RuneScape coming to Mobile with Cross-Play

Runescape is coming to mobile devices with full cross-platform PC play.

The free-to-play MMORPG began in 2001, and has over 200 million player accounts. Both RuneScape and the classic Old School RuneScape will be available to play on smartphones and tablets, with cross-play that allows players to save their progress across platforms.

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The games’ developers Jagex have been looking to make the move to mobile since 2013. In addition to offering an improved experience for existing players, Jagex are hoping the move to mobile will appeal to a new audience and also draw in lapsed players.

The cross-play aspects gives players total choice of platform without isolating themselves from PC or mobile players, which Jagex point out is unprecedented in western MMORPGs.

Both games will be full optimised for iOS and Android devices, with RuneScape Old School set for a 2017 release but no date as of yet for the modern version.

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The Witcher TV Series Coming to Netflix

A new English-language Netflix series has been announced based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher saga, the inspiration for CD Projekt Red’s popular RPG trilogy.

Platige, a production company who also worked on the Witcher game series, will be involved in the show’s creation. Platige’s Tomasz Bagiński, who directed the game’s opening cinematics and worked on the Oscar nominated short the Cathedral, will direct at least one episode per season.

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“There is a moral and intellectual depth in these books which goes beyond genre,” said Bagiński and fellow producer Jarek Sawko. “It is a story about today and today’s challenges, hidden under a fantasy cover. It is a story about us, about the monster and the hero inside all of our hearts.”

No specific details have been released yet and it is unclear which of Sapkowski’s eight novels the show will draw from, or which of its many characters will feature.

“The Witcher stories follow an unconventional family that comes together to fight for truth in a dangerous world,” said executive producers Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, who previously worked together on Syfy’s The Expanse. “The characters are original, funny and constantly surprising and we can’t wait to bring them to life at Netflix, the perfect home for innovative storytelling.”

Much like their video game adaptation, the books are full of fascinating, morally-ambiguous characters navigating a difficult political climate in a high fantasy setting. The world they inhabit is plagued by supernatural monsters, and young hunters must train from an early age to master the Witcher abilities necessary to defeat these deadly creatures.

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With a wealth of interesting character studies and a strong set of stories to draw from, it’s easy to see why Netflix were keen to adapt the series. The novel’s author Andrzej Sapkowski is thrilled to see his work picked up by the streaming service.

“I’m excited about our efforts together, as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life,” said the author, stressing that the series would be staying true to the source material.

Bagiński and Sawko further emphasized that the show would stick to underlying themes of the book, “There is a moral and intellectual depth in these books which goes beyond genre. It is a story about today and today’s challenges, hidden under a fantasy cover. It is a story about us, about the monster and the hero inside all of our hearts.”

So far no release date or casting information has been announced.

Six Games that Inspired Horizon Zero Dawn

Playstation fans across the UK finally have their hands on Guerilla Game’s highly anticipated post-apocalyptic open world adventure.

Announced back in 2015, the game has garnered plenty of attention for its strong leading lady, unique enemy design and mysterious narrative. Sony has further hyped the new console exclusive in positioning it as the poster child for their latest hardware release, the Playstation Pro, showing off its incredible graphics and beautiful HDR display. This game is truly stunning, with photorealistic visuals on par with Uncharted 4, and a world comparable to Skyrim in size and scope.

As a brand new IP, Horizon has always looked like something fresh and genuinely interesting, but it also feels distinctly like something familiar and its easy to draw comparisons to the big, genre-defining games that came before it.

To understand how this critically acclaimed game came into being, here are six games that might have inspired its development.

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1- Far cry

Far Cry is well loved for its vast environments and near-endless opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re stumbling upon prehistoric wildlife, charting your way through the Himalayas or taking down outposts, Ubisoft created a series of incredibly immersive worlds for players to explore. Now there has been no shortage of open-world RPGs in recent years, but there is something clearly reminiscent of Far Cry in Guerilla’s new big release. Whether it’s the hunting across varied, taming wild enemies or taking bandit outposts, Horizon has inherited some of the things that made Far Cry so great.

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 2- Tomb Raider

There are few video game characters as iconic as Lara Croft, and yet she burst on the scene when a female lead was almost unheard of. So when Aloy arrives as a robot-smashing, bow-slinging action hero it’s difficult not to draw comparisons. But the two women share many traits beyond their gender. The Tomb Raider reboot introduced a more fleshed out Lara, one who wears her heart on her sleeve, never gives up and really feels every decision you make throughout the games. Horizon’s heroine very much shares that tenacious, unstoppable spirit and it’s difficult to find any reason dislike her.

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3- Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter has an obsessively detailed crafting system, one that demands strict preparation and constant revision. From my experience Horizon isn’t quite so demanding, but it is certainly inspired by the same drive for foraging and survival in a vast world filled with over-powered, monstrous enemies. So if you enjoy that familiar Monster Hunter grind, you won’t be disappointed, but Horizon delivers those same mechanics in its own streamlined style.

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4- Witcher 3

Guerilla Games were until now most famous for their first-person shooter series Killzone, a well-received but comparatively modest series. Similarly when CD Projekt Red released the third instalment of their Witcher series, nobody expected it to be quite so ambitious. Both game’s boast vast open worlds, incredible narratives, complicated battle mechanics with an emphasis on preparation, and seemingly endless side quests to get lost in. Witcher 3 is so far one of biggest and most impressive open world adventures of this generation, and although the two games look remarkably different, it’s hard to play a game in this genre without comparing it to Geralt of Rivea’s epic adventure.

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5 – Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade games offer huge open maps densely populated with enemy machines for you to conquer. As you’re bounding across seamless environments on your tamed robot steed in Horizon, only to encounter an enormous new breed of robot, it’s easy to understand why one might draw parallels to the Japanese RPG.

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6- The Legend of Zelda

Zelda has defined open world RPGs from the very beginning. Each generation has built on the ever evolving genre, and with the latest iteration of Link’s quest released within days of Horizon Zero dawn, the two will inevitably be directly compared. Even at the most basic level the games look remarkably similar, with their bow-wielding protagonists facing wide open landscapes full of mechanical enemies. Scratch the surface and you’ll more and more similarities, from Zelda’s new crafting systems to Horizon’s ‘cauldrons’ – which seem like super simplified Zelda temples.

Both games have their own distinct spirit and style, but its safe to say we wouldn’t have Horizon today as we know it without the Zelda franchise.

Final Fantasy XV DLC released

Final Fantasy XV just rolled out its 1.05 patch, along with a Booster Pack and DLC.

The new patch ups the level cap from 99 to 120, adds new songs, introduces new timed quests and increases your photo storage from 150 to 200. It also gives a boost to framerate for PS4 Pro owners, which will improve performance whilst in lite mode.

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All players will now be able to access A King’s Tale, an old-school action game and content previously only available to pre-order customers. From March 1st you’ll be able to play this nice little piece of bonus content.

Season Pass holders will get a couple of cool new items, the best of which a brand new weapon, the Ragnarok sword which can execute powerful warp attacks. Square Enix have also tried to make fishing easier with the addition of superior fishing equipment.

If you’re still deliberating FFXV, you can read our review right here.

South Park: the Fractured But Whole Delayed

Ubisoft have delayed their upcoming South Park sequel again, this time broadening the release window to as late as next year.

The Fractured But Whole was initially set to release 6th December 2016, but was later delayed until Q1 2017. But with that window narrowing quickly and no release date set in stone, it seemed increasingly unlikely we’d get our hands on the game any time soon.

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The publisher confirmed this during their quarterly earnings call, scheduling the game amongst titles in their next fiscal year. That means they expect it to come out before March 2018, but so far there is no specific indication as to what month or even which quarter we can expect the game.

The first game in the series, Stick of Truth, suffered similar holdups and was delayed multiple times before release. Despite a studio switch and development setbacks, Stick of Truth turned out to be a critical success and possibly one of the funniest games ever made. For South Park fans it was a treat, full of easter eggs inspired by the series, and was both a brilliant fantasy RPG and a parody of one.

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Fractured But Whole was showed off at E3 2016, including a look at the superhero creation system and the expanded battle system. It looked to have everything that made the original great plus they were clearly passionate to further improve on the formula.

The only significant and consistent criticism of the last game was its simplistic turn-based battle, which was packed full of humour and a little variety but got a little repetitive mid-way through the game. The developers revealed they were working to improve this in the sequel.

So far they haven’t revealed what is causing the delay and which areas of the game it affects, but considering how polished the preview at E3 looked it shouldn’t worry fans too much. The South Park creators and their team are notorious perfectionists, after all.

17 Games to look out for in 2017

A brand new year of gaming is finally upon us, and the forecast is looking strong.

The last few years have delivered some incredible releases, but just as you think you’ve finally caught up with everything, 2017 is here to blow you away with an incredible line up. From long anticipated entries in beloved series to brand new IPs, there is plenty to get excited for and we’ve put together 17 games to keep an eye on in 2017.

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Resident Evil 7 // January 24, 2017

Capcom’s infamous survival horror returns for another terrifying journey, this time entirely in first person. This lends itself to the fact that the entire game is fully playable in virtual reality, offering a truly horrific experience to anyone brave enough to comply.

In a return to the series’ roots, RE7 puts greater emphasis on the survival horror gameplay that made early games so memorable. Be prepared for a healthy mix of dread, horror and general terror as you tentatively explore the dark and filthy home of the Baker family, unravelling Biohazard’s engaging mysteries.

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South Park Fractured But Whole // 2017

Originally scheduled for late 2016, Ubisoft’s South Park sequel is now set for release in early 2017. Where its predecessor South Park: Stick of Truth was very much in the style of a fantast RPG, Fractured But Whole pokes fun at the superhero genre and will allow players to choose their own superhero from  12 classes as the children face civil war.

The strength of these games is just how well the writing, voice acting and art style line up to feel just like an interactive episode of the much loved cartoon. Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s close involvement in the development of both games is no doubt a major factor in their success, and you can expect a myriad of inappropriate jokes and fart-centric gameplay.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 // 2017

After six long years, an incredibly ambiguous tweet in October delivered the first official clue that we may finally be treated to another open-world western adventure. It sent fans into an immediate frenzy with hundreds of thousands of interactions in less than 24 hours, but we learnt very little is about the game beyond an atmospheric teaser trailer.

Set for a fall 2017 release, Red Dead may be the biggest game of the year as Rockstar take us back to the Wild West for another gunslinging adventure.

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Horizon Zero Dawn // February 28, 2017

One of the most anticipated games of the year for Playstation fans is Guerrilla Games’ impressive looking post-apocalyptic open-world RPG.

If the primeval adventures of robotic dinosaur hunter Aloy weren’t visually stunning enough, the game has been built to make the most of the PS4 Pro’s 4K technology for a sensational gaming experience. Pair that with what looks like an epic story, unique environments and interesting gameplay and combat mechanics, and it’s really hard to fault this epic release.

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Breath of the Wild // 2017

Four years after the project was initially confirmed, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will finally be here in 2017.

The huge Nintendo title doesn’t have an official release date as of yet, but will no doubt be arriving at the end of the disappointing WiiU lifecycle, and just in time to make it onto Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch. With less populated open world environments and a greater emphasis on player agency, very much in the spirit of early Zelda NES titles. For hardcore Zelda fans and nostalgic Nintendo lovers alike, this is one of the most anticipated games of the year.

Gravity Rush 2 // January 18, 2017

Explore the brilliantly muddled chaos of Hekseville, a cloud city that makes up the vibrant world of Gravity Rush 2. The combination of this really thoughtfully designed world, a likeable protagonist (Kat) and a very sweet message about equality and class division makes this sequel to the popular handheld original worth looking out for.

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For Honour // February 14, 2017

This is a game for anyone who has ever imagined warriors from across history facing off against one another, in true Deadliest Warrior style. Choose from Knights, Samurai and Vikings in this entertaining 4v4 multiplayer fighting game, which boasts intelligent and satisfying combat mechanics and entertaining animations unique to the various factions.

Halo Wars 2 // February 21, 2017

The futuristic spin off didn’t get off to the best start, but Halo Wars is a much needed filler for real-time strategy games on console, and this sequel looks to build on the strengths of the original with a new developer, new features and greater tactical depth. Take command of your factions and navigate the battlefield with multiplayer modes for up to six players, all within the lore of the Halo universe.

Star Trek Bridge Crew // March 14, 2017

2016 was the year virtual reality really started to take off, and if you’ve got yourself a headset you will almost certainly be looking out for the latest VR experiences. One of the most exiting releases of 2017 is Stark Trek Bridge Crew, a four player VR game that gives you a role on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Bridge crew is a really strong multiplayer VR game, and for Star Trek fans this is a seriously cool opportunity to fill the boots of your favourite space exploration crew in VR.

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Mass Effect Andromeda // 23 March, 2017

Following a hugely successful trilogy of games, BioWare’s latest release will be a welcome return to the Mass Effect universe with a new story based long after the events of the original series.

Set for release this March, Mass Effect Andromeda will deliver much of what we loved about the original, with branching dialogue and romancing companions, and will allow the player to choose from two playable human characters (one male, one female). Its set to be a visually impressive, futuristic journey through space that fans of sci-fi RPGs will absolutely want to experience.

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Yooka Laylee // 11 April, 2017

A huge crowdfunding success, Yooka Laylee delivers the nostalgic joy of the N64 with a bright and cheery 3D platformer that is very much the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie.

The game has been developed by some of the minds behind the N64 classic, but bear and bird are replaced with a vibrant new partnership; the chameleon Yooka and his bat companion Laylee. The pair brave the beautiful environments, collecting various items such as “Pagies” to unlock and expand worlds.

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Spider Man // TBA

If a brand new Spidey film this year wasn’t enough for you, the beloved hero is set to swing over to consoles this year in a PS4 exclusive from Insomniac. E3 2016 gave us a glimpse of the game’s incredible graphics and sleek gameplay, and although we don’t have an official release date we’re at least expecting to hear more about the project in 2017.

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Untitled Mario // TBA

Although there has been no announcement from Nintendo as of yet prior to their big January Switch announcement, the October trailer for the new console teased a brand new 3D Mario title. If Nintendo want to secure the success of the Switch, a new Mario game available on release makes perfect sense, and we’re expecting more details on this at the Nintendo Switch presentation.

If an open world Mario akin to Super Mario 64 is on the way, they already have my money.

Crash Bandicoot Remastered // 2017

After making an appearance in Uncharted 4, Crash went on to steal the show at E3 2016 with the announcement of more than one Crash Bandicoot remaster. We don’t know much about how these games will be offered, whether bundled together or released individually, but we will no doubt hear more about our favourite bandicoot this year as Crash makes his way to the PS4.

Detroit Become Human // 2017

Set for release in 2017, Quantic Dream’s AI thriller could be the most ambitious storytelling of the year. Building on the success of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, David Cage reportedly spent two years developing the script and casting for the game involved around 220 actors to portray 300 characters.

The game follows multiple android characters through a futuristic Detroit, and revolves around predominantly decision based gameplay as you make tense, emotionally driven choices that directly impact how the story unfolds. After a tantalising E3 2016 trailer, we’re excited to learn more about the project this year.

Shenmue 3 // December 2017

After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, Shenmue has finally got a sequel. Little is known about the third entry to the much-loved Japanese series but the story will take off from the events of Shenmue 2, with new characters and familiar faces. With over $6m in crowdfunding and further investment from Sony, fans can expect to know more about the release this year.

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God of War // TBA

In a series known for its brutality and carnage, it was a surprise to see such an emotionally interesting premise revealed in the E3 2016 trailer. Leaving behind its iconic ancient greek setting, the latest God of War game will follow Kratos through a Norse mythology-inspired world as he strives to temper his emotions and act as a father figure to a young boy. Expect a return to the fast paced, action heavy gameplay synonymous with the Playstation series, but interspersed with legitimately interesting character development and story.

There is no release date on this release as of yet and it’s unlikely we’ll get our hands on it this year, but it’s absolutely one to watch in 2017 as we get a greater idea of what this game has to offer.

 

Microsoft Studios cancel Scalebound

Microsoft have confirmed cancellation of their much anticipated upcoming Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive Scalebound.

Scalebound, from Platinum Games, was set to be an open-world action RPG starring a male protagonist and his dragon companion, with an intricate customization system, huge boss battles and impressive four person co-op gameplay.

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Originally announced at E3 2014, Scalebound was scheduled for release before the end of 2016 but was officially pushed back to 2017.

Rumours of development problems circulated following some choice tweets from Hideki Kamiya, and after it was spotted that the official Scalebound account had been marked as private on Twitter, and game footage had been removed from Microsoft’s YouTube channel.

This was later confirmed in a statement from Microsoft, which gave little away as to why the project came to an end after four years in development.

“After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound. “

The game joins Fable Legends and the Phantom Dust remake in the graveyard of seemingly cancelled Microsoft exclusives, but the statement goes on to highlight the studio’s upcoming releases.

“We’re working hard to deliver an amazing line-up of games to our fans this year, including Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves and other great experiences.”