Square Enix has changed the icon for the Sage job in Final Fantasy XIV’s upcoming expansion after players expressed concern over trypophobia. As reported by IGN, the original icon featured three pillar-like symbols, each with a hole at the top, causing the holes to appear in a cluster.
Trypophobia is the aversion, fear, or disgust of irregular or patterned clusters of holes, bumps, and the like. In a blog post, Final Fantasy XIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida addressed the concerns from the community over the original Sage job icon design and announced the new design.
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“When we released new details for sage and reaper on the special site, we also included their icons, not thinking that they were particularly big reveals,” Yoshida said. “However, we soon received feedback from players all over the world, who told us that the sage icon made them uncomfortable or fearful.”
Yoshida said that the severity of reactions for people who have trypophobia varies heavily and something that triggers some people may not affect others, which is why they decided to change the icon.
“But regardless of such differences, you have given us your earnest feedback, and there’s still time to change things,” Yoshida said. “Considering also the fact that job icons are prominently visible in the game, and that they also appear on merchandise, we’ve made the decision to redesign the sage icon.”
The new Sage icon design is nearly identical to the original, just without the three holes clustered together. A post on the Final Fantasy XIV subreddit has a side-by-side comparison of the original design and the new one. Please be warned that the link contains the original icon if you have trypophobia.
Alongside Halo Infinite’s first technical preview, Halo Insiders are also getting the opportunity to preview a new version of Halo Waypoint, developer 343 Industries’ official hub and companion app for all things Halo. It’s there that players have discovered evidence that may support the idea of Halo Infinite eventually receiving multiple campaigns.
The new Halo Waypoint gives the entire website an extreme makeover, and also introduces a new tab for Halo Infinite. Clicking on that tab brings players to a hub page for the game, with sections for campaign, multiplayer, and news. A shortcut button that takes players to the section about Halo Infinite’s campaign actually reads “Campaigns,” seeming to imply the game will, at some point, have more than one.
Though multiple campaigns have never officially been confirmed to be coming to Halo Infinite, developer 343 Industries has gone on record to say that Halo won’t be receiving traditional sequels in the near future, and that more story content would come to Halo Infinite in some form.
“Halo Infinite is the start of our platform for the future,” former Halo Infinite lead Chris Lee said last year around the time of the game’s first gameplay reveal. “We want Infinite to grow over time, versus going to those numbered titles and having all that segmentation that we had before. It’s really about creating Halo Infinite as the start of the next 10 years for Halo and then building that as we go with our fans and community.”
Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer will also sport an ongoing story, according to 343, one where the Spartan character created by players will have “a vital, active role in the Halo story going forward.”
Of course, Halo Infinite wouldn’t be the first time 343 Industries continued a Halo game’s story post-launch. Halo 4’s Spartan Ops mode also featured an ongoing story, with additional episodes added to the mode over time as a free download.
Though invites for Halo Infinite’s first multiplayer technical preview have already come and gone, players can still sign up to become a Halo Insider for a chance to participate in additional playtests in the future.
Monster Hunter Rise’s 3.2.0 update is now live, and it’s introduced a new Capcom Collab Event Quest to the game. This one is an Okami crossover, giving you a chance to forge a set of layered Palamute armor based on Okami’s protagonist, Amaterasu. Here’s how to complete the new Event Quest and craft the “Ammy” armor for your Palamute.
How To Complete Monster Hunter Rise’s Okami Event Quest
Before you can embark on the new Okami quest, you’ll first need to download it. Speak to Senri the Mailman in the center of Kamura Village and select Add-on Content. Scroll through the list and receive the quest titled Event Quest: Rising Sun?! (You can alternatively press the X button to quickly claim all of the currently available add-on content.)
Once you’ve downloaded the quest, head into the Gathering Hub, speak to Minoto at the desk, and select Event Quests. You’ll find the Okami quest listed under the Low Rank menu. Accept the mission and depart after you’ve made any necessary preparations.
The quest is set in the Shrine Ruins, and it’s incredibly easy. All you need to do is collect the 21 Sun Goddess pictures scattered around the environment. The pictures appear as small packages on the ground, and their locations are all already displayed on the map, so completing the quest is simply a matter of picking each one up before the 20-minute time limit expires.
After completing the quest, you’ll earn a special item called a Celestial Scroll–the requisite material to forge the Ammy layered Palamute armor at the Buddy Smithy. You need four Celestial Scrolls in total, so you may need to complete the Rising Sun quest multiple times before you have enough materials to craft the armor. Fortunately, the quest is quick and easy, so it shouldn’t take you too long to wrangle up enough Celestial Scrolls.
This is the second Capcom Collab Event Quest in Monster Hunter Rise so far. The first let you craft a set of layered Palico armor based on Tsukino from the recently released Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Three more Capcom Collab quests will be added to the game over the next few months; you can check out the Monster Hunter Rise update roadmap for more details.
I admire NEO: The World Ends With You for its youthful attitude and wild characterizations through eccentric personalities, extravagant character designs, and cheesy irreverence. To play through NEO TWEWY is to feel young again, inviting me to relive that too-cool-for-school vibe I had all those years ago with its predecessor. But that’s also because, while it’s a sequel that can be enjoyed on its own, its adherence to the original story of The World Ends With You brought me back to another time, and that might leave you lost if it passed you by.
Still, NEO TWEWY has its share of attractions, like a standout action-RPG combat system that evolves into an exciting rush of flashy spells filling up the screen. And while you might roll your eyes at the cast of characters’ quirks in the beginning, they’ll grow on you like good friends who were annoying at first. The same can be said about its soundtrack–songs that are odd upon first listen become bops that get stuck in your head. This is also a story-heavy RPG with intriguing twists and turns. However, in its exploration, riddle-laden objectives, and narrative wheel-spinning, NEO TWEWY drags its feet for a bit too long and too often before reaching its payoff.
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NEO TWEWY revolves around the Reapers’ Game, the premise that drove the original game. In a parallel dimension of real-world Japan, called the Underground (or UG), characters trapped in the Reapers’ Game have been posthumously invited to play a game of ambiguous rules and objectives for another chance at life. But rules are meant to be broken and parameters are meant to be manipulated, so much so that you eventually disregard its logic and just embrace the cool nonsense used to bend the fate of the characters and the setting of Shibuya itself.
The concept goes off in many directions, but it’s the foundation for understanding the desperation for survival portrayed through main character Rindo and his friends Fret and Nagi–all teenagers who constantly wrack their brains to overcome the Reapers’ Game’s seemingly impossible odds. The effortless bouncing between the lighthearted quirkiness and the story’s darker side is something I really appreciate about NEO TWEWY. Supporting characters and whether they’re friend or foe, they make the core ensemble all the more stronger.
Characters are at the heart of NEO TWEWY–from their striking fashion sense to their overstated idiosyncrasies, it’s how you come to understand these characters and they drive most of what makes this game memorable. While Rindo, who is your avatar, is the level-headed empath, most of the supporting characters fill in archetypes with confidence and their own personable touch, which is also a credit to the voice actors who play these roles.
Not everyone is particularly likeable (although a few are straight-up loathsome for narrative purposes). One notable letdown is the disappointing characterization of an old favorite (who I won’t spoil); it’s as if the character were written by someone who picked up slang on the spot and threw together a poor amalgamation of what you’d hear in American streets. Otherwise, the wide cast, and the freedom of expression NEO TWEWY affords these personalities, make it easy to find characters to identify with, and it’s one of the strongest hooks here.
And while I definitely can’t get into spoilers, those who loved the original TWEWY (including myself) are treated to some hype moments through important story connections and sweet callbacks. A few aspects of this do come across as hamfisted at times, but I also can’t deny the jolt of nostalgia that made the experience all the more enjoyable.
Ultimately, that leaves those who never engaged with the original TWEWY out of the loop. NEO TWEWY tries to accommodate by throwing in references to what happened in the first game, but they’re vague and rarely go beyond a sort of, “Hey, remember that this happened back then?” Even I was somewhat taken aback by how much NEO TWEWY relies on its predecessor (and the additional content that came out with the Switch remaster), so NEO TWEWY will hit differently for different folks, depending on past experiences.
At the end of the day, NEO TWEWY is a game about people and the strength of their relationships. I wouldn’t call it deep per se, but it is undeniably endearing. As such, it should surprise no one that the power of friendship is the prevailing theme here, represented in melodrama you love to see.
As for the storytelling, NEO TWEWY takes a long time to get the ball rolling and sometimes drags its feet even when things really start to heat up. It’s not that NEO TWEWY’s exposition is bad; it’s actually where a ton of its charm comes from, letting characters express themselves and imprint their mannerisms in your mind. It’s just that there is so much of it, and it often feels like filler and dialogue for the sake of dialogue.
There is a lot to work through, and not all of it is particularly fascinating. Its story is so shrouded in mystery and clings onto obscurity longer than it should, running the risk of losing your interest before it gets real spicy. It hurts its momentum by dragging you through wild goose chases, funneling you from point to point for a chunk of dialogue to move the story a step forward. You’re frequently asked to solve riddles or investigate an anomaly, which can sometimes be an interesting brain exercise, but as stated above, these moments frequently feel like busy work rather than actually engaging with the game world. NEO TWEWY is backloaded with some of its best moments, but the earlier fluff forces you to simply trust that it’ll all pay off at some point.
It’s also worth noting that most of the game’s story is told through character portraits in manga-style panels accompanied by dialogue. The game’s wonderful art style complements the approach, but the over-reliance on character stills takes away from the feeling of being present in a bustling city like Shibuya and that things are actually happening in those streets. It’s a shame, too, because the toonish rendition of Shibuya is full of color, life, and potential, and the game’s handful of cutscenes are stunning and beautifully drawn and animated. Unfortunately, in several story-critical moments, you have to use quite a bit of your imagination to visualize what’s happening instead of actually seeing it unfold.
Combat picks up some of that slack, though. The chaos of the action-packed battles is a visual treat, especially as things ramp up when extra party members join the fight. And thankfully, it’s a blast to play, too.
The foundation of combat are Pins, which are your equippable spells and attacks that get mapped to a specific button for a certain character, depending on the attack type. You have melee, ranged, charged, damage-over-time, and area-of-effect abilities, all of which can be fired off simultaneously or strategically used to string together combos with good timing. Doing so is rewarded in boosting your Groove meter, which then lets you cast a powerful super-like ability to further pound your enemies. You’re constantly earning new Pins throughout the game, giving you new ways to engage in combat and rethink what’s most effective for your party. Once you start building up a collection of Pins, devising effective combos, and reading the patterns of the various enemy types, NEO TWEWY’s gameplay really shines. It becomes absolute chaos when you start stacking and juggling multiple attacks, yet remains fast-paced and satisfying.
What’s more is that combat difficulty can be fine-tuned at any moment in your journey. NEO TWEWY features the basic easy, normal, hard, (and extra hard) settings but also lets you slide your party’s level down in increments to further tweak the way you’re challenged. It’s also a means for adjusting how you earn rewards like new Pins and experience points. In the overworld, you can choose when you engage with enemies and how many at a time, letting you gather encounters before initiating them. You could also just worry about the battles necessary to advance the story if you want. NEO TWEWY is designed to accommodate various playstyles in creative ways.
Having the streets of Shibuya as your overworld, and the familiarity you build with it, is one of the joys of NEO TWEWY as well. So while the core story misses the opportunity to use Shibuya as a proper stage for some major story beats, shopping for new gear and ordering food to boost your stats in the different districts is a nice way to connect to the city. Side quests, while fairly basic in design, represent the lives of the people who fill these streets, and a few of these have neat little stories to boot. It’s also part of how you build out your social network, a grid of perks you unlock by progressing through the game, connecting with shop owners, and completing these sidequests. Not all of the perks are useful, and the best ones are tied to main story progress, but it’s incentive enough to seek them out in each chapter.
Lastly, one of the most significant pieces in creating NEO TWEWY’s distinct atmosphere is in its oddball yet lovable soundtrack. With a complete disregard for consistent music genre, you’ll hear grungy punk or full-on hardcore tunes one minute then some catchy J-pop- and J-rock-style bops before going into uptempto synthwave–occasionally tossing elements from each into one song. It’ll throw you for a loop at first, but you’ll be humming along to this fun mish-mash of sick jams. The playlist grows as the game goes on and a few songs in particular are why certain moments got me so hyped. Music was paramount to the first game’s identity (and OG TWEWY fans may find NEO calling back to that), so it’s great to see this new soundtrack carry on that tradition. It’s representative of NEO TWEWY itself, in that it doesn’t really care about adhering to norms and doubles down on its attitude–and you can’t help but admire that.
The world of TWEWY is a unique one that offers a chance to feel young, wild, and free–and it brings that same heat as a fun, action-packed RPG in the exciting setting of Shibuya. It’s largely made for those with a fondness for the first game, which becomes increasingly apparent as the story goes on, so your mileage may vary. NEO TWEWY can be cheesy as hell in both its serious and lighthearted tones, but after embracing that, it’s a ride worth taking.
Despite my gripes and the number of ways NEO TWEWY almost stunts my enthusiasm for it, I’m glad it exists. I can live with the lulls along the way for the memorable moments the journey gave me. And I can still wish it did more with its storytelling while loving its personalities, extraordinary sense of style, and connections to the original. I can also find value in the age-old question it posits: What good is a place you love without the people who matter most? Many stories have asked and answered this–and maybe the game puts too neat of a bow on it–but I find the way NEO TWEWY answers the question the most satisfying part of the experience.
Death Trash will launch in Steam Early Access on August 5. The creepy-looking action-RPG is set to fully release for Steam, itch.io, GOG, and the Epic Games Store at a future date.
Developed by Crafting Legends, Death Trash is set in a post-apocalyptic world, called Nexus, inhabited by these gross cosmic flesh titans. As an action RPG, the game features both open combat and stealth sections and includes choice-driven dialogue.
Of note: Any character in Death Trash can be killed, even the important ones. Whether you should is up to you–considering how tough the combat looks, attacking random people doesn’t seem like the smartest means of solving all your problems. But the option is there for you if you want it.
Death Trash also features drop-in, drop-out co-op so you can take on its disturbing world with a friend. The entire campaign supports co-op.
In Death Trash, you play as someone who’s been outcast from one of the enclosed habitats on Nexus, forcing you to now explore the many deserts, ruins, and underground tunnels that dot the wasteland. Along the way, you’ll encounter other outcasts and cosmic horrors.
Developer Norsfell and publisher Gearbox Publishing have linked up with a nonprofit to plant 40,000 trees in celebration of Tribes of Midgard’s success, which has been downloaded over 250,000 times since its launch.
In a press release announcing the news, the duo said that in the three days after the action-RPG dropped on July 27, Tribes of Midgard became the ninth-most-watched game on Twitch with 100,000 concurrent viewers. Another milestone that has been surpassed: Players have defeated over 40,000 Jötnar, groups of Jötun (or giants), that roam the game’s world.
To celebrate that latter accomplishment, Norsfell and Gearbox have announced a partnership with One Tree Planted, a Vermont-based nonprofit dedicated to global reforestation efforts. The three will plant some 40,000 trees, though when and where they will be planted remains undisclosed.
We’ve reached out to Norsfell and will update if we hear back.
In other Tribes of Midgard news, the game received an update on July 29 that makes some gameplay adjustments like increasing the effects of Alvis Hammer II’s healing spell. There are also quality-of-life improvements, such as making the Blessing menu accessible through the B key on the keyboard.
Halo Infinite beta players have found a creative way to compete prior to the game’s official launch, and it doesn’t even involve shooting each others’ characters in the face. While the beta is limited to Arena Slayer and a training mode called The Academy, experienced Spartans have started racking up Academy scores to compare online.
Academy is meant to be an advanced tutorial, helping onboard newcomers and teach veterans some of the more nuanced techniques that it takes to be a top-tier Halo player. But the Academy challenges also issue scores based on performance, including multipliers for things like double or triple kills. So naturally it didn’t take long for players to start to gamify the tutorials.
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343’s David Ellis, who works on the Academy, has been sharing some notable scores on Twitter under the hashtag WeaponDrillHighScore. Ellis requested people share their own scores with the hashtag, and subsequently asked that players participating share their platform and input device.
The resulting threads are full of Halo players showing off their scores, like one player who cracked 60,000 in a Sniper challenge, or above 20,000 for the Heatwave or BR75.
Help me out here folks. I want to see everyone sharing their top scores in #HaloInfinite Weapon Drills this weekend. Post pics/videos of your score with the hashtag #WeaponDrillHighScore and if you’re on PC or console.
It’s essentially a DIY score challenge, albeit without leaderboards. Maybe after the interest shown in the beta that feature will be coming. It did catch the attention of at least one member of the Academy team, after all.
Nintendo reportedly pulled out of being a part of this year’s Olympics opening ceremony “right before” the event.
The opening ceremony took place last week, and included 19 pieces of video game music from the likes of Nier, Monster Hunter, and Final Fantasy. However, according to a report from Shukan Bunshun (translated by IGN Japan), documents showing earlier plans for the event included five unused tracks, all of which came from Nintendo franchises, including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon.
Backing up the idea that five Nintendo tracks were removed from the ceremony is the fact that five of the franchises included in the final opening ceremony track listing – Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Chrono Trigger, Monster Hunter, and Tales Of – saw two tracks played each. That could have been a back-up for losing the five pieces of music close to the event.
As for why Nintendo pulled out of the event, Shukan Bunshun says that Mikiko Mizuno (most famous for being a choreographer for the likes of Babymetal) provided the show’s original plans. During this time, Shigeru Miyamoto reportedly travelled to Tokyo “almost every week” for meetings. However, Hiroshi Sasaki (who subsequently resigned after making controversial comments about a Japanese comedian and model) was eventually given the creative director job and seemingly changed many of the plans, reportedly leading to Nintendo cutting its part in the event shortly before it took place.
Some of Sasaki’s own plans do appear to include Nintendo, including one section that suggested Lady Gaga could wear a red hat, before travelling down a Mario warp pipe. Shukan Bunshun suggests this may have been speculative from Sasaki, rather than a firm idea for the event.
Nintendo’s part in the event isn’t the only element that was seemingly lost along the way – the report also claims that Mikiko’s original ideas included an opening section that involved Akira’s red motorbike travelling around the anime classic’s Neo Tokyo setting.
ViacomCBS and Comcast’s potential partnership, involving a joint venture of the two companies streaming services, has been put on hold amid mounting regulatory scrutiny.
According to sources cited by Forbes, both companies slowed down their discussions about a partnership due to growing concerns about “the Biden Administration’s pledge to aggressively enforce the nation’s antitrust laws.” However, it’s also suggested that talks may resume, depending on the outcome of the proposed WarnerMedia-Discovery merger.
ViacomCBS and Comcast are said to be awaiting the administration’s verdict on the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery to monitor how regulators react to the proposal before moving forward with their own partnership plans. A source tells Forbes that both parties held at least one “high-level” talk in June about the possibility of merging Paramount+ and Peacock.
Over recent years, the streaming market has grown increasingly saturated with new additions such as Disney+, Apple TV+, and HBO Max joining the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to offer consumers alternative ways to watch a wider range of content, but when Paramount+ and Peacock joined the fold, they struggled to match the success of their competitors.
At the very least, the companies will likely consider bundling the two subscriptions to improve their reach, though other strategic possibilities will no doubt be explored if the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger survives regulatory review, considering that Biden signed an executive order on July 9 vowing “to combat the excessive concentration of industry.”
The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger was announced in May, with the companies joining forces in a $43 billion deal to combine WarnerMedia’s entertainment assets with Discovery to create a “premier, standalone global entertainment company” hosting “WarnerMedia’s storied content library of popular and valuable IP with Discovery’s global footprint.”
Panic Inc.’s crank-featuring 1-bit handheld, Playdate sold all 20,000 units committed for 2021 release – and it took just 20 minutes.
As reported by TechCrunch, Panic said that its shipping estimator accurately confirmed that 20,000 units of the handheld had sold in just under 20 minutes when they went up for pre-order on July 29. Orders after that point are still being accepted, but these are unlikely to reach customers until 2022.
Playdate’s pre-order sales launch wasn’t without some technical issues. Panic acknowledged on Twitter that its online store was experiencing some difficulties at the time – especially in relation to international orders. Some international users experienced problems when trying to select their country for delivery, whilst other issues with stock tracking meant that for a brief period of time the handheld showed as sold out.
Following its technical issues, Panic said that it was trying to “figure out the best plan for international orders that got delayed due to failures” but that the company was “amazed at the response” by fans over this first wave of Playdate orders. Panic also said in another tweet that there was potential for a “2023 bucket” of orders to make its way to customers in the future, thought the company did reassure fans that it should take a while to get there.
⚠️ There was a slight issue with our stock tracking and Playdate may have temporarily shown as “Sold Out” — we’ve fixed that now! Anyone should be able to place an order — but you may need to put Playdate back in your cart.