It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2

From what we’ve seen of Project Cars 2 so far, it’s looking to be a gorgeous simulation driving game that has enough under the hood to give hardcore fans a lot to play with. It has been a significant effort for Slightly Mad Studios to get Project Cars 2 looking and running so well. We caught up with Slightly Mad COO Rod Chong recently for a wide-ranging interview, one part of which touched on Project Cars 2’s graphical abilities.

He told us that Slightly Mad is always looking to dial things up to 11 when it comes to the look and performance of its racing games. For frame rate specifically, Project Cars 2 runs at a bare minimum 60 FPS, because anything lower would mean “death.”

It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2
It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2It's "60 FPS Or Death" For Project Cars 2

“You’re always pushing boundaries,” Chong said. “You’re always pushing new rendering features. New areas of the physics engine, which are taxing the processors more. If the performance starts dropping off or the frame rates are not maintained in the way that you want, that can be challenging. Our bare minimum is 60 frames per second. It must be 60 frames per second or death. The feeling of the car is not there [if the frame rate is] below that. Or if you’re in VR, you start getting ill below 60 frames per second. We have the optimisation worked out reasonably well now, but certainly there have been so moments where had to really push hard to optimise, optimise, optimise.”

Slightly Mad’s overall ambition with Project Cars 2 is to make the “most beautiful, most advance driving experience possible,” Chong told us. He added that he doesn’t see Project Cars 2 so much as a game as it is a racing simulator that professional drivers might even use to hone their on-track skills.

“It’s ultimately all about immersion and you always need to be pushing the look of the game,” Chong explained. “Simulation racing titles are a bit of an arms race if you look at the different titles out there. I think you can look at what we’ve achieved with the visuals and it kind of speaks for itself.”

Slightly Mad goes to the extreme to to ensure top-notch graphical quality for its games, Chong said. “There is a reason it’s called Slightly Mad Studios–seriously.”

Keep checking back with GameSpot for lots more from our conversation with Chong.

In other news, Slightly Mad recently talked about how the Xbox One X version of Project Cars 2 will look “significantly better” than the PS4 Pro edition. While Microsoft’s new console is impressively powerful, it can’t stand up to the rig you could create on PC. But outside of a high-end PC, the best-looking version of Project Cars 2 will be on Xbox One X, Slightly Mad game director Stephen Vijoen said.

Project Cars 2 launches on September 22 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. For more, you can check out all the cars and all the tracks through GameSpot’s new videos below.

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PUBG Sells 7 Million Copies, Passes 600,000 Concurrent Users – Report

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is one of the most talked-about games right now, and some new statistics speak to just how enormously popular the Hunger Games-like shooter is.

According to Steamspy data (via Metro UK), the game has passed 7 million copies sold. That’s a huge number, and it’s pretty impressive when you consider the game only came out in March and the fact that it remains unfinished. It’s been on Early Access since release.

Battlegrounds costs $30, so with 7 million sales, it could have brought in as much as $210 million in revenue already. As of this writing, Battlegrounds sits on top of Steam’s Top Sellers chart.

Another figure that speaks to the popularity of Battlegrounds is 620,612. That’s the number of people who were playing the game at the same time today at peak, according to publicly available Steam data. Earlier this month, Battlegrounds passed 500,000 concurrent players, so it continues to grow. It’s edged out CS: GO in terms of peak concurrent players, but is still behind Valve’s hugely popular and free MOBA DOTA 2, which it may never catch.

PUBG Sells 7 Million Copies, Passes 600,000 Concurrent Users - Report

Battlegrounds, created by developer Brendan Greene, is developed by Korean studio Bluehole. Recently, the developer talked about how it will release updates less frequently until the game’s official release. As for Greene, he’ll be at Gamescom 2017 in Germany next week where he will talk about how he created Battlegrounds.

PC is just the start for Battlegrounds. It has also been announced as a “console launch exclusive” for Xbox One, and is due out later this year on that console. An update for Battlegrounds on Xbox One X is also in the works. The wording of the exclusivity suggests that it could come to other platforms, potentially PlayStation 4, later, though this is not confirmed.

For lots more on Battlegrounds, check out all of GameSpot’s written and video content here.

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PC RTS Spellforce 3 Has A $130 Collector's Edition; Check Out Its New Trailer

SpellForce 3 launches this December, and today THQ Nordic announced that the game is getting a Collector’s Edition. The publisher also released a new trailer that shows some of story beats that you can expect from the RTS/RPG hybrid.

SpellForce 3’s special edition will run you $130 / €130, and it comes with some pretty cool stuff. You’ll get an artbook, a copy of the game’s soundtrack, an amulet, and an 8-inch statue of the commander Sentenza Noria, who acts as your mentor in-game.

PC RTS Spellforce 3 Has A $130 Collector's Edition; Check Out Its New Trailer
PC RTS Spellforce 3 Has A $130 Collector's Edition; Check Out Its New TrailerPC RTS Spellforce 3 Has A $130 Collector's Edition; Check Out Its New TrailerPC RTS Spellforce 3 Has A $130 Collector's Edition; Check Out Its New Trailer

You can check out the new cinematic trailer in the embed above. It recaps the story leading up to the third game in the series and hints at some of the events that’ll unfold. It’s also gorgeous, and even if it doesn’t show gameplay, it gives a good idea of the narrative tone and environments that you can expect.

SpellForce 3 launches on December 7 for PC, but you can pre-order the Collector’s Edition starting tomorrow, August 17. The game includes a long campaign that can be played both solo and cooperatively, as well as competitive multiplayer.

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Crackdown 3 Delayed To Spring 2018

Crackdown 3 will no longer launch on November 7 alongside the Xbox One X. Microsoft confirmed today that the Xbox One and PC action game is now coming in Spring 2018.

In a statement to Polygon, Microsoft Studios GM Shannon Loftis said delaying the game will give studios Reagent Games, Sumo Digital, and Cloudgine the time they need to deliver the “hugely ambitious” game to their quality standards.

“We’re very excited about Crackdown 3, and so are many fans, and so it’s a difficult call to move the release date,” Loftis told the site. “However, we want to make sure to deliver the right game, with the right quality, and at the right time. Crackdown 3 is a hugely ambitious game and we want to ensure we deliver the right experiences all the way through every part of the game, whether that’s campaign, co-op multiplayer or our competitive multiplayer mode, Wrecking Zone. Getting the balance right between the three modes is important, and we are going to take the extra development time to ensure that. Gamers can expect Crackdown 3 in Spring of 2018.”

More specifically, Loftis said the extra time will give the development teams the time they need to “focus on the visual polish” in an effort to make a game that “completely” immerses players in a “living world.”

“We want them to really feel the larger-than life enemies as they’re exploring the expansive open world, combatting crime, and collecting orbs,” she said.

This is just the latest delay for Crackdown 3. The game, or at least a part of it, was originally scheduled to arrive in 2016. When it was delayed to 2017, creative director Dave Jones said the game’s multiplayer experience “will redefine what it feels like to play games.” Loftis confirmed on Twitter that the entire Crackdown 3 is delayed to Spring 2018, not just one part of the full package that includes campaign, co-op, and a Wrecking Zone mode.

Microsoft is expected to release new footage of Crackdown 3 during Gamescom 2017 later this month. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

At San Diego Comic-Con last month, Microsoft released a new trailer that showed off actor Terry Crews’ character, Commander Jaxon–check out the video embedded above.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War's Shelob Takes The Form Of A Woman, Here's Why

If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings–or even if you’ve just seen The Return of the King–you’ll remember the horrifyingly large spider, Shelob. The monster very nearly kills Frodo, after all, quite possibly coming closest of all enemies to actually halting Frodo’s quest. But in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Shelob takes the form of a decidedly un-monstrous woman. Recently, creative vice president Michael de Plater explained to Eurogamer why, exactly, Shelob isn’t a massive spider in the game.

Monolith and de Plater, it turns out, have extended JRR Tolkien’s lore to explain Shelob’s transformation. De Plater views both Shelob and her minion, Gollum, as heroes of a sort, with Shelob having successfully manipulated Gollum into succeeding in destroying the One Ring, where Frodo failed. In his and the team’s eyes, Shelob and Gollum are “more human” than the unnaturally moral main characters.

“A big part of what we do is look at these characters that are in kind of the grey zone–they’re not as pure good as Gandalf or Aragorn, they’re more human,” he argued. “So you’ve got Shelob representing darkness and then you’ve got Galadriel representing light, so you’ve got a duality between these two powerful women basically opposing each other in the same way that there’s a lot of duality in our game.”

As a result, having Shelob appear as a woman allowed Monolith to convey that duality more clearly. It allows them to draw distinctions, such as communicating that Shelob, and not Galadriel, is the more honest character.

“We were also thinking really in a lot of ways that, not intentionally, but it felt like Gandalf and Galadriel kind of lied to them [the Fellowship] a little bit about their chances,” he explained. “And what differentiates Shelob is that she’s completely honest… So she’s evil, or perceived as evil, but she has this honesty to her, and so as we started thinking through that and thinking of her as this dark mirror to Galadriel and filling that role in our story of that narrator and what that would look like.”

This transformation is couched in JRR Tolkien’s fiction, although Tolkien, of course, never went so far as to portray Shelob as a woman. But de Plater argues that Shelob’s lineage allows her to shapeshift: her mother, Ungoliant, is described by Tolkien in The Silmarillion as a primordial spirit with the ability to change her form.

De Plater’s explanation sounds like not much more than elaborate head canon to me, but considering the breadth of the universe that Tolkien detailed, it’s not too much of a stretch. In any case, Shadow of War’s predecessor, Shadow of Mordor, already took many creative liberties with the fiction, such as making the Ring-maker Celebrimbor one of the main characters.

Shadow of War launches on October 10 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Warner Bros. recently detailed the game’s online multiplayer functionality, which you can learn about here. In addition, you can read more about Shadow of War’s loot box and microtransaction systems.

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NBA 2K18 Gameplay Trailer Shows Off More Of Its Ridiculously Detailed Players

If you didn’t get enough of a glimpse at this year’s NBA 2K game with its first trailer, you’re in luck. 2K has released another gameplay video showcasing NBA 2K18‘s impressive visuals.

Featuring the song “Shook Ones” by Mobb Deep, which is one of 49 songs on NBA 2K18’s soundtrack, the two-minute video is comprised primarily of player celebrations, reactions, and dunks. Much like our previous look at the game, 2K18 continues to impress with its alarmingly accurate versions of the NBA’s biggest stars. It even seems to have nailed Lonzo Ball’s awkward shooting technique, which is quite the accomplishment.

We’ve still yet to see a proper view of an actual game being played, but these more cinematic shots do afford us an opportunity to see how accurate players models are. It’s also a chance to glimpse some players in their new uniforms–Paul George in a Thunder jersey still doesn’t look right quite yet.

The trailer concludes by plugging the upcoming release of The Prelude. This is a free download on PS4 and Xbox One that allows players to create a character and begin playing MyCareer mode. It launches on September 8, while the full game launches on September 19. Those who pre-order the game will get their hands on it four days early, on September 15, as well as some other bonuses.

September 15 is the same day that competitor NBA Live 18 launches. A demo for that game recently became available, and EA Sports is making a strong play to attract fans by discounting pre-orders by 33%.

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Check Out Sonic Mania's Secret Knuckles Mode In Action

Sonic Mania is now available–unless you’re stuck waiting for the PC version–and it appears to be the game that many Sonic fans have been hoping for. Not only that, but it also features a special mode that plays off a popular Sonic joke.

As featured in the video above, & Knuckles mode allows you to have the titular echidna follow you around, much like Tails in past games. It can be activated even if you’re playing as Knuckles, allowing you to create a Knuckles & Knuckles experience.

This #TwinsDay, we’re pumped to announce KNUCKLES & KNUCKLES, coming Summer 2029. #KnockKnock

— Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) August 7, 2015

The reference dates back to an old joke stemming from a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 add-on, Sonic 3 & Knuckles. This spawned a running joke that involves tacking the phrase “& Knuckles” onto virtually everything, which even the Sonic Twitter account–never one to miss out on a meme–has referenced on numerous occasions.

The exact requirements for unlocking & Knuckles Mode is unclear. It’s possibly tied to progressing through the main campaign and bonus stages; we were completing those while also playing through the game as Knuckles. There are other secrets, too, though as our Sonic Mania review notes, enabling them disables save functionality. That means you’ll have to make it through the game in one sitting if you choose to use them.

This strange limit on secrets was one of the few gripes raised in our review, which stated, “An excellent 2D platformer, Sonic Mania goes beyond expectations, managing to be not only a proper evolution of the series’ iconic formula, but the best Sonic game ever made.”

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We Happy Few Release Date, PS4 Version Announced

We Happy Few, the unsettling first-person game showcased during Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference this past June, is currently available in Early Access and Game Preview for PC and Xbox One, but now we know when the full version is set to launch. Developer Compulsion announced that the title will receive a physical release courtesy of Gearbox next year, and in addition to the aforementioned platforms, it will also arrive on PlayStation 4.

We Happy Few will launch worldwide on April 13, 2018, and the final release will contain new content. That includes a full-length campaign featuring three “moderately terrible” playable characters who each have “their own reason for giving up on artificial happiness,” as well as more than 250 encounters. You can watch a new trailer for the game below.

We Happy Few Release Date, PS4 Version AnnouncedWe Happy Few Release Date, PS4 Version AnnouncedWe Happy Few Release Date, PS4 Version AnnouncedWe Happy Few Release Date, PS4 Version AnnouncedWe Happy Few Release Date, PS4 Version Announced

We Happy Few will retail for $60. Those who pre-order the game will receive a bonus Jolly Brolly parasol weapon. Gearbox is also releasing a limited-edition We Happy Few Collector’s Set, which includes ’60s-themed items such as a replica Bobby mask, lamp, alarm clock, vinyl soundtrack, and other items. However, it will not include a copy of the game “so that Early Access players can purchase it separately.” The Collector’s Set runs for $150.

We Happy Few is set in an alternate-history version of 1960s England in the fictional town of Wellington Wells. Players take on the role of characters who refuse to take their mind-altering happy pills and must find a way to escape from the town without being caught by its citizens. Players can get Early Access to the title right now on PC and Xbox One for $51. Compulsion released a new update for it today dubbed “Life in Technicolour,” which adds new Joy effects and improves other aspects of the game like UI and AI.

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Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Patches Will Be Released Less Frequently

Since Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds‘ Early Access release this past March, developer Bluehole has supported the immensely popular title with a steady stream of patches and updates. Now, however, the developer has announced that new updates for the game will be rolling out less frequently until its official release.

Bluehole discussed the change in a post on the game’s Steam forums. According to the developer, the reason behind the decision is to “improve how we work on the game.”

“We’ve found internally that being rushed to finish certain features, and having shorter QA test time between pushing updates caused more issues than it solved in regards to maintaining a high standard of quality,” Bluehole said. “We want to put our best content out, and ensure that everything we do is making the game more enjoyable with every update.”

But while updates may not be coming as frequently as they once did, Bluehole says it will “utilize the test servers for significantly longer periods of time” and still issue patches and any other fixes when necessary. This approach allows the developer to ensure any new features are “thoroughly polished” before they are introduced to the game.

Despite the change in its update schedule, Bluehole assures that the full release for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is “still on-track” to arrive during its revised launch window. Initially, the game was scheduled to officially release on PC by the end of October, though it was recently pushed back to “before the end of Q4 2017.” The game is also slated to go into Early Access on Xbox One late this year. Playerunknown himself, Brendan Greene, will be hosting a panel about the game during Gamescom next week.

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For Honor 1.11 Update Adds Characters, Fixes Notorious Exploit; Full Patch Notes Released

A major new update for swordfighting game For Honor has been released on all platforms. Along with new content, it also makes some improvements and resolves an exploit that was controversially used to win a recent For Honor esports tournament.

For Honor update 1.11 introduces two new characters. The Highlander is a Viking Hybrid character who hits hard but is challenging to play; he wields a claymore and has Offensive and Defensive stances. The Gladiator is a Knight Assassin with high attack speed who has a trident and is easier to play.

There are also a pair of new maps. The Knight-themed Sentinel is set in a cliffside watchtower and can be played in any game mode. The Viking-themed Viking Village can also be played in all modes, except for Dominion.

As for the exploit, Nobushi’s “unlock tech” has been addressed. “There are a number of situations where unlocking during an attack can cause it to become un-parryable by the opponent,” Ubisoft explained in the patch notes. “Across the game, we’re currently working to remove this unintended behavior.”

This is notable in light of a For Honor tournament that took place this past weekend, in which a player, Jakub “SB.Alernakin” Palen, won by taking advantage of Nobushi. He didn’t lose a single set en route to taking the $10,000 prize, culminating in what arguably seemed like a contentious trophy ceremony.

The 1.11 update makes a number of other balance changes as well–you can check out all of these in the full patch notes here. With this release, Season 3 is underway, which will see Ubisoft continue trying to fix the game.

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