The Last of Us Part 2 Director Details New Enemy Factions

The Last of Us Part 2 is Naughty Dog’s biggest game yet, and while that doesn’t mean the sequel is going open world, it does mean Naughty Dog is aiming to create an expansive, varied new series of environments for players to explore and survive.

Speaking to IGN ahead of The Last of Us Part 2’s final preview embargo, Director Neil Druckmann explained both the development team’s approach to creating Seattle, and how the introduction of new enemy factions added more variety to both story and gameplay.

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“One of the reasons we picked Seattle is because of how many diverse locations it has. We knew we’re going to spend a lot of time in the city and, like a good Naughty Dog game, we need to switch things up as far as art styles and locations go,” Druckmann said, noting the variety of city, residential, and environmental areas in the Pacific Northwest.

“So the team studied a lot of the architecture of the city, the foliage that grows in that part of the country. They scanned different materials so we can make them authentic.”

These decisions of course, are in concert with ensuring the level designers can create interesting exploration and combat spaces for players — as Druckmann said, they do a bit of “location scouting.”

“And then the level designers what they would do is also study that architecture as well,” he said. “What are interesting locations for exploration or for our new physics system to get different kinds of puzzles.

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“For combat, this has been an ongoing principle, [we want] to combine the familiar with the unfamiliar,” Druckmann continued, noting that residential areas, now overgrown with vegetation in this post-pandemic world, can offer something unexpected.

Druckmann also pointed to how the use of Seattle’s sewers and other similarly “creepy, dank areas” allowed the team to play up the sequel’s horror elements.

“We have Stalkers that are grown into the wall and sometimes they’re dead and nothing will happen, and sometimes they’ll rip off the wall and charge at you,” he teased.

Seattle is also home to the Washington Liberation Front and the Seraphites, two groups Ellie will contend with that offer new combat challenges playing to the strengths of the environmental design.

“You have the WLF, this secular militaristic faction and then the Seraphites, this religious group that has rejected technology of the old world and they built everything from the ground up,” Druckmann said.

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“Those two groups and their conflicts speaks to the cycle of violence, but mechanically how we wanted to separate them, the WLF has accrued all this military equipment. So they use more machine guns and they have vehicles in certain setups,” he continued.

“But the Searphites, what makes them creepy and scary to go up against is they’re very stealthy and quiet … and they’ll sneak up on you and use the vegetation the way that Ellie does and the WLF doesn’t.”

For more, read up on what Druckmann recently had to say about how the infected enemies in The Last of Us Part 2 have changed, as well as what he told us last year about how enemy dogs lead to tough choices in The Last of Us Part 2. Learn about some of the incredible tiny details Naughty Dog is filling the sequel with, and find out when you can read IGN’s The Last of Us Part 2 review.

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Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, IGN’s weekly PlayStation podcast. Find him on Twitter @jmdornbush.

Xbox Insider Release Notes –Alpha Ring (2006.200529-2110)

Hey Alpha ring users! Today’s Xbox Insider Release Notes highlight the latest fixes, known issues, and features coming to your console. Starting at 2 p.m. PT today, users will receive the latest 2006 Xbox One system update (build: RS_XBOX_RELEASE_200619041.3011.200529-2110). Keep reading for more details.

System Update Details:

  • OS version released: RS_XBOX_RELEASE_200619041.3011.200529-2110
  • Available: 2 p.m. PT – June 1, 2020
  • Mandatory: 3 a.m. PT – June 2, 2020

System Update

Fixes for Alpha

We’ve heard your feedback, and we’re happy to announce the following fixes have been implemented for this 2006 build:

Home

  • Fixed an issue where content blocks would show the incorrect title (“XXX” or YYY”) when viewing on dashboard.

System

  • Various updates to properly reflect local languages across the console.
    • Note: Users participating in Preview may see “odd” text across the console, for more information go here.

Xbox Insider Release Notes

Known Issues for Alpha

We understand some issues have been listed in previous Xbox Insider Release Notes. These issues aren’t being ignored, but it will take Xbox engineers more time to find a solution. We appreciate your patience at this time!

Audio

  • Users who have Dolby Atmos enabled and console display settings set to 120hz with 36 bits per pixel (12-bit) are experiencing loss of Dolby Atmos audio in some situations.
    • Workaround: Disable 120hz or set Video Fidelity to 30 bits per pixel (10-bit) or lower.
  • Some users have reported that Dolby Atmos for Headphones audio setting changes when the console is rebooted/updated.
    • Note: If you attempt to set the audio to Dolby Atmos for Headphones and see a message advising you to launch the Dolby Access App, please file feedback before launching the app.

Game DVR

  • We are aware some users are unable to record game clips in 1080p with recent updates. We are aware and investigating.

Guide

  • When installing or updating a game/app, the installation progress bar may not show progress.  The issue is known and being investigated.
  • We’ve received reports that the Friends tab is not showing the correct status of online/offline friends.
  • Some users may notice that the Guide has changed appearance and functionality, this is expected behavior as there are certain experiences being flighted among a random subset of users in Preview.

Messages

  • Users are reporting that Message notifications that have been marked as read are re-appearing as new. We are aware and investigating the behavior.

My Games & Apps

  • Users have reported seeing black tiles instead of game artwork when browsing their collection.
    • Note: We are still investigating the issue, please report the issue again from the console if you have done so with a prior update and are still seeing this behavior.
  • Some titles in collection may appear with a “trial” tag incorrectly in collection.

Profile Color

  • Sometimes users may encounter the incorrect Profile color when powering on the console.

Are you not seeing your issue listed above? Make sure to use Report a problem to keep us informed of your issue. We may not be able to respond to everyone, but the data we’ll gather is crucial to finding a resolution.

Learn more about feedback and how each ring is differentiated in the following links:

For more information regarding the Xbox Insider Program follow us on Twitter and join the community subreddit for support and updates. Keep an eye on future Xbox Insider Release Notes for more information regarding your Xbox One Update Preview ring!

Related:
Xbox Insider Release Notes – Alpha Skip-Ahead Ring (2007.200529-0000)
Xbox Insider Release Notes – Beta, Delta and Omega Ring (2006.200527-0000)
Xbox Insider Release Notes – Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Ring (2006.200527-0000)

Check Out Liberated, The Playable Dystopian Comic Book, In This Launch Trailer

Launched and Liberated.

Liberated is a brand new game for Switch, a graphic novel in playable form that blends a branching dystopian comic book narrative with side-scrolling, stealthy action-adventure gameplay. It’s out tomorrow and we can now reveal a brand new launch trailer released by the developer – check it out above.

The game was announced for Switch during last December’s Indie World Showcase and features eye-catching hand-drawn art that underlines the shades of grey in the narrative. It’s a story which involves surveillance, misinformation, fake news, technology and the weaponisation of personal data – all modern issues ripe for exploration.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Sony Delays PS5 June Reveal Event

Sony has announced that it has decided to delay the PlayStation 5 reveal event, originally set for June 4.

“We have decided to postpone the PlayStation 5 event scheduled for June 4. While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard,” the statement reads.

Sony originally had announced last week a PS5 reveal event for this Thursday, June 4, which would have debuted games set for Sony’s next-gen console, the PlayStation 5. Since that announcement, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic the world is facing, protests around the United States and the world have been ongoing, centering on police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

Sony has not announced any rescheduling plans for the event or its included announcements. It remains unclear at this time whether planned games will be showcased in the weeks and months to come or if Sony will put together a replacement event down the line.

The PS5 is still set for a holiday 2020 launch, and Sony CEO Jim Ryan recently said the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed the company’s plans for the PS5 price. The only aspect of the physical console Sony has shown is the DualSense, the PS5’s new controller.

Review: Liberated – An Atmospheric Comic Book Take On Grim Dystopia

Liberated, rated.

Imagine a world in which a totalitarian government exploits our reliance on social media to take control of every aspect of our lives. It’s not a particularly radical thing to conceive of, is it? You could even be forgiven for calling it a fairly clichéd premise. But as Liberated demonstrates, there’s a reason why clichés become clichés; because they work.

Liberated takes comic book presentation to its logical extreme, with the narrative and gameplay taking place within digital issues of, well, a comic book. Each panel is a story scene or playable section of varying length, and in the early game, you’ll find there’s a lot of scene-setting and talk and not a huge amount of actual time spent playing. This would be a problem if the story wasn’t a well-presented, skilfully-written and interesting take on what we acknowledge are familiar tropes. The art in the comic book segments is superbly drawn and fits beautifully with the black-and-white noir-style graphics of the side-scrolling gameplay sections. This lends Liberated a consistency that a lot of narrative video games don’t manage to deliver.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Players’ Choice: Vote for the best new game of May 2020

Welcome back! Lots to choose from in this month’s Players’ Choice poll, whether you’re venturing into the depths of Minecraft Dungeons, becoming an unstoppable action hero in John Wick Hex, reliving the gritty glory of 80’s action flicks in Huntdown, or just causing all kinds of trouble as an electricity-imbued shark in Maneater.

PS VR had a big month, too, with the launch of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Gorn, and Pixel Ripped 1995.

Get those votes in below before Sunday at 11:59pm Pacific, and we’ll reveal the winner next week. See you then!


How does it work? At the end of every month, PlayStation.Blog will open a poll where you can vote for the best new game released that month. Soon thereafter, we’ll close the polls, tally your votes, and announce the winner at PlayStation.Blog. PlayStation Store will also showcase some top Players’ Choice winners throughout the year.

What is the voting criteria? That’s up to you! If you were only able to recommend one new release to a friend that month, which would it be? In keeping with our long tradition in the Game of the Year Awards, remastered or re-released games won’t qualify. Ambitious, larger-scale rebuilds and remakes like Shadow of the Colossus and Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will.

How are nominees decided? The PlayStation.Blog and PlayStation Store editorial teams will gather a list of that month’s most noteworthy releases and use it to seed the poll. Write-in votes will be accepted.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass News Coming Tomorrow

We’ll get more details on Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Expansion Pass tomorrow, June 2 at 6am Pacific / 9am Eastern / 2pm UK / 11pm AEST.

Revealed in a tweet by the Japanese Pokemon Twitter account (below), no details were given of what could be revealed. However, with the first expansion for the latest Pokemon games – The Isle of Armor – due to arrive by the end of June, it seems likely we’d get a release date.

The Pokemon Sword and Shield expansions will include The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra (due this Fall), and each will add a new open area to explore. They’ll also add new legendary Pokemon, new regular Pokemon, new Galarian forms, and dozens of returning Pokemon that were previously unavailable to catch.

It marks a new step for the Pokemon franchise – which has previously preferred to release new versions of the same game, or semi-sequels. We think this is a very good next step.

We awarded Pokemon Sword and Shield a 9.3 review, and since named it one of the best Nintendo Switch games.

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Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter.