Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 14/06/19

June 14, 2019

A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.

Conclusion One: It’s been a breathtaking week at E3

So at this year's E3 one of the most wanted games — as it was last year — was CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. We had a lovely presentation of the game and then some folks got to see some gameplay in a closed session afterwards. It looks amazing, as it did before, and importantly we now have a release date of April 2020. Given that we’ll be playing it within one year, everybody can truly start getting mega-excited now.

However, perhaps the most exciting bit of the entire exchange was when Keanu Reeves came on stage during the presentation. Yes, that's right: Ted Theodore Logan, Neo, John Wick — whichever of the man’s nom de plumes you care to mention — came on board.

And, as it turns out, he is in Cyberpunk 2077 playing a character called Johnny Silverhand. We don't actually know if you can have sex with him yet, but you know CD Projekt Red aren’t closing any doors off there either. What he was on stage to talk about specifically was how the game environment itself was totally breathtaking. Immediately an Xbox focused YouTuber named Peter Sark responded with “you’re breathtaking!” from the crowd without missing a beat. Keanu returned “you’re breathtaking!” to the YouTuber and then, “you're all breathtaking!” to the entire crowd, and everybody at home listening. At least, that appears to be the way the internet has taken it. You see, the fact Keanu told one person and then many people that they are breathtaking appears to have taken off in the internet world of memes.

More generally this whole exchange is just engendering a significant chunk of goodwill right now. Keanu was riding the crest of a wave with John Wick being one of the finest movie trilogies in recent history, The Matrix being a fine selection of movies depending on your point of view, and everything else in between — not forgetting the small fact that Bill and Ted Face The Music is coming out. He's a lovely man who does all kinds of things without any desire to be noticed for it at all (for instance, giving away a variety of his cash to children's hospitals around the world).

A nice thing to come from this is that the aforementioned YouTuber was offered a free copy of the collector’s edition of the game. This is cool, and good PR. It went further though, ending up with that plus some cash for a Go Kart in a children’s hospital. Nice move, totally not needed, but damn if it isn’t just right.

Conclusion Two: Keanu will be here in (a) Fortnite

Keanu is the fucking man. Not only is he going to be in Cyberpunk 2077 as a pretty important character who just happens to have the second largest amount of dialogue (this is cool), but he’s also now officially going to be in Fortnite, having been told he was “Fortnite Guy” over and over again.

Being the star of ‘lonely guy’ meme, it’s totally unsurprising that when kids came up to him telling him he was Fortnite guy he’d have no idea what that actually meant. He does now, and the character — the Reaper, who looked like Keanu — has just been reskinned to be Keanu, according to The Independent.

So, basically, the man who twenty years ago (yes The Matrix came out 11th June, 1999) learnt how to control the world, is perhaps doing it again. First Cyberpunk, now Fortnite and let’s not forget the John Wick game coming along soon. Is Keanu actually immortal? It might just be true...

Conclusion Three: "Nothing's real, man," so says Musk

In another episode of his increasingly bizarre and unfiltered "mind to mouth" utterances, Elon Musk this week doubled down on his belief that we could all be players in a video game. At E3, the Tesla billionaire was discussing his reasons for getting into technology. "I probably wouldn't have started programming if it wasn't for video games," he said during a conversation with Fallout and Skyrim designer Todd Howard. As a big fan of both Fallout 3 and 4, Musk revealed that he would be bringing Fallout Shelter to Tesla cars soon. But it was his comments on the blurring of lines between video games and reality that drew the most attention.

"If reality was a video game, the graphics are great, the plot is terrible and the spawn time is really long," Musk mused, leaving people wondering if he had perhaps partaken of something herbal before he came on stage. "I bet we see these creatures in the games saying 'wow, can you imagine if there was a simulation?' It's, like, you're in a simulation, guys." Who are the creatures he's talking about? Us, probably.

Something to chew on, for sure. Maybe Musk has tapped into a level of consciousness beyond our ken. One of his points did resonate though: "If you assume any greater improvement in video games at all, then one of two things are gonna happen: civilization will end, or games will be so realistic you can't tell the difference between them and reality."

Deep stuff. If we could only get him and Keanu in the same room, the internet would probably explode.

Conclusion Four: No Man’s Sky's perseverance pays off

When it first launched back in 2016, No Man’s Sky was largely considered a 101 lesson in how to mess up a launch. The studio – Hello Games – vastly over-promised and vastly under-delivered, releasing a game that was criticised for simply being boring.

Fast forward two years and you have to admire the dogged nature with which the devs have continued their support of the game. Since the original release, there have been multiple major content updates, with even more planned for the future. With the addition of multiplayer, surface vehicles, base-building, and space-fleet management, players are now praising the game for finally delivering on what was promised.

The game has always had something of a cult following, even in the bad old days. So when a player called Cam G started a gofundme page raising funds to celebrate Hello Games' heroic efforts to claw back their reputation, it’s no surprise it raised $3,031 – well in excess of the $1,750 goal. With this money, players have paid to set up a billboard outside of Hello Games office saying thanks for all their hard work.

In a somewhat cynical age, it’s hard not to smile when you see players paying respect to a studio who’ve learned from their lessons, and given it their all.

Conclusion Five: Motorstorm Apocalypse still kicks up a storm 8 years after release

Motorstorm Apocalypse is a PlayStation 3 exclusive from the now defunct Evolution Studios, Sony’s first-party studio who made its name with four of these and then, of course, the horrendous-at-launch-but-ultimately-brilliant Driveclub for PlayStation 4. Many of the team went on to Codemasters to create Onrush.

However, the final game in the Motorstorm series has this week come back to life thanks to some very clever YouTuber accessing all kinds of funky developer options. It’s such a surprise that the man who is now a Game Director at Slightly Mad Studios, and heavily involved in the development of Motorstorm Apocalypse, has no idea how.

Or, at least, he didn’t. It seems as if it's not just a hacked copy of a retail release but rather some dev kit build. How the person has gotten hold of it is still unknown but regardless, it’s pretty fun to watch this storm (in a teacup)! It's always entirely weird when games get hacked like this. It looks cool, but it's still weird.

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Luciano Howard

I've been gaming for 30+ years on the Commodore VIC-20 to the Nintendo Switch and most things in-between. I enjoy all kinds of games but if I had to pick a couple right now, I'd say I adore Mario and love Dark Souls. I can talk about either ad infinitum...