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Rockstar will offer Red Dead Online as a standalone game priced at $4.99
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Rockstar Games' open-world western epic Red Dead Redemption 2 is gaining a new version soon, as the studio today announced that its online mode is being spun off to be offered as a standalone game. The release date is set for December 1, and it will be available for $4.99 as an introductory price.
The Red Dead Online standalone version will be the complete online experience, with story-based cooperative missions, player vs player Showdown modes, Specialist Roles, Free Roam Missions, and much more available across the massive open world.
The $4.99 introductory price will go away after February 15, 2021, bumping up the cost of the standalone multiplayer game to $19.99. Rockstar will also offer an option to unlock the Red Dead Redemption 2 story mode from within this variant, but the exact cost of this upgrade was not announced today.
Although it is a standalone experience, it doesn't appear as though the installation size requirements are changing, as the studio revealed the game will require up to 123GB of free space.
Red Dead Online will be available for PC (Steam, Epic Games Store, and Rockstar Games Launcher), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 users will be able to play the game using backward compatibility also. Moreover, since this is a fully multiplayer experience, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold memberships are required for console players.
By Namerah S
Rockstar Games details backward compatibility for its titles on next-gen consoles
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Video game publisher Rockstar Games has announced information regarding backwards compatibility for its games on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. The news comes many months after the publisher last confirmed one of its most popular titles, Grand Theft Auto V, for the next-gen back in June.
The American gaming company has confirmed that in addition to GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption 2 will also be joining the next-gen roster. PS5 and Xbox Series X owners who have the current-gen physical discs of these games will be able to insert them in the newer consoles. Those who own digital copies of the titles will also be able to download them on next-gen consoles.
The list of backwards compatible Xbox One games which originally launched for the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 and that will be playable on the Xbox Series X|S are:
Bully: Scholarship Edition Grand Theft Auto IV Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Midnight Club: Los Angeles Red Dead Redemption Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis Meanwhile, the PS2 titles currently available for the PS4 which will be compatible with the PS5 are:
Bully Grand Theft Auto III Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Manhunt Max Payne Red Dead Revolver The Warriors Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 players will be able to carry over their game saves and other data to the next-gen video gaming platforms as well. More information about the backwards compatible titles from the publisher can be found here.
By Usama Jawad96
Discuss: Should crunch culture in video game development be acceptable?
by Usama Jawad
With the release of the oft-delayed but highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 just a few weeks away, some attention has also been drawn to the problem of "crunch culture" in the video game industry. With respect to game development, the term refers to the time period in which a team is directly or indirectly forced to work an extra number of hours to achieve milestones, and this typically happens near the public release of a title.
During this "crunch time", some companies offer their employees fringe benefits such as free meals, and at other times, bonuses and compensation leaves subject to the game's success after its release. In this period, developers tend to work overtime applying final improvements and polish to the game. Recent surveys have revealed that nearly 50% of developers still work more than the regular 40 hours per week, and in crunch time, this has gone up to 90 hours a week.
It is interesting to note that crunch culture was largely a well-kept secret in the video game development industry. That is, until 2004, when the famous "EA Spouse" letter sharply criticized Electronic Arts' crunch culture. The open letter was penned by Erin Hoffman, in which she blamed the firm for her fiance's deteriorating health conditions due to the unpaid overtime he was being forced to put in. An excerpt from the letter reads:
Following this letter, EA was taken to court in a class-action lawsuit by software engineers at the company, and was forced to pay $14.9 million to the plaintiffs.
As a result, prevalent crunch culture present in the video game development industry has come under the magnifying glass. Reports about this activity have emerged frequently from various companies including Rockstar Games, Naughty Dog, Starbreeze Studios, and most recently, CD Projekt Red in the ongoing final stretch of Cyberpunk 2077 development.
While there have been talks of the possibility of video game developers unionizing over inhumane treatment during crunch time, nothing concrete has emerged as of yet. In fact, many companies have been known to hire contractual workers during crunch period because they are not subject to compensation policies offered to regular employees. Many critics have also asked for stricter state laws discouraging this practice.
That said, some also support crunch culture indirectly by claiming that working overtime when close to a public release is normal, and should be completely acceptable as long as you are being adequately compensated for the extra hours you are putting in. This pattern of thinking is noticeable in comment sections of forums and social media whenever a game development company is being scrutinized for practicing crunch culture.
Proponents of this side of the debate state that crunch culture is common in most, if not all, industries and that video game development shouldn't be held atop a pedestal. There are also some examples in which companies which encouraged crunch time released stellar games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Last of Us Part II, although of course, whether crunch culture can be attributed to their success is arguable.
We would like to know: which side of the debate do you lie on? Should crunch culture be discouraged in video game development (or any industry, for that matter) regardless of the latent benefits it offers, or is it acceptable to work overtime provided that you're offered adequate compensation? Let us know in the comments section below!
AAA open-world VR title in development under Rockstar Games
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
In the virtual reality gaming space Rockstar Games has so far published a single game, that being L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files by Sydney-based studio Video Games Deluxe. But now, development has started on a new VR venture, according to a recently found public LinkedIn post (via UploadVR) by the studio announcing new job openings.
"Having finished the critically well received L.A.Noire: The V.R. Case Files we are now gearing up for a new project, a AAA open world title in VR for Rockstar," reads the short message by Video Games Deluxe. "2020 marks our 7th year of working exclusively for Rockstar in Sydney and we are excited [sic] to taking on this ground breaking project."
When the developer says L.A. Noire: The V.R. Case Files' work is finished, it is probably speaking about the recent update that pushed the PlayStation VR exclusive content over to the PC version and brought in improved support for popular VR headsets like Valve Index and Oculus Rift S. This looks to be the final change the studio is planning on making to the title.
The post doesn't reveal any more information about this yet-to-be-announced VR project. It could be an entirely new open-world game or one that is based on an existing Rockstar title similar to L.A. Noire: The V.R. Case Files. We could see this being a Grand Theft Auto V or Red Dead Redemption 2 VR port. The former title is already being ported onto next-generation consoles next year also.
However, it may be a few years until we hear about this project officially, since the LinkedIn post says its development is still starting up.
Grand Theft Auto V is coming to Xbox Series X and PS5 with exclusive content
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
During the PlayStation 5 reveal event today, Rockstar Games revealed that its massively popular third-person action game Grand Theft Auto V is coming to next-generation consoles in 2021. The new releases will be heralding enhancements too. Check out the announcement trailer above, though sadly, it features gameplay from the current generation consoles.
Rockstar says that the new versions will come with "a range of technical improvements, visual upgrades and performance enhancements to take full advantage of the latest hardware, making the game more beautiful and more responsive than ever."
The studio will be delivering exclusive GTA Online content for the next-generation consoles and PC once the new launches come through as well. A standalone version of GTA Online is also planned for the new consoles, and it will be completely free for PlayStation 5 players during the initial three months after the game's launch. Standard pricing information was not released today for this multiplayer-only variant.
Continuing on with the PlayStation bonuses, Rockstar will be giving away a million dollars of GTA Online cash every month to PlayStation Plus members who login to the game. The promotion will run until the game's PlayStation 5 edition arrives.
Grand Theft Auto V as well as the standalone Online portion are releasing in the second half of 2021 on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. It doesn't appear as though current generation owners will be getting a free upgrade or anything of the sort.