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Hey, hopefully you never see this.

Fall Update for Battleborn confirmed to be its last

It’s the beginning of the end for Gearbox Software’s beleaguered multiplayer shooter Battleborn. In a forum post made on September 15th, Gearbox staffer MereAtGBX relayed a message from the game’s Creative Director Randy Varnell who confirmed that no further content will be coming to the game after the Fall update. Varnell is quick to add that the servers will remain active for the foreseeable future but with active development wrapped up and a flagging player base (judging loosely by SteamSpy and SteamDB charts), there’s only so much time left before the game is taken offline. Varnell’s full message follows.

Hello Friends –

It’s been a while since I’ve communicated with you directly, so I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you as Battleborn rounds another milestone in its life.

As of this week, there will be no more Battleplans and there is currently no planned content after the Fall Update. Details of any future changes or news will be made on our forums or through social media, so keep your radars on.

Never fear! Battleborn is here to stay. Nothing is changing with Battleborn, and the servers will be up and active for the foreseeable future. We announced the Fall Update for the game at PAX including some new skins, themed around some of your favorite Borderlands characters! That update will also include some updated title art (more full bar titles!) for the more significant challenges in the game, as well as some additional Finisher Boosts and Taunts. Also, there are minor balance changes in that patch.

If you’ve been paying attention to recent news from the Gearbox Panel at PAX West, you’ll have heard that many folks at Gearbox are working on a highly anticipated project. Although I’m sad my time on Battleborn is coming to a close, I’m happy to announce that I will play a significant role on this highly anticipated but unannounced game, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing some from me again in the future regarding Gearbox games.

I’ve been working on Battleborn nearly exclusively since 2012, and in some ways, that work stretches back to 2009 for me. It’s been a long labor of love with many of my good friends at Gearbox, and I’m proud to have shared that journey with you, our community. Your spirit and loyalty have been a constant inspiration to the team at Gearbox.

Also, I want to personally thank you for giving Battleborn a chance, and dipping down into a new universe with us. We make games for you. And many of you have shared with us how much Battleborn has meant to you personally.

It’s always a bittersweet time when transitioning from one project to another, but also offers the opportunity to step back and enjoy the game we created. Keep an eye out for me in game!

For now, Commander Jythri is signing off and taking the first transport back to a wonderful box of surprises.

You are awesome.

For Solus.

Miiverse, Wii U Chat shutting down November 7th Worldwide

Nintendo confirmed today what intrepid dataminers have suspected since July: the Nintendo Miiverse service is shutting down. On November 7th, 2017 at 10:00pm Pacific Time the Miiverse service will be discontinued on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS handhelds, and on the web. The Wii U Chat service which enabled voice and video messaging between consoles is also being shut down alongside the Miiverse.

In their FAQ support page Nintendo explains the decision: “We started the Miiverse service in 2012 along with the launch of the Wii U system because we wanted to provide a space where users could share their feelings about games with each other. Thanks to users’ support throughout the years, we think we were able to achieve that goal. We decided to end the service at this time because,  among other reasons, many users are shifting to social networking services.”

Nintendo will also provide a means for users to download their Miiverse posts after the service ends through the http://miiverse.nintendo.net site. Users won’t be able to save comments and replies but a few weeks after the November 7th deadline, users who register at the Miiverse site will be emailed a unique URL to download their original posts.

A full list of 112 effected titles across the Wii U and 3DS is available here but Nintendo addressed several titles in more detail:

  • Super Mario Maker (Wii U): Users will still be able to share levels, but will no longer be able to comment on them.
  • Splatoon (Wii U): Miiverse posts will no longer display in Inkopolis Plaza or the game’s stage maps.
  • Super Smash Bros. (Wii U, Nintendo 3DS): The Miiverse stage will still be playable, but Miiverse user posts will not display in the background. Players will also be unable to post replays to YouTube/Miiverse, share stages or create tournaments.
  • Mario Kart 8 (Wii U): Players will not be able to upload game-play videos to YouTube since they also post to Miiverse at the same time. The tournament function will also not be available.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U): In Xenoblade Chronicles X, the BLADE report feature will no longer be available.
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U, Nintendo 3DS): While users will still be able to play Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars and complete all 88 levels in the main game, the Community feature will be discontinued, preventing players from sharing levels and receiving additional Stars. As there will be a limit to the number of Stars that can be obtained, not all objects may be unlocked from the Workshop. Further info.

More details and more answers can be found at the Nintendo Support announcement and FAQ pages. The shutdown date has been added to the Watch List and calendar.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online shuts down December 6th

Just over a month after releasing a controversial redesign, the team at Neople have announced the end of service for their free-to-play online shooter Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online for the Western world. This comes just weeks after publisher Nexon announced the game’s closure in Japan would take place on November 29th. The statement posted on the game’s official forum on August 21st reads:

We’re sorry to inform you that we will be sunsetting Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online in North and South America, Europe, and the Oceania region, with final closure scheduled for December 6.

This was a very tough decision to make. The game has been in development for a long time, supported by developer, publisher, and community effort. Ultimately, we decided that continued development wasn’t going to help the game become what we all hoped it could become.

We will be supporting the game for the next several months during the sunset period, allowing both the development and publishing teams and the community to say goodbyes and enjoy the game.

In the near term, we’ll be removing the in-game store and will stop selling Steam DLC immediately. After several months, the game service will be closed for good on December 6, 2017 at 10am PST.

It’s been a humbling experience to serve such a dedicated and engaged player community. We sincerely thank you for all the feedback and support you’ve given us throughout the years.”

Looking at the game’s playerbase on SteamDB, it’s not hard to see some of the reasoning behind the decision. Since the game’s launch on July 28th, 2016 the number of daily players dropped precipitously and by the Fall it regularly had just over 1,000 players each day. The “renewal” update in July generated a small peak when longtime players returned to find the game in drastically different form.

One of the major changes in the update separated the characters and weapons into classes. Suddenly the guns that players had put the most time into were no longer available to the characters they preferred. Despite the improvements and additions this change apparently didn’t sit well with fans.

The calendar and Watch List have been updated and the game page is now live.

Rock Band Blitz to be delisted by August 28th

Harmonix has just announced on the Rock Band forum that Rock Band Blitz will be removed from sale “on or before August 28th, 2017”. The game was released in late August of 2012 for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 but unlike Rock Band Unplugged for PSP, Blitz never saw a physical release. Once it’s gone it’ll be Extinct.

Fortunately, all 25 songs on the Blitz setlist can be exported into Rock Band 4 at no additional charge. Harmonix has a support page here with details on how to make the transfer. You’d be best off going through the steps as soon as possible as the soundtrack export is technically a piece of DLC for Rock Band 4 and may also be removed after August 28th.

The 25 songs will still be available as standard DLC for Rock Band 4 and according to Harmonix “will remain up until further notice”. August 28th is the five-year anniversary of the game’s release and with the songs remaining as DLC it’s likely that the delisting marks the end of a licensing deal for Rock Band Blitz exclusively.

I have the game page up now but anyone interested in grabbing the game before it’s gone can do so on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 for $14.99. Thanks to Polygon for spreading the news.

All out of Gum, err, Games: Duke Nukem Titles now on the Site

If I can go a week without thinking or saying the name “Duke Nukem” I’ll be happy. I’ve had a placeholder page up almost since the site launched because I knew fleshing it out would be a lot of work. Turns out, there was even more work to be done than I was expecting.

Thanks again to SHROOMY for laying the groundwork with a submission, we’ve now got six titles on the site that span numerous platform releases with an overview of what happened. It’s fascinating and if it weren’t for the development hell of Duke Nukem Forever all these games would probably still be online.

Like other delisted games that are wound up in a bigger story, each page has the full breakdown so choose your favorite flavor! Duke Nukem, Duke Nukem II, Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, the 3D Realms Anthology, or Balls of Steel.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD leaves Steam on July 17th

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD just didn’t capture the hearts of fans. Was it a bad implementation of the early series gameplay or is Tony Hawk nostalgia impossible to recapture? Whatever the case, Activision has chosen to remove the game from Steam on Monday, July 17th, 2017.

In a tiny bit of goodwill, the announcement was made ahead of the delisting and the game was put on sale for $1.99 until the 17th. It’s also on sale on Xbox 360 but currently full price on PlayStation 3. The delisting was only announced for Steam but chances are good it’ll also be removed on console as well. The game’s one piece of DLC which adds classic levels, riders, and the Revert mechanic remains $4.99 on all platforms.

Thanks to SHROOMY for the tip!

news-tomorrowchildren

Q-Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment announced in a bi-lingual post on the game’s Japanese site that online service for The Tomorrow Children will end November 1st, 2017. As the game requires these online services to function The Tomorrow Children will be unplayable and Extinct after this date. The statement is sincere, if a bit boilerplate and vague:

“We would like to thank you all for playing The Tomorrow Children up until now. The Tomorrow Children development and operations team would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for taking part and enjoying our title since the service began in September 2016. We want to apologise to all of our users who still continue to enjoy this title and ask for your understanding with the decision to end the service.

There is only a short amount of time remaining, however The Tomorrow Children development and operations team hope that you can all continue to enjoy our title until the end of service. And we would like to extend our thanks and best wishes to you all who continue to enjoy and play our game.”

No further explanation has been given but due to the game’s free-to-play nature and grueling design choices, the decision was most likely made due to low retention of active players. The post also contains a timeline of important dates leading to the end of service starting with the July 6th announcement:

    • July 6th, 2017 (Thu) – Service End Announcement (This Announcement)
    • July 6th, 2017 (Thu) – “Thank You Sale”, discounted prices on DLC and Freeman Dollars through September 28th.
    • September 28th, 2017 (Thu) – Removal of the Founders Pack, and Freeman Dollars from the PlayStation®Store, as well as end of new downloads for the title and special items. Share Play will not be able to play after this date.
    • November 1st, 2017 (Wed) 17pm (Japan Team) – End of Service

There’s a good chunk of time left before the game shuts down so if you were ever interested, give it a go. It’s quite a punishing grind to get started (as it should be, given the subject matter) but there really isn’t anything quite like it. If nothing else it’s got a visual style that should be seen first-hand before it’s gone.

The game page is up and relevant dates have been added to the calendar. At least one hands-on video will follow before the game is gone.

Touting an easy Platinum Trophy "Top Rated" has been pulled from PSN

The scintillatingly titled ‘★★★★★ 1000 Top Rated’ was released on PlayStation 4 earlier this week and removed by Sony within 48 hours. Polygon reported on the title that was singled out by Jim Sterling as a quick way to earn a Platinum trophy. The game itself is a tile-swiping puzzler based on Top Rated’s numerous wallpapers and themes already released on the PlayStation Store.

In a response posted on their Facebook page, Best Themes explained that “Sony has pulled the game temporarily and asked me to change the game’s name & not mention trophies in the Store trailer. I am happy to comply! I don’t know when it will be released again, but I’ll update this page as soon as I know.

For now the game is absent from the PlayStation Store but its page on PlayStation.com remains. I’m holding out a while longer before officially adding it to the site but it’s tagged to the Watch List until we see how things shake out.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round anime DLC Delistings

Team Ninja announced at the end of May 2017 that two packs of cross-promotional DLC costumes for Dead or Alive 5: Last Round would be removed from sale over the summer. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this until June 20th, the same day that the first round of “Fairy Tail Mashup” costumes was delisted. Fortunately, there’s still time for Attack on Titan fans to grab the remaining tie-in costumes which will be delisted on July 18th, 2017.

Both batches of DLC are being removed from sale on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam precisely one year after their release. Those who had previously purchased any of the content (alone or in the Season Pass/Costume Pass bundles) will still be able to re-download the items and continue to use them in game.

It’s hard to tell what this means for the other tie-in DLC in the game. The Schoolgirl Strikers, Falcom, Gust, Tatsunoko, and Arc System Works costumes are all over a year old and remain available. Coming up on their one-year anniversaries are the King of Fighters costumes (September) and the Aquaplus costumes (December). If you’re interested in the existing licensed costumes or the two listed above, grab them soon! You can check all of the DLC available for the game on the official DOA5 site.

Team Ninja’s full post is included after the cut.

news-ios11

Having only ever owned one Apple product, the original iPad, I’ll let this succinct quote from Kotaku sum up the situation.

“iOS 11 is currently in beta, but even now, some 32-bit games aren’t showing up in the App Store. You can still search for them on Touch Arcade, and as Gizmodo’s Rhett Jones points out, ‘If you use a direct link, the app is still available for download. What this means is you can still grab that old app that you meant to buy or would like to own again.’ That method will only work for a little bit longer, though; in the coming months, iOS 11 will drop support for 32-bit games completely.”

The rest of the post has a few quotes from iOS developers about their individual titles but this is the gist of it from 9to5Mac. “Starting in January 2018, all new apps submitted to the Mac App Store must support 64-bit. From June 2018, the same requirement applies to new apps and updates. This marks the start of a transition where in a few years, 32-bit Mac apps will no longer be supported and won’t run.”

This stands to impact tens of thousands of apps and games from defunct studios or from teams with limited resources to make the required updates. If you’d like to verify which of your own apps might be at risk, 9to5Mac’s post has a handy walkthrough. Otherwise, try Touch Arcade to get a direct link to download some of these endangered titles.