This week's highs and lows in PC gaming


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James Davenport: fOrtnITe

I don't like going into replay mode in Fortnite lately. When they first load up, I keep encountering weird, mismatched skin glitches where the textures for one character are literally plastered onto another. I hate them so much that I collected footage of a few and made a tiny montage of the horrific, pitiful skin monsters. Familiarizing yourself with discomfort can help you transcend it. I don't know that it worked this time. 

Samuel Roberts: PT returns

PT was a free teaser on PS4 that stealth-announced Silent Hills, a now-cancelled PS4 game from Kojima Productions (the old version). Its deletion from the PlayStation Store has given it an almost mythical status, but it also sucks—Konami could just put this horror masterpiece on all platforms instead of making it impossible to play. I bet if it sold for $5 it'd make a ton on Steam. 

On the plus side, this has led to a number of projects designed to salvage the game from the dead. 17 year-old first-time dev Qimsar has recreated the corridor, and it's well worth checking it out just for a taste of the game if you've never played it.

Phil Savage: ArenaNet's statement

Last night, ArenaNet issued a statement announcing that two of Guild Wars 2's developers were “no longer with the company”. You can see the full story here, but the short version is that Jessica Price and Peter Fries were fired from the company for a series of remarks made following a heated Twitter exchange with Guild Wars 2 Twitch streamer (and ArenaNet content creation partner) Deroir.

ArenaNet's statement paints Price and Fries' tweets as “attacks on the community”. That feels like a mischaracterisation of what happened, and one that ignores a lot of context—making Price and Fries' dismissal seem like a massive overreaction in response to a growing mob. Price's original reply may seem terse as a response to Deroir's tweet, but it wasn't made in a vacuum.

There's a larger context here that needs to be discussed—where women in gaming are more likely to be contacted on social media by people who presume to know their jobs better than they do. Deroir's tweet does strike me as condescending, which doesn't mean it was malicious. And, while Price's response may seem extreme, it can't be divorced from this history of patronising, overly familiar responses to women online.

For ArenaNet to reduce that to “attacks” on the community, and to fire Price—and Fries for tweeting in her defence—feels like an incredibly harsh step that surely sends the message that developers are better off not interacting with their community, and that genuinely fascinating threads that broaden our understanding of the design process of the games we love are better left unposted.

Joe Donnelly: Souls searching
I am not one of those people who thinks the 'Souls-like' label needs to die. I totally get where people like Austin and James are coming from, but I'd happily take more of the same—be that Bloodborne 2 or another venture into Dark Souls' twisted, ever-recurrent world. After a hands-off demo at E3, Steven tells us Sekiro, From Software's next game, subverts nearly everything we've come to expect from Dark Souls. I'm quietly cautious of this. 

Unlike Souls, this game has a central, story-led protagonist. It has but one ninja class. And it seems publisher Activision is providing "much-needed support" on Sekiro's tutorial system—something which was almost non-existent in the Souls series. All of which sounds a far cry from what we're used to and, from an entirely selfish point of view, what I want next from From Software. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I'm not digging what I’ve seen and read so far. 

Chris Livingston: The Sins 4

I'm left once more wondering why I'm so awful when I play The Sims 4. I just finished ruining Santa's life for no reason, and prior to that I did breeding experiments on raccoons and cats, I made a group of nice Sims unknowingly engage in a deadly battle royale game, and I neutered a bunch of pets without asking their owners for permission. Why can't I just have a nice game of The Sims where I buy a little house and meet the neighbors and raise kids and have a garden? Why am I always the worst?

Andy K: Fan fest

The UK is currently enduring a summer heatwave. People who live in warmer countries will find the idea of us struggling to handle 28-degree weather hilarious, but our bodies aren't used to it AND our houses are designed to retain heat. It's especially bad if you work from home. My flat doesn't have air conditioning, because very few homes here do, and I have a big, hot gaming PC whirring away at my feet, pumping warm air around me all day.

I have a lot of fans in my PC, and it radiates heat like a miniature nuclear reactor. This heatwave shows no signs of abating. I'm looking at the forecast now and it's endless. A forever heat. An infinite summer. Oh, how I yearn for winter, when I can look at my temperature monitoring software and see my PC cool and serene. But until then I'll just keep drinking ice water and pointing his rattly old desk fan at my face.

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