NerdyBits Heads to Happy Badger Studios by Benjamin Sawyer

Today, EIC Caleb Sawyer will be visiting Happy Badger Studios to discuss the studio's newly announced SmuggleCraft. The small, St. Louis based studio, known for mobile titles like Strange Donuts vs. The World and Cosmic Kitty Pop!, is making the console leap with this new game, set to release exclusively on PS4 (as well as PC, Mac, and Linux) in 2016.

SmuggleCraft is a reconceptualization of the everyday racing game, giving players a world with procedurally generated tracks and story impacting player choice. Players will take on the persona of smuggler Ferre Astraea in a world where over-regulation is the norm.

For more info on the game, head to Happy Badger's SmuggleCraft announcement page here, or comeback tomorrow to read Caleb's write-up from today's visit. 

@CalebTSawyer
~Caleb 

Happy Badger Studios

Spider-Man Swings into Marvel Cinematic Universe by Benjamin Sawyer

After the emails from Sony were exposed that showed that Marvel and Sony had been talking about potentially letting Spider-Man appear in some of Marvels movies, nobody knew what was going to happen.

That was until Marvel and Sony made an announcement yesterday.

Spider-Man will be making his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The exact details of the deal are unknown but all that matters to us fans is that Spider-Man will now be able to cross paths with Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. It is currently unclear whether Andrew Garfield will be making his way back into the costume of Spider-Man, but they do state that "new creative direction for the web slinger" is on track. Besides the fact that our favourite Webslinger is now able to make appearances in other MCU Movies, other Characters have the chance of appearing in the next Solo Spider-man movie, coming to a Theater near you on the 28th of July, 2017. 

We do not know when Peter Parker will appear, but I think we will get a glimpse of the character in Captain America: Civil War.

To make room for Spider-man, some of the announced Marvel Phase 3 movies have moved. Here is an updated list on our next Marvel movies:

Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1st, 2015

Ant-Man - July 17th, 2015

Captain America - May 6th, 2016

Doctor Strange - November 4th, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy - May 5th, 2017

Spider-Man - July 28th, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok - November 3rd, 2017

Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4th, 2018

Black Panther - July 6th, 2018

Captain Marvel - November 2nd, 2018

Avengers: Infinity Wars Part 2 - May 3rd, 2019

Inhumans - July 12th, 2019

 

Now to hoping that all these movies will continue to be awesome. We wont have to wait much longer, only 2 more months until Daredevil hits Netflix, and three more months until Avengers: Age of Ultron.

@DawnKnight1993

~Nico

 

Destructive Creations talks 'Hatred', Greenlight, and morality in videogames by Benjamin Sawyer

 

Przemysław Szczepaniak, the Business Development Manager of Destructive Creations, agreed to answer some of Nerdybits’ questions regarding their current project Hatred. R. Alex Holton’s questions are normal font, and the italics are his response.

Interview begins here:

I have to admit, you guys are in an interesting position when it comes to your relationship with Steam. Would you be at all willing to give your side of the whole saga? You submitted your game to greenlight, and it was the most popular title on the service. But then its' eligibility was revoked in an effort by Valve to curate the greenlight section.

There is nothing more that you have already heard or read in the press. What happened after we submitted Hatred to Steam, was something that we didn’t really expect - both, the rejection and the way we have been put back on Steam Greenlight (Gabe Newell’s intervention). It was a shock at first time, and then a big euphoria, and a feeling that this is for real. I mean who could even imagine such a scenario ;)?

Valve has been criticized for not curating the titles it allows on its Steam service, most notably allowing games like Air Control and Airport Simulator to operate with complete freedom. Why, in your opinion, was there a sudden shift in Valve's policy toward curation? Was it because of Hatred specifically?

I don’t think it is the cause. Hatred is still under Steam’s review, which means that game is not accepted for distribution and it is not available to play yet. So we haven’t been recommended yet by any curator. I think it’s more because Steam is growing, and more developers are submitting their games. They need to have a control over the content and see which games are worth to be recommended to gamers or for promotion.

One day after Hatred was removed from greenlight, Gabe Newell personally announced it would be re-instated on the service. What was your reaction to this sudden shift in policy?

We were totally surprised, shocked, but positively of course. We didn’t expect such a turnout of the situation. I can’t really describe it better :)

And now that it is back on greenlight, word gets out that the game has received an AO rating by the ESRB, which usually means the game won't be allowed on Steam. We haven't heard anything official from Valve yet, but Hatred remains on greenlight even following ESRB's rating of the game, so we can sort of draw conclusions regarding Valve's stance based on that. However the question remains; why even submit your game to the ESRB?

Steam doesn’t have a direct policy against AO games.  There are adult titles allowed on Steam, though they have a PEGI 18 rating. There are also PEGI 18 games on consoles. Practically there is no difference between AO and PEGI 18 :) It’s really up to Steam’s decision what will happen next.

It's a voluntary process, and many games have released without a rating. Being rated does allow for sale of boxed copies of the game, is that the goal you are pushing towards? Or did you want to get Hatred a console release?

We submitted a game because Hatred is on mouth of everyone. That gave us the position where nobody will say now that we make a game that would be in children's age range. There are many adult games out there for PC and consoles, and it will really depend on publishers and market if will Hatred be available on other platforms. Yes, we would prefer to have M rating, mainly because of lack of sexual content, but AO didn’t worry us at the moment. Firstly, we will see the PC digital distribution results, and then we will plan further.

Currently the game is scheduled for release in Q2 of this year, is that an attainable goal? And when will we have the opportunity to see more of the game than the trailer?

Yes, Q2 2015 is still an attainable release date. We think it would be April/May. Until then we will provide more teasers and more of the gameplay stuff, but not in a form of demo or beta, because that wasn’t planned.

Also, the content of the game (at least what has been released so far) has garnered some criticism for the seemingly 'spree-killing' nature of Hatred, saying it is immoral and shouldn't be allowed on Steam alongside such titles as Lego Marvel Heroes. Is there anything you would like to say in response?

Hatred is no different from any other shooting/violent game. I dare to say that some games are even more cruel and brutal. People are afraid of the context, but those people do not have much experience with gaming. Hatred tells you directly that you will kill. There is no game story that would justify the killing. Killing is always killing, and that’s why we decided not to explain why the Antagonist does that. We are giving gamers some field to think about what could push the Antagonist to do what he does.

It is mostly media and haters that caused so much noise around the title. Those who tell that games are a cause of violence should really stop doing that. This is total absurd. Games are on the market for around 30 years (in a commercial form), and there hasn't been any proof that they cause violence. It’s rather situation in life, real social, psychological problems that push people toward violence and killing. And what about war, politics, religion? They caused the biggest destruction and mass murdering in the mankind history.

Hatred will allow you to destroy everything around you after a hard day in virtual reality, without hurting anyone. It will help you have some fun, and will help unload your aggression virtually.

Thank you much for your time sir, and the quick response. I realize the time difference makes correspondence like this difficult. I hope you have a good day, and the best of luck to you and your team!

Thanks a lot too! Best of luck to you too!

 

Destructive Creations released a gameplay trailer for Hatred on the 29th of January, which can be watched here. (GRAPHIC CONTENT, Viewer discretion advised)

Hatred is currently on Steam Greenlight, and can also be pre-ordered on Destructive Creations' Official Website.

-R. Alex Holton (@Our_Alex)

Fantastic 4 Trailer Released by Benjamin Sawyer

In what came as somewhat of a surprise, 20th Century Fox released the first trailer for the up coming Fantastic Four film set to release this summer. And if I am being completely honest, I think it looks awesome. Creatively titled Fant4stic, the film will feature Miles Teller (21 & Over, That Awkward Moment, Whiplash) as Reed Richards, Kate Mara (House of Cards, Shooter, Trancendence) as Sue Storm, Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, That Awkward Moment) as Johnny Storm, and Jamie Bell (Tintin, King Kong, Defiance) as Ben Grimm. The film is directed by Josh Trank, director of the underdog hit Chronicle. 

Look for Fantastic Four to hit theaters this summer (Probably June) and, in the meantime, watch the trailer!

 

@CalebTSawyer
~Caleb 

Elder Scrolls Online Console Release (Subscription Free!) by Benjamin Sawyer

Yesterday Bethesda announced the release date for the Elder Scrolls Online for the new consoles. But that wasn't even the best part. ESO will be releasing without its monthly subscription fee. The MMO set in the series' famed Tamriel, originally launched with a $15 per month subscription, as per most MMO-style titles. However, on June 9th, owners of the Xbox One and PS4 will be able to explore Tamriel endlessly, and they will be able to do so without paying upkeep. Gamers on PC and Mac get to experience this sweet freedom first on March 17th, with members who are already subscribed being given ESO Plus memberships. The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited Edition hits shelves on June 9th.

To celebrate this announcement, Bethesda released the fourth and final cinematic trailer for ESO, titles The Confrontation. As a service to you (because you really need to see them all) we posted all four videos for you to watch here. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you on the battlefields of Tamriel in June!

The Alliances

The Arrival
 

The Siege

The Confrontation
 

@CalebTSawyer
~Caleb 

Microsoft Now Let's-Play Friendly? (No) by Benjamin Sawyer

EDIT (Jan 20 2015, 5:45 P.M.):

This article was written in response to the originally posted Microsoft Game Content Usage Rules, which were archived by the WayBack machine here. The rules have since been changed to specifically address the objections contained in this article. You can read the new rules here.  -- R. Alex Holton

 

Let's Players, Gaming Channels, Twitch, and YouTube content creators now have from Microsoft what many developers and publishers have refused to give anyone; monetization rights.

Fair Use, Copyright, and Trademark rules, regulations, and laws are some of the most complicated and convoluted laws on the books, and each Country generally has their own set. Most videogame publishers have kept mum on offering official 'monetization' rights for online content creators, preferring instead to shut down those Let's-Players or Streamers that draw their attention in negative ways. On the other hand, publishers like Valve and Paradox Interactive have decided to embrace online content-creators by issuing blanket “We Allow Everything” statements, choosing to embrace the free advertising generated by popular let's-players rather than the tight control over their intellectual property that a more restrictive policy would allow.

Microsoft has joined the ranks of those embracing this free-advertising, but it comes with a rather large caveat: If you want to create a YouTube video, stream a game on Twitch, or (potentially) write a review of a Microsoft game, you cannot use the name in the title.

You may stream the game on Twitch, create a series of Let's-Play videos and post them on YouTube, or review the game, but you cannot name it, “Let's Play Halo”, or “Halo Review”, or “Halo Walkthrough”, or “Newbie's Guide to Halo”

More than likely this policy will not actually effect creators of reviews, since those are, by and large, covered under Fair Use law meant to protect freedom of the press. However, the line can be very blurred when it comes to online video content. A review that includes gameplay is okay, but a let's-play that includes a review is not? How much game is allowed to be showed before it triggers this policy? A literal interpretation of these rules would disallow monetized reviews, let's-plays, game guides, walkthroughs, and basically anything from using the game's title in the name of the content.

Microsoft is to be commended for issuing a statement that specifically allows online content-creators to make money doing what they do, and honestly it is a position that just makes sense for both Microsoft and the content-creators themselves. Microsoft gets their games in front of a lot more people when people like TotalBiscuit or Jesse Cox or PewDiePie do a review or a Let's-Play of one of their games, and official statements of this kind take away much of the worry of creating this kind of content in the first place. It is a lot of work to record, engineer, edit, and encode a 20-30 minute review and then upload it to YouTube, and streaming for 2-3 hours at a time must be absolutely exhausting. To be in constant worry that your livelihood, getting money from advertisements on your videos, may be in jeopardy due to copyright claims (justified or not) simply adds insult to injury.

Microsoft's newly revised Game Content Usage Rules may be a large step in the right direction, but by following them the content-creator would have their livelihood damaged. Who would watch a review titled “Review of New Shooter from Microsoft”? Who would search for that title on YouTube? The end result of this policy is that Let's-Players will simply not play Microsoft titles, because they will not make money off of the resulting Let's-Play. If the potential viewers cannot find the video because the title of the game isn't in the title of the video, the video will not provide enough money to the Let's-Player to justify additional work, or additional episodes.

Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot here, because the reason for this policy (as stated in the Usage Rules) is “We want to make sure consumers don't get confused”. Microsoft wants to ensure that when a potential consumer searches for “Halo”, they reach Microsoft's official content before they reach a review, or a let's-play. In so doing they are committing to paying for more advertising in order to get the same results as if they simply allowed content-creators to use the title in the name. Microsoft is further alienating their most ardent fans, the ones who create this content, by relegating them to the depths of search engine rankings and refusing to allow them the recognition they need to continue producing content of this kind.

@Our_Alex
~R. Alex Holton 

Nintendo Direct January 14th 2015 by Benjamin Sawyer

The Nintendo Direct released on the 14th of January 2015 had quite a bit of information about the Spring for this year. You can watch the Nintendo Direct here (http://www.nintendo.com/nintendo-direct/01-14-2015/) or read the Round Up on everything that was announced during the Direct:

 

  • A new Fire Emblem was announced right off the bat. The same Team from Fire Emblem Awaking is working on this title and Shin Kibayashi, a japanese Manga Writer, is writing the story. The decisions you make are said to be more important then ever.
  • Also announced was a new entry in a very popular series over in Japan. Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition. Coming May 2015. Both games will be available in one Package.
  • Pokemon Shuffle will be released for free on the 3DS in February.
  • Wii Games are finally becoming available as downloadable software for Wii U. Sadly, for some people like me, the classic controller will no longer work with these games. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is available now. Punch Out will be available on the 22nd,  and the Metroid Prime Trilogy will become available on the 29th. They will be only half price for one week after their release. More Wii Games are on their way.
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is coming February 20th. Amiibo's will be available for this title, each of them giving you a special power. Kirby, King Dedede, and Meta Knight will function with this game.
  • March 20th we will get a Super Mario Series of Amiibo's: Mario, Luigi, Preach, Yoshi, Bowser, Toad. Alongside Mario Party 10. Some of these will work with Smash Bros, check www.nintendo.com/amiibo/compatibility to see which games work with which Amiibo's. Besides the already mentioned Amiibo's, it will also work with Rosalina, Donkey Kong and Wario from the new Smash Bros Game. But beware, using them will delete your Smash Bros data off of them.
  • Splatoon was also shown off. It will feature deep customization, lots of different weapons and online multiplayer. Splatoon will be released this coming May.
  • Hyrule Warrior DLC is on its way. Tingle and Young Link will be available for download on February 5th. 3 new customes will be released as well.
  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X Trailer. Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvpNXhzscjQ This trailer gives us some background on the story, while mostly exploring the planet.
  • Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is coming out on Wii U and 3DS on March 5th only on the Nintendo eShop. Buy one version, and you will receive a code for the version you did not buy, for free.
  • Bandai Namco announced a 4 Player Co-op Game, coming to the Wii U, for free, at a later point. The name was not mentioned, only that it is under the project name of Project Treasure. Could this become another case where they keep the Project name, just like with Hyrule Warriors?
  • The New Nintendo 3DS will be released on February 13th. The new Nintendo 3DS features improvement in the means of an added C-Stick for better control for the gameplay, Face-Tracking 3D, so the 3D will always be visable and not blurry no matter what angle you are holding it in, and Amiibo Support. Also, thanks to the faster processing power surfing the internet and downloads are much better and faster than before.
    After an Update in February Smash Bros will be first title to use Amiibo's on 3DS. No Ac Adapater is included with the new Nintendo 3DS, but the old ones will work on it.
  • Code name: S.T.E.A.M  is coming March 2015. This game can use Fire Emblem Amiibo's. (Marth, Ike, Lucina) Marth Amiibo will become available again later this year.
  • Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ will also feature Amiibo's. Using certain ones will unlock planes. Available February 13th.
  • The remake of Xenoblade Chronicles, exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS, will be released in April 2015.
  • IronFall: Invasion is coming to the Nintendo eShop. This game is made by a small team of 3 Indie Developers.
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will receive a exclusive New Nintendo 3DS bundle. Exclusive at GameStop. A Demo will be coming soon to the Nintendo eShop. The Game and Bundle will be available on February 13th.
  • And the best news for last, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is coming February 13th! With a Special New Nintendo 3DS.

 

@DawnKnight1993
~Nico

Assassin's Creed Unity - First Thoughts by Benjamin Sawyer

It has been a long time since I have been this excited for an Assassin's Creed release. Assassin's Creed 3 looked to be great but something about the Revolutionary War setting didn't quite sit well with me. Black Flag also had promise, but my fear that it would be a game too focused piracy and would forget the tenets of the creed were quickly justified. In all honesty, I haven't been this pumped for a Creed game since Brotherhood. Those first trailers, revealing your Brotherhood of assassins that would fight at your side, Ezio donning the hood of Il Mentore (the mentor), Renaissance Italy at its peak. It all spoke to me. Now, with Unity, we have another location as brilliant as Firenze, Roma, or Venezia, in the blood-soaked streets of revolutionary Paris. And if Victor Hugo's Les Miserables wasn't proof enough that this time was full of drama, then Assassin's Creed Unity swiftly reminds you.

A few hours into Unity, a few things are immediately apparent: This game was made for the Xbox One and PS4. It is beautiful. Environments have depth, light plays stunning games with the articulate architecture Notre Dame, and the streets are full of displeased Parisians. To fans of past games, they will be pleased to find out that the upgradeable estate/base has returned. The Cafe Theatre is full of opportunity as an operations hub, and the renovations are extensive and even open up missions for the player.

 

Finally, Paris is huge. I feel overwhelmed by the scope of it already and I have only unlocked three zones. There are at least another five. And the city is dense with activities and missions for the player to take on alone or with up to four friends.

So far, Assassin's Creed Unity has me hooked. Let's see if it can keep my attention. But right now, I have a lot of faith in this title.

@CalebTSawyer
~Caleb