August 2019

Night in the Woods developer Alec Holowka has died

Night in the Woods co-creator Alex Holowka has died.

Holowka's death was reported tonight on Twitter by a family member, who mentioned Holowka had suffered from mood and personality disorders.

The news comes just days after Holowka was accused of alleged sexual abuse. His fellow Night in the Woods developers cut ties with him shortly afterwards.

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New CryEngine tech trailer rekindles memories of Crysis

Ah, Crysis. It's been so long since you melted PCs. Surely, with the next-generation of consoles nearly upon us, it's time to do so once again?

It seems unlikely. The last Crysis game, 2013's Crysis 3, failed to meet publisher and IP owner EA's expectations, and developer Crytek has hardly had a good time of it in recent years. But then we have this: a CryEngine tech demo that's certainly set the cat among the pidgeons.

The tech video starts out as you'd expect. We see realtime volumetric fog from Hunt Showdown, Crytek's recently-released multiplayer-focused game. There's fully dynamic lighting in all its glory. Even vegetation touch bending gets its chance to shine.

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Sony under fire for delisting Driveclub a day before it said it would

Sony has come under fire for delisting Driveclub a day before it said it would.

Sony said it would stop selling Driveclub, Driveclub VR, Driveclub Bikes and all DLC and season passes related to those games from 31st August 2019 at 23.59 BST. In fact, Sony is still saying that on the PlayStation website.

But Sony delisted Driveclub around 5pm yesterday, 30th August - over 24 hours earlier than announced.

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Remedy looking into improving Control console performance

Remedy is looking into improving Control console performance, it's said.

As revealed by Digital Foundry's analysis, Control suffers from some serious slow-down on console. The Xbox One X offers the smoothest experience overall, as you'd expect, but even that version sees hitching and stuttering interrupt the flow of the game. On PS4 Pro, performance is nowhere near as consistent as the X build, but it's much better than performance on the problematic base consoles.

Digital Foundry's John Linneman reports PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can see prolonged frame-rate drops in sustained combat, dropping all the way down to 10fps at worst. Elsewhere, the game's loading systems aren't great, with long loading times and texture pop-in.

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PEGI responds to complaint about NBA 2K20's age-rating following casino trailer backlash

European video game age-rating organisation PEGI has said it's "very aware" NBA 2K20 may get "too close for comfort" to teaching players gambling after it received a complaint about a controversial casino trailer.

Earlier this week, publisher 2K released a trailer for NBA 2K20 on YouTube that highlighted casino-style elements in the game, such as a slot machine mini-game and a wheel of fortune mini-game.

The trailer, which also highlighted the game's loot box systems, was roundly criticised. 2K later unlisted the video, which has received 16,000 dislikes. Comments include: "This looks and sounds like I'm watching a casino ad," and, "This is legit gambling. They aren't even trying to hide it anymore."

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Star Citizen's Squadron 42 beta delayed three months to Q3 2020

The Squadron 42 beta has been delayed by three months, Cloud Imperium Games has announced.

The beta for Star Citizen's story-based single-player campaign is now set for the third quarter of 2020 - so at some point during July, August or September next year. It had been due out during the second quarter of 2020.

This delay is down to "staggered development", a new way of making the controversial space project. It involves splitting up the various development teams between multiple delivery dates so they release larger features every couple of quarters instead of every quarter, but due to their staggered nature, there's still an update every quarter for players.

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Control PC: a vision for the future of real-time rendering?

Last week, we posed the question: has ray tracing finally found its killer app? While Minecraft RTX and Quake 2 RTX have amazed us, it's Remedy Entertainment's PC version of Control that's our genuine contender in the triple-A space. In fact, between lower quality and ultra-level settings all the way up to a fully enabled ray traced experience, Control actually delivers a chronology of lighting techniques from the last generation, to the current and then on to the next - with dramatic transformations in as we transition from one phase to the next.

What we have here is a beautiful game using the state of the art in today's rendering techniques, taken to the next level via hardware-accelerated ray tracing. Remedy's RT implementation is quite extraordinary, running the gamut from radical, game-changing upgrades over standard rasterisation to much more nuanced, more subtle enhancements - features you may not notice in the heat of gameplay, but speak to the scale of the developer's ambitions. While many titles are using ray tracing technology for global illumination, reflections or shadows, Remedy throws RT at practically everything - and Control itself is the perfect canvas for showcasing these effects, thanks to its brutalist-inspired architecture and heavy reliance on reflection.

Five key features define the RT experience in Control. To begin with, there's the introduction of ray traced diffuse global illumination, used to embellish Remedy's already stellar voxel-based solution. Ray tracing reduces errors and adheres better to world geometry, while also replacing standard ambient occlusion with a far more realistic alternative. On top of this, local coloured lighting is bounced around still further, giving dynamic and static objects another contribution to the game's overall indirect lighting. This step is crucial in going beyond the game's standard lighting - starkly coloured dynamic objects that are brightly lit cast light onto their neighbours, giving a more realistic look.

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350,000 watch a gnome mage hit level 60 in World of Warcraft Classic

A relatively unknown World of Warcraft Classic player has hit the game's level cap, beating out competition from established guilds.

Jokerd, a 22-year-old from Malta, created a gnome mage and hit level 60 in three days and seven hours - streaming the entire thing on Twitch.

Jokerd beat Method, Warcraft's most famous guild, to the world first. Method were playing from a base in a Los Angeles studio, even sending out publicity to press to hype its attempt.

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