Gears 5 Dev Explains Why They Refused To Compromise On Frame Rate

Microsoft’s next big game, Gears 5, is out now on Xbox One and PC. Following 2016’s Gears of War 4, it is developer The Coalition’s second brand-new Gears of War game since studio owner Microsoft bought the franchise in 2014 from Fortnite developer Epic Games. To get a closer look and deeper insight into the game and the franchise in general, GameSpot spoke with studio technical art director Colin Penty.

He spoke about a number of different topics, including the thinking behind Gears 5’s noticeably brighter colour scheme, the technical challenges of creating the most expansive and sprawling levels the Gears franchise has ever seen, and how The Coalition is now hitting its stride and gaining the confidence to take risks and try new things with the franchise following its run at Epic Games.

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Penty also told us about how Gears 5 will perform on the OG Xbox One and Xbox One S, stating that its campaign will run at 30fps on the older machine just like Gears of War 4. That being said, Penty said The Coalition applied some technical wizardry to get more juice out of the older hardware through temporal upscaling. Additionally, the studio was able to achieve the smooth 60fps frame rate for all of the game’s multiplayer modes–Versus, Horde, and Escape–on the older Xbox hardware, which is something Penty said he is proud of.

On Xbox One X, Gears 5 runs at 1080p/60fps across campaign and all multiplayer modes. Penty said the team refused to compromise as it did with Gears of War 4. “We put a line in the sand early on in development of Gears 5 that we wanted the campaign to be 60fps on Xbox One X,” he said. “We didn’t want to have a compromise like Gears of War 4 where you had to choose 1080p/60fps or 4k/30fps. It was a large amount of work across a lot of disciplines to pull it off, but I really think it was worth it and is probably the best example of harnessing the additional power of the Xbox One X.”

Also on the subject of hardware, Penty said he is “definitely super excited” about the forthcoming release of Microsoft’s next-generation console, Project Scarlett, in Holiday 2020. “We don’t have anything to announce right now in terms of Gears with the new hardware–but I’m definitely super excited about what the new hardware could do. Having dedicated ray tracing cores is huge,” he said.

You can read the full interview below.

Gears 5 is available now on Xbox One and PC. You can buy the game outright or subscribe to Xbox Game Pass to get it at no extra cost. GameSpot’s Gears 5 review in progress currently scores the game a 7/10.

After playing some of Gears 5 I was immediately struck by the brighter colours, especially in the snow and the red sand. The Gears series is known for dark and grimy scenes, so can you talk about the art direction for Gears 5 and what you wanted to achieve? Was it a purposeful change to introduce brighter, more colourful environments?

Looking back, Gears of War 4 was a game that dominantly took place at night as that fit the tone better. While being still quite a colourful game it was also quite dark as a result. With Gears 5 we were excited to have gameplay levels that mostly took place during the day and that was definitely a deliberate decision. Having the majority of the game set during the day makes the game feel much brighter and compared to Gears 4 allows a lot of the vibrant colours to come through as a result. We also improved the HDR output tremendously from Gears of War 4 so the vibrancy of the image in HDR is amazing.

With Gears 5, you’re multiple entries into a franchise people know very well and have strong feelings toward. What were some of the challenges of staying true to the heart of the series as it relates to the art direction, but also pushing things forward and trying new approaches?

This is something our art director Aryan Hanbeck could probably answer better than myself. I will say that after shipping Gears: Ultimate Edition and also Gears of War 4 the Coalition art team has a pretty good feeling of when something “looks” like it belongs in the Gears universe or if it doesn’t. I think this frees us up to experiment with more confidence in Gears 5 and know that we will be able to keep the look authentic to Gears ultimately.

Moving on the subject of technology, Gears 5 is releasing about six years into the Xbox One’s life cycle. What kind of experience can people expect on the OG Xbox One hardware?

For the Xbox One and Xbox One S we were able to squeeze a bit more performance and quality out of the older hardware. Our campaign on Xbox One is running at 30fps just like Gears of War 4, but we were able to improve the image quality substantially in Gears 5 by using Temporal Upscaling – this way we always render at 1080p having a much sharper image, and only scale the “internal” resolution if needed for GPU performance. We also pushed to get Horde and Escape mode running at 60fps on Xbox One for Gears 5 so that way all of our MP modes are a consistent 60fps on Xbox One. I think gamers will appreciate that.

For Xbox One X, what kinds of things have you done under the hood to take advantage of the increased horsepower and speed of the console?

We put a line in the sand early on in development of Gears 5 that we wanted the campaign to be 60fps on Xbox One X. We didn’t want to have a compromise like Gears of War 4 where you had to choose 1080p/60fps or 4k/30fps. It was a large amount of work across a lot of disciplines to pull it off, but I really think it was worth it and is probably the best example of harnessing the additional power of the Xbox One X.

For multiplayer on Xbox One X we were able to introduce additional rendering features since we are running the same frame rate as Xbox One. We have screen space reflections and higher quality ambient occlusion as result.

Our cinematics also have much higher quality reflections, lens flares, depth of field, and motion blur on the Xbox One X compared to the original Xbox One and Xbox One S.

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Gears of War 4 was released in 2016, and in terms of technology, that’s a long time. So what’s an example of something we’ll see in Gears 5 that maybe wasn’t possible technically last time around?

Being able to achieve more with technology is probably 50% the technology itself and 50% the teams ability to execute using that technology. So I think with Gears 5 certain things would fall into one or the other category. Something like Temporal Upscaling was technology that just didn’t really exist in a useable state in 2016. On the other hard large overworld levels in Gears 5 we wouldn’t have been able to pull off in Gears 4 from a technical stand point–partly because our team wasn’t quite ready to take something that complex on, and partly because some of the technology wasn’t quite ready yet. For example having dynamic shadows that can be seen for kilometers in the distance wasn’t something we were capable of in 2016 technologically while maintaining performance.

“We had to deal with a lot of technical challenges due to the larger worlds. Issues that were just minor annoyances in our linear levels became massive problem for our larger levels” — Colin Penty

Something else that I’m really proud of is the investment from our team in character materials, models, and facial animation systems in Gears 5. We created a dynamic iris caustic system that simulates light bouncing around the iris, as well as implemented proper sub-surface scattering on the eye and many other improvements. We cleaned up our facial wrinkle maps and blood flow tech to really make it sing with our skin material and facial animation. All of these improvements were mostly things we learned while finishing Gears of War 4 that we wouldn’t have been able to properly do without that experience doing 2016’s game.

One final example I can think of is our tessellation and cone step mapping technology – both of these weren’t really possible to a high level of quality–at least for us–in 2016. Employing these on Gears 5 allowed our materials to have a lot more depth and allowed us to do some pretty incredible snow and sand deformation around the players feet and from the skiff.

One of the most striking parts about Gears 5, at least in the amount I’ve played thus far, is that the levels are far bigger and more expansive. What were some of the technical challenges related to taking this approach? And on the other side, what opportunities does this present?

We had to deal with a lot of technical challenges due to the larger worlds. Issues that were just minor annoyances in our linear levels became massive problem for our larger levels such as streaming, memory, 60fps performance, snow and sand deformation, and visual pop-in. Opportunistically I actually think it forced us to make systems that were more scalable and robust than anything we would have normally built–thus helping us on our linear levels, split screen modes, and other SKU’s such as PC that could harness these new scalable systems.

The ambition of Gears 5 is immediately noticeable with its massive levels and more open-ended structure. What had to happen under the hood, technically, to allow this to happen?

We had to learn how to stream our game in a different way – we ended up splitting our streaming sections in the overworld levels into granular sub-components like “large, medium, small” so we could stream areas in at different speeds. We also had to get familiar with Unreal’s landscape system and train our art and design teams on how to get the most out of that system – then had to augment it a lot with some of Epic’s latest Unreal Engine work as well as some modifications of our own.

We abandoned baked shadows and go to a fully real-time shadowing system as we couldn’t afford to store kilometers of shadow map data on disk or in memory. Our shadows in the distance are real-time ray-traced. We focused on writing a sand and snow deformation system that did a proper displacement on the sand and snow when the player foot pressed into the ground.

“I’m definitely super excited about what the new hardware could do. Having dedicated ray tracing cores is huge.” — Colin Penty

We made the system persistent so the trails would stay for a long, long time. Finally, we wrote a paintable volume fog system that allowed the artists to paint fog in the world wherever they wanted it – this gives the overworlds a great sense of atmosphere while maintaining 60fps on Xbox One X.

A new Xbox, Scarlett, is coming in about a year. I’ve read that The Coalition plans to support Gears 5 for a very long time after release. I know you can’t talk about unreleased hardware, but at a high level, what are your thoughts on even more increased power with the new console in terms of what it will allow you to do technically, but also creatively?

We don’t have anything to announce right now in terms of Gears with the new hardware–but I’m definitely super excited about what the new hardware could do. Having dedicated ray tracing cores is huge.

On the multiplayer side, what are some of the technical innovations you’re implementing to make Gears 5 a top-notch multiplayer experience?

I’m probably most proud of being able to achieve 60fps on Xbox One and Xbox One X for Versus, Escape, and Horde. It really helps with playability and consistency. We also brought a lot of our campaign tech into our multiplayer maps–for example we use volume fog in some of our MP levels and some levels also use cone step mapping. Our MP levels always output at 1080p due to temporal upscaling and all outdoor MP levels use shadow cascades for dynamic crisp shadows, which is a big step up from Gears of War 4’s soft baked shadow maps.

With Gears 5, this is now The Coalition’s second brand-new Gears game after taking over the franchise from Epic. Do you feel you’re now hitting your stride and blazing your own trail?

I feel like we have more confidence with the franchise now and are more comfortable taking risks. I’m really happy with how we were able to add new gameplay elements like Jack and the overworlds and not break the core loop of what makes Gears feel like Gears.

I understand you’re also able to talk about the development of new and existing characters in Gears 5, so at a high level can you talk about Kait and her trajectory in this game?

Gears 5 is all about Kait’s journey and her discovering what is the nature of her connection to the swarm. I don’t want to spoil anything!

From what I’ve played so far, the relationships between the characters–old and new–are more nuanced and dynamic than ever. Can you talk about the kind of story you wanted to tell in Gears 5 and how you go about balancing and pacing a story with so many different characters and interwoven storylines?

Gears 5 is all about Kait’s story, but of course we also wanted to develop and flesh out the other characters as well. To get the pacing of the story correct it’s a lot of collaboration between Rod Ferguson our creative director, Matt Searcy our Campaign Director, Bonnie Jean Mah our Narrative Director, and Tom Bissell our writer to get the story and pacing correct throughout the campaign. It’s a delicate art!

It’s Time For A Woman To Play 007, Pierce Brosnan Says

Actor Pierce Brosnan, who portrayed the legendary super-spy James Bond in four 007 movies, has spoken up to say it is time for a woman to play the title role.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter for his thoughts on a woman playing 007, Brosnan replied, “Yes!”

“I think we’ve watched the guys do it for the last 40 years. Get out of the way, guys, and put a woman up there. I think it would be exhilarating; it would be exciting,” he said.

It is rumored that one of the plot points in the upcoming No Time To Die movie will feature Lashana Lynch’s character taking over the 007 title from Daniel Craig. This has yet to be confirmed. However, we do know that Craig is reportedly planning to retire from playing James Bond after No Time To Die.

Brosnan went on to say that the current producers of the 007 movie franchise, the Broccoli family, might not allow this change. “I don’t think that’s going to happen with the Broccolis. I don’t think that is going to happen under their watch,” he said.

In 2017, model, singer, actress, and video game performer Cara Delevingne spoke about how she would like to play James Bond someday. “Everyone’s saying I’m meant to be a Bond girl but I’m like, ‘no – I’m working on the James Bond aspect first.’ I wouldn’t mind being a Bond girl but I’m going for James,” she said.

Brosnan played 007 in four James Bond films from 1994 through 2004, including GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.

The new movie, No Time To Die, picks up with Craig’s James Bond out of active service and living a peaceful life in Jamaica. Obviously, it doesn’t stay this way. “His old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology,” reads a line from the movie’s description.

No Time To Die is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who is best known for the first season of True Detective and the acclaimed drama Beasts of No Nation. Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, and Léa Seydoux all return to the roles of M, Q, Miss MoneyPenny, and Madeleine Swan respectively. The new cast members include Rami Malek in a villainous role, plus Billy Magnussen and Ana de Armas. Check out some on-set footage here.

Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge was hired to add humour to the No Time To Die script, reportedly. No Time To Die hits theatres on April 3, 2020.

Top New Game Releases On Switch, PS4, Xbox One, And PC This Week — September 8-14, 2019

New Releases highlights some of the biggest games launching each week, but this bonus-length episode packs in a few extras. We’ve even got a dedicated sports section for

Why the name change for PES 2020? This year’s football game focuses on online multiplayer, with pro tournaments and the PES League. There’s also a new mode called Matchday, where two pre-selected teams face off each day. You can log in and win the match for your team of choice–almost like a Splatoon 2 Splatfest, but with a real sport.

More Coverage:

  • How Do PES 2020’s New Changes Impact This Year’s Game?
  • PES 2020: PS4 Pro Gameplay – Man United Vs. PES Legends

NHL 20 — September 13

Available on: PS4, Xbox One

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NHL 20 has its own range of new features too. First, Franchise Mode is mixing things up by letting you hire coaches, which come with new dialog and scouting options. Hockey Ultimate Team is back with new Squad Battles, which gives you a fresh lineup of opponents to take on each day.

More Coverage:

  • NHL 20 Now Available With EA Access 10-Hour Trial
  • NHL 20: All The Details On Franchise Mode

Borderlands 3 — September 13

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC

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There are new characters to check out in Borderlands 3 as well. Amara the Siren, Moze the Gunner, Zane the Operative, and FL4K the Beastmaster are your Vault Hunters for his adventure. You won’t just be seeking Vaults on Pandora, though; for the first time, you can travel to other planets aboard the Sanctuary III. As usual, expect to find a ridiculous amount of guns as you battle the evil Calypso Twins.

More Coverage:

  • Borderlands 3 Pre-Order Guide: Diamond Loot Chest, Super Deluxe Edition, Bonuses
  • Borderlands 3 Launch Roundup – Release Date, Preload Details, Region Unlock Times, PC Specs, And More

Daemon x Machina — September 13

Available on: Switch

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Nintendo Switch gets an exclusive this week thanks to Daemon x Machina, which is all about mech combat. You can customize your mech, known as an Arsenal, with different handheld and shoulder-mounted weapons–and you’ll need all the firepower you can get to save the world after the moon is destroyed. Daemon x Machina offers local and online multiplayer too.

More Coverage:

  • Switch Exclusive Daemon X Machina Gets New Trailer Showing Off Improvements
  • Daemon X Machina – Airborne Combat Gameplay

We’re only a few weeks into September, and there are plenty more games to come. Next week, New Releases will take a look at AAA releases like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and anticipated indies like Untitled Goose Game.

Final Fantasy 7’s Most Iconic Artwork Officially Remade

Square Enix is celebrating the 22nd anniversary of Final Fantasy VII’s North American release by recreating one of the most iconic pieces of artwork for the game. The modern look is in line with the detailed visual style of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake, and fans are sure to get a kick out of the treatment Square Enix has given the art.

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy VII specifically, or RPGs as a genre, you’re probably familiar with the piece of art in question. It depicts the protagonist Cloud with his back to the viewer as he reaches for his sword. He stands facing the Shinra building, which can be seen towering above him in the distance. A cloud of thick black smog chokes the air above, while brilliant blue lights shoot out of the ground. All of this nicely captures the game’s story of a small group of eco-terrorists fighting against a megacorporation to try and save the world they live in.

The remade artwork comes just six months ahead of Final Fantasy 7 Remake March 3, 2020 release date. Square Enix previously revealed the game will span two Blu-ray discs when it launches on PS4, and there will be a $330 Final Fantasy 7 Remake collector’s edition available. At E3 2019, we got an extended gameplay and combat demonstration, and we recently got to more hands-on time with it too. You can see what we thought in the video above.

Xbox Live Is Down, Microsoft Is Working On The Issue

Xbox Live services are currently suffering an outage. According to the Xbox Live Status page, those trying to connect will find they have limited to no access. The site states that core services such as signing in, as well as creating, managing, or recovering accounts are impacted.

The outage is happening across Xbox One, Xbox on Windows 10, Xbox 360, and Xbox on other devices–so, pretty much anything that can sign into services. Xbox Support on Twitter has acknowledged the issue.

The latest update on the status page states Microsoft’s “engineers and developers are actively continuing to resolve the issue causing some members to have problems signing in to Xbox Live. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.”

The outage will no doubt be frustrating to those who have early access to Gears 5, a core component of which is multiple multiplayer mode. Alongside the core campaign, which can be played co-operatively, there’s the competitive multiplayer, Horde mode, and the new Escape mode. Naturally, there are many other games that rely on the Xbox Live network to function properly, most notably Fortnite.

Although Gears 5 is available to a select group of people now, it becomes widely available on September 10. In our Gears 5 review in progress, Phil Hornshaw said it “is very much a return of those best elements of Gears of War” but with “a focus on making the game feel somewhat more adaptive to your particular ways of playing.”

He continued: “Whether you want campaign or co-op, Competitive or Quickplay, there’s an option for you in Gears 5, and plenty of stuff to reward you for time spent and skill gained. Gears 5 might suffer from some of the same storytelling missteps as its predecessors, and it might not venture far out.”

No Man’s Sky Beyond Review – And Beyond The Infinite

Three years after release, the universe of No Man’s Sky continues to evolve. With each expansion, I spend weeks as a blissful wanderer, seeing an already vast universe become more populous, more beautiful, more capable of sustaining a home for anyone who dared to voyage within it. Beyond, however, is no mere evolution and refinement. It feels like No Man’s Sky approaching its final form, having shed a great deal of what was previously limiting and restrictive. But there’s one new factor specifically that makes the update live up to its name: No Man’s Sky is now a VR title. And it is utterly breathtaking.

It is breathtaking right away, waking up for the first time completely immersed in an alien world literally no one else has ever seen. Everything has a new fascination: the way the flora moves and shifts under harsh weather, the way the ground is pockmarked and windswept, the vast, unknowable vistas stretching across toxic interstellar perdition. It’s all beautiful before you even make the first flight into space.

An incredible amount of additional work has gone into making inhabiting that Exo-Suit even more of an experience. On PS4, you can play in 2D or VR with the DualShock, something that also gives you a Smooth turning option, but two PlayStation Moves are the real way to go. With the Move, your Multi-Tool is strapped to your back, ready to be whipped out more like in Blood & Truth than an ever-present floating gun like in most VR titles. The Analysis visor has you pressing the wand to the side of your head, like you’re Cyclops preparing to fire an Optic Blast. Getting in and out of your ship involves physically pulling the handles, and escaping from a hairy situation with sentinels or the local wildlife with that lightning quick motion adds an even greater layer of tension. Best of all, the menus are mapped to a little hologram in your hands that activates when you point at it. It’s a simple and intuitive implementation of such an elaborate and persistent mechanic.

Still, even with the new perspective and tools at your disposal, it should be said upfront that at its core, No Man’s Sky: Beyond is still, well, No Man’s Sky. Whether you’re in VR or not, many of the early mundanities of the game remain. You have to repair your broken ship, gather a specific resource, create fuel, drop a refiner, and so on. Beyond, however, brings varying kindnesses that welcome you to a new universe instead of prodding you into space with a stick. The UI holds your hand, telling you exactly why you’re collecting these things, what it is you’re trying to do, and exactly how to find what you need. Once you’ve found everything, having an expanded inventory and an absurd amount of space to hold items–each block can hold thousands now–means mining constantly in your travels is worthwhile. There’s always something you can use later, and you have the space to contain it. The game is much more patient and generous with the breadcrumbs that teach you how to play, guiding you into the stratosphere not only painlessly but purposefully.

That extends into the rest of the game once the tutorials stop and the training wheels are all the way off. All of the larger narrative pieces from the previous updates feel organically woven into Beyond. Dialogue and instructions from one mission from the Atlas Path may be rewritten or tweaked to reference Artemis or some new action you can take in Beyond. Direct links have been made where the next logical step in your current mission involves learning more alien language instead of just trying to get your next cell to warp to the next galaxy. The missions and their objectives have a synergy now, where lines of dialogue and specific mission objectives weave narrative strands together. It’s a bit of minor housekeeping No Man’s Sky has needed for a while now. The overarching subtle tale of both exploration and acceptance in the great unknown remains, but it also has quite a bit more meaning now that it’s not your sole purpose in the universe.

When your only task was just to keep hopping from galaxy to galaxy towards the center, there was plenty to see and take in, but you couldn’t really live in the universe because you were so busy trying to survive. The Atlas Path asked some big, existential questions, sure. Artemis helped with that a great deal, giving you an Other to truly work towards understanding and fathoming at least one small mystery of the universe with. But there’s a huge difference between looking at a vast wilderness from a hypothetical distance and trying to figure out the very real challenge of laying down roots there. The latter is a much more fundamental part of Beyond’s gameplay loop. It’s the difference between Next telling you that yes, now you can build bases and here’s how, versus those bases being more of a necessity to sustainably start traversing the universe. The way menus and options are streamlined for you in Beyond make it easier to create, leave, and return to a place of solace and safety, and to depend on a planet, your base, and the resources within. It’s a much stronger experience, and the undercurrent of humanism running throughout the Atlas Path lands much harder as a result. Beyond’s biggest improvements are all in favor of fostering that relationship between players and the universe around them, and that includes its people, playable and non-playable.

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No Man’s Sky has long had one of the more positive and welcoming online communities in the gaming landscape, and there was always the worry that removing the barriers between players would invite the worst elements of online play into what’s typically a place of zen. This is far from the case.

The new Anomaly, summonable to any galaxy at any time, is no longer a sparse, glorified save space, but a bustling 16-player hub of activity, full of greetings, proud ship captains, aliens who look upon you with curious eyes, and players more than happy to bring you to the worlds they call home. Just like the first spoken line of the game, so much of the Anomaly’s layout, from its menus to the way it presents the current state of the area, is about reminding you that you’re never fully alone out there. Beyond has made it so much easier to find allies to either assist in their mission or share what you have from your own inventory. Everything you pick up and mine may have a price, but the game quite often reminds you via the descriptions that those items can also be given to others. Clicking an item while on the Anomaly gives you a list of everyone in range that you might possibly hand it off to. Checking mission boards reminds you there are people who may be looking for the same thing you are, and when it’s the other way around, the request shows up in the lower left. During my time with the update, there were good Samaritans everywhere in the Anomaly, giving out extra rare items to whoever wandered into range.

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That’s a rather huge and heartening factor, not just because you can now jump in and help strangers shoot things down and collect loot, but because it creates a strong sense of community in what was previously a fairly lonely adventure. The Anomaly feels like the petri dish for No Man’s Sky to develop an actual culture, a place of cooks, pilots, space frontiersmen, and traders looking for the next big score. It feels alive and connected in all the ways the game used to feel isolated and cold. And it does so without overshadowing the fundamental element of peaceful solo exploration if you so desire. That new emphasis on connection is never so obtrusive that it prevents you from performing one simple task or speaking to one specific NPC and leaving, but it also doesn’t feel arduous to connect with another human being the way it did before this update.

There’s still some legwork involved, though. While joining games and having others join yours is a quick and simple matter (and much less finicky than it was in Next) players can occasionally spawn on drastically different locations on the same planet. That said, searching for stranded partners wound up being a weirdly fun adventure all its own.

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A much bigger caveat is that for a new player to party up with friends, they still have to get out into space on their own, which makes sense. There’s a lot of ways for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing to irrevocably screw up a galaxy by accident, or waste a resource, or piss off a planet’s Sentinels, or ruin your relationship with a species of animals. The tutorials do important work of not just showing you how to play the game, but respect the game. If you want to give a partner some of your resources, you can. But if an objective given by the game tells you to build something, giving them the exact item the game wants won’t clear that objective. That’s a limitation the game is all the better for keeping in place. Choosing to assist someone can’t be the same as beating the game with or for them. If you’re with someone, you’re there for the experience. That’s not all necessarily new for a multiplayer experience, but it does feel rare when the game is pushing you to connect with other people for what tend to be for more mercenary reasons.

For my part, I remained a solitary player, only choosing to put down sparing roots on the most beautiful worlds and never building more than I needed. I’m very much a city boy in real life. In No Man’s Sky, I’m a happy recluse with 40 acres and a species of chubby elephantine space mules I named Horace. I’ve been harvesting eggs and milk from the animals on the strawberry-pink and white world I’ve been calling home for the past year or so. Even as the universe got bigger, I would go to the Anomaly to trade, buy new ships, and hang out with aliens, but home remains solitary. So few of the self-sufficient agrarian aspects of my little home were even possible in previous updates. Beyond has made me feel more empowered to sustain that life, have a place to return to and maintain, and make improving it for the laid-back alien assistants who reside with me much easier to accomplish.

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The larger technical problems with Beyond come down to problems with VR platforms in general. Despite the visual beauty, my time with the Oculus version was plagued with flaws and odd bugs and glitches. By comparison, the PSVR version caters to performance. Frame rate and gameplay are pristine there, but at the cost of clarity, especially when it comes to the various screen displays in-game. In addition, the PSVR’s old nemesis, the camera drift, rears its ugly head here, and the Recenter VR Camera option in the Pause menu does less to solve it than it should. As of this writing, however, there have been additional patches every few days, and more and more of these bugs vanish with each one.

These tiny frustrations utterly dissolve away in flight, however. No Man’s Sky’s most consistently powerful experience of seamless space travel nearly reduced me to tears as the upper atmosphere melted away into the silence and deep wonder of the galaxy. It’s the kind of thing I dreamt of as a kid. As part of an expanding experience and seemingly impossibly ever-larger universe, No Man’s Sky continues to deliver on the promise of being a space traveler–and VR assists in making it a more immersive experience.

The drastic improvements made to No Man’s Sky in its Beyond expansion are the new gold standard for how to gracefully cope with a game’s flaws post-release. The game laid the foundation with its release, but it took Beyond to elevate it into something magnificent. Successfully transitioning to VR is a creative victory on its own, but realizing just how full and vibrant and rewarding an experience this game has now become is almost poignant. Beyond represents the courage of convictions, a concept that has not only met the lofty expectations it set forth, but transcended them.

It Chapter One And Two Timeline And History Explained

It Chapter 2 isn’t actually a sequel to It Chapter 1, but a continuation of the same story–which means it does more than just pick up where Chapter 1 left off, it goes back and weaves all sorts of new information into the events we saw transpire back in 1989. While this is great–and an opportunity to check in with those lovable kids who starred in Chapter 1 all while keeping an eye on their adult selves–it also means that the timeline of events can get a little bit confusing with all the retroactive continuity being laid out.

It Chapter 2 Coverage

  • It Chapter 2 Review: A Messy Finale
  • Does It Chapter 2 Have A Post Credits Scene? We Explain The Ending
  • It Chapter 2: 25 Easter Eggs And References Hidden In The Horror
  • It Chapter 2: 14 Major Differences Between The Movies, Book, And Miniseries

But never fear–we’re here to help. By cross-referencing the details of the two movies–everything from the occasional month and year title card to the various outfits the characters wear–we’ve put together a complete timeline of events between It Chapters 1 and 2 to spell out not only the journey the Losers took across all 27 years of their ordeal, but also the history of Pennywise in Derry according to this version of the story, in chronological order.

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A “Few Million Years” Ago

Pennywise arrives on Earth from space, crash lands in the area that would become Derry, Maine, and forms a nest deep underground.

The “Mid 18th Century”

The Shokopiwah tribe become the first known people to actually encounter and try to fight Pennywise, using the Ritual of Chüd, which fails.


Derry was officially founded as a beaver trapping town, but quickly befell a number of tragedies resulting in the entire town disappearing with no sign of an attack. The only clue was a trail of bloody clothes leading to the “well house.” This marks the first major Pennywise attack on record.


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An explosion at the Ironworks Factory kills over a hundred people. Pennywise was the cause, somehow.


A gang shootout between the Citizens of Derry and the Bradley Gang racked up a massive body count. Pennywise at fault.


The Black Spot nightclub was burned down by a racist cult. Pennywise to blame.

Late 1988

Pennywise surfaces as a clown to lure the children of Derry to their deaths, claiming Georgie Denbrough as a victim.

June/July 1989

  • At the end of the school year Bill Denbrough, Richie Tozier, Stan Uris, and Eddie Kapsbrak begin investigating the Barrens to help Bill find clues about what happened to Georgie.

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  • The Losers Club adds Ben Hanscom and Beverly Marsh after they intervene during an attack on Ben by the Bowers gang. Each individual Loser (except Richie) begins experiencing Pennywise nightmares while they’re alone. Later, Mike Hanlon joins after the Losers save him from Bowers with a “rock war” in The Barrens.

    • Chapter 2 flashback: At some point after the rock fight, Ben finds and refurbishes the underground bunker in the woods to be the Losers clubhouse.

  • The Losers begin concocting their plan to attack Pennywise where it lives. They make their first trip into Neibolt house, where Eddie breaks his arm and is whisked away by his mother. Bill and Richie get into a fight, resulting in a major break up for the Losers.

    • Chapter 2 flashback: Immediately after the fight, Bill walks (or, bike rides) Bev back home to her apartment where her father sprays her with her mother’s perfume.

    • Chapter 2 flashback: Richie spends time playing Street Fighter at the theater arcade, before getting chased out by Bowers and his gang. Richie runs to the park, where he’s attacked by Pennywise as the Paul Bunyon statue. At some point, either before or after the Pennywise attack, Richie goes to the Kissing Bridge to carve he and Eddie’s initials.

    • Chapter 2 flashback: Bill rides his bike to the sewer where Georgie was killed to yell at Pennywise for not taking him instead.

  • Stan has his Bar Mitzvah. Only Richie attends.

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    • Chapter 2 flashback: A closer look at the Bar Mitzvah where Richie remembers Stan’s speech about “always being a loser.”

    • Chapter 2 flashback: Ben begins attending summer school for what may or may not be history or social studies. He hallucinates Pennywise as Bev and is chased into his locker

    • Chapter 2 flashback: Eddie retrieves medicine from the pharmacy before “LOSER” is written on his cast. He hallucinates his mother in the basement and is attacked by the leper again.

August/September 1989

  • Eddie is told his medicine is a bunch of placebos. “LOSER” is written on his cast, which he corrects into “LOVER.”

  • Henry Bowers is prompted by Pennywise to kill his father

  • Beverly fights her father but is taken by Pennywise immediately after she knocks him unconscious.

  • The Losers reunite and return to Neibolt to save Beverly. They take the fight to the sewers and defeat Pennywise.

    • Chapter 2 flashback: Pennywise’s defeat washes a bunch of corpses and a very much alive Henry Bowers out of the sewers. Bowers returns home to find the police have discovered his father’s corpse. He’s arrested on the spot.

  • The Losers return to the Barrens after addressing some of their wounds and make their blood oath to return to Derry if Pennywise isn’t gone.

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  • Bev explains that she will be immediately moving to Portland to live with her aunt.


  • Bill Denbrough marries Audra Phillips.

Summer 2016

  • Pennywise reemerges in Derry, prompting Mike to reach out to each of the Losers to fulfill their promise

  • Stan receives Mike’s phone call and decides to kill himself. Before he does, however, he writes a letter to each Loser explaining himself.

  • Henry Bowers escapes from the asylum with Pennywise’s help.

  • Mike sends the Losers to uncover the respective “tokens.” Bev returns to her apartment and is attacked by Pennywise as Mrs. Kersh. Richie returns to the movie theater arcade, and then to the park where he’s attacked by Pennywise.

  • Richie returns to the inn, determined to leave before Ben talks him down.

  • Bill finds his bike Silver in an antique shop. He returns to his old house and has his new Pennywise encounter at the drain where Georgie was killed.

  • Eddie returns to the pharmacy to pick up a new inhaler, where he encounters his leper in the basement once more. When he returns to the inn to clean himself off, he’s attacked by Henry Bowers, who stabs him in the face.

  • Richie, in the middle of sneaking out of town, returns to the synagogue where he remembers Stan’s bar mitzvah.

  • Mike is attacked by Bowers in the library. Richie, after convincing himself to stay, saves Mike and kills Bowers.

  • The Losers (minus Stan, RIP) return to Neibolt House to face down Pennywise once and for all.

  • Eddie dies (double RIP) during the fight, but the Losers are ultimately victorious.

  • Ben and Bev begin a relationship, move onto a boat, and get a dog. Bill returns home to write a new book. Richie returns to the Kissing Bridge to re-carve he and Eddie’s initials.

  • Each Loser gets a letter from Stan, explaining why he killed himself.