There hasn't really been a good skateboarding game since Skate 3 in 2010. Don't even try to mention Tony Hawk 5, either: that game was awful. Session, an upcoming skateboarding simulation game by Crea-ture Studios, aims to change that with a neat-looking dual-stick title that focuses on using physics to pull off cool, realistic tricks. If funded, Session will be available for Xbox One and Steam — sorry PS4 fans, this one isn't for you.
Most of the headlines surrounding Electronic Arts this fall have been about the loot box situation in Star Wars: Battlefront II. But Need for Speed: Payback has been dealing with the same pay-to-win progression issues since it launched a few weeks ago too. More than that, the game is an unstable mess and barely functions on Xbox hardware. Developer Ghost Games is addressing both of those with Payback's first big updates.
Idol Minds had been making video games for 20 years when it rebranded as Deck Nine in May. It's not just the studio's name that changed -- its entire mission refocused. Instead of working on titles like Cool Boarders 2001 and Pain, developers built a suite of storytelling tools ideal for crafting narrative-driven games. Deck Nine hired experienced writers and shopped itself around to major publishers, offering to take on emotionally complex projects with branching dialogue paths.
Back in October, League of Legends player Li "Vasilii" Wei Jun livestreamed alleged domestic abuse against his then-girlfriend. The Chinese team Newbee immediately terminated his contract and the League Championship Series launched an investigation. Today, the organization suspended Vasilii from professional games for 20 months, which begins in January 2018 at the start of the next competitive season. Riot took the opportunity to modify its rules and allow for harsher punishment for potential future cases of domestic abuse.
It's time for Steam's annual Autumn Sale -- and as is often the case, there are deals on major games you might have missed earlier in the year. Most notably, the promo (which runs until November 28th) cuts the price of the relatively fresh Middle-earth: Shadow of War by 40 percent to $36. If you weren't thrilled at paying full price for the sequel, this might be more palpable. Bethesda's recent horror title The Evil Within 2 is half off at $30, while the brutal hack-and-slash Dark Souls 3 is down 60 percent to $24.
The holidays are almost here, and that means you may end up playing a lot of party games with visiting friends and relatives. Amazon might spare you from having to break out yet another board game, though: it just put its Echo Button accessory up for pre-order. Pay $20 and you'll get two of the super-simple controllers for Alexa-driven entertainment like Beat the Intro (a name-that-song title) or Fourth Down Football Trivia. They should be released on December 19th, or just soon enough that they could accompany an Echo speaker you're gifting to a special someone.