Outriders’ inventory wipe restoration is finally rolling out Outriders character holding two pistols

The Outriders inventory wipe bug was one of several hugely annoying problems with People Can Fly’s divisive looter shooter at launch, but now, a little over a month later, it looks like affected players will get their stuff back. Not everything will be returned, but most of the gear that counts should be accounted for.

In an update on the game’s subreddit it’s confirmed that this gear restoration will affect ‘Group A’ characters, which the studio defines as “those characters who encountered a wipe and are no longer able to login at this point in time.” Basically, all equipped items at the time of the wipe will be restored—no matter their rarity. Meanwhile, all Legendary items in that character’s inventory will be restored.

It gets a little more complicated from there: for non-Legendary items in the character’s inventory, 20 items will be restored, with priority on rarity first and date acquired second. That means if you were rocking a handful of Epics and a load of Rares, you’re guaranteed to get the Epics back, not at the expense of some of the crappier items.

On the matter of Accolades, these will all be restored providing you reached the final tier of them: unfortunately you’ll lose progress towards any Accolade you never completed.

The good news is that Group A players will receive “up to 20 Legendary items that they previously sold back in their inventory,” and these will be god-rolled. Players who suffered less severe inventory losses (groups B and C) will need to wait a bit longer for their compensation—there’s a handy guide here to figure out which category you belong to. 

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

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. [ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/02/19/diablo-2-resurrected-reveal-trailer”]

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.” [ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/04/13/diablo-2-resurrected-alpha-an-impressive-update-performance-preview”]

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.” [widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=diablo-2-resurrected-comparison-screenshots&captions=true”] “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.[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=The%20original%20documentation%20by%20artists%20at%20Blizzard%20North%20for%20all%20Diablo%20II%E2%80%99s%20inventory%20art%20cited%20real-world%20references%20for%20every%20object.”]

“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.”

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2021/04/09/diablo-2-vs-diablo-2-resurrected-graphics-comparison-short”]

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.”

[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=diablo-2-resurrected-technical-alpha-screenshots&captions=true”]

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’.”

[poilib element=”accentDivider”] Kosta Andreadis is an Australian musician and freelancer who wrote this longform Diablo retrospectiveCheck out his tunes and follow him on Twitter.

Tencent is negotiating with US authorities to keep Riot and Epic stakes talk to the joneses fortnite

A new Reuters report reveals that Tencent Holdings has been in talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States since late 2020, in order to ensure it can keep its stakes in Riot Games and Epic Games. Depending how the talks play out, the CFIUS has the power to force the China-owned corporation to divest from both companies.

The motivation for CFIUS’s interest is familiar: It needs Tencent to prove that its handling of US personal data is not a national security risk. Reuters writes that Tencent is “negotiating risk-mitigation measures,” though the details on what these measures could be aren’t known. Tencent owns Riot Games outright, while its stake in Epic Games is 40 percent, but that could change entirely if the CFIUS isn’t satisfied.

The report isn’t too surprising. Last year former US president Donald Trump issued an executive order banning any transactions related to the China-owned TikTok social media platform, as well as the Tencent-owned WeChat. Oracle was in line to claim TikTok’s US operations, but according to the South China Morning Post those Oracle talks collapsed in February, with a source saying “the deal was mainly designed to entertain demands from the Trump administration.”

That doesn’t mean the Biden administration has softened its approach to China on the matter of personal data protection, as Reuters points out. Riot Games refused to comment on the report, claiming it worked independently of Tencent. Meanwhile, the report says Epic Games has not shared user data with Tencent.

Here’s when Resident Evil Village unlocks in your timezone Resident Evil Village boss scene screenshot

The village awaits. Resident Evil Village is just hours away from release, with an official release date of Friday, May 7. But depending on your timezone, you may well be able to play it before then.

Here's the breakdown of when you can play Resident Evil Village on PC or console, depending on your timezone.

Resident Evil Village release time

Capcom hasn't published an exact unlock time for Resident Evil Village on PC, but the Xbox and PlayStation stores both say the game will be available at midnight EST on May 7. That means console players in North American can start playing Resident Evil Village Thursday night. Preloads are available now on the consoles if you pre-order the game.

Here's how Resident Evil Village's console unlock time works out across multiple timezones:

  • Los Angeles: 9 pm PDT
  • New York: 12 am EDT
  • London: 5 am BST
  • Sydney: 2 pm AEST

If your timezone isn't listed above, click on this link for a handy converter.

We don't have an official unlock time for PC, so we have to guess when Resident Evil Village comes out. Village will likely unlock at the same time as it does on consoles: midnight Eastern time. That's when Resident Evil 3 Remake unlocked in April 2020. (Weirdly, Resident Evil 2 unlocked an hour later, so it's hard to say definitively.) We've asked Capcom for a concrete unlock time and will update this article when we hear back.

Capcom has stated that there will be no Steam pre-loads for Resident Evil Village on PC.

If you need to kill some time before Village unlocks, check out our review and our take on why Resident Evil Village proves difficulty isn't required for good horror

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Looks Like a PS5 Showcase

On this week’s episode of IGN’s weekly PlayStation show, Podcast Beyond!, host Jonathon Dornbush is joined by Brian Altano, Lucy O’Brien, and Colin Stevens to jump into the latest PS5 and PS4 news and games. The cast first takes a deep dive into the latest Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart PS5 State of Play, including what we thought of the PS5 game’s visuals, how it looks to advance the franchise forward, and why it all comes together to look like an absolute PS5 showcase. Plus, we dive into the renewal of a trademark for Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive, touch briefly on Returnal’s launch, and more. And while none of us have played Resident Evil Village yet,  we reminisce on the franchise, our love for it, its highs and lows, and more ahead of Village’s launch this week. Watch the new episode above! [widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=the-best-ps5-games&captions=true”]

Podcast Beyond! is live every Wednesday. For more on PS5, check out our PS5 console review and our PS5 wiki guide for tips on how to best use your system. And for more Beyond, be sure to watch the first episode of our Bloodborne let’s play! [poilib element=”poll” parameters=”id=6dd2b926-8863-4080-99b2-d08eb61f67f6″] [poilib element=”accentDivider”] Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead.

CS:GO patch gives chickens “a visual upgrade”

CS:GO patch gives chickens “a visual upgrade”

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has gotten a major update this week, one that adds a selection of new features and, more controversially, a new paid stat tracking service. But that’s just the actual stuff. The important stuff. I’m here for the fun stuff, which is improved chickens. Yes, the chickens have gotten an upgrade.

The patch notes simply say that “chicken models have received a visual upgrade”. There are five colours of chicken – black, white, black with a white head, brown, and white with a brown head – but, distressingly, the community has discovered that they all leave behind the same colour of feather when killed. No word yet from Valve on when this game-breaking issue will be rectified.

Chickens have been the subject of a number of easter eggs from the CS:GO devs over the years, including special costume changes to coincide with various holiday updates. Here’s hoping there continue to be some updates that might give the new chickens new reasons to celebrate.

RELATED LINKS: CS:GO console commands, CS:GO tips, CS:GO smokes

Create your own Mass Effect: Legendary Edition cover with this cool new art tool Mass Effect: Legendary Edition wallpaper

BioWare is pulling out all the stops for the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition: Better gameplay, hotter companions, and a really good looking photo mode, among other things. Today, it rolled out a very sweet "bonus content download" package including a beefy soundtrack, art books, and digital comics, and a separate online tool that enables fans to create their very own customized cover art.

The art tool is really simple and clever. You begin by selecting your morality—Paragon, Renegade, or Neutral—and then your two favorite squadmates. The selection is limited, but you'll add more as the process continues, through Trusted Companion, the Cavalry, and the Backups. After that, choose from one of five Mass Effect locations, and then sit back and wait while the machine mashes it all together for you. You'll then be able to download your masterpiece as 4K wallpaper, box art (complete with a back page), or in "social share" formatting.

This is mine:

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

And here's a more Renegade-oriented take, with a different supporting cast:

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

It's fun to fool around with, and plenty of people are sharing and comparing their creations on Twitter with the #MyShepard hashtag. It's a bit of a shame that you can't lay out a fully customized squad—I'd happily put Zaeed in the top spot and I make no apologies for it—but given the ease of use and how well it works, I'd say the placement limitations are a fair trade.

For my money, though, the bonus download is where the real action is. It includes an 88-track soundtrack with music from all three games in the Mass Effect trilogy, digital art books from Mass Effect 2 and 3, two digital comics from Dark Horse, and a high-res "digital lithograph" of the Normandy.

It's a fantastic package, particularly the soundtrack, which was outstanding across three games and at least eight composers, and best of all you don't have to commit to buying Mass Effect: Legendary Edition if you're not really interested in doing it all over again: You can just grab the stuff and be on your way. It's a fairly hefty download, about 1.7GB, so if you prefer you can also listen to the entire thing on YouTube.

The only disappointment is the absence of M4 Part II, which may be the greatest videogame credits song of all time, and so I've embedded it below. You're welcome! And for the record, I took the matter up with BioWare and a rep confirmed that while the song isn't in the soundtrack, it is still present in the game. 

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition comes out on May 14.

Nintendo ‘s Game Builder Garage Looks Like Labo Meets Dreams

Nintendo has announced Game Builder Garage, a new game that will let you “learn to make games from the minds at Nintendo.” Its guided lessons and cute characters are designed to help you create a multitude of gaming experiences. On the face of it, the new game looks a lot like Dreams, which was released on PlayStation 4 in early 2020. It also seems to be in the spirit of Labo, which encouraged kids to craft unique items using cardboard.

Game Builder Garage is designed to teach visual game programming by connecting creatures called “Nodon.” There are dozens of Nodon in Game Builder Garage, each with its own unique function. Lessons will be available to teach you the basics of designing games, with Free Programming mode available for those who want to go wild. The experiences touted in the trailer include platformers, shoot ’em ups, and something called “Tuna Cube Factory 2.” It will also be possible to exchange and download games over the internet or via local wireless, which you can then examine via Free Programming mode to learn their inner workings. To aid in development, Game Builder Garage will support a compatible mouse, which can be plugged into the USB port on the Switch dock. [widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=screens-game-builder-garage&captions=true”] The announcement comes ahead of Nintendo’s earnings release, which is expected tomorrow. Game Builder Garage will release June 11 on Nintendo Switch. [poilib element=”accentDivider”] Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN. 

Super Mario 64 is now playable with ray tracing

Super Mario 64 is now playable with ray tracing

As much potential as ray tracing has to improve the looks of current and future games, the real fun is seeing the fancy lighting tech applied to old games. Quake 2 and Minecraft have gotten some of the most impressive ray tracing implementations we’ve seen, and now it’s time for a non-PC classic to get the treatment: Super Mario 64.

The unofficial PC port of Super Mario 64 has already split into multiple new projects with new features, and Super Mario 64 RT – while still early in development – provides just what the name suggests. There’s a technical preview available now on GitHub, and while the devs warn that there are still some notable bugs and performance issues, you can still try it if you’re willing to do the compiling yourself.

SM64RT is fully path-traced, and introduces custom level lighting to take advantage of that fact. You’re getting ray-traced global illumination, shadows, and reflections – the latter of which is especially impressive when you turn into metal Mario and see the entire level reflected on the hero’s body.