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  1. Whether or not Fortnite's success caught Epic off guard is anyone's guess, but the developer is being surprisingly reactive and outlining where they plan to take the game in the coming months. In a blog post today, Epic talked about how they plan to improve things like teaming up with friends, team killing, and improvements to the game's visual fidelity. Epic wants to revamp the way players can play together, trying to fix the current system of Duos and Squads. Certain regions, like Oceania, don't even have Duos playlists, so the developer plans to take action to fix that. As for team killing, Epic was forced to apologize for not having a proper system in place to combat the problem. "We dropped the ball on addressing team killing," the developer wrote. "We take action based on player reports, but the system isn’t straightforward to use, and doesn’t let you know whether we took action or not. This needs improvement. Last week we started casting a wider net to catch current and past team killers and issued numerous warnings and bans. We are also working on better analytical models to weed out the worst offenders and long term would love to have the ability to pair you with players with good reputation." You can check out the blog post at the source link at the below, but one notable aspect is that Epic is looking to maintain 30 frames per second on the console as its main target and does not look to be increasing or lowering it at all. [Source: Fortnite Blog] Our Take Epic has been very reactive to the Fortnite community, which is the key to a longterm successful multiplayer game. With their insistence on going after cheaters, though not in all the smartest ways, Epic does seem like they want to foster a healthy community.
  2. Bandai Namco has announced a My Hero Academia game for PlayStation 4 and Switch, teased earlier this week with the image of an egg in a microwave. The announcement came from Weekly Jump, the manga magazine that publishes My Hero Academia. Details on the title are sparse, with Bandai Namco promising a full reveal at Jump Festa, a convention/festival centering around said manga magazine but typically includes anime-related video games, like the Tales Of series. Bandai Namco recently affirmed support for the Switch in the new year, promising multiplatform support and a trio of exclusives. The title One's Justice refers to the dichotomy in the series between the two powers All For One and One For All, making the title a little less ridiculous than it sounds. Our Take While this game is obviously not one of the Switch exclusives, it does seem that PS4/Switch is a viable path for Japanese publishers. As a fan of the manga, I'm really hopeful for the game.
  3. EA and DICE have just released notes for Patch 1.03, which they say covers issues they found as they wrapped up development on the game. To begin with, each phase of Galactic Assault now includes more reinforcements, a big change to help balance. It also includes a number of big and small bug fixes, like collision issues or doors not opening for Villains in the Heroes vs. Villains mode. The patch notes also mention that Boba Fett cannot just hover high in the sky above a capture point, which raises the question of how that got into release in the first place. The patch also fixed the issue with the post-match MVP screen, which will now recognize players based on scores rather than specific honors like had previously been implemented. The former method lead to things like this screenshot taken by @Campster of one player getting all the accolades at the end of the match. You can find the full patch notes here. Star Wars: Battlefront II was released earlier this month on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
  4. Stardew Valley, the incredibly popular farm and life game, is getting a host of updates and fixes to the Switch version. The major update adds video capture to the game. The Switch supports video capture as of an October update, but developers have to add it on a per game basis. As of now, very few game support video capture, with Skyrim being the first third-party game, and Stardew Valley seemingly being the first indie game. Additionally, the patch makes saving faster, fixes the issue with controllers getting disconnected, and more. You can find the pull list of patch notes at the source link below. Stardew Valley was released on Switch on October 5. [Source: Stardew Valley Blog]
  5. The wheels on the Pokémon Go wagon keep on turning. As a result of dedicated players' hard work for catching over 3 billion Pokémon in the Global Catch Challenge, a new legendary Pokémon is now in raid battles at gyms around the world. That's right, for a limited time, you can battle Ho-Oh. Recently, The Global Challenge awarded players for their efforts with a bunch of perks beyond just Ho-Oh, from earning double XP to unlocking Farfetch'd. Players have until December 12 to go on the legendary raid to prove themselves against Ho-Oh. [Source: Pokémon Go Official Site]
  6. It's been a banner year for video games, but with the changing seasons comes a new opportunity for aspiring video games journalists. We're now accepting applications for Game Informer's Winter 2018 internship. For details on Game Informer's three-month-long editorial internship click here. If that sounds exciting, you can send a cover letter, resume, and three writing samples (as a single pdf) to The Winter internship will run from January 17 through April 18. We'll continue to accept applications until November 28, so please send your packet along before then! You can learn all about our current group of awesome interns and the paths that led them here by reading their introductory posts. You can also learn more about Game Informer's internship program from the mouths of our Winter 2017 interns, Douglas DeLong, Jared Koncsol, and Craig Taylor, as they discussed their experience on an episode of The GI Show seen below (skip to the intern section here.) (Please visit the site to view this media)
  7. Last week Chinese gaming juggernaut (who owns League of Legends-maker Riot) announced it was working with PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds developer Bluehole to bring the enormously popular multiplayer game to China. Yesterday, however, we learned the collaboration also involves bringing the game to mobile platforms. Tencent, which owns a five-percent stake in Bluehole and is rumored to be exploring the option to buyout the whole company, posted an official announcement (which translated) stating its intention to bring PUBG to phones and tablets, which are enormously popular in China. The announcement did not make clear whether the mobile versions of the game would make it to the West, and did not offer additional details about how it plans to alter the game to "accord with socialist core values, Chinese traditional culture and moral rules." Our Take It makes sense for the company to bring Steam's most popular game to mobile markets, as there are already a few PUBG clones out there. I'm curious to see how much of a boost PUBG will receive from the Chinese market. For as big is the game is now, China could prove to make 2017's biggest surprise an even more prevalent phenomenon.
  8. Sega recently announced that Valkyria Chronicles 4, the fourth game in the real-time strategy RPG series, is coming surprisingly soon in 2018. Today, the website updated with some character details and a Japanese story trailer. The trailer shows off the familiar sights and sounds of Valkyria, replete with tanks and marching soldiers, suggesting a strong return to form after the more school-like direction in the intermediary games after the first one. In addition, the website has also updated with some character profiles, translated by Gematsu. The first character shown, Raz, is Edinburgh Army 101st Division No. 1 Battle Brigade No. 32 Armored Ranger Battalion Squad E division officer and Assault soldier. He's described as "aggressive and quick to get into fights, and talks with a rough tone. He tends to misunderstand due to his clumsy personality, but he is extremely caring of his friends." The other character, Kai, is a sniper master sargeant known as the "One-Shot Killer." She is a childhood friend of Raz and is "a prodigy sharpshooter whose eyes conceal a strong purpose." Check out the story trailer below. Valkyria Chronicles 4 is scheduled for PlayStation 4 in March in Japan, with a Switch version coming later in the summer. A localization has been announced, though no timeframe has been given yet. (Please visit the site to view this media)
  9. Tensions mount and factions collide in the newest trailer for Total War: Rome II's latest expansion, Empire Divided. Posted on November 27, the trailer paints a picture of the game's world and the powers competing for dominance. A renegade commander to the North, a rival ruler to the East, and the Emperor Aurelius struggle for control of the Roman empire, and it's up to players to determine who shall reign supreme when the dust settles. Players can decide the fate of Rome when the expansion launches November 30 on PC.
  10. The amnesiac hero trope gets taken to a whole new level in The Longest Five Minutes, an upcoming JRPG from NIS America. Set during the last five minutes of the final boss fight, players take the role of Flash Back, a hero determined to thwart the Demon King and save his home. The catch is, he's lost all of his memories in the last battle of his journey, from who his allies are to his most powerful techniques. Confused and facing down the world's most dangerous threat, players have to guide Flash through flashbacks to uncover who he is, how he got here, and how to overcome the final boss before it's too late. The game is slated for release in North America on February 13, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, and PC via Steam, with a European release on February 16. (Please visit the site to view this media) Our Take This is one of the cooler takes on the JRPG out there, reworking a common trope people dislike into a fun gameplay mechanic. It'll definitely be a game to look out for next year.
  11. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 continues its rollercoaster ride post-release. After a microtransaction fiasco lead Disney to intervene and a swarm of angry fans, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen had a chance to speak at this year's Credit Suisse Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on a number of topics, including its dedication to microtransactions and how it plans and doesn't plan to implement them. reports that Jorgensen said EA made its decision to pull away from Battlefront 2's microtransaction-based Star Cards because players felt they were paying to win. Jorgensen noted the distaste for this kind of payment/design structure, but didn't dismiss it completely. "Some people have more time than money, and some people have more money than time," he said. "You want to always balance those two." To that end, the company is still committed to implementing microtransactions in some way, but is figuring out the right way to do that. "We're learning and listening to the community in terms of how best to roll that out in the future, and there's more to come as we learn more," Jorgensen said. One way EA isn't considering is leaning in too heavily on character-based cosmetic items, since it could interfere with the canon of a renowned franchise like Star Wars. "If you did a bunch of cosmetic things, you might start to violate the canon," the CFO said. "Darth Vader in white probably doesn't make sense, versus in black. Not to mention you probably don't want Darth Vader in pink. No offense to pink, but I don't think that's right in the canon." Our Take The line about canon feels less like "people" don't want Darth Vader in pink and more like Disney doesn't want Darth Vader in pink (I definitely want to see him in pink). Either way, with the number of side stories, expanded universe characters, and diversity of Star Wars character concepts throughout the years, I find it hard to believe EA couldn't sell cosmetic outfits without going for "Pink Darth Vader" (at least not right away. Pink Vader or bust!).
  12. A data miner on Reddit, known as uninspired_zebra, has discovered a hidden character customization menu within Star Wars: Battlefront II. Over the past two weeks, uninspired_zebra has been going through Battlefront II's files and finding things like Captain Phasma and General Grievance's character pages and models. This time, the data miner has discovered a hidden menu, with legion skin options like the 501st Legion and Coruscant Guard. It is unknown what EA and DICE plan to do with these assets or if they plan to be used at all, though it is exceedingly unlikely that they're cut content. They could be coming in the update scheduled to coincide with The Last Jedi, they could be intended to be dispersed through crates, or purchasable. Check out the video of the menu below to see if anything catches your eye. (Please visit the site to view this media) [Source: r/BattlefrontTwo] Our Take This is a lot of cool stuff to see, so hopefully EA plans a good method of distributing it. It coming out alongside purchasable crystals being turned back on would not be a good look.