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Is dividing games into episodes really that bad?

The developer’s decision to divide the first Hitman into episodes stirred up a lot of controversy and brought heavy flak from the fans, who associated the move with business practices in the vein of early access or DLC. In hindsight, however, the episodic model appears to fit the premise of the game very nicely and abandoning it in the sequel may not be as great as some may have expected.

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Why are fighting games no longer popular?

Although fighting games have been regaining some ground lately, it’s highly unlikely that they should catch up with the most popular genres or reclaim the venerable status they were sporting two decades ago. Why is it that one of the most popular genres of the 90s is now desperately trying not to become a niche?

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Don’t Go West – why developers ignore westerns?

I always found it puzzling how few western video games there are. Seems like the perfect setting for a game, no? It’s a strongly romanticized period of history that used to be wildly popular in film some years ago. It offers an exciting environment, a solid framework for the plot and characters and opportunities for some amazing adventures. However, it also imposes some obscure constraints that are not quite obvious at first glance. The following article explores some of the limitations that have largely prevented western from conquering our consoles and computers.

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Games have two release dates these days. You need to pay for the earlier one

Game developers are intensively trying to convince us to buy increasingly expensive game releases. Recently, along additional content or physical gadgets and gimmicks came one more incentive – earlier access to the full version of the game. This year, those willing to spare more buck were able to play the new Assassin's Creed, Tomb Raider or Forza Horizon before anyone else.

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Why open world games suck at telling a story?

Big games are increasingly focusing on providing as much freedom within open worlds brimming with side activities and build of swathes of land. The collateral damage, in this case, is usually the story, which is largely marginalized and if we’re lucky is decent at best. We got used to that over the years, but maybe it’s about time to change it, and start demanding a bit more?

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The best time to be a gamer is NOW

A lootbox scandal here, cut content there, and a half-baked release forcing you to wait for patches to top things off… Times used to be better, games used to be more fun. Right? Well, not really… Today I wanted to take a look at what times we live in and prove that actually it’s rarely been better to be a part of gaming community.

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Say farewell to Steam - every publisher may soon get its own digital distribution platform

Bethesda’s decision to keep Fallout 76 off Steam has made some waves. The spin-off to the iconic series isn’t the only exception, though – an increasing number of big publishers decides to end their partnership with Valve, focusing on their own distribution platforms.

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The Phoenixes of Video Games, or How Flops Become Hits

We're going to play a bit of the devil's advocate today. While we're not going to defend lootboxes and microtransactions, we'd like to point out the positive implications of these practices, collectively referred to as "video games becoming a service." During the recent months, we've experienced quite an outcry across all major video game news outlets and communities with regard to the "lootbox crisis." The monetization in video games, however, cuts both ways: true, it drains money from players after they’ve purchased the game, which seems a bit unfair (no one asks you to pay 5 dollars to see the end of a movie in the cinema, right?). But it also provides the developers with a steady income, allowing them to improve their games when they need it. Hop in for a more complex synopsis of the trend.

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No one really cares about crossplay

After it turned out that running Fortnite on PlayStation 4 effectively prevents the user to log in to their account through Switch, Sony found itself in the epicenter of fierce criticism aimed at its crossplay-defying policy. Among the flak rained down by developers and – more or less hardcore – fans, many people seemed to be missing one crucial part – that nobody really seems to care about crossplay; certainly not to the extent that would warrant such backlash, even if Sony’s move was indeed nasty.

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Silence is golden, but No Man’s Sky starts the chatter again

Two years ago, Sean Murray became the unfortunate symbol of all the industry’s hype, lies, and unfulfilled promises – all after the release of No Man’s Sky. After the judgment day came, the studio went completely silent, having decided that actions rather than words will speak for them. And when finally, thanks to this strategy, NMS began enjoying a moderately good opinion, Mr. Murray makes a comeback, starts giving interviews and… ruins the positive impression.

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Nothing to play – why don’t big games come out in summer?

July has “always” been a slumbery time for the industry. Big releases are few and far between, and if there’s anything interesting, it will be most likely indie games, remasters or small expansions. What are the reasons behind the game publishers’ aversion towards this month?

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Sunny Cyberpunk is not a bad thing, so don't worry about Cyberpunk 2077

Having divided fans of the genre across the world, the now infamously bright-and-colorful Cyberpunk 2077 E3 trailer left everybody asking, ‘OK, so can it be both sunny and cyberpunk?’ The definitive answer is: hell yes. And there’s plenty of evidence lying around to back it up. Just look at what cyberpunk games gave us up until this point – and how we really loved most of these titles.

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The dawn of Steam? The Netflix of gaming is getting closer

Fifteen years ago, people used to get wound up at having to register their Half-Life 2 copy on some bizarre desktop app. Today, the very same invention, called Steam, holds all the cards and is culpable for an almost complete extinction of physical distribution of PC games. “Long live the king,” we might soon shout again – if the digital distribution giant won’t be able to adjust to the new trend in the industry, i.e. the subscription-based gaming.

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The Last of Us: Part II looks just too good

The trailer for The Last of Us 2 presented during the E3 left us in awe because of the attention paid to the most minute details. Naughty Dog has surpassed another frontier in terms of visuals, offering a level of detail previously unheard of. Unfortunately though, along with achieving new heights in the graphics department, the stone wall of narrative dissonance becomes ever more evident.

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Downfall of demo versions – why developers no longer release the demos?

Once common, now almost forgotten, demo versions of computer games, although liked by players, are nowadays an increasingly rare sight. Why are developers so reluctant to release popular "demos"... and do we need them at all in the era of digital distribution?

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IMHO: David Cage is overrated

David de Gruttola, aka David Cage – the creator of Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls – has for years been considered one of the greatest video game designers, oftentimes viewed as peer to Hideo Kojima or Sid Meier; deemed one of the paramount visionaries of the industry. And I can never shake off the feeling that delivering solid stories has been something he never seems to be able to accomplish. It's a great and perplexing paradox that Cage's games, which are entirely story-based, can be so successful if it's exactly the story that's their weakest link.

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Urban legends about video games... part 2

Urban legends, the today’s equivalent of mythologies, tales and fairies. They’ve been around since forever, accompanying humans since the dawn of mankind. The video games, naturally, also have their own share of such stories. Some are ludicrous, others are obviously fake and some of them are… unsettling. Join us once again for a ride down two more stories about a letter from the afterlife and a cursed cartridge.

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Isn't it too soon for PlayStation 5?

It's actually been over four years since PlayStation 4 was released, and the rumors concerning the specification of a successor have been increasingly widespread, same as voices of analysts predicting that PlayStation 5 will be released sooner than you could expect. Would that be a good decision? Do we really need the next generation so soon, and who would it actually benefit?

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Stories are not dead – do we really want battle royale or single player campaigns?

There seems to exist an opinion, prevailing among serious videogame publishers, which says that the time of cinematic, linear stories in videogames has passed. That the new is coming and that video games as online service is the way to go. I couldn't disagree more. I think – and I conclude this after considering many cases, both recent and more distant – that there's nothing that sells a game better, nine times out of ten, than a proper, closed storyline with a definitive beginning, middle and end. Here, I will try to explain my approach, aiming to prove that linearity in video games is going to prevail and thrive during the coming years, despite the current fads.

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Are platform-exclusive games a good idea?

A conversation about the supremacy of the consoles over PCs, Xbox over PlayStation or Sega Genesis over Super Nintendo wouldn’t be legit without bringing up the issue of exclusives available for the systems in question. Those games have always been stirring lots of emotions – both positive and negative. But what’s the thing laying at the heart of the issue – and does it ultimately benefit the players? We will try to determine just that in the following article.

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