Interesting additions to Rocket League, leaps forward in Wii U and NES emulation on the PC, a new Chivalry spin-off, new information on the PC build of Dark Souls III, and more…
Dark Souls III – PC Port / Embargo / Japanese Release
Dark Souls III launches in Japan this week on March 24th, and the rest of the world three weeks later on April 12th. Likely aware that many would just import the not region-locked console release, Bandai Namco have decided to streamers and press access to the worldwide PC builds. They’re allowed to stream and post videos on the first 1/3rd of the game starting tomorrow, the 23rd, but can’t show the rest till what is likely the real NA review embargo, April 8th.
Setting comparison videos showcase very little difference between the minimum and maximum settings, with aliasing being the most notable flaw; luckily the game does support 4K for down-sampling with DSR/VSR. The game is likely capped at 60, the AA method is post-processing only (likely FXAA), and V-sync is forced on. The game uses ~2.4GB of Vram maxed out at 1080P, and it will run on dual core systems with 8GB of system RAM (if not less). The keybinding seems notably improved over DS2, with individual keyboard and mouse binds for each action, and no sign of the incredibly delayed click/double-click input system used previously; you might be able to play with KB/M without external tools/modding this time around…
Rocket League – Rocket Labs / Basketball / Dying Light Promo / Xbox One Crossplay
Psyonix teased a new basketball-inspired mode to come soon, in addition to another recent content update, Rocket Labs. Rocket Labs entails a simple shader/asset tileset, suited to prototyping maps and getting them in the hands of players quickly, vs the art-heavy maps that require far more time and effort to polish to an acceptable standard. There are three designs available currently within the in-game playlist, all of which have considerable effect on gameplay, and one would assume the most enjoyed maps might be re-introduced in a more official and fully detailed capacity at a later date.
A cross-promotional deal between Dying Light and Rocket League was announced, entailing a vehicle skin for Dying Light (redeemable by using the code LightMyRocket on their site), with no info on what if anything is headed to Rocket League. The recent Batman Car Pack was met with a mixed reception because of it’s lackluster execution, lack of customization options, and lazy logo flags as opposed to more interesting antennae/toppers/trails.
On another worrying note, they’ve hinted at and have partly implemented rarity-based random item drops that are slow to generate and only do so in online matches. I praised the game in my review for making the progression system so easily skippable, as well as keeping DLC content reasonable. The devs have essentially confirmed that these items will be trade-able between players, which leads me to assume the Steam Market. If not done with the utmost care, this could get out of hand very quickly, turning a casual fun atmosphere, into one involving external gambling, scamming, abuse, bringing in a whole slew of people there for something other than having fun in a game they enjoy. Even unsure of their plans, I’d urge them to do a 180, forget the trading system entirely, and throw the added items in with the original pool. It would be a shame to see a game like this morph into toxic experience that isn’t about simply playing the game anymore.
Finally, Microsoft announced that they are now open to cross-platform play between Xbox One, Windows 10, and other platforms (completely contrary to past sentiment), with Rocket League said to be the first game to ever support PC vs Xbox vs Playstation in online play. During this announcement, Psyonix made it clear that they resisted temptations to produce a Windows Store build of the game. The Windows Store is genuinely equivalent to Apple’s App Store in terms of consumer freedom and control (essentially zero), so it’s fantastic that they have declined. It means they don’t have to waste time maintaining a second build, and cuts out the possibility of Windows Store exclusive content (like what the PS4 and Xbox One got previously). The Windows Store is not a competitor to Steam, as it doesn’t aim to compete but rather to steal by utilizing exclusive content. It is objectively worse as a distribution platform from the perspective of the consumer (especially enthusiasts) in just about every possible way, and goes a long way to actively harming the product being sold. I may get into this at a later date if it ramps up again; otherwise you can read Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney’s thoughts on the topic. In which, he doesn’t even get a chance to delve into all off the major problems surrounding MS’s UWP app sand-boxing in regards to all of the capture/post-processing/remapping/modding tools enthusiasts use to improve countless game releases.
CEMU Wii U Emulator Running Mario 3D World / 3DNes Transforms 2D ROMs into 3D Games
The developers behind CEMU, a rapidly developing WII U emulator have released supposedly real-time footage of Super Mario 3D World. The shaders and lighting are off, but running at 60FPS with small dips is a ludicrous improvement over most other recent examples of Wii U and 3DS emulation, which have been sped up 2-3x or more. Said footage has been removed from YouTube but can still be seen HERE, and the 1.4.0 build running it is claimed to become available in roughly a week.
Next is 3DNes, a browser-based (Unity WebGL and thus Firefox only) emulator that takes your NES roms and renders their 2D sprites into 3D models. It’s in very early stages so it’s buggy and is highly game-dependent, but for the basics like Mario and Megaman, it’s genuinely astonishing… Admittedly it doesn’t really look incredible (yet), but it’s achieving something I didn’t think was even close to possible.
RIME Developer Reacquires Rights from Sony / PC Release Likely / Deadlight: Directors Cut
Tequila Works, developer of Deadlight and the upcoming game RIME, has reacquired the IP and publishing rights from Sony, who intended on making it PS4 exclusive, because that’s what their entire business is built upon… Because of this, a PC and potentially even Xbox One release of the game become quite likely. There have been rumors about development troubles and there’s no indication of a release date.
In the meantime, likely meant to help fund RIME’s development, they have just announced a remaster of Deadlight under a new publisher, Deep Silver. Microsoft Studios published the original and was Xbox 360 and PC exclusive. Deadlight: Directors Cut launches on June 21st for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The original was quite an engaging little game, and the port had only minor problems that were fixable thanks to UE3 as always… It sees some small graphical improvements, as well as some content additions including a new “Survival Arena” Mode.
Mirage: Arcane Warfare – Chivalry Developer’s next Project
Judging player reception, it seemed fans of the series were unimpressed by this announcement considering the less-than-perfect state of the previous title, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and it’s expansion Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior. Personally, having only really dabbled in the games, I am fond of the new aesthetic and theme. I think it could work out really well, providing both visual and mechanical variety in what was already a mechanically unique title. The character designs however do seem rather uninspired, vs the recent influx of charming, character-focused shooters and MOBAs.
Powered by Unreal Engine 4, I must say the stylized, colorful aesthetic combined with high-end shaders make for an appealing presentation. Though I can’t help but notice the almost complete lack of real-time shadows in the announcement trailer, but that’s largely expected from such early footage. I’m sure once they’re in, the overall look will come together nicely. I just hope that for more dedicated players, that they’ve gotten a handle on the mechanical and technical issues that hindered the previous title.
For full disclosure, I have no stake in any of the games or companies mentioned and the opinions shared are entirely my own. This is a new format I’m trying out. There’s a lot of great things going on in the gaming industry at the moment, but there’s also a whole lot of bullshit and oh boy do I have opinions on it. This will be a daily editorial of sorts provided there’s enough to cover, though for the first few there will be more than usually as I include topics missed in the past week or two. Topic titles are color coded similarly to my review system, green being neutral, with warmer colors implying disappointing/anti-consumer, while cooler highlights positive/awesome news.