Looking good on the way to Xbox Series consoles launch, Part 3

I should say it out loud. I am a long-time Xbox gamer (and I was once a PlayStation fanboy until I started playing Halo: Combat Evolved, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Forza Motorsport on the original Xbox console) and it is great that the next-generation Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X consoles will have backward compatibility right from the start.

Specifically, I started my Xbox journey (with an official Xbox LIVE account) in 2006 with the Xbox 360 console. I played lots of great games on that console such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Halo 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Lost Odyssey, Assassin’s Creed III, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the Mass Effect trilogy just to name a few.

Even though the current 8th console generation was not too rosy for Xbox due to the weak 1st party game support on the part of Microsoft, I still enjoyed gaming on my Xbox One. The Outer Worlds was one of the best sci-fi RPGs I have ever played. Fallout 4 was just as engaging and as immersive Skyrim in my experience. Also I had great fun playing Red Dead Redemption 2.

That being said, I certainly do not want my past Xbox generation game collection – both physical media and digital copies – to just go to waste. This is why I really appreciate Team Xbox for implementing backward compatibility on the two Xbox Series consoles which will launch less than a month from now. I myself enjoyed replaying my favorite Xbox 360 games on my Xbox One  (a few among them were Red Dead Redemption, Lost Odyssey and the entire Mass Effect trilogy) and having the same feature for the next-generation is a very good thing!

On Xbox.com, Director of Program Management for Xbox Series X Jason Ronald explained the efforts their team made since the big breakthrough of 2015 plus other details about the tremendous addition of value backward compatibility brings to the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. Excerpt below:

Our compatibility journey began with the announcement of Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility coming to Xbox One at E3 2015. I clearly remember that first magical experience of jumping into one of my favorite Xbox 360 games, Final Fantasy XIII, and instantly resuming where I had left off years before as if no time had passed at all. I was instantly transported back to that special time and all the great memories and personal connections I have made through gaming. The energy and passion from the community continues to motivate us to this day.

Through a tremendous amount of hard work, technical innovation, and partnership with the industry’s leading creators we were not only able to bring more than 500 Xbox 360 games to Xbox One, we were able to go back even further into the archives and resurrect some of your favorite franchises from the original Xbox. The very same team who created new innovative ways to preserve and enhance your existing catalog of games on Xbox One is the same team pushing the envelope again with Xbox Series X.

Maintaining compatibility presents a massive technical challenge as fundamental system and chip architectures advance across generations. Developers highly optimize their games to the unique capabilities and performance of a console to provide the best experience for their players. To make the Xbox Series X our most compatible console ever required both significant innovation in the design of the custom processor as well as the unique design of the Xbox operating system and hypervisor at the heart of our next generation platform.

With more than 100,000 hours of play testing already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites. Many of us in Team Xbox play on the Xbox Series X daily as our primary console and switching between generations is seamless. By the time we launch this holiday, the team will have spent well over 200,000 hours ensuring your game library is ready for you to jump in immediately.

As seen in the paragraph right above, the 100,000 hours figure is very significant and it shows that no shortcuts were taken with regards to play testing and quality assurance. That figure is only rising and that is great dedication for not only Xbox fans with huge game collections but also consumers in general.

It should be noted that the more affordable Xbox Series S console will run backward compatibility a bit differently since it cannot render visuals in native 4K (it can however upscale in 4K). A September 14, 2020 update to Ronald’s article states:

the Xbox Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR. As for next generation titles, Xbox Series S was designed to be the most affordable next generation console and play them at 1440P at 60fps.

The premium Xbox Series X console, unsurprisingly, has huge advantages for anyone who loves playing past games via backward compatibility. Enhanced visuals? Check! Improved frame rates? Check! Heavily reduced load times? Check! Much better performance? Check! Check out the excerpt below:

Not only should gamers be able to play all of these games from the past, but they should play better than ever before. Backwards compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and the SSD. No boost mode, no downclocking, the full power of the Xbox Series X for each and every backward compatible game. This means that all titles run at the peak performance that they were originally designed for, many times even higher performance than the games saw on their original launch platform, resulting in higher and more steady framerates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality. Backwards compatible titles also see significant reductions in in-game load times from the massive leap in performance from our custom NVME SSD which powers the Xbox Velocity Architecture. As I play through my personal backlog as part of our internal testing, all of the incredible games from Xbox One and earlier play best on Xbox Series X.

The team was not content to just rely on the increased hardware performance to improve your playing experience. The team developed new platform level capabilities to ensure all of your games continue to get even better. In partnership with the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, Xbox Series X delivers a new, innovative HDR reconstruction technique which enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games. As this technique is handled by the platform itself, it allows us to enable HDR with zero impact to the game’s performance and we can also apply it to Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles developed almost 20 years ago, well before the existence of HDR.

In addition, the new Quick Resume feature was designed to not only work with new games, but it can also be enabled for backward-compatible titles. Quick Resume enables players to resume exactly where they left off, across multiple titles, ensuring gamers can get right back to the fun in an instant.

Website Gaming Bolt recently published their own video explaining the so-called secrets of backward compatibility on Xbox Series X.

Going back to Jason Ronald’s article, it should be noted how dedicated their team is towards fans. The excerpt below:

Beginning with Xbox One X, the compatibility team developed brand new innovations that could be applied to a hand curated list of titles to enhance them even further than what was possible when they were first created. Techniques such as the Heutchy method, which enables titles to render with increased resolutions up to 4K, or applying anisotropic filtering to improve the final image quality bring these classic games up to modern standards, better than ever before.

With all of the additional power and advancements of the Xbox Series X, the compatibility team now has a veritable playground of new capabilities to innovate and push the limits of game preservation and enhancement. The compatibility team has invented brand new techniques that enable even more titles to run at higher resolutions and image quality while still respecting the artistic intent and vision of the original creators. We are also creating whole new classes of innovations including the ability to double the frame rate of a select set of titles from 30 fps to 60 fps or 60 fps to 120 fps.

The team also continues to listen to feedback from the community on additional titles you would like to see added to the compatibility program.

With the enhancements confirmed, check out Window Central Gaming’s comparative YouTube video of Monster Hunter World running on Xbox One X (currently the most powerful gaming console available) and Xbox Series X.

As of this writing, the backward compatibility feature on the Xbox Series consoles covers lots of titles of Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. What is expected not to be included are Kinect motion sensor games released on Xbox 360. On the side of PlayStation, PS5 is backward compatible with PS4 games only. Until now, Jim Ryan and Mark Cerny still have not figured out ways to make PS5 a compatible with the many, many games of PS1-PS2-PS3. Perhaps they never tried to do it at all, letting down their fans and consumers in general. It is weird because Sony used to be the shining example of video game backward compatibility starting with PlayStation 2 (PS2). Backward compatibility continued in the next generation with PS3 but only for the initial units. Subsequent PS3 consoles were made without the compatibility.

In ending this article, here are some more videos about Xbox Series X backward compatibility for your learning and enjoyment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more Xbox-related stuff, check out the Xbox Series Philippines Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/XboxOnePH

Looking good on the way to Xbox Series consoles launch, Part 2

A little over a month from today, Microsoft will be launching through its varied retail partners worldwide their next-generation consoles Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The big day is November 10, 2020 and already a lot of consumers have already ordered their own units of the mentioned next-generation consoles. Even in Japan, where Xbox traditionally failed, the initial pre-orders for Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X there have sold out! Really, things are looking good towards November 10.

Along the way are the launch games which are a big mix of titles (note: cross-generation releases are included) from the 3rd party game publishers plus some from independent game makers and Team Xbox itself.

Have you ordered an Xbox Series X or an Xbox Series S unit already?

On launch day, prospective Xbox Series console owners can choose Dirt 5 if they crave for high-fidelity, action-packed racing. With Assassin’s Creed Valhalla from Ubisoft, they can have the stealth action experience complete with open-world exploration. If it’s role-playing and action they want with a Japanese underworld setting, then Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be there. NBA 2K21 will be the basketball video game of choice. For real-time strategy set in the Gears of War universe, Gears Tactics is the definitive gaming experience waiting to be discovered. Last but not least, The Falconeer will offer gamers the flight and shooting experiences that can entertain them a lot.

Before the November 10, 2020 Xbox Series consoles launch, Ubisoft will release its newest entry in the Watch Dogs open-world game franchise titled Watch Dogs: Legion which has a futuristic London setting and the game is designed to let gamers play as multiple characters who can be recruited and engage in missions. Like its predecessors, Watch Dogs: Legion will be filled with open-world missions and hacking will be a major gameplay feature. This game will launch for current generation consoles on October 29, 2020 but it will be available for the Xbox Series consoles on launch day. Like other cross-gen, multiplatform games, expect Watch Dogs: Legion to look and play better on Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X (read: ray-tracing plus other visual enhancements).

After November 10, 2020, there will be other games coming out such as CrossFireX, Immortals Fenix Rising, Call of the Sea, and the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 to name a few.

When it comes more Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X games coming in the following years, pay close attention to what Xbox Games Marketing General Manager Aaron Greenberg wrote at Xbox.com.

From the Xbox.com article of Greenberg.

After revealing interesting statistics and achievements in the early part of his article, Greenberg stated:

It’s been a tremendous year so far, and it’s going to get even better with the launch of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on November 10. Across four generations and thousands of games playable this holiday, this will be the largest launch lineup in the history of gaming. We’ll be sharing even more details on every game being fully optimized this holiday for the launch of Xbox Series X|S later this month, as well as showing more gameplay from these titles, so stay tuned for more.

Between our growing Xbox Game Studios teams, the massive influx of high-quality content from our new partners at Bethesda, and many more unannounced games in development, the future has never been brighter for Xbox gamers!

Greenberg made clear that Team Xbox still have some pre-launch details and stuff to show within this current month. We don’t know yet what they will show but it will most likely add more power to the current public excitement for the upcoming Xbox Series consoles. It’s an excitement that not even the most sarcastic Xbox haters and not even the paid PlayStation propagandists can bring down.

Even though the launch games lineup for the Xbox Series consoles does not look that numerous on face value, the backward compatibility on the upcoming consoles ensures that Xbox fans (especially those who owned games through at least two generations of Xbox consoles) will be able to choose and play from the many, many video games from the original Xbox right up to the soon-to-end Xbox One. Thanks to the immense investment Team Xbox made on backward compatibility, the said feature will enhance the old generation games on Xbox Series consoles. By comparison, Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) is only limited to PS4 games for backward compatibility.

And then there was Greenberg’s mention of Bethesda, the agreed acquisition of which easily rocked the gaming industry and its effects are still being felt and discussed by gamers across social media until now. The Xbox-Bethesda deal means that future games of established game franchises such as Doom, Dishonored, The Elder Scrolls, Wolfenstein and Fallout will only be released through the Xbox ecosystem which includes the Xbox consoles (specifically Xbox One and the two Xbox Series consoles) and Windows 10 PC supported by Xbox Game Pass and xCloud. In other words, future Bethesda games will NOT appear on PlayStation and Nintendo consoles.

While it is very clear that Bethesda role-playing game (RPG) franchises The Elder Scrolls and Fallout make Xbox Game Studios a major powerhouse for RPGs, the shooter franchises Doom and Wolfenstein are doing the same with regards to shooter-type games. Think about it…Microsoft can release a new Halo, a new Gears of War, a new Doom and a new Wolfenstein within a relative short period of time. Each new game from the mentioned shooter franchises is sure to sell in the millions and further establish the Xbox ecosystem as a major sector of the video game industry as we know it.

Also mentioned by Greenberg are the many unannounced games in development from Xbox Game Studios. I sure hope that means a new Perfect Dark is being made and I would love to see Obsidian Entertainment work on a sequel to The Outer Worlds after they are done with making Avowed. Oh yes, Xbox game studio inXile (Wasteland 3) is working on new games.

As you can see here, there is a whole lot of games and fun experiences to look forward to in the years to come only on the Xbox ecosystem. Compared to what happened in 2013, the pre-launch momentum for Team Xbox is strongly positive and anticipation for the next-generation Xbox consoles is undeniably strong. Once the first batch of the expected 1st party Xbox games come out in the next few years, you will really see Microsoft becoming much more competitive with Sony and Nintendo. It’s just a matter of time and it will be exciting!

In ending this, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your learning and excitement for the next-generation!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more Xbox-related stuff, check out the Xbox Series Philippines Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/XboxOnePH

My Observations: Future Bethesda games being exclusive on the Xbox ecosystem lock out competitors

For so long have many people criticized Team Xbox of Microsoft for being too weak with their 1st party games and for having not enough exclusive games. Such criticism does not matter anymore because Microsoft made the heavy investments in expanding their Xbox Game Studios member developers through acquisitions and such developments further escalated with Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media and have game publisher Bethesda integrated with Team Xbox.

Think about it. Bethesda game developers moved Xbox Game Studios teams from 15 to a whopping 23! This also means that Microsoft effectively owns the established Bethesda intellectual properties and game franchises of Dishonored, Doom, Prey, Wolfenstein and the best-selling franchises Fallout and The Elder Scrolls! Very clearly Microsoft spent $7.5 billion very strategically and as a result, the Xbox 1st party lineup of developers and franchises easily overwhelmed those of PlayStation.

Future games of these established video game franchises – plus the upcoming game Starfield – will be available only through the Xbox ecosystem. What Microsoft owns, Sony and Nintendo cannout touch.

This bring me to my next point – the Xbox ecosystem exclusivity of Bethesda’s future games and franchises! This is the one topic that made PlayStation fanboys disappointed and very uneasy, and I spotted a lot of them on Twitter. Why? For starters, the Xbox ecosystem is composed of the Xbox consoles (Xbox One and its variants, plus the upcoming next-generation Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X), Windows 10 PC plus the many millions of smartphones that will be able to play games via streaming (with Project xCloud).

More on the exclusivity of Bethesda’s future games for Xbox, here is an excerpt from Yahoo! Finance’s interview with Xbox division head Phil Spencer.

Spencer confirmed that ZeniMax games will appear on Microsoft’s xCloud the same day they are released in retail, making the service even more worthwhile for dedicated gamers.

But it also leaves the question as to whether Microsoft will bring ZeniMax games to competing consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. Making games exclusive to a single console can be incredibly lucrative, as it forces gamers to buy certain systems to access their favorite games.

Microsoft, however, has also shown that it’s willing to share such properties with rivals as evidenced by its decision to put “Minecraft” on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, as well as Android and iOS.

“In terms of where games will show up, our commitment is that our games will show up in Game Pass, PC, and on console and be available on xCloud,” Spencer said. “In terms of other platforms, I think we’ll take it on a case-by-case basis.”

As seen at the end of the above excerpt, Phil Spencer’s “our games” quote refers clearly to what games Microsoft owns and that already includes Bethesda’s games. He went on to confirm his company’s games will be released for the Xbox console users and Windows 10 users through the fast-growing Xbox Game Pass subscription service and Project xCloud. There definitely is no PlayStation console included. Even though Spencer did not mention the word “exclusive”, he confirmed the exclusivity when he referred to their games and the Xbox ecosystem. If PlayStation gamers really want future games of Wolfenstein, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls on PlayStation 5 (PS5), they can shout all they want but Sony cannot make it happen for them because it is Microsoft who has the final word to make that happen. Hence the “case-by-case basis” words of Spencer.

Of course, Microsoft did not spend $7.5 billion only to make Bethesda games and franchises available on non-Xbox platforms. They already invested so much on Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud, now is the time for them to fill it with exclusive content and gamers who want the Bethesda games will need a Windows 10 PC and/or an Xbox console (note: the next-generation Xbox Series consoles are recommended since Xbox One is on its way out). For Microsoft making Bethesda games available on PS5, Nintendo’s Switch (and its successor) is a self-defeating move.

As for Yahoo! Finance’s mentioning of Minecraft being a multiplatform release, they did not mention the fact that the said game was already available on other platforms BEFORE Microsoft acquired Mojang in 2014. Clearly this is not the same with the Xbox-Bethesda deal, and Microsoft will use Bethesda properties as leverage against Sony and Nintendo when it comes to exclusive content for the Xbox ecosystem.

The next-generation console competition is only heating up and Team Xbox has the advantages! Nintendo and Sony cannot do anything to compel Microsoft to have Bethesda release The Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield and Fallout 5 on their respective consoles. Those two do not own Bethesda and Sony’s exclusive games deals with Bethesda is only temporary at best. After that deal ends with no renewal, there will be no more new Bethesda games for PlayStation gamers and they will only have to settle with old ones like The Elder Scrolls Online, Skyrim, Fallout 4.

In the near future, this upcoming fantasy RPG will be available only on Xbox Series consoles and Windows 10 PC through Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud.

For the role-playing game (RPG) genre, Team Xbox already has the very talented inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 3) and Obsidian Entertainment (The Outer Worlds) making even new exclusive RPGs for the Xbox ecosystem. Add Bethesda’s Starfield, The Elder Scroll VI and the unannounced Fallout sequel, then it is very clear that the Xbox ecosystem will be the best destination for gamers who love compelling, fun and enduring RPGs. Meanwhile, Sony itself does not have the talents nor the resources to make their own high-quality RPGs which is why they desperately signed a timed-exclusive deal with Square Enix to have Final Fantasy XVI first on PS5.

Again, all of these details and developments show that the $7.5 billion Xbox-Bethesda deal is for the long-term and Microsoft now has the means to build up the Xbox ecosystem in terms of content, features and the global userbase. It should be noted that the franchises of Doom, Fallout, Dishonored, Wolfenstein and Elder Scrolls have many millions of dedicated fans and to continue enjoying future games they will definitely be flocking into the Xbox ecosystem (goodbye Sony and Nintendo gamer communities). It truly is a megaton, video game industry shaking business deal that really caught Sony and Nintendo off-guard. I should state that the promise of future Bethesda releases alone will convince gamers (the Bethesda franchise fans, the casual gamers and hardcore gamers) to buy Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X even though the forming lineup of launch games does not look too hot. It will be in the 2nd year of the next-generation Xbox Series consoles that the real blockbuster exclusive games will come out and attract gamers who want the best gaming experiences that can only be found in the Xbox ecosystem. Lastly, the Xbox-Bethesda deal ensures that Team Xbox will not suffer from any lack of exclusive games in the years to come. We will see if Nintendo and Sony can keep up with Team Xbox’s pace, only this time without new games of Doom, Fallout, Elder Scrolls.  

In ending this, watch these Xbox-Bethesda videos from Colteastwood and Rand al Thor 19. Watch and listen very closely. 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Movies and video games at DC FanDome

Today, DC Comics fans had a day-long blast of excitement as a result of the DC FanDome event that was global in scope. To be clear, DC FanDome is multi-media in terms of the presentations of DC Comics franchises, projects and talents. As such, comic book publishing giants like Jim Lee plus Hollywood talents like Gal Gadot, Patty Jenkins and Zack Snyder were present online to showcase DC’s projects (ranging from comic books to animation, video games and motion pictures).

For this article, I have decided to narrow the scope down to movies and video games. The following movies and video games caught my attention and for each, I’ll share my honest opinion. Let’s start with the movies…

The movies

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984, as I made clear before, is my most wanted superhero movie as I loved the 2017 movie (and has the iconic scene that will be remembered for a long time) and I deeply enjoyed Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Queen of all Superheroes. While it is disappointing that the current pandemic delayed the Wonder Woman 1984 and made its future theatrical release uncertain, the newest trailer eased the pain of waiting for me and I should say that I love what was shown. The great stuff shown seem to reflect the deepening creative synergy between star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins. What surprised me the most was that Warner Bros.’ marketing team went on to show Dr. Minerva in her anticipated physical form as Cheetah in battle with Wonder Woman. I was hoping that the filmmakers and the marketing team would keep the Cheetah appearance secret until the film’s opening. Regardless, I am very excited for Wonder Woman 1984 and if you want to prepare yourselves for it, I highly recommend reading Wonder Woman #9 (1987) which was George Perez’s modernizing of Cheetah.

The Batman

The DC FanDome trailer showed that this newest cinematic Batman directed by Matt Reeves starring Robert Pattinson looks really impressive. In terms of aesthetics, The Batman appears to share the visual style and gritty touch of Batman Begins. Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman has a very rough look, so much so he made me forget that he played a vampire before. When it comes to presenting the characters, Reeve’s Batman (along with his equipment) looks radically different from Zack Snyder’s Batman, and Catwoman in this new movie has a more grounded-in-reality look. In what appears to be a sign of rough action coming, the short clip showing Pattinson’s Batman quickly and painfully beating a thug in front of others looks very Intriguing. With regards to the setting, director Reeves stated before that the film’s story is set within the DC Universe but it will be done without cameo appearances and without fan service elements that would suggest a shared universe. It will be its own story and, more importantly, it will redefine Batman once again. This movie is currently scheduled for a 2021 release.

The Suicide Squad

After a long wait for concrete details, the official unveiling of The Suicide Squad under the direction of James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy films) is well worth it and even though there are no plot details, the new movie looks pretty promising to be fun (at least in terms of spectacle). How James Gunn will be able to make an enjoyable movie, I can only imagine him mixing up the characters, have their personalities clash or slide well with each other, and deliver the action. Again, there are no details about what the story is but safe to say this one is no cheap movie and chances are good it will make moviegoers forget about the cynical presentation of the 2016 Suicide Squad movie (which I admit I enjoyed to a certain extent). Apart from the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, the cast has notable additions like martial artist/fitness model Mayling Ng as Mongal, Michael Rooker sa Savant, and Idres Elba as Bloodsport!

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (AKA The Snyder Cut)

Believe it or not, I personally am not too excited for this so-called more definitive version of the 2017 Justice League movie under Zack Snyder. To a certain extent, I had my enjoyment of the 2017 Justice League but ended up disappointed it never had an epic presentation to match its epic concept. As much as I love seeing DC Comics’ premier superheroes get together to save the world from tremendous danger, I am not convinced to avail of HBO Max (note: this director’s cut is not going to cinemas) streaming to watch the anticipated Snyder cut. In my honest view, Justice League of 2017 has been done and it seems like a backward move to revisit the film even in the form of a more specific vision of Zack Snyder. Regardless, Snyder’s vision of the JL will be realized in 2021. How it will impact the status of the current DC Comics cinematic universe remains to be seen.

The video games

Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights, developed by WB Games Montréal and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is an action-adventure game set in the city of Gotham which, once again, has been struck by criminals. As seen in the above gameplay showcase, Mr. Freeze struck Gotham and Batgirl and Robin join forces to take him on. In terms of game design, Gotham City is an open-world environment and players will be able to select and play as Nightwing or Red Hood or Robin or Batgirl. Batman is out of the spotlight this time which explains why the other four characters are needed. How this new video game will perform critically and commercially remains to be seen. Can it sell without letting players play as the iconic Batman? Gotham Knights is being made for Windows 10 PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.  

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

This other game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is very notable not because of its concept of the Suicide Squad going against the Justice League, but simply because it is the first new game in many years made by the acclaimed Rocksteady Studios which is best known for the main Batman Arkham video games. As of now, we only have a cinematic (non-gameplay) trailer emphasizing its concept. While details about the gameplay are unavailable, the city environment in the trailer suggests the game may come with an open-world design similar to what Rockstead did in Batman Arkham City and Batman Arkham Knight. Whatever Rocksteady is doing, they should be able to deliver the fun stuff. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is being made for Windows 10 PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X.

In closing this, I recommend you watch the latest video of YouTuber Dealer Gaming which has insights about Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League and Gotham Knights. You’ll also learn the latest regarding Xbox Series X.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Get ready for more excitement and discovery in The Outer Worlds DLC “Peril on Gorgon”, set for release on September 9, 2020

Hey fellow gamers and geeks! Let me start by saying that even though I really enjoyed finishing the acclaimed sci-fi role-playing game The Outer Worlds three times on my Xbox One since the initial release, I still have yet to publish my official review of it here.

Apart from being busy with private sector duty, I spent time exploring what the initial release of the Obsidian-developed game had to offer in terms of its content, characters and the outcome of its storytelling which was decided by making decisions. As much as I kept on playing and exploring the game in each playthrough, I could not find ways to visit the other planets in the system and this made me decide to wait first for the DLC. The other reason why I have not published my review is this…I decided to wait first for the announced DLC to be released.

After several months of waiting, Microsoft-owned developer Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout New Vegas) and publisher Private Division finally confirmed on July 23, 2020 (same day as the Xbox Games Showcase) that the first downloadable content (DLC) expansion for The Outer Worlds is titled Peril on Gorgon which will be released for gamers who own the game on Xbox One (note: the main game and the DLC will also work on Xbox Series X), PS4, Switch and PC on September 9, 2020.

Some things await visitors on Gorgon.

To be more specific, Peril on Gorgon is actually the first of two narrative expansion DLCs from Obsidian/Private Division that can be purchased individually or bundled at a discount in The Outer Worlds Expansion Pass. Quite obviously, the copy of The Outer Worlds is required for the DLC to work. If I were you, pay close attention to details on The Outer Worlds listing on your online gaming network for updates about the DLC and expansion pass.

Back to the first DLC coming, you must be wondering what Peril on Gorgon is about. Watch the trailer below first.

Here’s an excerpt straight from Obsidian’s website:

A severed arm and a mysterious message lead the crew of the Unreliable to the Gorgon Asteroid, formerly the site of one of Halcyon’s most ambitious and disastrous scientific undertakings, now a lawless den of monsters and marauders. Wealthy recluse Minnie Ambrose tasks the crew with finding answers about Dr. Olivia Ambrose, her mother and the doomed project’s disgraced director, but they are soon ensnared in an intrigue that will change the colony forever.

As far as the announcement trailer and above description go, the DLC has an asteroid as the setting and the concept of it as the location of a facility is indeed intriguing. How exactly will it connect to the main story remains to be seen. I personally intend to play The Outer Worlds with a new (4th playthrough) once I download Peril on Gorgon.

Dead bodies on the floor of a nice looking place…did the robot ahead had anything to do with them?

What new features will Peril on Gorgon bring to those who already played The Outer Worlds? Below is an excerpt from Obsidian:

Intrigue and danger: Search an abandoned Spacer’s Choice facility and encounter a cast of new characters as you uncover the mystery behind the sudden cancellation of the Gorgon Project.

New locations: Explore the treacherous canyons of the Gorgon Asteroid and encounter enemies that have been warped by science.

More science weapons: Discover three outlandish new science weapons, including the P.E.T. (Pest Extermination Tool), an exciting new melee weapon that draws in enemies for close-range attacks.

Expanded character customization and lore: An increased level cap, additional perks and flaws, wholly new armor sets, and several variants for existing gear. Plus, dig into the story of the Gorgon Asteroid with new Portable Phonograph audio logs that reveal the salacious secrets of a scientific experiment gone wrong.

As seen above, Obsidian not only made efforts to add more variety (if not depth) to the game’s narrative plus new places to explore, they also came up with new science weapons that may improve the battle system. Additional perks and flaws might just improve the way players can customize their characters. As for the new variants for gear and new armor sets, here is hoping their usefulness in the game will really be felt.

You should look forward to more shooting in this DLC, especially since there will be new science weapons.
Are you interested in spending more time drinking at the bar?

What concerns me is the apparent lack of new monsters to fight. Not only were there no new monsters mentioned in Obsidian’s confirmed DLC details, there were monsters from the original game that appeared in the Peril on Gorgon trailer albeit with different colors.

But then again, the trailer is only a taste of things to come. Perhaps Obsidian is keeping more of the new stuff secret and will just let us gamers buy the DLC, play it and found out what it really has. I hope they will add at least two new species of monsters plus a larger, stronger superior monster per species.

How long will the DLC be in return for the price of downloading? According to a GameRant.com article (citing Polygon.com), players can expect an estimated length of 6 to 8 hours on the new adventure citing the claims of The Outer Worlds director Carrie Patel that it should take about as long as the main game’s Monarch hub. Potentially, the DLC could last more than eight hours if players would really push themselves hard to explore just about every spot in each location and exploring the different outcomes via the decision-making sequences. There is also the possibility that a high number of enemies and monsters may have been set up by the developers to challenge gamers.

Peril on Gorgon DLC is coming out on September 9, 2020.

While there is a build-up for Peril on Gorgon, I wish that Microsoft, Obsidian and Private Division would work together somehow to showcase The Outer Worlds being optimized for the next-generation Xbox Series X. In fact, when it comes to optimizing previous Xbox console generation games running on Xbox Series X, I don’t think Microsoft has done enough to emphasize that and there are roughly three months left before the launch of their new console!

Speaking of Xbox Series X, I urge you to watch this brand new video about the console by Dealer Gaming! Follow him on Twitter now!

For more video game news, features and updates, come back here soon.

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Resident Evil 3 Remake Coming Out April 2020 (UPDATED January 16, 2020)

Early this year, I had a grand time playing the big budget remake of Resident Evil 2 on my Xbox One. Because I had a lot of fun and engagement with that particular game, I wish that a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (which I enjoyed a lot back in 1999) would be made.

For those of you who missed the hot news, Capcom formally announced that a remake of Resident Evil 3 is being produced and it will be released for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on April 3, 2020!

Watch the trailer here now.

For those who never played Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, that game was originally a spin-off but was titled like a sequel since there was an agreement back then for RE games released on PlayStation to have their titles numbered. Sure RE3 lacked the depth of the acclaimed Resident Evil 2 (released in 1998) in terms of storytelling, production values and fantasy concept but it proved to be a whole lot of fun and it went on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide.

The 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2 sold more than 5 million units worldwide. Considering its commercial and critical success, the announcement of Resident Evil 3’s remake hardly is surprising. What I do find surprising, however, is that the new game will be released much sooner than expected. Come to think of it, RE3 on PlayStation was released over a year after RE2.

Now we take a look at the remake of RE3.

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Like the Resident Evil 2 remake, a 3rd-person shooting view is implemented. (visual source – RE3 Developer Diary Video)

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Resident Evil 3’s story begins a day before the events of RE2 and it explores more of the streets and alleys of zombie-fested Raccoon City.

No surprise, the developers used the same game engine from RE2 on RE3 remake. They also implemented the 3rd-person views (including the by-the-shoulder view when aiming to fire) and controls.

Like its 1999 version, RE3’s story took place a day before the events of Resident Evil 2. Before Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield arrived in Raccoon City, the outbreak (caused by the top secret virus of Umbrella) took place causing a lot of people to become zombies. Somewhere along the way, Jill Valentine (now wearing dark pants and a sleeveless top) avoided getting infected but finds herself in the middle of an entire city with many zombies and other monsters lurking on the streets, the alleys and inside varied establishments. Her goal is simply to escape and survive somehow.

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The ever familiar Brad Vickers.

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A rougher looking Carlos Oliveira.

As Jill struggles, something tall, strong and grotesque walks around the city…Nemesis. Unlike the zombies and monsters around, Nemesis exists to search and destroy members of S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service). That happens to be the same team Jill was part of and she becomes a target. Complicating matters is the sudden presence of armed Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service personnel (which includes Carlos Oliveira).

While the official game trailer showed bits and pieces of what will come with regards to storytelling, too little was shown about the gameplay which, in my analysis, will be very similar in style and execution to RE2’s remake but this particular remake may have more gameplay features to make it distinct like the unpredictable dodging of the 1999 RE3, more sprinting sequences, an improved 180-degree turn and, eventually, decision-making in key moments of storytelling scenes (which is a major new feature of the 1999 RE3).

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The modernized look of Jill Valentine. Do you miss her tube top and mini-skirt from the 1999 Resident Evil 3? (visual source – RE3 Developer Diary Video)

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Nemesis looks a bit redesigned for this game.

Like the RE2 remake, the characters of this game have been redesigned to look modern. Carlos Oliveira, who was a temporary playable character in the 1999 Resident Evil 3, now has shaggier hair and facial hair. Jill Valentine does not start the game with her 1999 look (the tube top and mini-skirt) but rather with dark pants and a sleeveless top. Gamers who want the 1999 styles of Carlos and Jill to be in the game can do that by pre-ordering the new game which will grant paying gamers the Resident Evil 3 Classic Costume Pack. Xbox One gamers who want to pre-order it now can do so at GameStop.

What surprised me about the remake announcement was the inclusion of Resident Evil: Resistance which is an an asymmetrical online game. My personal interest on it is low, however.

The Resident Evil 3 remake is a wish come true for me personally. I’m looking forward to its April 2020 release although I still would like to see Capcom release more previews to show more gameplay features so that gamers will have a clear idea as to how it will play. Going back to the late 1990s, Resident Evil 3 was more action-oriented than Resident Evil 2.

UPDATE – January 16, 2020

Recently Capcom released a new trailer and new screenshots of the fast approaching remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

For your enjoyment, watch the trailer here now.

This time around, the newest trailer shows more of the modern redesign of the famous RE villain Nemesis with a touch of photo-realism. What surprised me was Nemesis using a flame thrower and from the looks of it, it seems that the game developers are trying to adjust the gameplay (specifically with the encounters between Jill and Nemesis) somewhat  and make the experience for gamers different. Since the push for more in-game realism was implemented in Resident Evil 2’s remake, it would be outlandish to show Jill get hit by a rocket from Nemesis (who was armed with a rocket launcher in the original Resident Evil 3) and not get killed in the new game.

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A closer look at Nemesis.

It’s a safe bet that the game developers have multiple encounters between Jill and Nemesis set up in the game. I can imagine playing as Jill firing her shotgun at Nemesis who would either be standing (and firing flame towards Jill) or be walking close to her for an intended neck grab or punch. That being said, having a rocket launcher does not make much sense.

I still remember the times when I controlled Jill in the original RE3, I got hit by one of Nemesis rockets only to suffer damage (not instant death).

There was also more of Carlos (the other playable character) and his armed companions of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (UBCS) as well short story clips of him with Jill. Anyone who played and finished RE3 of 1999 will be familiar with the interactions between them.

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Carlos O. and his shaggy look.

What struck me the most in the newest trailer was the modern redesign of the Hunter shown during the short clip of Carlos encountering one. That particular Hunter resembles the amphibian-type Hunter in the original RE3. There is another variant of the Hunter from the old game colored red and dark grey, and I can only wonder what that would look like in the new game.

While I did not expect Capcom to fully reveal everything through trailers and interviews, I still wonder the following:

  1. If ever Nemesis will run around in this new game (like he did in the original RE3), how can such a feature work efficiently given the use of the 3rd person, over-the-shoulder view for the player’s control? Nemesis running in the old game made sense and even though the tank-like controls of the time were clunky, they were still good enough to move Jill around and dodge (by means of button-pressing). The static camera angles of the old days gave players a nice view where to move Jill around zombies or monsters.
  2. Will weapon upgrades or special items be made available for players to pick-up once they temporarily defeat Nemesis in each encounter (like in the original RE3)?
  3. If the game developers will allow Jill to enter and explore Raccoon City Police Station (like in the original game), how much of it will be open for temporary exploration?

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For Jill Valentine fans.

That’s it for now. Come back here soon for new updates.

Observation of the first twelve hours Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

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Very recently I got to play the first twelve hours of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition on my Xbox One console. As the subtitle showed, this is an enhanced re-release of the game which first came out on Xbox 360 in the year 2008.

This early I can confirm that Bandai Namco delivered its promise on Tales of Veperia: DE as the game’s visuals have been upscaled which means that the anime cut scenes and the in-game cut scenes (cel-shaded polygons and colorful 3D surroundings) look really crisp. More importantly this new version has two additional playable characters with Patty (the little pirate) and Flynn (rival of Yuri).

With Patty and Flynn added, so were the cut scenes and this also meant additional voice-overs, more in-game art and more sound effects altogether. Oh yes, their respective abilities and gameplay features added even more variety to the game’s big mix of features.

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Patty the pirate!

When it comes to the gameplay experience, I should say that this one has proven to be a lot of fun so far. For the first twelve hours the story moved at a moderate to quick pace while still allowing me to get to know Yuri and the main characters, the situations of the fantasy world and how the game plays.

When it comes to battles, they are pretty much low in stress. Unlike most JRPGs, there are no random battles to annoy me as I am given the freedom to decide if I want to fight a group of enemies (portrayed as individuals on the world map) or not. When I need to level up my characters, I engaged in many battles and the good news is that grinding (engaging in back-to-back battles to gain experience points to level up) in this game is not very stressful. Certainly not annoying.

This is because the battles are performed in real-time. Physical combat is done by button mashing which is quick and easy. Using magic uses the menu (which means pausing the game) to select a spell and which character to use. Switching between characters (up to four) is also quick and easy.

I already had my team engage in lots of battles to level-up, help them gain new skills or special abilities and of course raise money (called Gald). The good thing is that I never felt stressed out.

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Battles in the game are fast and relatively convenient to manage. (image from Bandai Namco)

When it comes to storytelling, the game has a wholesome tone comparable with past Tales Of games.

While I still have a long way to go in the game, I can confirm to you gamers and JRPG fans that Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is so far a fun game to play on your modern console. Once I finish the game, I will post a review. When? I don’t really know yet.

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