Fortnite and Black Holes: Shaking Up The Battle Royale Genre

I honestly never thought I’d be writing about Fortnite again on this blog, but something happened over the weekend that to me was just shocking. Naturally, I have to talk about it.

So in case you missed it, Fortnite’s wildly popular Battle Royale mode kicked off a new in-game event over the weekend called The End. I’ll spare you the details, but essentially a combination of rockets and rifts exploded all over the map and caused a massive black hole to appear and sucked everything into it. Guys, this event caused the game to end. THE. GAME. ENDED.

fortnite squad carry

Even though the mode is supposed to be active 24/7 and has a legion of passionate fans and players, Epic Games straight up turned it off. For nearly two days on a holiday weekend here in the US.

I can’t imagine what sort of chaos this caused, especially those that may not be as well informed as those of us that just live on the internet. Think about all of the younger players out there, wanting to log into the game and being met with the black hole of nothingness. I’m absolutely sure there were some epic freak outs, screaming, and destruction of property.

What’s crazy to me though is how much money Epic probably left on the table by keeping the game offline for nearly two days while they worked on updating the game to Chapter 2. Sure, Epic likely isn’t hurting for money at this point thanks to their game marketplace on the PC as well as the fact that Fortnite has been essentially printing money for a while now. They must have calculated that there wasn’t much risk in taking the game down for a short window, but still, in this day and age, it’s a bold move.

Would EA or Activision give up potential revenue for 48 hours? I’d have to say probably not.

So yeah, as most of you probably know by now, Fortnite is back up and is currently in Chapter 2. The third person shooting remains the same, but Epic has changed a ton with the game including a new map, new features, a streamlined weapon system, and a revamped XP system.

That said, are these changes enough to pull you back in? Personally, I haven’t played Fortnite in a good long while and while I think this change is interesting, I’m not sure it’s going to pull me back in.

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Now Arriving: Games of October 2019

We’re continuing our descent into the Fall and Holiday season, finally landing at arguably the biggest and most robust month of the year. October, as it does every year, brings the most games and the biggest names so I do hope you’ve been saving.

The month starts out with a bang as Destiny 2 continues to expand with it’s latest expansion called Shadowkeep. It reintroduces players to the Moon, a destination last seen in the very first game, though a lot has happened to it since players were last there. Not only that, Destiny 2 now offers a free to play version, giving the entire first year of content for free along with a ton of other modes and activities. If you’ve been waiting to try the game out, there is now no better time.

If you’re feeling a little burnt out on looter shooters these days, October still has plenty of new content for you. Luigi’s Mansion 3 arrives on the spookiest day of the year for the Nintendo Switch, the next chapter of Ghost Recon arrives, and the reimagined Call of Duty Modern Warfare makes its debut. Obsidian is returning to the FPS/RPG genre with their SciFi Fallout looking title The Outer Worlds.

Needless to say, October is stuffed with new games. Believe me, there’s a ton more to see this month. Head below to check out the complete list of October 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

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The Last Of Us Part II Finally Gives Fans Answers

While most would likely agree that Sony’s State of Play stream yesterday was largely a disappointment *cough*no Batman reveal*cough*, the major bright spot came at the very end with The Last of Us Part II.

The reveal gave fans another look at the game courtesy of a very impressive and equally brutal trailer. It’s been a while since Sony of Naughty Dog has given us new information on the game, and this trailer should satiate fans for now.

New story revelations were revealed including what appears to be the motivation of Ellie. She’s apparently on a mission of revenge against a new group that brutally attacked and likely killed her love interest Dina, who fans saw at the E3 2018 press conference cinematic. Though some have hinted that it may not be as straightforward as the trailer makes it seem.

To many the big news came at the end of the trailer which showed a much older Joel seemingly helping Ellie when she runs into a bit of trouble. Have a look here if you haven’t seen it yet:

The trailer also finally revealed a release date for the highly anticipated title. Although it feels like it’s been in development for an eternity, the game is finally hitting PlayStation 4 on February 21, 2020.

First off, the visuals and character models look insanely good, though coming from Naughty Dog and their body of work, this shouldn’t be surprising. While the Clickers remain a big threat, to me, it looks like the focus is going to shift focus more on this evil group of survivors who I believe are called the Seraphites. While not much is known about this group, they’re a sort of cult that is apparently out to purge the world of sin. They were also primarily featured in the particularly violent Paris Games Week 2017 trailer.

I’ll be honest guys, I’m completely torn on this game. As I’ve stated in the past, I liked The Last of Us, but I can’t decide if I actually enjoyed my time playing it. That’s not a knock on the game or anything, because I think that’s the point. I can remember feeling tense and stressed through most of it whether it was exploring the ruined world, dark corridors where the sound-based clickers hid, or dealing with hostile survivors like David and his cannibals. I won’t lie, I had to take breaks from playing it because it was exhausting and emotionally draining.

The story was fantastic and again, the visuals were top notch, but the themes were definitely heavy and didn’t lend themselves to being what you would consider fun. That was the point though. This isn’t supposed to be Super Mario or a game to pick up and blow off some steam. The Last of Us Part II looks to amplify a lot of that, which is clearly seen in a lot of the promotional trailers and media. It’s violent, brutal, and promises to be something that’s going to stick with you. Again, these aren’t bad things and I can already tell that this game will be one of the final crown jewels in what has been a hugely successful lifespan for the PS4. Who am I kidding, my tune will probably change when we get closer to launch, but either way, this is a game all PS4 owners should be watching.

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare Beta Impressions:

As I’ve said before, the Call of Duty franchise as a whole just hasn’t grabbed my attention much in the past few years. Still, I couldn’t help but hear about this one for a myriad of reasons, whether it was due to all the controversy it seems to be dredging up over the topics presented in its campaign, the revival of the Modern Warfare brand, or the return of the iconic character Captain Price. I absolutely loved the original Modern Warfare, so clearly this was a ploy by Infinity Ward and Activision to appeal to players like me.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

call of duty modern warfare multiplayer shotgun

In addition to their devious nostalgia plot, I learned that previous Infinity Ward defectors like Joel Emslie and others returned to the studio to work on this game. I loved their work on the Titanfall series, so believe it or not, hearing his involvement mattered to me.

I don’t know how I feel about the game as a whole, but thankfully there was an open beta session this weekend which I happily decided to take part in. So, how was it? Is this game enough to make me change my mind on the franchise?

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Borderlands 3: Review Reactions

Just like many of you, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Borderlands. I managed to pick up my copy last night, though I haven’t been able to put much time into yet. I will say quickly that what I have experienced is a ton of fun. Those small, quality of life changes like sliding, mantling, and the improved gunplay feel excellent.

Today I wanted to take a quick moment to discuss the reviews that this game received. Even though I was all in on this game, I was curious to see what other outlets were saying about it. I started with IGN who’s review was just glowing. Like seriously, it was massively positive and really set my expectations for everything else.

borderlands 3 vault hunters

I was surprised and sometimes shocked to see some less than enthusiastic reviews on other outlets. A lot of things I read felt like the reviewer was disappointed that Borderlands 3 didn’t push the franchise forward or evolve it into something else.

I know it’s been seven years since BL2, but did our expectations really get that far out of control? I don’t know about you, but I really expected a better looking Borderlands. I’m more than happy with getting a prettier looking version. The quality of life updates, the new spaceship hub world, vault hunters, and the more outrageous weapons are enough for me.

But why is that? Personally, I feel like this “old school” way of thinking actually works better in this day and age. Most games are heading towards either the live service or massive open world model. While those are all well and good, I really think I needed a change of pace, a palette cleanser if you will. That’s what Borderlands 3 represents to me. A break from the current gaming trend.

Now that the franchise is back, we’ll see where Gearbox takes it going forward.

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Now Arriving: Games of September 2019

Buckle up folks! September is the start of the Fall/Holiday release madness. Apologies for being a little late putting this together this month, but hey, better late than never right?

There’s way too many big names to mention up here, so I implore you to jump below to see the full list of games coming this month. One of the biggest names comes from Gearbox Software as they prepare to launch Borderlands 3. I’ll be the first to admit that it feels great to be getting this franchise back, built on current gen tech. The quality of life updates and improved visuals really help push this franchise forward. Now the biggest issue for me is to pick which vault hunter to start with…

Not into looter shooters? Well then, September still has plenty to go around. Gears 5 is now available for Ultimate edition owners (Out on Tuesday for everyone else), Capcom has added a continent worth of new monsters to hunt with the Iceborne expansion for Monster Hunter: World, and Nintendo is planning to keep you quite busy with a bunch of new Switch releases this month (*cough*Zelda*cough*).

I hope you’ve been saving up because September begins the slippery slide into financial ruin. As I hinted at above, hit the jump to see the complete list of September 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

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There’s No Marketing Like Nintendo Marketing

Well, that was some Nintendo Direct, wasn’t it?

the nearly 40 minute video presentation was stuffed to the gills with new information about all the games coming out the rest of 2019 and even a few launching next year. Luigi’s Mansion 3 continues to surprise with the amount of content is has, Animal Crossing was in there, Smash Ultimate had more than a few surprises, a new “free-to start” Kirby game, Game Freak’s non-Pokemon game, and so much more.

Seriously, if you missed it, check it out. It’s worth your time:

Nintendo has become the master of shadow dropping content (though EA got in on the fun this week with the new Plants vs Zombies game) and they didn’t disappoint here either. They released a lot of stuff either that day or within 24 hours including a new co-op Kirby game, Banjo-Kazooie Smash content, and the highly requested Super Nintendo Online service.

While all of that was really exciting, this marketing method that Nintendo chooses to do is a double edged sword. It’s incredibly fun when it happens, but you also have long gaps of time that fans are left hanging for information. I think the last major news drop outside of small trailers or whatnot for Nintendo was basically E3.

I’ve written about it in the past, but there’s definitely value to announcing things this way. On the other hand, it can hurt games as well. Take Game Freak’s new and non-Pokemon game, Little Town Hero. I think the last time we saw it, it didn’t have an official name yet. The Direct gave us the first real look at the game and the surprising revelation that it launches BEFORE Pokemon Sword/Shield in October. Considering that’s next month, there’s still a ton of details we don’t know about this game. It looks interesting, but outside of the combat, how is the game going to play? Nintendo now has a very tiny window to explain what it actually is. To me, it’s an uphill battle especially when you factor in that October is traditionally a very busy month for game releases. With limited tiny and money, how many people would reasonably pre-order this on blind faith alone?

I also want to give a special mention to the second presentation Nintendo featured right after its Direct. This one was entirely devoted to Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Banjo-Kazooie’s introduction.

What I absolutely loved about this presentation is that it didn’t feel corporate or restrained. Instead, it felt like we were watching a bunch of friends playing the game. One of the hardest working developers int he industry, Masahiro Sakurai, was once again on hand to guide us through everything Banjo and what’s next.

What I wasn’t expecting were the jokes, laughter from the crowd, and just the jubilent time everyone was having. Like I hinted at above, it struck me more as if I was watching a stream or YouTuber playing. Sakurai even mentioned Microsoft and hilariously told people to go play Banjo-Kazooie on the Xbox which caused more than a few people to chuckle in the crowd.

Such an innocuous comment really shows you the power and influence Sakurai has because soon after ‘Xbox’ was trending on Twitter Japan.

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