Gaming Features

The indie side of the games industry is generally filled with a predictable gamut of stories: Failure, success, and horror of acquisitions that leave a once-rising company gutted. Once a game has been picked up by a larger publisher – whether or not that publisher makes good on changes and promises – it's rare that we ever hear of the developer being “indie” again. In the case of Desert Owl Games' Pox Nora, a title acquired by SOE in 2009, the game's creator was able to reacquire his title when it was under threat of being killed by SOE.

Pox Nora's story is an interesting one that grants insight to the industry's growth during an earlier time. The game shipped in 2006, but had been in development since roughly 2004, meaning it lived through the initial hesitance of digital distribution, the abuse of the free-to-play market, and the maturation of that market.

With the likes of Dreadnought and Star Citizen looming ominously on the horizon, there's a fair split between impending combat-intensive and sim-intensive space games.

In our preview of Dreadnought, we explain that it plays like an FPS might, but casts players into battleships that move on six axes; this creates a fast-paced, competitive atmosphere without imposing the simulation aspects deployed in most space games. Then there's Star Citizen, which has gone off the deep-end with strategic depth, story telling, combat and mercantile mechanics, and roleplaying options. This leaves little room for players who want a space sim without the inaccessible complexity of X3, Evochron Mercenary, and depth of Star Citizen. Elite: Dangerous took a chunk of this niche, but there's room for more.

As exciting as 2015 will be for video game releases, it will be equally as exciting for news and developments emerging from post-2015 titles. We’ve known the next Mass Effect game has been in development for at least several months, and probably longer than that, but the game is far from release. Bioware GM Aaron Flynn posted on Neogaf about his team’s outlook on expanding the Mass Effect universe and supporting that through the gameplay.

The next Mass Effect -- which has not been named “Mass Effect 4” -- will mark the series’ debut on the new consoles, assuming we don’t get a remastering of a series collection (we’ve seen enough of those). Dragon Age may be Bioware’s next-biggest existing IP, but even so, Flynn is adamant that Mass Effect’s core experience, or gameplay “template,” will not be the same; in other words, it won’t be as closely linked as From Software titles (Dark Souls and Bloodborne) or Ubisoft’s heavy-hitters Assassin’s Creed & Watch Dogs.

Below, we examine Flynn’s insight and discuss some of the ways Bioware can take its IP and construct a stronger core gameplay offering. This article does not explore storyline continuity or love interests among quarians and volus, as much as I’d love to get into that, so prepare yourself for some Mass Effect meat & potatoes.

Space games are everywhere. The industry goes through waves of genre- or setting-specific infatuation, and this era of gaming seems to be obsessive about space sims and spaceship battles. The looming monolith is Star Citizen, as we all know, but there's also the recently-released Elite: Dangerous, indie newcomers Rebel Galaxy and Voidspace, and non-sim games like Dreadnought.

Space sims are notoriously learning- and time-intensive, making them somewhat inaccessible to gamers who seek nothing more than space-flight combat and the obliteration of massive capital ships. That's where games like Dreadnought come into play, developed by Yager and housed under Greybox alongside Grey Goo.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Richard Garriott de Cayeux, known to his fans as "Lord British," and Starr Long about the current designs for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues. One of the design aspects I found truly fascinating was their player-driven economy model. This shouldn't sound that strange, as almost everyone MMO appears to hype such ambitions, but few actually manage to produce an economy that doesn't self-destruct.

2015 promises to be one of the most-celebrated years for video games in recent memory. The Witcher 3, No Man’s Sky, Uncharted 4, and Halo 5: Guardians are among the heavily discussed titles to release this year. Q1 should keep gamers fairly busy with remastered classics, new IP from acclaimed studios, a strong showing of 3DS games, and a PC-optimized title we’ve been demanding for quite some time. Among these, we’ll be reviewing and benchmarking major PC titles, as we’ve already done with Evolve’s beta.

Here’s GamersNexus’ most anticipated games releasing in Q1 2015, listed by order of confirmed release date.

Evolve's closed beta didn't ship this weekend without its share of regular PC annoyances. Among many others, the most immediately noticeable restrictions on Evolve's PC closed beta are its locked framerate (FPS) and awkward mouse lagging / acceleration -- here's how to fix these problems.

Note: Our Evolve beta GPU benchmark is already online here.

Left 4 Dead developers Turtle Rock Studios are two months away from releasing their shooter-action hybrid, “Evolve.” Leading into this, the developers hosted an event at their local San Francisco offices, rolling out a series of announcements in the process. We were able to attend the media event and get hands-on with the title.

The news includes a new game mode, a third playable monster, and an open beta announcement. Evolve will feature a single-player experience called “Evacuation” that will allow for local cooperative and online cooperative & PVP play. Turtle Rock also announced the third available Monster upon launch: the Wraith.

Evolve will enter open beta on Xbox Live January 15-19, with limited testing for PC and Playstation 4 users, too.

The world of space simulators has experienced major throwbacks to the 80s and 90s lately, with the return of Chris Roberts (Star Citizen, Wing Commander, Freelancer) and David Braben (Elite) to the scene. Elite: Dangerous just went gold and started shipping in a finalized state earlier this week.

As with most modern games, Elite: Dangerous players are experiencing crashes to desktop, black screens, tearing, stuttering, server authentication issues, and FPS drops. We've got a few solutions in this guide.

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I don't think we've ever tested any AAA games without a follow-up “crash fixes” article. Bugs run rampant – especially for PC users – in most modern triple-A titles, and that remains true for Far Cry 4. After last week's Assassin's Creed benchmark and crash fix posts, we've returned with a Far Cry 4 crash fix guide.

This crash fix guide addresses Far Cry 4 white screens, failure to launch, black screens, CTDs, frame stuttering, & AMD issues.

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