set on taking all this data in that I worry they’re not giving full weight to the privacy argument- if you’re going to expect your citizens to use this app, you can’t treat it like an ankle-bracelet on a felon.
    • I get that having all the data kept in-house seems like a good idea, but Apple and Google are pretty smart and they’re building a seemingly solid platform that allows for notifications and battery performance without compromising integrity and privacy

Good news, Google Stadia has now launched PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds! Bad news, it’s filled with terrible bots!

  • Everyone with a Gmail account still has a free two-month trial of Stadia Pro, which now includes the ability to play PUBG on the service
  • Unfortunately it looks like they’re filling matches with bots- players with underscores in their names that don’t actually jump out of the plane, but appear randomly through the world with pre-filled inventories
    • The game normally drops 100 players on an island to fight it out for supremacy, but ArsTechnica had matches with 98 or even 99 bots
  • I can get why they have bots, to ease new players in without throwing them to the wolves that have been playing religiously for years, but this really seems like a terrible way to do it

Oculus Quest Follow-up

  • Knuckle grips are great and really help with Beat Saber
    • AMVR
  • Battery pack counterweight works well, but hampers the pick-up-and-play a bit
    • Anker, Aukey
  • Prescription lenses are really comfortable
    • WidmoVR
  • The Room VR is a creepy escape room that’s a lot of fun
    • Casting to my phone turned it into a co-op game, but the visibility is a little rough with fast movements causing lag and text not being very readable
  • Oculus store really needs a way to gift games to someone

Josh’s day was ruined very early

VSGO professional lens pen, the buffing pad scratched my left lens on my Oculus Quest
  • Now its like I have cataracts in my left eye playing VR
  • I tried a rubbing alcohol and water solution and it helped a LITTLE bit
Hope is on the horizon
  • a redditor had a family member clean their quest with a shirt or something abrasive.
  • polyWatch is a product that fixes surface scratches
    • polyWatch Plastic Polish offers a simple and reliable solution for removing scratches from plastic watch crystal.
Some people have been using watch glass protectors for their lenses
  • I’m nervouse about adding anything like that to the lenses

Josh guested on Podzilla 1985’s Mr 100 and the 5 Star man

Mr. 100 (or should we say the PHOENIX) and the 5 Star Man are finally back after a TWO MONTH hiatus with a special guest from up north – Josh from PS2J! Come for the Canadian politeness, stay for the talk about American Horror Story, Final Fantasy, Buffy, and more!

Assassins Creed Valhalla

The history of the Assassins versus the Templar travels to Norhtern Europe
Settlements play a big part in the game
  • Trailer opens up on a viking village in Norway.
  • The trailer follows the protagonist Eivor
  • It seems that the viking religion plays a part in the game
    • Unsure of it being supernaturally or just spirtually
Eivor
  • A viking raider from Norway, leaving to the shores of England
  • Eivor is able to be male or female as the player prefers
The story is trying to show a full culture of people
  • The English are shown as terrified of Viking settlers and trying to show them in a bad light
  • At the time of the game 870 AD, England is not united, and is run by many kings
  • The game seems to be about Viking trying to settle on England
    • And fighting for the territory already held by the Saxons.
Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex
  • He is the main antagonist to the vikings in the game and history
There is a lot of viking tactics in the game
  • Longships are used to strike and retreat quickly
  • Some battles of soldier to soldier combat on fortifications
  • Raiding, where the objective is to steal resources rather than fight an enemy
Combat is quite a focus
  • You will be able to dual-wield any one handed weapons
    • Even dual-wield shields
  • And I feel there will be the ability to steal the weapons from the enemy
  • There is a face-off where Eivor is tossed around by a very large opponent
    • Heavily armored and seems to wield a claymore as a long sword
    • Avor wins with the “surprising” reveal of a hidden blade gauntlet
      • It is strapped to the top of his arm, rather then concealed below
      • It doesn’t mean Eivor is a born an raised assassin, but it is confirmed that they are working together
There will also be RPG elements
  • The usual skill trees and gear collecting to fit your playstyle
  • You will also be forming strategic alliances
  • Wins in combat and conversation both pave your path the greatness.
  • You get to grow and customize your settlement
    • recruit clan members
    • upgrade structures
    • make a barracks to get better recruits
    • have your blacksmith improve your weapons
    • new customization options at the tattoo parlor
    • and they promise more
  • Seems like in Blackflag, you will be able to send your recruits on missions for your friends
    • create and customize your own viking mercenaries
    • share them online
    • share in the spoils when they help your friends in their own sagas
    • all while recruiting your own player made mercenaries
  • There are also side quest activities
    • hunting
    • fishing
    • dice
    • drinking games
    • and the traditional Norse competition of flyting
      • basically Viking rap battles
Will be a launch title for Xbox Series X and PS5, and coming to current generation consoles this holiday season.

Tidbits

  • The Last of Us Part 2, originally slated for release back in February and then pushed to May 29th, has been delayed once more to June 19th of this year
    • This latest delay is due to the COVID situation, but has some really bad timing considering there was a massive story leak purporting to show the entire game just a few days ago. People wanting to avoid spoilers will need to be careful for the next couple months
  • Google has launched its second-gen Pixel Buds this week, bringing a couple of my favourite AirPods features to Android
    • They use a pairing process Google calls Fast Pair- you just hold the case near your phone and open it, then a screen pops up to automatically pair them and link them to your Google account
    • They’ve also brought the wireless earbuds into their Find My Device app, similar to Apple’s Find My app that lets you ring them and see the last location they were connected
  • The latest iOS beta software will now detect if you’re wearing a mask and skip from FaceID to the passcode prompt faster
    • You can also speed up the passcode prompt before this releases if you tap on the text saying “Face ID” on your screen while it tries to identify you
  • Huawei, for the fourth time, is taking heat for advertising campaigns that make it look like photos are being taken with their phones but in reality the photos are being taken with professional Nikon or Canon DSLR cameras and lenses
    • Their excuse is that they never actually say the photos are taken with the phones they’re advertising, but when you have you model hold their hand out toward the camera as if they were holding it you’re definitely setting some expectations on purpose

 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

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We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!

Pixel 4 is looking amazing

  • The front bezel is loaded with features
    • It is already moving away from the Pixel 3 notch, this seems to emulate the iPhone X design
  • And it contains
    • Front unlock IR camera
    • Front facing camera
      • The dual front facing cameras with one having a wide angle is missing from the Pixel 3
    • Ambient light/proximity sensor
    • Speaker
    • Soli Radar chip
    • Face unlock dot projector
    • Face unlock IR camera
    • Face unlock Flood Illuminator
  • Some of these, like the dot projector, are going to yield similar results to the iPhone X with face id
    • the addition of the radar chip makes gestures which do not contact the phone at all, possible
    • One piece of media Google has released has a person skipping songs by waving past the phone.
  • I have not seen anything on the outer facing cameras
    • But with Google’s history of photo quality in the last Pixel models, I’m sure it will have amazing results.
 
 
 

Japan successfully tests flying car which hovers steadily for a minute

  • Star Wars fans have cheerfully pointed out it looks a LAAT Gunship
  • Two brief demonstrations took place inside a giant cage and those watching were told to wear helmets as a precaution.
  • The Japanese government aims to have people using flying cars by the 2030s and has backed the construction of a huge test course in an area devastated by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disasters in Fukushima.
    • There are also hopes to use flying cars to connect islands in the Mie resort area, which is frequented by Hollywood celebrities.
    • Japan wants to become a world leader in the sector but could find itself competing with Dubai, which is also aggressively pursuing the technology.
  • There are still huge hurdles to overcome before flying cars can become common
    • battery life, the need for regulations and safety concerns.
  • Flying cars, often called EVtol
    • electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft
    • defined as aircraft which are electric, or hybrid electric, with driverless capabilities and the ability to take off and land vertically.
  • The new vehicles aim to be better than helicopters, which are expensive to maintain, noisy to fly and require trained pilots.
  • A flying car by Japanese startup Cartivator proved unsuccessful after it crashed during a demonstration in 2017
    • Company bosses say they have since developed their technology so their machines can last longer.
    • NEC is one of more than 80 companies sponsoring Cartivator’s flying car.
  • Officials say the machine is designed for unmanned flights for deliveries
    • but flying cars could also be used in disaster relief operations.
  • Uber is also launching its own version of the technology
    • Called Uber Air in the US and plans to start demonstrator flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023.
 
 

GTA online adds actual gambling

  • In an age where countries are banning lootboxes for being a form of gambling
    • Rockstar is adding an actual casino to their game
  • The Diamond Casino features
    • Roulette
    • Blackjack
    • Three card poker
    • Slot machines
    • There is also horse races, but you can’t watch the 3D horses race eachother
  • They also have the Lucky Wheel
    • Which is spun once a day for free
    • Offers in-game prizes of cash and even cars for your character
  • You can only gamble with the casinos tokens
    • Which are 1 to 1 for in-game cash to chips
    • Standard members can buy 20k a day
    • VIP can buy 50k a day
 
 
 

Games Workshop and Bandai team up

  • They are making a 7 inch Space Marine Primaris action figure
    • Prototypes shown so far are the classic, unpainted mini grey
      • But an industry insider claims they will be highly posable figures and pre-painted.
      • Similar to other licensed releases Bandai has done.
    • Have not seen sprues or packaging, so it is not clear if it is a model kit or not yet
 
 
 

Review Enter The Anime

  • Alex Burunova is tasked by Netflix to see what the essence of anime is
  • It covers a bunch of anime creators and shows
  • interesting behind the scenes looks
  • Unfortunately, it has too many edits with glitch effects and crazy angle changes that made it too busy
    • Seems like it was made for people who don’t like documentaries
 
 
 

Tid Bits

  • No Man’s Sky is getting another update! August 14th you’ll get your chance to ride some of the incredibly randomly generated creatures.
  • The Reon Pocket, is an air-conditioner that you wear. Retailing for about $170 CAD, it fits in a pocket on their special undershirt, these cost about $20 CAD. And its something I may need to survive future summers.
  • Blizzard launches the “Classic Connections 2004 to 2006” forum. For players of World of Warcraft back then to reconnect in anticipation of World Of Warcraft Classic coming out August 27th
  • Brawlhala, is having a WWE crossover event. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena, Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, and Xavier Woods have joined Brawlhalla as Epic Crossovers in a special SummerSlam themed in-game event starting August 8th.
 
 

Literally Misleading

GAME – With strength, speed and always moving up, four teams of thee must work to stop the mastermind behind their turmoil.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 
 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Zane, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
 
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
 
And talk to us in the comments!
 
 
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
 
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Microsoft

    • Gears of War 4

      • 2016
      • Third person sci-fi shooter where you can team up and take on the new threat in split screen co-op with some crazy weapons (explosive drills, chainsaw guns) that’s the first in the series not developed by Epic Games
    • Torchlight

      • 2009
      • A Diablo-esque action hack-and-slash RPG dungeon crawl that has you completing quests and exploring dungeons with your pet, which starts as either a wolf dog, a lynx, or a ferret, but can be transformed into other animals by feeding it
    • Forza Motorsport 6

      • 2015
      • Realistic racing sim that introduced new gameplay elements like rain and night racing, along with a new story mode called “Stories of Motorsport”
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

      • 2010
      • Third person action RPG that has you questing to resurrect your dead wife with your trusty retractable chain whip
  • Sony

    • Wipeout Omega Collection

      • 2017
      • Racing game where you pilot anti-gravity ships around futuristic racetracks
      • Includes high-def remasters of Wipeout 2048, Wipeout HD, and the HD Fury expansion. It’s also compatible with PSVR
    • Sniper Elite 4

      • 2017
      • Tactical stealth shooter game that has you exploring levels for the perfect vantage point to snipe your enemies
  • Epic

    • Alan Wake

      • 2012
      • Action-adventure game following best-selling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance while experiencing events from the plot of his latest novel, which he can’t remember writing, coming to life
    • For Honor Standard Edition

      • 2017
      • Ubisoft’s pseudo-historical strategy fighting game, where knights, vikings, samurai, and more recently the Chinese Wu Lin faction, all face off online and fight for supremacy
  • Twitch

    • Pumped BMX Pro

      • 2019
      • The latest installment in the high adrenaline fast-paced arcade BMX physics-based trickathon
    • Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

      • 2017
      • Platform action-adventure remake of the 1989 Master System title of the same name, with gameplay reverse engineered from the original Master System code and brand new graphics and music
    • Mable & The Wood

      • 2019 from the Kickstarter launched in 2016
      • You play as Mable, a shape-shifting girl who can take the form of the creatures that she kills.
      • The strange cult that resurrected you speak of an ancient prophecy that says you will hunt down the great beasts, take their shape, and use their powers to save this dying world.
      • But what if they’re wrong? The prophecy is old, and words lose their meaning with time…
    • Automachef

      • 2019
      • A resource management puzzler where you design kitchens and program machinery for a robotic fast food tycoon who believes he’s human
 

A former Amazon employee managed to hack Capital One’s network last week, stealing sensitive data for about 106M people

  • Capital One confirmed the intrustion, saying it hit about 100M people in the US and 6M in Canada
  • Info taken included names, incomes, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, and emails.
    • In the US, social security numbers for 140T people were also taken, as well as about 80T bank account numbers
    • For Canadians, social insurance numbers for about 1M people were obtained
    • No credit card numbers or login credentials were compromised
  • Apparently the data came from credit card applications filed from 2005 until early 2019
  • On the plus side bank officials have stated that it’s unlikely the stolen data was used or widely disseminated, but they’re clearly in damage control mode so take that with a grain of salt
 

A report from The Guardian last week talked about Siri privacy concerns from an Apple contractor

  • According to this employee, conractors working on Siri regularly hear confidential medical info, drug deals, intimate moments, and other private information when reviewing audio from accidental Siri activations
    • The whistelblower went on to say that the recordings are accompanied by user data showing location, contact info, and app data
  • In response, Apple released a statement saying that a small number of anonymized Siri requests are analyzed to improve the service, accounting for less than 1% of all activations
    • The audio is linked to a randomized identifier not associated with any of your personal info
      • According to Apple’s security white paper, user voice data is saved for a six month period using that random id
      • After that, a second copy may be saved with no identifier for up to two years
    • They also said that the audio is analyzed in secure facilities and all reviewers are under strict confidentiality requirements
  • One of my favourite bits from the story is them acknowledging that Apple says the data “is used to help Siri and dictation … understand you better and recognise what you say”, but then calls them out for not explicitly stating the work is done by a human
    • You kind of have to wonder how else we’d improve how a computer interprets someone talking, other than having a someone teach it
  • It seems like there’s a pretty big discrepancy between Apple’s policies and what the contractor are saying, but considering the unsubstantiated Bloomberg story from last year about weird hacking microchips hidden in servers and Apple’s track record when it comes to privacy I’m inclined to side with Apple on this one
  • Either way, if you’re concerned about privacy you can turn off the Hey Siri feature on your iDevices and choose to activate it manually if you need it
 

Tidbits

  • Great news for Call of Duty fans and fans of console openness in general: the new Modern Warfare will feature crossplay between PC, PS4, and XBone
  • Respawn will apparently reveal a AAA VR FPS at Oculus Connect in September
    • They’ve already confirmed it’s not a Titanfall or Star Wars game, but Respawn has been a solid developer so I’m interested to see what they release
 

Recommend A League Of Their Own

  • A comedy-drama that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created to keep the sport going during World War 2
  • Stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and a ton of other great actors
  • It was even selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 2012 for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant
  • And fun fact- all of the scrapes and bruises shown on the players are actual injuries sustained during the filming- except for a single scene, no stunt doubles were used. All the actresses actually played, hit, and slid

 

Literally Misleading

GAME – With strength, speed and always moving up, three teams must work to stop the mastermind behind thier turmoil.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

A huge thanks to Zane, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
 
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
 
And talk to us in the comments!
 
 
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
 
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Overview and History

Because everyone can’t play everything, Assassins Creed is an action-adventure franchise. It depicts a centuries-old struggle, now and then, between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The series features historical fiction, science fiction and characters, intertwined with real-world historical events and figures.
The Assassin’s Creed games primarily revolve around the rivalry between two ancient secret societies — the Assassins and the Knights Templar — and their indirect relation to an ancient species pre-dating humanity, referred to within the games as “those who came before”, whose society, along with much of Earth’s biosphere, was destroyed by a massive solar storm thousands of years before the games. The games’ real-world chronological setting begins in the year 2012, but most of the gameplay is in historical settings.
Gameplay is broken into two different styles of play. One is first person, playing in present time. Its played in first person and you can explore your environment. Interaction with the world is minimal. Mostly observing what happens around you, and collecting evidence. The other style is what the franchise has been loved for. It’s played in a third-person perspective in an open world environment, focusing on stealth and parkour. The games use a mission structure to follow the main story, generally assigning the player to complete an assassination of public figureheads or a covert mission. Alternatively, several side missions are available, such as mapping out the expansive cities from a high perch followed by performing a “leap of faith” into a haystack below, collecting treasures hidden across the cities, exploring ruins for relics, building a brotherhood of assassins to perform other tasks, or funding the rebuilding of a city through purchasing and upgrading of shops and other features.

Assassin’s Creed – 2007

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

After completing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time near the end of 2003, Patrice Désilets (Dee-Zee-Lay) was instructed to begin work on the next Prince of Persia game, with plans for it to release on the seventh-generation consoles. However, at that time, neither Microsoft nor Sony had revealed what their next consoles would be. The initial development of the game from January 2004 was aimed as a PlayStation 2 title, following the same linear approach that The Sands of Time had taken. However, as more information came in about the capabilities of the next-generation consoles by September 2004, Désilets’ team considered expanding the Prince of Persia acrobatic gameplay into an open world which would be feasible on the newer systems.
Désilets wanted to move away from the lead character being a prince simply waiting for his reign to start, but a character that wanted to strive to be a king. He came upon one of his university books related to secret societies, and its first material related to the Assassins, and recognized that he could have the lead character in the game being the second-highest Assassin, seeking to be the leader of the group. As such, the game began work under the title Prince of Persia: Assassin, inspired by the life of Hassan-i Sabbah and making heavy use of Bartol’s novel Alamut. The assassin character was fleshed out over the course of the game’s three-year development in an iterative fashion. The team had some idea of how the character dressed from Alamut and other historical works, in all white-robes and red belt, but had to envision how to detail this in the game. One of the first concept sketches, drawn by animator Khai Nguyen suggested the concept of a bird of prey, which resonated with the team. The assassin was named Altair, meaning “bird of prey” in Arabic, and eagle imagery was used heavily in connection to the Assassins. The team did take some creative routes to meet narrative goals and avoid technical limitations of the consoles. Altair was to be a heroic character with a bit of a “badass” edge, and the artist borrowed elements of the G.I. Joe character Storm Shadow, a similarly-skilled hero. Rendering long flowing robes was impossible to do on the newer hardware, so they shorted the robe and gave it a more feathered look, resonating the “bird of prey” imagery. Similar routes were taken with other parts of the gameplay as to take liberties with accuracy as to make the game fun to play. The team wanted Altair’s parkour moves to look believable, but sacrificed realism for gameplay value, allowing the player to make maneuvers otherwise seemingly impossible in real-life. Having “leaps of faith”s from high vantage points into hay piles and using hay piles to hide from guards was a similar concept which borrowed from Hollywood films, but Désilets observed that Alamut described similar actions that the Assassins had undertaken.
To drive the story, the team had to come up with some goal that both the Assassins and Templars were searching for. Philippe Morin had suggested using the apple of Eden, which the team initially thought to be a humorous aspect for everyone fighting over an apple. However, as they researched into the game more, the team found that many medieval paintings of royalty and other leaders holding spherical objects similar to globus cruciger that represented power and control, and recognized that an artifact named the Apple of Eden would fit well into this concept.
Among this work was the idea of the Animus, which came about after the team’s decision to focus on the Assassins. The team considered that the player would travel through several different cities, and potentially recount numerous assassinations over the past thousand years, including some fantastical ones such as John F. Kennedy which would require some element of time traveling. Désilets had seen a program on DNA and human history and was inspired by the idea if DNA could store human memories, then they could have an in-game machine that could be used for time and location jumps as well as explaining other aspects of the game’s user interface to the player. Désilets considered this similar to what they had established in The Sands of Time. There, the game effectively is a story told by the Prince, and while in the game, should the player-character die, this is treated as a mistelling of the Prince’s story, allowing the player to back up and retry a segment of the game. Ubisoft’s marketing was not keen on the Animus idea, believing players would be confused and be disappointed that the game was not a true medieval experience. The game’s first trailer show at Electronic Entertainment Expo(E3) 2006 focused heavily on the medieval elements due to this. Later marketing materials closer to the game’s release hinted more directly at the science fiction elements of the game.
In contrast to Prince of Persia, where the general path that the player takes through a level is predefined, the open world approach of this game required them to create cities that felt realistic and accurate to historical information but which the player had full freedom to climb and explore. Outside of special buildings, they crafted their cities like Lego bricks, with a second pass to smooth out the shapes of the cities to help with pathfinding and other facets of the enemy artificial intelligence. To encourage the player to explore, they included the various towers that help to reveal parts of the map. Historical, these cities had such landmark towers and inspired by those, the developers incorporated them into the map, making these points of interest and challenges for players to drive them to climb them. Another factor was guiding the player and devising missions for the player that still gave the player freedom for how to approach it but still creating specific moments they wanted the player to experience. For these cases, they used simple animations developed in Adobe Flash to lay out the fundamentals of what actions they wanted, and then crafted levels and missions around those.
As they started to recognize the need for cities in this open world game, Désilets wanted to make sure they were also able to simulate large crowds, as this had been a limiting factor due to hardware limitations during the development of The Sands of Time; with the PlayStation 2hardware, they could only support having up to eight characters on screen for The Sands of Time, but the next-generation hardware was able to support up to 120 people. Having crowds in the game also led to the concept of “social stealth”, where the main character could mask themselves in the open, in addition to staying out of sight on rooftops.
Around late 2005 to early 2006, following nearly two years of development, the concept for Prince of Persia: Assassin had the game’s titular prince was AI-controlled, watched over by the player-controlled Assassin that served as the Prince’s bodyguard and rescued the Prince from various situations. Ubisoft’s management and the development had debates on this direction; Ubisoft’s management wanted another game in the Prince of Persia franchise, and was not keen on releasing a game with that name where the Prince was not the lead character. The development team counters that with a new generation of consoles, they could potentially make it a new intellectual property. Near the 2006 Game Developers Conference, Ubisoft’s marketing team came up with the idea of naming the game Assassin’s Creed, which Désilets recognized fit in perfectly with the themes they had been working on, including tying into the creed of the Assassins, “nothing is true; everything is permitted”. The prince character was dropped and the game focused solely on the assassin as the playable character.
Following the E3 2006 presentation and the name change to Assassin’s Creed, the Ubisoft Montreal team grew to support the last year of the game’s development. Added team members included those that had just finished up production on Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, as well as former staff that had recently been let go from Gameloft, another publisher owned by Ubisoft’s co-founder Michel Guillemot.
During Microsoft’s E3 2007 press conference, a demo was shown taking place in Jerusalem. Features that were demonstrated included improved crowd mechanics, the system of chasing a fleeing target, as well as deeper aspects of parkour. This was the first time when Altaïr could be heard speaking. A later showcase had a video showing an extended version of the E3 demo and included Altaïr trying to escape after his assassination of Talal the Slave Trader.
The game was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November, 2007. A pirated version of the game has been in existence since late February 2008. According to Ubisoft, a computer bug was purposely inserted into the pre-release version of the game by the publisher itself to unpredictably crash the game and prevent completion as a security measure, though players were able to use extra content available on the Internet to bypass it. The presence of the bug and performance of the pirated version of the game was believed by Ubisoft to lead to “irreparable harm” for the game and resulted in low retail sales; NPD Group reports that 40,000 copies of the PC title were sold in the United States in July, while more than 700,000 copies were illegally downloaded according to Ubisoft.
Game Informer awarded Assassin’s Creed a 9.5 out of 10, praising the control scheme, replay value, and intriguing story, but expressing frustration over the “repetitive” information gathering missions. Metacritic has an aggregate score for the PS3 and 360 versions at 81%, and 79% for the PC release. Assassin’s Creed won several awards at E3 2006. Game Critics awarded it “Best Action/Adventure Game,”: from IGN, “Best Action Game,” “PS3 Game of the Show,” “Best PS3 Action Game,” “Best PS3 Graphics”; from GameSpot and GameSpy, “Best PS3 Game of the Show”; from GameTrailers “Best of Show,” and from 1UP.com, “Best PS3 game.”

Assassin’s Creed II – 2009

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot officially confirmed that Assassin’s Creed II was in development in late November, 2008, during the company’s financial performance report. This was followed by Michael Pachter speculating in GameTrailers’ “Bonus Round” that game would change its setting to the events of the French Revolution, which turned out to be false.
The framing story is set in the 21st century and follows Desmond Miles as he relives the genetic memories of his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The main narrative takes place at the height of the Renaissance in Italy during the 15th and early 16th century. Players can explore Florence, Venice, Tuscany and Forlì as they guide Ezio on a quest for vengeance against those responsible for betraying his family.
In the game, the Auditore family’s countryside villa, located in Monteriggioni, acts as Ezio’s headquarters: the surrounding property can be upgraded, drawing income for the player’s use. There are several outlets for using currency, with vendors selling items such as medicine, poison, weapons, repairs, upgrades, paintings, and clothing dyes. When these shops are renovated, Ezio receives discounts at the shops on the goods they sell. Purchasing weaponry, armor sets, and artwork also contribute to increasing the villa’s overall worth, in turn generating more income for Monteriggioni.
The PC version of the game utilizes Ubisoft’s Uplay platform, which includes a digital rights management (DRM) system that initially required all users to remain connected to the Internet while playing. In the initial retail version, any progress made subsequent to the last checkpoint was lost if the Internet connection was severed. Ubisoft stated that if the disconnection was temporary, the game would pause. In addition, the company argued that there were numerous checkpoints spread throughout Assassin’s Creed II.
Review aggregator site Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version a score of 91 and the Xbox 360 version a 90. The PC version suffered a hit, but still a respectable 86%. At the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards, Assassin’s Creed II was named Best Action Adventure Game, and IGN named it as the Action Game of the Year for Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Game of the Year.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood – 2010

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

The story is set in the 21st century and features series protagonist Desmond Miles who, with the aid of a machine known as the Animus, relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. The main story takes place immediately after the plot of Assassin’s Creed II, featuring Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze in 16th century Italy and his quest to restore the Assassin order, and destroy his enemies: the Borgia family.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Montreal also worked on both of the other main Assassin’s Creed games in the series and was thus chosen to lead production for the third installment. A new Assassin’s Creed episode featuring multiplayer was announced during Ubisoft’s 2009 fiscal third-quarter results while not revealing its name. In early May 2010, a GameStop employee published on the internet some images of a pre-order box featuring the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood title while Ubisoft was teasing the game on Facebook and Twitter. Ubisoft then confirmed the authenticity of these pictures. Brotherhood has not been numbered like Assassin’s Creed II because players, and even developers themselves would have expected a new setting and a new ancestor while this is only the continuation of Ezio’s story.
The game was developed primarily by Ubisoft Montreal in Canada. Production was aided in part by four other Ubisoft developers: Annecy, Singapore, Bucharest and Québec City. The multiplayer mode is mainly developed by Ubisoft Annecy, the studio responsible for creating multiplayer mode in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Ubisoft also announced plans for downloadable content (DLC) after the game’s launch. Two sets of free DLC have already been released under the names “Animus Project Update 1.0” and “Animus Project Update 2.0”. The first includes the new map Mont Saint-Michel and one new mode, Advanced Alliance. The “Animus Project Update 2.0” was released in January 2011, was also free, and included another map, mode and the introduction of a player grading system. From the perspective of performance, Ubisoft have commented that they hope the gaps between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions will be even smaller with Brotherhood.
While still in development, creative director Patrice Désilets left before the game’s presentation at the E3 2010. Ubisoft and production manager Jean-Francois Boivin stated that he only took a “creative break” after completing his task on Brotherhood. A teaser trailer of the multiplayer mode was released on the official site before the E3. A cinematic debut trailer was diffused during Ubisoft’s E3 2010 press conference along a walkthrough of the game’s beginning. The Microsoft Windows version has Nvidia 3D Vision and multi screen support through AMD Eyefinity. It also uses Tagès copy protection, as well as Ubisoft online services platform, but doesn’t require an always-on Internet connection to play. Late November, 2010, a novelization of the game was published. The novel is a sequel to the previous novel.
The game introduces a new management system: the player can recruit new members by destroying any of twelve “Borgia towers” around Rome where papal troops are stationed and then rescuing disgruntled citizens in their districts from being harassed by guards. The player, as Ezio, can then send them to assignments around Europe or call them for support during missions (if they are not already occupied). Tasking the novice Assassins makes them gain experience, and the player is able to customize their appearance, skills, and weapon training to some degree by spending the skill points they have earned. Assassins can die on missions, from which they will not return. Ezio masters new gadgets, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s parachute, which can be used when jumping from tall buildings, along with poison darts, a faster acting poison, a crossbow, and the ability to hold and throw heavier weapons like axes.
Horses play a larger role in Brotherhood, not only used as a means of transport (inside the city for the first time) but as a component of acrobatic sequences and advanced combat as well, allowing ranged weapons to be used while riding them. Brotherhood also introduces various types of horse-related assassinations, featuring horse-to-horse assassinations. There are environmental objects like the flower pot in Assassin’s Creed II to move faster inside the city (a system of tunnels around the city allow fast travel), as well as new objects such as merchandise lifts to quickly climb up high buildings or structures.
Unlike previous installments, Desmond can leave the Animus at almost any time. This allows Desmond to explore the present-day town of Monteriggioni. The player is also offered virtual training, a mini-game where the player may test their free-running or combat skills.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the first game in the main series to feature a multiplayer mode. The players are Templars in training at the Abstergo facility. They use the animi (plural for animus) seen at the beginning of Assassin’s Creed II to access memories of old Templars and to acquire their skills using the “bleeding effect”. There are eight game modes (Wanted, Alliance, Manhunt, Chest Capture, Advanced Wanted, Advanced Alliance, Escort and Assassinate) and different maps, including the areas from the second and the third game like Florence, as well as new maps like Rome, Castel Gandolfo, Siena and Mont Saint-Michel. The gameplay in multiplayer mode is similar to the core gameplay of the series, as players are required to use their assassination and stealth skills. The players must hunt down targets while being hunted themselves. Players earn points by performing assassinations, defending against pursuers, attaining bonuses or completing mode-specific objectives. It also contains a variety of characters, most of which must be unlocked.
Brotherhood was received very well by critics, Metacritic ratings are 88% for PC, 89% for 360 and 90% for PS3.
It won best Action Adventure game in the Spike TV Video Game Awards 2010 The game has also been nominated for 7 British Academy Video Games Awards in 2011, including Best Game. It won an award in the Action category, losing to Mass Effect 2 in the category for Best Game.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations – 2011

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

This story is again set in the 21st century and features the series protagonist Desmond Miles who, with the aid of a machine known as the Animus, relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. Revelations features two other returning protagonists: Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad in 12th and 13th century Masyaf, and Ezio Auditore da Firenze in 16th century Constantinople. The main story follows the Assassin Ezio’s journey to unlock the secret of Altaïr’s vault in Masyaf using disc-like artifacts containing Altaïr’s memories.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was initially conceived as a Nintendo 3DS game called Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy about Ezio traveling east to the Assassins’ former city of Masyaf, where he would have discovered the origins of the Assassin Order. It was first announced during Nintendo’s E3 2010 press conference. It was quietly cancelled and its main concept was developed into Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
In November 2010, Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot teased “something Assassin’s related” in 2011, despite an earlier statement by Ubisoft Montreal’s Jean-Francois Boivin that no Assassin’s Creed game will be released in 2011. Geoffroy Sardin of Ubisoft later confirmed that there will be a “big” Assassin’s Creed game in 2011. Guillemot also explained that ultimate goal for Ubisoft is to release new games in the franchise annually along with Ubisoft’s most popular other franchises. In February 2011, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed that the next Assassin’s Creed game would be released during its next fiscal year, which starts on April 1, 2011, and ends on March 31, 2012.
On April 29, 2011 the game’s name was released on the official Assassin’s Creed Facebook page, with a link which led to a flash file. The teaser clip included the words, “Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad, Son of no one” in Arabic which hints that Altaïr, the main protagonist of the first game, may once again be the main protagonist of the game. A third teaser clip for the game showed the city of Constantinople, which hints at it being the setting for the game. In the E3 rumor section of its April 2011 issue, Xbox World 360 said Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is not Assassin’s Creed III, but suggests that game is also secretly in the works. Revelations was likely to be “another slimline Brotherhood-style offering”, Xbox World 360 stated. On May 5, Game Informer released details of the game, and the game was “officially” announced by Ubisoft at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011.
The game was developed primarily by Ubisoft Montreal in Canada. Production was aided in part by five other Ubisoft developers: Annecy, Massive, Quebec, Singapore, and Bucharest. Lead writer Darby McDevitt said that Revelations would not answer all the burning questions clouding the series, stating “Well, we won’t answer everything because Desmond’s story continues. But fans will definitely know most of the important details of Ezio and Altair’s lives, and how they fit into the grand scheme.” McDevitt also stated that 85 percent of Assassin’s Creed’s overarching plot is already “mapped out”. McDevitt claimed original Creed protagonist Altaïr had his story arc written for two years, and that Ezio’s ultimate fate was planned during the development of Brotherhood.
Voice of Desmond Miles, Nolan North, urged Ubisoft to adopt motion capture methods similar to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted. Speaking in an interview, North admitted there is a “disconnect” in the Ubisoft game’s current setup, which has voice actors provide voice facial animation separately from body motion capture, which is recorded by different actors. “I wish it wasn’t done separately,” North said. “Don’t get me wrong, the mo-cap actors do a great job, but there will always be somewhat of a disconnect when it’s done this way. After my experiences on the Uncharted franchise, where the actors do both performance and voice, I can honestly say there is absolutely a difference.”
The PC version of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations does not force players to always be online to work like its predecessors, despite Ubisoft’s recent claims that its policy is a success, insisting it has seen “a clear reduction in piracy of our titles which required a persistent online connection”. Even then, the always-online DRM was permanently removed from all single-player games. It does, however, require a one-time-only online activation the very first time the player plays the game, which will permanently bind the activation code to the player’s account, and thus, it does not need to be activated again on the same account if the game is reinstalled for some reason. This also applies to reinstalling on another computer. Following that, the player can permanently play the game in offline mode.
Metacritic scores are straight across the board a good game, PC, 360 and PS3 are all 80%. 1UP gave the game a rating of B+, stating “While Revelations lacks that one supreme improvement or standout mechanic that defined AC2 and Brotherhood each, it’s still a damn fine sendoff for Altair and Ezio.”

Assassin’s Creed III – 2012

PS3, Xbox 360, Windows

The story of Desmond using the Animus reliving his ancestors memories to try and advert the 2012 apocalypse. The flip side of the story is set in the 18th century, before, during and after the American Revolution from 1754 to 1783, and follows Desmond’s half-English, half-Mohawk ancestor, Ratonhnhaké:ton (Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon), also known as Connor, as he fights the Templars’ attempts to gain control in the colonies.
Work on Assassin’s Creed III began in January 2010 (almost immediately after the release of Assassin’s Creed II) by a senior team of Ubisoft developers. The title was in development for two and a half years and had the longest development cycle since the first Assassin’s Creed. When Ubisoft first revealed Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in 2010, as new details came to light, there was some confusion within the gaming community as to whether this would be Assassin’s Creed III. According to the developers, Brotherhood was not Assassin’s Creed III, and the third installment would not star a “pre-existing character.” Ubisoft Montreal’s developers stated in their interviews that Assassin’s Creed III would be released eventually.
Jean-François Boivin of Ubisoft also stated that each numbered title in the series will introduce a new lead character and a new setting. Patrice Désilets, former series’ creative director, said that the series has always been planned as a trilogy. He also commented on the story of Assassin’s Creed III, saying that it would focus on Assassins’ quest to prevent the end of the world in 2012, and their race against time to find temples and Apples of Eden built by “Those Who Came Before”. Desmond would be searching for clues as to the locations of these temples, by exploring memories of one (or more) of his other ancestors.
Ubisoft said that when Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption released midway through Assassin’s Creed III’s development, it was surprising to see Rockstar had included wild animal hunting and a giant frontier to explore—features both planned for its own sequel. Lead writer Corey May said Ubisoft’s now looking at Red Dead’s success and trying to take the formula in “new directions”. Similarities between these two games are down to “a convergence of minds”, said Assassin’s Creed III writer Matt Turner. Creative Director Alex Hutchinson said Ubisoft steered clear of making the Assassin’s Creed III protagonist a female character because the game’s setting is not a strong match. Hutchinson said while many people wanted to see female assassins in the series, the American Revolution setting makes it difficult this time around.
Assassin’s Creed III features new weather simulations such as snow, fog, and rain. The seasons can also change i.e., Summer and Winter, which not only affect visuals but also gameplay, as the player will find that they run slower in deep snow. Snowfall can reduce visibility for the player and enemies, aiding stealth. Unlike the past games, this one includes animals varying from domestic (horses, cows, dogs) to wild (deer, wolves, bears). The wild ones are found in the Frontier and can be hunted for meat or marrow in order to be sold. The quality of the kill determines the price, encouraging the player to hunt silently. For this, traps and bait can also be used.
The economy is now based on the Davenport Homestead, which also acts as Connor’s adoptive home. The site can be visited by people such as carpenters, tailors, etc. suffering from displacement due to the war. Helping and interacting with these non-player characters(NPCs) will encourage them to settle in the Homestead. From there on, the player can craft various items and trade with them, and then sell the goods to the cities via caravan. The player can also help them build relationships with each other, which will then result in the formation of a small village. The player can also upgrade the Homestead manor as well as Connor’s ship, the Aquila.
A revamped version of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s recruitment feature returns as players can enlist citizens to the Assassins’ cause by completing “Liberation” missions. They also have a much larger skill set, which allows them to start a riot, provide a covert escort, act as a personal bodyguard, etc. Other side missions include collecting Almanac pages, exploring underground tunnels to locate fast-travel stations, joining hunting and fighting clubs, investigating frontiersman rumors about UFOs and Sasquatch, “peg-leg” missions in which Connor goes to underground forts and wastelands to uncover the legend of Captain Kidd’s treasure, and others.
Assassin’s Creed III also features naval expeditions. Using Connor’s warship, the Aquila, the player can navigate the high seas. Control of the ship relies on environmental factors such as wind direction and speed, local presence of storms, high waves, and rocks. Engagements are by cannon, with broadsides covering both flanks of the ship, swivel guns that can be used to damage smaller ships which can also be boarded to find treasure, and chain shots from the broadsides as well to take down the masts of larger ships and disable them. The Aquilais used in the side missions known as “Privateer missions” and is also used in some of the main missions.
The Wii U version of the game has extra features. The player has the ability to change weapons on the go and the map is always visible on the Wii U Gamepad. The Wii U version also supports Off TV Play. With this feature enabled, the main screen is redirected to the Wii U Gamepad.
Ubisoft recommends the PC version of the game to be played with a controller even though it will still support keyboard and mouse setup. Ubisoft Montreal’s creative director Alex Hutchinson admitted: “We’re definitely supporting PC, we love PC, but I think it’ll be PC with a controller. I don’t see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup. I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin’s Creed, you have a controller.”
Assassin’s Creed III received positive reviews, with critics praising the visuals, narrative, combat style, hunting mechanics, naval missions and Homestead system, while complaining about the game’s glitches and some of the missions’ prescriptive layouts. Metacritic has the PC release at 80%, 360 at 84% and PS3 and WiiU releases at 85%.
The 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards, the game won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation and was nominated for Adventure Game of the Year, and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design. Losing those two categories to The Walking Dead by Telltale Games, and Journey by thatgamecompany, respectively.

Assassin’s Creed IV – 2013

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Windows

This game continues the struggle of the Assassins and Templars. The framing story is set in the 21st century and describes the player as an Abstergo agent. The main story is set in the 18th century Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy, and follows notorious Welsh pirate Edward Kenway, grandfather and father of Assassin’s Creed III protagonist Ratonhnhaké:ton and antagonist Haytham Kenway, respectively, who stumbles upon the Assassin/Templar conflict. The attempted establishment of a Republic of Pirates utopia (free from either British or Spanish rule) is a significant plot element.
I missed this title when it came out, Alan had to tell me how great it was, when he played it on the WiiU. It was given away for Xbox Games With Gold, and it was a fantastic experience. I loved how much I was able to complete, but pretty frustrated that achievements were on both single player and multiplayer, so I couldn’t get them all.
The game features three main cities; Havana, Kingston, and Nassau, which reside under Spanish, British, and pirate influence, respectively. In addition, locations like Port-au-Prince and smaller locations like Greater Inagua are used as main story points. It also features 50 other individual locations to explore, including atolls, sea forts, Mayan ruins, sugar plantations, and underwater shipwrecks, with a 60/40 balance between land and naval exploration. It has a more open world feel, with missions similar to those found in Assassin’s Creed, as well as fewer restrictions for the player. The world opens up sooner in the game, as opposed to Assassin’s Creed III, which had very scripted missions and did not give players freedom to explore until the game was well into its first act. The player will encounter jungles, forts, ruins, and small villages and the world is built to allow players much more freedom, such as allowing players to engage, board, and capture passing ships and swimming to nearby beaches in a seamless fashion. In addition, the hunting system has been retained from Assassin’s Creed III, allowing the player to hunt on land, and fish in the water, with resources gathered used to upgrade equipment.
A new aspect in the game is the Jackdaw, the ship that the player captains. The Jackdaw is upgradeable throughout the game, and is easily accessible to the player when needed. In addition, a new underwater component has been added. The player has access to a spyglass, allowing the examination of distant ships, along with their cargo and strength. It can also help determine if an island still has animals to hunt, treasures to find, high points to reach for synchronization or additional side-quests to complete, such as assassinations and naval contracts. An updated form of the recruit system introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has returned, allowing Edward to recruit crew members. While Kenway’s crew will remain loyal to him, they can be promoted to captain acquired ships, and are needed to assist in boarding enemy vessels, they cannot assist in combat or perform long-range assassinations, as in previous games. Ubisoft removed this aspect of the brotherhood system, believing it allowed players to bypass tense and challenging scenarios too easily.
In the present day, at the offices of Abstergo Entertainment—a subsidiary of Abstergo Industries—in Montreal, Quebec, players engage in modern-day pirating through the exploration of Abstergo’s offices, eavesdropping, and hacking, all without combat. As well, various “hacking” games, similar to previous cluster and glyph puzzles, are present, that uncover secrets about Abstergo.
Multiplayer also returns, with new settings and game modes, though it is only land-based.
In early February 2013, during its quarterly financial call to investors, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed that the next Assassin’s Creedgame, due for release some time before April 2014, would feature a new hero, time period, and development team. Development began in mid-2011 at Ubisoft Montreal by a separate team from the one on Assassin’s Creed III, with additional work done by Ubisoft studios in Annecy, Bucharest, Kyiv, Milan, Montpellier, Singapore and Sofia.
Lead content manager Carsten Myhill stressed away from the sentiment that the sequel should have been a spin-off in the same vein as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, given the ostensible similarities with Assassin’s Creed III. He stated “The whole feeling of the game is completely fresh and new. It will feel very different from Assassin’s Creed III. I think it completely warrants the Assassin’s Creed IV moniker, not only with the new name and setting but the attitude and the tone of the experience.” Assassin’s Creed IV is the first main series numbered title to carry a subtitle, a decision which Myhill says was made to clearly distinguish the pirate theme from the rest of the franchise.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag received “generally favorable” reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic, with critics praising the open world gameplay, side-quests, graphics and naval combat. Aggregate scores for PS4 at 83%, PC with 84%, WiiU and 360 at 86%, and 88% for the PS3 release.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue – 2014

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows

This game still follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The story is set in the mid-18th century during the Seven Years’ War, and follows Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin-turned-Templar who hunts down former members of his Brotherhood after being betrayed by them. Gameplay in Rogue is very similar to that of Black Flag with a mixture of ship-based naval exploration and third-person land-based exploration with some new features.
Naval aspects from previous games return with the player controlling Shay’s ship, the Morrígan. The Morrígan has a shallower draft compared to Edward Kenway’s Jackdaw from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing for river travel. New features include new ship-based weapons such as releasing an oil slick which can then be ignited, Puckle guns, and the ability for enemies to board the Morrígan during ship-to-ship combat. The arctic environment also adds features to naval gameplay and exploration, as certain icebergs can be rammed with an icebreaker. However, the underwater diving missions featured in Black Flag do not exist as swimming in the North Atlantic causes the player’s health to rapidly deplete due to the frigid water, though Shay is able to swim in the waters of the ‘river valley’ area.
For combat, the game introduces an air rifle, similar to the blowpipe from the Black Flag which allows the player to silently take out enemies at a distance. The air rifle can be outfitted with a variety of different projectiles, such as firecrackers. The player can also use it as a grenade launcher, which fires off shrapnel grenades and other loads. Hand-to-hand combat has been slightly altered, and now enemy attacks can be countered with timing, similar to the Batman: Arkham series of games. Enemy Assassins feature archetypes similar to previous games, using skills that players have been using throughout the series; they can hide in bushes, blend in with crowds, and perform air assassinations against the player. Poison gas can now be used as an environmental weapon, and Shay has a mask that can mitigate its effects.
Side missions and activities return, with a number of them based on those of the previous games. Reflecting Shay’s role as a Templar, the game introduces a new side mission: Assassin Interception. These mirror the Assassination side missions in previous games, in that Shay, after intercepting a messenger pigeon carrying an assassination contract, must prevent an innocent being assassinated by finding and killing Assassins hidden nearby.
By March 2014, an Assassin’s Creed game code-named “Comet” was revealed to be in development, set for release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. By the end of the month, additional reports indicated that “Comet” would be set around 1758 in New York, as well as feature sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. The game would be a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and would feature a Templar named Shay as the main protagonist. Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed III and Adéwalé from Black Flag would also make appearances.
The game was officially announced on August 5, 2014, following a leak of the title. Game director Martin Capel described the game as finishing the series’ “North American saga” and that the game was designed to accommodate specific fan requests, such as taking on the role of a Templar. The game is intended to “fill the gaps” of the story between Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flagand has “a crucial link” to the events of the previous games. In addition to Ubisoft Sofia’s work on the game, contributions are also being made by Ubisoft studios in Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, Chengdu, Milan and Bucharest. Ubisoft also stated that the game was being envisioned without multiplayer components “at this stage”, but did not rule out any modes being added after the game launched. March 2018, a remaster of the game was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The game got average to positive reviews. Daniel Krupa from IGN gave the game a 6.8/10. He praised the engaging story, the nuanced lead character, atmospheric scenery, but criticized the lack of Templar abilities included, bland encounters with other main characters, uninspired side quests, empty world, as well as the frustrating combat and traversal system, which he stated has shown no improvements. He also criticized the game for not encouraging the player to explore the world.
Metacritic’s aggregate scores have the PS4 and Xbox One remasters at 71%. The PS3 and 360 releases at 72% and up to 74% for the PC.

Assassin’s Creed Unity – 2014

PS4, Xbox One, Windows

The struggle between Assassins and Templars continue. The other side of the story is set in Paris during the French Revolution; the single-player story follows Arno Victor Dorian in his efforts to expose the true powers behind the Revolution. The game retains the series’ third-person open world exploration as well as introducing a revamped combat, parkour and stealth system. The game also introduces cooperative multiplayer to the Assassin’s Creed series, letting up to four players engage in narrative-driven missions and explore the open world map.
The game was meant to be rebuilt, with fencing being used as an inspiration for the new system. In addition to returning weapons from previous games, Assassin’s Creed Unity introduces the Phantom Blade. The Phantom Blade uses the mechanics of a crossbow to fire a silent projectile at a great distance, while still serving the same role as the Hidden Blade in previous Assassin’s Creed games. Navigation for the game was also overhauled: new “Free-run up” and “Free-run down” commands were added to make it easier for the player to scale buildings in either direction. Additionally, Arno learns new moves throughout the game, but the player can also purchase new skills as well. With the updated, larger crowds, new interactions with them are also available. The crowd regularly presents many activities, appearing organically, that the player can then choose to engage in at their leisure. Examples include scaring a group of bullies by pulling out a weapon, “settling” a disagreement between two civilians by killing one of them, which is usually a Templar, or chasing down a thief who has just pick pocketed somebody.
For the first time, the series allows players to customize the characters’ abilities, adopting a skill tree that enables players to assign points earned through gameplay to improve their skills in stealth, melee, and ranged combat, and health. Players are also able to customise their weapons, armour and equipment to further complement their individual style of play. Players also have a wider selection of weapons available, including swords, axes, spears, rifles, pistols and throwable items, such as smoke bombs. The expansion DLC, Assassin’s Creed Dead Kings, adds the formidable guillotine gun, which from gameplay I saw on YouTube, is a grenade launcher with an axe head for close combat fighting.
Assassin’s Creed Unity also introduces cooperative multiplayer to the series. Players can enter taverns, which act as social hubs in the game, where you can see if any friends are playing the game at the current time. If they are currently in a mission, they will appear as a “ghost” version of their player, allowing you to approach it to request to join their mission. If accepted, you are transitioned to their game and both of you reset to the most recent checkpoint, and continue on from there. Up to four players can join together in this fashion. The player will take on the role of Arno, customized within their own game, with other players appearing as their own customized version of Arno in their own sets of equipment, weapons, and armor. Many missions and activities will be available for cooperative play (which the player can also complete on their own), but there are some story missions that are single player only.
There are significant tie-ins with the Assassins Creed Unity Companion App, a “freemium” click app with limited “direct ties to the overall story of Unity”. There are a significant number of chests, assassination targets, and other collectibles that are visible to all players but only accessible to those who have completed certain goals within the app. Following an update in February 2015, this requirement is no longer necessary, meaning players who have downloaded the update, can now collect all the chests in the game without having to play the companion app.
Chris Carter from Destructoid gave the game 7/10, praising the new movement system, likable lead characters, iconic setting, smooth animation and improved draw distance. New additions such as character customization and huge crowds were also praised. However, he criticized the predictable story, technical issues, and the mission design of co-op multiplayer, as it is impossible to play some missions solo. He stated that “Unity feels like a step back. … It lacks that grand sense of roaming the uncharted seas in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, or even the open-ended feel of the wilderness in Assassin’s Creed III, but it’s a journey worth taking if you’re already into the series.”
The Metacritic aggregate scores are 70% for the PC and PS4, and 72% on the Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – 2015

PS4, Xbox One, Windows

The modern setting is still Assassins against the Templars. The other story is set in Victorian era London and follows twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye as they navigate the corridors of organized crime, and take back the city from Templar control. The open world design lets players freely roam London.
Composed of the greater area of Victorian London, consisting of seven boroughs, the world of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is much larger than previous entries in the series. The player can also perform side missions, which were designed to reflect the fight for power in London, and are cohesive to the game’s main story. In keeping with a historical context that more closely resembles the modern day, the city guard of previous iterations is replaced by a Victorian-era police force, who will rarely attack the player unless a crime is committed in their presence; the player’s main enemy is instead a Templar-controlled street gang called the “Blighters.”
The game lets the player control two characters: twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Jacob is a hot-headed brawler, specializing in close-ranged combat, while Evie is strong in stealth and relies on her intelligence and wit. Additionally, Evie is the first playable female protagonist of the main series. The main weapons of Syndicate include brass knuckles, a compact revolver, a cane-sword, and the traditional Nepalese curved kukri knife. The game also introduces new systems to navigate the world: a rope launcher, which allows the player to rappel up structures, or create a zip-line between buildings; carriages, which can be piloted or simply occupied by the player, and can be the setting of fights and parkour chases; and a train, which serves as the main base for the player throughout the game. Unlike its predecessor, the game has no multiplayer mode, and does not feature a companion app.
I have not covered the details of all the DLC content that adds on to the games, but this one has an extra story that I find really interesting:
“In 1888, Jacob Frye meets Mr. Weaversbrook and warns him not to publish Jack’s letters as he wants to spread fear in London. He then receives word of another murder and goes to investigate. Jacob goes after the Ripper, who begins following him before eventually attacking. As the Ripper pursues Jacob, it is revealed that he knows Jacob personally, and possesses Assassin abilities. After escaping, Jacob reaches his lodgings, but the Ripper arrives and attacks again, with Jacob seemingly being killed.
Following the incident, Jacob’s sister Evie arrives from India, having been summoned by Jacob some time before, where she is greeted by police inspector Frederick Abberline, who informs her that Jacob is missing and presumed dead. He also tells her that she may be the last Assassin remaining in London, and the only one capable of stopping the Ripper. After finding Jacob’s lodgings, Evie takes some non-lethal fear tools used by the Indian Brotherhood. She also deduces that the Ripper is in fact one of Jacob’s Assassin Initiates. Afterwards, she kills the Ripper’s lieutenants who have been aiding in his crimes and frees a number of prisoners he had been keeping hostage. All the while, the Ripper stalks Evie.
With more murders occurring, Evie is pressured to find the Ripper quickly; after the Ripper’s final murder, Abberline makes it plain unless she delivers the Ripper, he will not be able to stop her from being arrested for the crimes – Evie vows to stop the Ripper or die trying. She re-examines all of his old crime scenes and finds hidden clues that lead to him, as well as learning the fact that all of the women he murdered were Assassins. She later finds a message left by the Ripper, which reveals that he never forgave Jacob for failing to protect his mother from being killed by Starrick’s men. Evie deduces that the Ripper is waiting for her at Lambeth Asylum, where he was imprisoned before Jacob recruited him into the Brotherhood. Meanwhile, the Ripper returns to the Asylum and murders his former tormentors and destroys all records of his true identity. Evie arrives shortly after the Ripper and kills him in battle.
Afterwards, she finds an imprisoned but still alive Jacob. With the Ripper dead, Abberline agrees to cover up the Ripper’s identity as an Assassin in order to protect the Brotherhood.”
Daniel Krupa from IGN gave the game an 8.2/10, citing the design of the city and the lighthearted plot as high points, while criticizing the repetitive combat, yet saying it was better than Unity’s combat. Metacritcs scores the PC release at 74%, PS4 with 76% and 78% for the Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Origins – 2017

PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Set in Ancient Egypt near the end of the Ptolemaic period (49–47 BCE) and recounts the secret fictional history of real-world events. The story follows a Medjay named Bayek, and explores the origins of the centuries-long conflict between the Brotherhood of Assassins, who fight for peace by promoting liberty, and The Order of the Ancients—forerunners to the Templar Order—who desire peace through the forced imposition of order.
* The Medjay were an elite paramilitary police force, serving as desert scouts and protectors of areas of Pharaonic interest.
Development of Assassin’s Creed Origins started in early 2014, after the completion of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The series had been following a yearly release cycle, but after the launch of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in 2015, Ubisoftchose to delay the release of Origins until 2017. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot cited a desire to focus on the quality of the individual titles, the opportunity to develop future games with new engines, and the disappointing sales of Syndicate as the reasons behind the decision.
During production of Assassin’s Creed III in November 2011 Ubisoft conducted a fan survey exploring potential settings for future titles. Ancient Egypt was one of the most popular choices, but Alex Hutchinson, the creative director of Assassin’s Creed III, dismissed the results as he considered Ancient Egypt—as with the other two chosen settings, feudal Japan and World War II—as being “the worst choices” for a setting. The development team hired Egyptologists to assist in making the open world more accurate to the time period.
The “eagle vision” mode, which was used by the franchise to give the player the ability to scout an area by highlighting enemies and objects, has been replaced by a Bonelli’s eagle named Senu as a companion. The player is able to take control of Senu and scout an area in advance, highlighting enemies which will then be visible when they return to controlling Bayek, the game’s main character. The player can also tame various predators which will serve as a companion for the player and assist them against enemies. Naval combat, underwater exploration and tomb raiding return to the series.
The game also features revised combat mechanics. Previous titles in the Assassin’s Creed series used a “paired animation system” whereby the player character would engage with an enemy and combat would be dictated by a series of predetermined animations based on player inputs and scripted AI movements. Origins moves to a “hit-box system”. When the player wields a weapon, they will strike at whatever is in range, allowing them to hit enemies directly, injure individual body parts, and creating the possibility of missing an enemy entirely. Complementing this is the way weapons fall into different categories and are rated on their damage dealt, speed and range. Enemies will be drawn from several basic archetypes that use a variety of tactics in combat which, combined with the hit-box system, will require the player to learn the attributes of individual weapons and tailor their playing style to succeed in combat. As enemy combat is also dictated by the hit-box system, the player has been equipped with a shield and needs to balance their offensive and defensive capabilities. Locations within the game world are designed to enable the player to choose their playing style by offering stealth and open combat as equally-viable choices for completing objectives.
Origins introduces an arena-based combat system where the player fights waves of increasingly difficult combinations of enemies culminating in a boss fight. While the introduction to the arena is incorporated into the main story, the arena mode stands alone from the wider narrative. The game world features several arenas, with a variety of enemy combinations and unique bosses not found in the game world. The player is able to unlock additional weapons and equipment by completing arena fights.
Colin Campbell of Polygon gave the game a score of 8.5/10, writing, “In essence, Assassin’s Creed Origins is much the same game as the original Assassin’s Creed, which came out a decade ago. It’s a formula that people like to play, and it’s certainly been honed and improved over the years. Origins is, then, undoubtedly the best iteration of this formula yet. But I yearn for a fresh approach and new ideas, something that astounds the senses as much as the wondrous world this game inhabits.”
Metacritic aggregate scores have the PS4 at 81%, 84% for the PC and 85% on Xbox One.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – 2018

PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Stadia

Set in the year 431 BC, the plot tells a fictional history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Players control a male or female mercenary who fights for both sides as they attempt to unite their family and uncover a malign cult.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey places more emphasis on role-playing elements than previous games in the series. The game contains dialogue options, branching quests and multiple endings. The player is able to choose the gender of the main character, adopting the role of Alexios or Kassandra. The game features a notoriety system in which mercenaries chase after the player if they commit crimes like killing or stealing.
The player character, is a mercenary, and a descendant of the Spartan king Leonidas I. They inherit his broken spear, which is forged into a blade to become a weapon that grants the player special abilities in combat. The game uses a skill tree system that allows the player to unlock new abilities. The three skill trees are “hunter”, which focuses on ranged attacks through use of a bow & arrow, “warrior”, which focuses on weapons based combat (swords, spears, axes etc.), and “assassin”, which focuses on stealth & silent take-downs. This replaces the system used in Origins, which granted the player a series of passive abilities.
The hitbox combat system introduced in Origins returns and is expanded upon to grant the player access to different special skills when the ability bar fills up. These skills include calling a rain of arrows and a powerful kick to knock opponents off-balance, and are similar to the “Overpower” mechanic introduced in Origins that let the player use a powerful finishing move in combat. The game also features a gear system in which each piece of armor the player wears has different statistics and provides a range of advantages. These can be equipped and upgraded individually.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey also features naval combat again, with the player having access to Hellenistic-era warships to explore the Aegean Sea. The conflict between Athens and Sparta is represented through a “War System” which enables players to take contracts from mercenaries and participate in different large-scale battles against hostile factions. The war system can change a faction’s influence over a region.
The player can develop romantic relationships with non-playable characters of both genders, regardless of their own character’s gender. Creative director Jonathan Dumont commented that “since the story is choice-driven, we never force players in romantic situations they might not be comfortable with (…) I think this allows everybody to build the relationships they want, which I feel respects everybody’s roleplay style and desires.” Players and critics appreciated this inclusion of queer romance options. However, many reacted negatively to a plot development in the Legacy of the First Blade DLC in which the player character has no choice but to enter into a relationship and have a child with a person of the opposite gender, considering that this invalidated their character’s identity and the roleplaying aspects previously emphasized by Ubisoft. Ubisoft responded that “we strive to give players choice whenever possible in Odyssey and apologise to those surprised by the events in this episode”. Ubisoft later stated that the forced romance would be removed with a future patch along with a modified cutscene. However this consisted of editing the cutscene slightly so that the player could tell their child they were only doing it for the blood-line – the child is still compulsory.
EGMNow gave the game an 8.5/10, writing “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey lives up to its namesake. By fully investing in becoming an action RPG, Odyssey’s characters, combat, story, and scope are beyond anything the series has accomplished so far. Its ambitions might get the better of it sometimes, like in how it divides its story moments or in how the leveling system can get out of hand, but the overall experience is, simply put, epic.” Metacritic aggregate scores have the PS4 version at 83%, the PC release at 86% and the Xbox One release is up at 87%.

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  • Ubisoft
    • In light of the fire at the Notre Dame de Paris, which caused its roof and 300 foot spire to collapse, destroying almost all of one of the oldest surviving timber frames in Paris, Ubisoft is giving away Assassin’s Creed Unity (which heavily features the landmark) on PC this week until April 25th to give more people a chance to experience it and raise awareness
    • They’ve also announced a 500K Euro donation to aid the restoration and reconstruction, and encourage others to contribute if possible
    • Assassin’s Creed Unity
      • 2014
      • Action-adventure game set in Paris during the French Revolution, using the classic third person open world we’ve come to expect but also revamping combat, parkour, and stealth after the previous entry, Black Flag
 

You might recall us talking about Facebook earlier this month, and how to confirm your email they expect you to hand over your email account’s password

  • Turns out, giving access to your personal information to a company in the business of selling your personal information was a bad idea- who knew?
  • According to Business Insider, Facebook harvested 1.5M people’s email contacts list without consent, and “unintentionally uploaded them”
  • A Facebook spokesperson has also confirmed that the harvested contacts were NOT just used to recommend friends, but also “improve ads”
  • This has gotten to the point where the Irish Data Protection Commission is now in contact with Facebook and considering next steps
 

Smash Ultimate v3.0 is here!

  • First up we’re finally seeing Joker from Persona 5 added to the roster as part of Challenger Pack 1, and his playstyle looks pretty interesting
    • He’s got some moves with a knife and gun, and it looks like he has a charge gauge that allows him to summon his Persona, which upgrades his attacks, greatly improves his recovery, and gives him a combination counter and reflect move
    • His final smash is also interesting- it triggers similarly to Marth’s, with a horizontal rush, but a quick press of the thumbstick makes him sweep back in the other direction in case you missed the first time
  • And speaking of Persona, we’re getting a Persona stage called Mementos with 11 different audio tracks that can affect the appearance of the stage and Joker’s victory screen
  • We’re also seeing new paid DLC Mii costumes for Morgana, Yu, Makoto, Teddie, Tails, and Knuckles
  • The stage builder we saw leaked in an ad last week made an official appearance, but if it supports 8 player stages they’re keeping it on the down-low
    • It does have new things like customizable moving or spinning platforms and multiple layers for decorative elements
  • They’re also adding in the ability to edit and share videos, download other players’ Mii setups, and adding Smash World on the Switch Online app for voice chat, browsing videos and custom stages, and managing your spirit teams
 

Disney has revealed some of the details on their upcoming Disney+ service, and it sounds pretty dang decent

  • Disney+ will launch in the US on November 12 for $7/month
  • It’ll include a huge library of old movies and shows, including Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars titles, along with new content made exclusively for the service
  • There won’t be any ads (which really should be a no-brainer on a paid service) and users can download things to watch offline whenever they want
  • All said and done, this could offer Netflix the kick in the pants we need to stop them from continuing to raise their prices
 

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is hit reviewers this week, and it’s not looking good

  • Multiple reviewers are having the devices break after just a few days of use
  • The Verge had theirs sprout a random bulge on the display, possibly due to some debris getting into the hinge, but whatever it was pressed into the display hard enough to break it
  • CNBC’s screen started flickering and failing after the first day
  • And Bloomberg’s started showing similar screen issues after two days
  • All told, it’s a rough start for the $2K device. This is really a prototype, but somehow they’re going forward with preorders
 

Labo VR is getting some tough reviews online, citing tiny experiences and terrible screen resolution

  • It also only tracks rotation, not movement, which is pretty standard for a cardboard headset but a tougher proposition in 2019
  • You also have to keep one hand on the headset holding it to your face the entire time, which gets tricky when playing mini games like putting, playing basketball, or throwing a boomerang
  • And it doesn’t help that Nintendo continually breaks immersion with not only how short the playtimes are on their bundled game, but also prompts to take a break every five minutes
  • End of the day, if you already have a switch and you’re curious about VR, then this is maybe a good idea… but it seems like there are also better options available
 
 

Tidbits

  • The first trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has hit, and it looks solid!
    • I mean, it’s still coming from EA so be wary, but if they finish it we could finally see a good Star Wars game for the current gen of consoles
    • Releasing on November 15th
  • Speaking of Star Wars and trailers, the new Episode IX trailer looks solid!
    • It’s called The Rise of Skywalker, and the tagline is “This Christmas, the saga comes to an end”
  • The new all-digital edition of the Xbox One S is coming this May, and it’s kind of disappointing
    • It’s basically the existing S with no disc slot, and it’ll sell for about as much as retailers are already selling the S in game bundles (though Microsoft is trying to keep it $50 cheaper than the disc-spinning alternative)
  • In a cool earth-friendly move, Japan is making their medals for the 2020 olympics out of discarded smartphones and laptops
    • The requisite gold, silver, and bronze will be extracted from around 50,000 tons of recovered or donated e-waste and obsolete gadgets
    • For perspective, it takes about 100 fliphones to recover three grams of gold
 

Recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • I’m very late to the party, but I’m really enjoying it
  • Half delightfully 90’s high school life, half Supernatural-style monster of the week (though, I suppose Supernatural is really Buffy-style monster of the week really)
  • It looks like a series that people had a lot of fun making

 

Literally Misleading

This one is from Fanily member Scott. Check out his twitter @scottybomb and his podcast The Read-Along, its a weekly book club for where you can follow along with Scott and Anita!
 
MOVIE – “A man must join forces with an amnesiac to track down the man who kidnapped his son.”
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami

 

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