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Why Bomber Crew is much more than just a FTL clone

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Bomber Crew Lancaster

I tell my pilot to climb as the flak begins to explode around us. We’re getting closer to our target, an airfield that I need to photograph for reconnaissance. I can’t stay at this height for too long as the temperature begins to drop but it’s safety from the AA-guns I’m looking for.

My navigator announces a new heading and as I tag it for the pilot, our rear gunner spots three enemies. He begins to shoot, tracers arcing into the distance. He’s shortly joined by the top gunner who I order to fire defensively. The fighters surround us and a vicious dogfight begins to take place.

I quickly open up the camera port and wait. The airfield is approaching rapidly and clouds are obscuring the lens. I tell the pilot to drop in altitude and the flak begins again, ripping holes in our wings. My navigator goes down and I realise the oxygen supply is dangerously low after taking a hit. As soon as I take the photo, we’re away. Climbing back to safety and heading to the sanctuary of our airfield, albeit without instruction from the navigator who is being patched up by my bomb bay operator.

As we limp back, I consider calling in a squad of Spitfires for an escort but thankfully the journey goes uneventfully.

Bomber Crew Bombing Run

Life in Bomber Crew is hectic to say the least. When I sat down to play at EGX 2017, I’d already written it off as a FTL: Faster Than Light clone. I couldn’t be more wrong.

The upcoming WWII-themed strategy game from UK developers Runner Duck is so much more. It’s a love letter to games like Cannon Fodder or B-17 Flying Fortress. It’s action-packed and strategic, cutesy yet meticulous in it’s depiction of a Lancaster bomber.

This level of detail is partly due to Dave Miller. Dave is one half of Runner Duck and the main point of contact at EGX. Dave has a connection with this particular period of history, he had family that flew Lancaster’s in the war. This fascination, along with an early passion for gaming in general, is what led to Bomber Crew being made.

At first glance, yes, it plays similarly to FTL. You recruit soldiers, you gear them out and watch them progress, you get far too attached as you order them around the inside of your bomber and you’re devastated when one of them takes a hit.

What it does better is the manic moments. You’re no longer in a sterile spaceship drifting through space. You’re flying through anti-aircraft fire with no hydraulics and a German fighter ace chasing you. There’s no pause button either so everything is playing out in real-time.

“It’s a love letter to games like Cannon Fodder or B-17 Flying Fortress

It’s also got much more depth than a cursory glance would suggest. Dave tells me how he poured over original manuals for the Lancaster bomber to ensure that while it might not look hyper-realistic, it effectively performs at a simulation level with minor allowances for game-play purposes.

Hydraulics, oxygen levels, fuel and ammunition all have to be maintained. Location-based damage means you can lose wings or entire sections of the hull. There’s permadeath for both your crew and your planes. Emergency landings behind enemy lines can occur, with your characters chance of survival based on what gear you gave them at the start of the mission. Did you opt for heavy flak jackets and no rations? That might be the last time you see them.

Even the ‘mini-boss’ named enemies have links to real-life historical figures, utilising the same tactics they became famous for during the war.

As I talk through Bomber Crew with Dave, it becomes apparent where his inspiration comes from. Cannon Fodder is mentioned a lot and as a fellow fan, there’s streaks of the same genius in Bomber Crew. Anyone who played Cannon Fodder remembers the pain of losing Jools and Jops, you’re two starting soldiers. Runner Duck want to capture that same feeling for Bomber Crew, making you care for the young airmen who run and maintain your Lancaster.

Bomber Crew Recruit

Even the art style is similar, highly stylised with bold colours and excellent visual effects. Runner Duck are hoping that this makes Bomber Crew more accessible. Not only because they want the game to do well, but because they want to raise awareness of a tragic, heroic and very important part of history. In the same way that Cannon Fodder had a fairly strong anti-war message, Bomber Crew is looking to highlight something that goes beyond clicking on a cartoon aeroplane.

It seems to be doing the trick. Every time I walk past the booth it’s absolutely jam packed.

Bomber Crew is set to launch on PC on October 19, before making the jump to current consoles in 2018.

 

UK based gaming writer, raised on a diet of Street Fighter and Isometric RPG's. I enjoy playing every game I can get my grubby little hands on.

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Google engineers successfully hacked the PS Portal to run emulated PSP games

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After about a month of work, a couple of Google employees have successfully hacked the PS Portal, PlayStation’s handheld streaming solution. Their project is not set for public release anytime soon, but the hack is purely software-based, eliminating the need for hardware exploitation.

Andy Nguyen, a cloud vulnerability researcher, and Calle Svensson, a security engineer, shared their latest project on Twitter. They successfully ran the PSP emulator PPSSPP on the PS Portal. They presented the 2005 PSP classic Grand Theft Auto: Liberty Stories.

https://x.com/theflow0/status/1759627938910089575?s=20

As a wireless streaming device, the idea of playing games on the PS Portal without a PS5 providing the power was considered impossible. It’s quite surprising how quickly Nguyen and Svensson have overcome this initial hurdle. It remains to be seen where their efforts will take them, but we will definitely keep an eye on their progress. Nguyen expressed that there is still a lot of work left to do.

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Lady Gaga reveals collaboration with Fortnite for upcoming festival and addresses typo

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Lady Gaga, also known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has teased an upcoming collaboration with Fortnite Festival set to be unveiled soon. More pertinent to our specific attention to detail, Gaga has also admitted to a mistake made around four years ago, indicating her keen awareness of the franchise’s significant value.

Gaga shared a mesmerizing picture of her character in Fortnite and also retweeted a post from 2019 where she asked her fans, “What’s fortnight?”. She finally got the chance to correctly spell the title of the game, allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief after waiting anxiously.

Lady Gaga will be teaming up with other top celebrities to maximize their presence on the Fortnite platform. Travis Scott once hosted a live concert in Battle Royale a couple of years ago, while the Weeknd just premiered the music video for the song “Popular” at the Fortnite Festival.

https://x.com/ladygaga/status/1759986415415459972?s=20

 

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Reflecting on Street Fighter 5’s tumultuous launch, Capcom looks back eight years later

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For those who may not recall, nearly eight years ago today, Street Fighter 5 was released in 2016 in a rather incomplete state. The content available was impressive initially, but the limited number of characters and lack of single-player game modes stood out. Capcom expresses regret for the entire situation, offering apologies years later for having “betrayed” players’ expectations.

On SF5’s eighth anniversary, the developers must be feeling nostalgic. They recently posted a Japanese-language tweet looking back on the mistakes made and the challenges that were eventually overcome. The number of playable characters has grown to 45, and the game has seen various enhancements, including the introduction of new abilities such as V Skills/Trigger II and V Shift. Even now, hundreds of thousands of players still choose to play this game instead of the newer Street Fighter 6.
Have you had the chance to try out Street Fighter 5 since it was first released? What do you recall about the game’s reception? Take a trip down memory lane in the comments section below.

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