England players know P45 awaits whatever the World Cup result | Gerard Meagher

Comparing men’s and women’s rugby can be dangerous but the stark contrast between huge financial incentives and guaranteed loss of contracts highlights even more the great divide in sport

As England’s women face the prospect of their successful defence of the World Cup this month being met with the end of their professional contracts, it is worth recalling the £6m shared jackpot on offer to the men in 2015. Comparing men’s and women’s sport can often be dangerous ground but such a stark contrast highlights the backdrop against which Simon Middleton’s side head to Ireland – a P45 rather than a payday awaits.

The decision has been widely criticised by former players and MPs, staunchly defended by the Rugby Football Union who will shift its focus back to sevens, and greeted with a stiff upper lip by the players and management. Regardless of whether it is the right or wrong decision, timing is everything and in this instance the RFU’s leaves plenty to be desired. The richest governing body in the sport has pointed to investment in the women’s game elsewhere and when the news became public on the eve of the tournament it revealed that the players were informed in April. England’s preparations, up until then going swimmingly, have been stained.

Related: Emily Scarratt: ‘Winning the World Cup was highlight but we are hungry again’

Related: RFU’s Ian Ritchie defends decision not to renew England women’s contracts

Continue reading…

Read more

We Asked If Skull And Bones Will Have A Single-Player Campaign, Here’s What Ubisoft Said

Ubisoft announced the exciting and ambitious-looking pirate ship combat game Skull & Bones at E3. We played a portion of the multiplayer and enjoyed it. Fans are wondering if there is any single-player content, however. Ubisoft clarified that there will be some form of “narrative campaign,” but we don’t know a lot about it yet. We caught up with creative director Justin Farren recently, and we asked for more specifics about the campaign. He told us that the campaign elements will be woven into the multiplayer, so there may not be a distinct campaign as some would have wanted.

Farren started off by telling us that he is a big fan of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, which was praised in part for its incredible, memorable, and haunting story. But for Skull & Bones, Farren said his team is looking more to the “shared-narrative” approach.

“The narrative where people can broadcast or stream what they’re doing and it’s a unique experience to that player,” he said. “So, we wanted to take that approach. Like, how do you create a systemic world where every single player’s experience is different and also tie it to a world narrative where you meet historical pirates, historically inspired characters, and that you have a narrative where you develop a bond with your crew and interesting characters along the way, taking out kingpins, all those things are part of our narrative. But we didn’t want it to be separate, that you just consumed and never looked back.”

Instead, Skull & Bone’s story will be told over the course of many months and years. Ubisoft is increasingly focusing on the games-as-a-service model, so it’s no big surprise that Skull & Bones would take this approach as well.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9

“We wanted to create a system that let us tell our narrative month after month, year after year, and then throw in the story elements to it,” Farren said. “So, if you’re a PvP player, you should still feel like you beat the campaign. If you’re a PvE player, or like me, I plan on sailing with my daughter a lot, I want us to be able to go through the story and become kingpins together, and be able to tell the same world narrative through the game worlds that we build.”

He added: “It’s different. There’s not a lot of games that do this, but we really think that this is where people really want to experience narrative on a personal level, where they can effectively change the world. People always say, ‘It’s a living, breathing world.’ Well, we really take that to heart. We want to create a world that actually reacts to the things that you do in it.”

Pressed to clarify if Skull & Bones has a completely separate single-player mode, Farren said, “It’s woven into it, so the story itself will be woven in to everything you do, from the time that you build your relationships with your crew until the time that you take down your first kingpin, building up your hideout, all of those things are woven into the modes that you play.”

For players who don’t want PvP, what will Skull & Bones offer for them? Farren said he hopes you try it, even if you don’t think it’s for you.

“For it to be a, you know, a one-off campaign that’s consumed, would be a shame.” — Justin Farren

“I certainly hope that people will try to do our PvP, because we think it’s pretty compelling and it’s not a different … like Call of Duty when you play campaign and you go online, [and you get something very different],” he said. “I worked on Gears for a while and the players who play Gears multiplayer, they are different some times than the players who really invest in campaign. We want to bring those experiences closer together. For it to be a, you know, a one-off campaign that’s consumed, would be a shame.”

Skull & Bones, which is coming out in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, is an intriguing-looking naval warfare battle game where players try to sink their enemies in the Indian Ocean. Developer Ubisoft Singapore made the naval battle sequences in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The studio has contributed to many Assassin’s Creed games over the years as a co-developer; and it also made the canceled Ghost Recon: Phantoms. Skull & Bones is the studio’s first title as a lead developer since then.

Farren also told us not to expect a Nintendo Switch version of Skull & Bones. Keep checking back with GameSpot for lots more from our conversation with Farren.

Ubisoft paid for GameSpot’s travel and accomodation to Singapore and Shanghai.

Read more

TBB Weekly Brick Report: LEGO news roundup for August 6, 2017 [News]

In addition to the best LEGO models created by builders all over the world, The Brothers Brick also brings you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our weekly Brick Report for the first week of August 2017. TBB NEWS: There are some awesome LEGO Ideas sets coming our way, as well as lots Continue reading →

The post TBB Weekly Brick Report: LEGO news roundup for August 6, 2017 [News] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

Read more