Forge Report – Diablo 4 at Portia floods Elsweyr with a Bright Memory

written by Fyren

 

Diablo 4 Development in full swing

diablo_1Even though Diablo 4 was confirmed to be in development shortly after Blizzcon at the end of last year, Blizzard has posted a slew of new job listings for the project. It is still one step short of being official as the job listings are for an “unannounced Diablo project”. From programmers to artists, positions seems to be open for the entire development team. The most interesting listing to me is the one for a “Quest Designer”. The posting lists knowledge of the Diablo universe and experience with the dark and gothic setting as requirements. While it is nice to know that the project is in full swing, I am curious as to when exactly development started on this. With the amount of people being hired it would not surprise me to learn that development on Diablo 4, or whatever they plan on calling it, only began in earnest after the poor reception of Diablo: Immortal. Another interesting note is that not long ago when Heroes of The Storm, Blizzard’s MOBA title, was put on life support they announced that a portion of the team was being re-tasked to other projects. I would like to think that those developers have been put on this Diablo project as I feel they could lend a great deal of relevant expertise to the project.

 

My Time at Portia released

portia_logo

Fans of Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon rejoice. A new 3D farming game is out now. It involves managing your farm, planting and growing crops, mining and crafting, meeting and smooching on villagers, and fighting monsters in the local dungeon. The formula should be familiar to fans of this kind of game. The whimsical art style and smooth animations definitely caught my attention. With an equally whimsical and well done soundtrack as well, I look forward to spending some time with this title. Sometimes you just need a game you can relax with, something where you can spend some time away from the tryhards and competitive types. Stardew Valley has been one such game for me, and now I think I will spend some time at Portia doing just that. The game is out now for $30 on both the Epic Games Store and Steam.

 

Steam continues to be flooded

Steam-logo

The floodgates of Steam remain open. The digital storefront continues to allow anyone to publish anything to the platform with Steam Direct. The only barrier to entry is $100 up front fee that is refundable once a small sales goal is met. Numbers have recently come out that there are now 30,000 games on the service, over half of which have entered the market in roughly the last two years. Doing the math, this equates to a release rate of 22 new games every single day or about 150 titles every week. Reviewers and customers cannot keep up with this rate and Valve continues to remain silent on the topic of curation. Some of these games are so poorly made that they do not even run and yet they are still for sale. Not to mention the number of asset flips that are for sale on the platform. Now, all of this sounds pretty terrible, but I decided to compare the issue of Steam’s flood of software and lack of curation to another platform that suffers similar problems, the Google Play Store for Android mobile devices. A little bit of digging turned up the numbers for Google’s software platform. The Play Store currently has over 600,000 apps, the majority of which are games, available on its platform and while the numbers fluctuate greatly the average rate of new things making it onto the platform is 3,000 per week, that’s over 400 new titles every day. I don’t bring this up to excuse Valve from anything, I think this is something they need to solve quickly or they risk losing market share to other platforms. This comparison merely shows a potential outcome for Steam if it continues on the current path.

 

Elder Scrolls Online adds Eslweyr in upcoming expansion

elsweyr

Khajit has wares if you have coin, but you can’t have them until June 4th. Announced earlier this week, the aptly titled expansion, called just “Elsweyr”, will be adding in the continent of… you guessed it, Elsweyr. The jungle home of the beloved Khajit alongside a new Necromancer class. As with any good expansion, it also comes with a host of new dungeons, quests, a new 12 person trial, and much more content to boot. Also promised in the official announcement is “a host of quality of life improvements”. Interesting thing to include in your expansion announcement, almost sounds like they were trying to pad out the list to make the pre-order seem more enticing. They push the pre-order by offering a really cool looking horse, available in-game immediately. The early access phase for this new update rolls out in May.

 

Bright Memory surprises everyone

brightmem

I wasn’t expecting this. A gorgeous looking first person shooter in a stunning world with a bunch of extra cool abilities you can use to take some your enemies. It was made by one person? It’s only 7 dollars? Is this the real life? I immediately purchased this one. It’s a Chinese game. The sound design and voice acting is excellent, though the voices are all in Chinese. There is English localization but the translations are pretty poor and unfortunately I could barely follow the story of the short campaign. I beat it in a single sitting, under an hour. However, don’t let that deter you. This was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had. The gunplay feels excellent, incredibly fast paced and rewarding. It uses a style point system reminiscent of games like Devil May Cry. Despite being in early access I encountered no bugs or glitches. The enemies are varied and interesting. There is even some light platforming and puzzle solving. Everything about the short time I spent in Bright Memory was an absolute delight. You can check it out here.

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