Games Inbox: What is the next Fortnite?

The Wednesday Inbox hopes that 60 fps becomes the standard for the next gen, as one reader praises the final boss of Astral Chain.

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Change at the top
Reading the news about Call Of Duty making its battle royale mode free-to-player, which seems like a sensible thing to do even if it is just a rumour, it made me realise how long it is till I’ve heard anyone talk about Fortnite. My mates at work don’t seem to play it anymore, but they gave up a while ago. My two nephews were obsessed with for most of last year but I haven’t seen them play it once this year. Not a very scientific study, I’ll admit, but has the game now officially peaked?

Apparently Season 2 of Chapter 2 is starting soon but I don’t see much buzz around it. Or is that just me being out of touch? To me it sounds like the perfect time for Call Of Duty to strike with its own alternative, which I would definitely give a go to if it was free-to-play (surprised EA never tried the same trick with Battlefield 5).

I have still been playing a bit of Apex Legends, which I really like, but I’ve never been that obsessed with it and it feels more like something to play between other games. Of course, the biggest game around doesn’t have to be battle royale but we all know how much companies like copying a good idea. I’m not happy to see Fortnite fail, I have nothing against it, but then again, it’s probably not good for anything to be dominant for too long. I just wonder what’s going to be the next big game to take its place.
Agent Ed


I am glad to see the Gran Turismo guy sees sense about 8K at least. As far as I’m concerned 4K is a con and makes little difference. Enough to get a 4K TV when you need a new one, but not to rush out and get one just because. The sudden interest in frame rates is odd, but I think GC are probably right in that Sony and Microsoft have figured out a new way to play my number’s bigger than your number. Except instead of 720 vs. 1080 vs. 4K it’s going to be 60 fps vs. 120 fps and beyond.

I’m fine with that though as at least it’s something that will do the games good. I would love if 60 fps became a standard in the next gen, or at least something that games were always aiming for and were criticised if they didn’t hit.

I know some people like to proudly say they can’t tell the difference but you really can, especially in fast action games, and it makes all the difference. To be honest it’s the thing that’s got me most excited about the next gen so far. Although that may say more about how much they haven’t shown so far than anything else.


Early decision
I think for the next gen the highest price I would pay is £600. I’m not bothered about cross-play, I turn the settings off anyway. I might pay a bit more if you get extra games or a controller, like they did with the PlayStation 4, but I’ve made up my mind I’m getting PlayStation 5.

I mean, I know they haven’t been confirmed but Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Days Gone 2, and The Last Of Us 2 Remastered is a given. And Godfall looks really good from what I’ve seen so far.

And as for the Xbox Series X, by the time their games come out the price would of dropped, two years after it came out. So for me PlayStation 5 is day one. Xbox maybe three years later, unless none of the games interest me. Halo is getting a bit old for me to be honest.

GC: Why make such a major decision now, when there’s so little information to go on?


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Tracing standards
The new consoles will not be running the same standard of ray-tracing as you find in Nvidia’s RTX cards (this has obviously been used in different ways and to different levels anyway). AMD has been looking into software-based ray-tracing and I would guess that the consoles will have some sort of hardware to facilitate better performance of that. The software-based ray-tracing will be lower level and not as accurate, although it will give a similar sort of effect.

So, I am not sure if this will run at 4K at same time, but maybe, depending on how computationally expensive/accurate it turns out to be.

Don’t expect it to be to same standards as that found in Metro Exodus using RTX cards though.

It will probably be used much more sparingly.


Dream job
While I have had Dreams since last Thursday, I’m a little ashamed to say I haven’t done much with it. I certainly haven’t created the next Persona or Undertale or anything.

I’ve just been going through the tutorials. Very slowly. And it makes me feel like I’m back in college. I was never good at design or art – and yes, I knew that before getting this game – so it all feels very fiddly to me. Like Fallout 4’s settlement crafting tools – only way, WAY more exhaustive.

I am wondering if I should just, get on with it? See what I can make anyway? Or should I really persevere with the tutorials? It also feels like something that would be better with a keyboard and mouse, but I play in my bedroom and I’d have to rest a keyboard on something other than just my lap, never mind the mouse. I switched to analogue control immediately as the motion sensors felt unnatural and over-sensitive. To me at least.

But yeah, having learned how to do this is pretty draining on me. I won’t lie. Love Sophie Okonedo as the Dream Queen – it makes me feel like I’m watching something CBeebies.


RE: Gaming drought. I agree, think everyone does, that major triple-A releases are going through a mini-drought right now. I think Death Stranding on the 8th of November and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the 15th of November were the last and we will have to wait until mid-March to see new triple-A content in Nioh 2 and Doom Eternal. Four months is a long time to go between major releases.

Where I disagreed with the current Reader’s Feature is that this is part of an overall trend that not enough games are being made, as there’s been plenty outside of triple-A in the last three months never mind the last few years.

Just titles that personally interested me since the release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which was great, are: Shenmue 3, Children Of Morta, Blair Witch, Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries, Journey To The Savage Planet, Kentucky Route Zero, Pillars Of Eternity 2: Deadfire, Dreams, Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition (held off until all content was in one package), Bayonetta/Vanquish 10th Anniversary (not played either before), Metro Exodus: Sam’s Story DLC (currently playing), and Gladiabots: AI Combat Arena (really like GC’s monthly mobile wrap-up, it’s become my one stop shop to keep abreast of notable mobile games). Going on until the end of march there’s Wasteland Remastered, Two Point Hospital, Nioh 2, Doom Eternal, and Half-Life Alyx (will have to visit my brother to play this one)

Triple-A is quiet and you can definitely draw the conclusion that the big publishers sink too much into one game and could do with maybe producing more games with smaller budgets, although those big budgets do allow for some spectacular results. But with digital distribution and mobile gaming I think there’s been plenty of games released overall and it’s too early to apply the triple-A mini drought to the whole industry.


Sound of rage
The best weapon in video game history is obviously the cow launching gun from South Park 64.

But as for most iconic? Then we might be in the more traditional realms of Mario’s fireball or Dr Robotnik’s pendulous wrecking ball. Though most iconic weapon sound belongs to the metal pipe in Streets Of Rage. THWACK!
Dynamite Headdy


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Platinum boss
Astral Chain’s final boss sure was one tough adversary. He beat me around 25 times before I decided to swallow my pride and trawl through my inventory to equip some extra healing/battery/attribute-enhancing items to aid me in the gruelling fight.

You could say I was extremely patient, perhaps even a tad masochistic, to hold off taking advantage of the support, but I genuinely loved every second of the epic battle and was having so much fun trying to best the boss with the bare minimum help.

I particularly admired the intuitive and clever ways the game would encourage me to utilise all of the skills I had learned to counter the bosses’ incredibly varied, creative, and challenging attack patterns.

Astral Chain’s last boss is a masterclass in how to do a final boss fight in my opinion. Especially when you include the rousing encounters immediately preceding it. The final finishing move was also one of the most spectacular and satisfying action sequences I’ve ever experienced in a game. It was beautifully framed and exhilarating, definitely up there with the spectacle of the final finishers in Bayonetta 1 and 2 for me.

As of now Astral Chain is my game of the year of 2019 – just edging Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Resident Evil 2. With Luigi’s Mansion 3, Death Stranding, and Devil May Cry 5 in fourth, fifth, and sixth place, respectively. And the reason it’s my favourite game of the year so far is due to the insanely inventive and fun Legion mechanics, and its audacious multifaceted design.

Easily one of the most ambitious games I’ve played from a mechanical and disparate game style-interweaving perspective. Just like the triumphant NieR:Automata before it. Pure Platinum quality!
Galvanized Gamer


Inbox also-rans
I still can’t believe anyone got The Witcher 3 working on the Switch, that really is a something to be proud of. Especially with all these new graphics options in the patch, that’s some really impressive stuff.

Oh yeah, Stadia. I remember that. I remember when it was supposed to be the future of gaming. Seems even with all the money in the world you can’t just buy yourself success in the games industry.


This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Trantor, who asks what’s your favourite ever console launch?

With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X due out this Christmas, what previous launch do you remember most fondly? Was it purely because of the console and the games or did the hype and marketing surrounding it help to make it feel even more exciting?

Do you tend to buy new consoles as soon as they come out or do you usually wait a certain period of time? If so, what are you waiting for – is it more games, a price drop, or something else? At the moment how likely are you to buy a new console this year?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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