Take 5: JDR's Gaming Conclusions - 18/10/19

October 18, 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: Fortnite’s fake news wasn’t actually fake

As Fortnite players console each other after their world was literally torn apart ahead of a new chapter in the long-running free-to-play FPS, one smug Redditor can finally breathe easy. 

A month ago, a map of the game’s new island was leaked onto Reddit. This, of course, was immediately debunked by all and sundry as fake, because the internet. It turns out that the map they had posted was real. The leaked map is on the left, the real on the right.

Somehow, they’d managed to get the actual layout of Fortnite: Chapter 2 a month before it was released. Now the new map is out there, it’s pretty obvious that this leak was accurate given the location names matched those of the leaked map as Eurogamer has made clear. 

Epic’s damage control probably spread enough dissent across the web to make people believe that it was fake, but somewhere in their organisation there’s likely to be at least one employee who is waiting for a knock at their cubicle...

Conclusion Two: All those moments WON'T be lost in time

The late, great Rutger Hauer's improvised final monologue in Blade Runner will stand proudly as a classic until the heat death of the universe. Westwood's cult point-and-click adventure, however, was thought to be lost in time — a victim of technology's relentless progress.

Two decades on, it seems like those rain-drenched tears have proved hardier than originally thought. ScummVM is a canny bit of software which let people play older LucasArts adventures such as Monkey Island 2 and Beneath a Steel Sky, as well as others. As of last Friday, Blade Runner was added to the compatibility list, meaning the 1997 sci-fi adventure is now available to play on modern home PCs.

Blade Runner
was notable for the way it randomly chose which characters were Replicants at the beginning of the game, which meant that your playthroughs hunting for the androids would be different each time. Furthermore, there were multiple endings and NPCs which moved organically through the city rather than following set paths, depending on their motivations. The whole thing looked gorgeous too, perfectly capturing the neon feel of the 1982 cult film.

You will need a copy of the original game in order to play it, but you can get ScummVM from their official site. And remember, if you're not cop, you're little people.

Conclusion Three: Cyberpunk 2077 will follow The Witcher 3’s DLC model

In an interview with Gamespot at PAX, CD Projekt Red’s John Mamais had some things to say about the game’s direction. The head of the studio’s Krakow office was pretty blunt when it came to discussing DLC and microtransactions. 

“I think it's a bad idea to do microtransactions after you release a game. It seems like it's very profitable, though. It's probably a hard decision for the guy that runs the business to decide if we should do it or not. But if everyone hates it, why would we do something like that and lose the goodwill of our customers?”

The Witcher 3 had both free and paid-for DLC, including the critically acclaimed Blood and Wine story expansion, which was lauded for both its consistently high quality which tied in with the main game, and its length which dwarfed many full-price games, let alone downloadable expansions.

Mamais’ comments suggest that the studio is likely to go down the same route for Cyberpunk 2077, given during the same interview he basically confirmed it:

“I don't see why we wouldn't try to replicate that model with Cyberpunk 2077. We're not talking about that yet, but it seems like that would be the smart way to go.”

Given that CD Projekt Red has already made something of a reputation for itself with the quality and generosity of its DLC, we can’t see them deviating into a microtransaction model where they’re asking people to pay ludicrous money for cosmetic items. Rightly so, too. You know, unless you’re one of those people that really wants to...

Conclusion Four: Monkeys would make great game testers

In a slightly unusual story which came to light this week, it appears that monkeys are pretty good at cheating. Live Science reported that during an experiment, monkeys learned to take advantage of a shortcut in a simple game far quicker than humans did.

The game involved a box in which four squares appeared: two blank, one striped and one spotted. Pressing the striped and then spotted square caused a blue triangle to appear in place of one of the blank squares. By pressing the triangle, the players would be rewarded — the monkeys would get a banana pellet, while the humans would get a congratulatory noise.

However, partway through the test, the blue triangle started to appear right at the beginning. Pressing it immediately provided the reward. While 70% of the monkeys pressed this right at the beginning, only one in 56 of the human players did so. The majority just kept on doing what they had always done. Conversely, over 20% of the monkeys took advantage of the blue triangle “cheat” whenever it was available. 

What does that teach us? Well, it seems that monkeys aren’t afraid to think outside the box when it comes to getting fed tasty treats. Nor, it seems, are humans that willing to try new things, even when they work out that doing so will provide the best experience. In short, monkeys may actually make better game testers than humans. Perhaps realising the infinite monkey theorem is further away from zero than science originally thought...

Conclusion Five: Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC trailer is simply ridiculous

We reported last week that Red Dead Redemption 2 was heading to PC and required some hefty specs. Now we understand why. Rockstar this week released a new PC trailer showing off the game in stunning 4K at 60 frames per second. We can’t think of a prettier way to round off this week’s Take 5 than this sixty-second slice of loveliness. Enjoy!

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Rob Kershaw

I've been gaming since the days of the Amstrad. Huge RPG fan. Planescape: Torment tops my list, but if a game tells a good story, I'm interested. Absolutely not a fanboy of any specific console or PC - the proof is in the gaming pudding. Also, I like cake.