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German Protection Agency Takes Nintendo To Court Over Eshop Cancellations

A Norwegian issue with the way Nintendo handles eShop cancellations, as in they completely refuse to do so, has now been escalated to the German courts. The German Consumer Protection Authority is taking legal action against Nintendo of Europe over their "all sales are final" policy in a case that may have rippling effects across Europe and beyond.

Nintendo's eShop lets you preorder games as much as you want as long as the listing is there. Unfortunately, if you decide you don't want the game for whatever reason, you can't cancel the preorder under any circumstances. This runs afoul of a number of European consumer protection laws, which Norway had a problem with earlier this year. Since Nintendo of Europe is based in Germany, the case has been moved there.

Nintendo's defense here is that preloading means that the transaction has already begun, whether the preloading itself has started or not. The company is citing article 16 of European Consumer Law Directive 2011/83, which states that cancellations can be ignored if "the performance has begun with the consumer's prior express consent, and with the acknowledgement that he will lose his right of withdrawal once the contract has been fully performed by the trader".

Basically, Nintendo is saying that preloading the game means that you already own it, whether you can launch it or not. That makes it void for a cancellation.

It remains to be seen whether Nintendo's defense will hold water, as it is seemingly an inventive use of that article. Should Nintendo fail to defend against this, however, it will be interesting to see whether they change the eShop rules at all and whether they make worldwide changes or make them specific to Europe. The entire process could be drawn out for months to a year, so it might be too early to speculate how everything shakes out.

[Source: Eurogamer]

Posted on 19 December 2018 | 2:50 am

Travis Strikes Again Special Edition Signed By Suda51 Releasing In UK

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is still a bit of an enigma for No More Heroes fans, but it is hard to argue the game doesn't have that old Suda style and that will probably be enough for a large number of fans. To further reinforce that idea, Suda is actually signing a special edition of the game with goodies in it for fans for release in the UK, but shipping everywhere.

English readers, here’s a collector edition for Travis Strikes Again 🔥

This edition gives you a physical game + a documented and fully illustrated book!
Another special edition is signed by @suda_51 !

Preorder on Pix'n Love website tomorrow 5pm (UK time) ⏲️@Grasshopper_EN

— Editions Pix'n Love (@Pixnlove) December 17, 2018

For the UK version, everything is in English. Obviously the French version has everything in French, which could pose a problem if you don't speak French, but this would be a good time to learn if you're leaning that direction. 

The collector's edition box, which comes with the game, a certificate of authenticity signed by director Goichi Suda, four lithographs, and a hardcover "Make Of" book about the game. The most hardcore No More Heroes fans were probably sold at the game part, but the rest of that is also pretty cool.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes releases on January 18 on Nintendo Switch. You can read our latest preview here and catch a New Gameplay Today right here.

Posted on 19 December 2018 | 1:40 am

Red Dead Redemption Commands U.S. Game Sales For November With Black Ops, Battlefield, And Fallout Behind

The NPD, or National Purchase Diary, tracks retail sales across the U.S. on a monthly basis including for gaming, occasionally receiving and reporting data from digital sales as well depending on the publisher. While Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beat out Red Dead Redemption II last month in part due to how much earlier within October Call of Duty was released, the roles were reversed in November with Red Dead Redemption II winning the battle but not quite the war.

Red Dead Redemption rocketed to first place this month, which pretty much every industry analyst in the world expected. That said, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is still the overall best selling game of the year, despite the PC release not being tracked by the NPD. Red Dead Redemption could pull ahead given December, but 2018 might belong to Call of Duty much like 2017 did, as well as the previous three years.

Though, anyone who has ever bet against Rockstar games having extremely long sales legs has ended up with monthly egg on their face. The sales of Red Dead Redemption II already exceed the entire lifetime sales of Red Dead Redemption by 40 percent.

Battlefield V made its delayed debut at third, which should quiet murmurs about Battlefield V's poor preorders. People were still eager to pick the game up, even after the releases of Red Dead and Call of Duty.

Fallout 76 follows behind at fourth place, which might surprise some after the poor critical response and essentially weekly controversies. The game was either what the market was actually looking for or speaks to the intense power of the brand, both of which are solid reasons for Bethesda to consider Fallout 76 as a successful experiment.

Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee hit the fifth and sixth spots respectively and likely would have charted above Fallout 76 had they been combined and had Nintendo reported digital sales of the two games. The launch sales for the game are the second highest of any Pokémon game in history, behind Pokémon Stadium on the Nintendo 64. This bodes extremely well for Pokémon's next mainline game supposedly releasing in 2019.

You can check out the full software list below.

Red Dead Redemption II   1
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII   2
Battlefield V   3
Fallout 76   4
Pokemon: Lets Go Pikachu   5
Pokemon: Lets Go Eevee   6
NBA 2K19   7
Madden NFL 19   8
Spyro Reignited Trilogy   9
FIFA 19   10
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey   11
Super Mario Party   12
Marvel's Spider-Man   13
Mario Kart 8   14
WWE 2K19   15
God of War 2018   16
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider   17
Just Dance 2019   18
Grand Theft Auto V   19
Forza Horizon 4   20

Some notable omissions are the Switch version of Diablo III, Hitman 2, and Darksiders III, though the THQ Nordic game released late in the month. It was a fairly packed month, however, so games that didn't appear on the list may still have ended up successful.

In terms of hardware, this was one of the biggest months of not just the year but of the last several years. All three major consoles – the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch – sold more than 1.3 million units each in November. The last and until now only time three consoles of any stripe sold more than a million units was 2010 when the Wii, DS, and Xbox 360 came together to achieve that feat.

This time, the Nintendo Switch lead the charge in terms of dollar sales, but the PlayStation 4 still remains the best selling console in 2018, partially due to the incredible sales of the PS4 Spider-Man bundle ahead of Black Friday.

Next month, the major contender is Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which Nintendo has said sold three million already

Posted on 19 December 2018 | 12:20 am

Hitman's Home Alone-Themed Mission Is Back For The Holidays

Hitman 2 Review Screens

A few years back, when IO Interactive was still working with Square Enix to publish the recent reboot of Hitman, the developer was big on surprise seasonal content. One of the most memorable missions put Agent 47 in a Christmas-themed mission in the first season's Paris level and involving both Santa Claus and some rascally but well-known thieves.

Starting today until January 8, owners of the Hitman Legacy Pack can revisit the Paris level from the first season to have another shot at the Holiday Hoarders mission. Harry “Smoky” Bagnato and Marv “Slick” Gonif are skulking through the Paris fashion show stealing presents, which is more than enough to end up on Agent 47's naughty list. The pair of thieves from Home Alone can now stop trying to murder a small child and pick on someone their own size.

Completing the mission nabs players the Secret Santa pack, which lets players use the Agent 47 Santa outfit anywhere within Hitman 2. Challenge yourself to assassinate some targets as Santa Claus for that extra boost of Christmas spirit.

The Hitman Legacy Pack comes free to owners of the first season of Hitman when launching Hitman 2, but can also be purchased separately.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 10:50 pm

Voices Of Solid And Liquid Snake Read The Night Before Metal Gear

Cam Clarke, a prolific voice actor behind many great gaming and animation roles, has been big into reviving Liquid Snake recently. Using his YouTube channel, Clarke has been known to wrap in Solid Snake voice David Hayter into the videos with both actors playing their roles from Metal Gear Solid. Now Clarke has dropped a Christmas-themed video, reading from The Night Before Metal Gear.

The two read a Metal Gear Solid-themed Night Before Christmas while bickering in-character about their roles. Check out the fictional brothers but real-life friends acting it out below.

The audio quality isn't the best because this is just a thing two friends are doing for Metal Gear fans in a home setting and not an official release from Konami, so you might have to focus a bit to hear. It's worth it to watch, though, especially if you want to hear the Master Miller impression as Liquid Snake, which to me is the actual Kazuhira Miller.

Which two video game characters do you most want to read you a Christmas story?

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 8:45 pm

Fresh Prince's Alfonso Ribeiro Files Lawsuit Against Epic Over Fortnite Dances (Update: Backpack Kid Also Files Suit)

Update: Backpack Kid, the minor who allegedly originated the Floss dance that has become a core part of Fortnite's cultural identity, is also filing suit against Epic, according to TMZ. To be more accurate, his mother and his manager are filing suit over the use of his dance. The firm representing the sixteen year-old are also suing 2K Games for the same dance.

The original story from 5:20 p.m. CT on 12/17/2018 is as follows:

The question of whether dances are freely available to be reproduced without concern has been fairly open over the years, but Epic's Fortnite seems to have brought the discussion up to a more mainstream level. A number of artists and critics have chided Epic for stealing dances from people and cultures to profit from, but until 2 Milly recently filed an official complaint, no one had decided to test these waters. Now another popular dance is being put in the spotlight.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton in the 1990s NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is suing Epic over a dance called Fresh. In the TV show, Carlton would exemplify his lack of dancing skills by swinging his arms side to side and snapping, usually to music by Tom Jones. The Fortnite dance is immediately recognizable as the Carlton's dance from The Fresh Prince, with even the name evoking the show's title.

Ribeiro's law firm is alleging that Epic stole his dance and recreated it in Fortnite and is now profiting off of it from the game's store. He was also mentioned in 2 Milly's lawsuit by name as another dance creator whose moves were stolen.

While dances are protected, they can only be done if the ownership of the dance can be definitively pinpointed. In most cases, that is done through the copyright holder. In 2 Milly's case, the Milly Rock Dance had not been copyrighted, but the rapper says he is in the process of doing so. Ribeiro's law firm has not said anything either way about whether the actor, or perhaps the production company or even NBC, possesses a copyright for the Carlton dance.

The Fresh Prince dance has been reproduced in a number of video games like Saints Row and Destiny.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 7:50 pm

AIAS Inducts Halo's Bonnie Ross Into Hall Of Fame

Microsoft corporate vice president and head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross is set to become The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' 23rd Hall of Fame recipient.

Ross has been a part of the game industry since 1994, when she joined Microsoft's PC sports division to work on NBA Full Court Press. Since then, Ross has helped with the development of several titles, including Dungeon Siege, Gears of War, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Psychonauts, and every Halo game since Halo 3: ODST.

Ross has also been instrumental in driving diversity in the industry. In 1997, she co-founded the Microsoft Women in Gaming community. You can watch Ross talk about her career and her role on Halo 5: Guardians in our video interview from 2015.

The 2019 Hall of Fame Awards take place during this years D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony on February 13, at the Aria Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 7:22 pm

Bayonetta Director Polling To See Which Other Characters You Want In Smash Bros.

Hideki Kamiya of PlatinumGames, famed Japanese director behind games like Devil May Cry, Okami, and Bayonetta, has already gotten a bit of Smash Bros. representation from the Umbran witch. She was introduced as DLC in the last Super Smash Bros. game and is part of the base roster in Ultimate, but Kamiya was seemingly looking for more.

The tweet, which has now been deleted after harassment, had Kamiya asking which of his characters fans would most like to see in Smash. The options were Dante from Devil May Cry, Amaterasu from Okami, Wonder Red from Wonderful 101, and Viewtiful Joe. Kamiya took the poll down after a few hours after some racist responses to the tweet.

While the DLC for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has already been decided, Kamiya might be lobbying for placement in a second character pass or perhaps the DLC choice is an action game character from Capcom they haven't quite nailed down yet with Wonder Red as an added possibility. Kamiya could also have just been polling for his own amusement.

My choice for character would have been an option not listed: Leon Kennedy, who first appeared in the Kamiya-directed Resident Evil 2. He's also on our list of dream DLC announcements for Smash Bros. Ultimate. My second choice would be Wonder Red, as all the other options have already been in crossover fighting games.

What about you?

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 7:10 pm

Update: Dreams Closed Beta Begins Tomorrow

Update (12/18/18 at 12:20 p.m.): During a livestream today, Media Molecule announced that Dreams is getting a closed beta beginning tomorrow. Invites will be sent exclusively to those following Media Molecule's community newsletter, and it will last from December 19 to January 21.

For the open beta, it won't begin until early next year. No date was given, but you can start signing up on January 4.

If you follow the newsletter, invite codes will begin to be sent out tomorrow. You'll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement agreeing not to stream or post any of its content online. The beta will not support PSVR, and it will require a 4GB download. Invites will be distributed to those who signed up for the newsletter before December 17, so signing up now won't get you a code.

You can read Media Molecule's informative FAQ about the beta by heading here.

Original story:

Media Molecule's Dreams, a fascinating, upcoming sandbox where you can create your own games, could be getting some special news soon. Media Molecule recently tweeted that it's going to stream Dreams-related content tomorrow, and although these streams are a routine occurrence, the sarcastic tone suggests it's something big this time.

See you tomorrow. 🍰 #DreamsPS4

— Media Molecule (@mediamolecule) December 17, 2018

Our best bet is that it's related to Dreams' upcoming beta. Last we heard, the plan is to release the beta before the end of the year, but time is running out. When a fan asked the team on Twitter whether they are still on track for that launch, they received a confident response:

Hi Thomas! We aren't ignoring anyone - it's very busy here at Mm Towers! Our plans haven't changed, and when we're ready to share more details with you all, we will! ❤️

— Media Molecule (@mediamolecule) December 11, 2018

Tune in to the stream tomorrow, at 11 a.m. CST, to find out for yourself. You can head to Media Molecule's Twitch channel here.

Click the banner below to be directed to our Dreams cover story hub, filled with exclusive interviews, features, and more.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 6:20 pm

DC Brings Rocksteady's Arkham Knight Into Comic-Book Continuity

Arkham Knight was the antagonist in Rocksteady Studios' 2015 release Batman: Arkham Knight (surprise). The studio made a big deal about the fact that it created the character specifically for the game, but now Arkham Knight has come full circle and will appear within the comics.

The 1,000th issue of Detective Comics is right around the corner. DC Comics plans to release this milestone in March, and the massive anniversary issue will feature stories from creators like Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke, Kevin Smith, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Paul Dini, Christopher Priest, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, and more.

Detective Comics 1000 is also the debut of Arkham Knight. However, this version of the character may be different from the video game version. Spoiler warning: the the game, Arkham Knight was revealed to be Batman's old sidekick Jason Todd (the second incarnation of Robin). In the comics, however, Jason Todd currently seems preoccupied, so we wonder if this Arkham Knight is a different person altogether. We'll have to wait until March to find out.

Check out an image of Arkham Knight from Detective Comics 1,000 below.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 4:55 pm

Nintendo Switch Is The Fastest-Selling System Of The Generation Since Its Launch

The NPD Group (via a Nintendo press release) has declared that through its first 21 months on sale in the U.S., Nintendo's Switch console is the fastest-selling system of this generation when compared to the other consoles over the same period.

From March 2017 to November 2018 the Switch sold more than 8.7 million units.

Nintendo has also announced that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the fastest-selling Switch title of all time – as well as for the series as a whole – and has sold over three million units in its first 11 days.

[Source: Nintendo]

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 3:53 pm

Rumor: Anaconda & Lockhart Are The Codenames For Microsoft's Next-Gen Consoles

Windows Central is reporting from multiple sources that Microsoft's full-featured next-gen system is codenamed Anaconda, while the more pared-down, streaming version is codenamed Lockhart.

At E3 this year it was reported that Microsoft is internally referring to its next-gen family of systems as "Scarlett," and Windows Central's recent report puts Anaconda and Lockhart within that family. Anaconda is the more powerful, expensive option, while Lockhart is the comparably cheaper, hardware-light streaming box. Both are scheduled for 2020.

The Scarlett family of systems including Anaconda and Lockhart are not to be confused with Microsoft's other reported console plan for 2019, which is to introduce a digital-only Xbox.

[Source: Windows Central]

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 2:59 pm

DICE Changes Battlefield V Time-To-Kill Values Once Again

A few weeks ago, DICE and EA were openly pontificating the ramifications of changing the time-to-kill value, basically how long it takes to kill an opponent, in Battlefield V multiplayer. While players enjoyed being able to kill opponents faster, they also disliked being killed so quickly, so DICE set up different servers to study and see how things play out in alternate matches. 

They eventually decided to increase the time it takes for an enemy to keel over so that players can live longer and have theoretically better matches. The community didn't really like this change. So now they're changing it back.

"After rolling out those changes last week, we’ve listened to your feedback, reviewed our statistical data, and have made the decision to return to the original TTK values seen at launch," a DICE spokesman wrote on the game's subreddit. "Our intent with the TTK changes was to see if we could evolve the Battlefield V experience and make it more enjoyable for new players, whilst also making sure the Battlefield vets have a choice with a more 'core' experience suiting their preferred play-style. Clearly we didn’t get it right. Veteran players didn’t ask for the change, but as game developers, we took it upon ourselves to make those changes based on extensive data and deliberation. It truthfully wasn’t an easy decision for us."

DICE admits that part of the problem is the ongoing issue of balancing a game for both veterans and new players, as it's difficult to onboard new players when they die so quickly, even though veterans love the challenge of dodging bullets like Neo. While they erred toward the wants of veterans this time, they are seemingly not sure how to keep these two groups happy at the same time, but do have some plans that they will be rolling out in the future.

Battlefield V is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You can find our review of the game right here.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 2:25 am

Check Your Xbox One Stats From 2018

Every year, Microsoft takes all your data from your Xbox One playing and puts it out there for you to peruse, celebrate, or regret. The 2018 edition of this tool is now available, so you can feel free to check out what games you spent the longest in.

It's time to get your 2018 Xbox Year In Review* Sign in here for you personalized stats

(* Actual data is through Oct 2018)

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) December 17, 2018

For the record, my gamerscore is somehow in the top 9 percent, my 2018 mood was action-adventure games, my favorite game was Shadow of the Tomb Raider which seems real wrong but I think I left it idling for a while, I "buffed" my gamerscore by 2 whole percent, and the community as a whole played 18,191,417,463 hours, most of which I assume was Red Dead Redemption II's intro, or maybe it just felt that way.

What about you? What was your year in review like on the Xbox One? Let us know below in the comments and also predict what your next year is going to look like.

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 2:10 am

PS4 Spider-Man Gets His Own Comic Series

The PS4 Spider-Man, who many are confusingly calling Marvel's Spider-Man but that seems to make it even less clear which one we're talking about, has been making the rounds since the game's release earlier this year. The white spider suit had a cameo in the seminal Into the Spider-verse movie released last week. Insomniac's Peter Parker even got his own storyline in the Spidergeddon comic arc, where he realized there is a dimension where Spider Cop exists. Now, another PS4 Spider-Man comic adaptation is beginning, titled City at War.

The new comic arc will cover the story of the games, but also the three DLC chapters that have just been released. For fans of the game, Marvel also promises there will be new content, so it won't just be a retread for content you have already played through.

March 2019: Marvel’s Spider-Man swings into the pages of @Marvel Comics! Written by @HopelessDent, art by @Michele_Bandini, cover by @Clayton_Crain & variants by @timtsang @DavidNakayama @SandovalBox & @Adi_Granov! @insomniacgames @MarvelGames #SpiderMan #SpiderManPS4

— Bill Rosemann (@BillRosemann) December 17, 2018

Marvel says that the new comics will be "first in a series of new stories from the growing Marvel Gamerverse," so there's likely to be more to follow. I wonder if this is canon with Nintendo's Marvel Ultimate Alliance game?

Posted on 18 December 2018 | 1:10 am

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Glitch Causes Infinite Assist Trophies

Even the most polished games have unforeseen bugs and it seems like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is no exception. A new bug discovered spawns an infinite number of assist trophies, resulting in more Knuckles than a 3D Sonic game on screen at once. Whoops.

The glitch, which was discovered by YouTuber TheAfrowJow happens when Isabelle or Villager use their pocket item skills on the same assist trophy at the same time. Since spacing and timing can be an issue, using Isabelle's fishing hook Side-Special makes this easier to do. The player who does grab it gets stuck repeating the assist trophy summoning animation while more and more assist trophies pour in.

The glitch will probably get patched out as soon as someone from the developer team notices, which likely won't be too long. In the meantime, unless you're actively coordinating to make it happen, it's pretty hard to actually do this, so I wouldn't worry about someone spamming Shovel Knights into your online match to make it to the top of the Global Smash charts. Though with that many Shovel Knight appearances, maybe that makes Smash an indie game.

You can read our review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate right here. You could open it in 100 tabs if you wanted.

Posted on 17 December 2018 | 9:15 pm

YouTube Let's Play Group Super Best Friends Abruptly Disbands

Super Best Friends, a troupe of YouTube Let's Players known primarily for mocking Quantic Dream games, officially ended their channel on Sunday morning with a video announcing their departure. Perhaps fitting for an account with a name extolling their friendship, the reason given was that two of the three participants were no longer actual friends and it put a strain on their ability to do the job.

The channel began in 2011, when then-QA tester Matthew Kowalewski uploaded a video titled Street Fighter Stupidity, compiling out-of-context and generally bad scenes from the Street Fighter cartoon in the 1990s. From there, Kowalewski partnered with an associate named Patrick Boivin for the gimmick of one angry player and one naive innocent one to make highly edited videos of gameplay. The two chose the name "Two Best Friends Play" ironically, but became friends later down the line.

The channel had been going strong for a number of years, adding their other friends Woolie Madden and Liam Allen-Miller to their Let's Play stable, though the latter left a few years back to pursue his own streaming channel under the name Rising Superstream. The decision to call it quits this weekend came abruptly in the middle of a few different games and showed no indication of ending as the members had been talking about future plans for the channel earlier in the week.

Super Best Friends commanded a relatively small but dedicated fanbase. The channel's subscription numbers never broke a million, but the fan fervor over the group was often extensive. The Super Best Friends subreddit has been a massive outpouring of support for each other, fear for the community, and thanks to the LPers themselves for helping fans get out of dark places with their humor. They commanded a dedicated audience partly due to their chosen subject matter primarily focusing on Japanese games, which is rare within the YouTube Let's Play space.

The archive of their Let's Plays will remain up, but the three YouTubers are now striking out on their own for future endeavors.

Posted on 17 December 2018 | 8:00 pm

Pillars Of Eternity II Still Coming To Consoles In 2019

Early this year, Obsidian announced their top-down RPG Pillars of Eternity II would also be on consoles and not just PC. The studio hoped to bring the game to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch before the end of 2018, but anyone with access to a calendar can tell you that is becoming increasingly unlikely. While it may have slipped out of this year, Obsidian has clarified that the game is still coming and it's doing so to all the platforms it was announced for.

Hidden at the bottom of a larger blog post about the Forgotten Sanctum DLC, the developer posted a note about the game's upcoming console releases.

"As we stated, our partners at Grip Digital have been hard at work, and Deadfire will be releasing on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in 2019," the post reads. "We are pleased to also announce that the console edition will ship with all expansions, updates, and free DLC's included at launch! We don't have an exact date for you yet, but as soon as we have one, we will let you know!"

Grip Digital, the studio in charge of porting the game, is also the studio behind Mothergunship and the last-generation ports of puzzle game Q.U.B.E. to consoles.

Fans had been concerned for the port's existence after Obsidian had been so quiet about it in the ensuing ten months since it was announced. Further complicating matters was Microsoft announcing their intent to acquire the studio at the recent XO18 conference. However, much like with Minecraft, Microsoft seems to occasionally see themselves as a third party publisher for other platforms and isn't cancelling rival console versions.

Another Obsidian game Microsoft is all too happy to allow on PlayStation 4 is the Take Two-published Outer Worlds. You can see us play the Fallout: New Vegas successor here, read our six biggest takeaways from playing more of the game than we can show, and listen to us discuss it on the GI Show.

Posted on 17 December 2018 | 7:00 pm

The Penultimate Kingdom Hearts III Trailer

Square Enix has released a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III featuring a bevy of story seeds as well as gameplay footage.

The wide-ranging trailer dips more into the title as its January 29 release date approaches, including summons, new keyblade attacks, and much more.

Click here for the recent trailer featuring the game's opening cinematic, as well as take a look at this handy character guide.

Posted on 17 December 2018 | 3:01 pm

Street Fighter V Brings Back Evil Ryu As Kage

Update: You can read the full, official balance changes accompanying this patch right here. You can find a breakdown of the character here.

Capcom has announced a new character for Street Fighter V, and you can play as him right now.

The introduction of Kage, who looks to be a more intensified and renamed version of Evil Ryu, would have been a nice surprise to cap off Capcom Cup, except... the update leaked ahead of time. By the time Capcom announced the character, players had already downloaded the update and discovered the character. From what we've seen of the character so far, he seems to have a moveset similar to this Street Fighter IV iteration, including the return of his signature Axe Kick. His V-Triggers allow him disappear and land a powerful punch from the sky, as well as use his Ashura Senku teleport mid-combo, even in the air.

Of course, the character also brings with him two alternate costumes for players to wear.

The update also brought with it a number of balance changes, including changes to Menat's V-Trigger, Zangief's Lariat, and Alex's V-Skill. Some characters, like Alex and Abigail, also have some new moves to toy around with.

Capcom also announced the Capcom Pro Tour, which Capcom Cup concludes, will be back for another year, with the first major event being Final Round on March 15.

I'm a little surprised they didn't announce the full Season 4 character lineup like they did last year, but this is should appease fans for now. I still want Yun added next year!

Posted on 17 December 2018 | 2:31 am

Rapper Soulja Boy To Launch Esports Franchise

During a brief on-camera interview with TMZ, rapper Soulja Boy tells the outlet that he has plans to start up his own esports franchise.

He wants to hire on the streamer Ninja, though he acknowledges it may be a difficult feat. He says, however, that he two are "close friends" and that Ninja helped get him verified on Twitch.

“We’re gonna be finding talent, hiring talent,” he tells the outlet. He says that he's particularly interested in putting together teams for Fortnite, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Counter Strike.

“It was just inspiring for me, so here we are,” he says. “I’m multitasking, man. Music, tech, everything.”

How exactly this will pan out, however, remains to be seen. The details are slim and a bit hazy, but hopefully he'll let the public know more soon.

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 11:15 pm

Macaulay Culkin And Angry Video Game Nerd Diss Home Alone Games Together

In a recent video from YouTube personality Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe), he's joined by an unexpected guest star just in time for Christmas. Macaulay Culkin and Rolfe team up to do what the comedy series does best: poke fun of awful games (and at Culkin, too, in this case).

Culkin and Rolfe go through the library of game adaptations of films Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Culkin first assumes the identity of pizza boy, referencing the first Home Alone, in a silly skit. He later "reveals" his true identity, and the two pull no punches when it comes to furiously but hilariously dissing each game.

The video runs nearly 20 minutes long but it's worth a watch for a quick laugh during the holiday season.

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 9:46 pm

PSA: Grab Assassin's Creed Odyssey For Free By Testing Project Stream

By helping to test Project Stream, Google's upcoming streaming service that lets you play games via the Chrome browser, you can get a free copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey on PC.

As a tester for Project Stream, you can play Assassin's Creed Odyssey through your Google Chrome browser for as long as you want. If you play for an hour or more, Ubisoft will grant you a free copy of the game that will be linked to your Uplay account. If you already own the game on PC and it's linked to your Uplay account, however, you won't be eligible for this offer.

The Project Stream version of Odyssey comes with 1,000 Helix points. While your save data from Project Stream will transfer over to your Uplay version, the Helix points will not.

To participate in the offer, sign up and play before January 15. You can sign up here.

[Source: Ubisoft]

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 8:30 pm

Kingdom Hearts III Director Tetsuya Nomura Responds To Leaks

After Kingdom Hearts III copies have reportedly been found in the wild, director Tetsuya Nomura is urging those who have played leaked versions of the game to keep spoilers to themselves.

With Kingdom Hearts III's release six weeks away, a leak this far in advance is rare. According to EuroGamer, there have been images, gameplay videos, and smaller details like the title screen that have appeared online.

"The whole team has been working together since yesterday night (Japan time) to investigate what we can do better in this situation, but first we would like to ask that you do not share these videos," reads Nomura's statement.

He adds that while these leaked copies have much to spoil, there are portions of the game that remain a secret. These include the secret movie and epilogue that Square Enix plans to reveal post-release.

You can read the full statement below.

An important message for #KingdomHearts III from Director Tetsuya Nomura:


Kingdom Hearts III releases on January 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more, check out this special Kingdom Hearts III-themed PlayStation 4 Pro coming soon.

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 6:35 pm

HQ Trivia Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies At 34

Colin Kroll, the co-founder and CEO of HQ Trivia, has passed away after what appears to be a drug overdose, reports TMZ.

Kroll's girlfriend called the police when she wasn't able to get a hold of him early this morning. The police accompanied her to his home, where they found him dead in his bedroom surrounded by drug paraphernalia such as cocaine and heroin.

Kroll founded HQ alongside Rus Yusupov last year, though it has been steadily losing its once large audience. Before that, Kroll had worked for Vine as well as Yahoo. 

Kroll was 34-years-old. Game Informer extends its sympathies to Kroll's family and friends during this difficult time. 

[Source: TMZ]

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 5:05 pm

Developers Share The Weird Tricks And Workarounds They Used To Make Games

Yesterday morning Fullbright's Steve Gaynor asked game developers to share their "game dev crimes" - tricks, workarounds, or inefficient ways to create a game or fix stubborn technical issues.

The responses quickly game pouring in as other developers shared their own tricks. All of them offer a look at how some of our favorite games are made out of rickety little bits of code hamstrung together to make something truly special, while some of them are just funny.

Some of them can get a little technical, but many of them are fun even without a knowledge of Java, CSS, or Unity. Here are some of our favorites.

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 1:07 am

Pokémon Go's Holiday Event Brings New Pokémon, Free Incubators

Pokémon Go's annual holiday event is looking a little more crowded than usual this year, as it will bring not only the return of the festive Pikachus, Deliberd, and free incubators from spinning discs, but new critters as well.

Munchlax, the pre-evolved version of Snorlax, will be added when the event next week, starting on December 18. They will be joined in 7km eggs by more common appearances by Smoochum and Azurill. Also in the update is the addition of Snover and its evolution Abomasnow, as well as Chingling, Croagunk, and the introduction of legendary Pokémon Azelf, Mespirit, and Uxie.

Of course, there are also the usual perks of it being the holidays in Pokémon Go as well. From December 18-22, players will earn double candy from catching monsters; from December 22-26, they'll earn double stardust; after that until December 30, they'll earn double experience points. Finally, from December 30-January 2, all those incubators you might have will be more effective at hatching eggs. There will also be new clothes in the shop in the style of Delibird.

For more on Pokémon Go, check out our comprehensive guide.

Posted on 16 December 2018 | 12:11 am

John Carpenter Wants To Compose The Score For A Video Game

John Carpenter, director of horror classics such as Halloween and The Thing would very much like to compose the score to a video game.

In a recent interview with music outlet Consequence of Sound, Carpenter was asked if his love of gaming had had any influence on his work. "I didn’t think of that, but I think there’s a part of me that’s dying to do a game score," Carpenter said. "But I don’t think anybody will hire me. No one thinks about me to do music for games, that’d be great!"

Carpenter is known not only for the directorial work he's done for movies, but for the iconic scores he's helped create for them as well. He recently returned to the Halloween franchise for the recent remake to compose its score.

For a tangentially-related look at when a John Carpenter movie became a game, check out our Replay episode on video game version of The Thing.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 11:24 pm

Battlefield V's Increased Time-To-Kill Is To Help New Players, DICE Creating New 'Core' Playlists

In a recent update to Battlefield V, DICE increased the health pools of all Battlefield V players in order to make the game more accommodating to new players, increasing the amount of time it takes to kill a player. After dedicated fans reacted negatively to the change and the limited options for playing with the faster time-to-kill, the developer will be adding new "core" playlists with the original health pools, the company announced yesterday.

The announcement was made on the Battlefield V community subreddit. Shortly after the patch increased the time-to-kill, many fans decried the change as the wrong move for the game. DICE's post began by apologizing to players about their lack of communication about the patch. "Changes to the game carrying this kind of weight needs clearer, earlier communication before getting rolled out," DICE said. "We will improve how we roll out updates in the future and respond more quickly when you have questions or concerns."

"The intent came from us observing that new players are having a very hard time with the game compared to our core players, and we wanted to see if we could improve this over the holidays so more players can have a great time," the post goes on to say. A lower time-to-kill can make the game feel faster and more active, but means there is less room for error when playing, making it harder for new players to get their bearings. These lower values, however, reward more precise play, which can make the game more satisfying once you learn the ins and outs.

For those players, DICE has created a solution. "To fix that, we will be adding a 'Core' version of all playlists in the game next week, giving you a clearer choice between new and old settings," the post says. "We’ll update you early next week on when the new playlist will be added."

For more on Battlefield V, check out our review.

On the surface the split solution sounds okay, but splintering the playerbase could hurt the game in the long run. Either matches will take longer to find (especially as players move on to other games). Additionally, it's likely one kind of playlist is going to be more popular than the other, prompting most to spend more time in the more popular modes, which could effectively make these "core" playlists more of a appeasement tool than an actual solution.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 10:10 pm

Final Fantasy XV's Final DLC Gets A Trailer For Its Prologue Anime

Although Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata recently announced his departure from the company and the subsequent announcement that all but one of the game's upcoming DLCs had been canceled, FFXV fans still have the Episode Ardyn DLC to look forward to. And now, they also have a new anime to look forward to, as well.

Final Fantasy XV Episode Ardyn Prologue, an anime with a name as long as its first trailer is short, will set up the events of the upcoming DLC, in which players take on the role of FFXV's antagonist, Ardyn. You can watch the trailer below.

To read what we thought of FFXV one year after release, head here.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 9:21 pm

More Than Half Of All Switch Buyers Own Breath Of The Wild, Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

With the Switch being the runaway success it is, it was likely that popular titles for the system would be caught up in its wake. As some indie titles continue to sell remarkably well on the system, it should also come as no surprise that Nintendo's own premiere titles are doing well on their console, but the hybrid console looks triggering even stronger attach rates than usual.

Speaking with IGN, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe all have an attach rate higher than fifty percent. "For everyone who owns a system, more than one out of every two have bought Zelda, more than one out of every two have bought Kart, more than one out of every two have bought Odyssey," Fils-Aime said. "That's never happened in U.S. video game history," he followed up, likely referring to how high the attach rates are for these titles.

While Nintendo's 2018 hasn't been as consistently prominent as it was last year (with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate being the company's key title for the year), Fils-Aime says the company isn't resting on its laurels. "we have a number of key franchises teed up for next year," he told IGN. "With the games that we've announced for the first calendar quarter [of 2019], we think that momentum will power through."

Looking ahead, Nintendo's upcoming lineups includes Animal Crossing, Luigi's Mansion 3, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (a port of the Wii U game with some enhanced features), Yoshi's Crafted World, Daemon X Machina, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, The next major Pokémon RPG, and the more faraway Metroid Prime 4.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 8:15 pm

Evo Japan 2019 Lineup Announced, Dragon Ball FighterZ And Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Absent

Update: The headline to this article previously referred to Evo Japan as simply "Evo" and has been changed.

Evo, the world's largest fighting game tournament organization, has announced the lineup for its upcoming Japan tournament, and while it's a solid lineup, the deals to have two of the fighting game scene's most popular titles seem to have not closed, preventing them from being included.

The tournament's main linenup, announced via Evo's official Twitter, includes BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, The King of Fighters XIV, Soulcalibur VI, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, and Tekken 7.

You may have noticed two popular titles missing: Dragon Ball FighterZ and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, two of the most popular and well-received fighters of the year. According to Mark Julio, business developer for Evo, this looks to be because "we couldn't get approval from the publisher/owner."

For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this is likely a case of Nintendo of Japan putting its foot down about having its game included. For Dragon Ball FighterZ, the pushback most likely comes from Toei and/or Shueisha, the companies who own the rights to Dragon Ball as a franchise, since Arc System Works and Bandai Namco have both approved their other titles for Evo Japan.

Evo Japan takes place February 15-17, in Fukuoka, Japan.

It's unfortunate for two of the most popular fighting games to be not be included. Dragon Ball FighterZ was at this year's American Evo event, so I'm not too worried about what this means for that game's presence at the event next year, but I'm hoping Ultimate doesn't get blockaded for Evo this year.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 7:11 pm

Granblue Fantasy Fighting Game Developed By Arc System Works Announced

Granblue Fantasy is an enormously popular Japanese mobile game franchise, but it doesn't have the cache in the West that it does in Japan. Publisher Cygames is hoping to change that soon with the announcement of a fighting game created by fighting game house Arc System Works.

First, Granblue Fantasy Versus is a fighting game featuring the developer's signature anime-turned-3D style. The title is coming next year. According to the game's official site, Versus will feature "original gameplay tailor-made to appeal to both Granblue and fighting game fans alike."

Five characters (Gran, Katalina, Charlootta, Lancelot, Ferry) have been announced.

Cygames also released a new gameplay trailer for Granblue Fantasy Relink, an action-RPG set in the same universe and featuring many of the same characters.  From a gameplay perspective, it looks somewhat similar to Final Fantasy XII, albeit with more of a focus on action. You can watch several minutes of gameplay (in Japanese) below.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 6:01 pm

What To Watch This Weekend: Capcom Cup, Rainbow Six Siege, And Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

For some schools and colleges, "Winter break" has already begun. But for most of us, there still a few regular work days left between now and the holidays. But you can make it! To help you pass the time, here are a few great events going on this weekend.

Capcom Cup culminates the year in Street Fighter V tournaments, and will be the place where one of the game's best players cements their place in history (and gets a huge $250,000 prize). We can also expect some end-of-tournament announcements, as always. Will I finally get to play as Yun in Street Fighter V!? Probably not. (Streams and Schedule)

The US Nationals for Rainbow Six Siege is the game's final marquee event for the year, so watch live from Las Vegas to see who will take the prize this year. (Stream)

You can also catch some Super Smash Bros. action for both Melee and Ultimate at this year's Don't Park on the Grass tournament, where we'll continue to see how the game's competitive play has continued to develop. (Streams and Schedule)

All your favorite Z Warriors are heading to Australia for the next saga of the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour at CouchWarriors Crossup! There will also be events for Soulcalibur VI, Tekken 7, and more. (Streams and Schedule)

The Hearthstone Championship Tour makes its next stop in Philadelphia, bringing with it the chance to score some HCT points and a first-place prize of $5,000. (Stream / Schedule)

There was going to be a Dota 2 tournament called The Summit this weekend, but it was postponed to next year. In in its place, however, is the I Can't Believe It's Not Summit tournament, which is probably just as good, right? (Stream)

That's it for this weekend! Let us know if we missed an event, or if there's a scene you'd like us to cover, in the comments.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 5:00 pm

Charles Martinet Attains World Record For Most Video Game Voiceovers As One Character

Over the three decades of Mario's existence, he has gone from completely silent to voiced in periphery media by actors like Bob Hoskins and Captain Lou Albano to voiced in the video games by Charles Martinet. Martinet, a voice actor for things Skyrim, Resonance of Fate, and more, but by far his most famous role is the Italian plumber, and the two just got into the Guinness Book of World Records together.

Charles Martinet just attained the record for voicing the same character in a video game. Martinet has played Mario one hundred times, which was given to him as of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.


I’m so honored. @guinnessworldrecords record for most video game voiceover performances as the same character – 100, as Mario… Upon the release of #supersmashbrosultimate #mamamia #woohoo !!!! Thanks @Nintendo !

A post shared by Charles Martinet (@charlesmartinetitsame) on

Martinet didn't necessarily beat anyone for this title, the world record was created for him, but it stands to reason that no one else comes close. The only other characters that might come close are Luigi and Wario, who are also voiced by Martinet, so his legacy is probably safe.

The Mario voice actor also keeps a fairly active Instagram, as seen above, where he approaches people and talks to them in the Mario voice. It is not known whether Martinet will be playing Mario in the upcoming animated movie. For now, though, he can add World Record Holder to his business cards.

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 2:20 am

Weekend Warrior – Out With A Bang

It’s all about celebration this weekend for the Game Informer editors. We’re celebrating birthdays, upcoming holidays, endings (we’re finally wrapping up Red Dead Redemption II and our Top 10 lists), and starting something new. Many of us are getting closer to unlocking all the characters in Super Smash, while others are working on their backlogs before a new year of amazing games release.

Don’t just read about our plans. Join in the conversation and let us know if you’re doing something fun in the comments below!

Javy Gwaltney – I’ve snuck away earlier from the offices than my compatriots in order to spend time with family during my brother’s college graduation (congratulations Sloan!). I’m going to be getting caught up on the Western films (McCabe And Mrs. Miller) and books (The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford) I’ve taken on to fill that Red Dead Redemption II hole in my soul. There will probably be a lot of Super Smashing and Diabloing as I make my way through the holidays. Hope you all have a great holiday and see you in the new year, friends.

Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – I’m very excited to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I like Spider-Man, but I love innovative animation and since the very first trailer I have been excited to see it. The fact that Phil Lord and Chris Miller are involved at writing and producing capacities make it all the more exciting. I will forever be sad that their Han Solo movie doesn’t exist. Otherwise it will be assorted Christmas shopping excursions, Smash Bros. character unlocking, and god I hope I can make it to the end of Red Dead’s main story. I am loving it, but it is taking me forever.

Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – I’m continuing my quest to fully unlock the huge Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. I’m coming up on 60 characters, so I bet I’ll be pretty close by the time Monday rolls around. I’d also love to finally put a bow on the Red Dead Redemption II post-game, and then start Just Cause 4. I’ll also get in a few rounds of Overwatch a day and continue doing my dailies in Pokémon Go and Marvel Strike Force.

Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – This weekend I’ll be doing a little Christmas shopping and visiting family, but there’s no way I can resist the allure of playing even more Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I overdid it last weekend and my fingers are still sore from slamming that shoulder button on the GameCube. Other than that… let’s see… I’m sure I’ll just play more Red Dead and Tetris Effect or something. Oh wait, I want to check out Gris on Steam! Have a good weekend!

Jeff Cork – I wrapped up Red Dead Redemption II last week, so now I’m going back – way back – to Greece. I kind of fell off Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, even though I was having a great time with it. That ends this weekend! I’m going to dive back into it and see if it makes my top 10 games of 2018 list. And, of course, I’ll be playing mystery heroes in Overwatch, because now there’s snow on some of the levels and I imagine it’s like playing a whole new game. Or something like that.

Imran Khan (@imranzomg) – It’s my birthday! Actually, yesterday was my birthday, but apparently adults can’t just drop everything because it’s their birthday, so I’ll be doing all the celebratory stuff during this weekend. I caught Into the Spider-Verse, which wasn’t the weekend but I am mentioning it because you should definitely see it if you have any affection for Spider-Man. Aside from that, this weekend I’m going to be playing more Ashen, make more progress in World of Light, and I might pick up Supergiant’s new game Hades, too.

Suriel Vasquez (@SurielVazquez) – Got a weekend retreat with the Van der Linde gang. Snake and Duck Hunt are along for the ride.

Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) – I’m diving into Below and Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales. Come Monday morning, my Top 10 list for 2018 should be locked in stone. The year was filled with awesome games. Narrowing the list to just 10 was challenge, to say the least.

Jill Grodt (@Finruin) – I’ll be packing up and moseying along. I’ll finally be looking into my backlog and I can’t wait to dive into all the games I’ve picked up but haven’t finished this year. Listing them all would probably take a whole page, but the biggest time commitments are probably Red Dead Redemption II, and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It’s been great, and I hope everyone has fantastic weekend!

Posted on 15 December 2018 | 1:00 am

Stardew Valley Developer Puts New Project On Hold To Double-Down On Farming Game

After a recent announcement that Eric Barone has retained the publishing rights to his game Stardew Valley, there were still a lot of open questions about the future of the game and what Barone's one-man studio ConcernedApe will be doing next. In a new blog post, Barone revealed those plans.

"As many of you know, I’ve been working on a new game for a while. I haven’t revealed anything about it, except that it takes place in the same universe as Stardew Valley," Barone wrote. "I’ve been deliberately secretive about it because I want to be able to work on it without any pressure for the time being. I also want to make sure the concept is fully realized before revealing anything, because once it’s out there, I’m going to have to fully commit to it. I’m a pretty cautious person when it comes to this sort of thing."

ConcernedApe plans to bolster their development resources for the game, but because that is a future plan and requires leaving Stardew Valley behind, Barone does not want to move on to it quite yet. Since he just got the rights to self-publish Stardew Valley, that is going to remain his main priority.

"In short," Barone says, "what I’m saying is that I am going to keep making new content for Stardew Valley. In fact, I’ve recently put my other game on the back-burner and have been in the process of creating a new free content update."

In the post, Barone explains that he wants to work on both projects at once, but it's currently unfeasible to do so. In the meantime, he plans to work on the free update he alluded to, as well as the fixes to the current versions to make sure everything is up to par.

The multiplayer update for Stardew Valley just hit Switch and is expected to land on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next year. It has been available on PC for a few months.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 11:10 pm

Epic Removes Infinity Blade Weapon From Fortnite

Just the other day, Epic both announced the removal of Infinity Blade from the iOS app store and added the eponymous sword to Fortnite. Now the latter is also getting removed as Epic admits they badly misjudged the balancing, providing one final removal for a game series that has already been shuttered.

Fortnite recently introduced "Mythic" weapons, which as the name implies, were supposed to be powerful and rare. They were certainly powerful, but they were not nearly rare enough, which drew ire from the fanbase. Epic announced nerfs to the sword yesterday on Reddit, but it didn't solve the fundamental problems that the sword from Epic's mobile game series, which couldn't be built against.

Infinity Blades showed up once per game, but they were not random. They would always show up in the same place and, as a theoretical trade-off, took up an entire inventory's worth of space. The highs were much better than the lows, though, as Infinity Blade-wielders got buffed health and shields and could tear through any structure with a swing of the sword.

In a Twitter post today, Epic announced the removal of the item based on how overpowered it could be and the lack of good counters.

Heya folks,

We messed up and rolled out the Infinity Blade overpowered / without good counters, especially in the end game.

The Infinity Blade has been Vaulted and we are re-evaluating our approach to Mythic items.

Thanks for calling us out on this!

— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) December 14, 2018

Basically, a player who was good at the game could grab the sword and pretty much not lose. The entire thing has gotten Epic rethinking Mythic items in general, of which the Infinity Blade was the first. In a time where Epic is also emphasizing getting players to build intricate structures to fight in, having things to immediately demolish them seems counterproductive.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 8:10 pm

This Holiday Is The Final Chance To Buy NES Or SNES Classics

If you've been on a nostalgia kick for older games recently or want a miniconsole inside your TV stand for long-term gaming fun, your options are about to become quite a bit more limited. According to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, this holiday is your last real chance to grab either the NES or SNES Classics.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fils-Aime talked a bit about the two products and what Nintendo's future plans are further consoles in the same ilk.

"We worked very hard, both for the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, to really have the best games that defined that generation," Fils-Aime told the outlet. "We’ve said that the current systems are the extent of our classic program. We’ve also been clear that, at least from an Americas perspective, these products are going to be available through the holiday season and once they sell out, they’re gone. And that’s it."

The wording is pretty unambiguous, Nintendo isn't going to be producing more of their NES and SNES Classic units, so the ones remaining on store shelves are all that's left. Outside of paying likely exorbitant prices for used versions from individual sellers, this is it.

From Fils-Aime's comments, it implies that Nintendo might be done with classic consoles as a whole, this is surprising as there's still materials left unmined in their back catalog. The Nintendo executive was pretty clear, though, that they plan to be putting all their old game focus on the Switch.

"The way that consumers will be able to continue participating with our classic content is going to be through Nintendo Switch Online, and we just released three new games from the NES generation onto that platform. We look at that as the main way that consumers will be able to experience that legacy content," Fils-Aime said.

The statement is direct, but also doesn't directly say there won't be a Nintendo 64 Classic. It also seems to imply that Nintendo is open to putting SNES games on the Switch as part of their Nintendo Switch Online program, which currently has NES games and added a few more this month.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 7:10 pm

Discord's Store To Offer 90 Percent Revenue Split Favoring Developers In 2019

When games are published on Steam, the developer gets 70% of the revenue with the other 30% going to Valve. Epic made headlines in the beginning of the month by offering developers 88% of the revenue of games published on its new Epic Games Store. Today, Discord announced that starting next year, developers will receive 90% of the revenue for games sold on its platform.

Discord revealed its plans this morning in a blog post writing, "Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018. After doing some research, we discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them, and give developers the majority of the revenue share." Discord's store opened up in beta in October and allows developers to self-publish on the platform. Discord's platform also offers verified servers.

Later in the post Discord wrote, "We believe if we iterate and work with developers, we can reverse platform fragmentation in the game industry while connecting developers and players closer together."

[Source: Discord]


Our Take
I don't think Steam needs to be too nervous – the platform isn't going anywhere, but I bet proclamations like this from Epic and Discord are prompting it to consider re-evaluating its revenue split. A lot of these details are behind-the-scenes issues that don't directly affect us consumers too much, but I'm curious to see how all of these stores pivot and change.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 5:21 pm

Subnautica Is Free On The Epic Games Store Until December 27

Starting now and going until December 27, you can grab Subnautica from the Epic Games Store for free. You can head here to grab your copy of the game.

In Subnautica, your ship crash lands on an alien world and it's up to you to survive by collecting resources and crafting weapons and equipment. You can read our review of Subnautica right here.

[Source: Epic Games Store]


Our Take
The Epic Games Store is coming out of the gates strong with exclusives like Hades and a free copy of Subnautica. It will take years to assess if it is truly competitive with Steam, but these first few days are showing a lot or promise.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 4:51 pm

You Can Now Buy Gold Bars With Real Money In Red Dead Online

Rockstar's latest blog post covering Red Dead Online outlines a few ambiguous changes to the game, and details how players can get free gold.

You can read the blog post here. In it, Rockstar thanks players for playing the beta and says that everyone who participated will get 15 gold bars. Rockstar writes, "The awards will begin rolling out today and if you haven’t experienced the Red Dead Online Beta yet, play by Thursday, December 20th for eligibility. All gold bar gifts should be delivered by Monday, December 24th. Keep an eye out for an alert screen when entering the Red Dead Online Beta to confirm the gift." So if you haven't started playing Red Dead Online, now is a good time to start.

Rockstar also wants to thank pre-order players by handing out some RDO$. If you pre-ordered any version of the game, you will get RDO$100. If you pre-ordered the special edition of the game you will get an additional RDO$100 and if you per-ordered the ultimate edition you will get an additional RDO$1,000.

You can now purchase gold bars with real world money as the store is now open. Currently you can get 25 gold bars for $9.99 (there is also a special offer to get 25 for $4.99), 55 for $19.99, 150 for $49.99, 245 for $74.99, or 350 for $99.99.

Finally, the game has been updated. The patch notes read, "Title Update 1.05 has been released addressing general improvements to fix game stability, save data and to address exploits."

For more on Red Dead Online, head here.

[Source: Rockstar]

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 4:28 pm

A Kingdom Hearts-Themed PlayStation 4 Pro Is Coming To North America

Sony announced this morning a special Kingdom Hearts-themed PlayStation 4 Pro console will be available when Kingdom Hearts III launches in January.

You can check out some photos of the system below. It has all kinds of Kingdom Hearts aesthetic touches on both the system and the controller and it will include a 1 TB HDD and a copy of Kingdom Hearts III, which means it will also include access to the game's PS4-exclusive digital content.


Earlier this year, it was announced Japan would be getting a Kingdom Hearts PS4, which you can see right here. The designs of the two systems are distinct, but both have been created to celebrate the release of Kingdom Hearts III. The system will be $399.99 and will be available on January 29 exclusively at GameStop.

Disclaimer: Game Informer is owned by GameStop.

[Source: PlayStation.Blog]

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 3:33 pm

Smash Bros. Ultimate Update Live, Makes Online Improvements

The new update for Super Smash Bros Ultimate has gone live, indicating a number of new improvements, including updates to online as well as some character balancing.

For online, the game now highly prioritizes your preferred match types when matchmaking. A common complaint about online was that you could set your parameters to 1 vs. 1 with no items and end up in a four-player free-for-all with items set to high. Now the game will work harder to match you up with your preferred style, though the patch notes warn that it may take more time to find a match now.

There have also been general changes to increase the stability of synchronous connections in online. Hopefully this means improved netcode.

Donkey Kong, Link, Kirby, Luigi, Ice Climbers, Young Link, Olimar, Toon Link, Villager, Greninja, Pac-Man, Duck Hunt, and Isabelle also all got balance changes. The Pikachu and Eevee spirits you can get for having either Pokemon Let's Go: Eevee or Pikachu data on the Switch are now available and can be unlocked.

Remember, this update changes the balance, so any non-video replays you have saved need to be recorded ASAP. Once the update applies, you can no longer view those replays. Once you're ready to patch, the Switch menu will ask you when launching the app.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 1:20 am

Blizzard Pumps The Brakes On Heroes Of The Storm

Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's crossover MOBA featuring their well-known characters, by all appearances seemed to be doing well. At this past Blizzcon, the company even introduced the first original character for the title. Now, however, it seems that Blizzard is looking to slowly move on from the game, which has seemingly not been doing as well as we thought.

In a new blog post, Blizzard announced that they're moving talent away from Heroes of the Storm to other projects within the company.

"Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of," write CEO J. Allen Brack and chief development officer Ray Gresko. "We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past."

While the post takes great pains to explain that further content will continue for Heroes of the Storm, and the developer diaspora will ultimately benefit all of Blizzard's games, it does certainly paint a bleak picture for this game's future. Blizzard also takes this opportunity to note that two of the biggest Heroes of the Storm esports events, Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm, will not be held this year. The reasoning, Blizzard says, is that they do not believe they could meet fan expectations and standards this year.

Still, there is optimism to be found within the news. Going by Blizzard's own words, they expect this to be better for Heroes of the Storm.

"We’ll continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change," the blog post reads. "Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability."

Regardless, it does not seem like Heroes of the Storm will be going anywhere anytime soon. There is no reason to think Blizzard has any intention to stop supporting the title, even if the resources are better spent elsewhere. With the success of things like the Overwatch League, however, the dreams of Heroes of the Storm taking the world, well, by storm may be long gone.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 1:05 am

DayZ Leaves Early Access And Gains Free Weekend

Zombie survival game DayZ has finally left Early Access, the pre-release state where the game is on sale but has yet to hit its 1.0 version. It has been nearly five years to the day when the game first appeared on Steam's Early Access program, originally launching on December 16, 2013.

Check out the 1.0 launch trailer below.

To celebrate, developers Bohemia Interactive is making the game's multiplayer free until December 17, which is also when the pricing will leave Early Access and go up 15 percent. So you can try the game before you commit and then buy it for cheaper than it will be as of next week.

The game started off as a mod for war sim ARMA 2 in 2009 and eventually split off into its own product. Since coming to Steam, the game has sold over three million copies. Bohemia Interactive has stated an interest in releasing the games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and plans to target those platforms for 2019 releases.

Posted on 14 December 2018 | 12:05 am

Hypixel And Riot Games Introduce Minecraft-Like Hytale

If you are big into Minecraft, at some point you've heard the name Hypixel. The developers are behind one of the world's biggest Minecraft servers and some of the most famous Minecraft maps. No one outside of Mojang knows Minecraft quite like they do and it seems Hypixel is ready to bear that out with the help of Riot Games.

Hypixel has split off to create Hypixel Studios which has itself unveiled Hytale, a Minecraft-like that has both a creation mode and an adventure mode. Check out the trailer below.

The adventure mode is a full narrative with designed dungeons and bosses to fight and complete, promising a single-player campaign for those who felt it was missing from other games in the genre.

The creation mode, however, really seems to flip the script. At first blush, it looks like the standard Minecraft-like, but goes a step further. The game has a set of tools to code in new items, areas, characters, and even create entire cutscenes.

Riot has seemingly gotten behind the game in a big way, acting as its publisher and providing resources to help Hypixel make the game they want to make. The game is scheduled for release in 2019 on PC, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Hytale get a console release down the line, as well.


Posted on 13 December 2018 | 11:00 pm

Fortnite Creative Mode Now Available For Everyone

Fortnite's Creative mode, the new third pillar of Fortnite focused on letting players create what they want with their own islands, is now available to everyone. When the mode was announced, it went up early for Battle Pass users on December 6, but can now be played by anyone with a Fortnite account (i.e. everyone).

In Creative mode, you create your island, invite friends over to check it out, and set it up for battle arenas. The actual creation part lets you fly around and copy and paste as you see fit, so you're not just relying on regular Fortnite gameplay to build your ideal island.

During The Game Awards last week, Epic revealed The Block, a space within Fortnite Battle Royale where the designers and community members choose the best Creative Mode island to place in the game. Your island could end up being played by millions of people if it's chosen for placement.

Creative mode is now live on all platforms you can play Fortnite on.

Posted on 13 December 2018 | 7:45 pm

Todd McFarlane Says Spawn Is Coming To Mortal Kombat 11

Spawn, the supernatural superhero who was more demonic than super and also maybe not quite a hero, might be making an appearance in Mortal Kombat 11. The fighting game hasn't had a lot of details so far, but outside of the game's reveal trailer showing Raiden and two Scorpions, it appears we might be able to add comic book star Spawn to the list as well.

The news comes from a Reddit AMA with Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, who was quickly asked if the antihero would end up in the newly announced Mortal Kombat title.

"I believe he's on his way..." McFarlane answered, both cryptically and directly. He might not have realized it wasn't announced or simply doesn't care about the weird secrecy that video games envelop themselves in on a regular basis.

If Spawn is in Mortal Kombat 11, it wouldn't be either the character or McFarlane's first forays into the fighting game arena. Spawn appeared in the Xbox version of Soulcalibur II as that game's guest character, with Link on the Gamecube and Heihachi on the PlayStation 2, so you might call a Mortal Kombat appearance a Re-Spawn. McFarlane also designed an original character for the game named Necrid, who was an attempt by Namco to make Soulcalibur more popular in the west. Necrid did not return for further games, though Soulcalibur V director Daishi Odashima has indicated it was more of a copyright issue.

Rumors surrounding Mortal Kombat 11 before announcement suggested that licensed characters, like the series has used as DLC in previous entries, will play a more pivotal role in the story this time around. If that's true, perhaps Spawn is involved in the time-traveling shenanigans going on with this tournament.

A new Spawn movie is supposedly in the works starring Jaime Fox, but has not begun filming yet. Mortal Kombat 11 will release on April 23 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, with a full reveal scheduled for January 17.

Posted on 13 December 2018 | 7:05 pm

Metro Exodus Launching One Week Early

Developer 4A Games announced today Metro Exodus has gone gold. But even more interesting is the news that the game will now be launching on February 15, one week earlier than originally planned.

The studio did not provide a specific reason for the change; according to the calendar, both dates put Metro up against competition. February 22 is Anthem's launch date, but February 15 has titles like Crackdown 3, Dead or Alive 6, and Far Cry New Dawn

To get an idea for what you'll see when you start Metro Exodus, watch the title sequence below (which 4A Games also revealed today).


Posted on 13 December 2018 | 5:36 pm