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So, About That Single-Player Star Wars Game

So, About That Single-Player Star Wars Game

News broke late yesterday, 10/17/17, that Electronic Arts will be shutting down Visceral Games. Well known for games like Battlefield Hardline and Dead Space, this studio was working on another highly anticipated title and people are worried about its future. Visceral has been developing a new action-adventure Star Wars game that EA compared to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. However, now with Visceral dissolving, the fate of this Star Wars project is up in the air.

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The studio was working on this single-player Star Wars game since 2013. It had a lot of people excited and EA expected to release the game in 2019 but now it has been pushed back without any information on when it could eventually be released.

A brief look at the E3 2016 preview of Visceral’s Star Wars project.

The Official Word

“Our Visceral studio has been developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe,” EA”s Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund said. He continued to explain, “In its current form, it was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Throughout the development process, we have been testing the game concept with players, listening to the feedback about what and how they want to play and closely tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace. It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design.” http://bit.ly/2l0clZ1

This ‘pivot’ in design and the fall of Visceral forced other EA studios to take over the development of the Star Wars project. The shift in direction could create an interesting final product, but that would only be if it ever reaches market. Söderlund offered a few details on who will be taking lead on the project. He stated, “A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project,” http://bit.ly/2yuvQvK

Few Details But Many Questions

Electronic Arts may have offered extremely few details throughout the development process of the new Star Wars game but they did have an incredible concept and was working with some incredible talent. Amy Hennig, former Naughty Dog creative director was working on the new title, co-writing the Star Wars adventure with Todd Stashwick.  An update from the site Polygon, shed some light on Amy Hennig’s future at EA. A company representative explained, “We’re in discussions with Amy about her next move.” http://bit.ly/2yuvQvK

Our thoughts are with every team member affected by the closing of this renowned studio but EA did say they will be shifting as many of the team over to other projects in the EA family.  With the EA Star Wars project still in limbo as of now, Gigamax will be keeping a close eye out for any developments. Be sure to check back as the dust settles from Visceral Games closing.

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Sources:

https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/17/16490960/ea-closing-visceral-games-star-wars-game-delayed

https://kotaku.com/ea-shuts-down-visceral-games-1819623990

https://www.ea.com/news/an-update-on-the-visceral-star-wars-project

Really, What’s Up With Final Fantasy: A New Empire

So Really, What’s Up With Final Fantasy: A New Empire

You’ve probably seen those strange ads for the mobile game Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. This strange ‘free’ app looks like any other free to play mobile game but with one major exception, it’s based on the most recent Final Fantasy game. Noctis, Prompto, Gladiolus, Iignis, they’re all there but it still feels like an intellectual property lawsuit waiting to happen rather than an actual Square Enix game. But yes, this game and all of its elements are legitimately licensed from SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. according to their official website.

Seriously, What’s Up With This Game?

A fan reached out asking us to give our impression on this game and we’re here to deliver.

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This is a game that would normally fly under the radar for Gigamax Games but there were a few things about it that did catch our eye. The marketing on those aforementioned social platforms stood out, maybe not for the best reasons but it did have our intention. The graphics (on the ads) and action looked impressive for a mobile game. However, as gamers know all too well this is a common marketing ploy. Video game developers have lied in the past when it comes to their marketing, No Mans Sky comes to mind. However, this seemed to be on an entirely different level.

FFXV: A New Empire promised exciting quests, action, and combat when in reality it is just another “age of empires” tower defense style mobile game. Yes, it does use the Final Fantasy universe but things are so much different.

Even with the Final Fantasy inspiration, this game is nearly identical to all the other tower defense, base builder, free to play mobile games on the market today. There are a lot of different things to do but there’s very little substance when it comes to the content.

“Questing” They Call It

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The questing system is extremely shallow. The only thing a player has to do to complete a quest is click “start” and wait for the timer to tick down. Fighting other bases and monsters is dull as well. The tiny sprite that represents a character slowly walks through the overworld, swings its sword and walks back to the base. There was only time Noctis is ever actually seen fighting and that was in the ‘Proving Grounds’. Noctus runs toward an enemy and each slash of his sword uses 50 Ether. Ether is not easily found and it costs an incredible amount of ‘Loyalty’ to purchase more.

With the lack of exciting content, there is one thing that this game does very well, entice the player to purchase the in-game materials and currency. There are so many things to do, even if they’re shallow, there’s a lot of different bases to upgrade, bosses to fight, in-game items to purchase but free players are extremely limited. To continuously play, the only real option is to pay.

Time Goes On But The Game Stands Still

After a while playing, there was the inevitable point where you are stuck waiting for resources to generate and a building to finish completing. The only New Empire, ffxv, mobile game, gigamax, gaming newssaving grace would be free to play mini-games that gamers could play while waiting around. However, there were actually multiple mini-games to choose from. This could have been the ultimate “Is this actually a great mobile game I would have missed out on?”

Clicking on the first one brings the player to a classic tower defense game. You build turrets that defend a wave-like onslaught of enmities, protecting the walls of your empire. This was exciting, having the chance to play fun games while resources accumulate or buildings to upgrade could have been great! However, players only have one attempt and then they are locked out with a 24:00 timer. Gamers only get 1 chance to play a single mini-game per day. There are 4 mini-games to try and a 24-hour timer shared between them. This means it will literally take four days to try each of the mini-games and you only have one attempt.

Final Thoughts

At the beginning they give you an incredible amount of resources and leveling up the citadel is a breeze. This honeymoon stage ends abruptly and they make it abundantly clear that in-game purchases are easy to complete and readily available. It’s unfortunate that the Final Fantasy brand is associated with this kind of game. The beautiful thing about Final Fantasy is the abundance of content a game purchase offers. Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is the opposite. The shallow and lackluster content teases people along to get hooked and then once they level their buildings to about level 8, resource requirements for an upgrade increase exponentially. The only way to continuously play this game is to buy the in-game currency, however, if you’re a very patient person and don’t mind putting the game down for long periods of time, it’s a great distraction for a short period of time.

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Fortnite: New Twist or Blatant Ripoff?

Fortnite: New Twist or Blatant Ripoff?

Video games are constantly evolving. A lot of the time, developers take successful ideas from other games and change it up a bit to make an entirely new title. However, sometimes, a game can be a little too similar to the original title which they took their ideas from. This has been the discussion surrounding Fortnite Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds.  

Let’s take a look at the similarities between the two games and how they differ. It’s an interesting list and one that might lead to more questions than answers.

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Similarities:

1) 100 person deathmatch and the last one standing is the winner.

2) Squad mode, where players can team up to compete against other squads and the last group standing, wins.

3) Both of the games begin in ‘lobby island’ where all 100 players can run around, shoot guns, and scream loud into the mic.

4) Once the game officially starts, players are flown toward an island and can choose when to jump out of the aircraft.

5) After players jump out of the aircraft, they skydive down to their desired location and eventually float down and land gently.

6) Both only have one map as of now and bear striking similarities.

7) Players start unarmed and must scavenge around the map looking for weapons, ammo, and protective items.

8) The map begins to shrink because of an outside force which continues to close in on the players as the game goes on, forcing them into each other.

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Differences:

1) Cartoony graphics give Fortnite a different feel from the more gritty, realistic PUBG.

2) Fortnite has no prone, changing the stealth aspect when compared to PUBG.

3) Players jump out of a floating bus instead of a plane as in PUBG.

4) Gamers cannot find armor around the map in Fortnite, instead, they pick up ‘Shield Potions’.

5) Fortnite offers no attachments for the guns like in PUBG, what you see is what you get.

6) PUBG has first person servers and an option to aim down the iron sites. Fortnite is stuck in 3rd person. 

7) The feature that separates Fortnite the most from PUBG is the building aspect. Players can collect materials from around the map and build forts and cover. This is the key feature that has the most dramatic effect when it comes to the differences of  Fortnite from PUBG.

Final Thoughts and Your Input

Just from looking at the lists above, it’s clear that there are more similarities than differences. Most of the differences are even just splitting hairs, like not being able to go prone. However, these unique aspects from Fortnite do add some interesting dynamics which PUBG cannot provide. Still, PUBG seems as though it’s the superior shooter but this is not to say Fortnite doesn’t deliver a quality gaming experience. 

The question remains, is Fortnite walking a very fine line between blatant ripoff and unique interpretation? Or did the Fortnite developers, Epic Games, simply steal an innovative idea and implement their mechanics on top of PUBG?

With PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer, Bluehole, releasing a statement on September 22nd explaining that they felt Fortnite copied their game and might pursue legal action, the world may soon find out.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, we want to see how gamers feel about this complicated situation.

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Gamers Paradise: Tournaments and Classic Games

Gamers Paradise: Tournaments and Classic Games

There are few better things than video game tournaments and classic games all in the same place. This past weekend had it all. In Long Island, New York at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, both of these great things were mashed together and it couldn’t be better. MT Summit Gaming hosted a Marvel vs. Capcom tournament and the museums’ classic video game exhibit was open to all those who attended.

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So Many Classic Games

Countless consoles and arcade cabinets were on display and the best part was, they were free to play. But the excitement didn’t stop there, the Marvel vs. Capcom tournament brought together the best of the best from around the local gaming community to go head to head for the grand prize, a 1TB limited edition gold PlayStation 4.

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The Tournaments Keep On Coming

The Gigamax crew was lucky enough to join MT Summit Gaming for their first big event back in August for their Super Smash Bros tournament. A huge crowd of all ages showed up to compete and see who would take the title for the Long Island  Super Smash Bros champ. The winner walked away with a brand new Nintendo Switch and pro controller.

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This time around the game was Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. On opening weekend, the call went out to all local gamers, letting them know they’d have the chance to battle it out with the latest game from this classic franchise. There was some serious competition that showed up, mostly sporting the arcade controllers so you knew things were going to be intense. It was seriously impressive watching these talented gamers brawl.

Stay up to date with the latest from MT Summit Gaming

Waypoint Gaming

There was a new face in the crowd this time at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Waypoint Gaming was the latest organization to make an appearance and they are truely something special. This up and coming company is a new take on the classic cyber cafe. Their facility, located in Garden City, New York isn’t your regular cyber cafe, it’s going to be a community hub for the gamers of Long Island. Be sure to check back soon on GigamaxGames.com for the official peek behind the curtain before they officially open to the public.

Why It All Matters

Why is this all so important? The answer is simple, understanding that small gamers can have an enormous impact on a local gaming community is a spectacular realization. Even lone gamers can have an incredible impact on their local gaming community or beyond. Gamers can take an idea running through their head and bring it to the world and that’s an amazing thing. These small independent entities are proof that there is room to grow. Keep on gaming and love what you do.

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Layoffs Hit The Chinese Room as Studio Plans to Go Dark

Layoffs Hit The Chinese Room as Studio Plans to Go Dark

Unfortunate news from The Chinese Room has reached media outlets today. According to a blog post from founder Dan Pinchbeck, the studio laid off most of its staff and has plans to go dark. The independent games creator is most famously known for works like Dear Esther, the Amnesia series, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Now the company is facing an uncertain future but there is still hope for this small studio.

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Pinchbeck detailed in his post that he had suffered from a non-life-threatening health condition back in June, which gave him and his team time to reflect on the condition of the company. This was following the development of their latest game, So Let Us Melt, and negotiation meetings for the next project the team was planning.

The Bottom Line

“To cut a long story short, the situation–between financial pressures, trying to keep the lights on for the employed team, the stress of end-of-development, health issues–just wasn’t a tenable thing anymore. It was time to take a break, recharge, recover, and have a good think about the future,” Pinchbeck said in the blog post.

Ultimately, this led to the decision to lay off the development team. “So we let our team go,” Pinchbeck continues “Layoffs are never pleasant, particularly when you’re all trying to wrap a game. We did our best to try and help the team secure new positions, and then we all–the whole team–threw everything we had at wrapping the game. It didn’t feel fair to anyone, least of all people who had spent a year working on a project, to have its completion and release overshadowed by news about the studio closing, so we’ve held off on the announcement until we felt we were clear of all of that.” (http://bit.ly/2ftvjFo)

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Time To Reflect and Recover

The developer also detailed that he was not the end of The Chinese Room, merely a small break to recollect their thoughts and goals. As of now the games currently released will stay on sale as well as merch and the fantastic soundtracks that accompany their projects. Currently, the studio has been downsized to just three people, they are working on a game known as the 13th Interior and will bring on a bigger team when the time is right. As for the future, Pinchbeck said the studio has secured funding for a follow-up game called Little Orpheus and is expected for prototyping by the end of 2017.

Pinchbeck finished the post with “Is it the end of The Chinese Room? No, I don’t think so. But it’s the end of a chapter, and we hope you can all be patient with us whilst we figure out what happens next.” Hopefully, this statement rings true because this studio is one of the most talented and has created some of the most beautiful stories in gaming. It is never easy for a studio to downsize like this but unfortunately that is the nature of the industry. An official media meeting is expected to take place later this week so keep your eyes peeled for more information.

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Square Enix Embraces “Games As A Service” Model

Square Enix Embraces “Games As A Service” Model

Square Enix has previously stated that they felt the gaming industry was heading toward a “games as a service” model, saying that the publisher “will approach game design with a mind to generate recurring revenue streams.” In a recent note to shareholders, the President of the company, Yousuke Matsuda,  said that this model is the current way forward in the industry.

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“Gone are the days in which single-player games were of primary status and multiplayer games secondary,” Matsuda said. “Lately, multiplayer games have taken the lead, and it is standard for games to be designed for long-term play.” (http://bit.ly/2fmyhLO)

In terms of a concept, games as a service are nothing new to the industry. Each company has their own way of defining this philosophy and for the Final Fantasy publisher, it means a strong emphasis on long-term user engagement.

Here’s A Bonus!

Square Enix will start making more of an effort to release games that drive the player to engage with a game for a longer period of time instead of a quick completion and moving on. The company believes that this will increase their overall customer satisfaction and create a lifetime value to the games themselves.

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To show their commitment to this style of game, Square Enix added multiplayer to Final Fantasy XV through an upcoming expansion. The company also announced a new shooter this week called Left Alive, which will have a significant online portion to keep players interested. This model makes plenty of sense as a developer can sustain their game over a period of time and sell content and the game for much longer.

Streaming and Shareholders

Matsuda also recognized the importance of streaming in the note to shareholders. He wants the company to place a growing emphasis on the matter and look into using it as a revenue stream.

“An increasing number of our customers around the world enjoy not only playing games themselves, but also watching other gamers play them. You do not actually need to play a game yourself to enjoy it,” Matsuda said. “Watching the advanced techniques of professional gamers and the unique broadcasts of game streamers is another way to enjoy games. Watching gaming is growing into a major form of entertainment thanks to considerable advances in the online streaming environment. It is the presence of e-sports spectators that make this meaningful.” (http://bit.ly/2fmyhLO)

This is big news for any Square Enix fan. It shows that the company is learning from the market instead of sticking to old ideas that gamers are getting sick of. Games like Overwatch and Destiny 2 show that the industry is moving toward a community driven experience that receives new content on a monthly basis instead of something that can be finished in a few hours. Hopefully, this note to shareholders shows the true direction of the company and isn’t just business rhetoric. If you’d like to see the full note you can find it on their website.

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Friday the 13th Developer Provides DLC Roadmap

Friday the 13th Dev Provides DLC Roadmap

Fans of the very popular Friday the 13th game will be happy to hear that the developer behind the game, Gun Media, has no plans to abandon the project. In fact, to show players that they are still working hard, the team has provided a “DLC Roadmap” in the form of a colorful infographic that seems like it is intentionally drawn like a camp brochure. The indie developer shared this chart on their forums where they also addressed plans for upcoming single-player content.

While the roadmap itself does not share any dates but does show the long-term goals of the developer and a ton of the DLC’s coming to the game. According to the chart, fans can expect new maps, modes, and a lot of new cosmetic options for Jason and the councilors. Other updates include new emotes, Jason types, and councilors. This all comes in the wake of the developer’s teaser video, released in August, that gave vague details of their DLC plans.

The Roadmap:

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In the forum post, the developers explained their progress for fixing bugs across the various platforms Friday the 13th is available on. Most importantly they laid out plans for getting content onto the Xbox, a process that has been admittedly too slow. According to the developer, this is because of Microsoft’s strict rules and guidelines for updating games.

That’s Not All!

The team also explained that single player was delayed from its previous summer release because they wanted to focus on fixing the core game first. Now that the stability issues have been addressed, the developers are reassigning resources to make sure that this feature gets added as soon as possible, including hiring additional staff. The Roadmap indicates that single-player mode will seemingly be a number of different challenge modes rather than a conventional campaign.

Hopefully, players will start seeing this content soon as the game was relatively bare bones when it first hit consoles. We are big fans of this game over here at Gigamax and are excited to see more DLC come to this exciting indie game. Make sure to keep checking back with Gigamaxgames.com for more on Friday the 13th’s DLC roadmap as information becomes available.

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Destiny 2: Was It Worth The Hype?

Destiny 2: Was It Worth The Hype?

Many players had a strange relationship with the first Destiny. Bungie told people to expect a 10-year game that will continuously grow and improve as time went on. However, this was far from the truth. The original Destiny left a bad taste in many gamers mouths, feeling as though it was disrespecting the players time and just adding enough content to string people along. Some loved the game, but there is no doubt that the game, at its core, was seriously flawed but now all eyes are on Destiny 2.

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The Worry Was Real

This left gamers worried if Destiny 2 had the potential to save the franchise. When people found out all of their hard earned rewards would be stripped away and then be forced to start from scratch, it wasn’t the best introduction. But to the surprise of many Destiny 2 and the developers at Bungie took the community’s criticism of the first game to heart and it shows in a big way.

Destiny 2 – Nightfall Strike [Gigamax PowerHour]

One of the main issues with original Destiny was the lack of rewards and the countless hours spent on repetitive grinding to receive any piece of worthwhile gear. This was far beyond the expected grind in this kind of ‘open’ exploration game. Bungie seemed to put all their chips in the exquisite gunplay and ignore a fully fleshed out campaign or any substance when it came to the grind. Running around a small map searching for chests that spawn in the same location on a timer is not an exciting gaming experience.

Destiny 2 May Have Done It

Destiny 2 is a monumental improvement over the original. Even though players have to start from scratch, the intro of the game provides a nice flashback of their time in the original. Milestones are remembered with a slideshow once a player starts the game, showing off their greatest achievements and even lists the players that were in the group when completed. This short but sweet ode to your original Destiny fireteams was the right kind of send off for the misstep that was Destiny.

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Even those that truly enjoyed the original Destiny have said it felt as though it was just one big beta for Destiny 2. Bungie did it right with this latest installment. Each planet has a more robust environment giving the sensation of being alive, more so than anything the original ever offered. The amount of story, strikes, and content offered at launch puts the original to shame and is an incredible indicator of things to come. The story evoked emotions and NPC’s have relatable personalities. With Bungie stating that they will be adding content much more regularly, one can only imagine where it will go from here. 

Overall Bungie redeemed themselves with Destiny 2. This latest title truly shows that the developers listened to their audience and put some real thought into the new game.  It feels as though this is just the beginning for one of the most highly anticipated shooters in history. If Destiny was able to reach impressive heights with lackluster content, there’s no telling how far the second game can go.

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The Nintendo Switch May Not Make It Home for the Holidays

The Nintendo Switch May Not Make It Home for the Holidays

During a recent speaking event, CEO of Nintendo America Reggie Fils-Aime said that the company could not guarantee the availability of the Switch this Holiday season. As of now, the executive has elaborated further on what he meant by the statement.

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Source: http://bit.ly/2wSvh0h

Speaking to The Financial Times, Fils-Aime said that the console’s supply chain was “complex” going on to say that there are multiple factors that could be considered “choke points.” Some analysts in Japan are calling out Alps Electric in particular, who makes the necessary components for the Joy-Con controller system. Although, the CEO himself wouldn’t clarify which parts of the supply chain were holding production back.

“There is not one choke point, there are multiple choke points,” Reggie Fils-Aime explained. “I won’t go into any more detail but it’s not just one component. I’m going to make millions of these units to flow into the marketplace. But what I don’t know is what the demand is going to be. And there is a potential that demand is going to outstrip supply.” (http://bit.ly/2ePLXLc)

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Source: http://amzn.to/2ma0NS9

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

The executive moved on to say that the company wants to avoid any situation where a consumer wants a Switch and can’t get one. But unfortunately, production realities and the extremely strong demand for the console are making it impossible for him to guarantee that everyone will get their hands on the system.

Fils-Aime finished the interview by stating “We don’t want to have a consumer disappointed by not being able to get one for the holiday season. But managing that complex supply chain is a challenge,” but this has left many Nintendo fans with the feeling that getting a Switch this year is almost hopeless.

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Source: http://bit.ly/2rc2DFA

Nintendo has previously stated their intention was to ramp up production this holiday season but it could prove difficult with suppliers creating issues with previously agreed upon terms.  Currently, the company has modeled 10 million Switch sales for the current fiscal year, which ends in March 2018. As for sales, the latest data shows that the console has sold over 4.7 million units worldwide.

Hopefully, Nintendo is able to increase production enough so that most can get the system but unfortunately not even the CEO can be overly optimistic. The holidays are typically rough on retail and new hardware usually sells the fastest. The bright side of the production issue is that this shows the Switch’s growing popularity and how Nintendo is recovering after the disaster that was the Wii U.

Be sure to check back on Gigamax for the latest updates and details surrounding the Nintendo Switch and it’s availability.

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Call of Duty: WW2 Beta Adjustments

Call of Duty: WW2 Beta Adjustments

Call of Duty: WW2’s first beta wrapped up on August 27th and overall the game was received well by the community. There were some obvious adjustments that needed to be made such as balancing issues but the fans made sure the developers knew about them. Sledgehammer, a subsidiary of Activision, is heading the Call of Duty: WW2 project and they’re taking gamers comments to heart. Players can expect the second beta to feature some improvements that could deliver a more refined experience.

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“New Maps and Modes”

Before diving into the most notable updates, Sledgehammer hinted at another bit of exciting news. In their blog post, before the update information, they mentioned hearing feedback on playlist variety and are working to improve it. The next sentence stated, “You know what else would improve it? More maps and modes.” New maps and additional game modes would make an already exciting beta even more entertaining.

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If you want to add feedback, Sledgehammer is taking suggestions on their official Reddit thread.

Major Improvements and Updates

– DOM kills are increased to 100pts, up from 50.

– TDM end match score is now set at 100

– Improvements are being made to hit feedback which includes better audio and a more prominent headshot indicator.

– They are reducing Molotov to x1 per Scorestreak.

– Default incendiary shells is turned off and they mentioned a future nerf is possible.

– Expect Paratrooper strength / cost balancing.

– They mention Recon Aircraft were found to be too vulnerable to rifle damage. 

– Color Blind support option will be added.

The list above includes the most major gameplay updates but you can find the full list on the official blog post

Be sure to check out the Live Stream of Call of Duty: WW2 beta below:

Beta Details

The second beta weekend begins on Friday, September 1st (10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET) and will continue through Monday, September 4th. It will be available on both PS4 and Xbox One and only to those who have preordered the game.

It was exciting to have the chance to see Call of Duty return to their roots and the beta delivered a fulfilling experience. Having the chance to play some Zombies would tie it all together however that isn’t necessarily out of the question when looking at Sledgehammer’s comments. Hopefully the developer continues to accept and embrace the feedback from the beta and makes adjustments along the way to deliver the best Call of Duty possible in November.

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