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Gaming Roundup – Skating to the Future

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, Unreal Engine, Tony Hawk and Summer Game Fest, plus all the latest releases!

Unreal Engine Announcement

So the latest edition of the Unreal Engine was revealed this week with a glorious tech demo, but as we’ve established in the past, I’m the worst person to ask about deep-dive tech stuff in gaming, so this week, I’ll be deferring to our overlord Ryan Parish for this one. Take it away, Ryan.

Epic have revealed an Unreal Engine 5 Demo running on the PlayStation 5 and the gaming world has gone ‘OOH SHINY’. There’s lots of gobbledegook about NANITES (lots of micro polygons / tiny triangles) and LUMEN (dynamic real time lighting).

The way Nanites works is by removing the need for optimisation of detailed models. Usually games artists design highly intricate models, which then are optimised (reducing the quality and complexity of the models), these details are then added to textures (think as paint on a canvas) to bring the detail back. Unreal 5 allows for one high resolution model which dynamically adjusts based on the distance the camera is from an object.

Lumen is designed to simulate light in real time, rather than static lighting or expensive ray tracing (still supported though) which currently have to be ‘baked’ into the level design.

This is a tech demo, though real time, so it’s going to be showing the best quality it can so don’t expect all games to have this level of fidelity any time soon. Also expect future game sizes to be mahoooosive and you’ll look back on COD: Warfare’s nearly 200GB size as puny. Epic have also said this technology can run on current gen consoles so it might mean prettier Xbox One and PS4 games too. In other Epic news, you can now go create a game using their engine and you don’t have to give them their delicious 5% royalties until you hit $1million in revenue, so that’s cool I guess.

Now back to your regularly scheduled gaming services…

Thanks, Ryan. Now, let’s move onto a story that’s more my style.

Tony Hawk Skates Back Onto Consoles

Here we go again!

Early 2000s nostalgia hit hard this week. Someone who looked a lot like beloved professional skateboarder Tony Hawk celebrated his birthday by texting everyone that a remaster of the games with his name on will be coming soon. And sure enough, a formal announcement followed, showing a full-on remake of the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater titles.

The games look to be fully recreated from the ground up, with returning stages and skaters, and more importantly, what appears to be a fully re-licensed soundtrack. It’s being developer by Vicarious Visions too, who recently handled the Crash remakes too, so that bodes well for the quality of this collection too.

It’ll be out in September, and you can bet I’ll be ollieing the magic bum with everybody else.

Yeaaaaaaah booooooy!

Summer Game Fest Updates

As the Dorito Pope’s Summer Game Fest rolls on, we have an announcement for Ubisoft’s portion. Ubisoft Forward. It’ll be streaming on 12th July for updates and reveals. Expected games include Watch Dogs: Legion, Rainbow Six: Quarantine and Gods & Monsters, and Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Skull & Bones could really do with some focus too. Also expecting a ludicrous socially-distanced Just Dance dance-off. It’s unknown if there will be any gameplay reveals, and if there are, if they will indeed reveal any gameplay.

Speaking of which, Microsoft has apologised for last week’s Xbox Series X gameplay reveal, stating that mismanaged expectations. Which is odd because they touted it as a gameplay reveal and showed very little gameplay. Whether this is the fault of the individual developers or Microsoft themselves is debatable, but it’s not hard to imagine why people expected to see gameplay at a gameplay reveal. It’s an odd apology, but at least they acknowledged the complaints. Hopefully they’ll improve this at their first-party reveal event in July.

New Releases

In new releases, there are a few notable ports. Dungeon of the Endless, a heavily-praised strategy rougelike released all the way back in 2014 for Steam, is now on PlayStation 4 and Switch. So too is Emma: Lost in Memories, a 2D side scroller where everything the protagonist touches falls apart. The Switch also gets Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, a remaster of the Oddworld franchise’s first foray into 3D, originally released back on the original Xbox.

In smaller releases, we have Huntdown, an 80s inspired sidescrolling shooter for the Epic Store, PS4, Xbox One and Switch with a schlocky 80s sense of humour. And Jet Lancer is an aerial combat shooter for Steam and Switch, and features a talking cat sidekick, so that’s always a plus.

You know Hatsune Miku, right? Blue hair, blue tie, hiding in your wi-fi? Yeah, her. The virtual pop star finally arrives on Switch this week as it gets its first Hatsune Miku rhythm game. If you’ve encountered any of the previous Project DIVA games, then you’ll know what to expect from Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Megamix. Huge library of Hatsune Miku songs to play along with, but doesn’t have the Anamanaguchi “collaboration” so that’s disappointing.

Game of the Week

Cyberpunk is clearly in this year, as here is yet another cyberpunk themed title for Game of the Week. VirtuaVerse is set in a future where the world has migrated to an alternate online reality, and stars a hacker named Nathan who is able to switch off from this and see the world as it really is. One day his girlfriend disappears and his connection to the online reality is severed, and now he must delve into the dark parts of the city to investigate.

VirtuaVerse is a gorgeous-looking point and click adventure evoking the spirit of the genre’s heyday, promising an intricate storyline and fiendish puzzles. This may fill the gap I have in my soul waiting for the Beneath a Steel Sky sequel, honestly.

And that’s it for this week! I’ll see you again soon with more from the world of gaming!