By PlayStation Official blog (blog.playstation.com)
It's a new month, which means new games are joining the ever-growing Xbox Game Pass library. This month's additions for those that have Xbox Game Pass or Game Pass Ultimate includes two different Skate titles, the beloved Hades, and more. Before diving into which new games are coming to the Microsoft subscription service, here is a brief overview of what Game Pass even is. The Xbox Game Pass library continues to change with new titles being added. From day one launches of hit games to indie treasures that deserve their stage time just as any other game, the Game Pass membership allows Xbox fans a chance to have instant access to an eclectic library without having to shell out $60 for each experience. Now, let's get into which games are on the way: What's Coming To Xbox Game Pass: Curse of the Dead Gods, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 5 Dodgeball Academia, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 5 Katamari Damacy Reroll, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 5 Lumines Remastered, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 5 Skate, Console - August 5 Skate 3, Cloud - August 5 Starmancer, PC - August 5 Art of Rally, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 12 Hades, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 13 Microsoft Solitaire Collection: Premium Edition, PC - August 17 DLC/Game Updates: Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - African Royales DLC - Available Now Gears 5: Operation 8 - Available Now Dead by Daylight Archives Tome VIII: Deliverance - Available Now Rainbow Six Siege: Containment Event - Now until August 24 Sniper Elite 4 Series X/S Update - Available Now Zombie Army 4: Left 4 Dead 2 Character Pack - Available Now What's Leaving: Grand Theft Auto V, Cloud and Console - August 8 Ape Out, PC - August 15 Crossing Souls, PC - August 15 Darksiders Genesis, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 15 Don't Starve, Cloud, Console, and PC - August 15 Final Fantasy VII, Console and PC - August 15 Train Sim World 2020, Cloud, Console, and PC August 15 For those that may not have Game Pass yet, there are two options available: the standard membership and Ultimate. Xbox Game Pass is $9.99 per month, with Ultimate coming in at $14.99, including Xbox Live. With Microsoft making some big moves in recent years – the recent Bethesda acquisition and more on the way – the internal ecosystem at Xbox continues to grow. This means more AAA wonders and indie darlings will be yours to play at no additional cost. If comments are still showing as disabled, a site update is happening on our side that has caused a temporary takedown. We hope to have them back up and running soon so our community can go back to sharing their thoughts with us about everything gaming-related!
Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Is Leaving The ongoing company After Being Named In Activision Blizzard Lawsuit
Late July saw the details concerning a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard by the state of California go public, sparking a global outcry from the gaming community. Allegations include instances of gender discrimination, workplace abuse, sexual harassment, and a culture that contributed to one employee ending her life. As both the industry and the gaming community call for change, the company has announced that Blizzard president J. Allen Brack is leaving the company, and Game Informer was told by a source close to Activision Blizzard that this is one of several moves in place, adding that this ousting "feels rushed" and "thoughtless." The announcement of the leadership shakeup comes via Blizzard itself. In a public statement, it was said that Brack is stepping down, effective immediately, with Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra taking over as co-leaders moving forward. Oneal joined the company back in January as executive vice president of development, providing leadership to both the Overwatch and the Diablo franchises. Ybarra comes from a background in leadership at Xbox, having joined Blizzard back in 2019. "Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust," says a statement prepared by a Blizzard representative. There was also a statement from Brack himself, who was one of the few named explicitly in the lawsuit for alleged facilitation of the reported toxic work culture seen within Activision Blizzard. According to Brack, "I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that makes Blizzard so special." Not included in his statement is an apology for his reported role in the allegations against the company, nor does it appear that he has taken any personal accountability for his passive role in allowing such reported behaviors to continue. Game Informer has been in touch with numerous current and former Activision Blizzard employees over the past several weeks, though some have told us that they feel that this move was rushed and feels "more like a way for [Bobby] Kotick to have someone to blame rather than actual meaningful change." Another told us, "it feels like a warzone, we don't know what's going to happen next." This is one of many changes that needs to happen at Activision Blizzard. The CEO of the company, Bobby Kotick, released a statement just last week, addressing the concerns but seemingly skating around the demands listed in a public letter to leadership. That letter was followed by a company-wide walkout of Blizzard employees, a walkout that was supported by an open letter from Ubisoft employees that have been faced with similar instances noted within the California lawsuit. To learn more about the proceedings thus far, including details listed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, please review our previous coverage here. If comments are still showing as disabled, a site update is happening on our side that has caused a temporary takedown. We hope to have them back up and running soon for our community.
Hi everyone, I’m Benedict Nichols, the composer and sound designer for the third-person aerial combat game, The Falconeer, which is coming to PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on August 5. I’ve worked with the game’s solo developer, Tomas Sala, for almost two years, helping to bring his vision for the game to life. It’s been an incredible privilege to work on such a unique game, and it’s a pleasure to share a little insight into how I used music to bring the world of The Falconeer to life here with you today. Tomas knew that he wanted deep Mongolian singing to be the sound of the Ursee (the ocean-based world of The Falconeer), and so, as the waters provide a stark reminder of death below, it provides the bed for nearly all the music and ambiences. After receiving the liberating guideline of “be bold and unique”, my creativity ran wild! I felt music needed to do more than just accompany the player’s journey, so I set about the ambitious task of creating an entire sonic world that not only represented the game and it’s various factions in the ‘present day’, but also immersed the player with a sense of history, creed, musical development, and the emotional journey the people of the Ursee have experienced. Every location in The Falconeer has its own unique suite of music, written with guidelines for each faction, that varies depending upon your relationship with those people (friendly, neutral or hostile). Further thought was given to the physical position of locations. For example, Mawbridge, being right in the centre of the map, draws on influences from various faction locations around it as it’s a pinch point for travelling sailors, who would bring their cultural heritage with them. This pseudo-anthropological approach results in a much more immersive experience for the player, for if they fly from one side of the map to the other, they will experience shifts in the music and ambience that relays information about everything below, This becomes essential for establishing a ‘believable’, engrossing world that is much more than just a stunning visual backdrop to the good old classic dogfighting! Below are the guidelines I established for the various factions. These were integral to establishing the believable, immersive game world that the player inhabits. I tried to find unusual ways of using and combining instruments that would feel unique to the world while still resonating with the player: Civilians Struggling for survival amongst the warring factions, their independence is characterized by solo string and woodwind instruments. Their melodies are somewhat remorseful of their history, but at locations like Saladmount, there is still a bit of grit in them. Meanwhile locations like Sacred Steps feature ‘religious’ chanting, as the monks perform their rituals within, which informs the player of the sort of people they are approaching. Imperium Strong and imposing, the rhythm of their machinery runs through the blood of its workers. There’s a sense of them stamping their mark everywhere they go with heavy drums (often emphasising beats 1, 2 and 3) and metallic hits, while combinations of brass (including some non-idiomatic flugal horn playing), bagpipes, cimbalom, bazantar, and synths boldly proclaim their presence. Listen to the track ‘Cleftspire’ here – Cleftspire is the home of great ship builders, their strong melodies call out their challenge over strong percussion and grunting chants. The Mancer Order A technological cult who guard history’s mysteries, their music is made of an eclectic collection of instruments. I was looking for a sound that could define their religious zeal and depth of purpose in the way a deep church bell can, but without being metallic (as bells represent a sense of freedom in the game) and settled on a heavily detuned sitar, as if they were hung and struck in the towers of Stargazer. The Freebooters With this faction I represented the fusing of technology with nature, resulting in combinations of effected didgeridoo, more intense Mongolian singing (as they reside below the surface) and characteristic synths and orchestral forces. Pirates Guitars, cimbalom, massive drums, strong strings, deep throaty chanting (by myself) and some non-idiomatic saz (also by me!) characterise these pesky hordes. The changing compound time signatures reflect their rolling over the waves. While writing the location music, a balance was needed to make it feel somewhat semi-diegetic. I needed to be careful that there wasn’t too much detail in the music, but with each faction’s battle music, that all changes. It’s job is to rip the player out of the serene beauty of gliding around a stunning world and thrust them into instant, visceral battle. It pushes the player forward as well as being informative, full of little musical details to reduce tedium. Listen to the track ‘Pesky Marauders’ here – It establishes the Pirates’ sonic signature in the world early in the game as they launch a surprise attack. I hope this has given you some insight into my approach and why music is so important to creating the sense of a living world in The Falconeer. Having a ‘worldly’ reason for every musical choice and nuance gives the music more authenticity, and I hope has resulted in a much deeper, immersive experience for players.