Categories
Consoles Gaming

Epic Games Nets $1 Billion in Funding for Metaverse Growth

To say that Epic Games is a financial goldmine would be a massive understatement.

The game publisher/development studio powerhouse rose to prominence thanks to the Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament, which paved the way for the company to become a money-making juggernaut due to Fortnite’s immense success. At the moment, Epic Games is valued at $28.7 billion. And judging by a recent round of funding, it looks like the established gaming operation will become even more profitable as time goes on. On April 13, Epic Games proudly announced via a blog post that it just got done completing a $1 billion round of funding. One of the largest investments came from Sony Group Corporation with $200 million – this latest batch of funding follows another investment from Sony that resulted in Epic netting $250 million in July of 2020, which was reported by PC Gamer.

“Epic continues to deliver revolutionary experiences through their array of cutting edge technologies that support creators in gaming and across the digital entertainment industry. We are excited to strengthen our collaboration to bring new entertainment experiences to people around the world. I strongly believe that this aligns with our purpose to fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation. Some of the other companies that chose to invest in Epic Games’ further growth include BlackRock, Appaloosa, Baillie Gifford, Luxor Capital, etc.

Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, noted that this latest round of funding will play a huge role in furthering its “Metaverse” growth efforts. “We are grateful to our new and existing investors who support our vision for Epic and the Metaverse. Their investment will help accelerate our work around building connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys, while empowering game developers and creators with Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services and the Epic Games Store,” Sweeny stated. Seeing as how Fortnite has morphed into the ultimate crossover gaming experience, it comes as no surprise that a ton of outside entities are hitching their financial wagons to Epic Games’ continued success.

When the term metaverse gets mentioned, visions of an interconnected virtual world that requires a single login for all of Epic Games’ thriving titles come to mind. Imagine a future where players hop into a game session that allows them to seamlessly move between Fortnite, Rocket League, Fall Guys, and any other future gaming IP’s the company chooses to develop next.

Epic Games is certainly going through a lot at the moment. The gaming entity is doing its best to keep pushing Epic Games Store as the go-to marketplace for PC games and smack dab in the middle of an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. Judging by the two tweets posted above, Tim Sweeny is quite unbothered by recent reports of his company bleeding money due to its decision to give free games to users of its digital gaming storefront. And with the stacks of cash coming in from Fortnite on the regular, it looks and sounds like Epic Games’ financial wins will far outweigh its mounting losses.

Categories
Gaming Interviews

Twitch Streamer Draynilla Talks Gaming And The Importance Of Being Yourself

Draynilla is a man of many talents and many names. Andre Joseph aka SoaR Dray aka ‘The Booty President’ is one of the most skilled and entertaining gamers in the esports and gaming community, and is the latest guest to join Aaron ‘Don’ Dukes in this latest episode of Inside The Screen. ‘Dray’ brought the laughs, fun, and epic gaming expertise in a 35-minute conversation with Don as he discussed his content journey, Twitch, and so much more that you won’t want to miss.

Don starts it off by asking Draynilla about when exactly he realized that he wanted to be a content creator. “I started my content creation journey when I was a lot younger. I used to make Minecraft videos on YouTube just for fun,” he tells Don as he reflects on his childhood gaming years. “I used to get made fun of in school for stuff like that, and I stopped doing it because I was super self-conscious as a kid. Around 2017 is when I started getting back on Twitch, and when I saw Daquan and Hamlinz, that is when I got back into it. I saw so much of myself in them, and I figured that if they could do it and pull all those numbers, then I could too!”

Don and Draynilla then went into a discussion about how his parents reacted when he told them that he wanted to quit his job to pursue a career in streaming, his passions outside of gaming, the importance of family, and his career growth over the last six months with Don asking him about his long-term vision. “Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I have always believed and envisioned myself to be one of the biggest content creators on Twitch. I’m a firm believer in my own content and my ability to get that position. At TwitchCon they always have these banners of the biggest streamers in Twitch, and I have also thought that I can get there. I want to take this global, and I want to be everywhere. Let’s say down the line I’m not streaming anymore, I still want to be in gaming, whether it’s being the manager of an up-and-coming streamer, or having an org.”

As the conversation progresses, Don and Dray chat about Dray’s Twitch evolution, with Don eventually asking Dray how long it has taken him to build his audience. “I want to let people know that it is a marathon not a sprint, and it is about what you do on a day to day basis that leads you to where you want to be in life. Just like with anything, you have to be consistent. I’ve been streaming for about two years now, and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I’m a firm believer that everybody’s journey is different,” he tells Don before going into what has personally helped him achieve success.

“Honestly just being myself! I don’t try to put on a fake or front, and I feel people gravitate towards that more because they want to watch you for you. At first when you are really trying to grow, people are going to want to watch you for the game you play, but you have to get people into your stream. You have to keep in mind that timing is everything because I believe life won’t give you what you want when you want it, but when you need it.”

Don and Dray had an awesome convo that any avid gamer will not want to miss. You can follow Dray on Instagram and Twitter.

Categories
Culture Gaming

The 20 Most Memorable Video Game Rap Lyrics

Your favorite MCs do a lot of things in their leisure time. They tend to roll up & smoke some trees, get into some passionate debates over random topics with the whole entourage, indulge in some sports-based activities, etc. 

Another hobby most rappers indulge in is most definitely video games – that’s pretty evident considering the abundance of lyrics from the best wordsmiths that just so happen to be about the best consoles, characters, games, etc. On the regular, a clever bar about gaming will come across your headphones and force you to push the rewind button to catch it once more. And there are even those cool instances where a rapper will dedicate an entire song to their game of choice. It’s safe to say that the rappers we bang out of our speakers on a daily basis love to hand out L’s in the very same games we play for hours on end.

We went into our memory banks and did our Google’s to find the most memorable rap lyrics that are all about showing love to gaming as a whole.

1. Bazooka Tooth, zoo-keep the paper route with janky funds and favors/Cradled by twelve empty Zelda heart containers

Aesop Rock, “Babies With Guns”

2. Crack mothers, crack babies, and AIDS patients/Youngbloods can’t spell but they could rock you in PlayStation

Mos Def, “Mathematics”

3. I’m PS4 in HD and the screen is plasma/You’re Atari 2600 with a weak adapter

Joell Ortiz, “Slaughterhouse”

4. Attention all haters, get off your boy’s d**k/Tell your b***h to come here, she can play with my joystick/Up up down down left right left right B, A, B, A, Start/Now tear it apart

Saigon, “Get Busy”

5. Rival Schools, Batsu, purchase you ought to/It came with one free CD, it’s like I bought two/I hope they make part two for Dreamcast/’Cause games I seen in mags, you won’t believe they have…./Yeah, I’ll admit that PlayStation improve/Come visit feudal Japan with me and Tenchu/Bushido Blade II with swordplay so accurate/Mega Man Legends, but I had to buy a map for it

Del The Funky Homosapien, “Proto Culture”

6. I’m sorry like Atari who’s the cousin to Coleco/Vision, caught a RICO, back on the streets like Chico

Andre 3000, “Skew It On The Bar-B”

7. Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis/When I was dead broke, man, I couldn’t picture this

Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy”

8. Battlin’ me is hazardous to health/So put a quarter in ya ass ’cause you played yourself

Big Daddy Kane, “The Symphony”

9. I can’t sleep like a child on Christmas Eve/Like a tender head girl in a shop gettin’ a weave/Like a woman in labor about to produce the seed/Or Method Man with PlayStation and an ounce of weed

RZA, “Insomnia”

10. Or better yet a Terminator, like Arnold Schwarzenegger/Try to play me out like as if my name was Sega

Everlast, “Jump Around”

11. I had dreams that I would blow like a Nintendo Cartridge

Anderson.Paak, “Without You”

12. I tell the cash get over here, it’s like I’m Scorpion on Mortal Kombat

A-Reece, “To The Top Please”

13. Pass me the pork roll, don’t really walk anymore/Ever since I invented a gun that shoots portals

Seth Sentry, “Reservoir Dogs”

14. All got expensive cars, won’t allow a jacker to see me/I ride with bananas and shells like Mario and Luigi

Chamillionaire, “The Game Gonna Cost a Fee”

15. Came a long way from extension cords in the window/Borrow neighbor’s power just to plug up the Nintendo

Danny Brown, “30”

16. I heard that she wanna go and party, she wanna go and party/N***a, don’t approach her with that Atari/N***a, that ain’t good game, homie, sorry

Kendrick Lamar, “Poetic Justice”

17. Hey look, my homies told me back when I was playing my Nintendo/To stay away from windows, cause bullets, they tend to hit those/My mama told when I got the PSone/To skip the BS and lead us or be as numb/As every other brother throwing up colors in my community/I knew better, but couldn’t do better but then I grew to be

Lecrae, “Daywalkers”

18. Ayo, I cop power pellets (and y’all call ’em bricks)/I make little dots (and y’all chop rocks to flip)/Before Junior, they had me out on a chas /Running from these ghost monsters y’all calling the jakes/All I do is stack loot, run around and eat fruit/And harass these lady cops named Pinky and Sue/My whole life been a maze in a chase/Can’t keep still without these monsters on my back invadin’ my space/I got two hitmen that’ll bury you brothers/They rule the underworld, you know ’em as the Mario brothers/Straight cannons, and won’t hesitate to shoot ya/And they stay goin’ to war with that Latin King Koopa/I got a worker named Frogger, when I say jump he leap/A highway boy who be runnin’ the streets/With that package, dodgin’ through traffic that’s narrow/And my n***a Donkey Kong bringin’ weed in by the barrels

Beanie Sigel, “Mac Man”

19. F**k your gun talk, play ‘No Doubt’, you ‘Gwen’ ‘don’t speak’/You ain’t shooting nothing but air, you Nintendo Wii

Rock (Boot Camp Clik), “BK All Day”

20. My new b***h, call her my PS3/You? Your b***h’s p***y, call it my Xbox

Royce da 5′9”, “Airplanes Freestyle”

Categories
Consoles Gaming

16 Games Like ‘Resident Evil’

The term “survival horror” entered the lexicon of gaming once Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise first scared the hell out of everyone back in 1996. Carefully exploring spooky locales, managing your precious resources, and dealing with a vicious array of bioweapons describes the horrifying experience that comes with playing a Resident Evil game.

Over the years, the series has split its focus between a third- and first-person camera viewpoint in an effort to present its brand of horrors in new ways. Thankfully, most of the series entries have worked to a satisfying degree in that regard. If you’ve found yourself yearning for games like Resident Evil that adopt either of those main character camera settings, then allow us to offer you some assistance. The 16 games we compiled for this list present the sort of survival horror goodness that exemplifies Resident Evil.

1. ‘Silent Hill’ (series)

Capcom graced the world with Resident Evil as the king of its signature sub-genre. Obviously taking note of that series’ success. Konami sought a piece of the survival horror pie by introducing the Silent Hill franchise. And ever since the first series entry arrived in 1999, survival horror fans have thrown plenty of praise upon the majority of its mind-bending adventures. The first four series entries are worth returning to if you can find them, plus you should give the remake of the first game (Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) a good look as well. If you have the mettle needed to navigate a small town full of nightmare fuel and a mysterious mist, then the Silent Hill series should definitely appeal to you.

Buy Now, $90
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Silent-Hill-Shattered-Memories-Nintendo-Wii-2009-Complete-Nice-Ships-Free/294112320865?epid=72453297&hash=item447a75dd61%3Ag%3AOp4AAOSwzbRgcHb9&LH_BIN=1
2. ‘Dead Space’ (series)

Does the thought of fending off multi-limbed Necromorphs and other types of hideous creatures within the lonely confines of spaces freak you out? Then be prepared to confront those fears when you step into the Dead Space series. You’ll step into the space boots of Issak Clarke, who’s forced to shoot down and dismember monstrous beings known as Necromorps. And while you’re doing so, you’ll be treated to Issac’s morbid visions and do everything in your power to survive in the darkest corners of space.

Buy Here for $17.44 on PC
https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Space-X-BOX-360-Platinum-xbox/dp/B000X1PE16/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=dead+space+1&qid=1617917722&sr=8-1
3. ‘Dino Crisis’ (series)

Capcom realized it had a goldmine on its hands when it mastered the survival horror genre. That’s probably why it chose to switch out its zombie menace for reptilian baddies when it brought Dino Crisis into the fold. The first two games in the beloved series follow Regina as she dodges some daunting dinos. It’s hard enough shooting down some of the game’s faster reptiles, but it’s even tougher when you learn that they can knock your weapons loose. Be sure to check out the first two Dino Crisis games and do yourself a favor by avoiding the third one altogether.

Buy Now, $64.99
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dino-Crisis-Sony-PlayStation-1-1999-Complete-Tested/143995320008?epid=2816&hash=item2186ca36c8%3Ag%3A4RsAAOSwb1tgZksD&LH_BIN=1
4. ‘The Evil Within’ (series)

Imagine how much scarier one’s inner demons can be when you’re forced to confront them head-on. The Evil Within series presents that harrowing prospect as you run through a distorted world and come up against the physical embodiments of psychological horrors. Both games adopt the revolutionary third-person gunplay introduced by Resident Evil 4 and add a collection of outlandish beasts to strengthen its winning formula. The Evil Within games will stick with you long after you’ve beaten them.

Buy Now, $84.95
https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Within-PlayStation-4/dp/B00DHF3BZQ/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3BTB6EC4R42WM&dchild=1&keywords=the+evil+within+ps4&qid=1617917650&sprefix=the+evil+wi%2Caps%2C163&sr=8-2
5. ‘Shadows of the Damned’

If you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription, then you might want to go on ahead and give this super slept-on third-person shooter a try. Shadows of the Damned is a hilariously raunchy game that looks and sounds like the exploitation films of old. As demon hunter Garcia Hotspur (WHAT A NAME!), you’ll put your transforming (and talking) gun to good use against the Lord of Demon’s loyal servants. If you loved Resident Evil 4, then the gameplay feel of Shadows of the Damned will take hold of you and never let go.

Buy Now, $37.99
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shadows-of-the-Damned-Microsoft-Xbox-360-2011-Complete-CIB/254935594955?epid=70288274&hash=item3b5b5877cb%3Ag%3AU4kAAOSwt65gcNpP&LH_BIN=1
6. ‘Daymare: 1998’

Daymare: 1998 certainly wears its inspirations on its sleeve. As a clear nod to the survival horror games of the late 90s, this game pits you against an army of nasty creatures as you explore a small town stricken by a horrifying incident. There’s tons of blood and gore on deck in this one – blasting apart your mutated foes with a wide assortment of firearms means a whole lot of red plasma will regularly splash across your screen. Just know that the limited availability of everything you need to survive lies at the heart of this modern throwback.

Buy Now, $12.99
https://www.amazon.com/CatMan2-Padded-Belt-Small-35/dp/B07XNW88N4/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2YAA0L5WA6JYM&dchild=1&keywords=daymare+1998+ps4&qid=1617917407&sprefix=daymare%2Caps%2C607&sr=8-1
7. ‘Parasite Eve’ (series)

Shout out to the old creatives at Squaresoft that birthed this fun amalgamation of survival horror elements and RPG-inspired combat mechanics. As a New York City police officer named Aya Brea, you’ll need to brave the horrors concocted by a being that’s looking to destroy humanity through spontaneous combustion. The games that follow Aya’s initial adventure stick close to the theme of contending with hideous mutants via a mix of active movement and turn-based battles. Parasite Eve is pretty much Resident Evil meets Final Fantasy, which is a marriage that should excite you.

Buy Now, $119.99
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Parasite-Eve-PS1-1998-Black-Label-Complete-w-Bonus-Disc-Registration-Card/184754627841?epid=1731&_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item2b043be501%3Ag%3A1IUAAOSwSNhgb%7EDb&amdata=enc%3AAQAFAAACcBaobrjLl8XobRIiIML1V4Imu%252Fn%252BzU5L90Z278x5ickk8Fd9si%252FIbtWQr%252BhnlRwjDYQ9zG%252B3Y9h%252FmYkUnwrQIVnL6PnEp%252Fx6g4hJJYi74cvZX%252FZJlqM7ShtSkOtADGMcO6ZSKQ1vQYp5DxrqcjBMYG3rfkoqHpTfuLm1PVIRCe3yrVmLHLUomAYXiQeI2unomgu%252B%252BOFI%252Fdgkwriyg%252BCGZQDaeLa9iI4rW1als8ZYW1favCJCkqfJe80UQSh2nRJMBiavAiaVnexZclo1bU5hTyMJB2noHCUd8tUw87XywWjP7qEPSnEbwWt48kE7FawwFUZPQwcKq2CqHmL2MhWwP7g%252BXww4QdXxeBB4hO%252FyCvnxFDoJpuICIlqoxm03gxTrHMDEFTSZ%252BlyVtnII%252BapWOzxeNtgNsYBBxBcFHF2g7IPJmKUQQ%252F4Oix6o0tK6qZXnV%252Fm%252FwsF0bKpQPe%252B97CCd5R7H5ei19760csMP24x%252F%252BcAZnWpYZyqTO63UlimunwXIQn9vCzZ%252F1MuuFf8Io0NFT8V5zWXXsI%252FDlz7PXU8ypme%252BAJChkqkXxcnvPndh4Z0%252BfmtcUY0hzx0vTNQhp5zKywkJD49I9d98CT8RwF28lbLYF3Wbedjyw%252FcjfQ8fvvx9wKilUvweLOapT4%252Fz9u81u1qvYoNOG7bMfj8CzkHIbGdrwCnsCn7inF4nNeS1ctSHJl0cxkkHhG6W8nG6uuOx7hS170tjWcDJYql%252BJ7iarzadjYpwkyA3Y%252BRiWfNudkjC1KiFFImeOJfMQcYDYYVkH%252F3LrtNVXyc2mBmnzwCtIY1hBDD6ZVu4VczuAaUNZpUpiw%253D%253D%7Ccksum%3A184754627841e5c54d76451e4def8b58370f5c0eed00%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A2334524&LH_BIN=1
8. ‘Deep Fear’

If you can get your hands on a Sega Saturn that’s compatible with Japanese exclusives, then you need to go out of your way to spend a few hours with Deep Fear. This survival horror escalade is all about taking control of an ex-Navy SEAL named John Mayor, who must endure all sorts of human and mutated dangers within an underwater research facility. Deep Fear features some innovative features that place it above older survival horror games, such as the ability to aim while moving and using items without having to select them from a menu.

Buy Now, $40.49
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Deep-Fear-W-Reg-Card-Flyer-Sega-Saturn-SS-Japan-Import-US-Seller-G7485/154088545646?hash=item23e0649d6e%3Ag%3AUHkAAOSw50xfYNX4&LH_BIN=1
9. ‘Dying Light’

Never mind the Dead Island franchise – the Techland developed zombie-filled adventure you’ll want to busy yourself with is this one. Dying Light takes place entirely from a first-person perspective and incorporates parkour exploration as you swiftly move across a Middle Eastern quarantine zone. In the daytime, your usual array of the undead menace shambles toward you. But once evening falls, far more formidable versions of those same zombies make their presence felt. You’ll need to jump, dive, and assault the zombies that come your way if you choose to spend some time with Dying Light.

Buy Now, $30.09
https://www.amazon.com/Dying-Light-Anniversary-Xbox-One/dp/B08LX14TGL/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=dying+light&qid=1617917252&sr=8-1
10. ‘The Last of Us’ (series)

Once you’ve come to know what The Last of Us’ Joel and Ellie are all about, you’ll most likely add the game to your list of the greatest of all time. The first game offers the most rewarding and highly emotional escort mission of all time as you protect your young cargo from merciless humans and rabid creatures that have been stricken by a mutated fungus epidemic. Once you’ve completed the first game in the series, head into the second one and prepare for the gut punches it will inevitably deliver.

Buy Now, $17.99
https://www.amazon.com/PS4-LAST-US-REMASTERED-PlayStation-4/dp/B00JQ8UWZ0/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=the+last+of+us+remastered&qid=1617917108&sr=8-4
11. ‘Days Gone’

If you enjoyed the overwhelming zombie hordes that ran you down in the fourth, fifth, and sixth Resident Evil games, then you’ll most definitely enjoy what Days Gone has to offer. This PlayStation exclusive puts you in the role of Deacon St. John, who hops on his trusty motorbike in an effort to find his missing wife. While venturing through a post-apocalyptic version of Oregon, you’ll run into cannibalistic creatures known as Freakers. And once they gather in droves, look out! Things definitely get a whole lot dicier from that point forward.

Buy Now, $19.99
https://www.amazon.com/Days-Gone-Playstation-4/dp/B01GW8XRCG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3ARULNZOMPLMQ&dchild=1&keywords=days+gone+ps4&qid=1617916998&sprefix=days+g%2Caps%2C169&sr=8-1
12. ‘Alien Isolation’

Having to constantly hide and keep your distance from a super-intelligent Xenomorph is the epitome of terrifying. As Ellen Ripley (daughter of the Alien film’s leading heroine, Amanda Ripley), you’ll set out across a myriad of space stations in an effort to find out what happened to her mother. Unfortunately, that also means you’ll have to contend with killer Working Joes and an enormous alien that definitely has it out for you. Alien Isolation brings the horror of having to deal with an extraterrestrial threat right to your face in first-person.

Buy Now, $24.97
https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Isolation-PS4-playstation-3/dp/B00HQCQ1RQ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1YTET9SM0U8B3&dchild=1&keywords=alien+isolation+ps4&qid=1617917058&sprefix=alien%2Caps%2C200&sr=8-1
13. ‘Alan Wake’

There’s a good reason why a lot of fans are clamoring for a sequel to this memorable supernatural romp. Alan Wake follows a novelist who’s trying to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding his wife’s disappearance. This caper transports him to a small town that throws him headfirst into a series of events that are lifted directly from his latest novel. Taking down a slew of shadowy baddies known as “Taken” and exploring some creepy whereabouts are what you should expect from your time spent with Alan Wake.

Buy Here for $24.99 on PC
https://store.steampowered.com/sub/15407/
14. ‘Condemned’ (series)

The Condemned games still hold a special place in retro gamers’ hearts due to how slept on they still are to this day. With a smart mix of first-person exploration, crime scene investigations, and weighty hand-to-hand combat, this underrated series offers a satisfyingly creepy expedition through fittingly dark locations. There may not be any undead horrors to contend with in these games, but you’ll still get treated to some of the best (worst?) jump scares you’ll ever come across in a survival horror game.

Buy Here for $14.95 on PC
https://store.steampowered.com/app/4720/Condemned_Criminal_Origins/
15. ‘Metro’ (series)

Based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novel, the Metro series follows a man named Artyom, who ventures into a world that’s been devastated by nuclear war. All three games in the highly-rated FPS series set you on a journey through the Metro tunnels and outdoors locales – you’ll need to put all your survival skills to good use as you encounter dangerous regimes and vicious creatures known as the Dark Ones. The latest series entry (Metro Exodus) takes players on an even grander journey across a wide expanse that’s filled with even more hostile humans and bloodthirsty monsters.

Buy Here for $99.71 on PC
https://store.steampowered.com/bundle/13326/Metro_Franchise_Bundle/
16. ‘Obscure’ (series)

The Obscure franchise certainly lives up to its name since they’re not the most well-known survival horror experiences out there. Both titles are worth spending some time with, especially if you have a friend in tow since they enable co-op playthroughs. You and a friend will have to band together and endure all sorts of infected horrors within the confines of a tortured school setting. If you decide to play either game on your own, you can switch between each of the playable characters and get familiar with all of their signature skills.

Buy Here for $14.99 on PC
https://store.steampowered.com/sub/36489/
Categories
Consoles Gaming

6 PlayStation Exclusives That Deserve a Remake

Imagine my shock when I woke up to a head-scratching report from Bloomberg via Jason Schreier.

According to him, a remake of The Last of Us is currently in development for PS5. And Naughty Dog is responsible for getting it done, of course. Jason’s report detailed how tumultuous the road to that project has been and the turmoil that arose when other PlayStation first-party studios were assigned game development tasks that they were none too pleased with. Learning that the powers that be at PlayStation are making the types of decisions that are causing unrest among its staff is troubling, to say the least.

To be quite honest, the move towards remaking The Last of Us doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. The game has already been remastered for PS4 and still looks/plays great in its most recently updated form. Naughty Dog’s revered post-apocalyptic title originally released in 2013, so it hasn’t even been long enough for anyone to truly miss it and clamor to revisit in a brand new way. This whole Last of Us remake story got me thinking about what other PlayStation first-party games would actually excite most gamers if a remake for any of them was announced.

I perused through all my warm memories spent with those types of games on previous PlayStation consoles and came away with six exclusives that are deserving of a PS5 remake.

1. ‘Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy’

Naughty Dog may be known by modern gamers for their work on the Uncharted and The Last of Us series. But old heads (including me) tend to reminisce about the development studio’s prior work on quality platformers. They’re responsible for blessing us with the first three releases in the Crash Bandicoot series back on the original PlayStation. And once they moved over to PS2, they injected open-world environments into their platforming formula to create the classic known as Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy.

I got a ton of mileage out of that game when it originally released – running around beautifully realized worlds, listening to Daxter’s hilarious quips, and punching/spin kicking everything that moves was and still is a blast. Remembering how amazing the 2016 remake of the original Ratchet & Clank turned out to be makes me wish Naughty Dog got to do the same for Jak & Daxter. I’d much rather see a portion of Naughty Dog’s development studio get handed the reigns to such a lofty project instead of working on a Last of Us remake. Sprucing up the visuals, adding a few quality of life changes, and retaining the same amazing collect-a-thon gameplay the original is known for would guarantee a Jak & Daxter remake’s success.

2. ‘Syphon Filter’

Sony’s Bend Studio tried something new with its debut PS4 release. That game was Days Gone, a solid foray into the world of open-world games that are focused on surviving the ills of a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse. While I commend the good people at Bend Studio for tackling a different type of game, I’m still yearning for them to return to the franchise that defined them – Syphon Filter.

My man Gabriel Logan has been dormant for far too long and is well-deserving of a remake that lets everyone cook terrorists with his trusty taser. This one’s a PSone OG, so I imagine most gamers my age (I’m 32, by the way) would lose their minds if footage of a completely redone and upgraded Syphon Filter hit the web. Get rid of that jank running animation, keep those stealth-action elements intact, and give those visuals the current-gen paint job the world wants to see. Bend Studio definitely has it in them to make everyone care about Syphon Filter once again.

3. ‘Twisted Metal 1 and 2’

I’m gonna keep it a stack with you guys – the 2021 reboot of Twisted Metal reboot really wasn’t hitting like that. The move to themed factions over a full roster of characters and signature vehicles didn’t sit well with me. The game certainly had its moments, but it was missing something from the series entries that came before it. At this point, it’d make sense to revisit the Twisted Metal series once again and tackle it with the sole mission of remaking the first two games.

Imagine the visual splendor that’s present in Destruction AllStars combined with the dark humor, chaotic action, and outlandish cast of characters Twisted Metal once thrived by. Mashing up the first two games in the series in the same manner that we saw with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 would be ideal. I sorely miss Sweet Tooth and the rest of the unhinged Twisted Metal gang, so it’s high time that we got a full-fledged remake of Sony’s well-revered demolition derby. The car combat genre is currently lying dormant – this remake proposition of mines could single-handedly revive it.

4. ‘Ape Escape’

For some reason, Sony has moved away from their more “colorful” array of first-party titles and transitioned to a line of games that are more cinematic & darker in nature. Back on the original PlayStation and PS2, I got so used to playing a wide variety of games from Sony’s dev studios that tried something new – Jumping Flash!, Tomba!, Dark Cloud, The Mark of Kri, and Rogue Legacy are proof of that sentiment. Another franchise that reflects Sony’s old way of doing things is Ape Escape, which is an incredibly fun line of platformers that solely focused on chasing around mischievous monkeys and capturing them.

Those games still hold a special place in my heart thanks to the catchy tunes, whimsical feel, and entertaining gameplay they produced. The time is right for the first entry in the platforming franchise to get a remake that makes it look even brighter and plays just as well as I remember it. It sucks that Sony’s Japan Studio is unfolding as we speak, which keeps the prospect of this remake from possibly becoming a reality. But I’d still hope for Sony to find another studio of theirs that has the talent needed to make an Ape Escape remake happen.

5. ‘War of the Monsters’

Do you know Sony actually published a few fighters of their own back in the day? Shocking, I know. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale isn’t the only brawler that Sony had a hand in – Battle Arena Toshinden, Bloody Roar, and Tobal No. 1 were among the few fighters Sony attached its old logo to. When it went out of its way to create one of its own, Sony allowed the now-defunct Incognito Entertainment to craft a kaiju-themed battle royale called War of the Monsters.

 I remember having the time of my life just going around smashing buildings and using cars as weapons to swing at giant apes, robots, and so much more. Imagine how hype it would be if Sony found it in themselves to kickstart a remake that incorporates online multiplayer, 4-player matches, and even larger arenas to do battle in. Seeing as how everyone went nuts over the Godzilla vs. Kong film let me know that kaiju fever is still a thing. Sony should capitalize on that fervent fan reaction and revive War of the Monsters in the form of a remake. I’m gonna let you know right now – if this game ever became a reality, y’all are not gonna beat my God-tier Kineticlops.

6. ‘Jet Moto 1 and 2’’

Sony sure loves their Gran Turismo series, don’t they? I certainly respect that franchise and applaud Polyphony Digital for creating the most realistic racing simulation games the world has ever seen. But I wish Sony would get back to producing the types of racers that adopt a more arcade racer-like feel. The MotorStorm games are still worth returning to, plus ModNation Racers had a lot of mileage to it. Before those PS3 racers came our way, there was another franchise Sony created in order to get a piece of the racing game market – Jet Moto

Speeding across fantastical tracks on top of super fast hoverbikes captured my young imagination back in the day and I’d love to revisit those days once again. I’d totally be down for a remake that polishes the first two entries in the Jet Moto series and delivers them to gamers thirsty for a worthwhile arcade racer. The thought of both of those remade games running on PS5 fills me with so much excitement!

Categories
eSports Gaming

Rocket League Championship Series NA Power Rankings for April 2021

After examining which Rocket League teams were on the bubble in March, we decided to revisit our list. Here’s our list of the 16 best teams in the game right now.

16. Ghost Gaming 

Ghost Gaming is built solid, with LionBlaze (one of the best singles  players in the world). There’s no reason Ghost Gaming shouldn’t be able to compete at the top level.

15. Susquehanna Soniqs

The Soniqs did the impossible this past weekend and had one of the biggest upsets in the Regional, taking down Number 1 seed NRG 4-1 in their Quarter-Finals match. The Soniqs looked super convincing until they got swept by KCP in the Semi-Finals. Was it a fluke on NRGs part? Or are the Soniqs onto something? Only time will tell. 

14. Alpine Esports 

Alpine is one of the most consistent teams in the RLCS, placing high in rankings in every event, and has one of the most coordinated rosters in the league.

However, during this past Regional, Alpine got knocked out early in Group Stages. It will be interesting to see how Alpine comes back in the upcoming TheGrid: Overtime event.

13. Pittsburgh Knights 

PK can be a solid squad, but after these past couple of performances, they’ve looked shaky. I think it’s the issue of their playstyle and the lack of diversity. If PK can get over this road bump, they aren’t far from Worlds qualification with only 700 points behind the top 6 spots.

12. Oxygen Esports (Formerly Jamal Jabary)

After acquiring the up-and-coming roster “Jamal Jabary” consisting of Toastie, LJ, and Kraziks, Oxygen has entered the North American RLCS, previously performing in the EU. Currently holding 680 points in the RLCS placing them within the Top 16, in order for Oxygen to qualify for Worlds they’ll have to keep this current streak going.

11. Faze Clan (formly “The Peeps”)

I really believed after being acquired by FaZe that we would’ve seen a more upbeat pace from them as they were 5th on last month’s Ranking. With that being said I think all they need to do is make some micro adjustments and before they start dominating again.

10. EUNITED

After dropping WondaMike back in February, they have recently acquired RLCS PRO ‘Dappur’ This team is looking solid after their first performance in the RLCS: Spring Split placing 13-16th which is higher than some top 10s like (Alpine, and Pittsburgh Knights.)

9. Charlotte Phoenix  

Charlotte recently parted ways with their entire roster but made some moves in the interim that could be the spark they need to turn things back around. They were 13th on our rankings last month, and now they’re ninth, so they are trending in the right direction.

8. Rogue 

Ever since dropping RLCS PRO, and community loved, ‘Kranovi’ Rogue has been doing nothing but greatness. However, what is super surprising is to see Rogue this low on this list because I see them as a super-dominant team. 

7. Kansas City Pioneers 

 Kansas City Pioneers were 7th on this list last month and are 7th again which shows they are being consistent. This team is super underrated and hopefully we get to see them make a breakthrough sometime soon. 

6. Version1

My favorite team as of right now goes from being 12 on our Power Ranking last month to now being number six, which just shows you that if they keep making adjustments that we might see them become a Top four contender.

5. Team Envy

Envy has one of the best defenses in the game. Holding 3 Regional Titles this season. This roster has been dominant since their formation of Atomic, Mist, and Turbopolsa. Even though they are 5th on this month’s power ranking and are still a dominant force, this is likely just a phase.

4. XSET

Consisting of AlphaKep, Jpow, and Hockser, XSET consistently places well in tournaments and has been applying a little more coordination within their team. XSET is a Top 10 team in North America and after placing 9-12th in the recent Spring Regional, I’m convinced that XSET is on a trend upwards.

3. Space Station Gaming

SSG has one of the most dominant offensive pressures in the game. With a majority of their series being high scoring, it’s hard for any defense to keep up with it. It takes a roster with speed and solid coordination and this is why SSG is one of the best teams in the league.

2. G2 Esports

With the announcement of RLCS PRO ‘Rizzo’ retiring. G2 acquired 15-year-old Andres “dreaz” Jordan, and with this pickup, G2 has been looking super dominant.

1. NRG

The Champs are hitting it again, Squishy, Jstn, and GarrettG (all RLCS World Champions) have held the #1 title in the League this whole Season. It’ll be a challenge for any team to take down the #1 seed in the game.

Categories
Gaming New Releases

The 10 Best ‘NBA 2K’ Games of All-Time, Ranked

A couple of months ago, we put out an article about the best basketball video games that weren’t a part of the NBA 2K franchise. We told you guys that we would follow it up with a ranking of the best NBA 2K video games of all time, and now we are back to revisit some absolute classics that are not only among the best sports video games in history, but the best video games to ever be released in any genre.

Whether you are an avid 2K player or not, there is no denying the cultural impact that this franchise has had over the decades, and if you are long-time basketball video game fan, then you know that there was actually a period in time where NBA Live was considered superior to 2K. At some point in the early 2010s, 2K completely became somewhat of a universal phenomenon, and prior to the pandemic, 2K drops were almost comparable to major movie releases with live events, and appearances from some of the league’s biggest stars.

While we are still a few months away from the official launch of 2K22, it won’t be long before the trailers and rumors start buzzing around, so before that happens, let’s take a look back at the ten games that have defined the 2K franchise.

10. NBA 2K16

Release Date: September 2015

While not considered the best game in the 2K series from a gameplay standpoint, 2K16 has to make any 2K list due to the sheer anticipation. The hype wasn’t just about the video game, it was also where the NBA was at that particular point in time. The Golden State Warriors’ reign had just begun, with the team beating the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals a couple of months before.

James had just returned to Cleveland after a four-year stint in Miami, and while the Warriors were a solid team, they weren’t the favorites to win the championship that year. The rise of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, combined with their bench, backcourt, and veteran leadership, proved to be the beginning of a new era. Curry, Anthony Davis, and James Harden were the cover features, and the game itself was a major turning point of the MyCareer mode. 

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9. NBA 2K6

Release Date: September 2005

There are some people that will argue that 2K6 doesn’t belong on this list, and we can understand that point of view. However, we feel that this installment still deserves a spot because it was a turning point in terms of game mechanics. Unfortunately, the success of NBA Live 06 overshadowed 2K6, so people aren’t truly familiar with its impact.

The graphics were great for the year in 2005, the simulation was crazy, and playing with the 05/06 version of Kobe Bryant was something that we can appreciate even more now. Shaquille O’Neal (who was playing with the Miami Heat at that time), was that year’s cover feature and enjoyed a friendly competition with his then-teammate Dwyane Wade, who was the Live 06 cover athlete.

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8. ESPN NBA Basketball

Release Date: October 2003

ESPN NBA Basketball is technically NBA 2K4 and had all of the elements that previous 2K Installments offered up to that point. Allen Iverson was the cover athlete in what wound up being his last 2K cover feature, and this was the first 2K game to really emphasize the ESPN broadcasting component.

If you go back and look at any other 2K game prior to 2K4, the entire gameplay was eerily quiet. There were no ‘announcers’ or ‘sideline reporters’ checking in through the game, and you could barely hear the crowd. We didn’t think much of it since it was the norm back then, but the introduction of the ‘live broadcasting’ made us realize how strange that really was. The graphics and presentation were also enhanced from the previous year, giving players an overall better experience.

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7. NBA 2K3

Release Date: October 2002

2K3 is another oldie but goodie that played a huge role in developing the many features that later 2K games have expanded upon. It was the first year of a three-year partnership with ESPN, and the overall ‘Sportscenter’ vibe helped take the game to the next level because it made you feel like your ‘highlights’ were going to be the ones to make the countdown.

The controls were slightly better from the year before, and the streetball element was especially cool considering the state of urban and hip-hop culture at that particular time. The 2K soundtracks have always been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game, and the 03 edition remains one of the best.

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6. NBA 2K11

Release Date: October 2010

2K11 wasn’t much different from 2K10 in terms of its features and what it offered, but it was another one of those games whose impact was influenced by the current state of the NBA. To understand the landscape: Lebron James had just joined the Miami Heat the previous summer alongside Chris Bosh to team up with Dwyane Wade and form a ‘Big 3.’ 2K10 marked the first game in which the Big 3 would be officially featured. Michael Jordan was the cover athlete, which proved to be an exciting addition to the game, and the ‘Jordan Challenge Mode’ was one of its biggest features.  

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5. NBA 2K10

Release Date: October 2009

We are putting this game on here not just because of our guy Kobe, but because 2K10 was the first real start of the 2K series overpowering NBA Live. 2K10 introduced Blacktop online, a mode where you can play with any current or historic NBA player, or your MyCareer player if you wish. Blacktop online was a game-changer in the basketball gaming community, as it came during the very early phases of YouTube game reviews and streaming. 

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4. NBA 2K13

Release Date: September 2012

This is where things are going to start getting tricky. Every 2K game introduces something new, but in terms of overall gameplay and controls, 2K hasn’t really changed that much over the last few years if we are being completely honest (and the last two years haven’t been received that positively). So at a certain point, ranking 2K games becomes a matter of what that particular game introduced, the hype/impact surrounding the release, and how it was received.

With 2K13 it was the incorporation of both the 1992 and 2012 Olympic teams, and the Jay-Z narrations. The gameplay was solid as well (though some had issues with the dribble controls), and 2K13 was the first game that really highlighted sneaker culture. A solid game for sure.

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3. NBA 2K2

Release Date: 2001

Believe it or not, the older 2K games just may be better in terms of overall development because the changes were more significant from year to year since the game (and technology) was in its early stages. 2K2 was huge because it was the first time the series was available on Playstation 2, GameCube, and Xbox. This helped to expand the 2K audience by making the game more accessible.

2K2 was also the first game to accurately reflect players’ abilities and skillsets. Before 2001, you could have Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan draining 3s from just about anywhere on the court, and while that was fun, it wasn’t realistic at all. At some point, basketball video games were going to have to match real life, and 2K2 was the start of that.

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2. NBA 2K17

Release Date: September 2016

2K16 was a tough act to follow, but 2K17 delivered with its MyLeague mode. Mechanically speaking, the game wasn’t too much different from its predecessor, but it was the first time in 2K that expansion teams could be added, and all 30 NBA teams could be relocated to different areas. While the realistic elements of a game are important, the fantasy elements still remain critical as well. We all know that you can’t move a team with a click of a button in real-time, but being able to do it in a game is wildly fun.

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1. NBA 2K14

Release Date: NBA 2K14

We are going to take the bold stance of putting 2k14 number one. Why? Lebron James. Now you may be rolling your eyes, but James being on the cover was truly iconic because people had been begging him for years to be on the cover of either Live or 2K. The biggest star in the league not having a cover feature was something of an anomaly, and when James was announced, it caused mass hysteria. People who had stopped playing 2K (or basketball games in general) picked up 2K14 just because James was going to be on the cover. 2K14 also saw the introduction of MyPark, which was probably the official mark of 2K overtaking NBA Live.

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Categories
Gaming NFT

100 Thieves Has Officially Entered the World of NFTs

100 Thieves holds a lot of weight as a lifestyle brand and gaming organization. The group has built up multiple esports teams that fight for relevancy and championship glory across games such as League of Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, and Call of Duty. They also produce super stylish apparel lines that unsurprisingly sell out in minutes. And you have to give props to 100 Thieves for having its very own headquarters smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles. The moves that have already been made by one of gaming’s largest esports establishments are major. As for their latest campaign, 100 Thieves is hoping to leave an indelible mark on the world of NFTs.

The newly announced 100 Thieves Enter Infinity NFT Collection is currently live and four of its designs will be available for auction for 24-hours only. This special collection of NFTs features eight 1-1 digital art pieces – Gateway 001-004 can only be obtained via auction bids on Foundation, while Gateway 005-008 are set up as giveaway prizes for 48-hours. All eight NFT designs sport the 100 Thieves logo within a black-hole space that features a vortex of some kind protruding out of its center. As for the background art, all eight of those same NFT art pieces feature different designs. If this NFT sale is hugely successful (which it most likely will be), then we can probably look forward to some other premier gaming organizations hopping into the NFT space. Would anyone be interested in FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, or Cloud9 NFTs, perhaps?

NFTs aren’t the only products 100 Thieves is delving into for the month of April, by the way. They’re also getting ready to drop their next line of signature clothing with the Enter Infinity Collection, which is slated to go on sale at 12pm PST on April 10. Fans are most likely going to engage in a frenzy that day if they have any hopes of acquiring 100 Thieves’ latest collection of hoodies, hats, shirts, and sweats, and more. To say that 100 Thieves’ brand awareness is on a whole ‘nother level is an understatement – they’re constantly making headway as a force in the realm of esports, apparel, and now, NFTs.

Categories
Gaming NFT

An Open and Shut Case: Open Asset Systems In Gaming

What if video games gave you complete freedom with the items you scraped, clawed and fought for? What if you were no longer confined by the restrictions and limitations put in place by the game developer? 

Meet your new best friend, an open asset game system. The future of gaming starts now. 

In order to appreciate the benefits of an open asset system, let’s take a look at an example of the opposing framework: a closed asset system.

Fortnite

Don’t let the emote dancing and memes fool you, Fortnite is a textbook example of a video game meant to funnel players into a walled garden which holds their items hostage. Fortnite follows a closed-loop, free-to-play monetization model. This encourages players to buy the in-game currency, Vbucks, with real money to unlock rare cosmetic skins, axes, and gliders. Players are prohibited from trading and selling their items with each other, and they have to go to 3rd party sell sites and add the seller in-game to coordinate drops. Some users have started utilizing websites like eBay to sell their entire accounts and cash out their progress.

eBay / Swolesome

Here’s where an open asset system comes into play. 

In an open asset system, items can be traded amongst players. There’s no hoops to jump through, no shady sell sites, and no fear of getting banned by the developer. This fluidity with items allows them to be traded, and even sold, for real world currency. This promotes a healthy user-driven economy where players can freely take items in and out of the game to their benefit. One could even pay for groceries from their in-game wheeling and dealing with loot-drops.

Open asset systems like the ones created via Enjin change the game from pay to play to play to earn.

How does it work?

Unlike Fortnite, your skins are not locked to your account or the server they are on. They can move between servers, between players and even other games. Using NFT technology, items can have their rarity, their identity, and their ownership verified at any point. This allows players to bid, buy and sell items that are actually rare. 

In a closed loop system, the developers can’t verify the items total supply, much less make it something tangible enough to move between players outside of games. In these cases, the item is just code on their server. This is also the reason you can have an infinite amount of legendaries in a closed loop game. However, this makes the game more susceptible to hacks, bugs and accidental server wipes. 

Years ago I got the chance to talk to the CEO of the well known mobile game Skull Girls at a Gamers Development Conference. He gave talks about moving past the darkest point of his games lifecycle: the time an employee accidentally wiped all the players progress globally. All of the players overnight found their high level characters, favorite skins. and even their favorite in-game items had vanished. 

Imagine spending years and 200+ hours on a game to wake up one morning and find that all of your progress had simply disappeared. This is a perfect example of why players have sought the independence granted by an open asset system for decades. 

For an open asset system to work you need to have “real” digital assets, meaning an item that can’t be taken from a player or lost because of something that happens to the server. This ties back to needing an item whose ownership can be verified and validated outside of the games server. 

This allows assets to survive past the game’s lifecycle and find a new home in other games.

Is it being used?

There are some mainstream games that have a variation of an open asset system. Games like Pokemon allow players to trade their pocket monsters globally without having to be friends in-game. However, a key triple-A game (game by a mid-size or large publisher) that has tinkered with something like this is Minecraft. This is the most downloaded game in the world with over 200 million sales, and it’s now giving us a glimpse into the future of assets in gaming. 

MyMetaverse is a platform that allows Minecraft players in the server to trade items between one another and take items found in the server to other games in the shared multiverse.

Swolesome / Minecraft

No longer are the game items restricted to the game. They’re now the players’ items. They own what they play with, and the item will will be transferable between several games. We can now move forward with a player-centric view of the industry, further showcasing a future where game items become more than just unmovable trophies.

Categories
Consoles Gaming

Our Ultimate ‘King of Fighters XV’ Roster Wishlist

SNK is back, baby!

The longtime Japanese gaming publisher/developer has gotten back into fighting form thanks to releases such as The King of Fighters XIV, Samurai Shodown (2019), and their continued mobile gaming efforts. Now that the company is back on a more solid footing these days, SNK is answering their passionate fans’ requests by presenting an entirely new entry in the KOF franchise. And based on the ending of the last game, all bets are off – it doesn’t matter if a character met their demise in the series’ past since Verse’s demise revived a good majority of them. KOF games tend to go big when it comes to their final roster count, so we know KOF XV is going to “shatter all expectations” by featuring a huge mixture of expected faces, shocking returns, and cool newbies.

Based on our previous experiences with past SNK fighters, we know which characters would be perfect for a welcome comeback. This is our ultimate KOF XV roster wishlist.

1. Rock Howard (‘Garou: Mark of the Wolves’)
SNK

Never mind all that chronological order business when it comes to who’s too old or too young to make it into a KOF game. KOF XIV added Garou: Mark of the Wolves’ poster boy to its roster and he looked/played as good as his 2D counterpart. We’re hoping that SNK took notice of how popular Rock ended up being thanks to his 3D reintroduction and makes the wise decision to upgrade him for inclusion in KOF XV. If there’s anyone we’d love to see play the part of leader for a returning Mark of the Wolves team, it’s the mega-powerful son of Geese Howard/rising apprentice of Terry Bogard.

2. B. Jenet (‘Garou: Mark of the Wolves’)
SNK

The second Garou roster member that should get an invitation to KOF XV is everyone’s favorite lady pirate, B., Jenet. She’s a major fan favorite among SNK fighting game devotees, so her addition to the game’s roster would be accepted by most. She already knows a thing or two about team synergy since she appeared in KOF XI alongside Tizoc and Gato. It’s about time she got to join all the three-on-three festivities and show off her skills for the world to see once again.

3. Hotaru Futaba (‘Garou: Mark of the Wolves’)
SNK

And for our final fantasy Mark of the Wolves team member, we went with the ever so peaceful yet still dangerous Hotaru Futaba. She might seem like the sweetest little girl you’ve ever seen, but she packs quite the punch. Her swift and graceful approach to combat mystified us during her debut in Garou and we’re sure her moveset would look even better with a 3D paint job. Hotaru’s stance-based Tai chi and Baguazhang arsenal need to be part of the Mark of the Wolves Team’s formidable arsenal.

4. Shen Woo (‘The King of Fighters 2003’)
SNK

Shen Woo likes to punch people…a lot. He’s a well-dressed brute that ended up being one of our favorite characters during his tenure in KOF 13. His street boxing tactics are overdue for a comeback at this point, which is why we think he’d be the perfect character for a KOF XV revival. There’s a simple joy we get from simply charging up Shen’s punches and unleashing them on our helpless opponents. And that’s something we’re dying to replicate in an all-new KOF game.

5. Ryuji Yamazaki (‘Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory’)
SNK

You can’t leave our guy Yamazaki out of the KOF XV equation. Especially since he popped up in the last game as one of its better DLC roster inclusions. Yamazaki’s a lovable thug that derives a ton of fun out of stabbing people with pocket knives, kicking up dust, and viciously slapping people in the nether regions as hard as possible. It’d be pretty awesome to see him aligned with a fellow hothead like Shen Woo, but we’d also be fine with him teaming up with a fellow Fatal Fury roster member.

6. Blue Mary (‘Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory’)
SNK

You can’t just leave out Miss Mary from this new batch of KOF goodness. She made quite the splash when she got the DLC nod for the last game in the series and we’re very open to seeing her join its latest installment as a launch roster member. Blue Mary and her wide assortment of sick grapples have always been super hype, so it’d make all the sense in the world for SNK to spruce them up for the latest generation of KOF.

7. Hon-Fu (‘Fatal Fury 3: Road to the Final Victory’)
SNK

Aren’t y’all tired of this man being forced to play the background role in most SNK fighters? We know we are. Hon-Fu has and always will be nasty with his trusty pair of nunchaku. And it’s about damn time that he got to hop back onto the battlefield to show everyone how it’s done. Hon-Fu’s Kung Fu skills could definitely get an upgrade of some kind that would pair him up nicely with his other Fatal Fury brethren in Yamazaki and Blue Mary.

8. Wolfgang Krauser (‘Fatal Fury 2’)
SNK

If there’s one trait about the KOF games that we’ve always appreciated, it’s the random sub-boss encounters that pop up based on your team’s performance. We surely hope that element returns for KOF XV. We’ve got three supremely powerful individuals that would be perfect for that “boss before the real boss” lineup. The first of those three threats is Fatal Fury 2’s valiant warrior, Wolfgang Krauser. The man is a towering beast that we’d love to test our skills against and add to our team once again. Krauser and Terry are destined to go head to head once more, wouldn’t you say?

9. Rugal Bernstein (‘The King of Fighters ’94’)
SNK

Verse’s death freed a lot of the deceased souls that gathered throughout KOF’s long lineage. And it’s pretty clear that the superhuman monster known as Rugal Bernstein is back in the world of the living thanks to the KOF 14 boss’ demise. We say Rugal should come back adorned in his swaggy red suit to deliver those vicious God Press’, Genocide Cutters, and Kaiser Waves we’ve missed so much. Just ease up on the CPU difficulty for this guy a bit, SNK…

10. Nameless (‘The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match’)
SNK

Thanks to the rollback netcode update for The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, a lot of fighting game fans have gotten back into the game as a whole. And one of the more noteworthy characters from that game’s massive roster is the fire and ice powered K’ clone known as Nameless. The man just oozes cool factor and we’d totally be open to him getting a nice 3D touchup. Besides being a cool sub-boss option, Nameless would look right at home in a Boss Team setup alongside the last two characters we’ve mentioned.

11. Li Xiangfei (‘Real Bout Fatal Fury 2’)
SNK

SNK has to bring back the super cheerful Kung Fu mastermind known as Li Xiangfei. You can’t help but love her endearing personality every time she’s featured in a KOF game. Besides her love for Asian cuisine, Li also gets a kick out of brutalizing her opponents with some forceful strikes and a nice mix of Drunken Fist maneuvers. We’re more than ready to see her brought back into the KOF fold.

12. Tsugumi Sendo (‘Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition’)
SNK

We’re going to move into the often ignored 3D realm that SNK took most of its fighters into back in the day. Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition is one of those games and one of the characters that made their debut in that overlooked fighter was the high school wrestler known as Tsugumi Sendo. Her unnatural strength is at odds with her diminutive stature, which made her one of the more interesting fighters on the roster. Sendo’s nasty footwork and grapple expertise are top-notch and worth reviving for KOF 15.

13. May Lee Jinju (‘The King of Fighters 2001’)
SNK

WE NEED A HERO! And her name is May Lee Jinju. She fights in the name of justice and does it masterfully with the tried and true martial art of Taekwondo. Besides her basic fighting stance, May Lee also has the ability to switch into a Hero Mode that equips her with a whole new set of skills. Kim Kaphwan is practically a lock when it comes to being featured in KOF15. We say change up his team lineup once again and have him kick everyone to death alongside Miss May Lee. That would certainly shatter everyone’s expectations, right?

14. Jhun Hoon (‘The King of Fighters ’99’)
SNK

And here’s the third prospective member for our dream Kim Team. Jhun Hoon is tailor-made for a fruitful partnership with Kim and May Lee that could lead them to victory for the KOF XV tourney. We hope that intriguing possibility can become an exciting reality if SNK’s reading this. Jhun does nothing but land vicious kicks and looks good while he does it. Getting to see Jhun Hoon as a 3D model would be pretty hype now that we’re sitting here and fantasizing about it.

15. Najd (‘The King of Fighters XIV’)
SNK

Najd emerged as the winning character design for a KOF 14 contest promoted between SNK and Manga Productions. And after we spent some time labbing her mastery of darkness and the shadows that come with them in the lab, we grew to appreciate her unique combat stylings. Najd’s inclusion in a KOF game shouldn’t be left to a one-time appearance – she should definitely get a wardrobe update and get the chance to link up with two other lethal ladies as a team for KOF 15. Speaking of…

16. Luong (‘The King of Fighters XIV’)
SNK

Do you know who ended up being one of the most badass debuting females in KOF 14? “The Enchanting Beauty” known as Luong, who claimed lives by landing some of the quickest kicks we’ve ever seen. Luong made for a great team member when she ran around with Kim and Gang-il, but we think she’d fit in even better with two other equally lethal ladies. Linking her up with Najd works extremely well, in our opinion. And as for the third member of that new team, we think that should be filled by the next member on our list.

17. Mian (‘The King of Fighters XIV’)
SNK

The ever so graceful master of Sichuan Bunshinryu is another one of those debuting KOF 14 characters that deserve to get another shot in its upcoming sequel. Mian’s original costume is a bit much, which is why we’d love to see her make a comeback with her main duds from SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy. The powerful collective of Najd, Luong, and Mian would make for the perfect team alignment that could give Yuri, Mai, and King a run for their money.

18. Vanessa (‘The King of Fighters ’99 Evolution’)
SNK

Vanessa has vicious hands for days, months, years, etc. Out of all the boxers that have gotten caught up in all the madness that comes with a KOF tournament, she takes the honor of being our favorite. She got called up to the KOF 14 roster as a DLC character and got the opportunity to punch anyone and everyone into an unconscious state. Putting Vanessa back with Ramon sounds like the perfect package deal to us. And to make that duo even better, SNK should throw Angel into the fray.

19. Moe Habana (‘The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood’)
SNK

We’re getting super obscure with the next three picks on this list, so bear with us here. SNK dropped two KOF games on the Game Boy Advance and one of them is The King of Fighters EX: Neo Blood. While that portable fighter and its sequel took place in an alternate timeline for the KOF series, we still think SNK should throw the exclusive characters from those games a bone. Moe Habana hails from the game we mentioned earlier and is readily deserving of a spot in KOF 15. Moe’s got some nasty rekka specials within her moveset, plus she’s got a pretty sick character design that would look so crispy in 3D.

20. Reiji Oogami (‘The King of Fighters EX2’)
SNK / Un Bit Pequeño (YouTube)

Reiji Oogami is pretty much the perfect combination between Kyo Kusanagi and Chizuru Kagura. The man is a heavy-handed brute that can attach flames to his many maneuvers and also has the ability to create mirror clones of himself to throw off his opponents. Now’s the perfect time to expose him to a larger audience via a welcome return to KOF 15. Reiji’s the perfect powerhouse member of a team that includes him, the character we mentioned beforehand, and the next combatant on our list.

21. Miu Kurosaki (‘The King of Fighters EX2’)
SNK / Un Bit Pequeño (YouTube)

Moe, Reiji, and Miu would make for the perfect trio. And we’d like to christen them EX Team. Miu stands out as the fastest member of the three – when she’s on the move, she dishes out damage with some dizzying energy attacks. With the ability to cut down her foes with her signature Feather Attack and Slashing Aura specials, Miu definitely presents herself as a daunting opponent for anyone that mistakenly underestimates her.

22. Zarina (‘The King of Fighters XIV’)
SNK

“The Dazzling Smile” was most definitely the standout member of the debuting South American Team back in KOF 14. She danced all over her opponent’s bodies with a wide array of slick  Capoeira-inspired attacks. Since she got a starring role in SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, it’s clear that SNK sees her as someone that’s going to stick around for so much longer. This tells us that she has a high chance of coming back with her fellow teammates or different squad members altogether.

23. Kukri (‘The King of Fighters XIV’)
SNK

Kukri is that super cool, super mysterious sand dude from KOF 14 that captured everyone’s imaginations once they got ahold of him. We reckon that his trippy moveset would look far more impressive thanks to a well-deserved KOF 15 glow-up. If Ash ends up in the game as well, it’d be pretty cool to see Kukri link up with him and Elisabeth since she hired Kukri to locate him in the first place. Side note – KOF 14 sure had a bunch of likable new characters, didn’t it?

24. A Guest Characters Team
Capcom

The last Japan Fighting Game Publisher Roundtable gave us high hopes of even more shocking crossovers in the near future. We’re hoping that a larger sense of camaraderie between those teams means non-SNK fighting game developers are willing to add a guest team from their associated franchise. Imagine the hype that would accompany an announcement of a World Warriors Team from Street Fighter that features Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li. Or a Tekken Team composed of Heihachi, Kazuya, and Jin. A KOF 15 team that features nothing but guest characters would make our heads explode!