Articles by Jason Schreier

call of duty

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Goes Standalone For $40

Last year, Activision included a remastered version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with every copy of Infinite Warfare. But lots of people wanted to buy Modern Warfare separately, and now that’s finally an option—for forty bucks. On Tuesday, June 27, Modern Warfare Remastered will be available both physically and digitally for PS4, with “other platforms to follow,” Activision says. It comes with the campaign and 16 multiplayer maps. Advertisement This $40 standalone version of Modern Warfare does not include the “variety map pack” that Activision sells separately for $15, so if you want everything, you’ll have to dish out even more. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Hardcore Destiny Players Will Get Emblems In Destiny 2

We’re just two-and-a-half months away from Destiny 2, a video game that I cannot wait to play obsessively and complain about even more obsessively. But what will I get to bring over from the first game? Emblems, as it turns out. Among other surprises. Destiny fans have been bracing for the loss of their weapons and gear in Destiny 2 since last September, when Kotaku reported that the sequel would leave our old characters behind. In March of this year, Bungie confirmed the news, saying that Destiny players would lose everything in their vault, but that they’d get to bring some sort of mark of their accomplishments to Destiny 2. And now, we’ve got more details. On the Bungie blog yesterday, community manager David “DeeJ” Dague wrote that they’re keeping some of the Destiny 2 bonuses for hardcore Destiny players under wraps. But he also showed off some of the emblems that will pop up on your Destiny 2 character if you’ve accomplished certain things by August 1, 2017. Advertisement You’ll get emblems for the following: completing a Moment of Triumph during year one completing all ten Moments of Triumph during READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Final Fantasy XIV's Director Says There's Still So Much More To Do

Naoki Yoshida at E3 2016 (last year) Naoki Yoshida just wouldn’t stop looking at his computer. The beloved producer, credited with transforming Final Fantasy XIV from disaster to dream MMORPG, kept typing and clicking as I spoke to him last week in a private room at E3, frowning occasionally. So I asked what he was looking at. “Because we’re under maintenance right now, any sort of issues that happen at this timing could potentially delay the start of early access,” Yoshida said, speaking through a translator. “If my response is not fast enough, that could delay the opening of the service to players.” Then he laughed. “And plus for myself I’m downloading the patch.” That was Thursday, June 15, a day before the early access launch of Final Fantasy XIV’s newest expansion, Stormblood. In the days following our chat, Stormblood would run into a series of server issues that undoubtedly led to much more frantic clicking, typing, and frowning. The servers have settled now—and fans are loving Stormblood’s new quests and dungeons—but it was a rocky first week. Advertisement Yet Naoki Yoshida is still having a blast. He’s been director and producer READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


The 2017 Steam Summer Sale Is Now Live

It is time once again for the annual ritual of buying PC games you’re never going to play—welcome to the 2017 Steam summer sale. The sale is live on Steam right now and includes major discounts on the Final Fantasy, Ghost Recon, and Call of Duty franchises. Today’s highlights include Shadow of Mordor for $4, Mafia III for $15, and Steamworld Heist for $5 among many other deals. Whenever Steam’s servers decide to start working again, you can also get Nier: Automata for $42, the entire first season of Hitman for $24, and Darkest Dungeon for $10. South Park: The Stick of Truth for $7.50 is also a steal. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Podcast: How Spider-Man PS4 Came Together

Insomniac CEO Ted Price joins us on today’s Kotaku Splitscreen to talk about virtual reality, what it’s like to be a CEO at E3, and how the Spider-Man PS4 game came together. First we talk about some of the games we’ve been playing, like Nier: Automata (3:53), StarCraft II (8:15), and Wolfenstein. Then it’s time for the news of the week including Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood’s troubled launch (21:43), IO Interactive going independent (25:43), and Pokemon Go getting an update (32:31). We travel back in time to last week, when I interviewed Insomniac CEO Ted Price (34:13) about Spider-Man and VR, and then Kirk rejoins the show to talk about all the books he’s been reading (1:03:12). You can download the MP3 right here. Advertisement As always, you can find Splitscreen on Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Reach us at with any and all questions, requests, and suggestions. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

The Upside Of Making A Big E3 Demo

The developers of Days Gone spent nearly three months developing their big E3 demo, but it wasn’t just for sizzle. The game’s creative director says building the demo helped them figure out whether parts of their zombie game were actually fun to play. Speaking on an episode of Kotaku Splitscreen during E3 last week, Days Gone creative director John Garvin talked about what it was like to make their flashy E3 demo, why their zombies are called “freakers,” and how being in Portland influenced the game. You can listen to the whole episode here, or see a partial (lightly edited) transcript below. Jason Schreier: How long does it take to make a demo like this? Because you guys showed a six, seven minute demo — a solid demo. Advertisement John Garvin: I think we first started tossing ideas around for it back in March. Schreier: Wow. Three months. Garvin: Yeah, and we did a [motion capture] shoot, and captured some stuff. One of our goals was to not do stuff specifically for the demo—we wanted to make it real. So everything we were doing was going to be part of the actual game. We were polishing stuff that hadn’t been…

Pillars of Eternity Comes To PS4 And Xbox One

Pillars of Eternity is coming to consoles, following in the footsteps of other big isometric role-playing games like Torment and Divinity. It’ll be out for PS4 and Xbox One on August 29. I got to play a brief demo of the PS4 version at E3 last week, and the new user interface seems like a nice fit. The text is sufficiently large, you can use character abilities via radial menus, and there are prompts that make it easier to select objects with joysticks and buttons. But Pillars on PS4 also felt a little janky during my quick hands-on with it. There was some sort of input lag as I played that prevented the game from recognizing when I’d stopped moving the joystick, which sent my characters walking an extra 2-3 seconds after I’d told them to stop. (The demo handlers mentioned that this could have been the controller battery, but I’ve had a PS4 since it came out and my controller has never done anything like that when it’s low on battery.) After the Torment console port (which, like Pillars, was developed in the Unity engine) turned out to be busted, it’s healthy to be skeptical of this one until it…

adam brennecke

Pillars of Eternity II Lets You Run Your Own Pirate Ship

The second Pillars of Eternity is aiming to be the Baldur’s Gate II to Pillars of Eternity’s Baldur’s Gate. And if that line makes no sense to you, here’s another selling point: It’ll let you helm your own pirate ship. Last week at E3, I watched a brief demo of Pillars of Eternity II and spent some time talking to its executive producer and lead programmer, Adam Brennecke, for Kotaku Splitscreen. You can listen to that episode in full here, or read a partial (lightly edited) transcript below. Jason Schreier: What have been the challenges this time around? I’ve heard some of the challenges you guys ran into for the first game. Advertisement Adam Brennecke: It’s actually surprisingly smooth sailing. Which is kind of a— It’s smooth sailing because we have a lot of ships. Oh man. That’s terrible. Schreier: Oh god. Podcast over. Brennecke: Surprisingly, it’s going really, really well. We have two more months of production, and at that point we’re in alpha, and once we reach alpha, we’re really going to play the heck out of the game to see where we’re at. Advertisement READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

5th Cell

The Secret Behind Scribblenauts: Making Objects By Hand (And Lots Of Crunch)

Scribblenauts Unmasked Back in 2009, a little game called Scribblenauts blew minds across the world with a single ambitious concept: you could make anything. By typing a noun on the in-game keyboard, you’d conjure that object into the game’s world. The game could recognize just about anything, from common (dinosaurs) to esoteric (Shoggoth). Most people believed that this impressive system was the result of complicated math, but according to one designer, the real secret was hand-crafting. On Twitter yesterday, former 5th Cell designer Liz England talked about “mathwashing”—the myth that a service is created by algorithms when it’s actually crafted by hand—and mentioned Scribblenauts as an example. “Belief: In Scribblenauts the objects were all data driven & relied on inheritances, systems,” she wrote. “Reality: hand authored 1 by 1 & lots of crunch.” England, who now works for Ubisoft (and wrote this excellent piece about what video game designers actually do), went on to explain that many of the objects in Scribblenauts required careful massaging to get right. Although the design team at 5th Cell was able to categorize every item in the game and give many of them shared (or inherited) properties, there were always exceptions. For READ FULL…


Metroid: Samus Returns Feels Great To Play

Last week, Nintendo surprised everyone with the announcement of Metroid: Samus Returns, a remake of Metroid II. Here’s another surprise: It’s basically finished. And a fact that’s probably not so surprising: It looks and feels fantastic. At E3 in Los Angeles last Thursday, in a private room within Nintendo’s VIP booth, I sat down with a copy of Metroid: Samus Returns and played through the first 20 minutes of the game alongside three of the people who worked on it: Yoshio Sakamoto, longtime producer of the Metroid franchise; Jose Luis Marquez, a director at MercurySteam, the company behind the game; and Tim O’Leary, a veteran translator and member of Nintendo’s Treehouse. A few things stand out. One is that development on the game is complete, according to O’Leary, although we’ll have to wait until September 15 to play it. Another is that it feels more like a brand new 2D Metroid than it does a remake of a Game Boy game. MercurySteam, a studio previously responsible for the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series (which included Mirror of Fate, a sidescrolling 3DS game directed by Marquez), has done an excellent job making Metroid: Samus Returns smooth and satisfying. READ FULL STORY…

jason schroeder

Making A South Park Game Is Harder Than You'd Think

Last week, a poster on the message board NeoGAF asked why South Park: The Fractured But Whole was taking so long to develop. After all, isn’t 2D easy to draw? “First and foremost,” the poster wrote, “the game uses the same graphical style as the show. Which is probably the easiest to make.” Well, my dear Mousnis, making a crummy-looking 2D game can be tough. The new South Park game, which comes out in October, has been in development for nearly three years. The developers at Ubisoft San Francisco have already delayed it at least once (from last December) and while the process has been smoother than the last game, Obsidian’s Stick of Truth, it’s still enormously complicated. While speaking to Jason Schroeder (no relation) last week at E3 for our podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, I asked why it’d take so long to make a game that looks so stylishly crappy. You can listen to the show here, or scroll down for a partial transcript. Jason Schreier: I actually saw someone on the internet today—and you know people on the Internet are very nice— Advertisement Jason Schroeder: They are. They’re actually very READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Xenoblade Chronicles X's Director On Localization Changes: 'I Didn't Mind Much At All' 

In the heated ongoing conversation over “censorship” in localization, we’ve heard a whole lot from fans and even translators, but we haven’t seen much discussion from Japanese developers. Which is why, when speaking to Tetsuya Takahashi this week in Los Angeles, I asked him for his thoughts on the matter. His answers were a little surprising. Takahashi, CEO of the Japanese developer Monolith Soft, was the executive director of Xenoblade Chronicles X, a game that caused a stir in late 2015 among certain crowds who complained when Nintendo removed certain features for the Western version of the game. In Japan, for example, the 13-year-old character Lin Lee could wear a bikini that exposed most of her body. For North America, Nintendo removed that. Advertisement Fans cried out that Nintendo had censored the developers of Xenoblade Chronicles X, but it didn’t seem to bother Tetsuya Takahashi. “In terms of Xenoblade Chronicles X, there’s been a few different changes that were made to the game, but my personality is such that I’m not a stickler for products that I’ve already made, so I don’t really mind what the final product turns out to be in that sense,” Takahashi told me. “I really…


The Makers Of Final Fantasy XIV Are Still Deciding How To Add Blitzball

Blitzball is coming to Final Fantasy XIV, but director Naoki Yoshida doesn’t know how to make it happen. He’s torn between two options, he says, and both of them sound pretty good. Blitzball, which is sort of like underwater soccer except players can poison one another, is both a minigame and significant plot point in the PlayStation 2 game Final Fantasy X. Back in February, Yoshida told fans that he hoped to add blitzball to Final Fantasy XIV, where it would join other iconic mini-games like Triple Triad (FFVIII) and the Gold Saucer (FFVII). Problem is, he doesn’t know how to implement it. Advertisement “There are two different ideas that have been in the pipeline,” Yoshida told me during an interview in Los Angeles yesterday, speaking through a translator. One of those ideas is implementing Final Fantasy X’s blitzball as a sport you can play directly in Final Fantasy XIV. “[If we did] that, the fans that are especially familiar with blitzball would be excited—they’d be like, ‘Here’s the blitzball that we’ve been waiting for,’” Yoshida said. “But looking at it as an element within an MMORPG might not be appropriate. It might not READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


The Real Story Behind Xenogears' 'Unfinished' Disc 2

Xenogears, widely considered one of the greatest role-playing games ever made, has long felt to fans like an unfinished product thanks to its controversial, seemingly unfinished second disc. Although western gamers have assumed that the team simply ran out of money, the real story—as revealed by director Tetsuya Takahashi to Kotaku today—is a little more nuanced. Whereas the first disc of Xenogears is a sprawling role-playing game, full of towns and dungeons and beautiful cut-scenes, the second disc takes a different approach. Disc 2 of Xenogears chooses to tell rather than show the game’s epic finale, putting main characters Fei and Elly in a dark room and having them narrate the game’s climactic events while a slideshow plays on a screen in front of them. It’s an unusual and jarring change of pace. Conventional wisdom has long been this: Square ran out of money and rushed the team, forcing Tetsuya Takahashi to put Xenogears’ second half together with duct tape. Fans have always believed that Takahashi had more ambitious plans but was forced to ditch them because of budget and time issues. Advertisement As far as I can tell, however, there’s READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!