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Field Promotion

Back in November, your friendly neighborhood community manager Cozmo stepped away from the studio to bring some new life into our shared world. When we realized that we needed someone to fill his chair temporarily, naming dmg04 as Acting Community Manager was an easy decision. Since the first year of Destiny, he has been one click away from the community team as an anonymous voice on the #Help forum. In every weekly blog address since Oryx entered our solar system, he’s been the silent partner who has written the ‘What’s Up, DOC?’ report on behalf of the Player Support team.

If you follow the conversation about Bungie closely, you might have heard the one about the new Community Manager we were looking to hire. Whenever Bungie seeks a player to lead the community they call home, it sparks obvious curiosity. Conspiracy theories immediately pointed to my imminent departure, but the rumors of my pending death have been greatly exaggerated. This was a bid for reinforcement, not replacement.

After an extensive search and many conversations, we realized that what we were looking for was right under our noses the whole time – and he was already kicking ass. It is my pleasure to introduce Dylan Gafner as the newest addition to the community team. This may be confusing, since he has been doing the job for months. Today, we’re making it official. This is no longer a temporary title. He’s partners with Cozmo, now.

The idea of a “Community Manager” means many things to many people. They can be equal parts court jester, combat correspondent, best friend, first responder, security guard, detective, nation builder, case worker, and air traffic controller. Each person who accepts the mission weaves those strands together to create their own unique specialty. In Dylan, we see a problem solver who tackles player reports and works with his peers to drive toward solutions. He’s been a tireless translator on the border between players and developers.

Here are some words from the man himself about what this new gig means to him.

Dylan: Hey, all. This isn’t the first time I’ve introduced myself, but I’d like to say hello again.

Since joining Bungie.net in 2004, this has been a career that I’ve dreamed about. It’s fun to think that my path here began with a simple desire to earn a cool emblem in a Bungie game by creating an account on the website. From there, I joined my first Clan (The WorkPLace) and attended my first of many PAX events in 2011. Eventually, I threw all of my stuff into a ’97 Ford Explorer to drive from San Diego to Seattle to start a job on the Destiny Player Support team in 2015. Since then, I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone in communicating known issues, preparing support documentation for Destiny releases, and volunteering my thumbs for various Twitch reveals.

I’m extremely grateful that this new opportunity as Community Manager is a chance for me to give back to a community that I’ve known through fourteen years of gameplay, friendship, laughter, and ridiculous fun. We’ve recently promised an increase in communication surrounding Destiny 2, our future plans, and even issues that we’re tracking. My goal in joining the community team is to give a pulse to the status of development, investigations in process, or setting expectations for upcoming features. We have a roadmap to follow, and I’m excited to keep you informed along the way.
With that said, let’s get down to business. You can find me responding to threads on the Bungie.net forums, jumping into conversations as @a_dmg04 on Twitter, and providing content for the Bungie Blog. I will continue to work with the Destiny Player Support team in communicating about known issues or upcoming maintenance windows, which can be found on Help.bungie.net, and @BungieHelp on Twitter.

Thanks for playing, and thank you for your passion. It’s truly an inspiration each day.

Cheers,

-dmg04

Rumour: A Second Toy Maker Says A New Sonic Racing Game Really Is Revving Its Engines

One of many hot rumours floating about right now centres around developer Sumo Digital and the purported return of Sonic The Hedgehog in vehicle racing form. As well as suggestions that it’ll be entirely focused on the blue marsupial, a second toy maker has come forward with a new toyline tied to an upcoming Sonic racing title.

In an interview with Pixel Dan, Diamond Select Toys says, “There are some minifigures […] some come with diorama pieces you’re going to build a race track from the game…“ Along with another toy maker, it sounds like SEGA is potentially going all out on this as-yet unconfirmed and unannounced game. It’s been five and a half years since Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, so we’re certainly due a new one, and with so many rumours from so many sources, it’s starting to become the worse kept secret in video games.

You can check out the video with the comments above – the section you want starts around the 08:30 mark. Let us know if you’d be up for a new Sonic racing game, or whether the brilliant Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will forever be the karting king…

Mario’s Very Own Encylopedia Will Leap Onto Book Shelves This October

Having scored a hat trick with its Zelda-themed reference books (Hyrule Historia, the Zelda Encyclopedia and Arts & Artifacts), Dark Horse Publishing is pinning its hopes on another Nintendo icon with a new guide on all things Mario-related. The Super Mario Encyclopedia will cover 30 years of the plumber’s gaming exploits, ranging from 1985’s Super Mario Bros to 2015’s Super Mario Maker.

For some bizarre reason the edition won’t include anything released after 2015, including the smash Switch hit that is Super Mario Odyssey, but it’s still a comprehensive guide to every other mainline entry. It’s due out in North America on 23rd October with a price tag of $39.99. No word on a special edition or an EU price tag just yet, but the Zelda ones got a release over here eventually so it’s only a matter of time.

Is the Super Mario Encyclopedia a must-have coffee table read or an incomplete Mario record? Let us know…

Duck Game Is Set To Make A Splash On Nintendo Switch

A new blog post from Landon Podbielski, the developer behind the multiplayer action release Duck Game, has confirmed that the title is headed to Nintendo Switch.

Originally released on OUYA back in 2014, with more recent ports to Steam and PS4, the title was actually very briefly included in last February’s Nindies Showcase (you can just spot the logo at around the 17:19 mark). Since then, however, very little has been said about the game appearing on Nintendo’s console.

Landon’s blog talks about the difficulties he has faced with the game over the last year or so, including some online multiplayer problems with the PS4 version and issues with coding across the board, but ultimately mentions that the Switch version is running well thanks to a little bit of help.

It runs really well too! I’ve been working with Tom from the Monogame team who is the most powerful code wizard I have ever met and without him the Switch version never would have been possible. The original OUYA version of Duck Game actually ran in Monogame as well, so really Duck Game never would have happened at all without those guys. 

No specific features or any mention of a potential release date have been confirmed for the Switch version of the game, but we’d expect to see a faithful rendition of the multiplayer couch-combat present in the original.

Have you played Duck Game? Would you like to play it on Switch? Make sure to let us know in the comments.

Retro Shmup Kyogeki Quartet Fighters Blasts Onto The Japanese Switch eShop This Week

Japanese developer Happymeal is bringing retro-style shooter Kyogeki Quartet Fighters to Switch next week, it has been revealed.

The news comes in the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu, which lists a Nintendo eShop release for February 22nd, with a cost of 1,389 Yen.

The game allows up to four players to participate at the same time, and features a Kyogeki System” which powers up your attacks by pooling the strength of your fellow players. 

Visually, it looks a lot like the NES version of Star Soldier, a comparison which is given more weight by the fact that Star Soldier and Milon’s Secret Castle composer Takeaki Kunimoto is in charge of the soundtrack. In case that’s not authentic enough for you, Tiger Heli and Twin Cobra‘s Tatsuya Uemura contributes the game’s theme song. 

And if that’s still not enough to convince you, then hear this – also included is Denshikantai Knack, a smartphone title previously released on the iOS App Store.

There’s no word on a western release, but given how easy it is to download Japanese games on any Switch, that shouldn’t be a barrier if you’re interested in this unique-looking blaster.

New DOOM Update Adds Motion Controls On Nintendo Switch

Released towards the end of last year, DOOM was one of the more surprising, yet extremely welcome, additions to the Switch’s early library – so much so that it starred in our most memorable games of 2017 feature. To add to the game’s rather ferocious impact on Nintendo’s hybrid console, developer Bethesda has released a new update which includes the option of using motion controls.

The patch was first promised earlier this month on Twitter, with a note saying that the full patch notes will be released in due course. While we are yet to see these full notes, it would appear that the update has started to roll out for many users.

As well as fixing the issues mentioned in the initial tweet relating to audio, menus, and more, the new Version 1.1.1 update has reportedly introduced a brand new game icon, and new motion control options, allowing you to select Motion Aiming, Motion Melee, Invert Motion Control, and more. There’s also a Motion Sensitivity option that can be adjusted from 1 to 100.

We’ll make sure to keep an eye out to see if Bethesda’s patch notes reveal any other interesting inclusions yet to be discovered.

Will you be returning to Hell to give the motion controls a test drive? Let us know in the comments below.

Nintendo Changes Requirements For Its Controversial YouTube Creators Program

There’s been lots of noise made about how Nintendo treats its fans in the video production world, with many decrying its arguably unfair rules against content creators. Those who produce videos about Nintendo content must subscribe to the program in order to receive a cut of the advertising revenue, and now a new rule change has placed additional restrictions on the kinds of channels that can be registered.

YouTube recently changed its Partners Program requirements, raising the bar for how much watchtime and how many subscribers a channel must accrue in order to be eligible for profit. As a result, Nintendo has raised its standards to match; the following email was recently sent out to members of the program:

Thank you for using the Nintendo Creators Program. In January, changes were made to the YouTube service. This email will explain how this will impact the Nintendo Creators Program.

As YouTube informed the creators, the YouTube Partners Program requirements were changed: New channels require 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers in order to be eligible for monetization. It was also announced that, for existing channels, the same requirements will be applied from Feb. 20, 2018. After Feb. 20, channels that do not reach the requirements will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube.

The Nintendo Creators Program requires agreement to and participation in the YouTube Partner Program, so if channels do not meet the above eligibility requirements, they will not be able to monetize on the Nintendo Creators Program from their videos.

Further, please be aware that if you already have your channel registered to the Nintendo Creators Program, those channels that do not meet the requirements will be deactivated from the Program by YouTube.

What do you think? Is this a reasonable move on Nintendo’s part? How do you think it could improve the creators program? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Nintendo On How It Views Indie and AAA Games

The Nintendo Switch has been a runaway success, smashing sales records and bringing Nintendo back from the brink after the Wii U. Even so, the argument of AAA game releases vs. indies is still ongoing, with some saying that the Switch has too many indies and not enough AAA games to be considered competitive with the Xbox and PlayStation.

Speaking more about this matter, two Japanese Nintendo employees that work with indies—Yusuke Soejima and Park Masashi—recently sat down with Entertainment Station to talk about Indies. Here’s what Masashi had to say about the distinction between indies and AAA games, courtesy of a ResetEra translator:

On Nintendo platforms, we don’t really differentiate between AAA titles from established firms and indie games. In actuality, they’re lined up as equals in the Nintendo eShop. We don’t specially promote indie games just because they are indie games, and conversely we don’t prioritize them below AAA titles either.

Speaking about the future of indie games on Nintendo platforms, the pair had this to say:

Soejima: First of all, we just want to get developers on board with developing for our platform when they decide what to develop games for. It’s not really a ‘goal’ per se, but before the Switch really got going, when we would see trailers or posters at events, the platforms that would always be shown at the end were almost always other companies’ machines. There was really nowhere where you would see the 3DS or Wii U supported… It was absolutely a situation where we weren’t even seen as a practical option. It was here that we thought we’d like to have the Switch’s logo up there with the other companies’.

Park: Fortunately, Nintendo Switch has seen international success, and I think the opportunities for us to be a viable platform have increased. Going forward, we’d like to maintain our momentum, and become a platform developers make content for, from the beginning of development and as a matter of course, alongside the others.

Park: Looking at more long-term ideas, it’s not something just the two of us can do on our own, but there’s a cycle we would like to see the entire industry work to support, of indie developers being able to easily produce titles, get a real ROI from them, and then easily move on to the next title, with other (new) developers following their example to enter the industry.

Soejima: If a given title sells really well, then it can be recognised as its own IP, and it would be great if such an IP can go on to last in the industry and be accepted by consumers. The entire game industry, not just Nintendo, needs to think about how to increase the number of titles born from the indie game scene. Lastly, I just want to say that while indie games tend to be associated with the digital world, we’ve learned that as a ‘community’, it is actually incredibly analogue. It’s a scene that emphasises connections between people, and that’s something we want to place importance on as well.

What do you think? Are indies becoming more important than AAA releases? Do you agree with Nintendo’s stance on the matter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hackers Turn The Nintendo Switch Into A Functioning Linux Tablet

Nintendo’s reputation for fighting hackers every step of the way in commendable, but it would seem that by pairing itself with tech giant Nvidia – whose Tegra silicon powers the console – the Japanese giant is going have to accept that things aren’t as nailed-down as they used to be.

We’ve already seen hackers exploit weaknesses in the Switch’s architecture to install emulators, and now the fail0verflow hacking group has revealed a video of Linux running on the console. This extends to full touchscreen support and a web browser.

fail0verflow claims that the exploit used to bypass the Switch’s security cannot be patched on the current model of the console, but hasn’t so far released details on how the hack works.

New RiME Patch Addresses A Multitude Of Sins On Switch

When we reviewed RiME a short time ago, we lamented the fact that the Switch port had so many issues. From the muddy visuals to the often appalling frame rate, the Nintendo port was a bit of a mess – something that was hard to swallow after the long wait for the game’s release.

A patch was promised which would fix many of these problems, and it’s finally live. The good news is that it does seem to address many of the performance hitches that plagued the game at launch. 

Here’s the full list of changes:

  • Increased visual fidelity, bloom and post-processing 
  • Sharpened image resolution 
  • Opening Cinematics visually improved 
  • Fixed possible stage exploits that would enable players to skip parts of the stages 
  • Increased texture quality in specific areas 
  • Increased view distance 
  • Fixed an issue with foliage density, shadows, and render distances 
  • Updated texture mipmaps for the Fox 
  • Improved global mipmaps 
  • Improved shadow distance and quality 
  • Fixed instances of foliage pops 
  • Stabilized FPS 
  • Optimized the Boys cape and hair physics 
  • Rebuilt streaming volumes 
  • Fixed an issue that allowed you to see outside of the map in later stages 
  • Updated lighting to prevent bleed through 
  • Updated the quality of trees in earlier stages where they would display poorly

In case you were hungry for more, here’s some comparison footage to mull over:

That’s quite a lot of enhancements, but has this perhaps come too late? Those who soldiered through RiME at launch may not feel compelled to play the adventure a second time. Let us know if you’ll be giving it a spin by posting a comment below.