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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for screeching around the internet, gathering the best games writing of the week. Then they're for eating as many roast potatoes as we can contain.

  • At PC Gamer, the always wonderful Chris Livingston tried playing Fallout 4 with only charisma and luck.
  • The two goons see Chuck's drawn gun and immediately stop what they're doing. This is thanks to Intimidation, the 10-star Perk that was immediately available to me after maxing out Charisma. It gives me a chance to pacify human enemies who are lower level than I am. In fact, the goons are so intimidated that when I demand they give me their money, they immediately do. How does it feel, jerks?

  • While at the same site, James Davenport does the important work of pitting Fallout 4's Dogmeat and MGSV's D-Dog against one another.
  • Dogs. Who are they? What do they do? Where do their barks really come from? While we can’t answer the oldest canine questions, we at PC Gamer know a thing or two about which dogs are better than others, especially in PC video games.

  • At Eurogamer, Christian Donlan played Call of Duty: Black Ops 3's campaign backwards, which is possible now that every chapter is unlocked from the start.
  • I like the idea of playing Call of Duty backwards. You ease in with a climactic gunfight and maybe even a hectic race through a burning installation of some kind. You travel onwards, ducking endless monologuing hypervillains and navigating artfully scattered thickets of betrayal until you eventually get to meet the people who have just betrayed you. And then, at the very last moment, as the wreckage thins out and the music starts to suggest impending doom, somebody finally teaches you how to crouch. Game over.

  • At the Guardian, Will Freeman interviewed Sebastian Alvarado about how scientific reality can help players suspend disbelief. Not that realism is essential or that fantasy is bad; just that garbage made-up science is more likely to be spotted and to pull the player out of the fiction.
  • A player is more informed on their media than they have ever been before, and developers want to engage them with their best ideas. While accuracy isn’t the most critical part of our work, suspending disbelief with plausibility is. We carefully pick parts of our scientific discipline to facilitate this engagement.

  • Sticking with the Guardian, George Osborn's review of Football Manager 2016 is good. I agree with its points but not its conclusion.
  • The same interpersonal side of the game – where you manage conversations like some kind of footballing version of Mass Effect – is also recognisable. Though there are more interactions available to you when you’re speaking to the press, geeing up your players or talking tactics with your coaches, the new options exhaust themselves fast. Very quickly, the limited set of familiar well-worn comments and responses become an unintended satire on footballing discourse.

  • Criminy, how did we miss this. Californium is a game inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Ars Technica has more.
  • To accomplish this, they sought out a French illustrator named Olivier Bonhomme, whose art teems with vivid colours and psychedelic imagery. The team also actively wanted to move away from what Roubah describes as the “classic, rainy, dark, Philip K. Dick” style and return to what the author put into his novels which, coincidentally, was very much coloured by his history with recreational chemicals.

  • At FemHype, Rachel W. looks at what Read Only Memories has to say about identity and inclusivity. I enjoyed ROM's demo but haven't had time to play the rest.
  • The game even makes sure that the player is involved by asking them to chose their own pronouns; she, he, they, ze, xe, or you can set your own by using the custom settings. Read Only Memories highlights that it is not only essential, but also that it is easy to be inclusive of identities—and you can even get playful with it. At one point, Turing questions their own gender and if the concept of gender can be applied to a machine. They allow ‘he’ for convenience because they are blue, but ultimately, they don’t mind.

  • At the New Statesman, Phil Hartup does the easy but important work of dismantling in-game lore which explains why women are naked.
  • We’re assured that she manifests as a nearly naked hologram rather than a clothed one like the others for a very good reason. According to the developers, “she does it is to attract and demand attention. And she does it to put people off so they're on their guard when they’re talking to her and that she has the upper hand in those conversations”.

  • I missed this, but just before the release of Fallout 4 Alex Wawro at Gamasutra spoke to developers of previous Fallout games about the lessons they learned and the challenges they faced. An interesting note inside about team sizes, in a world where Ubisoft throw hundreds and hundreds of people at their own open world games.
  • Todd Howard once estimated that roughly 80 people worked on the team that made Fallout 3, and studio follow-up Skyrim boasted a team size of more than 90. By comparison, the original Fallout was developed by a team of one for months -- at its height, the game had a total team size of roughly 30 people, according to Cain, who recalls the game costing “about $3 million” to develop -- nearly $4.5 million in 2015 if you account for inflation.

  • Cool Ghost's Subterfuge diaries continue and continue to be excellent with part four.
  • Music this week is Grimes' new album, because what else? I like the whole album but here's the easiest starting point.

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