The best part of writing launch pieces for TheXboxHub is getting sidewinded by games you’ve never heard of. Legends of Ethernal is certainly one of those games: it’s the first from debut outfit Lucid Dreams Studios, it’s arrived with little to no fanfare, yet it looks the absolute business. Legends of Ethernal is out now on Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC via Steam.
There’s a little of Limbo in there, a smidge of Shantae and – going back a little here – a dose of Legend of Zelda 2. You play a young boy who comes back to his village, only to find it ransacked and your parents missing. Rather than cry into your moccasins, you’re on a journey to recover your parents, and to reveal the truth of what befell them.
This is an action-platformer with a heavy emphasis on narrative, while the art style is colourful and painterly. It looks like it has been created with real care, and we’re well up for exploring it. Lucid Dreams Studio reassure that the world is chock-full of puzzles and boss encounters, and it’s the bosses in particular that look the spangliest. We’re particularly taken with a frog-like boss that seems to be challenging you to a blowpipe contest.
Slightly unusually for games of its type, there’s a reasonably intricate crafting system in here, while it seems some Metroidvania-ness creeps in (when doesn’t it?), with your character gaining abilities that unlock previously locked areas. Depending on the size of your ambition, there’s a Hardcore Mode and Relaxed Mode too.
Evolving Gameplay – Enjoy mechanics that are unlocking with weapons and items that you find
Challenging Dungeons – Solve puzzles and unleash your strategies against boss battles in multiple dungeons
Crafting System – Gather ethers and craft items during the course of your journey to help you progress through the game
Unique and Gorgeous Art – Admire beautiful 2D hand-drawn art covering multiple environments, scaling up to a resolution of 4K on supported platforms
– Enigmatic Events Experience a compelling and linear storyline with great characters
Melodic Musical Score – Listen to the wonderfully crafted score, produced and recorded by veteran musician William Gough
Multiple Difficulty Levels – Try the hardcore mode for an intense experience or enable Relaxed Mode to help you complete the game
It’s going to be fascinating to see if Legends of Ethernal catapults Lucid Dreams Studio into the big leagues. From the children’s book aesthetic and the look of the bosses, we’re hopeful. Expect a review soon.
Welcome to the World of Arkanys. On a day like any other, a young boy returns home to find it in ruins and his parents, gone. Armed with courage and driven by the pain of his loss, he sets out on a journey to uncover the truth behind his family’s disappearance… But what he discovers will forever change the World of Arkanys… Legends of Ethernal is a 2D single-player action adventure game where you need to explore beautiful hand-crafted environments, solve clever puzzles and battle challenging creatures to uncover the truth about your parents’ disappearance.
Brand New Trailer, ‘The Spaces Between’, a first look at our original soundtrack, with tracks from both myself and StanL, an exhaustive development update on the status of the mod, and a first look at gameplay, artifacts, locations, creatures, and much more!
Preamble First off, watch our new trailer, ‘The Spaces Between‘, which explores the fabled wastes of Oblivion, a new original musical combat theme, as well as a first look at new gameplay, and many of the places, artifacts, and enemies in Apotheosis!
Introduction Its been a rough year. 2020 feels borderline cursed in some ways. Despite the insane curveballs 2020’s thrown at us, progress on Apotheosis has gone ahead at a rapid and steady pace. While we haven’t too frequently updated you guys, as usual, we’ve put our heads down and worked on producing content. We’ve not only improved on volume of produced assets, but quality as well. I’d like to thank everyone on the Apotheosis development team who’ve contributed to the project, and the invaluable time they’ve poured into the project, as well as our Discord Community Team.
Today we’re excited to share some of the stuff we’ve been quietly working on behind the scenes; armors, weapons, artifacts, creatures, environmental shots of the Moonshadow tileset and more! We will also be taking a first look at the Apotheosis original soundtrack from both StanL and myself. And more to come from our other composers in the near future. Do keep an eye out in the linked videos, as I’ve included something a little extra towards the end…
What’s our current status? Word of warning, this does go into some boring details. But stick around if you wanna hear the long version. Here’s what’s been taking so long, and where we’re at now:
1- Level Design: Arguably the toughest aspect of the making of Apotheosis, level design is at a very advanced stage of development. Especially because of the sheer variety of our environments (16 Daedric Realms, Dreamsleeve!), we had to build, source, re-skin or re-purpose a lot of custom assets to properly represent all these different and unique worlds. That’s aside from the challenges of keeping things interesting, fun, well paced and balanced. The Dreamsleeve, the Apotheosis overworld, over 1/5 the size of the Skyrim worldspace, and the Apotheosis hub world is in its final polishing stage. The bulk of our levels are game ready, and barring a few more Oblivion based sequences, a new dungeon type, and intro and outro sequences, we’re very close to reaching final stages. Apotheosis is playable almost from beginning to end! Do remember, we’ve been at this for more than 4 years. Typically, level design refers to moment-to-moment gameplay. This covers level and world design, points of interest (locations), friendly and hostile encounter design, AI navmesh implementation (pathfinding), puzzles, ambushes and other gameplay scripting and design.
2-Quests & Narrative Design: A ton of writing, voice acting, voice editing, quest implementation and scripting has been completed, but we still have some ways to go to ensure Apotheosis’ story is fully fleshed out and realized. Quest design in Apotheosis is influenced by traditional RPG and Immersive Sim design, in its focus on reactivity and player agency. We want to ensure that players are able to really engage with characters on an emotional level, that characters have a sense of depth and character progression, in growing with the player and observing the influence of the player’s actions on the world. We’re about halfway through narrative design, and with level design being at a very advanced stage, this greatly accelerates quest production since everything is already laid out and exists in a physical form for you to build a story within it. 3- Environment, Prop and Character Art: Art production is also at a very advanced stage, most of our kits are functional and complete. Only one more kit remains under construction, and some more character art and artifacts still need to be built. But the majority of required art has been built already. Over the recent year, we’ve had several new artists join the team and contribute towards our production goals. I’d like to shoutout our artist, RottenCore, as well as Xilefenko, David Rathus and Mati Goosha who all contributed in the 3d department in the past year. 4- Gameplay Systems: While Apotheosis is mainly a story content mod, it is also bringing along with it new takes on traditional Elder Scrolls gameplay, in the form of new thematic gameplay systems to really complement the world and its conditions. Systems design also involves itemization, ie loot and its implementation, magic systems, new spells and abilities, where and when to pace out rewards, etc. Here, a lot of progress has been completed, but there’s still some more room to go. 5- Original Score and Sound Design: Along with everything else, we are also creating our own original soundtrack for Apotheosis! Composers StanL, Tekkera, along with my own efforts are working to produce a unique, memorable and fitting soundtrack to accompany your trials and tribulations through the wastes of Oblivion. Equally as important, is creating new gameplay oriented sounds, things like location discovery, underscore critical gameplay moments, sounds for magic effects, and more.
💧 We Demand Your Blood! 💧 Apotheosis is looking for talent! The following specialties are required, and would be tremendously helpful if you have the skills to contribute: 1- UI Programmer Required familiarity with SKSE, Skyrim UI code, and the ability to implement a number of simple UI elements within the Skyrim engine. If you exist, its a plus. 2- Character Artist Required understanding of organic 3D shapes and hard surface modeling, the ability to create character models from scratch, bake high poly details onto simplified shapes, and use modern material pipelines to texture assets. Familiarity with skinning techniques and the Skyrim NIF format is a plus. 3- Narrative Designer Ability to effectively communicate ideas, and simulate realistic and purposeful game dialogue. An understanding and grasp of emotional themes, and the ability to effectively convey emotionality in narrative. Familiarity with the Creation Kit, and the ability to implement quests is a plus.
If you have the skills, and are interested in helping us out getting past the final stretch, please apply below, or message me directly via Discord with the handle Di0#2405, including your details. Please be sure to provide examples of your previous work.
Stay safe, wear a mask. 💀 Happy Halloween! 💀
N.B. Following environmental screenshots were rendered in Skyrim (2011), with Skyrim’s native lighting/weather/imagespace settings and a custom Reshade configuration. Object renders were created out of game.
Moonshadow Tileset Quite a bit of work has gone into the Moonshadow Tileset, which incorporates over 130 individual new kit pieces. While we incorporated some assets from the base game, community and commercial asset libraries, everything else had to be scratch made. From palace floor, wall and tower pieces, to new trees and vegetation, containers, character art and animated pieces. While its very painstaking and time consuming work, it was worth it to really help make Moonshadow feel right, and match the legends the lore books described.
Armors To defeat the horrors of Oblivion, you will need effective protection. Apotheosis comes with over a dozen new unique armor sets, ranging from the ultra heavy to the ultra light, and covering all major role-playing archetypes.
While the creative and artistic aspect of armor creation is certainly a challenge, the bigger challenge is getting these armors in to the game, especially with Skyrim’s requirements for custom pieces to be made. So for instance, every armor piece has to include _0 and _1 versions (highest and lowest weight versions/ie weight slider support) of every single armor piece, as well as support for both sexes (individual _0 and _1 versions for every sex), separate first person shoulder and hand models, and individual havok enabled versions of inventory and ground display models (the version you can drop on the floor/ view in the inventory).
Weapons and Props Part and parcel in acquiring the tools to defeat the denizens of Oblivion, a respectable and vast arsenal of weapons to choose from is essential. You may have been able to spot some of these in ‘The Spaces Between’, our newest trailer. Apotheosis incorporates dozens of new hand crafted weapons and artifacts, faithfully modeled, sculpted and painted to match modern standards, to provide the player with a wide array of options in dealing with challenges. From heavy weapons like greatmaces, greatswords and battleaxes, to light daggers, swords, bows, staves, and more!
Creatures Your journey through Oblivion will not go unnoticed. The denizens of Oblivion are fierce, dangerous and unknowable. Creatures are a very important aspect of Apotheosis as it will incorporate many new and old species of creatures in order to defend their respective realms, as well as populate the Dreamsleeve. Creature design is meant to cover a wide array of tactical approaches, from ranged spell casters, illusionists and destruction specialists, to close range heavies, light swarmers, and melee duelers. The combination of these approaches is what allows for a formidable and interesting fighting force, capable of mounting a fun level of challenge to the player.
Conclusion Thanks for reading! We hope to have more to reveal soon. We are very hard at work on Apotheosis. We are indeed looking for people to help us out through this final stretch, so if you have the skills, please be sure to apply! Every bit helps.
If you haven’t already, be sure to follow our ModDB, join our Discord, and sign up to the @updates role, where we will start posting regular short snippets of in-development assets, from animation gifs, to production renders, early environment teasers, and more!
Final Fantasy 7 Remake will get a definitive edition for PS4, Xbox One, and PC according to a new rumor. This will come with extra story content.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is currently available exclusively for the PS4. It is confirmed to be a timed exclusive to the console and this exclusivity will expire one year from the release of the game, which is April 10.
According to a rumor that was shared on 4chan, the game will get a definitive version that will also release for PC and Xbox Series S|X.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Definitive Edition is the next-generation version of the game.
Offers higher resolution, frame rate, and better quality models.
Features DLC similar to the character episodes of Final Fantasy XV focusing on the side characters like Barret, Tifa, and Aerith.
This DLC will be available as a separate download on PS4.
New additions to the game like costumes, side missions, and a wave-based survival mode.
Definitive Edition will release on PC in addition to the PS5, however, it can come to Xbox Series S|X too.
Upgrade path is given to users of the original game.
Take all of this with a grain of salt since this rumor originates from 4chan. While Square Enix could release an upgrade for the PS5 that improves the visual and frame rate, a completely different edition feels like a stretch so far.
2020 has been an interesting year, and we aren’t quite finished with it yet! We’ve had to adjust to working from home and learning how to put together an expansion while working remotely. I am incredibly proud of the team and what they have achieved, as we reach the end of the year the shadows are growing with each passing day as the days get shorter, and winter is almost here. I am thrilled to announce our 17th expansion officially. Below is our official logo for the new expansion and I can’t wait to reveal the key art in the coming weeks.
Our 17th expansion for EverQuest II is here, and it’s time to confront the Reign of Shadows, on the dark side of Luclin! Emperor Ssraeshza and his unyielding throngs of insidious zealots and enslaved minions have laid claim to the ancient citadel of Vex Thal. The march of the nefarious snake-like shissar must end there, deep within the heart of the dark side of Luclin.
Face terrible challenges and forge great alliances in regions unseen by Norrathian eyes in centuries: Echo Caverns, Shadeweaver’s Thicket, Grimling Forest, Shar Vhal, and Vex Thal. Heroes will be made in the shadows!
Get distracted by shiny things, knock things off of high places, hate dogs. Play as a Vah Shir! THAT’S RIGHT OUR FIRST NEW PLAYER RACE IN 5 YEARS!
20 Reign of Shadows Prestige Advancement Points and 10 new Reign of Shadows Prestige Abilities.
Maximum Guild Level increased to 350 with an all new content-driven guild leveling mechanism.
Discover new Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests as you investigate what secrets lay concealed in the endless gloom.
Master all new Solo, Heroic, Challenge Heroic, and Raid content in the perpetual shade of Luclin’s dark side!
There is so much more to reveal over the coming weeks as we launch beta, and preorders for Reign of Shadows on November 10 between 10 AM and 12 PM (Noon) PDT. Don’t forget, If you pre-order, you will get access to Beta. I hope to see you all there!
Launching with Reign of Shadows, archetype and class Alternate Advancement abilities are getting a full revamp so that every point has an impact on how your character plays. These changes should not affect Kaladim in a significant way and we do not plan on having them affect future TLEs either. To see these changes before the launch of the expansion, please login to beta when it opens and check them out.
We announced our inaugural Darkpaw Games Extra Life teamTEAM DARKPAW, led by our community manager, Dreamweaver. The team has already raised over $14,500 dollars and has over 100 members! Game Day is November 7th, and it’s never too late to join and raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Daybreak as a company has been partnering with theSan Diego County Office of Education to teach kids about careers in tech, and part of that project is our Developer Video Series. I had the pleasure of being the first one up! You can check out the video on theSDCOE Youtube channel hereand stay tuned for more from our studio and other studios in the Daybreak Family.
Gear Up, Level Up 2020 begins on October 29 stay tuned on the forums and discord for the announcement for the first set of bonuses. Heroes’ Festival also starts in the next few weeks, as it’s almost time to celebrate our 16th anniversary!
I know that’s a lot to go over but don’t forget,
Beta and Preorder for Reign of Shadows, November 10, 2020. I’ll see you there.
We have now managed to extract the world map from the official website without any of the text that blocks it. It gives a much clearer overview of what to expect from the land of Valisthea.
The first thing that is obvious is that there are going to be various forms of traversal across the world map. We can see that the land is divided by sea in the middle and there are regions offering diverse biome. Various mountains can be seen while the world appears to offer major landmarks seen in the shape of crystals and other natural attractions.
We have no idea how much of this world map will be explorable in the game itself, but regardless, it won’t be a surprise to see modes of transport like an airship and boat during the course of the single-player story mode for Final Fantasy XVi.
This land will be ruled by the following six empires. The Grand Duchy of Rosaria. The Holy Empire of Sanbreque, The Kingdom of Waloed, The Dhalmekian Republic, The Iron Kingdom, and The Crystalline Dominion.
Call of Duty: Warzone is a big game, and I don’t just mean in terms of popularity. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in an interview with VentureBeat that Warzone has now been downloaded a whopping 80 million times, and at a 250GB install size, that works out to an astounding 20 billion GB of accumulated drive space.
That size is assuming that all Warzone content is installed, of course (including Modern Warfare—we’re going big here), and it’s fluctuated since the free-to-play battle royale game was released, so it’s possible that the actual amount of data downloaded could be much less. But then there are updates on top of installs, which adds to the total amount—hey, we’re doing back-of-the-envelope math here, not calculating pi. The point is that it’s a staggering amount of data.
Warzone is also very big in the other sense of the term, in case there was any doubt, and that’s going to have an impact on how Activision engages with the Call of Duty player base in the future. CEO Bobby Kotick said during the company’s quarterly earnings call today that the addition of “free-to-play experiences” has more than tripled the number of monthly players compared to the same period last year, while hours played were seven times higher. That surge in growth since the release of Warzone has resulted in changes to Activision’s marketing, “to reflect the scale and size of our own proprietary network.”
“In August, millions of players gained access to the Black Ops – Cold War reveal trailer by playing interactive content within Warzone, generating a true virtual watercooler moment, and driving substantial interest in the new release,” Kotick said. “Going direct to our network of player this way represents more effective marketing than any paid media network.”
Activision intends to apply that sort of broad strategy to all its current and new games, citing the launch of World of Warcraft Classic last year as an example: The free World of Warcraft Starter Edition does not allow access to Classic characters, for instance, but Kotick said the World of Warcraft subscriber base has doubled since Classic went live, while presales of the upcoming Shadowlands expansion are “the highest we’ve seen at this stage ahead of any release.” I wonder how many gigs that works out to?
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is set to go live on November 23, by the way, while the next Call of Duty game, Black Ops – Cold War comes out on November 13.
EA has said it will appeal a ruling from Dutch authorities over loot boxes in FIFA after it was fined €5m.
In a mid-October ruling, judges at the Court of The Hague authorised the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA)’s enforcement of the fine, first imposed in 2019, and published today.
EA has three weeks from the date of the order (15th October 2020) to change the way FIFA 19, FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 works in the country. So, in effect, it has one week to make a change to its most recent FIFA games. If it refuses to make a change, EA must pay €500,000 per week, up to a maximum penalty of €5m, in fines.
The Netherlands Gambling Authority declared loot boxes illegal because they are considered a game of chance, and therefore violate the country’s Gambling Act. Under Dutch law, a game of chance that allows a prize or premium to be won can only be provided if a relevant licence has been granted.
FIFA lets players spend real-world money on Ultimate Team packs, which contain a random assortment of players for use online against other human opponents as well as against the computer. FIFA has been accused of being pay-to-win and for encouraging children to gamble because of this mechanic, which is highly lucrative for EA.
According to video game industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls, the FIFA game franchise is a $2bn annual business for EA, with the majority of revenue coming from Ultimate Team sales.
Netherlands & Belgium clampdown on loot boxes in games has seen multiple games remove them in these markets. EA already stopped paid for FUT player packs in Belgium
Not ideal for EA. I estimate the FIFA game franchise is a bn annual business, a majority coming from FUT sales https://t.co/D4FYw16Cro
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A study carried out by the KSA in 2018 found there may be a correlation between playing games that incorporate loot boxes and development of an addiction to gambling. Chairmen René Jansen said at the time: “The KSA believes it is crucial to shield vulnerable groups, such as minors, from exposure to gambling. For that reason, the KSA supports a strict separation between gaming and gambling. Gamers are often young and therefore particularly susceptible to developing an addiction. As such, gambling elements have no place in games.”
The KSA said it called on companies in the gaming industry to adapt their games so they were no longer infringing the Gambling Act. “A number of companies heeded the KSA’s call,” it said. “However, Electronic Arts Inc. and Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl did not.”
In a statement issued to Eurogamer, EA repeated its claim that FIFA loot boxes do not violate gambling laws, and vowed to issue an appeal.
“Players all over the world have enjoyed FIFA and the FIFA Ultimate Team mode for many years and as such, we are disappointed by this decision and what it may mean for our Dutch community. We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are appealing this decision and we seek to avoid a situation impacting the ability of Dutch players to fully experience and enjoy FIFA Ultimate Team.
“Electronic Arts is deeply committed to positive play. We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to all our players in all of our games. We remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions to address any concerns.”
In September 2018, the Belgian government, which had already declared loot boxes to be a form of gambling, launched a criminal investigation into EA after the publisher refused to modify FIFA’s randomised card pack loot boxes in order to comply with the country’s gambling laws.
Belgium’s Gaming Commission determined loot boxes found in FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were an “illegal game of chance”, and thus subject to Belgian gambling laws.
Following the ruling, Blizzard, Valve and 2K Games all elected to disable loot boxes in their games in Belgium. EA, however, refused to budge until January 2019.
In 2018, EA came out strongly in saying it didn’t believe loot boxes were a form of gambling. In April 2018 it said its games were “developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world” and it did not agree they could “be considered as any form of gambling”. This, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said in May 2018, was because “players always receive a specified number of items in each pack” and because it doesn’t “provide or authorise any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money”.
For FIFA 19, EA added FUT card pack probabilities for the first time. This system tells you the percentage chance you have of obtaining a card of a certain quality from a pack (for some cards, the percentage chance is shockingly low). This was seen as an attempt to add transparency to Ultimate Team, which makes a billion dollars a year for EA.