Titanfall 2's Multiplayer Tech Test might be over, but developers Respawn made a few tweaks between its first and second weekend - following no small amount of feedback from the community - so we decided it was time to take a look at what has changed and see if it's made any difference.
Getting to know the weapons and upgrades a little more has helped everything feel more familiar and natural too, which all bodes well for the final release.
Have you been playing Titanfall 2? Have you been completely turned off by the Tech Test? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more exciting video content like this.
We talk to Mad Fellows Creative Director Paul Norris about upcoming musical rail-shooter Aaero, being an indie developer, lying down in darkened rooms and the spacious accommodation offered by the original Xbox.
What inspired you and your team during the development stage?
The music is the heart of the game and listening to thousands of tracks to find ones that inspire compelling gameplay ideas is where the process for a new track starts. I also play an embarrassing amount of games when I’m not developing. Even if it’s just a clever little trick someone has used in the UI, a sound cue or a visual effect, there’s always something you can learn from playing other games of all genres. (At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m playing The Division and ARK when I really should be working on Aaero).
"A cult classic indie game is likely to be very lucrative… a cult classic AAA game is likely to be an IP that gets canned due to poor sales."
Can you tell us about your team at Mad Fellows?
We’ve been a team of 3 people for the majority of the development. Myself and Dan Horbury founded the company in 2013 and made a mobile game called SineWave. We then brought Kostas on board to produce the art for Aaero. I’ve worked with Dan for about 15 years now, first at Codemasters and then at FreeStyleGames/Activision. We’ve worked on lots of racing games like Colin McRae Rally and Race Driver then on Guitar Hero (from GH:III Legends of Rock onwards) and the DJ Hero games.
How difficult is it for indie developers in this current market? Can you take artistic risks and still make a profit?
It’s not easy. If you take your foot off the pedal for a second you’ll get left in the dust.
It’s certainly the case that indie teams take more risks with the sort of games they produce, the reason for this is two-fold in my opinion:
1) AAA games cost tens of millions to produce and therefore there isn’t much room for innovating too much and risking it bombing. Indie teams have smaller budgets and therefore can afford to release something that is a bit more niche. A cult classic indie game is likely to be very lucrative… a cult classic AAA game is likely to be an IP that gets canned due to poor sales.
2) Indie teams have to do something innovative to get noticed at all. I’m sure there’s a load of indie developed Call of Duty and Warcraft clones but you don’t hear about them, they don’t have huge marketing budgets and they just get lost in all the noise. The first Slenderman may get noticed but the thousands of clones that follow will likely not, unless they do something really special to the formula. You can’t compete with the big studios on their own ground so the only option is to think outside the box.
What advice would you give to someone looking to work in the video gaming industry?
I think there’s a lot to be said for working at one of the big studios for a bit. You get to learn all sorts of things from them in relative safety and you take home a steady wage in the mean-time. It’s been a trial by fire founding a company, securing funding, marketing etc. etc. Trying to do that while also learning to actually develop games would probably be a bit too much. I mean… “How the hell do you register with the IRS to sell games digitally in the U.S. and also these polys go weird and the mapping breaks when I use Boolean union” would have broken me. That’s probably just me, though.
My actual advice is be very honest with yourself, be realistic but also don’t listen if people tell you that you can’t do something that you’re pretty sure that you can. What they’re actually telling you is just that they couldn’t do it themselves.
"Don’t listen if people tell you that you can’t do something that you’re pretty sure that you can. What they’re actually telling you is just that they couldn’t do it themselves."
Where do you think the industry is heading - is VR the future in your opinion?
Even though I had to lay in a dark room for about 2 hours to recover from the DK1 rollercoaster demo, I’m really excited about VR. I’m not sure how much it will replace standard gaming but I’m sure it has a very important place alongside it. It’s like anything new, first we need to put absolutely everything we can find into it, then we’ll work out what is actually better in VR and it’ll be another exciting option for developers. We’re excited about getting into it and have a few of the dev kits here ready to go (we need to finish Aaero first though so they’re just very fancy hats for the time being).
What game(s) have had the biggest effect on your life, and why?
I’ve been trying to write this for a while now but there’s too many to list… bullet point time!
If my life ever flashes before my eyes it’ll have a HUD and a mini-map on 98% of it.
What does the future hold for Aaero & Mad Fellows?
We hope to get to a point where we can do more game dev and less ‘biz dev’. We’d like to grow a bit in terms of team size but still keep everything small, indie and super-efficient so we can afford to take risks and try new stuff.
If you were on a desert island (it has power) and could only take one console, what would you take, and why?
The original Xbox. It is the only console that can provide both heat and spacious accommodation.
Thanks to Paul for talking to us! Aero currently doesn't have a release date, but keep an eye on PTC for updates.
It’s taken 28 weeks (and now an almost unreadable Roman numeral, sorry about that) but it’s finally time for me to bring you a Community Round-up, so what’s been going on?
Have you been feeling the urge to get back to Minecraftery? I have, so keep a look out for a resurgence of the PTC Minecraft world; add Team PTC on Xbox One and keep an eye on Twitter (@pass_controller), and the forums, to see when we’re on.
Sam and Plas (a.k.a. Sabre wing 2) have been continuing their quest through Resident Evil 6 and, it seems, there’s been a breakthrough on the pair’s teamwork:
Not only did Plas avoid accidentally shooting Sam at any point, there’s even synchronised head-stomping on display, a critically important tactic for the franchise. That might all change with Resident Evil 7 next year of course, which could mean a second series of Sam and Plas’ antics may have to take on a different challenge, Just Dance 2017 perhaps? (Leave your suggestions in the comments).
The biggest release of the week has been Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which some of you are already digging into. Johnboy69 is suitably impressed:
Played a good chunk of this over the weekend and it’s great so far, I did start off thinking I’ll go for a no kill playthrough but I’ve decided I won’t hold myself to that on my first playthrough. Found myself reloading saves quite a bit and got annoyed.
Sam was slightly less impressed:
Started the game guns blazing and found the combat to be really sloppy and unsatisfying. I'm going to restart and stealth my way through.
And Bezza hasn’t even started:
I’m looking forward to playing this, loved the first, however I might hold off buying until completed witcher 3, which I’m still playing ha.
I’ll be reviewing this one over the next few days, providing all those augmented baddies don’t prove too overwhelming, so keep your eyes peeled for that - if you’re lucky I might even do a video review as well, if you have requests of things you’d like me to cover, jot them down below.
Speaking of video, don’t forget there’s [one already out there] reflecting on the first weekend of Titantall 2’s technical test. It didn’t go down all that well with players, but [Respawn are addressing a few issues straight away, as you’ll find if you participate in the final test this weekend]. Look out for a second look video on that too, to find out if the team’s changes have made a substantial difference.
In irregular happenings news, there was some Rocket League multiplayer taking place during this week’s regular Thursday night slot with me, Dan and Plas (feel free to join us any time - GT Decent Jam), and a peculiar thing happened:
Finally it’s time for the traditional tune to play it out, and this week it’s one of my all time favourites from back in the day, Return to Planet X from Timesplitters 2:
Let us know what you’ve been up to, multiplayer or otherwise, all through this week by sharing your screenshots and videos in the thread in the forums, tweeting us @pass_controller or spamming us on Facebook.
Having taken Inversus from Hypersect for a spin, it’s time for a few thoughts on this unique and monochromatic shooter.
There’s also Arcade mode, which is a hectic game of survival where you face an increasingly uphill battle with a limited pool of lives. The longer you stay alive and the more enemies you kill, the higher your score. It’s available to play both solo and with a co-op partner across six maps.
The best ideas are often simple ones, and Inversus is no exception.
Is that enough to keep you coming back?
Yes and no. Never solo, but definitely with a friend for some multiplayer from time to time. What’s here is highly replayable.
Would you recommend it then?
Definitely, provided you have at least one friend willing to play and replay Inversus with you. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on most of the fun.
With a partner being so integral, what did yours think of Inversus?
Let's ask the man himself. James?
Eager console gamers the world over were able to get their hands on Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall 2 during the weekend, in the first of two open multiplayer tech tests.
What are your initial thoughts on Titanfall 2? Let us know in the comments.
*Skill is subjective.
Thanks to Plasma Wing for this lovely image from Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. Just Add Water have done a fantastic job with this; it's a must play for fans of the original. I don't think I'll ever get the achievement for saving all Mudokons, but I did manage to kill 99 of the poor green fellas in my first playthrough.
If you want to see "...two villains, complete with top hats and monocles, dropping sacks of puppies into a volcano," then you'll have to work harder, you sicko.
If multiplayer gaming is your thing, you can look forward to a couple of upcoming tests this month.
Liam reported that the Titanfall 2 technical tests start this weekend (and so the first should be happening right now), and the Battlefield 1 open beta kicks off at the end of the month, but you'll need to sign-up quick-sharp if you want to try it out a bit earlier.
With the two shooters releasing this October, it prompted DE4N MUFC to muse whether the crowded schedule would have an adverse effect on Titanfall 2's sales:
I can't believe this is still being released just a week after Battlefield 1, sales are going to suffer surely?
We can't help but agree. Although it wouldn't be too far fetched to think that one or both titles could be pushed back a little if the forthcoming tests aren't hitting all the right spots.
Plasma Wing and Timmeh555 will be around on Saturday, for those looking to squad up on Titanfall 2, while Decent Jam is hoping to get some playtime in on Sunday, and Sam too (hectic work schedule allowing). We keep him busy.
Not like I've been stalking him or anything (ahem...), but Liam also gave us a run-down of all things Ubisoft as they revealed a host of new details about what they have in the works. In news that will surprise, nay shock you to your very core, it was merely hours before Sam showed up to inform us about his For Honor Collector's Case purchase:
I just pre-ordered, got it for £95.99 down from £119.99 using points earnt in Ubisoft games
We think the only person more excited about this game is the Ubisoft Viking himself, Jason VandenBerghe.
It's not all work and no play for our Liam though; he still found the time to engage in a good old game of Hammer-Ghoul, leaving no survivors.
It's almost as if there isn't a settlement somewhere, in need of his help.
Those looking for some more straight forward one-on-one violence might want to pop into the Fighters Thread, where Max shared a video of Injustice 2. In the video we see Harley Quinn take on Blue Beetle, and Wonder Woman face off against Gorilla Grodd. There's also a taste of the customisation options, which look quite extensive.
Also, Sam has been playing King of Fighters XIV; if you want to know how it shapes up, keep an eye out for our review early next week.
My Clip of the Week goes to MetalRodent, who gets a cheeky triple kill in Battlefield Hardline.
That's all from us, so to continue my run of slightly cheating by using licensed music, this week's track is Pressure Drop by Toots and The Maytals, from GTA: San Andreas.
Compulsion Games’ We Happy Few turned heads at Microsoft’s E3 press conference this year. The alternate history, drug-fuelled take on 1964 England was a breath of fresh air amidst an otherwise familiar lineup of games. Thanks to an early access release, people wouldn’t have to wait long before they could get their hands on it, either.
The showing was a sure-fire way to grab gamers’ attention, but, as we’ve seen time and again, hype can court controversy.
A similarly sizeable issue is the weighting of loot drops, as you’re occasionally tasked with crafting a certain item to progress. Finding the relevant ingredients took us hours of scouring the same area in one instance, the required material often spawning in nonsensical places you wouldn’t naturally think to look. Progress should never hinge on random chance, it’s incredibly frustrating and unfair.
Despite its undoubted foibles, we’d like to allay some fears by reiterating the obvious: We Happy Few is in its infancy. Finding issues now isn’t only to be expected, but should be welcomed and fed back to an attentive Compulsion Games in aid of building a stronger final product.
What’s more, the better-implemented systems in place make for an already engaging package on the whole. Procedural generation alters the entire layout of the retro-futuristic world - as well as encounters and objectives, to a lesser extent - to quell frustrations and increase replayability as you independently learn the harsh rules of the game through its permadeath system. A cast of simultaneously amusing and disturbing NPCs occupy the shifting landscape, spouting referential gibberish that highlights the level of social decay in Wellington Wells’ thoroughly beguiling dystopia.
Even for its strengths, paying money to access a preview build isn’t something we’d ever really advise. Considering it redacts narrative elements outside of a few select tidbits, it's inherently flawed, depriving many users of what they most want. Whilst you should approach this build with caution as a result, don’t be put off by hearsay, there’s no reason to worry about We Happy Few at this early stage.
We’ll have more on We Happy Few as it develops, as well as a review when it releases next year, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’ve played it, let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our forum.
I should start by pointing out that the image above is not a photograph. Nope, that's a picture I drew using Paint because nobody's posted any screenshots this week. You see that sad looking sun in the corner? That's because of you, you did this. If there's no screenshots for next week, I'll be drawing a picture of two villains, complete with top hats and monocles, dropping sacks of puppies into a volcano. You have been warned (I feel like this may be put to a vote, but I know you've got my back).
In between bouts of not getting achievements and unadulterated rage , Sam managed to explore the city of Wellington Wells to address some issues with We Happy Few. Bear in mind that this isn't a critique of the game, merely a heads-up of what to expect in this early stage. You can look forward to our review when it releases next year.
Despite the lack of significant new releases (on Xbox, at least), everyone's still found something to keep them occupied. Max has been playing The Elder Scrolls: Legends and a mobile game called Stellar Wars, MrkDhn10 has completed the first episode of BATMAN: A Telltale Series, and Liam has been cooking up a storm with Overcooked.
Liam almost managed to get 3 stars on a level, but missed by a measly 2 points!
Even just watching that was bum-clenchingly tense, so it pains me to award fail of the week to the first person not called Plasma Wing and break the streak, but alas, it must be done. A very high accolade indeed.
If that looks a little hectic, don't worry, it will all make sense when you read Rob's upcoming Overcooked review.
Also, be on the lookout for Hetty's review of No Man's Sky, which should be with you shortly. However, most folks seem to have made up their mind already.
Sam is not impressed:
"Early feedback pretty much confirms the fears I've had since it was announced: resource gathering gets boring quickly, combat is limp, planets are same-y."
Rodent believes that the Peter Molyneux-esque promises were always going to be hard to live up to, and that the massive hype surrounding it didn't help. Bezza - although liking the concept - can't see it staying in his playlist long if he picks it up on PC. Plas and Johnbhoy are not opposed to grabbing it somewhere down the line, but it's not a priority. Plas has Elite: Dangerous for his space-sim needs and John isn't sold on the idea that gathering resources and naming wildlife is enough to keep him engaged.
My clip of the week is my own, but I assure you no bias played a part in the decision. Feast your eyes on 104 seconds of pure luck:
How do I do it? By playing casual with a bunch of people who haven't quite put in the 370 hours that I have. No, you need to start playing other games.
Before we go, we'd like to remind you that the position for a Video Editor is still open, so please share it and apply yourselves if you have the relevant skills.
This weeks track is NOFX's The Separation Of Church And Skate from Tony Hawk's Underground. If you like what you hear, check out their official website.
In the inaugural edition of our new first impressions series, we’re taking Pharaonic for a quick test drive - a quickie, if you will - to see whether it’s worth your time.
Take classic Prince of Persia’s side-scrolling trap evasion, mix in Dark Souls’ combat and wider game mechanics, and you'll know exactly what to expect.
You literally perform the "Praise the Sun" action to activate shrines that serve the exact function of bonfires.
Outside of frequent item pop-in and some loose, floaty animations the visuals are passable. From an audio standpoint, it’s entirely forgettable, evidenced by the fact we can’t recall anything to discuss.
How much did we play, and will we play more?
A little over three hours in one sitting. We only stopped due to prior engagements, which speaks to the fun we were having. It won’t be immediate, but given the chance, we’ll probably play to completion.
Do we have any concerns?
We’ve already settled into somewhat of a strategic groove, so unless some difficult enemies challenge that, the game could become repetitive.
Giant golems, but sadly no giant enemy crabs. Historical accuracy is lacking.
Would we recommend it?
To fans of either classic Prince of Persia or Dark Souls, yes. It’s a revival long awaited by the neglected PoP fan, whilst a uniquely implemented take on the Souls formula that anyone eager to play more now the series has concluded should enjoy.
Got a burning question we didn't answer? Feel free to ask in the comments and we’ll get back to you.
Another week, another community round-up. This week's header image comes from the P.T.-esque Layers of Fear, courtesy of Metalrodent. A solid 7/10 game, says the man. It certainly looks creepy enough. It's also what you should expect if you ask me to decorate.
If you thought that The Division would make a good film, then you're not alone; Ubisoft had the same idea. The movie will star Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain. Presumably they were going to be joined by two other co-stars but one of them lagged out and the other fell through the floor.
After I made a quip about them skipping the ten minutes where they stand around trying hats on, Timmeh responded:
Oh no, there needs to be a montage of trying them on, it'll really make the film class.
That's a very nice idea. Get on it, Hollywood!
Sam has been getting acquainted with Telltale's take on Batman and you can read all about it here.
He also enlightened PlayStation owners about a recent bargain he picked up, Ape Escape 2 can be purchased by PS+ members for £5.99! For those who've never played the classic PS2 title, you are tasked with capturing a bunch of escaped primates, using a host of wacky devices. Look, it was a different time back then. It's a lot better than it sounds.
Tanks aren't just for show, though, in the right hands they can be quite efficient when it comes to taking down your enemies, even if you can't actually see your target.
From one giant killing machine to another, Heavyarms_Kai shared some images from MSG: Extreme Vs Force. There are some nice Gundam pics in the thread but this stood out for me.
It almost feels like we're trespassing on a solemn moment of introspection. Before all the destruction starts again.
Activity time! I want you to think of a word, any word. Any word at all. Have you thought of one? Okay, scroll down.
It was mammaries, wasn't it? So predictable. Unfortunately for you, it isn't actually a word, as ImmaturityRules found out whilst playing Letter Quest. I would wager that selfie is in their crazy dictionary though. What's the world coming to?
Hetty has been pondering writing a piece about the link between gaming and anxiety. Most seem to believe that gaming has helped with their anxiety in some way. If you have anything to add, make sure to pop in. We're a friendly bunch and no-one will judge you.
Now for my personal Clip of the Week! It was going to be a video of me, dazzling you with my astounding skills, however - since those skills have failed to make themselves known - Sam takes the crown, with his video of Genji sleeping on the job.
You may have noticed a distinct lack of Plasma Wing fails in this round-up. Well, it was Yorkshire Day on Monday (yes, it's a real thing) so we've decided to let him off.
One important note before we finish, PTC are looking for a Video Editor. If that interests you, or maybe someone you know, you can apply here.
We leave you with a track from Resident Evil, Beethoven's The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor, A.K.A Moonlight Sonata.