Resident Evil 3 Remake Confirmed?

Well, one of the worst kept secrets is finally out. Eurogamer reported earlier today that official Resident Evil 3 Remake cover art leaked on PSN. As of yet, there has been no official announcement, but the screenshots look like the real deal.

It’s no secret that after the huge critical and financial success of the Resident Evil 2 Remake that Capcom would want to recreate that success, but the question was what game would follow it up? Before this, Capcom had shown off a new Resident Evil multiplayer game, Project Resistance, that many believed to be the next entry in the Resident Evil series. There was also the possibility that Resident Evil 8 would be next, but the cover art leak seems to put all of that to bed.

Now, we still don’t know the release date of the game, which I expect will be announced at this year’s Game Awards on December 12th, but considering that the cover art was leaked on PSN, it’s safe to assume to that RE3 will be the next Resident Evil game.

Another curious thing is that no where on the cover art is the word “Nemesis”. The big bad himself is in the cover art, but the subtitle seems to be gone. The official title at the moment seems to be either Resident Evil 3 or Biohazard 3.

Either way, I’m sure we’ll all find out more come December 12th.

Fornite Chapter 2: More Than Just an Update!

I finally played the new Fortnite update, and my God, it has really changed the game. Fornite Chapter 2 is more than just a regular update, and it almost feels like a sequel. In fact, Fornite Chapter 2 feels more like a sequel than some actual sequels. Now, I played Chapter 2 on the Nintendo Switch, so I didn’t get to see everything in high detail, 60 FPS, and in 4K, but what I did see surprised the hell out of me.

When I first loaded up the game, I was greeted with a cutscene. I found this odd. Fortnite doesn’t exactly have many cutscenes, let alone one that was just the public trailer. I had already seen the trailer, and I couldn’t skip it, so I put the controller down and started scrolling on my phone. This was a mistake, because it wasn’t the entire reveal trailer, as it ends as a character jumps out of the battle bus. It then shifts to gameplay where you are said character, and you’re gliding into an already filled map of players. This took me completely by surprise, and delighted me all at the same time.

This immediate jump to gameplay wasn’t the only surprise I would find. First I got two kills right off the bat, and it felt good. Really good, and that’s because the controls feel different. Everything feels tighter and smoother. It’s completely different than how it felt in the past, even on the Xbox One X. The building feels better, too. Everything has been fine tuned, which is saying something, considering Fortnite was already a fine tuned and beautifully polished battle royale experience.

Another surprise was the amazing detail and lighting. This game has changed. Even though my draw distance sucks on Switch, all of the detail is still there. The trees move and rustle in the wind, as does the grass. Everything is still cartoony, but the art style has been updated. Everything has so much more detail, now. There are wrinkles, creases, etc. on your clothes. Your character moves more fluidly and naturally, and the lighting is now dynamic. Light and shadows bounce and move realistically based on where you are in the world. This is completely different from the original game, as it just used what seemed like baked in lighting. Nice lighting wasn’t exactly important in a game where the goal is to be the last one standing, but now that it’s here, I honestly don’t know how we lived without it.

Guns have also been removed, as well as a lot of items. In my short time playing, I noticed that shields were very hard to come by, but decent loot was easy to find. There are no mechs, planes, swords, or any other of the crazy stuff that we were all used to. There is a boat now, and I got to use it once. It works. That’s about all I can say.

I found that decent loot was a lot easier to come by in Chapter 2. I never managed to win it all, but I never felt overwhelmed or out gunned. I was just unlucky. The people who killed me had similar weapons to what I had. No magical weapons or upgrades. Just standard stuff.

The map is also brand new. So new, that nothing is mapped out. You are encouraged to explore and fill out the map. Every time you find a new location, you are rewarded with XP, and it being revealed on the map. Unknown locations are covered in question marks and a blue “fog of war”. This makes everything feel “new” and exciting.

The new leveling up system also helps with the excitement. Battle Royale games can be pretty disheartening, especially when you just can’t win. Winning being rare is part of the appeal, but dying to starts to become annoying after awhile. The new leveling system seems to fix this. You are rewarded for building, killing, scavenging, fishing, and exploring. It makes you feel good, and like you accomplished something in every match, even if you don’t make it very far. This is probably the smartest thing that Epic has implemented in Fortnite so far. All of the “sameyness” has disappeared, now that there is more to do than just kill or die.

I’m really excited for the future of Fortnite, and for whatever else Epic has in store for us in the future. It seems they really know what they’re doing. Every time we think Fortnite is getting old or on the decline, Epic finds a way to bring it back, and reinvent everything we thought we knew. If they keep this up, Fortnite is going to be around for a long, long time, and I think I’m okay with that.

Stadia: Google is Full of Crap!

I so want to like Google’s Stadia, but it seems with each passing day that Google is just trying its best to get me, along with everyone else, to hate it.

From day one, I was aboard the Stadia train. Despite having a lack of solid, uncapped internet, I was intrigued with the idea of game streaming, and I thought that if there was anyone who could pull it off, it would be Google. That was then. Now, I’m not so sure Google has any idea what the hell they’re talking about.

First, the lack of general information that Google has put out there was a huge cause of concern. Multiple conflicting reports about how Stadia will actually work did little to get the populous on board. We all thought Stadia was going to be like Netflix for games, but then we were told that wouldn’t be the case. Google alluded that Stadia would have both a subscription service, but also have games that you could buy and play over the service. Not exactly Netflix for games, but it sounds pretty good, or rather, it would’ve sounded good had Google back tracked and said that all of that was untrue. In an AMA back in July, Stadia Product Director, Andrey Doronichev, said that the Stadia Pro package was more similar to Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus, in that you would get 1 or 2 free games a month, along with discounts and such. Everything else, the consumer will have to pay full price for, just like if you were buying a game on a console.

See, that right there, sucks. Why does that suck? Well, it has to do with the fact that Stadia is not a console or PC. You don’t own it. It’s also reliant on the internet 24/7. You would be paying for a service that you won’t be able to use all the time. If you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t play your games. With a console or PC, you can still play your games, as long as they don’t require online to play. This wouldn’t be so bad if you bought a 60 dollar game and had 2 copies of it, like Microsoft’s Project XCloud, which allows you to have a game that you can play on your console, while giving you the ability to stream it to your phone or PC, if you want. With Stadia, there is no home console or offline play. As far as we know, if you bought a 60 dollar game on Stadia, you would only have access to it through Stadia. This fear isn’t helped by the fact that Google hasn’t revealed what exactly the subscription models are, or what they do. Another concern of Stadia being always online is the fact that Google could just kill this whole thing if it doesn’t go well, meaning you would lose everything, however, this isn’t why I think Google is full of crap.

I went from being completely sold on Stadia, to skeptical at best, to completely unsold on the idea in just a few months. The final straw, however, came just few days ago when Google made what might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard out of them. Google announced that Stadia would eventually be able to out pace consoles and PC’s by achieving negatively latency. Let’s stop it right there. Negative latency. Just think about that for a second. Latency has been a problem for awhile, whether it be the latency from the controller to the console itself, or the latency from the console to the TV/monitor. When someone presses a button, they want it to register instantly. We used to have this problem solved, monitorwise, back when CRT’s were in every household, but once everyone switched to flat screen HDTV’s, latency and lag became a problem. This is why there are gaming monitors and TV’s that advertise their high refresh rates, and why they also have “game modes” that do their best to get rid of input lag. Input lag and latency are big deals, and is one of the main concerns everyone has with game streaming. It’s hard to get rid of with a hard wired set up, yet Google claims that not only can they get rid of it, but have negative latency. Negative. Not zero, but negative. This is impossible on anyone’s set up, let alone a set up that require the internet so it can STREAM the game to you.

That right there should be the biggest red flag that Google has no idea what they are doing, or at least that the guys they’re letting talk have no idea, but it gets worse. Just claiming negative latency would’ve been enough to turn me off of Google Stadia, but it’s how they said they will achieve it is what really drove the nail in the coffin. According to Google, they will use a system that predicts the inputs before a player presses a button. Yeah, I’m sure that will work perfectly.

These predictive systems are already in use today in many smartphones. They use algorithms that predict what apps you’ll open before you finger touches the screen. When it works, it works, however, when it doesn’t, it can be completely annoying. You go to open up an app, but for some reason your phone keeps opening up another one. That gets frustrating quick, and it’s also really obvious. Now, apply that to a game like a platformer or a fighting game where input precision is key. If the program messes up, and it will, it will cause you to lose games. That doesn’t fun, nor does it sound smart. Playing games isn’t like typing or texting. Software that chooses for you can only hurt your gaming experience. Oh, and by the way, even when it comes to typing and texting, the programs often get it wrong. We all know the frustration of auto correct changing our words again and again, completely ruining a message. It annoyed me so much that I have it all turned off. Can you imagine that if your games did that? It would be awful.

I honestly can’t believe that Google would let someone say that, or even think that the idea was a good one. In theory, it sounds like a good idea, but one doesn’t have to think very far until they see how it would fall apart. All of this is what finally made me turn around on Stadia. I no longer believe that they know what they’re doing. Look at Microsoft and how they’re rolling out streaming. You would think with Google showing up that Microsoft would be pushing XCloud super hard, but they’re not. They believe in it, but they know that the tech isn’t there yet, and you would never hear them say crap like “negative latency”, because they actually make video games, consoles, and computers for a living. Such a phrase would never be uttered, nor would the idea implementing a system that predicts a gamer’s inputs.

I’m really disappointed. I believed in Stadia. The idea of playing games anywhere was really cool, but now I’m not so sure, and I’m a Google sell out. I’ve had both the Pixel 2 and 3, and I’m amped for the Pixel 4 reveal. I’m not anti-google, but all of this just makes it hard to believe in them.

I believe that Stadia will come out and that it will work, but that’s about it. I’m no longer confident in Google’s ability to make it more than just a fun gimmick. I would be if they sounded like they knew anything about what they were talking about, but that’s sadly not the reality we live in. I hope I’m wrong, but at this point, I don’t think I am.

What Happened at Bioware is Normal. THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE!

Be warned. This is a rant.

I want to make something very clear. Just because something is seen as normal does not mean that it is right. There was a time where slavery was normal in the United States of America. It was an everyday thing. It was accepted, and even seen as good by many, but did that make it right? Hell no. Slavery was evil, is evil, and is a stain on the history of this country. You won’t hear too many people, other than racists, try to justify slavery today by saying that it was “normal”. Why then, am I hearing from all kinds of people, that what happened at Bioware isn’t that bad, because it is normal for the games industry?

Overwork and crunch is normal in the game industry. It is also normal in many industries from film to construction. When you think about it, overwork and crunch are normal in just about every job, at least in America. This is the norm. This is also wrong.

It has been proven that productivity goes down after 40 hours, and the total upper limit is 60 hours. Everything is downhill from there. The longer a person is at work, the longer they’re away from home. The longer they’re away from home, the longer they’re away from family, chores, etc. Take all the stress you have from work and add all the stress you get at home where it seems like everything is falling around you. You’re working so long that you don’t have time to cook, clean, relax, for basic hygiene, and even sleep. Your family also starts to feel like they’re unloved because they never see you. I know all of this, because I’ve been through it. It’s not fun, and it does cause breakdowns. My last breakdown left me without a job, and now, I’m in a worse place than I was then; however, my productivity at work was also going down before I got fired because I was being over worked. Stressed at home, and stressed at work. There is no relief. People die because of this. Stress will kill you, and yet employers do not care. This has to stop, and it needs to stop now.

Let’s back up a bit. Besides stress, fatigue, etc. Let’s looks at productivity. We know that companies and corporations want something done for as cheap as possible, right? This is why these horrible business practices continue. The funny thing is that these practices DO NOT SAVE MONEY! Overwork leads to lower productivity. That not only means that it will take longer to make a product, but that product may come out “broken”. A bad or mediocre product costs you money. People will not only avoid buying the product, but will also avoid doing business with you. I saw that all the time in construction. Factor in severance and lawsuits for worker abuse, your company didn’t save anything! If you would’ve limited work to 40 hours, and maintained a healthy work environment, you would’ve released a better product, got more people to purchase your product, got more people willing to work with you, sewed in good will, and wouldn’t have to pay any money in severance and court fees. It’s a win-win, but for some reasons companies don’t understand this. It would still be unacceptable if these practices were profitable, but the fact is that they are not. Knowing this, it really seems like companies are treating their employees like crap just for the fun of it, and it needs to stop.

My point is, companies in every industry need to stop treating their employees like crap. They’re people. Treat them like people. You reap what you sew. If you want good, then put in good.

Google Stadia: A Great Idea That Won’t Work.

Let me quickly address the headline. Some may be arguing that my headline is wrong. Stadia was shown to already work, and that it’s test run ran pretty smoothly. That is true. Stadia does technically work, but it only works for the few, and even then, it may not be the smoothest experience. Also, by work, I don’t mean that it will fail. Stadia will most likely make a huge profit for Google. Hell, it’ll probably lead to many a great things, but it’s not the idea or really anything in Google’s control, that will keep it from working for the masses. The internet infrastructure just simply isn’t there.

The first road block that Stadia will run into is that many countries just don’t have access to broadband internet speeds. Broadband might be there, but prices might put it out of reach for the population in many countries. Another thing is data caps. Many countries, like the UK, have internet data caps. You only have so much data a month. This limits everything, from downloads to streaming, but imagine if you’re streaming a game at 4k. You could likely use your entire data in one session. If that was the case, then why would anyone use the service? They wouldn’t. Even at 1080p, the amount of data used would eclipse anything that you would see from Netflix or Hulu. This would put Stadia out of reach to a sizable population of the world. Why waste my data on Stadia when I could just download the game or buy it physically, and stay under the data cap?

Let’s throw away data caps and try to focus on just the US. There are plenty of people to serve in the US, and after all, that is where Google is based. Is it possible for Stadia to have a giant player base in the states? Not really. It depends on what you consider “giant”. A few million is a lot of users, but far from what Google would likely want. According to the FCC, Google’s Stadia wouldn’t have much trouble. According to FCC data, over 90% percent of Americans have access to broadband internet. That would be good news if those numbers weren’t crap. Govtech.com reported that Microsoft directly disputed the FCC’s claims.

The FCC claimed that only 24.7 million people didn’t have access to broadband internet, but Microsoft’s data suggests that over 162 million either don’t have access, or don’t use it. That’s a much bigger number. The number gets even larger when you factor in stability. There’s a difference in an ISP having the ability to get 25mbps (the speed at which Google claims is best to use Stadia) , and having stable/constant speeds of 25mbps. Most broadband providers can get near that number, but like to bounce up in down. In order to use Stadia at optimum levels, you would need a constant speed of 25mbps, which most people in America do not have.

I truly love the idea of Stadia, but the infrastructure just isn’t ready. Where I am, there is no internet, and I live not too far from the capitol of Texas. I have to use a glorified hotspot that I pay over 200 dollars a month for, and is limited to 150GB a month. Stadia is just not a possibility for me, neither is downloading updates, patches, games, etc. Everything I do has to be metered. Have to work as hard as I can to stay within the limit, which is a lot harder than one would think. For many people, they don’t even have this option due to just not having the money. Google could do something about this. They could force the expansion of the internet in the US, but they’re not. They used to, back when Google fiber was one of their tent poles, but now it just doesn’t seem to be one of their priorities. That together with net neutrality being killed, things aren’t looking good for the many people, like me, who want better internet access, but either can’t afford it, or can’t move to somewhere where there are more options.

Maybe Google will figure something out, but at this current moment in time, it looks like Stadia will remain just a lofty idea. A nice pipe dream that millions of people won’t have the ability to use. At least we’ll still have the dream.

Stadia: Google Enters the Gaming Business.

At 12 pm Central Time, Google took the stage at GDC, and announced that they would be entering the video game business with Stadia. Stadia is not a console, but a streaming platform that will allow anyone with a screen and a stable internet connection to play the latest games instantly, anyplace, anywhere, anytime.

With this announcement, Google also announced their own Stadia controller, but said that any controller can used to play games on Stadia, as long as they’re able to connect it to the screen they want to play on.

Google’s New Stadia Controller.

The word “screen” is important here, as Stadia can be run on basically anything that connects to the internet. Google demonstrated Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey running in real time on a laptop, Pixel 3 XL, desktop computer, and a tablet. As long as the internet is stable, games can be played on just about everything.

All the different screens.

Stadia will also come with YouTube/Streaming integration. If your favorite streamer or let’s player is playing a game you want to play, then all you have to do is click a button, and the game will boot up instantly. This also people to not only play and try out the same games their favorite content creators are playing, but also be able to go directly to same point in the game. Google also said that you could even jump into the same save file that your favorite content creator is using, and pay from that point on. If you want to play with your favorite streamer in a multiplayer game, then you can use the “Crowd Play” function. This will put you into the exact same multiplayer match as your favorite streamer. This can also be used to instantly join family and friends in whatever game they happen to be playing.

Stadia will also support cross-platform play, or at least will give developers the option to have it. Everything from save files, content, progress, etc. will be available with cross-platform play. Play a game on a console or PC, then pick up exactly where you left off on your phone, laptop, or tablet. Google did not, however, mention if you had to buy the game multiple times or not in order to use this functionality.

As for specs, Google revealed that Stadia’s custom servers would have a 10.7 GPU Teraflops, 16GB of ram, up to 484GB/s transfer speed, 2.7 GHz CPU, AVX 2, HBM2 Memory, and a custom x86 Processor. If these specs are true, that would make a single server more powerful than any console on the market. Even the Xbox One X only has 6 GPU Teraflops. The server will be Linux based, and the GPU is being custom made by AMD. Stadia is also capable of using multiple servers at a time for a single game. This means that developers will be able to push games harder than they ever were before in order to achieve higher graphic fidelity. Stadia servers will be able to play games at resolutions up to 4K at 60 frames per second at launch, with 8K resolution and 120 frames per second coming sometime later.

As for games, Google announced that both Ubisoft and Id Software (presumably Bethesda as well) would be developing games for Stadia, as well as Tequila Works, the developers behind RiME Outside of tech demos, the only full game shown at the press event was Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, though Id Software did announce that Doom Eternal would be coming to Stadia when it launched, but only showed a private demo later in the day. Beisdes 3rd party developers, Google announced that Stadia would have it’s own development team that would create exclusives for this service.

We got controller options, but still no prices.

Google failed to give any specifics on pricing. Still unknown what the exact price model will be both for the service itself, and the Stadia controller. At this time, we don’t know if Stadia will be a subscription service with access to a library of games or whether it’s a based on an individual game basis. It’s also unknown what type of internet speeds a person will need in order to get the best of a Stadia, but it’s safe to assume that it will be high.

Stadia will launch sometime in 2019.