Episode 8: The Division 2, Heaven’s Vault And Interview With Joe Humfrey From Inkle Studios

Intro

Welcome to This Week In Video Games Episode 8, my name is Tom Kershaw and I hope you’re doing well and having a good week. This is a podcast all about the world of video games.  

This week we’ll get into first impressions of The Division 2 and Heaven’s Vault – a new open world narrative adventure game from Inkle Studios. We’ve got an interview with Joe Humfrey – co-founder of Inkle Studios and we’ll be talking more about the upcoming Heaven’s Vault. In the news this week we’ll talk Apex Legends, Hollow Knight, a potential Borderlands 3 tease, BAFTA Game Awards nominations and Microsoft confirm Xbox Live coming to iOS and Android. Finally we’ll round out the week with the all platform charts.  

If you want to get involved in the show email us on podcast@thisweekinvideogames.com or check out the latest on the website. Send in your questions, comments and video game stories – we’re always interested in hearing from you. We’re also available on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram – so search This Week In Video Games on your favourite platform and join in the conversation.

[END INTRO]

Welcome to the show everyone. I’m back in London this week after 10 days of traveling for my Winter holiday. I’m back in London now, where we’re got storms rolling overhead and generally very unsettled weather going on. However it’s good to be back in London and back with you for This Week In Video Games and it’s been another action packed week of news and releases in the world of video games, so I’m looking forward to going through all that with you today.

Thank you so much for taking the time to download or stream This Week In Video Games. I really do appreciate every listen we get and you taking the time out to hang out with me each week and talk about video games.

Plug

Games My Mom Found is a podcast where each week the hosts dive into a different retro game.  Some are great, some are not.https://gamesmymomfoundpodcast.podbean.com
Lets get into what I’ve been playing this week.

What have I been playing?

This week I’ve been playing The Division 2 and Heaven’s Vault in video games. I’ve also been playing Game of Thrones Boardgame through thronemaster.net.

The Division 2 First Impressions

The Division 2 is out and Massive/Ubisoft look to improve on where they left off with the first game.

The Divison 2 is an online action RPG and is Massive Entertainment’s follow up to The Division. The original Division game released to much fanfare however, the initial offering wasn’t up to the standard of its competitors. As the months went by Massive continued to develop The Division and by the end of the development cycle, it was in a good place. Massive pick up from where they left off in The Division with their latest game.

Played from a third person perspective throughout, you take control of a Division Agent in Washington DC. The story is set several months after the end of the original game in the midst of a civil war between survivors and rouge groups.

Where as the first game was set in the dark New York City, The Division 2 is set in a lighter, brighter Washington DC. As you start the game the Agent is defending a civilian outpost when they receive a distress signal coming from the Capital. The Agent set off for the city and meets up with the Joint Task Force who have set up their base at The White House. The Division controller then sets the Agent to work helping out the civilian settlements.
The game is a mix of missions, projects and side quests which you can play solo or as a group. As with many looter-shooter games it really comes into its own with friends. Matchmaking is good and finds you a team of people if you haven’t got 3 friends to play with.

Missions are varied and take advantage of the cover system. The enemies are less like bullet sponges this time and their attacks feel fresh and can be difficult. Enemies flank you, throw grenades to where you’re camped and attempt to flush you out. The respawn system is fairly forgiving if you die always taking you back to the most recent checkpoint. You’ll be battling enemy factions like The True Sons, Hyenas, Outcasts and Black Tusks.

The Division 2 is great fun. It’s easy to jump in, team up and get straight into the action. You can play through the main campaign solo just fine but teaming up is easy also. The UI and loot system is fairly complex and will no doubt take some getting used to. However, the loot drops on a regular basis, armour and upgrades are plentiful. The skills have been upgraded for The Division 2 also with assault drones, chem launchers and seeker mines included.

Much like many looter-shooter games the end game is where the action opens up. I’m approximately 6 hours into the game at the moment, but I am enjoying my time with it.
The end game has been prioritised by Massive Entertainment and this time the Dark Zones have been increased from one to three. The Dark Zones are described as Player vs Environment vs Player, where you can team up with others if you choose to do so. There are a few end game features to look out for:

PVP – Take on other players to prove your skills an earn powerful gear

Co-op activities – Team up with others to take on some of the hardest challenges in the game

Clans – Join a clan and team up regularly

It’s been promised that new content will be added to The Division 2 or a regular basis and all DLC content will be free. This includes new missions, maps and new features. Although the DLC will be free there we don’t know yet the full details on the in-game monetisation features. Massive have been tight-lipped about these details so far.

I dropped off quickly from The Division, but I think there’s enough here for me to keep coming back. I’ll be following up with a full review once I’ve got through the campaign and into the end game.
The Division 2 is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Heaven’s Vault First Impressions

Heaven’s Vault is the new game from Inkle Studios where you explore an open-world with archaeologist Aliya Elasra and her robot sidekick Six. Your job is to explore The Nebula, an ancient network of scattered moons and solve the secrets of the past. Along the way, you decipher an ancient language and as you uncover more the story unfolds.

Heaven’s Vault is a beautifully crafted game with a compelling story that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more.

The main gameplay mechanic is deciphering an entire hieroglyphic language through a series of puzzles. You are presented with hieroglyphics and guess at what they might mean. As you progress through the game an uncover meaning related words are translated. It sounds complex, but it’s not. The game eases you into the puzzles and you’ll pick it up quickly and it really reinforces the sense of discovery and mystery. The translations you choose feedback into the story affecting the main character Aliya’s ideas about what she’s found.

The game has a non-linear design meaning you can take on the story in an order you wish. The game remembers choices you make, and the ones you don’t and feeds that back into the narrative for what happens next.

Aliya and Six travel around the Nebula on their ship discovering lost sites, exploring ancient ruins and uncovering the secrets of the past. There’s a whole range of characters to interact with and not all of them are happy to see you snooping around their moons and asking questions.

You start the game as Aliya is introduced to Six in the main city. Six has been assigned to Aliya to help out on a quest to find a colleague who’s gone missing. It sounds simple but the story is gripping and keeps you wanting to find out more.

The game starts with a simple statement – you are needed urgently and off you go. From there you ask questions, discover clues and you’re taken through a mysterious world. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but the story is all about discovery.

The story is subtle but the game contains a timeline mechanic to allow you to discover more of the back story as and when you want it. Each action is recorded on your timeline for you to go back to when you want. Events from the game are recorded and crucially events before you start the game, are also there in the timeline for you to go back to. It’s a neat feature of the game which allows you to dip in when you want to find out more. If you don’t want to then you can simply continue with progress through the Nebula.

The game has a blend of 3D environments and 2D art style for characters which is simple, but very effective. The characters are partially animated but there’s a very serene quality to the animation which adds to the beautiful story-telling.

The audio tells a similar story to the graphical art style. It minimalist but gives you enough information at the right time to keep you hooked. I was chatting to a character and pressed them too hard for clues, clearly offending them. The music turned to the minor keys and made me feel uncomfortable. Much as my questioning of the character must have made them feel uncomfortable.

Heaven’s Vault isn’t like other games you play. It’s not loud, brash and in your face. It’s subtle, beautiful and very refreshing. The game has a retro point-and-click feel to it harking back to Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle.

From the first moment I played Heaven’s Vault I was drawn in by the story, the art style and the characters. I sat down for a session and before I knew hours had gone by and I found myself thinking about the game long after the session had ended.

It’s great to see a British Developer with confidence clearly on form. Heaven’s Vault follows on from Inkle’s successes of ’80 Days’ and ‘Sorcery!’. I’m looking forward to the full game release and we’ll follow this up with a full review once the game has been released.

Heaven’s Vault is available this spring on PS4 and PC via Steam.

Interview with Joe Humfrey of Heaven’s Vault 

We’re lucky enough here at This Week In Video games to get some time with Joe Humfrey, co-founder of Inkle Studios, and we got together to talk about their upcoming game Heaven’s Vault.

[INTERVIEW]

That was Joe Humfrey and myself chatting about Heaven’s Vault. As we said before on the show Heaven’s Vault is a great new game that’s coming out this Spring released on PC and PS4 so keep your eyes open for that one. 
Next up let’s check out the news.

News Apex Legends Balance Patch

Respawn detail their Apex Legends balance patch.
Respawn have released a Apex Legends Balance Patch to all platforms addressing some of the main issues players have had with the game. Apex Legends has proved wildly popular recently announced they hit 50 million players worldwide.

Developers detail in the post they want to make meaningful, polished updates to the game. This is opposed to frequent iterations in the live environment as people spend time mastering the game.

The main weapon changes in the game effect The Wingman (hand cannon) and The Peacekeeper (Shotgun). On the Wingman the rate of fire has been reduced as well as the headshot multiplier reduced. The Peacekeeper’s reload speed has been reduced, which makes players a little more at risk if they miss their shot. The Wingman and Peacekeeper availability has been reduced in all zones and the energy weapons & ammo availability has been increased. These changes are live in the game right now.

Larger character hit boxes are also discussed, however there are no changes just yet. These changes could be rolled out at the start of Season 1, however Respawn want to thoroughly test the changes before making the update to make sure the balance is right.
We’re yet to hear of Season 1 and Battle Pass news, however Respawn say the news is coming – there’s “a lot of moving parts” to a big launch so they want to get it right. Fair enough.

Check out the full patch notes on Apex Legends Reddit.
Respawn also recently released some awesome artwork for the game, which you can check out here. Check out our thoughts on the game in the review.


Gearbox Teases Borderlands 3 For March Reveal

Gearbox tweeted some exciting news today hinting towards Borderlands 3. Gearbox have sent Borderlands fans into meltdown by tweeting this.
Gearbox did reveal previously that it would have some exciting details for PAX East this year and today they teased for Borderlands 3 The tweet refers to the venue location of PAX East in the Borderlands style.
All eyes are now on PAX East on 28-31 March 2019.

Hollow Knight To Get Physical Release

Team Cherry and Fangamer announce details of the physical release of hit game Hollow Knight. Hollow Knight is getting a physical release at the end of May 2019 according to Fangamer. You can preorder your copy now on PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

The standard edition includes the game and all DLC for $29 (£22) on PC / PS4 and $34 (£26) on Nintendo Switch. The Collectors Edition includes the game, all DLC and comes in a nice box, Quirrel comic book, art print set and metal broach of The Knight. This is $64 (£49) on PC / PS4 and $69 (£53) on Nintendo Switch.

This follows hot on the heels of the news the game is getting a sequel – Silksong. Find out more about Silksong on Steam.

Check out Fangamer for more details.

Halo The Master Chief Collection Coming To PC

The Master Chief is coming to PC. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming to PC via Microsoft’s Store and Steam later this year. Rather than release the whole bundle all at the same time as it was released on Xbox One, the games will come out one by one.

343 Studios will be releasing the games in chronological order as Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 4. The PC version of Halo: The Master Chief Collection is being developed by UK studios Splash Damage and Ruffian.

Check out the news from Inside Xbox. We don’t have an exact release date yet but will be released later this year.

Xbox Live Coming To iOS And Android

Microsoft is enabling Xbox Live for all mobile game developers on iOS and Android devices.

This confirms rumours from February when Microsoft confirmed their GDC schedule.

Microsoft are adding Xbox feature capabilities to mobile platforms to allow them to use Xbox Live achievements, gamerscore, friends lists and clubs.
Microsoft are packaging all this functionality into their new SDK called Microsoft Game Stack. It’s an existing set of tools, but now they are packaging it up neatly and allowing 3rd party developers to use the tool kit rather than just internal Microsoft teams.

Developers will have access to Xbox Live, Mixer and the Microsoft Store.
Back in February Nintendo Switch was included in the GDC update, however there’s no news of Nintendo Switch here. At the moment it’s not clear if something has changed but Microsoft have re-emphasised their committment to bring Xbox Live to mobile platforms, which could include Nintendo in the future. However, Microsoft didn’t have any specific news on Switch at this time.

We expect more news from Microsoft at next week’s Game Developers Conference.

BAFTA Game Awards 2019 Nominations Out Now

The best games of 2018 will battle it out for the BAFTA Game Awards.
The 2019 BAFTA Game nominations have been announced with God Of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Florence and Return Of The Obra Dinn set to battle for Best Game.

God Of War picked up 10 nominations in total while Red Dead Redemption 2, Florence and Return Of The Obra Dinn picked up 6 nominations. Celeste came in there with 5 nominations.

The Best Game Award nominations are:
ASSASSIN’S CREED ODYSSEY Development Team – Ubisoft Quebec/Ubisoft

ASTRO BOT: RESCUE MISSION Development Team – SIE Japan Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

CELESTE Development Team – Matt Makes Games Inc./Matt Makes Games Inc.

GOD OF WAR Cory Barlog, Yumi Yang, Shannon Studstill – Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 Development Team – Rockstar Games/Rockstar Games

RETURN OF THE OBRA DINN Lucas Pope – Lucas Pope/3909

Read the full nominations for BAFTA Game Awards.

The mix of indie games going against the AAA titles shows a healthy, thriving indie game scene with games like Gris (Best Debut), Celeste (Game Innovation) and Overcooked 2 (British Game) littering the categories.
The BAFTA Game Awards will be held on April 4th 2019. If you’re in the UK and want to go then there’s tickets available here.

Charts 
–        1              DEVIL MAY CRY 5    

5        2              RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2    

8        3              MARIO KART 8 DELUXE    

1        4              ANTHEM    

2        5              FIFA 19    

3        6              FAR CRY NEW DAWN    

4        7              THE LEGO MOVIE 2 VIDEOGAME    

9        8              SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE    

7        9              METRO EXODUS    

11      10            GRAND THEFT AUTO V    

COMING UP

Fate/Extella Link [PC] – March 19

Constructor Plus [PC, PS4, XBO] – March 21

Super Phantom Cat [Switch] – March 21

Fate/Extella Link [PS4, PS Vita, Switch] – March 22

The Lego Movie 2 Videogame (EU) [Switch physical] – March 22

Our World Is Ended [PS4, Switch] (EU) – March 22

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice [PC, PS4, XBO] – March 22

Plug
Games My Mom Found is a podcast where each week the hosts dive into a different retro game.  Some are great, some are not.https://gamesmymomfoundpodcast.podbean.com

Outro
That’s it for This Week In Video Games today. Don’t forget to get in touch about anything you’ve heard on the show today and if you like what you hear – subscribe and leave us a nice review on iTunes – it really helps us get the word out about the podcast.  

We’re always looking for input on the show too  so contact us on podcast@thisweekinvideogames.com or get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Search This Week in Video Games everywhere, and get involved. I hope you have a great week, we’ll get together again to chat about video games next weekend. Until then see ya soon. 

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