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Interview: Ubisoft talks Immortals’ Banjo-Kazooie and 00s action game influences – Video Games Chronicle

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Playing Immortals Fenyx Rising – or as the game’s narrator calls it, “the game formerly known as Gods & Monsters” – the first thing that hits like a truck is its blatant The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/the-legend-of-zelda-series/the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild/”>Zelda: Breath of the Wild influence.

From its art style, to its mechanics and its open-world structure, Ubisoft Quebec” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/ubisoft/ubisoft-quebec/”>Ubisoft Quebec might as well be making a follow-up to Nintendo Switch” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/nintendo/switch/”>Nintendo Switch‘s seminal launch game. And if it was, it would be doing a pretty fine job: Immortals’ Greek mythology-inspired world is stunning and a joy to explore, while combat feels snappy and satisfyingly chaotic.

The other thing that’s striking about Immortals is its emphasis on humour. Greek gods Prometheus and Zeus narrate gameplay like wise-cracking, fourth-wall-breaking characters from a Banjo-Kazooie” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/banjo-kazooie/”>Banjo-Kazooie game – and it turns out that’s not a coincidence.

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“One of the very important influences for us was the action-adventure games from the early 2000s,” associate game director Julien Galloudec told VGC.

“So games like Jak and Daxter or Banjo-Kazooie, that were action-adventure games within a small open-world, very dense in challenges that could be combat, that could be platforming and that could be puzzles. We wanted to kind of revisit that formula and bring it to the next level with the tech knowledge and the things that we can do at Ubisoft” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/ubisoft/”>Ubisoft Québec.”

Read on for our full interview with Galloudec, and 30 minutes of exclusive Immortals Fenyx Rising gameplay. The game is set for release on console, PC” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/pc/”>PC and Stadia” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/stadia/”>Stadia on December 3.


Was the change of name from Gods & Monsters really all preference, or was there also a legal reason such as copyright issues? 

So no, the change of name was entirely because of the vision of the game. When you start a game it’s always an adventure and it’s a very iterative process. So you start with a vision that evolves as you craft it with the team and we get feedback and ideas. 

And so when we got the extra development time last year, we decided to push that process even further and to challenge our vision to make sure that we would deliver the true vision we had for our mythological adventure.  

So after that, the game changed a lot, to the point where we felt we needed a new name to be better aligned with that updated vision, so that’s where we decided to change to Immortals Fenyx Rising, a name that combines the notion of the timeless aspect of the Greek mythology with the immortals. And also I like the new era, Fenyx, and adjoining that epic adventure. 

So there was no technical reason for the change? 

No, as I was saying, at some point we realised that our vision had evolved so much that we kind of needed something that that was a better reflection of what the game was today. 

We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of humour in the game. Was that a conscious effort to differentiate it from Ubisoft’s more serious open-world games? 

Yes, that was our intention at the very beginning: to do something that was very different from what we did before, while still exploring the ancient Greek and especially the Greek mythology that we just did in Odyssey. We wanted to explore that mythology with a unique tone, something lighthearted and with a lot of humour, while exploring the dark and sometimes disturbing stories of the Greek mythology. 

That was one of the first intentions we had with the game, and that’s why we chose to have Prometheus and Zeus as narrators, with colourful personalities that can bring a lot of humour in the way they tell the story, and in the way in which they command the action of the players. 

We wanted the duo of narrators to interact a lot together and Prometheus and Zeus in particular have a lot of history. Prometheus is Zeus’s cousin and a long time ago he brought fire to mortals. Zeus was really pissed about that, so to punish him he condemned Prometheus to be chained to a rock for eternity. And on top of that, he made sure that every day there was a lovely eagle that came to that rock and ate his liver. So they have a lot of family history! 

We needed two people who could have this interaction and back-and-forth, with Prometheus telling the story and Zeus trying to make jokes and break the narration. We spent a lot of time to build those two characters and the relationships that you’re going to explore as you progress through the story of Fenyx in the game. 

You performed the same role on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/assassins-creed-series/assassins-creed-odyssey/”>Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. How did your experience from that project affect how you wanted to approach Immortals? 

Yeah, so we learned a lot on Odyssey as developers and as a team, and also we learned a lot about the Greek world and the Greek mythology. One of our intentions was to first continue to explore that world and embrace the Greek mythology and all those great tales about heroes, gods and mythical creatures.  

We really wanted to take that raw material of the magical aspect of the ancient Greek world and do a game that can embrace all those stories. And we also wanted to do something different from what we did before, while using all the experience we had as a team to work better together and to hopefully do something even better, and in a more efficient way, as a team and as developers. 

“One of the very important influences for us was the action-adventure games from the early 2000s. So games like Jak and Daxter or Banjo-Kazooie, that were action-adventure games within a small open world.”

The game is clearly hugely influenced by Breath of the Wild. What do you think the secret was to that game’s formula that fans loved so much? 

It’s always great to be compared to great games, but I’ve actually been influenced by a lot of different experiences, and one of the very important influences for us was the action-adventure games from the early 2000s.  

So games like Jak and Daxter or Banjo-Kazooie, that were action-adventure games within a small open-world, very dense in challenges that could be combat, that could be platforming and that could be puzzles. We wanted to kind of revisit that formula and bring it to the next level with the tech knowledge and the things that we can do at Ubisoft Québec. 

So that was part of our intention, to explore that aspect in terms of game experience, while using the Greek mythology as a setting for the game. We wanted to have that mix of combat, travel, exploration and puzzle all mixed together in a flow that that kind of makes sense and that you can have an agenda within.  

So you can choose how many puzzles, how much platforming, which exploration and how much combat you want to do, but have a unifying experience within those three pillars. That was really the focus in terms of game experience, to try to have the best balance within that mix of intensity, with combat, exploration and traversal. 

Considering your clear Breath of the Wild influence, have you also gone for a truly open-world structure, or is there a linear order in which players progress? 

It was part of many influences as I was saying… that open-world action-adventure genre. We have been influenced by many different types of games. 

So we built the world as a kind of theme park of Greek mythology, so each region is strongly themed around a god and his mythology, and everything within that region is built to support the stories and myths of that God. 

When you reach the mainland, you can start exploring all those regions the way you want, and you can start the quests with each of the gods. There is no one path toward the end and you can build your own agenda within that world and start to help the Gods that you want, because of the God himself or because of the challenges, or because of the stories within that region. 

Coming back to Breath of The Wild, which areas did you identity that Immortals could explore to differentiate itself or improve? 

I think what makes Immortals Fenyx Rising quite unique is the setting, so exploring the Greek mythology, and also the tone we are we are using to do that, so having something light-hearted and a lot of humour within the way we explore the Greek mythology. 

And also that balance between exploration, puzzles and especially the combat is fast-paced, acrobatic, fantastical, and you’re going to fight a lot of different creatures, sometimes pretty huge like a Cyclops and Minotaurs. I think all of that mixed together brings something pretty unique to Immortals Fenyx Rising. 

It was very important when we were making decisions in terms of design that the journey was as fun and challenging as the destination, and that model drove a lot of decisions in the way we built the game both in terms of gameplay experience, the world and narration. 

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Not many games manage to nail humour. What was your experience with comedy in this game? 

That would be a perfect question for Jeffrey our narrative director. But what I can say is that we try to apply that tone not just within the dialogue of the story, but also within the moment-to-moment experience.  

So the way you’re going to build something in the world, or the way you’re going to do a small scene about upgrading your character to make it epic, but also have that kind of humour and references to some pop culture. So we tried to apply that tone in all the aspects of the game so it’s consistent for the player and also true to the experience of the Greek mythology. 

Running a big open-world game on Switch isn’t easy. How have you ensured this version doesn’t hold back the others in terms of the scope and scale of your offering? 

I think that’s actually one of the great breakthrough achievements of the team, especially the technical engine team, that we built the game we wanted and then we managed to put that game together for all the platforms we wanted to support.  

And it’s actually quite an achievement that they managed to have that game simultaneously ship on Switch with all the content that we wanted, so I will make sure to congratulate them again because indeed I think it’s something that is quite remarkable. 

Single-player open-world games seem to be getting bigger and bigger, which must be hurting production costs and resources as visual fidelity increases. Are expectations of 40+ hours games spiralling out of control? How does Immortals approach story length? 

I think a lot of that is linked to the intention you first have when you build the game. So for example, for us, yeah, what was important was how we could build that mythological experience that explored Greek mythology with something that is dense and fun to play. Then it’s really what decided everything after that. 

We were talking earlier about our experience with Odyssey, and that helped us be able to work better as a team, work better with our tools and with each other and to make sure everyone could contribute the best way to bring the best out of the game. 

That was for us a big help to develop the game, because we are much more efficient as a team now, so we’re able to build faster and to iterate faster. I think at the end of the day, what is best is to have enough types of games and experiences on the market for every player to find the game and the experience they want to enjoy, and I think we’re in the point with the industry where we have that variety on the market and I think it’s for the best. 

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Cyberpunk 2077 Delayed Until December – IGN – IGN

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Cyberpunk 2077 will be delayed again by 21 days, with a new release date set for December 10, 2020.CD Projekt Red announced the news in a statement on Twitter citing the immense task of shipping Cyberpunk 2077 across nine consoles and two generations of hardware.

100 New Cyberpunk 2077 Screenshots: Gangs, Characters, and Playstyles Revealed

“The biggest challenge for us right now is shipping the game on current-gen, next-gen, and PC at the same time, which requires us to prepare and test 9 versions of it,” CD Projekt co-founders Adam Badowski and Marcin Iwinski said in a statement.

The launch platforms for Cyberpunk 2077 include Xbox One/X, Xbox Series S/X, PS4/Pro, PS5m PC, and Stadia.

Badowski and Iwinski also confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 was “almost a next-gen title” during development and so releasing the RPG across different generations requires effort for “every version” to run smoothly.

“We’re aware it might seem unrealistic when someone says that 21 days can make any difference in such a massive and complex game, but they really do,” the founders say.

CD Projekt Red also addressed the news that Cyberpunk 2077 reached gold master a few weeks ago, but explained that “going gold” is not the end of development. “On the contrary, this is the time where many improvements are being made which will then be distributed via a Day 0 patch. This is the time period we undercalculated.”

This is the third delay for Cyberpunk 2077. Originally set to be released on April 16, the date has since been pushed to September 17, then November 19, and now once again to December 10.

The 21-day delay and additional development time will likely further raise questions about crunch culture at CD Projekt Red. In September it was reported that developers were required to work mandatory overtime to meet its November release date, and Badowski confirmed that employees would be “well compensated” for their time.

In the meantime, check out IGN’s Cyberpunk 2077 hands-on preview.

Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.

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Upcoming Samsung Galaxy 21 won't come with a charger: report – MobileSyrup

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Earlier this month, Apple announced that it would stop including earbuds and chargers in the box with its iPhone smartphones. Several Android manufacturers raced to mock Apple’s decision on social media, which will look awful when they likely follow suit and remove in-box chargers next year.

Samsung was one such manufacturer, with some of its social media accounts quickly posting about how Galaxy phones include a charging brick.

However, SamMobile spotted reports from Korean media that indicate Samsung could remove the charger from the box of its future phones, such as the recently leaked Galaxy S21 (or perhaps S30, depending on how you think Samsung plans to handle the naming scheme this year). Further, the company will likely continue to not include earbuds in the box, similar to how it did with the Note 20 Ultra this year.

If the rumour proves true, Samsung’s social media trolling may look rather foolish. Still, Samsung arguably handled the removal of earbuds from the Note 20 packaging better than Apple did. Customers could request a pair of earbuds from Samsung if they needed them. It’s not clear if this option was available in Canada, but we’ll update this post once we learn more.

Still, if Samsung does remove the charging brick and chooses not to offer free bricks to those who request them, the company’s approach will likely be easier to stomach than Apple’s. This is mostly because almost every major Android phone has a USB-C port, and on top of that, most offer Qi wireless charging. In other words, most people likely have some form of charger that will work fine with whatever phone they choose to get next, something that isn’t quite true with the iPhone and its proprietary Lightning cable.

Removing chargers to help the environment is the bare minimum these companies can do

Regardless of how it plays out, it’s hard to say what benefits, if any, removing chargers will actually bring.

Apple claimed that doing so would help the environment by reducing waste and environmental impact. For example, no longer including the charger in the box means Apple wouldn’t need to make as many chargers and would use up less natural resources. Another argument the company made was that removing these items allowed it to shrink the packaging, allowing it to ship more iPhones on a pallet, reducing the total number of shipments needed and its carbon footprint.

Most of these claims are easily debunked. For example, Apple still includes a cable in the box, but it’s Lightning to USB-C, which won’t work with most people’s existing iPhone chargers that feature USB-A ports, requiring them to buy new chargers anyway. That’s not to say that Apple’s efforts to help the environment by cutting down on waste are bad. Instead, the effort is misplaced, and there are many other ways the company could actually benefit the environment. Switching the iPhone to USB-C instead of Lightning is one method.

With Android phones, there may be more of an environmental argument since the USB-C charger you currently have will likely work with the USB-C phone you get — in other words, most people legitimately don’t need a new charger.

At the end of the day, there will be people who don’t mind the change — I’m firmly in this camp as, thanks to my job, I have more USB-C chargers than I know what to do with. Others will undoubtedly feel frustrated or ripped off by the lack of charging peripherals in the box. And either way, removing the charger from the box is about the bare minimum any of these companies can do to actually help the environment. It’s a start, but there’s a lot more manufacturers can do to make smartphones more sustainable.

Source: SamMobile Via: Android Central

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Cyberpunk 2077 release delayed to December 10th – MobileSyrup

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Cyberpunk 2077 has once again been delayed, this time by 21 days to December 10th, 2020.

CD Projekt Red, the game’s developer, made the announcement in a recent tweet, stating that the delay relates to the challenges of releasing a title of this scale across nine video game platforms, including the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to the Xbox One, Xbox One X, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, PlayStation 5, PC and Stadia.

“We’re aware it might seem unrealistic when someone says that 21 days can make any difference in such a massive and complex game, but they really do,” writes CD Projekt Red co-founders Adam Badowski and Marcin Iwinski in the tweeted statement.

What’s unusual about this situation is Cyberpunk 2077 went “gold” a few weeks ago, indicating that it had reached the end of its development cycle. In the statement, Badowski and Iwinski say this often isn’t the end of modern video game development.

“On the contrary, this is the time where many improvements are being made which will then be distributed via a Day 0 patch. This is the time period we undercalculated,” said Badowski and Iwinski.

It’s likely that after going gold, CD Projekt Red ran into more development issues than it initially expected regarding Cyberpunk’s day one patch.

Cyberpunk 2077 was originally set to release on April 16th before being moved to September 17th and then November 19th. The game will now release on December 10th following this latest delay.

It’s worth noting that December 10th is the same day of The Game Awards, Canadian producer Geoff Keighley’s annual video game show honouring the industry while revealing new trailers for upcoming games. By releasing on that date, Cyberpunk 2077 is missing the deadline to eligible to win any awards at this year’s show, so it will instead get the chance to be recognized in 2021.

CD Projekt Red is best known for developing The Witcher series, including 2015’s critically acclaimed open-world RPG, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Cyberpunk 2077 is the next massive RPG from the Polish developer.

Source: @CyberpunkGame

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