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Episodes

Daemon X Machina - Crazy Boss Battles Gameplay

Sep 11, 2019

Description:

We take on two boss battles in Daemon X Machina, available on the Nintendo Switch on September 13th.

How GameStop Plans To Turn Things Around

Sep 11, 2019

Description:

Video game retailer GameStop has seen better days. In August, the company announced a huge round of layoffs that impacted more than 100 employees, including some members of the Game Informer staff. The company's stock price is at a near all-time low, trading around $5 per share compared to more than $46 per share back in 2015. GameStop has a plan to turn thing around, and now the retailer has shared more details.

During an earnings call on September 10, GameStop shared more details on what it called the "GameStop Reboot" initiative. The overall aim of this is to "improve the financial performance of the business and implement a series of initiatives that will support the long-term success of the business and value creation for stakeholders."

"We are committed to acting with a sense of urgency to address the areas of the business that are critical to achieving long-term success and value creation for all our stakeholders," GameStop CEO George Sherman said in a statement. "We will set GameStop on the correct strategic path and fully leverage our unique position and brand in the video game industry. Our strategic plan is anchored on four tenets which include, optimizing the core business by driving efficiency and effectiveness, creating the social and cultural hub of gaming within each GameStop, building compelling digital capabilities, and transforming our vendor and partner relationships for an evolving video game industry.

"This is a compelling new strategic vision for the company, and we've already started to execute against all four pillars. We also remain committed to returning capital to shareholders and balancing that opportunity against the need to maintain a strong balance sheet to properly run our business and invest in responsible growth."

The four main pillars of GameStop's Reboot initiative include the following (descriptions written by GameStop):

Optimize the Core: Optimize the core business by improving efficiency and effectiveness across the organization, including cost restructuring, inventory management optimization, adding and growing high margin product categories, and rationalizing the global store base.Become the Social / Cultural Hub for Gaming: Create the social and cultural hub of gaming across the GameStop platform by testing and improving existing core assets including the store experience, knowledgeable associates and the PowerUp Rewards loyalty program.Build Digital Platform: Build compelling digital capabilities, including the recent relaunch of GameStop.com, to reach customers more broadly across the omni-channel platform and give them the full spectrum of content and access to products they desire.Transform Vendor Partnerships: Transform our vendor and partner relationships to unlock additional high-margin revenue streams and optimize the lifetime value of every customer.

Sherman spoke at length about each of the pillars during the earnings call; you can listen to the webcast here to hear everything that Sherman had to say.

GameStop is already moving on its plan to right the ship. Just recently, the company re-launched its website (now with ThinkGeek incorporated), featuring a more streamlined shopping experience that aims to allow customers to find what they want and buy it more smoothly. Additionally, GameStop is testing new pilot stores in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some of the store concepts are focused on competitive gaming and "home-grown e-leagues." While other concept stores will exclusively sell retro games and hardware.

Another part of GameStop's plan to turn things around is to scale down. The retailer confirmed on the earnings call that it plans to close 180-200 "underperforming" stores by the end of the company's current fiscal year (ending February 2020). The store has 5,700 stores worldwide, so the impending closures--if they reach 200 stores--amount to around 3.5 percent of its total store base. The company added that it expects a "much larger tranche of closures" to follow in the coming 12 to 24 months, though a specific number wasn't provided.

Management added that it is "rapidly developing a point of view" on how many more stores it will close in the future. The company is taking a "very specific approach" to looking into specific store closures, the company said. Specifically, the company might look to "de-densify" its store base, which means stores with overlapping trade areas might close. GameStop also pointed out that its average store land lease is two years, so the company isn't generally financially committed to any particular area for an extended period of time.

Don't expect GameStop to turn things around overnight, however. Sherman said on the call, "This transition will take time."

As for GameStop's latest earnings, for the quarter ended August 3, the company saw its total global sales fall 14.3 percent to $1.3 billion. GameStop posted a net loss of $415.3 million for the quarter, which is far worse than the $24.9 million that the company lost during the same period last year.

Every category except Collectibles saw sales decrease year-over-year.

New hardware sales fell a massive 41.1 percent, a downturn that GameStop attributed to the announcement of next-generation consoles coming in 2020. New game sales fell 5.3 percent overall; Nintendo Switch game sales grew, but it wasn't enough to offset the "weaker title launches" across all systems relative to the same period last year. Accessory sales, meanwhile, fell 9.5 percent, while pre-owned sales fell 17.5 percent. Digital sales fell 11.2 percent "due to weaker title launches." Collectible sales, however, jumped by 21.2 percent, proving to be the only big bright spot for the retailer.

"While we experienced sales declines across a number of our categories during the quarter, these trends are consistent with what we have historically observed towards the end of a hardware cycle," GameStop CFO Jim Bell said. "We will continue to manage the underlying businesses to produce meaningful cash returns, while maintaining a strong balance sheet and investing responsibly in our strategic initiatives."

Looking ahead, Bell said GameStop expects total sales to continue to be down in multiple consecutive quarters to come, as the industry awaits the launch of next-generation consoles in Holiday 2020. He pointed out that both Xbox Scarlett and the PS5 were announced, at least partially, earlier than in the past. This hurt GameStop, he said, because consumers may hold out on buying systems if they know a new one is coming later, while game releases might slow, too, as developers wait to release titles on the new systems.

Monkey Who Barfed And Pooped On Sea Of Thieves Dev During Livestream Is Doing Just Fine

Sep 11, 2019

Description:

To promote the upcoming release of a new, pet-themed update for Sea of Thieves, developer Rare brought a real squirrel monkey onto a livestream. That monkey, whose name is Antonio, threw up and pooped on community video manager Jon McFarlane. Many wondered if the monkey had some kind of sickness, but thankfully, no, Antonio the squirrel monkey is doing just fine.

Rare sent a message on Twitter to let people know. "What's the saying? Never work with children or animals?... We'd do it again. #Antonio. We'd also like to assure you all that Antonio is fine!," the studio said.

The developers clarified that Antonio is not sick. Rather, he got food stuck in his throat and needed to barf it up. He disappears from the stream for a bit after the vomit situation and returns with an appetite and appearing to be in good spirits. The throw up and poop part of the Sea of Thieves livestream begins at around 27:48 in the video embedded below, in case you're interested in watching that. Alternatively, you can watch the sequence play out in the animated gifs below.

What's the saying? Never work with children or animals?...
We'd do it again. #Antonio pic.twitter.com/WSgZDxnor4

— Sea of Thieves (@SeaOfThieves) September 9, 2019

We'd also like to assure you all that Antonio is fine! pic.twitter.com/MdpGYB15bP

— Sea of Thieves (@SeaOfThieves) September 9, 2019

Rare's Joe Neate provided a statement on the story to IGN, which first reported the news.

"On Monday’s livestream where we provided details on our upcoming Pirate Emporium, we welcomed a squirrel monkey named Antonio to join in the fun," Neate said. "We can confirm Antonio is doing well and we'd welcome the chance to have him at the studio again anytime."

Pets come to Sea of Thieves through an update for Xbox One and PC on September 11. Two types of pets are available at launch, including monkeys and parrots. The pets respond to things that happen in the game; for example, your monkey might run for cover during a battle.

Additionally, the new Sea of Thieves update introduces a new premium currency called Ancient Coins, which are a form of microtransactions. These can be spent in the Pirate Emporium to pick up new emotes and various cosmetics, as well as the aforementioned pets.

Mayans MC Gloriously Takes Down Sons Of Anarchy Fans

Sep 11, 2019

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It's no secret that Mayans MC has been loaded with Easter eggs from and nods to the Sons of Anarchy universe the show is set in, which is undoubtedly exciting for fans of FX's original motorcycle club series to see. In the show's latest episode, though, the show took aim at some fans that might take the world of Sons of Anarchy a little bit too far.

In the new installment, titled "Xaman-Ek," EZ (JD Pardo) and Angel (Clayton Cardenas) are on a road trip when encounter a strange motorcycle club neither have heard of before. Two members of the club try to intimidate the Mayans, proclaiming the bikers are on their turf. Showing that the Mayans aren't to be messed with, Angel pulled a gun and chastised the duo that didn't know any better.

"You poser f***ing douchebags. You guys watch some bulls*** TV show and think a vest and two wheels makes you a club," he mocked, clearly making reference to those who saw Sons of Anarchy and decided starting a biker gang was easy to do. "Hmm. I'm guessing Brad and Todd here got all their totally awesome gym bros filling up their table."

"Jesus, man, you guys are an embarrassment," he concluded before himself and EZ rode away.

That wasn't the end of that particular plot, though. The Reyes brothers later ran into the small-time gang again, this time with their entire membership. Again, Angel went for his gun and fired off a couple of shots to attract the attention of police, before leading the low-level club on a chase through town. When law enforcement tracks them down, the elder Reyes points out to the rival gang the credo of "patches over badges," meaning even clubs at war will ceasefire when it comes to getting away from the law.

At that point, the "poser douchebags" broke off from the Mayans, claiming this quarrel wasn't over. While it likely will come back to bite EZ and Angel in the future, it was a clear victory for the titular club over the fanboys. Angel, a tried and true outlaw biker, knew the bullets he fired would draw in the police and would force the local gang to take off. While EZ may be considered the genius in his family, it's Angel that is smart to the ways of the MC world--and protective of it to those who think they can just claim their stake in it.

This is a moment that serves as a public service announcement to fans of Sons of Anarchy that may have taken their love for the show far enough to hope on a bike and throw on a kutte. The world of outlaw motorcycle clubs is very real and very serious. Those who inhabit it may not take kindly to those playing biker and infringing on something they hold dear.

Mayans MC airs Tuesdays on FX.

Joaquin Phoenix's Joker And Robert Pattinson's Batman Won't Meet, Director Says

Sep 11, 2019

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Joaquin Phoenix's Joker and Robert Pattinson's Batman won't ever meet on screen. Joker movie director Todd Phillips said in a recent interview that he doesn't foresee the characters interacting with each other in future movies.

"No, definitely not," he told Variety when asked about the possibility of the two iconic DC characters coming together.

At the Toronto International Film Festival this week, Phillips shared more insight. He reiterated that he does not think Phoenix's Joker exists in the same DC Universe as Pattinson's Batman.

"I don't see [Joker] connecting to anything in the future," he said. "This is just a movie."

Joker is a standalone origin story for the character, telling the story of how Arthur Fleck became the villainous Joker. Looking ahead, Phillips said his version of Joker is just one of the possibilities of storytelling for the famed bad guy. "In the states, comic books are our Shakespeare it seems, and you can do many many versions of Hamlet," Phillips told Variety. "There will be many more Jokers, I'm sure, in the future."

Also in the Variety interview, Phoenix revealed that he was initially apprehensive about playing Joker. But in the end, it turned out to be a career highlight for the three-time Oscar nominated actor.

"I mean honestly, it wasn’t an easy decision at first," Phoenix said. "I didn't f**king know. I didn't. But then there was something that was drawing me toward it. It just evolved as we worked together. It started becoming something more than I anticipated. It was one of the greatest experiences of my career."

Joker premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was shown again at the Toronto International Film Festival this week; it premieres in theatres on October 4. As for Pattinson's Batman movie, the Matt Reeves-directed film is scheduled to come to cinemas in 2021.

GameSpot's Joker review scored the comic book movie a 10/10. "It might make you uncomfortable, and it will no doubt stay with you long after the curtains close; great movies often do," reviewer Michael Rougeau said.

Gears 5 Video Review

Sep 11, 2019

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The Coalition adds a lot of smart new ideas to the Gears of War formula in Gears 5.

Apple Reveals More Details for Apple TV+

Sep 11, 2019

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At the Apple event on September 10, we learned that Apple TV+ will launch on November 1, and it will cost $5 per month. And we also got a trailer for the Apple TV+ original series See, starring Jason Momoa.

Borderlands 3 Composer On The "Most Varied Score" He's Ever Written For The Series

Sep 11, 2019

Description:

Borderlands 3 is almost here. Gearbox's next big looter-shooter arrives on September 13 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Like previous entries in the series, the music is one of its standout features. Music has been very important to the series from the beginning (the opening sequence in Borderlands 1 might have been the first time you heard "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked"), and this theme continues with Borderlands 3.

GameSpot recently had the opportunity to interview Borderlands 3 composer Jesper Kyd, who spoke to us about many different topics. Having already worked on Borderlands 1 and 2, as well as the Pre-Sequel and Claptastic Voyage, Kyd expanded on the challenges of making new music in a series he's familiar with, as well as what it was like working with Gearbox, how the music ties together with Borderlands 3, bringing players to multiple planets outside of Pandora this time around.

Kyd also told us more about how Borderlands 3 makes use of a "deep interactive music system" that, through some backend wizardry and randomness, allows the game's music to sound slightly different each time you play. Additionally, he explained that, at a high level, he wanted to try new things and break from some of the series tradition, while he also described the score as the "most varied" one he's ever made for the Borderlands series.

"I knew right away the last thing I wanted to do was add the predictable swampy slide guitar on all the music. It just felt too pedestrian for Borderlands 3, it wasn't out-there enough," he said.

You can see the full review below. Kyd also composed the music for games in the Hitman, Assassin's Creed, Darksiders, and State of Decay franchises.

For lots more on the upcoming Borderlands 3 launch, check out GameSpot's roundup that covers the pre-load details, region unlock times, PC specs, and more. If you're looking to pick up the game, you can check out GameSpot's extended pre-order guide to learn more about what's available.

GameSpot's Borderlands 3 review scored the looter-shooter an 8/10. "Borderlands 3 has a few stumbling blocks when it comes to bosses, but these fights are overshadowed by the game's rewarding gunplay and over-the-top humor," reviewer Jordan Ramee said.

Jesper KydJesper Kyd

Having worked on previous Borderlands games in the past, can you talk about the challenge of coming up with new ideas for a series you're already familiar with?

After working on Borderlands 1 and 2, the last Borderlands games I scored were The Pre-Sequel and Claptastic Voyage, which were both science fiction-inspired scores mixed with the distinct feel of Borderlands. With Borderlands 3 we are back to Pandora as well as visiting new worlds such as the Eden-6 planet, which is the planet I scored. Scoring a brand-new addition to the Borderlands universe has been very exciting to work on. Eden-6 is a planet covered in swamplands and thick vegetation, so it was a very different writing experience from scoring the previous four Borderlands games I worked on. It is also the most varied Borderlands score I have written.

"Eden-6 is a planet covered in swamplands and thick vegetation, so it was a very different writing experience from scoring the previous four Borderlands games I worked on." -- Jesper Kyd

What kind of notes did Gearbox give you as it relates to the music they wanted?

They were looking for the music to help make Eden-6 sound unique from the other planets, yet at the same time help define this new unexplored world as a location that belongs in the Borderlands universe. I remember writing one of the cues that opens with a slow atmospheric guitar solo, a la Pink Floyd, and when I talked about this to the Gearbox audio director Raison Varner he mentioned the team was 100% on board with such ideas. The score I wrote doesn't draw inspiration from any film or game soundtracks, the direction goes much further than that. Naturally the score also needed to support areas such as marshlands and wetlands and this is often mixed up with a high-tech mood, since advanced technology is ever-present.

How much collaboration was there between yourself and the team at Gearbox?

I worked closely with the audio department at Gearbox, specifically Raison Varner. We talked a lot about the different worlds I was working on and he really encouraged me to bring a lot of creativity to the writing. Borderlands is a perfect playground for me to let loose musically and after working on all the previous games and helping to establish the Borderlands sound, I was able to use a lot of my knowledge of the universe and creative energy to help push things much further this time around. That's the great thing about returning to franchises; since you have already established the sound you can now invest time in pushing that sound further into new territories.

"Adding lots of melodies to the exploration music is something I felt would fit very well with this gameplay type. This is what I feel ties all my music together." -- Jesper Kyd

Borderlands 3 is such a sprawling game with so many different locations, characters, and moments--is there a connective tissue of a kind that ties your music together?

That's a great observation. I feel my main menu music is a good example of the dynamic type of music I wrote for Borderlands 3. I really focused on adding a lot of melody to my writing. When playing games myself, my favorite musical moments are often those based on melody and this is something I talked a lot to Gearbox about and they loved that idea. Borderlands is such a high-octane experience, even when just exploring the maps, there is a ton of variation and entertainment throughout. So adding lots of melodies to the exploration music is something I felt would fit very well with this gameplay type. This is what I feel ties all my music together.

When you set out to make the music for Borderlands 3, what themes and tones did you want to highlight or accentuate? What kind of instrumentation were you looking to use?

I knew right away the last thing I wanted to do was add the predictable swampy slide guitar on all the music. It just felt too pedestrian for Borderlands 3, it wasn't out-there enough. We are on an alien planet after all! So I pursued other ideas. There is a track called "Exploring The Dormant Ship" where I play a big Russian zither as well as some really warped pianos through a space echo; this really helped us realize that we could move way beyond just slide guitars and other more traditional bayou instrumentations. I then recorded a lot of vocal parts for the action part of this cue, which helps give the world a more immersive depth and richness of life.

No Caption Provided

I recently had the opportunity to play Borderlands 3 during a preview session. That dub-step boss was a musical treat; can you talk about how that all came together and what you were setting out to do with it? The way it uses music is so fascinating.

Great! I love that you noticed that. I wrote 10 minutes of end boss music to make all that come together like that. I had this idea of making the end boss music for Eden-6 something that really stands out with an atmosphere that lifts you up. I am a huge fan of boss battles and I'm fascinated with how games use boss music; Japanese games perform these types of gameplay moments especially well. Gearbox was onboard with this approach but when we put it in the game we all realized that we needed something different to set it up before we could give people this crazy melodic lift in spirits.

To make that transition work I wrote a track for the boss battle that's really heavy and bombastic before introducing such a shift in uplifting mood. So if you ace this epic boss battle right away you'll move on faster and the game will take you to the next world. But if you take longer in battle the game rewards you with a new level of atmosphere which gives you a feel of rising hope, that you can overcome this challenge. On the album, that track is called “Tranquility Achieved”.

"Borderlands 3 features a really deep interactive music system with many layers and modular pieces that are randomly put together in-game, so the music sounds a bit different every time you play the game." -- Jesper Kyd

I've read that you're challenging yourself to experiment with new sounds for Borderlands 3. What does this mean?

Well, I am always looking at new ways to break the mold of what is expected and then take things further or go in a totally different unexpected direction that really rewards the gamers as well as fitting the game perfectly. There are so many interesting things that can only be done in the games medium and following the path of scoring games more traditionally is a lost opportunity, since I feel we have an opportunity to create something unique or surprising.

For example, once you finally make it to the end part of Eden-6, the music track “Treasures Of The Vault” starts with a set of upbeat motivational combat cues, to get the fun factor going out in full force. It's like a reward for the game player while at the same time reminding you that you are finally here, that this is what you have been looking for, now fight and go claim your reward. These types of ideas are important to me as a gamer and I always think like a gamer when scoring video games. I really have to give credit to Gearbox and Raison Varner for allowing my creativity to run wild during the making of this score.

What else should people know about the soundtrack for Borderlands 3?

Borderlands 3 features a really deep interactive music system with many layers and modular pieces that are randomly put together in-game, so the music sounds a bit different every time you play the game. In addition to a more unique playing experience, this results in some really interesting soundtrack versions of the music. For example, there are exploration tracks on the soundtrack such as “Enter Floodmoor Basin” which are over nine minutes in duration as well as action music tracks such as “Treasures Of The Vault” which is an eight-minute piece. And these pieces of music never repeat any parts or themes but keep moving forward and developing. So it’s progressive in structure. The soundtrack, which also features music by co-composers Michael McCann, Finishing Move and Raison Varner, is almost six hours long and there’s a vinyl release on the way as well!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta Codes Giveaway

Sep 11, 2019

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Credit: ActivisionCredit: Activision

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare beta test kicks off this week and we partnered with Activision to give away 500 codes to our readers. The winners will get a sneak peak of the new collection of maps and modes before the official release on Oct. 25.

To enter, read our official rules, accept our terms and conditions and fill out the form below. Get additional entries by following us on social media to increase your chances of winning!

If you are having trouble viewing the entry form please click here.

Remember to check your email on Monday Sept. 16th because we will be sending the codes to all winners around 10 a.m. PT. The beta of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer will be available for PS4, Xbox One and PC from Sept. 19 through 20 only.

Head to our comments and let us know what is your favorite mode and why. Good luck!

Disney To Sell One Of Its Last Big Gaming Studios, Report Says

Sep 10, 2019

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Entertainment giant Disney is reportedly taking another big step away from in-house game development. According to sources speaking to financial publication Bloomberg, Disney is planning to sell the game developer/publisher FoxNext, which it picked up through the acquisition of Fox earlier this year.

The site reports that different Disney executives, including direct-to-consumer boss Kevin Mayer, considered keeping FoxNext. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly shut that down, and it was ultimately decided to sell FoxNext. Officially, Disney had no comment.

FoxNext was founded in 2017 with the aim of handling Fox's video game, virtual reality, augmented reality, and theme park endeavors. In 2018, FoxNext announced it was working on a new Alien shooter with a team made up of people who worked on BioShock, Borderlands, and Star Trek: Online.

In terms of games that FoxNext has already released, the company worked with Aftershock Studios on the mobile game Marvel Strike Force; it was released in March 2018. Earlier in 2019, FoxNext announced it created an program to fund the development of indie games; the first of these was the gravity-based puzzle game Etherborn.

If Disney does decide to sell FoxNext, that would be little surprise given that the House of Mouse has been moving away from internal game development for a long time already. In 2016, Disney shut down the Disney Infinity toys-to-life series and closed developer Avalanche Software in the process.

Before that, Disney closed down Tron Evolution studio Propaganda Games, which was working on Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned before its cancellation. Disney also owned the game developer Black Rock Studios that made the excellent racing games Pure and Split/Second before it shut down that studio, too. Disney also developed the Epic Mickey video games with Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios, but the company ended the franchise and closed the developer in 2013.

Bungie founder Alex Seropian was heading up Disney's gaming business before he left to form a mobile game studio called Industrial Toys that EA later acquired.

During an earnings call earlier this year, Iger talked about Disney's rocky history with game development and publishing.

"Over the years we've tried our hand in self-publishing, we've bought companies, we've sold companies, we've bought developers, we've closed developers. And we've found over the years that we haven't been particularly good at the self-publishing side, but we've been great at the licensing side which obviously doesn't require that much allocation of capital," Iger said.

One of Disney's video game licensees is EA, which signed a 10-year deal with the company to make Star Wars games. Iger said these licensing arrangements have been a positive for EA on the video game side, and you can expect them to continue in the future.

There is no word as of yet regarding potential buyers for FoxNext, if Disney is indeed selling the company. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

Blasphemous - 25 Minutes Of Gameplay

Sep 10, 2019

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Take a look at 25 minutes of Blasphemous gameplay, including a boss fight! Blasphemous is out now on PC and Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Video Review

Sep 10, 2019

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The Iceborne expansion builds seamlessly upon the thriving ecosystem created by Monster Hunter World to provide a thrilling and fulfilling experience.

This Xbox One Games Sale Includes A Bunch Of Absolute Bangers

Sep 10, 2019

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The Xbox One's latest set of game deals is a good one, with the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Resident Evil 2 headlining the lot. In fact, many games from the Resident Evil series are discounted, and if you're a Gold subscriber there are even more deals for you to choose from.

No Caption Provided

Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently $36 USD / $48 CAD / £36 for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Unfortunately, there is no discount for non-subscribers. Battlefield 5, on the other hand, is discounted to $19.80 USD / $26.40 CAD / £19.80 for everyone. The Resident Evil series' deals are also available to all. Resident Evil 2 leads with the discounted price of $36 USD / $48 CAD / £36.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - $36 USD / $48 CAD / £36Battlefield 5 - $19.80 USD / $26.40 CAD / £19.80Resident Evil 0 - $8 USD / $10.40 CAD / £6.40Resident Evil - $8 USD / $10.40 CAD / £6.40Resident Evil 2 - $36 USD / $48 CAD / £36Resident Evil 4 - $8 USD / $10.40 CAD / £6.40Resident Evil 5 - $8 USD / $10.40 CAD / £6.40Resident Evil 6 - $8 USD / $10.40 CAD / £6.40Resident Evil 7 Biohazard - $15 USD / $20.25 CAD / £12Resident Evil Revelations - $8 USD / $10.40 CAD / £6.40Resident Evil Revelations 2 - $12 USD / $16 CAD / £10

Xbox is also holding a Double Discounts with Gold and Ultimate sale. All of the games included in this sale are discounted for regular Xbox users, but if you're subscribed to Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you'll be able to save up to 50% more until September 16. This includes games like Cuphead, Rocket League, and Overcooked. You can see all of our favourite deals in the list below. All of the prices shown include the extra discount for Gold members.

Cuphead - $16 USD / $20.80 CAD / £13.40Rocket League - $12 USD / $16 CAD / £9.80Overcooked - $5.60 USD / $5.60 CAD / £4.20Gang Beasts - $15 USD / $15 CAD / £12Full Metal Furies - $6 USD / $7.80 CAD / £5Guacamelee! STCE - $3.75 USD / $3.75 CAD / £2.80Kingdom: Two Crowns - $14 USD / $14 CAD / £11.20Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime - $6 USD / $6 CAD / £4.80Nidhogg 2 - $7.50 USD / $7.50 CAD / £6Road Redemption - $10 USD / $10 CAD / £8Tricky Towers - $7.50 USD / $7.50 CAD / £6

PS4's Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta Now Available To Preload

Sep 10, 2019

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Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot arrives in a little over a month, but players will soon have a chance to try it out ahead of its release. Activision is hosting a Modern Warfare open beta beginning this week on PS4, and if you're eager to jump in, the beta client is now available to preload on Sony's console.

The first Modern Warfare open beta session takes place on PS4 from September 14-16. However, if you've pre-ordered any edition of the game, you'll be able to access the beta early on September 12 and 13. If you pre-ordered the game digitally, you can now grab the beta client from the PlayStation Store and preload it ahead of the first session; if you reserved a physical copy, you'll receive a beta code via email. The client is a hefty download, weighing in at 27.52 GB.

The next Modern Warfare beta session begins on September 19. On that date, Xbox One and PC players who've pre-ordered the game (in addition to all PS4 players, whether or not you've pre-ordered it) will be able to participate in the beta. Finally, on September 21, the beta will expand to all PS4, Xbox One, and PC players until September 23.

The second beta session is notable because it gives players their first chance to try out cross-play in Modern Warfare. This year's Call of Duty game is one of a small (but growing) handful of titles that support the feature, allowing players to play with each other across PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can read more details in our Modern Warfare beta roundup. You also have a chance to win a code for the beta in GameSpot's Modern Warfare beta giveaway.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on October 25. Unlike last year's entry in the series, Black Ops 4, it will feature a traditional campaign; however, it probably won't have a battle royale mode. If you're interested in securing a copy, be sure to check out our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare pre-order guide.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Beta DetailsPS4 Exclusive Beta DatesSeptember 12-23 (Early Access, PS4)September 14-16 (Open beta, PS4)Cross-Play Beta DatesSeptember 19-20 (Early access, PC and Xbox One; open beta, PS4)September 21-23 (Open beta, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)

Preacher Season 4 Episode 7 "Messiahs" Best Easter Eggs

Sep 10, 2019

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Jesse meets up with a familiar face in the afterlife, while Tulip and Cassidy track down the real Humperdoo. Ryan shares his favorite easter eggs from Episode 7 of Preacher's final season.

Borderlands 3 Will Be On Sale For $10 Off On Release Day (PS4, Xbox One)

Sep 10, 2019

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Borderlands 3 was first announced in April of this year, and now we're just days from its official release date: September 13. The new first-person shooter from Gearbox Software will launch on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with the latter version exclusive to the Epic Games Store until April 2020.

If you can't wait to get your hands on Borderlands 3 this weekend, here's a way to save yourself some money if you're purchasing for PS4 or Xbox One. According to deals site Cheap Ass Gamer, Walmart stores will be selling Borderlands 3 for $49.94 rather than $60 on release, a growing trend we've seen with other recent games like Astral Chain and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. You'll have to physically go to your nearest Walmart store to take advantage of this offer; it doesn't appear to be available online.

Pre-Order: Borderlands 3 (PS4/X1) & $10 Amazon Credit $59.99 via Amazon (Prime Eligible). Game Will Also be $49.94 On Release Day via Wal-Mart. https://t.co/GQ7m1qAQVc pic.twitter.com/OJPIQpJ6E6

— Cheap Ass Gamer (@videogamedeals) September 8, 2019

Alternatively, Amazon and Best Buy shoppers can get $10 reward credit if they pre-order Borderlands 3. At Amazon, this offer is exclusive to Prime members, while Best Buy's deal is available to My Best Buy members (you can sign up for free). Borderlands 3's other pre-order bonuses include a gold weapon trinket and gold weapon skins for all guns in the game. You can read more about the game's various editions and what they contain in our Borderlands 3 pre-order guide.

See Borderlands 3 at Amazon

See Borderlands 3 at Best Buy

The game earned an 8/10 in our Borderlands 3 review for its unique enemies and environments, new Vault Hunters bringing a variety of playstyles, and strategic weapon builds, although GameSpot's Jordan Ramée did take issue with the game's bullet-sponge bosses and disappointing villains. "Borderlands 3 has a few stumbling blocks when it comes to bosses, but these fights are overshadowed by the game's rewarding gunplay and over-the-top humor," he wrote.

"The game's character-driven narrative acts as a satisfying finale for the loot-shooter franchise, and the new mechanics and features--especially the reworked skill trees and weapon manufacturer effects--give you plenty of agency in how you want to play through it. If you've never been a fan of the franchise, it's unlikely Borderlands 3 does enough things differently to change your mind, as the game best excels at continuing what the series has always done: deliver a humorous tall tale of misfits looting and shooting their way to heroism."

With Call Of Duty 2020 Rumors Swirling, Modern Warfare 3 Co-Dev Opens Office In Australia

Sep 5, 2019

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Sledgehammer Games, which made Call of Duty: World War II most recently and is said to be part of a big development shakeup at Activision, has opened an office in Melbourne, Australia.

Developer Alayna Cole announced the news during the New Zealand Game Developers Conference. Cole is the first hire at Sledgehammer's Melbourne office, and she is slated to start as a producer this coming Monday. It appears Sledgehammer's office in Melbourne is only just getting started, given Cole is the first hire.

Hey heeeeey, look what I was allowed to announce at my #NZGDC19 talk, and now on social media!
You’re looking at the first official hire at @SHGames Melbourne! I am so excited to say I will be starting there as a producer on Monday, and helping to grow our studio in my new home. pic.twitter.com/p6e5E6aFma

— Alayna Cole @ #NZGDC19 (@AlaynaMCole) September 5, 2019

It is unknown what Sledgehammer's Melbourne office will work on. The main studio was founded in 2009 by Dead Space developers Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, both of whom have since left the company. Sledgehammer, which is owned by Activision, co-developed 2011's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with Infinity Ward as its first title, before making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) and then Call of Duty: WWII (2017).

The Call of Duty series was known to be on a three-year, three-studio cycle, but this appears to be changing. According to Kotaku, Activision originally planned for 2020's Call of Duty game to be led by Raven Software with Sledgehammer assigned as a co-developer on a title said to be set during the Cold War. However, Activision reportedly changed plans and decided to put Treyarch on Call of Duty: Black Ops 5, said to release in 2020.

According to the report, Raven and Sledgehammer will work on Black Ops 5 as support studios. They will reportedly take what they already made for their own single-player campaigns, and adapt them for Black Ops 5, which is also said to take place during the Cold War.

The announcement of Sledgehammer's Australian studio comes just a month before PAX Australia comes to Melbourne in October.

Sledgehammer appears to be the first, or among the first, of Activision's Call of Duty studios to open a sister location. It's a win for the Australian game development scene, as Sledgehammer will be looking to hire staff. Earlier this year, Electronic Arts announced massive layoffs for its own Melbourne studio, FireMonkeys.

A job posting for Sledgehammer Melbourne that has since expired called for a software engineer to join the team. The job ad states that Sledgehammer Melbourne is a "start up studio." The ad also describes the studio as a "small but mighty team," which suggests it won't staff up to the level of Sledgehammer's main office in California that reportedly counts more than 200 on its staff.

The next Call of Duty game is the Modern Warfare reboot from Infinity Ward. It launches on October 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Gears 5 Review In Progress Video

Sep 5, 2019

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With new additions, Gears 5 makes its cover-shooter core more adaptive to different playstyles.

It Chapter 2 Set To Have Biggest Opening Weekend In History For A Horror Movie

Sep 5, 2019

Description:

It: Chapter 2 has big to shoes to fill. The 2017 original It had the highest opening-weekend in history for a horror movie with $189.7 million worldwide over its first three days. The follow-up, which hits theatres Friday (or sooner), is going to surpass that to set a new record for best horror movie opening weekend ever, according to a report.

Deadline reports that It Chapter 2 is poised to make more than $200 million worldwide over its opening weekend. The film is expected to make $90 million to $100 million in the US and Canada, with the other $100 million or more coming from international markets.

It: Chapter 2 opened in Korea and Indonesia on Wednesday, with releases scheduled for Thursday in Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil, and Australia. The movie then releases in the US, Canada, UK, Spain, and Mexico on Friday. The only major regions where It Chapter 2 is releasing later are France (September 11) and Japan (November 1).

China, which is one of the world's largest movie markets, never got the first It and it's not expected to have the sequel either.

Ticket-seller Fandango reported that It Chapter 2 is its highest pre-seller ever, surpassing pre-sales of the first It, as well as Us, Halloween, and The Nun.

2017's It ended up making $700 million globally at the box office to become the highest-grossing horror movie ever and the fourth-highest R-rated film in history.

GameSpot's It: Chapter 2 review scored the movie a 6/10. "Nothing entirely matches up or makes sense, but it's still fun as hell to watch these characters come together to face down a terrifying clown monster. Even if the logic doesn't work, you'll still desperately want the Losers to come out on top," Meg Downey wrote.

New Lord Of The Rings Show Casts One Of Its Leads

Sep 5, 2019

Description:

The new Lord of the Rings TV show from Amazon has cast another one of its leads. According to Variety, actor Will Poulter will play an unspecified lead role on the upcoming fantasy show. This news follows another report from July that claimed Markella Kavenagh was in discussions for a lead role, too.

Poulter is known for his roles in The Maze Runner, The Revenant, and most recently in the horror movie Midsommar. He also played one of the lead roles in Netflix's choose-your-own-adventure Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch. Additionally, Poulter stars in the next episode of Until Dawn developer Supermassive's Dark Pictures anthology series, Little Hope.

According to Variety, the role in the Lord of the Rings TV show is a big deal for Poulter, as it was said to be "one of the more coveted jobs in town for young actors."

The new Lord of the Rings show's plot is under wraps, but it is known that it will take place during the Second Age, long before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The showrunners are JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who have no TV writing credits to their name but then neither did D.B. Weiss and David Benioff before the start of Game of Thrones.

In July, Amazon announced the star-studded behind-the-camera talent for the Lord of the Rings TV show. The writers room for the untitled Lord of the Rings show includes Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), Helen Shang (Hannibal), Justin Dohle (Stranger Things), Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones), and Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4).

J.A. Bayona, the director of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is directing episodes one and two of the Lord of the Rings show.

Kate Hawley is the costume designer; she previously worked on Edge of Tomorrow and Suicide Squad. Rick Heinrichs, who won an Oscar for Sleepy Hollow and also worked on The Last Jedi, is the production designer; Jason Smith, who worked on The Revenant, Super 8, and The Avengers is the visual effects supervisor. Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey is also working on the new Amazon show, as is Lord of the Rings movie trilogy illustrator and concept artist John Howe.

The Amazon show also has numerous producers, including people who have worked on Westworld, Boardwalk Empire, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and The Departed.

The show will air on Amazon Prime, though a release date has not been announced.

In Lord of the Rings video game news, a new Lord of the Rings title focused on Gollum is in development at Daedalic Entertainment, while a brand-new Lord of the Rings MMO is coming from Amazon--though it is not connected to the TV show.

Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct

Sep 4, 2019

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Out Now On Switch

The recent Nintendo Direct on September 4 showed off several games coming to the Switch in the near future. These included the re-master for Xenoblade Chronicles, Luigi's Mansion 3, Pokemon Sword & Shield, and the release of Overwatch in October. Another big piece of news from the Direct was the reveal of 20 SNES games coming to the Switch's Nintendo Online service. Some of these SNES titles include Breath of Fire, Star Fox, Super Metroid, Super Mario World, and Super Ghouls & Ghosts. Much like the NES games, you'll be able to use saves and the handy rewind feature. Also, Nintendo will release a new SNES wireless controller for the Switch.

It was an impressive Nintendo Direct, but some of the biggest surprises from the broadcast were the reveals of several games and updates that are available now. Here's a quick rundown of all the games revealed today and out now for Nintendo Switch. In addition to the reveal of Deadly Premonition Origins, Nintendo also showed off co-op brawler Super Kirby Clash and ports for Divinity: Original Sin 2. For more on all the details from the recent Direct, be sure to check back with GameSpot as more updates come in.


Super Kirby Clash

Out now, Super Kirby Clash is a "free-to-start" action game that lets a group of players control a squad of multi-colored Kirbys. In this co-op driven game, you'll face off against different enemies from Kirby's past with a variety of different weapons and powers. You'll even be able to customize your own version of Kirby with a multitude of different armor sets.


Super Smash Brothers Ultimate: Banjo Kazooie DLC

Teased earlier this year, Rare's bashing and platforming duo Banjo-Kazooie have now made their debut in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Shortly after the Nintendo Direct, game director Masahiro Sakurai did a demonstration of the newest character on the roster. As the third fighter in the DLC pack, the bird and bear duo have several moves in their repertoire that are pulled straight from previous games. Owners of the fighter pack will be able to download Banjo-Kazooie today, along with the new stage set on Spiral Mountain. Also, new costumes for the Mii Fighters are available now, including skins from Mystical Ninja Goemon, Mega Man, and Undertale.


Deadly Premonition Origins

In addition to the reveal of Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise, the original game from Swery65 will also make its way to the Switch. Now called Deadly Premonition Origins, it's a re-release of the cult-favorite focusing on an oddball detective in a strange town. With the sequel coming sometime in 2020, Deadly Premonition Origins is a great way to experience the game before the sequel's release.


Divinity 2: Original Sin - Definitive Edition

Larian Studio's Divinity 2: Original Sin was a stellar RPG that allowed for an impressive amount of agency in your journey. Originally out for PC, it eventually found its way to PS4 and Xbox One. But now, the massive CRPG game is available now on the Nintendo Switch, allowing players to bring the sprawling adventure with them on-the-go. In one of the most interesting features, the Switch release will also support cross-save with the Steam version of the game.


Daemon X Machina - (Prologue) Demo

Nintendo will release another demo for mecha-action game Daemon X Machina. Earlier this year, the publisher released a demo that served a beta. They also invited players afterward to share any feedback from their hands-on online. The new demo will take place later in the game, allowing players to use more weapons and mecha combinations in comparison to the previous demo. Also, it will allow for co-op play with up to four players locally.


Preacher Season 4 Episode 6 "The Lost Apostle" Breakdown

Sep 4, 2019

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An iconic moment from the Preacher comics comes to life (or death) in Episode 6 "The Lost Apostle." Ryan reveals his favorite easter eggs from the latest episode of Preacher.

Nintendo Direct: Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie Details - Moves, Music, New Stage

Sep 4, 2019

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In a presentation following the September 2019 Nintendo Direct, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai detailed the game's newest fighter: Banjo and Kazooie. The bird-and-bear pair, which are arriving in Ultimate today, bring with them a new stage, 10 music tracks, and a moveset that's been faithfully adapted from the original Banjo games.

Sakurai gave a full rundown of Banjo and Kazooie's moves and some strategies associated with them, which you can watch above. Highlights include their Down Special, a grenade egg that Kazooie can fire from behind (inspired by Banjo-Tooie's egg selection); their sprint, which is a direct adaptation of the pair's Talon Trot move, in which Kazooie comes out of the backpack to walk; and their Side Special, a Wonder Wing attack with limited uses per stock. Banjo and Kazooie's Final Smash, the Final Jinjonator, is taken directly from the final boss fight in Banjo-Kazooie.

Their new stage is Spiral Mountain as it was in Banjo-Kazooie, complete with honeycomb pieces, the intact entrance to Grunty's Lair, and Banjo's house in the background. The stage rotates around the top of Spiral Mountain, and platforms will appear periodically. You can also spot a number of characters in the stage, including Bottles the mole, Banjo's sister Tooty, the shaman Mumbo Jumbo, Jinjos, and Grunty herself.

As for music, Ultimate is getting 10 Banjo-inspired tracks, seven of which are new arrangements. Grant Kirkhope, who composed music for the original Banjo games, contributed to the arrangements. They include a number of tracks from Banjo-Kazooie--Mumbo's Mountain, Gobi's Valley, and Treasure Trove Cove, for example--as well as mini-boss themes from Banjo-Tooie, including Vs. Klungo.

Banjo and Kazooie will be available in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from today. The bear and bird were first announced during Nintendo's E3 2019 presentation.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Has Cross-Saves Between Switch And PC--That's A Big Deal

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

Nintendo and Larian Studios announced and surprise-released Divinity: Original Sin 2 on Nintendo Switch today, September 4, and it includes what could be the first instance of a particular feature.

The game supports cross-saves between Nintendo Switch and Steam on PC. That is a big deal because it appears to be the first, or among the first Switch games, to allow that.

With cross-saves, people can play at home on PC and then pick up where they left off on Switch when they're out and about. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a very long game, so those who started on PC but didn't finish, and now want to play on Switch, can do so as well keeping their saves.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is out now on Switch, so players can start taking advantage of the cross-save functionality right away. For now, Divinity: Original Sin 2 only supports cross-saves between Switch and PC; there is no cross-save support with PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

All Divinity: Original Sin 2 players are getting a special treat, as Larian Studios is handing out a "Gift Bag" of free DLC on every platform. The new gift bag, which follows a previous release earlier this year, comes with new recipes and items to craft, a new icon on the hotbar that lets you toggle sprint on and off, and an "Animal Empathy" feature that lets you talk to animals without spending talent points to do. Also new in the DLC is a Magic Mirror, located in the Arena of Fort Joy, that lets you respect before moving to a new act of the game. On top of this, Larian is giving everyone an increase to their base maximum action points to 8. Finally, there is now a herb garden in the game that players can use to grow plants.

For more on the September Nintendo Direct, check out all the big news in our recap.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Official Banjo-Kazooie Gameplay Walkthrough & 5.0 Update Reveal Trailer

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

Get all the details about DLC fighter Banjo & Kazooie and the returning Home Run Contest from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai! Also, Sans from Undertale as a new Mii costume with Megalovania music as well!

Sans From Undertale Is A Mii Fighter For Smash Ultimate; Megalovania Makes The Tracklist

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

It's about time, Sans from Undertale has made it to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster, sort of. During the latest Nintendo Direct, it was announced that Sans would be available as a Mii fighter. Sans gets his own custom outfit and uses the Gunner moveset. You also get a new arrangement of the iconic song "Megalovania" by Undertale creator himself, Toby Fox.

Along with several other Mii fighters (Team Rocket, Zero from Mega Man, and others), Sans will be available for $0.75 USD later today.

According to Smash Ultimate director and designer Masahiro Sakurai, Toby Fox visited his house and was able to keep up with him competitively; Sakurai admitted that they split matches with an even 50/50 win-loss ratio, being the best guest he has played.

For all the biggest Switch news from today, be sure to catch up with our Nintendo Direct news roundup or read up on all our stories below.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Terry Bogard DLC Reveal Trailer

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

Terry Bogard makes his way to the Smash Bros Ultimate fighter pass as the 4th DLC character. Are you ok?

Nintendo Direct: All The New Trailers In One Place

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

September's Nintendo Direct was a long one. At 40 minutes, the video presentation packed in a lot of news and reveals, including the announcement of Overwatch for Switch, Deadly Premonition 2, SNES games coming to Nintendo Switch Online, and lots more.

Plenty of new trailers, too, debuted during the Nintendo Direct. We've collected them all into one place here so you get a quick look at all the big new trailers from the show. We'll keep adding more to this roundup as they become available.

Pokemon Sword & Shield

The new Sword & Shield trailer showed off more of the Galar region, Pokemon Camp, and the Surprise Trade feature for the upcoming Nintendo Switch role-playing game.

Overwatch Legendary Edition For Switch

Blizzard's popular team-based shooter Overwatch is headed to Nintendo Switch in October. The Switch version comes with a special "Noire" skin for Widowmaker, as well as three months of Nintendo Switch Online (which you need to play the game). Overwatch comes to Switch on October 15.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Terry Bogard

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's newest character, Terry Bogard, was announced during the September Nintendo Direct. He comes from SNK's Fatal Fury series. A fighter himself, Terry appears to be a good match for the Smash series. He launches in November through the Fighters Pass.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nintendo showcased the new Animal Crossing game for Nintendo Switch in a trailer show highlighted some of the things you can do in the new game. New Horizons invites players to enjoy the deserted island life, where they can fish, camp, and manage their gardens. It seems very tranquil. New Horizons launches on March 20, 2020.

Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition

The original Xenoblade Chronicles from developer Monolith Soft is being remade with a definitive edition launching in 2020. Check out the brand-new trailer below.

For lots more on the September Nintendo Direct, check out all the news stories linked below.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Nintendo Direct: New Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Mode Announced

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

As Nintendo's Direct presentation came to a close, game director Masahiro Sakurai announced a new--and pretty much final--mode for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Home Run Contest will make its return to the party-fighter in the newest software update, which is available today.

Sakurai said Home Run Contest has been "powered up in various ways compared to previous" iterations of the mode, but he didn't clarify what these improvements are. This time, though, Home Run Contest can be played with two players, making the home run even more impressive.

In other Super Smash Bros. Ultimate news, the game's third DLC character, Banjo-Kazooie, will be available later today. The fourth DLC character of the game's Fighter Pass, Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard, is slated to join the roster this November. Though the Fighter Pass now has only one unannounced character left, Sakurai confirmed that more DLC characters outside of the Fighter Pass are on the way. Additionally, you can grab a new Spirit Board freebie for the party-fighter if you have an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and it comes with a smorgasbord of helpful items for the game's Spirit Board mode.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Nintendo Switch Is Getting Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

Nintendo capped off its Direct presentation by announcing a remaster for the critically acclaimed Wii RPG, Xenoblade Chronicles. The upcoming remaster builds upon the original with completely redone graphics across both the game's characters and world.

No Caption ProvidedXenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

$60

Pre-order at Best Buy

Aside from brief glimpses of a few in-game cutscenes, not much else was shown. But what little was revealed was enough to confirm a definite bump in visuals. Characters and environments both seem to have been given a facelift that's quite a step up in graphical fidelity from the original.

Xenoblade Chronicles released on Wii in 2010; though, it took the game quite a while to release in the west, coming out in 2011 and 2012 in Europe and North America respectively. At launch, GameSpot reviewer Ashton Raze scored the game a 9/10, saying in his review: "Xenoblade Chronicles is a remarkable game. It drags the JRPG into the 21st century, modernising many of the genre's traits and nailing a pace that outclasses the majority of its peers...It retains the traditions it wants to and modernises the aspects it needs to. It's not only one of the best JRPGs in years; it's also one of the best RPGs regardless of subgenre. Xenoblade Chronicles is a captivating, magical game which deserves to be hailed as the revolution it is."

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is launching on Nintendo Switch sometime in 2020. Nintendo confirmed that more announcements concerning the game will be unveiled in the coming months.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Nintendo Direct: A Beloved Star Wars Game Is Coming To Switch This Month

Sep 4, 2019

Description:

During the September 2019 Nintendo Direct, the company announced that Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is coming to Switch this September. Though no longer canon, Jedi Outcast is one of the most beloved games amongst the Star Wars community.

First releasing in 2002, Jedi Outcast puts you in the shoes of Kyle Katarn, who finds himself facing off against dark Jedi Desann. Though a first-person shooter, Jedi Outcast does eventually give you the opportunity to play around with a lightsaber and use Force powers. The game was critically acclaimed for both its well-written single-player campaign and popular multiplayer. Unfortunately, only the single-player is being ported to the Switch version.

In GameSpot's Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast review, Amer Ajami wrote, "[Jedi Outcast's] strong points--especially its combat--overshadow whatever problems Jedi Outcast may have early on. It's a very slick game that borrows the best elements from past shooters, introduces a number of its own great twists, and then combines these elements to make something that will be highly enjoyable both for those who like shooters and those who simply like Star Wars. And if you happen to like both, then you'll be especially impressed. Jedi Outcast certainly becomes tough later on, but once you learn to master all your force powers and get a good grip on your lightsaber, you'll feel unstoppable--the sight of Katarn effortlessly cutting through, leaping over, and pushing back crowds of enemies is a sight to behold. And once you finish the single-player game, the many multiplayer options will keep you coming back for more."

Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast is coming to Nintendo Switch on September 24.

Though not announced on the Direct, StarWars.com reports that Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is coming to Nintendo Switch too. Another beloved Star Wars game, Jedi Academy won't be coming to Switch until early 2020. Another shooter, Jedi Academy sees you take on the role of Kyle's apprentice, Jaden Korr, who's assigned to complete missions across the galaxy for both his master and Luke Skywalker.

Nintendo Direct September 2019 News

Nintendo Direct Livestream News Recap (September 2019): SNES Games, Overwatch, Smash DLC, More Every Switch Game And DLC Surprise-Released During The Nintendo Direct Overwatch Coming To Nintendo Switch All 20 SNES Games Coming To Nintendo Switch Tomorrow Super Nintendo Games Coming To Switch September 5 Nintendo Direct: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Adds Banjo-Kazooie To Roster Today New Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Revealed, And More Are On The Way Nintendo Direct: Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag And Rogue Come To Switch Nintendo Direct: Divinity Original Sin 2 Is Out On Switch Right Now Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization And Camping

Gears 5 Has More Expansive Levels, But It Isn't Trying To Be Red Dead Or Far Cry

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Gears 5 represents something of a change for the shooter series in that its campaign mode features levels that are "more open and expansive." That's according to The Coalition boss Rod Fergusson, who explained to GameSpot that while Gears 5's levels will be larger, the studio isn't aiming for a true open-world experience that's similar to what you might find in the Red Dead and Far Cry franchises.

Some people who worked on Gears 5 previously developed open-world games in the Assassin's Creed and Far Cry franchises. They've taken those learnings to Gears 5, but the game is doing something different.

"We just knew that we weren't trying to be another Red Dead or Far Cry or Ghost Recon," Fergusson said. "We were just saying, 'How can we take Gears and make it feel more open and expansive without trying to go toe-to-toe with Ubisoft?' Because that's not really what this game is. We just wanted to take inspiration from genres we love to give a bit more freedom and that idea of player choice."

Making Gears 5 less linear than previous Gears of War games has been "one of our biggest challenges," Fergusson said. That's in part because of the unique dynamic of The Coalition.

The studio took over development on the Gears of War series after Microsoft bought the franchise from Epic. The team made its first brand-new game, Gears of War 4, which was more linear. With Gears 5, the studio ramped up its ambition further, and this wasn't easy.

"The unfortunate part is once you figure something out, you have to go down to where you truly understand it," he said. "So we had a team that didn't make Gears before, so we made Gears 4. We were feeling pretty confident. 'Okay, we know how to to make a Gears game, we know to do all this stuff,' and then this little thing called ambition gets in the way and you start creating new ideas that nobody has a clue how to do necessarily. And it makes an interesting challenge again."

Gears 5 also differs from previous Gears of War games in that it has some light RPG systems that provide branching narrative experiences. However, Gears 5 is not an RPG at heart. In playing a section of the campaign, GameSpot's Mat Paget speaks about how Gears 5 still feels like a traditional gun- and action-heavy Gears of War game.

Looking ahead to the future, Fergusson said he struggles to see how The Coalition can top itself with a potential Gears 6 in terms of size and scale. Not only that, it seemingly remains to be seen if future games--which have not been announced--will continue to include new elements like larger levels and RPG elements.

"I have trouble imagining a bigger game than Gears 5," he said. "It'll be interesting to see how people react to some of the changes. I don't know how people will react to the RPG-ness, how people will react to the larger levels ... "

Gears 5 launches on September 10, but the game unlocks four days early for people who buy the game's Ultimate edition or subscribe to Xbox Game Pass. The game is available to pre-load right now, and you can see GameSpot's rundown of the Gears 5 server start times, launch maps, and more.

For more, check out GameSpot's new preview of Gears 5: Gears 5: Huge, Open Levels And Creative Combat Deliver Big Changes

How Gears 5 Was Inspired By Bioshock: Infinite

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

The Gears of War series is known for a specific pace of combat. The cover-based mechanics helped revolutionize shooters, but Gears 5 is taking a very different approach inspired more by open-world shooters. In an interview with GameSpot, studio head Rod Fergusson explained how the studio took notes from another game he worked on, BioShock Infinite.

"We were saying we want to challenge expectations of player choice," Fergusson said. "What are ways that we can give the player more choice? And so one way is player-initiated combat. I learned that lesson from Bioshock Infinite. And so, the idea that there are battles that the swarm are just kind of meandering around and whatever, and you get to look around and see that there's a weapon over there or there's a flank point there or a sniper over there, and then what are the tools I have in Jack that I can sort of use to overcome the situation? We wanted to allow you that moment to take it in and decide how you wanted to play it out."

Fergusson went on to explain that introducing enemies with health bars helps more clearly signal to the player how aggressive they can be, as compared with past Gears games, and the RPG elements and upgrades help add more variety to combat.

"What are the ways that people are going to play? We didn't want there to be one where you would just fill up all the upgrades, and at the end, everybody plays the same," he said. "That's why we didn't do the tech tree thing. We wanted people to be like, 'Oh, I want to invest in this thing' or 'This is the way that I like to play. I like stealth, so I want to do this,' or 'I don't like stealth, I like this.'"

Gears 5 launches on PC and Xbox One on September 10, but early access begins a few days earlier for Ultimate Edition purchasers or Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. For more detail, read our hands-on impressions of the campaign, Horde Mode, and how its microtransactions and multiplayer progression work.

Gears 5: Dev Says Microsoft Had No Creative Input "At All"

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Gears 5 makes a number of big changes to the series with its new hero, Kait, along with bigger levels and some RPG elements. These ideas came from developer The Coalition, but how did Microsoft feel about these changes? "They actually don't have any creative input at all," The Coalition boss Rod Fergusson told GameSpot in a recent interview.

According to Fergusson, Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty and overall Xbox boss Phil Spencer put a lot of trust in their studio heads to manage their own projects.

"It's really about trusting the studio heads and the teams there to recognize what's the best way to leverage whatever it is they're building," he said. "Matt has a great line around just building great games. It's just the notion of don't worry about business models, don't worry about subscriptions, don't worry about changing things to adopt to a particular strategy. If you make an awesome game, then we can take that awesome game and apply it to different strategies."

The first and most important rule is to "make a great game and focus on quality of execution," Fergusson said. "We say what we do and we do what we say, and when we say we're going to deliver you a game, we deliver you a game, and we do it at the highest quality we can."

Fergusson said creative decisions shouldn't be made from higher-ups on the top-down model. "I think the strength of the bottom-up way we're doing things now allows for each studio to have its own identity and to be creative--the top-down stuff doesn't work," he said. "And we saw that I think. I was part of the Gears of War Kinect game that never saw the light of day, and that was okay. How do we force something to be on strategy? And now the strategy is to make awesome games and then we'll figure it out."

The business models at Xbox have indeed changed since Gears of War 4 came out. All of Microsoft's first-party games--including Gears 5--launch into Xbox Game Pass for no extra cost. Microsoft hasn't said how this change has impacted developers; some have wondered how royalty payments and other sales-related metrics change in this new model. Those specifics remain unknown.

Whatever the case, Fergusson said he's focused on growing the Gears of War franchise to get it back to where it was during its heyday when it was developed by Epic Games. (Microsoft bought the Gears of War franchise from Epic in 2014 for an undisclosed sum).

"We looked at it like this: okay, Epic put Gears of War on a shelf and said, 'We'll never make it again.' So when Microsoft bought Gears, I was really excited about the fact that we can actually see where this is capable of going," Fergusson said. "And then sort of parallel to what Microsoft was doing, we wanted to expand the audience and the reach of the Gears of War brand. So how do we go back to what it was in its heyday?"

Gears 5 launches on September 10, but the game unlocks four days early for people who buy the game's Ultimate edition or subscribe to Xbox Game Pass. The game is available to pre-load right now, and you can see GameSpot's rundown of the Gears 5 server start times, launch maps, and more.

For more, check out GameSpot's new preview of Gears 5: Gears 5: Huge, Open Levels And Creative Combat Deliver Big Changes

The One Thing Gears of War Dev Rod Fergusson Pulled Rank To Make Happen

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Studio head Rod Fergusson has discussed the one time he chose to pull rank and put his foot down on a creative decision. Surprisingly, it was to ensure the survival of protagonist Kait Diaz's hat in Gears of War 4.

In an interview with GameSpot, Fergusson and franchise narrative lead Bonnie Jean Mah revealed that they were the lone hat advocates at the studio. And he used the hat to illustrate a related point, about how skeptical the studio was of the Skiff vehicle segment.

"It was a battle," Fergusson said. "It was literally a battle, much like Kait's hat. So in Gears 4, we had the beret on Kait, and almost everybody hated it."

"I liked the hat," Jean Mah interjected.

"I mean, you and I liked the hat," he continued. "We essentially had to fight really hard to keep Kait's hat. It was one of those things where I was like, 'Look, I don't pull rank very often, but we're keeping the hat.'"

He went on to explain that the Skiff was a battle too, and that it sprung out of his desire to do a sailing simulator. The team kept hitting engineering challenges to make a wind-based vehicle, but he was steadfast that they couldn't change it.

"The number of times that engineers came up to me and said, 'Can't we just make it a dirt bike? Can we not make it a Jeep? Please, God, let it be a monster truck.' And I'm like, 'Nope, it's a weird sailing thing that you ride on the back of.' You're kind of parasailing or wakeboarding off the back of this thing. And so, there was a number of times where people were trying to rebel against it, and it felt like it was an opportunity to do something really cool and ownable, and at the end of the day I think where we landed, much like Kait's hat, was that it turned out really awesome and I think it is a unique sort of differentiator for us."

Tragically, her hat appears to be nowhere to be seen in Gears 5. For more on the next Gears, check out our hands-on campaign and Horde Mode impressions. Gears 5 launches on September 10 on Xbox One. Early access for Ultimate Edition buyers or subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate will start on September 6.

Gears 5's First Support Hero Is An Exciting Addition To Horde Mode

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Gears 5 brings back the series' popular Horde mode but shakes things up with what developer The Coalition calls "Hero characters." Gears of War 4 had character classes in its Horde mode, but they didn't feel distinct from one another. This time, however, The Coalition has given characters their own unique ability cards and Ultimate to make them stand apart from each other. Some of these simply act as a great way to deal a bunch of damage, while others work in conjunction with each other to each become more effective--like Marcus's instant headshots (and AOE buff that spreads to nearby allies) paired with Fahz's ability to see and shoot through walls.

Despite these distinguishing traits, the vast majority of characters are still going to play like a Gears of War character. This isn't a bad thing because playing Horde mode as Marcus Fenix, The Terminator's Sarah Connor, or any other gun-toting character, is a ton of fun in Gears 5. And with the new adjustable difficulty, which increases your rewards for every modifier you flip on, there's plenty to challenge yourself with. That said, The Coalition created a brand new type of character for Gears 5, repurposing the campaign's drone assistant Jack as a support character in the same vein as Mercy from Overwatch.

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I recently played as Jack for nearly 30 rounds of Horde mode, and in that time I got the hang of what a good Jack player is responsible for and should focus on. Healing your teammates and making sure they're safe is the obvious priority, and with the various turrets, decoys, and traps that players can construct, keeping these contraptions repaired and full of ammo is also paramount to success. However, I wasn't just babysitting my team the entire time. Jack can be impactful individually and is often the most important character on the battlefield, able to turn the tides of defeat and get his team back in the fight.

A great example of Jack's importance came up when I spoke to lead multiplayer producer Otto Ottosson. We spoke about Jack and his different utilities in Horde mode, when Ottosson, who told me he'll take any chance to play a good support class, mentioned that he mains Jack.

"I've had moments where the team is all down, and they've even been killed," Ottosson recalled. "Jack has this cloak ability … but if he gets too close to the enemy he de-cloaks. They become aware of him. So I was going around, picking up their COG tags, and trying to find my way around as the enemy can't see me to get to the fabricator and spawn them back in. It's very different from any other character you play in Gears."

And it's true. Playing Jack in Horde mode almost turns it into a stealth game. Whenever you're not performing an action or speedboosting, you're cloaked. This lets you do things like sneak up on a particularly bothersome baddie and shock them with your zapper, freezing them in place and dealing a small amount of damage. You're not going to take on an entire army by yourself, but utilizing Jack's zapper and communicating with your team can mean the difference between success and defeat. Shocking an enemy to prevent them from destroying your team's meticulously placed turrets and then calling over a teammate to help you defeat them is one facet of Jack that makes for a satisfying new way to experience Horde mode.

Jack's innate stealth abilities also help in support situations. At one point in our match, one of our teammates was grabbed by a Snatcher and pulled away from us. A group of Swarm soldiers stood between us and the Snatcher, but as Jack, I was able to sneak my way up to the Snatcher and shock him until he let go of our teammate. It's moments like this that made me feel like the MVP of our match, and I never fired a gun… at least, not as Jack himself.

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Jack's Ultimate is carried over from one of his abilities in the campaign. In Gears 5's story, you can send Jack to use Highjack on an enemy, which turns them against their Spawn brethren to help you for a short period of time. This works similarly in Horde mode, except when you actually trigger the ability on a specific monster, you take control of them yourself. The enemies aren't particularly interesting to control, as they're mostly all just big, lumbering creatures, but if you hijack the right one at the right time, you can devastate the current enemy wave. I was able to hijack a rocket salvo-carrying DeeBee and completely obliterate the Swarm soldiers running ahead of me. It was extremely satisfying. You aren't able to pull this off every wave, but when you can, it's an incredible change of pace.

The focus on Hero characters with unique abilities and Ultimates is an interesting direction to take Gears' Horde mode. The abilities and Ultimates seem to deliver another layer of teamwork that incentivizes working together and coordinating your attack. Jack is the cherry on top, serving as Gears' first true support character, a stark contrast to the guns-blazing action that the series is so well known for. I think Jack could be a great way to bring new types of players into Horde mode. It'll be interesting to see how players take to him and how he evolves as you level up and get new ability cards.

Thankfully, Gears 5 is expected to receive quite a bit of support for its multiplayer modes, Horde included. Multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven told me that Gears' map builder is coming to Horde, in addition to new characters. There are also plans for big multiplayer expansions every three months, including a completely free progression system called Tour of Duty, which works similarly to a battle pass.

To learn more about Gears 5, how it handles microtransactions, and more, check out our articles below:

Gears 5: Huge, Open Levels And Creative Combat Deliver Big ChangesGears 5's Campaign Is Inspired By Open World Games And RPGsHow Gears 5's Microtransactions And Multiplayer Progression Work

How Gears 5's Microtransactions And Multiplayer Progression Work

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Xbox Game Pass players and Ultimate Edition owners will be able to jump into Gears 5 in a week, with full access to all of its multiplayer modes. We already know about the return of Horde and Versus, and the introduction of the new Escape mode. Multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven recently assured players that its monetization would be "player-friendly," and after speaking to Cleven myself, we know exactly how it's all going to work.

Cleven told me Gears 5 will not feature real-money loot boxes or any kind of randomized packs. The only microtransactions in the game will be relegated to their own store and won't affect gameplay in any way. Things like premium cosmetics and DLC characters--like the playable Halo Reach characters--are expected items. You'll pay for these items directly, so you'll know exactly what you're getting for your money.

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You also won't be able to purchase items you can earn for free with real money, eliminating the "Pay Us Now, Get It Sooner" mentality of some microtransaction-laden games. I was told that the ideology behind Gears 5's progression was achievement-based--not Xbox achievements, but instead the challenges and feats you perform in gameplay.

This is where Gears 5's Tour of Duty comes in. It's a battle pass-style system that you can work your way through by completing challenges and collecting items as you level up. The big difference between Tour of Duty and battle passes in games like Fortnite, however, is that it's completely free. Cleven told me that it was important to The Coalition to provide it for free as part of the $60 AAA game experience.

Cleven also said that the plan for Gears 5 is to release sizable multiplayer expansions every three months. These will include new content, characters, and more and sound a lot like the season system you see in many modern multiplayer games. One of the things players can expect is the map builder coming to Horde mode.

Gears 5 releases for Xbox Game Pass subscribers and Ultimate Edition owners on September 6, while its official launch is four days later on September 10.

To learn more about Gears 5, how its campaign tackles open environments and RPG elements, and more, check out our articles below:

Gears 5: Huge, Open Levels And Creative Combat Deliver Big ChangesGears 5's Campaign Is Inspired By Open World Games And RPGsGears 5's First Support Hero Is An Exciting Addition To Horde Mode

Gears 5: Huge, Open Levels And Creative Combat Deliver Big Changes

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Gears 5's campaign has been a bit of a mystery since its announcement in 2018. There were hints of changes to the Gears formula, but we never got a good, solid idea of exactly what those might be. Developer The Coalition has kept the campaign close to its chest almost right up to Gears 5's launch, but now that I've spent about five hours with it, I'm glad to say I was pleasantly surprised. I never expected I'd explore open environments, complete side missions, upgrade special abilities, and stealth-kill my way through entire encounters in a Gears game. These aren't unfamiliar activities in video games, but for the Gears of War series, it is brand-new territory. These changes may sound like an attempt to reinvent the decade-old series, but Gears 5 is more of an evolution.

My time with Gears 5 was split between Act II and Act III, covering two vastly different open areas: a snow-blanketed mountain valley and a scarlet desert. It all started in typical Gears fashion: main characters Kait and Del fighting their way through a linear, cinematic mission, set in a village under attack by the Swarm. This all felt good and familiar, something series fans will feel right at home with. However, shortly after the final Swarm soldier hit the ground, I was introduced to the game's first open world and the vehicle I'd use to roam it, the wind-driven Skiff.

Despite this new direction for the series, The Coalition was hesitant to call Gears 5 an open-world game. The open areas are big--director Rod Fergusson told me that in some cases, they were 50 times larger than the average Gears level. However, The Coalition isn't trying to fit Gears into a Grand Theft Auto-style mould; it's creating environments that fit the Gears mould and serve as open spaces that connect each mission and side area.

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During my time with the game, an objective marker was always present to point me towards the next story mission; however, I was told that the story would branch at certain points and things wouldn't necessarily have to be completed in order. You also don't have to head straight for the next story mission, as there are quite a few points of interest to discover in the world. I found the area for my first side mission, an abandoned train tunnel, thanks to my in-game partner Del pointing it out as we drove past it. Gears 5 doesn't really draw attention to the fact that it's set in an open environment, and so it took me a moment to realize I wasn't locked into doing the main mission. What tipped me off to my freedom was one of the story missions in the second act's mountains.

It tasked me with getting into a tower and scanning for a specific signal. I scanned several before finding the one we were looking for; however, each of the signals I decoded were locations for new points of interest. Yes, it was that kind of tower--thankfully, you don't have to climb it a la Assassin's Creed. I didn't get to spend enough time with the game to see exactly how reliant the open environments are on these towers (I only ever found the aforementioned one during that story mission), but I was able to discover a couple side missions on my own while exploring the world. I hope the full game doesn't lean too hard on towers because having Del point out specific things in the environment as you drive near them was a much more enjoyable way of discovering the world.

However, during my time with Gears 5, there wasn't much going on in the environments outside of visiting new areas. I didn't experience any random encounters with patrolling enemies or characters of any kind. The only things I found in the environments were the occasional abandoned building, hiding a special Relic weapon. However, the two areas I saw were fun to roam, thanks to the Skiff. The Skiff is basically a sled with a big sail attached to it. You won't have to pay attention to the wind's direction or speed to get around, as it controls similarly to how a car would in any other game: Right Trigger to accelerate, Left Trigger to stop, and the left analog stick to steer. Despite the similarities in control, it does feel distinct from a gas-powered vehicle.

Fergusson told me the team hit some difficulties trying to nail the feeling of controlling a sail-equipped sled, with some on the team even asking if they could switch to the more obvious choice for Gears: a big ol' truck. The team persevered, and it definitely seems like it was the right choice. It felt great taking sharp turns, skidding, and getting air. I probably could have snuck in a couple more side missions if I had spent less time aimlessly driving around, trying to get the Skiff to tip over. It's hard to say whether the appeal of driving it from place to place will carry throughout the entire game, as the only thing to do between destinations was listen to Kait and Del's conversations. The two of them have great chemistry and were a joy to listen to, but if there isn't anything to surprise you in these open environments, the journey from place to place could become a chore.

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Thankfully, this is still Gears of War, so every mission--regardless of whether it's a part of the main story or a side mission--showcases the classic Gears style of weighty, cover-based shooting. In past games, you would enter a room and every enemy would be aware of you. In Gears 5, the player almost always initiates combat. This means you can survey an area, see what you have to work with, and engage when you're ready. And yes, this also means you can take out enemies undetected--there's no stealth mode or crouching, but if you're careful you can get away without being spotted. Gears 5 gives players quite a bit of choice for how they want to approach situations. In one section, I took out every enemy with carefully planned stealth kills--it seems like you can even get away with some cautious sniper rifle kills and grenade tosses if no one is left alive to notice them. In another, I set up a trap and got an enemy to chase me through it, electrocuting them and allowing me to finish them off with little worry. And lastly, in my personal favourite moment, I shot the ice out from under a bunch of Swarm soldiers' feet, plunging them into the deadly, ice-cold water below.

While you have more options than previous games, combat in Gears 5 never felt like The Coalition was turning the series into Deus Ex or Dishonored. These combat arenas could have felt at home in any previous game in the series, and despite the removal of "War" from its title, you won't be able to play through Gears 5 non-lethally. Every encounter still feels like the combat puzzles that Gears is loved for; you just have more options at your disposal. While the environment definitely plays a part, most of these options come in the form of the series' good ol' drone buddy Jack, who gets reintroduced after being absent in the last game.

This time, Jack is a character that is directly involved with combat and can even be controlled by a third player in co-op. He has three types of abilities: Assault, Support, and Passive. Assault options include blinding your enemies out of cover, setting up shock traps to prevent flanking, and temporarily hijacking an enemy to have them fight on your side. Support options, on the other hand, allow you to temporarily boost your health, scan the area for enemies, and cloak yourself to sneak around unnoticed. Jack can also be used to fetch ammo and guns, as well as revive downed teammates. These Passive abilities can be upgraded to be more effective.

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I got a chance to play Jack in Gears 5's Horde mode, and while they're an interesting support hero in a wave-based survival setting, I can't see it being compelling enough for experienced players to play through the campaign as him--though he may serve as a great starting point for less experienced players. Thankfully, whether you're playing as Kait or Del, Jack is incredibly useful and exciting as a support character. He added a depth to the combat that made me feel much less confined to the safety of my cover. As someone who hasn't always been comfortable flanking enemies in fear of getting rushed myself, the Stim ability empowered me to play more aggressively. And being able to cloak myself and complete small-scale encounters undetected was a strange and satisfying contrast to Gears' traditional in-your-face action. Gears 5 is still very much Gears, however, and in most situations, I wasn't able to get very far with stealth before a Swarm soldier spotted me and the real battle started.

Upgrading Jack requires components, which are often found by completing side missions. This usually means increasing the duration of certain effects, but every now and then, I came across an Ultimate Upgrade that added a new dynamic to one of his abilities. Support abilities were given new Assault-based utility in the form of increased damage to scanned enemies or three times the melee damage while the Stim ability is active. You're also able to respec Jack at any time for no cost, so you can refocus his abilities to better fit your newfound upgrades. This alleviated my skill-tree allocation anxiety and made me feel good about going in whatever direction I felt was right at the time. I was able to experiment with several different ability configurations over the course of my five hours. It feels strange to talk about the experimentation of different abilities and approaches to combat in a Gears game, but I'm very glad to be doing so. I hope there's more for me to find and be surprised by in the full game.

Gears 5 is doing things that make me excited to play the final game. The freedom to choose how I approach encounters and Jack's multiple abilities feel like refreshing additions to Gears' third-person action. I hope there are a lot more opportunities for combat experimentation that I haven't discovered yet, as finding out I could shoot out a frozen pond's icy surface was awesome. Of course, my reservations about the open world remain, but the cordoned-off areas will remain tense and exciting as long as they keep up the great level and combat design I saw in my preview. The changes and additions excite me as a Gears fan, and I'm hoping that roaming the landscape and discovering new locations remains engaging past those five hours.

To learn more about Gears 5, how it handles microtransactions, and more, check out our articles below:

Gears 5's Campaign Is Inspired By Open World Games And RPGsHow Gears 5's Microtransactions And Multiplayer Progression WorkGears 5's First Support Hero Is An Exciting Addition To Horde Mode

Gears 5's Campaign Is Inspired By Open World Games And RPGs

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Gears 5's campaign has mostly remained a mystery since the game's reveal at E3 2018. The Coalition head Rod Fergusson has hinted at big changes, even noting the dropping of "of War' as a way to give even the title a different feel.

Speaking to Fergusson, Gears of War 4 was a way to show fans, and themselves, that the team at The Coalition was capable of making a good Gears of War game. And Gears of War 4 was exactly that, but it left some people wanting for more of an evolution from the series' new developer. That's the goal with Gears 5, which tackles open environments, adopts some light RPG elements, and encourages creative player choice in combat.

However, talking to the team at The Coalition, Gears 5 is not meant to be an open-world game or an RPG. After playing the campaign for about five hours, I can say with confidence that it's still a Gears game. And speaking with many members of the studio, that's exactly what they wanted: a Gears game for which they took the genres and traits they're inspired by and made it all into something that works for the Gears series.

In one of my conversations, I got the opportunity to speak to Fergusson and franchise narrative lead Bonnie Jean Mah about Gears 5. We discussed what it's like to take Gears in new directions under Microsoft; the inception of Gears 5's unique vehicle, the Skiff; and the fierce battle over Kait's hat.

The first thing I'd really like to talk about is how Microsoft is picking up all these studios, and obviously new games are being made in new franchises, but how has it been with Gears? Has Microsoft been good about changes to the franchise?

Rod: They actually don't have any creative input at all. That's one of the nice things about how Matt [Booty, head of Xbox Games Studios] runs the studio organization. And Phil [Spencer] as well, was really just about trusting the studio heads. It's really about trusting the studio heads and the teams there to recognize what's the best way to leverage whatever it is they're building. And so I think with the smaller studios, you're seeing a bunch of opportunities for lots of new IP and new and interesting content that fits very well on Xbox Game Pass. And then on the more franchised studios like Halo and ourselves, it's just about how can we continue to evolve?

Matt has a great line around just building great games. It's just the notion of don't worry about business models, don't worry about subscriptions, don't worry about changing things to adopt to a particular strategy. If you make an awesome game, then we can take that awesome game and apply it to different strategies. So rule number one is to make a great game and focus on quality of execution. And that's kind of what we pride ourselves on at The Coalition. We say what we do and we do what we say, and when we say we're going to deliver you a game, we deliver you a game, and we do it at the highest quality we can.

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Xbox's public image at the moment seems to have flipped on its head from the beginning of the generation, where it's now a lot more forward-thinking, open to change, and focused on players. But I see this common public conception that Microsoft exclusives have not hit as hard as they did last generation. Did that ever put any weight on The Coalition to swing for the fences with Gears 5?

Rod: For us it was about growth of the franchise, you know? And we looked at it like this: okay, Epic put Gears of War on a shelf and said, "We'll never make it again." So when Microsoft bought Gears, I was really excited about the fact that we can actually see where this is capable of going. And then sort of parallel to what Microsoft was doing, we wanted to expand the audience and the reach of the Gears of War brand. So how do we go back to what it was in its heyday?

And the notion now of two comic book series, which just started its second novel; working on the movie; and now we're on our third game with The Coalition between Ultimate Edition, Gears 4, and now Gears 5. And our licensed products and clothing thing with AAPE and Funko Pop and Tactics. We're just trying to continue to grow the franchise and expand it in a meaningful way that runs parallel to what is going on at Microsoft. But it isn't Microsoft saying, "You shall do three games or you shall do this!" In fact, when I announced the three games, they didn't want me to announce all three games. They were like, "Oh, just save them." And I'm like, "No, I want to tell everybody we're doing three." [laughs]

And so in some cases, again, I think the strength of the bottom-up way we're doing things now allows for each studio to have its own identity and to be creative--the top-down stuff doesn't work. And we saw that I think. I was part of the Gears of War Kinect game that never saw the light of day, and that was okay. How do we force something to be on strategy? And now the strategy is to make awesome games and then we'll figure it out.

I think it's very interesting to see traditionally linear shooters move towards a more open environment. How's the team adapted to the open-world setting? Has it been exciting?

Rod: Yeah, for sure. It's probably one of our biggest challenges. That's one of the things we talk about. The unfortunate part is once you figure something out, you have to go down to where you truly understand it. So we had a team that didn't make Gears before, so we made Gears 4. We were feeling pretty confident. "Okay, we know how to make a Gears game, we know how to do all this stuff," and then this little thing called ambition gets in the way and you start creating new ideas that nobody has a clue how to do necessarily. And it makes an interesting challenge again.

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I think the combination of RPG systems and the idea of really large levels that require traversal were challenges. I don't know that you've gotten to it in Act III, but it's really, really leaning into this sort of "Do it in whatever order you want to do it in," and the idea of branching narrative and different combinations of "This is the third time I've been here, but I didn't do these first two things, so how do I talk about that?" Huge challenge, and actually a bigger challenge than we expected. And that was one of the things that we developed through iteration. We did a new development process this time about what we call horizontal slices, and so because we had gone through Gears 4, we were able to get things stitched together quickly, more quickly, and so we were able to have what we call the Genesis Build.

We didn't know what to name it, we were like, "Okay, over Christmas, we're going to be able to play the game all the way through, but we're not at alpha yet, so what is it?" And we're like, "What comes before alpha?" So we finished it and said, "Oh, screw it. Genesis comes before everything else, so we'll start at Genesis." And so we had a Genesis Build where we could see all the systems together and we could see the world stitched together, and then we just got a bunch of feedback from that and then we said, "Okay, we have to pivot a bunch of things." And then we did another iteration of it; we did Genesis 2. And then we did another iteration and then we did Alpha. So those iterations were really about how we deal with the size of this level and how fast the Skiff can travel and how detailed we can fill the world, and how we deal with branching narrative.

I was just saying earlier that when we started, you couldn't get off the Skiff until you pulled up to a dock, and now we're like, "That's too limiting," so now you get off wherever you want. So what does that mean for the world and how do we stream it in? That kind of stuff. So there was just a lot that we had to go through to figure it out. And fortunately we had people from Assassin's Creed and Far Cry, we had people who had previous lives that had been on those types of games. And we just knew that we weren't trying to be another Red Dead or Far Cry or Ghost Recon. We were just saying, "How can we take Gears and make it feel more open and expansive without trying to go toe-to-toe with Ubisoft?" Because that's not really what this game is. We just wanted to take inspiration from genres we love to give a bit more freedom and that idea of player choice.

It's funny you mention Ubisoft because when I was in Act II and it was like, "We have to go to that tower!" I'm like, "Oh crap, I'm going to have to climb this tower." Thankfully not.

Rod: [laughs] No, no, there's no tower climbing.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2The two open environments I explored during my five hours with the game.

But going back to the Skiff. How did the team land on it? Because when you think Gears, you immediately think, "Oh, a cool guy truck that you're going to drive around the world."

Rod: It was a battle. It was literally a battle, much like Kait's hat. So in Gears 4, we had the beret on Kait, and almost everybody hated it.

Bonnie Jean Mah: I liked the hat.

Rod: I mean, you and I liked the hat.

Bonnie: Yeah, we liked the hat. [laughs]

Rod: We essentially had to fight really hard to keep Kait's hat. It was one of those things where I was like, "Look, I don't pull rank very often, but we're keeping the hat." And so it was one of those things when we got to the Skiff because Gears 4 was about wind flares, and I wanted this idea of Sera as a hostile host that's trying to get rid of humanity with all these storms that are kind of fighting you as well. That idea of wind was really important to keep as a throughline, and so I really wanted a wind-driven vehicle.

But there was complexity around that. Originally, I wanted a sailing simulator because I'm that kind of a geek, but all of our user testing showed that nobody really enjoyed heading into the wind and having to understand the tacking. So we had to find ways to cheat it and make it feel different, but the number of times that engineers came up to me and said, "Can't we just make it a dirt bike? Can we not make it a Jeep? Please, God, let it be a monster truck." And I'm like, "Nope, it's a weird sailing thing that you ride on the back of." You're kind of parasailing or wakeboarding off the back of this thing.

And so, there was a number of times where people were trying to rebel against it, and it felt like it was an opportunity to do something really cool and ownable, and at the end of the day I think where we landed, much like Kait's hat, was that it turned out really awesome and I think it is a unique sort of differentiator for us.

It definitely brought back some memories of snowmobiling. It's a really neat feeling thing.

Rod: And I love in Act III when it gets overloaded because it's a two person vehicle but you have four people, and watching them be tethered in and leaning to help you keep stable and stuff. The animations, I really enjoy watching them as I drive. And it feels really good.

Yeah, I was definitely like, "More people, easier to tip," but I still couldn't get it to tip.

Rod: [laughs] Exactly.

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So where does Gears go from here? Does it get bigger, even more open?

Rod: I have trouble imagining a bigger game than Gears 5. It'll be interesting to see how people react to some of the changes. I don't know how people will react to the RPG-ness, how people will react to the larger levels, and the skiffing around. We got feedback about how not everybody loved the Horde elements in the Gears 4 campaign where you had a fabricator and you had to defend that.

We were trying to create a Horde tutorial in the campaign and some people were like, "It's not my favorite thing." So it'll be interesting to see how people react. I feel like we've changed the game enough that it'll be really cool to get feedback on.

I was surprised by a lot of the new stuff, but even more surprised by how much it still felt like Gears. Just before I came in here, I did a whole little section completely undetected. And in that first area with the Rejects, I shot down a shock trap and got detected by one of them so they'd run at me and get caught in it. Oh, and shooting the frozen pond and watching them fall in was hilarious.

Rod: Yeah, that's my favourite thing. Drop Shots on the ice are amazing.

Why did The Coalition decide to put such a focus on these player-created moments in combat?

Rod: We were saying we want to challenge expectations of player choice. What are ways that we can give the player more choice? And so one way is player-initiated combat. I learned that lesson from Bioshock Infinite. And so, the idea that there are battles that the swarm are just kind of meandering around and whatever, and you get to look around and see that there's a weapon over there or there's a flank point there or a sniper over there, and then what are the tools I have in Jack that I can sort of use to overcome the situation?

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We wanted to allow you that moment to take it in and decide how you wanted to play it out. And then with some enemies having health bars, it allows for a different style of play because it means that if I know that Carrier is down to one-twentieth of its health, I know I can rush it and maybe kill it before it crushes me. But in previous games, you'd be like, "It's a bullet sponge and I don't know when it's going to die so I don't know when to make my play." And even things like Stim, where I can go into overhealth and be super aggressive because it's my get-out-of-jail card.

It allows me to play it differently. Normally, I'm back of the room sniping, and now I kind of go a little bit more on the frontline and use Jack to save my ass whenever I make a mistake. And with the RPG elements [Jack's upgrades], we mix it up. What are the ways that people are going to play? We didn't want there to be one where you would just fill up all the upgrades, and at the end, everybody plays the same. That's why we didn't do the tech tree thing. We wanted people to be like, "Oh, I want to invest in this thing" or "This is the way that I like to play. I like stealth, so I want to do this," or "I don't like stealth, I like this."

I thought it was really cool that when I was going by certain things, Del was like, "Holy crap, there's a condor, or holy crap, there's a train tunnel. Maybe we should check it out."

Bonnie: And the cool thing is, if you do explore all that, we've actually worked really hard to build a history into the world. So environmental storytelling was a big push this time around, so it's not just the world that you're exploring, it's what lies beneath. So we tried to add layers, like in Act III when you're going through the BYR Space Facility. There was a civil war there, so we have these layers of story.

We have what the facility was, and we have the war that took place there, and then we have the Swarm here now. Why are they here? We have all of these layers of story and collectibles all throughout the whole thing to fill in the blanks if you do want to know more about those stories.

And the side quests, like you just mentioned. There's a condor crashed over there, you can decide to delve into that or not, but it's a way of enriching our world.

Rod: Yeah, and the combination of when you go into the ice level and we can tell you a little bit about Gears 2 with Operation Hollow Storm. And so you're learning about the derricks and the grind lifts, but at the same time you're learning these things, you're picking up a collectible that eventually unlocks the freezability on Jack's Flash ability. So it kind of duo-layers, we sort of breadcrumb you through with lore with a payoff at the end, which is a gameplay changing mechanic that you can apply to Jack.

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Alright, I'm all out of Gears questions, but Rod, I'm very interested in how you've found the experience of moving to Vancouver, Canada, to work on Gears.

Rod: I love it. Yeah, I love Vancouver. One of the things that surprises me is the downtown and how vibrant it is, because there's all the tall buildings, and I don't think a lot of people realize that all the tall buildings are actually residential and not business. So when I first moved here, I lived over by Rogers Arena, and I would go to the airport and be coming out at like 3:30 in the morning to catch a cab, and there'd be people walking around. It felt like it was 10 in the morning, you know?

And so there's just this sort of interesting culture and vibrancy to this city, and it's really clean and beautiful and I get to drive through Stanley Park every day on my way home, so it's been great. And one of the things that surprised me, when I moved to Epic in North Carolina, we lived there for like seven, eight years, and it felt like a lifetime. We shipped three games and I felt like I'd been there forever. And so now I realize, starting in January, I'll have been here six years, and it's gone by in a blink. I've been so fortunate to come to a place that not only is a beautiful place, but it's just such an amazing team and studio here. I've been very fortunate with Epic and The Coalition to work with the best in the industry. I built a career around getting to work with the best people possible, and so that's been awesome.

Bonnie, as a Vancouver-native, how has it been seeing the big studios return to Vancouver? Because years ago, it felt like they were all leaving or getting closed down, but now there seems to be a reinvestment in the community from larger studios.

Bonnie: It's validating for our community. We have an amazing group of artists and technical folk and the game industry here, I mean, there's a reason why so many of us come here and so many of us stay. It's because you have that community of developers. We support each other. You've got to be nice to everyone because chances are, you're going to work with them again. It was very concerning when the studios were pulling out, but now you see the big names coming back and we feel like we do have a future. And our industry is strong and growing and we're not--knock on wood--as worried that people are going to pull out. And we get to keep making games in Vancouver, which is awesome.

To learn more about Gears 5, how it handles microtransactions, and more, check out our articles below:

Gears 5: Huge, Open Levels And Creative Combat Deliver Big ChangesHow Gears 5's Microtransactions And Multiplayer Progression WorkGears 5's First Support Hero Is An Exciting Addition To Horde Mode

Joker Movie Director Had To Campaign For His R-Rated Vision

Aug 30, 2019

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The upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix carries an R rating, and director Todd Phillips apparently had to work hard to convince Warner Bros. to allow him to make his more mature vision. He told The Los Angeles Times that it was a lengthy process to get the R rating for Joker. Some people within Warner Bros. were apparently concerned about merchandising, among other things related to the content.

"There were emails about: 'You realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target.' There were a zillion hurdles, and you just sort of had to navigate those one at a time," Phillips said. "At the time I would curse them in my head every day. But then I have to put it in perspective and go, 'They're pretty bold that they did this.'"

Producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff said in the interview that it was difficult to get the green light for Phillips' version of Joker, due in part to "concerns about some of the content." However, after Warner Bros. agreed to a budget, which was reportedly much lower than typical superhero movies at a reported $55 million, everything got underway more smoothly.

"Once we locked and loaded our budget, they really gave us a tremendous amount of space to do what we needed to do," Koskoff said. "The passion Todd has for this movie is palpable, and when he starts talking about it, he's hard to say no to. At the end of the day, he got to make the movie he wanted to make."

This sounds like a similar situation to the Wolverine movie Logan. Star Hugh Jackman reportedly took a big paycut so as to minimize the financial risk to the studio.

Also in the interview, Phillips spoke about his reluctance to make a comic book movie of his own. He said he's been offered them in the past, but he always said no. "I don't watch those movies," he said. "It's not because I don't think it's cool. It's just like, quite frankly, they're always so loud. It was just never something I imagined doing."

It's not exactly clear what convinced Phillips to sign on for Joker, but for what it's worth, the film may not be a traditional comic book movie. He explained previously that his movie doesn't borrow much at all from the source material.

"We didn't follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about," Phillips, who also wrote the script, said in a July interview. "We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That's what was interesting to me. We're not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It's about this man."

Joker premieres at the Venice Film Festival this weekend before its wide opening in theatres on October 4. In addition to Phoenix in the title role, the movie stars Robert de Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Frances Conroy.

Joker is something of a change for Phillips, who previously made the Hangover and Old School comedies. He also wrote for Borat, which earned him his Oscar nomination.

New Terminator: Dark Fate Trailer Teases A New Apocalypse

Aug 30, 2019

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In 1991, Terminator 2: Judgment Day told us when the world would end. August 29, 1997 was designated as Judgment Day, when the machines would rise up against the humans. Clearly, that didn't happen, thanks to any number of movie sequels and timeline changes. However, the day still holds significance for Terminator fans, and Paramount Studios has chosen to celebrate it with a new trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate, the next film in the series.

The trailer explains what's going on in this latest sequel. Although Sarah Connor successfully helped change the future in T2 back in 1991, she didn't change humanity's fate--which, based on the movie's name, we're guessing is pretty dark. There's also an iconic Terminator line at the trailer's end, so it's worth watching all the way through.

While Arnold Schwarzenegger's return for this movie shouldn't come as much of a surprise--he's yet to miss an installment--Dark Fate does see the return of two vital people. James Cameron is back producing the film, his first time being hands-on with the franchise since 1991's Judgment Day. Also returning for the first time since T2 is Linda Hamilton, reprising her role as Sarah Connor.

The new film, from director Tim Miller (Deadpool), picks up 27 years after the events of Terminator 2, as Sarah and the original T-800 cyborg Schwarzenegger played in the first film come to the aid of a cyborg-human hybrid (Mackenzie Davis), who is trying to save a woman (Natalia Reyes) from being killed by a liquid metal Terminator (Gabriel Luna), sent from the future by Skynet. It should also be noted that Dark Fate is a direct sequel to T2 and is not connected to the franchise's other installments--so don't worry if you happened to miss 2009's Terminator Salvation or 2015's Terminator Genisys.

The movie will also reportedly flash back to the 1990s, with body doubles stepping in for younger versions of Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong (John Connor). The doubles will likely have their faces digitally replaced by CGI versions of both actors, as Bloody Disgusting points out.

Terminator: Dark Fate arrived in theaters on November 1.

Astral Chain: How To Get S+ Rank In Combat

Aug 30, 2019

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One of the common features across stylish-action games such as Bayonetta or Devil May Cry is a system that grades your performance in combat. It's motivation for playing better and using your suite of abilities to its full potential, which often leads to better rewards. Nintendo Switch exclusive Astral Chain does the same if you play on either Platinum Standard or Platinum Ultimate difficulty, but it works a bit differently this time around.

Astral Chain's combat scenarios conclude by giving you a letter grade from D (lowest) to S+ (highest), and there are several factors that go into the grade you get. The number one thing to keep in mind is to use your variety of Legions and different skills as much as you can. Another important tip is to always hit your sync attacks and sync finishers; these account for a good chunk of points at the end of combat. Getting multiple chain binds and consecutive critical backstab hits also heavily factor into point totals.

Essentially any sweet move you can do in Astral Chain contributes to the overall score you get (10,000+ being the requirement for S+ rank). Time to complete the combat scenario is also part of your score calculation so its best to be efficient, too. There is nothing that will explicitly take points away from you since there are no negatives in the calculation, just points you leave on the table.

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However, Astral Chain differs from its contemporaries in a big way; its scoring system does not account for damage taken. That's right, you can take as much damage as you want (though you don't really want that) and still get the coveted S+ ranking--even using up your AED revives won't prevent a top tank. The way damage can hinder your score is if your combos or abilities constantly get broken up, preventing you from pulling off the moves that add points to your overall score.

Though the game doesn't make it explicitly clear what the conditions for achieving certain awards are, you can get a general idea of what they require based on their names. The following is a long list of the awards I've commonly earned in combat:

Legion SkillLegion Skill MasterChain BindMulti Chain BindBackstabPerfect CallFinishing TouchLegion of LegionsLong Range OnlyRunning On EmptyAccident-ProneMedicine MasterDodge and SyncSync AttackerDrop and SyncSync Attack MasterNaked EyeStunningFull ArsenalMultiple LegionsItem HoarderChain of Command

At the end of the day, there are many ways to achieve S+ ranks in Astral Chain. It's not exact science but in my experience, hitting multiple sync attacks, juggling between at least three different Legion, and using cool down attacks have been enough to earn consistent S+ grades. There comes a point in the game (especially in the endgame combat missions) where success is only really possible by playing in this manner; you'll inherently earn top rank most times.

For more on Astral Chain, be sure to check out all our coverage and content:

Astral Chain ReviewBeginner's Guide And Tips Before You Start Astral ChainAstral Chain Combat GuideHow Long Does It Take To Beat Astral ChainWhy The Silent Protagonist Feels Strange

Astral Chain Guide: The Tips And Advice You Need To Get Started

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Anime Police Academy

The latest from developer Platinum Games (best known for the Bayonetta series) is the Nintendo Switch exclusive Astral Chain. It shares a lot of similarities to its stylish-action relatives, but Astral Chain separates itself with a unique, thrilling combat system--you control a player-character and a Legion simultaneously. This makes for some incredible fights, and it'll take some time to wrap your head around all its intricacies. There are systems layered on top of the tandem chaos, like Ability Codes and a skill tree to upgrade for new attacks, and we'll point out some key things to pay attention to.

While we'll help you with some basics to keep in mind during battle, there's a lot more to the game than combat. Within segmented story chapters, you'll explore semi-open hub areas side missions, investigations, and other optional content. Primary objectives are fairly straight-forward, but to get the most out of Astral Chain, you'll need to do some poking and prodding to reveal hidden quests.

Not All Quests Appear On The MapIRIS Is Your Best FriendAccessing LaddersUnderstanding The Chip..er...Ability Code SystemPremium Material Codes Are A PremiumThe Quirks Of DodgingDon't Get High On Your Own SupplyRed Matter Boosts Legion Energy Past MaxRank Doesn't Account For Damage, But StyleListen For Meowing, Save Cats If PawssiblePut Up Your Blue ShieldThe Power Of Two LegionsBeast Legion's Auto Dodge And MoreExperiment With Legion Abilities

Astral Chain is out now, and chances are if you're looking through this compilation of tips, you're already set on playing the game. But if you're interested in reading some detailed thoughts on the game, be sure to read my Astral Chain review, or check out my breakdown of how long Astral Chain takes to beat. For more advanced pointers, read through (or watch) our compilation of in-depth Astral Chain combat tips.


Not All Quests Appear On The Map

Each chapter (or File) in Astral Chain contains a number of red cases and blue cases. Blue cases are made of simple activities like solving a puzzle or finding certain objects/NPCs in the world. On the other hand, red cases are comprised of combat scenarios that are subsequently graded for performance counted towards your overall chapter grade.

While red cases include the primary objectives, not all of the red cases are readily available; clearing out all the ones marked on your map doesn't mean you've done everything possible. You'll have to do some diligent exploration, which can be tedious, but thankfully you have the IRIS scanning ability that'll help highlight where to find these hidden objectives. For example, you can reveal a huge Chimera footprint in the environment that'll lead to an astral plane entrance where you fight to complete a red case.

At the end of each chapter, you get a report that will show that you which cases you missed. It gives a general indication of when in the chapter that case lies, which helps narrow down where to look if you replay it.


IRIS Is Your Best Friend

Not only does IRIS highlight important clues within the environment and help you trace hidden Chimera presence in the world, it also reveals enemy health, including bosses. It's easy to forget in the midst of the hectic battles, so be sure to pull up IRIS to track enemy health gauges since the game doesn't automatically do it for you.

If you come across an invincible enemy that's glowing purple, flip on IRIS to help reveal the location of the target they're tethered to. While not as critical, IRIS will also highlight junk piles that the Beast Legion can dig up, certain pieces to puzzles, and chest locations to make things easier to find.


Accessing Ladders

You might easily intuit this tip, but anytime you see a ladder that hasn't been unfurled, look for a big red button next to it. Pull out your Arrow Legion, go into its aiming mode, and hit the button with an arrow to get the ladder to collapse. I wish I'd realized this sooner...


Understanding The Chip..er...Ability Code System

The Ability Code system is a new version of the Chip system that was in Nier: Automata. These consist of items that grant perks and buffs to attach to each of your Legions and make them even stronger. This can range from increasing their chain length, boosting critical hit damage, or preventing stuns and burns.

You pick up Ability Codes throughout your adventure and they'll take up a certain amount of slots, which usually correlates to how effective they are. However, you'll definitely want to use ones that have additional perks attached to the single code. Stacking the right codes on any one Legion could Additional slots for each Legion have to be earned through their own skill trees, but it's worth working towards since Ability Codes can drastically change their usefulness.


Premium Material Codes Are A Premium

Later in the game, you'll start to accumulate Premium Material Codes. This is an important upgrade material that's fairly hard to come by so you'll want to spend these wisely. Upgrading your X-baton and Legatus to their highest levels will require Premium Material Codes, but we suggest saving them to get deeper into Legion skill trees since the material is required to unlock their best abilities.


The Quirks Of Dodging

One of the keys to surviving battles against swarms of Chimera is timing your dodges and dodging in the right direction. Perfectly timed doges will get you out of harm's way, but that may be hard to pull off at every moment. Against huge enemies like the Homunculus bosses, you can dodge underneath them to avoid their powerful attacks and remain within striking distance.

You may also think that dodging would break an X-baton combo if you're in the middle of it, but you're allowed to dodge once and pick up right where your combo left off. This is important for working towards sync attacks, which require you to combo without interruption.


Don't Get High On Your Own Supply

It might be a confusing system at first, and you'll want to know this sooner rather than later. Astral Chain separates healing items into two separate categories, field supply and your own personal supply. Items under field supply are temporary and found within each level; they only remain in your inventory throughout a single chapter. These are designated with a small flower symbol within the item icon.

You have to buy or earn your own personal supply. Money isn't really an issue towards the end of the game, but early on when your budget is tight, it's important to use up your field supply before dipping into your own.


Red Matter Boosts Legion Energy Past Max

Those floating red crystals scattered across the environment are red matter, and part of your duty is to clean up the mess. It requires your Legion to hover over the red matter, but as a bonus, it feeds your Legion's energy gauge past its maximum. Remembering this is especially useful when you go into the astral plane since you'll constantly be in combat encounters amidst your exploration.


Rank Doesn't Account For Damage, But Style

If you play on either Platinum Standard or Platinum Ultimate difficulty, your combat performance will be graded. Unlike other stylish-action games however, Astral Chain's grading system doesn't account for damage taken. You can still earn top marks (S+) as long as you get fancy with your attacks and Legion usage. Points are racked up based on pulling off different tactics, chaining combos, hitting sync attacks, among other things. Just don't worry if you get hit.


Listen For Meowing, Save Cats If Pawssible

In each chapter, there's a stray cat to save and adopt to keep at your dad's safehouse. There isn't a truly compelling material reason to find the cats, but I mean, you wouldn't just leave a cat out in the wild during a Chimera invasion? When you come back to the safehouse and have cat food in your inventory, you can feed them and get an item in return as a small bonus.

IRIS will help find the stray cats since they'll be highlighted, and if you start hearing meowing sounds, then a cat is surely nearby! :3


Put Up Your Blue Shield

You don't unlock the Axe Legion until late in the game, but once you do, be sure to upgrade it and unlock Blue Shield in the skill tree. It's incredibly useful since it grants you protection from damage and knockback for three hits. It's one of those abilities you'll want to use as soon as it's done recharging from cooldown.


The Power Of Two Legions

Hit Rush is an ability that all your Legions can learn early on. While each Legion will have its own variation on the Hit Rush attack, the ability unchains the Legion for the duration of the combo giving you the opportunity to summon another Legion at the same time. Using this tactic effectively will burn down tougher enemies a bit faster.


Beast Legion's Auto Dodge And More

The Beast Legion has a host of useful abilities. Its Howl skill is an AOE stun that opens attack opportunities and mounting it lets you move across the battlefield faster than any other method. These abilities give you breathing room when necessary, and another great perk is that you will automatically dodge any enemy attack while in mounted mode. Keep in mind that auto-dodges consume Legion energy, but it's incredibly useful for navigating tougher fights in more open areas.


Experiment With Legion Abilities

Astral Chain gives you so many possibilities in combat, and as a result, there's no single right way to go about fighting Chimera. We'd encourage experimentation and testing out different cooldown skills in the police headquarters training room, and get a feel for how you want to create synergy between all your different Legions. If you want a few more tips on how to do more advanced stuff, be sure to read our in-depth Astral Chain combat guide.


Astral Chain Guide: Advanced Combat Tips, Advice, And Everything You Need To Know

Aug 30, 2019

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Tips to Help You Master Astral Chain's Combat

Platinum Games' is a developer known for creating satisfying combat mechanics, and Astral Chain's has continued this tradition with a unique and exciting combat system. While it has a decent opening tutorial system to help you along, there are several tactics and maneuvers that the game doesn't quite tell you early on. To help you become the ultimate anime cop, we've gathered some handy tips below.

Hopefully, these combat tips will give you the fighting edge against the vicious Chimeras! Those beasts can be a handful if you're not careful, so definitely study what we've highlighted to ensure your survival during the game's tougher encounters. For a look at how S+ rank combat looks, watch the video above. Otherwise, refer to the table of contents below to jump to the tips you want to hear about most.

Table of Contents

Organize Your SquadUnleash the BeastMust-Have Legion SkillsLearn the Unique AttacksBecome the Chain MasterThe Runaway King: Ride the Beast LegionBe Ability EfficientCheese Damage with Cutscene Animations

For the uninitiated, Astral Chain is the latest from Platinum Games, a studio most known for its work on top-tier action games like Bayonetta, Nier: Automata, and Vanquish. It's possibly one of the developer's best titles; GameSpot editor Michael Higham gave it an X/10 and said: "Astral Chain's underwhelming story doesn't overshadow what it does best. It's an incredible execution of a fresh take on the stylish-action foundation. And its own anime-inspired swagger makes the satisfying battles all the more exhilarating."

If you enjoyed this Astral Chain guide and want more, be sure to let us know in the comments below. And don't hesitate to discuss any additional tips you've found while out on the battlefield.


Organize Your Squad

In Astral Chain, one of your primary weapons is your Legions, which are living weapons that stand beside you. They're central to combat, each possessing their own unique attacks and abilities that help you dispatch enemies. As you progress the story, you gradually gain more Legions, ending up with a total of five. To switch between these Legions, you can either hold Y to bring up a menu, or tap Y to quickly change to the next Legion.

If you want to fight more effectively, learn to layer and combine Legion skills that complement one another. Once you get a flow of which Legion's attacks and abilities best follow up another's, reorganize them to suit your strategy. This way you can tap Y to seamlessly switch to your Legion without pulling up the wheel menu--though remember that you'll switch between them in clockwise order. Organizing your squad to create preset skill combos can help you unleash devastating attacks that maximize crowd control and damage output.


Unleash the Beast

Every Legion can learn a skill called "Hit Rush," which unchains the Legion to attack autonomously. While underwhelming since it removes control over the Legion, it's incredibly useful because you can summon another one to the field while the other is engaging on its own. Use this combat technicality to your advantage when you're looking to unleash absolute hell on your enemies, or if you need to put aggro elsewhere and retreat when you're near death.


Must-Have Legion Skills

Two of the most valuable skills you can access early are Axe Legion's Blue Shield and Beast Legion's Howl. Both are essential in buying you time to heal, set up a combo, or attack an opponent without risk of getting interrupted during tougher battles. Blue Shield allows you to tank three hits without taking damage, allowing you to plow through the enemy without worrying about being interrupted. It can also be used defensively to ensure your healing animation is uninterrupted.

The power of Chain Binding weakens after subsequent uses on the same enemy, and by the third Chain Bind, they'll be unaffected. Unlike chaining an enemy, however, Howl's effectiveness does not weaken upon each use and can be used throughout the fight for offense and defense, making it an invaluable skill.


Learn the Unique Attacks

As fun as it is to wail on the ZR button and smack enemies around, there are more efficient and flashy attacks in your arsenal. As you upgrade your X-Baton and Legatus, you'll learn multiple unique command attacks to perform with your Legions, such as a spin attack, delayed attacks, and charge attacks.

The Sword Legion's spin attack or the Axe Legion's delayed attack are some of the more impressive offensive maneuvers. There are many unique weapon and Legion combinations, so go to the training hall and experiment with them to get a better grasp of how they work.


Become the Chain Master

Be sure to practice managing your chain's multiple abilities in a fight. Having smooth control of Chain Dashing, Chain Binding, and Chain Pulling is essential in combat. Also, some skills cancel if you dismiss your Legion, so sometimes it's better to chain pull your Legion out of danger and send them back out. Learn the ins and outs of chain control to manage the fight.


The Runaway King: Ride the Beast Legion

Although the Axe Legion can shield you while you heal, in a pinch, riding the Beast Legion to reposition and stall may be a better option. While mounted on the Beast Legion you're almost invincible, automatically dodging every attack without you touching the controls. You can also use this tactic to timer scam the enemy and let your skills recharge, or retreat to a better spot farther away from all of the mayhem.


Be Ability Efficient

As you progress, you acquire ability shards that you can use to customize your Legion with unique traits, such as increased chain range or the ability for a Legion to self-destruct after running out of energy. These abilities rank from one-to-three stars, but each possesses additional perks that improve your stats and characteristics.

While you might be tempted to equip powerful two-to-three-star shards, it's better to slot in one-star shards that have two bonus perks. Higher-star shards may be powerful, but they quickly eat up the five points worth of shards you can equip. If anything, it's quite difficult to find a 3-star ability that's worth the slots. You're better off fitting five one-star shards with great complimentary perks to maximize your Legion's potential better.


Cheese Damage with Cutscene Animations

Some Sync Attacks go into cool one-to-three-second animations, which are surprisingly beneficial during fights. You're entirely invincible during these attacks so that you can deal damage without worrying about getting hurt. Try using Sync Attacks to your advantage while in a hectic situation!


This New Movie Will Be Filmed Over The Course of 20 Years

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Film director Richard Linklater is outdoing himself. The director filmed his Oscar-winning movie Boyhood over the course of 12 years, and now his next film will shoot over a span of 20 years.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie is Merrily We Roll Along, and it's based on the 1934 play of the same name. The film adaptation stars Beanie Feldstein, Blake Jenner, and Ben Platt, all of whom will be filmed over the course of two decades to tell the story is what appears to be an unprecedented manner.

The story follows a composer, Franklin Shepard (Jenner), who leaves his job making Broadway musicals to pursue a career in Hollywood. The story begins at the end, and works backwards through time to display the key moments in his life. Feldstein is set to portray the theatre critic Mary Flynn, who is also a friend of Shepard's.

According to THR, filming on the first part of the movie is already finished.

"I first saw and fell in love with Merrily in the '80s, and I can't think of a better place to spend the next 20 years than in the world of a Sondheim musical," Linklater said in a statement. "I don't enter this multiyear experience lightly, but it seems the best, perhaps the only way, to do this story justice on film."

Boyhood, which was released in 2014, was filmed over the course of 12 years as it chronicled the early life of actor Ellar Coltrane's character, Mason. The actor and character grew older through the course of filming as the story reached several key moments in his adolescent life. It was a tremendous use of extended filming, and it'll be interesting to see how it works over an even longer period of time with Merrily We Roll Along.

Boyhood was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film ended up with one win, with Patricia Arquette winning for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Metro Exec On Epic Games Store Exclusives: "We Should Welcome Epic And Their Business Model"

Aug 30, 2019

Description:

Metro Exodus was among the first big-name games that skipped Steam in favor of releasing exclusively on the Epic Games Store. This announcement upset some portion of the audience, in part because the game was up for pre-order on Steam before the switch was made. Those who pre-ordered on Steam had their orders honored, but the move still caused some controversy.

In an interview with GI.biz, Koch Media CEO Klemens Kundratitz said his company's deal with Epic did indeed cause "some ripples," but overall he is "very happy" with how the game is performing commercially.

"Overall, I'm still of the opinion like I was at the beginning that, as an industry and as a publisher, we should welcome Epic and their business model," he said. "We have a strong relationship with Epic and we continue to have a strong relationship with Steam as well."

One sour spot for Kundratitz was the timing of the announcement. He said he wished his company could have revealed the news sooner. "That was not perfect," he said.

Looking forward, Kundratitz said Koch Media--which owns Deep Silver and itself is owned by THQ Nordic AB--will continue to consider more Epic exclusivity deals in the future. The company does not have a "no Steam" policy, as it will release the game Iron Harvest on Steam in September.

Part of the reason why Koch cut a deal with Epic for Metro Exodus was because the Epic Games Store pays more to publishers. Steam typically gives 70 percent of game revenue to publishers, while the Epic Games Store pays 88 percent. "We need to embrace a digital partner that offers a much more compelling rev share model than anybody else, and I think they act as a role model for us and for other digital partners as well--a 70/30 split is quite frankly anachronistic," he said.

Back in February, Kundratitz said much the same when it was revealed that Metro Exodus was leaving Steam for Epic. "Epic's generous revenue terms are a game changer that will allow publishers to invest more into content creation, or pass on savings to the players," Kundratitz said.

Metro Exodus skipping Steam did not appear to hurt the game's sales. THQ Nordic announced in May that Metro Exodus sold 2.5 times more copies than Metro: Last Light did during its PC launch window. Exodus recouped all development and marketing costs shortly after launch.

In other news about the Epic Games Store, Ubisoft recently explained why it no longer releases games on Steam, which the company says has an "unrealistic" business model.

Three Live-Action Star Wars Shows Confirmed for Disney+

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi on a new Star Wars project for Disney+, along with the Mandalorian and a spy series featuring Rogue One characters Cassian Andor and K-2S0.

Destiny 2's Shadowkeep Brings PvP Back To Its Roots

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

In light of the recent dev diaries from Bungie, we break down the confirmed changes to Destiny 2's flagship PvP modes in anticipation for what players can expect to see with Shadowkeep, coming out on October 1st, 2019.

The Mandalorian: 12 New Images From The Disney Plus Star Wars Show

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

The Mandalorian is headed to Disney Plus.

Disney debuted the first trailer for the upcoming Disney Plus Star Wars show The Mandalorian at its annual Anaheim expo D23, but that's not all. Fans and press in attendance during the company's big Friday presentation were treated to some exclusive images, as well.

GameSpot's Chris Hayner was present during the panel, and he snapped some photos of the screen so we could share the images with you. As pictures of pictures, these images aren't the highest quality--however, they should give you an idea of what else we can expect from The Mandalorian besides what we've seen already in the trailer. Scroll down to take a look.

The D23 announcements so far have also included more returning MCU characters in WandaVision's cast, the reveal of Disney Plus's Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight shows, more details about the Loki and Falcon and Winter Soldier shows, and more.

On the Star Wars side, Disney confirmed that Ewan McGregor is returning to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, announced the release date for Star Wars Clone Wars Season 7, and revealed a Disney+ show starring very dead Rogue One characters.














Death Stranding - Here's Everything We Learned From The Gamescom Demo

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

Gamescom 2019 featured a more in-depth look at Death Stranding’s story elements, characters, and in-game mechanics. Here are some things we learned from the presentation and new footage. Death Stranding comes exclusively to PS4 on November 8th, 2019.

Star Wars: Ewan McGregor Officially Returning As Obi-Wan Kenobi

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

The rumors were true, Ewan McGregor will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi on a new Star Wars project. The announcement was made during D23 where McGregor was brought on stage by LucasFilm's Kathleen Kennedy.

He walked out to the sounds of Duel of the Fates, arguably the most iconic song on the Star Wars prequel soundtracks. There he invited Kennedy to ask him if he'd be playing Kenobi again, and, of course, replied with an emphatic yes.

There were no details on what the Obi-Wan Kenobi project will be, whether its a movie or a TV series; if it will get a theatrical release or be exclusive to Disney+. All we do know is that LucasFilm is "really close" to getting going. The scripts have been written and it will begin shooting next year.

Disney+ launches in November with The Mandalorian, another Star Wars show. It stars Pedro Pascal and has Iron Man director Jon Favreau as its showrunner. A trailer for The Mandalorian has been released online. In other Star Wars news, there's also a show focused on Rogue One characters Cassian Andor and K2S0 in the works. For more on Disney+, check out GameSpot's guide to everything that will be available on day one.

Star Wars The Mandalorian TV Show Gets Its First Trailer At D23

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

The first full trailer for The Mandalorian is here. The first-ever live-action Star Wars TV show will premiere on Disney+ in November, and the trailer was revealed during the studio's annual D23 convention.

The trailer contains a lot. It begins with Stormtrooper helmets thrown in the dirt and held up on spikes before transitioning to the titular Mandalorian's ship flying over both a green landscape and a desert. We see black-armored stormtroopers being led by a character played by Breaking Bad actor Giancarlo Esposito. The Mandalorian ends up killing his targeted mark in a cantina and we see an alien getting frozen in a familiar-looking carbonite prison. You can watch the trailer below. Also, IG-88 is in it!

Bounty hunting is a complicated profession. @TheMandalorian, an original Star Wars series, starts streaming November 12, only on #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/CTpflCJSJe

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) August 24, 2019

The release of the trailer follows that of the stylish poster for the show, which was also revealed today. The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal in the title role, plus Gina Carano (Deadpool), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Emily Swallow (Supernatural), Carl Weathers (Predator), Omid Abtahi (American Gods), Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), and Nick Nolte (Affliction).

The showrunner is Lion King director Jon Favreau, and the line-up of directors for individual episodes includes Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok), Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard. It premieres on Disney+ on November 12, which is also the launch day for the service.

In related news, it was reported last week that Ewan McGregor is in talks to reprise his role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for another potential Disney+ Star Wars show. There's also a show centered around the Rogue One character of Cassian Andor in the works for the service. For more on Disney+, check out GameSpot's guide to everything that will be available on day one.

Rogue One Characters Return In Star Wars Spy Series On Disney+

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

Disney+ will be home to a new spy series based on Star Wars: Rogue One, featuring two characters from the movie. Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor, will be joined once again by Alan Tudyk, who voiced the droid K2SO. The new series was officially confirmed during the Star Wars section of the Disney+ D23 panel.

The show wasn't given an official name, but it was confirmed that it's a prequel, indicating it will take place before Rogue One. It is filming in London in 2020. In earlier announcements, Disney has described the show as a "rousing spy thriller" that will "explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire."

In a statement, Luna said, "Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me. I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply."

During the Star Wars portion of the panel, Disney also announced a release date for The Clone Wars Season 7 and revealed an official trailer for The Mandalorian. Both shows are huge draws for subscribing to Disney+, the company's soon-to-released streaming service.

The Mandalorian is a brand-new TV series that stars Pedro Pascal in the title role, plus Deadpool's Gina Carano, Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito, Supernatural's Emily Swallow, Predator's Carl Weathers, American Gods' Omid Abtahi, Grizzly Man's Werner Herzog, and Affliction's Nick Nolte. Lion King director Jon Favreau is the series' showrunner and Thor Ragnarok's Taika Waititi, Jessica Jones' Deborah Chow, and The Clone Wars Dave Filoni are all signed on to direct individual episodes. The series debuts on Disney+ on November 12.

Star Wars Clone Wars Season 7 Is Coming To Disney+ Early Next Year

Aug 24, 2019

Description:

During the D23 Disney+ panel, Kathleen Kennedy took the stage to talk about the upcoming Star Wars projects for Disney's streaming service. Among the announcements was a release date for the seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars--scheduled to come to Disney+ in February 2020. Sounds like it might be a perfect binge-watch for Valentine's Day.

Picking up where Season 6 left off after The Clone Wars was canceled, Season 7 fills in the gaps between the Star Wars animated series and Revenge of the Sith. After The Clone Wars' cancellation, several of the stories in that gap went on to be adapted into novels, such as Star Wars Ahsoka and Star Wars Dark Disciple. However, many were not, which is why so many fans of The Clone Wars were happy to see the show resurrected from the grave with a surprise renewal announcement during SDCC 2018.

Just announced at #D23Expo, the next season of The Clone Wars will premiere in February on #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/S1zswiLcCs

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) August 24, 2019

Season 7 got a new trailer during SDCC this year, revealing the different plotlines that this final season of the show will cover. The main focus of Season 7 seems to be the Siege of Mandalore, one of the last major events in the Clone Wars before its end (according to its brief mention in the Ahsoka novel). Season 7 also covers the reaction to Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order--both from her own, Anakin's, and Obi-Wan's perspectives--which addresses one of the biggest cliffhangers in The Clone Wars.

We'll also see Experimental Unit Clone Force 99--a group of Clone Commandos nicknamed the "Bad Batch" for their mutated DNA that grant them the enhanced abilities that allow them to fight with unorthodox tactics and tech--as well as the return of Separatist Admiral Trench. Given the focus on the Siege of Mandalore and the end of the Clone Wars conflict, it's likely this seventh season will also see Rex following up on Fives' sacrifice and working with Clone Commando Gregor and Clone Commander Wolf to deactivate their brain control chips, the electronics in all clones' brains that compel them to betray and kill their Jedi generals when activated.

WandaVision Adds More Returning MCU Characters To Cast

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

WandaVision, the enigmatic Disney+ MCU streaming TV show, got even more bizarre today at Disney's D23 Expo with the announcement of new and returning cast members. Kat Dennings will return to the MCU as Darcy Lewis from the Thor films and Randall Park will reprise his role as Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man & The Wasp. Kathryn Hahn will join the shared universe as the "nosy neighbor" of Wanda and Vision's happy home life.

Details of the show are still sparse, and the sizzle reel shown at the expo featured clips of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Endgame intercut with clips from the classic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show to give fans a sense for the tone. Writer Jac Schaefer teased that they have been "very inspired by Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke," while star Elizabeth Olsen said the show will be "very wacky and fun."

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige repeatedly called the show a "sitcom" set within the MCU, but the team has yet to officially begin shooting so actual footage was not ready to be shown at the panel.

Lewis, Park, and Hahn are joining the cast that was confirmed for the show back at Marvel Studio's San Diego Comic-Con presentation: Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, and Teyonah Parris who will play the grown-up Monica Rambeau from Captain Marvel.

WandaVision hits Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Disney Announces Marvel She-Hulk Series For Disney Plus

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

Marvel's panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July was an insane hurricane of completely bonkers reveals and announcements, but somehow, Disney still had some surprises up its sleeves for the company's big Friday presentation at the D23 expo in Anaheim, California. Among those surprises: a new She-Hulk show heading to Disney Plus.

The show will be part of the MCU's phase four--alongside previously announced series including The Falcon and Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, What If...?, and Hawkeye, not to mention the also-newly-announced Disney Plus Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight shows. The full slate can be seen in the graphic below, shown onstage during the D23 presentation.

No Caption Provided

Created by Stan Lee and artist John Buscema, She-Hulk--AKA high-powered lawyer Jennifer Walters--was first introduced in comics in 1980. Bruce Banner's cousin, Walters gained Hulk-like powers after receiving an emergency blood transfusion from him.

During the D23 presentation, MCU head Kevin Feige confirmed that the MCU phase four She-Hulk show will hew at least somewhat closely to the source material--the She-Hulk in the Disney+ show will be Walters, and she's still a lawyer. Other than that, we don't know much about the She-Hulk show.

In the comics, Walters has a more controlled form of Hulkism, and she retains more of her personality and intelligence when she transforms, which could make for an interesting dynamic with her cousin Bruce, should Mark Ruffalo actually appear in the show.

Just announced at #D23Expo: SHE-HULK, an original series from Marvel Studios, only on Disney+. pic.twitter.com/QjrxuWC4Ad

— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) August 23, 2019

Then again, the last time we saw Hulk in the MCU, he had fully solved that problem. So who knows?

The D23 announcements so far have also included more returning MCU characters in WandaVision's cast, the reveal of Disney Plus's Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight shows, more details about the Loki and Falcon and Winter Soldier shows, and more.

This story is developing--check back soon for more.

Marvel Is Making A Moon Knight TV Show For Disney+

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

During Marvel's section of the Disney+ panel at D23, the company announced three brand-new TV shows that will be coming to the subscription service. One of these was Moon Knight, a niche but much-loved hero from Marvel's comics.

Just announced at #D23Expo, MOON KNIGHT, an original series from Marvel Studios, only on Disney+ pic.twitter.com/iMHyl7BuAQ

— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) August 23, 2019

In the comics, Moon Knight has a somewhat troubling story. Originally introduced back in 1975 in the horror series Werewolf By Night, by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Rabbi's son turned professional boxer turned Marine Marc Spector's life was eventful, even before he decided to give it up and become an adventurer. It was during one such adventure where he found himself in trouble during an archeological dig in Egypt. After losing a brutal fight, Marc was left for dead but rescued by locals who brought him to the temple of Khonshu, the moon god, offering him a second chance a life if he would agree to become Khonshu's earthly avatar.

Marc accepted this bargain and was transformed into Moon Knight, a mystically empowered hero to enact Khonshu's will.

Or, so he thought. Over the years, it was revealed that Marc's origin may not have been as clear cut as originally thought and the character struggled with mental health and identity issues, causing him to question which parts of his own story were real--if any of them. Since then, a hazy, surreal grasp on the truth has become a staple of Marc's stories, often bringing him into conflict with his own fractured self as frequently as his "powers" (if they really are powers) pit him against actual supervillains.

Details about Marc's role in the MCU are unsurprisingly vague, so as it stands right now we can't tell which incarnation of the character will come to life in the shared universe. However, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige did make a passing reference to Marc's mental instability during the presentation at D23, so we that is something we can definitely expect.

Falcon And Winter Soldier Take The Stage At D23's Disney+ Panel

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

At D23, both Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan took the stage during the Disney+ panel. Respectively, the actors play Sam "Falcon" Wilson and Bucky "Winter Soldier" Barnes in the MCU and are reprising their roles in the upcoming exclusive Disney+ TV series Falcon & Winter Soldier. The panel confirmed another MCU actor, Emily Van Camp, would be reprising her role during the series as well.

Daniel Brühl has already been confirmed to return as the villainous Helmut Zemo, the main antagonist of Captain America: Civil War. Prior to today, rumors circulated that Emily Van Camp would be reprising her role as Sharon Carter in the TV series--another character we haven't seen in the MCU since the third Captain America movie. Van Camp joining Mackie and Stan onstage during the Disney+ panel seems to be a confirmation that the rumors are true.

Falcon & Winter Soldier is currently scheduled to be the first live-action MCU TV series to premiere on Disney+, coming to the streaming service in Fall 2020. That would put the show's release in-between the theatrical debuts of the upcoming Black Widow and The Eternals movies. Falcon & Winter Soldier won't be the last MCU series to show up on Disney+. It will be followed by WandaVision in Spring 2021.

Taking place just after the events of Avengers Endgame, Falcon & Winter Soldier sees the two titular characters team up to continue the good fight that Steve "Captain America" Rogers left behind. Though Sam now possesses Steve's vibranium shield, the title of the upcoming MCU show suggests he's not quite ready to forgo his Falcon identity for the responsibilities that the Captain America role implies.

Also during the D23 Disney+ panel, Marvel announced a Ms. Marvel series that will premiere during Phase 4 in-between Hawkeye and Moon Knight--the latter of which was also announced during the panel. Moon Knight will be followed by She-Hulk, a series that focuses on Bruce Banner's lawyer cousin, Jennifer Walters, after she receives a blood transfusion from Bruce and gains the same abilities that he does.

Marvel Discusses Loki's Disney+ Series At D23

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

One of the many shows that Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige discussed at D23--albeit very briefly--was Loki. The show takes the mischievous norse god on some adventures through time and, according to Feige, will explore the questions we all have.

Questions like, where Loki goes after picking up the Tesseract in Endgame, could he make a friend, and of course, will the sun shine on him again? Although actor Tom Hiddleston wasn't at the show, in a video message he said, "This journey you and I have been on isn't over yet. In fact, it's only just begun."

Showrunner Michael Waldron and director Kate Herron teased that the show will take Loki to a "corner of the MCU we've never seen before," likely a nod to the fact that, with the Tesseract--aka the Space Stone--at his disposal, Loki can literally teleport anywhere in space and time. Details about just what and how he intends to use this power will be dealt with in the show, but as Tom Hiddleston pointed out back during San Diego Comic-Con, the Loki who will star here is the Loki who only remembers things up to The Avengers, and who's most recent experience was being pummeled by The Hulk. So it's safe to say he's not in the healthiest position.

Marvel What If Series Teases Captain Carter, Zombie Captain America, And More

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige appeared on stage during D23 to discuss the upcoming animated show, What If? As announced previously, this series will explore alternative realities, where key moments in the MCU unfolded in a different way and created divergent stories.

A brief teaser was shown during the Disney+ panel and it showed Captain America going into the super solider chamber, but it explodes, creating a zombified version of the beloved hero. Peggy Carter was shown in a costume, indicating she becomes a super soldier. The series will be guided by Uatu, who Marvel fans may know as The Watcher.

The final shot of the teaser showed Steve Rogers in a mech armor, a little like the Hulkbuster suit, with Peggy riding on its back. Hayley Atwell, who played Peggy Carter for close to 10 years, showed up and referred to her character as "Captain Carter," which Feige also mentioned a little later.

Developing...

Monsters Inc. Workplace Comedy Series Coming to Disney+

Aug 23, 2019

Description:

During Disney's D23 show the company announced that a spin-off Monsters Inc series is coming to Disney+. It'll star Ben Feldman and Aisha Tyler, who appeared on stage so explain that the series is a workplace comedy.

Developing...

Return To Resident Evil 2 Remake - Resident Kinevil

Aug 17, 2019

Description:

Mary Kish and Mike Mahardy face down a charging alligator together, and Mike definitely doesn't lead Mary into any dangerous situations this week.

Persona 5 Royal Western Release Window Revealed

Aug 17, 2019

Description:

Atlus has announced that Persona 5 Royal, an updated version of the critically acclaimed RPG, will be available for the PS4 in western territories from Spring 2020. The announcement was made during the Atlus Art Show in LA, where Shigenori Soejima appeared on a panel to discuss his work as an artist on the Persona series and Catherine.

A short trailer shown after the panel ended with the confirmation of the release window. As of yet, it's quite a broad window, but fans of the game eager to check out the new content being added for the Royal update will no doubt appreciate the news nonetheless.

Persona 5 Royal launches in Japan on October 31, 2019. For more on P5R, be sure to read (or watch) our analysis of the first full reveal trailer, breakdown of all the new information that followed, or details on the new playable character Kasumi Yoshizawa.

Atlus has also been rolling out teaser trailers in the lead-up to the release of Persona 5 Royal, the definitive version of the acclaimed RPG. It's going to include a ton of content and significant overhauls to the story, much of which has been shown off in trailers and the "Morgana Report." The latest teaser revealed new events around Ann Takamaki, and showcases how this new version is putting more emphasis on its cast.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses Crosses Over With Tetris 99 For Next Maximus Cup Event

Aug 16, 2019

Description:

Nintendo has announced the first details for Tetris 99's next Maximus Cup. The in-game competition kicks off next week, on August 23, and like last month's Splatoon-themed event, it'll be a collaboration with another major Nintendo Switch title, in this case Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

The sixth Maximus Cup will run in Europe until 8:59 AM CEST on August 27; North American details have not yet been confirmed, although these Maximus Cups are typically worldwide events. Like the aforementioned Splatoon crossover, this competition will be point-based; you'll earn a number of points depending on how well you place each round, and if you can amass at least 100 by the time the competition ends, you'll unlock an exclusive Fire Emblem: Three Houses theme in Tetris 99.

The #TETRIS99 Grand Prix 6 is on from 09:00 CEST on 23/08 until 08:59 CEST on 27/08!
This time, it's a special crossover event with #FireEmblem: Three Houses, and you can receive an exclusive theme for it! @tetris_official
More info: https://t.co/VVHwzEpnpL pic.twitter.com/Z6Lke1GsMY

— Nintendo of Europe (@NintendoEurope) August 16, 2019

Tetris 99 is one of the exclusive perks you get with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. NSO members can download the game for free and play against 98 other players online in a battle royale-inspired competition to be the last one remaining. Nintendo recently released a paid Big Block DLC that can be purchased by all Switch owners and introduces two offline modes, but you'll need to have an NSO subscription to take part in the game's signature online mode.

NSO memberships run for US $4 / £3.49 / AU $6 for one month, US $8 / £7 / AU $12 for three months, and US $20 / £18 / AU $30 for one year. Nintendo also offers an annual Family Membership that costs US $35 / £31.49 / AU $55 and covers up to eight Nintendo Accounts across multiple Switch systems.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses, meanwhile, launched at the end of July and has proven to be a huge critical and commercial success. Not only did it receive a slate of positive reviews from critics, it was also the second best-selling game of July in the US and had the fastest first-month sales of any installment of the series in the region.

Nintendo is releasing several waves of DLC for Fire Emblem: Three Houses over the next few months, in addition to a free update that will add a new, more challenging difficulty setting. In the meantime, be sure to check out our spoiler-free essential tips and advice to help you get started in the game.

Apex Legends Dev Issues Mea Culpa For Iron Crown Cosmetics

Aug 16, 2019

Description:

Respawn, the studio behind Apex Legends, is admitting fault in the rollout of cosmetics for the Iron Crown limited-time event, and trying to set things right. In a statement posted on the EA Blog, Respawn project lead Drew McCoy explains what went wrong and how the studio intends to fix it.

In short, the Iron Crown event offered several new cosmetics that could only be obtained through Apex Packs purchased with real money. You could obtain a couple packs through play, but to get the full collection--and a special heirloom axe that's only purchasable if you earned all the other items first--you would have to spend over $150.

"With the Iron Crown event we missed the mark when we broke our promise by making Apex Packs the only way to get what many consider to be the coolest skins we've released," McCoy said.

To address the issue, Respawn will be offering the twelve event-exclusive items into the store for 1,800 Apex Coins (roughly $18), the standard cost for a Legendary skin. That rollout will begin on August 20 and continue over the course of the week as more skins are added. The studio also promises that in future events, it will provide more ways to obtain items aside from Apex Packs. Previously the only way to obtain the skins was to buy Apex Packs for 700 Coins.

The blog goes on to state that Respawn recognizes it needs to be better at letting players know what to expect from its event structures. This event works differently than previous events like the Legendary Hunt, and McCoy says future events may be different still in other ways. He says this event has reminded the studio that it needs to be better at communicating what to expect from events as the studio tries new things.

"Our goal has not been to squeeze every last dime out of our players, and we have structured the game so that all players benefit from those who choose to spend money--events like Legendary Hunt or Iron Crown exist so that we can continue to invest in creating more free content for all players," McCoy said. "This week has been a huge learning experience for us and we're taking the lessons forward to continue bringing the best possible experience to all of you."

The main draw of the Iron Crown event is the new limited-time Solos mode, which lets players compete just like the regular game while attempting to be the last single player standing. Apex Legends has been a team-based battle royale since launch, and Solos has been a heavily requested feature from the community. But like all Solos modes in traditional team-based games, some people have found to be forming alliances outside of the game and teaming up for a competitive advantage.

Rick And Morty Rewind: Season 2 Episode 3 - Auto Erotic Assimilation Breakdown!

Aug 16, 2019

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Dave breaks down Rick and Morty Season 2, Episode 3 - Auto Erotic Assimilation.

Forza 6 And All DLC Will Be Removed From Sale In September

Aug 16, 2019

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Microsoft's 2015 Xbox One and PC racing game Forza Motorsport 6 and all of its DLC will be removed from digital storefronts on September 15, the company has announced. In a blog post, developer Turn 10 Studios announced that the racing game will enter its "End of Life" status on that day.

The game and its car packs and expansions will no longer be available to buy digitally after that date. Those who already bought the game and/or any of its DLC can continue to play it. Additionally, users can delete it from their hard drive and re-install at any point after the de-listing.

Forza 6 recently became free on Xbox One through Games With Gold, so now is a good time to pick up the racing game before it's no longer available. On top of that, all of the game's DLC has been put into one mega-bundle that you can buy for $5 USD.

Forza Motorsport 7 followed in 2017, but the franchise's every-two-years release schedule that has been in place since the series debuted in 2005 appears to be ending as there is no new Forza Motorsport game announced for 2019. Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently spoke about giving first-party studios more time to ensure they deliver good quality games at launch, and this applies to Forza as well.

Another one of Microsoft's studios, Playground, develops the Forza Horizon spin-off series. The most recent entry was 2018's Forza Horizon 4. The game's latest expansion was the Lego Speed Champions add-on that was released in June.

While there is no new Forza game lined up for 2019, rival franchise Need for Speed is coming out with a new title, Need for Speed Heat, in November.

Driver Found Playing Pokemon Go On Eight Phones At Once

Aug 16, 2019

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A driver in Washington State took his Pokemon Go obsession a bit further than usual. Sgt. Kyle Smith of the Washington State Patrol discovered a driver pulled over to the side of the road playing the mobile game on eight phones at once.

Fellow trooper Rick Johnson tweeted about the incident, including a look at a blue foam board that had been cut to hold all the phones at once. Johnson clarified in later tweets that the driver was not spotted actually playing Pokemon Go while driving, and so the officer simply reminded him not to pull over to the shoulder unless an emergency requires it. Still, it's hard to imagine how the driver could have noticed any monsters worth pulling over for without at least glancing at his surprisingly complex phone array.

#PokemonDistraction Sergeant Kyle Smith contacted a vehicle on the shoulder yesterday evening. This is what was next to the driver! Playing #PokemonGO with EIGHT (8) phones! Driver agreed to put phones in back seat and continued his commute with 8 less distractions. pic.twitter.com/tgOr16CRlm

— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) August 14, 2019

Pokemon Go exploded in popularity when it was first released in 2016, raising safety concerns for children playing or distracted drivers. Niantic has long since implemented a feature that disables the game if it detects you're moving too fast to be walking, but that can be overridden by telling the game you're a passenger in a car.

For those of you still playing Pokemon Go and doing it responsibly, the game has lots of ongoing events and features to take part in right now. A Suicune raid will be taking place over the weekend, and the game has outlined plans for its September Community Day. Or you can just relax and evolve some Eevees.

Rad Review - Welcome To The New Age

Aug 16, 2019

Description:

It's a tale as old as time: The maniacs have blown it all up, and the few unlucky survivors are forced to pick up the pieces and begin civilization anew. Double Fine's Rad, however, takes it one step further. A second apocalypse has happened, and according to the omnipresent narrator, the survivors' one-word reaction is actually the correct and logical one: “Seriously?”

From the second pile of ashes, however, a new hero arises. You, the Remade, a blunt weapon-wielding child of the endtimes who has been tasked by the Menders--the new architects of the age--with going forth into the treacherous radioactive hellscape armed with nothing more than a baseball bat and a host of ungodly but powerful bodily mutations to find a new source of power for humankind.

On paper, that sounds dreadfully serious. In practice, however, it's Double Fine, a developer that seems physically incapable of making a game that's a downer. The Menders give the Remade their powers using a magical keytar, for crying out loud. Indeed, right off the bat, the most striking and engaging thing about Rad is the look of the apocalypse. Earth is most certainly ruined, nuclear-blasted several times over, but it's reached a point of being overgrown with luminescent plants, snaking, sentient vines, and neon shocks of pinks, greens, and purples. This is less the dead worlds of Fallout or Rage and more like a bizarre Saturday morning cartoon of Alex Garland's Annihilation.

Rad, however, is a double entendre of a title for the game referring not just to the irradiated nuclear landscape, but to the overwhelming 1980s nostalgia. The booming narrator could be ripped out of any number of classic action movies. The hub world where the last humans make their home is an oddball microcosm of early '80s bric-a-brac, right down to the humorous, smart-alecky characters all bearing the names of famous characters from '80s movies (Biff, Lorraine, Sloan, etc.). The soundtrack is full of incredibly catchy off-brand riffs on famous tunes like Van Halen's Jump, Michael Jackson's Beat It, and Stan Bush's The Touch. You can push the '80s vibe even further with some of the CRT filters in options, but It makes an already busy aesthetic look nearly indiscernible.

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And best you believe, you need all the advantages and awareness you can get. As cool and fun and inviting as Rad appears on the surface, it becomes clear very early on that Rad is, above all else, aggravatingly hard. It's a roguelike, so the levels are all randomly laid out, but it's otherwise a deceptively simple old-school, top-down action game. When you first make your way into the wasteland, you can jump, hit stuff with a bat, and dodge. There are some unique tricks you can employ that can help, like a jump kick, an aerial smash attack, and a distance-closing lunge, but the game doesn't tell you about any of this at the outset. There's no real tutorial or in-game hint system. Instead it just drops occasional new tips during its extensive loading screens. It was hours into my playthrough before the tip came up informing me about the lunge attack, and it felt like hours prior had been wasted not knowing it was there.

A mild learning curve would be fine if the wastelands weren't so unforgiving, but despite a wide variety of enemies, with fairly predictable attack patterns, you're just far too fragile for far too long in this game. When things kick off, you get three hearts. Enemy hits strip away half a heart generally, and once they're gone, you're starting over. There are power-ups you get after every boss that grant extra hearts and/or split one of your hearts into thirds instead of a half, but you'll be surprised how little a difference that makes. If there's more than one enemy onscreen at any given moment, cheap hits are a constant danger, and no matter how well you're doing on your run, walking into the wrong area and into the wrong group of enemies all striking at the wrong time means it could be game over in seconds. In the instances where it's not, health is such a frustratingly rare commodity that even taking extra care from then on means possibly going for quite some time with only half a heart, bleeding to death all over the cracked pavement. Yes, that's a staple of the genre at this point, but in the best examples of it there's a level of preparation you're able to have where you at least feel like you have a fighting chance. That doesn't happen often in Rad.

What you do get is this: Every enemy you kill generates a certain amount of radiation that you can soak up, essentially acting as XP. Once you've leveled up, your body gains a random new freaky mutant power. This is Rad's biggest hook. The powers themselves are wildly imaginative and wonderfully animated. You could wind up with something as simple as a set of bat wings, allowing you to essentially gain a double jump and glide ability, or being able to throw your arm like a boomerang. Or you could end up with something just bonkers, like having a deformed twin grow out of your weapon arm to extend your range and attack power or the ability to give birth to two spider-baby versions of you who'll run into combat and attack enemies. When you go back to the hub world with them, the NPCs' reactions are some of the most hilarious dialogue in the game. As conceptually imaginative as those powers are, some are vastly more useful than others, and given how swift death comes for you in this game, getting a lame one at the outset basically means your entire run is doomed.

That's generally the case for just about everything meant to help you in Rad: A bit too much of your success is dependent on sheer luck more than skill. You can collect cassette tapes--the game's currency--and either deposit them at the bank between stages or spend them on items with some of the scattered merchants around, but not knowing what new creatures to expect in an area or what attacks the boss will throw at you means running the risk of spending money on a powerup that's essentially worthless during your current run. There are on-the-fly powerups called exo-mutations you can find in some of the underground areas of the game, and while they're generally helpful at first, you can wind up drawing a handicap like extra vulnerability to attacks or a distorted screen, and that, too, can spell the end of a good run faster than it should.

The good news is that the longer you play, the better your chances of finally earning permanent upgrades that make the early stages more of a breeze. There's a completely separate pool of permanent XP that you earn after you die that unlocks new characters, game variants, and upgrades. You earn the ability to buy items on credit after you've deposited enough tapes into the bank, and the local shopkeep gets better and better stuff the more you buy. There are just so many blind, stupid, aggravating deaths to be had to get to that point, though, and it's not hard to imagine throwing in the towel long before then.

There are certainly things that make fighting the good fight worth it. The story does take some subtle twists and turns as the largely teenage population of the hub world starts wondering about the point of all these legends. The boss fights get increasingly audacious in design as you go along. I'm still discovering new mutations even on the first upgrade after playing for hours. And despite an element of visual clutter, this is a compellingly colorful world to hang out in for a while. It's just that the joys of Rad require more work than necessary to obtain, and that work can feel awfully thankless at times. Double Fine's hyper-colorful take on an '80s synthpop apocalypse makes for some gratifying nostalgia at the best of times, but there's a reason why, eventually, we all moved on to grunge.

Ewan McGregor In Talks For Star Wars Obi-Wan TV Show - GS Universe News Update

Aug 16, 2019

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Obi-Will or Obi-Won't?

The Mortal Kombat Movie Finds Its Liu Kang, Mileena, And Jax

Aug 16, 2019

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A new Mortal Kombat movie is coming in March 2021, and now production company New Line has announced who will star in it in major roles such as Liu Kang, Mileena, and Jax.

Ludi Lin (Aquaman, Power Rangers) is set to play Liu Kang, with Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness) taking on the role of Jax. Newcomer Sisi Stringer will portray Mileena. While not confirmed yet, it's also reported that Thor: Ragnarok actor Tadanobu Asano is in talks to play Raiden, according to Deadline.

It was previously announced that Fast & Furious actor Joe Taslim would play Sub-Zero.

The new Mortal Kombat film, which has been in development for a long time, will be directed by Australian commercials director Simon McQuoid, who is making his directorial debut with the project. Aquaman director James Wan is producing. The movie will shoot in South Australia, and is set to be one of the country's biggest productions ever there.

The first Mortal Kombat movie, released in 1995, was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who would go on to make the Resident Evil series. The movie made more than $120 million worldwide, but its 1997 sequel, Annihilation, was a disappointment by comparison with only $51 million.

An internet video series called Mortal Kombat Legacy ran from 2011-2013.

Honored. Humbled. Ready.
Remember that thing I kept saying I’d tell y’all about? I’m cast as Jackson “Jax” Briggs in the new Mortal Kombat Movie 🎥
Mortal Kombat is coming off the console and onto the big screen.… https://t.co/3AvtupjLyV

— Mehcad (@MehcadBrooks) August 16, 2019

In other news, it was recently announced that Mortal Kombat 11 is 2019's best-selling game overall in the United States so far. The fighting game's newest character, Nightwolf, was added earlier this month.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare News Coming At Gamescom

Aug 16, 2019

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Gamescom is beginning soon, with a wide array of events and press conferences taking place Monday before the show floor opens on Tuesday. This year the show has its own formal opening ceremony, with Geoff Keighley hosting Gamescom Opening Night Live. Some games have already been announced as part of the show, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Activision teased "exciting news" for Gamescom. Keighley was very slightly more specific on Twitter, saying the game will show new footage and a special announcement. Gamescom Opening Night Live will begin on Monday, August 19 at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET / 6 PM GMT (4 AM AEST on August 20).

Monday, @callofduty joins @gamescom Opening Night Live: @InfinityWard will be with me with new footage and a special announcement about Modern Warfare. Streaming live everywhere at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET / 8 pm CEST. pic.twitter.com/4207Yc1Wlv

— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) August 15, 2019

We already know lots of other games planned for Opening Night Live. Keighley has teased appearances from Destiny 2 Shadowkeep, Disintegration, Need for Speed Heat, the Gears 5 campaign, Predator, and Death Stranding. And this is just one event. Google, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all planning their own press conferences with reveals.

Check our full Gamescom press conference schedule for all the start times, and be sure to watch the Gamescom Opening Night Live right here.

Limited Run Games Unveil River City Girls Physical Edition

Aug 16, 2019

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We're less than three weeks away from River City Girls' September 5 launch for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Video game distributor Limited Run Games took the time as a liberty to reveal the upcoming beat-em-up's physical release, which is slated for PS4 and Switch.

LRG shared the news on Twitter, reminding players of the game's premise: "two street-tough high-schoolers who must fight their way through the six regions of River City to rescue their kidnapped boyfriends." Pre-orders for River City Girls' physical version will be open for a limited, four-week period starting on Friday, August 30. Each standard River City Girls physical copy will come with a one-disc sampler of the game's soundtrack, with LRG alluding to more River City Girls news in "the coming weeks" in a separate tweet.

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Earlier this week, developer WayForward Technologies published another character spotlight. This time, the video focused on the cheerful and bubbly Kyoko, River City Girls' second playable character. At the beginning of August, WayForward showcased River City Girls' first playable character, the hot-blooded Misako, in a spunky character reveal.

We played River City Girls at Anime Expo 2019, citing it as one of the better anime-like games we're watching this year. The beat-em-up features retro-inspired visuals reminiscent of previous Kunio-kun games like 2016's 3DS release, River City: Tokyo Rumble. But instead of focusing on series mainstays Kunio and Riki, River City Girls modernizes its formula by putting girl power front and center.

Halo Infinite Will Have "AAA Player Investment Experience" That Includes Microtransactions

Aug 16, 2019

Description:

A newly posted job ad at Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries provides a clue into what to expect from the Xbox One and PC shooter as it relates to the "live" nature of the game.

Microsoft is hiring a "Live Design Lead" who will come up with strategies to keep people engaged with Halo Infinite for a long time after release. This includes all manner of things, from in- and out-of-game progression, social media engagement, and seemingly through some kind of microtransaction strategy. One line in the job ad states that the candidate will design and deliver a "AAA player investment" experience that includes microtransactions.

"Design and deliver a AAA player investment experience that focuses on our fans and their desire to express their passion for our franchise (including but not limited to microtransactions)," reads a line from the job posting.

The "express their passion" line seemingly is in reference to cosmetics for in-game characters, but nothing is confirmed at this stage.

It is no surprise that Halo Infinite will have microtransactions, as a job ad from 2018 called for an Online Experience Design Director who would oversee a number of games-as-a-service elements including microtransactions.

Interestingly, the wording of the Live Design Lead and the Online Experience Design Director include a number of similarities, including some word-for-word bullet points. The Online Experience Design Director job ad has expired, but it's not immediately clear if the position was filled.

Whatever the case, the new Live Design Lead position also notes that among the successful candidate's responsibilities are to "put the player first in all of their team's designs," and players are likely glad to hear that given how microtransactions can, at times, skew toward the icky side.

This new Live Design Lead position is a relatively senior position, as a successful candidate should have 8+ years experience on two or more AAA titles and a deep understanding of business models in games "and beyond." The successful candidate should also know how to develop frameworks that keep people interested in Halo after they stop playing, while 343 is also looking for a person who has a "comprehensive understanding of player psychology" as it relates to creating experiences that keep people coming back.

Halo 5 also had microtransactions and live-service elements, so this is nothing new for the Halo franchise.

Halo Infinite launches during Holiday 2020 for Xbox One and PC, while the game is also coming to Microsoft's next-generation console, Project Scarlett.

Astral Chain's Silent Protagonist Feels Really Strange

Aug 16, 2019

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Given the pedigree of Platinum Games, there's reason to believe the Nintendo Switch exclusive Astral Chain could be the next breakout game in the stylish hard-action genre. It's directed by Takahisa Taura, who was a lead designer on Nier: Automata, and supervised by Hideki Kamiya, who brought us Bayonetta and the original Devil May Cry. But what those games had, in addition to gratifying and refined combat systems, was a star character with a unique voice who brought their stories to life.

You may think that a game that lives or dies by the greatness of its combat system could easily get away with a silent protagonist. However, a lot of the bombast and attitude that exudes from stylish action games are borne out of a character who sets the tone throughout. I think about Bayonetta's confidence and ferocity and how it's part of what makes those games pop, and how the on-screen action is very much an extension of that charisma. Even Vanquish lead Sam Gideon's corny, hard-boiled temperament was part and parcel to the game's attitude.

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In the opening minutes of Astral Chain, you choose between playing as a male or female character, both of which are siblings in the story. You give them a name, hairstyle, hair and eye color and jump straight into some varied third-person action scenarios. You're a slick anime cop who's quickly propelled to special status by taking on a Legion, a separate entity you control simultaneously to fight the Chimera threat that plagues your city. In the heat of these moments, your character will yell, grunt, and call out to their Legion upon summoning, but they'll never speak, even when spoken to.

Instead, the silence of Astral Chain's lead makes for those awkward moments that warrant a vocal response in dialogue. And to be clear, there hasn't been any narrative reasoning to why they don't talk. Maybe it's that Astral Chain puts less of a focus on story or character development. But I begin to wonder if those bits of emptiness could have been flipped to help the game establish a distinct attitude and help elevate the critical action-packed scenes or lend more weight into the smaller investigative decisions you make.

What makes this design choice even more curious is that whichever sibling you didn't choose becomes a key supporting character who features fully voiced dialogue. Voice actors Aleks Le and Brianna Knickerbocker play the roles of the male and female characters, respectively. And by virtue of having to choose one, you have to pass on the other's performance. It also feels like we could've had a more fleshed-out lead with a distinct personality, like in Platinum's past games.

Last month, Platinum Games put out a blog post in which Taura-san explained the decision to go with a silent protagonist and said, "I want players to be able to project themselves onto the player character, so they naturally feel like part of the game. So [we] don’t give the player character any extreme expressions that might give them too much of a predefined personality." But now having played Astral Chain, silence doesn't seem to be benefitting it in that particular way.

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I don't see silent protagonists as an inherent flaw; my favorite games of all time, like the Persona series and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, put them in starring roles. And those characters develop alongside you as you make specific decisions that have narrative implications over the course of the game's story. That's not exactly what Astral Chain is doing, as the few dialogue options I've seen during investigative scenarios seem inconsequential, so it's hard to get in the mindset of having the lead be an extension of yourself.

Of course, it's just one aspect to the multitude of things Astral Chain is trying to do. There's a uniqueness to the function of the Legion and how it diversifies combat in a way that Platinum hadn't done before, and the visual flair complements the satisfaction of tearing through Chimera. It's probably not going to be a deal-breaker that your character doesn't speak since the game is much more than that, but I can't help but think of it as a missed opportunity.

Crisis On Infinite Earths: Everything We Know About The Arrow-Verse Crossover

Aug 16, 2019

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How did we get here?

It's the most significant crossover the Arrow-verse has tried to pull off yet. Crisis on Infinite Earths is such a massive moment for The CW's DC Entertainment shows that it was first announced a year ago during 2018's Elseworlds crossover. What's more, it's impending arrival was teased throughout the most recent seasons of Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash.

Crisis will include the most TV episodes of an Arrow-verse crossover yet, and manage to integrate six different shows, along with some very exciting cameo appearances. While not everything about the event has been announced just yet, we already know quite a bit about what to expect.

Take a look below at everything we've learned so far about Crisis on Infinite Earths. Then get ready because the massive event is going to be here quicker than you realize and will help fans say goodbye to Arrow, which will end its final season shortly after the crossover.


Where were we?

Before diving into Crisis, it's important to understand what kicked it all off in the first place. In the 2018 Elseworlds crossover, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) made a deal with the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) to save The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) from dying. The Monitor said he'd return to Oliver when it was time and fans were led to believe the Green Arrow would have to sacrifice his own life to save the universe from an impending "crisis."

Then, in the Arrow Season 7 finale, the Monitor came calling, and Oliver went with him. That's the last we saw of Oliver, so there's no telling where he will be in the new season of Arrow.


What it's about?

The multiverse, it seems, is imploding. The idea of different Earths first appeared on The Flash and has become a regular piece of the Arrow-verse puzzle. Now those Earths are colliding.

The event is based on the Crisis on Infinite Earths comics, a 12-issue limited series--along with several tie-ins--that essentially rebooted the DC Comics universe in 1986. The result was the end of the multiverse, with everything consolidated into one single universe--which didn't last forever because...comics. Along the way, many characters died.

How this will work in the Arrow-verse may be tricky. For instance, while Green Arrow and The Flash exist on Earth-1, Superman and Supergirl call Earth-38 home. While the shows haven't visited every universe in the multiverse, there are well over 100 Earths. Sherloque Wells (Tom Cavanagh), for instance, is from Earth-221,

Collapsing these universes into one another is going to be tricky, but it will also mean crossovers are simplified in the future. For example, Supergirl won't have to jump in a portal to visit Team Flash.

That said, Crisis on Infinite Earths is likely going to see certain characters we love not make it out alive, which could be particularly emotional.


Which shows are involved?

In all, there are six shows involved in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

ArrowThe FlashSupergirlDC's Legends of TomorrowBatwomanBlack Lightning

Legends of Tomorrow is back in the mix after sitting out the Elseworlds crossover in 2018. More importantly, though, Black Lightning being involved finally brings it into the Arrow-verse, after its first two seasons kept it separated from the rest of the DC TV offerings.


Who will appear?

Most of those shows have rather large casts, which makes for tricky storytelling. We know for sure Green Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Batwoman (Ruby Rose) will be involved. Black Lightning (Cress Williams) will also be getting into the mix. While various members of their respective teams might also play a role, chances are it will have to be in a supporting capacity.

As for Legends of Tomorrow, that's a bit trickier. Expect to see, at the very least, White Canary (Caity Lotz) in Crisis. Leaving her out would be a mistake. As for the rest of the team, it's too soon to tell.

However, there is one Legends actor playing an interesting part. Brandon Routh, who stars on Legends as the Atom, will appear in Crisis as a version of Superman. The actor played the role initially in 2006's Superman Returns, though it doesn't seem like he's playing that same take on Superman. Instead, he teased at San Diego Comic-Con that he will play a version of the Man of Steel based on the Kingdom Come comic book story, which follows an older version of the hero.

Routh isn't the only Arrow-verse actor playing a new role. In addition to the Monitor, Garrett will play the evil Anti-Monitor. Meanwhile, Cavanagh will appear as Pariah. In the comics, Pariah is an evil scientist that lets the Anti-Monitor loose, resulting in the destruction of universes.


Who won't appear?

This one's going to be tough. After taking her final bow as Felicity Smoak in the Arrow Season 7 finale, Emily Bett Rickards has moved on from the show. So those expecting her to pop up in the crossover magically are likely to be disappointed. That said, perhaps she could still appear in the Arrow series finale.


What about the special guest stars?

While combining six shows worth of characters is sure to be difficult, Crisis will also feature some exciting guest stars. There are still several that have yet to be announced, but here's who we know are appearing thus far.

Tyler Hoechlin (Supergirl) as SupermanElizabeth Tullock (Supergirl) as Lois LaneKevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as an old version of Bruce WayneBurt Ward (Batman) in a cameo role


Wait, two Supermen?

That's right, both Routh and Hoechlin will be playing versions of Superman--which is what happens when Earths collide. Time will tell if we see doubles of other Arrow-verse characters.


How does the Arrow ending fit in?

The final two episodes of Arrow will air after the conclusion of Crisis. While executive producer Marc Guggenheim confirmed to GameSpot that the Arrow finale would stand on its own, rather than be a continuation of the crossover, you can get it will certainly deal with the aftermath of however this is going to end.


Who's going to die?

While death in comics rarely actually means death, chances are we'll see some heroes killed off in Crisis. The most likely is Green Arrow. With Arrow coming to a close and Oliver making a deal with the Monitor to sacrifice himself, it seems like a foregone conclusion that he'll die. Of course, it remains to be seen how Arrow would wrap up its final two episodes, in that case.

With the multiverse being consolidated into one singular universe, it's likely that doubles of heroes will also be killed off. After all, there can't be two Supermen flying around permanently, right?


What about the Green Lantern?

The idea that Arrow's Diggle (David Ramsey) could be the Green Lantern was first given credence during the Elseworlds crossover. That said, don't expect the Lantern to show up during Crisis. Instead, Guggenheim promised there would be some mention of it in the Arrow finale.


When does it air?

For the first time, the entire crossover won't air on consecutive nights. Instead, it'll be split up into two blocks. Here's when you'll be able to watch the events unfold on The CW:

Supergirl, December 8 at 8 PM PTBatwoman, December 9 at 8 PM PTThe Flash, December 10 at 8 PM PTArrow, January 14 at 8 PM PTDC's Legends of Tomorrow, January 14 at 9 PM PT


New Green Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons Available For Pre-Order Now

Aug 12, 2019

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The Nintendo Switch has a bunch of new colour options coming for its Joy-Cons later this year, but one of them will only be available through Best Buy in the US. Green Joy-Cons are available for pre-order from the retailer now with a release date set for October 27.

Other Joy-Con colours launching this October include a Blue and Neon Yellow pair and a Neon Purple and Neon Orange pair (or as I like to call them the Waluigi and Wario Joy-Cons). They arrive on October 4.

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See at Best Buy

One thing that's important to note about Joy-Cons is that many reports of analog stick drift have been reported in recent weeks. Nintendo has addressed this issue and is currently offering free Joy-Con fixes and refunds to those who have already paid for repairs. I recently sent in a pair of Joy-Cons and was not charged for the service. It's unclear if Nintendo will take steps to prevent this from happening to new Joy-Con models.

You can also pre-order the Nintendo Switch Lite now. This includes the Gray, Yellow, and Turquoise models, in addition to the Zacian and Zamazenta version. The first three colours release on September 20, while the Zacian and Zamazenta edition releases on November 8, a week before Pokemon Sword / Shield.

WWE's Charlotte Flair Reacts to Eric Bischoff's Smackdown Hiring

Aug 12, 2019

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When it was announced in June that WWE had hired Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as executive directors of Raw and Smackdown, respectively, it sent shockwaves through the professional wrestling industry. More than a month later, with Smackdown gearing up for its transition from cable channel USA to the Fox broadcast network, Bischoff's role on the blue brand is certainly something many fans are keeping an eye out for. They aren't the only ones, though.

Charlotte Flair, a Smackdown superstar, is very intrigued by what Bischoff brings to the table. However, as she explained to GameSpot and other outlets during a scrum at the TCA press tour, the proof will be in the pudding. "Talent who have had experience, who've been with other companies, who've seen the industry change, it's a positive," the nine-time WWE Women's Champion said.. "But at the end of the day, the talent still has to deliver. So, to me, yes it's exciting to have a new mind. It's fresh, it's new, he's eager, he's experienced it all. But talent still has to deliver at the end of the day."

Whether or not he can deliver, big things are coming for Smackdown. The show's move to Fox is part of a bigger agreement WWE has made with Fox Entertainment, which will see additional programming on Fox Sports 1. Having Smackdown fall under the Fox Sports banner within the company may also be a sign that the blue brand may more heavily lean on the sports aspect of sports entertainment, though that remains to be seen.

Smackdown will premiere on Fox on Friday, October 4, with an episode celebrating the show's 20th anniversary. Among the names announced for the special installment of the series are Kurt Angle, Lita, Trish Stratus, Ric Flair, Sting, Booker T, and Mick Foley, along with the current roster of Smackdown superstars.

Here Are The Top 10 Best-Selling Games In The UK This Week

Aug 12, 2019

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Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled has stormed back into the lead at the top of the UK physical games chart. The remaster is back at No.1, as Switch exclusive Super Mario Maker 2 keeps pace at No.2.

More Switch games are found throughout the top 10 for the week ending August 10, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (No.3), Fire Emblem: Three Houses (No.7), Minecraft's Switch port (No.9) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (No.10) all charting well. There were no new entries in the top 40 this week.

We enjoyed the latest Crash remake here at GameSpot, awarding it an 8/10. "Simply put: This is a remaster done right," we said in our Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled review. "Nitro-Fueled maintains the spirit and rock-solid foundations of a childhood favorite while building on it and modernizing it where necessary--even if the handling might take a bit of getting used to. Adventure mode's classic variant feels a little tough, but your first race on Roo's Tubes or Sewer Speedway will bring a nostalgic grin to your face regardless. When the nostalgia fades, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled remains fun and engaging enough to keep you racing on with a smile on your face for much longer yet. It's good to have Crash back."

You can read the full top 10 sales chart for this week below, courtesy of UKIE and GfK Chart-Track. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-FueledSuper Mario Maker 2Mario Kart 8 DeluxeFIFA 19Grand Theft Auto VF1 2019Fire Emblem: Three HousesRed Dead Redemption 2MinecraftSuper Smash Bros. Ultimate

The Lion King Remake Is Now The Top Grossing Animated Film

Aug 12, 2019

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The Lion King, the realistic remake of the classic 1994 animated film, has now topped the original--along with any other animated movie. The latest worldwide box office numbers, not adjusted for inflation, show it leading every other animated film.

Previously, Disney's recent hit Frozen was the top-grossing animated film of all time. The Lion King's latest earnings put it just over $1.33 billion worldwide to Frozen's $1.27 billion. This also makes The Lion King the #12 movie of all time according to Box Office Mojo. It could also earn a spot in the top ten if it displaces both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 and Black Panther, which are narrowly ahead by $1.341 billion and $1.346 billion, respectively.

Fellow Disney property Avengers: Endgame recently beat Avatar to claim the top-grossing film of all time. However, that's only in non-adjusted gross, and adjusting for inflation means Avatar still beats earth's mightiest heroes.

However, it should be noted that adjusting for inflation shakes up the top-grossing films in some much more dramatic ways as well--mostly in regards to movies released decades ago. According to BOM, inflation-adjusted numbers put Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, and The Sound of Music at the top. On that list, Avengers and Avatar are side-by-side in the mid-teens, and The Lion King remake doesn't even make the top 100--far behind the original animated movie at the #20 spot.

Despite its beloved inspiration, The Lion King 2019 got only middling reviews on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, and in GameSpot's Lion King review. In particular, many critics suggested the remake was too faithful to its source material, while its more realistic animated style sacrificed some of the original's expressive tone.

"Maybe it's smart of Disney and director Jon Favreau to leave well enough alone and simply try to recreate the original's magic with contemporary technology and actors," Michael Rougeau wrote. "Incredibly gorgeous visuals, a star-studded new cast, a punched-up comedic script, and a new Beyoncé song will no doubt be enough to get plenty of fans--of all ages--into the theater to see this movie. But in the end, Disney is just repeating history, and that makes the new Lion King simply good, not great."

Pokemon Go Suicune Raid Day Announced For This Weekend

Aug 12, 2019

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Niantic hosted the final Pokemon Go Fest of the summer in Yokohama, Japan last week, and as it had done for the previous two Go Fests, the studio held a series of global challenges during the event. As a reward for completing these challenges, the developer is making a handful of bonuses available in the game this week, and it's bringing another Legendary dog back for a special Raid Day on Saturday.

From August 13-20, you'll be able to earn triple the normal amount of Stardust for each Pokemon you capture or hatch. On top of that, you'll earn 3,000 Stardust for participating in Raid Battles, and any Star Pieces you use during the week will last for one hour rather than 30 minutes.

As a final reward, Suicune is making another appearance in five-star Raids on Saturday, August 17. The Legendary Water Pokemon will be available from 4-7 PM local time that day only. Not only does this give you another opportunity to add one to your collection if you've previously missed it in the game, you'll also have a chance of encountering its Shiny form during the Raid hours.

Congrats on unlocking all Blanche’s Global Challenge bonuses, Trainers!
Your hard work also earned you the chance to battle the Legendary Pokémon Suicune in raids on August 17 at 4 p.m. local time. If you’re lucky, you may even encounter a Shiny Suicune! pic.twitter.com/TIHQoUuaGH

— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 10, 2019

Suicune isn't the only Legendary making an encore appearance in Pokemon Go; Rayquaza also recently returned to Raid Battles for a limited time. The Legendary monster will be appearing in five-star Raids until September 2, and you'll have your first chance to catching a Shiny Rayquaza until then. You can read more tips on how to catch the Legendary in our Pokemon Go Rayquaza guide.

Meanwhile, Pokemon Go's next Community Day is set for September 15. The featured Pokemon this time around will be Turtwig, the Grass-type starter from Diamond and Pearl. Throughout the event, Turtwig will spawn in the wild much more often than it normally does, and you'll have your first chance to find a Shiny Turtwig. Additionally, you'll earn triple the normal amount of Stardust for each Pokemon you catch during the event.

Minecraft Dev Cancels Update That Adds New Graphics

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

Back at E3 2017, Microsoft announced a massive update for Minecraft that would make the game's graphics look better--or at least different--across the board. Among other things, the Super Duper Graphics Pack promised "dynamic shadows, lighting that streams through fog, movement in leaves and grass, new textures for mobs and villagers, directional lighting, edge highlighting, and more." However, it's now been canceled.

In a post on developer Mojang's website, the studio said the free update "proved too technically demanding," so it's being scuttled.

"We realise this is disappointing to some of you--there was a lot of enthusiasm for Super Duper from inside and outside the studio--but unfortunately, we aren't happy with how the pack performed across devices," Mojang said.

While the Super Duper Graphics Pack is now canceled, Mojang said it is examining "other ways" to give fans the opportunity to "experience Minecraft with a new look." No further details were shared, however.

"Minecraft is available on a wide range of platforms, and we're constantly trying to make the most of the technical architecture of each one. We'll be able to share more on that subject very soon," Mojang added.

In addition to ongoing support for Minecraft, multiple new Minecraft games are in the works including an AR game called Minecraft Earth and a dungeon-crawler known as Minecraft Dungeons.

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He Is

Aug 12, 2019

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On a warm Saturday in early June, Phil Spencer, the Microsoft executive in charge of Xbox, was helping Keanu Reeves, the movie star, calm his nerves inside the Microsoft Theater green room in downtown Los Angeles. It was the unofficial start of E3 and Reeves was there to surprise the roughly 7,000 people attending Microsoft's Xbox showcase. "I got the feeling he maybe wasn't fully prepared for what was coming," Spencer, 51, told me a few days later. Spencer, who has been participating in the showcase for close to a decade and has recently taken to hosting it, promised Reeves he had nothing to worry about. "They're going to love you," he assured him.

You can see the shock on Reeves's face as he walked onstage in the many videos that have been posted online since: the whoops and hollers took a full minute or more to die down; the shouted declarations of love even longer. It's a testament to Spencer's own celebrity in the video game industry that his arrival onstage moments later was met with the same level of riotous enthusiasm. And not just once: it happened every time Spencer was on stage that day. At one point during the showcase, someone tweeted, "Phil Spencer is literally God."

The idea of anyone idolizing a business executive is surprising in any industry, let alone one where consumers are routinely suspicious of big companies and corporate scheming. But many gamers seem to view Spencer as one of them, rather than the physical embodiment of a corporate business strategy. Spencer's public behavior does little to discourage this: he has a habit of publicly sharing his Xbox Live gamertag, for example, and inviting people--everyday, non-executive people--to play with him. His overwhelming popularity means he gets more requests than he can respond to, but there are plenty of stories floating around the internet of Xbox Live users who have managed to challenge Microsoft's executive vice-president of gaming to a Forza race or Rocket League match.

This kind of thing is unusual for someone at Spencer's level. "One of the things I've always appreciated about Phil is how, even as busy as he is, he still plays a lot of games," Geoff Keighley, the creator of the Game Awards, told me. "I'll always remember talking to him Thanksgiving weekend 2014, right as we were about to launch the Game Awards, and it was clear he had just spent the entire day playing Assassin's Creed. That stuck with me."

Spencer has worked hard to create the impression that his loyalties lie with consumers. Since taking over as head of Xbox in 2014, he has tirelessly advocated for cross-platform play, insisting gamers should have the freedom to play together irrespective of console or platform, and reintroduced backward compatibility to the Xbox ecosystem. He has overseen the acquisition of a handful of first-party studios with the intention of diversifying the brand's content; introduced Xbox Game Pass, an online game subscription service; launched the Xbox adaptive controller, the first controller released by a major publisher designed for gamers with limited mobility; and began work on Project xCloud, a game streaming service that will debut later this year and go head-to-head with Google's Stadia service.

Of course, it's not just consumers who have benefitted from Spencer's progressive vision: last year, Microsoft's annual gaming revenue went up by almost 15%, hitting $10 billion--a first in the company's history. "Certain cynical people look at me playing or caring about video games and see it as me being that way because of the job I have," Spencer told me. "I see it as me being one of the lucky people who found the job that is my hobby, my passion, the thing I love. I've been playing video games since I was six years old. This is what I'm made to do."

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At five foot nine, with broad shoulders and a square jaw, Spencer looks more like a high school football coach than an executive. His personal style falls somewhere between geek dad and personal trainer: loose jeans, sneakers, some kind of video game t-shirt (usually an Xbox-related one), and a hoodie or blazer, depending on the occasion.

Spencer married his high school sweetheart, and the couple has two daughters, both in their twenties. During the week, Spencer keeps to a strict routine, arriving at work early but never staying past dinner time. He'll usually squeeze in a couple of hours on Xbox Live before retiring promptly at midnight. On weekends, he plays other things: piano, mainly, or chess. His broad tastes make him a skilled conversationalist and a fun sparring partner; get him talking about a subject he loves and his passion is evident. Music is probably his second-favorite thing to talk about after games: he is as comfortable talking about Xbox strategy as he is about Led Zeppelin (his favorite band) or old-school punk ("I like the kind of raw emotion and energy of good punk music"). He recently accompanied his daughters to a Rise Against concert, which he didn't hate.

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Spencer's entire career rests on a chance encounter during his sophomore year at the University of Washington. "There was a guy who lived two doors down from me, and his dad was a vice president at Microsoft. He came to visit one day and saw me doing some game programming on my Atari ST. I think Microsoft was trying to do some of this stuff in Windows at the time. Of course, I didn't know what Microsoft or Windows was. I was completely oblivious to it. But he just said, 'Hey, come intern this summer.' And I was immediately like, ‘Right, let's do it.'"

Spencer began his internship with Microsoft in the summer of 1988. The company was only 10 years old at that point, and still very much led by a programming mentality. Spencer fit right in. At the end of the summer, Spencer's boss asked if he wanted to stay on--and get paid for it. Spencer spent the next few months waking up at 6 a.m. for classes and then driving across Lake Washington in his Ford Pinto--"a car known for its potential to blow up if you got rear-ended," as he remembers it--so he could be on the Microsoft campus by 11 a.m.

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After graduating in 1990, Microsoft offered Spencer a full-time programming job in the multimedia group, where he went on to lead development on CD-ROM titles, working on projects like Encarta and the launch of MSN in 1995. In 2000, Microsoft officially entered the North American video game market with the announcement of its first home console, the Xbox. A man named Ed Fries was put in charge of acquiring first-party studios. When Microsoft eventually set up a new division, Microsoft Games, later the same year, Fries sought out Spencer. "His pitch to me was, ‘I've got this studio that I should probably shut down. Do you want to try running it before I do that?" Spencer said.

Spencer took over Studio X, an internal publishing studio, eventually working with designers like Peter Molyneux on Fable; Brian Reynolds on Rise of Nations; and John Tobias on Tao Feng. He spent a few years in London looking after Lionhead and Rare before returning to Redmond in 2008 to take over as general manager of the company's internal game studios and begin work on Microsoft's third home console, the Xbox One.

The company targeted its first two consoles, the Xbox and Xbox 360, predominantly at core gamers, making the machines faster and graphically more powerful than their rivals. The strategy had worked, at least up to a point: while PlayStation and Nintendo were still ahead (with the PlayStation 2/3 and the Wii, respectively), Microsoft had successfully managed to carve out its own niche in the North American market. The Xbox One, however, seemed specifically designed to expand the brand's reach far beyond console gamers. In an attempt to appeal to a broader range of consumers, Microsoft shifted the Xbox One's focus away from gaming towards other entertainment, like television and movies. In doing so, it also introduced a number of anti-consumer restrictions, like preventing people from sharing games with their friends and requiring online authentication every 24 hours.

While these were later reversed after considerable public outcry, it was too late. The Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 went on sale within a week of each other; both consoles sold one million units in 24 hours. But, while the PlayStation 4 continued to break sales records in its first year of release and beyond, the Xbox One quickly fell behind--and has never caught up.

A few months later, Spencer took over as head of Xbox. Whatever jubilation he felt was short-lived; a few weeks into the job, he got a call from Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO. "I don't actually know a whole lot about why we're in gaming," Nadella told him.

Spencer tried to work out what to say to Nadella. He looked at where Xbox had failed, and how the brand could be saved--if at all.

It seemed like a good time to ask that question. Spencer was facing a lot of internal scrutiny from his own team. Many developers who had worked on the Xbox One felt let down by Microsoft's big vision; it was, as some told Spencer, not in line with "the soul" of what Xbox was. "Satya was transparent that there could be a future where gaming isn't a business that Microsoft should be in," Spencer told me. "But it's better to have it above the table than below the table, right?" Spencer tried to work out what to say to Nadella. He looked at where Xbox had failed, and how the brand could be saved--if at all. When he finally called Nadella back, it was to say this: "If we're going to stay in the gaming space, then let's make sure we're all-in. The last thing I wanted to do was run the gaming organization here as kind of an afterthought of the company and kind of half-in, half-out. Let's go fix who we are."

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A few days ahead of E3 2014, Microsoft launched a feedback portal, inviting people to submit ideas on how Xbox could improve its products and services and vote on the best ones. Within a week, the portal had registered nearly 170,000 votes. "It was very public, anybody could see the list of suggestions that were there," Spencer said. "And we were actually using that as a way to drive the updates that we were doing. Backward compatibility actually came from that feedback. We didn't know if we could do it, but we set off a small team to see if we could get it done."

Many saw this as Microsoft's first act of atonement for the Xbox One snafu. The second came a year later, and it was led by Spencer. He pushed Nadella to acquire Mojang, the Swedish developer of Minecraft, for $2.5 billion--a move that gave Microsoft exclusive control over the most popular game in the world at the time. The company could have easily forced people to buy a Microsoft platform if they wanted to keep playing Minecraft. Instead, Microsoft announced the game would continue to be available on all platforms, including those of its direct competitors. It was an unprecedented move for a publisher of Microsoft's size. "One of the first calls we got after the Minecraft acquisition was from Sony saying, ‘Are you going to pull it off PlayStation?'," Spencer said. "And I'm like, ‘Why would I do that? People like playing it on PlayStation.'"

In March 2016, Spencer attempted something even ballsier: he opened up Xbox Live to cross-platform play, inviting rival publishers to allow players on competing consoles to connect with Xbox Live users. Cross-platform play became something of a cause célèbre for Spencer; he extolled its virtues on every stage and public forum. He stood on stage at Microsoft events and declared in front of millions that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo should be competing on games and services, not through exclusionary walls that hurt gamers. What right do video game publishers have to block players from playing together, he'd ask. Doesn't this create unnecessary divides, and prevent more people from playing games?

"One of the first calls we got after the Minecraft acquisition was from Sony saying, ‘Are you going to pull it off PlayStation?'," Spencer said. "And I'm like, ‘Why would I do that? People like playing it on PlayStation.'"

"The number of people that are actually buying a console every generation isn't growing dramatically, if at all," Spencer told me. "At one point you have to recognize that, okay, you can't just lead with one device. You can't just say, here's an Xbox. I'm going to go sell this device to every single person and that's what they're going to play on. That just doesn't work."

The idea of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo working together probably seemed crazy at first, but Spencer was relentless. In 2017, Microsoft and Nintendo announced a first-of-its-kind partnership for Minecraft cross-platform play between the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch, a rarity for console platform makers. "I'm positive it was the first time a Nintendo ad ever had the Xbox logo in it," Spencer said, referring to Nintendo's ad announcing the partnership. Sony demurred for a long time before eventually allowing cross-platform play for Fortnite. It's now possible for PC, Xbox One, Switch, and PlayStation 4 players to play together. Earlier this year, Microsoft and Nintendo teamed up once again, revealing Banjo and Kazooie (two popular mascots of the Xbox-owned Rare Studios) will join the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft recently announced a partnership to explore innovations in cloud, AI, and game and content streaming services.

"Nintendo is a strong player in this industry," Spencer told me in May. "Do I wish every Switch player was also an Xbox owner? That would be awesome, but that's not going to happen. Sony is the same way. I don't think gaming is better if Xbox somehow replaces PlayStation."

It's this kind of candor that has earned Spencer the respect of so many gamers.

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Respect is probably too polite a word for it: Spencer is so used to being mobbed in public by well-wishers that Microsoft assigned him his own security detail ahead of this year's E3, adding to the already comically large party of people who follow Spencer around. To his credit, Spencer treats this as a fact of life--he ignores it as best he can--but is prudent enough to be apologetic about it if anybody points it out.

Not that anybody cares, really. Especially not at an event like the annual Xbox FanFest, which Microsoft throws for roughly 700 fans during E3 week. You can play games, chat with developers, drink, snack, and buy Xbox merch. You can also meet Phil Spencer. He attends FanFest every year, spending a few hours chatting to people and posing for selfies. His presence is never announced or scheduled: he likes to just drop in whenever he can.

A few days following the Xbox showcase, I accompanied Spencer on his annual FanFest visit.

The event is held in the same place as the showcase, inside the Microsoft Theater. The first person to spot Spencer as we walked in pointed at him and, in a dazzlingly accurate impersonation of the now-viral video of Keanu Reeves interacting with a fan during the showcase, yelled, "You're breathtaking!" Shouting things at Phil Spencer seems to be a well-rehearsed routine among Xbox fans; as more and more people were alerted to Spencer's presence, the "I love you!" declarations kept coming with startling regularity. Undeterred, Spencer walked around shaking hands and shooting the breeze. One guy asked Spencer to sign his life-size Master Chief helmet. Another pulled out an old Xbox controller. Spencer signed both. Someone else wanted to impart some feedback on how to improve Xbox Live. Spencer listened patiently. Almost everyone asked for a selfie. Slowly, a line began to form; after an hour, there were more than 50 people waiting.

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I went down the line and spotted a guy with a lime green buzzcut. In a heroic display of brand loyalty, he'd also shaved the Xbox logo into the back of his head. "It took the barber four hours to do this," he told me. "But he wasn't mad because he remembered me from last year." I raised my eyebrows. "Oh yeah, I do this every E3. I even dyed my mustache green last year!"

I asked him if he'd met Phil Spencer before. "Yes, heaps of times! We're both from California. He's the best. The loveliest guy you'll ever meet. I actually feel really close to him."

At the front of the line, Spencer seemed a little distracted. "I'd love to find Hitman and Megatron after this," he said, scanning the room. Three years ago, Spencer got an Xbox Live invitation to play Destiny with a man named Keith Garlington ("Hitman"), a father of two who runs a funeral home in Arkansas. "Phil had talked a lot publicly about being a dad and not having enough time to play games, so I just sent him a message saying, ‘Hey, I'm a dad too," Garlington told me recently. Spencer and Garlington now play together a few nights a week. They're usually joined by Amin Cooper ("Megatron"), who works construction and lives in New Jersey. The three men talk about life, work, and family as they drive around in Forza and co-op on Destiny 2 strikes. "We know each other's wives' names. We know each other's kids' names. We know what we're all doing next weekend," Spencer told me. "What other social construct would put these three random people together like this?"

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Both Garlington and Cooper came to FanFest at Spencer's invitation. It was the first time all three men had hung out in real life. Leaving Spencer to his line duties, I tracked them down to find out whether Spencer was actually any good at playing games. Did he kick ass? Or did they kick his ass? "We don't really play competitively, we mostly play co-op," Cooper answered diplomatically. Spencer, spotting us, rushed over. "Don't tell her anything!" he yelled before running away. "I think you can probably tell by now, having spent some time with him--Phil is 100% genuine," Garlington told me. "It's not a facade, and it's not for the camera. He's legitimately a good guy who loves games." For his part, Cooper admitted he was a little starstruck when he first reached out to Spencer on Xbox Live. "He was so friendly right away," he said. "He cares about everyone who plays, no matter where they're from or what they do. That's why everybody loves him."

The downside of such public adulation is the scrutiny that inevitably comes along with it. Spencer's detractors have wondered whether he is somehow playing the long con. From a purely competitive standpoint, Xbox remains behind PlayStation and Nintendo. It's hard to know by how much: Microsoft stopped releasing sales figures for its consoles in 2014, the same year Spencer took over as head of Xbox. Would Spencer be as collegiate with his rivals if he had a competitive lead to maintain? After all, it's easy to take risks when you have nothing to lose. "I hear that a lot," Spencer told me. "That I only care about cross-platform play because we're ‘losing.' There's no way for me to disprove that other than to say it's not true. These decisions aren't part of a strategy to eke away at number one's foothold or something. It doesn't mean that I'm perfect at this job. Obviously, you can get smarter people to do this job. I mean, I don't even have an MBA. There's a ton of things that I'm incapable of doing. If you put me as head of Microsoft Office or something, it would seem totally disingenuous. That's not what I am."

"I hear that a lot," Spencer told me. "That I only care about cross-platform play because we're ‘losing.' There's no way for me to disprove that other than to say it's not true.

In 2017, Spencer was promoted to Nadella's senior leadership team, becoming the executive vice president of gaming and reporting directly to Nadella himself. "There's no part or thing that happens at Xbox that Phil doesn't want to know about or be a part of," Matt Booty, the current head of Microsoft Studios, told me recently. "He is always thinking about where we need to be and how to get there. He is like a chess player in that way, always planning five steps ahead. If you just trust in that, he will get you there."

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A few days after FanFest, I tagged along with Spencer on a tour of the Nintendo booth on the E3 show floor. The heads of Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo usually visit each other's booths during the show as a sign of respect and friendly competition.

The first person Spencer bumped into was Steve Singer, Nintendo America's vice president of licensing, who, upon spotting Spencer, promptly gave him the middle finger. It was all for show, of course--the two men hugged warmly and talked shop out of earshot. Even inside the booth of a direct rival, Spencer's fans weren't far off. A young volunteer in a red Nintendo shirt spotted him and jogged over to say hi; it turns out the two know each other from Xbox Live.

After a brief tour of the main part of the booth, Spencer was whisked upstairs to play some games. He made for the Luigi's Mansion 3 station and happily passed the next 20 minutes trying to maneuver Luigi out of a number of sticky situations. I'd love to say Spencer aced the demo, but the fact is, he kept dying. He finally realized why: he was accidentally pressing the wrong button on the controller. Every time the screen prompt told him to press X, he would press Y. (The Y button on the Nintendo Switch controller is in the same position as the X button on the Xbox controller.) "Remind me to tell them their X button is in the wrong place," he said cheerily.

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In the last year, Spencer has made good on his promises to make Xbox a more collaborative and diverse platform. He's brought parts of Xbox Live to iOS and Android devices--as well as the Nintendo Switch--and pushed for more PC integration, something which has pleased a lot of PC gamers who have long argued that Microsoft wasn't doing enough to acknowledge them. But perhaps his biggest investment in the future of Xbox has been in the slow but steady acquisition of a number of well-known studios, including Ninja Theory, Obsidian, and Tim Schafer's legendary Double Fine Studios. "I think people want us to do a better job with our first-party games," Spencer told me.

For his part, Schafer was initially skeptical of the acquisition. Firstly, it wasn't something that he'd been thinking about. Secondly, he was worried about potentially putting Double Fine's identity at risk. "Like, do we all change our emails to Microsoft emails and paint all the walls green?" he told me. What ultimately changed his mind was a phone call to the folks at Ninja Theory, who told him that Microsoft's insistence on letting first-party studios just keep doing what they wanted with minimal interference was true. "They said, ‘We are still who we are. They're letting us make the kind of games we want to make.' And that was a huge thing for me. I could see how it makes sense--it makes sense not to have them convert us to making Forza DLC or something."

When the discussions became more serious, Spencer invited Schafer out for a drink during this year's DICE Awards. He laid out what the acquisition would mean for Microsoft, and what it would mean for Double Fine. "I've worked with a lot of different publishers over the years and they all have their own personalities and styles--but Phil is just a very legit individual," Schafer said. "He's made a lot of really great public statements about diversity and making games a positive force in the world, which really mesh with Double Fine's own mission. It kind of cemented that feeling that this is the right thing to do."

If he'd wanted a second opinion, Schafer might have also called 343 Industries, the veteran Microsoft studio that oversees the entirety of its Halo franchise. The studio's head, Bonnie Ross, has worked with Spencer for more than two decades. A few weeks before E3, Spencer dropped in at 343 to give Ross and her team feedback on a demo for Halo: Reach on PC. The studio is located a short walk from Spencer's office on Microsoft's Redmond campus. Almost half of the building's ground floor is taken up by a Halo museum, which features everything from life-size Master Chiefs to television props from the live-action web series Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, which aired on YouTube and Netflix, and the Ridley Scott-produced "Halo: Nightfall." The museum also houses replica weapons, fan art, various Halo-related tchotchkes, and a random collection of Halo-branded snowboards (one of which Spencer owns).

"I've worked with a lot of different publishers over the years and they all have their own personalities and styles--but Phil is just a very legit individual," Schafer said.

As we sat down to play the demo, Spencer attempted to calm my nerves by telling me he usually finishes all the Halo games on Legendary difficulty. He breezed through most of the demo easily enough and made it to the final checkpoint, which required him to take out two Hunters. Spencer tried to do this multiple times: he would manage to kill one but kept running out of both health and ammo before he could get the second. I reminded him of his previous boast. He pretended he didn't hear me. Undeterred, he tried again. Someone offered to help, but Spencer jokingly waved him away. "It's ok, I got this."

After a few more tries, he finally killed both Hunters, but, just as the final cutscene was about to roll, an enemy he'd missed earlier snuck up behind him and shot him in the head. The room erupted in howls of disbelief. Spencer laughed. "I believe that's my cue," he said, standing up. Before he left, he went around the room, shaking the hands of all the developers and programmers who'd assembled to watch. "Good job, everyone. It's great. It's really, really great."

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Photography courtesy of Jay Lewis and Microsoft.

More Exclusive Phil Spencer Coverage

We've broken out several stories of note from our conversations with Phil Spencer and outlined the full list of news articles below.

Phil Spencer Doesn't Believe In Your Console WarThe Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One RevealPhil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace ConsolesMicrosoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier GraphicsXbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019

Phil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace Consoles

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, has a lot on his mind, from the next generation of Xbox consoles to helping build new development teams. He and the team are also managing an ecosystem that's trying to serve as many players' needs as possible. And as he sees it, cloud-based gaming touches all of those areas, which is why he's been championing Project xCloud. It's Microsoft's game streaming technology that will let you access the power of an Xbox console through your phone via an internet connection. We recently got the opportunity to talk to the head of Xbox about a number of topics, including how he sees xCloud fitting into Xbox's repertoire, and within an industry that's traditionally orbited around consoles in the home.

"It's one of the directions the industry is headed. To me, it's about what you as a gamer want to do, and I'm not trying to tell you that owning a box that plays video games is a bad thing or that somehow that's not needed." Spencer continued, "I think that the cloud inevitability as part of gaming is absolutely true. But we have more compute devices around us than we've ever had, whether it's your phone, a Surface Hub, or an Xbox. The world where compute devices are gone and it's all coming from the cloud just isn't the world that we live in today."

Physical devices are still very much part of the equation when it comes to cloud gaming, but Xbox itself isn't making a new device specifically for it. "Last year we talked about xCloud and then we said we were working on new game consoles, but that's all I said." Spencer clarified, "We didn't say that [a streaming console was in the works]. I think maybe some people thought that that was the disc-less one that we just shipped. We are not working on a streaming-only console right now. We are looking at the phone in your pocket as the destination for you to stream, and the console that we have allows you to play the games locally."

"If you bought a big gaming PC and you like playing games there, I want to respect that and meet you where you are and bring the content and services that you want to that device. If you want to buy an Xbox, if you want to play Minecraft on a PlayStation, I want to make sure that comes to you there."

One of the chief concerns that has always surrounded cloud gaming is lag. Specifically, how fast your controller inputs will translate to action on a screen. It was an issue in some cases for Google Stadia demos, especially for fast-paced shooters such as Doom. Spencer recognizes this and makes no bones about those concerns, saying "I don't think anybody should tell you that there's no lag."

"Going back to our transparency, there's a truth that I think is always important for us to talk about with our customers. In xCloud, we are building a convenience capability to allow you to take your Xbox experience with you. Meaning, that's why we focus on the phone, and the experience is not the same as running the games on an Xbox One X. I'm not going to say that it's an 8k 120 hertz thing. That's not what we're doing. We're going to bring convenience and choice to you on your phone."

"You can jump in a party, we can voice chat. Everything works the same as it does when I'm sitting with my console from a community and content perspective but you're running it from a cloud, which is going to feel different."

We talk about Project xCloud and we use words like "trials" not because we don't believe in our tech--our tech is as good as anybody's tech out there, and the team is doing really amazing work--but this is about the reality of time and choice for customers.

Given that he's been traveling with an early version of xCloud on his own phone playing games on it out in public, it would seem that xCloud is in a feature-complete state. Public trials start in October this year (a month before Google Stadia), but we asked if it'll launch as a fully-formed service. "We will start in 2019, this year, in certain markets and then we will just continue to roll it out. We're doing our internal trials with xCloud now, which means people on the team can now install the application on their phone and stream games."

"One of the benefits we have working at Microsoft is the Azure data centers globally, which allow us to put hardware as close to people as we possibly can. And we can leverage the fact that Microsoft has spent a lot of money establishing data centers to help us accelerate this build. So we're going to start in 2019 and have people playing Xbox games on their phones, and we'll get a ton of feedback."

Project xCloud's launch this year only marks the beginning for the Xbox game streaming service; Microsoft will continue to iterate on it while its in players' hands, and Spencer emphasizes that technological shifts take time. "I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play. And I mean years, like years and years."

Phil Spencer on stage during Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. -- Photo credit: Jason LewisPhil Spencer on stage during Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. -- Photo credit: Jason Lewis

"Let's take Netflix, which is 20 years old. I think we forget that sometimes because tech moves so fast. It's 20 years old at this point, so it took two decades for us to get to the point where shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards are some of the biggest shows in the planet and mainly watched via streaming. I think game streaming will get there faster than 20 years, but it's not going to be two years. This is a technological change. While it seems like it happens overnight, it doesn't."

"It takes time for these services to evolve. We are building for the long-term, but that's why choice is so critical. I'm not trying to say go sell your consoles today and switch over to streaming because the experience just isn't the same as playing on your console, but I do think in terms of reaching everybody, the democratization of play and content, it's important that we don't lock all of these experiences behind purchasing a certain device."

"And way over time, we'll have a global service that can reach everybody and the infrastructure to reach any customer with a consistent and high quality internet service, but that's going to take time. We talk about Project xCloud and we use words like "trials" not because we don't believe in our tech--our tech is as good as anybody's tech out there, and the team is doing really amazing work--but this is about the reality of time and choice for customers."

Down the road, the evolution of xCloud could lead to some creative uses; we've seen hints of it in Crackdown 3's multiplayer and how it handles physics. But Spencer and the team are thinking outside of games themselves as they have plans to make it an integral part of the industry's biggest convention, saying "At E3 [in the future], our plan is to allow people coming to the show to actually play games, play Xbox games on phones at the show."

Part of cloud gaming's success, and xCloud in particular, rests in how developers account for the new technology. It's also an aspect that Xbox is already getting ahead of, and Spencer detailed how the team is doing it. "We've already started putting xCloud servers near locations where our largest third party developers are. So now we're starting to get developers at third parties on it so they can see their game on a phone, which is critical because there are things like font sizes that if you wanted to take advantage and understand how the game runs on the phone, you want to make it available. You want them to see it and experience it themselves."

"We've also already put into the Xbox SDK, because if you're streaming, a developer might want to do something different if the game was running locally. All the developers that are building Xbox games today have access to that capability of determining whether the game is being streamed or running locally, which I think is a great addition."

"You'll have certain developers that will take advantage of it early. We already have some of the early adopters asking for [it], because there are certain things that the cloud makes more possible than happened in the home. A good example of that is our blades right now that have all the Xboxes in the data centers have multiple Xboxes on one blade...basically like a bunch of Xboxes in your house that are hardwired together. So the latency between all of those consoles is negligible. It's almost a zero because they're literally hard-wired together. If we were to play games online, there is latency from where you live and I live, right? Our two Xboxes just take time to sync."

More Exclusive Phil Spencer Coverage

Our conversations with Phil Spencer covered much more in addition to this deep dive into Project xCloud and cloud gaming's place in the industry. For more inside looks at Spencer and his thoughts on the past, present, and future of Xbox, check out all our coverage in the stories linked below.

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He IsPhil Spencer Doesn't Believe In Your Console WarXbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019The Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One RevealMicrosoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier Graphics

Microsoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier Graphics

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

At E3 2019, Microsoft gave the world its first peek at the next generation of Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett. While the company didn't showcase the actual hardware, it did reveal a few tantalizing tidbits about the system, namely that it'll boast a solid state drive (much like Sony's PS5) and will be approximately four times as powerful as the Xbox One X, which currently has the distinction of being the most powerful game console on the market.

Project Scarlett's added horsepower will undoubtedly allow developers to produce some stunning titles, but visuals aren't the only aspect of gaming that Microsoft is looking to improve with its new console. As head of Xbox Phil Spencer told GameSpot in an exclusive, in-depth interview following E3, how smoothly games run will be a major focal point in the next generation.

"I think the area that we really want to focus on next generation is frame rate and playability of the games," Spencer said. "Ensuring that the games load incredibly fast, ensuring that the game is running at the highest frame rate possible. We're also the Windows company, so we see the work that goes on [for] PC and the work that developers are doing. People love 60 frames-per-second games, so getting games to run at 4K 60 [FPS] I think will be a real design goal for us.

"The thing that's interesting is, this generation, we've really focused on 4K visuals and how we bring both movies through 4K Blu-ray and video streaming, and with Xbox One X allowing games to run at 4K visuals will make really strong visual enhancements next generation. But playability is probably the bigger focus for us this generation. How fast do [games] load? Do I feel like I can get into the game as fast as possible and while it's playing? How does it feel? Does this game both look and feel like no other game that I've seen? That's our target."

Microsoft isn't just looking toward the future with Project Scarlett, either; the company also wants to ensure that players still have access to all of their older games as we move into a new generation of consoles. Whereas the PS4 and Nintendo Switch both forwent backwards compatibility, the Xbox One has built up an impressive library of backwards compatible games encompassing some of the best offerings from the Xbox 360 and even the original Xbox. Spencer stresses that Microsoft will maintain this commitment not only to older titles, but also your existing controllers.

"We really like the reception and the use that we've seen through the [Xbox One backwards compatibility] program. Making sure that all four generations of content--so the original Xbox games that run on your Xbox One today, the OG Xbox; the 360 games that run on your Xbox One; your Xbox One games; and the new generation games--all run on the next platform is important to us. We want to respect the games that you've bought from us. We want to make sure that the generations can play with each other, so if you happen to adopt the next generation early and somebody stays back, that if their games are on both platforms, you'll be able to cross-gen play.

So really, the things that you've bought from us, whether the games or the controllers that you're using, we want to make sure those are future compatible with the highest fidelity version of our console, which at that time will obviously be the one we've just launched."

"Another thing that will be a little bit new for us is the fact that we want to also respect the compatibility of the controllers that you already have. This generation, we came out with the Elite controller, we've done work on controllers and people have invested in personalized controllers, the things that they love and we want to make those compatible with future generations of our console as well. So really, the things that you've bought from us, whether the games or the controllers that you're using, we want to make sure those are future compatible with the highest fidelity version of our console, which at that time will obviously be the one we've just launched."

Project Scarlett is slated to arrive in Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite as a launch title. Spencer discussed a number of other topics in our interview, including Microsoft's cloud gaming initiative, xCloud; the company's E3 2019 presentation; and the state of competition between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Spencer also shed more light on the troubled reveal of the Xbox One back in 2013. Be sure to check out our other stories from our interview with Phil Spencer, as well as our in-depth profile of the Xbox head.

So really, the things that you've bought from us, whether the games or the controllers that you're using, we want to make sure those are future compatible with the highest fidelity version of our console, which at that time will obviously be the one we've just launched."

More Exclusive Phil Spencer Coverage

Our conversations with Phil Spencer covered much more in addition to this deep dive into the next-gen Xbox console. For more inside looks at Spencer and his thoughts on the past, present, and future of Xbox, check out all our coverage in the stories linked below.

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He Is Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019 Microsoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier GraphicsThe Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One RevealPhil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace Consoles

The Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One Reveal

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

At E3 2019, the current head of Xbox Phil Spencer spoke with GameSpot about the history of the Xbox One and what's in store for the future of next-gen. Though there's a lot of anticipation for what's to come with Xbox Scarlett, our discussion went back to the beginning of the Xbox One, Microsoft's answer to Sony's PlayStation 4. Back in 2013, online gameplay, connectivity, and the cloud was poised to see unprecedented growth in the next-gen--and Microsoft wanted to be at the forefront of the new console experience. However, the platform maker initially struggled to convey what the new console stood for, and it's something that the current head of Xbox remembers all too well.

"If you go back and watch [the reveal], what you'll see is an event that was very much focused on Xbox as a TV platform," Spencer said. "We showed things like The Price is Right, for instance. In fact, I think the first piece of content that we ever showed on an Xbox One was a TV show."

In May 2013, Microsoft revealed the Xbox One, a console advertised as the new nexus for home entertainment. Before the reveal, Microsoft and their new product--codenamed Durango--already faced something of an uphill battle. In the months before, the backlash from comments from former Microsoft executive Adam Orth, who downplayed concerns from consumers about the next console potentially being online only, was still fresh on the minds of many. So going in, Microsoft had some ground to cover. Taking place in Redmond, Washington at the Microsoft campus, this event--also possessing a codename, Newcastle--was meant to be the console's big moment. But as history shows, things didn't work out as intended. Spencer went on to describe the mood following the event, and how employees weren't satisfied with what they saw.

"If you were an employee in team Xbox, then you were [a part of a team of] thousands of people that work on the Xbox. But there's like a handful of people that stand in front of cameras, on the stage and talk about things. There can be a divide between, 'Why is that person saying that? That's not the product I'm building,' or, 'Why are we doing that? That's not what I think we should be doing.'"

As the console's first showing, it was a heavily promoted event. In the opening montage, developers and gaming personalities alike talked about the potential of the new platform, and even film directors like Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams heaped praise on the new hardware. The key takeaway from the reveal event was that the Xbox One was presented as more than just a videogame console, but rather, a new home entertainment experience. This sentiment was made abundantly clear during the first half of the event, which treated viewers to a deluge of films and TV shows viewable on the Xbox One. The first games to make an appearance at the showing would be titles from EA Sports, well after 30 minutes had passed. Spencer stressed in our interview that the reveal missed the mark in properly showing what the console was all about.

The feedback we got from the employees, maybe said and unsaid, was, 'We've been working really hard for two years to ship this product. You stand on stage at this event and blow up all the good work that we've done by talking about the product in a way that's not really matching what the soul of an Xbox console is about and what our customers are looking for from us.'

At the time, he was the VP of Microsoft Studios, which entailed overseeing upcoming platform-exclusive games. Once he took the stage at the event, it marked the beginning of the games part of the presentation. During his talk, the event showcased upcoming games like Forza Motorsport 5, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Halo 5, and Remedy's Quantum Break--which also had a focus on the TV angle. Though Spencer understood the intention of showcasing the new Xbox as a home entertainment console, he expressed that it only led to confusion and frustration from the general audience. This sentiment was evident when he and other executives at Xbox observed the reactions from consumers and their employees.

"The feedback we got from the employees, maybe said and unsaid, was, 'We've been working really hard for two years to ship this product. You stand on stage at this event and blow up all the good work that we've done by talking about the product in a way that's not really matching what the soul of an Xbox console is about and what our customers are looking for from us,'" Spencer said while describing the frustration from employees. "I think the team just gets disappointed because they feel let down by the leadership team and I'd say that's the feeling I heard the most from the team. I had people come up emotional, like they're reading the forums and people are accusing us of being dishonest with them or having bad intent with why we were building the product that we were, and if you're a member of the team, you don't necessarily see across everything that's going on."

The reactions from the reveal event prompted management to pivot away from the home entertainment angle and focus on games for E3 2013. The game that opened the show was Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Don Mattrick, Microsoft's former president of Interactive Entertainment Business, would even state that E3 2013 was "all about the games." Throughout its first year, the Xbox One struggled with its messaging, in particular to the concept of always-online functionality. In the following year, Phil Spencer was promoted to the head of Xbox, which marked the beginning of some significant changes for the platform. This included the controversial decision to drop Kinect from the console, thereby selling the Xbox One at a lower price.

More Exclusive Phil Spencer Coverage

Throughout our interviews, the head of Xbox had more to say about several topics in the current world of gaming. In addition to talking about the present state of cloud gaming and the so-called console war, Spencer also detailed what the future holds for next-gen consoles and the Xbox brand. Check out all our coverage in the stories linked below.

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He IsXbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019Microsoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier GraphicsPhil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace ConsolesPhil Spencer Doesn't Believe In Your Console War

Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

In an in-depth interview with GameSpot, Xbox boss Phil Spencer spoke at length about Microsoft's past, present, and future in gaming. During the conversation, he addressed E3 2019, and one of the topics he discussed was the added pressure to succeed in the wake of Sony not holding its traditional press conference.

"Normally what would happen is, on Sunday, we'd do our show and then Sony would go on Monday and then Nintendo on Monday or Tuesday," Spencer said. "With Sony not in the middle, our show kind of sat on its own, which I think was kind of a positive and a challenge in some ways because there was nothing for it to reflect against." E3 2019 was the last show before Microsoft really starts marketing its next platform, codenamed Scarlett, he explained, so it was especially important to let fans know that there's still plenty to expect on Xbox One--years' worth of releases--before the generation closes out.

This is largely why the Scarlett reveal was at the end of Microsoft's press conference, instead of being a focus at the beginning of the show, like previous console reveals at E3. Though the next-generation Xbox is on the way, it's still a way out and so the majority of the games announced at Microsoft's E3 2019 conference were focused on its current platform. Microsoft also just didn't have answers to many questions about Scarlett. The hardware's appearance, official name, cost, and day one game line-up are all still up in the air.

When it came to the objective of ensuring the focus was still on Xbox One, Spencer said he feels like Microsoft largely succeeded--especially since the company mostly announced games or expansions that had a foreseeable release date, so viewers could make concrete plans for them. "The Lego stuff is a good example," Spencer said. "On Lego Forza, you just saw it's coming to your console that week. Some of the things were literally launching right as we [announced] it, like the State of Decay stuff."

"Of the 14 first-party games that we showed, I think 12 or 13 of them are shipping before the next E3," Spencer continued. "When you're thinking about all this, we had a huge show. It was higher social engagement than last year, higher ratings for us than last year. The fact that we got to open with four first-party games in a row--[something] we've never done before--those were cool to see, even for our own teams, as a worthwhile milestone for us. We could actually open a show with four first-party games and they were all received very well and did very well. That's, I think, what we aspire to."

Because of the importance of making a good impression with Xbox One's upcoming game line-up, Spencer was actually apprehensive of agreeing to CD Projekt Red's request to have Keanu Reeves present onstage during the Cyberpunk 2077 portion of Microsoft's press conference. "[People] obviously loved having Keanu Reeves come out on stage [though]," Spencer said, "Which actually surprised me a little bit. The hit rate on celebrities on gaming stages at E3 is not incredibly high, including for us. Some of [my apprehension was] just my having lived through [seeing] celebrities on stage at E3 and seeing it become a little cringe-worthy. It was cool to see this one work."

Not all of the feedback for Microsoft's showing at E3 was positive though. Fans seemed miffed at the lack of gameplay for the two biggest upcoming Xbox first-party titles, Gears 5 and Halo Infinite. And there's still a general level of confusion around cloud gaming and streaming on consoles with xCloud. "Gears and Halo, two of the bigger first-party games there, both felt more like trailers than somebody standing on a stage with a controller playing the game," Spencer admitted. "From a clarity standpoint, the whole idea of console streaming in xCloud--I think streaming in general--is just an area that people aren't really versed in thinking about [yet]. I think we're going to have to do, frankly, two, three, or four more [shows] before people really understand what we're doing with it."

More Exclusive Phil Spencer Coverage

We've broken out several stories of note from our conversation with Phil Spencer and outlined the full list of news articles below, including our big profile on the outspoken and positive leader of Xbox.

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He IsThe Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One RevealPhil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace ConsolesMicrosoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier GraphicsPhil Spencer Doesn't Believe In Your Console War

Phil Spencer Doesn't Believe In Your Console War

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

With Sony sitting out E3 2019 the common-held opinion was that this would be Microsoft's show to "win." But according to Xbox head Phil Spencer, during an exclusive interview with GameSpot that took place after E3, he isn't interested in pitting Xbox against PlayStation at the show, nor does he think the fan-fueled rivalry between the two companies does anyone any good in general. He agrees that Sony and Microsoft compete on a technology level, but rejects the notion that there's a mean-spirited undercurrent spearheading that drive. To him: "Business isn't sport. It is different."

If anything signposts the mutual spirit of cooperation that Spencer is talking about, it's E3. The ESA, where Spencer sits on the board of directors, is the driving force behind the event, and it regularly rallies the likes of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo to work together towards making opportunity as impactful as possible for all. It's a coordinated effort with far-reaching goals, and from his point of view, the absence of booths from Sony and big-name publishers is simply a detriment. "I see it as we should all be there," Spencer tells GameSpot. "We should all be showing our best. I'm not alone in sharing that. All of us who are on the ESA board kind of aspire to have an E3 where everybody feels like they can be there and show up. I'd say the same thing about EA not being there with a booth, say the same thing about Activision. It's not specifically calling out Sony. I think we want to create an E3 where all of the gaming companies feel like it's worth their time and gamers love coming there and celebrating their love of gaming."

"The nice thing about E3 is it is a time when all of us sit around a board meeting," Spencer noted. "EA is there. Take-Two is there. Sony is there. Nintendo is there. I think there are 30 board members from all the major [publishers]... Epic is there. We're talking about how we make this show a better show for everyone. Any time you can--and we're all focused on it--you can create common focus areas for us as a games industry, where we can hopefully make some progress, as we have over the years, I think it leads to the idea that it makes sense for us in certain instances to cooperate on different things."

What Spencer is saying is that while E3 is a major opportunity for everyone involved, it's also a jumping-off point for big-picture opportunities down the road. One not-so-small example: Minecraft. "Us being a big publisher of Minecraft on these other platforms, the longer that goes on successfully for both us, whether it's Sony or Nintendo or whatever, it just lessens that... friction might not be the best word, but I'd say lessens the, 'Hey. Are these people well intentioned in what they're doing?'"

Good intentions among competitors is one thing, but gaming has always struggled to portray itself as an industry with good intentions to misinformed onlookers and legislators. As gaming continues to grow in influence and profit, it's only natural that the target continues to shift with the times. Here, too, Spencer thinks that joining together is the only way to ensure a future for all: "As an industry, with cross-play, with some of the external kind of... I'd say threats to the gaming business--like loot box legislation, the World Health Organization stuff--these are things where coming together to make sure that we've got a good constructive point of view on our art form and what it means in society... I think all of that is just part of us as an industry knowing that the biggest competitor we have is actually not each other."

While most console-shopping customers are only able to keep up with a single high-end gaming console, an opportunity which Spencer at least hopes to win, the animosity often exhibited by the gaming community is the opposite of what Spencer likes to see. "I think there was friction just on that side as well, from the fans maybe creating this perception that we shouldn't like each other because one console is blue and one console is green and those two things can never mix," he said. "I do know there are parts of the community that wish we were more aggressive in being competitive with each other. I think competition between us, from an innovation and business model and value standpoint, makes a ton of sense. Competition at a human level or a punitive level, I find isn't really part of how we continue gaming's growth. There's much more to be gained by us at least having a joint point of view on issues that are important to gaming."

"As our industry becomes more relevant and more used across more people, I think our responsibility goes up to make sure we're being good kind of shepherds of gaming as it continues to grow." -- Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox

If any platform holder deserves the award for being the most vocal about the need or desire to collaborate, it's Xbox, but Spencer sees rays of hope from others, even if they are more subtle in nature: "Maybe we're too vocal on this stuff. We probably talk about it externally more than they do. I don't like to talk about their business. They're running their business from their point of view. But if you just look at... what's a good example? I think it was last summer when Nintendo did the Minecraft Better Together ad that they crafted. And it had Xbox in it. I'm almost positive it was the first time a Nintendo ad ever had the Xbox logo in it," Spencer recalled. "That was them pushing on the fact that Xbox and Switch, together with Minecraft, creates a better solution. Them creating an ad around it I thought was pretty cool, that they felt compelled to go do that. I think the industry is more, internally, as we're having discussions, more aligned on these topics. Everybody's got to run at their own pace from their business perspective."

Spencer set the pace for Microsoft's future when discussing the future of Xbox at E3, specifically the upcoming console currently known by its code name, Scarlett. Scheduled to ship during the "holiday 2020" release window, Scarlett is purported to be four times as powerful as the Xbox One X. According to Spencer, this power may be used in ways you didn't expect. Likewise, he's also spoken to GameSpot about the Xbox cloud gaming service xCloud, and touched on the very different approach Phil Harrison is taking Google's Stadia service.

We've broken out several stories of note from our conversation with Phil Spencer and outlined the full list of news articles below, including our big profile on the outspoken and positive leader of Xbox.

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He IsThe Inside Story Of The Troubled Xbox One RevealPhil Spencer Says Cloud Gaming Is Inevitable, But Won't Replace ConsolesMicrosoft's Vision For Xbox Scarlett Is More Than Just Prettier GraphicsXbox Boss Phil Spencer Reflects On Microsoft's E3 2019

Ys, Legend Of Heroes Dev Exploring Possible Nintendo Switch Ports

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

Japanese developer Falcom is busy putting the finishing touches on The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, which is expected to launch on October 22 for PlayStation 4. Despite having all hands on deck for the latest entry in the Trails series, company president Toshihiro Kondo is talking to "multiple publishers" about bringing its games to Nintendo Switch.

Following the Nintendo Switch port of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, which debuted on the console-handheld hybrid in June 2018, DualShockers asked Kondo if more of the studio's games would arrive on Nintendo's system. "We have talks in progress with multiple publishers regarding possible Switch games, but I can't tell you anything precise yet or if it will happen or not," Kondo said.

While Ys VIII is the only Falcom title to launch on Nintendo Switch, it isn't the only game developed by Falcom to debut on a Nintendo console. The action-RPG Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, which released in Japan in December 2004, made its way to Nintendo 3DS in October 2016, almost a decade after launching on PSP in the West. These are the only two of Falcom's extensive catalog that has made it to some form of Nintendo system in recent years.

Also out of the DualShockers interview, Kondo confirmed that Falcom has no current plans of porting Ys IX: Monstrum Nox to other regions, stating that the team is especially focused on nailing the Japanese release first.

In an interview with GameSpot, Kondo said that while Trails of Cold Steel III is the third entry in the franchise, the studio is conscious of newcomers. "We have a very, very well thought out backstory which explains the events from the previous games in the series," Kondo said. "As you can see, character profiles, world introduction, all of these things are there. You're able to read all about them and the world that they have in the other games. This is the first thing you can do to catch yourself up with the previous games."

New Fortnite PS4 Bundles Are Finally Out In The US This Week

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

The Fortnite Neo Versa PS4 bundle is finally releasing in the US this week. Previously only available in European regions, it comes with exclusive content for the battle royale game. You can pick it up from a number of retailers, including Best Buy. If you already own a PS4 and don't want to buy another console, there are a couple of other options that are available right now.

The Neo Versa PS4 bundle releases on August 13 and includes the Epic Neo Versa Outfit, the Epic Neo Phrenzy Back Bling, and 2,000 V-Bucks. Of course, it also comes with a 1 TB PlayStation Slim and a DualShock 4 controller. Alternatively, there's a PS4 Gold Wireless Headset bundle that comes with the same Fortnite content or a DualShock 4 bundle that comes with the outfit, back bling, and 500 V-Bucks. You can take a look at them all in the images below.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7

See the Fortnite Neo Versa PS4 bundles at Best Buy

Unfortunately, there is no option for this bundle with a PS4 Pro, so you'll need to grab the content with the headset or controller bundle if you want the more powerful console.

Fortnite recently kicked off Season X, which introduced pilotable mechs and restructured how Daily and Weekly challenges work. You can check out the full Fortnite Challenges list here.

Next Ys Game "Isn't Planned" To Launch In The West

Aug 12, 2019

Description:

Falcom's long-running, action-RPG series Ys is on its ninth entry with Ys IX: Monstrum Nox. While a handful of the titles in the franchise have had Western releases, including Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, the developers have no plans of porting the upcoming entry to other regions.

In an interview with DualShockers, Falcom's president Toshihiro Kondo spoke a little bit about the development of the forthcoming action-RPG, which is scheduled to launch on September 26 in Japan for PlayStation 4. When asked if Ys IX will make its way to the West, Kondo told DualShockers that Falcom is unconcerned with other regions for the moment. "For now, a Western release for Ys IX isn't planned, as we're focusing on completing its development and releasing it in Japan."

Announced back in December 2018, Ys IX is set in the sprawling Prison City, where beings with supernatural abilities called Monstrum have started to appear. Similar to the mysterious Monstrum, Prison City is riddled with secrets as you embark on a new adventure to uncover what lies within the world of Baldeux. Check out the latest gameplay trailer below.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana made its Western debut on PS4 and PS Vita in September 2017, more than a year after launching in Japan. Half a year later, Ys VIII released on PC and Nintendo Switch in April 2018 and June 2018, respectively. In our Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana review, we said, "But even when it falters, it’s hard to hate Ys VIII for long. The feel of fighting your way through a big, beautiful island of untamed wilderness to save a group of people brought together by circumstance while uncovering an ancient mystery is an absolute delight, and will compel you to keep exploring for hours on end. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the exploits of Adol Christin, you’ll find a lot to enjoy in the exotic world of Ys VIII."

Disney+: New Pricing And Bundle Details Revealed

Aug 6, 2019

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During a call with media and Disney investors to report on third-quarter earnings, CEO Bob Iger dropped some new information regarding the bundling and pricing of the upcoming Disney+ streaming platform. The service, set to go live on November 12, will be made available as a package deal for those who choose to go that route, for $12.99 a month. The bundle will include Disney+, ESPN+, and the ad-supported version of Hulu.

Those who would rather keep their stream service subscriptions un-bundled will pay $6.99 a month for Disney+ alone.

Everything We Know About The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Disney+'s First MCU Show

What Do We Know About WandaVision?

Will The Disney+ MCU Shows Be Essential Viewing For Fans?

Iger also mentioned that members of the Disney fan club, D23, will be offered the opportunity to subscribe to the Disney+ services first--a promotion that will likely be elaborated on at this month's upcoming D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.

In addition to the bundle pricing, Iger spoke to the potential of new Disney+ projects, citing "reimaginings" of films like Home Alone, Night At The Museum, Diary Of A Whimpy Kid, and Cheaper By The Dozen as potentially on the docket for Disney+ down the line--though it is currently unclear just what was meant by "reimaginings."

Are we on the precipice of a Disney+ specific Home Alone cinematic universe? Only time will tell.

Rocket League Removing Paid Crates Later This Year

Aug 6, 2019

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Following its acquisition by Epic Games in May 2019, Rocket League developer Psyonix has starry plans for its vehicular soccer game. One of these plans includes the complete removal of "all paid, randomized crates" from the game later this year.

Pysonix confirmed in a brief blog post that the current paid, randomized loot boxes will be replaced by a new system that "shows the exact items you’re buying in advance." The developer cited Fortnite's changes to V-Buck Llamas, which now display the contents before you buy them, as a point of reference. Pysonix said this decision reflects its "dedicat[ion] to creating the best possible experience for our players all over the world."

There's no confirmation as to when this new system will be implemented. Pysonix said that the new system will come "later this year" and that information about it will be shared "in the coming months." Though paid, randomized crates will no longer be offered in Rocket League, Psyonix made it clear that Rocket Pass Premium, DLC Cars, and Esports Shop items will still be offered for direct purchase alongside the new system.

Loot boxes, much like crunch, are a hot-button topic in the games industry--particularly among elected officials. In April 2019, Pysonix axed loot boxes in two European countries because of "government regulations." This follows a string of other games scrapping loot boxes, including Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II. Earlier this year, EA removed FIFA Points from FIFA in accordance with new laws in certain countries where the game thrives.

Light-Up Dock Shields Are The Switch Accessory I Never Knew I Needed (And They're On Sale)

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you have the standard, grey dock that came with the console (unless you sprung for special editions like the Pikachu and Eevee console or the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate one). I had accepted my plain, boring dock as a fact of life--until I spotted these PDP Switch dock shields that light up with Pikachu, Mario, or Legend of Zelda-inspired designs. They're currently on sale for $15 and normally sell for $20, which is a great price considering these things are stunning.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3

Legend of Zelda / Super Mario Odyssey Light-Up Dock Shield

$15 ($20)

See it at Amazon

There are two different dock shields available. One dock shield is Pokemon-themed, with a lightning-charged Pikachu on one side and a Poke Ball design on the other. The other dock shield is a Legend of Zelda / Super Mario Odyssey combo design--one side has a Sheikah crest pattern, and on the other side, you'll find a Mario Odyssey theme. Both dock shields have 17 different colors and light effects, such as Flash Mode, Strobe Mode, and Smooth Mode. The product itself comes with an electronic base (that holds and connects to the dock via USB) and two acrylic panels that display the artwork.

No Caption Provided

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4

Pokemon Light-Up Dock Shield

$15 ($20)

See it at Amazon

Amazon's product pictures (shown above) don't really do it justice, so when you look at the listing, I recommend scrolling down to check out the photos customers have posted of the dock in action. The LED lights are vibrant and glow beautifully in a darkened room. There's also a color cycle mode where you can customize the light effects to your preference, as well as a plain "on" mode. You can also just leave the lights off and enjoy the design itself (but at that point, you might as well just get a simple dock cover that doesn't light up).

With 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 300 reviews, it's clear this is one accessory Switch owners have put their stamp of approval on, and you're getting a great deal at $15. Check out the dock shields at Amazon if you're interested, and see some fan photos we spotted on Twitter below.

Huge fan of the „Light Up Dock Shield“ for the Nintendo Switch docking station. It comes with a Pikachu shield and a Pokeball shield and you can choose between different light colours and light modi. Pretty cool. Plus: you can plug it into the USB jack of the dock 😍 pic.twitter.com/svOX9Im08U

— 🍂🍁ItsNotAlice🍁🍂 (@itisnotalice) December 28, 2018

ahhh so in love with my light up dock shield for my switch and the kitty paw thumbsticks. ♡ pic.twitter.com/BsCoylKMHN

— — saira ♡ (@bbbambi_) June 15, 2019

Light up Dock shield for the switch, obvious zelda plate and in purple 😍💜 love it #GamersUnite pic.twitter.com/f3Pgq4xFpV

— 🎮 Kim 🎮 (@Wildestdream93) October 27, 2018

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Everything We Know About Disney+'s First MCU Show

Aug 6, 2019

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Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes are back and ready to take on a vengeful Helmut Zemo

Despite having an official release schedule and project slate, Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 is still pretty mysterious--and completely different than any of the previous MCU phases. Now we've got to juggle TV shows right alongside our blockbuster movies--TV shows like The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, the first Disney+ streaming series on the Phase 4 roster.

Though we currently have no confirmation of just where and how the events of this show will tie into the bigger picture of the MCU down the line--unlike WandaVision and its confirmed link to Doctor Strange 2--we can safely assume that the links will be there. Somehow. Some way. But the truth is, despite The Falcon & The Winter Soldier's (relatively) fast approaching launch date, we don't actually have that much information about it, especially with regard to the plot.

We've rounded up every fact we've been able to get our hands on, and we'll continue updating this list as more news comes in--after all, Fall of 2020 is practically right around the corner.


Mackie, Stan, and Brühl are back

Some familiar heroes--and at least one familiar villain--are returning. The confirmed cast for the show looks like this:

Anthony Mackie is Sam Wilson

Sebastian Stan is Bucky Barnes

Daniel Brühl is Helmut Zemo

There are also rumors of Emily Van Camp reprising her role as Sharon Carter for the show, but these have yet to be substantiated. Van Camp was not in attendance or mentioned during the Marvel Studios Hall H presentation.


It's scheduled as Disney+'s first MCU show

As the schedule currently stands, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier will be Disney+'s first MCU show, to be released in Fall 2020, after Black Widow hits theaters but likely before The Eternals. The next MCU show, WandaVision, isn't on the schedule until Spring of 2021.


Civil War's Helmut Zemo is back and looking for revenge

Details about the show's plot are still shrouded in mystery, but we do know that the conflict will be driven by the return of Captain America: Civil War antagonist Helmut Zemo, who made a surprise "appearance" during the Marvel Studios panel at Comic-Con via a video recorded by actor Daniel Brühl. Brühl, in character as Zemo, taunted both Sam and Bucky in grainy, stylized footage, starting off with the infamous Winter Soldier trigger words. Upon finishing the sequence, he laughed and admitted that he knows the words no longer work--a reference to Bucky's recovery in Wakanda between Civil War and Infinity War, but then moved on to say he was "looking forward" to seeing both Sam and Bucky again soon.

The footage concluded with Zemo donning his iconic purple balaclava, a staple of the Baron Zemo character in the comics, for the first time.


Sam Wilson will be Captain America soon

Sam has been given the shield and Anthony Mackie has revealed that costume fittings for a new uniform have been taking place, so the MCU is very obviously gearing up for the arrival of a new Captain America. But it may not happen in this show--given that the name is, pointedly, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

The MCU doesn't have much history involving legacy names and mantle passing, with the exception of Ant-Man and The Wasp or the title Sorcerer Supreme, so there is a chance that the show might somehow set up Sam embracing his new codename fully--or, that some other surprise is in store involving the MCU's plans for the codename down the line.


Sam and Bucky don't necessarily get along

Though Sam and Bucky haven't shared much screen time with one another outside of full-on combat scenes, the few glimpses we've gotten have hinted that they don't see eye to eye--and we can expect that trend to continue in the show. Based on Mackie and Stan's comments during Marvel's Hall H presentation at Comic-Con this year, their relationship will revolve around trying to push each other's buttons, testing the waters, and trying to find some sort of common ground.


Venom 2 Director Andy Serkis Says Tom Hardy Helped Write Sequel Movie

Aug 6, 2019

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While Andy Serkis was only just named director of the upcoming sequel to the Venom movie, lots of work is being done on the project already. Serkis appeared at the TCA press tour to discuss his upcoming turn as the Ghost of Christmas Past in FX's A Christmas Carol, and also took the time to speak briefly about the film.

"I'm right in the beginning stages, so I've got some very clear ideas about the journey, [and what] I'd like to see visually, and how we can take the characters into another direction," he explained.

However, Serkis also revealed that Tom Hardy, who stars as the titular Venom, is hard at work on the film's story. "Tom was very involved with the writing--with [screenwriter] Kelly Marcel--of the new story," he said. "So it's very much centered around their take."

For now, though, Serkis is simply looking forward to what's to come. "I'm excited to work with all the great actors who are involved. It's a fantastic franchise," he said. "I'm really honored to have been asked to direct it. And it feels like it's a very, again, very contemporary story. And it's I think it's going to be, hopefully, a story piece of cinema."

Still, even with a massive project like Venom on the horizon, Serkis has no plans to stop acting altogether to focus on directing. "I love doing both. I absolutely love doing both," he admitted. "And man, it's a wonderful thing to be able to go from the intimacy of playing a single character and seeing the world through that character's point of view to stepping back and envisioning and being part of creating, you know, the whole picture."

A release date for Venom 2 has not been officially announced.

DuckTales Remastered Being Removed From Digital Storefronts

Aug 6, 2019

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The old adage "good things don't last forever" could not be more accurate, as Capcom has announced that DuckTales Remastered will leave digital storefronts very soon. The classic platformer is scheduled to be delisted beginning Thursday, August 8.

DuckTales: Remastered is leaving digital storefronts in a duck-blur starting August 8th.
Life is like a hurricane, so get it on sale now or re-download it if you’ve previously purchased it. More details:
💎 https://t.co/J51wy3NiY4 pic.twitter.com/HXiDtSsUx6

— Capcom USA (@CapcomUSA_) August 6, 2019

In a blog post on Capcom's official website, the publisher explains DuckTales Remastered will be "75% off on most platforms" before getting removed digitally. It will remain purchasable until August 8 at 5 PM PT (for Xbox 360 and Xbox One via backwards compatibility), August 9 at 8 AM PT (for PS3), and August 9 at 4:59 PM PT (for Wii U). PC doesn't have a specified date, but DuckTales Remastered will be delisted at 4:59 PM PT on the platform.

Capcom notes that those who bought DuckTales Remastered digitally can redownload it even after its removal (unlike Konami's P.T., which was totally removed from the PlayStation Store back in May 2015). Further, those who own physical versions can install and play as normal. DuckTales Remastered can be purchased physically for $10 USD (on the Wii U) or $15 USD (on the other platforms) at GameStop.

In our DuckTales Remastered review, we said, "WayForward Technologies focused on the wrong elements in their attempt to bring DuckTales to the modern era. Getting the cartoon voice actors to reprise their roles is kind of neat, but now there are way too many tedious story segments. Meanwhile, the action has been made worse because of the less responsive controls, and there haven't been any elements added to make the simple combat and jumping more interesting. DuckTales Remastered will make you doubt happy memories from your childhood, or leave you baffled as to why people were nostalgic for such dull platforming in the first place."

Team Rocket Boss Giovanni Makes First Appearance In Pokemon Go

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

The final Pokemon Go Fest of the summer is now underway in Yokohama, Japan. As part of the event, special Pokemon like Shiny Poliwag and hat-wearing Pikachu are spawning in the wild around the world, but players at the venue have spotted another unusual sight: Team Rocket Leader Giovanni.

It appears the enigmatic Team Rocket boss is photobombing pictures that are taken using Pokemon Go's AR Snapshot function. A similar situation occurred during Chicago's Pokemon Go Fest this past this past June. During that event, Team Rocket grunts would similarly appear in screenshots that players took at the venue.

As we know, the villainous team would make their proper debut in the game several weeks after Chicago's Pokemon Go Fest, which suggests that Giovanni is likewise on his way to the game. What his exact role will be is still unclear, but it seems like a safe bet that players will somehow be able to challenge him to a battle.

ファッ!?!?!? pic.twitter.com/lVMEI37ZRr

— やまだインスティンクト🐤⚡️ (@YAMADA_N_DoMo) August 6, 2019

Team Rocket grunts are still periodically appearing in Pokemon Go. The evil trainers can be found at certain PokeStops, and when the Photo Disc at one of these stops is spun, they'll emerge from hiding and challenge players to a battle using their Shadow Pokemon. If players can defeat the Rocket grunt, they'll have a chance to rescue one of their Shadow Pokemon, which can then be purified for various benefits. You can read more in our Team Rocket Shadow Pokemon guide.

Even if you aren't able to attend Yokohama's Pokemon Go Fest in-person, you still have a chance to take part in the festivities. As previously mentioned, Shiny Poliwag will appear in the wild around the world for the duration of the event, and each day you'll have another chance to capture a Pikachu wearing a different hat. Niantic is also holding global challenges that all players can contribute to, with another chance to encounter the Legendary Suicune awaiting if the challenge goals can be met.

In addition to Pokemon Go Fest, a gift-themed event is now underway in Pokemon Go. As part of the event, you'll have a chance to hatch a Shiny Bonsly from the Eggs you receive in gifts. Rayquaza has also returned to Raid Battles until September 2, and this time, you may encounter its Shiny form. If you need help taking the Legendary on, be sure to check out our Rayquaza guide.

Apex Legends Introducing "Solos" Limited-Time Mode

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

Apex Legends is changing the game for a limited time starting next week. The battle royale game has always been multiplayer-only, but for a while you can try to make a name for yourself all by yourself.

Respawn promoted the "Iron Crown Collection Event" on Twitter, teasing that the Solos mode will launch August 13 and end on August 27. A Reddit post from community manager Jay Frechette said that the team will be watching the community's reaction and gauging feedback to the new mode.

"We'll talk more about Solos when it's live and you've had a chance to play it," Frechette said. "For now we're going to put it out there and see what happens and what kind of feedback we get."

Next week, only one can reign. 👑

The Iron Crown Collection Event featuring an all-new Solos limited time
mode begins 8/13. pic.twitter.com/8tG4EhIqQf

— Apex Legends (@PlayApex) August 6, 2019

This would appear to be the fulfillment of a recent promise during an earnings call to "deliver one of the most fan-requested features" in an August event. At the time the community suspected it could be a solos mode. This event is coming in-between seasons, as Season 3 is set to launch sometime before the end of September. In the same earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said Season 3 is "shaping up to be even bigger" than Season 2.

We're also expecting to see something else from Respawn in late September. The studio is planning to reveal a VR game at Oculus Connect, which is scheduled for September 25-26. Respawn has already said this isn't its "premium" Titanfall game, but that doesn't necessarily mean that this won't be set in the Titanfall universe. It has had success in expanding the universe with Apex Legends, so the studio may be planning to do it again.

Take-Two CEO Called President Trump's Comments "Disrespectful"

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

After the twin-shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas that left 31 people dead and many others injured over the weekend, President Donald Trump and other government officials have pointed the finger to video games as the cause for the mass shootings. Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick disagrees, succinctly calling these politicians "disrespectful" in the wake of the mass shootings.

In an interview with Barron's (via Business Insider), Zelnick called on government officials to address the "uniquely American" problem that is gun violence. “We’re just sickened and saddened by these senseless tragedies,” Zelnick said. “That said, blaming entertainment is irresponsible. Moreover, it is highly disrespectful to the victims and their families. The fact is entertainment is consumed world-wide…but gun violence is uniquely American. So we need to address the real issues.”

On Monday, August 5, President Trump asked for society to stop glorifying violence. He gave a speech suggesting that "the gruesome and grizzly video games that are now commonplace" are why mass shootings are becoming normalized.

The Entertainment Software Association (the organization behind E3) refuted President Trump's statement, saying "numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence." The organization told GameSpot that "more than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the US."

Blaming entertainment--especially video games--as the cause for violent acts in society is not new. Back in the 1990s, former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman spearheaded a campaign against titles like Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat. At the time, Lieberman called on the regulation of violent video games, saying, "The player is rewarded for attacking a woman, pushing her to the ground, kicking her repeatedly and then ultimately killing her, shooting her over and over again. I call on the entertainment companies--they've got a right to do that, but they have a responsibility not to do it if we want to raise the next generation of our sons to treat women with respect."

Disclosure: Strauss Zelnick was appointed to chairman of the CBS board of directors in 2018. CBS is the parent company of GameSpot and CBSi.

Arrow-verse Crisis On Infinite Earths Cross-Over Adds Iconic Batman Actor - GameSpot Universe News Update

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

Black Lightning will also finally join the Arrow-verse.

Destiny 2 Guide: Ascendant Challenge Week 1 Location Video (August 6-13)

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

Find out exactly where the Ascendant rift portal is for this week's reset in Destiny 2: Forsaken.

Anthem's Cataclysm Expansion Now Available, See The Full 1.3 Patch Notes

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

Anthem may have had a rocky launch, but EA and BioWare have remained committed to providing its promised post-launch content, including its first big world event, Cataclysm. The studio hadn't committed to a time-frame for the world event, but now it has been released alongside a large patch loaded with tweaks and balance changes.

The biggest change is the addition of new story missions in the endgame Cataclysm event. Cataclysm missions are available from the Expedition screen if you've completed the Incursion mission in the main story. It introduces modifiers to take on special missions, a new seasonal store with seasonal currency, and leaderboards.

Other significant changes include Inversions, which modify how your Javelin interacts with the environment and enemies, and changes to the Luck and Alliance system, along with loads of weapon balancing, bug fixes, and more. On the whole the changes seem geared at providing more variety and a repeatable loot grind for endgame players. A companion Guild App has also launched on iOS and Google Play.

EA's CEO Andrew Wilson recently opened up about some of Anthem's launch struggles, but maintained that the game could grow into something special. Check out the full patch notes below.

Anthem 1.3.0 Patch Notes

New Story Missions - Track Dr. Harken and unravel the mystery of the Cataclysm. Available to all players who have completed the “Incursion” mission in the main storyline.

Cataclysm - Battle Vara Brom and her forces in a dangerous new game mode that evolves over time. Teamwork is heavily encouraged as you battle against the dangerous environment and time itself, unlock secrets, and master the Cataclysm to earn all new rewards and rank up the leaderboard. The Cataclysm is available on the Start of Expedition screen for all players who have completed the “Incursion” mission.

Inversions - Sets of gameplay modifiers that impact how you face the challenges of the Cataclysm.Leaderboards - Finishing content in the Cataclysm mode adds to your score. Your score is updated to the leaderboard at the end of your run.Seasonal Currency - Complete challenges and content to earn Minor and Major Crystals. Spend that currency on the rewards in the Seasonal Store.Seasonal Store - A new store that features time-limited rewards for purchase with the seasonal currency.

Guild App - The Anthem guild app is now available for download. Create, join, and chat with guild members in-app. View your guild from the game to squad up and explore the world of Anthem together.

Download on Apple iOS Download on Google Play

Alliance System Changes - The Alliance System now includes Guild members in addition to Friends when calculating Social Rewards. (You’ll be able to create, join and chat with guild members in a new guild mobile app.)

Inversions - With patch 1.3.0 we’ve introduced a new system called Inversions, which changes the way your Javelin interacts with the environment to various degrees. Some Inversions will hinder you, some will help. Ultimately, they should fundamentally change your experience within the Cataclysm and encourage some diversification to your playstyle. Here is a full list of the Inversions you can expect (two inversions will be active each week during the duration of the Cataclysm event):

Ultimate Boost Ultimate meter from kills is increased.Turbo Gear Gear recharge rate is increased.Lightning Rod Close-range kills chain lightning to nearby enemies.Close Encounters Shotguns and Machine Pistols deal increased damage.Precision Operator Snipers and Marksman Rifles deal increased damage.Immunity Pack Ammo pickups grant brief immunity to damage.On the Edge At low armor, damage dealt increases.Soldier's Reward Killing an enemy restores a small amount of shields.From the Skies Heat build-up while hovering is decreased.Air Support Defeating an enemy while hovering grants increased damage while on the ground for a short time; stacks up to 5 times.Broken Magazine Weapons have no spare ammo, but enemies drop ammo more often.Running on Empty Firing the last shot in a weapon's clip increases all damage for a short time.

Luck Change

Luck has been removed from all items and replaced with bonus armor. As a result, drop rates from Easy through Grandmaster 1 difficulty modes will be as if they had previously equipped maximum Luck before the update. Legendary and Masterwork drop rates in Grandmaster 2 and Grandmaster 3 difficulties have increased for all players, including those who equipped maximum Luck previously.

Legendary Contract Chest Change

Stronghold Chests have been added to the end of each Legendary Contract.

Weapons

Update 1.3.0 and the Cataclysm introduces us to some new powerful sources of energy for creatures in the world, gear, and of course weapons. As part of the Cataclysm we wanted to amp up our in-game weapons and add some unique spin to their behaviors and gameplay mechanics - With that in mind, we’ve introduced three new classes of weapons with three new Masterwork/Legendary only variants:Pulse Accelerators use seal technology to generate destructive energy. “Bad Omen” - Charges to fire a burst of energy projectiles.“Rain Maker” - Fires an energy burst that explodes into smaller projectiles.“Grave Digger” - Fires an increasingly powerful stream of energy.Volt Casters use seal technology to focus ambient electricity “Jarra’s Wrath” - Blasts a short-range lightning arc.“Lightning Rod” - Calls down lightning on a specific location.“Flashfire” - Fires a lightning attack that jumps from enemy to enemy.Blade Slingers charge a circular projectile with dynamic force. “Razorwing” - Launches a heavy blade that bounces between targets.“Riza’s Ripper” - Fires a barbed blade that inflicts ongoing shrapnel damage.“Shard Storm” - Launches experimental crystal projectiles across the immediate area.Added new Match Consumables for Pulse Accelerators, Volt Casters and Blade Slingers.

Difficulty Changes:

We’ve reduced the amount of health for non-boss enemies inside Grandmaster 2 by 50%, and Stronghold bosses by 65%.Reduced the amount of shields for all enemies inside Grandmaster 2 by 35%.Reduced the amount of health for non-boss enemies instead Grandmaster 3 by 50%, and Stronghold bosses by 75%.Reduced the amount of shields for all enemies by 20%.

NOTE: These health changes do not affect our "Apex" creatures, as they had previously been adjusted.

Gear

With this update, we’re starting to introduce additional Masterworks for each of the gear slots on each Javelin to better improve end-game build diversity and introduce new mechanics.Colossus:“Again and Again” - Upgraded Siege Artillery Combo Effect: Explosive. Detonates another explosion briefly after the first.“Venom Storm” - Upgraded Burst Mortar Combo Effect: Explosive. Fires a volley of acidic rounds.Interceptor: “Tesilar Trap” - Upgraded Cluster Mine Deploys a bundle of proximity mines. Mines deal electric damage and electrify targets.“Spectre's Flash” - Upgraded Wraith Strike Projects ghost to target. Detonates Aura Combos.Ranger:“Relentless Pursuit” - Upgraded Pulse Blast Combo Effect: Impact. Hitting an enemy causes Energy Pulse to bounce to additional enemies.“Arctic Tomb” - Upgrade Frost Grenade Freezes target in place. Defeating frozen enemies will also freeze nearby enemies.Storm: “Steam Vent” - Upgraded Glacial Spear Combo Effect: Chain. Deals both ice and fire damage.“Eternal Squall” - Upgraded Lightning Strike Combo Effect: Chain. Leaves a field that deals electric damage for a short time.

Support Items

With update 1.3.0 you can finally complete the full set of Masterwork or Legendary gear. No more single lingering Epic Support Gear items ruining your complete collection! With this update, we’ve introduced two new Masterwork Support Gear pieces for each Javelin - centered around teamwork and buffing your allies as you fight your way through the Cataclysm.Colossus:“Berserker's Cry” - Upgraded Battle Cry Forces enemies to attack the Colossus, and reduces enemy resistance to damage. Additionally increases melee ability.“Surging Shield” - Upgraded Shield Pulse Fortified effect reduces incoming damage. Additionally regenerates shields through damage while the effect persists.Interceptor:“Voice of Courage” - Upgraded Rally Cry Breaks you and allies free of all status effects. Additionally revives downed squad-mates who are nearby.“Slayer's Furor” - Upgraded Target Beacon Locks onto a target, reducing their resistances and jumping to another target if defeated. Also immediately marks additional enemies around the target.Ranger:“Vanguard's Rampart” - Upgraded Bulwark Point Deploys a spherical shield. Additionally provides temporary charges for you and your allies’ Grenades, Ordnance Launchers, Assault Systems, and Blast Seals.“Tarsis' Last Stand” - Upgraded Muster Point Deploys a field that augments allies inside, increasing gun damage. In addition to gun damage, all damage is increased while inside the muster point.Storm:“Howling Veil” - Upgraded Wind Wall Creates a wall of wind to block projectiles. Additionally, enemies take damage when they hit the wall.“Anthem's Grace” - Upgraded Quickening Field Zone of power increases gear recharge rate. Additionally increases gear damage while in the field.

Melee Items

With this update, we added a significant level of build diversity by changing one of the main ways that Javelins prime and detonate combos. To do this, we are introducing new melee gear pieces that are equippable, have stats, and change the way you play. This will allow you to assemble new gear combinations not previously possible. We’ve also introduced new Masterwork and Legendary versions of these items.With this change we have also fundamentally changed the way that melee damage scales. Previously, melee damage started at a base value and then automatically increased in power based on the average gear score of the player. This had the effect of emulating an item of the average rarity and level for players, plus some average assumed inscription bonuses (and Masterwork effects if they are the appropriate level). Now that melee is it’s own actual item, it no longer uses this automatic scaling, but uses actual real scaling for the item and the bonuses that occur on that item. This means that if players want to get their melee damage back to what it was, they need to get a melee weapon of the appropriate rarity with similar inscription rolls. However, because Melee is an actual item now, there is a much higher ceiling potential than there previously was, as our “assumed” inscription bonuses were in the middle of the possible bonus range. Some important additional notes: We now include both melee damage bonus and weapon damage bonus as modifying melee weapon damage (not melee gear piece damage for Interceptors), so there are more total damage sources that boost your melee than previously existed. This should result in higher additive bonuses than were previously applied, which will help offset some of the lowered base damage.In addition (based on PTS feedback and iteration), we have increased the base damage value of all melee gear by 50%. Increasing the base value is a multiplicative change.Colossus:Seismic Glove Heavy glove that can be smashed into the ground, causing damage in a large area.“Earthshaker” - Upgraded Seismic Glove Heavy glove that can be smashed into the ground, causing damage in a large area. Sends out a shockwave that damages enemies in front of you.Inferno Glove Flaming glove that can be smashed into the ground, burning enemies in a large area.“Meteor Smash” - Upgraded Inferno Glove Flaming glove that can be smashed into the ground, burning enemies in a large area. Cracks the earth, igniting flames around your feet that burn nearby enemies.Interceptor:
“Twin Blades” Double-bladed daggers that allow for fast attacks which can be chained together.“Blades of Warding” - Upgraded Twin Blades Double-bladed daggers that allow for fast attacks which can be chained together. Hitting an enemy grants 10% increased damage resistance for 10 seconds. Stacks to 5.Venomous Blades Double-bladed daggers that poison their target.“Deathstalker Blades” - Upgraded Venomous Blades Double-bladed daggers that poison their target. Deals additional damage against enemies below 50% health.Ranger:Shock Mace Electrically charged mace that shocks enemies.“Transmuting Volt” - Upgraded Shock Mace Electrically charged mace that shocks enemies. Hitting an enemy adds 3 Ultimate charges.Seismic Mace Heavy hitting mace that deals high damage.“Rampager” - Upgraded Seismic Mace Heavy-hitting mace that deals high damage. Hitting an enemy grants 10% increased damage for 10 seconds. Stacks to 5.Storm:Explosive Strike Hits enemies with an explosive strike, dealing high damage.“Searing Blast” - Upgraded Explosive Strike Hits enemies with an explosive strike, dealing high damage. Sends out a fireball that seeks enemies.Shocking Strike Hits enemies with an electrically charged strike, shocking them.“Lightning Surge” - Upgraded Shocking Strike Hits enemies with an electrically charged strike, shocking them. Hitting an enemy restores 40% shields.

BUG FIXES

General Fixes & Improvements:Fixed a number of challenges that had the incorrect descriptions.The door into the final boss room of The Sunken has been raised slightly in order to provide an easier step up to the frame around it once the door is closed.Updated visual effects to improve visibility of Masterwork and Legendary loot drops.The following legendary missions will now count for progress towards "Daily: Legendary Missions": Legendary: Mysterious BeginningsLegendary: Dear DiaryLegendary: Vanishing ActFixed an issue to allow players to replay Mysterious Beginnings from the End of Expedition screen.Marelda’s conversation will now properly complete without ending abruptly.Telling Dax to use cartography skills will now be properly recognized.Forge Fixes & Improvements: For example: Instead of saying, "reduces recoil by -20%," (an unintentional double negative produced by directly displaying the value from the underlying gameplay system), we will now say "reduces recoil by 20%."Fixed a number of issues that could cause a crash when in the forge.Fixed a crash that could happen when swapping gear in the forge.Fixed an issue where renaming a loadout changed equipped armor parts.Fixed an issue where the gear score in the forge would be incorrect after swapping a piece of gear.Removed the loading screen when leaving the forge at end of expedition. (Should now fade to black briefly).Fixed the stats on some gear that were appearing incorrectly.Fixed an issue that could cause the pilot’s javelin to not appear correctly after making appearance changes.Fixed an issue that would cause a pilot’s javelin to not appear correctly in the launch bay.Fix issue with being able to equip the wrong gear on javelins.Edited a number of item descriptions for clearer understanding.Enemy Fixes and Improvements: Enemy Valkyrie attacks should register damage more accurately.Fixed a number of animation issues that could occur to enemies in Temple of the Scar.Fixed an issue where the Furies wouldn’t spawn in the Heart of Rage Stronghold.High force gear now causes reactions on wyverns.Fixed an issue where damage was not registering when shooting weak spots on the Fury shield.Improved light intensity of Dominion grenades.Fixed an issue in which Outlaw Outrage was using the incorrect encounter markers.Javelin Fixes/Improvements: Damage dealt to nearby enemies when the Colossus lands from a tall height now scales correctly, so it maintains its usefulness at higher levels.The Storm can now cancel its air melee with a double jump, just like the other Javelins can.Players who are downed and then fall into water will now float in the water instead of sinking all the way to the bottomWe fixed animations for the Emote Military Salute to reduce character sliding.Colossus Specific Changes: The Colossus will now utilize the same base values of Armor and Shields as the rest of the javelins, but has an inherent multiplying factor on all base values that generates the larger Armor and Shield pools. This change will better allow the Colossus to utilize Universal components without sacrificing an extraordinary amount of defense to do so. Note: Because of this change, inside the forge, the base value of the Colossus specific components will go down significantly but the amount of armor added to the Colossus should remain roughly the same (since that lower base value is multiplied by the Colossus’s new inherent bonus).Base Colossus Components Armor and Shields 250/125 → 45/45Base Colossus Armor Components Armor and Shields 300/250 → 100/100MSW/LEG Colossus Components Armor and Shields 730/290 → 145/145MSW/LEG Colossus MaxArmor Components Armor and Shields 876/580 → 320/320Base Colossus Health and Shields 900/450 → 150/150Colossus now get a multiplicative bonus to Armor that increases all Armor granted by 475%.Colossus now get a multiplicative bonus to Shields that increase all Shield granted by 237.5%.General UI Fixes and Improvements: Fixed the squad list sometimes showing up instead of the friends list in the invite.Fixed an issue where the friends list would not show up when a player’s Origin status was set to invisible.Showing the Map in an expedition now centers it on the current player position.Fixed an issue where swapping “Extended Special Arms Magazine” was causing the players HUD to display ammo count incorrectly.Library and Cortex entries can now be properly marked as read and persist upon closing the UI.Weapons/Gear Fixes and Improvements: Death from Above muzzle fixed overexposed bright elements.The Colossus component “Reinforced Hull” has been renamed to “High-Capacity Munitions” to better reflect its functionality.The Colossus component “Grand Entrance” now triggers its explosion when falling from a shorter distance than before (the new distance is roughly equivalent to a double jump height).Armor and Shield Value Changes: Universal Components Armor and Shields 10/10 → 45/45 (Plus Rarity Shift)MSW/LEG Universal Components Armor and Shields 25/25 → 145/145 (Plus Rarity Shift)MSW/LEG Universal MaxArmor Component Health 150 → 320 (Plus Rarity Shift)MSW/LEG Universal MaxShield Component Health 150 → 320 (Plus Rarity Shift)Combo and Ultimate Bonus Changes: Masterwork properties that apply a duration-based bonus (such as the bonus from the 10,000 Suns gear piece that increases all damage for a brief time) will still apply its bonus to Combos and Ultimates.Combo and Ultimate damage will now only gain damage bonuses from inscriptions if that inscription is specifically the Combo or Ultimate damage bonus inscription. Inscription bonuses that apply to a larger set of items (like Elemental Damage, or all Global damage) will not apply their bonuses.Masterwork Proc Effects The damage value from Masterwork proc effects (such as Ralner’s Blaze or Thunderbolt of Yvenia) will now deal its damage based on the item level of the item that is proccing the effect, instead of the overall GearScore of the Javelin.The following guns will now properly display their primer or detonator effect: Primers:Ralner’s BlazeSentinel’s VengeanceSiege BreakerDetonators:Artinia’s GambitTruth of TarsisFixed an issue in which Cryo Glaive and Absolute Zero could not fire its multiple charges if it was in the process of recharging.

Destiny 2 Ascendant Challenge Week 1 Location (August 6-13): Where To Go And What To Do Guide

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

We're a week into Destiny 2's Solstice of Heroes event, the last seasonal event before the launch of the Shadowkeep expansion on October 1. There's a lot to do, but with Year Two quickly drawing to a close, now's the time to push your characters up to the Power level cap of 750. As always, a new weekly Ascendant Challenge can help you do that.

As players have come to expect, the Ascendant Challenge starts out with acquiring the corresponding bounty from Petra in the Dreaming City. You'll also need a Tincture of Queensfoil, a consumable item you can earn by taking part in certain activities in the Dreaming City (or you can outright buy one). Once you have both the bounty and a Tincture, you'll head to a Lost Sector, Aphelion's Rest, which is located in The Strand, just beneath the area where Petra is sometimes found. Using a Tincture will grant you a buff, Ascendance, that allows you to see a Taken portal. This one is located partway through the Lost Sector, atop a hill--it's hard to miss if you've used your Tincture.

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Jumping into the portal takes you to the Ascendant Plane's Ouroborea. There, you'll have to explore the area to find four different blights. Enter the dome and destroy its core; you'll know you've done it when it disappears and the text "a seal breaks" pops up in the bottom-left corner. Once you've dealt with all the blights, you'll go back toward the center to destroy crystals (whose protective shield has been temporarily dropped). Just beware the knights who will chase you around as you do this--your best bet is to keep moving in a circle, which should let you destroy the crystals without allowing the knights to get too close.

Although the chest is unlikely to have much in the way of worthwhile rewards, finishing the Ascendant Challenge also completes the bounty you picked up from Petra. That rewards you with a piece of Powerful gear that is highly desirable and can increase your level, making this all worth the trouble, provided you're capable of getting it done. With The Black Armory expansion in full swing, players are back to the gear grind to get to the new level cap of 650.

Although this Ascendant Challenge is not a new one, there is a lot happening in Destiny 2 right now. Niobe Labs means the fourth of The Black Armory's new Forges to unlock, as well as a new step in the Mystery Box Exotic quest we've been tracking since the expansion released last month.

There are actually five new Exotic weapons in The Black Armory to find, four of which we know about (and one of which we can take a guess at). There's also a lot more happening in January and beyond: Bungie laid out its content calendar for the rest of Year 2, which is pretty extensive.

Titans Season 2 Trailer Reveals Superboy, Deathstroke, Krypto, And So Much More

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

If you thought the first season of DC Universe's Titans packed in a lot of superhero action, you haven't seen anything yet. The first look at Season 2, which was previously shown at DC Universe's San Diego Comic-Con panel, has debuted online and there's a lot to take in.

After starting with a recap of the significant events of Season 1, the video looks at what--and who--is to come. It offers the first look at new heroes like Aqualad (Drew Van Acker) and Ravager (Chelsea T. Zhang), as well as a suited-up Wonder Girl (Conor Leslie) and Superboy (Joshua Orpin), who was first seen at the tail end of Season 1. For those keeping track, the trailer also includes the first appearance of Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen) on the series. While Batman was seen briefly in Season 1, viewers were never shown his face.

The final reveal of the trailer gives a big hint at a villain for the season, with the arrival of Deathstroke (Esai Morales). In the comics and animated adaptations of Teen Titans, Deathstroke/Slade Wilson has been a constant nemesis of the team of heroes, and it's exciting to see the DC Universe series leaning in that direction.

Returning from Season 1 are Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft), Koriand' r (Anna Diop), Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly), and Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson). At a glance, there doesn't seem to be any new footage of Gar (Ryan Potter), otherwise known as Beast Boy, in the trailer. We're still betting on plenty of Beast Boy action this season, though.

Titans Season 2 premieres Friday, September 6.

WWE Summerslam 2019 PPV: Match Card, Date, And How To Watch

Aug 6, 2019

Description:

It's time for the biggest party of the summer, and no, we're not talking about Uncle Clark's backyard BBQ--where the Zima flows like water. We're talking about the WWE PPV Summerslam, where superstars spend an August weekend slamming each other onto mats, surrounded by thousands of people staring at them.

On Sunday, August 11, Summerslam comes to the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. It's WWE's biggest event of the summer, so the card is pretty stacked, and it's going to be a long show. Depending on where you live, the show is going to start at a reasonable hour or in the middle of the night.

Summerslam Start Times:4PM PT6 PM C7 PM ET12 AM BST (August 12)9 AM AEST (August 12)

As with most WWE events, a Kickoff Show starts the evening, and for Summerslam, the pre-show should begin two-hours prior. While none have been announced yet, there will probably be two matches on the Kickoff, and more than likely, the Cruiserweight Championship match will be booked there. As of this writing, there are nine matches on the card, and only five of them are for championships--which is a few less title matches than you normally see on a PPV.

How To Watch:

There are a couple ways to watch Summerslam, and the first is to buy it through your cable or satellite provider, but that's going to be a costly endeavor. Luckily, the WWE Network exists, a streaming service to watch WWE programming and live events. If you're a new subscriber, you can sign up for one month for free, and if the service isn't to your liking or particular tastes--or you just want Summerslam for free--you can cancel at any time.

As for the show itself, there are a few key matches to focus in on during the evening. First, Goldberg returns to take on Dolph Ziggler because why not? Goldberg's last match with the Undertaker went super-well, so let's double down (End sarcasm). More importantly, Trish Stratus returns to take on Charlotte Flair, in what's going to more than likely be an amazing match, as Stratus is still a great competitor in the ring. The highlights of the evening will be AJ Styles vs. Ricochet and the in-ring debut of Bray Wyatt as "The Fiend." Also, Shane McMahon is involved in another PPV, and while that's a bit annoying to see him in another major storyline, at least we get to see Kevin Owens destroy him. And yes, there are plenty of higher-profile championship matches on this card, but I feel like the mid-card will be the best part of Summerslam.

Below, you'll find the full match card for Summerslam, which is subject to change.

Summerslam Match Card:Goldberg vs. Dolph ZigglerTrish Stratus vs. Charlotte FlairAJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet (United States Championship)Finn Bálor vs. “The Fiend” Bray WyattKevin Owens vs. Shane McMahonBayley (c) vs. Ember Moon (Smackdown Women's Championship)Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya (Submission Match for the Raw Women's Championship)Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship)

Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday, August 11 for live coverage of the show.

Street Fighter 5 DLC Characters Announcement Leaks Ahead Of EVO

Aug 1, 2019

Description:

According to a leak, the new DLC fighters for Street Fighter V are E. Honda, Lucia, and Poison. The leak suggests the announcement is supposed to be officially made during EVO 2019, which begins August 2 and continues through the weekend.

Breaking on Steam, the leak included a new trailer for Street Fighter V that revealed the summer 2019 character bundle for the game. The video has now been taken down, but it featured E. Honda, Lucia, and Poison, who are all coming to Street Fighter V on August 4. A bundle including all three fighters will supposedly release the very next day. The trailer states that "certain costumes and Honda Senta stage" are excluded from the bundle.

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Edmond Honda, a talented sumo wrestler, has been a part of the fighting game series since Street Fighter II and also appeared in Street Fighter IV. Lucia has never appeared in a Street Fighter game before. An unorthodox detective, she made her fighting game debut in 1995's Final Fight 3. Like Lucia, Poison is a Final Fight character, first appearing in the original 1989 game. She made her Street Fighter debut in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact but only as a cameo. She wouldn't be playable in the series until Street Fighter X Tekken. She'd return in Ultra Street Fighter IV.

In our Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition review, Tamoor Hussain wrote, "With a slick new interface, fully-featured online and offline modes, and every character released thus far--plus Sakura, the first fighter from Season 3 of its DLC--Street Fighter V feels like a complete package. It has always been a strong fighting game that continues to get better over time, but it remained a game for genre enthusiasts. Arcade Edition, however, is a game that you can confidently recommend to anyone. Two years after its launch, Street Fighter V is finally fighting fit."

The 1,000-Player Battle Royale Game Has Been Canceled

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

The 1,000-player PC battle royale game, Mavericks: Proving Grounds, has been canceled. Developer Automaton Games is scuttling the project due to "insufficient funding," while the studio overall appears to be closing up shop.

The developer confirmed the news in a post on its website. "Please be advised that due to insufficient funding, the development of the Mavericks: Proving Grounds game has now ceased."

Automaton Games, which is based in the UK, has become insolvent, and insolvency practitioners Paul Appleton and Paul Cooper have been brought in to wind things down and close up the studio.

It's an out-of-nowhere update for Marvericks. Just last week, the developers announced that the game reached the Alpha stage of development--which is a major milestone for any game. Marvericks was playable at E3 2019 back in June.

Marvericks used the cloud-based SpatialOS tools that allowed the team to make massive worlds that could accommodate 1,000 players on a map. A public beta was planned for November.

One of Automaton's other games, the asymmetrical first-person multiplayer horror game Deceit, may still see the light of day despite the studio going into administration. The administrators said they are currently working on a licensing deal for the game, presumably with a different company. The free-to-play games remains available on Steam, where it has mostly positive reviews, and the joint administrators said "there will be no change in the live operation and provision of this game."

Borderlands 3 Goes Gold Over A Month Before Release

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Borderlands 3 has officially gone gold. Gearbox confirmed the game's status on Twitter and thanked everyone who contributed to its completion.

For those not up to date on the lingo, a game that's "gone gold" has been completed and is ready for manufacturing. So Borderlands 3 is in its final stage before release. Any additional changes to the game's code that are made from now on will come in the form of a day one patch or post-release updates.

We are pleased to announce that #Borderlands3 has gone GOLD! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen! We’ll see you September 13th Vault Hunters! pic.twitter.com/CgwKbTgP9A

— Gearbox Official (@GearboxOfficial) July 31, 2019

Borderlands 3 takes place shortly after the events of both Tales from the Borderlands and Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary. The game launches with four new playable Vault Hunters--Zane, Amara, Moze, and FL4K--each of whom has some of the most uniquely designed skill trees seen in any previous Borderlands title.

We've already had a chance to play as the first three. Zane can sacrifice his grenades to equip two different active skills at once, Amara's mastery of the elements allows her to mix and match the skills of every Siren that's come before her, and Moze is able to change what her active skill does by putting different weapons and armor on her Iron Bear mech.

Launching on September 13 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC, Borderlands 3 has a limited-time exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store. Once the deal is complete, the game will go to other PC platforms like Steam. Borderlands 3 is also releasing on Google Stadia once the cloud-based game streaming service launches. Though it won't have cross-platform play at launch, Gearbox is "committed" to making it happen.

One Of Our Favorite Anime Of 2019 Returns This October

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Kono Oto Kamare: Sounds of Life, which wrapped up its first season in June 2019 and landed on our best of Spring 2019 guide, will return this October, Funimation confirms. With 20 volumes in the manga series, written by Amyu, there's plenty of material fans may see in the upcoming second season.

With Sounds of Life receiving a second season, the Shonen anime will get a new opening. Crunchyroll reports that the new opening, titled "Harmony," is performed by Shouta Ao, Mio Kanzaki's Japanese voice actor in the anime. There's also a new ending, and while it doesn't have a title, Crunchyroll states that it's performed by Chika Kudo's voice actor Yuma Uchida.

Sounds of Life is a slice-of-life anime, following the Tokise high school Koto club's last member--a sophomore named Takezo Kurata--as he seeks to revitalize the club after the rest of its members graduate. Production company Funimation, where Sounds of Life is streaming, says the story is about how difficult it can be to find harmony, especially "when a delinquent and a prodigy player sign up." Sounds of Life is available on Hulu as well, so it's likely the anime's second season will arrive on the streaming platform.

According to Crunchyroll, Kono Oto Kamare: Sounds of Life's second season will air at the following times:

Tokyo MX: every Saturday during the 25:00 time slot beginning on October 05, 2019.BS11: every Saturday during the 25:00 time slot beginning on October 05, 2019.AT-X: every Monday during the 22:00 time slot beginning on October 07, 2019.Tochigi TV: every Monday during the 23:00 time slot beginning on October 07, 2019.WOWOW: every Wednesday during the 24:00 time slot beginning on October 09, 2019.Hokkaido Television Broadcasting: every Monday during the 25:25 time slot beginning on October 14, 2019.

According to the video above, Sounds of Life Simulcasts on Saturdays at 10:30 AM PT / 12:30 PM CST / 1:30 PM ET / 6:30 PM BST and SimulDubs at 1 PM PT / 3 PM CST / 4 PM ET / 9 PM BST on the anime's official Funimation page.

The Long-Awaited Dark Souls Compendium Is Finally Available--And It's On Sale, Too

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

It's been over six months since the Dark Souls Trilogy Compendium first went up for pre-order on Amazon, and the book has since been plagued by multiple delays that led some to believe it may not come out at all. But luckily for any fans who submitted their pre-order requests as far back as January, the guide is finally arriving on people's doorsteps. You can order a copy for yourself today, and it's even 34% off right now, selling for $33.09 with free shipping on Amazon. Its list price is $50.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Dark Souls Trilogy Compendium

$33.09 ($50)

See it at Amazon

Dubbed "the ultimate Dark Souls reference book," the Dark Souls compendium is a stunning hardcover book with pages printed on premium art paper. Inside, you'll find everything you need to know about the critically acclaimed trilogy, from in-depth lore to detailed, illustrated maps and a chronicle of every piece of NPC dialogue in the three games. The book also includes a bookmark ribbon and four art prints you can hang on your walls.

German publisher Future Press, which has produced collector's edition guides for other games like Bloodborne and Horizon Zero Dawn, took to Twitter to clear up some of the confusion around the Dark Souls compendium's shipping delays. On April 29, Future Press tweeted that all copies were being printed on a high-quality printer in Europe, causing an initial delay to ensure quality control. Then, on July 15, the publisher updated its followers that the books were being held for two weeks by US customs for inspection. Finally, on July 23, Future Press confirmed that the books are now in stock at Amazon, despite conflicting information in Amazon's listing and in emails some people have received.

And fortunately, people are corroborating that claim, with many reporting that their copies have finally arrived.

Completly forgot that I had this on pre order, well it arrived today, Dark Souls Trilogy Compendium. pic.twitter.com/mW01L0JBFr

— James 🎧 Playing: Star Ocean 4 (@ARKphoenix) June 13, 2019

Finally got my hands on @FuturePress Dark Souls Trillogy Compendium it was worth the wait. #DarkSouls #fromsoftware #gaming pic.twitter.com/7oMNskQulZ

— Jlt_jr (@jlt_jr) July 31, 2019

Future Press’ gorgeous Dark Souls Trilogy Compendium is finally here! Almost 500 pages worth of DS goodness! 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/8aKqHxnOCN

— Eric Flaris (@EricFlaris) July 31, 2019

So whether you've been on the fence about pre-ordering or are hearing about the compendium for the first time, it finally seems safe to place your order. There's no knowing how long it will be discounted at Amazon, where prices fluctuate frequently, so there's no better time to snag a copy for yourself or even a friend or family member (early Christmas present, perhaps?). Let us know in the comments down below--will you be picking up the Dark Souls Compendium now that it's finally shipping?

New Apex Legends Event Will Deliver "One Of The Most Fan-Requested Features"

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

EA has confirmed a new event is coming to Apex Legends ahead of the battle royale game's third season. The publisher made the announcement during its latest earnings call, where it also revealed that Apex Legends: Season 2 is performing beyond expectations.

According to VG247, Respawn will debut an in-game event in Apex Legends that will "bring new content and deliver one of the most fan-requested features." EA CEO Andrew Wilson said the event will release "in the next few weeks." No other details were provided, but if the event is scheduled to release fairly soon, it's possible we'll be given more concrete details before long.

Fans have requested numerous features for Apex Legends, so it's difficult to deduce what Wilson might be teasing. The most common requests are typically the addition of Titans--as Apex Legends is a part of the same universe as Titanfall and Titanfall 2--or a singles mode where players compete without a team. It's possible either one could happen, especially if the event turns out to be limited-time--meaning Respawn wouldn't be required to devote long-term resources towards balancing the mode.

Also during the call, Wilson said that Apex Legends: Season 3 is "shaping up to be even bigger" than Season 2, though it will utilize a similar schedule of content drops and patch releases. Season 3 is currently scheduled to begin in the second quarter of the fiscal year, so sometime between now and the end of September. Apex Legends Season 2 battle pass is scheduled to end in the final days of September, so it's probably safe to assume Season 3 will begin then. Wilson also reiterated that EA plans on porting Apex Legends to mobile devices, though he did not share when that might be.

Apex Legends is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. In our Apex Legends review, Phil Hornshaw wrote, "Apex Legends is a mix of smart shooter ideas that makes for a competitive, team-based game that gets at all the best parts of battle royale while addressing a lot of the weaknesses. Respawn's intense focus on team play makes Apex more than just a worthy addition to the genre; it's an indicator of where battle royale should go in the future."

Hobbs & Shaw Review Roundup: Here's What The Critics Are Saying About New Movie

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

The Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw hits theaters this week, and ahead of that, reviews have started to appear online. To help you get an idea about if the film is worth your time and money, we've rounded up review scores and opinions from various outlets. GameSpot reviewer Chris E. Hayner said it is "wildly entertaining and loaded with the kind of thrills you come to expect from Fast & Furious movies"

Hobbs & Shaw stars Dwayne Johnson as former federal Agent Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham as mercenary-for-hire Owen Shaw. The pair are forced to become reluctant allies to take on genetically modified ex-MI6 agent Brixton Lore, played by Idris Elba. It's directed by David Leitch, who made Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde, as well as co-directing the first John Wick movie.

You can see a rundown of Hobbs & Shaw reviews below, while more information on the film's critical reception can be found on GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

Hobbs & Shaw (2019)Directed By: David LeitchWritten By: Chris Morgan, Drew PearceStarring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen MirrenRelease Date: August 2 (United States)GameSpot

"Ultimately, Hobbs & Shaw is probably the movie you want it to be. It's funny with massive-scale action, the likes of which you rarely see outside of this franchise. It's loaded with car chases, explosions, and fight scenes in which every character should repeatedly die. It's just unfortunate that the pieces of the film that aren't soaked in action don't add up. This movie could have been incredible. Instead, it's just a lot of adrenaline-fueled fun. Sometimes, though, that's more than enough." -- Chris E Hayner [Full review]

The Wrap

"Hobbs & Shaw generally doesn't reinvent any wheels in the franchise. But it does underscore the undeniable chemistry between bonafide action figures Johnson and Statham in a film that doesn't try to be anything more than a frivolous blockbuster, but with heart." -- Candice Frederick [Full review]

Indiewire

"Overloaded with hit-or-miss action sequences, a half-baked supervillain, and paint-by-numbers plotting about a virus with the potential to destroy the world, Hobbs & Shaw often struggles to surmount the low bar of today's blockbuster standards. But at the center of it, Johnson and Statham inhabit a higher plane, with such alluring chemistry as their hatred pulls them together it's a wonder they don't just get a room." -- Eric Kohn [Full review]

Entertainment Weekly

"If you can ever be too fast or too furious, too banter-y or too bald, that's a vanishing point that goes unrecognized in Hobbs & Shaw — a testosterone motherlode so relentlessly, ridiculously adrenalized, it doesn't so much unfold as steadily defibrillate you." -- Leah Greenblatt [Full review]

The Hollywood Reporter

"Hobbs & Shaw can be a great deal of fun much of the time. The two leads' highly competitive shtick is more amusing than not — the insults fly hot and heavy — as are the outrageously adverse predicaments over which they invariably manage to gain an upper hand. Director Leitch figuratively winks at the audience and elbows it in the ribs as he has his characters break the laws of physics time and time again.." -- Todd McCarthy [Full review]

The AV Club

"The sincere dopiness never sits well with the wiseass, self-mocking tone that Leitch adopts in the early, more energetic stretches of the film. The difference between being too smart for one's own good and not being smart enough can be perilously thin. " --Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [Full review]

ScreenCrush

"Hobbs & Shaw is the movie version of a replacement-level player. It is adequate, but not exceptional. It's the baseline version of what one of these movies should be, now that they're not about undercover cops chasing thieves anymore.." -- Matt Singer [Full review]

Pokemon Go Surpasses One Billion Downloads

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

The immensely-popular Pokemon Go has surpassed another impressive milestone. According to Pokemon website Serebii, the mobile game has been downloaded more than one billion times since its July 2016 launch.

Serebii caught a Japanese Pokemon Go advertisement released by the Pokemon Company. The video notes that the augumented reality game has been downloaded more than one billion times worldwide.

Serebii Update: Pokémon GO has been downloaded 1 billion times since its launch in July 2016 https://t.co/gDbXkHSvkT pic.twitter.com/2XcXzUbo5u

— Serebii.net (@SerebiiNet) July 31, 2019

Pokemon Go's rising numbers aren't too surprising. Two months after market introduction, the game was downloaded 500 million times by September 2016. By February 2017, developer Niantic announced that Pokemon Go surpassed 650 million downloads. 800 million downloads was the last figure Niantic announced back in May 2018 before jumping over the one billion download mark.

The announcement comes off the heels of new features being introduced to Pokemon Go. A shiny version of Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald legendary Rayquaza is now catchable until September 2. Team Rocket finally made its debut, bringing along sShadow Pokemon as the evil corporation took over PokeStops. And with August right around the corner, Niantic confirmed that Saturday, August 3, is the next Pokemon Go Community Day.

Netflix In August 2019 - Best New Movies And TV Shows To Watch!

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Find out what shows, originals, and films are coming to the streaming platform in August as we list our top recommendations, including Mindhunter Season 2, GLOW Season 3, and The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance!

Hearthstone's Most Exciting New Saviors Of Uldum Card, Zephrys The Great, Is Your Own A.I. Helper

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Hearthstone's upcoming Saviors of Uldum expansion is introducing a lot of interesting new cards that are sure to shake up the meta-game. But during its final card reveal livestream, Blizzard introduced one of the coolest and (according to its engineers) most complicated cards yet: the Legendary Zephrys the Great.

Zephrys is a 2-Mana 3/2 Legendary minion that grants you a wish for "the perfect card." Under the hood, that means the game is examining all the public factors in your game, and offering you three options for cards that might help. If you happen to need to clear the board, he might offer you some area-of-effect spells. If your board is already solid, maybe he'll offer you a buff.

No Caption Provided

It's a simple concept, but it was apparently extremely hard to implement. Game Designer Chadd Nervig said on Twitter that "the amount of effort that went into bringing you this one individual card absolutely dwarfs all other cards." He also pointed out that Zephrys is even smart enough to hand you lethal damage to finish a match before you necessarily realize why it's offering a particular card.

My favorite card that we've ever made. The amount of effort that went into bringing you this one individual card absolutely dwarfs all other cards.
My favorite thing is when you play him, and are like "<card>? That's weird, why would it... OH WAIT THAT'S LETHAL!" pic.twitter.com/7BuD6WPlTp

— ✨🐉 (@Celestalon) July 31, 2019

In follow-up tweets, Nervig explained that Zephrys only looks at all the public info in a game--like how many cards are in your hand, minions on the board, and Mana crystals--but not private info like what you or your opponents' cards are. Also, for obvious game balance reasons, Zephrys won't ever offer you a way to replay him, like a bounce-back effect. It also comes with a limitation in that your deck can't have any duplicates. This is commonly known in Hearthstone as a "singleton" or "Reno" deck.

As a Legendary card, Zephrys will be difficult to pull from random packs and expensive to craft. But as a value-generator that's smarter than the average card, it's probably a smart pick to be among your first crafted cards for Uldum.

For more cards from Hearthstone's Saviors of Uldum expansion, including our own reveal of the powerful puzzle Mogu Cultist, check out our full gallery of all the cards coming in the expansion. Saviors of Uldum launches on August 6.

Ubisoft Announces Nintendo Switch Rabbids Game For China

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Ubisoft looks to be targeting its Chinese market, as the publisher announced a new Rabbids game featuring Chinese themes is on its way to Nintendo Switch. The game, possibly titled Crazy Rabbid: Adventure Party, will be shown at ChinaJoy this weekend.

Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted that the game is a four-player "Rabbids meets Journey to the West" experience developed by Ubisoft Chengdu. It has a Mario Party quality to it, with various mini games where you cooperate with and play against your friends. Check out the reveal trailer below.

New Rabbids Party game coming to Nintendo Switch.
Will be shown at ChinaJoy this week.
Rabbids meets Journey to the West. 4 Players. Developed by Ubisoft Chengdu. pic.twitter.com/E9AAV1g3N5

— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 31, 2019

A post on the official Chinese Ubisoft page says "the world[s] of [the] game [are] inspired by 'The Journey to the West,' a traditional Chinese literature." Journey to the West, normally attributed to Chinese novelist and poet Wu Cheng'en, was published in the 16th century and serves as an extended look at the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who explored the Western Regions of Central Asian and India.

While the post is in Chinese and translator services aren't always accurate, Crazy Rabbid is looking to test "your ability to react, remember, endurance, and accuracy." ChinaJoy, the largest gaming and digital entertainment conference in China, runs from Friday, August 2 to Monday, August 5. We'll learn more about Crazy Rabbid: Adventure Party then, though there's no confirmation whether the game will release in other regions.

Crazy Rabbids wouldn't be the first exclusive Rabbids game for Nintendo Switch. In August 2017, Ubisoft released Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, a turn-based, tactical RPG similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, for the console-handheld hybrid. In our review of the game, we said, "Coupled with the annoyingly infectious allure of Rabbids, and the always delightful, colorful world of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is an implausibly engrossing formula that is positively challenging and endlessly charming."

Pokemon Go August 2019 Community Day: Start Times, Shiny Ralts, Event Move, And More

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Between the arrival of Shiny Rayquaza and the long-awaited debut of Team Rocket, this summer has certainly been busy for Pokemon Go, and now the game's next Community Day is just around the corner. Niantic is hosting its next monthly event this Saturday, August 3, which means players around the world will soon have another opportunity to catch a rare Pokemon and add a special event-exclusive move to their repertoire.

Traditionally, each Community Day only runs for three hours, but the specific details of the events--such as what Pokemon will appear more often in the wild and what other bonuses will be available--tend to vary month by month. To help you prepare for this month's event, we've rounded up all of the most important details about August's Community Day below, from its start times to its featured Pokemon and everything else you need to know.

What Is August's Featured Pokemon?No Caption Provided

Every Community Day revolves around one "featured Pokemon," which serves as the sort of star of the event. Not only will this monster spawn in the wild much more often than it normally does during the Community Day hours, you'll also have your first opportunity to find and catch a Shiny version of it. This month, the featured Pokemon will be Ralts, a Psychic/Fairy Pokemon originally introduced in Ruby and Sapphire.

Throughout the Community Day, Ralts will appear in the wild much more frequently than usual, making this a good opportunity to catch as many as you can and stock up on Ralts Candy, which you'll need to power up its CP and evolve it. On top of that, you'll have your first chance to catch a Shiny Ralts during the Community Day hours. Shiny Pokemon are a rare sight in Pokemon Go, however, so you'll want to stay out as long as you can to ensure you encounter one before the event ends.

Pokemon Go Guide: How To Catch And Purify Team Rocket's Shadow PokemonPokemon Go: Shiny Rayquaza Appearing In Raids This WeekWhat Is August's Community Day Move?

In addition to appearing in greater numbers than normal, each featured Pokemon is capable of learning a special event-exclusive move that it otherwise couldn't normally use in Pokemon Go. To obtain this move, you typically need to evolve the featured Pokemon into its final form by the end of the event. Ralts is unique in that it has two possible final evolutions, Gardevoir or Gallade, but regardless of which one you choose, it will learn the Psychic attack Synchronoise if you're able to evolve it up to an hour after the Community Day ends.

Any Gardevoir or Gallade you obtain during August's Community Day will learn Synchronoise, even if you originally captured their pre-evolved forms before the event. However, they'll only learn the special attack if they're evolved during the aforementioned time frame. Evolution is a costly process in Pokemon Go, so you'll need to capture as many Ralts as you can during the event to amass enough Candy.

What Time Does August's Community Day Start?

Community Days typically run from 3-6 PM local time, but much like last month's event, August's Community Day will take place from 4-7 PM local time instead. According to developer Niantic, the hours were pushed back slightly to make the event more enjoyable during the hot summer months. This is only a temporary change, however; Niantic says the schedule will return to its normal times once summer is over.

What Other Bonuses Are There?

Along with increased Pokemon spawns, Niantic offers a few other bonuses during each Community Day as another incentive to participate in the event. As usual, any Lure Modules you use will last three hours during the Community Day, rather than their usual 30-minute duration. On top of that, Incubators will be four times as effective as normal; that means Pokemon Eggs will hatch at a quarter of the distance they normally require. You can read more about August's Community Day on the official Pokemon website.

Sky: Children Of The Light Review - Flying Free

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

When you start up Sky: Children of the Light, numerous messages shoot across the screen as it loads. Messages informing you of server connections, the reception of in-game currencies, and the like are commonplace for games with an online focus, but there’s one short message that feels uniquely descriptive to thatgamecompany’s fourth title: "Finding new friends." It's just a simple notification that you’re being connected to other players in this intimately connected universe, but it’s also a strong message of what Sky is really about. Although it mimics many gameplay elements from Journey, it’s Sky’s evolution of those ideas that makes it a fascinating multiplayer experiment with deeply meditative qualities.

Playing Sky is incredibly similar to Journey. You control a robed figure, recognizable as a small child, and navigate a series of small environments connected only by the constellations in the stars they share above. Sky keeps things simple by tasking you with navigating its environments and holding down a single button to soar into the air and take flight. Flight is central to Sky’s otherwise simple mechanics, letting you execute gorgeous maneuvers through the clouds or delicately glide between the remains of mysterious ruins. Expressive yet subtle animations make each movement in the air feel delightful, even though you’re doing little more than controlling your direction. Swooping down into the clouds only to tilt upwards at the last minute is rewarded with a cute pirouette, for example, letting the wind engulf your robe and accurately shape it in the wind.

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Flight isn’t free in Sky. Flying draws light from your robe, which limits how much aerial freedom you have. Light is collected from any light source you come across, and it’s your job to spread it around in turn. You ferry around light with candles, using them to spread fire to unlit lanterns and shrines. You can also use light to burn away corrupted vegetation or scare dangerous wildlife that will attack you in the dark. Glowing, faceless children are scattered around each new area you explore, bestowing you with wings that help you upgrade the amount of light you can store at a time, in turn letting you fly longer. You can lose wings when you’re carrying no light and take damage from enemies or environmental hazards, though you can easily pick them up again. Sky doesn't feel punishing at any point, but it does use these gentle nudges to remind you of how great it feels to have a bounty of flight at your fingertips and what it might feel like to lose it again.

Collecting light is beneficial to getting around, which in turn lets you discover lost spirits that govern the central progression in Sky. Each area has a star constellation that you slowly complete by saving lost spirits and returning them to the skies above. Most of these are simple exploration puzzles. By diligently poking around, you find blue outlines of long-forgotten beings, each creating a breadcrumb trail to follow that tells a short story of the spirit it’s leading to. These are moments frozen in time, telling vague stories that can come across as anything from humorous to tragic. It’s cheerful to see a skit of two clumsy beings attempting to move objects far bigger than them from one room to another, and equally sober to witness another in anguish, mourning a painful loss. Sky’s story is intentionally vague so that you fill in the blanks, interpreting what purpose light serves in its world and why its sacrifice is meaningful.

Sky is entirely playable alone, and you're not required to find any fixed number of its spirits to finish it. But it’s also a game with a big emphasis on sharing your experience with strangers. You aren’t a unique figure in its world, and certainly not the only one carrying light to its eventual end. Instead, your journey is consistently filled with other players, each on their own adventure that you can choose to partake in for just a moment or two. You can contribute in small ways. A passing player might hold out their candle for you to light, letting you replenish their light in turn if you choose to. To befriend another player, you need to share a candle with them, permanently linking you two and adding them to your friends list (which is suitably represented by a growing constellation). You never see these players' names; instead, you name them based on your interactions with them. It feels like meeting someone new for the first time, but not immediately being able to speak to them. You can use taps to let out audio pings that help gather other players around you, but you're also able to take a seat on a bench, wait for another player to sit next to you, and engage in a more direct, text-based conversation if you choose.

The most interesting way to interact with other players is with emotes, which are unlocked with each new spirit that you free. You can use these emotes to express yourself to other players, with anything from a simple wave or a point in a direction to more intimate displays of friendly affection, like hugs. There are also separate emotes and actions you can unlock by increasing your friendship with other players. By rewarding each other with consumable candles, you’ll unlock unique abilities (which can also only be used between you two) that can change the way you navigate through each area. My personal favorite was the ability to form long chains of players by holding hands, with one player guiding the group to new places while using everyone's collective light to fuel the flight. This also helps new players see areas they might not yet possess the ability to reach, granting Sky a cooperative nature that's remarkably easy to engage with.

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This simplicity helps some of Sky's more demanding puzzles, where cooperation between multiple players--anything between a single pair to a full group of eight--is required. Some doors, for example, require two players to light urns at the same time to open. Other more demanding challenges task up to eight players to gather around an octagon and light old runes in a specific order. Although these challenges are rarely hard to decipher, and finding enough players to participate with was never an issue in my time with the game, simply trying to get everyone to alight in more group-focused tasks was slightly frustrating. Since none of these puzzles are required to continue through Sky, they're easy to overlook.

Sky weaves its focus on forming friendships into its microtransaction model, too, which changes the rules of what you’ve come to expect from these systems in a big way. Hearts are used to purchase cosmetic items, but you can't buy them outright. Instead, you can purchase candles (which you can also get in-game) which can then be packaged and sent to a friend as a heart. This is the only way to earn hearts, meaning you’ll need to depend on the gracious gifts of friends you’ve made in Sky to kit yourself out in some fancy new clothing. There are also options to purchase seasonal passes that unlock more straightforward daily quests and a few pieces of exclusive clothing, but for the most part you’ll be focused on forming new bonds with strangers and exchanging gifts with them frequently if you’re invested in standing out from everyone else visually.

Your first flights through a temple in the sky or the hurried dash you need to make between awnings of large mushrooms in a rain-soaked forest are delightful.

This means that you’ll likely be playing Sky well after the credits have rolled on your initial playthrough, which can take anywhere between four to six hours. You can collect any outstanding spirits you likely missed, especially since some aren’t even accessible without having played later areas in the game. You also need to reacquire your wings for flight again, due to story reasons you learn about during the finale. All of this means that you’ll be revisiting many areas you’ve already soared through at least once before, which can remove some of the splendor you experienced the first time around. This is especially true when you’re breaking from their intended flow to poke around the environment in search of small crevices you missed the first time. This feels like it goes against the natural harmony of Sky's intended path, signposted with simple nudges that point you in the right direction. When you’re solely focusing on completion, Sky just isn’t as compelling.

Yet, there’s a meditative quality to return visits when you’re simply looking for a brief escape. Your first flights through a temple in the sky or the hurried dash you need to make between awnings of large mushrooms in a rain-soaked forest are delightful the first time around. Their mixtures of stunningly detailed environments and suitable stirring music are impactful, and less so when you’re running around in circles trying to see if there was a small crevice you forgot to explore.

Sky is both different to everything thatgamecompany has made before but also a smart evolution of what makes its games special. It's simple to play while feeling incredible at the same time, making the act of flight exciting every time your feet leave the ground. It also features a fascinating spin on in-game purchases, locking its most alluring rewards behind the action of making friends and making a positive enough impression on them. That means you have to play a lot of Sky to eventually work towards what you want, which saps some life out of the gorgeous vignettes you're free to explore. But it's no less memorable for the ideas it presents or calming in the way it gives you the freedom to pursue them, making it another journey worth seeing through.

Marvel's Eternals: Everything We Know About The MCU Phase 4 Movie

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

Meet the MCU's newest aliens

The Eternals may be over a year away, but that doesn't mean we're completely in the dark. An explosive Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con gave us a wealth of new information about the MCU's mysterious new team--including a confirmed cast list, release date, and some vague rumblings of a plot. During the presentation, Marvel Studio's boss Kevin Feige promised it would be going "full Jack Kirby," a nod to not only one of the chief engineers of superhero comics dating back to the 1940s, but the Eternals sole creator who functioned as writer, artist, and editor on their original run of stories back in the 70s.

This won't be the first time Marvel has tapped into the Kirby aesthetic for one of their films with Thor: Ragnarok leaning into his distinctive style and sensibility in brand new ways. So, if Ragnarok was only partly committed to the Kirby bit, we can't wait to see what happens when director Chloe Zhao decides to play for keeps.

We've rounded up every piece of news from the panel and beyond. Let's break it down.


The cast is stacked

The rumors about the Eternals cast have been swirling for months now, but thankfully the panel at Comic-Con provided official confirmation of the roster.

Angelina Jolie as Thena

Richard Madden as Ikaris

Kumail Nanijani as Kingo

Salma Hayek as Ajak

Bryan Tyree Henry as Phastos

Lauren Ridloff as Makkari

Lia McHugh as Sprite


It's phase 4's second movie

In addition to the official cast, we also got the release date: November 6, 2020. Just six months after Phase 4's first movie, Black Widow.


Their origin story has been changed

During the Comic-Con panel, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and star Richard Madden gave us a few story details. The Eternals are "a group of immortals who have been on earth for 35000 years, but we haven't met them before," Feige explained. Madden continued, "The Enternals are immortal aliens, sent to earth by the Celestials to protect the earth from the deviants."

This means that the Eternals original origin story--a creation myth that weaves them into the fabric of human evolution from the dawn of man--has been updated. They're no longer an evolutionary offshoot of humans, but an alien species who have been sent to Earth.


The Celestials are already around

While we can't be completely sure if the MCU's take on Celestials actually created the Eternals like their comic book counterparts, or if they simply control them, we can be sure that they're already lurking around the MCU. In Avengers: Endgame, Nebula namechecks Vormir as the "center of Celestial space," and we've seen various effigies of them in movies like Thor: Ragnarok used as set dressing.


Three of the characters have been majorly updated

Three of the main characters have been completely overhauled from their comic book origins. Makkari, Ajak, and Sprite have been gender-swapped and will be played by women. We also learned during the Comic-Con presentation that Makkari will be the MCU's first deaf hero.


Phastos is joining the ranks of the MCU's geniuses

On the flip side, Bryan Tyree Henry's Phastos seems to be following the comics very closely. In the Hall H panel, Henry confirmed that his character would be a genius--and that he's excited to join those esteemed ranks. "I feel like the geniuses at Marvel are the ones with the biggest hearts," Henry explained, "and I feel that about Phastos."


The Deviants (and the Celestials) are the villains, probably

At the moment, only the Eternals themselves have been officially cast, but the Deviants have been confirmed to appear in the film--most likely as antagonists. However, it's just as likely that the Celestials themselves will act as villains at one point or another. In the original comics, the Celestials represented a constant threat as they returned to Earth to purge their creations. That's certainly one way to up the ante after Thanos.


Xbox One Game Deals: Dragon Ball FighterZ, SoulCalibur VI, And More

Jul 31, 2019

Description:

The Xbox Store is constantly offering new deals on a weekly basis, but this week's round of game discounts will be exciting for any fighting game aficionados. In celebration of Evo 2019, the annual fighting game tournaments held August 2-4 in Las Vegas, the Xbox Store is offering huge discounts on some of the event's biggest games, like Dragon Ball FighterZ and SoulCalibur VI. The following deals are available through Monday, August 5.

If you've yet to pick up Dragon Ball FighterZ, the anime-inspired fighting game is only $15 USD (was $60), with its FighterZ edition on sale for $38 (was $95) and its Ultimate Edition marked down to $44 (was $110). The Dragon Ball FighterZ Fighter Pass is also discounted to $19.24 from $35. Tekken 7 is also majorly discounted right now, with its standard edition selling for $20 (was $50), its Rematch edition selling for $40 (was $80), and its Ultimate edition selling for just $50 (was $100). Alternatively, you can also pick up Tekken 7's season passes separately, as both passes are also on sale.

You can also grab SoulCalibur VI for super cheap--the standard edition is marked down to $19.79 (was $60), while the Deluxe edition is now $36 (was $90). Other highlights from the Evo sale include the Capcom Beat 'Em Up bundle for only $10 (was $20), Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite - Deluxe Edition for $19.79 (was $60), and the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection for $20 (was $40).

If you've already got all the fighting games you need, it's worth checking out all the DLC marked down as part of the sale, too. There are a ton of discounted characters, costumes, music packs, and more, so now's a good time to grab various upgrades for any titles you own.

See all Xbox One game deals

Best Xbox One game deals | 7/29 - 8/5Capcom Beat 'Em Up bundle -- $10 / £8Dragon Ball FighterZ -- $15 / £12.49Dragon Ball FighterZ Fighter Pass -- $19.24 / £16.49Dragon Ball FigherZ - FighterZ Edition -- $38 / £30Dragon Ball FighterZ - Ultimate Edition -- $44 / £41Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite -- $13.19 / £10.88Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite - Deluxe Edition -- $19.79 / £16.49Mortal Kombat 11 - Kombat Pack -- $34 / £27.87Mortal Kombat 11 - Premium Edition -- $85 / £68Samurai Shodown -- $51 / £42.49Samurai Shodown - Deluxe Edition -- $68 / £56.94SoulCalibur VI -- $19.79 / £16.49SoulCalibur VI - Deluxe Edition -- $36 / £30Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection -- $20 / £17.49Tekken 7 -- $20 / £16.49Tekken 7 - Rematch Edition -- $40 / £32.49Tekken 7 Season Pass -- $15 / £12Tekken 7 Season Pass 2 -- $22.49 / £18.74Tekken 7 - Ultimate Edition -- $50 / £40Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 -- $10 / £8

Fortnite: Dance In Front Of 10 Different Birthday Cakes Location Guide | Birthday Challenges

Jul 26, 2019

Description:

The cakes have landed! In this week's challenge, we locate the 10 birthday cakes scattered across the map in honor of Fortnite's 2nd birthday event! Once found, a quick dance in front of each one will seal the deal, here's where to go. Captured on PC.

Everything We Know About Black Widow

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

The first movie of Marvel's Phase 4 is just around the corner

There was a lot of news coming out of San Diego Comic-Con, but some of the most exciting had to do with Marvel's Phase 4 plans, which blew the roof off of Hall H on Saturday at the convention. Fans were treated to first looks at new cast lineups and animatic logos for upcoming projects, and Marvel Studios even teased some potential avenues the shared cinematic universe could travel in the future. But the biggest segment of the panel went to Black Widow, the first movie of Phase 4-- Marvel actually brought footage and a trailer exclusively for fans in the room.

Though the reel shown in San Diego isn't currently available online, we gathered as much information from both it and the panel as we could. Here is everything we know about Black Widow, from its release date to its star-studded cast.


The cast is a mix of new and familiar faces

Scarlett Johansson is returning as Natasha Romanoff

Florence Pugh is Yelena Belova

David Harbour is Alexei, aka Red Guardian

Rachel Weisz is Melina

O-T Fagbenle is Mason


It's got an official release date

Black Widow heads to theaters on May 1, 2020.


It will deal with the infamous "Budapest" story somehow

Long-time MCU fans will understand the weight of Black Widow (and Hawkeye's) association with Budapest. The two characters first referenced their shared history in Budapest back in the first Avengers movie and Budapest has since come up time and time again as a sort of inside joke just for the two of them. The only problem is, we--as in the audience--have yet to get any real indication of just what happened in Budapest that made it so memorable for them. Absolutely no details have been shared. Clearly, it was something big--otherwise, why would they be referencing it so frequently and in so many situations--but whether it was good, bad, or something in-between has been totally left up to the imagination.

At least, that is, until now. The footage shown to fans in Hall H during Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel started, pointedly, with a title card announcing that the scene shown did indeed take place in Budapest. Looks like one of the MCU's greatest mysteries is finally going to be solved.


It's set between Civil War and Infinity War

During an interview with IGN, David Harbour confirmed that the movie will be taking place after Captain America: Civil War, presumably before Avengers: Infinity War. Maybe we'll even get an explanation for why Natasha went the bleach blonde route for her Infinity War look somewhere in here.


Yelena and Natasha go way back

During the Hall H footage, Natasha and Yelena go all in for a knock-down-drag-out brawl in the middle of an otherwise very peaceful apartment complex. The two are so evenly matched that they seem to be almost mirroring one another--a pretty clear indication that they share a lot of the same background, at least as far as their martial arts training is concerned.

Then, to really sell the idea that these are two characters with some poignant shared history, the minute the fight stops they break out the vodka and Yelena playfully calls Natasha "sis."


Mason has some complicated feelings for Natasha

O-T Fagbenle's character Mason is a new addition to the MCU--and it's unclear whether he's actually based on any character in the Marvel universe at large. He may be a version of Rick Mason, a SHIELD-adjacent side character also known as "The Agent," or he may be a totally new invention for the movie.

Regardless of who he may or may not be based on, Fagbenle teased a flirtatious relationship with Natasha during the Hall H panel, winking that Mason's feelings for the Black Widow may become an issue for him during the film.


Alexei may be linked to Captain America

David Harbour's character, Alexei, is known in the comics as The Red Guardian, a Russian WW2 hero who was actually married to Natasha for a period of time. It's unclear what Alexei's story will be in the MCU, but Harbour walked out on stage wearing a Captain America t-shirt under his suit coat. When the panel moderator asked if Cap was his favorite, Harbor teased that his character has some "complicated feelings" on the matter, leading us to believe that we may get some connection between Alexei and WW2, if not Steve Rogers himself, in the movie.

After all, with Hydra and the Red Room skulking around Europe through the end of the war, it would make sense for other cryo-freeze experiments to have been taking place, right? Maybe Steve isn't Marvel's only "man out of time." Otherwise, Red Guardian is traditionally positioned as Russia's original answer to the Super Soldier project--so that could be another potential explanation if they choose to drop the WW2 connection. Either way, things are likely to get pretty complicated and very, very interesting.


Melina might be Iron Maiden

We don't have much information about Rachel Weisz's character, Melina, just yet, but the comics could hold some answers. The Melina most closely associated with Natasha throughout Marvel history is Melina Vostokoff, aka Iron Maiden, a Russian spy and agent who developed a deep hatred of Natasha after being forced into her shadow for years.

It's not entirely clear whether Melina will be featured in the film as an antagonist, or if she will have completed her Iron Maiden evolution by the time we meet her, but it does put the potential for a major link to the confirmed villain of the film.


Taskmaster is here to make everyone miserable

The Hall H footage featured the reveal of a familiar face for Marvel fans: Taskmaster, a long-time antagonist for all sorts of superheroes, easily picked out of a lineup by his distinctive full-face skull mask, sword, and shield.

In the comics, Taskmaster is the alias of Tony Masters, a highly trained fighter and mercenary with the ability to mimic any move or combat skill after seeing it once.

However, in the clip, we saw Natasha confronting Taskmaster on a bridge, but he was never unmasked and never spoke, meaning that it's possible there might be another trick up his sleeve. In fact, he may not be a "he" at all. There is no confirmation that this Taskmaster is Tony Masters--in fact, it might be an updated version of Melina's Iron Maiden identity.


Astral Chain Hands-On: Two Characters Make Combat A Fast-Paced Blast

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Platinum Games upcoming Nintendo Switch title, Astral Chain, makes you a metaphysical anime K-9 cop. It's as cool as it sounds, mixing some light investigation mechanics with a little bit of platforming and a two-character combat system that gives a new twist to Platinum's approach to stylish, hard action.

At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Nintendo offered GameSpot our first chance to get hands-on with Astral Chain. We played a small portion of the game that took place a few hours in, which seemed more akin to a side quest than a main story mission. The slice gave a brief look at a lot of what Astral Chain has to offer, including its combat system and investigation mechanics, and how they'll both work together with the game's central conceit--controlling two characters at once.

You play a member of a special police force unit called Neuron in Astral Chain, and your duties include dealing with the fact that the astral plane is spilling over into the real world. With it comes monsters, but you have a special trick for dealing with those, too: a Legion, your own astral plane entity that can fight monsters for you automatically or follow your commands. Your Legion is basically like a sword-wielding dog you lead around on a leash. The Legion attacks hostile creatures on its own, but you can also tell it where to go and what to attack.

Your Legion is basically like a sword-wielding dog you lead around on a leash.

The slice of Astral Chain we played started with a case about a missing woman who had seemingly come under attack from an astral plane monster, known as a chimera. Heading to the crime scene means walking through Astral Chain's city, where you'll find citizens to speak with and shops where you can buy useful items. Talking with people can give you information about the game's story and the cases you'll work on as you progress through the game, and like a real cop, you'll keep notes about important information you learn along the way. Conversations that took place before our slice of the game had brought up mention of something called "the Red Ghost," which turned out to be the chimera we're hunting.

Arriving at the crime scene gave a quick sense of what Astral Chain's investigations are like. This case required checking certain spots on the ground where evidence had been marked. We were able to see a reconstruction of the victim lying on the ground after the attack and picked up some other information about the event, and eventually, we found a place where the chimera's astral plane energy had warped reality slightly. That was the clue we were looking for.

No Caption ProvidedUsing Your Supernatural Police Dog

As you walk around in Astral Chain, your Legion isn't necessarily always by your side, but you can just about always summon it with a quick press of the ZL button. You can use it to analyze astral plane evidence, and when we brought our Legion to check out what had happened at the crime scene, it was able to detect an astral trail the chimera had left behind. Now we were using the Legion like a bloodhound, navigating through the streets as it illuminated the trail. Before long, Astral Chain presented another use for the Legion--it can allow you to cross large gaps and leap to distant locations.

When you summon the Legion, it'll float around on the end of its spectral leash and follow you, but you can take control of its movements by holding ZL and using the right thumbstick. Positioning the Legion on the far side of a gap lets you use it to pull you across the abyss, making it useful for platforming. You can also direct it to specific spots to activate switches and solve simple puzzles.

Eventually, the Legion led us to a portal to the astral plane where the chimera had taken the woman. The astral plane is a spooky, strangely geometric and minimalist landscape, basically filled with arenas for battling enemies and locations to use your Legion to solve puzzles. It was here that we got our first taste of combat, which, despite sometimes requiring you to control two characters in the heat of battle, is actually intuitive and easy to pick up.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7One Player Co-op Combat

You only have one attack button in Astral Chain, which you'll pound away on as you fight enemies to create combos. Variety in combat is created by how your weapon can transform seamlessly; you wield a high-tech police baton that can change shape to fit the situation. It starts as a small, fast melee weapon, but can be switched to a powerful, slow, heavy sword called a gladius, or morphed into a pistol. You can switch your weapon on the fly to change your attacks as you pummel enemies, and stringing several attacks together builds a combo.

Fighting is less about performing a bunch of complex moves and more about exact timing to link your attacks with those of your Legion. String six hits together and you'll see a blue circle appear on your character as time briefly slows, prompting you to hit ZL to summon your Legion. Do that in time, and the creature will spring into action, adding another big hit to your attack. You can then follow up with another strike of your own, which triggers another Legion prompt, and so on. After you've done enough damage, you can also activate finishing moves with your Legion, which sends your partner to rip out a chimera's "ability core," and restores your health and increases how long your Legion can fight at your side.

Your other major ability is a quick dodge that can get you out of harm's way, and slipping past incoming attacks at the absolute last second gives you another opening to send your Legion in for an attack. Combat quickly becomes a fast-paced concert of attacks on open opponents and dodges that give you chances for counter-attacks, with your Legion leaping in and out to extend your combos. When you're not actively telling your Legion what to do, though, it engages whoever's closest on its own, without requiring you to babysit it.

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The result is the ability to control both characters, or just one, depending on the situation. You still need to be aware of both characters, though--your Legion disappears if a timer that starts when you summon it runs out, and more time gets subtracted as it takes damage.

The Legion has a few other tricks, too. The creature is leashed to your wrist with its spectral chain, but if you control the Legion directly, you can wrap that chain around enemies (including bosses), which briefly locks them in place and stuns them. And like your weapon, you can switch it between a few different versions, like a sword-wielding take, or a slower, more hulking one. The sword Legion can be called on for special moves, too. We fought a big shield-wielding enemy, which required lots of combos with the Legion to beat, but later, it was joined by a floating pink baddie that could create a tether between it and its allies, rendering both invulnerable. Calling on the Legion allows you to take direct control of it for a sword strike that can cut things in the environment, including that energy tether. Slicing through it broke the invulnerability bond, allowing us to send the Legion to fight one enemy while we took on the other.

After fighting some smaller enemies, we took on the chimera we'd been hunting, a multi-headed dog creature called, of course, Cerberus. The boss fight felt pretty typical to action games, with the monster winding up for big ground-smashing attacks that sent shockwaves outward, or leaping into the air to come hurtling back down toward us. The skill in the fight was in recognizing and dodging incoming attacks to create openings for the Legion to strike at the Cerberus. Avoiding attacks was a big focus since the boss could do massive damage to both you and your Legion; you need to protect yourself and pay attention to where your partner is to keep both of you alive and dishing out combo damage.

No Caption ProvidedMore Astral Police Work

The fight was tough, but in all not too overwhelming. Astral Chain's combat feels relatively simple when you first pick it up, which helps keep it accessible, but the number of things you can do with your Legion as you get used to the speed and timing of a fight adds a lot of complexity. The result is a combat system that allows you to do a lot of cool things as you get better at it, but which adds difficulty in the amount of attention and coordination it demands. Astral Chain wants you to be constantly thinking in two directions, and the skill involved in its fights comes both from quick reactions and timing, and from keeping track of both characters so you can use them effectively without getting either one killed.

The Astral Chain demo wrapped up with defeating the boss and returning the woman safely back to the human world--only to discover that in the meantime, chimeras had started appearing all over the place and the astral plane was bleeding through into the real world. Civilians were scattered around the area where chimeras were showing up, so we were tasked with clearing out the enemies--along with a giant, sword-wielding boss creature--in order to save them.

Astral Chain wants you to be constantly thinking in two directions.

Though the demo only lasted 20 minutes or so, our look at Astral Chain was enough to get a sense of how fast and satisfying its combat can be. It looks as though your Legion will be an integral part of the entire experience, which offers a lot of depth to a combat system that's otherwise simple enough that just about anybody can pick it up.

The demo was a little thinner on what the other half of the game will be like, as you venture through the city talking to other humans and solving metaphysical crimes. The investigation in our slice of the game was pretty shallow and simplistic, but the inclusion of the notebook suggests that doing police work will be a bigger part of the game and might be more complex than just interacting with certain spots on the ground.

What's clear is that there are a lot of cool ideas at work in Astral Chain. Platinum Games' newest take on combat changes up the usual approach to action games just enough to feel fresh without being overwhelming, and its metaphysical setting and two-character mechanics suggest everything beyond fighting will be pretty interesting, too. We won't have to wait long to see how Platinum's new ideas work together as a whole; Astral Chain is due to hit Nintendo Switch on August 30.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Ending Explained: What Really Happened?

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the latest movie from iconic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, shines a spotlight on a very specific era in Hollywood: the late 1960s. It's a time during which Tarantino was a young kid, but one he seems to almost worship in this movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as a washed-up TV cowboy and his stunt double/best friend. The two live next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate's house in the Hollywood hills--the house where, on August 9, 1969, members of the Manson family cult murdered the latter, her unborn child, and three of her friends.

That's how it happened in real life--but events in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood play out slightly differently. This is your final spoiler warning.

The Manson cult's portrayal in the movie is, largely, accurate. The "family" really did occupy Spahn Ranch, where an aging George Spahn let them run amok in exchange for their help with operations. Tourists getting horseback rides at the ranch seems entirely plausible. And the cultists who set out to do "the devil's work" that night are accurately portrayed in the movie as well, including Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel.

However, there's one key difference in the movie that causes the whole ordeal to end on an entirely different, and much happier, note during the film's climax: The reality is that DiCaprio and Pitt's characters, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, are entirely fictional. Everything that involves them never happened, including Booth's visit to Spahn Ranch, Dalton's haranguing of the cultists as their loud car idled in front of his house, and the fight with the cultists at the end.

In real life, Tex and his cohorts entered Tate and Polanski's house and murdered Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant, along with her friends Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger (of the Folgers coffee family).

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In the movie, Kasabian (played by Stranger Things Season 3's Maya Hawke) abandons her co-conspirators after their encounter with Dalton in the cul-de-sac. The remaining three cultists enter Dalton's house--not Tate's--where Booth recognizes them as the "hippies" he encountered at Spahn Ranch. Booth sics his very good dog Brandy on Tex, and manages to (brutally and with extreme conviction) kill or maim all three. When the last cultist stumbles outside into Dalton's pool, blindly firing her gun, Dalton retrieves his flamethrower from the shed and roasts her.

In the end, Tate and co. remain safe and sound next door, and Tate finally invites Dalton in for a drink. Booth has a minor stab wound from which he'll recover. Brandy will receive lots of treats, scritches, and pats. Presumably, they all become friends and live happily ever after.

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Even as Once Upon spends ample time in asides and flashbacks watching Dalton shoot Westerns and seeing Booth beat up Bruce Lee, it deftly builds tension. By the time the movie actually gets to that fateful night, you might even realize that you don't actually want to see what you fear is about to happen. In that way, OUATIH's altered ending is a relief.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's ending is not unlike that of Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino's 2009 film in which a ragtag squad of scrappy Jewish marines succeed in assassinating Hitler along with most of the Nazi leadership in one spectacular and supremely unexpected climactic scene. OUATIH is built on the dread of what the audience knows is coming--the Tate murders--much like first-time viewers expected Inglourious Basterds' assassination plot to fail.

A shot from the movie within the movie, The 14 Fists of McCluskeyA shot from the movie within the movie, The 14 Fists of McCluskey

The comparison is overt. Tarantino even acknowledges it himself when, during OUATIH, Dalton thinks back on his starring role in the fictional film The 14 Fists of McCluskey, in which he torches a room full of Nazi generals from a balcony--which is similar enough to the actual climax of Basterds that it's clearly deliberate.

But there's more to this ending than mere shock value and wish fulfillment. In case you couldn't tell from its title, it bears pointing out that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a fairy tale--one about this specific era in Hollywood. It's a glorification of figures like Dalton and Booth, who, despite feeling used up, clearly have real, not superficial, value--or so Tarantino wants to convey. The point of this movie seems to be that this really was Hollywood's golden age, and Tarantino appears to wish it had never ended. Fairy tales have happy endings, and that's why, in the film's version of events, a couple of old TV cowboys prevent the Tate murder from taking place, ensuring the golden age could live on.

Flash Deal: Get Fire Emblem: Three Houses For $46 With Free Shipping (US)

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Fire Emblem: Three Houses releases Friday, July 26 on Nintendo Switch, and surprisingly, the game is already on sale at release. If you live near a Walmart, you can pick up the game for just $49.94 in stores on release day. But an even better deal is available for a limited time at MassGenie, where you can get the game for $45.95 with free shipping as part of a limited-time Power Deal. While coupon code FETHNSWITCH is technically valid until July 31, we expect this Power Deal will sell out quickly, as over 300 copies have been sold already and only 360 copies total were reserved for the offer, according to MassGenie.

No Caption Provided

Get Fire Emblem: Three Houses for $45.95

To claim the deal at MassGenie, either click the button above or head to the product page and hit the button that says "Power Deal." You'll be prompted to either log in or create a free account if you don't already have one. Afterward, you'll be redirected to checkout, where you'll see coupon code FETHNSWITCH automatically applied, dropping the price to $45.95.

The game earned a 9/10 in GameSpot's Fire Emblem: Three Houses review for its variety of characters and storylines, streamlined strategy elements, rewarding time management requirements, and more.

"A second playthrough treads familiar ground in the beginning, but after learning and growing so much in the first, it feels fresh, too," wrote GameSpot's Kallie Plagge. "That speaks to Three Houses' mechanical complexity and depth as well as the connections it fosters with its characters--and whether you're managing inventories or battlefields, it's the kind of game that's hard to put down, even when it's over."

Fire Emblem: Three Houses Free Update Will Add An Even More Challenging Mode

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Fire Emblem: Three Houses arrives on Nintendo Switch this week. Like previous installments in the series, you'll have the option to play the game on a couple of different difficulties, but if those aren't enough of a challenge, Nintendo will be adding an additional difficulty setting post-launch.

On its official Twitter account, Nintendo announced that an even more challenging difficulty mode is coming to Three Houses as part of a free update. The company hasn't announced exactly when the update is expected to be released, only noting that it will be out sometime "later this year."

That isn't the only post-release content on the way to Three Houses. Nintendo also has several pieces of DLC in the pipeline for the game. First, the company will release Officer's Academy outfits for protagonist Blythe on launch day, July 26. After that, new Auxiliary battle maps and more will be added to the game by October 31. Additional quests and costumes are expected to arrive by December 31, and finally, new story content that will introduce additional playable characters, locations, and more will release by April 30, 2020.

All four waves of DLC are included as part of Three Houses' expansion pass, which retails for $25. The base game, meanwhile, typically costs $60; however, players in the US an pick it up on launch day for $10 cheaper from Walmart. You can read more about Three Houses and its expansion pass on Nintendo's website.

Reviews for Three Houses are starting to go live ahead of its release, and the game has received a positive reception from critics. GameSpot awarded it a 9/10 in our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review. Critic Kallie Plagge wrote, "Fire Emblem: Three Houses asks a lot of you. Every piece, from battle to friendships to training your units, must be managed both individually and as part of a whole. It can be intimidating, but when it all clicks together, it really clicks."

Best PS4, Switch, Xbox One Deals In Best Buy's Black Friday In July Sale (US)

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

While many major retailers like Walmart, GameStop, and Ebay pulled out all the stops to compete against Amazon during Prime Day 2019, Best Buy was relatively quiet, aside from a 48-hour flash sale that didn't offer much in the way of gaming deals. Rather than attempting to break through all the Prime Day noise, Best Buy launched its sitewide Black Friday in July sale a couple weeks later, and early access is currently available for My Best Buy members. That early access period ends after July 25.

At the most basic level, My Best Buy membership is free, and all you have to do is create an account to start shopping the sale. Being a My Best Buy member gets you 5% back in rewards on qualifying purchases, free shipping on all $35+ orders, and more, so it's not a bad idea to sign up.

In terms of gaming deals, you'll find PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and even some PC games marked down. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night for PS4 and Xbox One is on sale for $30, and a free metal case is included. Other notable game deals include Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Switch) for $20, Resident Evil 7: Gold Edition (PS4, Xbox One) for $20, and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PS4) for $15. On the hardware side, you'll find an Xbox One console deal that throws in an extra wireless controller and copy of Halo 5: Guardians for free. You can also save $30 on a bundle of two DualShock 4 controllers, and if you're into streaming, you can get a Logitech webcam and Yeti Blue microphone for $60 off.

Check out more details on the best gaming deals below!

See all deals in Best Buy's Black Friday in July sale

Game dealsAssassin's Creed Odyssey -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One)Battle Chasers: Nightwar -- $30 (Switch)Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night -- $30 (PS4, Xbox One) - free metal case includedDarksiders - Warmastered Edition -- $20 (Switch)Days Gone -- $40 (PS4)Death Mark -- $30 (Switch)Dragon Marked for Death -- $40 (Switch)The Escapists 2 -- $30 (Switch)The Evil Within 2 -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)Forza Horizon 4 -- $30 (Xbox One)Friday the 13th: The Game - Ultimate Slasher Collector's Edition - $40 (PS4, Xbox One)The Golf Club 2019 feat. PGA Tour -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One)Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One)Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice -- $15 (PS4)Judgment -- $40 (PS4)Little Dragons Cafe -- $40 (Switch)Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle -- $20 (Switch)The Occupation -- $15 (PS4, Xbox One)Overcooked 2 -- $30 (Switch)PES 2019: Pro Evolution Soccer -- $50Red Dead Redemption 2 -- $35 (PS4, Xbox One)Resident Evil 7 - Gold Edition -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One)Sea of Thieves -- $25 (Xbox One)Sega Genesis Classics -- $15 (PS4, Xbox One)Starlink: Battle for Atlas Starter Pack -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch)Strange Brigade -- $15 (PS4, Xbox One)Super Bomberman R -- $30 (Switch)This War of Mine -- $30 (Switch)Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus -- $20 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner -- $20 (PS4)Console & accessory deals

No Caption ProvidedGet a free game and bonus controller with select Xbox One consoles

See deal at Best Buy

If you're looking to pick up an Xbox One, you can get some bonuses by doing so during Best Buy's sale. The bonuses include a free copy of Halo 5: Guardians and a free black Xbox wireless controller in addition to the bundle itself. The available bundles include two Xbox One X and two Xbox One S bundles with Battlefield V or NBA 2K19.

No Caption ProvidedSave $30 on two DualShock 4 controllers

See deal at Best Buy

Best Buy is also offering a combo deal if you buy two DualShock 4 PS4 controllers. Select colors are already $5 off, and when you buy two together, you'll save an additional $20.

No Caption ProvidedInsignia wireless controller -- $10, free extension cables included

See deal at Best Buy

The Insignia wireless controller works with the NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles. Not only is it 50% off at Best Buy right now, but you'll also receive a two-pack of extension cables that work with the consoles' wired controllers.

No Caption ProvidedSave $60 on Yeti Blue mic and Logitech webcam

See deal at Best Buy

If you're looking to get into game streaming, you can grab two streaming essentials and save $60 on the pair as part of Best Buy's sale. The bundle includes a Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam and a Yeti Blue Microphone, available in three colors: black, blue, and silver.

No Caption ProvidedLogitech M325 and M310 wireless mice -- $10

See deal at Best Buy

Normally listed at $20 each, these Logitech wireless mice are available for 50% off for a limited time. Available in a wide range of designs and colors, the Logitech M325 and M310 mice are great, affordable options for everyday use.

No Caption ProvidedWD Easystore 4TB External Hard Drive with 32GB USB Flash Drive -- $90

See deal at Best Buy

Originally listed at $160, this hard drive/flash drive combo is on sale for only $90. Compatible with both Mac and PC, the portable hard drive has a 4TB storage capacity with data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps with USB 3.0.

No Caption ProvidedAstro Gaming A50 Wireless Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset -- $200

See deal at Best Buy

Need a new headset? The Astro Gaming A50 wireless headset is 30% off, selling for $200 instead of $300 during Best Buy's sale. Available in both blue and green, this headset features Dolby 7.1 surround sound and can handle up to 12 hours of gaming on one charge. It's compatible with both PS4 and Windows.

No Caption ProvidedAcer Nitro 5 15.6" Gaming Laptop -- $600

See deal at Best Buy

This Acer gaming laptop is $200 off from its usual price of $800 and features a 15.6" full HD display, an Intel Core i5-8300H mobile processor, and 8GB of system storage. It also comes with a 256GB solid-state drive and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card.

What's New To Shudder In August 2019? Horror Movies, TV Shows, And Exclusives

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

There are plenty of streaming services to choose from, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. However, their horror selections can be pretty weak. Luckily, AMC's Shudder exists, a service that deals only with horror movies and TV shows. The streaming service has revealed what's new for August, and there is plenty to watch, especially if you love '80s horror.

When the folks at GameSpot are talking about horror movies, I try my hardest to work in a reference to the 1987 horror film/borderline musical Slumber Party Massacre II. I once even got to write a tiny piece about it. Well, it's time to talk about my favorite cheesy horror movie of the '80s once again because it's coming to Shudder on August 5. The movie follows Courtney, who was the younger sister of the "New Girl Across The Street" in the first film. She's in a band with some friends, and they go to a condo for the weekend to rock out with their boyfriends. That doesn't sound much like a horror movie, especially when the film has three different song breaks. However, Courtney is haunted by visions of her sister, who is locked up in an insane asylum, and eventually (like WAY later), a rockabilly guitarist is on the prowl, killing off everyone with his drill-guitar...and dancing in the living room for some reason. Please watch this, so I have someone to talk about it with.

If you like your antagonists to have more depth and not be an amalgamation of things producers thought looked cool in 1987, then you'll be excited to learn that a slew of Freddy Krueger movies are coming to Shudder on August 1. You can relive all the over-the-top dream murders from the first six A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and check out the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again, which chronicles the film franchise.

AMC's horror TV series NOS4A2, based on the Joe Hill novel, has its first episode drop on August 8 with new ones arriving every Thursday. The series follows an artist who has the ability to track Charlie Manx, an immortal who feeds on the souls of children and dumps their corpses in Christmasland, Manx's bizarre Christmas village.

Below, you'll find everything headed to Shudder in August, and please, watch Slumber Party Massacre II when you get the chance.

Coming to Shudder in AugustAugust 1Raising Cain (1992, Brian De Palma)A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)A Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)A Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors (1987)A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master (1988)A Nightmare on Elm Street V: The Dream Child (1989)Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)August 5The Slumber Party Massacre (1982, Amy Holden Jones)Slumber Party Massacre II (1987, Deborah Brock)August 8NOS4A2 (2019) -- New episodes on Thursdays through October 10August 12Chopping Mall (1986, Jim Wynorski)Get My Gun (2017, Brian Darwas)Why Horror? (2014, Nicolas Kleiman and Rob Lindsay)August 15Incident in a Ghostland (2018)August 19Bad Moon (1996, Eric Red)Hell Night (1981, Tom DeSimone)August 26Humanoids From the Deep (1980, Barbara Peeters and Jimmy T. Murakami (uncredited))The Love Witch (2016, Anna Biller)August 29Belzebuth (2017)

Arrow's Stephen Amell Says He's Done Wrestling, But AEW Has Other Ideas

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Filming on the final season of Arrow is underway, with the show's last 10 episodes set to debut in the fall. Once production on the show is wrapped, star Stephen Amell will be looking for a new job. While finding a new role on the big or small screen might be the natural place to start, there's always another more physical option for Amell.

As it stands, the actor has there professional wrestling matches under his belt--one for WWE, another for ROH, and a singles match at 2018's All In. Now that the wrestlers that organized All In have launched a promotion in All Elite Wrestling, it's easy to wonder whether Amell could call the new company his wrestling home.

However, according to the Arrow star himself, that's likely not happening. Speaking to GameSpot at San Diego Comic-Con, Amell said, "I've got a very, very lovely, accommodating, and thoughtful wife and I risk divorce if I get back in the wrestling ring."

The actor also revealed that he fractured his hip during his All In match against Christopher Daniels, and AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes said Amell kept the injury to himself after the match. "He didn't even tell anyone, though. You'd think he would want to take a badge of honor and the warrior's feeling that comes with it. But he kept it secret," Rhodes told GameSpot at the TCA press tour. "He's a total stud, total wrestler."

Rhodes also isn't so sure fans have seen the last of Amell wrestling. "I could see him coming and doing something with us for sure," he admitted, with one caveat. "He's not allowed to do anything with WWE. I want to have it. He's got to come back and hang with us. I mean, technically he's part of the Elite and the Bullet Club. So when it's time, he'll have to get back in the ring. Maybe in a little bit safer environment. Maybe like a tag match, something of that nature, but it's in his blood now."

Time will tell who's right about Amell's second career as a wrestler One thing is for sure, though. "When he's ready, and when Arrow's wrapping up, there's a home for him at AEW," Rhodes declared.

AEW's weekly show launches October 2 on TNT. Meanwhile, Arrow's final season premieres October 15 on The CW.

Pokemon Go: Last Chance To Get Armored Mewtwo

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Pokemon Go's latest Legendary Pokemon, Armored Mewtwo, has been a regular presence in Raid Battles for the past couple of weeks, but it won't be around for much longer. This special version of the Legendary Psychic-type will only be available until 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET / 9 PM BST on July 31, making this your last opportunity to add one to your collection.

Unlike a standard Mewtwo, this version of the Legendary Pokemon is sporting the power-suppressing armor it wears in the Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution movie. Not only is its appearance different, but it has more defense-oriented stats than a regular Mewtwo, and it is capable of learning different attacks.

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Like most other Legendaries in Pokemon Go, Armored Mewtwo will appear in five-star Raids. You must team up with other players in-person and battle the Legendary Pokemon first, before you can earn a chance at capturing it. Despite its different appearance and stats, Armored Mewtwo is still a pure Psychic-type, which means it's weak to Ghost, Dark, and Bug Pokemon such as Giratina, Tyranitar, and Scizor.

Armored Mewtwo isn't the only Pokemon leaving Go soon. You also only have a few more days to catch a Pikachu wearing a straw hat, which is spawning around the world as part of a One Piece crossover event. Straw hat Pikachu will only appear in the wild until July 29, so time is running out to add one to your collection if you haven't already.

In other Pokemon Go news, Team Rocket has begun appearing in the game. You can challenge Rocket grunts at certain PokeStops and then catch the Shadow Pokemon they leave behind. Niantic has also announced the first details for August's Community Day. The event is set for Saturday, August 3, and the featured Pokemon this time will be the Psychic/Fairy-type Ralts.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Complete Series Nearly 50% Off At Amazon Right Now (US)

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

There's a discount for the complete series of Avatar: The Last Airbender on Amazon right now. The Blu-ray is 43 percent off, knocking down the price of the beloved series to $25.73 USD.

Composed of three phenomenal seasons, Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a world where certain people are born with the gift of telepathically manipulating one of the four elements--earth, fire, water, and air--by performing a martial art called bending. The series stars Aang, a 12-year-old airbender who's also the Avatar, a being who reincarnates after death and each time is born with the ability to learn how to bend all four elements.

No Caption ProvidedAvatar - The Last Airbender: The Complete Series

$25.73 ($45)

See it on Amazon

After accidentally crashing into an iceberg and being cryogenically frozen, Aang awakens over a century after the Fire Nation developed industrialization and went to war against the other three kingdoms. The Fire Nation began its conquest with the extermination of the Air Nation--knowing the Avatar would reincarnate there next--killing every citizen in it and making Aang the last surviving airbender. Aang sets out to learn how to bend the other three elements so he can be powerful enough to stop the Fire Nation, initially only accompanied on his quest by the waterbender Katara and her normal brother Sokka, and then also joined by blind earthbender Toph and disgraced Fire Nation prince Zuko.

No Caption ProvidedThe Legend of Korra: The Complete Series

$29.39 ($33)

See it on Amazon

Though the discount isn't quite as large, Avatar: The Last Airbender's follow-up The Legend of Korra is also on sale on Amazon right now. The complete series of The Legend of Korra is 11 percent off, knocking the price of the Blu-ray down to $29.39 USD.

Taking place after the death of Aang, the four-season series follows Korra, the reincarnation of the Avatar after Aang. Like The Last Airbender, the beginning of The Legend of Korra is about the new Avatar learning how to bend the elements she doesn't have a grasp on (with air, ironically, being the one she requires the most help with). Korra eventually goes out into the world in order to make it a better place, as Aang did before her, though her journey is a lot less black and white, exploring more nuanced themes like racism, sexuality, physical disability, and religion.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review - Blood In, Blood Out

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

In Wolfenstein's alternate 1980s, Nazis remain a tyrannical force of evil and oppression across Europe, even after Hitler was killed by series protagonist BJ Blazkowicz. Thus, the Nazi killing continues as the Blazkowicz twins, Jess and Soph, pick up where their parents left off for a spin-off in Wolfenstein: Youngblood--a relentless co-op shooter driven by an unapologetic, youthful attitude. It may not reach the same narrative heights of its predecessors or land every idea borne out in its new approach, but Youngblood hits where it counts.

Our introduction to Jess and Soph shows how their parents, Anya and BJ, taught them the means for survival on their rural Texas homestead. There's a tense tone of protective parents who've been through the worst and are preparing their daughters to be able to handle the same, which is quickly juxtaposed with the twins' carefree exuberance when alone together. Bring in the wizkid best friend Abby, daughter of Wolfenstein 2's Grace Walker, and you have a trio that brings their own unique swagger to the Wolfenstein name.

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Their personalities immediately come to life. Jess and Soph are boisterous and sometimes dorky, the same way many teenagers and young adults are, and it gives them genuine personalities that mostly just come off cool as hell, especially with stellar voice acting. They'll go back and forth about their favorite superspy novel series Arthur & Kenneth, even imagining themselves as their beloved in-fiction duo. They'll refer to things their parents have done, hype each other up in combat, and just straight up act silly in the elevator loading screens to the tune of '80s synthpop background music, breathing new life into the Blazkowicz family.

The game is less about a bold, fleshed-out narrative and more about instilling an infectious charisma in its star characters to match the over-the-top action and sow the seeds for what's next in Wolfenstein.

It's not long before they take a turn for the absurd; with BJ gone missing, they uncover clues to his disappearance and take matters into their own hands. But they're not exactly sneaking out of the house or secretly taking their parents' car out for a drive. They're taking a military-grade helicopter to Nazi-occupied France to find their dad, and well, kill Nazis. As either Jess or Soph (with your co-op or AI partner as the other sister) and equipped with high-tech Da'at Yichud battle suits, you join a French resistance movement in Neu-Paris, which quickly boils down to you raiding Nazi outposts and strongholds.

With Jess and Soph inseparable, co-op is at the heart of the experience, and thankfully partnering up online is a breeze. As a host you can have friends (or randoms) jump into your session seamlessly without interruption; the AI will assume control until a player connects and again right as a player leaves. If players have identical missions in the quest log, completing it will record progress for both players. And if you'd rather go it alone alongside a decent AI companion, it's just as viable an option for the entire game.

Youngblood captures that familiar Wolfenstein feeling of taking an automatic shotgun to a Nazi soldier, melting an armor-clad supersoldier with a laser rifle, or zapping a horde with a lighting coil, and what a powerful feeling it is. But what's new is that tougher enemies have one of two armor elements that are weak to corresponding weapons, encouraging you to actively juggle your varied arsenal. Furthermore, a slightly more diverse weapon upgrade system helps flesh out some familiar firearms to get them to function the way you prefer and tear through enemies more efficiently.

Light RPG elements also make their way into the character progression system; you rack up XP then dump upgrade points into new skills and perks, like raising health/armor caps, increasing cloak times, stocking heavy weapons, and much more. Enemies scale to your level, and only a few sections are defended by near-impossible enemies early on. It's a simple system that helps facilitate steady unlocks, making you feel like you're getting ever more devastating, but never overpowered.

Solid gunplay and some neat mechanics wouldn't mean much without the proper combat encounters to complement them, and Youngblood delivers. You'll often find yourself pulling out all the stops to either finish combat scenarios or realize you have to retreat and rethink your approach. A completely stealthy approach isn't as viable as it was in previous Wolfenstein games, even with the new cloaking ability, but it's a good way to thin out the opposition before going all-out guns blazing. It can get overwhelming when supersoldiers, massive mechs, and a bomb-strapped panzerhund bear down on you, but that's when Youngblood is at its best. Intense firefights can break out anywhere with little warning, and the main missions manage to keep a consistent action-packed momentum throughout.

Youngblood captures that familiar Wolfenstein feeling of taking an automatic shotgun to a Nazi soldier, melting an armor-clad supersoldier with a laser rifle, or zapping a horde with a lighting coil, and what a powerful feeling it is.

Admittedly, co-op centric features are a bit sparse. Each sister has a roster of emotes and motivational quips called pep signals that provide stat buffs or much-needed armor/health. However, that's pretty much what you get in terms of tandem abilities, and the absence of some sort of joint attack or tag-team abilities feels like a missed opportunity. In the fray, partners will be frantically trying to revive each other or falling back on shared lives which work like instant continues, taking the place of a traditional checkpoint system. It can be frustrating to make it to the final fight of a main mission, run out of shared lives, and be sent back to the very beginning of the mission. But if anything, it's a crude way to emphasize cooperation and tactical gameplay.

Overall, Youngblood leans more into an open structure by making Neu-Paris a group of separate districts (open hub areas) where you find your missions. After a brief introduction, you're tasked with assaulting three "Brother" towers--your main quests--attached to each hub area. Out on the streets, though, side missions and random events fill in the spaces and are conducive for racking up early XP, getting familiar with district layouts, and soaking up the vibe of a downtrodden 1980s Paris, but these missions quickly feel like filler that bulk out your to-do list.

The design of the districts are striking, however, and you'll see hints of Arkane Studios' influence; when I'm double jumping and mantling to the rooftops and top floors of buildings, I'm reminded of Dishonored, especially as I search for collectibles and chests full of currency. This approach also spices up combat with some verticality and the opportunity to flex the agile capabilities of those slick Da'at Yichud suits. The Brother towers even have alternative entry points that you'll have to discover yourself or find through side missions. It's a successful incorporation of that studio's strengths, and the game is better for it.

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The Paris catacombs acts your safe hub in Youngblood, and it's where you accept side missions from resistance members, stock up on supplies, or hit up the old knock-off Wolfenstein 3D cabinet. It's not as extensive as The New Colossus' U-boat home, and you won't get much from its inhabitants--they're nowhere near as involved as Wolfenstein 2's supporting cast since they're just quest givers. However, Jess, Soph, and Abby are there to pick up the slack.

They might be polar opposites of their parents, but it gives Youngblood its own flair. BJ's inner monologue and struggle internalizing life-long trauma is at the heart of modern Wolfenstein games, and Anya has seen the pure evil of the Nazi regime first hand through the years. Naturally, Jess and Soph have vastly different characterizations, only knowing a post-war world and presumably growing up in a stable household. They capture the spirit of a carefree youth, yet they share the same unfettered motivation for killing Nazis; it would seem that Anya and BJ taught them well.

The story doesn't reach the same highs as mainline Wolfenstein games, namely The New Colossus. It’s an incredibly tough act to follow, really. But aside from a cheap plot twist and underwhelming villains, most of Youngblood's lean story is quality stuff. To that end, the game is less about a bold, fleshed-out narrative and more about instilling an infectious charisma in its star characters to match the over-the-top action and sow the seeds for what's next in Wolfenstein. Despite Youngblood taking place after events we've yet to see unfold in the mainline games, it leaves the door open for some exciting, wild possibilities for where the series could go.

Jess and Soph are boisterous and sometimes dorky, the same way many teenagers and young adults are, and it gives them genuine personalities that mostly just come off cool as hell...

Throughout Youngblood, traces of an ongoing game structure become more pronounced once you finish the main story. You can take on daily and weekly challenges as they cycle into the game, which offer some additional XP and currency to unlock any remaining abilities and weapon mods. What's a bit more substantial is the option to replay story missions on harder difficulties (hard, very hard, and challenging) for increasing amounts of XP and currency. While it's a bog-standard way to keep the co-op experience going, they at least offer an outlet to try new tactics, as these harder modes can become quite unforgiving. The endgame may not be extensive, but the ride was exciting enough that the content feels like a little value added.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood has the series' signature first-person shooting thrills that'll have you gladly busting shots and blasting lasers in the face of Nazi trash--and the opportunity to do so alongside a friend. It incorporates some new ideas which are serviceable for the most part, but hits more of the right notes in RPG elements and level design. It also knows the resistance doesn't end when one person cuts the head off a monstrous regime; the fight continues, sometimes into the next generation. And the way this brief spin-off broadens the saga with the Blazkowicz twins makes you wish there was more to see from this new cast of lovable knuckleheads. Jess and Soph--and Abby too--learned from the best, and embrace their newfound duty of ridding their world of tyranny while being cool as hell doing it. Youngblood is short, but oh-so sweet.

What's New To Hulu In August 2019? Movies, TV Shows, And Originals

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

August is right around the corner, and that means streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have revealed what's coming to its services for the upcoming month. And if you're a Hulu subscriber, you're in luck because there are plenty of movies you'll want to watch.

Right at the beginning of the month, Hulu is dropping a ton of movies and roughly 12% of those movies are Star Trek-related. That's right, Spock, Kirk, and the gang will be invading your screen as Hulu releases nine Trek movies. Star Trek 1-6, 8, 9, and Nemesis all arrive on August 1. Watch Captain James T. Kirk yell "KAHN" or watch the crew travel back to 1986 to hang out with some whales. If only Hulu was also releasing Generations and Insurrection, so you could binge them all in one, very long sitting.

If space and science-fiction aren't up your alley, then how do you feel about the personification of Death, trying to end people's lives? Are you into that? If so, the first four Final Destination movies are headed to Hulu on August 1 as well. In those movies, the concept of death is actually attempting to kill people. However, some can see his plan and avoid their demise. Can the trick the being that ends lives for a career or will they ultimately meet their maker? I'm making this movie sound a bit smarter than it actually is. You're going to watch this for the Rube Goldberg-esque death sequences.

What about anime? Well, if you're looking for a series where every character you know and love will eventually be eaten by giantantic beasts--which will make you cry a lot--then you'll want to check out Season 3A of Attack on Titan, which arrives on August 6. Based on the popular manga series, the show follows a world that's been under attack from Titans, humongous, expressionless humanoids who eat people. Humans build a wall around their city, but that doesn't always work out for them. It's emotional, terrifying, and action-packed. Who's your favorite Attack on Titan character? Mine's the one that died in Season 1!

Below, you'll find the complete listing for everything coming to and leaving Hulu in August.

Coming to Hulu in AugustAvailable August 1Heartland: Complete Season 11(Kew Media)Pure: Complete Season 2 (WGN)Unikitty: Complete Season 1B (Cartoon Network)A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day (2013)Alien vs. Predator (2004)American Heart (1993)Baby Boom (1987)Big Fish (2003)The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)A Very Brady Sequel (1996)Bulletproof Monk (2003)Cats & Dogs (2001)Chinese Box (1997)The Color Purple (1985)Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002)The Cutting Edge (1992)The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold (2006)Dances with Wolves (1990)Das Boot (1981)Double Impact (1991)Down in the Delta (1998)Drumline (2002)Eight Men Out (1988)The Fifth Element (1997)Final Destination (2000)Final Destination 2 (2003)Final Destination 3 (2006)The Final Destination (2009)Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)Furry Vengeance (2010)Good Advice (2001)Hackers (1995)The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)Idiocracy (2006)Indecent Proposal (1993)Ingenious (2009)Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)John Grisham’s The Rainmaker (1997)Kama Sutra (1997)Man on a Ledge (2012)Marley and Me: the Puppy Years (2010)Meet the Parents (2000)Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007)My Bloody Valentine (1981)The Pink Panther (2006)The Pink Panther 2 (2009)Rat Race (2001)Repentance (2013)Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)Rosemary’s Baby (1968)Rushmore (1998)Seven (1995)Shivers (1975)Snake Eyes (1998)Spider-Man 3 (2007)Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996)Star Trek IX: Insurrection (1998)Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)Stargate (1994)Step Up (2006)The Terminator (1984)The Transporter (2002)Throw Momma from the Train (1987)Tracker (2011)Urban Cowboy (1980)White Men Can’t Jump (1992)Zookeeper (2011)Available August 2Into The Dark: School Spirit: Episode 11 Premiere (Hulu Original)Rick Steves’ Cruising the Mediterranean: Special (PBS)Anger Management (2003)Non-Fiction (2019)Available August 5The Kleptocrats (2018)Available August 6Apollo: Mission to the Moon: Special (National Geographic)Attack on Titan: Complete Season 3A (Funimation)Bachelor in Paradise: Season 6 premiere (ABC)Plus One (2018)Swan Princess: Kingdom of Music (2017)The Swan Princess: Kingdom of Music (2019)Available August 7The Armstrong Tapes: Special (National Geographic)Available August 8Apollo: Back to the Moon: Special (National Geographic)BH90210: Series Premiere (FOX)Mortdecai (2015)Available August 9The Beach Bum (2019)Available August 11AWOL (2016)Available August 13Sharkfest: Special (National Geographic)Andy Irons: Kissed by Gods (2019)Available August 15Dogman (2019)Own the Sky (2018)Rattlesnakes (2018)Smoke Signals (1998)The Actors (2003)Zoo-Head (2018)Available August 16Find Me In Paris: Complete Season 2 (Hulu Original)The Amazing Johnathan Documentary: Documentary Premiere (Hulu Original)Available August 18The Bookshop (2018)Available August 20The Layover (2017)Available August 21This Way Up: Complete Season 1 (Merman)Available August 22A Simple Favor (2018)Hail, Satan (2019)Available August 23Jawline: Documentary Premiere (Hulu Original)Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)Operation Finale (2018)Available August 24Mapplethorpe (2018)Available August 25Wicked Tuna: Complete Season 5 (National Geographic)Available August 26Captain Fantastic (2016)Available August 27Mom: Complete Season 6 (CBS)The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)Available August 28How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2018)Available August 29The Son: Complete Season 2 (AMC)Body at Brighton Rock (2019)Available August 30Four of a Kind: Complete Season 1 (TV Tokyo)Gameface: Complete Season 2 (All3 Media)Gintama: Complete Season 1 (TV Tokyo)S.W.A.T.: Complete Season 2 (CBS)Leaving Hulu in AugustAugust 31Along Came a Spider (2001)American Loser (2007)American Psycho (2000)AntiHuman (2017)Antitrust (2001)Arbitrage (2012)Battle Ground (2013)Behind Enemy Line (2001)Blaze You Out (2013)Body of Evidence (1993)Brown Sugar (2002)Cecil B. Demented (2000)Chuck & Buck (2000)Cougars, Inc. (2011)Dante’s Peak (1997)Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)Dysfunktional Family (2003)Emperor (2012)Existenz (1999)Fluke (1995)Godsend (2004)Hard Candy (2006)Hitman (2007)Independence Day (1996)Italian for Beginners (2000)Jennifer 8 (1992)Kazaam (1996)Kinky Boots (2005)Less Than Zero (1987)Lost and Delirious (2001)Minority Report (2002)Next Day Air (2009)Not Another Teen Movie (2001)Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)Point Break (1991)Poseidon (2006)Private Parts (1997)Reservoir Dogs (1992)Rounders (1998)Slow Burn (2000)Spawn (1997)Still Waiting (2009)Superbad (2007)The Surrogate (1995)Waiting… (2005)Wargames (1983)Wonderland (2003)

Zombieland 2 Trailer Sends The Gang To Washington, DC To Clean House

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

It's been a decade since the first Zombieland movie premiered and in October, fans will be able to get a second helping when Zombieland: Double Tap hits theaters--with the four principal stars returning. The first trailer for the sequel has arrived, catching viewers up on what Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have been up to in the last year. It's about what you'd expect.

In the first look at the movie, the gang arrives in Washington to take up residence in the White House for Christmas, with Tallahassee joking he could have been a good president. It's also hinted that this is the first time the group has been on the road in some time, though it's unclear where they were settled before. For those who haven't seen the movie in some time, we last saw this quartet in California, after they escaped a theme park overrun by zombies.

The trailer also introduces a few new characters. Madison (Zoey Deutsch) enters the picture and seems very ill-equipped to survive a zombie apocalypse, unlike gun-toting Nevada (Rosario Dawson), while Little Rock runs off with Berkeley (Avon Jogia), a new boy she met. Then there are the doppelgangers. It's unclear just how big a role they'll play in the movie, but the trailer briefly shows characters very similar to Tallahassee and Columbus, played respectively by Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch.

Based on this small look, Double Tap looks to be even more of the same mix of humor and horror as the first film, as this wildly dysfunctional family simply tries to survive together. Zombieland: Double Tap hits theaters on October 18, just in time for Halloween.

These 2 PC Games Are Free To Claim At Epic Starting Today

Jul 25, 2019

Description:

Over the past eight months or so that the Epic Games Store has been in business, the PC game retailer has slowly ramped up its offering of free games for its users, first giving away a game every two weeks and then transitioning to a weekly giveaway. Now, it appears Epic is testing the waters of giving away two free games on a weekly basis, if the offerings this week and next are any indications of its future plans. From now through August 2, you can claim Moonlighter and This War of Mine for free at the Epic Store; then, on August 2, the pair will be replaced by another duo of freebies: Alan Wake and For Honor.

As a reminder, once you claim any of Epic's free games, they're yours to keep forever. To claim them, you'll have to first create a free Epic account, if you don't already have one.

No Caption ProvidedGallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9This War of Mine

If you enjoy dark survival-themed games that require life-and-death decisions influenced by your own morals, definitely check out This War of Mine, which was developed by the same team behind Frostpunk. The game puts you in the shoes of a group of civilians struggling to survive in a war-torn city. Scavenging for resources like food and medicine is crucial, and along the way, player-controlled characters will run into other NPC survivors, whom you can choose to kill or help out. Epic seems to be giving away the Anniversary Edition, which adds new characters, new locations, and an entirely new ending to the game.

Get This War of Mine free at Epic

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

Then there's Moonlighter, a very different sort of game that you'll like if you're into action RPGs with rogue-lite elements. Primarily, you'll manage your shop in Rynoka Village, controlling inventory, setting prices, recruiting assistants, and upgrading the shop. You can also upgrade other aspects of the town, adding things like a blacksmith or potion-maker to produce items that are helpful for the dungeon portion of the game. Your character can access various worlds through otherworldly gates, where they will fight hordes of enemies and gather profitable loot, resources, and more. As you progress in the game, you can craft new armor and weapons and even enchant existing equipment.

Get Moonlighter free at Epic

On the topic of PC game deals: Don't miss out on Green Man Gaming's huge summer sale going on right now with over 2,000 PC games and DLC marked down. If you like This War of Mine and haven't played Frostpunk, the latter is on sale for $13.50. Plus, get Resident Evil 2 for $35.63, Monster Hunter World for $27, Civilization VI for $13.20, and more.

Dark Crystal Age of Resistance Brings New Trailer And Plot Details To SDCC

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

There's still more than a month before the 10-episode Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance--a prequel to the classic Jim Henson film--arrives on Netflix. However, producer Lisa Henson, director Louis Leterrier, and stars Taron Egerton and Mark Hamill came to San Diego Comic-Con ready to impress fans of the movie.

The panel kicked off with a special look behind the scenes of the series, which also included a ton of new footage. Most impressively, the new teaser showed just how much of the series is done practically, with puppets and physical sets, each meticulously crafted to replicate what was seen in the film. "Everything is hand-sculpted, hand-painted," Henson said of the project's production and puppet design. Interestingly, Brian Froud, who served as conceptual designer on the original film, is back for Age of Resistance. Likewise, Wendy Froud, who worked on Dark Crystal, is joining him in constructing this world once again, as is their son Toby Froud--who you might remember from his role as baby Toby in Labyrinth.

As for the scenes that were teased, they are massive in scope and show a war erupting between the Skeksis and the Gelflings. According to Egerton, what plays a big role in setting off the conflict is his character--a Gelfling named Rian--witnessing the Skeksis draining the life force of a fellow Gelfling. From there, Rian sets off on his journey to warn other groups of Gelflings.

Outside of that, the Age of Resistance team made sure not to share too many details for fear of spoiling what's to come. However, Leterrier did tease that among the creatures from the movie that will be seen again are Fizzgig, the furry little balls of hair. Hamill also shared the voice he's given his character--a Skeksi known as The Scientist--and it's equal parts chilling and silly.

In a touching moment, Hamill was also presented with the Comic-Con 2019 Icon Award by the San Diego Comic-Con organizers. "I told you how lucky I feel to be able to do all the things I loved as a kid and get paid for it," he said upon accepting the award. "This seems wildly excessive but appreciated... If it weren't for you, I certainly wouldn't be standing here. I started coming to these cons years before I knew George [Lucas]."

To wrap up the panel, those in attendance were treated to a screening of the first episode of the series. The rest of the world, however, will have to wait until August 30 to see it on Netflix.

GameStop Announces SDCC 2019-Exclusive Collectibles, Funko Pops Available To Order Online Now

Jul 19, 2019

Description:


San Diego Comic-Con 2019 is in full swing, with exciting news and trailers already pouring out of the event about upcoming movies, TV shows, video games, and more. But for collectors, one of the most anticipated parts of SDCC is the exclusive toys and collectibles that become available during the show.

If you're actually attending the event in San Diego, you'll have a chance to get your hands on all kinds of exclusive collectibles, such as a Marvel's Spider-Man Lego minifigure, Funko Pops, Power Rangers toys, and more. But for those of us not actually at SDCC 2019, there is still a way to get your hands on some Comic-Con goodies.

GameStop just announced it's partnered with Marvel, Mattel, DC Collectibles, and Nickelodeon to offer some of the hottest superhero collectibles from SDCC 2019, available to order on GameStop.com. The collection includes Comic-Con exclusives, from special-edition Barbie X-Men dolls (Dark Phoenix, Mystique, Storm) to a Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figure bundle.

See some of the best SDCC-exclusive toys and collectibles available now at GameStop below!

Plus, for more toys and collectibles from Comic-Con, check these out:

All The Mondo Exclusives Available At SDCCExclusive Funko Pops And How To Buy ThemAwesome Exclusive Toys And How To Get ThemNew Power Rangers Toys Celebrate Multiple Eras Of SDCCExclusive Spider-Man Lego Minifig, Based On The PS4 Game, Could Be Yours

See SDCC 2019 exclusive collectibles at GameStop


Barbie X-Men Collection: Mystique

Release date: October 4, 2019

$55

See it at GameStop


Barbie X-Men Collection: Storm

Release date: October 4, 2019

$55

See it at GameStop


Barbie X-Men Collection: Dark Phoenix

Release date: October 4, 2019

$55

See it at GameStop


Batman vs. TMNT Collection: Ra's Al Ghul and Shredder

Release date: December 2, 2019

$50

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Batman vs. TMNT Collection: Batman Mikey Figure

Release date: July 25, 2019

$30

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Batman vs. TMNT Collection: Batgirl and Donatello

Release date: December 2, 2019

$50

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Lego Overwatch: Junkrat and Roadhog Set

Release date: October 1, 2019

$50

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Lego Overwatch: Wrecking Ball Set

Release date: October 1, 2019

$20

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Captain Marvel (Agents of Shield)

$40

See it at GameStop


X-Men: X-23 (X-Force Variant)

$40

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Deadpool (X-Force Edition)

$40

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Persona 5: Funko Collector's Box

Release date: September 10, 2019

$30

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Batman (Teal Chrome)

$15

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Conan O'Brien

$15

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Minn-Erva from Captain Marvel

$15

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Office Space: Sticky Note Man

Release date: July 26, 2019

$15

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Overwatch: McCree (Summer Skin)

$15

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Super Conan

$10

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Pokemon Mew with Master Ball (Metallic)

$20

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Dragon Ball FighterZ: SSGS Vegeta and Goku FigPin XL

$45

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The Real Ghostbusters: Spectral Ghostbusters Action Figure Set

$120

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Rick and Morty: Glootie

$15

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Batman Damned Statue

$60

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Mini Egg Attack: Dark Phoenix

$17

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The Flash (Speed Force) Statue

$40

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Mega Construx: White Walker Battle Set

Release date: September 1, 2019

$20

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Hello Kitty: Gamer

Release date: September 1, 2019

$12

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Starship Troopers: Johnny Rico

$15

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Hellboy: Abe Sapien

$15

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Batman DZNR: Jim Lee Edition

$13

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Hellboy

$15

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Walking Dead Season 10 Comic-Con Trailer: The Whisperer War Is Coming

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Things are only going to get worse with the Whisperers in The Walking Dead. A new trailer released at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 shows that Michonne, Daryl, Ezekiel, Carol, and the rest of their gang are once again going to face a vicious adversary when Season 10 kicks off this fall. Watch the trailer below.

The trailer hints at a lot of new developments on the way as the people of Alexandria and Hilltop struggle to deal with the spooky Whisperers, who seemingly just won't leave everyone alone. After the events of Season 9, it seems people are starting to put aside their differences with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in the face of another adversary. The trailer spends a lot of time discussing the fact that people are growing more and more afraid of the Whisperers, and that's causing divisions. "People are putting their s----ing pants back on," Negan remarks.

At Comic-Con, Danai Gurira confirmed that Season 10 is her last in the role of Michonne on The Walking Dead. The trailer suggests she'll get a proper sendoff, but that the season is going to be a fraught one for her emotionally. With Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) gone, she's lost her partner. The final shot of the trailer shows Michonne wielding Negan's bat, Lucille, which suggests the pressures she faces might be enough to push her to the dark side.

The trailer also reveals the date for The Walking Dead Season 10's premiere: October 6. According to panel moderator Chris Hardwick, AMC plans to spend the 10 weeks ahead of the season's launch dropping big reveals on fans about what they can expect. AMC also showed a teaser for the first of the three Walking Dad movies centering on Rick, teasing the character's return. The teaser revealed that the movie won't air on AMC as previously believed--instead, it'll be shown in theaters.

SDCC: Sonic Is Joining Forces With Cartoon Network's OK KO In Surprising Crossover Episode

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

In a rather unexpected San Diego Comic-Con announcement, Cartoon Network announced that Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog is making a guest appearance in an upcoming episode of its popular animated series, OK K.O. Let's Be Heroes. And it won't only be the blue blur who's joining in on the fun, either. He'll be accompanied by longtime side-kick Miles "Tails" Prower, because why wouldn't he be?

The reveal came in the form of a short clip, which shows the series protagonist K.O. finding his battle buddies too tired to be heroes. With no one around to help him, you can probably imagine what comes next. Watch the nostalgia-packed clip, which contains sick music and a genius nod to Sonic 3D Blast, in the video player below.

For the uninitiated, OK K.O. Let’s Be Heroes is a cartoon series created by artist Ian Jones-Quartey. It debuted on Cartoon Network in 2017 and follows the adventures of K.O., a courageous and foolishly optimistic child attempting to be the greatest hero he can be in the video game-inspired world of Lakewood Plaza Turbo.

The upcoming Sonic crossover episode is titled “Let’s Meet Sonic” and will premiere on Sunday, August 4 at 4:45 PM ET PT on Cartoon Network. You can also watch the episode via Cartoon Network's app.

This isn't the first time Cartoon Network's OK K.O. Let's Be Heroes has touched anything games-related. While the series has been known to frequently reference classic video games, it has actually had a game of its own called OK K.O. Let's Play Heroes back in 2018. GameSpot reviewer Alexander Pan was rather mixed about the game, giving it a 6/10 and saying, "As far as adaptations go, OK K.O. Let's Play Heroes looks and sounds fantastic in a way that is distinct yet faithful to the source material. But the shallow mechanics, the repetitiveness of the gameplay loop, and narrative pacing issues prevent the game from being a rousing knockout."

SDCC 2019: The Witcher TV Show Trailer Is Full Of Monsters And Magic

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

The first trailer for Netflix's The Witcher series is here. The trailer for the highly anticipated show was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, and sets up both Geralt as the Witcher and the world he exists in. "I remember hearing stories about Witchers," a narrator says, before adding, "Is it true what they say?" Another character then offers a handy breakdown of society. Elves are described as the original sorcerers and they taught humans how to turn chaos into magic. The humans, in turn, slaughtered them.

"Chaos is the most dangerous thing in the world, but without control, chaos will kill you," says another character. We get to see shots of Henry Cavil as Geralt, riding around on his horse Roach. He's also shown receiving payment, which gives us a good look at Geralt's iconic armor.

It's pointed out that Geralt's life seems fixated on monsters and money, which makes sense given that a Witcher's job is to hunt monsters and get paid for it. Geralt says as much, replying, "It's all it needs to be." But it's clear he's about to get wrapped up in something bigger. There are references to a special child--who is no doubt Ciri--who must seek out Geralt. There's a huge battle against Nilfgaard, and Yennefer is shown imagining herself as the most powerful woman in the world. "The worst monsters are the ones we create," reads the tag line.

Alongside Cavil as Geralt, the show also stars Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, Frey Allan as Ciri, MyAnna Buring as Tissaia, Jodhi May as Queen Calanthe, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson as Eist, and Adam Levy as Mousesack.

In a recent interview, showrunner Lauren Hissrich spoke about the tone of the show, and revealed that it wouldn’t be for kids. "It's a very adult show. I will add it was important to me that any violence or sex drives the story and is not there just for shock value. I think audiences are really savvy and know when we're doing stuff to just shock them versus do stuff that really drives the story."

The Witcher isn't the only big new series getting revealed for the first time at SDCC. HBO's His Dark Materials previewed on Thursday, while Netflix's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance features on Friday and the Star Trek show Picard has a panel on Saturday. Click here for more SDCC coverage on GameSpot.

SDCC: First The Walking Dead Movie Teaser Confirms Rick Grimes Is Back

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Having left in The Walking Dead Season 8, Andrew Lincoln is now set to reprise the role of Rick Grimes for upcoming movies. A teaser for the film for one of them was shown during a Walking Dead panel at San Diego Comic-Con. It features a helicopter flying towards a distant city, the skyline of which is silhouetted by that classic dusty yellow light that is synonymous with the show's aesthetic. As the light blankets the city, The Walking Dead's logo appears, followed by "Rick Grimes Returns." Grimes was last seen being carried away by helicopter in a near-death state. This no doubt means his harrowing existence isn't about to get any easier.

The movies were previously thought to be made-for-TV, but it seems they've graduated, as the teaser also states, "Only in Theaters." As of yet, the first project doesn't have a name and was instead referred to as "Untilted The Walking Dead Movie." It is being produced by AMC, Skybound, and Universal.

It seems to be a Comic-Con of ups and downs for The Walking Dead fans. The day began with news that Fear the Walking Dead has been renewed for Season 6. However, shortly after this Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne in The Walking Dead, announced she would be leaving the show after Season 10.

Andrew Lincoln was rumored to be returning for the movies and this teaser confirms that this indeed will be the case. Reports this would happen emerged in February and, at the same time, they noted that Gurira would also eventually leave and is likely to appear in the movie(s).

"These are going to be big, epic entertainments," Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple said at the time, noting that they'd "probably" air on AMC, which is no longer the case. "Each are quality films. That’s what’s been happening in the industry. We've seen Netflix make these, basically, studio films for people to watch in their homes, and we're going to be doing the same sort of thing here."

The first Rick Grimes movie is set to take place in a "very new situation with its own history" that is "very, very different from what we've seen before" according to Gimple.

Another Blizzard Co-Founder Leaving The Company

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Blizzard Entertainment is seeing the departure of another long-time executive. Frank Pearce, who co-founded the company back when it was known as Silicon & Synapse, announced that he has decided to move on from the developer after 28 years.

Pearce shared the news in a statement published on Blizzard's website. It does not suggest he's leaving for another company; instead, he talks about spending more time outdoors and pursuing other passions, like learning to play an instrument.

Blizzard president J. Allen Brack also released a statement on Pearce parting ways with the company in which he talks up Pearce's role, despite the fact that he hasn't been in the most public-facing of roles.

"Like many of us, Frank is an introvert," Brack wrote. "Thus many of you haven’t seen a lot of him publicly, nor seen the deep impact he’s had on Blizzard, and on the culture specifically. But Frank has been here from the beginning, building and expanding the foundation and championing the values behind everything Blizzard does. Blizzard is better because of Frank Pearce."

Fellow co-founder Mike Morhaime announced his departure from Blizzard late last year, with Brack assuming his role as president.

Netflix's The Witcher Exclusive Footage Debuts At Comic-Con, "Last Wish" Connections Teased

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

The first ever footage of Netlfix's Witcher show debuted during the series' panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019.

A teaser shown before the panel began was brief, but it was followed by several other clips that provided the first glimpse of the highly anticipated show. These clips included looks at several familiar characters, including Yennefer, Ciri, and of course, the Witcher himself, Geralt. The scale of the show looks incredible, with massive battles teased in the footage, the first of which opened with the quote, "The only certainty on this continent of monsters and mutants is that no one is ever what they seem."

And, fortunately, the footage included a brief peek at what appeared to be an iconic scene that may or may not involve Geralt taking a bath.

A second clip showed off a fight scene in a banquet hall. During the panel, Henry Cavill emphasized that whenever Geralt is on the screen, it's him you're seeing--including during action scenes.

The panel itself included adapter and showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, as well as actors Freya Allan (Ciri), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer), and Henry Cavill (Geralt).

Hissrich said 207 actors auditioned for the role of Geralt, but Cavill's voice is the one she kept hearing in her head.

"There was something about Geralt that really struck a chord with me," Cavill said.

Hissrich also teased which of the Witcher's many stories the show will be based on--she said she read "The Last Wish," the character's first collection of short stories, and was asked by Netflix to adapt that specifically.

"I read The Last Wish, is where I started, and I absolutely fell in love with the short stories," the showrunner said. "And Netflix came to me and asked me if I'd want to adapt it. I said no--that I was a huge fan, but I didn't think I was the right person to adapt a fantasy show."

She was eventually convinced. "What's great about The Witcher is that it's much more than a fantasy," Hissrich continued. "You'll get your monsters, you'll get your magic, you'll get sorcerers and sex and violence and all that stuff...everything you want. But really it's a story about a family, and that's what I thought that I could bring to it."

Chalotra discussed Yennefer's role in the Netflix show. "Yennefer is on a journey of self-discovery," the actress said. "I think what's great about our story is we look at not only her power, but her vulnerabilities, and together that makes her the ultimate survivor. I'd say her overall goal is to find true connection and an unconditional love, which she's never experienced."

A third clip showed off one of Yennefer's scenes--and a disturbing one at that. The sorceress sat on a beach talking to a dead baby. "I'm sorry you didn't have a life, but truth be told, you're not missing much," she says. She seems extremely bitter, discussing in a very one-sided monologue how parents, friends, and everything else about life is basically pointless, especially for girls and women. "Even when we're told we're special, as I was--as you would have been--we're still just vessels for them to take and take until we're empty and alone."

"So count yourself lucky," Yennefer finishes. "You've cheated the game and won without even knowing it." She buries the corpse in the sand.

Judging by these clips, it seems the writing will match the tone of the original books and games in many ways. Fans should be happy with what's been shown so far.

"I've always wanted to be in some fantasy epic," Freya Allan, who plays Ciri, said. "It was like a dream role for me."

She didn't have much specific to tease about her role, but she did describe her overall arc. "[Ciri's story] is a journey of development and discovery and she's constantly in flux throughout the season," Allan continued.

In a Ciri-focused clip, the character walked through a snowy, creepy forest and glimpsed a golden light shining from the other side of a ridge. She's quickly surrounded by a group of menacing elves holding spears. She pleads not to be hurt, and they beckon her to follow them. She says she needs to find "Dara," a character unknown in the books or games.

Hissrich said she was excited to bring the female characters' backstories to life, revealing that the three main characters will begin the series in separate places before coming together. "I think it's one of my favorite parts of the series, is that--I would call it an addition to the books," she said. "We really..honored that source material, but we were able to give the characters a little more breathing room, and really get to know them, before these three characters eventually meet up."

Cavill also discussed his horse, Roach, an important element of his character.

"She's the one source of humanity left [to him], because the rest of the world hates him and hates everything he does," Cavill said. "She's the one access point he has to humanity."

Hissrich teased a "long soliloquy" Cavill delivers to Roach in one episode she wrote. She said Roach is the "one person--one horse?--[Geralt] feels like he can be himself in front of."

The panel's final clip appeared to be a full trailer [update: watch it above!]. It explains the backstory of the elves, who taught humans to use magic, and were then betrayed and "slaughtered" by humans. When one character asks Geralt whether life is just about "monsters and money," he replies, "That's all it needs to be." We also glimpse Yennefer's transformation from a disfigured young woman into the beautiful sorceress we know her as.

With the first trailer finally released online, fans of the Witcher books and games can now judge for themselves whether Netflix's adaptation will do the series justice. Either way, we're eagerly awaiting The Witcher's release date later in 2019.

SDCC: The Walking Dead Is Losing Another Big Name

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

The Walking Dead Season 10 will be the last to feature Michonne. Actress Danai Gurira announced she would be leaving AMC's post-apocalyptic zombie TV series after the upcoming season during a panel held at San Diego Comic-Con.

The news confirms reports from February stating Season 10 would be Gurira's last. At the time, it was also reported that she had only signed on for a handful of episodes. "This has been one of the purest joys in my life," she said during the panel, as reported by EW. "I am very very thankful for the experience I've had in ways that I can't even express right now. My heart does not leave … the connection between us never ends.

"It was a very difficult decision. It was about my calling and other things I feel called to… as a creator of work. All I'm filled with is a lot of pain about leaving and a lot of gratitude and to all of you. I love you guys. TWD family is forever."

The Hall H crowd responded to the heartfelt speech by giving Gurira a standing ovation.

Danai just got a standing ovation from Hall H after announcing her departure from #TheWalkingDead pic.twitter.com/yGES4y52MS

— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) July 19, 2019

This is the third major departure for The Walking Dead, having already lost Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan after Season 9. Gurira, and her character Michonne, was one of the few main faces of the series. However, this may not be the last time we see Michonne, as there are The Walking Dead movies that could have her return to the role. Andrew Lincoln will reportedly reprise his role as Rick Grimes for one of these films, so the door is open for Gurira too, provided she doesn't meet a gruesome end in Season 10.

Outside The Walking Dead, Gurira is a frequent face in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame as Okoye. It's likely she'll return for the inevitable sequel to Black Panther, too.

In other Walking Dead news, the prequel series, Fear the Walking Dead, has been renewed for Season 6.

This Amazon Prime Deal Effectively Gets You A Free PS4, Switch, Or Xbox One Game

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Twitch Prime, which is included with any Amazon Prime membership, has been ramping up its efforts to offer benefits for gamers recently. The premium service already offers free monthly PC games, in-game loot for games like Apex Legends and FIFA 19, 12 months of Nintendo Switch Online, and other free benefits for its members. Now, you can even earn money back on select purchases with a new, limited-time offer for Twitch Prime members. From now through July 26, you can get $15 Amazon credit on a select offering of games, including:

Fallout 76 (PS4) -- $15Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Switch) -- $15Gears of War 4 (digital code, Xbox One/Windows 10) -- $9.89The Sims 4 (online game code) -- $15The Last of Us Remastered (PS4) -- $15

You can also see each game's current price on Amazon above. As you'll notice, all of the above games are $15 or less with a Prime discount, which means you'll essentially get any of them for free with the $15 reward credit dropped back into your account.

Your Twitch account must be linked to your Amazon Prime account to receive the reward credit. Once you connect your Twitch and Amazon accounts and purchase one of the above eligible games, $15 credit will arrive in your account within seven days of purchase.

This offer comes just after Amazon Prime Day, which ran a full 48 hours this year on July 15 and 16. While Amazon's Prime Day deals have since ended, you can still take advantage of some of the best competing deals at places like Walmart, GameStop, and other retailers that ran their own sales. Be sure to check out all the best Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One deals from Prime Day that are still available, including some great Xbox One console bundles.

Gears 5 - Arcade Deathmatch Multiplayer Gameplay (Tech Test)

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Here's gameplay of some dominating victories in Arcade Deathmatch multiplayer mode, from Gears 5's official Tech Test. Captured on Xbox One X.

Taika Waititi's Rick And Morty Season 4 Character Debuts In Comic-Con Footage

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Rick and Morty creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland debuted the first Season 4 clip during the Rick and Morty panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, and it includes a fantastic surprise: A new character who debuts in the footage is voiced by Thor Ragnarok and Thor 4 director Taika Waititi.

"He's a new character, and he's fun, and we're excited to be able to introduce him to you here at Comic-Con, because there's all kinds of merch and stuff," Roiland joked before the clip played.

The official Rick and Morty Twitter account published the clip online as it aired during the panel, so you can watch it for yourself below.

*Ominous beeping noise* FIRST LOOK AT RICK AND MORTY SEASON 4 *Ominous beeping noise* @adultswim pic.twitter.com/FtduZbdHHa

— Rick and Morty (@RickandMorty) July 19, 2019

In the clip, Jerry and Morty implore Waititi's character, a pink fish-like alien, to take down an app, but he claims the controls are on his mothership. As Morty shakes him violently, a red light starts beeping in the new character's pocket. Morty and Jerry dive for cover, but as they turn back, they realize Waititi's character is trying to escape through a window. They grab him and fish into his pocket, where they pull out a smartphone with on "ominous beeping noise" app open.

A second clip (in unfinished animatic form) showed Rick and Morty leaving on an adventure--though not before Rick makes Jerry float through the air out of annoyance. "I wasn't born into the god business," Rick utters. "I f***ing earned it."

Up in space, Rick and Morty get a flat tire on their ship (somehow). They get out to change the tire, and Morty gets bit by a "space snake"--to Rick's chagrin.

The Rick and Morty Comic-Con panel included Harmon and Roiland, as well as Spencer Grammer (Summer), Chris Parnell (Jerry), and Sarah Chalke (Beth), and it was hosted by comedian and actor Rob Schrab, who also writes on the show.

There's been a long gap between Seasons 3 and 4, but although Season 4 has yet to premiere, Schrab revealed that he's already "working on Season 5." Harmon and Roiland took the opportunity to explain some of what's been going on, though not in very great detail.

"There was a lot of stuff that had to happen between Seasons 3 and 4 that won't ever have to happen again," Roiland explained.

"We're just finishing Season 4 while we're starting Season 5," Harmon added, explaining that they could start airing Season 5 before Season 4 begins if they wanted to.

Earlier during Comic-Con the first Rick and Morty Season 4 images were released, while the show's creators said the wait for new seasons won't be so long in the future.

Schrab directed several questions at the cast members throughout the panel, asking Parnell why it's so fun to watch Jerry fail constantly. "Jerry has an innate patheticness about him that I tap into really well," Parnell joked. "He's very easy to laugh at and to mock. He's not a great human being. He doesn't have a strong moral core. He does love his family, he tries, but he's so misguided most of the time. He's not the brightest guy."

Speaking to Chalke, Schrab asked whether it's hard to be so mean all the time as Beth. "She's not mean," Chalke replied. "She's just correct. She's just right."

Morty's sister, Summer, has changed a lot over the course of the series, which Schrab asked actress Spencer Grammer about. She said Summer's role can sometimes change frequently throughout production. "The first episode [of Season 4], I've recorded her storyline about six times I think," Grammer said. "It's changed that much." Specifically, the amount Summer is involved in the episode's plot has oscillated. "I love watching her transition and grow and she has grown a lot over these years," Grammer added.

She revealed her biggest guilty pleasure working on the show: listening to Dan Harmon do rough voiceover passes to fill in Summer's dialogue before Grammer records it. "So I'll have to listen to his temp and copy it directly, but like, it might be my most guilty pleasure, listening to Dan do Summer impressions," the actress said.

Rick and Morty Season 4 is expected to premiere in November 2019.

This story is developing--check back soon for more!

Fear The Walking Dead Renewed For Season 6 At Comic-Con

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

AMC's Fear the Walking Dead has been renewed for a sixth season. The announcement of its return was made during the show's panel at San Diego Comic-Con, and it doesn't come as much of a surprise considering it is one of AMC's most-watched shows.

As a prequel series to The Walking Dead, it follows the exploits of a series of dysfunctional characters as the world begins to crumble around them as part of what will end up becoming the full-on undead apocalypse depicted in the main Walking Dead series. The show stars Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, one of the few remaining characters from earlier seasons.

Fear the Walking Dead has had a number of fresh faces added to its cast lately, including Maggie Grace, Jenna Elfman, and Garret Dillahunt as Althia, June, and John Dorie respectively. Lennie James has also reprised his role as Morgan, who he played in the main Walking Dead series.

The Walking Dead comic series, from which the TV shows are inspired, came to a surprise ending on July 2, ending its 15-year run. Creator Robert Kirkman, who also works on both TV shows, said the comic's conclusion won't impact the series.

"I hate knowing what's coming," he said in a letter to fans. "As a fan, I hate it when I realize I'm in the third act of a movie and the story is winding down. I hate that I can count commercial breaks and know I'm nearing the end of a TV show. I hate that you can feel when you’re getting to the end of a book, or a graphic novel. Some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones are when they're structured in such a way and paced to perfection so your brain can’t tell if it's been watching for 15 minutes or 50 minutes ... and when the end comes ... you’re stunned.

"I love long movies for that very reason. You lose track of time because you went in convinced that you're going to be there for a long time, but the story moves at such an entertaining and engaging pace that by the time the movie's wrapping up ... you can't believe it’s already over. Surprise, it's over! All I've ever done, all a creator can really do ... is tailor-make stories to entertain themselves, and hope the audience feels the same way. That's all I've ever been doing ... and it seems to work most of the time."

Comic-Con: Get A Closer Look At Mario Kart And Street Fighter Hot Wheels

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

Mario Kart Racetracks

Last month, Hot Wheels revealed new cars and tracks inspired by Mario Kart. At San Diego Comic-Con, we got a closer look at these cars and tracks which are available currently at Target and will be released at other retailers later this year.

The Mario Kart racers are 1:64 scale replicas, costing $5 a piece, and Hot Wheels is releasing three tracks as well, which can all be combined into one mega track. The Thwomp and Piranha Plant tracks are $20 each, and the much larger Mario Kart Circuit Track Set is $80.

Additionally, Hot Wheels revealed its new Street Fighter-inspired cars as well, and without a doubt, the M. Bison one is the best of the lot. At the time of this writing, there wasn't information about the release date of the Street Fighter sets.

Check out some close-up images at Comic-Con of these cars and the race tracks you can pick up at a Target near you.


Mario Kart Racetracks

This track is made up of all three available Hot Wheels Mario Kart sets, combined into one giant circuit.


Bowser & Wario

The cars themselves are a little bit smaller than the original promotional images made them seem, but there is a lot of detail to every single one of them.


Piranha Plant & Yoshi

While the cars looked a little smaller, the Piranha Plant was a bit bigger than expected.


Thwomp & Rosalina

We didn't get a chance to see how the Thwomp looks in action, as the set was under glass and everything inside was fixed.


SDCC Exclusive

This metallic Mario Kart Hot Wheels car was exclusive to SDCC. If you're wondering why there is a silver and gold one it's because this is a blind box exclusive, in a sense. When you purchase this toy, you know you're getting a Mario Kart car, but there is a 1 in 100 chance you'll get the gold version over the silver.


Ryu & Blanka Street Fighter Cars

The real surprise from Hot Wheels was the Street Fighter cars. While Hot Wheels has produced Street Fighter cars in the past, it was usually just a car with a character painted onto the side of it. This time around, the designs of the cars themselves are all inspired by the characters.


Blanka Car

No, the Blanka car doesn't shoot electricity, but it does have the character's signature orange and green colors, with what looks like Blanka's spikey hair on top.


Ryu Car

Somehow, Ryu's red bandana was incorporated into the design of the car.


Chun-Li Car

The Chun-Li car had the character's color palette incorporated into the car, but that was about it.


M. Bison Car

This was wonderful. M. Bison's car has his signature hat sitting on top of the truck. Does a truck need a hat? In this case, yes.


Gears 5 - Intro Story Full Tutorial Gameplay (Tech Test)

Jul 19, 2019

Description:

The Gears 5 Tech Test is live for Xbox Game Pass members or those who have pre ordered the game, and the intro tutorial brings back some humor we've always enjoyed: Baird leads your rookie character through the basics, and we're happy to oblige. Captured on Xbox One X.

Prime Day 2019: Best Xbox One Deals Available So Far (US)

Jul 13, 2019

Description:

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is nearly here--the two-day shopping bonanza is going down this coming Monday and Tuesday for a full 48 hours, making it the longest-running Prime Day since the event was first held in 2015. With tens of thousands of deals across every category, Prime Day has become a full-blown event akin to Black Friday, to the point where other retailers are offering their own counter-sales happening around the same time.

If you're primarily on the lookout for Xbox One games, console bundles, or accessories this Prime Day, we have you covered. While Monday and Tuesday will bring an even bigger wave of discounts, some Xbox One deals are already live, not only at Amazon but also at GameStop, Ebay, and other retailers. Below you'll find a breakdown of the best Xbox One deals available now, and we'll update this story as more deals go live on Monday.

Mortal Kombat 11 - on sale for $44.17 at AmazonMortal Kombat 11 - on sale for $44.17 at AmazonBest Xbox One game deals

In terms of games, you can already find solid discounts on many of this year's biggest titles, such as Kingdom Hearts 3 for only $20 at GameStop and Mortal Kombat 11 for $44 at Amazon. Games that received less-than-stellar reviews at launch are also quite cheap, with Anthem: Legion of Dawn Edition selling for $20 and Fallout 76 down to $25. You'll also find some pre-order titles cheaper at Amazon, such as Doom Eternal and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, so Prime Day may be a good time to secure your copy, especially since Amazon will give you the cheapest price on your pre-order if it drops again.

Anthem: Legion of Dawn Edition -- $20A Plague Tale: Innocence -- $41.70Assassin's Creed III Remastered -- $20Assassins Creed Odyssey -- $20Battlefield V -- $23Borderlands Game of The Year - Only at GameStop -- $15Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Pro Edition - Only at GameStop -- $49.97Call of Duty WWII -- $19.97Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy -- $24.85Destiny 2 Forsaken -- $20Devil May Cry 5 -- $40Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition -- $20The Division 2 -- $20Doom Eternal -- $49.94Fallout 76 -- $25Far Cry New Dawn -- $20The Golf Club 2019 feat. PGA Tour -- $20Just Dance 19 -- $20Kingdom Hearts 3 -- $20Mortal Kombat 11 -- $44.17NBA 2K19 -- $17Rage 2 -- $40Rainbow Six Siege -- $15Red Dead Redemption 2 -- $40Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition - Only at GameStop -- $49.97Sea of Thieves -- $22Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice -- $47.30The Sinking City -- $49.94Spyro Reignited Trilogy -- $24.83Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order -- $50.94Wolfenstein: Youngblood - Deluxe Edition -- $32.84Xbox One S bundle + controller + headset - on sale for $300 at WalmartXbox One S bundle + controller + headset - on sale for $300 at WalmartBest Xbox One console deals

If you're in the market for a new Xbox One S or X, a few different deals are already available. Various Xbox One bundles are currently marked down at GameStop, and you'll get an additional $50 gift card with your purchase. Meanwhile, at Walmart, there's an Xbox One S bundle that includes a game of your choice, a bonus wireless controller, and a headset for around $300 (price varies based on your picks). Finally, if you're only interested in the console itself, you can get a new Xbox One S for $196 at Ebay, which is a great price if you don't want any accessories and aren't interested in any bundle games right now. Of course, you might want to consider waiting until Monday before taking the plunge, as Amazon will likely offer the console at deep discount as well.

Get a free $50 gift card when you buy any new Xbox One S or X console at GameStopXbox One S console + free game + headset + controller -- $295-$312 (save up to $70)Xbox One S console -- $196 ($225) (discount in cart)Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel for Xbox One/Windows - on sale for $126.37 at AmazonThrustmaster TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel for Xbox One/Windows - on sale for $126.37 at AmazonBest Xbox One accessory deals

Controllers, headsets, memory cards, and other accessories make up a core part of the hobby for many gamers, and having the right gear is crucial. Unfortunately, these types of added purchase can really burn a hole in your pocket, but Prime Day is a great chance to grab whatever accessories you've been needing for a fraction of the price. See some of the deals you can find already, and check back on Monday as more products start getting marked down.

AC adapter replacement charger with cable -- $22.45 ($59.88)Fantom 2TB High Performance SSD + Hard Drive Storage -- $104.95 ($139.95)Fosmon Xbox One black controller charger + 4 rechargeable battery packs -- $28 ($50)Halo 5 Guardians limited-edition controller -- $63HyperX Cloud Alpha Pro gaming headset -- $85 ($100)HyperX Cloud Revolver S gaming headset -- $123.52 ($150)OIVO vertical cooling stand with controller chargers -- $32 ($40) (save 20% with coupon)Razer Electra V2 7.1 Surround Sound gaming headset -- $37.85 ($60)Seagate 500GB external SSD + 2 months Game Pass membership -- $100 ($120)Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback racing wheel -- $126.37 ($200)Thrustmaster TX RW Leather Edition racing wheel -- $385.48 ($470)Xbox One black wireless controller + adapter -- $53 ($80)Xbox One Gears of War 4 Crimson Omen wireless controller -- $68.95 ($75)Xbox One red wireless controller -- $49.75 ($65)More Amazon Prime Day 2019 coverage:Everything You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Day 2019Prime Day Gaming Deals: Best PS4 Deals On Games, Consoles, And MoreBest Nintendo Switch Deals For Amazon Prime Day 20197 Tips For Saving More During Amazon Prime Day 2019Not-Prime Day 2019: All The Best Sales That Aren't On AmazonFree Apex Legends Skins Coming To Twitch Prime Members For Prime DayGameStop Kicks Off Huge Summer Sale Just Before Prime DayThe Best Prime Day Gaming PC Deals At DellEbay Sale Might Have You Rooting For Amazon To Crash During Prime DayNew Exclusive Star Wars Funko Pop Launching For Amazon Prime DayThe Free PC Games Twitch Prime Members Can Claim In JulyWalmart Prime Day Deals Include Xbox One Bundle With Headset, Controller For $300HyperX Gaming PC Accessories Are Getting Major Markdowns For Prime Day

Every Mondo Exclusive At San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Jul 13, 2019

Description:

Get ready to stand in line at the Mondo booth.

From July 18-21, San Diego Comic-Con 2019 will be the epicenter of pop culture. First established in 1970, the original "Golden State Comic-Con" hosted only 300 people. Today, the live attendance numbers regularly include hundreds of thousands of people, and that's not including the millions of pop culture enthusiasts who follow the goings-on online.

Best known for their exclusive posters and retro-style drawings, art company Mondo has been a reliable presence at SDCC for years. Modern movie posters are more concerned with cramming all the principal actors' faces front and center, which may be the most focus-tested strategy to draw people into theaters--but it also makes for boring posters. Mondo, on the other hand, harks back to a bygone aesthetic period of ad design. It's a challenge to capture the essence of a film through a single, static image. But done properly, it's an artistic feat.

And the company doesn't stop at posters, with vinyl record releases, pins, and more to celebrate your favorite movie releases, new and old.

Here is every announced exclusive available for purchase at the Mondo booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Check out the exclusive toys available at SDCC 2019, and the exclusive Funko Pops as well.


1. Apollo Era Safety Poster A (Variant)

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $45

Quantity: 175


2. Apollo Era Safety Poster B (Variant)

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $45

Quantity: 175


3. Batman: Hush

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $50

Quantity: 275


4. Batman Variant

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $75

Quantity: 125


5. Blade Runner 2049 - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (White/Blue, Orange Vinyl)

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $40

Quantity: 500


6. Bruce the Shark (Don’t Go in the Water) Variant

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: N/A

Quantity: 200


7. Jessica Rabbit Enamel Pin

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $10

Quantity: N/A


8. Roger Rabbit Enamel Pin

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $10

Quantity: N/A


9. Metal Gear Solid - Original Video Game Soundtrack (Vinyl)

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $30

Quantity: 1000


10. Venom Mondoid

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $35

Quantity: 500


11. Who Framed Roger Rabbit Soundtrack ("The Dip" Colored Vinyl)

Release day: Wednesday, July 17 (Preview Night)

Price: $25

Quantity: 1000


12. Blade Runner 2049 (Variant)

Release day: Thursday, July 18

Price: $75

Quantity: 150


13. Detective Pikachu (Variant)

Release day: Thursday, July 18

Price: $75

Quantity: 175


14. Golden Age of Marvel Comics

Release day: Thursday, July 18

Price: $75

Quantity: 175


15. IT

Release day: Thursday, July 18

Price: $60

Quantity: 250


16. Ant-Man and The Wasp

Release day: Friday, July 19

Price: $50

Quantity: 225


17. Metal Gear Solid

Release day: Friday, July 19

Price: $50

Quantity: 225


18. Thanos

Release day: Friday, July 19

Price: $50

Quantity: 250


19. The World's End

Release day: Friday, July 19

Price: $60

Quantity: 275


20. Alien

Release day: Saturday, July 20

Price: $60

Quantity: 275


21. The Babadook

Release day: Saturday, July 20

Price: $50

Quantity: 300


22. Jurassic Park (Variant)

Release day: Saturday, July 20

Price: $75

Quantity: 175


23. The Sandlot

Release day: Saturday, July 20

Price: $60

Quantity: 275


24. Transformers: The Movie

Release day: Saturday, July 20

Price: $55

Quantity: 275


Latest Persona 5 Royal Video Shows All-New Combat Mechanics, Hangout Spots, And Minigames

Jul 13, 2019

Description:

It's been a boon for Persona 5 fans lately as developer Atlus has been consistently revealing details on the upcoming Persona 5 Royal--the definitive version of the original RPG. And the latest "Morgana Report" video outlined several new features and mechanics that the game will include. These videos are in Japanese but translations have given us further insight into what Morgana has to say about P5R's new content.

The new partner attacks that we've been seeing throughout P5R's build up have an official name now; they're called Show Time attacks. So far, we've seen Show Time attacks from the duos of Haru-Morgana, Ryuji-Yusuke, Ann-Morgana, Makoto-Ryuji, and most recently Yusuke-Ann. It's not entirely clear how you'll initiate these extravagant, high-damage attacks, but it was hinted that their availability will be tied to developing relationships between specific characters.

Another aspect of combat that has been further explained is changes to the Baton Pass mechanic. With a high-enough Confidant level, party members in the original game could transfer their extra turn (earned from critical or weakness hits) to another member. P5R will flesh out the feature even more to make it more effective. Taking a page out of the Persona Q book, spells and attacks can be used free of HP or SP costs after a Baton Pass. Furthermore, party members will restore a small amount of HP and SP when chosen to receive the extra turn. It appears that these perks will develop through a separate social ranking system, which was briefly shown in the Morgana Report video, where the player reached Rank 3 with Ann after a game of darts.

Combat will be even more dynamic because of accessories you can equip to other party members' personas. Depending on what you equip, characters can cast spells outside of their original moveset; for example, we see Ann using an Ice-type attack through this system. It's another similar element from Persona Q where characters can have sub-personas and cast different spells.

Yusuke and Ann shutting it down with their Showtime attack.Yusuke and Ann shutting it down with their Showtime attack.

Outside of combat, social activities have expanded. Some of the hangout spots in the new part of town called Kichijoji were previously teased, but the latest video shows more of what these entail. You can actually take part in the DartsLive minigame (shout out to the Yakuza games) that's in the pool hall Penguin Sniper. There's also a jazz bar to chill at and get a drink with the team; you can see Joker and Makoto on a date at Jazz Jin and subsequently leveling up her persona. Like previous Persona games, P5R will feature a Shrine to visit during off hours, and it seems like it'll provided boosts to Joker's SP. Other small addition were showcased as well, like the ability to trade in gear you don't use in exchange for points to spend on other equipment.

We've been keeping up with the new, upcoming version to Persona 5; you can catch up with our breakdown of the first P5R reveal trailer and compilation of all the P5R details that have come out since. While the game is set to release on October 31, 2019 in Japan, we'll have to wait until sometime in 2020 when P5R launches worldwide, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

Amazon Prime Day: Best Tabletop Gaming Deals (US)

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

This year, Amazon Prime Day has doubled into a full 48-hour period of deals. If you're a Prime member, you have access to bargains on hundreds of products from July 15 to 17. Pretty much everything is discounted, from games and PC hardware to console controllers and VR headsets. That includes tabletop games as well.

In the following guide, we outline our favorite tabletop game deals happening on Amazon right now. Whether you're looking for a simple card game to play with the family, a multi-layered board game to take on with your friends, or something in-between, we've got you covered.

As Prime Day hasn't started yet, many of these deals can be enjoyed by all shoppers, not just Prime subscribers. That may no longer be the case come Amazon Prime Day, so if you're not a Prime member and you see a deal that you want to take advantage of, it's better to buy sooner rather than later.

Board GamesBattleLore 2nd Edition -- $49 (39% Off)Betrayal At House On The Hill -- $29 (42% Off)Civilization: A New Dawn -- $25 (50% Off)Dark Darker Darkest -- $43.10 (46% Off)Dark Souls The Card Game -- $35.49 (11% Off)Fallout -- $39 (35% Off)Gloomhaven -- $108.36 (23% Off)Greedy Greedy Goblins -- $16.13 (60% Off)The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor -- $10 (67% Off)Lords of Xidit -- $23 (62% Off)Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 (Red Edition) -- $40.59 (42% Off)Star Trek Frontiers -- $29.74 (37% Off)Vast: The Crystal Caverns -- $38.36 (36% Off)Wasteland Express Delivery Service -- $50 (44% Off)Card GamesThe Banishing -- $11 (45% Off)Bloodborne -- $21.15 (40% Off)Boss Monster: The Dungeon-Building Card Game -- $13.22 (47% Off)Gloom 2nd Edition -- $15 (40% Off)Horizons -- $26.40 (47% Off)One Night Ultimate Werewolf -- $14.79 (41% Off)Penny Arcade The Game: Rumble in R'lyeh -- $14.34 (68% Off)The Red Dragon Inn 5: The Character Trove -- $42 (30% Off)Sheriff of Nottingham -- $23.49 (33% Off)Sushi Go! - The Pick and Pass Card Game -- $9 (40% Off)

If you're looking for some advice, I'd highly recommend Red Dragon Inn 5: The Character Trove (which is linked above). Red Dragon Inn is a fairly easy card game to pick up, but the addition of yearly character expansions means strategies for the game are constantly evolving and growing more complex over time. The aforementioned fifth expansion comes in a box large enough to store the four included character decks as well as all the cards that come in the original game and expansions 2-4, making it the perfect box to start with. Red Dragon Inn requires a minimum of two players, but the maximum is only limited by the number of unique character decks you have. Currently, there are over two dozen characters (with even more on the way) so you can play with a massive group of people.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 CoverageEverything You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Day 2019Not-Prime Day 2019: All The Best Sales That Aren't On AmazonFree Apex Legends Skins Coming To Twitch Prime Members For Prime DayGameStop Kicks Off Huge Summer Sale Just Before Prime DayTarget Deal Days Sale Announced, Overlaps With Amazon Prime DayEbay Sale Might Have You Rooting For Amazon To Crash During Prime DayNew Exclusive Star Wars Funko Pop Launching For Amazon Prime DayEarly Prime Day Perk Includes Free Rewards For Red Dead 2 Online, GTA 5 OnlineThe Free PC Games Twitch Prime Members Can Claim In JulyWatch Out, Amazon Prime Day: Walmart Is Coming For You

13 Most Terrifying Found Footage Horror Movies Ever, Ranked

Jul 12, 2019

Description:


While the horror genre has remained a consistently popular one over the decades, it is marked by the rise and fall of certain subgenres. From the Exorcist-inspired wave of possession movies in the '70s to the glut of slashers that followed the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th in the '80s, all it takes is a single movie to inspire dozens of homages, copies, and rip-offs. In July 1999, a micro-budget indie horror titled The Blair Witch Project hit US theaters and changed the shape of horror--and other genres, to be honest--for the next decade and beyond.

The Blair Witch Project's gimmick was to present the movie as if we were watching the recovered footage left by a trio of missing student filmmakers as they investigated the legends of a witch who lurked in a spooky wooded area. This wasn't the first time the technique had been used--the 1980 Italian shocker Cannibal Holocaust was partly found footage, while mock-documnetraries like This is Spinal Tap and the notorious British TV show Ghostwatch arguably used this technique too. But Blair Witch Project was by far the most influential.

In terms of the film itself, it gave the events on screen an intensity and scary realism, helped by the naturalistic performances by its three actors, that delivered a frightening experience unlike anything else many audiences had experienced before. And in terms of the industry, it broke down a financial barrier for filmmakers. You no longer need an experienced crew and expensive equipment. With a domestic camcorder, a location, and a few friends, anyone could make a found footage movie that had a shot at making some money at the box office.

And that's what happened. The vast success of Blair Witch meant that seemingly everyone was making their own version. Horror has always been a genre that could maximize profit, with many of the biggest success stories being low budget independent movies that became huge hits. Suddenly films that might have been barely releasable a few years earlier were flooding the market. Terrible sound, lousy acting, murky photography? Doesn't matter--it's a found footage movie!

But while many of the found footage films released in the wake of Blair Witch were indeed very bad, there were some great examples too. These were all movies that used the limitations of the format to the story's benefit. In some cases this meant delivering giant monster movies that put us at ground-level with terrifying beasts, and others it meant creating a sense of claustrophobia, denying the viewer that release and distance that a more traditional horror movie can. So with The Blair Witch Project celebrating its 20th anniversary this week, we've taken a look at the best and scariest found footage horror movies ever made. And once you've read that, check out GameSpot's look at the background to Blair Witch and find out why the movie could not be made in the same way today.


13. Borderlands (2013)

This low-budget British movie doesn't perhaps do anything that new, but it's still a satisfyingly scary ride. A pair of Vatican investigators are sent to an old, recently reopened church in the English countryside to look into reports of supernatural activity there. Accompanying them is a cynical videographer, through whose cameras we see a series of weird events unfold. Strong performances, a great atmosphere, and a horrifying end sequence, as the team discover the truth about what lies beneath the church, add up to an underrated shocker.


12. Willow Creek (2013)

Comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait might be best known for his dark comedies, but in 2013 he turned in this impressive found footage bigfoot movie. Just as Blair Witch Project never reveals the witch, in this one Goldthwait holds back from showing us the monster. Instead, it invokes serious scares through the use of sound and suggestion, as a pair of young campers found themselves terrorised by the Bigfoot when they decide to explore the various myths about its existence. The scariest scene is an unbroken 20-minute sequence, as the couple cower in their tent while something seriously terrifying stomps around in the woods outside.


11. The Last Exorcism (2010)

The Last Exorcism combines the found footage genre with the possession movie to impressive effect. It's produced by Eli Roth, and focuses on a priest who has lost his faith and makes a living by performing fake exorcisms on the mentally ill. This leads him to a girl called Nell, who claims to inhabited by a demonic entity called Abalam. The whole thing is caught on camera by a pair of documentary filmmakers, and much of the film plays around with the possibility that Nell is simply disturbed rather than possessed. It's a smart shocker that deals with questions of faith and belief, as well as delivering some intense and scary scenes.


10. The Visit (2015)

While the vast majority of directors making found footage horror movies were first-timers or cash-strapped indie filmmakers, there were a few higher-profile examples. Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight) and Barry Levinson (Back to the Future) both gave it a go, but neither The Devil's Pass and The Bay added much to the genre. The exception is M Night Shyamalan, whose 2015 film The Visit proved something of a comeback after his expensive sci-fi flop After Earth. The movie follows a pair of kids who decide to film their week visiting their grandparents on a remote farm for the first time--inevitably weird things start happening. Shyamalan says he struggled to find the right balance between scares and humor while editing the film, but the result is a well-judged horror movie, with enough humor to relieve the tension without ever undercutting it.


9. Cloverfield (2008)

Horror has always been a genre that allowed to producers to make serious money--it does not require big stars, huge sets, and lavish vfx. It just needs to be scary, and found footage was the perfect format to cut budgets even further. But that doesn't mean there weren't some more expensive entries. War of the Planet of the Apes and upcoming The Batman director Matt Reeves made his directing debut with the JJ Abrams-produced Cloverfield, in which giant rampaging monsters lay waste to New York City. Cloverfield combines the best of both worlds--the bigger budget allows for some fantastic visual effects, but the found footage technique means that the movie was scary and immersive, as the heroes of the story attempt to escape the city.


8. Creep/Creep 2 (2014/2017)

Although found footage has encompassed many different type of horror movies, there aren't many horror comedies, perhaps because the format creates an uncomfortable realism that lends itself much better to scary than it does funny. The great exceptions are Patrick Brice's Creep movies. Make no mistake,these two films every bit as unnerving as any other on this list. But they are also damn funny. Mark Duplass, who also co-wrote and produced both, plays a strange man called Josef, who, in the first movie, places an ad to hire a videographer for the week. The bizarre, ghoulish events of Creep lead directly onto the even funnier and more unsettling Creep 2, which puts a fascinating spin on the first movie's plot. Both films walk a fine line between uncomfortable humor and genuine scares, and are anchored by Duplass's wonderfully weird performance. You'll laugh, jump, and cringe--usually in the same scene.


7. Trollhunter (2010)

Like Cloverfield, this hugely entertaining Norweigan movies uses its found footage style to bring a level of gritty realism to an outlandish monster movie. In this one, a documentary crew are following the exploits of a man who claims to track giant trolls through the countryside. The movie combines thrills, humour and social commentary, and the filming technique ensures that the trolls are damn scary when we get close to them. The movie launched director André Øvredal's Hollywood career--he followed it with the acclaimed indie chiller The Autopsy of Jane Doe and helms the upcoming Guillermo Del Toro-produced Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark.


6. Noroi: The Curse (2005)

The Japanese classic was unavailable in the West for many years, but can now be found on the streaming service Shudder. It's a long and sprawling film that starts with the disappearance of a paranormal expert while he was making his latest documentary about a strange curse affecting seemingly unconnected people. The bulk of the movie is made up of the unfinished film; director Kōji Shiraishi does a brilliant job of weaving in this storyline with real-life archival footage, to create a movie that blurs the boundaries of fact and fiction. The movie's two-hour length and complex story was criticized in Japan at the time, but it remains an ambitious, intricately plotted, and very scary movie that shows what can be done with the found footage format.


5. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Perhaps the earliest example of found footage, Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust remained the genre's defining work, until The Blair Witch Project was released nesrly 20 years later. It's also unquestionably the "best" of the more disreputable Italian cannibal movies of the late-'70s/early-'80s. The first third of the movie is traditionally made, and sees an American anthropologist head into Amazon jungle to find out what happened to a team of documentary filmmakers who disappeared months earlier. He discovers that they were all killed out there, and the rest of the movie allows us to see the reels of film they shot, as they manipulate, provoke, and torture the natives in order to get some sensationalist footage. Cannibal Holocaust is, at times, a powerful, extremely well-made comment on the role of the documentarian and the influence of the "civilized" world upon more remote people. But it's also a brutal, exploitative film in its own right--there's the indefensible animal violence that was an unfortunate feature of Italian cannibal films, and there are some truly gruelling scenes as the filmmakers have the tables turned on them and become dinner for the cannibal tribes.


4. Lake Mungo (2008)

This Australian movie was not the film that director Joel Anderson originally wanted to make; when he couldn't raise the funds for a more ambitious project he instead wrote a found footage horror movie that he knew he could make cheaply. Nevertheless, Lake Mungo is far from the quick, commercial movie we often associate with the subgenre. It's a powerful exploration of grief, in which a family are coming to terms with the mysterious drowning of their daughter Alice. But as they deal with their loss, Alice begins to reappear in photos taken by her brother. Found footage movies are at their strongest when evoking a sense of realism that conventional movies cannot, and Lake Mungo is a fantastic example of this. The naturalistic performances and use of "mockumentary" style interviews help create a truly chilling, utterly convincing atmosphere which makes its various scares and twists even more effective.


3. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Like Blair Witch a decade earlier, Paranormal Activity showed what could be done with a tiny budget and a great idea. It cost only $15,000 to produce yet grossed $193 million worldwide, and spawned a hugely successful franchise. It had an incredibly simple set-up--a young couple set up cameras around their new house in order to record the supernatural evil that is tormenting them at night. Director Oren Peli generates incredible tension by making the audience wait for minutes on end, watching people sleep, for something to happen, before delivering some expertly crafted scares. Ironically, after the movie was bought by Paramount, the studio's initial plan was for Peli to remake it with a higher budget. Peli agreed but with the stipulation that he was allowed a single test screening with his original version--the effect on the audience was so strong that remake plans were scrapped, and the rest is movie history.


2. REC/REC 2 (2007/2009)

This pair of Spanish zombie movies work as a hugely enjoyable pairing, with the second movie starting immediately after the end of the first. Both films take place in a zombie-infested tenement building--REC is seen through the camera of a reporter who is investigating strange goings-on in the block, while the second mostly focuses on a heavily armed special forces team who attempt to take back control. Both are intense, exciting, and unpredictable experiences--REC 2 in particular throws us straight into the mayhem as we experience it all the cameras worn by the soldiers. Two more sequels followed--one traditionally filmed, the other found footage again--but neither match the sheer verve and intensity of the first two.


1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project might not have been the first found footage horror movie, but it is unquestionably the most influential. It still stands as one of the most profitable movies of all time, and absolutely terrified audiences when it hit theaters in the summer of 1999. The simplicity of its story was enhanced by a brilliantly creative viral marketing campaign designed to convince audiences the film was “real.” The raw visuals, naturalistic performances, and a refusal to follow traditional plot conventions resulted in a film that was copied for years to come--but rarely bettered.


We Play Skyrim On Amazon Alexa

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

In honor of Amazon Prime Day, Jess plays Skyrim Very Special Edition with Alexa on the Amazon Echo. Follow along as she battles trolls, wolves, and a fire-breathing dragon.

Toradora And Anohana Director's Upcoming Anime Film Gets New Trailer

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

A new trailer for the upcoming movie by anime director Tatsuyuki Nagai has been released. Nagai is best known in the anime industry for directing the anime series Toradora and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, as well as the movie The Anthem of the Heart. The new trailer for his upcoming film can be watched below.

The 90-second trailer teases the upcoming movie's story, which follows the evolving relationship between two sisters: Akane and Aoi. The siblings live on their own, as their parents both died 13 years prior. One day, Akane (who's the older sister) reunites with her ex-boyfriend, Shinnosuke, who is now a professional musician. At the same time, a teenage Shinnosuke (from 13 years ago and who goes by Shinno) travels forward in time from the past and befriends the younger Aoi. As Akane and Shinnosuke rekindle their old flame, Aoi begins to fall in love with Shinno.

The upcoming film, Sora no Aosa wo Shiru Hito Yo (which, according to Crunchyroll, translates into The Person Who Knows About the Sky's Blueness) is the third and final anime in a planned trilogy of stories all taking place in the same setting. The previous anime in the series are Anohana and The Anthem of the Heart. The Person Who Knows About the Sky's Blueness is scheduled to be released in Japan on October 11, with an international debut planned for a later date.

For more anime, check out our coverage of Anime Expo, which is linked below.

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2011's Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day follows a group of childhood friends who slowly reunite in high school. The group drifted apart after one of its members, Menma, died in an accident unwittingly caused by the others. Jinta, the leader of the group and who loved Menma, becomes a recluse after her death. However, when Menma's ghost appears to Jinta and begins asking him to help her grant her one true wish so she can go to the afterlife, Jinta reluctantly turns to his old friends to help him figure out what the wish is.

2015's The Anthem of the Heart revolves around high school student Jun, who is unable to speak. Her disability is the result of a fairy's curse, a punishment enacted on Jun when she was a little girl. Always talkative as a child, Jun accidentally caused her parent's divorce when she tells her mom about seeing her dad at a love hotel with a strange woman. In the present day, Jun is assigned to the Charity Committee, where she happens upon one of the members, Takumi, singing. Captivated by his voice, Jun begins planning a musical with him and her fellow committee members, believing that, through song, she will finally be able to speak.

Best Prime Day 2019 Anime Deals So Far (US)

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

This year, Amazon Prime Day is actually more Amazon Prime Days with a full 48 hours of deals. Provided you're a Prime member, you have access to bargains on hundreds of products. Everything, from games and PC hardware to console controllers and VR headsets, is on sale. Even plenty of anime products receive a hefty discount.

Given Prime Video's rapidly growing presence as a serious contender in the anime streaming space, Amazon may not discount as many Blu-ray and DVDs for mainstream series and movies as it did last year. Even if it does, you may not want to take advantage of all of them. Amazon Prime Video has spent the past few years getting the streaming rights to many of those major anime series, as well as securing exclusivity on some truly remarkable stories--such as Re:Creators, Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, After the Rain, Iroduku: The World in Colors, Dororo, and Vinland Saga. Without a doubt, the best anime deal you can find on Amazon right now is buying into Prime Video. You're missing out on some great series without a membership.

Sign up for Amazon Prime 30-day free trial

Amazon hasn't completely stepped away from physical sales, though, and is planning on using Prime Day to offer discounts on the series that aren't a part of Prime Video. There's a whole lot more than just Blu-ray deals for anime fans to take advantage of as well--there are discounts on box sets, plushies, and other types of collectibles.

Below we've highlighted some of the best anime deals to take advantage of around Prime Day, and most of them aren't at Amazon. Rightstuf is having one of its huge anime sales right now, and Best Buy and Walmart both have a few excellent anime deals going on at the moment. We'll continue to fill the list out with Prime Day deals as we hear of them, so stay tuned.

Best anime deals at AmazonCowboy Bebop: The Complete Series -- $5Best anime Blu-rays and box set deals elsewhere91 Days -- $11.79 (Rightstuf)Akame Ga Kill: Complete Collection -- $41.70 (Rightstuf)Another -- $14.42 (Rightstuf)Batman Ninja Steelbook Edition -- $13 (Best Buy)Citrus -- $26.54 (Rightstuf)Classroom of the Elite -- $32.59 (Rightstuf)The Devil is a Part Timer: The Complete Series -- $27 (Walmart) // $23.23 (Rightstuf)Dagashi Kashi: Season 1 -- $15 (Rightstuf)Dragon Ball Super: Broly -- $20 (Best Buy)Food Wars! Premium Box Set -- $50 (Rightstuf)Haikyu: Season 1 -- $25.75 (Rightstuf)Haikyu: Season 1 Premium Box Set -- $51.50 (Rightstuf)High School DxD: Season 1 -- $18.22 (Rightstuf)Log Horizon Complete Collection -- $40.16 (Rightstuf)My Hero Academia: Season 1 -- $37 (Best Buy) // $34 (Walmart)My Hero Academia: Two Heroes -- $21 (Best Buy)My Love Story Premium Box Set -- $50 (Rightstuf)Napping Princess -- $15 (Best Buy) // $13.90 (Rightstuf)New Game!: Season 1 -- $32.59 (Rightstuf)Orange -- $12.14 (Rightstuf)Pokemon: Movies 1-3 Bundle -- $15 (Best Buy)Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us -- $15 (Best Buy)Princess Tutu -- $31.49 (Rightstuf)Recovery Of An MMO Junkie -- $32.59 (Rightstuf)Rocket Girls -- $20.59 (Rightstuf)Seven Deadly Sins: Season 1 -- $30.37 (Rightstuf)Your Name -- $12.38 (Rightstuf)Anime collectibles dealsDarling in the Franxx (Zero Two & Ichigo) Nendoroid Bundle -- $80 (Rightstuf)Haikyu!! Competitors (Kenma & Kotaro) Nendoroid Figure Bundle -- $64 (Rightstuf)Haikyu!! Crows (Yu & Ryunosuke) Nendoroid Figure Bundle -- $70 (Rightstuf)

If you're looking for even more anime as you wait for Prime Day, we've got you covered. July marks the start of the summer season, which means a bunch of new movies and series have made their debut. To help you wade through the dozens of new titles to choose from, we've put together a guide of the eight anime to add to your queue and watch this summer--one of which is a Prime Video exclusive. Earlier this month, we attended Anime Expo and compiled galleries of the best anime games and best cosplay at the convention.

For more on Amazon Prime Day(s) 2019, look below to read through all the deals we've compiled. Prime Day ends at on July 17 at midnight (no matter which timezone you live in).

Amazon Prime Day 2019 CoverageEverything You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Day 2019Not-Prime Day 2019: All The Best Sales That Aren't On AmazonFree Apex Legends Skins Coming To Twitch Prime Members For Prime DayGameStop Kicks Off Huge Summer Sale Just Before Prime DayTarget Deal Days Sale Announced, Overlaps With Amazon Prime DayEbay Sale Might Have You Rooting For Amazon To Crash During Prime DayNew Exclusive Star Wars Funko Pop Launching For Amazon Prime DayEarly Prime Day Perk Includes Free Rewards For Red Dead 2 Online, GTA 5 OnlineThe Free PC Games Twitch Prime Members Can Claim In JulyWatch Out, Amazon Prime Day: Walmart Is Coming For You

Best Prime Day Funko Pop Deals Available Now (US)

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is fast approaching, marking the busiest summer shopping day of the year. Prime Day itself will run from Monday, July 15 through Tuesday, July 16, but other retailers are hopping on the opportunity to challenge Amazon's retail holiday. Target, Walmart, Ebay, and several other online retailers are all holding their own summer sales events to compete with Prime Day.

If you just can't get enough Pops, Prime Day and the surrounding sales are a good time to stock up. GameStop's storewide Summer Sale and Ebay's Hot Deals For Hot Days Sale have already started, so either of those could have deals pop up before Monday starts the events in earnest. Bookmark this page to track all the Funko deals as they happen.

Amazon-exclusive Star Wars Deluxe Funko Pop - $65 at AmazonAmazon-exclusive Star Wars Deluxe Funko Pop - $65 at Amazon

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The showpiece of this year's Prime Day festivities is an exclusive Funko Pop. The Funko Deluxe figure features Han Solo in the cockpit of a Funko-styled Millennium Falcon. It measures 5.5 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide, and 13.25 inches long, so you'll need some space for it. It's a Prime Day Launch, meaning that's when pre-orders will begin, but the actual Pop won't ship until October 21, 2019.

As part of GameStop's Summer Sale, which overlaps with Prime Day, the retailer is also offering a special deal on Funko Pops where you can get three for $25 on all Funko Pops that are $12 and under. If you choose three $12 figures, that's a total savings of $11, almost getting you one figure for free. You can check out the full offering of Funkos over at GameStop.

Get 3 for $25 on Funko Pops $12 and under at GameStop

Best Funko Pop Deals

Of course, more deals will go live when Prime Day officially kicks off on Monday (and we'll include the best of those deals here), but in the meantime, check out some of the Pops already discounted below.

No Caption ProvidedPokemon: Charmander$8.78 ($11)

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No Caption ProvidedOverwatch: D.Va$15 ($25)

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No Caption ProvidedStan Lee (Patina)$8.78 ($11)

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No Caption ProvidedDragon Ball Super: Goku, Ultra Instinct Form $8.37 ($11)

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No Caption ProvidedFunko Rocks KISS Collector's Set$38 ($46.35)

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No Caption ProvidedPokemon: Bulbasaur$8.72 ($11)

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No Caption ProvidedMarvel's Avengers: Thanos$8.76 ($11)

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No Caption ProvidedSpider-Man Far From Home: Mysterio$9.59 ($11)

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More Amazon Prime Day 2019 coverage:Everything You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Day 2019Prime Day Gaming Deals: Best PS4 Deals On Games, Consoles, And MoreBest Nintendo Switch Deals For Amazon Prime Day 20197 Tips For Saving More During Amazon Prime Day 2019Not-Prime Day 2019: All The Best Sales That Aren't On AmazonFree Apex Legends Skins Coming To Twitch Prime Members For Prime DayGameStop Kicks Off Huge Summer Sale Just Before Prime DayThe Best Prime Day Gaming PC Deals At DellEbay Sale Might Have You Rooting For Amazon To Crash During Prime DayNew Exclusive Star Wars Funko Pop Launching For Amazon Prime DayThe Free PC Games Twitch Prime Members Can Claim In JulyWalmart Prime Day Deals Include Xbox One Bundle With Headset, Controller For $300HyperX Gaming PC Accessories Are Getting Major Markdowns For Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2019 Deals: Best 4K UHD Movie Sales (US Only)

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is almost here. The online retailer's annual summer sale officially kicks off on Monday, July 15, and it'll offer Amazon Prime members bargains on hundreds of products, ranging from video games, consoles, VR headsets, and much more. The deals will extend into other forms of entertainment as well, including 4K UHDs, making this a good opportunity to bolster your movie library.

Prime Day may still be a couple of days away, but a handful of deals have already begun cropping up online ahead of the big shopping day, with many more to come once the sale officially begins. 4K UHDs are normally pretty pricey, so if you're in the market for some new movies (and have the required hardware to play them), you'll definitely want to browse this year's selection of deals.

You can see some of Amazon's best preliminary 4K UHD deals below. They include discounts on some recent blockbusters, as well as a few pre-orders on upcoming releases. Be sure to check back over the next couple of days, as we'll be updating this list with more deals as they emerge.

Amazon Prime Day runs for a full 48 hours, ending at midnight Pacific Time on July 17, but that isn't the only sale going on. Not to be outdone, many other stores, including Target, Walmart, Ebay, and all the other online retailers, are also offering discounts on a variety of video games, accessories, and other products to compete with Prime Day, so you've got plenty of deals to choose from.

See all 4K UHD deals at Amazon

Best Prime Day 4K UHD DealsAlien 40th Anniversary -- $15 ($25)Avengers: Infinity War -- $24.75 ($40)Batman (1989) -- $25 ($42)Bumblebee -- $24.18 ($40)Captain America Trilogy -- $69 ($100)Captain Marvel -- $30 ($40)Dunkirk -- $20 ($42)Hellboy -- $25 ($43)How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World -- $28.52 ($50)The Incredible Hulk -- $15 ($30)John Wick -- $15 ($23)John Wick: Chapter 2 -- $12 ($35)John Wick 3: Parabellum (pre-order) -- $30 ($43)Shazam (pre-order) -- $30 ($45)Spider-Man: Far From Home (pre-order) -- $30 ($46)Spider-Man: Homecoming -- $19.90 ($31)Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse -- $23.90 ($46)Terminator 2: Judgment Day -- $11.38 ($23)Us -- $27.96 ($45)Amazon Prime Day 2019 CoverageEverything You Need To Know About Amazon Prime Day 2019Not-Prime Day 2019: All The Best Sales That Aren't On AmazonFree Apex Legends Skins Coming To Twitch Prime Members For Prime DayGameStop Kicks Off Huge Summer Sale Just Before Prime DayTarget Deal Days Sale Announced, Overlaps With Amazon Prime DayEbay Sale Might Have You Rooting For Amazon To Crash During Prime DayNew Exclusive Star Wars Funko Pop Launching For Amazon Prime DayEarly Prime Day Perk Includes Free Rewards For Red Dead 2 Online, GTA 5 OnlineThe Free PC Games Twitch Prime Members Can Claim In JulyWatch Out, Amazon Prime Day: Walmart Is Coming For You

Who And What Are Marvel's Eternals?

Jul 12, 2019

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While Phase 4 of the MCU is still largely shrouded in mystery and speculation, there has been a steady smattering of casting news revolving around one specific upcoming project: The Eternals, which so far, has reportedly nabbed big names like Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani as well as (potentially debunked) rumors of Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown as unconfirmed roles in the ensemble.

But major talent aside, the question still remains: Who--and, perhaps more importantly, what--are Marvel's Eternals? Where do they come from and how do they fit into the MCU's current landscape? Are they the next Avengers? The next Guardians of the Galaxy? The next Asgardians? Or are something else entirely? To get to the bottom of these questions, we need to take a look into some real-life superhero history.

The once and future King

It's impossible to disentangle the story of the Eternals from the legacy of one of comics biggest icons: Jack Kirby, the man responsible for co-creating the teams that established Marvel as we know it today like the Fantastic 4, X-Men, and Avengers. His name may not be as universally recognized as Stan Lee, but his fingerprints are all over the MCU and his ideas form the baseline DNA of our modern understanding of superheroes across the board. This is largely thanks to the fact that Kirby worked extensively on both Marvel and DC projects through most of what we know now as the Silver and Bronze ages--roughly between the early '60s to the late '70s.

Kirby's relationship with both Marvel and DC is a point of some historical contention, but the long and the short of it is that during his time at either company, he was largely given carte blanche to create the stories he wanted, which he would write, draw, and edit on his own. At DC, that manifested as the Fourth World saga, a new cosmic mythology that gave us characters like Mister Miracle, Darkseid, Steppenwolf (shout out to Justice League, I guess), and Big Barda. It was left unfinished after the books involved were canceled, though the characters and the stories were eventually picked up years later by other creative teams. The cancelation prompted Kirby to pack up and return to Marvel, where he did--well, essentially the same thing. The Eternals were Kirby's answer to the Fourth World for Marvel, and a chance to explore the same themes he began broaching over at DC in spite of his canceled books.

The themes themselves were pretty crazy. At this point in his career, Kirby was less interested in biff-bang-pow superheroics and more interested in things like high concept theology and how that would actually intersect with a world where superpowered gods walked the Earth. For the Fourth World, he took Judeo-Christian elements to make (and critique) a new, cosmic version of Heaven and Hell. For The Eternals, he went a bit more broad, cribbing from Greek, Roman, and Incan pantheons, as well as literary historical texts and epics--everything from The Odyssey to Shakespeare--to make a brand new creation myth for the Marvel Universe.

Okay, so what is the myth?

The Eternals story goes like this: The universe is populated with giant, timeless, immortal gods called Celestials who create experimental life on planets throughout the cosmos. Coincidentally, one of their experimental planets just happened to be Earth, about five million years pre-history, where they found the start of human life, conducted their experiments, and gave rise to three different "species" of humanity--humans, Eternals, and Deviants--all of which evolved over time as the Celestials observed from afar.

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Humans were just regular humans, but Eternals and Deviants were special. Eternals were immortal, ageless and beautiful while Deviants were similarly timeless but monstrous and cruel. As the three species evolved together, the Eternals inadvertently became the foundation for many of humanity's myths--the gods of various pantheons, the main characters in fables, etc--while the Deviants were driven underground to effectively become the basis for human concepts like demons or Hell.

With the Eternal/Human/Deviant trinity, Kirby was able to recontextualize the whole of human history in the Marvel Universe--but the effects were extremely localized at first. It took years, but eventually, the new creation myth was retroactively applied to characters like Thanos (yeah, that Thanos) who was revealed to be a Deviant from his home planet of Titan, the result of another Celestial experiment.

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The major conflict of Eternals-focused stories is usually two-fold. They are constantly at war with the Deviants who hate both the Eternals and all of humanity, but they also struggle against the Celestials who tend to believe their experiments have shelf lives. The Celestials visit their planets in "hosts" to instigate apocalyptic events (like the biblical 40-day and 40-night flood) to hit the hard reset button on all life--something that both the Eternals and the humans tend to take issue with.

Who are the Eternals?

Honestly, there are way, way too many Eternal and Deviant characters in the Marvel universe to keep track of, so for the sake of simplicity, we'll focus on the ones that are likely to play a big role in the MCU.

There's Ikaris, the de facto protagonist of Kirby's original series, and the father of Icarus, the guy with the wax wings from mythology. Ikaris is a friend of humanity and one of the major players in rallying his Eternal brothers and sisters to play a role in the world of superheroes.

Sersi is a trickster Eternal with magic abilities that can control and shape-shift atoms into new forms. She's the basis for a whole bunch of myths and historical literature like the goddess Circe, and Penelope the wife of Odysseus to name a few.

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Thena, an eternal who is "constantly mistaken" for the Greek goddess Athena, was the inspiration for the city of Athens. She had an affair with a Deviant leader named Kro which resulted in twin half-Deviant, half-Eternal children.

Other likely additions to the MCU are Zuras and Ajak who were Eternals that served to inspire and muddle Greek myths with Zuras becoming an analogy for Zeus and Ajak becoming an analogy for the hero Ajax. There's also The Forgotten One, who was the basis of fables like Beowulf and Gilgamesh, and Druig who specialized in secrecy and espionage and worked with the K.G.B (a Black Widow tie-in, maybe?)

What does this mean for the MCU?

The short answer is: it's almost impossible to tell. As it stands right now, outside from the existence of Thanos himself, we've only had one real allusion to the Eternals at all in the MCU--a throwaway line about Vormir (remember, the Soul Stone planet?) being the "center of Celestial space."

Introducing the Eternals into the MCU means a serious chance to start doing some real archeology into the shared universe's history--way beyond what we've already done with movies like Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain Marvel--but with that opportunity comes some unique challenges. Because they're typically so tangential to the traditional superheroics, getting them to mesh in the established story will be tricky--even finding a place to back door them into the mix like Black Panther and Spider-Man via Civil War will be a careful balancing act.

However, risks aside, the Eternals mark a whole new universe of opportunity that could make the MCU seem even more expansive than it already is, and bringing the Celestial conflict into the spotlight is certainly one way to up the ante after Thanos.

The fact of the matter is, no matter what happens, the Eternals won't be a replacement Avengers, and they'll stand completely apart from other teams like the Guardians of the Galaxy or other mythologically inspired races like the Asgardians--which is a very cool prospect, but also an intimidating one. We'll just have to hold on and keep our ears to the ground for more Phase 4 news before we get too deep into the guessing game.

SolSeraph Review - Play God

Jul 12, 2019

Description:

SolSeraph is overtly inspired by the Super NES cult classic ActRaiser. If there was any shred of doubt of its roots given its mixture of action-platforming and sim-style management, that was removed when it opened with a slow spinning first-person view barrelling towards the earth--an homage to ActRaiser's Mode-7 showpiece so specific that it virtually winks at the audience. Curiously, though, it's some of SolSeraph's departures from ActRaiser that let it stand on its own, for better and for worse.

SolSeraph puts you in the divine boots of Helios, the Knight of Dawn, as he helps build civilization and fight against a set of Younger Gods who each manifest as the embodiment of a natural disaster. There is a hodge-podge of religious iconography at play, and Helios looks especially angelic, but this isn't tied to any specific faith. Instead, SolSeraph invents its own mythology, borrowing bits and pieces from world religions.

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Each of the five territories consists of two distinct game types. To begin, you fight through monsters to unlock a new civilization. Each one is housed on its own environment type which presents its own set of hazards. An island nation is prone to constant flooding, for example, while the snowy northern tribe has trouble tending farms and needs to rely on livestock instead. You guide the people to manage their population and resources, like food and lumber, while also building defensive structures to fend off attacks from monsters. Then you can build a temple near one of the monster lairs, take part in another action-platforming or arena battle to clear it, and continue until you unlock the final portion that houses the Younger God boss.

This all may sound very familiar to ActRaiser fans, but the focus on defending against waves of monster attacks is actually a wild departure. SolSeraph's approach is more akin to a tower defense game, as the waves of monsters all march on a set path toward a centralized base marked by a campfire. Defeating waves of monsters takes a variety of defensive structures, even earning its own part in the radial menu, along with the godly powers to summon lightning or dispatch a guardian. In short, it takes the formerly minor threat of monster attacks and makes it much more active and central to the experience.

On one hand, this change makes the sim portions feel that much more dynamic. Protecting your people from brutal waves of monster attacks can be much more frenetic than the relaxed, casual sensation of watching your society grow and occasionally guiding your people in the right direction. On the other hand, this approach comes at the expense of what made ActRaiser such an interesting examination of faith.

In ActRaiser, society grew on its own as you mildly steered them, and your tools were limited. You could summon an earthquake to destroy houses and encourage stronger building, but you couldn't meticulously place each individual building on a grid. In some ways, ActRaiser functioned as a reflection on the limitations of divinity. Interactions were indirect, and the stories that played out were sometimes tragic. The people assumed it must be the will of a higher power, but in reality, you were powerless to stop some events that they had set in motion by their own free will. It's a powerful idea that, in SolSeraph, is undermined by having such direct control over everything your civilization does.

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The spirit is still there, to a point. The people pray to Helios without ever hearing an answer, so the idea is still present that they're operating on faith and hoping some dispassionate deity will end their struggles. But this is present only in short story sequences, and it's discordant with the mechanics of the game itself. There is no sensation that the culture is flourishing on its own. You aren’t gently guiding as much as dictating, which feels oddly out-of-step with the idea that the people have unproven faith in a higher power.

Functionally, the sim segments are relatively simplistic but often unintuitive. Monster waves come infrequently enough that it's often easy to build up a massive arsenal of defenses before the first attack ever comes. There's no real penalty for failure, and in fact getting a game over screen just starts the monster clock over again from zero while keeping all of your recent building changes. At the same time, it isn't always clear where the monsters will be coming from or in what numbers. Building temples to clear monster lairs relies on meeting a threshold of "Souls," which are gathered from defeated monsters. This can be counterintuitive in a game about a god gathering worshippers, who could also logically be counted as souls and more sensibly connect to building a worship temple. Instead, the population only matters inasmuch as it gives you bodies to assign to defensive structures and farms. There is no counter for your total number of assigned versus idle villagers, which means you may reassign them at a critical moment by accident.

The game’s other half, the action-platforming segments, can be unforgiving. The controls are rigid and monsters come from all sides, which often makes it difficult to turn quickly to take on different threats. Life comes at a premium, with very sparse health regen and a magic spell that only recharges one measly health point at a time. Checkpoints are often nowhere to be found, which is especially frustrating when you accidentally wander into an optional area with a tougher battle that grants some small permanent reward like extra Weather Magic for the sim portion.

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Much more problematic in the action sequences is the interplay between the foreground and background. Helios does his battle strictly on one plane, but enemies often approach from the foreground or background. You can see them approaching, but until they reach your plane, slashing with your sword won't touch them. The transition between untouchable and vulnerable isn't clearly signaled, so oftentimes your best bet is to slash wildly at an approaching enemy until it takes damage--but since some of them fly diagonally towards you, this isn't foolproof. The interplay between these areas can present a good challenge when it's just background characters firing projectiles that you'll need to dodge, but the tendency for enemies to cross from one plane to another just creates more frustration than it's worth.

The Younger Gods boss characters are the exception to this rule and where the combat shines. The old-school challenge isn’t hampered by the gimmick present in normal enemy encounters. Better yet, the collection of boss designs are largely a creative mixture of different cultural traditions from around the world, and each one’s power set and attack patterns connect with the natural disasters they have represented for your people. Defeating them grants you a new power, but it’s nearly as satisfying to have defeated the personification of floods, drought, or wildfires, after watching your culture struggle with them.

SolSeraph could have hemmed slightly closer to the conventions of its clear inspiration, and it may have been better for it. The changes to the sim aspect create gameplay depth at the expense of tonal depth, and the action segments can be annoyingly clunky, especially with the unnecessary addition of enemies that are untouchable until an unclear point in time. The willingness to riff on one of the most beloved classics of an entire console era shows a remarkable amount of audacity, and it actually halfway works. It's the half that doesn't that makes SolSeraph such a qualified recommendation.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey To Ban XP Farming In Creator Mode Missions

Jul 12, 2019

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey recently introduced a Story Creator mode, allowing players to build their own custom missions. Ubisoft has noticed a glut of missions intended to easily boost XP, and has announced changes to the mode to prevent farming. The studio said in an update that it is doing this to maintain the integrity of the creative mode, as well as to keep the XP farming missions from crowding out other community stories that are using the mode as intended.

"Story Creator Mode was designed to be a tool for players to let their creativity and imagination run free as they build their very own Stories to share with others, using a modified version of the tools our own designers used to develop the quests in the game," the update states. "These exploits risk jeopardizing the overall quality, integrity, and purpose of Story Creator Mode and results in less visibility for the creative, interesting and frankly fantastic community stories that have been published."

The post details several steps it will be implementing going forward to reduce the instances of these XP farming quests. Those include filtering XP farming quests from its automatic recommendation system, hiding any stories that are reported for exploits, sanctioning those who misuse the tool, and updating the terms of use to reflect these changes. It also says it will be implementing "further solutions" in the future with other title updates.

While some of these changes do clearly connect with improving visibility for non-farming quests, banning the quests altogether isn't necessarily needed for that goal. It's worth noting that Assassin's Creed Odyssey's steep experience ramp was one common point of criticism among reviews, including in our own. The in-game shop also offers a permanent XP boost item as a real-money purchase.

"When looking at Odyssey in the bigger picture, it can often feel like too much game for its own good," Alessandro Fillari wrote. "There are numerous moments where the loop of exploring, completing missions, and traveling can slow the pace significantly. This is exacerbated by the expansive map, which can sometimes feel excessively big and a chore to travel through. ... Several times throughout my journey, progression was somewhat exhausting, which made some of the more impactful and exciting moments in the story feel like a drag."

For more content authored by Ubisoft itself, the final installment in the Fate of Atlantis episodic DLC trilogy is coming on July 16. That is the last piece of planned DLC that we know of for the game, which released in 2018.

Fight Us In Under Night While We Get Hyped For Evo 2019 | GameSpot Community Friday

Jul 12, 2019

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Michael and Ben are taking on everyone in UNDER NIGHT IN-BIRTH Exe:Late[st] on PS4 while we talk about what we are excited to see this year at Evo 2019!

Where Is Xur Today? Destiny 2 Exotic Vendor Location Guide (7/12 - 7/16)

Jul 12, 2019

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With so many brand new Exotic quests in Destiny 2's season pass, it's worth checking out some brand new rolls on old favorites! Check this guide to see where our enigmatic Agent of the Nine is, and what he has in store for your Guardian.

Warframe's New Frames, Area, Gameplay Mode, And Cool Cinematic Trailer Revealed

Jul 6, 2019

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Over the years, Warframe has grown past its simple premise of so-called space ninjas slashing and grabbing loot across the universe and evolved into an action-RPG that dabbles in open-world gameplay and quests with a strong focus on narrative. At TennoCon 2019, the annual community event celebrating all things Warframe, developer Digital Extremes revealed what's to come for the evolving online game in 2019 and beyond. In addition to a new cinematic questline, yet another open-world setting, and an update on the new ship combat mode known as Empyrean--the developers also revealed a new cinematic sequence to help ease new players into the game.

During the closing TennoCon presentation, Digital Extremes unveiled a new cinematic trailer detailing events before the game, focusing heavily on the three starter Frames: Excalibur, Volt, and Mag. In collaboration with film director and Totally Rad Show alum Dan Trachtenberg, whose past works include 10 Cloverfield Lane and the upcoming Uncharted film, the new CG trailer aims to offer context for the game's expansive universe and overarching narrative. The trailer is unlike anything that Warframe has shown before, and it's certainly an exciting way to kick off the massive campaign.

We also got to see some new updates for the core game's systems, which includes a new installment in the cinematic questline. In the trailer for The New War, it is revelaed that the next cinematic quest will focus on a new threat that comes to Earth, which will pull together Lotus and the Tenno into an even larger conflict. Moreover, the developers also teased the next open-world expansion, called The Duviri Paradox. Not much was shown about the new setting, but it does seem to present one of the most visually distinctive areas to explore in Warframe yet.

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The highlight of the main presentation at TennoCon 2019 was the re-reveal of the upcoming gameplay mode focusing on large-scale ship combat. According to creative director Steve Sinclair, this new gameplay mode is all about the "connection" with other players and core features of the game. This new activity is called Empyrean, and it'll have a squad of players collectively control a ship to face off against AI ships and rival players. In your clan Dojo you can customize your Raijjack ship, outfitting it with new weapons, engine upgrades, and even decorations. You can also recruit new members and interact with some of the new characters that will be introduced with the update.

However, a new aspect of the Empyrean that Digital Extremes showed off was multi-layered objectives. Along with controlling the ship as a squad, select players can exit the ship and enter derelict ships to secure resources and clear goals. During this time, the away team of other players will still coordinate with players on the ship, and the crew can even offer support. Another new feature that was shown off was Squad Link, which will allow clanmates and friends playing in different modes to assist one another. In the demonstration, players in the Planes of Eidolon could take on missions in the open world that will directly help other members of the team fighting it out in space. It felt very much like something out of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and seeing it play it out goes to show how much Warframe as evolved over the years.

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In addition to these announcements, we also saw the reveal of Prime variant of Wukong, who recently had an overhaul just last month, and a new installment in the Nightwave seasonal event called The Emissary--both of which were made available after TennoCon's completion. Also, the developers teased two new Frames in the form of Gauss and Grendel. Aside from The New War, which will launch Holiday 2019, The Duviri Paradox and Empyrean don't have a date at this time. However, the developers state that more info will be revealed in the immediate future.

For more on what's to come with Warframe, including when these new updates and gameplay modes will drop for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, be sure to check back with GameSpot.

Return To Resident Evil 2 Remake Part 3 - Resident Kinevil

Jul 6, 2019

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Mary Kish and Mike Mahardy finally get a shotgun and that's definitely the only noteworthy event that happens this week on our Resident Evil longplay.

Promare Review - Gurren La Kill

Jul 6, 2019

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Studio Trigger burst onto the anime scene in 2013 with Kill la Kill, an original series well-received by both fans and critics for its creative subversion of genre tropes, lovable characters, well-composed soundtrack, and gorgeously animated over-the-top battles. Trigger has not quite managed to capture that same type of magic since then, but the studio's theatrical debut, Promare, comes close. Though it suffers from some pacing issues from prolonged world-building in Act 1, Promare finishes strong with a well-structured story, creative humor, gorgeous animation, and wonderfully powerful gay energy.

Promare's story begins 30 years after the emergence of a mutation that causes random people of all ages from around the world to suddenly manifest pyrokinetic abilities. In the modern day, these people are called the Burnish, and they are ostracized and discriminated against by the rest of the non-mutant population. Most of the populace wrongly believe that every Burnish belongs to a terrorist organization called Mad Burnish, a group responsible for several aggressive actions in metropolitan areas. Two groups are formed to combat the fire-wielding mutants: the militaristic Freeze Force that arrest Mad Burnish members and take them away to a secret prison, and the firefighting Burning Rescue team that respond to Burnish-created disasters and save civilians. Promare follows Galo Thymos, the newest member of Burning Rescue, who's first major assignment puts him into direct conflict with Mad Burnish's leader, Lio Fotia.

Ultimately, Promare doesn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to its story. It's a tale that's been seen countless times before--mutants, aliens, or animals are used as a stand-in for a group that faces racial prejudice, sexism, or some other form of discrimination. The movie establishes early on that not all Burnish are terrorists, but the news and police exploit the underlying feelings of hatred and fear among the populace so that the government can lock up any discovered Burnish without encountering resistance. This part of the world-building is done well, with an early scene in a pizza shop perfectly encapsulating the type of world Galo lives in.

Promare loses itself in the nitty-gritty of the fantastical lore of the Burnish and their creation, though. There are too many scenes at the start of the movie where one character reminds another of what they both already know in order for the audience to get caught up. The inclusion of this near-nonstop blatant exposition in Act 1 is especially puzzling as much of it can be inferred in other scenes. Having a scene devoted to explaining the creation of Burning Rescue and its role in combating the Burnish, for example, isn't necessary when the movie opens on a scene of the team fighting a fire and rescuing civilians. We see what they do; we don't need to be told.

Inversely, not enough is done to flesh out Galo's fellow Burning Rescue members. Save for their shared agreement that discriminating against the Burnish is bad, few get much characterization beyond receiving names. They have cool character designs and each seems to have a pretty fun personality, but their respective motivations aren't explored. Many of the villains suffer a similar fate, with only a few getting minor last-minute development. Given Studio Trigger's incredible track record of fleshing out major side characters and antagonists (just look at Kill la Kill's Honnouji Academy Elite Four or SSSS.Gridman's Akane), it's unfortunate Promare has such a weak cast outside of Galo and Lio. The movie does try to do something with its female lead, Aina, but her arc ultimately just ends up contradicting itself. After expressing a wish to be seen by others as more than just the younger sister to a brilliant scientist, Aina's only true contribution to Promare's plot is being the heroes' connection to her older sibling. Despite Galo's insistence in Act 1 that "You're you, Aina," the rest of the movie proves that just isn't the case. Aina is a means to an end to move the story along.

Promare's strength lies in the evolving dynamic between Galo and Lio, whose opposing life histories and motivations put them at odds with each other the second they meet. As opposed to a single meeting where one comes out on top and imparts a singular vision of wisdom in how the loser should live their life (which would be typical for the genre), Promare sees Galo and Lio encounter each other several times over the course of the movie's runtime. Prior to each meeting, both men are presented with some form of evidence that challenges their worldview and forces them to adjust their priorities in life and moral code. The movie's plot doesn't demand one transform into a completely different person or even agree on a shared philosophy. Instead, both Galo and Lio share a respect for the other person's point of view, and this respect culminates into far more by the film's end. Neither one outright admits romantic feelings for the other, but their decision to embrace and accept each other--both physically and in regards to their differing moral code--is inarguably and delightfully gay. It's an incredibly fulfilling connection to see develop.

If nothing else, Promare is proof that Studio Trigger can make good anime movies, not just series.

Studio Trigger's sense of style can be felt throughout Promare. Characters move about with the same comedic exaggeration of Kill la Kill, and though the movie utilizes similar mech designs and weapons from Darling in the Franxx and SSSS.Gridman, the ever-escalating, explosively-charged battles and fight choreography are all unashamedly similar to Kill la Kill. In battle, characters shout out the names of each action beforehand, and the fight momentarily freezes so the announcement can also be written out in giant block letters to enunciate just how epic the next attack or transformation is about to be. And, as is Trigger's way, a few of these names are either a funny pun or reference to some aspect of Japanese culture or storytelling trope. Some are hit-or-miss, but a few are absolutely hilarious.

Promare does do a bit more with its style though, seamlessly blending together traditional 2D animation and 3D CG to pull off movements and attacks that are more extravagant than Studio Trigger has been able to achieve before. As a result, fights are massive spectacles with both sides striving for larger displays of strength. Each person visually grows stronger as battles continue and the attack names get longer and incorporate larger, flashier animations. Promare is gorgeous, with every battle better than the last--both in terms of the stakes and the excellent blend of different animation styles. The final battle in particular is epic to watch unfold, with several jokes sprinkled throughout the fight to break up the action into digestible chunks.

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Most of Promare's humor comes through Galo, as his hotheaded stubbornness and gung-ho attitude cause him to speak or act up before thinking things through. He's lovingly called an idiot by his friends and constantly getting into some sort of misadventure or another. The jokes keep Promare feeling lively from start to finish, even when the story delves into more morbid territory. Promare is clearly meant to be a good time, and it succeeds largely because its plot never takes itself too seriously.

All of Promare is amplified through its musical soundtrack, which was created by Kill la Kill composer Hiroyuki Sawano. Somber melodies in the moments before a battle flame into explosive percussion as the fight begins, eventually crescendoing at the final blow. It's some of Sawano's best work, as each track reverberates with a controlled ferocity that matches the action of the movie's conflict.

Promare's plot does stumble, most notably when it comes to how it builds its world and fleshes out the main cast, but it takes enough cues from what made Kill la Kill such a hit to then go out and tell its own take on why discrimination is bad and why everyone should learn to love their fellow person. Galo's origin story of becoming a firefighting superhero is framed with over-the-top action pieces, comedy, and well-timed pieces of music, and though he delivers an incredible finishing blow in the epic final battle, it's his evolving rivalry with Lio that gives the movie its satisfying ending. If nothing else, Promare is proof that Studio Trigger can make good anime movies, not just series.

Steam Summer Sale: Best Anime Game Deals

Jul 5, 2019

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Persona 5 Royal's New Trailer For Ann Shows Significant Social Events And New Attacks

Jul 5, 2019

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Atlus has been rolling out teasers in the lead-up to Persona 5 Royal, the definitive version of the original RPG. It's going to include a ton of content and significant overhauls to the story, much of which has been shown off in trailers and the "Morgana Report." The latest teaser to drop is a video revealing new events around the character Ann Takamaki, and further showcases how this new version is putting more emphasis on its cast.

The first thing you'll see is one of the all-new partner attacks; this time it's between Ann and Morgana. They find themselves in a flower field as Ann is flattered by Morgana's offering of roses. By the end of the trailer you see how it all brutally ends--Ann rains down on enemies with her submachine guns while Morgana tosses a bomb to finish them off. It seems that P5R is leaning into its wacky side, especially considering the partner attack with Ryuji and Yusuke (think the silliest heat moves from Yakuza with a hint of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure).

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As for social events, you get a glimpse of how Ann's best friend Shiho Suzui gets brought back into the mix. In the original game, she didn't really get any screen time following the tragic events at Shujin Academy. However, you get to see her, Ann, and Joker hanging out in the underground mall in fresh new outfits on January 4, which would be fairly late in the game. According to fan translation (via Harry Type-C), Ann is talking up how Shiho was a star on the school's volleyball team.

Ann has other new scenes as well; she leads a school clean-up project at Inokashira Park and shows students how to properly recycle trashed umbrellas. There's also a scenario in which Ann and Joker have a talk in what appears to be her room (she's got a lot of shoes). She seems to be wearing a letterman jacket over a proper Shujin uniform, which she's never worn before.

As if Persona 5 wasn't anime enough.As if Persona 5 wasn't anime enough.

Persona 5 Royal launches exclusively for PlayStation 4 in Japan on October 31, 2019 and sometime in 2020 in the West. For all things P5R, be sure to read (or watch) our analysis of the first full reveal trailer, breakdown of all the new information that followed, or details on the new playable character Kasumi Yoshizawa.

14 Terrifying Horror Movies About Cults

Jul 5, 2019

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Pokemon Go Adding Special Mewtwo Next Week

Jul 5, 2019

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The Legendary Pokemon Mewtwo is returning to Pokemon Go soon, and this time it'll have a different look. To coincide with the Japanese release of Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution, a CG remake of the first Pokemon movie, Armored Mewtwo is making its debut in Raid Battles next week, but it'll only be available for a limited time.

Armored Mewtwo will begin appearing in five-star Raids at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET / 9 PM BST on July 10 (the same day the current Legendary, Groudon, is scheduled to leave the game), and it'll be available until July 31. It's unclear whether or not this version of Mewtwo will boast different stats, but this will mark the first time it has appeared in this armored form in any Pokemon game.

You'll be able to transfer Pokemon you've captured in Go to the upcoming Pokemon Home cloud service when it launches next year, allowing you to store all your Pokemon in one place. That will presumably apply to Armored Mewtwo as well, so you don't want to miss your chance to add it to your collection. Niantic will also be adding some new Mewtwo items to Pokemon Go's in-game Style Shop next week. You can take a look at Armored Mewtwo in the trailer below.

As previously mentioned, Groudon is currently appearing in five-star Raid Battles, as is its Shiny form. Groudon and its Pokemon Sapphire counterpart, Kyogre, are also two of the Legendaries you can possibly encounter through July's new Field Research tasks. Meanwhile, a lot of new Shiny Pokemon are currently available in the game. Shiny male Nidoran has debuted to coincide the Pokemon Go Fest event in Dortmund, Germany, and Shiny Alolan forms are available to celebrate Pokemon Go's third anniversary.

The next Pokemon Go Community Day event is scheduled for July 21. The featured Pokemon this month will be Mudkip, the Water-type starter from Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. If you manage to evolve a Mudkip into its final form, Swampert, up to an hour after the Community Day ends, it'll learn a special event-exclusive move. You'll also earn triple the usual amount of XP for capturing Pokemon during this month's Community Day.

Meanwhile, the next mainline Pokemon games, Pokemon Sword and Shield, are coming to Nintendo Switch on November 15. The pair take place in the Galar region, a brand-new setting that's home to a variety of returning and new Gen 8 Pokemon. However, unlike most past titles, Sword and Shield won't support every Pokemon--a controversial decision that has prompted the series' producer to issue a statement about the drama. For more on the titles, be sure to check out our Pokemon Sword and Shield release date and pre-order guide.

Sea Of Solitude Review - Adrift

Jul 5, 2019

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Loneliness exists on a broad spectrum that isn't always synonymous with simply being alone. It's a state of mind, an overwhelming feeling of isolation that can still affect a person even if they're surrounded by loved ones and friends. Sea of Solitude understands this all too well. Its opening cutscene begins with a poignant musing: "I have family. I have friends... And yet here I am, feeling lonely. Again." Sea of Solitude is a game about loneliness that's very personal for the 12-strong team at German developer Jo-Mei Games, and it shows. It tackles the subject matter with a deft touch, exploring the myriad ways these feelings of isolation, sadness, and anger can impact people's lives in a refreshingly authentic way, using the backdrop of a puzzle-platformer to tell its story.

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You play as Kay, a young woman who inhabits a world where lonely people are transformed into monsters. Kay is a monster herself, so she's desperately trying to find out why this happened and how can she can return to her human form. The rest of the narrative spirals out from this core concept, forcing Kay to confront her past and her relationships with the people around her. Loneliness affects different people in different ways; a lonely child who's struggling to make friends at school has different needs than someone going through a breakup or someone who's just moved to another country where they don't know anyone, for example. Sea of Solitude shines an introspective light on the various ways loneliness can affect people, doing so through Kay's interactions with other characters and the monsters that reside in this world, whether they're antagonistic or seeking help.

The voice acting in these moments is uneven amongst the small cast of characters, however, the consistent writing is a strong point throughout. Conversations feel very raw and are oftentimes uncomfortable, yet Sea of Solitude manages to sprinkle in moments of levity to offset the otherwise bleak subject matter. The ending lacks closure in a very realistic and human way, but the story's profound throughline of self-discovery and healing naturally reaches an empowering conclusion.

The story's profound throughline of self-discovery and healing naturally reaches an empowering conclusion

Each aspect of Sea of Solitude has some kind of underlying meaning, and these are frequently conveyed through the use of both literal and figurative metaphors. The sea is one of the more blatant allegories at its disposal, as the entirety of the game takes place upon the undulating waves of a flooded city. Being alone on a small boat is inherently isolating; you just have to imagine the terrifying feeling of being marooned or adrift at sea, far away from civilization in an unpredictable environment that can deviate from being calm to violent at the drop of a hat. Kay uses this small vessel to traverse the flooded streets of the Berlin-inspired city, utilizing some basic platforming to get around when on dry land. Her interactions with the various monsters that populate the city are the catalyst for everything that follows. There's a familiarity to each monster's design, with the vast majority of them being reminiscent of specific animals, albeit in a fantastical way. Each one shares a mutual feature in the form of jet black fur and unsettling red eyes, but they're often human at their core, transformed into monsters due to their disparate struggles with loneliness and anguish.

You spend much of the game coaxing the human side out of these ghoulish beasts by confronting Kay's own past and dispelling the corruption that's seeped into the city. Corrupted areas are bleak and coated in muted shades of grey and black, with the night sky lashed by swirling winds and torrential rain. Removing the corruption in an area by finding and inhaling it into Kay's backpack introduces light to the world, revealing the incandescent vitality of the sun and turning the sea as blue as the sky. The stark contrast between night and day accentuates the daytime's beauty, while the painterly art style--not to mention the nautical theme--can't help but bring to mind the vivid aesthetic of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. It's in these moments that the "Solitude" of the game's title is captured, presenting the positive side of being alone.

Dispersing the corruption is a task fraught with danger, however, and not just for Kay's mental well-being. Some of the monsters are aggressive and will attack on sight. Death isn't really an obstacle, as you're immediately placed back right where you left off, but Sea of Solitude does manage to wring moments of tension out of these interactions. The problem is that, despite a brief three-hour playtime, it introduces new mechanics every few chapters and then drags them out until they're nothing short of monotonous. There are numerous occasions where you have to lure spectral children into light by running close enough to aggro them, for lack of a better term, before dashing away. It's all relatively straightforward, which isn't a bad thing on its own, but the act of playing Sea of Solitude is never particularly engaging and mostly consists of dull mechanics that far outstay their welcome.

The story, and the way it confronts a universal but often misunderstood part of life, is Sea of Solitude's biggest draw. The gameplay is passable at best and tedious at its worst, but this is still a journey worth experiencing because of the way Jo-Mei Games has managed to weave a heartbreaking tale out of genuine characters and believable grief. Kay wants to know why she turned into a monster, and this is the driving force behind the whole game. What could have triggered it and why are these monsters so intrinsically linked? Despite some missteps along the way, Sea of Solitude is difficult to put down until you can answer those questions for yourself.

Akira Animated Series Announced, Original Film Being Remastered In 4K

Jul 5, 2019

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A new anime series based on Akira is in the works, creator Katsuhiro Otomo has announced. Speaking at a panel held during Anime Expo, which is currently taking place in Los Angeles, Otomo confirmed that the series is based on his manga.

Although 1988's Akira is considered a seminal piece of cinematic work, it is an adaptation of Otomo's manga series and, as such, truncates the series to fit it into a shorter runtime. The Akira manga offers a much deeper dive into the various characters involved in the story and more thoroughly explores the powerful political, social, and personal themes that manifest during the struggle for the future of post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo. The new anime will adapt the manga more faithfully.

The original 1988 film is also being treated to a 4K remaster. It was briefly shown during the panel and is being worked on by Sunrise, the Japanese animation and production studio owned by Bandai Namco. The 4K remaster is expected to launch in Japan sometime in Spring.

Otomo's next major project, however, is Orbital Era, a feature film that is also being created in collaboration with Sunrise. "The plot takes place in the near future on a space colony under construction, and it's an action-adventure story of some boys in this peculiar environment and society who keep living their lives while they're being tossed about by fate," reads the official description. "'The real in the mankind's future' will be depicted through a perspective of those boys." You can watch the Orbital Era trailer to get a feel for the vibe of the flick.

A live-action version of Akira is also in development with Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi at the helm. Like the new anime, Waititi is looking to the manga when making the movie. He discussed how he's approaching the live-action Akira adaptation in September 2017. "I haven't really started to get my head around it yet," he said. "What I want to do is an adaptation of the books, 'cause a lot of people are like, 'Don't touch that film!' and I'm like, 'I'm not remaking the film, I want to go back to the book.'

"A lot of the people freaking out haven't even read the books, and there are six gigantic books to go through. It's so rich. But Akira is one of my favourite films. My mum took me to see it when I was 13 and it changed my life."

Konami Says Unexpected PS Plus Change Was Sony's Decision

Jul 5, 2019

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When the PS Plus games lineup for July 2019 was announced, PES 2019 was listed as one of the free PS4 games for the month. However, this was later changed, with Detroit: Become Human replacing the soccer game at the last minute. Now, Konami has responded to questions about the news by stating it was Sony's decision.

In a short statement, a Konami spokesperson told GameSpot: "This decision was made by Sony and so please make an inquiry to Sony."

In its own statement, Sony admitted it had taken the decision itself but declined to elaborate: "We have decided to make a change to the PS Plus games lineup this month, and will be offering Detroit: Become Human Digital Deluxe Edition instead of PES 2019. This was a decision we decided to make as a company, and we apologize for any inconvenience."

European PES brand manager Lennart Bobzien, meanwhile, told GameSpot on the day of the change that it was not planned and had taken Konami by surprise: "I cannot really tell you what happened because I just found out today, in the morning when I opened my laptop. I can't really explain."

PES 2019's successor is on the way later this year. It's officially titled eFootball: PES 2020--see why PES has changed its name here--and will include Manchester United as a licensed team. It won't, however, feature any women's teams.

PES 2020 launches for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 10. A demo version, which includes online and offline match types as well as the game's edit mode, will launch on July 30. Stay tuned to GameSpot for a full PES 2020 gameplay preview.

Steam Summer Sale 2019: Best PC-Exclusive Games On Sale

Jul 4, 2019

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Stranger Things 3's Ending, Credits Scene, And Season 4 Theories Explained

Jul 4, 2019

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Fortnite Season 9: Launch 3 Fireworks Along The River | 14 Days Of Summer Challenges

Jul 4, 2019

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Fortnite's 14 Days of Summer Challenges are quickly going by, and for a special 4th of July challenge, we have the easiest way to get 3 fireworks along the riverbed. Here's where to go - no battle pass required!

What’s Fortnite’s Giant Rubber Duck All About?

Jul 4, 2019

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Fortnite is known for its wild and sometimes wacky teasers of events to come, but the latest is a real sitting duck. An actual, gigantic rubber duckie, to be precise, relaxing in his stylish green shades near Tilted.

It's not clear exactly what the rubber duckie does. It does appear to have a health bar with a whopping 1 million health, and only damage from pickaxes appears to stick. Nothing around the duck seems to clearly indicate what will happen if the community chips it down to zero health, but massive community goals have become a fairly regular occurrence, such as an event that had players vote for an unlock by chipping away at pillars that encased it.

If you're looking to locate the duck yourself, he can be found in section E6, just southeast of Neo Tilted. You can consult our handy duck map below if you need a hand locating the quacker.

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That is one cool duck.

For more on how to unlock rewards, check out our week 9 challenge guide, including where to find the solar arrays and fireworks. And keep up with some cool summer-themed challenges with Fortnite's 14 Days of Summer event.

Netflix's Stranger Things 3: 74 Easter Eggs And References You May Have Missed

Jul 4, 2019

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Return To Resident Evil 2 Remake Part 2 - Resident Kinevil

Jun 30, 2019

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Mary Kish and Mike Mahardy dismember the denizens of Raccoon City and meet a new friend.

AEW Fyter Fest PPV Final Results And Review: Jon Moxley Vs. Joey Janela Was Brutal

Jun 29, 2019

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Making Skyblivion: Bringing Oblivion To Skyrim

Jun 29, 2019

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Skyblivion is a fan-made project to re-create The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in Skyrim's engine. I sat down with the project lead to discuss the personal cost of making a mod of this scale.

FFXIV Shadowbringers New Jobs: Gunbreaker And Dancer Guide And Quest Location

Jun 29, 2019

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Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers is now available for those who pre-ordered it, and within this third expansion for Square Enix's MMORPG are brand new Jobs (or classes). Dancer falls into the Ranged DPS role, throwing bladed chakrams to attack and using rhythmic steps to provide buffs. On the other hand, Gunbreaker is the new Tank and wields a gunblade (a la Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII) to lay down damage while taking hits for the team. You can see both classes in action during their Job quests in the video above.

Both Dancer and Gunbreaker require players to have at least one other Job/Class (Disciple of War or Magic) at level 60 before taking on the new Jobs. There are some important changes that come along with Shadowbringers and the 5.0 update--like the removal of TP, charge actions, and the higher level cap--and you can check out our breakdown of the biggest changes in Shadowbringers. You can also get the full rundown of what's new in the 5.0 patch, or see a preview run of a new dungeon called Dohn Mheg.

Where To Find The Dancer Quest And How To Fight

The quest to unlock Dancer is called "Shall We Dance" and it's located in Limsa Lominsa Lower Decks close to the main plaza Aetheryte--the coordinates are X: 9.8, Y: 12.0. After watching a few scenes you'll be given your starting weapon and a chest to open containing your new gear.

The default Dancer gear set.The default Dancer gear set.

Dancers largely rely on chances for their stronger attacks (referred to as procs). Two basic attacks Cascade and Fountain both have a 50% chance of opening more powerful versions called Reverse Cascade and Fountainfall--use these when you can. You then have a 50% chance to build your Fourfold Feather gauge, which gives you access to the Fan Dance moves (these are attacks you can use freely outside of cooldown). The attacks Windmill and Bladeshower are the AOE equivalents that can open up the stronger Rising Windmill and Bloodshower.

The other mechanic to note is the rhythmic Standard Step--activating this will turn your attacks into button prompts to match a sequence. After two successful steps, you'll get a 60-second damage buff (similar to how Ninjas cast Huton through Ninjutsu to increase their attack speed).

The main challenge for the level 60 Job quest is in the final fight. You'll want to be extra careful when whirlwinds are cast across the arena--avoid these at all cost. This is especially dangerous when the enemy is casting their auto-lock column attack that you can't escape; if you're hit while standing in a whirlwind, you'll die immediately.

Where To Find The Gunbreaker Quest And How To Fight

The quest to unlock Gunbreaker is called "The Makings Of A Gunbreaker" and it's found in New Gridania near the Aetheryte--the coordinates are X: 11.5, Y: 11.9. It'll take you to Hawthorne Hut and around for an easy fight, then you'll get your gear chest and weapon.

The default Gunbreaker gear set.The default Gunbreaker gear set.

Like all Tanks, Gunbreaker specializes in pulling enmity (or aggro) and it'll be necessary to have the ability Royal Guard active--to pull extra enmity, you have Provoke and to divert it when you're in trouble, you have Shirk.

Gunbreaker's basic attack rotation is pretty fun to execute and it basically goes like this: Keen Edge, Brutal Shell, Solid Barrel, then gain one cartridge in your Powder Gauge. With just one cartridge, you can go into a more powerful combo: Gnashing Fang, Savage Claw, Wicked Talon--these moves are also subject to cooldown, so when they're not available, just use the strong standalone attack Burst Strike. And don't forget that the Danger Zone attack lives on its own cooldown; use it when you can.

You also have a two-part AOE combo of Demon Slice and Demon Slaughter, which is very effective against groups of three or more enemies. This combo also generates a cartridge for the Powder Gauge in just two attacks, making Gunbreaker even more effective as a damage-dealer.

Buffs like Rampart, Nebula, and Reprisal help stave off damage taken while No Mercy boosts your attack power for a short period.

There are plenty of more details to parse in order to become the most effective Dancer or Gunbreaker, but those are the basics to help get you started. Note that these tips are based on the Jobs as they are at level 60.

FFXIV Shadowbringers New Dancer And Gunbreaker Job Quests

Jun 29, 2019

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Dancer and Gunbreaker are the new Jobs in FFXIV with the Shadowbringers expansion. We fight through the opening level 60 quests for each Job and you can see them in action.

GameSpot Is At The Stranger Things Season 3 Red Carpet Premiere!

Jun 28, 2019

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With Stranger Things Season 3 arriving this week on July 4, Netflix is hosting a premiere red carpet event in Los Angeles, and GameSpot is on hand to speak to the cast and creators about our favorite 1980s dark fantasy teenage adventure show.

We're coming to you directly from Hawkins High School where there is a decked-out black carpet and swarms of Strange Things fans here to cheer on the cast. So pack up your Eggos, keep an eye out for Demodogs, and head on over to our Instagram story and Twitter feed for more as the stars stop to chat with us. And, when you get a moment to catch your breath, check out our definitive ranking of the best Stranger Things episodes from Seasons 1 and 2, and scope out these behind-the-scenes photos from Season 3.

We are live at the @Stranger_Things season 3 red carpet premiere! Expect to see interviews and some exciting news soon! #StrangerThings pic.twitter.com/jGBCMuDeMk

— GameSpot Universe (@GSUniverse) June 28, 2019

The party has officially begun with a visit from the Hawkins High School marching band.

Hawkins High Highschool Marching Band! 🎶🎺 pic.twitter.com/QlryYjgdos

— GameSpot Universe (@GSUniverse) June 28, 2019

First up, we have Will The Wise himself, Noah Schapp answering the important questions--like what it's like being the best character in Hawkins.

Check out our interview with Noah Schnapp aka Will Byers! pic.twitter.com/DhvZdaLeUW

— GameSpot Universe (@GSUniverse) June 29, 2019

How has Max changed since Season 2? Sadie Sink has some thoughts on the matter!

Here is what Sadie Sink aka Max Mayfield has to say about #StrangerThings! pic.twitter.com/AhTCSuHgDq

— GameSpot Universe (@GSUniverse) June 29, 2019

Would Gaten Matarazzo rather watch an episode of Stranger Things with his parents or an R