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December 2014

New Assassin's Creed Unity Patch Turns Bugs Into Features

Ubisoft has patched the troubled Assassin's Creed Unity for a fourth time this week, changing certain parts of the gameworld to better perform.  One of the changes, however, has to be seen to be believed.  First, some backstory: the central conceit of the Assassin's Creed franchise is that you, the player, are actively playing a simulated experience based on historical figures through a complex computer system called the Animus.  The world you see onscreen is literally meant to be a digital creation.  Start the game up for the first time and you'll see an animation welcoming you to the Animus technology, for instance.  During key story moments, the gameworld may digitally break down and glitch to heighten drama.  Now, this new patch deals with the technical problem regarding non-playable characters popping into existence.  Instead of NPCs suddenly appearing in virtual Paris as they are loaded into memory, they now fade in with an animation effect that implies it's the Animus itself (and not your game console or PC) that's struggling to keep up with the simulation.  It's not a bug, it's a feature!

I can almost imagine Ubisoft's Unity patch team sitting around a table trying to solve the pop-in problem when one of the developers snaps her fingers with the big "Eureka!" moment.  By reframing the technical problem as an in-universe issue instead of a real life issue, they can write off the situation as solved and move on to other things.  Frankly, that's absolutely brilliant.  I've seen lots of creative problem solving over the years, but this is my new favorite example of how to fix something that's broken by changing the definition of what "broken" means.  Ubisoft, you and I may not always see eye to eye on things, but I'll give you this one.  It's a clever fix.  Good job.

(Image via NeoGAF)

Power Button - Episode 157: Sonic The Hedgehog Writer Ian Flynn's Gotta Go Fast And Questions Are Gonna Get Asked

Power ButtonArchie Comics has been publishing comic books featuring the cast of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog for a very long time now and on this episode of the Power Button podcast we're joined by Sonic writer Ian Flynn to discuss how the process of creating the comics comes together.  How far in advance are plots planned?  How does the crossover with Capcom's Mega Man impact the production?  What does it take to track continuity?  What's in store for future storylines?  What was the unpublished conclusion to the story arc in which Dr. Robotnik became a Mexican wrestling sensation?  How are baby cyborg bunnies made?  We get to the bottom of the serious issues.  Returning Power Button guest David Oxford sits in with us for added fun, too.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Big PS4 Sale At Amazon This Week

Buy somethin' will ya!Amazon is all over the Sony PlayStation 4 this week and is offering a variety of deep discounts for games and hardware both old and new.  Recently released games like Assassin's Creed Unity, DriveClub, LittleBigPlanet 3, and other games that have experienced admittedly shaky launches are all on sale for between $25 and $35.  Other games from this year such as Watch Dogs, Infamous: Second Son, The Last of Us Remastered, and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes are marked down to between $10 and $30.  Even the PS4 camera is on sale for $40.  There's plenty worthwhile to get here, so go get yourself a little something.  Don't have a PS4 yet?  There's even a console bundle with up to a $250 discount after deals.  Check out the annual PTB holiday gift guide for more ideas.  Every Amazon purchase you make via the green link above goes to help support Press The Buttons, so start shopping and make it a happy holiday for us all.

Super Mario Bros. 3 Condensed Into Super Smash Bros.

Nintendo's classic Super Mario Bros. 3 would have been a lot shorter in length if Bowser's Koopalings had just ganged up on Mario and attacked him all at once.  No matter which side wins, the central conflict would be over when the battle ended.  While playing Super Smash Bros. yesterday evening, I realized I could create that game-shortening encounter with the new eight-player Smash mode.  It's as chaotic as you'd imagine.  Try it for yourself and condense Super Mario Bros. 3 down to a single fight with the star protagonist of your choice.

Power Button Presents Kombo Breaker - Episode 36: Phil Kollar and the Rising Cost of DLC

Power Button Presents Kombo BreakerWe have a full house on this classic episode of Kombo Breaker as we're joined by Phil Kollar (who was with at the time; today he's with Polygon) and Kombo's own Chris Holzworth (he's with EGMNOW, well, now) to discuss the rising cost of downloadable games and add-on DLC on Microsoft Xbox Live and the Sony PlayStation Network.  Prices for both stand-alone games and extra content such as levels, game modes, and even character costumes heading every skyward was an issue even back then when this episode was released back on July 17, 2009, so we figured that it was our place to step in and solve the issue over the course of one hour.  Enjoy!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button Presents Kombo Breaker - Episode 36: Phil Kollar and the Rising Cost of DLC

Gears Of Fate Grinding Toward New Mega Man Game?

Mega ManCapcom's Mega Man has largely sat on the sidelines since his last adventure in Mega Man 10.  His latest appearance since is as a newcomer in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. sequels for Wii U and 3DS.  Are we really doomed to continue living a life without new Mega Man sequels?  The USgamer crew doesn't think so.  As part of an article looking at dusty franchises in need of an adoptive financier, Mega Man comes up as one of Nintendo's possible interests.  The evidence that the company could possibly be working with Mega Man's corporate masters at Capcom on a new title piles up quickly.

Of any combination on this list, the Nintendo/Mega Man connection doesn't just seem possible — it seems practically inevitable. The Big N has more or less taken Mega Man in off the streets as its own personal charity case. They put him in Smash Bros., making him relevant to kids for the first time since anyone cared about Battle Network/NT Warrior. Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console are basically Mega Man machines, stuffed to bursting with almost every Mega Man title ever made for a classic Nintendo platform. We're still down some GBA titles, but they put Battle Chip Challenge on there, of all damn things. Mega Man Zero 3 can't be too far behind. And then as the tasty little cherry to top off this sundae of true-blue inexorability, Mega Man is the one and only non-Nintendo-published series to have its own 3DS Street Pass puzzle. I mean, you can practically hear the gears of fate grinding their way to a hot-sclusive Mega Man for Wii U announcement at E3 2015.

Nintendo does seem to recognize that there is a demand for the franchise and is doing its darnedest to fill it.  I'd love to see the company adopt the franchise and make it one of its own as part of a Capcom co-production (as in, Nintendo makes all of the creative decisions and Capcom gets a royalty check in the mail each month).  Turn the blue bomber over to one of Nintendo's talented in-house teams and let them reinvent him for modern gaming but still maintain all of the great core basics that make the series so much fun.  If anyone could make Mega Man relevant again, I believe that it's Nintendo.  For more on how I'd like to see Mega Man reworked, be sure to listen to Episode 156 of the Power Button podcast.

Uncharted 4 Swings Into Action

Uncharted 4Naughty Dog debuted our first look at Nathan Drake leaping and shooting his way through Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for the Sony PlayStation 4 at the PlayStation Experience event today, showcasing a long look at Nathan Drake doing his usual climbing, leaping, and shooting routines against enemies while in search of treasure.  Is it more of the same of what we saw in the other Uncharted games?  Sure, but it's difficult to complain about that when the end result is so much fun.  I see a lot of what I loved about the other entries in the series happening here, but larger and much more detailed.  I trust that bigger set pieces are still to come, but for a first look, I'm satisfied.

The PlayStation Blog is quick to point out that what we're seeing here is a pre-alpha version of the game, so let's hope that some of the oddities (such as Drake falling through the game's world into oblivion) are fixed by the time the finished version of the game releases.  I know we're all still stinging over the release of so many broken games recently, but remember that Uncharted 4 is far from finished and there's still plenty of time to fix these problems.  In the meantime, though, we can have a laugh at the expense of other broken games.

Street Fighter V, Ultra Street Fighter IV Coming To PS4

Street Fighter VIt's a good day to be a Street Fighter fan if you own or plan on buying a Sony PlayStation 4.  At the PlayStation Experience today it was announced that Sony and Capcom have partnered to bring last generation's Ultra Street Fighter IV to the PS4 in Spring 2015 with all of the previously released costume DLC included in the package.  The bigger news, however, is that they've also partnered to create the all-new Street Fighter V exclusively for the PS4 and PC, plus players will be able to play against one another across the two versions.  Now we're talking!  The PlayStation Blog has plenty of screenshots.

I'm excited about both of these announcements.  I've hoped that USFIV would end up on the PS4 pretty much since it was announced for the PS3 and Microsoft Xbox 360, while a new Street Fighter sequel is always welcome.  Curiously, Sony's close partnership with Capcom on these means that as with Nintendo funding Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive, Street Fighter V is a PS4 console exclusive apparently for all time.  Capcom's staff have gone on the record several times in the past year that there was no budget for a PS4 version of Ultra, nor was there any money available for a full big budget sequel.  Without Sony's direct involvement, it seems that neither project would have happened.  Perhaps major publishers adopting unlikely games as console exclusives is becoming the major next trend in development.

Let's Try Zen Pinball 2's New Venom Table

Zen Studios is about to release its new pinball table featuring Spider-Man's dark side counterpart Venom, but since the company sent me the table early, I went ahead and broadcasted my first hour and a half playing it to Twitch last night.  If you missed the stream, you can catch up right now (or until Twitch deletes the video, whichever comes first).  Since it's my first time with the table I can't say that I'm that great at it, although during my time with it I did manage to trigger the special Black Suit Multiball and, another time, open up the Carnage jailbreak sequence.  My high score for the night was around twenty-five million which I think is pretty good as a starting point.  Join me as I try to figure out the table and have a good time.  I fire up the Twitch stream every time I play my Sony PlayStation 4, so be sure to subscribe to my Twitch channel so you don't miss a thing.

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Mega Man 2 Soundtrack Gets Equipped With An Upgrade

Mega Man 2Recall that cold, gray December day back in 2012 when the Mega Man 3 Remade chiptune remix album brightened things up and you'll remember how awesome it was to listen to the songs of Capcom's classic Nintendo Entertainment System title filtered through a simulation of Konami's special VRC6 chip.  Now here we are in December 2014 just in time for the same chiptune composer, RushJet1, to return with another installment in the series with Mega Man 2 Remade.  Yes, it's all of your favorite Mega Man 2 tunes have been given an audio upgrade with extra sound channels.  Air Man, Quick Man, and Bubble Man are all here as well as multiple remixes of the famous Dr. Wily stage themes performed in different styles.  The album is available to stream for free or download for a fee.  I don't know what's next for this project, but I'd love to hear Mega Man 4 given this treatment.  Can you imagine what the VRC6 chip could do for Toad Man or Pharaoh Man?  Such wonderful things...