The 2015 Horizons expansion is being added to Elite Dangerous in anticipation of its major Odyssey expansion in 2021.

The 2015 Horizons expansion is being added to Elite Dangerous in anticipation of its major Odyssey expansion in 2021.

Frontier Developments has announced that Elite Dangerous, its space (trucker) simulator and competitor to Star Citizen, will have its only paid expansion, the 2015-released Horizons, folded into the main game on October 27 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The expansion added planetary landing, weapon crafting, ship-launched fighters, multi-crew co-op, and exploration with the SRV Scarab ground vehicle, among other things.

For those who invested early – perhaps five years early – they will be granted an exclusive “Azure ship paint job” compatible with all ships. Get in there quick, then, and it could still be yours.

It all comes in anticipation of the game’s major add-on coming in 2021, Odyssey. The major expansion will add on-foot exploration of planets, first-person combat, refreshed visuals, social hubs, NPC missions, thousands of new settlements, and more. There will be no VR on launch, but perhaps you can forgive them that?

The game is already a bottomless pit of sheer space given that less than 1% of its galaxy has even been explored according to Frontier. These expansions should do a lot to add colour to the void.

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Science and ‘video shame’ writer. Probably looking for political messages about meaningful systemic change in the latest Star Wars game.

First on the starting grid is EA’s Need for Speed Payback. Which Need for Speed is that you ask? It’s the 2017 effort from Ghost Games. The racing isn’t actually that bad, but the game is dragged down by creaky storytelling and aggressive microtransactions. It’s worth a quick spin.

Next up is Vampyr, Dontnod’s 2018 tale of bloodlust and revenge set in Edwardian London. It’s a distinctly AA game but not without merit for fans of gothic fiction and Hippocratic hokum. In our review, we said that a “vivid sense of time and place, and a fantastic central idea, soon turn pale with repetitive combat and a forest of conversation trees.” It certainly doesn’t suck.

Both of next month’s free PlayStation Plus games are available to download from October 6, 2020.

September’s PlayStation Plus games – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Street Fighter V – are available to download until next week. And if you’re playing on Xbox One, Microsoft has also confirmed the four titles coming to Games with Gold in October.

Take a look at our new releases page for regular updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 games. You should also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

In 2019, before Cyberpunk 2077’s big E3 showing, CD Projekt Red requested an interview with Jason Schreier, then of Kotaku. Schreier, now with Bloomberg, is one of the industry’s foremost voices on video game labour and conditions, with a level of access many of us dream of.

In that conversation, which was published on Kotaku, CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcus Iwiński spoke of a “non-obligatory crunch policy” for developers working on Cyberpunk 2077, and promised that the developer, famed for its intense crunch on games like The Witcher 3, wanted “to be more humane and treat people with respect”.

Now, weeks out from the release of Cyberpunk 2077, Schreier reports that mandatory crunch is now in effect at CD Projekt Red, following an email from studio head Adam Badowski.

“Starting today, the entire (development) studio is in overdrive,” Badowski wrote, elaborating that this meant “your typical amount of work and one day of the weekend.” The extra work would be paid, as required by Polish labor laws. Many other video game studios don’t pay for overtime.

“I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,” he wrote. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch. It’s also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back — that crunch should never be the answer. But we’ve extended all other possible means of navigating the situation.”

It’s important to stress at this point that crunch is not simply “a bit of overtime”, as many armchair commentators on social media are quick to suggest. Crunch, in video game development terms, is the systematic failure of project management that leads to extended periods – weeks, months, or sometimes years – of development staff working horrific hours with no respite. That will often involve six- or seven-day weeks, evenings and weekends, totalling 60-, 70-, or 80-hour weeks. Week in, week out. For months. Delays to release dates, which you might think offer a reprieve, often simply extend and elongate the crunch.

CD Projekt Red is always keen to point out that – as per Polish labour law – crunch is paid overtime for its employees, reportedly time-and-a-half for evenings and double-time for weekends. This sounds brilliant to our American friends and colleagues, who – far removed from the sorts of working time protections we enjoy in the EU – might have to perform similar crunch with no additional remuneration, only holding onto the vague promise of bonuses should the game perform well upon release.

And for an odd evening here or there, or the weekend before release, that would be fine. That would just be regular overtime.

But when crunch is a culture and lasts for months – or years – it’s no wonder that burnout is endemic in this industry and attrition rates are so high. It’s also often referred to as “optional” but there is a tacit expectation that everyone must crunch; just look at Rockstar, where the Housers reportedly expected everyone to be working if they were, and they were always working. Nobody wants to be seen as letting their teammates down when everyone else is suffering together, missing their families, struggling with their mental health and exhaustion.

Crunch is far from the only issue with Cyberpunk 2077, with questions around the game’s use of racial stereotypes, cultural appropriation, and attitudes towards transgender people circling since that E3 demo. And no doubt people will still buy it in droves. A large portion of the gaming public simply won’t care about the cultural harm or the conditions its developers face. Or, at least, will care less about that than their desire to play the hot new video game. Some will see working on a game like Cyberpunk 2077 as such a “dream job” that people should suffer any poor conditions with a smile.

But we once thought that the food industry wouldn’t change, as was the case with battery-farmed eggs. Then, when the public stopped buying them in favour of higher-welfare options, the industry changed its ways. The same is true of the cosmetics industry and the growth of cruelty-free products with the “Leaping Bunny” accreditation, or the market for ethically-sourced produce with certifications like “Fairtrade” or “Rainforest Alliance”.

These campaigns prove that when the public votes with its feet – or more to the point, with its wallet – then the industry of production can change.

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

You might have noticed something a little… different about Peter Parker in the PS5 remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

You might have noticed something a little… different about Peter Parker in the PS5 remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

The narrative around the remaster of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 5 has been confusing, to say the least. Now, it’s gotten weird.

If you own the base game on PS4, for instance, you don’t get a free upgrade on PS5. Nor will you get to carry over your saves between generations. But if you buy Spider-Man: Miles Morales for PlayStation 4, then you will get a free upgrade to PS5 for that. But you can’t buy the ultimate edition of Marvel’s Spider-Man – that includes both the remaster of the original game and the Miles Morales expandalone – for PS4, so yeah, you’ll basically have to buy it again in some form to get the remaster.

Remember Peter Parker, AKA title character Spider-Man, in the PS4 game? Well, he’s looking a little… different in the PS5 remaster.

What appears to have happened, here, is that Insomniac has recast Peter Parker, like Aunt Viv’s sudden change after the third season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But that happened because (reportedly) Will Smith fell out with original Aunt Viv actor Janet Hubert. That can’t have happened with an already-modelled digital character, right?

“In order to bring the best performances to players with our next-generation Marvel’s Spider-Man games, we have recast the face of Peter Parker. We loved working with John Bubniak on the original game; however, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console. He looks incredible in-game, and Yuri’s moving performances take on a new life.”

Fans of the game are making fun of the changes on Twitter, with many speculating that it’s to make the video game character resemble his big-screen counterpart, Tom Holland.

You can see why people are thinking that. What’s also weird is that, for an “older” portrayal of Spider-Man – 23, according to the game’s marketing – he now looks significantly younger; far closer to the high school-aged Parker of the current Marvel movies.

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Microsoft’s Game Pass service gets bigger in November by assimilating the basic version of EA’s rebranded subscription service, EA Play.

The news was announced earlier this month, but EA Play’s inclusion with an Xbox Game Pass subscription Ultimate at no additional cost has been confirmed for November 10. (There’s something else important happening on that date, right?)

The PC variant of Game Pass has slightly longer to wait with a final December date to be confirmed.

The Microsoft’s FAQ clarifies that this complimentary EA Play subscription can’t be upgraded to EA Play Pro. This is the PC-only tier of the service that offers access to brand new releases, all additional/season pass content, and early access to games.

“If you’ve purchased both Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and EA Play through the Microsoft Store when the EA Play member benefit unlocks for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members, your EA Play subscription will be cancelled, and any remaining time over 50 days will be rounded up and converted to the nearest month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at a ratio of three to one.”

Microsoft is betting big on Game Pass with their recent purchase of ZeniMax Media and Bethesda committing all future Bethesda releases to the service and adding previous blockbusters like Doom Eternal on October 1.

Game pass surpassed 15 million subscribers this month. That’s up from 10 million in April. It shows the sheer momentum the service is getting, which will likely only now increase with recent announcements.

It’s easy to imagine a subscription-only future wherein every other service has been folded into Microsoft’s. Whether that’s a veritable gaming apocalypse or utopia is up to you!

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That’s great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Sony is celebrating some of the best video games of the generation with a new sale of PS4 and PS VR games.

With the release of the PlayStation 5 rapidly approaching, Sony is highlighting some of the best games of the PlayStation 4 era in a brand new PSN sale.

Many of the PS4’s best exclusives are reduced, including a 25% discount on Ghost of Tsushima, the well-received feudal Japan epic from Sucker Punch Productions. Other discounted games to make Xbox One owners jealous include Marvel’s Spider-Man, Bloodborne, and Horizon Zero Dawn. But probably not Days Gone.

Third-party picks include Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Monster Hunter: World, and Red Dead Redemption 2. PS VR owners should also ensure they don’t miss out on Astro Bot: Rescue Mission or Blood & Truth. If you are upgrading to a PS5, most of these titles should be playable via backwards compatibility.

Somewhat amusingly, several older games are also on offer in remastered form. Bluepoint’s thoughtful update of Shadow of the Colossus comes recommended, as does the Batman: Arkham Collection, and L.A. Noire.

Here’s a selection of the games on offer from the North American and European sales. Visit the PlayStation Store in your country for the complete lineup of discounts. The promotion ends on October 14, 2020.

For more video game savings, visit our dedicated sales page. And stay up to date with the latest gaming new by following Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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“Sometimes the only thing to do in cold weather is have an ice cream!”© 2020 Thumbsticks | Video game news, features, reviews | PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, 3DS, and PC.

Source: https://www.thumbsticks.com/elite-dangerous-horizons-free-all-players-09302020/

Elite Dangerous, Frontier Developments plc, Elite Dangerous: Horizons, Expansion pack, PlayStation 4

World news – CA – Elite Dangerous paid expansion, Horizons, will soon be free for all players – Thumbsticks

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