Assassin's Creed Articles RSS Feed | Assassin's Creed RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Assassin's Creed Valhalla Siege of Paris DLC Releases in Summer 2021 Sat, 12 Jun 2021 18:36:36 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Assassin's Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris DLC releases this summer, Ubisoft announced during the Ubisoft Forward E3 2021 presentation. It's the second AC Valhalla expansion following Wrath of the Druids, and it won't be the last.

The Siege of Paris follows Eivor as the game recreates the Vikings' attempt to conquer the Frankish capital. Expect new enemies, abilities, and more, but more importantly, black box missions are coming back to Assassin's Creed.

Some of those abilities will probably revolve around the new single-handed swords Ubisoft is adding to Valhalla in a new patch releasing this summer. Black box missions task you with infiltrating a location and accomplishing a specific goal, but how you get in and carry out your charge is entirely up to you.

Fast forward to 2:22 in the video below to learn more about The Siege of Paris DLC. 

Ubisoft also promised further support for Assassin's Creed Valhalla into 2022. Some of that support includes another expansion. Ubisoft didn't mention what that might be, but the developer did tease a connection to Odin.

On top of that, the Assassin's Creed Viking Age discovery tour is set to release this fall. It will be similar in nature to the discovery tour made available for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Instead of following everyday people in ancient Greece, you'll, of course, follow everyday Vikings and people living during that time. It will be free to those who own Valhalla

Stay tuned for more on the Siege of Paris DLC expansion for Assassin's Creed Valhalla as we learn more about it. 

The Assassin's Creed Universe is Expanding With Assassins Creed: Stories Wed, 21 Apr 2021 20:00:25 -0400 David Carcasole

The world of Assassin's Creed will continue to expand in more ways than just games. Ubisoft has announced upcoming Assassins Creed: Stories, which will be different expansions into the Assassins Creed universe through novels, graphic novels, manhuas, webtoons, and a series of podcasts. 

Starting with the novels, there are three slated for release this year: Assassin's Creed: Fragments, Assassin's Creed: The Jade Seal, and Assassin's Creed: The Ming Storm. Each of these novels is the beginning of its own series of books, with both the Fragments and Ming Storm books set to kick off trilogies and The Jade Seal kicking off a series with nine more books to follow. 

In terms of graphic novels and other illustrated works, there will be two manhuas' titled, Assassin's Creed Dynasty and Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood Brothers. These are set just prior to the events that take place in Assassin's Creed Valhalla and follows the story of two Viking brothers. 

There will also be three other graphic novels, Assassins Creed Valhalla, Assassins Creed Valhalla: Song of Glory, and Assassins Creed Valhalla: Blade of Shao Jun. The webtoon releases are set to be new expansions into the story of Edward Kenway, and the podcast will be called Assassins Creed: Turbulence in the Ming Dynasty

For more specific details on each of these new releases, check out the official page for Assassin's Creed: Stories. There's a lot for fans of the series on the horizon. 

Assassin's Creed Valhalla 1.0.4 Brings 60fps to Xbox Series X|S, PS5 Thu, 26 Nov 2020 11:22:30 -0500 Josh Broadwell

A new Assassin's Creed Valhalla update makes 60fps possible on all next-gen systems, including Xbox Series S. AC Valhalla 1.0.4 goes live today and adds a number of additional fixes, addressing problems such as screen tearing and glitches.

Previously, the game only hit 30 fps on Xbox Series S, with variable success reaching 60 fps on Series X and PlayStation 5. The update adds a performance mode option to AC Valhalla that prioritizes framerate and a quality mode that locks it at 30fps, but boosts resolution.

Xbox Series S automatically gets set to quality mode, while X and PS5 are set to performance. These can be changed manually, however.

The update addresses a number of issues, from duplicate gear and texture glitches to bigger problems, including screen tearing on Xbox Series X|S and problems with save/load data.

The update is set to go live at 7 a.m. EST on all consoles and PC and ranges from 2.5 to 5 GB depending on the console. Ubisoft listed the full set of patch notes on its website.

Multiple Assassin's Creed Adaptations Coming to Netflix Tue, 27 Oct 2020 11:37:15 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Assassin's Creed is getting the live-action treatment in a new Netflix series, Ubisoft announced, but that's just the start of a larger move onto the small screen. The Assassin's Creed Netflix collaboration includes animated and anime Assassin's Creed shows as well.

The first project in the deal is a "genre-bending" live-action Assassin's Creed series based on the classic games. Netflix's Vice President of Orignal Series, Peter Friedlander, said:

we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.

How Assassin's Creed on Netflix might expand the game universe remains to be seen. Netflix and Ubisoft are still searching for a showrunner to serve as the project's creative manager.

It's not the only adaptation Ubisoft Film & Television is working on with Netflix. The Splinter Cell anime announced earlier in the year is still scheduled for production as well.

If the wait for Assassin's Creed on Netflix seems unbearable, at least there's still Assassin's Creed Valhalla to look forward to on launch day for both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Stay tuned for more as we learn it. 

Ubisoft Outlines Assasin's Creed Valhalla Expansions, Seasonal Updates Tue, 20 Oct 2020 15:54:40 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Assassin's Creed Valhalla will have two post-launch story expansion packs and a bonus mission as DLC, as well as free seasonal updates for all players, Ubisoft announced.

The first free update revolves around Yule and is planned for late 2020.

The Valhalla DLC can be purchased separately when the expansions release in 2021, and those expansions are included with the AC Valhalla Season Pass for $39.99. Those who buy the Gold or Ultimate editions of the game get the Season Pass bundled in, plus the bonus mission The Legend of Beowulf.

The first Valhalla expansion is Wrath of the Druids, planned for release in Spring 2021. It sees Eivor travel to Ireland to confront the descendants of a long-dead Druid cult and is steeped in Celtic mystery, Post Launch Producer Jose Araiza said. Eivor can also visit Dublin and influence the city's burgeoning economic life. 

Eivor makes history and goes to war with the Franks in Summer 2021 with the second expansion, The Siege of Paris. Paris and control of France is the prize, and Eivor will employ some good old-fashioned Assassin's Creed skullduggery to make it fall from within through infiltration and forging alliances.

There's not much detail about the Beowulf quest so far, though Ubisoft did show the quest's opening. Eivor is called upon to investigate a series of strange deaths caused by some unknown beast.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla's free seasonal updates will include four content injections in the game's first year. All will bring new quests, festivals in Eivor's settlement, skills, mechanics, and more. For example, the first content update will introduce river raids to the game.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla releases November 10 for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 4, and November 12 for PlayStation 5. If you haven't grabbed your pre-order yet, check out our AC Valhalla pre order guide to find the one that's right for you.

Great Odin's Raven: The Assassin's Creed Valhalla Trailer Looks Incredible Thu, 30 Apr 2020 11:28:17 -0400 GS_Staff

Ubisoft gave us our first real look at Assassin’s Creed Valhalla today with the debut of the game’s world premiere trailer. Action-packed and unsurprisingly bloody, the four-minute cinematic trailer shows the game's Vikings training, taking to the icy seas, and invading England, with everything culminating in a one-on-one duel between an English knight and a Viking assassin. 

You can watch the trailer above. 

The next installment in the Assassin's Creed franchise has been confirmed for a Holiday 2020 release on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Stadia. It will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Store on PC. 

Ubisoft confirmed that Valhalla will take place in the 9th century CE in England. The game will follow protagonist Eivor, with the developer telling IGN that Eivor can be either male or female. 

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was announced yesterday during an epic eight-hour livestream that saw digital artist BossLogic create a unique piece of art for the game in real-time. While the reveal was probably longer than some had anticipated, seeing the entire process play out was certainly a treat.

2020’s Assassin’s Creed game has been rumored for a while now, with Kotaku reporting on insider information way back in early 2019. Based on what we know so far, it looks like those details were mostly correct.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the first entry in the previously-annual series since 2018's Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as it comes in. 

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Officially Announced Wed, 29 Apr 2020 16:20:12 -0400 GS_Staff

The theme and title for the newest Assassin’s Creed game was revealed today during a Twitch livestream. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the official title of Assassin's Creed 2020, and it will be all about Vikings. 

The title and setting were revealed during an eight-hour-long livestream, which saw BossLogic create a unique piece of art for the game (seen above). 

The world-premiere trailer for Assassin's Creed Valhalla will debut tomorrow, April 30, at 8 a.m. PST/11 a.m. EST. Currently, there is no information on what exactly the trailer will include or if any gameplay will be shown. 

Considering what we know about real-life Vikings, Valhalla is set sometime between the late 8th century and the 11th century CE. None of the game's locations have been confirmed by Ubisoft as of this writing, but they are likely to include Nordic countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as well as other European locales such as Britain, Ireland, and France.

Eastern European locations such as Russia could also make an appearance in some capacity when taking Viking history into account. 

Rumors about the latest Assassin’s Creed game have swirled for some time. Sources told Kotaku a long time ago that Assassin’s Creed 2020 would be Viking-themed, and it looks like those sources were right. The theme was also teased in last year’s The Division 2, where an eagle-eyed YouTuber noticed in-game posters depicting a Viking warrior or hero holding an Apple of Eden. 

Some leaks, such as those regarding the long-spoken-of Assassin’s Creed Ragnarok, may still hold some merit, specifically those including runes, locations such as York, Paris, and Kiev, and the alleged beginning of the game. However, like the game’s possible locations, none of those rumors have been confirmed by Ubisoft yet.   

We also don’t know when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will release or what platforms it will launch on. Though it’s widely accepted the game will release sometime in 2020, that has yet to be confirmed. It’s very likely, however, that Valhalla will release on next-gen platforms, including the PS5 and Xbox Series X. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as Ubisoft shares more details, and be sure to check back tomorrow for the game's official trailer. 

Xbox Games With Gold November Lineup Announced Tue, 30 Oct 2018 23:04:31 -0400 William R. Parks

Microsoft has revealed November's Games with Gold, titles that are freely available to those with active Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 will get two games each, with EA's Battlefield 1 leading the pack. 

Here's what you can expect: 

Xbox One

  • Battlefield 1 (Redeemable November 1 - 30)
  • Race the Sun (Redeemable November 16 - December 15)

Xbox 360

  • Assassin's Creed (Redeemable November 1 - 15)
  • Dante's Inferno (Redeemable November 16 - 30)

Overall, this feels like a strong showing for the subscription service.

While recent sales have made Battlefield 1 available at a hefty discount, it always feels like a coup to receive a recent AAA title for free, and the shooter's inclusion in Games with Gold is a great opportunity to further expand the player-base ahead of Battlefield 5's launch later in the month.

Further, for players that have just completed Assassin's Creed Odyssey, here is a chance for them to go back to the beginning of the franchise and see how it all got started.

However, don't sleep on Dante's Inferno, a fast-paced action-adventure based on Dante's classic poem. It might not be critically acclaimed, but it's a fun time, especially for free. 

It has been a while since we have seen a Games with Gold with so much to offer. Let's hope Microsoft can keep this trend going.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Be Supported Through 2019 Wed, 22 Aug 2018 13:40:29 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Citing the fact that last year's Assassin's Creed Origins and this year's Odyssey were developed at the same time, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated at Gamescom (via GameSpot) that there will be no full-fledged installment to the series in 2019.

Instead of a brand new game next year, Guillemot said there will be regular additions of new content to Assassin's Creed Odyssey through 2019, adding there will be "some new possibilities for play" with the updates.

It appears the development team, which was separated for the simultaneous development of both Origins and Odyssey, will be brought back together for the latter's updates through the year after release.

This is the first game in the Assassin's Creed series to allow players to play as either a man or a woman, and it is also the first to take place in ancient Greece. Considering the improvements Origins brought and the series' reputation for yearly releases, this new approach may give fans and the developers the room they need to really breathe some fresh air into Ubisoft's flagship franchise.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is scheduled to be released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 5 of this year. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on the franchise as it develops. 

7 AAA Games That Would Make Awesome CCGs Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:07:09 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo




Wolfenstein: The highly acclaimed series where Nazis won the war. An interesting concept for a card game, to be sure.


It would be easy to harmonize the card game with the main series too, where it is rebels versus the Nazi regime and all the technology you get throughout the game is what your power ups are based on. It would certainly make for some interesting story and some interesting cards as well.Making mech and gun power ups could be a fun time for the developers, as well as the players making combos, allowing you to create new power ups and weapons.




Did you know Zelda had a card game? Though there are many more games  and card games out there, there are several that many don't know of. It just takes some digging and some imagination to come up with the next great thing!  And speaking of the next great thing, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more interesting articles about your favorite games.


Assassin's Creed


Assassin's Creed is another series just begging to be a card game. The war between the Templars and Assassins would be yet another interesting and engaging game, allowing for all out card wars between and across the many different time periods that the games take place in.


The stories that have already come to pass only cover a few parts of history, so the card game could cover everything else that the video games have not touched. In addition to providing an almost limitless amount of  content, it allows for multiple expansions to be released (which is good for the developers), along with an endless possibility of timelines to take advantage of. AC the card game could be just what the franchise needs to be revitalized!


God of War


There are multiple possibilities for a God of War card game. It could turn into a simple adventure or several Kratoses battling it out across the earth. It could easily be made into different eras that one or several games take place in, and, of course, you can customize your own deck/character to fit that era.


The cards that you gain can be power-ups, along with monsters that you fell during your adventures. Along with the many unique stories that are still to open with the Norse God of War, there are many possible storylines they can follow and many cards they could create, as many as there are myths and legends.


Halo Series


With Halo being one of the most iconic franchises every created, there are so many stories that 343 Studios can follow now via other channels, now that the Halo games themselves are slowly grinding to a halt.


With the Halo Wars stories also starting to take over the scene, they can create new content and follow the stories of not just the Spartans, but also the Covenant as well. We can also follow the stories of Master Chief and his comrades in arms! 343 can make a system that is just as simple as any -- two factions, cards on both sides, and brawl it out, straight or mixed.


For Honor


For Honor the CCG is the perfect way to bring about engaging combat and story between the the factions that wage war in the game. Between the Vikings, Knights, and Samurai, there can be so many compelling stories and cards to help develop the game.


They can delve into the stories and origins behind cards that they create, and enhance to a more story based game centered around strategy, instead of just carnage.And the especially interesting part is a pillage mechanic, where you can steal power ups from other factions to use yourself. That alone would help set this game apart from all the others and manage to keep the original's tone and mood.




Call of Duty: Zombies


One of the most interesting card games that could be created has to be Call of Duty: Zombies, which could literally be made into the MTG card mode, the Horde. There could be a game made where you are fighting off zombies with your deck.


It would be an interesting crawl going after better loot, and your rewards would be better power ups, even more in-depth stories, and new content for zombies and the WWII era.What's not to love? Activision can make a cash cow out of this, especially since the Horde is only really played at MTG events and player gatherings anyway.




With three main classes in Destiny, Bungie could follow a route similar to Hearthstone, having several kinds of decks to fight enemies of the Light. The Bungie team could also explore stories they were never able to cover in the main game, allowing them to finally please fans --which is always nice -- and come full circle with some of those loose ends.


But that's not all. They could also just make it where you have cards of all the alien lifeforms, allowing you to wage war with any combination of factions you desire.The content and massive amount of customization would bring about a ton of interesting playstyles and complex decks every bit as intense as Magic:The Gathering.


Hearthstone is breaking the scene for CCGs, but what else is out there exactly? There isn't much to compete with it, other than Magic: The Gathering. Though Hearthstone is just a card game about Warcraft, there are many other games out there that could take the same approach and be just as awesome. The question then becomes: what games out there have what it takes? Imagine a game that takes you on the space odyssey of Halo or the war that Kratos wages against the gods? That's exactly what we did with this list, and here's what we came up with.

Gift Guide: 7 Best Gaming Comics and Books Tue, 26 Dec 2017 15:08:10 -0500 Sarah Elliman


These are some of the best video game comics and books out there to date. If you've been stuck looking for the best gift for someone who loves books and video games, then you don't need to be stuck anymore. 


We hope our list has made your shopping that much easier and brings joy to everyone's gaming hearts. 


What was your favourite comic/book on our list? Are there any you love that we didn't include? Let us know in the comments below. 

God of War

Price: $14.75
Buy it on: Amazon


Kratos is a deeply troubled soul -- many say downright cruel and unforgiving -- obsessed with his brutal hunt for the Greek Gods. However, the God of War comic goes into more explicit detail about his life before the events of the game and what transpired during that time period.


With the next installment coming soon to PS4, now is a perfect time to jump back into some God of War and relive the magic before an entirely new experience hits the shelf. 



Mass Effect

Price: $7.19
Buy it on: Amazon


Mass Effect is another BioWare game that truly captures the heart of fans who play it. Everyone always wants more content and wants to learn more about the vast universe that is present in Mass Effect. Just like the Dragon Age books, you will return to familiar compelling characters, learning their stories, opinions, and emotions as you go. 


This is a fantastic gift for any Mass Effect fan, and there are tons of installments in the series, with many different topics being covered throughout. 



Half-Life: A Place in the West

Price: $1.49 per episode
Buy it on: Steam


This is for anyone who is a Half-Life fan -- and let's face it, who isn't? -- who has been waiting for a new game for forever (since it would appear we are not getting one, at least anytime soon). 


However, you don't have to wait for a new game to get a hold of exceptional Half-Life content. Although a fairly recent addition to the series, and not by the creators of Half-Life, it has already been praised as capturing the universe and creating a compelling story. 



Assassin's Creed: Forsaken 

Price: $9.74
Buy it on: Amazon


This is the only book in this guide where I wouldn't recommend the other installments in the series. Most of them follow what happened in the game, and once you've played it, you certainly don't want to read that all again. 


Forsaken is different, as it follows Haytham Kenway (Connor's father), and you begin to understand how he became a Templar and what drove him to make those decisions. It's a fantastic book for shedding light on an otherwise unknown character. Plus, it is perfect for any hardcore fans of Assassin's Creed.



The Halo Graphic Novel

Price: $3.22
Buy it on: Amazon


This is the perfect gift for any die-hard Halo fan, as it's not just composed of stories that reference and relate back to Master Chief, but include numerous pieces of art. The entire graphic novel was contributed to by a variety of writers and artists who have been directly involved in the making of the game.


This creates a strong bond with the game and allows for amazing continuity between the game and the comic book. It is an incredibly easy read, and it is a gift that your friend will want to go back to consistently.



The Witcher by Andrezj Sapkowski

Price: $25.33
Buy it on: Amazon


The Witcher game as we know it would never have been the intense and intriguing story it is without its source material. The entire inspiration for the world comes from Sapkowski’s books, while much of the third game builds directly on the series itself.


The Witcher books help you understand Geralt’s anxiety against those in power, explains his relationship with Yen, and reveal how he came to know Ciri. It’s an incredibly important series, and once you read it, you’ll start seeing references all the time throughout the game.



Dragon Age

Price: $33.38
Buy it on: Amazon


The books are primarily what I will be talking about as, in my opinion, they far exceed the literary value that the comics have achieved. Most of the series is written by David Gaider who, until this year, was the lead writer for the Dragon Age game series.


The books are incredibly well written and delve into the stories of well-known and loved characters -- stories about Maric and Loghain, Duncan’s connection to the Ferelden royal family, and Wynne. Characters that always had an ambiguous air that made you want to know about their lives. These books aren’t just trying to thrive off the popularity of Dragon Age; they are stunning pieces of fiction in their own right, making fantastic gifts for your bookworm, gamer friend.




Are you stumped on what to buy your gamer, bookworm friend? Perhaps you are looking for something to gladden their hearts. You don't have to look any further, as we have found the perfect comics and books for gamers across the globe. 


We promise you won't be disappointed by the high level of literary value and artistic merit of the items we have found for you. These comics/books don't just encompass a video game universe, they stand on their own. For example, one of the books on this list is one my granddad loves to read, and he's never even played the game series. 


Sit back, relax, and hopefully find a book/comic to keep you company! 

Why Representation Is Important in Video Games Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:58:34 -0500 Sarah Elliman

We live in an incredibly diverse world, where people from different ways of life and culture can meet on a regular basis. The vast majority of people may not have had this much interaction with those of different origins in the past -- certainly not to the scale the modern world can achieve. Considering that video games are now even more popular than other entertainment mediums such as film or TV (four out of five US households own a device used to play video games), having greater diversity and representation of a variety of people is an especially prevalent and pressing issue with respect to video games.

Given the wide range of people that video games are accessible to, the lack of representation of diverse groups of people is shocking. In recent years there have been more females and people of color serving as primary characters in video games, but the statistics are still overwhelmingly negative in terms of diversity. Recent games such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy feature two female protagonists who are both women of color. Most importantly, these characters break certain tropes and stereotypes, which makes their character development and story even more important.

Diversity and representation aren't simply about throwing women and people of color into video games. You don’t want a female character who is simply a guy coded as a female character; there needs to be a subtlety and skilled writing for these characters.

Women in Video Games

Many of us can see with our own eyes that there aren’t as many female characters in video games as there are men. Forget historical accuracy and those arguments for a second, and focus on the pure statistical representation statistics. There is a roughly even split in the world between men and women, so that should be represented in video games. 

According to a 2007 article from Monica K. Miller and Alicia Summers, "of the 49 games included in the[ir] analysis, 282 male humans and 53 female characters appeared," translating to roughly 5.3 men to every 1 female character. Other research has found large discrepancies between the number of games in which men are playable and those in which females appear as playable characters. The excuses of old (e.g., women simply don't play video games, so it's a male-oriented environment) aren’t viable anymore. In fact, a 2015 study found that women make up 44% of gamers. This is a staggering figure compared to the overall representation of women within video games.

It isn’t simply lack of representation that harms people’s view of the gaming industry but also the many ways in which women are presented in them. A 2009 analysis found that "fifteen percent of (M)ature games also included characters that were coded as being naked," and "of the characters coded as 'naked,' 88% were female." That is an overwhelming figure compared to the presentation of men. 

As a gamer, you may have heard the term the “Lara Phenomenon,” which researchers Jeroen Jansz and Raynel G. Martis coined to describe "the appearance of a tough and competent female character in a dominant position." It is worrisome enough that it was known as a phenomenon to start with, suggesting the lack of female characters who ascribe to this description. However, in recent years, I believe we have moved further away from the two drastic stereotypes of the “Laras" or "damsels in distress." The importance of representation is to present realistic and depth-filled characters that audiences relate to. Although the Lara type is strong and powerful, seeing a depth to a character is much more constructive to a storyline; this is shown in the most recent reboots of the Tomb Raider series.

Overall, the position of women in video games is becoming stronger. To me, it is about what powerful and emotive characters bring to the story. Women in games undeniably tend to be beautiful, and it’s not about changing that perspective but rather adding a new dimension to these characters other than being just eye candy. 

Ethnicities in Video Games 

This is another aspect of video game representation that is seriously undervalued. It can be as ridiculous as the French Arno in Assassin's Creed: Unity having a British voice actor or even different ethnicities or cultures completely missing from games. Once again, we are seeing a slow improvement in this representation, even from the Assassin’s Creed series. Adaptations of Egyptian history and tales tend to be acted by white actors in these scenarios, so it is brilliant to see Assassin's Creed: Origins bringing in accurate depictions of those who live in the region.

However, there are massive disparities when it comes to the white versus ethnic ratio of characters in video games. Karen E. Dill and her colleagues in 2005 shared that within their research, "68% of main characters and 72% of the secondary characters were white.’" This is astounding considering the vast world we live in and the variety of inhabitants in it.

Other studies have shown that black, Asian, and Hispanic characters make up much smaller percentages of character, and considering that these can include secondary characters, it appears that some game developers just be throw in those of different ethnic backgrounds as a token gesture.

 LGBT Representation 

There is a recurring trend in the way those who are gay or transgender are represented in video games, with many shown as villains or something to be disgusted with. In the video below, MatPat of The Game Theorists looks at the disturbing representation of those who belong to the LGBT community in video games. 

There are approximately 8 million people who fall into the LGBT category in the USA alone, but in recent years, a study has shown that only 12 characters were depicted as being LGBT. There are tons of people crying out for this representation that isn’t being given the light of day.

In a 2014 interview, Lucien Soulban, an openly gay lead writer for Ubisoft, stated that it will be quite some time before we see a gay character make a meaningful impact in a video game: “So when are we going to see that gay protagonist in a AAA game? Not for a while, I suspect, because of fears that it’ll impact sales.”

Rhianna Pratchett, the lead writer for the Tomb Raider reboot, appeared slightly optimistic in an interview with Motherboard on the possibility of greater diversity for LGBT characters: “I think folding them in as regular secondary characters who are just part of the fabric of the world will be how things progress,” suggesting she believes that the LGBT community will be represented but at a relatively slow pace. 

The awful truth is that many LGBT characters, even when present in video games, are portrayed in a completely disrespectful light. Even recently, characters such as Trevor in GTA V are expressed as openly gay -- but Trevor’s character is a complete psychopath. This doesn’t provide a rounded view of gay characters, and why is this type of character reserved for the openly gay Trevor? 

In the end, the gaming industry has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. Gamers want to see themselves in the video games they play and not feel demonized even when they are.

 What are your opinions on representation in video games? Are there any games that you believe represented different types of people well? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

"Games As A Service" Is The New Norm Mon, 06 Nov 2017 16:23:05 -0500 Luke Luby

There was a time, up until only a few short years ago, that game developers and publishers would create a game, release it, and then move on to the next IP. With video game companies being a money making businesses - or, at least, businesses that try to make some money and be successful - things are changing pretty rapidly.

Now, however, video games are seen less like a product and more like a full-fledged service. Instead of seeing brand new IPs being unveiled, we're increasingly seeing games that are constantly being updated, patched or somehow improved upon years after release.

And there's a simple reason for that: developers and publishers want to make as much money out of each game as humanly possible. So far, the list of ways developers can squeeze more money out of players is pretty limited, but it's increasing pretty regularly - loot boxes, DLC and micro-transactions are only the beginning.

And this "games as a service" isn't just speculative from the likes of critics and players, developers and publishers are eagerly embracing the term. For example, in Square Enix's most recent financial report, they stated:

"Titles that have become global hits recently have tended to be offered via the 'Games as a Service' model, and we believe this is going to be the mainstream model for gaming in the future. In developing future titles, we will approach game design with a mind to generate recurring revenue streams."

The statement comes on the heels of Final Fantasy XV becoming a "service" thanks to recent patches and DLC, with more on the way. The list of developers and publishers who have recently made references to games as a service is growing. Electronic Arts and Ubisoft also explicitly mention it in their most recent earnings calls -- and even those who haven't are still following pretty similar strategies.

This big shift was always inevitable. The video game industry is littered with the corpses of game studios that took the fire-and-forget approach. For developers, the best lessons are often learned once you’ve already shipped. Games such as Rainbow Six Siege is living, breathing proof of the concept working pretty well.

With video games that have a long shelf life -- and an even longer list of recurring players -- "games as a service" is going to stay around for a while yet. It's becoming such a draw that having a one-and-done approach is quickly becoming irregular for developers.

While this might be good news for some fans, it also has a number of drawbacks. The most prominent one being the fact that, as developers spend more time on games post-launch, they'll have less time to spend on developing new IP. Having new DLC, patches and more for the likes of Fallout 4 might be great and everything, but new projects might not ever get to see the light of day as publishers look to wring as much money out of sequels and DLC as possible.

One of the major drawbacks, however, could be the use of the 'games as a service' model to rush games to a release, glossing over bugs and glitches in order to make a deadline - some of the recent Assassin's Creed games come to mind. Essentially, developers know that they can release an unfinished, and occasionally broken, game knowing that patches will be released months later in order to fix said bugs/glitches. And this is where the only major concern for gamers comes into play. In many cases, players will have to wait months - possibly even years - in order to get the full experience of a game, as the developers originally envisioned for the game.

Whether the benefits end up outweighing the drawbacks in the future - as looks likely at the moment - players will have to get used to games as a service. If developers have their way, players don't have much of a choice, so better get used to waiting for the full experience of a game.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments! 

Does Assassin’s Creed Need Multiplayer Again? Tue, 24 Oct 2017 15:07:34 -0400 Brandon Janeway

Assassin’s Creed is a long-standing franchise that has attempted to add variety to some releases to mix up their otherwise basic formula. One of these forms of variety was in the form of a competitive multiplayer that we saw in Brotherhood and then a cooperative multiplayer that we saw in Unity. However, the series left out both of these features with Syndicate and it does not look like they will be making a return in Origins.

Now we cannot deny that Assassin’s Creed is a successful franchise with a large following, but the question remains if they need to add something to their formula again. While the competitive multiplayer feature was not the reason fans were playing, it had enough of a backing to last three games in the series.

The multiplayer was successful at blending the actions of the campaign with a competitive functionality that worked well in the Assassin’s Creed Universe. Unity allowed players to work in tandem on missions, and worked well with the themes of the game, but lacked the same excitement and contrast of the competitive features before it.

Without either of these features, the franchise left Syndicate feeling like an old Assassin’s Creed game, not that that was a bad thing. The game also did allow you to switch between two lead characters which was a nice twist without sacrificing the traditional Assassin’s Creed feel.

Now, most people are done with franchises that add a random multiplayer feature to a game that does not make a lot of sense and bogs down the overall presence of a good game. But if it makes sense with the game and has a user base, it is a nice function to enhance a game.

Even without the multiplayer function, Origins will still be successful for long-time fans of the franchise, but it leaves little to entice newcomers. Even more worrisome is how long the game will keep people interested without new features. Multiplayer without a doubt adds content besides the campaign and allows for developers to add some easy new content.

Will we see a return of the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer or is the franchise just going to keep doing what made them so popular since the beginning? We will have to wait and see. Let us know in the comments if you think Assassin's Creed needs to bring back their multiplayer or what else they might need to change their formula.

Why Video Games Should Be Considered Art Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:56:03 -0400 Sarah Elliman

It is incontrovertible that the debate around whether video games can be considered an art form or not is a contentious subject. Some believe it is the ultimate medium of expression, combining various art forms into one and making it interactive. Others believe that considering video games as art devalues the works of various artists in different fields. Although video games are legally recognised as art forms, the debate is still widely discussed. I personally believe that video games combine many beautiful art forms into one incredible interactive piece. You can learn from and experience situations you may never have been in before. The public's view on art and what mediums should be considered art vary as widely as the pieces of art present in our world.

In 2011 it was ruled by the Supreme Court that video games should be protected by the First Amendment.

“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas – and even social messages – through many familiar literary devices…and through features distinctive to the medium.”

- Anthony Scalia, Supreme Court Justice

Even legally protected as an art form, many don’t see the artistic nature of video games.

People view art in different ways and without a clarification of meaning it can be hard to differentiate between the mediums. Jonathon Jones wrote for The Guardian on the matter stating that:

"...any definition of art is one person’s reaction to life. Any definition of art that robs it of this inner response by a human creator is a worthless definition."

Understanding that this is a valid point if that is how you view art is applicable, however the basic component of this definition is that art is a reflection of life. If you take the opinion of the famous playwright, Oscar Wilde, he believed that ‘life imitates art far more than art imitates life,’ having varying personal definitions of art harms our view of video games as art.

So when definitions aren’t clear it is hard to define what should fit the unstable definition of art. Perhaps, you may argue that there are much more established forms of art and their importance is greater. It can’t be denied that prose, song and visual art have been established far longer than video games. However, this does not mean it isn’t an art form--video games simply haven’t had the time to gain the prestige of other art forms. Furthermore, what are video games but an interactive medium comprised of prose, song and visual art? Albeit not every video game is a masterpiece, but neither is every single book. When video games combine these three traditional art forms and use them masterfully, they create a soulful experience.

For example, if we are to start with visual art there are plenty of examples of video games that are visually appealing. There is no one true style when it comes to the visual aspect of video games. You can have a completely realistic style with a game such as Uncharted and be blown away by beautifully rendered landscapes. Or alternatively a game such as Limbo has a simpler art style, but carries the sinister nature of the game. It is not simply how we use the visual style but how it adds to the tone of the game. What Remains of Edith Finch is an absolutely stunning game and emits a sense of quiet and mystery even from its art style. The visuals match the purpose and the narrative of the game.

The same can be said for the writing of an individual game. Nobody could deny the power and heart-wrenching nature of the opening to The Last of Us. It set the entire tone for the game. You understood Joel’s character and knew why his interactions with Ellie were tenuous at the beginning of the game. A game with a good narrative does the same thing any piece of prose does: it makes you want to continue on. Whether you’re running home to read the next chapter of the book you’re reading or complete the next mission of the game you’re on, good writing makes you want to continue the story.

In addition if you played the first season of TellTale’s critically acclaimed The Walking Dead, you would know that at the end of the season there was not a dry eye to be seen. And what about video games that take inspiration from a piece of prose? The Witcher 3 reached legendary game status back in 2015, with many games, such as Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Origins desiring to implement many mechanics from the eponymous game. The Witcher 3 had fantastic source material. (I highly recommend the books to anyone who is a fan of the series.) Does having source material based in more established art forms make it better? No, good writing comes from the team who are passionate about the game they’re making.

Lastly is the soundtrack. Song is an incredible part of human nature. Folk music is a testament to the longevity of song, and when a video game has the right soundtrack it makes all the difference. Life is Strange is a perfect example of this. It has a soundtrack that carries the message of the game, but the tracks are in themselves pieces of art. I have been introduced to so many new artists through games such as Life is Strange that I would never have found otherwise. Even instrumental music composed for a game carries a tone and a beauty within it, such as the Assassin’s Creed 2 opening instrumental. It carries an emotion and purpose that a video game would be lost without.

When you have the combination of so many brilliant art forms, how can you not justify video games being classed as an art form?

“Video games are also the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience while still retaining the authenticity of the artist,” - Chris Melissinos

is one opinion standing for the validity of video games as an art form. You’re not just a passive consumer when you engage with video games. You’re directly part of that experience and with more and more games implementing various choice paths in their games you can see the appeal. Video games allow you the option to interact with a whole new world and sometimes make it your own. You’re still experiencing someone’s vision, but you’re also part of that vision--which allows anyone who plays the game to become part of the art.

What is your opinion? Should video games be considered art or not? Leave a comment below with your opinions! 

Learning with Assassin's Creed: Origins Wed, 25 Oct 2017 12:23:08 -0400 Sarah Elliman

With the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed Origins on the horizon, an aspect of the game which is rarely discussed is the educational and cultural significance of the franchise. Undoubtedly, the last few installments of the series have leaned on these attributes less, yet there is hope that Origins may return to form while simultaneously injecting the series with a fresh attitude. Over the recent years, big titles such as The Last of Us prove that video games don’t have to be mindless and that it’s not about consistently killing waves and waves of faceless enemies. A good game should give us insight into the world and reflect the depths of human nature.

Firstly, let us start with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood as well-rounded examples of a video game that nurtures a more intellectual environment. I have chosen these two specifically as they implemented a lot of new features to the series while refining other aspects from the first game. For example, the introduction of the codex was a marvelous innovation that was lacking in the first installment that further immerses the player into the world. The codex acting as snippets of information is wonderful for a brief overview of key events, buildings, etc and would have been a dream when learning about the Crusades in college--the perfect excuse to play video games all day.

Although it can be considered to offer a small and basic snippet of the history of the period, it nevertheless ignited a love for the Italian Renaissance that I never realized I possessed until playing Assassin’s Creed. Furthermore, Ubisoft were able to expertly weave the historical events in with the fictional narrative of the series that made the period of history seem exciting, which upon further investigating, is a wonderfully diverse era. The desire to learn more about the era came from the realism in the characters and the wonderfully romanticized image in my mind about Italy and its culture.

Leonardo Da Vinci is a perfect example of this, everybody knows the name and the genius behind the man, but to see him conveyed in a human form instead of the divine one written in history is what intrigued me to look into the polymath more. This is implemented exceedingly well in Brotherhood when he helps Ezio against Ceasare Borgia, it is believed by many historians that Da Vinci abhorred war and a lot of his war machines had intentional faults so that they could never be used. This is perfectly conveyed by the kind and gentle nature portrayed in Da Vinci within the series and lets you connect with the many possibilities of history in an easily consumable format. There is a more wholesome air to these installments in the series than has ever been portrayed in the later games. 

As discussed the series hasn’t always been able to capture the zeitgeist of whichever era it is trying to capture. This is perhaps due to the series’ inability to be able to adapt with the times and move forward in a way that fits with the changing attitudes and desires of gamers. Anyone who is close to the series and has been following it for a long time can probably remember the social controversy around Unity and its lack of playable female characters. Considering this was a game heavily leaning on cooperative play within the main campaign, there was no diversity in terms of character design. What made the situation worse was Ubisoft’s statements about the fiasco:

Assassin’s Creed Unity is focused on the story of the lead character, Arno. Whether playing by yourself or with the co-op shared experiences, you the gamer will always be playing Arno, complete with his broad range of gear and skill sets that will make you feel unique. With regard to diversity in our playable Assassins, we’ve featured Aveline, Connor, Adewale and Altair in the Assassin’s Creed games and we continue to look at showcasing diverse characters. We look forward to introducing you to some of the strong female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity."

However, this statement was not satisfactory to a lot of fans of the series, considering that one of Ubisoft’s own spokespeople stated that putting in female characters would have taken double the amount of time. But why is this important? When you consider the four examples given in the statement above, where two of the four were simply spin offs and not part of the main series, it highlights a massive problem. A lot of people may say that it is simply for historical accuracy, however it is important to remember that the soul of the game is the combination of the historical element, but also the overarching story of the Assassins.

Any art or entertainment reflects the world we live in, and if people don’t see themselves represented it takes away from the immersion and perhaps desire to learn about the events in the games. The game doesn’t need to be one hundred percent accurate as it has its own narrative to carry it forward. In addition, if people cared about the accuracy of the game then they would be up in arms about the portrayal of the French Revolution. Then further down the line at how Syndicate deals with the horrors of the Industrial Revolution, it is clear from these examples that Ubisoft lost what made it special with these two installments.

Unity, to start with takes place in the period of the French Revolution, not the one popularised by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. If someone was truly concerned with historical accuracy or at least a lasting impression of the era, then characters such as Napoleon wouldn’t simply be thrown in to make anyone with a basic knowledge of world events jump for joy. In the words of Eric Hobsbawm, a British historian, Napoleon was:

“ a general he had no equal; as a ruler he was a superbly efficient planner...” Eric Hobsbawm (The Age of Revolution)

Napoleon was undeniably a figurehead of the later part of the revolution which lead to astronomical political change within Europe, but his portrayal in Unity doesn’t even scratch the surface of that depth. Unlike Leonardo, there is no deeper understanding of the character and their personality. By sidelining important figures they lost that connection of history and narrative that worked so well previously. This is further evidenced by the treatment of Marx in Syndicate: he appears only for a couple of side quests so you gain no substantial information about such a key figure within this time period. Assassin’s Creed lost its charisma and liveliness by benching the history and losing a key element of what made the series interesting.

The break in the regular yearly installments to the franchise appear to have injected a sense of vitality and reawakening in the series. Although there are only short snippets of game-play, they appear to have moved forward with the times and observed what gamers have been longing for. The Witcher has had a massive influence over the industry in recent years due to its overwhelming success that took what was considered a cult game to world-wide acclaim. Many games are now implementing the open world aspect and creating quests that feel like they contribute to the wider story arch. Assassin’s Creed Origins appears to be no exception, with a map that opens up more as you explore, which should hopefully convey the expansive history and culture of Ancient Egypt. Combine this with the fantastic graphics and expansive environments we have seen within the trailers and snippets of gameplay, and we could be witnessing a revitalization of this classic series. With being able to:

“...uncover lost tombs, explore the pyramids, and discover the secrets of mummies, the gods and the last pharaohs,”

this could mean that Assassin’s Creed fans get an immersive experience comparative to the second installment. By adding diversity into the world, the reflection of Ancient Egypt will hopefully run smoothly with the tale of the Assassins and the cultural vibe of the time.

Perhaps, then, Assassin’s Creed is moving back in the direction that made it so popular in the first place: the intriguing take on historical events without losing the intricate details. The Crusades and the Italian Renaissance were very prominent time periods within European history, and the game captured this essence in a fantastic way. It fanned the flames of interest in history and made it more accessible to people. It is a popularized version of history, but a realistic and human version, too. It would be wonderful if Ubisoft could create a history of Ancient Egypt within their game that doesn’t feel commandeered by Western media. The decision to add the guided tours has given me hope that Assassin’s Creed is trying to retain the magic it started with.

“Discovery Tour is clearly focused on education and on bringing people actual facts, more academic knowledge,”

- Jean Guesdon (Creative Director AC: Origins)

Hopefully we are seeing not only a revitalization of the historical aspect but a more in depth one as well. The choice for Bayek as a main character keeps the hope alive. With fingers, crossed we await the release of Origins on the 27th of October, praying that it is a return to the series that has long been anticipated.

How do you feel about Assassin's Creed? Do you think Origins can redeem the series? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Open World Games Lead to Lazy Design (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Narrative) Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:28:37 -0400 LuckyJorael

It all started innocently enough. I played the original Assassin’s Creed way back in 2007, and thought it was pretty amazing. Large, explorable areas, tons of NPCs to glide past, guards to attack or hide from, and – wait, I need to collect how many flags?

I’m somewhat of a completionist. Sometimes I can ignore the pull of getting every single achievement, but if I love a game, I’ll try to get every single collectible, find every ending, and nab every achievement I can. Game designers love players like me, because it takes very little effort to pad the total hours of a game through collectibles, side missions, and secret areas. And I fall for it (almost) every time.

Because it's shiny, I need to find ALL OF THEM.

The original Assassin’s Creed is kind of an egregious example. It was a long time ago, and the collectibles were done clumsily, you might argue. So instead, let’s take a look at another game I became obsessed with for a time: Tom Clancy’s The Division. (As an aside, I think I have a penchant for playing fundamentally flawed games.)

In The Division, one of the achievements is to collect every single piece of Intel: phone recordings, drone black boxes, compiled video/audio/satellite data called an ECHO, survival handbook pages, incident reports, etc. There are 293 different pieces of Intel to collect, scattered around the empty New York streets and sewers.

And while the missions where these collectibles are found push the story forward, the collectibles themselves are really just a distraction -- to both the player and the development team. 

These are boring to listen to -- unless you're REALLY invested.

Both of these examples present missed opportunities. Why? Because the resources dedicated to placing flags, phones, and crashed drones could have been put somewhere else. In Assassin's Creed, there could have been more, better fleshed-out missions (remember the endless, repetitive side missions?). In The Division, they could have fixed some of the terrible writing.

But at least Ubisoft had the foresight to make collecting everything in The Division mean (a bit of) something. Get every object in an Intel set – all of the crashed drone black boxes, for example – and get rewarded with cosmetic gear. With Assassin’s Creed, collecting all the flags gets you nothing more than a digital pat on the back.

So why should I care that you can’t help but collect widgets in games, I hear you ask? Because it’s bullshit time filler that can (sometimes) negatively impact the narrative you're pursuing. 

Look, I really like a lot of games that have hidden collectibles. Every Assassin’s Creed has them, and some of them are done well. The Division has them, even in its first DLC, and they are… acceptable. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has them in the form of Korok Seeds, and they are perhaps the worst example I’ve seen in a while.

Only 899 to go!

900 seeds.

You need to collect NINE HUNDRED SEEDS, so Hestu can have all the seeds back in his maracas, and you get a “reward” that looks like a golden pile of shit. Way to troll everyone, Fujibayashi.

I’ve collected 40 seeds in my game, and I’m standing outside of Hyrule Castle ready to kick Ganon in his stupid face. I’ve visited all 120 shrines and beaten them because they are interesting and fun. But I refuse to find Koroks because even if I get more slots for my weapon, shield, and bow inventories, it’s completely ridiculous to tie inventory expansion to random collectibles.

I love Breath of the Wild. It has eclipsed Ocarina of Time as my favorite Zelda game, but I learned something while playing it. I no longer need to find every side mission, collect every tiny piece of whatever, or get all the endings to a game. I don’t need to track down the 87 pieces of the dragon’s heart to get the Infinity +1 Sword. I don’t need to trudge through a dozen boring side-quests to get the Flaming Armor of Jotun Strength -- because I’m trying to save the world, and I don’t have time for this.

I mean, hold on dude; I have to collect 60 stone fragments first.

I can beat the game without spending an additional 20 hours grinding through content that adds nothing but time spent in the game. I say this as a fan of Destiny and Final Fantasy VI, two of the grindiest games I know (and love). Where open world games go wrong is thinking that collectibles and mundane side missions add enjoyment to the game, instead of just time.

What I won’t look back on fondly is the hours spent shooting into a cave in Destiny, hoping to find a Legendary Engram, or the hours I spent walking back and forth on the Veld in Final Fantasy VI, waiting for a random battle.

I will remember the first time I took down Atheon in the Vault of Glass and got a Vision of Confluence (still my favorite weapon in Destiny). I will remember beating Kefka the final time in Final Fantasy VI, ending his reign as the god of magic.

I don’t want to have to grind through a million unrelated things or collect a bunch of useless junk just to power up enough to enjoy the game. All I want to do is enjoy the game and the plot. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bunch of sidequests to ignore in The Witcher 3.

Does Map Size Really Matter In An Open World Game? Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:50:20 -0400 Stephen Brown

Open world games seem to be everywhere. More and more developers are latching their new and already established franchises onto this style of gameplay, for better or worse. The reasoning is clear since the open world format proves beneficial from a design standpoint and is also hugely popular among gamers (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fallout 4), so this leads to better sales and more money.

However, as each new open world game is released, developers boast about how "vast" and "dense" their particular game is. The question therefore is: "Is an open world's size really important?"

Since so many games nowadays adopt the structure and design of an open world, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish themselves as better than the competition. It seems that because of this, developers believe that by further increasing the size of the open world, the game is all the better for it.

Part of a developer's job in creating a game is to try and make it as good as possible to sell. As consumers we get drawn to bigger numbers. We make excuses that a larger game world means more content, therefore equating it to better value for our money. What we really should be doing is actually examining the quality of the content on offer. It's a dangerous predicament as it can potentially encourage developers and publishers to focus on making pointlessly large open worlds instead of other aspects such as level design, story and side content. Unfortunately, the former regularly feels more attractive in the end. On the other hand, if done well in tandem with everything else, the larger open world can indeed work extremely well, an arguably brilliant example being The Witcher 3

CD Projekt Red was able to balance a large and varied open world in both the main game and the Blood and Wine DLC alongside an intricate story, characters and quest design. The Witcher 3 was able to handle the size of the game world with ease and filled it with truly meaningful content that never felt like filler. There was still the odd issue, though, such as the sluggish nature of Geralt's movement in small spaces, however the developers truly worked wonders in raising the bar for the RPG genre and open world games as a whole.

On the flip side, so many other games fall victim to focusing too much on the vastness of their open world that in order for it to not feel empty, developers drown the game in idle and unimaginative 'fetch' quests.

How many glowing feathers scattered across a city do we really need to collect? Is it really necessary for complete and utter strangers to ask me to pick them flowers that grow in a certain cave miles away just for a few pieces of gold? Common games that get this wrong are the Assassin's Creed series, Skyrim and Dragon Age: InquisitionThese games aren't bad -- in fact I still really like them -- however, too often we are given a massive open world that's littered with collectables and fetch quests to provide us with content that adds no real thrill to the experience. I would happily have a smaller map size in favor of quests and other side activities that were engaging and worthwhile, instead something that amounts to numbers and a completion percentage.

I understand that a bigger open world is paramount to a game's success in some instances, such as the Just Cause series, where the world is supposed to be a playground designed around the protagonist causing destruction and explosions. In this regard a large open world works just fine. For many others, though, specifically RPGs, side activities and story are more important than having the largest open world imaginable. However, it is also possible for a big open world and meaningful content to work well together if the developer really puts in the effort so that gamers can fully appreciate the game, like the previously mentioned The Witcher 3.

Don't get me wrong, I love an open world game that lets you get lost in the setting. However, what's the point if the content in the game is side-lined so that the map's size means nothing anyway? Hopefully developers will soon realize that the sheer size of a world isn't what ultimately sells; it's what the player can experience and do within that world that's crucial to its design.

What's your take on open worlds? Are today's games getting it right or wrong? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!

E3 2017: Ubisoft Predictions Mon, 12 Jun 2017 13:42:56 -0400 Curtis Dillon


And there you have our Ubisoft E3 2017 predictions! For all intents and purposes, it seems like it's going to be a pretty great show for the publisher. With several huge games coming in the next year, from South Park to Far Cry, The Crew and Assassin's Creed, there's going to be a lot to show.


As well as the games we know about, Ubisoft is likely to have several unannounced titles that could steal the show, be it Splinter Cell 2, Child of Light 2, or the brand new IP. It's definitely an exciting year and, considering they've chosen for developers to host the briefing, it seems like games are going to be the focus.


What do you think Ubisoft is going to show-off? Which game are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out our other predictions! Until next time, stay tuned to GameSkinny!


New IP


Ubisoft can't help but close out it's E3 shows with a new IP we've never heard of. The company has done this every year since Watch Dogs was originally revealed, and more often than not it's a pleasant surprise. I expect this year to be no different.


Of course, there's no way of telling what the new IP will be for sure, but we've already gotten a big tease. In a fantastic tongue-in-cheek mission in Watch Dogs 2, players sneak into Ubisoft headquarters and steal a new game trailer, then leak it to a games website for a nice fee. This trailer pops-up online and it shows images like the one above; weird spaceships orbiting planets with the tagline: E3_Conf_Video_v03.


That's as on-the-nose as you can get when it comes to teases. Sources have said the game is indeed real and codenamed "Pioneer", although it was also reported that the game suffered a snag in development. This means the game is not a sure thing to be seen at E3 this year but, given Ubisoft's track record for revealing new IP to close the show, I'd still put money it.


Far Cry 5


Back to serious business, and that business is the awesomely-crazy, Far Cry 5! Just to get something out of the way, I do not understand the so-called "controversy" surrounding the game; it seems some people believe Ubisoft is trying to reflect the Donald Trump supporters in the American Mid-West. A notion that is simply ridiculous.


Far Cry 5 is releasing in the spring of 2018 and it is exciting! The mainline series needed a shake-up after Far Cry 4, and moving to the beautiful plains and mountains of Montana is certainly that. Brandishing Far Cry's signature brand of charismatic cult-leader, black humour, beautiful landscapes, and fanatical action, the new entry in the series is going to be a big deal.


I would expect Far Cry 5 to almost get as much time at Ubisoft's E3 conference as Assassin's Creed, underlining how important the franchise has become to Ubisoft. I also think it could close the show...were it now for one more surprise announcement!




Time for a complete change of pace. UbiArt Framework is a game engine created by Ubisoft to make smaller titles, the likes of which Child of Light and Valiant Hearts emerged!


Those two titles were genuinely fantastic games and a sequel to Child of Light was confirmed by the developer back in 2015! It's been three years since the original title and I wouldn't be shocked if we seen a trailer for the follow-up. Or so I can hope. For what it's worth, a sequel to Valiant Hearts seems less liekly but no less desired.


Moreover, we could very well see a brand new title emerge from the UbiArt Framework engine. Valiant Hearts was the last game made by the engine to release on either PS4 or Xbox One, so we're long past due a new title in the beautiful art style.


Splinter Cell


Here's something that tends to get predicted every year - well since the last instalment in 2013 - but it's bound to happen at some point.


Splinter Cell is one of Ubisoft's best-known franchises, with combined sales of nearly 18 million units! The last game in the series was Blacklist for PS3 and XBox 360 in 2013, and therefore plenty of time has passed for a new title to be almost ready to go. Not to mention, a supposed leak said that Sam Fisher's voice actor, Michael Ironside, had been spotted at Ubisoft Toronto.


In a time when so few stealth games exist, a new Splinter Cell would be a welcome surprise to fans. We'd be very eager to see what a Sam Fisher adventure looks like in 2017 on PS4 and XBox One!


For Honor/Watch Dogs 2/Ghost Recon: Wildlands


Let's keep this one short and sweet. In the past year, Ubisoft has released Watch Dogs 2, For Honor, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. These games have received varying degrees of success but none has set the world on fire.


Regardless, support for all three of these games is unlikely to be concluded. Watch Dogs 2 has received five different DLC packs already but I wouldn't be surprised to see one more story-based DLC pack shown off at the conference. Despite selling even less than the original, the game has gathered a fan base and Ubisoft will want to show them faith.


For Honor and Ghost Recon: Wildlands are a different story however. Despite charting well initially, For Honor only sold 1.72 million copies and it was reported this past week that the game has lost a gigantic 95% of its player base. That's horrendous news for Ubisoft but the company will definitely want to try and recoup those losses with some DLC to get fans back on board. Some decent DLC is probably a last throw of the dice for For Honor.


Ghost Recon: Wildlands on the other hand, sold a little better and has retained a player base. A major expansion for Wildlands just launched, titled "Fallen Ghosts", and has been received well. This makes another expansion for the game this soon unlikely, however I wouldn't be surprised to see a quick trailer for the recent DLC.


The Crew 2


The Crew 2 was announced in an earnings call by Ubisoft, then confirmed on Twitter with the new logo. The game is set to release in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31 2018 - so we can guarantee a showing at E3.


The Crew released in 2014 to mixed reviews but it did managed to accumulate 10 million registered players, meaning a sequel was fairly inevitable. New features are unknown as of now but it's fair to say that The Crew 2 will have to impress a lot more than its predecessor when it faces competition from the biggest names in the genre: Forza Motorsport 7, Need For Speed: Payback, and Gran Turismo Sport.


South Park: The Fractured But Whole


The second South Park game from Ubisoft was revealed two years ago at E3, in what was a fairly unexpected announcement. After suffering two delays, the game is finally ready for release in October.


We've already seen quite a bit from The Fractured But Whole but I fully expect another trailer, or gameplay demonstration from Ubisoft at E3. Due to the game releasing in a couple of months, Ubisoft will wish to keep it in the minds of everyone and get them excited again. If the sequel is anywhere near as good as The Stick of Truth, we'll be in for a treat come Halloween!


Assassin's Creed: Origins


Ubisoft managed to hold the next Assassin's Creed game a secret for longer than usual, but still, the game inevitably leaked before its official announcement. From alleged screenshots to a season pass and even a T-shirt, Assassin's Creed: Origins leaked in some ridiculous ways in the past month.


Ubisoft's E3 briefing will be the first official showing of the game however, and it's fair to say this is the most anticipated Assassin's Creed in a long time. You can blame Unity, glitches, and repetitive gameplay, but the reality is that fans simply became burnt out on the franchise and needed a break. Well, two years later and we're more than ready.


Assassin's Creed: Origins is said to take place in Ancient Egypt and star a new protagonist by the name of Bayek. The game is expected to feature redesigned gameplay, vastly improved visuals, horse-riding, and a massive and seamless open-world. All of this and the game is said to be releasing this fall, fitting the usual reveal-to-release schedule for the series. I could be completely wrong but I can see Ubisoft starting the E3 showcase with Assassin's Creed and just addressing the elephant right away.


Another year and another Ubisoft E3 briefing is at hand! This year will be a little different however because Aisha Tyler will not be hosting. This probably comes as pleasant news to some but a lot of people, myself included, really liked the personality and skill that Tyler brought to the shows.


Ubisoft has a massive E3 ahead with a lot of exciting new titles coming in the near future. Rather than allow several of it's titles to get leaked, Ubisoft wisely announced a few ahead of time and we'll get to those later in the slideshow. The company has several sequels in the pipeline but each of them has more excitement than usual, not to mention a few surprised we believe may be on the way.


But enough beating around the bush, let's get on with the predictions and, with any luck, we'll get more than a few right.

The Best Gamer Gear You Can Buy on Etsy Right Now Tue, 30 May 2017 15:05:43 -0400 Jerline Justo

Bonus: Will You Be the Zelda To My Link?

Price: $359
Where to Buy: Gold and Sliver Co


Jino Vazquez, owner of GoldandSilverCo, designs various types of engagement rings, many with unique bands and dazzling jewels. Along with his other amazing designs, he created this Legend of Zelda themed ring that features the Hylian crest surround by a diamond. 


If you or your significant other are ready to take the next step, this Legend of Zelda themed engagement ring is the way to take it. 




There you have it! From Destiny themed clothing to Legend of Zelda inspired engagement rings, Etsy offers a lot more gamer gear that any player would hope to find.


Even though there are thousands of products on Etsy for the gamer guy or gal, these items present the best gaming gear on the website. If you are looking to purchase something for yourself or as a gift, check these items out. 


What kind of gamer gear have you purchased on Esty? Share it in the comments below!

"Grow Up & Get a Life" T-shirt

Price: $17.95
Where to Buy: TrendingShirts


People love to speak their minds by wearing graphic T-shirts. If that happens to be you, you might want to buy this one from TrendingShirts. It's a design created with all gamers in mind -- those who both love games and humor. The red and green mushrooms from Nintendo's Mario pull the phrase together -- and the little angry mushrooms set the design off. 

Assassin's Creed Bronze Locket

Price: $10
Where to Buy: HazelWeiss


Want to show your loyalty to the Assassins? You can hunt down Templars while wearing this bronze locket crafted by HazelWeiss. The locket’s detailed emblazing of the Assassin’s sigil makes it fitting for any Assassin’s Creed fan. You can also check out Hazel's other products, which include lockets from The Legend of Zelda and Game of Thrones.

Transform Into a Pro Gamer

Price: $14.99
Where to Buy: NerdvanaClothing


E-sports athletes practice each and every day to improve their skills and take them to the next level. Although we all can’t be pros, NerdvanaClothing offers video game lovers the opportunity to look the part. Whether you want to feel like an athlete or support e-sports, this T-shirt’s red and yellow colors and logo fit anyone who appreciates competitive gaming. 

Destiny Ghost Onesie

Price: $14.95
Where to Buy: RayzGraphix6


It's hard not to be excited about Destiny 2 after seeing the recently released trailer for the game. Instead of keeping that excitement to yourself, you can share it with the little baby relative or sibling in your life with this awesome onesie. RayzGraphix6 created this design for any little Destiny fan, presenting Ghost with the words, “Little Light.”

Pokemon Red and Blue Knitted Hat

Price: $35 
Where to Buy: Hatsbycharlotte


As much as Pokemon fans love playing Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sun and Moon, they equally love to reminisce about Pokemon Red and Blue, with its retro design and sound. Hatsbycharlotte takes the design of the 8-bit Pokemon trainer and slaps it on a knitted hat, even taking note of the trainer’s hat and backpack. Not only does the design look on point, but it exudes Pokemon nostalgia. 


Customers use Esty to find cool hand-made items all the time. Whether it's originally designed crafts or items inspired by movies, TV shows, or video games, Etsy is one of the only places on the web to find truly unique items. 


From hats to jewelry to clothing, Etsy store owners create truly awesome gamer gear for players who want to show their passion for video games. Whether it's Final Fantasy or Minecraftthese gaming items will definitely make you feel stylish and ready to game.


Without further ado, here are some Esty items created by talented artists that are definitely worth checking out, especially if you're on the hunt for some great gamer gear!