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.

We've never covered a game more extensively than we did Titanfall; it was the first game featured in our individualized video card benchmarks, we wrote crash fix guides to mitigate rampant bugs in beta, and produced a Last Titan Standing strategy guide for fans of the mode. The game has long been a bit of a shortcoming in my eyes, though; it wants desperately to be a twitch shooter, and yet so many things are wrong -- like the weaponset (should be more explosive, like in Unreal Tournament) and lack of a server browser. Once again, PC gamers have been handed a console interface and been told to toddle off and have fun.

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After its 15-year run enabling multiplayer gaming online, GameSpy announced in April that it would be shutting down its servers for good. We've followed the story through now, noting that 2K Games would continue supporting Civilization and Borderlands with patches; Rockstar, Volition, and Bohemia followed with their own announcement of discontinued and supported games. EA has now voiced its thoughts on the matter, and things are a bit less promising.

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EA Games stated that fewer than 1% of its total peak online players actively play legacy titles, and as such, they will invest no effort in revamping the online back-end. The Battlefield series, C&C series, and Crysis games will be deprecated without official support.

There's been a lot of discussion about Titanfall's performance lately. Our most recent Titanfall GPU performance benchmark showed that the game still exhibits serious issues on certain devices; nVidia cards showed severe stuttering, SLI has micro-stuttering and works better disabled, and the game is simply needlessly large. All these taken into account, the performance issues feel almost unjustified for the visuals -- the game looks fine, sure, but it's not melt-your-GPU level of graphics and certainly isn't spectacular to look at. It's another Source Engine game with adequate graphics. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing, so please don't get me wrong -- just that the performance isn't perfectly-tuned, at least, not yet. More drivers and patches will smooth that out.

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I don't want to come off as too harsh, though. The mechanics are enjoyable for certain types of players and the game overall seems 'good,' it's just experiencing some (now-standard) launch issues with PC optimization. All is survivable, though.

 

Titanfall's official launch brings us back to the topic of video card performance in the Source Engine-based game. When we originally benchmarked how various video cards performed in Titanfall, we clearly noted that the pre-release state of the game and lack of official driver support likely contributed to SLI microstuttering, CrossFire catastrophic failure, and overall odd performance. We're now back with a full report using the latest beta drivers (with Titanfall profiles and support) and the full version of the game.

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In this Titanfall PC video card benchmark, we look at the FPS of the GTX 760, GTX 650 Ti Boost, GTX 750, R9 270X, R7 260X, 7850, the A10-5800K 7660D APU, and Intel's HD4000. I threw a GTX 580 in there for fun. Our thanks to MSI for providing the 750, 260X, and 270X for these tests. 

If you're trying to play Titanfall a bit before everyone else, using a virtual private network to connect through Korean servers will land you in the game about 13 hours before anyone in the US. By using a VPN, we can spoof the Origin servers to think that the host computer is located in Korea, which will enable the host system to decrypt and unpack Titanfall's install files.

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With only eight days until giant fighting robots take over our lives, more information has leaked about Titanfall. Reddit user FallenFusion has expanded on the information that NeoGAF user RazorUK was able to dig out of the beta, sharing some exciting details and new screenshots yesterday. For those of you who've missed RazorUK's leaks, we're going to include those below in addition to the new information and images provided by Fusion; this Titanfall leaks round-up will compile all the relevant information about maps, turrets, generations, ziplines, and pilot hunter.

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Before we begin, you might also be interested in these other Titanfall articles we've published lately:

When we benchmarked Titanfall on video cards recently, it was clear that the game's beta was just old enough that it was completely sub-optimized for PC performance; as drivers are released and the game is completed, we hope to see significant performance improvements over the beta. The Source engine shouldn't require a 760 to run smoothly, but we'll see how that goes soon enough.

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In the meantime, Respawn Entertainment's Vince Zampella just announced via twitter that Titanfall will require 48GB of storage on the PC. Zampella stated in his tweet:

Chaos brimmed from Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall servers this weekend as players invited to the beta (which is now open) ventured into the game to try it out. Despite serious initial video issues and other bugs and odd benchmark performance, Titanfall's gameplay can at times be relatively smooth and strategic.

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I have a good deal of criticism to dish out in another article, but for now, we'll stick to the tactical discussion. This Titanfall strategy guide will cover Last Titan Standing tips, tricks, and gameplay mechanics to help elevate level of play.

Amidst all the excitement of EA/Respawn's Titanfall (benchmarks here, crash fixes here, PC build here), it seems that Battlefield 4 is trying to be unforgotten. On the 13th, DICE launched yet another patch for BF4 that will hopefully stabilize the game enough for the DLC that's coming out on the 18th (coincidentally around when the Titanfall beta ends). Since launching in October, EA has been continuously hounded for the disappointment that was Battlefield 4.

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