Lyrical Journey: Heavensward

Hello everyone, this is Voltenyne from the Community team!

Last week, we set off on a lyrical journey through the theme songs of each expansion as we prepare ourselves for Endwalker.

The journey continues this week with the lyrics of "Heavensward" and "Dragonsong" from our first expansion, Heavensward!

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FINAL FANTASY XIV: Heavensward Trailer

* Note that this video contains A Realm Reborn main scenario spoilers.

Heavensward

Beneath the gazing stars
Vales deep and forests dark
Betrayed by loyal hands, Her wrath stirred

Bound fast unto our fate
One path, one burden great
Yet ever do our aching souls point Heavensward
Ever rings out our song
Yes, ever do our aching souls march Heavensward
As they've done for so long

To their trespass
We are Witness
Here to pass this
Final sentence

No forgiveness
No deliverance
Only Justice
Only Vengeance

Wills unbending
Faith unending
Stone defending
Now our steel shall sing

Guide us, O mighty Fury
Guide us to victory!

Dys An Sohm In (Our slumber disturbed,)
Rohs An Kyn Ala na (All my brothers wake.)
Mah Morn Na-ah-ah-ahrr (The saviors must perish.)
Sahl Djahs Afah An (Vengeance will be ours.)
Eorzea!

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FINAL FANTASY XIV - Dragonsong

Dragonsong

Children of the land do you hear
Echoes of truths that once rang clear
Two souls intertwined
One true love they did find
Bringing land and heavens near

But flames that burned full bright soon fell dark
Memories dimmed by shadowed hearts
In the waxing gloom
Did wane the lovers' moon
Watching as their worlds drift apart.

One soul's cry
A passion welling within
Sacrifice
A final plea to her kin

Yet this bond of hope
By treachery was broke
Scattering her words to the wind

Swelling overlong
Seas of blood are a song
And death an afterthought
To those who fight for naught

A throne lying empty
A reign incomplete
Alone for eternity
A pain without cease

Children of the land answer this
Why must you turn to empty bliss
Tell me why break trust
Why turn the past to dust
Seeking solace in the abyss

Tell me why create
A circle none can break
Why must you let go
The life you were bestowed
This I fear I'll never know
Never know...

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Thanks for joining me in this week's lyrical journey!

If you missed our journey from last week, be sure to check it out below!
A Realm Reborn

See you again next week!

Voltenyne
- Community team

Categories
Bungie Slide

This Week At Bungie – 10/21/2021

Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle! The Dragon Quest X Collab Returns!

Greetings, everyone! This is Zhexos from the Community team.

Did you hear the news? The Dragon Quest X collaboration event is returning on Tuesday, 19 October 2021 at 8:00 (GMT) / 9:00 (BST)!

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Event Period
From Tuesday, 19 October 2021 at 8:00 (GMT) / 9:00 (BST)
to Thursday, 11 November 2021 at 14:59 (GMT)

How to Participate
Speak with Havak Alvak in Ul'dah - Steps of Nald (X:12.1 Y:8.2) to begin.

Event Items

Headgear: Thug's Mug
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First, we have the Thug's Mug, worn by various characters in the Dragon Quest series, this iconic yellow headgear is dyeable!

Headgear: King Slime Crown
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Next, check out the King Slime Crown that jiggles!

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See the jiggle!? No? Alright, let's go with a goo-d ol' gif!

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Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle!

Minion: Wind-up Brickman
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What's this!? The brickman gets up and looks as if it wants to join the party!

Finally, we have the wind-up brickman! This cute minion would be a wonderful companion to accompany you on your adventures.

Perhaps with the right angle and location, you could take a screenshot that looks like it came straight from Dragon Quest!

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In addition to these event items, the event quest itself is full of sights to see, and I'm sure it'll bring about lots of laughter and surprises!

If you've already completed the quests before and would like to play through them again, you can use the Seasonal Event Replay feature!

See you all in game!

Zhexos
- Community team

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Visit the special site.

Lyrical Journey: A Realm Reborn

Hello everyone, this is Voltenyne from the Community team!

We're only about a month away from the release of our much-awaited expansion, Endwalker!

In Endwalker, the current tale of our adventures, which has been unfolding since A Realm Reborn, will be heading into its finale. As such, we invite you to join us each week in this lyrical journey through the theme songs of each expansion as we prepare ourselves for Endwalker!

Without further ado, let's begin our lyrical journey with "Answers" from A Realm Reborn!

FINAL FANTASY XIV "A New Beginning"

* Note that this video features an edited version of the song. You can listen to the full version in our official soundtrack.

Answers

I close my eyes, tell us why must we suffer
Release your hands, for your will drags us under
My legs grow tired, tell us where must we wander
How can we carry on if redemption's beyond us?

To all of my children in whom Life flows abundant
To all of my children to whom Death hath passed his judgement
The soul yearns for honor, and the flesh the hereafter
Look to those who walked before to lead those who walk after

Shining is the Land's light of justice
Ever flows the Land's well of purpose
Walk free, walk free, walk free, believe...
The Land is alive, so believe...

Suffer (Feel) Promise (Think) Witness (Teach) Reason
(Hear) Follow (Feel) Wander (Think) Stumble (Teach) Listen
(Speak) Honor (Speak) Value (Tell) Whisper (Tell) Mention
(Hope) Ponder (Hope) Warrant (Wish) Cherish (Wish) Welcome
(Roam) Witness (Roam) Listen (Roam) Suffer (Roam) Sanction
(Sleep) Weather (Sleep) Wander (Sleep) Answer
Sleep on

Now open your eyes while our plight is repeated
Still deaf to our cries, lost in hope we lie defeated
Our souls have been torn, and our bodies forsaken
Bearing sins of the past, for our future is taken

War born of strife, these trials persuade us not
(Feel what? Learn what?)
Words without sound, these lies betray our thoughts
Mired by a plague of doubt, the Land, she mourns

(See what? Hear what?)
Judgement binds all we hold to a memory of scorn
Tell us why, given Life, we are meant to die, helpless in our cries?

Witness (Feel) Suffer (Think) Borrow (Teach) Reason
(Hear) Follow (Feel) Stumble (Think) Wander (Teach) Listen
(Blink) Whisper (Blink) Shoulder (Blink) Ponder (Blink) Weather
(Hear) Answer (Look) Answer (Think) Answer together

Thy Life is a riddle, to bear rapture and sorrow
To listen, to suffer, to entrust unto tomorrow
In one fleeting moment, from the Land doth life flow
Yet in one fleeting moment, for anew it doth grow
In the same fleeting moment
Thou must live
Die
And know

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Thanks for joining me in this week's lyrical journey!

See you again next week!

Voltenyne
- Community team

Categories
Bungie Slide

This Week At Bungie – 10/14/2021

Categories
Bungie Slide

Destiny 2 Update 3.3.1

FFXIV Backstage Investigators (No. 7): Lead Technical Artist Tatsuya Okahisa

Hello everyone, this is Miyamiya from the Promotional team!

FFXIV Backstage Investigators is a blog series that share behind-the-scenes stories from the team members who work on all aspects of FFXIV.

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The subject of our seventh interview is...

Lead Technical Artist Tatsuya Okahisa!

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▲ A screenshot from Mr. Okahisa of a look-alike based on his personal character.

Since I knew next to nothing about technical artists, my investigation began from learning what they do!

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Miyamiya: In general, technical artists seem like the intermediary between artists* and engineers, who also create tools for artists to use. What does your team do when it comes to FFXIV?

* In this article, we use the term "artists" to collectively refer to the teams that handle 3D modelling, animation, effects, cutscenes, and other design data.

Okahisa: In FFXIV, the primary job of a technical artist is to support and improve the production process for artists. We create tools and put features in place to help them mass-produce high-quality assets.

As an example, there are currently eight playable races in FFXIV, or fifteen variations of playable characters when you count male and female separately and include male Viera. When we create a piece of equipment, we have to create a different variation for each type of playable character. That's where technical artists come in.

Our team created a tool to automatically modify equipment to match each race and successfully automated the basic parts of the process that are always handled the same way. The tool was implemented around 2013, and we've continued to work on it as features change or new races are added.

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↓ Press a button and wait a few tens of seconds...

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▲ The tool automatically modified the equipment from male Hyur to male Roegadyn.
From here, the artists put on the finishing touches to turn it into the final quality we see in-game.

We help artists by taking mechanical tasks like that and simplifying them as much as possible. As we work on those sorts of tasks, we learn more about how the art data is designed, and that knowledge helps us to come up with new in-game features or provide support when something in the game doesn't look the way it was intended.

We may not seem all that different from programmers; however, in addition to our broad knowledge of programming, we also have insight on how the artists create their data and the inner mechanisms of development tools, which I believe to be our specialty.

Miyamiya: That tool is almost magical!

It sounds like the assistance provided by your team is instrumental in creating the wide variety of playable races and equipment we all enjoy.

How did you become a technical artist?

Okahisa: I was a new graduate when I joined Square Enix as a technical artist.

I had originally studied for the computer graphics and film industry, and as a student I interned at a company specialising in live action. Since it was for live action, the things that we made were all visually stunning, but the actual work was continually dull and tedious. When I began improving our workflow, I found it to be fascinating, and upon looking into it some more, I learned about technical artists and began aspiring to become one.

At the time, technical artists were still a new career field and very few companies were looking to hire them. Under such circumstances, I found a recruitment listing for newly graduated technical artists by the department which eventually would become Square Enix's Creative Business Unit III.

Although I wasn't particular about working in the game industry, the job description sounded like I could do what I had wanted to do, so I applied and was hired for the job. I was assigned to the FFXIV team right before the release of A Realm Reborn, and I remember being taken aback by the hectic atmosphere of the workplace. (laughs)

Miyamiya: What incredible timing to join the company!

Of all the things you've worked on since joining in A Realm Reborn, is there anything that stood out to you as particularly memorable?

Okahisa: In terms of something players would be familiar with, adding underwater actions in Stormblood was particularly memorable for me.

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▲ The FFXIV experience was further expanded with the addition of flying in Heavensward and swimming/diving in Stormblood.

During the process of adding underwater actions, I handled designing schemes for artists.

For example, some of my suggestions to the programming and artist teams included a scheme for synchronising the swimming animation with the splashing water effect, and how the diving and swimming animations might be best blended together.

The hardest part of that process was adjusting the characters' point of reference above water.
Characters in FFXIV have something called a "point of reference," which allow us to use the same animations across characters with different physiques.

When the characters are standing on the ground, their feet are the point of reference.
In the water, however, the distance from the characters' feet to the surface of the water caused Lalafell to look like they were sinking, while Roegadyn appeared to be floating a bit higher than they should.

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▲ As you can see, when the characters' feet are the point of reference, the Lalafell and Roegadyn's bodies are uneven with the water's surface.

To resolve this, I had to ask a huge favour of the programmers to make a procedure which quickly changes the characters' point of reference to their chest as soon as they enter the water.

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Miyamiya: It's enlightening to learn about these backend procedures for new features! Do you have any mottos when working on these kinds of things?

Okahisa: I actually have several.
"Design things that can be maintained over time."
"Don't use a feature outside of its intended scope."
"Avoid conflicting implementations."
Those are just some of the ideas that I try to keep in mind.

Because FFXIV is an online game with periodic updates, you can't just create something then forget about it once it's complete. Designing an intricate feature means spending more development cost on adjustments when it's affected by a later update, which could make us miss a deadline. In situations when we could technically make a feature more intricate if we tried, it's important to draw a line based on the fact that it needs to be maintained moving forward.

Another thing is how we have no idea what sort of updates there may be in the future, so I believe making predictions and implementing things ahead of time is unrealistic. Instead, I try to make implementations that don't conflict with anything else at that moment in time.

An example from FFXIV would be when we designed the blowgun mini-game.

We needed to know when the player hit the enemy character in the head, and for this we could've used the target that was already placed in its head, which we'll call Target A. However, Target A was not something that was specifically designed for the blowgun mini-game. The reason why I avoided reusing Target A was because enemies with multiple heads (like Cerberus) or no head (like Ozma) don't have a Target A assigned to them. If we ever decided to use enemies like that in a future version of the blowgun mini-game, we might run into some issues. In the end, to meet the needs of the mini-game, we created a Target B that could be freely altered in size and position.

These kinds of conflicts usually aren't obvious during implementation, and we often only realise there's a problem when we try to expand upon an existing system. So when we implement new things, I try to make sure that we aren't using features and tools in ways they weren't intended for.

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▲ The blowgun mini-game first appeared in the Stormblood main scenario and involved shooting Garlean soldiers.

Other than that, I try to create controlled environments where errors are unlikely to occur, design features that can be easily relearned even if you forget.

Miyamiya: Seeing as you handle these underlying components, I can understand why you have so many mottos to keep yourself aware. Under such circumstances, is there anything about FFXIV that stands out to you as a technical artist?

Okahisa: Online games are developed and operated over a long period of time, and that requires us to handle a colossal amount of data. While that can be a daunting task, it can also be appealing for someone like me who finds it fulfilling to optimise workflow and eliminate errors.

Additionally, our long-term operations make it easy for us to plan new things we want to do, which is also part of the appeal.

Miyamiya: Based on how you consider the hard parts of the job to be part of the appeal, I can tell you have a challenging spirit towards what you do.

Next, I'd like to ask our usual question about your tools of the trade! Is there anything you simply can't work without, carry everywhere with you, or find useful?

Okahisa: That would be the text editing program, Hidemaru Editor.

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When coming up with new features, I use a lot of different programs to research my previous projects; however, Hidemaru is the one I use the most frequently. One of the things I like about it is the grep command, although it's not unique to Hidemaru.

In FFXIV, there's a colossal amount of animation and character data, and when we're adding a new feature, we have to make sure it won't conflict with any existing data. If there's anything that will be affected, we have to make adjustments, which means we have to find all the data files that would be affected.

By using the grep command, I can enter a particular pattern of characters, and it'll instantly search through certain file types or folders to find all the instances where that pattern appears. Checking every single file myself would be a never-ending task, so it's extremely helpful for me as a technical artist. (laughs)

Miyamiya: Sounds like it's an absolute necessity for you and your team, since you handle a colossal amount of data files!

Finally, do you have any parting words for our readers?

Okahisa: Thank you for playing FFXIV.

Seeing your comments on videos and social media are a huge source of motivation and an enjoyable part of my daily life. The development team is finishing up the upcoming Endwalker expansion, so I hope you'll wait for us just a while longer.

As for our team of technical artists, we'll continue giving it our all to deliver new experiences and high-quality assets to you, so thank you for your continued support!

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How did you enjoy our interview with Lead Technical Artist Tatsuya Okahisa?

Thanks to the support provided by him and many others, we are able to enjoy a wide variety of things in the world of FFXIV in a seamless and natural manner!

See you next time!

Previous Editions of FFXIV Backstage Investigators
(No. 1): Main Scenario Writer Banri Oda
(No. 2): Lead Level Designer Arata Takahashi
(No. 3): Web Director Hiroyuki Takachi
(No. 4): Lead UI Artist Yoichi Seki
(No. 5): Character Concept Artist Hiroyuki Nagamine
(No. 6): Community Planner Takeshi Kato

Miyamiya
- Promotional team

Categories
Bungie Slide

This Week At Bungie – 10/07/2021

Categories
Bungie Slide

Destiny Content Vault Update

Categories
Bungie Slide

This Week At Bungie – 9/30/2021

The Good Life Gets Xbox Demo Today, Comes To Game Pass At Launch

The Good Life, the bizarre photography mystery game by Deadly Premonition mastermind Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro and his team at White Owls, has a demo on Xbox Game Pass available now. The crowdfunded game recently got a release date of October 15 after several years of development and multiple delays. The demo is good news for those wary about the title after its bumpy development cycle, and Xbox fans can rest even easier knowing it’s launching to Game Pass on day one.

The Good Life stars Naomi, a New York photographer who visits the British town of Rainy Woods to investigate why it’s known as “the happiest place on Earth”. She needs a big scoop in order to repay a massive debt, and she gets more than she bargains for when she discovers Rainy Woods has an unusual secret: when the sun goes down, its residents transform into cats and dogs. Solving this mystery involves taking photos and collecting clues. You’ll also work to repay your debt by taking odd jobs and saving money, which you can also use to source up your home and garden. You can also ride sheep because why not? 

In addition to Xbox, The Good Life is also coming to PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC. A demo will also be available during the Steam Next Festival on October 1. 

Microsoft Expands Xbox Cloud Gaming, Which Is Good For Everyone

Today, Mircosoft announced that Xbox Cloud Gaming is expanding to four new countries: Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia, starting on October 1. 

Microsoft's service allows users to play games remotely over the internet on their PC, tablet, or smartphone. The service launched in the U.S. around this time last year and has only continued to expand since. Xcloud users stream over 100 games from the cloud, including Yakuza: Like a DragonMinecraft Dungeons, and Dragon Quest 11 S: Definitive Edition. The service is a great way to experiment with games quickly, allowing for great game discovery, as you can easily try out a game within seconds and see if you like it without waiting for a download. 

But this isn't an ad for Xbox Cloud Streaming; I like the service, but you should check it out for yourself. Microsoft continues to push Xbox Cloud Gaming, which shows that the publisher is committed to putting its content wherever players can easily access it. This is especially great considering that "next gen" consoles remain hard to find even almost a year after launch. If Microsoft continues to refind the service, many users might feel that they don't need to upgrade to the new Series X/S platform, finding they're content to play the newest games on old hardware. Case in point, the cloud service is coming to Xbox Consoles this Holiday, letting users play select Xbox Series X games on their Xbox One

In a recent blog post, Microsoft said, "With the expansion of Xbox Cloud Gaming to gamers in Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico, we’re now opening the opportunity for over one billion people in 26 countries across five continents to be able to play Xbox Game Pass games from the cloud on their phones, tablets and PCs. Since cloud gaming is powered by custom Xbox Series X consoles, that means these games are being played on an Xbox in the cloud, bringing faster load times and improved frame rates to the gameplay experience." 

As Microsoft continues to put its resource into services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Game Pass the services will only improve, creating a great alternative for those without a Series X/S. Still, we hope that Microsoft continues to work to solve the consoles shortage problem so that players who want to get their hands on the latest tech can do just that. Games are fun, and having more ways to play them is always better. 

Scarlet Nexus And Other Titles Come To Xbox Game Pass Today

Xbox Game Pass gets a dose of anime action, supernatural murder mystery, and a tank driving goose. Bandai Namco’s stylish action RPG Scarlet Nexus headlines a batch of new titles hitting the service today, which Microsoft announced during its Tokyo Game Show presentation this morning. Game Pass subscribers now have a chance to check out one of the year’s best action games. 

Scarlet Nexus comes from the makers behind the Tales series and is set in a dystopian “brainpunk” world. You control one of two protagonists, each with their own separate campaigns and both blessed with powerful supernatural abilities and part of a task force of similarly gifted individuals. Bizarre, extradimensional creatures known as the Others have invaded Earth, and it’s up to you to stop them in their tracks. In his 8.75 out of 10 review, senior editor Dan Tack described Scarlet Nexus as a “stylish and compelling fantasy that's all about the combat.” Bandai Namco also hinted that it has additional cosmetic content to the game “coming soon.”

AI: The Somnium Files

Another game hitting Game Pass is 2019’s AI: The Sominum Files. In this sci-fi detective game, you’re trying to solve a woman’s murder by exploring people’s dreams (under a six-minute time limit). You’ll gather intel by finding clues, interrogating suspects, and solving puzzles in a strange murder mystery that comes for the director of Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward.  

Mighty Goose

Mighty Goose is a side-scrolling action shooter that launched back in June. As an adorable, bounty hunting goose with an itchy trigger finger-er-feather, you’ll run and gun your way across colorful pixel art environments. If you adore geese and love mowing down enemies in arcade-style action, Mighty Goose might be up your alley. 

Will you be giving any of these titles a shot now that they're on Game Pass? Let us know in the comments! 

Unsighted Preview – A Killer Action Game About Watching Everyone You Know Become Monsters

Publisher: Humble Games
Developer: Studio Pixel
Release:
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Unsighted is a kickass top-down action game with Metroidvania and Souls trappings wrapped around a devilish premise. Set in the dystopian world of Arcadia, you control Alma, a powerful human-like robot known as an automaton who awakens with amnesia. Her primary goal is finding her romantic partner, Raquel, who has gone missing. On a less personal though still distressing note, the automaton-populated city is running out of Anima. This precious resource is the source of these machine’s humanity. It allows them to think and feel exactly as we do, and without it, they devolve into mindless monsters called Unsighted. That means you and everyone else is living on borrowed time in a world already infested with these unfortunate beasts. 

You know how some video game stories are a race against the clock, but you really have all the time in the world? Unsighted isn’t bluffing about that. Everyone has a life expectancy measured by hours that constantly ticks down. Supporting characters, quest-giving NPCs, shop owners, and even your Navi-esque fairy robot companion are all at risk of becoming Unsighted. That includes yourself. Some have 500 hours to their names, while others have 100 or less. An in-game clock, communicated via a day/night cycle, helps keep track of how much time remains, as does a contact list of every notable person you encounter. 

Click here to watch embedded media

The premise is fascinating, but it also sounded stressful. I worried that I’d have to rush through a beautiful world – and Unsighted is a very pretty game – to save as many lives as possible. Contextually, that would be ideal, but the game also allows you to take your time. Days pass much quicker than real-time, of course, but not fast enough to make you feel like you need to speedrun the adventure. I’ve taken my time exploring Arcadia thoroughly, but I’ve also found a fun challenge in seeing how quickly I can get through dungeons without skimping on hidden treasures and upgrades.

You can extend your time and others’ by finding meteor dust, a semi-rare resource that adds 24 hours to anyone’s clock. I found it rewarding to simply help characters I like, but there are also tangible rewards for keeping someone around. Giving meteor dust to shop owners raises their favor of you, measured by hearts, and rewards discounts. My weapon-smith had over three weeks to live, but I hooked him up with some dust anyway so I could afford a powerful flaming sword. Shop owners also hint that they can create powerful items given enough time. Another character grants additional estus flask-style healing syringes at the cost of three helpings of meteor dust.

This system presents challenge though enjoyable conundrums. Do you help your favorite side character just to keep them around longer, assist a vendor to earn vital equipment, or use it on yourself? Knowing exactly how much time even the most superfluous NPC has left creates a powerful urgency, not to mention a perpetual sense of melancholy and purpose. A cheerful pet shop owner with a spider-like body told me his dream to find a way to safely pet dogs without scaring them, given his knife-like limbs. I looked at his remaining time, let out a sigh of relief that he has awhile to go before turning, and I made it my mission to make sure this guy lives long enough to pet a dog. The story unfolds in various ways depending on who survives and for how long, with multiple endings to boot. You can miss out on certain story treads as a result, giving plenty of reasons to revisit Unsighted after the credits roll.


This timer makes me feel more attached to characters as I can’t take their presence for granted. There also seems to be some emergent moments with NPC’s. While exploring, my fairy-bot suddenly stopped to confide in me a story about her long-lost sister, who she hopes to find one day and potentially opening another story thread. Though I haven’t lost anyone yet (an elderly farmer is teetering on the brink, though), I’ve committed to the decision that if they die, they die and to see the story through no matter what happens while bracing for heartbreak. 

The set-up rocks, but Unsighted also plays like a dream. The fast-paced melee combat is great, and a satisfying parry sets up powerful counterattacks. Alma can equip a variety of melee weapons and firearms (complete with an active reload), and you have the freedom to mix and match as you see fit. You can mix close quarters and ranged offense with a katana/blaster load-out. Want something akin to a twin-stick shooter? Dual-wield a shotgun and a machine pistol. Or go full barbarian with a heavy ax/sword combo. Weapons can also be used to solve environmental puzzles, such as steering a giant shuriken to hit distant switches or carry fire to torches. A stamina meter adds strategic mindfulness to encounters without feeling overly restrictive. 

You can customize Alma to your liking with various chips granting bonuses such as increased health, stamina, or buffs like health-draining attacks or faster reload times. You only have a limited number of slots for chips, meaning you’ll have to change load-outs for certain encounters, though you can unlock additional slots at special healing terminals. Furthermore, temporary cogs grant limited-use bonuses such as increased attack power for a set number of swings or a revive upon death. 

Complimenting the combat is Alma’s smooth, snappy movement. The way she runs, jumps, and climbs up structures feels great, and it doesn’t take long before you’re gleefully maneuvering around areas while slashing enemies to scrap. Unsighted knows how good it plays by challenging players with a fair amount of platforming challenges that, again, is unexpected in a game with this perspective, but it works. It also makes exploring Unsighted’s giant world a treat. The game is basically a top-down Metroidvania, and your main goal is to collect five scattered meteor shards, each guarded by a big bad. You can pursue shards in any order with certain obstacles blocked until you either purchase or locate a weapon to clear it. Along the way, you’ll find side objectives, lore bits, and other secrets worth going out of your way to uncover – provided you think it’s worth the time. 

I’m having a blast with Unsighted. The action rocks, the ticking clock creates real stakes that add a welcome weight to your actions. The world and its lore are fascinating, and it boasts a wonderful presentation to boot. I can’t wait to see how my adventure unfolds and who ultimately keeps their sanity by the end it. You can pick Unsighted up on September 30 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, and it’s also launching on Xbox Game Pass. There's also a demo for those looking to try before they buy. 

In-Person Evo Fighting Game Showcase Cancelled

Complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Delta variant of the virus have caused the cancellation of another gaming event. This time, it was the culmination of this year’s online Evolution Championship Series, commonly known as Evo, which was set for an in-person event this November. The cancellation announcement came in a statement on the Evo website and later on Twitter. You can read the complete statement below.

  The goal of the Evo Showcase is to bring together the best players from around the world in a live, in-person format. Due to the continuing complications of COVID-19 and the spread of the Delta Variant we have made the tough decision to cancel the Evo 2021 Showcase.

The players invited to participate in the Evo 2021 Showcase represent many of the best fighters in the world. We’re incredibly saddened to cancel the event. The Evo team will be contacting each player individually to recognize their efforts. We remain dedicated to Evo’s mission of celebrating the FGC, and will continue to work towards the return of the big, live events that you expect from us.

 

Evo Online 2021 took place over two weekends in August. Players fought it out online in five headline games: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, Guilty Gear Strive, and Skullgirls 2nd Encore. The winners from every regional tournament were set to meet up in Las Vegas and compete to see who was the best in the world in their respective fighting game this November. Now that the event is no longer happening, the Evo team has decided to “individually recognize” the efforts of these regional champions.

Next year is supposed to be the full return of in-person Evo in Las Vegas. The tourney took place in Vegas for over a decade before organizational controversy and COVID hit. While now owned by PlayStation, Evo hasn’t been quite as big or prestigious as it had been before its multiple derailments in 2020. Let’s hope the plans to get the fighting game community together for the largest tournament of the year aren’t thwarted yet again for 2022’s event.

Can We Talk About How Stacked 2022 Gaming Is Looking?

We are currently in the beginning stages of the holiday window, the time in which, traditionally, most of the year's biggest blockbuster releases hit store shelves and digital storefronts. This year's holiday window promises a ton of big releases that we're all eagerly anticipating from franchises like Halo, Far Cry, and Metroid, but we can't ignore the looming leviathan that is 2022.

Elden Ring

The Stage is Set

Next year looks to carry this holiday season's momentum and give players little time to recover from the relentless releases. Right out of the gates, we have two hotly anticipated games – From Software's collaboration with George R.R. Martin, Elden Ring, and Game Freak's most unique experiment with the mainline Pokémon franchise in decades, Pokémon Legends: Arceus – launching on the same day in January. But if you think that's a mere coincidence, look no further than February. In the shortest month of the year, we have Dying Light 2 Stay Human, Horizon Forbidden West, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Saints Row, The King of Fighters XV, and the extremely promising brawler Sifu.

However, after those first couple of months, things slow down ... at least in terms of games with hard release dates. Sure, you have the new entry in the long-running racing-sim series, Gran Turismo 7, the D&D-meets-Borderlands looter shooter, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, and the exciting retro strategy RPG, Triangle Strategy, hitting in March, as well as STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl hitting in April, but after that, the solid release dates are few and far between. You know, aside from Bethesda's next big title, Starfield, which for some reason already has a release date of November 11, 2022; I guess maybe this date pays tribute to Bethesda's most popular game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which launched on November 11, 2011 – Who knows? But the hits don't stop with the games that have solid release dates.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel

Beyond The Opening Acts

Most of the games that have dates already are undeniable heavy hitters, but if you dig into the list of games currently slated for a broader release window within 2022, you'll see we're only scratching the surface. Looking purely at the triple-A titles, we have a ton of great games, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, God of War: Ragnarok, Redfall, Bayonetta 3Splatoon 3, Marvel's Midnight Suns, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Rainbow Six Extraction, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and plenty of others. That doesn't even include smaller (but just as exciting) titles that recall beloved past franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge and Metal Slug Tactics.

Sequels to well-liked games including Two Point Campus, Salt and Sacrifice, A Plague Tale: Requiem, Company of Heroes III, Slime Rancher 2Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince, and Earthlock 2 are also on the docket, giving players, even more, to look forward to.  Meanwhile, The Callisto Protocol is set to pay homage to Dead Space, while Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is sure to please fans of Suikoden. Those embedded in the comic book world have way more to look forward to than the aforementioned Midnight Suns, as DC is also bringing the heat with both WB Games Montréal's Gotham Knights and Rocksteady's Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League scheduled for next year. 

God of War: Ragnarok

It's undeniable that 2022 has some incredible games lined up for release, but before we get too carried away with the coronation ceremony, I think some perspective is in order.

Stacking Up

When I look at the long list of games currently scheduled to hit in 2022, I absolutely think it outshines the last couple of years. However, how would it stack up against some of the best years of all time? Many point toward years like 1997 (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy VII, GoldenEye 007, Star Fox 64), 1998 (Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Half-Life, StarCraft, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, Grand Theft Auto, Gran Turismo, Pokémon Red & Blue, Baldur's Gate, Mario Party), or 2007 (Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Portal, BioShock, Super Mario Galaxy, Rock Band, Crysis, God of War II) as the greatest years in the history of gaming, but often overlooked are the later years in the 2010s. 

For example, just a few years ago, in 2017, we received a new contender for the greatest years of all time, as players were treated to an onslaught of outstanding games, many of which are now considered among the greatest of all time. In that calendar year, which also included the launch of Nintendo Switch, players received Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Nier: Automata, Fortnite, Resident Evil 7, Hollow Knight, Sonic Mania, Night in the Woods, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Splatoon 2, Injustice 2, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Nioh, Assassin's Creed Origins, Cuphead, Divinity: Original Sin II, Prey, What Remains of Edith Finch, Metroid: Samus Returns, Destiny 2, and a shocking number of other massive, critically acclaimed games. 

Then, just a year later, the industry doubled down on the greatness with 2018, a year that included Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Forza Horizon 4, Return of the Obra Dinn, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Frostpunk, Monster Hunter: World, Celeste, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Into the Breach, and Dead Cells. However, as great as 2017 and 2018 were, those earlier years, which laid the foundations for series and genres that we still enjoy to this day, will always have a leg up when talking about the best years of all time.

While looking at the list of games coming out in 2022 includes mostly sequels and new series from established developers, players can expect plenty of new franchises to take root next year as well. The trick with forecasting ahead is that we don't know many new franchises are worth keeping an eye on until we get closer to their release dates and learn more about them. Are we likely to get the first game in the next series that will rival Grand Theft Auto in 2022? It's unlikely. But it's also entirely possible that we'll be completely blindsided, and the game we most clearly associate with 2022 when our future selves reminisce isn't even mentioned in this article.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

The Unknown

Who knows if 2022 will carry the same historical significance as 1997, 1998, or 2007, but with so many games that capitalize upon past successes and continue the formulas of games that came before, there may be more likely-to-be-good games than any of those years. This list also doesn't account for any number of surprise hits that could emerge that aren't on our radars. After all, how many people in 2014 could have foreseen a crowdfunded indie darling like Undertale bursting onto the scene as one of the most beloved games of 2015?

Not to mention, many publishers have recently made a habit of shorter marketing cycles. Look at 2021, for example; we didn't know games like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Metroid Dread, and Forza Horizon 5 even existed as we entered the year. How many games like that will be announced in summer 2022, only to launch in the subsequent holiday season? Also, will other games that currently don't have an official release window, such as Overwatch 2, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, and Fable, finally get release dates in the next calendar year? As wild as 2022 already looks, it could become substantially more stacked.

Of course, as we've seen these last two years, no game's release date is guaranteed, particularly as the pandemic continues to affect how development studios operate. Also, any game, regardless of the studio, pedigree, or franchise, could turn out as a flop. Still, with so many exciting games scheduled to enter our homes in the next 15 months, the biggest question comes in figuring out where we'll find the money to buy all these games and how on Earth we'll find the time to actually play them. 


How is 2022 looking for you so far? Which releases are you most excited about? If everything scheduled in 2022 comes out as planned and is as good as expected, where would the year stand among the greatest years of all time? Sound off in the comments below if you feel so compelled. Otherwise, have a great day.

The Life And Career Of Ikumi Nakamura

Ikumi Nakamura’s mother didn’t want her to work for Capcom. As she tells it, early in life, Nakamura saw a feature on the making of Resident Evil. In it, the game’s creators gather at a bar to drink and talk about the development. Nakamura’s mind was made up. She wanted to be a game developer. She wanted to work with the people she saw on screen. Nakamura’s mom was less impressed.

“I saw it, and I told my Mom, ‘Oh my God, I want to work with them,’” Nakamura tells Game Informer via translator. “And my Mom’s like, ‘No, don’t work with them. They’re just drunk, old men. Don’t do that!’”

Nakamura didn’t take her mother’s warning to heart.

Nakamura’s first job in the industry was at Capcom; she was an artist for its internal team, Clover Studios. That job meant a lot to her, personally. Aside from being a fan, Capcom’s games were something Nakamura bonded over with her father, which offered a personal connection to the work.

During and since, Nakamura’s had a hand in developing several cult-favorite video games, including Ōkami, Bayonetta, and The Evil Within series, working for Platinum Games and Tango Gameworks after Capcom. But for the majority of her career, she was relatively unknown within, and certainly outside, the game industry. That is until E3 2019, when her presentation for Ghostwire: Tokyo thrust her into video game stardom – thanks in no small part to her outgoing and offbeat personality. Nakamura has since become a social media favorite, befriending prominent game developers such as Sony Santa Monica’s Cory Barlog.

Nakamura is, more or less, an overnight sensation, and since leaving Tango and Ghostwire in September 2019, people have wondered what her newly founded studio is developing. Despite that, much of her story remains unknown – where she came from, her career at Capcom and Platinum, and her experiences at Tango. To remedy this, we reached out to Nakamura, and talked to her for hours – in one of her first big American interviews post-Tango – about everything from her love of horror to her once-daily nightmares while working on Ghostwire, to what she plans to do next.

Capcom

Growing up, Nakamura’s father kept one secret from her mother: He was bonding with their daughter over a shared love of horror movies and video games.

Nakamura’s father raised her the same way he would’ve raised a boy, and the two were both daredevils in their own ways. Where her father rode motorcycles, Nakamura climbed on the roof of her family’s house and jumped off their staircases. Which, to be fair, is a dangerous activity for a little kid, as evidenced by one of Nakamura’s childhood injuries.

“One day, I fell from the stairs and lost the lower part of my face,” Nakamura says, laughing, explaining she hit the ground face first. “The skin and the lower lip got dragged. It was almost like I lost my lower lip. My Mom saw it and she passed out from the shock, so no one could help me out at that time.”

Horror media made the biggest impact on Nakamura as a child. Nakamura and her father hid this from her mom, who didn’t approve, and they spent a lot of time watching scary movies and playing horror and gothic-inspired games together.

It can’t be overstated how profound an influence horror had on Nakamura; it’s something she constantly brings up when talking about her early life. Growing up, she says she watched horror movies every day, such as American classics like Return of the Living Dead. She also loved staples of Japan’s horror boom from the mid-to-late ’90s and 2000s, such as Pulse (Kairo in Japan), directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

At the same time, as she puts it, Japan was in a “golden age” of video game development, and Capcom was just one of many companies spearheading that charge. Nakamura spent a lot of time playing games in the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry series – which, coincidentally, have been directed in the past by Shinji Mikami and Hideki Kamiya, who Nakamura would spend most of her career working alongside.

Nakamura went to art school in Tokyo and later the Amusement Media Academy to study game design. However, only a couple years into her education, her life was turned on its head. While out on his motorcycle, her father was in an accident and passed away suddenly, sending her life into “total chaos.” She spent a lot of her early life acting reckless, but Nakamura says her father’s death changed her, leaving her focused on protecting her family.

“After his death, I totally changed,” she says.

But one thing didn’t change: Nakamura’s dream of working at Capcom. If anything, her father’s death reinforced her desire to join the company after her schooling. He loved Capcom’s games, and during his funeral Nakamura made sure he was still able to play Resident Evil.

“In his coffin, I put a copy of the Resident Evil strategy book and a PlayStation controller,” she says. “[So] that he could play the game in another dimension. But I forgot that Japan is a cremation culture, so his bones and the controller got stuck together. I looked at it [as] he never gave up the game, even when he was a bone! I was impressed.”

Nakamura had to apply twice, but she joined Capcom in 2004, coming on board its internal Clover Studio. Initially set up to develop Viewtiful Joe 2, Clover was a semi-autonomous studio within Capcom’s Osaka, Japan headquarters, tasked with developing new intellectual properties. In line with Nakamura’s influences, Mikami and Kamiya worked as directors for the studio – the former overseeing 2006’s God Hand and the latter helping make Viewtiful Joe 2 and Ōkami, released in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Nakamura’s first project was Ōkami. She joined Clover as a 3D environment artist – a job, she says, she was “incompetent” at. Despite her lack of experience, and the fact that some people within the company weren’t treating her well, Nakamura applied herself and tried to learn as much as possible on the project.

“I was new, I didn’t know really how to work, and was constantly told that I would be fired,” she says. “I was pushed around, overloaded with tasks and challenges. And so I went around to different sections, to ask about ‘how to work better’ and what I can help with, helping with anything I could, making animations or small stages, or objects.”

At the time, Nakamura describes Capcom as an “old-school” developer, full of behavior that wouldn’t fly in a modern workplace. For example, it wasn’t uncommon to see developers sleeping under their desks to save themselves a commute – something presented to the public on television in both Japan and the United States. When she was a kid, Nakamura says that when she saw that footage it seemed like a dream job. Now that she’s older, not so much. “[I felt like], ‘Oh my God, that’s what I wanna do,’” she recalls. “But then looking back, like, no, that is totally wrong.”

It also wasn’t uncommon for Capcom management to let their tempers get the best of them, lashing out and yelling at employees or hitting desks and kicking trash cans. “They would just kind of hit everything around them,” Nakamura says, adding that it showed her the kind of company culture she doesn’t want to create in the future, for which she’s thankful.

“Overall, it wasn’t effective,” she says. “People do get frustrated, that happens, but showing that physically or verbally, that creates fear in the work environment.”

“Now I know what not to do,” Nakamura says.

Ōkami

The relationship between Capcom and Clover was an acrimonious one, with constant clashes between management and Kamiya over Ōkami’s direction. According to Nakamura, her impression was that Capcom saw Clover as “just the group of weirdos” and a “totally separate entity.” As an example, she points to the Wii port of Ōkami, developed by Ready At Dawn, which didn’t include the names of the original developers or the Clover logo in the credits.

In 2008, Capcom issued a statement about the missing credits, saying the removal was due to a pre-rendered cutscene containing the Clover logo, which the publisher did not have the legal right to use in a game the studio wasn’t directly involved in. “We also didn’t have the source to the credit movie itself, so we couldn’t just use it and remove the Clover logo,” Capcom said.

“I’m sure something happened – politics,” Nakamura says. “But it’s not a cool thing to do for the developers who actually spent hours and effort to create the game.”

Despite the issues, Nakamura isn’t wholly negatively about her time with Capcom. In fact, since Ōkami’s development wrapped, she’s been open about her desire to make sequels that deliver on the original vision of the first game. As she puts it, the game Capcom released was “probably one-third” of what Kamiya initially had in mind. And now that Nakamura has worked for other developers – specifically ones partnered with publishers based in the States – she admits to wondering whether or not she should’ve stayed at Capcom.

“What would’ve happened?” Nakamura muses. “Because, out of all the companies I worked with, Capcom is a company that allowed artists to input their artistic sense in the game the most.”

When we point out we expected the opposite answer, that Capcom was the most restrictive, Nakamura adds, “Maybe that’s what Japanese people who stayed in Japan [and] didn’t deal with other companies overseas, they might say that.”

Of course, Nakamura didn’t stay. When numerous people left Capcom and Clover to found their own studio, Nakamura went with them, starting her journey at Platinum Games.

Platinum Games

In retrospect, Nakamura says it’s probably for the best that her first project as director didn’t get made.

Early into her time at Platinum, Nakamura submitted a proposal for a Nintendo DS game that caught the eye of Mikami, who came over to Platinum as a contract director and external board member. The project, as Nakamura tells it, was to be several small “eerie” games touching on “taboo subjects.” The project was greenlit, and despite her lack of experience, Nakamura got to lead her own team. It didn't go well, and the game's subject matter ended up being a point of contention.

“I even went to Nintendo to give a presentation, and they told me if Platinum Games released this through the DS, not that it will be the end of Platinum Games, but Platinum Games will have a really, really bad reputation,” Nakamura says.

Bayonetta concept art by Ikumi Nakamura

About one year into development, Nakamura’s project was canceled and she was moved to the team making the first Bayonetta, a stylish action game in-line with director Kamiya’s earlier work on Devil May Cry. She was a concept artist – even if it was a partially self-appointed title. “I wanted to graduate from being an environmental artist, so I took the liberty of calling myself a concept artist and started drawing designs,” Nakamura says. “I think I acted strongly [and felt] that I should do what I wanted to do even if it was in an organization.”

At the time, Nakamura was playing a lot of games developed by American studios – especially Uncharted, Gears of War, and Dead Space. This influenced her approach to game design, specifically when it came to Bayonetta’s user interface. Based on the game’s female focus, she also brought in influences from famous women throughout history, fashioning Bayonetta’s accessories after women such as Cleopatra. To accentuate the over-the-top aspects, Nakamura suggested making buildings gigantic and the action outlandish – all aspects that made Bayonetta stand out when it was released in 2009.

At the same time, Nakamura began thinking about how to develop games that appealed to a global audience, not just a Japanese one. Her hope was to show players in other countries how cool Asian cities and culture were – though her specific vision wouldn’t be heavily applied until later games.

Following Bayonetta, Nakamura served as art director on Platinum’s now-canceled Scalebound. While Microsoft signed on to publish, it still never saw the light of day. Nakamura says her time with its troubled development left her with lasting lessons for future projects.

“What I still think about is, ‘Was I [successful] in creating what the director wanted to do?’” she reflects. “The concept wasn’t fixed; it didn’t have a strong vision. What the publisher wanted, what the director, Kamiya-san, wanted, and what the team wanted were all kind of not looking at the same direction. So, it didn’t have the unity. It was my job to create the unity, and I don’t think I was able to provide that. So that’s something I felt like I couldn’t do back then. What I learned is the director has to have a very clear, strong vision from the beginning.”

By the time Scalebound was canceled, Nakamura had already moved on from Platinum. When Mikami founded his own studio, Tango Gameworks, in 2010, Nakamura was part of the group that joined him, allowing her to move back to her home city, Tokyo. It was not only the job she’s held the longest thus far in game development, but the one that thrust her into the spotlight.

Tango Gameworks

Joining Tango gave Nakamura a chance to do something she’d wanted to do her entire life: make a survival horror game. And it would be one directed by Shinji Mikami, the director of the first Resident Evil, no less. But it’s complicated.

The Evil Within was Tango’s first official release and Mikami’s return to survival horror. However, the developer had previously experimented with an open-world science-fiction survival game called Noah. As detailed in a 2014 Polygon interview with Mikami, early in the company’s history, Tango hit financial issues. Noah was canceled and Tango was in trouble. Until later in 2010, when publisher Bethesda purchased the company.

“Compared to the image of a typical Western game publisher, Bethesda is probably more like a typical Japanese publisher,” Mikami said at the time. “They don’t force creative people to do stuff. They give that creative freedom to developers.”

Nakamura tells the story a bit differently. “[Mikami] really wanted to create new types of games, not [keep] doing the same things he’s done,” she says. “But people in the world wanted him to create – expected him to create survival horror.”

The Evil Within's "Keeper" enemy, designed by Ikumi Nakamura

Nakamura found herself on a project she had dreamed of making with the caveat that, in her mind, the director didn’t want to make it. Rope in Western publisher politics – something Nakamura up to that point wasn’t familiar with – and it became a complicated project. The Evil Within, released in 2014, was the last project Mikami directed, and the developer has since stepped into a producer role to allow younger developers to direct games. Nakamura was one of those developers.

After some time on The Evil Within 2, released in 2017, Nakamura began leading development on what would become Ghostwire: Tokyo. Her direction was to take a bunch of elements from her love of the occult, supernatural, and urban legends, and combine them into a contemporary setting – which in this case, as the name implies, is Tokyo.

“Remember when we were talking about Bayonetta, that I wanted people from all over the world to think about how cool Asian urban cities are?” she asks. “So, I wanted to bring that back. I was like, ‘Finally, I can make a video game that can express my vision that way.’”

As of this writing, Ghostwire remains unreleased, but Nakamura filled us in on some initial ideas. Set in 2020, people throughout the world have started to disappear, leaving those left behind to assume it might be a virus taking people out. To combat this, people begin wearing masks. However, in 2021, amid the COVID-19 crisis, Nakamura says she’s glad that iteration of the story isn’t being released. However, she still speaks proudly of the general setting, atmosphere, and supernatural direction.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Nakamura had the chance to present Ghostwire to the world for the first time at E3 2019, where she got on stage during Bethesda’s press conference to announce the game. Understandably, the idea of getting on stage in front of thousands of people (not to mention many more watching live) was nerve-wracking. As Nakamura tells it, the numerous rehearsals over three days didn’t help. Nakamura isn’t a native English speaker, and she says she had trouble with her lines, so she practiced them over and over while pacing around backstage.

However, at the last second, Nakamura says the show’s producer told her to forget her pre-rehearsed lines and to go out on stage and be herself.

Nakamura’s presentation became one of the standout moments of that E3. While debuting Ghostwire, her passion for the project endeared people to her, and her use of humor to explain the game’s atmospheric world was a welcome change of pace compared to the numerous self-serious presentations usually filling E3. Overnight, Nakamura became a sensation, a meme, and in her own way, a celebrity.

Ikumi Nakamura Ikumi Nakamura behind-the-scenes at E3 2019

“I was simply happy about all the responses, because I was really passionate about presenting what I was passionate about,” Nakamura says. “And also, I’m a big fan of manga and anime, so I love all those memes. [...] And that ended up [leading to] people focusing on game creators. So, I feel that was a success.”

But Nakamura’s time on Ghostwire was about to end. Eventually, the stress of developer-publisher politics and the publisher having control over the game affected her negatively. Nakamura began having nightmares about higher-ups within the company. This went on for years, she says, starting with just talking in her sleep around once a week, and then progressing to daily nightmares.

“The nightmare I had was that when I came to work, all the members of the development team had disappeared,” Nakamura recalls. “Then there was an altar in the middle of the room, and when I looked at the picture, it was of my boss, which was a strange story.”

Her health declined around this time as well and four years into development on Ghostwire, Nakamura made the decision to leave both the project and Tango. Getting to that point wasn’t easy. Nakamura likens Ghostwire to a child and herself as the mother. Four years is a long time to lead a project, and walking away was a difficult call.

“I was a creative director, so this is literally my baby,” she says. “My four-year-old baby. So, to let that go – ask any mother to let her baby go. It was that gut-ripping.”

Nakamura became a free agent, but as she tells it, she left without much of a plan. And then something unexpected happened. Once news of her departure hit the internet, she began getting offers from developers worldwide, and she befriended some of the bigger names in film and game development, including Sony Santa Monica’s Cory Barlog, film director J.J. Abrams, and Rainbow Six Siege creative director Leroy Athanassoff. Regaining her health, Nakamura even traveled around the world to visit studios, learning from different creators.

But there was one unexpected twist: Around this time, Nakamura became pregnant. It made some studio visits difficult.

“I had never wanted to have children myself,” Nakamura says. “Because I thought that my children would be a game. In fact, I became healthy and an alien came into my body. I flew all over the world and visited many studios while being amazed and throwing up from the bad effects of morning sickness. I feel like I have thrown up in every studio. It’s a memorial for me. Don’t worry, I threw up without making a mess.”

In March 2021, Nakamura announced she had designed a new set of skins for Rainbow Six Siege, the product of her new relationship with the developer. More than usual, the news was picked up by mainstream game press outlets, cementing Nakamura’s stardom, even when it came down to something as small as skins. Additionally, Nakamura conceptualized and directed her first music video for the Japanese dance group Dazaifu Mahoroba-shu. She also says she’s consulted and done design work for other games, but doesn’t elaborate on which as they aren’t out at the time of this writing.

Click here to watch embedded media

Her Own Studio

Nakamura is at a new stage in life, and she’s taking advantage of it. On top of her work consulting and designing as a freelancer, she recently announced she’s opened her own studio. And while the company will initially be headquartered in Tokyo, Nakamura says she’s prioritizing diversity within her workforce, and hopes to open other offices in countries such as the U.S. and China. All her current team members, though working from home, are scattered across the globe, she tells us.

Nakamura has also become a visible female Japanese game developer. While people such as Mikami and Kamiya are known by name and for their work, it’s not as common for women to receive similar recognition. Nakamura is in a rare spot to inspire others to make similar impacts on the industry, and it’s not an opportunity she plans to waste. She says she plans to put other women developers in the spotlight and highlight individual creators when the time comes.

“There is a female creator who is like a big sister to me, who takes care of me,” Nakamura says. “She said to me, ‘I want you to sit on the throne someday, because your success will encourage me and many other female developers.’ [At the] time, I didn’t really understand what she meant by that. But now I know what it means.”

“It was purely a coincidence that I was known, I became somewhat famous,” she says. “Yes, it was a coincidence, but I’m going to make that into an opportunity and use it to work for me.”


This article originally appeared in Issue 338 of Game Informer.

Header image: Kerri Solaris (@kerrifique)

PS Plus Free Games For October 2021 Revealed, Featuring Hell Let Loose

Every month, PlayStation Plus subscribers reap the benefit of a handful of free games to go along with the other perks of the service. Since the launch of the PS5, one title has been dedicated to the new-generation console, and the trend continues moving into October.

October’s selection of free PlayStation Plus games brings an eclectic trio of titles to owners of PlayStation consoles. Covering genres from shooters to sports and fighting games, this batch of games hits plenty of interests.

Free PlayStation Plus Lineup For October

Headlining the month of freebies is World War II shooter/strategy game Hell Let Loose. Boasting massive 50v50 battles, Hell Let Loose will be making its debut on PlayStation 5 with this PlayStation Plus promotion. Those looking to pick up a golf game following this past weekend’s Ryder Cup event can look no further: PGA Tour 2K21 is the first of two PS4 games slated for October’s PS+. Rounding out the list is one of my favorite fighting games from the previous generation: Mortal Kombat X. If you haven’t played this over-the-top, violent fighter yet, you have one of the best story modes in fighting games awaiting you. Not to mention some great, gory action just in time for the spookiest month of the year!

These new PlayStation Plus games will be available to add to your PlayStation library and download for free on October 5. That means you only have a few days to grab the currently available September titlesOvercooked: All You Can Eat, Hitman 2, and Predator Hunting Grounds– which will rotate out when the new games roll in on Tuesday.


What do you think about the lineup of October’s PS+ offerings? Are they a trick or a treat for your library of games? Howl your thoughts into the comment section below!

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Bungie Slide

INTRODUCING ACCESSIBILITY AT BUNGIE

Watch 27 Minutes Of NHL 22 Gameplay To See The Improvements In Action

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Opening day for the NHL is just around the corner, and hot on its heels is the October 15 release date for NHL 22, which provides the best way to put yourself into the on-ice action. Today, EA Vancouver gave us an extensive look (27 minutes to be exact!) at what to expect from the gameplay in this year's edition, which adds X-Factors and new abilities such as being able to reverse a hit or brace for it. 

The footage, which you can watch above, breaks down the changes to passing/receptions, how the Frostbite Engine enhances the gameplay, and the impact of the new stick physics. Outside of the beta, this is the most substantial look we've had at the game in action, so it's a good watch if you want to see how the new features look on the ice and hear explanations from the developers about their vision for this year. 

The NHL 22 blog also further highlights how the gameplay is different this year, which includes strength and body positioning playing a bigger factor in puck possession alongside an all-new deflection system that offers more variety in the ways you can trick the goaltender, from subtle stick flicks to more skillful moves that pivot and pull a puck back against the grain. 

The blog also details improvements made since the closed technical test, touching on everything from physics to A.I., to shooting and passing. For instance, A.I. defenders should face up the ice more and not move out of position after center-ice faceoffs. In addition, one-timer shot outcomes have been rebalanced to take into account the quality of the pass and reaction time. 


For more on NHL 22, you can check out our interview with producer Clement Kwong that discusses balancing the X-Factors and the status of the overpowered poke check. 

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Tone Compared To The Empire Strikes Back By Marvel Executive

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 may be taking some notes from another Disney-owned property and becoming the dark chapter in Insomniac’s web-slinging story. In a short segment on the newest This Week in Marvel podcast, hosts Ryan Penagos and Lorraine Cink chat with Vice President of Creative at Marvel Games, Bill Rosemann. Rosemann discussed some of his favorite moments from the Marvel game announcements at the Sony PlayStation showcase a few weeks ago.

While discussing Spider-Man 2, Rosemann offers some details on what players can expect but still leaves us guessing on key aspects of the reveal trailer for a bit longer. He confirms there have been some changes to both suits worn by Peter and Miles and that they will be facing off against multiple foes. We know of Venom, who was teased in the first Spider-Man and revealed in the trailer, but another mystery voice is featured just before the symbiote appears. We think it sounds like Kraven the Hunter. However, Rosemann only confirms that it’s “a voice of a character who is in the game.”

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What’s most exciting from the interview is this little morsel of info Rosemann freely drops near the end of the interview: “If the first Spider-Man was Star Wars, Spider-Man 2 is kind of our Empire. It gets a little darker.” Peter Parker and Miles Morales have certainly had their share of adversity in their separate PlayStation adventures, but invoking The Empire Strikes Back certainly ties some implications to this sequel. How will the duo of Spider-Men come out of their fight with not only Venom but also the unnamed (probably Kraven) foe? And in what shape will they, their loved ones, or New York City be in after credits roll? We’ll have to wait a while longer for those answers.

Marvel’s scrappy foul-tempered mutant Wolverine also has a game in the works from Insomniac, and while Bill Rosemann didn’t have much to say about it right now, he gave some hints of what to look for in the reveal trailer. “The scene where you are behind Logan, and he is at the bar, is chock full of Easter eggs,” says Rosemann, claiming internet detectives have found some of, but not all of them. He suggests taking a close look at the cash register as well as on the bar in the shot where Wolverine pops his claws for fans to find some of Rosemann’s personal favorite Easter eggs.

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Both of Insomniac’s games are a ways off, with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 slated for a 2023 release on PlayStation 5 and Marvel’s Wolverine coming at an unknown date. With Rosemann suggesting an Empire-like tone for the Spidey sequel, what’s your prediction for what will play out? Let us know in the comments!

The Opening Hours Of New World Are Incredible

There are many questions going into the launch of Amazon Games’ New World about longevity and the most important aspect of any MMORPG, the endgame experience, but what I can speak to today after a marathon session is that the early game is incredibly compelling. If you’re looking for a social MMORPG packed with PvP and the allure of Runescape farming and grinding, New World’s first twenty hours or so are crammed with experiences you will absolutely love.

Starting out in hostile lands with nothing more than a few crudely crafted tools, there’s an absolute joy in carving up rabbits, boars, and wolves to create your early-game trash gear. If you’re like me, you’re going to join a faction early on and take territory that you’ll have to defend as well, so the game can alternate between the simple pleasures of farming up carrots, silver, cabbage, and a wide variety of alchemic plants and hardcore PVP battles. The combat is perhaps one of the weakest points in the game in terms of depth and interest, but it shockingly doesn’t seem to matter here because the real enjoyment comes from bringing back a haul to your outpost and churning out specialty-crafted goods. Last night, I made a bag. It lets me hold a ton more loot. It might not seem like much, but making awesome stuff for myself and my guildmates feels seriously great. There’s just a little taste of survival games here, and it’s a dash of tasty seasoning.

Roaming the land and slaying oodles of bland skeletons and undead pirates may be the quest breadcrumbs that you’re given, but the real journey is what happens along the way. Maybe you luck out and find a silver vein but don’t have the mining skill to harvest them – yet. Crafters and gatherers are sure to find a ton of really crunchy joy in New World, as getting new tools and level-ups unlocks all kinds of new opportunities to create increasingly complex and valuable goods. Finding a new weapon is great, but there’s something about just hanging around town, milking the cow, and cooking up some awesome rations for the team. Yes, you can milk the cow. Yes, you can grab some handfuls of honey out of the town beehive. If your company (guild) controls the territory, you can also get many ingredients from the food cart.

It’s easy to be reductive assessing New World and its admittedly uninspired deluge of “daily quest” style fare that has you killing X monsters and looting Y chests over and over. Still, there’s real discovery in the world itself for the crafter types. Finding rare herbs, minerals, or even just harvesting a pack of wild turkeys feels good. Wandering the world (as slow as it is without mounts and the limited fast travel available) and stumbling into some goodies to turn into stuff feels great.

Can the feeling of unbridled discovery and curious creation last as we go into hours 30, 40, 50, and beyond? Only time will tell, but there’s no doubt that New World is serving up something extremely compelling that feels out of the golden era of MMORPGs at the onset. I’m approaching the overall experience with more cautious optimism, as I know discovery can diminish, and sustaining what the game offers up initially will be an incredibly daunting task. But I’ll say this – finding things and making things is freaking fun.

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How To Upgrade Your PS5 Storage – Easy SSD And Heatsink Install Guide

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So you were lucky enough to buy an elusive PlayStation 5? Wow, those things are tough to find! However, after setting up your new PS5 and downloading the best games that the console has to offer, your hard drive will quickly start running out of space. These next-gen games are massive, so we’re here to show you how to upgrade your PS5 storage with this easy internal SSD and heatsink install guide. 

Before we get started, you need to make sure the internal solid-state drive you’re trying to install matches the PlayStation 5’s requirements. From the PlayStation Support page, Sony recommends a PCI-Express Gen4x4 supported M.2 NVMe SSD (Key M) with a read speed of 5,500MB/S or faster and a capacity of 250GB to 4TB. In our past experience building PCs, we recommend storage products from Samsung or Western Digital; however, you should abide by the specifications in the graph below regardless of which model you buy.

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SSDs And Heatsinks We Recommend

Sony sent us a Samsung 980 Pro (1TB) for the purpose of filming this guide, and so far, we’ve experienced great results. Load times seem equally as fast as the console’s main hard drive, and the expanded catalog of games that I can keep downloaded on my console at any one time is awesome. If you’re looking for similar results, I’d recommend purchasing a 980 Pro or one of these SSDs:

Additionally, Sony recommends installing a heatsink to your SSD to keep things from getting too hot inside the console. We recommend seeing if the solid-state drive you’re buying comes in an SKU with a first-party heatsink. In our case, the Samsung 980 Pro requires a third-party heatsink (we were sent this one), but it was easy to assemble. While you can technically install the SSD by itself (we show you how to in the above video), we recommend following Sony’s guidance.

New World | GI Live

In an age where the MMO juggernauts of the world have spent years establishing their communities, Amazon's New World looks to break into the long-established genre. Is it successful in its attempts? We're set to find out live over on Twitch!

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Join Dan Tack at 11:30 a.m. CT for an early stream diving into his time in New World! The Jacket is set to show off his swanky class build, how his adventure has gone thus far, and answer any of your burning questions live in the chat.

For those who don't know, New World is more of a survival experience than that of a World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic. Players will set out to hunt, cook, and gather while leveling up their characters before taking on the rest of the world. If that doesn't sound quite up your alley, fret not, as the game is divided into three different factions and allows you to battle your enemy combatants and take over more territory.

Do you enjoy livestreams? You're in luck as Game Informer is doing streams every Thursday and Friday, along with watch alongs featuring some of the biggest events in the industry. Recently, we've streamed Deathloop, the most recent Nintendo Direct, and of course, our weekly Demon's Souls Super Replay stream featuring three brave editors braving the bosses of FromSoftware and hot wings from Buffalo Wild Wings.

New World is live now for PC, but if you're still on the fence, be sure to check out Dan's extensive early look from his first day of playing the new MMORPG. If you're wanting something more gameplay-focused, check out The Jacket's time in the beta from earlier this month. Thanks for watching, and be sure to join us in the chat to get your questions answered, your jokes laughed at, and to have an even more fulfilling day.

The Book Of Boba Fett Lands A December 29 Premiere Date, First Poster, And Details

The second season of The Mandalorian ended on a shocking note, with Boba Fett sitting upon a throne in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. While it looked like just another plot thread that The Mandalorian would be chasing, the words “The Book of Boba Fett” appeared on screen, and no one truly knew what to make of them? Would his story continue in a book, as the words imply? Or would his story be a strong focus within the third season of The Mandalorian? Disney quickly announced that The Book of Boba Fett was a new Disney+ series that would hit at the end of 2022, and the third season of The Mandalorian would arrive a year later.

Today, Disney revealed the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett arrives on December 29 on Disney+. The announcement comes with a teaser poster that gives us our first look at the famed bounty hunter’s return. He’s still perched atop that throne, relaxed and comfortable with the role.

Disney also released this synopsis for the series: “The Book of Boba Fett, a thrilling Star Wars adventure, finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigating the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate.”

It’s not much to go on, but it does give us direction and tells us Fennec Shand is likely along for most of the ride. Disney also revealed Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy, and Colin Wilson are executive producers.

We all want more of The Mandalorian, especially to see if Luke Skywalker and Grogu are prominent players in it, but we’ll first have to sit back and enjoy Boba Fett’s push for power. That’s not a bad reason to wait.

Are you excited for The Book of Boba Fett? Do you like how actor Temuera Morrison is bringing this character back to life? Let us know in the comments section below.