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Roblox Hires Online Safety Expert as Director of Digital Civility

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Fortnite is getting all the attention, but online free-to-play game Roblox is still one of the most popular gaming destinations for young people around the world, with an active user base in the millions. Much of that crowd is under 18. Roblox Corporation has made numerous steps to ensure online safety, a top concern for parents whose kids enjoy exploring virtual worlds.

The Roblox Corporation has recently hired British online safety expert Laura Higgins as its Director of Digital Civility (the staff page lists her as Online Safety Operations Manager). Higgins has 20 years of experience working with online safety and educational organizations like the South West Grid for Learning. Higgins will work to create a safe, fun, productive environment for players, as well as develop educational resources for parents.

“Because Roblox is rapidly growing into one of the most popular places for kids and teens to hang out and play online, we have a duty to make sure that when they use our platform they can explore their creativity freely and safely,” said Higgins. “We have an opportunity to engage with young people in a unique way, and I hope that by listening to them and giving them a voice, we can help shape their positive behaviors both online and offline. I am beyond delighted to be joining this world-class team of innovators, and I look forward to working with external partners around the world.”

Roblox’s new Digital Civility Initiative will work to improve programs for parents, enhance user experience, and extend Roblox’s educational work with schools.

Roblox originally launched on PC way back in 2006 as a building creation game using Lego-like blocks. It’s also available on mobile devices and Xbox One. The ESRB has rated the Xbox One version E10+ for Fantasy Violence.

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Bungie and Activision Getting a Divorce, Bungie Keeping Destiny

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Bungie, best known for creating the Halo series and more recently the Destiny games, has announced they are splitting from parent company Activision after eight years. As part of the deal, Activision will transfer ownership rights of Destiny to Bungie, who will become an independent publisher.

“We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny,” states the official update post. “Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.”

Bungie has a history of independent development as well as partnerships with large corporations. After developing PC games in the 90s, Bungie was acquired by Microsoft in 1999 after showing its new first-person shooter, Halo: Combat Evolved. Halo became an Xbox exclusive and was instrumental in catapulting the new console’s success throughout the early 2000s.

In 2007 Bungie split from Microsoft, but Microsoft would retain the rights to the Halo franchise. Bungie continued to develop Halo games for Microsoft, releasing Halo 3: ODST and Halo Reach.

Then in 2010 Bungie announced a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision, which included letting Bungie keep the intellectual property rights of any new games. The Destiny series was born from that agreement. “We had a vision for Destiny that we believed in, but to launch a game of that magnitude, we needed the support of an established publishing partner,” states the post.

Destiny and its sequel, Destiny 2, have enjoyed critical and commercial success, with numerous content updates and DLC over the years. Bungie promises to continue this trend as they resume life as an independent developer. “We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond,” states the post. “We know self-publishing won’t be easy; there’s still much for us to learn as we grow as an independent, global studio, but we see unbounded opportunities and potential in Destiny.”

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Final Fantasy X, X-2, XII Coming to Switch and Xbox in April

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Square Enix has been a bit slower than other companies to jump on the Nintendo Switch wagon. But better late than never.

Last fall Nintendo announced that several Final Fantasy games were coming to Switch. Today Square Enix confirmed the release date for two of its remastered Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD and Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age will arrive on Switch, as well as Xbox One, in April. The remasters were formerly exclusive to PlayStation and PC.

To celebrate the announcement, Akihiko Yoshida created a new piece of artwork showcasing the characters from Final Fantasy XII.

final fantasy

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD will launch on April 16. The HD remaster originally released in 2013 on PlayStation 3 (and again on PlayStation 4 in 2015, and PC in 2016), and combines both Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel, X-2. Both games launched on the PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s, and Final Fantasy X is regularly ranked as one of the best Final Fantasy games ever made. It represents the first truly modern Final Fantasy game, with voice acting and a fully three dimensional world.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD will also be launching on an Xbox console for the first time, as it also arrives on Xbox One on April 16.

But wait there’s more. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is also coming to Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, on April 30. The Zodaic Age version is an HD remaster of the 2006 RPG that launched at the tail end of the PS2’s lifespan. Like the FF X remaster, it uses the improved international version along with updated audio and visual improvements.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age originally launched on PS4 in 2017. FF 12 is often ranked as one of the more underrated Final Fantasy games that didn’t receive the love it deserved when it originally released.

Both Final Fantasy games are rated T for Teen.