Narrative-based PUBG game announced, from new team led by Dead Space creator

Here’s a turn-up for the books: far from being contained to battle royale, PUBG Corp is branching out into narrative titles, as the company has today unveiled its new studio Striking Distance.

The studio will “create an original narrative experience within the PUBG universe”, whatever that may be. A post-Soviet thriller? An adventure through the Thai jungle? A Mad Max version of Miramar?

In any case, it seems the new studio will be in good hands, as industry veteran Glen Schofield is taking the helm as CEO. As vice president and general manager at Visceral Games, and later a co-founder of Sledgehammer, he’s worked on some major titles such as Dead Space and Call of Duty. In his introductory video, Schofield said he’s looking forward to “the freedom to explore the PUBG universe” and the opportunities that offers, “which we view as beyond battle royale”.

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As Fallout strays further from its roots, The Outer Worlds looks to fill the void

“Fuck yeah we put a battle royale in Fallout 76,” Bethesda co-studio director Tom Mustaine proudly proclaimed at the company’s E3 conference earlier this month.

“Nuclear Winter is a battle royale born from the Fallout universe, from power armour to perk cards, from CAMP building to wasteland creatures, and of course my personal favourite, nukes,” he continued, before finishing the sentence with a flourish of his hands to outline the shape of an explosion.

If you’d heard those words from the mouth of a Fallout developer back in 1997, chances are you’d be pretty darn confused. For one thing, battle royale – one of the most commercially successful game genres we’ve seen in years – didn’t yet exist, not even in book or film form. Meanwhile, presenting nukes as an amusing and trivial thing in a Fallout game? Surely not.

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PSN Mega Discounts sale cuts the price of Witcher 3, Rage 2 and more

A new Mega Discounts promotion has got underway today on the EU PlayStation Store, offering some substantial savings on many top PS4 games.

You can get up to 65 per cent off titles included in the sale, so while there are pages and pages for you to flick through, I’ve picked out some of the highlights here.

First up, Rage 2 is only £31.99. The id and Avalanche shooter has only been out for a little over a month, but Bethesda always seems quite happy to drop the price of their games soon after launch. This could be quite tempting if you want to mindlessly cruise around blowing up stuff.

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These new Nintendo Switch bundles come with £30 eShop credit

A new batch of Nintendo Switch bundles are now live at Amazon UK – and they include a sweet little bonus of £30 eShop credit.

Each comes in Neon or Grey and with one of three top Switch games, so there are a few options to choose between depending on where your interests lie.

The easiest one to recommend is a Nintendo Switch with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and £30 eShop voucher for £309.99. Link’s latest open-world stroll is an incredible and technically impressive adventure that is constantly full of surprises. Even years after release, the list of cool things people are doing or still finding is ever-growing.

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Cory Barlog discusses almost cutting Kratos from God of War 2018

Kratos might seem inextricable from God of War, but Sony Santa Monica considered dispensing with him early on in the PS4 reboot’s development, fearing that his anti-heroism had become a liability. During an on-stage stage interview at Gamelab in Barcelona today, game director Cory Barlog discussed the game’s change of direction and what almost got hacked out of the package along the way.

“Early in discussion, people were saying we had to get rid of Kratos,” Barlog told Stuart Whyte, director of VR Product Development at Sony London, in an hour-long post-mortem. “It was like, ‘he’s annoying, he’s done’.” Kratos began life as an anti-hero at a time when anti-heroes in games were scarce, Barlog went on. He was designed to be intensely unlikeable, which made sense back in 2005, but after three mainline games, some members of the God of War team felt the character had run his course.

They suggested a brand new protagonist, arguing that the game’s surrounding mythology was more important to the God of War brand than the character. “Kratos is not God of War – Greek mythology is God of War”. Barlog, however, argued that there was a great story to tell about rescuing such a man from his worst impulses. “They really did not like the character. They wanted a new character. It took a lot of convincing to make them think it was a good idea.”

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Super Mario Maker 2 review – whether you’re building or not, this is a joy

Fireballs through pipes. That was my first idea. It was inspired by a level in Super Mario Maker 2’s story mode in which I spawned a fire flower and then blitzed a room of Koopas by bouncing hot death through the pipes they had been using to travel around in and mess me up. When it was all over, I suddenly thought: what if you had a level, right, where Mario couldn’t really move very much, but he had all these pipes which he could launch fireballs down? What if there was a way to have him sort of play this pipe organ of glorious Mario murder, cleaning out the level and perhaps bringing the exit straight to him at the end of it?

This is the first idea I have ever had for a Mario level. It’s the first idea I’ve ever really had for anything, if I’m being honest. And the key is that it didn’t come out of nowhere. The story mode in Mario Maker 2 – a wonderfully frothy collection of over 100 scattershot challenges that takes its cues, I gather, from a similar addition to the 3DS Mario Maker port – gave me the idea. It made me think about the possibilities inherent in the pieces of Mario without me even realising that’s what I was doing. It gave me a prod in the right direction and I barely noticed it even as I started to move.

Mario Maker 2 has a lot of stuff that other content creation games don’t. It has a pigeon that helps you through the tutorials. It has an undo button that is also a dog, and a clean-slate button that is a rocket. But the core thing it has, its unfair advantage in the marketplace, to use the chilly language of VCs, is this: you understand its world from the off. You know how things work. You know what Mario can do and you know how the creatures and objects around him behave. So when it comes to making things yourself, the gentlest of nudges is all you need.

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Ex-Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime on why the studio bins 50% of its projects

When former Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime left the company in April, he had worked at the studio he helped co-found for more than 28 years. Morhaime was at Blizzard before it was called Blizzard, when it was named Silicon & Synapse and when its employee count was three.

He decided to leave to spend more time with his family, Morhaime told an audience at Gamelab conference in Barcelona today, attended for Eurogamer by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell. The talk was hosted by GamesBeat’s Dean Takahashi, and Morhaime’s wife and four-year-old daughter were in the front row.

Morhaime said he’d begun thinking about what was next for him – and had been busy attending conferences to hear more from others who make games. But the lion’s share of the talk centred on his past – on his time at Blizzard, and its many ups and downs.

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