EA and Respawn making Star Wars strategy game, FPS, and Jedi Order 2

By GameCentral

Respawn has the high ground (pic: EA)Apex Legends maker Respawn is working on not one, not two, but three new Star Wars games – including what sounds like a turn-based strategy.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order 2 has been an open secret for years now, but it’s never been officially confirmed and there’s certainly been no screenshots or videos of it. There still isn’t, but surprisingly developer Respawn has been revealed to be working on not just that game but two other Star Wars titles as well.
Referred to only as ‘the next chapter in the Star Wars Jedi story’, God Of War 3 director Stig Asmussen will once again take the helm, but other than that there’s predictably little information on Fallen Order 2.
The first person shooter project is being overseen by Respawn game director Peter Hirschmann, who was previously vice president of development at LucasArts and executive producer for the original Star Wars: Battlefront series.
There’s no confirmation that the new shooter is anything do with Battlefront but at most it seems it’ll only be a spin-off, as DICE isn’t mentioned in the announcement and recent reports suggest EA passed on the chance of making Battlefront 3.
‘Working with Lucasfilm Games on a new FPS in the Star Wars galaxy is a dream come true for me, as this is a story I have always wanted to tell’, says Peter Hirschmann – which implies that the new game is focused on narrative rather than multiplayer.
The strategy game is a co-production with new studio Bit Reactor, which is headed by Greg Foerstch who worked on the design of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centurai and as an artist on many other Firaxis titles, including the XCOM series.
That strongly suggests that whatever the game is, it’s turn-based – which sounds great already.
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Although the language used is ambiguous, EA seems to be implying that all this is a result of extending their licensing deal with Lucasfilm Games, although there’s no mention of for how long.
That’s quite a turnaround from the dark days of Battlefront 2’s launch, when the licence was suddenly shared amongst other publishers and there was talk of EA losing it altogether.
All three new Respawn games are currently in production, with some rumours suggesting that Fallen Order 2 may even make it out this year. The other two will probably be later but there’s now a chance all three could be revealed at the Star Wars Celebration event in May.

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First Sniper Elite 5 trailer offers early look at online invasions

By GameCentral

Sniper Elite 5 – guess where this one’s set (pic: Rebellion)The first pre-rendered trailer for Sniper Elite 5 focuses on Invasion Mode, where you hunt down other players as an enemy sniper.
It seems a long time since Rebellion first teased the existence of Sniper Elite 5, and it’s definitely been ages since the release of Sniper Elite 4 in 2017, but the hype is now starting to ramp up for the new game, starting with a CGI trailer.
Up until now the only thing we’ve seen of the game is a few screenshots, with some cryptic talk about Invasion Mode, where you get to invade other players’ games as an Axis sniper.
That obviously brings to mind Dark Souls but Sniper Elite has never been quite that hard, and there was also a similar sounding feature in the recent Deathloop.
The box art for the final game has also been released but there’s no clue as to when it’ll launch, just sometime this year. Although at this point publishers are wise not to be too specific about release dates until they’re certain they can make them.
Interestingly, the whole of the main game can be played in co-op and if you are with a friend then invasions are still possible, with the Axis player getting a major bonus if he takes out both Allies.
The invader gets to use other computer-controlled bad guys to hunt for the players, viewing their location on a map if they’ve been spotted recently and raising the overall awareness of ordinary grunts.
Allied snipers get to use ‘invasion phones’ which can reveal the invader’s location, except the phones can be boobytrapped and using them too much will give away your position.
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If you don’t like the sound of all that you can just turn Invasion mode off and stick to just playing the game normally.
You will get an experience point boost just for having it on though, with all players involved able to win weapons, items, and skins if they take someone out.
Sniper Elite 5 releases for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC in 2022.

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PS4 trophy mix-up points to PS3 backwards compatibility

By GameCentral

Is the PS3 about to make a comeback? (pic: Sony)Another glitch in the PlayStation Store suggests Sony is adding PS3 backwards compatibility and possibly their version of Game Pass.
Before Microsoft made their acquisition bid for Activision Blizzard, it seemed as if Sony was building up to announce a new Game Pass style service, one that included backwards compatibility for more than just the PlayStation 4.
Assuming Microsoft’s monetary flex hasn’t caused them to change any part of their plan, the official announcement is still believed to be on course for February or March, and certainly there seems to be something very suspicious going on with the PlayStation’s Trophy system this week.
A sudden glitch in the PlayStation Network caused all PlayStation 4 Trophies to disappear, with their related games showing up as PlayStation 3 titles instead. A sign, some suggest, that backwards compatibility is coming.
The problem, whatever it was, was quickly fixed but the question is why the PlayStation 3 titles were showing up at all, since PlayStation 3 games do not run natively on either the PlayStation 4 or 5.
Some are available via streaming service PlayStation Now though, and rumours already suggest that that is going to be overhauled and rolled into PlayStation Plus.
Listings for PlayStation 3 games started mysteriously appearing on the PlayStation Store earlier in the month, unconnected with PlayStation Now, as if Sony were getting ready to activate them after an imminent announcement…
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Although it might be broadly equivalent to Game Pass, whatever Sony is cooking up is not expected to be identical, with little chance of first party games being available for free on day one.
Instead, the service is rumoured to be called Spartacus and has three, increasingly expensive tiers. The first is believed to be little different to PlayStation Plus as it is now; the second is similar to Game Pass, in that it offers a large range of downloadable games; and the third includes everything plus streaming and backwards compatible games going back to the PlayStation 1 era.
How accurate those predictions are remains to be seen but given how Sony itself has hinted at a new service it would now be a surprise if they didn’t announce some kind of new service this spring.

Is it happening?! pic.twitter.com/upzaZ94cSQ— Ryan Gorris (@Sirrog85) January 25, 2022

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GTA 5 streaming on a Game Boy is a real thing that actually happened

By GameCentral

Who needs the next gen versions when you’ve got this? (pic: YouTube)Perhaps the best demonstration yet of the flexibility and potential of video game streaming is playing GTA 5 and Crysis on a Game Boy.
There are few people that would deny that streaming is the future of gaming, but the question is when exactly that future will happen. Broadband speeds need to be a lot more consistent, everywhere in the world, for it to completely take over from traditional gaming, and that could take a decade or more.
In theory though, streaming services such as Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud can use any device to play any game, with the only limitation being the controls and screen – and you don’t get much more limited than the original monochrome Game Boy.
The Game Boy used in the video below is a completely ordinary one, but physicist Sebastian Staacks has created his own custom cartridge to allow streaming of not just Grand Theft Auto 5 but also Cyrsis, Doom, and Super Mario World.
Staacks’ video goes into plenty of detail on how he got the cartridge to work and is very interesting if you want to know more about not just streaming but working with retro hardware.
For instance, the Game Boy can’t even display a fullscreen image, since everything is made up of smaller tiles and it can’t use them all at once – so what Staack has achieved is even cleverer than it first seems.
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You can barely make out GTA 5 via the Game Boy’s ridiculously low res screen but it’s clearly working properly, albeit it at just 20 frames per second.
Crysis running on a Game Boy sounds absurd, but it works too and we’re only surprised that he didn’t try Skyrim as well, just so that it could claim another format. Although he does use Doom, which is just as cliché.

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Gears Of War remaster collection planned for Xbox claims rumour

By GameCentral

Gears Of War – the Marcus Fenix collection, anyone? (pic: Microsoft)Microsoft is planning a new remaster collection in the mould of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and it’s either for Gears or Fable.
Despite all the talk of Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard, and their now unparalleled number of first party studios, the fact is they currently have almost nothing scheduled to come out in 2022.
That doesn’t mean that games won’t be announced in the coming months, for release this year, but at the moment we know very little about their exact plans, but a new rumour suggests that they may involve a remaster collection of the Gears Of War franchise.
Gears 5 was released over two years ago now and there’s been little word on a new sequel – despite it leaving plenty of plot threads hanging – but it seems Microsoft may be concerned that neither of the last two games created quite the buzz they were hoping for.
The rumour originated with the normally reliable Nick Baker, who suggested that Microsoft is planning a new release in the mould of The Master Chief Collection. He didn’t know which franchise though and speculated either Gears Of War or Fable.
Fable does seem the more obvious choice at first, as it has a major new reboot on the way – which is expected to be released in the next year or so.
The problem with that choice though is that it’s only really Fable 2 that was ever very popular, although the first game did receive a remaster on Xbox 360.
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Gears Of War is the next best choice and The Verge senior editor Tom Warren seemed to indicate that is exactly what’s happening by replying to a tweet about the rumour by saying ‘the gears are really turning on this rumour’.
This seems to suggest that he knows a Gears Of War collection is underway, but there is also the issue of what purpose such a release serves given Game Pass and the high quality of Xbox backwards compatibility.
All the original Gears Of War games are already available to play and while new remasters are always welcome it’s not something that would necessarily have the same appeal as when The Master Chief Collection was originally released.
If the problem is that Gears Of Wars doesn’t have the mainstream appeal that it once did though – or simply that Microsoft needs a new release because Gears 6 is still a long way off – the rumour does make a lot more sense.

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