Nov. 19, 2021

Happy 20th, Xbox - GWS#061

Microsoft celebrated Xbox's 20th anniversary earlier this week and had a couple of surprise announcements
The GOTY nominees for this year's game The Game Awards are out!
Rockstar pulls a CD Projekt Red and launches the ridiculously unready GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition
Modders come to the rescue and launched the missing Pinnacle Station DLC from Mass Effect's Legendary Edition


Xbox 20th Anniversary Stream

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmhRditAffU&ab_channel=Xbox

Monday 15th of November was Xbox's 20th Anniversary Celebration show. The 30-minute video was full of footage from popular games, past events, fan reactions, and highlights.

The show kicked off with Robbie Bach, the first head of Xbox, in a virtual stage that had the same neon green design and look and feel as the original Xbox. He reminisced about the past (the good and bad), as well as thanked the partners, developers and fans.

 

Power On - The Story of Xbox

https://www.purexbox.com/news/2021/11/power-on-the-story-of-xbox-is-a-six-part-documentary-releasing-this-december

They announced a 6-part documentary series called Power On - The Story of Xbox which is about the Microsoft team making the first Xbox. This is the story of how Xbox started as a passion project from a small group of gamers within Microsoft. This was in the works for about 3 years and is being made with the help of an Emmy-winning documentary team. The show will stream on December 13th on IMDb TV, Microsoft, Redbox, Roku, and YouTube.

 

From The Vault segments

From The Vault are segments in the video that highlighted some moments from Xbox's history:

  • There was a throwback to when The Rock took the stage with Bill Gates when launching the original Xbox
  • There were some clips of how different groups of people have developed a friendship online on Xbox before they eventually met in real life
  • The announcement of Xbox 360 backwards compatibility on the Xbox One consoles in 2015
  • The Keanu Reeves "Breathtaking" moment from the 2019 Cyberpunk 2077 E3 show

 

The Rock announces Xbox Vault

The Rock has also made an appearance in the show (where he criticized his look on stage 20 years ago). He promoted his new Netflix movie Red Notice and also announced the Xbox Vault competition, where people will have to give the correct answer to over 20 questions pertaining to the history of Xbox for a chance to win prizes such as an oil painting of The Rock from the original Xbox launch as well as custom Red Notice Xbox Series X consoles, and Game Pass collectors cards.

 

Microsoft at the helm of game preservation

https://www.purexbox.com/news/2021/11/xbox-adds-76-games-to-backwards-compatibility-including-timesplitters-max-payne-and-star-wars

76 games were added to the Backwards Compatibility list such as the DoA, F.E.A.R, Max Payne, Star Wars, and Time Splitter franchises.

This is the last batch of backward compatible games that Xbox will be adding.

37 backward compatible games (11 from this batch) have also received support for FPS Boost on the Xbox Series X|S.

 

Xbox revealed the first Halo TV Series teaser.

https://www.purexbox.com/news/2021/11/halo-live-action-tv-series-debut-trailer-officially-unveiled

It showed shots of someone's back with a lot of scars, the gloves, the 117 emblem, and the back of Master Chief putting on his helmet, and then ending with Cortana saying "Hello Master Chief".

The show will be available in 2022 on the new streaming platform Paramount+

 

Halo Infinite multiplayer now available

https://www.purexbox.com/news/2021/11/halo-infinites-multiplayer-releases-today-download-and-play-for-free

In a surprise announcement, 343 Industries has launched Halo Infinite's multiplayer as a beta on the day of the show, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

Even while in beta, this still counts as the beginning of the first season of the game; Heroes of Reach. The season will end on May 2nd, 2022.

F: I downloaded and played Halo. So good, so easy to get into. Just played like 5 matches in a row and it was effortless.

 

The Game Awards GOTY nominations

https://www.ign.com/articles/the-game-awards-2021-nominations-announced

https://twitter.com/thegameawards/status/1461137742989905934?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^tweet

The game awards will be live on 9th of December and we have our Nominees for GOTY 2021. Will stream at 4 AM on December 10th in the UAE.

The 2021 Nominees are:

Deathloop;

  • by Arkane Studios and Bethesda
  • Metacritic Critic Score: 88
  • Metacritic User Score: 6.3

It Takes Two;

  • Hazelight Studios and EA
  • Metacritic Critic Score (PS5): 88
  • Metacritic User Score: 9.2

Metroid Dread;

  • by Mercury Steam and Nintendo
  • Metacritic Critic Score: 88
  • Metacritic User Score: 8.7

Psychonauts 2;

  • by Double Fine and Xbox Game Studios
  • Metacritic Critic Score (PC): 89
  • Metacritic User Score: 6.8

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart;

  • by Insomniac Game and SIE (Sony)
  • Metacritic Critic Score: 88
  • Metacritic User Score: 8.6

Resident Evil Village;

  • by Capcom
  • Metacritic Critic Score (PS5): 84
  • Metacritic User Score: 8.5

Deathloop has a total of 9 nominations in 7 categories other than GOTY;

  • Best Game Direction
  • Best Narrative,
  • Best Art Direction,
  • Best Score/Music,
  • Best Audio Design,
  • Best Action Game,
  • and two in Best Performance

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has 5 nominations other than GOTY

  • Best Game Direction
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Audio Design
  • Best Action/Adventure Game
  • Innovation in Accessibility: "Recognizing software and/or hardware that is pushing the medium forward by adding features, technology and content to help games be played and enjoyed by an even wider audience."

 

Innovation in Accessibility

Far Cry 6; For the legally blind can play right from the start

https://www.polygon.com/22748526/far-cry-6-accessibility-pc-xbox-one-series-x-ps5-ps4

https://www.gamebyte.com/far-cry-6-accessibility-options-explained/

  • Far cry 6 has 'Vision Preset' activated by default which is voice narration for their menus which reads out it loud for people who are either legally blind or have trouble reading tiny text on smaller screens.
  • Other options include
  • UI and Fonts scaling
  • Other features include disabling the Weapons reticle sway
  • Making the reticle thicker and more visible
  • Disabling camera shake for people with motion sickness
  • Toggle for disabling poisoned or drunk effects on screen

 

Forza Horizon 5; adds sign language interpreters

https://kotaku.com/forza-horizon-5s-sign-language-interpreters-are-a-huge-1848005282

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o450zdpHZ7U

  • Playground Games, developers of Forza Horizon 5, are adding on-screen ASL and BSL sign language interpreters to the game's accessibility options.
  • These will be available in the cinematics of the game in picture-in-picture mode.
  • The benefits of having a sign language interpreter over subtitles, is that interpreters will be able to convey the tone of what's being said using facial expressions and gestures.
  • T: If you've ever seen a sign language interpreter at rock or rap concert, you will understand just how much their demeanor and expressions can really deliver the song's tone, even if you don't understand sign language.
  • F: There is even a high contrast mode to make it easier to read text on colored backgrounds.

 

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy; Enable or Disable Quick Time Events

https://www.gamepur.com/guides/all-accessibility-and-difficulty-settings-in-marvels-guardians-of-the-galaxy

https://www.nme.com/news/gaming-news/marvels-guardians-of-the-galaxy-accessibility-features-have-been-unveiled-3076306

  • The game allows for extensive target locking options which will let players change how targets are identified.
  • Players will be able to customize the key/button bindings as well as slider sensitivity.
  • Audio can be individually controlled for sound effects, voices, as well as music.
  • Subtitles can also be customized with different font color and size options.
  • You can disable what is considered to some as one of the most annoying features in gaming; Quick Time Events, which are a series of actions that the player needs to input before a timer runs out in order to progress to the next section of the game.

 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart; Acts like a PC on a PS5

https://support.insomniac.games/hc/en-us/articles/360061494611-What-Accessibility-options-does-Ratchet-Clank-Rift-Apart-feature-

  • You can adjust gameplay experiences like auto-aim and lock-on, alternating between holding a button or just pressing a button to initiate any action
  • Option to keep you from falling off ledges, auto glide when in the air
  • Enabling high contrast backgrounds, turning on individual color shaders for your character, enemies, interactable objects, or collectibles, or change the color of things like text and indicators
  • You can add a few predefined shortcuts such as melee combo or quick weapon select
  • You can toggle depth of field, screen shake, motion blur
  • You can completely remap the DualSense controller and even disable its exclusive features

 

The Vale: Shadow of the Crown; The entire game is an accessibility feature

  • You play as a blind princess and are experiencing everything as she does. There is even combat in the game.
  • Combat is a combination of timing and pattern recognition, use a sword solely based on what direction you hear your opponents and swing in that direction.
  • Implements good use of a 180-degrees 3D audio landscape to audibly present a level of intimacy between characters, exploration and story telling, and combat system

An international jury of over of over 100 global media and influencer outlets is selected, and the winners will be determined by a blended vote between the voting jury (90%) and public fan voting (10%).

You can go vote now on https://www.thegameawards.com/nominees/game-of-the-year

F: RE8 is a surprise for me, most people would have wanted Forza Horizon 5. It is the highest review game of 2021 on Metacritic at 92. My votes were Metroid Dread for GOTY and Elden Ring as my most anticipated game

 

GTA Trilogy The Definitive Cyberpunk Edition

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-11-13-rockstar-inundated-with-refund-requests-as-grand-theft-auto-the-trilogy-the-definitive-edition-backlash-intensifies

GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition has received lots of refund requests and complaints after launching on November 11th.

The PC version of the game has been unplayable for over 2 days, and Rockstar has already taken it out from their store claiming that one of the reasons is to remove "unintentionally included" files that were left in the game.

There have also been many reports of performance and graphical issues from console players, claiming that the games have a lot of bugs and crashes that make it unplayable.

Rockstar said that it will honor the refund requests and have been directing users to their support website.

Grove Street Games, which has ported GTA games in the past including this trilogy, has acknowledged the criticisms from fans and have stated that fixes are already being worked on.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-11-13-dataminers-discover-hot-coffee-code-in-gta-the-trilogy-the-definitive-edition

Data miners have discovered the existence of the infamous Hot Coffee code from GTA: San Andreas

Hot Coffee was a sex minigame found in the original GTA: San Andreas which was disabled when the game launched. However, PC and console mods enabled the game and gave everyone access to it.

This forced Rockstar to give the game an Adults Only rating in the US before they released a patch to disable Hot Coffee in the game as well as an updated version of the game that omitted it.

Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar, has also received lawsuits and has eventually settled a class-action suit with the Federal Trade Commission in 2009 for just over $20 million.

The Definitive Edition does not include any models or assets required to run Hot Coffee, and it seems like it won't work.

Data miners have also found unlicensed music and files with developer comments, which are probably the unintentionally included files that Rockstar said it wanted to remove.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-11-14-gta-the-trilogy-has-a-metacritic-aggregate-score-of-0-5

At the time of writing, the game has a 0.5 user score on Metacritic based on 4,396 ratings. There are 60 positive reviews, 23 mixed, and 2,043 negative reviews.

 

Mass Effect modders bring back the lost DLC

https://kotaku.com/mass-effect-dlc-with-lost-source-code-returns-to-legend-1848019388

https://www.nexusmods.com/masseffectlegendaryedition/mods/832

It was reported in February that the Pinnacle Station DLC from 2009 would not be included in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition release because the source code for the game has been lost, and that the backups were corrupted.

A mod by The ME3Tweaks group has been made to bring back Pinnacle Station by porting over the complete original DLC and remastering it and fixing numerous issues.

Some of the changes from the original DLC are:

  • Added a combat training facility with 4 different simulator maps and 4 different combat modes.
  • Volcano Insanity Hunt has had it's difficulty slightly reduced.
  • All maps now have music. All levels but Warehouse also have a second piece of music that kicks in as the intensity of the scenario increases.
  • Fixed geth flashlights floating above their heads.
  • Fix bugged spawns.
  • Fixed many collision problems.
  • Fixed inability to win Survival mode on casual with certain powers.
  • Removed a lot of jank, including modal LOADING screens, texture popin, and cutscene timings.
  • Survival has been tweaked to increase engagement
  • Lighting will look different to keep it in-tone with the Legendary Edition's lighting