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  1. Formula E racer Daniel Abt has been disqualified and ordered to pay 10,000 euros ($10,900) to charity for illegally hiring a professional esports player to falsely compete as him in an official virtual race, the BBC reports. [caption id="attachment_235606" align="alignnone" width="720"] 24 May 2019, Berlin: Motorsport: Preview Formula E Championship, E-Prix 2019, race at Tempelhof Airport. Daniel Abt from Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler speaks at the press conference the day before the Formula E Championship. Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)[/caption] For those not in the know, virtual racing has taken on a new life in various leagues across the globe, due to the complications of hosting real-world racing events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies like iRacing, a subscription-based PC gaming platform that contracts with multiple real-world racing leagues, have been working with NASCAR to host digital races, with pro drivers getting behind controllers rather than actual cars. Like any sport, professional racing has its drama between players, but the change to digital racing has added a new layer. According to AP News, five-time IndyCar champion Kyle Larson was fired for using a racial slur during one digital race. [caption id="attachment_2356069" align="alignnone" width="720"] 66 German driver Daniel Abt of Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Formula E Team drive her single-seater during the 3rd edition of Monaco E-Prix, in port neighborhood in Monaco, France (Photo by Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)[/caption] Abt, a 27-year-old German racer sponsored by Audi, has since apologized for hiring another player to pose as him, and was also stripped of all points he’s earned over the course of the “Race at Home Challenge,” which features drivers competing from their home setups. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1344"] A NASCAR race as seen in iRacing.[/caption] "I did not take it as seriously as I should have,” Abt said. "I am especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organisation. I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste but it was never meant with any bad intention." Abt’s imposter? A pro gamer by the name of Lorenz Hoerzing, who was similarly disqualified from all future rounds of another racing series called the Challenge Grid. Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who placed second during the race in question, stated on his Twitch stream that he suspected Abt of using another player to race in his name. Two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne supported Vandoorne’s accusation. "Please ask Daniel Abt to put his Zoom next time he's driving, because like Stoffel said I'm pretty sure he wasn't in," Vergne said. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/04/15/f1-2020-announce-trailer"] According to ESPN, the Formula E organization has not made any official statement on how the determination that Abt was cheating was made, but the-race.com site, which runs its own series of virtual races, says it understood that event organizers had cross-referenced Abt’s IP address with that of the actual player at his wheel. Racers are typically visible on a Zoom camera, but the-race.com states that the face of the person who was supposed to be Abt was blocked from view by equipment. It’s unclear if Abt will be subjected to any additional penalties or loss of sponsorship as a result of his actions. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/pit crew for IGN. View the full article
  2. Overwatch’s new Workshop mode is giving fans plenty of wiggle room to mod the game. Typically, that just means altering game or physics rules, like making the ground cause damage - a "the floor is lava" mode, if you will. One fan by the username of Therister has taken things a little far, though, giving the French assassin Widowmaker actual functioning robot spider legs that can vault her into the air and stick to walls. Check out this monstrous creation in the video below. Overwatch Widowmaker + Spider Girl CODE: 5D4FX Creator: Therister pic.twitter.com/Qvy1jR5Q76 — Naeri X 나에리 (@OverwatchNaeri) May 24, 2020 Therister’s creation basically replaces Widow’s normal bipedal legs with four elongated limbs, each with a sort of purple foot that can stick onto surfaces. Normally, Widow can only shoot a grappling hook to sort of leap into the air, which helps her reach high areas, but she’s still effectively rooted onto flat horizontal surfaces like most other characters. [caption id="attachment_235604" align="alignnone" width="720"] Source: Therister.[/caption] Not so with these new robot spider legs. The video shows off Widow reaching previously unreachable locations on the map’s architecture, climbing onto the roofs of the buildings outside the attacking team’s spawn point and others, which even flight-based characters like Pharah or Echo would have difficulty reaching. Not only that, Widowmaker can use the spider legs to make some pretty distant leaps from wall to wall and stick to the surface, allowing her a sniping position that any Overwatch League pro would probably envy. It doesn’t seem to stop her from entering the King’s Row subway station either. Nowhere is safe. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/05/19/overwatch-review-2020-update"] If you want to give Therister’s creation a try, the Overwatch Workshop code is 5D4FX. Don’t forget to check out our updated review of Overwatch to see what we think of the game after four years of moving the payload. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/Mercy main for IGN. Kill it with fire with him on Twitter.View the full article
  3. Mass Effect 2 writer Patrick Weekes took to Twitter late last week to discuss how one of the game’s most infamously awkward romance prompts made it into the game, as first reported by Fanbyte. Spoilers for Mass Effect 2 below: In Mass Effect 2, if players opt for the female version of Commander Shepard, they’re eventually presented with the chance to romance Thane, the green-skinned drell assassin. Thane’s a bit of a complicated fellow. He’s an assassin who prefers to kill his targets up close and relatively painlessly, and being intensely spiritual, he prays for his forgiveness after each assassination. Unfortunately, Thane’s line of work eventually caught up to him and his family. His wife, Irikah, was killed by a band of mercenaries whose leader had been assassinated by Thane, and Thane left his son Kolyat in the care of his extended family. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2016/09/10/history-of-awesome-mass-effect"] As the player, we learn a lot of this during our major conversations with Thane, where the duality of Thane’s troubled life and his softspoken nature clash. Literally moments after Thane reveals details about his wife's tragic murder, the player is presented with two dialogue options: “Just focus on your son” and the laughably unsubtle “I want you, Thane.” Weekes took the opportunity to explain how a combination of a tight schedule, bug reports, and the restrictions of 2009-era game development (no major game patches) resulted in one of the franchise’s most awkward dialogue paraphrases. "Late 2009. I'm on Mass Effect 2," Weekes says. "Given that we're only a few months from ship, Mass Effect 2 is also on me. I'm one of a few writers left on the project, tackling bugs. A bug comes in saying that there's a lack of clarity around the opt-in to Thane's romance -- you only get one chance to choose to romance him, and they're missing it, and therefore missing a bunch of content. And some folks are opting in by accident, too. Thane's writer has left the team, so I look at the conversation. It's a great conversation! But I can also see how you could look at the dialogue options and not realize that one of them is you saying, "Let's start a relationship." So, yes, needs to be fixed. "2020 Brain: Wouldn't the big heart icon make that clear? Aha, but this is 2009. ME2 (and even ME3) didn't use icons to indicate that you were entering a relationship. No hover text on big choices, either! (See also, "How people accidentally ended up showering with Traynor.") 2020 Brain: Wouldn't the big heart icon make that clear? Aha, but this is 2009. ME2 (and even ME3) didn't use icons to indicate that you were entering a relationship. No hover text on big choices, either! (See also, "How people accidentally ended up showering with Traynor.") — Patrick Weekes (@PatrickWeekes) May 22, 2020 "2020 Brain: Okay, so let's rewrite the end of the scene, touching the original writer's lines as lightly as possible, to add a clean chance to opt into a romance with Thane. "Aha, but this is LATE 2009. This scene is LOCKED. No dialogue changes possible. Game DONE, yo. Thane is talking about how his wife died. He's never told anyone. A Shepard who wants to romance Thane tells him she's there for Thane to lean on, whatever he needs. "Original paraphase was something like, "I'm here for you." The writer (Chris L'Etoile) did an amazing job. "But players who wanted to romance Thane didn't understand that this dialogue choice was their one and only chance to get onto a romance path with him. "And players who DIDN'T want to romance Thane didn't like stumbling onto it by accident. "2009 Me: So I have no heart icon, I can't change the dialogue at all. Literally I can do is change the paraphrase, and I have to change it so nobody has any doubt about what this line indicates. "2009 Me: Nailed it." "Did 2009 Me think this was a good paraphrase?" Weekes continued. "WOW NO! Was it the best 2009 Me could come up with to be 100% clear, with no other changes available and paraphrases limited to 30 characters? APPARENTLY YES! Every time I see this play on Twitch, the player makes fun of the paraphrase. "Subtle, Shepard!" And they are totally right! I wish we'd caught this earlier, so I could've changed the lines or done SOMETHING less clunky than this. But this is what last-minute fixes look like." [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/09/9-live-action-game-trailers-better-than-most-video-game-movies"] Weekes finished their Twitter thread saying they're glad that game developers have the tools to include more explicit icons and text that makes it clear what you're character is getting into before committing to a dialogue choice. When asked what they'd do differently using that same 2009 tech, Weekes said they'd change the prompt to you "'You matter to me, Thane.' < 30 characters, about as clear, and much cleaner as a topic transition." Years later, it's still pretty funny. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN, and he's here for you. Romance him on Twitter.View the full article
  4. John Wick franchise creator Derek Kolstad says he’s interested in adapting two peculiar video game IPs for television: The popular survival-horror/Disney parody Bendy and the Ink Machine and the shoot-em-up about a talking banana, My Friend Pedro. Kolstad made the remark in an interview with Comicbook.com, revealing that he’s working on pitches for both shows in between his many other current projects. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/06/20/my-friend-pedro-review"] "Well, I am doing A Company Man for David Leitch. I'm doing A Map From Nowhere for Chad Stahelski over at New Line. Both of them are remakes of movies that I ____ love. I've got A Darker Shade Of Magic, over at Sony, which has been a joy, with Victoria Schwab," Kolstad told Comicbook. "I'm going out with a pitch for a television series based on the My Friend Pedro video game, as well as for Bendy and the Ink Machine. I am playing any... It's funny, the reason I'm answering it this way, literally, I have these Post-It notes on my computer of, 'This is what I'm working on today.'" "To be honest, I love it all," Kolstad continued. "Those are at the forefront, but at any given moment, people are jumping on the horn and we're talking The Janson Directive or we're talking Death Machine, we're talking actors with IP, sound men. I got to tell you, man, I'm still a little kid at this and I f****** love it. If I can emulate and replicate any success I've had with John Wick elsewhere, I'm going to be that 11-year-old that snuck into an R-rated movie, giggling." [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/11/21/bendy-and-the-ink-machine-launch-trailer-pegi"] Bendy and the Ink Machine debuted in 2017, releasing episodically until a complete and updated version was released. The game told the story of a retired animator named Henry Stein, who visits his old studio after receiving a mysterious invitation from his former boss Joey Drew. Upon arriving at the studio (designed to look eerily similar to Steamboat Willy-era Mickey Mouse cartoons), Henry discovers that some malevolent force has warped the facility and spawned monstrous versions of classic cartoon creations. The game proved massively popular fodder for Youtubers, with its unique visual style and survival horror scares, and spawned a merchandise line, a mobile spin-off, a short prequel installment, and an upcoming sequel. My Friend Pedro is, somehow, even sillier than a horror game about a Mickey Mouse parody. It follows an unnamed protagonist as he violently murders enemies at the behest of a sentient talking banana named Pedro. It, uh...goes places. The gameplay itself would put even John Wick to shame, with the player character performing dazzling feats of ballet to pull off increasingly crazy trick shots throughout each level. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=every-delayed-movie-due-to-coronavirus-so-far&captions=true"] Given that Kolstad is just in the pitching process, it’s unclear if we’ll ever see either adaptation hit the big or little screen. Kolstad certainly already has plenty of upcoming projects on his plate, including the now delayed release of John Wick Chapter 4, which was pushed back to May 27, 2022.View the full article
  5. Minecraft Dungeons, out on May 26, is often compared to the Diablo franchise for featuring top-down dungeon-crawling combat and exploration. Heck, we made the comparison in our mostly favorable review. It looks like the developers behind Minecraft Dungeons are all too familiar with the franchise, since they evidently planted a hilarious easter egg that dedicated Diablo 2 fans will probably appreciate. Minor spoilers for Minecraft Dungeons content below: Noticed by Lords of Gaming, Minecraft Dungeons players can access a secret area that’s a direct reference to a similarly secret area in Diablo 2. According to Lords of Gaming, it requires players to beat the game once on each game difficulty. Near the player’s camp, there’s a drawbridge that’s raised during the main game. Once you’re able to cross it, players will find a church with pixel portraits of the Minecraft Dungeons developer team and a dog, plus a button with ten runes. Once players find those runes across the game’s levels, they can return to the button, press it, and you’ll be transported to a secret level. What’s in that secret level? Cows. Lots and lots of angry cows to fight. [caption id="attachment_12576" align="aligncenter" width="890"] Source: Lords of Gaming[/caption] The secret Minecraft Dungeons room is a pretty clear reference to a secret area in Diablo 2 that featured countless cows standing upright and wielding axes. Those Diablo cows would also say “moo” constantly with an oddly human inflection while they chased you around in massive groups. For a time, Diablo 2’s secret cow level was a popular place to level up until a patch was implemented not long after. Not bad for a funny reference, although I shudder to think what a newcomer to the genre will think of that many bovine barreling down on them. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN, and he's mooooooving to the bay area soon. View the full article
  6. Looking back at the Assassin’s Creed series, it’s almost funny how one of the biggest franchises in gaming started out by receiving a modest 7.5 out of 10 from IGN. The first Assassin’s Creed game proved to feature interesting exploration of Crusades era cities, different (if wonky) combat, and way too many repetitive side missions, which had you either hunting down Templars or collecting countless flags strewn about. According to Charles Randall, who served as Ubisoft’s fight system AI lead on Assassin’s Creed, the game only had side missions because “the CEO’s kid played it,” and they were implemented only five days before the game was due to ship out to stores. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/09/24/every-ign-assassins-creed-review-score"] In a Twitter thread early Saturday (first reported on by Eurogamer), Randall explained the odd story. By Randall’s account, Assassin’s Creed was pretty much ready to ship without any side missions. This apparently changed when the CEO’s children took the game for a spin. “So we're all ready to ship the game, first submission goes pretty well, and then...the news...the CEO's kid played the game and said it was boring and there was nothing to do in the game,” Randall said. “Oh yeah I forgot the key part. We have to put all these side missions into the game in five days, and they have to be bug-free, because the build is going to be burned directly to disc and released to retail." [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/07/heres-what-ubisofts-5-promised-aaa-games-in-2020-2021-could-be"] Randall says he and a handful of others spent five days in the main conference building of Montreal’s Peck Building, a former textile factory where Ubisoft Montreal was located, all trying to implement the seemingly impossible task of adding the side missions. “Anyway, the rest of it is a blur, but I know that it went super well, because we did it,” Randall said. “We managed to implement all of it in 5 days. And it was bug-free... almost.” “But I know it's a miracle that the game didn't just melt your console or whatever,” he added. One major bug did manage to slip through. One Templar assassination side mission featured a target that could fall through the world and effectively die, but the player wouldn’t get the credit for the kill. This meant that if players wanted the perfect 1,000 Gamerscore, they’d have to start the game over. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=assassins-creed-valhalla-first-screenshots&captions=true"] “So it turns out one of the Templar were parented to the wrong sector,” Randall said. “If you approached the Templar from the wrong direction, he fell through the world and was despawned. Which didn't give you credit for the kill, but stored him into the savegame as dead. No more spawning.” Randall also admits that a bug where two assassins would spawn if you had two controllers plugged in was “probably my fault. You’re welcome.” [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/05/07/assassins-creed-valhalla-game-engine-reveal"] These days, the Assassin’s Creed series has so much in-game content that some fans have criticized it for being too bloated, leading to conflicting messaging from Ubisoft on whether or not Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be bigger or smaller than the absolutely immense Odyssey. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla previews. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/saxon man for IGN.View the full article
  7. Celebrating Pac-Man’s 40th anniversary this Friday, Bandai Namco has announced that the iconic yellow gobbler will come to Minecraft as a new DLC. Bandai Namco also announced Pac-Man Live Studio, a free version of the game that you can play literally on a Twitch stream. Bandai Namco worked with Amazon Games to bring Pac-Man Live Studio to life. The game allows up to four players to compete in one maze to eat the most pellets while surviving. Pretty standard Pac-Man stuff, but Live Studio will also let players create and share their own mazes, or just play the original Pac-Man map if they choose. Every public maze will go into a leaderboard which can be used to discover popular mazes from other streamers and creators. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/05/22/pac-man-40th-anniversary-join-the-pac-trailer"] The Pac-Man Minecraft DLC shifts things to a more modern perspective, with ten 3D mazes to explore, and some seriously oversized ghosts hunting you down. Players can compete for high scores, or create their own maps, too. Some of Minecraft’s familiar items will also be usable in these new Pac-Man mazes, like a stick of TNT, which blows ghosts and the surrounding maze walls to smithereens. That’ll show Blinky. Check out the trailer at the top of the page. As if all that weren’t enough, GPU company Nvidia has developed something called GameGAN, a “generative adversarial network trained on 50,000 PAC-MAN episodes.” Basically, Nvidia used AI to develop a playable version of the classic Pac-Man game without using an actual game engine. The AI watched 50,000 playthroughs of Pac-Man and was able to replicate it in a fully playable form without actually understanding the rules of the game, generating new visuals for every bit of player input. “We were blown away when we saw the results, in disbelief that AI could recreate the iconic PAC-MAN experience without a game engine,” said Koichiro Tsutsumi from BANDAI NAMCO Research Inc., the research development company of the game’s publisher BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc., which provided the PAC-MAN data to train GameGAN. “This research presents exciting possibilities to help game developers accelerate the creative process of developing new level layouts, characters, and even games.” You can check out a video of the GameGAN version of Pac-Man here. Bandai Namco has plenty of other stuff in store for Pac-Man fans, and you can find details on their official Pac-Man site. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joseph Knoop is a wokka-wokka-wokka-wokka.View the full article
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