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Witcher 3 Director Leaves CD Projekt Following Workplace Bullying Claims – IGN

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Witcher 3 Director Leaves CD Projekt Following Workplace Bullying Claims – IGN



Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, the director of The Witcher 3, has resigned from CD Projekt following workplace bullying allegations, which he denies.As reported by Bloomberg, CD Projekt had been conducting a “months-long investigation in to accusations of mobbing, a Polish term for office bullying,” against Tomaszkiewicz. The commission that was formed to investigate these allegations found him not guilty, but Tomaszkiewicz decided to still leave the company as there was clear discomfort between him and other members of the studio.“Nonetheless, a lot of people are feeling fear, stress or discomfort when working with me,” he wrote. He apologized to staff “for all the bad blood I have caused.”

“I am going to continue working on myself,” he continued. “Changing behavior is a long and arduous process, but I’m not giving up, and I hope to change.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, he joined CD Projekt as a junior tester in February 2004 to work on The Witcher, and has worked on all three Witcher games and was the Design Director, VP of Game Development, Secondary Game Director, and Head of Production on Cyberpunk 2077.

Bloomberg notes that Tomaszkiewicz was set to play a big role in CD Projekt’s next Witcher game. When Bloomberg reached out to him for a comment, he said he was “sad, a bit disappointed and resigned.”

This is another entry in the the fallout following Cyberpunk 2077’s troublesome launch, including the poor performance issues on last-gen consoles and a targeted cyberattack. These troubles led to Cyberpunk 2077 being removed from the PlayStation Store on December 17, 2020. It has yet to return.

Despite all that, and the roughly 30,000 refunds issued for Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt’s CEOs and other board members are still set to receive big, multi-million dollar bonuses.

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.





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How to Unlock an Extra Life with the Astronaut Figurine – Returnal Wiki Guide – IGN

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How to Unlock an Extra Life with the Astronaut Figurine – Returnal Wiki Guide – IGN


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Welcome to the How to Get a Second Life how-to page of the official IGN Wiki Guide and Walkthrough for Returnal on PlayStation 5. Here, we’ll break down everything you need to know about finding and unlocking an extra life with the help of the Astronaut Figure.

How to Find the Astronaut Figurine to Earn an Extra Life

Returnal is a rogue-lite game in nature which means that every time you die, the layout of the biome you’re in will change. This is literally what happens — when you die, you’ll be brought back to the very beginning and the next sequence of rooms and hallways you go through will be completely different from the sequence in your previous run. It’s absolutely ok to die (and it’s part of how you uncover more of the story in Returnal), but there will be times when your death comes cheaply or at a very untimely moment.

It’s in those moments that you’re going to wish you had a second life. Fortunately, that’s an actual possibility. You need what is essentially a memento from one of the mysterious houses found in the biomes of Returnal. We won’t spoil anything that can or might happen in later parts of the game, so we’ll stick to the first biome of the game, the Overgrown Ruins, for now.

In the Overgrown Ruins, you’ll come across a strange ranch-style home. You won’t be able to enter it until you have the House Key, which can be found elsewhere in the biome.

Once you have it, head to the house and complete the sequence that takes place inside. Upon completion, you’ll end up outside the home. Right beside you will be a new “collectible” as it were. In the Overgrown Ruins example, this memento will be a small figurine of an astronaut. Pick it up and you’ll now have a second life. The game doesn’t necessarily tell you this, but that’s what picking the memento up does for you.

We recommend saving this pick up for when you’re taking on the boss because a second life likely won’t be more useful anywhere else in the game than during a boss fight. When you die in the fight, or in general after picking up the memento, you’ll be brought back to life quite quickly, given another chance to fight.

This item can also be purchased from Returnal’s in-game “store” located in the Overgrown Ruins. The store looks like a half-circle of fabricators. Interact with it to view the items you can purchase — sometimes an Astronaut Figurine is being sold and sometimes it isn’t. It usually costs about 300 to 350 Obolites if it’s being sold.



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Out Now: ‘Woven Pocket Edition’, ‘Knights of San Francisco’, ‘One Escape’, ‘Dungeon Raiders’, ‘Golf Impact’, ‘Lines On Sides’, ‘Eastern Market Murder’, ‘Valley of the Savage Run’ and More

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Out Now: ‘Woven Pocket Edition’, ‘Knights of San Francisco’, ‘One Escape’, ‘Dungeon Raiders’, ‘Golf Impact’, ‘Lines On Sides’, ‘Eastern Market Murder’, ‘Valley of the Savage Run’ and More


Each and every day new mobile games are hitting the App Store, and so each week we put together a big old list of all the best new releases of the past seven days. Back in the day the App Store would showcase the same games for a week, and then refresh those features each Thursday. Because of that developers got into the habit of releasing their games throughout Wednesday or very early Thursday in order to hopefully get one of those coveted features spots. Nowadays the App Store refreshes constantly, so the need for everyone to release all on the same day has diminished. Still, we’ve kept our weekly Wednesday night format as for years that’s the time people knew to check TouchArcade for the list of new games. And so without further ado please check out the full list of this week’s new games below, and let us know in the comments section which games you’ll be picking up!


 

BasCATball Coach ($0.99)

iTunes Description

Do you love cats? Do you love basketball? Do you love coaching cats playing basketball? Then BasCATball Coach is the purr-fect game for you!

Take control of feline stars like Stephen Furry, LeBron Mames and Giannis Antetocatbones and guide them and their cat-based basketball franchises to playoff winning glory and beyond!

Forum Thread: BasCATball Coach (by Swipe Studios)


Bowl ‘Em Down (Free)

iTunes Description

Have you ever wondered how a bowling ball feels as they roll down the lane? It’s probably terrifying, so i would imagine you’d be screaming, right?
That’s kinda what this game is all about.
Try to get a high score in this infinite, randomly generated bowling game.

Forum Thread: Bowl ‘Em Down (by Lowtek Games)


Bratz Total Fashion Makeover (Free)

iTunes Description

The Bratz are back! Join Cloe, Sasha, Yasmin and Jade in an all-new mobile game experience!
Choose highly fashionable clothes, hairstyles, makeup, and even furniture as you become a social media star! Deal with dramatic characters like the Tweevils and work with the iconic Bratz cast to rise through the ranks of the fashion world. Play fun, challenging match 3 puzzles and earn Bratz Bucks to help buy that perfect look!

Forum Thread: Bratz Total Fashion Makeover (by Outright Games)


Dungeon Raiders ($3.99)

iTunes Description

Welcome to Dungeon Raiders! A roguelike dungeon crawler game with collectible cards to acquire and loot to find!

Make your way through perilous dungeons, battle monsters with cards and outfit your heroes with the best armour and weapons you find along the way. Any extra loot you find can be sold in your customizable shop for profit! Use your coins to buy better cards, shop improvements and extra heroes to bring along for the journey.

Forum Thread: Dungeon Raiders (by Christopher Lawson)


Eastern Market Murder ($2.99)

iTunes Description

Delve into a world of fortune tellers and phrenologists in this twisted true tale of murder and madness. Blood red radishes, a business rivalry, whispers of false friends. When everything is not as it seems, will you foresee how it ends?

With options to play at home, or where the events actually occured, you’ll explore crime scenes, question witnesses and examine evidence to outsmart the killer and reclaim justice for the victim’s family.

Forum Thread: Eastern Market Murder (by True Crime Games)


Glow Course (Free)

iTunes Description

Immerse yourself in the Glow of each Course! Dodge obstacles, fly over BEAUTIFUL patterns while music guides you to Victory! Tap to navigate, survive to WIN! Play Now!

Find your way to the Finish by narrowly escaping obstacles! Guide yourself through Bright Colors, collecting Coins for Revives & unlock fresh new looks to your character! Tap right or left to control your Character’s movements in this all NEW and EXCITING physics-based game. Fly above obstacles or weave between them! Use POWER-UPS to help get through increasingly difficult levels.

Forum Thread: Glow Course (by Hansen Gaming)


Golf Impact (Free)

iTunes Description

Clash against competitors and enjoy fast 1:1 PvP matchmaking.
Dynamic ball trajectory due to in-game weather!
Beautiful and realistic graphics and courses.
Championships where great prizes await!
The most realistic mobile golf game!

Forum Thread: Golf Impact (by NEOWIZ)


Knights of San Francisco ($2.99)

iTunes Description

What if goblins, ogres, and dragons weren’t imagined? What if our ancestors were, unwittingly, foretelling the future? Find yourself in that future, centuries from now, among the ruins of what was once the 21st century – where these terrifying creatures roam freely…

Heavily inspired by modern tabletop RPGs like Dungeon World, this game puts you in the shoes of a young necromancer on a quest. Battle monsters, raise the dead, and explore what remains of the ancient city of San Francisco.

Forum Thread: Knights Of San Francisco (by Filip Hracek)


Lines On Sides ()

iTunes Description

Arrange the tiles so that their sides match each other in colors.

Your task is to arrange the tiles correctly so that each side of them is the same color as the adjacent tiles. When the tiles are properly arranged, black lines appear between them.

Forum Thread: Lines On Sides (by Mandigondo)


No Limit Drag Racing 2 (Free)

iTunes Description

The best drag racing game you’ve ever seen.

The OG of drag racing games is back and better than ever! No Limit 2.0 has taken all the things that made the original game great and turned the dial to 11 – more tuning, more customization, better physics, better mechanics, and more content than the original game ever could have had.

Forum Thread: No Limit Drag Racing 2 (by Autonoma)


One Escape ($2.99)

iTunes Description

Help these convicts break free! One day, three buddies decided to rob a bank. But something went wrong and the cops showed up…

Now, these feisty felons need to smarten up and make the most incredible jailbreak. Find the way to freedom while hiding from the guards, searching for key cards to open the locked doors, and avoiding dangerous pitfalls! Complete 60 levels, and get out of prison at any cost!

Forum Thread: One Escape! (by Crescent Moon Games)


Piccolo: Othello (Free)

iTunes Description

Piccolo is a beautiful Othello game built for Mac, with an incredibly powerful AI, gorgeous themes and pleasant animations.

Created specifically with Mac design guidelines in mind, Piccolo feels right at home on your device, providing you with the best Othello experience for iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Forum Thread: Piccolo: Othello (by Nadim Kobeissi)


SPECIAL·MOVE (Free)

iTunes Description

Direction setting complete! Power adjustment complete! Shoot!!
A refreshing feeling completed with delicate manipulation.
A new concept multiplayer game that is easier than billiards and more exciting than bowling.
Feel free to enjoy it with your family, friends and lovers.

Forum Thread: SPECIAL·MOVE (by Cloud Whale Game Lab)


Sugary Delight (Free)

iTunes Description

Be the best chocolatier and start making delicious sweets.

Pick the right ingredients , decorations and deliver on time. Make cute, colorful and delicious confectionaries and gain likes. Share your love for sweets with everyone and enjoy a sweet time.

Forum Thread: Sugary Delight (by Tomato Owl)


Valley of the Savage Run (Free)

iTunes Description

You control two characters – a white one and a black one. They work as a team. The white character can hop on white tiles and the black character can hop on black tiles.

Sometimes one character has to carry the other on his back, because there are no matching tiles. Other times one character has to unblock the tiles of the other, so both can continue forward.

Forum Thread: Valley of The Savage Run (by No Six Five)


Woven Pocket Edition (Free)

iTunes Description

Explore a woolen world with two unlikely heroes and discover why the world is being threatened by metal insects. Search for hidden secrets, change shape to solve puzzles.

Woven is a relaxing adventure puzzle game with laidback gameplay.

Forum Thread: Woven Pocket Edition (by StickyLock)


10 (Free)

iTunes Description

Tap the dots on the edge of the playing field to shoot them in the direction of their arrow.

If two dots with the same number meet, they establish a connection. Chain at least two twos, three threes or four fours to make a match.

Forum Thread: 10 (by Marcus Dobler Applications)




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How Diablo 2 Is Changing on Its Path to Resurrection… While Staying True to Its Roots – IGN

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How Diablo 2 Is Changing on Its Path to Resurrection… While Staying True to Its Roots – IGN


Playing the recent Diablo II: Resurrected technical alpha was like a glimpse of a different time and place, filtered through a modern lens. The action-RPG classic still feels great to play, but it’s interesting to return to such a measured pace of combat, and to feel the weight of choices in inventory management and character progression once again. It’s very much the same game, but at the same time, the team is modernising it. The game’s impressive visual and aural makeover is perhaps the most obvious, but beyond that are some carefully evaluated quality of life changes to reduce friction while maintaining the core gameplay.

I caught up with the team to ask about the response to the alpha, as well as how they’re ensuring that they stay true to such a classic piece of game design.

On the Technical Alpha

“We wanted people to feel how it plays, and to make sure that it felt like they remember,” says Rob Gallerani, Principal Designer on Diablo II: Resurrected of the recent alpha. “And you can’t communicate that unless people play it.” For the team having Resurrected feel like Diablo II was the priority, and that filters through to the new visuals, the remastered score, the shot-for-shot remake treatment the cinematic sequences are getting, and of course, the gameplay.

The team also wanted to gauge the fanbase’s reaction to some of the small quality of life changes that had been implemented, such as automatic gold pick-up. “For the most part people really liked them,” Gallerani says. “In fact they want to see more. The game is still a work in progress – this was a tech alpha – so even from the design side we have a lot of thoughts about [additional] quality of life updates and ways we can make them better.”

“A lot of the feedback has been specific, low level, little things across the board,” Gallerani continues. “The community has been amazing, we have sites of people putting together surveys and PowerPoints for us. It’s awesome to see them share how they feel about it.”

“We can’t promise that we can or will change everything,” Lead Artist Chris Amaral adds. “But when there are things we agree with, we can push them a little further.”

“We do prioritise things though,” Gallerani continues. “If something isn’t communicating how to play the game, that needs to be fixed. The next thing would be if it’s betraying something, if something doesn’t feel like Diablo, that’s important. If it’s ‘hey, here’s my personal preference’ well let’s make sure we go through the bugs and other things first. The fact that we have this huge list is awesome.”

Going From 2D to 3D

Diablo II’s visuals have been recreated using a new 3D engine, and it’s extremely impressive, increasing the detail seen in everything from a puddle to the way lightning arcs around a space. The mood, the dark tone, the atmosphere, the lighting and animation; it’s all ramped up significantly with the new look, yet still feels every bit like a modern version of the same classic game. The original is still under the covers, incidentally – you can switch back to it at the press of a key – and that, in particular, really helps reinforce the idea that Diablo II Resurrected is still the same game.

It also gives players a way to quickly cross reference what they remember with this updated incarnation. As an example, in the original, monsters that have been slowed or frozen turn bright blue to really make their status effect obvious. In the alpha, however, that blue seemed a little muted by comparison. Was this intended? Was it about establishing a darker atmosphere? “We want everything to feel moody, but still within the realm of what Diablo II is,” Lead Artist Chris Amaral responds. “We don’t want things to be too dark, we want it to be appropriately dark and match the original game. That frozen effect, that’s actually something we’re currently adjusting. In fact, we adjusted it a day or two ago. Again it’s all very much a work in progress, but in going through the feedback that specific example has come up.”

Diablo 2 Resurrected – Comparison Screenshots

“What’s great is that the community has been super specific like that,” Rob Gallerani adds. “The fact that you can have a game that has a worldwide audience and get a specific bit of feedback like, ‘The hue of this one effect doesn’t look right’. Well, that’s actionable. If it was a crowd of people simply saying the effects stink or something like that, there’s not much we can do. What’s even better is we have systems in place to tweak these things.”

“The inspiration really is the original game,” Amaral explains. “We want you to feel more immersed in this universe and feel like you’re actually living this rather than being a thousand feet above it.” This intent extends to all aspects of the presentation. The audio has been remastered, bringing new life to Matt Uelmen’s evocative score, and new ambient elements have been added to the sound design, like enhanced echoes inside a cave or the sound of dripping water. The goal is to double down on what makes Diablo II feel like Diablo II, and heighten the immersion in the process.

Coming back to visuals, the process of recreating the game’s classes in 3D was a lot more involved than simply updating or reinterpreting 2D sprites. The level of detail in modern games means that what were once vague characteristics become highly detailed elements – facial features, armour that has visibly seen a battle or two, and all sorts of other grit.

“A lot of it comes from the original, not only the original sprites but the original Maya files,” Amaral says, alluding to the widely used 3D modelling program. “Also, the reference images that were used to inspire the original art. My whole approach was that it’s 70/30. 70% we’re simply making sure it’s classic in terms of look, and then 30% is adding extra embellishments to make things feel more believable. We’re researching Celtic and Slavic imagery for the Barbarian, we’re referencing Roman armoury for the Amazon.”

“With that we’re trying to make things feel functional both in construction and use,” Amaral continues. “We believe that it reinforces the storytelling. When you see those extra details, you feel like this character equipped this armour rather than having things like floating shoulder pads. We love that little bit of realistic context where it makes every character feel like they’re a little bit battle worn. That they’ve been living in this universe.”

This extends to every aspect of the game. Every single icon that can exist in the player’s inventory has also been updated. It’s a mammoth task for a loot-driven game like this, but along the way the team discovered something of an unexpected roadmap to help them on their way. The original documentation by artists at Blizzard North for all Diablo II’s inventory art cited real-world references for every object. Yes, actual items the Resurrected team could draw upon to create new high-resolution art. Real-world history was the foundation that the game’s dark fantasy of monsters and giant beasts spilling out into Sanctuary from the Seven Hells was built upon.

The original documentation by artists at Blizzard North for all Diablo II’s inventory art cited real-world references for every object.


“We went through every piece of sprite art and re-concepted them using that 70/30 rule – so every piece of concept art we made updated an existing piece of imagery,” Chris Amaral tells me.

The team is also adding in extra objects within the game’s environments to give them more distinct details “The original game has a very particular ‘nav mesh’ [navigation mesh],” Amaral says. “You have a building and there’s a ‘nav mesh’ that determines collision and where the player can and can’t go. Meaning you can’t really run up to the wall exactly, there is a little bit of a gap. And where that extra gap is, we’re placing all the new props because it doesn’t interfere with the original collision. As far as storytelling goes, adding these extra details, we have a very limited area. Also, we don’t want to impede gameplay or the overall readability.”

There’s a tipping point at which too much detail becomes messy. Imagine an overly active physics and particle system animating thousands of fallen leaves through a foggy and dense swamp. The action can easily become too hard to read. With that in mind, even with the “nav mesh” limitation the team employs what it calls “noise filters” to determine, well, how noisy or how much detail exists on any given path.

“We’re constantly evaluating areas and going back and forth, trying to work out what’s too much and pushing down those colour maps to make sure the value is compressed,” Chris Amaral explains. “It’s Diablo so when an item drops, you need to be able to easily read where it is on the ground.”

Quality of Life and The Controller Paradox

When it came to the optional but on-by-default auto gold pick-up in Resurrected, the team felt comfortable in making that adjustment. Creating a shared stash was similar, as the change would alleviate the original’s cumbersome system for transferring items from one character to another. Remaining faithful to the original drives development, but ultimately there’s still room for quality of life improvements.

“The line is simple in that we don’t want to make the game easier,” Rob Gallerani says. “We want to remain faithful, so there’s a difference between making the game easier and making the game easier to play. With some feedback and requests coming in it’s easy for us to not do a thing because that will make the game easier. When people say, ‘We don’t want to worry about arrows anymore, give us infinite arrows’, or more broadly, ‘I want a giant inventory’. Stuff like that removes important choices; do I pick this item up or do I leave it behind? Do I go back to town now? Making the inventory bigger means more charms in your bag and that starts to change what the game is.”

With Diablo II: Resurrected coming to consoles in addition to PC later this year, the team was faced with one update that, well, didn’t really fit within the rules it set. And that was the addition of controller support.

“It was a lot of work,” Gallerani recalls. “Diablo is played out on a grid and underneath the hood the grid is still there. Play with the keyboard and mouse, when you click somewhere and tell your character to go there, the game pathfinds for you. It is going to figure out how to get there. When we took that away, via adding controller support, we were saying that the player is the one doing the pathfinding. What happened was that we realised just how much collision there was in the original game. A puddle, a rock, the corner of a building, stuff you never really noticed before because the game walked around it all for you.”

The team felt that making any alterations to the original collision — to let your character walk directly over a puddle, for instance — might be too fundamental a change, so a compromise was made. “We’ve gone in and added technology to smooth you around corners, and that’s still a work in progress,” Gallerani says. “We also added the ability to end movement in-between squares, so if you push the stick a little you walk a little. We had to add that in conjunction with stamina because there’s still a walk and run mode.”

Diablo 2 Resurrected – Technical Alpha Screenshots

Controller support really does make Diablo II: Resurrection feel very different from the original point-and-click presentation, and for the most part it works brilliantly. Using a stick lets you move between incoming projectiles with the sort of ease usually associated with a third-person adventure game, while with abilities and skills mapped to face buttons, and potions to the four corners of a d-pad, the critical actions are all at your fingertips.

That accessibility has led to many people asking for an ability bar for the traditional keyboard and mouse input too. “Something like that would change what you’re used to from Diablo II.” Rob Gallerani comments. “Would that make it not feel like D2 anymore? Would it feel more like Diablo III? Which is a great game, but a different game. We’ve been having and continue to have these sorts of discussions a lot. But, we’re happy that when the feedback came back, people said that it felt like D2. In a sense we’re on the other side of that hill, a place where people are talking about things we could add or change. It’s a much better place to be than, ‘it doesn’t feel like D2 anymore’.”

Kosta Andreadis is an Australian musician and freelancer who wrote this longform Diablo retrospective. Check out his tunes and follow him on Twitter.





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