I fully expected the story of Digital Homicide vs. Jim Sterling to fizzle out a long time ago. While the indie developer did file a lawsuit alleging Sterling of making libelous comments that impacted their bottom line, they also apparently lacked the funds to keep a lawyer appointed and had to resort to starting a GoFundMe to cover the cost of litigation. That campaign only managed to make a dismal $425, and that’s pretty much where all of this should have ended. Instead, litigation against Sterling is ongoing as the Romine brothers have opted to represent themselves in court, which is always a good idea.

The suit against Sterling is now joined by an additional lawsuit, this time filed by James Romine (one half of the dream team that makes up the Romine Brothers, owners of Digital Homicide) against 100 Steam users, seeking restitution to the sum of $15 million for personal injuries sustained by mean comments people left about him and Digital Homicide.
In response to a subpoena requesting the forfeiture of those 100 user’s information, Valve has decided to throw their hands up, say “screw this noise” and blacklist Digital Homicide from Steam. Every game developed by the studio has been excised from Valve’s storefront, although if you previously purchased one of their games, you’re still able to install it.
Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi confirmed this earlier yesterday, saying “Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers.” So hey, if you were ever wondering just how far you had to go to get a game removed from Greenlight… there’s your answer.
Digital Homicide is of course trying to turn the tables back on Valve, asserting that their poor community moderation is what lead to the lawsuit. They’ve also gone on to accuse Valve of interfering with business, breach of contract, “anti-trust issues.” You can read Digital Homicide’s statement here.
So there you have it, the latest chapter in Digital Homicide’s excruciatingly slow implosion. And all because some British weirdo in an ill-fitting suit said mean things about a video game. What a time to be alive.

The opening to the above trailer really “gets it” when it comes to the quality of the Sonic franchise. Speeding through Sonic’s history, it eventually hits a point where everything begins to rewind, and an admission that things haven’t been so great flashes up on the screen. In an odd moment of sobriety, SEGA realizes that what made the Sonic games so iconic are locked up in the 90s.

So here’s Sonic Mania, which appears to be taking a page from Mega Man 9 and 10’s book, and that kind of announcement is coming at what may be the most crucial time for this franchise. Generations was a hit, and Colors did well for SEGA, but the goodwill earned by those two titles was quickly undone by Lost Worlds and Sonic Boom. The latter of which marked a record low in sales for the franchise. If Sonic wasn’t on life support before, that certainly put him there.

Mania shows promise, though many could cite the “Sonic Cycle” as being in full effect here. However, Christian Whitehead, who spearheaded the HD remake of Sonic CD and the iphone ports of Sonic 1 and 2 appears to be closely tied to the project, and that’s the key element that might just set this thing apart. Sonic CD was incredibly well handled, and what was even more impressive about it was that Whitehead essentially had to remake the original physics engine from the ground up. While I haven’t played the iphone versions of Sonic 1 and 2, they are also held in high regard. Whitehead tried to remake a cut level and additional final boss stage for CD, but his efforts were shot down. He later got his chance to make a brand new level in an official capacity in the form of Hidden Palace Zone for the iphone release of Sonic 2. It looks like now he’s going to be able to do a whole lot more, as Sonic Mania will not only feature remixed versions of classic levels, but will have brand new levels with original assets. Even Sonic’s sprite has undergone a redesign of sort, though it retains just enough of the charm that made the original 90s design of the character work.

Sonic Mania will release in Spring 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Nintendo has announced that they’ll be releasing a mini NES this November, retailing at $60 dollars and pre-loaded with 30 classic titles. It will come with a NES controller with a Wii style plug,  no USB ports so you won’t be able to pop in retro USB controllers (although additional controller will retail at $9.99, which is about as much as a off-brand controller would cost so, whatever.) It also has an HDMI out port, allowing you to play games on your new fangled non-cathode ray tube television. At launch, the system will play the following games:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

There does not appear to be a way to update the system, as it doesn’t accept either flash memory or cartridges.

Mr.Turtle Rock himself.

Mr.Turtle Rock himself.

Turtle Rock has announced that their class-based monster hunting shooter Evolve, which has been on life support ever since it released about a year ago, will be switching over to a free to play model. The switch over starts today, allowing people to access the game’s beta phase. That’s interesting. The game is in beta now even though it released completed last year. I guess that was just a closed pre-alpha. Very exclusive.

In addition, there will be several major tweaks to the game itself. To quote Turtle Rock:

  • We’re reworking the hunter classes to make the team less reliant on having experienced trappers and medics.
  • We’re making improvements to the maps and UI.
  • We’re improving load times, overall performance, and getting you into the game faster.
  • We’re focusing on improving stability and fixing bugs.
  • We’re completely reworking our progression system and tutorials.
  • We’re adding more customization options.

These are all changes that probably should have been made not too long after release. Then again, going F2P is also something that should have happened much sooner. The pacing for this is very turtle like, you could say they were so steadfast with their original model that they were not unlike a rock.

New players will not have the option to purchase content with real life money, at least not from the start, as Turtle Rock is still determining fair price points. They can, however, earn Silver Keys, a new in-game currency that will allow them to unlock monsters and classes. So what of those who actually bought the game like rubes when it released? Well, they’ll be given founder status, which entitles them to some special gifts and customization options. They will also retain all purchased content, but that’s kind of a no brainer.

In our review of Evolve we cited that some gameplay mechanics and a lack of content out of the box may deter players from sticking with Evolve, but in the interim Turtle Rock has pumped out some maps and modes for free, so there may be more for new players to bite off. Turtle Rock, on the other hand, mostly leans towards that whole “DLC shitstorm” (their phrasing) as being the reason Evolve never gave traction. Honestly, there’s probably quite a bit of truth to that too. Just how much they get out of changing their model waits to be seen.

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It’s not really too shocking that Xbox Fitness is closing down, I’ve never even heard of the app until now, and I can’t imagine many people were going to it for their daily work out. However, it’s the manner in which the app is closing that is noteworthy.

Starting today, Xbox Fitness will no longer be available for purchase, though if you already have a copy, it’s accessible for another year (until June 30, 2017 to be precise.) Once this date passes, the application will no longer be accessible, period. Even if you paid full price. There was a Free With Gold version, which will be supported until December 15 of this year.

While this isn’t mind blowing, and will likely not impact a very significant chunk of Xbox’s total users, it’s still unfortunate that a product someone could have paid full price for may very well be yanked entirely. Just another example of a bleak “games as a service” future where nothing is definite, and certainly doesn’t last forever. Granted, the full closure date is so far off that there’s plenty of time for Microsoft to go back on their decision, but it seems rather unlikely.

The reveal trailer for Koei Temco’s Berserk Musou maybe leaned a bit too hard into the rapey aspects of Berserk. An accurate, if not a bit disarming representation of the source material they hope to adapt into a big dumb Dynasty Warrior-style game. Thankfully, the second trailer – while still leaning on the aforementioned rapey rape – features some actual gameplay. Sure enough, it looks like a Musou game, but for fans of the series it’s probably enough to get them invested leading up to the game’s late September release.

Ok, sure, Zoe Quinn is mostly known for being the genesis of the whole “gamergate” thing which I still don’t fully understand. She’s fairly (in)famous for this exact reason, as well as a pretty lengthy history of shrieking incessantly about things no grown human being should care about, so normally this kind of behavior wouldn’t warrant any further attention — but this is just too funny.

Zoe has published the following tweet, accompanied by two screenshots of the upcoming Paper Mario: Color Splash, a game that nobody, including Nintendo, seemed to remember was coming out:

[In case of deletion, it reads: “what the fuck did I ever do to you, Nintendo, that y’all had to make my suffering into a fucking joke”, with the screenshots saying “Let’s watch the Five Fun Guys dance and shuffle!” and “Man, is this gonna ruin my career?! I can see the headline now: ‘Shufflegate: Exposed!'”]

Zoe appears to view this as a direct attack against her, as if Watergate (and _______ -gate in general) wasn’t already media shorthand for any sort of scandal. Apparently, “Five Guys” was often used as a meme against Quinn, as she reportedly cheated on her boyfriend with five other men. Of course, the Watergate burglary was also committed by five men, and “Fun Guys” is a pretty obvious “fungi” pun. But nah, I’m sure Nintendo’s translators have a specific grudge against her.

Check her twitter timeline for more gems, including her railing against Nintendo for firing someone who was a literal prostitute, and thus criminal, as well as an advocate for pedophilia. Can’t say I’m too sad, or shocked, that a company like Nintendo wouldn’t want to be associated with that person.

Starting soon, here comes Sony with their batch of nonsense. Will Hideo Kojima show up? How much time will be dedicated to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (answer: too much)? Will we all die of old age while watching montages of mediocre-looking VR games? Here we gooooooooooo!

welcome to the 70th annual Tony awards

welcome to the 70th annual Tony awards

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God of War 4 is being shown, with Kratos showing some kid how to hunt. Kratos has a beard, and the game is shown from an over-the-shoulder perspective now. It seems like an entirely different game, very much like the recent Tomb Raiders. I’m totally okay with that, especially with the implication that now Kratos will be murdering his way through the Norse pantheon.

Just called God of War. Reboots, they’re so hot right now!

Short trailer for DaysGone, a post-apocalyptic game about bikers?

Another short trailer for The Last Guardian, now with a date of October 25th, this year.

Also some gameplay of Horizon: Zero Dawn, which still looks super good.

Also some gameplay of Horizon: Zero Dawn, which still looks super good.

There’s also a bit for Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream’s latest over-promising disaster.

And now some sort of horror game, so I don’t care. Oh, it’s Resident EVIIl. EVIL. 7. Evil7. Killer7. It’s only on VR, apparently.

 

Some VR things, and some CoD: Infinite Warfare.

Then, Crash Bandicoot is teased, but it’s just remakes of 1, 2, and Warped, plus Crash is in the new Skylanders. George is currently in a murderous rage.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out in a couple of weeks, in case you forgot.

Andrew House coming out to not talk about the Playstation NEO.

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Kojima’s here to show the first thing from his NEW GAME!

It stars Norman Reedus, of P.T. fame, and is called Death Stranding.

It stars Norman Reedus, of P.T. fame, and is called Death Stranding. It also looks hella weird.

Insomniac is making a Spider-Man game that actually looks pretty cool.

Then there was a longer gameplay clip of DaysGone, and surprise, it’s a zombie game. Looks super boring, although the hordes of zombos and gollums look pretty good in motion.

 

THE END. George is still mad about Crash.

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Astute viewers may have noticed that Crackdown 3 was not shown at Microsoft’s press conference earlier today. And there’s good reason. Developer Reagent Games has announced that Crackdown 3 will not be coming out until sometime in 2017. No reason for the delay was given, however they did confirm that it will be available on Xbox One AND Windows 10, much like the rest of Microsoft’s future releases.

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Breaking: John Ubisoft found dead at his home. More as it becomes available.

The show is starting.

GET ME OFF THIS RIDE

GET ME OFF THIS RIDE

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Just Dance 2017. Coming to the… NX!? Well there you go, first third party game announced for Nintendo’s new console.

“You know when you see a dancing crab and a baby bird with a collar, you can only be at the Ubisoft press conference.”

You got that right, Aisha.

Aisha is taking a moment to express Ubisoft’s condolences for those affected by the shooting in Orlando, and man, this is maybe not the most classy way to go about that, all surrounded by giraffes and crab men.

 

“You remember this came from the end of last year’s conference where it fucking blew your mind,” Aisha is being really presumptuous about how impressive I thought Ghost Recon Wildlands was.

Think of all the watch towers you can climb.

Think of all the watch towers you can climb.

The Ubisoft conference already seems to be run by people fucked out of their minds, so it feels appropriate that we’re getting a look at a game alllllll about drugs this early in the show.

Now for some gameplay, with scripted banter between players. You’d think they’d stop doing this because it’s fucking terrible, but nobody ever learns and here we all are in 2016 listening to it again.

Wildlands will be released March 7th, 2017, though I’d never put too much faith in E3 release windows.

Next up is South Park: The Fractured But Hole, a game I have virtually no interest in, but Matt and Trey’s bits are typically the most tolerable of Ubisoft’s conferences.

Trey Parker is also here to announce his pregnancy.

Trey Parker is also here to announce his pregnancy.

Trey is rambling something about getting a gay fish’s mom into heaven before backing down and going “if you didn’t see the Kanye thing you wouldn’t get it,” and boy. I take back what I said about the South Park bits being the most tolerable, this thing is rough.

The Fractured But Hole will come out December 6th.

Rolling right into some hot The Division updates after that overly long South Park demo. I never thought I’d look at the Division as a reprieve.

Coming to The Division is The Underground. There’s a new threat under the streets of New York city: CHUDS. As a Division agent you have to do what you do best, shoot indiscriminately. Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and Rainbow Six outfits are coming to the game as well.

Players will also have to brave “some of the most extreme weather conditions” in the Survival expansion, and by “most extreme” they mean moderate snowfall. I have literally braved worse than this while shoveling driveways.

Palmer Lucky unjacked himself from the Matrix to come here and talk to everyone about Eagle Flight VR.

Palmer Lucky unjacked himself from the Matrix to come here and talk to everyone about Eagle Flight VR.

Eagle Flight VR is a team-based sports game playable through the perspective of an eagle. It has local co-op, assuming you can find up to five other weirdos who actually own a Rift.

Aisha is back out here talking about how Eagle Flight made her pee a little. Welcome to Pee3.

There’s a Star Trek VR game in the works too. Like basically every other Star Trek game, I can’t imagine it’ll be anything other than profoundly boring, but the cast of Star Trek’s past sure seem to be way into it.

Despite my reservations about another Star Trek game, Levar's enthusiasm is infectious.

Despite my reservations about another Star Trek game, Levar’s enthusiasm is infectious.

There’s a new trailer for For Honor, a neat looking game that I forgot was in the works. Jason Vandenberghe is back on stage. He’s not visibly armed this time, though he does have a cane that COULD be housing some sort of blade, or at the very least a flask of Wild Turkey.

There’s a stage demo going on for For Honor, and so far it’s the best showing thing Ubisoft has going. The animations in this thing are really slick, it looks great, and combat seems pretty interesting. For Honor launches Feb 14 2017, same day as Persona 5. Fucking choices.

Yes, there is a sequel to Grow Home coming out, it’s called Grow Up.

This is one way to announce Trials Blood Dragon

This is one way to announce Trials Blood Dragon

The President of Finland is here to announce Trials of the Blood Dragon.

Ok! YEAH!

Ok! YEAH!

Trials of the Blood Dragon will be released as soon as the conference ends… 30 minutes. Son of a bitch, no. NO! THATS TOO LONG! Not to get at the game, but to sit through more of this shit!

Assassin’s Creed movie time. KILL ME. MURDER ME!

Producer Frank Marshall is here to talk about the film, but I can’t help but wonder what it would look like if Garry Marshall were attached to the project.

Deadsec from Watch_Dogs 2 are hacking the conference. Unfortunately they aren’t ending it. That’s how you know these hackers are bad guys.

There’s no way this gameplay demo isn’t going to be more of the same. You can hack cars, disrupt people’s phones, and generally wander around and be an insufferable asshole. The visual design of this game looks great, but the *~vibe~* is really grating. In this demo, Marcus must stop the staff of a presidential candidate from deleting files and destroying hard drives with hammers.

WHERE ARE THE E-MAILS, HILLARY

WHERE ARE THE E-MAILS, HILLARY

One more game before the show closes, and no, it’s not Beyond Good and Evil, despite the recent trend of “hey we’re making that thing you thought we weren’t going to make” lending itself well to that. Instead, it’s a new IP mixing sports games with open world environments. Steep has some of the most satisfying crunch sounds when your character careens off path and collides with a tree.

 

And that’s the Ubisoft Conference. It was… overall, kinda rough. Most of the games shown did not demo well, with exception to Steep and For Honor. Wildlands looks promising. The new South Park game seems aggressively terrible. Watch_Dogs 2 keeps treading the line between being interesting and garbage, and the VR stuff did not show well at all. All that said, it was a better conference than what we’ve seen of Ubisoft in the past, and it was far above what they had last year.